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 – Should You Do It?

It’s that time of year again – the start of November and National Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. Writers from all around the globe attempt to write a novel or part of a novel equaling 50,000 words. Maybe you’ve tried it before or maybe you’ve only considered it. This will be my seventh year seriously (I attempted to do it a couple years before, but didn’t see it through) doing NaNoWriMo and it is motivating and successful for me. However, I realize it is not for everyone, so I wanted to share why it works so well for me to help you decided if it might work for you.

  1. The Deadline – Many writers dread the deadline, but it is highly motivating for me. I’m a huge procrastinator, so I often need some external motivation to help me get things done.
  2. The Challenge -This kind of goes along with the first thing, I love to win and if I don’t meet the deadline, I don’t win. The drive to win keeps me in the game even when things gets difficult.
  3. The Project – I am a project writer – which basically means I can work hours at a time when in the middle of a project. I don’t always write every day, but I write in large chunks of time when working on a project. Once I’ve finished said project, I need some reset time, and can take up to a couple weeks off from writing.

So, if these things are things you can relate to, you might want to give NaNoWriMo a try. However, if it all seems a little overwhelming, you can also adjust your goal. If you want to start out with a smaller goal like 30k or even 25k, you could also do that.

One thing you do need to have is commitment. If you’re are serious about doing it, wholly commit to it, letting friends and family know you are doing this. Post on social media and even create little rewards for steps along the way. The first couple of years I tried NaNo, I didn’t go in with a firm commitment and I didn’t win or even come close to winning.

If you do decide you want to do NaNo, check out my #nanobingo22 board and other fun templates here.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you’ve decided to do NaNoWriMo.

For Writers, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Bingo

Hey everyone! I’ve created another bingo board for this year’s NaNoWrimo. I’ve already shared it over on my Instagram, but wanted to share here in case anyone missed it, or they aren’t on IG. So here it is:

Feel free to screenshot or print, and share with the tag #nanobingo22. I’ve also created some additional templates to go along with the bingo board. There is a board for each week to share your weekly update, and a board to share your word count for the day and the bingo square you completed.

Are you doing 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!

#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.