Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

World Building for Dummies

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

The world that you build for your characters to play in can make or break your story.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a story that was great but I spent half the time confused because I was trying to understand the rules of the world.  Sometimes they give me names of people or cultures without explaining anything about it and then roll on.  Or sometimes they’ll sum up what appears to be complex magical system with a few short sentences and never build.  

Now I had decided that I wanted to do a world building post a while back, but as I sat down to get into it, I realized that it was an awfully big concept to squeeze into a few short paragraphs.  I mean, no one wants to reach a mile long post.  So I’ve decided that the better course of action would be to split it up into smaller, more manageable sections.  These being land, people, religion, economy, the every day man, crime, and finally maps. I know what you’re thinking….how can I build a world when I don’t have a world to go off on.  Trust me.  It will all make sense when it’s all said and done with. 

But just one small thing before I leave you.  World building is essential to your writing.  There’s no half assing it, or getting around it.  Not every world build has to be elaborate or complex, although, if you are making a whole new world from scratch you might want to put some extra though into it.  If your world is just a slight variation of this one then all you really need to do is figure out how the changes you made will logically fit.  And there’s the key word logic.  Even in fantasy worlds there has to be a bit of logic when it comes to the inner workings of your world.

Well that’s it for today.  If you any questions about world building, comment below.  I’ll try to make sure I address them in their proper places or right away if you say it’s an emergency.

On a different note….

My book, Time of Prophecy is available in paperback and e-reader.  Follow the link here for a list of all the places you can find it.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much a I enjoyed writing it!

 

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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Want to help me continue putting out content be it book reviews, writing help, or epic stories, click the link below and become a patron today!  Patrons get special goodies like sneak previews, bonus content, and opportunities not available to public.

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See ya next time!

 

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Digital vs Paper Outlining

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

I hope that everyone is doing well on this fine Wednesday.  For my people on the east coast watching the hurricane roll in, I hope you got all your provisions and let’s keep our fingers cross that we don’t loose power too long…

On a different note…I was supposed to have a book signing event this past Saturday but something fell through and I had to cancel.  I’m not gonna lie, I cried.  But I pulled up my big girl panties and went on with life.  I’m hoping to get it rescheduled soon.  It was my first event and I was really looking forward to it.  Sigh…oh well let’s in on to the matter at hand.

Outlining is something that you either do or don’t.  Some writers get their ideas and just see where they go organically while others (like myself) outline our works.  I outline because if I don’t I either run off onto weird tangents that have nothing to do with the story or I don’t put enough details into it.  And if you’re like me then I highly recommend outlining.  Now I know that this seems like a simple concept…and it is but it’s not either.

When I realized that I needed to outline, I did everything on paper.  But I ended up with piles and piles of paper, post-it notes, and scribbles in my writing journal.  My thoughts were scattered every where, so I searched for paperless options and came across Notebook.ai and I thought that all my problems were solved…not quite.  I ended up spending a hellish amount of time on little things, but I still like the site.

So here are the pros and cons of using paper and digital forms of outlining.

Paper pros

You can work anywhere as long as you have something to write on and with.  Also your ideas are locked into where you initially thought they would fit.

Paper cons

Lots of little pieces of paper to organize.  You can also loose them.  Plus once you’ve finished your story, it’s a lot of recycling.

Digital pros

Everything is in one place and you can access it anywhere and everywhere.  It’s a lot easier to make changes and you don’t really have to worry about loosing your ideas.

Digital cons

If you’re like me, you’ll end up getting sucked into a new toy.  If it’s not something you’re used to working with you’ll end up forgetting about it and not utilizing it thus making all that work that you put in a waste.

 

In the end it all boils down to preference.  I like having paper.  It helps me to remember but I do the vast amount online.  I use notebook.ai for world building but avoid the character fields bc I will get stuck there.  For my paper options, I have this cork board that I pin picture inspirations, notes, and whatever else on.  The blended option works for me, and you just need to find what works for you.

So what do you guys use for your outlining?  Do you even need to outline?  Comment below I would love to hear from you!

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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Want to help me continue putting out content be it book reviews, writing help, or epic stories, click the link below and become a patron today!

Patreon Page

 

See ya next time!

 

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Fiverr a Hidden Gem!

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Boy oh boy what a week.  I have survived my first week at school back with my students.  I have to say that it went pretty well.  But that makes me afraid for this week.  Positive thoughts though. 

Any who, let me tell you about this nifty little sight that I came across thanks to one of my favorite Youtubers, Safiya Nygaard.  She does a lot of weird posts and I love her.  Well one thing that she tried was Fiverr and that got me wondering if it could be used for writers.  I have not been paid to talk about this site.  This is just for fun/my opinion.

Now if you’re not familiar with Fiverr its a website where freelancers can post their resume.  Think of it like the personals in a newspaper.  Most of the jobs cost….that’s right 5 bucks, but there are more expensive ones too.  Those tend to belong to the professionals.  There’s a wide range of freelancers to choose from.  All you have to do is enter what you’re searching for and then have at it.  So far I’ve used Fiverr for editing and book cover designs.

The editors I’ve used are super friendly and they won’t break the bank.  Now I can hear a few of you already. “But if they’re cheap, they’re bad.”  Maybe but any editor worth their salt should be willing to talk to you about the changes they made.  If they don’t then you have a bad editor, no matter the cost.  Editors are there to help you and to help make sure that your book is the best that it can be.  I’ve seen big publisher books with mistakes.  No one’s perfect, but if you’re just starting out, you gotta do the best that you can with the funds that you have and a cheap editor is better than no editor at all.  Now some editors aren’t familiar with novel writing and rule bending that comes with that. But once you explain your thought process they will either agree with you or help explain it better.  I’ll use them again for future novels.  It  cost me about $300 for a custom job.  All in all it never hurts to ask.

I used to make all my book covers to help cut costs.  It’s not a bad option but what I wanted exceeded my skill level, time to learn, and patience to apply.  So for 30 bucks I got a new cover for a previous book (you know to test the waters).  Let’s say that I will be using this person again.  The thing that many cover designers do is have you pick the images that you like and then they blend it into your cover. Some have unlimited revisions while others only allow for three.  So please make sure that you look at everything before you hand over cash.

But overall, for the services that I’ve used, I can say that I’m satisfied with what I got.  The next service I want to check out would be book interiors.  I’ll be sure to let y’all know when and if I do.

Question Time:

Have you used Fiverr before?  For what?

Where did you find your editor/book cover designer?

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

See ya next time!

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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Want to help me continue putting out content be it book reviews, writing help, or epic stories, click the link below and become a patron today!

Patreon Page

 

 

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

5 Tips for Writing Scenes

Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Scenes make up everything in writing….

If you didn’t know well now ya know (Hamilton).

Writing them can be excruciating.   How do you create the right amount of emotion using only words?  I mean it’s not like you can add lens flares, choir boys singing, or dramatic music to your scenes….or can you?  Here are 5 tips to help you write better scenes.

1.   Does this scene even need to be included?

This may seem like a simple and slightly ridiculous question to ask, but it’s important.  Can you story carry on without this scene?  If the answer is yes then cut the scene.  Scenes need to convey something be it emotional development, action that moves the plot forward, or shows some form of character development or show something about the character(s). If the scene you’re planning on doesn’t meet any of that, then it might be best to cut it.

2.    Use the five senses.

Now I know this is a common suggestion but just how in the world are you supposed to do that.  Well here’s what I do using an action scene.

We heard them before we saw them.  The ground thundered beneath our feet; the terrible drumming march of a thousand demons.  My men shifted behind me, their chain mail and armor clinking softly.  The wind shifted and with it came the fetid odor that assaulted the delicate skin of my nose and caused the bile to rise to the back of my throat.  My stomach rolled in violation coating my tongue with the acrid taste of fear.  A fear that I can’t show.  Not if I don’t want my men to flee.  So I swallow it down.  It sticks in my throat and stays there.  I lift my eyes to the heavens.  Even the stars have fled from this ungodly army.  Five seconds.  I give myself over to the fear for five seconds.  After that, I cannot have any other thoughts in my head, not if I want to survive the night.

One.

Two.

Three.

Four.

Five.

I am ready.

From the tree line, gleaming eyes emerge.  They have arrived.  With a roar that turned my blood to ice and my limbs to quiver, the demon hoard descended.  The smell of carrion crashed over the field.  I grip my blade tighter; the sweat on my palms making the hilt slick.  That could cost me my life but I don’t have time to wipe them.  Summoning a roar of my own, I raise my sword to the sky.

“For Mareth!”

My men roar in reply and we surge to meet the black army that we meet with the familiar song of clashing blades and screams of the dying.  It is a good night to die.

 

Did you become the character?  Did you feel what he felt?  That’s what you need to do when you write.  Don’t be the god that observes.  Be the on in the moment.  Think of how you would feel in that situation, let you body feel it then put that to paper.

3. Want a dramatic flare to your writing?  Slow down the pacing.  Or speed it up.

When the character in the above scene counted to five I made each count it’s own paragraph.  That will naturally slow the pacing.  Up until that moment the pacing was much faster.  Play around with the pacing.  The more action you put into a single paragraph the faster it will be.  This can be applied to all types of scenes not just action ones.  In a romantic scene maybe have your characters come together slowly making each paragraph only a few sentences as they notice more, feel more.  It’s your story, have fun playing with it.  The rules that we learned in school don’t necessarily apply.

4. Use music for emotions.

I’m a music lover.  I work better with it than without.  I listen to music when I write.  I have several playlists that are just for writing.  I have my general writing music playlist, but I also have ones that are for spooky themes, villains, fighting, romance.  All the songs in those playlists play up to the emotions that I need.  When I’m working on a scene and it starts to give me trouble I start the appropriate playlist.  I listen to it for a bit and then get right back at it with the right mindset.  So play around on wherever you get your music and create playlists for the emotions that you know you struggle with.

5. Act it out

I know this sounds a bit strange but trust me.  When I get stuck, I step away from my computer and act the scene out as best I can.  This also helps with dialogue.  Acting it out will help you achieve some all too important realism in your writing.  Pay attention to the facial expressions you make when you talk.  What’s you body language like?  Now you might get some weird looks from your significant other, but they’ll get use to it.  My hubby just rolls his eyes and asks if I’ve finally lost my mind every time.  If you choose to apply this method, do so at your own risk or comfort.

 

Well that’s it.  My five tips to help you write scenes.  Do you have different methods that you use?  Let me know by commenting below.  I’d love to hear them!

 

Want other content?  Want to get to know me on a personal level?  Follow me on my other sites by clicking the links below:

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Want to help me continue putting out content be it book reviews, writing help, or epic stories, click the link below and become a patron today!

Patreon Page

See ya next time!

writing help

Balancing Writing with Life

 Greetings My Lovelies!

 

Sorry I missed posting yesterday.  Normally, I write my posts for the week on Saturday or Sunday and then schedule them, but I forgot.  Things have been a little crazy with moving and trying to get my classroom ready before my students show, but hey, what a great topic to talk about today.

Now, I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard the advise to write every day.   While I like the idea behind it, I still disagree.  That’s just not plausible.  Our lives, especially if we have day jobs, significant others, children, a social life, are not always going to allow us to get behind a computer to push out a decent word count.  What you should, to me, take away from this bit of wisdom is that you should carve out writing times.  Whether it’s a particular day or a hour, carve out some time that’s dedicated to your writing life.

For me that means that most of my writing happens on the weekends, either morning or evening depending on what’s happening.  I do leave some time from 7-9 at night to get some writing done during the weekdays.  I also carve out time to work on my author’s platform and building relationships with other writers and people in the writing industry.

You just need to find time that works for you.  I needs to be easy to accomplish and something that you can do consistently.  And that right there is key: consistency.  The more you do something, the more it will turn into a habit so that it feels like a chore.  Once writing during your scheduled time becomes habit, it becomes a little easier to balance your writing life with the rest of your life.

But what happens if the muses bless me and writing takes over?

Hey roll with it, if that’s what you want.  Just remember to take a break from your writing for a couple of days.  Get out of the house.  Take a shower.  Let your loved ones know you’re alive.  writing is an organic process.  It’s different every time you sit down in front of that computer, typewriter, or paper.  Just try to not let it consume your life and try to not go three days without doing something writing related.

What do you mean writing related?

Anything that will help you on your path to becoming a kick ass writer.  Take a writing class. Read an article about the publishing industry or tips to improve writing.  Dig around pinterest for images that go with whatever story you’re writing.  Hell, read a book from an author that inspires you.  Just don’t let writing get placed on the back burner.  Put it more on your second favorite burner (you know you have a favorite).

 

Also, if you don’t make it during the time you schedule, don’t fret.  Just get it done another time.  Like me and this late post.

Question time

Do you guys have any helpful suggestions about how you keep your writing life and regular life balanced?

What are some of the problems you’re having right now?

I’d love to hear them, just comment below.

As always, for more content, follow me on Twitter and Instagram. You can find the links on the About Me page. 

What to help me keep posting writing help, book reviews, and kick ass stories, head over to my Patreon page link on the About Me page.

Until next time folks!

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

My Top 5 Favorite Vlogers

Greetings my lovelies!

 

Like many of you, I spend countless of hours on Youtube.  I watch a mix of music videos, nostalgia cartoons, and to learn stuff.  I’m a visual and kinetic learner which means that I have to see and do it in order for a skill to set in.  Plus, it’s entertaining.  As a writer it’s quite easy to get lost navigating the literal thousands of vlogers out there.  And in case you’ve been living under a rock, a vloger is a person who blogs with videos.  I have the utmost respect and admiration for these people.  I can plan an entire series in a three days but I can’t edit a 5 min video.  It turns me into a fire breathing bitch queen.

So here are my 5 ish all time favorite vlogers.

5. Try Guys/Ladylike

I can hear you guys now….”These guys are really vlogers or writers”  I know, but hear me out.  The Try Guys and Ladylike are my go to when I’m feeling fried.  After days of planning or hammering through a bought of writer’s block I need to reset my brain and these guys are the best.  Their videos are entertaining and they make my brain switch gears.  Now I set a limit as to how many videos I watch (usually 3).  This keeps me from falling down the rabbit hole.  To check them out for yourself, click the links below.

The Try Guys    LadyLike

4. Sea Lemon

Again, not a writer, but Sea Lemon is an artist.  Watching her work keeps me going.  It’s hard to not watch her make these and not want to create yourself.  Creation feeds creation people!  She’s also supper bubbly and sweet!  Check her out below.

Sea Lemon

 

3. Amy Landino

Her vlog Amy Tv is the newest addition to my list.  I stumbled across it one day and instantly fell in love.  I haven’t had a chance to see all her posts but from what I’ve seen she is the Queen of motivation.  Her vlog is about how to become and maintain success.  She as posts about habits that she’s adopted and how they’ve helped her, how to overcome things like self doubt and embarrassment.  Honestly, just check out and see for yourself.

Amy TV

 

 

2. Derek Murphy

I found Derek right when I needed him most.  I am an indie author, which means that I have to take care of everything if I want my books to be published.  I’ve used Createspace and Ingram Spark.  They have their templates that you can use for your books interior, but I’ve never been 100% happy with them.  Fonts don’t always come out right.  They can sometimes look cheap.  Sigh.  I had no idea how to make the interior of my books just as engaging as the outside.  Honestly, a little effort inside goes a long way.  Well that’s where Derek comes in.  He’s all about helping some indie writers get their shit together and his videos on formatting book interiors are easy to follow.  They’ve helped me out a lot and I keep going back to him.

Formatting Book in MS Word

 

1. Jenna Moreci

ALL HAIL THE CYBORG QUEEN! I love Jenna.  I mean seriously.  I have yet to met a vloger that I love as much as her.  She’s hilarious and incredibly kind.  She encourages everyone to go out there and get some shit done. Her videos have helped me as a writer and given me a laugh or two.  Her post include topics on story structure, outlining, and the darkest aspect of publishing….marketing….shudder.  But she also loves sharing with her audience and clearly appreciates every once of support she gets. She’s who I want to be when I grow up.  But in all seriousness, check out her and see for yourself.

The Cyborg Queen

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

How to Write a Series Without Losing Your Mind

Greetings my lovelies!

 

Every now and again there comes an idea so epic, a world so badass that it can’t possibly be contained in a single book.  But just the thought of trying to tackle the daunting task of writing a series.  Writing a series takes a whole different level of dedication and discipline that can induce new levels of anxiety.  But don’t let that keep you from fully developing that idea that gripped you to being with.  I have a couple of tips to help you tackle writing a series without losing your mind.

 

Realistically look at your story as a whole.

Does your story actually need to be split up into multiple books.  Sometimes the random idea we get that fit within our story are actually smaller parts than we initially realize.  In the second book in my series Souls in the Dark, the two main conflicts are a blend of what I originally thought were going to be two separate books.  When I sat down to flesh out my ideas a little more, I realized that they weren’t enough to carry a whole book.  Do the same for your ideas.  It’s great that you have multiple conflicts, that makes for an engaging story, but not every conflict or meeting needs it own book.

 

Time

Figuring out the timing in your story can help keep track of how many books you need to effectively tell the story.  Is it year by year like in Harry Potter?  It it task by task like in the Hunger Games?  Or it it journey where each point in the story needs to be told like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones?  Framing the time can help with the planning stages and gives you an end point for each book.  Also don’t forget about the natural flow of time.  If your story goes on for more than a few months, then the seasons will change.  For the most part, things still have to follow a natural flow.

 

Keep track of important details

I have this wall … well not right now because I just moved…but I have this wall where I stick up all the major points that I have to keep in mind for the larger scope of my story.  This can be but not limited to maps, important items like magical tools, people who show up in one book but have a major role later on.  Having these things somewhere in the fore front will help you to not forget them and keep your sanity.

 

 

 

Create a rough outline of your series in its entirety

Some writers never outline their stories.  They just sit down and get going.  I am not one of these people.  If I don’t have an outline, I will go off into god knows where and end up having to completely start over.  I live by my outlines.  That doesn’t always mean that I follow them 100%.  Sometimes while writing something will develop naturally and I usually let it.  There are a thousand ways to outline your story.  I use a combination of traditional outlining and free writing synopsis.  The free writing synopsis is just me sitting in front of my computer writing the barest bones of my story.  I don’t care about dialog, grammar, spelling; nothing.  I just get the story out.  I refer back to the synopsis when I’m ready for the outlining phase of my writing to make sure that what I’m filling in doesn’t conflict with the larger scope of the story.  You could also use a story board instead.  A story board can be done anyway that you want it.  It doesn’t even have to make sense to anyone but you.  As long as it helps you to keep your thoughts organized, it works.

 

Don’t rush

There’s always this panic to pump out as many books as you possible can.  We see our favorite authors do this and try to emulate them.  I don’t recommend it.  For the most part, all they do is write.  They have the time to plan out their books and develop their story and characters and unless you’re like them….then it’s going to murder you.  Take your time.  Plan out each book.  Make sure it’s the best book you’re putting out there.  George R.R. Martin has us still waiting 7 yrs later for Winds of Winter.  And we will keep waiting because we know how in depth he goes into his world.  Take the time that you need to make a good story.  The rest will fall into place.

 

These are only just a few ideas on how to not lose your mind when writing a series.  There are tons of other articles out there all pretty much saying the same things.  Take your time.  Plan it all out.  Keep track of details.  Good luck!

If you’ve written a series before and have any other helpful hints on how to not turn into a Gollum then please comment below.  See y’all next time!