Monday, July 30, 2012


Call it insanity, if you will. I call it daring. Okay, maybe daring isn't the right word for what I just did, but I'm not convinced insane is either. Not yet.

Now, friendly readers, you might be asking yourself the obvious question: What the hell did you do already?? I'm not trying to build up dramatic suspense here. It's just a little hard to say out loud (which I tend to do as I type--again with the question of insanity.). So what did I do?

...I queried.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Self Publishing Too Soon

I get it. I completely understand how this happens. It has been one of my biggest complaints in reading self publishing works as well as one of the biggest cons I have seen in articles about self publishing. You can always tell when an author published their work before it was truly ready for public consumption. You can see it in the typos, the formatting, the cover art, and sometimes in how the story is presented as a whole. Editing and cover art are the two issues I am going to touch on because they are the ones I am struggling with right now.

From what I understand of the traditional publishing world (which is admittedly very little as I am still peering over the cliff that is publishing before making that leap), a manuscript is usually not only given a copy editor but a content editor as well. And from what I understand, typically you have more than one copy editor. They are given (or create, little confused there) a style sheet that is basically a cheat sheet to you and your work and then they get to editing. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Writerly Cheats

Let me preface this post by saying that calling the tools I use to (hopefully) make me a better writer "cheats" is a bit tongue in cheek. I've never actually come across writers who think using a thesaurus is a short cut, but I've read quite a few that I wish would use one. That being said, I've decided to blog about the tools I use in the hopes of not being one of those writers.

I tweeted about this earlier (@MaraValderran for those who want to follow), but I'll elaborate here. In scouring the B&N store on my Nook, I came across this wifty book called The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (available on the Nook and Kindle as well as hardcopy). I have to say that this book has been my saving grace for some really sticky points in my books. I'm a very conversational and dialogue driven writer, so when you get down to descriptors I am usually banging my head against the keyboard with a lot of choice expletives, but not exactly the kind of words I'm searching for. This book has really helped me to expand on the way I describe the emotions of my characters so that I am not depending on the dialogue so heavily and I am not resorting to just telling the reader how my characters are feeling ("He was sad. He cried."=lame).  Instead, I can look up "sadness" from the list of emotions they give you in the contents, and find the physical signs of sadness, the internal sensations, the mental responses, cues of acute or long term sadness, cues of suppressed sadness, and even what sadness might escalate to.

Meet Mara

As this is a new blog, I feel that the best way to kick-start it is by telling you who the heck I am. As you might have guessed by the title, I am Mara Valderran. I am a soon to be self published author currently right smack dab in the middle of writing my very first series, which is titled Heirs of War. I'll be posting excerpts from the books, character profiles, and other fun stuff as well as posting about my writerly exploits in general. And since I am also an avid reader, I will most likely be posting reviews and recommendations on here as well. I look forward to blogging more as it is sure to lessen the amount of time I spend talking to myself about these things!