Finding Something Friday on Word Counts and

Checking my email tends to be one of those “Good News/Bad News” activities. When it’s Good News, there is wild dancing in the streets and Chex Mix for everyone!

When it’s Bad News, there’s still Chex Mix. But I don’t feel like sharing it with anyone.

This Friday I had Good News and a Surprise. Which seems like a perfectly reasonable excuse for the fact that this Finding Something Friday post is actually on Saturday, right?

Anyway, on to the Surprise. I found my name in the latest newsletter of If you get the free newsletter, you can find it, too, under the Inquiring Writer column. I responded to a question about word counts for manuscripts, sending along this helpful blog post from Colleen Lindsay. (Check it out if you’re wondering about word counts and your novel-in-progress.) And Dawn Copeman (who does the answering of said questions) included my comments in the newsletter. And, I noticed that Dawn said she’s running low on questions. So this might be the perfect time to get your writing question answered. (Or send in your comments to a question and find your name in the newsletter!)

As for the Good News, I’m kinda still working on that article. So, I’ll share more later.

In the meantime, have a glorious Labor Day weekend. And have some Chex Mix, won’t you?

Writing Snacks For Everyone!

You’re a hungry writer, right? So grab your favorite treat and a cuppa tea and give Writing Snacks a look-see. It’s a new site created by a couple of children’s writers, and it’s packed with tasty writing stuff.

But just because Dana Konop and Melissa Thomas-Dubois write for children doesn’t mean that the information is just for children’s writers. Oh, no, my hungry-for-writing-tips friends. You’ll find delicious treats about grammar, writing craft, and even blogging.

Those blogging tips and such might come from a guest writer. A guest writer you might recognize. Okay, it’s me. I’ve never been very good with subtlety. But I do have a few good thoughts about blogging. So gobble up those tips and tidbits right here.

Yummy stuff, right? (But save room for all the rest at Writing Snacks!)

Wait a sec! Don’t forget to leave a comment! All month long, every comment for any post puts your name in Santa’s hat for the Hall of Fame Holiday Giveaway! Now, don’t go putting 18 comments on one post or I shall have to hogtie you with a string of broken Christmas lights. Don’t think I won’t go outside and grab one off the bushes.

Finding Something Friday…Fruit?

Here’s a Finding Something Friday mystery for you: What does this lovely basket of fruit have to do with Cathy C. Hall?

And please don’t say that I’m a melonhead. Instead, sit back and I’ll explain how these delicious melons, grapes and strawberries connect to the Road to Publication (and Cathy C. Hall).

Think of these fruits as your wonderful pieces of writing…essays, short stories, poems. Perhaps you’ve placed these documents in a safe place, like a file on your computer. Maybe you’ve made a hard copy, too. Or zapped them onto a flash card. The point is, you’ve saved them and you think they’re safe.

But wait! Here comes a tornado! (Or some other natural disaster; I’m not that picky) Are you going to scramble around, looking for your flashcard? Laptop? The plastic crate filled to the top with your notes and manuscript? I don’t think so. My guess is that you will run for your life and lament your lost words later.

Unless you’ve already set up another email account and sent copies of all your files to said account which you use primarily as storage. Then you could access every single word you’d ever written. All those wonderful strawberries, melons and grapes will be just as fresh as ever and waiting for you.

I found that little storage tidbit in this month’s Writer’s Digest. And I found the basket of fruit in my kitchen today. It was delivered to yours truly and Mr. Hall for our anniversary.

Granted, it was a bit of a stretch connecting that basket of fruit to my tip for the day. But hey, us melonheads are smarter than we look!

What Not to Do Wednesday: The Query Letter Blahs

When I was perusing the March Premium Green market guide (more info here) I came across an interview of freelancer Kristin, um, gee, well, I ‘ll check on that later. Anyway, the point is that Kristin had tons of great ideas. And great ideas are pretty darn important if you’re working towards Fame and Fortune in the publishing biz.

Smack dab in the middle of my perusing, it hit me. A classic What Not To Do was staring me in the face. Unfortunately, I was the one guilty of it. To wit: I hadn’t been effectively using the old “hook” in my query letters. Kristin made an excellent point about grabbing an editor’s attention. To wit: “If you haven’t got a lot of clips, you have to come up with an idea that an editor doesn’t dare pass up.” And that idea better be the very first thing in your query letter.

So listen, grasshopper. Don’t blah, blah, blah away in your query letter talking about anything and everything under the sun. Slap that editor with an idea so awesome, he or she won’t know what hit ’em. And you better get right to work on that. Because I’m telling you. Kristin had tons of great ideas.