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.

Writing Tips

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

So you want to write a book, huh?

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

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

Here are some results you might see:

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

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

1. What does your character want?

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

2. What is your character’s greatest strength?

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

3. What is your character’s greatest weakness?

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

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

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

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

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

Poetry

“Identity” (Eugi’s Weekly Prompt)

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

 

Identity

What Is My Identity

But A Face

That Only Some Will Get to See

A Facade

That Often Goes Unseen

What If

This Face is the Only

Identity

You Ever Get to See of Me?

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

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

80,000 Word Challenge

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (3)

It’s Time for Update #3!

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

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

 48,072 Words

Update 3

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

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

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

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

kaylaannauthor – KaylaAnn

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

May Your Ink Never Run Dry &

May Your Cups of Tea Always Remain Warm

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor2020

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

Blogs / Life, The Agency Games

GIVEWAY! Working Toward 3,000 WordPress Followers!

You still have a chance to enter the Agency in the Hunger Games FREE Giveaway! Do you love the Hunger Games? Do you know someone who does? Do you simply love receiving new books in the mail?

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

img_3302

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

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

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

See all the rules by clicking the link:

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

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Facing Writer’s Doubt

“Just let yourself be creative.”

These were the words of wisdom I received from my sister a couple of weeks ago.

In the midst of this 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge, some days have definitely been harder than others. Somedays I struggle with writer’s block and other days I face writer’s doubt. Writer’s Doubt, for me, is different than writer’s block. With Writer’s doubt, I can keep writing, I actually have a TON to write, but I doubt every. single. word.

I doubt whether or not it’s good, or if it’s portraying what I am trying to say, or if I personally even like my story at all anymore. I get into that mindset that I’ll never be as good as [insert author name here]. I compare and contrast, and in the weighing, I feel myself coming up short. 

I have been weighed. I have been measured.. And I have absolutely ...
It’s a fantastic movie, I had to include this line.

So what can I do when I find myself blocked by Writer’s Doubt?

Well, luckily for me, I have a sister who I can reach out to (who is also my Beta-Reader for this current book). She gave me some great encouragement that I want to share with anyone else that might be suffering from Writer’s Doubt.

“Look at every author who goes back and talks about their debut novel, years later . . . Give yourself a chance to be that author that can go back years later and discover how much you’ve learned . . . Just let yourself be creative.”

When you are struggling with Writer’s Doubt, stop comparing, stop contrasting, and remember to simply give yourself a chance.

Dont’ rob yourself of the chance to make mistakes, to be creative, and to try something new. Don’t rob yourself of the chance to simply create a first draft that does not have to be perfect; it just has to be.

Don’t rob yourself of the chance to create something amazing and spectacular because your fear or failure gets in your way. You don’t have to be perfect today. You don’t have to be [insert famous author name here] today. You just have to be you.

Give your writing a chance today to become something incredible in the future and keep writing.

Creative

©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, Blogs / Life

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (2)

It’s Time for Update #2!

Alright, so it has been one full month since I posted the start to my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge! (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) Today, I am here again keeping myself accountable!

After four weeks of writing every day, my goal word count was 32,000 words. I have a grand total of . . .

32,595 Words

Update 2

To be more precise, I am at the beginning of Chapter 8. I have 107 pages and 32595 ,words.

good GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

Throughout this writing challenge, I have held to my technique of stopping after a certain point, even when I REALLY wanted to keep writing (which is why I am so close to my target goal). I really believe that this is part of the reason why I have been successful so far. I avoid burnout and block all at the same time! (You can read about how to do that HERE).

I have six weeks left of my writing challenge and I am feeling confident in reaching my goal. Part of that is because of my techniques and dedication, sure, but another part of that is the support I get in person and online! Thank you for joining me and supporting me in this challenge.

I would love to hear more about YOUR projects so that I can support you in return! In the comments below let me know what you’re working on or drop me a link to your latest project!

 

©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, Uncategorized

80,000 Word Count Challenge Update (1)

Hey Everyone!

Alright, so it has been two weeks since I posted the start to my 80,000 Word Count in 10 Weeks Challenge! (If you did not read that post, you can read it here!) Today, I am keeping myself accountable and letting you know how it’s going.

After two weeks of writing every day, (well, okay, ALMOST every day, I took one day off for my one year anniversary) my goal word count was 16,000 words. I have a grand total of . . .

16,160 Words

Fantasy Word Count Goal 1

To be more precise, I am in my fourth chapter. I have 54 pages and 16,160 words.

Yesssss Yes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I am pretty pleased with how I have been able to stay on track with this project. I sometimes believe the start of any new project/challenge is the easiest because we are filled with so much passion and energy. I can feel this ebbing as I head into my third week and I know that this project will only require more from me as I continue forward. I won’t lie, somedays, the words just flowed, and other days, well, other days I was Ron . . .

Thank you Hayley Cavanaugh for showing me this meme!

My goal is to be able to keep up this pace for the next eight weeks by continuing some tips and tricks I have been implementing along the way:

  • Keeping a notepad handy so that I can jot down any ideas
  • Try plotting out the next chapter ahead of time to refer to when I need direction
  • Creating character boards on Pinterest (for fun and to keep my creativity flowing!)
  • Stopping at a certain point (THIS ONE IS KEY)
    • Once I hit my desired word count for that day, I wrap up my current thoughts and even if I have an idea for where I am going next, I jot down the general ideas (so I don’t forget them) but then I leave them for tomorrow. I’ll be explaining in an upcoming blog post why this tactic works!

Anyhow, that is it for my first update! Thank you to everyone supporting me; I hope to be able to share more about this project (plot, title, etc.) SOON!

 

©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.