For Writers, Read Write Grow Book Club

Read Write Grow Writer’s Book Club

Happy New Year, friends!

I’ve decided to bring back the Read, Write, Grow writer’s book club for 2023! For the first two months (Jan-Feb 2023), we will read one book since we are just now voting, and the beginning of a new year is always busy.

Voting is open now in my Instagram story. We are choosing between The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Mass and Writing Active Hooks by Mary Buckham. You can also vote for your choice via the survey below.

I’m testing out the book club in the Fable app. If you haven’t heard of it, the Fable app is specifically for book clubs. It allows you to chat while reading the book. It is divided up by chapters and also shows the reading breakdown for the book. If you are interested in trying out the Fable app, you can join here. Search for Read, Write, Grow and you should find the club. If you have any problems finding, just let me know.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Looking forward to a year of growth and reading in 2023!

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For Writers, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Tips (A pantser’s version)

With NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month) right around the I wanted to share some tips to help you make the most of this month. And in true pantser fashion, this doesn’t include making an outline. 🙂

Clear your calendar. Take a look at your calendar and make sure you don’t have any uneccessary activities planned for the month. Can something be moved to next month? Don’t volunteer to host Thanksgiving, but if you have to do so, see who can help you. Kids? Spouse or partner? Delegate as much as you can to other people.

Plan meals ahead of time. Think about what you are going to do for meals. Again, maybe you can delegate this to someone else, or maybe you can do some quick microwavable meals during the week and cook only on the weekends. (This is my plan.)

Gather your supplies. What did you need for a sucessful writing session? Notebooks, pens, candle, snacks, drinks? Figure out what things you need and stock up on them. Some of my neccessities include dark chocolate peanut M&M’s, salt and vinegar chips, Coke, ingredients for homemade mochas, Pentel purple pens, and a notebook. (Yeah, I’m a junk food junkie, I know. 🙂 )

Create a workspace. Determine where you are going to work. Maybe you already have a space, but it might need to be cleared to work. If you don’t have one yet, consider a place where you can work without interruptions, ideally a place where you aren’t doing a lot of other activities.

Think about your story. Even though I don’t have an outline, I do think a lot about my story. This includes creating an aesthetic or mood board, making a playlist, creating a working cover. I also jot down a few notes in my notebook of things I don’t want to forget before I start writing.

And most importantly, do what you can to make this experience fun! I always create a bingo board, and if you missed my previous post with the board and all my other templates, you can check it out here.

What do you do to prepare for NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

For Writers, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Bingo

It’s hard to believe it’s already Novemeber. I think this year has gone by a bit faster, after last year when we weren’t able to go anywhere.

I’ve already started my NaNoWriMo project, but I also wanted to bring back my bingo board. Feel free to share with #nanobingo21.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Let me know in the comments.

For Writers, Read Write Grow Book Club

Read Write Grow Writer’s Book Club: Story Genius

February’s pick for our writer’s book club was Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I really enjoyed it, and I feel like it ties in really well with our March pick which is Save the Cat Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody.

Here are the discussion questions for Story Genius (You can post the answers here in the comments, on your own blog, or even on the post over on Instagram.):

  1. Did you do some/all of the exercises in the book?
  2. If so, which ones did you find most helpful?
  3. Cron views “plotting” and “pantsing” as writing methods and says they don’t work. What are your thoughts about this?
  4. Which part of the book was your favorite or that you found to be most helpful?
  5. Do you have any other thoughts about the book?

I’ll post my answers/review within the next couple of days, and I’ll try to get the questions for Save the Cat up earlier. I was running behind with these questions. Keep an eye on my Instagram stories, as that’s where I’ll post the poll for April’s book pick.

Happy Reading!

Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Hop

I just discovered this writer’s group – The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. There are all kinds of resources for writers on their website and they have a blog hop as well. (Check out the blog hop and all the participants here.)

The official posting day for the blog hop is the first Wednesday of the month, so my post is late, but it was a fun question to answer, so I decided to just go ahead and answer it! 🙂

January 6 question – Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?

There are not many things that stop me from finishing a book, but I do get frustrated with certain things:

Killing /cruelty to animals – I absolutely hate this, and it can often be enough for me to stop reading a book. Although many times it happens at the very end of the book, so then I’m angry that I wasted my time reading the book. In most instances, there is no reason for this.

I hate to even have to mention this one, but amateurish writing – writing that overuses adverbs, tells rather than shows, and head hops. And yes, I have read publishing house books that have all these things in them.

Stream of consciousness writing – Sorry, I just can’t get into it, and this is another case where I will often stop reading.

What about you? What’s one thing that will make you stop reading a book?

For Writers

Story A Day September

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This September I’ll be participating in StoryADay with Julie Duffy.  Each day a prompt will be emailed to participants. You can choose if you want to write a short story every single day of the month, or just on certain days.

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I first heard about StoryaDay through a diyMFA event, and I was hooked on the idea of trying to write multiple short stories during one month.  For next month, my goal is to get at least ten short story fairytales. In my current WIP, the heroine has a book of beloved fairy tales and these will be stories I will use for that book, which may be something I will use as a giveaway at some point. I also want to write five other short stories which I will be posting here on my blog, so keep an eye for those!

Another cool thing I found on the StoryADay website is the Which Famous Author Are You? quiz.  Here’s my result:

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And I’m totally okay with that (though I do write a lot of fantasy)! I love Patterson’s books. I haven’t read anything by JoJo Moyes yet, but now I think I’m going to have to. 🙂

Since I always have more than one choice for these quizzes, I took it a second time and got this result:

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This is pretty accurate as most of my work tends to be YA fantasy with a fairytale twist. And I’m pleased with these results as well! 🙂

What about you? Have you ever participated in StoryADay, or another event like this? Let me know in the comments!

 

#authortoolboxbloghop, For Writers

My Favorite Writing Resources -#authortoolboxbloghop

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As part of the blog hop today, I wanted to share some of my favorite resources. Some of these I’ve shared before, but some of them are ones I’ve recently discovered.

Drafting/Editing

Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. I’ve talked about this one a lot, and for good reason. If you’re a pantser like me, this is a great resource to help you be sure your first draft has all the crucial points for a solid story. And if you’re a plotter, this is perfect for helping you outline your story idea. I’ve also found a lot of helpful info on Jessica’s website, and I’m a member of her Writing Mastery Academy. For a monthly fee ($12), I have access to all of her classes, webinars, the writing mastery community, and the bonus content.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.  This is a wonderful resource for helping you edit your novel as clean as you can make it. It’s full of tips and writing exercises.

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General Writing

The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman. I’ve just started reading through this one, and already it’s been helpful. I’ve also found the companion website and the author’s website helpful.

Writer’s Digest (both the magazine and the website). You can find almost anything you could want to know about writing here. There are also contests and communities you can be a part of.

 

Writing as Therapy

Rewrite Your Life by Jess Lourey. I discovered this book on accident. After reading Lourey’s thriller Unspeakable Things, I wanted to see what other books she’d written and came across this one on writing and immediately ordered it. I’m still working my way through the book, as well as the free course that goes along with it (details about the course here), but am loving it.  I’ve always known writing has been a form of therapy for me, but this book is really helping me put it into perspective and reap the greatest benefit from it.

What about you? What are some of your favorite writing resources? 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.

 

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!