ALLIE B BOOKS

Writing, Reading, All Things YA


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YA or NA? Content vs. Character

Achieve

I probably should open this post with a warning or a “Hey this is my opinion so take it as you will, *insert shrug or giggle to dumb-down what I have to say*”. But I’m not going to do that. Because this is something I wish I could scream from the mountain tops and drill into the head of everyone, everywhere… whether they write books or not.

Young Adult and New Adult are NOT GENRES. THEY ARE NOT. No. They aren’t. Nononononononononono.

They are categories. Just like Middle Grade, or Adult, or Picture Books, or Board Books, or Text Books… They are simply a KIND of book.

They are large umbrella categories that house all sorts of genres. Literary, speculative, contemporary, romance, Dino love, etc and whatever.

Young Adult Romance is not a genre. Young Adult is the category, romance is the genre.

New Adult Science Fiction Steampunk Romance isn’t a genre. New Adult is the category. Science Fiction is the genre, and steampunk is the sub-genre, romance is the other sub-genre.

This is my only huge, massive issue with the writing world. All the other things that happen in this industry I can handle, or shake off, or chalk up to a difference of opinion, but THIS is my thing. I don’t believe this is an opinion. I believe this is fact.

It’s not hard to tell if a book is YA or NA, but for some reason readers and writers alike struggle with it. Shelving NA books under YA and vice versa because of content instead of character.

Bringing me to point number two: CONTENT does NOT dictate category. Ever.

Picture this: We have a book in one hand about a sixteen year old girl who is the councellor of her summer bible camp. No swears. Hand holding only. Super sticky sweet. It’s YA.

We have a book in the other hand about a sixteen year old girl who is addicted to meth and sells her body to older men to score her next hit. Vulgar, graphic, and very very dark. Gritty. It’s YA.

Why are both books YA? Because the character is sixteen.

Now we have two different books. One is about a twenty two year old girl who’s about to graduate college from a culinary program. She’s a virgin. She’s naive and innocent, bordering on immature. No swearing. Mild content. Super sticky sweet. It’s NA.

The other is about a twenty two year old girl who is an alien-fighting badass, avenging the death of her true love by seducing the commander of the enemy army. Sex, violence, language. Dark and Gritty. It’s NA.

Why are both books NA? Because the character is twenty two.

Categories are actually quite simple. Or are they?

Then what happens if the character STARTS the story at age sixteen and ENDS the story at the age twenty two?

Then you have a YA/NA crossover. It doesn’t matter AT ALL what the content of the book is. Swearing/no swearing, sex/no sex, violence/no violence. It doesn’t matter.

What about Upper YA and Lower YA? That’s a thing, isn’t it?

Upper YA is 17-18, almost NA but not quite crossover. Lower YA is 13-14, almost Middle Grade but not quite crossover. These are still categories based on ages, not content, although Upper YA does tend to have more mature themes, and Lower YA does tend to be quite tame but it’s still based on age.

This is a belief that I hold rather close and rather forcefully (as you can probably tell, ;) ). I don’t like to give too much advice about how to write because it’s so subjective and so individual (and really? What the heck do I know?) but this is something I think ALL authors/readers need to understand. When it comes to book categories is not about content, it’s about character.

It goes:

Category

Genre

Sub genre

And the terms Young Adult and New Adult belong ONLY in the first line. The Category.

 


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Stepping into darkness: Pushing your writing forward

I often listen to my partner practice the banjo and as it’s a hobby based in sound, it goes without saying that I can track his progress as he strives (and struggles) to master this wonderful instrument. Every so often, after weeks or months of improvement and new songs for me to hum to while I do the dishes, something happens. The house goes silent. He puts the banjo away and I don’t hear anything more for a long while.

“I hit the wall,” he’ll say with a shrug and now all I do is nod, because I get it. He needs time to figure out what he needs to learn next. He needs to decide if he’s ready and willing to devote the energy and effort required to get better. To move up a level.

Because stepping up a level can often feel like you’re starting all over again.

It’s scary to get to that point. It’s often why people quit. It’s too hard.

It’s too hard…

We’re made to believe that talent should be effortless and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Not if you want to be any good at it. Not if you want to master it.

Writing is no different.

Writing has levels, just like music. Just like art. Every level has challenges, triumphs, setbacks and most of all HARD WORK. Writing, like all other art forms, also does not have DEFINED levels, making it ambiguous and difficult to navigate. There are no benchmarks of success, only personal goals. So what makes you better? What IS that next level? Stop trying to get someone to tell you the answer.

That’s part of your journey as a writer. To figure it out for yourself.

Every writer has THAT THING they’re good at, be it a certain character, a style, a genre… but the time will come when you come to the ledge. The one that says, “You can do better” before fading into darkness… and never telling you how.

That’s the thing about pushing yourself. You can read all the buhzillion articles on writing better prose, building better characters, telling a unique story, but at the end of the day if you want to get better YOU have work for it. YOU have to figure it out. There is no magic pill, or set path, or rules carved out on stone tablets.

There is only practice, and learning.

There is only YOU.

If you want to get better you have to push yourself to be better.

If you don’t push yourself to create unique voices/stories each time you write a book (even in the same genre), don’t be surprised when readers get bored of it.

If you don’t study your prose and push the boundaries of your words, don’t be surprised when nobody tells you your ‘new’ book is your masterpiece.

If you rush to get out book just to have a book out, don’t be surprised when people treat it as such.

If you try to emulate others’ successes instead of defining your own, don’t be surprised when people call you unoriginal.

If you pace back and forth along the ledge of your knowledge without taking that step into the darkness, don’t be surprised when you start to get restless.

And you will get restless because I guarantee you that you are not at the top of your game.

That doubt you feel in your gut? The fear that grips you when you look at that next draft of your novel? The voice that tells you you’re not good enough?

It’s not necessarily holding you back.

Maybe…

It’s inviting you into the unknown. It’s telling you that you’re ready now to push forward. That you need step into the darkness, prepared to learn and grow.

It’s telling you that it believes you can do better.

Maybe not…

What you choose to do with that voice is up to you.

Because nobody else can move you forward or hold you back.

You do that all on your own.

light


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Author Blog Hop: Writing Process

I was nominated by Norm Hamilton to participate in the Author Blog Hop: Writing Process.  

Books by Norm Hamilton
From Thine Own Well Enter a dystopian Canadian society that reviewers agree is frighteningly feasible. Corporations control the government. Deaths and destruction result. Fracking and irresponsible mining contaminate watersheds and citizens have lost their rights. 
The Digital Eye Do you want a fun, simple way to improve your photography? Within minutes, each article in this book helps you make better images.
 

MY WRITING PROCESS

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on a few different projects at the moment, as I can’t ever just focus on one. The current WIP is a Young Adult Contemporary novel set in Kansas. A young girl sets out in search of her birth father, with the help of a series of letters from her deceased mother. This book is primarily about family. A story about what makes a family, and learning that the feeling of home isn’t always a place, but that it lives in the heart. This is different from most of my YA stuff because there is very little romance in it… a little but the story is very much about Spencer and her father. 

 

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I have never really compared my work to that of others (because I’d go crazy thinking I wasn’t good enough!), but I suppose I’d say that hobbies come into play in ways that I don’t often see in other books. All of my characters have rather unusual hobbies and they play into the stories I write in a big way. My voice, hopefully, sets me apart from other YA books (this would be the cliched answer). I also have a pretty broad upbringing from being a farm kid to a small city teen to a big city 20-something to a cabin in the woods dwelling as I enter my 30s. I like to play with all those aspects of knowledge in my books by mixing and matching them to create what I think are unique characters. 

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it chose me. It really is that simple. When I started writing I didn’t want to write YA, it’s just what happened. I WANTED to write high concept fantasy for adults (a la Tolkien) but my characters just wouldn’t cooperate. They all stubbornly showed up on the page as young teens. I actually stopped writing for many years because of it and THEN I was introduced to the world of great YA fiction and thought, “This is actually a pretty spectacular place to be.” 

I accepted it. And have loved every minute of my writing journey. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

4) How does my writing process work?

For me, the process depends on the book and most of all on the characters (as in, are they being stubborn and secretive or are they allowing me into their world). I’ve taken anywhere from ten days to fifteen months to complete a first draft. 

Usually I write thin first drafts, 30 to 50 thousand words, and then I add detail and subplots in. For me, it’s much easier to add things than to cut things out (I get attached). I can’t outline too much because that is the magic for me. Being surprised by my characters is part of the reason I love writing. I would become very bored with the process if I did detailed outlines. 

Even though editing is painful, it really is where the story comes alive. I write a MINIMUM of five drafts, but often many more. My second draft is sent to my highly trusted first reader who can see through the garbage writing to the essence of the story. She then tells me where I need to add and what I need to develop. After that I send out draft after draft to beta readers to fine tune the details and pick up a lot of the errors. I only send my manuscript to one person at a time. To me it is pointless and a complete waste of everyone’s time to have multiple people reading pointing out the exact same things. I owe my beta readers many huge favours so I don’t want to waste their awesome note-giving powers.

When I think it’s just about ready, I read it over in a different format (on my kindle) to see what else I can catch, then if I’m self publishing I have a paid editor that fixes all the things I missed. If I’m looking to go traditional, I make sure the first four or five chapters are squeaky clean (usually by begging my ultra-amazing first reader to re-read the first bit) and then send it to The Agent. 

My mood and emotions are usually pretty up and down during the whole process as well. One of my odd-ball personal rules is that I MUST hate the book at least once before anyone can read it. I believe (for me) that the more I love a project of mine the worse it actually is. SO if I think that it’s the stupidest book ever written once or twice then I know there are at least PARTS of it that aren’t that bad… 

 

I tag fellow Canadian Author Kelley Wilson who also writes YA fiction, and she happens to live in my home town! Two little ol’ Saskatchewan writers slogging through this tough industry! It’s good to know I’m not alone! Watch out for her post next Monday, September 15th. 

Kelley Wilson

Owner of AKS Communications and creator of the contemporary, YA series Pacific Heights that depicts the sun-kissed fun & firsts of the glamorous teens inhabiting this ultra exclusive town.


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Hotness in YA: It might be all in your head…

There is nothing in the world I find more sexy than watching P Charm chop wood. Nothing. Is that what all women find attractive? Of course not.

Is he a supermodel? No. *ahem* don’t tell him I said that. ;)

Am I model material? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Would you put us on the cover of a romance book? Good God, I hope not!

Are we peaks of physical fitness? Absolutely not… I haven’t had abs since I was a dancer which was a LOOOOOOONG time ago…

We are wholly average people who look nice sometimes, hideously unattractive sometimes, but most of the time we just look like our non-headturning, un-stunning selves.

But if you asked me if I thought P Charm is hot, I’d say yes… every time.

~

I hear a lot of talk (correction: judgment) of how everyone is so damn sexy in YA books. Why can’t there be normal people, of average looks? Or, gasp, below average looks…

I’m not here to dispute that there is a ton of “hotness” in YA books, what I am here to do is to challenge you to look closer…

Is there really? 

Or could some of it be in your head? 

See, the way attraction works is like this: You either A) are insanely physically attracted to someone then develop a relationship (or not, if it ends up being a shallow fling or one-night stand), or B) develop a relationship (usually platonic) with someone and slowly build a physical attraction.

A.K.A. everyone goes for someone they think is attractive (or in teen speak, hot)

But that doesn’t mean they actually are. Even in books. Especially in books…I honestly don’t set out to write gorgeous people (and I’d BET that most other authors don’t either) but how in the world am I supposed to build a believable summer-fling romance story if my main characters are not attracted to one another? Point out constantly how unattractive or average the other looks…

In TIGHT KNIT, my character Talia is short and chubby. Lachlan’s allure comes from his reputation, NOT his appearance. Talia and Lachlan actually state BOTH of these things multiple times in the book. But I’ve been slammed in reviews for it just being two hot teenagers falling in love. They aren’t. It’s just because Lachlan is attracted to girls with meat, so he thinks she’s beautiful. And Talia is so busy trying to see INSIDE Lachlan that she doesn’t talk a lot about his outside looks.

My point is this: IT’S ALL RELATIVE. IT’S ALL SUBJECTIVE. And lots of times readers see what they want to see, regardless of what it actually says on the page. I can’t change that, nor would I try to. It’s up to readers to take from a story what they will, even if it is not what was intended.

But I CAN challenge people to pay more attention…

At this point you might come at me with the “super gorgeous paranormal creatures in YA syndrome” and I’ll retort with a Uh, duh… of course Vampires, Demons, Gods/Goddesses, Genies, Mermaids and the like can be unhumanly gorgeous. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT HUMAN! They are PARANORMAL CREATURES…not real. They are. not. real.

And don’t tell me teens are too dumb to get that…they aren’t.

I will admit that the super hot supernatural guy falling for the plain Jane boring ol’ me heroine is annoying. But I recognize that it’s just a personal thing. I just would like the boundaries pushed a little more. Not that I think it’s an epidemic of too hot people in books.

But here’s the real point of this post. The challenge… the next time you read a contemporary YA novel look really closely… are they actually super hot? Or are you judging based on the fact that most books put good looking people on the cover? Which is just a marketing tool, and why a lot of people prefer no people on covers…

Next time you open a book, be honest and be critical.

Read closely.

There are more average looking people in YA than you think.

Name me a book with average lookin’ people… I’ll start.

 

GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley. Normal looking guy with a learning issue and a wicked talent for art, and a normal looking girl with a school-girl obsession… They don’t think the other is drop-dead, swoonworthy gorgeous but it’s seriously one of the most beautiful stories of attraction I’ve ever read.

 

END NOTE: This is NOT a discussion on diversity of character in YA… I am well aware that YA is overrun with “attractive white people” and that it needs to change. That is a whole other chat that deserves A LOT more critical attention. This is STRICTLY a chat about superficial beauty… of any race or ethnicity… 


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Friday Five: Reasons I am pumped for winter

I know, I know! It’s barely September, but I live north of 60º and it’s chilly here. The leaves around my place are turning gorgeous colours, the air is sharp and cool and I am thinking about winter.

This is the one thing I DON’T love about winter:

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And these are five things I do:

Sweaters and socks

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The Great White North

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The Night Sky

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Hot Fire, Warm Drinks and Cozy nights

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Freya’s Infectious Love of Snow

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Because how could you not love this face...

Because how could you not love this face…

 

And a bonus one, which is arguably the most important ;) :

Hanging out with this guy (and having him build me fires)

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Teaser Tuesday: My WIP

For my Teaser Tuesday, I’ve decided to put up the OPENING PAGE, the very unedited opening page, of the new YA Contemporary I’m working on. It’s a story about a girl who’s discovering what it means to be a girl.

Legs hanging out of the car

Chapter One

The hardest question I’ve ever had to answer

“It’s not that bad, Edelle…” My sister calls me by my full name instead of Eddie, which is what everyone else calls me. That fact alone makes the whole thing bad. Very bad. Jacklyn clicks her bright french-manicured fingernails against her large white teeth staring at the hunk of grey and black metal that’s supposed to be my car. There are waves of heat radiating through the air but I’m unsure if it’s from the driveway or my anger.

“Jack!” I shriek, throwing my arms out through the humid prairie air. My beautiful car in a twisted heap, now closely resembling my insides. “How can you even say that it’s not that bad?” I know a lot about cars–way more than most seventeen year old girls–but even a complete idiot would know that the hood isn’t supposed to be obstructing the windshield, looking like a folded accordion.

My sister wraps her arms around her thin stomach and shrugs. Even behind her huge bug-eye sunglasses, with some fake diamond studded logo on the side, I know she’s rolling her eyes. This is no big deal for her. Nothing is ever a big deal when you have eyelashes like Jacklyn Glastenbury.

tap tap tap

Jack’s fingernail is back at her teeth like a pink glittery woodpecker and I reach out and swat her hand away from her mouth.

“How did you even get it home?” I step back, shoving my hands in the pockets of my thin hoodie to keep them from strangling my sister. We really don’t need one more thing to widen this growing gap between us. But here we are. Her. Me. The vast canyon of miscommunication, the edges cracking and crumbling with every second.

“We can’t tell Dad about this,” she says, ignoring my question, and I tilt my head up toward the dusty sky in frustration.

“Not possible,” I reply gesturing to the damage. “Look at it. Your idiot boyfriend stole my car–Dad’s car–and then crashed it into a tree. Dad loves this car more than he loves us and you know it. Unless you want to scratch the VIN, light it on fire, and push it off a cliff, we’re officially screwed.”


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Friday Five: Five authors I need to meet in person

seven teens with opened umbrellas in pedestrian overpass. rainbow concept

I want to meet so many people it’s ridiculous. And living in the far northern reaches of Canada, very unrealistic. But these five authors I would go out of my way to meet. All of these authors built their worlds, their voice, their style and their characters in a way that makes me envious. And even more driven to connect with my own writing and develop my own stories.

Side note: These are five authors I look up to from a writing point of view. Now if we were just going from a straight up reader perspective than HP all the way. Always. ;) 

Anyway, here they are in no particular order!

 

James Dashner

maze-runner-trilogy

Because Thomas. That’s all.

Gayle Forman

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Because she could take such an emotional story line and spin it in such a way that it’s gripping and intense but not flowery, or sappy, or angsty. There is nothing forced about her stories. They seem effortless and still are all consuming. It’s like she trusts her readers to come to the right conclusions without forced language and emotional manipulation.

Huntley Fitzpatrick

Gawwwwd, this cover... <3

Gawwwwd, this cover… <3

Sam is a great character. She’s complex and deep. There are many sides to her and her growth is natural. She just is. Not once while reading did I say , “I don’t think Sam would do/say/think that.” I could really tell that Fitzpatrick takes the time to not just know, but UNDERSTAND her characters. They seemed more like real people than characters. It really helps to get lost in the story.

John Green

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Looking for Alaska is my favourite John Green book that I’ve read. Miles remains one of my favourite characters of all time. Green isn’t just an author, he’s built himself an empire. He has a certain style and it’s easily identifiable. He’s comfortable with his voice and it’s never shaky.

Sarah Ockler

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The book I’ve read that sticks out most for me is Fixing Delilah (reading Twenty Boy Summer right now). Along with Forman and Fitzpatrick, I love that she makes her stories about SO much more than ‘what the story is about’. Family drama is high on my list of things I love to read about. I need lots of layers in the stories I love. There are definitely layers.

And there you have it. Five authors I’d love to meet. Who are your top five? 

On an end note, I just realized that all these authors have something in common. They write nice guys. Complex, real, flawed (except Jase, of course ;) ) non-cookie cutter male characters. No prince charmings, no alpha-males, no gimmicks. Just genuine guys. I guess I like that… lol 


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Publishing: Suffocating in Expectations

I promised myself I was going to be positive all day today. I was going to see things through happy-glasses and I was going to change my perception. I promise this post is positive…in a backhanded sort of way!

Warning: From here on out there’s a whole-lotta opinion. All of it mine, and mine alone. And a little hyperbolic dramatization just for flare… 

With everything that’s happening in the publishing world today, I feel dizzy. There is change everywhere. Fighting everywhere. Crusades everywhere. And, yes, there’s also tremendous community, support, and encouragement, but that’s more on the WRITING side of things. I’m talking PUBLISHING here. I’m talking about where the money comes from.

The publishing model is (and has been for a long time) collapsing. I’m not going all trad vs indie here either, so chill. I’m saying that publishing as a whole is collapsing because change is seen as bad. Money seems to be Ultimate. Fame and best-seller lists are THE goal. The only way to ‘make it’ is to be the next BIG THING.

It is a YA Dystopian novel beat for beat, if you will. The death of an empire, and in it’s ashes Self-Publishing is rising. But Self-Publishing is new. It isn’t used to it’s new found powers. It’s shaky on it’s feet. Has the title of Chosen One thrust apon it before it is ready, and it’s not sure how to proceed. It’s confused, muddled, untrained in it’s weaponry. It’s navigating under the oppressive rules of a government that has never tried to understand it. A government that tries to control it–or destroy it–instead of finding a way to co-exist with it.

Self-publishing is emotionally exhausted. It’s being sorted into… Factions, maybe? ;) … and lots of authors are happy there. They love writing a specific kind of fiction and that’s that. They do tremendously well for themselves and even manage to get in all nicey-nice with the government. They are happy and I am happy for them.

But a lot aren’t happy. There are a lot who feel closed in and unheard.

A lot of Katnisses out there saying to hell with your walls, I just want to survive. I just want to write. I just want to … BE.

There’s pressure to conform. To choose sides. To abide by reader/industry set expectations and contracts if you want to survive. There are a lot of trolls and villains, willing to take advantage of wide-eyed, innocent newbie’s. And navigating this world can be suffocating.

I want to surface it. I want out. I want to breathe and in order for me to do that I don’t need to act like a hero. I don’t need to ‘toughen up’. I don’t need to be the main character. I don’t WANT to be. I truly and honestly just want to be me.

But how do I fit myself in a box? How do I choose ONE thing to be for the rest of my career?

I’ve always been the kind of girl to do what I want, no matter what. I don’t look to trends to decide what to wear. I’ll wear combat boots one day, hiking boots the next and high heels the day after that. I don’t care if it suits me or not. I don’t care if you think I’m too old to have green hair or hoops through my lip. In my day to day life my motto really is

I don’t care what you think of me. 

But in writing I care.

God, do I care. And it’s immobilizing. Every single little decision I make is followed by a rush of insecurities:

  • How does this affect your career?
  • What does this do to sales? 
  • Will people expect this from you from now until forever?
  • Do you really think a bunch of pen names is smart? 
  • Will your agent like this? 
  • Your heroine is showing weakness and readers put weak women through a meat grinder in reviews… Can you handle that? 
  • Are you writing what you want or what others want you to write? 
  • Is this the impression you’re trying to give? Can you handle it if readers misconstrue the meaning?
  • What if readers think you actually personally believe this crap your character is spouting? 
  • What if they don’t get it? 
  • You hate reading about a characters whole entire life from birth to neat little HEA, but that’s what readers want judging by the fact that it’s now common practice to state No cliffhanger/hea…so do you buckle, or stay true to what you believe a story is? Because you KNOW there are consequences either way…
  • If I put out a Trauma-Drama, angst filled sex-fest story this year and then a sweet romantic comedy next year under the same name is it really going to derail my career? 

And here we pause…

Derail my career. That’s where I can’t seem to shift my perception. Almost everything else I can brush aside. But I’m afraid that if I experiment, or try new stories, that I will ruin my career.

But is that the truth?

I don’t know. Maybe.

Some readers will hate it. They’ll say that “Rom-Com” book what cheesy and stupid compared to the deep emotional roller coaster of “Trauma-Drama”.

Others might say that “Trauma Drama” was vulgar and unrealistic and lacking story around the sex compared to the “Rom-Com”.

Some might even go so far as to say they won’t read my books anymore at all if they don’t know what they’re getting.

But should I care? Should that honestly be a factor, because I didn’t start writing because I wanted to please people (that would just be dumb…lol) I write for me. Now that I have some readers, does that mean it’s changed? That I don’t write for me anymore?

This sort of merry-go-round thinking goes on and on and on for me until I freeze and stop working completely. I revert into my little turtle shell until all the questions in my head fade, because eventually they do…and I can breath long enough to start working again. I fall in love with my characters again.

And I’m fine again, for a little while.

As I forge ahead in this insane path I’ve chosen for my life, I’m trying to stop listening to these expectations and just be no matter how difficult it is sometimes.

I’m trying to focus on the idea that through the chaos that is publishing there is this truely beautiful thing that I get to be a part of… History.

Because as the dust settles and publishing reshapes itself into a new industry, I can be there. Doing my thing. Staying true to myself. Encouraging others to do the same. Believing in my stories, even if no one else does, because I couldn’t stop writing if I tried.

And maybe… just maybe…in the New World Order I can help alter some of those expectations I fear so much.

If not…that’s okay, too. I’ll just be over here in my corner. Doing my thing.

Happy Writing!

And just in case you’re wondering, I would make a TERRIBLE YA Dystopian heroine…

 

What are some of your great publishing/writing fears?

 

 

 

 


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The upside of doubt

Self-doubt is one of those nasty shadows that follow a writer around everywhere she goes. Well, self-doubt follows EVERYONE around, I’m sure, but today we’re talking writing.

I see posts on Facebook/Twitter/etc where authors voice this self-doubt and then are bombarded with a ton of comments that are well intentioned but in my opinion not helpful. It’s not helpful to lie to people to make them feel better (which is why I’ve been coined a “tough-critter” when I beta read).

NO! You’re amazing!

Everything you write is fantastic. 

Don’t think that!

STOP being hard on yourself!

You’re awesome/amazing/splendiferous and can do no wrong!

Everyone is going to love it more than rainbows and kitten gifs!

It all seems like great advice… ignore the bad feelings and focus on the good. This IS great advice generally. Don’t dwell on negativity. Sometimes we all just need a kind word to keep going…

But self-doubt isn’t ALWAYS negativity. Sometimes it’s that tiny critical editor in your brain saying “You can do better. Push yourself.” This is important, especially for self-published writers because it’s all up to you. Whether you stick to your comfort zone or drive yourself to push forward is up to you. There are no editors and agents telling you to make it better, so you have to be your own critic. I think that’s what that little nagging, doubting voice is trying to achieve.

Hating your book isn’t a bad thing. Thinking it’s a bad book isn’t the end of the world. As long as self-doubt doesn’t become all consuming and long lasting I believe that a little doubt can make you a better, more original writer.

I have a personal motto for my own writing and that is:

It’s not ready to be read by anyone else until I’ve hated it’s very existence at least once. 

It’s okay to doubt yourself as a writer. It’s okay to feel like you suck (for just a little while). Because when doubt creeps in you can either let it take over, believe it, and quit, or take that critical editor brain of yours and make it useful instead of destructive.

Use your doubt as an opportunity to grow. Turn the bad into good. I believe in you. :)

 

Happy Monday everyone!


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I’m too busy to be in a rush…

When I first started this whole writing thing, everything excited me. Everything. 

E-mail notification… YAY e-mail!

Twitter follower… YAY twitter!

Reader notes for a book… YAY drop everything and work! 

I would burn through things at a ridiculous pace.

This was all super cool in the beginning but at first I only had ONE project, very few Social Media people, maybe a couple emails a day…

Today I have: 

  • One book about to go on submission
  • One book with the agent
  • One book with a beta reader
  • Working on first draft of new AJ Brooks collaboration 
  • Outlining new solo project
  • Working on a couple TJ Hannah projects

And that’s JUST writing stuff… never mind my personal responsibilities and commitments.

This post was spurred on when I got an email from my agent about writing a sales pitch style synopsis and before I was even done reading the email I was all pumped up about it. Yes. I can do this. Right this second I’ll rush this thing out between drafting and outlining!

Then my brain revolted. I was washed over immediately with anxiety as this one more thing was added to the pile of stuff I have to do and I sighed. Then these words came out of my mouth…(in an extremely whining tone, I might add)

“I’m too busy to be in rush…” 

I don’t have time to try and do everything at once. My list is only overwhelming when I think about everything at once. 

It was a reminder to myself to compartmentalize my tasks. Break them down. Work through them to the best of my ability. 

Most importantly a reminder to give adequate thought and care to what it is I’m doing. 

A rush job is a sloppy job and through my excitement I often forget that. A rush job also means that it will most likely have to be done more than once and I don’t like the sounds of that either! Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

I’m too busy to be in a rush.

I think I need to print that out and carry it with me… 

What’s the one piece of advice you have to constantly remind yourself of?

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