Book Review: Jordan Locke’s ‘The Only Boy’

Book Review: Jordan Locke’s ‘The Only Boy’

untitled (17)In spite of the waning dystopian genre, Jordan Locke’s ‘The Only Boy’ breathes new life into it. I found this book on Twitter through this cover alone. Jordan Locke actually created this cover, and I must say, Locke did a fantastic job.

The main crux of this book is there are no more men in the world, as they have been wiped out by a plague called the Cleansing. Thus, it is only women that remain–or so Mary thinks.

Mary has never seen a boy in her life. She lives in Section One, which is a crumbling hospital with plenty of other women. Pictures of men have been removed from all books.

Then there is Taylor, whose dangerous secret is, of course, that he is a boy. In order to remain in Section One, he must pretend to be a girl; however, this is not an easy feat. The threat of death looms above him should he be found out.

Taylor wants to leave Section One because of the Matriarch. Her idea of safety is to keep Section One under totalitarian control. Even so, Taylor doesn’t want to leave Mary behind. But what will happen when Mary finds out just who and what Taylor is?

Upon seeing the cover and reading the description, I knew I had to snatch this book up right away. I love the dystopian genre, but the dystopian books in my bookstore are beginning to sound the same. They’re not even drawing from The Hunger Games. The most recent ones are being drawn from Divergent, because they all involve some sort of test, and it’s getting very tiring. In fact, Locke had to self-publish this novel because it couldn’t find a home due to the “waning dystopian genre.”

But this book manages to be its own dystopian.

There aren’t too many YA books with a male perspective. What’s even more interesting than a book with a male perspective is that Taylor, as for as he knows, is the only male alive and must live among nothing but women. I love how Locke doesn’t fall into the trap of believing that girls and boys are completely different from one another. This book shows they are not, and even Taylor himself learns that they are not.

So what is it like being the only boy among women? For one, he has to hide a razor blade in order to keep his face shaved. For another, he has to wear baggy clothes in order to hide his obviously-male figure. And last, he knows that if he were found out, he’d be killed because the plague killed men more quickly than women, and if there are/were any remaining men, they’d likely be carrying it. However, Locke instills an interesting secret within Taylor’s genetic code itself, and you’ll just have to read to find out what that is.

I love Taylor’s development. I love how he looks at the oppressive structure of the compound and realizes that women can be just as cold and violent as men. There is no touching allowed at this compound. Or affection. Or comfort. They avoid touching one another due to the plague, and affection and comfort are the same way. In fact, if a child is crying, the women leave that crying child alone. Thus, Locke presents a different side to women, one that isn’t so nurturing. In our culture, it’s a common-held belief that only women are capable of being nurturing. But this book shows that one’s environment determines one’s true behavior. In an environment based on pure survival, women will do what they need to do to survive.

I can’t forget about Mary, either. Her perspective is interesting because she has lived in Section One all her life under the oppressive rule of The Matriarch. She is a curious girl and wants to know what life was like before the Cleansing, but the Matriarch will allow no such knowledge. In fact, The Matriarch has made it so that men are unneeded. The women in Section One don’t need men to reproduce, not when all babies are basically genetically modified. So…GMO babies!

And so Mary is constantly getting into trouble, being put in the pit, sometimes with another, sometimes by herself. One can be in the pit for days or weeks at a time. Oftentimes those in the pits survive on water alone. This conveys just how dictatorial The Matriarch can be.

Even more interesting are The Earthers, people who are looked down upon by those who live in The Compound. In fact, Mary is convinced The Earthers killed her mother…with a gun. However, The Earthers have no such technology, so draw your own conclusions from there.

The Earthers live off the land alone, but I can’t give away too much about these people. All I can say is that the world building is fantastic because Locke delves well into Mary and Taylor’s perspectives. Doing so allows Locke to delve into the many layers of the characters’ worlds, and the characters themselves. Locke also does a fantastic job of making readers sympathize with secondary characters, such as The Matriarch’s daughter, who happens to be the bully of the compound. When I learned that The Matriarch showed no affection to her daughter, even as an infant, I really began to empathize.

Overall, I give this book a perfect 5.

Buy the book.

Visit Jordan Locke’s website.

Finishing the Sequel to When Stars Die: The Stars Are Infinite

Finishing the Sequel to When Stars Die: The Stars Are Infinite

This is not the real cover art.
This is not the real cover art. Photo provided by Tumblr.

I have finally finished–for now–the sequel to When Stars DieThe Stars Are Infinite. Finishing When Stars Die and having my book published by a press was an awesome reward for hard work, but finishing The Stars Are Infinite is an even greater reward. Do you know how long I have been working on this book? I have been working on it since I was 14, and I haven’t exactly shelved it since that age. There was a time where I shelved it for almost two years, but that was so I could whip When Stars Die into shape, knowing that it needed to be the first book in The Stars Trilogy. But The Stars Are Infinite was so much harder to work on than When Stars Die, simply because you look at the first book and wonder how you can beat it. I know many, many authors, including bestsellers, struggle with trying to make the sequel better than the previous book, and I hope I have managed that–after some hardcore edits of course, which I am expecting for this book, as it is about 20,000 words longer than When Stars Die and was so much harder to write. 

I know Shannon Thompson mentioned that she had a low when finishing Seconds Before Sunrise (though she is still in edits), but I have no such lows for TSAI. I am glad to be done with it, glad to be FULLY done with it. This book was a monstrous 700 page novel when it first began; as I’ve said, I was fourteen and didn’t know at the time what the appropriate word count should be for a first YA novel. It’s still going to be a longer book, as is expected of sequels, but I’m still hoping that at least a few thousand words can be parced from it, as I managed to parce about 3,000 words from WSD through edits.

I am primarily glad to be done with this book because for years I couldn’t peg down the ending. Oh certainly with the first draft I had the ending done, but I never really tore the book apart. I just kept picking at what was there instead of trying to figure out what wasn’t there, which was an entire re-vampling of the overall story. But writing When Stars Die first and having it published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. has given me a lot of inspiration for The Stars Are Infinite, especially the few three star reviews the book has thus far. It is especially the three star reviews that have pushed me to make the sequel way better than the first book. Now I know reviews are meant for readers, but as writers, I think we can flourish from the three star ones. 4 and 5 star ones boost the ego, and 2 and 1 star ones often aren’t that helpful in helping one grow as a writer, but 3 star reviews are not inherently bad at all. In fact, several of my 3 star reviews have said they are looking forward to this sequel, and I’m hoping I do not disappoint. After all, my beta reader, Mariah Wilson, was absolutely blown away by the sequel, so hopefully everyone else will be as well.

So what can you expect from this sequel? I know one reviewer wanted to know a lot more about Amelia–AKA Dervla, now–but with the way she changes at the end of WSD, I figured her perspective was not necessary, because if I were to put it in her perspective, the entire book would be her pining after her little brother, and that isn’t a plot at all. Instead, I’ve relegated her to a minor character, but she is still very much present–pining after her little brother, of course, which is a sub-plot of the book.

At the end of WSD, if you pay attention, I do hint at who the next protagonist is going to be. Her name is Alice Sheraton, and you will begin to understand why it’s in her perspective within, about, the first five or six chapters of the book. So here’s a summary of the book (totally not edited or approved):

Alice Sheraton wishes she could free herself from her corset and instead put it on somebody else. But this corset soon becomes haunted and binds her in ways she didn’t think was possible. Eventually she has to go on a dark adventure to remove this corset, which ticks her life away day-by-day. Eventually she comes across a boy named Nathaniel Gareth, who suggests she remove her bloomers to loosen this corset. When this doesn’t work, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. As her life dwindles by the days, she either has to accept her fate, or find someone to undo the curse. 

JUST KIDDING! This is not the summary at all. In fact, I don’t even know where to begin summarizing The Stars Are Infinite. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to work on When Heaven Was Blue, which I have several great ideas on how to fix it, along with professional edits and my fabulous beta reader’s suggestions. So you’ll just have to wait until later to find out what TSAI is about.

Guest Blog Post: Why You Shouldn’t Expect to Earn a Living From Writing Day One

Guest Blog Post: Why You Shouldn’t Expect to Earn a Living From Writing Day One

writing

Image By Athena

You’re a budding writer. You’ve just landed your first writing job and you are thinking “finally, I’m going to make the big bucks!” Right?

Wrong!

Don’t be fooled when looking at the likes of J.K Rowling and Stephenie Meyer – we can’t all make a massive fortune like them! In fact, most writers don’t make a lot of money at all. You shouldn’t expect to earn a living from writing from day one. And here’s why…

No Proof, No Pay-Check!

When you’re trying to bag your first writing job, you can’t expect to get it based solely on your A in GCSE English! Anyone can get a qualification, but publishers are looking for people with experience and talent.

And you can’t expect a wage for your writing if you don’t have any examples of your talent! How do employers know that you’re any good? They don’t. So don’t expect to get employed as a writer if you have no real proof that you can write.

So how do I do that? You ask? Well, it’s simple really – as long as you aren’t expecting a pay check!

If you write fiction, sign up to websites such as Writer’sCafe.com, or Movellas.com, where you can publish your work for free and build up a fan base. This will show potential employers how popular your writing is, based on reviews and feedback given by others. If you’re an aspiring journalist, what better to kick-start your career than by having a blog? If you join voluntary schemes such as GKBC’s Writer Academy, you can build up a huge portfolio of published work on the net.

Now, I know that if you’re still reading this then you really want to make a career out of writing. But unless you spend a good while following the tips I gave above, don’t expect to make a fortune! And even then, there’s always competition….

Competition, Competition, Competition

Even if you follow these handy guidelines, you still shouldn’t expect a mass of banknotes to come flooding in – especially if you’re a new writer – because the odds are, there’s always going to be someone better than you. Maybe they’ve had more work published. Or perhaps they’re simply more talented. Either way, you can’t anticipate a huge salary when you’re compared to those who have been in the industry a lot longer.

At the beginning of your career, you’ll spend most of your time sitting on the sidelines and watching others achieve all the glory. You’ll try your best, and sometimes even then you may not succeed.

You might not like it. You might not even understand it. But you’ve got to accept it. Because if you’ve made it to the end of this post, and still want to be a writer, then I guarantee that you will succeed. Because real writers aren’t in it for the money; they’re in it simply for their love of writing and willingness to succeed.

Featured images:

Mikhaila Friel is a budding writer and a devoted blogger. She writes for GKBCinc and she recommends their Writers’ Academy to other aspiring writers.

Inconvenient Times When Inspiration Occurs

Inconvenient Times When Inspiration Occurs

Shannon Thompson wrote about what inspired her Timely Death Trilogy, which took course over many dreams she had. The only thing a dream has inspired for me was Amelia Gareth, my protagonist for When Stars Die. But everything else comes entirely from my head and the previous chapter I had just written. When I both write and re-write, I do it for myself first, and then I edit for what I think my hypothetical number one fan will want to read, as well as my hypothetical fan that will rate my book three stars (because three star ratings DO NOT mean that the reader didn’t enjoy the book. It can simply mean they’re tough raters and they wanted more out of the book that they didn’t get, but it didn’t deter their enjoyment. Although three star ratings for me means I didn’t like the book, but I kept reading, which is what matters. Anything below three stars for me means I didn’t even finish the book). 

In any case, my inspiration doesn’t come from anything sentimental for me. Throughout the day, I am constantly thinking about how to make the story better, how to make the chapter better from a story standpoint–not at a technical standpoint, which is what I worry about last. Here are some inconvenient times when I receive inspiration:

  1. At work: I’m supposed to be doing my job, as in making appointments so I can hopefully earn commission, which rarely happens for me, because, frankly, the mall sucks so hard, harder than a diamond, and because I work the mall, I can’t make that many appointments. The more appointments you make, the higher the probability that you can actually SELL something. But at least I can keep my job, even if commission doesn’t go through. In any case, after making one appointment, I get totally lazy and generally limit how often I call people over to enter for the Fiat, which is the gimmick we use to draw in homeowners who might be interested in getting stuff–after all, even if I make 8, they’re probably not going to sale anyway, so I often say ‘What’s the point?’ Oftentimes while I’m interacting with a customer, I’ll receive this burst of inspiration, and I just HAVE to write it down, even when I am with a customer–and I do write it down. I am an author now. It is my career now, no matter how this career goes. I have saddled myself with a schedule now, so when inspiration comes, it has to be put down, regardless of how my interaction with the customer is, regardless of how rude I may appear.
  2. While in class: There is an exception to this. Geography is the most boring class I have ever taken in my life, so it’s not unusual for me to be working on my writing in this class, or writing down inspiration. However, for my other classes, it’s often advised that I pay attention, especially because memorization doesn’t exist in these classes like it does in my geography class, so I have to pay attention in order to understand concepts more clearly and how to apply them. But when I get a hit of inspiration, I simply have to pull out my outline journals and write it down, even mid-lecture. The professors may think I’m taking notes, but, really, I am doing something totally different from what they want me to do.  I haven’t been caught yet, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if they happen to do catch me. It’s just inconvenient because I really should be paying attention to lecture to understand stuff.
  3. While driving: I think about writing intensely when I’m driving because driving is rather boring for me. But once a piece of inspiration hits, I have to pull out the notebook and pen to write it down, even when I’m driving. At a stoplight, I will write it down, but if I have to finish my thought, I will write, even as I’m driving, and writing while driving isn’t even illegal but is just as dangerous as texting while driving. However, I am a very alert driver and haven’t had any accidents…yet, but I don’t see myself writing while driving too much in the future because TSAI is done, Christmas break is almost here, and so I’ll be spending most of my time at home.
  4. In the shower: So the other day I was mulling over how I wanted to end TSAI, and then suddenly realized how I wanted to end it. Now I was already in the tub, soaking in the hot water before I turned the shower on, but I knew I needed to write it down, that I didn’t want to think about it while showering in the relaxing, hot water. So I immediately got out of the tub, wrapped a towel around me, and went into my room to write down my thoughts. Mind you, I was freezing because my body doesn’t do so well with temperature changes, but I absolutely had to do it.
  5. Right as I’m about to fall asleep: While I’m on Seroquel, a great sleep aide and total mania killer–usually–my mind is still active, thinking about what I’m going to do while in the process of finishing a book, so when inspiration hits, I have to write it down right then and there or else I could possibly forget it the next day. I often do remember it the next day, but you never know. And it’s annoying because I was about to fall asleep and am so sleepy as I write it, but, well, you have to do what you have to do as a writer or author.

So, for those who are writers, what are some inconvenient moments when inspiration has struck? For those who are primarily readers and like to know what inspires writers, what is your favorite piece of inspiration writers have written about? 

 

 

 

YA Paranormal Romance Goodreads Giveaway

YA Paranormal Romance Goodreads Giveaway

CollageI am doing a YA Paranormal Romance book giveaway as a thanks for all the Stars out there who have supported me in the cover reveal of When Stars Die, which you can find here if you have not yet seen it.

The above books are the books you have to choose from in the giveaway. Should you win, you can choose three of them. Yes. Three books. I will be giving away three of the above ten books: Clockwork Angel, Evermore, A Great and Terrible Beauty, Paranormalcy, City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures, Minutes Before Sunset, Fallen, Wake, and Hex Hall.

So what do you have to do to get entered for this giveaway? Simple, really. All you have to do is add When Stars Die to your to-be-read list on Goodreads–that is assuming you are interested in YA paranormal romance; I simply don’t want you to add it if you are not interested. That will be your entry. You can find When Stars Die’s Goodreads page here. ONCE I HAVE 100 ADDS, I WILL DRAW FOR THE WINNER.

Note: I do buy these books myself. They are not books that I own already. They will be brand new books.  You can choose to either have a physical copy or an e-book copy should you win this giveaway. I will follow up with more information for the winner.

Editing Cave

Editing Cave

For the next week or two, I am going to be in my editing cave, so I likely won’t be posting that often. If I do post, it will be much later at night.

I have finished the re-writes of When Heaven Was Blue (the new title), and it currently stands at 80,000 words. I am going to let this book stew for several weeks before getting to line edits with it, and once line edits are done, I will be passing it off to a beta reader. I am also toying with the idea of getting a freelance editor for it simply because it is a book with a lot of literary elements, and so it’s really my first time doing a book like this. But I’ll just have to see how I feel after line edits (or proofreading, for that matter).

I have also outlined a short story for a secret project that is being done. So I will be working on that as well.

But I have received some edits for When Stars Die, so that is where I am going to be at. I just want to mention that I hate writing action scenes, and so therefore my suckery for action scenes has warranted me a diagnosis: suckeritis de action scene. I don’t even really like reading action scenes because I am all about emotions and imagery, and actions scenes can’t contain too much of that or else they get bogged down. But I know for a lot of non-contemporary books, action scenes are inevitable, so I put up with them. And look how many times I have written action scenes. There, I’ve just written it again. Action scenes. Action scenes. Action scenes.

Does anybody have a prescription for action scenes?

Well, I will be reading it aloud and making changes. So wish me luck.

 

Some Things I Don’t Get About the Literary World

Some Things I Don’t Get About the Literary World

  1. Erotica: It isn’t erotica itself as a genre that I don’t get. It’s popular, I can totally see why people read it. What I don’t get about erotica is why people are trying to defend it as something more than literary porn. It has a story? Okay. So does a lot of visual porn, like hentai, for one thing. Can we just get rid of this idea that erotica somehow has a higher status than porn simply because it’s the written word? There is no shame in reading erotica, but trying to elevate it above visual porn is something that I don’t get. I don’t read erotica, but I’ve seen enough bad blurbs (and god-awful covers) to know that it’s not something I want to read, and that it’s just sex, sex, story, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, story is in here somewhere, and more sex. Maybe I just don’t get it because I don’t read it. But I have no interest in reading it because I’m the type of reader that wants to take something meaningful away from a book. I don’t read purely for entertainment, which there is nothing wrong with doing.
  2. New Adult: Okay, so I get its existence because college-aged kids don’t have any books for them. But I feel like all the genre is right now is sexed-up YA, which is what it’s currently being described as. Isn’t the genre something more, or is it really just all sexed-up YA romance books? Because that’s all I’m seeing in the genre so far. I see no one really trying to push the boundaries of NA and make it into something more meaningful. I suppose I could be that writer, but I’m not interested in writing college stories. They don’t appeal to me.
  3. Writing males and females: Why do we worry so much about how to write male and female characters? Why don’t we just write people? Not all boys fit into the stereotypical boy box, just as not all girls fit into the stereotypical girl box. In my current book, the main character is a boy, but I am not worrying about how to write him as a boy. I am worrying about writing him as a person because he is an individual with his own personality. Like I don’t get it when people write reviews about boys that read like girls. What do girls even read like? For that matter, what do boys read like? The best writers tend to not differentiate, I think.
  4. Brand: There is this obsession with branding authors so that authors inevitably force themselves into a box. There is nothing wrong with wanting to write only one genre, but it becomes problematic for someone like me who goes from paranormal romance to contemporary fantasy to someone who really does want to write just a contemporary book but is afraid to confuse her readers because people who stand by branding claim writing outside of genres will screw you over. Libba Bray did it. Why can’t I?
  5. Literary fiction: I seriously don’t get what makes a book literary and what makes a book commercial. John Green is apparently a literary author but has commercial appeal. I’ll admit I want to make my current book have more literary elements, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t quite know what I mean. I have heard that literary books have more meaning than commercial, but I have read commercial books with just as much depth. So I really don’t get it.

 

Is there anything you don’t get? Anything you can help me get?

 

 

The Perks of Being a Tumblr

The Perks of Being a Tumblr

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I have too much time on my hands this morning before I must take my leave for work (the chapter I have to revise in His Vanity today is rather short, so I can either do that before or after work). So here is a blog post for all of you, just because I really feel like blogging this morning. Of course, I’m going to hate when I have to leave for work. Sometimes I wish I could just join a convent and be done with all these earthly things.

In any case, I’ve whined about Tumblr a lot, but decided to pick back up on it because, hey, John Green uses it, as do a bunch of other big-time writers, and even some small-time ones, so I should quit whining and get back to trying. I should go to my potential fans instead of expecting my potential fans to come to me. I mean, it’s rife with teenagers. Twitter and WordPress and even Facebook, not so much. And teens are great and post interesting stuff on Tumblr, and yeah…

But what’s so great about freaking Tumblr is there are teens looking for book recommendations. I mean, they are actively seeking this stuff out in the book tags and everything. Sometimes they will tell you what types of books they’re seeking, and other times, you just have to wing it. I’ve been recommending them books that I’ve loved, books that I think deserve their full attention, and have even been trying to help a few author friends of mine by at least letting Tumblr know their books exist, even if it doesn’t improve their sales immediately.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think Tumblr makes a great street team. Have no clue what a street team is? Here’s a nifty link explaining that. Except we will metaphorically hit the streets.

Since I know a lot of you have offered to read ARCs of my book, I thought it’d be cool that, on its release day, you could hit the metaphorical streets of Tumblr and release recommendations about the book–it can be shorter versions of the reviews you guys are likely going to do for the ARCs–like I love it because of this, or I hate it because of this, along with some quirky quote or pic of the book, or whatever you can think of. Whether you love it or hate it, people on Tumblr are book hungry.

So why should you get a Tumblr? A lot of you are readers and writers. Readers could benefit from Tumblr through sheer book recommendations alone, along with the fact that it’s very, very simple to engage in conversations with people about books through reblogging or just direct messaging. And pics. Hello, the pics. You can post awesome, inspiring pics of awesome, inspiring stuff. And anon questions are fun to answer. Also, you can publish your responses to people’s messages.

For writers, it’s a great way to connect to readers who are sometimes just readers and not writers. That’s the difficulty in being a writer is you often go after readers who are also writers instead of just flat out readers. Granted, I think most readers also happen to be writers or want to be writers, but we writers have this bad habit of reading with a writerly eye instead of readerly eye. Of course, Goodreads is a fantastic way to connect with readers too, but I’m talking about connecting with readers in a very simple way, and Tumblr is probably THE simplest way to connect with them.

I have people who are looking forward to reading my book on Tumblr! It means more social media, but it’s one you do not want to miss.

Just so you know, I’m likely going to bring up the street team thing again closer to my cover release date (whenever that is), which will include a media kit and a more concise way of doing things instead of my throwing it out there and going, “Hey, wouldn’t this be a great idea?” like I’m doing now.

Also, I return favors…I try to, anyway. Sometimes I’m too busy with writerly things to return favors because you guys  would likely rather see my books than my spending all day on the computer trying to return favors to everyone who has ever done anything for me. But you got something you want known? Post in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

 

Reading for writing

Reading for writing

An interesting read on the necessities of reading as a writer.

LionAroundWriting

Book Worm

A lot of people ask and inquire how you become a good writer, they want tips tricks, formulas and ready-made stories. The truth is that’s the fast food of writing. You might learn some things but certain maxims will never get old, ones which cannot be rapidly learnt. Writing regularly is a must and nobody became solid in a short amount of time.

Reading is essential. And not just a little but a lot. Over a long period of time. I think there’s a reason a lot of writers don’t get books published until around their 30’s. The mind incubates all you learn and read and see – over two decades seems to be a good time period for all this to come together in some fashion. Of course I’m not saying writers haven’t written great material before this time in their lives.

I have returned to reading quite voraciously…

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Guest Blog Post: My Writing Process

Guest Blog Post: My Writing Process

Today’s guest blogger is Teresa Kelly! You can find her here.

When writers start out with their first words, whether they know it or not, they are starting to develop the routine and habits that they will use the rest of their lives to shape, design, and modify their writing. For me writing started early in life, and while I have definitely found writing processes that do not work I have also found the process that does work for me, which I have broken down into six steps to share with you now.

1. Environment

The first step in my process is environment. Funny as that sounds, if you have been writing any length of time you know how crucial it is to be in an environment that feeds your creative thought process. I have written in almost every environment possible, but many will not allow me to focus on the words that I am trying to put down on paper. Ideally when I need to do some writing I get settled at my desk or in a room with as few distractions as possible. I detest trying to write while people are talking or watching television, so I normally pick a location where I can be alone with my notebooks and thoughts. Once I am settled the next most important environmental factor is music. I cannot write without listening to one of my many playlists! Music has always brought out my creative side and so for that reason it is a must! Once the environment is ideal the writing can commence.

2. Thoughts

Before I get into the meat of my writing I get out a notebook (I keep stacks of these everywhere) and jot down my thoughts on what I am getting ready to write to help keep me focused on characters I am developing and points I am trying to make. I find this helps me stay on course and not forget important details that may become crucial later in the story.  It is important to note that my “Thoughts Notebook” stays with me all the time during the course of the story so that I have it available when I think of something, or while writing so that I can refer back to previous thoughts if needed.

3, Initial Draft

Once my thoughts are down for reflection it is time to start some writing. When I am working on my initial draft I get back to basics and grab a pen and notebook. For each story I write there are two notebooks, one for my thoughts and one for the first draft. I love the feeling of filling up a notebook with words as my story unfolds and my characters develop.

4. First Edit and Read Through

Once my story is complete (at least as completed as it can be before editing) it is time to do my first read through and edit. During this time I use a different colored ink pen to make my changes and corrections when editing passages, and, yes, maybe even remove large sections now and then.

5. Typing and Second Edit

After I have completed my first read through and edit, and have ensured that I have wrapped up all loose ends and brought my characters to a good stopping point, it is time to take my story from the now very battered up and marked up notebook to the computer and start typing. While typing I look once more for errors in need of correcting as well as paragraph and chapter structure. When I am satisfied with the results I close the notebooks for good and hit print on my completed document.

6. Final Read Through

Ahh…almost finished, the moment I have been waiting for, the writing I have worked and slaved over for the last few weeks or months and poured my heart and soul into is now in front of me in a printed pile, ready for me to delve in once more and relive the adventure this time without worry about anything but my story line and plot.

While these steps may not work for everyone and get altered depending on what I am writing, for me it is a good concise method that helps me stay on track and come out the other side with a viable story to read and share with friends and/or family.

I hope that each of you get to develop and fine tune your writing process so that in the years to come you get all the pleasure of getting lost in your work without getting buried under it.