Writing Tips

Writing Tip: STOP Writing; Keep Writing

Ah, don’t you just love contradictions?

Many of you have probably read my blog post: Writing Tip: STOP Writing. I have posted this tip in the past and normally, it is well-received once people get past the initial shock. One of my favorite things about blogging is the comment section because in the comments, I really get to have conversations with other like-minded, brilliant authors and bloggers. For instance, in the past, I have discussed these writing tips with various bloggers such as Michelle at Fantasyland on the power of stopping a project while continuing to work. That conversation sparked today’s blog post (so thank you Michelle!)

Michelle mentioned that when she needs to, she will sometimes stop the current project she is working on (giving herself that needed distance) and then pull up another project and work on that instead.

Now, I am not the type of writer who can work simultaneously on multiple large projects, it’s just too much for me. I prefer to work on one large project (like Agency in the Hunger Games and then The Runic Saga after) and maybe some smaller projects such as my blogging posts. I cannot start another book until I have finished the old.

However, the idea to stop working on your major project but to keep writing is a fantastic idea! In doing so, you are giving your mind the break and distance it requires, but you are still writing and keeping your creativity flowing. If you are like me and you cannot work on several large projects at once, here are some practical ways where you can stop working, but keep writing:

  1. Blog Posts: If you are reading this post, odds are, you’re a blogger, author, or both. If you are a blogger, what better time to work on scheduling some blog posts than when you need distance from your book? (That is what I am doing right now!)
  2. Poetry: The wonderful thing about poetry is that it is the perfect outlet for spewing out writing. Now, I would suggest cleaning it up before you post it, but often times when we are frustrated by writer’s block or in need of distance, getting our emotions out through poetry can be a powerful thing.
  3. Free Writing/Journaling: Maybe you are so stuck/overwhelmed that both blog posts and poetry seem daunting, but you still want to write. That’s when I would suggest free writing or journaling. Write about literally anything, your day, your hopes, the color of the wall, your dream vacation, whatever, just keep those writing juices flowing.

What about you?

What do you do when you need distance from a larger project?

Happy Writing!

 

©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: Just STOP

“Stop writing?!”

“But Kayla,” you may ask me, “how can you tell me to stop writing? Shouldn’t we keep writing? After all, we are writers! How can we be writers if we are not writing? How does stopping our writing actually help our writing? Isn’t that contradictory?”

Image result for girl you crazy gif

Now before you turn away from me and shake your head in disgust, hear me out.

I’m not saying that we should stop all writing. I am saying that you should stop working on the project you’re currently working on once you have finished it. For writers there is this huge urge that once we finally finish a project we automatically want to go back through, edit, and send it to a publisher. It’s just not realistic guys. In order for a work to be good you need to utilize the power of distance.

Now some of you may be wondering what the power of distances and others of you might have already heard of it. For those of you who are unfamiliar or need the refresher: The power of distance is, as it sounds, distancing yourself from your work after you have finished it.

Once you have finished a project you set it aside. If it’s on your computer, exit out of the file for a while (I know it’s scary but don’t worry it’ll still be there when you get back to it). If you’re writing in a notebook (hey kudos to you not a lot of people do that anymore),  close the notebook, put in a drawer and leave it alone. Give your work at least a couple of days if not weeks to rest and work on other projects in the meantime. Heck, go outside and see the sun once in a while (you know us writers are vitamin D deficient).

After a few days or a few weeks, whatever you can manage, take your work back out. The distance that you have given yourself and your writing will now do several things for you:

  • You will no longer be wrapped in the euphoria of finishing your project. As such, you will be able to remove your rose-colored glasses and look at your work for what it is: beautiful, but in serious need of some editing.
  • Due to the above, you will also be more willing to do what needs to be done, even if this means cutting out whole sections or chapters of your work.
  • You will gain a new and fresh perspective. I’m sure many of you college students out there know the feeling of turning in a paper, believing it to be 100% free of errors only to have it returned to you with red marks and think to yourself, “How did I miss that?” Do you know that when we read the same thing over and over, our brain will automatically fill in the gaps because it knows where we are going? That is why students often miss entire words in their essays, because their brain automatically assumes the words are there. By placing distance between your work and yourself, you give your brain a chance to restart and give your eyes a fresh chance to look at your material (making it easier to spot mistakes).

Try for yourself guys and let me know how it goes! Once you do finish a project and utilize the power of distance I encourage you to NOT EDIT, but rather, to Rewrite Instead.

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.

Book Reviews

Book Review Lottery – Drop Your Books HERE

This Book Lottery is Now Closed; thank you!

What’s the hardest part about being an author? Is it the planning, the outlining, the drafting, the editing? Is it the revising, the publishing, the promoting? Being an author is HARD, but sometimes the hardest part in simply getting people to choose your book out of the millions of books released every year! Even harder than that is getting someone who has read your book to REVIEW your book!

I see this every day; authors working so hard and yet it seems impossible for them to garner more reviews. This is where I have decided to help support my writing community as much as possible.

#SupportanAuthor #WriteaReview

Whenever I have the time/money, I will post what I call the “Book Review Lottery.” During the next 24 hours, the comment section will be opened to authors who want to submit their books for review.

Let me explain how it all works:

  • Authors will submit their book titles, genre, links, AND a compelling blurb advertising their book!
    • If you are missing any of these components, your book will most likely not be chosen.
    • Please no horror, gore, or erotica (Thank you!)

  • I will choose one of the books to read and review. I will let you know personally if I have chosen your book.
  • Time allowing, I will read and post a review to your book within a month.
  • The reviews will be posted on Amazon, WordPress, Twitter, Instagram (story), Facebook, and Goodreads.
    • I will only post a review if I feel comfortable giving it 3 stars or more. If I feel that the book deserves less than 3 stars, I will send my review directly to the author and ask if they still want me to post it on Amazon (only).

 

That’s it! So Drop those Titles, Genres, Links, and Book Blurbs in the Comments!

Book Reviews

Book Reviews Matter

Whether I am speaking to novice writers or veteran authors, I cannot say this enough: Reviews Matter.

Perhaps as an author, you are okay with simply self-publishing your book and putting it online, but realistically, you want people to read it. You want people to love it! You want them to tell their friends all about it!

One way that you can get more people to read your work, is if the people who have already read your work review it.

On Amazon we’ve all seen those sections underneath books that say, “Customers who viewed this item also viewed. . .” or “Sponsored products related to this item.”

Do you know that the only way to get your book to pop up on those suggested reading links is if your book gets at least 50 reviews. Here’s the cool thing though, it does not have to be 50 good reviews; it can be a mix of good, neutral, and even bad! Yes, of course, we all want the five star review, but even a one star review is helpful in gaining visibility.

Reviews = Visibility

Image result for support an author write a review

That is why, starting Wednesday, I will begin hosting “Book Review Lotteries” as regularly as I can. During these posts, authors can post their books for consideration. I will choose one book each lottery to read, review, and post on each of my social media sites! Make sure to stop by on Wednesday!

If you have the time and money to do this, I encourage you to host your own Book Lotteries to support your writing community!

Support an Author

©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.

Book Reviews

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Review)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, written by Suzanne Collins, was released on May 19, 2020. It is a “prequel” to her most popular trilogy The Hunger Games. In this book, readers get to go back in time nearly fifty-five years before Prim’s name is called on Reaping Day and learn all about their favorite villain, President Coriolanus Snow when he was a young man. Here’s the description!

Ambition will fuel him.
Competition will drive him.
But power has its price.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.

My incredible husband bought me this book when it was first released as a birthday gift, then came COVID and online learning. The book was placed on the back burner. Then finally, I was released for summer and I began working on my WIP (The Runic Saga) and I did not want anything to distract or influence my writing. So, again the reading of this book was delayed as it sat on my bedside dresser taunting me all summer long. When I finally finished my WIP, I rewarded myself by opening up to the first page of this marvelous book. I did not put it down until twenty-four hours later when I turned the last page.

I turned to my husband and said, “Well dang, you knew it all had to go to Hell in a handbasket, but dang.”

I was absolutely blown away, not only by the story, but by Collins’ writing! She really takes you into the mind of a young man who truly believes himself to be the good guy, and even crazier, at times, the readers believe it too! Did I catch myself rooting for Snow? You bet ya! Did I also catch myself yelling at his stupidity? Most definitely!

This is a story all about how morality and corruption can intertwine so intimately without a person even realizing it. There is so much that I want to say and discuss about this book, but I know many of my readers still have not read their copies yet so I will refrain from spoiling anything.

I will however say that this book confirms some of the suspicions I mentioned in my book Agency in the Hunger Games about the “odds” of reaping day. This books also provides layers upon layers of connection and explanation as to how Katniss Everdeen, the Mockingjay, was able to get under President Snow’s skin in such a way that only one other had before.

I know there were some grumbles when the cover first came out and people were worried that this book would disappoint. They were WRONG!

If you haven’t read it, it’s time to read it!

If you haven’t bought it, it’s time to buy it!

You cannot be a fan of The Hunger Games and not read this book. It’s THAT good!

5-star2

©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 (FINISHED!!)

As some of you may have seen on my Instagram or Twitter accounts, I finally finished the rough draft of my WIP last Thursday!

The Runic Saga: Book One

When I originally started this summer challenge, I had hoped to reach 80,000 words in 10 weeks.

Instead I reached 99,641 words in 11 weeks and I am thrilled! I know that The Runic Saga has a TON of revision in it’s future, but I am so happy with how this draft turned out! Update 6

I have sent out my copy to two Beta-Readers who I trust entirely to give me feedback on general story and plot elements. After I receive their feedback, then the real battle begins with editing, revisions, query letters, and hopefully publishing! I’ll be sure to keep you updated along the journey.

Interested in The Runic Saga? Read a blurb here!

Happy Writing Everyone!

Blogs / Life

First Year of Teaching: Inspiring the Next Generation of Writers

When I was in high school, I was always asked the cliche question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The answer was immediate, “An author! But I’ll probably teach too.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the idea of teaching, but it always came secondary to my desire to write. I started teaching college classes in the Spring of 2018, after I received my Master’s degree in English Literature, and realized that I not only enjoyed teaching, I loved it. There was nothing better than helping college students realize that they did not have to hate English even if they had hated it their entire high school experience. In fact, they could even, Heaven forbid, LIKE it!

Then, in the Fall of 2019, I got my wish. I was hired as a full-time Middle School English teacher at a private Christian School where I could help students become better readers and better writers while sharing my love of Christ. This past year, as crazy as it was, taught me that teaching no longer comes second to my desire to write.

I learned that my dreams of becoming a well-established author and my focus on inspiring the next generation to love writing and reading could work together hand-in-hand.

In my English class this year, I shared with my students the process of writing Agency in the Hunger Games, the revision process, the publishing process, and I even got to bring a copy of my book to show my class. I taught them about perserverance and endurance. I told them that at their age, I had sat in that very same classroom, in those VERY same desks, writing in one of my dozens of notebooks while people around me told me that I was wasting my time. I would never be published. The field was too hard to break through. I told them that I had not listened to those voices, but that I had followed my dream and I had worked hard for it. I told them that the dreams they had now did not have to be impossiblilities.

I never realized how much my words meant to them until about a month ago.

A month after online learning ended, one of my students emailed me to let me know that my personal story had inspired him. He had always wanted to write, but never felt good enough being so young and so inexperienced. This summer, he was challenging himself to write his first full-length novel and it was all because I had encouraged him to do so. He told me that he was writing his book in honor of me. It was a simple email, only a few lines long, but it meant the world to me.

I realized then that as an author and as a teacher, it is my duty to inspire the next generation of writers and educators.

What good is experience if we are not willing to share it with others? What good is failure if we can not use it to better ourselves? What use is success if we do not share that success with others to inspire them to follow after their dreams as well?

As both an author and a teacher, I have a new dream of what to be when I grow up. I hope to be the inspiration that the next generation needs.

100,000 Word Count Challenge, My Writings

The Runic Saga #WIP #Pitch #ContemporaryFantasy

The Runic Saga

(working title)

It’s been five centuries since the collapse of the world as it was once known, ravaged by war, disease, and natural disasters. Larissa Daldóttir lives in the leftovers of a forgotten world, a small nation known as Evrópa which resides under the iron reign of the Diamante Empress. Larissa’s only desire is to live unnoticed, especally when it comes to Halla, her second-born sister who is technically illegal under the one-child policy.

When Halla oversteps her bounds, she triggers a series of events that unlock secrets from the past, secrets that the Empress is wiling to silence at any cost. Larissa must abandon everything she knows to protect Halla, but to do so, she must be willing to face the truth of her own history before it is too late. 

Runic Saga

©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 #5)

Update #5

Ten weeks ago, I came up with the biggest writing challenge I have ever attempted. (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) For my summer project, I would write 80,000 words in only 10 weeks. That meant that I was writing approximately 1,142 words a day for 70 days straight.

Most days I hit that mark if not beyond. Some days, I struggled with only a couple hundred words. Some days I missed all together. I have learned that keeping a consistent schedule and writing first thing in the morning does wonders for my writing capabilities. I also learned that being held accountable, in person and online, is a huge motivating factor for myself.

So, finally, after ten weeks of writing nearly every day, my goal word count was 80,000 words. As of today, I have a grand total of . . .

88,298 Words

Update 5

To be more precise, I am in the middle of Chapter 22, on page 295, at 88,298 words.

With that in mind, I have NOT finished my book yet! It will probably require 1-2 more chapters to provide adequate resolution and still leave my readers on a cliffhanger. I’ll be sure to post up my FINAL UPDATE next week (hopefully!) A few of you have asked me for more details about my book, and I am happy to finally share more with you!

Working Title: The Runic Saga

This will be a three-to-five book series of YA contemporary fantasy with Nordic influences. On Monday, I will be posting my book blurb/pitch! I would absolutely LOVE your feedback on what works, what doesn’t, and any advice you might have for writing a blurb that catches the reader’s attention.

I look forward to hearing your feedback on Monday!

Happy Writing Everyone

Thank you to everyone who commented on these posts with encouragement. You are so appreciated!

©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.