I Outlined Something and It’s Not Romance|Writing Fiction

Writing update: I have been working thoroughly on the same few stories for the past three or four years. Most of which fall into the women’s fiction/Romantic comedy plots. Although these stories come easily to me, as well as the dialogue, I have a hard time writing them. It’s the “in between dialogues” I have a hard time expressing. I think as a person I’ve grown to where I can’t articulate love and romance the way my sixteen year old brain would. Don’t get me wrong, I do adore my stories and I think there’s something special about the originality of my plots. Maybe not the writing so much. It needs some work hehe. But…lately I’ve been feeling like something is missing. I don’t feel proud of these stories in the way that I should. Writing them for myself is one thing, but I still don’t feel accomplished enough to show these stories to others.

When I started writing longer stories, my end goal was to get into fantasy/supernatural/horror fiction. Because these genres generally take longer to plot and write, I thought maybe I could dish out some quick love stories in the mean time. However, I have been struggling. And my mind won’t shut up. About the future. About where I want to take my writing.  To be frank, I won’t even consider traditional publishing with the romances I write. The plots may be good, but the writing is not. There is just something I can’t exactly pin point that I don’t find there. When I read work from years ago, my voice is actually there. I don’t know why I’ve been experimenting with my writing based on questions asked in social media. My previous blog post deals with losing my writer voice.

These days I can’t hear it and it frustrates me to no end. Not only do I want to be a good story teller, I want to be a writer. And there’s a difference.

So, earlier today and not for the first time a thought crossed my mind. An idea about Caribbean folklore. I’ve often been afraid of delving into my country of origin in fear of not doing the country and people justice. I fear not correctly portraying something or offending somebody. Every idea needs a good plot as well.

And by the time I took a shower tonight, the plot and the protagonist had written themselves in my head. Suffice to say, I’m feeling good about it. I feel comfortable. Maybe I’ll come back to my romances once I’m done or once some inspiration hits me, but in the meantime, I roll with the supernatural story. I hate wasting time so at least, I plan to work out the details and make a broader outline over the next week or so.

Fellow writers, do you make writing as complicated as I do? Sometimes I annoy myself. I exhaust myself. Truly.

Have a great weekend. Talk to you soon.

xo Kat

How much of your writing is filler?|Writing Fiction

Hi Friends!

So, I had to come to the blog for this. I started working on an old manuscript yesterday. I fixed up the 10,000 words I’d written previously, and all I had to do was just continue. Just continue! But no! Lo and behold, started rewriting it in third person POV since this morning. I honestly don’t know why I do this to myself. Ok, I do know.

As per my research, the market demands first person present tense POV. Not my out dated third person POV that still includes tons of old English words. I always keep coming back to third because it’s my narrator voice. It’s what I’ve always written and what I’m most comfortable with.

Although sometimes first person can be tricky and suck you in. I enjoy writing both now but…let me share a thought or two. So, I started re-writing the same exact story in third this morning, and I had to remove some things entirely. Now I notice this in other books too, but I don’t often talk about it.

I feel like some sentences, especially the inner dialogue isn’t necessary at all. And can be done with! I think I struggle with creating such a uniformed kind of story that choppy, messy sentences make me jittery.

Anyways, how much of your writing do you believe is filler? I think some of the narration is redundant and over explanatory when writing in first person. Because we’re basically writing the way we speak. Or the way we think we speak.

Example 1. Overthinking. Inner dialogue. Our thought process on a matter doesn’t really last a full two paragraphs.

Example 2. Oversplaining(i know that word is not real) basic actions. He looks at me, then turns around. He turns back around. Or she looks at him, her eyes widening. You can just say her eyes widened. We understand that conveys surprise or shock depending on the context it’s used. 

When I write first person, I often find myself stuck at creating entire chapters for multiple characters. And then I’m using all kinds of filler to fill in gaps that I think should have something. So I busy my character by making tea, or walking down the street for ten seconds longer than they should have. I get that first person allows the reader to step into that immediacy, and I’m not saying all books written in first person drags or fills. Read My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier or Garden of Shadows by VC Andrews. Both are told in first, and it’s done exceptionally well. I think a person has to really know their craft to be able to do this. Another point is, when your plot is not enough, you tend to fill. So work on the plot to flesh your story out instead of filling it with stuff that’s not purposeful to your story.

I’m off now. Just wanted to share that. Tell me what you think!

xo Kat

Messing with my Writer’s Voice|Writing Fiction

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re having a fantastic Monday so far. Mine isn’t going too bad. So, I’ve hit a dead end again and I think it has to do with my writing voice. My biggest struggle with my current WIP(work in progress) is not the story itself, it’s how I want to tell it. This story has been writing itself in my head for years and I started working on it way back in 2016. I should’ve finished by now. But I’m still struggling with how it’s executed.

The story can be considered women’s fiction with a touch of romance. It’s about a young woman’s journey to finding a place she could belong. I know that sounds basic but it’s all I can give away for now. What I want to talk about today is writing voices.

Everyone has their own style and manner of storytelling. Personally, I’m not a fan of choppy sentences that sound the way we speak. I don’t mind that in dialogues, but not within the narrative itself. That is because I learned to write this way from an early age so it makes me cringe to write choppily. However, because many readers said they won’t read a book written in third person, I resorted to writing and rewriting in first person. I’ve tried first person present tense, first person past tense. But the manuscript just doesn’t sound like me or mine.

For instance, I can’t write with a flow. I always have to be mindful that my high-school dropout protagonist doesn’t have a vocabulary like mine. To tweak my own words to sound like my character’s(in terms of narration not dialogue just to be clear), is not the way I see myself being published. I feel like the narration needs to roll off the page as easily as it rolls off my mind. If that makes any sense at all. So I’ve been stuck because I stopped progressing my own writing to please readers of this particular genre. Which is probably the worst thing I could’ve done because I now feel like I’ve lost my ability to write the way I used to.

I know first and foremost we should always write for ourselves, but it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to deliver what readers demand. I mean, there is a business side to everything.

Currently, I am exhausted of this current WIP having spent years rewriting it in many different ways. I want to move on to my other 30 story ideas but I would lose much sleep and sanity if I don’t get this particular one right.

Have you ever experienced something like this?

xo Kat

Smugness won’t reach you very far|Writing Fiction

So, I thought long and hard if I should even address this but I think it’s important to express humbleness when you are a beginner writer. This morning I responded to a post in a writing group. The poster asked what should they do when they have lost all faith and motivation in writing? I commented by letting them know a thing or two how to combat creative blocks and I also reassured the poster that self-doubt lives in all of us. Well, I was strongly advised by another member of the group to refrain saying all of us struggle with self-doubt because they don’t doubt any of their stories.

Now I commented on that saying, “I apologize.” What I wanted to say is, “I apologize for my ignorance in this matter, Oh experienced one.” I didn’t want to get into a mindless social media war, so I just apologized and moved on. But it got me to thinking, and it isn’t the first time that I’ve wanted to touch on this subject.

I am in no way, shape or form bashing “my adviser” just to be clear. But I want to take you in-depth into the craft of writing and all that comes with it. Similarly to essay writing when your teacher marks your paper and they insert red ink corrections, so too does your manuscript need to be edited. And not just for grammatical errors. Many stories aren’t told very well and this is something people wanting to get into the writing field need to be mindful of. Your words need to have purpose to the story. It needs to be constructed well to paint a picture in the mind of your reader. It needs to read well on paper. I personally, have written like I’m writing a play in the past so it was challenging trying to get into novels.

There is no correct formula into writing your own story as well. Criticism and feedback are your friends, who help you improve on your craft. Self-doubt is your shadow. I get that we are all proud of our finished manuscript and hope that it will be received well, but the truth of the matter is, it won’t be by everyone. When best-selling authors have many negative reviews, and express their own self-doubt during their writing process, why would a newbie writer not learn from this? That the art of writing takes work, dedication and lots of thick skin. I was merely trying to express support for the original poster by saying we all go through a time when we doubt the story, or ourselves. Despite having finished a few books, I refuse to call myself an author. I call myself a writer because I don’t quite feel like I’ve written my best yet.

As readers, we’ve admired authors who made their marks on the world for many years, and we know of their struggles taking years to write a book, or writing stories that were controversial in their time. It doesn’t matter where you are in your craft, we do feel a little doubt. That self-doubt isn’t necessarily a lack of confidence, it stems from always wanting to best ourselves. Always wanting the next story to be better written.

Despite having written most of my life, I don’t always feel like I have a satisfying enough story to be published. At some level you have to question your own work and make sure that you’re telling your story in a way that you want, but in a way that’s also readable.

My point is, you can’t be smug in this business. Yes, be proud of yourself and your achievements. You’ve written an entire book. But don’t walk around with a swollen head thinking you already know everything you need to know. This is setting yourself up for failure. When you have nothing to show, you should take time to understand the business of writing. And yes, it is a business whether you self publish or traditionally publish. In today’s world, if you have a large following you are more likely to be successful than somebody in some corner of the world with a great book but no readers. So you should want to produce the best you can by taking constructive advice from READERS aka YOUR AUDIENCE.

Perception. Humility. Attention. Diligence. Knowledge.

To people who are entering this field, it is okay to be disorganized in your head. It’s okay to doubt yourself. It’s okay to take a long time. The key is finding techniques that work for you and your story.

I wish all of you aspiring writers the best in your endeavors. I hope we all do what we set out to do.

xo Kat

 

In The Gray by A.D. McCammon| Book Review

Synopsis:

Writer Lori Stevens has a brief encounter with Officer Steven Duncan one morning. She buys him a cup of coffee and the gravitational pull between them was instant and electric. Steven wants to see Lori again, but Lori doesn’t do dates or relationships. Broken by an abusive past, Lori ditches Steven and pursues her writing even further, by telling the story of Ashland. Ashland was also abused in a way society doesn’t see it as being abused. Lori connects with Ashland on that level. They both self-blame and carry around feelings of shame and guilt for something that was done to them. Some time after Lori ditches Steven, she runs into him again, only this time he’s dating her best friend, Cat.

Despite the circumstances, Lori and Steven form a friendship which is neither good or bad. It’s In the Gray.

My Thoughts:

This book is a romance about two people coming together, but the priceless take away from this story is its message. Abuse isn’t black or white, and victims living in grayed areas can often feel isolated. They might believe their pain is meant to be overlooked because of the unclear picture that most of society has of abuse. I appreciate the author telling the stories of Lori, Ashland & Juliana in this series to bring to light the stigma that women face as victims of abuse. It’s an eye opener for all who live with this secret and guilt. I myself, am not free of this kind of abuse and I never speak about it. I try to uplift my fellow women and encourage them to speak out, but I NEVER EVER speak about my experiences with abuse. Before I say anything I’m uncomfortable with, I’ll say this one thing. This story is inspiring, and I feel like a small seed has been planted in my head to be open with my story. It’s still very difficult for me to mentally process what happened in the past and I doubt it very much I can write a tell-all about myself but I do work small fragments of myself into my stories.

My rating: 5 stars!

 

Follow author A.D. McCammon on Facebook and Instagram by simply searching her name. She also has a FB Reader Group called AD’s McReaders for her readers to connect with her and her writing.

Xo Kat

Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco| Book Review

Author: Fabiola Francisco

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:

The story follows Sam, who works in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. In the beginning we learn that Sam has been running from her past and possibly herself by fleeing to Europe. She eventually meets Max, a traveling businessman from Germany who shows her that she can be loved, she can be healed. If only she would look deep within herself and want that for herself.

My Review:

The writing was beautiful…philosophical and poetic. Even with nothing going on, it was interesting to read. Red lights, Black Hearts is a testament of Sam’s healing. She explores the depths of her pain and suffering. She finds comfort in Max’s company and words, which lead her to love herself again, build herself up from the ground.

The book starts of kinda steamy but then it tapers off into therapeutic conversations between Sam and Max. Max serves as her support system throughout the book. She didn’t want him, she needed him. That was the vibe that I got. Overall, a neat story about redemption and healing.

My rating: 4 stars

Here’s the link to add the book to your TBR! Follow the author on Facebook, Instagram and join her FB reader group Fabiola’s Fab Reads to connect with other readers who loved the book.

Check out Red Lights, Black Hearts by Fabiola Francisco

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31142569

Xo Kat

Reading Slump!

Have you ever gone through periods where you’re not finishing books because they don’t seem to hold your interest? It’s either the excitement tapers off or the writing needs work. It’s always something. For the past year I can say, I’ve been shelving more books as DNF(did not finish) more than finished.

As a lover of books, it’s affecting my life. I feel sad, withdrawn. I read the premise of a book and although it sounds inviting, I’m scared to enter. There are so just many stories, more so the writing that’s not doing it for me anymore.

I’ve actually been feeling to read authors I read growing up, like RL STINE, or the classics. I think repetition and a particular style of writing is turning me off more and more. I hate to sit here and say that bad writing is infusing its way into our books nowadays, but it truly is. I have no issues with simple writing if a writer can tell a good story. But when most of the content is filler. Two hundred words to describe the same action or feeling. Honestly, it’s getting to me. And I’m losing faith in what I pick up to read.

This kind of writing takes away from the story…from the core plot. Which brings me to my next point. There is no real plot. Nothing is happening except two main characters unloading their feelings for each other on every page. Now pardon me in advance for saying this, but I grew up reading a lot of romances and I can’t remember them being written like this. There was always a story, a cast of supporting characters and something going on. I remember Mill & Boon books, always having some kind of plot unique to the characters and stories.

You know what the problem is here? Insta-love. That’s what I think is taking away from the stories. With no real journey, there’ll be forced and unrealistic sub plots.

I’m in such a deep slump where reading is concerned these days, not even my favorite authors are pulling me out of it. Oh well, in time it’ll pass.

Does this happen to you too? Please recommend a book to take me out of this slump. Thank ye in advance.

Please Note: I read across all genres. Fantasy, Horror, Thriller. Romance has just managed to be the culprit that sent me into a reading slump this time.

xo Kat

Should Book Reviewers be Censored?

Before becoming a part of any online community of writers and readers like myself, I have never felt pressured about writing reviews. I don’t think I’ve left comments that bash an author or their work. I don’t believe in that but similar to having an opinion on a movie, us readers have opinions on books. The general public needs to understand that one person’s opinion does not affect the success or failure of a person’s book. Not every book will be loved or perceived as a great piece of writing by every reader. And we should have these discussions.

There are books that I loved and other readers didn’t, and I didn’t feel entitled to pressure them into liking it. I didn’t give them a long list of reasons why I liked the book and why I think they should like the book. Nothing in life works like that. Similarly, I’ve come across a lot of books that I couldn’t get past page one and these books have tons and tons of five star reviews. Bear in mind that readers come in all different age groups, cultures, preferences etc. What works for you won’t work for them.

Then why am I feeling so pressured when it’s time to leave a negative review? Not even negative but like a four star. I feel like if I’m not fangirling as hard as other people, they tend to get on your review and bash the crap out of you. Basically, you are bullied for not having the same opinion as the masses. Hmmm, why does that sound familiar? Look, Goodreads ain’t Facebook and it shouldn’t be a breeding ground of hatred. Writing is an art form, an expression of an author. It can be interpreted in many different ways by many different minds. A reviewer should not feel the need to censor themselves or falsify their reviews to please the majority. No. Instead, take these kinds of reviews as analytical feedback.

I don’t know about you but even if I read a few bad reviews and the book sounds interesting to me, I’ll still give it a chance.  As a writer and a book blogger, I feel like I often need to censor my opinion on a piece of writing in fear of being shunned or bullied in online groups. I think it’s unfair. Criticism should be taken in two forms: With a grain of salt, or for improvement. That’s just my two cents here.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way defending book reviewers who leave fake 1 star reviews or spread hatred towards any author. 

A reader should be free to express their thoughts and feelings about a book, whether it be in favor or not. One should not be attacked for having a different take on things. Like I said, one bad review doesn’t make or break a book. Good writing or bad writing does. And it will show eventually. JK Rowling was rejected by publishers. Until this day, there are people who don’t like the HP books. I recently heard someone say Chronicles of Narnia was boring, and that they almost walked out of the movie. There is no greater place for my  imagination as Narnia. So you get my drift?

I’ll leave the post off from here, because I do want to discuss good writing vs storytelling but that’ll need its own post. Also, in relation to this post, I will be discussing Goodreads as a platform for readers and writers alike.

Thanks for reading, and hope you guys an a fantastic Friday and awesome weekend ahead. For my fellow bloggers, how do you deal with leaving negative reviews? Have you ever been bullied?

xo Kat

 

Am I getting bored of reading romance?

Let me begin by saying this post is in no way meant to bash romance writers, readers or books. Till date, it remains one of my most read genres. However in the last few years, I’ve closed book after book, after reading only a few pages. There were a few of them that stuck, and were enjoyable to me personally. And I say personally because we all perceive stories in our own way.

I think what I’ve been coming across lately has also impacted my contemporary romance stories as well. In a more negative aspect.

I’m a different kind of  reader, as we all are. I particularly enjoy romances like the ones Nora Roberts writes. Why, you may ask? Aren’t they all the same? Boy meets girl, sparks fly, happily ever after. While I agree on the formulaic expression of a romance book, I like the deep plots, and also sub plots. I enjoy the characters, flawed or searching. Good overcoming evil. It sounds cheesy but most books have this concept. Let’s not stray. Coming back to why I’ve been having a hard time finishing romance books for the longest time. I think it’s in the writing, more than anything else. I appreciate flawed characters, damaged ones. So it isn’t the art of storytelling that’s putting me off. It’s the way the story is being executed.

One of the reasons why I feel it difficult to just publish my stories out into the world, is because I feel like they are not ready. As a reader, I want to aspire to be a writer like the ones I admire. And my work is not up to par. I believe most content in a book should be meaningful, every dialogue should be progressing the story. I have no problems with mundane dialogue here or there. Don’t get me wrong. I love descriptions and visualizing how an author builds their world, be it realistic or fantasy or dystopian etc.

The core problem I face with reading some of these books are the meaningless filler content. Over descriptions of one character’s actions. Over description of one’s thoughts and feelings. After a few chapters, it get’s redundant. I get that it’s easier for some to write in first person, and while it’s amazing to get inside of a character’s head. The entire book can’t be a monologue where only one character thinks or feels. There’s too much repetition using beautiful words and phrases to convey the same feeling or thought–the same personality–all throughout the book.

Every line of dialogue is followed by a physical reaction one character makes. While that’s not incorrect, it shouldn’t be overdone. A line of dialogue can tell the reader exactly what mood or kind of person the character is.

Have you ever heard the main character’s voice in a whiny tone in your head? It happens to me more often than not.

Recently I read Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews, and I thought it executed an entire story in first person POV very well. The story was able to progress, and relate events without being repetitive. In fact, there wasn’t an instance where a feeling or thought conveyed was mentioned twice. The main character was able to describe the reactions/expressions of the other characters in such a way that the reader knew them as well. I honestly think it’s a book we can all learn from in terms of pushing a story forward without stopping in every chapter to repeat things using beautiful words.

What do you think about romance nowadays? Do you read it? I’d like to find more that I can love, so if you have any suggestions, please drop them down below. My next post will discuss erotica in romance books, so stay tuned for that.

Happy Reading Bookish Folk!

xo Kat

In The Gray by A.D. McCammon| COVER REVEAL + Giveaway!

Good Day Bookish Folk!

Lately, I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with romance books which I’ll cover in my very next post. But somewhere in between all of those DNFs(Did not finish), I’ll come across ones written by A.D. McCammon. Her first two books, In This Moment and Crushed can be found on amazon.com for only .99 cents from 3/15 – 3/22.

Crushed made it to my best reads of 2017 simply because it was written beautifully. A.D. has a way with writing emotion that doesn’t sound whiny or pretentious. Her characters, and situations are very real, and her plots are of substance. I appreciate romance writers who can weave a tale without unnecessary filler content, and unconvincing conflict.

Without further ado, let me reveal to you the stunning cover of her newest novel, In The Gray.

in the gray cover.jpg

 

Cover Designer: Indie Solutions by Murphy Rae
Release Date: April 19th
“There isn’t always a clean beginning and ending to every story. Instead of something being black or white, it’s a mixture of both, forming a nice shade of gray.”

Writer Lori Stevens was eighteen when she was assaulted by her mentor, learning people aren’t always what they seem the hard way. She’s found solace living in the gray, keeping everyone at arm’s length with her secrets safely tucked away.

When the biggest story of her career hits too close to home, Lori is forced to face her demons and question everything—like her feelings for Steven Duncan.

Steven was meant to be nothing more than a failed one-night stand, but when a cruel twist of fate brings him back into her life, she begins falling for him.

There’s one slight problem: he’s dating her best friend.

Officer Steven Duncan is no stranger to tragedy, but that never stopped him from searching for his fairytale. Now, he’s dating the perfect girl, only it’s the wrong girl who feels right.

Steven is willing to fight for Lori—to step outside the boundaries of his black and white world—but can they find happiness living in the gray?

Here are the preorder links for In The Gray:
   
 
Click on the links below for a chance to win stuff!
$25 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY:https://www.facebook.com/admccammon/
 

As always, thanks for reading my friends. And good luck with your new book A.D. ❤

xo Kat