Friday, November 18, 2011

Different Blog!!

Thank you so much, all you beautiful wonderful people who are following this blog! You are truly amazing. I'm letting you know that I no longer post on this blog. I have a different writing blog here.

It has recently been made-over by the fabulous Janice Foy. Thanks again, and I hope to see you all over there!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Thought on Rejections

It's never easy to get rejected. Even though an agent is saying they're not interested in your BOOK and not yourself, it pretty much feels like a personal loser dart has just been pegged on your chest. It's easy to get frustrated and bummed and feel like a trip to Coldstone for some consolation ice cream (which I totally did!). And by all means, take time for a mini pity party. But then, get over it! Use the rejection as a springboard, a challenge to prove that you can find the agent who wants your stuff! Either that, or as incentive to make your work even better so that the next time around you'll get a yes among the no's. Both of which I have done, because it definitely works! I submitted to about eleven agents yesterday after waiting painfully for about four weeks to hear from a few others and I was hearing NOTHING. After about an hour I got some positive news! An agent requested my first 100 pages! Good things defintely come to those who wait. There is still a chance for rejection from here on out, but at least I got a yes along the way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Radio Script

I should've been born in the times of Annie or A Christmas Story, where people didn't have TV and used to just sit around and listen to stories acted out on the radio. Because when I write a story, I hear the conversations in my head and that's what gets written down! I have to go back through and add the details later, and descriptions are so much harder for me! I've heard the opposite, where some writers are great with descriptions and when it comes to the dialogue, they struggle.

If you find yourself in the same situation, my best advice for changing your radio script into a novel or short story, or a story in general is two things. Add setting, and add senses. Charlotte Cook, who edited my first 20 pages, suggested I tag the dialogue I had. So here is an example of tagging from a conversation I actually heard my characters have while going to sleep last night. (Another good idea is to keep a notebook by your bed because I always get inspiration as my mind is clearing itself at the end of the day!)

Talon is cleaning an animal. I haven't decided what yet. Fish? Probably. And Kiana is watching him.
"You do know that's disgusting."
"News flash, Kiana. This is what you look like on the inside."
"Yeah, but no one's going to eat me."
"That you know of."
"Is it possible? The rough-necked Talon can actually make a joke?"
He smeared blood on my hands.
"Is it possible the stubborn beauty can get her hands dirty?"
"Beauty, huh? Don't take it back now, I heard you say it. Come on, admit it, you think I'm beautiful."
"Beauty isn't real, Kiana. It fades like the seasons."
"Yeah, but while the summer's hot, it's hot, right?"

Okay. So even though it's just words, fill in the spaces between. Add the trees, since they're outdoors. And the weather. Is it cold? Scorching hot? Then character movements. Talon's probably holding a filet knife, and Kiana is twiddling with a long blade of grass. Does he smile at her? What is she thinking? You get the idea. Here's what tagging the dialogue would look like:

Talon's knife sliced through the fish's underbelly. I caught a glimpse of red and turned away, my stomach churning.
"You do know that's disgusting," I said.
"News flash, Kiana," said Talon. "This is what you look like on the inside."
How would he know? "Yeah, but no one's going to eat me."
"That you know of," Talon added under his breath.
My eyebrows rose. "Is it possible? The rough-necked Talon can actually make a joke?" A bird chirped in the tree above.
Talon slid a look at me, then darted out and smeared his bloodied hands on my fingers.
"Ew!" The slimy wet reeked. I went to wipe it on my jeans, but it would probably stain them. Yuck. What a low blow.
He hit me with one of his rare smiles. "Is it possible the stubborn beauty can get her hands dirty?"
The corner of my mouth lifted. "Beauty, huh?"
Talon opened his mouth, his brow hardened and then he stared at the silvery skin he was peeling from the pink fish meat within.
"Don't take it back now, I heard you say it." Was that color coming to his cheeks? "Come on, admit it. You think I'm beautiful."
He kept his head bent. "Beauty isn't a real thing, Kiana." His head lifted, his eyes were too serious, almost as if they were being forced. My smile stretched. "It fades like the seasons."
Nice try. "Yeah, but while the summer's hot, it's hot, right?"
His mouth twitched, hiding a smile.

Anywho, that's very rough, but it's just an example. Hope it helps!
Peace out.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back story or BS :)

Back story, or BS, for those of you who don't know, is your character's history, how they came to be the way they are. And this blog entry is going to be somewhat short, because it's pretty simple.

What to put in, what to take out? Even though your character's BS may be an awesome story all in itself, if it doesn't move the main plot forward, take it out. This has been hard because there's a few scenes of Rowen, my mind writer :), explaining how he came to be the way he is to Soleil, the protagonist, and I've had to take them both out because, cool as they are (and they're also my husband's favorite parts), they had nothing to do with the main plot. So when the agents I pitched to raised their eyebrows when I told them how long my book was, and when they said I needed to cut about 20,000 words, I knew right where to start.

Don't start your story with BS. (lol). Your reader needs to develop a relationship with your characters first. They have to care about your character first, or they sure as pizza bombs won't care about your character's back story. Nancy Kress says that adding BS after your first chapter is a good way to start, but to hook your reader into your character's plight first.

Also, don't take a long chunk of space explaining something all at once. It's better, as Eric Witchey from Willamette Writers Conference said, to insert your back story as the story moves along, not all at once, but in pieces so you're not really telling your readers a character's bs, but the reader peices it together as they go along with the main plot. You don't want it to take over and stop the flow of your story, or you'll lose interest. As I did when Stephenie Meyer had those long chunks of her character's bs, especially the whole indian history stories they tell Bella at that thing she goes with Jacob to. Boh-ring! Skip!

Don't get me wrong, I really like the Twilight series. It's just that the more I'm learning about writing, the more I pay attention to things like that!

Anywho, that's all the BS I've got. Ha ha, okay bad joke. I was going to post one of my BS outtakes, but I thought better of it, since my stuff isn't technically copyrighted. Sorry.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


My almost three year old woke me up at about two am the other day because he had to go potty. (This is relevant, I promise!). I'm standing there, eyes half open, the other half fuzzy with sleep, and I'm really close to losing patience because I'm urging him to hurry up and get dressed again, and he's busy examining the new owie on his knee. And then it hit me! Oftentimes when I write, I hear voices. Yes, it's true, I'm mental :). Seriously, my characters talk in my head, and I'm so anxious to get their words written down that I forego the necessary tagging that comes along with it. What does this character look like when she's angrily yelling about Rowen wanting to kill her? Is he just standing there, or are his fists raised? Is a car passing while they're talking/yelling? What time of day is it? etc. I see all of these things in my head, but I'm so anxious to get the story moving that it sometimes gets overlooked. I always have to go back and add it in later.

Charlotte Cook, an aquisition editor for Komenar Publishing, did a critique on my first twenty pages (not the strongest point of my novel!) and she said, you haven't written a novel, you've written a radio script. Because all my characters did was talk to each other (that's not all they did, but you get the point). I saw it in my head and so assumed everyone else would too. (I'm happy to say that the rest of my book is not like that.) So I've been doing a TON of reading and I learned a TON at the conference and believe me, my newly revised opening scene is filled with life and detail, senses...with reality! (And this blog will touch on all of these things I'm learning!) Take the time to add senses--feel, touch, taste, sound. Don't just rely on sight, everywhere I've read says sight is way overdone and I agree. Slow down and smell the roses :) (okay, total cliche, I know.)

You've got to make your characters real. Readers aren't stupid, you can't just say "His words angered me," or "I was terrified." Don't tell the reader those emotions--Show them! Dramatize dramatize dramatize! Never never never never never use the phrase, "I felt..." because that slows whatever emotional interest you've got in your readers, you've got to create characters so real that the reader feels what they're feeling at the moment they're feeling it. I heard once, I think it's in Nancy Kress's book  Characters, Emotions, & Viewpoint, that if you're character reacts in anger to a certain situation, even if your reader wouldn't react that same way, you've got to make the reader feel the character's anger. Is this making any sense? That's what hooks readers to your books. The emotion. Why do so many people like Twilight? Is it because Stephenie Meyer is an amazing writer and her plot points are to die for? Not here to bash, so I won't go into that, but the thing Stephenie did so masterfully was to create emotion. I fell in love with Edward right along with Bella. (yes, I got suckered in along with everyone else!).

Jack Johnson's "Inaudible Melodies" comes to mind as I'm writing this. "Slow down, everyone, you're movin' too fast."

Slow down in your writing. Jessical Morrell says to have a sensual element on every page. Not sensual in the kinky naughty sense, but in the sense sense! Have your character hear an airplane cutting through the sky above, or taste the smoke from a nearby forest fire.

On that same note, don't spend a page listing all the details of the park your characters are in, or your readers will be bored to tears. Intersperse senses and details along with plot and dialogue and character's thoughts, so that they flow and aren't separate from the rest of what's going on.

How do you create emotion?

Nancy Kress gives four ways:
1. Action. Have your character react to something, step away from something they're scared of.
2. Dialogue. "Why can't you leave me alone?"
3. Bodily reactions: the thrill of nerves, laughter
4. Thoughts.

A good way to know what your character feels how he'd react to a certain situation is to identify his back story, his goal and current desires. More on that in a different post!

Sorry, this was a little all over the place, but, the moral of the post is:  Don't be so focused on getting your pants back on that you fail to notice the bumpy texture and sting of the patchy red scar on your knee. lol

Monday, August 23, 2010

It Starts

Hello! To all of you who don't know me, I'm Cortney Pearson. I'm currently working on a kick-butt YA paranormal romance novel guessed it, The Mind Writers.

The Scoop:

It's about a hit man who sold his soul to a demon for the ability to control minds by touching people. He's sent after an unsuspecting, sixteen year old girl, but when he falls for her instead, the demon exacts ownership over him. Now the girl has three days to figure out how to save his soul without losing hers in the process. Who wouldn't love that? Hit man, demon, love story...

So this blog is going to be about my mind writing adventures. Not only with that particular novel, but also with short stories and other novels that I also have in the works. It's also going to concern the writing tidbits and interesting snatches I learn along the way! Because I'm reading TONS of books on how to become a better writer. It's a craft, really, not something just anybody can pick up and just do. I play the clarinet, and I practiced for hours and hours and hours until I perfected that skill. Writing is no different, that's why you always hear the phrase "Write every day." Because it's true!

What is a Mind Writer, you ask? Instead of reading minds by being able to hear what people around them are thinking, my hit men--the Mind Writers--can touch anyone and write over his or her existing thoughts, making that person think whatever a mind writer wants him or her to. Pretty amazing actually. In a perfect world we'd all have this ability--or maybe one or two of us :) because if everyone had it then it wouldn't be cool anymore.

Anyway, I'm hoping to have my novel completely ready in the next few months. I've rewritten once already, trying to perfect it, so many times and I'm thinking third time's a charm. It's going to happen, peeps!

Make today amazing!