Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Short Synopsis

What am I reading now? Slated (Teri Terry)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far? In a political compromise to make the world safe from young gang members and criminals and to treat the criminals humanely, the very thing that makes them human is removed--their identity. Their mind is a blank slate. All memories are wiped. They start over. New place. New life. New chance. Kyla is slated but memories begin to surface. She is an anomaly: memories begin to surface and her emotions (which are being monitored) don't react the same way they should to the control unit she wears. Are people only slated for being terrorists or is there something more sinister in the government's mind control?
          This is a creative first novel for this dystopian series. There's definitely enough interest created that I'll continue reading the next book too.

Short Synopsis

I took a great class from Donna Weaver this past Saturday at the iWriteNetwork Winter Workshop. Deanna and I have a few manuscripts we've been working on and would like to send them to agents, but almost all of them ask for a short synopsis to be included. I had no idea how to write one.

Donna presented on how to use the outlining ideas from Save the Cat (see my post on Plot-holes to see the outlining technique) by Blake Snyder to write the synopsis.

Seriously--that seems so obvious now.

You simply write 1-3 sentences for each part of your story structure:
Opening Image
Theme
Set-up
Catalyst
Debate
Break into Act 2
B Story
Fun and Games
Midpoint
Bad Guys Close In
All Is Lost
Dark Night of the Soul
Break into Act 3
Finale
Final Image

Then you add in the transitions and smooth it out for good flow and presto--short summary!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back to the Future Giveaway Hop

What am I reading now?  Cinder and Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

Annnd. . . what do I think so far?  These two futuristic retellings of the popular Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood stories are only very loosely called retellings. There are common elements included in these books but the stories are bold, exciting, twisty--very fun reads. And even if you know the fairly tales, there is no way you'll guess all the surprises in plot and character in these books.

While reading it I wondered: How did I not know Cinderella was a cyborg before? It seems so obvious now.

Listen up--
I scored 2 copies of each book AND had them signed, so I'm giving one of each away (US only). One for me and one for you (maybe).

To enter, all you need to do is:
1. Become a follower of my blog. (click on the blue "Join this Site" button and follow directions. You must appear in the blog followers to be eligible in the drawing. The button is in the right side-bar, about half-way down.)

2. Leave a comment on this post and tell me your reading resolution for this year. 
If your e-mail address isn't visible through your Blogger profile, please also leave it with the comment so I can notify you if you win. You can enter from now until midnight Mountain Time on January 28, 2013.

That's it! You are now entered. Now please visit all my friends on their blogs to sign up for more give-aways in the 
Check out the Blog Hop list at the top of my right-hand sidebar to see a list of participating blogs. Just click on each link, check out the prize, and follow the easy instructions to enter. You can enter on each blog, so it's possible to win multiple times. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

You know you're a writer if . . .

What am I reading now?  Warm Bodies (Isaac Marion)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  It's a little Romeo & Juliet, a little Frankenstein and a little Hunger Games (not just killing for survival but the political undertones too). I didn't expect to like the book and I didn't expect to find anything I liked about the writing style (I shy away from men writing any type of romantic plot--I know--prejudice--I'll work on it.) I found myself rooting for the zombie, R, and for the human, Julie, he fell in love with.
          The story is about love, hope, forgiveness and being human. Loved it.

(Caution: lots of "F" bombs and other swearing, and some sexual reference. Docked the rating from a 5 to a 4 star rating because of it.) I'll be buying a ticket to the movie for this book. The trailer looks like they are going to do a fair representation of the plot.

You know you're a writer if . . .
How would you finish that sentence?

My answer: You know you're a writer if you have to write.
Not can write, like to or want to.
But HAVE TO write. Which means you do it all the time.
•Sitting in a meeting? Jot notes about setting.
•Shopping in the mall? Scribble ideas about characterizations.
•Deep in a project at work? Random thoughts about plot.

Most writers have a way to save those thoughts--writer's notebooks. Here are some of my examples:
Most of the time I write notes to myself like these



that get transferred into the pink book:




The brown leather one under the pink one is what I use to take notes in when I go to writing classes. Well--notes and random thoughts that constantly interrupt my studious plans.


Maybe the most recognizable ones are the notebook notebooks. These are labeled by specific working titles and gather all the haphazard bits that could be used in that storyline. They are on my beside table, if Deanna and I are currently working on that story, or on a shelf in the library, if we're not.

I also keep Writer's Notebook files on my computer:

And finally--the striped ones--how to categorize the striped ones? They are the Royalty of Randomness. They have snipets of thoughts and ideas that don't have a home in a story yet, scenes that could be developed into novels at some future time (A few of them, I really hope I write!), and phrases or words that I just like how they sound.

There's my evidence.
How do you know you're a writer?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Denver Omelet Bites

What am I reading now?  The Dead and Buried (Kim Harrington)

Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  Jade finally gets her wish, living in a big beautiful home. There’s a drawback though—it’s haunted—by a girl her age, that died there a few months ago. It could have been an accident, but no one at school thinks it was. When Jade begins piecing together what she learns of the dead girl, she learns everyone had motive. The girl was a class A bi-otch. Jade has to find the killer or risk her family’s safety and her brother’s life.
Don't read the rest of this review until you've finished the book cause there's a
SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER
coming up! The really bad kind you don't want to mistakenly read and it ruins the end. Completely ruins it. Stop now! You've been warned.

A little lesson in plot management for a murder mystery:
This is a murder mystery. There are supposed to be clues that the reader can gather to guess who did it and how it happened. And even if the reader can't guess who did it, when the main character solves the mystery, the reader should be able to look back and connect the dots that were left in the story. Another way to have a satisfying ah-ha moment.

The ending of this book was a cop-out. I was reading along gathering clues, thinking about who did it. And guess what? At the end, the murderer comes forward with a confession and all the details of how the death happened. Just chatting up the main character so all the cards are laid on the table. What? The main character didn't have to solve it? Well, I'm glad that character could get it off their chest. They must feel so much better. Whatever!

I really, really enjoyed the book right up to that point. A friend of mine read this book also, and the ending didn't bother her a bit. So there you go--I might be wrong. It's happened before!

Time for an original recipe:
Oh--SOOOOO Yummy!

These little Denver Omelet Bites took no time at all and were a big hit with the fam.

•Spray Pam in the wells of the cupcake pan and preheat the oven to 350ยบ.
•Cut 12 slices of pre-cooked bacon in half and line each well with 2 halves.
•Mix together 8 eggs, 1/4 cup diced onion, 2 tablespoons diced green chiles, 2 tablespoons of diced green bell pepper (I used frozen diced onion and frozen diced bell pepper.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
•Sprinkle grated cheddar cheese in the bottom of the muffin wells.
•Pour egg mixture into wells (makes 12)
•Bake for 20 minutes and serve hot.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Thanks!

This is a (secret, hidden) Thank YOU Rafflecopter! 
Thanks for sharing our book Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life on your blog. In appreciation, this is a special Rafflecopter just for the bloggers that helped.

Starts 1-17-15 and ends on 1-25-15
a Rafflecopter giveaway

As an additional thank you gift, any blogger who posted about Lexi's Pathetic Fictional Love Life may request one of our other ebooks written by Jo Noelle. Requests must be made before January 31, 2015!

See them HERE.
If you would like one, please leave the email address you would like the Amazon ebook sent to and the title of the book you'd like in a message at the bottom of this post.


Again, Thank You!

Subplots

What am I reading now?  Blood Prophecy (Alyxandra Harvey: Drake Chronicles)
Annnd . . . what do I think so far?  This is an amazing conclusion to a awesome 6 book series! Yes, I said conclusion--but OOOOOOh I hope there is more.

If you haven't read the others, you still have time. This one comes out next week. You can do it--5 books--one week--trust me once you start you will read them all! Here's my post on the other books in this series: Read HERE

The cliff hanger from the last book left Solage turning dark. Who will stand with or against her? Who can be trusted? When a civil war breaks out among the vampires, the humans are casualties too. Some of the enemies are closer than the allies--it's hard to know who to fight and who to help. Chaos. High stakes and sharp stakes.

The book goes from one emotional, gut wrenching sequence to another. There were several series of events that were the quality of a plot climax, but they weren't. The book pulls you in and then twists you around, stretches you out, squeezes you from within and leaves you screaming, gasping, shocked, thrilled and numb. Oh what a fun ride! This is definitely on my favorites' shelf, and it gets 5 stars. Thanks, Alyxandra for a wonderful vampire party!

(Only downer--though the cover is beautiful and I'm usually a fan of the near kiss poses--who are they? The 16-18 year-old main characters? Um, no, just no.)

Plotting Subplots 
•Add support to the main character’s plot
•To understand the main character better
•Develop the theme
•Add interest to the lives that intersect the main character’s
•Complicates the problem for the main character

By the way--this series does a fantastic job with subplots!