Blogs / Life

*Almost 3,000 WordPress Followers & GIVEAWAY “Agency in the Hunger Games”

Hello and Welcome to my Author Blog!

As I was going over some of my stats recently (something I don’t do often because it’s too easy to become obsessed with stats and not the blog itself), I realized something.

I started this blog in October 2017 and as of today, I have reached 2,830 WordPress followers!

I know that others have more (someone always will) but I think this is pretty dang fantastic and I am grateful for each and every one of you.

Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

As I get closer to hitting that 3,000 goal mark, I want to host another GIVEAWAY as my way to say thank you to all of you awesome bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, and facebookers out there!

Grand Giveaway Prize:

  • As you may well know, I recently released my first published book in February 2020Agency in the Hunger Games Desire, Intent, and Action in the Novels analyzes our favorite characters in brand new ways!

  • The Winner of this GiveAway will receive their own copy of Agency in the Hunger Games

  • For 21st century young adults struggling for autonomy in a society that often demands compliance, the best-selling trilogy The Hunger Games remains palpably relevant despite its futuristic setting. For Suzanne Collin’s’ characters, personal agency involves not only the physical battle of controlling one’s body but also one’s response to such influences as morality, trauma, power, and hope. The author (that’s me!) explores personal agency through in-depth examinations of the lives of Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Haymitch, Cinna, Primrose, and others, and through an analysis of themes like overabundance and bodily imagery, social expectations in the Capitol, and problem parental figures. Readers will discover their own “dandelion of hope” through the examples set out by Collins’ characters, who prove over and over that human agency is always attainable.

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Rules:

  • In order to be entered into this giveaway, you must follow a couple of simple rules.You must be following my Blog to be considered for the drawing. Not subscribed yet? Not to worry, go to my home screen and click the lovely button that says FOLLOW ūüôāYou must live in the United States of America (sorry my international friends, I just can’t afford international shipping costs, but if you still want to share so your followers can enter, I would be so appreciative!)
    • You must also reblog this Giveaway on your own blog and leave it up for the remainder of the Giveaway for an extra entry!
    • Want more entries?! Every time you reblog, repost, or share this Giveaway on any social media (WordPress, Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook) using #AgencyintheHungerGames you will earn an additional entry! That means you could earn up to four entries! 

The Giveaway ends with the 3,000th Follower and the Winner will be announced shortly after! Thank you in advance to everyone who reblogs, retweets, regrams, etc.!

Please help me spread the word! Make sure to use the hashtag (#AgencyintheHungerGames) so that I can find your entries.

Thank you again so much for your support (especially to those of you who have been with me since the beginning), it means the world to me!

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Blogs / Life

Welcome

Welcome!

I write. I drink tea. And I live my life to the fullest, knowing that my abilities come from God.

My name is Kayla Ann, I’m an author who just recently released her first non-fiction book with McFarland Publishing House (2020). Agency in the Hunger Games: Desire, Intent, and Action in the Novels takes a scholarly look at why readers love Suzanne Collins’ famous series The Hunger Games. At its heart, my book comes to the conclusion that we, like Collins’ characters, are looking for agency, for the ability to control our desires and actions regardless of internal and external influences.

I have been writing short stories, fiction, poetry, and non-poetry my whole life. My first short story, “Kate the Pirate,” written in second grade was only the beginning of a long and wonderful journey. At a young age, I was dedicated to eventually become a published and established author. However, as any writer may know, this is not as easy as it seems. This wonderful world of writing is also complex and sometimes exhausting. So in this blog I will be offering up Writing Tips, Writing/Poetry competitions, excerpts of my own work, and my own experiences in the hope of encouraging other authors to continue on creating wondrous worlds of their own.

Feel free to hit me up in the comments with any questions you might have about writing.

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©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

The Agency Games

LAST Chance to Enter GIVEAWAY

You have 48 hours left to enter the Agency in the Hunger Games FREE Giveaway! In the next 48 hours, every repost, reblog, etc., counts for DOUBLE the amount of entries!

Do you love the Hunger Games? Do you know someone who does? Do you simply love receiving new books in the mail?

Make sure to reblog the original GiveAway (click here!)

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Rememeber, you can earn DOUBLE entries by sharing my Giveaway on WordPress, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Just hastag #AgencyintheHungerGames

Already shared? That’s okay! You can reshare for more entries!

Every time that you share, I will award you a new entry (that means you can literally have countless entries by sharing and re-sharing!)

Thank you to everyone who have already shared; you guys are amazing!

See all the rules by clicking the link:

*Almost 3,000 WordPress Followers GIVEAWAY ‚ÄúAgency in the Hunger¬†Games‚ÄĚ

Poetry

Uncertainty

Opinions blasting

Swirling

Into a hurricane

Sources that claim

Truth

Disproved the next day

Insults flying

Flung

With abandon

Who can you trust

Who can you believe

Uncertain times

Call

For uncertain replies

This is only

ONE

that I can trust

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The 3 Top Questions You Need to Ask Your Characters

So you want to write a book, huh?

For some, that’s easy; for others, it’s much harder. A place that all writers must eventually come to is character development. A good book is marked by its strong and authentic characters. I don’t know about you, but I can read just about anything as long as I love the characters. If I cannot stand the characters, I could not care less about an interesting plot. (Some people feel the opposite, but hey, that’s just me).

With Characterization being such an important part of the writing journey, it’s up to the author to really get to know their characters, but that can be easier said than done. Try going to a google search bar and type in “Questions to Ask Characters.”

Here are some results you might see:

  • Top 10 Questions to ask . . .
  • Top 50 Questions to ask . . .
  • Top 99 Questions to ask . . . (why not 100 at that point?)

It’s clear that this can get out of control real quick. Now, granted, some of these lists are more about devloping character profiles (likes and dislikes, personal history, physical appearance, etc.). For today’s tip, I’m going to narrow it down. When you begin your writing and you need to know the most important things about your characters, you need to ask them only three questions.

1. What does your character want?

This question relates to the plot of your entire book. What is your character’s motive for every action that they take? Bilbo Baggins wants to get back to the Shire. Katniss Everdeen wants to survive and save her sister. Luke Skywalker wants to bring back balance to the force. These wants, these motives, drive every action your character takes.

2. What is your character’s greatest strength?

I don’t mean how much can they lift. I mean, what is it about your character that attracts not only readers but the other characters. What makes your character useful to accomplishing the overall plot of the book? Biblo was small and unnoticeable (which doesn’t seem like a strength but it made him dang useful to those around him). Katniss was “charming as a slug,” according to Haymitch, but her love of her sister won over the crowds. Luke never gave up hope in himself, the force, and even the light inside his father.

3. What is your character’s greatest weakness?

Characters must be flawed. How often have we heard that? Phyiscal, emotional, and mental flaws are a must! Want to know why? Because that is reality. What flaw is going to get in the way of your character accomplishing their goals and make your writing interesting? Bilbo prefers the comforts of his home to any moral quest and struggles against adventure (at first at least). Katniss is completely anti-social which is extremely problematic when her survival depends on people liking her. Luke Skywalker can be brave, but also headstrong and make foolish decisions.

When it comes to your characters, you need to know why they act the way they do, what about them will make your readers root for them, and what about them will make your reader grab the book and say, “oh, come on!”

What Character Development Questions would you add to this list? Make sure to let me know in the comments below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

80,000 Word Challenge

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (4)

Update #4

I can’t believe it’s already been eight weeks into this challenge! About two months ago, I started my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge. (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!)

After eight weeks of writing nearly every day, my goal word count was 64,000 words. I  currently have a grand total of . . .

64,368 Words

Update 4

To be more precise, I am in the midst of Chapter 16. I have 216 pages and 64,368 words.

About two days ago, I was 1,500 words ahead of my daily writing goal. Then, the past two days happened, and they were not nearly as productive as I had hoped. Thanks to that extra buffering space, I still met my writing goal. It just goes to show that some days are going to be better writing days than others!

I can’t believe I only have TWO WEEKS LEFT! Supposedly in two weeks, I will hit 80,000 words and finish my contemporary fantasy fiction novel. I’ll be honest, I don’t think both of those things will happen. I have faith that I can finish strong and hit the word count goal, but my book has grown even more than I expected. It will need to go beyond the 80,000 word mark to give it the proper ending. As I head into the climax of my book, I am excited for what my characters will reveal and how this book will continue to unfold before me! Keep your eye out for the #pitch (in the coming weeks).

Happy Writing Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry

Results

Months

Of scheduling, waiting, fearing, praying

Hours

Of prepping, nausea, pain, cramping

Minutes

Of waiting, signing, consenting

Seconds

Of relief, clear results, the promise of a future

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Poetry

Haiku: Cling

The world is crumbling

Disease, Hatred, Suffering

I will cling to You.

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©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blogs / Life, teacher life

First Year of Teaching: The Day It All Changed

We had mentioned it in passing.

We had discussed it in hypotheticals.

We had never imagined it would turn out the way it did.

March 13th.

In the days and weeks leading up to March 13th, teachers and students alike were talking about COVID. Was it as bad as people said? Would it come to California? Would it come to our school? Would we have to shut down? We were so sure for so long that it would never come to that, but that whole week, it seemed like there was something in the atmosphere building to this day. The whole week it rained, and any teachers out there known that rainy days make for interesting school days. When there are rainy days back-to-back, tensions rise, we begin to feel couped up (teachers and students). It was the perfect preface for what was to come.

That Friday my phone continued to light up, but as I was teaching, I could not check it. At passing period, I would briefly look at my notifications: Disney announces closure, school district announces closure . . . Pandemic sweeps through the United States . . . COVID infection rising . . .

Between the rain, the notifications, the confusion amongst our own staff, (and oh ya, I was releasing the production cast list that day!) and the questions from the students, I just needed two minutes. Two minutes to gather myself, to prepare myself for another round of questions from my students: What is COVID? Will we die if we get it? Is this the end? Are we safe?

But it was rainy day, which meant that I did not have two minutes. My doors needed to be opened for students to come inside. I’ll never forget that I had a partner teacher who just happened to walk in randomly when I needed her most. She shut my door, told me that I was human, that I could take the two minutes I needed, that she would watch my kiddos so that I could catch my breath and regain my game face. I cannot say what her generosity and simple kindness meant to me.

I opened my door and the day resumed. Then, at 2:30pm, 15 minutes before the end of the school day, 15 minutes before I was to post my production cast, 15 minutes before the end of a very long, hard week, our principle came on the announcement system.

Due to COVID, we would not be returning to school the next week. We would break for Spring Break and we would most likely be back in a couple of weeks. Students were instructed to take all of their books home for online instruction.

During the entire announcement, students were whispering amongst themselves. When the announcement ended, some cheered and others burst into tears. Some thought it would be an extended Spring Break and others thought it signaled the end of the world.

We ended that day in prayer. We prayed for our nation, we prayed for each other and we prayed for wisdom. Looking back now, I am so grateful that that is the last memory my students will have of my “physical classroom.” Although we would continue to meet online, I am glad that we ended our classroom experience in prayer.

What was your #COVIDMOMENT ?

Let me know in the comments below!

Poetry

“Identity” (Eugi’s Weekly Prompt)

Today’s poem was written in response toEugi’s Weekly Prompt (Click the link; Join the fun):

 

Identity

What Is My Identity

But A Face

That Only Some Will Get to See

A Facade

That Often Goes Unseen

What If

This Face is the Only

Identity

You Ever Get to See of Me?

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: RE-WRITE instead of Revise

*This is a tip that I first found on Pinterest and used when re-writing Agency in the Hunger Games. I am using this tip again with my current WIP.

Often times, when writers finish the first draft of their WIP, most jump straight into the editing phase. We can’t help it; we’re excited and already thinking about querying and sending out manuscripts, but if you do that, you are missing a HUGE step in the publishing process.

Here’s a piece of advice that changed my writing life entirely. When you finish your first draft, you should not go straight to editing. Instead you should write the first draft all over again from the beginning. Literally, pull up a blank document and rewrite your manuscript sentence by sentence.

IKnow It Sounds Crazy Hear Me Out GIF - IKnowItSoundsCrazy ...

Before you turn away in disgust, hear me out.

Why It Works:

When you have to rewrite (or retype) your manuscript, you will inherently be more open to removing unnecessary parts (because you’re not actually deleting anything) and you are far more likely to add more material and flush out your ideas now that you know how your story ends. You can add in more foreshadowing, more world building, more character depth, etc. Instead of having to go through your draft and figure out where to put those items, they come much more naturally through the rewrite.

My Results

I am currently using this technique to expand my Contemporary Fantasy Young Adult Fiction piece (80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge). In my original draft at this point in the story (finished four years ago), I had written about 80 pages and 22,839 words. At the same point in the plot with my new draft, I have written 163 pages and 49,235 words. And that is AFTER completing removing entire scenes and chapters. Not only did I DOUBLE the amount of story, but I can say whole-heartedly that it is a BETTER story. It’s a lot of work to re-write an entire draft when you just want to move into the next phrase, but I can say that the result was worth it!

Not only did I greatly improve the quantity of my writing but, more importantly, I also improved the quality of my work.

Have you ever tried this technique before? Did it work for you?

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s writing tip, be sure to visit my page “Writing Tips” on my main menu and learn more tips and tricks! Have any writing questions? Leave them in the comments below!

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

80,000 Word Challenge

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (3)

It’s Time for Update #3!

I started this 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks challenge six weeks ago. (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) As of today, I have officially passed the half way point of my 2020 Summer Challenge.

After six weeks of writing every day, (okay okay, I actually missed one day due to illness) my goal word count was 48,000 words. I  currently have a grand total of . . .

 48,072 Words

Update 3

To be more precise, I am in the midst of Chapter 12. I have 159 pages and 48,072words.

Looking at the above graph, I can see that I had a bit of an extra lead at my last update, but I lost that lead this last week after I needed to take a personal day. But hey, at least I hit my word count goal!

There were a couple of scenes over the past two weeks that I have been looking forward to writing since the start of this challenge and wow, they evolved into so much more than they were in the original draft! (PROOF that REWRITING, NOT revising, works! I’ll have more to say about that at a later date.)

Now that I have finished those fun scenes, I have to deal with the fallout, leaving me looking something like . . .

kaylaannauthor ‚Äď KaylaAnn

I know the next four weeks will be the toughest as I am completely changing the original ending of my first draft! I appreciate all the encouragement you have sent my way so far and hope that all of your writing adventures are going just as well!

May Your Ink Never Run Dry &

May Your Cups of Tea Always Remain Warm

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.