Tuesday Writing Tips: Here, There, and Everywhere

So we’re skidding  into the last days of November, scrambling to finish what we started, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, back on the first days of November.

If you’re participating in NaNo, I hope your words have been many and mostly making sense. I completely forgot to mention my guest post over at Agent Courtney’s blog, but it’s not too late for you take a tip from that timely post.

I’m caught up (just!) for Picture Book Idea Month and I am not going to lie–I have been looking out the window practically every day to find an idea. So there are an inordinate number of picture books featuring squirrels, dogs, joggers, leaves falling off trees, decaying pumpkins… Well, I think you get the picture (Ugh. Sorry about that.). But honestly, there are a few gems in the file, so I stand by my tip: ideas are everywhere, if you just take a look around.

And I just zipped over to check out The Next Big Thing over at Sioux’s blog and Debra’s blog and I cannot wait to read these finished manuscripts! Not just because I really like both of these women and their writing, but also because they both came up with great synopsis lines for their works-in-progress. If you can write a great one-line synopsis of your manuscript, then you’ve got a great handle on what your book’s about. And what’s more, you know exactly how you want to pitch it to an agent or publisher.

That’s a golden writing tip, too. So take your pick of a tip–and cross that November finish line with a wow! (And maybe a whew, too!)


Tag, I’m It! (The Next Big Thing)

Last week, blogger, writer, and friend Gail Handler, tagged me for The Next Big Thing, a blog tag for women writers started by She Writes. The idea is to promote your “next big thing” or what we writers call our “work-in-progress.” And Gail sent along a list of questions for me so that I could answer them and promote myself and my next big thing (without seeming really pushy).


What is your working title of your book?

The After Fairy Tales


Where did the idea come from for the book?

I’ve always loved fairy tales, but I’ve always been bothered by that “happily ever after” ending. I mean, sure, it was probably happy for Cinderella, but what about that poor step-sister who chopped off her toe, trying to fit in the glass slipper? What the heck happened to her? So I wondered…what came after the happily ever after?


What genre does your book fall under?

Are fairy tales a genre? 


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Since the book is designed to include three or four stories, there’s no main character. But I’d really like to see Will Ferrell as an imp named Witherhinds. And Johnny Depp as…well, honestly, Johnny could play any role he wanted. Or just hang about, chatting wittily with the screenwriter/author.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

It’s after the happily-ever-after ending when the best stories begin.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I sure hope it will be represented by an agent.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Um, still working on the rewrite. The first story, “Rumpelstiltskin’s Revenge,” was so much fun to write. I think I whipped through that one in a couple of weeks. I’m revising “Beauty and her Stone Sisters” and haven’t quite got round to the last fairy tale. But in my defense, I have a couple of “next big things” I’m finishing.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s sort of a variation-on-a-fairy tale-theme like Adam Gidwitz’ A TALE DARK AND GRIMM (which I loved). But it’s outrageous, too. Lisa Yee critiqued the first story and said it reminded her of THE PRINCESS BRIDE (which I also love). 


Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I fell in love with fairy tales when I was very young. But even as a child, I had this sense that some fairy tales lacked a certain sense of fair play. I mean, sure, the giant wanted to kill Jack. But Jack stole that golden-egg-laying goose. Then Jack chopped down the giant’s home. Is that fair? I think not.


What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Did I mention that it’s funny? You cannot read about squishing body parts and reanimated, smelly corpses, and folks falling into fiery volcanoes and not laugh. Am I right?


A big thank you to Gail for tagging me! And I’m tagging a couple of awesome writers, too. Next week, Debra Mayhew and Sioux will be answering ten questions. I can’t wait to hear what their Next Big Thing will be!