Where have all the query writers gone?

I need some help, please. After tomorrow, I have no guests for my GPF features until the 29th.

I don’t like that at all. Do you?

I didn’t think you would, because you’re awesome.

But you know what would make you even more awesome? Volunteering or getting someone to volunteer to write one post about Querying and Submission. It doesn’t have to be a how to. I’m just as curious to find out more about your experiences out there in the battle field. What DO you do with your rejection letters?

Or has traditional publishing and indie press publishing gone extinct since I checked the last time?

Please please please!

I’ll even throw in a crit or beta read to the volunteers, should they need them…

EDIT: All June Spots have been filled. Thanks so much, everyone! If you wanted to volunteer, though, there are still a lot of open spaces for these months:

July: Inspired
August: Challenged
September: Self Publishing and Marketing
October: Scares
November: Keeping track

Please read here for more information and contact me if you’re interested.

Key-Word Cavalry: Four Temperaments

Two weeks ago, L Diane Wolfe mentioned the four basic character traits: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. So… since it might draw some search results, I thought I’d write a post exploring them a bit, even though I don’t really build my characters like that based on their psychological profiles.

It’s still interesting, though. And useful to know, if you’re someone who builds their characters to fit the situation.

So…. four basic characteristics, also known as the four temperaments. People have been trying to group themselves into these four different temperaments for millennia and the groupings of the various personalities and tastes have changed based on what was considered socially acceptable in each era.

Right now, though, people with each of the four temperaments have the following traits:


  • extroverted
  • hot tempered
  • quick thinking
  • strong willed
  • self confident
  • independent in will and thinking
  • makes decisions easily for him/herself and others
  • tends not to make space for other people’s opinions
  • always have ideas and solutions
  • practical
  • very active: tend not to sleep a lot
  • results orientated
  • love to fight for a cause
  • response to others: direct and firm
  • tend to be slow to build relationships due to their ruthlessness in going after results
  • not easily empathetic or compassionate
  • think big and go for positions of authority


  • extroverted
  • fun loving and easily amused
  • activity seeking
  • persuasive
  • optimistic
  • receptive and open
  • easily builds relationships
  • people orientated to the point where they’re often late or miss appointments (because they forgot)
  • easily bored
  • always have friends
  • attention span = interest in person or activity
  • can change focus instantly
  • competitive
  • disorganized
  • often struggle to control their emotions
  • like sports
  • dress fashionably
  • very worried about not making a good impression
  • excel at working with people


  • introverted
  • easy-going
  • unemotional
  • response to others: slow and indirect
  • like the quiet life
  • don’t get too involved with life and other people
  • approach to life: what will happen will happen
  • prefer to have a few close friends
  • once a relationship is established, they’re loyal to a fault
  • resistant to change
  • hold grudges
  • avoid conflict and decisions
  • practical, traditional thinkers
  • mask their true feelings
  • can be patient to the point of not doing anything, but once they decide to take action, they are tenacious and consistent in going after what they want.


  • introverted
  • analytical
  • logical
  • response to others: slow, cautious, indirect
  • reserved and suspicious until sure of someone’s intentions
  • timid
  • may appear unsure or have a serious expression
  • self-sacrificing
  • gifted, but perfectionistic
  • sensitive to what others think of what they do
  • organized, even if their workspace looks cluttered
  • out to make the best decision
  • when making a decision: collect information and need time to think and plan
  • fears risks and being seen as incompetent
  • tend to be negative towards change until thinking about it
  • skeptical
  • creative and capable
  • get bored with something once they’ve figured it out


Of course, most people have some traits from other temperaments mixed in. Some are combination of two or three temperaments. Then there are rare occasions that people are a mix of all four. So it could be fun to the build characters based on traits from more than one temperament. And then throw them into a situation with people with the opposite traits.

It’s nice to know, if we need building blocks for a character.

So have you ever used personality types to build your characters?

Tuesday Interview: Ciara Knight

Today I get to welcome Ciara for my first fortnightly interview feature. Ciara is one of my close blogging friends and crit partners and I can safely say that she’s really talented. I really enjoyed doing this interview with her. Hopefully as much as you enjoy reading it.


So Ciara. Easy question first. Who are you?

I began my career in late 2008 when I started writing ‘Defy the Dark’ with my fantasy, paranormal, and post-apocalyptic books. My first Young Adult Series, Battle for Souls, Love’s Long Shadow and Rise From Darkness are currently available. Fall From Grace will be released in June 2012, and Ascension of Evil  will be available in October 2012

Also in 2012, my adult fantasy, Curse of Gremdon was released.

When not writing, I enjoy reading all types of fiction. Some great literary influences in my life include Edgar Allen Poe, Shakespeare, Francine Rivers and J K Rowling.

My first love, besides my family, reading, and writing, is travel. I’ve backpacked through Europe, visited orphanages in China, and landed in a helicopter on a glacier in Alaska. 

So what made you decide to try your hand at writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Well, not seriously, but just for fun. I wrote short stories about little people when I was in grade school, angsty teen poems in high school, and some more short works of fiction in College. It wasn’t until I was married with kids that I wrote my first novel. I’d agreed to stay home with the kids, but after working in the corporate world for so long I was lost. After a few months I thought I’d go stir crazy, and that’s when I started writing my first long work of fiction. After I typed ‘The End’ I was totally addicted and started taking writing classes.

I have to say that I’ve never taken a single writing class in my life. So do you have any tips for when we have to attend one?

Go with an open mind, even if you think you already know what they are talking about. There is always something that will trigger an ‘aha’ moment. Also, ask fellow authors what they thought of a class before signing up. There are some AMAZING classes out there that will change your entire way of writing for the better.
If you can’t afford the time or funds to attend a workshop then I’d say buy a book. Goals, Motivation, and Conflict, by Deb Dixon changed my writing life. Of course, there are many others.

My two favorite writing books would be On Writing by Stephen King and The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. The latter actually was instrumental in me finishing the Doorways rough drafts. It also inspired me to blog in the first place, but that’s another story altogether. 

You have a new novel being released. Want to tell us more about it?

I’ve always wanted to read Stephen King’s book, On Writing.

In August, I’ll be releasing a novelette, Weighted. This is a young adult post-apocalyptic with paranormal elements. It is a prequel to The Neumarian Chronicles. Book I, Escapement, will be released in 2012, followed by Pendulum and Balance in late 2013 and 2014.

This series is completely different from anything I’ve ever written. Weighted is written in first person and is not a romance at all, but it does lead into The Neumarian Chronicles which has strong romantic elements.


The Great War of 2185 is over, but my nightmare has just begun. I am being held captive in the Queen’s ship awaiting interrogation. My only possible ally is the princess, but I’m unsure if she is really my friend or a trap set by the Queen to fool me into sharing the secret of my gift. A gift I keep hidden even from myself.  It swirls inside my body begging for release, but it is the one thing the Queen can never discover. Will I have the strength to keep the secret? I’ll know the answer soon. If the stories are true about the interrogators, I’ll either be dead or a traitor to my people by morning.

Sounds wonderful! Where did the idea for your series come from?

The original idea of the Slags versus the Neumarians I think stemmed from watching a news report. Actually, I think it was on the history channel. My son is obsessed with the history channel. Anyway, this image of a cruel society enslaving the weak out of fear fueled my imagination. In The Neumarian Chronicles, three distinct classes emerge after the Great War of 2185. A ruling class, comprised of mostly Slags (mechanically and cosmetically altered humans), a living class, which are humans with no special abilities or enhancements, and the Neumarians who are enslaved under the false pretense of protecting the world from their gifts.

Where is the strangest place that you ever found your inspiration?

Probably the most interesting place I found inspiration was while I was stuck in traffic. A muscular man jumped from his car and threatened someone. I thought, wow, he looks totally possessed. Poof, I had a demon for Rise From Darkness. 🙂

That is pretty awesome. What about your other releases this year? Can you tell us a bit more about them?

Book II of the Battle For Souls series, Fall From Grace, will be released in June and book III, Ascension of Evil, will be out in October.

Of course, Escapement, Book I of The Neumarian Chronicles, will released in 2013.

I’m so looking out for them. What is your number 1 tip for new writers?

Write, write, and write some more. Once you have something you like, find a critique partner. They are invaluable. Also, find a non-writing beta reader. This is important because writers might miss something that a reader picks up on. When you are done and put your baby out into the world, don’t take things personally. Reviews can sting. Go back to your critique partner and cry on his/her shoulder then move on. Life is too short to focus on the negative. Most of all, just enjoy the journey.

Great tips. Finally, where can people find you on the internet?



Thank you so much, Misha.

Huge pleasure, Ciara. Loved having you on my blog. All the best with your new releases! So ladies and gents, what do you think of the interview feature? Where is the strangest place that you ever found inspiration?

Others have said: There are Rules


Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

William Safire, Great Rules of Writing

And yet, I’m breaking the rules now. And I do it often. VERY. Often. It just works for me, because conciously breaking certain rules change the feel of what has been written.

I am, however, very finicky about what I perceive to be errors. People breaking rules per accident. It just stands out more and degrades the quality.

So… what’s your favorite writing rule to break on purpose?  

My Wig Is On Perfectly Crooked

Hey all! Today I welcome Sheri Larsen to my blog for today’s installment of GPF. Sheri’s one of the bloggers I’ve stalked the longest and I try to stop by her blog as often as I can, because of her useful and interesting posts on YA and writing. So if you haven’t yet, please go visit her and say hi.

Before I leave the blog in her very capable hands, I just want to ask pretty pretty please for writers who are willing to take on the theme of Querying for June. I only have one writer left before my Fridays are blank, and it would be a tragedy, since so many people want to learn about all they can in this topic. So if you are interested, willing and able, please check out this post and contact me.

Okay, Sheri, over to you. Thanks so much for this great post!

My Wig Is On Perfectly Crooked


Characters can make or break the success of a story.

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where you absolutely despise one of the characters? What about the hero you just can’t bear to see lose or the underdog who’s backstory is so gut-wrenching that even if they committed murder you’d still love them?

Sure you have. We all have. But why? What makes those characters resonate with us?

A relatable, emotional connectionwas established by the writers and filmmakers. They were able to get you to invest yourself and stake claim in the character. And if this is done well, they will also get you to connect qualities from a character with someone in your world. It might be your mother or the dog you and your BFF used to dress up in dog clothes. Or maybe the babysitter you had when you were twelve. You might even see a bit of yourself. The possibilities are endless.

Uniqueness, an element that makes the character stand apart from others, was surely also used. Take Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice. Her unique quality was her confidence and dogged opinions, which was only strengthened by the world she lived in where it was not popular to be an outspoken woman. A unique quality doesn’t have to be different in itself, just different to the other characters in your story.

Characters who make a story workare believable, flawed, and on some level emotionally jaded. Now, emotional jaded could be as simple as a character having a spider fall on her head as a young child while sleeping in a camp and developing a terrifying fear of the Arachnid. (Not that I ever experienced such an event.) Or it could travel the extremes of depression or anguish over a death, accident, or other traumatic and personal event.

The trick is to make the reader believe said character is haunted by his/her past, present, and possible future ~ whichever of these apply to your story.

How is that accomplished? Before you begin meshing the lives of your characters together in their here and now, give them – at varying degrees:

1.      A PAST worth telling and exploring. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries here. But remember, this past should help motivate the character forward in their current story world. It should help force a change.
2.      A FAÇADE worthy of description, both inwardly and outwardly. Paint a picture for the reader, but do it gradually throughout a few chapters. Nibbles always make the eater hungrier. Give them a meal, and they fill up quickly.
3.      A CHARACTERISTIC different from any other character in your story. It can be subtle or in-your-face. Play with it. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things to do, while I write.
4.      A CONFLICT that will NOT be cured within the pages of this particular story. It could be a Doritos fetish from one character that totally aggravates another character. Kind of silly, but workable, and it can add flavor to scenes.
Obviously most of this should be concentrated on your main characters, but developing secondary characters even a little can add depth to your main characters that you can use and bounce off of. And who knows, if you accomplish success with this first story you just might be asked to do a sequel. You’d have surface material on the secondary characters that you could develop more deeply.

So tip your characters’ wigs now and again. Change the color. Give them a hat of a different texture, unexpected. Make me want them to succeed or fail. If you accomplish this, either way, you’re story will be remembered.

How do you approach characterization?

Sheri Larsen is a published freelance and short story writer, and KidLit author. Her website, Writers’ Ally, is where she explores writing, children’s literature, and motherhood. She lives in Maine with her husband and four children.


I’m so sorry, but I really can’t put together the energy needed to do today’s post. Really really regretting that I didn’t pre-schedule like I wanted to originally.

But I’m just really tired after another long day of meetings and work.

Next Wednesday I will definitely do this post, though.

Thanks for understanding!


Editing Update

Today is Key-Word Cavalry day, but I literally just walked in after ten hours at work, so I’m too exhausted to think. So… I’m going to do tomorrow’s post now and KWC tomorrow, when it doesn’t feel like my mind is a sieve.

As a result, this will just be a quick update on editing.

This week alone, probably about five people asked about whether I’ll make my 30 June deadline.


Short answer…. I don’t know. I’m really close.

Doorways is currently divided into ten parts. Some are long, but towards the end, the parts are short. I got part seven back from my first round of critting, which is the last long round left before the climax and the closing. Once I edited according to these crits, I’ll send out part seven again while sending part eight to the first CP. Once I’m done with the second critting round, I mark the part’s edits as done on my blog.

BUT… in June, my other CP will be available again. And I will only really see my edits as done once he’d done his crits. So I might be done by the 30th… or by August. But… officially speaking, I probably will be done enough with my edits by 30 June.

By that I mean that I will be comfortable enough with my edits to query my story.

So yeah… that’s where I am with my edits.

How’s your WiP coming along? Are you drafting/editing anything?