Get Queried!

Two months ago I emailed a letter to a group called YA Stands.

On the first week of the month, YA Stands accepts letters for writers seeking help to improve query letters for their Young Adult manuscripts. It selects one writer and his or her query letter.

After writing several different drafts of the query letter for Sons of the Edisto, I wrote another. I still did not feel confident in it. The concept of Sons is simple. Two boys grow up in a town dominated by the cruelty of their fathers, and when people are murdered outside the town, they must decide whether to stand against their fathers or stand back while more people die.

When Nicole Steinhaus informed me my query was chosen, I felt like a beauty queen in a small pageant. I felt like I won something. To receive advice and critique is part of becoming a writer. Yes, becoming a writer. Learning how to accept and mold advice received is another art form.

I had challenges most writers face. I didn’t know how to put the information together. I put in parts of the book that somehow did not connect the central theme. Paragraphs did not connect. Trying to plug in the father vs. son and ultimate friendship heart of the book proved difficult.

Fool or not a fool, I decided why not give permission for Nichole to share it on the YA Stands’ blog. Last Monday, she posted the four rounds of my query letter. Find out what happened.

I recommend keeping up with the YA Stands’ blog or sending your letter the first week of the month. I am so grateful to have received the makeover on my query letter.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

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I So Had to Tell You First

Got your attention.

Good.

That’s what I wanted. Not to take up too much of your time. Since I am an ADD author and you’re beginning to wonder: What’s the point to today’s post, I’ll make it short …

as possible.

Here’s the deal:

I am working mom, who set many goals at the beginning of the year. I wanted to freshen up the blog, and before April hit, I thought I did a good job staying on my twice-a-week schedule.

While I have been lucky to meet my goal of publishing one story this year, I haven’t kept up with the schedule.

You say: Yeah, we noticed.

I say: Thank you.

Authors and writers love to set goals. We feel great when we meet them and wonder what goes wrong when we do not. Sometimes we want to block ourselves off from reality to write and meet those goals, but life comes in again like a goofy boss you want to hit. I’m thinking Office Space.

Yeah …

Life comes at you.

I a mom with a son who – as much as I love him – is the royal prince of my life. A job I love, which also takes away energy, and a wonderful husband. In addition everyday needs, my family and I dealt with a scare with mom’s health last month. We have been working together to set meal schedules and recipes, so she and Dad will eat healthier.

Time constrains all of us. We must make choices. As a writer close to completing several projects, I need time to edit and write.

I so wanted to tell you, the powerhouse readers, I am cutting my posts back to once a week on Sunday. I will continue to write about writing, books, pictures, family and cooking. I will still write and look forward to you reading!

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

The Mommy Scribbles: The Thing about Time

Almost two years ago I yelled at my Mom for taking my son, Charles, to get his haircut. No one told me. I was working, and everyone thought he needed a haircut.

Tonight, I told Mom something different.

“Take Charles to get a haircut,” I said. “Please don’t chop it all off.”

When my husband and I took Charles to the beach this past weekend, his hair looked like one of the fraternity boys who grow their hair out long and comb it over when the wind blew.

Medical coverage for Charles switched the name of primary caregiver to John, since he took him to his last two appointments.

Guilt rushed over me when I told Mom to take him to get his hair cut and when I saw the name change. In the past four months, I’ve worked more hours. No more than most people work.

Many spent this weekend celebrating their mothers. John surprised Charles and me with a trip to Myrtle Beach. I could not help feeling guilt when I was once a stay-at-home mom.

Add to it I schedule in writing time. I’ll admit it has been harder lately due to cooking dinners, busy spring weekends, Charles, and Mom’s health. (You’ve probably noticed I’ve fallen off my blog schedule a time or two.)

What makes a Mom?

No single recipe.

The truth is their all very different recipes and formulas.

A writing mom is among her child or kids like me scribbling notes while my son yells, “Monster truck rally.”

What better influence for a story than a boy whose hair has grown too long and loves his trucks?

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

No Matter Where

I grew up in a suburb outside Charlotte curious about everyone and everything from a place located anywhere but there.

I wanted to know what people ate, what they believed and why they believed it.

One constant in all of my travel, friendship and life experiences is the appreciation of landscape, cityscape and what people cultivate.

When I write, my favorite part of the story is deciding how my town will look or if the landscape is resonant of the narrow hills on which I grew. If the land flows alongside a river, or if is flat and full of golden corn.

True of many writers from the Carolinas, I’m attached the land and different cityscapes.

As a small city journalist, I studied the different structure of a town and how it influences the citizens.

As the wife of a Christmas tree farmer’s son, I learned what passion for land means:

It is something, in spite of all the words in the English language, I could not portray to you.

The passion of which I write is born and breathes with men and women like my husband.

A shot of my father-in-law’s farm where apple trees once produced fruit. The Christmas trees grew on another part of the land.


Flowers outside my father-in-law’s house.

My son, Charles, on a John Deere tractor in his grandfather’s barn.

Flowers Charles brought to John and me.


John does a project for his father where tomato plants will later grow.

On days I take my son to the park, John, my husband, reminds me he had worked on a farm. In his spare time, he and his siblings played in their imaginary world on the acres of their parents’ farm land. The garden provided food for their table.

As a reporter, I covered towns with an agricultural background. I understood terms such as grass fed beef and how a farmer’s soy bean crop was ruined by too much rain.

Now when I shop and cook, I go to a farmer’s market where my husband last summer restored the roof. Crops are grown by farmers from North and South Carolina. Anywhere else I shop I look for the same freshness.

Food, like landscape, inspires with its many colors, traditions throughout the world, smells and sounds.

Salad with fresh tomatoes and lemon as a garnish from the farmer’s market.

S

Salmon plated over brown rice and fresh cooked spinach, feta and onions.

Food from the land or city takes us somewhere we long for, even when we cannot afford the plane ticket.

We yearn for it.

It influences us.

Therefore, we imagine a place of which we write.

Where is your place?

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

Thurspiration: Bullet for a Book

English: A child studying
English: A child studying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Raise your hand if you’ve taken a bullet for your books.

Raise your hand if you’ve taken a bullet for your education.

Raise your hand if someone has threatened you because you deserve that right.


Courtesy of http://www.vitalvoices.org/node/3341.

In case you did not catch Time’s 100 Most Influential People edition, one teenage girl was on the cover. Malala Yousafzai and two girls were shot by the Taliban. She defended her right to an education.

I get it.

No one wants to study for a test.

But, imagine if you’re right was stripped from you because you’re a woman, handicapped, ADHD, diagnosed with schizophrenia, Christian, Jewish or Muslim.

It is easy to forget the books that surround us are not just a chore.

They’re a blessing.

It is easy to forget the literacy rate in some countries around the world is low, and that the people who do read are thankful for the fact they read more than most people I know, including me.

I think Malala Yousafzai is not only a heroine for women, but for the cause of literacy and education.

Go get your book.

Then spell out the words: Thank you.

By Rebecca T. Dickinson