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When I studied English in college, I learned that this language is more complicated than most  American people realize. Foreigners understand how complicated it is because learning to read and speak it is very difficult.  There is not only grammar and punctuation to worry about but also the phonetics of the language. Trying to read by phonics just does not work all the time.

The best way to learn how to speak English, in my opinion, would be to listen to a book on CD while reading along. The reader learns the different pronunciations of words along with the definition of words by association or how the word is used in the sentence.

What fascinates me the most about the English language is the root words.  Most words derived from German, Celtic, Old English, Irish, Latin and Welsh to name a few.  So in essence the English language is just a pot of mixed languages.

Because of this rich language though we see that it is ever evolving. The language takes on a mixture of words today that are not just considered slang but are put in the dictionary. Where will the English language be in another 100 years? With all the influx of immigrants from different countries the language could change even more. Today we see that text messaging is fading away because the younger generations want to snap chat or use emoji’s to communicate with.

There are poets, philosophers and writers everywhere who turn the English word into something magical that touches ones soul; Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. But most influential to the English language was William Shakespeare. We still use his words today.

 

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One poem I came across recently gave me pause in how we use words and how we create them.

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow.
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
There is no word for a parent who loses a child.
That’s how awful the loss is.
Jay Neugeboren – An Orphan’s Tale – 1976

How is it we have words for almost everything under the Sun but not for a parent who loses a child? That is sad. If I could contribute to the English language it would be to fill the gaps in our language where people have not before.

Words are how we communicate in this world.  We can be better understood by using the right words. Think how peaceful the world would be if we could communicate more clearly and people understood each other. That is the world I want to live in.

My mother always used to say, “Choose your words carefully”.

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How many writers do you know who do freelance work? 1? 2? Or none?  Well if your like me most writers do their writing as a second job and don’t get paid. So to any untrained eye this would appear to be a hobby. What? No way! I work too hard and long for my writing career to be considered a hobby.

So how to break the mold and make a career out of writing? Easy… get published! Well okay enough with the sarcasm. It is not easy to get published, let alone get an agent to even LOOK at your work. So the alternative is to become a freelance writer.

The website Freelance Writing Jobs at http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/ is a good place to begin.

This website can help you locate the job that is right for you. Everyone has to start somewhere, because we can’t all become famous authors with our first book.

Build up your skills writing for different companies. Learn new talents and make connections and get a great looking resume. Every literary agent and publisher wants to see a little writing experience behind newbies. Then when your book is published you can give credit to your experience as a freelance writer.

Not every path to glory is set in stone. Take the road less traveled and become richer for it.

Happy writing!download

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I recently read an article about how writers need to connect more with the wants of readers.  The idea is to help writers.  The only way to get these answers though is to do a survey or ask people in a blog what they want to read.

I love to read children’s books and some adult fantasy and mystery books. I have also been reading some fantasy young adult. Please comment below what you like to read?

The reason I read these genres is because this is what I like to write. In the book store or library, my head will be bobbing up and down in the children book sections examining all the new or old titles, looking for the next big hit. I love to explore new authors works. I also like to read what is at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. This keeps me up to date on what the market is selling, or publishers pushing, and also what readers are hungry for.

Readers are an important part of the writing process. They keep authors writing more to please them.  When a book review comes up on Goodreads or Amazon about a book you wrote, then you want to read it no matter if it is good or bad. Authors are starving for feedback. What is working and what is killing a book?

I love readers and I feel happy when I see someone curled up in a chair with their nose in a book.

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To read the article click here: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/advice-for-writers-3-keys-to-connecting-with-young-readers-online

 

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Recently I participated in the #Pitmad in September.  If you do not know what it is here is a brief explanation.  You have the great opportunity to pitch your manuscript to editors and agents on Twitter with just 135 characters.  This also means that for those next eight hours on Twitter you are watching the feed like a mad person, hence the Pitmad.  I tweeted about two of my manuscripts every hour and knew that more than three of the pitches had more than 400 engagements.  I had four agents favorite my tweets and I was very excited.

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This meant that they were interested in my pitch and wanted me to query them.  Out of the four agents I have heard back from three and one of them sent me this very personable rejection letter:

 

Hi Jessica,
Happy Sunday. I hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I know waiting is the hardest part. I finally had a chance to read over some of the requested material for AN OCEAN OF SECRETS. I’m a lover of mermaids, and I loved the premise of this story. However, after reading, I didn’t feel a real connection to the main characters. In the first six pages we’re introduced to an underwater magical kingdom, but we have no idea who are characters really are. Getting to the action quickly is so important and I feel like you’ve done just that. But doing so while introducing our character’s personalities is important as well. 
I’m so sorry I don’t come with better news. I do encourage you to pursue other agents because their views may differ from my own. I wish you the best of luck with your writing/publishing journey. 
Good luck. Keep writing, you’re good at it! 
Warm Regards,
A really nice agent
Give me a Break!
I took this letter to heart and I am now revamping this manuscript to this person’s specifications.  After I cried for like hours.
Some writers would say that I shouldn’t rewrite anything and just try another agent, but what if she was right. Either way I was very impressed with the time this agent took in sending  me such a detailed letter about her likes and dislikes.
I can say I have close to a hundred rejection letters and out of those hundred there are probably ten or so that were personable like the one above.  When you have been working on your craft as long as I have (which is going on eight years) you can start to see what really works and what doesn’t.  I know some writers get discouraged by the time they hit year three of querying but truly it takes as long as it does because of the wait time.  One author I am friends with has an agent after eleven years of trying. Read about her story : http://theitsybitsywriter.blogspot.com/2015/05/how-i-got-my-agent-steven-chudney.html
Share your success stories.  Everyone can learn from each other.
Have a great writing day!

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BookEditing

 

 

Earlier this year I hired an editor from My Two Cents Editing to help me with my middle grade manuscript.  There were months of waiting and biting fingernails.  When I did receive my manuscript back with the editorial comments and revision suggestions, I saw that this was the best thing to help my manuscript move into the final stages.  I know some writers feel that critique groups are where we can get help for free.  But in my experience the saying “you get what you paid for” is exactly what I got with critique groups.  Now there are good critiques too.  But an editor will see more than just the writing style and voice.  They see the plot, character development, dialogue, pacing and structure of the manuscript. Other writers are not paid to see all of these things.  They are critiquing your work for free.  Plus other writers are more interested in what their work sounds like to everyone else.

For the last few months I have gone through the critique I received from the editor and I have been revising like crazy.  The final process to any manuscript is to check grammar and punctuation. After this the manuscript is polished into a beautiful piece of work.  Then it is time again to have friends to read this new masterpiece and hope they are as excited about reading it again as you are. Now I am revising my query letters and plan to participate in #Pitchwars.

If anyone is at the stage where they cannot decide if their critique group is working for them then branch out and try something new.  For me it was getting an editor. You can find editors on http://www.the-efa.org .  Also look for editors through Writers Digest publications.  There are great people who want to help writers take their work to the next level. Don’t you think it’s time your work shined?

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I have made these mistakes listed in this article below.  As a woman writer we just do everything differently than men writers do.  Women let’s not keep making the same mistakes.

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Submit Like A Man: How Women Writers Can Become More Successful — Medium.

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After months of waiting, I finally received my manuscript back from an editor in California.  He was really nice but direct.  I loved it.  He gave me the highlights of the book and told me what I needed to work on.  Which is everything, more or less.  So, I have a lot to work on.  But that’s okay because summer break is right around the corner and I can’t wait to have the time to just revise the manuscript.  There will be revisions with the plot, characters and writing style.  The whole process could take months.  But will be worth it in the end.  “Good things come to those who wait.”

Writing by a beach somewhere might be the one thing to inspire me for great works.  Or it might be the biggest distraction in my writing process.

 

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Next on the list, after this huge undertaking of revising is to look for a new literary agent.  It’s a daunting task.  And one I feel that I have tackled so many times before in the past.  Acquiring the right agent is such a tricky business. I feel I might just reach out to some friends to see who is hunting for their next dream author.  I recently saw a fellow author post on Facebook that she finally signed with an agent.  It only took ELEVEN years!  Yikes!  This is a little too long for me to wait.  But I’m glad for her.

Maybe I should just make it to one of the big writers’ conferences held by Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators in L.A.  There would be a lot of opportunity to meet-and-greet lots of potential agents and publishers there.  We will see.

Have a great summer, fellow writers!

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This is a great site for all the information you need about Agents and Editors.  Lots of links under this post with helpful tips for landing the right agent or editor for your manuscript.

 

 

Submissions: Agents & Editors.

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Some great advice for all the writers out there:

Brooklyn Arden: A Ramble: The Elements of Writerly Talent and Improvement.

 

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There are so many different reason’s for a writer to develop writer’s block. I have had this off and on for years. The main reason for mine is: too many ideas to capture on paper. That’s right. My muse is working over time and delivering me too many ideas for a new project. I need the muse to complete a project now. The dedication it takes to sit and write for hours with no interruptions is what I need. I love to read and re-reading what I wrote is another reason for writer’s block. I can forget to write because I will be reading what I wrote.
What is your reason for writer’s block? Share what you do to move past it.

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Amanda Morris, Ph.D.

That’s right. I said it. There is no such thing as writer’s block.

When writers become stuck in their process, the usual suspect causes are procrastination, fear, doubt, lack of research, lack of brainstorming, lack of idea-brewing time, lack of purpose, anxiety (about the subject matter, a deadline, etc.), diminished passion for the existing work, uncertainty, and a desire for perfection (knowing instinctively that this is impossible). I may have missed some, but these are the essential blocks to a writer’s progress at any stage of the writing process.

Let’s look at a few and think about how to deal with them.

Procrastination. We all do it. We know the paper, article, essay, story is due and we put it off, usually for one of the other reasons on the above list. Also, maybe we are so damned busy at work and at home that there is just no…

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