Tag Archives: publishing

Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.

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Seek, Ask, Tell

If you’re considering writing as a career or as an extra side job to your daily grind, you have a few things to consider before you set off into your new adventure:

  1. Who do you want to write for? (This can be viewed in terms of both audience and publishing company.)
  2. What do you want to write about?
  3. How often do you plan on writing?
  4. Are you expecting to make a career out of it and what is the market like out there for writers?

These are just a few questions to consider when you’re about to start writing. Starting a blog, such as this one, is an easy task because it’s free, you can write about whatever you want, and you don’t have to really worry about making money off of it, unless you want to.

So what if you are considering writing as a career option? What should you start to look at when you’re in your beginning planning stages? I’m going to break down each section to help you better understand what to look for, though I do want to put the disclaimer here that I am an amateur and that these are explicitly my opinions based on classes and other research.

Seek

Who do you want to write for? There are many large publishing companies out there, such as Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, and more. But there are also smaller publishing companies, including magazines, that are just itching to get their hands on new material such as Jersey Devil Press, Orion, as well as local newpapers looking for stories from outside sources. Yes, some of these companies may not be able to compensate you for your work, but you’re still able to get yourself out there and build your portfolio.

So what are you looking to write? Are you currently working on your first novel consisting over over 50,000 words with chapters and a very active plot? Or are you looking at writing a poetic prose piece that barely fits a full page and can easily be posted online? These are a few questions to think about when looking for companies to publish your work to.

Also, don’t forget that many companies don’t take previously published work, so make sure it’s original!

Ask

There are probably many questions that you have about the publishing industry and how to get yourself out there, and you can easily look up many places that will give you advice on how to publish and where to go. Knowing the information ahead of time can help you to look better to a potential client as well as advancing your own know-how of a given situation.

One of the ways to do this is to ask those smaller publishing companies what they are specifically looking for, but not before you look at their submission guidelines page for further information (example from damselfly press). Always check around the publishing company’s website before asking questions because there might be a FAQs page or a submissions guideline page.

You can also ask other writers in forums about how they got their start, who they wrote for, what they wrote about, etc. It’s a great way to connect with other people who have the same passion and potentially learn something along the way, as well.

Tell

This is probably the easiest step of all: tell someone of what you’re doing! You never know if it could lead to someone who knows an editor of a magazine or knows someone who is looking for pieces of writing in your area of expertise. Networking is a great way to get know what’s out there, who’s looking, and grab some potential clients if you’re able to.

You don’t have to tell the whole world, though, and you don’t have to say anything about your idea. Let it be something precious to you and take care of it so you can potentially sell it or get it out there someday.

There are many ways in which you can approach publishing and writing, you just need to know where to start. Look at trends for what’s in now, what kinds of characters and stories people are reading, and what kinds of markets are growing and expanding. You’d be surprised with what you can find, just remember the risks and the potential of being rejected, but don’t let it get you down. Keep trying and you may find that you succeed.

 

Have you published anything outside of WordPress? If so, what were your methods and what/where did you get published? Let me know in the comments!

Creating a Story 101

Creating a story is like creating a baby: you have to love the idea before pursuing it.

Okay, well that sounded like an odd example, but it’s true! If you don’t love your plot or idea for a story, then what’s the point in even writing it?

If your objective is to reach out to an audience of high school girls, write a book about teen love or paranormal romance (are vampires still in?). If you’re writing to an audience of students in college, then make it sound more formal, but relatable. If you’re writing for a broad scope of sci-fi/fantasy fanatics, include awesome details about your setting so the person can imagine themselves walking inside of that world.

Whoever your audience is, creating the first words to a story can be hard. I, myself, find the hardest part of writing a story, whether it be flash fiction or a full out novel, it is always the middle of the story that’s the hardest. Beginning it is easy – continuing with it is hard.

I’m going to give a few tips as to what I think are helpful ways to creating a story. These have worked for me in the past, but they don’t always work for everyone.

  1. Start with the title. I know, sounds crazy, right? Most people add the title last to their piece of work, but I’ve found it to be the leading cause to starting the first sentence of my story.
  2. Start by writing, “Once upon a time…” Yeah, yeah, it’s corny, but it’s a good segue into starting a story. You don’t necessarily have to keep it once you’ve got your gears turning, but it can help in the process.
  3. Start with the end. It can feel weird to start with the end of your story, but if you know where your story is eventually going to end up you can then plot and think about what you want to happen that leads up to that moment.

Those are just a few simple tips to get you going. I’m sure you can think of, and find, many more ways to start a story, but I figure that this will at least help get the juices flowing and the gears turning.

Now I want you to actually write the beginning (or end) of your story. Go on, do it right now. I want this to be an interactive experience, so start writing by using one of my three tips above. If you find that you’ve gotten stuck, don’t worry, just stop and come back to this once you’re done.

Okay, you’ve got some things written up? Great!

Now that you have the beginning (or end) of your story, look at what you’ve written. Read over it and see if there’s anything you want to change or add just to the piece you have.

Sometimes the easy part is writing the beginning, but figuring out if you have an idea that’s viable or that’s entertaining and will keep the reader on the edge of their seat is the really hard part. Don’t worry so much about whether or not someone else is going to like it right now – do you like it? If you don’t like it, then there’s no point in writing it.

Now that you have the beginning of your story, think more in depth about what you’re writing. Maybe even before you begin a story you want to make an outline of who your characters are, the setting, the time period, the main plot, the climax, etc. There are different methods that work for everyone.

Think about your characters for a second. Who are they? Are they you? Are they your best friend from elementary school? Are they the bullies from your neighborhood? Or are they even your pet? Whoever they are, you have to come up with a personality for them. Don’t make them into average Mary and Gary Sues. No, you want them to be different and creative! Here’s a few tips to think about how you can think about your characters as you’re writing them:

  1. Create their own separate folder with all personality and appearance traits and ideas. Not only will this help to organize your thoughts, but seeing them in front of you will help you to realize whether or not your character is too ordinary and overused, or if you think you’ve found a keeper.
  2. Don’t make too many characters at once; just stick with the main character and maybe one supporting character for now. You’ve only just begun, so don’t throw in all ten characters (or more or less) at once at the very beginning. You need to get a feel for the character who’s going to be your main hero/heroine in the story before you add in the supporting cast.
  3. Think about how they would react, feel, think, etc in the environment you’re placing them in. If you’re going to have a young cyborg adult living in the Amazon Jungle with no real reason as to why he/she is there, then you might want to either rethink your character or your setting.
  4. Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and make the main character a little “messed up” in the head or have a super traumatic (or lack thereof) backstory. Or even make your main character the villain and make some awesome twists throughout. Don’t be afraid to take big leaps that may be “out of the norm” for a lot of popular story ideas today.

Characters are the heart and meat of your story, so think carefully when creating them.

If you haven’t done so already (especially since I made you write the beginning of your story), create some characters. But first, just start with one main character. Is it male or female? What is his/her sexual orientation? What does he/she believe? What kind of education does this person (is it a person?) have? Who can he/she trust? Did he/she have a tragic backstory or did he/she lived a charmed life? Is he/she tall and lean or short and pudgy? Is he/she the villain or the hero/heroine? Write down your main characters from appearance to the inner workings of their mind (and if you can’t figure it all out, don’t worry, your characters usually come to life on the page on their own without your knowing).

Now that you’ve got your main character figured out, do the same for your first supporting character.

When you’ve got all of that figured out, try thinking about your plot and your setting. These are entirely up to you and you can base them on either real life situations or you can make them totally out of this world. Try your hand at both and maybe you’ll find that you like one over the other, or that you want to somehow combine the two. Either way, think about what you’ve read in the past and what has struck you as really cool or really fascinating.

Story writing has a lot of elements to it, and though I’ve barely scratched the surface, I’m sure that if you start writing and are able to work through getting to know your characters, your setting, and more, that you will find yourself successfully writing a masterpiece (in your eyes or in the eyes of a publisher). Get to work and start writing your story!

Making an Impact

schoolAs the semester has begun, I have already become stressed. Now this is not to say that I’m ready to throw in the towel by any means (it is my last semester, after all), but I am already finding myself to feel as though I have bit off more than I can chew.

That aside, let me talk about the classes that I believe will have a huge impact on me: On-line Magazine and Writing for Business and Technology.

Even though I’ve had one class so far in On-line Magazine, I can already tell I’m going to enjoy this class. Why? I’ll be able to publish more pieces of my work to be able to have a stronger presence not only online, but also when it comes time to apply for a job. The professor wants us to learn the importance of this small fact of publishing, and so she wants us not only to branch out into a blog atmosphere like this, but to also send stories to various companies, including the university’s online alternative magazine, Detour.

It’s a great feeling to think that more of my works will be published, and therefore I will be able to, hopefully, grasp the attention of potential employers in the upcoming months.

That is also why she wanted us to create a portfolio on a site like WordPress. I’ve added some of my better works to my current portfolio page, as was a requirement of the assignment, but also to say, “Hey, I can do this type of work, too!”

As for Writing for Business and Technology, the professor doesn’t want to focus on just learning how to write resumes, but rather she wants to be able to help the students to reach further and beyond just the entry level job. And so we get the task of rewriting the course description to better fit the needs of what it means to actually write for a business or technology.

Sounds pretty cool, right?

So far I’m enjoying the class and have learned about six literacies that are fundamental to not only the classroom, but also the workplace: basic, rhetorical, ethical, social, technological, and critical. Though each can be taught individually, it is more important to teach them in a much more collaborative sense as each is of equal importance.

These two classes in particular, I believe, will help to drive me into my future. I hope that whatever may come of it, I will be impacted by it in the best possible way.