This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Path of Freedom, Quilts of Love series

1858 North Carolina - When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple..

Highland Sanctuary, (Highland series - Book 2)

1477 Scotland - A chieftain heir is hired to restore Briagh Castle and discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world.

Highland Blessings, (Book 1 - Highland series)

1473 Scotland - The story of a highland warrior who kidnaps the daughter of his greatest enemy and clan chief to honor a promise to his dying father.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Looking to be Published? Write Your Own Ending For Love or Loyalty

#contest, #writing 

My publisher, Abingdon Press, is hosting a Write Your Own Ending contest for my novel, For Love or Loyalty, book 1 in the MacGregor Legacy

Duncan Campbell's hatred for the rival MacGregor clan nearly consumes him. He's not the only one who wants revenge for a lifetime rivalry between the two families. But when members of both clans try to forge a peaceful bond, what's left for Duncan?




You tell us! Write your own ending to For Love or Loyalty.
  • Write your ending as a post on your blog or GoodReads.
  • Post a link to your suggested ending on Facebook or Twitter, using the hashtag #Duncan, AND send a link to fiction@abingdonpress.com by June 30, 2014.
  • Ask your fans, friends, and followers to share, like, and comment to make your ending most popular.
  • If your ending is the most shared, I will send you signed copies of the entire MacGregor Legacy series, feature you and your ending on my blog, and will promote it with several national websites. The writer of the most popular ending will also receive a signed copy of the entire MacGregor Legacy series!
Click any link below to tweet this opportunity to your friends... and start writing!
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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why Jane Austen Would Be in the Slush Pile Today

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Jane Austen
Don't misunderstand me. I am a huge #JaneAusten fan and in many ways I believe she was ahead of her time. In spite of her popularity and movie success, if you compare the quality of her writing to what is required of writers today, she would not be published in today's market. In fact, her manuscripts would be allocated to the slush piles until the dreaded rejection letter arrived in her email box.

Getting noticed and published by a traditional publisher has always been hard for new authors--and each year it seems to get harder. There are so many industry standards and writing rules that authors must write by until they have the sales to back them up and they can break those rules.

1. Show, Don't Tell

Too often it is drilled into writers' heads to show a scene unfolding, don't tell the reader about it. Jane Austen breaks this cardinal rule throughout her books and in almost every scene she wrote. Below I have pulled an excerpt from Sense & Sensibility.

The carriages were then ordered; Willoughby's was first, and Marianne never looked happier than when she got into it. He drove through the park very fast, and they were soon out of sight; and nothing more of them was seen till their return, which did not happen till after the return of all the rest. 

Here is an example of how it could have been written to show rather than tell. I've written are article on The Big Show Vs Tell Debate.

Curricle Example
The servants brought the carriages around, leading with Willoughby's shiny black curricle. He extended his hand to Marianne. She beamed with excitement as her smile reached each glowing cheek. Accepting his assistance, she glanced up at Willoughby with trusting eyes full of adoration. 

He climbed in beside her and snapped the reins. The horses launched into a canter and the curricle rolled down the lane leaving a cloud of dust trailing behind them. Marianne laughed in delight and gripped her hat to keep it from blowing away.

2. Cut Unnecessary Words

While Jane Austen's writing style is of another time in our history when people generally talked different, the way she phrased her sentences is often too wordy. Today's readers would never tolerate such wordiness from a new writer, and therefore, neither would today's publishers. Below is another example from Sense & Sensibility.

The sudden termination of Colonel Brandon's visit at the park, with his steadiness in concealing its cause, filled the mind, and raised the wonder of Mrs. Jennings for two or three days; she was a great wonderer, as every one must be who takes a lively interest in all the comings and goings of all their acquaintance.

It could have been simply stated: For several days, Mrs. Jennings continued to wonder about the reason behind Colonel Brandon's sudden departure. 

3. No Head-Hopping, Stay in One POV

The chapters often begin in an omniscient POV, giving a general description of the scene and the feelings and viewpoint of each character. At various times the scenes will swap between Elinor and Marianne's point of view, and on occasion, even their mother within the same scene. Writers today are not allowed to head-hop, which is switching from one character's POV within the same scene without a transition, scene or chapter break.

4. Be Consistent

This may have only been an editing mistake, but there are times when the girls' mother is referred to as Mamma and as Mama. The spelling variations are not always consistent. Writer's today are taught the rule of consistency. If we choose to spell something one way, stay with it throughout the story. For example if you start out spelling inquiry, you cannot later use the spelling of enquiry.

I have only listed a few cardinal writing rules, but these few are enough to cause a new writer of today to be rejected by most publishers. Jane Austen would not be published by today's standards without further editing. Because her work is well-known and considered a classic, today's readers still buy and read her work. She still sells more than most midlist authors of today.

What about you? When you read a Jane Austen novel, does it bother you to read through the wordiness and the difficult writing style? As a reader, you may not be aware of these writing rules, do you notice these issues in an author's writing?
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Have you read Awakened Redemption

Don't miss this new Inspirational Regency by Jennifer Hudson Taylor. To learn more about Awakened Redemption, click here!