Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Monday, April 4, 2011

We Answer YOUR Questions

Q & A Song of the Day: "Question Existing" by Rihanna

We asked and you...well, asked. Last week, we opened up the comments for any burning questions you may have for us. Why? Well, we've been blogging together for almost a year and we wanted you to get to know us a little better. Oh, and we also had no clue what to blog about today, but that's besides the point! Let the Q & A begin...

Alicia Gregoire wanted to know...why did we choose a picture with Elmo last week? Well, to give you nightmares, darling, of course. :)

Tracey Neithercott had two questions:

1. Is there ever a bad time to use a Charlie Sheen quote? Hmm, we would suggest using them sparingly...or Chris Brown may get mad and throw a chair out of a window. Sorry, we couldn't resist. We think they're BOTH jerks.

2. What's your writing process like?
Pam's Answer: Slow and steady wins the race. Yes, I am an EXTREMELY slow first drafter. In fact, I was surprised that I actually "won" NaNoWriMo last year. Usually I plot a little, then write. Then whine. Plot a little, write, whine. And so forth, and so forth. I'm a perfectionist and I fight everyday to turn off the dreaded internal editor. However, I find it productive for me to set goals for myself--like finish a chapter/scene a day--or finish 3 chapters by the end of the week. Oh, and my muse always seems to attack me while I'm at the day job. Shh, don't tell.

Quita's Answer: I basically plot a little bit, then I write...then I change some of the plot based on what I wrote. Then I finish it and let Pam read it before revising and sending it to other beta readers. Simple. (and now Pam's wringing my neck).

Abby Stevens wanted to know some tips and tricks we learned at the CNU Writers' Conference.

Well, we sat in our one of our favorite sessions at ANY conference--and that's the First Page Critiques. Here's some tips based off that panel (which featured Michelle Wolfson and Mitchell Waters):

  • Sentences don't need 3 adjectives

  • Do NOT ask rhetorical questions

  • Do NOT use intense verbs in rapid succession (pounding, pummeling, etc.)

  • Read the story aloud--or, even better, have someone read it aloud to you

  • "Telling" is sometimes okay on the first page, but make sure to transition to action soon

  • Put the readers inside of the story
There, those were the basics. Oh, and Michelle Wolfson also mentioned that when pitching (whether in person or through a query), try to make it as conversational as possible.

Jamie (he's a guy, btw) also had 2 questions:

1. For Pam, how did you know your WIP was ready for agent queries? How did you know it was good enough?
Confession time: I didn't know my WIP was ready when I first started querying almost 2 years ago. In fact (gulp), I even started querying even before I was completely finished. I know...the horror. Needless to say, an awesome agent ended up asking for a full--which means that I had to spend a week actually finishing the manuscript (and if you read my response on the writing process, you know this was quite painful for me).

Thankfully, that agent didn't just laugh in my face. She rejected, gave me great feedback, and opened the floor to send me the revised version (note--this was NOT my awesome agent, Sarah LaPolla). So, I stopped querying, incorporated her feedback, and sent it off to some beta writers. Then I revised again, attended workshops, revised again, got a revise and resubmit request from Sarah, revised again...then months later, magic happened. As you can see, LOTS of work. I highly recommend actually having a completed manuscript before querying. Scratch that, have a completed manuscript that's been butchered with a red pen by at least 3 awesome beta readers. :)

2. Why didn't we invite him to the conference? Oh, Jamie. We will roll out the red carpet for you at the next conference we attend--especially since you're about to be a published author, you rock star, you. :)

So, that was fun--we need to do this again. But let's get to know you all better, lovelies. What do you think is the best book to read during the summer (we'd love the recommendations!)?


Racquel Henry said...

Fun post! Depends on what you're in the mood for. A lot of the times, I find myself in the mood for a light read. For some reason summer makes me not want to be serious! LOL. If you want light, I suggest anything by Sophie Kinsella! She's FUNNY! If not light, then Joyce Carol Oates! You had to know that was coming! :)

Jamie Manning said...

Aww, thanks you guys for answering my questions! <3 Though the answer to Question 1 was quite informative, I must say I'm most excited about your answer for Question 2 (yay! I'm invited!) And thanks a million for giving me (and my newly soon-to-be-pubbed status) a shout-out...love you gals! :)

Alicia Gregoire said...

For the record, I'll never look at Elmo the same after having a dozen Elmos watch me sleep.

As for summer reads, I love reading paranormal romance during the summer. The schlockier, the better.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Loved this post. Thank for Michelle Wolfson's tips. Those were great. :)

Ghenet Myrthil said...

This was fun to read. I'm also a slow writer. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

p.s. I gave you an award on my blog today! Check it out. :)

Melanie said...

Am I allowed to recommend a book I haven't read yet because it has yet to be released? (Did I just break rule number two from the conference???) Great, then I recommend Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley Confidential. If you haven't heard, it is about the Wakefield twins, ten years later and it's geared towards us thirty-somethings that used to be avid fans. I don't know about you, but I LOVED the Sweet Valley High books! It comes out later this month.

Book Club?????