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Monday, August 26, 2013

Writing Extravaganza Post 7 - Staying Motivated

Kara Harris, author of "Omni: The Hunted" is visiting on the blog today! This is our 7th Writing Extravaganza Post, so to catch up on all the other great posts that fellow young writers have done, click here! Kara wrote about how to stay motivated while writing. Her tips are great, and should help everyone get through writers' block, and keep writing. My tip for overcoming writer's block is to imagine all of the possible success your work will have if you just press through this one tough spot. That has definitely helped me out, so maybe a few of you will find it helpful as well.

My tip aside, I'll let Kara introduce herself and share her tips!

My name is Kara Harris, I am 18 years old. I am now a self-published author. I have only written one book which is called “Omni: The Hunted”. It took me in total about 6 years to do write the book. A lot of people would say, “wow it took you that long!” I would say “yes” because school took up so much of my time. It can be a hassle for teen authors because writing takes so much time and it’s hard to stay motivated to write. So when Oliver asked me to write an article about staying motivated while writing I was very happy to give my point of view.

I will first start by saying writing isn’t easy and it’s not for everyone. I know many people who like to write, but just aren’t committed to any stories they write. Most have busy schedules or they just don’t like writing long stories. Sometimes you just have to have that one idea, that one simple inspiration to get you started. It’s just staying with it that can be the problem, but that is all you need to find your spark for an idea.

Staying motivated is a hard thing to do no matter how long the novel. For me when I start something I must finish it. Some people have the mind set, but some people don’t. Not every writer is the same. Some writers have a certain schedule to follow. Motivation can come in many shapes and sizes. Some people tend to keep motivated by hearing compliments about their writing, some are motivated by inspiration and some like me just have the love for their story. However, even with the best of writers have one thing they dread above all else, writers blocks. Writer blocks are stressful periods in writing any sort of book that you simply don’t know what to next in your story. Like motivation there are many ways of dealing with writers block. One way of avoiding writers block is making an outline of your story, but an outline won’t stop writers block entirely. I think the best way to handle writers block is to take a deep breath and take a break from writing. The block will only get worse if you keep thinking about it. You just need to step back and stop thinking about your writing. I would also recommend going outside and exploring new places. If you go to new places you may become inspired to write again. The key is not thinking about the story. A new idea will naturally come to you.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Dreamers' Second Anniversary and Second Edition Announcement

The Dreamers celebrated its second anniversary yesterday! August 9th, 2013 marks two years since its publication. These two years have been the best of my life. (They've also made up over 13% of my 15 years!) 

So much has happened since I published The Dreamers. I became one of Idaho's 2011 Top 50 Idaho Authors. The Dreamers helped me gain the title of 2012's Idaho Student of the Year. I've met and given copies of my books to some of my favorite bestselling authors, including Brandon Mull, Richard Paul Evans, and Obert Skye. The Dreamers has spent time in the top percentage of books on Amazon.com, ranking above some of my favorite books that inspired me to write at times. (The Pendragon Series by DJ Machale). Hundreds of copies have been sold at book signings alone, and I have been blessed to meet such amazing people at these events. So many incredible individuals have helped support me in so many different ways. These people have become my friends--both online and in real life. :) 

In the span of this time, so many people have joined Sam in his adventures in the Dream Realm. These people turned the pages alongside Flitch and Thep, imagining new places that had originally been pictures confined to my head. It is truly inspiring to me that what I have written lights up each reader's head with their own version of what is on the page. 

Two years. 730 days of The Dreamers being available worldwide. Thank you to everyone who helped me out. Thank you to all of you awesome people who have purchased, read, and reviewed the book. A simple "Thank You" really doesn't capture the magnitude of my thankfulness. 

Today, I am also very pleased to officially make the following announcement. The Dreamers is going to have a second edition. 

The biggest complaint about the book mentioned by reviewers has been the lack of copy editing done in the book. Several grammatical and typographical errors occur in the book. This same complaint is mirrored in all too many reviews of self-published works. 

As a self-published author, I strive to give self-publishing the good name it deserves. Too often, people abuse how awesome self-publishing can be, and publish poor quality material. I aim to publish and release only the highest quality books for my readers. 

This second edition of "The Dreamers" will be completely free of errors, typos, and mistakes in an effort to provide the best for my readers. It will also be more properly formatted to look even more beautiful on the page and eReader than ever before.

No release date has been finalized, but expect it within the next month or so. As soon as a release date is finalized, it will be added to this post. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Writing Extravaganza Post 6 - Writing A Villain Worth Reading

 On this, the sixth of our Writing Extravaganza Posts, we have Jo M. Coleman, who offered to write about villains. She did a fantastic job, and even included some pictures! (I love pictures!)

Please check out and support Jo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoMColeman.

As of yet, the villain that I have hated the *most* is "The Swede" in AMC's TV series, "Hell on Wheels." More than Voldemort, more than President Snow. The creators of this TV series definitely knew what they were doing. They know what Joanna is about to tell. Her advice is gonna help you write villains that are AMC quality, detestable people. Hooray!

"In the old days villains had mustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don't want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings." — Alfred Hitchcock 

We all love a good villain. That being who stands in the way of our hero, whose goals directly oppose those that we root for. The man with the scar on his cheek, clad in black. The woman with long fingernails painted red and an evil smirk on her face. The man with a grudge and a weapon. The woman with a memory and an army. What makes a good villain? How can we write better villains; ones that will tear a person's heartstrings, make the reader call for a lynching, do as much damage as possible to our poor heroes? I believe this sort of villain is borne out of understanding. Not necessarily on the reader's part, but very certainly on the writer's part. We must KNOW our villains, the way we know our hero, our best friend, our parents. A good villain needs to be sympathetic on some level. We as readers want to understand them, even if we are horrified at what they do. We want to know that Tom Riddle was unwanted and unloved as a child, and so we understand in part why he chose the path he did.

 Tom_2   We hate his hatred toward the half-bloods, the 'mud-bloods'. We hate who he is, and what he stands for, but as the story unfolds, we begin to understand how he got there. As we begin to understand it, and perhaps in a small way, feel some level of sympathy for him (he cannot love, after all, and that is certainly not his fault), we also see that he was presented with opportunities to do right, to make a positive change in the world, and he chose different. Understanding your villain is the first step to creating a villain worth reading about, worth pitting your hero against. Loki is not very lovable, were we to happen upon him as a self-proclaimed overlord, hardly batting an eyelash at killing any number of (in his eyes) unimportant people. He doesn't think twice about controlling and enslaving them. He is willing even to destroy the entire earth and everyone on it with no remorse on his end.

Loki_Avengers_enemy  And yet... in some way we see that he didn't really want it to be this way. He didn't want to turn out the way he did. Growing up in the shadow of his older brother, he eventually found out he never was part of the family, he could never measure up. And so he decides to make his own mark on the universe.   We understand him. We sympathize because we wonder what we would do in that situation. We understand his motives, though we may not agree with them. He hates humans because his brother loves them. He begrudges his brother the acclamation and acceptance that he feels he will never receive. Not every villain will be as sympathetic as Loki, and not every villain will have a tragic back story attributing to their current evilness... but they will have SOME story, and until you find out what it is, you'll only be writing a cardboard cutout of a character – one few people will want to read about, or force themselves to believe.


Some questions to ask yourself about your villain: What motivates him/her? A grudge from the past? Love? A broken heart? Anger? Past hurt? Revenge? Goals based off of a wrong mindset where they truly feel they are doing the right thing? Why has your villain become who they are? Childhood trauma? Family issues? Rejection? What is his/her ultimate goal? Why THAT goal? What will it mean for them personally to achieve that goal? What inspired them to set that goal? A person? A memory? What makes your villain tick? What makes him happy? What makes her sad? So, before diving into your villain's scenes of dastardly wicked deeds, make sure you, as the author, know why he (or she) has become that way. That you understand them. Give us a reason to care about your villain's story, just as we care for the hero's story, and then make us believe it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

In Which: I Discuss Reasons Why I Wish I Could've Been at Comic Con

My newest vlog video is up! I'm going to begin starting my vlog titles with "In Which," much like some of Jules Verne's novels. I think it's a classy thing to do, and it will also help develop my brand as a vlogger. Here's the video! Please enjoy, like, share, and subscribe!

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