Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Inkie Interview! Meet MyCraft!

In this week's Inkie Interviews (where we interview REAL writers from Inkpop) we're meeting MyCraft or Hayley. So give her a warm welcome!

Hello to all! My name is Hayley and I am from a small town just outside Edinburgh, Scotland.
I've been on inkpop for almost a year now (which seems to have just flow in!) and have been surprised by the helpfulness and giving Inkies I've met there online.

I'm quite a late starter in writing, as some would say, although I did write as a youngster. I'll be 29 this year! O.O

I write mostly Fantasy and Paranormal but sometimes, if the mood strikes me, I tend to write a little poetry as well. On inkpop you'll find me mostly on the Royalty Shines thread or the daily Procrastinators thread also.

I've only finished one book (which I'm currently editting again) out of the four on my profile and I'll possibly be adding another 2 this year (the third book, The Hangman's Noose, of The Black Craft Series and a new series, The Quixwood Sisters.)

I'm the type of person to take a bad critique to heart so please, if you read my books, don't rip it to shreds! I love constructive criticism but loath rudeness. I find it intolerable. If I see someone treating a fellow Inkie the same way I tend to get upset about that too.

Well, I think I've blabbed on enough XD
I hope you enjoy my interview and if you'd like to read my projects please feel free! :) (Click here to see her full list of projects) 

Hayley also has a website diary of two girls in her Quixwood Series (found here). 

How long have you been writing and have you always wanted to be a writer?

I was writing when I was very young, just silly little things a little girl would like but it's always been something I was passionate about. English Literature was always my favourite class in Secondary/High School and often got good grades or praise from my teachers.

I sorta lost hope for a while and gave up on writing and tried to find myself another passion. I did find many other things but none made me feel quite as passionate as putting pen to paper.

Then I read Harry Potter XD
That changed everything for me. Since then I've been hit over and over again with ideas for books and, though I didn't read the (Harry Potter) books till recent years, I've come quite far I think.

Looking at your projects, I see that you have several up. What is your Black Craft series about and where did you get the idea?

The Black Craft has been with me a while. It had been festering up in my imagination for some time and (again) then I read Harry Potter, so I decided to do something about it.

The MC, Billie Black, is a normal girl whose led a fairly average life until the night before her 18th birthday. She learns her true lineage and that her family, and herself, are all in fact Witches. She's faced with many lessons and trials and soon has to over come a great evil in her small town Penn Gate, NY.

She's very fortunate to have such a large family, which seems to grow as I continue to write the Series. First her boyfriends family becomes hers, then a Were pack and other humans/Witches/Vampires/Creatures along the way.

But, of course, as her family grows so does the long list of enemies she must face throughout the Series until we reach the end of the 3rd book (The Hangmans' Noose) where Billie is left with a life shattering choice to make. (Which I shan't reveal here)

Two of your other books sound interesting, Going Under and Rebel, Rebel, like the last question, what are they about?

Rebel Rebel - this book is actually based upon 3 lovely inkies from the Royalty Shines thread. ShardsofGlass, Nikita S. and Strawberries. Three very different girls who live in Tennessee get caught up in a horrible meteor crash.

The after effects see the girls changing, growing stronger and becoming powerful. But unfortunately there is someone in the world who is very aware of said strengths and powers and takes advantage of the girls.

Soon, seperate from each other, they have become the super powered teenage assassins each with their own target to take care of only the targets seem to be chasing after them instead.

It's not long before one of the girls discovers they've been deceived and used.

Going Under - this is actually a modern day take on two classic fairytales. Cinderella and the Little Mermaid.
Reese Rhodes moves to Damariscotta, Maine to live with her grandfather after the death of her Dad. There she meets new friends and a girl who sings in the water called Isla.

But there is an old friend of her grandfather's that is convinced that Reese is part Mermaid. In testing this theory he almosts drowns the poor girl and has to run from the Police so that he may return to try, try, try again. Reese and her friends begin to fear for Isla's safety too so they send her away until the man is caught and put behind bars.

Which do you enjoy writing more, books or poetry? Which is the easiest for you?

Books, for sure :)

I took a look at your website and it looks quite interesting and cool. Did you make it yourself or did you have someone else do it?
I'm hopeless at making sites so I had help from a fellow inkie. I did however manage just recently to create an In-Character Diary/Blog to help me plot out my latest idea.

If you weren't a writer, what would you be? Or how would you spend your time?

I'd be a Photographer probably or I'd be either owner of a small bakery (cupcakes and the likes) or a pet shop owner. I'm mad about my Dalmatian, Polly!

Although you seem to be busy working on several different stories, do you ever get Writer's block and how do you combat it?

I have a few times when I get this I just go read Harry Potter again and the inspiration comes back to me :)

Do you enjoy reading the same things as you write?

Absolutely! I love the likes of Harry Potter (of course!), Vampire Academy, House of Night series and True Blood.
So mostly Fantasy/Paranormal with a good dash or Romance and Adventure in each too :)

If you could meet your idol (or maybe you've already met them) and you could spend a day with them, who would it be and what would you do?

J.K. Rowling. I'd probably discuss her books and future plans for several hours first! And then, I'm not sure, do something neither of us would normally do like Sky diving. Nah, I wouldn't do that! XD I'd die of fear!

Verses outlining your book or writing it as you go, which would you say works better for you or do you do both?

I have tried to sit and plot out my ideas, but it tends not to work out the way I planned XD
I think, when I start to write, some other part of my brain decided to do things differently.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Salem. I've never been and I've based the second book, The Salem Mystique, of The Black Craft series there.
Actually, there are several different places in my books, mostly in America, that I haven't been to yet so I would, if I could, do them all!

Quick Questions:
Cheetahs or lions? - Lions, I'm a Leo
Fiction or non-fiction? - Fiction
Apples or bananas? - Apples
The newspaper or news online? - The newspaper
Google or Yahoo! ? - Google

Thanks so much for joining us today,  Hayley

Friday, February 17, 2012

Something Worth Rereading

Last year, my speech coach gave me a piece of wisdom. It went something like this:

"When you read a book for the first time, you read to experience the story. The second time, you read to experience the plot again, even though some of the magic is gone. After that, you read simply because you love the characters and want to be with them. Good characters are what cause readers to return to your writing again and again."

That's not exactly how she said it, but it's the general idea.

Let's all meditate on this, shall we?

The first time you read a fantastic book, it's exciting. You get to experience a new plot full of new characters, and you don't know how any of it turns out. The second time, it's still exciting, but much less so. Much of the suspense is gone, because no matter how much you enjoyed the story, you know how it ends. And that takes a lot of excitement out of it.

But the third and fourth times...you know the plot by heart. You know almost exactly what is going to happen, what the people will say. And yet, you still read it. The plot may hold some interest to you still.

In reality, though, it's all about the characters.

You had to read that book again not because you missed the plot, but because you missed the characters. That first time around you grew to love them. You enjoyed experiencing the story with them. They became your friends.

And what good are friends you never hang out with? If you enjoy someone's presence, but you never hang out, never talk, never email, never be with each other, then you aren't really friends, are you?

Therefore, when you reread a book that you've read a few times before, you're simply keeping up with old friends. You're enjoying their presence. You're just "hanging out".

You want people to love your book so much that they keep returning to it, over and over and over. You want someone's copy of your book to be worn out, to be falling apart from use. You want that copy to have been read countless times. You want to make your book something worth rereading.

Doesn't this say something about the importance of character development?

This is how important character development is. This is why you cannot have a good story without first having well-developed characters. This is why agents sit at their computers and blog for hours about character development.

So, if you want your book to be worth rereading, then take this post to heart. Remember how the characters define the story. Remember how much you love the characters from your favorite book.

Let's write something worth rereading.

Originally posted at The Epic, the Awesome, and the Random.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Words Often Confused

If you know the difference between your/you're; then/than; lose/loose, then you probably won't be subject to ridicule or lose respect from fellow writers. This is from a photocopied booklet in my English class, so I don't know who to give credit to.

  • A is used before a word that begins with a consonant, plus u when it sounds like 'you'.
    • a pencil, a union, a European trip
  • An is used before a word that begins with a vowel sound. It's the sound that matters, not the letter.
    • an apple, an hour, an umpire
  • Accept is a verb and it means to 'receive willingly.'
    • I accept your invitation. (I willingly receive your invitation sounds a bit weird, but it makes sense.)
  • Except means 'excluding' or 'but.'
    • Everyone came except him. (Everyone came but him.)
  • Affect is a verb and means 'to influence.'
    • Her advice may affect his decision.
  • Effect means 'result.' If a, an or the is in front of the word, then it isn't a verb and will be effect.
    • His words had a great effect on the crowd.
    • The rain had no effect on the attendance.
  • It's a contraction and means 'it is' or 'it has'
    • It's cold. (It is cold.)
  • Its is a possessive. (Possessive like its, yours, hers, ours, theirs and whose are already possessive and don't need apostrophes.)
    • The committee gave its review.
  • Loose means 'not tight.' A trick to remember is that loose is roomy enough for two o's.
    • My pants are loose and baggy.
  • Lose misplaced its second o, so it only has one.
    • We're going to lose the game.
  • Passed is a verb.
    • He passed the house.
  • Use past when it's not a verb.
    • He walked past the house is the same as he walked by the house, so it's not a verb.
  • "Piece of pie." The one meaning a piece of something always begins with pie.
    • I gave that kid a piece of my mind.
  • Peace is the opposite of war.
    • They signed the peace treaty.
  • Than compares two things.
    • I'd rather have this than that.
  • Then tells when (then and when rhyme)
    • He finished his test and then he went home.
  • Their is a possessive.
    • Their house is pink.
  • There points out something (the three words indicating a place or pointing out something all have here in them: here. there, where).
    • I was sure I left it there.
  • They're is a contraction. Just substiture they are and see if it works.
    • They're happy now. (They are happy now.)
  • Two is number.
    • I have two dogs.
  • Too means 'more than enough' and 'also.' (Too has more than enough o's.) 
    • The lesson was too long.
    • I found it boring too.
  • Use to for all the other meanings.
    • He's going to the beach.
  • Were is a verb
    • We were miles away from home.
  • Where refers to a place. (Remember that the three words indicating a place or pointing out something all have here in them: here. there, where)
    • Where is he?
  • Woman is singular. One female.
    • That woman is my mother.
  • Women is plural. A bunch of females.
    • Those women are loud.
  • You're is a contraction and means 'you are.' (If the sentence works when you replace you're with you are, you're good.)
    • You're welcome. (You are welcome.)
  • Your is a possessive.
    • Your toast is ready.
Gotta love my English teacher's stash of booklets, right? Actually, I think every English teacher in my school has their stash. Another one has piles of writing tips and materials printed out. He also said something very useful to his class. "You can't prepare for an English exam, so you just bullsh!t it."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Inkie Interview! Meet Lacey!

Tonight we're interviewing Lacey from Inkpop. Take it away!

So reading over your blog, I saw that your penname is Lacey. Is there a particular reason why you choose to be known as Lacey? Do you plan on using it if you plan to get published one day?
If/when (let's hope on 'when') I get published, I plan to use my real name, but since I get really paranoid about people over the internet, I've gone through several pennames. Lacey is just a name I've always liked... when I was younger I planned to change my name officially to Lacey :P
What is "Hooked" about? Where did you get the idea for it?
Hooked is about a boy who starts his junior year in a new school in Harlem, New York. Not being 'popular' but still being 'socially acceptable,' Quenton easily finds himself a group of friends and, out of that group, a girlfriend. Later on he discovers his friends are... familiar with some pretty serious drugs, and he's pressured to being doing and dealing. He gives in. It was a simple matter of 'friends' or 'no friends.' The whole book could be summed up with the moral 'don't do drugs' because some of the things that happen to Quenton are... less that desirable, I guess :P The idea came to me from the news. I hear so much about kids older and even younger than me getting into that. It made my heart clench, and I just thought, 'something has to be said about this, somehow...'
What is your favorite thing to write (genre of book like fantasy or genre like poetry)? Do you like to read the same things you write?
My favorite genre to write is the plain old realistic fiction. Even though it's a bit more narrow than, say, fantasy, I think of it as a way to get my life experiences and rants out through a character that no one can judge. I mean, it's a fictional character...
And, maybe it's weird, but I prefer to read fantasy and such over realistic writing. I'm not exactly sure why, but... yeah :)
I noticed that you mentioned your a Christian (which is cool cause I am too), anyways, does your faith ever affect your writing?
It definitely does. I'm not exactly sure how to put it, but it sort of acts as a guideline for me. When I write, I want my characters to be role models (which, before any of you accuse me, Quenton *does* become, but that's a spoiler!) So naturally I won't have my main character be promiscuous, or dirty like a sailor. I don't enjoy writing that. One because I have no experience in promiscuity or things like that, and two it's just uncomfortable. I read my pieces to my parents, and I think we all know that a sex scene would be a bit... awkward.
I've been reading over your posts for your Inkpop blog, The Shot Blog, where did you come up with the name for it and if you were able to make a blog on like Blogger, would it still be The Shot Blog? Would you change it or talk about different things?
If I did make an official blog, I would consider changing the name. While I LOVE 'The Shot Blog' and calling me readers 'shotties,' I don't think that name would be appropriate in the future, when I have some job or am more well-known. Something about it might not ring well with my boss. Aside from the name though, its contents will definitely be the same.
How long have you been writing? Have you always been a writer?
I have been writing since first grade, and I'm in some year in high school now. Though, that was just silly first-grade musings. I 'seriously' became a writer when 7th grade rolled around and a very inspirational English teacher informed me I had a talent not many in my school had.
What kinds of things inspire you? Is there anyone or anything in particular?
Music fo sho! I can't do ANYTHING without music. I'll be writing a freaking essay with Spotify playing and it just helps me churn things out. As for creative writing, I pick small details from things. News stories, certain verses in a song, certain events that happen to other people... The works.
If you were stuck on an island what are five things you'd make sure you had?
1.) Endless paper and pens
2.) Water purifier
3.) Bottomless pit of food
4.) A guitar
5.) I suppose Quenton (my boyfriend--not my character :P). I would pick my family but I don't think they'd want to be stuck on an island...
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
'Cry me a river, build a bridge, and get over it.'
It's what I go by now :) Makes me strong.
If there was one important thing you could tell people, what would it be? (Like stop bulling because its mean, etc).
Things are going to hurt and sting and sear like a motherf*cker. A lot of people might not say this, but... it's fine to be frustrated. Just don't let it rule your life.
Think Fast!
Ice cream or cookies?
Books or movies?
Book recordings! (Take that!)
Favorite genre of music?
Anything except country... does dubstep count as a genre?
Favorite Author/book?
Waiting for Godot by Beckett (Absurdist drama, if you like that stuff)
Dogs or cats?

Thanks Lacey!

This blog post was brought to you by,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Crafts for Writers!

When I fry my brain after weeks or months of writing, I usually turn to crafting. Here are some craft tutorials that you guys might find interesting.
Page corner bookmarks. Tutorial from I Could Make That
Torn up bits of paper are horrible bookmarks.

Make your own pencils. Tutorial on Scissors.Paper.Wok
Because school pencils and pens are like, so yesterday. (=^x^=)
An envelope book. Tutorial on making-mini-scrapbooks.com
It'd be a good place to store ideas you've written on slips of paper and Post-Its.
Feather gel pens. Tutorial on Idle Wife
Who doesn't like pretending they're writing with a quill? 
And because we've all worked hard, whether it be at school, work or in writing, we deserve some chewy chocolate chip cookies. Here's the recipe from The Pastry Affair

How to Take Criticism

We've all heard it before: "I just didn't like your book." No matter who says it, or how they say it, it just doesn't feel good. It makes us feel inferior, and like all our hard work was for nothing.

If you're lucky, this negative comment came with some constructive criticism. You should always welcome constructive criticism, as it can only help you improve your book. Even if you feel a bit hurt, you should be glad someone took the time to tell you how to make your book better. They cared enough to offer suggestions, so you need to thank them and consider them.

Be careful with those suggestions, though. First, you need to consider where the suggestions came from. Are they from a trusted editor (or Inkpop user)? Does this person actually know about writing, craft, and how to write a good story, or are they just making stuff up? If they know what they're talking about, great. Use their advice, but don't follow it blindly. After all, you know your story better than they do. For example, they might suggest you focus more on the romance aspect of your historical fiction novel. But, while the romance is part of your book, you don't feel that it needs to be the most important part. This is fine; everyone will have a different opinion of your book, and you can't please everyone. Use your own judgement, in the end.

We all know that "It just didn't work for me" or "I'm sure many people could enjoy this, but not me" or "It could be good, if you change this and this and *basically the whole thing*" are just a nicer-sounding way of saying "I didn't like this book at all." It would be stupid of me to tell you to not take these things personal, because we're writers. We do take it very personally, but we have to learn to not let it get us down.

I look at it this way: I wrote my book so it could be enjoyed. If someone doesn't like it, then they are the ones who suffered, not me. It's their problem, not mine. This way of thinking seems to work well for me, though I'm not saying you should ignore constructive criticism, because you shouldn't. It just helps me be able to take the criticism and use it in stride, without letting it crush my self-esteem.

I can promise you one thing. There will be someone who hates your book. I can guarantee it. There will always be someone who can't connect with the characters, who finds the plot dull and flat, who thinks the prose is ugly. And they will make these facts known.

You have to take these negative reviews in perspective. After all, how many positive reviews have you gotten? Read carefully: the good outweighs the bad, doesn't it? Which means that your book is more than that nasty reviewer makes of it. You are more than that, and so is your writing. Focus on the positive, not the negative.

God forbid you ever get an overly nasty, rude, inappropriate, harsh review that simply bashes your book mercilessly. This isn't an acceptable way of reviewing books, but it does happen. And you know what? These reviews mean nothing to you. No intelligent reviewer would act that way. Simply toss these reviews out the window and forget about them, because they honestly aren't worth your time.

You can't let any review, whether it is constructive or not, get you down. You are a strong writer; you can learn from your mistakes, and pull yourself up again. You just have to take each review in stride. Learn from your mistakes, but let yourself take praise when it comes.

Originally posted over yonder.