Monday, June 19, 2017

A Convenient Risk by Sara R. Turnquist (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT



I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by author Sara R. Turnquist, who shares...

Can My Writing Be TOO Tight?
by Sara R. Turnquist


As writers, we're frequently told to tighten our writing. It's a common thing. I mean, how many of you have sat in a critique group and not heard that mentioned at least once? 

Believe me, tightening our sentences and paragraphs in general is a good thing. But can we do that to the point where it becomes a negative? Let me tell you about my first experience pitching to an agent.

Too tight? What does that mean?

I attended my first conference. I was so excited (and nervous). Despite the fact I didn't know to sign up for an agent appointment ahead of time, I snagged the last appointment on one of the agent's agendas. Whew! One barrier crossed. Now cue the nerves. But I had been practicing my pitch; I'm really ready to go. And you know what? He liked my story. Truly. He was rather intrigued by my characters, their arcs, and the history I had pulled in. So he asked me to send in the first however many chapters.

And I took the next day and poured over those chapters, making sure everything was how it should be. Hit "send", breathe again. When he responded later that day, I got the most curious feedback I could have ever imagined: "Your writing is too tight." What? Is that possible?

So, I called my writing mentor. Have you ever heard of this? Too tight? Nope. She's got nothing. Never heard of that. I search the Internet. Nothing. All I can find is "How to Make Your Writing Tighter". What am I supposed to do with this feedback? How can I take this and improve if I don't know what this could mean?

Maybe there is no such thing…

Fast forward to my next conference. I schedule appointments ahead of time (learned my lesson). Only this time, I scheduled a Mentor session first and an Agent session second. The Mentor read the same first page the agent at the previous conference had looked at. Her response? "I wouldn't call it 'tight', I'd call it concise...and that's not a bad thing. But as I went through it, I didn't get a picture of what your main character looked like."

Oh. So, I've tightened it to the point, I've left out some necessary description. Maybe that's what that first agent meant. So, I take the manuscript, add in some description. Now I'm golden, right?

Now I get it!

Well...that's not where this story ends. At some point along the way, I decide to do a 10K day. That means a lot of writing, right? At some point in the day, you get to a point where you let loose your internal editor and just write.

And something clicked. As I'm writing that day, I found a rhythm to my writing that had not existed. I discovered something else. In my striving for tight writing, I had lost flow. 

There wasn't the smoothness to the manuscript that should be there.

So for me, I would say that yes, there is such a thing as writing that is too tight. As a general rule, I would say newbie writers need to strive for more tight, concise writing. But the "sophomore" level writers out there need to make sure they aren't sacrificing a nice flow for the sake of tightness.

There's my two cents, for whatever that's worth.


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A Convenient Risk
by Sara R. Turnquist

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GENRE: Historical Romance

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BLURB:

He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.

Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle ranch and life insurance policy. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.

Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, adding to her frustration and grief at her loss. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang. What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?


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EXCERPT


A strong arm grasped Amanda, catching her upper arm and dragging her onto the horse. As soon as she was solidly on the animal, she grabbed ahold of Brandon as tightly as she could.

They took off. The bull pawed at the ground, making all manner of grunting noises, but as if by some miracle, he ran off to the left. All of this happened as if time had slowed.

The horse continued to push forward. And as they neared the edge of the fence, Brandon urged the horse to go even faster. Were they going to break through? What would happen to the cattle with the fence destroyed?

But as they approached the fence, the horse leapt. Amanda gripped Brandon impossibly tighter. Jolted when the horse landed, her teeth chattered.

Only then did Brandon slow the horse. He then placed a hand on her upper arm and pushed.

She released him.

He sucked in a deep breath and expelled it.

Had she been holding him too tightly? Her face warmed.

He took hold of her shoulders. “Are you all right?”

She nodded, and though their faces were but a breath apart, she was not quite able to meet his eyes, fighting tears in her own. Only then she found herself staring at his bare chest. Jerking her head away, she averted her gaze.

“Do you realize what could have happened?” His voice rose.

She nodded, still not able to meet his eyes. The force of his emotion hit her. Was he so concerned after her?

“I would have had to shoot that bull.”

What? Eyes wide, she tilted her face up to look at him.

“That bull is worth half my herd.”

So he was only worried about the cattle. Not her. His precious cattle.


Amazon

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Sara is originally from Middle Tennessee. After a short stint in Memphis, where she earned a degree in Biology and began a career as both a Zoo Educator and a Sleep Technician, she then followed a dream to work for a large zoo in Orlando, FL as an Educator. Once she and her husband started their family, they moved back to Middle Tennessee where they currently reside. Sara and her husband now enjoy a full life with their three beautiful and very active children. She enjoys many creative outlets – singing, piano, drawing, drama, and organizing anything. And even though she has enjoyed her career as a Zoo Educator, Sara's great love of the written word continued to draw her to write. She has always been an avid reader and, for many years, has been what she terms a “closet writer”. Her travels and love of history have served to inspire her to write clean Historical Romance. Sara has made several trips to the Czech Republic. Her time among the Czech people and the landscapes of the country inspired her and greatly influenced her work on her debut novel, The Lady Bornekova, set in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic. Sara is also the author of The General’s Wife, Off to War, Hope in Cripple Creek, and A Convenient Risk and a member of ACFW.


Twitter: @sarat1701
Facebook: AuthorSaraRTurnquist
Pinterest: SaraVTurnquis







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GIVEAWAY




a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here




28 comments:

  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win )

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    1. Thank you! And best wishes on your entry!

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  2. Thanks for hosting! Anyone else get strange feedback about something?

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    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to interact with my visitors, Sara! Sorry that you are getting strange feedback, I hope it was brief. Good luck with the tour.

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    2. Thanks! This was really the only piece of feedback that made me so confused. I always try to learn from feedback in all areas of my life. We're always learning on this journey, right?

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  3. Good luck with your book and thank you for the generous contest!

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    1. Thank you! And good luck with the contest!

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  4. Hey Sara, thanks for the post. I had never thought about writing "too tight"--will definitely keep that in mind. I know how much I love sensory details in my reading. Congrats on the blog tour! See you at the next stop. :)

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    1. It is a strange bit of feedback, Nicki, isn't it? But the discovery process as to what the agent meant has really enhanced my writing :-)

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  5. I liked the excerpt, thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Rita. This scene (in it's entirety) was one I had a lot of fun with!

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  6. I guess flow could get sacrificed through terseness...

    --Trix

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    1. It certainly can...and, at least for me, I was so focused on keeping things tight that my writing just wasn't flowing nicely. That feedback, though strange at the time, has helped. Most feedback, when taken with an open mind, really can enhance one's craft.

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  7. I just love the colors in this cover! Looks like an awesome read for this summer.

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    1. Thank you...wish I could take credit for the cover, but the graphic artist I go back to over and over, Cora Graphics, is to thank for the colors/cover. She is amazing! But the story you will read behind that fabulous cover, that I can smile, thank you, and claim. :-)

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  8. Thanks for hosting! Hope you book is a great success :)

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  9. This sounds like a great book, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing the excerpt :)

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  10. I like the cover for A Convenient Risk but I like the blurb even more. It sounds like a great read, can't wait to see how Billy the Kid & his gang play into this story.

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    1. Thanks! Happy reading! All of my books are "anchored" in history by a historical event or person. Billy the Kid was definitely one of the more outrageous figures I have researched and written about.

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  11. I tend to be concise, so if I wrote it would most definitely be too tight.

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    1. I bet you would find your flow in writing just like I did :-) I just needed more practice.

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  12. Great excerpt I really enjoyed it thank you.

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    1. Thank you! It's a great scene (especially when you get to read the entire scene).

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  13. This book is "my cup of tea", looking forward to reading it!

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