(Semi-Important)Things I Learned This Week

file4111342838965Oh. My. Word. I was off this week, packing up a lifetime or so of stuff in my parent’s house and I didn’t have cable or internet.

So I went to the library parking lot–because you can use their hotspot 24/7–and it wasn’t working.

Are you kidding me?

I found out some interesting things about Cathy C. Hall this week, y’all:

  1. I can live fairly easily without TV.
  2. I can read an entire book in a couple days, if I don’t have TV. (I so loved Suzanne Lilly’s Gold Rush Barons!)
  3. I get a little testy by Day 2, sans the interwebs.
  4. I get a LOT testy by Day 4, sans the interwebs.
  5. You may not want to be around me on Day 5, sans the interwebs.

Anyway, I’m home now to my 24/7 interwebs which brings me to two¬†three more things:

  1. You might have missed my post on The Muffin this week called “Selling Books, 24/7.” You can still zip over and catch up because hey, it’s about selling books, 24/7.
  2. And I found a delightful email in the PACKED inbox about WOW! Women-on-Writing’s being named as a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers! And that includes all the bloggers over at the Muffin! And that makes me a winner!WDBestWebIconsmall_zps9cscebaq
  3. Would anyone care to come over and unpack all my stuff? ‘Cause I’m kind of tied up on the interwebs, 24/7.

The Search For the Great Beginning

file000495818648I came across a post, “Ten Great Openings to Recent YA and MG Literature by Jim Woehrle” over at Nerdy Book Club and of course, I had to read it. I mean, great openings? I was hooked.

There is nothing in my writing that I spend as much time on as my opening. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post over at WOW!Women-on-Writing or one of my full-length manuscripts. I agonize over the beginning because…well, the beginning is almost everything.

The first line–or lines–must hook the reader. And those introductory words set the tone for all that follows. A good beginning is golden, and can make up for a multitude of messes that come later. But a bad beginning? There is no later with a sucky start.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck on the beginning, I’ll just start writing the meat of the post or story or book. The ending will often help me when I go back to write the beginning. But other times, I just can’t get anything right if I start out wrong.

And I can feel it in my writing bones when I’ve nailed a beginning. In fact, I’ve come up with a great first line with no idea for a story when suddenly, the story takes off. Just because of a great beginning.

So, I’ve read a couple of those books recommended by Jim Woehrle, and I’ll add a few of them to my To Be Read list, based solely on the beginning. And now, how about you?

Do you write your beginning last? First? Any tips on those 0h-so-important first lines? And what’s your recommendation for a great beginning? Because I often learn from reading, and besides, I just love a great beginning!

 

Even If You’ve Heard It All Before (Reminders for Writers)

file0001008451882Today, I’m over at The Muffin, writing about the best way to stack the deck in your writing favor with “Give ‘Em What They Want.”

To be honest, I didn’t say anything earth-shatteringly new. But the Muffin blog and WOW-Women on Writing attract writers new to the business every day, so for them, the information could be earth-shatteringly new.

On the other hand, even old-timers like me can fall into that two-headed trap: complacency and arrogance. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we think, I know what to do. Or, yeah, yeah, yeah, we figure, those rules are for other just-starting-out writers. So every once in a while I need a reminder not to get too big for my writing britches.

Not saying that you do, too. I’m sure you’re the Mary Poppins of the writing world, practically perfect in every way. But just in case you aren’t…

(And P.S. you might want to read Renee’s comment on the post; it’s good stuff, too. Please come back tomorrow for Scott Keen’s post–the one I referenced at The Muffin. He’ll be giving us the 4-1-1 on WiDo Publishing and his new book!)