What do you love?

This month, we’re talking about love. Today I’m caught up in the idea of bringing what I love into my writing… and what I hate I guess.

The things I love certainly influence my reading. I love an element of romance, I love Aussie settings, I love exotic settings, I love friendship and I love to have a good cry. These things all work together to influence which books I buy. The people I love do too, if a friend or admired blogger/author LOVES a book then I will try it even if it doesn’t have any of the elements I love personally.

My characters often share elements of what I love (or hate to mix things up). If I feel strongly about something then I know I can write a character who does too.

gringotts

I loooovvvveee all things Harry Potter

Right now I am madly in love with my new puppy Harriet Hermione Potts (so named from my love of Harry Potter). And I’m finding my new main character has a puppy. I ran the New York Marathon and found my character running to clear her head. Sometimes my characters love things that I specifically don’t however because they’re all different. For example, it’s fun, while I write, to be an amazing singer who wouldn’t make the audience wince in pain when they got up on a stage.

Do you look for elements you love when choosing a book to read/write?

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

 

Begin Again

I know she’s not for everyone but I’m a bit of a Taylor Swift fan. I’ve seen her in concert twice and she was all of the awesome. I adore the song ‘Begin Again’ as it’s a story in itself about beginnings and can even be used to examine story structure (see Jessica Brody’s great blog here).

And I’m thinking of it this month as I start a new year and a new story (two swirling in my head).

Today I wanted to talk about not simply beginning, but beginning again.

At the same time as beginning a new year and new story, I have a new puppy. THAT is a lesson in starting again. Harriet Potts chews, she nibbles, she’s adorable and hard work.

hp-ball

Kind of like my story… lol.

This isn’t my first story which means I’m bringing lessons from before

  1. What worked well last time?
  2. How cam improve my process?
  3. How can I get batter?

All of these questions need to be addressed as I begin.

Then there’s the baggage…

  1. What if it takes longer?
  2. I’ve done one, doesn’t mean I can finish again.
  3. What if that last story doesn’t sell and I’m wasting my time?

I try to take the good lessons (I wrote 50k in Nov, I can write faster than I thought) and not get dragged back by the doubts (this is a fresh start, anything is possible).

Do you have any tips for beginning… again…?

 

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

 

 

Celebrate the End

We’ve just about hit the end of the year. I’ve just finished writing a book and I’ve just had to say goodbye to my beloved 17yo dog Matty. Lots of ending happening here.

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I tend to find endings bittersweet as an author and reader. Saying farewell to the characters (forever or for now) can be sad. Like this year, I tend to race to get to the end then wonder where the time/book went.

So today I wanted to share five awesomeness things about book endings (and hope you guys can help with more):

  1. The chance to reflect on the story as a whole as the author intended instead of only seeing a fraction
  2. The satisfaction of knowing who done it/how the character got out of or not the messy situation. Hopefully there’s that sigh as I close the final page…
  3. The ability to once again visit (briefly) the real world (I tend to get a little book obsessed)
  4. No one can spoil it for you anymore
  5. THE NEXT BOOK (of course)!

Any other thoughts on why we should like endings?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

How to Grab an Editor’s Attention and other Unexplained Mysteries

I’ve been following Aussie Owned and Read for some time now, so when they approached me to guest blog, I jumped at the chance. This close to the end of the year, most people are thinking of beach holidays and Christmas shopping. But as much as the year is winding down for me, it’s also revving up. You see, I’ve received an early and much longed for Christmas present: my first publishing contract!

While everyone else is pulling boxes of baubles and tinsel out of storage, I’m embarking on the first round of edits for my debut novel, a YA Paranormal Romance to be published in 2017 by Entangled Teen. To be honest, I’m still in shock, and it’ll take more than one serve of Christmas pudding to process it all, but in the meantime I thought I’d share what it was that propelled my editor to pull the story from the slush.

 

  1. The title: The first thing that grabbed him was the title (which, unfortunately, I’m not allowed to reveal as yet). This surprised me. Since titles are often changed after submission, I didn’t think they carried much weight. But the title really resonated. So think of a killer title!
  2. A well crafted query letter, including a solid pitch: Now, this one’s a no-brainer. If you’re a pre-published author, you’ll have had the importance of a polished query letter rubber-stamped onto your brain. If you’re rusty on how to craft one, check out Rebecca and Heather’s post here for tips https://aussieownedandread.com/2016/08/11/the-dreaded-query-letter/ What clicked for my editor were an interesting story arc, an intriguing MC and voice. It’s not easy, but see if you can infuse your query with a taste of your writing voice.
  3. Pace, tension and great storytelling: Okay, so you’ve hooked your editor with your title and query. They’ve started reading (yay!). They’re pulled into the story (hoorah!). They still like the voice (phew!). How do you keep them turning those pages? Pace and tension is what carries them through to the end. Make sure every scene has some form of tension and / or story question to push the action forward and keep up the pace. In a Christmassy nutshell, good storytelling is the key.

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Now, no two editors (or agents) are the same, so they won’t all be looking for identical things in a manuscript, but it can’t hurt to shine up that title, polish your query and ramp up the tension and pace J

 

So, what makes you pick up a book and keep turning the pages?

 

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Kat is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author and teacher librarian who writes coming-of-age stories with a healthy dose of humour and heart. She speaks German and hopes to, one day, read one of her novels in Deutsch.

 

Anything but cleaning

Here at AOR this month we’re talking spring cleaning. This would not count in my top… billion… fun past times. Although I do love a clean house/workspace.

Instead I present to you, 5 things to do instead of clean:

  1. READ – this one might be obvious but I’d hate for it to get lost. Think of all the pages to be read instead of bathroom tiles scrubbed
  2. Buy books – this helps with point 1 but might actually add to the mess (e-books?).
  3. Write a story – I know I’m struggling with my story when I clean instead of writing (then it can help clear my head and make me wish I was writing)
  4. Order your bookshelf – this is like cleaning, I admit but it’s fun and you could happily get side-tracked by a fave book
  5. Meet a friend and talk books – this gets you away from the mess and has a fun social element that’s good for your soul

writing socks.jpg

Anyone else got a good way to avoid cleaning?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

Embrace the Fear

This month, with Halloween on the horizon, we’re talking fear. I know a lot about fear and a lot of it is to do with my writing. It’s not about the twists and turns of the story and the shiver down my spine of a great creepy tale, more around the writing.

Lots of us feel fear around that thing we love.

For readers that might be a sport they play or drawing or even their job.

fear.png

Once we do something (in my case write) there is the chance for failure and it can be terrifying. There’s also criticism and even success. Because once you’re successful the fear of all those other things increases exponentially.

But there are things we can do:

  1. Do it anyway #brave
  2. Talk about the fear – you are not alone with the scary axe
  3. Remember times you’ve defeated the fear before
  4. Write down why you want to do it in the first place – it could be enough to get you over the fear
  5. Use the fear to make you the BEST you can be

 

Any other tips?

🙂

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.

What ya reading, Dad?

This month a few of us are talking about Dads as it’s Father’s Day here in Australia. I love giving book pressies and this special occasion is no different.

That’s why I wanted to share five reasons to celebrate dads who read:

1. They’re likely to be good people (note this comes from my deep rooted bias that readers = awesome)

2. A book is a much better gift than a pair of socks (though I’m partial to bookish socks…)

3. Dads who read mean you never have that sick feeling of no idea of what to get them

4. Dads who read encourage kids who read = more readers

5. Reader dads have something to talk about with their kids. And they read different to mums and friends and help make us into better people… I mean readers.

🙂

 

Beck

beck nicholas_ bec sampson

I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high school teacher but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young adult fiction.