Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Allow Your Book To Evolve

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

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

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

My advice?

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

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

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

Happy Writing Everyone!

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

 

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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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!

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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.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: You are NOT an author, unless you are a writer.

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

You cannot be an author without first being a writer.

This one may sound redundant but hear me out first.

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

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

So here’s today’s tip: Write!

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

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

Happy Writing Everyone!

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

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: READ

Read? But we are writers, we write!

Yes, but we should also be READING.

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

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

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

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

What else, in your experience, can reading be?

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

Happy Writing (and reading) Everyone!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Brainstorming

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

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

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

So what now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Writing Everybody!

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

©KaylaAnnAuthor

© KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to KaylaAnn and KaylaAnnAuthor.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Responding to Criticism

Have you ever experienced that soul-crushing moment when you pour your heart out into prose and some one, usually an ambiguous someone, turns around and criticizes everything you’ve done? Often with more insult than advice?

Well then, congratulations, you’re a writer!

And if you hope to continue along in your journey as a writer, you are bound to have this experience again and again.

And again.

I know, that is not exactly reassuring, but don’t worry, there is good news coming! We have to first ask, why is criticism so common? Are we really that bad at writing? (Well, a writing group might not hurt . . .) But really, the reason behind most criticism is the fact that writing is subjective. 

Yes, there are general rules that all writers must observe. And yes, writers should present their best version of themselves in their writing. However, on a whole, writing is subjective. That is the only way to explain why some people absolutely HATE Harry Potter while the rest of the world loves it. It also helps explain why one of my readers loved my book while the other did not care for it at all.

Writing is Subjective.

Everyone has different tastes. For instance, I will never like horror novels, never, they are not my thing. So while I might hate that type of book, it does not make it a bad book to everyone.

Before you decide to submit your work, you need to prepare yourself for feedback both positive and negative. THERE WILL BE BOTH.

Here are a few ways that you can and should respond to criticism:

  • First, you need to anticipate a mixed review. Maybe the book is perfect in your eyes, but your readers will be seeing it differently, so allow yourself to acknowledge mixed reviews.
  • Next, you need to read through a shield. What does that mean? If someone is being overly-critical, read through their comments, ignore the rude insults, and cherry-pick out whatever can actually be constructive. Usually there is at least one suggestive that you can work on.
  • Finally, after picking out what you can work on, forget the rest! Don’t spend days wallowing over the negative feedback and don’t allow it to corrode your writing!

 

Have you faced rejection or negative feedback?

How did you respond to it?

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.

Poetry

Write (A Poem)

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.

 

Writing Tips

3 Steps in the Application Process You’ve (Probably) Overlooked

I know, this topic is a little different then what I normally offer tips on, but hang in there with me. Most authors cannot make a living off their work, most authors have to work second jobs to support their writing habits. In fact, I work two other jobs to support my daily writing habits. This is why I find it so important to offer “tips” on the job market.

There are 7.5+ billion people in the world today and more are being born every day.  While not all 7.5+ billion people are currently on the job hunt, we can assume that billions are.

So that means that when you apply for a job, you are not the only one. Indeed, you are a speck among millions. (It’s a bit humbling, don’t you think?) Imagine that you are the head of human resources and you have hundreds of applications in front of you. What is going to stick out to you? How are you going to pick the best person for the job? Yes, you could go through every resume individually, (and most will), but first things first, you (the head of human resources) will look at the application itself.

Fill Out the Application Properly

Whether or not you are filling out a physical application or an online application, there are things that you must consider.

  • Fill out Everything!
    • “But what if I am including a resume that states my work history? Do I really need to fill it out on the application?” -> YES! If they are asking for it, fill it out. Even if it seems redundant to you. You are trying to set yourself apart in a good way, not a bad way, right? So, follow the instructions down to the last period.
  • Write Nicely/Use Proper Grammar
    • This may seem self explanatory but just a reminder, use full sentences. If they asked you to tell them about your family. Don’t put: “Mother-Jane Doe, Father-John Doe, Brother-James Doe.” Write full sentences: “My parent’s names are John and Jane Doe. I also have a younger brother named James Doe.”
    • Use proper capitalization, especially if you are filling out an application online. Don’t write “james doe,” write “James Doe.” 
  • Check and Double-Check what attachments they are requesting
    • Often times, online applications will have spots where you can submit a Cover Letter or a Resume or References but they will not always require them. Since these items are not required, many people overlook them. Do not overlook them. If the online application has a spot for a Cover Letter or a Resume or References but does not require them, then you had better submit a Cover Letter, a Resume, and a Reference.

 

©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

Author Tip 101: Never Stop

So, they tell me you want to be an author . . .

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That means you should be doing 1 of 5 things: brainstorming a new story, writing/drafting, editing, researching publishing houses (or self-publishing methods), sending our query letters or submissions.

One of my favorite creative writers, Derek Updegraff once said:

Keep writing. You are a writer, not a submitter. Once you’ve written pieces and submitted them for publication, forget about them and start writing something new. You haven’t produced your best work yet. When you finish a new piece of writing, admire it, take joy in it, and then submit it and move on and write something better.

Being an author does not mean being famous or going to book signings every other week (although that could be super fun). Being an author means never giving up and never stopping.

In my own experience, I have discovered that writing is a cycle. While I am waiting to hear back on The Agency Games, I have re-worked, edited and submitted a children’s series to various publishing houses. I probably won’t hear back for six months but that is kind of the point of submitting this early. That way, when I finish working on The Agency Games, I can hopefully jump straight into my next project!

submission

  • Have you brainstormed that new story idea? Great! Start writing!
  • Have you finished drafting that story idea? Fantastic! Start editing!
  • Are you working on editing your story? Good, start look around online for where you might want to submit it.
  • Have you found a publishing house that you want to send your work to? (PAUSE! Make sure to read all of their fine print and rules) Great! Now, send out your work.

Have you sent out your work? Yes? Then why are you just sitting there? Start working on your next story!

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

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.