Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Query Letter

Have I mentioned how much I hate these things? If not, then let me reassure you that I'd rather change poopy diapers for the rest of my life than write one of these things! I thought I had a pretty good one for Songbird, I even made it through the first round of the Amazon contest, but not a single request for even a partial. I had more luck with my crappy query for The Evolution of Janie!

Where does that leave me? Writing a new one. So, here it is (so far!):

Dear (insert name)

I read on your blog that you are interested in young adult romance and thought that my novel SONGBIRD might interest you. Complete at 63,000 words, SONGBIRD is a Young Adult romance novel told through a combination of present and past events.

Seventeen year-old Dani Mays is living parallel life experiences, or so it seems when the slightest word or action reminds her of events from her childhood. Not necessarily a bad thing, if they were those bittersweet ones that made you long to be a child again. Problem is, Dani’s memories center around her older brother Jace and the day she witnessed her father murder him.

Dani finally has a stable life with a foster family and a best friend, Reece McCabe. Then Reece does the unthinkable, he proves he’s less than perfect and even the love she has for him can’t stop her from using the past to protect herself. As Dani struggles to hold herself together, threatening phone calls from a long forgotten person endanger keep her looking back to her childhood for answers and endangering those she loves the most. Ultimately, the pain of losing Reece may just be the one thing that can transcend her love for Jace and give her the power to put her past to rest.

 Thank you for your time. I have included the first five pages for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Angela Fristoe

On my iPod:

She's the One by Robbie Williams

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fresh Start

I took a moment today and surfed through the blogs I have listed on my blogroll and came across Courtney's (Creative Burst). She's just put up a post about her new blog theme and it inspired me.

Change is always good, and in this case I'm hoping it will inspire me to get back to writing. I'm going to forget about passive voice, about stress and not feeling as if I have enough time.   I'm not sure yet how long this theme will stick around, until I'm ready for my dark and deeply rich colors but for now it's nice to be looking at something fresh. So, thank you Courtney for the inspiration!

On my iPod:

The Gentleman Who Fell by Milla

Monday, April 19, 2010

Passively Blind?

I reread a few reviews of Songbird today and was struck by the confirmation that I write passively. Not all the time, but that I have more than the recommended dose within the confines of a chapter. I went back to spell/grammar check and did a run through of my document and came up with about 1%. What am I missing? This reviewer is amazingly thorough and has given me wonderful feedback. I don't doubt that I have passive voice in my writing and I don't really believe the grammar check with my surprising 1%. I just don't know how to go through on my own work and find the passive statements.  More than that there are some I just can't figure out how to reword into an active voice without entirely changing the meaning I was attempting to convey.

I wonder if part of the problem is the verb "to be". So often it's assumed that any form of this verb means passive voice - not true (yes, I checked)

So, my opening sentence: I was six when Jace died - is not passive. This sentence breaks down as noun verb adjective prepositional phrase. Even though there is a "to be" verb it's not passive, right? I feel like my head is spinning. It's a conversation I've had with myself and others that never seems to lead anywhere but to more confusion and frustration from me. Am I wrong about this sentence? If I am then I'm more screwed then ever!!

So where is it? How do I find it? This is what the grammar check pulled from my first chapter (an overall 2%passive voice)

His blue Chevy was parked crookedly, one of its front tires pushed up onto the grass.

His eyes were closed and his raspy breathing was barely there.

His words were stilted, coming through between his gasps.

I know why these sentences are passive and I know I could take this sentences and rewrite them, make them active, but to what end? So I don't have any passive voice in my chapter? So that the flow of the action and emotion is disrupted? When does passive become a problem? If 6% is the magic number that agents or editors go by how are they coming up with that? Grammar check?

I suppose what is bothering me the most is that until recently I never thought I wrote passively. I'm truly at a loss. I've taken syntax classing in university and made above average grades in the class. I remember dealing with active vs. passive, but I never had any problems with it. Until now. I would love to have thoughts on this and any pointers would be great!

 On my iPod:

Save this House by Spirit of the West

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Writing Hiatus

I feel odd and slightly out of place.  As if I'm in another person's chair at another person's computer trying to write their story.  It's been about a week since I even tried to write anything and now that I'm not sick or working it feels odd.  I want to just jump back in, but it's almost as if I don't know where to start, because I can't remember where I left off.

A week doesn't sound that long.  And it isn't. I've gone a week without writing before.  But this time was different.  Normally when I can't write, I'm thinking about it. Playing it out in my mind so that when I get to the computer I'm ready with a plan for my characters in mind.  This time I didn't think or plan or visualize.  I simply vegged. I played Facebook games and spent more time with my daughter and went to bed at a fairly decent time. 

And worst is that today I almost did something I haven't done in almost a year - I almost bought a book.  Nothing of great quality, just some random romance novel. I'd almost put it in my cart when I stopped myself. When the hell do I have time to read? I'm not saying that I don't read - I've lost track of how many novels I'm following on TNBW, and I reread books I have at home.  But buying a new book, investing hours into reading over the weekend just can't be at the top of my list.  I'm a compulsive reader.  I read a seven novel series by V.C. Andrews in three days.  I read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series in a weekend, and I can crank out three to four Harlequin novels in a day. Once I start reading I can't stop, especially if it's only a matter of turning a page.

I put the book back. I have too many things to do, stories of my own to write.

Now, I'm sitting here trying to get myself back into that mind-set of being a writer, of knowing my characters and their stories. Maybe it'll work to my advantage - to look at things with fresh eyes, but I know one thing for sure. I'll never let myself go this long without thinking about writing again.  It's a perilous path for me, one that would lead to me giving up. And I'm not ready to do that yet.

 On my iPod:

Touch Peel and Stand by Days of the New

Thursday, April 1, 2010

People watching

After making a goal to be more 'Frankenpoet' I took to the mall on Sunday and started my watching.  I sat in the food court and while trying to get my daughter to eat a bit of lunch, I watched. I sat at the back of the food court where a large open space separated me from the masses, and then it happened.  A teenage girl walked towards me.  She wore an apron, and carried a toddler and a bag of food.  She sat down and was soon joined by a young man. Neither of them could have been more than 18.  The girl didn't really interest me, I've seen girls in the same position. 

What did interest me was the boy.  He sat there across from his daughter and tore up bits of food for her, engaging with her.  I couldn't hear what the couple was saying but if got me thinking about why he was there.  What made him stay with his girlfriend? Did he feel trapped? And more importantly what would he have done if he'd been presented with an opportunity to be free of this responsibility?

So, Drew was formed.  He's not the boy in the mall, he's who the boy could have been if his girlfriend had made a different choice.  I can see Drew's story forming in my mind, his anger, frustration and contentment. Although I'm not sure yet how he's right for yet, Lily or Chloe.  Lily would be perfect for him, but Chloe needs someone with that kind of baggage. At this point I'm leaning towards Lily. The only problem is that Lily already has so much going on in her story that I'm just not sure I can give his character the attention it deserves. 

Maybe a trip to the gym will help tomorrow.  There's a lot of young guys there, maybe I can find the right one for Chloe and settle this in my mind.

On my iPod:

Paralyzed by Finger Eleven