Tag Archives: author

Do I Recommend Lynda.com to Writers?

We’ve all seen the ads for lynda.com where you learn skills for a small fee but I recently had the opportunity to try it out for free. My main goal when reading on there was to learn writing skills. When I went on there for the first time…

I was Initially Disappointed

When I saw the writing classes most of them appeared to be for nonfiction, like for resumes, speeches, and business. Now the ones I have gotten all the way through were very useful!

The Quality of the Videos is Great

There are a lot of good quality editing tips and a few story videos that particularly helped me. But because of the length of the series, I found it hard for me to get through them and often had to do it in more than one sitting. That isn’t the way I learn but…

I DO Recommend Lynda But Not for the Reason You Think

When I was searching for other writing videos I found tons of other resources which I think will help the other aspects of my career such as blogging courses and google analytics tutorials that I wouldn’t have know to seek out if it weren’t for that site. So if you are looking to expand your horizons when it comes to selling your work, then yes I would check out at least the 10-day free trial. If you are going there for the writing specifically, though, I wouldn’t hand over any money.

But That’s Just My Opinion

I am in no way sponsored Lynda.com and made this because I always wondered if I should sign up for the classes. I hope this helped you. Have a great day!

How to use Character Worksheet to its Full Potential

Last week I uploaded a character sheet but let me show you how I took it one step further. You can find all of the elements in this character background sheet. Writing it up in paragraph form will help you link ideas into a flowing format. Below I have a character bio base off of this post: http://wp.me/p5y43M-dd
I hope you find this helpful.

Milo Maxx never had many friends. In first grade, the kids who she thought were her good friends left her calling her crazy for thinking she could time travel by merely meditating with an orange stone. She never quite recovered from that, feeling outcast her entire life. Her parents were her closest friends being that they were quite young when she was born. Both of her parents were almost like is themselves, with her dad being an archaeologist and her mother a museum curator, every day was a wonderful look at the past. She would run home after school, ignoring the other kids so she could learn new stories from her parents.

Just like them, she wanted to be an anthropologist but there was more to her goal. Though their family lived happily, they were always a little tight on money. This developed a strong work ethic in her at a young age and a creative spirit and knack for entrepreneurial enterprises. Her parents taught her many other things too, like `to take risks, try new things, and most of all, learn from history or you are bound to repeat it. So Milo worked very hard and was able to go to a private school on a full scholarship.

But as with every story when it is going remarkably well, disaster struck. Milo’s mom was killed in a suspicious accident when she was still quite young. To support them, Milo’s father had to take on more jobs and steadily grew distant. As an only child, Milo got used to doing things on her own and took fate into her own hands. She used the stone that took her back in time and killed a dinosaur. Returning to her time, she showed her father exactly where it was so he could excavate it.

This brought in a huge amount of money to the family. She was able to do this over and over again until they moved from there little house at the edge of the city to a huge estate on the hilltops far away. But with each new discovery, her dad had to sacrifice more and more of his time to the dig and spend less of it with Milo. A maid and butler were hired to take care of Milo and the house and things started to settle down again. She had just been accepted to a prestigious school not far from home when her life got turned upside down again.

Now 17 and halfway through her senior year in high school someone in the government got suspicious of her father’s archaeological discoveries and detained him for questioning. Milo was then forced to move in with the only other relatives she had, her aunt, uncle and cousin who currently lived in Japan.

She arrives having never really met these people before and has no idea what is happening to her father.  She moves into the house which is much smaller than the one she had gotten so comfortable in but more than that is upset by the time stone having been taken by the government. Her winter break is a crash course in Japanese so that she can spend the last half of her high school year with her cousin at his school.

As she starts the new school year she feels more excluded than ever and is completely uninterested in her schools. She quickly becomes the ‘quiet kid’ in class and does not have the confidence to speak up and be friendly. Her extended family is a constant reminder of what her family used to be like and suddenly Milo is more lonely than ever.

Cue the start of the story.

How Focusing on Sound can Make Your Writing Better

Today I was assigned to stop and listen to the world for seven minutes. This was quite the eye opening thing for me and I ended up continuing to listen on my walk home. I realized there were many sounds I didn’t notice at all before. Taking the time to listen to the world around me helped me write better sentences today. For example:

The hum of motors filled my ears as the cars drove past.

Turned into

The hum of the little cars was interrupted by rumbling of a truck that sped by.

One of these is much more unique than the other. By listening I found that different shoes make unique sounds that I can use as foreshadowing. I also ended up writing a whole paragraph based off of the lack of sound in some situations. So if you have the chance, instead of ease dropping, just stop and listen to what you usually won’t hear.

The Authors Reference Sheet to Fast Draft a Novel

This is how I have outlined and organized the content for my most recent novel, Own Most. It is making the process of writing go much faster and easier than it ever has before. By this I mean 20,000 words in 8 days of work, which is much faster than I ever have before. I hope this helps you too.

1 General Plot

This is where I outline the overarching ideas of the book such as plot twists, high action points, and other need to know information

2 Useful Links

This is where I paste the websites that I used for research as well as location inspiration. In general, things I want to get back to later.

3 Character Inspiration

These are pictures that I have pasted right into the document. They show the some of the way I want the character to come across on the page as well as their physicality so I won’t have to hunt through the entire book to find someone’s eye color.

4 Original Draft

This is any scene I had written out ahead of time no matter where it fell in the book. I might have transcribed it from the written word or I might have twenty pages I typed out when I first got really excited about my idea. This is a good way for me to grab text I might be able to reuse without me having to stop and dig through documents to find it.

5 Big Ideas

I’ll have a short list of things I want to convey over the course of the book written out so that I never lose sight of what is important.

6 Plot Points

And here we have the dreaded plot points. I will set out each huge turning point first. I’ll usually have 10- 12 because that’s the number of chapters I usually have. Each of these high points represents the chapter break where I’ll leave the reader wanting more. Then I fill in bullet points of what needs to come between them to create a cohesive story. The key with this is detail. The more individual points I have, the faster I’ll be able to write.

7 Dull Moment Fixers

These are some ideas that I know I want in the book but don’t know where to put them. If I have any symbolism, themes, or foreshadowing I need to reiterate, I’ll put them here. The idea is, if I don’t know what to put on the page next, I can turn to one of these things and keep my momentum up.

This is just what I have been using. I hope you found something here that will help you write your first draft faster!

Breaking into the Writing Industry

Today I had the chance to go to a writers conference. One of the panels I went to was called creating a career. It was led by Jay Bonansinga (writer of the walking dead books), Jody Lynn Nye (prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer and author of The Dragonlover’s guide to Pern) and Keith Kappel (Freelancer for online content such as the Star Wars RPG). What I have written below is just a starting off point to do more research, please tell me if you want to hear more specifics on each topic!

Ok enough intros, here’s what I learned about breaking into the writing industry. Jay recommended taking any writing job you can, you’ll learn a lot about all different types of writing. Jody also recommended this suggesting that video games always need a  few dialog lines for NPCs. She also suggested being reading the slush pile.

Let’s dive into that one a little bit more. The slush pile is all of the manuscripts that made it past the twenty-page test and need to be read all the way through to see if they are any good. This job is given to avid readers and you can be one. You would get paid $25-$100 per manuscript and network with the people who would be reading your book and judging how good it is. I hope you can see why this is a great opportunity.

And the last recommendation they told me about was upwork. I haven’t used it yet but I will try to give my feedback on this freelancing website soon.