#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?

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

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!

 

 

 

#authortoolboxbloghop

Writing Exercises to Help You Get Through COVID-19

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Hope everyone is doing well! During these uncertain times, I know a lot of us are struggling with being focused and productive. For last month’s #authortoolboxbloghop, TD Storm shared some great tips for maintaining your focus during this stressful time , and you can find them here. Today, I want to share some writing exercises that can help inspire you to keep writing.

  1. Put the main character from your current WIP in a quarantine situation. Everyone has a myriad of emotions right now, and sometimes writing about a character facing the same kind of problems you are facing can help you sort through all those emotions. What would your character do in this kind of situation? How would it affect the plot of their story? What choices are they now going to make?
  2. Journal daily. For me, writing has always been a way to cope with the challenges I face, as well as a healing process for any injured emotions I’ve had. It’s helpful to get all the anxious thoughts out of your head and onto paper. It is a good way to let them go. Journaling is also a great for focusing on the positives in your life right now. Are you getting to spend extra time with your family? Have you been able to finish some projects that have been on your to-do list for months? Remember to focus on the things you can control, and not the things you can’t.
  3. Create some artwork inspired by your current WIP. I love doing this. Whether it’s a painting or drawing of something specific from my WIP, or just an abstract piece that evokes the mood of my WIP, I always have fun with this activity. And I often learn something new about my WIP.
  4. Work on some of the extra writing tasks you still have on your to-do list. When I say extra tasks, I’m referring to those things that aren’t actually writing, but they still have something to do with your WIP. This can be anything from making a playlist for your WIP, to drawing a map for your WIP’s world, or making some character sketches for your WIP’s characters. These type of activities can also give you some insight into your WIP that you might not have had before.
  5. Write a letter to a friend or family member. We are writers, right? So what better use of some extra time than connecting with someone via letter. Sometimes we can write down things more easily than we can say them aloud, and I’m sure friends and family would love to receive a letter from you during this stressful time.

 

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(Feel free to share this graphic!)

 

So, what about you? What kind of things have you been doing to help inspire your creativity? 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.

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10K words in a Day – #authortoolboxbloghop

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Today I’d thought I’d share about a challenge I participated in and found helpful, the #10kwritingchallenge. It is hosted monthly by Mandi Lynn, and you can find all the details about the challenge here. (she also has a lot of other great resources for writers 🙂 )

The object of the challenge is to write 10K words within one day. I know that sounds like a lot, but it is more doable than you might think. I have participated once in the challenge with plans to participate again soon.

A few things to keep in mind when deciding to do the challenge:

Be sure it is a day on which you can dedicate a significant amount of time to your writing. I plan for these days (I actually put it on my calendar), so I know I can’t be doing a lot of other stuff on these days.

Make a plan for the day. Are you revising work or writing from scratch? Do you have the outline or notes you need? What chapters/pages do you need to get finished?

Prep your writing space. Set up a quiet place where you know you can be productive with all the tools, snacks, and drinks you might need.

Plan for breaks. Obviously, you’re going to need to take breaks. What kind of things get you most inspired? You could go for a walk outside, or do whatever kind of exercise relaxes you. The key is to get up and move around so that when you come back to the keyboard you are ready to write.

These were all things I did to help me reach my 10K goal.  And spending a day working on my manuscript proved quite beneficial.

I found that I became excited about my manuscript once more, and I wanted to delve deep into my story’s world. I had more confidence in my novel as I had made a significant amount of progress on it in just one day, and I gained more confidence in myself as a writer, knowing that I could accomplish this thing I had set my mind to do. I also had some enlightening moments where I was able to figure out how to fix some things that were not working in my story.

What about you? Have you ever participated in this challenge or one like it? What kind of things do you like to challenge yourself to do to help you stay motivated and improve your writing skills? Let me know in the comments.

NanoBlogandSocialMediaHop2

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

author mentor match

Author Mentor Match – #AMMConnect

 

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I recently discovered this great program called Author Mentor Match. It gives aspiring authors the chance to pair up with a more accomplished writer who will help them improve their writing. You can find out more about it here. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other writers through #AMMParty, and wanted to share a little about me and my writing. So here’s my #AMMconnect post! 🙂

About Me:

I’m a writer, an editor, and an educator. I read mostly YA fantasy and mystery, but also enjoy memoirs,  some contemporary, and the classics. My favorite writers include: Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, Colleen Oakes, Marissa Meyer, Kerri Maniscalco, Riley Sager, and C.J. Redwine. Besides reading and writing, I enjoy spending time with my husband and fur baby, traveling by train, ice skating, and binge watching my favorite TV shows.

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My Writing:

I write YA fantasy with a fairytale twist. I’ve always loved fairytales and it seems to show up in my writing one way or another. I grew up with a grandfather who told stories that captivated all of us grandkids, parents who read to me daily, and younger siblings who were always eager to listen to whatever crazy stories I made up. I write because I love to tell stories, and I love to give people a chance to escape to another world  even if it’s just for a little while. My current WIP is a Bluebeard retelling with a Victorian Gothic vibe.

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Why I’d Be a Great Mentee:

I’d be a great mentee because I’m eager to learn how to make my writing stronger. I’ve written several full manuscripts, but this current one is one of my best so far. I’d love to get some advice on how to take it to the next level. I can accept constructive criticism, and would rather hear honest advice than false praise. I’m not afraid of hard work, and am willing to put in the time neccessary to make my manuscript the best that it can be. I’d like to find a partnership that could become a friendship that would last longer than this one event.

#authortoolboxbloghop

The Benefits of Writing By Hand

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I’ve heard many fellow writers laud the benefits of writing by hand, but I had never really given it much thought. I mean, really, it’s so convenient to type, and writing by hand seemed so old-school.

But then this year’s NaNoWriMo rolled around, and I found myself without access to a computer, but wanting to write and get my word count in for the day. So I wrote several decent sized chunks by hand (1500+ words). And I discovered why all these writers talk about how great it is to write by hand.

So today, I wanted to share some of the benefits I got from writing by hand.

1. The slower pace gives you time to think about where you’re going next. I found that when I had to slow down a little bit to write, I was able to think about “where am I going with this?” versus just typing out the words in a frenzy.

2. The change of pace gives you a fresh outlook on your WIP. I think this was also because of the slower pace, but I was able to think about my WIP in new ways and I actually had a couple of “aha moments”. I figured out exactly what I needed to do with certain pieces of my manuscript.

3. It’s exciting. Probably because of the first two reasons, I found this venture exciting. It gave me back some passion for my manuscript and I just wanted to keep writing. I couldn’t wait to discover what would happen next!

4. You can do it anywhere. Handwriting is, of course, the original way novels were written. All our eighteenth and nineteenth century idols wrote their great novels by hand. And all you need is a writing utensil and paper. 🙂

So if you’re looking for a change of pace, maybe this is your answer. Try handwriting a couple of pages and see what it does for you.

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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.

What about you? Have you ever given handwriting a try? How did you like it?

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!

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.