Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 5: When Your Story Speaks, Listen

Revelation Station #3

Kora: I want to be a mermaid.
Andrea: no, this is a contemporary story.
Kora: I'm a mermaid, deal with it.
Andrea: thats not fair!
Kora: what can I say, sometimes life's a beach.
Andrea: Ok fine, but I want the story to be sunny, fun loving and witty.
Kora: This is gonna be a dark YA paranormal romance.
Andrea: But-
Kora: talk to the fin!
Andrea: hehe, ok that was funny.
Kora: If you start listening to me, this will go a LOT easier for the both of us!
Andrea: Alright fine. You win, fin-girl.
Kora: Good. Now listen up, here is how the story is going to be..

Damn. It sucks when a main character is so demanding.

*Question for You*
Since its getting all mermaid up in here, do you think Wishing On Daisies still fits as a title? Kora thinks a new title would be better and its hard disagreeing with her. Any suggestions for a different name would be appreciated! Thanks :)

Book in a Month Pt 4: Tips for Succeeding with Writing a Book in a Month

Thanks to Robin from Robin Writes for honoring me with The Versatile Blogger Award. Woots! If you haven't already check out her great blog.

Tips for Succeeding with Writing a Book in a Month
Be prepared, have an outline and character info handy
Set daily goals: divide everything up into bite sized chunks
Share your goal with others
Set your boundaries
Stay focused on what you want to do next 
Think positive, believe in yourself, and stick with it
If you get stuck skip over it and write the next scene
It’s OK to suck. Embrace the suck.

Revelation Station #2
I started out with the idea I would be writing my memories from joining the swim team in high school and falling in love for the first time. It wouldn't be too difficult to turn that into a story right? WRONG.
The more I worked on this story the more I realized that I couldn't make it a memoir, it just want to be that story. Wishing on Daisies took on a life of its own. It wants to be something else! It doesn't even care for the name Wishing on Daisies anymore. hehehe.

So, I am following my gut here and letting the story grow into what it wants. Memories were great for inspiration, but it turns out they were just a springboard for this journey.

"Steadily aim for your goal unswervingly. That is dedication." -DeMille

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview with McKenzie McCann, Author of Tread Lightly

Today I have the honor of interviewing  McKenzie McCann from The UbiquitousPerspective. McKenzie is the author of Tread Lightly, her debut YA Fantasy novel. 

Here is a brief description:
“2000 years ago, St. Patrick and his Catholics chased Norah's people out of Ireland. They landed on the island of Hy-Brasil and have lived in isolated peace ever since.

The occasional shipwrecked outsider is no surprise to the island, and as the chief medic's daughter, Norah is prepared to care for these strange, ship-wrecked outsiders. But Oliver is a bit different, and he's brought something with him that's about to place the secrecy of the island in terrible danger.”

After reading two chapters of this novel, I was hooked. She has created a magical world populated by interesting characters, and  Norah is a very likeable and strong heroine.

My Interview with McKenzie:

Could you tell us more about Tread Lightly and what inspired the story?
You know, this story went on quite a journey before its publication. The root of this tale is based on two things: the St. Patrick's Day massacre and the island of Hy-Brasil. When I found out that St. Patrick's Day is the celebration of bringing Christianity to Ireland, and St. Patrick murdered all of the Celtics in the process, I thought to myself, did any of the Celtics escape? Where would they have gone? Hy-Brasil is sometimes also called 'the other Atlantis,' and is rumored to be not too far from the U.K.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 3: Tough Questions Every Writer Should Ask

Revelation Station #1

I thought I would be OK with writing Wishing on Daisies as a YA Contemporary Romance but something about it didn't seem quite right, I was excited but not totally excited.

I think I missed the magic. You know, shape shifters, witches, spell-casters, something. I love fantasy and the paranormal so much.

Amandini from Abbso-fraggin-lutely suggested that I think about adding some magic in, even if it was just an element of the imagination in the character's minds.

Then it hit me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 2, Using A Plot Skeleton

For the last two days I've been working on a basic plot for Wishing on Daisies. At the same time I'm also working on the characters. It seems like plot and characters go hand in hand, doesn't it?

Here is the plot structure I am using, it is a mash of different ones I've found: 

The Three Act Plot Structure for Romance

Act 1
  1. Intro/The inciting incident
  2. Conflicts introduced
  3. Cute meet with the love interest
 Act 2
  1. Beginning to fall in love
  2. Conflict added/intensified
  3. The final confrontation is foreshadowed
  4. First love or intimacy scene
  5. Stakes are raised for the dark moment
 Act 3
  1. Dark moment, they break up or love seems doomed
  2. Final confrontation and resolution
  3. Happily ever after! Woo Hoo!
What is the overall Mood/Tone?

Is there other sources of inspiration for the story?
  • Myths or legends 
  • Artwork
  • Music

Some Great Books:
By  Christie Craig and Faye Hughes
Excellent for different plot structures and general advice, this is an all-around great guide for writing romance.

By James Smith
A simple, quick to read book for turning your dream into a reality. It also has plenty of advice for making your novel more salable.

Do you have any go-to resources or books that you like to use when developing a story?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Write Something That Will Change Your Life

“This is a very high standard, but it may be the most valuable piece of advice you'll ever get as a writer. I’ve never seen a writer go wrong following it. Why? Because if a story is that important to you, it may be that important to a lot of people in the audience. And when you’re done writing the story, no matter what else happens, you’ve changed your life." - John Truby 

Blogspiration is a new weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.

 Also, I want to thank the goth goddess, Mina Lobo from Some Dark Romantic for honoring me with the Lucky 7 Meme. Check out her great blog when you get the chance!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Book in a Month Pt 1, Developing The Story Concept

Next month is dun dun dun... JuNoWriMo amd CampNaNoWriMo. I have decided to write a Book in a Month and blog about it for those who may be interested in doing the same thing. I have tried to write a book in a month before and failed, but this time I have a good feeling about it. I can do it!

I am going to share my journey here in hopes that it may help others, and provide some new ideas to try. 

Week 1: Story Preparation
Lets start with Story Concept and Inspiration

I originally wanted to write a YA romance, and chose my memories of swim team and my first love as inspiration. The title, Wishing on Daisies was actually inspired by the cover that I purchased pre-made from Jacee DeLorenzo. She does great work.

Title: Wishing on Daisies 
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
POV: First person with lots of humor (hopefully) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Should I Write? Write What You Love

There is an old saying about “write what you know.” But we shouldn't we also consider "write what you love?" If you are passionate about a subject it will be easier to write about, your excitement for it will shine through and keep your readers engaged. Writing can take a long time, especially if you are creating a full length novel. Writing what you love fuels your passion and keeps your interest for the long haul.

We are going to look at the books and movies you love, as well as your other interests, passions and memories to help find out what to write about. These can be a quick reference to turn to when searching for writing ideas and inspiration.
The first question to ask yourself is, what do you think would be fun to write?  Do you want to write a sweeping romance, a Sci Fi novel, poetry like T.S. Elliot, or a screen play? If you aren’t sure then think about what you enjoy reading the most and the movies you love to watch. Write in the genre you love.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The 2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest

Today starts the  2nd Annual Flash Fiction Blogfest hosted by Cherie Reich. It was a blast writing flash fiction, and with a limit of only 300 words it was also a big challenge.

The flash fiction I wrote was inspired by the song, Old Ways by Loreena McKennitt. Feel Free to watch it here. It is one of my all-time favorite songs. 

Also just a note: the story does have a love scene (written in figurative language).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Make a Story Inspiration Collage

Step 1: Gather Materials
  • Clip pictures from old magazines of whatever reminds you of your story, the characters, the mood etc, or what interests you.
  • Find pictures on the internet.
  • (If you want) go out and take pictures of your own and print them.
  • Clip out words from magazines or print any words that are related to your story, catch your eye or inspire you.
  • Gather sequins, stickers or other artsy stuff you might want to use.
 Step 2: Make the Collage 

Arrange pictures and words on a piece of paper or in a journal. When you are happy with how it looks, paste them down (I use glue sticks). Add stickers or other accents. Have fun! When you are done with your collage post it by your desk or somewhere you can see it often.

What to do with the leftover pictures and words? Use them!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Upcoming Blog Hops and Writing Events

Thanks to Gossip Girl and L.G for nominating me for the Kreativ Blogger award. They are great people, check em out :)

Why Blog Hops Rock
#1 you write about things you may not have thought of writing about before
#2 you meet wonderful people
#3 you get more traffic and followers

I am going to keep a link up top to all upcoming blog and writing events that I know of. But, I am so excited about the ones that are coming up that I wanted to share.

How do I enter a Blog Hop?
Basically if you are interested in joining a hop, go to the host's website, read the rules, and click on the link to enter your blog on their list (it will ask for the name of your blog, website address, and possibly email). Then on the day of the hop put the post on your blog and go back to the main host’s site and click on the links to other blogs and see what they have posted. It is a lot of fun!

Flash Fiction Blogfest
When: May 21-23
Here are the rules:
Write a flash fiction of 300 words or less. It must begin with the two words: Lightning flashed. Entries must be posted on your blog between May 21 - 23. Sign up in the linky on the host's site to have your entry counted.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness - A Big Shout Out

There has been a lot of buzz lately for The Random Acts of Kindness Blitz. (#RAOKBlitz on Twitter)  Two very generous authors, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, of The Bookshelf Muse blog wanted to kick off the release of their book, The Emotion Thesaurus, in a unique way. Check their site to get more information, enter giveaways and a get a free RAOK gift.

Is there someone special you would like to acknowledge this week? A friend, a fellow writer, blogger, or critique partner that has helped you along the way? Now is a great time send them an email, or a shout out to show your appreciation.  You can use any platform--blog, Facebook, Twitter or email--and offer a kind word or gesture. The very best part of kindness is that it is contagious. Click here to see how others are celebrating, and if you like, join us!  

I would like to thank all of my friends who have joined me on this writing  journey, and all of the wonderful people I've met through blogging community. Thanks guys!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First Loves Blogfest

In this blogfest you post your first loves – first movie, first song/band, first book, and first person.

My Four First Loves in High School

First Movie: Batman Returns
Meow. She’s sexy, strong, lives by her own rules, and loves sparkly things. No wonder I had a girl-crush on Catwoman. I had already been a fan for  years when Batman Returns came out. Michelle Pfeiffer did a great job, and I was a total fan-girl. I had a giant poster of Catwoman on my wall and wrote an embarrassing school essay about how she was my hero. Although I’m not as active in seeking out Catwoman stuff today, she still continues to be my favorite comic book character.
First Book: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (The Dragon Lance Chronicles)
I always spent my $10 weekly allowance on books. I used to hunt through Barnes and Noble looking for the one, because that's all I could afford. One fateful day I stumbled upon The Dragons of Autumn Twilight, which is the first in the The Dragon Lance Chronicles by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. This was the first book that brought me deeply into a fantasy world like never before. I loved the heroes, I loved their adventures, I loved this book! And I still have a crush on Raistlin, the beautifully tormented mage.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Love and Writing

Love is in the air as I am getting ready for the First Loves Blogfest on May 14. In this blogfest you post your first loves – first movie, first song/band, first book, and first person. I'm so excited!

I recently watched the movie Beauty and it had a wonderful sceen in it that made me really think about love. In the movie Alyx’s feelings are hurt when Lee doesn’t even want to see the portrait she painted for him. Alyx’s father tries to console her by telling her something about art and love that really inspired me.

“It won’t be any good unless you care, that’s the hell of being an artist. To be a good one you have to give away the very thing you’ve exposed your soul to create. I think painting is like falling in love. You have to be vulnerable, take risks. But freely. No strings. You can’t control what happens to the art you’ve created, just like you can’t control what happens when you love someone."

Then he gazed at the portrait and said, “I can see your love for him, it’s there in every brush stroke isn’t it?"

This made me stop and ask some deep questions about my own writing:
  • Do I really care about what I'm writing? Is my love for it in every word?
  • Am I writing with honesty, or am I too afraid of what others might think?
  • Am I exposing my soul when I write, or guarding my heart?
  • Am I willing to let go of my story once I've finished creating it? 

Beauty is a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast. You can watch it on Youtube here.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

JunoWriMo Anyone?

My friend, Laura at Stranger Than Writing  posted a blog about the upcoming JunoWriMo. For those who are familiar with NanoWriMo it is pretty much the same concept, write a book in a month. But it's a little different.

Rule#1 Write 50,000 words in 30 days, that's an average of 1667 words a day.

Rule#2 It has to be your original work.

You don’t have to write a new novel, it can be a work in progress. What a great way to finish that story you started! Also, you don't have to write fiction, for those who want to work on a memoir etc.

Even though I am currently in the middle of editing, I am thinking of going for it. I am really excited about writing a book in a month and I'm itching to do this. So the plan is to edit as much as I can this month, JunoWriMo next month, die, be miraculously resurrected and then finish my editing.  What do you think? Would you consider doing JunoWriMo?

 For more info on JunoWriMo or to sign up, click here. 

Also, If you are interested in something like this check out Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. It provides a structured plan for writing your book within a month, and includes as useful tips and advice for beating writing blocks.

My New Book Covers From Sweet N' Spicy Designs

I commissioned these amazing covers from Jaycee DeLorenzo at Sweet n' Spicy Designs. I am thrilled beyond belief! The one for The Falcon Prince is a custom cover. I love it soo much. It is going to keep me motivated to finish my story and make it the best it can be. I want my story to be worthy of this beautiful cover.

Wishing on Daisies is a pre-made cover. I've had a YA romance story in the back of my mind for some time and I thought it would be perfect for it. The story originally had no daisies in it, but I loved the picture so much it inspired me to include a scene where the love interest gives her a daisy.

Check out Jaycee's amazing work. If you want a cover for a finished story, want the motivation to finish a story, or looking for something to inspire a new story, I highly recommend her.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What My Manuscript Taught Me

It's the last day of Dust it Off Blog Hop.
This awesome hop is hosted by Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paolo. Today I am supposed to post what I've learned from The Falcon Prince.

It taught me to stick with it. To put butt to seat and finish it already!

Don't get me wrong. I love writing rough drafts. I love creating characters, and I especially love making a plot. It is so much fun to immerse myself in a world that I have created and write the journey as I experience it through the eyes of my characters. Ooooh, is it so much fun, its like eating a dark chocolate mousse cake enrobed in decadent ganache coupled with velvety mounds of vanilla bean ice cream. In other words, its writing heaven.

Editing is hell.

The Falcon Prince is the first manuscript that I actually buckled down and said, "I'm gonna edit this thing from start to finish, and dang it, I'm going to finish it!"

It was absolute torture in the beginning. But it's getting better. I am learning the sweet satisfaction of turning a bare bones scene into an enriched, sensory experience. The thrill of finding just the right words. The back-breaking work of sprinkling description in with action, and action in with the dialogue. This is definitely not easy. But my writing is getting a whole lot better.

Thanks to everyone who has joined me on this writing journey, it was so much fun to read about your manuscripts. Best wishes to all of you out there.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Excerpt from The Falcon Prince

The second day, May 5th:  Post your favorite excerpt (300-350 words)
This awesome blog hop is hosted by Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paolo.

The Falcon Prince:

Kaitlyn turned around and gasped in shock. She realized she hadn’t backed into a tree after all but a man. A gorgeous man.
“However, she won’t be going anywhere with you.” The man stepped in front of Kaitlyn to shield her from the attackers. His stance was aristocratic and radiated power. He was tall, with a svelte body. Skin the color of rich latte. The wind shirred dark chocolate hair over his broad shoulders and black leather duster. He was a fascinating mix of rugged and refined. The man flashed her a mischievous grin.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Two Sentance Pitch

The 3 day Dust It Off Blog Hop starts today, hosted by Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paulo. Check out their web sites for more information, the rules and to find the other participants.

The first part of Dust it off is to give a 1-2 sentence pitch. After hours of struggling here is what I've come up with. I still think it needs work but I'm not sure what to do. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

The Falcon Prince
Paranormal Romance
25,000 words

Revised 5/8/12
Arman, the falcon prince, didn’t want to bring Kaitlyn into his world of war and magic, but there was no choice when he had to save her from a group of shape-changing black birds. Having Kaitlyn so close has only increased his attraction for the woman who unknowingly bonded them as soul-mates so many years ago. Now he needs to protect her from his enemy, the Sky Lord Cyrus who is using women to gain power. But will keeping her safe mean sacrificing his only chance at love?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Writing Buddies

“More than anything else, the part of us that writes needs support, reassurance, and encouragement.” Julia Cameron

For years I wrote alone. I scribbled thoughts into secret journals; I typed poetry when no one else was home. I kept my work hidden, my writing life a secret. It was like an affair that I tried to hide. I denied that I was a writer, how could I be? My writing wasn’t any good, my thoughts too embarrassing to expose to other people. When I finally started writing a full length novel I hid in the basement, typing on my laptop.

It is difficult to write alone. It can be lonely and tiring, especially when the negative thoughts creep up. “This isn’t any good.” “This is taking too long.” “Stop kidding yourself.”

Sometimes the best thing for a writer’s soul is a friend.

Someone that encourages you, that gives you support, someone to share the ups and downs of writer-dom, the laughter and the tears. That is all it takes is for just one person to believe in you, to be there for you, to keep you going. I am very blessed to have found writing friends. Without their support and encouragement I don’t think I would have gotten as far.

How do you find a writing friend? Tell your friends that you that are writing, you will be amazed at how much support they will give. Reach out to other writers. Look for a critique partner, someone in the same boat and genre as you. Find blogs for writers; and make one of your own. Participate in blog events. Join the community of writers. Yeah, not everyone is going to be tea cakes and roses. But there are kindred souls out there.

I hope you will be blessed with good writing friends. May you encourage and inspire others to write, and may you also be a good friend to yourself. Trust in your words!

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