j. leigh bailey

...because everyone deserves a happy ending


WIP Wednesday--Shiny New Idea

Posted by J. Leigh Bailey on May 15, 2013 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)


I have to finish my current project, ASAP.  The plot bunnies are going crazy in my head. A perfectly formed "blurb" formed in my brain and is demanding to be expanded into an actual manuscript.


Here it is: 


No good deed goes unpunished, and for 17 year old Isaiah Paulson, that's certainly the case.  He only had the gun to keep a friend from doing something stupid, and now he's expelled from school and sent to live with his missionary father in Africa. Africa for God's sake. His father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry--the young, surprisingly hot Do-Gooder who is spending his summer working with Isaiah's father--to pick him up and keep him out of trouble. But trouble has a way of finding Isaiah, and he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued or manage to find a way out on their own.


Okay, so that's the premise of Do-Gooder...  What do you think?

GOALS! I haz 'em

Posted by J. Leigh Bailey on April 24, 2013 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

At the recent Dreamspinner Press conference I attended, the awesome Andrew Grey--one of the most prolific authors I've ever met--gave a presentation on the business of writing and creating and achieving goals. I figure he knows what he's talking about. His 2012 goal was to write over 1 million words. And he did it!  Seriously! He dedicates himself to writing 3,000 words a day, rain or shine, with a day job and a life, and that doesn't count the editing required during the editorial process of getting his books published. Crazy. But, obviously, effective.



  This is the crazily productive Andrew Grey and the equally awesome Shira Anthony at the Dreamspinner Press 2013 Conference. 


So, since I'm still riding high with the great info I got over the weekend--and the focus that comes with it, I have outlined a very specific plan of action to achieve my writing goals for the year. And I'm publishing them out to the world in hold myself accountable.


Here's the plan:


Complete Nobody’s Hero by September 1, 2013

    Step 1—Complete Full Synopsis by May 15

        • Summarize/synopsize 15 chapters a week (3 a day for 5 days) for 2 weeks

   Step 2—Write –80,000 Words (or until finished with the draft) by July 1

        • 10,000 words per week (~1,500 words per day) for 8 weeks

   Step 3—Edit—Round 1—“Noting” for inconsistencies, plot holes, etc. Complete by July 15

        • “Note” 4 chapters a day ~7 days

        • Revised based on “notes” ~7 days

   Step 4—Edit—Round 2—Edit for Voice by July 22

        • Complete Brad’s POV ~3 days

        • Complete Danny’s POV ~2 days

        • Revise based on edits ~2 days

   Step 5—Send to Beta readers , returned by August 15

   Step 6—Proof read (Grammar, spelling, passive voice, technicalities, etc.) by August 15

        • Proof 2 chapters a day, 5 days a week, for 3 weeks

  Step 7—Revise based on Beta reader feedback, complete by September 1.

  Step 8—Send to Saritza on September 1.


So, what do you think? Do you find goal-setting to be helpful? How do you stay organized and stay on task?


Writing Workshops for Teens--I'm a Presenter!

Posted by J. Leigh Bailey on December 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

In April--yes, I know, that's like four and a half months away, but I've got to start planning for it now--I'll be participating in the Big 12 Teen Lit Fest in Rochelle, IL. In addition to helping judge the descriptive writing contest, I'll be presenting two break-out session workshops.

These are the two presentation/activities I'm thinking of doing:

Song Title Short Stories


As a group, take suggestions for:

5 song titles

5 music artists/bands

5 cities

5 favorite characters from books

5 book titles


Have participants write a scene incorporating as many of these titles/names, etc. as they can, in a way that makes sense (it needs to be a logical story).


Have participants read their entry out loud. The top five/ten people who are able to incorporate the most suggestions will win prizes.


Show vs. Tell Competition


After a brief explanation of what show and tell means, have the students break into teams of 4 or 5


As a way to illustrate the oft-cited “rule” of writing “Show, don’t tell” provide a list of “telling statements” and have the teams make a list of 3 different ways to “show” the same things.


Give an example:


--She waited impatiently for the bus.


--She checked her watch every ten seconds and glared at the empty bus stop.

--“Come on, come on,” she said, tapping her foot as she peered down the street, hoping for some sign of the tardy bus.

--“The bus is late again,” she muttered as she read the bus scheduled for the tenth time.


Rules: No Adverbs 


Read the answers aloud. If any other team has the same example (judgment made by presenter if in debate) neither team gets credit for the item. If the example breaks the “adverb” rule, the answer is disqualified. The team with the most unique phrases at the end of the game wins prizes.


I'm looking for some real input here. Do these activities seem both fun and educational/interesting for a group of teenagers interested in writing? 


Do you have any other suggestions for break-out sessions?