Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My First Book Review!

I'm so lucky to have so much support!  I know I've said it before, but I'm saying it again!  Thank you so much Heather for taking the time to read this book for me and then posting a review about it on your blog.

You can find the review here.

I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did.  And follow her blog!  She's got great reviews on there!

Also, as a status update on FATE, it has been circling around the Young Women in my ward and they have been so supportive, that I've received requests for copies of it for their friends.  I'm so thrilled that they are happy with it because they are my target audience.  I've sent it to more literary agents...let's hope someone will want to read it.  Cross your fingers for me!

Emotional Writing

You can't really write without emotion, but there is such a thing as writing when you are too emotional.  My experience yesterday taught me just that, and I had to laugh at myself today when I read the few pages I wrote while I was not exactly in the right mind.

I cut them out of the book and pasted them elsewhere to remind me not to write when I am too frustrated.  I completely ruined one of my characters!  It was one that was just introduced, and this was a scene when the reader gets the real first impression.  Now, this character was originally meant to be very genuine and trustworthy, but with the mood I was in, she was all of a sudden bitter and demeaning.  Not at all what I was going for.  The dialog was long, at least 3 or 4 pages, and I couldn't believe I wasted all that time writing something so unusable.  I considered making her bi-polar, but that was an idea that was trashed the same second I thought of it.

Now that I have a better head on my shoulders, and a better attitude too, I can write her the way she was meant to be, and I'll save the frustration for when I need to write for someone less endearing.  ;)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Chapter a Day Keeps the Insanity Away

Life is crazy.  Too often I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the days' events.  I seem so busy all the time, but when I reflect on it, I still didn't get anything done that I wanted to.  I'm busy doing nothing.  This drives me nuts.  The never ending pile of dishes, laundry, and the everyday routine of waking up, changing a diaper, making breakfast, dressing children only to have them spill something on themselves twenty minutes later, can become extremely monotonous, not to mention frustrating.  Then there's making lunch, stopping fights and tantrums, and still trying to clean in little snippets between everything.

Finally there's that moment of 'silence' for an hour or two while the kids nap.  Now, nap times are tricky for me.  Do I clean the tornado that seemed to have gone through my house within the last few hours, do I nap too, or do I do what I really want and sit on my butt, read a book, or write one?

Everyday is different.  Most days I challenge myself to clean at least one room in the house before pulling out that book I've been dying to read, or grab the computer and type that chapter that has been in my head since the night before.  Most of the time, it's not until late that evening, after the kids have gone to bed, that I actually have the time to sit and write or read.

My husband asked me, 'Why don't you just write during the day?'

Oh, I wish he could understand all the distractions that come with two kids.  I do write a sentence, paragraph, or if I'm lucky a full page without interruptions, but it's so much easier for me to write as long as possible without hitting any road blocks.  The story flows a lot better.  So, I write at night...into the night until there are no more ideas bouncing around up there.

I usually write a chapter a day.  If not, then a pretty good portion of it.  If I decide to read instead, it's no less than a chapter a day.  This is my outlet.  I'm noticing a change in my attitude, a lower level of stress, and a lot more patience with my children.  I know it's cliche to say it, but I was born to write.  I need it as much as anything else to keep me sane.  My priorities will always be my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, but when I'm doing something for me, I'm going to be reading or writing.

It took me years to finally share it with everyone, feeling stupid and insecure about doing something that seems so unattainable, but now I've realized how much I've been missing by hiding it.  It reminds me of the parable of the talents.  If you share them, exercise them, you'll grow.  If you hide it, it does nothing for you.  I was always the person when asked, 'What are some of your talents?' I would say, 'Nothing.  I don't have any.'  Now I can confidently say that I have one.  I'm not trying to sound arrogant or claim to be the best writer in the world, I'm far from.  But I'm learning, growing, and loving sharing it with people.  I hope that this will be a 'gateway' talent and I can find other things to be passionate about, and not be afraid to share them as well.

So, writing has done more for me than I could hope for.  It makes me happy.  I am appreciating the things in life so much more because of it.  And it's helped me keep my mind when I really feel like I'm about to lose it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Beta Readers

Nothing motivates me more than opening up an email from one of my beta readers saying they are ready for more chapters.  I have a particularly awesome one right now.  She reads them faster than I can write and brings up things I didn't even think about.  She catches every typo, every confusing sentence, and she still manages to mention lots of positive things about my manuscript.  I'm definitely going to have her read more of my future work if she's interested and willing. (Thank you Steph, in case you didn't already know it was you, lol.)

Because I'm stuck inside my own head, I know it's extremely important to have fresh eyes look on a manuscript and tell you what's missing, or what needs to be taken out.  With each new book, I'm learning more and more.  My beta readers for FATE were great!  So helpful and I've revised that book so much, I've had to take a step back and breathe.  I've read it all the way through...again, still loving the story and I feel the writing is so much stronger than it was.  I went through and combed out all the 'he was feeling' and replaced it with 'he felt'.  So thank you Dawn!  And I've tried to cut down on my parenthesis.  (Really I have ;) )

With each new beta reader comes more opinions and advice.  As the writer, of course it's up to me to make the decision to adhere or discard, but honestly, it hasn't been hard to listen to everyone's ideas.  They have all made the story stronger.

So, now that my synopsis is ready, my query is ready, and my rewrite is done, it's back to querying those agents.  Wish me luck on finding the one that says, 'YES!'

As for this new book I'm writing, I am so excited to unleash it on more readers once it's finished.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Story of My Life

I've always thought in stories.  Even the most trivial things would become the beginning of an adventure.  So, I would say I'm a 24/7 writer, writing in my head.

For example, I'll be getting the kids lunch and this is what will be going through my head:

I walked into the kitchen with a sigh.  The pile of dishes was growing too fast to keep up with it.  The chore was never ending, just like laundry.  If I could afford it, I would use paper products all the time.

I opened the fridge hoping for something quick to make.  The baby was screaming from the high chair demanding food this very instant.  Luckily, I found the left-over mac-n-cheese from last night's dinner.  I pulled off the lid and set it in the microwave for twenty seconds.

"Momma, I'm hungry," my oldest boy said as he watched me prepare his brother's lunch.

"What do you want to eat?" I asked.  He was pickier than the baby, so I always asked this question.

"I want....cake!"

Of course.  "How about a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?"

"No...okay!"

The timer went off on the microwave so I grab the food and blow off the steam.  I stir it up with a fork and set it on the high chair with a sippy cup.  I then move to make my oldest his meal.

I hear a high pitched scream from the corner.  I look up quickly to find that my oldest had taken the baby's juice and ran off with it.

I sighed again.  'Pick your battles' I say to myself as I get another cup for the baby.

I know, not that exciting right?  But this is what it is like in my brain.  I've always done this, not many people know that.  One of these days, there will just be a chip to put in your ear or something that records your thoughts.  I'd love to read some of mine that escape my brain before they ever see paper.

So whenever I have a thought that could potentially lead to a novel, I write it down.  FATE was actually thought of when I fell asleep in the shower and woke up to the freezing water.  This new novel I'm writing was inspired when I fell down the stairs and my son stood at the top saying, 'Momma, you need to be careful.'

The simplest things in life can spark an idea.  That's how I get mine.  :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Writing Romance for Young Adults

FYI, I am blunt with my vocabulary in this post.  So if you are too immature to read the word 'sex', stop reading now, lol.

I had an interesting conversation today with a friend.  We were discussing my book and I told her that I was having trouble with the sequel.  Spoiler Alert: in Fate, I didn't have to worry about my characters 'doing it' because there simply wasn't time for it.  Events transpired that prevented them from ever getting to that point in their relationship.

However, in the second book, I had conflicted feelings about it and asked my friend's opinion.  What do I write when my characters finally have sex?  She told me that I can shy away from it if I'm uncomfortable writing it, which I am, because my book is for teenagers.  Her reassurance that I didn't need sex in the book helped out a lot.

Plain and simple, Romance does not have to equal sex.  I can write a romance without all the gory details and still get the point across.  Thank heavens for the beautiful 'white space' that I can use to steer away from it and imply it at the same time.

I read over the romantic scenes in the book and I loved them!  It is the backbone of the story and I can describe passion without getting to embarrassing and at the same time not just saying, "He kissed me." and leave it at that.  I decided to go with writing what the character was feeling emotionally and not just physically.

On a funny note, I didn't realize how hard it was to write a kissing scene from the point of view from a guy!  I wasn't going to ask my husband because he'd give me a less than serious answer and not to mention it was a little embarrassing.  Nevertheless, I got through it, and I think it turned out pretty good.

So, point I'm trying to make is that though I wrote a romance, I also wrote it for young adults.  They hear enough profanity, why write it for them?  I will reiterate what I said before, Romance does not have to equal sex.  Even if my characters eventually become intimate, I don't need to write every detail of it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Mother. Write. (Repeat.)"

I have found a mentor. :)  I was sitting this morning watching the kids goof around, actually behaving themselves today, and I had the computer in my lap, the cursor blinking and my mind coming up blank.  I don't know why, but my emotion was depressing.  I wasn't bored or anything, but I couldn't find the motivation to type any more.  I glanced back at my boys who were laughing as they played with each other and I wished I could find the happiness in my soul that usually comes with this sight, but try as I may, I couldn't locate it.

Of course this made me angry.  Why was I feeling so sad when I'm so blessed?  I clicked off the work in progress and jumped online hoping to find the encouragement I needed.

There was three rejections in my inbox, which didn't help any.  So, as always I went onto QueryTracker to record the sad news.  When I gazed at my list of agents, I saw that one of them had a new comment posted.  It was on one of my dream agent's page, so I checked it out.  As I looked at the comments, I found an interview she did with one of the other members on the site.  I clicked on the link and found a blog page that was more than inspiring.

This 'blogger' had several different posts that brought tears to my eyes as I related to her words, her experiences.  The one that made me set the computer down and embrace my children was this.
It's under 'No trial we experience is wasted'.

Exactly what I needed to hear.  It says more than I can so I urge you to check it out.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Feeling Awesome!

I can't express properly the feeling I get when I hop on Facebook and read all of your comments about my book and about my writing.  It's so wonderful to have all the support from everyone and so motivating!  I had posted the other day that I needed a test reader for my new novel and I honestly didn't expect much response, but I actually had to play 'eeny meeny miney moe' to pick the person who was going to be reading it.  My heart feels like exploding with excitement when anyone tells me how much they are enjoying the book, or how much they want to read it, or how they can't wait to see it published because I feel the same!

As a stay at home mother, I'm not always vocally appreciated for the things I do, which is fine, I don't expect to be, but it's so great to have all the support and love of all of my friends on Facebook, my followers on this blog, my family, everyone!  And it's given me the opportunity to talk to people I haven't in a long time, and even make better friends with people I never really got the chance to.

I know I say it all the time, but I really mean it...Thank you!!  I'd like to mention just a few people by name because they have been nothing short of amazing during this whole thing.  I always feel like I'm annoying people by how much I talk about writing...I'm just so passionate about it, and these people share that passion and also tolerate my word vomit. :)

Mommy, you know how much I appreciate your love, support, and enthusiasm.  If it weren't for you, I never would have had the courage to share my words with anyone.  They would have still been trapped in my head.

Jenny, for printing out my book on paper and giving me a copy.  For understanding the true meaning of the story and telling me that you loved it.  Even if you were lying, I really enjoy talking about it with you. ;)

Dawn, for taking the time to comb through my words, catching things I didn't even think about, offer such helpful advice, and be encouraging and thrilled at the same time.  We never really got to know each other when we lived across the street from each other, but after a few emails and some good conversation, I feel like I can completely trust your opinions. (and yes I know I used the words 'each other' twice in the same sentence, lol)

Sam, for IM-ing me in the late hours of the night talking books and how fun it is to write.  Being excited to read my words, teaching me how to create a fan page because I'm completely technologically challenged, posting my blog site up to help promote my book, and being a genuine friend.  Thank you so much.

Maria, for telling me that I inspire her.  It was a compliment I never expected to get and one that truly touched my heart.

Josh, for being so patient with my up and down emotions, taking the kids when I'm locked into the fantasy realm, believing in me, and humoring me when I write something that I feel I have to share with someone to see if it sounds okay, or I think it's really good, or really funny, or when I just need someone to say, 'sounds awesome' so I can keep writing.

And of course all the countless people who have wished me luck, given great constructive criticism, offered to read my book, and have been my friend.  Without all of you, I would have probably no self confidence, but because of you, I have loads.  Thanks again!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Lesson in Patience

Is there much more to be said of this?  Not really.  Being patient is not my strongest attribute, and it is killing me!  Every time I send off a query my gut wrenches uncomfortably and it doesn't stop until I receive a response.  So needless to say, my stomach has been twisted and knotted for about two months now.

I decided to channel this emotion into writing another novel.  I started writing the sequel to FATE, and made it about three chapters in before another inspiration hit.  I had to set aside the one book and start the other before the ideas flew out of my head.

What a relaxing antidote to the anxiety attacks!  I'm too excited about this new book to even stop writing for a day.  I'm looking for someone to share that passion so when I hit writers block, I have someone to go to for encouragement.  If you're up for the task, let me know.  It's a YA fantasy.

It's nice to work at my own pace and do something I really love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Books I Love!

Because of my recent 'coming out as a writer' I have had more opportunities than ever before to discuss books with so many of you.  You have all recommended some really great ones.  As I've stated before, I'm a huge fan of Young Adult fiction and fantasy, romance, paranormal, and of course, I love the classics.  I thought I would share with you the books that I pick up time and time again.  The ones that I can't get enough of.  The ones I go to when I need something to take me away from the stresses of life.  I'm going to include my favorite parts or chapters, so please bear with me as I elaborate on these books that have greatly influenced me.  Beware, there are spoilers so if you haven't read them, don't read the paragraph!

I have to start with Harry Potter!  For those of you who know me well, whenever I say Harry Potter!  I say it with gusto because it was the first book that jump started my desire to write, and to read.  The entire series is amazing and I don't think I know a single person who would disagree.  My favorite book would be The Half Blood Prince.  I love the humor in this one, and the heart.  My favorite part would be when Ron is under the influence of a love potion.  I'm so happy the movie did this part justice!

The Hunger Games series is a recent discovery of mine and boosted me to finish my book.  It is so well-crafted and such a good read.  I read them all within three days, a book a day, and I had to go back and read again slower to catch everything, lol.  My favorite book in the series was Catching Fire (book 2) because I loved the whole games arena.  The idea to have it as a giant clock was so creative and unexpected.  My favorite part was the most romantic scene of the whole series in my opinion when Katniss and Peeta are on the beach discussing which one of them deserves to go back alive.  I thought it wrapped up the meaning of their relationship and their feelings for one another nicely.

Fablehaven is another wonderfully written series (are you sensing a pattern to my favorite books, lol) that I could not put down once I started reading it.  This one I had to wait tirelessly for the fifth book because it hadn't come out yet, but like Harry Potter! it was worth the wait.  I honestly cannot choose a favorite in the series because I feel like it is one continuous journey.  Props to Brandon Mull, the author, for creating a story that flows so well over five books.  My favorite characters are Seth and Gavin.  For those of you who know the books well, you may say 'What?' to one of those choices but allow me to explain.  Gavin was so intriguing and so adventurous and wonderful you never would have guessed the true nature of his character.  When it was finally revealed, I felt my heart breaking along with Kendra's with disbelief and shock.  After reading it I was furious!  But what a wonderfully written character that can make the reader believe all the lies too.  As I reflect on it, I am deeply impressed.  Seth is also such a funny character and reminds me so much of my own brother, especially in the fifth one.  I always enjoy reading his point of view.

Twilight.  I know that this is a toss up for a lot of people, but not for me.  I really enjoyed reading this series.  I honestly couldn't put it down and I've read it over and over.  I think the hype and the movies have turned it into something that it's far from, which is a good book.  Anything that can take a legend and turn it into something completely different is amazing and completely worth celebrating.  I never would have thought that people would be wearing t-shirts that say 'freshly bitten' or 'vampires are sexy' or something to that effect.  Look at everything that has cascaded from this book.  Vampire stories, tv shows, and movies are everywhere now all because of this book.  I'm not a 'twi-hard', but I enjoy reading them.  My favorite parts change in this series depending on what mood I'm in, but Eclipse is hands down my favorite of the four books.  I love when he proposes to her and the discussion about not being intimate until after they are married.  I think it's a concept that needs more support.

The Dark Powers series.  I finished reading these books about a month ago and I couldn't put them down.  I went straight out to buy them when I got my birthday money and I can't wait to read them again. I've lent them out, so I have to wait.  My favorite would be The Reckoning, which is book 3.  My favorite part would be when she finally discovers her true feelings for Derek.  I know, I'm a sucker for romance scenes.  Chloe really wants to like Simon, but he can tell that he's not the one she wants.  And of course Derek, being Simon's brother, tells her that she can't like him either because Simon likes her.  It's a complicated mess, but as a reader, I could relate.

There are so many more that I'd like to elaborate on, but for the sake of space, I'm going to stop there.  I will mention Percy Jackson, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Host, The Fallen, and tentatively The Beyonders. (I'm in the middle of that one.)

If you have any recommendations for my next read, I'd love to hear what your favorite books are!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Mother and a Writer

People have asked me how I had time to write an entire novel in the course of a few months.  Being a mother of two young kids is demanding and time consuming, but thank heavens for nap times!  Honestly, I made time for writing.  I was up most nights till midnight or one o'clock with my face glued to the computer screen.  Even when I tried going to sleep earlier, my mind would not shut off and I figured I might as well write what was happening in my head before it disappeared.

I have to admit that some days I neglected some things because I was trapped in the fantasy realm with my characters and my understanding husband wouldn't mention the piled up dishes in the sink or the unfolded laundry in the basket.

Amazingly I made time for reading as well.  I picked up more and more juvenile fiction so I could study on how they were written, what voice the characters had, etc.  I love libraries!  I can't afford to buy every book out there, even though I'd like to, so I have become a frequent visitor to my local library.  I've fallen in love with many more books, and find myself flipping to my favorite parts after I'm done reading them and before I have to check them back in.

I know that being passionate about the story was really what gave me the time to write.  My kids are awesome and they entertain each other most of the time, which is great.  I grab my laptop and sit in their playroom with them, and surprisingly they aren't too distracting.  They are more helpful.  Even Ethan has sat down next to me and watched my fingers fly across the keyboard.  He finds it funny...I find it cute!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Discouragement VS Encouragement

There is opposition in all things: and thank heavens for that.  I had a difficult day yesterday feeling like a complete failure.  (we've all had those days.)  I was beginning to think I had wasted my time, that I was continuing to waste my time on this seemingly impossible task of getting published.  I was losing motivation.  As I study up on the 'right way' to accomplish what I want, there were several suggestions to go to school, join writers workshops, attend conferences, etc.  Problem is I lack the funds necessary to do these things.  Many people say that if it's truly what you want, you'll make the money for it, but honestly, the top priority for me is making sure my kids are fed, they have a place to sleep, and that they are happy.  After all that is taken care of there is little money left for those unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes not even that.

I'm not telling you all this to get sympathy, or to have a 'pity party' but this is the reality for a lot of people out there.  And as I thought about all of this, I wondered 'so how does someone like me grab the attention of a literary agent or a publisher with no credentials, no schooling, no real experience?'  I was discouraged and felt I was hoping for a lost cause.

The answer came to me in the form of an angel.  My husband who has always been supportive always knows when something is bothering me, pulled me into his loving arms and told me not to give up.  That all it takes is one person...one person to believe in your work and that's it.  He told me that I already have that one person. (Him)  I don't need loads of money, I don't need to attend conferences and workshops (even though that would be nice)  I just need to sit at the computer and write.  Do what I love because I love to do it.  Write for no one else but myself.  And most importantly, have fun doing it.

His encouragement set me back on track and I can't thank him enough for it.  I sat down yesterday and wrote four chapters of my new book without any hesitation, using my rollercoaster ride of emotions that day as inspiration.  I can't help but feel such gratitude for my Heavenly Father for sending my husband to me.  Blessing my life with his love and support.  For being there for me when I feel so alone.  Giving me my beautiful children, my home, and everything I have.

So instead of feeling hopeless with despair, I am challenging myself think positively.  That no matter what the outcome of this career choice, whether thousands of people get to read my work, or just a select few, I will be happy with what I have accomplished.

I think that this can be applied to anything in our lives and I'll chalk it up to another lesson learned, that I'll probably learn time and time again, but at least I have my husband, my family, and my friends to encourage me when I feel discouraged.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Long Road Ahead...

I follow a lot of literary agent and publisher blogs to see what the market is like and what they have to say.  This particular one was very encouraging so I thought I'd share the link with you. http://acrowesnest.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-it-takes-to-keep-going-as-novelist.html


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Q&A #6

What genre/age group is FATE targeted toward?

FATE is a fantasy romance for young adults.  It takes place on a distant planet on a continent called Seas.  I like working within a different world, but tying in elements from our own.  It is a lot like early 20th century Earth, but has some technological advancements that are later explained in the book.

Above everything else, it is a love story.  FATE is thrilling and surprising, but ultimately the relationship is the important part of the plot because it affects every action that is taken, every decision that is made.

I am a big fan of YA fiction.  Adolescence is such a pivotal period in our lives when we find who we want to be and what we'll do to achieve it.  We learn by making mistakes and growing from our experiences.  We test the boundaries and enjoy experiencing emotions for the first time in our lives.  My hero and heroine aren't teenagers, but they are young adults.  Both of them have to deal with all of the above things mentioned and I believe that young adults that read it will be able to relate.

I realize I could have just answered this question with just the first sentence I wrote, but where's the fun in that? Lol.

Thanks again for sending me questions and supporting me and my book!  I'm still crossing my fingers that we'll get to see this on the shelf soon.

"You are Loved"

I had a great opportunity last night to see Josh Groban in concert with my sister.  The entire thing was so great I literally had goosebumps from the immense talent displayed.  The opening act was someone named Elew, who I had never heard of before, but he was amazing!  He played the piano for us and the way his hands flowed over the keys was so inspirational and mind boggling I couldn't peel my eyes away from him for a second.  Then Josh came on the stage opening with a very beautiful number that I sat in my seat with my eyes closed and let the music and lyrics sink into my mind.  I wished I had my laptop with me so I could write a conversation between two of my characters expressing the emotions I felt in that moment.  The whole concert was so inspiring and he was very entertaining as well.

He sang You are Loved, which is one of my favorite songs of his and I instantly thought of the part in my novel that was inspired by this song.  Because it gives away things I want readers to experience when they first read it, I won't share it just yet, but it is one of my favorite parts and I'm so happy that I got to relive that moment of writing it as I heard the song sung live.

I know I've said it before, but I'm going to say it again: Music is awesome! 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Q&A # 5

What was the hardest part of writing?  The easiest?

As I'm still in the process of trying to get published, I think that is the hardest part: getting someone who reads thousands of queries a week to give your book a chance, but that is probably because I'm experiencing that right now.  But if we are strictly talking about completing the book, I'd have to say the hardest part was trying to shut my brain off once I got started so I could do the things I needed to (i.e. feed the children, change a diaper, switch laundry, sleep, etc.) and then try to turn it back on with the same ideas I just had that seemed so good.  Also trying to survive the dreaded 'delete' button.  Instead of deleting several pages that I wasn't sure worked, I would cut and paste them somewhere else in case I changed my mind later.  Most of the time, they weren't necessary to keep, but it's fun to look at the possible directions my story could have gone.  As I said in a previous post, I have four different endings, all of which were very unique, but I wouldn't change the one I picked.  (Especially after hearing some of your comments on how you liked the ending.)  I'm a firm believer that if it doesn't end well, the book falls flat, even if all the pages leading up to it are great.

The easiest part was letting the ideas just flow out whenever they came to me.  I ultimately knew what I wanted to happen and I would outline my chapters before writing them, but some of the chapters developed into something I hadn't expected when I began writing them.  In one particular chapter, even I didn't expect what came out on the page and when I read it over, my gut got tied in knots knowing what was about to happen, but being surprised by it as well.  I'll paraphrase what someone once said, 'If the author doesn't cry while writing, the audience won't while reading.  If the author doesn't get excited while writing, the audience won't while reading."  (Something to that effect)

While that was the easiest part, it wasn't easy.  Writing is fun, but it takes hard work and dedication to finish what you've started.  I was extremely passionate about the story and the enthusiasm from my mom who was reading it as I was writing it pushed me forward.  I would probably still be writing it paragraph by paragraph, line by line if it wasn't for her.  And I probably wouldn't be confident enough to send it out to literary agents if it wasn't for everyone who has taken the time to read it and offer some really good advice, so thank you!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Q&A #4

"I'd like a basic summary.  Like what you'd find on the back of the book."

This is what I've come up with for the literary agents:


Seeing into the future can cause major headaches.  For Rupert Hestivan, it means seeing the death of the woman he loves over and over.

When the king and queen of Chyann die unexpectedly, the announcement that their younger daughter, Emmaline Timothy, would be taking the throne shocks everyone, including her older sister, Claire.  Full of anger and hate, Claire concocts a plan to remove Emmaline from the crown…permanently. 

Seeing the horrible images invade his mind, Rupert risks everything to try to change what seems inevitable and save Emmaline from her terrible fate.  Using his gift of foresight, he finds that the more he tries to change, the worse the situation becomes.

Q&A #3

I realize that I'm posting yet again today, but the questions you have all asked are good ones, and I want to answer them for you.

What is your favorite part of the book?  Who is your favorite character?

These are tough questions to answer because I honestly can't decide.  There were certain chapters that flowed out onto the page, but as I read over the story, I found other chapters equally exciting.  For those of you who have read the book, you'll know what chapters I'll be referring to.

Chapter 5 was fun to write.  It is basically just a conversation, but I really enjoyed the character development of Emma and Owen.  She's essentially being tortured in this chapter, but this is where her life starts to change and her character growth begins.  This chapter is also when the reader is officially introduced to Owen and though he is one of the 'bad guys' I enjoyed writing his lines. 

My favorite character changes, but Rupert (my male protagonist) was the person I most enjoyed writing for.  If you have read my other posts, you'll know that I switch between his and Emma's POV.  His character is seems so real to me and therefore so fun to write.  His thoughts mixed with his actions always moved the story forward.

These are of course my answers for today.  I may have a different opinion in an hour, a day, a week, but that's just my indecisive nature. :)

Q&A #2

Do you plan to write a sequel?  Do you plan to write another book?

The answer is yes to both.  I've already started on the sequel to FATE which I know is a little overly ambitious, but I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my characters.  It's very slow going right now as I concentrate on getting FATE published, but it's coming along.

And yes, I have several ideas floating around in my head.  I have yet to put them on paper (or on the computer screen) but they are there.  Even if I don't get published, I really love writing.  It is a great outlet for stress and it gives me something to do when life gets so overwhelming.  I'm able to escape into another world and make it whatever I want it to be.

Q&A

I get a lot of questions from people when I talk about my novel.  I decided to answer a few of them on here and if you still have some for me, I'd be happy to answer those too!  I'm so glad to have peaked your interest and also to hear that some of you are writing your own stories.  I'm not an expert, and I can only share my own personal experiences, and I can only hope that something I mention will help you with your own projects.

As for those of you who just love to read I'm so happy (and very flattered) that you've taken an interest in FATE.  So I want to answer any questions you have too.  I'll try not to be too vague, but I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it yet.

The first question I got today was "Did you base any characters off of real people?"

I had to think about this one.  I think they all were inspired by someone or a mix of different people that I know, but mostly, they are original characters with their own quirks and personalities that make them interesting (and made them fun to write).

The only character I can honestly say was based off of someone would be my main female character's mother, Jeniveve.  I wanted the character to be lovable and a good mother, so I drew inspiration off of my own relationship with my mom.  There are certain personality traits that my mom has that I included in the character's description, such as being a morning person, having beautiful laugh lines from being so happy, and cherishing her family.

While the other characters weren't inspired by real people in my life, the relationships definitely were.  Writer's write what they know and there were certain parts that would bring me to tears as I wrote because I could relate so personally to what was happening to them.  When I was writing a certain death scene, I actually had to pause a moment and decide if that's really what I wanted to do because the emotion involved was a little overwhelming.

So obviously, I can't short answer, but hopefully I'll get better at it.

Thanks again for all of your support and for asking me questions!  It's so great to have so much interest already.  Hopefully we'll get to see this on the shelf!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Developing a Thick Skin

The whole writing process is hard.  If you think that writing the story is the hardest part...think again.  Even with writers block, finding time to write, and difficult creative decisions, actually putting the story on paper is the easiest part of the process (and the funnest too).

When you finally write those last words you've been trying to get to for who knows how long (the end) then the real work begins.  Don't make the same mistake I did and send it out before the book is ready.  Every word was written yes, but it was my first draft.  It wasn't ready!  After receiving some great feedback from literary agents, I put a pause on queries and combed through my book...again.

Even after doing that, I read through it another time to make sure what I had added or subtracted ultimately made the story stronger, and the writing better too.

Now that I feel pretty satisfied with this final draft, I found the courage somewhere inside of me to send it to a friend who is an editor.  We sat down yesterday to talk about the first couple of chapters.  After receiving so many unhelpful rejections and some harsh ones, I expected to hear the same from her, but was VERY happy that this wasn't the case.  She was extremely professional and helpful.  Everything she brought up helped the story tremendously and I eagerly gave her the rest of the book.

As she's reading the book, I'm working on getting my query to a perfect state, which is also harder than I thought it would be.  After all, how do you sum up a 400 page book in just a few short paragraphs?  But if I can't grab their attention with that, then there's no hope of them reading it.  If you are an aspiring writer like me, I strongly recommend joining QueryTracker.  It's an awesome website with helpful blogs and groups.  It also provides a lot of support from people who are trying to accomplish the same as you.  I've posted my query on there and have gotten some helpful feedback to make it better.

Speaking of support, I have to say it is a MUST in this business! It's so easy to give up whether it's in the first stage of writing, or the re-write, or through the countless rejection letters, the editing process, whatever the case and if I didn't have the encouragement from all of you wonderful people, I probably wouldn't even be discussing my book with you right now.

So yes, you need to have a thick skin, and support from family, friends, or other people with the same goals, but most of all, BELIEVE IN YOUR WORK!  If you aren't satisfied with it, an agent or publisher won't be either.

Alright, I think I've rambled on enough, but I just wanted to express how awesome it is to have such a great support system.  I love talking my book with you and for those of you who've read it, I'm really happy that you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Music as an Inspiration

Music is awesome!  Every time I had writers block, I would plug in my headphones, close my eyes and listen.  The blend of melodies and beautiful lyrics would set my mind back on track and I was able to focus.  I have an inspirational playlist, and I wanted to share a few songs with you that helped A LOT in the writing process.

Pieces by Red
Your Arms Feel Like Home by 3 Doors Down
Rescue Me by Hawthorne Heights
Hero by Skillet
Not Strong Enough by Apocalyptica
Sparks Fly by Taylor Swift
From Where You Are by Lifehouse
Fix Me by 10 Years

This is just to name a few, but if you want to check them out, they are all great songs.  I wanted to share just a little blip from my book that was inspired by the first song I mentioned on here.


I turned to lean against the door. I had no idea who was out there.  I felt a sharp pain of guilt as I realized that I may not know him, but he knew who I was and considered himself to be close to me.  I tried to think of all the royal tower guards and who would consider me in that way.  I came up with little possibilities. 
I held my knees and buried my face in my arms.  My entire body was bruised and my skin looked like someone else's.  I told myself that I needed to move and almost hoped for the burn in my chest to get me going, but I was quite calm in that area.  In fact, I almost felt whole.  It felt better the closer I was to the door.  As I concentrated on it, I tried to move my feet back to the bed, but they wouldn’t budge.  It felt that I was chained to the door, but it didn’t feel wrong.  I actually felt that I needed to be closer. 
            I hit the back of my head on the door by accident and the guard spoke again this time much louder.
            “Please!  You need to stop…agh!”  I opened my eyes in shock at what I heard next.  The guard’s unrelenting screams of agony pulled me up on my feet.  I wanted to yell, but my voice would not carry.  I instantly felt empathy for Rupert not being able to say something when you desperately wanted to.  So, instead I screamed in my head.  Are you okay?  What’s going on?  Are they doing anything to you?  Please answer me!  I’m so sorry!  
His screaming did not ease up.  The burning in my chest was a flame again yearning to pull me through the door itself.  I pressed my face against the cold stone and cried for the man just beyond my reach.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Writing FATE

So, as many of you know, I finished my first novel!  I am super excited about it and after many months of imagining, writing, re-writing, reading, re-writing again, and studying, I feel it's finally at it's polished state.  Hopefully we'll get to see it in published form, but until then I know I've been asked (a lot) about how I came up with the story and so I'll share with you my experience.

The first sentence I wrote of this book was three words long: 'I was frozen.'  I don't know what possessed me to write a 400 page book on such a simple phrase, but I couldn't stop once I had started.  The first chapter I wrote turned out to be chapter 7 in the book.  I took off with the concept of being rescued.

After I had written that first chapter, I realized I wanted to establish a relationship between my two main characters so I found myself saving that chapter and starting at the beginning of my book.  The problem I found when I started writing that prologue was that I didn't want it from the point of view from my female protagonist.  So, I switched it up and wrote from the male's.

I really enjoyed writing from both of the character's perspectives, so made the creative decision to do just that.  This way, the reader would be able to relate to both of the characters.  I found that instead of hindering the storyline, it actually improved it.

After plucking up the courage, I started sending my mom chapters of it.  I was so glad I did because I'm not sure if I'd have a finished project.  Her encouragement and enthusiasm boosted my imagination and the story developed far beyond what I originally had in mind.  (So, thanks Mommy!)

The ending was the hardest part.  I wrote four different ones before I was satisfied with the one I picked. 

Now, it was on to the re-write, which I was so grateful I did before I sent anyone else a copy!  In the midst of grammatical errors and confusing sentences, there was still a good story there, so it wasn't a complete waste of time, lol.

After all the edits and some really good feedback from trusted friends and some great people on QueryTracker, I am proud to say that I'm ready to share it with people if they want to read it.  (That's why I wrote it.)  I am in the process of trying to get it published and hope to get representation soon, but since most of you are my target audience, if you would like to read some of it, I'd be glad to share it with you.  As long as you don't post it all over the internet. :)

Thanks again for all your support! 


 

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