Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I did in 2009 and Goals for 2010

I wanted to write one last blog for 2009 and today is the day (the in-laws are coming for New Years and the house MUST be clean!)

This has been a great year for my writing and I'm so excited about 2010, so I thought I'd share some of my 2009 activities and 2010 goals.


Top 10 things I did for my writing in 2009 (in chronological order):

1. I finished the first novel I've really felt good about
2. I queried that novel and got some encouraging feedback, though it was ultimately rejected
3. I joined a critique group with the three coolest girls ever
4. I revised and rewrote until my eyes glazed over, my knuckles were sore, and I had a manuscript I was REALLY proud of
5. I resubmitted to Sara and sent out a few new queries
6. I got THE CALL and then I got ANOTHER CALL
7. I started this blog and met hundreds of people who love to write, just like me!
8. I chose Sara, because she's awesome
9. She submitted my manuscript to REAL publishers
10. I started my current project--one that I'm SO excited about (and I also started about 10 others--half of which I still want to finish)


Ten things I will do in 2010 to become a better writer:

1. Get on a schedule!!! (The first one I'm going to try is 1000 words a day BEFORE blogging--yes I've tried this before. It's going to work this time!)
2. Blog 3 times a week
3. Try to keep up with blogging/writing friends by going through my Google Reader at least once a week.
4. Post on Twitter at least once a day
5. Finish my rough draft by January 29th
6. Go to SCBWI with my critique group girls!!!
7. Get current project to betas by March
8. Read and critique friends' projects. Learn from their brilliance.
9. Finish current project by June and start a new one
10. Read 100 books!

So now you tell me, what did you accomplish with your writing in 2009? What are your goals for 2010?

And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

(Oh, and I probably gave you an award in the last few weeks, scroll down and check it out.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Appreciation

I'm going to pass along the last two awards today and get back to real blogging later this week. I've been giving out awards for the past couple weeks, so If you've been following this blog for a while, chances are you got one! Scroll on down to see what you've won! (I'm sorry, I didn't notify everyone like I was supposed to). And remember these are no pressure awards. You don't need to accept them, pass them on, or post them unless you want to.


The first award for today is the Best Blog award. Thank you Jemi (mystery/ romance author, thoughtful commenter and blogger) and Roni (who blogs like a professional--seriously, she's always got something interesting to say)

The Best Blog recipients are:

Shelli at Market My Words
Amy Tate at The Virginia Scribe
Matt at Pensive Sarcasm
Kristi Faith at Random Acts of Writing
L.T. Elliot at Dreams of Quill and Ink
Sande at So to Speak



Also, From Me to You, given to me by the beautiful and talented Bethany Mattingly. She blogs about her two loves, agriculture and writing.

This award goes out to all those people who have most of the other awards. What do you give to the person who has everything? Flowers. Everyone loves flowers. Please accept these flowers of appreciation from me to you.

The recipients are:

Wendy at All in a Day's Thought
Jessica Nelson at Booking It
Sherinda at A Writer Wannabe
Tamika at The Write Workshop
Suzyhayze at Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness
T. Anne at White Platonic Dreams

If you didn't get an award and you'd like one, just choose one from the sidebar. You deserve it! If I gave you one you already have, feel free to take a different one. I have really enjoyed getting to know you all over the last few months and I look forward to getting to know you better in 2010!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Humane Writing

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, or a Happy Hanukkah, or a nice other holiday. Mine was wonderful. We have family in town, so my blogging will be sporadic for the next week or so.

I still have several awards to give out, so I'm going to do two today.

The first is the Humane Award which I received from a lovely friend and YA writer, Dawn Simon. I'm not sure why I deserve this award since I don't feel like I do much for humanity (or dogs). But we did get my dog from a rescue organization, and I clean up after him when he pees on the floor, so I guess that's pretty humane.

I'm going to pass it on to 5 blogs that I think make the world a little brighter place. They are:


Eileen Astels at A Christian Romance Writer's Journey
Roxane Salonen at Peace Garden Mama
Teressa at The Chocolate Chip Waffle
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming


The other award for today is the Superior Scribbler Award. I got this award from Thomas (author/illustrator extraordinare) and Kelly (YA sci-fi/fantasy/romance writer). I'm passing it along to 5 blogs that I always enjoy reading. They are:



Jemi Fraser at Just Jemi
Paul Greci at Northwriter
Stephenie at Hapshepsut: The Writing of a Novel
Tricia at Talespinning







Thanks to all of you for your excellent blogs and comments!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays!






I just wanted to say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah (and Happy anything else you celebrate) to all of you. I hope you all have a great holiday and enjoy time with friends and family!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award

Kissing Day was awesome! I really enjoyed reading everyone's scenes. I didn't get to every one, because there were so many, but I think I read most of them. It turned out to be an awesome way to meet new people too. Thank you Sherrinda for hosting the day. You should check out some of the posts if you haven't already.


The award I want to share today is the Kreativ Blogger. I've received this one a few times so thank you to:

Thomas Taylor- A picture book writer and illustrator living in France and working on his first MG novel.

V.R. Barkowski- A lovely blogger who focuses her posts on her writing journey.

Melissa-A busy mom of 2 who writes YA sci-fi and fantasy.

Erica- A YA Paranormal writer who is also a major Twitterer (follow her at @EricaWrites).

This award has rules that I'm going to try to follow... sort of.

-Thank the person (or people) who gave you the award.
-Write 7 things about yourself we do not know
-Choose 7 other bloggers to award and link to their blogs

7 Things:

1. I'm horribly allergic to cats (my face gets all puffy, my eyes start to swell shut, and any part of me that comes in contact with cat hair breaks out in hives), but I'm not allergic to dogs.

2. I got my degrees in Print Journalism and American Studies. It's been 7 years since I graduated and I don't really remember anything. (Why did I go to college?)

3. I've moved 6 times in the last 6 years.

4. I read about 20 times more picture books and MG and YA novels than books meant for adults. I guess I never grew up.

5. I am an art mom for my daughter's kindergarten class, even though I can't even draw a decent stick figure.

6. I love cookies, especially Christmas cookies.

7. My favorite book ever is probably Charles Dickens' A TALE OF TWO CITIES.


Since I've received this award a few times I'm going to give it to more than 7 people. I've selected 20 bloggers who all have kreativ blogs (or spelling). Most of these blogs have a little different format than regular writing blogs and they are all fun reads. They are:

Catherine Denton at Winged Writer
Dawn Simon at Plotting and Scheming
Devon Ellington at Ink in My Coffee
The Girl with One Eye at A Squirrel Among Lions
Kelly Lyman at Kelly's Compositions
Bethany Mattingly at Aspirations
Jeannie Campbell at The Character Therapist
Voidwalker at Into the Void
Jessie Oliveros at Louder than Noise
Belle at Ms. Bookish

Once again, these are NO PRESSURE awards! Don't feel like you need to pass them on, accept them, or post them (unless you want to of course). Just know that I appreciate you.

I think this will be my last post until after Christmas. Happy Holidays to all of you! More awards next week.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kissing Day Has Arrived!

In honor of the mistletoe a couple of my Twitter friends and I decided to dub today Kissing Day, and share a scene from one of our manuscripts that included kissing or almost kissing.

There isn't any kissing in my finished MG manuscript or my WIP. I tried to search through manuscript #1 for a good kissing scene, but reading it was just too painful (Wow it's bad! Don't quit after your first manuscript folks--you will get better!) So I wrote an entirely new kissing scene for your reading pleasure. It's a little rough since I just wrote it on Thursday, but here it is:


“Okay Paige who’s it going to be?” Chris Rodriguez asked as he sent the bottle spinning.

It zipped around like a merry-go-round. I imagined it stopping in front that boy from pre-algebra who was always pulling at his nose hairs. There were 10 possible candidates, but I planned for the worst—then anyone else would be an improvement.

My heart raced. I felt nauseous. I pictured kissing nose-hair-guy, with his crusty chapped lips and greasy hair. I could do it. It’d just be a quick peck. If I could kiss my grandma, who had more facial hair than my dad and smelled like Bengay, I could kiss anyone, right?

When was that bottle going to stop?

It lazed around a few more times, slowing as it passed each person. It inched past nose-hair-guy and crawled past the next guy too, and pointed to Alex.

It felt like a brick hit my stomach. Alex Henson. The Alex Henson. That same Alex Henson that I’d had a crush on since third grade. He looked up at me and smiled, pushing his messy blond hair out of his eyes. I tried to smile back as the tsunami in my stomach inched up my esophagus.

I’d picked the wrong worst-case scenario. Kissing Alex would be a thousand times worse than kissing nose-hair-guy. What happened to Chris’s parents? They were only going out to get pizza. Shouldn’t they be back by now?

Alex stepped up to me and winked as he whispered, “You ready Paige?”

I felt my knees buckle as he wrapped his arm around me and led me out to the back porch.

I think I was hyperventilating by this point, though I’m not exactly sure, since I don’t really know what hyperventilating feels like. I felt strange and lightheaded, like I was breathing, but no air was getting into my lungs.

Alex walked me over to the porch swing and we both sat down, so close I could smell his mom’s fabric softener. He reached up and put his hand in my hair and smiled again, his blue eyes glistening and sincere.

How was this happening to me?

I watched as his eyelids covered his eyes, and his soft lips, turned up just a bit at the corners, came towards me.

Then, the chaos in my stomach erupted. I backed away and yelled, “STOP!”

He jumped back, his expression changing from charming to confused.

“I just had a throw up burp.” I blurted.

His pained look got worse. His eyes fell to ground as he stood. “It’s totally fine if you don’t want to. I’m sorry. I just. It’s no big deal. Lets go back in. We can pretend it’s done.”

I nodded, speechless.

He stuffed his hands in his pockets and I stood up to walk beside him back into the room full of hopeful pre-teens.

He gave them a half smile and they cheered. Then he sunk into the beanbag in the corner, and I went to hide in the bathroom.


Sorry about the grossness and lack of romance. I tried--I really did. Sherrinda is hosting the day, and putting together a massive list of participants, so go read their (probably much more romantic) kissing scenes and link to your own. And if you've posted a kissing scene let me know in the comments so I can check it out! I'm going to try to read all of them.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Something Lovely

This is probably the last awards post I'll do this week. Monday is kissing day blogfest so get ready for some kissing (or almost kissing)! Then I'll finish up the rest of the awards over the Christmas break.

Up today is the One Lovely Blog Award. This was given to me by three bloggy friends:

Mary at Writers Butt Does Not Apply to Me. Mary chronicles her quest to write a novel and lose weight. Her honesty and humor keep me coming back for more.

Stephanie at Hatshepsut gave it to me too. The thing I love about Stephanie is that she's done a great job of making me WANT to read her novel. She doesn't post teasers or give stats on her progress, she just writes about her research about ancient Egypt and her MC, Hatshepsut, who was one of only a few female Pharaohs.

The I got it from Voidwalker at Into The Void. He's pretty new to blogging (so go follow him!) He's a funny guy. You'll like him.

I am supposed to pass this on to 15 blogger friends who have lovely blogs. I chose people who not only have lovely blogs, but also seem like lovely people. Here they are:

Anita at Anita's Edge
Valery Geary at Something to Write About
Georgina at Olive Juice
LT Host at Quest: Published
Julie at The Climb

Thanks for sharing your lovely blogs with us!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Honest Scrap

This passing on awards thing is more difficult than I imagined! Most of you already have some of the awards, so it's been like a giant puzzle trying to determine which awards I can give to who. While searching for award rules today I discovered there is an award I'd missed, so I had to shuffle everything again. I know I'm going to accidently leave someone out or give them an award they already have. So PLEASE forgive me if I do (and take whichever one you want-- you all deserve one!) A little grace is always a good thing.

Today I'll be passing on the Honest Scrap award. It was given to me by Victoria S. Victoria is a dreamer (and I mean that in a good way). She writes paranormal/romantic YA and her blog posts are always lovely.

This is one of the awards with a lot of rules and since I don't feel like following rules today I hope you won't mind if I disregard them and do my own thing. (I'm such a rebel).

Instead of sharing 10 honest things about myself I'm just going to tell you one story about how honesty pays off.

I know I've mentioned that I met my husband in college. He and I were good friends for several months before we started dating, and we may never have started dating if it weren't for his philosophy teacher.

This teacher gave his class an assignment to be 100% honest for one weekend (no lying period--not even white lies or avoidance). My husband made the mistake of telling me and my roommates about this assignment. One of my roomies decided to take advantage of his perfect honesty to see exactly what he thought of us, so she asked, "do you have a crush on me?"

He replied (honestly), "No Em. I like you as a friend."

Then she asked about a few of our other roommates and the answer was the same.

Then she asked about me. I was sure he'd say no (and break my little heart because I kind of liked him).

But instead he blushed, looked right at me, and said, "Yes Nat. I think you're hot." He said other nice things after that (just so you know he wasn't totally shallow).

We started dating soon after and now we've been married for 7 years (with no itch in sight). Honesty is a good thing folks.


Now, without further ado, I give you 10 Honest Scrap bloggers. They write very different blogs, but all are sincere, great reads.

Corey Schwartz at Thing 1 and Thing 2
Bane of Anubis at Bane's Blogging Blues
Janna Qualman at Something She Wrote
Lisa and Laura at Lisa and Laura Write
Stacy J Warner at Stacey's Respite
Thomas Taylor at That Elusive Line

Thanks to all of you for your honest posts! You are wonderful.

Stay tuned for more awards.

(And don't forget about kissing day blogfest! You know you want to share one of your kissing scenes with the world!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog Award Extravaganza

I'm going to be giving out blog awards for the next week so check back to see what you are awarded!

First up we have my personal favorite, the Loyal Friend and Visitor Award. This little beauty was given to me by Tricia O'Brien who writes an excellent blog called Talespinning, (which is such a clever name), and she almost always includes beautiful pictures. She's been a blog friend since the very beginning of this blog and I'm so grateful for all of her support. Thank you Tricia!

I'd like to pass it on to 15 bloggers who have been loyal friends since I started this blog. Since there weren't any rules about how to award it I'm just going to tell you a bit about their wonderful blogs so you can check them out. The people who've been around since the beginning and aren't bored of me yet, or continue to visit despite boredom are:

Susan R. Mills at A Walk in My Shoes-- I'm pretty sure most of you already follow Susan. She writes excellent posts (all relating writing to shoes), and leaves thoughtful comments even though I'm sure her bloglist is astronomical.

Laura Martone at Laura's Simple Pleasures-- Laura's blog almost always makes me hungry. She lives a crazy life where she moves every couple of months for film festivals. Her blog focuses on travel and FOOD.

Megan Rebekah at Megan Rebekah Blogs---And Writes-- I love Megan's blog. I love it so much in fact that I read it before I ever started blogging myself. She always has something interesting to say about writing, agent hunting, and publishing and she's often hilarious (which is always a good thing).

Caroline Starr Rose at Caroline by line-- Caroline is a former teacher and a VERY GOOD MG writer. I had the opportunity to read her novel in verse May B. I hope I can write as well as she does someday.

Heather Sunseri at Balance with Purpose-- Heather always writes thoughtful, meaningful posts about life, faith, and writing. I love visiting her blog because I always come away feeling inspired. Plus, Heather leaves the sweetest comments.

Marybeth Smith at Desperately Searching for my Inner Mary Poppins-- Marybeth's blog is hilarious and probably the cutest themed blog ever. And I have no doubt she will soon be as awesome as Mary Poppins herself.

Jennifer Shirk at Me, My Muse, and I-- Jennifer is a seasoned blogger, and by that I mean, she knows what she's doing. Her posts are always interesting and fun to read.

Marie Devers at Booknapped-- Marie takes quotes from songs, books, movies, poems etc. and relates them to her own life. She told me blogging for her is like a scrapbook of things she loves. The quotes she shares are often inspirational and ALWAYS thought-provoking.

Matt Delman at Free the Princess-- Matt is an expert in steampunk. Before I started reading his blog I'd never heard of steampunk. Thanks to Matt's excellent posts I feel like I know quite a bit about the genre. If you have ever wanted to write steampunk (or read it) Matt's blog is a must.

Tabitha Bird at Through My Eyes-- Tabitha's writing is always beautiful and honest. Several of her posts have moved me to tears.

Vonna Carter-- The thing I love most about Vonna is that she's able to dissect writing and books and make sense of the way things are done. In one of my favorite posts, she busts publishing myths (like the myth that agents and editors hate prologues).

Patti Nelson-- Patti's blog is full of great things. She's a mom of 3 (like me!) and she shares a bit of everything in a very fun and informative way.

Jody Hedlund-- I imaging most of you read Jody's blog too. If you don't, this is one you need to add to your list. Jody shares EVERYTHING about her road to publication. I learn something new almost every time I visit. Jody is also a great Twitterer, so you should follow her there too.

Terri Tiffany-- Terri is an inspirational writer and her posts really are inspirational. I love visiting there and I often come away feeling encouraged to do better.

Karen Amanda Hooper-- Karen already has this award (I'll have to give her another one that she doesn't have), but I couldn't not give this one to her. Her blog is honest, sweet, and magical (just like her).


Thanks to all of you for your wonderful blogs and all the comments and encouragement these past 3 months. I appreciate you more than I can say.

If you didn't get this award NEVER FEAR! There are many more to come.


(Oh and have you heard about Kissing Day Blogfest? I will be participating. You should too.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From Me to You

I love getting blog awards. They are fun, and pretty, and getting one means someone out there (at least kind of) likes my blog. But, I've wondered how (or if) I should pass them along or put them on my blog.

I've heard some criticism of blog awards including:

-They always get passed out to the same people, thus going in circles until everyone in a clique has them all.

-It's painfully difficult to pick and choose who should get the awards (I like all my blogging buddies)

-They clutter up your blog and make it look less professional

-They don't really mean anything

I've come up with a few ideas to combat these negatives. Do you want to hear them?

Yes!

Okay then.

Over the past few months I've received 7 awards, so I figure that is more than enough to go around. I won't have to exclude people! I'm going to try to give you all an award that you don't already have and I'm going to try to be thoughtful about it so the awards actually mean something (at least to me).

So, starting tomorrow and going until Christmas there will be some major blog award giving happening here. Don't feel like you need to post or pass along the awards I give you (unless you want to of course), just know that I appreciate all of you!

How do you feel about blog awards? Do you ever discover a great new blog because someone you knew gave it an award?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Digging deep

When I was in high school I sang in a jazz choir (you might be thinking this sounds lame, but it was cool, trust me). It was a small choir so there were a lot of opportunities to sing solos. I sang things like Duke Ellington and Paul Francis Webster's, I Got it Bad (and That Ain't Good), and Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein's, Can't Help Lovin Dat Man. They were gorgeous, emotional songs, but they were kind of a stretch for a sixteen-year-old who'd never had a boyfriend, never been in love, and didn't use words like "ain't" or "dat" in regular conversation.

I strived to have an emotional connection with the audience (kind of like writing), so I worked hard to feel the words I sang. Since I couldn't draw on experiences from my own life I often borrowed emotion from books, movies, songs, or the lives of friends.

I find that I do the same thing when I write. We've all heard the advice to "write what you know," and I think it's good advice, but I think we can sometimes "know" without experiencing things first hand.

Most of the characters in one of my WIPs live lives that are nothing like what I know, but I've been able to draw on many other sources (books mostly, but also movies and even music) to make them feel real--at least to me.

Do you ever write what you don't know? How do you make the characters, setting, and plot feel authentic?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Appreciation Day

I'm a little late to the party, but I just read on Lisa and Laura's blog that today is Agent Appreciation Day, and I wanted to appreciate my lovely agent Sara Megibow.

Here are 3 things wonderful things about Sara:

1. She is ALWAYS positive (even when she's 9 months pregnant, which is pretty darn amazing if you ask me).

2. She believes in me and my writing. It is still incredible to me that the same woman who plucked Jamie Ford's HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET (which is SO WORTH READING if you haven't yet) from the slush pile also connected with my little middle grade adventure. And I love her for it!

3. She is about the coolest person I know (example #1, example #2)

There you go. I am so, so grateful that Sara is my agent. I can't imagine any agent who'd be better for me.

If you want to check out all the other agents being appreciated today, go visit Lisa and Laura-- they have a huge list. Happy Agent Appreciation Day!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So your (dad, brother, husband, mother etc.) tells me you wrote a book...

I live in a family full of big-mouths. Since I signed with Sara they've enjoyed telling anyone and everyone who has ever met me that I am a writer.

Then I run into these people at the grocery store or the movie theater or church and the first thing out of their mouth is, "So your dad told me you wrote a book and I hear it's a bestseller."

Yup, that's pretty much how it goes.

Then I have to correct them and say, "No, it's not even published yet."

Then they say something like, "So when is it coming out?"

Then I have to explain that I have an agent but not a publisher (yet).

Then they look at me like I'm lame, and try to save the conversation with something like, "Well, I'm sure it will work out for you someday."

Yeah. Tomorrow night is my husband's company party. It's going to be filled with conversations like this--which will be fun.

How do you respond when someone asks you about your writing? Do you have a quick and graceful way of explaining just how long and difficult the non-vanity publishing process is? Do you just nod and smile?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Writing in my head

We woke up Monday morning to snow. It doesn't snow too often here, (maybe 3 or 4 times a year), so the kids were very excited. After I got them bundled up, they went out to play and I went out to SHOVEL.

After about 10 minutes they got cold and went inside. Unfortunately, I was only about 1/10 through shoveling, so I had to stay outside in the BITTER cold and shovel for another hour. (I'd driven on our driveway, so a lot of this time was spent scraping off the tire track ice).

And you know what? It was time well spent. I sometimes love quiet repetitive jobs, because my brain can wander wherever I need it to go. I've written many scenes in my head while shoveling snow, driving, mowing the lawn, and doing dishes.

I am kind of envying you Australians--with your nice warm (or miserably hot) winters, but I'll take the bitter cold and snow if it means productive writing time.

Do you ever write in your head while you work? When is your most productive thinking time?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pursuing Dreams

First, I have a favor to ask a few of you. I've had trouble tracking down some of your blogs lately. I do try to read everyone's blog who follows or comments here (at least every week or two). If I haven't visited your blog (or if I haven't been by for a long time), would you please leave your blog address in the comments so I can check it out? Thank you so much.

I spent last Friday with my extended family celebrating the life of my cousin who died just after Thanksgiving in a hiking accident. I came away from the funeral feeling inspired. While she was alive, she lived. Though her family was sad that she is gone, they found comfort in knowing she'd had a full, happy life, and peace in their faith that they would someday be reunited with her.

She did a lot during her too-short life. She was very respected in her field. She was a loved mother, wife, grandmother and daughter and friend. And she accomplished her goals and lived her dreams.

Everyone has goals in life. Mine are pretty simple: I want to be a great mom, I want my husband to always know how much I love him, and I want to be a writer.

Most of you share this desire. Do you ever consider quitting, or are you committed for the long haul? Will you measure your success by completion, publication, awards, reviews, money or something else?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Escape

When I sit down with a novel I have an expectation. I read so I can get away from my cares and see life through someone else's eyes--so I can escape.

Don't get me wrong, I live a very happy life. I have a beautiful family, a home, food, clothing, and thousands of other comforts. Unfortunately, real life is stressful. I have many demands on my time. Some of the things I do are fun (like writing, snuggle time with the kids, and movie nights with my husband). Most of my daily tasks are mundane (cleaning, cooking, driving kids from place to place). And some of my jobs are downright nasty (like changing poopy diapers and cleaning up dog vomit).

When I read something great, I can leave all of that behind--at least for a few minutes--and get lost in a story.

I'm reading Rick Riordan's PERCY JACKSON series right now and it has been a great little escape.

Have you read anything fabulous lately?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Makes Writing Good?

Thank you for all the well wishes and prayers these past few days. Your sweet comments were so appreciated. We are doing well and it sounds like her family is coping, despite the difficult circumstances. Thank you.

Last week my mother-in-law and I were discussing books. We were talking about an author and I said something like: "His stories are great, but I his writing drives me crazy."

She was surprised by this reaction and asked me what makes writing good or bad.

I had to stop and think about it for a minute.

My immediate answer was that writing is subjective, what one person loves another may hate and visa versa, but then I came up with a real answer.

If writing is superior words are never wasted. Every word is meaningful, every sentence is beautiful, every thought is perfectly expressed. An example of this (for me) is THE BOOK THEIF, by Markus Zusak.

When writing is good words are rarely wasted. If there is a page of material, 95% of it is pertinent to the story. The words may not be as perfect as those in a superior book, but they get the story across and don't waste my time.

I get annoyed when books are wordy. Bad writing (for me) is when a writer takes a page to express a thought that could easily fit in a paragraph (or a sentence), or uses adverbs with reckless abandon, or spends forever explaining a room when I REALLY want to know if Don and Harriet are going to get back together.

The interesting thing is, I like more than a few books that are written badly. I also hate a few that are written beautifully. Story trumps all. If the story is good enough, I'll suffer through a thousand page book that should have been two hundred pages, AND I'll tell my friends and family I loved it.

I have not mastered the art of good writing. Sometimes I'm sloppy. Sometimes I use more adverbs than I should. Sometimes I start sentences with and, but, or so. I'm working on it. I want my writing to be good so it doesn't distract from my stories.

Do you agree with my assessment? Do you think I'm a raving lunatic? What makes writing good (or bad) in your eyes?