Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z: zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Do writing ideas keep anyone else up at night?

For several years I have had this idea rolling around in my head but I could never get it to click into the story I wanted it to be. So I left it stewing in the back of my brain while I worked on other writing projects. Then, this last summer, It clicked. I sat down at my computer and wrote for a week straight. I mean, almost literally, one week straight. I slept for 2-4 hours a night and got up to get back to work typing. I had to get it down, and put together, and finished.

Sometimes I'll pop out of bed in the middle of the night knowing exactly how to get my character out of the situation I left him/her in several hours before. Sometimes I just keep typing and forget to go to bed until I look at the clock and it's 3:30 in the morning. Writing steals my sleep time. Even when I say I'm going to get to bed early, and even when I claim I'm going to sleep for a full 8 hours, the author inside me scoffs, "yeah right!"



Ergo, sleep is one of the many sacrifices we make to get our stories out.

But sometimes we get refunded sleep also. When I sent my last manuscript off, and didn't know what to do with myself, I took a week off and relaxed, slept, and read. It was fantastic!
And when I finished writing that novel in one week, I basically slept for 2-3 days after it was done.

So yes, we are tired and groggy and maybe half our story ideas come from our semi-conscious, delusional  sleep deprived state. But it's a sacrifice most of us are willing to make.... I think :)

And now that I have reached Letter Z and fully completed this challenge .... I'm going to go take a nap!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Y: Yo-yoing

Yo-yoing by definition is: To undergo frequent abrupt shifts or reversals

This is my method of writing stories ... yo-yoing. I never write just one story at a time and here is why:
When I'm writing a story and I get stuck in writer's block, I have learned that changing directions, abruptly  and writing about another story - usually of another genre - will get me back on track.

Since I have the ability to write about one subject and work on another at the same time, I can work on the current story while subconsciously thinking about the first story.

For example:

When I get writer's block while writing my historical romance novel, I switch to my YA fantasy novel in order to keep me writing. I have found that by the time I come to a stopping point with my fantasy (or the point in which I hit writer's block) I have subconsciously fixed the problem with the romance and can continue. Then I abruptly shift back to the first novel and keep going. And so it goes, back and forth between the two novels (sometimes 3 when I am really stuck) ... yo-yoing

This may be considered insane, my husband calls it multitasking, others call it talents, and I call it a necessity. It's worked for me for many years, so why stop something that's working so well?

How do you get past writer's block?


Saturday, April 27, 2013

X: X-treme love ....

I am extremely in love with office supplies! The school/office supply aisle at the story is my cryptonite. I go weak at the knees and probably start drooling every time we are in that aisle. My husband has to pull me away, telling me I have enough pens, pencils, paperclips, etc, etc, etc.
I LOVE OFFICE SUPPLIES!! (And it because even more extreme and dangerous when I walk into Costco! They sell office supplies in HUGE packs!)


Despite my husbands objections and careful reasoning - I know he is wrong!

As an author I can never have too many pens or pencils. Do you realize how easily those things wander off? I have to have several in every room of the house, the car, my purse, my other purse just in case, my laptop case, etc, etc. Pens like to run away! So you have to keep a huge supply of them on hand.
Also, stick-it notes (yes, I have already been told it should be sticky notes or post-it notes. But since nobody seems to agree on what they are called, I have merged the two into one! Stick-it notes they are!) I am endlessly jotting down ideas on these and sticking them to my walls, computer, and the cover of my notebooks. Bringing me to notebooks. They are priceless, they are always needed, and yes they are different from the stick-it notes. they are for longer, complete thoughts :)
Markers are a must - maybe I just like the colors ... maybe that's why all my pens are different colors ... or maybe I just like the markers ... I like drawing on my whiteboard ....

Do you see where I am going with this?

I would like to know if any authors out there every said, "you know, maybe I have too many office supplies ..." because I certainly have never said this, and I'm pretty sure few of you have ever said it either.

I love my office supplies! I love them! And I can never have enough.

My husband has gotten smart though .... instead of explaining to me why I can't buy more, he carefully keeps us clear of that aisle in every story we enter
Crafty!
But two can play at this game! I'm going to get him to buy me those colorful stick-its I saw at Costco ....


Friday, April 26, 2013

W: Writing for Professors

Now for my rant :

The one thing I did not like in college was that despite the fact that I was taking "creative writing" courses - my writing really wasn't that 'creative' due to one simple fact -- When you are in college you don't write for yourself or for the world - you write for professors.
Now, just to clear my name very quickly for any professors who might be thinking "now wait a minute!" - no this does not apply to all professors, nor every creative writing course track. But it did apply to several of my professors and possibly might hit home for several of you as well

I quickly discovered that the point of some of my courses was not to see how creative I could be, but rather to see if I could write what the professor wanted to hear. Getting a good grade in the class came easily to those of us who learned what the professor liked to see in an essay or story. So in a way I guess we did learn to be creative - but not in the sense that most people imagine for creative writing. No, we learned to be creative in writing the same thing in many different ways to keep our professors appeased. Once you had it down, life was a breeze.

Side note - or rather tangent -

I didn't study like most people do. I was working full time to put myself through college. So I did learn to be creative in many aspect apart from writing. For example, one of the best things I discovered by book on CD. Yup, I listened to my assigned reading list during my drives to school, work, and home. Also while typing up other essays and even while at work (because I had an amazing employer who would let me do that as long as I was still working while listening). I also learned how to type several different essays on several different topics at the same time, and how to do an assignment for, say, poetry, while in my creative non-fiction class while my teacher thought I was taking notes on his lecture! :)

Back to the point:
So yes, through my creative writing courses I did learn many things: I learned how to creatively make it through college. I learned how to creatively appease the professors for whom I was writing.  I learn how get that coveted degree before putting my work out there for the world to enjoy. But the ability to write and the creativity I need to write has always been part of me. I didn't need to learn how to write creatively -- I needed to learn how to creatively write.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

V: Voices

No, I am not talking about the voices in my head!
....
oh wait, yes I am!

I tend to forget how strange we, as writers, tend to be. Do other people walk around trying to solve problems for the imaginary people in their head? Do they imagine escape routes out of any situation? Do they plan revenge for made up offenses?
Maybe
But I doubt it.

On my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebecca-Lamoreaux-An-Author-In-Progress/150123935140108?ref=hl) I shared a recent discovery:
"Today I had an epiphany .... I realized that writers are really a lot stranger than we give ourselves credit for :)
I was talking with a friend (not a writer or really a big reader that I can tell) and she asked how my writing was going. My reply was, "Well, I'm stuck because Braxton needs to teach Natania some important information. But Natania is currently upset with Lord Frenner and will not be willing to learn while she's angry. So I'm trying to figure out how to get her NOT angry with Lord Frenner so she will listen to Braxon."
Her reply, "...... oh ..... ha ha .....ok."
About that moment I realized that she was thinking I had gone insane. So I said, "I'm just need to finish my next chapter to send out to some people for critiquing." And I left it at that :)"



So back to voices (and I'm not just meaning because we are insane)
My real challenge lies in trying for find voices. Not my voice as an author - but rather to give voices to my characters so that they talk and think individually, just like normal people do.
I can't let Terrence and Vivian talk and think the same when they have clearly been raised very different.
Braxton and Natania, though brother and sister, will not interpret things the same. They will see the same thing in different ways. But how do I voice that? How do I give them their own speech pattern and manner of thinking?

This is my current frustration .....

How do you make voices for your characters?


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U: Unexpected

I have come to know that my writing will never - I mean quite literally never - turn out the way I thought it would.
As a rule I am not a planner when it comes the writing (though heaven knows I'm a planner for everything else in my life). I am a pantser. I usually have some idea of what the story is about and where I want it to end up, but I never know what is going to happen along the way.
I find that even when I am sure of how a scene will happen - I am bound to be surprised by the unexpected. My character take over my plot and I feel like I'm follow them around and telling what they are doing. I don't make them do things, I just report what they do. And every now and then they catch me completely off guard.
An unexpected twist, a person interrupts the scene uninvited, the characters say something that they were not originally scripted to say, etc., etc.  And yet, when I am interrupted by the  unexpected, I find that my story is always more interesting! I get excited to see what's going to happen next! I want to know what my characters are up to when I'm not watching, and why they chose to do something that I had not planned for them to do? Where are we going with this unexpected plot twist?
So I have learned to expect the unexpected in my writing - which then makes the unexpected never happen as I am always expecting it ....
huh! ....
The point it - enjoy and embrace the unexpected in your story! It might take your story away from what you had planned, but it also might take your story to that next level with the depth and intrigue you've been trying to obtain!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T: Twitter

Dear Twitter,

I do not understand you at all. I'm confused as to why people want to post every intimate detail of what they are doing throughout the day, and why so many people read those details with fascination. I am completely lost as to what the point is for Twitter.
I would take the time to break up with you, except that I have actually received two manuscript requests from my #pitmad pitch .... so now I have to keep you.
By the way, what is with these "hashtags"? I don't even know what that means! And they confuse me too. All I know is that people keep using them on Facebook and they don't do anything. But on twitter, you click on it and it shows you every post ever written with that "hashtag". And from what I can tell all you do to make a hashtag is write your entire thought with no spaces - so essential into one word - and add a pound sign at the beginning (#).
Yep, I'm not fond of you. But I guess you have some good qualities too ....
For example, I recently learned that I can sort of attend a writer's conference via your "hashtag" thing without actually being there. I would rather be there, but since that is not possible, you will have to be my fall-back plan. Also I am told you will help with marketing my book - should it ever get published.
So it comes down to this. I don't get you, I don't particularly like you, and you tend to waste my time. But you have some good uses, and you make me look kind of cool, so I guess I should keep you around.
I don't think we qualify as friends yet, but let's call truce anyway. One day my opinion may change ....

Sincerely,
@Lamoreaux-R



Monday, April 22, 2013

S: Synopsis ....


I think that picture just about sums it up .... :)

Ok, writing a synopsis isn't so bad -- once you get into it, and figure out what your doing, and convince yourself that it's OK not to explain the sub plots, and make yourself deal with how dry it all sounds, and give in to the reality that you have to give up the ending, and somehow make your creative-self condense 200 pages into 2 pages .... other than that, it's a breeze!

I received so much advice about writing a synopsis when I sent out a "help me" call to all my writing people. So I'm going to share a bit here - just like I did on my query post!

Some suggestions:

Take each chapter and writing down in 1-2 sentences exactly what that chapter is about. Then put those few sentences all together. Then fill in pieces to make it flow smoothly and tada - you have your synopsis. (trust me, this is easier said than done but it can actually really simplify the process super fast! I highly recommend starting here.)

Forget the sub plot - agents want to know the up front plot involving only main characters

Only name the main characters, or anyone who is VITAL to the main plot line

Be sure to tell the ending! A synopsis cannot have a cliff hanger ending - they want to know it all

Do Not make the synopsis read "and then ..... and then ...."

Imagine your friend came into a movie 5 minutes from the end and you have to do a super fast sum-up for them before the big finale, that's how your story should read. (Exciting, energetic, but straight forward story-line in as few words as possible)

If the synopsis request is for 1-2 pages, you may single space it. If the request is for more pages, then double space them.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the submission guidelines to see if they specify how they want the synopsis formatted!

Well that's how it worked for me. I wrote, rewrote, cried, and rewrote again my synopsis. But I got it done, I got it into 2 pages, and I sent if off. So here's to hoping! And good luck to you too!



Saturday, April 20, 2013

R: Reading as a Reader

As writers I think sometimes we get so caught up in the process of editing and critiquing (our own and others' works) that we forget to just enjoy reading.

I am extremely guilty of this. I found myself making comments on a book that was published over 20 years ago. Ahem - let me clarify, I was commenting in my head, not aloud like a crazy person!
But I was correcting grammar, some POV issues, etc., when it hit me that I can't enjoy books anymore! Seriously! If I spend my time critiquing and mentally editing books as I read them, I cannot enjoy the story that is being told!

I stopped, took a step back, and reminded myself that when I write, I am a writer; but when I read, I need to be a reader.

When I send a ms out to people for critiquing and editing, I expect them to change, fix, and suggest on everything! That's just how it works. But when I send it out to people who are readers, I expect them to enjoy the story. Most of the people who are "readers" tend to not even notice the little things that my critique group noticed. And then I realize, I'm writing this for readers, not for writers! Don't get me wrong, writers are readers too, but we have to put aside the writer part of us to really enjoy reading!

So I stop correcting the book in my head. I ignored the moment an author started a chapter in the afternoon and then switched it to morning, by accident, a few pages later. And I head jumped with all the POV changes, doing my best to keep up. And guess what happened? I found that despite all the flaws I saw as a "writer", as a "reader" I absolutely loved the story!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Q: Querying

Queries ......

Need I say more?

Most people hate queries - and I don't blame them! It's hard to write a query! Ok, for most of us it is. But there are a few select that have query super powers and I am grateful to them for helping me get my query ready and sent out!

So for the rest of us who do not have query super powers - here is what I have learned (I hope it may it be helpful to you in some way):

Queries should be neat and clean
Keep it to about 250 words (No this is not impossible - yes it is difficult)
Check spelling and grammar

Queries should be formatted like a business letter
Single spaced with double between paragraphs
Aligned to the left - no indents
Be profession
End with "Sincerely"

Queries should be have voice and attention grabbing
Don't tell the ending
It should have the same voice as your book and sound like your manuscript when read
Give them the good stuff not the fluff

Do your homework!
Find out what the agency/publishing company wants
Are they currently accepting your genre?
Address the person by name if possible

Critique groups rock!!
Let people read your query!! I cannot emphasize this enough! Let them read it, edit it, help you clean it up. Don't lose your own words and your own voice - but don't underestimate the value of those who have come before and who can get that query polished beyond what you can do alone!

My query got a full manuscript request by following these simple guidelines. So thank you to everyone who helped me get it to where it is!
And for those out there who, like me, are terrified of writing queries .... there is hope! I promise!

Just for fun - and to see how to NOT write a query letter - check out this website :)
http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com/





Thursday, April 18, 2013

P: Point of View (POV)

I sucked at POV! No seriously! right up until about 2 months ago I didn't get the whole POV thing! I mean, I studied it - I am an English Major after all, and I did get a BA in creative writing - but apparently I misunderstood several concepts of POV.

So after I attended the ANWA writer's conference in February (you can read my post about it here) something clicked. I went home, printed my entire manuscript, and grabbed my highlighters. I love highlighters! My book was to be written from 2 POVs. It's a romance, so of course it was his and hers.  But in the scenes where they were together I had a bad habit of head jumping. Apparently I assumed that if the story is from both POVs and they are together, why can't we see what they are both thinking?

Well, you can't!

I took my beloved highlighters and I went crazy. I highlighted all over her POV in Green and his in Blue. Then sometime I got bored with this and highlighted hers in pink and his in yellow (I wasn't joking about loving my highlighters) :) I was amazed to find that not only had I head jumped a LOT more than I realized, but that by so doing, I sometimes forgot that my characters couldn't read each others minds also - therefore allowing a character to know something they should not have known.

Then, I tore my manuscript apart - figuratively - and rewrote. By making each section in just one POV I was able to add needed information, give the characters more depth, and overall make the feel of the story more realistic! I was seriously very pleased with myself!

Now I have to do it all over again with all my other manuscripts. It's a good thing I have lots of paper, printer ink, and a love of highlighters :)

So this is my suggestion to anyone who might struggle with POV, like I do:
Print it - play with your highlighters - and be amazed at how much your story improves when you do it right!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O: Obsessions

When I get writing, and I'm really into a story, I can type like crazy! Seriously, for hours sometimes. The problem comes when I need to take a small break. Then I get distracted and forget what I'm doing. Soon I am finding myself washing dishes or laundry, walking down to the mailbox, or scanning my ridiculously large collection of DVDs to see if there is something I want to watch. Then I remember that I was doing writing sprints, and I get back to the computer.

That's when it happens - I discover my obsessions.

I am obsessed with Facebook and Pinterest! (First step is admitting the problem, right?)
Pinterest is dangerous and addicting! I can spend hours on it pinning thing that I think "Oh I definitely want to try to make that recipe" or "I am totally going to take the time to create that project one day!" and in reality I probably won't do either. But I get obsessed at looking and pinning and dreaming and looking some more.

Obvious distraction!

My other obsession - Facebook - is almost just as bad. I read people's comments, look at photos, follow their posts, and read up on everyone else's writing success while neglecting my own! Then I remember that I was getting on the computer to write, not to read about other people writing. So I get back to writing, with the stupid idea that I'll just leave Facebook open in the background so I can see what's up during my next break between sprints ....

How many of you have said this? Yeah, it doesn't actually work that way because I hear the *ping* that means someone sent me something or commented on something or whatever, and I rush to Facebook to see what they said, liked, commented, posted, etc.

So yes, I have my obsessions and my obvious distractions! And it gets frustrating when I realize how much writing time I've wasted ..... Grrrrr!

So how do I overcome this? hmmmm......

Maybe someone posted some ideas on Facebook or Pinterest! I'll go check ....


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N: Needy

For 2 months I was trying to be an amazing person. I was trying to give service to someone and help take care of his/her needs (and learn to love them and forgive/forget). I was also trying to write and participate in critique groups at the same time.
I soon learned that while helping someone can make a difference to them, sometimes it can also take a huge toll on you.
The person I was helping, while grateful at first, soon became extremely needy--Extremely!!
This person would try to encourage me to write. So I said "I'm going to do a small sprint right now, do you have everything you need? Are you ok for a few minutes?" the reply would always be "Yes, go write! It's important and I don't want you to get behind!" But then, no fail, a few minutes into the sprint, I would be called back for something ridiculous or unimportant.
I began to realize that this person actually was calling me back because they didn't like that my attention was given to other things and not just them. They became very, very, very needy of my attention.
My writing time dwindled, my writing itself started being non-existent, and I started becoming very short tempered. This person had the ability to things on his/her own - but wouldn't because they knew I was there and would rather call me to do it so as to get my attention.
After 2 months of this I was at my limit. I was getting nothing done - at all - with my writing .... actually nothing at all period!! Both me and my husband were giving up ridiculous amounts of time and energy for this person and we were simply running out of the ability to give any more. We have used up our supply of compassion, service, and patience.
We decided that although we loved this person dearly, we could no longer give up everything for him/her. So we had to let others help in our stead, and back quietly out of their immediate lives.

Well, thinking on this experience kind of made me nervous. One day, I am going to have children .... And those children are going to be needy and demand my attention ....
Don't get me wrong - I do want kids, and everyone says that caring for your own child is different than caring for anyone else. I am fully willing to believe that. But how do you get anything done with someone so needy in tow?

Seriously - how do you write with children?

Please post a comment and let me know - I may need it in the future ....


Monday, April 15, 2013

M: My Opinion

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion"
How many times in your life have you heard this phrase? If this statement is true, then why do people pitch a fit when people have the nerve to have opinions that differ from their own?
I have recently discovered something. If my opinion matches someone else's, they are happy, but if not, they are more likely to assume my opinion is wrong.
Now I'm not saying that I'm perfect. Yes, sometimes other people's opinions really upset me - but mostly only when they try to pass them off as fact rather than opinion. But I try to listen to other's opinions because if I want them to respect my opinion, I have to respect their opinion too, right?
But this is what I have found ....
I can respect that you love something I do not like. But you have to respect that I don't like something you love!
There are some books out there that I, quite frankly, do not care for. Yes I have read them, I am not just choosing to not like them. But when people discover this - well it is like I've committed one of the seven deadly sins! But tons of my close friends love these books and I'm OK with that. I'm OK with others liking these books even though I don't .... so shouldn't I be given that same respect for not liking them? Shouldn't people be OK with me not liking the books, even though they do??



Saturday, April 13, 2013

L: Loyal Friends

Friends are amazing and wonderful and just make life better! But it's always in those moments of trouble, panic, mayhem, etc., that you really find out who your true friends are - you know, those most loyal to your friendship.
I have found my most loyal friendships are those that are tried and are true. These are also the people that I trust when it comes to reading my stories. It is actually harder for me to give them to people I've known for years, over giving them to someone I only know through a Facebook group .... I think this is due to the high expectations of those who have known you since you attempted to write your first novel.
So when it comes to loyal friends, they are the ones that I can trust in any situation.
The interesting thing is, it is also frantic or panicked situations that sometimes make you find good friends.

For example:
Recently I completed a manuscript and I really needed some readers. I had several sisters and dear friends who have been asking to read my work for years. I finally chose a couple of my sisters and only one dear friends to read my work. This is the friend who will give me her honest opinion but still be nice. We have been friends for over 20 years! I flew across the country to help her paint her house when she moved in, and she flew across the country for my sealing.
Yup, that's a loyal friend! We talk almost every day - and she definitely pulled through with the manuscript for me.

Sometimes Loyal friend are found in the moment of need. Another Example:
When I received a request for a query, synopsis, and 6 chapters of my manuscript to be sent to an agent - well I was in panic mode. I wasn't ready! But through some great new friends, I got them all done. My inbox was full of people sending back chapters - edited and critiqued. My query was pulled together and my synopsis fit on less than two pages. Now I have some loyal friends that I know I can trust with my story and know they will pull through in a panic.
Loyal friends are very important to me, especially in my writing.

And going back now to sisters. Sisters are some of the most loyal and trusted friends for me! I have 10 sisters and I know I can turn to them always!

So thanks to all my friends who have been loyal - weather it be for over 20 years or over a very frantic weekend of  pulling together requested work. I hope you all know I'm there for you as much as you are there for me!


Friday, April 12, 2013

K: Killing off characters

This is, perhaps, one of the hardest things to do in writing. Nobody wants to kill off the characters they have created. These books are our babies and the people with in them are our creations, our pride and joy, and we know everything about these characters!
Well, here's the reality of it .... If the character has to die to make the plot move forward and to make this story incredible, then bite the bullet and do it. It's hard, we all cry, and then you do what you need to. It's like the first time we realize that one of our books just isn't going to make it through. Killing off  our babies (books in this case - please don't suppose I am actually implying anything else) is hard, but we do what we have to in order to make stronger manuscripts and more solid, likable, and amazing characters - even if we make them die in the plot somewhere.
Killing off a character can do several things for a story. It can be the driving force for the hero/heroine, it can make the survival of others that much sweeter (say in a battle scene), or it can be the needed moment that allows the plot to proceed (as in a murder mystery - you can't have the mystery if there is no death of a character). But when an author builds up to that moment where you know someone must die (your are feeling for the characters, you are gripping your book so tight you knuckles turn white, and your heart is pounding as you try to determine who will survive, maybe even tearing up a bit) and the author denies you that moment, it's extremely disheartening. Especially if it is the climax of the story. Denying the reader that climax, that moment of truth, really will make or break a book for many. So yes, it's hard to kill off the characters. But ruining your story to save them all because you can't bring yourself to do it, is more likely to hurt your book than killing off the character would have hurt you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J: Just go with it

I used to be the most organized, straight up, couldn't change my plans person there was.
I hated when my plans were not carried out, or when someone disrupted my time schedule. I always wanted things to go smoothly and perfectly. Anything that did not was extremely frustrating. It would upset me and ruin my day if it went wrong. Yup, I was that uptight.
It took some time, and some good friends, that made me realize that life isn't about schedules and timing and perfection. It was about enjoying every moment, being surprised what happens next, and just going with it.

So why is this important to me as a writer? I have never been a planned writer. I make my story up as I go along, BUT I still had this idea in my head of where I wanted my story to go. Then I would get stuck when I couldn't figure out how to get there. Also, I was not good at rewriting because that meant taking apart what I had created and do something different. Which meant I had to admit that my carefully laid plans (story) wasn't perfect and I was not going to admit that!
By learning to just go with it I have a much easier time writing stories. I have discovered that sometimes my stories don't end up at my pre-planned point B, but .... they end up at a really great point B elsewhere. I can rewrite and found that in so doing I can strengthen my characters and my novel. And most of all, I can take criticism and opinions when it comes to critiquing my story! This is very important to a writers, but a uptight person with plans cannot begin to handle those things.
It makes it very easy to see a critique returned that I may/may not agree with in any form, but by just going with it I can see a different point of view and it makes me think about my story. And that thinking and allowing for changes is what makes my writing better. I don't have to take their suggestions and if they don't like my story I can shrug and say "oh well, everyone else seems to like it - I guess I can't please them all"
I laugh now when things don't go according to plan. But I have more fun, I enjoy life and experience new things more often, and I believe my writing has greatly improved from learning to "Just go with it"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I: Inspiration

I find that inspiration comes in a variety of different ways for me. But my favorite way is through dreams! I have some very vivid dreams sometimes and when I wake up and write down everything I remember, it saves me the trouble of having to make up scene later ;) When I do this, I jump out of bed and write until I get cramps in my hands because I HAVE to get it down ASAP.
But I also love to people watch, and make up stories for people I am watching. Sometimes when me and my husband are out - like at the theater waiting for the movie to start - we make up stories about the people who come in. Deciding who is on an awkward date and who was dragged to there against their will. But I also love to watch people at the airport, mall, bus stops, and the park. The ideas are endless.
And sometimes the ideas come to me from movies. When I have movie that inspires me, I watch it over and over. Now I'm not talking about inspirational movies in the traditional sense. I am talking about the movies that I watch and decide how I it would be to be one of the character's heads. And what if the time period was different? Or what if that person had super powers. Then I watch the movie over and over as I plan out my new story in my head. Sometimes I forget I'm actually watching a movie as I plan a new life for these characters or move their situation to a new time or place. I introduce new characters to their plot, or change their major conflicts. It's really fun!
So for me, inspiration comes in some crazy, and some simple ways. But whenever it strikes, I am ready with over 4 dozen little yellow notebooks at my disposal - placed in strategic places around the house, car, and in every purse :) I grab one and write like crazy cause I don't want to forget it, even for a moment, or it's gone!


How/where do you get inspiration?



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H: Husband

Today I get to brag! Not about me, but about my husband! He is (as I am constantly telling him) the best husband ever.
My husband is tall, dark, and handsome. No, really he is! He's about 6'3" tall, has black hair, hazel eyes and the most charming smile. When he's actually smiling (because he likes to stick out his tongue in pictures) his smile melts me. He makes me laugh every single day!


My husband is completely supportive of my writing. When we moved to Arizona it was decided that I would stop working and focus only on my writing. He is completely confident that I'm going to produce a best-seller and make us rich and famous :) Here's to the dream!

My husband loves to check up on my work, ask me how much I wrote that day, wants to know what it was about, and let's me read sections out loud to him when I need an opinion and need to hear it aloud while editing.
He brings me food while I'm working (because he knows I will forget to eat when I get into my writing) and he knows exactly the moment inspiration hits me (usually because I jump from whatever I'm doing and start scribbling words like crazy into a notebook) and he always leaves me alone until the idea is done. Then he asks me to tell him about it. He is a very patient listener.

My husband is a gamer (as previously mentioned in my post yesterday) and he absolutely loves his comic books and superheros. He introduced me to amusing shows such as Teen Titans and Dark Wing Duck (I seriously had never heard of either before meeting him.) He loves Legos and was beyond thrilled when he got a box of them for Christmas.

He taught me how to use an Xbox controller and explained that I don't need to move with the controller in order to get my characters to move.  He patiently explained to me why Thor 2 is being made after the Avenger movie already came out, and we attend the midnight showing of all super hero moves!

Yes, I threw a Captian America Birthday party for him
He was a fan long before the new movies came out
My wonderful hubby helps me catch up on the housework when I get behind while I'm at my computer. He always unloads the dishwasher so I can reload it later. He does the laundry over half the time, and remembers to take care of our pets when I'm in a different world.
He loves kissing me goodbye in the morning when I'm still half asleep and still in bed (Apparently I say the funniest things at this time and it amuses him to no end), and he randomly brings me home treats just for fun. Sometimes it's a new movie I've been wanting to see, sometimes it's chocolate, and sometimes it's something that just makes me smile, like crazy/colorful socks or a penguin for my collection.

He is the most fantastic man I have ever met and it's a good thing I get to keep him forever!
So here's to my husband, the most amazing Husband ever. I'm so glad I'm married to you!



Monday, April 8, 2013

G: Gamers and Grammar

Warning: This is one of my longer posts!

From the post title you can probably already guess that this is going to be fun. At least I think it is! I think discussing gamers and grammar is hysterical and here is why.

Number 1: Grammar is not my strong point, as you can probably guess from reading my blog. It is definitely one of those things that I have to really look at when I edit a MS and one of those things I ask my beta readers to really crack down on. But it is something I do notice when it comes to watching Gamers write to each other mid-game.



Number 2: Gamers amuse me because my husband is a gamer ... Let me set the scene. When I met my husband, I didn't know what an Xbox was. I had never heard of Yugioh, and I didn't even know the term "gamer" existed. I had no idea that people could actually spend time on a computer or game system playing pointless games for hours on end. This was a very new concept for me. Thankfully my husband is not a gaming addict, and therefore transitioning into real life and realizing that a marriage is very different from being a bachelor was not too difficult for him. But I have seen some of my friends who have husbands who are addicted to gaming, and I feel very blessed that I do not have that challenge in my life. My Husband prioritizes and that means a lot to me. But he is still a gamer at heart and he loves his games and the time set aside for him to enjoy his little gaming world - much to my amusement.

Ok so back to gaming and grammar (technically I should also add the lack of spelling to this). Gamers, apparently, do not have to use grammar - EVER. It is the rule! If you use grammar .... They know you are an impostor! No, seriously!!! I'm totally serious here! :) Also, apparently they are not allowed to spell things right!
My husband and I have come to several compromises. Due to his giving up gaming and being willing to read some of my work (He HATES reading - which is ironic that he married a writer) and watch chick-flicks, I have been willing to learn to play some games with him. His favorite is LOL (Which in this case stands for League of Legends, not Laugh out Loud).

Whenever I play this game with him, his friends think it's hysterical. Not only do I spend most of my time panicking and yelling "What do I do?!?!?! He's going to kill me!!! AHHHH Run, Run, Run!!!" (Which is only made funnier because they are usually all on a group Skype call when they play, meaning that EVERYONE is hearing this and there is much laughing) but I also spend a lot of time correcting their grammar. My husband and his friends, however, do not find this insulting because they know that not only am I an author, but also an English Major and that I studied this stuff and it's a huge part of my life.

So I see sentences every time I play with these guys that make me cringe but make me laugh also.
Their comments to each other are like this (copied from an actual game I watched my husband play and are some of my favorites):

I ned new username, plz give mee an suugestion
wat about cruft
lul, whut a gay nam
omg stfu plz
he is feed off fear
cuz im squishy
karma is swqishery then you
if she runs you fallow
please for the love of a kill that tower
usesd it a sec ago
u care this la i am noob
i afk la byebye (I still have no idea what these last two sentences are supposed to mean, but apparently everyone else knew what they meant ....)

For a long time, before I consented to play this game with my husband, I would stand over his shoulder and watch him play and correct the things he typed. He is so kind and patient that he didn't say anything about this. A couple of weeks ago, however, when I was having a discussion with him about the grammar in my writing (Which honestly I don't think he cares about - but as a good husband he listened and tried to pretend to be interested), he informed me that it is one of the biggest insults to a gamer to correct their grammar.
I was flabbergasted! And then I laughed, really hard. That is an insult? This was made funnier to me by the fact that I have seen them insult each other on this LOL game. Usually their insults consist of "You are such a noob" meaning you are a new playing and don't know what your are doing. Apparently this is insulting. Most players get super upset by this comment and go on a rampage about how good their scores are and how they are not noobs - although every time someone says it to me I usually respond with "yes, I am. Thanks for being patient with me while I learn." And this really throws them off, and makes my husband and his friends laugh. I just don't see how being new at something is an insult. But it is! And apparently so is correcting grammar.

Now, just to be clear, the world of gaming, specifically with the game of LOL, is not nice. These people are so attached to their game that they get rude and obnoxious. They can say some cruel things and they lose their minds if they lose a game. (Not my huband - thankfully - or he would no longer be playing this game). I am constantly reminding them "This is a game, not real life!" which is something their brains cannot seem to comprehend.

So now, as awful as this may seem, I have learned how to retaliate. As a rule I am not a mean, cruel, or vindictive person. But when people are yelling at me for not playing a game the way they want me to, or for letting my character die in battle, I have learned to get even. I don't yell back. I don't use crude or mean words. And I don't call people noobs (ha ha ha ha ha - still don't see how this is insulting).
What do I do to get even when they are mean to me? I correct their spelling and their grammar!
Ha - take that, suckers!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

F: First Line Rule

Sometimes I am oblivious to the rules of writing - you know, the ones that when you hear them you think, "Well duh!" But apparently I do not get the "Well Duh" moments until they smack me in the face.
Sadly this is true about the First Line Rule. I have no idea how it never clicked with me before, but if the first line of your story isn't catching, there is less chance of a reader continuing to read much further - or something to that effect. Granted, it could be an amazing first paragraph and that makes up for the first line rule.
I went to the ANWA writing conference back in February, and in one of these classes this rule was discussed. That's when I had my "Duh!" moment and realized that I needed to go back and see the way every book I have ever loved starts. I amused myself by going to the conference bookstore and picking up books at random to see what the first line was. I found myself buying a few books I never imagined I would, simply because that first line caught my attention so thoroughly.

Examples:

"Waking up in a hospital bed is never a good thing." - Vodnik by Bryce Moore

"I don't want to write this. Really, there's a lot that's happened in the last few months that I'd rather forget." - My Double Life by Janette Rallison

"Alicia Palmer stepped down from the coach with all the enthusiasm of a condemned prisoner about to meet the executioner." The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

I went running home to my bookshelf to pull down all of my favorite, battered with love, books to see what their first line is too.

Examples:

"I didn't know how long I had been in the king's prison. The days were all the same, except that as each one passed, I was dirtier than before." The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day." Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
"I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with." - Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

"Summer in France was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a fifteen-year-old, a social and cultural esperince she'd never forget." A well-Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

Suddenly I realized that I had better have a good, catching, first line if I wanted to get an agents attention. Not that my first lines were terrible, but I am not sure they were attention grabbing. But maybe they are now that I know the rule and have tried to follow it. I'll let you judge (feel free to comment, what do you think? I can only improve upon them if people are honest with me):

"Frantically looking for a place to put her hand, Natania stopped to breath. Pure panic had given her the strength to climb this far up the cliff face, but she was not sure it was enough to get her to the top."

"'Who the devil are you? And what do you mean by arriving at this unholy hour of the night?' Terrence Hyacinthe's temper had always been his worst attribute."

Thoughts?

PS: this is a fun blog to check out regarding first/last lines of books. http://firstlinelastline.blogspot.com/



Friday, April 5, 2013

E: Ego Issues

To all those people out there who are in love with your books (Which is all of us, let's admit it) I'd just like to remind you that when you ask for an honest opinion, and someone gives it to you, that is not the time for your ego to go crazy. You asked for honesty! Would you rather that people be dishonest and simply tell you what you want to hear? Or would you like the truth that might in the end help you to better your writing and improve your overall story? Honesty, at least from me and most people I've met in the writing business, is given with love and understanding. We've all been there. So accept what you asked for and remember that letting your Ego go crazy, spending time defending your book rather than making it better, and belittling those who said things you didn't like to hear about your work, is not a productive use of your time.
If you want an honest opinion, you need to learn to swallow your ego and realize that you might hear things you didn't want to hear, but more often than not, those people are only telling you those things to help you be a better writer. So let's get over your ego before people stop critiquing for you. None of us want to spent time helping a fellow writer when their ego gets in the way and they retaliate when we give an honest opinion. Trust me, you gotta choose here between having a big ego or achieving your dream with the help of others. Rarely does your over protective ego get you your dream.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

D: Dr. Pepper

Dear Dr. Pepper,

A while ago a discussion topic was posted on one of our writing group Facebook sites. The questions regarded what drink/soda people prefer while writing. It became apparent, very quickly, that Dr. Pepper was the drink of choice, for the majority, while creativity was taking place. I personally love Dr. Pepper. It is my drink of choice for writing, and for getting rid of the tension headaches I sometimes get while writing.
The question was then posted asking if there could possibly be a connection between Dr. Pepper and Writing. Maybe it's the caffeine that puts us into hyper writing mode and our creative juices go crazy. Maybe it's the release of tension in the back of the neck (definitely true in my case) that allows the blood to flow to the brain, calming headaches and allowing us to push on with our writing for several more hours. Or maybe it's just a really good drink and all of us involved in this non-official survey simply enjoy the idea of finding an excuse to drink it. As most of us are heavily involved in our writing, and typically this is the only time during the day we get to ourselves, maybe it's just the perfect time to kick back and enjoy a Dr. Pepper.
Whatever the reason, thank you Dr. Pepper for your unfailing dedication to our writing efforts. We have appreciated the support and loyalty through the hours of missed sleep and heavy concentration in an effort to create our work and see our dreams become realities.

Sincerely,
A Devoted Fan!



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C: Critiquing with compliments

One would think that if a person understand what critiquing is, that is shouldn't be too hard to do. I am here to tell you that this is not always the case.

According to the dictionary - critiquing is: a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or a work of art) 

This seems simple enough but for some it apparently is not. It has always seemed to me that there is a rule, when critiquing, that no matter how awful you find the work to be, you must always find some good points and take the time to note them to the author/artist/etc. Even the definition states "opinion about the good AND bad parts." But some people tend to forget this rule and are apparently oblivious to how damaging their comments can be when they do nothing but focus on the negative parts of someones work.

I recently had a piece critiqued by several people. The piece came back with edits, suggestions, ideas, thoughts, etc. I was excited to get back to work and make my writing better. However, one of the critics returned my work with nothing to say except what my work did not have and how it was not good. This person completely skipped any parts of the work he/she may have liked, and simply did not comment on sections that did not have something negative to report.
Now, although I am sure this person was trying to help me, I felt an overwhelming desire to never let this person near my work again. This was not due to my inability to take criticism  because I love getting critiqued. That is how I learn and grow and make my story the best it can be. Without criticism  my story will never get any better and I won't know what people would like to see or what they like currently. But it is already hard enough for a writer to share his/her work with another person and when that work comes back torn to pieces with nothing good to say, it gets discouraging.
If I was going off of this person's critique along, i would have come to the conclusion that I am a terrible writer and that nobody wants to read my work because there was no pick-me-up for all the put-downs I received from this one person that day. (For all those reading this post - no it is not you! This person does not follow my blog!)

Another time I send my work out and received Five responses back. Four of them were fantastic! They were so helpful and I was able to rewrite the beginning chapters of my story using these critiques as a reference and a base to build upon. However, once again, I received a critique that had me shaking with fury. This person stated that I was clearly writing my story wrong. I thought  this was ambiguous as they were looking at the first chapter of my story and did not know how the other chapters would proceed. This person proceeded to rewrite my story the way he/she had decided my story should go, with out any regard to my characters personalities, the setting, the dialog, nor the expectations of the world I had built for them. When he/she was done, there was nothing left of my story, but rather a story of his/her own making with my characters names and the scene I had set.
At first I was livid, but later I laughed and felt sorry for this person. He/she stated, in the comments after the critique, that many others had been upset because he/she had basically rewritten everyone's stories for them. It was apparent to me that if he/she had time to rip apart other peoples stories, then perhaps it was time for him/her to find a different creative outlet. The damage he/she could inflict upon new writers could be devastating. Telling an author that their writing style, world, and characters were not going to be good enough, and then inflicting one's own ideals upon that author, could damage their determination and ability to write. I very kindly explained to this person that this was the case and asked them to please not damage any young writers who were new to the world of creating books.

My point in telling you these stories is simply for the understanding that although intentions may be good, if an author is going to put themselves out there and trust you with their writing, everyone has an obligation to build up that author, no matter how terrible the manuscript may be. Find the good along with the bad. Give suggestions in a careful, truthful, and delicate manner. It is hard to share our work, so respect it. If it is terrible, tell us so, but do it with respect, and give us the encouragement to go on and try again. And never, ever, ever rewrite someones work for them, telling them they did it wrong and that what you have to say is better than anything they could do.

One last example of this: I critiqued a manuscript for someone I had met recently, and I could tell that he/she had put a lot of work into this story. However, there was a large section in the middle that dragged so much that I was forcing myself to read through it. I gave myself headaches trying to make myself read it. When I got through those 100-ish pages, the story picked up again and I loved it. Now, knowing the time and effort this person had put into his/her story, I was very nervous and had to think hard about how to approach telling him/her that this section was not fun to read, and that if I hadn't promised to critique the work, this section would have made me put down the book and not read on. So after some consideration and several rewrites of my comments, I told her the truth (note: no matter how hard it is, you have an obligation to tell an author the truth about their work, or we can never make it better if we don't know it's bad.)
After I sent the work back, I felt like I had done the right thing, but I worried that this would affect any chance of us every becoming friends but I also knew that if I had a section in my book that dragged it down, I would rather that someone tell me. I had also pointed out what I loved about the book, suggestions on how to possibly avoid having this slow section, and some other thoughts on the topic. I was very much surprised to receive a reply from this person saying, "Oh, Rebecca, what a great blessing your insight is to me! No words could tell you how indebted I am to you for your advice ... Your comments are so excellent. Thank you!!!"

How glad I was that because I was honest, and despite having to tell this person that part of their story was not good, I had built them up with the good things about their MS and how impressed I was with their writing style. This person returned several emails to me asking specific questions and exchanging other ideas for this manuscript with me. We now have a working relationship in which we trust each other explicitly with our work. Had I simply pointed out that part in the middle that was so hard for me to get through, and never pointed out how wonderful everything else was, I could have destroyed this person's dream and their book.

We can build up or we can tear down. So choose wisely how you are going to critique another persons work. It can have a greater impact than even you may ever know!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B: Building Blogs

I admit that I have found myself amazed at how many people don't know how to build a blog. I realize there are several domains in which to build a blog (blogger, Wordpress, etc) and that each one is different. But I have seen many, many people ask the question of how to build a blog and which domain to use. Well, I am not an expert, but I do know that I have heard the majority of the people say that while some look very professional, or have more options, Blogspot.com definitely is the most user-friendly.

Now the reason I'm going into this information is that I have been blogging (A personal blog) for more than 5 years and never had a problem setting up blog posts or customizing. I also built this blog (My author blog) just a few months ago. Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezey. And because of this I have actually had a number of people ask me if I can teach them how to build a blog. So I have written a step-by-step list of instructions for how I set up my blog so that those who have never blogged might be able to follow them and set up their own - if they so choose to do so. I have given my instructions to several people and they have had much success, so I'm going to share it with the world as a whole, here on my blog.

Therefore, here it is:


Ok, I'm going to walk you through this. If there is anything that doesn't make sense ask me to clarify and I'll be happy to do so.

It may seem like there is a lot of instruction here - but I am explaining very thoroughly and when you actually follow it, it will take you only a few minutes to do all the steps (five to ten minutes max!!)! I promise it's not as overwhelming as it looks :)

If you have any questions now or in the future about your blog - please let me know! I like being helpful and I'll explain anything you want!!

Step one:

If you have a gmail account this makes it very simple. Just sign in with your gmail account. If you don't have a gmail. Sign up for one - it's free and simple

Step 2:
When you sign in you will be in the home page. There is a button that says "New Blog" click this button

It will ask you for a blog title and what you want your blog address to be (this can be anything from your name to something you love - go look at mine for an example if you like RebeccaLamoreaux-AnAuthorInProgress.blogspot.com)

Then choose a template (note: if you want to put a different design/photo on the back - which I will explain how to do later - you probably want to choose the "Picture Window" template)

Then you click "Create Blog"

CONGRATULATIONS - YOU HAVE A BLOG!!! 
(see, told you it was simplel)

Now to customize your blog (note: if you ever go to look at your blog and need to change anything on it, in the upper right hand corner it says "design" and if you click that it will always take you back to your blogger home where you can click on your blog name and customize/change/edit anything you want at any time.

LAYOUT

Step one:
Click blog name and then on the left hand side choose the button for "Layout"
Once in there you will see a bunch of square boxes which is literally the layout of your blog. Go to Header and click on the "edit" button in the lower right hand corner
Obviously you already created the blog title, but you can put in a small description which will appear under your Title (you can change these at any time)
and then add a photo of whatever you want for your blog.
Choose the placement (mine is behind the title and description, But you can experiment with this all you want. (I have a lot of links to other author blogs that you can go look at for more ideas)
Save this and the box will close

Note: If you want to look at your blog periodically to see how it's coming along you can click the button along the top that says "view blog" to get back to your design page click the "design" on the upper right

Step Two: (if you don't want to choose a backdrop, but rather would use one the templates blogger already sets up for you, skip this step completely)
If you want a cute background I hightly suggest thecutestblogontheblock.com
 Choose "backdrops" from her drop down bar across the time and choose "blogspot" then you will see a bar that says "blogger backgrounds" and has a dropdown menu that says "select catagory" You can look through her numerous pages of blog backdrops - they are all free. Seriously - got to town! Find what you want - and remember you can change it at any time!
When you find the one you want, click on it (don't use the 3 column version) and it will explain exactly how to make it your backdrop for your blog.
Follow her instructions and TADA you have a cute backdrop!  (when they say post the code it means to copy the text from the text box below the instructions and paste it into the box your blogger provided for you)
If you ever want to change the backdrop, instead of setting up another html link, you just edit the one on the blog (a new box will appear in your layout and you click edit and change the text box code to the new one each time)

Step Three:
If you want people to be able to follow your blog, receive emails when you write new posts, see what blogs you follow, find your previous posts, or any combo of these things (and more) then do this -
click on "Add a gadget" and scroll down the list looking for things like "follow by email" or "Followers" they also have things like "popular posts" and other fun things you can choose. These will show up on the side of your blog allowing people to follow your blog (I highly recommend this one) or find posts they like, etc. But you choose what you would like here (again, you can look through my blog and my followed blogs for ideas)

Step Four:
In the Layout Page there is a box for "Blog Posts"
this is specifically for how you want your posts to display - this is not where you write posts. You can click on edit and tweak it however you like.


TEMPLATE

next for the template area (honestly you won't use this much but it's good to know what it is for when you do need it)
I only use this tab to change the color the header and the title so that they show up against the backdrop and the picture.

Step One:

In the blogger home - in your blog page - choose the 'Template" button on the left side. They have all kinds of designs for you if you choose to use one of them instead of getting a different backdrop from the above mentioned "the cutest blog on the block" site.
At the top of the page is shows a little window that says "live on blog" above it. Under it there is a button that says "Customize" click this button

Step Two:

This should have opened a new section completely with a two inch gray bar on top and showing your blog under it.
on the top gray bar, on the left there is 5 buttons. you probably will not use the first two at all unless you are using a blogger template. The third button is "Adjust Widths" you probably want to play with this a bit to see what is going to work for the view you are trying to get for your blog. Just slide it back and forth until it looks right to you.

Step Three:

You won't use the "layout" button either since you do that directly through your blog design
but the fifth button is "Advanced" click this button.
Here is where you can change the colors/fonts of the header, title, blog posts, etc. Have fun :)
When you are done playing with colors, Click the top right button that says "apply to blog" then choose the top right button that says "Back to Blogger" and you are done with template


SETTINGS

In the "Settings" section you really only need to use "Basics" and "Posts and Comments"

Step One:
In the "Basics" tab under "settings" this is mostly just if you want to allow others to post on your blog or decide to change your blog address. Honestly I never really use this page except that I had to add my second email to my "Blog Authors" section here so I could post from either email. It could be useful and it basically self explanatory

Step Two:
Under the "Posts and Comments" tab under "Settings" You are going to Choose who can comment on your post
"Who can Comment?" is your choice what you choose - but if you choose "only members of this blog" it will now allow your readers and fans of your book to find your blog. And they will probably want to be able to follow you and read about you once they read your awesome book! So I suggest one of the top two choices here
"Comment Moderation" should be at "Never"
"Show Word Verification" you want this at "No" or people get frustrated and stop commenting on your posts
then choose "save settings" in the upper right hand corner


And now - last but not least - your posts!!!

Step One:
On the top of the page there is a button with a pencil on it. When you scroll over it it should say "Create New post" click this button
Enter a post title
and then write whatever you want!! YAY this is the fun part!!

You can add links (like where to buy your book), insert picture, change the font, etc

Step Two:
If you want to create a bunch of posts at once but don't want them to all upload at once there is a button on the right hand side that says "schedule" where you can set the time and date you want each post to appear
Or you can simple choose "save" at the top and they are saved as drafts. (when you save a draft it keeps you on this page. To get back to your design home page go to the the top left where it has the name of your blogg followed by "Post" - just click the name of your blog and it will take you home!)
If you want to post them then click the "Publish" Button

Step Three:
If you want to find your posts, tweak them, or post the drafts that you have waiting, go to your blogger home/design page and click on "Posts" on the left hand side.
This will show all your posts and as you scroll over them you can choose to edit, view, delete, or post them


Now - got to "View Blog" and enjoy how amazing your work looks :)
remember, if you want to tweak anything use the "design" button on the top right to return to your working blog page.

THAT'S IT~~~~ YOUR DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOORAY!!!

I really hope this had been super helpful and really easy too.
Enjoy and let me know when your blog is up and running so I can follow it. You should also follow my blog. This is done by clicking the "follow" button on the right hand side of my blog and verifying your a real person :)

Let me know if you have any questions and how it goes!

Monday, April 1, 2013

A: Authors I admire

My admiration goes out to all of you today. To each and every one of you who have pushed through thick and thin to reach your goals.

The reason I am saluting you today is because of the inspiration you are to the rest of us, who have for years gone through the things that you have already done. Your books, and your joy at having your books, gives hope to the rest of us that one day our books will join yours on the bookshelves in stores and in the world of Kindle and Nook.

So here's to you and your books - to the endless time and effort of editing, critiquing,  rewriting, and sometimes killing off your babies. Here's to knowing when you have to cut out your favorite scene, and knowing how your characters will react in any situation. Here's to the many queries and the frustration of rejections, to slogging through writing a synopsis, and to the joy of seeing your book in print.

Thank you for showing us that our dreams can become realities, and for writing books that entertain us to no end!

Authors who Inspire me:
Julianne Donaldson
J.K. Rowling
Robin McKinley
Donna Hatch
Gail Carson Levine
Jane Austen
Chantele Sedgwick
Megan Whalen Turner
James Owen

And many, many others in my critique groups, Facebook groups, and blogging groups who I have watched achieve their dreams and cheered them on. Thanks for showing us it can be done!