Building Up Your Story – Tension is Everything Pt. 2

Let me start off by saying this: If you are in the murky depths of about 20,000 words or so on your novel and are kind of lost between the middle and the end, then this post is for YOU. If you missed Part 1 on this subject, no worries! You can find it here! Start there and then come back and rejoin us here on Part 2.


Okay, you back? Here we go! Continue reading

Building Up Your Story – Tension is Everything Pt. 1

tension_fullI have read enough books on the craft of writing to know that building tension is everything to a story. The reader has to feel it growing so it pushes them farther into the story and makes his or her desire to know what is going to happen so unbearable that it is a race towards the end. When I started writing The Beholder, I definitely had a few ideas on what “bricks” I was going to use to build up the tension in order to make the climax the highest point it could be. Think of your plot as a huge mountain and the more tension you stack onto it the higher your climax point. The higher the reader has to climb to get to the climax, the more exciting the view will be from the top when they reach it.

After reaching the 20,000 mark (click here to relive my virtual happy dance about that milestone), this is a good time to reflect back on what those tension building blocks are going to be. There should be new ones to add, old ones to revise, and even ones to maybe throw out, depending on how your story has changed in this initial phase. I also think the 20,000 mark is a good place to do this because, at least for me, this is where I have already done some major writing at the front and back of my story, but the middle is kind of hanging them all murky and evasive-like. I need to know more about what I am building up to in order to connect my super hooky beginning with my star-studded ending. Without realizing it, I created a “building up” exercise that I think will come in handy for any future novel I write. Here is what you do:

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Reaching The First 20,000 Words In a Novel


That’s pretty much what I feel like right now. For some reason the amount of 20,000 words seems like a substantial goal in the quest to complete my first novel. It has definitely not been the easiest journey so far but I have pushed onward and have reached an estimated one third benchmark. Just thinking that only 10,000 more words is an approximate halfway point is even more exciting! Continue reading

The First Idea Is Not (Usually) the Best

bright-idea1I have been working on The Beholder for over a month now and I am still in a pretty confident state on mind. I even had some breakthroughs for my series that I put on hold, so my creative fountain is just gushing right now.

I have to say, though, that one of the biggest things I am noticing while writing The Beholder is that your first idea is not usually the best idea you can come up with. Now, the main concept that got me to start the story – yeah, that kind of stayed exactly the same (so far). But I’m willing to put almost anything else on the guillotine if it makes the story stronger. Nothing should be sacred here except the ultimate goal of creating the best story you can.

That being said, I have already had a ton of changes occur in my story and I am only at the 15,000 words mark. Through these changes, I have come up with a few strategies to see if your writing could use some reconstructing in order to spice things up.  To better lay this out for my fellow aspiring writers, I have decided to use a listing format….because, let’s face it, who doesn’t like a good list? Continue reading

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

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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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