All Things Writing, Sneak Peeks

The Aftermath

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It has been a long while since I have released a book or even a sneak peek of something that I am working on. I am pleased to give you all a sneak peek into my next novel which will be released this summer/fall. I haven’t been excited about a project in so long, I can barely contain my excitement. I am not nearly done with this novel, but I can say it will be well worth the wait. Without further a do, click below to read the beginning of my next piece of work. I would greatly appreciate if you left a comment about what you think, below.

Prologue and chapter 1

All Things Writing

Writing a Book

I get asked all the time what kind of books I write and how to publish a book. Lately, I haven’t been writing and I actually feel bad because I am a damn good writer and I’m wasting my talent by not using it. People love my stories and what I have to say. I feel like I am letting people down. However, all of that will be changing soon, but I’ll save that info for another date.

You decided you want to write a book. You’re probably thinking about the title, the cover, the length of the book, if people will like it, how to market it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. None of this is important if you don’t have a book. Believe it or not, all of that stuff comes after the book is written. What you should be thinking about right now is actually writing the book.

I used to do outlines for my novels and it became hard because I would try my best to stick to the outline, never deviating. I found that if I had an idea and just began to write, it came easy. Planning out my writing has stopped working for me because I letting my fingers do all the magic on the keyboard has proven successful. That is not to say that planning won’t work for you. I am just saying it doesn’t work for me.

The first thing you need to have is a topic (nonfiction) or a plot (fiction). I dabble in both and find that neither is easier to write than the other. I can say that fiction is more enjoyable to write than nonfiction. So let’s talk about the process for each one, starting with fiction.

Fiction Books

  1. Fiction books require a plot, settings, characters, beginning, middle, end, rising action, climax, falling action, a genre and most importantly, an imagination, which is so much more than a nonfiction book. Usually an outline helps with this or some kind of graphic organizer/plot diagram. I do outline from time-to-time just to get the basics. An outline can be as in depth or surface level as you need it to be.
  2. Next, once you have all of your story elements, find a comfortable place to write that you know you won’t be interrupted. Make sure you have snacks and something to drink. Silence cell phones and maybe turn on some music if that helps. 
  3. Decide if you want a prologue or to just jump write in with chapter one. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure, and this is important, make sure that your first sentence, the topic sentence, is fire. If you don’t have a soul-snatching first sentence, your readers will stop reading. You want that first sentence to make your reader continue on. 
  4. Write the rest of the book. I honestly cannot tell you how to write a book. Many people go to college for creative writing to learn how to write a book, but in all honesty, you can’t teach someone to write a book. You can help someone to better their craft, but writing is something you’re either born with, or you’re not. I will do another post on how to develop storylines for fiction books, so stay tuned for that.
  5. After writing your book comes the most tedious part: editing. I swear this is not the part that I look forward to but it is just as important as writing the book. Editing is for fine tuning, making sure the story flows, there’s no grammar mistakes, spelling is on point, dialogue makes sense, and even though it’s fiction, it needs to have a real element to it. You can always pay someone to do it (yes, I offer book editing services) or you can do it yourself. I do all of my own editing.
  6. Then comes the task of deciding on a title and book cover. There are a number of websites that have premade book covers and I have used several. You can also create your own on Canva.
  7. Once it has been edited, get some beta readers, people who will read your book and give you honest feedback. This will also help when your book launches to have reviews that people can see so they know whether it’s worth a read or not. Don’t fret about negative reviews. Your book will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.
  8. When you are ready to publish, decide if you want to go the traditional route (going through a publisher) or the indie route (publishing yourself). I will do a post on this later about the difference between the two.
  9. Last is promotion and there are different ways to promote your book: book promoting service, self promotion and word of mouth.

Nonfiction Books

Nonfictions books don’t require as much as a fiction book does but they can be harder to think of a topic for. There are so many nonfiction books out there that it’s hard to keep up and know whether or not your topic has been written about and how many times. this process requires research and reading other nonfiction books similar to whatever topic you are wanting to write about.

  1. Choose your topic and research that market. See what others have written, if it has been written, and if how yours will be different. Many people write about the same topics but each book is completely different.
  2. Once you have researched the topic, research if readers are interested and if so, what number (just a ballpark estimate). If it is not the number you were hoping to reach, choose another topic.
  3. For these types of books I do make an outline because each chapter is different. I have to plan out each chapter and what all I want to talk about. Length does not matter, but making sure I get all the information in does.
  4. If your book requires sources or for you to gather information from other places, make sure you have a works cited page, footnotes and you cite your sources within the sentences or paragraphs.
  5. Once you have finished your book, again, the editing process, title, book cover, publishing, etc.
  6. Marketing will be different than a fiction book because you will have to find the audience you are targeting. Most fiction books can be targeted towards anyone but when it comes to nonfiction, let’s just say there are more fiction readers than nonfiction readers.

I really hope these tips helped in some way. If you want me to elaborate on something, feel free to let me know. Also, click the services tab to check out my book editing/writing services.

All Things Writing

How to Write a Novel

Writing a novel can be very overwhelming, even for professional and expert writers. Coming up with ideas, organizing, editing, expanding, building characters, setting, plot, etc., is a lot of work for one person. For me, many of my ideas stem from past experiences, fantasies, desires, things I’ve seen or heard, really just from all over the place. Here are some tips on how to get writing.

  • Choose a place to write that is not near people or any distractions. This will keep you from prolonging the writing process and from doing other things that don’t involve writing.
  • Music/Silence – this really depends on you as a person. Sometimes I need music and sometimes I need complete silence.
  • Snacks are always good to have when you plan to write for an extended period of time. For one, this feeds the brain and the second thing is it keeps you from stopping the writing process to get up and go get something to eat.
  • Ideas are very important to have before you sit down to write. If you don’t have any ideas beforehand, you will be staring at a blank page for quite some time. Always have ideas ahead of time.
  • Brainstorm these ideas after you get situated. Now that you have your ideas written down, see if you can develop them into something good.
  • Setting and plot are the next step. These come before characters because you need to first know where the characters will be and what will they be doing. For all intents and purposes, while figuring out your setting and plot, name the people P1, P2, and so on.
  • Characters will be the next thing to do. Figuring out your antagonist(s), protagonist(s), supporting characters and extras. All of these people make up a story so it’s good to make a list of each person.
  • Give background on your characters (i.e. age, occupation, appearance, personality, etc.). This is important so that your readers can relate to these people and the story.
  • Figure out who your characters are in relation to one another (i.e. parents, children, friends, siblings, partners, enemies, etc.). You can’t just have a book full of characters and they never interact with each other.
  • Now you are ready to write the first line. Make sure that the first line of your novel is a catcher. If the first line isn’t good, you’ve lost your readers.
  • Continue writing the first chapter, prologue, introduction, what have you.
  • Once the first chapter is done, write the next and so on. This doesn’t have to be done in one setting. You can do and hour a day, a chapter a day, whatever makes you feel comfortable.
  • If you don’t feel like writing, don’t. It’s best to not write when you don’t feel like it to save you from writing something that you later will delete because it was terrible.
  • Once you feel like you have a finished product, go back through it and see where you can expand or omit. Don’t worry about fixing grammar, spelling, punctuation. Look through to make sure you were clear, characters were properly developed, each scene makes sense, the plot and storyline are well thought out and laid out. You are just making sure the story will be understood by the reader.
  • Now that you have done that, go back through and edit for syntax, sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, grammar, etc. It is also best to have a second set of eyes go over it. Pick someone that you trust to go over your work and give you honest, yet constructive, criticism.
  • Once that is done, go over it one more time to be sure that it is how you want it to be.

Stay tuned for my next post on the next step in this process, How to Publish a Novel.

All Things Writing

Self-Publishing v. Traditional Publishing

When I first started writing novels, I cannot tell you how many inquiries I submitted to book publishing agencies. Every last one of them were denied. I believe I submitted over 100 inquiries and all were either denied or there was no response. When I found out about self publishing, I jumped on that ship and never looked back. Self publishing is honestly the best route if you want complete and total control of your work. Here are some other benefits:

  • Set your own release date
  • creative control
  • more royalties
  • can choose which outlets to sell on
  • can take however long you want to finish your novel
  • no one can tell you what to write
  • you can choose how your book is promoted
  • you can even sell books out the back of your car
  • you get to handle all elements of book tours, readings and signings

With traditional publishing, it is basically the opposite of what I listed above. There are some perks though.

  • you don’t have to worry about promotion
  • all things regarding signings, readings and tours are taken care of by someone else
  • given a specific genre or topic to write on makes the writing process easier – you don’t have to create something yourself
  • better chances of getting your book noticed by a larger audience
  • you have a deadline, that prompts you to actually finish a book and not leave it undone for years
  • you have someone to hold you accountable

There are ups and downs of both, but I like my money and book publishing agencies can be super expensive. I say choose which route is best for you, but I will always be in favor of self publishing because you have control over everything and you can do things the way that you envisioned, as opposed to someone else. It’s your work; make it how you want it.

All Things Writing

Journaling

Writing is a form of healing expression


Growing up, my mom would buy me diaries for birthdays and Christmases. I wrote through all of them, poems, my feelings and thoughts, my latest crush, everything. I was one of those kids who loved to write. Even when I wrote letters to my friends, they were always more than two pages, front and back, all for one idea. They hated it, but I didn’t care. When I express myself through writing, I have to add every single thought that comes to mind, even if it is irrelevant. I do that when I make YouTube videos as well, but I edit some of it out.

Recently, I got back in to personal writing, or journaling as most call it. It has proven to be very rewarding. I bought a few of those composition books that kids use for school, the ones that are $.88 at Walmart. I am already half way through one and another is being used as my prayer journal. I think that is why I have been so stressed lately because I don’t typically talk to people about my problems, and when I write, I leave it all on the paper, close the book and I feel better. I feel like a weight has been lifted.

I highly recommend to those who feel like there is no on listening to their problems, to write in a journal. You don’t necessarily have to talk to someone about everything that is going on because nine times out of ten, people get tired of hearing it. Writing it in a journal, you are still putting it out into the universe and not bottling it up inside. I can guarantee that if you spend at least 10 minutes a day writing (I typically do one to two hours), you will feel a sense of relief. I write longer only because I have a lot bottled up inside and it is hard to stop writing once I start. Many thoughts come to me at one time.

I’ll give an example of when I write. I don’t normally write two hours straight. First thing in the morning, I have to use the bathroom. So I take my journal and pencil and I write what I like to call “Toilet Thoughts.” It’s really about how I am feeling that morning, the dreams I had the night before and how I feel the day may go. That really helps to get the negative feelings out. If I feel a sense of negativity, I write in order to put the negativity into the journal, and get it out of my mind, body and spirit. It really does work because then my day turns out better. This actually happened this morning. I had terrible dreams last night that when I woke up this morning, I felt terrible. I was sad and down. So I had my “toilet thoughts” session and I feel more empowered to take on the day.

I know quite a few people who journal and I’ve heard how it has helped them. I feel like it can help anyone and no, you do not have to be a writer to journal. No one ill see it so it is okay to misspell words, use ebonics, write like you’re texting. Me on the other hand, since I don’t do any of that in my regular writing or texting, I don’t do that in my journal. Because I’m a writer, it would bother me too much (don’t judge my life, lol).

If you decide to take up journaling, please don’t be afraid to let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you if it has helped, and even if it hasn’t. If you do journal, let me know how it has helped you.

Stayed tuned for my next post about music I listen to while writing my novels, journaling, or any other type of wordsmithing.