Category Archives: Fiction

Write a Novel in a Year

I decided today that of any goal I can make, I can say that I can write a novel this year. My goal is to write a page a day. This is something that is do-able and that I know I will be able to stick to. One page is not extremely daunting even given my work load and school work. In addition, I know that many of those days I will easily write more than a page. The point is to write something every day. By the end of 2013, I will have written and edited a novel. Depending on how things go, this may turn into two novels.

How many of you have similar goals? If you wrote one book this year, what would it be about?

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Digging In

researchI am currently working on  my latest fiction piece. This novel I am hoping to have published. Something that is crucial in the writing of this book is knowing what I am writing. That might sound so obvious, but not everyone seems to realize just how important this is. In light of that, when you write, RESEARCH. Know the little details. Are you using a real town/city as the main character’s hometown? If so, research the place and if possible, visit it! Learn the culture. What are the best restaurants? Is there anything that is really notable about this place?

Not only will this help you in setting your scene, but it also creates a connection for readers who are from that area or areas that you talk about in your book.

If you are looking for an example, one of the best that I have come across is Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter Family Drama Series which consists of Redemption Series, Firstborn Series and Sunrise Series. Bloomington, Indiana is the place of interest. It becomes so familiar as you read that you find yourself at home and are easily able to visualize it. It is one more way to make your story come alive.

Research.

Know what you are talking about. The difference an hour of research can make is incredible when it comes to writing. Know enough sensory details about this place that you are writing – sights, smells, atmospheres, people, etc.

What books have you read that create this kind of setting?

What city would you have be your main character’s hometown and why?  What makes it special?

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NaNoWriMo Begins!

Growing up, writing was not a favorite subject of mine. I was the girl who loved and excelled in math, had a great interest in science, and wanted little to do with history. Then, I found NaNo! A month of writing feverishly in order to complete an entire novel. This started in 8th grade and I have been a participant every year. This is where I found my love of writing!

Here I am, November 1st – today is the beginning of a long month of writing with one goal in mind — get the story written, edit it later. How hard can it be to write 2,000 words a day? Are you up for the challenge? Check out http://nanowrimo.org.

One month.

50,000 words.

What will your story be?

Start it here.

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The Fact on Fiction

fic·tion/ˈfikSHən/

Noun: 1. Prose literature, esp. short stories and novels, about imaginary events and people (www.dictionary.com)

I believe that the definition for fiction is not quite as accurate as it could be. This is not to say that it is entirely wrong; on the contrary it is true – but so incomplete.

As previously stated in other posts, the best writing comes from the heart. The best writing is something that is a part of who you are. When you write what you know and what you  feel there is a power in it that is otherwise lost. You could be wondering where I am going with this and what fact has to do with fiction, but just stick with me.

The fact on fiction is this: WRITE REAL.

Fiction is almost completely inspired by what is real around us. It could be a sunset, a quote, a news report — anything! We are creative beings. The smallest bit of inspiration can bring on an entire book or foundation for a series of books. Often times I will base my characters in my books on real people who I know. This does several things:

  1. My characters take on not only a more solid personality, but also have an emotional depth to them that otherwise would be harder to create.
  2. Allows me to easily flow with the inspiration that comes from being with these people.
  3. It creates a consistency with how the characters act, react and respond making them seemingly more “real” in the story.

Fact of the matter is, fiction comes out of what is REAL to us as writers. We create something new, out of something we know. Even fantasy comes from somewhere. How creatively can we twist fact to create our fictitious worlds? What other facts on fiction do you have?

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You’ll End Up in My Novel

I suppose we authors should come with a warning sign stamped on our foreheads “Careful or you’ll end up in my novel”. No matter how creative that our minds can get when we write, when it comes to the root of everything our initial inspiration is almost always due to:

  1. Something someone did, or
  2. something someone said.

When it comes down to the heart of the characters that we create, often times they are based on ourselves, people we know, people we’ve met or people we have read about or who intrigue us. We write what we know. Of course that doesn’t mean that when you write a novel you won’t first research to get the better picture, but when it comes down to it, you have a pretty solid idea of what you are seeing for your novel.

Who knows how it all really happens? One minute you’re in a conversation with a good friend over coffee and then all the sudden she says something to you and it triggers a whole new novel in your brain like that! Or maybe you saw something as you were out shopping or picking up the kids and instantly a storyline and a chapter formulates in your mind. Wherever the inspiration strikes you, write it down! These unexpected moments that play ideas through your mind are quite possibly the best ideas you could have and far easier to come by than when you are sitting at your computer, spinning in your chair with a blank document up on the screen attempting to find inspiration and ideas for the completed work you dream to be on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Take some time this week. Look for the novel inspired by a single phrase or action. And maybe warn those close to you, “Careful, you’ll end up in my novel…”

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Writing REAL

Do you want to know a little secret about how to make your writing the best that it can be?

Write REAL.
Write RAW.

Doesn’t that sound so easy? Well, easier said (so succinctly as that) than done. As a writer, whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction what is translating to that page is your heart. It is your experiences. It is your emotions. Being raw and real in your writing can be scary sometimes, but that is where the best writing comes out. I often find that writers are so paranoid that people will over-analyze where the motives, thoughts and emotions behind the book come from. People don’t think like that. (Not normal ones anyways.)

Writing real is not only being true to yourself, but it also is the best writing out there. When you are writing real, people can better connect and relate with the characters in your story or with the facts or feelings that are being processed in your article or nonfiction. The best writing establishes a connection between the heart of the author (the words they write) and the reader.

The best writers have an ability to capture and connect with their audience in such a way that the author’s cause and purpose of writing translates to the reader and through that connection creates a stirring in the reader to adopt that cause or respond to the author’s purpose in writing.

For example, in the fiction department, one of my favorite authors is best selling author Karen Kingsbury. Many of the characters in her books are based on real people that she knows and thus her characters are not flat but come to life right off the page. Karen Kingsbury write inspirational fiction and her purpose in writing is to write “Life Changing Fiction”. It is hard for me to read one of her books and not be affected. Karen has such a way of bringing her stories to life. It is like real people and real stories. Fiction – yes. But as you read, it all comes to life. (And even more coming to life her “Baxter Family Drama” Series is in the early talks of becoming a TV show! For more updates and information on that, check out Karen’s Facebook page here.

It is good to keep writing tools on you at all time. Write when you have the inspiration. And even more so, journaling is a great way to make your writing real. When you journal, write out of the raw emotions you are feeling. Say, if you are very upset about something, journal it and when it comes to writing your book take those journal entries and translate those emotions to your your character who is feeling the same way. Giving your characters real emotions creates a depth to them. This is what makes the connection with the reader – when they can relate experiences or emotions with the characters.

I challenge you to make a habit of journaling and refer to those emotions and experiences as you write your books.

A few final tips to make your writing “real”:

  • Determine your cause and purpose before you start.
  • Let your passion translate to your writing.
  • Don’t hold back and you can edit later if you need to.

All the best in your pursuit!

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Filed under Authors, Fiction, Nonfiction, Uncategorized, Writing

WEED IT OR KEEP IT?

Working in a library, one of my jobs is to weed out the books that don’t circulate. I am not going to lie, there are some books that just collect dust on the shelves that I wonder why they don’t circulate, and then there are those that do circulate and I wonder why they do. The difference is the literary quality. Quite honestly, it is the books that don’t have the greatest of quality to them that circulate and the classics and well-written books that collect the dust. This I found to be an interesting concept. Upon this find, I felt compelled to study the market just a little better. When it comes to books, what sells?

Quite honestly it is the cheap stuff that sells. No, I’m not just talking about the trashy romance 50 cent paperbacks. (Not intending to offend anyone.) I’m talking that in today’s society, sex sells. This is not just with books, but with TV, movies, and really entertainment in general. Of what worth is that? So, it might get some hormones going for a little while. But in 50 years, these books are probably going to be on the weed list – not circulating.

I love this quote by Ben Franklin:

Are those books really worth reading?

In high school It was required of me to read so many classics per year. This was something that I wasn’t a fan of, that is until I realized just how much these classics (not all of them, but some) is written with high literary quality. The best have a timeless moral to them. I wouldn’t want to find my book on the weed list in 50 years.

I have a challenge for you writers and authors. Try what this quote says and set the new standard: great literary quality with a strong story-line and don’t get bogged down in the stuff that just trashes your story. Do you know how distracting that is to your story? No one is going to remember your plot when all they can think about is the all too detailed love scenes.

Write something worth reading.

What is worth reading? Well, what is your purpose in writing? Your purpose in writing should be to inspire something great in your readers. Fiction or nonfiction, let your writing call your reader into action. I can list several books that have done this for me and will give a few examples (although there are much more!) of both fiction and nonfiction :

Fiction:

Sold by Patricia McCormick  – This book brought to my attention the severity of the injustice of the world-wide issue of human trafficking and moved me to action to raise awareness and to support the groups out there that are raising awareness and fighting this injustice.

 

 

 

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – A powerful novel that will shake you to the core with it’s very well crafted and real story displaying unconditional love. A personal favorite! I don’t believe I can fully explain how this book has moved me to action, I recommend you read for yourself and find out!

 

 

 

Nonfiction:

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex & Brett Harris – This book showed me that I could be more than what was expected of me and called me to action in the causes that I believed in but didn’t believe that I could make a difference in.

 

 

 

The 11 Secrets of Getting Published by Mary DeMuth – The book showed me so much about the publishing process from the planning to the writing and even includes some do’s and dont’s! This book for me was an invaluable resource! (Thank you, Mary! This book has indeed helped on my publishing journey!)

 

 

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – “He who leads and no one follows is merely taking a walk” – David Thomas. This books taught wonderful leadership principles. It expresses what a true leader is and helped me to structure myself in such a way that enabled me to work in excellence in everything that I do. I highly recommend this book!

 

 

What kind of books inspire you or motivate you? I challenge you to write with purpose, and if you can’t write something worth reading, then live something worth writing.

Everyone has a story to tell – one that you can only live once. Make yours a best-seller!

Feel free to share your thoughts!

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