Thursday, May 27, 2010

Re-Search: Step Two

(All right, so I needed to post earlier than planned due to an unplanned weekend trip this weekend! My cousin's graduating! Yay! So I'm not finished with this second step yet, but I'm confident that I can give an accurate account of the Research process. Yeah... I'm going to try to explain the boring in a non boring fashion. Good luck, right?)

Annnd... there are STILL pre-steps before the actual writing process begins.

They really aren't kidding when they tell you that you have to research your book. In fact, the re part of that word is the whole point of it's existence. You search a location... then you research the location of that location. And then you research the restaurants of that location's location, and the neighborhoods of the location's location until you can find the exact location of your character's location! And then you research ridiculous things that aren't so ridiculous in your book, like how to say Grandma in Greek (it's giagia in case you were wondering; pronounced ya ya). It's Exhaustion spelled with a capital E sprinkled with a little bit of sore fingers and dry eyes, and the code name for it is so cleverly called Research.

Why put myself through this Exhaustion you ask?

Because I need to know what the heck I'm talking about (and if you still don't know what I'm talking about, why don't you research it? ;) Ha ha).

If an author doesn't know what he/she is writing then how can he/she write it? Yes, I'm asking even more questions of you. And the easy answer is: he/she can't.

There are so many elements to a story. You have the characters, the plot, the setting, the problem, the antagonist, and a million stories behind each of these. Imagine researching backgrounds for each character. Researching elements of the plot, and location, etc. Basically researching elements within each element of the story. It's not easy...

For instance, my main character in the book that I'm working on has Greek heritage on her father's side. Now, I don't know about you, but I know I'm not going to learn the whole Greek language inside and out in a short amount of time before I can write (this is why the internet was born!) So I have to learn the words she will say the most in Greek (like Grandma/giagia from the above paragraph). You see, if you're going to research you might as well be smart about it. An author doesn't need to go to Italy to be able to write about it (again, thank you internet creators!), one simply needs to research the area that their story will mostly pertain to in Italy.

Needless to say, this step hasn't been very fun. It's work learning the details, but imagine if one of my readers came up to me and said, "I read your book and I love that Luna goes to the same high school as me! But why isn't she in Gym? It's required all four years...". And my answer would be to... blink several times while I thought of a good excuse. Of course, knowing every single detail of every single detail isn't going to be expected of the author, but in order to have a valid/realistic storyline they should know the most important ones.

Over all, this is probably the longest step to the pre-writing stage of an author's journey. Gathering information about information takes FOREVER and needs to be done carefully. Hopefully I can cross over from this step to the characters section... See you next week!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The First Step

I couldn't tell you how many times I've searched for an easy answer to starting a novel. I've searched through pages and pages of google for some author's advice on writing... I've read dozens of How-to-Write books... I've asked writers themselves how they cross that threshold and begin the journey of writing a masterpiece.

And none of these made a lightbulb come on over my head.

The advice on writing is always ambiguous, because truthfully (and any writer, published or unpublished can account for this) there is NO right answer.

Here's a nifty definition for writing, found on
Write: to express ideas in writing.
Write: to trace or form characters, words, etc., with a pen, pencil, or other instrument or means, or as a pen or the like does: He writes with a pen.
Write: to execute or produce by setting down words, figures, etc.

And sometimes it's just as complicated as the definition makes it sound...

Writing isn't an organized math problem. Writing isn't a recipe. There is no set formula or correct answer at the end of the problem before you. There are no measurements for creativity (add half a cup of characters and one teaspoon of tension and aha! there's your masterpiece). One has to find their own way to write, on their own time, and on their own path.

There is no guarantee that one will end up with a masterpiece as well. Writing is hard work. It can be fun and worthwhile, but anything that is will come with a price. Writing takes courage and the ability to accept failure at every turn, while still maintaining the hope for success.

So when I thought about what the first step to beginning a novel would be... I thought of the reason behind it.

Why does a writer choose to write?

This is what I believe to be the first step one must take before they begin. Because... if you don't know why you're writing then how can you begin a journey without a reason? Without a destination?

First, there is an idea... That idea might be completely random, it might not even surface as a potential book, article, journal, blog post, etc., but that idea is what initially takes place. Someone might say, "Wow, you know you should write a book..." and ta-da! You feel the urge to put pen to paper and let the world know what wonderful things pop into your brain magically! But what are you hoping to gain out of this?

A job?
A legacy?

If any of these reasons make the top of the "why?" list, then I must warn you... writing is probably not the right thing for you. You might as well try to be an actress or a singer, or both! Oooh, a double threat! Shucks, you might as well try to be Oprah before you try to make it big by writing a book...

The point is, if you're not in love with the idea of writing, and more in love with the idea of being published and signing autographed copies of your book to the millions of fans that read them, then I'd say put the pen in the drawer and back away slowly, because... it's not likely to turn out that way. I mean, if it does then great! And if you sincerely think you're going to become famous that way then go for it and prove me wrong! But I would be sincerely disappointed in an author that wanted only to gain fortune and fame from his/her novel rather than to share characters and a story that has been stuck in their head and wouldn't shut up or turn off until they told it to the world.

Writing takes courage and patience. But if one is willing to face the failures that are sure to come with it then they will choose to get up no matter how many times they fall.

Why do I want to write?

This is a question that I knew I had to face before I even thought about typing a sentence, before I even began the research or the outline, or even jotted down character profiles...

I want to write because I have a song to sing, an idea to share, and characters that won't shut up...

So, before one grabs their pen and a piece of paper, ask... why? If one can figure out an answer to this question then they can cross that threshold and decide on a path to finishing this long and difficult journey.

For more advice on writing:
See Holly Lisle's article and advice on writing at

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sisters Red

There is a new book about werewolves that I am promoting! And we all know how I feel about werewolves sooo, here it is:

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce is a story about two sisters, both deeply affected by the loss of their grandmother to a fenris. Fenris is the werewolf in this story!

For an interview with Jackson Pearce about her new book and just fun, random questions go to

There, you can also enter a contest for a free ARC of Sisters Red.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blah Blah Blog?

Some of you were probably wondering why in the world I decided to write a blog. To this I had to answer...

I had no idea.

However! I have finally made up my mind for what this blog will be about:

An author's journey to getting published.

That's right! I am going to document my experience as a beginning author from first outline until the day that I receive news of my publication acceptance! And no, I am not sure that any of those phrases are politically correct in the literary world, but no nevermind about that now. Here is my plan for this blog...

First, I plan on posting once a week about a writing experience. This will start with the research of my book and it's elements.

Secondly, I most likely will not post my entire novel on this blog, but rather my thoughts and concerns on the process.

Thirdly, anyone who finds a random interest in these posts are more than welcome to leave comments or even lend advice! Advice would be most welcome! (I apologize for any formal comments in this post. I am currently watching Romeo and Juliet and therefore am hearing and reiterating proper speech. *gasp* I know...)

When shall I begin this said process of an author's journey to the published masterpiece? This week! If I do not post by Sunday morning then feel free to throw a tomato at the screen and leave comments that curse me...

Let the journey begin!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Well, I would like to say that this is my first blog post and I am quite excited! I decided since I wasn't sure exactly what to write about for this post, I would enter a contest! This contest is for the upcoming sequel to Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. I love this series for many reasons, but it connects with me directly because of one single theme: werewolves. I LOVE werewolves.

With that being said, I hereby promote the trailer of the book Linger by Maggie Stiefvater and encourage all who enjoy werewolves, romance, suspense, and pure epic-ness in the supernatural genre to read and watch both the book and this trailer! Enjoy: