Queries and a contest

Queries are a necessary evil if you want to get published.

And, quite honestly, they scare the crap out of me. 

A query is basically your shot to show an agent how awesomesauce your book is, to get them interested enough to want to represent you.


 The thought of writing my query makes me quiver in my socks.  Fortunately, I have a chance to get professional help!  You can, too!  (And just to be clear, I'm talking professional query help.  Although, I might need other sorts by the time I get my query written...)

Go to Fiction Groupie and comment on today's post and Friday's, fill out a short form, and you'll be entered for a chance to win one of SEVEN query critiques offered by Anita Mumm, Roni Loren, and Miranda Kinneally!  Trust me, if you ever plan on querying a book to agents, a professional critique=invaluable.

And I'll send good winning vibes your way if you will for me!  Promise!


Avoidance and my new hobby.

Sometimes, I avoid my beloved stories like the plague.  Usually, it's when one of the characters does something I wasn't expecting, and I screech petulantly, "Why would you DO that to me??"  Then, I read other writing blogs, check Facebook every 20 seconds to see what everyone else is up to, click between my inboxes with carpal-tunnel inducing speed, and scarf down a package of Peachies so fast I don't even taste them.  (And then later that evening I accuse Rex of eating them all, until...Oh.  There's the evidence still scattered across my desk like a car wreck.)

So, what does this mean for you?  Well, since Whats-her-name came back a scene early and Who's-his-face decided to say this instead of that, I found some really cool links!

This one comes courtesy of my friend Christine (who may or may not have avoidance issues of her own), and this one is a goldmine.  And when I say goldmine, I of course mean the kind with a diamond-encrusted entryway, platinum chairs in the waiting area (preeeety sure all legit goldmines have waiting rooms.  For, you know.  Waiting to mine your gold.), and chocolate everything else.

I think we can see from this little exercise that analogies aren't my strong suit.

A big part of writing a story is not telling when you should be showing.  For example, instead of saying, "Jerusha was really sad." you could say something like, "Tears prickled around the edges of Jerusha's eyelids."  Or sumpin.

It's not always easy to add variety to your showing.  I tend to show a lot of blushing, eye rolling, and sighing.  Well, no more!  The Bookshelf Muse has an emotion thesaurus chock full of different ways to show emotion.  Seriously, I refer to this blog everyday.  (Or at least, days I'm not avoiding.)  Not only that, but they have a settings thesaurus (although, darn, no goldmine, I just checked), a colors, shapes and textures thesaurus, and a symbolism thesaurus.  Seriously, the work they've put into this blog is amazing.  While you're there, check out their Seven Cardinal Sins of Writing.

Gold. mine.

And speaking of goldmines, are you reading Nathan Bransford's blog? No?

Read it. 


Is that word sounding weird to anyone else?


I Was Afraid This Would Happen...

Once upon a time, I started a new blog called WriterBrained.  Let's not talk about how it took me two weeks to come up with the title.  Or that I stroke it like a puppy when no one is watching.

I posted two posts in one night in writerly excitement.  I started a writing blog!  I have followers!  Hi, Mom!

And now?  Eeeep!  I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I've only written one entire novel in my whole life.  It's only one and a half drafts in.  It's full of adverbs.   Everything I've learned has come from other blogs.  So...what do I say now?  I don't want to let down my peeps.  (Hi, Mom!)


I guess I'll go with this:  If you want to write seriously, to be published, do it.  It isn't fun all the time.  Your brain doesn't overflow with brilliant prose.  All the time.  Much of what you write might look like crap later on.  Keep doing it anyway.  And find out all you can about the writing/agenting/publishing process.  And make some writer friends, because they get it.  They understand the desire to just push delete and end the whole thing, and they get the obsessive imagining, and getting butterflies from imaginary romances that you made up yourself.  If you're super lucky, you might even find a writerly friend who is willing to talk story and characters until your bling-blang hunk-of-junk phone DIES IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR SENTENCE!!!

*pant pant pant*

(In unrelated news, I recently bought a new phone.)

So if you want to know where to start, start with an idea.  Keep in mind that it isn't always easy going, that there are some parts of your story that are boring or suck your soul.  It's all okay.  If you love it, do it.

Do it.

Oh, and I almost forgot.

Do it.


Writing to Get Published

 I'm a little different from most other writers I've met so far in one glaring way: I have never been an English major or studied creative writing or participated in any class that might remotely help me write novels.  No, in college I majored in Floral Design Management.  Most people laugh when I tell them that, like they think it's a joke, like it's on the same level as majoring in Coloring in the Lines.

Oh, that was your major?  Oh.  *cough*

But I loved it!  I got accepted in a lucky way, too.  In high school I took a course called Experience Based Career Education, where you got to go and do little mini-internships around town.  I chose Jr. High PE Teacher (pretty intimidating when the kids are bigger than you) and Floral Design. 

The woman I worked for, Chris of Christine's Floral, was wonderful.  She made me tie bows until my hand was perma-cramped.  I stripped roses of their thorns and cleaned out buckets.  I even got to put together a vase of roses for an order (and failed so miserably that one of the designers had to bail me out.)  It was the best. 

So when it came time to fill out my college application, I knew what I wanted to do.  The school I went to, BYU-Idaho, is one of the few universities in the country that actually offer Floral Design.

The day the application was due, disaster struck in the form of a power outage.  I sent it in the next day and got a very polite rejection letter stating that I was too late.  A few days later I got a call from the department head saying that they had an opening and that I could have it if I promised to stick with Floral Design for at least two semesters and then I could change my major if I wanted.  I didn't want. 

I was so excited I ran to the store and bought myself some cheery dishes.  I was going to college!  Away from home!  To play with flowers! 

On the first day of school I showed up to class with a rosy outlook.  Classrooms full of flowers just smell good anyway.  Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a flower shop, how it smells?  That was my classroom.  Ahhh.

The class started with a round of introductions where everyone had to say what kind of floral experience they had.  At least half the class had already had jobs in flower shops.  I was confident in my abilities.  I knew that stems had to be cut at an angle before being put in water.  I knew about floral foam, how you can't push it into the water because that causes air pockets.  But, wow, I didn't know as much as I thought I did.  Or as much as other people, at least. 

And let's talk about raw talent for a minute, because there were a couple people who had it in droves.  For the first few weeks I could almost hear my poor little practice flowers whimpering to jump over to the next table and join someone else's arrangement.  I, apparently, didn't have that raw talent.  I didn't have the instincts to make beautiful arrangements. 

All I had was a love of flowers.

That love drove me to try harder, to assess what looked good and what looked bad, to learn all I could.  And this sounds totally cheeseball, but that love grew as I learned more.  To this day, my heart breaks for the poor, abused flowers in Walmart.  I'm like PETA for flowers, seriously.  Maybe I should start throwing dandelion milk on the produce stockers?  Would that be productive?

By the end of my college career, although I won't get all braggy and say I was top of the class, I was pretty decently high on the list.  But even better than that, I saw what I'd done.  And I was insanely proud of myself. 

Same with writing.  I have the love, I have some talent, but sometimes I look at other writers and think, "Oh...I have no idea what I'm doing here.  Wow, adverbs are bad, huh?"  But my love drives me to get better, to see what works and what doesn't, to grow.  I'll put in the work and hopefully I won't slice any fingers off like I almost did in my Wedding Flowers class.  Because that hurt.

But probably not as much as query rejections will.  Yeesh.


I've been staring at this computer screen for way too long...

...aaaand I still don't know what to write. 

How do you start a new blog?

Hi.  I'm Jeigh.  That's pronounced "Jay", not "Gee" or "Gia" or "Jig-a-huh.".  Yeah, I've actually gotten that one before.

I like to write stories.  I've finished the first draft of one so far and plan on writing many more and getting published.  A few months ago I discovered the amazing world of writing blogs and agent blogs and such.  My head is spinning and I'm going to sort it all out here.  Stay and watch, won't you?