Friday, June 11, 2010

Free YA Audiobooks? Where Do I Sign Up?

Actually, you don't have to sign up. Or register. Or do anything but download free Young Adult audiobooks from Sync.

Sync is offering two free audiobooks this summer on their website from July 1 - September 1, 2010. Their selections are a matched pair, a reading list title with one fun read. A week later the next pair goes live. The 1st pair is James Patterson's The Angel Experiment with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which sounds pretty freaking awesome to me.

Librarians, educators, and bloggers are encouraged to spread the word. There's a PR tool kit with banners and posters and other goodies to help. There is also an audiobook community that you can join (if you really must sign up for something) to share ideas and social network with other audiobookphiles. Or whatever you call people who love audiobooks.

Happy listening!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stop Words That Kill Fiction

I'm on draft 4 of the NaNoWriMo novel. Still some big stuff to go, but I've been looking at some of little things, too. Like the words that totally creep into my writing without me even noticing. But actually not the first couple of times I've revised. Draft 4, yeah, they're pretty much popping up a lot and now I just really want to get rid of them.

Did you notice the stop words in the above paragraph? There are at least half of dozen sprinkled in. Stop words are one of concepts I learned in library school. These are words so common they don't rate on a search (such as "the" or "a"). And as a writer, they're the words I don't even realize I've written. But stop words in fiction are like bits of gravel that choke the flow of the story.

Since I'm writing YA, there is a fair amount of "I totally couldn't understand" or "I just want to be left alone" because many of these stop words are specific to a type of teenspeak. But the problem is when the sentence becomes "I just totally couldn't understand and I really just want to be left alone."

I've started a list of my stop words. After this draft, I'm going to search through the entire novel and get rid of as many as I can. Some are endemic to writers ("just" is one I see in manuscripts all the time), some are quirky to my own speech patterns (I noticed I used "a little" a lot.). The trick is deciding when a stop word adds to the story and when it chokes it.

Let's take a closer look at "just." Do a search for it on your manuscript. Are you surprised to see how many times it appears? Once, I saw it five times on a single page. Stops words are like the written equivalent of throat clearing, the um's and uh's of literature. They're insidious because you don't realize they're there until someone points them out.

  • actually
  • a little
  • a lot
  • apparently
  • even
  • exactly
  • finally
  • I decided
  • just
  • kind of
  • like
  • now
  • obviously
  • okay
  • pretty
  • really
  • seemed
  • so
  • some
  • started
  • still
  • that night/that day
  • totally
  • very
  • well
  • whole

Feel free to add to my list or start your own!


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