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.

 

My Writings, Short Stories

In the Depths

My body hits the choppy waves with a large splash.

Right before I submerge entirely, I hear whooping and hollering from the deck above.  How those savages cheer on my death, wrapped up in their own ignorance and fear.

Then the noise is gone, as is the light.

These canon balls chained to my ankles care even less than the men upon that ship that I cannot breathe. I struggle, even knowing how useless it is, but I cannot help it. I do not want to die. I pull through the water with my arms, my arms that they cruelly left untied as if to mock my efforts. I am not strong enough to pull against these weights, I continue to sink.

The water gets darker, but still I sink through the depths. No longer do I only feel the pressure from within my lungs, but the water that surrounds me is also pressing in. It slams against my head, squeezing against me like a vice. Still, I continue to sink. Unable to stop myself, I try to gulp in air but only swallow water. The salt burns as it snakes down my throat. I start to choke and black spots speckle the dark water that surrounds me.

I never thought this was how I would die.

Out of the depths, I hear a sound, the sound that truly signals my demise. I hear the singing of angels and demons mixed together. Their voices are heavenly, but their tune is dark and full of rage. At first, I am afraid, but then as the voices cascade over me, I no longer fear death and willing allow my heavy eyes to close.

There is pressure on my lips and suddenly, my lungs expand with air. The weight from my ankles is released.

There is pain in my legs, the pain of slashing and tearing and burning. Once I was cold, but now I am hot as the heat radiates up my skin, crawling up my thighs, racing between my ribs, tearing into my mind.

The voices continue their song, it grows louder and beneath it, there is a hum that speaks a warning.

I can breathe, but the pain, make the pain stop . . .

Silence.

The pain is gone. I open my eyes, shocked by many things. The first is how clear my vision has become. The second is how clearly I can see the creatures that surround me. Hundreds of women, with pale skin and iridescent tails float in the space around me. Their hair, dark and light, swirls around them and reveals bright golden eyes. When they smile, their teeth are sharp, but their eyes are kind.

When I look down, I am not surprised to find that my legs are gone, replaced by a scaled tail that swishes beneath me. My sharp teeth grind against each other in my mouth as I continue to breathe easy within the depths.

“You are one of us,” she says, her husky voice coated by salt.

Far above us, we see the shadow of a ship sailing away, carrying my would-be-murderers. The woman in front of me flicks her eyes toward the bow of the boat, and raises an eyebrow. I understand.

This is my initiation.

Without a second thought, I turn tail and glide through the water toward the ship with my new family at my side.

We are coming.

Woman's long hair head above the water at Banana Beach

 

***This short story was written in response to a prompt that I found on Pinterest.***

SOMEONE WRITE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!<<Okay, Im writing it now

©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.

Writing Tips

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Fear (6)

Originally, I only intended to do five of these posts. As noted in the introductory blog “5 Reasons Behind Writer’s Block,” there are several reasons why writers are often prevented from writing. I had thought of five:

  • Lack of Time to Write
  • Sickness
  • Work
  • Lack of Creativity
  • Home Responsibilities

However, my friends and followers had pointed out that there is a sixth reason often responsible for writer’s block that I felt needed to be addressed. This is: FEAR.

The first step to overcoming Writer’s Block comes from the need to discover why the writer is blocked in the first place. Once you have establish the why you can work on how to move forward.

Fear = Small Goals & Courage

adult, black-and-white, bodySometimes we feel that we are defined by that empty, blank page. It stares at us and we stare back at it. For one reason or another, we are paralyzed, unable to commit words to paper. Why? According to both Mia and TShaw, fear is a major factor behind Writer’s Block. Mia says,

I think, why writer’s might suffer from writer’s block: fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success (yes, that’s a fairly common fear for writers, especially as most are very introverted). Fear of rejection. Fear of not being good enough.

Tshaw agreed, stating,

Fear that my writing is a waste of time.

Of course, both of these intelligent women were correct. Fear is a huge problem in a successful writing life! Perhaps it is ironic that the same week I am working on this post, my church spent an entire sermon focusing on courage. (You can read all about it here.)

In order to face our fears we must remember what courage is:

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting despite the presence of fear.

If you are feeling fearful, the best thing you can do is act regardless. Now, this is easier said than done which is why I suggest that you focus on small goals rather than large ones. When we fear rejection, or success, or failure, or really anything, the only way to fight that fear is to refuse to give it power. Sure, I could tell you to think positively, but that does not always work.

Truly, the only way to fight your fears successfully is to act in spite of them.

Happy Writing!

©KaylaAnnAuthor

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

Poetry, Writing Tips

How to Write a Poem

A few months ago, I had someone contact me via my Instagram page because I had recently posted a love poem. This man asked me to write a love poem that he could give to his girlfriend as a gift. I suggested to him that he should be the one to write the poem, that it would mean more to her coming from him then from a random stranger. While he agreed, he was doubtful of his ability to write a poem. He did not even know where to begin. This got me thinking:

How do we write poetry?

After all, there are over 50 different forms of poetry and those do not include obscure, region-based forms. There are haikus, free-verse, cinquains, epics, ballads, sonnets, odes, limericks, and many more. While some of these forms are easier to play with, others have strict rules and guidelines such as stressed and unstressed syllables that must be obeyed.

For any beginning poet, I believe that free verse is an excellent place to begin because for the most part, the poet is free to experiment with their form.

Now, this is not to say that free-verse is beneath the other formal structures and forms (Although some poetry snobs might argue that it is). Any poetical form can be done well or poorly, it depends on the poet not the structure.

Back to my story, I encouraged this man to write down a few sentences describing the elements of his girlfriend that he loved the best and then to start eliminating extraneous words. Here is my own example:

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Now, that doesn’t sound much like a poem, but let me start playing with it, getting rid of extra words and re-formatting the lines.

I love the way that he holds my hand in public. Or the way he plays with my hair at home. I miss the sound of his laughter whenever he leaves and I look forward to the safety of his hugs.

Hands held in public

Hair tickled in private

Missing laughter

Craving company of

His arms.

While this is a very simplified first draft of a poem, it is most definitely a poem. Therefore, I think I will stick by this advice. Want to draft a poem but not sure where to start? Try simply writing down your thoughts first, then eliminating and re-arranging and adding where need be.

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What do you think of my strategy? Is it worth trying? If so, I would love to read YOUR attempts at this in the comments below.

Happy Writing Everyone

***A special shout out to WaltPage who encouraged me to blog about poetry!

 

©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: Managing Expectations

As some of you may know, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding! In that process, my fiance and I are also undergoing pre-marriage counseling (which has been a lot of fun as well as insightful). Did you know that recently it has been announced that what kills marriages faster than anything else is unmet expectations?

Now, my blog is not about marriage, however, I could not help thinking how this applies directly to our writing. How often to we come up with grandiose ideas for our novels that will sell a billion copies and make us millions of dollars? Ever catch yourself day dreaming about which actors and actresses would star in your film once that adapt your book into movie formatting? (No one, just me? Anyhoo . . .)

The point is, in our writing too we must manage our expectations. 

Writing is hard and making a break through in the industry is even harder, some might say that it is nearly impossible. So I am encouraging you to “make resolutions” (without the need for a New Year) and to set goals for your writing, but in doing so, make them realistic!

  • Set yourself real goals that you truly can accomplish!
    • Here are some examples:
      • Write Every Day (even if it’s just for 5 minutes)
      • Try to hit a word count every day (even if it’s 20 words).
      • Try to finish as much as that book as possible (even if it’s not the whole thing.)
      • Send out queries to multiple publication houses (but don’t stop writing, waiting to hear back)
  • Don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations.
    • Here are some examples:
      • Starting and Finishing that new idea for a book and having it picked up within the year (yes it can happen, but it doesn’t often)
      • Becoming a millionaire with your first book (Suzanne Collins wrote amazing books for YEARS and was not known until her latest series).

Be kind to yourself and be honest with your writing. Expect that some days will be more productive than others and set realistic expectations so that you do not cause unnecessary hardship.

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you enjoyed today’s tip, be sure to check out more under the “Writing Tip” tab on my main menu. Have any questions about writing? Feel free to ask in the comment section!

Derek Harvey has a great article expectations in marriage if any of you are interested in reading the article.

 

©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 – 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!

Poetry

My Muse or My Block

She sits next to me

Gently encouraging the stroke of my pen

Her hand on mine

We trace, create, a world of our own

_____He hovers over me

_____His breath leaking into, blurring my mind

_____His hands form a barrier

_____We destroy, hesitate, doubt our abilities

Side-by-side

You would never tell

Never see

The truth hidden in plain sight

_____She and He

_____My Muse and my Block

_____Co-exist

_____In one body: My Own.

————————————————————————————————————–

***This whimsical poem was inspired by a conversation that I had with E. Michael Helms, Mrs. M, and Diana on last weeks “Not Him Again…” post. In our discussions we considered the relationship between our Writing Muse and Writer’s Block. I hypothesized that they were the same person or perhaps brother and sister. Today, I think I’ve found the answer, they are the same person and that person is 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.

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.