Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Major Post of Immediate Importance!

One big goober mistake I made over a year ago was rushing into the blogging world.  Yeah, it's true.  I didn't know what I wanted out of my blog when I started it and I chose a website address that I utterly hate.  You see, I thought I was writing fantasy.  Turns out I actually write Science Fantasy.  So, of course, I'm shamed whenever I put my blog address on a query letter for a story I'm pegging as sci-fi.

But, here's the problem.  I've been running this blog for over a year and have worked VERY hard to build up my followers list.  I really don't want to lose anyone!  So please, PLEASE go over to my new blog...

Emily's Playhouse

and become a follower!  I have cookies!

For the time being, I'm going to be posting the same stuff in both blogs.  Hopefully, I can get you guys to all go over there and I can give this one up for good!  *crosses fingers*

Pretty please?  With cherries on top?  *bats eyelashes*

See you there!

Changing it up

So yeah, I'm trying to start up a new blog with my actual name in the website address.  We'll see how it goes.  It's definitely still in the trial and error stages right now because I've worked pretty hard to build up my followers list on Stepping Into Fantasy and would hate to lose it.

If I've somehow managed to convince you to come on over here from my other blog...yay!  Thanks for coming! I really appreciate it!  For now, I'm going to be posting the same things in both blogs until I can adequately convince everyone to just come here.

So, welcome again!  And here's some cookies!

~Emily White

Goober Writers Anonymous--Victoria Caswell

Goober Writers Anonymous is a group for writers to vent about past or present writerly mistakes for therapeutic reasons, to educate others, or just for a laugh.  If you would like to join the group and sign up to submit a guest post, please leave me your email address in the comments below.

Perks of joining:  You get to put the nifty little badge on your blog (yes, this does indeed make you cool), sharing with others and being a part of a group is always fun, and I will put a link to your blog on my blog below under Members of GWA.

Today's guest blogger is Victoria Caswell from Hairnets and Hopes.  Vic is a special kind of awesome.  She's one of those people who's enormously talented and doesn't even know it.  And I'm lucky enough to have her as my beta!  Yeah, I hit the jackpot with that one.  Please visit her fun, witty, and all-around great blog and become a follower.  I'll wait.

Back yet?  Excellent.  Now enjoy her post!

Goober offense: But My Mama says? Crit-What?

Heya guys! Emily’s great, isn’t she? 

Well, I’m still fairly new to this lovely process of seeking publication, so I’m still goobering it up every day! I wonder if we ever get past the goobers… I wonder if we want to! It’s in the mistakes of life that we learn the most! (I should be a stinkin’ genius by now!!!)

Anyway! One of my BIGGEST mistakes was taking my first draft and only showing it to my loved ones (hubby and mama) and taking their love-blinded advice and praise and letting myself believe it. Now, my hubs and mom are BRILLIANT, honest, creative people. My mom’s tried for publication herself, and the hubs- well goodness- he’s tougher than House off-meds! But even they aren’t immune to what I call “The Hometown Band Effect.”

Have you ever become groupie-crazy-obsessed about some band that just happens to be local? You go to all the concerts, gossip with your friends about how cute the bass-guitarist is, and tattoo their logo on your ankle? Years later, you listen to a recording of them, and sure they’re pretty good, but the magic that you thought they had… well, it’s gone.

Not that this exact thing happened to me- my hometown band Anavox still rocks socks- dudes!!! Need proof?  Click on the song!

Find more artists like Anavox at MySpace Music

Rockin', huh?  I'm no liar! :)

Just like that rock concert, when you’re up close to that stage, the noise, the thrumming of the enthusiastic crowd…
The soaring melodies soar higher, there are no intonation problems, there is just fervor and power and enjoyment. That’s what it’s like for our loved ones when they read our WIP’s. They cannot see/ hear the flaws clearly. They are too close to us, too close to the project.

And too much proximity, my fellow goobers, can KILL your manuscript!

So. Find a critique partner.
Find someone who is not your friend or family (although they might become your BFF later!)
Find someone who knows the business, the craft.
Someone who is trying to become better.
 Someone you can help.
Someone who can help you.

You NEED objective, quasi-professional crit. You NEED it yesterday! :)

I suggest this place for finding a good crit partner. It’s where I found my irreplaceable gal-friday Yosh! And Yosh’s advice has TRANSFORMED my WIP!

Thanks for listening...  errr... reading... and if you clicked on the song, listening.... i guess. :)
Thanks for having me Em!

Great advice!  Although, I'll admit my family did just the opposite with me.  :o  But still, always better to find help elsewhere and places like the Bransforums is a great place to start!

Thanks, Vic!

Discussion:  Praise time!  Do you guys have any great betas or CPs you'd like to praise today?  Go right ahead!  Or if this goober tale reminded you of your own early only-family-gets-to-see-this mistakes, share those too!

~Emily White

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do You Have a Soul?

Or rather, does your novel?

Yup, I've got a few extra minutes this morning, so I'm going to take advantage of this day I normally reserve for a day off.

I got a couple books out of the library last Saturday (I know, I know, but you must always find time for reading) and I read one of them over the weekend.  The book was crafted extraordinarily well.  The style was unique and pushed me along to read more.  But there was something else about this book that kind of made that little lightbulb go off in my head and find the connection between this book and a few others I've read.

They all had souls.

These rare gems rise above their peers with true life and vibrancy.  Not only do they reveal their secrets within the pages, but they force their readers to do the same.

And I think having this life and vibrancy, this soul, goes beyond merely stringing words along correctly and telling a good tale.  There are some wildly popular and entertaining novels out there that haven't quite reached soul status.  That's not to say they aren't good.  In fact, there are many on the NY Times Bestseller List that are crafted beautifully, but they lack that additional umph to make them truly come alive.

It's much like that guy who painted the campbell's soup cans (sorry, can't remember his name) being compared with Leonardo da Vinci.  That guy was hugely popular and his art still is.  But though it may be appealing to the eye and even a little out there, it kind of just stays there on the canvas.  But Da Vinci?  Now, his art makes you take a look at your own soul.

The same is true with writing.  We can do everything right--obey all the writerly rules (or break them only in the best of places), craft fun and exciting characters in fun and exciting worlds, and even come up with something truly out there, something people have never seen--and still have no soul.

I don't think it's possible for a writer to be able to tell if his/her own work has this extra umph.  I know I can't.  I'm pretty sure I've strung a good story, but I don't know if I've brought up issues and presented them in that little extra way that will make people go "wow, now that speaks to me."

Besides the book I read last weekend (which I will review next Monday), there is another book on my mind that was right there with the clicking lightbulb, getting connected with all the other books that have touched me in the past.  This is a book that I have consistently tried to figure out just why I loved it so much.  So many people have told me I should hate it and I could kind of see where they were going with their argument...if writing was math and I was a mathematician.


Yeah, here we go again.  But I'm only bringing it up again because I think that if I explain what I mean with an actual book, you guys will understand me better.

Twilight was riddled with adverbs.  Let's just get that out there.  But, who cares?  Honestly.  It worked!  And isn't that the point of writing?  But more than that, this book convinced me--and I am sure convinced millions of others--that I was falling in love all over again.  It didn't just tell me about Bella falling in love with Edward.  It convinced me--me, Emily--that I was falling in love.  That's a book with a soul.

Discussion:  Can you think of any books you've read that spoke to you above and beyond entertainment?  And what about your WIP?  Do you think it's possible to purposefully try to put soul into it, or do you think it's just one of those things that happens?

~Emily White

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Am So Very Sorry

I just want to let you guys know I'm really sorry for my sporadic online presence lately.  You see, I thought I would be able to keep up with blogging while writing a first draft, starting my eldest on his first year of homeschooling, and also keeping my house clean.  I've been doing it for a few weeks, but just barely, and I've let some things slip by.

I have NOT been keeping up with replying to your comments.  Let it be known that all of your comments quite literally make my day.  Seriously.  I love opening my inbox and seeing all those shiny new emails with NEW COMMENT written all over them.  I'm really trying to keep up with replying back.  On good days, I can.  On busy days, I might be able to reply directly from my email account.  On bad days, I can only read.  But I assure you I am reading every single one of them and sending you telepathic replies!  Aren't you getting them?  Hmmm...I need to work on that a bit more.

So I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here, hovering around the internet.  I'm sorry I missed yesterday; I'm going to try to post later today, but I wanted to send this to all of you first.

If for some reason I don't end up posting again today, Victoria Caswell (aka aspiring_x) is this Thursday's GWA guest blogger!  Please stop by!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Fun Time! Antoine Dodson

I know this is an old one, but I really love it!  And no, I'm not trying to trivialize the subject material.  I just love the way Antoine Dodson threatens the intruder on TV.  It's great!


~Emily White

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to Write Compelling Characters

The Great Blogging Experiment is underway today and I thought I might get in on it.  For a complete list of all participants, click here.

So, how does one create compelling characters?  There's certainly a wide range of characters across the genre board from your sword-wielding fantasy hunk to your strong, but silent crime detective.  But there's definitely something connecting all characters that makes readers fall in love with them: they're all going through something readers can relate to.

Maybe while sword-wielding fantasy hunk treks across the fairy lands to slay the evil dragon, he's contemplating those last biting words his father had said to him right before he left.  Or maybe as super strong she-ain't-no-damsel-in-distress hacks her enemies to pieces, she's secretly hoping that all of her insecurities aren't written on her face for all to see.

Readers like to read about these exaggerated worlds where everything the protagonist does is about life or death, an eternity of perfect bliss or a short, sad life of misery, etc., but ultimately what they really like is to think that they could easily trade places with the protagonist.  I.E. that the protag is a living, breathing human being who suffers from issues that conjure up memories of when we suffered from the same thing.

No one's going to care about super hot fantasy hunk if his entire existence is based on something that readers just don't buy.  Like super hot girl falling head over heals in love with him with a look and finding no faults in him because they just don't exist or twenty story dragon quivering in fear before this mighty warrior because no one like him had ever challenged the dragon before, blah, blah, blah.  See?  It's already boring.  Can you imagine a whole book like that??  *shudder*

So, IMHO, to make a compelling character, you must give him/her faults, quirks, and real problems that he/she has to work through.

What about you, dear readers?  What do you think makes a compelling character?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Ishta Mercurio

Goober Writers Anonymous is a group for writers to vent about past or present writerly mistakes for therapeutic reasons, to educate others, or just for a laugh.  If you would like to join the group and sign up to submit a guest post, please leave me your email address in the comments below.

Perks of joining:  You get to put the nifty little badge on your blog (yes, this does indeed make you cool), sharing with others and being a part of a group is always fun, and I will put a link to your blog on my blog below under Members of GWA.

Today's guest blogger is Ishta Mercurio from Musings of a Restless Mind.  Please visit her awesome blog and become a follower.  I'll wait.

Back yet?  Excellent.  Now enjoy her post!

My biggest goober moment came right at the beginning of my career as a children's writer.  I had never studied creative writing per se, but I had always been good at it (according to my English teachers in high school and college) and I DID major in Lit for a year in college before switching to Theatre and Dance.  So when the burnout and desperation hit after 6 years of full-time, hard-core stay-at-home-mothering (meals and desserts cooked from scratch, house painted myself, the whole bit), I thought, "Why not?"

Seated in the living room, husband's trusty laptop balanced on my knees, I banged out a story that I had made up that night to get my then-5-year-old to sleep, and thought, "Yup.  That should do it."  And then I thought, "Actors have agents; I bet writers do, too."  After about 5 minutes of research, I emailed my ten-minute-old manuscript, sans query, to one of the largest, most sought after agencies in the business.  I think my form rejection arrived within about 45 minutes.


A few months, about five books on writing, and several weeks on the SCBWI crit boards later, I realized what a mistake that first email had been.  Not only had the email itself been completely inappropriate, but my manuscript was, in a word, awful.  I made a whole catalogue of mistakes that night: thinking writing a picture book would be easy; thinking a first draft could ever be query-ready; thinking any draft that hadn't had objective eyes on it was fit for an agent's consumption; thinking that because I had never revised any of my school assignments, I could do the same thing with my professional work and get away with it.

Was it salvageable?  Of course, and after almost two years of critique, marinating time, and revision, I think it's finally there.  I will certainly never query again without a whole bunch of crit buddies telling me they think it's ready.  Do I still query too early?  Sometimes; but when the first form rejection rolls in, I at least know that it's a sign that I need to revisit my MS and see if there's anything I can do to make it better.  Did I blow my chances with this agency?  Only time, and a lot more writing, will tell.  I can only hope their memories are shorter than mine.

Thanks for sharing, Ishta!  This is such an extremely valuable story to hear.  I'm so glad you were able to find a critique group to help you out.
Discussion:  I have heard this mistake being done soooo many times.  In fact, I might admit I did it once upon a time.  So, my question is, has this happened to any of you?  And about how long did it take you to realize you made a mistake?  Me?  It took about three submissions and a lot of head-burying-from-complete-humiliation before I could really see what I was doing wrong. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rules For Family to Live By

 Yes, when writers lock themselves in their offices or rooms, they are working.  So here are some rules to live by to make your loved one's job a bit easier.

1. DON'T knock on the door and ask some mundane question like which drawer your writer loved one keeps the kids' socks.  There are only so many drawers in the dresser; you can find it yourself.

2. DON'T let the kiddos play peek-a-boo outside the office or bedroom because you're too busy playing video games, reading a book, napping, etc.

3. DON'T let the phone ring its maximum number of times and then bring it up to your writer loved one.

4. DO tell said person on the phone that your writer loved one is working and will call back later.

And finally...

5. When writer loved one tells you he/she is going to take a few hours to work, DO be understanding and DON'T make him/her feel guilty about it.  We want to spend time with the family, too, and your cooperation will only help us finish more quickly and do just that.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Update

Yup, another Monday Update on Tuesday.  I couldn't help it this time, though!  There was blogfest awesomeness going on yesterday that could not be missed!

But I promise I will no longer keep you waiting.  In fact, I'm positive you guys find this stuff absolutely fascinating, right?  Right?  Yeah, that's what I thought.*

*note:  if you don't click on the link, my joke is horribly lost and therefore lame.  :(


No more news on this front.  I have not yet heard back from the four remaining agents.  I'm thinking about querying others, but haven't settled on who to go with next.


The block is gone!  Yay!  And now I'm writing like crazy again!  Sebastian and gang are still entertaining me greatly, though they keep telling me I have to go back and add more scenes.  All in good time, my dear characters, all in good time.  Oh by the way, have I mentioned there's going to be zombies in this book?  And dinosaurs?  How can you combine the two, you ask?  Oh you'll see.


Yeah, you know how I said my first book was going to be permanently shelved?  Um...apparently not.  To be honest, I haven't even really seriously thought about this book for years, but the other night I kind of asked myself what it would be like if I turned it into YA.  I'll tell you what it will be like--awesome.

ToM is going to be my fun writing project.  I'm not going to be going about it too heavily while writing H&G (maybe during blocks or extra time that magically appears).  I worked on it for too many years to let it take over my life again.  However, once H&G is done (i.e. perfectly polished)...yup, awesomeness!

So, how about you dear readers?  How are your WIPs, submissions, edits, etc. coming along?  

By the way!  Ishta Mercurio is this week's guest blogger for GWA!  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Ten Blogfest!

Monday Update is being moved to tomorrow because today is Alex J. Cavanaugh's Top Ten TV Shows Blogfest!  Essentially, what I'm going to do is give you a ten bullet list (in no particular order) of my favorite all-time TV shows, and why they're my favorites.

For a list of the other participants, click here.

The Smurfs

Growing up, we had this TV with a broken dial that you actually had to use pliers to change the channel.  Well, I was completely unable to manage it on my own, so I would have to give my big sister a massage before she would turn it onto the Smurfs for me.  And believe me, dear readers, I was more than willing to give that massage.  These little blue-skinned guys were some of my best friends growing up.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

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Yeah, I just love that song.  

All the Stargate Shows (counting this as 3)



How can I possibly summarize my love for these shows?  Hmm...  They mix sci-fi with mythology and if you haven't figured out that is pretty much my all-time passion, you haven't been here very long.  Actually, SG-U deviated from that a bit, but it's still a really good show with awesome new worlds.

America's Next Top Model


A bunch of girls who get to play dress-up every week?  That's pretty much how I dreamed I would spend my adult years.  If I wasn't too old, too short, and had a weak chin, I would totally try out for this show! :P

Hell's Kitchen

What can I say?  I love cooking shows and I love things that remind me of basic training.  This reality show (in my opinion) blows all other reality shows away.  People are actually chosen based on skill set rather than good looks and whether or not they'll bring drama to the show.  They don't need to choose someone for drama, they've already got Gordon Ramsey.   


I love being scared in non-gory settings.  This show quite literally terrifies me and if my hubby wasn't watching it with me, I would probably be too chicken to turn it on.  The MCs, Sam and Dean are absolutely hilarious, too.  The acting is superb and the each episode is amazing.  If you guys haven't seen it (on the CW), you MUST check it out.


I have to admit that I missed the first few seasons and didn't really get into it until the WB became the CW.  However, I just love where the took the Superman storyline, and I've been devouring the first few seasons on Netflix.  I'm really sad that this is going to be the last year for Smallville.  I just hope he finally puts on his cape.  :D

SNL Jeopardy

I can't upload the video, but you must go here to see it.  Seriously.  Hilarious.  However, the video has some crass language, so be warned.

If you've ever seen a SNL Jeopardy skit, you completely understand why this is in my top ten.  If you haven't, you MUST click the link.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Fun Time! Newsboys!

This song is absolutely one of my favorites.


It's not letting me post it for some reason, but you can go here to view. The song is definitely worth the click!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Emily White

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pros of Writer's Block

Pshaw! you say.  There can be no pros to writer's block!  It is the incarnation of pure evil!

Or you could say writer's block doesn't even exist.  It is only the product of our own laziness and unwillingness to sit down and work.

Yup, I've heard both arguments.  For one, I have to disagree with the latter--to an extent.  I think the very real and very annoying condition called writer's block can be abused if you aren't careful.  I do believe that we as writers tend to use the excuse of being blocked when really we're just easily distracted by all the sparkly things around us (e.g. twitter, blogger, facebook, etc.).  In this case, you just need to focus and get back on your writerly track.

However, when we are being blocked, what on God's green Earth can we do about it?  Well, you can patiently wait for it to pass.  I know, I know.  Some say you MUST write through it at all costs, and maybe that's one way of doing it, but I don't know if it's the best way.

Sometimes writer's block is the best thing that can happen to your writing.  It can be your mind's way of telling you it needs a breather, to the betterment of your WIP.

I've discovered three things over the years concerning writer's block:

     1. If I try to force myself to work through it, the product of my labors ends up being garbage that can taint my work for pages, chapters, or even the whole story.  99.9% of the time, I need to go back and change it.

     2. If I take a break, what I come up with at the end of the block is something that knocks my socks off.  It is something I never would have thought of if I hadn't taken a break from my WIP and that dramatically improves the work.

      3. True writer's block only lasts about a week.  Now, I've kept from writing and blamed it on being blocked for a LOT longer than a week, but If I'm being honest with myself, it was usually because I got into a lazy rut.  And I also know that some people have supposedly suffered from a block for years at a time.  Maybe that's true, I don't know.  I personally think there are other things at play there, like fear of actually putting yourself out there on paper, etc.  But for me, I'm usually over the block within a week.  This is the amount of time my mind needs to be refreshed.

And do you want to know what I've found is the best thing to do while being blocked?  Let my mind go on a vacation (aka read a book).  Seriously.  Let your mind enjoy someone else's labors for a little while and refresh your study of the writing craft at the same time.  By the end of the book, your mind will thank you and be raring to go!

But when that week has passed and that book is read, you better get your butt into your seat and work.  This is the time to force yourself to work through it.  If you think you should read another book or work on bettering your twitter account, your mind will take advantage of you the same way a child takes advantage of a mother who just wants peace and quiet.  If you do push yourself and force your mind to get to it, you will be shocked at the brilliance it comes up with.

Discussion: how do you guys handle writer's block?

~Emily White

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Carol Riggs

It's the second week of GWA and today's poster is Carol Riggs.  I'll give you guys a second to check out her blog, Artzicarol Ramblings.  *Hums Jeopardy theme song*

Are you back?  Excellent!


Hi, I'm Carol Riggs. Here is my Goober-worthy tale of woe, a heart-wrenching tale of writerly anguish and remorse. (Kids, don't try this at home.) 

SETTING: The 1990s. My two daughters had become old enough to attend school, leaving me with free blocks of time. I had no job outside the home.

CHARACTER: Me. Mom, alone without kids! Neat! An art major in college, I had always loved to write, taking creative writing in both high school and college. 

PROLOGUE: I began writing stories, beginning with picture books and illustrating them, but after a while I decided I liked writing novels the best. I dutifully started sending out my manuscripts, joined a writer's critique group, and attended SCBWI conferences and retreats. I received a few no-thank-you nibbles of interest, but mostly, I amassed a whopping 300+ rejection letters.  

PLOT: I'd written one particular fantasy novel that had gotten an interested nibble, but no go. Bolstering my courage once again, I sent it off to a new publisher. Months later, to my wondrous surprise, I got a request for the entire manuscript and then an offer to revise according to the editor's suggestions. I was ecstatic, certain that this was my Big Chance, and that I was finally making progress in the publication world. I dropped everything except basic survival chores/functions, and threw myself 200% into the rewrite. 

Most of the suggested changes were minor and easily changed, but a couple were more hefty. I fleshed out the fantasy elements in the story, adding a whole magical thread. I trimmed and developed and added detail. I figured that if I really applied myself and jumped right into the revision, this editor would be pleased with my industriousness and amazing work ethic. She'd want to work with me and publish my novel if I showed I was a Serious Writer. (You know where this is going, don't you?)

CLIMAX: After almost two weeks of intensive work, I was pleased with the revision results; the novel was much improved. I figured in those two weeks, I had put in the same amount of revision work it would've taken someone who had a job outside the home 4-5 weeks. Proudly, I mailed my revision off, figuring the editor would be delighted with my speedy turnaround.

Not so. She was not impressed with my speedy turnaround. In fact, she wrote me a brief letter saying she had a policy of rejecting any revision that had a fast turnaround, on principle. She hadn't even read the manuscript. The revision I'd worked so hard on had been rejected without as much as a glance at one measly paragraph.

DENOUEMENT/EPILOGUE: Needless to say, I felt crushed! I'd had such good intentions, and felt the revisions she'd asked for hadn't required months of deliberation or rewriting. It was a lesson learned the hard way. A stronger novel in the end, yes, but I'd lost my chance with this editor/publisher.  

So, writer friends, if an agent or editor asks you to do a revision for them, don't ever whip something out without letting it set for a while…or without getting feedback from your critique group or online critters. Recently, I've read blog posts and articles on this subject. All give the same advice: Let the suggestions the agent or editor have given you sink into your brain. Mull them over. Don't necessarily start immediately. Take a while to contemplate your changes, then revise with care--and don't rush to send it off!

This is one of the reasons I am so glad we're doing this group.  I NEVER would have known not to send out my revisions as fast as possible!  Sometimes the best way to learn is by listening to someone else's mistakes.
Thanks so much, Carol!

Discussion:  Have any of you, dear readers, experienced something like this?  If so, was the agent as adamant about how long you took with your revisions, or were you only reprimanded?

Oh, and if you would like to learn more about GWA and maybe join the group to share your own story, click here.

~Emily White

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday Update on Tuesday :o

My apologies to everyone for skipping yesterday's post!  To tell you the truth, I skipped it because I didn't really feel like updating all of you on my failures.  But I've had a day to wallow in despair and I've decided that if I'm going to bother to have a Monday Update at all, I have to let you know about the disappointing stuff, too.


After giving Matthew Rush and all of his followers a look at my query and revising it to a sparkly shine, I decided now was the time to take the plunge and send it out.  So far, after sending it out to nine agents, I've received four form rejections.  Out of the remaining five, I'm considering one of them a rejection because according to Literary Rambles, he responds within a day or two, but also according to the Publisher's Marketplace, he claims he can't always get back to everyone.  And I've been waiting for more than two days.  Sigh.

Before sending out my query, I happened to win Shannon Whitney Messenger's awesome first chapter critique giveaway!  Okay, so maybe all of my news isn't disappointing.  This was actually quite exciting!  And after getting some really great advice, I did some tweaking and I think the beginning is a lot smoother.  I will admit I was a tad stupid before this critique and didn't listen to my beta as much as I should have.  Let this be a lesson to you: your betas know what they're talking about!

However, as you might imagine, after receiving nothing but form rejections, I was getting a little upset.  I knew I wasn't about to write a better query.  So, I automatically assumed that of course my sample pages were just crap and this is why I was getting nothing but form.  However, I stumbled upon a great post about the many reasons agents reject that really lifted my spirits.  So, I sent out my query to my dream agent, hoping for the best.


I've been writing sporadically on this.  I started out really great, but pretty much fizzled at chapter 5.  I can't seem to get past a certain point.  Plus, my husband's work schedule has changed and it's been messing with my alloted writing time.  I'm a creature of habit and my muse refuses to meet me at a time other than our appointed schedule.  So, sadly, I'm stuck around 12,000 words.  It's felt like trying to squeeze a marshmallow through a straw.  The marshmallow gives, but not quite enough to get through.

I'm going to lock myself in my bedroom today and force myself to get through this chapter, if it's the last thing I do!  *shakes fist*

Well, that's it.  My sad little writing career.  How are you guys doing?  A lot better than me, I hope.

~Emily White

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Fun Time--Remembrance

You know what?  I wasn't going to say anything along with this video because I just didn't want to get into my personal feelings about this.  But something happened to kinda tick me off, so I'm going to rant.  You guys know I don't normally rant, but today is different, so I'm going to be different.

There are certain things that are particularly important to me.  This day just happens to be one of them.  And you want to know what I'm tired of?  I'm tired of New Yorkers thinking the world revolves around them.  They think that if you weren't personally there during the attacks, then this day means nothing to you.  They think that when we call people to remember this day, we're talking to only them.  I wonder if they remember that the Pentagon was attacked too.  I wonder if they realize that this nation as a whole was attacked on 9/11, not just New York.  I wonder if they realize that those people who died in the attack had family somewhere OTHER than New York.  I wonder if they realize that those people in the planes came from places from around the country.

And I wonder if they are aware of the thousands upon thousands of people who signed up for the military after the attacks who lost brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq.  That's what happened to me.  And yes, my company lost someone, and yes, I knew him.  And the simple fact is that we wouldn't have gone to either of those countries if this COUNTRY (not just New York) hadn't been attacked.  I know there are people with a different opinion on the matter, but it's just the cold truth that we wouldn't have been there if not for being attacked.

And you know what else I'm tired of?  I'm tired of the stupid people out there blaming ALL Muslims for this and I'm tired of the people who think the terrorists are already gone.  And most importantly, I'm tired of this country being divided the way it is.  The terrorists didn't attack NYC, it attacked the heart of America and the damage they caused has been eating away at us ever since.

Friday, September 10, 2010

I've Been Interviewed!

Actually, Matthew Rush over at QQQE has kindly dedicated his entire week to me!  While crafting my latest (aka 1,000th) version of my query for ELEMENTAL, I decided I needed to get some eyes on it.  After having received some very great advice from him in the past, I knew Matthew was going to be at the top of my list.  So, I emailed him and asked if he'd take a look.  He graciously agreed and asked if I would let him post it on his blog.  How could I say no?  I couldn't!  Not only would I be getting his eyes, but the eyes of all of his followers!  What an opportunity!

I urge you to check out all the links!

My original query

Matthew's take on my query

My revised query


And after you've checked them all out, you should follow Matthew because his blog is not only entertaining, it's EXTREMELY helpful.

~Emily White

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous--Me

I'm so glad everyone has shown such interest in this group!  There is nothing better than being able to share all our mistakes with friends.  I can't even tell you how much I've learned over the years just by listening to people who had to learn the hard way.

Now, because I'm the organizer of this group, I thought I'd start it all off with a little tale of my own.  It was really hard to narrow it down, I must admit.  I've made a LOT of mistakes since deciding I wanted to be a writer.  A lot.  And they never seem to end.  No matter how much research I do, or how hard I try to prepare myself, I always seem to make at least one little flub.

But the story I'm going to tell you today wasn't exactly a little mistake.  I actually consider it the most devastating, life-altering mistake I could have made.

I think most of us have this one thing in common:  we all excelled in our creative writing classes, whether in middle school, high school, or college.  Well, when I was in school, I was pretty sure I was alone in my abilities.  I know--arrogant.  But hear me out.  I was always the best in my class, my English teachers never failed to praise me in whatever I did, and though I received A's in all my work, I knew it wasn't even close to what I could do.  And there's the problem.  I never once pushed myself.  I was an extremely lazy student.  I did well without trying.  I'm not trying to brag here.  I actually consider what I did to be the stupidest thing a person could ever do.

I had a dream growing up to be one of the youngest published authors ever.  Did I research this?  No.  Did I have a clue who was the youngest author ever?  No.  I just decided I wanted to be a teenage writer, so I sat down and tried to write a book.  I'd always had a passion for writing even before I really knew how to write.  I would scribble lines and pretend they were words (with pictures included, of course) and feel so fulfilled when I stapled my pages together.  I knew I was destined to be a writer, it was just a matter of sitting down and finishing something.

Sadly, though, I didn't put one ounce more effort into it than I did my work for school.  I just assumed that if I was so much better than everyone in my classes, then I had to be as equally better than everyone else in the country (and therefore, other writers).  I deluded myself into thinking this for years.  When I look back at what I wrote in school, I want to slap myself.  It was crap.  Straight up horse manure.  I can't even believe my teacher would give me an A for the stuff I gave him.  And the sad thing is, I knew at the time that it was crap and I was still happy with it.

But that's not all.  Oh no, that is. not. all.

You know how I mentioned I failed to do any research?  Well, when I started writing (half-way seriously), I tried to mimic the books I read in school.  In other words, I wanted to write something similar to a 100 year old classic, not something people today wanted to read.  I just didn't know any better.  I didn't know what modern books were like.  Which is odd, because I read a few, but they were still adult and it didn't really hit me that they were much different from the classics.  I had no idea that I should have been writing YA.  I didn't even know something like that existed!  I skipped right over it in my reading.  So I wasted years trying to write stories about people doing situations I had no clue about.  I was a teen trying to write for adults.  It was a disaster.  But I didn't even know it was a disaster until I finished my first book.

In fact, I didn't know it was a disaster until I was half-way through with ELEMENTAL and realized what I was really writing was a YA and trying to push it off as adult.  My rewrites were intensive and even now, I'm trying to catch up with my YA reading.  I wasted a good 13 years of my life because I was lazy and didn't do an ounce of research.  When I think about all I've learned in just one year, I'm disgusted with myself.  I could have been at the point I am now when I was 15 if I'd only taken this more seriously.

So there's my big goober mistake.  And let me tell you, I feel like one big goober.  I still make mistakes and I have LOTS more stories to share, but next week Carol Riggs will be sharing one of her flubs with all of us!  Make sure you check it out!  And if you want to join GWA, just leave a comment below with your email address so I can contact you about a guest blog post.

~Emily White

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Goober Writers Anonymous


According to the Urban Dictionary--a kindhearted, oblivious goofball.

We've all made mistakes hundreds of times during our lives.  Some of them were huge, life changing mistakes.  Others were just kind of annoying or quirky.  Today, I am organizing a group where we can all come together and admit our writerly mistakes to each other.  After all, the most therapeutic way to get over our mistakes is to share them with friends.

How to Join:

Simply leave a comment below with your email address and I will contact you about sharing your mistakes in a blog post on this blog.  You can guest blog once if you only have one story to share, or you can guest blog numerous times if you have many stories.

Benefits of Joining GWA:

All members will have links to their blogs posted on the sidebar to the right.  Plus, the more guest blogs you do here, the more potential followers you can find.  And isn't it just nice to be a part of a group?

You also get to carry the GWA badge on your blog!  

I will share one of my own stories on Thursday to get the group going.  In fact, let's make Thursdays Goober Writers Anonymous day!  Sound good to you?  Excellent.

In the meantime, join up!  :D

~Emily White

Monday, September 6, 2010

And the Winners are...

First of all, second and third place were tied three ways, thus forcing me (again) to choose.  My choosing was supposed to be done last week! *shakes fist at all of you*  :D

But with some careful consideration, I have chosen the second and third place winners.

Let's just do a recap of the prizes, lest you all forgot--

First place: $100 gift certificate to B&N OR Amazon

Second place: Need, by Carrie Jones & Partylite Votive Candle Holder

Third Place: A character in Hansel and Gretel based on you.

So, let's pass out some awards!

The Third Place Winner is...

Anne Riley!

The Second Place Winner is...

Stuart Sharp!

And The First Place Winner is...


Congratulations, winners!  Please send me an email at emilywhite_1112(at)yahoo(dot)com to collect your prizes!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!  You made this blogfest absolutely wonderful!

~Emily White

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Last Day to Vote

Just a reminder that today is your last day to vote for the Fairy Tale Blogfest/Contest finalists.  If you haven't done so already, please vote at this link.


And stop by tomorrow to see who our three winners are!

~Emily White

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Fun Time! More Good tunes

You may have noticed I took yesterday off, but you, my good readers, should not have taken off from voting!  Oh no!  With only today and tomorrow left, your time is running out!  If you've already voted, please disregard this message.

Today, I thought I'd share with you a song that has become extremely important to me.  I don't know how many of you readers know just what happens during basic training for the military, but we actually do have a graduation ceremony at the end.  It's quite spectacular.  We're all dressed up in our Class A's, looking spiffy, and just minutes away from seeing our families.

Well, there's also a tradition of playing a video to recap the whole nine weeks of training.  And on that video, the LT who put it all together chose the most perfect song ever to sum it up.

Here it is:

The slow bit at the beginning was playing at the same time pictures from Day Zero were being shown.  Day Zero is the first day the Drill Sergeants begin the breaking process.  Absolutely perfect.

Hope you enjoyed!  And don't forget to vote!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Have You Heard About This Book?

Paranormalcy?  Yeah, I heard it was by this really cute short woman named Kiersten White (gotta love that last name, by the way).

It's kind of the reason this post is so late today.  Actually, it's the only reason.  :D

That's me.  Aren't I cute?

I bought it yesterday and the cashier (along with her very nice trainee) obliged me by taking a picture.  Actually, they looked at me like I was crazy when I asked.  Regardless, the picture was taken and there I am holding my very own copy of Paranormalcy.

I made a promise to myself yesterday that I would read for a couple hours, but then I would get back to work on Hansel and Gretel.  It turns out, I'm a horrible promise breaker.

*covered in shame*

I finished this wonderful book about two minutes ago and am now here to give you dear readers somewhat of a review.

You know when you're watching old episodes of Star Trek (humor me) and a group of four people goes down on an unknown planet to check things out?  Well, three of those people are usually from the main cast of characters, while the fourth is some guy you've never seen before.  You know--know--the fourth guy is gonna get it.  The other three regulars (Spock, Kirk, etc) are going to have a real tough time of it, but they'll be okay in the end.  It makes you feel safe.  These characters you know and love are guaranteed to be all right.

Well...Paranormalcy isn't like that.  Let's just keep it at that.

Because of this, the tension is practically non-stop.  It was awesome!  Even through the calmer, wonderfully lovey pages, you have a sneaking suspicion something awful is about to happen.  And you just don't know if everyone is going to be okay.

If you haven't read it or you're waiting for some reason, you must not continue down this course!  You must read it.  Must.  

Anyone else who has read it?  Let's talk!  I always love a good book club!

~Emily White

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Keep the Votes Coming

Wednesdays are normally my day off from blogging, but I just wanted to remind everyone to keep voting for the winners of the Fairy Tale Blogfest!

Tomorrow, I'll be getting back into normal blogging mode, but voting should and MUST continue until Monday, the 6th.

Happy September, everyone!

~Emily White