Category Archive: General Information
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Hello! We are still here and blogging! Alas, Jetpack was giving us trouble and not sending emails to our lovely subscribers. So we thought we’d better recap the last two weeks. First…
We’re hosting a Princess Bride Linkup Party! It’s next weekend! Why? Because FUN! And also on September 25th, three decades less a year ago, The Princess Bride opened in theatres, and we felt like celebrating that. So if you want to share your thoughts, feelings or critiques on the book and/or film, write a post (or share one you’ve already written) and join our linkup. For more information and blogging ideas, check out our #PrincessBrideParty FAQ page.
And while Jetpack was being buggy, we published these two posts:
Heather needed a refresher on a story’s MidPoint from the hero’s point of view, so she republished this useful post. Click here to read the whole thing.
And Robin shared three strategies for making your character names original and entertaining! Click here for the whole post.
So that’s the September recap. Hope to see you guys at the Princess Bride Linkup Party!
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Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/general-information/2015-wrap-up/
If we were having coffee, we’d tell you winning a blog award – the Liebster Award – made our week. It’s a fun award and came to us from a blogger we adore. Big shout-out to Sara Letourneau for nominating us. If you don’t read her author blog, or one of the many blogs she contributes to (like DIY MFA), make plans to correct this oversight ASAP.
The rules of this award are simple: thank the nominating person (Thanks, Sara!), answer their wonderful questions, and pass some questions on to other deserving bloggers.
So grab a coffee and some biscotti and get ready to learn all about us!
Here we go:
1. Why do you blog?
R: Heather and I were in a critique group together for about a year and a half before we decided to give blogging together a shot. It was mostly my idea, and I did a tad of arm twisting. I didn’t relish the idea of running a blog alone; I didn’t feel confident enough to jump off the blogging cliff without a friend holding my hand. Now we both love it. There’s nothing better than the wonderful friends we’ve made in the blogging community.
H: Yep! Robin definitely twisted my arm, but I’m so glad she did for the reasons she mentioned above. Plus, I like the way blogging about writing forces me to keep learning and evaluating my craft.
2. What was the last good book you read? Why did you enjoy it?
R: Heather and I both read mostly YA books (since that’s what we write) and our tastes are similar. I just read Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson. It wasn’t so much that I enjoyed the story (it’s very dark and unsettling) but it had power! I felt emotionally drained after finishing it, as if I had lived the experiences with the characters. That is good writing!
H: I just finished UNWHOLLY, the second book in the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman, and I loved it! A lot is going on in both of these novels (many characters and many plotlines), but Shusterman manages to weave them all together in ways that are exciting, surprising, and thought-provoking. I wholeheartedly recommend these books!
3. In your opinion, are film adaptations of novels as good as the original? Not as good? Or better? Why?
R: I think any time you pull apart a huge novel and try to tease out the 90 – 120 minute highlights version, things tend to go wrong! It seldom comes close to a well-loved book for me. But as long as the essence of the characters stays true, I’m willing to overlook a lot. The Hunger Games films have been darn good. Great casting, (with a few unnamed exceptions) striking sets, and can I just say, fabulous costumes.
H: A question close to my heart! As a screenwriter now writing a novel, I’m learning firsthand the differences between the two mediums. Some novels are easy to adapt to film, while others are not. My favourite adaptation of all time is HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON. I read the book first, and it’s a cute, fun and adventurous read, and though there is action, a lot of the hero’s journey is internal. Internal journeys do not translate easily to film. But the screenwriters who adapted the first Dragon film did it perfectly – they kept the novel’s heart and characters and setting, but rewrote the story to create a more filmic, action-orientated plot. And it was brilliant! If they’d tried to write a faithful adaptation of the novel, it would not have worked as well.
4. What is the kindest or most compassionate thing someone has done for you?
R: My husband is my rock. When we started dating my parents were getting a divorce. He ended up helping my whole family through what was one of the worst times in our lives. He did everything from moving furniture, to helping my mom figure out her finances. By the time it was over I knew he was a total keeper.
H: This is a tough question, but I’d have to go with something my grandmother acknowledged was happening in my life during my teen years. I won’t get into the whole story, but it meant the world to me and kept me sane.
5. Do you use bookmarks while reading? What are you currently using for a bookmark(s)?
R: I mostly use an e-reader, but I have a few bookmarks my kids made that I love. One of my favorites is a bookworm. It has plastic eyes and loads of gooey green paint. It’s a total mom magnet!
H: Uh, I generally just use the slip of paper from the library with the due date on it. 😉
6. What is your favorite book cover design of all time? Why? Share a picture / image of it, if it’s possible.
R: I’m a sucker for illustrated covers. I think they’re more interesting than most photo covers. One that stands out for me is the old green cover of The Hobbit. There is something iconic about it.
H: I don’t have a favourite cover, though I prefer graphic covers over people photos on covers. I am so over the girl’s-face-on-a-book trend. It makes all the YA books look the same! In fact, I bought the more expensive hardcover version of IF I STAY just to avoid the paperback version which has a girl’s face on it.
7. Have you ever read about a real place on Earth in a book (fiction or non-fiction) and wanted to visit it afterwards? If so, which place?
R: Yes, too many places to name them all. I’ll go with Alaska. It made for a perfect adventure vacation, and it’s one I will never forget.
H: Do imaginary places count? Because I wanted to go to Hogwarts!
R: Can I change my answer? I want Hogwarts!
8. What is your favorite season? Why?
R: I would say Fall. The days are cool, but not cold. There is still enough daylight for all the outdoor things I like to do, hike and camp. Plus there are apples and nuts to harvest, perfect for my baking. I tend to bake a lot in the cooler months. Yum! Also, Fall is a hopeful and happy season; the holidays are coming and the kids are so excited.
H: Summer. All my best hand-me-down clothes are for the summer season. Sadly, with two measly months of summer in Canada, I rarely get a chance to wear them. Plus, I hate being cold. The only good thing about winter is bragging rights (I survived biking in minus 30 degrees Celsius!) and the fact that it makes you really appreciate summer.
9. Do you have a “hidden talent”? By that, I mean a talent that you haven’t had a chance to share with others online or in your blog yet. What is that talent?
R: I would call it more oddball than hidden, but I’m a low visibility (black water) SQUBA diver, and I have worked on archeological teams looking for shipwrecks.
H: Robin’s talent is awesome! Um, there’s not much about me that I haven’t shared on this blog, unless we want to dig into my childhood on the farm. Then I would confess that I am a darn good cowgirl. I had a pony who used to spook at any loud noise (so, like, every time we went for a ride) and jump very suddenly sideways, throwing me out of the saddle, but I always landed on my feet. Always. I guess you could say that’s a hidden talent that. Until now, only my mom knew. 😉
10. Are you picky about the writing utensils you use? Do you prefer pens or pencils? Any specific brand or style?
R: I like pens, in particular the ones with ultra fine tips and gel ink. My two favorite pens are a Mont Blanc my late mother-in-law gave me, and one covered in Egyptian hieroglyphs and pictures.
H: Pens over pencils, but no specific type. Whatever still has ink in it will do.
11. What is one thing you’re grateful for today?
R: A break in the heat wave. It might sound insignificant to some, but after several days in the 110 range, I’m a mess. Stepping outside everyday was like living in a hot yoga session that never ends!
H: My health. It’s been a rough month mentally and work-wise, but no matter what else is going on, at least I’m healthy.
Now for our questions:
1. If you could instantaneously master one writing skill, what would you choose and why?
2. What author’s style do you admire the most?
3. Have you ever revealed too much about yourself or family in your book or blog, or is every topic fair game?
4. What is the most memorable writing comment you’ve ever gotten? It can be the best, or worst; you decide.
5. When is your muse most active? Are you a night owl, or a member of the 5am club?
6. Have you ever given a book a 1 star review? If so, why? No book titles, please. : )
7. What is the next big thing you want to write about?
8. Do you have any writing rituals? If not, name one thing that always makes you excited to write?
9. What is the single most important quality in a novel, what must an author do to win you over?
10. If you could magically fix one problem with your current WIP, what would you fix?
11. If your blog, or a book suddenly made you rich and famous, what would you do with your success?
Finding a blog without a Liebster Award is no easy trick. Today, we are just throwing open the nomination. Pick one of these questions and tell us a little bit about yourself in the comments. After all, the best part of awards is finding out fun facts about other bloggers.
Thanks for having coffee with us!
If We Were Having Coffee is a blog hop inspired and run by the lovely and talented Diana at Part Time Monster. Please drop by her place for coffee. You can also see what other bloggers are up to by checking out the hashtag #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.
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Security Clearance: Unclassified
Mission Objectives: To meet new life forms and engage in shared and mutually beneficial discourse on a range of topics.
Mission Status: Success!
Co-Commander Rivera’s reflections report:
While it is never easy to commit a month to a venture of any kind, this team jumped into our second challenge with enthusiasm.
Pre-launch tips that worked: We feel the best thing we did this year was create the 3, 2, 1 theme. Having a predetermined post structure helped create continuity and make them easier to write. Creating a custom graphic also worked in our favor. Big smooch to my hubby who is our go-to guy for graphics. He also did our site favicon, the feather logo and our Weekend Coffee Share cup. Thank you, honey! The logo was amazing once everyone started promoting on social media using the official letter image, and made our posts stand out from the rest. Now that the challenge is over, we’ve had a number of requests from our friends to turn the 26 posts into an Ebook. The fact that we have a solid structure to each post will make that an easy transition, and we are considering the Ebook as a summer project.
Some of our mission highlights were:
Hitting our 400th post. May not sound like that many to some bloggers, but for us it was a huge deal.
K is for Kittens! This was Heather’s favorite post to write, and it inspired me to write the goofy S is for Sins. The two lighthearted posts gave us a much-needed break from being so serious, and we think our readers welcomed a bit of comedy during the mid-month slump as well.
T is for Trello! This one turned out to be our most popular post. Sharing great writer tools are something Heather and I feel passionate about. We know writers don’t have spare time, so when we find something that works we want everyone to know about it.
Comments meant the world to us:
Whenever people said a post was useful and they applied it to their own story, it made us happy. It was inspiring to see non-writers dropping in and talking about how our posts helped them make sense of a book they read. One of our top commentators was Sue Coletta. She was always upbeat and willing to share her own experiences and insights. In breaking news, Sue just extended an invite to us to guest blog on her Murder Blog and I have accepted. Another of our top commentators, Shawn Griffith from Down Home Thoughts, has submitted a pitch to guest blog for us and we have accepted. The benefits of comments can be far-reaching.
What we learned this month from others:
Heather selected my P is for Pinch Points post. She had never heard the term before. And as we learned from the comment section, she wasn’t the only one!
We also selected a wonderful new blog discovery made very late in the challenge, Brittany Constable’s blog. Brittany did a literary analysis of books/films with an eye towards advice for writers. The posts were well done and funny too.
So please pay her a visit and spread some blog love.
I also want to give a huge shout out to Hannah Givens for her blog Things Matter and her A to Z posts on LGBT characters in comics. I hear lots of writers paying lip service to the “We Need Diversity” mantra. If you mean it get over to Hannah’s blog. And feel free to make a shopping list and support some fellow writers who are actually writing diversity!
Blogs we enjoyed:
Really there are too many to count. Some of my favorite themes were, the photo on Alex Hurst and Elizabeth Hain‘s blogs. And the monsters who ruled at Part Time Monster and Melissa Barker-Simpson‘s blogs. Way to rock the month ladies. But those are all trusted writers that I knew from outside the challenge! As for new blogs? Well, I subscribed to a few that really bowled me over, but as for the rest … well during the next few weeks I’ll be revisiting these discoveries, and reading what a normal blog post looks like. From there I’ll start to figure out who to follow full-time. I fear it may be a large number since I enjoyed so many blogs this year.
Heather’s favorite find was Pensuasion, a theme that pitted two movies against each other and had the readers vote on the which one was best. She liked it because it inspired so much reader involvement and it was fun to read the comments. The comments really are amazing during A to Z.
What didn’t go too well:
Some of the letters still challenge the crap out of us. Z is my nemesis. I licked it again this year by using a totally unrelated word to writing. Hopefully I made it work with Z is for Zymurgy. Heather struggled with the letter Q, but came up with the post Q is for Questions. Other than those two letters, we really didn’t struggle too much, and only two letters got changed to new topics from the original master plan we created in March.
I started the challenge strong and managed to visit over a hundred new blogs to me in the first half of the month, while also keeping up with my friend’s blogs pretty well. Due to a family crisis, I lost all my steam by the end of the month. I feel like I disappointed myself and my friends by slacking off on my blog visits, but my family needs to come first. I’m hopeful everyone understands.
Plans for next year’s A to Z Challenge:
A bit too soon for us to start planning, but we will both be on the lookout for a cool new theme, that’s for sure. Heather and I like the idea of writing something fiction based next year, but we don’t know how our readers would like that. However, next year is light-years away, we have time to weigh the pros and cons before we make any plans.
Wow, what a month. We adding so many new followers, and made some amazing new friends. The outpouring of support for the blog in the last few months has just been phenomenal. Today Heather and I make a very big announcement…
In the last four months we have equaled the blog traffic Write On Sisters did all last year!
We are grateful every day for every visit and for every comment. 2015 was the start of a whole new chapter in the Write On Sisters story, and we are humbled with the response. We couldn’t ask for better readers or blogging friends.
Thank you everyone!
Co-Commanders Jackson and Rivera signing off!
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Thanks so much to Kathryn Howes for nominating WriteOnSisters for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! Kathryn blogs at https://kateywrites.wordpress.com/ about motherhood, writing for kids and raising readers. Check out her #RaisingReaders posts every Monday!
The rules of engagement for this fun little award are simple:
- Display the award on your blog.
- Link back to the person who nominated you.
- State 7 things about yourself.
- Nominate other bloggers, link to them, and notify them about their nomination.
So without further ado, let’s find out more about us!
7 THINGS ABOUT THE WRITEONSISTERS
At four years old, Heather got her first pony, a fat, bossy Shetland named Ginger.
In high school, Robin wanted to be poet or a playwright like her grandmother.
Heather’s first paid writing gig was an episode of the cartoon CAPTAIN FLAMINGO.
To put herself through college, Robin worked at a bakery and learned how to make delicacies such as Suspires de Monja (“Nun’s Sighs”).
In 2013 Heather biked around Cuba on a fold-up bike. www.bromptoning.com
As a kid, Robin had a dog named Juliet, proving she always loved a good story!
Kid Heather’s favourite book was LITTLE WOMEN. Like Jo, Heather was a feisty tomboy who wanted to be a writer.
8 BLOGS WE LOVE
Yvonne started the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion that will take place on Feb. 20 with a thousand bloggers blogging about compassion. #1000Speak http://yvonnespence.com/
Jenny is currently doing a blog series called “15 Days to Writerly Awesome in 2015” and it’s pretty awesome. http://blotsandplots.com/
Drew posts insightful stuff about writing + awesome pictures. http://drewchialauthor.com/
Suzie is a versatile blogger who started #SundayBlogShare http://suzie81speaks.com/
Syndey writes “kissy books” (Women’s Fiction, Romance, Mystery) and keeps us all motivated in the #JanWritingChallenge http://www.sydneystrand.com/p/home.html
Diane is a freelance writer and literary junkie who has one of the best blog headshots ever. http://squirrelsinthedoohickey.com/
DL Hammons runs an online Write Club and a Blog Blitz. http://www.dlhammons.com/
Sarah blogs about being an author with humour and honesty. http://www.saraheboucher.com/
There you have it! Enjoy these blogs and spread the love.
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Can you tell the Go-Gos old hit single Vacation is playing inside my head as I type this post?
Wrong season, right sentiments.
Vacations! We all need them.
A chance to spend time with family and friends. Some peace and quiet to get that book finished. Or a free evening to gather your beta readers for a critique-a-thon by the fire. I have that last one planned. There will be hot coco, Christmas cookies, and everyone will be issued a bright red pen for catching typos.
Well blogs are no different. They need time off to recharge and regroup too. So this is your official notice of the WriteOnSisters 2014 holiday vacation.
There will be a few fun holiday messages in the next few weeks, but no daily posts. After over a year of almost never missing a weekday, we are taking some R&R.
Look for us to post on December 19th when we take part in The DeJa Vu Blogfest. More info here if you’d care to join us.
There will be a special New Year’s message about the huge changes happening in 2015.
However, just because you don’t see us everyday doesn’t mean we aren’t around. Should you need to reach us, send a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!
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A bicentennial by definition is a 200th anniversary, although it is a landmark usually measured in years. Yet our bicentennial is barely one year old. Yesterday we posted our 200th blog post and while it might not seem like a momentous occasion to many, to us it is remarkable.
We began this journey in August of last year and never in my wildest imagination would I have believed we’d reach this incredible milestone. Because collectively, we weren’t all that savvy when it came to developing an Internet platform for our writing.
None of the original WOS crew…
…had delved into the Twitter Sphere, but we decided to jump in, hoping to broaden our scope in order to share and learn from the global community of writers. We stumbled, suffering countless hours of frustration as we learned the tech-aspects of tweeting, the lingo, the foibles and the enormous capacity to interact with others of our ilk. We tweaked the website to accommodate our new skills and I must give kudos to Robin, our Webmaster, and Heather too, for working out the kinks and facilitating the process while not totally losing our collective mind.
At Robin’s urging we took on the A-Z Blog Challenge and suffered the terrifying daily deadlines, furiously writing posts to fit the “letter of the day.” The work paid off as we met more amazing new writers and sampled blogs that inspired us to make ours better and as a result of that journey we found our newest sisters: Callie, Sharon and Kathy.
We’ve broadened our scope, as our new sisters write exciting stuff:
Callie spent what would have been her college years traveling around the world eating and drinking and collecting adventures, stories and more books than one person could hope to read in a lifetime. Her work has appeared on Kveller.com, and in The Jewish Press. She is currently working on a self-inflicted challenge, writing one short story a week for a year. You can find the stories on her blog at calliedeanne.com
Kathy has published several articles in national magazines and just finished her first novel set in San Diego, recently landing a book deal. We can’t wait to see how this journey goes for her and eagerly await the advent of her debut novel. See her author website at www.kathyweyer.com for more about her and to read a sample chapter of her novel Stitches.
Sharon “transitioned” to the life of full-time fiction writer after 39 years as an educator. She writes culinary mysteries, women’s fiction, paranormal fiction, historical fiction, short stories, plays, and erotic romance. Oak Tree Press published Mission Impastable, a culinary mystery, in 2014. Sizzler Editions published the erotic romance Streetwalker, under the pen name Angelica French, in 2013.
We hold their virtual hands while they learn the techo-aspects of writing a blog each week and we benefit from new viewpoints, experiences, and expertise in genres we have little or no experience with. The camaraderie we have reminds me what a wonderful community the world of writers is. We share the agony and ecstasy, the sympathy and pep talks when our editors rip us apart and put us back together again, as some of us land contracts while others are still struggling to get that offer. We are growing and striving to be a better blog every day and tackling issues relating to reading and education, not just writing.
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There was never any doubt in my mind, if I ever wanted to participate in a blog, it had to be a Team effort. When we started Write On Sisters we never thought we would be as successful or have as much fun as we are today. Now 150 posts later (we hit that major event yesterday), we’re looking forward to conquering new milestones and pushing ourselves and each other toward reaching new heights.
Even with a Team, weekly blogging takes a lot of time. I find it particularly challenging because I have younger children. Each of us must wrestle a blog to the mat about 5 – 7 times a month, sometime I do it with a squirming kid in my lap. Of course it takes time away from other aspects of our personal lives to research and create the best posts we can each week. Jenn has decided to step down so she can devote more time to her family and writing. We hope you will join us in wishing her the best.
Which brings us to the Twitterific part of the post, and our own Heather Jackson, the undisputed Queen of Writeonsisters. A gal with a knack for creating magically inspiring posts and who holds an unprecedented six slots in our top ten list of most popular posts. Which of course includes the number one post 10 Tips to Survive the Starving Artist lifestyle. Well, she did it again and knocked it out to the park with Dropping the F-Bomb in YA Lit, landing herself on yet another impressive list: Elisabeth Spann Craig’s Twitterific Writing Links
Three cheers for Heather!
Now for our last T, Talent. What makes a blog is it’s people. Since Write On Sisters is growing and changing we’re putting out our first official call for Talented new Team members. We hope there are some solo bloggers out there who want to stop being alone and join up with a Team of fellow writers, one of whom is also Twitterific. If you find yourself in need of a new home and you feel you have some Talent to share please contact us.
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p class=”MsoNormal”>Today the Sisters share a happy occasion, we cross the 100-post finish line. Since we only started the blog last summer, we didn’t expect to get here so fast. Or to have so much fun during the journey. Plus, we learned a lot, and shared what we learned at each step with our readers.
In honor of the day we would like to share our eight favorite posts from the last 100. We are each picking one of our own and one of our sisters’. We hope you all stick around in the coming months and watch us chip away at crafting the next 100 posts.
For my own post, I guess I’d have to pick *Non-Movie Star Ennui: The Lonely Life of the Writer, because putting my feelings on paper made me realize I was in need of a serious change in my life. I’ve decided to relocate to another state where I have lots of family and new places to explore. Let the adventure begin!
For my fellow sister’s post, I decided upon Heather’s post How Writers Do Holidays since she so aptly described how writers obsess over their projects even when trying to let it go for a few days. This was sooo me! And I would have been too embarrassed to admit it to anyone! Thanks, Heather, for calling me out!
For my own post, I have to go with the one that was the most fun to write: 10 Tips To Survive The Starving Artist Lifestyle. I enjoyed getting away from the brain-crunch of dissecting craft to simply write about life. And I was pleasantly surprised and happy to discover how many readers could relate!
For my fellow sister’s post, I picked Robin’s post Character Chemistry: Six Dos and Don’ts for Getting a Group Together. Character relationships, especially within an ensemble, are difficult to write, but Robin’s final tip can help every writer strengthen their characters’ group dynamic. Go read it!
For mine, I’ll go with my most recent, Honoring Creativity: The Angels and Demons of Writing Advice. I think it’s something we all have to grapple with. Sometimes we need to step away from trying to please everyone and stay true to our creative spirit.
For my fellow sister’s post, I chose Caryn’s A Time To Kill: The Death Of A Major Character. I get close to my characters, and sometimes have difficulty putting them through hell. When someone has to die, especially a child or an animal, I agonize over it, so Caryn’s tips on how and when to kill off someone we care about makes it less painful.
For my own post, I’ve chosen The Pudding in the Mix: The Gooey Center of a Novel. I like this post because I tried to turn a frustrating and challenging problem into something a tad funny and irreverent. If we must face our biggest hurdles at least we can keep an upbeat attitude.
For my fellow sister’s post, I’ve chosen Jenn’s Harry Potter Wears Fifty Shades of Grey. First, because it’s my favorite of all of our titles. Second, because it combines just the right amount of hard truth and humor. We need to remember to hold on to our real voices, and to keep putting our faith and energy into making our words sing. This post says that and more.
Thank you everyone for all the wonderful support!
Permanent link to this article: http://writeonsisters.com/general-information/writeonsisters-com-marks-a-milestone-100-posts/