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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Knowing Your Limitations

For this month’s #AuthorToolboxBlogHop I’m going to talk about knowing your limitation as a writer.

I had a friend read a few chapters of my WIP and while she liked it, she was also kind of upset that my main character was a straight white girl. My cast of characters is pretty diverse. My main character lives with her aunt. Her aunt is married to a black woman who has a son from a previous marriage that the main character loves like a brother. None of those characters were just written that way, they evolved as I wrote them. She would like me to make the main character a bisexual woman of color. 

I do not agree with her.

Not because I don’t think a bisexual woman of color deserves to have her story told, but because I am not the person to tell her story.

I am not bisexual, gay or questioning. I’m not a woman of color. I know that I write best from personal experience and that I wouldn’t be able to do her story any justice. I know I could research and I could interview people but I know my limitations as a writer.

Now, I am not saying that a writer can’t write outside of their experience. That would be stupid and dangerous. I mean, To Kill a Mockingbird would have never been written if Harper Lee didn’t feel capable. 

What I am saying is that I don’t feel like I am the one to write that story, especially with the story I am working on.

Someday I might be able to write a story with a person of color who is questioning their sexuality at the center of it, but not now. I know I am not ready and I know I not the writer to write that story.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Monday, February 19, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Visual Inspiration

Writer's block happens to almost every writer at some point. When that I happens to me I try to use music, writing prompts, and notes from my journal to help me get back into the groove. Sadly, those don't always work. That is when I turn to visual prompts. Sometimes even the most simple photo will lead me into a scene. I hope these photos can be of use to you at some point. (All photos were taken by me.)

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Tips from Stephen King's "On Writing"

Welcome back Author Toolbox Blog Hoppers!! This month I am sharing my favorite tips from Stephen King's wonderful book, "On Writing." If you don't already own this and/or have never read it, I definitely recommend it. Will every piece of advice work for you? Probably not, but the advice is valuable nevertheless.

1. If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

This is so true. If you don't read, it's going to be a lot harder to write. If you don't write, why would you want to be a writer?

2. The best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event.

I agree. When stories focus to heavily on the event and not the people experiencing it, the story ends up feeling empty.

3. You should avoid the passive voice.

Yup, the passive voice is annoying. When the story is told from a passive voice, the characters lose their agency and become someone who has things done to them instead of doing things themselves.

4. The road to hell is paved with adverbs.

I agree with this when the adverb is added to a dialog tag. However, I feel like adverbs can be used wisely in dialog. 

5. Never use "emolument" when you mean "tip."

Yep, step away from the Thesaurus! I understand wanting to change up a few words here and there or if you have a character that only uses the biggest words possible. But constant use of big words in place of smaller ones that mean the same thing is tedious to read and can take the reader out of the story.

6. Description begins in the writer's imagination, but should finish in the reader's.

This is classic show-don't-tell. Yes, you have to be descriptive to an extent, but you don't want to take the reader's ability to imagine away from them.

7. If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.

YES YES YES!! If writing makes you happy, you won't want to stop!!

Well, it's nice to be back at it. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and happy new year. I wish you all nothing but the best in the year to come!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Friday, December 29, 2017

My Favorite Books from 2017

I know it's been a while since I lasted posted anything on my blog. It's been a busy few months but that didn't stop me from reading (even if it did prevent me from writing.)

Here are my favorite books from this year (in no particular order):

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

I am obsessed with the Wizard of Oz and Danielle Paige's take on the classic is my favorite one! The End of Oz is the perfect ending to the Dorothy Must Die series. It ended perfectly and in a way that was immensely satisfying. But... I love the characters so much that I want more and Danielle Paige may or may not have left Amy's story open.

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls by Riley Sager is a smart and fun love letter to slasher movies.  This story could have easily turned into a huge cliche but instead Sager played into the common slasher tropes and flipped them into great twists. I definitely agree with Stephen King, it was the first great slasher of 2017, in fact is the greatest slasher of 2017.

Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather

Haunting the Deep is a continuation of Samantha Mather's story from How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather. Instead of the Salem Witch Trials, this time we are taken into the world of the Titanic. Mather does an amazing job of building a totally immersive world and creating realistic and fun characters. I really hope that she continues this series, I miss Samantha Mather's world too much.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying is a great mash up of The Breakfast Club, Pretty Little Liars, and How to Get Away with Murder. McManus does a wonderful job of capturing the craziness of high school and the trouble that social media can and does cause. After reading it, I was extremely glad that I went to high school when the only social media was Xanga.

Those were my favorite books from this year. If you haven't read them, please do.

Also, have a very happy new year! I hope the New Years brings you lots of happiness, creativity, and books!

Monday, October 16, 2017

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: NaNoWriMo

Unfortunately I will not be participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month. My November is so packed that I will be lucky if I get any writing done during the month. But I wanted to let you guys know that I am still here for you if you are participating.

Here are some links to previous blogs of mine about NaNoWriMo:

Advice From Authors for Authors
Writing Prompts

There are more if you want to check them out, they were posted in October of 2016.

I am a writer who needs a soundtrack for my book. So, I thought I would share my current novel's soundtrack to maybe help give some inspiration.

  1. Perfect Places by Lorde
  2. Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic
  3. Pork Soda by the Glass Animals
  4. Everything Now by Arcade Fire
  5. Autumn Leaves by Ed Sheeran
  6. Believer by Imagine Dragons
  7. This is Gospel by Panic! At the Disco
  8. Don't Take the Money by Bleachers
  9. So Close by Andrew McMahon
  10. Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks
  11. Rest in Pieces by Saliva
  12. Falls on Me by Fuel
  13. Shovels and Dirt by the Strumbellas
I hope my soundtrack and my previous posts help give you some inspiration for NaNoWriMo. Also, check back here during November for a book review or two!

Good luck and happy holidays my fellow Author Toolbox Blog Hoppers!

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Writing By Hand

Have you ever found yourself staring at a screen and your brain goes as blank as the word document you have pulled up? Whenever I find myself stuck in this position I run though my usual writer's block prompts. Which one works the best?

For me, it's pulling out my journal and writing by hand. But why is it so effective?
  1. Writing the old fashioned way sparks creativity in a way that no computer screen ever can.
  2. It's hard to erase handwriting. Erasing is tedious. I know you could just throw away the notebook but I find that keeping "bad" writing/ideas is a great way to learn. Also, sometimes something you thought was bad, never really was.
  3. I find it easier to write with wild abandon than to type that way. When I type I constantly try to edit as I go. When I am writing by hand I don't feel that need.
  4. When using a computer, especially now that every computer has an internet connection, I am constantly distracted. Email, social media, Reddit, even these blogs all distract me. Writing by hand allows for less distraction.
So, next time you're hit with some writer's block, try writing the old fashioned.

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Book Review: How to Hang a Witch

I have always had a love for everything Salem and witches. So, when I heard about "How to Hang a Witch" by Adriana Mather I couldn't wait to read it. Especially when I found out that Mather is related to Cotton Mather, a key member of the Salem Witch Trials.

The main protagonist, Samantha Mather, also related to Cotton Mather, and her stepmother move to Salem after her father ends up in the hospital. Her arrival in Salem means that all of the descendants of the Salem witch trials are together and brings about bad luck, pain, and even death. Sam is instantly an outcast and her only friends are the boy next door and a ghost. As the stakes get higher, Sam is determined to change the future by searching the past and with the help of her ghost friend, she discovers the truth about what happened during the witch trials.

"How to Hang a Witch" mixed the past with the present effortlessly while inserting the supernatural elements organically. Sam was relatable and so were her feelings about everything that was happening around her. I felt like her actions and reactions made sense. Mather truly locked in on what it feels like to be an outcast as a teenager. She also captured the beauty and creepiness of Salem and the witch trials.

I recommend "How to Hang a Witch" to anyone who loves stories about witches and Salem, but also to those who love reading about teenage angst and outcasts.