Tag Archives: indie books under $5

Inundated with Writing Advice

5 Jul

There comes a point in every writer’s career that they seek out feedback and advice from others. Whether that be critique partners, beta readers, or studying craft books, writers are often doing their best to continuously hone their skills. And while that is commendable, there comes a point where a writer can feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they are learning. They may even get lost or make more mistakes than before—all while trying to improve. 

When and why does this happen? 

This can happen for several reasons, but I believe it happens the most when a writer is at the cusp of something new. For example, a new genre or age category they aren’t used to, or a more complicated story than those they’ve written in the past. Maybe they’ve picked up a craft book for the first time or stumbled across a blog that has lists upon lists of must-do rules that feel endless. (Or, worse, contradictory.) 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the advice out there. I mean, technically, this is one of those articles, too. Right? (I promise I’ll try not to be overwhelming.)  

I, personally, love to challenge myself, so I try new things constantly—new tropes, new genres, new archetypes. It can be fun, but very challenging, and challenges open you up to advice you may not have heard before. When you hear that advice, it may even contradict lessons you’ve learned in the past. Contradictory writing advice is where I see a lot of writers get stuck. You know the kind. One person wants more in this scene; someone else wants less. An industry expert claims deep POV is the way to go; others ask for lighter fiction. And that trope you love? It’s OUT. You better rethink your entire premise. 

Or not. 

While seeking advice is admirable, there comes a point where a writer must know when to focus on their work by themselves. Learning when to make decisions and how to own them will help you tremendously. I believe it comes down to making decisions with purpose. Boil your reasoning down, and you’ll know why you are writing the piece you are writing—and what you are trying to say with it. 

Still lost?

Sometimes it’s not easy to make decisions. I mostly get stuck when I come across discussions about what needs to be in books and what’s been overdone. For example, the brooding male romantic interest is a trope that many say we don’t need anymore. They’d rather have more cinnamon roll boys or other personality types. And that is totally valid! We absolutely need all different types of characters and tropes to keep publishing fresh and exciting. But I also don’t think we need to throw out everything that has been done either. Especially since there are plenty of diverse voices that haven’t had the chance to cover those topics themselves. 

Though you may see a lot of people say they don’t want that type of character, that is their opinion. You can still write it. And there will always be readers who love the brooding male love interest. That said, I would still encourage you to dive deep and ask yourself how you are making your situation unique. 

Knowing what makes your book and voice unique will help guide your ultimate decisions. Theme is big guiding post, too. If you understand those details about your work, you’ll be less likely to get swayed by outside influence that isn’t necessarily good for your specific piece. It’s better to stay true to what you set out to do than to try to force something into your work that you know won’t come across as authentic. But if you want to attempt new skills and try out fresh ideas, don’t hold yourself back. Remind yourself that it’s okay to feel uncomfortable when trying new things. (That first draft is never going to look as shiny as your final product!) 

This is where critique partner feedback comes in handy. I love nothing more than bouncing ideas off of my writer friends. They certainly help challenge me (and point out parts of my work that I never would’ve focused on in the same light). That said, managing critique partner feedback is its own challenge. My favorite writing tip?

“Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” – Neil Gaiman

How can a writer keep advice in mind while making better decisions?

Read all the advice throughout your entire manuscript at once and see if you can identify patterns. (Ex. One character keeps confusing the reader.) Those patterns are most likely your biggest issues that need fixing. Regarding small things, stay as objective as possible, but remind yourself that you are not going to please every reader in every scene or sentence. No matter how shiny your book is, you will get 1-star reviews. It won’t be for everyone. Remind yourself of who you wrote this book for and what you want your book to say. 

Other than that, I would pay attention to how you are as a reader. If you tend to love world building as a reader, you’re probably pretty good at that as a writer. You might even overdo it. Make sure to give extra attention to the areas that you skip over as a reader. You might be surprised to find you did the same thing with your writing. 

Regardless, when all is said and done, this book is yours and the advice you get is a gift—a gift that you must decide how to utilize. I may have given you a few checklist items to keep in mind while considering advice, but I certainly hope you don’t feel inundated. ❤ 

Stay true to your story, 

~SAT

P.S. Now that it’s July, make sure to pick up Bad Bloods: July Thunder & July Lightning. The duology takes place in July, and it can be super fun to read each day as it happens in real life. If you’re an X-Men fan, these are for you.

July Thunder (#3)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

July Lightning (#4)

Amazon, Barnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Ebook Release & Extras!

11 Jun

On June 12th, the ebook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases everywhere. But you can buy it on Smashwords today for only $3.89 by clicking here.

10314583_322060517919144_5790321641775718047_n

You can win a Kindle from 7 – 9 p.m. this Thursday on Facebook by playing games and interviewing authors LIVE. AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is releasing the ebooks of Seconds Before Sunrise, A Dangerous Element, The Dragon Three, and Birthright. Just click here.

As a little extra, I wanted to share pictures that reminded me of favorite scenes in The Timely Death Trilogy with little excerpts.

Scene (1) Flying Scene. 

This first picture reminded me of the first flying scene between Eric and Jessica. The chapter is told from Eric’s perspective, but I wanted to include it because Eric’s only enjoyment comes from taking flights with Camille and Pierce. When he’s with Jessica, it comes naturally to him, but – obviously – not to her. But it also allowed her to show how quickly she can learn.

055b1c800396924aee4ea1b441c81fce

Minutes Before Sunset, Eric, page 47

She screamed as her feet left the ground, and we shot into the sky. Her petite hands tightened on my jacket, and I twisted us into circles, shadows spiraling at our flying feet. The air spun around our bodies, winding our clothes with every moment and change in the atmosphere. I hadn’t flown in so long, and I had forgotten how alive I felt when I did.

“Shoman!” She wriggled against my grasp. “Put me down. Let me go!”

“If you say so,” I said, dropping her.

She plummeted, falling from my grasp and through the clouds. Guess she couldn’t fly. In an instant, I shot after her trail of shadows, grabbing her before she even neared the ground. Abruptly, she silenced, and her echoing scream pierced the air. As she hung from my grasp, her purple eyes blinked up at me.

“What the hell, Shoman?” She gasped as I pulled her up, steadying her against my chest. She dug her nails into me and glared. “I did not mean literally.”

Scene (2) The Bat Scene – Why bats?

I love bats. I know. I know. Most people do not, and – believe it or not – my love for bats has nothing to do with vampires. When I lived in Georgia, I saw fireflies for the first time. My brother and I ran around the back yard to catch all of the fireflies when a bat came out of nowhere and ate one right in front of me. The crazy part was how close it got to my face before taking a 90 degree turn and flying straight up into the air. When I looked up, there were dozens of them, and I’ve been in love ever since. But this isn’t the main reason I wanted bats to be in Minutes Before Sunset. I explained the main reason on Ky Grabowski’s blog, but here are the basics: the trilogy is based off of dreams I had and real events that sparked from those dreams. One morning, when I had a dream, I ran outside, half-expecting to see the people in my dreams, and I ran into a light storm settling over the sunrise, bats flying around in circling waves.

87802c69b7723de2636999d69542e712

Minutes Before Sunset, Eric, 208

She arched her neck, flicking her gaze over the mediocre spring shower. Thick raindrops fell from the sky, splashing against the water, and rain glittered against her hair. “I don’t see anything,” she said, turning back to me, but I pointed back up.

“Now you will.”

Bats, hundreds of them, circled and dipped, dove and flew, twisting through the air as they collected their dawning breakfast. She sucked in breath, and the gasp between her lips brought shivers to my spine in the same way the image of morning bats had when I first saw them as a child.

Scene (3) The forest

Since I shared the photo during my last post, I wanted to share a scene that showed the forest’s opening that leads to the Dark’s shelter. This forest is scene numerous times throughout all three novels, but the biggest moments (I feel) both happen at the beginning of Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise. In MBS, Eric sees Jessica for the first time. In SBS, Jessica is looking back for Eric without really realizing it.

fbe2dacc94e4a7696471958a9936c578

Seconds Before Sunrise, Jessica, page 4

I froze, gripping the cooling metal, and my blood turned into chilled water within my veins. I stared at my shivering hands and slowly brought my eyes up to the forest. The entrance was right in front of me, opening up to darkened brush and thickened ground. I only saw shadows, but I believed I could see more. A figure lingered in my memory, a vanishing outline in the darkness, even though no one was there. I fought the urge to shout at the trees.

Robb touched my shoulder, and I jumped. He stepped back, his eyes widened, and Crystal honked from the street.

“Jess?”

“I’m fine,” I repeated, brushing him off as I rushed past him. I didn’t want him to see my face. I felt like I was crumbling, and I didn’t want my friends, or anyone, to know it. My confusion was mine, even if it was bordering on insanity.

Perhaps I’ll post character profiles soon! I’m really enjoying sharing my Pinterest inspiration here, but I’m most looking forward to the eBook extravaganza this Thursday! I hope you all come. You can talk to me live, and you can win a Kindle!

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: