March Writing Tip 3

If writing was easy, everyone would be able to do it. Ghostwriters would be out of jobs.

There would be no reason/purpose for writing tips/advice.

And no matter how seasoned you are as a writer, you will get stumped on what words to use or in this week’s writing tip, overusing certain words.

In edits writers take care of this. But it’s good to keep these kinds of charts as a reminder of where to start once we get to editing.

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March Writing Tip 1

Every bit of writing advice/tip I’ve shared so far are ones I’ve used and re-used myself. This one in particular I stumbled across last year and..it messed me up!

I was on my second paranormal romance. I’d typed the end. But I wasn’t feeling as confident about it as I should.

I had a completed manuscript, ready for edits and I couldn’t make myself get it submission ready.

Until I read this.

Everything fell into place like it had never before. I rewrote the first chapter, then the next and when I came to the third chapter I had to ask myself what I had been doing with the first manuscript. And the first one was by no means a first draft. Let me just clear that up. It was a fifth draft. One that I felt okay about getting submission ready. Which meant self-editing.

I wrote all about this journey here on wordpress and on my Facebook page. I think I frustrated some of my readers because they were expecting another paranormal romance right after The Wolf’s Choice and here I was rewriting the whole book. Basically writing a new book.

I’m not going to lie, this was work. It had me busy up until December 31st, but it was worth it. I was excited to share my story with the world. I recommend this piece of advice to anyone who has ever had a completed manuscript but didn’t quite feel as confident about it as they should.

#happywriting

March Novel Tip: What’s in a Name?

These are but a few examples of names that can inspire an author.

In my latest story the charcters changed names so many times that by the end of 2018 I had to keep reminders close by on who was who. From the main characters to the villian to secondary characters and flat characters. It was crazy at one point.

Here’s the thing…in books a name does matter. Forget what Shakespeare said, a character’s name introduces not just who they are but what they are to the reader. Tate does give off cheerful vibes and Grayson does make you think of someone mature and with wisdom. Grayson is a strong name. Solid. I would go so far as to say responsible. The same as Michael.

If you’re a writer and you find yourself obsessing about character names, than you are on the right track. Because names are important.

#happywriting

#happypublishing

February Writing Tip 3

I love movies. And I love analyzing movie scripts and taking tips from them for novel writing.

Sometimes it feels dangerous to have so many pages to tell your story on. So dangerous in fact, you can write yourself in circles. There seems to be no end. With movie scripts there’s no place for endless pieces of paper…for endless scenes…chapters. Looking at the bones of a movie script helps me to get to the bones of a manuscript. Then I do what all novelist do, I add the ‘meat’ of the story.

This piece of advice has become really helpful in grounding my writing. I hope it helps you too *smile*

#happywriting

February Writing Tip 1

All my books have different openings. And I’m sure a lot of writers can say that.

My latest work in progress starts with an action. I had rewritten it so many times. I do believe the type of opening allows the reader to know what pace the story’s going to be.

JRR Tokien let’s you know off the bat you need to sit back, get comfortable because you’re in for a journey. While Jane Austen makes you think “oh crap, she’s going to let us have it” and you sit up with a grin on your face.

We all know this, our opening setences/chapters are the most important. Which explains why we struggle with it so much.

One thing I do to get over that struggle is to give myself permission to suck horribly with the knowledge that I can always rewrite! *laughs*

#happywriting

#happypublishingjourney

January Writing Tip 4

Funnily enough, this was a hard one for me to grasp in recent years.

As someone who wanted to write for Harlequin, I literally entered their So You Think You Can Write competition as a newbie author with no know-how whatsover. I wrote the kind of novel I thought they would want.

When I didn’t make the cut, I looked at my novel again and rewrote some of it. But it still had that Harlequin vibe. My second contemporary romance I wrote again for a Harlequin writing competition. I made it to the top 5, but didn’t win. That novel was also geared towards the publisher and though I cared about the story (like I do with all my writing), it wasn’t like this quote from Laini Taylor.

The Wolf’s Choice became this quote for me. If I walked into a bookstore or if I was browsing online in an e-bookstore…what book, what story will intrigue me?

It took me three books to get to a place as an author where I’m more interested in writing stories for myself than what I think I publisher wants.

Nothing wrong with that.

It just didn’t work for me.

#happywriting

#publishingjourney

January Writing Tip 3

I’m a romance author. If you didn’t know I just wanted to put it out there before you burn me at the stake for putting a ‘kissing tip’ here.

The topic got my attention last year when a Facebook writer friend had a mini ‘rant’ about kisses in romance novels that start with the guy kissing the girl to silence her. I didn’t know that could be upsetting to a reader. So I went and did a little search on kisses and also different types of kisses in novels.

So here are a top 20 kisses you can find in romance novels and of cousre other types of novels too.

Thank you to the person who compiled this list!

#happywriting

#happypublishingjourney

January Writing Tip 1

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I live for this type of advice, because it is honestly sound. I used to question the things I would become obsessed over. Whether it’s a new TV show, food or book series…even *whispers*stores in the mall *gasp*. I don’t anymore.

As a creative person, I do believe, our obsessions leads us to our next projects or makes our work richer. It’s where we draw from the most. Sometimes it’s an academic persuit like getting your Masters or PhD. Other times it’s simply just becoming intrigued with an idea.

For January I’m definitely paying closer attention to the things I’m intrigued by.

#happywriting

Do You Journal?

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One of the early signs that I’d end up writing professionally was the fact that I kept journals from a young age. At first I liked the romanticism of it all, then I’d like that I could write secrets in codes inside and then it became part of my psyche as a reflective human being.

The act of writing down my thoughts, not just events but how I felt about them, how I internalized actions and behavior, became the first stirrings of writerly observations.

In my teenage years I would switch from writing poetry, stories and weekly entries into my journal. At varsity as life became busier, taken up by studies, societies and friends, writing took a bit of a back seat. I mostly focused on poetry and keeping a journal. Then in my final year of undergrad when I received a new computer, I started to write stories again.

I’ve heard that writers should keep a journal. I don’t know if I fully agree with it or not. I’m undecided *smile* As someone who did/do still journal (though not as much as I have in the past) I can say that it does create a certain level of awareness. Reflection like this can sort out the cobwebs.

These days I like to keep journals and notebooks that centre more on developing book ideas. I keep my reflections for my poetry *smile*

In that sense, keeping a journal does serve a tangible purpose. You can go back to it and look at an outline, a mind map or character sketch you scribbled down. You can plot out a story in a few sentences. I once rewrote a synopsis in a journal because I needed a different form of writing. I couldn’t look at the synopsis on my laptop screen any more. Fixing it that way became problematic after a certain point, so I grabbed a pen and one of my journals. I could easily see where I hit a snag. Sometimes a different medium offers solutions.

Journaling definitely got me here…on this blog *smile* It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t felt comfortable writing my thoughts down. So there’s that. Oh and did I mention I wrote for my school newspaper? *ha* What I’m getting to is this, keeping a journal can create confidence in expressing thoughts and ideas. That’s a plus for any author. For any type of writer.

So if you haven’t kept a journal before, and you’re serious about writing, why not try it for a month, see where it takes you. If it improves your way of writing, or not, come tell me about it *smile*

 

What writing Fan-Fiction taught me

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As most of you know, I’m a romance writer of both contemporary and paranormal fiction. I never considered writing fan-fiction before 2017, simply because as a fiction writer I like the idea of coming up with my own characters and worlds.

Which brings me to some of the flaws about writing fan-fiction; it doesn’t teach a novice writer how to do world building since the world you’re writing in already exists, the same with the characterization. The characters already exist with all their strengths and weaknesses so it’s easy (in this regard) to write a new storyline. It can also create expectations in regards to how fast a writer gets feedback on their work. With fan-fiction there’s already a built-in audience—the fans. As an author starting out, that will not be the case, which means you’ll have to have realistic expectations.

Now to what fan-fiction taught me *smile*

1.      It forced me to come up with an angle that no one in the fandom have considered writing about yet. I had to consider how ‘fresh’ the story would be in the fandom as well as stay true to my romance writing roots. So it definitely helps to develop that part of creativity in writing.

2.      Fan-fiction can span from 100k novels to 3k shorts. I chose to go the short story route. It took me out of my comfort zone and helped me to think about what information was really important to give through to the reader in this short story format.

3.      Romance publishers, especially Harlequin, love to tell writers who are interested in submitting to them to open with a bang. Your first line of chapter one has to be gripping and pull them into the story. And then also the end of that chapter has to make the reader want to move on to the next chapter. This technique then should be used throughout the rest of the novel. With fan-fiction, you have to keep the reader interested. Even though they are fans of the celebrities, movies or authors work you’re writing about, you can still lose them if you don’t apply this strategy. It’s also a fun way of developing this skill.

4.      It honed my research and observational skills. I’ve written two fan-fiction stories. One in 2017 and another last week (https://www.wattpad.com/user/IngeUlrike ). Needless to say, I watch the YouTubers I wrote about on a regular basis and enjoy their videos. However, I’m not a ‘fan-girl’. I’m subscribed to their channels but I’d be lying if I said I follow what they do constantly on social media. So I had to delve into their ‘worlds’, read some of the fan-fiction that had been written about them and get the tone of the ‘characters’ as accurate as possible. This made me examine how I research my fictional stories for my novels and how taking more from real life observations can improve my writing.

Needless to say, writing fan-fiction as any writing endeavor teaches you a lot about yourself as a writer.  Do you have anything to share about writing fan-fiction? I’d love to hear read it. Feel free to leave a comment, if so.