Writers Unite!

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Passionate writer and avid reader. I am writing my first Young Adult novel and working to get it published.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hunger Games mania

I was finally well enough to get out of my cave to go see the Hunger Games. For those of you who have been following my blog you know how I have been looking forward to seeing this movie for months. While there were some important ideas left out of the movie, I must say as far as movie-book adaptations go this one was pretty good.

I have heard a lot of rumors about people being upset that Cinna and Rue were black. I have one thing to say on this subject GET OVER YOURSELVES! Who cares that the characters are not exactly how you pictured them to be. I think Lenny Kravitz and Amandla Stenberg did an excellent job. Color should not matter. Race shouldn’t matter. All that should matter is if the actors do a great job portraying the characters, which they did. Cinna is my favorite character in the book and I love him in the movie too! That’s all I care about.

Okay now on to the other characters and the movie overall. Katniss Everdeen is a teenage girl who is forced to live in a world where she must be the strong caretaker for her family. When her sister Prim is chosen to fight in the hunger games, she volunteers to take her place. The book is in first person POV, which I feel is very hard for movies to show how the characters are feeling and thinking. You are left to guess through their expressions and actions. A lot of things are explained through dialogue by other characters. I feel Jennifer Lawrence had huge shoes to fill to portray Katniss and I think she did a great job.

I liked how the movie showed the people dying, but wasn’t too bloody. It was tastefully done in my opinion because let’s face it a movie about kids fighting to the death could have been very gory. This movie might just join my favorite book/movie adaptation list along with Harry Potter.
What did you think of the movie?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing's final until it's published

I wrote a spunkier query letter than I have before. I am still a little on the fence about sending it out, but then I figure what do I have to lose by sending it? Worst case scenario I get a rejection letter and the best, someone wants to read my manuscript. I need to find a good agency to send it to.

Meanwhile I ended up changing my beginning again. I say this every time I change it, but I feel like this one is better. It’s simple, which I kind of like. It’s not cliche and it just feels better. I’m sure a month from now when I change it again I will say the exact same thing. But that’s part of writing, nothing is final until it’s published.

It’s really bad because I have another story brewing in my head and I desperately want to start on it, but I’m not going to abandon my other characters just yet. However, I am going to write these ideas down that come to me, so when I am ready to move on I will have all of my ideas in one place.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Living with the insecurities

I have been sick and it’s really wearing me down. It seems whenever something is going around at work I am always the one to catch it. The worst part is the insecurities are able to grab a hold of me and I am too tired to fight them off. So for the past few days I have been trying to keep my hope up that someone will want to read my manuscript, but it’s hard to stay positive with my stupid insecurities slinking in and latching onto me like the leaches they are.

I do have a little hope and I am no where near the point of giving up. Once I am healthy again I will be able to fight back these evil thoughts with a stick, but for now they can hold on while the strength is drained from my body. Hopefully by my next post I can tell you they are gone, but I am too tired to think about that right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Connecting with nature

I finally went hiking in the mountains today. I have lived here for seven months now, so it’s about time I actually see this beautiful countryside. During my 5.7 mile hike I not only enjoyed the scenery, which was breathtaking, I took the time to work on my descriptions.

I observed anything that could be used in my writing, from the sound of my feet crunching on the rocks to the feel of the wind blowing on my face. I took pictures, so I can look back and remember the things I felt and thought during my hike. It was great because I payed attention to little things that I normally would not have thought of. Now all I can think about is how sore my feet are, but even that can be used for my writing.

Every experience is a potential element that can be used in my writing. Just being outside and immersing myself in nature gave me a better perspective on my characters. I think besides music, nature is my biggest inspiration in my writing. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you take a walk and pay attention to everything around you. Then come back and write it all down; everything you felt, saw, smelled, etc. Trust me: you will be a better writer for taking the time to try this exercise. If nothing else it will open your eyes to the world around you and make you a more observant person.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What's all this white space?

I missed a blog day yesterday, so I am going to make up for it now. Have you ever stared at a blank page, completely oblivious as to what you should write about? I am doing that now with this post. I keep writing whatever comes into my head hoping to break this current spat of writer’s block, but I don’t think it’s working.

So once I write what’s on my mind I just continue to stare because nothing is coming. Even as the words are formed on my computer screen I couldn’t tell you what the next sentence is going to hold. It’s kind of like my writing. When I have writer’s block I will just start writing whatever comes to me. Then I will usually go back and end up erasing everything I’ve written, but it makes my brain relax when there are finally words on this big blank screen. Too much white space seems to stress me out. I don’t know why. Maybe because the white space represents all the possibilities that could happen within this story, chapter, page, etc. Every white page becomes a challenge that must be overcome. I accept the challenge. I will win. This is why I can’t outline, some of my best ideas come to me while I am typing out my thoughts.

Sorry for the randomness of this post, but look at that: white space has been filled and this post is completed. Now back to writing my novel.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Quote of the day

Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “Failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.

~ Mary Pickford

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My turning point: Finding the writer in me

I follow Nova Ren Suma’s blog. She has a turning points series that makes me realize I am not alone. A lot of people have struggled to become the writers they are today. You can check them out at distraction no.99. Her turning points have been put on a hiatus while she is at a writer’s colony for a month, so I thought it would be a good time to write about my own turning point.

Just a dream

Writing to me is everything. When I was fifteen I began writing my first novel. I never finished it. Instead every year I would pull it out and add to it. Mostly I would end up rewriting the whole thing. I always wanted to be a writer, but I always thought writing my own books was just something I would dream about.

I pursued a degree in journalism. While I was in school I wrote for my college newspaper. I even worked my way into becoming the Assistant News Editor my final year. I could write news stories or opinion pieces no problem, but I secretly always wrote for myself. It was how I coped with my emotions. I would write poems, but I wouldn’t show them to any one. My creative writing was something I did just for me. I never planned to actually pursue a creative writing career. I thought I would become a journalist because that’s what I went to school for. I realized I didn’t want to write for a newspaper as a career. It didn’t make me happy.

Finding myself

Once I graduated, I was lost. I even went to culinary school thinking I wanted to became a food writer. It became more stressful emotionally and financially, so I quit. I no longer wanted to write about food. I felt like I was one step closer to figuring out what I wanted to do. I couldn’t get a job because I had no experience and I had no experience because I couldn’t get a job. One of my friends from college told me about a freelance writing opportunity for a local newspaper. I applied and a few weeks later I was called into an interview. I was excited when they offered me the job, but it didn’t take me long to realize I had thrown myself back into a career I didn’t really want for myself. On top of that I couldn’t afford to pay my bills with this job alone. I got to the point where I was working four jobs. I was depressed. I couldn’t picture a future for myself, and I was physically, emotionally, and financially drained. This wasn’t the life I wanted for myself.


I realized if I was going to ever be happy I had to decide to make the changes in my life. I quit my jobs and moved to Arizona to try to make a fresh start. I vigorously applied for all kinds of jobs. A month later I was offered a copy-writing position. It seemed like the perfect job. I worked 9-5 M-F and I had the weekends off. I told myself I was happy. This was what I wanted. It wasn’t.

I stared at a computer for eight hours a day, writing about boring topics. The money was good, which was nice since I have a lot of student loan payments. I felt like I was always struggling. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I was afraid I was going to lose this amazing job. Everyday I went home afraid that was going to be my last day. When I received my first review I wanted to cry. I knew I wasn’t going to last long at this company. This was my first real job and I was failing. I had never failed at anything. I even graduated a cum laude so this experience was new to me. The day they finally let me go, I thanked them for the opportunity and I walked out the door. I couldn’t even cry. I came home and I stared at the ceiling in my room trying to will the tears to come. I felt like a failure. I decided writing wasn’t for me. I thought I would never write again.

A light at the end of the tunnel

Losing this job was an eye-opener for me. While I am still ashamed that I failed at my first real job, I realize it was the best thing that could have happened for me. I knew I wasn’t happy there. Before I was fired I started dreading going into work every morning. I couldn’t see myself doing that job every day for the rest of my life.

During my month of unemployment I had time to reflect on everything. It just happened to be November and the beginning of NovWriMo. I pulled out my old novel. Tore it apart and began writing for myself again. This time I added my feelings into the situations. This time I finished the novel. I found my love for writing again.

That’s when I knew without a doubt it was time to try for my dream. I wanted to write my own book and this was the perfect time to try. I was young, single, and had nothing to hold me back. I am not a published author yet, but I hope to change that. I write and work everyday to reach my dreams. My struggles are far from over and there are still days I wake up afraid of the future, but there is no giving up this time. I have found who I am. I am a writer and I always will be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quote of the day

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

~ Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just keep on going

I have worked the past six days, so I am really tired. This post will probably be a short one. I continue to query agents. I reworked my query letter, so I hope I will get some bites. I also changed the beginning of my manuscript—again! I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to, that I was done changing things, but I couldn’t help myself.

This beginning feels more natural and flows better in my opinion. The next two days I will probably really start writing the next part of the series. Whether it gets published or not, I will finish this series. If I don’t, I think the characters in my head will never shut up.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race"

~ Calvin Coolidge

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What's your writing style?

I began writing my second novel. My mind wouldn’t stop bugging me, so I turned on my computer at 3am and just started typing.

I have wrestled over the amount of time that should lapse between the first novel and the second. I also couldn’t decide who’s POV I should start with. But like the first story I just started typing and let the story that wanted to come out write itself. I thought about writing an outline for this one also because it will have a lot more elements involved, but I think I am just one of those people who can’t plan ahead. I take one day at a time and I write my novels freestyle. It’s just who I am.

What type of writer are you?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Effort Quote

You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.
~Daisaku Ikeda

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The waiting game begins

I have officially begun submitting my query letter, so the waiting game begins. I want to remain optimistic, but I’m also a realist so I’m anticipating a good amount of rejections. I feel like I have just signed up to ride an emotional roller coaster. I will let you know if I crash going down the hill.

How many of you have submitted your query letters? Any responses yet? I hate that it can take months before someone contacts me back, if they contact me back. I will just have to learn to be patient. In the meantime I will start writing the second part of my book. That should kill some time and keep me preoccupied.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Information overload and my blog schedule

Sorry for all of the blog posts in one day. I have been keeping a blog on Tumblr, but for the past month it's been acting up on me. I can't access my pages without the website freezing. This is why I have decided to paste all my previous blog posts here. I wanted to keep them all in one place.

I know this is a lot of posts at once. But the new ones will come every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. On the other days, I will begin posting motivational quotes.

Put down the manuscript and step away, slowly

I think I like my query letter. It’s short, it’s professional, and it’s to the point. I still need to work on my two-page synopsis, but it’s coming along. All the main points are in it, now I just need to Jazz it up to make it sound appealing.

I am no longer going to stress over my query letter or my synopsis. When I think it sounds great. I will set it aside and reread it. Then I will check for spelling/grammar errors. Afterwards, I’m sending it off. I will never know if it’s truly good enough, if I don’t try. Besides, if I don’t I will keep rewriting my manuscript. I need to put it away and say it’s done. So it’s done! I rewrote the beginning and the ending—no more, I’m done! Once I send out my queries and am forced into the waiting game, I will begin writing the second part.

Stressing over a query letter? Don't

So from the past couple days of researching query letters and writing synopsis, I have come to the conclusion your writing is the only thing that matters. Yes you need to be professional and yes you need to address it to the correct people. But as far as finding a way to write the perfect query letter, that is up to you.

Follow the agent’s guidelines, so your query will be read. Then think about your book for a couple minutes. If you need to write an outline to help you, you may. Just remember the query letter is only supposed to be a page long. Agents are busy and they do not want to read a bunch of words.
Then write. Without thinking write the plot of your book. See what words come out. Try to keep it 1-2 paragraphs. If you have problems, you may want to go over your manuscript again because you could have a problem with the plot.

Finally, relax. I have been stressing over writing this query letter and the only thing I can do is make it the best that I can. Afterwards, it will be up to the agents if they’re interested in my book. What are your tips for writing a query letter?

Research, research, and more research

My research into the query letter is coming along. I have the first set of agents that I would like to send my letter to as soon as I polish it. I will post what I have come up with so far. The synopsis is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I read the back of my books to get some ideas, which was probably the most helpful thing I could have done. I was able to see how a 300-page book is shrunk down to just a few words. Here is what I came up with for my book:

Paige Williams thinks she is an average fifteen-year-old with an overprotective grandmother. She’s about to find out she’s a fheary—a cross between a human and a faery.

When a mysterious boy, Jay enters Paige’s life she begins to see and feel things that make her question her sanity. Jay’s interest in Paige might be more than an innocent crush. He has been sent by the Fhearie Queen, Diana to retrieve Paige who unknowingly holds the fate of the fhearies in her hands. As Paige is thrown deeper into this magical world, her family’s secrets began to unravel, revealing a dangerous plot that could end up costing Paige her life.

I’m not sure if I am going to send out this synopsis, but I feel like I have a start. I never thought writing a one-page letter would be so hard. I must have written twenty of these, before coming up with one I liked. And I’m still not sure. At least it is only the beginning of the month, so I have time to figure things out.

Making a list, checking it twice

I read my book for a third time. It only took me three days to edit this time. I only made small changes, which had to do with grammar. I am ready to begin my search for agents.

I went through all my books that I loved the other day, so I could figure out who represents some of my favorite authors. I have a nice start. There are still other agents I want to look into, but for the first batch of query letters I think I have my list. Now I am going to all of these agents’ websites to find out their submission guidelines.

I am also looking at examples of query letters and trying to write my “hook” which is a lot harder than you would think. I probably won’t send my letters out for another month. I am giving myself a month to perfect the query letter. If I need more time I will adjust my timeline, but as of now I am still on track for my writing goals for the year and I would like to stay on track. How are your writing goals coming along?

3 reasons to despise the query letter

I have officially started my research into the query letter. There are some things that have come to bug me about the whole query letter process.

You spend all your time making your novel as perfect as you can and then someone might not even read it if your formatting is off on your query letter.

Your book could be amazing, intriguing, unique, or the best thing ever written and it won’t matter if you can’t make it sound great in a query letter.

You have to describe your book in 3-5 lines. I spent two months writing it and another two months making it pretty, so 3-5 lines—okay, sure, no problem…

You have to write it and rewrite it, read it, revise it, then write it again to make it perfect because you only get one shot to impress an agent.

I wish my book could speak for itself or I knew someone who had an “in” with an agent. It would make my life so much easier, but I suppose nothing ever gets accomplished without a lot of work, so off I go to research more on the query letter.

Playing catch up with my editing

I have finished my first full edit. I am already on my second revision with the help of my aunt. I rewrote the ending, which I think makes much more sense now. At least I know my sister is happy with it.

I will be starting my research soon into query letters and literary agents. I should have more material to blog about soon. I will be sharing some articles and tips that I come across. Also if you have any advice on the dreaded query letter and would like to share with me that would be great. I am a newbie and learning all of this as I go along. Thank you!

My love affair with the comma

While going through my story for a third time, I have notice my tendency to place a , instead of actually ending a sentence. I think I deleted hundreds of commas from my book already.

I couldn’t tell you why I am in love with the comma. It’s much more dramatic to use a period over a comma, but I can’t seem to stop using it. I think I need to go to comma rehab. Do you have a love affair with a punctuation mark? If so, which one?

I must break this habit immediately if I want to become a better writer, but even as I write this sentence I cannot give up the comma. Oh, whatever shall I do?

Below I have listed some rules for the comma just to clarify to anyone who may question if the comma is truly needed. I have found nine times out of ten that I had to get rid of it.

Rule 1. Use a comma to separate three or more things like bed, shoes, and dog.

Rule 2. Use a comma to connect two independent clauses, but don’t make the sentence too long, so it doesn’t confuse the readers.

Rule 3. Use a comma when you want to include an add-on, which would make the sentence better.

Rule 4. I think this one is used the most during writing. Before a quote, “I would add the comma.” Or “I could add the comma at the end of the quote,” this amazing person said.

Rule 5. Use a comma, to avoid confusion.

Okay I am only posting five rules. There are many rules to the comma. It would probably take me all day to list them all, which I just don’t have time for. Why must you know these rules, so you know when you can break them, of course!

You must read The Fault in our Stars

I apologize for the lateness of this post. I had some technical difficulties. I honestly didn’t know what I was going to talk about for this blog post. In between the Internet deciding to work and now. I read an amazing book. The Fault in our Stars by John Green.

If you have not read this book I recommend that you do so immediately. It is about a girl dying of cancer who meets a boy. Inevitably they fall in love. A book like this can have no happy ending, but it does have some lessons to be learned. For instance, how strong is love? Does true love exist? These are questions that are asked in this book. I don’t think the questions are necessarily answered, but the way he goes about describing the sentiment of love is interesting.

I am not going to lie to you; this book made me cry. I don’t think I have cried so hard in a long time. Let me just quote a passage from this book and you can decide for yourselves what you think of his writing:
“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I’m in love with you.”

If you don’t love this paragraph then this book isn’t for you, but if it spoke to your heart the way it did mine, then please check out this book. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Great literary couples

In lieu of Valentine’s Day I will post a list of some of my favorite literary couples. These couples are the reason I love to read and also why no real guy will probably ever live up to my expectations. (Warning: some spoilers if you haven’t read Bloodrose, or the Hunger Games.

Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
Clary and Jace (Immortal Instruments)
Patch and Nora (Hush, Hush)
Magnus and Alec (Immortal Instruments)
Meghan and Ash (Iron Fey Series)
Sam and Grace (Shiver Trilogy)
Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter)
Katniss and Peeta (Hunger Games)
Sonny and Kelley (Wondrous Strange)
Rose and Dimitri (Vampire Academy)

With every great couple there is a person left behind, so let’s pay tribute to some of these poor souls.
Ren (Nightshade)
Damon (Vampire Diaries)
Adrian (Vampire Academy)
Gail (Hunger Games)
Eric (House of night series)

Here’s one more list for those famous ill-fated couples who loved too much and lost everything.
Romeo and Juliet
Tristan and Isolde
Lancelot and Guinevere (Queen of Camelot)
Heathcliff and Catherine (Wuthering Heights)

I didn’t include any unresolved love triangles because we will have to wait and see who will get their heart’s desire and who will be left behind. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Thanks for the support!

I would like to make something clear. I am very grateful for all the friends and family who are supporting me on my decision to write. The last post was in no way about any of you. I love you all and I thank you for your support.

Writing for a career is in a way choosing to isolate myself. It is not always easy. In fact there are days I want to throw my computer out the window. I have doubts and fears. It’s long hours and little pay, but I love it! I have always been a writer. I always knew I wanted to write. I am a writer heart and soul. I feel like there was never any other choice for me. My family has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Even when they don’t agree or understand; I have always had their support. They are the reason I have the strength to go for what I want. So to my friends and family I just want to say thank you for being there for me. It means the world that I have your support.

In other news:
I have four chapters to edit before I begin editing all over again. I sent my story to my aunt who has been sending me great feedback on word usage, plot, characters, etc. It has been a huge help. I feel like I finally have someone reading my story who understands the critiquing process. I still plan on sending it out by this spring and I think it should be ready by then, so I am still on track.

My writing, my choice

Writing is a profession. It may not make a lot of money and I may have to work another job to support myself, but writing is a job. I am working towards a goal. I write for myself right now and yes, I have dreams of seeing my work published.

I feel like people just don’t get it sometimes. When you ask me what I am doing with my life, I will tell you every time that I am writing a book. It is my passion and my life. I have put countless hours into this project. I don’t feel like it’s a waste of time. I feel like it has potential. I like having a job that pays the bills, but also leaves me time and energy to work on my writing.

I don’t have fancy things. I’ll be honest I am sleeping on an air mattress right now and I am lucky that I can pay my bills every month. Who isn’t struggling right now? They don’t call it a starving artist for nothing.

It makes me angry and sad when someone asks me when I am going to find a real job. I wish they would understand. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job, nor do I want one. I don’t want to waste my energy trying to achieve something that I don’t really want because I have done that. I feel like that’s time and energy that can go towards working on my dream. I won’t be in this position forever, but for now I am content.

If someone questions your dreams, just tell them life is too short to do what other people want you to do. I want you to know I understand how it feels. I can only speak for myself, but I think most writers would agree with this sentiment. So if you are a struggling artist, hang in there and never give up!

Punctuation: When is it okay to break the rules?

I mentioned in a past post about how reading is a learning tool for me. There has been something that has been bothering me, so I thought I would discuss it with you today. Is there a right or wrong writing style?

I am driving myself crazy revising my first draft. I want the punctuation to be perfect, but is there such a thing as perfect punctuation?

For example, I feel the use of fragments is very gray. I was told never start a sentence with and, so, or but. I was also told always write a proper sentence; no fragments allowed. I took a class where the professor threw all those strict rules out the window. He said fragments can be written as a form of style. And it was okay to start a sentence like this. It’s more of a personal choice. Kaye Dacus, romance writer, wrote a great blog about when you should or shouldn’t use fragments. You can read it here.

I think it depends on the meaning of your sentence. What are you trying to convey to your reader? Does your punctuation truly made sense or do you think it just looks good that way. You can call me a nerd, but I love reading grammar books that show you how punctuation can change the entire meaning of your sentence. A really good book is Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

If you think punctuation doesn’t matter, well look at this sentence and tell me if you can detect the difference in the meaning:
A woman without her man is nothing.
A woman: without her man is nothing.

This example came from Eats, Shoots & Leaves. There are all kinds of examples like this in that book. I recommend you pick it up if you have not read it yet. But to get back on target, I don’t believe there is any one right way to use punctuation in your writing. As long as you can spread your message the way you intend then I say break all the punctuation rules you want. It worked for Emily Dickinson —with the long breaks at the end—of her poems.

Editing with the help of caffeine

Thanks to a lot of caffeine in the past week, I only have seven chapters left to edit before I am finished with my first full edit. It took me a month and a half to write the first draft and it has taken me two months to get through my first edit. I am happy that I continue to make progress on this novel.

With the help of a large cup of coffee currently sitting next to me, I hope to finish two more chapters tonight. My last two posts focused on Fear and Doubt and I can happily say that for the moment both have decided to leave me in peace. After I finish my edit, I will have to go back through and edit again because I ended up changing some things half way through. It’s kind of tedious when you make a small change, like someone’s eye color and you have to go back and make sure the eyes remain the same color throughout the entire novel, but consistency is important.

I started researching literary agents and their companies. I have also read a lot of articles about the dreaded query letter, which I will discuss in more detail in another post. I can’t help wondering how do you know when you are ready to start querying. This could probably be another post in itself and I might turn it into one, but as I go through my edits, I know I have to reread at least two more times before it will be ready. After that I think I might just go for it and start querying. If nothing else, maybe I will get some feedback on the novel. I am happy to say that I feel like I am still on target for my new year’s resolution and my personal writing goals. How do you decide if your writing is ready to query?

Getting over Fear

As promised, this post is going to be about Fear. We all experience fear, but it’s how we deal with that fear that truly makes us who we are.

Last time I talked about Doubt and how its trying to hold me back. Well, Doubt is able to make me question everything, Fear has the ability to paralyze me if I let it. Fear of people not liking my book. Fear of never being published. Fear that my writing isn’t good enough. Here’s a little tip that I tell myself whenever Fear tries to get in my way: I remind myself that as of now all of these things could be true. I am not published and if I don’t try, I never will be. I won’t know if people like my book or writing if I don’t let them read it. My fears are irrational and I just have to keep telling myself that.

Sometimes, in order to push myself I will use my fear as a challenge. If I’m afraid of how someone will view my writing, I will give it to someone to read. I tell myself to keep going because I made it this far (i.e finishing the novel) so I might as well continue my editing. It is the only way I will know for sure if my writing is good enough.

It’s easy to let Fear take over and hold you back. I could give up on my writing right now and no one would be the wiser, except me. I am in that stage where I write for myself. I read a quote the other day that said, “Write what you want because no one cares.” I have this quote hanging on my wall as a reminder that I can do what I want. Now is the time to embrace my fear and just go for it because at this moment I have nothing to lose.

How do you get over your fear?

A demon called Doubt

That demon has been creeping into my head again. I am sure all you writers know exactly what demon I am talking about. It slithers like a snake and whispers terrible thoughts into your ear. Making you question every word or idea you have previously loved. You feel like you are on the right track and then Doubt comes along and changes everything.

I am in the middle of revising my novel and Doubt has decided to take up residence in my mind. Doubting whether my writing will ever be good enough? Are my characters strong enough? Does my plot make sense? Will other people like my novel? I am finding it hard to fight this demon off. I have to remain strong and positive or I am never going to finish this novel, but Doubt is trying its best to kill my motivation. I worked on my novel all day on Friday and I reached a point where I had to turn my computer off and walk away.

I am now fighting through another one of my chapters and Doubt refuses to leave my side. I get so frustrated that I want to scream sometimes. I refuse to let Doubt win. I am pushing through this chapter. I will win, I will win…win win win! This is all I can do to keep myself going. That and chant, “my writing matters to me.”

Have any of you had this experience? If so, what did you do to overcome it?
Next time I will talk about Doubt’s older, stronger brother known as Fear.

Sherlock and Watson: The first bromance?

I was reading Sherlock Holmes on my nook when I realized it only had the first twelve adventures. I went to the book store today and I found a complete Sherlock Holmes edition with the original illustrations!

I know Sherlock Holmes is a classic, but I had never read any of the stories before. I have seen both of the movies, which were great in my opinion. The more I read about Sherlock Holmes, the more I can see Robert Downy Jr. He really makes a perfect Sherlock Holmes. He portrayed his cynicism and arrogant personality really well.

I love figuring out the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. Arthur Conan Doyle created two characters who will do anything for the other one. Watson always comes with Sherlock even when he knows it’s dangerous and I think Sherlock finds comfort in Watson coming with him. He always warns Watson of the possible danger, but I think he knows Watson will still come along. It’s refreshing to read a friendship that doesn’t get destroyed by a female, at least I don’t think it does. Sherlock and Watson might have possibly been the first “bromance” in history.

The details in his characters mostly come to life through their actions and dialogue. And the creativity that goes into these mysteries, amazes me. For example, a woman being killed by a snake, which has been trained to climb through a vent and down a rope…I can’t stop reading, wondering what the next mystery and solution will be. So if you’re in the mood to read a classic with a mystery, then I highly recommend you take a look at Sherlock Holmes.

Why I love author interviews and chats

Have you ever taken time to participate in a live chat or read interviews from your favorite authors? If not, you should because there can be a lot to be learned by picking the brains of your favorite writers.

Goodreads is a great website to read author interviews or even participate in the live chats. I have read interviews from Cassandra Clare, Rachel Vincent, Becca Fitzpatrick, and many more. I love hearing how these books that I love so much have come to exist. Reading about published authors’ hardships and trials they encountered during their road to being published gives me hope.

For example: Did you know most authors have over a hundred rejections before they get someone to accept their manuscript? Their persistence and hope seems to be the only thing that keeps these amazing authors from giving up.

These interviews have taught me I need to believe in myself. I need to be patient and keep writing. Most importantly, I can’t give up, no matter what. Could you imagine life without Stephen King? I mean he is the King of scary novels. It took him over 700 rejection letters before someone saw the potential and now he’s a bestselling author.

Also, participating in live chats gives you the chance to ask your favorite authors about their own writing process. Becca Fitzpatrick answered a question I had about the Query letter and she told me good luck on my book! Most authors have blogs or websites nowadays, so it’s easier to contact them. But they get hundreds if not thousands of emails a day, so asking them during a live chat will be quicker.

Well I’m off to read another interview, I just can’t get enough of them!

Getting stronger every day

I think I figured out why I am having such a hard time editing. When I write I listen to music, which keeps me in my own zone. Music actually helps my ideas flow better for whatever reason. When I edit I need my full concentration because I am not just writing words down on a page. I am making sure everything makes sense, checking grammar, and everything in between.

I need the silence, but at the same time the silence is deafening. I have been fighting the urge to constantly play some music while I am editing. I know I just need to push through it. I was able to edit three more chapters today, so it is still coming along. I feel my descriptions are getting stronger with every chapter, which is also a good thing for me.

I have sent my edited chapters to some friends to get second and third opinions. I am still afraid to show people my work, but I am no longer letting the fear hold me back. It never hurts to see what others will say about my work, as long as it’s constructive criticism and not just negative feedback. My roadblocks are slowly becoming stepping stones leading me in the right direction.

Morning solitude

I would not consider myself a morning person, but there is something I love about the early morning hours between 4-6:30. It’s very peaceful and for whatever reason a great time for me to wake up and work on my novel. I don’t wake up at these hours very often, but every time I do I can get a lot accomplished in those few hours before the sun comes up.

The world is still asleep and I am not constantly plagued by the random sounds of living in an apartment building. I am free to reflect quietly on my writing. If you have ever woken up during these hours then I am sure you know what I am talking about. If you have not tried writing during these hours then I recommend that you do.

Perfect endings

I finished the Hunger Games and…Wow! It was messy and I knew not everyone could get a happy ending, but it was a satisfying one. Some people think the ending is all that matters. I happen to be one of those people. An ending can define if the series was worth your time reading. Audiences will usually feel cheated if questions are left unanswered and conflicts are left unresolved. I don’t agree that everything has to end perfectly happy, but it does have to have it’s own perfect ending. For Mockingjay it was about Katniss learning how to survive and of course choosing which guy she’d end up with.

I read that Suzanne Collins wanted to show the affects war has on children. I feel that she accomplished this in The Hunger Games Trilogy very well. This book was about a war and in war people die. No one is considered safe or off limits, which is also true in any finale of a series. I was very surprised by Mockingjay’s ending and I wasn’t disappointed. However, I did end up crying, but if you haven’t read the books yet I won’t spoil it for you.

I am a fan of the tragic open endings myself. This means important people die, but there is still hope for the main character at the end. These are the books that will make you cry and want to rip up the pages, but at the same time love every minute of that pain. I love writer’s who aren’t afraid to kill their characters. It takes a lot of guts to get rid of these people you spent months or even years creating. The characters become like your children and now that I have been writing I can understand this sentiment. You want to see your characters happy because you fall in love with them and you want everyone to love them too. The hard truth is some characters serve their purpose better by dying. I have always known how I would end my novel, but I have been playing with it more and more recently. There are things I want to do, but I’m not sure if I will have the courage to pull them off in the end. What type of endings do you like to read?

Editing = Progress

I have officially edited five chapters. The best part is I have yet to destroy an entire chapter in anger. I really feel like this is the best version yet. In the past I would have reread everything and wanted to start over, so this is a step in the right direction.

I feel like everything is making sense. It is much easier to go back through and add descriptions once I know what I want to be revealed and what I plan on saving for later. I also have a better sense of my characters through their dialogue and actions. A lot of people seem to story board, which makes it easier to add foreshadowing. My best ideas come in the middle of me writing a chapter, so I’m not sure if story boarding will help me. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as I know what I am doing and I am able to keep everything in line.

I keep a notebook next to my bed, so whenever an idea pops into my head I can just write it down. It is very hard not immediately working on the second part of the story, but I know if I want to see it published I need to finish polishing the first part and put all of my effort into that. Once I have sent it out to someone I will have plenty of time to write more waiting on an answer. Anyone have any advice to give about the editing process?

New Year's Resolution

Okay so I know this post is a little late since New Year’s Day is over, but it is still the new year, so I am going to write about my resolution anyways.

In the past my new year’s resolution has usually been about eating healthier or going to the gym more often, like millions of other people in the world. I am going to be honest those resolutions never lasted the month, so I am going to try something a little different this year.

My new year’s resolution is going to be about my writing. I will continue to write every day. I will finish editing my first draft. And I will send it off at least once to a literary agent. These are pretty big resolutions, but I know that if I stick to them I will be able to accomplish my goals for this year. This year is going to be all about my writing. I will pour my tears, sweat, and blood into my writing and hopefully by the end of this year I can look back and say this was a good year. What are your writing resolutions?

Good Distractions

I edited my third chapter yesterday. This editing has taken a lot longer than I thought it would. It’s taking longer to edit the chapters than it did to write them in the first place. I can’t exactly say I’m blameless for the process taking so long. I keep getting distracted by books.

First Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer, the third and final book in the Nightshade trilogy came out, so of course I couldn’t do anything else until I read the entire book. I have to say I loved it. If you haven’t read it yet I recommend you do so immediately. It’s definitely a book that pulls on your heartstrings.

I have also gotten into the dystopian genre recently. I must say I was a little iffy on these books at first, but now I can’t stop reading them. I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. It’s about a society that believes love is a disease. Everyone gets the “cure” for the disease when they turn 18. Each person is evaluated, which then determines her entire life. This includes career path, marriage partner, and how many kids. If you don’t get the “cure” or fight against it you will be marked as an “empathizer” which guarantees you a life of solitary confinement or a public execution. Delirium starts with a girl who can’t wait to be “cured” when she meets a boy who shows her there is nothing wrong with love in fact the idea that it needs to be cured is the problem with society. One of my favorite quotes in the book says, “Hate is not the worst thing indifference is.” The second installment in the series, Pandemonium comes out later this year. I can’t wait to read it.

I am still in the process of reading the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I just finished the first book and I can’t put the second one down. I was excited to see the movie before and after reading the books I can’t wait! Katniss is a badass and I wish I had her archery skills. Not to mention her ability to survive in the wild. I couldn’t imagine growing up in a world where the government can take your kids and place them in a fight-for-the-death competition for its entertainment.

So as you can see I have been very busy reading. I really need to get back on track and edit my own stuff if I ever want to see it published. What books have you been distracted by recently?

Listening to your own voice

It has been a while since my last post. I was traveling home and then the flu caught me. I am still on the mend, but there has been something on my mind that I would like to get out. It’s about writing for a career.

I’m sure all writers can relate to this feeling. Growing up we are asked what we want to do for a living. How come kids are allowed to be whatever they want to be when they grow up, but once we become adults the rules change? Have you ever notice how people are more accepting to kids dreams than adults. For example when I tell people I am writing a novel most of them respond with that’s great, so what do you do for a living. Some laugh. Very few are accepting and believe it can happen, including family and friends.

It’s no wonder people have problems going for their dreams when their support system fails them. It’s hard enough believing in yourself sometimes without the added pressure of no one else believing in you.

When I was home this past week. I told some of my friends about knowing I want to be a writer. There is only one I can think of that accepted the idea immediately. I actually got to the point where I was holding my breath before telling people what I want to do with my life because I knew the scrutinizing and judging would begin. It was a relief to have one friend look at me like I’m not crazy.

To be fair, my family supports me. I am just not sure if they believe writing is a career. My sister is a social worker, so she has a real job, while I’m a waitress and spend my free time working on my novel.

So this post is for all of you writers that have been through this feeling of people judging you for not having a real career. Writing is hard and it is work. You have to force yourself to do it some days and only other writers can understand this. Only a writer knows how it feels to work so hard on something and have someone else reject it or rip it apart.

We are strong and it is the writers who believe in themselves and can drown out all the noise around them that can make it. I believe I can make it and that’s all that matters. I would love to hear your trials of writing.

Imaginary literary boyfriends

I read a blog where someone listed their 2011 literary boyfriends, so I have decided to make my own list. I honestly don’t think I could put them in order because they are all great and hot in their own ways. I will list them and then you can feel free to order them in any way you would like.

  1. Patch from Hush, Hush series

  2. Jace from Immortal Instrument series

  3. Riley from Intertwined series

  4. Will from Infernal Devices series

  5. Jem from Infernal Devices series

  6. Ren from Nightshade series

  7. Luc from Personal Demons

  8. Gabriel from Personal Demons

  9. Ash from Iron Knight

  10. Damon from Vampire Diaries

  11. Cole from Wolves of Mercy Falls series

  12. Stark from House of Night series

  13. Rephaim from House of Night series

  14. Tamani from Wings series

  15. Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Wow that was harder than I thought it would be. There are so many great literary guys to choose from. I’m sorry if I have left anyone off it probably means I haven’t had a chance to read that book yet. Please let me know your 2011 literary boyfriends.

Learning by reading

I have been in my hometown for a little over a week now and I know I should be reading and editing my book, but I have been absorbed in rereading an old favorite book of mine, The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop.

I must mention that Anne Bishop was one of the first adult novels I ever read. I love how she can transport her readers into a world surrounded by empowering women, even the evil ones. Her detail is rich, which is the reason I wanted to reread it in the first place. I thought reading a book by a favorite author would help me with my descriptions. Like Anne I am trying to create a world that doesn’t exist, so I wanted to get an idea on how to pull a reader into an imaginary world.

Things I have come to find:
The characters have to be lovable, which is true for any book. If you can’t relate to or find any character that you care about then you will be less likely to finish the book.

The dialogue would be another important aspect to the book. A story is told a lot of times through dialogue. That’s where the humor and relationships come along. Dialogue is also the chance to let your character’s personality shine. Also dialogue moves the plot in the story.

Description really helps the reader envision the world being created. Whether its explaining the rules of that world or describing the color of a tree, description can and will help your story feel more real.

I am at the end of the third book now, so hopefully I will be able to get back to my editing soon. However, I did go on a book buying binge a few days ago so… maybe some more research is needed to strengthen my fictional world. Any body have any advice on how to make an imaginary world seem real?