Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

help guys! I need some male vocab! August 4, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:38 pm
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I was once told, “Guys don’t say ‘cute.'”  That’s a problem, because I’m editing Grace Awakening Myth, and Ben thinks ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ rather frequently.  If I need to kill the word cute, but somehow get the same idea across, what words should I use?

What do you say when the girl you adore is so uncoordinated around you she can barely walk?  When she blushes whenever she sees you?

When I was that girl, I remember a lot of knowing grins, and I’ve got that, but what word would be in his head to describe his affectionate amusement?

Help!  Please leave your suggestion in the comments below!  Thanks!


sewing with words June 10, 2012

Filed under: Grace Awakening Myth,Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 6:20 pm
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When I write, I craft individual scenes.  When I have enough of them, I sort them out and put them in order, then I write the ‘in betweens’ that fill out the plot and ensure comfortable transitions, proper development of tension, etc.  After than comes the editing and additional padding or trimming that make things tidy.

It’s a bit like making a quilt of words.   First are the blocks, individual chunks, that are arranged into an attractive pattern.  They don’t stay together, though until they’re backed, and stitched down.

So, I’m quilting the final stitches in the third book of the series, Grace Awakening Myth today.  I think I’ll be done by bedtime.   Then off it will go to the first round of beta readers who will see if they find any holes in the structure and composition.  I’ll darn up what I need to, and then it will head off to the editor, who will trace the pattern for the final quilting.  When it’s all done, the next adventure will begin!

Another couple thousand words to stitch, and this word quilt will be done.


The publishing process August 26, 2010

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 3:37 am
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I was just asked by a budding novelist to tell something about the publishing process. Here was my rather abbreviated response:

The best suggestion I can give you is to spend a lot of time on reading articles and chatting on the forums. A subscription to the magazine is also very worthwhile. It’s an excellent manual to the process of getting published in a variety of genres.

In my About Me section there are links to some writerly organizations you may want to check out.

My own personal experience with the process is given at   See the article (link at the bottom of the page) called The Story of Grace.

The simplified version of the process goes something like this:
1. write your novel
2. edit your novel 20 times, cutting 10% each time
3. leave the novel for a year
4. read it again, re-write all the parts you now realise are crap
5. send out query packages to agents and/or publishers (cover letter identifying your credentials and a bit about the novel, a one page synopsis of the novel, a 10 page sample of the novel)
6. get a lot of rejection notices in the mail- make particular note of any suggestions given by professionals about your manuscript, fix them
7. get an offer to publish
8. negotiate a contract, get a cheque for your advance
9 (at this point, the publisher may leave your ms in limbo for years. It might never actually be published, even though they paid you for it)
10. edit with the publishers’ editors. They will force you to make painful cuts
11. see a published copy!!!
12. work with the publishing house marketing team to publicize your novel
13. wait for royalty cheques to roll in! 😉 (One friend tells me he sometimes gets royalty cheques for amounts like $1.32)


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