Tag Archives: Reading

Paper Hearts: Tour Stop

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If you haven’t heard of the Paper Hearts series, today is your lucky day! NYT bestselling author author Beth Revis surprised us all late last year by releasing a trilogy of advice books perfect for those of us working our way into the world of authorhood. This week we’re celebrating Volume One: Some Writing Advice which Beth was originally posting over on Wattpad, where you can still check out some of the awesome entries from the finished product. And while there’s a lot of great content there, the final version of the book has expanded into every possible area of writing you could dream of, with a special focus on YA.

Not only is it easy to see why the Paper Hearts series would be a fantastic series to any writer’s craft library, but if you’re just starting to build up your reference books the Paper Hearts books are a great place to begin as there is so much great advice between the pages of these books covering the entire writing and publication process, right through to marketing your books after they’re out in the world.

And don’t forget to make your way all the way to the bottom of the post as there’s a great giveaway going along with the tour. Enter for your chance to win signed paperback copies of all three books in the series! And as an added bonus, Beth Revis has been sharing some great tips on writing all week, and now it’s my turn to take part. Be sure to check out the earlier tips as well as to keep following the tour for more writing tips, plus insights into both publishing and marketing. Let’s check out tip #4!

4

When building the world of your story, make it dirty. Add in history and scars—and then use those to develop the characters and the plot. Those extra world details can give you direction for your plot, or help you make your character have more background. Show scuff marks on the floor, and then later show how they got there. Show trash in the corner, and then show the character who threw it…or the one who cleaned it up after. Make your world lived in, and every aspect of your story will be richer.

Great advice! Every little detail makes the story just a little bit more real. It makes things come to life on the page for your reader.


 

Bird by Bird meets Save the Cat in this new writing advice book by NY Times bestselling author Beth Revis. With more than 100000 reads on Wattpad, this newly expanded and rewritten edition features 350 pages of content, including charts and a detailed appendix.
~~~
paperhearts1Fight the blank page.

When it comes to writing, there’s no wrong way to get words on paper. But it’s not always easy to make the ink flow. Paper Hearts: Some Writing Advice won’t make writing any simpler, but it may help spark your imagination and get your hands back on the keyboard.

Practical Advice Meets Real Experience

With information that takes you from common mistakes in grammar to detailed charts on story structure, Paper Hearts describes:

-How to Develop Character, Plot, & World
-What Common Advice You Should Ignore
-What Advice Actually Helps
-How to Develop a Novel
-The Basics of Grammar, Style, & Tone
-Four Practical Methods of Charting Story Structure
-How to Get Critiques and Revise Your Novel
-How to Deal with Failure
…And much more!

BONUS! More than 25 “What to do if…” scenarios to help writers navigate problems in writing from a NY Times Bestselling author who’s written more than 2 million words of fiction.

Learn more at BethRevis.com

Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice on Goodreads

Purchase Paper Hearts, Volume 1: Some Writing Advice
AmazonKoboBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Follow along with the rest of the tour at the Paper Hearts Tour Headquarters, or follow Beth Revis on Twitter!

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On Paper Books (and Libraries)

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The other day I had an argument online (you know that’s never going to end well) after I posted what I thought was a fairly innocuous little vlog about how much I love libraries. How, as a child, I always longed after the library in The Beauty and the Beast.

Someone commented on this post on my facebook, stating that no one should read paperbooks anymore, since we’re killing trees for them, and ebooks are the way of the future. Paper books are a fad that needs to die out.

Here’s the thing, it may be true that ebooks are the way of the future. I don’t disagree with that.

They’re lighter, easier to carry from place to place with you, cheaper to buy. There are many reasons that ebooks are better than paper books.

But I’m not going to feel guilty for loving paper books. There are many things that are killing this world and destroying the environment. There are many things that humans should feel guilty for. I should feel guilty for running too much water when I shower too long. I should feel guilty for throwing away too many plastic water bottles. For letting the car run for an extra fifteen minutes that one time. For littering.

Don’t ask me to feel guilty for loving books. I never will.

When I buy a book, it gets loved. I read it and keep it, reserving a spot for it on my shelf. Months later, if I particularly loved the book, I’ll reread it. Twice, maybe three times. I’ll lend it out to friends. I’ll use it to prop my vlogging camera up on. I’ll dip back into it to see what that particular writer did to evoke that particular emotion  I had, or just for inspiration if I’m feeling stuck.

I cannot dream surrounded by ebooks. I cannot bask in the smell of them. I do not feel joy lift my heart and chest when I see the shelves upon shelves of electronic files all around me. So no…to me, ebooks are not better.

I don’t have anything against them, actually. I just bought my first kindle (look at me go, technology!  Wow!) but I’m not going to stop buying paper books. I’m not going to stop enjoying the feeling of cracking the spine for the first time, or running my fingers over a beautiful, embossed cover, or displaying them on my shelves according to color and size. There will never be a day when that happens.

I don’t know what this post was meant to be. It started out a rant, I think, and progressed into a love poem to books. I think I’m okay with that. I think it’s a better note to end on.

 

In case you’re wondering, here’s the (apparently) not so innocuous video that triggered it all:

 

 

 

 

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Announcing: Teens Who Read

Rachel

For those of us who write fiction for teens, there’s a great resource out there when you’re looking to do some research. And by that I mean…real teens! And real teens who read the type of books YOU want to write. New to the blog is TEENS WHO READ, a monthly interview with avid teen readers.

Please welcome our very first reading teen, Rachel Sargent.

Today’s Teen:
Rachel Sargeant is a Canadian model who has read more books in her nineteen years than most people have in their entire lives. A large fan of tea, thrift shopping and Marvel comics, she can usually be found writing novels in coffee shops or walking runways in shoes that make her feet hurt. Rachel can communicate in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Sign Language, Swearing and Sarcasm. She prefers reading high fantasy and dystopian, and is quickly running out of shelf space.

Q1What are your top five favorite YA books?

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, the Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow, and Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (I Hunt Killer by Barry Lyga and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld are honourable mentions. Does this count as cheating?)

Q2- What do you love about YA?

I like reading YA best of all is because of the excitement factor. The stakes are always high, the action is always intense, and while the emotions of the main characters may sometimes be over-dramatic, they at least make me feel something. I find regular fiction or crime novels don’t have that level of freshness to them; YA novels pick you up and slap you around until you can’t do anything but flail around when the villain comes back from the dead and cry at four in the morning when the author kills off someone you’ve grown to love.

Q3Is there anything that bothers you about YA?

While I do have some complaints about types of character development or love triangles, what bothers me the most is the stigma attached to YA. I always feel like I have to hide the cover if I’m reading in public, or that I’m prattling on about this girl in love when I talk about it to my friends. I wish that when I say the book I’m reading is YA, people wouldn’t look down on me and tell me to read ‘better’ types of novels instead. I understand where the stigma comes from since I have seen the repeating patterns of girls hopelessly in love with the mysterious boy and the main character being the chosen one, but at the same time there are so many more books that don’t use these cliches that I want to share with the world.

Q4- Is being able to talk to the author important to you?

Yes! I love being able to see the process as much as the finished product, and meeting/taking to the author is a way to not only meet the character but the driving forces behind the story that you know and love. Getting to know the author as a person I feel makes me like the book more, since I get to see who I’m reading.

Q5 If you could meet one author, who would it be and why?

This is really difficult, but I would say Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series. This series has to be my favourite (or at least in the top 5) high fantasy YA series and I would love to meet and interview the heck out of her. I want to know how she came up with Celaena’s story and pry some hints out of her for the next three books! The world she invented draws you in so completely you forget there’s an outside world where buying food is a thing and taking out the garbage has to happen.

Q6 If you were to write the perfect YA book, what would it be like?

A6 – I don’t think there is a way to write a perfect YA book! I know what I always look for (some good action sequences, a slow build for romance, and an equal balance between dialogue and action) and attempt to write those threads into my own novels. I am also leaning towards writing alternative type characters, such as a girl with tattoos, a boy with a mental disorder, or same-sex relationship partners. Plus a bombshell-drop of information that leaves me jumping around in excitement or bawling my eyes out at 3AM is always accepted, so I feel like it’s only fair to give that to my readers as well. It’s fun playing God.

Q7Do you read ebooks or paper books?

I only own paperback books. I love the feeling of a physical book with pages that flip and that new-book smell of ink and paper. It’s also oddly satisfying to place a bookmark into the pages to count your progress!

Q8Romance: Yes or no?

Yes, but only if it’s done realistically. YA usually writes romance in a super ‘fluffy’ way that makes me either roll my eyes or gag a little, so if there is a romance thread it has to have a steady build up of emotion and the characters have to have a good reason for falling in love besides the fact they are the opposite sex.

Q9Are you bothered by YA tropes? (ie, love triangle, bad boy, useless best friend)

The answer to this is a maximum YES. I am so tired of the same five characters with different names. If I pick up a book and within the first chapter can identify one of these tropes, I usually put it down. However there are ways in which these can be done right, and I think the trick with that is to write them in unconventional ways. Cassandra Clare gives us the dreaded love triangle in the Infernal Devices series, but (spoiler!) it works here because of the mutual love, trust and friendship all three characters have for each other. Laini Taylor gives us a conventional ‘Mary Sue’ character in Karou, but it works because of Ms. Taylor’s writing style and the harsh development Karou goes through in the second and third books.

Q10Mostly important question: Coke or Pepsi?

Coke. DUN DUH!

Find Rachel Online:

Model FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/RachelSargeantModel?ref=hl

Website: http://rachelredmodel.wix.com/rachelsargeantmodel

Youtube, Instagram and Wattpad: AModelWhosRead

Twitter: @TheGingerModel

If you have questions you’d like to see featured on TEENS WHO READ in the future, or you know know a teen who loves to read who would like to be interviewed, feel free to email me at erinRlatimer@gmail.com

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Crossing the Line: Bad Boy or Abusive?

 

He can't REALLY be a bad person, he has abs!

He can’t REALLY be a bad person, look at his abs!

Fair warning right up front, this is going to be a rant. A big fat ranty sunday with rant flavored cherries on top.

I’ve learned a lot from writing free fiction online. How to gain a fanbase before actually publishing anything, how to manage regular updates while working full time, how to interact with readers, and how not  to act when someone directs a nasty comment at me.

But something else I’ve learned is beginning to bother me. It’s not sitting right with me. It’s about love, or maybe (more likely) it’s about sex. It’s about the “love” interest and the ever-changing role he takes. Lately it seems like all I see is the bad boy. He shows up in every book, decked out in leather and scuffed shoes, ripped jeans. His jaw perfectly chiseled, his eyes glittering with deadly promise. And each time he shows up it seems like his behavior is more repulsive, more threatening, more inexcusable.

In fact, I’ve learned that if I want to get people to like one of the guys in my story, I should make him a cocky, rude playboy. In short, a total asshole.

My friends and I were talking about a book series that one friend happens to be reading right now. This book series will remain unnamed, but in short, it’s about a girl who is conned into selling her virginity to the highest bidder. A gross premise to begin with, because it’s not approached as something harmful and dangerous. When my friend told me who the love interest was, my jaw dropped.

Can you guess? Yup, the top bidder for this girl’s virginity. He’s the love interest.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Yeah, here we go. I’m putting on my ranty-pants (just in case you couldn’t tell).  When did it become perfectly fine to create this horrible, repulsive character and paint him in a positive light? When did we start to romanticize this behavior? And where do we draw the line?

I experimented with this a little bit, and it seemed like no matter what I made the asshole in my story do, the readers still loved him. Of course, I’m not saying all readers are buying into this, a lot of them hated him too. But no matter how abusive he was towards the main character, no matter how many people he murdered, the readers still wanted him to end up with her. This resulted in me throwing up my hands to the ceiling (Dear god, why?!) and then killing him off, mainly out of spite.

I’m pretty sure Christine Grey could murder puppies, and as long as he looked smoulderingly mournful about it after, people wouldn’t care.

Seriously, Erin, you say, you’re going to give yourself an aneurysm. Chill out, they’re not real characters.

But how many young girls are dating abusive assholes, is what I want to know. How many teenage girls settle for guys that treat them like crap? How many cave in to the pressure before they’re ready, when some jerk they’re dating wants sex, because this aggressive, semi-rapey behavior is now depicted as normal, desirable even.

Am I saying that teenage girls are going to read this stuff and think, Gee, I gotta go out and find me a despicable asshole to date!  No, of course not. But if they’re already caught up in a bad relationship, and all they have to read about is these abusive “bad boys” who are depicted as heroes and love interests, then what’s encouraging them to make a change?

I really do believe that as YA writers, we have to write responsibly. Keep in mind how much of an influence  your favorite books were on you when you were that age. Heck, how much do they influence you now?

There’s a difference between an alpha male type love interest, and a character who is truly abusive. But lately, it seems like writers are blurring that line, and maybe we need to take a step back and think about it.

 

What do you think, should authors “write responsibly” or is it all just fiction? What’s the line between bad boy and abusive, and how much should you cross that?

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Reasons You Should Have Writer Friends

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Over the past few years I’ve made a few good writer friends. One I met in person when I tried to start a writer’s group. The group crashed and burned, but something beautiful bloomed out of the ashes. A friendship formed. God, that’s melodramatic. She’s going to laugh at me if she reads this.

Other friends I’ve met on the awesome networking/writing website, Wattpad. I have people I Skype with, people I swap beta reads with and email back and forth with. Some of these people know me better than a lot of my real life acquaintances.

And of course, I’m fast friends with a terrific group of writers and vloggers called The Word Nerds. We beta for one another, share our triumphs and our difficult days, and promote one another. We keep up a consistent string of emails that never really die out. We are in constant contact with one another. (I’ll leave a link to the Words Nerd’s Vlog below, if anyone is curious about our videos).

Having writer friends is essential. It will make you a better writer, it will boost your confidence and soothe your soul. And a lot of the time, it’s vital to your sanity.

Here’s why you need to make friends with fellow writers:

1) They understand what the heck you’re talking about.

When you start ranting about how the book you’re reading uses ridiculous dialogue tags, or how someone on facebook uses “than” when they should use “then”, other writers will understand exactly what you’re talking about. The non-writers (or pen-muggles, as Chuck Wendig calls them) won’t understand what you’re making such a fuss over.

It’s good to have someone who is able to commiserate with you, rather than look at you like your bat has left the belfry.

The pen-muggles, they're everywhere.

The pen-muggles, they’re everywhere.

2) Nobody else truly understands what rejection means.

Of course other people are going to know how rejection feels. Lots of people have been told they need to work harder, or fired from a job, but there aren’t many jobs that come with a string of constant rejections. It doesn’t matter if you’re traditionally published, indie or self, there is always going to be someone telling you that you stink. That your writing sucks, that you should quit, that you should keep your day job.

Only someone who has heard those words before knows how that feels.

We regret to inform you that you suck.

We regret to inform you that you suck.

3) They’ll talk you down.

This relates to number two. When you get that rejection, or that negative review, sometimes it hurts so much you think about doing something silly. Maybe you want to reply to a negative review, or to a rejection from an agent. Maybe you want to rant on twitter or Facebook. Maybe you’re going to quit trying, or change your mind about what publishing path you’re going to take for all the wrong reasons.

 That’s when your writer friends step in. They tell you not to quit/start drinking/write a nasty comment on that review. Then they tell you that other person didn’t read it properly/doesn’t like literature/obviously has the IQ of a goldfish. Whatever it is you need to hear. And sometimes it comes in the form of “don’t you dare” or “put on your big-girl panties”, because they love you, and they don’t want you to make a dumb move for your career.

 Writer friends will save your sanity. They’ll quietly (and out of the public eye) patch up your wounds and have you ready to jump back into the fray in no time.

They said WHAT?

They said WHAT?

4) You can brainstorm with them.

There’s nothing like a really great brainstorming session with your writer buddies. Getting stuck on a plotting problem? Suffering writer’s block? Sit down and hash it out with your friends. No doubt they’ll have a suggestion to move things along, to get you going again.

Not only that, but if your plot has holes, or just sucks in general, a good writer friend will give you the heads up.

5) They’ll beta read for you.

Your manuscript is going to need some serious polishing before you send it off to agents/publishers/self pub it. You need a beta reader with some serious skills. Every writer has their strengths, and getting a few of your writer friends to beta for you should cover all the bases of grammar/ spelling/plot and character development. You want a good mix of everything. And your friends won’t beat around the bush, they’ll tell you what you need to work on because they know how important feedback is. They know because they’re writers.

6) They’ll go with you.

There’s that bookstore down the street you really want to go to, but your non-writer friend doesn’t want to spend an entire eight hours there (what is wrong with her?) and you need someone who will sniff the books with you. Put the book signal in the sky, it’s time to call your writer friends.

I go to a writer’s conference every year, and my writer friend goes with my every time. It’s nice to have someone to go with when you’re meeting new people.

And I want to go to Comicon/Dragoncon/Leakycon….so many cons! Want to know who I’m going to end up going with? Yup, more writers.

I wonder how many of these can I carry in one trip...

I wonder how many of these can I carry in one trip…

7) Because they get you.

It’s sort of the same as number one, but it’s true enough to say twice. Nobody else is going to understand the caffeine and chocolate overdose you had last week, or the tantrum you threw when your computer crashed and ate half your manuscript, or that corny joke you keep telling about bad punctuation.

Your writer friends will think your “I’ll put you in my novel” t-shirt is cool, and help you pick out a bag that fits all your books, and talk about your characters like they’re real people. They’ll be understanding when all you want to do is sit in a corner and read, and they’ll agree that books are better than movies.

Now that I’ve said all that, I encourage you to tell your writer friends how awesome they are. Or if you don’t have any, get out there and make some new friends. Go to writer’s groups, or workshops. Sign up for conferences or join a writer’s website. Put yourself out there and you’ll find them. There are lots of us out there.

Oh, and before I forget, if you want to check out who exactly the Word Nerds are, you can go HERE.

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