Inspirational Writing Story

When I had finally hit rock bottom was when I realized I wanted to be a writer. Many people start writing, and the reasons they start are very different, I think. For me, I had decided to pick up writing one early morning, and by early I mean middle-of-the-night early, before I clicked the next episode on Netflix. I was sitting in the dark in my childhood bedroom, alone, a college dropout, living with my parents, jobless, and even though I was only nineteen, it felt like I had wasted away a perfectly good life.

I needed help. Right then and there, I decided to write a long essay summarizing the previous years that led up to that morning. But after I was done, I felt something that I hadn’t in a long time: hunger.

You see, I had written one chapter after another, unaware that night had given away to morning, and that morning had given away to afternoon. I was unaware of how tired I should’ve been, but I didn’t feel tired at all. I was starving, literally and metaphorically.

I broke away from my computer twenty document pages later, realizing I’d been starving myself of something for some time now. What was this feeling? I had not felt anything since the day I graduated high school. On graduation day, I drew with chalk a wild cat on the sidewalk leading into the school building. I’ll miss you, NU! I captioned it. That day, I coined the phrase ‘to make a difference, you have to be a little different’ as my Words of Wisdom. I’d worked so hard leading up to that day, to keep my grades up and graduate in the top percentile. But until this early morning, I had not logged one memorable accomplishment in the past long year.

I never came close to writing this much in one sitting before, however. This was an internal discovery.

At first, I didn’t think I was a writer. I was simply writing a stress-relieving prose to myself. It wasn’t good at all. I didn’t know what proper grammar was. My spelling was atrocious. I’d gotten through every language arts class by using of Sparknotes. And in the back of my mind, I was sure that none of the twenty pages I had conjured were coherent enough to follow, unless I was the one reading it. But at least this had given me an idea – a task – to finish the story. To edit the thing if only to improve it so someone else could read it and understand what I was going through.

The lingering hunger was real, though. I typed “how to write a book” in YouTube’s search engine and found lots of resources. Scrolling through grammar videos, I stumbled across publishing sites and critique circles. I kept my involvement on my first critique circle low-key, only leaving feedback on partial manuscripts and never submitting chapters of my own. Eventually, after learning what good and bad writing was and many revisions of my work later, I posted my essay to these same websites and got lots of criticism, occasionally feeling dumb for spelling something horrifically incorrect.

I was enthralled. Any feedback, good or bad, made me so much hungrier. I resubmitted works after works until, finally, I felt like I could do something with my twenty-page thing. Twenty pages turned into fifty. Fifty turned into a hundred.

A few months later, on 2014’s New Year’s Eve, I made a decision to start documenting my writing progress on YouTube, like so many before me had done. In my first vlog (video blog), I publicly announced that I was going to publish a book within the next year. On top of that, I was going to read more. I thought reading books would help me know what was worth publishing. I was going to start a written blog, too. I was even going to attempt something called NaNoWriMo. During National Novel Writing Month, I would have to write 50,000 words, 1,666 words each day for a month. I was going to wait until November, the normal time to do it, but that was almost a year away and so I jumped the gun, finishing a total of two or three seasons before May.

Somehow, I felt like I’d joined a bigger conversation that had been going on since the beginning of time. With these new skills, I connected with some amazing people, gained more than a thousand subscribers, guest-spoke on NaNoWriMo’s YouTube channel, was featured on a podcast, annually read roughly twelve books, and most importantly I published my first of hopefully many books. Since that lonely morning three years ago, I can say that I’ve grown so much as an artist and as an individual. It never occurred to me that I’d one day be humbled by reading or writing.

And now with my full and purposeful life, I’m constantly craving for more, and I hope that hunger is never filled.

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

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 Plot Out A Thriller/Mystery

A year ago, I plotted out my own little mystery thriller and hope to make it into a book one day. I enjoyed the scheming and implanting surprises. So here’s how I did it.

I knew I could complete a story in as many chapters as I needed. However, I didn’t have a story yet. So I thought I’d see what I could come up with in 27 chapters (3x3x3). I didn’t end up using all of them, but it did get the ball rolling

I came up with my ending first. What did I want to accomplish? What emotional state was each character going to be in?

I worked backward. I felt like my beginning should be the exact opposite. I wanted a story where my characters were heroic and loving at the end and lame and hateful at the beginning. I wanted there to be two main characters who grow closer throughout the book.

I had a beginning, a middle, and an end: boring and strangers, action and comrades, heroes and friends.

Then I decided what kind of action: do I want it to be a crime? A jungle adventure? A spy undercover operation? The list goes on. I thought a crime would be interesting. Multiple crimes, in fact.

So, I split my beginning into three parts, my middle into three parts, and my ending into three parts. I already knew that I had to find out about the crime, investigate the crime, and then solve the crime, but how could I split finding out about a crime into three parts? Investigating a crime into three parts? Solving a crime into three parts? Well that’s where my creative side came in. Each third became it’s own beginning, middle, and end.

I added character development, conflicts, and plot twists to fill the gaps, otherwise it’d be a three-chapter book. Maybe it takes three problems and two solutions to fully discover that a crime was committed. Maybe it takes a leap of faith, three lucky tip-offs, and two steps backward to get through the investigation. Maybe because of a new friendship and two minds working on the case, with a few cafe scenes here and there, the crime was finally solved. But the case is not closed until the criminal is caught, so there’s a few more scenes for ya’.

There are so many options that I had to split the thirds of the three into three parts themselves, resulting in 27 or so chapters. It allowed me to explore the characters with back stories, have intimate as well as action scenes, and really build a secret over time, which I had planted at the beginning of my plotting process. It sprouted into a drawn out sequence of events that became my book outline.

I hope that helped some with plotting your next mystery thriller!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

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 Acknowledgments Section

An acknowledgments section is somewhat of a dedication, but not the dedications section, where you list who and how certain people influence or inspired you to write your book. (The dedication section is the small page after that says things like “to my children,” end.)

Include everyone who you want to thank in helping create your novel. In other words, without them, there would be something lost or missing in your book.

You can start with more formal thanks or begin with people who supported you for free.

Formal names are your publisher, book editor, cover design, and anyone else you paid to create your book. They’re just as important as the people who supported you for free. It doesn’t matter what order you name them in.

Where do you put it and how long should it be?

You can put it at the front. This shows you’re acknowledged how important they are by placing them first in the book.

You can put it at the back. Some eBooks instead have their forward or acknowledgment section at the back, so the reader can jump right into the story with no distractions. It’s a marketing technique.

Either way, the best acknowledgements are the ones that are full pages long. One page or two proves how much you appreciate your supports. Who’s going to believe a one lined thank you? That’s almost a dedication! You should always explain why you’re thanking them and what they are to you!

How to acknowledge creatively:

Be yourself. How would you speak to the people you are acknowledging? This section is for them after all, and you want it to sound natural.

Be funny. Where it fits, if you have an inside joke that you’d like to bring up for old time sakes, do it! They are hilarious to read!

Bring out the poet in you. If that’s what it takes to express your gratitude, then so be it. Tell them that they were the stem to your delicate flower.

Have variety. Mix serious with casual. You can stick to the serious mode if you want, but the more heart-felt it is, the more believable it’ll sound. If you’re just a serious person all around, then maybe write it that way.

If anyone helped you FINANCIALLY pay for your book, it’s especially important to list them here. No exceptions.

This is their place to shine! Have fun with it!

Keep writing,

WritingMime

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

Sexuality In Books

Many books have sex, physical signs of affection, and sexual tension. As a writer, I want to know why we do this, how can and how much can it help the book, and are there downsides.

The downsides:

  • As a writer, one should write what they love and express most comfortably. One does not write well in a genre they are not interested in. Figuring out if you’re a sexual writer is very simple. Do the movies, books, and shows you love so much have sexual innuendos and intimate scenes? Then you’ll probably do well. If not, I’m going to guess you’re not going to write very strong tension, if you are at all.
  • There are quite a lot of people out there that are prudent when it comes to sex as a topic of choice. They stay clear of it and might even disgrace your book if it contains that kind of imagery or dialogue. Write what you want, though. They don’t matter if that’s what you’re interested in writing about.

The upsides:

  • Especially if you are writing in teen fiction, you’ll want to have sexuality present in your books. Most publishing houses label young adult books as novels that explore the aspects of adulthood, breaking into topics like sex, drugs, bullying and pop culture. It’s what they’ve been forbidden to read, so teens read it the most. Most other adult genres have sexuality, as well.
  • It can make the book more relatable. Sexuality does exist in the real world, and, where appropriate, an author should address the subject as realistically and reliably as possible. It brings realism and a stronger emotion to the story you’re writing.

How should you write sexuality into your book?

Depending on how you look at sex, you could include physical contact in your book: kissing, caressing hands, intercourse, etc. You can be more or less descriptive, telling readers exactly what’s going on second by second, or hint to a scene that the readers never see. Then again, you can avoid the matter entirely.

You can use it as a detail instead of a plot movement. Maybe you just want the boy to kiss his girlfriend on the cheek. It doesn’t mean anything for the story, other than to show the boy continues to care for his girl. You could also, romance writers, use it as a plot or turning point. Ex: The princess loves her rescuer, but she better not kiss him before she gets back to her soon-to-be-husband prince, or there might not be a coming back.

If you want to write the best sexual tension, keep the suspense long and agonizing, make the main character’s love interest as mysterious as possible for as long as possible, and write the MC meeting the love interest in the same age bracket as your potential audience. It’s automatically more relatable, and not everyone has known their love interest their whole life.

But there have been books where the MC was dead, and it still got pretty steamy. So write what you want to write, bottom line. If you’re hearts in it, the writing will present exactly what you want your readers to receive.

That’s my intake on the whole sexuality-in-books thing. What’s yours?

Keep writing,

WritingMime

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 Beginnings To Your Books

I wanted to do a “How To Make Your Book’s Ending Unrushed” post, but I decided to do one on book beginnings instead. Almost every book on Amazon.com gives an excerpt of their first few pages. If they don’t, that’s probably a sign that the book has a bad beginning.

My hypothesis: Beginnings should make a reader curious. It’s not always cliché to start with an eerie lead and loose facts to get a reader going. I’ve switched my chapters’ order so many times to fit this. I finally decided to take the easy way out and pick the one with the most action to start the book. Although, the first time I wrote it, that’s not at all how it started in my head. Is that okay or am I betraying my story? Is it action or curiosity that reels in readers? Here are the beginnings to other books I’ve read so we can begin to figure that out. My research:

Looking for Alaska, by John Green:

  • Does it have action? No, in the next chapter he arrives at his boarding school. The first chapter revolves around Pudge and the reason he is going to a private school.
  • Is there curiosity? Yes, by giving Pudge purpose to go, we want to see if going to a private school will pan out the way he wants it to.

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher:

  • Does it have action? No, in the next chapter, a box of tapes arrived at a boy’s door step and really starts the story. The first chapter is the aftermath of what has happened. It’s very unclear.
  • Is there curiosity? Yes, we are immediately interested in the boy’s purpose; why he’s acting to such degrees of importance and what events cause this. There is clearly need to know.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling:

  • Does it have action: Yes and no. No fighting or chase scenes if that’s what you meant. Yes, we follow characters other than the main one around. There is contrast between them and wizards looming around the muggle world. It’s not until chapter four that we actually enter the wizard world.
  • Is there curiosity? Yes, the first chapter refers to some event that happened before this new story begins. We also want to know what is going to happen to this poor baby that has been given to a mean bunch of people he’ll have to call family.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black:

  • Is there action? Yes? The MC wakes up in a bathtub after she’d drank too much the night before, only to find the rest of the partygoers are dead in the other room. She explores.
  • Is there curiosity? Yes, we immediately want to know how everyone died and how she survived. It sounds cliché, but only if you write it just like that. Holly Black used detail to mask many clichés.

The Merchant of Death, by D. J. MacHale:

  • Is there action? Sort of. Bobby is writing in past tense through a letter about leaving a pretty girl at his house to go someplace unknown with his uncle.
  • Is there curiosity? Yes, we know something has gone horribly wrong by the urgency and confusion Bobby speaks in. We also immediately want to know where his uncle takes him and why he’s acting this way.

Well, it looks like the beginning of my story can have action, but what’s most important (and I should mention the books I’ve chosen above are one’s I’d recommend to others) is that it entices the reader’s curiosity. Possibly create a purpose or a goal, or maybe rewrite the beginning in a way where the end of the story comes first so the reader wants more. Putting contrast between different characters or between how one usually acts and how they’re acting while in danger would both work. If you have many of these in many chapters, which one would create the most curiosity placed at the beginning? Go from there.

Thanks for reading,

WritingMime

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

Another Traditional VS Self-Publishing Blog

There’s a blog I recently read of an author’s (I’ll link it right here). Back in 2009, this author tracked his eBooks, both self-published and traditionally published, on Kindle. He compared his pricings over a six month period and here’s what his statistics showed.

Traditional Published

Sell eBook at $4, sell 550 copies, get $340

Sell eBook at $6, sell 200 copies, get $600

Sell eBook at $8, sell 150-180 copies, get $340-380

The author was paid per eBook from his publisher, who was paid by Amazon. Amazon made a profit, so his publisher got a fraction, and the author got a fraction of that fraction, ranging from 3 cents to $3 per book. No real promise there.

Self-Published

The author sold his eBooks at $2 and got anywhere from $630 to $3600 for each book. That beats every category of traditional publishing. It’s because Amazon promised 35% royalty for self-published eBooks. He states that he would’ve made $15,000 more if he had his other books under his self-published name during that six-month period. That’s incredible.

But I wanted to revamp this blog for it’s almost a decade old, and I’d like to point out an even better advantage to using Kindle Self-Publishing. They now offer 70% royalties with some drawbacks; you have to restrain from selling your eBook over $9.99 (if you sell under the usual 35% royalty, this doesn’t apply; you can go up to $200) and no less than $1.99 (if you sell under the 35% you can sell it under that). Also, if you want to sell your hardcover copy, it must be 20% greater than the price of the eBook, at least.

If this author had 70% royalty back in 2009 (through traditional publishing, we knew the sweet spot was $6 per eBook for him anyway) he could’ve sold each of his eBooks at $6, sold his hardbacks for $7.50, and would’ve been losing a lot more than $15,000. Just saying.

What do you guys think? Thanks for reading! I have to get back to my little writing sprints now.

WritingMime

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

I’m So Excited, I Just Can’t Hide It!

Hello, my name is WritingMime and welcome to my blog!

I’m new to WordPress, or was when I first wrote this, so enjoy my first attempt at posting on the job.

This blog will be useful to those seeking advise on writing or the process of publishing. My experiences range from far to many, being an aspiring writer myself. I’ve critiqued other authors’ work, and have spent a lot of time researching the marketing business. I’ve written quite a few rough drafts of stories in my day and love to draw. Hopefully, I can put some of my own illustrations inside my books and on their covers one day!

In each of my posts, I’ll either be writing about what I’m working on, tips on drafting and revising, supplementary advice for a YouTube video I recently uploaded, or big news in the publishing community.

I hope to keep my readers enticed, with a bit of tomfoolery here and there, working to make better writers out of all of us! Always remember to have fun with it! And never stop writing, ’cause those words won’t write themselves!

Woot! We have a bright future ahead of us,

WritingMime

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