Tag Archives: publication

Writing in a New Genre

3 Feb

Maybe you hit a slump with your usual genre. Maybe you’re feeling the urge to explore. Maybe you just want to. Sometimes, authors want to write in a genre they’ve never written in before, but they don’t know where to start. Well, that’s what I’m here for. In fact, I recently went through this myself, so today I’m sharing three tips and a little story about what I learned from this attempt. I hope it helps you explore a new genre!

1. Ask Yourself Why

First and foremost, I truly believe every author should ask themselves why they want to write the project they are currently sitting down to write. Why? Because being honest with yourself might save you some heartache. If you’re chasing a trend, you might find your passion burns out rather quickly (or when the trend passes…because it will, probably before you finish your first draft). This will make you feel like you wasted your time and energy, even if you did technically learn from it. So…take a step back before you sit down to write. Why are writing this book? Why are you writing in this genre? Are you following trends? Are you the best person to tell it? What is the main reason for switching genres: the story, the genre, the characters, the challenge, etc.? What drives you the most is up to you. Knowing why you’re writing it and what your goals are for it will help you stay focused.

Isn’t it fun to discover a new genre?

2. Read the Genre

If you’re not reading, you don’t have the tools to write. I know, I know. There are so many people who loathe that rule, but it’s true. Reading within and outside of your genre helps you see what has been done before, what is expected, and where you can succeed. Have you read widely in this genre? Have you seen gaps that need to be filled? Do you understand your reader’s expectations? What about successful tropes or overused ones? Read, read, read. You will love it. And if you don’t enjoy reading it, then you probably won’t enjoy writing it. Find the genre where you feel at home.

3. Research the Genre

This is a step I’m not sure many consider, but researching the history of your genre can give you excellent insight. You’ll come across controversies, learn how it correlated with history, and watch it expand into what it has become today. By knowing this, you might be inspired by the greats or see where the shape of your genre is most likely headed. Rather than chasing trends as they pop up, this might help you walk down an educated path of where that trend might pop before it ever happens…and you’ll have your book written, rather than scrambling to finish something. Again, this isn’t about chasing trends, but rather—at a fundamental level—knowing what needs to be done next in order to fulfill readers’ wants/needs/desires ahead of time. Make sure to check out writing blogs. Look up your favorite authors in that genre and see if they offer writing tips in interviews or elsewhere. They’ve already written this genre and made mistakes, so listen to their lessons ahead of time. You might still make the same mistakes, but at least you’ll recognize it for what it is and move on to the next step. Let knowledge guide your passion.

As an example, I generally read and write YA SFF, but last year, I set out to write my first historical. I still haven’t finished. It’s been SUPER hard, much harder than I anticipated, but I set out knowing I wanted to learn first and worry about publication later (if I ever pursue publication with it at all).

I began by reading all the historical fiction I could get my hands on. (I already read historical fiction, but I pushed to read more.) I tried different sub-genres and time periods and styles. In between books, I researched my time period thoroughly. I took notes. I researched again. I took MORE notes. I visited libraries and museums. I took notes again. I organized. Then, I began to write. Funny enough, even though I thought I had all the notes I needed to write, it became quite clear the moment I sat down that historical fiction demanded more than I expected and totally different tools than SFF. I made mistakes. I backtracked. I set it down. I came back to it. I wrote again. I took it to my beta readers. I deleted over half of it. I started over. I continued to write. Most recently, I’ve set it down again. But I still love it. And I don’t feel like I wasted a second of my time.

In the end, I was passionate about the tale. I was willing to learn and make mistakes. I still haven’t finished the novel, as it was my first attempt, but I believe in the story. I might pick it back up. I might not. But I believe in trying new genres and following your heart and challenging your art. Just don’t let bumps in the road convince you that you’re failing. You are trying. You are learning. And that’s something to be proud of.

Every author in the world had to write in their genre for the first time.

Why can’t this be your first leap toward success?

~SAT

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#SATurday: Writing Update: Take Me Yesterday

12 Sep

I’m writing this blog post before I announce I’m working on Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy, but I’ve probably shown you a teaser by now. (This time warp I live in—two weeks before my life is posted—is still rather strange, but it is especially ironic in this case.)

For those of you who don’t know, my novel, Take Me Tomorrow, book 1 of The Tomo Trilogy, is a young adult dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug. It released July 17, 2014, but it was taken off of the market less than six months later after that publisher closed. Now that I’m done rewriting November Snow, I’ve returned to The Tomo Trilogy with new insight, and I would like to experiment with that path next.

That being said, I’m basically writing this to ask you a few questions. Was there something you would’ve liked to see in Take Me Tomorrow? For instance, I am considering adding a few one-page chapters from Noah’s perspective, and I would like to hear your opinion on that. Originally, I kept the excerpts out because I thought he either said too much or too little, but so many of you expressed how you would’ve liked to see his voice, so I might add them. (But I warn you, his voice makes no sense, so please keep that in mind.) I’m also considering adding a few more details about the “massacre” that is mentioned, but there was an important reason I didn’t explain it in the first book. (It’s explained in book 2.) But I would love to hear any and all opinions if you have them.

That being said, working on Take Me Yesterday is different than I ever imagined. I’m basically rewriting it, too. The draft I had written is now five years old. FIVE. That shocked me enough. I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then, so I’m writing it with some older eyes, more experienced eyes, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy.

tmtcollage

You see, there’s a reason I didn’t return to Take Me Tomorrow right away. When it first released, I thought maybe it was the wrong decision, that the story was too controversial, that the story might even be too close to home. To this day, Take Me Tomorrow is the closest work I’ve written to my life, and I don’t do that often, but the topics surrounding drugs is important to me. Considering my mother died of a drug overdose when I was eleven, I’ve been affected by drugs my whole life, and after my mother’s death, I did a lot of research regarding how drugs are handled in society, both illegal and legal, and Take Me Tomorrow was the result of all that research. (If you want more information, I wrote an article a while back that gets in-depth about my reasoning, Why I Write About Drugs, Immigration, and Addiction) But, when it comes down to it, Take Me Tomorrow is my expressing a lot of pain I’ve had in regards to drugs. I don’t think it’s black and white. I find drug-related topics to be very gray, and I tried to portray that in the first book.

Perhaps releasing it when I did wasn’t the right time, but it did open my eyes to what I might face. Like, the woman who emailed me and told me I was encouraging kids to fall in love with drug addicts by writing what I did. (True story.) But I think, I’ve come to a point in my writing career where I know, no matter what, that I need to be true to myself…and I think I’m ready to tackle this controversy again. Most of all, I think I’m simply ready to share the rest of Sophia’s story.

I hope you’ll enjoy it too,

~SAT

P.S. For those of you wondering about November Snow, I still plan on releasing that next, and I’m hoping to announce something about it this fall/winter. Right now though, I’m just concentrating on getting The Timely Death Trilogy out before I worry about publication. Thank you for understanding!

Announcement time! And, boy, do I have a lot of announcements. (They’re exciting, I promise!)

Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases in THREE days. Three! Pre-order your eBooks here: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks. (The paperback releases Oct. 19.) If you want to be a part of the release day, you can even sign up for a book blast by clicking here. And, if you haven’t started the trilogy yet, don’t worry. The first book is free everywhere. Here’s some links to get you started in the Dark: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks.

All three!

All three!

Death Before Daylight was even featured on Waiting on Wednesday,  a weekly post about what readers are waiting for. On top of that, we’ve had a lot of fun so far during the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour, and as usual, you can visit any of these places to enter into a raffle to win great prizes! Here are the latest stops: Black Words-White Pages interview, Crazy Beautiful Reads Review, and Fic Gal Review.

As for events, UK fans, I will be doing an Author Takeover on Happily Ever After Seekers Book Club on Facebook tomorrow at 8 p.m. (UK), which is 3 p.m. (EST).

Another Facebook party is being thrown by Clean Teen Publishing on September 18 from 7-9 p.m. (EST) Come join us at the CTP Death Before Daylight Release Party.

And, finally, (OH! FINALLY!) I’ll be doing a Halloween book signing and paranormal talk at Headrush Roasters in Gladstone, Missouri on October 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. (CDT). Who else can’t wait?

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#WW Writer Problems 1–5

22 Apr

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

If you’re on my Facebook, then you will be familiar with today’s content. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing little cards that I make called Writer Problems. I only have a few out, but I decided that I wanted to share them on here too. So today was born, and hopefully, more days like today will follow. Basically, I’ll be sharing 5 cards at a time and explaining where the inspiration came from (because there are too many hilarious stories that go on behind the scenes of these), and I think many writers can probably relate to my writer problems.

Adding this information since I received an email requesting it: I highly encourage you all to share these photos if you want! Never be afraid to take anything from my website. In fact, I love it! But please give credit to one of my websites. If you want to use these photos, for instance, please don’t crop my website name out. Thank you!

Writer Problems #1

No matter how many times I press SAVE, I still think I’ll lose the entire document when I close it (even though I use a flash drive).

1

I’m currently working on…well…so many projects. Like most authors. But I have a problem. I’m a very neurotic person – very superstitious, very particular, and I have my rituals and my fears and they practically control my life. ::takes big breath:: So, one of my OCD issues is closing documents. I can’t. Whenever I am working on something – like a novel – I seriously struggle to close the twenty documents I have up at all. Even though I also save every five minutes, which is a problem in itself, I say a little prayer before I ever close anything. On top of that, I’ve been known to reopen everything after I close it just to check. And then I save it anything. And I might open it again. It’s exhausting.

Writer Problems #2

Eureka! I have a new idea! Now if I could only finish my other ten ideas… 

2

This goes back to my first problem. I never read one book at a time, and I never write one book at a time. I’m constantly working on different projects at the same time, so it isn’t rare for another project to sneak its way into my schedule. I’ve found that it’s both a blessing and a curse. My biggest issue is picking which novel to write next.

Writer Problems #3

Strangers catching you staring at them because they look like your characters.

3

Oh, goodness. On top of being neurotic, I’m always rather awkward, and one of those things that I tend to do (which often gets me in trouble) is staring at people. A lot. Even if people don’t look like my characters, I’ve found myself staring at someone that I WISH was one of my characters. You would think that I would get better at hiding my stalking eyes, but…I haven’t. I just stare. Creepily from my corner. Taking notes.

Writer Problems #4

Having nightmares about your novel during writing, editing, publishing, and after publication.

#4

It’s sort of like having the classic dream of showing up at school in your underwear. It happens – even though you’re no longer in school – and I find it’s even more frustrating when you’re out of school and have dreams like that. I have dreams of never finishing novels that are already finished. I have dreams of being called the shittiest author of all time. (But I think Honest Trailers already gave that to someone…) I have dreams of characters never coming out and talking to me again. Ah! I could go on and on about all the dreams I have revolving around books, but my heartbeat is racing.

Writer Problems #5

Hearing a song that inspired a novel…and now all you want to do it WRITE.

5

This particular card had a funny backstory to it, but I first have to explain how I make these. Basically, I pay attention to my everyday life, and when something reminds me of a writer problem I have, I create these. So, I might not even be going through what is on the card, but I will be going through something similar. For instance, in this case, I was doing the dishes, accompanied by my handy iPod mini – it’s green – and I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li came on. For those of you who listened to the 8tracks soundtrack for Take Me Tomorrow, you will know that this song heavily influenced my writing time, so just hearing it, made me want to go work on that trilogy. I struggled to continue washing the dishes, and it reminded me of times I’ve been out in public at an event and heard a song like this, which made it difficult to even concentrate at all. Writing consumes you.

Have any of these writer problems affected you? Have any funny stories to accompany them? Share below! And let me know if you want me to continue these cards and stories in the future. If you like them, be sure to follow me on Facebook because that is where I share them first.

~SAT

Author Announcements: An Update

26 Nov

Afternoon, everyone! I believe this is my first post I’ve ever published during the middle of the day, but I wanted to share an update. In the video below, you’ll hear about my recent publication, a gift, and news about Death Before Daylight. I hope you’ll check it out.

Thank you for understanding my break. I miss everyone so much! 

Here are the links to read my recent publication in The Quill: To my Mother and On being overweight

Happy Thanksgiving,

~SAT

Publishing News: Anthology

19 Sep

Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers today! Thank you 😀

Really fast:

Giveaway opportunity: ShannonAThompson.com is only 8 followers away from hitting 9,000, and I want to celebrate! Once we hit the mark, I’ll be hosting a giveaway, and, so far, I have 18 books, but I need as many authors to participate as possible. Please send me an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com or message me on my FB Author Page for more details. Thank you for your support!

Even faster:

AEC Stellar is releasing an anthology, a collection of short stories from numerous authors, next month! I’ve added a page for it under novels, which you can look at by going to my tool bar or clicking hereBelow you’ll see the cover of this upcoming collection. I am REALLY excited for this publication, and I feel very lucky to be a part of this. It’s always an exciting moment to see another work of yours being shared with the world. My story, Sean’s Bullet, is a military-fiction piece I originally wrote in my Fiction Writing I class during my freshman year in college. Another reason I am excited for this short story stems from the genre. It isn’t a genre people have seen me write from before, so I can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say. I’ll announce when it’s released, so look out for it! In the meantime, check out what’s coming your way:

2013: A Stellar Collection~SAT 

Publishing Tips: Introduce Extras

6 Apr

25 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release. 

When I posted Shannon Summary: Six Months In, I received a lot of inquiries about how to bring more readers to your blog and/or novels. I thought about this for a while, and I’ve come to a lot of conclusions, but one of them in particular kept repeating itself: connect with our readers.

I spend a lot of my free time reading other blogs (Twitters and Facebook pages too). In order to connect with readers, I never expect them to find me. I go to them, and I prove that I care. I think this is really important, because then there is a connection between the writer and the reader (especially if they are a writer too.)

So what can you do once you get passed that step?

Create opportunities.

Like my cover contest for Minutes Before Sunset, I try really hard to involve my readers with my writings (because, ultimately, it is for them.) But I understand if others aren’t comfortable with that. So I thought about other things, and I came up with this idea (mainly because a lot of published authors actually have pages like this themselves) and decided to do it myself.

My Facebook Author Page is over 150 likes too :]

My Facebook Author Page is over 150 likes too :]

Create an “Extras” page for your novels and/or writings. This allows reader to see Fan Art and/or anything you’ve created while writing. You can also add possible soundtracks, along with anything else you find enhancing towards the experience of your novel. I think it’s important to have pages like this, because it can be further entertainment for your readers while also giving the opportunity of teaching your writing methods.

I’ve added “Extras” pages for November Snow & Minutes Before Sunset. (Click the links to see them.)

These pages will include Interior/Exterior Maps, Soundtracks, and Fan Art (along with anything else I think will enhance the experience of the novel and writing tips.) Whenever I add something new, I’ll be sure to post an announcement on my blog and Facebook Author Page.

So check it out (and if you have anything you’d like to see, let me know, and I’ll add it!)

~SAT

April 8: Relax & Read: The Unmemntioable by Erin Moure

As an "extra" to my life: I have a collection of frogs. Don't ask me why, because I honestly have no clue. People seem to buy them for me, and this is my most recent one (of 6). He's from Puerto Rico.

As an “extra” to my life: I have a collection of frogs. Don’t ask me why, because I honestly have no clue. People seem to buy them for me, and this is my most recent one (of 6). He’s from Puerto Rico.

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