Books: Street Teams (Poll)

 

Don’t forget the great NaNoWriMo Debate! Ongoing ’till October 30th!  Are you “for” or “against” it?  Click on image for the original post to comment!

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Difficult Writing Process (Poll Results)

 

The other day I posted a poll (both here and on Twitter) asking which part of the writing process was the most difficult.

Here are the results.

Twitter:

Marketing 51%

Rev/Edit 21%

Writing the story 21%

Coming up w/ idea 7%

 

Blog:

Marketing 56%

Rev/Edit 22%

Coming up w/ idea 11%

Writing the story 11%

Overwhelmingly, marketing seems to be the most difficult for writers.  The reasons?  There could be many.

One could be that the writer is an introvert, and finds the social media intimidating.  And speaking of social media, there are thousands and thousands of writers and authors on them trying to get their books and stories out in the world.  With all that noise, how does one writer or author find a way to stand out and be noticed?

What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditional or self-published, you’re still expected to do most of the marketing.

How does one even start?

Here’s an article I found that offered some insights: Marketing Your Books

 

According to these results, coming up with a story idea doesn’t seems to be that big of an issue for most writers.  I suppose what could be problematic is choosing which idea to use.  Which one will readers want to read?  Which one will I want to write a book-length manuscript, and not get bored half-way through?

For me personally, at this point in my writing career, the editing/revision is the most difficult part.  It’s like trying to get a donkey to do something it really doesn’t want to do.  Yeah, I can be that kind of a donkey.

Next!

Book Review: Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline

Available October 1, 2017. Click on image to purchase book.

Annalisa Parent, teaching extraordinaire and editor of Chair & Pen: Musings on Writing and the Writing Life, has come out with a new book called, Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.

If you’re someone who tends to write on “the fly,” but always seems to have a problem either finishing or figuring out where the story’s going, this book is for you.

Annalisa, a Pantser herself, understands how other fellow Pantsers tend to lose their way when they write a book because of the unorganized fashion of their creativity.  This book aims to help them–you— find your way through the “muddle” quicker.

How?

By finding the patterns (or theme) in the story, and then build upon them.

This book is not your typical how-to-write book.  The instructions and examples are not in your usual cut-and-dry and formal format.  This is nothing like an ordinary book about writing.  Did I say that Annalisa is a teaching extraordinaire?  Well, she proves it in this gem.  Her presentations throughout the book are personable, easy to grasp, and her witty sense of humor and uncanny culture references make for a truly enjoyable learning experience.

Annalisa believes in taking the whole writer in account and not just about providing knowledge.  For the first part of the book, she turns her attention solely to the writer.

You.

Knowing and accepting yourself for who you are as a writer is half the battle in your journey to becoming a published author.  She talks about brains, and how Pantsers are who they are because of the way their brains are wired.  She talks about how we tend to limit ourselves by giving in to our fears, and how the wrong kinds of feedback could damage our future as writers indefinitely.  Annalisa shows us how to turn all of this around.  How to manage the fears and find the right kind of feedback needed to move our writing forward instead of backward.

Annalisa firmly believes that having the right mindset coupled with positive support could mean the difference between having a publishable or an unpublishable book.

The focus of the second half of the book is on the writing craft as she breaks down various parts such as character development, plot structure, conflict, setting, pacing…all geared for Pantsers.  She provides tips and exercises on how to take what you have and improve upon them rather than change everything.   Annalisa is a firm believer in NOT interrupting the creative flow as you create your story; but to take what you have created later on and make them better, interweaving them together so they become connected as part of one seamless story.

Annalisa truly understands you as the writer, and takes a holistic approach to helping you reach your goal-having a complete and publishable book.  This book is unique and a joy to read.  You learn more about yourself as a writer, gain the confidence needed to move forward while enjoying the journey.

 

Fantastical Friday: Harry Potter

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  the first book in an iconic fantasy series, was released on 26 June 1997, and boy did it change everything.

Then comes the movie (released 2001) and a whole new magical world is opened up for both kids and adults alike.

 

I enjoy reading and watching series of all kinds, but I’m a HUGE fan of Harry Potter’s!

 

What about you?  Do you have a favorite book or movie series?

 

Writing: The Power Behind Words

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

This month’s question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

 

This was a difficult question.  I couldn’t think of any one thing specifically but just the knowing that writing in of itself has been incredibly valuable for me.  Without it, I don’t think I’d be as “put-together” emotionally and mentally as I am.

Even though I’ve been writing for a number of years now, and have several of my short works published,  I’m not famous or rich.

In fact, most people have no clue who I am.

I suppose that’s okay.

What matters to me is that the words I write impact people in some way.

So, yeah, I write for myself first but I also write to give voice (or try to) to those who cannot speak.

For me, writing is therapeutic.

Which means words matter.

And I want it to matter to the reader as well.

In the end, I can think of a particular lesson that writing has taught me.

Compassion for others.

And empathy.

Writing offers a way to let others know that they are not alone in feeling the way they’re feeling.

And for that one reader, the writer’s words can make all the difference in the world.

Story Sunday: The Pocket Watch (Flash Fiction)

the-pocket-watch

 

Rob gripped the steering wheel as he watched a brown leaf roll across the gray hood. His haggard face covered with salt and pepper beard helped conceal the white scar across his right cheek. He stared ahead as he half-listened to the car radio.

“The President is expected to address the nation tonight for the final time.” The radio garbled. “Before leaving with his family to an undisclosed location.”

He leaned over and changed the stations.

“CDC still have no answers as to what is causing the flu-like pandemic, nor are they any closer to an effective vaccine or treatment…”

Another station.

“With the death toll skyrocketing across the country and hospitals completely overwhelmed with the sick, medical personnel are urging everyone to stay indoors in hope of slowing down the spread…”

Yet another.

“Ten more police officers gunned down by looters as they struggle to protect the civilians still in the downtown area…”

The radio went silent when Rob opened the door. He didn’t bother to close it as he staggered into the expansive cemetery. Shadows lurked everywhere yet his own moved with each faltered step. His shoulders slumped forward as he buried both hands deep in the pockets of the ragged trench coat.

He passed rows and rows of old and broken stones until he approached a mangled oak tree. He stooped over a particular headstone, half-buried in yellowed grass. He pulled his right hand out and pressed it on top of the cold stone.

Julie Lerne
Born March 3, 1972-Died November 12, 2010

Craig Lerne
Born April 15, 2008-Died November 10, 2010

He bowed his head, eyes closed. “Jules…three years, Jules.”

He stood still for several moments. A dark lock of hair fell over his left eye as his lips quivered. Rob then deliberately reached into the right pocket, and pulled out a pistol.

“I’m so tired of just surviving.” He mumbled as he shifted the weapon to his left and then back to the right hand. “Everyone’s gone.” He pressed the trigger back. “I don’t want to be alone anymore.” And raised the gun towards his temple.

He suddenly paused midway when the branches of the nearby tree swayed and creaked. A breeze swept over his thin body as his hazel eyes searched each and every stone.

“Jules?” His voice shook.

Everything grew still. Including the shadows.

Rob sucked in a trembling breath as he extended the free hand into the left pocket, and extracted a tarnished, gold-colored pocket watch. He used the thumb to flip the lid open.

“7:15.” He whispered.

He blinked several times. There was something engraved in the lid as he continued to stare at it.

Safe haven
79 S 30 W

A smile slowly spread across his lips. “Dad, you son of a b–” He chuckled as he snapped the lid shut, and dropped the watch back into the pocket.

Rob leaned against the headstone as he pushed the trigger back down.

“There’s something I need to do, Jules.” He muttered with excitement. “I’ll be back to…” His voice trailed off when he turned around.

Crack!

A piece of wood slammed against the side of his head, and he instantly slumped to the ground. As he lied in a heap, his eyes remained open.

They saw nothing.

A murky shadow moved across the earth and enveloped the body, and lifted the watch out of the pocket.

“Whatcha got, Jim?” A scrawny girl in a tattered dress appeared next to the corpse.

The male teen’s crooked smile revealed two missing front teeth as he grasped the ticking object in his grimy hand. “Lunch!”

 

(First published with Asylum Ink on April, 11th 2014)

Writing: How Short Is “Too” Short?

Here’s a question I posed on Twitter the other day:

“Thinking out loud. Is it possible to write bite-sized and still make the kinds of impacts as the longer ones?

I tend to get myself into trouble when I think too much.  🙂

So, is it possible to write short-short stories (for instance, less than 100 words) that can be just as satisfying to read as the longer ones?

 

Writing: A Calling

As you read this poll’s question, think carefully before answering.

Then, answer honestly.

Writing: How Do You Keep the Readers Coming Back For More? (Poll)

reading-more

 

How do you keep your readers coming back for more?   Is it the main protagonist/antagonist?  Or perhaps it’s the thrilling storytelling?  Better yet, maybe it’s a combination of interesting characters and edge-of-your-seat story line.  So…in your experience, what have you noticed readers enjoy most about the stories you write?

Hmm?

By voting (you’ll have to let me know that you voted) or commenting, you’ll have an opportunity to either guest blog or be interviewed here (your choice!).

 

Meet and Greet: 8/27/16

This sounds like fun as well as a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, writers, and readers! Care to join in?

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dream-Big

It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!!

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

Now that all the rules have been clearly explained get out there and Meet and Greet your tails off!

See ya on Monday!!

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Fun Friday (Share Your Link Day)

stories are gifts

 

Hey-you made it!  It’s Friday!  Time for a little fun 🙂

Have you ever thought of what your motto and mantra are as a writer?   These are great to have for those days when nothing seems clear-cut, and you feel like you’re wandering around in perpetual circles.

In case you may have forgotten, we’ll clarify exactly what these mean.  On to the dictionary shall we?

Motto: “a sentence, phrase, or word expressing the spirit or purpose of a person (in this case, writer).”

Mantra: “an often repeated word, formula, or phrase, often a truism: If I hear theless is more’ mantra one more time, I’ll scream.”

Okay, I’ll start off.

My motto is:

agony maya angelou

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pretty much sums up my purpose in being a writer: to get this all-consuming gnawing out of me.  Only thing, this gnawing encompasses so many different things which means this may take me a lifetime to extract.  Truly agonizing (at least for me it is).

 

My mantra is:

You must write the book that you feel is missing from your bookshelf.”-Elizabeth Gilbert

There are many versions of this type of statement.  If you don’t see the story you want to read, write it!

 

Now, it’s your turn.   Write a post about what  your motto and mantra are and share the link to the post in the comment section below.  I will then come and visit!

An Opportunity To Be Published

SWP16-irvinrodriguez

 

 

Some of you may know that I’ve been writing a serial fiction over at Juke Pop Serials called Tomorrow Falls.  I entered TF in to the SWP16 (Summer Writing Project) contest sponsored by both Juke Pop Serials and 1888 Center, and on July 1st, TF was among the top 25 selected as finalists for the next round!

What does this mean?

Throughout the month of July, the top 25 writers selected will be participating in a series of events, essays, and podcast episodes as well as workshopping and promoting our stories.  On August 1st, the story with the highest participation by its readers (how many hits the story generates, the time spent reading each chapter, etc.) will be selected to be published.

Exciting, huh?

Throughout this month, please share this link with your readers to help me promote Tomorrow Falls.  I will be posting some of the items I’m participating in throughout the month as well (interview, essays, etc.).

 

(*Note: For all 25 of us, our stories are WIP meaning we will also be tasked with editing/revising over the course of the month as well.)

 

 

 

tomorrow falls

 

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow Falls

In the END there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love. 

In a matter of days, Tess’ world became nightmarish.  Something was unleashed that turned people into hideous, blood-thirsty creatures. She soon became the hunted as she fled the only home she ever knew in search of a safe haven.

Beck has always been running from something.  Until he met Tess.  He knew if she ever found out about some of his past sins, he feared she would never forgive him.  

Can they survive what’s to come, together?  Or, will they be ripped apart by past secrets that could ultimately doomed mankind?

 

 

The Romance Genre (Poll)

It is really possible to write “clean” romance that do not sound cliched or cheesy?  Inquiring mind wants to know!

Book Review: DIY MFA Book by Gabriela Pereira

diy mfa book

Click on the image to order

 

There are many, many books out there on writing; but, you won’t find one quite like this one. Gabriela Pereira knows the rigors and costs of a typical MFA program, and she knows that in the real world, it is not always feasible for any writer who desire to attain this coveted degree because of reasons such as time restraint, finances, family/work responsibilities, etc.. Hence, she crafted DIY MFA for these writers in mind.

The book breaks down critical skills that writers would need in their careers such as how to think like a writer (how to get into the right mindset) as well as how to keep moving forward inspite of setbacks (goal-setting techniques, learn from one’s failures, and ways of keeping motivated).

DIY MFA looks at vital areas of story crafting such as outlining (both traditional and non-traditional kinds), creating compelling and believable characters, POV, creating dialogues, and world building just to name a few.

The book also covers the dreaded revision process in detail (this is my favorite part of the book on a personal level-thank you Gabriela!). She took the Maslow’s Pyramid that highlighted the hierarchy of needs and converted it into the Revision Pyramid which takes one through several “layers” of revising (narration, characters, story, scenes, and other details such as grammar and punctuation). Absolutely crucial for any writer who’s struggling with revising a manuscript.

It goes on to show writers how they should not only read for pleasure, but also with purpose. And last but not least, the book stresses the importance of building a community (with not only readers but with other writers).

If you are a writer, it doesn’t matter which stage you’re in, this book is a treasure cove of engaging information on how to become the kind of writer you were meant to be.

Reading and Writing Poetry (Poll)

The Power of Spoken Words

I have a confession that I need to make:

I haven’t read a book in well over a year.

Am I proud of this fact?

Heck no!

Do I have a valid excuse for this?

Perhaps.

How can a writer be a true “writer” without reading books?

Probably still a writer, but not a very good one.

What I have been doing is reading lots of online magazine/news articles, and blog posts.

Would these count as productive reading?

I believe so; especially if one of my goals is to be a citizen journalist.  Oh, and a blogger as well.

But

I still consider myself a short-story writer, and a poet.  I also desire to complete a novel. Here’s where I run into difficulties.  With my waning vision, it’s a growing challenge to read books.  For some reason, I don’t have as much problem reading online than I do on paper.  It’s the lack of the right lighting.  The words seem to waver in print and after a few pages, my eyes are too exhausted to continue.

Out of frustration, I stopped reading books altogether.

As a result, I felt like I was short-changing myself and my readers.

Then I read a post on a particular blog aptly titled- Like to write but don’t like to read? Help is here.  After reading this, I was filled with hope and excitement.  The author, Lisa, talks about two types of writers: reader-writer, and writer-writer.  One writer reads lots and lots of books; while the other one does not.  Lisa considers herself to be a writer-writer. Her reason?

“I love words but have trouble reading them.”

What did she do?  She began to listen to audiobooks.

    “I find that hearing the words read aloud and visualizing them in my mind actually helps me to     find new ways to put my own thoughts together.”

So, I’m going to experiment with audiobooks on my own.  I recently discovered (and have signed up for) a program called Talking Books where audio books are provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

Talking Books

In the near future, I will provide my own feedback on this.  Stay tuned!

What about you?  Do you think audiobooks can benefit writers?

 

Further readings:

Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading?

Are Audiobooks the Key to Better Writing?

5 Reasons Why Writers Should Listen to Audiobooks