Here's a fun fact: if you submit to Escape now, you can be a published (or multi-published) author by Christmas. We're working to an aggressive publishing program, and we want stories!
I'm going to list some subgenres/themes that I'm very interested in, but please note: we publish all subgenres all the time. So if yours doesn't necessarily fit in to the list, I…
When I’m editing, and before I do a final read through and tweaking of my manuscript, I use Microsoft Word’s ‘find’ feature to search for the following ten words. These words can usually be deleted in order to tighten up the writing and focus on ‘showing vs telling’.
Sometimes ‘almost’ can work but often it’s not needed. Eg: With his sunken eyes and pallor he
almost looked like a ghost. An example where it may work could be: She almost slammed the door in his face. Or instead of that, it could be changed to: She resisted the urge to slam the door in his face.
Usually there is a stronger word available to replace the need for ‘very’, or the phrase can be changed completely to something else. Eg: ‘very sad’ could become ‘despondent’. Eg: It was very sunny. Better: It was sunny. Even better: She squinted as the sun’s glare rebounded off the pavement and hit her eyes.
When this is used alongside ‘to’, as in ‘started to’, it’s probably not needed. Eg: She started to get dressed. Better: She got dressed. Even better: She zipped her jeans and put on a t-shirt.
This is similar to ‘started’. Eg: It began to rain. Better: Droplets of rain dampened her hair, or: He flicked on the windscreen wipers as rain blurred the road ahead.
5. stood up
Remove the word ‘up’. If someone stood, it’s obviously up.
6. sat down
Remove the word ‘down’. If someone is going from a standing position to a sitting position it is obviously ‘down’. Except if the person is lying down and then changes to a sitting position.
Removing ‘heard’ or ‘hear’ gives the reader a more vivid experience. Eg: She heard someone call her name. Better: A voice called her name. Eg: I could hear the rain pelting against the window. Better: rain pelted against the window.
Same as with ‘heard’. Eg: She saw his face through the window. Better: His eyes glared at her through the window. Eg: I could see him coming towards me. Better: He came towards me.
Telling a reader what a character felt is not as powerful as showing them. Eg: She felt relaxed and happy. Better: She leaned back in the chair and a smile eased onto her face.
Eg: If she could
just find a way to get through to him, he might understand. Eg: “The shop is just around the corner.”
There are more suggestions of words to search for at this very useful site.
Have a search of your manuscript and see how many of these words you can find and change to improve your book.
Are there words that you often overuse in your writing?
My Top 5 Chick Lit Books
by Juliet Madison
It’s hard to pick favourites when there are so many fabulous books out there, but these are the five books that stand out for me (in no particular order - c’mon, it was hard enough picking five books, I can’t possibly put them in order!!)...
1. Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella:
I celebrated an early Mothers Day with my mum a week ago, so this Mothers Day I plan on having a relaxing day of reading (I doubt my son will bring me breakfast in bed, but that’s okay because I’m not really a fan of the whole crumbs in bed thing!). I’ve been writing like mad lately, so I think a day on the ‘other side’ might be just what the doctor ordered.
With the special day on my mind, I’ve been thinking about motherhood in fiction (which was the topic of an article I wrote on the Australian Bookshelf blog). Have you read many books with mothers as main characters?
The main character in my novel, FAST FORWARD, Kelli, starts out as a childless twenty-five-year-old until she’s propelled into the future and finds herself as a fifty-year-old mother of two and a grandmother-to-be. Motherhood may be challenging, but it’s even more challenging when it’s suddenly bestowed upon you!
>> I asked around about different books that feature mothers as main characters, and here are a few that were mentioned…
A Man Like Mike by Sami Lee; Want to know a Secret? by Sue Moorcroft; Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips; Hello, It’s Me, by Wendy Markham; I Don’t Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson; The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything by Francine LaSala, What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
So if you like reading about mothers as characters, why not check them out!
>> And now, the part of this post you’ve been waiting for – the book giveaway!
I’m gifting one lucky person three ebooks from my publisher: Escape Publishing. There are fifty books to choose from, and the winner can pick three they would like. I’ll be gifting them from Amazon.com, so before entering make sure you can receive ebooks from Amazon.com (ie, not UK). You can keep all three ebooks to yourself, or you can choose to on-gift one or all of them to your mother, or a special someone.
HOW TO WIN:
1. For ONE entry into the draw, simply leave a comment below and tell me what your ideal Mothers Day Present would be. If you’re not a mother, you can still let me know what your ideal present would be.
2. For TWO entries into the draw, do the same as above and also subscribe to this blog via email (in the subscription section on the top right corner of the page). In your comment please mention that you’ve subscribed. If you’re already a subscriber, simply say ‘I’m a subscriber’ in your comment.
3. For THREE entries, do the same as above (comment and subscribe), and tweet about this giveaway using one of the sample tweets at the bottom of this post. Include your twitter handle in your comment. So, your comment might look like this:
My ideal Mothers Day present would be a day on a Greek Island with a good book. I’m a subscriber. My twitter handle is @MyHandle
The winner will be drawn on Monday 13th May. Good luck, and please share this giveaway with your friends!
***THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED***
Tweet this post >> Copy & paste any of the following into a tweet:
#MothersDay Giveaway – books up for grabs! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
#WIN three ebooks, your choice! #MothersDay competition via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
What would be your ideal #MothersDay present? Tell us and win books! via @Juliet_Madison http://wp.me/p1jJti-he
Today, April 14th, is my birthday so I thought I’d do a birthday-themed blog post! It’s especially fitting because my debut novel, FAST FORWARD, which was released a couple of months ago, takes place mostly over one day – the main character’s birthday.
Young, hip, and gorgeous Kelli, from Fast Forward, is getting ready to celebrate her 25th birthday, but she wakes up to the birthday present of her nightmares – she’s jumped ahead to the future and is a 50 year old flabby, wrinkly, housewife, married to the nerd she used to tease in high school. Not only that, she has two grown children she doesn’t recognise, a daggy best friend, she has to give an important business presentation of which she knows nothing about, and she has no idea how to get back to her old, I mean, young life.
I’m glad to say I’ve never had a birthday as challenging or memorable as Kelli’s, but I’ve had a lot of good ones! (The photo of the chocolates on the plate was taken at a restaurant for my birthday a couple of years ago).
At my thirtieth I had a fancy dress costume party with a 70’s and 80’s theme. Guests had to come dressed as someone from either of those decades. I dressed as a psychedelic chick with straight hair parted in the middle and wore white flared pants and a multicoloured top, and my son dressed as Michael Jackson in the afro stage, complete with black shoes with white socks. A couple of my cousins around the same age as me dressed as girls from the eighties with lovely teased fringes (bangs, for my US friends), ponytails, and lovely eighties clothes and jewellery. We hired a juke-box to play music from those eras, and it was a lot of fun!
This birthday, I received a fantastic early present just a few days ago – an offer of publication from Escape Publishing for my romantic comedy novella, I DREAM OF JOHNNY! (More news on that later on). Now that’s memorable
I decided to ask a few facebook friends about their birthday memories, and here are their responses:
My best birthday memory was for one of those horrible ones with an 0 on the end. My family decided to treat me to a ‘ride on a Harley’ as I’d been rabitting on about it. I was collected from the house and driven right around the Gold Coast on this wonderful Harley motorbike, letting rip with whoops of joy as we zoomed around the roads. It was amazing. My ‘driver’ was a hoot and totally entered into the spirit of the thing, but a very good driver.
My mother was the archetypal feminist and she vetoed a series of dodgy presents from my wish lists over the years. Like the time I wanted a bride doll, and I got a Basil Brush puppet. Or the time I wanted Pretty in Pink Barbie, and got a budgie. All that changed when I was 12. I got some birthday money, and raced out to purchase Golden Dream Barbie. I brought her home, unwrapped her carefully, and discovered that I was kind of too old for Barbies by then anyway.
The weirdest thing is, 37 years later, my daughter has more Barbies than you could pack into a Barbie camper (mostly hand-me-downs from older cousins). And what does she want, more than anything in the world? A budgie. Go figure!!
I won a novel writing competition with the prize of publication.
The book was scheduled to come out a few days after my birthday but when I mentioned that the publisher managed to bring it forward so it came out on my birthday (30 March last year).
Don’t think a writer could have a better birthday present than a copy of their first published novel.
I spent my 40th birthday alone and homesick, having just moved to the UK for a few years. I took a rowdy early-morning call from friends back home while I was in the dining room of a Scarborough hotel I’m sure was the model for Fawlty Towers, with shades of Mr Bean’s holiday hotel thrown in. The elderly hotel guests were tutting over their baked beans and kippers as this hysterical Australian woman howled with laughter (and a few tears) into the phone. At least the horror of the hotel eased the horror of turning 40!
What was your most memorable birthday?
Now, I’m off to celebrate, eat some yummy food, and blow out the 25 candles on my cake (ha! I wish! Oops, you have to be careful what you wish for).
I’m over at the Life In A Pink Fibro blog today talking about how to write a romance novel and the ten things I’ve learned on my journey to publication. It was interesting to look back on where I was a few years ago to where I am now. I hope you’ll get a lot out of this post!
And if you haven’t visited my blog for a while, here are some other recent posts you might like to check out:
- I took the plunge like Jenn J McLeod did and interviewed myself! Past Present Future with…me!
- Annie Seaton shares her Promotional Tips for Authors.
- Sandra Antonelli and I discuss the issue of ‘older’ women in fiction at the Escape Blog.
I’m also thrilled to have received some great reviews for Fast Forward recently, over at Novel Escapes, YA Novelties, and Chick Lit Club! A BIG thank you to the reviewers for taking time to read the book and write the reviews.
Coming up soon on the blog, an interview with Natalie Charles, a guest post by Ros Baxter, and a post on Twitter Basics for Authors. Stay tuned!