Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On getting sick of your writing

As authors, we go through a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to our own writing. We love the concept, but hate this scene we can't get quite right. We adore our main character, but hate that the villain seems to one-sided. We call in and out of love with many aspects of our stories.

I'm at this stage with The Unanswerable where I am sick of it. I wrote it two years ago, rewrote it earlier this year, edited it once a month ago, and now I'm editing it again.

There's a few scenes that I hate because they aren't right yet. There's a few scenes that I adore because they make me cry or bite my nails because they are spot on.

But I'm sick of my own story. Trying to make the blah scenes pop with the vitality they should have is frustrating. Combing over the good scenes to make them the best they can be is tedious. I've read the story too many times to have a fresh perspective. The concept, and the story itself, are starting to feel stale.

So what now? When your inspiration and motivation for a piece are gone, what do you do?

I force myself to edit it one more time, and then I pass it off to an alpha reader--in this case, my husband. He's my concept developer. When I want to make sure the story works, I ask him. He points out weak scenes, tells me what I've done well, and provides me with a fresh look on my writing.

Getting sick of my own work doesn't mean the story is bad. It means I need a new set of eyes; someone else to be nit-picky. I need someone to confirm, "Yes, this is a flaw" or tell me, "No, you're being overly critical."

Developmental feedback can be obtained through alpha readers, friends, or even a developmental editor. If you find your eyes glazing over at your own words, it's time for another person to step in.

Don't worry, The Unanswerable is still on its way to being published, even if I am sick of it. I still think it's a powerful story, I just can't figure out how to punch up the scenes that need work.

The second set of eyes always helps.

--

If you are looking for more advice on editing, consider reading Why We Edit, an article I wrote for the independent author collective, The Scriptors.

Friday, November 21, 2014

After the Move: Finding Myself Again

So... I'm sitting here in rainy Portland, contemplating life over a freshly brewed latte with delicious, nutty espresso. I stare out the window through dark rimmed glasses. My beanie is shoved over my short, pixie cut hair, and I come to this conclusion: I have become myself again.

Not that I was anyone other than myself, but for a while, I felt like I was.

Los Angeles is a strange place. You go there with these hopes and dreams of what your sunny LA life will be like. Some people, if they are tenacious enough or have an endless amount of positivity, will succeed. Others, like me, will realize they are not cut out for the very socially-dependent atmosphere.

If you are not an extrovert, Los Angeles can be very taxing.

I like people. Heck, I actually enjoyed being a barista and cashier. Some people think that's weird, but I like being able to interact with people--on a small scale. Los Angeles requires you to chase after contacts, constantly put yourself out there, and keep in touch with anyone who might be a lead on a new position.

The constant game of cat and mouse was too frustrating.

I'd rather have a quiet life than one where I am constantly busy. I'd rather have this moment with my coffee than running from one afternoon meeting to another. I'd rather have a part time job to pay the rent and still pursue my independent creative life.

So Portland. Portland to me is a bit like Boston. Some people may hate me for saying that, but honestly, the laid-back attitude applies to both cities. Sure, Massachusetts has more road rage issues (and arguably, we're quicker to anger than some), but there was always a sense of community.

People treated you like people, not another number waiting to be served.

That's how I feel here. I can start random conversations with strangers again. I feel safe enough to have a brief discussion with a person I might never see again. I'm enjoying life.

And maybe that's why I'm finding it so hard to write right now. I write to escape. Now, I have nothing to escape from.

I'm confident I'll find my voice again, but for now, I'm going to enjoy the rainy weather, try to look less like a hipster (though, I fear I have already become one), and smile for absolutely no reason other than simply being.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winners and Upcoming Release Update

Congratulations to the six Dystopian book giveaway winners! E-mails have been sent out to those who have won, but stay tuned for more giveaway opportunities! And, you can still sign up for my newsletter. I will be giving away a free zombie short story ebook to all of those who are signed up!

Brief Update on Upcoming Releases
It's November, which means yes, I am doing NaNoWriMo this month. I'm trying to get In a Blue Moon finished by the end of the month (drafted and first pass edit), but I'm also trying to edit The Unanswerable. My goal is to have The Unanswerable out by mid-December (or sometime before the holidays are over) and In a Blue Moon finished for late February release. There's more titles after that, but I don't even want to think about them until I have these two finished.

I have massive amounts of rewriting and editing ahead of me, but I feel great about everything thus far.

I'm also going to have some holiday sales going up soon, including some .99 cent sales. So stay tuned for those! If you want to get notified of the sale - newsletter! Seriously--free short story and sales notifications? Yes? Yes!

Speaking of which, ZERO, the free short for anyone who is signed up for my newsletter, should be ready for distribution by the end of the month. I finished the latest bit of editing, so it is being passed around to a few alpha readers before my editor looks it over.

Now I just need to finish the cover art! Phew! So many things to do, but I am excited to bring you guys more stories!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Dystopian Giveaway Hop

Hey guys! I'm happy to be running another giveaway! And this time, it's part of the Dystopian Giveaway Hop hosted by My Shelf Confessions and Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer.

The grand prize winner will receive a paperback copy of both Hipstopia and The Collapse. That's the complete Uprising duet that you could win for free!

Additionally, five runners up will receive an ebook copy of Hipstopia.
It's been three years since Murphy led the Hipster uprising. For three years, Jay has been by his side. All that's about to change. It starts with the beautifully intense Prisoner Forty-Seven... and a loaded gun.
If Hipstopia sounds good to you, you can also buy it for .99 if you don't win! I won't share The Collapse synopsis, because I don't want to spoil anything!

Be sure to check out the rest of the Dystopian Hop by visiting My Shelf Confessions!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Update on Shenanigans!

I’ve been busy behind the scenes and haven’t had much time to update the blog. So let me take the time now to inform you of what’s been happening!

First, I published Girl Nevermore, my dark contemporary YA book. You can get it on Kindle, Amazon Paperback, and B&N Paperback. And it got some amazingly fabulous reviews from YA Author Robyn Jones, Bookworm Brandee, and Brandi Breathes Books. There's currently a giveaway being hosted on JC's Book Haven too!

Second, I’ve started a newsletter! The newsletter will have exclusive sales information, upcoming releases, links to interviews, and the best part is you'll receive a short story, ZERO, for free for being a subscriber. The short story isn't published yet, but will be in a month. Want it the second it comes out? Subscribe! I solemnly swear not to spam your inbox with tons of newsletters.

Third, I've been gearing up to publish my apocalypse novella, The Unanswerable. Ideally, I want to publish it by the end of October, but we'll see! I'm not afraid to push back the date if it means delivering a better book. Regardless, it will come out sometime this year, which makes for three releases in just one year! That's crazy and really exciting.

I can't believe I started publishing just two years ago, and I'm also shocked with how far I've come. I cannot thank my support systems enough for being there for me! Anyone who has read any of my books, you keep me going! I appreciate it :)