Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekly Chapter Challenge Update!

It's been a few weeks since I've written an update on my Weekly Chapter Challenge!  Sorry about that everyone. 

I have finished my edits and revisions to SOLSTICE.  The manuscript has been sent to an editor and three agents from the WLT Agents Conference.  I have also sent out eight queries to other agents from my list.  Keep your fingers crossed for me that something will pan out.

I have completed about 5,000 more words on my current WIP, LOVESTRUCK.  It has been coming along nicely.  I am hoping that once I'm through one more chapter, my BETA BUDDIES will start critiquing it for me.  I learn so much through conversations I have with them.  It definitely keeps me focused. 

I have finished critiquing Margo's WIP, which is Fabulous!!!  I can't wait to start her new one that she just finished.  I have also started a critique on Shannon's WIP.  I love learning new tricks from reading others' work.  Things that I myself have wrestled with in my own writing.  I am a stickler for characterisation, and these ladies have great characters and dialogue!  I have to feel connected!

So, there's the update!  Catch you all on the flip side!

Monday, July 12, 2010

KidLit: Things to know!

Everyone knows I attended the Writer's League of Texas Agents Conference in June, and I wanted to write some blogs on what I learned during the panels.  Obviously, some interesting stuff!  So, here goes...

KidLit: One Hot Market:

If you are going to write kidlit (which is children's, middle grade, or young adult) you must have the following:

1) Age-appropriate Protaganists (Middle Grade: 9-12 yr  Young Adult: 12-18 yr)
2) Active Beginning: Kidlit readers want the action to start immediately!
3) No Preaching!:  Kidlit readers do not want to read a book where an adult author is trying to teach them something:  It doesn't mean you can put lessons within, but have the protaganists learn them throughout the story.  No Preaching allowed!
4) Humor: Kidlit readers get very bored, very quickly.  So, having humor (usually sarcasm) does the trick!
5) Language: Don't overuse kid language in your manuscript.  It shows you are trying too hard! Don't dabble  in text language either to the point where it gets annoying! Use sparingly!
6) Try to appeal to both genders in one manuscript: Although most YA readers are girls, the boys will read what their girlfriends read, so put some action in there as well!
7) Don't date your book with trend references:  Editors & Agents can tell that an author is adult because of the references:  Like boomboxes, television show references, actor references.  Keep it current but generic!  Also, Ipods are now a generic ageless term.  You can use as much as you like!
8) Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/Post-Apocolyptic genres are hot but over-saturated! If you write in any of these genres, find ways to make your manuscripts stand out from the pack.  Watch out for things that connect your MS to Twilight references.  Avoid those!
9) YA and MG are age groups, NOT genres: YA is young adult meaning ages 12-18, MG is middle grade meaning 9-12.
10) Find the YA voice:  If you are writing for young adults, your voice must shine through your characters so they are relateable to the readers! YA readers love and connect to CHARACTERS instead of plot! 

So, there you have it!  It was a great panel!  Thanks to Mary Colgan of Chronicle Books, Alice Tasman of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc., and Laura Mclean of Michael Larsen - Elizabeth Pomada Literary Agents. for being on this fantastic panel!!

Monday, July 5, 2010


I love the feeling of accomplishment!  When you have persevered through a difficult task and come out on top!  That's my feeling right now.  As of midnight on 4th of July, I am officially finished with revisions and edits on SOLSTICE!  Now, I know what you're all thinking: Melissa, you are never truly done until the book is printed and on the Bookstore shelf! And I agree, but I've just spent the past eight days and nights, revising and editing EVERY chapter for my submission requests from the WLT conference! And if I do say so myself, it is so much better.  Now, I can take a break from it, and write some more on my two current WIPs, TIMELESS & LOVESTRUCK!

That makes me feel very productive!  But, if my manuscript is very polished, shouldn't I can begin querying again? UGH!  I guess so!  Wish me luck everyone...I'm going into the trenches of query hell!