First week down…

So like I shared before the new year, I’m doing a 365 day challenge to do something everyday that either I have never done, haven’t done in a long time, or simply want to do again. Some of these things are big things like bungee jump or go rock climbing. Other things are simple like actually watch ALL the Star Wars movies or dance in the rain. The point is to experience this year like no other and to build confidence in myself. 
So this week has ended and here’s what I’ve done. Keep in mind I work long 12 hour shifts so my chances of accomplishing some of the big stuff will have to wait until I’m not working so much overtime. 

Sunday
: use ratchet straps.
Seems foolish but my ex always hauled stuff for me and I’ve never used the things. But Monday I moved a bunch of stuff to the storage unit and that’s right, learned how to use the ratchet straps. 

Monday
: blocked toxic people from my social media.
I did a cleansing of sorts and removed my ex and those associated with him as well as some other negative and toxic people. Some people may not agree but I think it’s important to surround ourselves with people who love, encourage, and challenge us in a healthy way. Not people who bring us down or hurt us. So those people: gone. Now that’s a great start to a new year.

Tuesday
: buy and read a magazine.
I don’t read magazines often, though I have two subscriptions. (Lol) But this day I bought one that looked interesting (not full of ads and BS) and read it. 

Wednesday
: hold a dying persons hand (be there for someone who has no one).
Now some people may think this is a little out there. But if you know me, you know I’m a nurse. I’ve seen hundreds of deaths. Most people die with friends and family at their side. But some don’t. I’ve had the pleasure of being there for some of these people throughout my eight years of nursing, but hadn’t had the opportunity in a while. Throw in the fact that we as nurses are extremely busy, it makes it hard to stay with a patient as they pass. But Wednesday I did. I had a gentleman who had no family or friends at his side. I had other things to do, but I stayed. And talked to him. Simple things like this remind me why it’s important to be a good person, to care for people in a selfish world, and why I wanted to be a nurse. 

Thursday
: splurge on a home decor item.
I love home decor stuff. Like seriously my retail therapy can get out of hand in this department. Since me and my ex are moving out of our house on the 31st, we’ve have to start the unfortunate task of dividing things we’ve bought together over the past eight years. He won the pots and pans and the cutlery set. So to make myself feel better, I splurged and bought a nice cookware set, some cast iron pans I’ve been wanting, and a beautiful cutlery set of my own. 

Friday
: enter a writing contest.
Well that one is self explanatory. 

Saturday
: get out or put up storage on my own.
Again, sounds foolish. But we have ten foot ceilings in my house and I could never get or put up stuff into the attic on my own. This was always my exs job and man did I have to beg him. But today, I took down all the stuff in the attic on my own, which was incredibly scary. Teetering heavy totes and boxes on the very top rung of a six foot ladder was terrifying but also confidence-boosting. That’s right, I can do it by myself. And I did. 
So how’s everyone else’s resolutions coming along? Are you sticking to them or have they already been set aside?
I’ll be posting every Saturday or Sunday with what I did that week. Wish me luck on sticking it out.

Heather

New Beginnings

So I’ve been MIA. I’m sorry. And honestly looking back the reason I felt was a good reason is truly not. I’m writing this post twofold. One to tell you a little of my story and two to tell you a little about my future plans. 

Last year my fiancé and I broke up. Well he broke up with me, out of the blue. Simply told me he loved me but wasn’t “in love” with me anymore. It was heart-breaking. We’d been together eight years. I’d given him essentially all my youth (early 20s). And just like that it was over. Since then, we’ve been stuck in our house together trying to sell it so we can go our separate ways. Then this year in October, after the high from all these writing competitions, I find out the truths behind the break up. I find out about the woman he left me for and how they broke up and the woman he’s with now, in many ways someone very similar to myself. The heart break began all over except this time it was worse. Because I knew deep down there will never, can never, be an “us” again. Since then I’ve learned some things about this toxic relationship including the fact that while not diagnosed, my fiancé is a classic narcissist. Learning about this personality disorder has definitely helped me heal but it also brought out a lot of truths about myself hidden inside, things I’m insecure about. 

I write this, and I won’t go into detail, to simply put out there that I was in fact in a very toxic relationship. I’d lost myself in someone else and in the process I’d devalued myself. I write this because there are probably people out there going through the same thing and I want you to know what I’ve learned: you are worth it. Don’t let others opinions and valuations of you be what you define yourself be. Define yourself by you: your standards, boundaries, worth. You’re worth it. And so am I.

This leads to the second part of this post: the future. I’ve let this man suck away so much of my life, more specifically these past two months. I stopped doing things I loved, I had unknowingly isolated myself over the course of our relationship from friends and family who loved me and I’m determined to choose my own fate (of course after Gods will of course). I’ve decided to be bold, put myself out there, work on my core issues, and love people the way I want to be loved. So….

For everyday of the new year (2017), I plan to do something or try something: I’ve never done before or haven’t done in a long time. Every single day I will choose something off this mini bucket list of sorts. Some days will be small things like try a new recipe or go out for karaoke. Some things will be bigger. I’m still adding things to the list. It’s just that I’ve realized there are so many things I never did or tried because of the toxic relationship I was in. Anyone who knows about being in a relationship with a narcissist will understand why. But that me is over and I want to choose my own path. Everyday. My plan is to write almost everyday about what I’ve done, what thing I’ve crossed off the list. Join me!! It’ll be fun! And share your own list with me. Let’s make this year our best year ever. 

And if you need information or guidance about narcissism or even just toxic relationships I’d highly recommend YouTube searching it. There are a lot of great videos that have changed my life. 

Best wishes!

Let’s kick some New Years ass!

Heather

Updated SOAP Query

So here’s the revised edition of my query. Feel like I’ve worked my butt off on it. Any tips, feedback, or help is greatly appreciated.

When eighteen year old Savannah Black wakes up in an underground research facility called Eden, her memories are fuzzy. Assigned a new name, Jaye, for her “new life”, Eden informs her of what she’s missed: a worldwide airborne virus, half the population infected or dead, and her mother locked up in quarantine. Eden’s offering sanctuary and a chance at a cure, but not for free. In exchange, Jaye will have to consent to scientific testing, including Eden’s colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But when the serums fail and Jaye’s memories come flooding back, she’s faced with two game-changing truths: her mother died a long time ago and Eden’s lying about why she’s there.

The more the truth unravels, the more Jaye has to lay on the line. And the more dangerous to Eden she becomes. When Jaye and her newfound friends uncover proof of Eden’s hidden agenda, they’re left with one last choice: attempt escape. But escaping won’t be easy, since those who don’t abide by Eden’s rules tend to wind up dead.

Son of a Pitch

Entering Son of a Pitch. My info is below. Any feedback is appreciated.

Query

Jaye was eighteen year old Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. Now she’s being told her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, the longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes.

In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world.

Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes?

EDEN is a 109,000 word young adult light sci-fi novel set in a contemporary time. It’s been written as a stand alone with series potential.

First 250 Words

I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me, it’s blades spinning at a lazy speed, the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.

“7346 is now awake.”

I back against the bed’s headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?

Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose. An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen.

Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.

The blinking light turns solid red, watching me.

“Hello?” I call out.

The door slides open and a girl with short blonde hair steps inside. Her skin is so fair it nearly matches the pale walls. She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.

“7346, I’m glad you’re awake.”

Hope you enjoyed. Comments and critiques welcome.

Heather

5 things we can learn about character from Game of Thrones.

So I’m late to the GoT party. I just started watching and as of yesterday, finished season 3. And whew… is there a lot going on. I’m going to admit it’s addicting but anyone who’s watched the show can deff vouch for that. But something else is quite amazing about the show. Sure it’s plot is complex and amazing and the world building seems flawless and equally amazing, but what strikes me the most about this show is its characters. So without further ado, the five lessons about characters we can learn from GoT.

1. Characters should be complex.

This seems a given but many a writer will tell you that this can be a difficult feat to accomplish. The writing world is always on our backs about ensuring our characters are unique yet compelling. A huge significance is placed on voice and our ability to captivate the reader. And this is something George R.R. Martin accomplishes well through complexity. Even the most basic of characters in GoT is complex. Example: Renly, the youngest of Robert Baratheon’s brothers. His place in the show is small yet even he has complex issues to deal with. How to deal with his brother Stannis, how to cover up his homosexuality, and how to play war as someone extremely green in the game. Another example could be Roz, the whore who travels to Kings Landing and serves/runs the whorehouse for Lord Baelish. She also has a less significant role in the show yet she is complex. She loves her job but has a heart to help others. She is struggling to move up in her own world yet she meets defeat at every angle. Each character within this series is unique and complex. They have multiple traits that sometimes clash with one another as well as other’s traits. And yet somehow Martin is able to pull off so many characters navigating around one another as though it’s nothing. As easy as  breathing. Lesson: Make your characters complex, active not passive, round and not flat.

2. Characters must have flaws and deep ones if possible.

Like we see above, the secondary character’s complexity often lies in their flaws. However the main characters have both and sometimes they are separate of one another. Martin does a fascinating job of making us love his villains and hate his heroes. Sure, our main characters will always be our favorites, but you have to admit the bad ones are hard to hate. Let’s take some of the Lannisters for example. Kingslayer Jamie is, for the first season, a spiteful man, proud and arrogant and well, come on, he tries to kill Bram. So we pretty much hate him or at least don’t like him. Yet as the series continues, we learn more and more about him. He saves Brienne from being raped and getting eaten by a bear. He discloses the not-menacing-at-all way in which he came about his nickname. And the way he looks at his sister when he finally returns home (although kinda gross) makes us feel for him. Makes us hate him less. His humanity bleeds through as we get deeper into his character and his flaws surface. And when flaws surface, readers and viewers connect with characters. Their humanity allows us to see our humanity. Their flaws allow us to examine our own. The monsters inside them allow us to see the monsters inside ourselves. Character flaws, more than character strengths, shape our characters and determine their actions for them. Just think for a moment at some of the most vile characters in GoT. Are some of them also your favorites? Why do you think that is? Because they’re three dimensional. Because they are flawed. Because they are human. Lesson: A character with no flaws, is not a character: they’re a superhero/villain and unless those are in your story (Hello Marvel), you should cut them (with flaws!).

3. Timelines are important.

This kind of bounces off complexity but you need to know your characters history. As a writer, it’s super important to spend time in your character’s head and world. See things through their eyes. Know their history. When they were five, did they break their arm? Could that lead to a flaw that could lead to added complexity? Woohoo. Add it. This is always happening in GoT. All the character’s pasts seem to be extremely well mapped out. We know where the characters come from, we know a little about their family and upbringing, and that sharing with the reader/viewer builds trust and likeability. Lesson here: Know your character’s history.

4. Peel them like an onion. 

This starts where lesson three stops. So you’ve done your homework. You know all about Jimmy’s childhood and why he is the way he is. His past has lead to his flaws and he has more than one. What do you do now? Tell the reader?

Yes and no.

You want to peel them like an onion. Start at the outer surface. Introduce us to your character slowly. Don’t bog us down with that timeline you’ve spent three days creating. Just give us little superficial stuff to get us well and good into the story. Then bam! Peel off a layer. Expose more and more of your character the further your story goes. At each step we should be understanding more about your character and piecing their worldview together better. GoT does this soooo well. Example: Tyrion, the imp. First season we only get the outer shell. He’s a Lannister. He’s rich. He uses his money on whores and alcohol from sun up to sun down. He seems to have very few cares in the world and even less power to do anything about them anyway. He’s the funny guy. The one that makes us laugh at his crude humor. But then as the seasons progress, we learn more and more. The onion is peeled. We see a past filled with torment and hate because he’s a dwarf. We see his father’s resentment and disdain for him just for being born (and killing his mother via childbirth). We learn of his first marriage and the scars it placed on his life. We see his softer more nurturing side. Out of all the Lannisters, he appears to have the biggest heart. We see him being faced with undesirable burden after burden. And what does this peeling do to you the reader/viewer? You grow to like him, maybe even love him as a character. You begin to root for him. You begin to take an interest in his well being in the show. And of course you would because: you feel like you’ve grown to know him. Over time, not all at once in a speech-like way (the author telling you). This lesson is so huge! And I hope you got it: Peel your characters like onions.

5. And the most important: Kill your darlings. 

We hear it all the time. And it’s hard to do. We grow to love our characters. We want to see them triumph. We want them to be happy and safe. But that makes for a terribly boring book. And besides, how can you root for someone until you see them to their core? This lesson can only be achieved after you understand and have atleast implemented some of the above steps. Once you begin dissecting your characters, you can see what will hurt them the most. Their flaws become the places where you strike. Their weaknesses become your weapon. And you must use it. Because this, I repeat, this, is how you keep the reader engaged. This is how you make your reader care. This is how you get them to the end of your story or series. In order to do that, something must be happening and that something is character conflicts. GoT might be the beast of all series when it comes to conflict and killing your darlings. When I recently talked to a friend, she told me: be careful; no one is safe. And I loved that. Because it’s true and it’s essential to storytelling. None of your characters should be safe and the reader should feel that. This doesn’t have to be life or death stakes. It just has to be conflict over and over again. This is why we root so hard for characters in the story. We see them suffer and achieve, suffer and achieve. And we want them to win. We watch show after show so we can root them on. We cry when they die or get hurt. We feel their sorrow when something happens to them that’s unfavorable. All because of these 5 things, and mainly because of this one. So to peg off the above example, I’ll use Tyrion again. His conflicts: well they’re  numerous. It started when he was born (conflict between his father, his siblings, and him). Then when he wedded the prostitue and his father made him watch her get raped. It progresses in the current story with him being framed as Bram’s attacker, being caught and almost killed by the Vale, and escaping and meeting loads of people on his way. Those people become the reason he is both alive yet also why his father puts him in the war as a soldier. Once the Kings hand, he seems to be heading up in terms of story development but there’s tension about his lover Shea, he’s almost killed by his sister in the battle he won for kings landing, he’s given no credit or value or praise from his family (mainly his father). On top of that he’s told he will marry Sansa whether or not he wants to, further putting tension on his relationship with Shea and himself. If we look at another character: Arya. While some of her conflicts appear life of death, none of them really are because we know people will keep her alive as collateral. However she still has tons of conflict. She’s constantly captured by various groups, she never makes it to her family on time, and she has to deal with losing everyone she loves (family and comrades combined). She never gets a break. As soon as we think she’s almost there, she’s pulled into anther conflict or narrowly escaping it. And this is happening with all the characters, an amazing feat of storytelling if you ask me. Lesson here: Load up on conflict. Inflict the damage you don’t want to inflict because it exposes your characters.  It makes them fight. It makes your readers pay attention. 

When you put all these steps together, you’re characters are going to be one tough lot. And that’ll make them shine. Story is equal parts plot and character (though this is debatable). Using GoT as an example, you can’t go wrong. And with one half of your story figured out, you’re in a great position to write an epic book. 

Some side points:

All characters have flaws. All have strengths. All have something the reader should be able to relate to. Even your villains. In fact, the best villains are the ones hardest to hate. 

It’s okay for some characters to have less roundedness to them. Not every character needs to be complex or three dimensional, especially if their role is super small in your novel. But a lesson from a GoT shows us the story becomes richer when everyone has something to lose.

And lastly, have fun. Character development is supposed to be exciting. If you’re overwhelmed, take a break and come back when you’re ready. Your readers and your characters will thank you.

So, what parts of character development do you or are you working on now? Did any of this strike a cord with you? Share if it did.

Happy reading and writing,

Heather 

The New WIP and the plans for the current finished novel…

So first things first: I didn’t get into PitchWars. I’ve seen a lot of people’s responses to this via Twitter, FB. Some have been very motivating (picking up and continuing forward) and a handful have been mournful. My reaction?

I’m okay. I was happy to have received a full request by an awesome mentor. That enough is super exciting for me. It’s been rumored there were over 2000 entrants. Any feedback or interest is a win in my eyes. Plus I’ve never been one to give up. So writing community: you’re stuck with me and all the stories that take shape in my brain. 

Plans for the current finished draft? 

Well after some anticipated feedback, I will probably send it out to agents. And write the synopsis for the following two books in the series. Because truth be told, I don’t completely know what happens after book one. I do but I don’t. It’s confusing. 

But I’m excited to be working on something new. Two something news in fact. I plan to use the next three to four months to produce a rough draft on my next WIP, a science fiction set in the 2100s. It’s going to be exciting. And while I work on that, I’ll be hardcore researching for the story I’ve always wanted to write: another science fiction/cross genre novel about a very different type of Earth. It’s going to require some very heavy research and scientific knowledge therefore I need a lot of time to build the world properly.

So about the current WIP: I plan to start writing the beginning of September which leaves me a long list of things to get together by then. My plans: a hard week of putting the novel together and getting to know my world and characters.

The schedule will consist of one day dedicated to each of these:

Character mapping.

World building and sketching.

Research list (shouldn’t take but a half hour).

Plot and subplot sketching.

Dialogue sheets/timelines/concrete things I know (facts)/character weaknesses, internal and external conflicts.

Beat sheet.

Two days of formatted outline.

And then viola! Start writing. I’m super excited to get this all done and start writing the story. I already feel it calling to me but I’d like to understand the world a bit better first. All in all should be another rollercoaster of ups and downs. Wish me luck. And share what you’re working on, what it’s about, and your plans for mapping it out!

Take care. And stay creative.

Heather 

And so we edit…

So I thought I’d share a little of how my editing process went for this last novel I wrote. Not sure if anybody is interested in this but, for me, I love reading author’s reading and writing processes, so…

Here goes.

This book was written based on a very strict plotted outline. I chose this because my last novel was pantsed and at the end, the edits were overwhelming and the story far from where I’d intended it to go. I’m all for spontaneity but not to the extreme. Plotting worked better for me and I’ll probably continue to plot and outline my books going forward. But hey, everyone’s different.

Because of my strict outline, the story made good sense. It followed a nice plot arc and almost all the subplots had a resolution (some I left open for potential series). This made my editing job so much easier.

I ended up doing about 8 complete rounds of edits and here is how I did them:

Round one: I edited this section based on the book Save the Cat. (And I loved this book). Even though it’s written for screenwriters, the same concepts apply for writing. I made myself a board with index cards and wrote a sentence or two about what each chapter was about. I then used color coded highlighters to mark what main characters showed up in that chapter. I then divided the story into four sections (see board below). Top for first third of book. Second section for second third of book leading up to midpoint. Third section for second half of second third of book leading up to black moment. And final third of book leading to the end. This was really helpful for me. I learned a lot about pacing. For instance, my first third of the story was taking too long to build to my catalyst. I also noticed some characters needed to appear more or less. I used this to do the biggest revisions of the story. Some chapters were deleted, some folded in on other chapters, and some moved to other parts of the story to even out the pacing. A lot of work later and voila! The story looked 100 times better.


Second round: I reread the book for the first time all the way through. From this I made a list of big and small edits that would be needed. (See picture below). This consumed three pages and like Veronica Roth, I chose one side of the page to list my issues and the other side to list possible solutions. Some solutions took longer for me to figure out. Others were easy fixes. I tackled them chronologically because most of them weren’t huge issues but if you have big issues, I recommend you knock out them first then move onto smaller changes.


Round three: Again using Save the Cat and last round of edits, I double checked all new changes and made sure they fit. Some things needed to be fixed because I moved things around so this is where I changed those things. This was basically a clean up version of all the previous changes I’d already made.

Round four: Here I tackled themes and made sure they were understood and fit in where they needed to be in the story to strengthen my MC arc.

Round five: This was the slog. This round I looked at each chapter and scene individually. I read slow and analyzed the smaller stuff. My main goal here was to pick up on little mistakes and to look at GMCs. I wanted to make sure they were present in each section. If you’re not sure what these are (goals, motivations, and conflict), I highly recommend you check out mistydwaters.com. She has an excellent explanation of this in depth and she provides examples. ?

Round six: By now I’m dead… Not truly, but I’m wiped. Six round of edits was second whole read through. This time I did line edits and I looked at sentence structure. I would ask myself if the sentence made sense, if I’d already used this comparison or idea in the book, if spelling and grammar were correct. These sort of things. (Another long slog!)

Round seven: This part also took a really long time. Or at least, it was tiring. Six-eight hours a day for several days looking at primarily one thing: overused words and phrases. I made a list of all clarifying words I wanted to look for and used the find search bar to find these words in the manuscript. Some of the words I hadn’t used at all. Others I used WAY too much. I    went chapter by chapter on these and knocked out as many as I could. Some were easy fixes. Others were really hard because the whole sentence had to be reworked. In this round, not only did I knock out words but sometimes whole phrases. Sometimes I wrote a new and improved sentence, sometimes I just cut it. In all I shaved thousands(!) of words from my manuscript doing this. After this round, I sent my book to a handful of people to read. And their feedback led to…

Round eight: This round was simply devoted to last minute tweeks, one last read through (woohoo, it looks so much better), and changes based on betas reviews. They didn’t suggest any major flaws or changes so I didn’t have a lot to tweek. Mainly this was typos I’d somehow missed and name mishaps. 

And that’s it! That is how I edited my last book. I’d planned on submitting it to agents when the pitch wars contest was announced. I decided to enter that instead. A helpful hand and a great set of eyes to look over my book before I send it to agents is always welcome. So wish me luck! And if you liked this, feel free to let me know. I’d be happy to post more like this in the future.

Happy reading and writing,

Heather

I’m entering PitchWars!

So I decided to make this post for two reasons: 

1. My wrists are already numb from writing two ridiculously long essays today.

2. I heard some mentors might want to know about potential mentees.

So for those of you who don’t know about Pitch Wars, it’s a contest hosted by Brenda Drake (check her out at brenda-drake.com) in which published authors and editors mentor selected entrants in polishing their novel for submission. It opens on Wednesday and closes this Saturday, so if you’re interested in this, go check out her website and get all the details!

I decided to enter this contest because as some of you know I just finished my manuscript. It’s a YA light sci-fi novel set in contemporary times. I was actually going to be sending it out on submission this week when I got an email last week about the competition and said: heck yes, I’ll enter. Who doesn’t want more feedback on their novel? Especially by pros. And so I’m entering. Wish me luck!

For those just checking out my site or for mentors taking a look, here’s a little about me.

1. I’m 26.

2. I’m a nurse and a student. I’ve been studying Creative Writing at USF and this semester I’m also going back to finish my BSN.

3. I love ice cream, second only to books. And coffee. Lots of coffee makes me happy. Basically, sweet over salty anyday!

4. This is the second novel I’ve written though I never truly sent my first one out on submission. Let’s all be happy about this. :/

5. I have an overly large and adorable lab mix named Harley. He’s 140 lbs but he thinks he’s a lap dog. Makes life very fun and slightly dangerous.

6. I do oddly better under stress. I’m also prone to planning, to all my friend’s dislike. I’m that person that has a plan for everything. Though nursing had made me very resourceful when things change quickly. Still I prefer to map things out. This may be why my first novel was not the best. I pantsed it and when it was done it looked like a chaotic mess. The story was there but covered in odd and unnecessary things. This novel I’m submitting was plotted out in advance and my inner self was much happier with this.

7. I live in Florida so naturally I love all things sun and beach (though we have been cooking for a while now).

8. I primarily only read YA, though I do enjoy adult fiction and literary fiction at times. 

9. My favorite authors are Margaret Atwood, Jandy Nelson, Lauren Oliver, and JK Rowling.

10. Some instrumental books in my writing life:

  • Harry Potter: childhood stories that made me believe I could keep my imagination well into adulthood even while everyone else was not.
  • Twilight: have to admit it was the book that made me pick writing back up again in high school. It made me think of writing as a career.
  • Hunger Games: made me enter college as a writing student and put my nursing career (furthering my nursing education) on the back burner.
  • If I Stay: showed me the importance of every character having a lasting impression on the reader.
  • The Book Thief: completely redefined writing for me in terms of lyrical prose and point of view.
  • Storyteller: made me realize a story didn’t have to be told in linear form and that storytelling is an art in itself.

There are more but for the sake of time, I’ll wrap that up.

11. Last book I read: A World Without You by Beth Revis. It was so good! 

Lastly and I feel it’s kind of a given since I’m entering this sort of contest, I’m an extremely hard worker. I love conquering goals and setting new ones. It’s what I live for. 

So hope you learned a little about me. Everybody wish me luck! I’ll let you know how it all turns out!

Heather

It’s been awhile…

So no shocker here. I’ve been MIA for a bit but for a very good reason. I’m one step away from completing my book and sending it out on submission. This entire process has been so invigorating for me. I first wrote this book two years ago, stopped halfway through the editing process, and shelved it. Last December, I decided I would finish it, but it would need a major overhaul. In all, the book is 97% different with only a handful of scenes salvaged. 

I think I put it off because the task seemed daunting. I knew it needed work and like all of us, I was worried it would flop. But I couldn’t be happier that the first round was horrible. Because it made me better. In two years, I’ve become a much stronger writer. I’ve found my voice more, strengthened my skills, and spent countless hours studying the craft. But more than all that, I’ve written so much since then, honing my skills to the best they can be. 

This book and the massive revision it took to get it here, has changed me. It has made me more resilient, more determined than ever to make my dream come true.

I hope to share with you guys some of the editing process I went through soon. I’ll try and post some photos of the lists and types of edits I had to make.

Until then, leaving you with a photo of where I stand today.

Doesn’t it look so pretty?

It’s February!

Hey guys. Hope your month has started off well! I’ve been super busy (as if I’m ever not) and haven’t been able to post. Just a little recap of where I am right now:  I haven’t written all week for the book. I’ve had a major set back with iCloud which is very frustrating and it looks like I’m going to have no choice but to upgrade my Mac again so that I can sync my pages with my phone again. Side note: I write wherever and that includes random things as well as the poem project I’m working on and my WIP. So it’s super important for me to be able to use my phone on the go and have it sync with my pages at home. Up until this point I’ve always used scrivener. But because the scrivo app is kinda difficult to keep uploading, I’ve started things on pages and convert over to scrivener. 

A crazy thing I’m thinking of doing: I’m actually thinking of taking a few months off work. I’m super nervous about if I can even pull this off but here’s why I want to do it: it will allow me to really focus on my creative endeavors 100% and allow myself a chance to see if I can make it happen. My end goal is to stop working or atleast cut down my days and work only on my creative projects. So wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.

What I read this week:

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard. Really not sure how I felt about it to be honest. Kinda a love hate. I loved learning more about the characters and seeing parallel stories like Farleys, but I just didn’t think the writing was as good as Red Queen. But that might be because I love the story from Mare’s POV. Either way, so stoked for Glass Sword. Already on preorder. See you Feb 9th!

Started reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. So far really liking it. Also in terms of nonfiction, I’m currently reading No Acting Please by Eric Morris.

Song I’m obsessed with right now: I’ll be Good by Jaymes Young.

See you next week!

Heather