So I’ve been working on revisions for my current WIP, Varying Degrees of Blame, a young adult contemporary novel. I have a notebook for each story I write where I keep notes and ideas. I’m not a big plotter, but I do a little of it. Or character sketches. Or whatever.
On the first page of the notebook for my current story are two names. Zander and Kylie. Originally, Zander had been my boy mc, and some of my beginning notes use that name. I don’t remember why, but I ended up using Christian instead. And now when I look back, I’m like, Zander—that is so totally not right. It doesn’t seem to fit him at all.
Which is funny because I can’t really tell you what Zander looks like. It’s just not the boy in my story.
Most of the time, once I’ve chosen a name for my mc, I stick with it. Secondary characters names may change, but rarely a main one. And I wish I could remember why I changed Zander’s name to Christian.
But now I’m curious if others do this. Have you ever gone back into your old notes and seen where you’ve changed the name of your mc, and does that original name just seem foreign now? So much that you wonder what you were thinking almost using that name?
Or is it just me?
I’m sure you’ve been seeing all the other writers doing The Writing Process blog post lately, and I was nominated by my friend Chloe Banks, who did her post last week. So now you will know all about my writing process.
What I’m working on: I have so many manuscripts that need work. I did a lot of writing before I knew how to do it. So these manuscripts will need a ton of work, and eventually I’ll get to them. But right now I’m working on a contemporary YA about two foster kids. I just gave it to two more betas and hope to start querying maybe by summer time.
How my work differs from others in its genre: I usually go for stories that are about the struggles of teens, whether it’s by their doing or someone else’s. A lot of time in these kinds of stories, the parents are not ‘good’ parents—which of course leads to those problems, or they’re blind to what’s going on with their teens. With my current story and some others, even though I have those bad parents, I also have ‘good’ parents who have a big impact on the main character’s life.
Why I write what I do: I just love to see how my characters grow. Their struggles are real, and they often make bad choices at the beginning, but usually… by the end, the new choices change their lives in a positive way.
How my writing works: I’m more of a pantser. I start off with a basic premise and write. More often now, I start thinking about character traits at the beginning, but I don’t necessarily have it all plotted out. Sometimes I’ll have the turning points, but other times I don’t know until after I start writing. Sometimes I won’t have the ending planned out yet.
It’s different for all the stories, and since I write fast, I end up spending 10x the amount of time editing.
So that’s about it. How about you?
I recently read a post by a friend who admitted she was an insomniac. Since she was talking about getting her novel finished, I assumed she was saying she did a lot of writing at night. And this got me thinking about myself and others.
I’ve seen some people say they write better in the early morning, and others in the evening.
I’ve done both. Written at 6:00 am and stayed up until 2:00 am.
For me, it doesn’t really matter the time of day. What matters more is that it’s uninterrupted time AND if the story is flowing well out of my head. That may be in the early morning, afternoon, or later at night.
So I’m curious how it is for others. If they write better a certain time of day, or if they’re more like me where the time doesn’t matter.
(I apologize if there are a lot of mistakes in this post, because although I really like getting my sleep at night, right now I am wide awake and it’s 5:00 am.)
So last week was the release day for a fun new book by two of my friends. Theresa Paolo (writing as Tessa Marie) and Cassie Mae (writing as Becca Ann). I love both of the ladies and even got to meet them for real—not just online!
And I also get to read lots of their stories. Ones that have been published and ones that will be published.
Their first collaboration—King Sized Beds and Happy Trails (that title alone has to peak your interest, and you can read the story blurb below) got me thinking about how lucky I am.
I started this blog in September 2011, and I’ll admit it was kind of lame. (Blogging definitely has a learning curve.) I’d read in other blogs about writers who had these great critique partners and lots of writer friends.
But I had none. And I was kinda jealous of that. But it’s not like I was going to run out there and say, will you be my friend? (Even if that would’ve worked, I probably wouldn’t have done it.)
Then I met this writer in early winter 2011 and we beta’ed each other’s stories. Then I met more writers. And I met Cassie Mae at the beginning of 2012. Then Theresa a few months later. And then they let me start reading their work.
Now a few years later, I know a ton of writers. Some who are like me and haven’t been published yet. But so many more who have published with traditional houses (or are on their way there.) And many who’ve successfully self-published.
It’s so cool to know all these awesome authors. They’ve helped me grow as a writer, and I get to read all these terrific stories, like King Sized Beds and Happy Trails. And eventually, when I am published, I’ll have some terrific resources who’ll help me get through the whole process.
So I hope you all have those supportive writer friends too. And if you don’t yet, have patience because it doesn’t happen overnight.
King Sized Beds and Happy Trails by Becca Ann and Tessa Marie
Lexie Boggs needs out of her house… away from her alcoholic mother and far away from the “white trash” label that’s been smacked across her chest. She’s saved every penny from her multiple jobs so she can dart out of there as soon as she graduates. But there’s something else she wants so badly she’s willing to spend every dime she has. Her senior class trip and the chance to seduce the senior hottie, Sean Dixon.
Ryan Parker knows how much college means to his best friend, Lexie. He also knows Sean is a player on a search for how many girls he can get in his bed. So instead of letting Lexie drain out her piggy bank, he forks out the dough to get her on the senior ski trip. Not only because she’s his best friend, but because he’s face-planted in love with her.
When Ryan and Lexie get jammed in the same cabin, with one king-sized bed and a whole lot of history, Ryan fights to keep his feelings hidden, while Lexie discovers some of hers
You know what’s coming up? The A to Z Blogging Challenge. And yes, it’s not until April, but I need to plan. No way can I pull it together last minute. Too much stress.
I’ve actually known for a while what I’m doing. It has to do with music, and it’ll take a lot of pre-planning, but luckily, I got the idea a long time ago—like not long after last year’s challenge. So I’ve gathered lots of songs. Had to keep a notebook in the car, cause I’d hear one on the radio and go, ahh, that’s perfect for A to Z.
But now I was thinking, maybe I should so something different. Not totally different. Just the way I organize it. Originally, the theme was going to be “Songs that…” then the letter will be whatever. Like songs that remind me of high school, or songs that I wanted for my wedding, etc.
The problem is I have to get very liberal with matching the theme to the letter. Like Q is a toughie. And so I came up: Songs that never quit, but I still love. (i.e. long songs) So obviously, the Q is quit, but it’s buried halfway into the line. Or Songs that make me tear up—for the letter T.
They’re not all like that, but there’s a few.
I’ve got a good list of songs, but I want to re-think this. Will maybe have to play with that list. See if I can use the band’s names or the titles of songs instead.
So for instance, I have 3 songs that make me cry. If one of the titles starts with a G, then use that. And then I can say, this song makes me cry, and here’s two others (that don’t start with G).
Or I can do the same thing with the band name. G is for Guns and Roses, and they have a song that was a remake, and I like the original better. Then have 2 other songs that are remakes.
So I don’t know what to do. I need to work with my song list and see what works best I guess.
Oh wow. I was just thinking how it might be hard to find a song for X. But seriously, one popped in my head right then. Maybe that’s a sign I should go with the first idea. Just in case you’re wondering, the song is Xanadu—and we had it on a record when I was a kid. I can still hear the tune in my head.
Anyway, I guess I have some work to do.
Anyone else doing A to Z this year?
And does anyone else remember Xanadu? (If you weren’t a child of the late 70s and early 80s, you probably wouldn’t.) It’s a great song, especially if you’re an Olivia Newton John fan.
Just recently I was reading a post by a Kyra Lennon: Blog Tours and Cover Reveals—Are They Still Effective? And I’d already started writing the draft to this post, so I thought I’d do a post today on MY suggestions for what and what not to do on your blog tour.
I’ve followed along blog tours for friends’ books. I do that because they have fun and original posts at each blog. If it was just a blurb/cover reveal, I wouldn’t do that. So for blog tours, these things discourage me from following along.
Some of these suggestions you might think, oh quit being so lazy, but most bloggers know how hard it is to keep up with all the blogs we like to read. So if it takes a lot of work to get to that post, I’m less likely to do it.
Disclaimer: This post is based off my observations as a blog reader. I have no marketing experience, so some of my points might go against what a professional would say, but this is my opinion on what I like and don’t like when I see blog tours.
1. Don’t have the same posts at several stops of your blog tour. If I keep seeing this, I won’t follow your tour. You should have something new at each site. This affects the host blogger too, because if I read your full post, I’m more likely to stick around and check out the host’s site, rather than leave right away.
2. Give the host links in the post that work. Don’t put the whole web address out there, http://website.comebuymybook.com. It looks like crap, especially when there’s a bunch of sites listed, Amazon, GR, B&N… And you can’t click on them because it’s not a link.
3. Have your guest post/whatever first. (I’d maybe make an exception for reviews, because people who are seeing your book the first time probably need that info before the review.) Don’t make us wade through the whole blurb and author info thing. If that stuff is upfront, I’m more likely to skim, especially the author info, then when I get down to the meat of the post, I’m still in skimming mode—which means I’m more likely to skim through the post. (Anybody disagree with this one?)
4. Check the blog you’ll be on (before you ask them to host a stop) and make sure we won’t have to click tabs to find the post. So what I mean by this is when the author has on her blog a link to a host site. And you go to that host site, but it’s not there on the home page. You need to go to their tabs at the top and click on one, maybe the reviews tab, and see if it’s there. If a post is too hard to find, I’m likely not to look for it.
5. This might be a tough one if you want to be on a specific blog, but don’t have a stop on a blog that has 3-4 postings per day, which is usually a blog devoted to only reviews and book information. I’ve often clicked on a blog and then have to wade down 3-4 posts to get to the one I’m looking for, and I’m more likely to leave then do all the scrolling.
6. When you have the links to the host site posted on your blog, have the link go to the post page, not their home page. This coincides with the above suggestion. Of course, you can’t do this right away because that host has not posted yet. But once that host posts, you should go in and update the link on YOUR site. If I go to the author’s site and see a bunch of tour stops I’ve missed, and if I then click on the link to go to the host site and have to scroll through five of their other posts to get down to yours, I’m likely not to do it. (Sorry for the super long sentence there.)
7. Use blogs that are in the same genre/category of your story. If you have a YA novel, don’t go to a site where the reader has to click on the I-understand-this-is-an-adult-blog-and-wish-to-continue button. If you’re contemporary, don’t go to a high fantasy website. Maybe some would say that exposure to people who are not your audience is better than no exposure, but if you want the best bang for your buck, I would stick to your genre.
8. Your own blog should not be a stop on the blog tour. To me a tour is visiting other places. Sure you’ll have stuff on your own blog, maybe directing others to the host blogs, but don’t have a link that brings you to a post on your own blog.
9. On your blog, have the links to the blog tour prominently displayed. If I have to scroll down through a ton of your other posts to get to the one with your blog tour schedule, I’m less likely to do that.
So does anybody else have suggestions for blog tours? Or do you disagree with any I’ve listed?
I have a bad habit of waiting until the last minute to write my blog posts. I’ve got several ideas that I haven’t written up yet, and I really should be doing those, but something else seems to come up. And it’s usually Saturday when I write my post, or sometimes even Sunday, the day I post.
What I need to do is sit down and write up a bunch and have them ready.
Most of the time I don’t really know what I’ll post until the week of. If it’s a friend’s book/cover reveal, then I know ahead of time about that, but usually I just write whatever I feel like. A lot of the time, it’s a last minute idea.
Like this one.
So I’m curious about what other bloggers do when preparing blog posts. Do you procrastinate and get it up last minute? Or do you get them scheduled ahead of time?
Also, do you have a lot of post ideas waiting to be written or do you just pull them out of the air last minute?
So really, what I’m asking is if you’re really organized or more like me?
So a while back I wrote a pretend letter to my future (and current) CPs about how wonderful a CP I am. Okay, it wasn’t really that, but it was about how I do things… kinda. And it’s funny. Really. Go read it if you want.
But now a year later, I’ve realized something else.
I am much harder on my CPs than I am on published authors. And sometimes I feel bad about that. I can get picky about things when critiquing. Little things. Things that are subjective. Not typos and grammar.
And sometimes I’ll debate, should I write this, especially when it’s so subjective? Usually I do, but I tend to put my disclaimer on there. The I’m not an expert, but…. Or the I’m not really sure, but here are my instincts about this. Or the I don’t remember a reference to this, but I could’ve missed it comment. Just to name a few.
So here’s some examples of what I mean by being harder on my CPs.
1. With a dual POV story. Sometimes I’ll run into a phrase that both characters are using. It’s not exactly an unusual phrase or anything, but it’s something that could be said different ways. (I hope that made sense.)
I know that friends often use similar words and phrases because they’re around each other a lot, but my opinion on that for writing is different. You want to make sure that their voices are not too close to each other.
So was using that phrase wrong? No. Not at all. But my subjective opinion says, don’t do this.
Now when it comes to reading books, either Kindle or real book, do I pay attention to that?
Of course, I have to like the voice to read a book, but honestly, I don’t pay close attention to dual POV voices and see if they’re too similar.
2. Sometimes I’ll see a vague detail mentioned about a supporting character. And then it’s referred a second time, but it’s not fully explained. But since I’m seeing it referenced that 2nd time, my mind starts to wander. Is this important? Why aren’t we hearing more about it? Will something happen at the end that relates to this tidbit of information or is it just a small detail slipped in twice?
So I’ll probably say, “What’s up with this? Why are you holding back? Is this important because you’ve mentioned it twice, and I really want more info here.”
There was nothing wrong with what they did, but my mind is wandering off into directions that might not be important.
But again, would I do that with a novel I read on my Kindle?
No. I’d gloss over it and keep going. So really, I’m being harder on my CPs than I am on published authors and their books. And I kinda feel guilty, bad for my CPs cause there might be a lot of comments in their critique–many of which are just my opinion about the matter.
I have a theory to why this happens.
1. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading it slowly. I’m thinking more about the what and why. When I’m reading for fun, I’m reading quickly. I’m not analyzing characters and things on each page. I’m just reading to enjoy a story.
2. When I’m critiquing, I’m reading on a computer. Which makes things stand out more. When I’m reading for fun, it’s in a book or on the Kindle—once again making it easier to read quickly and sometimes skim.
I have a feeling that if I could take those published books and put them in Word and then go through and critique them, I bet I’d find a lot of things to mark too. It’d actually be fun to do, but I don’t know any way to do that.
So anyways, to the amazing CPs whose stories I get to read, I hope you don’t mind me being so nitpicky. The way I look at it is, I’d rather say my comment, even if it’s totally subjective, than not say it at all. Cause what if it was a mistake on your part?
Well then you’d be eternally grateful for my help. And really, who doesn’t want that?
Are you harder on your CPs than the authors of books you read for fun?
So after reading a post by Christa Desir at her blog about documenting our lives, it got me thinking.
Do we reveal too much? Too little? Okay, that’s probably not the case most of the time, but it can be hard to find the balance between getting your name out there and getting too much out there. Now this is my take from Christa’s post: that maybe instead of focusing on promotion, we should focus on connecting.
Which is a great point.
The thing I worry about is sometimes I feel like I’m not connecting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not promoting, since I have nothing to promote, but it seems like I’m not doing enough on the other side.I just noticed something fairly recently. Like within the last few months. A lot of people Favorite and/or Like FB comments, Tweets and Instagram posts.
And I don’t do much favoriting or liking. Or what feels like like enough. To me, favoriting things is like acknowledging that you’ve seen it. And by not doing that, it’s like you’re not responding.
And then I feel bad I’m not responding even though I do like what was posted.
Am I the only one like this? Am I being to hard on myself?
And if you’re one that always favorites/likes stuff a lot, do you feel neglected if people don’t do that to you?
I’m just curious about what others think of this whole favoriting thing. If you even pay attention.
There are lots of places I’d love to visit, so I was trying to think of something unique for this blog hop. And that’s when I thought of this.
I would love to spend a week (or whatever) living in a castle. A real castle that is hundreds of years old. I’m not picky, there are many castles I would try, but I can’t list them all. So here are a few. Oh, and I’m not going off interesting history or anything, I’m just going off looks. And I’m pretty sure they aren’t really open for tourists to live in, but I can dream. This is the Dream Destination Blog Hop after all.
All these pictures came from a website and were taken by different photographers. Go here to check them out.
One of my top picks:
Chenonceaux in France. Built over a river. Is there anything cooler than that? No! The setting is one of pure relaxation. This place is gorgeous. And I actually got to visit it years ago. Of course that was probably a 3 hour tour. I want to stay at this place for a week. Perhaps a month. Or more.
Can you imagine sitting under a tree, looking up at this place and writing? I could. And I’m pretty damn sure I’d love it.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany comes a close second. This is so totally beautiful, sticking up above the trees. And sleeping up in one of those spires… a dream come true.
Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Look how tall this castle is. I so want to go up into those spires, or that little balcony right in the middle. Definitely cool.
Chambourd in France. Can you say ah-mazing. This place is gigantic. You could get lost in it for days. This too was a place I once got to visit, but I’m sure we saw like oh—5% of the chateau because again… it’s hute!
Alcazar in Spain. This place is stunning. And look what’s behind the castle. Even more stunning beauty. (If you can’t really tell from the picture, it looks like snow capped mountains.) Would love to go here.
Strecno Castle in Slovakia. Sure this place looks like it’s just ruins, so maybe a weeks stay would not work. But look at those rocky cliffs and all the trees. Think of all the ghosts possibly roaming around. I’d love to visit this place.
Bodiam Castle in England. A fortress. Stocky and imposing. Awesome.
What an amazing opportunity it’d be to visit these places and sit and write. And write. And write. They totally fit my definition of a dream destination.
So what about you? What’s your dream vacation spot? And have you ever been to any real castles?