6 Books I’ve Loved This Year

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What are you reading this summer?

My day job is directing content and social media at a startup, which means I’m aware of all those dumb holidays that trend on Twitter on any given day, which means I know that #NationalBookLoversDay is coming up!

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MK’s Book Reviews: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

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I finished the latest Patrick Ness novel earlier this week (you may recall how obsessed I was with his Chaos Walking trilogy) and…

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What Part Are You Good At?

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I have an important question to ask you writers on this rainy (if you’re in the tri-state area) Monday…

What part are you good at?

Here is my great curse as a writer:

I’m really good at climaxes.

And that’s not just my own personal opinion. My readers tend to agree: “Once I got to the climax, I could not put it down!”

And the weird thing is, I tend to not have to draft the climaxes millions of times, like I feel like I do with the rest of the novel. They come together pretty quickly for me.

But that means there are other parts I’m less good at. Such as: middles.

I’m terrible at middles.

Especially the beginning of the middle. I’m in the middle of yet another first draft and I’m past the inciting incident, which means I’m just now starting the dreaded middle. I’m trying to build the characters, up the stakes, seed in all the important elements for the climax, all while maintaining the voice of the novel, and of course, continuing to up the tension.

It’s hard. And it’s getting … saggy. There’s so much to put in while also so much balance to maintain. Between action and characterization, voice and tension, foreshadowing, but not too blatant foreshadowing … like I said: hard.

I get through it by telling myself it’s the first draft and I’ll fix it later. But it bugs me that drafting the majority of my story is this hard. I wish I could just skip ahead to the climax–and sometimes I do, jotting down these scene and that one in a fit of excitement–but in general I’ve found that if I don’t write in a somewhat linear fashion, that means way more editing later, because things change so much throughout the drafting process.

It could be worse. I could be terrible at beginnings. Beginnings I’m generally considered pretty good at–not amazing at the way I am climaxes, but good. (After several drafts, of course.)

It’s important to be good at beginnings, because no one is going to read on if they don’t like your beginning. But it’s also important to have a good middle. You can lose a reader with a saggy middle. And then it doesn’t matter how amazing your climax is; the reader’s not going to get there if the other parts aren’t up to par.

Some of my favorite writers and books of all time (ahem) have fantastic beginnings, middling middles, and meh-ish endings. Of course, the best books ever are amazing the whole way through. And that’s what I’m striving for: amazing the whole way through.

So how about you? Are there parts you’re particularly good at? Bad at? Do you have tips for me on getting through the middle? I’d love to hear…

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My Favorite Female Writers

  
Happy International Women’s Day!

To celebrate, I’d like to pay something of an homage to my favorite female writers. The following women are everything I aspire to be as a writer. Also, from what I’ve heard, they’re pretty cool people, too.

Jennifer Niven Starting off this list with my newest fave. I’ve only read one of her books so far, and loved it, so suffice to say I’ll be reading her other stuff just as soon as I get my hands on it.

Marisa de los Santos I haven’t read her in a while—been on a YA kick for the past year or so—but she’s an absolutely gorgeous writer who you should check out. Start with this book.

Stephanie Perkins Her books are these beautifully-written, entertaining looks at young love. I talk about my love for her books here.

Maggie Stiefvater I fell in love with this series and can’t wish for the last book to come out. Also, she’s a rockstar on Tumblr.

Lauren Oliver Everything this woman writes is pure gold. And I’m pretty sure she’s like, my age. 

JK Rowling Self-explanatory. Not only am I huge Harry Potter nerd but this woman continues to inspire me with everything she says and does.

Tana French Otherwise known as the writer of some of my favorite books of all time. She is, quite simply put, the most beautiful writer I’ve ever encountered. Her character studies are unparalleled. Also, she’s Irish! (I love Irish people). You can read me gushing about her here.

Any other amazing lady writers I’ve missed? Let me know!

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Getting Back Into Writing

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If you’re anything like me, December is a particularly challenging time of year to maintain steady writing habits. I refer to this period as “Novel Interruptus” and I’ve long since stopped trying to fight it/feel guilty for it. After all, the reason writing gets interrupted is because I’m busy doing one of the things I said I’d never give up for anything: spending time with the people I love.

BUT. Christmas is over, and it’s time to get back to work. So for those of you who are in the same boat as me, I thought I’d compile my list of links I find the most helpful for getting started again.

Start with the Novel Interruptus post, then move on.

If you’re just getting started and wondering how, read this.

If you’re in the first drafting stage, remember to just write...

… but at some point, make sure you have this essential element to your story down. Especially this part.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, try this.

And if you’re in the editing stage, here are some tricks I’ve learned

… and one more.

And above all, remember not to do this! 

(And here’s the entire category of writing advice I’ve compiled so far.)

I hope one (or some) of these links help! Now, off to write…

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