Friday, December 12, 2014

icky sicky

So this last week didn't go quite as well as I planned, but here's my weekly update nonetheless :)

biggest news of the week

being sick does not make me a more productive writer :-/

this week's successes

I'm in the middle of rereading my manuscript, and I realize that it doesn't suck as much as I thought it did :)

what i learned

sinus infections suck! big time!
nyquil is awesome
DVR's are a lifesaver

what i can improve on

Achieving my goals of the week. I was sick with one of the worst colds I've ever had from Friday evening until yesterday, so I'll give my self a little slack. This time.

goals for next week

finish rereading my manuscript and decide if I want to change from third to first person.
if I decide to change it, switch the first 50 pages.
start writing the sequel, which I can't do until I decide on my POV

Here's to hoping I stay healthy and next week goes better!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

ignorance vs. sanity

I've never been one to watch the news daily. I like to be an informed person, but watching all the bad stuff that happens in the world makes me sad, mad, helpless, and a million other bad feelings. Someone is murdered, someone is sick, someone stole something or blew something up. The bad things that happen consume the media far more than the good things, and whatever makes the better "story" is what gets the airtime. It's what gets spread like wildfire on the internet, with people from all over the world giving their opinions on facebook posts. Arguing with each other, determined that they are right and anyone who doesn't agree with them entirely is wrong.

More and more I wonder how things will change. It's easy to comment on how wrong something is, but a whole other ordeal to change something. And change is hard. Change requires more than arguing. I truly believe change requires people to see both sides of something. It requires understanding. And then it requires effort.

I want to be someone who can change the world. But anymore, I have the urge to bury my head under the sand and just ignore it all. I don't like to feel mad and sad and bad over things. All those feelings steal my energy and leave me worthless to the other things in life I should be doing.

Maybe that's why I'm a writer. I can create an army of characters to change my fictional world. As a writer, I have some control. And maybe my words can somehow change the actual world.

That's the hope, at least.

Friday, December 5, 2014

caffiene in system, ready, set, go!

So, I've decided to dedicate every Friday to a weekly summary of how my writing journey has been over the past week. It'll be a good way to keep myself on track, as well as share my process of bringing my book to publication :) (which btw I'm soooo excited about!)

biggest news of the week

This would have to be my official decision to go indie with the novel I'm polishing up, as well as the rest of the novels in the series. Let the excitement/nervousness/please-don't-pee-my-pants journey begin!

this week's successes

I won a consult with Susan Kaye Quinn! And I never win at any raffle type things ever! I think I repeated the phrase "OMG I can't believe I won. I never win!" at least 30 times. It was an extremely helpful thing for me to win, and I appreciate Susan's generosity and willingness to help fellow indie authors.

what i learned

I'd read Susan's book on indie publishing, as well as a few others, so I already had some knowledge on the subject. But with Susan's help, I've mapped out a timeline for the next year which will include the release of the first novel in the series (title to be announced soon!) as well as the next two books in the series, all by the end of the year! Yep, I'm going to be one busy lady!

what i can improve on

I've done a lot of planning this week, which will pay off, but I haven't gotten much editing or writing done. #mybad #betterlucknextweek

goals for next week

I want to get at least 5k words written in book #2, as well as some significant editing done on book #1. "Significant editing" is more vague than it should be, but I'm still assessing what all needs to be revised before the book is ready, so I'll let some vagueness pass (this time. next time it's off-with-my-head). Originally I wrote the book in first-person, present tense, and then during my last semester of my MFA program, I switched it to third-person, past tense. I think the change helped me figure out the story better, but I'm now realizing that first person suits the story better, and I'm questioning if I want to keep it in past tense or switch it back to present! Aahh! By next week, I need to have made a decision! (I'll need a lot more coffee if I plan on switching the whole thing back!)

Well, there's my first week's post! Has anyone else switched a novel POV and tense only to switch it back to where it started (aka, went crazy?)?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

IWSG post!

So after a bit of a hiatus, I'm back with another IWSG post!

Lately, I've been putting a lot of thought into what I want in my writing career. In today's writing world, there are more options than ever. I've always been someone to consider all potential ways to do something, so naturally I've been looking into the pros and cons of both traditional and indie publishing.

After a lot of thought and self reflection, I have decided I'm going to start my journey into indie publishing! I had amazing luck and won a consultation with Susan Kaye Quinn, a successful indie writer. I've read a few books on self-publishing, but chatting with her really made me realize that indie is the path I want to try.

With any method of publishing there are insecurities, but taking my whole writing career into my own hands is scarier than hell! But it's also exciting! I'm hoping through the learning process I can get over my insecurities (or some of them, at least). No matter what, I know I'll learn a lot.

Anyway, stay tuned as I post more of my dive into the indie publishing world. Right now I'm revising my manuscript one last time, and then will have it edited and find some beta readers. I'm also starting to write the sequel!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

my trip back to Spalding

Over the last couple weeks, I had the opportunity to visit Spalding, my MFA school, and be a post graduate residency assistant (PGRA). It was a great experience. During my time as a student at Spalding, I forgot to really soak in the chance to be immersed in the writing world for a short time. Ten days of lectures, workshops, and hanging out with fellow writers. Life doesn't get much better. Going back a year after graduating, I made sure to really appreciate it.

One of the best lectures was given by Nicole Resciniti, an agent from the Seymour Agency. Her talk was amazing and so informative on how the publishing process works and strategies for the querying writer. The week really sparked my determination as a writer.

Spalding is located in Louisville, Kentucky. There's so many beautiful, historic buildings. Here's a picture of me in front of a church I'd pass on my way from the hotel to Spalding.

One of Spalding's buildings is called the Mansion Building. Most of the building has been changed into classrooms, but there's part of it that remains mansion-esque.

Every time I would go down the stairs, I'd feel like Scarlett O'Hara.

During residency, we get to stay in the beautiful Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville, which has the most amazing lobby.

Graduation is held on the 16th floor of The Brown which has a gorgeous view of Louisville.

I had such an amazing 10 days! But now I'm home and ready to write :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Lately, I haven't had as much time for my writing as I'd like. The last couple weeks, I've had nearly none. Mostly, I've had no brain power to write.

Luckily, the things that had been taking up my time are mostly finished. Over the last half year, writing had been feeling more like a chore than something I love. I finished up my MFA program in November, and while I had been exited to dive into my next novel, the motivation vanished after an intense last semester. But these last two weeks, while I didn't have time to write, I started to actually miss it. Finally, I'm anxious to spend time getting to know my characters and have fun with words on the page.

Okay, now to what this post is really about. Last night I had a dream that I was giving someone some writing advice. I told the person to look deeply at consequences her characters faces. As the plot moves forward, the actions of the characters and the consequences should keep escalating. Hannah flirts with another boy. She feels guilty. She kisses another boy and tells her boyfriend. They fight, but don't break up. She continues to see other boy. Her boyfriend leaves her.

It's not any special type of advice, but I realized that it's exactly what I need to apply to plotting out my current WIP. I guess the person I was talking to in my dream was really myself :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IWSG and commitment... Part two

It's been a month since my last blog post, which was last month's IWSG post. I've done some brainstorming on my WIP, but I haven't been writing much lately. I'm in the middle of a career change and the summer weather has brought out my love for tennis. If writing is so important to me, why don't I make the time to do it?

After picking my brain for what's blocking me, I've decided it's expecting too much. I set too large of word count goals and expect a high quality of writing from myself and it takes out the fun of writing.

My goal for this month is to find the fun in writing again and try to develop consistency, even if it's in small amounts at a time.

And hopefully I won't go another month without posting!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IWSG and commitment

My current struggle is commitment to my writing. I graduated from Spalding's MFA in writing program in November and had planned to take a few months off to dedicate to my writing before I switched jobs. After graduation, I realized I actually needed a bit of a break. My last semester was intense, and after finishing up my thesis while working full time, I was tired.

Now I'm starting a new career and trying to fit in my writing. I have small spurts where I write consistently, and then I fall off the tracks. However, I've made a new commitment to myself to keep a better schedule, but to make it reasonable. I overwhelm myself by expecting large chunks of writing everyday and then I put the writing off. I'm spending the next month brainstorming/plotting my WIP, and then (fingers crossed) going to stick to writing it. Even if it's slow and steady.

What are your writing habits? Can you keep to a writing schedule you set?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

SVU, cliffhangers, and discipline

I'm typing this during a commercial. I'm watching Law & Order: SVU. And, as always, I'm hooked. I turned on this episode four minutes after it started. Sometimes I start half way through an episode. It doesn't matter when I turn it on, I almost always finish the episode.

Today is a beautiful day where I live. I had planned to be outside writing, but I made the mistake of flipping on TV and finding SVU for just a few minutes. Yeah, right.

The show does a fabulous job of hooking you before each advertisement. It's something I strive for in my writing, usually at the end of a chapter or scene. Things seem to calm down. They've followed a lead who they think will solve the case. And then, BAM, a new clue that spins everything! (Pause, show is back on) Okay, I'm back! End of the episode, and I turned the television off. It's the only way I won't spend another hour sitting on the couch when I should be outside on the patio writing. So now, I shall use my discipline and do what I should have been doing all along!

I'm not one for long posts, so moral of the story. Small cliffhangers and new clues placed at the right time, will keep readers reading. And at the end of the day, that's what we want as writers :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Downsizing: In Life and Writing

As a kid, the more things I had, the better off I thought I was. Barbies, CDs, Beanie Babies (Yes, I was a 90's child). Movies, video games, clothes. The more stuff I had seemed a reflection of how happy I was. Only it wasn't.

As I've grown, items seem less important. Don't get me wrong, I like to have nice things, but I no longer want A LOT of nice things. The accumulation of items I've hung onto has become a burden. There's always a reason to keep something. Maybe I'll want this shirt again later when it comes back into style. This decorative item was a gift from so and so. What if my phone breaks and I need a back up. While there is reason to keep each of these, I've become better at being more selective. I don't need fifteen sweatshirts. I don't need every gift my grandma has ever given me.

Lately, I've been trying to downsize my life. My bills. My obligations. My things. More isn't better to me. More weighs me down.

I believe that this applies to writing, too. When I first started writing, I thought more was better. More description. More characters. More words. This went against my natural tendency to be concise.

Now, I've realized that in writing fiction, extra words only clutter the prose. One solid description is more effective than a whole paragraph of bland description. A character who can serve multiple purposes in the novel is better than a bunch of characters who mostly sit in the background. Words are precious in writing and should be chosen carefully. Sometimes we have to murder our darlings, but it's worth it to have cleaner prose.

Do you tend to overwrite? Underwrite? Have a perfect balance?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Insecure Writer's Group

I'll start IWSG with a story from when I started writing about five years ago.

Growing up, I always felt confident academically. I did well in school and felt capable of learning anything I put my mind to. One day, I decided I wanted to be a writer. I had written small things before throughout my school years, but I'd never thought about trying to write books. But how hard could it be? Right? I'd written a ton of essays.

I learned pretty quickly that it is hard. Very hard. And so different than academic writing. All of a sudden, my confidence vanished. I'd never felt so unsure of myself. I started to realize just how much there was to learn about fiction writing. I learned how much I didn't know. Plot, pacing, tension, character arc, and this list goes on. How was I supposed to even know if I was doing it right?

I found a writing connection post on a blog, and I connected with some writers trying to start a critique group. We all shared a small piece of writing with each other to determine if we would make a good fit. One of the ladies claimed I wasn't at the level that she wanted to exchange with. Ouch. I was hurt, mad, sad. I'd always felt so confident with words when it came to academic writing. Suddenly, the doubt I already had tripled. But then I realized it was just one opinion. And I kept writing.

Well, that'll be my first Insecure Writer's Post :) I'll continue the story of my writing journey next month!

Also, the winner has been selected for my giveway...

Drumroll please


Barbara Barnett!!

Thanks everyone for entering. I'll have another contest before too long!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

how to NOT write a book

open word/scrivener/whateveryouuse
type a sentence
erase it
click on web browser
type in facebook
read the newsfeed
type a status
realize it could be better
erase it
remember the novel you're supposed to be writing
go back to the document
think about your big idea
think about the main character
realize you need a kickass name
go to
search girls names starting with m
search girls names starting with c
wonder if your mc should be a boy instead
search boys names starting with b
go back to girls names starting with m
feel the dryness in your throat
get water
and some chocolate
return to your computer
go back to the blank document
decide to write a blog post...

welcome to my life :)

don't forget about the giveaway! info on the previous post

Sunday, April 27, 2014

OMG free stuff!

So I'm back to blogging... and to celebrate.. I'm giving stuff away! Yay!

I just finished reading the last installment in the Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor and since it's one of my favorite series, I think everyone should read it and I want to help you! So, I'm giving away your choice of the first book Daughter of Smoke and Bone in either paperback or ebook, or if you already have it, you can choose the ebook of either Days of Blood and Starlight or Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

And that's not all folks! My friend Angela's book The Forgotten Fairytales is out and I want to help you read it, too. Cause it's AMAZING! Think Mean Girls fairytale style :) The winner of the giveaway gets the Forgotten Fairytales ebook as well!

You read right! Two free books! Free! Who doesn't like FREE STUFF?!?!

Okay, enter already! :P

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 25, 2014

To plot or not to plot...

It always happens. I come up with a new story idea about that I'm dying to write. The first 3k words or so flow so smoothly, I'm sure I'll finish my first draft in no time...

Then it slows down a little...

A little more...

Until I spend more time staring at the blank page than writing.

I've finally accepted that I am not a panster. I admire the people who can follow the unknown world of their story and push past the uncertainty.

I, however, am not one of those people.

Usually at this point, I buckle down and write an outline. Not a ridiculously detailed outline. More like a sentence or two about each scene. And then I can start writing again. The outline changes as I write, but it gives me the direction I need to keep my fingers typing. I guess this makes me a plotter, but more a half foot in, half foot in the sky type.

What about you? Where do you fall on the plotter vs. panster spectrum?