Tag Archives: novels

Last Post – New Blog

22 Mar

Typewriter

Hello to all of you beautiful people who have followed me from the start. I’m sure you have noticed the lack of posting in recent months, and I didn’t want to leave you all high and dry without the news of why that is.

I’ve started a new blog: christinakaylenhart.wordpress.com

I need to focus more on writing, and actually building more of an author site. Thank you for sharing this journey with me, and if you’d like to stay in touch, click the link above to follow my new blog.

Much love to all of you!

Book One in The Rosebush Series Now Available!

19 Aug

So, the series I was working on for years is finally being released into the wild. Book one, Lavender and Smoke, is now available on Amazon as well as the createspace estore.

Links: Lavender and Smoke – Amazon

Lavender and Smoke – Createspace Estore

The second book, Woods and Ash, will be released by the end of September. And finally, the third book, Rose and Dust, will be released by Halloween.

For those of you who followed me during this journey, thank you so much. I have not been posting blog posts on here lately, and I will be starting a new blog – more of an author website – and as soon as I get that running, it will be my final post for Daily Rants with the Bitch Next Door. I love you all. Happy writing!

My Tips on Writing a Novel

20 Sep

So many writers out there want to finally write that novel, or maybe even just finish one they started eons ago. I’m not on the NYT bestseller list, so you may have your doubts on trusting me, but I have self-published three books and I’m working on the third and final book in a fantasy trilogy. So, want to know how I did it or how you can do it? I have a few simple tricks; well, maybe they aren’t simple, but it sure sounds simple enough.

  1. WRITE! Don’t quiet all the voices in your head, just quiet the ones who are telling you that you suck and you’ll never write anything decent. The other voices you want to listen to. Those are the voices telling you what you want to write. The voices of your characters convincing you this will be a good book, and that there is a story to tell, one that you must write.
  2. WRITE! No matter what, the water doesn’t start pouring until the faucet turns on. Or something like that. It’s a quote, by someone I’m too lazy to google. You need to sit down and force yourself to write. I don’t care if you’re not “inspired”, neither does your potential. If you never start, you’ll never finish. And if you never finish, you’ll be all depressed about this great idea that went to waste. Every writer will tell you the same thing, set aside some time during the day/night just for writing. If you’re bad at sticking to a set schedule like I am, just write when you know you should be writing. You know you hear that little voice in your head, telling you “you could be writing right now.” LISTEN TO IT! Stop watching reality TV, stop eating cookies (okay, have one more and then write), and stop staring at a spoon and trying to make it move with your mind. WRITE!
  3. DON’T RE-READ IT! Whatever you do, my god, do not re-read the sentence you finally just managed to write. It is the kiss of death. Your inner critic will be telling you what a dumb loser you are. And, hey, maybe the sentence could have been better, but that’s what REVISIONS are for. DON’T RE-READ IT UNTIL YOU FINISH WRITING THE ENTIRE BOOK! You can fix it later. At least then you’ll have something to fix!
  4. Please don’t use dialogue tags like “she snapped ferociously” or “she irritatingly whined like a baby who wanted milk”, keep it simple. He said. She said. Of course, you can change it up when it comes to dialogue tags, with action tags, etc. (Look it up if you’re unsure but want to improve your writing). Because when you do want to publish the book you just finally wrote, nothing screams amateur like terrible dialogue tags. For one, it completely interrupts the conversation happening. Readers don’t want to pause every second to see how your character cried out in pain and then screamed in agony. They want to read the conversation as if they were hearing it. And in real life, conversation moves quickly for the most part.
  5. I’m sorry for that last step, it’s not really a necessity in writing a novel, but if you want it to be as good as it can be, please, keep your dialogue tags simple! Okay, now I’m sorry for this step too. Waste of a step.
  6. WRITE! All you need is the idea. Maybe you don’t even need an idea. Just start writing, and something will come out of it. Something will pull itself together magically. Words are powerful, and writing is powerful. You’ll feel so alive once you’ve written that book and printed it out and you see it with your own eyes. You can read it. You’ll see that it wasn’t a total piece of crap like your inner critic was telling you it would be.
  7. REVISE! Now, comes the annoying part. Revision. Yes, yes, edit and revise, we all must do it. Unless of course you want to hire someone to do it for you, but sh#t, it’s hard out here for a pimp. Do it yourself if you’re capable of doing so. Some people are terrible with editing/revising/grammar/punctuation/line edits. That’s okay. I’m sure some editors are terrible writers (sorry, just trying to make a point). Not everyone is good at all things. If you want to write, DO IT! Worry about the rest later.
  8. WRITE! Just f#%@ing WRITE ALREADY!!!! Stop reading this and go write.

I hope these little tips have been useful to at least one person. Because, well, I just put off writing my third and final book in my trilogy to write this blog. And so help me god if it was a waste of time…

I want to see novelists out of you. Now go. WRITE! Oh, and don’t worry about how much you should write a day. Some writers write 100 words a day. Some write 200. 300. 400. 500. 2,000. 10 pages. 20 pages. 30 pages. For me, I try to sit down and at least write one full chapter. Of course, I’ve had days where I write two pages, other days where I write ten pages. One day I wrote almost fifty pages. That was a lot of effort. I was mentally exhausted after that. Don’t compare yourself to other writers. But do give yourself some sort of deadline and commitment, this way you’ll feel more obligated to do so. Commit to writing 500 words a day to start. That’s not a lot. Sh#t, this blog post is almost 1,000 words. Damn. That could have been another thousand words for my novel.

GO WRITE!

Writing through the Blizzards

13 Feb

I found myself a little discouraged last night. It’s been almost four months since I’ve sent my full manuscript to an agent, and in between then I’ve gotten a dozen of rejection letters back from agents who seem to all be telling me the same thing. They liked the sample pages, but they didn’t love them enough to take me on as a client.

I know the marketplace is tough and competitive right now. My major is English and Creative Writing. Of course, I’ve learned this. I’ve studied it. I understand my chances are slim to none. But when you really believe in a specific book you wrote, is there a certain time when you should throw in the towel and give up?

I say- hell no. Not when you really, really, really believe in a novel. I’ve gone to countless websites, looked at publishers who accept unagented submissions. But I won’t submit to them, not until I’ve exhausted all of my options of finding an agent to find the right publisher for me.

There’s a blizzard outside right now. I think there’s a metaphor in here somewhere. I’m going to try to find it beneath the snow and sorrow. The trick is to trudge on, travel on- despite the disastrous conditions. Eventually, you’ll reach your destination.

At least, that’s what I have to believe. Hope is not lost. While publishers are seeking that gem in the slush pile, I’m seeking that gem in the agent pile. My query letter is going to fall into the hands of the right agent, the one I’m meant to work with, and everything is going to make sense. That’s what I have to believe.

And, by all means, I’m not saying I write just to get that elusive book deal. I’ve self-published three books without querying them. Why? Because I knew they weren’t mainstream enough to appeal to the masses. They were off-beat, quirky, a little esoteric. But certain things have happened during this journey of writing my fantasy novel. It led me to believe this is the one I need to try to get published. And I won’t simply give up and self-publish it when I feel that hope is lost.

As writers, we need to recognize and understand which of our work is suited for what. Sometimes self-publishing is the best option, despite the terrible name it has seemed to claim over time. I don’t see anything wrong with self-publishing; unless, of course, it’s a novel that you truly and wholeheartedly believe in. And even then, it can be successful. But it takes a hell of a lot more hard work in terms of marketing yourself and advertising for it.

And honestly? Sure, I did radio and newspaper interviews for my short novel and novella, but I didn’t try that hard. And I’m pretty sure I don’t get royalties every time my books sell, because there are dozens of places it’s being sold and I don’t even know how they got the books in the first place, because I never got those checks.

With that said, even though this may come as a shock to some people that I really don’t care about the royalty checks, but I really don’t. I didn’t self-publish in hopes of making money. I self-published for one reason and one reason alone: to get my work out there. I wanted my books to be available to the public, to whoever wanted to read them. The money means nothing to me. I don’t need much money in life, although it would be nice to get a large sum once so I can pay off my student loans. But other than that, money is just money to me. I’ve never had much to begin with.

So, as the blizzard rages on, I’m going to sit here after I finish this post and continue to trek on as I write the sequel to my fantasy novel. Because even though agents don’t ‘love’ it right now, I have a handful of people reading it as I go, pushing me to write the pages because they love it and want to see what happens next. And isn’t that what matters most? That there are genuine readers who love your work and want to read more of it? I write for them. And for myself. I will continue to share my work, even if it’s on a smaller scale.

I write despite the disastrous conditions. And I will trudge and travel on through the storm.

Tips on Finishing a Novel…For Those who Have an Inner Critic that Convinces You that You Can’t

7 Feb

the worst thing you write

 

I know, I know. I just posted yesterday! I’m trying to flex my writing muscles every day with a blog post before returning to my novel.

Today, I’d like to talk a little bit more about writing in general. Everyone has their own style, their own techniques, their own (insane) ways of doing things.

I’m going to share what I found has worked best for me.

Years ago (ok, not that many years ago), I struggled to finish anything longer than a short story. I started several ‘novels’ but never made it past page 30, if I even got that far. Usually, it would be less than 10 pages. Why, you ask? Because I would go back and re-read every single line to make sure it was as perfect as it could be. This led me to believe that it was just a pile of sh#t instead, and I would scrap the entire piece.

Now, I’ve learned what works for me. I’ve completed three novels and am working on the fourth. I learned to never go back and read it until it’s done, or at least almost done. Now, this may not work for everyone out there, but for anyone who is like me and has an inner critic who tells you that you suck beyond belief and you begin to believe it, then this might actually work for you.

The trick is to silent the inner critic (for now). (S)he will come back out eventually. But for now, you lock that inner critic away in a closet in your mind for a while. Let them take an extended nap because you’re not going to need ‘em for a while.

The only reason I’d bring her back out before the piece is finished, is to make sure everything is as good as it can be. Before I finish a novel, I’ll read it, from beginning to almost-end (where I left off writing). This helps me see what I may have forgotten about, what could make it better, and what needs to be written to tie everything together. And since I’m almost done, there’s no way I’m going to scrap it now! Hell, I even realize that it’s actually pretty f#%&ing good. Take that, inner critic, aka evil judge.

Blah, blah, write some more- and it’s finished. I feel good. I congratulate myself on finishing it. Then, I sit around and dread the revision process. I sit around and dread it some more. The process of revising an entire novel seems so daunting and terrible to me that I put it off for a little while. I need to see it with fresh eyes anyway.

I read a book or two. Or four. Or six.

I go back. I drink a lot of coffee. And I get to work. I print out the entire manuscript and get a highlighter and pen ready. Step 1 is simply the editing. My inner critic comes back out. Where are my/her errors? Comma errors, too many coordinating conjunctions, repetitive verbs/nouns/adverbs. Change them. Fix them. Finish.

Step 2 is the revision stage. The inner critic is really out now. In fact, I hire her. I go back and have to go through each sentence, seeing what needs to be changed. Seeing what’s too wordy. What sounds wrong? What sounds right? Check the rhythm. Make sure it reads smoothly. Finish, and put it away.

Read another book or two.

Step 3 is the most exciting for me. This time, I’m only a reader, not the author. I go back, and read the finished manuscript. I decide if it’s the best it can possibly be. Does it read smoothly? Do I enjoy each/most of the sentences? What do I wish, now, as a reader, there was more of, or less of, for that matter? If it’s not all there, I go back to Step 2.

Now, like I said, this won’t work for everyone. But I figured it was worth sharing, as after years of trying and wanting to finish a novel, I have. I hope it will help at least one person out there who is struggling with the same thing.

You might think you can never finish a novel. You might think that it seems like such a long, grueling process. But that’s not how it is. The trick is to silent the inner critic/evil judge who is telling you that you’re not good enough to write something with any merit. Because the fact is- you can. It takes a lot of dedication. It takes discipline. It takes courage. Most importantly, it takes passion. If you love to write, sit down and write. Every day. That’s what it’s about. The more you write, the easier it will become. And let me tell you, when you finish that novel, you’ll have a feeling better than any high out there. I’m not even going to try to put it into words, because it’s beyond that. The first novel is the hardest to finish.

But keep in mind, your writing isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t try to please everyone. Write the book that you want to read. When you do that, you’ll love it.

NaNoWriMo…Take 2.

2 Dec

So NaNoWriMo has officially ended, and I sadly didn’t reach the 50k word count. Did you? My father and I are declaring December to be NaNoWriMo take 2. November was the practice month.

So, if you’re one of many who failed to produce your desired word count, don’t fret. You still have a chance to write a novel. Deadlines work well for some people, but not all of them. I’m both familiar and comfortable with deadlines, but the bottom line is I got stuck on Chapter 5 and the answer to my plot struggles simply haven’t come yet. But I have faith that they will.

Forcing words can sound wrong, but quitting on a project before it’s finished is just plain silly. Keep writing. Persevere. Don’t feel guilty (like I do) about not finishing those 50,000 words. It’s never too late to keep going.

So, join me. December 1st-December 30th. Let’s try to finish our novels people. Or hell, let’s at least start a damn good one.