Friday, March 27, 2009

Blogaholics Anonymous

Do you spend more than an hour a day reading blogs written by literary agents, editors, or publishers? Do you check all day long to see if they have posted anything new?

Do you follow more than five writer’s blogs? Do you check your dashboard constantly to see if anyone has posted?

Do you visit your writer friend’s blogs after you have already posted to see what their responses might be?

Do you order peanut butter online because one of your blog friends recommended it?

Do you wait anxiously for comments after you post your own blogs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have an addiction to blogging. Blogaholics Anonymous (for writers who blog) has helped numerous writers to come to grips with this serious condition. In extreme cases, blogaholics have been known sit in front of the computer for hours on end without showering or brushing their teeth. In very extreme cases, family members and friends are only able to contact the blogaholic by instant messenger, email, or by commenting on the blogaholic’s blog. Don’t let this happen to you. Blogaholics anonymous follows a 12 step-program meant to lead us toward a life free of addiction.

Unite with other blogaholics here! Introduce yourself as a blogaholic... it's the first step to recovery.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Franz Kafka - Existentialism

I have been busy out of my mind with work lately. It’s the end of the term, which always leaves me feeling overwhelmed and tired. So, I have had no time blog. However, I thought I would do a quickie on one of my favorite authors… Franz Kafka.

Why Kafka? Well, he has been on my mind a lot lately since I recommended him to a student for the final paper in my World Authors class. I love, love, love all that is existential, especially when it is offbeat and a little dark. I once argued with another teacher that Hamlet is existential… yes I know that Shakespeare had no idea what existentialism is because Sartre wasn’t even born yet. However, Hamlet is existential. To be, or not to be... existential! Have you ever watched the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? Existential! If you haven’t seen it, you must.

*Ponders why all of her conversations move to Shakespeare*

He’s the man… what can I say?

Erm, yes, we were talking about Kafka. I suggested that my student read The Metamorphosis. Who doesn’t love a story about a man that turns into something akin to a cockroach? It’s great stuff! When I taught this story (novella) to my highschool students, I let them draw pictures of Gregor Samsa, the bug, crawling around his living quarters. They were stoked! Not quite the visual anyone wants, but it’s a fantastic story. Of course the bug is merely Kafka’s idea of symbolism, thank God. If you haven’t read The Metamorphosis, you must! You simply must! Some of Kafka’s other stories include In the Penal Colony, The Hunger Artist, The Judgement, A Country Doctor, etc. Terrific stuff!

The most important reason that I am bringing up Kafka is that he had no confidence in his own writing. In fact, he wanted his manuscripts to be destroyed upon his death (he died from tuberculosis). Luckily, his friend didn’t listen, and he published them anyway. One of those manuscripts was Kafka’s magnum opus, The Trial.

Well, fellow writers… what can we learn from this? Not to give up? Not to trust our manuscripts to friends with intent to publish our work when we croak? Not to argue with Litgirl about Hamlet?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Historical Novels - Question!

So, I have been doing research on my new historical novel about the poet John Keats. It's going to be in first person POV, from the perspective of Fanny Brawne. Just recently I came across a website where I read that there is a new movie called Bright Star in production about Keats and Fanny Brawne. I believe it is being shot in England and I am not sure at all if it will even play over here. ARGHHHH!!! Is this something I should be concerned about? I mean, how many books and movies are out there about Henry VIII and his six wives? A trillion! I have also read HFs about Richard III from various different authors.

Does anyone know anything about this type of situation? I would be so disappointed if I had to abandon this project. I did research to see if there are any other novels about Keats and Fanny...and there doesn't seem to be.

Have you found your voice?

I read this editor's blog this morning and found this article extremely helpful!

Eight Tips for Finding your Voice

I should write an original blog post soon. I have been really busy lately. Hope you are all doing well! :-)

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Editing. That dreaded task that we all have to face as writers. Just when we think we have edited to perfection, we have to edit more. Well, I am at that point right now (editing). Sometimes, I feel like throwing my computer and my manuscript out the window. I know it needs a lot of work; it’s just too hard for me to look at it objectively sometimes. Also, I am afraid that I will change something and make it worse instead of better. I have a colleague reading through it right now, so that may help a bit. Maybe I need more time away from it?

A friend was kind enough to email her thoughts earlier, but I would like to get all of your thoughts on editing too. How do you keep from being overwhelmed? What is your approach? Do you ever feel like the more “rules” you read, the harder it is to focus on your original purpose?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Miss Snark’s First Victim

For those of you who haven’t visited this site, please do! It’s a wonderful site for writers to meet up and mingle. Authoress, the host of the site, holds various contests including secret agent contests where agents visit and cast their votes for the best submissions. You can’t beat that! Just recently Authoress started allowing writers to submit up to 1000 words from their MS for critique. You may have to wait a while, but it’s a great opportunity to receive some great advice from experienced writers.

Just recently there was a call for writers to submit a bio for Authoress and mine was in the top three. I know! *grin* Anyway, if you like my blog or you like me, jump on over and vote for B (or for the one you liked the best). If nothing else, take a look at Authoress’ blog!

My bio submission:

Twenty-four year old Authoress McSnarkle graduated from the University of Topeka with a pre-post graduate degree in slushpile diving and tragic novel writing.

After her internship with a publishing company in Yemen, Authoress was able to publish her first non-fictional book about the many uses of cat hair entitled, “Cat Hair Weaving for Geniuses.” After a brief stint with the law over skinny dipping in the fountains of New York, wearing only a large red hat, Authoress released her new bestselling novel, “Full Moon in the City.”

Authoress spends her spare time blogging and helping aspiring writers of fictional fiction, and is currently seeking a career in writing rap music to Shakespearean verse.

Monday, March 16, 2009


How many of you are emotionally involved with your characters? My friend and I were talking the other day about my book. Specifically, I was telling her what was happening in a certain chapter. You would have thought that we were talking about family members or close friends, but we were discussing my characters as if they were real people. We were getting emotional about their misfortunes (mind you, I created their misfortunes). My characters are real to me; they are as alive as you and I are. I feel their pain, their happiness, their loss, their mistakes, etc. Some days I had to stop writing because I would find myself crying over something sad that had happened.

I read a blog post earlier by an editor that had some great insights into characterization. At the beginning there is an interview with Nathan Bransford, so read that first! :-D After you read the interview, scroll down and you will see the post entitled Falling in Love with your Characters. I don’t know about you guys, but I am! In love with my characters that is (in a platonic sort of way…eh um). Anyway, this blog has a ton of great information if you will. So, take a look.

Questions: Do you ever find that your characters are out of control? You think to yourself…I can’t believe ____ just did that… even though you just wrote it! Do you talk about your characters like they are real people? Do you believe that your close relationship to your characters carries through to your reader? I believe that if you are feeling the emotions, they will too!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Think I've just Finished...

Um…*looks around dumbfounded* … I think I just finished my first novel. I just finished with the bones, that is. The flesh is yet to come. As my wise friends here in blogworld say, a novel is composed of many layers, each one making it more and more beautiful. It’s a little baby book! Alright, I will be quiet. I have a few questions for my fellow writers. When did you know you had finished your novels?

I have 75,000 words at the moment, my genre calls for about 80,000. I cut a scene, which brought the word count down quite significantly. I now have 5,000 or so words to play around with. How important is the 5,000 words? What if my novel ends up having only 75,000?

Yipeeeeeeee! I can’t wait to jump into the editing process. Who knows, I may have something worth submitting to crit groups in the next month or so.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Do you have a Platform?

This is a great article about how build a writer's platform online.

Building Your Writer Platform Online by Jennifer Mattern

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

25 Things

1. I have lived in both Italy and England.
2. I have a cat named Belle who has the most amazing blue eyes!
3. I used to play the clarinet.
4. I love musical theater.
5. I am a second generation Floridian (rare).
6. I have three sisters, two nieces, and a nephew.
7. I love Art History! I especially love the Renaissance time period in Italy. My favorite artist is Botticelli.
8. I love to cook…and to sample all different types of cuisine.
9. I love Coldplay!
10. Colin Firth is one of the sexiest men to ever live. He is Mr. Darcy! :-)
11. I like a nice glass of wine here and there. Love margheritas!
12. My grandfather played professional baseball, and he was the head chief of the fire crew at Kennedy Space Center.
13. British Literature is my passion. I adore Shakespeare!!!
14. I am divorced and unmarried.
15. I drive an SUV.
16. I used to teach highschool English, but I am teaching college English now.
17. I am a HOPELESS romantic.
18. I love to watch HGTV and TLC.
19. I have a story to tell…
20. One of my favorite things to do is to hang out with my girlfriends and watch chick flicks.
21. I was born in the wrong time period. I love history and I live in the past! :-D
22. I have a mean addiction to blogspot…
23. One of my favorite movies is Bridget Jones’ Diary.
24. One of my favorite books is Wuthering Heights.
25. I can be dramatic at times! Hence the overuse of exclamation marks. Sorry! :-D

Thanks for the idea Cindy! :-)

Suffering for Art’s Sake

Last week during Positivity Week on Bransford’s blog, he mentioned that, as a whole, writers aren’t the happiest people in the world (I know, ironic…just read on). This made me think back to my college days when one of my Humanities professors posed a question to the class. The question was; do you think that great art comes from suffering? We talked about poor misanthropic Beethoven, eccentric Mozart, Jackson Pollack, Edgar Allen Poe and his alcohol addiction, and Coleridge and his laudanum addiction (this is when he did his best work…Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan, et. al). Does true creativity come from a place of suffering? Are the greatest writers, composers and artists the most tortured of souls?

I was reading up on Keats today because I am planning on writing an HF based on his short love affair with Fanny Brawne, and I came across a quote from him that read, “'the excellence of every Art is its intensity.” He said this to a friend of his who asked him why he suffers so much over his love for Miss Brawne. Truly, Keats’ best poems were written during the time of his intense relationship with her. I find myself completely drawn, almost mesmerized, by the intensity of his letters to her. Other than Coleridge, I think Keats is the better poet of all the Romantics. He is also the one who suffered the most. Keats almost gave his life for his art, literally.

What do you guys think? Have you ever notice that your best work came from times when you were in a dark place? I certainly do as I look back over my manuscript. I’m interested in your input.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Writers Helping Writers - Open Query

Rick Daley's new blog for those who want a safe place to post agent queries for critique.
Public Query Slushpile -

This is going to be awesome!


I went to B&N today and finally got the book I have been waiting on for a whole YEAR… Anne Easter-Smith’s book The King’s Grace. HF fans, you must pick up her books!

Just to show you that I can be a good asset when you go to sell your book, I will share my B&N story with you. While looking for The King’s Grace, which wasn’t easy because I forgot my glasses, I ran into a lady who was holding a book by Phillipa Gregory. So, I told her that I had read that book, and that Phillipa Gregory is a great author. Then the lady asked me if I could recommend an author who writes HF. Well, being the opportunist that I am, I recommended Anne Easter-Smith, Vanora Bennett, and Sandra Worth (love them). I had read on a blog, I think Kristen Nelson’s or Bookends, that publishing companies pay to have books conveniently placed in bookstores to attract buyers. I didn’t see The King’s Grace anywhere but on the shelf. I could have been mistaking but, just in case, I accidentally dropped a copy on one of the well exposed book tables (he he). I was too chicken to place it on the bestseller shelf, but I may do that for my writer buds! ;-)

The big thing in blog world today has been the whole Twitter #queryfail thing. I suppose the two sides are: how dare you embarrass writers and well, you should have done your research. I definitely think writers who want to publish need to be doing some research and reading up on what agents and publishers want. Seems like common sense. On the other hand, I would hate for my query to be tweeted. It seems like the query letter is more daunting than writing a book! There is a lot of info out about them though, so I think we will have the upper edge over those who just wing it. Good thing we have our crit groups as a filter. Why stress over things we can’t control right?

Back to Twitter… I just don’t think that I am that interesting that people would want to follow my every move. LOL I am not sure I will try it. If any of you use Twitter…let me know what you think. I am many accounts will I have to sign into everyday! UGH!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Writing Blues

Well folks, I am still plowing along on my manuscript. There are about 74,000 words at the moment. I know it looks like I haven’t had much progress but that’s not the case. Have any of you ever tried to write the ending for a novel? I know some of you have, so you know how hard it is. I was trying to lay down the tracks, after which I will go back and do some hard core editing. It needs it…a lot! Anyway, the main character is going through quite a pivotal moment in her life and I am afraid that I won’t do it justice. I need some sort of an epiphany or ethereal wisdom. I’m waiting! :-)

I have introduced various different parts of the novel to various different critting groups and have gotten various different responses. I’m sure you noticed how many times I said “various different,” but I assure you it’s because I need to be rebellious at the moment and nothing else more serious. I digress. Anyhow, some of the sections that I submitted did really well and others… not so well. Some sections I submitted knowing that they needed work; I just wanted to see what the reader response would be. Overall, I am happy with the way things turned out. If you are one of the kind people who left critiques, thank you kindly.

Moving on, I am steadfast in my decision to write and publish. I will not give up, even when the critiques get me down. Those who know me know that I love a challenge, and that I will move mountains to achieve my goals. This even includes reading boring books about writing and suffering through rejection. Futhermore, I am jumping on Nathan Bransford's positivity week bandwagon...can't get that Rainbow Connection song out of my head!