#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.

 

#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.

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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!

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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

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.)

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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 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.

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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.