Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Critiquing Services

Hey all...wanted to pass along another critiquing service for you guys to mull over. Now, before any of you start asking me why I'm promoting competition for the Critique Boutique (my critting service), I'll go ahead and service deals mainly in complete manuscripts or sets of chapters for contests, submissions, etc. This one is different....this service is a centralized, indepth service. So, without further ado, here's the info:

Hi! My name is Camy Tang, and I have a critique service called The Story Sensei.

A novel's structure is like a button-down shirt. It can be
mis-buttoned so that the story elements aren't quite in the right
places or emphasized enough, making the manuscript disjointed.

I also know that writers are DIRT POOR (I'm one of them), and many
can't afford to hire a freelance editor to go through their entire
manuscript (which costs anywhere from $300 to $3000) and identify
structural flaws.

I offer a cheaper, specialized alternative.

For only $40, I will do a high-level structural critique of your story
using a 2-page single-spaced synopsis and a chapter-by-chapter
synopsis. I'll look for things like:

• Good pacing, strong sense of movement
• Setting as a character
• Unique story premise
• Voice
• Clear story arc--beginning, middle, end
• Inciting Incident
• External goals
• Internal goals
• Obstacles/conflict
• Epiphany/sacrifice
• Black Moment
• Flaws
• Unique/original characters
• Secondary characters--goals, depth, contribute to the story

You can find more information on my website, including testimonies
from writers who have benefited from my services:

Thanks! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Wip Progress

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
38,000 / 90,000

Hilarous Blog

Hey guys....found this writer's blog and I'm ROLLING with his post for today...go check it out!

Some Progress

Total wip word count: 38K out of a projected 85K-90K
Today's word count: about 2326
Scene count: currently on scene #42 out of a projected 73

Today was a bad day for me. Things happened that really put me in a mood to not want to do anything, least of all write. But, I wrote a chapter anyway. My crit partners have it to slaughter. And slaughter it will most likely need, but can't edit what's not written, right? Right? RIGHT?

Monday, November 28, 2005


WIP total word count--36K
Today's word count--6K

Can you say "back in the saddle again"? LOL Okay, I know that was lame, but I'm excited I was able to write today. See, not only do I have BOTH the little girls home with me today, but also my husband is under the weather and home. SO, getting 6K done today was WONDERFUL!

Creating Character Emotions, by Ann Hood

Okay, either I just didn't "get" what the author was trying to portray in this writing book, or it just plain didn't make a lot of sense. Either way, I didn't get a thing out of it. At all. Except that I disagreed a lot with the examples the author gave of "good" emotion portrayal. For me, it was a disappointment to read this writing book and not gain any insight. Waste of my time, and money, personally. I learned so much more in CHARACTERS, EMOTION & VIEWPOINT in the Writer's Digest WRITE GREAT FICTION series. More "hands on" information, IMHO. Is it just me? Do I expect too much from the writing books I read? Hmm. Read the book--then YOU decide!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Back to Work!

I hope you all had a marvelous holiday! I'm so glad to be home! :) Being away from my computer really "ouched" me seriously! LOL

I did do SOME work while I was away....I plotted every scene from now until the end of my wip! Yes, me...the original SOTP writer PLOTTED out 2/3rds of a book! I'm impressed with myself. This one is just so complicated, I really had no other choice. I'm spending the day working on some paid crits, but plan to be back to work on my wip tomorrow morning...bright and early! :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'm Thankful......

This is the time of year which makes people automatically think of food, football, and family. Yes, I'll admit, those images do march across my mind. But the real deal with Thanksgiving is to remember to be thankful. Thankful that God sent His son to die for us....thankful that He is loving and merciful....thankful that our home is NOT of this world! Remember to take time out of your holiday to thank Him for these basic gifts He's bestowed upon all of mankind.

Additionally, I have so much to be thankful for in my life. So much that the blessings just fill my heart to overflowing. While I can't write down EVERYTHING I'm so enrichly thankful for, I'll just hit some high points!

I'm thankful for my husband, Case, who after 18 years together, we're still in love. I'm thankful for the provision he provides for me, the love we share, and the family we're blessed to have. But more importantly, I'm so thankful for the spiritual growth this wonderful man of God has undergone in the past few years. I'm thankful for my three daughters--Emily, Remington, and Isabella. Each is truly a special gift from God and being their mother is not only a blessing of love, but a true honor. I'm thankful for my parents and siblings (yep, including my bil & sil) and my nieces and nephew...each day, one of them touches me in an unexpected way. They inspire me, support me, and I'm blessed to call each one of them not only my flesh family, but my spiritual family as well.

I'm thankful for my old friends.....Tracey, Allison, Dana, Donna, Carla, Christi, Tina, Pat....these precious women have taught me so much about life and friendship. I'm thankful for the part they've played in helping me become the woman I am today. I'm thankful for my steady prayer warriors....Camie, Julie, Loree, Tricia, Traci, Sonya, Amy, Amanda, Martha, Miranda, Sheila, Dia, and Ann....what a blessing these strong women of faith are in my prayer life!

I'm thankful for my writing mentor, Colleen Coble, who continually inspires, motivates, teaches, and directs me. I'm proud to call her my friend, who I love to pieces. I'm thankful for my small crit group....Dineen, Ron, & Ronie....I have no doubt God put us in a group together--each of you bless me daily! I'm thankful for my other "critters"...Cynthia, Michelle, Heather, Camy and my roomie guys continually amaze me with your love and inspiration. I'm thankful for the awesome members of ACFW, who give so willingly of their time and knowledge--the blessings flow from the group!

I'm thankful for the journey God has brought me put so many wonderful people (way too many to name personally--you guys know who you are) on my path and bless me by your friendship.

May each of you have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving.....glory to Him!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

On a roll???

After being tied up with kiddo stuff Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I was behind in my weekly writing goals. So today, having been woken up at the ungodly hour of 6:30 (do NOT ask), I decided to sit down and try to write. The result? Wrote three chapters, 30 pages total, and my word count is now over 30K! That's 8K I've added in one day! Not bad for a morning's work, eh? However, my crit partners may revolt! LOL

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Crazy...I must be crazy!

Me, the hermit, was reminded today of the many reasons WHY I enjoy being a recluse. I don't like people! I had to take my teen shopping today to get her some jeans for her birthday. We go to the first store (I refuse to even consider a *gasp* mall) and she tries on like 12 pairs of pants. (BTW, do you know how frustrating it is for her to come out in a size 1 and say "they're too big and they don't have any zeros"! Justifible homicide comes to mind here.) An hour later, we have to go to the next store. An hour there and she FINALLY has a pair of jeans she wants. So, we mosey to the checkout counters. Now, there are THREE registers open, lines at each one, and I'm about at my limit. Do these people take "slow down" pills every morning? I mean, really. There were four people in line before us. It took the cashier THIRTY-FOUR minutes to ring up and move out those four people. I kid you not--I timed it. And these people only had like 2 or 3 things. Can someone say EXPRESS LANE? So, the cashier FINALLY finishes ringing up the customer in front of us and then realizes her cashier receipt paper is going out. So she goes to get another roll of the takes her FIFTEEN minutes to do this simple task my 5 year old could have completed in less than five! UGH. THe moral of the story? When I say I'm a hermit and enjoy myself, please do NOT try and convince me otherwise. I should just stay at home and forget about the rest of the world. I'm sure I, and the other inhabitants of planet Earth, would be much happier!

Harry Potter....Book vs Screenplay

I took my teenager to the opening of Harry Potter last night. WONDERFUL visual effects and great acting....good movie. Now having said that, I'd like to compare the book to the screenplay.

I DEVOUR the them opening day and read them that day. But how does one cut a 700+ page ms down to a 300 page screenplay? (And I thought I had it bad cutting 10K words! LOL) Granted, in writing a book we must put in setting and description--movies don't have to do that because it's shown on stage. But how does the writer decide what pertinent details to include in the screenplay? There were several points from the book that were omitted from the screenplay in the movie last night. Some of them tie into upcoming books, so I'm wondering how they'll explain certain plot points in upcoming movies. A total subplot wasn't even mentioned in the movie. Something that in book 5 ties up a main plot point. So, I'm wondering how they'll pull that off in two or three more movies.

And here's another thought I'm pondering....the Harry Potter books hit the bestseller list as soon as they hit the bookstores. The movies sell out, bringing in millions from the box office. Some people, like myself, read the books then watch the movies. Some people read the books, but don't watch the movies. Some don't read the books (what?! Not reading?! YIKES!) but watch the movies. This imaginary story from JK is filling a void in the market today. Or maybe because it was so fresh and unusual in the mainstream is why it's such a hit. I don't know, but I do know that JK has pulled me into her imagination for a while, shared her story with me, and I'm entertained. Fiction at its best. I could only aspire to pull off what she has.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Flattered or Annoyed?

I had an incident happen to me yesterday that gave some of my friends quite a laugh. I'm still trying to decide if I should be flattered or merely annoyed. Here's the scene...
I went to the high school to eat lunch with my daughter, Emily. Now, let's set the record straight: Emily is all, hair, clothes have to be just so, to her liking, before she leaves the house. Not wanting to embarass her by showing up in my normal appearance (hair in ponytail, no makeup, wearing sweats) I actually put on makeup, fixed my hair, and wore slacks with a sweater. Now that you have the backstory, on to my adventure. I took my 3year old, Isabella, with me. We sign in at the office, then move to the hall where Emily had told us to meet her. Now, my toddler is the easiest of my children--if I tell her to stand still and be quiet, she complies. (God, PLEASE let her stay so well behaved) So we're standing there and this teenage boy in a football letterman's jacket comes strolling by. (Sidenote--is it just me, or are high school guys MUCH bigger now than I was in high school? Yikes!) He gives me the once over, you women know what I'm talking about--the "up and down" look? I just rolled my eyes and focused my attention on Isabella. Emily comes out of class and heads our way. This football player walks around behind me, then bumps me in the shoulder. I turn my head, my eyes scathing his mere presence. Does this distract him in any way? No! He merely gives me a leer, then a smile, and says in a long, drawn out to ten syllable word "hhhheeeeeyyyy". I was mortified. I just said "hi. I'm old enough to be your mother." Emily caught the last end of it and didn't know whether to be appalled or find it hilarous that a high-schooler hit on her mom. I didn't know whether to be flattered or annoyed at the gall of some kid. Amusing? Yes. Strange? Yes. But I still can't decide whether to be flattered or irritated. Hmmm. I think I'll just go with funny and leave it at that.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

...the book is by Patricia Highsmith. You may recognize her name...she's the author of "The Talented Mr. Ripley". So you can imagine how excited I was to get this book and read it. When I finished devouring the book, I set it down and stared at it. Didn't help me a bit! I was SO disappointed. Then I looked at the copyright date....1983! So much has changed in the writing field in 20+ years! While the book has some amusing ancedotes, IMHO, it isn't a "writing" book. I gained no insight, nor any inspiration.

Hey...anybody want a used book?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Work in Progress...Progress!

Well, after a morning of procastinating, I completed chapter 8 and sent it to my crit partners. It wore me out! My total word count on this ms now? 22,500! Whew, no wonder I'm tired! LOL Now on to chapter nine????

Monday, November 14, 2005

Red Ink is Your Friend...Really!

Okay, have to admit, got that "title" from my crit bud, Ron! :)

Here's the thing.....why are we so afraid of crits? Is it putting our stuff out there for people to read and give our opinions of that scares us silly? I just don't get it. If we can't take it from our buds or paid critters, how are we ever going to face it from an agent/editor? SIGH. Crits can make us better writers, stronger writers, and make our stories really shine. Isn't that what every writer SHOULD want?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Passing the 20K Mark!

Woo hoo...maybe the rain's inspiring me! I've just completed chapter 7 in my wip, which pushes me past the 20K word count mark! This is a "goal" for me...I break my wips down into 20K average wordcount is around 80K, so I gear myself up mentally for 4 "sections", I'm one down, three more to go! Not as impressive as I'd like, but it's that first hurdle toward completion!

Moving Forward

Well, I fleshed out that scene again, rewrote over half of it, and it's coming in at a little over 1200 words (yes, that I wrote yesterday) so I guess the select all delete factor wasn't TOO bad! LOL Now to look over the scene index today and see what else I need to flesh out for upcoming scenes.

RAINING TODAY! Woo hoo! We needed it, badly.

Today's my dear friend, Dineen's, birthday...skip on over and wish her a happy bday! :)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Writing Craziness!

Okay, amid a million other things I'm doing (yes, they ARE writing related, in a round-about way) I fleshed out the first scene in my next chapter. Here's my dilemma...I read it through a minute ago and thought to myself "this is horrid...what was I thinking?" I know we have to get it down before we can edit/revise it, but what do you do when you don't even want to read it again? UGH. Wait. I know the answer to that all, delete. Bye-bye 521 words that I slaved over today. Upward and onward, right? Right? Right?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Test Results...Still Playing

Here's another personality test result: The Ultimate Personality Test
The Real You: A Scientific Analysis
Rob, you're a Socialite!

This means you're confident, dependable, and goal-oriented — and when you make a plan you stick with it. Your natural friendliness and charm mean you're great at meeting people. And chances are you handle this popularity with grace since you take your personal life very seriously.

You are generous with your belongings and see work as an extension of your social life. Sometimes you can also be self-critical and worry too much.

And another one:
Rob, Indulging in a Retreat makes your mouth water

Getting away from it all is where it's at for a stylish and pampered soul like you. Nothing beats a departure from the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day like a jaunt to a serene and scenic spot.

Life's hectic, so what really makes your mouth water is some good old peace and quiet. Whether it's at a seaside cottage, lake house, or cabin in the mountains, you enjoy retreating to places that have lots to offer in natural beauty and untainted splendor. And if it's got a spa, all the better! Summer's about doing a whole lot of nothing. So get out there and relax!

And the last one....this is almost scary people! LOL
Rob, your Key Motivator, the thing that really drives you to success in life, is Curiosity.

Based on your answers about values, past behaviors, and internal priorities, we can tell you look for ways to be independent, to understand how things work, to have new and diverse experiences, or to explore sexuality. In addition, you may find that you're also motivated by aspects of prestige, stability, connection, and experience.

My Color Quiz Results

Okay, yeah, I SHOULD be writing....sorry, just not "into" it today! LOL Instead, I had to go take a color are my tell me, is it ME or not?

you are deeppink

Your dominant hues are red and magenta. You love doing your own thing and going on your own adventures, but there are close friends you know you just can't leave behind. You can influence others on days when you're patient, but most times you just want to go out, have fun, and do your own thing.

Your saturation level is high - you get into life and have a strong personality. Everyone you meet will either love you or hate you - either way, your goal is to get them to change the world with you. You are very hard working and don't have much patience for people without your initiative.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the html color quiz

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint

Yep, it's one of the books in the WRITE GREAT FICTION series. LOVED it. Especially for someone like me, who seems to not add enough emotion into my poor characters' lives! LOL My critters are always pointing that out to me, you'd think I'd learn by now. But I regress, this book is an awesome tool in getting those emotions into your wip and how to avoid the deadly cliches! Highly recommend it! :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Beating the Blahs!

So I'm suffering from sinus stuff (Excuse me, we have cold weather for days, then we jump up into the 80s? This is ridiculous!) and my mind's just twisting off in strange directions. I'm almost 17K into this wip and quite clearly I'm hearing this is NOT for the CBA. So my dilemma? I need to start something that IS geared to the CBA for me to enter in the Genesis, if I decide to do that. But what? Not a clue! UGH! So I'm avoiding right now. LOL I've updated my website...yeah, you guys need to check that out....and I'm working on submitting applications to teach workshops at next year's ACFW conference. Yeah, don't ask. LOL ANYHOO, my Golden Heart entry is out the door...sent yesterday! WOO HOO. Now if I can just put it out of my mind until March when they announce the finalists! UGH, long wait, but SO worth it, I suppose. Let me see, what else is upcoming for me? Oh, on the 15th of this month the SSSS winners are supposed to be announced. I'm a finalist, so that's pretty exciting to see if I placed. On Dec 1st they'll announce the Susannah finalists and Dec 29th the Emily contest will announce their finalists. Hmm...will be a tension-filled holiday season for me! LOL Also, I judged in a couple of contests where there were some REALLY GOOD entries. Okay, there were TWO in the four contests I judged. I want to watch for those finalist postings as well and see how those entries did. Wow, I'm really rambling now, aren't I? Okay, back to trying to do SOMETHING constructive as I avoid actually WRITING! LOL

Monday, November 07, 2005

WIP, Progress!

Well, since I was up at 5:30 this morning anyway--don't ask--I decided to write a little. Make up for the lack of doing so this weekend. I finished chapter six and sent it to my critters. Then I checked my word count--almost 17K. After looking over my scene index I realize something startling...this book will probably come in around 100K upon completion. Hmm. And something else hits me...I think this is geared at the ABA more than the CBA. Hmmm. Another thing to ponder. But hey, I had to get out to go to the post office and grocery store and I've done that already. WOO HOO. Now I have an hour and a half to write before I have to go pick up my kindergartener! Let's see what I can do!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Okay....I didn't feel well last night, so didn't get much done on my wip. Actually, I got NONE done! LOL But I did watch KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Was actually pretty good. Well, then again, it has Orlando Bloom starring in it...need I say more? LOL

Today, I've looked back over my scene index and just can't help myself. I really need to write a scene. It's in my head, whirring around up there, battering against what was once my brain. And then it occurred to me...I need to update my website as well, adding a summary of my new wip on my WIP page. Sigh. It never ends.

So instead, I think I'll take a break from anything writing today and convert my 3 yr old's crib to a toddler bed. My little Tinkerbell child has been begging for Tinkerbell bedding for Christmas, so I'd better get her used to the toddler bed so when Christmas comes, she can have her twin Tinkerbell sheets. Uh, they don't make them in toddler bedding. SIGH.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Read that book? Let me tell you, if you haven't, do so! It'll take your characterization to a whole new level. For me, getting into my h/h and villian's skin is fun. Using this book to build their traits, likes/dislikes, and goals from their archetypes is a Godsend. Good charts in there, but I take their suggestions and incorporate them into my own character synopsis. What else was very helpful in this book was the heroine journey and the VERY different hero journey. Now that I'm trying to plot a bit in advance, having this information already figured out is HUGE for me. I highly recommend every writer get the book and keep it for each novel they write.

Golden Heart Preparation

Okay, guys....I've had my synopsis for the manuscript I'm entering in the Golden Heart looked over with a fine tooth comb and I think that it's as ready as it will ever be. UGH. I'm looking back over the entry itself one more last time, just to see where I can polish a bit more. But the thought has crossed my mind several times....polishing too much can suck the life and passion right out of the story. I love this particular story--it's my favorite so far--and the last thing I want to do is zap any of the passion and life from it. So when do we say enough is enough and leave it alone? SIGH. If I knew that, I guess I'd be way ahead of the game.

Friday, November 04, 2005


FINALLY finished the last scene in chapter five! WOO HOO. The wip is up to 14K now! Yippee! Doing the snoopy dance! Now to outline a few more chapters. Hey, I'm TRYING people. Doing a few chapters is a HUGE deal for me. So, we'll see how I do.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Plodding through the Plotting

Well, I've almost broken 13K on this wip. I have to say, this one is a booger for me. The keeping track of the HOUR timeline has given me fits, HOWEVER, it's a necessary evil. And, having a detailed outline, at least for these first few chapters, has really been helpful. Now to just pull in more emotion from my h/h. That book I'll touch on tomorrow when I post a recommendation on another book! :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Okay, how fitting is it that I picked James Scott Bell's "Plot & Structure" to recommend this week when I'm in that plotting part of my book. No, I don't do outlines or such, but with this wip, when I'm down to the HOURS in my timeline, I'm HAVING to do a rough sketch, at least here in the beginning. Had to revise my scene index, to include the actual time of day. WHEW....but, I'm getting there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Whew! Sure feels good to be back in the "saddle", so to speak. Finished chapter 4 of my current wip, bringing my word count up to 11K on this puppy! Had to stop to rework my timeline. Which is HARD for a SOTP writer like myself, but in this wip, the plotting and keeping an eye on the timeline is VITAL, so I'm having to keep up with it. SIGH. At least I'm trying it! Now, to catch up on those crits waiting in my basket for me! FIVE of them! :)