April 19, 2019– About a year ago I read this wonderful little book called F**k It, Do What You Love by John C. Parkin. The basic overview of this book is to take a risk, take a leap, do what you love, and it will all work out. There are some things that I really liked about this book and other things that I didn’t, just as in any other book I’ve ever read. Let’s focus on one really cool exercise that the book gives as homework.
Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers in a journal…ready?
- What do you love doing? (We aren’t just talking career here, we’re talking EVERYTHING you love to do)
- What did you used to love doing? (Childhood memories or anything in the past that pops into your mind)
- What can you imagine loving to do in the future? (Completely new stuff that you have yet to experience)
What do you notice about your answers? When I did this exercise I noticed that my answers to the first question came very quickly and the list was long! I also noticed that I get to do a lot of things that I love each and every day and for that, I am so grateful. The whole point of the above exercise is to figure out what you love doing and do more of it. For the author of the book, he quit his job, moved to a different country, wrote a book (this one), and started teaching. If we aren’t clear on what we want, how can we ever achieve it? There are many other exercises in this book and it’s definitely worth reading!
February 4, 2019– A lot of aspiring authors get confused when asked by publishers who their novel is for. It can be tricky to differentiate between middle-grade novels and novels for young adults, so I thought that we would explore that topic today and clear things up.
- For ages 8-12
- Length is 30,000 to 50,000 words
- No profanity, graphic violence, or sexuality. Romance in middle-grade novels is limited to first kiss or crush.
- Age of protagonist is 10-13 (ten for the younger MG and 13 for the older readers)
- Focus on friends, family, and the immediate world of the main character and their relationship to it. The characters react to what happens to them with zero to minimal self-reflection.
- Voice is usually third person.
- For ages 13-18
- Length is 50,000 to 70,000 words
- Profanity, graphic violence, romance, and sexuality (except for eroticism) are all allowed thought NOT required/necessary.
- Age of protagonist is 14-18 BUT NOT yet in college/university. Young adult protagonists can be 14-15 years old for the younger reader, with safer content aimed at the middle school crowd. For older and edgier young adult protagonists, the can be up to 18.
- Focus on how they fit into the world and what their place is beyond their friends and family. They spend more time discovering who they are and reflecting on the choices they make. They are analytical with the meaning of things.
- Voice is usually first person.
This is a quick and easy way to know which group your novel fits into. Happy writing! X LLB
September 21, 2018– I love picture prompts! Picture prompts are images that inspire you to write creatively; they’re useful for a couple of reasons:
- They get you out of your comfort zone. More often than not, the image won’t match what genre you usually write in. Today’s picture prompt is especially true for me because I’m not a fantasy reader or writer.
- They help you focus. Picture prompts force us to focus on an idea, and they don’t allow us to write randomly. They provide the bones for a story and allow us to branch out from there. They give us a bit of structure to get started.
Here is today’s Picture Prompt; Happy Writing!
August 20, 2018- Memoir writing is difficult and time consuming. That said, there are a lot of authors that have been successfully published in this genre. Memoir writing is not for the faint of heart, so if you’re bold or insane, here are some tips!
- Is your life interesting enough? This is a question that you must answer truthfully. When authors submit their manuscripts to me that are memoirs, I ask them if their life is interesting enough to anyone other than themselves and their friends and family. Everyone thinks their life is great, and we all think that we have riveting stories to tell. More often than not, this is not the case, unfortunately. Celebrities often write memoirs because they have lived an exceptional life in one way or another. They have lived a life that most people never will and that’s what makes us want to read their stories.
- Remember what it isn’t. Your memoir is NOT an autobiography. A memoir focuses on a SPECIFIC time or theme, such as the summer of 1972, for example. This helps your readers get to know you better and that one experience in your life better and on a different, deeper level.
- Tell the Truth. Especially if people in your memoir are still living. I’ll never forget an episode of Oprah where she was interviewing a man about his book. He told the story of being detained in a concentration camp during the war and that he met his future wife when she gave him an apple through the fence. It turned out that the story was completely fabricated. There’s no need to lie, being honest and genuine is your best bet.
Memoirs explore the truth of your life through your eyes. No one can tell your story and that is your power. Happy Writing!