Sue Grafton writes mystery. J.K. Rowling writes fantasy. What do you write?
When you’re just starting out as a writer, there are so many questions to ask and so many decisions to make. Who’s your audience? Is my writing any good? Who in the world would want to buy my stories?
My personal favorite is, what genre should I write in?
This can certainly be a tough one since there are so many different genres out there: fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, and so much more. Then there are the sub-genres to worry about.
So, how can you find your genre to write about and share with the world? There are two options.
1. Write in a few different genres you enjoy reading.
I wrote five manuscripts before I decided on which genre was right for me. Two were fantasy, two were young adult drama. Plus, I write my fair share of short stories in multiple genres as well as children’s books, middle grade, and I even tried my hand at script writing and poetry.
Once I started writing my mystery series, I fell head over heels in love. I wanted to continue writing it all the time. The characters keep the story moving, the plot make sense, and I have many more ideas to come for this particular series. I was writing for eight years before I discovered this.
2. Read every genre.
The best thing a writer can do in order to improve their writing–without actually writing–is to read. Do you have a particular genre you enjoy reading all the time? Or do you try to read every book published?
Make sure you read in many different genres. Chances are you’ll find a favorite and come up with story ideas for that genre.
Write in an out-of-your-comfort-zone genre. For example, if you mainly write fantasy, give romance a try.
A few months ago I posted the Lucky Seven Challenge that I found through another blog. I was going to make that a regular thing on my blog since I had so many works in progress, but decided not to.
The first time I did this challenge, I did it for George Florence 2 because that was what I was currently working on. Now I realize that I never did it for the first novel.
The lovely Gwendolyn suggested I do this challenge again. I thought I would do it from George Florence since it’s in the editing stages so it’s technically still a work in progress.
The point is this:
1. On your current WIP, scroll to page seven.
2. Count seven sentences down.
3. Then share the following seven sentences after that.
The first time I did this the challenge was to count down seven lines and then share the next seven lines. I think sharing sentences makes much more sense because, if I recall correctly, I added extra because the seven lines ended in the middle of a sentence.
Anyway… here’s seven sentences from the seventh page of George Florence:
“Call me George.”
“You got to know my father. I didn’t.” Lilah ignored my comment looking me in the eyes once more. Now I noticed she had the same emerald eyes like her father, as well.
“I didn’t come to you because I want to know more about being a detective in case my writing career doesn’t work out—which will work out, by the way—I came here to get to know my father a little bit more.” Lilah announced.
Hm… I think that a decent teaser, don’t you?
Now I have the option of tagging people to do this challenge, but I don’t think I will. I do hope some of you do the challenge, though. I think it’s fun and I would love to see what comes from your works in progress!
About a week ago, I posted my May Goals. I’ve been checking back on that post every so often as its helping me stay on task with my reading, writing, and blogging.
I reread the post the other day and realized that some plans have already changed. I know, I know… we’re not even halfway through the month yet.
Everything is pretty much the same except I decided not to type up the next draft of George Florence 2.
After meeting with my writing group a few weeks ago (which is explained further in my Problems with Protagonists post) I decided that the first book need my undivided attention and all the love it can get because I have a lot of decisions to make with that book.
1. Should I change the POV?
2. Should I make Lilah the protagonist instead of George?
Those aren’t simple changes such as deleting a scene or changing a character’s name or appearance. Changing the main character and the POV will ultimately change the entire dynamic of the novel–of the entire series.
So, I’m going to put the second book aside for the time being and focus my attention on the first book. My writers group has one more meeting before we break for the summer so I’ll spend my summer focusing on that novel. That way in September when I meet with my group again it’ll be like I’m giving them an entirely different novel.
With that said, my other writing goals for May remain the same. I’ve been writing one Short Story Sunday a day, I’ve been slowly working on critiques for my next meeting with my writers group, I’m getting my children’s book ready to be queried, Kris and I started working on a writing-related project, and I’m keeping my eyes open for magazines and contests and submit to.
20 days left in May… I hope I make it!
Ginny had been warned, but now it was too late. She didn’t think anything of it at first. She thought that people were just making a big deal out of nothing. However, when the day came she realized that she had taken the situation a little too lightly.
Ginny had a huge AP math exam. She was good at math; especially since she was in the highest math class. However, it was because that she was good at math, she thought herself to be a little too good. She didn’t put all her effort into her homework because according to her, she all ready knew it all. She never studied for her tests because she knew all the material all ready. That didn’t matter because she still managed to get good grades on her tests and even on her homework. Her homework didn’t even take her long to do at home after school.
It was her favorite class because she didn’t even need to pay attention in it. She was just that good at math. Since she never paid attention in class, she never bothered to take any notes. People in her class were amazed because even when the teacher called on her to answer a question, she was able to know the answer and get it right.
“How can she know all the answers if she doesn’t pay attention in class? She doesn’t even take any notes!” people would say about her.
Ginny would smile and smirk when she overheard some of these comments. She knew she was great at math and she had no problem showing it off; especially since math was such a tricky subject to some people.
“We’re all in the same AP math class, guys,” Ginny would say arrogantly, “you guys know the material, too. You’re probably just over thinking it all.”
No one liked it when she said things like that. Most people got angry with her because she was all about herself and how smart she was in math. She was too confident and it bothered people. However, Ginny never seemed to notice that.
So, when the final AP math exam was coming up at the end of the year, all the kids in her class were panicking. Ginny, on the other hand, was cool as cucumber. She still didn’t bother to take any notes or pay any attention in class, her homework was done in about ten minutes, and she never studied the review quizzes that her teacher would give her and the class to practice on for the exam.
“This exam is going to be a lot harder than what we’ve been prepared for all year.” One girl named Bea explained to their lunch table. “I know because my sister had Professor Henry. She said that he prepares you up to a certain point and then he expects you to do the rest of the preparing yourself. That’s why he gives us those tough review quizzes. He’s subtly telling us that the exam is going to be a lot harder than we think.”
“Yeah, that’s not fair!”
Ginny would laugh and smirk at everyone’s comments about the math exam. Once she snickered too loud, everyone looked over at her and glared.
“Just because you seem to think that you know it all, doesn’t mean that you should rub it in all of our faces.” Bea snarled. “Ginny, you should be studying, too. I believe every word my sister says. The test is going to be a lot harder than any of us has ever imagined. That includes you.”
“No,” Ginny chuckled, “I’m sure I’ll be fine.”
The bell rang to end the lunch period and Ginny stood up from the table. She smiled at all her classmates.
“If any one of you thinks you’ll need some extra help, I’ll be available to tutor you.” Ginny thought it was a nice gesture, but her classmates didn’t seem to think so. They assumed she was just rubbing it in again.
Ginny walked away with a smile on her face. She didn’t realize it, but maybe she was rubbing it all in.
A week later, it was time for the exam. Professor Henry passed out a large packet of math problem. Ginny stared at the packet in horror flipping through all the pages. She knew the exam was going to be big, but she didn’t expect it to be this big. Some of the pages only had one problem on it because the entire page was going to be needed to show work on how they found the answer.
Ginny looked around at her classmates and she was relieved to see that they all had the same expressions on their faces. They were all flipping through the pages looking at what kind of questions were going to be expected of them to know. Ginny shrugged her shoulders and closed the packet to the first page again. She folded her hands on her desk and waited confidently for Professor Henry to give them the okay to start.
“Now as you all can see,” Professor Henry paced at the front of the room, “the exam is rather large. That is why I decided that whatever questions you do not finish or get to, will not be counted against you. However, keep in mind that the less questions you do, the more points they’re worth.
“For example, if you only get to ten questions that mean each of those questions are worth ten points in order to add up to 100. If you get five out of those ten questions wrong, then you have a 50 on the exam and you fail. Does everyone understand?” Professor Henry stopped pacing and looked around the classroom.
Ginny too looked around the classroom with confidence. She chuckled to herself as all her classmates looked as though they were panicking on the inside.
“Wonderful,” Professor Henry stated with no emotion, “begin.”
Ginny looked down at the math packet and read the first question. She paused and her eyes widened. She had no idea what the question was asking her to do. She lifted her head and gazed around the room. Every single one of her classmates had their pencils moving. They seemed to know what they were doing, or they had an idea of what they were supposed to bed doing.
Ginny shook her head and tried not to panic right away like the rest of her classmates. She skipped the first question and looked down at the second question on the paper. She swallowed a large lump in her throat upon realizing that she had no idea what that question was asking, either.
I have an idea, she thought to herself.
Ginny flipped to the back of the packet and looked at the last question. Professor Henry tended to make each question harder as the tests went on. Maybe if she started with the hardest one and made her way to the easy questions, the information would come back to her and she would be able to do each question without a problem.
However, she had no idea what the last question was asking of her, either.
Ginny leaned back in her chair and glanced up at the clock. Five minutes have all ready passed by. She all ready wasted five minutes and she didn’t even start one question, yet. She didn’t even pick a question to start working on. She looked around the room once more and noticed that everyone was still scribbling away in their own packets. Some seemed to be on the same question and others seemed to have moved onto the next one.
Ginny sighed and looked back at the very first question once more. She put her pencil on the paper and took a deep breath.
Here goes nothing.
After everything they’ve been through together, Angela, Maddie, and Zoe know they’ll be friends till the end–but sometimes the fates (or parents) have other plans.
With sophomore year and its troubles behind them, the winsome threesome is on cruise control, enjoying the well-earned perks of being sixteen. But then Angela (SnowAngel) gets some seriously bad family news :'( that threatens to change her life forever. On top of that, Maddie (mad maddie) decides to let loose her wild side 😛 and Zoe (zoegirl) struggles to keep a big secret from Angela :O. Will junior year pull the girls apart just when they need each other most? Only their instant messages reveal the full story…
I have to say that I enjoyed TTFN more than I enjoyed the first book, TTYL.
I was used to how the three main girls acted and I also felt as though the troubles they faced this time around were more realistic.
One of the main girls moves far, far away and of course it’s a big deal. Who would want to leave in the middle of their junior year of high school across the country leaving their hometown and best friends? The worst part was that the move was due to her father losing his job. So the move just added on more stress.
This was a great tale of how the three girls stuck together even though they were so far away from each other. There were great lessons to be learned as they were all still there for each other miles away.
TTFN by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“mad maddie: on every single sitcom in the world, this is how problems start. some idiot plays dumb and doesn’t tell someone else what’s really going on, and then there’s mass confusion and mistaken assumptions and everything ends in chaos.” –Lauren Myracle, TTFN
Angela, Zoe and Maddie are finally seniors and ready for the great year they deserve. After two years of fighting, experimentation and some hilarious stories, they are prepared to enjoy the fruits of seniority – even though being top dogs at school means thinking about college, sex and even the impending end of their inseparable trio.
This is the third book in the Internet Girls series and I have to say that it hit home for me.
Angela, Zoe, and Maddie are seniors in high school and are dealing with the stresses of applying to colleges, getting accepted, and–the worst part–being apart from each other in different states.
One thing I didn’t enjoy in the book was that the three girls were at “war” with a girl named Jana in their class. They play pranks on her and she retaliates for most of their senior year. It took bullying to a whole new level and I felt like seniors shouldn’t be acting like that.
They also deal with what most 18-year-olds deal with: relationships. Zoe finds true love, Maddie stumbles upon it, and Angela realizes she doesn’t need a man to complete… someday her prince will come.
Ultimately, this book dealt with friendship and how truly important it is.
L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle gets 4 out of 5 stars.
“we’re our own destiny, that’s all. and 1 day we WILL be gone, so we better appreciate life while we can.” –Lauren Myracle, l8r, g8r
Check out my Goodreads page to see what I’ll be reading next!
Last Saturday I had another meeting with my writing group. Two people couldn’t make it which meant that I was critiqued by four people this month.
Many of you know I’m working on a mystery series titled George Florence. It was originally called Detective Florence and decided to change it.
Everyone in my group seems to enjoy the novel really well so far. I’m happy with it and I’m happy with the feedback they’ve given me, both good and bad.
Now, before I explain my problem, I have to say that I’ve been thinking about making some changes to my novel. One, I’ve been rethinking the POV. Right now it’s in first person with George as the narrator since he’s the protagonist. The more I write this series (three books written so far) the more I wonder if it should be third person limited.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. But if I’m thinking this then somewhere in the back of my mind must have some good reason, right? It wouldn’t hurt to try, right?
Okay, now I’ll explain my problem…
No one in my writing group really likes George. They all love and adorable Lilah, who is the female protagonist, but George is the main-main character… and they think he’s a wuss.
As sad as I am to admit, I agree with them. George does not have the personality I originally intended for him to have.
George has been a character in my mind for years. I first thought of him while writing in a notebook at Barnes & Noble with my sister. I had about 40 or so pages written. The plot was different, the characters were different, the setting was different… the only thing that remained true over the years was George and the title. Lilah wasn’t even a sparkle in my eye at that time.
For an experienced detective, George certainly should not be acting the way he does. Lilah takes charge, she’s bossy, she knows what she’s doing–when she probably shouldn’t.
I told them I knew George needed to be flushed out more. I told them I was thinking of changing the POV. I also told them that Lilah seems to have squeezed her way through and started taking over the story without my consent.
Their advice? Screw George. Write Lilah’s story.
The group coordinator brought up a good point and told me that if Lilah is itching to be told, then she needs her own story as soon as possible. This is Lilah’s way of telling me that she needs to be the lead on a story.
We all know that its the characters who write the story, not the author, so when he said this I completely understood and agreed with him.
The problem is… I feel like I’m cheating on George. Of course, he would still be in the story. He would still be the detective. The plot, characters, setting, etc. would be the same. It would just be from Lilah’s point of view.
So, here are my options:
1. Keep editing and revising until George strengthens and grows against his will
2. Rewrite story in third person with George as main character… see if that makes a difference
3. Rewrite story in first person with Lilah leading the way
4. Rewrite story in third person with Lilah in the lead
Four options… doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a lot to take in.
George Florence is the fifth novel I’ve completed, but the first one I’ve ever been truly serious about. It’s hard trying to figure out what’s best for the novel.
The novel is already written has been edited before. The draft I’ve been sending my group is the second draft. I’ll probably keep sending them the next parts of this draft like nothing happened. Maybe George will seem like he improves throughout the story.
In the meantime, I will try to rewrite the first part with Lilah in charge. Depending on how well that turns out, then the novel may get a huge makeover.
It’s especially troublesome because I love George, even though he didn’t come out as planned. I feel bad kicking him to main male instead of main protagonist. But ultimately it comes down to this question: how can I expect to sell a novel with a protagonist no one likes?
What are your thoughts on this: has this ever happened to you? What do you think I should do?
A few days ago I was looking through my Twitter and I came across Goodreads’ latest tweet:
Curiosity bit me so I clicked on the link and an article titled 15 Insanely Useful Diagrams for Book Lovers came up.
The article is full of flowcharts about reading and books. I thought it would be something cool to share with you guys because I enjoyed looking through them.
Many of you may have already seen some of the charts; especially if you’re on Pinterest. There were a few that I have never even seen before and they were all interesting and useful in their own way.
My favorite charts were…
6 — which I’ve seen before
8 — this one had interesting facts about authors
11 — as a teacher, this one is useful
13 — this had more interesting facts about characters in books
15 — this one is just plain adorable
So go check out the charts. I promise it won’t be a time-waster. If anything, you’ll add new books to your to-be-read list.
Show of hands: who knows what Bloglovin’ is?
I’m sure most, if not all, know exactly what it is since we’re all bloggers here.
Bloglovin’ is basically a giant catalog of blogs from WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot, etc. It’s an easier way to follow more blogs you love and they’re conveniently all in one place for you.
Show of hands: guess whose blog is on Bloglovin’?
Mine, of course. I don’t know if someone put my blog on there or if Bloglovin’ is one of those sites that just knows these things, but I found it. So I claimed it as my own because, well… it’s mine.
With that being said, if you’re on Bloglovin’ feel free to follow me through there as well as here.
I went through a found a few of my WordPress friends on Bloglovin’ and started following them on there as well. Some blogs I couldn’t find. Again, I’m not sure how Bloglovin’ works because my blog was already on there and I didn’t post it. I just found out it existed not too long ago.
There’s my shameless plugging for the day. Follow me here, follow me there, follow me everywhere! You guys know where to find me.
Speaking of that, my Contact Me page has been updated.
Happy Monday, everyone!
The sound of breaking glass stopped her. She ran into the living room to see what had happened. There she saw her young daughter and their new puppy standing over a broken lamp. The dog and her daughter looked at each other with worried expressions as though they were both wondering how they were going to get out of that one.
“And just what do the two of you think you’re doing?” Anna placed both hands on her hips. She was glaring at her daughter.
“Uh…” her daughter smiled and shrugged her shoulders. The dog laid down at her feet and acted as though he was unfazed by the situation.
“Julie, you and Spot and need to get out of the living room right now,” Anna pointed to the stairs. “Go up to your bedroom and don’t come out until I go up there and talk to you. Watch your step; you’re not wearing any socks. The last thing we need right now is for your or Spot to step on a piece of glass.”
Julie bent down and grabbed Spot’s collar. She pulled him to his feet and motioned for him to follow her. He obeyed and together they walked up the stairs and disappeared out of the room. Anna stood her ground for a few moments and once she heard Julie’s bedroom door close, she then left to grab the vacuum cleaner.
Anna vacuumed up all the glass shards and threw away the big pieces. She looked at the coffee table and shook her head. That was the only lamp in the room. Now she was going to have to buy a new one if anyone wanted to hang out in the living room after dark.
She walked up the stairs and knocked on Julie’s bedroom door. Without waiting for a reply, she opened the door a crack and saw both Julie and Spot lying down on her bed.
“Okay, are you two ready to tell me what happened now?” Anna asked.
Julie sat up in her bed and Spot followed her lead.
“Well, Spot and I were trying to see who could run the fastest. I accidentally tripped over the coffee table and the lamp fell.” Julie explained sheepishly.
“You were trying to see who could run the fastest… in the living room? Where there’s furniture all over the place?” Anna deadpanned.
Julie nodded her head slowly.
Anna sighed, “Julie, do you think that sounds like a good idea? The broken lamp aside, do you think it makes sense to be running around a small area with a lot of objects in the way?”
Julie shook her head and Spot whined.
“I cleaned it all up for you. Please don’t let it happen again. Now we don’t have a lamp in the living room.” Anna explained.
“Sorry,” Julie stated softly.
“If you and Spot want to run around, please go outside next time. In fact, I think that’s a wonderful idea. You and Spot can go hang outside for a little bit. Go on,” Anna stepped aside so Julie and Spot could exit the room.
Julie looked as though she was going to protest at first, but she thought better about it. She hopped off her bed, Spot following her lead, and together the two of them walked out the front door.
Anna looked out the window and smiled when she saw Julie laughing and running around with the dog chasing her.
She walked back into the kitchen and resuming her cooking dinner with a smile on her face. It was quiet all of the sudden so it was nice to have that moment as she cooked. She should have forced Julie and Spot to go outside more often.
Anna turned around to bring something to sink when her elbow collided with her glass mixing bowl. That and all the ingredients inside it fell to the floor, shattering the mixing bowl. Anna’s shoulders slumped down in annoyance. She stopped what she was doing and grabbed the dust pan and broom.
Now only did she have glass all over the tiled floor, but now their dinner was all over the floor as well.
I’m sorry to say that there is no book review today (I’m off to a great start this month!) due to recovery from surgery last week, finishing up my school semester, and getting back to work. Next week I’ll clump the two book reviews together; especially since they’re part of a series.
In other news, I had to share this with you guys…
I went to the bookstore last night and while I was browsing a young girl–who looked to be about 10- or maybe 11-years-old–and her mother were in the same aisle as me. We were in the young adult section and the young girl picked up a book and held it in front of her mother’s face.
Mother: Oh, did you want to get that?
Girl: Yeah, I think the book sounds pretty good.
Mother: But honey… if you read the book, then you’ll spoil the movie for yourself.
I had to walk into a different section because I didn’t know whether to laugh or to be horrified. I mean, who says that?
The mother should be encouraging her child to read. She should be using the movie as a treat for finishing the book so they can discuss the differences between the two, which one they liked better, etc. The movie is rarely anything like the book, anyway.
Education aside, why were they in the bookstore in the first place? If she wasn’t planning on buying any books–because apparently books have “spoiler alert” written all over it–why were they browsing?
There is a media section that sells music and movies downstairs, so were they lost? I don’t know.
Am I thinking too much into this? Yeah, probably; especially since it’s none of my business. I was just baffled, I guess.
I saw the mother and daughter leave the store and they were carrying a bag, so maybe the daughter was able to get the book after all. I hope she did and I hope she enjoys it a lot.
April has come and gone and boy, did it go by fast. Spring is officially here (let’s hope the weather stays nice) and school is officially over for me which means that I’m going to have more time on my hands. More reading, more writing, more blogging.
That being said, I decided to set monthly goals for myself to get myself into a better routine. I’ll still be spending six hours of my day at work, but that’s all scheduled so it’s easy to set goals.
With five Saturdays in May, that means five book reviews. These books may change depending on my mood, but as of right now here’s what I’m thinking of reading:
1. TTFN by Lauren Myracle
2. L8R, G8R by Lauren Myracle
3. The Sight by Erin Hunter
4. Dark River by Erin Hunter
5. Outcast by Erin Hunter
The Lauren Myracle books are books two and three of the Internet Girls series. I already read and reviewed book one, TTYL.
The three Erin Hunter novels are the first three novels of six in the third Warriors series. I haven’t read that series in a while so I decided to get back into them.
As stated, those books may change. Books may also be added depending on how quickly I can get through those five novels.
With that being said, my Reading List was updated with April’s books.
For my writing group I need to edit parts two and three of the first George Florence novel. I need to look at part two and the critiques I get on that and then look at part three to send in by the 15. Then I have a meet with the group on the 30 so I also need to critique their pieces by then.
I have to type up the next draft of George Florence 2 and take a closer look at that and the first novel. That way my next edits can possibly be the last.
I plan to write one Short Story Sunday a day giving me 31 short stories by the end of the month.
I’m going to start querying my children’s book. I’ve been slowly gathering information on different agents over the past few weeks, so I think it’s time to get rolling on that.
I also may or may not try to find some contests and magazines to submit to depending on if I have time to write submissions or if I already have something to submit.
Kris and I are also going to start working on a big project–not a book, but it’s writing related. There will be more on that much later, though.
So, there’s a lot of editing and querying to do this month and only a little bit of writing. I have too many manuscripts written, but not edited. I may or may not leave the writing to NaNo months for the time being. We’ll see.
Nothing has changed on the blog. I’m just going to continue posting every day hoping each post is better than the last.
Overall, May is going to be a super busy month. Between reading, writing, blogging, and work, I have my plate full. At least I don’t have to worry about school anymore… I can’t wait for my diploma to arrive in the mail!
It’s the last day of Camp NaNo. For some–depending on where you live–it’s already over. Did you hit your word goal and validate it? Did you go above and beyond? Did you finish your novel and are you satisfied with it?
Like I said in yesterday’s post, I’m going to take a break from my NaNo project. I thought the story was ready to be told, but I guess I got ahead of myself.
With that being said, I’ll be focusing on a few other projects that I’ll explain in another post.
Even though my novel didn’t go over as well as I thought it would, the main goal was to get the idea down on paper. I hit my 50k word goal.
My cabin, filled with 12 people total, had an overall goal of 600k.
As you can see, we rocked it!
For one person to hit 600k in 30 days, they would have to write 20k a day. Can you imagine? I’ve written 10k in a day before, but I think 20k is a bit much; especially if you have to do it for 30 days straight. It would certainly be an interesting challenge.
One of these days I would love to have my word count goal be 100k. I think that’s much more doable.
I hope you all had a wonderful April and you all won your Camp NaNo challenge!