Check This Out, the IC Blog Tour Questionair!

Hello, hello.  I am so thrilled to be involved in the IC Blog tour this summer!  I’d first like to give a huge thanks to Meghan Bliss, from The Blissful Poet, who invited me to the tour.  If you’re interested, check out her blog here.  It’s pretty sweet.

For my regular readers, if you’re interested in more information about the IC Blog tour, here’s a link to their site.  If you’re a blogger, you should definitely get involved if you can.

So, now on to the blog questions.

1. What are your tips for creating meaningful content?

I write blog posts the same way I write everything else.  I outline.  I start out with a theme for the month, like writing for parents this month.  Then, I think about my weekly columns, and what I can say that pertains to the months theme.  So, for Check This Out, that is posted on Wednesday, I thought about what sort of blogs and apps I could suggest for other writing parents.  I thought about what I could say or suggest concerning the topic, and I make a list.  If I come up with more ideas than I’ve got days I want to post, I decide which one I like least, and cross it off the list.  Then I sit down once a week, and write all the posts I intend to publish this week.

2. What steps have you taken to writing a book?

Oh, goodness, like I haven’t bored everyone with this already.  Alright, here’s the thing.  I’ve written five books.  Two have gotten through multiple drafts.  Two are from my fantasy series, Woven.  The other three I’ve put on a high shelf because I’ve realized for one reason or another that I’m not ready to write them yet.  Not that the stories are bad, just that I’m not ready to write them.  This is the method I’ve used to write all of my books so far.

  • I start by brainstorming for a few days.  Now that I’m working on a series, I’ve got notes all over the place before I even start this, so step one’s got to be collecting all that mess.  Then, I break out my three favorite brainstorming tools; lists, mind maps and free writing.
  • Once I’ve got some idea of what I want to do with this book, I start on my outline.  I flesh this out first on index cards, so I can move around my ideas visually.  I’ll transition this onto Evernote later, so I can color code it and still have plenty of mobility.  But for some reason, my brain works best on index cards.  This process can take up to a week.
  • Then I start with the rough draft.  I’ll probably throw out my outline at least twice, but that’s okay.  Nothing’s set in stone until it’s published.  Generally I have to write my first draft on paper, in college ruled composition notebooks, with Le Pens.  I find recently that I’ve been writing books from two characters points of view, so I stick to two ink colors, and change color with voice.  All of my notes are also written with these colors, so I can keep better track.  It also works as sort of a mental trick for me.  I know that with this color, I’m talking in this voice.  I’ve written first drafts in as little as six weeks, but my last one took me six months!  However long it takes, I like to let the book sit for six weeks after that.  If you’re playing along at home, this first draft has already taken seven months.  Writing a book takes time, dammit!
  • Now, the time has come for the red pen.  I’ll go through the whole thing with my red pen and a legal pad, and just toss down first impressions.  What worked, what didn’t.  What character do I need to hear more from, and who’s not making it to draft two.  Then I rewrite by chapter.  This generally takes six months, and is the longest part of the process for me.  Now we’re up to a year and a month.
  • Draft three comes next.  Hopefully by this time I’m tidying up.  Working on the language, character development, that sort of thing.  This takes about three months, and it’s the draft I’ll show to my beta readers.  My beta readers take at least two to read it.  So now we’re up to a year and a half.

Since we’re on the subject, I like to stagger my books.  While I let Broken Patterns sit for six weeks, I finished the final draft of my thriller novel.  While I gave Broken Patterns to my beta readers, I wrote the rough draft of Starting Chains, it’s sequel.  Now that it’s in it’s cool down phase, I’m working on draft four of Broken Patterns.  And speaking of Draft four.

  • Draft four is the first one that has any outside input.  For me, a lot of that input comes from my husband, who is a long time fantasy reader and not at all shy about telling me if the book sucks.  This takes about four months, and so now we’re at a year and ten months.
  • Finally, draft five, the final polish draft.  I print draft four out, and red pen it again.  This will be the draft that an agent sees, so it’s got to be as close to perfect as I can make it.  This takes about three months.  So, all together, a whole book from conception to finish takes me two years and one month.

3. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be afraid to let go of something that isn’t working, in life or in writing.  Don’t throw good time or money after bad.

4. What are you working on now, and how can we, as a community, help?

I’m going to be putting out my very first self published collection of short fiction later this year.  I’d love some feedback when I do so.  More than that, I want to help you.  I blog about writing here almost every day, and the best part of my day is when I see someone’s read one of my blogs.  To paraphrase the most quoted movie of all time, help me help you by checking us out.

That’s all for me!  My friend over at Deliawrites is up next week! Here’s a bio, and a link to her site. Don’t forget to check her out next week!

I’m a Writer. In my head, I live in a log cabin, lined with beautifully bound books and tiny fairies pour tea, while I write. I’ve recently self-published a picture book, and want to share the journey with everyone. I am desperately seeking more time to write and be a better blogger.

Check This Out- Write Naked

If the title sounds familiar, yes I did mention this site a few weeks ago on Market.  It’s a great site to submit guests posts to and get paid for it.

However, there were a lot of things I didn’t get to mention about Write Naked when I was talking about it as a freelance market.

  • Like the fact that it’s an inspiring read.
  • Like the author is an amazingly energetic woman that gets more done in a day than I do in three.
  • Like it’s a WordPress site, just like this one, and I love to talk up my brothers and sisters here.
  • And, like how the author blogs about her life, in which her day job is writing, and how she lives that awesome life we’re all working towards every day, and I love hearing those stories.

Post To Check Out-

  • We write what we read.
  • A writer welcomes chickens
  • What a Writer carries in her purse

So, if you didn’t already discover how awesome Write Naked is, check it out this week.

Check This Out- Gotham

Once upon a time, when this blog was new, that I made a promise that I have yet to deliver on. Now, I made a lot of promises, back then. I promised that I would help you learn about writing, and I hope I’ve done that. I promised I’d show you one viable way to make money every week, and I do that. I promised that I’d make you laugh, and I guess you’ll have to just tell me if I’ve done that or not.

But I promised you that I would review geek related things, and in that promise I have failed you. I have not reviewed one single thing. My fault, I’ve been falling behind on watching tv and reading books.

This week, though, we’re going to take a look at my current favorite show, Gotham. If you didn’t catch the first season, catch up!

If you don’t know what Gotham is, consider it Batman’s prequel. It’s the story of Jim Gordon, starting the day the Waynes were killed.

I started watching Gotham thinking that I was going to have fun playing ‘guess what bad guy this is’. And there’s a lot of that. So far we’ve seen Joker, Cat woman, Riddler, Falcone, Poison Ivy, and Scarecrow. We also got a quick shot of the Graysons. That was fun. Oh, and of course, Penguin.

If that was all there was to Gotham, though, I’d get bored really quick, and I sure wouldn’t waste your time with it. It’s more than that, though. So very much more.

The story, which is all that really matters, is amazing.

The main plot so far has been about young detective Gordon, the one good cop in a very corrupt department. He’s all about doing what’s right, which is a rather dangerous decision. He’s being threatened by Falcone for making his life harder, he’s got a drunk sot of a partner, (Bulluk, who is easily my favorite character.) He’s got a girlfriend who’s flying off the rails, getting into drugs, and running off with an old flame before inviting a very young Selina and Ivy to come stay with her.

That’s just the main plot. We’ve also got Falcone fighting to keep the gangs under control while Fish Mooney tries to steal it. Until she gets tossed into a pit full of poor people who are having bits of themselves harvested to be sold.

We’ve also got Alfred’s seedy past coming back to haunt him while he struggles to look after a rather shell shocked Bruce Wayne.

The second half of season one starts April 13. Take an hour off and check it out.

Did you see any of the first part of season one? What did you think?

Check This Out- The Pomodoro Method

If you’re getting into the thick of your editing process, you’re in danger of running into one of two walls. Maybe you’re getting immersed in the process and forget about other things, like eating or personal hygiene. Or, you’re so daunted by the whole process that you’re waiting until you’ve got ‘real time’, to get into it.

Here’s the thing. You don’t need more than a small snippet of time, so long as you take it every day. And you shouldn’t even try to devote too much time on it, or you’ll burn out.

I recently found a new tool to help with both of those things. Actually, I’ve got pretty bad adult ADD, and this is helping me with literally everything in my life. It’s called the Pomodoro method.

Here are the basics. You set a timer for twenty five minutes, and work like hell on whatever your project is for those twenty five minutes. You do this with a pad of paper next to you, to write down anything that might pop into your head while you’re working. I mean things like random story ideas, ‘oh, I have to do this soon,’ to do lists, and whatever . The website suggests keeping a journal, but I just use a legal pad, and transition stuff into my bullet journal.

After twenty five minutes you take a five minute break. Stretch, get some coffee, use the potty. After four 25 minute sessions, take a longer fifteen to twenty minute break. Keep track of how many sessions you get in.

So, the names a little crazy. It’s the Spanish word for tomato. The creator started this out by using a tomato shaped timer.

I love this method. I’ve been getting so much more work done since I’ve started using it. As already stated, I have ADD. It’s very hard for me to focus on one thing for long. My brain just starts racing if I’m only doing one thing at a time, and this helps. Instead of telling myself ‘you must focus until this project is over’, or worse, ‘I’ll just go and fill the dishwasher real quick’, I work for the whole session. If I think of something I need to do, on this list it goes, to be dealt with after I’m done with whatever I’m doing.

Check out pomodoro this week. And let me know what you’re doing with your sessions in the comment section below.

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