Writing Craft Book TBR!

I took out a LOT of craft books this past weekend, so I decided to share the titles with you guys in hopes that you check one of them out! Craft books are a great way to better your writing skills, and I always finish one feeling more confident with my writing style.

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Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Brabury – This is a very famous craft book that I have heard a lot about, so I decided to pick it up and give it a read. This craft book consists of eleven essays on the pleasures of writing from the one and only, Ray Bradbury. In this book, Bradbury shares what he learned from his writing career, and shares his enthusiasm for writing.

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How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fasted Way to Improve a Manuscript by James Scott Bell – I don’t feel the most confident in my dialogue, so I decided to take a book out on it to get better. This book obviously focuses on dialogue and how to make what you characters say more authentic and real. It is so important to have strong, realistic dialogue otherwise the conversations between your characters fall flat!

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A Writer’s Coach: A Guide to Words that Work by Jack Hart – There is no particular reason I picked up this book, but I haven’t read this book yet so I thought I would give it a shot! You take away something valuable from every craft book, which is why I take advantage of everyone I see and read it.

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Story Engineering by Larry Brook – I have read another Larry Brooks craft book called, Story Physics, and really enjoyed it so I thought I would try this one! I really enjoy how Larry Brooks presents his writing tips and tricks in his books, because it is very easy to find and then write down. I like to write down anything I find useful or interesting in craft books, and this is one that I had pages of ideas on!

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Story Genius by Lisa Cron – Again, I saw this book and haven’t read it so I just had to pick it up. I flipped through this book a bit, and already saw some interesting topics in the table of contents. When looking for a writing book you should flip to the table of contents and check out what they will be talking about, because that is how you know that it covers topics that are relevant to you!

That is all for my Writing Craft Book TBR and I hoped you enjoyed!

 

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep #1: Characters

Camp NaNoWriMo is two weeks away so get out your notebook and laptop, and get ready to write! Since I have done lots of blog posts on how to get story ideas and all that, I decided to do one on characters instead, just to change things up a bit. If you want to see my previous blog posts on how to get story ideas, I will link them below so definitely check them out!

Step #1: Creating Your Character

First things first, you got to create your character. You have to give them a name, an age, eyes, a nose and other physical appearances. If you are having trouble coming up with a name or an appearance for your character, then here are a few ways to help you fuel some ideas:

  • Pinterest (Search “Writing Characters” and “Writing Character Descriptions”)
  • Celebrities! Use your favourite actors, actresses, writers, athletes, etc, etc for some inspiration.
  • Family and Friends

Step #2: Getting to Know Your Character

Now that you know the basis of your character, and what they look like, now it is time to understand your character on a deeper level. Discover your characters backstory, their family and friends, as well as their personality. Are the ambitious? Are they sarcastic? Are they quiet? This is the time to really get to know your character so you can portray them in a 3D way. Here are some things you NEED to include when planning your character:

  • Weaknesses
  • Strengths
  • Fears
  • Relationships
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Emotional or Logical
  • Dreams
  • Regrets
  • Reflection on self

Step #3: Determine Your Character’s Goal/Needs:

It is very important to figure out what your character is striving for so you know how to move your plot. It is also essential to know what your character needs in order to achieve this, as well as be content. If your character doesn’t any goals or needs, the story isn’t going to be that interesting!

Ex: Katniss volunteers in her sister’s place for the Hunger Games – Goal: To keep her sister safe

Step #4: Establish a Character Arc

Every character is flawed, just like every person in the world. So while all characters start flawed and end flawed, there should be a few things that they change to help them become a better person. Make sure you establish this character arc because it is so, so, so important that your character has made some growth by the end of the story!

Ex. Your character is afraid of the monsters under their bed, but by the end of the book they have conquered that fear.

That is all for this Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed. If you need some help with story ideas, then definitely check out the following blog posts:

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2016/11/02/how-to-come-up-with-story-ideas/

https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/04/13/where-to-find-story-inspiration/

Tips for New Book Bloggers!

I am always figuring out new things about blogging, but I thought I would share some of the things I have learned in the past year and a half.

  •  Write what you want because this is your blog and you get to write what you want. Don’t worry if people don’t like the content on your blog, because at the end of the day, as long as you are producing content you want it’s all okay. This goes for more than just blogging too!
  • Add pictures and videos! Pictures and videos that have to do with what you are talking about just add to your blog post and make them much more fun and interesting.
  • Remember that it doesn’t matter how many people follow your blog, or like your blog post, it only matters if you like what you produce. Of course it is always lovely when someone likes your blog post, follows your blog, or takes the time to write you a comment, but if you create a blog post just for the publicity of it, then you are not doing it for the right reasons.
  • Produce lots of content. People like to follow and read blogs that produce lots of content weekly, rather than a blog that posts once or twice a month. It is understandable if you don’t have the time to write a few blog posts a week, but at least strive for one or two lengthy blog posts a week!
  • Proofread and edit your blog posts, because nobody wants to read a blog post that they have to decode because of the huge amount of grammar and spelling errors you made. It only takes an extra minute or two and it makes your blog posts look 100% better!

That is all for my blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Summer 2017 Reading List!

How Blogging Can Help Novel Writing!

Not only is a blogging a fun way to use your creative muscle, and share your opinions and favourites with people from around the world, but it also a great way to become a better novel writer. Here are a few ways that it does that:

  • It strengthens your writing skills from always writing to keep up with your posting schedule.
  • It helps with your grammar and how to punctuate properly, because since you know people will be reading what you put on your blog, you kind of want it to be as accurate to English grammar as you can possibly get it.
  • It keeps your writing muscle warmed up and always working, making sure that it doesn’t just sit in your brain, unused and rusty.
  • You can use your blog to share your writing with fellow writers and readers, and ask them for their feedback.
  • It is a great way to connect with other writers and feel apart of a community!

I think every writer could considering blogging, or at least setting up a blog to share their work and connect with other writers, because writing is a lonely job. It helps to have others that share your passion to chat with and discuss what you are working on. So, if you are looking for a way to become a stronger writer, not just for novel writing but in general, than definitely try out blogging and see how you like it!

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

Writing Conferences and Festivals!

I have been to one writing conference and I really enjoyed it, so I decided to put together a list of writing conferences and festivals around the world that you should definitely check out!

Surrey International Writers Conference (Surrey, BC) – This is the one conference I have been to, and I really was impressed with how educating and eye opening it was! It was very fun and exciting and had a huge variety of speakers and topics that really interested me. If you are under eighteen years old, you get to go to this conference for an amazingly low price, and there are also a few scholarship opportunities! This conference is held every October, and this year it will be on October 19-22 of 2017. http://www.siwc.ca/

San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA) – This conference looks so entertaining and fun that I just had to put it on this list. I have always wanted to go to San Francisco and this would be a great excuse to go. It has over one hundred sessions, including panels, along with open mic sessions. This just seems like an awesome conference that you will not only take a lot away from, but also have a time you will never forget! This conference is held every February, and next year takes place from February 15-18 2017. https://sfwriters.org/

BinderCon (New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA) – BinderCon is a conference that welcomes women and gender variant writers which I think is a great idea. It helps show girl power through writing which is something we always need! At BinderCon, you will meet many inspiring women and combine feminism and writing. The New York conference takes place in November and the Los Angeles conference takes place in February. http://bindercon.com/

Listowel Writers’ Week (Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland) – I have always thought that going to a writing conference in Ireland would be an amazing experience so I have to put one on here. This writing conference includes lots of workshops, readings, interviews, forums, and book launches. There are also a lot of writing competitions for varied genres as well as journalism which I think is really unique! This conference takes place from May 31-June 4 annually. http://writersweek.ie/

Melbourne Writers Festival (Melbourne, Australia) – A YouTuber I watch has attended this festival a lot and it looks like a really fun and amazing time. This conference includes lots of intimate debates and discussions among writers and readers, which is a great way to get the community together. Australia is also another amazing place I would love to visit, so going to a writers festival would make it an even better and more memorable trip! This conference takes place from August 25-September 3. http://mwf.com.au/

San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival (San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato) – This is a bilingual festival where you get to work with other writers from all around the world, and use the given workshops, panels, MasterClasses, etc to benefit your passion for writing. This seems like a festival I would have a blast at and I definitely would love to look into this festival in the future! This conference takes place in February. https://sanmiguelwritersconference.org/

Those are a few international writers conferences and festivals that seem like an incredible experience, and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

 

Writer’s Motivation Pack!

When it comes to writing, sometimes you just need a little motivation to get you started. Since this is a problem I face ninety nine percent of the time, I have put together a few different motivation options for all of you seeking a little inspiration.

Podcasts:

Image result for 88 cups of tea with yin chang88 Cups of Tea with Yin Chang – This is an amazing writing podcast that comes out every Thursday, and is something I recommend all writers listen to. It gets you motivated and excited to write and you always finish it with new, valuable information. Some episodes I recommend are Victoria or VE Schwab, Jerry Spinelli, Sandhya Menon, Joanna Volpe, and Sarah J Maas! These are some of my favourite episodes, but they are all fantastic and you should listen to them all. http://88cupsoftea.com/

Image result for first draft with sarah enniFirst Draft with Sarah Enni – This is also a great podcast for writers because just like 88 Cups of Tea, it brings on a diverse cast of amazing authors that have many tips and tricks when it comes to not only writing, but the publishing world. Some episodes I love and recommend are Veronica Roth, Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, Jenny Han, and Margaret Stohl. Again, these are just some of my personal favourites but all the episodes are great! http://firstdraftwithsarahenni.tumblr.com/

Books:

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A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves – I have barley gotten into this book, but I am already learning so much from it. It has easily accessible information, unlike some where you have to read it cover to cover to get the information from it. This is definitely getting me motivated to write and I am really enjoying learning some new tips and tricks as always!

Write – This little writing book is filled with tips from a variety of authors like Neil Gaiman, Richard Ford, and Margaret Atwood. I flew through this short handbook and took away lots of information. A must for a quick read!

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Art of Character by David Corbett – I wrote down so many notes from this book, so I recommend having a notebook handy. I know creating flushed out characters is not a strong point of mine yet, so I feel that this book really assisted in my understanding on how to do so and I really recommend it!

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Writing Fiction Step by Step by Jossip Novakovich – Again, another writing book where I recommend that you have a notebook next to you. So much information that is valuable and useful, and is information that I use whenever I write now.

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – This isn’t a craft book, but something about JK Rowling’s complex and fantastic world just makes me get the craving to write. It has planted so many ideas in my head and is just the source of great young literature!

That is all for this Writer’s Motivation Pack and I hope you found some of it useful. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading/Writing Update!

 

 

 

Quick Writing Tips #5

  1. Whiteboards – Whiteboards are a great way to world build, especially for fantasy worlds, and is also a fun way to contribute to your story. I found that once I drew out my world, I understood it so much better and felt like I actually know what I am talking about when I describe it. Whiteboards are also great for not only drawing out your world, but for writing out your sequence of events and whatnot.
  2. Write a Little Everyday – This may sound time consuming if you are busy and do not have time to write everyday, but it doesn’t mean you have to write a lot. I try and write at least fifteen minutes a day, and that doesn’t even mean me working on my story. I include writing my blog posts or journal entries as my “writing for the day” if I don’t have the time to contribute to my story. This really helps keep your creativity flowing!
  3. Ask Friends/Family – Ask the people around you what they would read. Ask what kind of aspects they enjoy in a novel whether that has to do with the plot, the characters or the world. It is good to get an inside on what readers want to read, so then when you go write you can add in things you know they enjoy reading.
  4. Writing Groups – I personally do not have access to a writing group, but I have always thought about starting one. I am currently in high school, and I know for a fact there are at least a few people who also enjoy writing so we could easily get together and form a writing group. If you know of one in your community, definitely check it out or if you don’t, start one!
  5. Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest – Pinterest is great for anything  really. You can search up writing prompts, writing tips, character names…the list goes on and on. I love Pinterest and always use it for its creative writing prompts, and I am sure a lot of you appreciate to! Pinterest is also great for building up a character which I have started to do recently.

Those are five writing tips and I hope you enjoyed!

What To Do After Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo is over, and now you are probably thinking, now what? Well, here are a few suggestions and some tips, to help you figure out what to do next.

Option #1: Decide How Important the Story is

Sometimes we write stories that we just don’t feel connected to, and believe me, this happens to me all the time. You may be really excited to write something, but then half way through you realize it isn’t really working or you just aren’t enjoying it as much as you hoped. If it isn’t something you want to continue with, save it, because maybe someday you will come back to it. If it is something you love though, definitely look at making it better!

Option #2: Keep On Writing

You may have achieved your goal of ten, twenty, thirty, or maybe even fifty thousand words, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you finished your story. If you still have more story inside you, keep on writing! My goal was pretty small, being only ten thousand words, and I am definitely not finished it so I know what I will be busy with for the next few months.

Option #3: Second Draft

Maybe you did achieve your goal and you are completely done your first draft which is awesome! But that also means you have a second draft to write. I used to never write a second draft for anything, whether it was a NaNoWriMo project or just a short story, but trust me, it helps so much. If you didn’t plan on writing a second draft, definitely reconsider and maybe spend another few months writing it to make your story even better and cleaner.

Option #4: Take a Break

After writing a lot for an entire month, it can be a lot on your creative brain, so if you feel like you need to, take a break. There is no shame in taking a step back and taking some time away from what you just wrote. I find that it helps to take a break after I write a lot, or finished something, because when you go back maybe a few weeks later, you will be able to see any little or big mistakes you made.

Option #5: Enter it in a Contest

Writing contests are amazing because not only can you win cash prizes, but you can sometimes also get some feedback on your story. Maybe you finished Camp NaNoWriMo feeling really confident with your story, so edit it a bit and then send it in to a few different contests to see what happens! If you need some writing contests to enter, check out a blog post I wrote not too long ago where I list writing contests with no entry fees.https://mylifewithbooksblog.com/2017/03/29/writing-contests-to-enter-no-entry-fee/

Those are five suggestions on what you can do after Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: April 2017 Wrap Up!

 

Where to Find Story Inspiration

I get a good idea every once and a while, but they don’t come quickly so when I want to write it, can be hard to come up with an idea that interests me. Over the past few months though, I figured out a few different methods that you can use to find the perfect inspiration to create your story!

Pinterest

I love Pinterest when it comes to writing prompts, because they have a huge selection. I was scrolling through it the other day, and found so many unique and fun ideas that I want to get to at some point. Creating a board for this will help keep them organized to, so if you are out of ideas and need some inspiration, you can click on your board and have so many ideas to choose from.

Outside

I have come up with several different story ideas on my walks back home from school. Taking a walk outside and letting your mind wander can open a whole new space in your brain that is just bursting with story ideas. So take a break from staring at your computer, stressing about writing a story, and take a walk!

Other Books

By this I don’t mean copy a story idea exactly from a book, but you can take aspects out of different books and piece them together to create something completely different and new. It always helps to be an active reader when you are a writer, because it helps with not only your writing style, but your ideas.

Dreams

I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely insane dreams that are sometimes to complicated to understand. But when I can sort my dreams out, and have them make some sense, they can be the key to a world of ideas. My dreams tend to be very action filled, so sometimes I may not come up with a whole new idea, but at least a few scenes.

Life Events

Whether your life is pretty mundane, or not, you can still get a story from something that has happened to you. You may have to exaggerate it a bit, or not, but it can be like path to a story that you will love.

Those are five different ways to get story inspiration and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: How To: Conquer That Reading/Writing Slump!

 

 

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep #4

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo begins so here are a few writing tips to help you get motivated for a month full of writing.

Tip #1: Have a Compelling Problem

We already have read hundreds of stories where the princess is rescued by the prince, so create a character and story with a compelling and new problem. Maybe their problem is that they are given a clock that is counting down till the end of the world! Just make it unique and something that gets a reader, and you, excited.

Tip #2: Have Flawed Characters

Nobody is perfect, even if they are a prince or princess in a happy, magical world. Everyone has flaws whether it is they are too proud or just have a chip in their tooth. If your character is too perfect, than your readers will not be able to relate on any level to them.

Tip #3: Stick With It!

Camp NaNoWriMo is a time for you to just write. It is not meant to be perfect so just get out the words. Have too many grammar mistakes, forget a comma, or have too many long sentences! You can edit all of later so just write.

Writing Prompts:

  • She smirked as she tossed another teddy bear into the roaring flames.
  • Her garden was more lethal than pretty.
  • They were known as The Faceless, and they knew everything.

That is all for my very last Camp NaNoWriMo Prep and I hope you enjoyed!