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Writing for Two Publishers

June 23, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,
Available now 

by Charlotte Carter

For a working author it’s often a good idea to write for two different publishers. In my case I write for Guideposts Books and Love Inspired Romance. That gives me an opportunity to write more books and earn more money per year than I might with one publisher, which is generally a good thing.
Here comes the ‘but’ —
Apparently there is some universal rule that when you’re writing for two different publishers, the two editors (who probably don’t even know each other) conspire to request revisions the same week. That’s right. All at once you’ve got two revision letters and week to revise two books. Ack!
To compound the problem, the two editors are now on the same schedule to send you the copy edited version of their respective manuscripts a couple of weeks later.
By the time you finish that double process, it’s a miracle if you haven’t accidently slipped Daniel, the hero from book A, into book B as the local pharmacist.
This phenomena closely resembles my husband’s frequent complaint that every time he starts to back the car out of the driveway, an entire parade of cars arrive to thwart his efforts.
I like writing cozy mystery continuities for Guideposts Books. (Watch for a new Secrets of Mary’s Bookshop series coming out in early 2012; I’m writing book #3, Reading the Clues.)
Writing for Love Inspired Romance gives me a chance to tell my own stories, and that’s important to me. (Big Sky Family is a November 2011 release.)
Now, if I could just manage to keep the editors on alternate schedules, I’d be all set.
Happy writing—
  books that leave you smiling 
 Big Sky Reunion, Love Inspired, available now
 Big Sky Family,  Love Inspired, 11/2011
 New Beginnings,  Guideposts Books, 9/2011
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Contest Judge Tells All

May 14, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

by Charlotte Carter

Throughout the year, I judge quite a few entries in unpublished writing contests. I’m thrilled when I find a really well written entry. I’ve been known – at least once – to give a perfect score. I’ve even referred one entrant to my agent.

But I dread finding mistakes that drive the score down. Hoping to help others learn what NOT to do, here are a few examples.

One author wrote wonderful, creative, original metaphors. They were great! Except there were too many, sometimes three on a page. I got a bad case of metaphor-itis and had to lower the score.

Actions cannot happen simultaneously. Try to picture what this character is doing: She stood and carried the baby as she followed the doctor down the hall. You cannot stand and carry and follow all at once. These actions should be in sequence. Standing, she lifted the baby into her arms and followed the doctor.

One author had clearly been told to use the 5 senses. Excellent idea. But not all in one paragraph and then totally forgotten throughout the rest of the manuscript. Weave the 5 senses into every scene so the reader shares the same experiences as the characters.

Dialogue is good. Dialogue by itself is not enough to tell an emotional story. It’s talking heads.

Read your entry carefully, slowly, aloud, or have someone else do it for you. Silly mistakes and typos can cost you points.

Commas are your friends. Or rather, properly used commas make your sentences understandable. Leave them out and the reader, or judge, has to continually backtrack. Commas used willy-nilly are just as confusing. Don’t guess. Get someone to help you.

You do not fool a judge by not starting a new page for a new chapter. We know you’re trying to squeeze every word into the limited number of pages that you are allowed. It doesn’t help.

Your synopsis, no matter how short, has to include the ending. Don’t make the judge — or an editor — guess how the story is going to come out.

Books that leave you smiling
from Love Inspired
Big Sky Reunion, available now
Big Sky Family, 11/2011

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