Monday, August 30, 2010

Aging Experience

Warning: Rant Ahead!

Lately, two things have been running around in my head- both coincided to one another. I am only 19 years old. Yes, shocker for those of you who don't know me, considering that I am well aversed with my writing. That was a joke. And a bad one, I know. But as it is, I have been looking at the writer's world and have seen that most published authors, while being amazing that they are and envy-worthy, have at least 3-6 years on me. If not more. Their experience level is usually through the roof and their connections... let me tell you...

What does this mean for me? I ask myself constantly.

Even at a young age, people ask you... "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Even now, they ask me "What do you plan on majoring in?" or they tell me, "Oh, you want to be a writer?"

Is it wrong to answer, "No. I AM a writer, ma'am."? Because that is truly, how I view myself. I may not be published, I may not be in my late twenties, and I may NEVER get published, but I AM a writer. I write. I work insanely hard to make it good. I ask for feedback, etc. I've BEEN writing since I was 12 years old. I love books and my life seems to revolve around them. Why can't I have that title?

It seems that people don't want to call you a writer unless you actually have something published. For instance, if your parents tell someone that you ARE a writer, they immediately are asked what you have written and where they can find it. But if they tell someone that you WANT to be a writer, then they coo about how lovely that is and how ONE DAY they'd like to read what you write. As if, I'm not already writing. As if the idea of my book on shelves is such a far and distant dream.

Well, I'm here to disclaim all of that nonsense. If you write. And you enjoy writing. And you DO have a far off dream of being published one day. Then damnit people, you're a writer. Take the title because it's yours.

Age and experiene won't come by being published. It comes by writing whenever you can, however you can, and learning by your mistakes. Writing and rewriting and rewriting and editing and then rewriting AGAIN. Experience and connections? They won't get you anywhere unless you have a finished book. So, get to it.

Okay... pep talk to myself over.

P.S. To all those lovely writers who are anywhere from a day to several years older than me and have experience and connections galore... You're amazing! Please sprinkle your writer's fairy dust my way!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dead Ends and Wrong Turns

This is a sign. For a dead end. But since we all know I'm not talking about the road, why don't I just get right into it.

A month or two ago, I wrote a post about choosing a path to write about (That was the one with the pretty black and white picture with the two streets/paths separated by the fancy fence). Now, I'm right back at that fork, trying to choose another path. It's not easy. In fact, it's just down right mean sometimes. It's almost as if there were signs lined up all along the way, telling me exactly where I was headed, and yet... I was unable to heed them.

But why not just choose a path, right? Why NOT just turn around when I hit that dead end? If I can't choose a path, why not walk down both and find the right choice at the end of each?

And in this dilemma there lies my answer. Walk down both. Do the work. Make a choice.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Alpha Reader

Yeah, that's right. I have one. What is it, you ask? Let me explain...

Alpha Reader: A cool phrase designed to identify the initial reader of an unpublished novel/book that critiques and offers feedback to the author/writer of said novel/book.

In other words, my best friend reads my stuff first. From my book that is.

Now, honestly I can't take the credit for this idea. Kiersten White, author of the upcoming debut novel Paranormalcy, gave me the idea for an alpha reader on one of her blog posts. This one --> Back to the Beginning to be exact. And at first, I was thinking, "What? Let someone read my stuff before it's copyrighted? Are you insane, woman?!" But then, I thought about it some more and it made perfect sense. I find that I get writer's block QUITE often, you see. However, when I feel like I have a deadline or an audience I can make myself write better and not fret about editing it or just wondering if someone would like what I'm writing, because now I have someone to tell me what they think. I have an alpha reader that can give me feedback when I'm stuck, tell me what they think works and what they think doesn't work. I mean, you can't ALWAYS go with what your alpha reader suggests, but it doesn't hurt to have some help along the way. This is a journey, afterall, and there's nothing wrong with picking up a few stragglers for your own companions.

It works out, considering she's writing a book herself and I'm her alpha reader too. There's a lot of perks to having a critique partner. For one, you can honestly tell each other when you're not feeling a certain scene in the book, or when you're not getting enough out of a chapter. The only downside is getting a reply screaming for "I want MORE now!!!" And seeing this face -->

So, you see... That's not exactly a face you can turn down.

A few suggestions for choosing an alpha reader of your own would be:

1. Choose someone you trust.

2. Choose someone that has time to read your stuff.

3. And make sure you have time for them as well.

Pertaining to suggestion one, if you can't trust someone with your writing you shouldn't let them read it.

Pertaining to suggestion two, don't ask someone who doesn't have a lot of free time to read large quantities of your book. Odds are, their email will get backed up with unread messages by the annoying author.

Pertaining to suggestion three, if you're not willing to help them out in return or you don't have time to read their critique, then for one you probably shouldn't even be looking for an alpha reader, and two you need to save all of your free time for writing anyway.

Those are the big three suggestions when browsing for an alpha reader. And no, I don't think you can find one on Luckily, I have one now and it's been working out pretty well for the past few weeks. If you can't find just one, then the only other thing I can suggest is a critique group. Cassandra Clare suggested this on her website when she gave advice on writing and I believe Holly Lisle has as well. I don't have the exact articles, so I'll just leave the links to their sites at the bottom of this post.

Alpha Readers can save lives... or at least unfinished books.

Los Links!
Cassandra Clare's Site
Holly Lisle's Site

Summer Saradise Update!

Alright! So do you remember that AWESOME contest that I blogged about a few weeks ago? Well, there has been a couple updates regarding it!

Update 1: It is now international! Yay!

Update 2: It has been extended through August 11th! Eek!

Update 3: If you blog about it you get up to 5 extra points! Yay AND eek!

Update 4: If you tweet about it it's the same thing! Unfortunately, there's no twitter for me, so I will have to rely on my wonderful blog.

*Note on Updates 3&4 you have to leave a comment on the blog post (which I'll link to here in just a moment) with the link to your tweet/post for proof!

I'm telling you, if you haven't entered this contest yet, you should! What have you got to lose? I mean, these are some seriously awesome books that you can win. Torment, Paranormalcy, Personal Demons, The Replacement, Halo, and The Clockwork Angel are ALL up for grabs. How can you turn that down?

Here's the link if you need to update and/or enter the contest! Which you should totally do!

Babbling Flow Contest Update!

P.S. If you're wondering why this isn't on my separate blog, it is because I've already posted about this contest on this one and didn't want to mix it up. But I'll post about it again on my Suspiciously Apt Book Review blog! Now go enter the awesomeness!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Separate Blogs

Look at all the pretty books...

Well, I must say, I can really throw a curve ball at you if I want. You see, I have resorted to a second blog in order to better organize my thoughts (and therefore posts) on subjects that I like to meander on about when I should be posting about the intended subject of the blog that I am posting on! Confused yet? I thought so...

In other words, I have created another blog!

Katie's Suspiciously Apt Book Reviews

You see, while reading my recent posts I have realized that I have encroached upon topics that do not belong in my personal author's journey documentation. Making posts for book blog contests and reviews for such books should probably not be included while talking about my own book and/or writing experiences. So, there you have it! I have made an entirely new blog just so that I can write about these wonderful books and authors that I love so much! I think it's important that I do this so that I do not interrupt the process of my journey to becoming a published author. Perhaps, I am wrong, but I'm going to find out either way.

So off you go! Go check it out!