You’re Not a Real Writer if…

As I interact with others in the writing community, I keep seeing the sentiment that someone is “not a real writer if…” What follows that seems to be a never-ending list of criteria to being a “real writer.” As if the act of actually writing itself is not adequate enough to be a writer. Here is a small sample of some of the things I’ve seen people claim you must be or do in order to be a “real writer.” Doubt yourself and/or your work, sometimes to the level of complete loathing. Develop detailed outlines or plans before you ever begin to write. Only use a pen and paper (or typewriter) instead of these newfangled gadgets. Have conversations with the characters you create. Never edit your own work, instead spend thousands to hire a professional editor. Never, ever like anything you’ve ever written. I could go on, but I think you Read More

Including LGBT Characters

When I began writing my novel Artifact of the Dawn, I knew that my protagonists would ultimately end up in a romantic relationship together, although that journey for them is merely a subplot. I could have chosen for one of them to be female and have them be a heterosexual couple. However, I know there isn’t enough LGBT representation in mainstream fiction. My novel falls into the science fiction genre, and I wanted the fact that my protagonists are bisexual and gay just to be a part of who they are, without it having an impact on the overall story. Why LGBT Representation Matters While there is LGBT literature available to read, when looking specifically at mainstream fiction with LGBT characters (primary or secondary) the representation seems to be extremely low. I didn’t do an exhaustive search, but from the numbers I could find, it looks like there is less Read More

The Importance of Research

It makes sense that anyone writing a non-fiction work would do extensive research on the topic they are writing about. What not everyone may be aware of is the fact that even fiction writers have to do their fair share of research when working on a novel. The entire novel may be completely fictional and based entirely in the realm of fantasy, but that doesn’t negate the need to do research. Why Research is Important Even the most fantastical tale must have some believability to it. Otherwise, your readers will get pulled out of the story you are trying to immerse them in. If you solve every impossible nuance in a story by simply explaining it away with magic, then your readers will eventually be unable to suspend their disbelief. This is why many fantasy stories include limitations for magic users. Omnipotent characters are ultimately boring unless they have some flaw Read More

NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s Almost NaNoWriMo Time! November is approaching and so my mind is on NaNoWriMo once again. For those who don’t know what that is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is an event that takes place every November, where anyone who wants to try to produce a novel can challenge themselves to write (at least) 1,667 words per day, to produce a 50,000 word first draft of a novel. NaNoWriMo 2017 will be the third time I will participate. I wrote Artifact of the Dawn during NaNoWriMo 2015. What I produced was a rough draft, but I was very proud of having put down into words this story that had been whirling around in my brain. It was by no means perfect, but it was a good start. I then took 2 years to edit what I’d written and I continue to put a little spit-and-polish on it Read More

Back to the Drawing Board

During the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been submitting my novel, Artifact of the Dawn, to various literary agencies. I am about one-third of the way through the current list of literary agents that accept science fiction and fantasy works for representation. Needless to say, none have chosen to represent me yet, and about half have officially sent me rejections. I am undaunted by this, as I know many famous published authors went through many rounds of rejections as well. That being said, from those rejections I’ve received some very constructive feedback regarding my work and this has prompted me to halt my submission process, for now, and go back and rework some elements of my novel. I still stand by where the novel was when I finished my last round of edits as being fairly solid, but I knew there would always be room for improvement. Receiving feedback Read More

Why I Decided Not to Self-Publish

As I’m writing this blog, I’ve now sent out over two dozen queries to literary agencies, looking for representation for my first novel, Artifact of the Dawn. Finding an agent is merely one of the many steps on the journey of trying to become a published author. I could have just self-published this novel, which is the route I chose for the children’s book I wrote a few years ago, Dittle Little Lion and Dittle Little Bear, the Adventure to Coconut Island. I am more than familiar enough with the process of self-publishing now. Holding the first copy of that book in my hands and receiving the official copyright notice from the US Copyright Office was a great accomplishment for me at the time. I know many new authors these days are opting to self-publish. However, I will admit that marketing is not one of my strong suits, and that’s a Read More

My Writing Process

Besides blogging, I write both original and fan fiction. I have a different approach to my process for each type of writing that I do. I know every writer has their own process that works best for them, but I wanted to share my process for the writing that I do. Blogging When I’m blogging, I just let the words flow. I sit down and open a new post and start writing. Only three things need to be in place before I can really start; the topic, the title, and the featured image. Coming up with a topic is always my first priority. Once I decide on one, you would think I could begin, but I’ve always struggled to write if I didn’t have a title first, and for my blogs, I like to have selected an image to accompany them. Once those two elements are in place, I just Read More

Writing First-Person, Second-Person or Third-Person in Fiction

When I write fictional stories, regardless of genre, I tend to write either from the third-person or third-person limited, perspective. While I naturally blog in first-person, I’ve never been comfortable writing fiction in first or second-person. So what exactly does it mean to write in first-person, second-person or third-person? Writing from the first-person perspective means that you write using the word “I” and you are writing from your (or the protagonist’s) perspective. Second-person focuses on “you,” while third-person use he/she/they pronouns and is written from the point-of-view of a narrator. Here are some examples: First Person: I woke up and rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Second Person: You woke up and rubbed the sleep from your eyes. Third Person: He woke up and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. When writing fiction, I personally find it very unnerving to write in the first-person, as if I were the protagonist. Read More

When the Words Won’t Come

Some days the words flow from my fingers like a water fall. Other days it feels as if the well has completely dried up. Sometimes I’m trying to work on a new chapter for a fan fiction story I’m writing, other days editing my novel or even just wanting to write a blog post. Yet, for the life of me, the words just fail me and I can’t seem to find a way to write what is in my head. I know many other writers who run into this problem, which is colloquially known as Writers’ Block. When it happens to me, I do one of the following things. Work on another piece of writing for awhile. I often have several fan fiction stories in progress at the same time. Spend some time focusing on something else entirely. Reading, taking a walk, doing chores around the house. Replaying parts of Read More

Why Must We Be Miserable?

I ran into a situation yesterday that still has me slightly upset and confused. I am a member of several writers’ groups on Facebook, and yesterday someone posted a silly meme that compared the writing process with jogging and the desire to just give up and die (the post was taken down so I don’t have the exact wording, but that was the gist of the post). I commented on the post, stating that I couldn’t relate since I cannot jog because of health reasons and that writing gives me joy. That’s when one of the group members outright attacked me, stating that if writing doesn’t make me miserable, then I must not know how to write or have ever written anything of length. I countered with the fact that I have written over 585,000 words of fan fiction, and I have completed my first novel. She continued to deride Read More