For Writers, Reading Challenge

Litsy – An app for Readers

litsy2

Today I wanted to share about a new bookish app – Litsy. I discovered Litsy just a couple of months ago, but it’s already one of my favorite apps. You can download the app for iphone or android, or you can use it online.

Litsy is a mix between Goodreads and Bookstagram. You create a profile and you can post pictures, blurbs, reviews, or quotes. You can “stack” books you want to read as well as books you’ve already read. (You can also rate the books you’ve read.) For a bookworm, this is the perfect social media platform.

Here are some screenshots from my account:  1-of my feed,  2-books I want to read, and 3-books I have read.

My friend Raimey Gallant has a great post on her blog with all kinds of tips for using Litsy. You can check it out here.

Just like on Instagram, there are lots of games, challenges, and readathons to participate in. I’m participating in a halloween-themed readathon called #scarathlon next month, and am psyched about it! If you are already on Litsy and are interested, there still time to sign up. You can do that here.

scarathlon

 

What’s your favorite bookish app? Are you on Litsy? What’s your handle? Let me know in the comments! (My handle is @Charityann.)

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Top Ten Tuesday

Fall 2019 TBR List – Top Ten Tuesday

fall tbr 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

It’s hard to believe it’s already fall. I always hate to see summer go, but I also enjoy fall and all the fun activities that come with it. This year I’m participating in a Halloween themed read-a-thon, so a lot of my book choices are based on that. Here they are:

1. Defiance by C.J. Redwine – I’ve had this book a long time, and have had it on my TBR even longer, so I decided it was time to get to it.

2. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones – I just received this book in my Owlcrate, and it’s a perfect read for this time of year.

3. Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughter by Suzanne Weyn – I randomly found this on Book Outlet awhile back, and while I hadn’t heard of this book, I had read some other books by this author, so I bought  it.

4. Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris – I’ve recently started reading some of Harris’s books, and really enjoy them. Over the weekend I saw this at Goodwill and snatched it up.

5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – This was also included in my last Owlcrate.

6. The Rules by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie – This was another Book Outlet purchase. Because I’d read some of the authors’ other works and enjoyed them, I bought it.

7.  Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli – I’ve had this on my TBR awhile and decided it was time to read it.

8. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw -I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, and the cover is just so pretty!

9. The Misery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos – This is a mystery I’ve heard a lot about, and it’s been on my TBR awhile too.

10. The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine – I love the Ravenspire books and pre-ordered this one, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. Now it’s time to read it. 🙂

What about you? What’s on your TBR list for this fall? Let me know in the comments.

#authortoolboxbloghop

Journaling – An Effective Way to Strengthen Your Writing #AuthorToolBoxBloghop

journaling

For today’s bloghop, I wanted to share about a strategy that has helped me strengthen my writing – journaling.  I’ve kept a journal since middle school. At times, I’ve written in it faithfully every day and other times I’ve been more sporadic about writing in it. Not only is it fun to look back at what I was thinking at certain times in my life, but it has also helped to cultivate my writing skills.

Here are some things I use my journal for:

1. Recording specific events or special moments that occurred during the day. I find this is helpful in both nonfiction and fiction writing. For nonfiction writers, you’re getting practice writing about real events in a creative and fun way. For fiction writers,  you can often use specific things that happened to you in your novel, or at the very  least, some version of those things.

2.  Writing down things I’m thankful for. This is helpful for anyone wanting to live a happier, kinder life. When I think about all I have to be grateful for, I’m no longer dwelling on all the bad things in life. Simply because this improves one’s mental and sometimes even one’s physical health, this is a beneficial practice for writers.

3. Writing exercises using a prompt book or prompt list. Sometimes I feel like taking a break from writing about myself, so I pull out one of my writing prompt books. I find an exercise that sounds fun and complete it in my journal for the day’s entry. (If you enjoy writing poetry, you could use a prompt to write a poem.)

4. Writing a character sketch  for my WIP. This is something I like to do when I’m struggling with a certain character’s development or her motives for what she is doing in the story.

5. Writing summaries of ideas for future WIPs. I love doing this. This helps me explore the newest idea that’s popped into my head, getting down the things about it I know I’ll want to remember. Once that’s done, I’m able to get back to work on my current WIP.

6. Writing book reviews, hi-lighting the things that worked really well, or noting the things that didn’t work in the book.  This is always fun too. I love picking out things that work in a novel, the things that made me want me to keep reading, and the things that made for a believable, life-like world. I also find it helpful to note the things that caused me to not care for a book, or worse yet, not finish it.

I don’t keep all these things in one journal. I have a separate journal for gratitudes, as well as a separate one for my story ideas. I have found that consistent journaling benefits not only my writing process, but also my writing habit.

Resources for Journaling

I  often enjoy using specialty journals. Here are a few of them that I find especially helpful:

The Steal Like an Artist Journal by Austin Kleon

The Severed Moon by Leigh Bardugo

Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith (There are several versions of this. I think I have one of the earliest ones.)

300 Writing Prompts -This is a generic prompt book I picked up in Five Below. They have several different writing prompt books there, so if you have one near you, you might want to check it out.

Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Samara O’Shea. This is actually a book with some journal exercises at the end of each chapter. So far, I’ve been enjoying it.

So what about you? Do you keep  journal? If so, how do you utilize it in your writing? Do you have any favorite journaling resources? Let me know in the comments.

 

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.

#authortoolboxbloghop

Save the Cat Writes A Novel (Book Review) – #authortoolboxbloghop

save the cat

Lately, most of my writing time has been dedicated to revising my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and I’m feeling good about the progress I’ve made. I’ve discovered several new things that have helped make the process easier for me. One is the chapter overview which I shared for May’s #authortoolboxbloghop. (If you missed that one, you can read about it here.)

Today, I wanted to share about another great resource – Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

Originally taken from Save the Cat, a book about screenwriting, this book takes the three act structure of a story and breaks it down even farther into 15 beats. It also tells about the ten types of stories and gives examples from best-selling novels like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter.

I love this book! It’s really helped me with my revisions. Using the fifteen beats, I’ve been able to see where things needed to be moved around so they fit better into my story. I’ve also been able to determine whether or not scenes are necessary. And I’ve been able to lay everything out to see how it’s working together.

One of Brody’s suggestions is to use index cards and a big cork board to set up the fifteen beats. I love this idea and while I haven’t got the board yet, I’ve started making the cards and can’t wait to see how it will all look once it is all put together. (I’ll be sure to share my results.)

I think any fiction writer would benefit from this book, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. This is one of my favorite writing books and one I’ll be keeping close whenever I’m working on revisions. (If you’re a planner, you’d probably use this book before you write your novel.)

How about you? Have you read this book yet? What’s your favorite craft book? Let me know in the comments!

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.

Top Ten Tuesday

Summer TBR – Top Ten Tuesday

summer tbr2019

I’m so excited about today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme because summer is my favorite season, and I love finding great books to read at the beach or by the pool. 🙂 Here are the ones I’ve chosen for this summer:

1. My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton – I’ve read books by both Jodi Meadows and Cynthia Hand and really enjoyed them, plus this is a Jane Eyre retelling, so it’s a must read for me.

2. Save the Date by Morgan Matson – I’ve had on my TBR for awhile, and it’s a perfect read for summer – with the wedding shenanigans and all.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – My sister recommended this one, and I haven’t gotten around to reading it, though I’ve had it on my shelf a long time. I decided it’s time to read it.

4. For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig – I got this one at a book festival earlier this year. I met the author and got my copy signed, so I’m pretty psyched to read it.

5. The Jewel by Amy Ewing – This one has been on my shelf and my TBR for like years. So it’s high time I get to it.

6. The Beholder by Anna Bright – I got an advanced reader copy not too long before the book was released, and I loved the premise. Also, the author works at a local bookstore that hosts all kinds of great YA events.

7. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – I’ve also had this one on my TBR awhile. I loved the movie, so I’m sure I’m going to really enjoy the book.

8. Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson – This whole series has been on my TBR for a long time as well. The premise sounds so intriguing, and every time I see it on my shelf I think “I need to read this,” so on the summer list it goes.

9. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly – My summer list wouldn’t be complete without a mermaid tale. I meant to read this last summer, but didn’t get to it.

10. Lifeguard by James Patterson – I also got to have a good mystery on this list, and what’s more summery than a lifeguard?

In conjuction with these books, I’m also participating in the Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. If you haven’t heard about that yet, you can check it out here. And if you haven’t added me as a friend on Goodreads, you can do that here. I’m always looking for new bookish friends! 🙂

How about you? What are you reading this summer? Are you doing the Goodreads challenge? Let me know in the comments.

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday – Page to Screen

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I haven’t done a top ten Tuesday post in awhile, but today’s topic is so fun, I wanted to post this week.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Girl. To find out more about the top ten theme, or to join in the fun go here.

We all love movie adaptations, but sometimes we’re left wondering if it would’ve been better left as a book. Here are a few movies that were better as books:

Twilight – The movie wasn’t horrible, but it did change some things I thought it shouldn’t have.

Ella Enchanted – Honestly, I thought the movie was kind of on the dumb side. The book however, was great!

The Handmaid’s Tale – (This is actually a tv series.) I do enjoy this tv series – a lot. But the book was amazing. I had never read anything by Margaret Atwood before, and only picked the book up because of the show. I was also amazed because the book was written in the 80’s. If you haven’t read it, and are a fan of the show, you need to read the book!

Most of the time, the book is better than the movie, but sometimes the movie is better. Here are a few movies I found better that the book:

Tuck Everlasting – In the book, Winnie was only ten, making her romance with Tuck unbelievable and bordering on a predator-prey type of relationship.

Mary Poppins – The books are much sillier than the movies, and are so fantastical that the fantastical element diminishes the plot.

The Princess Diaries – I do enjoy the books, but I loved the first movie and thought it was better than the first book.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (both movies) – Again, I enjoyed the books, but liked the movies even better.

And sometimes, the movies though a little different than the books, are almost as good as the books. Here are few of those (IMHO):

 

Harry Potter – Who doesn’t enjoy the movies almost as much as the books?

The Hunger Games I loved the books and the movies!

The Chronicles of Narnia Another great adaptation of a series.

What books do you like better than the movie? What movies do you like better than the books? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Revision – Chapter Overview #authortoolboxbloghop

time to revise

Last month I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and I worked on revising a WIP. Revision/editing can be overwhelming at times. I know I’ve often felt that way. Recently, I’ve started using a new strategy – chapter overview. And it is so helpful, I wanted to share about it today.

I’m a total pantser. When I start to write a novel, my planning consists of thinking about my story idea and possibly jotting down a few stray ideas. Then I just sit down and type. So when I start to revise, I really have to analyze each part and determine if I need to keep it or not. This is where the chapter overview comes in. (Before I start this process, I’ve already done one read-through so I have a general idea how the story is flowing.)

First, I note the chapter number, the number of pages, and the act in which the chapter takes place. Next, I write a one-line summary of the chapter and write out the purpose of the chapter – What is this chapter doing to move the story forward? This is key in helping me determine whether this is something that needs to stay or go. I also list the characters and the role they play in the story, and then I do a short summary of each scene in the chapter.

I’ve made my own Chapter Overview template that I use to help me with this. I’ve seen other versions floating around online which I’ve also used before, but none of them had exactly all the things I wanted to include, so I made my own.

example chapter overview

Here’s a printable copy: my chapter planner

For me, this has really helped me dig into my story and find what’s working and what isn’t. But more and more, I’m realizing that people learn and think differently, so you just have to find what works for you. If you’re a hard core planner, you might do all this before you even start to write because that’s what works best for you. I find that if I try to do too much planning before typing out my story it interrupts my flow and the story seems to crumble. Either way, I hope you find my chapter overview helpful.

What about you? How do you work best? What are some of the things you find helpful when you’re revising? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

Side Note: Earlier for the bloghop, I did a post on the different kinds of editing. If you missed it, you can read it here. (Cataloging chapters is part of the developmental edit.)

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To check out all the participating blogs, or to join in the fun go here.