Posted in Uncategorized

Life Updates: Part 1

Hey family, friends, and fans!

I’ve decided to start a new blog series that I will update every once in a while called “Life Updates.” Creative, I know. But it most succinctly captures everything I’m planning on telling you in these posts.

This year I planned to post to my blog weekly. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Mental health issues got in the way, and I probably shouldn’t share the specifics, but when you’re in a 24-hour battle with your mind, it’s overwhelming to just get out of bed and do the things you need to do each day. Much less keeping up with writing goals and promises.

Mental health is something I have struggled with my entire life, but especially in the last eight years. It’s frustrating because I’m the only thing holding myself back from great successes, and I can’t win this battle because it’s a battle with myself. I don’t even know where to begin in order to fight back.

But I digress.

Mental health is the biggest player in why I haven’t written in a long while, or kept up with my newsletters, or any of the things I promised myself I would do for you, my readers.

You guys keep me going, coming back to my writing again and again. Your support means the world to me.

So that’s why I was blown away by the support on twitter when I participated in a pitch contest, just for the sake of seeing if I could and if I would get any bites. I posted four tweets about two different WIPs for #carinapitch, a romance press with Harlequin.

I didn’t get any bites, but I’m proud I did it. In case you wanted to see what I was working on, here are those tweets:

The mermaid prince committed a crime: he let a human know of merpeople’s existence by saving her life and bringing her down to the underwater kingdom. Now he has three weeks to make her fall in love with him, or face execution at the hands of his uncle, the king.

This is for my completed WIP Poseidon’s Pearl that just needs editing and to go through Write of Passion’s editing and publishing process before being published.

A legend in the pack foretells that a Siren will get revenge by killing the first human mate of the Alpha in 1,000 years. So when Flynn finds out he is mated to an observant human who may or may not be trustworthy, he must figure out whether it’s love or lies.

This is for my WIP that I am still writing called Betrayal. I’m only 30k words in and most of those I got a few years ago before I abandoned the project for a new, shinier idea, but I am getting back to it and I can’t wait to share it all with you.

I got a lot of retweets and some other people even said they thought my pitch was awesome! So thank you, all of you, for your support.

In case you want to follow me on twittter for more updates and interactions, I am @HayleyGAuthor. This also works for Facebook and Instagram, though I am not very active on either of those platforms right now.

That’s another goal of mine: to be more active and interactive on social media with all of you.

I guess we’re talking about goals, now, so I may as well lay mine out for all to see:

  • Write a blog post at least once per week
  • Be more interactive with you guys on social media (Facebook and Twitter to start. I’ll add in Instagram later.)
  • Write every day
  • Read every day
  • Set deadlines for my writing
  • Set deadlines for Write of Passion’s editing and publishing process
  • Make Write of Passion into a blogging site for writing advice and book reviews
  • Publish Poseidon’s Pearl sometime within the next year

I think that’s enough goals to work on for now.

Well, this has been a rollercoaster of a post. From lamenting my mental illness to the excitement and highs of a pitch contest, to goals. I’m a bit all over the place.

Thank you for sticking with me. Your support means everything.

Happy writing!

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of Us At The Beach by Stephanie Street

Blythe’s childhood friend and Neighbor, Walker, moves back to town with his family. Their families are close and go on vacation together to the beach. Blythe figures that Walker is just paying attention to her because she’s there and he’s bored, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

They spend lots of time together at the beach, even kissing in the dark during a game of hide and seek with their little siblings. Sparks fly, but when they return home, things cool down. Walker has practice all the time and stops calling and talking to Blythe who assumes the worst: she was just another conquest for him. 

Walker has his work cut out for him to repair things, and repair them, he does. 

This cute story was swoon-worthy, especially the once scene where Walker has Blythe clinging to him in the ocean, jumping in the waves because she can’t swim. And the ending? So perfect. The gifts he gives her are so cute and memorable and sweet. 

I read this book several months ago, and it is still fresh in my mind. I loved the characters and how authentic they were. I also loved how the characters interacted with each other and how important family was to them. The whole cast of characters was great, and the setting was cute, in this old, small seaside tourist town. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend to lovers of sweet YA romances who love the tropes Best Friends and Boy Next Door. I will read this again soon. 

Posted in writing advice

Pep-talk: Encouragement to Keep Writing

Sometimes we stop writing. That’s natural and part of the creative process. Sometimes we abandon projects for new ones, or take a break from creating because of comparison, life circumstances, mental health, or some harsh criticism. 

One killer of creativity is comparison. If you compare yourself to others, then you will surely struggle to create anything because you’ll be too busy analyzing every word you write to see if it measures up.

If you must compare, compare yourself to your own writing, six months to a year ago. See how far you’ve come? If you continue to write regularly, you will only get better and better. Practice makes perfect and all of that, though no one is ever perfect. Anything worthwhile is worth putting the work in. They say it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something, so don’t should on yourself for how you think you should be doing. Have you put your 10,000 hours in yet?

Life circumstances, whether it be work, kids, a death in the family, chronic illness, or another such instance, impede writing. It’s okay to take some time off, but writing can be a great way for processing your emotions, especially when grieving over a loss of a relationship, person, situation, or what-have-you. Writing will always be there for you. And the more you learn to write despite these things, the faster you’ll finish your projects. But don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to break in the pursuit of writing. You come first, always. Know your limits. 

Mental health is a huge factor when writing. Some days we just aren’t up to it. And that’s okay. It’s better to keep yourself healthy than have a breakdown because you forced yourself to do something you weren’t ready to do. But again, writing can act as a feelings processor and might help with your mental health. Try to figure out what works for you.

Harsh criticism is another creativity killer. But everyone receives this sort of thing. Harry Potter, one of the most world renowned book series ever, was rejected many times over. In the midst of harsh criticism, let yourself feel the feels, take a deep breath, and move on. Try to see if somewhere within the criticism there was a grain of something that could be improved. The more you write, work at, and practice your craft, the less likely you are to get harsh criticism. Just another reason to keep writing!

Writing is an important part of your life. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Keep at it, keep working at it, keep reading craft books and learning about the industry, keep practicing, and you’ll get better. But you have to put in the work. Don’t expect to be good from the start, no matter how talented you are. 

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of “Playing The Field (The Trouble with Tomboys Book 3)”

Baseball legacy Alex Prince is used to moving across the country for her dad’s coaching jobs. Unfortunately, her new school doesn’t have a softball team. She has to play ball this year, but fear not, her dad has a solution! Her dad pulls some strings and she can try out for the boys’ baseball team. 

The only problem? Her crush, the guy who seemed to like her, too (and almost kissed her on the first day of school,) plays on the team, and he’s competing for her position. 

A prank war ensues as these two are pushed together repeatedly and start to fall for each other. But they can’t get over their rivalry for a long time, until they figure out how to work together for the good of the team. 

This romance was cute and well written, a great read to end out this trilogy. Christina Benjamin wrote a good enemies-to-lovers romance with a cute ending that made my heart warm. The banter was well done, and I lived for the pranks, laughing out loud at a few of them. I read this book in two sittings, which is a lot quicker than average for me. It was an enjoyable, quick read and I would recommend this, and the entire series, to anyone who loves swoon worthy, sweet, YA sports romances. 

Posted in writing advice

Getting Through A Writing Block

Hello family, friends, and fans! 

Can you tell that’s gonna be my new catchphrase? Anyway, on to the article. 

You’ve been writing consistently for a while now when suddenly, you open up your chosen writing tool and the words stare back at you laughing because your mind is blank. 

Where did the words go? How do you get them back? 

FIGURE OUT THE PROBLEM

First of all, you have to figure out what the problem is. Are the words hitting a little too close to home? Has something in your life taken over and drained you? Are you heading in the right direction, so resistance is trying to thwart you? Are you burnt out and need a recharge? It could be any of these and more. Figure out what is stalling the words and tackle that. 

WHAT TO DO?

If the words are hitting a little too close to home, you’ll have to do some soul searching and personal reflection to work through the block. Working on yourself will not only make you a better, stronger person, but it will also strengthen your writing. If you aren’t ready to face whatever it is, either work on something else or rewrite the story so you won’t have to face whatever it is.

If something in your life has taken over and drained you or you are experiencing burn out, it’s time to take a break from writing and do some self care. You can get some ideas from my article “How To Get Your Creativity Back On Track.”

If you’re getting resistance because your on the right track, it’s time to push through. Brainstorm, make promises to yourself, and keep yourself accountable. If it helps, ask friends or family to check in with you to make sure you were writing on the days you said you would. 

Whatever it is, you can keep yourself writing by journaling about your day and thoughts. It’s a good practice to have, even if it’s just a couple of lines like, I went to the grocery store today. Got chicken to make orange chicken for dinner and other assorted sale items. Grandma and I went out to lunch and had a great time. It felt good to get out of the house, but as soon as I was back it was back to reality and mental health issues. Even if it’s that short, or shorter, just recording the events of your day can be a good practice that can help you get through blocks in the future. 

Posted in newsletter

My Newsletter Is Here!

Hello family, friends, and fans! 

It’s the last Monday of the month, so that means I owe you a newsletter. If you haven’t already signed up for my newsletter, you can do so here. You’ll receive a welcome message, though I can’t guarantee that you’ll receive this week’s update, as I am moving my newsletter to email sign-ups only. 

If you want an example of the kinds of things you’ll receive in my newsletter, you can check out my post: January 2020: Newsletter Example.

Again, you can sign up for my newsletter here

It’s once monthly, sent on the last Monday of each month. I will never spam your inboxes because I know how annoying that is an how cluttered everything gets.  

Thanks for supporting me on this journey to become an author! I can’t thank you enough for your support!

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of Playing to Win: The Trouble with Tomboys #2 by Stephanie Street

Jordan is the coach’s daughter of the most decorated boy’s hockey team in the region. Having a dream of playing hockey professionally, she decides to try out for his team to play alongside her brother and the rest of the boys because that will give her the best chance to reach her goals. 

But there’s one problem. The new kid at school, an annoyingly handsome boy named Asher who stole her parking spot, is not only competing for her parking space, but also for her place on the hockey team. And he’s good. 

Asher has dreams of being a music star like his mother. Unfortunately, ever since his mother left to pursue her music dreams, Asher’s father has refused to let him pursue his dream, instead pushing him toward hockey. They have an agreement; work hard at hockey and he gets to spend time doing his music. He doesn’t want to take away Jordan’s dreams of being a starting hockey player on her Dad’s team, but he needs to try his best at hockey or give up his music. 

Complicating matters for Jordan’s hatred of Asher is that he is a great singer. How does she know? He’s her new neighbor and spends time in his backyard, accidentally serenading her without realizing he is. 

This enemies-to-lovers, boy-next-door trope was a romance to die for. I lived for the laughs and the swoons and the kisses. One thing Stephanie Street does well is writing swoon-worthy YA romance kisses. I loved her characters and how driven they were for their dreams and how those dreams clashed until the very end. It was a wonderful story that kept me reading all day and night (hey, I’m a slow reader. Don’t judge!) just to see what would happen next. 

I would definitely recommend this story for anyone who loves YA sweet romances. 

Posted in Updates, Write of Passion News

Write of Passion Literary Journal is Now Accepting Submissions for Our Mythology Issue

I’m back with more Write of Passion Literary Journal news! 

Starting today, submissions are open for our mythology issue! Send us your short stories and poems of 5,000 words or less to submissions@writeofpassion.com for a chance to be published in our May 1st Mythology issue!

For submission formatting guidelines, visit writeofpassion.com/submission-guidelines. Remember that we read blind so make sure your name is nowhere on the document you attach to the email. 

For a list of all upcoming themes, make sure you visit writeofpassion.com/important-dates. This way you can have plenty of time to prepare your short stories and poems for the issue of your choice. 

Right now we can’t pay you for submissions published, but we’re working on a way to make that possible. 

All we ask is for first publishing rights (which means it wasn’t published on your facebook or social media in any form) and then the rights revert back to you after six months. Then you can publish it elsewhere and do with it as you please.

We only accept submissions during the open submission periods of February, May, August, and November on the dates of the 10th through the 25th every year. Please don’t send us your work outside of these dates. 

I look forward to reading your work and working with you to publish it if you get accepted. 

Thanks for supporting me and my team by submitting your work to the journal from the beginning! 

Posted in Write of Passion News

Write of Passion Literary Journal’s Romance Issue is Here!

Write of Passion Literary Journal published its fourth issue two days ago on February 1st, 2020. It’s all about romance! It has some great book reviews, some fun romance stories submitted by writers, and some important writing tips for both general advice and writing within the romance genre. 

You can get it for free at writeofpassion.com/past-issues and click the download link to get the PDF. You can also find all of our previous issues at that link. 

This marks a full year of issues from Write of Passion Literary Journal. I am so proud of my team and how this project has grown from conception back in November 2018 until it’s first open submissions in February 2019 until now, four issues later. 

Just to be clear, the change to make Write of Passion into a publishing company doesn’t mean the journal will go away. In fact, quite the opposite. We will continue to have the journal be free for everyone to access to raise awareness for the publishing company. 

So, if you haven’t yet, check out Write of Passion Literary Journal’s Romance Issue and if you like it, subscribe to the journal to get the issues straight to your inbox!

Until next monday!

Posted in newsletter, Updates

January 2020 Newsletter Example

This will be an example of the content you would get in my newsletter which will go out every last monday of the month. 

Hello everyone! What a month this year has been, not only with current events (which I’m not even going to touch) but with personal lives, too. Is it just me, or has anyone else experienced the upheaval of 2020 first hand? 

All I can hope for is that 2020 is front loading the bad stuff so some truly great things will be coming up in our future. Life is a roller coaster: with every hill there will always be a valley. Let’s just hope that the hills match the valleys in sheer grandiosity and intensity. 

As promised, here are some updates:

Write of Passion Literary Journal is becoming Write of Passion Publishing Company! This decision was made when we split from Balance of Seven as a publication, and now have the freedom to go and become what we want. 

The team wanted to become a publishing company and so we are currently ironing out the details of what that will look like. If you want to support us on this journey, we are looking into creating an Indiegogo campaign in April. 

The February Issue of Write of Passion comes out in a couple of days on February 1st, 2020. Make sure you go to writeofpassion.com and sign up with your email to get it sent directly to your inbox!

I will publish my first book, Poseidon’s Pearl (editing stage), on the tentative date of June 1st, 2020, through Write of Passion Publishing. This will be a test run of sorts to see how long it’ll take the company to get through the editing process, publishing process, and marketing process. The editing process is long and arduous for me, so wish me luck!

I am also working on several other projects, including a sequel to Poseidon’s Pearl with a couple of side characters from that book getting their own story (drafting stage), and a sequel to the Dragons Within short story (percolation phase). You can buy the Dragons Within Anthology on Amazon. The link is on my Publications page. I am also playing around with a contemporary romance idea of a girl going back to high school for a second chance with her crush (percolation phase). That one’s been bouncing around in my head for a while, but I seem to have a block whenever I sit down and write it, so it might never see the light of day. But we’ll see. 

I had to unblock myself from writing the sequel to Poseidon’s Pearl (tentatively called Poseidon’s Portrait) so I read Story Genius by Lisa Cron and followed her advice to flesh out my characters and their motivations. I think I will use this any time I am blocked. 

Books I am reading right now:

  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Silence (Book #3 in the Hush, Hush Series) by Becca Fitzpatrick
  • Write Naked by Jennifer Probst
  • Story Genius by Lisa Cron
  • Just Don’t Mention It by Estelle Maskame
  • Dare to Fall by Estelle Maskame
  • Circe by Madeline Miller

As it gets closer to launch time for Poseidon’s Pearl I will send you a link to Book Funnel with the first three chapters of the book, for your reading pleasure. I am also working on a short story prequel to Poseidon’s Pearl for my fiction writing class at school, so stay tuned for that to come out soon. 

If you want to get more monthly updates like this, sign up for my newsletter on the home page of this website, or click here. These updates will come every month on the last Monday, and will keep you in the loop with all of the things I am working on, thinking about, and planning in the many areas of my life. 

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story” -Terry Pratchett

See you next month with more updates!

Posted in Updates, Write of Passion News

Write of Passion Literary Journal Will be a Publishing Company!

Some of you may have checked out my pet project that started in November 2018, Write of Passion Literary Journal. If not, you can check it out at writeofpassion.com. We are nearing our fourth issue, coming out on February 1st, 2020. It’s romance themed, and we have some great stories and poems lined up. 

If any of you are interested in submitting a short story or a poem for our mythology issue, please visit the website above for more information. The important dates tab will allow you to see upcoming themes and deadlines. We only read during the open submissions periods which are in February, May, August, and November. The 10th through 25th of each of these months are when we are open for business. 

If you are accepted, please respond to your email and return the copyright form, give us a short biography, and communicate with your editor to approve all edits made. If each of these steps are skipped, we can’t publish you. 

The copyright form basically says that you agree to let us have first publishing rights (in other words, you didn’t publish any of it on your blog, website, or social media accounts or any other publications) and we have exclusive rights to it for the first six months, after which the rights will return to the author. This means that you can absolutely publish it somewhere else after those first six months are up.

We can’t pay you for your story right now, but we are working towards that end. 

Speaking of working towards that end, the team of the journal has recently expressed to me that they would like to turn the journal into a publishing company. 

Right now, we are still ironing out the details on what submissions and other aspects of the process will look like. We are not ready for submissions yet, but I will absolutely tell you when we are. 

We are starting an indiegogo campaign in April 2020 so we can raise some funds in order to start the company and get some books out there and some money to pay for the advances, the cover designs, the printing and shipping costs, etc. 

What is the mission of Write of Passion Publishing? 

We want to publish books and short stories by up-and-coming, diverse, and marginalized authors, and to put quality literature in the hands of the masses. Stories by these authors are vital and we want to see them published with respect both to the authors and to the readers. With Write of Passion, you are not just a nameless face. You’re a friend. 

There will be more information about this coming your way in the next few months, so keep an eye out. 

Thank you for supporting me on this exciting journey! 

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of “Playing the Enemy” by Maggie Dallen (Trouble with Tomboys #1)

The first installment of “The Trouble With Tomboys” series follows Hannah, who has just been kicked off of her intramural soccer team by her neighbor, and now ex-boyfriend. He broke up with her using a text message. She overhears that the team on the wrong side of the tracks needs a female soccer player to round out their team because of an injury and tries out. The only problem? The team captain, River, thinks she’s still with her ex and is there to spy on his team. Not only that, but River has had a crush on her forever. 

She works hard to get the team and River’s respect. Things with River turn into something more, but he doesn’t think he’s worthy of her because he’s not affluent like her family is. 

Overall, this was a sweet romance with a slow burn and swoon worthy kisses that made my heart melt. I love Maggie Dallen’s style and the strong start to this series! River was sweet and Hannah was a strong, decisive female character who had a healthy dose of agency. It was a wonderful, quick read that I devoured. I couldn’t wait for the next installment by Stephanie Street; that review is coming up. 

The twists and turns were great, especially when you realize Hannah’s ex’s motivation for dating her, but he is redeemed in the end. That set this book apart for me. Sometimes the villains don’t get redeemed, and that was a great twist. It made for a great read with a truly happy ending for everyone. But make no mistake, the ex got his due.

Fast-paced and easy to read, I would recommend this book for anyone who loves sweet YA romances and is looking for a sporty read. 

Posted in Writing, writing advice

Writing Hiatuses: Do You Need A Break From Writing

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Photo by Free-Photos via Pixabay

Write every day. Treat writing like a job. These are common bits of writing advice. Sure, they are helpful to those of us who avoid writing and make up excuses so they don’t have to write. But what happens when you’re the person who takes this kind of advice seriously and works yourself to the bone to follow the advice?

If you’re feeling burnt out or as if you’re on your last legs mentally, then give yourself permission to take a writing hiatus.

What is a writing Hiatus?

It’s a break from writing. You take a day, a week, a month, or a year off from writing. The idea is to take a break to get mentally recharged.

It’s like a seed. When you plant a seed, nothing grows for a few days as you water it. But soon, little green leaves poke through the soil and grow into a healthy plant. That break, where you are watering it every day despite there being nothing visible, is akin to a break from writing. You’re taking care of yourself, so you can grow something beautiful when the time comes.

Seeds also can go into survival mode. Some spores from Ancient Egypt that were two thousand years old could germinate and grow into plants. You might not have to go into survival mode for thousands of years, but the idea is still the same.

How do I know if I should take a hiatus?

You check in with yourself and see how you are feeling.

If you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope, chances are that you need a hiatus. You might feel burnout, like writing is another thing on your to-do list and holds no joy for you, or like you have a million things on your mind that you have to do and not enough time to do everything.

How long I should take off?

If you feel like getting back to writing, feel mentally stable, and no longer feel burnout, then signs are good you can end your hiatus. You want to feel better. You want to feel less like you will break down, just surviving, or like writing is a chore. As soon as writing sounds fun again, begin writing.

Hiatuses are a way of giving yourself permission to take care of yourself and get back to a better mental space.

Sometimes writing is how we get back to a mental health space. Sometimes we need a hiatus. Experiment. If after a couple days of not writing you feel worse, chances are a hiatus is not the right solution for whatever problem you are having.

Checking in with yourself regularly is the key to a healthy lifestyle for the creative. Physical, mental, social, and creative aspects of your life all need to be accounted for a healthy lifestyle.

Have you ever taken a hiatus? Tell me about it!

Posted in newsletter, Updates, Writing

Sorry I’ve Been So Silent!

I’ve been silent lately and focusing on several things in the works.

For one, I am getting a short story published in Balance of Seven’s new anthology coming out November 21st, 2019 called Dragons Within: Guarding Her Own. If you keep up with me on my social media pages, you’ll have seen a lot of the posts promoting that. If not, I hope you check them out!

I also have been editing my first novel, Poseidon’s Pearl, that I plan to publish in 2020. I’m still figuring out the self-editing process before I send it to the editor, so it may be awhile.

In line with that, I am working on a short story that is the prequel to that novel as a freebie for my newsletter. I haven’t gotten my newsletter up and running yet, but I will by January of next year. At least, that’s the hope. I will keep you updated on that, as well.

I have been struggling lately with keeping up with my writing, but NaNoWriMo has kicked me into gear. I am now working on a contemporary romance.

I am also experimenting with outlining my novels to an extent. It’s getting easier to outline rather than just sitting down to write without a plan. I am officially a plantser!

I am also keeping busier with a healthy lifestyle by exercising three times a week for 45 minutes each, eating healthier, and keeping up with all of my projects. Those include running Write of Passion Literary Journal, marketing for the Dragons Within launch on November 21st, schoolwork, my writing projects, NaNoWriMo, reading every day, and being an admin of the Creative Central Facebook Group for women and non-binary writers.

If you’ll notice, I am no longer a part of Functionally Fictional or Coffee House Writers. While it pains me to have to leave them, it was necessary for my mental health as I was running on empty for a long time and finally succumbed to burnout in May and have been recovering ever since.

You’ll notice I added a page with my publications (where you can find and order Dragons Within: Guarding Her Own) and changed the name of my posts page to “Blog.”

One thing I’d like to mention about Dragons Within: You can order it now through the 28th of November for only $0.99! We (the other authors in the anthology and me) are trying to hit bestseller status on amazon, so please order or preorder it when you can. Between now and November 21st would be best. You can get your copy through the links on the publications page.

Thank you so much for your support. I will try to be more active and post blogs more often than I have been. Maybe I should join Coffee House Writers again, just so I have a deadline schedule as motivation. Probably not. I already have enough on my plate. Besides, I don’t want to burn out again.

Again, sorry for the silence. If you are still here, thank you for sticking around. It means the world to me.

Posted in Uncategorized, Updates

An Explanation of My Absence

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Photo by Matt Flores via Unsplash

I’ve been silent on Functionally Fictional, on my blog, and here on Coffee House Writers. I want to explain what happened and what I have learned from those experiences.

Everything started in December 2018 on my trip to see my family in Ohio. The symptoms of my mental illness, schizoaffective disorder, got worse starting near the end of May.

By the end of May, I was talking with my hallucinations all day and couldn’t pull myself into reality. I wasn’t writing. I didn’t keep up with any of my responsibilities. I was in survival mode. For a month I didn’t feel like doing anything but sleeping and interacting with my voices.

The voices told me lots of stories I believed to be real. The more I interacted with them, the more I believed they were real people.

Eventually, I scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist and got my medicine adjusted so I could pull myself out of the rut I was in and function again.

The medicine wasn’t the only thing that helped me pull out of the funk. Writing and crocheting again, getting out into the sunshine, and using coping skills like staying busy so I wouldn’t converse with the voices all helped bring me back to reality.

I realized the connection between creativity and healing. I still must relearn it repeatedly. If I don’t get my creative energy out through writing or other outlets, the energy manifests itself as the voices getting stronger; drawing me into conversations, telling me many stories and lies.

To keep the voices from misdirecting my creativity, I must… [Read More]

Posted in Writing, writing advice

Writing Methods: Revision

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Photo by neONBRAND via Unsplash

Part of of the Writing Methods Series. Previous articles in this series:

Part One – Planning Process

Part Two – Environment and Rituals

Part Three – Approaches to the First Draft

Part Four –Different Types of Editors

Editing can be the bane of a writer’s existence. It doesn’t matter if your writing style is structured or unstructured or if your strength is content or copy editing. Knowing which editing approach works best with your writing style and strength lessens the inevitable pain of editing your work.

Want to further improve your impact? Walk away. Give yourself time and space away from your work. This improves your objectivity.

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Photo by Patrick Fore via Unsplash

Your strengths also dictate what you do. If you have an eye for content editing concerns, then you could start editing your draft by yourself and know what it needs. If copy edits are more your area of expertize, send it to some friends you trust with an eye for content or join a critique group to learn what your manuscript could use some work on.

You can edit as you go, reading through what you wrote the day before and perfecting it, or you can edit once you have the entire rough draft written.

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As an unstructured writer, your needs are different from a structured writer. Let’s compare your needs and editing strengths to improve your revision process. 

Lack of Structure and Copy Editing Strength

Editing requires structure.  Read your draft from beginning to the end, taking notes of anything you could improve upon, like description, setting, character development, relationship development, plot, etc. While listing your desired changes, also document your timeline for each scene. An outline helps you feel less overwhelmed.

The outline could be on Post-its, index cards, a word document, in a notebook, or a storyboard. The best method is the one that allows you to see the bigger picture and make changes easily.

Once you have a rough outline, look through your novel again. Look for plot holes, structure, grammar, issues, and other story killers. Part of being a writer is killing your darlings. Keep a file of scenes you have cut for possible reuse elsewhere.

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Go through each scene and figure out what your character’s goal is. Are the goal, motivation, and conflict clear in each scene? If not, make it clearer.

If you truly have no idea what to fix, join a critique group with other writers. Ask them to help you or hire a content editor to help tame your manuscript. Have friends or family beta read and give you feedback.

Fix the outline first, then the manuscript. Once you are… [Read More]

Posted in Book Stuff

Review of “Jake’s Redemption” by Jamie Schulz

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Photo via Amazon.com

Imagine a world where women rule over men. Men are slaves, sold at auctions for their skills or as breeders. They are controlled by a drug that makes them freeze in fear, and women have Hysterical Strength, something stronger than men’s strength. It kicks in when women feel threatened.

That is the world Jamie Schulz has created in her book Jake’s Redemption. It follows the story of Jake Nichols, a man who is captured and treated like a slave. He is skilled in construction and ranching because of his friend, who managed to escape when Jake was captured.

After two years of being abused by one of the most powerful women in his section of the world, Darla Cain, he is offered a deal. He can get a temporary escape from Darla’s clutches to act as a foreman on a separate ranch after their foreman had an unfortunate accident.

He agrees, albeit reluctantly. There he meets Monica Avery, the owner of the ranch he will be working for. He is attracted to her but fights his attraction, afraid she is like Darla. But he comes to see she is nothing like Darla, and they start to fall in love.

This story is…[Read More]

Posted in Writing, writing advice

Writing Methods: Types of Editors

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By now we have talked about planning to write with different kinds of outlining vs. pantsing, controlling and experimenting with your environment and the rituals you do before you write, and different methods for writing the first draft. Today we will talk about different types of editors.

Types of Editors

There are four main types of editors: content editors, also known as developmental editors; line or copy editors, formatters and proofreaders. Each type of editor focuses on a different aspect of your work and fixes problems within their area of expertise.

Content or Developmental Editors

Content editors focus on the big picture ideas of your work. Things like structure, scene order, plot and character development, emotional arcs, and infusing the theme into every scene. If you are just starting out with writing, it’s worth the investment to hire one of these if you are able. They can work with you during any part of the process, from developing the idea and premise for your book to editing the finished drafts. Expect to do a lot of rewriting and rearranging, adding and deleting scenes when you do these types of revisions and edits.

Line or Copy Editors

Copy editors will focus on… [Read More]

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of “Did I Mention I Love You?” by Estelle Maskame

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Photo via Amazon

Did I Mention I Love You? is a young adult contemporary romance. It follows the story of Eden, who visits her father in Santa Monica for the summer, despite the fact that he walked out on Eden and her mother three years ago. Eden blames her father for the divorce and the fact he never called her hurts.

Her dad has remarried a woman who works as a lawyer and they live in an expensive house with their three boys, all Eden’s stepmother’s kids from a previous marriage. Chase, the youngest, is sweet and innocent. Jamie, the middle child, is kind and welcoming. But Tyler, the oldest, is a troublemaker. He’s a drug addict and an alcoholic who always goes to parties to distract himself.

Eden eventually spends more time with Tyler and his group of friends, and she finds herself playing the role of… [Read More]

Posted in Book Stuff

A Review of “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas

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Photo by Cait Marie via Functionally Fictional

I loved, loved, loved this book. I know I’m a little late to the party, because who hasn’t heard of these books yet, and who knows how many times this site has reviewed them alone, but the more the merrier, I guess.

So, a little about the book:

Feyre, a human, has heard stories about the Faeries and how violent and destructive they are since she was a child. A wall separates the world of Faeries from the humans, but rumors have it that the faeries have been escaping to the human side of the world for a long time. When Feyre kills a faerie, unwittingly, she must die or live with a shape-shifting high-fae named Tamlin for the rest of her life.

But Tamlin has a secret. He is under a curse, as is all the fae world, a blight as he calls it, and Feyre is the only one who can break the curse. She must go through a series of trials to make sure Tamlin is safe, and she saves the Fae from the blight.

This book was… [Read More]