Monday, July 21, 2014

Become An Honorary Revision Warrior

We have something to CELEBRATE! Revision Warriors has reached 20,000 page views. Wahoooo! 




I know, right?! TWENTY THOUSAND is a big number.




But wait, there's more! Our very own, super fabulous RW'er, Michelle Smith, just released the cover of her book Play On due out in April 2015. Show Michelle some love and add it to your TBR list: Goodreads

To show our how much we appreciate everyone’s support, we want to invite two people to become honorary revision warriors for a day. Whoop, whoop! *fires confetti cannon*

At the bottom of this post, there’s a Rafflecopter widget thingy (totally the official name, btw. ;) ). You can sign up anytime between now and Sunday, July 27th at Noon ET, and we’ll pick two winners that’ll receive a 3 page critique from a mix of revision warriors. Click here to check out our bio’s.

Fun, right?

Now for the official stuff:


Critique will be of the first three double spaced pages of your manuscript. We’ll ask the winners to submit their pages within 72 hours after notification.

Completed manuscripts and WIP’s alike are welcome.

Your pages with our comments will appear on the blog. Critique is learning process for everyone, not just the author receiving feedback, and not everyone has amazing critique partners. We want to show what that process looks like. If you’re not okay with your pages appearing publicly, please do not enter.

Blog readers will be encouraged to leave respectful, constructive comments. If that makes you uncomfortable, please do not enter. 

Winners will be announced on the blog July 28th. We’ll also email winners with additional details, like how to get your pages to us. *Make sure you leave your email address with your entry * If we do not have your email address, or don’t hear back from you within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen. *

Critique #1 will go live on the blog Monday August 11th and Critique #2 will be Monday August 18th.


  • Because this is all about YOU, we want to make entering easy. Just leave a comment telling us you want to enter and fill out the Rafflecopter with your name and email. Tweeting and/or spreading the news about the giveaway is not required (but it is appreciated. hint, hint.) 


Again, we’ll contact the winners directly to discuss the who, when, and where, so please, please, please, make sure to leave your email.




Okay, on to today’s post. Because this blog about all things writing and revising, and we’re doing this fancy critique giveaway, I’m going to talk a little bit about critique groups. It’s kind of a big topic, so this is more like the tip of the iceberg, but if you're thinking about joining an established group or maybe starting your own, here are some things to think about.

Why are you seeking a critique group?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make your writing better. But can you dig deeper here? Better, how? Plot holes, character development, world building, dialog, pacing, grammar? Are any of these areas your specialty? Understanding your strengths, weakness, and what you hope to get out of a group, is a big step toward finding your people. And yes, my CP’s are definitely my people.  #CPLOVE, FTW

Once you know what your needs are and what you can offer others, here are some more things to consider:

 How much time can you dedicate to a group?

Joining or starting a critique group is a commitment, both of your time and the time of others. Respect that. Yes, sometimes life happens, but for a group to stick together long term, everyone involved is responsible for doing his or her part.

How often does the group meet? Weekly, biweekly, etc.
Will you meet in person or online to discuss critiques? If online, what service will you use? GChat, Google Hangout, Skype?
Will there be written critiques? If so, how will those be handled?
When is the submission deadline?
When are critiques due?
For written critiques, will you setup a Google or Yahoo group? Email only?
Are there word count limits.


What can be submitted for critique?

Will any genre be off limits?
Any content restrictions?
Are all categories accepted? A, NA, YA, MG, PB
Are short stories, poetry, queries, and/or synopses acceptable for submission to the group?

How will online critiques be run?

Is there a group leader?
How will you ensure that time is used efficiently?
Will you focus on big picture issues and leave nit picks and grammar for the author to read on their own?
Is there a time limit for each critique?

Some final thoughts for critique-givers and receivers:

In the end, only you know what is best for your story!  Use the comments that resonate with you and don’t worry about the rest.
Critters, understand that a suggestion you gave may not be used, and that’s perfectly okay. Our job is to offer our help, not make another author’s story into something we would write ourselves.
NEVER share another author’s work with anyone outside of the group. This one should go without saying, but I’ve heard horror stories so I’m throwing it in here.
Be vocal.
o Be polite, but don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. You are responsible for making your writing better and getting the most out of your group. If you have specific areas you want feedback on, let the group members know.
o The opposite is also true—if you do not want certain types of critiques, make that clear with your submission. Ex: This is a first draft. Please don’t focus on grammar.
And most importantly, respect your group members. I cannot stress this enough. Be kind, supportive, and constructive. Always.


Okay – that was way more than I meant to write, and it’s only the starting point! If you have any questions about joining or starting your own group, please ask in the comments. We’d love to help! Or if you have experiences about critiquing you’d like to share, we want to hear ‘em!

And without further ado, Rafflecopter widet thingy is below. Please don’t be shy about entering! We won’t bite, I promise.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 14, 2014

Give Your Brain a Break

A while back, I came across a blog or tweet that mentioned The Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Pomodoro Technique, it's simply one way to produce more while avoiding the "my brain is fried" syndrome.

The Simple Steps:

1. Choose a project from your to-do list.
2. Set a timer for 25 minutes.
3. Work on that specific project until the timer beeps.
4. Take a 5 minute break and work on something unrelated. (Check email, listen to a song, unload the dryer, stalk someone on Twitter...)
5. After four 25 minute increments, take longer breaks between projects.

It's a great way to redirect your thoughts, much like sniffing coffee beans between smelling perfumes. I unofficially started practicing The Pomodoro Technique, and I've noticed that my brain isn't as tired after 30 minutes of work. When I go back to my project after a short siesta, I have a fresh perspective.

Try the Pomodoro Technique if you're experiencing brain freeze, writer's block, or seem unproductive. I've also used this with my kids when we do homework. It works great for them!

Have you noticed a change in your writing since the summer has started? What do you do to help increase your productivity? Any tips to share?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Writing Services

Abe Lincoln said, "Don't Believe Everything You Read on the Internet."
I inadvertently stumbled on a site offering seminars, critique services, retreats... You name it, this with the Utopia for writers and the website looked great! When I saw the organizer's / presenter's name I was very surprised. I knew this individual. And I knew this individual had been writing for less than a year and a half. In fairness, I haven't spoken with them for a while so perhaps since I worked with them, they've absorbed the knowledge to charge other writers for their services. But still, I wondered how many people would be handing over their money if they knew how little experience this individual had.

There are hundreds of writing classes and editorial services for writers. These can be great opportunities to refine your craft or to get your work in the best possible shape before you start querying agents. I've had the pleasure of working with a few and LOVE LOVE them. These mentors not only provided detailed feedback on my manuscript, but through their critique, they taught me to be a better writer. But before you spend money on an editorial service, seminar or manuscript critique, you might want to keep a few things in mind.

Don't let a professional looking website sway your decision. Seriously, the days of crappy sites being tell-tale signs of an unprofessional are long gone. Many domain services have user friendly programs and affordable website design services. Remember, you don't have to be a full-scale, non-profit organization to take a (dot)org domain.

Is this individual's work something you enjoy and have any of their clients experienced success? Testimonials are great -- but the proof really is sometimes in the pudding. Don't be afraid to ask questions.  

There are also awesome groups out there that have Writer Beware sites that track and expose questionable activities and / or scams in the writer industry. Here are a few:




Of course, before you pay for a service, get your work in the best possible shape you can. That way you can really get some bang for your buck. Here are some great ways you can do this.

1. Join a critique group. Other fellow writers like yourself are a great source for cleaning up your manuscript. If there's not a group in your area, start one. Ask local librarians and book store owners if you can put up a flyer. If there aren't enough writers in your area, establish an online writing group. You can find other writers at great sites like Absolute Write and Twitter.

2. Join a professional organization that fosters a community of persons within the industry. There may be an annual fee but that typically includes a magazine subscription and / or online resources, member discounts on conferences etc. I've been a member of SCBWI since 2010. One of the best decisions I made when I began writing.

3. Can't afford to go to a conference but want to participate in one? Look for online conferences. Children's writers should check out WriteOnCon. It's awesome and it's free; however, please try to donate what you can. 

4. Make connections on social networking sites like Twitter. There are great opportunities out there. Writer blogs that are dedicated to helping writers make connections and improve their work. Again, beware of anyone asking for money -- these are typically free. There are too many for me to mention here, but a few of my favorites include Brenda Drake and Cupid's Literary Connection 

Through organizations and communities such as these, I've met mentors and even some of my amazing critique partners. And as I wrap up this post, I have to give kudos to my very first mentor. Joyce Sweeney is AMAZING. Seriously, not only is she an extremely talented teacher, but she is one of the kindest people I've had the pleasure to meet. I strongly recommend her services -- you will not be disappointed.

photo credit: ucumari via photopin cc

Monday, June 30, 2014

Michelle's (Current) Top 4 Revision Tips

I’ve been in a constant stage of revision since December. That’s almost SEVEN MONTHS, you guys. Granted, it's been between two different stories, but my brain has been in overdrive. The end is in sight, though, and now I’m here to share my top four revision tips.

-         Promises made, promises kept.
This was a big one for me. When you spend a while with a particular manuscript, you may forget that tiny mention you made in chapter one. If you introduce a plot point into the story (promise made), even if it’s minor, make sure it’s resolved by the end of the story (promise kept). Don’t gyp your reader.

-         Each character has a mind of his/her own.
We don’t want cardboard cutouts. It’s so easy and convenient to let a secondary character (or even a main character) fall into a stereotype. And sometimes the stereotype can be valid (there are mean cheerleaders, etc.), but don’t take the easy way out. Everyone has a personality--let it shine.

-         The underneath is just as important as what’s on the surface—maybe even more so.
As much as I love dialogue, there has to be more to a story than people talking to each other. Giving the reader a peek into the character’s thoughts, even by inserting one or two lines, can make all the difference. If you have chunks of dialogue throughout the manuscript, consider adding a bit of internal thought. (Note that I said "consider." Too much internal monologue can hurt a scene's flow. It's a delicate balance. Use it wisely.)

-         Give yourself some grace.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m not working fast enough.” Trust me, I know this all too well. STOP IT. Creating something great takes time. Think about your CP for a moment. If they came to you crying and said, “I’m a failure. I missed three days of revision last week and I’m so far behind. You don’t even know,” what would you tell that person? Would you nod and say, “Yeah, you pretty much suck”? No. (Well, I hope not.) You’d (hopefully) tell that person not to be so hard on themselves. Do the same for yourself.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Perfect Pastimes: Books and Baseball



No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined.  ~Paul Gallico, sportswriter and novelist (The Poseidon Adventure)  


 
As summer officially begins and ballplayers of all ages run onto the field, I wanted to tip my cap to two of my favorite pastimes: books and baseball.  Believe me, I'm hardly the only baseball nut here at Revision Warriors. And that’s no surprise, because really, books and baseball have a lot in common. Stick with me...

Escape



You walk in the stadium, find your seats, and POOF. That’s it. The outside world disappears as the home team runs onto the field.  
 
My baseball watching buddies.
That’s how it feels for me. Like cracking open a new book. Every game presents a new cast of characters, favorite heroes and villains. Pitching duals, rivalries, batting orders are subplots. Every inning is a new chapter.  


"The game's isn't over until it's over." Yogi Berra    

Plot Twists & Colorful Characters

  
Strategy makes for plot twists; a well-timed change-up, a bunt, a sacrifice fly— every action a potential game changer.  The story could climax with a three-run homer, or sending in that closing pitcher that hitters fear more than the boogie man.  Like when the Yankees would call in this guy, who they called The Sandman...

‘The Closer’ by Mariano Rivera and Wayne Coffey (Little, Brown)




Or say the game is a snoozer. Seven innings of watching your zombified home team getting blasted by a team with a killer lineup. But this is baseball...   

"You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the god***n plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all." Earl Weaver

Language


And vocabulary? I’d wager baseball has the finest collection of JARGON on Earth.  
Baltimore chop Fungo Chin music Balk Screwball Dugout Beanball 
These words are just fun. Period. 

Reading books or watching baseball can make me feel like a kid again. Both are experiences that are fun to share. I relived the joy of “The Monster at the End of this Book” with my daughter, and I’ll probably re-read “Charlotte’s Web” when she’s a little older. These stories are a constant— just like watching a ball game. 

It’s always there.  

Any other similarities I'm missing? Chime in below! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Hop

You guys! The amazing Michelle Smith  has tagged us in the My Writing Process blog hop. But before we get on with sharing our answers, please click on over to Michelle’s blog and check out her #DoSomething challenge that’s going on throughout the month of June.

#DoSomething is all about spreading kindness through simple everyday actions. You can find out more about it here and catch up on challenge #1 and #2 here and here. As Michelle says on her blog: 

“The world can be scary. It’s also full of wonder and love and hope. Let’s focus on the latter.”


Okay, now on to our Creature Double Feature.




1)     What am I working on?

Diane: Currently, I'm putting the final polish on my YA fantasy before submitting to agents and editing a YA sci-fi.

Rina: I’m currently working on a sequel to my middle grade fantasy, RULES OF RODENTIA. In Book Two, well… geez, I can’t really say too much without giving away parts of Book One! But rest assured, the deep woods are still a perilous place and there are some tasks only a young mouse like Tobin can handle.

Marlana: I'm working on a YA contemporary titled, AND THE BAND PLAYS ON from dual POVs.  The pitch: Sixteen-year old trumpet playing Frannie experiences her first crush when Ali moves into the neighborhood. He's like no one she's ever met -- tall, dark and...damn! Ali is upset to be uprooted from Orlando, leaving his friends and soccer team behind. So no one is more surprised than he when he begins thinking of Warrenstown, WV as home. Then on 9/11, America is attacked and the terrible tragedy that unites the townsfolk also outcasts Ali, his family, and anyone who associates with them.

Cheryl: I’ve been torn between two YA projects for a while—a straight up fantasy and something that’s leaning toward light sci-fi. As of late, though, the fantasy, entitled FATE INTERRUPTED, seems to have won the battle for my attention. Here’s the pitch:

In a country sharply divided between honor classes, Dorian Van Zander, youngest son of the high judge, crosses paths with prophet Kahlia Coine. Kahlia’s paintings illustrate her patrons’ futures, and she predicts Dorian will succeed his father after the high judge is murdered. Kahlia knows the future isn’t a suggestion, it’s a force, and once set on a path, there is no stopping it. But promises of a higher honor class for herself, her younger sister, and her ailing father lure her to court where she’ll attempt to alter the fate of Dorian’s family and her own.

Kahlia begins eliminating members of the high-court as pre-murder suspects, but publically displaying their secrets puts her own life in danger. Despite her low status, friendship between Kahlia and Dorian blossoms into something more, but the connection Kahlia discovers between herself and the judge’s inevitable demise threatens to rip away the life she’s always desired and the love she never knew she wanted.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?  

Diane: Though my books are similar to what is out there in the genre, I haven't read anything exactly like them. The worlds are unique and so are the characters.

Rina: I think the biggest difference in my current work vs. other MG fantasy is the cast of rodents, snakes, and other critters who take center-stage. RULES OF RODENTIA is about the journey of a young mouse trying to ensure his family’s survival in the forest. Life is tough when you’re only two inches tall. Aside from letting the critters communicate with each other, I do try to keep a sense of realism. Tobin can’t cast a spell to transport himself to the spider den to save his baby brother; he needs to track the spider’s trail across the woods. 

Marlana: My husband is from Morocco and together we're raising two amazing boys. My husband and children are Muslim. I'm often surprised at some of the assumptions made about children with an Islamic upbringing. I felt I could bring unique insight into the home of a Muslim teen and what they experienced before and after the 9/11 attacks.  AND THE BAND PLAYS ON is my third novel and I can seriously say, it's the first time the words seem to pour directly from my soul to the page.

Cheryl: Yikes, this question is a toughie! I always want my settings to add another level of conflict to the plot instead of just being a backdrop for it. While most of what I write leans toward the fantastical, I try to make sure that there is lots of depth and richness to my world building, drawing on the characters culture, politics, and most importantly their world views that color everything related to both setting and plot. The places may spawn from my imagination, but I want them to feel as real and believable as possible and so intrinsically tied to the plot that the reader couldn't imagine the story taking place anywhere else. 


3)     Why do I write what I do?


Diane: I love speculative fiction! Always have. The first book that caught my attention was The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley in seventh grade. I fell in love with the world she created. It was a great escape. I try to fashion that same feeling in the novels I write. YA is a fun genre too. There's so much happening in life during the teenage years that stick with us for the rest of our lives. My characters go through lots of exciting changes and make some tough decisions.

Rina: As to why I like writing Middle Grade, it’s because adult minds tend to muck up even the simplest ideas. Typically, if you ask a grown-up a question, like if animals have feelings, you tend to get a big, drawn out response. I like skipping through all that nonsense and diving right into a story.  
Just today there was a story on the morning news about a mysterious ocean creature eating a 9 foot-long, Great White Shark. The shark was swallowed whole. Scientists are scratching their heads and I LOVE THAT. There’s mystery in this world, and that is what I like to think about. What ate that shark? A giant squid? A megalodon? Something we’ve never seen because that trench the shark was pulled into is so, SO deep?  Take it further—what if a ten year old girl won a science fair scholarship and got to accompany a research vessel, and they picked up a strange blip! on their radar…

Marlana: It was after I finished HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS that I wrote my first novel, a MG fantasy titled THE ALLIANCE OF MISFITS. I was so upset to say goodbye to Harry, Ron, and Hermione that I needed new characters to cope with the loss. My second novel, a YA Sci-fi titled THE GATHERERS, was outlined after a Star Trek marathon on Netflix. My protagonist, Paxton, appeared in my dreams and insisted I write her story. Finally, my WIP is something I've wanted to write for over a decade, but have been too afraid. With the encouragement of my critique groups and the upcoming 15th year anniversary of the horrific attacks, I knew it was time.

Cheryl: I think my voice lends itself well to YA. Besides that, though, I truly adore everything about YA literature. For me, it comes down to figuring out the world and where our special brands of crazy fit into it. The world and everyone in it is always evolving. Nothing stays static forever, so figuring out how we fit into the grand scheme of things is something (I think) readers of all ages can connect with. And then there’s the kissing. Because…KISSING! Duh!


4)     How does my writing process work?


Diane: I write whenever I can! With my first novel, it took me a while to figure out how everything was going to work in the world I'd envisioned. I did several rewrites and heavy revisions. But the second book just popped up in my brain. I also wrote it during NaNo, which was new for me, but it was a fantastic experience! I got so much done in such a short time.

Rina: I wrote RULES OF RODENTIA, Book One, chapter by chapter, plodding forward because that’s what felt natural. Working on the sequel is a different story (no pun intended). This time I’m outlining the book first, making sure I have the right story arcs coming together, points of character growth, and sprinkles of tension in the right places. There are a couple story lines that cross over from Book One, so it’s helping me keep things straight.

Marlana: Great question. And my answer? No idea! It's going to sound ridiculous, but seriously -- there are times my fingers are striking the keyboard and I'm reading the words filling the paper like it's someone else's work. I have zero idea how those words got there or where they've come from. I tend to write in chapters although I've been known to jump ahead and write a few scenes that have come to me -- typically while taking a shower, that I don't want to forget.  Then once I've written a chapter, I go back, edit it and then write the next chapter. Then I start at chapter one (AGAIN), edit it, edit the second chapter and then write chapter three and so on. You can imagine how tedious this becomes and it takes until I'm about ten chapters in before I make my OCD self stop starting from the beginning.

Cheryl: Ugh! Another tough question. ;) My writing process changes depending on any number of things. Sometimes I outline. Other times, not so much. Sometimes I write daily. Other times… you guessed it. Not. So. Much.

I can tell you this though, it can be frustrating if you dwell on the how or the why too much. For example, after finishing the novel I’m currently querying, I had a hard time falling in love with a new premise, set of characters, world, etc. I had lots of ideas, but the whole writing them down thing wasn’t happening. It drove me crazy because until that point, I was SO excited to start on something new. Stalling out felt like failure of the epic variety.

Très Stressful, I assure you.

Thing is though, it wasn’t because the ideas weren’t good, which of course was my big fear. Turns out, I just needed time to get better acquainted with them. And the longer these new characters and conflicts and setting percolated in my head, the closer I got to putting my fingers to keyboard. Once the story had built itself up to bursting from my head, the writing part took care of itself. Sometimes you just have to trust your brain to know what it needs and go with it. At the end of the day, telling an awesome story is all that matters, regardless of the process.

 
Up next are the lovely writers below. Please stop by their blogs and check out their posts next week.


I am writing toward publication, Taekwondo-ing toward a black belt, parenting toward sending seven grown-ups into the world, and wife-ing toward happily ever after. I think I have a thing for goals.


José is a Cuban-American writer and math teacher living in Epcot with his wife Lisa and their two teenage kids. Stories of his have appeared in STRANGE HORIZONS and STUPEFYING STORIES, and his novels for young adults are represented by Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.


Reading and writing have always been second nature for me. They are as integral to me as the air I breathe and the words I speak. I knew from a very young age that I would grow up to work with words in some capacity. I thought, perhaps I'll be a librarian. No, a literary agent. How about a copywriter? But the entire time, my heart would whisper, "you're going to be an author." In August of 2013, I released my first novel The Right Kind of Wrong and have since published Whiskey and a Gun (a prequel novella) and Capricious (a short story). My next novel, The Finish will release in 2014.






Monday, June 9, 2014

6 Tips for a Cleaner Manuscript

We all love all our words, don't we? But sometimes, things must be cut in order to fit our manuscripts into a certain word count, or maybe our critique partners are sobbing because there is too much AYKB (as you know Bob) and repetitive description.

Here are some ideas to make your manuscript shine! (Your readers will thank you!)



1. Make sure you have formatted correctly. The BASICS:

-12-pt Times New Roman black font
-one inch margins on all sides
-align left
-double space (no extra space between dialogue)
-single space after periods
-indent (5 spaces/ half inch) new paragraphs
-scene breaks are marked with a # in the center of the line
-align header to the right and include your last name/title (or key words)/page number except title page
-chapters begin on new pages about a third of the way down

Always check an agent's/publisher's site for more tips on how they want your ms formatted!

2. Unnecessary backstory. Yes, I know you want to tell me about your hero's birth, but is it necessary explain it all in the first 20 pages? Get to the action of the story that you're telling now. Backstory can be woven in and revealed as the story progresses if it is essential.

3. Repetitive details. This is a hard one. I'll give some examples.

Marsha sat at the diner booth and ordered a strawberry milkshake. 
"So, that's one strawberry milkshake," the waitress said.

-OR-

Sally walked into the hardware store. She scanned the isles looking for a wrench. The hardware clerk asked if she needed help finding anything. 

-OR-

Ned thought his situation was dire. He Ned was stuck in the canyon without water, food, or shade. There was no shade. No food. What was he supposed to do?

See? Some things don't need repeating. Usually these details are hidden within the same paragraph or on the same page. Trust your reader to understand the story, emotions, and details. This also helps with author intrusion. :)

4. Seek and destroy passive voice! Look for these words, mostly to-be verbs (was, were, are, that, etc.), and try to restructure your sentences to make them more active. Marlana wrote an awesome post about how to find passive sentences if you need more clarity.

You were not at work today. vs. You missed work today.
You must clean your room. vs. Clean your room.

5. Limit the amount of metaphors you use. Everyone enjoys a comparison of objects, but not every other sentence or paragraph. However, one of my critique partners pointed out that Mark Zusak used tons of metaphors in The Book Thief and got away with it. I concur. I hardly noticed them. So if you're Mark Zusak, you can use as many metaphorical passages as you desire. :)

6. As You Know Bob (AYKB)

"Douglas, did you see how the commander reacted to the new general? She nearly peed her pants."
"Yeah, Bob, I did see. I think she did wet her pants. I was at the back of the line when the general walked in though, so I might not have had the best view."
"Hey, Douglas, I think it was because of his large head. She couldn't contain the laughter."
"Sounds right, Bob. I saw her shoulders shaking."

Please don't write dialogue like this. Here's a rewrite without AYKB.

The general's head was shaped like a watermelon, stretching over his decorated shoulders. The commander could not laugh. Melon wasps stung any moving object.


How about you? Are you trending a new style of writing that your critique partners just don't get? Have you sent an ms out in 18-pt Kefa font in purple to an agent? We'd all like to know. ;)