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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Happy NaNoWriMo!

I can’t believe NaNoWriMo is almost here. This year has really flown by and I’m not sure  I am ready to write 50,000 words in 30 days (luckily I do have a few story ideas running through my head.)

For this month’s Author Toolbox Blog Hop, I am going to be sharing some tips for surviving National Novel Writing Month.

Tip #1: Write in the environment that works for you. Do you need silence? Do you need music? No distractions? All of the distractions? Make your writing space what you need it to be.

Tip #2: Make a writing soundtrack. If you need silence then you write, you don’t have to listen to the sound track while writing, but it could provide inspiration when you hit a road block. Find songs that fit the mood of your story. Here is a sample of my current soundtrack (maybe you’ll find a song here that inspires you…):

  1. I Did Something Bad by Taylor Swift
  2. Perfect Places by Lorde
  3. Adore by Amy Shark
  4. Happier by Marshmellow ft. Bastille
  5. Miracle by ChVrches

Tip #3: DO NOT EDIT AS YOU GO!! Not only is it impossible, it’s extremely unproductive. Let those mistakes add to your word count. Forget about them and know that you can fix them once November is over.

Tip #4: Enjoy yourself!!

See you guys again in the new year and keep an eye out for a list of my favorite books of 2018!

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Reading While Writing

Friend: How can you read while you're working on your story?

Me: Because reading makes me a better writer.

And it really does. I couldn't imagine being able to write a decent sentence, let alone an entire novel, without reading. 

Friend: Do you ever accidentally copy things from the books you read?

Me: Nope, but I have found inspiration in books.

Basically, I make sure I read books that both have something and nothing to do with what I am writing. My current story is a bit of thriller and involves witches/witchcraft. So, here are the books I have been reading lately:

One of these isn't quite like the other... Two are YA novels about witches. I read these in order to see what is working with witches in novels. I also read them to make sure my story doesn't resemble anything that is out there, at least not too closely. Two books are thrillers/mysteries. Again, I read these to see what is trending in the genre and to make sure my story isn't too similar. And one of them is strictly for my pleasure. I mean, Denis Leary is hilarious!!

I know that reading while writing can be dangerous. It can lead to accidental plagiarism. It can make you feel like your writing will never add up. But it can also be useful market research and it can be very inspiring. I recommend it. 

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Opening Sentences

The first sentence in your story is pretty important. The literary canon is full of books with memorable opening lines.

"Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul." Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." —Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
 "It was a pleasure to burn."—Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
 "All this happened, more or less."—Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
"Call me Ishmael." —Herman Melville, Moby-Dick 
"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book." - Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

"I'm pretty much fucked." - Andy Weir, The Martian

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

What do those opening lines all have in common? For me, it's that they hook you and make you want to know more. Why is the MC of The Martian fucked? What happened in the Slaughterhouse-Five and what didn't? These lines made me want to read more.

So, when you're writing your story, think about your first line and how it is drawing your reader in. Is it interesting? Thought provoking? Does it ask a question that demands an answer? Does it make a reader want to know what happened? Is is shocking? Is it honest? Whatever it is, it should give your reader a reason to continue diving into the world you created.

Good luck on all of your writing ventures!

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Hey Everyone!! I am so sorry but I am going to sit this month out. I have been extremely busy and would prefer to give more valuable advice next month. I will still comment on and share your blog posts!!

Thank you so much for all of your support. It means a lot to me!!

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Author Toolbox Blog Hop: Plot Armor

Plot armor isn't just a TV show trope, it occurs in fiction as well. 

What is plot armor? Plot armor is is when a main character's life and health are safeguarded by the fact that he/she is the one person who can't be removed from the story. Plot armor isn't just that the main character survives through so many unrealistic scenarios, its that they survive without injury or loss. 

So how do you avoid plot armor? Show the main character's damage and loss. If they're shot in the shoulder, don't have them using that arm frequently afterward (unless some magic is involved and they heal quickly.) If the main character has lost someone they cared about, don't bring them back (I dislike this, even in sci-fi novels... it lessens the loss.)  Basically, make your character's decisions matter. If the character makes careless or reckless decisions, make sure they suffer real consequences. 

The best way to avoid plot armor... follow George R. R. Martin's lead and allow main characters to die and to suffer extreme loss (if your story calls for it.)

Thanks for reading. I'm sorry this is so short. I have recently landed a new job and have become so busy!!

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

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.