Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nathan Bransford's contest... continued

The following is a bit more of my Middle Grade Novel, GARN... hope you enjoy!

The clanging of a not too distant bell catches Pink Eyes attention. Danny follows him in a quick swerve off their path. Pink Eyes doesn't look back, but Danny can't help himself. Behind them, kicking up mounds of dust, is a huge and thoroughly strange animal; something Danny's never seen anywhere - not even in books. It plows through and over throngs of panting, sweating, and yelling Deepworlders. From front to back it's best described as possessing the gigantic head of a dust mite with the shoulders of an Elephant and the back end of a Buffalo. Three men ride this creature. One rings a large schoolyard bell, doing his best to warn others away. Another pretends handling the reins attached to the beast's tusk-like mouth parts, and the third sits atop saddlebags full of scavenged loot which pounds against the animal's side with each ponderous stride. Through Danny's neck tether, Pink Eyes senses the boy's slowing. He turns and jerks hard distracting Danny's fascination from the creature. Danny's minds this reprimand and quickens his pace. As they pass, the bell ringer smiles and waves at Danny. Not knowing why, Danny returns the wave; maybe because it's the first friendly gesture he's seen.

Haste yee back ;-)

Story copyright of Robert Wahl


  1. Why, thank you Casey! And thanks so much for stopping by...

    Best to ya!

    Haste yee back ;-)

  2. Robert long time bud! Good to hear from you man. Thanks for the comment on my website. My guiding thing is no huge deal, but it is a lot of fun. Whats your email addy?

  3. Hey there. Found you through your comment on Jane Friedman's blog.

    Keywords and SEO are the stuff you do to rank higher in google/bing/yahoo search lists. It's something of a black art, part science, part intuition, that I don't claim to be remotely good at.

    However, I do know that you can follow @lisabarone and @copyblogger on twitter for some great advice on what you ought to be doing to help your search rankings. Or rather, follow them, and when they tweet about their blog posts, go read them.

    Visually, I don't have any real qualms with your blog. It has a standard blogspot look to it, which on the plus side means it is at least decently designed, as the person who created the template probably has some sort of design skills. On the minus side, though, it menas that the blog looks pretty darned generic. Visually speaking, it's not very memorable because it looks like about a zillion other blogspot blogs we've all seen before. See what blogspot will let you customize in terms of a banner graphic, the filler stuff on the sides (what is now that brown wallpaper-looking pattern), et cetera.

    Content-wise, if you're trying to write a writing blog, you should know a few things:
    1. Your own writing, at least as shown on the blog, had better be top notch. It's a credibility thing. You wouldn't buy shoes from a shoemaker who himself wore something that looked awful, so likewise, why should anyone take writing advice from someone whose blog-writing isn't squeaky clean? I'm not saying yours is or isn't, just that it's something that people who do writing blogs in particular must be aware of. Other bloggers, who talk about cats or pickle-fetishism or whatever, can get away with some sloppy writing because they don't claim to be good at that. But we do claim to be good at writing, so we'd better show it.
    2. You're a small fish in a big pond. Welcome to the club. :) There are a zillion well established writing blogs out there that you're competing against. A lot of them (if not most, although I haven't taken a survey to see) are by writers, agents, and editors who are already established in the industry. They get some credibility for free just because of that, regardless of whether they know what they're talking about.
    3. Pick a niche. A narrow, narrow niche. Until you become a successful, published author with other avenues to drive readership, the only way you can fight the big pond problem is to move to a smaller pond. You do that by switching from "writing blog" to "writing blog with a very narrow focus." You're appealing to an inherently smaller audience that way, but it's much easier for that audience to find you. For example, you might decide to focus on the much maligned adverb. Write about ways it's good to use them, despite the conventional wisdom. Write about why the conventional wisdom is, at the same time, still good advice. Read books from different genres and periods in history, and write about adverb use in them, and whether you felt it helped or hindered the work. Et cetera. True, there aren't going to be that many adverb-afficianados out there who will flock to your blog, you're likely to show up highly on anybody's google search for "advice for using adverbs" or similar. And that's what you want.

    Anyway. Think about your niche. Find something that appeals to you, that you think you can write consistently about, and that you can't find a successful blog already that's devoted to it. Then write about it to the very best of your ability.

  4. Jason,
    Thanks for stopping by. And for the advice. I'm not sure I want to make it an "about writing blog" or specifics on a technique or genre!

    Like the niche thing, now, just to find one!

    Thanks again for the helpful information and your time and thoughts on my behalf.

    Haste yee back ;-)

  5. Love the excerpt! Hope you get your agent soon. :-)

  6. Pam,
    Oh, it'll happen when it happens. Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm most pleased you like the *tid-bit* of GARN!

    Best of luck to you,
    Haste yee back ;-)

  7. This is an interesting story. Whose point of view? Pink Eyes or Danny? The details are fascinating. What is the whole story about? What about a pitch on the site with the story basics? I want to know what's going to happen.
    I read your comments intrigued because I have started two blogs recently to promote two different books. I would love your comments on either.
    amanda-griffith.blogspot.com, childofsouthvietnam.blogspot.com