20,000 Words Deep

I just reached 20,000 words on my YA novel. So I’m over here like…

Ahh The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, love that show.

 

The little one is still asleep, so I’m going to keep writing.

I Hope you are having a great weekend!

♥R♥

Pic Pick Friyay: Friday Harbor

Happy Friyay! I chose images from Friday Harbor, Washington to share with you guys. Friday Harbor is one of the places in the Puget Sound that I picture when I am writing my YA novel. As I mentioned in the post where I explain my YA novel, Rebecca (the heroine in my story) wants to study marine biology, and Friday Harbor would be a fantastic place to fall in love with marine life. There are whales, porpoises,  seals (so many seals), star fish, crabs, clams, and much more.

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Have a wonderful weekend.

♥R♥

ALL IMAGES ARE COURTESY OF ©MILESMCKEEPHOTOGRAPHY

Killing Time With This YA Quiz

Hi guys,

I got sucked in to one of those online quizzes, “Can We Guess Your Favorite YA Novel”. It’s YA so I just HAD to, right?

They guessed The Hunger Games for me.

 

YA quiz

 

I did enjoy The Hunger Games series, but I would have to say my favorite YA book is either: The Hatchet, The Call of the Wild, or White Fang.

 

Take the YA quiz by Livingly here.

Four Things That Scare Me While Writing A Novel

As I close in on 20,000 words for my YA novel, I keep hitting the same anxiety hurdles:

  • What if I don’t finish?
  • Will I like my story when I finish?
  • What if a publishing company doesn’t want my book?
  • What if I self-publish and nobody wants to read my book?

These four questions swarm my head like flies buzzing around a overly-ripe melon. I’m constantly swatting at them as I write. Sometimes the questions become too much and I have to stand up and walk away from the keyboard, away from my doubt, and away from the swarm.

Combating the fear

I’ve always been a worrier, even as a child I would literally worry myself sick and give myself stomach aches. My mom would soothe me by asking,

“What is the VERY worst thing that could happen in the scenario that you are dwelling on? Discover what is in your control and the factors that are left to fate.”

So taking my mother’s advice, I decided to list my fears and examine the worst-case scenario for each.

What if I don’t finish?

Completion is entirely up to me. I have ultimate control on whether or not I finish this story, unless I die before it’s completed, but hey at that point i won’t care anymore. In order to finish I just have to get past my fears and procrastination.

When I rationalize this part of my anxiety, it’s really quite stupid. So, moving on…

Will I like my story when it’s finished?

What I’m really afraid of, or the “worst case scenario” is that I will finish it and then abandon it because I’m tired of it. What if the completed story is a cheap re-print vs. the original masterpiece I created in my head? (I’m abusing the word masterpiece here.) The mountain of edits and rewrites is daunting, and I don’t know if I will have the motivation to summit that mountain.

But again, I can control the outcome, I just have to battle the same demons above: fear and procrastination.

What if a publishing company doesn’t want my book?

Now we are getting to the festering part of my anxiety. This is where panic sets in and my manuscript is about to brutality end because my fears strangle my creative voice.

So I put a ton of time, energy, and heart into my story. I complete a solid draft and edit until I can’t edit anymore. I line up my list of book agents and publishing companies and write a snazzy cover-letter, attach my manuscript, hit “Send”, and nothing.

I don’t hear back. I don’t even know why my book was rejected.

Months go by, and I open my story again. The malleable story I thought I was sending out into the agent/publishing world to be critiqued, re-shaped, perfected, but nobody wants to work with my little fledgling story.

Where did I go wrong? What do I change?

This question breeds more questions and anxiety. This is a scenario where outside factors play a role in achieving my dream.

What if I self-publish and nobody wants to read my book?

Again, I complete my draft, pay multiple editors to review my book for grammar, structure, and flow. I pay someone to publish my manuscript, now I have time AND money invested in my story.

Then nobody buys my book. Or maybe a few people do and it gets horrible reviews. I literally paid to have my dreams crushed.

Pretty dismal right?

So how do I combat my fear?

When I start to panic and drown in a sea of self-doubt I remember this quote:

 

professional-writer-quote

 

I also remember what my mother would ask me, how much can I control? I realize that I can control most of the fate of my book. I may get rejected from my top choice of agents and publishing companies, but if I keep re-writing eventually someone will want to work with me. Or I can take my chances self-publishing and be content knowing that my loved-ones will read and enjoy my book (simply because I wrote it and they are biased). Neither of these outcomes are terrible, and most importantly by writing this novel, I am becoming a better writer.

What do you do to combat your fear of failure? Please answer by commenting below.

♥R♥

 

A Book Review: Sketchy

Sketchy

 

Bea’s life has been a mess ever since she got kicked out of private school and sent to rehab. Now clean, Bea is starting over at Packard High School, in a city shaken from two assaults on young women. The latest victim, Willa Pressman-the one who survived-doesn’t remember a thing. But Bea has a disturbing new “skill”: she can see-and then draw-images from other people’s minds. And when she looks at Willa, Bea is shocked by what she sketches. Bea might be the only one who knows Willa’s secrets-and who can take down the killer before he strikes again.

Olivia Samms stokes the flames of suspense in her book Sketchy. I really like the main character Bea, I would hang out with her in real-life. She is strong, smart, feisty, and isn’t afraid to be her unique-self. She’s unapologetic, and keeps it real. (She actually reminds me of my YA book’s heroine Rebecca.) Samms captures high school and college life through her accurate and detailed descriptions, setting the stage for this murder mystery. Samm’s attention to detail is what pulls you into Sketchy and forces you to walk beside Bea while she hunts for the killer.

I’m so excited to read the next book, “Snitch” in The Bea Catcher Chronicles.

Also, how cool is it when authors take the time to interact with their readers?

Capture

Happy Reading,

♥R♥

A Book Review: The Caged Graves

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The year is 1867, and seventeen-year-old Verity Boone is excited to return from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, the hometown she left when she was just a baby. Now she will finally meet the fiancé she knows only through letters! Soon, however, she discovers two strangely caged graves . . . and learns that one of them is her own mother’s. Verity swears she’ll get to the bottom of why her mother was buried in “unhallowed ground” in this suspenseful teen mystery that swirls with rumors of witchcraft, buried gold from the days of the War of Independence, and even more shocking family secrets.

The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni is a FUN read. There is mystery, romance, and suspense that will make you gobble up the pages and keep you on your toes. The love triangle between, Verity, Mathew, and Hadley will keep you guessing until the very end. The Caged Graves is “historical fiction”. Salerni was inspired to write her novel based on two mysterious caged graves that are located in Catawissa, Pennsylvania.

100 Followers & Something New

Illuminated Literation has reached 100 followers! I’m so excited and so grateful for each and every one of you. I’ve been having a lot of fun writing, reading, and interacting with you all.

To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do something new. I have to admit I’m a little apprehensive to share with you a video that I made. I can’t stand to hear my own voice recorded, let alone see myself on video, but I forced myself to do it anyway. I really wanted to do something different and to share the status of my YA novel.

 

To sum up what I stumble through in the video, here is a short synapses of where my YA story is at so far.

Brian Colt is seventeen years old and alone. After losing his family in an automobile accident he is forced to leave Alaska and is sent to live with his uncle Bo Colt in Washington State. What’s super awkward is that Brian has never met his uncle Bo. He knows that there was a  major fallout between Bo and his father when they were teenagers, but no one ever talks about it. What’s even more awkward is when Brian meets his cousin Rebecca Colt (step-cousin, thank God) who he is reluctantly attracted to. Brian plans to go back to Alaska and take over his family’s logging operation as soon as he turns eighteen, but first he must survive senior year and live with an unforeseen, violent opponent.

Rebecca Colt has big dreams to become a marine biologist. She knows that the odds are stacked against her and nobody believes she will amount to anything. Her nickname at school is “Hot Garbage” because everyone knows her family is trash. The trailer she lives in is less sanitary than some of the dumpsters in town. Her step father Bo tells her exactly what he thinks of her with his fists, and her mother Tammy is lost in her pills. Rebecca’s one saving grace is her best friend Kali, the one person who believes in her, that is until her cousin.. (eh hem)…step cousin comes to town…

That is my story thus far. Thank you for following and for reading. I hope you guys have an awesome week.

♥R♥

COVER IMAGE FOUND HERE.

 

Three Distractions That Kill Writing

Since I began writing my YA novel I have become incredibly efficient at everything other than writing. My house is cleaner than it’s been before my son was born. My office is organized, my kitchen is tidy and de-cluttered. We rearranged the furniture and I planted my hanging baskets.

Every time I think, I should get back to my book, a new chore pops into my head that has to get done right away. Procrastination is fickle, ever-changing, and a writers worst nemesis. Aside from chores, here are the main culprits of distraction that I battle every day.

Television

Oh sitcoms, you are my downfall. F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Golden Girls, The Middle, and many more. I could easily lose days watching these shows. It’s so tempting to zone out when my son is sleeping and just let the television entertain me.

Turn off the damn television Rachel.

Internet

Here are the tabs I currently have open on my screen:

  • Amazon
  • Redfin
  • Yahoo
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Etsy
  • WordPress (duh)

Poor little Microsoft Word is minimized at the bottom of my screen and shovedlike a pair of dirty socks out of my immediate visual proximity.

I can justify WordPress because I’m writing and engaging with other writers, but the rest of the tabs I should just close up and put away for an indefinite while. They are total time-sucks. I spend so much time reading about other people’s success (real or otherwise) when I should be focusing on my own goals.

Close the damn tabs Rachel.

Reading

Reading is valuable research, but also my deadliest procrastination. If someone told me I had to chose one source of entertainment to pick, reading would win hands-down every time. Aside from spending time with my friends and family, reading is my greatest joy. It’s my drug and my own YA book pays for  my addiction.

My Solution: Balance

To complete our goals we all need balance. If I gave 100% to my goals, I would burn out and I can’t allow my patience to extinguish, because my husband and son need me too. I have given up A LOT of my television time, that addiction was by far the easiest to weed-out. I’ve tried cutting back on the internet, but it’s more persistent and follows me wherever I go (hello smart phone). So I try really hard to just check my notifications, and I don’t allow much scrolling. I focus on the most important media outlet (WordPress) and spend most of my time there. I still get sucked in, but I’m working on it.

As far as reading goes, I am only reading one book at a time and I allow myself to read AFTER I write before bed. I also sneak pages in while my son is playing or during nap time. I’m a firm believer that reading is critical for writers, and I simply refuse to deprive myself of the joy of reading.

What are some of the deadliest distractions to your writing? How do you battle your procrastination demons? Let me know in the comments below.

I gotta go, my Microsoft Word icon looks sad and neglected at the bottom of my screen.

♥R♥

 

 

Book Review: Illegal

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A promise.
Quinceañera.
A promise that we would be together on my fifteenth birthday . . .

Instead, Nora is on a desperate journey far away from home. When her father leaves their beloved Mexico in search of work, Nora stays behind. She fights to make sense of her loss while living in poverty—waiting for her father’s return and a better day. When the letters and money stop coming, Nora decides that she and her mother must look for him in Texas. After a frightening experience crossing the border, the two are all alone in a strange place. Now, Nora must find the strength to survive while aching for small comforts: friends, a new school, and her precious quinceañera.

Bettina Restrepo’s gripping, deeply hopeful debut novel captures the challenges of one girl’s unique yet universal immigrant experience.

Restrepo’s book “Illegal” tells the story of Nora, a young woman from Mexico who goes in search of her beloved father in the US when he goes missing. Nora is a female protagonist that you root for from beginning to end. She is strong, sweet, caring, tough, and loyal. You want to see her succeed and you want to reach into the story to lend a helping hand.

“Illegal” is authentic and genuine. Nora’s dangerous and tough journey of crossing the border and establishing a life in the US provokes compassion and understanding. I highly recommend this story to people of all ages.

Happy Reading.

♥R♥

10,000 Words Deep

I reached the first milestone in writing my YA book. I reached 10,000 words this morning. Actually, 10,343 words to be exact when I looked at my word count. The average YA story has around 55,000 words, so I know I still have a long way to go, but I’m a firm believer in celebrating little victories.

This is a sandpaper draftit’s rough, but I love it like the awkward toddling little creative creature that it is. I’m basically just spewing out the story as I write, but it’s very cathartic because I have been carrying my ideas around with me for about five years.

I’m doing a little happy dance (quietly because there is an actual baby in the next room still sleeping).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

♥R♥