Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Managing Your Expectations

As some of you may know, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding! In that process, my fiance and I are also underwent pre-marriage counseling (which was been a lot of fun as well as insightful and I recommend it for anyone thinking about getting married). Did you know that recently it has been announced that what kills marriages faster than anything else is unmet expectations?

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish!Here are some examples:
      • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations.Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip, be sure to check out more under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu. Have any questions about writing? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

Derek Harvey has a great article expectations in marriage if any of you are interested in reading the article.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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.

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Writing Tips

Writing Tip: The 3-Draft Rule

Today, I’m going to offer you some advice about how many drafts you should have before you consider sending out your full manuscript to a publishing company.

I consider the magic number to be 3: Three full-length drafts and let me tell you why.

Draft One: Getting it Down

Your very first draft should really be focused on just getting your writing out of your head and down on paper. In this draft, I encourage you to just write. Do not focus on getting it perfect, or saying everything you need to say. Create the bones of your manuscript. Or, in other words, consider it the road map for the rest of your drafts. This first draft is all about getting your words on paper and it will be messy, it will be disorganized, it will not be perfect. And guess what, it shouldn’t be.

Draft Two: Buffing it Out

After “completing” your first draft (meaning that the bones of your manuscript are present and arranged), it is time to start adding the “meat” (the muscles, sinews, and veins, etc.). Draft Two can be accomplished on your own or with a friend or writing colleague. I personally believe that it is beneficial to have outside opinion for this draft. What I do, is I send my Draft One to friends and receive BETA reader comments. What needs flushing out? What drags? What doesn’t make sense, etc.? Once I have their comments, I comb back through my first draft and begin addressing both their comments and add in my own. After this, you should have a completed, flushed out draft, but you’re not done yet.

Draft Three: Cleaning it Up

Once you have completed crafting your narrative (it has bones, and muscle, and skin), it’s time to make it pretty! If hardcore editing is not your thing, ask for outside help whether that means the family member who is an English major or paying for grammar edits. Trust me, nothing lowers the quality of a good book faster than bad grammar. This is your one chance to impress a publishing company, so spend some time (and maybe some money) improving your manuscript until it shines.

 

Well, there you have it: my three-draft rule!

What do you think? Is three drafts too many or too little? Be sure to comment below!

***Extra Tip: It is okay to have some time take place between Draft One and Draft Two, distance can be a good thing for your own writing! It can give you perspective.

 

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip be sure to check out my Writing Tips section under the main menu for more great tips and tricks on how to improve your writing!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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: Allow Your Book To Evolve

When writing your book just know that your book WILL change.

Perhaps not a ton, perhaps only a little, or perhaps it will be a completely different book than the one you intended on writing in the first place, but one way or another, your book will evolve over time.

This isn’t a bad thing though. As you write, your ideas will grow and form. You might realize that what sounded like a great idea before doesn’t really work well in application. You may be hit with a sudden inspiration to go a different direction.

My advice?

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But in all seriousness, go for it! If you feel your book changing, you need to allow it. If you stick too tightly to your original plan, your writing will come out forced and it will sound that way to your readers. Take the new path and see where the new ideas lead you. If you hate them you can always go back and try again.

In other words, planning and outlining your book is important. But it is also just as important to allow your book to change and evolve as you write.

As you all know, I recently received my feedback from the publishers and they encouraged me to change and improve some chapters in my book. Through their suggestions, I have come up with new solutions and actually changed the entire chapter order of my book! And to be honest, it’s better for it!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***Enjoyed today’s tip? Check out my main page for more under the tab “Writing Tips”! Have any questions about today’s tip or writing in general? Leave your comments below!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

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Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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: You are NOT an author, unless you are a writer.

I know yesterday, I spoke all about how important it is to read, but it is equally important to write!

You cannot be an author without first being a writer.

This one may sound redundant but hear me out first.

So often as writers I feel we forget how important it is to sit down every single day and write. Especially for those of us who have family responsibilities, educational distractions, work obligations, you name it. As a college professor, daughter, bride-to-be my time is often split in a million different directions.

Our lives are filled with distractions that can often keep us from our passions. We find ourselves at the end of the day, crawling into bed, exhausted, only to remember that we never got to our writing. We assure ourselves that we will get to it the next day, do even more to make up for the missed time and before we know it a week has passed without writing.

So here’s today’s tip: Write!

Every single day be sure and set aside some time to write. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 60 minutes or more, be sure to make it a daily habit to put your pen to paper (or your fingers to a keyboard if that’s your thing). Maybe put a reminder in your phone or have a notebook placed by your bed to remind you to write.

Just remember, in order to be writers we need to write!!!

Happy Writing Everyone!

What do you do to make sure you write everyday? Do you do a word count? If so, what?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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: READ

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

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A large part of what we do is based on what we know, what we have experienced, and what we have read. Let’s be honest, most writers are also reading enthusiasts. Reading and writing often goes hand in hand. Through reading we come to learn about this wonderful world of writing.

At one point in your life, a certain book or series truly inspired you. You decided, you want to write something like that. That’s because reading inspires and encourages. For me, that was “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Reading also connects us to others, whether they are fictional characters or real people who share the same interests.

In order to be a successful writer, you want to be a frequent reader. Now of course, you have deadlines to meet and reading every day may not be possible, but in your writing journey don’t forget or underestimate the power of reading.

Reading can be inspirational.
Reading can be an escape.
Reading can be an adventure.
Reading can be connection with others.
Reading can encourage.
Reading can be comforting.

What else, in your experience, can reading be?

In the comment be sure to answer, reading can be ______________.

Happy Writing (and reading) Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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: Brainstorming

The really awesome thing about blogs is that they are constantly growing and hopefully the audience (Followers) are also growing. When I first posted this tip, I had under 50 followers, now I am nearly at 2,000! I repost old material when I think that it becomes relevant for new eyes (and good reminders for old ones).

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Brainstorming shouldn’t feel like a lightening bolt to the brain, frying all circuits and leaving you with nothing. There are so many different ways successfully brainstorm so Let’s just talk about a few.

So you’ve got an idea, right? You’re stoked and ready to start writing about this awesome world, or character, or storyline. Only problem is, that’s all you’ve got: a single idea.

So what now?

My advice is to start brainstorming! Which, let’s be honest, when we are trying to come up with these ideas, it really can feel like a storm is brewing in our minds. One way to brainstorm is to ask yourself questions.

If you’ve thought about an awesome world, but lack a story, ask yourself questions like this:

  • What kind of humans/creatures inhabit this world?
  • Where has something gone wrong?
  • Who or what caused something to go wrong?
  • How can it be fixed? Can it be fixed at all?
  • What are key characteristics of this world that will impact your characters?

If you’ve thought about an awesome character, but lack a story, ask yourself questions like this:

  • What does your character want out of life? (We all have ambitions right)
  • Who is your character? (I don’t mean name or description, but who are they as a person? Introverted, extroverted, arrogant, brave, intelligent, cunning, snarky, ruthless? What is their main character trait and why? How do they portray it?
  • What gets in the way of your character accomplishing their goal?
  • (Consider Bilbo Baggins, all he wants is to remain at home and be happy. He’s an introverted character who avoids others and he keeps getting prevented from accomplishing his goal by a wizard and dwarves)

If you’ve got a scene in mind and that’s it, WRITE IT OUT. Then ask

  • How did my characters get here?
  • Where do they go from here?
  • Why are they here at all?

Of course this post is not exhaustive but hopefully it is a helpful suggestion with some ways to brainstorm while writing.

Happy Writing Everybody!

***If you enjoyed this tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” tab on my main menu! Have questions about writing? Leave them in the comments!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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 Five Writing Essentials to Any Great Story

If you are a writer, you most likely have already hear of “The Story Arc” or “The Dramatic Arc.”  However, it is always good to remember these five crucial elements to any story: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Step One: Exposition

Every story begins with exposition of some sort. Think of it as your background, or the introduction to your story. Who are your major players in this game? What is their world like and how is everything about to change? Consider “The Hunger Games,” in the exposition we learn about Panem and the districts. We learn about the reaping and the relationship between Katniss and Prim, but nothing of huge significance has happened yet.
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Step Two: Rising Action

The Rising Action can begin immediately, it can coexist with the exposition, or it can wait until a few chapters in to occur. These are the events that occur that really get the story going. While we were already introduced to Katniss and her family, the Rising Action truly begins once Prim’s name is called at the reaping. After this moment, Katniss is thrown head first into the crazy, fashion-obsessed Capitol and then forced to survive the Games.
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The Rising Action can continue on for quite a long time and makes up a large chunk of any story. All of these events snowball onto one another and lead to the climax. For example:
Katniss does well in the events before the Games, gaining the title “Girl on Fire”
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Next, her popularity leads to sponsorship that aids her in the Games
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Because of the sponsorship, Katniss survives long enough to find Peeta
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Because she finds Peeta, Katniss and Peeta can gain even more sponsors through pretending to be star-crossed lovers which enacts the rule that more than one tribute can survive
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Peeta and Katniss are able to survive together which leaves them as the last pair to face off with Cato.
Every step, every action that happens within the rising action leads to the climax of the story.

Step Three: Climax

Next, we have our Climax. The Climax is the culmination of everything that you have been leading up to in your writing. It is the big event, usually toward the end of your story (however, it is NOT the end). Using “The Hunger Games,” the climax can be seen at the end of the Games when Peeta and Katniss must battle with the brutal, bloody Cato.
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Step Four: Falling Action

However, the climax, as I briefly mentioned, is not the end! Indeed, in the moments after Cato’s death, we have our Falling Action (these are events that often comes after and because of the climax). In this case, the Falling Action consists of the Gamemakers attempting to force Katniss and Peeta into killing one another. However, when they refuse, Seneca Crane is forced to allow them to live, which leads to our resolution.
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Step Five: Resolution

The Resolution does not have to be happy, it does not have to answer every question and it can leave readers on a cliffhanger. For instance, although Katniss and Peeta are allowed to live and the Games have concluded, Katniss is aware of the danger that still surrounds her. When they head home, Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is hanging on tethers. She survived the Games, but Katniss is still not safe.
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So there you have it, the five essential elements of a story! Have questions? Hit me up in the comments!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you liked today’s writing tip be sure to check out my home page for more! Underneath the main menu there is a tab that says “Writing Tips,” be sure to take a look! Have questions? What would you like me to write about next time?

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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

Highlighting Rejection Day 4: Louisa May Alcott

Perhaps the name Lousia May Alcott rings a bell in your ears? Alcott was the author of Little Women. The novel follows the lives of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. These women are loosely based on the women in Alcott’s own life. According to VanityFair, “More than a century after it was first published, the March sisters still galvanize readers, writers, and Hollywood producers.”

However, Alcott received one of the harshest rejection letters of her time when Publisher James T. Fields rejected her work and advised her, “Stick to your teaching, Miss Alcott. You can’t write” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail).

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What might have happened in Alcott had allowed these insults to change her mind of writing? She never would have published the first and second parts of Little Women.

After her success, Louisa herself wrote, “Twenty years ago, I resolved to make the family independent if I could. At forty that is done. Debts all paid, even the outlawed ones, and we have enough to be comfortable. It has cost me my health, perhaps; but as I still live, there is more for me to do, I suppose” (Boston Women’s Heritage Trail).

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Don’t let someone else’s opinion decide your fate. Set sail on your own journey.

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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

Highlighting Rejection Day 3: Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym used by J.K. Rowling who wished to separate her thriller novels from her famous children’s series, Harry Potter. Many people are already aware of both J.K. Rowling’s struggles as an author and of her success. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was turned down twelve times and the thirteenth editor only published it because his daughter wanted to know what happened next. He encouraged J.K. Rowling to “not quite her day job.”

In theaters alone, J.K. Rowling’s movie adaptations of her novels earned her 3.2 billion dollars (Movie Mojo). Quite obviously, Rowling could easily quit her day job and focus solely on her writing.

When Rowling finally wrapped up Harry Potter and decided to move on to other books, she used the name Robert Galbraith and was rejected AGAIN by one of the same publishing companies who TURNED HER DOWN BEFORE.

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 Sometimes, our work needs improvement and sometimes, the publishers are just dead wrong. The hard part is, we rarely get to know the reasons behind the rejection so the best thing we can do is work to perfect our writing and be persistent in getting it out there!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. 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.