Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Author or Writer, Which Do You Want to Be?

Many writers I know struggle with the idea of calling themselves an author. It sounds so official, like something that must be earned. That's because it is. There is a distinct difference between writing for fun and writing for a career. That is the difference between a writer and an author. What if you are one attempting to become the other, as so many of us are? Then you are an aspiring author.

There is much more to being an author than just a title though. The bottom line is professionalism. If you want to make writing your career you must be professional. Don't worry, this doesn't mean you can't have fun and be yourself, it just means you have to understand that everything you do and say could some day be under the public eye. With search engines like Google out there agents and editors have access to almost everything you've ever said or done on the internet. You want to be sure what they find doesn't give them a reason to reject you.

Part of being a professional is also ensuring that your work is the very best it can be. Don't finish in a hurry so you can start submitting as soon as possible because you have a hot trending topic or theme. When we rush we make mistakes and mistakes are what get us rejected. Part of taking your time is personalizing each and every query as if that agent is going to be The One. Make sure you carefully read and follow each agent's guidelines. Failure to do so is the quickest way to be rejected.

Be thick skinned when it comes to rejections and try not to take them personally. Learn from every tidbit of feedback that is given to you. Don't forget, many great authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling were rejected numerous times before they became successful. Use rejection to fuel the fire of determination. Learn, grow, and improve, that is the path to becoming an author.

For more useful tips on how to succeed check out this post by Writer's Digest: 10 Commandments of Fiction Writing. Best of luck!


Don't forget to enter to win a copy of Flight For Control at this link

Monday, February 27, 2012

CHANNELER'S CHOICE, by Heather McCorkle (AND giveaway!!)

Hi everyone, and welcome to an interview with our very own Heather McCorkle about her new release, Channeler's Choice, the second book in her Channeler Series. I am deeply honored to be the first stop on Heather's blog tour for this novel.

Hi, Heather!

Heather: Hello! *waves* I'm excited to be here first, and before we talk about Channeler's Choice, want to first tell everyone that, in celebration, I'd love to give away an eBook copy of Karlene Petitt's Flight for Control to one lucky commenter and follower of the Critique Sisters Corner. This giveaway will run between now and Sunday, the winner to be announced here next Monday. Also, I'd like to invite everyone to stop by my Heather's Odyssey blog for a chance to win even more books!

Linda: Wow. That's great, and I know Karlene will be thrilled, too, not to mention the lucky winners from your Heather's Odyssey blog. :-)

On to your own great news, n the first book in your series, The Secret of Spruce Knoll, we found out that your protagonist, a girl named Eren, is a channeler. In fact she found out she was a channeler after her parents died and she had to move to a remote town and live with an aunt. Plus, she met this gorgeous guy, Aiden, there, who is also a channeler (and a heartthrob). And there's a powerful connection between channelers and the Earth and keeping the planet alive. Those are just some of the high points of the first book. With that background, so many questions come to mind about what might happen in your second book!

From this beautiful cover on Channeler's Choice, I'm guessing that Eren and Aiden are still together (whew!). I'm hoping they're not only getting to know each other better, but still working together to develop their powers. What is it that they're up against in this book?

Heather: The stakes are raised for them in this novel, in more ways than one. Now not only do they have to figure out how to be a couple and if they're meant to be, but they have to figure out how to be leaders of their kind. And a threat looms, possibly a new one, possibly an old one as well.

Linda: Coming of age in more ways than one. This definitely sounds like a powerful story. I'm guessing, too, from the title, that there's a dilemma Eren is going to face, besides anything personal with Aiden. If that's not the 'threat' you mentioned, can you tell us anything about that?

Heather: Well, since it's on the back cover I suppose I can. ;) *SPOILER ALERT* Eren discovers that she doesn't have to be a channeler after all. She has a choice to make.

Linda: Oooh, I love that! Tough choices in life about which road to take, especially if a choice is really challenging and difficult but you know it's important--those are gripping dilemmas that we can all relate to. Back to the personal between Eren and Aiden (you see where my mind keeps going)—is there something major in this story that could tear them apart? Can you tell us a little about that?

Heather: There is at least one new threat. Another girl has her eyes on Aiden and she's determined to get him at all costs.

Linda: Uh, oh. But I'll bet she doesn't really know what she's up against. Can't wait to see how Eren and Aiden handle that! (men can be so challenging!)

This is such a great idea for a series, Heather. Young lovers with huge responsibilities way beyond their years, the fate of the Earth in their hands; the protagonist a young woman who has to not only lead the way for the other channelers, but find herself, while all this is going on. Do you remember the moment when the idea formed in your mind? What was that like?

Heather: It was instantaneous. I was watching a show on the receding polar ice caps and Eren hit me, fully formed, purpose, needs, desires. It was pretty amazing. I wish it always happened like that!

Linda: Wow, that is wonderful. I love it when that kind of inspiration strikes, and you just know.  Thank you so much for sharing all this tantalizing info. I can't wait to get my hands on Channeler's Choice!

Heather: Thank you so much for hosting me and for being the first stop along my tour. It only seems right since you've been such a huge part of this journey. ;)

Linda: So glad you made a stop with us! And that is fantastic about your generous giveaway. Thank you.

When you head over to Heather's Odyssey, everyone, you can order a copy of Channeler's Choice there, too, besides checking out the other giveaways. Enjoy!

~ Linda 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Writers Advice

"Either write something worth reading 
or do something worth writing"
Benjamin Franklin

Today I'm doing part two... something worth writing about. 

Scheduling called and I'm on a Seattle, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Seattle, trip. The adventure never fails, despite the obstacles dropped in my lap. I had 600 books to take to the Western Washington Aviation Trade Show... but to my surprise I got called out on this trip, and will miss the show and the opportunity. 

Does this mean another opportunity is on the horizon? I'll know soon, as I will be flying toward many horizons in the next few days. And who knows... I'm sure I will be finding something to write about. 

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Kalrene

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Method To The Madness

Writing and editing are two different things. It’s important that you allow yourself to write a rough draft by writing all the way through to the end without editing heavily. A little bit of tweaking here and there is alright, but if you stop the momentum, well, you’ve stopped the momentum. It may never pick up again, or could be disjointed or discordant.

Whether you’re a pantser (write by the seat of your pants) or a plotter, there must be a method to your madness, a routine that you follow to help you reach the end.

While editing it’s even more important that you have a structured system of your own design to follow. Yep pantsers, that means you too. Having a system for editing makes it faster, easier, and much more thorough. Chances are, even if you’re a pantser, you probably have an editing routine that you follow. I have a five step editing process that helps me polish to a shine that keeps my editor happy with me.

Your editing method should be tailored to what works for you. Maybe five steps is too many, maybe it’s not enough. It all depends on how you want to do it. Some authors I know print out their manuscript and lay it out on their floor with sticky notes on each page (so cool, I’d love to try this method!), others use editing software that allows them to list things out and rearrange, and even other print out and do a red pen edit. The important thing is to try different methods, ask other writers, and find what works for you.

So what is your editing method?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Keeping it Fresh—Writer's Craft: Color

Sometimes we forget how important it is to refresh our writing process. We develop our approach and our routines, we find what feels like it's working for us, and we pour our energies into that. Each day that we perform these efforts successfully, we reinforce the power of the approach and routine. This is good stuff—important for us as developing writers, and even as established writers. But, of course there's a hitch, a trap, a paradox here, as with everything else about process: the more skilled and comfortable we become in our familiar creative process, the less fresh and imaginative we are.

The key word in the above sentence is familiar. We need to nip this sinking-into-familiar-pleasures business in the bud before familiar transforms into rut. Every once in a while we need to shake things up. I'm not talking about throwing out the baby with the bathwater (clichĂ©, anyone?), but simply taking a deep breath, walking away from our project, and spending an hour releasing what we know and opening ourselves to discovery.

I know. . . work, work, work. But there's an easy way to do this, which dovetails beautifully with the whole paradoxical nature of this conundrum: go back to basics for a little refresher in some specific area. Just for today, let's choose color.

A favorite guide of mine for doing this is a wonderful teacher and author named Priscilla Long. Here, from her book, The Writer's Portable Mentor, is an idea about how to reinvigorate your writing by incorporating a fresh approach to color in your verbiage.

Long says, "We've heard the phrase,"gray prose." Gray prose is general prose, colorless prose. Put color in your prose."

How to do this? Long's suggestions*:

  • Look around you. What colors do you see? If you were to paint the scene in front of you, what pigments would you squeeze from the tube?
  • Describe what you see. Use concrete nouns where you can. Rubies, urine, e.g.—carry color onto the page without further elaboration, and are powerful; stronger than adjectives.
  • Remember the color verbs: to blacken; to yellow; to purple.
  • Identify colors from a classic, sophisticated, color lexicon. Long suggests we go to an art supply store and get sample sheets from purveyors of pigments, like Winsor & Newton. The sheets have daubs of color painted on them, which are called by stable names that have evolved over centuries, like burnt umber, and yellow ochre. This is preferable, she suggests, to colors of house paints and printing inks, which are named by advertising writers and impossible to identify without looking at them (e.g. Autumn Purple). Burnt sienna is burnt sienna, no matter who manufactures it.
  • Any common object, substance, or living thing that has a stable color can be used as a color word: an item may be 'wheat' or 'blackberry'  or 'ebony' colored, e.g.
  • Colors derived from objects or living things become instantly metaphorical, in that they compare one thing to another. Instantly, then, the writer needs to . . . make the metaphor intensify the character or setting or situation rather than detract from it. (You wouldn't describe a flower in the tropics as 'snow white,' for example. There's no snow in the tropics. You might instead say it is 'ghostly white,' as if deprived of color by dark, dense growth that surrounds it.)

Exercise: Do what Long has identified as "the Here and Now" exercise: Go to a cafĂ©, a park, a library, down to the river (you get the idea). Write for fifteen minutes at a steady pace without stopping. Describe what's in front of you, paying close attention to color. Write slowly and mention the color of everything you see. Use as many different words for colors as you can think of (words for brown, e.g.: dun, auburn, burnt sienna, umber, chocolate, turd-colored, straw-colored, molasses. Her eyes were the color of molasses.) 

Think of comparisons to objects in the world as you write. What objects are the same color as this person's hair, e.g., or his eyes? List these, or phrases describing them, such as, his eyes were blue like the sky, no, brighter, like robin's eggs, etc. Later, choose the one that's most accurate not only for the color, but for the character and situation. A character with steel blue eyes differs considerably from one with pale blue eyes.

Remember, nouns and verbs are strong, adjectives and adverbs are weak. Do not proliferate adjectives in your color practice. Use color verbs: Dusk reddens the sky. Use nouns that emit their colors: walnut, eggplant, cherrywood. Add a color adjective, but force it to earn its keep by deleting two adjectives and one adverb.

When you come back to your project, I promise you'll see it differently after this exercise. Fresher and brighter or darker. Definitely deeper. Enjoy!

~ Linda
*combination of quote and paraphrase

Friday, February 17, 2012

WNBA: Seattle Event

Women's National Book Association
Seattle Chapter

Please Join us for a program featuring Professors Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois as they discuss their social-scientific study focused on the craft, career and culture of romance writers. 

When: Saturday, February 25, 10:30 a.m. 

Where: Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle WA
(Between Pike and Pine on Capitol Hill) 

Tenth is between Broadway and 11th in this part of Capitol Hill. Parking is on the street, metered and paid parking is available in the garage in the building. (Beware... if you park past your pre-paid time, you will get a ticket!)

Bring a friend!


Since April of 2010, Professors Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois have been conducting sociological research on the authors of romance novels. By interviewing romance writers and attending local and national Romance Writers of America (RWA) events, Professors Gregson and Lois are examining the craft, career and culture of romance writers. In so doing, they hope to understand how writers construct romance, gender, and sexuality through their writing, how they experience their careers in what has been called “the most popular, least respected literary genre,” and how romance authors’ shared subculture is shaped by their gender. With the vast majority of existing research on romance fiction coming from the field of literary criticism—focusing on the content of the text and analyzing the books for latent messages about femininity, masculinity, and sexuality—this project breaks new ground as the first social-scientific study focused on romance writers themselves

Speaker bios:  

Joanna Gregson is a sociology professor at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of gender, family, and deviance.  Dr. Gregson has published on such varied topics as teenage motherhood, incarcerated women, and women’s divorce experiences.  Her book, The Culture of Teenage Mothers (SUNY Press, 2009), explores how young mothers experience and respond to the stigma associated with teenage parenthood.

Jen Lois is a sociology professor at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.  She teaches and researches in the areas of gender, family, emotions, and heroism.  Her first book, Heroic Efforts, examined heroism, emotions, and gender in a mountain-environment search-and-rescue group (NYU Press, 2003).  In 2006 the book was honored with the Outstanding Recent Contribution Award from the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Emotions Section.  Her second book, Home Is Where the School Is (NYU Press, 2012), is based on ten years of research with homeschooling mothers, and focuses on how homeschooling can be a way to meet the high standards of good mothering in our culture.

Sincerely, Judy, Cathy, Barbara, Leslie, Linda, and Karlene
Your WNBA Seattle Chapter Board Members

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How Your Writing Can Benefit From Travel

Traveling somewhere new can widen your perspective and spark new ideas, not just in your life but in your writing. Every place I visit is an opportunity for me to study different cultures, traditions, landscapes, and even weather. Each year (finances allowing) I find a writer's retreat or workshop that I feel compelled to attend. I do my best to take in everything I can while I'm on one of these trips. It isn't just about the classroom for me. I like to go out and see the area, listen to the people, feel the climate. I absorb it all and store it away in my mind for later use in writing.

There are a few breathtaking tropical places I've been over the years and they certainly hold a special place in my heart. However, a place doesn't have to be dynamic to be memorable and useful for your writing. A few years ago the Critique Sisters and I attended a writer's workshop in Tulsa Oklahoma. I can hear you all groaning and I know you're wondering, why the heck Tulsa?! Well because that's where the fantastic William Bernhardt holds his yearly classes. Believe me, I wasn't thrilled about the venue either. But I decided to learn what I could, not just from the workshop, but from Tulsa as well.

Oklahoma is somewhere I would never visit without good reason. I'm really glad I had one. There is a lot of great history in Oklahoma. Many of the streets of Tulsa are lined with beautiful brick mansions that harken back to an era when oil was plentiful there. The Kennedy Mansion B&B (no, not those Kennedy's) we stayed in was one such house. Everyone we met was exceedingly kind and while it was windy, the weather was actually pretty mild for us. This year we're planning on our own personal retreat on Maui and I couldn't be more excited. We've opened our arms to new sisters who will be joining us this year too, which is even more exciting!

No matter where you travel to, even if it's to a local B&B, take it all in because all of it can enrich your writing. Where have you been that's helped your writing in some way?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Penguin at Odds with Libraries; ABA at Odds with Amazon

Penguin has taken a new stand on its e-book and audiobook distribution, essentially cutting off any distribution to libraries in the future. It is also negotiating an agreement, though, that will allow libraries that have already bought Penguin e-books to continue lending them.

At the heart of this is that one purchase of an e-book can last forever, whereas paper books wear out and have to be replaced. Penguin previously tried to impose a limit on libraries that they could lend out a copy of an e-book only seventeen times (approximately the number of times a paper book is lent before it is worn out and needs to be replaced). After that the library would have to repurchase it. That didn't work out too well, apparently.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this issue. Penguin seems to be ignoring the inexorable tides of change and failing to see that they must also change to survive. But perhaps they are also firmly on the side of authors as well as themselves, and feel an imperative to support authors' incomes in the traditional marketplace. (The specter of what happened to so many musicians when the traditional music distribution network changed because of the internet is never far away. Incomes plummeted, careers were upended, many new voices were simply never heard because there was no support to develop them. The parallel to our industry is strong.)

At best, it seems that this aggressive action by Penguin might create additional recognition of how significant an impact the digital revolution is having on the publishing industry. Maybe this will get someone to think up a new business model that will allow all the players—authors, publishers, and distribution points including brick-and-mortar stores, e-readers, and libraries—to thrive.

Meanwhile, there are important issues cropping up that muddy the waters for the largest non-traditional publisher—Amazon—too. The American Booksellers Association has thrown down a gauntlet. Here's the news clip from Publishers Weekly:

IndieCommerce Pulls Amazon Titles
The ABA's for-profit subsidiary, Indie-Commerce, is removing all Amazon titles from its database. IndieCommerce director Matt Supko said its policy is "only publishers' titles that are made available to retailers for sale in all available formats will be included in the IndieCommerce inventory database."

More articles are also appearing that touch on the question of whether Amazon is guilty of predatory pricing in the book industry—through pricing Kindle and Kindle Fire at a loss, for example, while maintaining Kindle as the single-source for reading e-books from Amazon. If their pricing policies create a monopolistic type of environment, that's against the law.

What is your take on these developments? Are we just caught up in a muddling-through stage of change in the industry? Is the abyss opening before us? What's a writer to think?

~ Linda 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Standing Naked: My Book is Available!

It’s one thing to talk about writing a book—another to put in the due diligence of researching and learning the craft, then actually writing it. But to have it available for purchase, now that is an interesting sensation.

This week my Aviation Thriller went live, and the feeling was like no other. Not until people could actually purchase it, did I feel this sense of fear rolled up in a pile of nerves.

Nerves? Fear? I felt like I was standing naked on the street for everyone to judge me! And they will. Which brought me to the essence of this post.

We are not what we do.
Our value is not based upon our work.
Our self-worth has zero connection to the opinion of others.

I can see a serious trap in falling down the path of attaching our self-worth to whether or not people like our work, or if we sell thousands of novels.

Repeat after me: “I am not my work. I put my life into it. I did my best. I think it’s good. But not everyone will like everything. I know I have much learning to do—of course I will continue to get better. But today, I know that I am worth more than judgment on my novel, by someone who may have not done what I have done. I am proud to finish this book and say, I am an author.”

Now, I have to shout about my work. I have one review so far. And if I do say so myself, Linda couldn’t have said this better—

“I've read it: here's my Amazon review (everyone can go to Amazon and add their reviews, too) Flight for Control is a heart-pounding, bone-shaking aviation thriller that manages to incorporate fun and humor in the broader story, too. The friendships among the women in the book are great, and key to the plot, along with shocking behavior and unsettling revelations by other characters. I think this book will appeal to both men and women. Petitt is a long-time pilot who knows what she's talking about in the world of commercial aviation. You will stay up late reading this book (but you might not want to do that while you're a passenger on an airplane)” Linda Gray

Thank you Linda!

Autographed books are available on my blog, as is the warning—this book is for mature audiences only. Click Flight For Control to check it out. 

Enjoy the Journey! 
XOX Karlene 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Zombie Apocalypse Has Hit

You think it hasn't hit, that you're safe. But you're so very, very wrong. The Mayan's were right. Don't believe me? Look around you? Don't worry, I'll wait for your eyes to adjust to the 3-D world beyond your computer screen. See what I mean? No? Look again. See that woman across the table from you. Well, you can see the top of her head at least, because she's texting away. Then there's the boy at the next table over, his face alight with the glow of an ereader. In fact, everyone in the coffee shop is clutching some kind of device that they are staring vacantly into.

Oh yes, the apocalypse has indeed hit and we are merciless for we didn't even see it coming. And here I was all prepared with my shotgun and combat boots. But they are useless against the masses of techies that are ensnared within their electronic devices. For they are in a different world, a place shotgun shells don't reach. Everyone is updating profiles, reading eBooks, watching videos, texting, or surfing the internet. We are all connected, and yet we have never been more divided. Ripe for the picking.

Don't get me wrong, I'm as ensnared as you are and I quite like it in this new world of ours. But I do wonder, what will happen to the old one while we're away?

In all seriousness though, I'm curious, have you succumbed to the e-revolution? Do you own an ereader? What is your preference, hardback, paperback, or ebook?


Monday, February 6, 2012

How Do You Envision Journey's End? Week 21 With Tarot's Fool

It is almost time for the Fool's journey to end, for he is about to achieve his quest. And what a journey it's been! You may be surprised to know that after all the transformations he's been through, he once again looks exactly like this----------------->

How can that be? He's been turned upside down and inside out; into an old old man and, at times, no more than a smear of protoplasm on the basement floor of self-discovery. And yet here he is. About to take that momentous last step.

Before he could do this, the Fool had to call up his past—everything he learned about himself during his journey that no longer serves him—and finally put it all to rest (Week 20: Judgement). That, as he found out, does not mean exorcising his past from his life, or even tucking it safely away under lock and key where it can't affect him—that's not possible. It means accepting all that he's been and done, without judgment, at which point it vanishes as an active force. He did that, and now he is who he is, no more and no less, and he is fully in the present. Ahhhh.

With an open heart, the Fool turns to the path to take the last step. He finds himself once again standing at the edge of that same cliff where we met him. But this time, instead of stepping carefully away from the precipice, he steps right off the cliff . . . and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is his to see.

He dances above the world and experiences it in all its fullness. He sees that the end to his long journey has come, and that, waiting for him in the world below is well-earned praise, celebration and success.

From this vantage point, he looks back to where he began—at his idealism and assumptions, his willingness to expose and pursue his desire, and he knows none of this would have happened without that.

He realizes there is no separation between his body and mind and his quest. In the end, it is all one.

What else will happen? He sees that in addition to all the celebrating, there will be new opportunity. Maybe he'll become a teacher, or a sought-after lecturer. Long, fantastic trips are in his future, too. He feels whole, and happy.

Tarot's Fool is no fool, though. Soon he'll think about possibilities, good and bad, and be open to the experiences they may bring. He'll think about how important it is to stay open, to be a good citizen, and to be a good fighter. Aware of his mind and his environment, he will not fail to respect any important opportunity and the realities around it.

But for now, the Fool wants to enjoy this moment, and to recoup his energies. He bows as he steps out of the dance, and retreats to his garden (the one he planted with all the parts of himself that survived Death. They thrust their new green shoots into the world, he nurtured them, and the garden is lovely and luxurious now). He just needs to soak up the pleasure he has earned, which he does as he accepts his rewards with great joy.

When he's rested, he has a decision to make. He hates to leave his garden, but he must move; a new quest beckons. Now he will begin from a new position of strength.

He feels a new spark of energy for a new idea. He is fearless, ready to move along the path that unfolds in front of him, and to do whatever he can to achieve his new quest. This time, he's wiser, smarter in the ways of the world, and far more aware of his own true strengths. He asks the question: "Should I do this? Is this the quest for me?" In the distance he sees something. Could it be? Yes, it's. . .The Wheel of Fortune. Sometimes, you just get lucky. Yes, indeed, this is a lucky new day for the Fool.

So while my story of The Fool's Journey has come to an end, the Fool will go on, as will we. It's an amazing journey. When we are aware and present, open to what is on offer to learn—the effects on us are tremendous. We are so lucky to be writers. Every focus in life has its journey, but the creative journey is like a star exploding. The star is no longer ours at journey's end, it belongs to all it touches. And the explosion creates new galaxies with the fiery pieces that fly off from it. Beautiful, mysterious galaxies. Who can resist exploring those?

I believe that if the Fool were to wish us farewell, he'd say, "Be wise, be well, and good journey." It doesn't get better than that.

~ Linda
Links to Fool's Journey posts:  0—The Fool1—The Magician2—The High Priestess3—The Empress4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant6—The Lovers; 7—The Chariot8—Strength9—The Hermit; 10—Wheel of Fortune11—Justice12—The Hanged Man13—Death14—Temperance; 15—The Devil; 16—The Tower17—The Star18—The Moon19—The Sun; 20—Judgement

My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writing life is my own, but the journey is long-established from a variety of sources. Those I've relied on most heavily are: TAROT BASICS by Burger & Fiebig, AECLECTIC TAROT by Thirteen, and EVERYDAY TAROT by Fairfield

Friday, February 3, 2012

Critiques, Another Angle

This week has been all about the power of being a good critiquer. Excellent advice on how to do this was written by Heather McCorkle: The Power of a Critique.

Today we’re going to shift and look at this critiquing business from the other side of the pen.

First off, I have to come clean with something—I “never” feel bad no matter what is said about my book, or how it’s presented. I also don’t need the added fluff of the good stuff, unless it’s specific and told for a reason if the knowledge could help other areas. I’m confident that this is a tough job editing and I would rather know what doesn’t work than what does. Because all that was not spoken—I’m under the assumption it’s brilliant or they would have said something.

How did I acquire this attitude? Perhaps years of learning to fly airplanes. I’ve had the best of the criticism, and I know it was all so I wouldn’t kill my passengers. I’ve always been grateful for what I can learn from someone else. I also have a belief system that people believe as I do. Don’t we all think that? Why would I assume someone is being hurtful with my critique to hurt me and not help, when I would never do that? I wouldn’t.

My belief system:

1.     I do not have control over how people behave, what they say, or how they say it. I only have control over my interpretation and belief of “why” they said the things did.

·      I belief if someone has dedicated their time to critique my work, I know they care about me enough to do that.
·      If they say something they dislike about my book, I believe it’s to make my work better. I may not agree with all their suggestions, and I may want to discuss it further, but they are taking their time to help me. I appreciate that.
·      I believe that anything anyone says “bad” about my work is with a positive intent, and done with that person’s experience and perceptions to move me forward.
·      I believe it’s hard and painful to be honest with another about their baby, thus I appreciate their honesty—no matter how painful—I believe it hurts them more than me.

2.     It takes a huge effort and time commitment for someone to read my book.

·      I am extremely grateful. How and what they tell me is “all” good.
·      I believe I owe them the respect to listen to, and consider all, they said, for all the work they’ve committed on “my” behalf.
·      I believe it’s important to not critique how they critiqued me, but thank them for their effort and the valuable feedback.

3.     When people care, they put out an extra effort and go out of their way for me. I know that they care if they took the time.

·      If they care, how they say what they say isn’t the issue. The fact they were honest with me is.

4.     Personally, I have no problem with negative critiques because I grow from them.

·      I believe in listening and learning.
·      I value education and growth, and know that I can grow from everyone’s suggestion, even if I don’t take it. It creates another perspective.
·      I believe that their impression could be that of my future readers. I may not change to their suggestion, but I do heed their suggestions at what didn’t work for them.

We cannot control how people treat us, but we can control how we interpret their behavior. It’s our choice to believe if they gave us a negative critique to hurt, or their best effort and honest opinion.

In my life, I choose gratitude, and acceptance of “everything” someone has to say. If I didn’t, I know that my book wouldn’t be where it’s at today. I wouldn’t be the pilot that I am today.

After reading my novel, National Best Selling author Robert Dugoni said, This may not be what you want to hear, but… And I responded, “This is ‘exactly’ what I wanted to hear. It may not have been what I’d hoped for, but it’s ‘exactly’ what I needed.”  Had he not been willing to speak about what he didn’t like, my eyes wouldn’t have been opened. He opened them. I’m grateful. He was right!

Perhaps when we get a critique from someone, and our feelings are hurt, we need to buck up, stand in front of a mirror and repeat the following statements:

·      I believe this was for my good.
·      I believe there is something I can learn from their thoughts.
·      I believe they did their best, and I appreciate it!

·      I believe they went beyond the call of duty and gave me more than I wanted.
·      I believe they took their time for me, and that was a gift.
·      I believe that I need change my focus if I’m going to be an author. This is a tough business, and I am going to make it.

And then send that person, who took their valuable time and energy, a huge thank you, a bottle of wine and chocolate. Despite your feeling on how they said what they said, they did give you a valuable gift.  They gave themselves.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Creating An Outline

Like much of writing, creating an outline is completely up to how you want to do it. There are as many methods of outlining as there are styles of writing. The good news is, there is no right or wrong way. The important thing to remember is that an outline is meant to be a loose guide, not a strict roadway that you are forbidden to divert from. In fact, I highly encourage you to divert and allow the story to organically move in the direction it needs to move, to a point. Whatever you write~be it in the outline or outside of it~has to be important to the plot, character, or development of the story. Everything in your novel should have a reason.

Here is how I do it. I start my outline before I start my novel because it helps inspire me. A lot of people think using an outline limits your story but it doesn't do that to mine. It actually helps my story expand and grow into something even better than I had planned. I start with the main point I want to cover in the first chapter, then I list bullet points of things I want to touch on in that chapter.

I cover all the points that will come into play later or that bare weight on the story. This leaves me a lot of room to expand or shrink things as needed. I write the entire outline in this manner. I write in pencil, allowing myself room for error, and I use the margins to jot down even more things I want to cover. For those of you who outline, how do you like to do it? And how do you think it benefits you?