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Because I am curious

So here's a funny question.

Was anybody (I don't think I have any non-writers on my list) good at math, and the harder sciences, in high school and/or college?

Seriously. Were any of you writers of fiction and weavers of imaginary happenings actually, legitimately good at math?

Do tell; I would like to know if this is possible.

Flashback Placement

Oh gracious me. Apparently I haven't posted much lately. I have been faithful with the comments, though (I hope!)

Question: I know backstory dumps in the first chapter = generally bad idea unless your name rhymes with Marah Messen and you can somehow pull this off. Does the same rule apply for flashbacks? Is a flashback even considered backstory, even if it is active, vivid storytelling and not narrative? Would that just confuse the reader if this took place in chapter one? I don't mean open the story with the flashback; I mean work it in towards the middle or end. I'd stick it in chapter 2, but that chapter is already too long.

Could this be done seamlessly, or is the first chapter all about "go go GO, flashbacks later?"

I seriously don't know where else to put this freaking flashback and I'd like to keep it if possible.


P.S. mindiscott, you are my hero!!


Just a shot from the preschool. :) These are two of my kiddos, Ty and Zane.


Ty was a Ty-ranosaurus Rex.

Zane was uncostumed out of protest. Please excuse the owwie on his chin! He scraped it up in his off-time. (Not on my watch, of course.) ;)

Hey I didn't query you

Okay just for kicks, I will preface this entry by saying I received a caution about this agent (the one I queried, not the one who got back to me), so I am not sure I'd jump on board even if I did get an offer. But...

Have any of you had the experience of querying a specific agent and then getting a request for the full from someone who is NOT that agent? I'm thinking it's a junior agent, though there is nothing about this person on the agency's website or anywhere online. Or could this person be an assistant who sometimes weeds through manuscripts?

More experienced peeps: does this mean I was passed off to give the newer agent more experience, or was I dug out of the slush pile, or what? I am just curious so I know how to properly deal with this. Is it bad form to write back and say, "Hi, yeah I'm thrilled you want to see the full... who are you? Because I queried ______."

Or is this totally common and I just don't know about it?

Critique needed

Hey-- can somebody give me a quick crit? I need my first chapter of my WIP looked at, and my crit partner had a death in the family and I don't really think I should bother him just now. :(

Comment with e-mail if I don't already have it, if you want to be so kind and help a girl out.
Do you include a link to your LJ when you query? I haven't done this, but am wondering if you're supposed to, or if it's optional. Or if you're NOT supposed to.

I ask because of the agent-lurking phenomenon I have recently learned about.

Characters first, or plot/hook?

A recent exchange over in mindiscott's journal, somewhere in the comments, got me to thinking about this. As writers, it seems like we usually go one of 2 ways when conceptualizing a story: we get our characters first, or our plot and hook.

Is there a third element? Does anyone ever get the setting before anything else? I know I tend to get my characters first and foremost-- for me, I can't know how they will respond to things within the plot unless I have their personalities at least mostly down-- but it also drives me up the wall if I can't figure out immediately WHERE the story takes place. And where exactly they live within that city/town, and whether they're in a house/condo/apartment. Or trailer, in Seth's case. ;)

I was mulling over this because the aforementioned dance team in my WIP has six members and my MC meets them early into the story. It was bugging me that the six dancers might sound too much alike, so I had to carve out little personas for each of them. That took awhile. They're minor characters but I just couldn't stand the thought of them being indistinguishable.

...Does anybody else do this? When you know you'll have a set of minor characters who often appear in the same scenes together?

Okay, I have to get back to pounding out some of Paparazza. I'm making a Barnes & Noble run tonight and will lose some writing time not only from time spent in-store, but from reading whatever goodies I bring home.

Teaser Tuesday

From Chapter 2, my second MC's POV.

I'm Jaycie Harlow, and I make boys cry.

That's how I introduced myself to my best friends Amy and Tina, back in Positive Life Skills class in tenth grade. (I looked for a Negative Life Skills course but they didn't offer one.) We had to break into groups of three and break the ice by stating a random fact about ourselves. And that was mine, because I really do make boys cry.

The first was little Nolan Schafer, on the kindergarten playground. He just ran up to my hopscotch squares one morning and announced that he loved me. I planted my hands over my ears and screamed. (I'm sorry, Nolan, wherever you ended up.)

Then in third grade, it was Isaac Henry, my sort-of boyfriend during school hours only. When our teacher asked me if he was copying off my test paper, I was honest and told her yes, he certainly was, after I'd hissed at him to cut it out twice. He was whisked to the principal's office and I saw him getting into his mom's car after school, blotchy-faced and tear-streaked.

I really don't do it to be mean. I've just always carried a cut-the-bullshit, calmly tell-them-how-you-really-feel (Nolan episode excepted) approach to life. For me, it's brutal honesty over pretending. I'm just not good at faking it. (Which is how I reduced number six to tears, freshman year of college.)

Until finally, I met a guy who made ME cry.

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Requested partial from KN at NLA!

I fly high!

(Will very likely crash. But am enjoying the flight while I can. Because those few days, hours, of hope are what a writer works for.)

Edit: for those of you no doubt wondering "Is this kid going to squee over every requested partial she gets," I just might. I wasn't expecting any at all, you see.

Why ER from Firebrand is cool

This has been the most helpful rejection letter I've gotten thus far. I thought I'd pass it along, in case anyone else out there is in my boat, with characters on the older end of the sprectrum (so much that they kind of cross over into adult.)

Hi Andrea,
I got your query through the system, and I wanted to drop you a quick note. From the sample pages I can tell that you do have a great YA voice, and I'd be interested in seeing more of your writing. Unfortunately, from the synopsis, the characters are too old for the book to actually be YA. College-aged kids in YA just aren't selling, since even though kids read a bit older, they still need the books grounded in high school for it to relate. So, with that in mind, unfortunately we'll have to pass on this book right now. But I wanted to invite you to either resubmit the book with younger characters if you wanted to revise it, or query with another manuscript. If you do want to resubmit down the road, feel free to send it to my attention or email it to me.

Thanks again for thinking of us!
Best of luck with the project!

She was awesome to take a moment out of her day and give me these pointers. I once heard that YA went up to 22 so I knew I was pushing it, but thought maybe it would still work. I had no idea college-based YA wasn't selling, but that is good info to have!

Thanks Elana. You're awesome and I do want to hit you up again.

In other news, SB from DM broke my heart. Nooo! You're so cute, SB! Don't reject me! (Though he did also offer me helpful hints and I credit him with my need to revamp my query letter. So for that, and his niceness, he gets a special place in my heart.)

So maybe my story is just "adult," then. Because I seriously don't know how I can age them down.

Ohhhhhhh gracious.