July 2009


Now that my re-read of the Harry Potter series is completed (and hooray for the best movie of the series despite the ending), it’s time to address the seriously overgrown “to read” pile.

I finally snagged a copy of Graceling by Kristin Cashore from the library and WOW was it worth the wait! It’s one of those books where everything about the characters, from their physical descriptions to their dialogue, all drive the story and develop the world. Even the supporting characters are developed and motivated and make everything richer. I can’t wait for the companion novel Fire to be released October 5!

I also finished Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman by Pamela Aidan. It’s a novel in three parts that follows the events of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Being a huge P and P fan, I enjoyed experiencing Mr. Darcy’s personality adjustment between proposals, although the end of book 2 takes some random turns. I’d recommend these books to Austen fans, but be prepared to have a craving to re-read the original afterward.

Now on the “to read” pile: a great haul from the library. I’m in the middle of Savvy by Ingrid Law and have The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Ever by Gail Carson Levine, and The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima (companion to The Warrior Heir, which is highly recommended).

Any thoughts on the pile? What’s on your “to read” pile?

When I originally planned this post, I didn’t fully grasp just how many people are blogging about writing and the publishing industry! Which is great news for us, because there is more information at our fingertips than ever before, but it’s a lot to gather for one blog entry. So, “LinkFest” will continue in multiple postings and today I’m starting with blogs by literary agents (and some of their staff). There are some truly fantastic blogs in this list folks, so explore! It does look overwhelming, so the top five listings in bold type are recommended on the Writer’s Digest list of 101 Best Websites for Writers and are a great place to start.

 (Note: any comments by yours truly are in parentheses; locations are New York City unless noted otherwise).

Other helpful agent-related sites:

 Which of these do you follow? Any recommendations that I missed?

*I can’t vouch for the information or validity of the above blogs (or something similarly responsibility-dismissing), but I do hope you find lots of them helpful.

One day, the time comes when you realize it’s time to move on from your own edits and the thoughts of your devoted family (“It’s the best book ever”) and search out some different opinions.

Today was my first critique group meeting with my work being discussed, and I am so lucky to have found this group of talented ladies. About an hour after introducing myself to the SCWBI-Iowa listserv, I had an invitation from the lovely Phyllis Harris to check out their group, and it could not have come at a better time. I’m happy to say I survived the critique and came away with renewed energy and some great ideas.

Looking for a critique group? Check your local library (many groups choose to meet in their native surroundings), universities, and writer’s organizations. There are also numerous online forums. The important thing is to find people whose opinions you trust and that push you to use your best words.

What has your experience been with critique groups? Anyone using online forums rather than face-to-face meetings?

Wednesday’s post: LinkFest with a list of literary agent blogs.

Quote of the Week:

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very;” your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”  ~Mark Twain

My Mom will be the first to tell you that I wasn’t the cleanest kid when it came to my room. Apparently, that has extended into adulthood as evidenced by my office/Writing Cave. In my defense, I moved into the cave within the last month and thus the boxes and random things everywhere. The left side is the writing half and the right side is my home office for my full-time job (hope my boss isn’t reading this, he might be horrified). But the space really does match my brain when it comes to writing: lots of ideas everywhere, just need to buckle down and get the boxes unpacked.

So, today’s question: what does your writing space look like? Does it reflect how you approach your writing?

Welcome to The Writing Cave, home of Sarah Mullen Gilbert, writer of young adult fantasy and historical fiction! The only physical seating available in The Cave is an old purple-ish office chair that only rolls one direction (usually toward bare feet) and a stained Ikea chair, but there’s plenty of room for all via the Internet. (After selecting the theme template, I feel compelled to point out there is no room for a car in The Cave, but I like it otherwise)

I hope this blog will provide motivation and create bunches of discussion as I know lots of people are working toward getting published. Along the way, I’ll link to other literary blogs, of which there are many great ones, share tips, and probably post random pictures. But I really need YOU to help make this blog go, so please visit often and leave comments so everyone can benefit from your experiences and thoughts.

In the world outside books (there is one, right?), I work for a dairy organization (as in cows) and am going to start a creamery making cheese and butter someday. I also enjoy movies, any kind of dancing (now taking belly dancing lessons), starting cross stitch projects (finishing is a separate issue), gardening, and learning to live with my husband (we’ve made it through the first month relatively unscathed).

So thanks for stopping by, and please introduce yourself in the comments section! Also look me up on Twitter (SMullenGilbert) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/sarah.m.gilbert)!