Monday, June 11, 2012

TAKE A BOOK FROM GOOD TO SOLD IN 10 STEPS

Shirley Jump
Thanks so much to Seekerville for having me here again! I’m thrilled to tell you some of my tips for how I became a published author. Nearly 60 books sold later, it’s worked out pretty well for me ;-)

When I was first trying to sell a book, I struggled to find some magic formula that would take a book good enough to win contests to perfect enough to sell. What I found became a checklist of sorts, which I’ve posted below. What makes a book SOLD instead of simply good enough to win contests? Several factors, I discovered when I took two previous manuscripts that had done well in contests and later revamped them to make them sell.

The first of those books was THE VIRGIN’S PROPOSAL, my first Harlequin Romance, which went on to win the Booksellers’ Best Award. The second (and the one I have examples from) is THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE (adult content), recently re-released to Nook in their Nook First program (it’ll be on Kindle in a few weeks and the rest of the books in the series are on both Nook and Kindle).

Going from Good to SOLD to me is all about taking the book one step further:

1. Make sure every Scene has a Goal and a Sequel. Does your main character in each scene have something he/she wants to accomplish during the course of the scene? If you have a scene that just seems to be sitting there, with no real purpose, then nine times out of ten, the lack of a goal is the problem. Each of the scene goals should feed into the main book goal, and should raise the stakes and the tension. The minute you lose your tension, you’re at the end of your book, because the characters have achieved their goals.

2. Make sure your plot hangs together. This usually requires one read through to look for any potential holes in your plot, any questions left unanswered, etc. Be sure to make notes as you go along, rather than trusting your memory. Often, it’s a dangling plot that keeps a book from being unique enough.

3. Did you make the most of your voice? Voice is that indefinable thing that really sets you apart from another writer. Structurally, you might have a fabulous book but if you haven’t given it your own unique flavor -- the stamp that makes that book YOURS and yours alone -- it won’t stand out among the others on the editor’s desk.

4. Conflict, Conflict, Conflict: Don’t be afraid to throw more and more roadblocks into your characters’ paths. As authors, we’re often too nice to our characters and don’t give them enough hardships. Hardship fosters change which in turn creates character growth. Also, characters who solve their internal and external obstacles too early end the book too soon. Be sure there is some “but” still getting in the character’s way, forcing them to continue on their emotional (and physical, if you have one) journey before you get to the final concluding scene.

5. Motivation, Motivation, Motivation: Do your characters have reasons for everything they do? And do those motivations come from the character’s character -- i.e., what makes him/her uniquely themselves -- rather than some contrivance on your part? Character actions should grow out of character experience, self concept and wants or needs.

6. Look at your balance of narrative and dialogue. Do you have too much of one or the other? Too little in one area? Do you have long passages between spurts of conversation, which make for unnatural pauses? It really helps to read aloud at this point to make sure the dialogue olds together naturally. If necessary, act it out to really see the places where your narrative is too long.

7. Speaking of dialogue — make sure every bit is necessary. Dialogue is a plot tool. It’s used to further the plot and show character, rather than just sitting there, filling up space.

8. Check the obvious. Did you look at all the spelling and grammar errors? Fix the dangling participles and split infinitives? Remove all the extra “thats” and “justs”? Take out as much passive writing as possible? Try to show instead of tell?

9. Tighten. And tighten again. Once you’ve gone through the manuscript for all of the above reasons, go through it again for tightening. Can you use one word instead of five and get the same impact? Can you reword passages with stronger verbs and adjectives, delivering more punch in every sentence?

10. Can you use more unique phrases to express the same thing? Too often, writers relay on clichés for their descriptions instead of striving for something more unique. This is that indefinable aspect that editors are looking for — a strong book written by an author with his/her own distinctive style. To achieve that, you have to write better than those who have gone before you. Be stronger, be more precise. Try harder. That means coming up with several versions of a turn of phrase or striving to go beyond the stereotype. Don’t settle for what’s easy and predictable. Take it to the next level and you’ll soon be hearing your career go to the next level of...

SOLD!

(a side note on the excerpt—it’s a little sassy)

eBook (adult content)
Original “Good” Version of THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE (notes in caps)

The sign on the corner and the Mercedes parked beside it told her she was on Beacon Street in a very exclusive part of Boston. She barely had to raise her arm before a yellow taxicab pulled up beside her. (THIS IS THE OPENING OF CHAPTER TWO. NOT BAD, BUT NO HOOK, AND LOTS OF TELLING)

As she rode home, she realized she wouldn’t trade her cozy two-room apartment near the North End for any of the brownstones on Beacon Street. She loved the smell of the bakeries, enjoyed talking with her neighbors and especially liked the quaint cobblestone streets. (WORKS IN BACKSTORY BUT DOES IT IN TELLING, WHICH ISN’T GOOD. AND NO SCENE GOAL HERE EITHER.)

She had lived in Boston ever since she went to college. Her parents never understood how she could prefer the crowded, noisy city over the tranquility of the suburb where she’d spent her childhood. (AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH TELLING FOR YOU, HERE’S MORE ;-)

How could she ever explain that some tiny part of her needed the bustling atmosphere of the city? The hum of the traffic, the people hurrying by in the mornings, were fuel for the drive that burned inside her. (AND MORE)

What no one knew, not even John, was that her dreams were here, the ones she’d had in college when she majored in business, hoping someday to open her own flower shop, to have the independence and financial security she craved. (AND MORE)

At her graduation, she had every intention of announcing her plans. But when her parents hurried over to congratulate her on her degree, she didn’t get a chance to say anything. John knelt down in front of her, held out a sparkling diamond and asked her to be his wife. (AND NOW HERE’S A BACKSTORY DUMP…AND MORE TELLING. SO FAR, NO COMEDY, NO GOAL, NO CONFLICT, NO MOTIVATION).

“Oh, Candace, I’m so proud. Now you can settle down and have those grandchildren I’ve been dreaming of,” her mother exclaimed, tears glistening in her eyes. “You’ve got everything now, dear, everything you could ever dream of.”

I suppose I do, Candace mused. It was her father’s heart attack the following autumn that had sealed her fate and kept her from pursuing the shop. In the years since, both her parents had become dependent, financially and emotionally, on their remaining child. It was a pressure that was hard to ignore. (AND EVEN MORE TELLING, JUST TO KEEP IT THAT WAY ;-)

Compare all that above to the SOLD version, which I think uses my voice more, adds more conflict and showing, and has a clearer goal. It’s also funnier and has more tension.

SOLD version of THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE:

Every block of the trip home compounded Candace's guilt, rolling in her stomach along with the stench of the cabbie and his faux Cuban cigar. How could she have done something so stupid? And if Barry ever found out... (ACTIONS ARE HERE, AND THERE IS LESS TELLING, LESS OF THE TO BE VERB)

He wouldn't. She’d sweep this momentary lapse of common sense under the rug and leave it there with the Cheetos from last year's Christmas party. The only people who knew were Rebecca, Maria and herself. The three of them could keep a secret for the next, oh, fifty years. (NOW I WORK IN SOME COMEDY AND LOTS OF CONFLICT. AND HERE’S HER GOAL—TO FORGET ALL ABOUT IT AND PRETEND THE NIGHT NEVER HAPPENED)

As the cab rounded the corner of her street, a swell of anger rose in her throat as she thought about how she must have ended up in the pickle in the first place. How could her “friends” leave her with that Rudolph Valentino wanna-be? What had they been thinking? Had this been some twisted bachelorette scheme? (NOW HERE’S A BIT OF TELLING BUT IT WORKS BETTER BECAUSE SHE’S IN THE CAB. ALREADY ESTABLISHED ACTION, SO I HAVE THE MOMENTS TO DO THIS. I ALSO DID IT WITH LESS TELLING)

He'd claimed she'd asked him to take her for a ride on the wild side. Impossible. He was lying, taking advantage of her hungover state. She wouldn't have. She couldn't have.

Well...yeah, but she kind of had with that kiss.

No, that was a pod twin of herself. A temporary fugue state. Candace tossed the possibility that she'd had anything to do with her own predicament right through the smeared dirty window. (BRINGS IT BACK TO THE PRESENT WITH THE LAST WORDS, AND ADDS CONFLICT)

The cab stopped. Candace paid and hopped out. She crept into the house, hoping to pass by Grandma's door undetected. It was, after all, only a little after seven in the morning. Maybe Grandma had slept in. But since Candace had all the sneakability of an African elephant and Grandma had the hearing of a Navy man, that wasn't to be. (NOW I ADD ACTIONS AND DIALOGUE TO SHOW INSTEAD OF TELL THE BACKSTORY)

“Candace? Is that you?” Grandma Woodrow opened her door and stepped out into the hall the duplexes shared. Dressed head to toe in purple-and-teal Spandex, punctuated with knee pads, elbow pads and a dark purple bicycle helmet, Grandma looked equipped for extreme knitting. (ADDS COMEDY AND RATHER THAN DOING A BACKSTORY DUMP, KEEPS IT PRESENT AND ACTIVE)

Candace let out a laugh. “Don't tell me. I don't think I want to know.”

“Pshaw.” Grandma waved a hand at her. “George is teaching me to Rollerblade. We're thinking of going to Venice Beach in January, and everyone who's anyone there Rollerblades.” (SETS UP GRANDMA’S CHARACTER IN A FEW WORDS AND A VISUAL)

Hopefully seeing the “rules” in action help you apply this to your own book. And before you know it, you’re going from Good to SOLD!

Shirley

Leave a comment for a chance to have the first page of your manuscript critiqued by Shirley.

105 comments:

Casey said...

I NEVER get this chance, so taking it now. ;-) Will return tomorrow to ACTUALLY read Shirley's post. ;D

KC Frantzen and May the K9 Spy said...

Shirley - What a great post.

Thanks.
I love it when you SHOW us newbies. It makes things so clear.

Another printer off-er from Seekerville.

Sure appreciate it! And again, congrats on the successes!

FABULOUS!!!

Mary Curry said...

Congrats on being first, Casey!

I should be in bed instead of being second, but this post was too good to not comment.

Thanks, Shirley. I'm in the revising stage right now so I'm printing these out to study.

Happy Monday, Seekerville.

Ava Walker Jenkins said...

Thanks, Shirley,
Your post came at a perfect time. I'm working on revisions and will certainly print off your 10 points for reference.
Your examples were so helpful and I enjoyed your step-by-step explanations amid the cute "sassy" sample. No wonder you've sold! Congrats!!!

Connie Queen said...

I love before and after examples.

In the sold version, I feel like I'm there instead of being told a story.

60 BOOKS??? You're my hero.

Connie

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Shirley, nice to see you again! I love comparison posts, because (thank heavens!) it takes a few twists and turns to feed that action in.

Great example of first and final drafts. Wonderful. Hey, coffee's on...

And yeah, 60 books.... I should have started a long, long, time ago.

How long can a person live, anyhoo????

:)

Shirley Jump said...

LOL, Casey! Nice to see you here for a second! :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Hi KC, LOL--I am a big fan of showing, so that makes sense ;-) Glad you enjoyed the post!

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Mary, I should be in bed, too! But DH needs me to go to Chicago today to pick him up at O'Hare (long story) so I'm here at the crack of dawn myself :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Ava! Glad the post was helpful! I think a checklist of sorts is always a great thing.

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

LOL, Connie! It keeps me busy and out of the mall...at least until I finish a book ;-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Ruth! I think it helps, too, to see that I make many of the same mistakes everyone else struggles with. Even after writing lots of books :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

To all...

I'm traveling today (have to go to Chicago on a last-minute trip) but wil pop in as I can throughout the day.

Also, for those who want more info on this topic, I happen to be doing a free online chat tomorrow night at WriterSpace on Revision: www.writerspace.com/chat. I'll be there for an hour at 9pm EST, so stop on by!

Shirley

Jackie said...

Shirley,
You did a great job of showing us how to implement the rules for a better story.
Thanks for the help!
Joyfully,
Jackie

Sherrinda said...

Fabulous post and I absolutely LOVE having examples to SHOW me how to do something! Thanks!

Rose said...

Shirley,

As always, when you visit. Great advice.

Shirley Jump said...

You're welcome, Jackie! Glad you enjoyed the post!

Shirley Jump said...

You're welcome, Sherrinda!

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Rose!

Julie Lessman said...

WHOA, SHIRLEY, EXCELLENT POST!!! This is a definite keeper with so many lessons to be learned -- THANK YOU!!

Now I'm gonna have to go get the book, you little stinker!! :)

Hugs,
Julie

Tina Radcliffe said...

Welcome back, Shirley. I've had the good fortune of taking Shirley's classes online and she's a terrific instructor. You all got this free of charge.

Thank you so much for sharing this checklist.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Seekerville! Great to have Shirley here today with her excellent revision pointers!

Shirley's first book released in 2001 and now she has 60 books. That blows my mind!

I brought an array of bagels and toppings with fresh fruit. Simple fare as I'm on deadline. And we have a grandchild visiting. I'm discovering work and a 7 year old don't mix. LOL He's writing a book and looking for an illustrator.
:-)

Janet

Sandra Leesmith said...

Good morning Shirley and thanks for those ten pointers. We always love having you here in Seekerville.

Congrats on 60 books. woo hoooo

Pass me a bagel Janet. And I brought some chocolate velvet coffee to go with the gal who wore chocolate. smile

Mia Ross said...

Great advice, Shirley! I'll be editing next week, and these suggestions will definitely help me. Thanks for distilling your experience into a list the rest of us can follow :)

CaraG said...

Just read on your "just write it" (a yahoo group in case anyone doesn't know about it) that you write 6 books a year. I'm in awe...

Humor is something I look for when buying books and your title, The Bride Wore Chocolate made me smile before I even read the excerpt. Did you have that title picked when you started the book?

Truly appreciate the examples.

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome back to Seekerville, Shirley! I love your examples. Comparisons help me so much. Catching the reader with a hook at the beginning of a story is such a difficult thing, but you made it easier.

Jeanne T said...

Shirley, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and the examples! I'm in the process of revising my wip, and these will be very helpful!

I loved the idea of acting out long sections of narrative to see if they are "too long." Hadn't thought to do that.

Thanks! I hope trip to Chicago goes smoothly.

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, chocolate velvet coffee is wonderful!! Thanks.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mia, Hope your revisions go well!

Janet

Shirley Jump said...

Lol, Julie! All part of my diabolical plot ;-). Just kidding!

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thanks, Tina! :-)

Shirley Jump said...

Not 60, I don't think, Janet. Though I admit I do lose track! It's close to 60, though, that I've sold. Books # 37, 38 and 39 come out this summer :-)

Shirley Jump said...

Lol, Sandra! That sounds delicious!

Shirley Jump said...

You're more than welcome, Mia! I'm so glad it's helpful. :-)

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thanks, Cara! I agree--there isn't much about writing that's easy, but if it was easy, we'd all be Nora Roberts :-)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cara G,

Shirley's productivity amazes me, too! No moss grows under her stiletto heel clad feet. LOL

Janet

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Jeanne! I act things out all the time. My kids think I'm crazy ;-)

Shirley Jump said...

Lol, Janet. Oh I have my lazy days, believe me!

Debby Giusti said...

Thanks, Shirley, for the great check list and wonderful examples of turning a story into a sale.

BTW, I love Grandma! In purple spandex. How fun is that! You are SO creative.

Hugs!

Jan Drexler said...

Yes, this is definitely a printer-outer!

I'm wrestling with edits and revisions right now and your checklist is already bringing things to mind - -
Thanks, Shirley!

Missy Tippens said...

That's an amazing transformation, Shirley!! Thanks for sharing!

Y'all, I've taken Shirley's class From Good to Sold, and it's fantastic!! It has really helped me.

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thanks, Debbie! I loved Grandma. She's one of my favorite characters. :-)

Shirley Jump said...

Glad the timing was right for you, Jan!

Shirley Jump said...

You're too sweet, Missy. :-). Glad you enjoyed the class!

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, and I have to add that your #1 has helped me the most in dealing with episodic writing. It truly does help solve the problem. (especially after taking Shirley's class and seeing examples of making sure to add in that goal for each scene and stating it early).

Digging for Pearls said...

Welcome to Seekerville Shirley. Loved your ten points.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe

Melanie Dickerson said...

That's an awesome checklist, Shirley!

Carol Moncado said...

Love the ten points!!! Now to see if I can apply them...

And sixty books in 12 years?!?!?! [even if "only" numbers 37/38/39 are coming out this year]

You are my hero.

You and Mary.

And now back to work...

Casey said...

What can I say? I see a first comment chance at Seekerville, you take it! ;-)

Came back to read the post, awesome stuff! I'm going through edits right now, so keeping these things in mind is GREAT for today's jump start. Thanks Shirley!

Shirley Jump said...

I'm so glad to hear that, Missy! It's something I always have to remember, too, which is why it's #1!

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Jodie!

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Jodie!

Anonymous said...

Hello Shirley :)
Thanks for sharing. These are really good advices.
I just searched your name online and oh my, congratulations on your achievements as an author!! (+ your covers look gorgeous)

Ganise (Um, thank you I'll pass this contest for now.. I have no manuscript anyway. But I am a future author! )

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Melanie!

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thanks, Carol!

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Ganise! One of these days you will!

Myra Johnson said...

Always fun to have you in Seekerville, Shirley! You never fail to offer a wealth of information and invaluable advice! Those 10 steps? Pure gold!

My personal favorites: Make sure every scene has a goal. And make sure every line of dialogue has a purpose.

You know what, Janet? I think we ALL could use a Shirley in our lives to inspire and motivate! Glad you introduced her to Seekerville!

Mary Connealy said...

Dangling participles always sounds kinda dirty to me.

Mary Connealy said...

I think conflict, conflict, conflict is a stumbling block for a lot of writers. We need to be MEAN. We need to TORTURE our characters.

But that's not very nice!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

In fact, I think I'll go shove my heroine off a cliff right now, excuse me. I'll be back.

Carol Moncado said...

SUPER HUGE CONGRATS to Seekervillager Mary Curry for a DOUBLE FINAL in Duel on the Delta!!!!

WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary - I still haven't shot anyone 6500 words in.

I need to fix that.

Mary Connealy said...

Carol, SLACKER!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Virginia Romance Writers is pleased to announce the final results for the 2012 Fool For Love contest:

Inspirational Category (Final Judge, Acquisitions Editor Raela Schoenherr, Bethany House)

1st Place – Whichever Bride Stays by Melissa Jagears

2nd Place – Love Bears All Things by Jan Drexler

3rd Place – Living Peace by Stacy Monson

CONGRATULATIONS FRIENDS OF SEEKERVILLE!!!!!
AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clari Dees said...

Wow! Way To Go, Seekerville people!
Congrats to Mary Curry, Melissa Jagears, Jan Drexler, and Stacy Monson!

Julie Lessman said...

WHOO-HOO, Mary Curry for the double final in Duel on the Delta contest and Melissa Jagears, Jan Drexler and Stacy Monson for the wins in the Virginia Romance Writers contest!!

FRIENDS OF SEEKERVILLE ROCK!!!

Hugs,
Julie

Jennifer Thompson said...

Hi Shirley, You're tips are great.

I like the tip on conflict. I was throwing so much conflict on my hero/heroine I was beginning to wonder if it was too much. It's just so fun! :)

Love your profile pic!

Congrats to Mary Curry for the double final in Duel on the Delta contest and Melissa Jagears, Jan Drexler and Stacy Monson for the wins in the Virginia Romance Writers contest!!!

I hope to be in your shoes one day.

Cheers

Virginia said...

HAHAHAHA!

Okay, this whole post was worth it just for your notes in parentheses in the first version.

The second version had me laughing out loud!

Why, why have I never read this book? Must go find it now.

Virginia said...

Um, Ruthy, at your rate, I think you can catch up in about 9 years. No sweat.

Janet Dean said...

I agree, Myra! Shirley nails me when I need it. That's one way to motivate and inspire. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wahoo, Mary Curry, for the double final in Duel on the Delta!! Melissa, Jan and Stacy, huge congrats on winning in Fool For Love contest!! So proud of all of you!!

Janet

Virginia said...

Just saw the news... CONGRATS JAN, STACY, MELISSA!!!


AND DOUBLE CONGRATS OVERACHIEVER MARY!!!!

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thanks, Myra!

Shirley Jump said...

Lol, Mary! A cliff is a serious conflict :-)

Shirley Jump said...

Carol, thanks! And congrats to all the Seekerville finalists!

Shirley Jump said...

Jennifer, Janet will tell you that I own enough shoes for everyone here to have a pair ;-). Seriously, I hope you all end up here-- and beyond on the career ladder!

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Virginia! I hope you enjoy it!

Myra Johnson said...

WOW!!! Just popped in and saw the exciting contest news for our Seekerville friends!

CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES!!! So happy for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!
Gonna go look this up.

Ganise

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, oh, oh!!!! Yowza, party in Seekerville, I'm buyin' a round for Table FIVE!!!!

Melissa, Jan, Stacy and Mary (squared)!!!! So proud of you, I'm happy dancin' in the streets of upstate New York and folks are lookin' at me weird! (It might be because I'vw busted out the knees of my second-best bathing suit!)

Happy days are here again... Oh, Jagaers, mon petite, this vas your vittle secret of ze ozzer day, vas it not?????

Squeeeee!

(I've been lookin' for a reason to Squee like the Geico pig all day! Now I've got FIVE REASONS! You guys rock!)

Grinning in upstate!

Mary Cline said...

Sooo glad I checked back in. Congratulations to Melissa, Jan Stacy, Mary. I am so excited for you. Happy Happy Joy Joy!

Carol Garvin said...

I'm loving Grandma! I'm already hooked on that one... sounds like a fun story.

Thanks for your great explanation, Shirley. You showed instead of told, and it made your point very well. :)

I'm relieved to see Ruthy put coffee on. I'll just grab me a mug, and a bit of Janet's fruit, and get back to putting your info to work.

Mary Curry said...

What fun to get home from work and read all the fun news.

Thanks Carol for outing my news. ;)

MELISSA!!!!! Woo hoooo

Congrats to Jan and Stacy. That's an awesome contest to do so well in because it's such a huge entry.

Shirley Jump said...

You're welcome, Carol!

Mary, congrats again on the contest!

Shirley

Audra Harders said...

Hi Shirley! I love your visits to Seekerville. Your insights are marvelous.

That jump from contest win to sold leaves me shaking my head. So many nuances are involved and you shared great examples of good to great.

Thanks for the revision "tune up." I'm printing off items 1 through 10 and double checking my mss frequently!

Great post, Shirley!!!

Audra Harders said...

Mary, Melissa, Jan, Stacy!!! Great news!! Dancing for joy in the smoke and fire here in Colorado.

So awesome when all our friends share their great news!!!

WooHoo!!

Julia Broadbooks said...

A great post, Shirley! I've bookmarked it for reference.

Nancy C said...

Mary Curry, Melissa, Jan and Stacy! Wow! Major excitement. Congratulations! You do plan to celebrate, right? Right?

Shirley, thanks for the checklist. I'm deep into editing/revisions (which is why I'm so late at checking in today), and this is such a terrific, concise list. Of course, now I'm wondering if the WIP will need another revision :-)

Audra -- The fires there and in New Mexico are dreadful. Wishing you rain, cooler weather, whatever it would take. Stay safe.

Nancy C

Audra Harders said...

Thanks Nancy. Prayers for the brave firefighters battling these erratic blazes! Our winds here in Colorado tend to change on a dime making containment of the fire difficult.

And of course we have close to 0% humidity, rough terrain and tons of beetle killed trees.

Very volitale combination.

Melissa Jagears said...

Tank you tank you, it vas my vittle secret from ze ozzer day, and ze judge vanted a full ond propozal az vell.

So how did I do with the accent, Ruthy? I really really can't talk with an accent, when I try, my husband just shakes his head it's so bad.

Melissa Jagears said...

Seekers rock!

Annie Rains said...

Your examples were great! And after reading your excerpts I want to run out and get your book so that I can keep reading. ...Hmmm, I think I pass a book store at some point today :)

Thanks, Shirley!

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks so much, Audra!

A reminder, I'll be chatting online tonight about that very thing at www.writerspace.com/chat at 9pm EST. It's a free chat, open to all! :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks so much, Audra!

A reminder, I'll be chatting online tonight about that very thing at www.writerspace.com/chat at 9pm EST. It's a free chat, open to all! :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Julia!

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thank you, Annie! LOL...but this book is an ebook (it was released in print a few years ago) which means you can get it online. Immediate gratification ;-) My next three print books are out this summer. :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

LOL, Nancy. Sometimes it's hard to know when it's perfect, and when to keep tweaking! Sometimes I'm glad I have a deadline to meet so I quit tinkering ;-)

Shirley

Jodi Janz said...

Let me add my thanks to the many other commenters. Adding a before and after example teaches more than just a list of do's and don'ts.
Thanks Shirley. The finished (sold) version is definitely stronger.

PatriciaW said...

Thanks, Shirley! Never can get enough of your writing tips.

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Jodi! I'm glad to hear it! :-) I am very much a "show" teacher, meaning I like to actually show it to you in action so you can get what I'm talking about :-)

Shirley

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks, Patricia!

Shirley

Kayleen said...

I feel privileged to attend Shirley's FREE monthly writing workshops at Barnes & Noble in Ft Wayne IN. They are helpful and she is so gracious at encouraging ppl to stretch their writing wings. She's done it for many yrs and our community is stronger b/c of her! Thanks, Shirley!

Shirley Jump said...

Aw, thank you, Kayleen! You're too sweet. :-)

Katie Larink said...

Wow! Fantastic post! I especially loved when you went over the original writing you had in The Bride Wore Chocolate. I think I may print this out and start a 'advice to adhere to' folder for future writing. ;D

Shirley Jump said...

Thanks so much, Katie! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Shirley

bj maxwell said...

Your post couldn't have my attention at a better time. I think I have POV on track--basic POV.

I am deep into the first fourth of my novel. Can't tell you the relief that you went from the first example to the pubbed work. There is hope.

Thank you for your hard work. I plan to buy this read. Too yummy to pass up.