Saturday, October 29, 2011

Writers, Start Your Muses! A BOOkish Halloween Love Story from Spike Jonze

This beautiful (and mildly kinky) stop-motion animation got my writer wheels turning. What type of inspiration rockets your muse into motion? Happy Halloween!

"On a shelf in famed Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company, the star-crossed love story of a klutzy skeleton and his flame-haired amour plays out amidst Designer Olympia Le-Tan’s illustrations of iconic first-edition book covers." 

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi
A Tale to Pierce the Heart

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi on

Thursday, July 7, 2011

3 Tips For Organizing A Novel

by Brandy Dolce

I'm halfway through the first draft of my second novel and it took until now to find the best way for me to stay organized. Yes, I have several hand written notes in manila file folders that I never look at; single-subject, spiral-bound notebooks crammed with chicken scratch that have gone the way of the word processor; and gigabytes of electronic musings saved somewhere in RAM limbo. The result? A novel built from my notes in my one notebook. Everything else has been forgotten or eaten by moths.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quoting Others In Your Work

I'm currently writing a nonfiction book in which I'm using quotes from a variety of sources. However, I wanted to make sure I didn't get into trouble doing so since the only bars I like are the ones that serve margaritas. Therefore, I researched the fair use act. Here it is for your legal enjoyment. And please feel free to comment with your experience using famous quotes in your own works! I live to learn!

The Fair Use Doctrine of the U.S. Copyright Statute
One of the rights accorded to the owner of copyright is the right to reproduce or to authorize others to reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords. This right is subject to certain limitations found in sections 107 through 118 of the copyright law (title 17, U. S. Code). One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of “fair use.” The doctrine of fair use has developed through a substantial number of court decisions over the years and has been codified in section 107 of the copyright law.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Widget of the Day: Agent Query

The Agent Query widget provides information on the movers and shakers in the literary agent industry. 

From offers aspiring writers a free searchable database of literary agents seeking new talent. This widget feeds from our literary social networking site AQ Connect. Writers actively submitting their work to literary agents share their updates and experiences.

Here is the widget below as you'll see on the right side of my homepage. Feel free to click the Get Widget tab under the widget to grab the code for your own blog.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Need Help Mapping Out a Scene? Try "The Dialog Spine"

Brandy's note: I came across Mr. Westerfeld's post from 11/1/09 on his website and immediately knew I had to include the post as part of my collection of writing tips. This technique is one I often use in my own writing - and now it has a name! The Dialog Spine! Original post here. 
Follow him on Twitter: @ScottWesterfeld and check out his writing.

by Scott Westerfeld
posted 11/1/09 on

Many writers use the so-called “dialog spine” as a way of mapping out a scene. As a sort of “zero draft,” they write just dialog, with no setting, action, or even attribution. It’s a quick once-over of conflict and resolution in a scene, without any tricky bits to slow you down.
This, of course, assumes that you find dialog easy. For some people, writing the action/description/whatever first might make more sense. In any case, you don’t have to make your dialog (or whatever) perfect. It’s just a way of mapping out the main beats in a scene.
But there’s another trick that I use the dialog spine for: blowing out the cobwebs. And by cobwebs, I mean “writer’s block,” “general ennui,” or “an idea that just needs to be written down, but I don’t have time.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

10 Questions to Ask an Agent Before You Sign

by Chuck Sambuchino 
Original story posted here at

You have spent considerable time trying to create the best impression on potential literary agents. You have done so well that an agent has contacted you—congratulations! The tables are now turned. It is time for the agent to impress you. Your objective is to hire an agent you can trust with your money, your work, and your future. It's all part of finding your perfect match. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

J.K. Rowling's Plot Spreadsheet for The Order of the Phoenix

A spreadsheet plot written out by J.K. Rowling. Her approach to spreadsheet plotting is to divide the columns by chapter number, story timeline, chapter title, main plots and subplots. 
Read the full post at

Good to know I'm not the only one who loves working with antiquated tools: pen & paper! :)