Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference 2017

I’ve attended my first Writer’s conference! And much to my surprise, I was sad when it was over. I only attended the Thursday prequel, but the one workshop I attended gave me inspiration and knowledge to create a better book.

Waiting for the Donald Mass’ Emotional Craft of Fiction to Start

Before I dive in with my experience, I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to the Pikes Peak Writer’s for giving me a scholarship to attend the Thursday Prequel of their 25th Jubilee. Without their help, I would not have been able to attend.

I admit, I was a little nervous while driving the hour and a half to get there. I’m an avid part of the #amwriting and #amediting communities on Twitter, but talking to people is not my strong point. Which, let’s face it, not many of us introverts are. Luckily for me, the volunteer opportunity gave me an easy way to meet new (amazing!) writers and gave me the confidence to enjoy the day without feeling like I was out of place. If you went to Donald Maass’ workshop, I was the purple-haired girl checking your tickets. 😉

The biggest surprise was that I actually, dare I admit, enjoyed talking to other writers? I enjoyed causally bantering about being a pantser and how I love writing in the Fantasy genre. It was like the Twitter community I love brought to life. It was freeing being around so many other fellow scribbles. Everyone understood the struggle of writing and how much time, effort and tears go into the whole process. If that was all I got from the conference, it would have been a huge win.

I actually learned, what I believe is the most vital part to any story, how to bring my book to life. How to make it so that the reader has an emotional connection to the work. This has been my struggle and my main focus in my writing. I want to create a book, a world, with characters that you love and experience the ups and downs, twists and turns and feel like I crushing your very heart with my character’s choices.

This is something I’ve struggled on how to approach.

And what I know have an answer to.

I had always assumed that the reader felt what the character felt, but in reality, the reader actually draws from their own experiences in order to feel whatever emotion is being brought about. And it’s not just one emotion. All different kinds of emotions are felt at once within the reader so it’s all about trying to make that experience as colorful and real as you can.

Thanks to Donald Maass’ great workshop on The Emotional Craft of Fiction, I’ve been handed the mechanics and ideas to help me create an emotional connection to my world.

I’ve been striving to apply what I’ve learned while editing my book Shadow’s Design even since. I can happily report it has made my writing much better….which means lots of rewriting. *insert happy face here*

I’m happy I learned about this tidbit before I was farther in my rewrite. Learning and improving your writing is what Writer’s conferences are all about. I used to think they were just for people who had published works, but I was wrong. I brought up my fear during lunch to my new friends and was surprised that nobody, expect one, had actually published a book. There’s no better feeling that being among others in your same situation and passion!

If there’s a writer’s conference near you,  I highly suggest going!

 

I Finished My Trilogy! Now What….

I can’t believe the day has come when I can actually say thing, but…..I FINISHED WRITING MY TRILOGY.

Whew. What a long road it has been (and what a long road I still have to go)!

There’s been various places over the years where I’ve documented my struggle with getting that first rough draft down. YouTube being the one that has surived my blog’s death a few months back. I first started this crazy thing back in high school with the intial idea, but then waited until I had a little more life experience to really start writing it. The only aspects that have stayed since that fateful day in 2008 during NaNoWriMo are the names Shenrae, Syrane and Torey and the bonds that the Shadows wear on the forearms.

Other than that, it was all mere practice for this novel. I’m okay with that too.

Over the past month, I’ve been diving into Twitter and living in the writing community there. (If you are not on Twitter and you’re an author, you are seriously missing out on a fantastic, supportive group). I’ve been connecting with others and feeling way better about myself as a writer. I’ve always written by myself, for myself, but really, what fun is that? Writing is meant to be share with others. It’s supposed to inspire people to be better than themselves. It’s supposed to let you escape from the world and take off on this journey with people you love.

And I want to share that. More than anything, I want to write the stories and characters that have made me who I am today.

My sights are set on self publishing my first novel in the trilogy, Shadow’s Design this Fall. I can’t wait for this new adventure!

Why You Should Just Say “F*ck You” and Write Your Book

Okay, let me tell you an inside scoop about writing a book. I’ve been networking with other writes, joining critique groups and diving into the world of social media for the past two weeks. Already, I’ve been told countless times that I have no business being in the writing business.

For every reason imaginable.

One person doesn’t like that I said I needed commitment and discipline to write my trilogy. Another said that I shouldn’t be doing it for the money (which I’m not, I just need to crowdfund money to edit my book and polish it up. However, if I don’t get the money through crowdfunding, I’ll scrape together the money myself, somehow). Yet another said it was because I was going to hire a professional editor to clean up my line edits because I admitted that I know there’s errors that are beyond my current knowledge. I could go on. I’m sure there’s going to be more reasons to add to this list before I DO publish my book.

So let me tell you this. Just do it. The internet is full of people who are going to tell you all of the reasons you can’t do this, all of the reasons you’re going to fail, all of the reasons why the wannabe authors should just stay away.

However, what all these people don’t know is why you’re writing your book. What’s driving you? What’s your intentions? How many hours a day do you put into your book? Just because one person is not on the same level or has differing talents with writing, this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to write your book. Some people have a much longer journey and more to learn. My only advice I can give you is to grow a thick skin. Put your foot down and summon back all of that toddler stubbornness. There’s going to be a lot of people who are going to stand in your way in order to make you a better writer.

As an extremely introverted and passive-aggressive and sensitive person, this is not easy for me.

However, I am learning.

I have to.

If you let them rob you of your journey, you will always regret it. Do everything that you must to do pursue out your passion to the end.

Why Everyone Should Write a Book

After almost three years of working on my current trilogy, The Lost Skills, I’ve come to the conclusion everyone should, in their lifetime, write a book. There is so much I have learned from just plopping down at my computer and writing  that I feel everyone could benefit from the endeavor. My reason? To learn the art of discipline.

Today people have no attention span, no determination, no commitment, no “I’m going to stick with this until the bitter end no matter what.” They have no grit (if you’ve never watched the absolutely wonderful Ted Talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, you are missing out.) I actually encountered someone in one of my writing groups who flat out told me I should not be writing a book because I said I needed discipline and commitment while writing.

I don’t know about everyone else, but after a long day’s work, it takes a lot of discipline to sit down at  my computer and work on a series I’ve been working on for years. There have been times I’ve wanted to give up because I lost faith in the process, or just thought no one would like it, or countless other doubts that pop into an author’s head. I’ve battled against dropping the project to chase after some shiny new project idea because I don’t want to be someone who never finishes a project. There are many people who just start projects and don’t commit to them. I’m guilty of a few projects dying off. This is when the faith and love of the project kicks in. It’s the other side which gets you through the hard bits, as well as the mindset of working toward a big goal.

Let’s all be honest here for a second. I love just coming home and watching Netflix when I’ve had a rough day. Who doesn’t? Occasionally I do indulge in this, I won’t lie, but it’s only through a writing habit I’ve developed (with a lot of discipline) that allows me to make progress on my trilogy. I am almost done with all three books, which would never have happened if I wouldn’t have committed to my books. I have finally decided, (under my own feelings of accomplishment), I am going to finish this trilogy and publish it in 2017. I’ve made a goal, and I’ve set a plan in motion.

Anyone who thinks writing a book is going to be easy and will not take determination, has not been on the journey long enough to encounter the moment when self doubt kicks in. This happens to every creative. A painter, an animator,  a fine artist,  a writer,  a craftsman…. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at it for years, are a professional, or just are starting out. Every single person deals with self doubt. The inner demon, the inner critic, the voice inside your head which makes you feel like complete and total shit. That stage of the project where you’re looking at the mess you’re in and you don’t know how anything good can come from it.

It’s these struggles, I strongly believe everyone needs to experience in their lifetime.

And battle against.

I have never had a more difficult time accomplishing a project than I have while writing a trilogy. I’m a creative at the core, so I’ve had my fair share of short term projects and long term projects. Never have I had to believe in a project for over three years though. I’ve had to battle with my own self doubt, as well as the doubts of others. I’ve had to deal with criticism, both my own, and the opinions of others. I’ve stopped writing for a good chunk of it because someone made me lose the faith and drive I had inside my self.

Please do not let the happen to you, or if it does, take some time to access this part of yourself you’re debating on giving up.

For some reason, I just can’t stop writing this book. I can’t give it up. There’s some inner drive drawing me back to it. Through my experience, this usually means something pretty special.

When I was growing up, I would get super attached to characters in books. They were my friends. I strongly believe it’s from these characters, and lives the led, that I was able to grasp who I was as a person. Who I wanted to be, and how valiant and noble people could be in their actions. And while I will never be able to wield a sword and storm a castle, or head into battle against an enemy who also has reasons for what they’re doing, with writing and storytelling, I am able to do so.

Finally, I’ve given into myself. If this is something so critical to who I am, then I need to tackle this project with the commitment it deserves.

And here’s the point: If there’s some piece of you know is the core of who you are and you’re not disciplined enough to follow it—-you’re letting yourself down. Maybe it’s not writing a book. Maybe it’s creating a film or walking a 1,000 miles. Maybe it’s sitting down every day and drawing one subject a day.

I want everyone to experience what I have while writing a book. All of it. Everything that comes with years of work.

  • The moment you first have the idea
  • The moment you fail
  • The first time you doubt yourself
  • The first time someone doubts you
  • The time you fought to make it a reality

And most importantly, experiencing the commitment of sticking it to the end, and the discipline needed to act upon it.

Site Relaunch!

Hello all,

With the end coming to a close, and another successful NaNoWriMo, I’ve happy to relaunch my writing website! 2017 is going to finally be the year where I finally take publishing (and finishing) my Fantasy trilogy seriously. I’ve been working on it for the past three years and am almost done with all of the drafts. Next stop – editing!

I hope you join me on this journey to publishing my novel. I’ll try and keep you all updated on my progress. 🙂

Finishing up NaNoWriMo 2016!

An excerpt from today’s #writing session. Heading into the finish line for #NationalNovelWritingMonth / #NaNoWriMo on a high note. Steel yourself for what’s to come, my valiant Kilo! Ps. Please pardon the placeholder [CityName]. 😉
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“They are not our enemy,” I said, taking a deep breath and launching into my theory. I steeled my nerve against Asdar’s pessimism. “I believe our enemy lies in the lower quarters of Randaus. I have conferred with one of our new ally’s, Kefnir and he also believes that there are not enough people keeping an eye on Randaus. It is a region where we have not yet been as a city, and one where none of the others I have reached out to across the lands. I believe the people in Leikal Gulf, the outlanders come from there, given the confession of one of the false shadows that I interrogated in [CityName].”
Asdar dropped his arms and stopped his pacing, his mouth thin as paper. I continued.
“I have offered this boy sanctuary in our city for the information he has regarding the outlanders. With his cooperation, I was able to confirm against another false shadow captive that is being held in [CityName] under the watchful eye of Kefnir. You are free to question either of these two personally if you wish.”
“And they’ve confirmed the direction of where the attacks are going?” Phantom Chate asked. She now leaned over the map and inspected the markers.
I nodded and circled the lower portion of the map. Randaus, the only region where it remained unknown. The map was roughly drawn. Much of the terrain, cities, rivers and features were guesses or reports and fragments of maps we had gathered.
Phantom Chate let out long breath. “A dangerous mission—-”
“But one that must be taken.” Asdar said, interjecting. “If what these captives are telling us to be true, if there is an enenemy of ours that lies that far to the south, we need to gather more information.”
I nodded. “I intend to leave in the morning.”
This shocked both Asdar and Phantom Chate.
I kept my face as straight as I could. Deep inside, there was the growing reality of journeying somewhere where I would have no support, no friends, no aid… but I buried this as deep inside as I could, directing my thoughts inside to my duty. I gathered strength in knowing Shenrae and the people within Vaiyene would be live safer because of my actions.
I swallowed, hard and finished. “I have taken a vow to protect the city, and this is where I believe I can make the biggest difference. This threat must stop, and given each of our talents, it is me who must to be charged with this mission.”