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May, 2012

  1. The Big Reveal

    May 29, 2012 by Suzi

    Welcome to The Big Reveal.
    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from unagented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.

    What’s your process for naming characters?

     

    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    I use name databases. I’m big into name meanings and origins, particularly since the world in which I’ve set my story believes a name determines your destiny. The only name I (sort of) made up is my title character, Rump, but that’s just short for Rumpelstiltskin, so it came rather naturally.

    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
    Honestly, I just close my eyes and have them tell me what their name is.

    Amy Sonnichsen, Agented author
    My names come to me with the characters. They don’t have names I would pick for my children or anything like that. For minor characters I’ll sometimes go through a baby names list to get inspiration, but that’s rare. The only name I’ve ever really struggled with was for my main character’s mother. I’m still not completely satisfied with her name!

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    I have no idea. They just pop into my head. I don’t always keep the first one that comes, though. Names are something that evolve during revision – generally they’re just a placeholder in the first draft. Then I rename as the character grows and solidifies in my mind. I’ve never created a name, but a character in my current MS is called Tiffin, after the afternoon English tea. He’s called Fin for short.

    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    Such a GOOD question!! I keep a database of character names, it contains male and female character first names and last names too. Naming is hard for me, and I’ve been known to change their names 2-3 times before landing on something that works. I tend to like names that you don’t hear every day for my main characters and names that can have a nickname or can be shortened for my female characters.

    Ben Spendlove, Un-agented author
    The same process I use to pick names for actual people: baby name databases. (Except with names for actual people—meaning children—my wife has to agree.) Sometimes I’ll narrow it down by country of origin or specific keywords in the meaning. Usually, I just look through page after page until something jumps out at me. I put them all on the list and refine it until I have the right name. I almost always use real names. For my first novel, I made up a few. (Like Aersh, an alteration of Earth. Clever, eh?)

    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    I jab at a letter and then come up with a name from it. I come up with my own names all the time.

    Stacie Stokes, Un-agented author
    Sometimes I know them right off the bat, and other times I have to put more thought into them. I try not to pick super unusual names unless the character is unusual enough to warrant it, or if the name plays a role in the story. For characters I want readers to perceive as “normal” I’ve consulted the top 100 list of baby names for the year they would have been born, to keep it consistent with what my potential readers might experience among their classmates.

    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    A lot of names just pop into my head. But when I need help I go to the Social Security names website where you can see the top 1000 names of any given year. It’s great when you need names from older generations too. Sometimes I’ll go a ways into the story and change a name because it’s not feeling right, but normally once I get a name, I stick with it.

    Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    My husband laughed as he read this over my shoulder, because he names almost all my secondary characters. I’ll just shout out – man’s name, 35, a-hole. And Mike will spout a name back. My main characters usually name themselves. I did just finish a joint project with my friend, Kelley, where I’d named the MC, but she didn’t feel like a “Penny” until halfway through the book. That was bizarre.

    So how do you choose your character names?


  2. Awards time again

    May 27, 2012 by Suzi

    The awards are flying all over the place, as you can see. Three in one week. How cool!

    Thank you to Jenny Morris for the Beautiful Blogger award,

    Rachel Schieffelbein for the Kreativ Blogger Award,

    and Cassie Mae for the Stylish Blogger Award.

     

     

     

     

     

    As with these awards, you have to post a number of things about yourself, either random stuff or answer questions. So here it goes—I’m just gonna mix them all together.
    Random things (I’m being lazy, so I’m piggy backing off some of Jenny’s random things.)

    1. I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice.

    2. I love avocados, especially in guacamole.

    3. I don’t drink Mountain Dew. I had a short stint with Diet Mt. Dew, but that was because my only other choice was Pepsi-ick.

    4. I’ve never been to Alaska.

    5. Growing up, I wanted to be many things: writer, lawyer, and obstetrician. I went to school for engineering.

    6. We had a station wagon when I was younger. The third seat could face backwards—that was way cool.

    7. When I grew up, my grandma and uncle lived in a huge farmhouse. They sold the house and the new owners moved it away. The following Christmas was very different.

    8. Sour cream and onion is my favorite flavor potato chips.

    9. I had a retinal detachment years ago.

    10. Our dog came from the Humane Society.

    What’s your favorite song/singer?
    Chicago is one of my favorite bands. They had a ton of great songs, but my favorite is “Remember the Feeling,” which wasn’t one of their biggest hits.

    What is your favorite dessert?
    Chocolate cake with ice cream.

    What ticks you off?
    Stupid drivers. But I don’t do much; probably just swear at them in my head.

    When you’re upset, what do you do?
    Want to be alone.

    Which is/was your favorite pet?
    Lacey is the dog we have now, that we got a few years after we got married. So she was my baby before the kids. But growing up, I had a dog Tisha, that lived until she was 17–so she was a big part of my life too.

    What do you prefer, black or white?
    Black. It absorbs the sun and warms me up when I’m cold.

    What is your biggest fear?
    Not being there for the big moments in my kids’ lives.

    What is perfection?
    I have no clue.

    What is your guilty pleasure?
    Reading too much, when I should be doing other stuff.

    So I’m being lazy and skipping the other stuff you’re supposed to do. So maybe that means I can’t fully accept these awards, but to find people to pass all three on too… that’s too much.
    But still thank you to Jenny, Rachel and Cassie.


  3. Sloppy Writing 101.16

    May 25, 2012 by Suzi

    Check out the sentences below for another word I overuse.

    -There were so many things now that fell into place.
    -I knew she had started smoking crack by the time I was eight, because there were a few times I remembered her being high.
    -Brooke, it’s freezing out there.
    - In one little handful of snow, there were hundreds of snowflakes.

    The repeat offender is there. Writing experts discourage using there at the beginning of a sentence. Most of the time you can find a better, more descriptive way to write the sentence. Luckily, I wasn’t so bad at that, but I unnecessarily use it other places.

    If I rewrote those above sentences, this is how I’d do it.

    -So many things now fell into place.
    -I knew she had started smoking crack by the time I was eight, because I remembered her being high a few times.
    -Brooke, it’s freezing outside.
    -One little handful of snow held hundreds of snowflakes.

    Yeah, only nine words deleted, but it’s much cleaner.

    So watch out for your unnecessary theres.


  4. The Big Reveal

    May 22, 2012 by Suzi

    Welcome to The Big Reveal.

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from unagented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.

    Where do you usually write?

     Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    My dream setting on my couch, with my feet on the coffee table. No one home. Nothing happening around me. Clean house. Cozy socks. Pellegrino, potato chips and dark chocolate almonds. Break for a run with LOUD music and my playlist for my WIP, and then back on the couch for more writing. Ideal.

    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    My usual place is my little desk next to my bed, but I can write anywhere as long as it’s quiet. My ideal writing setting is a quiet room all to myself, no music, no interruptions for at least two hours, and a cup of hot chocolate with toast and jam. (If only they’d magically refill!) I don’t have a “dream” writing setting. Honestly the less exotic the better. It’s easier for me to dive into an imaginary world if the world around me is rather boring.

    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
    I write in bed, lying down, on the laptop. I get paid to be on my back.

    Amy Sonnichsen, Agented author
    I like to be alone in a quiet place. Usually I write at the kitchen table while my kids are napping. I usually drink Dr. Pepper or a mug of hot green tea.

     

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    I write on a laptop in the mornings when my kids are gone. In the winter, I sit in our front room. In the summer, I sit in my office, which has lots of windows and French doors (but is too chilly in winter.) My teaching schedule is in the afternoons so I try to get in at least two hours each weekday before other demands take over. Ideal setting for me is anywhere it’s quiet. And while it’s nice to fantasize about writing on a beach or something, I wouldn’t get much writing done in an exotic location. A boring, white-walled room is probably the best setting for me to write. With a window overlooking something pretty. :)

    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    I can write pretty much anywhere (and often do!) I have written on the backs of receipts in my purse, in my journal while waiting at the doctor’s office, and I often text myself bits and pieces I don’t want to forget. It drives my husband a little batty at times! Most often though, I write in my living room, laptop on my lap, happily listening to music (loudly) with headphones in. Nothing really distracts me from writing, I write with the TV on in the background, while dinner’s cooking, while my dog is squeezed on my lap too, accidently hitting keys with her paws, whenever, wherever. I’ve never thought about it, but I guess I’m glad I don’t need an ideal situation to be able to write. I just go for it.

    Ben Spendlove, Un-agented author
    Sitting up in bed. In my underwear. Very quietly, because my wife is sleeping next to me. I like peace and quiet, no music, no talking. I also prefer chairs to sitting in bed, but it’s too dang cold to get out of bed at five a.m. And my dream setting in which to write? Whatever setting I’m writing about. Uh, assuming I could be guaranteed not to die, as some of my settings aren’t exactly safe.

    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    Anywhere in my house, but usually in my recliner chair while my kids run amok around me. I don’t mind music or noise or anything cuz I’m so used to it. I don’t have a dream setting because I honestly won’t have time to enjoy it. Whenever I write, I’m in my character’s world, not mine. :)

    Jade Hart, Un-agented author
    I usually write in one of the upstairs bedrooms with the sun spilling in and a glass of Coke Zero on the table. I don’t normally snack as I don’t like to type with dirty fingers, but I do drink a lot of soda. (which is extremely bad… I know, I know. But I don’t drink coffee or tea, so I have to get my caffeine from somewhere)

    My ideal place to write would be Bali. But with no Husband. I was there not long ago and had full intentions to write, but it was too hard to ignore the pool and food with an eager hubby around. I would want to book into a suite for a month. For inspirational breaks I would go for a walk on the beach, a massage or a swim. Heaven.

    Stacie Stokes, Un-agented author
    The main place I write is at home – either in the office or on my couch – but I often have to get creative given my work demands. When I travel, planes and trains become my best friend. If I can snag 30 free minutes at the office, I might do a quick re-read of something I wrote the night before. I also keep a notebook by my bed since many of my ideas seem to come to me in the morning or late at night.
    If I’m in a public place, I sometimes play classical music on my iPod to block out the chatter so I can concentrate, but mostly I’m a music-free, snack-free, focus-on-the-writing kind of writer. I like to give the voices in my head my full concentration. :-)

    As unglamorous as it is, my dream place to write is in my bed on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t know why I love writing there so much…maybe because so many of my ideas come from dreams?

    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    Sometimes at my desktop in the computer room. Sometimes at my laptop, wherever. I usually have the music on. Once I got to spend a day and a half last summer at my parent’s lake cabin—alone. That was wonderful, and I’d love to do it again.

     

    Where do you usually do your writing?


  5. The Writer’s Voice

    May 19, 2012 by Suzi

    Go Team Cupid!

    May 17th was the start of the second round of The Writers Voice contest hosted by Krista, Cupid, Monica, and Brenda. TWV had 200 entries and I figured myself lucky just to get in. But then Cupid chose me to be on her team of ten + one alternate. What an honor.

    So this last week, we got a look at all our teammates queries and first pages. We got comments, then revised. Then comments. Then revised. (Some of us at least.) With any critique, you don’t agree with everything, but I made a lot of great changes from their comments and really appreciated the help.

    Now I’m sure that everyone believes they have the best team, but I just wanted to show you why we really are the best. And I apologize because I won’t be able to do these stories justice, so make sure to go to Cupid’s site to read their query and first page yourself. (Keep in mind I haven’t read any of these, I’m just pulling my description together from what I’ve read of their query.)

    Dahlia with Behind the Scenes, a contemporary young adult novel about a girl who works for her celebrity best friend. But when the publicists decide they want the celebrity friend to “date” her co-star, the guy the girl’s just begun seeing, she needs to decide what means more: her best friend, her future and her shot at love.
     

    Favorite line: She’d had an audition that morning for a teen dramedy show, and despite having been in plenty of movies, she was more desperate to land the role of Ditz #3 on Daylight Falls than she’d been to play Brad-freakin’-Pitt’s stepdaughter three years ago.

    Melanie with Dazed and Knights, a young adult romance novel where a girl goes back in time and has to deal with a spoiled princess, a handsy lord and no toilets! But of course there’s a knight in shining armour and she must decided if she wants to stay or try return home.

     Favorite lines: Staring at the back of his head, I imagined lightning bolts shooting from my eyes and frying that perfect blond hair. I could almost hear the sizzle.

    Ann with Supertastic ScienceGirls, a middle grade novel about a girl who discovers her parents are involved in this super secret experiment and she ends up in danger from the people who want to stop it. They attempt to kidnap her, but she and her Scientastic SuperGirls club won’t let that happen.

     Favorite line: We’ve found ourselves a sub loonier than the lady who walked on tiptoes and only talked about leprechauns.

    LeighAnn with One, a young adult sci-fi novel about a girl who doesn’t fit in. She has one power, whereas everybody else has either two powers OR none. But when she discovers a boy, a one, they realize together they have both powers. Except that somebody doesn’t want to see that happen and kidnaps the boy. But rescuing him might be the end to her chance to develop her two powers and she must decide what to do.

    Favorite lines: I’m a One – a half-superpowered freak. It’s the same sad story for all of us.

    Kelsey with But Not for Me, a contemporary young adult novel with a girl who is constantly bullied and teased. She’s tremendously overweight, is labeled as a special ed kid, and just got a new step-sister who’s making her life hell. When she gets a chance to shine, but is pushed back down by her fellow classmates, she must decide if she will take charge of her life or remain the girl everyone thinks she is.

    Favorite lines: I hate buttoning my jeans. I would rather skip straight to the inevitable muumuu phase of my life than try to encapsulate my size 20 ass into this denim prison ever again.

    Derek with Stealing the Sun, a sci fi novel about a notorious space pirate who is not only trying to escape from his past, but from the people who want him dead.

    Favorite line: Yep, Trig thought, he was pretty well nerfed.

    Amy Rose with Burnout, a contemporary young adult novel about a drag-racing girl, her deceitful ex-best friend, and the boy the girl is falling for. And it all takes place in the underground world of illegal street racing.

    Favorite lines: Hello, Universe. Callie White here, future professional drag racer extraordinaire. 10.5 seconds is what I need. 10.5 is what I’ll get. Just try and stop me. I dare you.

    MarcyKate with Monstrous, a fantasy young adult novel where the murdered girl is brought back to life by her father, except she looks like a monster. As she’s trying to save innocents from being murdered, she’s falling for a boy who hasn’t seen her hideous self, and she’s trying to figure out who the real monster is: her father, the wizard who murdered her, or herself.

    Favorite line: When I opened my eyes, the colors of the world swarmed me, filling up all space with hues and objects for which I had no name.

    Becky with Here Comes the Sun, a contemporary young adult novel about an often-teased girl who gets to go to England on a school trip. She meets a boy, a Beetles fanatic, and hopefully he will help her learn to break free from her shell and that life doesn’t always suck.

    Favorite line: So here I am, flying so damn high in the sky that Chicago looks like Lego City, crossing my legs so tight that they are literally tingling from the pressure.

    Cortney with Phobic, a young adult horror novel where the main character realizes that the house she is living in is alive and that she is physically connected to it. And if she doesn’t figure out the truth behind the house, she may just permanently become a part of it.

    Favorite lines: When I was six years old I found the man my mother murdered stuffed under a trap door in our kitchen. The smell gave him away.

    And here’s my Frosty.

    And thank you once again to our fearless leader, Cupid! Not only has she helped with our query and first page, but she critiqued some additional pages too. I can’t thank her enough!

    So go check out all the entries to see some great stories. Sunday is the last day to leave comments, then Monday the agents will stop by.


  6. Sloppy Writing 101.15

    May 18, 2012 by Suzi

    Quick note: Thank you to Kelley Lynn for choosing me as one of her winners of the Oh Those High School Dances Blog Hop. I won best dressed, thanks to my metallic royal blue lamae dress. Check out her site for the other winners. For my prize, I got a book and I picked HUSHED by Kelley York. So thank you to Kelley Lynn.

    Now back to Sloppy Writing.

    Another little word that pops up too often in my writing is shown in the examples below from my early FROSTY manuscript.

    -It was all Mom could afford, but I’d loved our mini vacations and we always had fun.

    -I hated how girls always had to go to the bathroom in teams, and this was the same thing.

    -Buy something fun instead of those stupid t-shirts you always wear.

    That word would be always. I just don’t need it. I can take the three always out of the above sentences and it doesn’t alter them one bit. An easy fix: DELETE.

    I didn’t do a word count, because so many of those always are necessary, but trust me; I got rid of many of them. So make sure your always are always necessary.


  7. The Big Reveal

    May 15, 2012 by Suzi

     

    Welcome to The Big Reveal.

    I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about.  So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from unagented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.

     Do you have any trunked novels?

    Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
    I have many temporarily trunked novels, since I’ve written over 1.2 million words. They are trunked solely because of time. I wrote straight for 1 ½ years before jumping into querying FROSTY. And I’ve continued to write. About 25% are contemporary adult, the rest contemporary young adult. They need tremendous work, but I love them all for different reasons and they are just waiting to be picked up again.

    Joelene B. Perry, Published author
    I have four or five trunked novels. Two I want to change into short stories. One I’m switching tenses in – SLOWLY. I have an LDS novel I wrote that’s too “dark” for the LDS market . . . I’m okay with this. It’s simply a patience thing in knowing (or hoping) that I’ll be inspired at the right time to fix the story enough to be marketable.

    Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
    I have two trunked novels. One will stay trunked forever, the other…I may return to the concept at some point, but I’ll rewrite the story entirely.

    Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
    Yep. A few. I hope to return to them someday as a better writer, to make them better books.

    Amy Sonnichsen, Agented author
    I have two trunked novels. I may steal ideas from them someday (I especially like the setting of one), but I don’t think I’ll ever try to edit them into anything better. They are officially trunked.

    Melodie Wright, Agented author
    I have one MS I’ve set aside because its genre just isn’t selling right now. Someday I may take another look at it. I have several others I’ve written over the years that were great practice but just not good enough to sell.

    Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
    Of course I have trunked novels! What writer doesn’t?  My first novel is a definite trunk novel (of course I didn’t know that at the time I was writing it! And it would have broken my heart if someone had told me that.) At the time, I figured once I got through the editing and rewriting stages, I would eventually query that novel. Somehow, maybe through divine intervention I just kind of realized it wasn’t good enough and may never be ready or commercially viable, so I took everything I learned through writing, and rewriting that 80k novel and I wrote something completely different, which was my 2nd novel, which I did query and get an agent! I have written 6 books total, and 3 that I am proud of and want to pursue publication with and 3 that I think may stay in the hard drive. And I have absolutely no hard feelings about that. I firmly believe in the importance of trunk novels! Sounds strange, right? I think about what if I’d decided to keep working on that first novel for months, years (!?) when I could have been growing and writing something better and stronger? I believe in taking risks and starting over when necessary. Keep moving forward, and keep growing!

    Ben Spendlove, Un-agented author
    Oh, I have two trunked novels. The second is going to be my next project, actually. I’m going to completely redo it with the same characters and themes, but a different plot.

    Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
    Yes. A lot of them. And I don’t have any plans on revisiting them either, at least not right now.

    Jade Hart, Un-agented author
    Yes, I do I have trunked novels. My first book: CHAMELEON KEY is still very dear to me and I will be re-writing it once I’ve finished editing my current MS. I also have another MS called ELEMENTS that I need to re-write. I wrote it in 4 pov’s and it’s a bit confusing, I have to decide which character I want to write from, OR write in third person. So that is a project from another day. I also have a folder full of ideas that I would like to elaborate on when I’m next free for a new book :)

    Stacie Stokes, Un-agented author
    I have a number of unfinished stories that I eventually came to realize weren’t really marketable. I also have two WIPs that I temporarily abandoned so I could focus on my current manuscript, but I’d like to come back to them at some point in the future.

     Do you have any trunked novels?


  8. First Loves Blogfest

    May 14, 2012 by Suzi


    Welcome to the First Loves Blogfest where you post your first loves for movie, song/band, book and person. Thank you to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting. Check here to see all the participants.

     

     

     

    First Movie: Hellraiser
    Okay, I’m sure I had other movies I loved as a kid, but this one sticks out because I saw it at 13 and it perhaps fueled that fondness for horror movies. You gotta love Pinhead, who still lives on in Halloween costumes. Four of us girls were taken to the movie by a mother of one of them. Now I never asked my Mom about this, but I’m pretty sure that she might not have liked me going to the rated R Hellraiser at 13. So it makes me wonder if we told her what movie we were seeing. Probably not.

     

    First song: The Reflex by Duran Duran
    Once again, this probably wasn’t my earliest favorite, but it sticks out for one big reason. Somewhere in the mid eighties I got my first boom box. Duran Duran was my first cassette tape and I loved The Reflex, which had a cool video too way back when MTV showed music videos. I’m sure I hit rewind over and over to replay the song. Those were the not-so-good old days when you had to buy a whole cassette to get the one song you liked.

    First book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
    Is claiming The Outsiders as your favorite a cliché? Because I’m pretty sure everyone has at some point. But seriously it was. It probably helped that I saw the movie about the same time with all the hot young guys. Now they’re all old like me. It still makes me cry though—the movie and the book.

     

     

    First love: Ryan
    So I can’t really call him my first love because it was 5th grade, but he was the first crush I remember. I can’t picture him now, but I remember that he had blazing red hair. And he wasn’t in my class so I have no picture to see if my memory serves me correctly. And he didn’t like me–sigh. And he was only at our elementary school for that one year, if I remember right.

    Why does this boy stick in my head then? I have no clue because I remember nothing else about him. Only his hair and his first and last name.

    So that’s it. Some of my favorites. How about yours?


  9. WIP Coaching: Chloe – Merge and Purge

    May 13, 2012 by Suzi

    FYI: I’ve been working with Gabriela Lessa on my newest WIP Chloe, so that’s what this is about. Check out her site to learn more about WIP coaching.
    I had my final WIP coaching Skype session with Gabi where she reviewed my first 50 pages. Now it’s time to purge and merge because apparently I have a few unnecessary characters, which muddle up the story.

    Whom shall I cut?

    So I’m sorry, but Gia, Dirk and Byron… you’re all gone.

    So why are they gone?

    Just to give you background, Chloe is an 18 year old freshman in college. Murphy becomes her best friend. Sasha becomes her girlfriend. Devyn is Chloe’s suitemate at the dorms.

    Gia. She is Chloe’s suitemate in the dorms, roommate to Devyn. She’s not as important overall because Chloe has more of a connection to Devyn. And I haven’t really gotten their characters down, so Devyn and Gia are not that different. So I am merging Gia into Devyn and making her Chloe’s roommate. (Why didn’t I just do that in the first place?) This will take a little work as Gia’s name pops up a lot and I’ll have to adjust a few minor scenes, but no big issues with that.

    Dirk: He is a friend of Murphy’s who doesn’t make a physical appearance in the story and is only referenced every now and again. Now Murphy has 2 other friends who are more important, who I don’t want to get rid of. Buy why have Dirk (who is mentioned early on) if I’m not using him? He’s not important really, so Dirk got the ax.

    Byron: He is Sasha’s fiancé. He also does not make an appearance but is only there for backstory on Sasha. But the problem is that this backstory sort of creates little mysteries about Sasha that I don’t really want or need. Gabi explained that because I referenced him enough, the readers might expect something of him in the story—those little mysteries I mentioned. I think when I first starting thinking this story over, I considered bringing the ex-fiancé in, a bad guy who shows up to cause trouble. But the story didn’t go that way and he never shows. So Byron gets the ax too, as I will take out some of this Sasha backstory and he will be referred to as her fiancé.

    So goodbye to Gia, Dirk and Byron—we won’t miss you.

    Obviously not all characters have a starring role, but I’m learning that I need to figure out who is important and who isn’t. Then get rid of the ones I don’t need.

    So do you ever have too many unnecessary characters in your WIPs?
    And is it easy to remove them?

    Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there.


  10. Sloppy Writing 101.14

    May 11, 2012 by Suzi

    Just a quick note. I was lucky to be one of the 200 entrants in The Writer’s Voice competiton hosted by to Krista, Cupid, Monica, and Brenda. This is my entry for FROSTY. The four ladies above picked 10 entries each, that they want to work with to prepare queries and first pages for the agents viewing round.

    I was stunned when Cupid invited me to be on her team. I still feel like I should go back to my comments section to see if it was real. (It appears so because the comment is still there.) She already gave me a suggestion too… to bump up my word count to about 55,000. I’ve got about 1800 down, 1200 to go.

    One cool thing is that I already “kinda” know a few people on my team, either because I follow their blogs or because I’ve seen their query other places too and it seems like a fun group. The 2nd part of the competition is just starting and already I’m addicted to following the Twitter feed. Check out #thewritersvoice to see all the fun. Each team has their own hashtag too.

    See here for Team Cupid.

     * * * * *

    Now to Sloppy Writing.

    Sometimes (try most of the time), we have unnecessary words in our writing—or at least I do. Another example of what I overuse is a little.

    Here are three examples from FROSTY and remember, this is an early draft.

    -I felt a little weird because Lana was serving us.
    (Does it matter if she was weirded out a little or a lot? No.)

    -Brooke clinked my glass and gave me a little eye roll.
    (Is there that big of difference between a big eye roll and a little eye roll? Not much in this case.)

    -Her makeup was nice and not over done—that surprised me a little.
    (Again, does the level of surprise matter here? No.)

    In my early version of FROSTY, I had 56 a littles.

    Uffda. Yes, I’m half Norwegian, so I can say that. That 56 x 2 words = 112 possible unnecessary words. No, it’s not much if they were the only ones, but obviously, they were not, and those little buggers add up.

    Now I am down to 7 a littles in FROSTY and I’m gonna keep them all. Much more reasonable. So check out your a littles to see if you really need them.