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.

writing, writing advice

Improve Your Writing With Acting Exercises

Being an actor has made me a better writer. Having to learn how to get into another person’s head and act like them physically is immensely helpful for trying to get into so many character’s heads when writing a story.

I’m going to share with you a visualization exercise that I do to help me. Close your eyes as you do each paragraph and imagine seeing everything through your character’s eyes.

Visualization:

You wake up. Are you in a bed? A make shift bed? The ground? If you reach your hand out what texture do you feel?

You sit up. Are you in a room? Outside? What sounds do you hear?

Now you stand up. Is this easy, or difficult? Are you excited for the day, nervous, uncaring? Why is that?

What sort of morning routine do you do now? If you have the option to change clothes, what will you wear? What do wish you had to wear?

Now you walk over to a mirror, or lake or some sort of reflective surface. What do you look like? How do you feel about the way you look? Is there something you want to change? How do you feel about yourself as a person?

Now what does your character have to do today? What are they looking forward to? What are they dreading? What do they wish they were doing?

You step outside of where ever you are- what does the world around you look like? What is the weather like? Are there people or animals nearby? What is your reaction to them? Is there anyone you hope to run into? Anyone you hope to avoid? What reaction do you have to this world-does it calm you, make you tense, afraid, determined, excited about life?

Let this all sink in and realize what in this moment you want more than anything. What if your goal in life, your dream for yourself? How are you going to accomplish it?

I hope this helps everyone- happy writing!

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!

Uncategorized, writing, writing advice

How to Outline Your Novel

The first step to writing your novel after you get that award winning idea, is to make an outline for it. *cue groaning*

I know. ‘Outlining is boring.’ And why do you even need to outline anyway? I’d rather just have everything come to me organically.

I had these thoughts too. I also never used to get very far in my novels. I’m here to tell you what I do to make outlining more fun, and how it’s imperative to your novel.

Instead of just writing a boring bulleted list, get out your markers and flash cards. Color code your main plot, sub plots, and characters that go through an arc, and start making cards as you think of them and place them in order on the floor.

This way, you can visually see how much time you are spending on each plot point, and where you are missing some pieces in you plot. This helped me so much in coming up with the middle of my story and getting from point A to point Z.

This way is just so much less stressful, and you can work on it as you come up with ideas. When you’re done, it should look something like this:screen320x480.jpeg

Happy writing everyone!