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Hot Opportunities for Writers

In case you haven’t heard, there are a few incredible opportunities out there for writers who want to increase their web presence. First, if you are a woman writer, you can submit an article to Wow! Women on Writing for their consideration. If chosen, they will publish it on their Speak out Fridays and you will have a chance to present a bio, pic and blog link. Awesome opp!

Next, the amazing, popularity to the moon, Query Tracker blogsite is also allowing submissions by writers like us, aka unpublished. Submit to them for the same chance to get your name, face, writing sample and personality peek into the great big world. What do you have to lose? Nuttin. What do you have to gain? Tons.

Getting a few articles read by authors, agents and editors is incredible. How else can you do this? It doesn’t take long to write a few hundred words. Write about writing, it’s what you know. Easy. The problem is (let’s be honest) the pretty yellow line running down your backside. I said it. Be brave! Buck up! The absolute worst thing that can happen is that your article which you spent minimal time composing is not chosen. Just shrug. I mean, seriously, the novel that you’ve emptied your head in to for a year or more will be rejected at least a few times. That won’t keep you from querying.

Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it.

If you are rejected and need someone to blame, comment here. I will personally console you with an email in my very best cheerleader personality (it’s very good). But, please, when you get an article onto a site and your pretty mug is there supporting your words, and you are smiling and jubilant, please, let me know so I can go see it, and give you a shout too!

Online Courses in Writing

There are a myriad of different ways to improve your writing. Personally, I never took any extra writing courses in college, so I’m running against the curve now, but I won’t let a little detail like that stop me, and neither should you. This is especially true because there are infinite resources available to aspiring writers that will help improve their craft and their pitch. Prices range as greatly as the materials, so shop around. The local library is bound to have a section devoted to writing, and that is free. Websites and blogs by and about writers, agents and publishers offer fabulous advice and invaluable tips as well. I’ve been devouring as much as possible for a while now, and have recently ventured to take a class or two.

Currently, I am taking a query class. It is a two week long, work at your own pace course that uses Yahoo groups to meet. This is actually my second course in two months, both are administered by the incredibly talented and simply sensational CJ Redwine. I highly recommend either of her workshops, which she offers on a reoccurring basis.

In the How to Write a Killer Synopsis Course, CJ offers loads of information, personal experience and insight. She provides examples of what has worked for her and gives you feedback day by day on your own work. By the end of this course, your synopsis will sparkle and hopefully land a few more agent requests.

At this moment, I am in week two of a class by CJ on query writing. It has been eye opening to say the least. I have read and read and read about how to put together a query, and I have even thought that I nailed it once or twice, but I am realizing that I missed the point of my own book. I sacrificed the meat of the story for what was supposed to be a knock-it -out-of-the-ballpark hook. Bad combination. Agents were lost after sentence one (which wasn’t so hot after all).

If you’re considering a class on writing, look up CJ Redwine. She has a fun blog called The Last Word and a separate site that features her Writing Workshops.

I hope to interview her here in the weeks to come, but until then, definitely, look her up!

Geeky Cheerleaders are Funny

I finished reading The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaser & Darcy Vance yesterday. This is another YA, this time about a very smart and geeky girl who tries out for cheerleading. Of course, she makes the squad and incredible amounts of awkwardness and self discovery ensue. I LOVED this book. 324 pages in like, I dunno, 24 hours? Funny. I love funny. There are many moments of truth and poignant passages, but more or less you love the main character from the start because she likes herself. She embraces her inner nerd, hides from the mean girls, and just enjoys what she has which is an awesome family and group of like minded friends. She’s happy. She’s not pining away for a new life. Then, circumstances unfold and voila, she’s a cheerleader, learning how much work it is and how to juggle both worlds and navigate high school from a completely different point of view. She does this while trying to hide her legs and cover her purple bottom (the skirt is too short for comfort).  She dates the undateable guy, and he learns something too. In the end, the mean girls are still mean, but who cares about them anyway? Read this. You will love this girl, laugh with this girl, beam and cry with her too. Excellent book if you enjoy laughing and bonding with a make believe individual. I did.

Next: I will be reading P.S I Loath You by Lisi Harrison

And, Musings got a facelift

I had the most horrific discovery. My super pumped up orange color scheme can looked like Austin Powers in a bad way. Last week, I logged in at someone else’s abode and realized that no two screens are made the same. What looked like “get up and move, Baby!” on my laptop, looked more like “Kapow! You are blind and writhing on the floor,” at a friend’s house. Oops. I guess I had not taken into consideration that every viewer would see it a bit differently. That wouldn’t do, so my orange has gone the way of the sunflower. I’ll keep tweaking the tidbits here, but I think that this look may last. If you’re wondering about the picture, that’s what I look like in my head – no. not 2 dimensional, Smarty-two-shoes. I mean, a princess who gets to read all day, and the manuscript pages are wildly piling up anyway. On bad days, that pile is more like my rejections, but mostly, I have good days. (Even on the bad days, notice I am reading, not dwelling on the 7 foot pile of “Lose my number, Lady, rejections.”

Hope the new look doesn’t require sunglasses, and also, *hugs* to my friends who never said a word.

Christian YA and Pure by Terra Elan McVoy

I find that I read a lot of YA. This may be because the language in so many adult books is just too much. It may be because I enjoy the way that romance is portrayed as true and very intense, but in an innocent, appreciated way. Whatever the reason, I do tend towards YA. Then, I wrote a YA novel which had a ribbon through it about prayer and faith. It was no Sermon on the Mount, but I did use the big scary God, with a capital G. Apparently that can be enough to chase your typical YA manuscript right off of those secular shelves and onto the tiny, 3 foot wide, bottom shelf which is reserved for Christian works at the bookstores. Point to note: Half of the books there have women in bonnets or Chicken Soup for something in the title.  Lightbulb. Christian YA is practically not even a category. This doesn’t bode well for my poor manuscript.

Next: While pulling random YA books from a local library shelf based upon appearance and catchy title only, I grabbed Pure by Terra Elan McVoy, a compliment to the paranormal that’s stacking up atop my daughter’s stroller. It was mixed in with the secular books, but has given me hope that young adults still read Christian material for fun. Let me tell you about it.

331 pages and it was tough for me to finish. Five high school sophomores are friends and church members, all with promise rings. One of them breaks the promise and has sex with her one true love. The whole group goes fanatical. Friends hate friends, one organizes a protests. It is all the drama and small mindedness of every high school in the country from a 15 year old girls’ perspective. I was exhausted just reading. How many times did I say aloud, “Are you kidding me?” “Who cares?” “None of your business!” or “What kind of friend are you supposed to be?”, Mostly it was random outbursts of “Whaaaa?” or “Pashaw!” Honestly, I couldn’t wait to be done and I skimmed the last 5 chapters more than read them. I am relieved to be moving on to The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading by Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance, which looks like the light hearted, fun book that I now need to relieve my stupor.

And now, a plea:

If anyone in high school reads this post, please know that it will be over soon. Also, I’m here to report from the other side that something magical actually happens during the 3 month summer break after senior year. By the time that you arrive on campus for Freshman year, everyone is cool, people are people, and the constant snotty “OHMaGahhhhhh!!!!!” over every tiny move you make will be replaced by a silent and overwhelming lack of interest in whatever it is that you are doing, unless of course, you are running naked somewhere. Don’t do that, and you’ll be fine.

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