Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I've Moved

Hello, all!

Just a quick announcement: I purchased a domain and hosting and have moved the site here. Click the link to follow me over so we can keep engaging!

Thanks so much!

Path to Publishing: J. W. Cirilo

Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring new adult fiction writer J. W. Cirilo.

The Magician's Nephew Book Cover


What's your name? What do you write?

My name is J.W. Cirilo and I write primarily New Adult Fiction, particularly what I like to refer to as folk fiction.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

That's actually a difficult question to answer for me. I don't actually remember a time in my life when I wasn't a writer. From a very early age I'd been scribbling song lyrics and poetry in crayon (albeit not very good ones). All the encouragement and praise I got growing up fostered the need to attach myself to my writing.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

Another very difficult question. I grew up with the Harry Potter series and Lemon Snicket's masterpiece, "A Series Of Unfortunate Events," so I'd have to say those two series, both I've left unfinished because, much like Matt Smith, I hate endings! I've read a lot on the in-between, and there are so many influential books that have no doubt inspired and helped realize my genre and shape me into the writer I am and the writing I do, but really what shaped my writing primarily was music, not so much books. That's probably blasphemous, what I just said, in terms of the literary world.

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

"The Magician's Nephew" by C.S. Lewis. I'm kind of a kid at heart, I guess. There's just something so inspired about his world, and it's one of the very few titles in my library I find myself coming back to repeatedly every five or so years.

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

Self-publishing writers, in my feeling, very often jump the gun on what they're doing. With traditional publishing, you have gate keepers, editors, artists- whole teams of people working on making your art both marketable and personal. Self-publishing is as easy as click and post these days, especially with KDPS and Ingram, but if a self-publisher invested the time and money into meticulously crafting their book, I think that's more personal and intimate. If working in journalism has taught me anything it's that writing is a lot more about having your voice heard and your work appreciated than making money. 

There's probably a huge list of artistic powerhouses not limited to the great Neil Gaiman that one could cite as traditional publishers who have remained creatively true to their craft, but I would argue even he would agree, if your wish is just to be read and not try to make a semi-stable career out of this, self-publishing probably isn't the worst road (assuming you take it seriously). Both are incredibly difficult endeavors to partake in, so it's really just a preferential thing; do you want to work with a company, or have the burden of the lot left on your shoulders?

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

My writing routine has barely anything to do with a routine, or writing for that matter. A lot of it is spent pacing around my apartment with a tennis ball arguing with myself over direction, pacing and scenes that I'm not fully comfortable with yet. Eventually something strikes me like a diamond bullet and that's when I sit down to begin punching away at the keyboard for eight hours or more. Once I've started, it's nearly impossible for me to stop. That is, unless I run out of idea or wrote something especially "brilliant' that I just can't top. At that point, I have to stop and come back later or the next day because everything after a great line just looks like filler. 

I need that refreshing celebration for a time, and if it means I only got a few hundred words done, that's fine. I'm in no rush for deadlines right now, and hopefully my readers will appreciate that patience when the finished project falls on their lap. 

How did you get published?

Funny enough, I went to school with the CEO of the company that would hire me as an editor for their quarterly magazine. It was a bit of serendipity, I suppose. We worked at the school paper together for a few months and then he asked me out of the blue to come write for them. One thing lead to another, I pitched my novel, and book deal! Not very exciting, I know, and sometimes I consider that Vonnegut queried over a hundred agents before he got a deal, and Rowling's agent spent years pitching her first book to publishers, so I feel like I benefited from a privilege that almost makes me undeserving of a break. At those times I try to tell myself that I earned it because I was a good writer, not because the guy solely was doing me a favor, and that sometimes helps.

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

Keep true. If this is what you really want, that makes you feel like you matter and what you do matters, keep true to the path your on. Don't give up because the world can be discouraging, and don't stop because you've hit a wall with rejections. We often look at the victories and successes of our heroes because they made it to the top of the mountain, but so often lost in translation is the story of their struggling climb upward. Once they were just like us, and we have to believe we to can get there too, maybe not to the same effect or level of success, but we can get there. The pride that must be yours to look upon your finished work must be something to look forward to- to stoke those fires of motivation. Keep climbing.

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

I'm still very new to this, so I'm not really sure I can give any insight about that. One thing I was surprised of was how much more complicated it was than I thought. There's a lot of PR and marketing and meet and greets, as well as all the little details to work out. It's not just here's the book, six months later, it's published. Incredibly, for me anyway, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

As of right now, my debut novel has not been released because of the aforementioned complications, but when there's news to be announced and all the fun stuff, you can find me on Twitter, which, for now, is the best place to get in touch with/follow for updates.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with new adult fiction author @jwcirilo. (Click to tweet)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

BLOOD AND WATER: The Bonds of Friendship

Samson jumped up on the table while Jay was reading. Jay stroked his fur without looking up from the paper. He was trying to concentrate. No matter how silly some of the items on the list seemed, they were all important to him. He thought if he could say them with a straight face, Melanie wouldn't tease him too badly about them.

"Learn to drive," he said, "swim in the Thames, spend the night at the British Museum, kiss someone in Paris—”

Melanie snorted. Jay ignored her and kept reading.

Big Ben and Parliament and the Thames in London


"Stay up all night talking with someone I love, get in a fight and win, get drunk, have s—” He stopped abruptly. Melanie didn't need to hear that one. Maybe he could skip it without her noticing.
"Eat an expensive French meal—”

"Wait," Melanie said. "I think you skipped one."

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did. You started to say one thing and went straight into another." She leaned forward on her elbows. "You can't do that. It's cheating."

"Says who?" he asked.

"Says me. Go back to where you were."

Jay folded the note back up into a neat square. "Never mind. This was stupid, anyway."
Melanie tried to snatch the note out of his hand, but he jerked it away from her. When she got out of her chair, he leapt out of his seat and clutched the paper to his chest. There was no way she was reading it. He'd die before that happened.

"Jay," she whined, "just let me see it."

"No," he said. "It's over."

Samson jumped down from the table and rubbed against Jay's shins. He took a step backward, away from Melanie. Samson darted past him, probably fearing that his tail was going to get stepped on. Melanie took a step forward.

"Jaybird," she said.

"I told you not to laugh and you laughed anyway," he said.

"No, I didn't."

"Yes, you did. You laughed when I said that thing about Paris."

"Okay, okay," she said. "I'm sorry. Can you please keep on reading the list?"

Jay thought for a minute. The item he hadn't read was embarrassing. It revealed something that no one knew about him, and he wasn't sure he wanted anyone to know about it yet. He wondered what Melanie would think of him when she found out. He was afraid to read it to her because he didn't think she'd like him anymore. She might think he was a loser. Then again, if he was going to be dead in two weeks, maybe it would be better if somebody knew.

"Okay," he said, "just please, don't laugh. I mean it this time."

"Fair enough," she replied.

Want to read more? Click on over to Wattpad for the rest of the chapter, and make sure you follow me for updates! Also, feel free leave your thoughts and predictions in the comments below. :)

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.@brianawrites shares her latest installment of BLOOD AND WATER, in which the bonds of friendship are tested. (Click to tweet)
"Then again, if he was going to be dead in two weeks, maybe it would be better if somebody knew." @brianawrites (Click to tweet)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Why You Should Post Your Novel on Wattpad

This might be news to some of you who don't follow me on social media, but I just started posting my novel to Wattpad. It's called BLOOD AND WATER, and it's about a 17 year-old named Jay Harris who is living in the midst of a deadly pandemic. It's the first time I've posted a work-in-progress to Wattpad. When I started, I wasn't sure what to expect, but now, I adore it.

Open Laptop with Headphones and a Notebook






















Let me tell you why you should post your novel to Wattpad: whether it's finished or not, it's a great way to get free feedback on your writing. Wattpad is an active community filled with tons of people who love engaging with writers. If you're worried about receiving criticism, you can relax - the majority of comments made on the site are overwhelmingly positive. Speaking from personal experience, it's tough to run into someone who's outright rude or disrespectful.

Another great thing about posting your novel on Wattpad is that it motivates you to keep writing. When readers are asking for your next update, you feel compelled to write it. If I fall behind schedule with updates, I feel like I'm letting my readers down. That feeling motivates me to keep going and to post as soon as possible. Also, there's something addictive about getting feedback for each chapter. The potential for engagement keeps me posting chapters, too.

"But Briana," you say, "I can't post my first draft on the Internet!" Well, why not? If it's because the prose isn't perfect, don't worry about it. Like I said before, the Wattpad community is incredibly positive. Moreover, putting up your first draft gives readers a peek into the writing process. A lot of people believe the prose is polished right when it flows out. When you post your rough draft, you're showing everyone how much work it takes to turn the coal into a diamond. You're letting them in on a secret. They'll love you more for it.

"Okay, but what if somebody steals what I've written?" I understand this concern because it's one I also struggled with when I started posting; however, the reality is that stealing is highly unlikely. I'm not saying it's impossible, but it's hardly ever done. The same philosophy that applies to publishing applies to Wattpad, too - most people would rather come up with their own ideas than steal someone else's and risk confrontation.

As you can see, I've learned a lot from posting on Wattpad. Sometimes I doubt my decision, but on the whole, I'm happy with it. If you're considering posting your novel to Wattpad, go ahead and take the plunge. I don't think you'll regret it.

Feel free to follow me on Wattpad - I almost always follow back! :)

What do you think about Wattpad? What's keeping you from posting your novel online? Leave your thoughts and answers in the comments below.

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Have you thought about posting your novel on @Wattpad? @brianawrites has a few reasons you should. (Click to tweet)
The @Wattpad community is amazing. Read why @brianawrites thinks you should get involved. (Click to tweet)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Path to Publishing: Alexander Nader

Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring urban fantasy writer Alexander Nader.























What's your name? What do you write?

Alexander Nader. I write mostly urban fantasy, but for some reason I hate the term 'urban fantasy'. I like to think I write noir fantasy. Most of my stories are humorous, but I take my joking very seriously.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

I've always written stories in one way or another, but I decided to pursue writing novels seriously in early 2012.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

John Dies at the End was the biggest reason I started writing. After high school I didn't read books. I hated everything I was forced to read in school and I was convinced that all books were 'literature' and not for me. A friend recommended John Dies and it changed my life. It was the first time I realized people are writing books that I want to read. Since then, I've buried myself into a lot of noir. Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy and Dashiell Hammett and the like.

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

I've honestly never reread a book. There are too many wonderful books I haven't read. If I had to choose, though, it would either be HORNS by Joe Hill or The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. Hill's grasp of human emotion is captivating and Chandler's super dry approach to wit keeps my entertained.

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

I've tried both and anyone who says one is clearly better is mistaken. The freedom of self-pub is awesome, but at the same time, the support and encouragement from a publisher can be most helpful. The networking aspect of working with a traditional publisher was great for getting me pointed in the right direction.

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

My routine is random and crazy. I work a lot so I have to squeeze in words whenever I can. The last couple novels I've plotted out vaguely, but my newest addition is all fly by the seat of my pants. It's terrifying and awesome all at the same time.

How did you get published?

I queried a handful of publishers. I think three or four requested the novel, but I picked J. Taylor Publishing. They asked for a slight rewrite to fix a few small details. I made the corrections and sent the novel back to them. A few weeks later, they wrote back and asked how I felt about signing on for a trilogy. My response came in the form of screaming like a little kid and flailing my arms a lot.

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

There's a quote somewhere that goes roughly like this: If you have any young friends that want to be an author, do them a favor and kill them while they're happy.

That's a little harsh, but a fairly accurate quote. Writing, especially writing to get published, is hard and painful and makes you want to yell a lot. My best advice is to find friends and don't quit.

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

That it leads to any form of monetary gain whatsoever. Kids, don't write for money. There's none to be made. That doesn't mean you can't have a lot of fun along the way, though.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

I'm everywhere...sort of. I tweet, a lot. I have a Facebook, but I'm not a big Facebooker. You can find links to all of my books on my website or you can go here to get started on my Beasts of Burdin trilogy.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with urban fantasy writer @AlexNaderWrites. (Click to tweet)

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to Come Up With Blog Post Ideas

One of the biggest struggles of blogging involves coming up with blog post ideas. Because I blog three times a week (minimum), I often finding myself plunging the depths of the idea well. I know how hard it can be to come up with topics. In order to make the blogging process easier for you, I'm sharing some of my tips on how to come up with blog post ideas.

Scuba Diver in the Middle of the Ocean





















I've tried these techniques over and over again and have gotten good results. Of course, what works for me might not work for you. Don't feel like these are the only methods for brainstorming blog topics. In blogging as in life, you should do what works for you. Here are a few techniques I use for generating blog topics.
  • Personal experience. This is my most reliable source of blog topic inspiration. I've written about my own processes and routines as well as topics I've researched out of curiosity. I've noticed these posts also tend to be the most popular around here.
  • Questions. Sometimes on social media, usually on Twitter, people come to me with questions. If I have a fairly detailed answer, I'll discuss it in a blog post. If no one comes to me with questions, I'll ask everyone what I should write about. With that being said, if you have any questions you'd like me to answer, just let me know in the comments or on Twitter! :)
  • Trends in literature and popular culture. My recent vlog about FIFTY SHADES OF GREY proves that I like to write about buzzworthy topics and current events. If there's something exciting going on with the media or literature, I might want to write a post about it.
This is a short post, but you get the idea. When it comes to generating blog topics, try not to overthink it. The next time you're looking for something to write about, give some of the techniques in this post a try!

How do you come up with blog post ideas? Leave your thoughts and answers in the comments below.

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Struggling to come up with blog topics? @brianawrites wants to help. (Click to tweet)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Favorite Screen Characters Blog Hop

Surprise Saturday post! I was tagged by one of my favorite people in the world, Rae Oestrich, to participate in this blog hop.

Instructions: For this quick, fun blog hop, you just name your 10 favorite characters from movies or TV, then tag 10 friends to do the same!

Oooh, this is going to be difficult. How do I narrow it down? 

  • The Tenth Doctor (David Tennant - Doctor Who)


  • Rose Tyler (Billie Piper - Doctor Who)


  • Rupert Giles (Anthony Head - Buffy the Vampire Slayer)


  • Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott - BBC Sherlock)


  • Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black)


  • The Master (John Simm - Doctor Who)


  • Amy Elliot Dunne (Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl)



  •  Margot Verger (Katharine Isabelle - NBC Hannibal)



  • Gary King (Simon Pegg - The World's End)



  • Annalise Keating (Viola Davis - How to Get Away with Murder)



Whew, that was a tough one! I'm too lazy to tag people. If you want to participate, just write a post and send me the link in the comments or on Twitter! :)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Guest Post: Setting Aside Writing Time

Time is a startlingly precious commodity, especially in a world that constantly tells us to keep going faster, faster, faster, to keep doing more, more, more. We all know how it goes: you skip one day of writing, one measly little day – perhaps you get home late from school, or perhaps you’re inundated with homework, or perhaps you’re just exhausted and you don’t feel like doing it tonight.

But it’s not like missing one day could hurt, right? You’ll get back into your carefully set routine tomorrow.

The thing is, tomorrow too often turns into the next day, which turns into next week, which only turns into someday. And someday might as well be a synonym for never.

Time is an awfully difficult thing to manage.

You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: carving out a routine in your daily schedule is possibly the most important thing you can do for your writing. Here’s the catch, though: you can’t skip a day. Ever. It does not matter what happens. As a writer, it’s so important to guard your time ferociously, disregarding all distractions, through rain or shine or homework up to your ears.

As with all steadfast rules, though, there are some ways to make life easier for yourself. One of my absolute favourite techniques is to set a time for my writing. Every single day, 10 PM sharp, I’m at my desk, laptop open, notebook by my side, tea in hand. I write until 11 or until the ideas run out, whichever comes first – and then I’m done, finished, quota filled. It doesn’t matter how much I have to do: every day, no matter what, I’m at my desk at 10 PM.

Another great motivator is using a monthly calendar. Mine is sitting on my desk, and every single day once I’ve finished writing, there’s a big red cross that goes through that day. Soon enough I have a week of red crosses, and then two weeks, and then three weeks. Seeing those red crosses glaring up at me is a pretty good incentive to get my butt off the couch and to the desk, because honestly, do I really want to break the chain after so long? (Hint: no, I don’t. And you won’t either, no matter how good that episode of Friends is).

It gets easier. I promise. After a few months, your writing routine feels like an integral part of life. Missing even a day pretty much equates to sacrilege. If you have a daily word count, it becomes more and more natural to crank it out. If you’re like me and you just let the words ebb and flow, you start to notice a lot more flowing and a lot less ebbing.

Setting a hard-and-fast writing schedule is one of the best things you can do to not only increase your productivity levels, but also make sure tomorrow doesn’t fade out to someday. It’s not enough to just write when you have the time, because I can guarantee you that the time isn’t going to come. You’re the only one who can make it happen.

Topaz Winters is a teen author and singer/songwriter, currently in the process of publishing her first book, Frozen Hearts, and recording her as-yet untitled debut album. In her spare time she rides dragons, collects stardust, and eats copious amounts of cheesecake. You can find her wandering cyberspace at her blog or on Twitter.

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In this guest post on @brianawrites' blog, @topazwinters thinks you should set aside writing time. (Click to tweet)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Path to Publishing: Z.R.Southcombe

Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring children's fantasy writer Z.R. Southcombe.

What's your name? What do you write?

Z.R. Southcombe. I write children's fantasy.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

At the start of 2013.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

Roald Dahl - what I grew up on and made me want to be a children's author. Also, he has a way of writing for children without being condescending, which I really respect.

Lemony Snickett - his dry humour and his use of 'big words', as well as darker themes, remind me that children's books don't have to be wrapped in cotton wool.

CS Lewis & Hilda Lewis (no relation that I know of!) - the depth language and old-school fantasy. Anything is possible :-)

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

Only one?? I'm going to cheat and go for a series - The Chronicles of Narnia (which I happen to be re-reading right now!)

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

It's fun. That is all.

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

All over the place! I work my day job from 3pm ish in the afternoon. Currently my routine is either morning pages or a walk, then dayjob stuff for a half hour or so, and then I have a good 4 hours for writing.

I have decided to keep this open, depending on what's going on. Right now, I'm spending a good chunk of that time on pre-launch activities for my first chapter book release. When I'm in the middle of a draft, I usually spend an hour or two drafting, and the rest editing or re-plotting.

How did you get published?

Self-published. 

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

Surround yourself with awesome people.

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

That getting published is the goal - it's the marketing afterwards that really makes a difference.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

My website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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Read @brianawrites Path to Publishing interview with author @zrsouthcombe. (Click to tweet)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vlog: FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: Movie vs. Book Review

No matter how you feel about FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, I'll bet you'd like to know what I thought about the book and the movie. Enjoy the review!


RELATED LINK:

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Have you read or seen FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? Writer @brianawrites shares her take on it. (Click to tweet)

Monday, February 16, 2015

How to Make Friends on Twitter

Photo Credit: Rosaura Ochoa on Flickr
It's no secret that Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I spend more time there than I do anywhere else online. I've met so many cool people and made so many friends on Twitter. I don't know what I'd do without it.

Twitter is fantastic for writers. It allows you to meet all kinds of readers and writers and editors and agents. It's a great source of inspiration, encouragement, and advice. I've learned so much from Twitter. If you don't have an account, you should sign up right away.

For those of you who have a Twitter account but haven't figured out how to network just yet, don't despair. It's easier to make friends on Twitter than you think. Keep reading for some tips for joining the online cocktail party.
  • Don't be afraid to make the first move. For a long time, I didn't interact with anyone on Twitter because I was afraid of annoying them. Most of the time, if you reply to someone's tweets, they'll be flattered, not annoyed. You should only reply if you plan to say something relevant or add something to the conversation, though. Don't try to use their tweets to draw attention to yourself.
  • Participate in chats. Author Ava Jae wrote an excellent post about why writers should participate in Twitter chats. They're an excellent way to meet people who share similar interests.
  • Retweet posts you think are worth sharing. It's a great way to support other members of the writing community. Who knows? They might retweet you, too!
  • Follow people. This tip might seem like a no-brainer, but you can't engage and interact with people if you're not following anyone! Search for writers, editors, agents, and accounts that fit your interests. If you connect with them, they might follow you back, too. (You should follow me!)
  • Focus on giving more than receiving. If you want to make friends on Twitter, don't make it all about you. Be kind, support others, and help people out however you can. A little goes a long way.
Making friends on Twitter is easier than you think. You shouldn't be afraid to approach other users, strike up a conversation, and make connections. Sign up for Twitter if you haven't already and get to making friends! What are you waiting for?

What tips do you have for making friends on Twitter? Leave your answers and thoughts in the comments below.

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Need some friends to help you get by? Writer @brianawrites has some tips for connecting on Twitter. (Click to tweet)

Friday, February 13, 2015

How to Stay Disciplined While Editing

Photo Credit: Grotuk on Flickr
Writing takes discipline. This fact should come as no surprise. At the same time, there are many writers who don't understand the amount of discipline you need to edit your work.

As someone who has struggled through the editing process and come out on the other side, I can tell you that it's true: editing is hard work. No matter how good you think your first draft is, it still needs a lot of work, believe me. That's where editing comes in.

I've almost always been able to put words down each day. For me, writing the first draft is the easiest part. I just let myself go. Whatever happens, I'll reign myself in come second draft time. Of course, this method only works if I make it to the second draft. Once the first draft is finished, it's tough to come crawling back to the keyboard to face what you've done. Speaking from personal experience, you need to cultivate self-discipline in the revision process.

From a practical standpoint, editing a novel isn't much different than writing one. It may seem less organic than letting the words flow directly, but it is no less magical. Still, it's easy to get discouraged while editing. Because you're not pouring your heart and soul into the story, you might not feel like working as hard.

My trick for staying disciplined while editing is three-fold: read through your manuscript, make a list of what needed changing, and tackle the project with the same daily goals you used for drafting. After you finish your first draft, sit down somewhere quiet to read through it, making a list of parts that need fixing as you go along. Then, once you're ready to dive into editing, go in with your usual time limits or word counts. For example, if my goal while drafting had been to write 500 words per day, I would work on editing a 500 word passage.

When it comes to editing, my best advice is to break the process down into small steps. Don't try to revise the whole project at once. If you try to edit the entire story in one pass, you'll feel overwhelmed and demotivated. Break the revision process into manageable chunks, stick to your goals, and do a little each day. That's the only way I know to stay disciplined while editing.

What is your revision process like? How do you stay disciplined while editing something?

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How can you stay disciplined while editing? Writer @brianawrites has some advice. (Click to tweet

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Path to Publishing: J.C. Hart

Photo Credit: Mars P. on Flickr
 Path to Publishing is a new blog series in which I interview published authors. It's a great way for them to get free exposure as well as help other writers who are trying to get published. This week, I'm featuring speculative fiction writer J.C. Hart.

What's your name? What do you write?

J.C. Hart (Cassie Hart). I write mostly speculative fiction - science fiction, a range of fantasy, and things that are sometimes on the horror side.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

From the time I could tell stories! I've always spun tales and have been writing since I learned how. The desire got knocked a few times, with people telling me it wasn't a 'real' career option, or to pick something more realistic/financially secure etc, but I'm pleased to be back on course.

What books have most shaped your writing and why?

Hm. I am never sure how to answer this one! I grew up reading fantasy and horror mostly, but that's not always what I write. And the books I adore are not ones I think I can emulate, such as The Night Circus, and Scorpio Races, or Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy. It's hard to say. I guess Stephen King's books, in a lot of ways, there is a level of creepiness that seems to insert itself into my stories.

What's one book you can reread without getting tired of it?

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater.

How do you feel about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

I think that they are both viable options, and it's wonderful that these days, you can pick the best path for not just you as a writer, but for each of your projects - different things suit different forms of publishing, and you can literally head down either path, or pick from both if that's what works for you. At present I am self publishing because I like being in control of my career, but also because the traditional publishing scene is changing a lot, and I don't want to get in the middle of companies closing/being sold/acquired and the sense of uncertainty that comes with that.

What's your writing routine like? What about your process?

I home school my three daughters, so my routine can look fairly sporadic at times. I write when there is a lull in activity, or when they are having their play time. I do my writing by stages, so I don't revise at all until I've finished the first draft and so on, and this way I can work on several things at a time, though often just one project per day (not always!). I try to make sure I get some new words down bright and early, and then do as much editing/revising/etc as I can fit into the rest of the day.

How did you get published?

I was first published in a short story anthology back in 2011, and since then have had several more sales in other anthologies (actually, all award winning anthos!). It wasn't until last year that I decided to make the leap into self publishing, kicking things off with a novella. I have several more releases lined up for the coming year, and many more for the future.

What's the best advice you have for writers looking to get published?

Find your tribe!! The support and friendship of other writers is invaluable, and I wouldn't be where I am without them. It's not just the feedback and critique that is awesome, but simple knowing that they believe in you, and you believe in them. Knowing that someone has your back. Non-writers just don't get this business the way other writers do, so find the people you click with and don't let them go lol. 

What's a common misconception about publishing that needs to be addressed?

I really don't know how to answer this one! lol I'm not sure what the misconceptions are these days. There is SO much information out there that you can find just about anything, if you know what to look for anyway.

I guess, one that I hear a lot is that you have to be everywhere on social media. I don't believe this is true, and in fact I think it can be counter-productive because if you spend all that time on social media, when are you writing? That's the most important part of publishing. Writing. Making the stories come alive on the page. Without that, you don't have anything to publish and all that time on social media is a waste. Even big publishers don't require you to be on all social media, or to have a massive following, though with some it does help. Focus first on creating amazing products, then do the other stuff.

Where can people find your books? What about your blog or social media accounts?

You can find me at my website or on Twitter and occasionally over on Facebook.

Want to be featured in a Path to Publishing post? Leave a comment, email me, or reach out via social media. I'm always accepting new authors to interview!

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Read @brianawrites #PathtoPublishing interview with author @JCHart. (Click to tweet)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Thoughts on GO SET A WATCHMAN



Photo Credit: Bruna Ferrara on Flickr
Last week, it was announced that Harper Lee, author of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, will be publishing another book. This is huge news. Lee, now 88, has not published anything since MOCKINGBIRD in 1960. After winning a Pulitzer Prize for her debut novel, Lee pulled a Boo Radley and went into seclusion.

Before MOCKINGBIRD, though, there was GO SET A WATCHMAN. This book takes place after the events of MOCKINGBIRD, even though it was written earlier. In this sequel, Scout is all grown up and heading home to visit her father, Atticus. The novel is set to be released this summer. Five months before the book hits shelves, it’s already at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

A few people wanted to know how I felt about this news. At first, I was elated. Having read MOCKINGBIRD and loved it, I wanted to read more. I wanted more Scout and Atticus and even Boo. I couldn’t wait to get the sequel.

But then came fears that Lee had been pressured into publishing. Lee’s attorney, her sister Alice, recently passed away. Alice was fiercely protective of her sister’s privacy—would she have allowed WATCHMAN to be published if she were alive? A close friend of Lee’s expressed concerns that Lee was being exploited. After all, she is reportedly deaf and mostly blind.

Another friend of Lee's said she was fine the day before the release was announced. More importantly, Lee herself says she's excited about her new novel. In a statement released on February 5, she said, "I'm alive and kicking and happy as hell with the reactions to WATCHMAN."

If Lee herself is happy, I think I'll be happy, too. If it comes out that she really didn't want WATCHMAN published, then maybe I'll rethink things. Right now, like many of you, I have mixed emotions.

How do you feel about GO SET A WATCHMAN?

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Writer @brianawrites has mixed feelings about Harper Lee's MOCKINGBIRD sequel. (Click to tweet)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Do Writers Need Formal Training?

Photo Credit: Vancouver Film School on Flickr
I've had many people ask me whether they should major in creative writing or not. As someone who graduated from college with a BS in English, concentrated in creative writing, this topic is one near and dear to my heart. Many people think that, in order to be a writer, you need some kind of formal training. Whether you major in writing or take a class or course on the subject, the idea is that you're more qualified to write after receiving some instruction.

If you want to major in creative writing, go ahead. It doesn't matter as much as you might think. If you want to be a writer, read a lot and write a lot. That's all you need to do.

I'm not saying writing classes don't help--my workshops in college helped me produce regularly, learn to take criticism, and so much more--but they're not essential. You can get on well as a writer without them. If you're reading and writing every day, you're going to improve and grow as a writer. That's all there is to it.

There are so many writers out there without formal training: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, John Grisham, Harper Lee, Michael Crichton, and J.K. Rowling, to name a few. Clearly, you don't need an English major or creative writing classes to succeed as a writer. All you need is creativity, dedication, and daily reading and writing. The rest is just background noise.

The best advice I can give you? Put your butt in the chair and keep in there. Get words down every day. It doesn't matter how many as long as you keep moving forward. You don't need training to be a writer. You need courage, imagination, self-discipline, and luck.

How do you feel about formal training for writers? What do you think it takes to be a writer?

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"You don't need training to be a writer," says blogger @brianawrites. What do you think? (Click to tweet)
Is a formal education essential to writers? @brianawrites doesn't think so. (Click to tweet)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Where to Find Character Names

Photo Credit: Benjamin Staudinger on Flickr
One of the most difficult aspects of writing is coming up with character names. This process doesn't seem like it would be tough, but it is.

Where can you find original names? How do you keep them from sounding fake? And if you're using the names of real people, how can you do that without offending anyone?

I've tackled those questions in my own writing life, and I want to help you simplify the character-naming process.

With that in mind, here are some sources I like for finding character names:
  • Baby name books and websites. When I first started writing, I used this method for most of my character names. You can find baby name books in thrift stores like Goodwill for less than a dollar in most cases, or you can visit any of these three websites.
  • People I know. Be careful when using this technique. You don't want to take the exact name of someone you know. I like to mix and match, taking one first name with a different last name.
  • Famous figures in history/literature. Again, you should be careful not to use exact names here. One of my favorite name combinations is Dorian Jay; Dorian from THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY and Jay from THE GREAT GATSBY.
  • Movie/television credits. I watch a lot of movies, so this is my current favorite method for finding character names. Take one first name and mix with one last name. Since the names belong to real people, you don't have to worry too much about them sounding made-up.
  • A character name generator. These two are my favorites. The first one even allows you to generate different types of names, such as fairy, hippie, and fantasy names.
Character names are one of the smallest details of your writing, but also one of the most important. Armed with these tips, I hope you'll have a much easier time picking names for all your fictional pawns.

What do you think? How do you come up with character names?

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Blogger @brianawrites shares her tips for coming up with character names. (Click to tweet)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blog Series Announcement: The Path to Publishing

Photo Credit: PictureblogUK on Flickr
In interviews, most writers talk about their creative process, rather than discussing in detail the steps they took on the path to publication. As a result, the arena of publishing can be difficult for other writers to navigate. Without a road map to guide them, they blunder around in the darkness, hoping to reach their intended destination in the end.

I want more writers to open up about their publishing experience. Other writers need to know what it takes to get published. With that notion of transparency in mind, I came up with an idea for a blog series.

One day last week, I posted the following message on Twitter and got more favorites, retweets, and replies that I ever expected:


Currently, I'm in the process of compiling questions in a Google Form for self-published and traditionally published authors to complete. Participating in this series is a great way to promote your work while helping other writers. 

If you think you might be interested, feel free to contact me or leave your email address in the comments. :) An enormous THANK YOU to everyone who participates!

What do you think? Would you like to participate?

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Blogger @brianawrites wants to hear about your publishing journey! Find out how to get involved. (Click to tweet)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Tighten Your Writing: Cut Out Weasel Words

Cute Weasel
Photo Credit: Cecil Sanders on Flickr
After looking at the picture for this blog post, I think we can agree that weasels are cute.

Weasel words, on the other hand, aren't that adorable.

When I use the term weasel words, I'm talking about little words that affect the tightness of your writing. Most of the time, they hinder your prose rather than help it. You should learn to cut them out.

The three most common weasel words that pop up in my work and the work of others are so, very, and suddenly. While editing my first and even second drafts, I'll catch myself using these words instead of letting adjectives stand on their own. Let's look at an example using all three of these devious rascals:
Cara was so very tired. She was suddenly bored with the world at large, and no longer wanted Roger to know how very scared she was to be with him. He was perfect for her. They were so very good together. Everything suddenly made sense.
Okay, so most people wouldn't pack all three words into a paragraph like that, but you understand what I mean. In order to tighten this passage, I'll cut out the weasel words so, very, and suddenly. Check out the difference:
Cara was tired. She was bored with the world at large, and no longer wanted Roger to know how scared she was to be with him. He was perfect for her. They were good together. Everything made sense.
Granted, there are still some aspects of that paragraph that could be improved, but the writing is so much tighter after taking out those words. If you're still not convinced, try this exercise with some of your own work. It's a great way to clean up your prose without trying too hard.

What do you think? What other weasel words do you cut from your writing?

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Writer @brianawrites shares three "weasel words" that undermine your writing and why you should cut them. (Click to tweet)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Letter to My Younger Self

Photo Credit: insEyedout on Flickr
When I first started writing, I didn't know which way was up. I loved reading and understood that writing would open up all kinds of new worlds for me to explore, but beyond that, I had no clue what I was doing. Heck, I didn't even know if I was allowed to be a writer. I felt like I needed to ask someone for permission.

I required constant validation for my work and sought it outside myself. This painful endeavor caused my to badger my friends and family to read my half-finished drivel. The feedback I received was less than stellar. The more I read and listened to criticism, the more I felt I wasn't cut out to be a writer. I would never publish anything. No one would want to read my work.

I'm not finished growing, but I've come a long way since that low point in my creative life. If I could write a letter to my younger self, here's what it would sound like:

Dear Briana,

You won't be the next Hemingway or Fitzgerald or Rowling. You probably won't even be that kid who got published when she was twelve. But you know what? That's okay. You're not meant to be any of those people. You're meant to be you.

As a writer, you need to focus on two things: reading and writing a little each day. Nothing else matters. Sure, you can listen to what people say about your work, but you should take their words lightly. They're as terrified as you are, and still figuring out the whole "writing" thing, too. So don't let the critics get you down, my darling. You can do it.

Keep reading and writing even when it feels like the world is falling down around you (because it never truly is). Art is a support system for life. Draw strength from your work.

Above all, keep moving forward. I believe in you.

Love always,
Briana 
xoxo

What do you think? What would you write in a letter to your younger self?

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In a letter to her younger self, blogger @brianawrites shares some writing advice. (Click to tweet)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vlog: 5 Underrated Books that Shaped Me As a Writer

Whew. Third video already, can you believe it? I'm still terrified of the camera and I don't know why. Maybe I'll get over it someday.

In this video, I'm sharing five underrated books that shaped me as a writer. These books might be some you've heard of, but maybe haven't read. They're important to me for different reasons, and I encourage you to check out all of them.


RELATED LINKS/VLOGS:

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What books have shaped you as a writer? @brianawrites shares five that have changed her life. (Click to tweet)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogging Award

I've never heard of this award, let alone been nominated. I love answering questions, though! Special thanks to the lovely Rae (@Rae_Slater) from What Happened to the Wallflower for nominating me!

Rules for the Tag:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and link back to their side.
  • Post the Award Logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions they've sent you.
  • Make up ten questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten people (I did eight, deal with it)
Now, let's get down to business (TO DEFEAT THE HUNS!) of answering Rae's questions:

1. Favorite genre to read or write?

YA and NA, mostly dystopia.

2. Favorite genre to watch in a TV show or movie?

Tough call. I like a little supernatural elements mixed in with everyday life, e.g. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural. Honestly, though, I watch a little bit of everything, especially when it comes to movies.

3. Favorite social media platform? Why?

Twitter. I don't know where I'd be without it. If you're reading this, you probably got the link from Twitter. I've become part of such a wonderful writing community there, and everyone is incredible. I can't thank my tweeps enough.

4. Winter, summer, spring, or fall?

Fall.

5. Pancakes or French toast?

French toast. With the egg, I can pretend it's healthy.

6. You can have any job in the world. What is it, and why? And, no, you can't say "writer" or "author" for this one.

DARN YOU, WOMAN. Okay. I'm going to go with forensic psychologist because that's what I wanted to do when I went off to college. Crime fascinates me, and I love figuring out why people behave the way they do. Plus, I don't think anything could be more satisfying than capturing a criminal and putting him or her behind bars.

7. Captain America or Iron Man? Whoever you don't choose becomes your mortal enemy, so choose wisely.

I'm going to go with Captain America, because if I had him against me, I'd feel like a terrible human being. Also, Tony Stark and I run in different social circles, so that's a safer bet.

8. What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten, and who gave it to you? What was the situation?

That's a tough one. I'm going to go with something one of my fiction professors said: "People are interested in characters, not plot." You can craft the most intricate plot, full of twists and turns, but if your characters are flat, no one will care. People want to read about people. I try to focus on that point.

9. What inspires you?

Visual stuff, usually. Art exhibits, stunning films, intense theatrical performances... all of that makes me want to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. When I got back from seeing Interstellar, for instance, I started writing and couldn't stop.

10. It's the apocalypse. Would you rather be stuck fighting zombies for the rest of your life (probably ending by getting eaten or at least bit by said zombie), or be stuck in some kind of environmental disaster (intense heat, water shortage, flooding...)?

Oh, goodness. Well, I'm pretty terrified of zombies, for one thing. Getting eaten or turned by a zombie would be a rough way to die. At least with the environmental stuff, I could die a more natural death. Jeez, what kind of question is that to end on? It's depressing!

*

Wow, wasn't that enlightening? 

Here are my questions:
  1. What's your fondest book-related memory?
  2. First novel you remember reading on your own? How did it make you feel?
  3. What's your favorite time of day?
  4. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
  5. What's one of your pet peeves when it comes to writing? What errors or quirks make you cringe whenever you come across them?
  6. If you could hang out with any author for a day, living or dead, who would it be? What would you do together?
  7. How do you feel about writing in multiple genres?
  8. What's something you need to do right now that you put off to answer these questions?
  9. What's your favorite quote? Who said it?
  10. What's your favorite Disney movie?
My nominees: Ava Jae @ Writability, Colleen @ Colleen Halverson, Angela @ Angela Caldwell, Erin @ Erin Kelly, Kimberly @ Where the Sidewalk Starts, Isabella @ Isabella Redwood, Shelby @ How Not to Suck, and Madeline @ Write Dream Live.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why I Won't Stick to Scrivener

Woman Typing on Vintage Typewriter
Photo Credit: LĂ­via Cristina on Flickr
Earlier this week, I was telling my friend Rae that I was trying to get into the hang of using Scrivener when she mentioned that she didn't use it. I feel like every other writer I meet uses Scrivener, so I was taken aback. Put simply, Rae prefers simplicity. She can't resist the shiny lure of Scrivener's buttons and folders, so she doesn't write there. It makes sense.

Of course, the conversation got me thinking: why was I even using Scrivener? I've never had any real issues with Word. Sure, it lags with some of my longer documents, but I can deal with that. Like I said, a lot of writers I know love Scrivener. Maybe their influence led me to purchase the product? I'm not blaming anyone for my decision, but I'm interested in finding out why I thought I had to have it.

I still don't know anything about Scrivener. I've been trying to use it for months, but I haven't been able to make it work for me. Like Rae said, there are too many distractions. I spend more time moving folders around and clicking things than actually writing, which is a problem.

Author Ksenia Anske (she's FANTASTIC) just sticks to plain old Word. She's found what works for her, so why change anything? Sometimes simplest is best.

Writer Stephen Moran expressed a similar sentiment to me the other day when we were talking about computers. I mentioned wanting a Mac so that I could take advantage of iMovie. He told me that he had a Mac for the longest time and loved it, but he seldom used it for writing. Now that he has a basic PC, he gets much more work done (check out my review of his novel ELLA here - it's an excellent book).

I'm not telling you to uninstall Scrivener. If you're using it to write and it works for you, great. I just don't want you to think you have to stick to something because it's what everyone else uses. When it comes to achieving success as a writer, your best bet is to do whatever best suits you. For me, that means writing in Microsoft Word, outlining on index cards, and printing the MS before I read through it. That's what works for me. I hope you find what works for you.

What do you think? How do you feel about writing software? What programs or technologies do you use to write?

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Don't feel guilty for not using Scrivener, says @brianawrites. (Click to tweet)
According to @brianawrites, when it comes to writing, you should stick with what works for you. (Click to tweet)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Blog When You're Busy

Busy City Street
Photo Credit: Matthias Rhomberg on Flickr
As someone with a full-time job and a lot of errands to run, I understand how difficult it can be to blog when you're busy.

If blogging is important to you, a loaded schedule can be frustrating. You want to post consistently (the most important part of blogging), but you just don't have the time. "If only there were a few more hours in a day," I can almost hear you say. Well, that's where I might be able to help.

Based on my personal experience, I've compiled a list of tips on how to blog when you're busy.

  • Go for quality over quantity. When you're busy, remind yourself it's okay to keep blog posts short. After all, the average person isn't going to want to invest more than ten minutes reading any given article. People like short and sweet. As long as you're posting regularly, you can get away with writing articles between 250 and 500 words. Save the long posts for weekend writing... which brings me to my next point.
  • Write your posts ahead of time. Regardless of your posting frequency (I do three blog entries per week), the easiest way to update your blog every week is to compose your posts on the weekends and schedule them to go live while you're at school or work. That's what I do with about 80% of my posts. If you want to interact and share your blogs on social media, do that in real time. But schedule the posting. It helps more than you think.
  • Focus on being helpful and informative, not on crafting viral content. If you set out to write the *perfect* blog post, you're going to let yourself down. Instead of getting discouraged, be careful not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. As a blogger, you should strive to educate or help other people in some way, not to create something gimmicky that might just go viral (spoiler: you can't make something go viral; it happens organically). People reading your blog want to gain some kind of insight from it. That's why they're there.

Running a blog when you've already got a full plate may seem daunting, but it can be done. I've managed to keep this blog active through college, retail jobs, and my current full-time work. It hasn't always been easy, but it has been rewarding. Give these tips a try and see what happens.

What tips do you have for blogging on a busy schedule?

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You can still blog on a busy schedule! @brianawrites tells you how. (Click to tweet
Want to blog but don't have time? @brianawrites shares some helpful tips. (Click to tweet)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vlog: 5 Books that Didn't Live Up to the Hype

ANOTHER VIDEO! WOO! That means you get to see my face again and hear words coming out of it. For some of you, that's exciting. For others... well, it's not for you.

In this vlog, I'm sharing a couple of books that fell short of my expectations. For one reason or another, I couldn't get into them. I'm sure I could come up with a longer list of books that failed to hook me, but this is a great start.


Thanks for watching! Let me know if you have any suggestions for future videos!

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In this vlog, writer @brianawrites discusses five books that fell flat. What do you think? (Click to tweet)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: UNWIND by Neal Shusterman

Tray of Surgical Instruments
Photo Credit: phalinn on Flickr
I first heard about UNWIND several years ago. I can’t remember where. All I know for certain is that it intrigued me. So, I had to read it.

“Have you heard of Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND?” someone asked me. “It’s really disturbing.” Right away, I was hooked. “It has to do with abortion. It’s so controversial. You like that stuff, don’t you?” Of course I do. I couldn’t wait to read that book.

I waited anyway. I’m not sure why.

A few days ago, I decided I was tired of waiting. I picked up UNWIND and dove right in. And once I started reading, it was almost impossible for me to stop. This book made me lose sleep. I just couldn't put it down. Keep reading to hear more of my thoughts on this controversial and compelling literary work.

Plot Summary


In the world of UNWIND, all pro-life and pro-choice advocates have reached an uneasy truce: there will be no more abortions, but when a child turns thirteen, the parents can decide whether or not to have them retroactively terminated, or unwound.

Without giving too much away, unwinding is a shocking process that involves redistributing every part of someone’s body without killing them. I told you it was shocking.

UNWIND tells the story of three different teenagers scheduled for unwinding. Connor is a rebel and a natural leader whose reckless behavior has gotten out of hand. Risa is a ward of the state who is too expensive to keep around. And Lev is something called a tithe, destined for unwinding as part of his family’s religious beliefs. When their paths collide, they figure out a way to escape their fates. The question is, though, how long can they keep running?

My Thoughts


The premise of this novel is simultaneously engrossing and revolting. Reading it was like driving by a car accident--I knew I should look away, but I couldn’t help staring. Without spoiling anything, the scene with Roland toward the end of the book is one of the most horrifying passages I’ve ever read. Thanks for that, Neal Shusterman.

In spite of my nightmares, I have to admit that this book is incredible. I didn’t want to put it down. If you have a strong stomach and want to read something that will make your skin crawl, pick up UNWIND by Neal Shusterman.

What do you think of UNWIND? What’s the most disturbing book you’ve ever read?

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“The premise of this novel is simultaneously engrossing and revolting,” says @brianawrites. (Click to tweet)

Check out @brianawrites’ review of UNWIND - the most chilling book she’s ever read. (Click to tweet)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Back Up That Novel!

Paper Ball
Photo Credit: fabab on Flickr
Once upon a time, I wrote a high fantasy novel. This was eons ago, in the time of dinosaurs, when I was the only human roaming the earth.

I don't remember much about this novel except that it was long. Also, the plot had something to do with a high school student getting transported to a fantasy world, nearly sacrificed to a dragon, and something about two people falling in love. This piece was my first real manuscript at an impressive 350 pages.

The only problem with this novel was that I never backed it up.

Honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't save it somewhere besides on my computer. I was young and naive, but even then, I knew how important it was to have more than a single copy of something. Still, I banished the thought to the back of my mind. I never saved it anywhere besides my hard drive.

At some point, our house got struck by lightning. The electrical surge blew out most of our appliances, including my computer. The novel was gone. It could not be recovered. There might as well have been a sign that said, ABANDON ALL HOPE, YE WHO FAIL TO BACK UP THEIR WRITING. I learned a terrible lesson that day.

If you don't want to find yourself in the same uncomfortable boat as I did, check out this easy guide to backing up your novel.

  • Get a flash drive. They're fairly cheap and easy to use. Plug it into your computer and save a copy of your novel after every writing session.
  • If you don't want to spend money, email yourself. Here's my favorite way to back up novels: I compose a new email, attach my work, and hit CANCEL. This process saves your novel as a draft for easy access later. You can create a new email and attachment for each session, deleting old drafts and attachments as needed.
  • Go to the cloud. If you want to be able to access your work from anywhere, download Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive and save your novel there. Easy peasy.
With such a variety of options, there's no reason not to back up your work on a regular basis. Don't repeat my mistakes. BACK UP YOUR NOVEL!

How often do you back up your work? What method do you use?

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.@brianawrites shares a lesson she learned the hard way: back up your novel! (Click to tweet)
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