Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Know Your Source Material

While this tip is mainly for non-fiction writers, it is applicable for you fiction writers too!

For scholarly, nonfiction writers it is so important to know your chosen text better than the back of your hand. Insights and epiphanies come on the 10th or 20th time when re-reading a series not the 2nd or 3rd. This is because every time you read, you gain a new insight, and then the next time you read the same story your view will change and you will read the same events in different light. So keep on reading again and again.

And AGAIN.

While some people prefer to make handwritten notes in the margins, I use color-coded post-it-notes. I do this for several reasons. 1. I can assign different colors to different ideas. For example in the picture below yellow post-it-notes mark something to do with the physical body, pink marks morality and blue marks trauma. These are the three topics through which I am analyzing Katniss’s agency. No doubt when I get into additional characters I will have to add more colors. 2. The post-it-notes give me more room to write out my thoughts than the margins do. 3. If I see a large grouping of post-it-notes in one section I know to more carefully re-read those portions. Of course everyone’s strategies might be different but this is mine.

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Also, while your source material should be your PRIMARY focus, you should always be reading other books, articles, blogs, etc on the same topic. Why? It’s smart to read what other people are saying and noticing. Sometimes you might agree and realize that there is nothing left to say on a particular subject. However, other times you may find something that you disagree with completely or something that was mentioned but never fully answered. In your own writings you can address such arguments and give more insight to previously ignored ideas. Also, if you realize that what you are writing has already been done, you can save yourself some time and effort by finding a new subject.

FICTION readers and writers: the same goes for you! Read what is out there, specifically books in your preferred genre. What are they doing that is working? What are they doing that isn’t working? Read like your life depends on it, because really, your career does.

Before writing comes reading.
My advice: read, read, read, read, read!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you liked today’s tip be sure to visit “Writing Tips” on my main menu for more tips and tricks! Have any 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.

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The Agency Games

The Agency Games – Sign Up!

As you all know I have been working on my book, The Agency Games (working title) for the past several months and I turned it in (all 78,218 words) to the publishing house on May 11th!

Originally, I intended to send it to the Peer Reviewers on May 31st but I exceeded my own expectations and finished early! I also just received news that my rough manuscript is currently in the hands of two peer reviewers! Hopefully this means my book will be published and sold in late 2018 instead of early 2019, but it is too soon to tell. I have to wait a couple of weeks (possibly months) before I hear back from the Peer Reviewers, and I am kind of nervous, but I can’t wait to read their feedback! Hopefully they love it and also have some constructive advice on how to improve it.

As I get closer to publishing The Agency Games, I’m hoping to start a list of people who are interested in my book.

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Please note: putting your name below does not mean that you have to buy anything.

However, if you are interested in:

  • Information about Book Release Party dates and details
  • An online Book Release Party through WordPress
  • Early access to the The Agency Games
  • Discounted Prices or Signed Copies

Then, please leave a comment below!

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Again, if you leave a comment that does not mean that you have to buy the book and I promise not to spam anyone with emails. I am only trying to get a realistic idea of who is currently interested in a scholarly look at the beloved Hunger Games series!

Thank you!

And Happy Writing!

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Read!

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

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 wanted to write something like that, you wouldn’t to create worlds and characters that touched not only your heart but the hearts of others. That’s because reading inspires and encourages. For me, my writing is inspired by hundreds of books such as Harry Potter, Eragon, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, etc. These books and their authors have encouraged me to become the best author I can be. 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 a 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!

 

Spotlight:

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Lloyd Chudley Alexander was an American author of more than forty books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence.

A successful author of more than 30 publications, Lloyd enjoyed reading Shakespeare, Dickens and Mark Twain. He asserts that King Arthur is his favorite hero. If Lloyd Alexander can find the time to read and places so much importance on it, we should too.

Happy Writing (and Reading!) Everybody!

***Be sure to check out more tips under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu! Have questions about writing or blogging? Leave them in the 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: Know Your Points of View

The fact is, a lot of novice writers switch point of view unintentionally or without knowing that there are specific categories of Point of View. Knowing these categories can help authors decide which point of view is best for their story. For the experienced writers out there, this might be a refresher or old news, but it is still worth remembering! For the novice writers, I hopefully have something new to share with you concerning Points of View:

There are in fact six different Points of View:

  • 3rd Person Omniscient
  • 3rd Person Limited Omniscient
  • 3rd Person Objective or Dramatic
  • 1st Person Central
  • 1st Person Peripheral
  • 2nd Person

The most commonly used P.O.V.s are 3rd person limited and 1st person central.
3rd Person Limited is when the narration is viewed through the mind of one character in particular but does not use “I” or “My” throughout. Also, the reader is not granted access to everyone’s thoughts, only one character’s thoughts. Consider the Harry Potter series where we follow the story through Harry, we view the action as Harry sees it, and we often come to the same biased conclusions as Harry.

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1st Person Central is similarly viewed through one character, but the narration strictly uses “I” and “my” throughout the story. Consider The Hunger Games series as we read the words through Katniss’s voice.

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One reason you might want to use 1st person over 3rd person is to help anchor the readers into the narrator’s perspective. 1st person helps connect the readers to the narrator’s struggles and beliefs. The story feels more personal.

Now that I’ve covered the two most common, you might be curious about the others.

3rd Person Omniscient is a narration that can jump around from mind to mind, from character to character. While this P.O.V. can be done well and offer a lot of information, it often can go wrongly when readers find it difficult to follow the narration. One example is the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

3rd Person Objective/Dramatic is narrated from an unbiased narrator. The best example is a fairy tale in which the story is laid out, the facts are given, but no opinion is offered and we do not often hear the thoughts of the characters.

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1st Person Peripheral is similar to 1st person central as both are narrated by an individual character who uses “I” and “My” throughout. The major difference is that in 1st person peripheral the narrator of the story is a minor character at best and is describing the major events happening between other characters. The best example of this is The Great Gatsby which is narrated by Nick, but if we are being honest, no one really remembers Nick because he’s not that important for the story. He’s as much a member of the audience as we are.

Lastly, there is 2nd person which is the least used P.O.V. In these narrations, the “speaker” consistently addresses the “you” of the story. “You” are the story. It’s an interesting, yet hardly used P.O.V. due to the difficulty is successfully sustaining such a narration without sounding awkward or repetitious. I’m not sure I can even think of one successful novel that would be labeled a 2nd person P.O.V. . . .

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Well, there you have it! These are the six points of view you can use when you write! Your point of view does affect your narrative and as such you should consider it when writing, editing, or re-writing your stories! It applies for poetry too! In fact, 2nd person can work nicely with poetry. . .

What P.O.V. do you use most often? Why?

***If you enjoyed today’s tip be sure to check out more under the tab “Writing Tips” on my main menu! Have any questions about writing? Leave a comment!

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.

Writing Tips

Four Great Ways to Market Your Work

You’ve got your book. It is beautiful and sparkling!

But what now?

How can you promote it and get people to read it?? Whether you are self-publishing or going through a traditional publication house, you are going to need to promote yourself and your own work.

Some of the ideas below are mine and some belong to others that I have picked up along the way, but I am combining them below for your reading pleasure and hopefully they will help you like they have helped me!

  1. Social Media
    1. I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now and saying “well, duh!” but don’t underestimate your social status and don’t just post: “Here’s my book!” Give us reasons WHY we should want to read your book. What will it do for us? Think about how books have been marketed to you. What made you stop and think, yea I want to read that!
  2. Book Promotion Sites
    1. Here is one site that offers a couple of different options
      1. http://www.paidauthor.com/best-ebook-promotion-sites/
  3. Personal Touch
    1. Swap Meets/Farmer Markets/Small Bookstores/Book Signings
      1. Set up a booth, say hello, shake some hands
      2. Offer to do a book reading and signing at local book stores
      3. Don’t forget, people are more likely to buy your book if they meet you and like you instead of seeing an ad on a screen. So get out there and give it your personal touch!
  4. Friends and Family
    1. There is nothing wrong with asking your friends and family to read and leave reviews on your book, but don’t be too surprised if they don’t all respond. Family and friends can be a great support system, but not always great readers.

These are just some ideas that I’ve come across. How do YOU promote your book? Have you had success with any of the above? Do you prefer the social or personal approaches?

Have you done something different? Be sure to like and comment in the section 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: Market Yourself

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Whether you are a self-published author or an author using a traditional publishing house, it IS your job to market your work and promote yourself. You cannot wait on someone else to do it for you or for your book to simply come into existence with a fan base. While some publishing companies may help, they are not going to do everything for you. Some publishing companies might publish your book, place it online, and that’s it. And while you may get some traffic from that, it probably won’t be much.

UNLESS

You have already starting promoting yourself and your work. Many of you probably already know this, after all, that’s why many of you are bloggers. You are building your audience. Good! (This is possibly one of the most fun ways to promote because you get to build real relationships.)

By promoting yourself and your work via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogging, etc., you are given a chance to build an audience who is interested in what you have to say and what you publish. Otherwise, according to Jeff Goins “you’re just speaking to an empty auditorium”. So start promoting yourself.

You might be asking: “How can I do that? How can I get followers?”

Well start by following others, commenting on their posts, joining groups, building reciprocal relationships with the people in your field and then point them back to your page, group, or blog. You cannot simply set up a page and expect people to find you. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

You have to do the work if you want the results! So get out there, set up a page, or a blog, or a website, join a group, get to know other writers, and start posting regularly.

Tomorrow I’ll be sure to post some more suggestions on exactly HOW to promote your work so be sure to keep your eyes on this blog!

How have YOU promoted your work in the past?

Be sure to answer in the comment section 🙂

©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, Uncategorized

Do You Know (A Poem)

Do you know

That when you sit beside me

I am completely captivated by your presence

Do you know

That when you put your arms around me

I feel safe, secure, and surprisingly hopeful

Do you know

That when you touch my hair

I exhale in relief

Do you know

How much I love you

©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 Flexibility of Fairy Tales, Uncategorized

The Twelve Brothers by Grimm

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Today, we’re taking a look at my Bookshelf. Recently I re-read “The Twelve Brothers” by the Grimm Brothers…

Summary

In a kingdom, there once lived a King and Queen with twelve sons. However, when the Queen became pregnant again, the King declared that if the child was a girl, they would have to put the twelve sons to death so that their daughter could inherit all the riches. The king prepared twelve small coffins in case his wife gave birth to a girl. But the Queen could not stand losing her sons and so she warned them to run away until the child was born. If the child was a girl she would wave red flag to warn them to stay away and if she waved a white flag they could come home.

Lo, and behold, when the time came, the Queen raised a red flag and so the brothers fled further and deeper into the forest, vowing revenge on any woman that they should cross, “If we run into a girl, her red blood will flow.”

Now, they were understandably upset, but killing the next girl you meet might be taking it a bit far.

The brothers lived in the woods for quite some time and Benjamin, the youngest, often remained at home cooking and cleaning the house.

Ten years later back at the castle, the young princess grew into a beautiful girl with a kind heart and a golden star on her forehead. When she discovered twelve boy shirts, she asked her mother the Queen, who confessed everything about her brothers. Being 10 years old, she was, of course, quite old enough to leave the castle and venture into the forest in search of her brothers.

The princess came across the brother’s cottage and found only Benjamin in the home. When he realized who she was, Benjamin was overjoyed and hid her until the rest of the brothers came home. When they arrived he made them promise to spare the life of the first girl to cross their threshold. Once they agreed, Benjamin revealed the princess and all of the brothers were overjoyed as well. Together the twelve brothers and one sister lived happily in the cottage together.

One day, the young princess went out to pick twelve white lilies for her brothers. However, when she picked the flowers, her brothers were turned into Ravens and she was left alone. Then, an old woman, who probably owned the flowers, mysteriously advised her, “There is one way to save them, but it’s so hard that you can’t possibly hope to free them that way. You would not be able to say a word for seven years, and you wouldn’t be able to smile at all. If you speak just one word, or if a single hour is missing in the seven years, then everything will be in vain–in fact one word would kill your brothers.”

7 years of solitude for picking some flowers because that seems fair. Anyway…

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The young princess vowed to do just that and so she found a hollow tree, sat in it, and started spinning. (Who knows why she needed to spin.) One day, a king was in the forest and found the girl. Of course, he was so enchanted by her that he brought her home with him and married her. Although the king and queen lived happily for several years, she never spoke or smiled or laughed.

Now the King’s mother was a wicked woman who hated the young princess and believed that she was evil. Through the years, the mother constantly accused the princess of doing wicked and evil things. Finally, she persuaded her son, the King, that his wife was evil and sentenced her to death.

Even as the flames were lit, the princess did not say a word. However, just as the fire began to touch her clothes, the seven years ended and there “was a whirring sound in the air and twelve Ravens came flying through the air and swooped down. When they touched the ground, they turned into her twelve brothers.”

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The brothers rescued their sister from the flames who could finally smile and speak. She then told the king why she had made the vow to never speak or smile and he was overjoyed to find that she was not evil.

I don’t know if I could be as forgiving as the princess.

The King brought the princess back into the castle and they lived in harmony until their deaths. Meanwhile the wicked mother-in-law was put in a barrel filled with boiling oil and poisonous snaked and died “a painful death.”

Sometimes I really do have to wonder if these stories were truly told to children as bedtime stories.

Review

The Obvious Moral of the Story

  • This fairy tale is definitely promoting the virtue of long-suffering. To be long-suffering means to have patience and willingness to suffer based on your love for another. Clearly, the princess has long-suffering and is rewarded for her virtue.

The Not-so-ObviousMoral of the Story

  • What do we make of her poor brothers? First, they are forced to flee from their home and once they finally find happiness, they are turned into Ravens for seven years. I would argue that the not-so-obvious moral is endurance and perseverance. The brothers did not allow their situations to corrupt them.

The thing I find the most interesting about this fairy tale:

  • In the beginning, the king tells his wife that if their thirteenth child is a girl, their twelve boys must be put to death so that the girl can inherit all the riches. While I am, of course, shocked and horrified that any parent would want to kill their child or children, I am more shocked that in this story they want to kill the male children. In countries all over the world, it is often the female child who is killed or abandoned for not being male. The Grimm brothers definitely added a twist to the norm.

This is one of the Grimm Brothers’s longer fairy tales. What do you think of it?

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Don’t Edit, Rewrite Instead

This is a tip that I saw on Pinterest and so I thought I would give it a try a couple of months ago and I’m using this Tip currently on editing and expanding my book The Agency Games.

Here’s the idea: once you have finished drafting, you don’t just go into the computer and edit along the way. You pull up a blank document and you rewrite your manuscript sentence by sentence. Now before you turn away in disgust, hear me out.

This is why it works:
As you are rewriting your scholarly piece (as opposed to editing it), you will inherently take away any redundant parts but, more likely, you will add a lot more material and flush out your ideas now that you know how it ends. The same goes for fictional stories. In fictional stories, knowing where the characters are going will help you streamline your plot line within the novel. Going back and expanding where necessary and cutting out unnecessary scenes will greatly benefit your novel.

My results:
I am currently using this technique to expand my book. Out of six chapters, I have added 3,000 words! That’s pretty dang fantastic. It is HOURS (and days) of extra work and it is taking much longer than simple editing would have (which I’ll still have to do after I’m done rewriting).

However, the result is completely worth it. Not only did I greatly improve the quality of my writing but I also improved the quantity of my work. Despite the extra time that it takes, I fully plan to rewrite my entire book and hopefully reach my goal of 75,000 words!

Have you ever tried this technique before? Did it work for you?

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s writing tip, be sure to visit my page “Writing Tips” on my main menu and learn more tips and tricks! Have any writing questions? Leave them in the 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.

The Agency Games

The Agency Games: An Update (4)

Well it’s that time of the month again, time for my monthly update on my work in progress:

The Agency Games

(a working title)

The Agency Games is a nonfiction book which analyzes human agency within the popular Hunger Games trilogy. I will be doing in-depth character analyses of individuals such as: Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, Gale Hawthorne, Haymitch Abernathy, Cinna, Primrose Everdeen, and more in trying to understand how human agency is discovered, maintained, tested, lost, and regained in a dystopian society and how that relates to us as readers.

The goal is to write approximately 500 words per day so that I can meet my goal of 75,000 wordsby May 31st to send to the publishers.

  • On January 22nd, 2018, I posted by first update. I was at a total of 22,000 words.
  • On February 22nd (after a VERY productive month having written 19,000 words), I was at a total of 41,000 words having written 3,500 words more than my original goal.
  • On March 22nd, I surprised even myself at being able to meet by quota and had a total of 55,200 words.

In sticking with my original plan to write 500 words a day, I needed to write 15,500 words by April 22nd (meaning I should be at a total of 70,700).

Well, let’s see how I did . . .

On April 4th, 2018, I finished the last chapter of my book and I was at only 62,000 words. Not quite my goal.

So, I decided to take my own advice. Remember when I encouraged you to NOT edit, but to RE-WRITE instead?

Well, that is exactly what I did and am still doing. I pulled up a blank word document, set it next to my current manuscript, and I started over, re-writing every single line. And along the way, I found places that naturally needed expansion. Sometimes, it was a single word or a single sentence. But sometimes, it was a whole paragraph. So after two weeks of rewriting, I have re-written the introduction, the first six chapters and started working on my appendixes.

I have a total word count of . . .

70,000 words!

April Chart

I didn’t quite hit my goal of 70,700 words, but I’m pretty proud of what I have accomplished! Plus, it’s a little slow going with re-writing everything.

I still need to finish re-writing the last six chapters and the appendixes which should push me to the 75,000 goal!

I’m getting closer to completing the fourth draft of this manuscript and then I plan to print it out and double check errors before sending it out. I won’t lie, some days I really feel like this . . .

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But I am going to push forward and I really hope to get this manuscript sent out within the next three weeks!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support! I can’t believe this is almost over!

Meanwhile, I’ll just be over here like . . .

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