It's been a while, and I'd like to reconnect with all the writers out there. As you know, writing takes time and energy. Creativity doesn't simply come when you call. Then there are all the LIFE things to tend to. For these reasons, I don't spend the time I'd like crafting blog posts.
A new year gives us the chance to try it again. So...
What's new with me? I'm on submission with two middle grade fantasies. I've finished a contemporary MG told in multiple POVs, and I'm revising an undersea fantasy with a poignant message about plastic pollution.
Soon, I hope to have a little down time. And that means I have time to venture onto my #secretproject2020.
Before I share (come back in January), I ask that you respond to my survey so I can gather who you are and provide the content you want or need.
It will only take a moment.
Click this link to take the survey.
If you can, I'd love for you to leave a comment here saying whether you have or will take the short survey. Those who do respond in the survey will be entered in a raffle for a two-pass query critique (if they desire). Raffle closes January 20.
Thanks 💙for visiting. I wish you all a very joyous new year. See you in 2020!!
Recently, I guest hosted the weekly Rewrite It Club chat. This group sparks weekly conversations on Twitter about anything writing related. Mostly, members discuss struggles and successes with writing.
The group's website states: The Rewrite It Club is an online community that helps encourage writers as they dive into deep and thorough revisions for their stories.
It's run by writers K.J. Harrowick and Jen Davenport.
You can join them for their chats on Twitter every Monday at 2PM PST.
Here's a few snippets from our chat on July 15, 2019:
I wrote this book eight years ago, but it is just as relevant today.
Birds on a Wire follows three best friends in the final days of senior year. As the hours unfold, secrets spill. The boys must decide if their friendships can endure what they didn't know about each other.
All the high drama of adolescence plays out in this gripping story of the bonds that bind us and the lies that break us.
Enter the RaffleCopter and leave a comment below to tell me what topics you'd like to see on my blog.
Thanks for stopping by!
Recently, I joined up with a group of adventurous writers to lay out the writing/editing process in stages. It’s called Writers in Motion. Twelve writers will work under the guidance of two amazing editors Jeni Chappelle and Carly Hayward.
During Writer in Motion, you will see my process in action for a 500-word scene. What you won't see is all the behind the scenes of what it looks a little like when I write an entire story It begins with: Research and outline a story using OneStopForWriters’ tools (about a month). Draft the story NaNoWriMo style (about a month). Let it sit and marinate for a month or two (or more). Come back to the rough draft with fresh eyes for a revision. Send it out to my CPs. I work fast because I want to keep the momentum going. I take copious notes constantly rethinking my story, trying to tighten plot, develop characters, and flesh out a message for middle grade readers.
The goal of Writer in Motion is to create a space where readers can see how a writer moves through the drafting, feedback and editing process to create a polished work.
This will be a week-by-week process where the writers draft a short story, revise, rewrite, digest feedback, and blog about our processes as we move from start to finish.
Meet the Dynamic Dozen:
Go here to cheer from the sidelines and observe each painful step along the way.
I have a secret to spill!
For the last month, I've been part of a Street Team for Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers, who are launching their new writing book on February 19th. Because they are known for showing, not telling, they decided it would be fun to keep the thesaurus book's topic a secret until the book cover reveal...WHICH IS TODAY!
It's been hard keeping quiet about this, so I am thrilled I can finally announce that The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming!
Many of you writers know (and possibly use) the original Emotion Thesaurus. It released in 2012 and became a must-have resource for many because it contained lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 emotions, making the difficult task of showing character emotion on the page much easier. I love it! In fact, I have a print and Kindle copy, so I'm never far from help.
Many people have asked Angela and Becca to add more emotions over the years that they decided to create a second edition. It contains 55 NEW entries, bringing the total to 130 emotions.
This book is almost DOUBLE IN SIZE and there's a lot more new content, so I recommend checking it out. And you can. Right now.
This book is available for preorder, so you can find all the details about this new book's contents by visiting Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and IndieBound, or swinging by Writers Helping Writers. You can view the full list of emotions included in this new book, too.
Have you tried their other books? Which are your favorites? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and thanks for stopping by.
I started out at Andrea Hurst & Associates, but the agent I was working for left publishing. After a few months of rejections from other agencies, I got creative and emailed all of the publishing people I could find in the Saint Louis area asking if they needed help “wading through the slush pile.” I landed internships with Amphorae Publishing Group and Whitley Abell from Inklings. However, with no room for growth in these internships I started applying again six months later and found a position as an assistant at Holloway Literary. After a couple of years there I transitioned over to my home at Corvisiero Literary Agency.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Carlyle, Illinois. Population: 3,000 or so. It’s the kind of place where leaving your keys in the cup holder overnight isn’t a big deal. Shoot, it’s pretty much expected. Every time I drive into town, I can’t help but smile to myself. It’s warm and welcoming, friendly and full of memories. It’s where my family is. It’s my home.
Where do you live now?
I moved to Saint Louis, Missouri about three years ago for work. I absolutely love the “world’s biggest small town” vibe to the city. It’s also a wonderful place for artists of any medium and the book/writing community here is amazing!
Most agents and writers hold day jobs. Tells us about yours:
My day job is as a receptionist at a commercial real estate development company. It’s pretty dull, which works out super well for me since I get to work on my agenting projects while I’m there.
Otherwise I’m the Social Night Coordinator for Team Activities for Special Kids. One night a month we throw a party for participants ages 15 and up with special needs across the board. It’s not a huge time commitment, but planning these events is something that really helps me to de-stress. It’s a creative outlet where I get to see my ideas and work put smiles on the participants’ faces. January’s is going to be a “Game night” but a bit more extreme. I have four words for you: Life Size Angry Birds .
Childhood story that sparked your desire to be in publishing:
Not necessarily a childhood story, but during my junior/senior year of college, I was a Biology major and-with med school applications and the MCAT looming-super stressed out. I took a creative writing class to blow off some steam, fell in love and switched majors. I had no idea what I could do in publishing, but I knew I wanted to be there. I’ve never once regretted that decision. Especially once I landed that first agency internship and got to experience the “treasure hunt” that is the slush pile.
My favorite books are always shifting around. A few that have stuck around the longest are Austenland by Shannon Hale, Ransom by Lois Duncan, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven, and of course, Harry Potter. I like books that make me think, books that I can see a piece of myself in, and books that make me laugh. I read across genres and categories a lot.
Lois Duncan: Her books were my introduction into the thriller genre and her ability to create relatable characters is amazing. I reread at least two of her books every time the weather changes from Summer to Fall.
Brian Rowe: He has an amazing ability to create movie-like stories that are beautifully paced and full of action with wonderfully dark horror elements.
Ellen Mulholland: She has a beautiful knack for making big impact with quiet stories. Her stories create a fun atmosphere that pulls the reader in while subtly showing the big topics she tackles.
Tiffany Elmer: She has a way of painting beautiful worlds with dynamic characters that will absolutely rip your heart out while you cheer for them. Her young adult fantasy is so beautifully dark but leaves you feeling that small flicker of smile-inducing hope. Yes the last three are my current clients #noshame #they’reawesome
My main wish list right now would be…
Middle Grade: A modern day survival story. Think Hachet or Gordon Korman’s On the Run, Island or Everest
Young Adult: A super atmospheric historical mystery with elements of horror. I ADORED Madman’s Daughter by Meghan Shepherd
Adult: A super light hearted, humorous romance. Austenland by Shannon Hale is seriously one of my favorite books of all time and I'd love to find something in that vein
Walk us through a typical day for you when agenting:
I usually start my day with my email. I read through the industry news for the day, catch up with the various blogs I follow and respond to any new emails. After that, I might dive into submissions, edits, or whatever projects I have lined up for the day. Generally, I prioritize different tasks based on what day it is, i.e. I read submissions on Monday/Tuesday and Queries on Wednesday, etc. If I have something with my clients pop up, however, that will take priority. I am a list person and so at the end of each day I will make my list of tasks for the next. No two days are ever the exact same, which is something I love about this job.
Share what you believe is ONE common misconception about agents or publishing:
I think agents can sometimes get pegged as “distant” and “cruel,” and I can totally see why that happens. We send out a lot of rejections on almost a daily basis and rely heavily on form responses. In reality, we’re just super swamped. We get hundreds of queries a month and a personalized rejection for everyone is just not something we have time to do. Every time we open a query, we’re rooting for you to blow us away with your spectacular concept and flawless writing. We became agents because we love to help and encourage our authors.
If you want to learn more about Kortney, check out these spots:
It’s the middle of summer (here in the Northern Hemisphere), and kids are out of school. As a middle school teacher, I have to say, this is my favorite time of year. Summer break is great for rebooting, refreshing, and relaxing. Personally, I could sit outside and read all day. However, I know that isn’t what my students are doing.
When we return at the end of summer, it takes weeks to get most students back into learning. Summer sucks that right clear. For many, not all. There’s one sure way to keep your child’s mind in that learning zone while still rebooting and relaxing. Read and write. Immerse them in words.
In the next two posts, I will give a few tips to parents and kids for revving up that lazy summer brain so the shock of school starting is more a jolt than a full on lightning strike.
Today’s post is for parents of children 11-14.
Before your child entered middle school, they might have been an avid reader, enjoyed regular library visits, didn’t mind writing that English essay now and again. Unfortunately, once adolescence is in full swing, even an enjoyable read by the pool can be a challenge.
Hormones can wreak havoc on a once quiet child. That’s what makes it a perfect time to introduce new genres and new learning tasks. Their minds are a mess, but they’re also hungry.
Here are five ways I keep my adolescent readers engaged and curious about words.
I’ve linked a few places to look for more ideas. Careful not to get lost in the rabbit hole that is Pinterest, but it’s a great place to find unique options for your tween/teen.
Good luck, and please share your adventures with us!!
That's my story, what's yours?
It’s the middle of NanoWriMo, which means the annual rant is playing in my head. You can’t schedule creativity.
No matter, every day, I find time to get to my keyboard or notebook and log in words. Like pouring flour in the bowl; the ingredients are ready, but the bake is not. Creating is a love-hate relationship. I love creating, but I hate the pressure.
Take this blog, for instance. When I started writing posts for my student writers about craft, I scheduled them weekly. That turned into a burden. I’m a mom and full-time teacher. Plus, I must carve out my own writing time. I tried to write bi-monthly. Then it was monthly. Now…
This is my first post in almost six months.
I felt guilty, but I checked that. Sure, you’re reading this. Thank you. I have about a hundred wonderfully devoted people who read these posts on a regular basis. I want them to be worth your while.
It’s not guilt I’m feeling. It’s that dumb perfection bug. If I’m going to have a blog, I must schedule posts as routine. That’s when I remembered: you can’t schedule creativity.
I don’t want to waste anyone’s time reading about my writing procrastination due to visits from the plumber, drama with my kids, or my ridiculous teaching workload. You don’t need that. You’ve got your own plumber/kids/work issues.
I feel ya.
So let’s make a pact. No scheduling creativity. Instead, let’s focus on scheduling practice. It’s easy to practice creative pursuits; they don’t need to be perfect.
Let’s revise that pact: No handcuffs to perfection. Break free. I give you permission. I give myself permission.
And, hey, I miss you guys. I like talking to you even if you don’t talk back. I know you’re out there, and that warms my heart.
Writing is lonely. Parenting can be lonely. Life can be lonely. Let’s be together. Let’s support each other and give ourselves permission to unscheduled creativity, break free from perfection, and to simply pursue our love of writing.
I’m going to finish my NanoWriMo novel this week. Fifty-thousand words. Some days, I write forty-two words. Today, I wrote 3,742. Who knew? Unscheduled creativity has a way of sneaking up on you. Today it was a kiss, other days, it’s a bite in the butt.
If you Nano, let's be writing buddies. Find me here.
Are you on Twitter? Let's connect about our craft. Follow me @thisgirlclimbs.
That's my story, what's yours?