Monday Musings 3.18.19

I think sometimes it seems easier in this world if one’s dreams are slanted toward a visual platform. Singers, dancers, artists. All these can be easily portrayed in video and picture form, and it’s a platform built on who those people are.

Writing is similar, yet entirely different.

When you’re a writer, it isn’t your job to promote yourself, but to promote your books. That’s where it gets frustrating. Because how are we supposed to get people to understand how unique and amazing our characters are? How are we supposed to get undying fangirls (and boys) to pick up everything we write and love it all? Is it all up to a stroke of luck?

Most writers, in their own heads, are extroverts. We think “If I just had a decent platform, I could…”

The thing is, most writers aren’t given a decent platform. Some, even after they work to try to build their platform, don’t get anywhere. Writing is a work of love that doesn’t always end in benefits. And that’s tough on everyone.

If we wrote just for ourselves, we wouldn’t have these frustrations. However, writing as a whole is meant to be shared.  We’re terrified of putting our “babies” out there for the world to see because the world is harsher on our plots and characters than any song or artist or choreography that’s out there. No one can live up to that level of perfection.

Writers want love. We want our characters to find a home in the hearts of many, many people. We want them to love our characters as much as we do. And when we’ve done all we can do and know to do, it’s hard when that isn’t enough at the end of the day.

But don’t be too discouraged. I’m still there too. I have hopes and dreams that one day people will care about my characters, my books, and will invite me to events. I have hopes that more than seven people will buy my books one day. (And that someone I don’t know will actually pick up a book of mine and love it.)

If we really love what we’re doing, we shouldn’t give it up, no matter what. If we can’t live happily without it, why would we consider walking away?

I hope I’ve been an encouragement to someone today. Keep fighting and keep writing.

Monday Musings: January 21, 2019

At this moment, you can tell what the kiddos I’m watching had for every meal just by looking at my shirt.

Seriously. I have oatmeal on the back of my shoulder, yogurt on my sleeve, and ketchup somewhere in the vicinity of my midriff. No joke. I’m walking proof. (I’d add pictures but I have none.)

However, these traces of food got me thinking. (Go figure)

Shouldn’t the way I write be something like this? Instead of completely hiding something, or saying too much too soon, shouldn’t I leave traces in my story to let the reader start to theorize?

“Oh, what’s that stuck to her sleeve? Is it juice? Ice cream? Maybe yogurt? Did the kids have yogurt for breakfast?”

I think it’s an essential part of drawing in a reader, leaving a little to the imagination. I think each part of a backstory or tale we’re discovering should leave us feeling like we see the world in a whole new light. It should complicate things as well as clarify something in a way that makes us go “That means ____ had a whole different meaning behind it!”

Maybe it’s just me, but wouldn’t you read a book that has this going for it?

Today, let’s try to complicate and clarify. Let’s leave traces so our readers stay hooked and let’s discover what our characters are hiding. After all, you never know what they hda for breakfast until you look closely.

Monday Musings: January 14, 2019

There are a few things that annoy me in my writing. One of them is the way I write first drafts. Should every sentence begin with a “he”, “she”, or a character’s name. It seems terribly uncreative to me.

The problem arises when I start revisions. Let’s be real here, I hate revising as much as the next person. It is a necessary evil. However, as I go through my (usually splendid) writing, I find this common thread. Stupid names and pronouns.

I’m trying to find coping mechanisms, but it’s difficult when a small child clearly conveys his opinions and stories better than I do.

I know we’ve all been through it, but in reality it still hurts. I’m trying to be better, but feel as though I’ve regressed.

How about you? Do you have any weird writing habits you wish you could kick? I’d love to hear your stories about them.

As time is short today, I’ll leave you with one last thought. What fun would writing be if we didn’t grow during the process?

Hmm… I know I’ll be pondering that one all night long.

Why You Should Hide Fluff Inside Action

Something I have learned recently: hide fluff inside action.

Let me clarify. It isn’t exactly “hiding”, but rather inserting in the middle. Still confused? I’ll explain.

I have recently fallen down the K-Drama wormhole (don’t judge, we all have one quirky obsession), and it has actually been very good for my writing. Being a writer, I watch with an eye toward what the writers were thinking when they pieced the story together. One of the first things I noticed is how hard I began to ship characters. (For those of you who don’t speak the language of “ship”, let me know and I’ll write you a post.)

I digress. When I started to realize how squeal-worthy these shows were, I (naturally) began to dissect WHY. I discovered something particularly interesting.

Generally, when you learn to write, you start to break down what needs to happen into scenes and the like. You ask, “what is the purpose of this scene?” and break it down into Action, Love, Filler, Plot, etc.

But what if you didn’t have to? What if one scene could serve multiple purposes?

You see, that’s what I began to discover. I shipped these characters so hard because their lives weren’t dissected into different categories. Everything intermingled. Everything in their lives touched.

And the best part? The most squeal-worthy fluff scenes weren’t fluff scenes at all.

My favorite scenes began to take on a pattern. Anyone who knows me also knows that I LOVE ACTION AND ADVENTURE AND DANGER. Hands down one of my favorite things to read, watch, or write. It’s so exciting! So, naturally, my favorite scenes had danger and action. But then I realized, right in the middle, the writers would throw in a sprinkling of fluff.

A kiss before the hero runs into certain death.

A heroine reaching for her hero’s hand when she gets scared or injured.

A simple confession of “I like you” as they realize they may never get to say it again.

And then, right on with the action and adventure. As if nothing ever happened. (*Cue me, screaming at the screen* YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE US LIKE THAT! THAT’S CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT!)

Thus, they have created the need for more. As writers, I think that’s a cue we should learn from. Sometimes, less is more. People want to push characters into a relationship. We’re hard-wired to think two people in the story should end up together. If you give them an inch, your readers will take it a mile.

I personally believe — after much trial and error — that fluff as its own scene can be grating. However, if you give a taste of fluff inside a much richer, fast-paced scene, people will come back for more. They’ll crave that relationship and all it entails.

Raise the stakes, my friends. Let your purposes intermingle and bleed into each other. Life is messy, so why can’t our character’s lives be a little more realistic in that way?

Worries and Conclusions

Confession time: in the past, I have worried about a lot. I worry that I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. I worry that no one will want to listen to me or follow me or buy any of my books. I worry that people find me uninteresting.

The thing is, I don’t feel worthy or qualified for the giant dreams I have. I want to reach people and care for fans and do events and all that fun stuff, but how do those dreams come true without people or fans who care about what I’m doing? It’s a dilemma. A catch-22.

I know this is a lot more personal than I usually get on this blog, but I think it’s time for me to change. It’s time for me to show you the side of me that isn’t self-confident, who doesn’t know what’s she doing or how she’ll make it.

I strive to be transparent because I know people respond well to transparency, but if I’m being totally honest, right now there are no people to respond at all. And it’s difficult, throwing things out into the void and hoping someone finds them and cares enough to dig deeper.

I don’t want to be the person who lives two completely different lives. I want people to know that what they see is what they get. I won’t hide myself to please others or to keep myself from getting hurt by them.

Which is why I’ve taken some giant steps toward that in the last couple months. If you didn’t know (and you might not), I am launching a new book in a new trilogy on June 1st, 2018. I’m terrified, but it’s happening. If you want to support by pre-ordering, you can do that here.

I have also started a YouTube channel. It’s a work in progress and I’m learning as I go, so if you have something you want to see or hear from me, please let me know. If you want to help me out by subscribing and/or liking my videos, you can find the channel here. I hope you don’t find me annoying or uninteresting.

As always, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter, as well as Instagram! (That one’s new and I’m not great at it yet but I’m trying). You can also sign up for my e-newsletter to receive updates. That can be found on my website home page. Please help support this writer’s dreams!

Believe me, every time I post anything, I’m fighting my own fear. I want to overcome it all and be strong and supportive for you guys. For everyone who wants to read for a living or write for a living OR if you just really love books and writers. I want to meet you and hear your stories and keep bringing you all kinds of spectacular product and content.

With all that said, I’m going to try to keep this blog up way better than I have been. I’m intent on bringing you along with me on the journey to authorness. Stay tuned and join the tribe!

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What questions do you have about me? I’d love to answer!

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Declaration Statements

I have recently rediscovered how much I love it when a character in a movie/book/tv show discovers who they really are. It’s either a breathtakingly tragic moment or a moment of joyous celebration.

With discovering who they are, almost all of them nail down what their purpose is, and we all know that we love to know what their purpose is. To prove my point, please enjoy just a few of the declaration statements I thought of as I thought through this.

“I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

“I am Loki. Of Asgard. And I am burdened with glorious purpose.”

“I am Moana of Motonui. You will board my boat and sail across the ocean to return the heart of Te Fiti.”

“I am a Jedi.”

“I am that hero.”

“I am Groot.”

“I am Iron Man.”

“I am the President of the United States of America, clothed in immense power. You will procure those votes.”

Those are just some of them.

You’ll notice in the case of Loki, I added in a villain. (Don’t argue with me, for the sake of the Avengers movie, he was a villain.) This is because it’s not just the heroes who can have this epiphany moment.

In the case of Groot, it’s less an identity statement as it is that’s all he can say, but hey I couldn’t resist.

Declaration statements often come out in the heat of battle, or when they need to know who they are most. In the case of Inigo, he talks about saying that to the man who killed his father, but he never says it with as much conviction as when he finally meets him face to face.

The same goes for Moana (who eventually comes to the revelation — in song, no less — that “I am Moana!”). She needs to know that who she is, is enough to help save her people.

Declaration statements are fun and even more fun to use. I’m going to go try some in my newest WIPs. What about you?

March WIP Excerpt!

I’m so excited to implement a once-a-month excerpt from my current WIPs. Whatever I’m working on, you get to see some sneak peeks once a month! I’m so excited for you to join me on this journey!

Here’s your first excerpt and I totally hope you enjoy it!

The lights came up. Hadassah inhaled sharply.

The hosts spoke, but she could hardly hear them over the blood rushing in her ears. Her gaze traveled over the judges, to the first rows of the audience, illuminated by the bright stage lights.

As she feared, eyes bore into her with steely determination. All but one bowed head full of brown waves. A head she recognized all too well.

Why didn’t Morgan look up? Why did he look so concerned? Something had to be wrong. He never would have looked away if something wasn’t wrong. Oh, she wished she could see his face, to look into his eyes and find the dilemma.

Morgan’s head snapped up and his eyes found hers.

Hadassah blinked. Had someone said something? She couldn’t remember, or she hadn’t heard. Her own gaze flicked to the hosts, who both smiled at her encouragingly. One of the girls next to her nudged her toward the one last circle in front of her. When did they call all those other names?

This had to be a sign of a breakdown. There wasn’t another explanation. She should have heard all that, her ears worked fine. How did she miss it?

The crowd’s cheers deafened her. Hadassah clenched her fingers in her skirt instead of taking the step back she wanted. Keep up the facade, she reminded herself as she took short, quick breaths through her nose. Don’t freak out on them. They want someone beautiful, not fragile.

The hairs on the back of her neck stood up. When she thought of her stalker, a sinking in her stomach accompanied it. This time, it was more butterflies than Titanic. Hadassah lifted her eyes and found a pair of deep green, stormy eyes staring back at her. Her breath caught and her chin lifted, ever so slightly.