Friday, December 13, 2013

#CritFest: Krista Wayment

Name or Pen Name: Krista Wayment
Genre: MG Science Fiction
Word Count: approximately 38,000

What you hope your CP will do for you:
I want honest feedback—good and bad. The bad feedback (aka what isn't working) is more helpful to me then the praise. I want comments and corrections all over my MS so it can be its very best.

Why someone would want you to be their CP:
I have lots of opinions and I'm not afraid to share them. I like to give comments about what I am thinking and how I am reacting to the story. I'm good at spotting issues with the flow of the narrative and in appropriate POV shifts. I'll give it to you straight.

I'd love to answer any questions you have about me and my writing. So, hit me with your best one :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

About Me...

I am a (mostly) Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction author.

Right now I am probably typing away at my computer crafting or polishing one of my soon to be masterpieces. I might also be helping my writer friends come up with great taglines and titles (wish the super power would work on my own stuff). I also like to play around with making book covers for my incomplete works :)

You can learn more about my by checking out my website.

Since my website (and event his blog) already have bios on them--I thought I would share some random (hopefully humorous) facts about myself.

1. I'm an introvert and therefore often hide from social interaction. Except when I want to be social then somehow I turn into this uber fun outgoing person. Who knew?

2. When I first read the Prydain Chronicles it was because my roommate recommend them. I remember getting to the end of a particularly emotional chapter which ended with the question of whether or not one of my favorite characters was going to survive. Instead of reading on--I paused to find my roommate and inform her that if the character died I would never speak to her again. Two paragraphs into the next chapter I found out the character was okay. I found my roommate again and told her--"We're good, he's okay." Yeah--I'm that into reading :)

3. I've read my favorite book The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley like seven times. And my first attempt at a novel--may or may not have been my version of it :)

4. I skipped reading Middle Grade when I was kid. I basically went straight to Adult because that was where the good Science Fiction and Fantasy one. Rediscovered the age group as an adult. I loved it so much I thought I would take a crack at writing. And you know what--I love that too.

5. I'm funny about numbers. I like even numbers, 3 and it's multiples, 5 and it's multiples. I'm not a big fan of prime numbers--except seven. It causes me a little heartburn when it comes to the numbers of chapters in my work. But I'm getting over it (not really but I like to pretend).

And on that note I think I will stop before I land on a number of interesting facts that isn't one of my fav numbers.

Any quirky questions you want to ask me?

An Explination

You may have noticed that my blog has gone a little stale. That's because I am focusing on writing. At some point I would like to re-envision my blog--but that will have to wait for a little while until life settles down.

Here are some things that are going on with my writing right now:
1. My MG Fantasy has been submitted to several agents and one publisher. Still waiting to hear.
2. My MG Science Fiction has been entered in Pitch Wars. I find out Wednesday if I made it.
3. My next project on the list is an MG Fantasy for girls. Don't want to give away too much--but the narrator is a cat.
4. My next next project will probably be a YA Science Fiction for girls with a anime feel to it.

I hope to be able to post every once in a while with updates. On the mean time check out my website:

Monday, August 12, 2013

SWITCHED by Cassie Mae Cover Reveal

Today I am helping a writerly friend with her cover reveal.

Cassie Mae redefines the New Adult genre with a novel that answers the eternal question: What do you do when you’re head-over-heels for your best friend’s guy?

Ever since high school, Kayla has been crazy for gorgeous football player Talon. But before she could muster the courage to tell him, he became a hot item with her beautiful BFF, Reagan. The only person who knows Kayla’s secret is Wesley, Talon’s best bud—and he’s got it bad for Reagan. Now they’re all in college together, hanging out 24/7. For Kayla, seeing the two lovebirds together is absolutely unbearable. So Kayla and Wesley hatch a plot to drive them apart. But time is ticking and they must act now, before Talon gives Reagan the Christmas gift she’s been waiting for.

Sure enough, the once-happy couple is fighting, Reagan suddenly can’t get enough of Wesley’s goofy sense of humor, and Talon seems to be paying more attention to Kayla than a guy who’s “just a friend” ever should. But something just isn’t right. Then Kayla and Wesley accidentally spend a night together, and discover a hitch they never considered: that switching partners may not lead to a perfect ending after all.

About the Author
Cassie Mae is a nerd to the core from Utah, who likes to write about other nerds who find love. She’s the author of the Amazon Bestseller REASONS I FELL FOR THE FUNNY FAT FRIEND, and is the debut author for the Random House FLIRT line with her New Adult novels FRIDAY NIGHT ALIBI and SWITCHED. She also has a three book deal with Swoon Romance Publishing, including her book HOW TO DATE A NERD. She spends time with her angel children and perfect husband who fan her and feed her grapes while she clacks away on the keyboard. Then she wakes up from that dream world and manages to get a few words on the computer while the house explodes around her. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with the youth in her community as a volleyball and basketball coach, or searching the house desperately for chocolate.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Note on Literary Agents

I am considering submitting to a handful of agents before self-publishing my WIP. So I started working on writing a query. And man is it a difficult task. With so many queries for agents to dig through you really have to find a way to stand out, represent your work, and catch their interest.

While taking a break for the arduous task of query writing - I started research agents. I did a search on Google for "middle grade fantasy literary agents" and started reading through bios.

Umm.... yawn.

So is it wrong of me to think that if I as a writer have to put in all this work to craft the perfect query that will catch you attention and draw you in - that maybe you should put more effort into your bio then just a list of your credentials and what you want to get queries for?

I read one agents bio that kept me laughing through the whole thing. It showed spunk and personality and I immediately thought - I want to work with this guy. (He is currently number one on my list).

After some thought I have decided to use this agents bio as the standard. I will not submit to any agents that have dry bones boring bio's with not personality. Just like they wouldn't read a query that was a list of events with no voice.

What do you think? Do agent bios need a little more umph?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Should Authors Review Books?

Michelle Argyle, a writerly aquantence of mine started (or rather joined) an interesting conversation about Authors reviewing books.

This got me to thinking. How do I feel about the whole subject? So here are my personal thoughts.

As writers, we read. So we are consumers of books. Some may argue that we also 'professionals' in the world of writing and books (especially as published) so we should not comment on the works of others. However, I take a different point of view.

First of all - I always review books from a readers stand point, not a writers. Yes I do make comments about how well 'written' I think the book was. But you don't have to be a writer to be able to see the quality of writing. Secondly - I never bash. And finally - I am always honest. I think of reviews as if a friend had asked me - how did you like that book - do you think I should read it/buy it?

No imagine that your friend asked you this question about a book for which you knew the author. You knew your friend well enough to know that she would not like the book and would find it a waste of time and money. Would you tell her to get the book? Say another friend asks you about a different book (to which you also know the author). But in this situation you did not like the book at all. You felt the focus was too much on the action and not on the characters. So you tell your him to read it. Why? Because that is the kind of book he loves to read.

Do you see where I am going?

What really helped me nail down my feelings on this subject came from my 'other job' - computer programming. I am a computer programming professional and am often called on by many to review, rate, or recommend both software and hardware. Do I decline because I am a professional in that field? Nope. I give my honest feedback and the best recommendation I can. But here is the difference - I comment on the work and the value of the product. Not on the developer or company. So I will take the same approach to reviewing books.

It is perfectly fine for me to like or not like a book - even as a writer or author. And it is fine for me to share that opinion as long as I don't degrade to attacking the author. And I share my honest opinion of the book.

What do you think? Am I way off base?

P.s. Star ratings are a scale, not an either or. Three stars means they liked it. So you can get a good review and a three start rating. Rant over.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Query Hook for Trusted, a Poll

Okay, so I am playing around with writing a query for my current work in progress: Dragons' Trust Book One: Trusted. I figure I can either use it to find an agent or adapt it to a book blurb based on my final traditional/indie decision. And... I need your help. Below are some options for my opening paragraph - or hook. Which do you like best?

Do you find writing queries to be a daunting task?

Monday, July 1, 2013

What Genre do you write?

I love it when someone asks a writer what genre they write - and the response is "YA" or "MG"

YA and MG in and of themselves are not genres. It is an age category, as is state on wikipedia. (Yes I know it is not the greatest source ever, but it works for me.)

Imagine I am a potential reader. I am terrible at remembering names and titles, not to mention my short comings as a speller. I meet you at your sons fifth birthday party and we get to talking. I find out that you write and have published a few books. Excitedly I ask what genre you write (so that I can look you up). To which you reply, YA.

The next day I go to the bookstore thinking to myself, I want to read that one persons books that I met at the party yesterday. So I head to the (massive) YA section. There are three decent length shelves with YA books filling every inch. They are subdivided into category (such as contemporary, sci-fi, and fantasy). I ponder to myself - what kind of YA did they write? Well I remembered that the book had something to do with a rose, or the title was rose or something. And the authors name was Something Somethingson.

Bravely I start at one end of the first shelf and start browsing. By the end of my journey I have picked up three books to purchase. None of which are yours.

Consider for a moment if you had said - I write YA Urban Fantasy. That is say two little sections of shelf in the book store. Again I leave the store having bought three books - this time all yours.

When someone asks what genre you write - they want to know specifically, in fact I wouldn't mind if some responded like this:

I write upper middle grade fantasy books that mostly feature magic and/or dragons and are set in medieval like worlds.

What genre do you write

Friday, June 21, 2013

101 Ways to Avoid Writing

  1. Outline a new shiny idea
  2. Look for stock photos for the cover
  3. Make a cover
  4. Build a book website
  5. Build an author website
  6. Revamp your blog
  7. Make a post about ways to avoid writing
  8. Do beta reading
  9. Check Facebook
  10. Make another cover
  11. Draw a map
  12. Make a name generator
  13. Check Facebook again
  14. Make a glossary 
  15. Write character bio's for any and all characters mentioned in your book
  16. Day dream about book two
  17. Make another cover
  18. Check Facebook again
  19. Log into twitter
  20. Make a quiz
  21. Update your to be read list on Goodreads
  22. Make a book trailer
  23. Vote on lists on Goodreads
  24. Look at covers on Goodreads
  25. Make another cover
  26. Outline another shiny new idea
  27. Check Facebook again
  28. Tweak your book trailer
  29. Look up agents
  30. Write a short story to submit to an anthology or magazine
  31. Talk with writerly friends
  32. Brainstorm ideas for writerly friends' projects
  33. Start a list of shiny new ideas
  34. Make a book cover for your shiny new idea
  35. Make a title page
  36. Research making your own font
  37. Try to make your own font
  38. Check Facebook again
  39. Read a book
  40. Watch lectures on YouTube about writing
  41. Look up old writer friends on Facebook
  42. Research stuff on Google related to a different project
  43. Research self publishing
  44. Look up publishers
  45. Celebrate a fellow authors success (happy dances may be required)
  46. Read a book to your kids
  47. Draw a picture of a dragon
  48. Check Facebook again
  49. Revamp your Facebook author page
  50. Change your online profile picture
  51. Make another book cover
  52. Start writing a children's book series
  53. Research cover artists online
  54. Look for a professional editor
  55. Do more beta reading
  56. Join another critique group
  57. Look into writing conferences
  58. Attend a writing conference
  59. Stair at your keyboard
  60. Make a list of steps you need to take to finish your book
  61. Write your "About the Author" page
  62. Write your book blurb
  63. Write a query
  64. Compose your dedication page
  65. Make another cover
  66. Browse the covers on
  67. Check Facebook again
  68. Tweet something about writing
  69. Think up a new idea for a blog about dragons
  70. Design your blog about dragons
  71. Write a blog post about something writing related, like critique groups
  72. Make cupcakes
  73. Eat cupcakes
  74. Check Facebook again
  75. Make a plan to get the next chapter done
  76. Stair at keyboard
  77. Finish the obligations that keep distracting you from writing
  78. Do more beta reading
  79. Discuss what you have been writing with your spouse
  80. Discuss what you have been reading with your spouse
  81. Make up a character based on someone you know
  82. Make pen names from anagrams
  83. Play around with story and name generators you find on the internet
  84. Plan out blog posts for the next year
  85. Avoid writing blog posts by checking Facebook again
  86. Take a nap
  87. Research medieval weapons of war
  88. Figure out how to make the dream you had last night into a book
  89. Look for pictures of your main characters
  90. Look up a place you would like to visit on Google Earth
  91. Turn off your computer and search for your note book
  92. Turn the computer back on so you can check Facebook
  93. And you might as well check Twitter too
  94. Make a Pintrest board for your book
  95. Make a Pintrest board of book covers
  96. Make another book cover
  97. Decide to do your own cover art
  98. Research cover artists online
  99. Reorganize or rearrange your writing work space
  100. Make a wish list of books on Amazon
  101. Check Facebook one more time

Friday, June 7, 2013

My thoughts on Critique Partnerships

Lately I have been searching for good critique partners. The search is going well but has had its ups and downs and frustrations. So critiquing has been on my mind lately and of course around the web-verse. (See Brandon Sanderson's thoughts on writing groups and this great post about critiques.

So here are some of my personal thoughts. I phrased them as if I am talking to "you" - the potential, current, or past critique partner.

Please understand that I have drawn this list from personal experiences as well as research and the experiences of others. Also it is my personal requirements for critique partners. Not everyone is looking for the same thing.

8 Reasons I want to be your CP

  1. You don't take it personally. You listen to everything I have to say, even the stupid irrelevant stuff, and don't take it personally. You appreciate my honesty.
  2. You recognize that my suggestions are just that - suggestions. You discard at least some of what I say because it is not my story - it is yours.
  3. Our opinions differ on some things. And I should add that we are okay with it and still get along. Differences of opinion can spark many an idea and highlight areas that need improvement (or clarification).
  4. I enjoy reading your work. your voice, your style, or the stories you tell. It makes critiquing less of a chore and looking for the little details easier. When I am in a better mood - my comments are not as snarky.
  5. You like what I write. In the basics - not like - ooooo it is so ready to publish right now! But overall you like reading what I write.
  6. You realize that you can learn as much from me, as I can from you. Learning from each other is one of my favorite benefits of critique partnerships.
  7. Reading through your comments gets me excited to write. After reading your feedback (good and bad) I can't wait to get back to work on my project. I itch to fix that problem, and glow over that prose you found so engrossing.
  8. Reading your work gets me excited to write. Reading something that sparks my imagination always gets me thinking about my own writing. No matter if the works are related or not, reading good writing makes me want to produce good writing.

8 Reasons I won't be your Critique Partner

  1. You can't handle the truth. In order for me to help you, I have to tell you the truth. Sometimes I won't like something. Or I will get confused. Or my opinion of a certain passage or character will not match yours. I am telling you my honest opinion. I won't sugar coat it for you.
  2. You think everything I say is gospel. I am no more qualified to identify what makes great writing then you are. Just because I make a suggestion or a comment - doesn't mean you have to do it. I am just offering ideas and suggestions. I won't be offended if you totally disregard what I say. After all it is your story.
  3. You think everything you say is gospel. Basically ditto to number 2 - just in reverse.
  4. You feel the need to respond to my comments. This can either be defensively, or in an attempt to explain. If you are getting defensive please read number 2. If you are trying to explain - don't explain it to me. Explain it to the reader. I like the Brandon Sanderson says that the writer can't speak when others are giving feedback.
  5. You take more then you give. I don't mean that equal give and take needs to be the case all the time. We all are at different points in our lives. I mean from the perspective of attitude. Are you going into this partnership only looking at what you can get out of it? Or what you can give as well?
  6. You are afraid to be brutal. Trust me, I can take it. I want you to be brutal. That is how I learn and grow as a writer. Give it to me straight and I will sort though everything and decide what is best for my story.
  7. You don't read my genre. There is some wiggle room on this one. But mostly, I find the most helpful suggestions come from people who read my genre. Especially since I write fantasy. This is because people who read fantasy have certain expectations (or lack there of). We are just kind of like that and it is hard to explain to non-fantasy readers.
  8. I don't read your genre. Chances are if I don't read your genre - it is probably because I don't like it. And so I will be slanted that way from the beginning - just because I don't usually read your genre. This can also go for point of view and writing style, but on a lesser degree. It's nothing personal. It's just my preference as a reader.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Some Randomness about Numbers

I have this little quirk. I am weird about numbers. I like certain numbers and hate other numbers.

Numbers I like

  • Even Numbers
  • 5
  • Multiples of 5
  • Numbers with 8 in them
  • 3
  • Multiples of 3

Numbers I don't Like

  • Any number that does not fall into the above parameters
  • Numbers that have all the same digit. Like 22, 33, 444 and so on
  • Numbers that end with 3
  • Any other number I decide not to like

So now that you know this totally random and inconsequential (although hopefully interesting) tidbit about myself -

Do you have any little quirks?

Friday, May 31, 2013

What I Have Learned about Writers Block

Writers block, I think is different for everyone. It can have different causes and different remedies. Lately I have been struggling a lot with blockages and attempting to get through them. I thought I would share what I learned about my own personal writers block in case it is of any use to you.

Writers Block Cause #1: Exhaustion

If my brain or body or anything is tired - I can't write. I think it is because it requires energy to perform mental tasks (if only it burnt calories too!)

The Remedy
Sleep. Plain and simple. (However getting that sleep is not always that straight forward.)

Writers Block Cause #2: Stage Fright

This is the only title I could come up with for this cause. By 'stage fright' - I mean that feeling when you are getting ready to write (or revise) a very important scene and you are afraid it is going to fall flat. This what has been plaguing me the most lately.

The Remedy
Skip it and move on to something else. This is actually very difficult for me because I like to write and revise from start to finish. But learning to skip and move on is helping me power through the blocks.

Writers Block Cause #3: Disenchanted Feelings

This can be either losing interest or falling out of love with you WIP. Luckily this has not happened to me with this project (but it has happened in the past).

The Remedy

Shelve it. Forcing yourself to work on something that does not inspire you is going to be painful and will not be your best work. Set it aside and give it time to rest. Maybe all you need is a little distance.

Writers Block Cause #4: Shiny New Idea

When a new idea sparks your imagination it can be hard to continue with your current project. This is another thing that has been blocking me lately. I am still in love with my WIP - but this pesky new idea keeps nagging me.

The Remedy

Indulge yourself. I set a writing goal - and once I have met it I let myself work on my shiny new idea for a set amount of time. That way the shiny new ideas becomes a very tempting carrot and encourages me to make it through the block.

Writers Block Cause #5: Over Thinking

This kind of goes with stage fright. But is more a block because you don't know what to write and can't get the rusty wheels in your head to start turning and give you inspiration.

The Remedy

Distraction. I go onto iWriteNetwork to chat with writerly friends. Check facebook, turn on the TV, or even write a blog post :)

What have you learned about writers block from your own struggles

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Rules of Writing Part 4: Good Writing vs. Great Writing

First let me apologize about the tardiness of this post. It has been weighing on my mind and I was not sure how to proceed.

In Part 1 of this series I talked about three categories that the rules of writing fall under. In Part 2 I talked about best practices and in part 3 I talked about personal preferences.

This final installment I will discuss the final category - good writing versus great writing.

Great Writing

  • Avoid using adverbs
  • Have a tight POV
  • Avoid using passive voice
  • Avoid 'be' verbs
  • Show don't tell
  • Avoid cliches

The above list of 'rules' are some things that you can do to take your writing from good to great. Now, don't get me wrong, adverbs, passive voice, cliches and the like all have their place in our writing. We just need to be sure not to use them in excess.

Part of the reason it took me so long to write this installment of the series is because I kept trying to think of rules that made great writing. The above are some that I came up with. But you know what - they don't necessarily make your writing great.

So what does make writing great?

I thought back to some of my all time favorite books - the ones that I have read over and over again. I also thought of books whose popularity have stood the test of time. And you know what, they had three things in common:

Really Great Writing

  • Tell a great story
  • Have memorable characters
  • Connection with and inspire the reader

Now, I don't think there are any 'rules' of writing that can teach us or help us to do these things. I think it comes with practice and experience. We need to learn the craft of forming words into sentences, sentences into chapters, and chapters into books. But more importantly we need to craft ourselves as story tellers. That is what makes great writing.

What do you think makes great writing?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Insight (Beholders Book 1): A Review and a Giveaway

I am trying something new on my blog. I am going to do book reviews. It won't be a constant thing. Just when I read a book by one of my writerly friends I will review it here as well as on Goodreads. I also occasionally review books on and the Barnes and Noble website.

My reviews on Goodreads will tend to be brief and give a general idea of my feelings of the book. The reviews I will post on my blog will be more in depth. If you rather see the short version - just follow the link below.

Insight (Beholders Book 1) by Terron James

For more awesomeness check out the blog tour schedule

And don't miss out on the give away: a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a review of the second edition. I also reviewed the first edition.
Rating (out of 5):    
My Rating/Reviewing MO
Goodreads Page
Goodreads Review
Authors Webpage
Publishers Webpage
Recommended For: Every fantasy lover, suitable for all ages.

About the Book

See the Goodreads page (link above).

Pending Stars

When I finish the series this book has the potential to earn an additional star.

The Good

I really think the magic system in the Beholders world is cool. Beholders (the magic wielders) use something called "True Sight" to see and manipulate the worlds energies. James has really thought of some cool ways that this power can manifest itself. (I admit I got a sneak peak at some of the stuff from book two - I know you are jealous - and it is just as awesome.)

There are a lot of interesting little details here and there that bring the world to life. Things like the design of two of the major cities. The kings cross. The history of the world and the individuals in it, and how they are all connected (again some sneak peak knowledge helped there two). There are also some cool engineering tidbits and contraptions that are quite interesting. I won't go into details, because it would spoil it.

The very end has an awesome hock that will make you want to pick up the second book right away.

The righting is good, smooth. There is a fairly tight execution of POV which is important to me. The description is enough that I get a picture in my head but not so bothersome that I get distracted from the story (an improvement from the first edition. Also the back story is worked in well (not really any data dumps). And in most cases is handle expertly. There are still a few patches where events are summed up instead of played out (the old show vs. tell adage).

The Bad

I had three major issues with book:
  • It is about the world, not the characters
  • Some of the events I was most excited to see were skipped and referred to later.
  • The end fell short

I will cover each of these in more detail.

1. It is about the world, not the characters
First of all, this is not in and of itself a bad thing. I just personally prefer to read (and write) stories that are about individual characters. When I read the first edition I found it hard to connect with a specific character and care about their plight. When reading the book again I found it more difficult. For me, in the first half we are worried about Lon and his plight. But then that changes to the big world picture and we no long know who to root for. It kind of lost me a little.

2. Some of the events I was most excited to see were skipped and referred to later.
Often, one scene or chapter would end with the tantalizing promise of what lay ahead - only to have the event skipped over or summarized latter. It was a real let down. I also remember thinking to myself - more then once - when some event was referred to: I would have liked to see that instead of just hearing the characters talk about it. This by no means ruins the book. I think for me it goes back to number 1. The scenes were skipped because they did not contribute to the overall world story line - but I would have liked to see the character development that the scenes would have shown.

3. The end fell short
For me, the end fell short. Well, except the very end that has an awesome hook that makes you want to pick up book two right away. I don't want to give too much away. But a certain characters actions did not make sense to me. I could not see the change in view point or the reasons for the change. Also I thought some of the characters reactions to events at the end were both preemptive and excessive. I did not see how easily relationships like that would just fall apart. Again - this is a character thing for me.


Overall this book is a good fantasy read, and I can recommend it to those who are looking for just such a thing. I think this book would appeal to children and adults. It is also clean and free of fowl language. A big plus in my book. So be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How to be Lonely in a Crowded Community

Writing for me has always been a release. I need a release today - so I am going to share my thoughts on something that some (but probably not all) of you can relate to.

Being lonely in a crowd.

Now if you are an extravert, you may be baffled by what I mean. But those of you who are introverts, don't need an explanation.

The following are some thoughts and feelings I have had over the past several years as I try to find my place in the writing community. Mostly this stems from still feeling like I don't fit in, despite my best efforts.

How to be Lonely in a Crowded Community

  1. Be different. Yes, I know, being a writer means you are inherently different. But I mean being different within the writing community. Here are some examples of how I am different:
    • I love prologues. No ands, ifs, or buts.
    • I like adverbs and will use them as I please.
    • I like dialog tags, and more specifically ones that are not 'said.'
    • I hate present tense.
    • I don't care for first point of view at all.
    I have noticed something about human nature. We tend to gravitate to people who think and feel the same as we do. So going against the grain has a way of isolating us.
  2. Express your different opinions. I am extremely opinionated. I think what I think and that is how I think. It takes a lot to change my mind. Especially about trivial, subjective things like those listed above. I believe in the free exchange of ideas, that is how we learn about the world around us and grow as people. This exchange requires that each person can express their opinion without being judged, and in return listens to the opinions of others without judging. I won't say I am perfect at this, but I try really hard.

    I think the problem in the writing community is that we pour our heart and souls into our writing (that is how me make it great, right?). And so it is hard to detach our emotions from the thoughts and feelings of other.

    This all goes back to that human nature thing. We tend to gravitate to those people who agree with us. Disagreeing sets us apart.

  3. Be Unique. Our nature is to avoid and even fear that which is different or that we do not understand. So being unique, though very important as a writer, can have side effects. Unique people find it hard to find people who are like them enough to form bonds of friendship and association. Being unique in a crowd can be very lonely.

The Moral of the Story

Be different. Express your different opinions. Be unique.

Wait, how does that solve the problem of being lonely in a crowded community, you ask? Did I ever say that being lonely was a problem? I don't believe I did. We should never give up ourselves to fit in. That is a lesson that took me years to learn, and which I often forget.

But being lonely is still hard, especially when you are surround by a sea of people you think you should fit into. And how do we over come that? I don't know. I am still searching for that answer. If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Do you feel lonely in the crowded writing community? How do you combat or accept that feeling of loneliness?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

yWriter It Is

So I tried out a few other writing programs (Liquid Story Binder and Page Four to be exact). I did not use them for long. Just played around with them a bit. But I decided that I already knew I would go with either yWriter or Scrivener.

As you can tell by the title of this blog post - I have decided to go with yWriter. And here is why:

1. I like the layout and the user interface
2. I like being able to have multiple documents open at the same time
3. I like that it will read my work to me - right there
4. I like that I can highlight character names in a chapter
5. I like that I can see instantly the word count for each chapter as well as the over all document (without any extra clicks)
6. I like that it is free. (Of course I plan to donate to the project with the some of the money I make from my first book).

The things I didn't like (or liked better in Scrivener):
1. No spell check suggestions
2. Formatting (aka "Compile") options

I think I can live without. So on to writing using yWriter! You should check it out.

What program(s) do you use when you write?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

yWriter, a Writing Software Review

So, as some of you may know - I have been trying out different writing software. I started with StoryBook (see my review). Then I tried yWriter. If you recall I liked yWriter better. After I finished the first draft of my WIP I downloaded the trial version of Scrivener to give it a try. As I always do better with reviews when I can compare two things, I will compare yWriter to my first impressions of Scrivener. Stay tuned for my full review of Scrivener.

I really enjoyed using yWriter. It has some great features. And from what I have seen so far, it has similar functionality to Scrivener. Although it does not have many cool exporting functions, which I personally don't mind.

My Favorite Features

  • It's Free
  • With the click of a button it will read your writing to you. Great for revising. (By the way, Scrivener does not have this feature.
  • Did I mention it is free?

What it is Lacking

  • Embedded spell checking. It tells you when a word is wrong but does not offer suggestions. I am a terrible speller so this was an issue for me. (Scrivener does).
  • You have to have a Chapter-Scene structure. I got around this by just having one scene per chapter. No big deal. But Scrivener has more flexibility in this area.

The Verdict

yWriter is on the list for my top 5. But since Scrivener is not to terribly expensive I may end up going with it. The big reason? I plan to self publish and Scrivener has some great export options for that. However, I do have a few more I would like to try before I decided for sure.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

An Interesting Thoughts on Piracy

I writer friend shared this with me today. I found it very interesting and wanted to share. I would add my thoughts but I think the link speaks for itself.

What do you think?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Truth about Prologues

(Yes, I had a typo in the title *blush*)

I don't really like debates or flaming wars. So I am usually cautious about the 'hot' topics that I post about. But I found one that I just could help but commenting on.


So I have heard that 50% or readers don't read prologues. Here is the thing though. I did an internet search and have talk to several people. In all the polls that I have scene the ratio seems much lower. More like 10%. I asked myself where did this statistic come from? I can find no evidence of any study or poll that has been done that matches this number. 

Please, if I am mistaken point me to the source of such an elusive statement.

I have also heard that agents don't like prologues. So I did some internet research on that topic as well.

I found that it is not prologues that are bad - but that poorly written prologues (like anything that is poorly written) are bad. 

And here are some references to support my claims: (mentions not to include a prologue - but then look at this post!

If you have other information/personal experience please share. As for me, I am going to believe that prologues are just like any other part of a book. Good if done right. Unless of course there is someone that can show me proof to the contrary.

Take away truth. Just because prologues are hard to do right - does not mean you should avoid them. If you believe that - then why are you writing? Writing is hard to do right too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Wisdom from a Writing Conferences: Essentials of Middle Grade

Jennifer Nielsen presented on the essentials of middle grade novels at the LDSStoryMakers conference.

What I Learned:

I can write middle grade. In fact my current WIP is a middle grade novel. The most important thing I learned is middle grade readers to not need to be talked down to or coddled. They can read about adult issue at a high reading level. Take for example that many middle grade readers are reading The Hunger Games.

How I Plan to Apply It:

I have decided to try my had at middle grade. It is a level that I kind of skipped over when I was that age. Of course that was probably because most fantasy and science fiction novels were in the adult section. I have read some middle grade novels recently and fell in love with it.

If all goes well - I may permanently be a middle grade writer :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Write. Be. - On the Road

Write. Be.

In fantasy - one of the most used and beloved formula's is the quest. The reader is taken on a journey in which the brave hero is tried and tested as he travels ever forward towards his ultimate goal.

Writing too is a journey.

One of my all time favorite books is Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander.

WARNING: Spoiler ahead!

In Taran Wanderer the main character Taran embarks on a quest to find his linage so that he may discover who he is, and what manner of man he is.

At the end he finds his ultimate goal - a magic mirror that will show him his true self. And then he learns that it was through the journey to the final end that he really found what he was looking for.

End of Spoiler

So being an Author is not a destination - it is a journey.

Each word we write is a stone in the path leading to the ultimate end of being an author. As we reach each milepost of our journey there is still more road to travel. More to learn, more to accomplish. It is along this journey that we will find who we truely are as writers.

Where are you in your journey?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Wisdom from a Writing Conference: Writing YA Novels

Janette Rallison gave some tips and tricks for writing YA novels at the LDSStoryMakers conference.

What I Learned:

I don't write YA. Really - I did learn that. I also learned a lot of tidbits that can be applied to all writing. Like that the reader should care about the characters and that the hero has to have a problem.

Also - girls read boy books but boys don't read girl books. So if you write a boy book you can hit the whole market. Actually - I realized I should have known that already since I read many a boy books growing up - and still do.

How I Plan to Apply It:

My current WIP is a Middle Grade novel target at boys. I think that a lot of what goes into YA is the same that goes into MG.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Write. Be. - Inspiration

Write. Be.

As a child I hated reading. Absolutely hated it. My mom would have to force me to sit down and do my reading school work. In 4th I was way behind in my reading level. Then I read The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. From then on I lived in the library. I read everything I could get my hands on. By the time I had finished 6th grade I was reading at a high school level. Way ahead.

The Boxcar Children inspired me to read.

I think I have always loved science fiction and fantasy. Growing up two of my favorite movies were The Last Unicorn and The Neverending Story 2 (side note - I did not read the books until I was much older). These movies captured my imagination and lead naturally into reading science fiction and fantasy.

The Last Unicorn and The Neverending Story 2 inspired me to love fantasy.

I have also always told stories. It started out as make believe and a natural love for talking. Shortly after I fell in love with reading I started to write my own stories. I still have the first one I ever wrote. It was about a mouse. I had been reading a lot of Brian Jacques at the time.

Reading inspired me to write.

What inspires you?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wisdom from a Writers Conference: The Hero's Journey

Annette Lyon presented the hero's journey as a formula for plot that can be applied to any genre (at the LDSStoryMakers Conference:

What I Learned:

The hero's journey has many parts and elements that when utilized as a plotting formula can create a varied set of story lines. Elements of the hero's journey can be find in most any story.

How I Plan to Apply It:

I currently don't have a "formula" that I follow for plotting. But by attending many sessions on plotting I am starting to develop my personal method for plotting. It will probably never follow a formula - but I feel that some day I will be able to quantify my method and apply to all my work.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Rules of Writing Part 3: Personal Preferences

In Part 1 of this series I talked about three categories that the rules of writing fall under. In Part 2 I talked about best practices. In this next installment I would like to talk about personal preference.

We all read different things. We all like different kinds of books and different writing styles. And often we as writers carry that over into our writing. So here is my list of 'writing rules' that I think really are just personal preference.

Personal Preferences

  • Only use 'said' for a dialog tag.
  • Avoid using Prologues
  • Do not use contractions (ie don't) outside of dialog.
  • Open with action.
  • Do not use fancy spelling in dialog to show dialect.
  • The first line has to hook the reader.

I would like to touch briefly on my feelings about each of these.

Personally, I like it when a writer mixes up using 'said' and puts in other things. It makes the writing more interesting and it can convey a lot about tone of voice and attitude in a single word.

I am a big fantasy buff. And in my opinion - in order to be a great fantasy book - you must have a prologue and a map. To be a good fantasy book you must have at least one of the two. Everything else is just so so. I know a lot of people say that people don't read prologues and you should avoid them like the plague. But I think 80 percent of the fantasy books I read have one. And I always read them. So I will continue to use prologues - and epilogues in my writing.

I do not use contractions in my narrative - I only use them in dialog. This is just a personal preference of mine. I think it makes the narrative stand out from the dialog and gives it a more polished feel.

Some really great books don't have any action in them at all. And I find that when a book opens with action and then back tracks to explain it - I get lost and confused. Opening with action can work - as long as the action is the start of the story and no back tracking is required. (In my humble opinion).

With using fancy spelling to show the way a person talks - I like that. Because it helps me understand how the character sounds - gives them a unique voice, and it can also convey a lot without having to slow down the pace to explain.

I remember very few first lines of books. And I give a book until 1/3rd of the way through before I decide to put it down. (Sometimes longer). So I don't feel that the first line has to be a spectacular hook. I just think the first chapter needs to be interesting and well written enough so that I don't want to put it down right away.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. What do you think? What are some of your personal preferences?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Write. Be. - Encouragement

Write. Be.

What gives you encouragement to keep writing?

I write because I enjoy telling stories, dreaming up ideas, creating worlds, building characters, and spinning words. But when things get tough - when finishing something seems so difficult - when I begin to think I will never be published - that is not enough.

Recently I told my mother about my current work in progress. She loved the idea and got really excited about it. That got me excited about it again and I can't wait to start working on it again. So that is one thing that encourages me - the excitement of my supporters.

But if I don't act on that renewed vigor to write right away - it fades. So currently I am in search of the things that make me want to write and keep me writing.

What keeps you writing?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Storybook, A Writing Software Review

Recently I have been trying out some different writing software. I don't want to pay a lot (don't have the budget and have a hard time justifying it when Microsoft Word will do). So I wanted to start with software that was free, or had a free version.

Thus Storybook. There is a pro version, but I only used the free version. Here are my thoughts:

The Good
-I liked how I could put everything into one place - my outline, characters, the actual manuscript text.
-While you are working on your scene, you can always see the description of the chapter - very helpful for keeping on track.
-You can divide your novel into parts, chapters, and scenes.
-You can enter items - something I had never thought about doing.
-You can assign scenes to different chapters - or un-assign them. This is great for keeping deleted scenes.
-There is decent, built in spell checking.

The Bad
-There is no word count feature (that I could find). Which means I had to copy and paste into word to get a word count.
-The free version does not have export options, so again - copy and paste into word.
-There are adds that take up a good chunk of the screen space. They aren't very annoying, just take up space.
-There seemed to be a lot of features I did not use. Maybe if I continued using it I would have explored those.

The next writing software that came on my radar was yWriter. I recently downloaded it and ported everything I had in Storybook over. Personally I am liking yWriter better already. So although Storybook was nice, I probably won't go back to it.

However, if you are looking for a writing software with quite a few nice features - I would give the free version a try and see if it fits your style.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Rules of Writing Part 2: Best Practices

In Part 1 of this series I talked of three area's that I feel the "rule's of writing" fall under. Today I would like to discuss the first of these categories - Best Practices.

Best Practices are a list of guidelines, or rules if you will, that a group of like minded individuals in a given field (aka writing or software development) follow. This is not because they must, but because they all agree it is best all around.

For example, in software development it is a best practice to name your class, functions, and variables something meaningful so that others can understand what they do/are. There is nothing forcing us to do this - we are just being nice to ourselves and others who might read our code.

Writing Rules that are really Best Practices

  1. Use dialog tags (but not too many and not too few - to identify who is speaking.
  2. Do not dump data on your reader, work back story in slowly.
  3. Be careful of when you use pronouns, especially when there is more then one 'he' or 'she' in the scene.
  4. Enter your rules here.

Hmm.. I could only think of a few. Anyway - these rules have something in common: they all help the reader keep track of what is going on. We don't what the reader to be constantly confused, not knowing who is doing or saying what. If they do get confused they won't be able to enjoy the story - in fact they may not finish it.

What do you think? Can you thing of any writing "rules" that could be labeled as best practices?