The Writer’s Life According to The Emperor’s New Groove

Pull the lever, Kronk! Welcome back to The Writer’s Life According To… series. This time we’re going old school with one of the best animated movies ever made, The Emperor’s New Groove!

Note: none of these gifs belong to me. All gifs can be found on giphy.com


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When you try to write a new scene but it just isn’t happening.
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When you pick up the red editing pen for the first time.
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Middle-of-the-night ideas.
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Reading over the edit notes you scribbled down two months ago.
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When your outline is so thorough but you still find a plot hole.
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When you’re not sure whether or not to feel bad about killing off a character.
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When your story finally gets accepted by a publisher.
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When you tell the coffee-shop barista you’re a writer.
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When world-building starts to take shape.
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When you and your editor wrap up a project.

Thanks for stopping by today! There’s a lot more of The Writer’s Life According To… series, so be sure to check it out if you cracked a smile. In the meantime, have a fabulous day!

The Writer’s Life According To…

Jack Sparrow

Sheldon Cooper

Minions

Gollum

Winnie The Pooh

Toy Story

Harry Potter

Sherlock Holmes

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Publishing Plans, Writing Goals, and Other Assorted 2016 Shenanigans

Remember that one time back in February when I said Where The Woods Grow Wild would be available by late April? Yeah…that didn’t happen. As a matter of fact, July is almost over and I’ve yet to finish the second draft. To say that my writing plans for 2016 have been delayed is an understatement.

I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say there’s been a lot going on since January, and I’ve been juggling a part-time job (two as of a few weeks ago) with some remaining freelance editing work.

Technically 2016’s halfway point was a month ago, but I’m going to pull a ‘who cares?’ and do some recalibrating. Here’s what I’ve got up my sleeve for the rest of 2016:

Finish and publish Where The Woods Grow Wild

Aside from my day jobs, this will be my top priority. I’m making great progress on rewrites, and I’ll be beta-reader shopping soon (wink-nudge). No promises (I’ve made that mistake too many times already), but I really want to see WTWGW hit Amazon in October-November (that’s giving myself plenty for a few extra editing rounds, just in case).

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00071]
Current cover art for WTWGW, designed by Silvia Philbrick at Orca Creative Studio.

I’ve been sharing snippets on social media (mostly Twitter and Instagram) via #2bitTues, #1LineWed, and other trends, and the support you guys have shown is humbling and motivating, more than you realize. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Keep writing my backburner novel

No, not a novel about an actual backburner (although I’ll accept offers for the rights to that idea). I’m talking about the fantasy novel that’s been sitting on the proverbial shelf gathering proverbial dust for about a year now. I’ve mentioned it now and then on Twitter, but Where The Woods Grow Wild has been my sole writing focus for the past 8-9 months.

This novel is looking to be a long one (guesstimating 150k-ish words), so I won’t be finishing it anytime soon. But still. It exists, and I’ll be making slow progress behind the scenes.

Start Where The Woods Grow Wild 2‘s first draft

Yep. WTWGW is getting a sequel. I wasn’t planning on this originally, but I love the characters too much to not write another book with them. Where The Woods Grow Wild will still have a definite ending, a conclusion of its own, but since it’s obviously going to sell a million copies*, why not explore the story world a bit more afterwards?

*please. I’m really poor. 

Develop social media

This is a permanent work-in-progress. 2016 has been great so far in terms of social media growth.

My Twitter following has almost tripled since last August, and I’ve been able to connect with some fantastic new people. Twitter is still my most consistent communication tool, so if you don’t follow already, you’re missing out on my superior humor and intellect some mildly amusing tweets.

I-Have-Cookies-Follow-Me-Cookie-Meme

I experimented with Instagram for a few months, but daily posts are quite taxing on my supply of photo ideas, and I’ve slowed down a bit. I don’t know how you all get hundreds/thousands of followers based exclusively on pictures of your desk, but more power to you, I guess.

To the grand total of 114 people who like and follow my author page on Facebook…yeah, sorry. I hardly ever post there. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Facebook anymore. In terms of platform building it stinks unless you pay them (more) money, and then it stinks a little bit less.

I am, however, working towards starting a Youtube channel. I’ve been experimenting with different video styles, and I think I’ve found one that works for me. I don’t know when I’ll launch it (maybe next month?), but I’m having fun getting ready, if nothing else. Stay tuned.


Anyways, those are my writerly plans for the rest of 2016. Right now I’m going to pencil in a daily schedule to manage it all (no, I’m not sweating), and hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with these plans and not get fired from my two part-time jobs. Pray for me and my caffeine addiction.

In the meantime, have yourself an awesome day, friend!

 

 

8 Popular Books I Couldn’t Finish

Everybody has different tastes when it comes to books. I enjoy mine, and you enjoy yours. Nothing wrong with that in the least. But just for kicks and giggles (probably more kicks than giggles), I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of eight hyped and/or popular books that everyone else seems to love that I couldn’t even finish.

Disclaimer: this is (obviously) merely my opinion, and yours may (invariably) differ. That’s no reason for anyone to get upset, so let’s all behave like grownups. 

Disclaimer 2: for a book to qualify for this list I have to have at least tried to read it. Therefore, books like Maze Runner don’t count because I know I wouldn’t enjoy it and do not intend to try. I’m just stubborn like that. 

#1 Divergent, Veronica Roth

I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. The first book is sitting on my bookshelf in my room where I see it every day. I’ve picked it up and started the first chapter about five times now. It’s just not happening. I’m sorry, but I find it…boring. There’s no other way I can describe it. I’m sure it gets better, but I haven’t yet been able to make it past the first five or ten pages without losing interest.

#2 The Wheel of Time (Series), Robert Jordan

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love fantasy books. It’s my favorite genre by a mile. But this…I just couldn’t stay awake. Literally, at times. I received the first book as a gift and really gave it my best shot, but it takes. So. Long. To. Get. Moving. I’m patient, normally. I don’t mind investing a few chapters in build-up if the writing keeps my interest. But this…this felt like watching molasses drip down the wall.

#3 Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton

The reason for this one is simple: I’m dumb. You can’t expect me to keep track of so much science mumbo-jumbo. Sorry. I mean, it takes a lot for me not to enjoy a book about dinosaurs running amuck in the present day. But I made it about 100 pages before giving up on Jurassic Park and putting it down. If I had a couple dozen extra degrees in the sciences I’m sure I would have stuck with it.

#4 Mistborn (Series), Brandon Sanderson

I tried so, so hard to get into the Mistborn series. Several good friends have recommended them to me multiple times, and again, fantasy is my favorite genre. I don’t own any of the Mistborn books, but I have had a chance to start reading the first one, and…kind of the same deal as The Wheel of Time. It moved too slow for me and it felt too grand (an odd complaint, I know).

#5 Pretty much any classic novel

I may draw a lot of fire for this one, but give me a book by Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Robert L. Stevenson, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, etc., and I’ll probably just chuck it out the window. I mean no disrespect to the undeniably successful authors of the past, but holy cow these books are a chore.

#6 The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

I enjoy The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Not my all-time favorite, but they’re a fun read. So I don’t quite understand why I don’t like The Hobbit very much. It’s not the different style, or the simpler plot. It’s just…not my cup of tea.

#7 Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Chronicles of Narnia (The Horse and His Boy being my favorite of the series). But so many Narnia fans seem to think Prince Caspian is one of the best books, and I just don’t get it. It’s boring. In fact, it’s so boring that I don’t even have anything else to say about it. (Cheating a bit, because I did finish the book, though only out of necessity to continue the series).

#8 Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman

I know this book is probably far less popular than the others on the list, but I’ve included it mostly because of how surprised I was that I didn’t like it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I loved The Graveyard Book, Stardust was a beautiful story, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a tear-jerker. So when I bought Neverwhere at the bookstore and only made it through a few pages before utterly losing interest, I was quite shocked and quite a bit more disappointed.


If you made a similar list, what books might be on it? Comment below! And in the meantime, have a great day!

10 Incorrect Assumptions About Writers

Let’s face it, we writers have built something of a reputation for ourselves. I won’t deny my own…unique characteristics, and I know you lot are in the same boat. But that doesn’t mean everything non-writers think about us is necessarily true. In fact, here are some common misconceptions people tend to have about writers that are usually false:

#1 Writers depend on inspiration

In this scenario, I define inspiration as the strong urge to write (as opposed to inspiration from a specific place or person). While inspiration is helpful, serious writers discipline themselves to write regardless of whether or not they’re inspired at the time.

#2 Writing is just a hobby

For a lot of people, it is. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But people don’t seem to realize that writing can also be a vocation, a life-ambition, and even a full career.

#3 Writers don’t enjoy other people

I don’t think this is the case at all. Sure, we often seclude ourselves to work, and a lot of us are strong introverts. But we still need people. We need friends and loved ones just as much as the next guy.

#4 Anyone can be a writer

False. Not everyone can be a writer. Sure, anyone can pick up a pen and write a two-page story. Pretty much everyone I know has started a novel at some point. But it’s the stubborn dedication to finish that novel that sets apart the writers from the casual dabblers.

#5 Writers only write when they have time

While it’s true that most writers have day jobs and other responsibilities competing for their time, anyone who is serious about their craft will actively carve out time, even in little amounts here and there, to set aside for writing.

#6 Writers are always looking for input

Sorry guys, but writers don’t necessarily need suggestions about their next plot twist or character creation. Of course, we’ll occasionally ask for help (normally from other writers), but for the most part we don’t need to be told what to write about next.

#7 Writers are always depressed

I’m honestly not sure where this belief originated. It’s just not true. Most of the writers I know are the happiest people alive. Granted, maybe we tend to experience emotions more intensely than some others (I’m sure there’s a whole science behind that possibility), but that doesn’t mean we’re always depressed.

#8 Writers base characters on their friends

This one is partially true, because a lot of writers take personality traits from friends or family members and incorporate them into their characters. But it’s false to think every character in a book is a carbon copy of one of the author’s friends.

#9 Writers base the protagonist on themselves

Similarly to the last point, writers don’t actually make themselves the protagonist all the time. As a matter of fact, I’d say we’re trying very hard not to do so. I don’t quite get why so many people ask me “so are you the main character?” when they read my book. Honestly, we’re not even that similar (I hope).

#10 Writers can’t make money

I’ve talked about this before. When I tell people I’m a writer/author, they automatically say something like “oh, but it’s so hard to make a living doing that. What’s your real job?” And while I understand the sentiment, and they’re not technically wrong, I would like to remind everyone that with a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, it is actually possible to earn a basic living writing books.


What assumptions have people made about you when they find out you’re a writer? Are some of them true? Or are you drastically misunderstood? Let me know in the comments below. In the meanwhile, have a great day!

The Writer’s Life According To Sherlock Holmes

Another week, another Monday, another installment in the Writer’s Life According To… series. This time around we’re going with a reader’s request: BBC’s Sherlock Holmes. Shall we begin?


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Non-cliche descriptions can be tough.
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It’s important to prepare for each writing session.
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When your beta readers get back to you.
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No, we’re not totally insensitive…
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The writer-protagonist friendship in a nutshell.
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When a friend goes on about a story they always wanted to write.
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“Oh, you’re an author? You should write about–“
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When you lose yourself in an emotional scene.
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Fairly self-explanatory.
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The obligatory when-you-get-an-idea-in-public reaction.

Thanks to S.M. Metzler for the suggestion! And have a fantastic week, everyone.

Note: all gifs found on giphy.com, header image and characters belong to BBC. 

6 Things Other Writers Do That I Can’t

Writers are creatures of habit, but each writer has their own particular set of habits. As I watch my fellow writers spin their tales, I’ve noticed them do some things that, for better or for worse, are simply out of my reach.

Here are six things other writers do that I can’t.

Improvise (a.k.a. ‘Pantsing’)

I live and die by the outline. While I firmly believe in allowing the story to grow organically and giving myself room to discover and be surprised by the process, if I try to write a complete story with no framework, no visual indication of where I’m going, I guarantee I won’t finish that project.

Write scenes/chapters out of order

Even though I always know what’s coming next thanks to my rigorous, often obsessive, outlining, I refuse to (and cannot) write the events of my story out of order. It just feels wrong. I know a lot of people have no problem doing so, and for some it even works better. But not me.

Write in cars/trains/planes

I’ve traveled a lot, and I’ve written in a lot of different countries. But try as I might, I can’t seem to write as I’m traveling. Writing in the car makes me carsick. Plane seats are too uncomfortable, and there are bound to be at least a dozen different movies playing on people’s screens to distract me. I’ve had minor success writing on trains, but more often than not I end up staring out the window.

Work on phones/tablets

A lot of people do this, and I wish I could because it looks so handy. But I can’t. I can’t keep notes, or write sections, or really do anything writing-related on my phone or tablet. Maybe my thumbs are too clumsy. Maybe the screen is too small. I don’t know. It just won’t happen.

Get up extra early to write

I’m not a morning person. I have, however, disciplined myself to be up at a decent hour and get to work (as long as there’s coffee). What I can’t do is force myself to get up earlier than my schedule dictates and expect myself to focus on the creative process. My brain functions far better late at night than early in the morning.

Write in my bedroom

This is mostly choice, but I can’t write or work in my own bedroom. Perhaps such proximity to my bed is too tempting, or perhaps the bookshelf behind me would be my undoing. Either way, I try to keep my work-space separate from my leisure/relax/sleeping space.


What are some of the things other writers do that don’t work for you? Drop a comment below! As always, I’m super glad you stopped by. Enjoy your day!