Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Elmore Leonard was one of the well-known authors at the first Festival of Books held in Tucson back in March. He started out writing westerns, then turned his talents to crime fiction. A very popular and prolific author, he’s written over two dozen novels, most of them bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch. Unlike most genre writers, however, Leonard is taken seriously by the literary crowd.
What’s his secret to being both popular and respected? Perhaps you’ll find some clues in his 10 tricks for good writing:
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb "said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
And the most important rule is one that sums up the 10: If it sounds like writing, rewrite it.
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:14 AM
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I've been off work for the last week--getting ready for the move, moving, and trying to recover (i.e., unpack). The new place is mostly put together, but my home office still has much the appearance of the old OMG room. (You know, the one where you open the door, screech "Oh, my God!" and slam the door closed again. LOL) But I should have things as put together as they're gonna get by next weekend. That's the plan, anyway.
No writing was accomplished in the last seven days, and probably none again at least until next week. Too much to do, and I'm also exhausted. Once everything's unpacked and put away, the next free weekend I get may just be spent in bed...
Have a great Thursday!
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:10 AM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Life lesson: When you're renting, make sure the place you're moving into has a working refrigerator BEFORE you move into it.
That's my tip for today.
Oh, and, get rid of most of your crap before you move, too. I'm on seven boxes and counting for the Salvation Army...
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:47 AM
Monday, April 20, 2009
For those of you who are interested, I got moved into my new place without a hitch on Saturday. (For those not interested, skip this part.) BUT I'm still without a working fridge. It had better come today, or I'm gonna be an even unhappier camper than I am right now. Oh, and my poor TV didn't survive the move intact--the cable connector (which was already loose) went by the wayside at some point. I have a guy coming out to see if he can repair it tomorrow. Thank goodness I have a small TV in my bedroom--I'd hate to miss Castle tonight. LOL
And obviously the cable company did their job right--one of the first things I did was hook up my cable modem and wireless router. And I was back up and running! Wahoo!!
And, I will say, for a short dead-end street, there's an awful lot of traffic on this road. Maybe it's just that it's been 4 years since I've lived someplace where a road goes in front of my house. Still, so far it's been quiet--no screaming kids, no loud music, etc. Fingers crossed that it stays that way. :)
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:27 AM
Friday, April 17, 2009
A definition of Political Correctness: a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:12 AM
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
People have asked me how I did it. How did I write and get published while also working? Well, let me say: you'll never "find" the time to write. If you want to be published, you have to make time to write (and market). You have to treat your writing like a job--because it is.
At least, if you're serious about it, that's what has to happen.
"But there's no time," you might say. Make the time, I repeat. If you add an hour a day of writing, you must subtract something else. Unless you decide specifically on what you'll cut out to make time for writing, one of two things will happen:
1) You won't write.
2) You'll rob some other activity by default.
It's better if you choose.
And don't assume your writing has to come all in one sitting. You might have to settle for two or three short sessions a day, at least at first.
One thing I did: I blocked off time on my calendar--made an appointment with myself. Then I kept it.
Elmore Leonard, author of a boatload of successful novels, many of which have been made into movies (Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, etc.), began writing fiction while still working full time at an ad agency.
Ernest Gaines (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Lesson Before Dying) wrote on his lunch hour, often using the paper sack his lunch came in for his rough drafts.
Ralph McInerny, author of the Father Dowling mysteries, took care of his family and a full-time job at Notre Dame before writing his fiction from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m every night.
They made time for their writing. You can, too.
And today's a great day to start!
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:16 AM
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
This is for anyone who thinks English is easy.
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it--English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP'.
It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends. And we use the word to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so...it is time to shut UP.
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 5:40 AM
Thursday, April 09, 2009
From Just Erotic Romance Reviews: "First off, I have to say how impressed I was with how much Ms. Quinn was able to pack into this relatively short book. The characters all came off as fully fledged right away... While there was a lot of sex, it came in the form of very hot lessons for Angel, so it didn’t seem rushed. Each lesson brought her deeper into both learning about her own desires and also into her growing feelings for Harry and his for her... I really enjoyed this book and would heartily recommend it. It’s definitely a keeper for me, and I look forward to more of the author’s work."
To read an excerpt or buy, click here.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Why do we sometimes get writer's block? And what can you do to break it?
First, take charge of your own thinking. You can control your mind better than you might think. Motivational experts agree that you must see your success, be able to envision it internally, before you can experience it in your actual real life.
Let go of the wrong kind of control. You can do only what you can do, and then you'll have to let fate take over. The things you can control include your attitude and the work you can do in the next hour, or today, and calls and letters/emails that will help you market your work.
Try to figure out what you really want--and start living as though you already have it. It's like the advice often given to job seekers--dress for the job you want, not the job you have. But I'm not talking about living above your means and getting yourself into debt. I'm talking about if you really want to be a successful author, then you must do what successful authors do. And that starts with a commitment to writing.
Congratulate yourself--sometimes you're the only person who will. You deserve self-respect for the courage of your commitment (even when it doesn't feel like courage to you at all). You can't control receiving respect from others; you can control receiving it from yourself. But if all else fails...
Try just coasting for a few days. Focus on the present rather than the future. Don't deprive yourself of life's little pleasures. Meditation helps. Exercise helps. Vacations help. These breaks in routine, by taking you out of yourself temporarily, bring you into contact with the present, allowing you to simply be here now. Most of the time, when this happens, you'll be able to regain your perspective.
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:06 AM
Monday, April 06, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Got this one from one of my sisters-in-law:
Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the contractor who installed them. He was complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them.
Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, that in ONE YEAR these windows would pay for themselves! Helllooooo? It's been a year! I told him. There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back. I bet he felt like an idiot.
LOL Too bad it can't happen like that in real life...
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:04 AM
Thursday, April 02, 2009
I have, not often, but often enough been called a bitch. Sometimes by friends when I'm being a pain in the butt smartass. LOL But take a look at this. I think you'll agree, under these circumstances, being a bitch ain't all that bad:
When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch.
When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch.
When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.
Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart.
It means I live my life MY way.
It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.
When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch.
The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid, or when I act a little selfish.
It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I 'should' be.
I am outspoken, opinionated and determined. I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, just try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won't succeed.
And if that makes me a bitch, so be it. I embrace the title and am proud to bear it.
B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself
B = Beautiful
I = Intelligent
T = Talented
C = Charming
H = Hell of a Woman
B = Beautiful
I = Individual
T = That
C = Can
H = Handle anything
Mused by Sherrill Quinn at 6:06 AM