Posts tagged ‘yahongchi’

March 23rd, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

by Madeleine Rex

The super sweet Yahong Chi was awarded the “Stylish Blogger Award” and was darling enough to pass it on to me! (Thank you!)

As most awards do, this one comes with a single requirement – that you list seven things about yourself. I’ve posted similar lists before, so I am going to take a little creative liberty here and list seven things related to my book, The Lemonites.

1. It’s set in California. I have been to California only twice and never ran across a lemon orchard (probably because you don’t see many orchards in San Diego…).

2. Pepto, my MC, loves to run. I love the feeling of having run as opposed to the way I feel while in the act of running (i.e. like I’m about to keel over), but I tend to bestow the love of running upon the protagonists in my books. It’s an attribute I admire.

3. The camp cook’s name is Hector.

4. Hector has a box of Spongebob Band-Aids.

5. Dr. Paltine, Pepto’s therapist, loves pumpkin bread.

6. Pepto finds a total of four journals left in his cabin, each a different color.

7. I have my characters punch walls at various points throughout the book. It’s my preferred way of expressing rage without using swear words or actually harming people. (Well, not my preferred way of expressing my own rage. I, uh, prefer alternatives that don’t involve bloody knuckles.)

And there you have it! A little sneak-peek into the world of Pepto Polt.

It is now my honor to send this award to five fabulously stylish bloggers (some of whom I might have given awards to before – they deserve as many as they can get!):

Linna from 21 Pages

Audrey from holes In My brain

Emilia from Punk Writer Kid

Susan from, well, Susan Dennard’s Blog

Aleeza from Aleeza Reads and Writes

I would “recommend” these blogs to you (and the bloggers, for that matter. They’re so wonderful), but that seems like a mellow way to put “YOU MUST READ THESE BLOGS.”

So, there you have it. YOU MUST READ THESE BLOGS.

February 4th, 2011

Wordbird Says (2): Negative Reviews

by Madeleine Rex

Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them.

Thanks again to Yahong for asking me another question! I could really use some more contributors!

Yahong brought up a commonly debated subject – negative reviews.

She tweeted me:

I have the issue of writing negative reviews or not… apparently writing neg. reviews ruins potential relationships?

I have a firm opinion regarding negative reviews, and that opinion is based on an equally firm belief: It is unavoidable that someone will dislike every book. It’s a time-tested truth that is actually brought up in books themselves. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury immediately comes to mind. When Captain Beatty is in the midst of his spiel on why their world is the way it is, he says:

Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that!… Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did.

I happen to be a couple of the minorities in the above paragraph. Just like everyone else on the planet, where, when, and how I have been raised (am continuing to be raised, for that matter), among other things, heavily contribute to my opinions on books, movies, politics, and life in general. On the other hand, there are traits that are purely mine and have taken root in my very personality that effect my opinion on those things.

Consequently, I have disliked books.

In fact, I received an ARC for review that I did not end up finishing due to my discomfort. I skimmed the last thirty pages and emailed my contact at the publishing house. I made it clear that I was thankful for the opportunity to read the book, but I had skimmed the last thirty pages. I asked her if she would still like me to review it.

And, wonderful, understanding person that she is, she told me yes.

I proceeded to review the book, and you can read that review here. You see that I made a point of remarking that others had quite enjoyed the book and that, though it clearly did not please me, that did not necessarily mean it wouldn’t please anyone else. I made sure to comment on the aspects of the book I appreciated but did not in any way compromise my opinion of the book.

No one’s screamed at me yet.

I think the key to writing negative reviews is to be kind. Never, ever let yourself get carried away to the point that you are being cruel. As in all areas of life, there is a respectful and positive way in which to do things – even negative things.

If you’re going to post a review that is mostly negative, make sure to link to positive reviews, touch on things you appreciated, and make it clear that you’re personal tastes will not match everyone’s – just as your taste for foods won’t be identical to mine. I, for one, love mushrooms with a fiery passion, while most people detest them.

If it is evident to anyone with half a brain that you are attempting to voice your personal opinion in the kindest, most positive way possible, I doubt you will be in danger of seriously jeopardizing any relationship. Authors are all about voicing opinions, staying true to yourself, and being thoughtful. It’s likely people will respect and admire you for the way you handle an obviously awkward and tender situation.

However, should you sign with an agent, I’d recommend doing away with anything too negative. Once you’re truly on the path to becoming an author, it’s time to reevaluate your online presence. You’ve stepped into a whole new arena and are no longer only a reader.

January 28th, 2011

Wordbird Says (1): Revisions

by Madeleine Rex

Thanks to Yahong Chi, who took the time to send me a much beloved email to put me out of my misery!

Yahong asked:

Hey Madeleine,

I’d love to see revision tips. In the midst of trying to rewrite a few scenes, and it’s killing me because I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!
So, yeah, that’d be helpful. 😀


As most of you know, I’ve just begun edits on The Lemonites. A few weeks ago, when I was still daunted by and whimpering at the thought of diving in, I posted a tragic and pathetic post. A woman named Susan Dennard commented and offered her help – and she’s one of my favorite people now.

Susan has a fantastic take on edits, one that makes the horrific experience much, much easier. I have finished part one of her six step process and will begin part two today.

Susan’s plan is deliberate and methodical, which may or may not work for you. In essence, my views on editing efficiently and writing efficiently are similar. There are a few things that are crucial to writing anything:

  • Try on different options. Approach outlining/free-writing/whatever in a myriad of ways before designating one as your personal process. There are so many ways to write a novel, and only one (or a few if you’re lucky) that works for you. I wrote my first novel after completing an outline so detailed that it amounted to a novel (though terrible) in and of itself. The magic of writing and the fun of it was diminished. Similarly, there are plenty of ways to edit, but only a few that are yours.
  • Set a goal. I wasn’t writing productively until I set myself a strict word count or time period to write. The daily goals (could be a week or a month, depending on what you prefer) motivated me and allowed me to feel spurts of success that encouraged me to keep moving. When working through part one of edits, I told myself I’d be done by the end of a particular week, and I was.
  • Diligence is key. Without pushing yourself to work even when it sounds unexciting, you lose the self-discipline that you need to drive you. As unemployed/unagented/etc. writers, we don’t have someone whipping us into shape and keeping us in line. There’s only me, myself, and I to keep me from slacking.
  • I know you were probably looking for something more specific. I can’t divulge Susan’s process here – it’s hers entirely – but it’s likely you could come up with something on your own. Sit down in front of a word document and type a ten-step process. Read through it. Could you handle those goals? Is the process too analytical, methodical, or laid-back? What do your personality and your tendencies warrant?

    If you’d still like to see others’ plans, I’d check out Susan’s blog. She goes into her editing process, though she only skims through it. If you like what you see, I’m sure she’d be willing to lend a hand.

    I hope I helped! If anybody else would like to ask a question/leave a comment/say something seemingly random, click the “Contact Me” to the left (please, please do)!