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 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. However, this is very important: this is NOT an outline. This first draft should be a whole and complete draft with plot lines and developed characters. When I say this is the bones of your manuscript, you should still include the entire skeleton.

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.

As I am going through, thinking about their comments and my own, I REWRITE (yes you heard me), REWRITE the entire manuscript. I open up a new blank screen next to my first draft and I RETYPE everything. (Next week I’ll be sharing a blog post as to why I REWRITE instead of Editing). 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!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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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Blogs / Life

Seeking an Illustrator: OPEN

Hello wonderful bloggers, authors, artists, and other creative keyboard warriors!

I realize that for the most part, I engage with fellow bloggers and authors here on WordPress and not many artists (which is truly a shame). While I am waiting on hearing back from the publishing company on the status of The Agency Games, I am working on my next project.

I do not want to give away too much, but I am seeking:

  • a skilled and experienced illustrator
  • preferably someone who specializes in realistic sketching
  • is ready to dedicate serious commitment to a process that could take longer than a year
  • is open to peer review, critique, and editing

If you have any experience in this area, or know someone else who does, please leave a comment below! Also, I would greatly appreciate it if you could reblog this post so that I have a better chance at finding an illustrator, thank you!

***If you are an illustrator and have confidence that you are perfect for the position, send me an email through my Contact page!***

Image result for is it me you're looking for gif

The Agency Games

Who is Peeta Mellark?

For today’s Hunger Games Friday, we are going to be discussing one of Panem’s favorite celebrities. That’s right, Peeta Mellark!

Loved in both the districts and the Capitol, Peeta knows just how to present himself to his best advantage, often changing his “identity” based on how others view him. Throughout the trilogy he cycles through different personas such as the boy with the bread, tribute, Victor, lover, hijacked Mutt, and maybe at the end, he becomes Peeta again. With such a variety of identifiers, some readers are left asking the question–

Who is Peeta Mellark, really?

 

 

Image result for peeta mellark hunger games bread
The Boy with the Bread?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The tribute?

 

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The Victor?

 

Image result for peeta mellark hunger games lover
Lover?
Image result for peeta mellark crazy choking
Hijacked Mutt?

The way in which Peeta allows him identity to seemingly evolve throughout the narrative has interesting effects on the discussion of agency which is normally based on a strong sense of solid identity.

With so many different roles, it may be hard to discern who Peeta Mellark truly is. In Chapter 5 of my book “The Agency Games” I will demonstrate the exact core of Peeta’s identity and how that directly effects and strengthens his ability to know and exercise agency.

Of the above identifiers, which do you think best describes Peeta Mellark? 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Stop Working/Keep Writing

Many of you have probably read my blog post: Writing Tip: STOP Writing. I was ecstatic to see that it was so well-received and that so many of you either took encouragement from the post or replied with your own positive experiences in seeking distance from your writing.

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, on that post, I engaged in a conversation with 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 The Agency Games) 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?
  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!

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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

Write

Write,

Come on, it’s not that hard

“Her eyes like the sun, scorching like Hell”

Not very good.

 

Write,

Come on, put something down

“His hands like velvet, choking me”

Not much better.

Write,

Come on, poets do this everyday

And yet,

When I try to write the words

I don’t know what to say

 

I could languish away

Never quenched by the poet’s water

Cascading, flowing, gushing, vomiting

Into a dry savannah

 

I could starve to death

Never satisfied by the poet’s love

The incandescent touch that

Grates and chafes

 

Write,

Write me something beautiful and revolting

Something appealing yet grotesque

Write, about anything.

 

©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 Power of Gale Hawthorne

Today’s Hunger Games Friday topic:

Gale Hawthorne – a Seam-born resident of the poorest district and also a famous and brutal soldier for District 13 during the Mockingjay Rebellion.

Image result for gale hawthorne soldier

Gale Hawthorne, from Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, is one of those characters that readers cannot help but to love. In the beginning, Gale presents himself as the clear love interest for Katniss Everdeen. He is strong, dark, tall, and handsome. Plus, he has a fire burning deep inside of him that readers may equate to passion. However, as time passes, Gale’s character evolves based on his access to social power.

Unlike personal power that grants one the ability to control oneself and their intimate surroundings, social power is power over others. It is social power that Gale seeks.

Gale’s physical and mental capabilities are often unmatched. He is brave enough to hunt in the woods, strong enough to endure work in the mines, and  smart enough to design and create snares and traps. Gale is personally powerful in many ways and yet, in others he is extremely powerless. He cannot stop Katniss from volunteering, he cannot provide for his family without his brother taking out tesserae, he cannot even start a revolution until Katniss clears the way.

In a past Instagram survey with 23 participants, 15 said that Gale was Powerless as opposed to Powerful by the end of the trilogy.

In a newer survey, the poll came back 50/50 with some voters expressing extreme love for Gale.

Throughout The Hunger Games, Gale struggles between enacting power and having power exercised over him. While he starts as a strong protagonist, he eventually fades away at the end of the trilogy, working in District 2.

In chapter 5 of my upcoming book, The Agency Games, I discuss Gale’s dismissal of personal power and his quest after social power. In the end, I determine which is more efficient when it comes to personal agency. Do we need social power in order to enact our own desires and actions?

What do you think about Gale’s character?

Love him? Hate him? Let me know your thoughts! Is he powerful or powerless? Why?

Read more about Gale, and the rest of the amazing characters from The Hunger Games in my upcoming book The Agency Games! If you are interested in receiving updates when the book is released, please leave a comment on the post: “The Agency Games — Sign Up!”

©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

Home

Some of the base molding is missing

and there are small cracks in some of the walls

Dents from previous tenants

And putty-filled holes

But to me, this house

Is our home

In this place,

I lay down by your side

And awake to see your glorious blue eyes

Here, we love and laugh and play

Here, we exist in our own little world

Wherein you are King and I am Queen

And I would not have it

Any other way.

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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

The Rhythm of My Heart

The clock has truly run down. Today is the day and I

can feel my heart, not thundering, nor pounding,

but persistently

thump

thump

thumping

in my chest

So ready, so willing, desperately desiring to finally take that walk

Where my destination will lead me to the place I have always wanted to be

I was told there would be butterflies in my stomach,

but I can feel them fluttering away inside my chest

thump

thump

thumping

along to the rhythm of my heart

I know that somewhere out there, you are taking your place

Our family and friends are settling in their seats, as music begins to

play that sweet melody. It wafts through the air, it’s my signal.

I hold tightly to the arm of my father, and as I round that corner,

the world fades, and all I see is you.

And all I hear is the

thump thump thumping of a heart that has always belonged to you.

Thank you for capturing this moment on my wedding day! Photo credit goes to A Touch of Soul Photography (aka best photographers in the world)

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2019. 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.

© Please do NOT use either the poem or the picture without my written approval as you will be illegally using that which is not yours and will be responded to as such.

The Agency Games

Hunger Games Friday: Movie Adaptation

For today’s Hunger Games Friday, let’s talk Hunger Games: Movie Compared to the Book

The first movie adaptation of the popular Hunger Games series premiered on March 23, 2012. Within three days the movie had hit record-breaking sales of over $155 million in North America alone and only continued to grow in popularity. While I will assume that most of you are already familiar with the book series and the movies, here is a brief set-up or reminder for those unaware.

The nation of Panem is what remains of North America after war, famine, floods, and other catastrophes. Nearly 80 years before our story begins, there was a war between two parties. The winners, known as The Capitol, punish the losers of the rebellion, the twelve districts through the spectacle the “Hunger Games”. Every year, each of the twelve districts must offer up one boy and one girl tribute between the ages of 12 and 18 to enter into a televised arena and fight to the death. When this novel/movie opens up, it is the 74th Hunger Games and Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute to save her sister.

Now, let’s dive into our movie analysis!

Awesome New Additionsmovies and books are inevitably different from one another, it cannot be helped. Sometimes directors add in scenes that make no sense or divert from the book’s essence. However, when it’s well done, additional scenes can truly help emphasize moments that were unavailable to the readers in the book.

  • For instance, the novel is narrated by Katniss Everdeen which means we only see the action from her perspective. However, in the movie we are granted additional view points:
  • Opening Scene between Caesar Flickerman and Seneca Crane: While the book opens up with Katniss waking up in District 12, the movie begins with a conversation between Seneca and Caesar. The two are on the Capitol’s favorite talk-show and they’re quite obviously excited for the reaping day. This is highly contrasted when Prim’s screams usher in the next scene starkly displaying the difference between those in the Capitol and those in the district.
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That beard though…
  • Insights into the Capitol: Other additional scenes help to display this contrast and really give the viewers more insight into the Capitol than the books can. For instance, we see more of the Capitol citizens’s inhumanity. In one scene, there is a betting board, and in another scene two parents gift their male child a sword with which he chases his sister and then stabs his mother. These scenes focus on how natural these forms of entertainment have become to the Capitol citizens, and because we see these scenes through Haymtich’s eyes, we can see how despicable their ignorance truly is.

 Image result for capitol crowd hunger games BETTING BOARD

  • Haymitch Abernathy: Speaking of our favorite knife-wielding alcoholic . . . Although we may all come to know and love Haymitch eventually in the books,we are given the opportunity to understand him far earlier in the movies. As soon as we arrive into the Capitol we see Haymitch’s disgust at the Capitol citizens, his pain at having to watch another two tributes die, and his desire to save at least one. Props to the director for giving us more Haymitch!

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  • Conversations between Seneca Crane and President Snow: “Why do we have a winner? . . . Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. . . A spark is fine . . . Contain it.” Now yes, this scene was probably put in to foreshadow the future events, to play more with the image of fire, and give us earlier access to President Snow’s character. However, the themes within this scene are *extremely* important in my discussion of agency and power which I discuss in chapter three and seven of my book.

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  • Insights into the Districts: We have a few different moments in which we see those in District 12 watching Katniss on the screen or District 11 reacting to the screen in rebellion. These scenes greatly enhance our understanding of how Katniss’s actions are affecting others long before she understands it herself.

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Annoying Changes: I loved the movie, but I had my own irritations.

  • No Madge: Seriously, how hard would it have been to add in a five second clip for devoted fans to meet Madge? Just a little cameo for our sakes??? Plus, as much as Greasy Sae liked Katniss, people in the Hob did not give things away for free. It was a fair bartering system and free, string-less gifts did not exist.

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  • Cato and Glimmer are a thing?? : The first time I watched this, I didn’t catch it (I wasn’t as well-versed as I am now). Glimmer is the tribute from District 1 and while she was in the Career pack, Cato did not have a “thing” for her (although the movie portrays them very couple-y). In fact, Cato’s district partner was CLOVE and while Cato shows no romantic interest early on, he begs Clove to stay with him as she dies. Somewhere inside of Cato, he cared for another human being, he cared for Clove, not Glimmer! There was already a ‘love interest’ for Cato, so why change it to Glimmer? This is one of those changes that makes absolutely no positive difference.

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  • “Wolf” Muttations: I use the term wolf because that is what they were supposed to be, however in the movie, these mutts look more like some weird bear-dog hybrid. In the books, Collins clearly depicts these wolf muttations as being clear representatives of the dead tributes (their fur matched their hair color and they wore colors inlaid with this district numbers); however, in the movie that is completely overlooked. The importance of these wolf/tribute muttations is more thoroughly examined in chapter three of my book, which makes me even more sad that they ignored this opportunity in the movie. They already had to use CGI, so why not use it correctly?

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Scenes Worth Special Mention

  • Peeta and Ceaser interview scene about “showering in the Capitol” — their banter was wonderful
  • Initial Bloodbath at the Cornucopia – they did it so well without having to up the rating on the movie by shielding viewers from the main violence.
  • Katniss’s house being blown apart just as the father was blown apart in the mines – a fantastic representative of trauma in the home

So what did you think of the movie adaptation? Do you share my opinions? Do you disagree? Let’s chat in the comments below!

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: Sent.

As you all know, I have been pretty absent lately in the blogging world. Part of that was due to getting married and celebrating on our honeymoon. (I cannot believe we have already been married for a whole month, the time flew by.) Another reason was because my final draft of The Agency Games was due to the publishers at the end of June.

Technically, we are now at the beginning of July, but thankfully the publishers were pretty flexible and understanding (thank you!). After a weekend of some intense editing days (you may have seen my last post or my instagram stories), I can happily announce that the final draft of The Agency Games has been submitted to the publishing house!

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In this final draft, I ended up cutting a lot out of my original drafts as I did my best to trim out the unnecessary “fat” and leave behind just the key and intriguing bits. However, after my various peer reviews, even after cutting away at parts, I still ended up with a word count of 87,910 words! That’s 17,910 words over my original required word count!

2019

Turning in this draft has been such a mix of emotions. The primary emotions were definitely relief and a strong sense of self-satisfaction, but underneath those emotions was still that fear that I could have done better (even though I went through it with a fine tooth comb multiple times). I wonder if, as writers, we will always have that desire to be better, do better? There’s a fine line between wanting to do better and never being satisfied with our work. In this case, I believe that this book is the best product I could put forth at this time and I am proud of my accomplishment.

According to the editor, my book will be entering into various stages over the next few months as it is checked for “completion,” awaits its turn for an available editor, is considered by the design team for title, cover, and book description, set up for advertisement, final proofs, and finally, sent out for print. The process itself with take several months to be sure. I will be keeping you all up date with where the book currently stands in the various processes. As we get closer to the release date, I will be looking for readers who are interested in reading, reviewing, and advertising my book on their blog.

Thank you again to everyone. You all have been so wonderful and supportive during this whole process and even during my time away from blogging. You guys are amazing! I’m glad to be back in this wonderful world of WordPress.

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