Writer’s Digest Contest – Due: April 13, 2015.

Happy Friday! A new Writer’s Digest contest has opened, get those pens out!

A snapshot of the details are below:

Writer’s Digest: Your Story 65

Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, based on the prompt below:

Love gets him into more trouble than hate ever could.

You can be funny, poignant, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Go to Writer’s Digest.com to enter OR email your submission directly to yourstorycontest@fwmedia.com with the subject “Your Story #65.”

**********************************************************

I’m looking forward to the results from the last contest (Your story #64). They should be posted within a few weeks. I’ll post my entry for #64 once the allowed time limit has expired.

Your homework: Enter the contest!

Saturday: The Spark will update tomorrow. Come back next Friday for a new post!

This blog updates each Friday with writing resources, prompts, and of course the random things I decide to post. Feel free to contact me here or find me on GoodReads @ https://www.goodreads.com/hkidder. Follow me on Instagram at: Everythingonpaperisperfect or on Pinterest @ paperpinning

Contact Email: everythingonpaperisperfect@yahoo.com

Editing Hurts (but you have to do it).

 

Mark Twain Quotes
Mark Twain

I love to write. It’s one of the few things that I truly enjoy doing. Despite that, it’s still work and requires discipline. I spent a good part of the week stalling, refusing to work on my manuscript because I couldn’t work on it the way that I wanted.

I prefer to edit on paper. Periodically, I print out my MS, hand-edit it, and tab it with about a billion flags – sometimes I even color code it.

My last round of edits led me to rearrange my entire timeline, add a week, and introduce two new characters. It was really exciting. However, after adding all of that information to my digital copy, I still had pages of notes that I had to tweak – words that were missing (this is why I harp on you about reading out loud), words that needed to be changed, dialogue that needed to be cut – tons of stuff.

I didn’t want to do all of that extra work. What I wanted to do, was print out a fresh copy of my MS and read it from beginning to end. I wanted to see all the changes and move through the new world I had created.

But, I couldn’t because I still had all of those annoying little flags staring at me from my current copy.

I finally buckled down and got to my edits. My word count keeps jumping up and down but it doesn’t matter. Every time I delete a word or a sentence and that word count drops a little further, I remind myself how much better it’s getting. Cutting is necessary, it hurts sometimes, but it has to be done.

Becoming a good writer is a discipline. Write, write, write and then read, read, read.
Your homework: What have you been avoiding doing? Have you edited recently? Done a solid read through from begining to end? Fact-checked all of your information? Whatever it is you are avoiding doing to make your writing better, go do it.

Saturday: The Spark will update tomorrow. Come back next Friday for a new post!

This blog updates each Friday with writing resources, prompts, and of course the random things I decide to post. Feel free to contact me here or find me on GoodReads @ https://www.goodreads.com/hkidder. Follow me on Instagram at: Everythingonpaperisperfect or on Pinterest @ paperpinning

Contact Email: everythingonpaperisperfect@yahoo.com

Inspiring moments – Bucket List

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

― George Eliot

I had an inspiring moment a few weeks ago. One that, after  the week I’ve had, I’m grateful to think about and dwell on for a few minutes.

I answered a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. I had recently signed up for a discount card at a big box store and immediately thought they had sold my number off to some telemarketing firm. I didn’t know the person on the other end, a man, who was actually calling to see if I was satisfied with a product I’d purchased from his company. Normally, I rush through those types of calls, busy on my way to get to the next task in my day. I had, in fact, ignored the last four calls that had come from that number, assuming they were spam. Within a few seconds, a “just out of curiosity” question popped up from the agent which led to a truly exciting and motivating phone call. As it turned out, the caller has dreamt of writing and publishing a book. He said it was on his bucket list.  As I shared my plans, the energy built up until we were both yammering like caffeine-ridled chihuahuas.

The conversation lifted my spirits, talking to someone who shares a similar dream and also has a journey to take before getting there, made me feel less alone in my pursuit. I felt energized and was itching to get to my keyboard.

It’s these moments that I hope to carry with me through this adventure; sparks of hope, and desire to achieve what I want. It will involve a lot of hard work but it’s work I’m willing to do, work I’m excited to do, and work that I truly love.

Your homework: Think about those inspiring moments and let them fill you with passion. If you can’t think of one, go make one! Talk to people about your passion either in real life or online. I have a great group of folks on Instagram that I follow that motivate me each day. Find some of them, or even better, follow me on Instagram and I can help boost your writing thoughts every day. (@everythingonpaperisperfect or search #paperperfect)

Saturday: The Spark will update tomorrow. Come back next Friday for a new post!

This blog updates each Friday with writing resources, prompts, and of course the random things I decide to post. Feel free to contact me here or find me on GoodReads @ https://www.goodreads.com/hkidder. Follow me on Instagram at: Everythingonpaperisperfect or on Pinterest @ paperpinning

Contact Email: everythingonpaperisperfect@yahoo.com
I had the most inspiring moment the other day.

Query Letters, Cover Letters, and Resumes

Query Letters, Cover Letters, & Resumes

I was quite surprised at the amount of overlap between query letters and cover letters (for a resume). After thinking about it though, a query letter is a cover letter for your book (which is essentially your writing resume). As I read tips from the top experts, I’m reminded over and over again about the things I see during The Lost Hours. Many of the agent’s frustrations mirror my own, when I’m screening potential applicants. Sadly, the bulk of mistakes come down to sheer laziness – not something you want from a potential employee or author.

Somewhere out there exists a book or blog post with advice suggesting that cover letters begin with the following: “I am writing to apply for the position I saw on ______” – I see this over and over again – which would be fine, except for the fact that it’s written exactly as I just typed it. They never fill in the “blank space” the sentence just ends with “on .”

This is your first impression – and it’s a bad one. I often won’t read past that point, because if you’ve made a mistake in your first sentence I know the rest of it is going to be full of mistakes as well. The other common mistake I see is in the objective: “Seeking a position as a medical assistant” – I don’t work in the medical field so receiving a resume with that objective tells me that you don’t actually want the job you just applied for; if you did, you wouldn’t have an objective stating you want to work in another field.

It’s frustrating to see this over and over again and I can imagine how much more frustrating it is for an agent or publishing house, when you consider the volume of submissions they receive each year. Thus, a few tips that you can apply to both your cover letters and your query letters:

1) Read everything you write out loud. It is common to think that you’ve written something down, only to discover you missed several words. (Avoid #blankspace syndrome).

2) If you are applying for a job as a teacher, don’t list your objective as “Seeking a position as a dental hygienist”. This seems pretty self-explanatory but obviously it needs to be said. This applies to your query letters – don’t submit your unicorn themed children’s story to a non-fiction agent. Research who you are submitting to, generic cover/query letters are going to hurt, not help you.

3) Don’t try to be cute. Submitting a letter that is a rainbow of colors is distracting and unprofessional. If you are trying to prove you are not design challenged (applying for a graphic design job or book illustrator) allow your actual work to showcase your talents, not your cover letter. Colors are gimmicky.

4) Don’t waste your time – or theirs. If you are applying for a job that requires a Bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 10 years experience in real estate – don’t think you can skate in with three years of customer service and a high school diploma.

5) Follow directions. If the editor asks for 3-5 pages, only submit 3-5 pages. If the job application asks for a cover letter, then write a cover letter. This is the easy part. If you can’t take the time to do what’s being asked of you, how serious are you about what you are trying to accomplish? And how serious do you expect them to take you?

Advice from the pro’s:

Writer’s Digest Successful Queries

and a book every aspiring author should pick up:

77 Reasons why your book was rejected (Mike Nappa).

image

Your homework: Whatever you are working on now, whether it’s a short story, poem, or novel – make your next round of edits an audible one. Read the entire thing out loud to yourself, focus on each individual word (read them, don’t remember them).

Saturday: The Spark will update tomorrow. Come back next Friday for a new post!

This blog updates each Friday with writing resources, prompts, and of course the random things I decide to post. Feel free to contact me here or find me on GoodReads @ https://www.goodreads.com/hkidder. Follow me on Instagram at: Everythingonpaperisperfect or on Pinterest @ paperpinning

Contact Email: everythingonpaperisperfect@yahoo.com