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  • Countries We Write In: Wyeth Doty

    Hello, my name is Wyeth Doty and I am an aspiring thriller/horror writer. I am currently working on my first ever book to be published, so I spend the majority of my free time writing. I currently live in Seoul, South Korea. This city is gorgeous and full of life and inspiration for my writing.
    Here are some of my favorite pictures of Seoul:

    This is the view from a local coffee shop that I often sit at to write. The entire wall is a large window overlooking the window. It’s the perfect view for when I’m trying to think of what I want to happen next in my story.

    This is a local bookshop that sells all English books, which is hard to come by in Seoul. They sell both new and used books for a fair price. I have to admit, I spend way too much time in this little shop. 

    This is a church that has become a huge inspiration for my next horror WIP. It’s equal parts gorgeous and creepy at night, just what a thriller author like me needs! 

    The streets of Seoul are comprised on mostly alleyways, like this one. It’s places like these where you find the best cafes and the most delicious foods. Not to mention, a gorgeous sunset. I love this city so much. 

    Finally, a bookstore with a cafe built in to it. I love sitting here and reading. It’s great to be surrounded by other people who also love to read. It reminds me that no matter what the culture or language, there are always people who are passionate about literature much like myself. 


    Thank you for sharing this lovely photo tour of your Seoul with us, Wyeth! It’s so much fun 🙂

  • Countries We Write In: L.O. Nobi

    I live in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigeria, in West Africa. Today, I’ll be taking you on a photo tour of my city where I write.

    Now, there’s this misconception from the western world (US & Europe) that Africa is this archaic place of bushes and starvation. Or that Africa is one country where we all live together and know each other. When ‘Africa’ is portrayed in American movies, it’s of refugees living in the worst conditions. Well, for one Africa is a vast and diverse continent with deserts, forests, rivers, plateaus, hills, stunning cities, history-rich villages, and vibrant cultures. And while Nigeria has its many flaws in governmental and political affairs, it also has its beauties as a country with intelligent/hardworking/hilarious youths.

    So with that said, here is my Nigeria 🇳🇬 through my writerly eyes:

    Writing Nook
    My cushion and all time favorite books🤪

    I write all over the house—but mostly in my bedroom on a cushion with my laptop on my legs. Now do I drink tea? No. I can’t stand the smell of tea much less the taste. (Note: Tea in Nigeria usually means cocoa + milk + sugar. I’m not a fan of tea leaves/teabags either 🤢 lol.) But it is awesome for photo aesthetics and I love that teacup set. Wherever I write, however, I love neatness and minimalism else I can’t settle down.

    View from my bedside window
    My estate lies in the valley. The distant hills always look black when it rains!
    We live right by the highway, opposite those rolling hills

    I only started appreciating the view of my city about last year. I get so starry eyed when I read/see pictures of the Scottish highlands, and one day it hit me: like you live in one of the lushest places. There are rolling hills to enjoy a walk away, there’s green vegetation everywhere, and in the rainy season the sky is breathtaking. So I started paying attention!

    Books!

    This is a library from the school my sister teaches in. Most times to find libraries over here you do have to go to schools. And books like YA fantasies etc. are hard to come by overall. Unfortunately we don’t have a big reading culture here (which sucks for me!), so readers/writers like me are like aliens. It’s online reading all the way.

    The landmark that welcomes you to the city proper
    The largest church in West Africa

    The roads are wide and often free and I love long drives. Usually when I’m knee-deep with plotting/outlining, ideas come to me during long drives across the city. I couldn’t get a closer view of the first landmark but it’s pretty magnificent, and leads to the stadium and amusement park (one of my favorite places!)

    Our residential areas are estates of all sizes and makes sprinkled all over the city.

    Breakfast cheffing: fried yam, plantains, and eggs with peppers and tomatoes
    Jollof rice, fried rice, salad, and meat

    And lastly, edibles. I enjoy making breakfast with my siblings—playing music, singing, and chattering (it’s also mostly when I bounce off plot ideas with them). For the second, my mom is a caterer which makes us the children assistant caterers by default. That’s a common but beloved Nigerian dish. The last frame is of GrandSquare, a mall. When we drive to the area, we make frequent stops there for Brain food: Ice cream and puff pastries. And yes, I choose plastic cups over cones. When you have a wild imagination sometimes you prefer reality tame-able.🙂

    Movie/Book/Song For Nigerian Vibes

    • The Wedding Party (2016) 🎥
    • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie 📖
    • Joromi by Simi 🎶
    • Great Nation by Timi Dakolo 🎶
    • It’s Plenty by Burna Boy 🎶
    • Soldier by Chike 🎶
    • Overloading by Mavins 🎶

    L.O. Nobi is an avid writer, with numerous novels constantly blinking at her on her laptop. She’s a lover of words, reading, and Disney. You can find her tweeting here, or visit her personal blog here.

  • AUPQ: 5 Fun Facts About Path2pub?


    For today’s Ask Us Pub Questions, Lena Stace wants to know: What are 5 fun facts about Path2pub?

    To answer this super fun question—which seems perfectly fitting for the final day of the month—we’ll list one fun fact about Path2pub each!


    Mariana

    Fact #1: This is such a unique question! I would have to say that it has happened that when we answer posts in which all contributors participate (such as AUPQ) there’s one of us who sometimes finds that her answer has mysteriously disappeared. That is so weird and annoying at the same time 🤣, haha. We’re not sure why it happens, but our hypothesis is that perhaps we access the document at the same time. Since we are in different parts of the world with different times zones, we just don’t know when a contributor is adding to the document. So, lately, we have decided to save our answers separately, just in case we open the doc to find out our recently added answer isn’t there anymore.

    -Mariana, PB Writer

    Mariana’s answer is my great grief cause I feel so guilty when I come online and see that someone (usually Mariana or Amber’s) answers have disappeared 😂. Trust me, I’m crying inside!

    Fact #2: A fun fact about Path2pub 🤔, so like behind the scenes stuff? Well, we’ve had a total of twelve contributors since Path2pub launched! Our numbers keep evolving, going up and down, but we’ve never been fewer than five. And I’m happy to see how the foundation/heart of the site remains solid even with the occasional changes!

    —Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!

    Fact #3: I have noticed that a lot of us have an interest in South Korean culture. I spent 6 years there living and working as an English teacher before moving back to the states. From January 2017-February 2020, I was very involved with kpop fandom over there, mainly with NCT (my ultimate bias is Johnny in case you are wondering). So finding out that some of my other contributors like Korean dramas is kinda sureal for me.

    Briana, The Mystery Writer

    Fact #4: I don’t know if this is a fun fact, but we have all struggled with our pictures! To this day I have no idea what is the correct size 😂. So, if I’m my picture is completely off in comparison to the rest of my contributors is totally on me and my inability to figure out the correct picture size for our posts.

    -Alex, Romance Writer

    Fact #5: Mariana kind of already said this in her fun fact, but Path2Pub is truly a global collaboration! I think at one point we were scattered across five different countries and at least six different time zones, so we’re always waiting for one another to wake up and reply messages – but it does also mean that you can probably find one of us awake at any time of day!

    Amber, YA/NA SFF!


  • Agent Interview: James McGowan

    A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning everything you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query and deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together awesome agent interviews for you!

    Today we’re introducing Literary Agent James McGowan from BookEnds Literary!


    Path2pub: Welcome to Path2pub! How did you become an agent?

    James: My journey to agenting is a pretty straight forward one, actually. I started interning at BookEnds in 2015 and really fell in love with the job and the team here. When I graduated undergrad, I asked President, Jessica Faust if there were any positions at the agency, and came on as her personal assistant. Then I worked my way up, to agency assistant, social media manager, agent, and am now a full-time agent… right where I started.

    Path2pub: That is so inspiring. What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

    James: I represent board books, picture books, middle grade, and also adult upmarket and mystery fiction and nonfiction. Like any agent might say, my list took on a life of it’s own. I realized how much I enjoyed working on illustrated books for kids. There’s something exciting about they way they come together, the collaboration, the sketches, the piecing together of text and art. I also read upmarket fiction and mystery in my free time so naturally there’s something really exciting about adding to the shelves in those departments.

    Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

    James: In terms of books… I am immediately won over by a good laugh. If a book concept is hysterical, then sign me up. Alternatively, on the adult side, my eye is caught by an exciting setting. Every single time.

    Path2pub: What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

    James: This might be a non-answer… but if it’s super familiar to me. If I feel like I know where the story is going before it gets there.

    Path2pub: It’s a great answer! How hands-on are you editorially?

    James: Very! My clients all know I love to be involved, I love to brainstorm and edit big picture, but also line-edit manuscript (especially picture books).

    Path2pub: Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

    James: I actually don’t. I don’t like to set this kind of goal and just let the projects that light me up come to me! I don’t put a cap or a minimum on myself because I want to be fully invested in a book.

    Path2pub: What is your favorite trope?

    James: In picture books, I love a good fish out of water story. In mystery, I really love missing person stories.

    Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?

    James: There are too many to list. Can I go with what I just read and can’t shut up about? If so, it’s Babel by R.F. Kuang! It was incredible. A true masterpiece.

    Path2pub: Thank you for sharing that! If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

    James: Got it! I want an upmarket suspense novel set in the 80’s or 90’s, that features a missing person and deep family secrets that come unraveled when you start pulling the threads.

    Path2pub: That sounds marvelous! What advice do you have for querying writers?

    James: Have a detailed tracking system! It is so easy to lose track of dates or who currently has your book. Having it all in one place makes the whole process easier.

    Thank you for stopping by, and for a smooth interview!



    James McGowan began his career right where he is: at BookEnds. He joined the team as an intern in the summer of 2015, and as the joke goes, they couldn’t get rid of him. He has worked in all departments at the agency and is now a literary agent representing a talented list of award-winning authors and illustrators. James’ list focuses on illustrated projects for young readers (board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade) as well as adult nonfiction and mystery/suspense novels.

    In addition to being an agent, James is a children’s author. His debut picture book Good Night, Oppy! launched from Astra BFYR in 2021. He is born, raised, and currently living in Staten Island, NY. He is a professional snacker, a huge fan of Jeopardy!, and fluent in sarcasm. To learn more about James, his wishlist, or upcoming client books please visit the BookEnds website or his personal website. To send a query, please use QueryManager. And to find a growing archive of thoughts no one asked for, follow James on Twitter and Instagram.


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  • Musically Spoken

    Music has always been part of my life. I’ve always loved playing piano and singing. During my college years I used to participate in a student group that put on cover concerts at school. It was so much fun, those are definitely some of my dearest memories from those happy years. Afterwards, I had the chance of singing in two different church choirs and the experience was beautiful and very rewarding. I’m lucky to have been surrounded by the love of music in different stages of my life.

    To be honest, when I heard the topic for this month would be Musically Written, I struggled with finding a topic for my post. Not because I don’t have a strong connection with music; but because I’m not someone who creates playlists for my stories, plus I usually can’t write while listening to music because I get easily distracted. Sometimes I listen to instrumental music, but most of the times I prefer silence.

    So, after careful consideration I decided to put together my love for quotes and this month’s music theme, and I came up with an idea to share quotes about music by famous writers. I hope you’ll enjoy reading and learning what these voices have to share about this topic. Maybe there’s some inspiration in them that will trigger ideas for your writing.

    As Stevie Wonder stated:

    “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s evident that music has always been a special universal language which moves humanity’s hearts in many ways.

    Freepik Photo

    So, without further ado, here I present my selection:

    “Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” – Plato

    “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato

    “Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen

    “Music isn’t just something that comforts or distracts us, it goes beyond that; it’s an ideology.” – Paulo Coelho

    “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” – Victor Hugo

    “The Earth has music for those who listen.” – Shakespeare

    “Love is a friendship set to music.” – Joseph Campbell

    “Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.” – Edgar Allan Poe

    “This world is not conclusion. A sequel stands beyond. Invisible, as music; but positive, as sound.” – Emily Dickinson

    “Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here!” – J.K. Rowling

    “Telling someone about what a symbol means is like telling someone how music should make them feel.” – Dan Brown

    “Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” – Kahlil Gibran

    “Music causes us to think eloquently.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “A romantic poem is something entirely different. A romantic poem touches the heart in a way that prose, art or music never could.” – Emily Browning

    “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley

    “We breathe the light, we breathe the music, we breathe the moment as it passes through us.” – Anne Rice

    “The secret is not to make your music louder, but to make the world quieter.” – Mitch Albom

    “Your voice and music are the same to me.” – Charles Dickens

    “My flute, is my oldest companion. When everything else fails, music remains.” – Agatha Cristie

    “All of us contain Music and Truth; but most of us can’t get it out.” – Mark Twain

    Pexels

    And last but not least, I was lucky to find a quote by my favorite writer:

    “If conversation was the lyrics, laughter was the music, making time spent together a melody that could be replayed over and over without getting stale.” – Nicholas Sparks

    What do you think? Pretty amazing, right? 🎵🎶

    How is it that there can be a lot to say about the same thing? Music is universal but very personal at the same time, and it touches our hearts and souls in unique ways. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did. Now, I have many new quotes to add to my collection.

    What was your favorite quote and why? Do you have any other quote by a famous writer that we could add to the list?


    Mariana Ríos Ramírez is a Mexican picture book author living in South Carolina. She was a high school teacher and co-owned an online business before becoming a writer. Her debut book, Santiago’s Dinosaurios, will be published by Albert Whitman & Co. in October 2022. Her second book, Abuelita’s Gift, will be published by Knopf in Fall 2024. Besides writing, Mariana enjoys photography, traveling, Chai Lattes, and k-dramas.

    Twitter l Instagram l Website l Linktree

  • Weekend Roadside Cafe

    The road to publication can be exhausting sometimes. Here’s a roadside cafe serving all things writing/publishing to relieve you: information sodas, entertainment burgers, amusement chips… we’ve got it. It’s alright to take a break; check out the menu!

    Info Burgers 🍔

    • How I Got My Agent: Contributor Amber shares her inspiring journey to getting an agent in this post!
    • How DVPit Changed BB Alston’s Life (A publication journey): In this fun post, writer of the popular Amari series shares how a single tweet (on DVPit) changed his life.
    • An Antagonist vs A Villain: Check out this post on the difference between a villain and an antagonist for writers.
    • Perfect Pitches: Here are over a dozen sample query letters, book proposals, a guide to looking up agents, and more by Lit Agent Eric Smith.
    • Nicola And David Yoon On Joy Revolution Imprint: Nicola speaks about her commitment to publishing authors dedicated to bringing stories that spark joy and offer a safe space to readers while revolutionizing a media landscape where people of color have been commonly erased as leading characters.
    • Spiderwick Chronicles Disney + Casting: For Holly Black/SC Fans. Christian Slater has been tapped as a major lead in ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’, Disney+’s live-action series adaptation of the popular fantasy books.
    Photo from Twitter

    Tweet Chips

    Links to tweets from the writing community we hope interests you!

    Informative Tweets

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  • Musical Inspirations For Fantasy

    If you’ve read my AUPQ response before, you might remember that music is a very big part of my writing process. Songs can stick in my mind for a long time and entire novels can be built off a single lyric or the vibes of a melody. I also like to put together playlists that form the “soundtracks” for my books, and keep those songs on loop while I write to help keep me in the zone!

    Sometimes when I come across a song/lyric/melody that inspires me, I do a little writing exercise and cobble together a short bit of fiction based on that bit of music. I find that it’s good practise for craft and can also be a good way to help overcome writers block.

    Here are three lyric quotes that I think are particularly good fantasy prompts, accompanied by the corresponding short fiction that I’ve written 🙂

    I stare at them, prostrating at my feet, with hope and fear entwined in their trembling voices as they speak of their grievances. A stolen cow, a flooded field, a dying child. They think I can save them, with my gilded crown and opulent silks – but how can I save anyone when I can’t even free myself. “I am not her,” I scream, yet no words escape from my lips.

    (An old piece that I wrote many years ago!)

    The drops of rain landed in puddles at his feet, somewhat reminiscent of the continuous streams of tears falling from the pair of crazed brown eyes that pierced through the hazy depths of his memories. She had been crying for help, for salvation from a never-ending hell of bright lights, fake smiles and night after night of cruel laughter. 

    But no one ever came. 

    Key made his way slowly through the dark alleys, retracing a familiar path he had once walked down so many times before, eyes darting back and forth furtively to make sure that no one else was around. He had no reason to be so frightened. The path was long forgotten, and those that once knew the way were gone. The walls of the alleyways came abruptly to an end and he stepped into a large clearing. It was empty now, with only patches of scorched earth to remind the accidental passer-by of what might have once stood there. 

    Something glistened in a corner. A long mirror leaning against a tall oak tree, its once pristine surface now splintered into a dozen shards, each reflecting its own bit of light from the street lamps above. As he walked towards the mirror, the faces on the other side became clearer and clearer. 

    The mirror had not always been alone. 

    Once upon a time it lived on a dusty wall among many companions of all shapes and sizes. An eclectic mix that reflected the oddities of the people that added them to this collection. The ringmaster liked those with ornate gold frames emblazoned with jewels like the shades of the rainbow. The clown with the wide smile and sad eyes owned the round ones with the square frames that never seemed to fit. The trapeze twins had two of every kind – shape was of no concern to them. The contortionist lady liked hers to be of the most unexpected shapes, invading every nook and cranny that one might never expect to find a mirror. 

    They loved the mirrors because they gave the illusion that there was another world on the other side that they might one day escape into. 

    He had tried counting the mirrors before, but each time he would lose count and end up with a wildly different number. Over the years, the mirrors kept increasing, their arrangements ever-changing, but there was always one mirror that drew him back again and again.

    It was a long, rectangular mirror with a dull silver frame, devoid of the embellishments surrounding all its sisters and brothers – and it belonged to her. 

    The girl in the cage. 

    I wonder if people ever spend time thinking about what the end of the world would look like. A pyroclastic cloud of ash accompanied by scorching lava, perhaps. Or a tsunami wave taller than the Empire State Building, yawning as it heaves its heavy body back down to earth.

    I bet they never imagined it would begin with a single whistle – because neither did I.

    ********

    If you want to give it a shot and come up with your own little flash fiction pieces based on the three quotes, go ahead and share it with us below!


    Amber is a PitchWars ’20 alum and a Wattpad Creator. One of her Wattpad novels, The Cutting Edge, has recently been adapted for television and is streaming on meWATCH. She is represented by Meg Davis at The Ki Agency.

    Website | Twitter | Wattpad | Instagram

  • Foundations

    Our theme for September on here is Musically Written and if you read my post in June, you know that music plays a huge part in my writing and reflects itself in my books. But did you know that I once was inspired to write a screenplay all thanks to a song?

    When I was in my writing youth, I tried my hand in writing everything I could. I mainly specialized in boarding school stories or fantasy because that was what I liked back in the day. But one day when I was maybe 14 or 15, I heard one simple song and my brain went “Why do you have a credit sequence going on?”

    The song was “Foundations” by Kate Nash. You can listen to it here. Kate Nash back in the 2000s was one of the rising stars of British pop music. The song “Foundations” made her into a household name over there and for some reason I found out about her. Granted, I was someone who watched a lot of British media, maybe more that than American media. I’m an original First Gen fan of Skins. That’s how old I am.

    When I first heard this song I had a vision of a man packing up a suitcase as he was leaving his London flat to go and help his family. There were also dominoes falling into place as he packed his suitcase.

    But what’s the screenplay about?

    The screenplay was never finished and what I have written is placed in a box in the basement of my parents’ house. I have no idea where exactly I can find it but here is what I remember: Owen Henry, a member of Scotland Yard, must go and help his older sister take care of her sons and daughters, as they recover from the death of her husband. Each one of her kids is going through the grieving process and his sister herself just gave birth to their youngest right before her husband’s death. Think of it as Cheaper by the Dozen meets The Pacifier.

    Only one person could have played Owen in my mind: James McAvoy. In my defense, I learned about him through the 2005 Disney and Walden Media Adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. That was when he was getting popular. By the time I had this idea of a screenplay, he was in Wanted.

    However, like most of my writing at that time in my life, I abandoned it. I didn’t mean to. I researched how to write screenplays and learned about the three act structure. I even printed off a few favorite screenplays to study. But I found that I liked prose writing more. I was able to write my stories using the three act structure in movies. (My current WIP is following the four act structure so it’s a bit different.)

    But if it wasn’t for one song, maybe my writing path would have changed drastically. But, then again. I spent November 2012 doing my very first NaNoWriMo as I studied abroad in London listening only to Taylor Swift’s Red album and Ed Sheeran’s + as I tried to rewrite Little Women in a modern day sense and have Jo and Laurie end up together.

    How about it you? Have you ever heard a song and gotten inspiration to write something? What was it like? Did you ditch it or were you able to finish it? Let us know down below in the comments.


    Briana Michelle Meyer recently moved back to America after spending 6 years living and working in South Korea as an English teacher. Currently she is working on a murder mystery and is hopeful about it because who doesn’t love murder in the morning? As of now she’s trying to resettle back into American life after being in Korean culture for some time so please be patient with her as she tries to remember how to American again. You can find her on Twitter or Instagram.

  • AUPQ: Strengths And Weaknesses As Writers

    Hello everyone, a reminder that next month’s theme is Countries We Write In and we want to see your city and day to day writing life, so share your photos with us!

    Today, Zainab wants to know: What would you say are your strongest and weakest points in writing?? Is it world building? Character? Plot?
    Thank you for setting up this feature. I always love seeing your collective answers!


    A writing question, yay! Let’s toot our horns. For strengths, I’ve always been able to write characters that readers root for, right from when I started writing seriously at 13–although that skill suffered for a bit last year when I started practicing writing from a technical standpoint. I’m also pretty good at creating captivating and unique plotlines. And my newer strength is in worldbuilding, which I learned last year and keep getting better at!

    For my writing weakness, I think it’s in word count. Because I go for pretty intense plot lines and love to focus on world building, my stories tend to run a bit long. I don’t have a fantasy MS that’s shorter than 100k words, although I try to keep the first books lower than 120k. I hope to get to a point someday where I’m not restricted by word counts when I write!

    —Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!

    Yay! I love writing questions! For me my biggest strength is the character. In my stories, my characters drive the plot. They drive the dialogue. They are literally in control of the story because it is the main character’s story, not mine. Even if I do an outline or have a rough idea of how I want the chapter to go, if the character takes it in a different direction, okay! Let’s just do you then. It’s your story, let’s see what you want to do and how you will achieve your goals.

    My weakness is definitely description. I honestly and truly don’t care about descriptive writing. We get it. You’re in the forest. You don’t have to go on ten pages describing every single detail of it. (Looking at you Tolkien.) I only write a description of a character if I think it is important to the plot. For THE FINLEY CASE, one of my main characters is a ginger. That’s really important because it has her stand out among the crowd of blondes, brown, and black hair. Sorry if you are a description fan but that is not me.

    —Briana, The Mystery Writer

    I am terrible at self-reflection! But if I had to choose I think my strength is in character development (like Lucia and Bri!), particularly developing relationship arcs between characters that readers care about. I do think that characters are central to a good story because without characters that people can relate to/root for, it’s hard to help readers feel for the story, so I’m particularly proud of having created characters that readers say have made them laugh and cry before.

    As for weakness, I think mine would be sticking the landings when it comes to ending a story. Different writers probably struggle with different parts of the story, whether it’s beginning, middle or end, and mine is definitely the ending, because I tend to get carried away with the awesome middle that I sometimes lose track of what’s happened and then need to rein things back in to figure out how to craft a good, satisfying ending!

    Amber, YA/NA SFF!

    Mariana

    I really liked reading the answers that other contributors had to this question. In my case, I consider one of my writing strengths is the way I add emotions to my stories. I think that I’ve been good at establishing emotional connections between the readers and my characters, so that they can really share the feelings that come through in the pages.

    Regarding writing weaknesses, I’d say that one of the them has to do with word count. Picture books have very limited word counts, since illustrations also have a great part on telling the story. In my first drafts I usually use a lot of words and sometimes I’m quite descriptive, which means later I have to spend time and effort cutting out words that are not essential to the story or that are getting in the way of the illustrator. I’ve been getting better at this with time and practice, but it’s something that I usually struggle with. Another weakness I’ve identified is that sometimes I have a hard time finding the right words when I write in English, since my first language is Spanish. Using a thesaurus has helped me a lot and I’ve noticed I’ve been increasing my vocabulary; however, there are still times in which it’s frustrating not being able to come up with the word I want.

    -Mariana, PB Writer!

    Alex

    Love the answers of my peers! For my strengths, similar to my peers, I think is character development and coming up with new story ideas. I can take a full day and develop a spreadsheet on my characters traits, relationships and problems. I also tend to write and edit fairly clean, and my editing process is not as bad as it seems. I tend to overanalyze every scene in my story, and it helps me during editing because during my read-through I don’t have many plot holes, my usual concerns are line editing and copy edits.
    My biggest weaknesses are descriptions and similar to Mariana, words. My first language is Spanish, so sometimes I tend to overuse or repeat a word unnecessarily. Just like Mariana, the thesaurus is my best friend in these kind of situations. But nevertheless, I like looking up synonyms and antonyms and also read more books to increase my vocabulary.

    -Alex, Romance Writer


    Tell us about your writing strengths and weaknesses below!

  • Outlining with Music.

    Alex Garcia

    Previously we had a question about how music influences our writing (Ask us questions post) and my answer stands, I love music and I have a playlist for each WIP.

    But one of the things I have done lately is adding a song below each chapter. I absolutely love hearing the playlists and songs some authors add to their books at the beginning of each novel.

    However, once I listen to the songs, I can’t really pinpoint which song inspired the chapter or scene. Sometimes when I become obsessively enamored with a novel, I tend to dissect every single word of it. I want to know anything and everything, so as a reader and a writer I decided to add the song below each chapter that inspired that scene for my WIPs. (And quite frankly each song helps me outline.)

    For this post I am going to share several songs that have inspired some of my chapters for my WIPs. I will also shamelessly add extra songs that have pushed me through querying and the heartache that the path of publication can bring. (Just like Lucia’s post).

    From my witchy book: Midnight Coven. 

    Chapter 1– Wicked Games, Gemma Hayes

    Main characters meet in the worst circumstances, their covens are rivals. 

    Technically this song was the inspiration for the entire book, so of course it made it to Chapter 1.

    Chapter 25 – My Salvation, Gabrielle Aplin 

    The main characters have just declared their love for one another and they have come to a conclusion that they want to fight with each other instead of against each other.

    From my figure skating sapphic romance book: Figure it out.

    Chapter 2- Whatever it takes, Imagine Dragons

    One of my main characters has just arrived at the ice rink and is ready to prove to her coach and my other MC how good she is.

    I had so much fun writing this scene! I love rivals/enemies to lovers and this book is no different.

    Chapter 13- Let the rain, Sara Bareilles

    For this scene my Main character is feeling the pressure of being in a relationship as well as pushing her limits while she skates.

    As you can see, I use songs to help me outline. As a panster/plotter at heart this also helps me to keep me on track with the feelings I want to emote for each scene. 

    As promised here are some of the songs I have had on repeat since querying and during low and sad times when I have rejections and overall the news from traditional publishing:

    Fight Song, Rachel Platten

    Daylight,Taylor Swift

    It’s OK, Nightbirdie

    And many of my posts I like to finish with a quote. This quote represents the way I feel about writing and career in publishing. If you need a break take it, but don’t fully stop.

    “I’d rather be a comma than a full stop.” Chris Martin from Coldplay


    Alexandra Garcia is a 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. 
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