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.

Writing Tips

Writing Tip: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©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: 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: The Five Writing Essentials to Any Great Story

If you are a writer, you most likely have already hear of “The Story Arc” or “The Dramatic Arc.”  However, it is always good to remember these five crucial elements to any story: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

Step One: Exposition

Every story begins with exposition of some sort. Think of it as your background, or the introduction to your story. Who are your major players in this game? What is their world like and how is everything about to change? Consider “The Hunger Games,” in the exposition we learn about Panem and the districts. We learn about the reaping and the relationship between Katniss and Prim, but nothing of huge significance has happened yet.
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Step Two: Rising Action

The Rising Action can begin immediately, it can coexist with the exposition, or it can wait until a few chapters in to occur. These are the events that occur that really get the story going. While we were already introduced to Katniss and her family, the Rising Action truly begins once Prim’s name is called at the reaping. After this moment, Katniss is thrown head first into the crazy, fashion-obsessed Capitol and then forced to survive the Games.
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The Rising Action can continue on for quite a long time and makes up a large chunk of any story. All of these events snowball onto one another and lead to the climax. For example:
Katniss does well in the events before the Games, gaining the title “Girl on Fire”
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Next, her popularity leads to sponsorship that aids her in the Games
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Because of the sponsorship, Katniss survives long enough to find Peeta
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Because she finds Peeta, Katniss and Peeta can gain even more sponsors through pretending to be star-crossed lovers which enacts the rule that more than one tribute can survive
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Peeta and Katniss are able to survive together which leaves them as the last pair to face off with Cato.
Every step, every action that happens within the rising action leads to the climax of the story.

Step Three: Climax

Next, we have our Climax. The Climax is the culmination of everything that you have been leading up to in your writing. It is the big event, usually toward the end of your story (however, it is NOT the end). Using “The Hunger Games,” the climax can be seen at the end of the Games when Peeta and Katniss must battle with the brutal, bloody Cato.
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Step Four: Falling Action

However, the climax, as I briefly mentioned, is not the end! Indeed, in the moments after Cato’s death, we have our Falling Action (these are events that often comes after and because of the climax). In this case, the Falling Action consists of the Gamemakers attempting to force Katniss and Peeta into killing one another. However, when they refuse, Seneca Crane is forced to allow them to live, which leads to our resolution.
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Step Five: Resolution

The Resolution does not have to be happy, it does not have to answer every question and it can leave readers on a cliffhanger. For instance, although Katniss and Peeta are allowed to live and the Games have concluded, Katniss is aware of the danger that still surrounds her. When they head home, Katniss and Peeta’s relationship is hanging on tethers. She survived the Games, but Katniss is still not safe.
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So there you have it, the five essential elements of a story! Have questions? Hit me up in the comments!

Happy Writing Everyone!

***If you liked today’s writing tip be sure to check out my home page for more! Underneath the main menu there is a tab that says “Writing Tips,” be sure to take a look! Have questions? What would you like me to write about next time?

©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: Waiting Out the Waiting Period

Any author or poet who has attempted to go the route of traditional publishing is familiar with that dreaded “waiting period.” You know which one I’m talking about. You spend all your time and effort into creating an amazing story, editing and revising until your eyes are bloodshot and your fingertips are raw.

Then you hit send.

And you wait.

And you wait.

And you wait.

If you are very lucky or very talented (and often a combination of both), you will hear back from the publishers 6-12 months later as they express interest in you or your book. You think, Huzzah! The waiting is over and my book will be published immediately!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not how it works. After that initial waiting period and the good news, you’re in for more waiting periods. Your book will most likely go through several editing phrases and after that you have visual decisions such as cover and formatting. Your book will most likely not be published until a year or two after you hear back.

That is a LOT of waiting.

As someone intimately engulfed within this dreaded waiting period, let me give you some tips on how to survive it:

  1. Take a deep breath and stop opening up your email every single hour of every single day (Seriously, Kayla Ann, stop doing this.) It only makes you more antsy when you fixate on their response.
  2. Get outside and do something. I don’t care if it’s the gym (which is my favorite as it’s a great way to release pent up energy) or a walk with your pup, or minigolf, or going to the beach, or biking, or going to the mall. In some way, get out and do something physical.
  3. Get back inside and do something. (But you just said go outside! Yes, I did, keep reading.) After you have gotten rid of some of that nervous energy and you can actually focus, start working on a different project. Write your next book or create some blogging posts and schedule them for the future.
  4. Take another breath and repeat the steps above. Trust me, you’re going to be waiting for awhile. (I’ve also found that small, but frequent, amounts of chocolate can do wonders for your mood.)

Image result for i'm waiting gif

Anyone else ever been stuck in that waiting period?

How do you pass the time and maintain your flimsy grasp on reality?

©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

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.

Image result for gif harry potter

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.