Hello, readers. I wanted to thank each and every one of you who entered my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of "To Love An Irishman". The winners have been notified. :)
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This new year is bringing changes. I look forward to talking to more of you in the future, including my newest followers. Welcome to The Blog. :) Although, my look will change along with my name, doesn't mean I'm gone. After all, what else would I rather do than write?
Be safe, readers. See you next year!
Hello, readers. I wanted to thank each and every one of you who entered my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of "To Love An Irishman". The winners have been notified. :)
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So, this is the last day of National Novel Writer's Month and I feel very far from a novelist at this time. I haven't written a single word since November 3rd. Luckily, next month I will hopefully have some "extra" time to do what I love so much.
|It's like trying to blow up a balloon|
with the weight of three books on top.
I'll be back in the game soon, I promise.
Some quick news:
--Once I get this new Victorian series rolling, I'm changing my name to a pen name to keep my anonymity. So, keep a look out for my new look.
--Last but not least, my fiance and I are already saving money for our wedding next year!
Thank you so much for sticking with me throughout everything, readers. I couldn't ask for better friends.
The winners for my Fall In Love Giveaway Hop have already been notified. I enjoyed reading and responding to every comment. You are all the best!!!!
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|Fall in Ireland. Isn't it gorgeous?|
a Rafflecopter giveawayWhat you can win here: One e-book copy of "To Love An Irishman"Number of winners: 2Open to (INT, US or US/CAN): INTHow to enter: Just answer the questions below!
Everyone has felt the bite of rejection. It stings for a while and sometimes it's really hard to get over. Luckily, I'm not about to go into the best rejection letter I've ever received, because I've already been there and done that on my post called "Exits and Entrances".
The real reason why I made this four-part series in the first place is to tell everyone about my successes, not my failures. How I've overcome the hurdles in my (short, to some) life and came to where I am today.
No, I'm not a bestseller, but I'm published.
No, I don't make six figures a year, but I'm rich in creativity.
I hope you listen to my words and gain inspiration to find happiness in your life. This is my ultimate goal. I think this is my calling. The only way I can truly help others. Even though I'm currently on a hiatus from writing, I can still encourage other people to make their dreams come true. I've mentioned how you could overcome other people's expectations, how writing can take you away from the stress of everyday life, and how time could affect your creativity. Now, it's time to overcome your own fears and reach your greatest potential.
Yes, it hurts when the people closest to you doubt your ability to reach success, but when you doubt yourself the possible becomes impossible.
In 2008 or 2009 I asked my only friend on the planet to beta read my first book before it became self-published. I sent her the whole novel through email. A couple months went by and I didn't receive a single reply. I wrote her again and she said she was so busy that she couldn't get past the first chapter. The whole time I'm thinking, she must have hated it completely. This friend was an avid reader. She is the person who let me borrow "A Rose In Winter" by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and hooked me on romance. Why would she let me down when I'm trying to become one of those authors she adores?
Let's just say it hurt. I got so emotional about it, I published the book without making sure it was the best it could be. I wanted my estranged family to read it. I wanted my coworkers to read it. I wanted the world to read it. I think it was a cry for attention or at least notice, because after they'd read it I asked for input/reviews, etc. Most of it was positive. They wanted me to write a sequel. Do you want to know why they felt this way? Because I knew them. They cared about my feelings. It became a personal reaction, not an unbiased assessment of my work. Of course, years later, I see every single flaw in that novel and it irks me to know I let this reach so many hands. I'm ashamed, rather.
Then I read the newest book on the bestseller's list and wonder why I can't write like they do. Why hadn't my published book get placed on the list? Maybe I hadn't done as much marketing/promotion as I could have. There are things that I could've done, but so many more things I could be doing.
The fact of the matter is there are things that are in my control and there are things that are beyond my control. Right now, I still write everyday, whether schoolwork or a blog or even a comment. I learn as much about the craft as I can and I take these skills to my own writing to improve the quality. This is all I can do for right now. Until I have a large outreach, this is all I have to do. What I can't do is force people to buy my book and expect readers to find me themselves. Writing is amazing, but it's a career for a reason. You have to build yourself to the top like everything else in life worth having.
So, you wanted the recipe for success? Well, here you go. Never give up, never surrender. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate every single one of you!
Today, I'm continuing my 4-part series about love, life, and the pursuit of writing. :)
With midterms on the horizon, I haven't much time to do anything. Every time I think there is a silver-lining in the clouds, they turn dark with rain again. I've almost finished writing an outline for my new story and I'm working on the series bible, which takes a lot of thought. One thing I do know for sure, I think this will be my first and only year of college. I think it's become one of those dreams that have turned sour. After so many years of failed attempts to go, I see now why it wouldn't have been possible as I got older. Too many changes have occurred in my life. I have a sure path now...
Why should I attempt to change what I cannot? I already write for a...living. If you can call it 'meager' without sounding harsh, than so be it. I haven't written in almost a month. And I know exactly why.
Truth be known, the confession I have for today is that, I play video games in my spare time. I'm not talking about Facebook flash games either (although, I did spend a good amount of time on there, too). No, these are Xbox 360 games/console games with controllers and headsets. Although, I've been known to spend hours on these past times, every time I do, I feel like I've wasted time I could be working. Does this make me a workaholic?
If I sit and do classwork, or writing, everyday, I would be miserable. Since I can't afford to go anywhere (unless I don't want to think of a savings account) I have plenty enough entertainment outlets around the apartment. In fact, 4 of my favorite shows have started another season. Of course, I want to watch them.
Sometimes, when I've finished all my schoolwork and I have a day off, I sit on my computer with nothing to write about. Well, let me rephrase that, because there is always plenty of ideas to write about, just not enough inspiration/motivation to get it all out. Like the image says: my brain is so fried that I just waste time online. This was a major reason why I deactivated my Facebook account. Those games are so addicting!
Yes, I can't sleep at night, because my mind goes a million miles an hour worrying if my characters' stories will ever be told. Yes, I daydream at work about other peoples' lives. Yes, I open Word on my computer to write and not a single sentence comes out of me. Yes, I'm human. These things happen. "Life happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (John Lennon) You can't just sit around and expect greatness...you have to work toward it. Luckily, dreams are attainable and they do come true.
Anyways, I will leave you with a final note: Recently, I read an article about writing the best you can, instead of falling under the pressure of making a word count everyday.
Your characters and readers will love you more for taking the time on your work, then rushing through it.
As always, thank you so much for reading my posts. I hope you have gained motivation and insight as your journey continues. You can't put your life on hold for your dreams, but you can at least enjoy it. Please feel free to leave a comment with how you make the time for your writing. :)
First of all, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in the Naughty or Nice Giveaway Blog Hop. Because of you (readers/friends alike), I've reached over 50 followers! :)
The winner has been notified, but I like to make an announcement on my blog, because it feels nice to be recognized. Believe me, I know. :)
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Well, I've joined the workforce again. I'm working days at a fast food joint and doing schoolwork/promoting/writing by night. I feel like a vampire. I haven't slept a full-night's sleep in days. Even when I literally pass out at a decent bedtime hour, I stay awake all night fretting/thinking.
For the past two weeks, I've been so busy, I didn't even remember to turn in some assignments. I know what you're thinking, I shouldn't have gone to college when I had so many other responsibilities, but I'm not going to allow lack of time to come in the way of my dreams. There is no excuse. Besides, I wanted to do something to make myself happy, because the wedding I planned 6 months for, didn't happen. (Don't worry, we're still engaged.) This is the main reason why I got another job: money. Other than the 20 hours plus of classwork/homework for 2 classes, college is great. I could write essays like nobody's business. :)
If there is such a thing as writing withdrawal that is what I'm experiencing right now. Without writing, I'm completely lost. I love it even more than college. Even more than playing video games. I want it to be the only thing I ever do right in my life. But without a roof over my head...writing would be very hard to do, indeed. Do you want to know why I write in the first place?
The truth is:
I write to escape from reality.
I'm not saying everything I've experienced (so far) is worse than anyone else, but to me, to what I want from life, it could've gone very different. By now, I'd have a Bachelor's Degree in English and I'd be on the next plane to Ireland/England to teach some type of writng/reading course at one of their schools. Or maybe I'd just travel the world teaching people to read. Either way, I'd get around.
Of course, if I never embarked on my current path (life is funny that way), I probably wouldn't have the best fiance in the world. Although, we swear that we'd find each other no matter what. :)
Good thing there is such a genre as "Historical Romance", because it's saved me a lot of traveling remorse. Every book is an adventure in a time/place I haven't visited yet. It takes me away from the day to day struggle. I just hope I could do more for my readers than write a blog once a week. :)
Last week, I talked about priorities and what people think is more important than writing, this week I vow to write no matter how much time I have. I. must. write. book. two. no. matter. what.
I'd love to hear your confessions. If you have any to share, please put them in a comment below. Thank you for reading!!! Until next time...
If you came here, expecting a life story, then please read my autobiography in forty or so years. This is a series of confessions that I will tell you in relation to my publishing journey. This is for anyone who ever picked up the art of writing or anything they dreamed of doing and found discouragement. Sometimes, it comes from your friends and family, co-workers, other people in your profession, and yourself. Personally, I think we are our own worst critics. Since we are the author's of our lives, we take the blame for everything that doesn't go according to plan, and we punish ourselves.
No matter what is holding you back, don't EVER stop what you love to do. Why spend your life wallowing in the day to day or finding another outlet to enjoy yourself? If you believe what you love to do is just a hobby, then you are not driven, and your main focus should be is to find motivation. Success never comes before hard work, unless for some reason, someone did everything for you. I really hope this is not your case, because I have more faith in you than you have in yourself.
Speaking of faith, here is my first confession: The one person in my life I thought would stand by my side, told me that I'd never go anywhere in life and that writing shouldn't be my main priority.
Okay, maybe this person is a generalization of a few people fused into one. Anyone who doubts someone this much, needs to first get their own priorities straight before offering their disheartening advice. The fact of the matter is that I've heard this from many people throughout my life. Friends, family members, significant others, etc. They are pretty much the people I care about the most. Not knowing how they felt about me was one thing, but hearing it was entirely another. Actually, it was the best motivation I'd ever received. Not even a rejection letter could make me this ambitious. It was like receiving a million-dollar cash prize. Well, maybe not that great. :)
Don't get me wrong, you will become emotional and feel lost, but then you consider it a challenge to meet and beat their expectations. And I'm not even competitive. Believe me, I've been trying to overturn everyone's expectations my whole life. I turn all of those doubts upside down.
When you let your past come in the way of current goals, your view of success may change. Yes, you will no longer consider your profession as a hobby and take it more seriously while working for what you need to survive on the side.
I've read a few articles where people wish they could reach success at an earlier age. Others believe youth is wasted on the young (In which, this is true on many occasions.). For those who think they wasted their youth on less productive endeavors, I salute you. Either you worked really hard to get where you're at right now or you had a great time and laughed. When I say this, I'm coming from the perspective of the youth. College, working retail/fast food jobs to pay rent, etc. is a major setback for people my age. I don't have the time nor resources to set my writing career into full motion. I don't have the funds to attend conferences, or the free time to do anything other than write the books. Looking up publishers and agents is very time-consuming. Every time you think you have a working list, another year passes and it's out of date. :)
In order to cope with the day to day stress, I've gone on a few writing hiatuses, (lasting from one to three months) in order to work more hours, go on vacation, etc. And I regretted every moment of it. Well, maybe not the vacation part. Anyways, wherever you are in life, don't give up on your dreams. Luckily, they don't have a deadline and are attainable at any age. I believe in sacrifice, but not at the expense of your whole being. I love writing so much. It's become a part of me more than anything else. I'd be lost without it.
Thank you so much for reading! Join me next time for the Naughty or Nice giveaway hop and another author confession! :)
Aveline kept her hands busy while he left a warm, moist trail down her chest, wetting her breasts. Ciarán's mouth on her sensitive flesh made her toes tingle. Apprehension hadn’t affected her until now. What if she did something wrong?
She ran her hands over his shoulders, wrapping her arms around to touch his back. A burgeoning desire overwhelmed her core. The throbbing sensation made her writhe with eagerness. He continued to nibble a protruding nipple, flicking his tongue back and forth, while using his forefinger to caress the other. The fingers on his other hand ran along her torso until they stopped on the inside of her thigh.
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Don't forget to visit the rest of the blogs in the hop!!!
Have you ever had a long week? Where no matter what you do you can't get anything done? Or, so it seems. Class starts next week and I'm pulling hair out trying to finish my work in progress, The Earl's Son, and an editing project for a client. Who thought writing a love scene would be so hard to do? Especially when it makes or breaks your character's relationship with each other. This is why I put them near the end. It's almost like a finale. You know, when all the fireworks go off at once during the Fourth of July celebration and lots of pretty colors appear at once. To me, this is how those love scenes reflect on the paper. In a romance, they are the character's right of passage. Of course, sometimes they start the problems, not end them. I think a good balance is in order when this happens. Stronger relationships on all levels lead the reader to a much more fulfilling HEA.
<----We all feel like this sometime. Am I right?
Anyways, I've got lots of ideas in my head and I'm experimenting with several at a time to see what works and what doesn't. Writing isn't something you do overnight. It takes time like everything else important in your life.When you find yourself at the lowest of the lows and completely at a loss for words, just remember one thing:
There are a lot of writers, but only one YOU.
Yes, it's true. No one can write like you do, no one can create worlds in the same way.
Never give up. Never surrender.
Your readers are counting on you.
Thank you for all of your support! I really appreciate it. :)
What do you look for in a review?I love all reviews from my readers. Just supporting me through buying my book is wonderful. My favorite reviews are ones where the reader highlights their favorite parts of the book. Their likes and dislikes (if applicable) are important to me. I could use this input in making decisions in my future novels. If everyone loved the description about Ireland in To Love An Irishman, then I'll try to add more details in my current work in progress.
By all means, if something about the book is not working for you, don't be afraid to tell the author.
Authors grow with experience.
I'd like to see less references to grammar/spelling and more input catered to content/structure. I've read many reviews where the reader just wanted to let the author know the story contained lots of errors, but said nothing about the story, plot, anything else.
Reviews are very important for authors. They provide unbiased feedback on the piece from someone who is not acquainted with the writer. This input influences future works and can help authors strengthen their voice.
If you have anything to say about a book, please leave a review for the author on a website where it's available for purchase. (Publisher's site, Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc.)
In lieu of this post, I'm giving away a copy of To Love An Irishman in hopes *crosses fingers* that whoever wins will offer to write a review for me on a website of their choosing. :) (Please leave your email address in a comment to participate. Winners will be announced on Tuesday!)
Thank you so much for reading!
Feel free to visit the other blogs on this hop to show your support! :)
When a writer finishes a novel and lands a contract with a publisher, his/her work is not done. Actually, it's far from being over with. Whether you traditionally publish or self-publish, the road is still the same. There is a lot of promotion and marketing ahead that only you can do. Yes, some publishers will kick-start your career by knowing people in the right fields, but most of the time you're the only one who can meet with your readers and give them a reason to read your books.
Here are some ways to start the process before you finish the work in progress:
--Social media networks are the key. If you don't have an established Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Myspace account, those readers who join those sites to find the latest information about their favorite authors will miss out on what you have to offer.
|I'd wear one, would you?|
--A blog comes in handy for writers who like to help other writers in the craft and connect with even more readers. At the end of the blog tour for To Love An Irishman, I joined my first blog hop and I had over 40 people comment on one post!
--Make a name for yourself. A brand, even. You could create a tagline or interact with as much people as possible. The more readers who hear your name will remember it in the future.
--Other ways to promote include hosting a giveaway on Goodreads, having a release party for your book at your house or a friends, making t-shirts like the one above, creating a hangout session on Google+ to interact with your readers through video, etc.
It doesn't matter what you do, just get out there. Yes, I could've done a lot more for my debut release, attended conferences and hosted a party in my hometown, but I chose to do most of my marketing online. I created a video during the book release party, and I was interviewed by several blog owners.
The best thing about self-promotion is that you learn more tips and tricks along the way.
Right now, I'm on the home-stretch of my work in progress. In between writing and the other projects I have going on, I'm starting the promotion for my book. And it doesn't have a publisher yet. :)
Do you have any tips that are not mentioned here? How do you self-promote your books? Please tell me in a comment below. Thank you for reading!
I'm on the home stretch for completing this novel and I'm so excited to announce that it will be part of a series or saga. I much prefer the term 'saga', because it sounds more epic. The problem is I can't seem to come up with a series name yet. (I'll address those concerns later on in the post.) Although, I do have several other books in mind for the saga, The Earl's Son is actually a sequel to another book I wrote years ago.
This Victorian Era saga is about an aristocratic family who are victims of political strife. There is action, suspense, revenge, mystery, deception and above all, romance. I hope you enjoy the novels as much as I do writing them.
My theme for this post is: What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
Believe it or not, after years of talking to other writers, joining workshops workshops, and participating in a critique group, I've heard a lot of great advice on writing. One such recommendation came from none other than my fiance who reads a lot of Fantasy (Jim Butcher, Tracey Hickman/Margaret Wies, etc.) Our relationship involves a lot of conversation and despite his inexperience in my genre, I read him what I've written for the day in hopes to receive an opinion that sticks. So often he'd repeated a phrase which never left my mind. I think about it a lot when I write.
The words I remember most from him were...
Don't underestimate your readers.
It's true. Readers know more than they admit. Of course, a writer could give a whole history lesson on farming (like I did in To Love An Irishman), but it's really hard to avoid describing things that are relevant for a topic without thinking your reader will find the content boring. In my current project, I have several fight scenes where I describe my hero using martial art styles. You'd think most women reading romance novels wouldn't know the actual names of these moves...so, I describe the process. My fiance encouraged me to be more descriptive and hold less back in my writing.
Don't be afraid to open up to your readers. After all, they want the whole experience your novel gives them.
Including, the parts you think are boring.
Description and details go along way. Use them to your advantage.
Please feel free to share your advice in a comment below. Oh, and if you also have recommendations for naming a series or saga, then share those, too. Thank you for reading!
When I feel unmotivated, I turn to music. When everything in the world seems to go wrong, I put in my favorite CD and let the melody show me the magic in the air. Although, I'm a very big fan of punk rock, specifically alternative, I listen to more and more instrumental lately. Of course, my guilty pleasure is Celtic music.
Today, I needed an intervention. I awoke early and for some reason couldn't move myself into action. I had emails piling up, content to write and other miscellaneous tasks to perform, including the creation of this blog.
|From left to right: Button Accordion, Bodhran, Fiddle, |
Concertina, Guitar, Flute, and Uilleann Pipes.
Ireland is rich in literature that understands a soul's yearnings, and dancing that understands a happy heart.
– Margaret Jackson
In my novel, To Love An Irishman, one of the main things that bring the couple together is Celtic music. The ceili, or group of musicians--traditionally, up to ten (called a band) who specialized in creating music for dancers--arrive and Ciaran cannot wait to show Aveline how to do an Irish jig. Drums, fiddles, flutes, and pipes are what they're most known for. Some modern bands now include guitar, piano, saxophone, snare drum with woodblock, double bass, piccolo, and even banjos. These bands gained wide popularity during the 1950s/60s. Ceili bands gain promotion through competitions and festivals still going on today.
If I ever get to visit Ireland, I intend to embrace the Celtic folk music scene.
Music helps me write by:
--Setting the mood, tone, or scene of my novel.
--Opening my mind to more creativity.
--Taking me away to a different time and place where all anyone had to tell a story with was an instrument and a voice.
Do you have a passion for music? What kind of music inspires you to write? Feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading!
Today, I would like to take the time to say: Thank you. For everything you've done for me. For your support, your kindness, your love, and your readership.
Without you, readers/friends/mentors/writers, there would be no me.
"The Earl's Son" is over 70% written. I can't wait to show it to the world.
I know I would probably write something else, but I have two manuscripts who need my utmost attention right now. Soon, I won't have the time to spend on them and I must embrace every moment I do have immersed in my writing. :)
If you've ever finished a manuscript, you know what I'm talking about. Of course, once you are past the middle it's almost smooth sailing. I think beginnings and middles are the hardest parts to write because so much rides upon these scenes. The beginning is what readers/editors see first. It is what grabs their attention. Middles can also make or break your book. Its the part in the story where your hero/heroine must make an important choice or is a turning point for the plot in the novel.
When we get to this point, sometimes the story may sag a bit and we lose focus on where our characters are headed. Don't give up, though. When I get stuck in the dreaded middle, I start working on the structure of my work in progress. If I make the plot go this way, then how will it affect my characters?
I've learned a new technique for making sure the characters' background is revealed during the turning points in the novel.
1. Count the number of pages you have, or "projected" pages you should have if you aren't finished with the book. Remember that certain genres have specific word counts. Let's say Regency Romance has a general word count of 70,000. To find out how many manuscript pages that is divide 70,000 by 250 words per double space page. This is about 280 manuscript pages.
2. Divide the page number by four. (280 divided by four equals 70.)
3. Mark off your pages by that number into three parts. In a 280 page book, mark pages 70, 140, and 210.
4. Within those chapters should be a turning point for one or both of your main characters. They must make a decision, or come to some kind of conclusion. In the rest of the chapter or chapter after that, one or both must then take some action because of that decision or conclusion.
Usually if you are stuck on a certain passage in the work in progress, then it means you either don't know or haven't decided what that crucial decision or conclusion your character has made or will make in that scene.
Ask these questions to learn more:
-Look at the scenes individually: What decision does the hero and/or heroine have to make here?
-How will that decision/conclusion make the hero and/or heroine act?
-How will that action move one or both of them to the next major decision point?
- At the middle of your book: In what way will this decision get them in trouble by the third turning point or "dark moment"?
-Have I included enough background and history to give my reader a good idea why my character (s) have to make their decision?
-Does their thoughts and emotions reflect this decision?
Next time, when you hit the middle of the book blues, you'll be prepared. Thank you so much for reading. Do you have any tips on overcoming writer's block? Please share in a comment below.
|My mascot, Muffin.|
For those who are interested, Muffin (pictured at left) is my 5 year old tailless rescue kitty. She is very sweet and generally a very happy cat no matter what. I envy her attitude towards life sometimes.
Here are Muffin's life lessons:
1) Don't sweat the small stuff.
Like every good pet owner, I take her to the vet. She hates her black carrier so much I have to trick her to get into it. Luckily, after the horrible experience is over with, she'll get out and not look at me for a couple hours. Then when it comes down to feeding time, she won't ignore me anymore. I realized that despite everything she goes through (whether she likes it or not), is just a small hurdle in her life. No matter how upset my cat gets at me--through dirty looks or otherwise--she is over it within 24 hours. Some people hold grudges for years. We seem to hover in the past and continue to blame the same people over and over for our mistakes. When something stressful happens, we tend to lose sight of what is good in our lives. We don't see what really matters. No matter how mad Muffin is, she knows I'm the one who cares for her. And that is the most important thing.
2) Always dream bigger than you are.
Muffin is a certified window kitty. What cat isn't? Humans get to leave the small home world for something most cats never truly understand. The outdoors. We must realize that animals think differently than us. The world may be big to us, but to them, the neighborhood (or yard) is a dream. All they want is to chase birds and squirrels in the grass. Fortunately as humans, we know there is more to the outdoors than a few birds. There are cars, beaches, skyscrapers, and mountains. Since we see these things everyday, they don't seem like a big deal to us at all. When you start a project in hopes it will become successful, broaden your horizons. You are but a speck in the universe, and at the same time you are unique. Use this knowledge for your own purpose. No one can write like you can, no one can dream like you can. Reach new audiences.
3) Never give up.
This is one of my favorite life lessons. My cat likes to rub my legs or "meow" when she is hungry. No new information there. Well, if I don't pay attention to her...she will do it again. This is probably one of the most prolific examples of a cat's propensity never to quit. Of course hunger plays a big factor in it, but what about when Muffin tries to jump onto her cat tree and falls. She doesn't walk away, she tries again. Rejection should never be an excuse to give up on what you love doing. Find something that motivates you enough to keep trying.
4) Always look at the world through curious eyes.
Unlike some animals, we take things for granted. Every time I've moved with Muffin (about 4 or 5 times) she's explored the whole house/apartment with her nose. She wanted to know every nook and cranny, every hidden corner. She is the epitome of nosy, but she is the only one who knows exactly what she looks for. Don't be afraid to question yourself or others. Sometimes, knowing the whole truth about something/someone can mean everything. If I don't know something, I'll ask. I'd rather be informed then misinformed. Wouldn't you?
5) Love unconditionally.
Muffin, well more like pets in general, love their owners unconditionally. When you choose to fall in love or care about someone, do it without conditions. Race, sex, height, length, weight, etc. don't really matter in the long run. When it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is whether the love is returned or not. We don't judge the animals we love, why should we judge the people?
I know this post wasn't writing-related, but I think these life lessons are good to know. We could all use them on our writing journey. Do you live with a dog, ferret, hamster, etc.? I'd love to know your learned lessons. Please feel free to provide input in a comment below and subscribe if you haven't already!
As I write this blog, I will officially be halfway through writing my work in progress (the unofficially named The Earl's Son). I've been working steadily for almost 6 months on this novel and this is a big accomplishment. Of course, after I hit the 45,000 word mark, I could stop, but I think this might be a 60-70,000 word book. It's predecessor was over 70,000. There is something about large books that fascinates me. Maybe because they take so much longer to read. In my spare time, I've been reading 200-page Regency romance books that I bought for cheap at the flea market, due to their out-of-date nature. I love them to death, but I could read one in two days (not reading all day mind you). Even if I loved the story so much, I wouldn't be completely satisfied. That is why most authors write series. So they could have a shorter story in multiple volumes. I'm used to reading Stephen King. Although, I don't have enough ideas to fill 1,000-pages worth, I really enjoyed the story better when it took me longer to finish.
One such work is from Lavyrle Spencer called "November of the Heart". I read this book over 5 years ago without a literary standpoint, and the story line pulled me in. When I reread it this week, I realized the author used omniscient POV (Oh, no!), head-hopped, and used more dialogue than tags--you know, the she said, he said action bits. Despite these overlooked errors, I absorbed the book's wonderful story line, plot, and character development that inspired my early work so long ago. Pretty Lorna Barnett grew into a lady before our eyes, and handsome Norwegian boat builder Jens Harken showed her what was most important in life...love and family...despite their different social statuses. I felt satisfied when I closed the book and this is ALL that matters to me. Of course, part of the upstairs/downstairs romance plot is you never know if the h/H will have a HEA. I love these types...
I apologize reader, if I got carried away...you get my drift though, right? :)
As I get closer and closer to finishing the first draft, I start planning my revision process. I will admit, it's not my favorite part, but it's a crucial part of the creation process. You might even find pleasure in it. Here are some tips I've found that will help me along the way:
1) Plan your revisions before you finish writing the book. Some people make a list, while others use sticky notes to go through each scene and do the necessary repairs. I use index cards where I write the name of each chapter, which point of view the chapter is in, who the main characters are, what the setting is, then I list and describe the plot(s), list the key information, and lastly, I write how many pages the chapter is. This can be done before or after your novel is complete. Of course, if you wait until after you'll have all the chapters written already!
2) Once the book is complete, wait a couple weeks before reading it, again. The old adage 'time makes the heart grow fonder' is so true. We may love our work now, but once we forget what we wrote (focus on another project or occupy your mind elsewhere), we look at the work with a whole new and different perspective. You'll want to go over the story several times afterwards.
3) In the first draft, focus on grammar and spelling correction. We must spot what is easily seen before we delve much deeper into the story and really understand the meaning. Missing commas, misspelled words, etc., could stop any further revision in its tracks.
4) In the second draft, go over the plot/conflict/dialogue/theme. Some people use the sticky notes, lists, or index cards for this exercise. I place each index card in order and if something is out of place I'd move them around until they made complete sense with the story, then I make the changes in my draft. I've heard some authors make a storyboard, where their lists are expanded to display more information like character information, including their thoughts, feelings, etc., and the author would reorganize this as well. Usually to combat this, the plot description I write on the card includes the main character's feelings, thoughts, and dialogue to reflect what happens around him or her.
5) In the third draft, cut unnecessary words and sentences. According to "On Writing", Stephen King tells the writer to cut 10% from their finished project. You may wonder, why so much?, but some people say you should cut more. The reason being, if you have a large work, most of what you include is probably not needed. Unless every word you write furthers the plot, at least try to tighten some of your work. When I say "tighten" I mean condense. When you evaluate your re-worked scenes, there are questions to ask yourself like: Would this bore the reader? If yes, cut it! Does this scene further the plot, up the stakes for the characters, or provide conflict? If no, cut it! Finding the right questions to ask is the easy part, choosing what to cut on the other hand could make even the most stoic writer shed tears. If you get rid of a sentence or line you hold dear, paste it into another word document to reformat for use in another story. You'd never know it belonged until you tried!
As you can see, even YOU can revise a novel. If you have any more tips or tricks, I'd love to hear them. Just leave a comment below. Oh, and don't forget to subscribe if you haven't already!