Monday, December 15, 2014

A Writer's Life: Why I Love Coffee Shops

Why I Love Coffee Shops

There's more to a good writing session than a chair and a table- I really believe that it's the setting and atmosphere that set the mood for great writing, too. That's why I'm a huge proponent of mixing up your writing space! Get out and discover new local coffee shops and book stores that you can sit and loiter in for a while. Sip some coffee, write a few chapters, then maybe even browse when you're done. Here are a few reasons why coffee shops and writing make great friends: 

1. A Change in Scenery Provides a New Outlook

When you stay in the same writing corner for weeks, your perspective tends to get a little bleak. Same walls, same chair, same people,(or lack thereof)- you get the picture. But if you stray past your normal writing world boundaries and discover a new little shop to write in, you'll have observations galore at your fingertips! And who knows- maybe that quirky barista who put a funny name on your cup may worm her way into your next chapter. 

2. New Spaces are Filled with Life

Whenever I find a new writing space that works for me, I find myself filled with way more energy than if I had just stayed at home. There's something to be said for the comfort of my own couch, but there's also something about a comfy little nook in a coffee shop that just spurs good writing. It's new, cozy, and a breath of fresh air from the norm. 

3. Food, food, food

Now this one's a given! Whenever you find a new space to write in you discover a new coffee menu, and maybe even a few delicious desserts or sandwiches. It's possible to sit in a shop for hours and much on tasty new foods, all while accomplishing a whole day's worth of work. Bonus! 

4. Coffee Shops are Stimulating

Whether it's the ear-pricking conversation going on a few tables away, or the way the couple eating their sandwiches next to you interacts, there will always be something to pay attention to in a small shop. And I've found that these distractions aren't quite so bad as my TV or internet at home- on the contrary, they tend to give me inspiration. Every little life observation counts, and strangers are perfect to draw from!

And there are a few reasons why coffee shops rock my writing world! Sometimes just packing up your computer and notes and heading off to a new place can really help stimulate  your fiction. Give it a try and comment what happens!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Writer's Life: Fun Ways to Get into Character

Getting into Character 

There are lots of great things about being a writer, what with all the fictional worlds and intriguing plot twists constantly on our minds. But sometimes the simplest things, like the inner workings of a our newest protagonist, can stump us up. So, here are a few ways you can "get into the head" of your protagonist, and gain a wealth of writing material! 

1. Have a Character Q&A

Before you get started on a new chapter, write a little interview with your protagonist. Ask her questions and get some answers, then when you're done take a second read over what you wrote. Sometimes the answers start to write themselves, and that's when your character begins to gain momentum. 

2. Create a Playlist

What would your character's favorite music be? What about music that reminds you of her? Create a play-list of about ten songs that embodies your protag and play it while you write- these might help you get a better feel for your character.

3. Journal Entries

Find a cheap spiral notebook and start a "Character Journal." Write in it from your character's POV a little each day as a sort of brainstorming exercise before you take a crack at that next chapter. If you're feeling fancy, pick out a notebook that your character would, and try to match your handwriting to their personality. 

4. Do a Little Day-Dreaming

Most of the time us writers find our heads in the clouds- and for good reason. Day-dreaming is one of the best ways to get into your character's head, because you can make up anything you want. Ideas and feelings flow freely and without constraint in your mind, so your character has space to roam. 

And there you have a few basics of character bonding! Try a few of them and see if any work for you, because one of the hardest things for a writer to do is get to know a protagonist that you're going to have to put through some crazy plot twists. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Writer's Life: Be a Reader, Too!

Reading While you Write 

There's a wonderful way to jump start your mind and get your creativity flowing, even on those days when you feel like you can't get a single chapter written. And do you know what it is? Reading! Simply alternating between days of reading and writing can boost your word count and speed up your writing time. Here's a few reasons why: 

1. Reading helps with Vocabulary

Let's face it, sometimes we just can't find that one right word. And that's ok, it happens! But after a few hours of reading your favorite trilogy, you may recall a word used here or there that would just work perfectly. 

2. Getting Connected with Other Characters Helps your Dialogue

Reading interactions between other characters in other books can help you flesh out your own scenes. The more you read the more the dialogue comes innately to you, and before you know it your characters are writing themselves. 

3. Stepping out of your Story for a While Clears your Mind

And it's true! Sometimes you need a day to just clear your mind and take a break from your characters, because they can be exhausting. That doesn't mean you have to write off fiction, though. By reading another book, you not only get a break from your writing, but you keep up the conversation in your head in a different way. Writing is like any sport- practice makes you stronger.

4. And Finally, Reading Gives you Ideas

Not that you're going to copy them straight out of another book, but the actions and personalities of different characters can help you get to know your own. You find yourself wondering how your protagonist would react to the setting, people, and lifestyle of this other book. It's extremely beneficial, and when you're done reading you have contemplated your writing as well! 

So don't hesitate! Go write for a few hours and when you're finished, take a break and pick up a new read. It will be more than helpful and even a little fun. To get you started, here are a few links to some new YA reads that would be great for just that! 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Exclusive Cover Reveal for THE REPLACED...

But it's not here. If you want to see it, you'll have to over to  There you can check out the gorgeous new cover AND enter a giveaway for an advance copy of THE REPLACED!

So, what are you still doing here...?

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Writer's Life: Hitting that Wall?

Writer's Life: Hitting that Wall?

So if you're anything like me, I tend to get stuck on certain scenes fairly easily. One character confesses something to another, a wall comes down, and suddenly I don't know how to kick my protagonist into action. The usual. But hey- no worries! Us writers are prepared for word battle and come loaded with tons of tips to stave off that pesky writer's block. Here are a few, I hope they help! 

1. Take a Step Back

Sometimes taking a step back and not writing for a few hours is simply the easiest way to go. If you take a small break you won't be stressed to come up with the "perfect dialogue" that you need- and perhaps you might even draw some inspiration form the world around you. 

2. Ask a Friend

We all have that one hardcore reader-friend who loves to pick at ideas. Sit down with a couple cups of coffee and run your latest scene by them- perhaps they can help you sort of all of your thoughts. 

3. YA Method Acting

What better way to get into the mind of your character than to pretend to be them? Try speaking like your character for 15 minutes; to friends, family, the baristas at Starbucks. What would he/she say? Order? How would your character interact with others? All fun stuff, just don't get too carried away!

4. Just Keep Writing

Sometimes we are a little too hard on ourselves and think a little too much. Not to worry! Maybe the best dialogue isn't that difficult to master- just keep writing and something natural will come to you.

5. Go to Bed Thinking of your Scene

This is probably the best trick I've used to help myself through writer's block. If I'm stuck on a certain scene or can't get into the head of a certain character, I lay down that night and start off my own dream. I picture the setting, the dialogue, and the events, and just let my brain run wild. Sometimes I even wind up dreaming about my characters, and that can go in so many directions! 

So there you have it fellow writers, a few tips and tricks for getting past that sticky scene you just can't seem to find the words for. I'll close with a few blogs and lists with plenty of other good tips for letting your ideas flow!

* 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer's Block:

* The 10 Types of Writer's Block (and How to Overcome Them):

* Writer's Block 911:

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Writer's Life: Fun Products

Writer's Block? Plot Stress? Have No Fear! 

So the second week of NaNoWriMo has come to a close, and I hope all of you participating didn't drink too much coffee or stay up too late, (but let's face it, you probably did). November is always a stressful month for us writers, and in order to alleviate a little bit of that stress, I went online and searched for some hilarious products we might love! So here you have it, five fantastic finds that only a stressed writer would appreciate:

1.  This superb mug - because let's all admit, it drives us crazy.

2. This great T-shirt - I mean come on, it's the truth right?

3. This necklace, because we can never say it enough...

4. This clock, because, like the mug, it's a very important concept.

5. This bag because it's so true.

Needless to say, these five products may just be the best things ever created. Not only will they lift your mood, but maybe they'll even be a little bit helpful in helping you reach your word count goal! (Mug for coffee, bag for notes, clock for keeping time while you sit in your office and brainstorm...just some ideas). 

So, to leave you all on a positive note and a little inspiration, here are some top notch opening lines from stellar YA novels: 

Best and good luck to all writers this week! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Writer's Life: Inspiration

It's almost halfway through November and I thought I'd share some of my favorite writer-ly finds from around the web to (hopefully) inspire those of you who are NaNoWriMo-ing. And maybe some of you who aren't too!

Well said, Michael Connelly...well said...

If you're like me and sticky notes have taken over your desk, then you need Kate Forsyth's post about how to build a story out of scraps of ideas:

And every writer needs to get their inspiration from somewhere:

Now I'll leave you with this video by one of my favorite YA authors, Kami Garcia, who talks about how to start your novel:

Happy NaNoWriMo / No-Shave November . . . or whatever you happen to be into ;)