Tag Archives: Flynn

Organizations for Writers

I attended the Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference this weekend. To all you serious writers out there, I cannot stress this enough: attend conferences! The opportunities to network with other writers, agents, and editors are unprecedented. At most conferences you get to pitch your book idea to said agents and editors. And you may just make some fun friends amongst the other writers. I did. 🙂

The result of the weekend was three chances to pitch FLYNN, which I did with a minimal amount of word-stumbling and awkward silences. But I also learned a lot about organizations which my fellow writers might be interested to join:

Missouri Writers’ Guild This writers’ guild is open to anyone, of course, but locals of Missouri and especially St. Louis will find it most helpful. Their various chapters are home to many critique groups you can join.

Mystery Writers of America According to their web site, “MWA is the premier organization for mystery and crime writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and folks who just love to read crime fiction.” If you fall under any of these categories, check them out.

Sisters In Crime Women interested in writing mystery should definitely investigate this nation-wide group. They offer support and resources. And let’s face it, when you’re writing a mystery which is going to involve lots of things you have little experience with (police procedures, murder weapons, rare poisons, etc.) you need all the resources you can get!

So now I continue work on the sequel to FLYNN, and wait to hear back from those I pitched to.



Leave a comment

Filed under Conference

Haunting Borders

Yesterday, all I did for the entire day was haunt Borders.

Borders is an excellent place to haunt. They have ready-made spaces for haunters–though admittedly, those spaces have become few and far between since they moved all the chairs back to the café section. They used to have chairs all over the place, but I think someone wised up to the fact that dedicated readers sitting in the café are more likely to purchase something than dedicated readers sitting out of range of the food smells.

So. My friend Lell and I haunted the cafe for nigh on to five hours. (Borders’ plan worked, by the way; we both bought food). During those five hours, I rediscovered the joy of working in large chunks of time. It ensures that you get more done. By the end of the day, I couldn’t believe how far I’d moved along in FLYNN’s editing process.

The best situation, of course, is if you can work for a long chunk of time with a friend. It makes the time go faster if you have another human to take short breaks with. Especially if that other human is receiving periodic updates from her sister who is stranded at the Dallas airport. It’s like getting little segments of a “to-be-continued” story as you are writing your own story.

We saw another of my friends there, by completely random coincidence, and that creepy guy I’ve seen before who I’m halfway convinced is a stalker. Only stalkers wear baseball caps over their eyebrows and peer at you from over the rim of impossibly tiny glasses, right?

All in all, it was a great day of haunting, and I highly recommend a bookstore haunt to any author wishing to get serious edits done. I think I will do it again next Wednesday. Hopefully minus creepy guy and plus Lell again.



Filed under life

St. Louis Area Writers’ Conference, April 2010

Just signed up for a writers’ conference which I am pumped about. And not least because I actually have a friend to go with me this time!

The Missouri Writer’s Guild conference will be held April 16-18 in Chesterfield, MO. So if you’re a writer in the St. Louis or southern Illinois area (or even if you’re not but just feel like making the drive), come join us.

Agents include Kristin Nelson of Nelson literary agency, Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation, and Suzie Townsend of Peter Rubie Agency. And by the way, Ms. Townsend is currently building a list of clients! This is your chance to snag her before she gets swamped with work. Linda Houle, co-owner of small Texas publishing company L&L Dreamspell, will also be there. For more information on these agents and what they represent (it’s a wide list of genres), visit the web site.

Sign up now, as agent and editor appointments are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Oh, and for anyone who doesn’t know this bit of news already–one of the agents I queried requested to see the full manuscript of FLYNN. This is a very good sign, and I hope it means that an offer of representation could be in the making. We shall see.


1 Comment

Filed under Conference

A Busy Week

Pub Board discussions are going on this week at Written World Communications. It’s quite an exciting time as we look at a selection of submitted work and decide which items to pick for publication this year. We’re hoping to start the year off with a bang, and also to be diverse in the fiction we publish. We have discussed genres from romance to historical to paranormal thriller. Just have to wait and see how things shake out as far as what will be published, and when.

Aside from that, I have taken a delightful stroll with FLYNN through the first chapters of her adventures these last two days. I love the final stages of editing–when you don’t have to change much, but you get to focus on making the wording ever-more delicious and stare anxiously at your word count as you find unnecessary “that”s and “then”s and “had”s that really shouldn’t have been there anyway because, let’s face it, you cheated a little bit and used those words you weren’t supposed to use in your prose!

I’ve also been reminiscing about my time working at a small newspaper in northern Illinois. I loved all the strange quirkiness of being at a newspaper. The man we called “Captain Underpants” because he came into the office in boxers and a wife beater. The suspicious pile of dead hogs that my boss happened upon on a farm and tried to do an exposé on. The automated phone message that would always call the office and begin “Hi. This is not a joke.” Ah, good times. I never thought I would miss anything about living up north, but Ogle County Newspapers is it.

Back to work for the day. I received a message from an agent, letting me know she’ll be looking over my query soon, so stay tuned for any news!


Leave a comment

Filed under life

New Year’s Start on Queries, Editing

The holidays are finally at an end! Between Thanksgiving, preparations for Christmas, Christmas itself, and New Year’s, I’ve been off my regular schedule (writing and otherwise) for about two months straight. But now I’m back! And instead of making New Year’s Resolutions to foster new and better habits, I’m focusing on the habits I need to get back into. Here’s my list of things to do.

I’ll be back and blogging at SM Blooding and Crew on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month (that’s beginning this coming Tuesday, everyone).

I’ll send out more queries of FLYNN. The first round (of course) did not produce results. Honestly, I would’ve been surprised if it did. But armed with my subscription to Guide to Literary Agents,I ought to find someone who wants to see the full manuscript.

After NaNoWriMo this year, I have a good start on the rought draft for FLYNN II. It’s official title is under construction. I’ll be doing more work on that in the following months.

Now on to my new ventures.

I’m entering the first 500 words of FLYNN into a contest at Kidlit.com, a very helpful blog written by an associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

My friend Kristine Pratt (who I met at a writer’s conference back in ’08) recently started up her own publishing company, Written World Communications. She asked me to be a (volunteer) assistant to one of her editors! It’s quite an exciting venture. I review proposals, manuscripts, and also short stories for the magazine. We just sent a round of submissions to Pub Board, so before too long, I’ll begin the editing process with the chosen candidates! Not to mention that I may get to help with layout of the magazine, a field which I feel I could easily excel at but have never had the opportunity to become familiar with.

Oh yes, and I may also be getting a part-time-job. As in, one that will give me a paycheck. FLYNN and my graphic novel are already full time jobs in and of themselves, but, well….they won’t pay for a second car, now will they?

Stay tuned to this blog throughout the coming year. I’m excited about the prospects of 2010, and I hope you are too.



Filed under Contest, General Writing, Publishing, Querying/Submitting

Second Book in Trilogy

Nano has begun, and so has my feverish dash through a first draft of FLYNN Book II. I find writing the second installment in a trilogy much different from writing the first. Authors usually have a clear idea of the story’s beginning and end, but the middle–well–that gets kind of muddy.

When written well, second installments can be the filling in the proverbial sandwich–every bit as good and wholesome as the bread. But they need a certain blend of elements to accomplish this.

Continued conflict. First books set up the conflict. Third books bring it to fruition. Often, second books get lost in the shuffle. They end up the “catch-all” for any scenes that don’t have a home in the other two books. This

The best antidote to this dangerous trap is to devise a specific point of conflict related to (but not identical to) the overall conflict of the trilogy. Take, for example, THE TWO TOWERS. While the overall ring quest continues from FELLOWSHIP, Frodo and Sam are also occupied with the new challenge of how to deal with Gollum/Smeagol.

Continued character development. Authors feel pressure to wrap things up at the end of first books. Even if several sequels follow, that first one still needs a sense of closure. This often leads to the wrap-up of character development, leaving nowhere to go in the sequel.

But consider real life people for a moment. We all develop continually, not just at certain points. Just as fast as we gain closure on one issue in our lives, another opens up. Storytellers must take that attitude to their characters.

For example; at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke has grown from a farm boy to a fighter, Han has decided to be a good guy, and Princess Leia–well–actually, she pretty much stayed the same 🙂 But their development doesn’t stop there. Empire Strikes Back finds a blossoming romance between Han and Leia, and opens the door to Luke’s ultimate struggles against the temptations of the Dark Side.

A tone of their own. I don’t know why, but most successful second books share one overarching quality; they set the tone for the remainder of the trilogy. Usually, Book III looks a lot more like Book II than it does like Book I.  Let’s take our two previous examples and add some others.

In TWO TOWERS, Tolkien began the trend of splitting up the protagonists. This increased their danger and gave the story the larger, more sweeping feel which remains constant almost to the end of the trilogy.

Empire Strikes Back introduced a dark feel to Star Wars not present in A New Hope. It also introduced the central plotline of the entire trilogy; Vader’s true identity and path to redemption.

In Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders Trilogy, MAD SHIP plucks the protagonists from the situations they lived out in SHIP OF MAGIC, and sets them into the roles they will fulfill in SHIP OF DESTINY.

What about you? What really turns you off in a second book? What really works? I feel like there are tons of great trilogies I haven’t considered in this post that need to be mentioned. Feel free.


Leave a comment

Filed under General Writing, Uncategorized


Following my October vacation to the Sirens conference, I’ve fallen behind with my usual life schedule. Sadly, all of my best habits (writing regularly, exercising, cooking healthy food, blogging) have gone by the wayside.

With October nearly over and NaNoWriMo upon us, I realize it’s time to get back in shape (figuratively and, okay, maybe literally too!).

Some goals. Ahem.

This blog now has a regular posting schedule–new posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. T, Th and Sa feel like the “even” days of the week to me, with MWF being the “odd” days. That may sound strange, but anyway, I like the even days better, and that’s when I’m going to post.

Once NaNo starts, I’ll work on the sequel to FLYNN, which should motivate me to complete my research on medieval warfare. Also, once I’m back in FLYNN mode, I can go back for that final revision of the final chapter in book I–a task which has been nagging me for two months now.

As I have a lead on my graphic novel, I’ll also spend some time each day working on that.

Those are my main goals. I’m thinking that exercise and eating right will fall in line again once I get back on a regular schedule.

October was fun, but it’s time to buckle down and hit the work (as soon as the madness that is Halloween ends).


Leave a comment

Filed under General Writing