Useful Info…

…on Noteworthy Blogs and Websites!

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This week in my ‘useful websites’ thread, I’m going to introduce you to a site which focuses more on the editing part of story-telling, although there are some very helpful posts on writing too.

Today I bring to you the writerly awesomeness that is Kidlit! This site, for writers of children’s literature, is run by the amazing Mary Kole, who you can (and should) follow on Twitter here.

Mary’s years as an editor mean she approaches the craft of storytelling from a different angle. Kidlit mainly offers advice to the writer who has already completed their first draft, and is interested in getting down to business, and making the book into a best-seller.

There are sections about Publishing, getting an Agent, Revising and Editing, Query Letters, as well as actual Writing. Mary also offers specific advice for writers of Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult fiction. I also recommend checking out the Resources for Writers page.

If you haven’t already had a look at Kidlit why not head over there now? Have a browse through her advice, and if you really want your work to shine, you can use her freelance editorial services too. Her feedback on the first few pages of my WIP were massively helpful!

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Posted in Inspiration

Inspired by…

…Philip Pullman!

Philip Pullman (1946) – English writer

What is worth having is worth working for.

~Philip Pullman

 

Philip Pullman was another author I discovered in my High School library. I first came across his Sally Lockhart series when I was about 12. I completely fell in love with her. Also, this was the first time that I can actually remember crying over a book (although I won’t tell you why, because *spoilers*).

I later discovered his Dark Materials trilogy, and again fell in love with these vibrant, flawed characters. I loved the idea of Dust, and Other Worlds, and was completely obsessed with trying to figure out what my Daemon would be! This is also the only series where I actually prefer the second book to the first.

I loved the detail he was able to get across of what was really a very complicated narrative. So many worlds, characters, and points of view (POV)! Pullman’s books didn’t just offer a form of escapism, or an emotional attachment – they also made me think. These series’ were both considerably darker than anything I had read before, and opened my eyes, and mind to the fact that the world is not always a safe place.

I’m looking forward to the next installment that has been recently announced for future release, which I believe gives more insight into Dust!

Useful Info…

…about Noteworthy Blogs and Websites!

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This week we’re diving back into the ‘useful websites’ thread, with a quick look at another brilliant site, which has been beyond helpful on this writing journey of mine.

Today’s pick is the fabulous Helping Writers become Authors by K.M. Weiland, who you can (and should) follow on Twitter here.

Katie writes both fiction and non-fiction, and uses her website to assist fellow writers who want to improve at their craft. She also has a wide range of amazingly useful resources (some free, some paid) that are well worth a look-in.

I am currently using her thread on Character Arcs to give my story greater breadth, depth and strength. I would seriously recommend you check it out, regardless of which stage of the writing process you’re currently at – she breaks it down in to easily digestible sections, and offers a wealth of information that I have not found anywhere else.

This site is huge, and there are hidden nuggets of writerly awesomeness around every corner! If you haven’t already, definitely head on over to Helping Writers become Authors and have a look for yourself.

Posted in Inspiration

Inspired by…

…Tamora Pierce!

Tamora Pierce (1954) – American Writer of MG/YA Fantasy

Every now and then I like to do as I’m told, just to confuse people.

~Tamora Pierce

circle-of-magic

Tamora Pierce is one of my all time favourite authors. I first stumbled across her books in my high school library, at the tender age of 11. I believe it was the Song of the Lioness series I read first, quickly followed by the Circle of Magic books.

These are stories that I can read time and again, and never get tired of. I love the characters, I love the worlds she creates, I love the adventures and conflicts. I love how her heroines and heroes are flawed, and often stubborn. I love the mix of magic and nature, and am pretty sure it was her work which first inspired my current WIP.

The idea that a girl could do anything a boy could, struck a nerve with me. Previously, stories had always seemed to reinforce gender stereotypes, and as a girl who had been raised surrounded by boys, I struggled to accept this idea. I loved how strong her heroines were – they were warriors! Magicians! Powerful sorceresses who were able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts! They stood up for what they believed in, they learned from their mistakes, and were not forced to chose between being true to who they were, and falling in love.

If my stories can inspire just one young girl, in the way that Tamora Pierce inspired me, I will consider myself a success.

Useful Info…

…about Twitter # games!

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One of the most useful resources I’ve found on this writing journey of mine is Twitter. There are so many amazing writerly tweeps on there, and a wealth of useful information.

One of my favourite things about Twitter is the hashtag (#) games. There are loads of them, I’m sure, but there’s a few writing-specific ones which are definitely worth a look-in.

One of my personal favourite hashtag games is #storycrafter – run by Faye from @WriterologyHG (previously found at @Writerology). Each Sunday evening (8pm GMT) Faye hosts the game, which is based on a specific topic that is relevant to the writing process, and/or your current WIP. Once a month there is the opportunity to role play (RP) as one of your characters too! There are usually 5-6 questions asked, and whoever wants to can answer. A fab bunch of tweeps join in, giving you the chance to meet and engage with like-minded individuals, as well as thinking about your writing process in a way that perhaps you otherwise wouldn’t.

Another favourite is #WritersPatch hosted by @PatchworkNerd – also on Sunday (10am CST). Al hosts the game in a similar style to Faye’s #storycrafter, in that it lasts an hour and is based on 5-6 questions about a specific writing-related topic. There are often fun gifs and random mentions of food, as well as another bunch of wonderful writerly people to engage with. She ends each game with a poll of what people would like to discuss the week after, so you can play a part in determining each game’s topic too.

One of the daily hashtag games I’ve started this month is #authorconfession, hosted by the fabulous @_JM_Sullivan. Unlike the previous 2 mentioned, this one happens over the course of a month, with 1 question being set for each day. There are a wide range of questions asked, all still writing related, and it can be fun to read other people’s responses. The complete list of each month’s questions are posted on @_JM_Sullivan’s profile, and are well worth a look.

My most recent discovery is that of #DreamWIP, hosted by the lovely @claeriekauthor. It’s run along the same lines as #authorconfession, in that there is 1 question for each day of the month on the topic of (you guessed it) your dream WIP! The questions are varied but still writing-centric and again, it’s fascinating scrolling through the answers of other participants.

Last, but not least, I recently stumbled across the #SFFchat which runs once a month, usually in the first week (so I believe). They run it twice on 1 day (afternoon & evening USA time) and each chat has a theme – March’s was about first drafts. I missed out this month, by mere hours, but after reading through everyone’s tweets I am definitely looking forward to checking it out in April! I’m not entirely sure who hosts it, but @EmilyBeeMartin and @Michelle4Laughs seem to be in the know.

Those are my faves for right now. Of course there are the regular writing threads like #amwriting, #writing, #writerslife, #writingtips and #amwritingfantasy that are worth following too.

I hope you find these as interesting and helpful as I have, and if you know of any others that are worth checking out, feel free to let me know!

 

Posted in Writing

Update…

…for February 2017.

I’m still struggling to come to grips with the fact that it’s already March, and we’re almost half way through this month too!

February was brilliant for overall authorly achievements, but rather thin on the actual writing front.

Quick overview of Feb’s #amwriting accomplishments:

  1. Participated in WriteOnCon
  2. Got some feedback on my current WIP
  3. Figured out what was preventing me from moving forward with said WIP
  4. Went back to the drawing board and scrapped most of WIP
  5. Re-started the planning & outlining for new-improved WIP
  6. Won a 2 page critique from an editor in a WriteOnCon raffle
  7. Sent in 2 pages, and received feedback from said editor
  8. Made changes to WIP based on feedback
  9. Hit 2000 followers on Twitter! 🙂
  10. Completed a brief overview for each book in the series

While I feel as though I’ve taken quite a few steps backwards in some respects, overall I’m feeling positive about my current project, and am much more focused and motivated to keep working on it.

It turned out that my original story (which I started dabbling with over 10 years ago) was spanning the MG and YA age categories, which in today’s literary world just doesn’t work. I had to choose between keeping the style and narrative voice, but changing the series plot to be more MG appropriate – OR – altering the ages of my characters & changing the narrative voice to be more in-keeping with the YA themes the story explores.

I opted for keeping my original idea for the story, and aging the characters and narrative voice. It was somewhat painful having to let go of everything I’d written so far, and go back to the drawing board, but once I got over that, the ideas started flowing faster than I could write them down!

The raffle win was a complete surprise – both terrifying and exciting in equal measure. This was the first time a ‘professional’ would have read something I’d written. I’d already made changes based on the feedback from WriteOnCon, but I had no idea whether or not I’d been successful in making it sound more YA, increasing the stakes, and everything else you’re supposed to do for that age category.

The feedback I got was nowhere near as scary as I expected it to be. There weren’t as many notes/comments as I’d anticipated. A lot of them were quite minor things: some bringing my attention to things I didn’t even know existed (dangling modifiers…anyone?); and some really helpful pointers/tips/advice that will definitely make my writing stronger in the future. There were a few nice compliments in there too, which helped boost my confidence – I can ‘clearly write’, and have ‘a talent for imagery’ 🙂 She advised me to relax, and not worry about trying to prove I’ve got it. So overall it was a very positive experience!

As for the Twitter milestone – I’m not quite sure how I managed to hit 2000 followers in less than 2 months, but I’m loving the writing community on there! It’s so inclusive and supportive. There is a wealth of information and authoring advice, and the daily/weekly/monthly hashtag games are a really good way to connect with other writers, and think about your own work in a different way.

My goals for this month of March are to continue with Twitter and my blog, do more detailed character arcs, which I can then combine with my basic outlines to create a more detailed plan for each book. I’m hoping to get at least book 1 done by the end of the month so that I can start the first draft for Camp NaNoWriMo in April.

Good luck with all your writing goals, and here’s to a productive March!

 

Useful Info…

…about Noteworthy Blogs and Websites!

blog

As a follow on from last week’s “Useful Info’ post, I’m going to be talking briefly about another website which has been massively helpful as I’ve taken my first few steps on this authoring journey.

Today’s post brings to you the writerly talents of Writerology! This site is run by the amazing Faye, who you can (and should) follow on Twitter here.

In addition to her fabulous website, Faye also hosts #storycrafter on Sunday evenings (on Twitter) which I 100% recommend you take a look at.

Writerology is packed to the brim with useful articles, inspiring posts, writing challenges and so much more.

If you haven’t already have a look you can right now, here -> Writerology

Have a browse, follow her on Twitter, and check out the awesomeness that is #storycrafter on Sundays – I would also recommend that you sign up to her StoryCrafter’s Circle, where more wonderful writerly resources can be found!