That’s About Right!

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This has been me all week!

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I’m Back!

deadline-concept_zps73688981Hello everyone, sorry for the break in my posts and “presence” here in the wonderful blogging world. For the past 5 days I have been in California visiting friends and family. Even though it was a wonderful visit, I have now come home to a very full email list & several chapters back from my editor that I have to go through. I’m trying to send my MS out to all my beta test readers within the next few weeks so I will be one busy lady.

So for now it’s off to editing and getting things ready!

P.S. My first round of beta readers are still submitting their reviews back to me (I only have a few left) so when I get those I will post them to my blog. Be on the lookout for that!

The Next Step…

Here’s another exciting post that I get to write. I’ve been waiting patiently to get to this point, and now, It’s finally here!

Group of people readingThe next step is sending my MS out to a beta testing group. For those of you who don’t know what a beta group means, it’s where you send out your manuscript to a group of people (like pilot-test of a product/novel) and those people will read the novel, make comments, suggestions, give you insight as what they did or didn’t like and of course rate your novel.

This is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Exciting because I get to experience how others react to what I’ve kept so close to me for so long but terrifying because “putting yourself out there” is a scary thing.

I have randomly chosen a lucky group of people who will get to have the “first look” (beta test) into my novel! If you are chosen I will send you an email within a week. So check your emails often.

DISCLAIMER: The group for my beta test is a random pick and am not accepting submissions at this time. In no way are any of these beta testing individuals compensated in anyway and are doing so at there own will.

I will be posting a testimonial section on my blog after I receive back all submissions. This process will take a little bit of time so please be patient and I will update you all once those testimonials are up.

HOWEVER…I have had the first round of beta testers (6 different individuals) read my earlier writings of my novel (some have read the whole novel, others partial & some only sent out the synopsis & mockup cover design). I will release those reviews soon. So be on the lookout for that!

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.

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!

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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?

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Get In My Head

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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.

What’cha Reading?

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

Taking The Advice Of Others

Today I’ve done a lot of research on ‘How To Write A Query Letter’ from a few authors who have been very successful in the industry. I mainly focus on the same type of authors who write in the particular genre that I do, Young Adult Fiction. What I’ve discovered today (big over-dramatic sigh) is that my query letter is terrible! Well, maybe not terrible but not what the agents will want to see. However, I am very glad to say that I thankfully (with the helpful direction from the best selling author Veronica Roth) found a great blog from a lady who knows what she’s talking about, Elana Johnson. Although, she doesn’t claim to “know it all” she can certainly write a mean query letter.

So for me I will be scrapping the old one and beginning the new one.

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Busy Day Today

Today a lot is happening in my world. I sent my work off to my second editor who will be going over my manuscript with a fine tooth comb. Most authors have their work looked at by a few different people before it’s marked as “complete” and finally published. I just got the first few chapters back and will be going through it line by line taking things out, putting things in and generally sitting for hours trying to figure out if I like the end result or not (its a very time consuming ordeal).

I will also be finalizing my overview that has been keeping me up all night. So I can almost guarantee that by the end of the day I will either be completely loony frolicking down the street in 30 degree weather or totally exhausted staring at a blank wall for hours. Either way I will be a step closer to the end result!

So for now, I bid you farewell!

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My book printed out. 28 Chapters!