The Do’s & Don’ts

For all you writers out there you might want to listen in for a moment. I need to talk to you about something very, very important right now…you ready? Are you sure your listening? Okay, well here it is…don’t fill your pages with a bunch of meaningless, everyday “stuff”. What I mean by this is, don’t in every single chapter, all the way through the entire book, write what your character ate at every single meal…WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW THIS!

Now, the flip side to this is, you do have to make your character believable so you will need to have some meals placed in there occasionally but just make sure you have a point to it. Whatever you put in each chapter make sure that it’s building your storyline and has a purpose.

I know sometimes its really hard to write certain chapters and fill up your book. Nobody wants to read a 250 page book that lacks substance, they want a solid story. So if you’re having trouble coming up with things to say or different scenes perhaps you just need to step away from writing for a few days and come back to it.

Also, the reader wants diversity. Don’t write the same “type” of scene for three chapters. Example, don’t write, in three chapters, your character learning how to play golf (perhaps that’s a bad example but you get the picture). If you have to write it like this make it interesting. Build in emotion or build intensity (if that’s the type of manuscript you are writing). Make the reader want to find out what will happen. Make the reader fall in love with your characters!

I only bring this up because I recently read a book (no I’m not going to tell you which book it was) and almost the entire 500 pages was stuffed full of what type of foods the characters ate, what it smelled like, what it tasted like, etc. There was no back story to justify putting it in there. I felt like the writer didn’t know what to say and so she threw it in there to “fill up the pages” with something. It didn’t grow the story in anyway. So if your characters are eating please give them something interesting to say.

Similarities With Someone Famous!

Stephenie Meyer

Hi guys, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday week or if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving then I hope your days were filled with joy!

So this is fun, interesting and kind of strange…

Many of us have similar interests…right? I mean, there are 7 billion people in the world today (give or take) so someone is bound to have similar interests/hobbies/life comparisons to pull from. I don’t know how many times I said to someone, “you like that also?” or, “I know…so do I!” but the thing about this specific comparison is that it’s not just one thing that we have in common, it’s multiple things that just are plain WEIRD!

As you can see from the picture above the person I’m referring to is the one and only Stephenie Meyer. Now before I go on let me just say that Stephenie is a phenomenon, and in no way am I going to try to put myself in the type of unparalleled success that she has had (I can only dream). However, our similarities are, with no question, undeniable. So much so that as I read her bio and watched some of her interviews I couldn’t help but think wow, is that me talking! That sounds exactly like my life!

So lets begin shall we!

The first similarity that we both have (which this one isn’t that big at all but combines with where I’m going with this) Stephanie never wrote or published anything before Twilight. Although she did have a desire to write she decided that she wanted other things and that was to be at home with her family. Now that segues into my next point, Stephenie is a mother of three boys and when she got the concept for twilight her boys were young. Stephenie would write whenever she could. On her website she writes, “Meyer invented the plot during the day through swim lessons and potty training, and wrote it out late at night when the house was quiet.”

That is very much my story. I am a mother of three boys, never had any intentions on writing a novel but when the concept came to me (out of the blue) I knew I had to write it. I wrote it whenever I could, in-between naps, cleaning, diaper changing and late at night while everyone was sleeping.

Stephenie explains that when she began to write she only let one person read her manuscript, her sister. She writes that her sister was her “cheerleader” and her biggest encouragement for pushing Stephenie to publish the book.

For me, I don’t have a sister, but while I wrote my current manuscript my “cheerleader” and the only person I allowed to read it was my younger cousin, Alysa (who is pretty much closer than a sister). She was the one who would let me know what things worked and what didn’t. She told me when certain scenes were amazing and when they were crap. With the exception of my husband and my mother, Alysa was my biggest supporter and probably the reason why I finished this.

Not many people know this but the character, Izabella (aka: Bella), would have been Stephenie’s daughters name (if Stephenie had a daughter).

In my manuscript my main character, Breanna (aka: Bre), would have been my first son’s (Eli) name if he was a girl.

In Stephenie’s bio on Wikipedia it states that – Before becoming an author, Meyer’s only professional work was as a receptionist in a property company.

My current occupation right now is working for a property management company.

So as you can see we have a lot in common (there are other similarities like we both have son’s name Eli but I pretty much explained everything up above).

In conclusion, our stories and how similar they are knowing that she wrote in the middle of small children like me (where you have to stop writing every five seconds because someone ALWAYS needs something) it’s just more of an encouragement to me to keep going! Stephanie is living proof that even though she never published anything before;  and was a stay-at-home-mom with odds stacked against her, she still did it!

 

Pick A Name…Any Name

Image

So it’s Saturday morning and I have only had about three hours of sleep. Why do you ask did I only get three hours of sleep? Well…the simple answer is, my mind just wouldn’t shut off! Remember the post titled Get In My Head? Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that post. It’s just that as I near the final days of the big “waiting game” the pressures of it all begin to pile on and my mind begins to fill up with everything I still need to accomplish.

The big hurdle that I’m facing right now is the name. About two years ago I came up with the perfect name. I was dead set on it until recently. While I was searching B&N, I discover a book (that was just released) with the same name I was going to name my MS. For all you authors out there who have had a similar experience like this one, you know what I’m talking about when I say that my heart sank. I literally sat at he computer for a good half-n-hour with my mouth hanging open as I silently screamed NOOOOOOOO! You see, I’ve been working on this current MS for four years and it took me two of those four years to settle on a name in the first place.

Since that decision to put that name to rest and re-name my book it’s been a very tiresome process. Every time I think of something else and google it I find many books with the same name. It would be okay if the book was years old or not in my genre but all the names I come up with are taken.

So here begs the question…do I give up?

No, silly! 

Of course I wont give up, but what I do need is a little help. Perhaps, some of you creative thinkers out there might have some great words that you could through my way. My last post I gave a small sneak peek into my book. You can see that here. Read it and if you think of anything that might help me out please send me an email. You can email me in the contact me page here.

BIG NEWS! To anyone who suggest a name and I actually pick it, I will give them an advanced copy of my book! So again just send me a message in the contact me page or send me a personal message on my facebook.

Sneak Peek!

Deep within Southern Oregon, right in the center of Medford and Grants Pass, lies a small town in which most people would take one glance and move on. No reason to stop. This town of Rogue River has many aspects to it that on the surface you could say, is just another town. However, that’s where you’re deceived. Hidden behind it’s beautiful landscape, thick trees and tall mountains, lies a secret that only one knows about and can’t escape from. For this secret is hidden deep within, and the forest that surrounds hides dangers that will terrify you.

To everyone who is eagerly awaiting my debut novel to be released, here is a little sneak peek into the depths of where I have plotted out my story. Let me give you a little insight as to why I have chosen this particular place and why it is perfect for my book.

First, I want to center my story in a place that I knew very well. For a brief time, back in 2004, I lived in Rogue River Oregon and when I got the concept for this story line, I knew right away that Rogue River was the place. It had all the aspects that I needed, small town, simple way of life and a thick forest that provided the best atmosphere for many of the scenes.

Another reason why it was perfect was the surrounding communities. Right next to Rogue River is Medford, Grants Pass, Ashland and Wimmer. All of which, gave amazing depth to the story. So much imagination came from specific places within those towns, that helped grow the story into something amazing! Most of the streets and details about the town are exactly how it is, with only a few variations. I wanted to describe the town in a realistic true-to-life-way.

Subscribe to my blog for future sneak peeks, giveaways and release information! If you would like to see what my beta readers thought about my novel click HERE.

I Have To Say This…

Alright, so here’s the deal… if you read my blog post titled “What’cha Reading” I commented on the book that I was reading called Matched by Ally Condie. If you would like to read that post so you know what I’m talking about just click here. Anyway, I finished the book and I have to say this. It took a very long time to get into it but by the end of the book it finally started to get interesting. Now I find myself needing to find out what’s going to happen. I’m still on the fence about it and I am very hopeful that the second book, Crossed, is more of a page turner but I just wanted to give you my thoughts about it.

If you have read the book tell me what you think. Just please don’t give away anything in the second book, I still have yet to read it.
Image

It’s All Part Of The Process

Hello all! It’s me again. I know I haven’t blogged in a week (been busy) but I’m back and ready to talk out my thoughts or write about them – however you want to see it.

So this week has been a lot of editing and researching. The editing process – well…hmmm…big over dramatic sigh – it’s a process. You know the old saying, don’t put the cart before the horse, well that saying rings true now, more than ever. Let me elaborate. You know when you work on something and you spend an ungodly amount of time perfecting it to the point where you finally think to yourself, it’s finished! Well, let me tell you friends, it’s only the beginning. What you just did was set the foundation for your story, put up a few walls and now (when an editor digs into it) it gets bulldozed to the ground and then you have to rebuild it back up again from the rubble.

I’ve recently sent my manuscript out to my second editor to polish it up and get it ready. What I didn’t expect was to get it back and see that every page was covered in red! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely thankful that I haven’t released it yet only to wake up the next morning to a critic ripping me apart, bit by bit (I’ve had nightmares about this). However, it does hit you right in the gut and you begin to think to yourself, will it ever be ready? I know the answer to that question is, yes it will, it’s just a very long process and sometimes I begin to go a little crazy…waiting and waiting and waiting.

With the research I’ve done, I kind of put it into two categories The Helpful category and the I’m Going To Beat My Head Against The Wall category. 1st the “help full” category is just that, helpful. It’s nice to get insight on how other’s have “done it” and then put it to use in your own work. The flip side to this is that you can completely have a mental breakdown reading what other authors say; I got an agent! I got the first copy of my book in the mail! I got a book deal! I’ve sold 10,000 copies in one day! You tend to (at least for me) start believing that your work is complete and it needs to be out there now. But like I said it’s a process and I have to keep telling myself to be patient.

The great part, and the thing that has made all the time I have spent worth it, is seeing the imperfections work themselves out and start to become what you had dreamed the story could be.

I’m beginning to see the finish line and when that day comes, when I can finally say “It’s complete”, I will look back on all the work and all the stressing and all the countless hours of asking myself “why not now” I will be able to say that it all happened at the right time.

    

Pass The Info Please!

Image

I’m taking a break from editing my MS, for the moment, to clear my head before I get back to it. Sometimes you just have to step away and refocus before you can go on. So I thought I would talk a little bit about my writing style and how I wrote this current MS.

A lot of people have made comments like: I have a story in mind but I’m not sure how to start it. Or possibly the most common question: What are some of your writing secrets?

Without taking too much time, let’s just dive right in shall we?

When I got the concept for this story I was living in a small town in Northern California and was a stay-at-home-mom who has never wrote anything since high school. I’ve always had a creative mind, having stories and songs come to me but never really took the time to write it out. So to say I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing, is no exaggeration. I was walking into this blind. What I did know was I HAD to write it! So that’s what I did. I sat down and wrote. I wrote and wrote until my eye crossed.

Starting out I had a good idea of the structure of the book and major details (there are three big events in the first MS that needed to happen) but everything else needed to be thoughtfully planned out (it was kind of all bunched up in my head, like a big ball of yarn or a sticky bowl of noodles). I’ve heard many authors give advice as to what tools they used to plot out a story. For those of you that need to plan it out ahead of time, there are many different programs that can help. I, on the other hand, haven’t used anything like that. I guess my brain works differently.

I just take it one chapter at a time, think about what needs to be in it, how I need to get to the major event and what characters need to be introduced. From there, I just write. When I started, I was into my second month, on my second chapter trying to get it perfect, when my husband said to me, “you’re never going to finish if you keep editing it”. And he was right. For all you new writers out there, just write it out, even if it’s terrible. Just get the concept out and onto the paper. This is what I call vomit onto the page. Because that’s what it will be on your first draft, vomit. It’s not going to be pretty, it’s not going to flow right but if you don’t do it then you might not ever finish.

Another reason why I’m glad I listened to my husband about waiting to edit until the very end, was this, I had wrote several things (details) that I thought were extra fluff and at the time I thought I should possibly delete. But then I remembered what my husband had said about not stopping and just keep writing. So instead I highlighted it in red and went on. When I went back to read my work and start on the editing process I went over all the lines that I was going to take out and realized that those little details (that I thought were extra fluff) really needed to be in there to tie in with the ending! So just because you’re not sure why you wrote something doesn’t mean that in the end you won’t need it.

In conclusion, if I was to give you one piece of advice for anyone who wants to write, it would be this, don’t talk yourself out of it. It’s so easy to do. If I had listened to those inter thoughts, ‘you’re not good enough to write’ or ‘you don’t have enough time to do that,’ then I wouldn’t be here at the final stages of the publishing process. I never want to look back and ask the question, what if?

FOR MORE BLOG POSTS CLICK HERE

Get In My Head

Image

I was in bed the other night when my husband turns to me and asks a question that he wishes now he never asked, “What are you thinking about?” Now, for all you men out there who want to know what your women in thinking, let me give you a little insight as to what my husband would say to you…

“STOP! YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO!”

Normally, I would take offense to this but in that very brief minute, what ran through my head was this:

It all began with me signing (in my head) one of NSYNC songs (don’t judge me). That went straight to (what I refer to as the snowball effect)…Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake just got married…Jessica had a pink wedding dress…I’m kind of hungry…what should we have for dinner tomorrow…maybe I should read my book…I wonder if I should go make sure that my boys are covered up under their covers…it’s kind of cold in here tonight…I’m getting tired…etc.

There is more but I think I will spare you the rest of the details.

So as you can see, I guess I can’t blame him from stopping himself every time he wants to ask me that question.

So why (do you ask) did I tell you all of this? Well I’ll tell you! When you’re a writer, all day long you think in dialog. You wake up to sentences running through your head, you make breakfast daydreaming about a scene in your manuscript, you sit and listen to a lecture and realize you are trying to pull something out of the speech that could be used in your MS (happens more often to me than not) or you watch a movie and take notes in your head about how a specific idea can be used. That’s what happens to me on a daily basis.

So for today, I’ve been getting the itch to start writing one of my other novel concepts (even though this current manuscript that I’m working on isn’t out yet). I don’t know if other author’s experience the same thing but my mind has a tendency to just not stop creating, working & dreaming up stories. I guess it can be a good thing because I have 16 chapters already done for the second book in my current series I’m on now but it could distract me also. So for now I will put that “itch” aside and keep working hard on this MS.

Perhaps, writing on this blog will sustain my desires to start new projects before I release my current work.

And The Question Is…

I was reading on a blog earlier, YA Highway, and they do this thing called Road Trip Wednesday. Now I know it’s not Wednesday, yet, but I thought I would answer one of their questions they asked their readers awhile ago.

The question is: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Image

Okay, everyone has been asked this question. Most likely, multiple times throughout your life but I wanted to answer it again because my answer and direction has changed drastically since I began to write. If you were to ask me that question a few years ago I might have said; I want a house in Oregon working with a big company and climbing the corporate ladder. Now that’s not the case at all. I do still want that house with a white picket fence and all but “climbing the corporate ladder” isn’t want I have in mind any longer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that climbing the corporate ladder isn’t a good thing (because it is). What I’m saying is that it’s just not for me anymore. I want other things and have other dreams.

So, here it is! In five years time, I want this current book series to be out and selling (all three books). For a time frame I would love all of them out and selling by 2015 or sooner. I told you before (in previous blog posts and also on Facebook) that I have other manuscripts in the works and would love to put a release date on that next book in 2015. I do have a book title for that but I wont be releasing that information until I’m ready to publish it…I know I know, I’m a mean person but I guess you will have something to look forward too!

I also (and I know that I’m dreaming really BIG now)  want to have this current book series in the works for movie rights. I CAN DREAM CAN’T I? hehe

I also want to be working full time as an author! Composing, writing, making stories that are in my head come to life onto the page and sharing that with the world, that would be just a dream come true for me! I currently work a day job but I have to say (before I go on) that this job (working as a property manager) has been the best job I have every had. I work with an amazing company and some amazing people and to say that I’ve been more than blessed is an understatement! It truly was my saving-grace back when I was searching for a job. At the time no one would hire me because for four years I was a stay-at-home-mom but then I got that wonderful call asking if I would like the job. That was a good day! However, being able to wake up everyday, sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and dreaming up a story, that’s heaven!

So there you have it, my 5 year plan. I would love to know what your five year plan is! Please leave me a comment below and tell me what it is. I’ve always said that if you keep on speaking it out, believing in yourself and work hard, you can achieve anything!

Image

What’cha Reading?

Image

One of the many suggestions that other authors give young aspiring writers is to READ and read A LOT! Which for me, is something I truly love to do! If I could, I would sit and read all day long if I had the time.  But between working, being a mom, taking care of the house and writing, sometimes it just doesn’t allow for the time. But I try to sneak it in whenever and wherever I can.

Some of you have asked what I’m currently reading and if I have any good suggestions on books. So here you go!

I have been reading a lot of YA (young adult) books. I figured since I’m writing in this genre right now I should be reading up on all the bestsellers. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have some other thrillers, mysteries and romantic fiction in my “wish list” on my nook.

The book series that I’m on is Matched by Ally Condie:

Image

Book Info: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.

***

So far I’m about half way into the first book and I have to say; I’m not as impressed with it like I had hoped to be. I don’t find myself needing to read it but I will pick it up at night and read another chapter or two. Now, just because it’s not on my “favorites list” doesn’t mean that you wont like it. I mean it is a NY Times Bestsellers for a reason. So if you are into reading what’s popular then give it a try and then tell me what you think. I will continue with the series and finish it.

The book that I’ve really enjoyed and that I’m patiently waiting for the final book to come out is the Divergent series. Now this is a book (like Twilight) that had me hooked and couldn’t put down!

Image

Book Info:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

***

If you want to read a good book that is well written and a page turner then Divergent is for you!

My books to-read list:

  • Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • Delirium series by Lauren Oliver
  • Easy by Tammara Webber
  • Switched series by Amanda Hocking
  • The Maze Runner series by James Dashner
  • Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  • Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

That is just the short list of books that I have yet to read. I will be updating you on what books I liked after I finish them. I would love to hear what books you are reading so don’t forget to write a comment or message me in my contacts page to let me know of the books you suggest. So until then happy reading!