Friday, August 18, 2017

August 2017 Word War: Day Five

 Good morning, friends! Shannon here. 
Well, we did it! We made it to the very last day of our very last summer 2017 word war! I hope you're getting in tons and tons of words.
What's a word war? 
A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?
Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?
This word war began Monday and will end TONIGHT! It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

Write on, friends!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 2017 Word War: Day Four

Hey, writers!

It makes me a bit twitchy to not be able to be writing with you all! Technically, I'm making progress on a writing tutorial, but it's just not the same as working on fiction.

How's the word war going for you so far?




What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war began Monday and will end tomorrow night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

Hope you have a productive day!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

August 2017 Word War: Day Three

Hey, writers!

I love seeing you guys support each other during the word wars. It's my favorite part of these weeks!

Since I finished my first draft back in July, and I'm still in the midst of my six week break between drafts, I'm mostly working on "other writing stuff." Including putting together the blog schedule for the rest of 2017 (if you have requests for posts, leave them in the comments!) and all the other writing-related-but-not-actually-writing tasks that get shoved off my list.




What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war began Monday and will end Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

How is your word war going? Share in the comments.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

August 2017 Word War: Day Two

Jill here. It's day TWO of our August word war.

How goes it?

As I mentioned last month, I'm doing things backwards right now. I'm in the middle of a major rewrite on King's War (Kinsman Chronicles, book three), and I'm cutting words. My editor would like me to cut at least 50,000 words from my 194,000-word story.

(☉_☉)

But I've been working very hard, chip-chip-chipping away at this beast. I've cut just over 15,000 words so far and I still have a ways to go. I'm also at the Oregon Christian Writers' Conference this week (early bird class by Michael Hauge and evening keynotes by Frank Peretti!), so I'm sneaking away each day to make sure I get in my WORD-CUT-WAR time.





What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war began yesterday and will end Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

How is your word war going? Share in the comments.

Monday, August 14, 2017

August 2017 Word War: Day One

Jill here. Our last summer word war starts NOW!




What's a word war? 

A word war is when you and another writer (or in this case, lots of other writers!) compete to see who can write the most words in a designated period of time. Sometimes these are also referred to as "word sprints."

How does it work?

Write as much as you're able to today, and when you're done, leave a comment in this post about how the day went. You can share how many words you wrote, stumbling blocks, a favorite line you wrote, whatever you want!

You can also start mini word wars in the comments section of this blog, or on the Go Teen Writers Community Facebook group. (If you apply to join, leave me a comment on the blog so I can get you approved.)

The goal is to buckle down and focus on our manuscripts whenever we can, make good use of our writing time, and encourage each other as we write. Hopefully you'll be meeting new writers and deepening friendships as the war goes on!


How long does it last?

This word war begins today and will end Friday night. It's a come-and-go, write-when-you-can style of war, so it's never too late to join, and you don't have to participate every day. 

I'll be working hard with you today, though I'm still cutting words from my slightly-too-epic epic fantasy.

What are you working on?

Friday, August 11, 2017

How has your response to criticism evolved?

Hey all! Shannon here.

So, did you do it? Did you start the new school year?

We did. My kids started back this week and though the weather hasn't quite figured it out, FALL IS COMING.

That means next week's word war is the last showdown of the summer here at Go Teen Writers! Just like the previous two, it'll run Monday through Friday, and is meant to be a fun, come-and-go kind of event where we can encourage each other as we write. 

You should write with us! Inigo would.


As we near the end of our summer panels, I'm curious about your response to today's question. It's a topic every single one of us will address, again and again, throughout our career. 

How has your response to criticism evolved?


Shannon Dittemore
I have more perspective now than I did when I first started writing. It’s so easy to take everything personal and there are lots of mean people out there to make even the most confident writer gun-shy. But the truth is, we need a critical eye and if we can find it in beta readers and agents and editors who genuinely care about us and our careers, we’re blessed. Considerate critique will make us better and will prepare us to deal with the more mean-spirited reviewers out there.

And while I know those things to be true, it's still painful to hear negative things about my stories. These days, I'm able to filter through the feedback for the stuff that will make me better, but my stomach clenches every time I send my story out to be read--even by friends. In fact, even good feedback can mess me up. I get lost in turns of phrase and what someone DIDN'T say about my book. It just goes to show how screwed up it is to write for other people's approval. If you're able to continue writing after receiving criticism, you just might make it out there.


Stephanie Morrill
When I was a teen writer, I used to print out chapters of my book and give them to my friends “for their honest opinion.” But what I truly meant was, “Please read this and tell me that you think it’s great, and that I’m great, and that I’m totally going to be a famous author!” 

One time when I did this, a friend read the first few lines, rolled her eyes and called my book romantic garbage, only not in G-rated language. We then wrote angry notes back and forth to each other in which she told me that she didn’t think I had the talent to be an author. I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to convince that her my work was original and creative, which was stupid for a lot of reasons.

When I couldn’t convince her of my talent, I vowed that I would prove her wrong some day, and that I would never show anyone my work ever again.

This was my first tussle with criticism. It was a deep wound that took years to heal, but I’m very grateful for it now.

While I did eventually start showing people my writing, I was much smarter about who I chose and my own motivations. I wait until I have done several rounds of edits, and I wait until I truly want to know what someone else thinks of it. 

The other thing I’ll point out is that growing defensive when someone criticizes our writing is as normal as breathing. We all do it. I kept trying to tell my friend all the reasons she was wrong, and that was a waste of time. Glennon Doyle Melton says it this way in her fabulous article Three Rules for Surviving a Creative Life, “Art is a big girl. Bigger than we are. So for eight years, I have never spent my limited time or energy defending a piece of my writing. Even when my work is misunderstood, even when I’ve felt attacked, even when I wanted to fire back at somebody so bad that my fingers ached and I had to take deep breaths—I didn’t sit down and argue.”

I have a long way to go still, but I’m getting better at not trying to be my art’s lawyer or armed guard.

Jill Williamson
It probably hasn’t evolved enough. I don’t set out to look at reviews anymore. But people constantly tag me to come and read the reviews they wrote of my books, and my publisher will email me professional reviews from Publisher’s Weekly or Library Journal, so it’s impossible not to read those. I have learned to read criticism with a critical eye. I can tell right away if someone has an agenda, and those reviews I pretty much ignore. I scan for both positive and negative information and try and quickly discern what, if anything, I need to take from it. And I try and focus on the person behind the review. Life is all about relationships, so I try to comment or like those reviews in which people sought me out. And if someone tagged me and wrote a mean review, I ignore it. Everyone has the right to free speech, and people use that well. But there is no law that says we need to stand on a bow and let people pelt us with tomatoes. We can turn our backs and walk away with our heads held high. And we can also choose not to engage, because it does no good at all to argue with a reviewer or try and defend ourselves. The best we can do in those situations is to be silent.

Now it's your turn. Tell us, how do you respond to criticism? Has your response evolved throughout your journey?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Do You Believe In Your Writing?



Hello, Go Teen Writers! We're doing Q & A panels this summer. We answer a question, then pass it on to you. Please share your answer in the comments so we can all learn from each other.

Today we have a question that is sometimes hard to answer honestly aloud, but I think you'll see from the answers is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We all struggle in the area of self-confidence.





Do you believe in your writing?


Jill Williamson
Sometimes. 

This goes back to that question about being a confident or an anxious writer. It’s all about how we view ourselves. It's about our identity and how we define that identity. Where we find our worth. I have some deep wounds from my childhood that formed lies that have made me insecure about a lot of things. Oddly enough, I’m also extremely hardworking and stubborn. So while I might doubt myself on a daily (hourly?) basis, I continually dive headfirst into the fire anyway. That’s who I am. I need to be creating. It gives me joy. I think it goes back to my tendency to daydream. For me, my fantasy is safe. Nothing can hurt me there. This makes it sometimes difficult to live in the real world, since the real world doesn’t work like a fantasy world. People don't behave the way I want them to in the real world. Still, while I believe in myself, and I believe I “can” do anything I set my mind to, I know that my identity is not defined by this. So, yes, I believe that I am a good writer. I have worked hard to learn how. That is truth. And whether or not I sell millions of copies has no bearing on that truth. Whether or not I ever sold a novel would have had no bearing on that. My writing is good because I have put in the time to practice and learn. That is a fact. And I cannot judge my skill by other people's opinions of what I create. I can only judge each book by whether or not I have done my best.



Shannon Dittemore
Yes! All the time. Except when I don’t. We all go through ups and downs emotionally, professionally. But I’ve never put out anything I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make an adjustment if given the opportunity after the fact, or rewrite portions of former stories, but I believe that writing is a journey and I don’t want to begrudge the stops along the way.




Stephanie Morrill

Some of it, yes. Sometimes people say, “I’m reading this book of yours!” and my brain instantly goes to all the things I know are wrong with that book. And nothing brings out my insecurities like sending a few chapters to my agent or editor. 

For the most part, though, I believe in what I have written. I think it helps that I don’t ask my writing to do a whole lot. By which I mean, I don’t ask my novels to change lives or inspire girls or make a difference. Of course I love it when I hear that they have, but I don’t put that expectation on my novels. I just want to tell a good story.


Now it's your turn. Do you believe in your writing?


Monday, August 7, 2017

What's something you keep in your writing space that's meaningful to you?


Happy Monday, writers!

First, I want to share this really cool video about Warren Adler. Warren Adler is a bestselling author of over 50 novels, and is best known for his novel War of the Roses. This video is about his journey and persistence as a writer, and I think it'll give you a zip of inspiration this week. You can find more info about Mr. Adler by clicking here.

Also, next week is our last word war of the summer! Just like the previous two, it'll run Monday through Friday, and is meant to be a fun, come-and-go kind of event where we can encourage each other as we write.

Our panel question for today is, "What's something you keep in your writing space that's meaningful to you?"




Shannon Dittemore
I have a teeny tiny sparkly frame next to my computer screen and it keeps a very important reminder close at hand: Make them care. If I can do that—if I can make readers care about my characters, about their plight—I’ve done my job. And I take my job very seriously.




Stephanie Morrill
A copy of the book Arthur Writes a Story. My daughter brought this home from her school library when she was in first grade, and when I read it to her, I cried at the end. Arthur is writing a story as a class assignment. He knows exactly what he wants to write, and so he does. But then his sister says it's boring, so he rewrites it to be more unusual. Another friend says his story takes place in outer space, so Arthur rewrites his to be set on the moon. One friend is putting in jokes, another is going really deep with research, and so on. Arthur keeps tweaking his story so that it fits everybody else's opinions about what's best, and by the end, his story about how he got his dog has turned into a country western song and dance about an elephant on a different planet.

The reason the story hit me so hard the first time I read it is that I was writing The Lost Girl of Astor Street. I was waaaaay out of my comfort zone, and I kept leaning on others to tell me that I was making the right choices with the story. There's a time and place for that, of course, but I really needed to trust myself and believe in the story the way I had envisioned it instead of seeking approval.


I bought a copy for my office, and it sits where I can see it (unless one of my kids runs off with it) as a reminder to trust my vision for the story, and to stop hustling for approval and permission from others.


Jill Williamson
I have a framed quote by author E. B. White (who wrote Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little) on my wall that a friend gave me as a Christmas gift years back. It is meaningful because it was such a thoughtful gift, but also because it reminds me that I am loved. We writers can feel very isolated sitting in front of a computer all day, even when interacting with people online. We need face-to-face friendships with people, whether they are other writers or not.




What about you? Do you have anything you keep near your writing space to remind you of something important?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Can you tell us about a crucial turning point in your career?



Shannon here! And it is officially the first Friday in August! Insanity!

You're all gearing up for a new school year, aren't you? I've already been out with my kids shopping for school supplies and new uniforms. This summer has simply magicked itself away. It's still blazing hot out here in California, but I can almost taste the caramel apples on the wind. And I say, bring it on! Fall is balm to a writer's soul.

Today's summer panel question is an honest look at just how much things can change for an author. This is not a career for those who cannot function without constant stability.


Can you tell us about a crucial turning point in your career?


Shannon Dittemore
I’ve had several, actually, and I’m only three published books into my career. The first, I think, was when my original agent decided he didn’t want to be an agent anymore. He was a nice guy, but his departure saw me pairing up with my current agent, Holly Root. And, while I was grateful for everything my first agent was able to accomplish, Holly is a better fit in so many ways. As I work to make the jump from Christian fiction to general fiction, I'm so grateful to be with an agent who knows the market well.



Stephanie Morrill
When I decided to go for it and write The Lost Girl of Astor Street. Until then, I had been convinced that contemporary YA was all I would ever write. My agent had been trying, but we couldn’t seem to sell a thing. I mentioned a half-baked idea for Lost Girl along with some other YA ideas I had, but none of them sounded like someone she could sell. She suggested I try writing fiction for adults. I sent her ideas for books. She told me they all sounded like YA. She told me that I should take some time and consider if she was the best agent for me, or if I wanted to find someone else. It felt like a, “It’s not you, it’s me,” kind of break-up.

Jill Williamson
There were two that I consider crucial. The first was publishing my first book (By Darkness Hid) with an indie publisher, which was then called Marcher Lord Press. Having a book in print gave me something to promote and a way to gather readers. A year and a half later, that same book won a Christy Award, which is kind of a big deal in the Christian specialty market. Winning that award didn’t skyrocket my sales or anything, but it was like shining a spotlight on me, my book, and Marcher Lord Press, for the entire publishing industry to see. People were saying, “Who is that person who won that award?” And when I went to my annual writers’ conference that summer, I no longer had trouble looking for an agent. The agents came to me. It was a very nice change. LOL


How about you guys? I know most of you aren't headlong into your career yet, but have you hit any obstacles that you can now look at as crucial turning points? 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?

Hi, everyone. *Jill waves both hands and smiles* I can't believe we've made it to August already. Man! I hate how fast the summer tends to fly by. My kids start school this month, which means I'm going to have to start getting up SO EARLY!

*weeps*

But there are still good times to be had! Writers' conferences to attend. I had the privilege of teaching a teen track at this year's Realm Makers conference. It was a blast. I met SO MANY young writers--and a dozen or so who had been a part of Go Teen Writers or still are. Several adults also told me they secretly follow GTW and read our posts. I took pictures with as many people as I could. Realm Makers is a fabulous conference for those of us who write speculative fiction (any weird genre). I highly recommend checking them out.

And now I must share some pictures. If you want to see more, including pics with me and my author friends, check out the more in-depth blog post I wrote on my author blog.




Something new this conference, my husband came with. He has been writing for years. He has written screenplays, four and a half novels, and lots of plays and skits. The conference inspired him. He came home and started editing one of his novels. He also started a new screenplay. Time will tell if the writing bug is permanent, but it was a lot of fun to have him with me, seeing a bit of my world. He writes under the pen name Casey Oswald, so if you see Casey around, that's him.

Something else cool about Realm Makers, I got to cosplay with my husband. How did we look?



Okay, enough of all that. Let's get back to business as usual.





We have a fun question today on the blog, and I'm really looking forward to reading all of your responses. In case you're new, we're doing Q & A panels on the blog this summer. Each day we post a question, we all write our answer, then we ask you to post your answer in the comments.

Please participate! The more the merrier.





How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?


Shannon Dittemore
Well! My family and I had done the Disneyland at Christmastime thing and we were driving home on Highway 99. If you haven’t driven from NorCal to SoCal down this corridor, you’re missing out. It’s all stinky cows and big rigs. But! It has more rest stops than I5 and when you have kids in the car, rest stops are king. So! We’re driving down the stinky highway and we’re surrounded by big rigs and I started thinking about how being a trucker is such a lifestyle commitment. I mean, you’re out on the road non-stop, away from your family, dealing with weather and road conditions. And then I remembered that show on the History channel: Ice Road Truckers. I’d seen a commercial for it that involved a female rig driver and, as all good commercials do, it had me begging to know what kind of danger she’d just put herself in. That thought slamming me as I’m driving home from a very Elsa-Anna-Olaf kind of vacation, had me wondering just how dangerous rig driving would be if the ice roads were laced with magic. From there, my current work in progress was born. 


Stephanie Morrill
I was listening to a Stuff You Missed in History Podcast on Executive Order 9066, which was the order that sent Japanese Americans to concentration camps during WWII. I thought, “What if you were a Caucasian teenage girl in love with a Japanese American boy?” and the story unfolded from there.





Jill Williamson
I am so excited to read Shannon and Stephanie's new books. I can't even tell you how excited. Gah! Waiting is torture . . .

My most recent work-in-progress is the Kinsman Chronicles. Here is how I came up with it: In my Blood of Kings trilogy, I mentioned that hundreds of years ago Arman (who represents God) bestowed the telepathic magic of bloodvoicing upon those with royal blood when the kings first came to the land of Er’Rets. That got me thinking where these ancient kings had come from and why they’d left their homeland. I started playing around with the idea of a prequel series, and I was hooked. 


What about you? How did you come up with the idea for your most recent work-in-progress?


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Call for Submissions!

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels and novellas. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels…to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and through her website.



~*~


I'm coming at you today in my role as editor for WhiteFire Publishing with a fun announcement! WFP is planning to launch its young reader line, and we need submissions! We're currently seeking:

  • Children's Picture Books (text or with illustrations)
  • Illustrators
  • Middle grade fiction (both lower and upper)
  • Young Adult novels (all genres)

WhiteFire is a small, traditional (royalty-paying) Christian publisher whose motto is "Where Spirit Meets the Page." We love books with a strong hook, engaging characters, and where the light of the Lord comes shining through. Faith themes don't necessarily have to be overt, but all our books must uphold our beliefs.

If you have a story you'd like to submit, please send the following to r.white@whitefire-publishing.com:

A cover letter that includes your contact info, book title, genre, and word count. PLUS a proposal (Word doc attachment) that includes:

  • A 1-sentence hook
  • A 1-3 paragraph blurb
  • Status of manuscript (completed? completed by?)
  • Series info, if applicable
  • Full bio, including sales history if any
  • Marketing/promotional overview (to whom the book is targeted and how you’ll appeal to them)
  • Comparable titles
  • A 2-3 page synopsis (for full length books. Shorter for shorter stories is fine!)
  • Sample. For a full length novel, this should be the first three chapters. For a shorter book, 1-2 chapters. For a picture book, send the complete text. 


If you're an artist and would like to be on our roster of illustrators, please send a sample of your work to: r.white@whitefire-publishing.com
  
Check out our current titles at www.WhiteFire-Publishing.com. If you have any questions, feel free to email me with them at roseannamwhite@gmail.com or leave them in the comments below!