Monday, September 12, 2016

Writing and Math: How the two add up in a big way

I wrote my first book in 10 days. It totaled 35K words which is kinda more of a novella than a full length novel. But that’s an average of 3,500 words a day! I know some of you writers out there can write this daily word count all the time. If this happens, more power to you. But I’m aiming this article towards the ones that can’t write that much, and the ones that struggle to even write in the first place.

Having a daily word count I think is a great way to stay diligent in your writing. If you can’t write every day, try to average out your word count goal weekly.

Numbers help in other ways and not just word count. You can challenge yourself to write a few pages a day. Learn how little or how much you want your chapters to be. I usually keep them short between 2 to 5 pages, sometimes longer. If you like to read short chapters, then writing short chapters might be the way to go. Same goes for reading longer chapters.

For a standard YA book that runs 250 words per page, a 50K novel would be a 200 page book. I always strive to write more. Many of my books fall on the short end.

When I wrote my first book, it was short. And my second and third. But gradually I was writing longer novels. Then for my 8th novel, it was a short one again. I think it all depends on what you’re writing too. If you’re writing an epic fantasy, you’ll want to strive for at least 80K or more. If you’re writing a short horror novel, you can easily keep it at 40K or so. This low word count usually only works for YA. MG can run even shorter.

Test yourself week by week and watch your progress. If you only wrote 2K words one week, strive to do a little more the following week. Also if you do the math, I want to write a 60K word book in four months, that would be roughly about 500 words a day. I’m using 500 words a day as an example. Maybe test yourself after a week and gauge from there how much you can do.

I strongly suggest staying in your word goal. You can write more than that of course, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes writing too much one day, can cause a lot less the next day or perhaps stalling you all together. I’m only saying this because it tends to happen to me. Everyone is different. But when you can find your writing pace, the writing tends to flow better that way.

So when you’re ready to write a novel, set word count goals and divide and average and come up with a deadline. By January 1st or something like that. This would be your own deadline and if you don’t finish by then, the world isn’t going to end, but your writing will continue to stall.

I know writing can be hard. It seems like it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. But it helps me through my depression. I feel good when I meet my word goal for the day. It’s much easier to do everything else like the dishes and laundry. When I haven’t written for the day, I feel sluggish and unproductive, even if I cleaned the whole house. So writing for me is essential.


So if writing is essential for you too, then keep a habit of it. Challenge yourself even. You’ll be glad you did. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Get to the Point!

Sometimes I don’t know what to blog about or write about. Usually it’s a good idea to have a topic you want to cover or an idea of something. I don’t really have a topic. I’m hoping by writing something, anything, I’ll have a topic at the end of this. Or at least something that has a point to it.

Ever listen to someone and you are waiting to get to the point and sometimes they never do? Well this will probably be one of those posts. If you can get something out of this, great!

This is how I feel about writing. I think most of us want our writing to be meaningful. There is always something meaningful in writing, whether it’d be a poem or article or chapter. Sometimes you don’t know what that meaning is until you fully write it. I think if you are struggling with the meaning or want it to have meaning and you are stumped at writing it, just write it out anyway. Write your thoughts down on paper, or type them out, then look back and analyze. Most of the time, you’ll find meaning in it.

A lot of times, I will write something and then delete all of it because I just don’t think it’s good enough. Or it just sucks, I think. This is just my tastes. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. So what I’ve learned in writing, if you’re blocked. Just write down what you’re blocked about, let your thoughts flow. Write spontaneous verses of something or phrases and phrases of babbling. When you reread, hopefully you will have something of value. You will write a line or two (or more) that you can maybe use for later.

I’m a real fan of spontaneous writing. Gum, a walk in the park. I see two women arguing by the bench there. The moon is rising. Ice Cream truck goes by. Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall back and forth. Be free with writing. Wee this is fun type of thing. You’ll realize it’s better to write it out then to stare at the computer curser blinking in your eye like a heartbeat.

So getting to the point might be easier when you write it out, like I did here. What’s my point? When you don’t know or have writing issues to move forward (like I do sometimes) just keep writing, just keep writing. Like Dory, but swimming in a sea of words.

I go for long bouts of not writing. And for me, as a writer, it isn’t good. So I am trying to practice what I preach. I took the summer off from writing to enjoy my kids, but they will be going back to school and in essence I will be going back to writing. I have a lot of novels built up. I could revise or start fresh with a new idea. When it comes time, I will force myself, butt in chair and write something, anything. Or keep a journal or something, damn it!


So hopefully this will pep you up into the writing gear for the fall too. Maybe your kids will be going back to school too and then you can devote more time to writing. So with that, I am looking forward to my writing career and will forge ahead with writing, hopefully something meaningful and that has a point to it. Good luck on your writing journey too. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

My Birthday Wish!


Today is my birthday and I thought of my wish and the genie from Aladdin came to mind. Then I thought of Robin Williams. I was devastated when he died, but I can understand because I too suffer from mental issues. 

But anyway, I thought of my birthday wish and have one stored for when I blow my candles out. I know this sounds silly, but when I went online I was looking at my books that I've read, my list on Goodreads and the second book I clicked on, the book was published on July 17th, my birthday. The book was The Unquiet, by Jeannine Garsee. Go ahead and check if you want to see. I never look at my past books. This was the very first time. What prompted me was a question on my writing site, AbsoluteWrite: What’s the first novel you ever read? First thought was Anne Rice. I was thinking The Tale of the Body Thief, but I later figured out that it was The Vampire Lestat afterward. This got me wanting to look at my list. When I saw when The Unquiet was published and on my birthday date, I was like: that is a sign! But a sign of what?

How weird is that to see a book published on your birthday date? Wild huh?  And it’s your birthday???

So I thought about what this sign could mean.

It first started out with my wish, then Robin Williams helping me I think. I imagine Robin Williams helping out people with mental illness. Like he has to help others in need like him as a penance before he becomes an angel and goes to heaven. This is how I think, but I could be totally wrong. Anyone that kills themselves I don't think they go to hell, they can't! Some of them are the best of people. There's a greater job for them. I feel like Robin Williams may be helping me in some way. Like keep going, maybe you too can have a published book...and on your birthday too! hahaha. That would be wild. 

So this is what I've learned. Keep going! Without revealing what my birthday wish is exactly, I think most people can figure that one out. I’m going to keep believing in my dream. I’m ready to keep pushing myself.  I’ve been in a slump for so long (2 months) ouch! It’s time to make my wish come true and to keep believing in myself as you should believe too. If you believe you can write and get your book published, then you should keep believing in the dream until it comes true. Perseverance is key, I always say! Write on!

I sincerely hope for those of you that are in a writing slump too, that this will pep you up. I know how rejections can get you completely down. It’s stalled me for a long while. Even having kids was easier for me, writing is the hardest thing. But since that passion has never died, I will continue to embrace it and carry on. 

First and foremost I pray that my kids live a long and prosperous life, but one day a year I have a wish for myself. Here's hoping it will come true! lol 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Updated list of Advance Paying YA Publishers Accepting Unagented Submissions

Updated list of Advance Paying YA Publishers Accepting Unagented Submissions

There have been some changes to the list that I made back in July of 2013.

Updates:

Sourcebooks is no longer taking unagented submissions

Soho Press is no longer taking unagented submissions

Spencer Hill Press: There have been complaints from authors not getting paid. More info on AbsoluteWrite in the bewares forum

Kensington: Is no longer taking YA fiction

Below is an updated list with new publishers added, like Sky Pony.  
RII: Responds if interested. All pay advances. 

MeritPress: This is a newer imprint by F&W Media. It’s been thriving pretty well in actual book stores and libraries. Does hardcover. This is from my own findings.

SkyPony: This is a newer imprint by Skyhorse Publishing.  In book stores and libraries. Does hardcover


AlbertWhitman: Is now taking email submissions. In book stores and libraries. RII

Capstone: Switch is their YA fiction imprint. RII

Charlesbridge:  Now accepting email submissions for YA. RII

Allen and Unwin: An Australia publisher RII

Quirk: in book stores and libraries. Peculiar Children series

ArthurA. Levine: Query, first 2 chapters, and a synopsis (summary of the beginning, middle and end)

Polis: RII

Entangled: Mainly romance, but accepts sub-genres like paranormal and mystery/suspense.

PelicanBook Group: has an imprint Watershed for YA. Christian publisher

Update 6/21/2016

Page Street Publishing: Is now accepting YA Fiction submissions. Distributed by Macmillan. Looks promising!


This list is certainly not exhaustive. There are lots more publishers out there, and that offer advances. Research is key. Remember to check AbsoluteWrite in the bewares forums for more info. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Challenge Yourself

The publishing industry is a very hard nut to crack. I’ve been doing this for years and it definitely has its ups and downs. The most rewarding thing is to get praise for your work, whatever that may be, whether it’s an article, or poem or a full length novel.

I think the challenges are what you put yourself through. It’s how high do you want to go? What are your goals on becoming a published author? Nowadays anyone can publish anything. There are several different ways you can go from posting things online to having a paperback of your own work in your hands.

I’m constantly moving the bar around, to see how far I can go. Although, I’m inching my way upward, it’s an uphill battle. It gets harder with each step. The rejections might play a big role on your advancements. If you’re getting nothing but rejections, it’s even harder to move forward. At times it’s like you’re hitting a brick wall. Some people don’t make it. Some people have it really easy. I can’t compare myself to them. I can only compare myself to me and only me. Here’s the thing. Back to rejections. They can suck the life out of you and cause you to stop writing all together.

Whatever you do, do NOT stop writing. If you love writing, then write. No matter how many rejections you receive, never let anyone take your writing ability away from you. You don’t necessarily have to get published. Maybe that’s not your journey. But don’t cut writing out of your life completely because you feel like a failure. Writing is a great mental exercise and it will keep you healthy!!! Think of it that way.

It really depends on how far you want to go with your writing. It’s always good to challenge yourself. Keep going. There will be so many stumbling blocks along the way, but it will help you become a better writer.


It’s good to set goals in writing. I will write 500 words a day for 3 months. That would be a lot of word power built up right there. I will write in my journal every day. I will write a poem a week. Anything. The goals are limitless. Don’t limit yourself because you feel like you’re not moving forward. You are in your writing. Always remember that.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Update on my Writing

I have a few novels on submission and while I wait, of course the best thing to do is write. And that’s what I’ve been doing and I’m pretty proud of myself that I got up to 22K in my word count. I’ve always been a pantser and write whatever comes to mind. Usually I’m thinking one scene ahead. I have an idea about the ending, but it’s still unclear as to how it’s going to go down.

I keep telling myself I will outline, but for me, it’s better to just keep writing. I’m realizing when I hit a wall something is wrong and I have to go back. And I do. Sometimes I work on something completely different. I think that also helps get the ideas going again.

It’s a YA horror novel and right now, it’s really suspenseful. I’m trying to hold that suspense up, slowly taking it to a higher level of intensity. It’s proving to be difficult, but it’s fun and I like what I have so far. It definitely gets your mind off of the submission wait time.

I’m excited to see where this one goes. And of course I am hopeful it will one day see the light and get published. It’s a dream to have all my work published. But even if I could have just one really good one out of the bunch, I would be very happy with that too.


So I guess what I’m trying to say is keep working on the dream. It will never die as long as you keep it alive and going. Perseverance really is key.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Find Time to Write

It’s funny, sometimes when your life becomes hectic, it’s a good time to write. Honestly, what’s happening right now in my life is a whirlwind of things. Today my son is going to Italy to study abroad. And tomorrow is my daughter’s nineteenth birthday. It’s been chaotic around the house with my son packing and my daughter going to school and work. I am so very proud of them both.

I was finally able to pull myself away from my last novel , which is completed and I am querying agents at the moment. But after researching and submitting and all that jazz, things die down and eventually you have to pick up writing again while you wait on submission. The wait time can be excruciating so putting yourself back into a novel is always a good thing. It will help you get your mind off of your latest novel. Also if you find yourself very busy too, with life in general, working and paying the bills and being with your kids or just doing other things, you can still find time to write. I know that was a long sentence wasn’t it? But the point I’m trying to make, is make time for writing too. Lately, I’ve been getting up early, before everyone wakes up and write as the darkness of day turns into light. Or you can maybe write during twilight times? Or maybe your lunch break. Find the time. It’s so rewarding to get so much out of your mind when you do.

I know it’s easier said than done. But once you get into the habit of it, you will find a good rhythm for yourself and the writing will come easy. Even if the writing is not your very best, try to continue writing anyway. And whatever you do, try not to linger on every word and sentence. This will drag your writing down and may stall you completely. If you can just get the bones of writing down on paper, you are way ahead of the game. I know writer’s block can be a problem for a lot of people, myself included. But there are lots of ways to kick-start your writing again. The key is writing every day and with some discipline along the way too.


So instead of putting it off, find time to write— even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. In time, you will have something special.