Tag Archives: writing

A Writer’s Path Writers Club!

Hello everyone! A fellow blogger of A Writer’s Path, Ryan Lanz, has announced the launch of his new initiative: A Writer’s Path Writers Club.

After looking at the writing market for years, he noticed a need for a Writers Club of this kind. Sure, there are Facebook groups, writers groups, etc., but there aren’t many associations that are more than just a gathering of writers.

He wanted to create a club where the sole purpose of it is to solve headaches for writers. Here are some of the headaches he’s looking to solve:

  • It’s hard to find reviewers for my book
  • Writing-related service providers (editors, book cover designers, etc.) are expensive
  • I don’t know if my writing is good enough and I need feedback
  • I need more promotion for my book
  • I don’t know if my blurb or summary is good enough
  • Not enough readers know my book exists
  • I don’t know enough about what other successful authors have done to be successful
  • I don’t know if my book cover encourages readers to purchase it

And of course, there are fun stuff to be had too, such as giveaways and contests. Here’s the full list of benefits for the Writers Club:

      • Discounts from writer-related service providers, such as editors, book cover designers, proofreading services, ghostwriters, social media marketing, book advertising, template design, audio book narration, and more.
      • Contests and giveaways for free services and books.
      • free book promotion posts on A Writer’s Path blog every year(example here). Every post generates a social media shout-out of your book to my Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, and Google+ account (total of 12,900 followers). he’ll set reminders for himself to notify you when your next post is ready.
      • Exclusive articles not seen on the A Writer’s Path blog.
      • Access to free blurb coaching.
      • Book of the Month” lottery. Winner gets their book featured for a month on A Writer’s Path blog in a tab along the top of every page/post. Also included is a promotional post featuring their book, summary, cover, and purchase links to all 25,000+ subscribers. One drawing per month.
      • Help to find you reviewers and critique partners (optional).
      • A free copy of his eBook, The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas & Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. ($2.99 value)
      • Free critique of your book summaries and book covers (optional).
      • Insider tips from published authors in short, bite-sized articles.
      • Links to free books normally at full price.
      • Opportunities to show off your book to the other members.
      • Exclusive author interviews.

Feel free to check out A Writer’s Path Writers Club here.

The Dos and Don’ts of Dialogue Tags

by Ryan Lanz

Writers use dialogue tags constantly. In fact, we use them so often that readers all but gloss over them. They should be invisible. However, there are ways to misuse them and make them stand out.

In an effort to avoid that, let’s take a closer look at dialogue tags. Toward the end of “Tag travesties” is something I sorely wish someone had told me before I started writing.

Dialogue

Why Do We Use Dialogue Tags?

The simple answer is that we use them to indicate who’s speaking. In visual media, such as movies or television, the viewer can easily tell who’s talking by lip movement and camera angles. When reading a book, obviously that’s not an option.

Tag Travesties

There are certainly ways to misuse dialogue tags. When I was a new writer, I felt compelled to overwrite. I ‘m sure every new writer goes through a version of this. I observed how successful writers used simple tags like “said/asked” and thought to myself, that’s boring. I’m going to be an awesome writer by making them more interesting. You don’t have to admit it aloud, writers, but we all know that most of us have. Let’s look at an example of this:

  • “We can’t cross this river,” Alanna exclaimed repugnantly.
  • John crossed the room and shouted disgustedly, “I’ll never take you with me.”
  • “This has been the worst day ever,” Susie cried angrily.

For those of you who still aren’t convinced, let’s up the dosage with a paragraph:

Hank crossed the room and sat down. “We should have never waited this long for a table,” he seethed, leaning over to glare at her. 
“If you wanted a better spot, you should have called ahead for a reservation,” Trudy returned pointedly.
“Well, perhaps if you didn’t take so long to get ready, I could have,” he countered dryly.

Can you imagine reading an entire book like that? *shiver*

So why do new writers feel the urge to be that . . . creative with their dialogue tags? Back in the beginning, I thought the typical tags of “said/asked” were too boring and dull. It didn’t take me long to realize that dull (in this context) is the point.

Image your words as a window pane of glass, and the story is behind it. Your words are merely the lens that your story is seen through. The thicker the words, the cloudier the glass gets. If you use huge words, purple prose, or crazy dialogue tags, then all you’re doing is fogging up the glass through which your reader is trying to view your story. The goal is to draw as little attention to your actual words as possible; therefore, you keep the glass as clear as possible, so that the reader focuses on the story. Using tags like “said/asked” are so clear, they’re virtually invisible.

Now, does that mean that you can’t use anything else? Of course not. Let’s look further.

Alternate Dialogue Tags

Some authors say to never use anything other than “said/asked,” while others say to heck with the rules and use whatever you want. Some genres (such as romance) are more forgiving about using alternate dialogue tags. I take a more pragmatic approach to it. I sometimes use lines like:

“I’m glad we got out of there,” she breathed.

The very important question is how often. I compare adverbs and alternate dialogue tags to a strong spice. Some is nice, but too much will spoil the batch. Imagine a cake mix with a liter of vanilla flavoring, rather than the normal tablespoon. The more often you use anything other than “said/asked,” the stronger the flavor. If it’s too powerful, it’ll tug the reader away from the story and spotlights those words. In a full length book of around 85,000 words, I personally use alternate dialogue tags only around a few dozen times total.

By saving them, the pleasant side effect is that when I do use them, they pack more of an emotional punch.


Related: How to Write Natural Dialogue



Action Beats

I have a love affair with action beats. Used effectively, they can be another great way to announce who’s talking, yet at the same time add some movement or blocking to a scene. For example:

Looking down, Katie ran a finger around the edge of the mug. “We need to talk.”

That added some nice flavor to the scene, and you know who spoke. The only caveat is to be careful of not using too many action beats, as it does slow down the pacing a tiny bit. If you’re writing a bantering sequence, for example, you wouldn’t want to use a lot of action beats so as to keep the pacing quick.

Dos and Don’ts

Sometimes, action beats and dialogue tags have misused punctuation. I’ll give some examples.

  • “Please don’t touch that.” She said, blocking the display. (Incorrect)
  • “Let’s head to the beach,” he said as he grabbed a towel. (Correct)
  • Sam motioned for everyone to come closer, “Take a look at this.” (Incorrect)
  • Debbie handed over the magnifying glass. “Do you see the mossy film on the top?” (Correct)

Conclusion

Like many things in a story/novel, it’s all about balance. Try alternating actions beats, dialogue tags, and even no tags at all when it’s clear who’s speaking. By changing it up, it’ll make it so that no one method is obvious.

Ryan Lanz is an avid blogger and author of The Idea Factory: 1,000 Story Ideas and Writing Prompts to Find Your Next Bestseller. You can also find him on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr

Image courtesy of Onnola via Flickr, Creative Commons.

Dear Writer: STOP Releasing So Many Novels!

As I’m sure you know, dear readers (or Mom… Hi, Mom!), I’ve come to a couple realizations over the past year or so since the release of my first novel. The biggest revelation, the one where I decided to go back to writing for myself, I’ve written about extensively already, and you can read that post here (plus, there’s a potato! Who doesn’t like potatoes?!).

Scalloped Potatoes

Hmm… Scalloped potatoes…

But the focus of this post will be on something I’ve wanted to say for a long time, but I’ve been a little wary of the potential backlash I might face. I’d first like to preface this by saying that everyone’s writing/publishing journey is different. Every individual writer is unique, and what works well for one writer may not work well for another. And that’s two-fold: I acknowledge that what I’m about to say is simply my opinion, and it by no means is meant to shame other authors or demean their work. Besides, you do you, fellow writer, you. There are no rules in writing. Well, there are, but you know…

Okay, deep breath. Here goes.

DeepBreathTony.gif

SLOW DOWN!

I’m not on board with the culture of write-fast, publish-much that’s taken hold of the publishing industry lately. Okay, amendment: I’m not on board with the culture of write-fast, publish-much that’s taking place in the indie author sphere (because, let’s be real, long production times are the norm, albeit necessary, with a traditional publisher).

What is the write-fastpublish-much culture, you ask? Today in the publishing industry, especially in the indie-author market, quantity is king. I’m not saying that quality isn’t being taken into account, because to some extent it probably is, but there is a new mantra for indie authors like myself: write a lot and publish as often as possible. That means that some authors are publishing three or more novels a year, sometimes as many as ten novels a year.

“But that’s not a bad thing, Michael,” you protest. “If I write three or more novels a year, and I’m able to release them, whether through a small press or a self-publisher or on creased rolls of toilet paper, why shouldn’t I? Besides, I’m building my brand, and to expedite the process, I’m growing a catalog  of my titles so that readers can discover my work.”

Well, in my opinion, there is a big problem with that mentality.

The Eternal Quality vs. Quantity Conundrum

I’m not going to lie, I judge authors who feel the need to release more than two books a year. Okay, second amendment (and I’ll be generous): I judge authors who release three or more books within a year ESPECIALLY if the three books are not part of the same series. I’m sorry: a writing career shouldn’t be a puppy mill of stream-of-consciousness vanity projects. I just don’t see how anyone has the time to publish more than three novels a year AND maintain consistent literary quality.

To me, releasing novels rapid-fire-style is indicative of premature work. If five or ten or *gasp* fifteen individual novels are being released per year, how much time was spent on each one? How many drafts did you write? How long did you spend on developmental editing? Copy editing? Proofreading? Getting notes from beta-readers? What about that break you should take between the final edit and the final read-through to clear your palate? I’m pretty sure a single evening of binge-watching Netflix doesn’t count.

Sure, if you’re a full-time writer and you have a really quick team of beta-reader/editor-robots, you could have a really good, polished manuscript in a year. Eight months if you’re lucky. But a quality novel every month and a half? I just don’t believe it’s possible. Sure, if you have a back catalog of novels you’ve written since childhood and you think they’re all ready to go at the same time, by all means, release away. But three or more is overwhelming, and did you ever think that maybe those back-cataloged books are in the past for a reason?

oprahyouandyouandyoulego.gif

“You get a new novel! And YOU get a new novel! NEW NOVELS FOR EVERYONE!”

So, where’s the sweet spot? How many novels should you release a year in order to ensure highest quality? I don’t know, frankly. But I have a hunch: unless you’re J.K. Rowling or Shakespeare or Stephen King, or you’ve had independent third parties verify your equivalency, I’d focus more on the quality of your work and not on the quantity if I were you.

And Now: A Moment for Cheese

Because let’s be real. The number of books released in a year is just that: a number. The ratio of novels to years is arbitrary. But you know what’s not? Quality. In my opinion, books are like good cheese or wine. Good cheese and wine need time to grow–time to mature. That’s why older cheeses and older wines are more expensive: they’re better because they’ve been given time to sort their sh*t out. I’m just doubtful that the sixth novel you’ve released this year is any good.

What’s the rush for? Take your time. Be the aged cheddar of the publishing industry: digestable and dependable and a classic. Be the brie: smooth and double-creamed served with red pepper jam. Hell, be blue cheese: an acquired taste but oh-so-prolific.

cheese.jpg

Please excuse my drooling.

Just don’t be processed cheese. Got it?

But wait!

I’m not saying it’s not possible to draft a novel in a month or less. That happens all the time, and even though sometimes I take  upwards of a year to complete the first draft of one of my novels, I know that is not the norm. Drafting a novel quickly is not the problem; rather, the problem is releasing everything that touches a Word document within six months of conception in an attempt to inflate the number of works attached to your name.

What do you think? Is it a good idea to release a lot of novels in a short time span? How many books will you release this year?

My State of the Union Address (Why I Quit Writing)

The long and short of this post is that I’d like to say that 2015 was a mess: a good mess in some ways, and a terrible, pull-my-hair-out-and-cry mess in others. I’ve debated about doing this blog post for a while because I’m not really sure what will come of it, let alone where it will go or what it will and will not talk about. But I’ve decided to just do it (in lieu of the freelance editing I *should* be doing, lol) because I think I owe some people an explanation (and a blog post or two) and I definitely owe myself the release of saying some things and letting them go.

So, without further ado, this is my February 2016 State of the Union Address, the state referring to my state (more mental state than anything, as my hobbit stature leaves little to be desired) and the union being my writing career.

Also, I’ve been watching the US primaries on TV a lot lately, and I’m quite political at the moment. But that’s for another post…

First things first, let’s paint the scene: it’s March 2015, I’m working a 9-to-5, I’m getting paid well enough, but my contract is ending at the beginning of April and I know I’ll be flung into the jobless abyss soon enough. But that’s okay! I have a novel releasing in May and dreams of being self-employed as a freelance writer and editor while continuing to work on my fiction career, so I’m hopeful.

Spring 2015 comes, and I’m in the thick of doing final prep for my debut novel “The Black Oracle“. I’m working tirelessly at a freelance writing career, making modest returns but ultimately working more hours than I’m being paid for. At one point, I calculated I was working for $5.00 Canadian an hour after all was said and done — and that was when I was being paid… (We won’t mention the guy who commissioned work and then, when payment time came, disappeared off the face of the world). But again, it’s okay! This is what being a struggling artist is all about, right? I’m happy (tired, but happy), and I feel like I’m moving in a direction that I like, and at the end of the day, I’ve always said I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. And to prove that, I take a trip to Calgary the week before my release date to celebrate.

And then it’s release day! Copies of “The Black Oracle” arrive at my house, purchase links go live online, and to top it off, an agent (yes, a REAL, live, accomplished agent! THEY EXIST!) responds to a query for a separate novel and says she’s interested in reading it in full. Five days later, I’m at my book launch event, and friends and family and even people I don’t know are buying my book, and even though I’ve only had one hour of sleep (‘cuz I partied a touch too hard the night before), it’s a success!

Needless to say, I’m on top of the world. My dream is coming true right in front of my eyes, and I’m doing everything I said I was one day gonna do. Take that naysayers!

But at that moment, that’s where everything started to fall apart.

I can’t pinpoint why it happened, but it started around June. For lack of a better word, I started to become depressed. This isn’t a woe-is-me post, and I promise I’m not going to focus on this for too long because the POINT of this post is still to come, but the truth is, I just wasn’t happy anymore. After the initial sales bump of The Black Oracle’s release, sales fell drastically. No one was reading my book, few people were reviewing it (even when I was offering it for free), and I fumbled on marketing the book (mostly because I just didn’t know what to do). Further, the agent decided she didn’t want to represent my next novel (which is completely okay!), and the signings I went to depressed me more than anything. For most of them, I sat in the back of a bookstore while customers avoided eye contact and my cookies (who avoids cookies, though, for real?).

This feeling peaked in July after the final signing I went to. I carried my box of books into the store in the pouring rain (pathetic fallacy, much?) and literally did not sell a single copy over the two-hour signing. To add insult to injury, the manager of the store came up to me after the signing was over and told me that I should be more interesting. As an introvert, not only do I not know how to be more interesting, but I wasn’t even sure what that would mean (“Should I dance? Do readers like it when authors dance?”).

Besides, was I not interesting enough already?

The next few months were hard for me. I stopped marketing completely. I stopped looking for freelance work completely and watched my income plummet. I couldn’t write anything, and when I tried, I just made myself angry, like delete-my-document, throw-my-laptop angry. I remember one day talking to my mum on the phone and practically crying.

On top of it, I was for all intents and purposes unemployed. I was unproductive and unhappy. I focused on side projects and watched them crash and burn. I was ashamed and upset and embarrassed for myself and for my work. I was a failure, and I felt like I was wasting time on something that I had a hard time identifying with anymore. I was ready to give up writing.

And then I did.

One day, I just decided to stop. I had some writing-related obligations, some of which I finished, others which I flubbed on entirely. But in essence, I had given up. I wasn’t going to write anymore. I didn’t want to write anymore. I stopped writing completely and became focused on getting a full-time job (the one thing I SWORE I would never return to).

And in a way, giving up was exactly what I needed to do.

*Cue turning point in post. I apologize for the dramatics.*

In that moment, quitting was good for me. I broke away from writing. I didn’t touch it for four full months (after writing non-stop since I was 15, that was a big thing). I moved back in with my parents. I redecorated my childhood bedroom. I decided to start tutoring French and English as a way to create income while I waited for a full-time job (okay, my mum encouraged me, but we made it happen).

And then all at once, the tutoring became the full-time job. I was making enough money to pay the bills (yes, I live with my parents, and I pay bills…). I was tossing around the idea of travelling again and moving out again and starting a business and hiring employees. I noticed my mood was improving (being on unemployment insurance is soul-destroying), and I was enjoying myself more, and I was allowing myself to do things that I hadn’t done in years because I had been so fixated on becoming a full-time writer.

But what was troubling was that I was surviving. I had gone four months without writing, and of course I missed it, but what I didn’t miss was the pressure. I didn’t miss advertising my book and my “brand” to every available ear and eye. I didn’t miss tirelessly emailing reviewers and scouring websites for someone–anyone!–to care about what I was doing. Most of all, I didn’t miss the pressure of writing for some magical, probably non-existent audience that would propel me to the status of full-time writer.

And all of this was troubling because it meant that maybe I could survive without writing. That maybe I was more than my writing.

That maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer.

So, I gave myself a window. I said, “Michael, go back. Write something. See where it goes. If you’re happy, keep going. If you’re not, stop.” I was giving myself the freedom to give up again if I wanted to. I was allowing myself to be creative without worrying about what audiences or editors or literary agents would think.

I was allowing myself to have fun again, something I hadn’t done in years because I had been so obsessed–nay, sick with the pressure of taking my writing and making money on it.

Because what I realized during that time was that I didn’t need to make money on my writing to be successful. I could redefine what success meant to me. If success meant that I never published again but I could have fun doing what I loved doing, then that’s what I was going to do. If success meant writing for myself and not giving a flying f*ck about what would sell or what was marketable or what was interesting (I’m still not over it, bookstore manager!), then that’s what I was going to do.

In short, the purpose of my writing had shifted over the course of 2015, and the focus on the financial side of the arts industry was robbing me of my creativity and depressing me because I was equating sales numbers and review counts with my definition of success. Once I took the money out of the writing equation, once I had stopped freelance writing and editing (minus a few good, reputable contracts), I was left with just the thing I loved in the first place.

And that thing was writing.

So, I’m glad I quit writing. I’m glad I gave up. Quitting writing gave me the opportunity to start to rebuild myself and rebuild my life. I guess the purpose of this post is to say that if you’re in the place that I was at (Editing Note: “In the place that I was at” is sloppy, but I think I’m gonna leave it to make a point), in that place where everything feels hopeless and you’re ready just to give up on your dreams (writing or unrelated), honestly, just do it.

Just give up.

Because if you love it enough, it will come back, and if it doesn’t, maybe it was never meant to be.

Thanks to everyone for sticking by me the past year, and thanks for reading this if you made it all the way through the post.

As per 9gag community etiquette, here’s a potato. Sorry for the long post.

Potato.jpg

Secret Project… SHHH!

Hey everyone,

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Summer has happened, and life has happened, and everything is all up in the air in regards to my life and what’s next from me in terms of a second novel, but in the midst of it all, I decided to try something new.

The publisher for “The Black Oracle” has long recommended that authors create a YouTube channel to promote their work, and though I was originally opposed to the idea, I decided to give it a try. So, I started working on a secret project: a YouTube channel that I launched on Wednesday! Watch the video below to hear me read excerpts from my novel “The Black Oracle”.

Just Kidding

JUST KIDDING!

That would be boring as hell, wouldn’t it? I know it would, I rolled my eyes myself (no one wants me to babble on and on about a book I wrote). Instead, I decided you can hear me babble on and on about something else — something a little lighter than my writing, a little more rant-ier, and a little more fun. So, without further ado, check out one of my first videos about Sarah Palin and speaking American.

And as they say on YouTube: like, comment, and subscribe.

Image

Fear

FearQuote

Faces

HeadGraphicOracle

Interview with Katie Hamstead, Author of Deceptive Cadence and the Kiya Trilogy

Today I had the opportunity to interview Katie Hamstead, author of The Kiya Trilogy, about her newest release Deceptive Cadence and about being an author, mom, and time-traveler (okay, sort of time-traveler). Check it out!

510ij-ZBjQL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_Briefly, describe what “Deceptive Cadence” is about.

Deceptive Cadence is about a young woman who loses everything, but is given a second chance to change it. It follows her reliving her teen years as she works to mend the broken relationships in her life. But when you change something, you can’t anticipate the results, including for her, James walking into her life and making everything very complicated.

Tell us the story of how you came up with this idea.

I think everyone has regrets and “what ifs” in their lives. I’ve thought about things like that on and off, and wondered where my life would be if things had gone differently. Cadence is an exploration of that, but she can remember the mistakes she made so she doesn’t do them again. I even threw in some scenes from my own life to spice it up! I wonder if anyone can pick them out.

I’ve also read that you were influenced by the ocean and by your upbringing in Australia as you wrote “Deceptive Cadence”. Is that true? What were the other main influences for this novel?

Mostly there are trips to the beach. Like many Aussie kids, I lived on the beach during summer, and if I wasn’t there, I wanted to be there. Cadence is the same, which gives a taste of Aussie culture to the book.

There is also a strong focus on family and true friendship. Cadence learns about these things in more depth with her second chance, and learns how love is more than just romance.

This novel to an extent focuses on a tragedy that makes Cadence re-evaluate her life and her choices. Without compromising your privacy, was there an event in your life that had a similar impact that you drew from while writing?

I haven’t lost my husband and daughter, but on occasion I wonder what I’d do if I did. It’s morbid, but it happens to some people. I do know if an angel came and said “go back and you could change this” I’d snatch it up. I’ve seen people around me lose a child or a spouse through sickness or accidents, and I can only imagine how devastating that would be.

Changing gears a little bit: throughout your career, you have written various genres spanning historical fiction, contemporary romance, and magic realism. What differences, if any, do you see in your own process when you write different genres?

I don’t know. Historical obviously needs some time to research to establish a timeline, period mentality, etc. first, while contemporary can just be drawn from things around me. But I always try to write from the heart, to give my characters a raw, real feeling to who they are.

downloadBefore I ask this next question, I wanted to congratulate you on a recent success: your novel “Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh” has sold 10,000 copies worldwide! What do you think has made it so successful? Are there any writing or marketing secrets you can share?

You know, I don’t know! Ha, ha! I know the biggest jumps I’ve seen are through sales promoted by Bookbub. These sales give things a kick start that flows through for several months and to the rest of the trilogy.

Personally, I maintain a blog with a page showing my works and links to them, a Facebook page, and a twitter account. I also work to be supportive of those around me, and those working toward their own publication. It’s amazing what karma can do!

Mostly, I share what I do with people I meet. It can be hard to put myself out there, but in general, people get pretty excited when they find out I’m published. Word of mouth spreads. In fact, I heard recently of a group that are nuts about my trilogy clear on the other side of Phoenix, and I don’t know any of them! That had to happen due to word of mouth.

Being a writer myself, I am always in awe of people who are able to do it full-time. Take us through a typical day for you as a writer.

I don’t know if I’d say it’s full-time. I’m a mommy first, and that is close to a 24 hour gig. Luckily, my kid is very understanding that I need time during the day.

My day changes every day, but usually it starts with me being up first to check emails and work on anything that came through during the night. Then I get ready for the day while the kiddo eats breakfast at a snail’s pace. In the morning, I try to get her out to do something, whether it’s visiting Grandma, preschool, visiting the library, or just running errands, to run off her energy and fend off her boredom.

After lunch, we have “quiet time” where she plays quietly in her room (technically) while I try to get some work done.

Hubs comes home in the evening, and I try to get dinner done, but being pregnant makes that difficult most of the time, and we try to have family time before bed and if we don’t have other commitments. Once the kid is in bed, we try to spend some time as a couple, talking, watching a show or something he discovered on YouTube, before I go into my bubble to try to get some words on the page.

But my days are extremely flexible. I have to be with a kid. I’m just glad I can work from home to help support my husband while raising our kid.

Related to your typical writer lifestyle, how long does it take you to produce a novel, and what does that process look like?

It takes me a lot longer than I used to. With my daughter being older, and more interactive, I have a lot less free time than I did when she was a baby/toddler and still took naps. Back then, I remember pumping out a novel in a month. Now, with her combined with a lot more editing commitments, it takes me quite a while, I don’t know exactly how long.

My process is… a jumble. I get ideas in my head, write a scene here and there to add later, but in general I write from start to finish, adding those scenes in as I go. If my head was laid out on a piece of paper, it would probably look like a giant mess with pictures and images everywhere, but it sorts out eventually.

What advice would you give new authors or prospective authors who are trying to make a successful writing career?

Write it out, review it, then get out and involve with other writers. I had no idea how little I knew until I knew better. Other writers helped me grow and learn in leaps and bounds as long as I stayed open to the constructive criticism. Writing is a game of patience and refinement. You’ll get there eventually.

Fun question (and related to “Deceptive Cadence”): If you could travel back to your high school years, what would you change?

I’d probably smack a few people in the head! Ha, ha, ha! No, but I would be more assertive and way less afraid. Outside of school, I was a pretty fun kid, but the kids at my school were brutal to me. I wouldn’t put up with it if I could change it.

________

You can check out Deceptive Cadence and other stories by Katie on Goodreads. You can also check out Katie’s website for details on upcoming releases, promotions, and her blog!

Wednesday Writerly Update #7

This week’s been a week of ups and downs. Not completely sure what’s to blame for my off mood, but I’ve recoiled a bit in terms of being so scatter-brained and tackling 50,000 things at once, and I’m trying to refocus (successfully?) on what inspires me to write: reading.

Anyways, progress on editing the YA horror novel has stalled. I haven’t edited any of it since last week, and I’m contemplating putting it on vacation indefinitely. The YA contemporary has been planned for what… two weeks now? Yeah, not much progress there either (read: none at all). In better news, the Middle Eastern fantasy novelette has seen an additional 1,000 words which is nice, but it’s nowhere near finished in a first draft form. I did however do another free write (I’m on a roll!), and I hammered out a 4,000 word short story. It’s a horror about teenagers but for adults, and I’m just teasing out plot points now. I’m thinking I’ll add another 2,000 words to fix pacing, develop characters, etc. before starting a comprehensive edit.

As for the NA speculative fiction novel, it is still in limbo. But we shall see, my friends.

Okay, so, goals. I’m not sure I want to make any for the coming week. Frankly, I’m not good at meeting goals. Yes, I like to goal set, but I’m thinking that by attaching expectations to what I’m writing is making me stressed out and a little weary (hence, my weird mood). So, let’s just say I want to write, and it would be nice if I could finish something for the time being.

Now for The Black Oracle news:

  • Reviews have been slowly trickling in which is awesome! If you’ve finished the book and wouldn’t mind leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads, that would be great!
  • In addition to the signing at Roxanne’s Reflections Card and Book Shop in Fergus, Ontario on July 4 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, I have another signing on August 8. That one is at Chapters Woodbridge in Vaughan, Ontario, and will be from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
  • Chapters Woodbridge, you say? Well, yes, “The Black Oracle” is now available at that location. If you’re in the area, drop by and snap a picture of it.
Chapters Woodbridge

Derp faces all around!

Until next week!

Wednesday Writerly Update #6

Good morning!

Just a short update today of my writing progress for Writerly Wednesdays, and an early post at that too because I have a pretty busy day today.

The Inception-meets-The-City-Trilogy NA speculative fiction novel is still in limbo, not quite ready for pre-publication but getting there. I got notes back from a lovely critique partner (check Jessica out! She has a novel coming out soon too, and it’s gonna ROCK!), and her notes have been very helpful.

I’ve started editing my YA horror novel. I’m 20%-ish through a second draft, but there’s a whole lot of work to go. There’s a bunch of plot holes/cliches in the second half of the novel that I need to get rid of, so I’m kind of dreading that. And even then, draft three is going to be just as trying: the tone of the novel isn’t right. I don’t know what will make it right just yet, but it’ll be a process.

OH, and remember that free write from last week? The speculative fiction novel with a Middle Eastern setting? Well, let’s just say it’s been plotted, and an additional 3000 words have been added. Still not sure how I feel about it, but it’s set to be a novelette (around 12,000 words), and there’s a publication I’ve been eyeing if finish the piece and deem it publish-worthy.

So, goals for next week: keep editing the YA horror and maybe even move on to draft three; finish Middle Eastern speculative fiction (I can dream, right?).

As for “The Black Oracle“, there isn’t a whole lot of news to report. I’m still working on some promotion and marketing efforts that will *hopefully* kick off in July. If you’ve read it, though, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I’d love to know what you think!

Until next time!