May 27, 2011 | By: Tracy

Hug an Agent Day

I hearby declare Friday, May 27th as Hug An Agent Day!

There is no secret that, on most days, literary agents are both lauded & maligned by the unagented segment of the writer populace.

We need an agent. We want an agent. But it can be hard not to get annoyed with what we believe to be their "shortcomings".

What do you mean I have to personalize my query letter to you only to receive a "Dear Author" rejection?!?

Yeah, I know. No sense in preaching to the choir.

But, considering the fact I got back from my big, annual day-job conference last Wednesday and I'm STILL not caught up on all the things I missed while I was gone, I'm feeling extremely sympathetic to literary agents as a whole.

I was gone for a week. One week.

In that one week, I managed to fall woefully behind on blogging, emails, social medializing (this would be the act of interacting with others via social media, just in case anyone is confused), the housework, the work built up on the desk at my day-job . . . and don't even get me started on the amount of behind I am with my WIP word target!

I'm working like crazy to get caught up and it's like trying to climb a steep mountain covered in vaseline (the mountain being covered in vaseline, not me).

It's at times like this, it makes it easier to realize why it can take 12 weeks to hear back on a query letter. Or why we can wait as much as 6 months to hear back on a partial. Agents are always stuck in catch-up-mode just by the sheer volume of work headed their way. And I shiver to think what happens when they take time off for a conference, etc.

Next time you want to rail at the amount of time it takes to hear back from literary agents, or want to grumble over their "holier than thou" attitude toward would-be writers. Keep in mind that maybe they're just super duper swamped too.

So, I think a Hug an Agent Day is called for.

Just please make sure you know said agent and/or have given them sufficient warning as to why you are invading their personal space. We do still have laws in this country and I'm not sure, but I think you can get in trouble for tackling someone for affection they don't know is coming their way.

Happy Friday!!
May 25, 2011 | By: Tracy

Would You Rather Wednesday -- The End of Epic Love

It's been a few weeks since we've had a Would You Rather Wednesday . . . so, of course, I'm going with what feels like a toughie question. And before you complain about the difficult choices of some of these questions -- remember, we're writers. Drama and heartache, it's what we do.

So, without further ado:

If your love-life were to be patterned after one of the long-standing, heartbreaking, bittersweet tropes, would you rather it be like . . . .

A)  THE NOTEBOOK:  After a few struggles to find your way to each other, you and the love of your life live happily with one another . . . until fate cruelly robs you of truly being able to spend your twilight years together.


B)  LETTERS TO JULIET:  You love hard & passionately for a short time, and then circumstance (or poor choices) send you on your separate paths through life . . . but in your golden years you're reunited and get to spend whatever time you have left in the arms of "one that got away".

I'm definitely going to have to think on my answer for a while!

Happy Hump Day!!

May 23, 2011 | By: Tracy

Game of Thrones

I’m back. For real this time.

Work convention is now a distant sight in my rearview mirror and I can return my attention back to writerly pursuits once more. Well maybe not all of my attention.

Sunday evenings are now saved for HBO’s Game of Thrones.

I’ve never read the books … but can’t get enough of this series.

From a viewer standpoint, it’s an engaging story with lots of intrigue (not to mention a minimum of one naked person per show… and I’m a bit of a sucker for gratuitous naked people), and who doesn’t love Sean Bean?  Okay, maybe people who weren’t big Lord of the Rings fans might not . . . but, I digress.

It may be my imagination, but it seems more and more books/series (written by someone other than Sir Stephen King) are being optioned as television shows & movies these days. And more and more those are becoming some of my favorite television shows & movies.

Coincidence? Maybe.

But the one thing all of these adaptations have in common – the thing I like to keep in mind while constructing my own plots now – there are stories within the story that keep the reader/viewer engaged while the main plot builds its way to the ultimate climax. Having one central plot isn’t enough to captivate the attention of most readers/viewers anymore.

Don’t believe me? Take your favorite television show/movie (doesn’t necessarily have to be adapted from a novel/series) and see how many subplots you can find. Then, after you find them, notice the way they all tie back into the main plot. The better this is done, the more we tend to love it!

And it makes me feel less guilty watching television if I can pas it off as a way of "honing my craft".

Do you have a favorite show/movie adapted from a novel or series you’ve read?  Are there any in the works you can’t wait to see?
May 9, 2011 | By: Tracy

The Treadmill Writer

Sidenote: I know I've been on extended leave lately, but I've been rather crazy with the convention I'm planning for work. So bear with me as I'm slow to post and attempting to reply to others using my iPhone. In about 2 weeks, all of this will be over and I'll be back to normal. Or, at least, as normal as I can be. I miss you all.

Treadmill writing. Sounds like some sort of catch phrase for a unique way of getting words onto paper, doesn't it? Like the way Plotters (I've been converted, but that’s a post for another time) may use the Snowflake Method or Cork Story Board.

It’s not. It’s not about how you write, but where you write.


Over the past two years as I’ve grown more serious about my writing, like everyone else, I struggle to find enough time to sit down to work on my revisions, create a new WIP, and devote a goodly amount of time to my blog (recent vacay notwithstanding)

All of this has done wonders for my skills as a writer, but it doesn’t come without it’s drawbacks. Along with expanding my writing horizons, I’ve also expanded my midsection.

Let’s face it, it can be hard enough to find the time to fit a workout into a busy schedule as it is. Therefore it is nigh impossible for us writers to find the time to fit in both an hour of working-out AND an hour for writing in the same day.

In the latest issue of Romance Writers Report (thank you, RWA) there's an article discussing the growing trend in treadmill desks. Seems some writers have decided they want to have their cake and eat it too . . . wait, you know what I mean. More and more of us are deciding we don’t want to have to choose between being healthy and being a writer (caffeine addictions not included)

That's where the treadmill desk comes into the picture. 


Assuming you already have a treadmill, there are multiple ways to turn your workout space into your writing space as well. Adjustable desks/tables can be purchased for those that have the cash to go that route, or--with a little effort--you can rig your own station. 

If you're interested, Google "Treadmill Desk” to get some ideas on how to make yours work for you.

Why bother?

Well, in the twenty minutes it’s taken me to write this blog post, walking at a 1.0 MPH (which is nothing more than a nice strolling pace) I’ve burned 45 calories. May not seem like much, but that’s 45 calories I wouldn't have burned sitting on my rear end at my desk. Imagine what I can do when I use it for my marathon writing bursts, brain storming sessions, or even my personal reading time.

I've only just created mine, but I'm loving it already. Not only am I not having to decide between whether I want to write or be able to wear shorts this summer, but I seem to think more creatively when I'm on my feet and moving around.

Curious to hear if anyone else is using something similar …or how do you attempt to keep yourself active and still get your writing time in?