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.

Advertisements
Blogs / Life

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Hello Everyone!

One of the awesome things about blogging is that I get to connect with people from all over the world! Something that did not occur to me when I was much younger was that not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving. While maybe not everyone celebrates, it’s still a good reminder to everyone anywhere to pause for a moment and give thanks.

America’s first Thanksgiving took place in October of 1621 and lasted for three whole days! (I can hardly imagine that as I am stuffed to the point of explosion after one day of feasting.) On November 16th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced that the nation would celebrate an official Thanksgiving every year on November 26th.

Today, I celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We have yearly traditions, like many other families, and these include: baking over 100 cookies, deep-frying a turkey, coming together as a large and loud family, and drawing names for Christmas’ secret Santa. However, my favorite tradition is when every member of my family states what they are most thankful that year at the feasting table.

This year, I am most thankful for my grandfather’s presence during the holiday seasons. Only a few months ago, he was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that had rooted in a couple places in his body. Although he did radiation, the cancer spread and is pretty much throughout his entire body. While that is not something to be grateful for, I am still thankful that he is here with us today. Even if we are struggling, I am so dang grateful that I have another Thanksgiving with this amazing man who has taught me so much.

So today, I challenge you to leave a comment and answer this question:

What are you thankful for today?

Regardless of our circumstances, we can always find something to be thankful for. I pray that you all have a wonderful day and take some time to reflect on your own gratitude.

Image result for happy thanksgiving

Poetry

Time Flies

In the time that it takes

For your lips to form

A smile

Time has flown

No, time has raced

Past us.

Before we can even

Share a moment in time

Time

Speeds past the moment

Time,

The ever-elusive entity

That we strive to capture in our

Hands as

Hands on the clock

Spin in a dizzying dance

As time

Flies

Right out of our hands.

©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.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An(other) Update

Hey Guys!

So, here I am with another update on my upcoming non-fiction analysis of The Hunger Games. My book, The Agency Games (working title), is currently in the editor’s and peer reviewer’s hands. As some of you may remember, my book already underwent round one with peer reviewers. One of my peer reviewers LOVED it and the other was not quite a fan.

So, to break the tie, the editors wanted me to revise, rewrite, and resubmit my book to a third peer reviewer. After making some pretty crazy tweaks and adding in more content, I sent back my book and it was placed in the hands of a peer reviewer about five weeks ago.

Then, I received an email a couple days ago from my publishers. Unfortunately, something happened with the third reviewer beyond their control and they had to back out. This means that my book is back in limbo as I wait to hear back from publishers as they attempt to find a different third reader to peer review my book. Once they find a new third reader, it will be another 6-8 weeks before I hear back from the publishers with the third reader’s comments.

While part of me is super bummed out (my book will definitely not be published by the end of this year), I am rolling with the punches. And honestly, this timeline might work out better for me. If I am lucky, I will hear back before Christmas and have some time over Christmas break to work on revisions, but we will see!

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and supported me through this long process! As a first time author, everything is new to me and having all of you along for the ride is so comforting! I’ll let you know what happens next!

Image result for nathan fillion writing gif

Happy Writing Everyone!

Poetry

Cancer

Bastard sickness.

What other word is there to describe you?

Oh wait, I have more.

Devourer of souls,

Destroyer of lives,

Despoiler of memories

Eradicating pride and strength

Exterminating personal freedom

Executioner of dreams

Annihilator of families

Slaughtering our stability

Savaging the Soundness of

Our minds.

You might win.

But ultimately, so will we.

Death is not the end.

©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?

Image result for do it gif

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.

Poetry

We are only Visitors

I watched you

As you squatted down

On bended knees

Viciously you chopped away

At the grass and weeds

Then, in a sharp

Turn

Your hands become

Undeniably gentle

As you unwrap the orange

Plastic, festive wrapping

And cut down the stems

Of the bouquet

Made up of

Warm, yellow sunflowers

Bright, purple blooms

Soft, coral tulips

Wrapped in a cocoon

Of vibrant greenery

You fill the metal canister

With water and food

For the flowers

Carefully you slide in the stems

And play and rearrange

Until you are

Satisfied

With the display

Of love and affection

And remembrance.

Blogs / Life

The Best Advice I Ever Received

When I was younger, my mother gave me the best advice I have ever received and I have tried to stick to it all my life. Often times, when I was scared of asking a question, my mother would say:

“Ask anyway. The worst thing they can do is say no.”

Now, when my mother said this, she wasn’t talking about writing, or blogging, or publishing, or anything like that. And yet, her words of wisdom apply to almost everything I do in my writing career.

Am I scared of getting feedback? Of course, I am! People can be mean.

But I ask for outside opinions anyway.

The worst thing they can do is say they don’t like it (not everyone will).

Am I scared of submitting my work to publishing houses? Of course!

But I ask for their response anyway.

They worst they can say is “no thank you.”

Am I terrified of being shut down? You bet!

But I still put myself and my work out there.

Just because the publishing world is hard, and the writing world can be mean, I cannot be afraid to ask. I cannot be afraid to follow my dreams. The worst thing anyone can tell me is “no” and yes, that “no” may suck when I receive it. In fact, I know it does! I have received my fair share of rejection letters and criticism telling me “no,” I’m not good enough or “no,” I don’t deserve to be published. But guess what?

“No,” is just a word.

A no from one publisher (or more), a no from a reviewer (or more), is not the end! Accept their “no” and move on!  Don’t let the fear of hearing no, stop you from ever trying!

Image result for never let the fear of striking out sign

What question or dream are you giving up because you’re afraid to hear “no”?

Happy Writing 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.

God & His Church

Dealing with Anxiety is Hard.

Can I be honest? I think I can, mainly because I know most of you and you are wonderful, authentic bloggers who do not mind if I speak my mind.

I am overwhelmed.

This semester has been particularly trying as I have a student who has been aggressively confrontational since day one. On top of that, you all know that I am striving to get my book revised and finished by the end of the year. Also, my grandpa was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and it is spreading rapidly.

I repeat, I am overwhelmed.

And the thing is, I know you all probably are too. Online we all put up this fake face (maybe less so on WordPress where we are a bit more open about our true emotions) that shows the world how perfect our lives are. But, if we were being honest, we would admit that we are far from perfect. You are not alone in your imperfection, I am right there with you and I would like to reach out a hand to all those who are currently struggling with anxiety over their imperfect lives.

This past week, Pastor Matt Brown stood on stage and talked all about anxiety and I swear, I thought he was speaking directly to me. How often do I find myself overwhelmed by this world and the things that I cannot control? How often, in this past week alone, have a felt frozen by the anxiety that threatens to break through my self-control?

Too often.

Do you want to know the secret to dealing with anxiety? Magazines everywhere claim that they know the “Top 5 Ways to Relax,” but they hardly ever mention the only true antidote, and that antidote is prayer. Even non-religious, scientific sources have reported the positive results that accompany prayer.

There is a very famous verse in the Bible that states, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

As a Christian for some twenty-odd years, I have heard this verse hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Sometimes this verse is extremely helpful and other times, it feels like “How can I just stop worrying? It’s not that easy.

The problem was, I was misinterpreting the verse, thinking that to be a good Christian, I just needed to stop worrying and that if I could not, I was not being faithful. Pastor Matt brought up a fantastic point about the author of this verse. Paul, one of the greatest Christian writers of the New Testament, the same author of the above verse, talked about his own struggles with anxiety only two chapters previously. Paul was not looking down on those who struggle with anxiety, but rather, he was sharing his own wisdom about his own experiences with anxiety.

ANXIETY IS NORMAL. (Even for Christians)

In our current society, it seems that people enjoy looking down on those who struggle with anxiety, and they say things like this, “Just stop being anxious.”

Because that is super helpful, isn’t it?

Battling anxiety is not about learning how to “stop being anxious,” but to start praying when you are anxious. All of us get worried, or stressed, or anxious, but luckily we have an amazing God who WANTS to hear from us.

I Peter 5:7, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

When we begin to pray, we can talk about our anxieties to God knowing that He will not judge us for our struggles, but that He will listen. However, prayer is not just about making requests. Prayer should also include thanksgiving.

Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

Gratitude Changes Attitude

When we only fixate on the negative, it is impossible to escape our anxiety. However, when we release our anxieties to God and we then focus on all the good we have seen, all the good we have received, and the good that we can do for others, our attitude begins to shift.

I am not a Pastor, I am just a follower of Christ Jesus and I know that I am struggling and that this message really spoke to me and gave me the encouragement that I needed to thrive this week at work. I hope that you also find it encouraging and I hope that if you have the time, you might listen to the rest of the message. It’s actually got some really funny moments too (including Pastor Matt’s abnormal physical response to anxiety).

 

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.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

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.