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YA Author Rendezvous

Creativity Unleashed: Books for the young and the young at heart

Month

February 2016

The ABC’s of Writing: Part 2

abcsofwritingpart2Written by Beth Rodgers

The ABCs of writing continue this month with the rest of the alphabet (see January’s post here).  It’s vital for writers to know their own ABCs so they know what they’re aiming for in writing.

 

Nostalgia.  Use experiences and memories.  Capitalize on the effects of something that happened to you, or causes that got you there.  Feed into nostalgia by remembering how you got a character out of conflict in the past.  It may help you figure out just how to solve a similar problem in a new story you’re writing.  Use nostalgia to your benefit.  Establishing a solid store of connected memories and emotions can make for gripping writing.

 

Opaque.  Don’t be too opaque or transparent.  Don’t make it difficult to understand, or, for that matter, too simple.  Leave room for curiosity.  Don’t give everything away (too transparent), and don’t keep everything a secret until the last chapter (too opaque).  Let readers’ minds wander, but give clues to maintain interest.

 

Purpose.  It may sound cliché, but writing must have purpose.  Know what you’re writing, whom you’re writing for, and why you’re writing.  This helps writers hit home with their purpose.  It’s the driving force behind the greatest writing.

 

Quality.  Quality may seem an overdone characteristic, but it’s absolutely essential.  You may have heard that quality is more important than quantity.  In good writing, this rings true.  Quantity looks good on paper (the more you have, the more work you did, right?), but the truth is that too much of something can be troublesome.  For example, you might find yourself becoming repetitive if you’ve done too much writing.  Season your writing with quality; pepper it with all the ABCs that are staples of your process.

 

Respect.  Have you ever read a book, watched a show, or listened to a song and wondered how in the name of good writing certain lines got uttered?  Maybe you’ve wondered how certain writers keep their jobs or how they continue to publish?  Respect quality writing.  Prove you know what makes good, impressive writing by reading great authors’ works and aspiring to the greatest heights with your own.  Not only should you respect others’ writing, but you should respect your own.  If you don’t respect what you do, how will others?

 

Sportsmanship.  Give your characters competitive edges.  Let them work both for and against one another to make more compelling, animated writing.  You want to keep readers on the edges of their seats by keeping characters on those same edges.  Make characters so vivid that readers are rooting for or against them as they deal with written conflicts and emotions.

 

Tact.  Watch your word choice.  You don’t want to fall into the trap of using too strong or too juvenile of language.  Gauge your intended audience and see what words and phrases best fit.  When writing dialogue, write how a person talks – not necessarily with proper grammar.  Understanding your characters will help your writing become more tactful.

 

Uniformity.  Don’t conform to normal writing approaches.  That isn’t to say that some of those approaches shouldn’t be used, because they should be.  Take into account all approaches that other writers have used to make their writing magical, creative, and interesting.  When you make your writing put on a “uniform,” you aren’t allowing it to bask in its own glory.  Let your writing take its own form.  Let it whisk you off into other worlds and help you understand your own style and approach.

 

Value.  Surely you take a vested interest in your writing.  After all, you’re penning it.  So, value your writing technique.  Trust what you know and what you write, and encourage yourself as you go.  Second, find value in your writing.  See strengths it exhibits.  However, don’t forget to look for areas to improve.  It’s the mark of a great, gifted writer when he or she can see areas that are lacking and in need of refinement.

 

Whimsy.  Make your writing fancy-free and whimsical.  Imagine new worlds.  Reach new heights or depths.  Create characters that only you have the ability to solidify through your unique technique.  Have fun, and as you do, write to your heart’s content!

 

Xylophone.  There aren’t many words that begin with ‘X’ that work.  So, go with me here.  A xylophone produces different sounds depending on the parts hit.  So should it be with writing.  Know how to hit high notes, low notes, and everything in-between.  Xylophones allow you to improvise, so try out different writing styles.  Improve your technique by testing different genres.  See what you can do to make your writing more surprising and impressive.

 

Yet.  If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?  You may not have been published yet.  You may not have perfected your writing technique yet.  You may not even know what you want to write about yet.  Notice what the key word is in all this: yet.  Nothing may have happened yet, but it may be on the verge of happening.  Don’t give up.  Keep trying.  Work harder.  Strive to higher heights; imagine thrilling scenes.  Everything good will come in time, as long as you keep in mind that it might not have happened yet, but it’s working its way there, just as you’re still working your way there.

 

Zest.  One of the most important aspects of the ABCs of writing is to have zest for what you’re doing.  You want to come across as someone who loves his or her craft, and the best way to do this is to prove your love of writing by making it part of your everyday life.  Use zest to engage in symbolism, vocabulary, and other aspects of your own ABCs that make you love what you do.

 

The ABCs of writing don’t stop here.  There are many more words that can be explored to further your craft.  You can learn to write what you like and do it well.

 

Now that you’ve read my ABCs of writing, what are yours?

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5 Things Every Bookworm Loves to Hate

5 Things Bookworms Love to Hate

Written by Kelly St. Clare

1. The E-reader

How many times have you heard the phrase “There’s nothing like holding a book in your hands.”? As e-readers take over the world faster than Taylor Swift’s latest tweet, it is all we bookworms can do to hold on to the traditional form of a story.

But you have to admit…

Taking your entire library with you to Hawaii is oddly convenient. And reading a romance book without having to flash the mandatory hot guy on the cover to everyone on the train is a nice change. Then there’s the fact that books are cheaper…

But whatever. Print is better. So e-readers will remain something I love to hate and hate to love.

2. The Merciless Author

Dear JK Rowling,

Why do you kill everyone I love? And why do I still love you? You are the serial killer of the book world and seemingly hold no remorse for your actions. You made unicorns cry when you killed Snape. And Fred. And Dobby. Even Harry for a little bit, somewhere in there.

You cold soul.

P.S. Please keep writing books.

Twilight Love Triangle3. The Love Triangle

I estimate around 50% of people will hate that I have this here #sorrynotsorry. And I agree the ol’ LT sucks…except when it doesn’t. There is nothing like a love triangle that is served cold with a slice of lemon. When you genuinely cannot guess who the main character will end up with. But you need the Author to pick the person you’ve fallen in love with. They have to! Because if they don’t….you will have one serious grudge toward the writer. Forever. And you may not tell them. But hell if they won’t be able to feel your glare from across the world.

Conclusion: I hate them. But I love them.

book hangover4. The Book Hangover

Definition: The aftermath of an uncontrollable urge to continue reading past your bedtime, occassionally days long. Often associated with extreme emotion and/or lack of hygiene and sudden ravenous hunger.

You are so tired! So emotionally wrung out. That last book is haunting you, to the extent you feel unable to start another! You sludge through school or work. It’s horrible. But would you change it? Would you rewind life, stop on the second-to-last chapter and put that book down? Not for a second! A true bookworm has their priorities straight. Book Hangovers are a burden every reader must bear.

cliffhanger5. The Cliffhanger

[DISCLAIMER: I have a 100 percent cliff-hanger ending rate. I apologise to Bookworms world-wide. Don’t hate me.]

For the most part, I don’t believe the majority of Bookworms mind them. I know I know, a lot of authors do them and it’s refreshing to read the occasional stand-alone. And really, if I think about it, hanging off the side of cliff must be quite unpleasant. Especially if you have to dangle there for a year until the release of the sequel.

But then…

…there’s that brain frenzy after a good cliffhanger! It’s addictive, teasing, frustrating! What’s going to happen next? Bookworms need to know the character’s problems will be resolved! In this day and age of instant gratification, the suspense is like sleeping with sunburn.

The relationship is bittersweet. The plight is real.

There you have it. My top five reading annoyances that I love to hate and hate to love.

But here is my question to you, fellow Bookworm: Out of the five things listed above, which do you love to hate?

Are Writers Like Voldemort?

Written by Christopher Mannino 

Two recent reviews compared School of Deaths to the Harry
Potter series. I decided to play on that a bit with this question: are
writers like Voldemort?

I say YES.
The first similarity is that both writers and Voldemort use magic.
Voldemort’s magic mostly involves torturing and killing people.
He seems especially obsessed with a teenage boy, and finds ways
to get into the boy’s mind.  A writer also uses
magic.  Writers use a group of arcane symbols arranged into
clumps they call words.  Like a spell, they can take an image,
something that only exists as a slight fancy in their imagination, and
dump it into the imaination of their reader.  As I type, an
elephant walked in front of my window stinking of manure.  Did
you picture an elephant, or smell manure?  What if I then told
you there was no elephant?  That transference is the most real
form of magic imaginable….
“Writing is magic.” – Stephen King,
On Writing
 
Another striking similarity is in what both writers and Voldemort
want: eternal life.  Voldemort is obsessed with the idea of
immortality.  He kills people to create horcruxes, ironially
causing his own downfall and death, when one of the horcruxes fights
back.  Writers are no different.  It’s true that many might
simply want to share their ideas, but in the end, by creating stories
that will endure, a writer has taken part of their soul and created
something eternal: a part of their soul that can be shared in
another’s mind, and could last forever.  Sounds a lot like making
horcruxes- only without all the murders.
So what do you think?  Are writers like Voldemort?
Also, don’t miss this stellar review for School of Deaths:  http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=20235
 

A Beach in Winter

Written by Lauren Mayhew

The soft sand beneath my feet trembles as I take each leisurely step forwards. Its pale glow hovers above the ground like a dense mist, hiding my toes in its mysteries. A withering sun makes it cold to the touch like a glistening icicle.

I look up. A grey blanket gazes down at me. It stretches across the sky as far as the eye can see. A watery sun, stung by the harshness of the winter months, peeps around the clouds, coyly watching my slow progress to the vast ocean ahead.

Grey. Reaching towards me, the almighty ocean tries with all its might to tow me into its murky depths. Crashing waves shower me with water – minute droplets enter my mouth leaving a salty taste. The water seeps through my clothes making me shiver. A shiver that intensifies with the flourishing wind.

My balance is knocked by a mighty gale. The wolf that it is, runs back with another strong blow: this time it howls. A howl that seems to thwart the monstrous movement of the ocean. A howl that fastens the eye of the sun. A howl that summons the rain…

Splash! Splash! Splash! The sky releases cascading droplets of water that bound off the rocks and settle on the sodden sand. Hammering rain, gambolling onto the ocean’s surface, deafens me, gradually increasing in volume as the ocean fights back.

Water giants tumble onto the shore, leaving trails of white foam behind them. Its salty scent burns my nose with every breath I take.

In. Out. In. Out. A repetitive motion that claws at the sand, dragging it deep under the surface and then transporting it to the beach once again.

An Interview with Author Michelle Lynn

Interview by Bethany Wicker

It’s time for another author spotlight! Up this week is Michelle Lynn, author of four of my favorite books. Time to learn more about her.

 

So, you have four published books. What are the titles of your work and can you tell us a bit about them?

 

I do! The Dawn of Rebellion trilogy is a dystopian story about two sisters trying to find their way in a desperate future. The US has long since been destroyed and is now controlled by different factions. The UK controls Florida with their slave camps. When Gabby, the older sister, is taken to one of these camps, Dawn must do everything she can to save her. What she finds in this strange land is not what she expected.

 

Choices is quite a bit different. It’s a contemporary romance, but its message is deeper than a simple love story. It’s really about breaking free of other people’s expectations and discovering what will make you happy. It’s the first in a four book series. The second, Promises, will be released in March.

 

 

There are so many great ones to choose from, especially with two different series, but who’s your favorite character from your books?

 

This is tough, but I’d have to say Gabby. She doesn’t always do the right thing, but she would do anything for the people she loves. Her story is a tragic one. I also love Jason from Choices, but that’s for a simpler reason. He’s just the perfect book boyfriend.

 

 

What was it like shifting from a more action-y book like Dawn of the Rebellion to an endearing romance one like Choices?

 

Refreshing. After I finished the final book in the Dawn trilogy, I was mentally exhausted. For a while, I tried writing other things and then would stop because I couldn’t find my creative mojo. So, I decided to try a light romance. It ended up being anything but light, but it wasn’t so draining and I found that I loved it.

 

 

Were there alternate endings that you considered for either of the series?

 

Not for Dawn. With Choices, I had a different ending written, but then one of my beta readers told me it sucked. I needed the tough love because she was right. So I rewrote it and the new one felt right.

 

 

What authors have inspired you to write?

 

Sooo many. I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and my favorite is Robin Hobb. There’s also Stephen King. I actually don’t like his books – at all – but he is an inspiration. If you read interviews by him, he’s a genius when it comes to technique and, more importantly, motivation.

 

 

What age were you when you first started writing?

 

I know most people want to hear that I’ve been writing since I was young and it was all I’ve ever wanted to do. The truth is that I hadn’t written more than school assignments until I was 24.

 

 

A dreadful thing: writer’s block. Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you work through it?

 

For me, it’s about motivation. There are a lot of times when I just don’t want to start writing. I have to force myself to sit at my computer until something comes. It usually does.

 

 

Everyone has different writing styles. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

 

I just write. I’ve tried to outline, but stories have a way of taking on a mind of their own so any outline would end up being obsolete.

 

 

As an author, you can become attached to your characters. Do you ever get sad when you realize that the characters that you’ve created aren’t real?

 

Haha – this is a weird one. But, truthfully, yes. They’re truly special people. But, then I look at some of the people whose traits I’ve imbued in my characters, and realize that parts of them are real.

 

 

So, fun question to break things up. If you were a super hero, what would your name be and what power would you have?

 

I totally want to be able to fly. I have a disability that impacts my walking so that would help. Lol. I don’t know about a name.

 

 

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

 

Australian, hands down. A few of the people I’ve become good friends with lately are Australian and they’re always saying awesome words that I don’t know the meaning of.

 

 

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

 

I didn’t really have any. I didn’t send it to any publishers because I didn’t yet know if I’d even finish the series. I just put it out there – probably earlier than I should have.

 

 

Which series was more fun to write or was it an equal feeling between Choices and Dawn of the Rebellion?

 

They were very different and both fun – but, I’d say Dawn. The action scenes were great. And everything that happened had these huge consequences for the entire world. But, I feel like Choices and its sequel are my best writing to date and that thought alone makes them special. I’m very proud of my newest book that’s coming out next month.

 

 

So, we’re all looking forward to it, so can you tell us about your upcoming book?

 

Promises is about Maggie and Elijah, two minor characters from Choices. Since they were kids, Elijah is the only person Maggie could count on in her messed up life. She went from a drunken father to a drunken husband, all while Elijah stood on the sidelines as her best friend/emotional support. It’s been a few years since Maggie’s marriage blew up and she is finally ready to see what’s been right in front of her the whole time. Only, things aren’t that simple. There are secrets that Maggie has been keeping from Elijah. As those start to come out, their relationship may not be the same.

 

 

As an established author of four books, do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

 

You have to love it. If you don’t, then quit right now. It isn’t easy. Some days it downright hurts. If you’re not doing it because you love to write, you won’t make it.

 

 

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 

I have to write at the same time every day. For two hours every morning. If I try in the afternoon or evening, I can’t do it.

 

 

Time for some random questions to spice things up. What toppings do you like on your pizza?

 

Pepperoni. I know. Boring.

 

 

Are you a dog person or cat?

 

Both. I like a house full of animals – including a bird.

 

 

What is your biggest fear?

 

Never getting over my disabling illness and having a normal life.

 

 

What’s your favorite pastime besides reading and writing?

 

Watching hockey. Can’t get enough of it!

February – New Releases

by Patrick Hodges

Several great books to tell you about this month!

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1/14 – Alistair (Tales from P.A.W.S. Book 1) by Debbie Manber Kupfer

Alistair“Maybe I am,” said Alistair, “But there are monsters worse than me in this world. You are lucky, Joshua; lucky you have me to protect you. I was not so fortunate.” Alistair took a long breath in and exhaled slowly, “neither was my mother…”

A short story from world of P.A.W.S.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Visit Debbie’s Blog HERE!

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2/12 – Ramora by Debbie Manber Kupfer

 

ramoraBeware the Tegs, the devious green fairies who will lead you astray. You met Stella in Argentum, now meet her sister Morgana in Ramora – Another short story from the world of P.A.W.S.
Be careful what you wish for!

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Visit Debbie’s Blog HERE!

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2/14 – Strawberry Sorbet: A Noir by Landon Wake

Strawberry SorbetOn a cold February night, private Detective Richard Hankins is thrust into a world of mystery, suspense and murder when a lady in red unexpectedly bursts through his office door.

Hot on the trail of the Lamplight Slasher, a serial killer who has evaded the authorities for years and who is responsible for the murder of his young son, Richard soon finds things aren’t what they seem. Can he stop the Lamplight Slasher before someone else falls victim to his blade? Will he finally get his revenge and bring justice to his city once and for all? Find out in Strawberry Sorbet: A Noir.
A short story by Landon Wake —

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Pre-order the book on Amazon HERE

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2/29 – Twisted by Elizabeth Montgomery

twisted-final-highWho could’ve known one pair of shoes could cause so much trouble?

Dee’s lost the sparkly red heels, and when she befriends a witch to help her find a way home, she finds herself down the rabbit hole. With the veil between Wonderland and Oz torn wide open, things go awry.

The flying monkeys are loose in the Kingdom, Hatter is lost on the sun-colored brick road, and betwixt a battle of the worlds, the Red Queen seeks power, but all Dee wants is to go home.

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Visit Elizabeth’s Amazon Author Page HERE

 

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