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Author: Brooke Stewart

8 Ways to get out of Your writing rut

8 Ways to get out of Your writing rut

In Minnesota winter consists of two things. Cold and snow.  So, naturally, when I have to drive out in that snowy, wintery yucky, boo-hoo-ness, I spend my ride trying to avoid two things.  Death by car crash, and getting stuck!  Fingers crossed I continue avoiding both this winter.

Though I’ve successfully avoided getting my car stuck, I have been feeling stuck in a ditch in my writing.

We’ve all been there right?  Uninspired, not sure which way to go.  Trying to plod forward but simply spinning our wheels.

If you’re stuck like me, here are some tips to get you moving again.  Are you ready?  Here comes your tow truck!

8 Ways to Get Out of Your Writing Rut

  1. Review: Our stories are big and complex, and holding all that information in your head at once is impossible. By the time you reach chapter 22 it can be hard to remember what went down in chapter 6.  Instead of forcing yourself to struggle forward take some time to look back, and reorient yourself to your story. Then, when you return to chapter 22, you’ll have the traction you need to get moving forward.
  2. Take a break: Sometimes we work on a project for so long that it becomes boring, unexciting and a chore to keep writing it.  We love it, but we don’t want to work on it. Just as in every relationship – absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So take a break!  No, not from writing entirely, but from your project.  Pull out a short story you’ve put on the back burner.  Play around with a fun writing prompt, write a book review, pen a dissertation on the medical benefits of eating snail slime.  Whatever you choose, take a few days to give your story some space.  Make it miss you, make it call you drunk at three in the morning begging for you to give it one more chance, it promises to be better this time.
  3. Skip it:  Some scenes are hard to write.  Maybe you don’t know how you want a certain scene to play out.  Maybe you can’t write such a sad scene when you are feeling so happy right now, or maybe you have zero ideas for this scene and a million for one that happens two skips down your plot road.  Whatever the reason, when you are feeling stuck you don’t have to stay put.  Jump over the scene that is giving you trouble, and come back to it later.  This strategy is particularly good during first drafts, and slightly less advisable the deeper into editing you get, but worth the risk if it gets your writing moving again.
  4. Get inspired:  Has life been dull lately?  Have you been in a rut with your routine as well as your story?  Then you my friend need some inspiration.  Read an epic book, watch a magical movie, visit a museum, or better yet go out into the world and have some adventure.  You’ll come back with new ideas and new motivation to rock your novel.
  5. Create a deadline: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the secret to getting things done is deadlines.  If you’ve got a story section that you have to work through, but desperately don’t want to, give yourself some external motivation.  Create a deadline and stick to it.  If you have to reward yourself with a shopping spree when you finish so be it.  Desperate times, desperate measures.
  6. Bring in a friend:  Authors are often so close to their stories, they can drive themselves into a writing ditch without even realizing they have.  In times like this, writing buddies and beta readers are actual lifesavers. Readers will have insights into what still needs tweaking and will have a fresh perspective a to fill your brain with new ideas.  Plus, nothing motivates you to make sure your writing is top notch like the threat of somebody else reading it, am I right?
  7. Consider why you are stuck:  Sometimes we lose our creative mojo because life is handing us a whole grove of lemon trees.  Are you stressed, grieving, depressed, lonely, angry, hurt, ill, anxious, all of the above?  As much as we wish to, we cannot always turn those emotions off when we’re writing.  Sometimes we are in a life stage where it takes all our energy just to get through our days, and there is nothing left over for our writing.  That’s okay.  You need to give yourself some grace and take care of your body and your soul first.  Then, once you’re thriving again, your writing will be too.
  8. Push Through:  Sometimes there is no magic answer to getting you out of the writing ditch, you just need to floor the gas pedal and hope you can pull yourself out.  Take away the distractions.  That’s right, your phone, internet connection, pets, windows, people, food, books….basically lock yourself in a dark room with no wifi and tell the person with the key not to let you out or feed you until you’ve finished with the scene/chapter/section you’re stuck on.    Nothing like a personal prison to stir up those creative juices.

If you’ve been feeling stuck in your writing, believe me, I feel ya.  Just like everything else in life, writing has seasons. There will be seasons where the words pour easily onto the page and others where you’re stuck in a snowbank.  The good news, at the end of the day, when that book is finished and sitting on the shelves of bookstores around the globe, readers won’t see which parts you struggled with, and which came easily.  They will only see the amazing story you’ve written.  

I hope one of these tips helps you pull out of your writing ditch.  Do you have any tips for getting out of a writers slump?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

Stay amazing my friends,

Brooke’s Best Books of 2017

Brooke’s Best Books of 2017

As promised I have also created a list of my top books of 2017.  Unlike Kayla, I had a bit of a rough reading year, spending too much time reading books I didn’t love and not reading as much as I would have liked.   Thankfully, I still met my goal of reading 40 books last year, and of those 40 I have pulled out my top 7.

Are you ready?  Can I get a drumroll?  Let’s do this.

1.) Meg by Steve Alten – This blast from the past published in 1997 was a book I randomly found while looking up titles similar to Jurassic Park.  If you checked out my 2016 list you’ll know I’m a sucker for dinosaurs, and dinosaur sharks have twice as much to love.  Seriously, just look at that cover, how could I not read this book.  Despite there being some serious misunderstandings about sharks being mindless killers (but hey, it was the 90s) this book was a wild adventure that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering who would be eaten next.  It also ended with a major cliffhanger, so be prepared for me to gush about the sequels in 2018.  Read if you love suspense, sharks, or deep sea exploration.

2.) The Reckoners Series by Brandon Sanderson – This three book series was superheroes meets future dystopian society.  Sanderson, a master of characters, created a diverse cast of individuals who were witty, smart and each amazing in their own way.  This series is also one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to.  MacLeod Andrews was outstanding, bringing these already fantastic characters to life.  Though this series is technically under the middle-grade genre, it is well up to the task of wowing adult readers who are kids at heart.  Read if you love action, plot twists, or laughing.

3.) The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson – This nonfiction title came to me at the perfect time over the summer.  2017 was a year filled with many different challenges in my personal life and this novel about persistence in prayer and the faith to dream big dreams has given me lasting encouragement. Read if you have big dreams, love being inspired or need a pep talk.

4.) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – This book is living proof that romance can be well written and about so much more than just the hanky panky.  If you can look past the awful cover (seriously, I read this on audiobook just to avoid looking at the cover) the story inside is truly magical.  With themes about loyalty, persistence and being loved despite your flaws, it will have you swooning over the male lead and dreaming about moving to a farm.  I will note that the beginning of this book is a bit slow (and the whole book is loooong) but once you get into the story you won’t want to stop.  Read if you love historical fiction, traumatic backstories, or romance.

5.) Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake –  This book was so different from anything I have read.  I loved the universe the story was set in and was fascinated by the concept.  If you are a fan of dark fantasy I would recommend you give this book a try.  Read if you love female leads, magical powers, or political power plays.

6.) 59 Seconds: Think a little, Change a Lot By Richard Wiseman – Another nonfiction novel this is the love child of a psychology textbook, a self-help book and Ripley’s Believe it or not.   Full of tricks to help improve everything from your creativity to your parenting you will enjoy the clever life hacks as well as the fascinating psychological studies.  Plus, the audiobook version is read by a man with a very appealing English accent as an extra bonus.  Read if you love your brain, self-improvement or sexy British men.

7.) The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling – If you are a Harry Potter fan and haven’t read this yet shame on you.  This was the first thing I read in 2017 (I waited until I received the book for Christmas to read it) and I loved it.  Though it was not the 8th Harry Potter book all Potterheads dream of, it was still a fun adventure that included all my favorite characters from the Harry Potter series.  Plus it was fun to read the play script versus the typical novel format we are all familiar with. Read if you love Harry Potter, magic, or the theater.

There you have it, folks.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Kayla’s top 10 books here.  Hopefully, between our two lists, you’ll find some new books to love this year.  Happy reading and happy writing!  Be sure to tell us about your best reads in the comments.

Stay Amazing My Friends,

How to Fill Plot Holes

How to Fill Plot Holes

As much as I am in love with my current work in progress, I am aware that it has a few major problems.  This novel truly is my tester novel, where I am making every writer mistake out there from spending too long on the first draft to under-developed characters to impressively poor world building.

Now that you all want to hire me to market your novels as well as I am marketing mine let’s continue.

I have learned so much from making these mistakes, and though it is taking me some time to work through this novel, I know it will be worth it in the end

My most recent round of editing has focused on filling potholes

I mean, plot holes….see what I did there?..?..?  Okay, moving on.

Since I initially wrote this story without an outline (big no-no, I would not recommend this) my plot was holier than a nun at a golf course.  There were small plot holes, large plot holes, confusing plot holes and plot holes with the potential to turn into plot twists.  

After navigating the treacherous plot road of my novel and carefully filling all the holes I could spot, I’ve learned quite a few techniques that I want to pass on to you wonderful readers.

Plot Hole Filling Step One:  Know where you want to go – Since I was a silly goose and wrote my first draft without an outline before I could begin filling plot holes, I had to know what my plot actually was.  This meant I needed to make an outline.  As Kayla wrote about in a recent post my first outline was a rather magical moment in my writing journey.  For the first time, I laid out my entire story from beginning to end.  The path between points wasn’t always clear, but with the outline I at least knew what the important points were, and could proceed to fill in the gaps along the way.  This step should ideally be done before you draft, but hey, nobody’s perfect right.  If you were a responsible writer who created an outline before typing out your manuscript it is still good to go back and review your outline once draft one is on the page.  You’ll be surprised how much things have changed.

Plot Hole Filling Step Two:  Know what you wrote – Now that you know where your story should go, you need to read to find out where your story did go.  Though time-consuming, my favorite way of doing this is to simply read my rough draft…twice.  The first read through I do not make any notes, I simply read and absorb, then the second read through, once I have the grand arch, of my story fresh in my mind I’ll make notes like there is no tomorrow with all the little, medium, and big problems I see.  This step helps me identify the plot holes.  If I just jumped right into plot hole filling without reading my draft first, it’s likely I would just create a bigger mess than I started with.  Which, let’s be honest, would be impressive – but sad.

Plot Hole Filling Step Three:  What’s causing the hole? – Now that you can see clearly where your plot holes are in your story, you need to determine what is causing the hole.  There are many different types of plot holes.

  • Character inconsistencies:  This can be anything from your MC being blonde in the beginning and a ginger at the end, or something more serious like your MC changing personalities halfway through.  Throughout the whole story your character needs to behave in a way that is true to them.  Yes, they can grow and change, but these changes should be evident to the reader throughout the process of the novel.  To fill these holes you’ll need a strong sense of who each character is (and what they look like).  You can then begin combing through the story and make sure your characters are doing things because that’s who they are and not just because it is convenient to the plot.  
  • Dropped Themes:  It can take a long time to write a book, and throughout that time you might forget that you started a theme then never followed through on it.  Perhaps you introduced a shadowy figure in chapter two, and then forgot they were going to attack your MC before the final battle scene.  Or maybe you wanted to play with how birth order affects a person’s personality, but never managed to fully flesh out the idea.  Cut out the themes that no longer seem relevant and tie in the themes you want to keep all the way through
  • Universal Law Breaking:  The universe your story takes place in has basic laws, but sometimes those don’t help move your plot forward.  For example, when writing about werewolves in my current WIP it made my plot more exciting if my characters couldn’t remember what happened to them when they turned into wolves, but the universe I set up also has the wolves keep their human spirits while in wolf form, making it unlikely that they wouldn’t remember what happened when they were wolves.  So I had to decide to change my universe’s laws, or change the storyline to work with my werewolves remembering their shifting nights.
  • Timeline Inconsistencies:  Again, this is a big one for me as my story is told from multiple perspectives, and also pays close attention to the phases of the moon.  I need to make sure the full moon comes after the first quarter, and that two weeks pass before the new moon.  Plus, when I’m chilling with my male MC on Monday, and can’t suddenly jump back to Sunday to talk about what my female MC was up to.  This is where my outline really helps.
  • Continuity:  This is the grab bag for the rest of things. Maybe you said your characters live on the south side of town, but then they always walk east to get home.  Maybe the math teacher is named Mr. Bog in the beginning, and Mrs. Bellpepper at the end.  All these little inconsistencies can easily be cleaned up once you identify them.  For my story, I’ve created a master list of characters, so I always know who’s who, as well as a map of the town so it is easier for me to describe my characters movements.

Sometimes identifying plot holes can be hard for an author to do on their own.  Beta-readers are an essential part in identifying your plot holes, however, they will be much more effective if you utilize them after you’ve done your best to eliminate all the plot holes you can find.  Otherwise, they might disappear into your oversized plot holes never to return.

 

Plot Hole Filling Step 4: Fill those holes  – Now that you know what your plot should be, and what is causing your plot holes you need to fill them.  I highly recommend doing this in stages, starting out with themes and characters, and finishing with timeline and continuity.  Each hole will take a variable amount of work to fill, but believe me the deeper the plot hole, the more satisfying it is to finally get it patched up.

 

Getting the plot of my novel right has been a huge ordeal for me (one that would have been somewhat avoided by having an outline) but I could not be happier with the progress I’ve made.  I am so excited about where my story is going and cannot wait to share it with all of you.

I hope your writing is going well.  Remember no matter how rough your story currently is, if you have the passion and determination you will someday turn it into a beautiful gem. When you do be sure to let me know, cause I’d love to read it.

Stay Amazing my friends

 

Fear of the Filled Page

Fear of the Filled Page

One of the most common fears a writer can have is fear of the blank page.  The stomach clenching, heart racing, sweaty palms fear that comes with the pressure of literally taking nothing and turning it into something.  It can strike at any time, trying to write an e-mail to your mother-in-law or while penning the draft of your 23rd novel.  Hopefully, many of you have been kicking this fear to the curb during NaNoWriMo, and have now filled all those blank pages with wonderful words.  Sadly, as writer’s, this fear of the blank page is just the first step in a long line of anxieties.  Now that we are stepping out of the drafting stage and into the editing stage, it is time for a new fear to take hold:  Fear of the filled page.

Fear of the filled page is the opposite of fear of the blank page.  A draft has been written,  a sketch has been drawn, or a painting has been made at one of those fancy wine and canvas nights (I am not artsy you guys and that is the most creative I get outside of writing), now you are faced with the challenge of taking that draft/sketch/not sure if you had too much wine or too little wine painting, and turning it into something worthwhile.

Anybody can put something on the blank page.  I could type for days, rambling on about pretty much any subject.  The hard part is taking that and making it into something people actually want to read or look at.

I believe this is also the root cause of fear of the blank page, many authors think their first draft needs to be beautiful, polished and ready for the world.  I have a secret for you, lean in super close…closer – seriously put your nose against the screen so you can hear me whisper this – FIRST DRAFTS DON’T NEED TO BE GOOD.

Sorry, I’m not sorry that I just yelled in your ear.

So that probably wasn’t a secret, but it is a truth that writers who fear the blank page need to remember.  If you find yourself stuck behind a writer’s block, chances are it’s because you are too concerned with writing something good, and not just writing something.

Most of the time, I can keep this perspective while writing a first draft.  The blank page is full of dreams and possibilities.  I can put anything on that page and nobody has to see it except for me.  Sometimes I love this process so much that I will write out scenes for my stories, that I know would never happen.  This usually involves steamy make-out sessions that lead to teen pregnancy and twin unicorn babies being born who will one day grow up to save China or something of the like. Sometimes I don’t even put these ideas into writing, but I will draft them out in my head, pretending the characters I already know and love would fall into that situation.  I know it is wrong for my characters and my story, but gosh darn it if it isn’t fun to imagine.

Where I struggle, is editing my draft.  Currently, I am in the third round of revisions on my novel and the first round of revisions on a short story. The process has seriously been crippling my writing.  Suddenly the words are clogged up, my ideas feel stale and my fingers hover above the keyboard too terrified to type because now they don’t have the freedom to put whatever they fancy on the page.

It should be easy. I should be able to patiently wade through the brutal first draft, making steady improvements. But I can’t! I want to take my caterpillar of a first draft and BOOM make it a butterfly, skipping the slow, steady, and BORING cocoon stage.  But, of course, that doesn’t work.  Sigh.

So how do we keep our fears of the filled page in check during the editing process?

  1. Edit in stages:  Just like you can’t write a perfect draft all at once, you can’t fix everything all at once either.  Start by editing one thing, plot, characters, and pacing are all good starting places.  If you improve just one thing on every round of edits you’ll avoid becoming overwhelmed and rage quitting on editing altogether.
  2. Get some help:  Writers, though solitary by nature, need buddies.  Find someone who will encourage you and point you in the correct direction when you lose your way.  It also helps to have a devoted fan.  Find someone who will only tell you positive things about your work, and send them sections whenever you need a boost.  They won’t help you with the fine tuning, but they will remind you that what your writing is already awesome, cause you are awesome.
  3. It’s ok if you make it worse:  Sometimes I’ll spend hours revising a scene, only to discover that my revisions are garbage.  It can be frustrating to ‘waste’ time this way, but often times the only way to know which path to take is by taking the wrong one first.  If your rewrites take you in the wrong direction that’s ok, you can rewrite it again.  Just as first drafts don’t need to be perfect, neither do your revision drafts.
  4. Take a break:  When editing gets you down it is ok to take a day, or a week working on something new.  I love jotting down a short story or typing up a blog post to refresh my creativity while I am in the editing trenches.  This mini timeout is usually the boost I need to push through an editing roadblock.

As both Kayla and I have discussed, writing is scary and every writer is going to struggle with different fears at different times.  More than that life is scary too (germs, dinosaurs and having to do my own taxes are some of my big non-writing fears) but we can’t let our fears keep us from living our lives, and living out our dreams.

What’s something scary that you have to do this week?  What can you do to make that task less intimidating?  As hard as editing is, it is a necessary step towards completing your novel.  Keep your chin up, your book is going to be fabulous.

Stay Amazing my Friends.

Writing Rules with guest writer Katie Zezulka

Writing Rules with guest writer Katie Zezulka

Big news guys!  Silversky Press in debuting our first ever guest post!  Introducing Katie Zezulka, here to shed some truth on the “writing rules” you think you need to follow, but really don’t.  Katie has been writing for 15 years (wowza that is a long time) and spends most of her time in the romance genre, though she also loves a good fanfic piece.  You can find some of her fanfiction here and you can check her out on facebook here.  Bonus, she’s also got a short story in the works that she will be sharing soon.

Now without further preamble, check out what Katie has to say about the Writing Rules!

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You can find rules about writing everywhere. Numerous authors and writing sites have lists of their top ten. They proclaim right and wrong, black and white as if writing isn’t a deeply personal experience. My list of writing rules is a little different because when it comes to writing there aren’t any rules! I am going to give you a list of common (and mythical!) rules and tell you why I don’t think they work.


  • False rule: If you want to improve your writing, write every day
  • Actual rule: Write when you can, and you will get better

You don’t need to write every day to be successful. I attended a conference a few years back and the speaking author, Anne Ursu, was asked if she writes every day. She responded no. She said some days, if she didn’t feel like writing, she would do other needed things, such as cleaning or laundry. That way, when she had inspiration, there was nothing stopping her.

That spoke to me. I completed NaNoWriMo and I did write every day that month, but I remember one day when I wrote maybe 60 words in half an hour. That is two words a minute people.

I can’t tell you how many times I have sat staring at a blank screen because I had nothing to say. It would have been more helpful to do the chores that needed to be done. That way, when the words were flowing from my fingertips I wouldn’t have to stop to wash the dishes or throw in a load of laundry.

This isn’t to say you should never sit there and make yourself write. That will happen more than you want to admit, but occasionally real life rears its head, so don’t beat yourself up. You can always write tomorrow when you might not have the urge to toss your computer out the window. Also, maybe life and kids make it so you are lucky to write once a week. Then simply write once a week. Don’t feel bad, you are already writing so much more than most people do.

You are a better writer every day you write, not only when you write every day.


  • False rule: Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialog and never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”
  • Actual rule: Don’t let your dialogue tags do all the work

Okay, this one has some logic behind it, but it is a simple, lazy way of preventing you from being lazy. Here’s what I mean.

“Don’t you dare walk away from me!” she screamed angrily.

“And don’t think you can tell me what to do,” he laughed back.

Now read this one.

She stomped her foot angrily. “Don’t you dare walk away from me,” she said.

Turning around he smiled at the sight of her standing there with a scowl and her hands planted on her hips.

“And don’t think you can tell me what to do,” he said.

The humor in his tone made her glare.

The idea is that when you use “said” you have to use actions as well. You have to show that she is angry, rather than just saying it. That leads to better writing. Show not tell and all that good stuff.

This is one of those rules that, once you understand it, can be broken. Of course, there are conditions to breaking this rule. The main one being keep your characters busy. Keep them moving and gesturing while they talk.

She stomped her foot angrily. “Don’t you dare walk away from me!” she raged.

Turning around he smiled at the sight of her standing there with a scowl and her hands planted on her hips.

“And don’t you think you can tell me what to do,” he retorted, the humor in his tone making her glare.

The second and third versions are basically the same except for the dialog tags. Keep characters moving and your writing can be great without using said a dozen times each page.


  • False rule: You need an outline before you start writing
  • Actual rule: Do whatever it takes to write the first draft

Here it is, the pantser vs planner debate. As a pantser I can guarantee whoever made this rule must have been a planner. I’m sure of it.

When I go into a piece, I do it with an idea, a few characters, and perhaps a setting. Nothing drawn out and nothing written down. Just bits in my head. A lot of the time I start with a scene somewhere in the middle and work from there. That works for me. I tried planning one year for NaNoWriMo and by the time I got to writing the story it wasn’t long enough and I got bored. I simply didn’t care about it anymore. As a result, I never finished it.

If you pants your work you should be prepared to do massive revisions not needed by planners. Your timeline might not add up and you might realize who your character is halfway through. You might even decide to chuck half the novel and rewrite it.

In the end, if having an outline works for you do that. If you want to go in with a single line of speech that is fine too.


  • False rule: The first draft of a book – even a long one – should take no more than 3 months, the length of a season
  • Actual rule: The first draft of a book should take as much time as needed – as long as you FINISH

The fact of the matter is a book is going to take however long it takes. Not everyone has the time to devote to writing an 80k word manuscript in 90 days. Also, not everyone writes in the same way.

The point of this rule is to not get hung up on things, but I would rather spend more time on something and have it be something I am proud of.

Still, always remember if you never finish a first draft you will never have a story you can do anything with. Spend the time you need shoveling sand in for the first draft, but you do need to finish shoveling if you’re ever going to build the castle. Make that the goal rather than giving yourself a timeline.


  • False rule: Work on one thing at a time until it is finished. Start no more new books
  • Actual rule: Be careful that voice, character, setting, etc. are unique to each story. Make sure nothing blends from one story to another

Like all rules, this one has a method to the madness. First off, it encourages you to finish what you start so you won’t have 3 dozen stories saved on your computer like some people do, cough me, cough cough.

Another thing it does is help prevent your characters and settings from bleeding together. If you have three stories going on at once that means at least three main characters and three different settings. You want each of your characters from different stories to stand out and be individuals. With so many main characters things can start to get fuzzy. It can be hard to keep straight which story has a woman seeking her dream job and which has a woman doing everything she can to hide from a traumatic past.

But sometimes I need a break from a story so I move on. Other times I am stuck and want to actually accomplish something, so I go to a story I do have ideas for. Or maybe I just wrote a really hard, heartbreaking scene and I need something light-hearted to distract me.  Find the right balance for you, Work on as many things as you feel you can, trying your best to actually finish what you start.

Final words of caution. It can be dangerous to follow every little plot bunny that hops by. Make note of plot bunnies for other stories somewhere, and only go deeper if you really have to. Also, you should avoid jumping around too much. Don’t work on more than one story in a day, and certainly don’t hop around during a single writing session. My advice is to take a break with something new when you need it, but never forget where you were. Always go back to your work in progress because nothing is more heartbreaking than writing for years and having nothing finished to show for it.


  • False rule: Write in the 3rd person unless a really distinctive 1st person voice offers itself irresistibly
  • Actual Rule: Tell the story how you think it needs to be told. No one knows it better than you do

It is easier to tell a story in 3rd person. You never have to worry about the reader not knowing things because the main character doesn’t know them. Still, sometimes, to find the right way to tell a story you have to try different angles. I have one piece I have rewritten twice, or maybe it was three times. I tried it in 3rd person and then in 1st person from two different characters.

My issue with this rule is that sometimes it isn’t clear how best to tell the story. Unless you play around with it you could miss something amazing.


  • False rule: If it is boring to you it is boring to your reader
  • Actual rule: You might need a beta reader to determine if your story needs some extra spice

You will reach a point where you wonder if your story is boring, or if the emotional scenes fall flat. You wrote it. You have read it countless times. Don’t even try to guess how many times it has played in your mind, because it is probably a million. You know who is going to die and that the shy kid in the back is going to save the day. You know the villain shows his heart of gold by the end, and you know who gets the girl. You are too close to guess how someone else is going to view your story. Good news! Beta readers are here to help with just that. Find a beta who reads your genre and let them take a look. Only by handing your story to a few pairs of fresh eyes will you know if it needs a little more zing.

Here are the “rules” you need to follow. Do what it takes to get yourself to write. If you want the TV on playing a movie on repeat for 3 days (me) great. If you want to write while listening to opera wearing some headphones to block out the real world, go for it. Face a blank white wall or stare out a window. Use a typewriter or a pen and paper. Write love stories or horror stories or children’s board books. Write every lunch break or maybe just Saturday morning while the kids watch cartoons. Wear a Santa hat or just your underwear. Use the word said or the word shouted. Write from any point of view. Write from EVERY point of view. Take a week to write a story or a decade. What matters is that it works for you. Nothing more and nothing less.

Thanks for reading our first guest post!  And a huge thank you to Katie for writing it!  Keep writing friends, we believe in you!

 

Writing Takes Courage

Writing Takes Courage

This year I did something really crazy.  I published my first e-book.  It’s a short story titled “Expiration Date” you can find it here .  The first few hours after officially putting this story out there to the world I was excited.  I am officially a published author – self-publishing e-books is so simple – yay go me.

Then fear set in.

Why did I just do that?  What if the story wasn’t ready?  I know my story could have been better, I should have waited.  What will people think when they read this?  What if they think I’m weird?  What if they don’t want to read anything I write ever again?  What if they laugh at the typos I didn’t catch?  What if what if what if!

What’s funny is I’m not afraid of the criticism of strangers, we live in a judgemental world, and I know some people will hate my story and be mean enough to tell me about their dislike in a rude way.  I know I’ve done it before.  It’s easy to forget that behind every story good or bad there is an author who worked super hard and loves that story and feels heartbroken every time somebody insults it.  If I’m an author and forget this, how much easier is it for those that don’t write to forget this.

Much worse than a stranger’s criticism is the thought of having my close friends and family read my story.  These are people who know me, who I see on a regular basis.  I’m not worried about their insults, I’m worried about their hidden thoughts.  They may tell me my story is great while laughing at me on the inside.   What if they think I’m incredibly immature because of my ideas, or think my romance scenes are pathetic, or overall are just disappointed in me and think it’s cute that I’m interested in this writing thing but don’t think I’ll ever become a “real author”.

I know, a lot of those thoughts are a little dramatic, but I’m a writer, being dramatic is what I do.  

I wish I had a magic solution to this problem of fear.  I think all authors and all artists struggle with it.  Sadly, I don’t think we will ever get over our fear completely, but it never hurts to throw a little reason into the fear tornado either.

So next time you are afraid of what people will think of your writing, remember these things:

  1. Not everybody is a writer – They will be proud of you just for trying, and they won’t see all the flaws as clearly as you do, because it’s not how they are wired.  Just like if you don’t play sports you can’t tell an ok player from a great player, or if you don’t paint you can’t see the flaws in an artists technique the same goes for writing/reading.  Non-writers won’t notice the flaws in your story so don’t stress about it.
  2. You can learn a lot from failure – I published this book as an experiment, and in some ways, it’s good if I fail – because I can learn from it.  I intentionally didn’t spend an excessive amount of time on this story because I wanted to get it out there.  If you are going to fail, do it fast so you can get closer to success.
  3. Your friends and family love you – if the people in my life are going to secretly judge me behind my back then I haven’t picked very good people to share life with.  Knowing my friends and family they probably won’t have a single negative thought about anything because they love me and will be blinded to errors in my story by that love.
  4. This story doesn’t define you – This is my first published work!  If it stinks and gets terrible feedback that doesn’t say anything about me as a person or a writer.  I am always growing and changing, so what I send out into the world on one day cannot define me the next.  Just as the outcome of your first t-ball game doesn’t define what sort of baseball player you’ll be, neither does your first book.

I’ve been using these arguments to work up the courage to shout from the mountaintops that I’ve published an e-book and I’m charging money for people to read it because I take myself and my art seriously.  But the fear is still there.

That’s the thing about fear – it’ll always be there.  At some point, we have to have the courage to kick fear aside and do what needs to be done.

This whole post I’ve wanted to make excuses for my work in case it’s bad, but that’s not how you sell a story.  I loved writing this short, I think it is a fun and exciting tale that will leave you thinking. So I’m going to stand up for it.  This is an awesome story that I think you should read!  So feel free to buy it here, here and here 😉

Stay Amazing my Friends,

Love, Hate and Guilt

Love, Hate and Guilt

Summer has been crazy. You might have noticed Kayla and I have been a bit behind on our blog posts and for that we sincerely apologize. We do have some super exciting things coming up including a guest post and a “How To” on writing female characters! While getting these posts edited I was digging through my blog drafts and found this beauty that suffered the pitfalls of the editing spiral. I have rescued it from that dangerous whirlpool just for you all, feel free to applaud.

We’ve posted a lot of writer advice lately, which means it was high time for some fun, and what is more fun than talking about story elements that we love and story elements that we hate and story elements that we shouldn’t love but do. Not sure which is more fun to discuss, so here are my top three loves, hates and guilty pleasures when reading books.

Loves

1.) Romance: I love a good romance, where the characters are perfect for each other, when they pine after each other, help each other, rescue each other, and are better because of each other. There is a very fine line here where the romance gets too cheesy, or too unrealistic or just plain desperate, but when it is done right it is amazing and gets me every time.
2.) Fantasy: One of my favorite things about reading and writing is how it gives us all the ability to live lives we never will, or never could, live in the real world. When I read I want to be transported to a storyline that I couldn’t experience outside the pages of a book. Fantasy is the easiest way to do this, so I read a lot of it. But it’s not the only way. There are lots of good realistic fiction and even nonfiction books that can do the same. But the fantastic elements such as dragons and wizards and unicorns are always my favorite.
3.) Humor: I love unexpected humor in a book, those funny characters that brighten up a really serious scene, or books that don’t take themselves too seriously and allow their characters and worlds to be caricatures instead of real people. Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter, The Martian, and pretty much every book I’ve read by Janet Evanovich are like this. With these books I’m not looking to gain some deeper knowledge about the world, I’m getting a quick and easy read that is an awesome adventure. This is also a good reminder to me as a writer to lighten up a bit. We don’t all have to write the next great American (or any other country) classic. Sometimes we can write purely for entertainment leaving behind all of the rules and just having fun!

Hates

1.) Love Triangles: These have not only been overdone, but they have been overdone poorly. Not only are love triangles unrealistic – what person in their right minds spends all of their efforts fighting over a person who can’t properly reciprocate their feelings of devotion – but they kind of make the feminist within me mad. It is almost always a girl in the middle of a love triangle with the males fighting over her like she is property. Newsflash, if you can’t pick one man, then probably neither of them is who you really want to be with and you can find someone better. Cut your losses and move on, you are better than this. Sorry, that got kind of ranty. I have read a few books that had done love triangles in a way I can tolerate, but in most cases I dislike them and have even stopped reading books because I saw a love triangle developing (I also hate these because the plot will revolve around the triangle and a love triangle does not a plot make). I know some people find love triangles romantic and wonderful and that is totally fine, they are just not for me.
2.) Descriptions that Don’t match Actions: This relates to characters in a book and how they are described. I really, really hate when a character is described as being super smart and thoughtful, but then spends the whole book making stupid choices. Or when characters are said to be confident, but then spend the whole book questioning their choices. I understand characters can change, but in the stories I’m talking about there is no progression. They are just described one way and then act another. I recently read this one book, that had this amazing plot and storyline and pretty much every element I love in a book, but the main character was described completely in contrast to how she acted. She was said to be a thoughtful, rational person who had been super sneaky and spent the past five years going full Mulan and posing as a soldier in the king’s army. But then, when her story began she immediately began making rash decisions and stupidly revealing herself as a girl to everyone she met. A character who had successfully lied about who she was for five years would not have made those choices! Grr, inconsistencies.
3.) Suspense Driven Plots- with no suspense: Ok, this is hard to summarize, but I went through a long streak this winter picking books that had this problem. It goes like this, a new boy moves into town he is mysterious and maybe a bit dangerous. The heroine is inexplicably (and I mean inexplicably) drawn to him he pushes her away at first but little by little she chips away at him. The whole time she is aware that something is off with him, he can do things regular people can’t do. And even though she knows he is bad news she continues to pursue him anyway. Then at the very end, when she finally gets a little self-esteem and demands to know what is going on, she discovers that her love interest is a werewolf or vampire or alien or fill in the blank. Now, I am aware this is a story trope, and on the surface it’s not too bad (besides the female character usually being a super obnoxious mary sue). My real hatred of this story is it takes the entire book for the heroine to figure out the male is a mythical character, but if the reader has done so much as look at the cover or, heaven forbid, read the back of the book they already know this. So, the reader is forced to endure endless pages of the female wondering what this male character is when they already know! It is supposed to be suspenseful and dramatic, but when the reader knows they are reading a vampire novel it is just boring and annoying. If the author had done this whole dance in the first three chapters of the book that would be fine, we could move on and enter into an interesting story right away instead of wasting an entire book just setting up the premise that a human and a fantasy being have fallen in love.

Guilty Pleasures

1.) Attractive Characters: I have probably been brainwashed by Hollywood, but I really enjoy reading about characters who are attractive. Even if a character is described as less than sexy, in my mind I always picture someone pleasant looking. I don’t love when everyone is described as perfection with super model builds, but I don’t mind when every character in a story is appealing with nice hair and a pretty smile. I know characters are supposed to be flawed, realistic and relatable and all that jazz, but I’m superficial and I like pretty things. Feel free to judge me.
2.) Happy Endings: I am a sap for a happy ending, even in a story that doesn’t need one. I also looove a good epilogue. I don’t want to be left hanging to imagine what happened to the characters after the book ends, I want to know how the author envisioned their happily ever after. I understand when books have sad or even neutral endings and I don’t hate it (unless the author does it literally for no reason besides shock value) and I can even enjoy a tragic ending when it really adds meaning to the story, but I almost always prefer a happy ending.
3.) Sequels, Sagas, and Series: These aren’t really bad things, they are just becoming a new norm, especially in YA fiction, which makes them sort of cliche and of course can get over done. But when authors write a good book, with great characters and keep coming up with different plot elements that work I love love love series. Once I am attached to a character I never want a story to end, and I would pretty much read about those characters mowing their lawns if that’s what the author wrote about.

What about you? What story elements do you love, hate, and hate to love? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Stay Amazing my Friends,

Boost Your Creativity

Boost Your Creativity

I love psychology.  The brain is the most fascinating thing, it encompasses our thoughts and emotions and has the capacity to think about itself, which is pretty cool.  In another dimension, I would be a psychologist.  In this one, I’d be too busy creating characters based on my therapy patients #youknowyoureawriterwhen

Recently, I have been listening to the audiobook “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change A Lot” by Richard Wiseman (what a great name for a psychologist turned author).  It is all about easy things we can do to trick our brains into doing what we want them to do.  There are chapters on happiness, persuasion, romance and even creativity.    My Favorite nuggets of wisdom from Sir Wiseman were the tips for boosting creativity.  They were too good not to share on the internet.

So, next time you are in a writing rut, don’t know how to get your characters to do what you want them to do, or feel uninspired test out one of these tips.

  1. Find some trees:  Apparently, humanity as a species really likes trees and shrubs.  They make us feel relaxed because trees mean food.  When your brain is relaxed it feels free to be creative and take risks!  So, for optimum creativity write in a space where you can see some trees, or go stand by a tree for a few minutes before moving inside to write.  Fake trees or pictures of trees do not work.  See how smart you are?  Only the real deal for you and your brain.
  2. Look at some art: Looking at pictures like this,where there is a pattern, that eventually gets broken gets your brain thinking more creatively.  What is super cool about this, is if you hang this picture on your wall that is enough to get the creative boost.  You don’t even have to actively look at it, it just needs to be nearby.  Going to an art gallery is also great for creativity, but for those days when you don’t have time to take an extra 9 hours to fly to Paris, hanging an image like this on the wall of your writing space will have to do.
  3. Imagine a creative stereotype:  This one is super strange.  Imagine an artist – not a specific one – a generic one.  How do they dress?  What kind of art do they make? What do they like to eat?  What is their opinion on grass fed beef?  Congratulations, you have just boosted your creativity.  Apparently, thinking about a stereotype of a creative person (musicians, nonconformists, and dancers work too) convinces your brain that you are creative like them.  You should start to feel inspired and your ideas will suddenly be more creative.  
  4. Pull Something Towards You:  We learn, almost from birth, that we pull good things close to us and push bad things away – picture a baby pulling their favorite blankey to their face while pushing away a spoonful of pureed brussel sprouts.  This creates a positive association with the motion of pulling.  Again, positive associations make you more relaxed and that helps you be more creative!  So, if you are sitting at your desk writing, take one hand and attempt to pull the desk towards you (you don’t even have to move the desk, though you could if you wanted) even though you might be slowed having to type with just one hand, it’s a great creativity boosting strategy for plot mapping, brainstorming and rut breaking.
  5. Lay Down:  This rule is my favorite, and one I have been unknowingly applying for years.  I love laying down, I would never stand up if a sedentary lifestyle wouldn’t turn me into a beached whale.  My husband always laughs at me because even if I start out places in a seated position, usually after 15 minutes I’ve somehow managed to adjust my body into a horizontal angle.  When you are standing, or sitting upright, all of your blood would want to rush downwards because of gravity.  Again, you are a smart cookie, so your brain has a mechanism that keeps your blood flowing throughout your body instead of pooling at your feet.  This mechanism is running full speed when you are standing, but turns off when you lay down.  The benefits of shutting this mechanism off are twofold.  First, your brain isn’t working so hard so it can focus on being more creative, and second, when your brain isn’t working hard it is more relaxed and at this point you should know that your creative mind likes to be relaxed.
  6. Distract You Consciousness:  Though the conscious part of my brain is definitely what I want running the show when I am in the office or doing my taxes, my consciousness isn’t the most creative part of my brain.  In creativity, the subconscious is where it is at.  Problem is, we can’t just turn our consciousness off, unless we are sleeping, and I am not the best speller in my sleep.  Thankfully, psychologists have some tips on how we can learn to listen to our subconsciousness in our waking lives.  You’ve probably experienced this, getting a great story idea in the shower or solving a plot hole on your drive to work.  This doesn’t happen just because your shower and your car have good brainwave acoustics – it happens because getting all your parts clean, and keeping your car on the road distracts your consciousness.  With your conscious thoughts distracted, your subconscious can come out to play, coming up with creative solutions your consciousness would never think of.  A good way to do this without having to drive somewhere or shower is to first give your subconscious a problem to solve i.e. how can my character who is tied up to a log, floating down a river towards a death waterfall escape this situation.  Then, stop thinking about the problem and go do an activity that requires focus, but not necessarily creative problem solving.  Go organize your books in alphabetical order, play a game of pinball on your computer or reorganize your tupperware shelf so that it doesn’t all fall out when you open the door (that actually might take too much creativity if your tupperware is as unorganized as mine).  As you do these things your subconscious will be running on the creativity treadmill and when you go back to your writing your brain might have solved the problem for you, allowing your character to remember there is a knife in his pocket that will allow him to cut the ropes and swim to safety.
  7. Cross Your Arms:  This one isn’t actually a creativity booster, instead, it is a motivation booster.  Sometimes in the middle of a writing session I will suddenly run out of juice, and even though I have ideas to write down, I suddenly don’t feel like writing anymore.  If this happens to you, try folding your arms across your chest for thirty seconds.  This body language will trick your brain into thinking you are feeling stubborn/determined and will help you find new motivation to keep writing.

 

Obviously, none of these tips are going to turn you into a creative mastermind (but you probably already are one, you just don’t know it) but, they are fun little tricks to pull out when you need that extra boost.  I’ve been working them into my writing routine, and it could just be the placebo effect talking but so far they seem to work.  

What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? What are some of your #youknowyoureawriterwhen moments?  

Stay Amazing My Friends!

5 Lies Authors Need to Stop Believing

5 Lies Authors Need to Stop Believing

As writers we all doubt ourselves from time to time.  Writing stories is hard, messy, overwhelming and overall insane.  Imagine if pregnant moms had to piece their babies together by hand, every cell, every bone, every organ and get it all in the right place – that is essentially what we as authors do.  I would totally go for growing a book in my belly and having it come out perfectly formed 9 months later.  Hmmm….interesting alternative universe idea right there.

Anyways……

Because the writing process is so difficult we start to doubt ourselves.  Can we really do this?  Are we good enough?  And we begin to believe lies about ourselves and our writing.  I am here to tell you these lies need to stop!  You, dear author, are amazing.  Your story is amazing and you can do this.  

Here are the five doubts and lies you need to stop believing so you can start loving yourself and your writing.

1.) You’re Only a Real Author/Writer if You are Published:  This lie could not be farther from the truth.  Listen to me.  If you write (once a year or once an hour) then you are a writer.  You are an author if you write.  Even the dictionary says so.  

 Stop saying you are an “aspiring author”, stop putting down your stories.  Be proud of who you are, what you write, and where you are in the writing process.

 2.) To be a successful writer you need a degree:  This is a real insecurity for me.  I don’t have any formal education in writing, and sometimes that creates a lot of self-doubt.  After all, I’m competing against other authors who have master’s degrees in creative writing, and others who know all the grammar, structure, and styling rules inside and out.  I was educated on the taxonomy of invertebrates #lifeskills.    The only way to combat this self-doubt is with a serious reality check.  You do not need to be formally educated in something to be successful at it.  Were your parents formally educated in raising you?  No?  You turned out pretty okay (I mean I assume so since you are reading my blog).  Was Oprah formally educated in running a talk show?  Was George Washington formally educated about how to start a new country?  Was your cat formally educated on how to be the cutest thing in the whole wide world?  No, no, and no!  A formal education is great, but it doesn’t equal success.  Do you know how many writers have a formal degree but spend their days sitting at a desk job?  Me neither, but I bet it’s a lot.  More important than education is drive.  If you have the drive, determination, and grit you’ll make it.  The skills will come.  What matters more than your knowledge is your character. NOT the characters you create, but you.  Beautiful, wonderful, amazing you!  If you want this you won’t let anything stand in your way.  Still don’t believe me?  Check out these successful authors who all made it in the publishing world without writing degrees: Harper Lee, Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Danielle Steele, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.

3.) You’ll Never Finish:  As I’ve mentioned before, writing books is a lot of work.  It can feel like an insurmountable hill.  There will always be edits to make, things to improve.  It can start to feel like you won’t ever be done with your story.  This isn’t a lie I permanently believe, but it is one that can really discourage me in moments of weariness.  The finish line can seem so far away that I can’t see the path that will lead me there.  The good news is we don’t need the whole path right now.  We just need our next step.  Not the big next step, the small one.  If I write this sentence, what sentence comes next.  That is it.  Word by word, line by line, page by page you will build your book and you will finish.  It might take 1 year, it might take a lifetime.  I promise it will be worth it, don’t give up.  You’re almost there.

4.) You can’t write because your writing isn’t good enough:  This lie is similar to the lie we tell ourselves about a degree, but can be so much more crippling.  That feeling of fear you get as you stare at the blank page, hating every word you try to put down, comes from this lie.  Every writer experiences this, and do you know what that means?  Every writer hates the way they write.  We are all in the same boat with this one and I have three notes of encouragement for you.  

  • The more you write the better you’ll get.  You might have a 6th-grade education and an idea to completely rip off your favorite novel.  Write that.  Write it terribly, write it shamefully, write it so awfully that it doesn’t even make sense when you reread it.  Then, keep writing, the next story you attempt will be better.  You will start at the bottom, but it will get better from there.  The only way to get better is to practice.
  • You don’t have to do this alone.  Do you ever read the acknowledgments section of books?  I always love reading that part, because it reminds me that every author needs a team.  No author writes, “I’d like to thank myself because I did all this on my own, oh and maybe my cat, she’s cute.”  No, often they have so many people to thank they can’t include all the names.  They have editors, beta readers, cheerleaders, mentors, publicists, and so much more.  You don’t have to bring your story to the finish line on your own.  Find your team.
  • You have a biased viewpoint about writing.  You can only read books written by other writers.  It is physically impossible to read something that wasn’t written by someone. That’s hard.  This means that we are only exposed to the champions of our field.  We read these completed works and think there is no way I can ever do that.  But, reading published books and thinking you are terrible in comparison is like these Olympic swimmers thinking they are awful compared to Katie Ledecky.swimming    We see that they are in the pool at the Olympics, they just see the bubbles from Katie’s feet. We need to remember that most of the people who read our books don’t also write.  They are just readers, on the sidelines.  As writers we are all in the Olympic pool, and that’s pretty darn amazing.

5.) My Story Doesn’t Matter:  Sometimes it can be hard to see how one story in a sea of books could actually be worth writing.  There is no book shortage, there aren’t even any truly original ideas for stories out there anymore.  Why spend so much time and effort just to add one more story to all the noise?  This lie and the following train of thought steals the joy you get from writing, and all the hope your story possesses.  Even in a world full of stories, yours matters.  You are a unique individual and even if you wrote the exact same plot as another thousand stories, you would tell it differently and your version would have value.  Your story might struggle to make it farther than your computer, it still has value.  You might be the next J.K. Rowling, that story matters too.  You might write a serious piece about the political climate of our world, that matters.  You might write werewolf romance novels full of bad puns and teen drama, that matters too.   Your story matters because you matter.  

Writing is hard, but it’s your passion and mine.  So, we soldier on, stop believing the lies, and write write write.

Do you have any lies about writing you are sick of hearing?  How do you boost your writer confidence?  This feels like a place to insert a sappy quote, but I think this post is sappy enough.

Stay amazing my friends,

Have you ever read a Deep Fried Oreo?

Have you ever read a Deep Fried Oreo?

At the start of 2016 I planned to give up desserts for one month.  After three days I was doing awesome, and feeling super confident in my dessert resisting abilities.  Sitting across the dinner table from my husband I looked to him and said “I could do this all year!”  He had enough wisdom not to respond with laughter, but his face still told me he thought I couldn’t do it.  I took his disbelief to be a direct challenge.  Hubby thinks I can’t give up desserts for a whole year, I will prove him wrong.  It’s now a couple of months later and here I am dessertless until 2018.  

Without sugary confections to fill my belly – I’ve been turning to books to add some sweetness to my life.  Have you ever read a story, or watched a television show, that you knew was terrible, like junk food for the brain, yet you absolutely loved it and could not stop yourself from reading or watching?  If not try giving up desserts for a year, your brain will seek out some desserty entertainment.

I recently read a book series that from page 1 I knew was not the most well crafted story.  The writing, and characters and ideas were all just…okay.  It wasn’t awful, but it shouldn’t have been something I enjoyed.  To my surprise, I did not just tolerate this book, I became OBSESSED with it.  

There were 3 books in the series and I gobbled them up like I’ll be gobbling desserts on 1/1/18.  Why did I love these stories?  The characters were frustratingly dim witted, the ending was predictable, and the plot twists weren’t really twists, but rather sharp turns that didn’t make sense.

Wondering if I was going insane, I turned to reading reviews on Goodreads to see if any other readers were experiencing the same phenomenon I was.   It turns out that many readers loved the books without question, while others simply hated the stories. I found one review that fit my emotions to a T.  This reader found the writing and style as lackluster as I had, and the more she read the more frustrating it became, but she could not stop reading.  In the end she compared the stories to deep fried Oreos.  Wonderful in the moment you are eating them, but quite regrettable in the digestion process.  These books were literally brain dessert.

 

Just like deep fried Oreos are lacking in nutritional value, sometimes stories lack substance and depth, but we still enjoy consuming them.  If I didn’t enjoy this book for the writing, then what was it that appealed to me so much?

The answer: these books had something special, something I wasn’t getting from other (more well written) books.  And the true magic of this series is I can’t even tell you what that something special was.  It could have been the lure of royalty, beautiful dresses, and great wealth. Or the drama of the back and forth romance.  Perhaps the joy of a rags to riches story?  The somewhat dull protagonist who allowed the reader to insert themselves into her place and picture themselves in the same situations?

I don’t know.  To be honest these books had many things I  usually hate reading about.  Love triangles, females who need to be saved by men, females who aren’t confident in themselves for no apparent reason, multiple love triangles, endings that don’t actually solve the problems going on in the world, and did I mention love triangles.  Yet, far from being turned off by these features, I looked past them because I was captivated by the story.

Along with making me question my judgement, these stories give me hope.  I know my writing is far from perfect, and there are some things I wish I could do with my story that no matter how many times I rewrite it I can’t seem to get right.  But, I still believe my writing has value, that someday it will be worth reading.  These books were proof that I’m right.

Were these books impeccably written?  No.  But they made sense, one of the key steps to being able to publish a book.  Was the plot layered, intricate and rich with symbolism and depth of meaning?  No, but it felt like all the elements the author wanted to include were there.  Were the characters well done and the plot without holes?  No, but there was something special about the way the characters interacted with each other and their world that made me unable to put these books down.  I craved these books and when I had to wait three days for the final book to come in from the library I thought I was going to die of impatience.  And I’m an adult, I should be able to wait for a deep fried Oreo.

So take hope, your stories will be beautifully flawed, but they will also be special and though there will be readers who hate them, there will be others who love them, even if they know they shouldn’t.  Don’t be afraid of writing a deep fried Oreo book, be afraid of inventing the deep fried Oreo and then never sharing it with anyone.

What are some of your guilty reading pleasures (don’t be shy I know you have them).  Or tell me about a book you thought you were going to hate, then ended up loving.  
Stay Amazing my Friends,