Letter to My Book // Left to Die

Last year, I was inspired by Katie Grace and her fantastic letter to her novel. I wrote a letter to my first book, The Old River Road. It was such grand fun that I did it again with Left to Die. Perhaps this will become a habit of mine???

 

Dear Left to Die,

Never, ever, ever has a book come together so fast. YOU WERE SO EASY! Too easy. Easy enough I was afraid you would be one of those horrible hidden-away-forever manuscripts. Two weeks is all it took to get the rough draft down. Two weeks.

You, my beauty, go down in the record book as fastest, easiest book ever. Less than six months from first draft to publication. Yes, it did help that you were less than 3o,000 words. That makes all things easier.

On the more serious note, you forced me to look into the “what if’s” of my own beloved sister’s story. To imagine what could have happened to her. To mingle personal experience, what I learned from books, and what I’ve heard from missionaries, and imagination. More so, you forced me to do things I didn’t want to do. Forced me to remember things I wanted to forget. Forced me to search a part of myself I wanted to leave alone.

But it was worth it. Well worth it. The response to you–to the story you tell–has been incredible. Yes, it is true that some are put off by the intensity of the story you tell. But that’s not your problem. Already, God is using you to do amazing things. I can’t wait to watch and see what happens over the next few years.

lovingly,

your author

Silencing Your Inner Editor / / Guest Post by Abigayle Claire

I’m super excited that my amazing critique partner and sweet friend, Abi, is here to talk about editing! Abi and I have worked together on various projects over the past year and a half, and I can definitely say that she’s one of the most amazing editors I’ve ever worked with. And today, she’s sharing some tips from her personal experience being both an author and an editor, and how to keep those elements separated. Enjoy!

 

 

I am a freelance editor and a novelist. Being able to keep those roles separate is really not as hard as you might think. It all comes down to silencing my inner editor–something every writer has to learn how to do.

There are times to write and there are times to edit. It’s really as simple as that. Only do one at a time.

When I’m editing a novel for someone, I’m reading slowly, questioning everything, and searching every word for something off. I want to do that only when I’m editing.

When I’m reading a book, I try to avoid doing that. But if something stands out to me as awkward, my brain immediately jumps to what sort of suggestion I would leave the author. That’s not a bad thing, but try not to pull yourself out of the book. Reading an engrossing book is excellent practice for silencing your inner editor so that you can still enjoy the story.

When I’m drafting a novel, I also want to silence my inner editor as much as possible so that I can focus on writing. Editing comes later. But at the same time I want to write a solid draft.

I attain the balance by:

 

Keeping in mind my bad habits and avoiding them where I can. For example, passive voice is an issue of mine, and POV can be as well. If I can make those decent from the start, it will save me editing.

NOT being lazy about writing. Like I just said, just because you’re drafting doesn’t mean you have to forget how to write. Spelling and punctuation should all fill their proper roles still. Save yourself work where you can.

NOT rereading what I’ve written. This can be really hard for me. Rereading the last few sentences of what you wrote to pick it back up again is one thing. But do not reread entire paragraphs or pages! It will switch your brain from writing mode to editing mode.

Changing very little as I write. This goes back to not rereading. Sometimes you don’t even have to reread to know that you’ve written words that need help. Now is not the time to change them! Once you’ve put the period on the sentence or ended a paragraph, consider it sealed until the editing process.

Thinking about what to write next. I sometimes spend a long time thinking about how best to word a single sentence or piece of dialogue. Not every time, but it doesn’t hurt to spend a few moments being purposeful.

Rethinking the direction. Sometimes, more than just an individual sentence, I have to consider what the story lacks as a whole. Figuring out where a chapter is going can save you a lot of pointless words and thus make editing easier.

Leaving myself notes when I know I’ve made a consistency error. This is a huge one! If you know you’ve written something that doesn’t line up with something previously, or you need to fact check, leave yourself a note! Your editor self will want to know that. Sometimes I leave myself a note in all caps in the middle of a sentence and sometimes it’s more subtle and I use the comment feature on whatever program I’m writing in.

 

Those are just examples of some of the things I do while writing. They may not all fit your writing style and I’m sure there’s more you can add. But silencing your inner editor just enough is a huge part of writing an effective draft.

All those fears and concerns that are tied up in the words of your book? Set them aside while writing and focus on each word.

Once every word is written, give yourself a small breather. Then come back with fresh eyes and read it as an editor, looking for things that need to change.

Even though I am an editor for other people, editing for myself will always be different. For others, I only have to find a problem and give a solution. For me, I have to do that and fix the problem myself. That’s the scary part, because until that book is published it’s just a bunch of words that can easily be changed for better or for worse.

It’s a big responsibility! But don’t let your fears strangle your confidence or your progress. The biggest thing you can do is not edit alone. Because the words are yours, there are some things you will never see. As long as you know that, get some trusted friends to help you out. You still have to make the changes, but they can help you know how and what to change. They’ll also share the good things of your story and remind you why you began in the first place.

Once you feel your story is there, hire an editor to get that professional finish.

Keeping the roles of writing and editing distinct will help make the time you spend with your words more effective. Don’t lose your passion for the story just because the middle gets messy! You will see that book on a bookshelf.

 

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Are you currently in the writing or editing stage? How do you silence your inner editor?

Blogging Tips for Those Who Have No Time

*ahem ahem ahem* (can we all just ignore the fact that it’s 12:30am on Wednesday morning and I forgot until now that I needed a post to go up TODAY? *facepalm* The irony. I wish I could say I’m just being sarcastic, but… -_- )

 

 

Let’s face it: Bloggging is HARD.

Ever wonder why I miss posts? Disappear without explanation?

The short answer is I have a life.

The short solution is that I should find time in that life for blogging.

Well. I tried that and IT DIDN’T WORK.

So. After much trial and error, I present to you a random conglomeration of blogging tips for busy people.

NOTE: Don’t hold any of this over my head because I’m about to divulge my deepest darkest blogging secrets.

 

ONE

Plan out posts a month in advance. You don’t have to completely write the posts and get them scheduled (though if you can do that, great!). Just write down on a calendar what post is going up on what day. And a week or two (or the night before like I’m doing right now) that, finish up the post and schedule it.

 

TWO

Find a graphics template you can use over and over again. I use Canva to make the graphics for my post. I use the same template every. Is this boring? Probably. Do I care? Not really. It gets the job done and looks mildly professional. (Note mildly.)

 

THREE

Have a few book review post drafts formatted, grammar-checked, and ready to go live. If worst comes to worst, just click GO on a book review post and voila, you’ve got yourself another week.

*clears throat* no I’ve never done this why do you ask?

 

FOUR

Keep a running tab of EVERY SINGLE post idea you ever get. It doesn’t even have to be a complete idea. ANY idea you get should be written down. Who knows…it might be weeks, months, or even years before you use it–or you may never use it–but it’s there. It’s already thought-of. If you’re scrambling for time, pulling an old idea out can be one of the best options.

 

FIVE

Plan out, write up, and completely draft a three or four month long series. If you post just one of those posts each month (be sure to link back to previous posts), you’ve just 1.) created a reason that readers might wish to return to your blog, and 2.) bought yourself some time.

 

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What’s something that has helped you stay on-track with blogging?

(tell me all your secrets because I’m a miserable little human writing a post of blogging tips at 12:45am. *rolls eyes*)

 

Long Overdue UPDATES!

I know, I know, this post has been too long coming. Many apologies! *bangs head* bad author, bad author.

 

ONE

My contemporary novella, Left to Die, is FINALLY available as a paperback! It might take a day or two for it to show up on Amazon, but it will be there.

 

TWO

I have taken a few weeks off from writing. There are several reasons for this that I won’t go into, but the reason I’m even bringing it up is because I HIGHLY RECOMMEND DOING THIS. My mind has been so much clearer to think and process and prioritize and goal-ize and focus on my relationship with Christ. It’s been wonderful. Highly, highly recommended.

 

THREE

This is sad news. Get your tissues out.

The second Long Lake Legacy book will not be published in 2017.

*cowers*

I’m so, so sorry. Again, there are several reasons why that I won’t bore you with. It makes me sad, too, especially because I know how excited many of you are for the next installment in Clara and William’s story. It is coming, just not as quickly as I had hoped.

The new approximate publication date is Summer, 2018.

 

FOUR

This is more of an FYI than anything, but I’ll smack it here as number four. :)

Instagram is my new favorite media platform. It’s awesome. And I even post semi-regularly. So if I ever let my blog fall into the depths of despair and/or I completely ignore it, feel free to hop onto my Instagram.

A post shared by Ivy Rose (@author_ivyrose) on

FIVE

I’m actually considering writing a book by hand? Like…I think I’m crazy. But I think I might enjoy it. I mean…I used to write primarily by hand. Surely I can do it again?

Still trying to make a decision on this one. I’ll be sure to let you know. :)

 

 

SIX

I survived having my wisdom teeth removed.

Let me say, I’m exceptionally glad that this is a one-time deal. I won’t post pictures of my swollen face to be sensitive to those who may be fainthearted, but I did put a few on Instagram for whomever may enjoy viewing such hysterical contortions of me face.

 

~~~

 

What have you been up to lately?

Are you doing Camp NaNo?

(or are you hiding in the bushes eating smores while all the productive little writers do the thing?) *stuffs face*

Indie e-Con / / Instagram for Authors

 

(This post is written in correlation with the Indie e-Conference. Jump over to Kendra’s Blog for more awesome posts!)

 

With the numerous social media platforms out there, how on earth are we supposed to keep up with them all? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, (and I know there are more but those are the ones that come to mind) — how exactly are we supposed to come up with content for all of them on a regular basis?

For myself and many other authors with busy lives, it’s simply unattainable. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t keep up. Yet at the same time, I knew I needed to expand my platform to reach more readers. So where’s the happy medium?

At the council of a friend, I chose one media platform to start with. One that I thought I would enjoy. One that would just take a few moments to make posts on.

I picked INSTAGRAM.

Three reasons why Instagram is perfect for me:

  1. I’m a visual person. I take a lot of pictures in a day. It wasn’t hard for me to me more intentional and post pictures of what I’m already doing.
  2. It’s fast. Take a picture. Make a caption. Come up with a few hashtags (I keep hashtags to a minimum, but I know there is a lot more that can be done with them).
  3. I enjoy it! Pictures are fun. I’m no photographer, and 99% of my Instagram pics are from my phone.

 

Personally, it’s not difficult to come up with content for Instagram. I try to do 4-ish posts a week. If it’s more than that, great! If it’s less…well, life happens. It’s not a big deal.

But what can writers post on Instagram?

Anything. At. All. Instagram is one of those things that can be personalized or professionalized. Some authors I’ve seen post more professional-type pictures, with the personal bit coming in only every now and again. Other’s I’ve seen are the opposite–mostly personal with professionalism visiting.

The personal route is what works best for me. I include pictures of things I do with my siblings, road trips, school stuff–generally random stuff. Then there are the bookish posts, where I post about what I’m reading, what releases I’m looking forward to, etc. And then, very occasionally, promotional posts for my own books. *cringe*

From a writer standpoint, there are so many options. If your idea tank runs dry, try some of these ideas:

  • Your favorite book
  • Your favorite cover
  • Your writing space
  • A coffee/tea mug you love
  • Your window view as you write
  • Your bookshelf
  • Your favorite writing resources
  • Selfies while writing/editing/plotting
  • Memes
  • Prompts
  • Your furry writing buddy (dogs, cats, hamsters, raccoons… ;-) )
  • Screenshots of your writing music playlist

 

Instagram is a versatile, fun, easy, and fast. It’s ideal for authors with little time who want to actively connect with followers. It’s perfect for scatterbrains (*points to self*) who more often than not sometimes forget what day it is and when they last posted anything on any social platform.

Most of all, Instagram is an awesome method for connecting with followers in a visual, picture oriented way.

 

~~~~

 

What is your favorite social media platform?

Have you tried Instagram?

 

NaNo Make-Up #2

It’s time! Our first NaNo Make-Up went so well, we’re gearing up for another!

 

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to NaNo when it works for me. So, I’m hosting a Make-Up that will run from March 15th to April 15th. (Yes, I know it will overlap with the actual CampNaNo. Sorry.)

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

I hope you can join me! It will be fun!!!

Top 3 Writing Blogs

 

Who doesn’t like learning about new writing resources? I know I do! But honestly, with all the fantastic writing blogs out there, it can be hard to narrow them down. These three, in no particular order, are the ones I spend most of my time on.

 

~

 

Go Teen Writers is awesome because of the broad spectrum of topics they cover. I love all the articles about getting over writer’s block, what to do when characters are misbehaving, and how to work with a frustrating plotline. Also, GTW is all about getting beginning writers started, providing encouragement, and opening opportunities for young writers to get their work critiqued by experts.

 

I just recently discovered The Writer’s Alley, but what a treasure trove! This is a blog that is a wonderful mash-up of authors in all walks of life and all seasons of stories. There is something for EVERYONE on there! I haven’t had a ton of time to go digging through archives, but the few posts I’ve read about time management have been wonderful.

 

 

This is also a new find for me thanks to my critique partner Abi, and I love it! The posts are a little shorter and more to the point than the first two blogs, which I sincerely appreciate! Lots of good stuff on this blog.

 

~~~

 

What’s your favorite writing blog?

NaNo Make-Up #1

Because I’m such a pathetic human and cannot manage to do NaNo the months it is actually running, I have decided to come up with my own times to do NaNo when it works for me. So, myself and Emily McConnell are hosting a NaNo Make-Up that will run from January 15th to February 15th.

 

You can set your own word count, or set a project/outline/editing goal–whatever you want! If you are going to join us, send me a message and I’ll add you to our group Google Hangout. Also, you can add your goal to the group Google Doc. Some of us will be using MyWriteClub for goal tracking. It’s not a requirement, but if you want to join that, feel free!!!

 

I hope you can join us this month! However, if it doesn’t work for your schedule, know that we will be doing a second Make-Up from March 15th to April 15th.

 

November Goals/Writing Update

I’m going to go back to monthly wrap posts, but instead of trying to wrap up October, I’m just going to start with November goals. :P

And since I don’t have time to make a cool feature image, let me leave you with this neat picture I took yesterday that I’m a little proud of.

 

img_2969

 

Writing

Even though I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, I’m going to be fixing up and finishing a bunch of other projects.

  1. Finish Even Through Rain
  2. Publish above short story (Information forthcoming)
  3. Complete edits on secret project (Details forthcoming)
  4. Send said project to editor
  5. COMPLETELY OUTLINE Long Lake Legacy book 2. (LOTS of details forthcoming ;-P )

 

 

I don’t really have any other specific goals for this month other than writing, since that will be my focus. But who knows…life has been throwing me curveballs as of late!! ;-)

 

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Do you have any goals for November?

Are you doing NaNo?

If not, are you working on something else?