Are you there, God? Oh, wait…

…I forgot. I haven’t done the whole ‘god’ thing in circa twenty years. So maybe I should say ‘universe’ or something less religion specific.

I sit here, as my dinner slowly burns on the range, with my fingers hovering over this neon blue keyboard attempting to articulate the myriad of thoughts devouring my brain. I am consumed with to many it’s become hard to sift through them all–searching for the right train of thought.

Frustrating building, I’m now calling to the heavens for guidance.

My writing inspiration seems to be an situation of ‘all or nothing.’ Either I have so many ideas I’m lost (like right now,) or it’s a blank desert–endless miles of dust mote dunes suffocating my brain. If only I could find a trigger… Oh, wait!! (again!) I entered a contest. I did! I entered #PitchWars, and now I have a list longer than the Mississippi to choose from.

Here is my question for you, my lovely readers. How do you choose your projects? What is your process? Normally, mine is I wait until an idea keeps me up at night–but I have a bit quandary, for I have a WIP that needs tending, another MS plotting on a promise–and then there’s the one that’s keeping me up.

Do you see what the problem is? What should I do?!

So, now you are god (this could go poorly quickly, but lets do it any way.) All of the help you provide (aka–advice) is greatly appreciated!

Now–if you’re also entered Pitch Wars, I wish you luck! And to everyone else. Happy Writing!!

xx-

-A

 

 

Twitter writing contest–#pg70pit

Hello All!

Happy end of June to you. I’ve spent the last few weeks combing over what is coming my way in the world of writing contests, and I thought I’d share.

Last week we had SFFpit. Next up would be #pg70pit. I wanted to share a link to spread the joy, because if there is one thing I’ve learned about the lonely road of writing is–if you surround yourself with good people (including other writers) it’s a much better ride.

If you are unfamiliar with #pg70pit, simply follow the link above to get all the details. BE SURE to read over the ‘How To Submit‘ section, because different groups are represented on different days (meaning if you have an Adult title, you shouldn’t submit on July 1st, because that is the day for Middle Grade, etc.)

If you’re on the West Coast, like me, the contest is 12 hours long–so don’t set your alarm for 4am. You can sleep and still enter. (Which I’m beyond grateful for. I don’t function well at 4am.)

Happy Writing! Good luck with your queries and submission! And remember–while rejection letters suck, it’s better to get one of them than it would ever be to quit writing.

-A

The “Writers Challenge”

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I remember the first time I heard about National Novel Writing Month – it was many moons ago, and I was a wee lass not really looking at the bigger picture.

At the time I was married, but childless – and let me tell you, when you’re childless it is much easier to find time to write. That said – with children or without – it is ALSO very easy to find a million excuses not to write.

But back then I participated in the now hugely famous “NaNo” (as I like to call it), but any more the idea of killing myself to write a first draft in one month sounds terrible. Plus, it’s a first draft.

Really can’t speak for you but I know I need a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth draft until my book is half way presentable. Once there was a time I wouldn’t admit that out loud – but these days I don’t care. Needing to write extra drafts doesn’t make me a crappy writer – writing multiple drafts makes me a better one.

While I no longer jump on the NaNoWriMo train – I am a fan of friendly competition (mostly with myself) to get the fire burning under my butt. That has led my friend and I to start our own 3 month challenge. (Which I’m sure will become an infinite challenge, because for me writing is as important as coffee.)

Does it have a fancy name? Nope.

Are we guaranteed an agent and a publication deal upon completion? HA! Nope…

But I love it, so I wanted to share it. Currently, seeing there are only two of us we email each other our word count at the end of the day. There is a minimum, because if there wasn’t it wouldn’t be much of a challenge, now would it? It is a whopping 750 words. To me, this is a very small number – to you, maybe not so much, but it’s a doable number for sure.

On top of that, at the end of the week we email our combined word count.

I know what you’re thinking, what about all the other aspects of writing? (e.g. plotting, research, editing <- because editing is a paramount part of writing, even if you hate doing it.) Well, all of that counts, too. Instead of a word count, we send amounts of time. “Today I edited for 3 hours.”

You get the picture.

This is me inviting you to join us! Tweet me @arynyoungless your daily word count, time editing, etc. Hashtag it #writingchallenge and join in our fun. Because while writing a story often sends you to a secluded writers island – you don’t  have to be alone. Help support each other, promote each other, and motivate each other – that is a goal of mine.

Hope to hear from you!

-Aryn

Writer’s Research

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At the beginning of every project comes the planning phase. This goes for most things – a new job, a new place to live, or a new book to write. Yes, I know there are some out there who live the life of the “pants-ter” (you know, writing by the seat of your pants), but I’m a fan of the planner path. I prefer to know where my pile of characters want to go before I set out with them.

Either way you decided to write – there is one thing we all have to do, and that is research.

To be honest, I LOVE the research portion of writing. (Sometimes maybe a little too much… lets just say every employee of my local library knows me on sight…) In information age, researching has become both more convenient and riddle with sketchy information. Back in the day of push-carts and horse-drawn trolleys when I was writing research papers I remember receiving the following advice, “Avoid glossies.” What is a glossy bit of research?Think everything you see in the checkout line at your local grocery store. But with the internet these types of rags may be harder to spot. So here are my 4  ways to get the research you need without having to truck it to the library. (Unless you want to, then go ahead, because the library is a wonderful place. An oasis if you will.)

#1 – GOOGLE ALERTS: Who doesn’t love a search engine that does all of the work for you? Select topics you want to know more about and have them send you a daily email. Maybe its advancements in Space Exploration, or maybe it’s your own name (which is great for published authors because you can see who is talking about you). Then you can pick and choose articles to your liking.

#2 – THE RESOURCE SECTION ON WIKIPEDIA: As we all know, anyone can update a Wikipedia page. That said, at the bottom there are three sections that have a pile of breadcrumbs to help you further educate yourself: NOTES; REFERENCES; & EXTERNAL LINKS. Say you really want to write a historic romance set in Stalingrad during the battle of the same name and you think, “What would Stalin be thinking during this time?”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stalin <-Check out the notes on this guy… 😉

#3 – ONLINE DIGITAL LIBRARIES: I’m still a fan of holding a book in my hand and running my fingers over sheets of paper -but buying books can get expensive, and while I love living in LA – sometimes its hard to find the books I need (and or want) at the local library. Lucky for me there are a ton of great online sites to visit – like Open Library and Google Books – these allow me access to titles I may other wise miss. Other sites that are worth looking into are: New York Public Library, Internet Archive, & University of Pittsburg Digital Library.

#4 – YOUTUBE, TWITTER, TUMBLR, INSTAGRAM, THE INTERNET IN GENERAL: For number four I’m looking at research for Character Development. I live in Los Angeles, but I’m originally from Cleveland – this gives me a general idea of how people talk in both places – but my next book I want to set it the UK. I have a pretty general idea of what a British accent is – I visited once 20 years ago, and I love me some Downton Abbey – but tat can really only take me so far. Dialects change from region, so its nice to hear the cadence of the accent so you can then interpret it into your story. Where do you go? Well, you could go to the UK and spend a ton of money and time traveling from place to place – or – you can go to YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyyT2jmVPAk And in five minutes you will have a tour of Great Britain in you living room.

Twitter is great because you can check out what’s trending. Writing a YA, but the last time you hung out with a teen was when you were a teen (5, 10, 35 years ago) then go on and see what teens are talking about. Watch their text and how they discuss whatever is popular to them.

Tumblr – the ultimate collection of just about everything. Most blogs are good for this – just search around until you find something that is similar to what you are trying to convey and then read, read, read.

Instagram – what’s it look like under a wave in Hawaii? Follow @ClarkLittle, then you can say, “The water was so clear I could see my friends waiting in the beach just before it crashed on my head…”

 

Research will make your story rich and opulent in a way doing general guess-work won’t and can’t. We can’t possibly know everything, but we live in an age where we can find things out at a flip of the switch and a press of a button. If you have any great researching ideas, I’d love to hear about them! The more you know, the easier it is to write.

Happy Writing!