Tag Archives: writing

Hot in Aruba Countdown 

There are only 26 days till #HotinAruba drops! It’s always fun to imagine who I’d like to play main characters. For Samantha, our main protagonist, she would need to be strong and gutsy… someone who doesn’t take bullshit from anyone. Someone sensible, not prone to fits of hysteria or fantasy. She would need to be down to earth and, of course, incredibly sexy. I think Katheryn Winnick would do the job very nicely.

Sexy Musings in the Morning

This is what happens when your muse makes you write something during the wee hours of the morning… I feel a story coming on….

“Have you ever craved desire? Not the wanting, but the feeling of being desired. Not by a lover or significant other, but by a stranger, someone who doesn’t owe you years of commitment or who doesn’t feel trapped by layers of guilt and socially acceptable notions of loyalty. Do you long to be looked at with hunger from someone you’ve never met, or perhaps from someone you’ve met only once—in the briefest of glances, the most insignificant of occurrences—but felt that spark, that pull of fate, drawing you together in a snowball’s avalanche of reckoning?

If you have, you’ll know what compelled me. You’ll understand why I did it. If you haven’t then I can only offer sympathy, for you truly haven’t lived.”

THE END: A Commentary on Editing

Here’s a sneak peek at a post I wrote for Relentless Writers! Check it out to read the full article. xoxo

THE END: A Commentary on Editing by Marissa Campbell

THE END

Two of my favourite words. To a writer, they are the culmination of days, months, or years of blood, sweat, and tears. But they are misleading. We write them, sit back, and revel in our cleverness, in our determination, our grit, our savvy, our persistence, and our sheer magnificent brilliance. It could grace the page of a blog post, social media blast, short story, novella, screenplay, or novel. Writing THE END feels incredible, but it’s just another beginning. THE END is the start of EDITING.

I recently attended Bookapalooza, which is a really cool venue in my hometown where local authors get together and sell their wares. There were speakers and panels and celebrity guest authors. I was honoured to sit on a panel with fellow romance authors Molly O’Keefe and Mary Sullivan. These ladies are veterans. They’ve written a lot of books. They’ve been doing this a long time. Avelynn is my debut historical romance. I was the newb in the room, but they welcomed me with open arms. I was humbled and thrilled to sit at the table beside them. *girlie fan crush moment over* Back to my point: one of the audience members asked the panel a question, “What do you like better, writing or editing?”

Click here for the remainder of this fabulous article. 😀

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Am I ready to submit?

Conversations with the Goddess

Dear Goddess, I’ve almost completed my round 2 of edits on my novel. I really like where it sits right now. At what point should I start submitting queries to agents?

C.S.

I am the Goddess of art and literature. I am the Goddess of the moon. The most auspicious time for you to submit your manuscript will be on the full moon. November 25th and December 25th. If you wait until 2016, you will miss your window.

Goddess keep you,

AINE

Aine's playground

Embrangled

Embrangle The Latest Word is: Embrangle: To entangle, confuse, perplex.

The Oxford English Dictionary has embrangle coming into common usage in the 1600s but its etymology dates back to the early 1500s with brangle, which, I’ve decided, is a cool word all on its own and may have to write a post on it, too—when we come back around to B. 😀

Here’s how we use it:

They were embrangled in the nets.

I am embrangled and torn between conflicting difficulties.

I like this word. So similar to the physical act of entanglement but with the added definition of a mental struggle. This is a word that even upon first glance, the reader should be able to determine its meaning based on its use in the sentence, even if they’d never happened upon the word before in their life (which I hadn’t until I read the entry).

Characters are often embrangled within their plot lines, and as an author, I am often embrangled in the plot itself. I have a rough outline, but as I write the story, it fleshes itself out and twists and turns and takes new and unexpected forks in the road—some of which are entirely pointless and must be deleted. And far too often, half way through the story, in the murky, messy middle, all the plot holes and character motivational misfires start to rear their ugly heads. This is because I am a pantser—someone who basically flies by the seat of their pants when writing—as opposed to a plotter who meticulously plots out every scene, every arc, every development BEFORE they add a single word to the story. There is something to be said about plotting, and I’m going to try and write my next book with this approach because I am convinced, after Avelynn #2, that pantsing is NOT an efficient way to write a book!

In the murky, messy, pantser middle, I am often embrangled. Big time. The second book in the Avelynn series was very difficult to fix. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (a monthly writing challenge that takes place every November whereby we write 50,000 words in 30 days) most of which steered me off coarse and embrangled me in plot snares and character black holes that were almost impossible to recover from. The novel followed so many divergent threads, that I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what the premise was, or even what the main point was anymore!

With characters, to embrangle them in messy plot choices and make them clamber out of the carnage is what makes a story great. We can’t have characters riding along on sunshine and roses, we have to make the struggle, we need to throw story curves and plot bombs in their path and make them dodge or take a hit and recover. That’s what’s so fun about writing books. Creating conflict and fascinating surprises and developments that seem to come out of the blue, or that have been building for chapters and acts. To embrangle is to drive the story forward, and there’s a satisfying almost sadistic glee to the whole thing. ;D

I’ve finished the first draft of Avelynn #2 and am currently working on fixing up the wayward threads as I work my way through my round of edits. Hopefully, the embranglement from this point forward will be limited to what I’ve created for my characters and the rest of the edits flow smoothly. Cross your fingers for me. 🙂

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

Dear Newbie Self

Marissa Campbell

If I had to go back to the beginning of my career and give myself one piece of advice, it would be….

I can’t narrow it down to just one thing, as there are two really important messages I would love to press upon my newbie self!

The first is the importance of hiring a good editor. My first book was co-authored and self-published, and we thought that appealing to wonderful, well-intentioned friends would be a great, cost-effective way of catching our errors. We were wrong. Of course, they found many, but our first edition went to print with an embarrassing amount of typos and grammar glitches. I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a good editor. Even when I sought traditional publishing with my second book, I hired editors to do substantive and copy edits. It was money well spent and gave my manuscript a professional, polished feel. Without that effort, I would never have found my agent!

The second piece of advice I would give myself is to never, ever, think a first draft, or a second draft, or even a third draft is the final draft ready for submission. I get it. I’m impatient. We’ve spent months, years, or even decades working on this project, and once we finally reach ‘the end,’ we just want to shout our book baby to the mountain tops and send it out in to the world. But our pour babies can’t even roll over yet, never mind crawl or walk! I’m the first one to admit, I need immediate gratification, but where publishing is concerned, this is one area where we have to slow down, dig in, and sharpen and hone that manuscript until it is a shimmering piece of literary beauty. No rushing this part. No thinking, maybe mine is good enough. Let it sit in a drawer. Hide it under your bed. Let it stew and settle for a few weeks to a month, then pour through it again. You’ll be surprised what you find and grateful you didn’t send it out before it was ready!

In gratitude,

Marissa xo

 

 

You Draggle-tailed Bicche!

The Latest Word: Draggle

Draggle

To wet or befoul (a garment, etc.) by allowing it to drag through mire or wet grass, or to hang untidily in the rain; to make wet, limp, and dirty.

Draggle-tail

A draggle-tailed person; a woman whose skirts are wet and draggled, or whose dress hangs about her untidily and dirty; a slut.

Oh, I can have fun with this one! Used around the fifteenth/sixteenth century, I can’t wait to sneak this into one of my manuscripts.

During the many rounds of edits for Avelynn, I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful copyeditor, whose job it was to point out words that sounded grossly anachronistic for the tone and style of the novel. After perusing the changes, I sort of set upon a kind of lose time frame for my writing—anything that originated prior to the seventeenth century most likely stayed in the manuscript. Anything that was first used after 1600 tended to sound rather modern, but then again, not always. It was definitely a one word at a time approach, and sometimes, I had to leave the word in because there really wasn’t a good alternative.

Here’s some exciting ways to use our new D words:

I draggled behind. (The word can also mean to go slowly, trailing).

The onslaught was relentless; the horse’s pace mired to a crawl. I slid down, landed squelching in the muck, and pulled on the reins, urging the beast to press onward. We needed to find shelter. My cloak draggling behind soon weighed as much as a small cow, so drenched was it in mud and slime that the horse began to grow impatient with me.

“You draggle-tailed bicche!”

Yes, I think I’ll have fun with this.

In gratitude,

Marissa 🙂 xo

Too Much Information

I’ve been tagged a lot lately, but I haven’t been able to keep up with them all, but today, I’m playing along. The lovely Margaret Madigan and Charlotte Gruber double tag teamed me … so without further ado, a little too much information about me, you never wanted to know, lol. 😀

-Toilet Paper – over or under: Definitely over. I think my husband puts it under just to drive me crazy, lol.

Keyboard home row or not: I’ve been a home row user since high school and try and make sure my kids do the same. They didn’t particularly enjoy learning to type, even with SpongeBob helping out in his typing tutor, but once they got it, and the teachers started dishing out essays and ISUs they were mighty happy they could type (and therefore finish) faster than their friends who use the hunt and peck method.

-Left or Right handed: Right.

Chicken wings boneless or bone-in: I prefer bone-in and slathered in honey garlic sauce.

-Wash body or hair first: Hair first. It takes me 3/4 of the shower just to shampoo and condition my hair—3/4 of that time is spent just trying to rinse the stuff out!

-Oreos: I like Oreos, but given the choice, I’m a Fudgee-O girl.

-Travel to the past or the future: I’d love to travel to the past. I’d love to visit ninth century England, Wales, France, Rome, Russia, Byzantium. Each of those locations play a role in my Avelynn series, and I’d love see them firsthand—to walk the streets, see the way the citizens dressed, see how they lived, how they interacted, smell the freshness of clean, unpolluted air and the reek of clustered village life. Of course, I’d have to make sure I could return. Unlike Claire in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I’m far too partial to the luxuries of modern living—most importantly central air conditioning in the summer and toasty furnaces in winter!

-Paperback or ebook: I love them both. I enjoy reading on my Kindle, especially when I’m feeling the need for immediate gratification and can’t wait for the mail to deliver a copy, or the time it will take for me to get up off the couch and drive to the store. But I also love reading paper copies. I need paperbacks or hardcovers for research—I can’t stand trying to look at maps and tables on a Kindle. But I will also buy a hardcover book, just to have a copy of it for my library. I have A LOT of bookshelves in my house!

-Cookies or ice cream: Definitely cookies. Cookies, cakes, pies, and tarts all come before ice cream … unless it’s delivered in the form of a milkshake. Chocolate milkshakes are my Achilles’ heel.

-Coffee or tea: I used to drink coffee, but my sensitive body can no longer tolerate the caffeine, so I’m a tea drinker now. But I don’t like plain black teas, I prefer Chai, or lemon green tea, or for nighttime, caffeine-free berry and herbal teas.

-Makeup: Always. Even to answer the front door.

-Sneakers or high heels: Sneakers or boots—depending on whether I’m rocking casual or playful.

-Favorite kiss, tongue or no tongue: Hmmm, depends on the kisser. 😀

-Cash or Credit: Debit cards rule my life, much to my husband’s chagrin. I tend to lose track quite easily of how much I’ve spent that day, week, month … heck, you can’t take it with you, right?!

-Paper or Plastic: What an odd question. Um. All I can think of is grocery bags. Paper bags can be recycled; plastic bags just end up in the landfill, so in that instance, I’d say paper, but I prefer reusable bags … when I remember to put them in the car.

-Baseball or football: I like playing baseball, even though I’m terrified of the ball and hide in right field. I hate watching it on T.V., though … soooo boring. I do enjoy watching football and love the Super Bowl. But I’m Canadian, so really hockey is more rightly my thing.

-Morning or Night: So all about the night!

-Introvert or Extrovert: Extrovert. I love my friends and getting out and meeting people!

-Wrapping paper or Gift bags: Wrapping paper.

-Country or City: For convenience and social opportunities, I like the city. For rest and relaxation, I prefer the country.

-Fly or Drive: Not a fan of flying. I’ll drive as far as the land will let me.

-Tap or Bottled: Bottled.

-Flowers or Chocolate: I like them both. Flowers to look at and brighten my mood. Chocolate to savour and brighten my mood. 🙂

-Pencil or Pen: Pen.

In gratitude,

Marissa xo