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Thursday, February 28, 2013

How to Deal with Criticism

Through all of my beta reading and editing and help I have been getting and giving lately, I have noticed that some people really don't take criticism well. It's a hard thing to deal with. Your book is your original work-letting someone read it makes you feel vulnerable. When someone says something negative, you take it personally. It's hard not to! I get it, completely.

However, constructive criticism is so helpful! It helps your work grow and get better. It also helps you as a writer grow. You see what people like and what they don't. I think there are many ways to embrace criticism.

LISTEN! This is huge and the most important thing. Whether the person is wrong or right in their ciritsm- listen to what they have to say. It is their opinion. Someone else out there is going to feel the same. Maybe what they're saying is true. You can either change it or not. Either way, you're aware of it now.

DO NOT TAKE IT PERSONALLY! Now this is a hard one. Your book is you. It's your personal work. Don't take it personally. Remove yourself completely from the situation. Don't think of all the time you spent on chapter one which people think should be removed. Take yourself out. This will help you understand the other persons point of view.

BREATHE! Before changing anything in your work, take a moment to breathe. Taking this moment and stepping away will allow you to clear your head and de-stress. You don't want to start editing your book when you're upset. Step away from it for as much time as you need before going back in. When you come back, their criticism won't seem as harsh.

MOVE ON! Figure out whether you are going to use the criticism or not. A big factor in changing your work or not is thinking about whether this is repeat advice or not. If you've heard you have too many run ons five times from five different people, that says a lot. Ask for more advice from other people. Go with your gut! If you really have a feeling you shouldn't change it then don't. It's your piece after all and you can do what you want!

I think the main advice I give you guys about dealing with criticism is to embrace it and go into it with an open mind. They aren't saying things to hurt you. You can only grow from what people critique you on. Take it all in. In the end, it is your work and you can do whatever you want. Just remember, remove your feelings!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stream of Consciousness

I happen to love stream of consciousness. I think it kind of gets a bad rep. People think it's choppy and a lot of what is written is pointless. I think to truly understand a character getting inside their head is important. I know when I am being a character, I think what they would. I want to know what the main character is thinking when she jumps off the cliff or kisses the bad guy. I love it. I do however think that it can be done wrong. There's a point where it becomes over the top.

What is it?
stream of consciousness
n. pl. streams of consciousness
1. A literary technique that presents the thoughts and feelings of a character as they occur.

This means that you are jumping from every experience the character is. If they are thinking about kissing a guy and then a car drives by and then they get up to see who it is to they smell bacon, it's all in there. There is a flow of thoughts that you experience. Also known as "interior monologue."

How do I do it?
You have to be able to embody your character. I find a lot of times when reading stream of consciousness characters change and their thoughts don't really match with their actions. It's almost like acting. You have to become that character. To get the stream right, you have to understand and think like the character. Knowing your character is crucial.

I think knowing your book and the plot and where it is going to go is huge. For me, I had pages and pages of outlines and back stories and character bios and setting and all of that fun junk before I even started writing. This helped me in the long run because I knew down pact what was going to happen. I knew my main character.

Sitting down to write stream of consciousness is easy. All you do is sit there, jump into your characters brain and write. You write what she's thinking, what she's doing, how she's doing, where she's going, literally everything. Obviously you will cut a lot out later but to start that's the best way. Write and write and write. It definitely helps to know the outline and where the story will go.

I say this because you still have to have a format to the book. It has to follow events and the plot needs to be carried out. I find that when writing, I hate taking a break to see where I am in the outline, or what that guys name is. It breaks my stream and concentration.

Positives and Negatives
Obviously a positive is that you are connecting and learning more about the character. You see through their eyes and understand what they think.
A negative is that you only see what they think. There may be things as a reader you want to know that the main character doesn't yet.
A negative is that is comes off as irrelevant or choppy. When you think, you don't really in full sentences or relevant topics. You think what you see or hear. Sometimes it takes away from the story, so you have to make sure to cut out the truly unimportant parts.

Let me know what you guys think!

New Adult Discussion

Guys! I just did an interview and discussion with David Arney and John Ward. David hosted for the evening. This is a great talk to watch and listen to if you are thinking about New Adult. John Ward has some great ideas for his book. It sounds really fun and interesting. Be sure to join the new adult authors community as well. There are some great people in there with great ideas. They are super supportive and helpful!



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Point of Views

Choosing what point of view you are writing in is hard. I know for me, I knew the which point of view I wanted to use right off the bat. I have seen many styles work and some that really don't. It's all personal preference but still.

What are the types of point of view?

First Person: This is the narrator talking about themselves.This narration uses, "I did this," or "we did that." It can be plural or singular. This point of view is good because you can feel and experience the narrators emotions. The downfall is that you only get those of the narrator.

Second Person: This narration is not commonly used. The word, "you," is used a lot in this style. The reader feels like they are a part of the story and are a character. An example would be in children's shows, Dora, "Can you find swiper?" You are the viewer, you are a part of the show.

Third Person: This style is where the narrator is an outside person. They aren't part of the story. This is the most commonly used point of view in modern literature. "He" "She" "It" or "They" are used in third person. Never is there an "I" "We" or "You." This style is successful because the reader knows more than the characters at time. You get an added insight into the story.

Now there is one more that is not common and a little tricky. This is alternating point of views. Generally the style stays the same throughout the book. Some books, for example, Harry Potter is told in third person. Sometimes it switches to a specific characters point of view. This is useful to build character development up yet still have the narrator know all.

A trend that I have been seeing a lot of lately is switching character point of views in first person. I have seen this used a lot in new adult and young adult novels. One chapter is from A's point of view and the next is from B's, then A then B. This is good because you get both sides of a story and both emotions. You become attached to both characters being portrayed.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Hey all! I have been missing in action lately. I have gotten another terrible cold. This winter season has hit me very hard, twice! I think I just have bad luck. I am starting to feel better, thank god. Giving you all an update on what is to come.

This week I am going to try and finish up a couple beta reads I have going on. I am also going to write some good blog posts. Either tonight or tomorrow I am going to write about narratives. I've had a lot of people questioning whether they should do first person, or third, or present or past tense. I've been researching what works so I'll write on that.

Later in the week, I am going to write about author biographies. As I am sending out manuscripts and getting my format together, writing a good biography is harder than I thought. I am  going to write a little about what to say and what not to. Also what format woks and the different between your query letter and the back flap.

I think to finish up the week I am going to write about constructive criticism. I have found through my beta reading that some people take what we say personally. I totally get it, your book is your baby, but we only say this to help. I'm going to write about what is helpful and what's just mean. Also what to do with your marked up manuscript. What to fix and what to leave be. Very useful information!

Thanks for bearing with me this week while I have been missing. Thankfully I am starting to feel better. Thanks for helping me make it to one thousand, too! So excited to get so much feedback. Off to work now. Happy Monday all!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We Hit 1,000!

Hey guys! Today is a happy day, minus the fact that I've come down with an awful cold. But... We hit over 1,000 views last night. I am so excited! Thank you to everyone who likes the book and the blog. I decided to go a giveaway in honor of this milestone.

The giveaway will be a book titled, Fury by Elizabeth Miles.
Here's the synopsis from Amazon...

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But all is not as it seems...
Em is thrilled that the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend. And on the other side of town, Chase’s social life is unraveling and the stress of his home life is starting to take its toll. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel....And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.
In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. There are three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

I chose this book because it has some parts of Greek Mythology wrapped up in it! The furies, are three beautiful woman from Mythology. It's a nice light read. Don't forget to do the giveaway! 

Thanks again for all of the support. I love you guys! :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

It's Friday Again! Teaser Time

Hey all! This is been one hell of a long week. I'm been doing so much beta reading, reviewing, editing and god knows what else. I don't think my eyes even work properly anymore. Everything is just fuzzy. Anyyyyways, I have a pretty good teaser for you guys. It's short but sweet. Hope you like it :)

I follow close behind him. “Please just help me. I don’t want to have this curse anymore. It’s gone on too long.” I plead with him. 
“Why would I end the curse when the game has just changed?” He says with amusement in his voice. He smiles back at me but continues to walk towards the other side of the room. I don’t want him to leave yet. I need at least something to work with here. 
“What game?! This is my life!” I yell towards him. 

Oooh, Aaah. Sorry it's so short but it's worth it, right? 

A little update for you guys. Where my cover artist is shooting there's snow on the ground. I don't want snow so we have to wait for it to clear up. It doesn't help that we're getting a blizzard up here tomorrow. :( I want to show you guys my vision. So hopefully, let's keep our fingers crossed, we figure out how to shoot the cover. I will keep you all posted. Thanks for all the support. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

What are Book Genres?

All of the time I hear people talking about genres and whether they really do matter or if it's an old system. It's not. This is why. On amazon, you have to categorize your book. Depending on where you put it can affect your book rating, purchases, lists, basically everything. If you "mis-place" your book, it could be devastating. I will talk about different genres and what they entail. I have been having trouble properly categorizing my book. Hopefully this will help someone out there.

Fiction Genres

Children's. This is pretty self-explanatory. Generally age two up to around eleven. They tend to have pictures and a moral of the story. Sub-genres: Picture, middle-grade, early childhood, traditional, pop up and more.

Fantasy. This is very general. Fantasy has at least one element that is not known to be "real" Whether that be the setting, a character trait, or everything. Good characters usually prevail in the end. Sub-genres: alternate world, celtic, christian, contemporary, dark, erotic, epic, historical, medieval, mythic, romantic, science fantasy, series, urban, and many many others.

Horror. This is pretty self explanatory. Ending varies between protagonist winning or unknown. Tends to be high anxiety and edge of seat read. Sub-genres: aliens, cross, cutting edge, dark, extreme, humorous, paranormal, suspense, bizarro and lots of other small genres.

Mystery. There's an unsolved situation, puzzle or murder or crime, that is usually solved by the ending. Usually main character is smart and knows what they're doing. Sub-genres: amateur, caper, cozy, doctor, hardboiled, historical, legal, locked room, romantic, supernatural, whodonit, etc.

Romance. I don't even know how to describe this. There are so many types of romance that a general description isn't suffice. There is love between people and they explore it? Eh. You know what it is. Sub-genres: action, baby love, christian, contemporary, family, gothic, historical, lesbian/gay, paranormal, sweet, time travel, and hundreds more.

Science Fiction. Always something new and different. It has to be scientifically plausible. There are so many sub genres so I will list only a couple. Maybe I'll do another post just on these subs. Sub-genres: alien, apocalyptic, bio-punk, christian, cyber space, detective, erotica, frontier, gay, gothic, hard, and more and more and more.

Short Fiction. Obviously defined by its length. Could be a novella but generally much shorter. Sub-genres: flash, drabble, pinhead, six word, twitterfic. (I never knew about this genre before.)

Triller(Suspense, Action, Adventure). There are extraordinary circumstances where the good prevails. There is a hero who most of the time wins. Lots of adventure and action. Sub-genres: aviation, conspiracy, disaster, espionage, legal, political, romantic, survivalist, tecno-thriller.

Western. Set between 1800 and 1890, mostly. Most are set, wait for it, in the west! Sub-genres: black cowboy, bounty hunter, civil war, euro-western, gunfighter, mexican, outlaw, quest, revenge, romance, women.

Young Adult. Main character is between the age of twelve and eighteen. Set for an audience of that age as well. Most of the characters should be in the range, too. Sub-genres: christian, fantasy, historical, realistic, science fiction and others.

Now, these have been the most common and used genres, in fiction. However there is one more that I must mention. I am probably going to make another post focusing on this genre because it is so new.

New Adult. New adult is the bridge between young adult and adult fiction. Characters are usually between the ages of 18 (sometimes lower) to 25. It is geared towards this age group too. The situations are older and more can happen in these stories. It tends to be a coming of age story. You can really have any sub genre to go along with it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Editing Helps Me Write

So I have taken a step back from writing and have been editing a lot lately. No, not my own stuff. I joined a critique group. Basically, in exchange for them beta reading, I read their work as well. Currently I am on my second one. I find that doing this actually helps me with my own personal writing.

When I beta read I have to look at each line individually. I really have to dissect this manuscript that I know nothing about. It's interesting for me because I see what works and what doesn't. Long sentences tend to loose my interest while shorter ones work better. Lots of back story is more annoying than anything else.

Reading their work lets me get into their head. I know when I am writing and editing my own work, I tend to skim over. I know the back story in my head. I know what people look like in my head. I know where the story is going. This isn't a good thing. This makes it so I may not be explaining things fully. It's hard finding the balance.

I had someone from the beta reading message me and say that my book jumps into the action too fast. I was like, what? There's so much back story in the beginning but to them they have no idea. I looked into my book and realized that I barely had any supernatural elements until chapter seven. That's way too long! So I had to go back in and add little elements here and there.

I'm reading someone's story right now. The person has parts in there book yet no chapters. I notice when reading that it is dragging on. I like having chapters because you get a nice break. It also gives the story a good format. You're ideas are centralized per chapter instead of for the whole book.

While beta reading I can see as a READER not a writer what works. As much as I want to claim I know exactly what I'm doing, I don't. I find that beta reading has taught me to be a better writer. I am starting to understand what types of sentences work, what formats are okay, what paragraph style and structure work best.

I highly recommend doing some beta reading so you understand what I am talking about. Reading for fun isn't good enough. When we read for pleasure we tend to skim over unimportant parts. Beta reading you can't do that. You need to dissect it all!

WARNING: I started reading a book to review for my other blog and found myself critiquing every aspect of it. This is bad! I am in the editing mind set. It's going to be hard to juggle all my thought processes. Going from editing, to writing, to reading. I can't keep up with my own mind.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I have been having this internal battle for a couple of days now. To do a prologue or not to? That is the ultimate question- right now. I've done quite a bit of research about them. Here's my findings.

What does a prologue do?

Really though. What is its purpose? It will be the first thing a reader will read. Therefore, it should grab the readers attention. Hook the reader in with something juicy to make them want to read the book. A prologue is also good to describe a scene from the past that is important to your story. In Harry Potter, chapter one really should have been turned into a prologue. It was a flashback to when Harry was a baby. In a prologue you can also have a different point of view. If you're writing the book in first person, then a prologue giving away a secret can be very helpful.

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Don't use a prologue for a hook only. Here's what I've found. You make this great prologue that hooks the reader. They start chapter one and realize that it isn't like the prologue and are turned off. You're just creating double the work. Why not just hook them in chapter one. Then you only need one hook. Less work.

If you need to provide background information then yes do a prologue. A lot of times books jump right into the action. If there is a scene that is imperative to the story but can't be expressed except a flashback then yes, do it!

Flash forward. For example, Twilight. The "preface" aka prologue is a scene from later in the book. It is a pivotal moment in the book. It immediately makes you want to know how the character gets to that point. It hooks you yet also gives you insight.

What not to do....
Don't dump a bunch of random information there. This sets the pace for the whole novel. If you just dump all this back story then you're novel will seem boring. I would most likely not even go to chapter one.

Don't make it super long. It's a prologue one paragraph. One page. Max. It's setting the scene not actually a scene. Well, I guess it could be... STILL. Keep it short.

That's all I can think of for now. Here is an example of a good prologue, Twilight. Enjoy!

I'd never given much thought to how I would die--though I'd had reason enough in the last few months--but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.

Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.

I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it is unreasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.

The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.

P.S. If you know any good books with prologues let me know! I have been scouring the web and it's hard to find some good ones. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Google Drive

I was introduced to Google Drive by a beta reader. He suggested using the drive so he can edit it there. At first, I had no idea what he was talking about. I kept asking him, nobody else will see it? Is it public? I really thought he was just going to put it on google+ or something and tell me what was wrong with it. I was completely off. I went onto the drive and found out how useful it really is.

At the top of your window there are all of the tabs. It has your name+ tab, search, images, maps, play, youtube, news, gmail then the drive. I honestly never once looked at that tab before this past week. It's crazy, I know. So all you do is click it and it takes you to your personal drive.

You can do so many things on here I don't even know where to start. I will simply mention what I have used since that is what I am familiar with. You upload a document. It doesn't matter how long, for example I uploaded my book which is fairly long and it went okay. Here's the tricky part that I couldn't figure out. You need to create a google document to get this to work.

I did it all wrong but I found out the best way. So, you click create and copy and paste your piece into the document area. SAVE IT. There is this share button. If you never click it, your drive will be completely private and only visible to you. Here's the great part, you CAN share it!

You click the lock button which means share. This brings you to a page that has privacy settings and you can add viewers, editors, commenters or people to just read it. If you are nervous you can also click a button that doesn't allow people to download the file. It's really secure.

So, you can add people to the folder. They will only see what is in that folder and only they can see it. Oh, you can also prevent them from adding people into the group. So like I said yesterday, I joined a critique group. I uploaded my book and added the three people to the accepted list. You have to add them by gmail so that restricts who can use it.

Once they are added you make settings for them. The first is editors. They are able to delete parts, add new parts and basically anything else they want. This gives them a ton of freedom. The next choice, which is what I use and prefer, is commenter. This lets them highlight parts and add a comment on the side. It is similar to what you can do to word documents. This is the best thing in my opinion. The last choice is viewers. This allows them to read the book but not write anything on it.

Here's another thing that I find extremely useful. When someone is looking at your work, it shows them with a green box. This means they are online. You can actually chat with them while they read your work. The best part is when you aren't online, when someone comments or edits your work, it sends you an email. I like this part because I know when I get home I will have feedback.

Last thing! When someone makes a comment on your work you can resolve it. This means if you are the owner of the document you can go in after people comment and correct it right there. Once you resolve whatever issue the comment goes away. This is useful because you know when you've fixed everything!

I haven't decided how I am going to move forward when editing. Since my document has different homes, I don't know whether I want to edit on the drive or have the drive open and edit in scrivener. Since I use scrivener to export, I feel like that might be the best choice. I also have it saved in word documents so that's a lot of editing. I have a feeling I am going to stick with scrivener but we shall see. I hope this helps you out a little!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My First Beta Reading

So I have been working really hard over here. I gave my book out to five different people to read. The first person I found on google+. He has been working over the google drive editing. I am going to have to write an entry about that because it is really great. Anyway, I believe he has done three chapters so far. I enjoy watching him edit.

I also joined a critique group. This is great because I was paired up with three other people. That right there is enough to beta read. Anyway we all read each others book and edit them. So my book is out to those people right now.

I found another professional editor who was willing to edit the first two chapters of my book for free. Of course I took him up on that since it is free. I got all of his feedback via email. I love getting critiques back. So far it has been a really positive response to the book.

I think with beta reading it is a lot less about editing little things. It's a lot about the big picture. Are there any plot holes. What are the characters like? I think that's important stuff! You can always go back in and comb through the grammar. The meat and potatoes is the story line.

I finished one book from my critique group today. It was a young adult suspense book. While I was beta reading, let me say this was my first experience with it, I found I liked it. It made me really read each sentence. I think a lot of times when we read for pleasure we skip and read the good parts. I have to say I enjoyed the book that I read.

I can't wait to get my book back from all of these readers! I want to hear what they think so badly, I check my email almost constantly. I will be sure to keep you guys posted. Oh and stay tuned, tomorrow I will write a post on the google drive. It's a great tool to use if done right.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Teaser Time

I just got back from the dentist. I can't even begin to explain how much I hate that place. To get my mind off my throbbing mouth and bloody gums, I am giving you the teaser! This one is really good and juicy. I figured since I am getting close to releasing it and it's pretty much done, I should give you really good ones. I am not going to give any names. I put 'he' in there a lot because I don't want to give away any part of the story. It's reeeeeaaaaalllllllyyyy good though! Enjoy it.

I can’t let him stand there and visibly ache. I crawl out of bed and push the covers aside. I don’t want to startle him so I walk over quietly. I get close and wrap my arms around his abdomen from behind. He instantly stiffens and tilts his head to see my face. I don’t even look up at him. I rest my head on his back and just hold him tighter. He needs the comfort. He needs my touch. He needs me. I am happy to give it to him. I want him to be okay. He deserves it. He’s sacrificing so much for me. I owe it to him. 
His body relaxes a little bit but he is still breathing irregularly. I continue to hold him there. I don’t know how long we stand there but it’s amazing. It is like we are connecting deeply. It’s friendly but intimate at the same time. I feel closer to him and it scares me. I shouldn’t be feeling these emotions towards him. I have the most amazing guy already. There isn’t room in my heart for two. I start to feel my heart make room and curse it. I cannot love two people. 
“I need you.” He says and I just nod in understanding. 

I get so excited just reading this part. Honestly, every time I read the book is like the first time. It's my little baby! I can't wait to get it out there and here what other people have to say. I updated the book news area on the blog today but I'll tell you guys here too. I have the book out to four different beta readers. They are going to get back to me on that. Also I am starting chapter three in book two today. I'm so excited!!!!!! 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Word Counts | What I've Found

So I have done some research on word counts. I was curious when I should cut it or add more or leave it. Here are some interesting things that I found...

These are some books that are well known and their word count...

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger- 73,404
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens-  135,420
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury- 46,118
Lord of the Flies by William Golding- 59,900

As you can see, books range from around 40,000 on average up to 150,000. I don't think that word count corresponds to whether the book is going to be good or not. I never thought that. Here's something interesting I found, The Harry Potter seres is a great example. The first book was a little over 76,000. After that they all went up in length. From 85,000 to 107,000 to 190,000 to 257,000 to 168,000 and the last book was 198,000. I found this pattern in many authors. Their debut book is always shorter than all their other books. Why is this?

Here is why. Publishers don't want to take a risk with your book. Your name is unknown and they aren't sure how the book is going to do. They would rather make more money on a shorter book. Of course once the book becomes known and if there is a positive response, the author gets more freedom.

Publishers actually have given out "recommend" word counts. Basically they won't accept anything less or more than what they ask for. Here is what I found on one website. Remember this is just for first time authors.

Adult fiction: 80,000-100,000 words.
Young Adult fiction: 40,000-60,000 words
Erotica novellas/short story collections: 40,000-60,000 words
Cozy mysteries only: 50,000-70,000 words
Most romance novels: 50,000-70,000 words
Short Story Collections: 40,000-75,000 words
Historical Fiction: 80,000-140,000 words
Adult Fantasy: 90,000-140,000 words

This is the real kicker. They actually put a disclaimer on the bottom of the page saying, "FYI: a 140,000 word debut novel is about as scary as Joan Rivers' face. So if you're shopping a 140K chubby moon-glop monster, you might want to consider NOT advertising this fact in your query letter" Basically they're saying if you have a long book don't publish it until you publish a shorter book first. That's crazy. 

I consider writers to be artists. We have imaginations. We create art with our words. How can someone tell us that the book is too long before even reading it!? It's so crazy. Personally this research solidifies my mission to self publish. I can do whatever I want! I want artistic freedom. If someone told me my 100,000 book was too long (It's YA Fantasy) I don't know what I'd do. There is absolutely nothing I could just chop out of the book.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. It only made me mad! Don't give away your artistic freedom. Self publishing is easier than ever. Good luck!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Word Counts

For now this is more of a question. Do word counts really matter? When I first wrote my book my total word count on draft one was, 61487. I was a little upset that it was so short. Then draft two came along and it bumped up to 73139. I felt a little better but I was really shooting for 80000 when I originally started the book. Draft three it grew to 89362. I was very satisfied with this number. For a young adult book I felt like this was a good length. I just finished draft four and it is up to 98924. I want to know if this is now too much?

Let me add by saying that I am not trying to add words. I never was adding words just to do them. In fact on my most recent edit, I felt like I was cutting a lot out. From draft one to two I did add two chapters. I felt like the ending needed to be longer. I basically want to know when to stop.

Tomorrow, I will do some research on word counts. I wonder if certain lengths sell better than others. Maybe if someone sees a long book, it deters them from reading it. I'm not sure about it! I feel like as long as the writing is good and the pace is right, who cares the length in pages or word count. Give me some feedback. I am interested to know what everyone thinks.

I'll post tomorrow on my research findings about word count.

Beta Readers | Part 3

So I've written about what a beta reader is. I've written about what exactly they do. I've written about is they'll work for you. I've even written about where to find them. I thought that would be the end of beta reading writing for me but NOPE! I keep wondering who makes a good reader and who doesn't. Are there certain traits that one should have or no?

I think the most important thing is finding someone who has time. When I give out my book, I don't want someone reading a chapter a night if they can fit it in. I want someone who will devote time to try and make my book as great as it can be. Someone who works full time, has a baby and in school, isn't an ideal candidate.

You also want someone who is in the right demographic as your book. If it's young adult you want a young adult to read it. Since that is your target audience. If you have a paranormal romance, you don't want someone who hates that genre to read it.

You don't want someone you are very close with. I gave my boyfriend my book to read and whenever I would ask about it, he would list off the good things about it. Then I would ask him if there was something I should fix and he would said no. I would get so mad because I want honest feedback. I think he didn't want to hurt my feelings. Picking someone like him or my mom would not be a good choice.

You want someone who reads regularly. If they don't read they probably don't know about what makes a good book. I can tell you the thing I pride books on is being original. If you don't read you're going to think everything is original. Also if you read you know what makes a good book. You recognize pace, voice and how a book should read. That's really important!

If you're really nit picking you want a writer. You want someone who understands what you had to go through to write the book. Beta readers aren't focusing on grammatical errors they should be focusing on the book as a whole. A writer would understand the ins and outs of a book. They would recognize a good length. Of course that is the ideal beta reader.

Now that I know everything about beta reading, it's going to be so difficult to figure out how to pick beta readers and find out where they are. I have a couple ideas but all my research has definitely paid off. I hope that I have helped anyone else out who is looking for beta readers!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Beta Readers | Part 2

I have been doing more research on beta readers. My previous post was about what exactly a beta reader is and what they do. Today I am going to figure out if a beta reader is for me. I found some great sites from people who have used beta readers and have found success. I also found some people who have found beta readers that don't work. I am going to explore what makes it work and what doesn't.

Will they work for me?

This is huge. If we are putting out work out there for people to read we want to make sure that it's perfect. I know I do. One key part of beta readers is that they give you feedback. You have to be receptive to that. Not everything that they say is going to be nice. They are going to have critiques. You have to have a tough skin. They are only saying it to make your work better.

Point two, listen! You have to listen to what the readers are saying. These people are giving you their time for free to read the book. They take their time to edit your piece. Listen to what they say. Take their critiques and use them.

I know this might sound weird but you have to want your work to get better. I know sometimes I write just for fun. I don't publish it so I don't want anyone else to critique it. Sometimes that's okay. But don't get a beta reader to edit it. You have to want your piece to improve and get feedback.

Where do I find one?

Most of the time people have three or four beta readers. Each person has different opinions and that helps a lot. But where the hell do you find three people to critique your book for free? Well, one beta reader could be a relative or a friend. Be careful though because sometimes they are too nice! They are afraid to hurt your feelings. There are also tons of online writing groups. All you have to do is google it and hundreds will pop up. Look for a similar genre and join!

Social media is so huge right now. Google+, twitter, Facebook, tumblr. All these sites you can use to your advantage. Put out a note saying that you need some help. More likely than not, someone will respond willing to help out.

Another good way I find people to talk to about writing is in my classes. Of course I am a college student so I have access to classes but there are other ways. There are tons of workshops going on out there that can help. Just ask around.

For me, I love to read. If someone asked me to read a book for them and give feedback I would do it in a heartbeat. It's a free book to read. Why not help out a fellow writer?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Beta Readers | Part 1

So as I am finishing up my editing stages I am moving on to the next phase. The book is finally all polished so now what? Typically it would be sent off to an editor. I haven't decided if I want to use one yet so I am going to be choosing beta readers. This is my first book so I don't really know much about them. I had to do some research here is what I have found about Beta Readers.

What is a Beta Reader?

A beta reader is someone who reads your manuscript and gives you feedback on it. They read it like they would read a recreational book. They aren't editors who are reading each sentence word for word. They simply read it. They report back afterwards and tell you all the kinks that need to be worked out. Any inconsistencies, editing errors or plot problems, they tell you. They can give you feedback on the flow or on certain characters.

Why do I need one?

I know from experience that reading your own material, you ten to miss things. After draft three of my book, I am still finding errors that I missed before. A beta reader can only help. They will find things that we miss time and time again. Sometimes we get so excited for the main conflict that we rush through it. Maybe because we have this idea of a character, we imagine them in our head but don't write it down fully.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How Important Is a Book's Cover?

I thought I would discuss covers today. Trust me, before anyone brings it up I know, "Don't judge a book by its cover." However, I don't believe that is true. I can't tell you how many books I have passed over because of their covers. In this day and age, there are so many books out there! We literally cannot read them all. So, how do we choose what to read? Of course the synopsis is a big aspect but the cover is too, no matter what you say.

When I am scrolling down the amazon top one hundred, there are no synopsis's. There are no sample's of the book. There is the name, author, rating, picture and price of the book. The name of the book isn't important to me. Unless I know the author I don't care who writes the book. I am not picky like that.

I usually won't read a book under four stars. I figure if half of the population doesn't like it and half does then usually it isn't that good. However if the cover is intriguing I would look into the book. I would give a chance to the book just because of the cover. I think that in itself says a lot.

The cover nine out of ten times is the thing that makes me buy a book. The cover sets the stage for what the book will be about. If a cover has an attractive man and woman on it, you can guess that the book will be romance. If the cover has magic or vampires or wolves, you know the book will be about that. You want the cover to draw people in.

Let me give you an example...

If I saw this cover I would be drawn into the book. You can tell that it is a romance book. You can tell that the people in the book are young. The title, Lost To You is written in a sexy font that makes me think of smoke. The simple gray back ground and the shadows show me that something is holding them back. Also the title shows that someone is falling for the other and losing themselves. I would pick this book up without reading the synopsis if I only saw the cover.

Now this cover doesn't do anything for me. It's beautiful don't get me wrong but it doesn't make me feel anything. I can't tell what the book will be about at all. Because there is the beautiful lake and trees if I had to guess I would say romance but I couldn't say that for sure. I would pass over this book if it was on a list.

This last one is different from the other two. This is a very simple cover. Its title let's us know that the book has elements that aren't from Earth. I think fantasy or paranormal. The simple moon makes me think of someone who is pure or untouched. The clouds moving towards the moon make me think of a conflict that is coming. Also the whimsical lettering makes me think of romance and fun. I would buy this book based on the name and cover.

I found these books all on the kindle best seller lists. As I was scrolling down I just looked at the covers and chose ones I would be interested in. I think if anything this shows how we do judge books by their cover. I know that when I started designing my cover I wanted something that portrayed exactly what my book was about. I want something attractive that draws you in. I think that with so many books out there, you need to separate yourself. Make your cover unique and that will make people chose your book over another!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Teaser!

Hello everyone! I am hiding out in my house weathering this storm. I hope this goes through fine. I'm in New England so we're in the midst of a blizzard. I have to say, it's beautiful to see but damn, I'm already feeling stir crazy. We're expected to be snowed in with three feet for a couple days. The good news is that this will make me finish editing the book! I have a quick teaser for you. Remember that it hasn't been professionally edited yet so if there are errors, don't worry they're be fixed. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think!

Please understand that my love for you is real. 
I promise to explain more tomorrow.
For tonight please think about me.
Dream about our kiss
It has always been us.

The message is a little confusing. Does he mean normal dream, like sweet dreams or like my vision dreams. Does he know I have this power or something? Maybe I am just dreaming regular stuff. It's just my mind playing tricks on me, but that can’t be right. I was with Hades and his wife. Could it be like a repressed memory? I guess but I’m there watching, like a movie or something. 

I wanted to share this part with you because it shows a little bit about the fantasy aspect to the book. That's a huge part! It is a fantasy romance after all! I know it's a short one but hey, I can't give you all the whole book! I'm so excited that we're getting close to releasing. Post some comments, I want feedback!

Also sometime next week I am going to be asking around for beta readers. I have talked to a bunch of people who say that having four or five is a good idea. If anyone is interested comment on here or email me. I have to say though I get a ton of emails a day so I will see it on here better. Thanks for all the love and support!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dialogue | How to Do It Right

Dialogue is a crucial part of every single book. There has to be a happy medium when using dialogue. It can either add to a book or completely take away from it. I know I hate reading a book where the dialogue is fake or seems stupid. It takes away from the whole book. In most books, the dialogue is the best part. This is where you hear a characters voice and get to know them better.

I think the most important thing when writing dialogue is making it believable. The best way to do this is to listen to how you talk and how others converse. People don't use perfect grammar or complete sentences. Most people don't have a filter either. They use slang or swear. You have to reflect this in your book. To make it believable it has to be real. Also you have to remember how each person talks. Their speech patterns will generally stay the same throughout the book. Someone doesn't start innocent and end up dropped f bombs too. Their speech and personality have to match.

Like I said before there has to be a balance in your writing. You don't want the whole story to be dialogue and you don't want it all to be description and back story. There has to be a happy medium. This means only use dialogue that adds to the story. Take out lines that are just there. Someone saying something that doesn't add or more the story along should not be there. Make the dialogue meaningful.

Something that really bothers me in my own writing and in others is using proper grammar and wording. I hate it when someone puts a period, then the quote but has the  next word lower case. I see this all of the time. Use proper grammar! Use commas sparingly. Also don't use he said, she said too much. Mix it up or leave it blank. As long as we can tell who is talking and when, you don't have to write he said after every single one. It becomes repetitive and takes away from the writing.

Another thing that helps and this is just a personal preference but I like it when dialogue is split up. For example, instead of having someone say, "I hate you so much dad!" He yelled. I would rather read, "I hate you so much dad!" He yells as he slams his bedroom door shut. Adding an action to dialogue makes it more believable and makes it better to read. Actions also show more about what is going on in a scene. Instead of reading, you can actually picture a kid yelling at his dad and slamming the door.

Overall, use dialogue as a boost. You don't want it to take away from your story. You want it to add to it. Use it to help create character personalities and set a scene. Use it to give information to the plot line. Dialogue can be extremely helpful in a story by moving it along. Dialogue is good! Don't be afraid to use it.

Revamp Site

Hello all! I am procrastinating from doing my homework. I gave my blog a little bit of a pick me up. I wanted to spice it up and give it a really unique look that mirrored what the book really is. I added a new template which I love! I also added some new pages. I don't really write a lot about myself personally. Of course the book is very personal but who am I? I added an about me section so you guys can get to know a little bit more about who I am! I also added a book update area. I will be posting the latest news there as often as possible.

Let me know what you guys think and if there are any glitches. I am not good with this html and template stuff. I actually suck! So if you find that you can't post or a page won't load, let me know! I will try and fix it all up. :)

Thanks for sticking with me!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Balancing Act

So school has officially started back up for me. I really do hate it. I have so much work this semester but I cut back on classes. I am only taking three classes so I have more time for my book and what not. It sucks because I have had to cut back on my reading and blogging. I have my editing copy sitting on my desk. I just have to fix all the changes in my computer. I may start today depending on how busy it is at work. I hate my life right now!

All I want to do is finish up and send it out. Oh! I talked with Avery, my cousin who is doing my covers. She got some really great shots to worth with and is cooking it up now. I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I'm so freaking excited. I finally feel like I am on the home stretch now.

I am debating on hiring an editor and just letting it be. I think I did a really good job editing but who really knows. I send out some copies to friends and family so I will wait to hear what they think. Although I have a feeling that they're going to be overly nice to me. I want honest feedback. Any beta readers out there, contact me and I'll use you!

I need some feedback though. What formats are best for getting my book out there as much as possible. I think I am going to be publishing it with createspace which is through Amazon. I would have it out in kindle format and possibly paperback? I'm not sure what I want to do yet. How do you read?

I think what I am going to do now, aside from fixing my copy on my mac is research. I have to figure out who uses kindles, or nooks. Who likes paperback or hard cover. Anyone have any good sites for that? I will let you know what I end up finding in future posts.

Anyway! I am so damn excited to get this book going. Finally I feel justified in what I am doing. I am actually making progress. I can't wait. Maybe I will do a giveaway soon or something just to get it out there. I have to start marketing more too. I'll keep you posted and hopefully I won't get sick again. F flu season.

Tata for now!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Oh My God, It's Friday!

Wow has this week gone by extremely fast! I was getting ready to write a post about how I have finally finished editing and saw the date. I owe you guys a teaser today! Ps. Yes you heard me right. I finished all of my editing. Now I need to save it in my computer and it's all set to send off. This part is pretty cool. I chose it because it gives you a sneak peak of the cool paranormal stuff that goes on in the book. Ryder is having a dream and this introduces it. Hope you like it!

I wake up with a start. I literally am sweating so badly. It feels like I’ve bathed in salt water. I know I haven’t because it’s just my back and head that are drenched. It’s a freaking sauna in here. I quickly look around to figure out where I am. 

I instantly think I am in a dream again. I know it when I realize I’m in someone else’s bedroom. It’s a beautiful room, don’t get me wrong but it’s clearly not mine. The room is barren, almost like a jail cell. The walls are stone. There are no pictures or posters on the wall. No tv or desk. It's so simple.

There is a bed, two nightstands, some lamps, and doors. There’s also a window but the bottom of it is blurred. I’m not tall enough to see out the top part. I try to jump to at least figure out where I am but it’s no use. I am just too short. Damn my height.

Wherever I am it must be fairly dark out. If the lights weren’t on I think it would be pitch black. I go to the first door and open it up. It’s a closet. I look around and it’s definitely a girls closet. Actually it’s a little weird. There are only dresses in the closet. There’s no pants or shirts. There’s not even skirts in there. Only some plain old dresses. They look like a milk maids. Floor length and puffy. There is not one thing in there that I would even consider wearing. 

I shut the door and move on to the next door. I open it and reveal a bathroom. There’s nothing really special in there so I shut it and move to the last door. This place is seriously boring. They should put a painting on the wall or something to spruce it up. They need to hire an interior decorator. I open the door and it leads to a hallway. The place is all stone. The hallway is dark. There is only a faint light coming from the fixtures on the wall. It's dark because there are no windows. The lights are dimmed down. It looks really spooky in here. The walls are all lined with doors. I look in both directions and can’t figure out which way to go. I pick the right and start walking. 
It feels like forever until I reach the end. I’m left with three options yet again. Theres two doors on either side of me and a staircase in front of me. I’m not sure if people can see me when I’m dreaming so I don’t want to open a door. I don't want anyone to notice me. I go down the stairs. It seems like the safer bet.

Hope you enjoyed that! I can't wait to finally get this book out there for you all to read!