Monday, September 29, 2014

Premiere Critique Slot Available

I wasn't able to offer a premiere critique in the beginning of the month because I was filled up with other editing projects.  However, I'm going to have time to take one on this week, so if you're interested, it's first come, first served!


  • A detailed line edit of your first 75 pages
  • Editorial letter
  • Guaranteed 1-week turnaround
  • $260, half due up front and half after completion of the edit
Interested?  Email me at authoress.edits(at) today!

(As always, my $95 30-page edits are available, and are completed in the order in which they are received, with a 1- to 2-month turnaround.)

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Fricassee

It's been a busy week around here! Thanks, everyone, for your participation in our first logline critique session (and another huzzah for Holly Bodger, who is not only the icing on the cake, but also the meat in the stew!).

In the spirit of all-things-wordy, I bring you this tale of my knee-jerk response to a grammatical error.  In an email.  From a local business.  In a large font.  It said:


(I made that bigger to give you the full effect of the HORROR AND SHAME.)

It was an invitation to an open house with drawings and sale prices and all sorts of local goodness.  But I couldn't get past the error.

So I snapped.  I hit "reply" and said:

Sounds lovely!

At the risk of being "that" person -- it's YOU'RE INVITED.  Not "your invited".  YOU'RE = contraction for "you are".  (Yes, I'm a writer and editor.)


Then I brushed imaginary dust from my hands and figured I'd be de-listed at best, eternally hated at worst.  Because, yanno, who likes a grammar know-it-all?

Imagine my surprise when, the next morning, I received the following:

We could use a good writer.... What are you doing in your spare time? 

I wish I had gotten your correction before I sent this out to all our customers.
I bet they will get the meaning and hopefully look past my mistake.

Maybe you will get to come by sometime in October! Thanks for keeping us on our toes.

There you have it: THERE IS HOPE FOR HUMANITY.  (Well, that, or I was lucky to come across one extremely tolerant and diplomatic person who may have had experience with apostrophe vigilantes in the past.)

At any rate, I feel like maybe this was a teachable moment.  As in, next time she wants to invite the masses to her store, she will remember our conversation and avoid the grammatical error.  Who knows?  She may go on to TELL OTHERS.

I may have started a local YOUR/YOU'RE revolution!

Well.  Probably not.  But it surely does feel good to not be hated.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Words of Wisdom From Our Logline Guru

The how-can-she-be-so-amazing Holly Bodger, after having critiqued this week's 40 loglines, offered to write up her thoughts to help you all as you continue to grind your loglines into submission.  Of course I immediately took her up on it.  Here are her golden nuggets:

1. The point of a logline is to explain what your character wants and why it will be difficult for him to achieve it. It helps to pepper in a few interesting details about your character and setting, but only if they are necessary. A logline is not supposed to summarize your plot or explain your concept.

2. PLEASE SAVE MY SANITY AND DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS IN YOUR LOGLINE! If someone said, “What’s your book about?” you would not answer with, “What do YOU think it’s about?” Well, maybe you would, but if you said this to me, I’d want to fling poo at you. Questions are great for taglines. Save them for those.

3. A lot of loglines seem to be confusing the goal and the need. The need is the thing the character wants before the book starts (ie, a friend). The goal is the thing the character decides to go get at the beginning of the story. While the goal must fulfil the need, it is not the same thing.

4. Speaking of goals, they must be tangible. The goal is the thing that, when reached, means the story is done. The reader will never know when the character “reaches inner peace”. They will know when the character finds out who killed his dog. This is not to say that finding inner peace is not important. This is what I meant about the need. Your character NEEDS inner peace and finding out who killed his dog is the GOAL that will accomplish this.

5. BE SPECIFIC. You have 2-3 sentences to show agents why your book is special and special is in the specifics. Half of the books in my library could be defined as “girl who wants to find love”. You need to show why your girl is different and why her journey to find love is not like the rest.

6. Finally (and this is the most important one), remember that loglines are hard to write for everyone (including me)! I firmly believe that you can pants an entire novel as long as you have a perfect logline. If you cannot make your story fit into the required elements of a logline, then maybe you need to re-think whether or not your story has the required elements, full stop.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Baker's Dozen Success Author: Eliza Crewe

Here's this week's Showcase author:  the lovely Eliza Crewe!

My entry was #36 Cracked in the 2011 Baker's Dozen Competition. Victoria Marini won my full, and I signed with her about 9 months later, a few weeks after I received my first publishing offer from Penguin's Indian branch (long story). 

Since signing with Victoria, it's been a crazy roller coaster of a ride.  Right after I sold the Indian rights to Penguin, we sold the rest-of-the-world rights to Strange Chemistry.  Penguin India wanted Cracked to be an inaugural title of their brand new YA imprint, so we rushed through revisions and released in April--about 6 months after I signed and two weeks after I gave birth to my daughter. 

Then came the editing/cover art/promo process again with Strange Chemistry for Cracked’s release in November--the same time the draft of the sequel, Crushed, was due.  It was a CRAZY year. 

This one's shaping up to be just as wild: In June, just six weeks before Crushed was to be released, Strange Chemistry folded. 

Penguin released Cracked in India in July, but the rest of the world was up in the air. I didn’t know if I’d get my rights back, if Crushed would ever get published, if Cracked would continue to exist. It was a pretty big blow, and I’ll tell you, the only thing that made it bearable was the awesomeness of the writing community. The outpouring of support, not just from other writers, but readers and book bloggers, was incredible. Nonetheless it was a pretty tense few months as we waited for the dust to settle. 

Fortunately, this story (as all the best ones) has a happy ending. Just three weeks ago Strange Chemistry gave me my rights back. It was six weeks after it was supposed to be released, so I turned around and self-pubbed that bad boy as fast as I could--which was just this Monday. My publishing journey has definitely taken some unexpected turns. I had a publishing offer before an agent, an international deal before a domestic one, and now I’m embarking on a surprise venture into self-publishing. It’s been a bumpy road, but certainly an interesting one!

Nook, iBook, and Kobo coming soon!

Eliza's MSFV success story is HERE.

Eliza's website is HERE.

Follow Eliza on Twitter: @ElizaCrewe

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Logline Critique Round One #40

TITLE: Imperfect Lives
GENRE: Young adult contemporary

To find her sister’s killer, seventeen-year-old Mira must defy her strict Indian parents and join forces with her deceased friend’s brother to connect clues linking the two deaths. Soon they’re in a race to expose a killer before he finishes them off, too.