Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Goof-Off Day

And not only is it goof-off day, being the fifth Thursday of the month, but it's time for that occasional part of this blog -- the arithmetic. FUN arithmetic! Looking for any children's math games? Family math games? Not all of these games use numbers; some just exercise your logic and spatial relations. Like this game reminiscent of Mario. Tilt the game back and forth using the arrow keys to get the friendly little round guys into the bubble. But they have to hit any coins that appear, and don't let them get eaten by the mean little spiky guys! Have fun, and happy goof-off day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

September Critique Winners! says the winners of this month's critique giveaway are: Sharon K. Mayhew and danceluvr!

Here's the procedure. Email me at marcia at marciahoehne dot com:
  • The first 1000 words of your magazine story, chapter book, mid-grade novel, or YA novel pasted into the body of the email.
  • Be sure to tell me the genre of the material (one of the above four).
  • Put "(Month) critique winner" in the subject line.
  • The deadline to submit your ms. for critique will be the DAY BEFORE the next month's critique contest begins. Critique contests always begin on the third Thursday. Therefore I must hear from the September winners by October 20.
  • When I receive your email, I'll acknowledge receipt and let you know when you can expect my response.
Congratulations to Sharon and danceluvr, thank you all so much for stopping by and entering, and by all means enter again next month! Wishing you all a great day in the world of books...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September Critique Giveaway

It's critique time. Enter to win! Here are the rules and caveats:
  • I will critique TWO manuscripts each month. By "manuscript" I mean the first 1000 words of a children's magazine story, chapter book, mid-grade novel, or YA novel. Please, fiction only. No picture books or easy readers. No poetry.
  • Enter the drawing by commenting on this post AND stating that you wish to enter. This frees you up to comment, ask a question, or just say hey WITHOUT throwing your name in the hat.
  • For an additional entry, become a follower, and tell me so (or that you already are one) in the comment.
  • For an additional entry, post a link to this contest and give the URL in either the same or a separate comment. In this category, you can enter as many times as you have cyber-places to post the contest.
  • You may enter one ms. per month. While the above rules allow you to enter multiple times, those entries are for ONE manuscript. If the #2 name drawn is a duplicate of #1, drawing will continue until a new name is drawn. This way, two people are assured of a critique each month.
  • Enter now through Sunday September 26.
  • Any story that you plan to enter in an ICL contest is ineligible. Since I am an ICL instructor, I cannot edit stories that you intend to enter in an Institute contest.
  • The level of detail I offer in a critique will vary based on my impression of the caliber of the writing. Whenever possible, I will make both "big picture" comments and zero in on more specific areas.
  • My critique is only one opinion. This business is SO subjective. Any suggestions I make that resonate with you are yours for the taking. Compare mine with those from other beta readers, critique partners, writing teachers, etc. Even if specific suggestions vary, when two or more critiquers pinpoint a certain passage or aspect, there's probably a need for revision there. Yet don't feel you must take advice you don't agree with. In the end, it's your story.
  • Winners will be announced Monday, September 27.
So if the above sounds good to you, let the entering begin!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September Book Giveaway Winner! says the winner of What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb is: cevillely!

You have 30 days to claim your prize, cevillely. No later than October 13, email me at marcia at marciahoehne dot com, giving me your postal address, and I'll acknowledge receipt and get that right out to you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I Knew I Majored in Business for a Reason...

Drawing for WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET by Tricia Springstubb open till Sunday the 12th! Scroll down one post. 

...and at the time, the reason was to become more employable than a math major alone would make me. (Not that this actually worked: the job market was lousy, women were viewed as chancy-to-lousy hires who'd just get PG and quit, and my business goals were lousy-to-nonexistent, but I digress.) I've since learned that my temperament type isn't really cut out for business; however, it IS cut out for writing and teaching, so Marcia has found her niche, if not her fortune. Still, with all this, that business major wasn't a waste, and not just because no education is wasted or because God can make sense of things even when I'm bumbling around. You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Writers are businesspeople! Even if we have agents. Business may not be our favorite aspect of writing, but fortunately it doesn't have to be dull. (Okay, taxes are DULL. But again I digress.)

I took a leadership course through my church recently, stressing casting vision, strategic planning, and goal setting. Now, I like dreaming, the big picture, and the future, so I can get into that. And when I picked up The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell, I was all over it. The section of the book called Strategy begins with Step 1: Cast your Vision! I'd been hearing "cast your vision" for months, and here it was in a writing book! Not that I couldn't have figured out on my own how to apply what I learned to my writing, but I like the affirmation and integration, you know? While people often write a paragraph-long or longer vision/mission statement, I wanted a sentence, and I wanted 25 words or less. Yup, my life in an elevator pitch! And after many drafts, I arrived at the following. Though they meet my criteria there are two of them, one a bit broader and one specifically about my writing. They are:

Broader: To be a scribe -- writing speaking, teaching and singing words born out of worship.
Focused: To write artistically excellent fiction born out of worship.

Bell also covers specific goals (e.g. words per day, target dates to query), plans (e.g. days and hours for writing, a spreadsheet for agent/publisher research), networking (being a giver as well as a receiver), and writing six days a week and taking a Sabbath on the seventh. He also, like my leadership class, talks about the Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule: 80% of your achievements come from 20% of your activities. Once we know that, we can prioritize, schedule, fund, etc., the 20% and ferret out waste in the 80% (80%!!) of our activities that produce no more than 20% of our results.

How about you? How do you view the business end of writing? Do you have a vision statement? Care to share?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Book Giveaway

What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb is one of my favorite kinds of books -- character-driven, "quiet," elegantly written, world-creating -- yet plotted. It's all about the characters and their community on Fox Street.

Mo Wren and her little sister, the Wild Child, live with their father after the death of their mother several years before. Mo has always lived on Fox Street, among people who have watched her grow up. But now, everything is changing. Mo's best friend, who spends summers across the street with her grandmother, is now well-off, and Fox Street's relative decline is becoming more noticeable. Mo's dad dreams of leaving the city and running a restaurant, but Mo can't imagine selling their house. It's not just the idea of moving that bothers her, it's that every memory of her mother lives here.

The language is insightful and beautifully crafted. Example: "Every person you pass on the street, or wait behind in line, or see sitting alone on her porch -- every one is summoning up the courage for some battle, whether you can see it or not." A lovely book with good food for thought.

To be entered in the drawing:
  • Comment on this post anytime from now through Sunday, September 12.
  • For an additional entry, become a follower of this blog and mention that in the comment. Ditto if you already are a follower.
  • For an additional entry, post a link to this contest and give the URL in either the same or a separate comment. In this category, you can enter as many times as you have cyber-places to post the contest.
Winner will be announced Monday, September 13.

So, come one, come all--and meanwhile have a great day in the world of books.