Saturday, January 21, 2012

Writing a Solid Story: Avoiding Rain Beneath a Leaky Roof

At the time of this writing, it's raining outside. The patter on the roof is without rhyme or reason. Gentle chaos, but only if I think of the random drops falling as individuals. Together there's a kind of sense to it, and the rain sounds orchestral. It's a soothing hum, an exciting roar, a secretive murmur; thousands upon thousands of tiny sounds that surround me.

A good book reminds me of this kind of rain. The words wash through my mind with nothing pulling me out of the story. No awkward phrases. No unrealistic dialogue. No infodumps or abrupt transitions. Instead, I forget that I'm reading at all. I'm connected. My consciousness and the book are one. I hear the words like rain and they're beautiful, both individually and as part of a mysterious whole.


At the time of this writing, it's raining outside and I hear a leak. An unnatural plunk I can't help but focus on. I try to ignore it. The rain takes precedence for a moment, but my mind hones in on the leak again. Its rhythm mocks the rain's delightful chatter. The rain is no less lovely, but I'm no longer under its spell.

Even if I could ignore the leak, it wouldn't make the greater implications of this problem go away. The leak is going to turn into a water spot. We need to have the leak repaired. And if I'm honest, there's a leak in the garage I've been avoiding, too. If I don't take care of these issues, I'm going to end up needing a whole new roof. Or, maybe it's too late and I already do need a new roof. Horror!

Writing reminds me of this. Am I overlooking problem areas? Did that little issue I forgot to address in chapter three become a plot hole? I read through my work and listen for the leaks. Sometimes whole scenes need to be rewritten.

I want my readers to hear my stories like the sound of the rain against the earth, dropping from leaves and falling from the sky. I want them swept up by the storm and lost to the book. The moment they hear a leak, the rain is no longer something to be enjoyed; the whole story becomes suspect. They may start listening for things, holding a figurative flashlight in the garage trying to see where the water spot is.

How do you deal with leaky spots in your manuscripts? Do you catch them as you draft, or find them on the re-read? When reading published novels, do you ever get pulled out of the story because of areas that could have used some patching up?

~ ~ ~

Diana Paz is the author of TWISTS OF FATE (Rhemalda Publishing, April 2013). She writes books for teens about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee. Find her at her or on Twitter @dianapazwrites

Friday, January 06, 2012

Attention: Awesome Agent Contest Alert!!

Hey Everyone!!

I hope your holiday was wonderful! Mine was nice and relaxing ;o) It didn't even snow here! I know. I can't believe it, either.

Fellow DNA'er and my uber-cool writing buddy, Brenda Drake is having an awesome contest I just had to share with you!!

It's the, CAN YOU HIT A PERFECT PITCH BLOGFEST with fantabulous agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. I know, right? SHE'S awesome ;o)

Wanna know how to enter? Yes, I do, Erica.

Ha! I knew it. I can read minds*


Here's the deets (stolen from Brenda's lovely blog).

On January 15th post a two sentence pitch (no more than 35 words) along with the first 150 words (if it falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence) of your finished Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscript to your blogs. From January 15th-16th hop around each others' blogs and critique or praise them. Revise your entries, if you want, and post them by 8:00am (EST) January 17th to the official entry post.DO NOT POST THEM TO THIS POST. [on Brenda's blog, of course] If you want, you may skip the blogfest/critique portion of this contest and just enter the contest.  I will have the official post up, along with details on how to format your entries, on January 15th so that you can start posting when you're ready. To participate, sign up on [on Brenda's blog, of course]

The prize is a request to read more from agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. Ahhh!!

See!! How cool is that? So get on over to Brenda's Blog and enter!!! 

SO... this Saturday, I am going to watch my DETROIT LIONS beat New Orleans!! Well, we hope so... it will be tough *ahem* Drew Brees. As a lifelong Lions fan, just being in the playoffs is pretty amazing! 

Whatcha up to this weekend?

<3 Er

*I can't read minds... I know you're shocked.

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Win a copy of Trisha Wolfe's DESTINY'S FIRE

Update: The winner of Destiny's Fire is  


Please email me at 
to claim your prize.   
I'm so excited for one of my writing buddies, Trisha Wolfe, book release on January 10th that I'm giving away a book here on DNA Writers and then more on my blog later this week. 

About the book ...

It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind—part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven.

As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate…if she can trust him.

Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life.

My thoughts...

I loved reading this book again in its finished state. The characters, action, and setting are fun. Dez is a kick-butt kind of girl with tough choices to make and it's fun to take the journey with her. Did I mention hot boys? Well, check below for the hot boy deets.

The author ...

Trisha Wolfe

You can find Trisha Wolfe on her website here or blog here or on twitter here. Buy the book here.

I'll pull a winner on the release day, January 10th. To enter, just leave a comment below and answer this question: What team are you?

Team Jace ...

Or Team Reese ...

That's it until next time ...

You can find Brenda on her blog: 
or on twitter:!/brendadrake