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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Voices of YA

Thank you Molly Looby and Raimey Gallant for tagging me!! And thank you Caitlin Lambert  for creating the Voices of YA tag!!

Here are the rules!
1 Thank the person who tagged you
2 Link to the original creator
3 Answer the ten questions

4 Tag at LEAST TWO other YA writers/bloggers


What draws you to YA?
YA feels limitless. It doesn’t have to fit into a certain box and can basically be about anything. 

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?
My writing process is not structured by any means. I don’t really do outlines. I do a lot of  writing my ideas out by hand in an actual notebook. When I write my ideas out, I let them flow and write whatever comes to mind. Later, when I am typing up my story on Scrivener, that is when I process my notes and make them make sense. 

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?
I have been writing, according to my mother, since I came out of the womb. I only have one book published, The Best Mixtape I Have. It was self-published shortly after NaNoWriMo a few years ago. It is horrible and not at all edited. I do love the story line, but I wish I wouldn’t have rushed it. I just wanted to enjoy the free copies that I received from finishing NaNoWriMo. I am currently working on a book that I am definitely taking my time on and hopefully I won’t self-publish. 

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?
I need my notebooks and music. Coffee is nice but isn’t a requirement. Music is a requirement, however. I have a special soundtrack that I listen to when I write. I’ll share a sample:

Contagious - The Night Riots 
The Night We Met - Lord Huron
Silvertongue  - Young the Giant
Do You Remember - Jarryd James

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (other than "don't give up"), what would it be?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you how it is for you. Whether it be a friend, an agent, a publisher, if making certain changes makes you feel uncomfortable or if you feel like you are destroying your story, do only what you feel best. Now, I am not saying that agents and editors don’t know when changes need to be made, but sometimes you have to go with your gut. You know your story and you know how it needs to be told.


What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)
I can’t really think of any…

What books are you most anticipating for this year?
It was The End of Oz by Danielle Paige, but I kind of already dug into that book and finished after a day. 

I am also looking forward to The Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts. Here is an official synopsis: In Bastards, we follow Tilla, an intrepid but surly cast-off of Lord Kent of the Western Province, who raised her as a baby but more or less shrugged her off once he discovered his trueborn children. But when a visiting princess chooses to sit with Tilla and other kingdom bastards at a royal dinner, everything starts to change. Especially when Tilla finds herself helping to safeguard the princess’s life as rebellion brews.

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?
I like the Dorothy Must Die series by Danielle Paige. I love the reimagining of The Wizard of Oz and how Paige mixes teen angst with a classic story.

What is your all-time favourite quote from YA lit (I know, I'm cruel)?
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.” - The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky. 

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?
The Black Witch by Laurie Forest. The book is beautiful and I would love to see it played out.

Thanks again for my tag! I am tagging DJ Humphries and Amy Laurel!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Names Have Power - #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

"Names have power." - Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

You have to be careful when naming your characters. You have to consider the genre, the time period, and where the story takes place.

If you are writing a story about Mary, Queen of Scots (and your story isn't about time travel) who lived during the 1500s then I would stay away from names that have only recently became names. Even my name, Vanessa, would not be appropriate. Vanessa wasn't a thing until 1700s when Jonathan Swift invented it. 

You also have to think about where your story takes place. Some places, like the United States, gives you more leeway when picking names. But if your story takes place is small town in the Ukraine, you aren't likely to find a Nevaeh there, but maybe a Viktoria or a Sofia.

You should also be consistent with nicknames. If you have a character named Gregory who prefers to go by Greg, make sure he only goes by Gregory in formal encounters or only have one friend/family member who calls him by his full name. 

As a writer, I try to avoid using names that are too similar by both spelling and sound. Readers don't always fully read words. If you have characters names Laurie and Lauren, readers might confuse the two. Same goes with Tim and Tom. Also, have two characters with the same name, even if spelt differently can be awfully confusing. 

I would also be careful when naming based on ethnicity and looks alone. If you are going to name a character based on their heritage make sure you do some research. Do not be like E.L. James and be so lazy that you name the two characters go color in your book the same thing. In Fifty Shades of Grey, James named her characters of hispanic decent Jose Rodriguez, Jr. and Sr. It's lazy and rude. It would only work if there was a reason behind it, but as I recall, James never stated one.

When I name characters I tend to avoid names in the top 50 to 100. But if I love a name, I don't care if it's very popular though I rarely love popular names.  I also avoid names with heavy connotation. Beyonce will immediately make people think of the singer. Elvis, Madonna, Hitler, Kanye... those names can turn your characters into caricatures. 

So, where should you look for names for your characters? I keep a running list of names in my writing journals. I also look through phonebooks, baby books, yearbooks, and name generators. I write down my favorite names from my favorite television shows. 

What advice do you have for naming characters? Please share in the comments!!

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

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Blog Photography

Every good blog contains photos but you have to select those photos carefully. If you need a photo for your blog, please, don't use Google image search. Also, don't screenshot a photo from someone's Instagram to use a photo you find on Tumblr. 
By using photos you find in that way, you would be breaking the law and are opening yourself up to being sued.

So, where do you find photos that are free to use without purchasing the rights to do so? Well, you could just take the photos yourself. I love photography and creating an amazing image. 

You could also use certain website that provide free photos that don't require a license, a purchase, or to cite where you got the photo (though that is something you can do as a courtesy.) 

Here are the websites that I have found to have the best photos:

I am sure there are more, but those are my favorites. 

I hope this helps you add wonderful images to your blog. Also, if you want to see my photos, check them out here: 

If you do check out my photos, please tell me what you think!! 

Thanks and May the Fourth be with you!!