Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Formatting Your Manuscript

So, you think you're just about there. You've written your book. You've sent it out to a few readers to get some feedback. The people in your critique group have given you even more input on it. You've studied all about writing queries and synopses, and yours are all polished up.

What about your manuscript? If you haven't paid a professional editor to have a go at it, there are  lots of places online to help you with your formatting. Here's a link to one that has an easy-to-read list of things to do and things to not do.

And it's a big but.

If you're asked to send in a full manuscript, be sure to check that agent's or that publisher's guidelines for formatting. They aren't universal, and it will stand you in good stead if you take the time to follow their directions--especially if they've taken the time to post them online for you.

Do you have any good places to check out for formatting help?

Donna K. Weaver

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This Week is Brought to You By ...

Up at the top of my to-do list for this week, I have written: Power. Persistence. Prayer. It's the theme I've chosen for this week, a rallying cry or a mantra to get me through everything I have on my plate. The plate is pretty full, and pretty overwhelming, but when I look at these words, I feel strengthened to push forward and keep at it.

Life itself is overwhelming, when we think about all the stuff we need to get done. Add something time-consuming like writing on top of it, and it can seem impossible. But that's just it - it's completely possible. We just have to power through the things that are holding us back.

As I choose the theme for each week, I think about the attributes I will most need to be successful at those specific tasks. I keep them in front of me all the time. And they push me forward.

What are your tips and tricks for keeping yourself motivated? Do you find certain days of the week harder than others, and how do you power through them?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Writing Right Now

There you are with a nice, long, rare, undisturbed two hours. Time to write right? Yes! You sit down at your computer, pull up your work in progress and. . .nothing. So what now? Facebook? Pinterest? MSN? No.
Here's how I get through that writers hurdle of getting going.

First: I cannot write with out music. I have lots of play lists. Some for the book as a whole and others that are upbeat, sad, exciting, etc... whatever helps me get into the emotional head of my character in the current scene. Head phones are a must or I'll chat with whomever wonders by, check out the commercial on TV or whatever. It helps me focus.

Second: I have a rule about quitting time. Whenever I think that nothing is happening and I want to stop I have to go for 15 minutes more, if I'm still really struggling and nothing is coming then I try again later or the next day, usually by then I have caught an idea and things are moving along. If I happen to not have an idea I think about it a lot until I have writing time again, by then it's easier.

Third: Making room for witting is important. If I can't write I'm thinking of the story when I can and jotting down notes in a little notebook I take everywhere. Sitting outside waiting to pick up my kids from school, at the doctors office, where ever. I also try and carve out at least a hour each day more if I can sneak it in. But the hour is vital. No blogging FB, Pinterest allowed during that time, only novel writing. Having a specific time helps me focus. Just like eating lunch at the same time you are ready to eat by then because you are used to it. If you write at the same time you will find it getting easier because you are used to it.  :)

So, how do you get going and stay there?