Tag Archives: words

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!

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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!

Fiction: A Profound Journey

22 Apr

Storytelling has consistently remained throughout the generations and decades and if we think about it, there must be a reason why. Before words were written, stories were told orally or through pictures on caves. I think humans initially invented stories or tales as ways to express intangible aspects of life, such as the Gods or love or hate. Stories were used in order to better explain them in theory and through example.

We’ve all heard, read, or written stories that have resonated with something inside of us or moved us beyond the literal context of the story. Of course fiction is not entirely real, but there is a realness to it that we relate to and appreciate. That’s why so many people enjoy stories about raw, honest characters. It appeals to us. It speaks to our beliefs and our morals. Stories have been a way for us to understand the world around us and provide comfort or discomfort if you will. Writers write for different reasons. Some want to comfort others, while others want to disturb their readers and drag them out of their comfort zone.

Fictional stories about loss of innocence teaches us that each person has their own story, their own experience in which they’ve grown or matured or experienced a severe loss or even a minor one that was severe to them in that time. It helps us relate through our own experiences. We realize we aren’t the only ones who have experienced something disturbing or sad, it’s just a part of life that everyone must go through. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s not happy all the time. But without the sadness, we wouldn’t truly understand what happiness was.

It’s for this reason of understanding the world and relating to it that people read. It gives us a sense of hope, a sense of comfort, a sense of unity. We learn and we grow and temporarily we’re transported to another world, a world outside of our own. To me, this is the real magic behind stories. It’s a portal to another time, place, or world, with the promise of a safe return home.

Reading and Writing: Simultaneously

13 Mar

Today, while I was at work, I had a pile of five books. I was reading one. My laptop was open on something I was writing. And I was answering phone calls in-between.

“What are you doing?” a co-worker asked.

“Oh, just reading five books and writing two.” I said.

She looked at me with a look of surprise, curiosity, and bewilderment all at the same time.

“What?” I laughed. “Is that not normal?”

It led me to begin to think about multitasking. And writing in general. How many of us have ever found ourselves writing a novel while wanting to read other books at the same time? I used to be a firm believer in not reading any other books while writing my own. I was afraid of outside influence sneaking in. I was afraid another author’s ideas would somehow interact with my own and confuse my own ideas.

Now, I’ve just given in. I’ve succumbed to the desire of reading while writing my novels. Why? Because, I’m constantly writing my next novel. If I keep putting down books to write, it’ll not only stump my intellectual growth, but it’ll make me hurry to finish my book just so I can read again.

After I gave in and started reading, I realized I was false in my assumptions. I realized that my story is completely separate from the others. In no way, shape, or form did another author’s thoughts sneak into my own. There are also benefits. While you’re reading, you’re seeing what works in a story and what doesn’t. You see patterns you either like or dislike. It doesn’t affect your own style, but it does make you realize a certain rhythm is necessary. It makes you understand even greater just how vital it is to have a good narration and an endearing main character.

You walk away after reading a good book with the realization of how necessary it is to end a story well. It keeps it bright in your mind so you don’t forget it. It helps you write your story along so that it all makes sense. So everything you think is important is there.

Of course, this might not work for everyone. I used to strictly write until I was finished and not read any books until mine was over. But, also, it used to be a lot more difficult for me to actually finish a book. Now that I know I can, it’s easier. I’m more comfortable reading now. I know my style and my voice will always be there, regardless of what else I read in the meantime. And anyway, isn’t everything an influence on our thoughts and ideas in one way or another? Our past? Our education? Films we’ve seen? Books we’ve loved? People we’ve loved? Things we’ve hated? Everything.

So I say, gather up your influences. Gather them all up and mix them in a giant pot with fresh concepts and new ideas. Make a delicious soup full of interesting characters, driven plots, and rhythmic prose.

But no matter what you do, just write god damn it. Whether it’s great or not. Lower your expectations of yourself. Set the bar low, and you can’t disappoint yourself. Tell yourself you’re going to write a piece of crap today. But who knows- maybe it will come out smelling like roses.

When Your Fictional Characters Are More Important Than You

2 Aug

Image

Do you ever have those nights where you just can’t seem to fall asleep?  I used to have these before a day where I knew it held some sort of importance.  When I was younger maybe it was picture day, or a big test.  Or Christmas.  I’d get in bed real early in hopes to fall asleep and be nice and rested the next day.  Instead, I’d lie there awake for hours, anticipating the day to come.  I’d think and worry and wonder and instead of sleeping, I would just lay there with my thoughts racing.

Now, I’m older (much older, unfortunately, than I was when I was a child).  Now, I still have nights like these, only it’s not before Christmas or a big test.  It’s nights when I’ve become so involved with a project that I can’t stop thinking about it.

I recently started writing my next book, even though I told myself I’d hold off on writing another lengthy piece of fiction until I graduated school.  But I found myself up in bed last night, thinking about my character and what she would do next.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the magical world she had found herself in.  It got me excited.  But I’m still a little tired today.  This is when you know you’re involved in your work, when your characters lives become more important than your own.

I find that magical in itself, getting so wrapped up in your own work that it feeds some inner part of you.  Did you ever write something that got you so excited that you were up all night?  You were so involved in your character’s fictional existence that it took over a decent portion of your life?  This, to me, is good writing.  When you yourself can’t wait to read what your character is going to do next.  That’s when you know what you’re writing is successful.

I have started to write things and got maybe two or three pages in, and just felt semi-good about it.  I saved them, but I didn’t continue in the moment.  If you don’t want to write it, who will want to read it?  That’s how I’ve felt about it this whole time.  (Though, that may be wrong.)  I’m not 100% sure.  It’s just what works for me.

The best advice I was given long ago was “Write the book you want to read.”  That has stuck with me.  And it will forever be my number one motto when it comes to writing.

When Your Fictional Characters Are More Important Than You

13 Mar

 Image

Do you ever have those nights where you just can’t seem to fall asleep?  I used to have these before a day where I knew it held some sort of importance.  When I was younger maybe it was picture day, or a big test.  Or Christmas.  I’d get in bed real early in hopes to fall asleep and be nice and rested the next day.  Instead, I’d lie there awake for hours, anticipating the day to come.  I’d think and worry and wonder and instead of sleeping, I would just lay there with my thoughts racing.

Now, I’m older (much older, unfortunately, than I was when I was a child).  Now, I still have nights like these, only it’s not before Christmas or a big test.  It’s nights when I’ve become so involved with a project that I can’t stop thinking about it. 

I recently started writing my next book, even though I told myself I’d hold off on writing another lengthy piece of fiction until I graduated school.  But I found myself up in bed last night, thinking about my character and what she would do next.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the magical world she had found herself in.  It got me excited.  But I’m still a little tired today.  This is when you know you’re involved in your work, when your characters lives become more important than your own. 

I find that magical in itself, getting so wrapped up in your own work that it feeds some inner part of you.  Did you ever write something that got you so excited that you were up all night?  You were so involved in your character’s fictional existence that it took over a decent portion of your life?  This, to me, is good writing.  When you yourself can’t wait to read what your character is going to do next.  That’s when you know what you’re writing is successful.

I have started to write things and got maybe two or three pages in, and just felt semi-good about it.  I saved them, but I didn’t continue in the moment.  If you don’t want to write it, who will want to read it?  That’s how I’ve felt about it this whole time.  (Though, that may be wrong.)  I’m not 100% sure.  It’s just what works for me. 

The best advice I was given long ago was “Write the book you want to read.”  That has stuck with me.  And it will forever be my number one motto when it comes to writing.