Finding Inspiration in Writing Contests

So, sometimes I find there is a lull in my writing. A empty, shallow time that is void of any and all inspiration and desire. Nothing I come up with sounds right, my plot is going in circles, and I’m tired of my stupid book and how crazy it is making me. I am starting to forget why I wanted to be a writer in the first place.

And then, a contest is announced. Now, not just ANY contest, mind you. The winner of this contest gets to have a 30-45 minute writing workshop with MAGGIE STIEFVATER. Yes, you heard me right. The NY Times best- selling author of YA novels (the genre I am trying to break into). She also happens to be my favorite author so, no bigs.

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How to Write Great Opening Pages to Your Novel

So you want to know how to write great opening pages to your novel? Here is the secret: FINISH YOUR NOVEL FIRST.

Now, of course, this is an opinion, but I wouldn’t post this if I didn’t believe it to be true. You cannot fathom the amount of time I have spent in the past re-working and revising the opening few chapters of the many novels I have started. It is probably as astronomical as it is idiotic. Continue reading

The Soundtrack to Your Story

Music has been and always will be a great inspiration to me. Music can drive me to tears or get me pumped up or mellow me out when I’m stressed. It is a mood changer or creator. So, when establishing mood in your story, what better way to do it then by selecting jams that match the mood?

I have developed two different kinds of strategies for getting the right kind of playlist to match the mood and dynamics of a writing piece. Before you try either of these methods though, do yourself a favor and download Spotify onto your desktop ( This is the best invention known to man since the Twinkie (soon to be extinct, apparently). Continue reading

Pictures Worth a Thousand Moods and More

I promise, this is the last time I will shove my sweet “book banner” down your throat. Ok, maybe not the last time but it will become less infrequent. I only want to use it as an example in this post about stirring up the creative mind and setting your mood right in your head and in your novel.

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One Thousand Words and Beyond

It has been two days of outlining and fleshing out my characters and two days of actually writing for my new WIP, The Beholder, and I already have 1,000 words! That may not seem like a whole lot but I am happy with it because it is 1,000 words more than what I was accomplishing on my series this past month.

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Taking a Hiatus on my WIP Series

When it comes to writing, I have a “I’m not quitting” mentality this time around. It is very important to me to zero in on this ever-changing craft and publish my own stories to share with the world. I am not, by any means, taking a hiatus from that dream. However, this series that I have bouncing around in my head has too many flaws for me to deal with and stay confident. It is a story close to my heart and I will not put it to sleep for good but it just needs to take an afternoon nap right now. Since I have never fully completed a manuscript, not even a rough draft version of one, I think the concept of a three book series with a lot of subplots going on is overwhelming me. I have been spending way too much time trying to sort and outline and plan and NO time really writing. And even after all the planning work, I still feel like key elements are missing from the story. So I feel the best thing for me to do right now is put it aside and regroup.

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Friday First-Novel-Attempt Blues: The Curse of the Tree Novel

So here is where I am at with my first attempt at a novel. Wait…let me re-phrase that. I have had many attempts at a first novel so, really, here is where I am at with my first attempt at a novel I am forcing myself to finish. That’s better.

My novel right now is a tree. Let me explain. I have the core idea with roots firmly planted into the ground. I have my main characters developed in my head and they are wonderful little darlings. The base of my novel is strong and thick and ready to take on anything. It sounds like my novel is in a wonderful place then, right? Why the heck am I complaining?? Continue reading

500 Words: Short Story

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Meg?”

My mother looks at me with both concern and disapproval. She holds up my inhaler so I know exactly what she’s talking about.

I give her a subtle nod as I take off my warm-up track suit and start jogging in place.

“This could be the day,” I say. I’m not sure if I say it for her benefit or for myself though.

“You said that exact same thing on the last race and look how that turned out. They had to carry you to the medical tent, Meg.”

She puts the inhaler back in her purse, exasperated.

“I can’t give up.” I reply, “You know I’m doing this for Lynn.” Continue reading

Similes Exclusive to the World You Are Creating

I am a big fan of similes. Like, the biggest. If they ever became rock stars, I would be one of the crazy girls waiting backstage to see a glimpse of them, holding up my big glittery/neon/heart-covered poster that read “I love you Similes!” and crying profusely when “As” or “Like” touched my hand. So yeah, I have a thing for similes.

I don’t think I need to school you on what similes are, but if I did, I would say they are used to compare two different things using the words “like” or “as”. I will even provide you examples created by…you guessed it, ME.

It fell from the sky like the last firework on the fourth of July.

The corn rustled and hissed as they pushed through it, like they had awakened a thousand rattlesnakes all at once.

He threw down the stone as if he had been holding a hot coal and ran as fast as his wobbling legs could carry him.

SEE!!! I love them. Continue reading

The Disease of TMI

I currently am very sick. I have succumbed to a disease that has shattered my ability to write. I want to share this disease with you in hopes that you will be able to withstand the infection that seems to be spreading amongst novice writers like myself. This is the disease of TMI or, Too Much Information.

What this disease feeds on is our yearning as beginners to gather up all of the little trinkets and golden nuggets of information that prestigious published authors want to toss out on the road for us to pick up in scraps. Or literary agents who blog or Tweet occasionally and try to throw us a bone while we fuss relentlessly over our query letters and outlines. Or the countless marketing tactics out there to draw in naive and hopeful new writers with workshops and how-to books that will make us “the next best-selling author.” Continue reading