Writer Wednesday–Blog Crit

Laura Barnes was gracious enough to critique my blog last week and I wanted to share her blog with you guys today.

Click HERE to see her critique of my blog.

Laura does a great job of assessing a blog’s aesthetic appeal, informational content, design, and scope.

I IMMEDIATELY implemented many of the suggestions she gave me.

You can sign up to get your blog critiqued too!

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Deb’s up for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic. Stop by her blog and say hi! Check out her dragons figures too–she designs and molds them herself.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Who Else Is Watching You?

This month, Lydia asks:

Outside of your writing friends, do other people (work, family, friends) know you blog? What do they think of it? Have you ever been hit with a, “Hey! I read your blog today!” from someone you never expected to read it?

FANTASTIC question, Lydia!

When I first started writing (over 3 1/2 years ago now!), I didn’t tell anybody. Back then, I wasn’t sure where my writing was going. I had dreams, of course, but really it was a way to destress, do something creative, and it was FUN!!!!

Then I joined QueryTracker’s forum and met a bunch of fantastic people! With time, I became comfortable enough to start this blog. It was slow going at first, but as the months passed it developed into what you see today.

My blog posts are connected to Twitter and Facebook and since I’ve friended some co-workers, friends, and family there, they’ve seen the links. Much to my surprise and delight, my blog has spread from writer friends to people in my “real life” circle.

It’s been nice to see them “like” a post and even comment on them!

What’s more, they whole-heartedly support my endeavors. They send “*hugs* and chocolate” when I get a rejection and they send “CONGRATULATIONS! and SQUEEEs!!!” when I announce accomplishments.

Even better, it’s hard for me to go a day to two without someone asking me about my book and my short story!

SO. COOL!

How about you? Any non-writerly peeps find your blog?

Writer Wednesday–Writer’s Road and Indie Chat

There’s a LOT of chats happening on Twitter. It can be daunting and overwhelming to decide which ones to join. There’s YALitChat, MGLitChat, Scriptchat…oh hell, just check out this LINK (from @inkyelbows) for more.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve “attended” two writer chats on Twitter:

#Indiechat (Tuesdays at 9pm EST)

#WritersRoad (Mondays at 9pm EST)

I have learned SO MUCH that I plan to stick with these two. PLUS, the peeps on there are SUPER SUPPROTIVE and eager to share their experience and knowledge of the biz (and in a way I can understand!).

What chats have you been to? Which are your favs and why? Ever thought about starting your own chat?

Be sure to check out Deb’s response to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog topic of Prologues–Love ’em or hate ’em?

Writer Wednesday–Battling Social Networking Overload

I’ve been on the social media highway for about three years now. It all started with QueryTracker, then branched out to RallyStorm, then to Facebook and Twitter, and finally, my blog. I’ve spent countless hours on each site, chatting with other writers, learning techniques, learning how-to’s and don’ts, all the while watching the network grow and branch out in directions I’d never thought possible.

And now there’s even MORE avenues to get connected!

Klout, Google+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and now Pinterest…

How can I possibly keep up!!!!!!

*flails* *runs into wall* *passes out on floor*

So, folks, how do you keep a steady pace on the social networking highway without running out of gas? How do you find time to do real life things, like, gee I don’t know, WRITE??? 😉

This week for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog, Deb answers the question of what inspires her.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Inspiration

Deb asks:

What type of book do you read for writing inspiration, and why? Do you read fiction or non-fiction, and what genres? Mysteries and YA, or archeology and astronomy?

Great question!

The simple answer is I read YA books to inspire me for my YA WIPs and I read middle grade for middle grade inspiration. 😉

I prefer paranormal, horror, sci fi, fantasy, and all things magical. I also like unique and “odd” things. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children fit the bill for unique and odd. The voice, while it seemed “old” for YA, along with the isolated setting and eerie photographs, really created a fresh landscape that captivated me and totally got my creative mind going. The Marbury Lens would be another example.

I’m not big on non-fic. At. All. Lol! I’ve read enough textbooks in my lifetime. That’s enough non-fiction.

On the other hand, there are a lot of great books for writers on technique, like Save the Cat. It’s on my TBR list…towards the bottom, haha!

How about you? What books do you read for inspiration?

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Expectations

Sarah Fine (blogger of The Strangest Situation and writer repped by Kathleen Ortiz) asks:

Where do your expectations for your writing (career/skill/quality/achievements) come from? Is the source internal, external, or both? And how do you cope when you don’t meet them?

This question is SO pertinent to what I’ve been grappling with over the fall. Like, seriously.

When I first started writing, I did it for the sheer enjoyment. In the back of my mind, I mused about how cool it would be to see my work published, but I didn’t really think it was possible. As I continued to write, I noticed progression in my skill.

Then the craziest thought popped into my head:

I want to be published and I’m going to actually DO something about it!

Gosh, it would be grand to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. I also know that’s a looooooong shot. So, to be more realistic, I’d like to see my novels make it to print and I’d like to see a fair amount of people read them.

I do expect to hold a bound novel with my name on the cover. Others have expressed the same vision.

But it hasn’t happened yet.

And that leads to a LOT of frustration for me. So much so, that I contemplated quitting and didn’t write for several months. There’s a natural fallow time for every writer, but this time seemed to be…the end.

It looked like my way to cope was to finally face the “truth” that it wasn’t going to happen and give up.

I thought about that.

And thought about it.

And thought about it.

(I’m a shrink and a bit obsessive, so I thought about it a lot, okay?)

And thought about it.

Finally, I realized that I’d given away control. I’d let the industry dictate how I did things. I let it beat me down.

I’ve never done that before.

Then I remembered that everyone’s path to publication is unique. No way is right or wrong, better or worse, than any other.

For example, I started at a community college, then transfered to a four-year school before applying for medical school. I was rejected the first year (a not uncommon thing). I tried the next year and got in. Medical school was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I persevered. I got my MD. And I did it in an unconventional way. But it’s still an MD.

Publishing my work can be the same. I may not follow the path that most traditionally pubbed authors do. And that’s okay.

…I think I got off track a bit. Pretty normal, considering my general approach to life goals, LOL!

Bottom line, when in the writing game, I think it’s reasonable to expect the unexpected. Ha!

How about you? What are your expectations for writing and how do you handle it when it doesn’t work out the way you envision?

Stay tuned for Lydia’s response next week!

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Pet Inspiration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deb asks:

How do your pets/kids/plants (something you take care of) influence your writing?  Do they help you, or distract you?  Do you include them in your stories?

Great question, Deb! And quite apropos as we prepare for NaNoWriMo. I mean, really, if ever there was a time when writers need inspiration, it’s during NaNo. Am I right?

My ragdoll cat, Gracie (y’all met her last week), definitely inspired my writing. In my very first book, the main character has a long haired, blue eyed kitty with a diva attitude. Like Gracie, this feline offered just enough support to keep the main character happy, but then had her own schedule to keep, regardless of the mayhem happening in the MC’s life.

Yeah, that’s how Gracie rolls.

On the other hand, if kitty wants some one on one time, writing just ain’t gonna happen. You know what I’m sayin’? 😉

How about you? Has your writing been inspired (or, gasp, hindered) by a pet, person, or plant? Do share!

Stay tuned for Lydia’s answer next week!

Launching A New Blog Series

Hey gang!

So I’ve heard a rumor that “blogging is dead.” This saddens me because I enjoy blogging and reading others’ blogs. It’s a great way to stay informed, network, and get support from other writers.

Anyway, in an effort to stave off Death, I’ve developed a new blog series that will be informative and useful to writers in all stages. (Aren’t ya excited? I know I am!)

Each month I’ll detail a different writing related topic. The posts will likely be on Wednesdays. (I’ll stick with Mental Health Monday posts and Flake-out Fridays, okay?)

Next month I’ll start the series off with:

NaNo Prep!

I’m looking forward to this new endeavor. How about you? (Please say yes, LOL!) 😉

Do check out Deb’s response to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog’s topic of Character Development.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–What a Character!

Welcome to September! Geez, where has the year gone?!?!?!?!

Anywho, a new month means a new sisterhood topic. This month, Sarah Fine at The Strangest Situation has come up with an awesome question!

She asks:

How do you develop your characters? Do you flesh out the details before (like writing as that character, writing backstory, or filling out a questionnaire about their preferences and history) or invent as you go?

I have a pretty consistent pattern when it comes to decision making and idea development.

I let my subconscious (or, as Freud would say, unconscious) mind do all the work. Sounds easy, right?

Problem is, my subconscious mind often goes on its own schedule so it’s not like I can say, “Hey, Subconscious, I need a story idea and a cast of characters by next Thursday.” Cuz my subconscious mind will say, “Pfft. Sure, no problem, but you’ll have to wait.”

So that’s what I do.

It may take a couple days or it may takes weeks and months for my brain to come up with something, but once it does, then I know I’m ready to pursue the idea.

Okay, okay. I’m hearing some of you say, “But why don’t you just free write or write character sketches or something, to get the ideas flowing?”

Those are GREAT ideas, but they don’t work for me. If I actively make a character up, it feels forced, fake, and *gasp!* cliche.

Additionally, if I get going along in a project and an idea strikes me, I may include it in as part of my character’s development. In that regard, it is an evolving process too.

I often find my dreams to be a wealth of information as well. But, really, that’s my subconscious mind at work too, you know?

How about you? How do you develop your characters?

Lydia will be taking the reins next week to describe how she develops her characters. I can’t wait to read it!

Every Wednesday