Archive | March 2016

Polish Your Manuscript!

Molli Nickell, The Query Wizard, invites writers to celebrate spring as they polish their manuscripts and submission documents (query, synopsis, first pages) until they glow in the dark.

The quest to become published took some major left and right turns this past year with the advent of email delivered query submission letters that include synopsis and sample pages.

In the old days~
Prior to 2014, your query was sent via snail mail and accompanied by a SASE (self-addressed-stamped-envelope). If the agent wanted to read more of your work, they’d send a letter back requesting synopsis and/or sample pages. So, there would be a time gap between when you completed your query and needed to submit your synopsis and first pages.

Fast forward to now: good news/not so good news~
The good news is that it’s easie-peasie to pack your submission materials in one email. Except (and here’s the not-so-good news), first, you must format your entire email to make it device-and-agent friendly, and then, prepare your query, synopsis, and first pages so they are ready to go at the same time.

The current all-in-one submission process makes life easier for agents. Once they click on your enticing email subject line and open your email, they can read your query, make the “yes” or “no” decision to read your synopsis, and perhaps your sample pages.

Keep ’em reading~
Even if you’ve crafted a dynamic manuscript, with fascinating characters and a plot that twists and turns, but is filled with writing mechanic errors, you’ve shot yourself in the foot. Ouch! You can prevent this disaster by using the following exercise. It will help you discover issues in your work that you’ll want to revise before you begin the submission process.

Color Me Grammatically Correct~
If you meet with a critique/writing group, enlist your pals to participate in a simple, fun, and educational exercise. What? You aren’t part of a critique group? Why the heck not?

The following exercise will help you discover if your work contains the major 35 “red-flag” words that can identify you as a writing rookie.

Here’s how it works:
Ask your writing pals to bring their first three manuscript pages (double-spaced), along with yellow, pink, and blue highlighter pens. They’ll use these pens to mark three types of writing mechanic errors that probably lurk in their work.

First, swap manuscripts. Why? Because it’s difficult to be objective looking at words you’ve written/re-written over and over and over and . . . .

Search and Mark Step One involves adjectives.Spend 15 minutes and yellow-highlight all adjectives.
Search and Mark Step Two is for adverbs. Search hint: most adverbs end with “ly.” Spend another 15/20 minutes and pink-highlight all adverbs.
Search and Mark Step Three is for the granddaddy of all “red-flag” words, verbs that begin with “was.” Locate and blue-highlight  “was” and the word that follows it.

This exercise helps everyone “up the ante,” and elevate their writing skills without stress. I’m a big proponent of incorporating fun and learning, especially when it comes to group exercises. All writers (myself included) tend to become overly self-critical and uptight as we revise, tighten, and polish our work. Laughter helps us lighten up during the rite-of-passage from rookie to pro . . . from writer to author.

Bring revised pages to your next meeting. Repeat the exercise and compare versions. Your revised pages will be less rainbow-kissed than before. Celebrate your progress with ice cream, pizza, or brownies, or all three!

Just to be clear: “Color Me Grammatically Correct” is a group exercise, not a suggestion for you to print out your manuscript and highlight away. That would be crazy making! Instead, use my Search-Mark-Revise technique (below) to help you mature your work and maintain your sanity at the same time. 

My 7-page tutorial identifies the 35 worst “red-flag” words and the weakest verbs that may infect your query, synopsis, and manuscript and helps you learn a process to make finding and revising them as stress-free as possible. 7 pages for $7 bucks. Such a deal!
More information at MolliMart

Lovingly copied from Molli’s website http://www.getpublishednow.biz/

Monday Minute: Keeping an Editorial Calendar for Your Blog

Great blogging tip for those who need a little more organization and focus. 🙂

Creative Writing For Me

I don’t usually post about blogging advice on here but since it falls in the realm of creative writing, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about editorial calendars. I’m no expert but I’ve learned that having an editorial calendar is key to keeping your blog organized and on track. 

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AFRICA SINGS!

BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

I have been in love with the beauty, joy, sorrow, and enchantment that is African music.

From the ethereal lyrics of Eneida Marta, the power and upbeat of Angelique Kidjo, to the Afrobeat of Fela Kuti that describes his fusion of West African music with Black American music, to benga, chimuringa, gnawa, the iscathamiya made by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, griot, the mbalax Senegalese (Wolof) percussion music modernized by Youssou N’Dour, marabi, mbaqanga popularized by Johnny Clegg and the Mahatolla Queens, and the wassoulo, to name just a few—–African music, songwriting and singing is as varied as the continent itself.

Instruments played by African singers include instruments indigenous to Africa before European invasion and instruments incorporated into their singing and playing styles after the colonization of Africa. Those instruments are the kalimba or mbira (thumb piano); the balafon (marimba), and the xylophone (considered to have ancient African origins by Roger Blench); the…

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March Media Madness: Down and Dirty

M.L. Desir’s Wednesday Down and Dirty Tip: Social Media

The days of authors languishing away behind their keyboard, clack-clack-clacking away on their latest story or poem are what one could call the good, old days. Of course, in those good, old days you could end up like Edgar Allan Poe – wandering the streets of your city delirious and distressed, then dying shortly after. Or you could share a similar fate to Emily Dickinson, a reclusive writer, who didn’t become popular until after her death. However, if you’re a writer who wants to be a Somebody are also new to using social media, here are some down-and-dirty tips. The easiest social media tools to use (in my opinion) are Twitter, Facebook, and blogs.

Why?

Twitter is similar to texting. It’s best done when short, sweet, and interactive because even if you don’t have something of your own to tweet at the moment, it’s entertaining to read what has already been tweeted and join in by retweeting, liking a tweet, or commenting on a tweet that caught your attention. I LOVE it! 🙂

Facebook

Though it’s not my favorite social media, I do enjoy interacting with readers, friends, fans, and fellow writers who leave comments on my post. I rarely post photos and I’m thinking about posting more as time allows.

Blogs

In the beginning of my blogging journey, I procrastinated because I didn’t think I had anything new or interesting to say. However, I’m learning that even if I share views with other people, my take may be a little different based on my own individualized life experiences. I enjoy writing about lots of topics. The only problem I still struggle with is finding the time to write. Between working full-time as an educator, writing books, being mommy to three sons –ages 15, three, and three months – time is a precious, priceless luxury.

So, the down and dirty tip for marketing yourself as an author is . . . create an account, engage as much as you can, and with time and consistency the routine will become second nature, and nothing more than an afterthought. Like breathing air or drinking water, but uh, not simultaneously.

And yet, with the way technology is becoming so very intrusive and the rampant focus on egocentric me-ism, Emily Dickinson’s poem, I’m Nobody! Who are you? is a state of being much to be desired.

I’m Nobody! Who are you? (260) Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

 

Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

finis

reclusive author

Ah, Emily! You woo me with the seductive beauty of anonymity!

March Media Madness: Meet the Author

Looking forward to my second go at my local library’s Author Showcase!

So, to get hyped for this wonderful event I’m getting to know the local authors and showcasing them on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MoniqueDesirsOfficialAuthorPage/ — please like!Facebook Like Button and this very blog. 🙂

My discussion with Peter made me think of story time with my three-year-old son who loves when I show him the pictures. The illustrations in Edward Marshall’s Fox on Wheels are delightfully humorous and add so much more zest to each comedic story.

The use of figurative language in poetry are like pictures that add depth to the characters, plot, and setting.

Here’s a snippet from a Tweet Chat I had with the talented Peter Adam Salomon, (author of Henry Franks, All Those Broken Angels, and Prophets) with his wisdom on the importance of poetry.

Tweet Chat1PSTweet Chat2PS.pngTweet Chat3PS.png

You can learn more about Peter on goodreads.com and here https://about.me/pasalomon#!

Please share in the comments what your favorite tool of poetry is and why. Happy Writing!