Tag Archive | Authors

How Million Yen Women Inspired My Revised Author Wish List!

wish-list

On Twitter, I discovered this hashtag: #MSWL. For those of you who don’t know, it stands for Manuscript Wish List. There’s even a website dedicated to this where agents and editors can share with writers what kind of manuscripts they specifically want in their inboxes!

Groovy, baby. Just groovy.

As a writer, I’ve always had a wish list of my own and it was simple:

  1. Find an agent or publisher
  2. Get published
  3. Sell books
  4. Quit day job
  5. Write for pay all day, every day! 🙂

Unfortunately, my journey toward becoming a best-selling writer hasn’t been simple to achieve. In between going to college to have a career to support my oldest son (almost two decades ago it was just the two of us); working full-time as a teacher; writing a book or two while pregnant, vomiting, nursing, crying, and living “the dream” (fake it until you make it) I didn’t think it would EVER happen. Sure, I independently published a book and had my first novel published (unfortunately, the publisher went out of business shortly after), but it wasn’t enough to quit teaching. Heck, it wasn’t even enough to make a car payment. Or a cell phone payment. Or even enough to buy a box of Tic Tacs (ha, ha — okay, I exaggerate it was enough to buy 12 packs of Tic Tacs!)

So, lately I’ve been submitting short stories, picture book manuscripts, and trying to complete another novel in order to return to that above wish list. And as time marches on, I get anxious, depressed (I may share more on that at another time), and feel hopeless that my dream to work as a full-time author will never come true.

And after watching “Million Yen Women” (it’s based on the manga series, “100 man yen no Onna tachi” by Shunju Aonoon) on Netflix, I have a new wish list. 🙂

I won’t spoil the series for you because I hope that you take advantage of the fresh satisfaction of watching it soon. Oh, so very soon.

I enjoyed it and highly recommend it. Especially to other writers because even though Japan possesses different cultural views in comparison to those in the United States of America, both countries share a similar perspective when it comes to the publishing industry and marketing.

The main character, Shin Michima, is considered a poor novelist, but one day that begins to change when he’s visited by five beautiful women who live with him. Each women has a role to play, but their purpose for being there is shrouded in mystery. Oh, and he’s not allowed to ask them ANY questions or enter their rooms. Now, why would Shin want to allow five, strange women into his home? Well, they pay him a million yen for every month they live there! As the story unfolds, you learn a lot about what it often takes for a writer (even one who is considered a failure, like Shin) to become a hot, best-selling superstar!

My (Revised) Author Wish List

  1. An Ally with Connections, like Hitomi. She’s the daughter of a deceased, famous novelist.

    Hitomi Tsukamoto

    Hitomi Tsukamoto

  2. A Dedicated Following (even one person would suffice — not including my husband –I love you, bae, but you can’t count!)

    Dedicated Following

    Nanaka Hiraki – pop singer and actress

  3. A Ride or Die Editor like Mr. Sakurai. He’ll guarantee a bidding war for your book. He’ll push to have the right amount of copies sold! Sakurai san

  4. A Manga-styled Harem (if I wasn’t married, of course — heh heh). So, we’ll go with someone to kick my behind whenever I fall into self-pity. Every writer needs a Minami Shirakawa in their inner circle. She’s loyal, she won’t settle for anything but your best, and she’ll give you her all. She’s my favorite character in the entire series! 🙂

    Minami Shirakawa

    Minami Shirakawa: my fictitious BFF

    A Fan Club that Hosts and/or Attends all of My Events!you need a fanclub

Have an author wish list? Share yours in the comments!

 

 

Advertisements

Quotes to Write By – Day 28

Months ago, I wrote a poem for my husband (it was his birthday) that invoked such deep emotion in him that he cried. I considered getting the published (come on, our kids have gotta eat) at one point and instead shared it at a Wordier Than Thou open mic event.

The response was powerful from the audience.

I didn’t intend to bring people to tears. I just wanted to share the love I have for my husband. The poem, still unpublished, sits on my husband’s work desk in a frame. 🙂

Sometimes when we write we deliberately choose precise words, punctuation, and phrases to inspire certain feelings or reactions in readers. Other times, we don’t intend to stir emotions within people. But when we do it’s absolutely beautiful. From now on when I write I make sure that I’m writing from the depths of my soul, bearing the struggles, the triumphs, the heartache, heartbreak. Why? Because this practice will often ensure the best kind of writing.

Quote #28

“The best kind of writing, and the biggest thrill in writing, is to suddenly read a line from your typewriter that you didn’t know was in you.”

Larry L. King

 

 

 

Quotes to Write By – Day 27

Writing high fantasy is not for the hobbyist. It takes perseverance, cleverness, and lots of dedicated time.

I’m currently completing the second phase of world building for a high fantasy series that’s been haunting my waking and dreaming hours for quite some time. About three years actually. Adara Trosclair, for whom this blog is named after will make her appearance in the second book. I see main character in this first book clearly. She’s not like Adara, who is charismatic, sweet, and girly. Lethe, on the other hand, is bitter, snarky, resentful, and will most likely be an unlikable character. But that in no way means that readers will be unable to relate to her. Anyone who has lived on this earth may have acted like this guy:

grumpy

in some way, shape, or form. Even for a day. 🙂

But then again, maybe Lethe is more like this:

grumpy cat_people

And the entire idea behind this book — once a tiny seed — is now a mighty oak tree. Lol. Well, in my mind currently. For the past several days I’ve been working on my fantasy world’s distinct parts:

  • Continents
  • Characters
  • Religion
  • Ethnic groups
  • Jobs
  • Mythology
  • Language
  • Conflict

I also want my high fantasy idea to be fresh and to question and maybe even provide answers to current issues in the real world. Issues like racism, sexism, and bigotry.

tolkien quote

At first, I totally agreed with this quote from Tolkien. Fantasy is a great way to escape! However, escaping and being distracted is so easy and it’s not worth it. Yes, we all need a little break every now and then (that’s why I play video games and do Zumba Fitness), buuuuuuut, ignoring important issues in the world isn’t a solution to the world’s worldly ills (yes, yes, yes, I know I used the word world three times in that one sentence).

I’m considering whether or not the book would fit the Young Adult age group and if so, what kind of pitfalls must I avoid? For instance, is it okay for the two main characters to engage in sex? How violent and bloody should the sword and sorcery scenes be? And what about expletives? My husband and I are fans of Dragon Age and the rating for this RPG is “M” for mature audiences due to sex (your main character can ROMANCE other characters), violence (lots of blood — I mean LOTS), and other suggestive themes. And as I continue plotting away, do I consider my book having a dark tone like Dragon Age? HECK YA!

dragon age

Lots of blood slaughtering darkspawn, humans, dwarves, elves, and dragons!

I wouldn’t mind kids similar in age to my oldest son who will be seventeen soon reading this book. But younger than that? Wow. Just wow. Makes me feel uncomfortable.

dragon age_killthequeen

Lol. I just want Alistair. 🙂

As a child, I loved fairy tales and I also want to incorporate them into my high fantasy books. My favorites are the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Little Match Girl, and Rumpelstiltskin.

 

Regarding Tolkien’s quote, I agree more with the spotlighted quote of the day. I don’t need to escape. I want to understand.

 

Quote #27

Alexanderquote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes to Write By – Day 20

In an earlier post of the “Quotes to Write By” series I cited Mervin Block’s quote “nouns are the bones that give a sentence body. But verbs are the muscles that make it go.”

Well, let’s have a little discussion about adjectives and adverbs.

marktwain

Twain

 

Believe it or not, these descriptive parts of speech can do a lot of damage to a decent sentence, paragraph, or scene.  Mark Twain advises “if you catch an adjective, kill it.” And Stephen King admonishes that adverbs are not a writer’s friend.

Stephen-King

King

 

 

Why?

Here are some examples from King:

“Adverbs … are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They’re the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind. … With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.

“Consider the sentence He closed the door firmly. It’s by no means a terrible sentence (at least it’s got an active verb going for it), but ask yourself if firmly really has to be there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you’ll get no argument from me … but what about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before He closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?”

King also addresses how adverbs can (taboo -ly words) weaken — not strengthen dialogue:

‘Put it down!’ she shouted.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said.

In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:

‘Put it down! she shouted menacingly.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded abjectly, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said contemptuously.

The three latter sentences are all weaker than the three former ones, and most readers will see why immediately.

What’s a writer to do?

Kill them! Kill them all!

Kill them? Kill them all? Not necessarily. And not always. 🙂

For starters,

  • Use strong verbs instead.
  • Describe your character’s facial expressions, actions.
  • Utilize literary devises such as metaphor and similes, which I call formidable beasts.
  • Get inside the minds of your characters with Deep POV.

At last, the quote for today:

jackmbickham

Bickham

Quote #20

“Adjectives, like adverbs are lazy words, slowpokes, tranquilizers. Watch out for them.”

Jack M. Bickham

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet with me @moniquedesir

Quotes to Write By – Day 8

Today’s quote comes from my most recent accomplishment.

I wrote my second picture book. My first picture book was called “Abigail and the Butterfly Masquerade.” I’ve never submitted it and may self-publish it someday or submit it to a publishing house.

This most recent attempt at writing a picture book was a lot of fun and really hard. Why? Because the word count limit is 1500 words. It took me three days to complete the first draft. 🙂 The first day I did a lot of research learning about the Japanese tea ceremony since the narrator is an eleven-year-old half-Japanese girl. I think that diverse books are important and that we need more of them and that’s why a lot of my books will include more and more authentic and multicultural characters. Day two, I gave the first half of the draft to three readers. Two are adults (one is Japanese) and the third person is a student who could relate to the story.

For this first draft, I’m torn between two title ideas: “Love Song” or “Ichi-go Ichi-e“. As I revise this draft and make it stronger, leaner, and sweeter I hope that I can settle on the best one. 🙂

Will Shetterly

Will Shetterly

Quote #8

“It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.”

Will Shetterly

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/

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!