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I’m Moving!

Hi all!

As of today, my official author website has gone LIVE. Live, baby!

From now on, I’l be blogging directly on my website, so this site will go dormant. If you’d like to keep in touch, you can find me now at: http://annegreenwoodbrown.com

(Thanks to Ruben Gonzalez!)

 

By the end of the year I’ll be updating it with the sure-to-be sizzling book cover for LIES BENEATH, as well as a link for pre-ordering the book! I’m blushing as I write that. Seriously, I’m still in shock.

 

Also, some super exciting news is in the works that I hope to share in the next week or so. Stay tuned!

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Just found out an essay I wrote a year a

Just found out an essay I wrote a year ago is going to get placed in @MNKateHopper’s book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Yea!

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What Makes You Feel Like a “Real” Writer?

In my opinion, anyone who is compelled by some inner force to revise a first draft–and then cares enough to revise it again–is a “real” writer.

But that’s not what this post is about.

No, this post is about what makes us feel like a writer. I’m continually amazed by those in my writing circle of friends who feel like they can’t “own” the title of writer. “I’m a teacher, and I do some writing,” they say (despite the publishing contract). Or they call it a hobby… All right, I shouldn’t be amazed. I do the same thing. Somehow, to call one’s self a “writer” sounds like a lie, at worst, and pretentious, at best.

But that’s not what this post is about.

Despite the publishing contract, the foreign rights, the new website, and the exciting stuff coming around the corner (next post, I hope), the one thing that has really made me FEEL like a writer happened today.

Today, I bought a writing desk and an antique chair and bookcase, on consignment, for cheap. Today, I set up the loft as my own personal writing office. Today, I organized my books on writing craft, my YA books, and my resource books. Today, I sharpened my pencils. Today, as I stared out the rain-streaked windows, I finally felt like a real writer.

What is it that makes you feel like a writer?

No cop outs. No “I don’t consider myself a writer” comments. Tell me what feels so good you dare to say, “Today, I am a writer.”

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It’s Feeling Official

Last week I had my official author portrait sitting–totally felt like I was on America’s Next Top Model (Work it, baby). After the votes were counted, this is the one I settled on. I can’t wait to see it on a book jacket! I also had about an hour long conversation with my wonderful, amazing, sufficient-adjectives-escape-me agent about some exciting feedback from an exciting person on a coast I’ve never been to. More on that later. I hope.

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My Editing Checklist

As my sequel to LIES BENEATH, currently titled WATER LILY, is coming close to completion, I’m on my “final” (insert tongue in cheek) round of edits. This is the part I love. It’s easy. It’s cathartic. It makes everything tidy. This is where I go through and take out all the little fluffy words that add nothing and bog the story down. Here is my personal list of get-out-of-Dodge words.

1. JUST: It just keeps showing up. All I have to do is just open my laptop and within the first three sentences, “just” will show up at least once. Just drives me crazy! You might call this word my verbal tic.

2. ABOUT/ ALMOST: It weakens every idea. Why does he have to “almost smile?” Why is he “about to arrive?” Make the characters act–not almost act.

3. THAT: “I told him that I was leaving.” Get rid of the “that,” and it’s pure poetry.

4. OTHER USELESS THINGS: very, suddenly, so, really–ditch ’em!

5. REDUNDANT PREPOSITIONS: Say he “kneeled,” rather than “kneeled down.” You can’t kneel up, can you? Same thing with stand up, bowed down…

6. ADVERBS AND ADJECTIVES THAT DON’T INFORM: I will admit I am a sucker for a good adverb and adjective. They can be surprisingly delicious. But get rid of the ones that do not inform. This is my favorite example I picked up from MUSE (I think Ann Hood?): The phrase “whispered quietly” is a no-no. “Quietly” doesn’t inform. If he’s whispering, it’s quiet. However, “whispered loudly” is gold because the adverb tells us something about the whispering that adds meaning. In other words, use adjectives and adverbs sparingly and when they say something that goes against the norm.

*Confession: I don’t always follow this rule, but I do pause at every adj/adv to at least ask myself if I can do without it. 

7. WATCHING, LOOKING, and LISTENING. Avoid sentences where your P.O.V. character narrates saying, “I watched as John did X.” Because it’s the P.O.V. character, the reader already knows he/she is watching–otherwise he/she wouldn’t know what was going on. “John sliced the bread” is better than “I watched John slice the bread.” See? Same thing with “I listened to John tell a terrible joke.” Just say “John told a terrible joke” and move on.

8. NODDING and SMILING: Here’s where I need your help. When I read my WIPs I have to ask myself, “for crying out loud, why is everybody nodding and smiling?” This is the hardest one for me to overcome. The general advice is to come up with a more interesting verb that actually informs the reader about the character. If you have some brilliant examples of how to show agreement and/or general appreciation (as is easily implied by nodding and smiling), I’m all ears!

Happy Editing!

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Watch out world, here we come! – Mermaid

Watch out world, here we come! – Mermaids Surface as the Next Big Thing: USA Today http://t.co/Rx8UDIe

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Be Sure to Eat Your (Literary) Vegetables

(Previously published on Book End Babes, 5/3/2011)

Today I’d like to talk about vegetables. The literary variety. You know . . . those titles that everyone is supposed to read in high school or college or grad school, those titles that no respectable reader is supposed to reach adulthood without reading. You know the ones. They’re supposed to be good for you.

A few of those literary vegetables fell through the cracks with me, but because I’m a good girl, I’ve decided to correct the situation. First on the list: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

I’m reading this book first because, quite frankly, Wuthering Heights, the Opera is being performed in the Twin Cities and the man playing Heathcliff looks particularly dishy. Any way, if you don’t know the story, here is my synopsis:

A man by the name of Lockwood–a man of no importance to the plot whatsoever except that he acts as a device for presenting the story. Oh, Mr. Lockwood, you don’t know the story of Catherine and Heathcliff? By all means let me tell it to you. Why Emily didn’t cut to the chase and tell the story to us, rather than to Lockwood, I don’t know. Lockwood is akin to broccoli. He’s just a means for delivering cheese sauce.

Anyway, Lockwood is told that Heathcliff, who hangs out with some dreary and neurotic persons (we’re talking three bean casserole here), was adopted as a small boy by the wealthy Earnshaw family. Heathcliff fell in love with the Earnshaw daughter, Catherine. When Mr. Earnshaw dies, Catherine’s brother treats Heathcliff like a servant rather than a brother and Catherine, although she loves Heathcliff, marries someone else because she’s going for social advancement rather than love. Catherine’s your basic brussel sprout (too uptight to just be called a tiny head of lettuce).

Heathcliff seeks revenge on everyone who has ever wronged him and, when Catherine dies, begs Catherine’s ghost not to leave him. Weird. It’s a happy ending though because all these rotten tomatoes end up dead.

Next week: Moby Dick. Which, I anticipate, will be be akin to shoving an overgrown zucchini up my nose.

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