Monday, December 22, 2014

A Writer's Life: Distraction Central!

Distraction Central- Get Focused!

So if you're anything like me, writing is a lot of attempting to stay focused while the forever tempting internet tugs at my senses. 

Wait, which YA sequel is coming out this December? 
Oh- look at that cover reveal! 
This quiz will tell me my personality in thirty seconds- I must take it six times to make sure it's correct. 

You get the picture. 

Sadly, the Internet Epidemic, (IE for short), is one that we writers are most vulnerable to. It's hard to get through those last few chapters when there are so many fascinating Pinterest boards and Instagram photos to see- yikes! The temptation alone would drive any writer mad. So, here are a few tips to stay focused on that manuscript, and have your google fun after. 

1. Close out ALL Tabs:

This one is a doozy. If you had to google-search a fact for your character, chances are a ton of other articles came up as well. So after you grab what you need, you may leave that window open. Not good. It's easy to see the little blip on the corner of your screen and go back to it, no matter how much strength and determination you have. 

2. Listen to Your iTunes, Not a Video:

Okay so sometimes music can help us relax and get in the writing zone. But don't make the mistake of you tubing your favorite video (even if your plan is to minimize it).  I recently tried this with Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," and you can bet I wound up watching that bad-boy eleven times. In a row. So instead try to turn on your iTunes and listen to video-free music. Much less distracting. 

3. And Finally Close out of Your Facebook:

This one is key. Whenever I sit down to write I automatically go to Facebook first, check all of my messages, then minimize it. It's like Facebook is directly linked to turning my computer on and it's the first thing I have to do if I want my Macbook to be balanced. Right. But here's the deal: even with Facebook minimized, you can still hear the little ding of someday messaging you, and we all know that's impossible to ignore. So do your characters a favor and exit your personal page before you start that dialogue. 

And there it is! A few good reasons that may help you when it comes to internet distractions. Yes, it is an uphill battle that we writers must face, but in the end we will come out victorious and with a stand up manuscript that we can be proud of. 

Never give up hope!

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...?