5 Courses of the Rough Draft – Are you hungry yet?

Rough Drafts can be a tricky thing. The process that one author takes will look completely opposite from that of another. Each of us have our own style, techniques, and rhythm we abide by – even if we aren’t aware we stick to a routine.

For a while I felt the pressure to write my manuscripts the same way other authors would write theirs – and in the same time frame! One of my favorite authors regularly blogs that she can write a book in about a month. Another friend I spoke to yesterday said she’s lucky to get one manuscript done in a year’s time. And I even have a friend who said she’s always been such an editor, that writing is a very long process – a single novel of hers is now in the 3-4 year range, and still not complete.

The more I read other blogs and talk to fellow writers, it’s clear there is no cookie cutter way to write a story. Everyone is different, every writing process is different, and these are all good things. Some of the most successful authors publish multiple books a year, but even more authors publish only 1 per year, or 1 every few years. There is no rule that says a writer must produce a certain amount of work to be a success.

We’ve been called to write, and that’s what we need to do.

Here is the process I take when writing my own rough drafts: Continue reading

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The humility of reading books and exercises of gray matter

One of my goals for the New Year has been to read more books on the art of writing. I’ve read a few books here and there, but have always been afraid of becoming one of ‘those writers’ who only ever read about writing, without ever actually doing any writing. Eep.

I’ve heard about ‘those writers’. They read and read and read, yet never actually put pen to proverbial paper, chasing after a writing perfection that very well may never be achieved. I decided over a year ago that it was time to give up my perfectionistic behavior, beginning the journey of publishing my set of serial books. So, reading books about writing books? Well, it just seemed like I could better budget my time, to be quite honest.

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Do you have thick skin?

Here’s a little secret about me: When I was young, I wanted to be an actress! No lie. I got bitten with ‘the bug’ around age 11 and even went to a theater arts performing high school to prepare.

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And then I became a senior and was about to graduate and had to decide if that’s really what I wanted to do. Person after person told me that I’d better develop ‘thick skin’ if I was going to make it in the world of entertainment, since I’d face tons of rejection with the possibility of ‘making it’ almost nil.

I caved. I became a music major, instead.

It’s not that I didn’t love acting. I just didn’t love it enough to invite that amount of rejection and anxiety into my life, when so many people told me I wasn’t going to be able to handle it. That only ‘the toughest’ could truly made it. (Tough isn’t a word I’d use to describe my young adult self.) Continue reading

Parties and snowflakes and books that are finished! These are a few of my favorite things!

So, I just looked and saw the date of my last post on my blog. *blush, blush* Has it really been that long? Is it any consolation that I’ve been using my time writing and editing? Oh yeah, and throwing birthday parties, playing in the snow and getting back into the groove of school. (Isn’t Christmas break the best?) 

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Having said that, I’m here to say I have not forgotten my New Years declaration of having a giveaway each month! I’ve just been building the anticipation! Check back in the next few days to enter to win this month’s exciting prize! 

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Other than that, I’m happy to say I’ve fin.al.ly finished my last revision on my book and it is now happily in the hands of beta readers who (I hope) are devouring it this very minute! And you know what that means? I’m one step closer to having it available for purchase later this year! (Hopefully, not too much later 😉 )

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Interested in being a beta reader for me? Feel free to shoot me a message so we can talk details. I’m always looking to expand my list of readers and their valuable feedback! 

Happy reading, friends!!

P.S. This is my 100th Blog Post! Celebrate by reading a good book! 😉 

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Story Rx: It’s all in the details…

So, I recently glanced through one of my manuscripts that I hadn’t seen in a while. Partway through, I noticed that I had a child character speaking differently from the others. I honestly couldn’t even remember why I had her speaking like that in the first place. A quick review from earlier in the script showed that she was missing her two front teeth, hence my desire to have her ‘speak’ like she would sound.

Here’s the problem: I had just been reading the tail end of the story, and there were no alterations to her speech. I had forgotten to continue having her lisp throughout the novel. ‘Not a big deal’, you might say – go back and change her speech throughout the story. But then I asked myself, ‘Was it was really needed?’ 

Here’s what I came up with:

No.

Yes, details are certainly important in a novel, but knowing when to make them take center stage, is essential.

1. Know your limits. Did I really need to write out how a six-year old would sound if she were missing her two front teeth? Actually, probably not. She’s a minor character, not in every scene, so it’s likely the reader will have forgotten that back in chapter 1, there was a reference to her missing incisors. Not that giving a minor character a nice juicy physical flaw wouldn’t add to the overall arc of the story – it very well might. But as soon as I stated they were missing, then had her speak, the reader’s mind would likely automatically fill in that blank of how she would sound. And if they didn’t, would it harm my story to have them not hear her that way? No, it wouldn’t. Therefore, I can safely leave that small detail to the readers imagination. Not having to focus on this smaller detail of my novel frees me up to target other major details that do need my attention. Knowing which details to keep in your manuscript is key.

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Less is More

So, I’m about to lend out Fallen Ashes’ to some beta readers, to (hopefully) enter the final steps of revision. As I went back through my manuscript today, I realized I had cut almost 10,000 words with this last revision. The crazy thing is, I didn’t take out any major scenes! In fact, I added or extended a few. Yet, I lost almost a tenth of the story?

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Well…. I’m here to say, that’s actually a good thing!

You see, my friends, I’m wordy. Wordy, wordy, wordy, wordy! I like to talk (oh yes I do) and when I write, I write like I talk!

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I’ll never forget handing a (very) early copy of a manuscript to a friend to read through for me. Her only criticism was, “Well… it’s very descriptive.” Hrrmmm… I had no clue if that was a compliment or not! 

Looking back, I’m glad she said it. It’s helped me to become better at what I do.  Continue reading

Do you self publish?

I had a discussion with a friend today, a familiar topic which seems to come up a lot, when talking to people about the progress of my writing. Which is better, to self publish or take the traditional publishing route? 

That is such a loaded question, people.

Until this point in my life, I’ve only had experience with one side of the equation, as all of my books have been self published. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t done quite a bit of research on traditional publishing, as well. I had to, to have come to the decision to self publish in the first place. Plus, I have a few friends who have gone the traditional publishing road and have learned a few things through them, as well.

So I thought I’d write a post about the pros and cons between the two – or what I know of the two, anyway. I’m sure there are many more good and bad points that could be brought out. 

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Be brave… you’re gonna fail.

This morning I had the privilege of hearing author Shawn Smucker speak at a local Writer’s meeting. It wasn’t a “how to” workshop, or the Top Ten Tips on getting published. It was just a guy sharing his journey of writing, publishing, then writing some more. And ya know what? It’s exactly what I needed to hear. I may not have walked away with pages filled with notes on the do’s and don’ts of writing, but hearing his stories and thoughts were exactly the encouragement I needed. And it just so happens I wrote a few of his thoughts down. 😉

1. Be Brave. Yes, you’ve heard this a million times over, but now you need to believe it. To write is to bear your very soul on paper. It is to put your most secret thoughts into a place where anyone in the world can view them. It is scary. Very. scary. But it’s what we do. Writing is what makes the pulse in our veins, continue to flow. It is what makes us writers, human. If you have something to say, say it.

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“Fallen Ashes” – Where are you?

So, last summer I did a big cover reveal for my upcoming novel, “Fallen Ashes”. I got a ton of positive feedback and have since then had multiple people ask me when it’s coming out! 🙂

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If you’ve kept up with my last few posts, you’ll know I’m participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge – specifically to revise this novel. I’m here to report that things are going swimmingly! 😉 I’m about 1/4 of the way through the novel and have had a couple medium-ish sized re-writes. I do anticipate quite a large re-write coming up near the middle. But I’m hoping that the end is strong enough that revision will go faster by the time I get there. 🙂 Continue reading

NaNoWriMo – Day 6

Almost there! Tomorrow will be one full week into 2014 NaNoWriMo. How is it going? Have you begun writing yet? What are you writing about? Are you going in circles trying to even get started?

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Yeah, I’ve been there, too – no shame, my friends!

I’m happy to say that for this NaNoWriMo, I’m well into my project of doing a major edit on my novel, “Fallen Ashes”. Each night I lie in bed and think about the story, where it’s going and how I’m inspired to make it better. Counting the chapters I have ahead of me, I’m well aware that I won’t be able to finish a full edit on the manuscript by month’s end, but I’m up for the challenge to get as far as possible! I’d love to get it into the hands of a few Beta Readers by the New Year! Continue reading