Keep your head up.

By Alex Garcia

Has anyone given you the advice: keep honing your craft?

I have seen this response in a few form query rejection replies. I used to get hurt by seeing these responses because I would automatically think I was not enough, and that was the agent’s professional way of saying ‘you suck’.

Dramatic much? Yeah, probably.

But after the spiraling down and resorting to the pint of ice cream, I got over myself and took their advice.

And, I still take it into consideration every time I write a book.

When I say in my bio that I am a work in progress is because I mean it, along with my craft. Does it get easier? Absolutely, but I realize with every book I read and with every book I write, I learn more and more. 

And for this post I wanted to share some of the books I use! ☺️

Books I use for Writing:

Save the Cat! Writes a novel by Jessica Brody.

Why do I love this book:

The beat sheet. This book helped me put together a story in a three-act structure as well as give me a general word count I should aim for. Which in my case for standalone fiction romance novels is 60k -90k. Fantasy romance is different.

There are 4-act, even 5-act structures, but at the time my entire story was a mess in my head and this book helped me with the organization process.

Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin.

Why I love this book:

It helped me discover the meaning of reading aloud. Seriously, once I started reading my novels aloud, it was a game changer. Along with pacing and the beauty of line editing. I didn’t know how many filler words I used until I searched for them. 

I started to catch even phrases I tend to use such as ‘but, of course’ and ‘oh, well’. I had these phrases about 30 times in my manuscript!

Here are some examples of common filler words I use: that, just, regardless, in hindsight, so and by personal favorite: And then.

If you take anything from this post is this: Search for your filler words.

Emotional Beats by Nicholas C. Rossis

Why I love this book:

It’s in Kindle Unlimited (Just Kidding—but in all seriousness, it is in Kindle Unlimited.) I love this book because it gives me examples of emotions and it divides it into parts of the body as well as mannerisms we do as humans, and it has “1000 verbs to write by”.

This is so embarrasing but oh well… here it is: In my 3rd manuscript I discovered that I only used to use the word: walk. Now I use jog, amble and stroll. And yes, I certainly discovered the power of searching for synonyms.

Writers helping Writers Series by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

Especially: The Emotion Thesaurus and The Conflict Thesaurus.

Why I love this:

Sometimes I struggle with describing an emotion… call it writer’s block, because seriously there are so many times I can describe shock with ‘she widened eyes’. Now I try to go deeper and describe the inner struggles as well as other physical traits such as sweaty hands, mouth agape, dry mouth, etc.

As far as conflict, sometimes I like to test my main character or even a side character with a new conflict for their development and this book has helped with different ideas and reactions.

I hope my dear reader you found this post helpful, and just keep your head up, keep honing your craft and keep writing!

As always, I leave you with a quote:

“You might not write well every day, but you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” By Jodi Picoult.


Alexandra Garcia is an aspiring YA/NA Fantasy, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance author. She currently lives in Texas with her 2 pups: Jett and Maggie. She is currently editing her 4th WIP (Work in Progress) and just like all her novels she is a constant work in progress. 
You can find her here:
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2 thoughts on “Keep your head up.

  1. Thanks for sharing these books, Alex! I also agree that writers can always improve and polish up our skills 🙂

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