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Editors Do NOT Like Passive Voice. So True.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but passive voice is worth a second warning. Especially to writers on submission.

I just finished edits on my debut romance novella and the eagle-eyed-editor found four instances where I used passive voice and believe-you-me, she didn’t let them live. I picture editors with a special heat-seeking, missile-launching computer. Maybe their keyboard has a big red “Annihilation” button and their find function zips to every “was” in your manuscript and sniffs to see if it’s consorting with an “ing.”

The Was-es and The Ings are the are the Romeos and Juliets of writing. They love to get together but are doomed for death. Maybe by your editor if you sign a contract. Maybe by the agent who sees them and sends a rejection. Regardless of the how, they cannot live.

So, my advice to you….use the search/find key in Word and look at your Was-es. If they are running around with an Ing, do yourself a favor and reword your sentence. Move your manuscript into the immediate and out of the passive.

Examples:

I was writing all morning. / I wrote all morning.

You were shaking your head at my dorkitude. / You shook your head at my dorkitude.

Now, your mission: Seek and destroy reword.

 

Twitter is a Writer’s Friend!

It wasn’t long ago I realized I needed a REAL web presence. I was at my computer all day, silently stalking my favorite agent blogs hoping to glean the information I needed, but I wasn’t moving forward. I was writing manuscript after manuscript and getting nowhere.  Was it the topic they rejected? Was the query too pathetic? Was it the writing??? Looking back, it was sad.

Then, I discovered Twitter.

Twitter, while intimidating at first tweet, is a brilliant hodgepodge of amazingness. I am now on a one woman quest to promote and encourage the use of twitter throughout the writing community! In case you don’t tweet, let me tell you why you should.

First, you chose who to follow. That means those people’s comments will appear on your screen when you log in. I started by following a favorite agent of mine, then I followed who she was following. That made sense right? If they interest her, then I need to know them too. I followed writers, publishers, agents, everyone in the industry I could find, and now I am enjoying it every day.

I log in to twitter to promote my blog, or talk about my writing hits and misses, and people respond! Using the #amwriting hashtag connects me with everyone else who’s writing and I’m not alone anymore. I frequently respond or comment on things agents or editors say and I’m making a little place for myself.

Twitter allows me to find writing contests, hot blog topics, and hear what agents and editor are saying about the industry. No more trolling the internet for hours. I have one stop shopping on twitter. I can network, get the scoop, and make friends who know the challenges I’m up against. I’ve found beta readers, guest bloggers and won my share of free books all thanks to the twitterverse.

I love the camaraderie. I can’t meet enough aspiring writers. We’re made up of the same stuff.  I also love that editors begin to recognize my name. I can’t imagine how tedious query reading can become, but I can imagine sifting restlessly through hundreds of emails and losing focus. Then, I picture myself preparing to pass on a query until I see a familiar name. I’m hoping that building a recognizable name will get my query one more read, through fresh eyes. After all, it only takes one yes, right?

So, if you’re still reading this, I hope it means you already have a twitter account. If not, please stop over, check it out and consider joining twitter. I’ve met my closest of writer friends that way (and two of them don’t even live on this continent). I joined a critique group and I have a sounding board. Twitter is a fabulous tool for every aspiring writer and every author looking to build a platform of readers.

You can find me @JulieALindsey and follow those I’m following to help you get started, or wing it, but definitely look me up!

 

The Alien Vampire Bunny Contest is Coming!!!

Last year I entered a contest which was awesome. The contest is the brainchild of literary agent Scott Eagan and it’s a blast. Scott credits the idea to his long time mentor Kate Duffy who believed a good writer could find the story in any scenario. All the details you need are at the Alien Vampire Bunny link, but here’s a summary (and I notice that while he’s announced it’s coming, he hasn’t updated the year and dates details yet). This is the basics:

1. Story MUST be a romance

2. Alien vampire bunny must be an integral character

3. You write a maximum 100 word pitch for the story as if you’ve written an entire novel

4. You write the opening 2 pages

5. Submit both pieces to the site where people vote to choose a winner.

6. Winner last year got a critique by Scott Eagan on TWO partials!!!

Definitely start formulating your plan. Its a fun contest, lots of sci-fi last year. Loved watching every day to see if I got anymore votes LOL. For kicks and nostalgia, I’m posting my pitch paragraph from last year and I want to mention *cough* I won last year and as a result, Scott read over the opening chapters of my YA. He gave phenomenal feedback and as a result, that manuscript was revised and is currently on the desks of several YA editors. *Super curtsy to you Mr. Eagan*

My 100 word pitch: (I didn’t go sci-fi, I stretched the AV Bunny)

When community activist, Anna Little, is rescued during a riot by Ryder, a known Alien Vampire gang member, Anna gets a glimpse beneath his dark, edgy persona, and she can’t get him out of her mind. Their instant connection draws Anna into Ryder’s world, where she discovers worth cannot be defined by affiliation alone, especially since spending time with Ryder has his gang calling her an AV Bunny, but not everyone is willing to accept their relationship, and being an Alien Vampire Bunny soon becomes dangerous for more than just Anna’s career. Protecting her could cost Ryder his life.

There you have it. An amazing fun contest with the writers dream prize! Look up this years details and good luck!!

COFW or BUST & What a Difference a Year Makes

Here I go again :) It’s been one complete year since I attended my first writers conference. I had no idea so much could happen in a year. When I went last year, I went alone. Hubsy drove & hung in the hotel, checked out local shopping – tech stores, IMAX movies etc, and met me for the after party. He went to be supportive. This year, he bought a ticket. LOL. I guess I can thank Lori Foster for that. He attended with me in June and got a kick out of 400 romance writers in one place :) It also helps that I scored some contracts this year and my dedication to a writing career is still in tact. It really isn’t a phase I’m going through. I wanna be a writer :) A year ago, I had no contracts and 50 blog followers. I don’t think I was even on twitter a year ago. This year my blog is healthy and well, I’m a twitter addict, and counting anthologies, I have 8 books in my future thanks to two small presses who believe in me too. *Curtsy*

I guess today’s post is a bit nostalgic and also hopeful. I’ve had a great year this year. I made so many new friends I can’t count them. *Thank you twitter* I’m looking forward to another year of growth to look back on when I attend next year. Am I the next Stephenie Meyer? No. Not even in the same galaxy, BUT I’m making my way in the right direction. SO, if you’re reading this and you are where I was this time last year (at the beginning of my dream career) then I say to you, keep your eyes on the prize. Lots and lots of uber amazing things can happen in a year. This time next year, you might be the next Cassandra Clare. If you are, I’m totally saying I knew you back when…LOL

Anything’s possible and I believe that.

Reporters are Super Interesting. Novelists are … *can’t make eye contact*

One of my closest girlfriends from college is now a reporter. She lives fa-fa-away, but we try to get together. She’s gorgeous and I’m friendly and when we get together it’s suddenly 2002 all over again. We attract new friends and what do you ask someone you just met? OMG SHAME ON YOU! *perv* No. You say “So, What do you do?” She says “I’m a reporter” and straightens her posture as if in preparation for the coming reverence. It always comes. “Wow! What a cool job! What paper do you work for? What do you cover?” Etc. Etc. I used to say “I stay at home and make babies,” but then a few years later I said “I homeschool” …both got the first finger in the collar to loosen it up so they could breathe move.  Well, now I finally can say “I’m a writer.” This pleases them – at first. “Oh, you’re both witers? Nice. Do you work together?” – No. “I write fiction.”

This is where people get shifty eyes. I can’t for the life of me figure why this bothers people? But it does. Or maybe it’s me. In college I got the same looks when I said “Psychology.” After they asked what I was studying. Once I asked a guy what he studied in grad school and he shied away saying, “Eh, I don’t like talking about that.” I figured he was in for gyno. Nope. he said Psychology. LOL. Ha! Me too. Would’ve been a match made in heaven but we both analyzed it to death.

So, there you go. If you are Stephen King, you can be a novelist. If you are not, then you should prepare for the shifty eyes. LOL. OR tell people you’re a gyno. That might be a real convo starter ;)

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