Category Archives: Reading

7 Ways to Show Your Writing a Mother’s Love

A mother’s love is a funny thing. It seems to me an unending, ever fruitful, and often times colossal, force to be reckoned with. Take for instance my mother:

  • Hard working owner of a B&B
  • Devoted Peony farmer
  • Grandmother/fill in mother of two full-time Grand-babies
  • Volunteer for multiple organizations
  • Doting wife
  • Loving Daughter

And that’s in a nut shell. The list of my mom’s to-dos goes on and on and on…and on. Yet, she still manages to come to my blog, and read every single one of my posts. If you go back right now and check in the comments section, she is often the first person (ok…Sometimes the only) to comment.

Those comments are always filled with affection, support, joy, and genuine happiness at having read something I wrote. Why? Because she’s operating with a mother’s love. When a mom loves her child, she will go above and beyond to make sure they feel that devotion.

After reading my mom’s last loving comment, I got to thinking…Why shouldn’t our writing get a mother’s love? After all, these words are our babies, are they not? They are the infants of our mind, and deserve that same sort of diligent affection that my mother finds time to shower me with.

So… I made a list.

7 Ways to Show your Writing a Mother’s Love

  1. Dedication: Let’s start here. I’m needy and forgetful. My mom knows this. If she didn’t constantly remind me that she loved and adored me…How, oh how, would I ever remember, or believe it? You’re writing is the same way. It’s needy. If you don’t dedicate yourself to writing daily, and express your devotion by getting words on the page, your skills will slowly start to rust. So, as I begin to wither without my mother’s constant reminders of devotion, our writing too will suffer without our attention. We must devote ourselves to writing, and improving our relationship with the written word.
  2. Confidence: I don’t know about your mom, but mine is a permanent resident of the ‘Brittney Fan club’. It is her faith that often times drives me to bigger and better things. So I say, give this confidence to your writing. An author once told me, “We are only as good as we believe we are.” Have faith in your ability to not only write, but to write well, and let that confidence bring your words to a greater level. It won’t come easily, but knowing that you are a Writer, that this is a tangible thing you can embrace, may give you a needed push to carry on.
  3. “You can do better”: When I was a child, my mother used this statement often. It’s not that what I had done was wrong, or unsatisfactory, but she knew that I was capable of so much more. Push your writing to be better. Don’t settle for mediocre or subpar verbiage. Explore, prod, and excel. Always. Give yourself goals, and push your own boundaries until your writing reaches the levels you want it to. Don’t give up on it.
  4. Nourishment: Mom’s feed us, so we must feed our writing. Attend seminars, read, go to writing conferences, and never stop learning. Feed your inner writer with knowledge!
  5. Freedom: My mom was rather rad, in that she let me have more freedom as a child than most parents. However, at any given age…in certain cases much later than others… we all must fly the coop.  Our moms have to let go — to give us our freedom. Give this to your writing! Allow the inner writer to just write. Don’t worry about grammar, or spelling or using the correct language… Just write. Give it creative freedom, and you may find something beautiful and outrageous. Something that would never have come to you in the confines of your own strict rules.
  6. Knowing when to walk away: Not going to lie… This drove me crazy!!! When we would argue, my mom was always the first to walk away. ‘Give me space’…’I’m done talking about this right now’…We’ve heard them all before! But, what I didn’t realize until I was out and about getting into crazy shenanigans… is that these moments of our relationship, were simply another type of love. I’m stubborn… and I didn’t get it entirely from my dad. When she walked away it was because she knew neither of us were going to give. She was giving us the space needed to breath, the space needed to soak in each other’s side. Know when to walk away from your writing. It needs space, and so do you! Give yourself time to let go of your stubborn streak, and come back to the pages with a new found openness. It could be that you really don’t need that scene with the rubber duck and polka-dot umbrella. Or, maybe, that scene is the Bee’s knees, and needs velociraptors with light sabers… Only you can decide… We walk away so that we can more clearly see if we need to kill our babies. She, as of now, has let me live.
  7. Love: Just pure and simple. My mother loves me. She tells me, in not only her words, but in her actions as well. I feel that love, and other people are able to see it. If you truly love your writing, and you express that love through devotion to your craft…Readers will see it and they will feel it through your words.

Give your mom a hug… She certainly deserves it!

Cheers

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7 steps to a Successful Literary Pitch

I recently returned from the #WDCE (Writer’s Digest Conference East) in New York City. What an experience! The atmosphere alone was worth the money and time spent going. I was able to meet a lot of young writers as wide-eyed and bushy-tailed as I was (am), which has, even in just the few days since I’ve returned home, been invaluable.

I attended the conference with no intention of making a pitch to an agent — Being more concerned with getting my creative juices flowing again, and checking out the self-publishing world. My how plans change!

I wrote a pitch for my book on Friday and delivered it with no…ok, very few….mistakes to 12 agents the following day! It was both a terrifying and liberating experience. As a writer, I do love to talk about my work…my Precious, if you will. Taking into consideration the things I was able to glean from the conference, I have been making, and continue to make, adjustments to the novel. My hope is to have it ready, or as ready as it can be, to send out very soon. I will only get that one chance to impress…so here’s hoping I do!

I’ll try to keep you better updated as time goes on!

Now, Without further ado: 7 Steps to writing a solid pitch, as given by Chuck Sambuchino. (Well, from the notes I jotted down while he was speaking.)

First: Introduce yourself and be polite.

Second: The agent wants to hear four things.

  • Genre
  • Title
  • Word Count (if you know it)
  • Is it complete?

Third: Log line: Character, their vocation along with something that makes them different, and why they are in the story.

Ex: Tammie Johnson is a no-holds-barred New York City Cop, who struggles with a drug addiction and the need for speed. ( I don’t know.. something like that)

Fourth: The Pitch

  1. Introduce the main Character. Ex: 35-year-old Tammie Johnson was born and raised on the streets of New York City.
  2. Introduce something unique or different about your character. Ex: She used to believe in the system, but now with 15 years on the force, she struggles with a very real drug addiction and spends her nights illegally racing cars on the street for cash.
  3. Inciting incident. Why is this a story? Ex: When she witnesses the brutal murder of a close racing friend, Tammie decides to clean up her act and find the evidence needed to put the guilty party behind bars.
  4. Conflict. What’s stopping your character from doing what they want? Ex: But, the culprit knows she witnessed the murder, and is now out for her blood as well. Tammie must find a way to put the man behind bars without exposing her own hand in the illegal car racing world, or worse, ending up a corpse herself.
  5. Complications. What are some SPECIFIC examples of things that get in her way. Ex: While fleeing for her life and looking for clues, she’s forced to dress like a clown, gets attacked by a seemingly rapid Chihuahua, and on one occasion is forced to defend herself using only a crimson, 6 inch stiletto heel, and her wits.
  6. Vague wrap up. You want to give them an idea of the possible outcome, but not tell them the end of the book.. You want them to WANT to read it! Ex: When Tammie is given an anonymous tip, she must decide to pursue the lead, or give up. For this white rabbit might lead her to the answers she’s been looking for, or down a dark hole — one that’s 6 feet under.
  7. Stakes. What happens if the character fails. This doesn’t have to come at the end…Just make sure you put it in there. My examples show that if Tammie doesn’t catch the killer, she could end up dead herself.

Ok! Well, that’s all I got. I’m sorry for the pitch given in the examples, I came up with that seat-of-the-pants style while writing this..:P If you would like more, or better, examples of a successful Pitch — check out Chuck Sambuchino’s Blog, Guide to Literary Agents. He also plays a mean Piano, and sings a sweet rendition of Hallelujah. I was lucky enough to meet Chuck at the Conference and he is a must read for anyone looking to pitch their book to a Literary Agent.

Do you have any pitch-agent related horror stories? Please share in the comment section below!

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Row80 Check In!

OOOK, This week..

New Week’s Resolutions:

Write out my work outs daily..I rocked this goal. I’m talking CHAMP status! I wrote my workouts every day on little papers and taped them to the wall with fancy duck tape. Then I ordered a workout journal and transferred all my papers into it! … Rocked it, right?!

Creepy notes left around for others to find…  I Don’t know how creepy they were, but I wrote a couple “Kick me” signs and put them on people… and I put one in the bathroom…

IMG_0137

Yeah, Human flesh. Gross. lol

New, New Week’s Resolutions:

Work out 5 days this week.

Wear my hair in 7 different unattractive ways. I shall post pictures…:D

 

Row80 goals

Writing 500 words- Ok.. So I didn’t do spectacularly here… I wrote 3 days of this week… Yeah, I know. But, I got three straight nights of 8 hours of sleep, turned off my phone for almost two days straight, and had a couple great conversations with the guy that I’m dating. So over all it was a productive week!

Reading- Fail.. that is all that needs to be said… lol

Editing- My editor sent me over 4 or so chapters and I got through those pretty well. I also managed to write up a blog post or two, and I’m checking in today..

Working out- I’ve walked between 40-120(one day) minutes a day, and have also been running stairs in the Engine room and lifting weights… Combine that with eating healthy and I’m down 3.3 lbs. Not bad!

Overall, a good week for me…But, I could definitely invest in my writing more!!

Cheers

Brittney

 

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Female Writers-Add To Your Writing Tool Box!

Or guys I guess…If your a guy and you looked at this..tsk tsk. So nosy!

Do my a favor. Stick your hand out and honestly assess your fingernails…What do you see? Mine are growing out, except my left hand thumb nail which I accidentally sliced off with a chef’s knife last week.  Continue reading

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Row80 Update 2/15/12

I have come to the realization that I need Note Cards… Lots and lots of note cards. I am reading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell, and after reading it through zealously with a highlighter, I am going back through and trying some of the awesome ideas/ practice exercises he has in there. I love the idea of jotting down tons and tons of scenes on note cards and then laying them out and flipping them around until they make sense. It’s like a Giant novel puzzle! How freaking cool is that! Did I mention I love puzzles.. Anyway, I need note cards, and so Allen, my wonderful boyfriend is sending them to me. What a sweetie. Im sure he’s just pleased I’ll be noting for the next 7 weeks here at work, and not at home along our wall, or in his work areas, or standing in front of the TV with hands on hips saying, “Babyyyy…I need your help! Come look at these with me!!” Walking over already knowing that I don’t really need his help, I just think I do, and no matter what he says I will most likely argue the opposite side. Were good like that:)!

So, I’m getting note cards. I downloaded this App on my new Ipad called Write or Die.. Which is pretty fantastic! I don’t know if I like it for writing my actual WIP because it has been having trouble sending the Files anywhere but its own clip board…Email pending that little bug….But, I did end up writing about 1400 words about a cute old lady who owned a run down Ice-cream shop next to a skyscraper, and when the man came to try to buy it she sweetly invited him in, sat him down with a warm cup of tea and honey and waited until the drugs took effect before she ate him. Sharp little teeth like the polar bear on top of her Ice-cream shop, three scoops, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry.

Fun to write. A little creepy, and I have no idea where it came from, but it’s something I might play with later. So I think I’ll use the app to do sprint writing and such. Speaking of Apps.. I also downloaded a free Budget App and have been diligently punching the numbers.. Guess who couldn’t actually afford her iPad…Yeah, this girl right here!

On a lighter note, I have lost a few lbs, probably from all the seasickness…Yes, I know this is a bad way to lose weight, believe me.. But I have switched boats and am now back on the Stalwart…Probably one of the only boats that doesn’t ever leave the harbor. Thank you!

Got about 1400 words in on Monday, about 500 on my WIP and 1300 on WOD, and then today I took the day off from writing to clean, pack, and read more of Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. Worth the Read, a re-read, and a few after that! check it out.

Hope your weeks are going well! See you all on Sunday!

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Row80 update 1/29/10!!

Well! Another Sunday, another update!

Health Goals:

Been eating pretty healthy…trying to make better choices in the kitchen, and watch my portion control. Haven’t gone on any crash diets and have just been trying to focus on changing my eating habits all around. Went to volleyball on Thursday and had a blast! Just the right amount of people for a rousing match of 5 on 5! Good players= Good workout! Found out that it will be cancelled next Thursday due to Parent-Teacher Conferences which is a bummer because that means this last Thursday was my last hard-core Volleyball workout for a couple of months! Will still be going on Tuesday, but it is beginner’s night.. I end up doing more coaching then playing! Still exercise so I wont complain though! Did Kettle bell twice since Wednesday! I’ve decided that I’m going to change my Treadmill goal to a “General exercise goal” since getting the truck warmed up, driving through all the snow storms we have been having, AND working out on the treadmill… my greatest enemy.. has just been too much to ask of my will power! Really enjoying Kettle Bell though!!

Writing Goals:

I’ve been Binge writing this week… Not really sticking to a schedule, but have felt more motivated late at night. Wrote about 400 words on Wednesday..250 on Thursday..And 4,051 on Friday!!! That’s right.. no typos! Went back down to about 300 last night, and am going to try to squeeze in 500 today before Girl’s Night! Have Read two Chick Lit books since Wednesday, and plan to do book Reviews of them for my Chick Lit Challenge 2012! No writing Prompts.. But I’ve read and commented on a few other blogs! Also did some reading up on writing tips and such, using other blogs and twitter to guide me through!

Over all a very productive week! Something I would like to work on is commenting on other Row80 updates, I’ve gotten a few each week, but I would like to try to do more!! Good luck to all of you this coming week!!

Cheers!

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Chick Lit Challenge 2012!

Just signed up for The Chick Lit Challenge 2012! Looking forward to getting some leads on new books and debut authors! Be sure to check out the challenge for yourself!

http://chicklitplus.com/chick-lit-challenge-2012-sign/

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