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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: It's NaNoWriMo Time


It's almost National Novel Writing Month and I just wanted to wish everyone good luck! 

I hope you meet and exceed your goals. I hope this is the most successful NaNoWriMo you have every had!!

If you need inspiration during the month come back to the blog hop and check out old posts. They always serve me well and I hope they do the same for you!!

I know this is the last #AuthorToolboxBlogHop of the year, but check back in December after you've completed your 50,000 words and take a look at my favorite books of 2019 list. who knows, maybe you will find your new favorite there.

See you all next year! And thank you for all of the amazing advice you all have given this year!
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: NaNoWriMo Prep

I can't believe it's almost National Novel Writing Month... With a little less than two months left, it's time to start your NaNo Prep!!

How do I prepare?

I outline. I know some people believe that outlining is cheating, but I'm a firm believer that outlines can help keep you on track while blasting through 50,000 words. 

I make a writing soundtrack. I can't write in silence or while watching TV, but I can write while listening to music. In fact, sometimes music can be a huge inspiration. Music has helped me fine-tune the emotion and the depth of each scene.

I decide on my daily word counts. NaNoWriMo happens during my birthday month and the holidays, so I make realistic word goals based on the days that I won't be able to write as much.

Here are some links from my previous blog posts:
Advice From Authors for Authors
Writing Prompts

I wish you all nothing but luck and endless creative inspiration this National Novel Writing Month!!

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

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Writing in the Lazy Days of Summer

I don't know about you, but writing in the summer can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Summer is a time to be outside and to be a little lazier than usual, or so my tired mind tries to convince me. Not that summer can't be an amazing source of inspiration, summer adventures and beautiful sunsets can end up being the perfect set up for your story.

BUT... what do you do when you feel the lazy days calling for you?

1. Answer the call. Take a short break. Let your vacation be a real vacation (though make sure to pack a small notebook in case you get inspired.) I am a big proponent of writing every day, but if you feel like your writing is suffering, take a couple days off. Honestly, you might come back recharged and ready to knock out that plot you've been working on forever.

2. Take your work outside. I love my laptop because of its portability. But I also travel with a small notebook and sometime writing by hand is the best. A change of scenery might be the thing you needed all along.

3. Listen to music. Sometimes the perfect song comes along and sets the tone for a scene. Bands/Artists that have been my inspiration lately are: The Strumbellas, The 1975, The Moth and The Flame, Billie Eilish, Amy Shark, Young the Giant, and The Matthew Good Band. Make a soundtrack for your story. It's fun and can keep you on track.

4. Schedule a time each day for writing and stick to it. Lock yourself in your office or living room or bedroom or wherever you write and just do it. Just write. Make it a habit and stick to it.

Summer is a hard to time stay motivated. There is so much to do and so many adventures to be had before you get trapped indoors by winter. So definitely enjoy it and soak it all in, it just may be what inspires your next story.

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

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Recommended Reading

Happy #AuthorToolboxBlogHop everyone!! This month I am going to share the titles of a few books that have helped shape my writing. Some of these books are technical and about the craft of writing, others are works of literature/fiction.

1.  Elements of Style by Strunk and White. This book is super technical and is a mainstay for a lot of English professors. It is a great resource, but I must admit that sometime I break the rules that Strunk and White have laid out.

2. On Writing by Stephen King. I love this book. It's set of rules that King wants you to break. The best piece of advice: said is the best dialog tag.

3. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. This book taught me how not to write. It's repetitive and non-sensical. I totally get the allure of it, but it's poorly written.

4. Game of Thrones by G.R.R.M. This book and the rest of the series has taught me the art of world building. I could visualize everything, even the things I didn't want to. It's an amazing feat in character development. 

5. On Writing Well by William Zinsser. This is a great book for those writing nonfiction. It's very straight forward and informative. 

6. The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager. This book is just a good read that I think everyone should read. :-)

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Outside Your Comfort Zone

While I am a firm believer that you should write what you love, what you know a lot about, and what you're comfortable with, I do think you should get outside you comfort zone every once in a while.

Lately I've been in a writing rut so I decided to try writing in a way I normally don't, I've started writing poetry. I normally write YA/Fantasy but writing poetry has opened up a new type of creative beast in me. It has made me think about sentence structure and the rhythm of my prose in a whole new light.

So, if you are ever in a rut or stuck, try taking your WIP and switch its genre. Writing a mystery thriller? Try turning it into sci-fi. Writing YA romance? Try lyrical prose. If you aren't comfortable doing that with you WIP, try just starting fresh with a short story outside of your typical genre. 

Sorry this post is so short. My computer froze up and I lost my work, but I still wanted to get something posted!! See you all next month!!

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

#AuthorToolboxBlogHop: Writing About Rape/Sexual Assault

Writing about a sensitive subject such as rape is hard and it should be. My current project will include a rape scene, it’s in the rough stages now and I’m not enjoying writing it.

So, why am I including it? 

Because the survivor’s story needs to be told.

And for that reason I decided I needed to write a post to help other writers if they decide to include rape or sexual assault in their story.

First, you really need to think about why you want to include a rape scene in your story. Normally I would list reasons why you should, but instead I’m going to list reasons why you shouldn’t.

  1. To give a protagonist something to avenge. I am not saying that other people aren’t affected by a loved ones rape, but it shouldn’t be used as a stepping stone for anyone who isn’t the survivor.
  2. For shock. (No explanation needed.)
  3. For characterization. I’ve seen rape used to showcase how evil a character is. I’ve also seen it used to show how an evil guy (Negan from the Walking Dead) has a moral compass (he doesn’t mind bashing a few heads in, but he refuses to allow his guys to touch a woman without her consent.)
  4. For entertainment. If the rape doesn’t affect the plot (the story will be fine and doesn’t fall apart without it) then don’t include it.
  5. Don’t write it from the rapists point of view if the story is the survivor’s.

If you still feel like the scene is still necessary here are some tips I have:

  1. (If in third person) don’t let the narrator linger on the survivor’s body. Don’t describe the survivors body in an erotic way. It’s rape, not sex.
  2. Focus on how the rape affects the survivor. You can still touch on how it affected those who love the survivor, but it’s not their story.
  3. Significant others can be upset and want to hurt the person who did it, but that shouldn’t be your only motivation for including the scene.
  4. Use the active voice.
  5. Nothing should insinuate that the survivor “asked for it.” The perp can assert that and if you’re going to have a bad cop, they can assert that but (if in third person) the third party shouldn’t. 
  6. You don’t have to go into detail. You can “fade to black.” It will still matter to the survivor.
  7. Enlist sensitivity readers. Their advice will be valuable.

I hope this helps anyone who might be diving into writing about such a tough topic.

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

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Favorite Books of 2018

I know this post is a little late but I just wanted to share my favorite books of 2018. So, in no particular order:

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

A young woman returns to her childhood summer camp to uncover the truth about a tragedy that happened while she was there fifteen years ago (description from Amazon.)

This book was a scary and mind-bending read. I couldn't put it down and definitely recommend it!

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)

When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike's office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic (description from Amazon.)

Lethal White is my favorite installation of the "Cormoran Strike" series. It's addictive and smart. I loved it. Read this book and each one that came before it. You won't be disappointed.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic meets the Salem Witch trials in this haunting story about three sisters on a quest for revenge—and how love may be the only thing powerful enough to stop them (description from Amazon.)

I read this as research for the story I am currently working on and it was a great decision. I love stories about witches and unique small towns. This book is magic itself and I am glad I picked up.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

On a day that begins like any other, Hal receives a mysterious letter bequeathing her a substantial inheritance. She realizes very quickly that the letter was sent to the wrong person—but also that the cold-reading skills she’s honed as a tarot card reader might help her claim the money. Soon, Hal finds herself at the funeral of the deceased…where it dawns on her that there is something very, very wrong about this strange situation and the inheritance at the center of it (description from Amazon.)

You can't go wrong with Ruth Ware. The Death of Mrs. Westaway left me spinning. I didn't see the twists coming and man, were there some major twists!

Thanks for reading and I cannot wait to see what the literary world has in store for us readers in 2019!