#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers, NaNoWriMo

A Novel Love List and Staying Inspired – #authortoolboxbloghop

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I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again, and camp inspired today’s post. If you haven’t heard about Camp NaNoWriMo, check out my previous posts about it here, here, and here.

Each camper who participates in Camp NaNo recieves an email each day in their NaNo inbox. These email are called care packages and they are always filled with great ideas for writing, staying inspired, and staying motivated.  This specific camp care package was shared by Christina Li .

(If you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo, you may already know about this, but it was such a fun idea and a great way to stay inspired to write, that I wanted to share. )

The idea is to list several things that you love about your novel and then post it somewhere you will see it whenever you are working on your novel. It’s so easy to think about the things we think are poorly done in our writing, that we often overlook the things we are doing well, which is why I think this specific care package really resonated with me.

Christina Li said she usually just uses a post it note, but I thought it would be fun to take it a step further, so I got out my art supplies and made a pretty print to hang up by computer while I’m working. 🙂

Here’s what my novel love list looks like:

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What about you? Have you ever made a novel love list? What do you do to stay inspired by your current WIP? Let me know in the comments!

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This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To find out more or join in the fun, go here.

 

For Writers, NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo Goal Planning with Downloadble Template

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Hi all, Camp NaNoWriMo starts today! I can’t believe it’s already July.

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I am participating in Camp again, but I realized as I was prepping that I really needed a weekly goal sheet to help me stay on track. Since I’m not writing a novel, but rather making revisions and edits, there are a lot of pieces or small jobs that go along with that: rewriting a chapter, fleshing out some research, rearranging scenes and coming up with a satisfactory timeline, and so on.

To help me keep track of what needs to be done when, I created a weekly goal sheet that helps me outline all that, and I wanted to share it with you all as I know some of you may be doing the same kind of thing for camp.

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I’ve added the Google link to the document here.  For those who would rather print it out here’s a word doc.

What about you? Are you doing Camp NaNo this year? What are your goals and how are you tracking them? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Using Bio Poems for Character Development – #authortoolboxbloghop

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There are a lot of questionnaires and sketch activities out there to help you develop your characters, but I recently discovered a shorter technique that helps me nail down my characters’ interests and personalities – the bio poem.

Bio poems are not long (11 lines), but they cover some of the most important things you need to know about your characters, and they always follow the same format.

Here is an example of my bio poem for my main character of my current WIP.

Marianna

Intelligent, Curious, Kind, Perceptive

Sister of Annette, Daughter of Henry and Paulina

Lover of books, learning, and adventure

Who feels love, curiosity, and fear

Who needs to find real friends, the truth, and the strength to face it

Who gives kindness, friendship, and help

Who fears the unknown, Crothingham’s spooky hallways, and Dusten

Who wants Will to still be living, her family to be safe and provided for, and to be free of Bludington

Resident of Prosera

Locklear

I’ve also included a template you can use for your own characters: here.

How about you? What techniques do you use to develop your characters? Let me know in the comments!

On an unrelated note, I’m about to start Writing Down the Bones. Who has read it and what did you think?

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This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop hosted by Raimey Gallant. To find out more or join in the fun, go here.

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Tips for Finding Comp Titles for your Novel – #authortoolboxbloghop

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Comp titles – the dread of every author with a novel ready to submit.  (For those who may not know, comp titles stands for comparable titles and basically means titles comparable to your book. They should be books that your ideal readers may have already read or would enjoy reading.)

Many author friends have told me that it’s just so hard to come up with comp titles because their novel isn’t really like anything else they’ve read. And while that’s true in a sense and we all want to believe our book babies are unique and unlike anything else out there, there are still some basic rules we can use to find comp titles.

Sidebar: You have to be reading a lot and reading what is popular now (something published within the last ten years) to successfully find relevant comp titles. Check out my blog post on reading as a writer here.

1. Same Genre and age group: This is pretty much a given, but it is the first thing you need to look for – novels of the same genre as yours and written for the same age group as yours.

2. Same atmosphere: Is your novel light and fun-hearted or more serious? Maybe it’s dark and a little edgy. Whatever overall atmosphere your novel is portraying, you want to find  comparable novels that have a similar atmosphere.

3. Similar elements: What is a prevalent element in your story? Is it based on a fairytale, myth, or comic/superhero? Is it focused on music, movies, or other entertainment? Maybe it deals with a life-threatening illness or coming of age. Find comparable novels with the same element(s).

Here’s how I used these tips to come up with my own comp titles for my current WIP, The Blood-Stained Key. It’s a YA fantasy, a bit dark, and is a fairytale retelling of Bluebeard. So I chose some other dark YA fantasy fairytale retellings as comp titles:

The Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (Alice in Wonderland retelling)

The Ravenspire series by CJ Redwine (a series of dark fairytale retellings)

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (A Little Mermaid retelling)

What about you? Do you struggle to find comp titles? Do you have any tips for determining comp titles? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

For Writers, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Bingo 2019

 

Hi all! November is almost here, and I’m going to do my NaNoWriMo Bingo again this year. So here is this year’s board. You can share and participate on Twitter and Instagram with #nanobingo19. (My username on Twitter is @charityrau1.)

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If you’d like a printable copy of the bingo board, you can get that here.

My NaNo username is charebear23.. Let me know what your’s is so we can cheer each other on this month! 🙂

Also, if you haven’t heard about NaNoWriMo, or haven’t signed up yet but want to, check out their site here.

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Creating a Worthy Hero – AuthorToolboxBloghop

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Since NaNoWriMo is nearly here, I thought I’d share some things about creating a worthy hero. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you might want to check out this post a did a couple years ago about prepping for NaNo.

One of the most important things to consider when writing your novel is whether or not your main character is captivating. Does your MC inspire your readers, making them care about him and his journey? Is your MC moving the story forward, or is he being dragged along with it?

One way to answer these questions is to ensure your hero has the things he needs to own his story. According to Save a Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody, The three things every hero must have are: a want, a need, and a flaw. (I did a review of this book in an earlier blog post, you can check it out here.)

1. A Want – This is the thing that your MC most desires. This is the goal he is trying get to throughout the book. Your plot builds when you add obstacles or things that stand in the was of your hero getting what he wants. Sometimes this want can change as you’re writing the novel because the MC’s circumstances change. But your MC must have a want that propels the story forward.

2. A Need – This is the thing that your MC needs, but most likely doesn’t realize it. Sometimes  the need and want can coincide, and some people lump the want and need together, but often your MC will have a need as well. This need will tie into the flaw, as it’s usually a life lesson your MC must learn.

3. A Flaw – This is your MC’s problem. This is part of what is keeping him from reaching his goal. Once he realizes his need, he will be able to overcome this flaw and you’ll have reached your novel’s end. Both the MC’s flaw and his want need to be specific, so that the reader will be able to tell when the flaw has been resolved.

If you want to dig even deeper into these concepts, check out the book Save the Cat Writes a Novel. The book has helped me improve all aspects of my manuscript. And hopefully, this helps everybody whose doing NaNoWriMo this year.

What are your best resources for characterization? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know in the comments!

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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.

For Writers, Reading Challenge

Litsy – An app for Readers

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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.

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

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Revision – Chapter Overview #authortoolboxbloghop

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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.)

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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, For Writers

Connecting With Your Readers Through Twitter – #authortoolboxbloghop

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So before the New Year, I did a series on connecting  with your reader as part of the blog hop. (You can see my last toolbox post here.) I wanted to share some tips for using Twitter to connect with readers, so I decided to go ahead and add another post to this series.

As with all the other venues of social media, you want to be commenting and liking your readers’ posts. Just like with Instagram, hashtags are key for finding like-minded people on Twitter, but there are also other ways you can use Twitter. Here are a few ways to use Twitter to connect with your readers:

  1. Share articles or quizzes that your readers will enjoy. This can be your own content or content you’ve found from somewhere else. For instance, I share a lot of things from the Epic Reads site. They have quizzes about YA books, and articles about the newest YA releases. Just remember to credit who or where you got the content from.
  2. Share the same things you share on Instagram or on other social media sites. You get the best use of your content when you share it on all your social media platforms. To help with this, there is even a slider button on Instagram that allows you to share your post to Twitter or Facebook. However, sometimes I find it more effective to share your content separately. When you share posts via the IG button, the picture doesn’t actually post directly to Twitter,  it’s just a link to the photo. If it is something you really want your followers to see, it is more effective to post directly to Twitter.
  3. Use your hastags! Like I said earlier, hashtags are how people find your posts. Find some relative hashtags for your genre (#yalit, #yabooks ect.) to use with your posts. Also, just like on Instagram, there are challenges you can participate in using specific hashtags. (#fridayreads, #yearofepicreads ect.)
  4. Share what you are reading.  Your readers love to hear about new books.  They also enjoy hearing about the kind of books their favorite authors like. Sharing what you are reading is one of the best way to connect with readers.
  5. Make use of the poll option. One of the cool options Twitter has is the poll capability.  (When you go to post a tweet, it is the button on the bottom that looks like a little bar graph.) You can use the poll option to find out what your readers like most about your books, what their favorite genre is, or which of your books they enjoyed most.

These are just some of the ways you can use Twitter to connect with your readers. You can connect with me @charityrau1 on Twitter. What are some you favorite ways to use Twitter? Let me know in the comments!

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This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.

 

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

Connecting With Your Readers Through Instagram – #authortoolboxbloghop

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My past two bloghop posts have been about different ways to connect with your readers. (If you missed them, you can check them out here and here. )

So this month, I wanted to share some tips on how to connect with readers on Instagram. (And again, I find Instagram is really effective for me as I write YA and there are a lot of YA readers who use Instagram. It might not be as effective for those who write in other genres.)

As with all social media platforms, you want to be commenting on and liking posts from your readers. In addition to that, you can use hashtags to connect with your readers. With Instagram, hashtags are key. Hashtags are how you find people with similar interests. There are several ways you can use hashtags to connect with your readers.

  1. Use several hashtags when you post. (Ten is considered the optimum number.) Some good hashtags for connecting with readers include: #bookstagram, #yabookstagram, #bookworm, #booknerd, #yalit (or whatever genre you write in), #bookdragon #toberead #currentlyreading
  2. Hashtag challenges – There are always plenty of monthly challenges you can participate in.  Each day of the month you are given a prompt which you use to stage your picture for that day. One example of the monthly challenge is #octlitwrit. There are also some challenges where you only post weekly.  My current favorite weekly challenge is #fantasyonfriday
  3. Daily hashtag themes – Similar to the challenges, you use a theme on a particular day like #mondaymotivation, #throwbackthursday or #fridayreads. There is no prompt, you just use the day’s theme to post something.
  4. Tagging games – In the tagging games, you take something like #spellmynameinbooks to complete and then tag several friends to do so as well.

Also, just a note on hashtags – Don’t use hashtags that don’t apply to the picture you’ve posted just to try to get more likes.

What about you? Do you have a favorite hashtag on Instagram? What’s your favorite thing about Instagram? Let me know in the comments. And you can connect with me on Instagram here.

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

This post is part of the #authortoolboxbloghop. It’s hosted by Raimey Gallant. For more details and to join in the fun, go here.