Archive for July, 2010
I went to another workshop yesterday with Catherine Ryan Hyde (author of Pay it Forward and about 15 other books.) What an intellect and great teacher. Catherine and Patricia Fripp of the National Speakers Association are the best I have seen to take a mishmash of information and condense it into something cogent and interesting – on the spot – using superior auditory skills as well as visual.
This workshop was especially privileged. We were 4 – y es – 4 authors who had her to ourselves the whole day, from 9 to 5. Working on our pitch, our synopsis and query letter, each of us got the advantage of her long career in one dose. (Even Catherine still has to write a synopsis from time to time.) It was totally worth the $175. Stop apologizing Catherine – you are worth it! (I’d say “and more” except I don’t want her raising her fees…)
The other workshop on self-editing was two day on a weekend with 7 authors who each brought the first couple chapters of our novels. Excellent as well. As Catherine edited each manuscript, I learned a lot about the technical alone – especially commas, semi-colons, dialogue and shortening sentences. Of course, the group gave valuable input too. It was especially fortuitous for me as I had just “finished” Isis. I went home and immediately started the first round of editing.
I would highly recommend one of her workshops in Cambria CA if you have the opportunity. She truly is a wonderful group leader and teacher (not to mention a skilled author with a beautiful command of language.)
A friend sent me this link: http://iwl.me/. (you can link from here.) The site analyzes your writing and supposedly tells you who you write like. I tried it by pasting in the 1st chapter of Athena, the second novel in the Red Mirror Series that I’ve just started.
It came back in microseconds with Chuck Palahnuik. I don’t know his work at all, except that Amazon lists Fight Club. It doesn’t seem like me from the titles listed, but I’d have to read one to see. I suppose content has nothing to do with it – so I could write like Palahnuik, but our content would be completely different.
I would like to know more about how the program works – or if it is a scam. It says it analyzes word choice and writing style. It seems unlikely something so complex as writing style could be analyzed that quickly. Word choice could, of course, be linked to keywords.
Maybe I’ll plug in some different excerpts and see what the results are…
Okay, I did it. I pasted Chapter 2 of Isis and it came back Dan Brown. Now we’re talkin’! Would I ever love to be the female Dan Brown.
I do write with two styles and that’s on purpose. One is modern, in Las Vegas – the other is in the distant past, more archaic. Interesting that I write like a man in both instances. I’m betting I’d get a different answer every time…
OKAY -PROMISE I’m done now, but I couldn’t resist seeing the answer to my favorite sex scene in Isis – Chapter 11. Apparently I wrote it in the style of Vladimir Nabokov. Maybe the program IS looking at content!
I think I may be looking at the wrong agents – none of these comparisons speak romance novel.
Besides a lot of really good editing suggestions, I’ve gotten some fun feedback from my First Readers of Isis. One great idea was to include some of those comments in the newest printing.
I’m going for a second printing, Second Reader Edition, and have incorporated many of the changes my readers wanted to see. I listened to everything everyone told me and believe that all of the feedback shows up in the new edition. By the way, this will also be a limited edition. Isis is not for sale and has not been “published.” I’m just taking a different approach to the manuscript concept and having a lot of fun with it. As I design my own covers and do my own layout, it’s really cheap for me to produce a book.
Here’s what First Readers are saying about Isis.
“Adventure! Mystery! Egyptian culture and history! Sex! It sure kept my interest!”
Leslie – Ann Arbor, MI
“Chapter 11 – Whew! Gimme a cigarette!”
Joan – Fresno CA
“I loved the Egyptology details. It’s great to feel that one is being educated while having such a good time.”
Elaine – Easton PA
“I hard a hard time finishing. I kept reading certain chapters over and over. And when I came to the end, I was bummed. I wanted more. Where’s the next book?”
Suzette – Paso Robles CA
“Isis sizzles. It had me squirming in my plane seat.”
Suzanne – Boston MA
“Isis is a real page turner. It’s a great adventure story for anyone – not just women.”
Eric – Las Vegas NV
“I’m fascinated with the Isis story. I really like the way Isis goes back from Vegas to Egypt and blends the souls.”
Terry – Kauai HI
“I’m a big Gabaldon fan, but I like Isis better. The Red Mirror uses a time travel device that I’ve never seen before. The story comes alive in both modern and ancient times. Isis is a strong, unforgettable character who adds an eroticism unusual in historic fiction. Can’t wait for Athena.”
David – Shell Beach CA
“I loved it. It’s exciting and romantic and gave my boyfriend ideas.”
Marilyn – New York, NY
“The sex scenes are terrific. I want one of those guys!”
Ann – Los Osos CA
“Isis was flat amazing. Towns along the Nile, jewelry, weaponry… Sandra paints a vivid, sensual picture of ancient Egypt. She makes it so interesting.”
Curt – Las Vegas NV