“No Boys Allowed: School visits as a woman writer” by Shannon Hale

A quote from the article:

I heard it a hundred times with Hunger Games: “Boys, even though this is about a girl, you’ll like it!” Even though. I never heard a single time, “Girls, even though Harry Potter is about a boy, you’ll like it!”

Source: http://shannonhale.tumblr.com/post/112152808785/no-boys-allowed-school-visits-as-a-woman-writer

This has never actually occurred to me. I’m a girl, and no one has ever said “Oh, you’ll like this even though it’s about a boy.” I’ve never considered not reading something because the book was in a boy’s POV (though I have passed up reading books that I know are by male authors, I am guilty of that). I have thought about how men will not enjoy my books as they are mostly about romance, and that they wouldn’t like my YA stuff because it would all be in a girl’s POV.

I guess it never occurred to me to question it, to say, “Excuse me, I’m a girl and I can read in a guy’s POV, why the fuck can’t boys do the same?”

I urge you to read the original post, especially if, like me, you’ve never thought as deeply on the topic. It just never came to mind.

Thoughts?

Speed Editing

rush

I’d like everyone to repeat after me: Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. 

I am FINALLY ready to start editing Wildflower Crown. It needs SO much work. I need to stick with the schedule I set to get it published on time, hopefully in May or June. (I forget which day I actually circled on the calender, but it’s set for when the weather is warmer.)

Since I procrastinated so much, I want to have the first draft edited by next weekend, not including scenes that need rewritten or just written period. (That will be for the second draft. I’ll have two weeks for that.)

Sometimes I forget that writing is work. It’s fun and I love it, but it really is difficult at times.

I may be a little absent from WordPress this week, so now you’ll know why. It’s because I’m trying to get my ass in gear. (Also, I’m not going to talk about how much school work I have on top of everything. AND on top of that, I have the hiccups. Poor me, I know. :p )

Is anyone else editing too?

50 Shades of Train Wreck

cxChristian and I dance around the Ball Room gracefully. By some grace of God, I don’t trip, even when Christian twirls me in a spin.

“Are you enjoying yourself, Mrs. Grey?” Christian asks, looking to his mother, who sits in the corner. Exhibitionism is his newest fetish. I hated it, at first, but because it was in our contract, I found that I couldn’t stop it from happening.

Mrs. Grey, of course, declines to answer. Christian made her sign a contract as well. She signed it, thinking highly of her son, knowing he would never trick her, but now she must not speak of what she sees, and she’s legally bound to endure our show. He’s so romantic like that, my Christian. So loving.

Continue reading

Your Characters Should Hold a Grudge

Your characters should be holding a grudge, possibly several of them. Not against you, of course, unless you’re George R. R. Martin, but against other characters. People that they could reasonably hold a grudge against.

I was thinking about how I owe some guy at my school named Nate a big FUCK YOU for something he did earlier last semester (deets here towards the top) and I realized that I am definitely the kind of person who holds grudges. However, my characters aren’t. They don’t remember that one time that girl got them detention in 4th grade for something they didn’t do or the time their “best friend” decided to ignore them for two year to join the popular kids. Now, just like not all people hold grudges, not all characters do. Some forgive and forget.

However, I think it’s much more fun not to have a character forgive and forget. It can give them motivation to do anything, really. Need your character to get to the next city over for the plot to progress? She has a grudge on an old bully and wants to go make him wash her car. Need your character to be caught by the hunky police officer she’s going to sleep with? Have her being caught egging the house of her ex. You know the one, the guy who stole her cat and cheated on her, not the nice one who wore sweaters. Sweater dude made nice pizza.

Grudges are a great way to add some depth to your character. Is Judy more relaxed but Sally is confrontational? Show that through a conversation about how Sally hasn’t forgiven her first grade teacher for playing favorites and Judy trying to talk her into forgetting about it. It can also add humor to a scene when Sally recounts how incredibly unfair it was that Timmy was given FOUR gummy bears but she was only give ONE. (And yes, these can be adults. Adults can be petty, and all characters need flaws.)

So, Nate, in honor of upcoming Valentine’s Day, here is my gift for you:

f

So now I don’t have to worry about flipping you off it I finally see you around campus, because all of my followers now know that I’m crazy.

What’s something one of your characters has held a grudge for?

Editing Disaster

So I was all ready to edit Only in Whispers. I had everything printed and ready to go. I printed it a while ago, actually, but let’s not talk about how long I put off starting.

Editing the prologue? That was fine. Prologues are short. No big deal.

The first chapter? I realized oh, there are a lot of mistakes. Oops. I got out notebook paper to write down all the notes that didn’t fit on the page.

I got to the fifth chapter, and I realized I made a terrible mistake. You see, editing Kiss of The Fey was a very drawn out affair. I started the very first draft back in high school, but it was just published this September. I had a few years to run through it a few times and get rid of all the nonsense things before I actually printed it out and looked hard for errors.

Only I forgot that I did that. So now I have a printed first draft of complete poo. (Well, not complete poo, but it’s poo enough when trying to edit it by hand.)

I am officially throwing in the towel and typing up the corrections I made so far then doing the rest digitally. It will save me a lot of time and grief.

the horror

the horror

You know not the level of my hatred for 50 Shades of Grey

Alright, folks. Cosmo is running a 50 Shades of Grey fanfic contest on Wattpad. Or something. Found out about it from here.

Because I do so love writing weird fan fics, I entered as well. I titled it “Train Wreck” because that’s just what it is. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy now, but here’s my entry. If you want to assist in derailing the contest, feel free to write your own piece.

Just Because You Can Write Doesn’t Mean You Should

I’ve known I would be a writer since I was in first grade. My teacher asked us to write three double-spaced pages about a class trip to the moon, and I wrote 10 single-spaced pages (which may be why she always hated me, I hadn’t quite mastered pronoun use at that stage of my life). I wrote “novels” until I was in high school, and then the more reading I did the better my writing got. My high school English teacher praised my writing and encouraged me to keep going, and I continue to improve now.

Writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. If it was, everyone could do it. Writing is a skill like anything else. You don’t expect to be good at basketball the first try or for everyone to be able to swim like an Olympian, so why does everyone seem to think that if you want to write, you can?

I’m not saying that writing should be exclusive. If you want to write, go crazy. Enjoy yourself. However, know that you might not be good enough to get published. I love soccer, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to play for college (and I was only good enough for high school because we had a no cut policy and we were constantly in need of players) so now I can only play for fun. It doesn’t bother me, because I don’t need validation as a soccer player. I know I’ll never be one of the best, but that doesn’t stop myself from enjoying the game when I play.

One of the problem with self-publishing is that it’s so easy that everyone thinks they can become an author. They devalue writing with that kind of attitude. If you like writing, that’s great. Write all you like and take criticism gracefully to allow yourself to improve, but until you honestly believe that you’re a good writer and other people agree, don’t self-publish. You would profit much more from posting your writing on a free site for people to offer helpful critiques, rather than making unsuspecting readers buy a piece of work that should have never been published and making them angry over wasting that money.

I worked in the writing center of my school and let me tell you, I saw some terrible papers. One, of them was, written. Like this. And when, I asked the, girl. Why she, was using. Unnecessary. Punctuation. She said. “I didn’t know sentences could be that long.” Another person’s phrasing was absolutely terrible, and some guy’s paper was so boring and tedious it made my eyes bleed to revise it. These people knew they were bad writers, but there are some people out there who write just as bad but want to be a writer, so they convince themselves that they’re good and that other people are wrong.

Someone asked for feedback on their book, saying that it had been rejected a bunch of times and wanted to know if it was them or the publishers. I read it, couldn’t bare to finish it, and gave her my notes on what was wrong (which was a lot of things, from characterization to plot to grammar to being unrealistic). She ignored me, bashed me for being rude, and then went on to self-publish. Do you think that that book will help the author? She’s not going to make any money on a bad book, and she’s not going to improve in her writing when the reviews will say “don’t buy this book” rather than “maybe if the characters showed some sympathy in chapter five” or “the plot needs to be wrapped up better at the end.”

General Tips to Improve Your Writing:

  1. Take criticism. If someone says “your plot is weak,” they are not being rude. If they say “THIS SUCKS” and nothing else, then they’re being rude. Ignore them and seek more specific reactions.
  2. Write more. The more you write the more you’ll improve.
  3. Read more, especially in your genre. It will help you understand how plots and sentence structure works.

Now, the title of this is a little misleading. If you like writing, I’m not telling you to stop. However, I want every self-published novel I read to be just as good as the traditionally published novels. I want the stigma of self-publishing to go away. The stigma is there because of the people who think writing is for everyone. I want everyone who self-publishes an amazing novel to be able to get the pubic to read that novel, but they can’t do that if those readers first find a terrible self-published book and now won’t touch them.

This post isn’t just criticizing bad writers, it’s just some tough love. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you that you were a terrible singer before you went on American Idol? (Although, some of those people don’t graciously accept Simon’s decision when they’re told that they’re terrible, just like some people don’t accept that they’re bad writers when they’re told.) A general rule of thumb should be that if you can’t find at least two unbiased non-friends and non-family members who themselves are writers that say you’re a good writer, you probably need to keep practicing.

Writing is a gift, just like musical talent or athletic skills. We need to keep treating it as something special, not as something everyone can do.

Beautiful Books Link Up: Editing

x

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?

Like a 6? It needs lots of editing, but doesn’t everything? I’ll get it all sorted out before anyone reads the terrible bits.

2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?

Yes, just the one. My plan is to print it out to see it on paper (using my school’s free print credits) and go through editing it all, rewriting what I have to, rearranging things, you know. Then I’ll go through it again, make any more major changes that need done, then read through it two more times or so to find any smaller mistakes.

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?

TBA. Still writing, but I’m guessing that I’ll be over at around 70k, but I’ll want to make it longer during editing to about 80k.

4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?

Um… plot? Maybe? Everything needs a lot of work, so…

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel?

Before she could say another word, Daivat captured her lips and pulled her against him. He felt a fierce need to claim her, to mark her as his own, but he pushed it down. She was still new to everything, and he would teach her to enjoy their time together, not that she seemed to be having any trouble.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?

All the aspects! But pacing, technical errors, character consistency are at the top of my list right now.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?

The characters.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?

They need fleshed out and shoved back into their personalities. Wild needs to be less serious and Daivat needs to be more serious.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?

Nothing.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

Yes, actually. The kidnapped princess didn’t go as I’d planned, but I like the new direction.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?

There wasn’t really a theme or message. Overall, it was just about growing up.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?

I like write-as-it-comes, but then it takes forever to finish anything.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.)

Um, nothing? Maybe Ella Enchanted meets Game of Thrones?

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!

With editing!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

Just pleasure from reading a good story.

I’ll keep writing anyway!

I'll also keep taking pictures!

I’ll also keep taking pictures!

I can’t quit my day job because I have student loans to repay. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I have one friend who thinks I’m going to sell millions of copies of my books (unrealistic) but basically everyone else just says “meh” when I say I’ve already published one book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

The attitude today seems to be that anyone can write a novel. Oh well. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I’ve only reached a handful of people with my blog, and even fewer with my book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I might not be the next big hit, or even a hidden gem among writers. I might just be average. I’ll keep writing anyway.

My books aren’t some literary explosion of genius, they’re just meant to entertain. I’ll keep writing anyway!

There’s no daily reward for my work. I don’t save lives or change people’s outlook on life. Each word can sometimes be a struggle, and I don’t see the fruits of my labor until months after I write that first word. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I don’t have a writing nook. I don’t have scheduled writing hours that I can write. I don’t have a ritual, I don’t have time to write some days, and sometimes I feel like the real world has sucked out all of my writing energy. I’ll keep writing anyway!

My professors are not amused. Too biased. Too personal. Try to be serious. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I can’t write everything I want without giving up my real life. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I need to keep my apartment clean and make time for my boyfriend. I can’t skip showering to write, and I need to eat at some point. Sleep, too. I’ll keep writing anyway!

Life will go on. I’ll keep writing anyway!

 

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