Archive for February, 2012

Body parts gone wild!  Have I got your attention  now?  This was one of my favorite sessions in the online editing workshop Before You Hit Send.

Angela James is the Executive Editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first press, and offers her insights into common editing mistakes.  If you’ve never worked with an editor or publisher before, this workshop is extremely insightful. I met Angela at the Emerald City Writers Conference when I won an early bird pitch for my romantic suspense, Seeing Double, a Harper Security novel.

I enjoyed Angela’s humor throughout the course and she is honest when you post examples from your manuscript.  What was once considered good writing style or grammar back when we were in school is not the case today.

The course is self-paced over a three-week period. You can register for the next workshop at

So, what am I doing now?  Why editing of course.  I’ve already removed the first chapter (info dump) and hacked away another 3000 words.  I’m converting passive to active, getting rid of unneeded adverbs and adjectives, making sure my dialogue tags are correct… there’s so much more.  I’m loving every minute of it!

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At the Emerald City RWA Conference in Seattle, I attended a first time author’s panel. Two newly published authors said they were unable to get their books published until they read Save the Cat!® by Blake Snyder.

As funny as the name of the book sounds, it’s an equally funny read. In his humorous way, Blake explains the fundamentals of screenwriting that keeps you turning the page. These principles directly relate to fiction such as structure, plot, scenes, show versus tell, arch’s, etc.

Although I’m a pantser (see my earlier post), I plan to adopt his model outlining the beats that must take place to launch a successful movie/book. While he uses a cork board to map out the scenes within the acts, I’ve setup a spreadsheet to do this for me. As a pantser, I won’t plot this all out before I start writing, but I’ll use it to fill in my scenes to see what’s missing.

I am highly impressed with this book and refer back to it often. Save the Cat!® is a recommended read on Nicholas Sparks’ website as he converted his own books to screenplays for the big screen. Can I strive to by Nicholas Sparks some day? Sure, why not!

For you author’s out there, what method do you find works best for plotting out your story idea? Do you do it electronically, on a whiteboard, or plaster sticky notes all over the wall?

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