Larry’s Queries – Episode 1 Part 3

(in case you missed Round 1, click here.) Worked on the beginning
(in case you missed Round 2, click here.) Worked on the ending

Larry: [bangs open the door to my office. He has a sheet of paper in one hand and what looks like a model rocket in the other.] FFFFFuuuuuuusssssshhhhhh!!! [Larry shakes the rocket like it’s hurtling through the stratosphere.]

Me: [cringing. It’s kind of painful watching one of NASA’s top rocket scientists playing around like a 10 year old – no seriously, Larry really is a rocket scientist for NASA.] Uh. Larry, are you Ok?

Larry: [stops and stares at me like he just discovered life on whatever imaginary planet he was exploring] Oh. Hi JD. I brought over the query for my book. You said we could go through Round 3 today, right.


Me: Yeah. Today I was thinking we could work on your stakes. [The rocket ship is flying in a figure 8 now. He’s actually blowing raspberries too.] Larry? What’s up with the toy rocket?

HighFlight-Goddard4Larry: [the raspberries stop and both his eyebrows go up. Uh-Oh…a two eye-brower look. I may be in trouble here.] Toy? Look closely. This is an exact replica – down to the very last rivet – of the gasoline and liquid oxygen rocket that Robert Goddard first launched in 1926. This “toy” heralded in the modern era of every worthwhile scientific discovery of the last 90 years.

Me: [have I mentioned Larry can be a little melodramatic at times.] Right. Sorry. Robert Goodman’s rocket. I didn’t notice that at first. I should have recognized –

Larry: It’s Goddard. Not Goodman. You don’t even know who he is, do you?

Me: Let’s take a look at the stakes in your query. Continue reading

#pg70pit – What are the judges looking for?

Hi there, contest fans!

So you’re thinking about entering the amazing #pg70pit contest run by theCaKwTtfWAAQDkjm incomparable Lara Willard.  Awesome.

You’ve got your manuscript ready to roll – you read the contest rules (like twice already) – you’ve been stalking following Lara on twitter – you’ve got a sparkly Page 70 ready to submit….and then it hits you: what are the contest judges looking for anyway?

Continue reading

Voice – how to develop your own!

Hi there!

So let’s talk about voice. Now, I’m the last person to pretend to be an expert on voice, but I suspect if you asked 100 writers for a definition, you’d get 105 different answers….maybe more. I figure, why not add another one and really confuse things? For me, one of the better explanations I’ve come across is voice is created by a writer’s word choice and sentence structure.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: Thanks for the news flash, JD. Your explanation is about as helpful as telling us sentences are made up of words and punctuation.

Voice-7Yeah, I get it. Saying voice comes down to word choice and sentence structure is pretty vague. Let me try to flesh that out a little. Start with the opening of this post. What words did I choose and how did I arrange the sentences? Did it have any effect on how you picture me as a real person? Do you think of me as a very formal professorial type, with my white hair and pressed suit – explaining the technical intricacies of voice as I tap my pointer on the lesson written across the chalkboard? Or did you picture someone wearing a pair of open-toed sandals and a faded t-shirt, who just plopped down next to you at the corner café to chat about writing and the world in general? Continue reading