The Fates Are Against Me or Clearly I’m Nuts

For the past few years I’ve been writing quite a bit, looking up grammar questions online, but not enjoying that version of information at all. What I have needed was my mother’s Hodges’ Harbrace College Handbook.  All grammar all the way. It has everything you could ever want to know about grammar. However, the handbook has been packed away in storage for heaven knows how long and I had no idea what box it was in.

Three Harbrace editions.

Three Harbrace editions.

Okay, so I had had enough of that. ‘I need a Harbrace’, I tell myself. I’ve had enough of trying to Bing grammar questions. I pull up and hunt for a decent edition of the Harbrace. And I find an eleventh edition, whereas my mom’s was a 7th edition. (there are a lot of editions.) I order the book, and within a couple of weeks I have a Harbrace! Finally.  I can now answer all those questions about how many commas do I need, and does that adverb work there.

Fast forward two weeks.  My family and I are purging. Deleting, as I like to call it. It’s where we go through all our things in storage and start to eliminate. First order of business are all the book boxes.  You can guess where I’m going with this, right?  You guys are all smart people and you know what I am going to say.

Yep, I found my mom’s Harbrace.  It wasn’t very far into the book boxes, unsurprisingly if you consider Murphy’s Law.  So, now I have two Harbraces. Granted, my new one is in much better condition than Mom’s, who’s cover is falling off in parts.

Now, fast forward to a week ago. Yep, the fates really were conspiring against me. I stopped into my library and there in a box of donations is a 5th edition Harbrace. A nice blue cover, very good condition, and with a local name as the owner inside the cover. I brought it home just to show my family and laugh about it… But I think I am actually going to keep it.  I know, I know, why would I need three?  Honestly, right now I don’t need three, but I love each edition. Though the 5th edition is actually my favorite because it is blue and the inside marks are all blue.  So it’s calming whereas the other two have red as their main color. (I hate red for the most part)

Honestly, I think it’s hilarious that three copies have fallen into my lap when all I needed was one. Had I waited a month longer, I wouldn’t have needed to use Bookmooch to find a copy. Oh well.  So for now, I have three.

On a side note, I highly recommend owning a Harbrace if you write.  It has essential information regarding basic grammar, along with word spelling and misspelled words. They are compact little books, being only about 5 by 7 inches and about an inch thick. They are take along books with a ton of information.

So then, me and my nuts like book issues.

Writing on



So What Is Real If The Film Is Based On A True Story That Is Based On A Novel Based On A True Story?

If you have a film that is based on a true story, but the true story is a novel that is based on a true story, can you actually say that the film is based on a true story?  Whew, I know, talk about a mouthful isn’t it?

The new film Lawless with Shia LaBeouf is based on the novel ‘The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant.  Now, for those of you just joining Escaping the Inkwell, let me add in a bit of back story.

Back in October of last year (2011) I wrote a critique of ‘The Wettest County in the World.  I wasn’t mean, but I had a point to make.  You can read the first post HERE and the followup post HERE.  Good times.  I know it’s slightly silly, but I did find it funny and somewhat flattering that my comments were actually addressed by the author himself.  Who knew.

Anyways, my point is, this book by Matt Bondurant is a novel.  It may say it is based on a true story, but it is still a novel.  If it was factual, it would be in the non-fiction section of the library.  It would have those cool little numbers…. You know, Dewey decimal? But it’s not. It is in the fiction section.

So, if a movie, which always alters a story, says that it is based on a true story, and that story is actually a novel…. what are you actually seeing? How can they say that this Lawless film is based on a true story?

Sort of a rant, but more just food for thought.   Anyone else have some added thoughts? I’d love to hear them.  And feel free to check out my original posts on the book.

Writing on


I Want To Edit!

Edited Version of First Book

Get me my red pen, I want to edit! (Edited Version of First Book (Photo credit: TheCreativePenn)

I am an impatient person by nature, so it should come as no surprise that I am actually dying to edit one of my stories.  This is a picture book I completed back in the first week of July. It is in the ‘drawer’ right now, sitting and maturing, waiting for me to fix it up.  But it’s only been a month.

That maturing thing needs to go a little longer in my book, no pun intended, and a month is not it.  I’ve never actually felt like this before, and I kind of like it.  I feel like I have something important that I need to get done and I don’t want to wait.

I wrote another picture book last August, typed it out in about an hour or so, and it was in the drawer for about five months.  I really didn’t think about it much during that time because I wasn’t using it for submission.  I had something else I was working on and I figured I would get to it later.  For those who have seen the finished product, which is few, this book I lovingly refer to as Lulu. (it’s part of the title, and if and when I get it accepted by an agent, I’ll go into more detail. Right now it’s hush hush)

I think the only reason that right now the current PB (picture book) is on my mind is because I loved writing it.  Oh sure, I enjoy all the things I write, but I mean, I really loved writing this last PB.  I am so anxious to fix it up and send it out to Caterpickles for review by Shala and The Five Year Old.  They received an ‘advance’ copy of Lulu and fell in love with it.

That has been one of the best things about this writing experience. That little fact that someone really enjoyed something I wrote and wanted to read it again and again.  I have to say it is the biggest thrill I’ve had.  Okay, in a weird sort of way getting my first rejection letter was a thrill, but I don’t count it as quite the same…

So anyway, I’m impatient to edit.  Does anyone else ever feel this way?  Dying to get back to something that you haven’t looked at in a while?

Writing on


Printed Books Are Fun

Printed books

Aren’t those lovely? What are they, you ask? Well, I was feeling very adventurous so I printed up my children’s story ‘Lulu Buys A Hat’.  For those interested, making your own book isn’t exactly easy.  Especially when you don’t have a printer that likes collating.

You have to know how to stack pages so that they come out in book format. Again, not easy in the least.  Fortunately, I’ve done this several times for my own personal thing, or gifts. (stacked books, not printed my own books) Also, this was only three pages, four if you count the cover with the title. The hardest part was actually creating the binding and making sure the scrapbook paper covered the card stock I used for the binding.

Inside the cover

They turned out better than I expected, and it is somewhat thrilling to see something of your own, printed and bound.  I can’t wait for the day that these actually have pictures.  Because, yes, these are supposed to be picture books.

My father finally got to read the completed, and edited version (funny story about that. See below this paragraph).  His comment was totally girly.  Well, duh!  It’s about a girl who buys a hat.  Do you know of a guy that is really going to want to read about a girl buying a hat? I don’t.

Regarding the editing?  Well, apparently, even though I have gone over this story several times, I missed a few words.  It wasn’t until I printed it the first time Mrs. Day asked if I had edited a second time. Of course I hadn’t, so she ran through it. And obviously she found some words I had missed. The one that I laughed the most at was ‘window’ being ‘winder’.  What was I thinking there? Well, it’s all pretty now. I’m sure there are still mistakes. I don’t actually have an editor for this, sorry George. While I totally trust everything you say, even you have missed things.

Anyways, it was fun to do this.  Now to finish the query letters for this one, collect a few agents to query and we are getting somewhere.

Writing on


A Bevy Of Letters

Usps mail box

Usps mail box (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well readers, sorry for the long delay in any new posts.  My health has been on a decline for the month so I’ve been out of writing commission.  However, I am going to attempt to get back into the swing of things. 

So the topic for today?  Ta da! Query letters, again.  Yeah, I know, I know, I talk about them quite a lot.  You could say I’m slightly obsessed.

Well, recently, Walter gave me some great advice that I find behooves me to listen.  His suggestion after watching the movie The Help, and hearing that Kathryn Stockett had to submit to 60 agents before her book got picked up, was to quit stressing about one or two agents and just start submitting to anyone interested in children’s picture books.

Now, for those of you who have read any books or posts on trying to get an agent, well that is pretty much the advice. Tailor your letter to the agent, and then just start sending out letters.  Granted, make sure you submit only to agents who would be interested in what you write.  But submit.  I got lost in the whole idea of finding one agent I liked the sound of.  That was some advice from literary agent Steven Malk.  I read an interview with him and in it he suggested looking for an agent that fits you.  Now, I think this sounds really marvelous.  You want to have someone selling your book that gets you.  However, if they like your book, and they want to sell it, won’t they like you?  Because what you write is who you are.  So, maybe stressing about trying to find my agent, I should worry more about being out there so that agent can find me.  How can an agent know about me if I don’t throw myself out there?  (By the way, selling myself and throwing myself out there are not two phrases I’m too good with. I am not that type of person)

So, my new goal is to start writing query letters for the three manuscripts I do have done, and just to start collecting a list of agents that do represent children’s books.  Kind of a feat unto itself, but doable.  And for once, I don’t feel this utter panic that I haven’t been submitting.

Course the downside to this is I have all these ideas for letters, but no juice to write. Sitting down and writing right now is probably going to take its tole.  Well, one does what one must.

So, onward to a bevy of letters. Hopefully.

Writing on


Of Short Stories and Editing

Well, as far as writing this week, it’s been pretty non existent.  I have dabbled in  a few ideas but they are just random snippets for things I have been working on for years.

The Peach Keeper

Sarah Addison Allen's novels. I love Garden Spells and The Peach Keeper best.

I was quite inspired though, this week after listening to Sarah Addison Allen’s The Peach Keeper.  I have read every one of her books, and one of the things I enjoy most about her style is the magic she throws in. Not so much that you think, Oh jeez, this is a Sci Fi book, but you look at it and go, I want my life like that.  I think every girl would like a bit of magic in her life.  That is why the fairytale is so popular.  Well, Ms. Allen manages to have the fairytale and a pretty interesting story to boot.

So, her style prompted me to try writing another way. Not so much that I’m adding in magic, but her style in general.  I think I tend to write in too much of an omniscient writer.  Ms. Allen draws you into the thoughts of the characters.  Something I am terrible at doing.  I am terrible about writing what a character is thinking.  I need serious practice.

Hence why they say a writer needs to read, read, read, and read some more if they are going to be a writer.  Had I not listened to this book, I might not have learned a little bit of a different style, that I happen to like.

As per short stories, I finally entered a local writing contest. It was a short story contest for the generalized theme, “It was a dark and stormy night….”.  I had something I had been working on for over a year that happened to start out the same way.  I reworked some of it, changed the ending, and finally submitted it a week ago to my local library who is hosting the contest. I have no hopes of winning, but if I did, it would be nice ‘street cred’ for my writing career.  Just an added bonus.

I finished editing my picture book.  Yay. I’m glad I finally finished that.  As an added bonus, I have a synopsis for it that I’m happy about.  Let me tell you, I really feel for people that write a novel and have to condense that whole thing down into a page or so.  My eleven hundred word picture book took ages to come up with a synopsis.  I think that might be the hardest part of a query letter.

Other than that, my week has been quiet. Those interested can read my short story, “The Making of a Private Eye“, over on Kate’s Bookshelf.  I also hope to maybe have a review of The Peach Keeper (practice writing reviews) as soon as I finish it.  I’m quite hooked.

Writing on