Avoiding Writer’s Block

Is improbable, but not impossible. What is writer’s block, first off?

If you’ve ever been clueless as to what to write, after you’ve started a project or began a different project, you’ve probably had writer’s block.

So to come up with a theory, I analyzed what happened before each time I had writer’s block. To start, whenever I couldn’t start a writing project because I didn’t know what to write about, my mind had been on other things. Secondly, right before I hit the writer’s block wall in my stories I had just finished writing the perfect sentence, paragraph, or chapter.

Here’s my theory: In order to make a book better, one has to edit. But why? Can’t you make it good the first time? No. You have to think about what’s good and what’s bad. Now, when I wrote the good stuff, it came from the heart. I was going by instinct as to what should be written. I was word drunk. Then, as you know, I’d hit a wall.

But that’s just it: I wasn’t thinking. I was rolling the words off my tongue. I wasn’t thinking ahead. It caused the next chapter’s quick finish, words thrown together to continue the story. It wasn’t good.

If you are a mastermind, thinking about every sentence, paragraph, chapter – planning way ahead – maybe you could skip editing your book and writer’s block all together.

However, for most people, we can’t predict how a chapter will turn out and we let our emotions run wild when we feel the passion. That can be dangerous, but it’s also why we write. We wouldn’t have any fun doing what we love if we had to think deeply about it all the time. Besides, editing could be a fun function of the whole bit, too.

Keep writing!


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime



How To Write A Bio/Author’s Page

Conform to your genre. Write yourself as a character who would write in your book’s genre. If you’re writing a comedy, throw a few funny facts in about yourself. If you’re writing horror or thriller, keep it serious. Don’t write things like, “She finds her inspiration on long beaches,” because that’s what a romance writer might say in their bio section.

Don’t write in first or second person. Don’t write about yourself in a way that you are talking to the audience or you’re literally talking about yourself. Seem professional, like someone else wrote this for you, especially you self-published authors. It’s hard enough to seem legitimate.

Filter your facts. Speaking of seeming legitimate, don’t ramble on about your favorite bread of cat (unless you’re writing a book on cats). Facts that you’ll want to include are as followed:

  • Schools or classes you’ve attended for writing
  • How long you’re been writing
  • Mentions of other books of yours that fall in the same genre or close to
  • Links and other places to find your books (so if you write in other genres, as well, they can stumble upon them that way)

You want to seem like you take writing seriously, hence all the facts about writing. You of course are welcome to share basic facts that everyone should know, like where you were raised, or what inspires your writing the most. Keep it simple, though. The bio section isn’t this long resume of facts (unless you’re writing a book on how to write resumes).

Thanks for reading!


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Novels Need Vocabulary

On a daily basis, I look up new words that I don’t understand or want to use. I utilize at least one of the five or so within the week and usually forget the rest.

But I’ve noticed when I don’t try to learn new words at all, I don’t speak any better than I did before.


I made a goal to widen my vocabulary after finishing my manuscript’s first draft. I needed to give my book space for about a month or two, but in the meantime I should learn new words and their definition. Succinct: to the point, with no words wasted. Using broader verbs and adjectives improves the lines and makes shorter, briefer points with added punch.

I learned one word a day for a month, forcing myself to use each in a sentence for practice. I tried to read the “word of the day” from websites, apps, etc., but they weren’t sticking. What really helped was writing them down. I made it personal. I picked my own words, wrote them down, found their synonyms, connected with their definitions, and used them in a sentence. It was an addiction. This is a dictionary and I could publish it, I thought. I wouldn’t and didn’t go on to do that, but it felt like I’d made something brilliant: A personal journal/dictionary with only the best words and all their definitions. Memorization came easily.

To make your work sound ten times better, write down words you don’t know and learn about them. You’ll find when you go back through your first draft, you’ll be changing the “he said quietly,” to “he muttered.” You’ll see your “written scribbles on the board,” turn into “the board’s griffonage.”

Your manuscript will become the children’s, young adult, or adult novel it strives to be. Broadened vocabulary does define a book. If you’re going for a young adult novel, transforming verbs with adverb into powerful, independent verbs makes the rift that separates children’s books from young adult. Keep this in mind when your lines sound bland and prosaic.

Even if four of five words seem unusable, one should stick, and that every day for a year stacks up to a benevolent masterpiece.

Keep writing,


P.S. Here’s Word Of The Day‘s channel on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUgrpy80LgnpC8FY8XnWE2g


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

How to Find Proof Editors

Your manuscript is completely done. You’ve spent every waking moment for the last month writing you’re first draft and now you want to edit. Do you do it yourself first? Try to? I would say don’t. You’ll never get past the first chapter.

Let other’s give you advice before you do. And here are some ways to do that.

1. Search editors and proof readers through Google, Twitter, or anywhere else that allows you to see a portfolio of their past work, their ratings, and their occupation.

One of my favorite occupations to look for is another novelist, not only because they can relate, but because on Amazon.com, you can read their first chapters from their novels and judge their writing style. Professional proof-readers and teachers are common to see, too. Double-check their portfolio to make sure they’re what they say they are. If they say they can edit your work, but have grammatical errors throughout their work history and profile description, they’re lying. That, or they haven’t bothered to double-check their own profile, so why would they double-check yours? You’re smarter than that, which is why you must do some double-checking of your own.

To know exactly what you’re paying for, make sure to ask your critiquers if they have a program where they can leave in-line remarks next to words or paragraphs without changing the original text. Their comments will instead sit to the side.

They’ll ask for a synopsis, an excerpt from your work, a word count, and they’ll quote a price for editing your manuscript. You may then choose whether or not to hand it over. They can have it back within the week, most of the time. Prices vary, but usually it’ll add up to $500-$1000.

2. Use free and newer ways to get opinions on your book.

Wattpad is a site that is designed for readers to view stories chapter by chapter, from stories authors publish on the site for free. This is not saying you can’t take it down and republish it somewhere else. This site is usually used to get a fan base. I include it in this list because it has an in-line feature where all readers can leave comments every paragraph throughout the story if they choose. They usually won’t correct grammar or spelling, but they are swell beta readers.

3. Using Elance.com or PeoplePerHour.com (I prefer PeoplePerHour), you can find inexperienced editors and use them to your advantage.

Since most of these people on these sites are trying to build a reputation so to have their own websites, like editors you see in #1 above, they’ll edit manuscripts at dirt cheap prices. Elance editors usually edit an entire manuscript at once, like the ones above except for a lower price. On PersonPerHour, it’s per every number of words they can usually do in an hour. They’re lenient when it comes to going over word count to finish a paragraph. I buy at least three to start out.

To clarify, I purchase someone’s 5000 words edit for $18 (277wpd), 1000 words for $10 (100wpd), and 2500 words for $13 (192wpd), totaling in at $41 for the first two or three chapters of my book. This is a spectacular way to justify exactly what I’m getting for their $18 or $10, even if one of them is one fifth as many words as the other.

I can see how my manuscript could be critiqued in many different ways. Whichever one does the best job, I believe is worth the most loyalty, even if theirs is the highest rate (remember, those rates are still pretty low anyway). I continue with them for the rest of the book. Surprisingly, I’ve had better revisions with lower priced editors more often than I have with higher priced ones. All I had to do was waste $10 with that other guy. It was worth it.

If I didn’t fall in love with an editor, I finish editing those few thousands of words the three of them helped me with and then move on to the next thousands of words with different editors. The prices never go up, so I often rotate through the circle of endless editors.

How to Make Your Editing Experience Better

Let’s say you do go the amateur editor route. Giving your amateur editor some advice makes all the difference, even if it’s more to their benefit. Let’s say you contact them first telling them you want to work with them.

“Where can I pay you?,” you ask.

And they say, “Well thanks, just click the blank and I’ll accept it soon.”

Stop them right there. Politely point out the right thing to do would be to make sure they appear protective of their client’s best interest. They must always ask for a synopsis and word count before accepting anything and try to get to know the piece they’re going to be working with.

Explain to them exactly what you want to see them trying to do with their comments. I tell them I have problems with run-on sentences and I have a way with making paragraphs read too proper, with my ‘they will’s and ‘I could’s. I ask them to point these out so I can change them to ‘they’ll’s and ‘I’d’s. I ask them to offer me advice on how to shorten my sentences where the need be. I teach them everything I know about critiquing, because I’m helping myself in the end. They’ll thank you for your advice, too.

How to Pick Your Two Editors

If you’re one of those people who need two critiquers during the entire process, here’s how to do it. Choose your favorite editor and then that one annoying person who points every little detail out. The favorite editor is self-explanatory. The annoying one is there to pick needles from a hay stack. Though their rambling sounds unsupportive, they’re usually the ones who notice unobvious mistakes and are the ones who will make a sentence better. Whereas the good editor provides the work with space to speak for itself, avoiding nitpicky situations. (That’s probably why they’re your favorite.)

In the end, if any of your editors did a bad job, just give them a bad review. As long as you did all you could to help them help you, they couldn’t have done any better with the background they said they had, clearly. They’re not professionally ready for this line of work and shouldn’t be advertised as such using your outstanding reviews.

One reminder: If you pay for any kind of proof-editing, always ask if they’re currently working on a project. Are they going to have time to read your work? If they don’t get back to you in a timely fashion, which is a couple hours to a day, they’re probably too busy for your liking.

Thanks for reading,


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Pulling Readers Into Your Chapters

There are too many chapters that start with the same thing. Names. Person doing something.

Every time I open up Critique Circle, I’m looking through the list and seeing the first sentence of each story that I could potentially leave feedback for. They all start like this:

  • LUCY and Melinda promenaded onto the dance floor, a high paced song was on and they started doing the Charleston, the latest dance craze.”
  • ” “It’s Mrs. Douglas. She’s in the hospital.” Anita wiped her eyes and whispered. “They don’t know what’s wrong.” “
  • “Released from the hospital on Sunday, seven days after she entered, Betty Jane’s life returned to normal. She was back at work on Tuesday, tired, but glad to see her coworkers.”

To be clear, these aren’t first chapters. This is how people start their second, third, fourth, and every chapter after that.. which is disappointing.

I get excited when I know my chapters are written well. I believe people put their separate chapters on the internet when they know they could do better. Sometimes, I read chapters that talk about what a character felt when something was happening, not what they’re feeling as it’s happening. Look at your fifth chapter. The beginning is like: A few weeks later, everything was back to normal. This happened, and this happened. These are the concepts that hold true to me, which is why it happened. But anyway, now.. ..Memoirs are fun, but done wrong can be boring.

To fix this, ask yourself, are you telling like it’s happening, or like it already happened? (It doesn’t matter if it DID happen in the past. How are you TELLING it?)

Does the chapter start with an immediate thing: how you’re feeling physically or what you’re seeing at that moment? Ex: It was cold on the bus, and the trees flew by the window. New paragraph. I was on a school trip heading to

Always speak in immediacy of what’s happening when starting a chapter.

People aren’t treating their chapters like wonderful, beautiful things. An exception to this is the book’s first chapter. If every chapter was treated like it was the first, the book would be more successful. You know for a fact that your editor might cut a few chapters out and a different chapter might end up as your first anyway, so why not save yourself the trouble? If someone started reading your book from the first paragraph of chapter five, would they continue reading.

Unsuccessful books have too many chapters that start with people doing stuff. One single sentence of a tiny bit of world building would be preferred. Switch it up. If your chapter will eventually describe a beautiful atmosphere, (after you talk about what the people are doing, right?) why not just skip over the people for a paragraph and start with a little hint of what that atmosphere is, if that’s the best part of the chapter. Give us a gripping image to pressure us to read on. You can go in depth on the imagery later.

So, my best advice to give is to pick the most enjoyable paragraph that you wrote in the chapter (it doesn’t have to be the most exciting or involving plot. Describing the forest was the most enjoyable, so make a reference to the forest. Remember, if you’re feeling the writing, the readers are feeling the reading.) Place a common image related to it at the beginning of the chapter. A location or image will do. I’m not saying to use foreshadow or anything like that to predict an outcome. Do that as you please. Finally, ask yourself the questions highlighted above that are related to immediacy. These sort of questions get your brain moving and can get you unstuck in the most stickiest brainfarts.

Thanks for reading,



Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime


Writing Tools: Foreshadow and Creative Recap

Lately, I’ve been studying the ends and beginnings of novel chapters. To begin a study session, I first must be inspired by something I like, and then notice what I dislike in comparison. I formulate a generic do’s and don’ts list from there, and then I proceed to write about it. This week, I really, really want to point out how authors flow from one chapter to the next.

For starters, I’ll begin with a literary tool called foreshadowing. By definition, the verb foreshadow means to signal that something is going to happen. When used as a writing tool, the author is either using it to progress the plot or to creating anticipation. Quite literally, foreshadowing can be stating that something is going to happen in the next chapter, without hinting to what that is. For example, the end of a chapter can say, “But Billy could not have been prepared for what was coming next.” If the author did not tell us the readers what is coming, then we are just as clueless as Billy. This is exactly a signal that something is going to happen, or a promise that the plot is going to be moving in the next chapter. Total cluelessness can get the heart thumping, for those who love writing suspense novels (hint hint).

Less literally, the author could say, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet.” This is a signal that something is going to happen, but it also hints to what that is, which in this case is Billy opening the closet and then reacting to what he finds. This gets the brain moving, and depending on the circumstance, can also get the heart racing. But usually the reader is, or trying to, deduct what is in the closet, adding their own emotions besides suspense caused by what they think is going to happen, such as fright, sadness, excitement; it’s like a reader’s DIY emotional roller coaster.

Foreshadowing always comes before something in which the reader does not know yet. If the book jumps back and forth between times, one cannot use foreshadowing to speak of a future, when in the previous chapter the event already happened and the reader is all-knowing, the characters are not. You’re explains in a foreshadow way what the reader already knows. That’s a form of creative recap, but we’ll get back to that later.

Mostly, foreshadowing is placed before something happens. It could be seconds before, or years before the event. Foreshadowing chapter-wise, the event it’s referring to could be placed directly at the start of the next chapter, which would be considered a fast-paced novel, or it could be put aside until later chapters, letting readers either forget about it or pick up pieces in the meanwhile.

A book doesn’t need heavy foreshadowing if the book is written for a day-to-day, contemporary premise. It’s not meant to be suspenseful. Creative recap, however, is necessary.

Creative recap is reconditioning/rewriting an event in past tense for repetitive emphasis. The importance of repeating yourself, reminding the reader who did what and what happened when, is like playing with flashcards, allowing the readers quick and easy assess to the past when you want them to remember something. Repeating names at the beginning of novels so they start to stick is an example. Though, we do it in a creative way that the reader will enjoy instead of just saying it. Hence why we call it creative recap. Another plus is that it helps connect the chapters through reference, and a general understanding of why each chapter is there builds over time.

An example of creative recap: “While that was happening, this was happening here,” or, “Only five years after this happened, this was happening here.” A simple statement of relationship in the first sentence of each chapter will fill in those holes. As a result, the readers won’t need to think too hard about the distance and time between them. Even if the chapters are almost completely unrelated to one another, it’s still easier for the readers with that connection.

When I mentioned before about some books going out of order, you cannot foreshadow if the reader already knows what’s going to happen. In this situation, “But Billy could never have guessed what he’d find in the closet,” turns into recap since nothing is hidden from the reader anymore. It’s there to repeat the knowledge, for emphasis. For the readers, it’s an instruction to start feeling a certain way, reminding them of what they already felt. It’s creative, because you’re not outwardly saying, “Remember this?” It’s more of a reference, a nudge-nudge, inside joke sort of thing.

Whenever you catch yourself thinking, “How can I make sure the reader picks this detail up,” or, “I haven’t mentioned this in a while, so how should I mention it again,” you’re probably using creative recap. You don’t want to outwardly say it, but you’re thinking hard about a creative way to do it. What ever you wrote as a solution is your prime example of creative recap.

There are many ways to go about creating creative recap, and there are just as many for foreshadowing. Both can be used to your advantage when it comes to repetition, repetition being the key to success. Because both are references technically, using either one will act as a second mentioning besides the actual telling of what will or what has happened. Use them as tools to improve your writing. In particular, use them to help your reader understand what’s going on in your book, unlike the metaphors and detail outfit descriptions in which build the pretty of your novel.

(P.S. Did you see what I did there with the colors? That’s a creative way of reminding you what I was referring to earlier, connecting the paragraphs, and making it easier to follow what I wanted to explain. c; I love creative recap.)

Thanks for reading,


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

The Down-Low On Interesting Characters

Most of the time, writers don’t know how to go about making the fan-favorite character(s) readers remember for years. Don’t you worry because I’m here telling you today how to achieve just that by fixing one of the most obvious mistakes. Write active characters.

Here’s what you’ll want to do to make your character more involved with the plot. For starters, give your character(s) reason behind their actions. And a good reason. You can make a list of reasons and pull one from the hat, but the best reason, for your book will be the one that can impact the most readers, justify the action with great understanding, and portray a human’s impulsiveness (and if not human, a less human-y reason).

Also, ask yourself the question: is my character(s) acting or reacting? When your antagonist is more interesting to read about than your protagonist, you know there is something wrong. If you look very closely, you’ll notice that the bad guy is acting, doing evil because that’s the person they are, and moving about the story, while your good guy is just reacting, going after them, the defensive, protecting from what came and will go. This idea is more for middle school and elementary school grade readers.

Superman is not the hero he is today because he’s a man who wakes up and fights crime. He is the alien man who came from a faraway land, saddened by his grief, deserted on a planet which he has grown to love with people he’s grown to care about and he must save his new home from the terrible beings that have realistic motives to destroy the world. He looks for evil, using his news career (active), but most of the time he just stumbles across it (not active, and kind of cartoony-middle schoolish). Truthfully, if Superman didn’t have his bad guys, he’d be watching TV in his apartment.

Build the character. Use his actions at the beginning to demonstrate his strength, his weaknesses, and use them to foreshadow what he will be able to do and cannot do. Don’t tell but show us what he’s fond of and what he holds dear and what he has lost. It’s impressive to see the more creative parts of actions that tell a past. Try to expose what has happened using present actions.

Have more people reacting to them versus them reacting to others. Give them an audience and show how others treat them. If they are a normal run-of-the-mill person, describe the audience as people not looking at him, holding the door open for him out of courtesy, etc – after he walks up to the door and smiles at them. If he is a freak, the more instances where a person shuns him, flinching, calling him names, etc., will broaden the reaction to him acting weird. Do these reactions directly after his actions for the best effect. If he is just walking and people are “reacting to him” without visual reason, they are the one’s acting.

Make internal struggles strong. Discuss what’s going on inside in depth. Make sure the reader sees the pain this person is going through and their actions reflect their feelings. If they make a mistake because they over-thought something, or they didn’t think enough about and acted out of impulse, this is good. This shows the reader human-like flaws that they can relate to and feel bad for or excited for and etc. Mistakes are fine, but unexplainable, unreasoned actions are not.

Finally, this is a subliminal trick that will make your characters strong. Somewhere else in the book, have a polar opposite for each character so that the reader can subconsciously see the contrast that’s there. Even if they never meet, it still deepens the characters’ traits, and when they do meet, this opens many opportunities for actions and reactions between the two. That’s always an interesting thing to see.

I really enjoyed this one lecture from Brandon Sanderson’s vlog, hoping you all go check him out after this. He’s a college professor who films his class on a daily basis, so if you’re ever looking for more advice, there’s a bulk of it sitting around on his channel.


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Carefully Time Your Books

This post has been brought to you comparatively in part by a book I’ve recently read. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, if you’re curious. It’s a book that switches year, place, and focus every chapter. There are 38 chapters, so you can see my confusion.

Disclaimer: this is a well-written documentation of Rebecca Skloot’s journey of finding more about Henrietta, the Lacks family, and the scientist that grew the first immortal cells from her cancer. The story is breathtaking, and a respectable read. I am only using this as an example, and emphasizing flaws that can happen when writing something like how Rebecca did. You don’t need to know the story, just the fact that the book jumps around in time and location a lot.

Whether you are writing a book that focuses around the protagonist in a linear time frame, or you have multiple characters, multiple locations, and multiple dates in your book, this information can help you. Starting simple, to make the best out of a sequential story, where each event is arranged from first to last on a timeline, the best tip I can give is go short.

What I mean by this is sometimes people can’t decide how many days to put between one event in the next or one chapter and then the next. It’s always better to go as short as possible, because it moves the story quicker. If you had to choose between three to five months of time, unless it’s absolutely essential something must happen on a certain date, you should choose the spacing of three months. There is also less question as to what happened while the characters were gone all that time.

In other cases, books will jump out of sequential order. This is a technique to otherwise add mystery and a bit of confusion to the reader. The book can start at the end, middle, or beginning of the story. As long as the end of the book is a good point of summarization for your overall message you want to get across, it will work.

There are few tips and observations from books I’ve read that I’d like to point out. In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca starts each chapter with a picture of a timeline and a cursor pointing to a year on it. I think this is a very creative thing to put in your book, a small timeline. I do want to say though, if you are using it as a tool for readers, it’s not very effective.

Whatever you put at the beginning of a chapter to let the reader know where they are, who you’re focusing on, and when the event is taking place, you must be able to hack into their imagination as simple as possible. To do this, you must make references between the chapters. For instance, you can say this event happened five years later. “Five years after Henrietta died, the scientists across the country were selling her cells.” Even though that chapter is not about Henrietta, it is more important to give reference and atmosphere to the previous chapter, or the reason why you have your book out of order is pointless to the reader.

I say this because in Rebecca’s 38 chapters, not once, or of what I can recall, did her chapters lineup sequentially, and almost every chapter was focusing on a different group of people. If there was one thing I would ask Rebecca to change, I’d ask her to rearrange the story more sequentially or else don’t even bother putting in the timeline. Like the random scientists with names that only showed up once in the book, the dates and numbers didn’t stick. It was when she actually did make a reference to another time was when I felt the time and space between them. Don’t ever second-guess yourself: write out the relationship between two chapters anywhere in that chapter.

Looking for Alaska by John Green is one of my favorite books because of the way it’s written. The book starts at the beginning of the story, but references the end every chapter in their titles. Chapter 1: “one hundred thirty-six days before.” Chapter 2: “one hundred twenty-eight days before.” And the time between each chapter is really short, which keeps me at ease as a reader. He doesn’t need to reference the time in between because he does that in the titles, and he doesn’t have to say who the chapter is about or where they are because the focus is always on that group of people.

Pendragon, my favorite series of all time by D. J. MacHale, has two focuses: one being Bobby the traveler and the other his two friends back on Earth. There are only two locations: Bobby is on a different planet than his friends. The story is written like a journal sent from the world Bobby’s on, to his friends Mark and Courtney on Earth. We don’t know how time correlates with the two planets, but we can somewhat guess Bobby’s journals refer to things that have already happened.

Sometimes Bobby speaks of wanting to say what’s happening currently, but instead says he has to explain first what happened since his last journal. It’s not at all confusing though, because there aren’t a lot of jumps between locations and the focus. The journals are usually a large chunk of time and, for the most part, are in sequential order. When the chapters switch to Earth, it’s also sequential. Mark and Courney recaps what happens.

The bottom line is: most readers enjoy a sequential kind of story. Unless you can put meaning into why you’re placing them out of order, the chapters should fall into sequential order. Just like keeping time in-between chapters short, you should try to put things in sequential order as best as possible. Starting a book with one chapter out of place is fine, but 38 chapters is a little too much. What could’ve built up to something remarkable will instead be okay, because the time and thinking the reader had to put into understanding the story took away from the book.

Present ideas with full drawn-out sentences, not empty names of people that won’t come into the story again or empty dates with numbers. The reader can get a feel for the atmosphere you are going for through extra words and excellent description.

Thanks for reading,


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Don’t Write More Than One Genre

Hello hello,

So I have here with me my contemporary romance, almost completely finished, and my children’s’ fantasy, almost completely finished. What I need now is a little bit of deduction. Which one will be my brand, and which one will be most successful?

Felicity! Of course I want that one to be my debut novel. I feel closer to this one, and I know I can write more like this in the future. But what about my other novel? What can I do with it; publish it? I think I will. Life’s too short, too vast to confine to one genre when I know about so much more.

…20 Years and Dozens of Books Later…

Fictional narrator: Now so successful, what’s one thing you’d do over and would advise other writers to do the same?

(Stares out of frame and then documents her thoughts, smiling)

Ehm… What… I’ve found… over the years, there’s an amount of expectation readers have for my books. They expect me to come out with another romance soon. They expect me to come out with another fantasy soon. Another mystery soon. I have hundreds of emails each day, some very instructive telling me how I may make more money doing a certain genre, and only that genre.

If I were to do it all again, I wouldn’t have diversified as much.

I must’ve been in that stage of my life where I thought I could do about anything. I saw one genre, thought I’d be good at it, then another. I was aspiring.

I have a large following, and a lot have stuck around for my “style” of writing. Though, it doesn’t seem to grow rapidly, and I blame my “brand.” There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just something I could’ve done better.

I’ve lost readers, too. They pick up my adult lit novel at Barnes & Noble and think it’s about horror, because that’s the first book they read of mine and they get a little upset. A lot of readers aren’t patient, and they’re not willing to wait another five years until I can make another horror novel. They see these other, newer products of mine, wondering if I betrayed them as readers, going about my business as a writer who writes about what they want to write.

I’m no big time author, but look at Stephen King – Stephanie Meyers. Do you see them writing outside their common elements? No. Sometimes. Look at J.K. Rowling. After the Harry Potters, it was like her fans wouldn’t let her write anything else.

I agree that if you don’t think you’re ever going to be famous writing, then write whatever you want. It’s the style that will bring your readers in. But don’t get famous, like my debut novel did for example, and expect a dramatic following to rapidly grow when you publish new books outside of your domain. Genres allow writers and readers to get things done. It’s that simple.

Each genre has common elements, and common audiences. It’s not like mixing two genres inside one book compared to making many books of different genres. No. If you mix two or three genres together inside a book, it’s a sci-fi romance – it’s a historical western, and that becomes your brand. But when you publish a sci-fi, then a romance, then a biography, your brand is now your most successful novel and it’s genre. Anything else is not the pyramid scheme.

The pyramid scheme is making a base from one book, selling another book, same brand – your followers buy it, you write another book like it, and readers keep buying them. That’s just how it stacks up, and I’m happy with what I’ve done over the years, pyramid-wise.

For advice to other writers, I think I’d say, write what you want to write. And if it ends up that they write in multiple genres, they should publish under pen names. It’s simple. It works just the same under another pseudonym. Their name and their book cover is what sells. Style is their overall success in the end. They can share their pen names later if they want. It’s all the same.

…WritingMime thought this would be a fun practice for a mock-interview with a famous author. But what I’m trying to explain with Mrs. Doe is to not diversify, if you want to sell as many books as possible. Create a different pen name for your separate genres. Wait for your pen names to become successful before you share it with current readers from different genres. Ernest Hemingway had known this all along, but no one bothered with him, just his stories. If we could learn something from him, and other famous authors of our time, we’d know that diversifying won’t make us huge and famous. Just the name on you title.

I’d love to hear your guys’ opinions.

Thanks for reading,


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime

Ten Writing Goals For 2014

Well, I’m a few days late, but it’s better than never. I’ve been so busy with all my goal setting, I just couldn’t put my two pennies in to make this post. If you’re wondering what those other goals besides writing are for the year, here’s a link to my new video, called 2014 New Year’s Resolution.

Well, I thought this would be a really neat idea to see if I could make a list of ten writing goals I want to do this year. I mean, if you really think about it, I could write a book simply about my goals to write a book.

So here we go.

Ten Writing Goals For 2014

1: This year, I want to try to write in my book every day. It seems in the past that I’ve neglected writing, sometimes for months, sometimes weeks…But this year, I want to be canon about my writing. And there is no minimum amount of words – I really just want to write every single day, just because I know it’s something I should get used to. Like I said, it doesn’t matter what I write because it’s better than writing nothing.

2: I want to read more. So far, from what I’ve read last year, I’ve obtained a number of footnotes that have inspired more expression inside my book. I feel like I should make the effort in reading more because I’ve seen the improvement in my writing by a great deal (no, I’m not plagiarizing). I picked up techniques from different authors, so for me, it’s kind of necessary now – if I ever want to get really, really good. I’ve actually made a goal to reach six books this year (which sounds horrible, I know), but I digress.

3: I want to practice writing scenes without periods. What I mean by this is I’ve seen great novels written, John Green’s novels in particular, which are written line by line, without periods, for many paragraphs, but lots of commas. This so happens to be the type of writing I want to get into; the words have an immediacy about them that keeps the readers venturing forward. Very little action can take place, but every line is more of a bias opinion of the world around the main character in any point of view. If you don’t know what I mean, why not pick up Looking For Alaska by John Green, and see how much inner thought he puts into each sentence without actually presenting any real action?

I want to try another technique I found from reviewing a friend’s book: when describing an action scene, show an expression/action, and then thoroughly explain it. This is a beginners way of writing, but every author has to start somewhere, and as I was critiquing my friend, I noticed how jumpy they were and asked them to clarify what they meant by their description. You are always safer writing more detail that you can later cut out. Here’s an example of what I mean: “The boy saw a fly, shivered, and then smacked it.” Why not tell us why he shivered in a bias thoughtful tone? “The boy saw a fly, something with more than four legs, which he hated, shivered, and then smacked it.” The boy didn’t actually speak, but it shows personality.

I want to improve my writing, by making sure every single expression is explained in depth. The problem with not having enough detail is that the reader doesn’t know how to feel or think at moments, and that is where the author is supposed to be the most support. These are the most poetic moments too, so over-write!

4: I want to write dialogue with a voice. There is no need to put an adverb behind “I said,” “he said,” “she said” if your dialogue can speak for itself. “What are you doing in my house!” Jake said excitedly. This might work for readers in grade school, but for a book to be taken more seriously, I want to respect my audience enough to trust they understand that this quote speaks for itself. I would not put the adverb “excitedly” behind Jake said, or I would say Jake shouted. Both work, and I want to make my dialogue speak for itself from now on. Go Stephen King! He makes strong quotes that express feeling without needing to use adverbs. All. The. Time.

5: I never want to backpedal in my writing. If a boy falls out of a vortex in his room, slowly creeps out, scared of what he might find, goes down stairs heading for the kitchen, and then thinks back to the vortex right before he steps down on the kitchen tiles, I call that backpedaling. And sometimes it’s very easy to backpedal. I saw this while critiquing a friend. I could tell they wanted to add more inner thoughts, but they were thinking about the wrong thing. What they had was poetic, but it wasn’t pushing the action forward, but instead walking backwards up the stairs and back into his room where the vortex was – not where the action was going (which was the eerie kitchen). A goal I want to keep this year is “kill my babies,” or take the good poetic lines that backpedal and make them into new forward-plot-moving poetry, which sounds just as good. Thanks, Stephen King, another great quote.

6: I want to critique more. Already, I’ve gotten great ideas from critiquing my co-authors last year, and so I want to increase the amount of critiquing I do. When I first started writing, http://www.critiquecircle.com/ was how I got involved with this type of interactive editing. I think I will go back to my roots this year, study the flaws in other’s writing and praise the good stuff I see, all while comparing it to my own work and possibly getting critiqued. I don’t see a single negative, except for not spending the time writing.

7: I want to have a daily word. Now, I’m debating whether I should just read through the thesaurus once and see if I get any ideas, but what I really think would help is if I just check out the daily word on dictionary websites and write down the good ones. This one’s pretty self explanatory.

8: I want to keep a journal. I’ve already been keeping a journal, so it only makes sense to continue to keep a journal. This is where all my notes, all my inspirational words, outlines, and some great suggestions from other writers are kept. I think it’s very important to keep a journal, so I’ma keep at it!

9: I want to learn more idioms. Unlike reading through the entire thesaurus, I think I really am considering reading the entire list of idioms and their definitions for a full list of expressions and sayings. All great stories have cleaver sayings like these. I actually have this entire list printed off and I’ve already started reading through it. Although, I don’t want to use these particular idioms, because I want to make my own, and only be inspired by these successes. Remember, be unique and have your own voice.

10: Finally, I want to blog more. Blogging is a completely different style of writing when compared to a novel. So, since it’s a variation of what I’m used to, I think it would be a good practice. Plus, I should always be writing. Plus Plus, I keep a good standing with my audience, which is always important. 😉

Last year, I found blogging, reading books, critiquing others, and keeping a journal to be proficient. For that reason, I can do more of each this year, and be more proficient, if ya’ know what I’m sayin’. The things I’ve never tried before in the past I’ve unearthed now, and am ready to jump into the new experiences. I won’t be updating on my progress, because it’s more of a personal effort on my part. But I do want you to take this and possibly make your own new year’s resolution for your writing, no matter what time of the year it is. Read another book before the year ends. Or start a blog. Whatever the case, it’s better to do something than nothing, I always say.

Thanks for reading you guys. There’s nothing more exciting then a fresh start. I hope to write again real soon (and just for your information, my actual goal for blogging is two posts a month).

Keep writing!


Where you can find my books: http://www.amazon.com/Brista-Drake/e/B00YZGC792/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/writingmime

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writingmime/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22704883-writingmime