Monday, January 17, 2011

C. Lee McKenzie's Top 10 Pieces of Writing Advice + Giveaway

Today as a part of Teen Book Scene, I have C. Lee McKenzie telling us her Top 10 Pieces of Writing Advice. Stay tuned at the end for a giveaway for her new book, The Princess of Las Pulgas.

My first advice to anyone who wants to be a published writer is, “Never give up.” Of course, this is the most difficult advice to follow if you happen to be sensitive, which many authors are, and if every rejection letter sends you into fits of depression--even short fits.

Pay attention to your craft. Don’t send out things that haven’t been proofed, edited, allowed to marinate so you can have some distance from the writing and be a better critic.

When you totally purple prose.

Find yourself a critique group that you can trust.

Find a critique group that won’t tell you everything you write is lovely. It ain’t.

Here’s a metaphor to remember. If you play tennis with someone who plays worse that you do, you’ll never improve your game. That’s the same for people you write with. Find those who know how to write well and know how to critique even better.

Read all comments about your work carefully, but accept only what you think is valid criticism and praise. This is the most difficult thing you’ll have to do. What I do is think long and hard about what my crit partners tell me, then I reread what they’ve commented on, keeping their comments in mind. Sometimes they’ve opened new ways for me to express something and I find that my writing becomes clearer, even to me.

Write what you love to write.

Read a lot.

My last advice to anyone who wants to be a published writer is, “Never give up.” That’s cheating, I know, because this was also my first advice, but the point is this is probably the most important advice I can offer.

So, now on to the giveaway part of this post.

Here is what Princess of Las Pulgas is all about-
After her father's slow death from cancer, Carlie thought things couldn't get worse. But now, she is forced to confront the fact that her family in dire financial straits. To stay afloat, her mom has had to sell their cherished oceanfront home and move Carlie and her younger brother Keith to the other side of the
tracks to dreaded Las Pulgas, or "the fleas" in Spanish. They must now attend a tough urban high school instead of their former elite school, and on Carlie's first day of school, she runs afoul of edgy K.T., the Latina tattoo girl who's always ready for a fight, even on crutches. Carlie fends off the attention of Latino and African American teen boys, and one, a handsome seventeen-year-old named Juan, nicknames her Princess when he detects her aloof attitude towards her new classmates. What they don't know is that Carlie isn't really aloof; she's just in mourning for her father and almost everything else that mattered to her. Mr. Smith, the revered English teacher who engages all his students, suggests she'll like her new classmates if she just gives them a chance; he cajoles her into taking over the role of Desdemona in the junior class production of Othello, opposite Juan, after K.T. gets sidelined. Keith, who becomes angrier and more sullen by the day, spray paints insults all over the gym as he acts out his anger over the family's situation and reduced circumstances. Even their cat Quicken goes missing, sending Carlie and Keith on a search into the orchard next to their seedy garden apartment complex. They're met by a cowboy toting a rifle who ejects them at gunpoint from his property. But when Carlie finds him amiably having coffee with their mom the next day -- when he's returned her cat -- she begins to realize that nothing is what it seems in Las Pulgas.

The giveaway for The Princess of Las Pulgas will run from today until January 26th.
To enter, please fill out the form below.
You get +1 extra entry if you tweet about this giveaway.

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