Archive | Inspiration RSS feed for this section

#MondayBlogs The Worst Thing A Reader Ever Said To Me

2 May

I can admit the worst thing a reader ever wrote to me. It was 2007, I was 16, my publisher at the time had released my first novel, and Honesty Box was the hottest app on Facebook. My high school self was naïve enough to have one of these, and one day, I found myself staring at this. Message:

“You are the bastardization of the English language.”

honesty-boxI’ve tried not to think about this message often. In fact, I confess I’ve tried to completely cut it out of my memory—especially since I think it had more to do with high school bullying than anything notable—but the most common type of bullying I faced for writing a book in high school followed this script:

A fellow student would say, “Go write a book.”

Normally, I never responded, but sometimes I snapped and stupidly said, “I already did.”

Which almost always got, “Now, go write a good one.”

Perhaps, this affected me more than I would like to admit. A few months later, when I ran into issues with my publisher, I didn’t fight it much, and in turn, my book was taken off of the market. I can’t say I minded much. I think I was a little relieved. That’s probably why seven years passed between my first and second publication. Now that I’m 24, my coping skills have definitely grown.

Writers always get responses—both good and bad—and some days are more uplifting than others. Some days are even downright hilarious. Not in the mocking way, of course, but in the this-reader-could-be-my-best-friend sort of way. Some days, readers make your day, and other days, a reader’s comment inspires your next piece of work. Sometimes, they teach you by pointing out levels of confusion or confliction, and other times, they talk about how your work taught them something about life. The combination is a beautiful thing.

I have plenty of stories I wish I could tell you about all of the wonderful readers who have reviewed my novels, shared quotes, tweeted encouraging messages, and sent me an email just to explain their emotions, but the important part is how the uplifting readers always overcome the negative ones. I could share hundreds, but I would like to share a few to show types:

The Encouraging Reader

12657850_982614665119048_4239343172506995978_oMeagan from The Book Forums recently read an exclusive sneak peek of my upcoming duology, Bad Bloods, and she took the time to e-mail an encouraging message about how excited she is about November Rain and November Snow. I cannot begin to explain how much these moments mean to me. Releasing work—no matter how many times you’ve done it—is nerve-wracking, and in the end, all we want to do is release a story readers will enjoy. To hear they enjoyed it, is priceless. To connect and talk to readers as friends is the best part of the gig. Joking about my own work with someone is surreal. The friendship between a reader and an author is unlike any other type of friendship I’ve ever had, but it brings me just as much love, comfort, and joy.

The Confused Reader That Brings Laughter To My Laugh:

I want to clarify that this is not condescending laughter. This is more like a friend, even if the reader never knows it. I actually enjoy moments where readers have pointed out confusion or mislabeled something because it’s often something I (and many editors) overlooked. My favorite example came from numerous readers over Take Me Tomorrow. (I know. I know. That book isn’t available any longer, but I promise I’m working on it!) This reader story is still priceless. A few readers have compared the dictator, Wheston Phelps to Michael Phelps—the Olympic swimmer—instead of who I intended—Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church—and I’ve had a great giggle over that image-switch. If you’re one of the readers who thought of Michael Phelps instead of Fred, please don’t worry! I had a great giggle, and I feel like it’s more of an inside joke than anything else. Also, more people thought of Michael than Fred. (A handshake goes out to Just Another Girl and Her Books who pointed out many topics, including Fred Phelps, that went overlooked in Take Me Tomorrow. If you’re curious what the sequels might show, this review definitely foreshadows a lot of it. And, of course, Take Me Yesterday is complete. I plan on editing it and then working on Take Me Never ASAP.)

The Critical Reader

Of course, sometimes the negative can help me take a step back and laugh at myself. In fact, these have begun to remind me of my initial editing process. The clearest example I can think of was when my first editor for Seconds Before Sunrise was going through the first chapter and saw, “Robb grabbed his plaid sh*t” instead of his shirt. Yep. That editing mistake happened. That’s embarrassing. And—trust me—I will never, EVER make that mistake again. Every time I write the word shirt I will cringe. (And then, I will laugh uncontrollably). Thank the publishing gods it was caught during the editing process.

Me as a Reader

I am a reader, too, and while I’m not everyone’s reader, my day is made when I tweet to an author and they actually tweet back to me. This recently happened to me with one of my all-time favorite authors, Cassandra Clare. We even spoke about it person when I went to event later that week. My life was complete. No matter how many readers authors come in contact with, I think we find ourselves in their reviews, but more importantly, we connect with friends.

cassandra

To think that I might be able to bring joy to a reader in the way Cassandra Clare brought joy to me, fills me with a lot of hope and understanding that I didn’t have when I was 16.

I am very grateful for all the readers who have helped me grow since then, and I continue to love my readers more than anything else. It’s also nice to have reviews on Amazon and Barnes & Noble instead of Honesty Box.

Original posted February 18, 2015

~SAT

Pre-Order Bad Bloods today!

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

draft3

#MondayBlogs Authors, Look Back to Move Forward

11 Apr

Most writers have dreamt of being authors for a long time. Finding out an author started writing at a very young age happens more often than not, and I think it is important to remember that. In many ways, it is easier for a child to dream of becoming an author or an athlete or a superstar. After all, they might not fully comprehend all of the sacrifices they’ll need to make in order to accomplish their goals, but nevertheless, they dream. They dream and they write and they move forward. In some ways, I think you could say a child is closer to the dream, because they don’t worry about all the what ifs and rules. They just write. Theoretically, I think we can bring back our childhood passion—minus our bills, our lack of time, our adult concerns—and concentrate on just being writers. How? I’ll get to that in a minute.

A few years ago, my family got together on Father’s Day, and my brother and his then-fiancée-now-wife were looking for pictures to use during their wedding. That was when my dad decided to bring up two boxes my late mother left behind. When she was alive, she collected our artwork in boxes for my brother and me to open when we had kids, but we decided to open them up early for my brother’s wedding. It was an amazingly beautiful collection of childhood clothes, art, and pictures.

That’s when I found it: Two books I wrote as a child, which were printed by Crabapple Crossing Book Publishing. 

get-attachment.aspx

20130625_141947This was a moment that brought me back to that childhood passion before I even knew what publishing was. I was only in the second grade, and yet, I knew I loved writing stories. A little background: “Max & Milo” is about two dogs having a birthday party before they move away and become pen pals with all of their old friends. I found it pretty amusing (but interesting) because I had two dogs at the time. Surprise, they were named Max and Milo. I also moved around a lot as a kid. Strangely enough, this story followed the “write what you know” tip that’s very common for beginner writers. I wish I could say I understood the “show, don’t tell” rule at this age, but I think most of the story was described through the pictures I drew. I’m quite relieved I didn’t attempt to be a sketch artist. I’m super relieved I also learned grammar and how to structure dialogue.

But what is the most encouraging part about looking back on these things? 

20130625_142739

Fun facts: Valerie Tripp wrote The American Girl Doll series, my favorite color is red, I was born in Allentown, PA, and I still want to be an author when I grow up.😉

I’ve achieved the dream I’ve strived for since I was seven, and I continue to do better every day. I now know the “show, don’t tell” rule, along with a couple others, and I hope to add to my craft with every book I read, every sentence I write, and every day I dream.

Here’s to hoping this childhood post inspires others writers to look back on their goals, dreams, and creations to see how long the passion has been there, how far they’ve come, and how they’ll continue to move forward with grace and passion.

Original posted on June 26, 2013. 

~SAT

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter April 27! I’m REALLY excited about this live author-reader Q&A, and I really hope you all can make it. You can even win a CTP Mystery Box, which includes 1 to 2 print books, swag, and more. And that’s not all.

Clean Teen Publishing is giving away $120 worth of prizes! Do you hate long car rides and traffic? Are you tired of the same old cleaning the house routine? Do you find yourself wishing you had more time to read? If so, then we have the answer for you: LISTEN TO FICTION! That’s right. Audio books. Enter the Listen to Fiction Giveaway by clicking the link.

If you love free stuff, Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE right now. Recommended to YA paranormal romance fans who want new creatures never seen or heard of before.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

#WW How to Avoid Writer Burnout

9 Mar

Writer burnout is different from writer’s block. How? While writer’s block is a force that prevents you from going forward, writer’s burnout is when going forward too much and all the time eventually exhausts you (and your resources). I think it’s important to understand the differences, because the solutions to these problems can be quite different. Ultimately though, figuring out what works for you as a writer is what the key to your success will be. That being said, here are some writing tips to avoid writer’s burnout.

1. Pay Attention

If you normally write 1,000 words a day—and then suddenly notice you’ve written 10,000 words in three days—you might be on a slippery slope to burnout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s AWESOME when you do more than expected, but it’s also easy to get caught up in a writer’s high and forget to pay attention to your needs. Like sleep or adequate food. Stay hydrated. Get up and stretch still. Take care of yourself.

2. Take Breaks

This goes back to the above post, but I think it’s important enough to have its own slot, because it goes back to Typing 101. Every fifteen minutes or so, look away from your laptop. Focus elsewhere. Stretch your hands. Blink. (Blinking is a big one for me.) Stand up, stretch. Anything. Just take breaks. I have early on-set carpal tunnel from not taking care of myself as a teen writer. (I’m only 24!) It’s important to do this, no matter your age.

My dramatic reenactment of writer's burnout

My dramatic reenactment of writer’s burnout

3. If You Get Burnout

I think you’ll know if you get burnout, but if you’re like me, you’re likely to pretend it isn’t happening and try to power through it. Do. Not. Be. Like. Me. (I’m getting better at this myself.) If you recognize your burnout signs, take a well-deserved break. And not just a stretch and cucumber sandwich break. Take a long break. Take the afternoon off. Go for a hike in the woods. Climb up on the roof and stare at the clouds. Drive through the city. Blast some music and dance in your living room. Lie down and have the craziest dream-filled nap of all time. Rock it. This is your time to shine…instead of burnout.

These are just three simple steps to keep in mind if you suddenly feel a crashing sensation of exhaustion. Don’t let writing burn you out. Pay attention, take breaks, and recuperate if need be. Writing will be there when you return. I promise.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 10 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you. Last week, I told everyone the story of the time a REAL-LIFE Eric Welborn e-mailed me, wondering why I used his name in my novel. (Spoiler Alert: I thought I made it up.)

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#WW Being A Writer Isn’t Everything

2 Mar

The other night, I was wallowing on the couch. I do this a lot. I can admit it shamelessly. But that’s probably because it’s a fake wallow. I enjoy the dramatics of it…and I do it all alone…with my three cats watching me. (Call it a guilty pleasure.) There’s something about hearing myself pointlessly complain that kicks my ass into “Oh, get over yourself and get back to work” gear.

Still, sometimes it takes something else to get me out of a slump, and two weeks ago, this TED talk was it.

 

Now, I’m going to write the rest of the article like my link is broken, but I highly suggest watching it, even if you’re not a writer. From the title, you might think it’s just a reenactment of Yes Man, but I promise you, this speech is about a writer’s passion overtaking everything—to the point of workaholic destruction—and that same writer both overcoming it and coming to terms that being a workaholic writer is who she is.

Despite not having any children, I can relate to her speech a lot.

She discusses the “hum”—that place where you disappear while you write—and how without the hum, you can feel nonexistent.

“I love that hum. I need that hum. I am that hum. Am I nothing but that hum?”

I am passionate. I have been here before. “Writer” is only one part of my identity, but sometimes it feels like my only identity. In those moments, writing was all I did, all I thought about it, all I planned to do, and everything I wanted. I still struggle with this every now and then. (Hence the wallowing sessions on my couch.) Sometimes, it even takes someone close to me to remind me to step away from my computer. Writing will be there tomorrow. Writing will be there a month from now. Writing will always be there. It’s okay if you have to take care of you first. It’s okay to just be you. For me, this means going out for a coffee…without my laptop. For me, this means sitting outside…without a notebook. For me, this means going to bed at night…without trying to dream up the next novel. For me, this means having a conversation with a loved one…minus books, publishing news, and movie adaptations.

Don’t get me wrong. I still go to coffee shops and write, and I still go to bed with future books on the brain, but I consciously need to remind myself to keep living outside my pen and paper. Living life inspires writing anyway, right? Well, yes, but again, it’s important to live life without pre-planning to use it in one of your books.

It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by your dream job. It’s okay to just be you.

This was my reminder.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 9 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you.

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win hereThen, read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, on your Kindle Fire for FREE: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads 

1233505_1031422126896957_8024612339956191788_n

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#MondayBlogs Authors I’ve Met Who Inspired Me

22 Feb

Every Monday I rewrite a post from the past in a new and different away. Today’s post, for instance, is simply inspired by my older post: Relax & Read: A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid. I wrote this post after reading A Dog Named Christmas, but this book means more to me than what this post reveals. Greg Kincaid is one of many authors who I have had the pleasure of speaking to, so today, I wanted to talk about three authors who have affected my life (and why readers should never hesitate to contact their favorite writers)!

1. Elizabeth C. Bunce: If I could accurately express my gratitude to Elizabeth C. Bunce, I would, but I cannot because my gratitude is endless. Not only was she one of my favorite young adult authors growing up but she was also one of the first authors I was able to meet in person…and I was only 16 when I first met her. She held a book signing in the KC area, and I drove to listen to her reading, and I gave her a copy of my very first published book. She was incredibly supportive and encouraging. I had the pleasure of discussing writing and reading with her one-on-one a couple of times over the years. She is delightful, brilliant, and overall inspiring. Read her books here.

2. Rosemary Clement-Moore: When I was 19, I was invited to the Nimrod Journal Conference through my fiction writing course while attending the University of Kansas. I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma just for the event, and it was, by far, worth it. I had the joy of sitting in on Rosemary Clement-Moore’s young adult panel, and she made the time to sit down and speak with me afterward. She told me a great publishing story about one of her close friends, and it inspired me to stay on the path I was on to follow my own dreams…AND the whole time I had my jacket buttoned wrong. I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photos later. I was a complete nervous wreck…and she still helped me. That meant the world. Read her books here.

inspiration

3. Greg Kincaid: The author who inspired this post is the same man who wrote the book (and now Hallmark movie) A Dog Named Christmas. He (magically) took the time out of his day to talk to me about screen writing, fiction writing, and his search for agents and publication. He was honest, direct, and absolutely helpful. At the time, I had just started writing Take Me Tomorrow (and that was almost five years ago), and he even read it and gave me great feedback, which helped me shape the story into what it became today. I could not have dreamt for more direction or support. Read his books here.

Without these three authors, my writing life would be very different…and these are only THREE of the many authors I’ve met. I have also met Stephenie Meyer, Amy A. Bartol, Tish Thawer, and many others. Recently, as many of you know, I had the pure joy of sharing a Barnes & Noble book signing with Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan. A lovely group! There are a dozen of others I wish I could name, but I want to simply express how grateful I am for all the authors and fellow writers I meet on a regular basis. If you’re an aspiring writer—and you’re not sure if a six-hour drive is worth meeting an author—I’m telling you now, DO IT. Every hour is worth it. Every moment is priceless.

One day, I’d love to meet Cassandra Clare, Victoria Aveyard, Meg Cabot, Marie Rutkoski, Ally Carter, and Marissa Meyer. (But really, I could go on forever.)

Meet the authors you can.

I hope one day I can meet you all too!

~SAT

#WW How I Became A Full-Time Editor

10 Feb

I love blogging (obvs.), but I love it even more when my readers suggest a topic for me to cover. Today is one of those days. The Uncommon Cliche asked me to write about how I became a full-time editor, and well, here I am to tell you.

Long story short: I fell into it.

I know. I know. That’s probably not the answer you were wanting, but don’t fret. I still have tips for everyone set on doing what I do. It’s a lot of fun, after all! (But also a lot of hard work.)

First and foremost, you should love to read, because you’re going to be reading a lot. (And that’s not including your free reading time.) In fact, I spend most of my life reading. I read at work and I read when I get off. It’s a passion of mine. So much so that I found myself reading articles about reading. You could say it’s an obsession. This little obsession of mine eventually pushed me into writing, and writing taught me some harsh lessons about grammar. Harsh, public lessons. This is when I became obsessed with not only reading and writing, but also grammar and punctuation. I wanted to get as much as I could get right, and I wanted to learn even more after that. I wanted to be a professional, and then, I realized I could help others be professional, too.

My initial experiences with editing happened in college. I was an English major, and for some reason, everyone seems to think English majors understand grammar…even though they don’t teach you grammar in college. You’re expected to already know it. All of it. So, in a way, being an English major forced me to hustle, and I learned in order to pass. This put me in a place to help fellow students with their papers, and eventually, reading others’ works became a regular, everyday thing. On the side, I started a blog for fun, but this is important. Remember this. I mainly shared writing tips and book reviews, and four months into it, I decided I wanted to pursue publication.

My cats help me edit, too.

My cats help me edit, too.

Move ahead to my senior year of college, and I sign with a small publisher. This upped the stakes. Now it wasn’t grades on papers. It was readers and their reviews for products people purchased. On top of that, it was a totally different type of editing with a new demand. As an author, I tried, made mistakes, tried again, and learned. I adjusted. I did what I had to do, and I worked with other editors to learn the more complicated aspects. If an editor wants to take you under his or her pen (er…wing), do it. Offer to be a proofreader or even a beta reader. Practice. Then practice some more. Learn as much as you can. Buy a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style. Study it. Study it again. Follow Grammar Girl and other grammar-related blogs. Talk to as many editors and authors and publishers as you can about what it takes and what they know. Most people are willing to help you, and there’s always something new to learn.

When I first started, it was by accident. I was helping authors at my publishing company, and the publisher happened to expand. They needed a proofreader, and I took the gig. I did that for over a year before we went our separate ways and I started my own editing services. (I did this after many hours of research on appropriate pricing for my personal goals and such.) I launched my services via my website, a website I started three years prior. (Told you to remember that.) If you’re doing this independently, have a platform, and if you’re working toward doing this independently, start a platform now. Set your goals, research your audience, and move forward.

In my case, I’m still half of the industry standard. Why? Because I went into this knowing I wanted to give Indie authors a bigger chance. I mainly wanted to create a place for people to go if a previous editor didn’t turn out to be all they were cracked up to be. The other aspect I decided to focus on was having “no limits.” While many editors do, I don’t deny work because of controversial topics or scenes. I’m not here to judge; I’m here to edit. I understood the market and the average buyer’s budget, and I set out to help them.

I make just enough for me, and I’m happy. I love reading the works of my fellow writers, and I love it even more when I see the readers fall in love with their work too.

Being an editor isn’t easy. My eyes hurt, my wrists ache, and my migraines stay well into the night. But it’s worth it in the end…especially when you love to read.

~SAT

If you follow my newsletter, you just received an exclusive sneak peek of Bad BloodsFor future opportunities, sign up today by clicking herenewsletter

My weekly Twitter series #AuthorinaCoffeeShop will take place this THURSDAY at 7 PM CDT, since I’ll be out of town on Friday. I hope to see you then!

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice Gilmer,, Jan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

attempt5

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#WritingTips Choosing a Setting

1 Feb

Every Monday, I recover previous posts that were popular, but I tackle them in a whole new way. Today, I’m covering how to choose a setting for your novel or poem or short story or whatever you’re writing. The original post, Setting: Picking a Location, can be read by clicking the link, and it covers other aspects to keep in mind, but today, I only want to tackle two ideas: real-world settings and imaginary ones.

1. Real-World Settings: Write What You Know or Research

When you’re writing about a place in the real world, you honestly have two options: write what you know or write after you research extensively. This is especially true if you’re writing a historical piece, but that’s a completely different topic to cover, so I’m basically talking about the here and now. If you’re making a decision, don’t pick what is easiest. Instead, pick what is right for your story. In fact, you might have to write your story’s first draft to realize what type of setting you need, and that’s perfectly okay. As long as you figure out what you need and where you need to go, do it the way that feels right to you as a writer. But once you know what you need, you can start researching. I always suggest considering places you already know, but I am probably biased because I moved all around the country as a kid, so I have a plethora of places to consider. That being said, you can always travel too, but please don’t think you MUST travel in order to write about a place. While Ally Carter does travel a lot—and bases many of her books on those places—she also says, “I try and try and try to get people to believe me when I say that my job is basically looking at a whiteboard covered with sticky notes and/or a computer and/or big stacks of paper all day long.” This is how picking a setting (or any part of your novel) is going to go. Research and think and research again. Even better? Research is SO easy nowadays. You can even talk to someone from that exact location if you want to. All you have to do is join a forum. One thing I’ve always loved is pretending I’m moving there. (If I play “your life is about to change dramatically,” it forces me to take it very, very seriously.) Look at the setting via Google Maps, read a travel guide, research schools, check out the town’s official website, talk to people who live there or have in the least been there. You can do it. Look at it this way, if you can spend months writing about it, you can take a week or three reading about it. One of my favorite tools—even just for fun reading—is Earth Album. You just click, and voila! Pictures of the location and the name, so you can start Googling. If you click on the picture too, it will generally send you to the source of the image so you can research it in-depth. It’s a good place to start.

A screenshot of Earth Album

A screenshot of Earth Album

Fun fact: Although not a real town, Haysworth, Kansas in The Timely Death Trilogy was a combination of two towns in Kansas: Hays and Ellsworth—both of which I’ve been to. I also lived in Kansas for seven years, so I was very familiar with the landscape, laws, people, beliefs, etc., and I wanted to have a paranormal story take place in the Midwest, especially since the Midwest is underrepresented in paranormal YA (actually in YA in general)…despite the fact that we have a gate to hell in Stull. (Google it. It’s a big deal to us Kansans…even though I’m a Missourian now.)

2. Imaginary Settings: World-Building and Map-Making

I could write an entire month’s worth of blog posts about world building, so this is going to be ridiculously brief, but I hope it’s a place to start. Just like the above option, I think it’s most important to figure out what your story needs first, but once you have that, you can start building. Again, that doesn’t mean I think you have to know all of this before you write. You can write the entire story to figure it out, and then, change everything in editing. Personally, I like building from the little details to the bigger ones, which I know is the opposite of many writers, but that’s okay, because I figured out what worked for me. (Most of my writing tips, you might notice, revolve around the idea of figuring out who you are as a writer.) I start with the story details, and I work my way up to a giant map. This way, I have my “rules” in place. I have the political systems, the social expectations, the movements, the beliefs, the types of people, the places, etc. Now, if you want to start with a map first, I’d suggest studying maps. See how they are drawn and draw yours. If you want something random, watch this YouTube video. It’s freakin’ awesome, and it’s an easy way to get all different types of terrain on various landscapes.

Personally, I am in the process of writing an epic fantasy, and I did it the old-school way: a piece of paper and a pen and a bunch of sticky notes. My living room was covered. (Because that’s what works for me.) Overall, it’s important to create a world just as rich and diverse as our world is today. Even if it’s a walled-in city, different types of people and beliefs will exist. Don’t sell your world short. Explore it, take notes on it, explore it some more. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to include every little detail of your imaginary world in your book (especially not in the first chapter), but knowing as much as possible can help fine-tune your voice and your characters. If you’re going to take inspiration from history, be honest but be respectful. That means being diligent. Be everything you’d want a future writer to be in regards to if they took inspiration from your lifetime or your country. Create a world we’ve never seen before.

Fun fact: Take Me Tomorrow and November Rain both take place in the near-future U.S., but were built very differently. The Tomo Trilogy takes place throughout the entire country, while Bad Bloods takes place in one walled-in city. While Take Me Tomorrow was largely built around rail transportation in the U.S., November Rain was built on a real city I never actually name in the story (but I do give hints as to what it is). The epic fantasy I mentioned above doesn’t take place in this world at all. That took a lot more time and consideration to create, but it was well worth it in the end.

Create, and create well. And, of course, have fun.

~SAT

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerTheresa Romain, Jan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Get your free book today!

Get your free book today!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,872 other followers

%d bloggers like this: