writing

Adventures in Beta Reading

Hello again readers and writers, I’ve been away from the blog for a while because it’s my last semester as an undergrad and my focus needs to be with school right now, but also I’ve taken up the commitment of being a beta reader!

Beta readers are readers who give you feedback on your novel before you publish it so you can make sure readers are reacting to it as intended.

Why beta read if I should be focusing on my novel? Well once I finish my first few drafts, I’m going to send it out to beta readers, and I figured, what better way to learn about the process than to become one myself?

I’ve definitely learned a lot from this experience, and I’ll definitely have more sympathy towards my future betas as a result.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

•Make sure you only choose betas who like the genre you are writing in

If a beta reader doesn’t like what they’re reading, it’s going to be a slow and grueling process to read your material, and even more so to answer questions about it. Make sure your betas are invested when selecting!

•Busy schedules don’t make for good betas

I fall into this category. I’m not always the best beta reader because my weeks are always hectic, and I often don’t feel like answering questions in my free time because it feels like work. Make sure your betas have open enough schedules to commit to this- beta reading is more work than just reading.

•Keep your questions concise and clear

After a beta finishes a chapter, authors have questions prepared for them to answer. Make sure these allow for the beta to write a lot of feedback, but don’t give them super long questions or too many! This will make them stress and not look forward to reading the next chapter and doing it all over again. Ask what you need to know, no more.

•Make sure you expectations are clear

Whether it’s time limits to read, or how you want them to answer questions, make sure the expectations you give are clear. A lot of people don’t know what beta reading entails. ESPECIALLY make clear that you want them to be completely honest. If they didn’t like the chapter, it’s far more harmful for you to lie about it than to just tell the truth. You are giving the writer an opportunity to correct their mistakes, which is what they wanted you for!

 

Overall I have enjoyed beta reading, but I can appreciate the amount of work it is now and hopefully this will help me to create a better relationship with my future betas.

 

If you are interested in beta reading an adventure historical fiction about a gang of female pirates, let me know in the comments! It’ll be a while before it’s ready, but I’d love to know if some of you have interest.

Happy writing!

Uncategorized, writing

My Vagina Monologue

I recently had the opportunity to join a group of fantastic women and perform in The Vagina Monologues. As I read through the monologues for my audition, I am inspired to tell my own story. There is so much pressure on women to stay quiet and shut up about anything related to vaginas, so sometimes you just need to break the silence.

If you are squeamish about these things I suggest you stop reading, or get over it. Being a woman is an experience that differs for everyone, and it’s important for all genders to understand that.

~

When I reached puberty, my doctor told me “Boys are going to want to touch you now, don’t let them.” He then proceeded to poke and prod me, leaving bruises on my ten year old skin.

You told me that too. You told me your biggest regret was not waiting until marriage, and that I would regret it too. It would feel wrong unless it was with the right person.

But it didn’t.

The first time a boy massaged me there through my clothes he asked “Is this okay?” It felt good. I knew I was supposed to stay stop, but I said “Yes.” I could feel happiness melting through me with each moment. How could this be wrong?

After each encounter I would not feel guilt, but worry that you would somehow be able to tell what I had done. That you could smell it on my breath, like alcohol.

You never knew til I told you part of the truth, and you shamed me. You called me a tease for not going all the way. You said “Don’t you feel gross?” I didn’t. I don’t think I would have at all if not for those words.

Then one day, after you had lifted my ban on seeing him, it happened. His eyes were filled with lust as he thrust his fingers into me. More than usual. It began to hurt, and I tried to pull him hand away but he continued, not noticing the pain I was in. I was to embarrassed of my own body, not confident enough to assert myself to tell him to stop until the pain surpassed a level I could take. I went to the bathroom and bloody clumps on what looked like veins greeted me.

I don’t know what happened to me. I’ve never told this to anyone before. But since that day it doesn’t feel good anymore. His fingers felt uncomfortable. The next guy’s did too. There was little pleasure to be gained. I prayed it was him and not me, that I had not somehow lost that part of myself by not speaking up. I don’t know what has happened to me, but I wish I could talk to you about it. About anything at all. I shouldn’t be so afraid to speak my mind, to tell a man to stop touching MY body. I should love myself, all of myself. I want to love every part of me, the physical, the emotional, my desires, my everything. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. My daughter will know this. I’m going to make sure of that.

 

 

writing, writing advice

Why Raising the Stakes is so Important in Your Story

Ever been reading a story and had a thought like ‘where is this even going?’, ‘I’m so bored right now, when is it going to pick up?’, or ‘this plot is predictable’?

Yeah, you want to avoid this at all costs in your story. And it all comes down to constantly raising the stakes. What do I mean by that? I mean adding more drama, more twists and setbacks, more for the character to lose should they fail. Let’s consider an example:

 Jane Doe searches for the hidden oasis to find herself and her beliefs.

Sounds okay, but needs some sprucing up (aka higher stakes) let’s try something else:

Jane Doe searches for the oasis, hoping to find her beliefs after her people were made slaves.

Backstory is better. Still needs more though.

Jane searches for the Oasis, a place that may hold the key to freeing her enslaved people and reconfirm her beliefs.

Now we’ve got a story. It could still be better though:

Jane escapes from a labor camp to find the Oasis, the one place that may hold the key to bargaining for the freedom of her people. But the king has sent talented assasins after her and the mythical oasis is said to vanish for years after appearing for a week.

Now we’ve got a deadline and enemies to fight, two key stakes that most stories should include. Every story can always use some raised stakes, consider where yours is lacking so it never drags!

writing, writing advice

Should White People Write POC Characters?

There are a lot of different opinions on this matter. There is the issue of white people not understanding what it’s like to be a person of color. How can they write a meaningful experience correctly if they haven’t experienced it themselves? And what about how some people will use diversity simply to attract a wider audience and gain approval?

Regardless, my answer to this question is yes. We NEED POC in stories, especially after recent events. Banning immigrants and prejudice against Muslims all comes from a lack of understanding. Perhaps if more people were telling their stories, their voices would be heard. As a white person, you have the privilege of being more likely to be listened to, so use that power to further the narrative of those who are not being heard.

As writers, it is our job to get our readers to understand a new point of view. The world is made up of a lot of different people. It is only realistic to include them all, and it is extremely unnecessary. There is so much underrepresentation in all forms of media, and this creates the idea that white people are more desirable and important. How many white guy meets white girl stories have you seen? Enough for it to get normalize in your head. Interracial romances or just a POC lead in general are so rare that works are applauded for ‘deciding to go in that direction’. There are so many interesting stories out there, why stick to just one small part of the population? Why ignore this whole history and turmoil when you could be actively making a difference? Some people may be upset at your portrayal of POC, it’s going to happen. But at least you are being more true to the real world and aren’t whitewashing your story.

If all your characters are white for no reason, check yourself. Think of how many people need to see someone like themselves being brave, and clever and finding the strength to make the world a better place. We have a multicolored world out there, let’s write about it.

marketing, writing, writing advice

How to Not Get Overwhelmed by Social Media When Marketing Yourself and Your Book

So I’ve recently hopped on the blogger train and have been researching ways to market my book. Spoiler alert, 80% of them involve a strong social media presence.      -_-

Social media has never been my strong suit, I enjoy reading articles people share and frequent facebook a lot, but I had never had a twitter, got too distracted by tumblr, and was too scared of reddit.

Now thanks to the marketing advice I’ve dove back into all of the above and more. Needless to say I have felt overwhelmed at times, and have had to work not to let social media take over my life. Here’s some tips:

1.Set aside an hour or so for social media marketing a day.

That’s it. Cut yourself off, just like setting aside writing time helps you write more, setting yourself a limit to social media can help you get back to writing.

2.Remember, what is your goal here, to be big on twitter, or to write an awesome book?

Marketing won’t get you very far without a great product to back it up, so as frustrating as it can be, make writing your priority!

3.Don’t get too obsessed with your stats, they’ll come in time.

We’ve all been there, refreshing and refreshing wondering why your views are going down or why so and so has more than you. It’s great that you are trying to figure out how to market yourself more effectively, but sometimes these things just happen. If you keep consistently posting high quality content, the views will come.

4.If you don’t like it, don’t force it.

If a certain platform isn’t for you, then just don’t use it. Below I’ll detail how you can still use sites you don’t like minimally.

Twitter: Set your blog up so that it posts to twitter, and that can be it! I would also follow some up and coming writers in the same place you are so you can support each other.

Tumblr: It’s easy to get sucked into tumblr for hours. Likewise, you could make your Tumblr page just about your blog, or just about posting poetry or artwork you do or whatever. It’s a great platform for creativity, and there are a ton of poets and writers on there with awesome content to follow. If you like reblogging, make sure to really set a time limit for this!

Reddit: Reddit is a scary place and people aren’t always the nicest there, but it’s a great place to post your blog posts to get more exposure, or ask questions in subreddits

Facebook: You can just set up an author page and post updates when they happen with your book, no need to dedicate too much time to this!

Author Website: I recommend wix.com because it is user friendly, has tons of customization options, and you can do it for free or upgrade to get your own web link when the time is write.

 

I hope this was helpful to y’all, happy writing!

poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Fall in

Bit more if a song than a poem but hope you enjoy 🙂

I’ve never been here before

Knowing you don’t feel the way I do

But maybe there is hope

Says my brain, I shouldn’t trust it

Someone help me make sense of this

Falling in and out but I know I’m always in

Would saying something bring the relief I seek

Or would it crush me like the piece of paper that I wrote this on

Toss me away like a leaf under a freight train

Spinning over and under endlessly

Never hitting the ground

But you’re always out of reach

Why can’t you see we each have what the other needs

One sided love gets old

So why do I keep falling deeper

Every smile every look warms my heart til it breaks it when you look away again

Why can’t you see me

Why can’t you see us

Why won’t you fall in

Uncategorized, writing, writing advice

My Novel Playlist

Listening to music is what gets me through writing when I don’t want to write. I may not feel like writing but I always feel like listening to music- and the right playlist can get your writing gears spinning.

Here are the songs I’m listening to for my current pirate adventure novel, Hell’s Belles.

Fight/Action Songs:

I Burn, Jeff Williams

This Will Be The Day, Jeff Williams

Ep 1 score- Ruby Rose, Jeff Williams

Red Like Roses Part II, Jeff Williams

Die, Jeff Williams

Forever, Distant Cousins

Everyone wants to Rule the World, Care Bears On Fire

Like Other Girls, Atomic Kitten

Everything Louder Than Everything Else, Meat Loaf

The RWBY soundtrack by Jeff Williams is generally a goldmine for music-  highly recommend the show and soundtracks 🙂

Sea/Piratey Mood Songs:

Girls With Guns, Tommy Shaw

Planning the Revenge, MediaTunes

One Day, Hans Zimmer

Raising the Sail, Phillip Glass

The Medallion Calls, Klaus Badelt

The Black Pearl, Klaus Badelt

To The Pirate’s Cave, Klaus Badelt

He’s A Pirate, Klaus Badelt

yeah pretty much every Pirates of the Caribbean song lol

Love Songs:

One and Only, Teitur

Can’t Behave, Courtney Jaye

Burning in Love, Honeymoon Suite

Cupid, Taylor Phelan

In Her Arms You Will Never Starve, Copeland

My Junk, Cast of Spring Awakening

Me On You, Sleeper Agent

Emotional Songs:

Wings, Jeff Williams

Skinny Love, Birdy

Time After Time, Quietdrive

Run Forever, Dave Thomas Junior

How Did This Happen, Amber Rubarth

Breathe, Ryan Star

Harden My Heart, Quarterfish

Breatheless, Dan Wilson

Rebellion/Angst Songs:

Teenagers, My Chemical Romance

Foolin, Def Leppard

Blow it Out, Great Wolf

From Shadows, Jeff Williams

And Then There Were None, Cast of Spring Awakening

Baba O’Riley, The Who

Character Specific:

White Snow, Red Wanting Blue

Midnight Kids, Nulore

Best Friends, HOLYCHILD

Cold Hard Bitch, Jet

More Adventurous, Rile Kiley

Pierre, Ryn Weaver

Words As Weapons, Birdy

Good Job, Sleeper Agent

 

I found most of these on spotify’s weekly suggestions for me, so I highly recommend that too. Hope you all find that perfect playlist, and happy writing!