Vlog: On Juggling Multiple WIPs at Once

You asked, so today I'm sharing my thoughts on working on multiple manuscripts at once—and whether I think it's a good idea.


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Do you work on multiple WIPs at once?

Twitter-sized bite:
Do you work on multiple WIPs at once? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)

Fixing the First Page Giveaway #40!

Photo credit: Annas Ateljé on Flickr
What the hell, guise, how are we halfway through October? I swear I blinked and now Halloween is nearly here and November is around the corner. Which is bizarre. But also means it's time for the next Fixing the First Page giveaway!

For those who’ve missed before, the Fixing the First Page features is a public first 250 word critique. Using the lovely rafflecopter widget, anyone interested in winning a public (as in, featured in a post on this blog) first page critique can enter.

For an example of what this critique will look like, here's the last Fixing the First Page post.

Rules!


  • ONLY the first 250 words will be critiqued (up to finishing the sentence). If you win and send me more, I will crop it myself. No exceptions.

  • ONLY the first page. I don’t want 250 random words from your manuscript, or from chapter 3. If you win the critique and send me anything other than the first 250 words of your manuscript, I will choose someone else.

  • I will actually critique it. Here. On the blog. I will say things as nicely as I can, but I do tend to be a little blunt. If you’re not sure you can handle a public critique, then you may want to take some time to think about it before you enter.

  • Genre restrictions. I'm most experienced with YA & NA, but I will still accept MG and Adult. HOWEVER. If your first page has any erotic content on it, I ask that you don’t enter. I want to be able to post the critique and the first 250 in its entirety without making anyone uncomfortable, and if you win and you enter a page with erotic content, I will choose someone else.

  • You must have your first page ready. Should you win, you need to be able to submit your first page within 48 hours of my contacting you to let you know you won. If 48 hours pass and I haven’t heard from you, again, I will choose someone else.

  • You’ll get the most out of this if it isn’t a first draft. Obviously, I have no way of knowing if you’re handing me a first draft (though I will probably suspect because it’s usually not that difficult to tell). I won’t refuse your page if it’s a first draft, but you should know that this critique will likely be of more use if you’ve already had your betas/CPs look over it. Why? Because if you don’t, the critique I give you will probably contain a lot of notes that your betas & CPs could have/would have told you.

  • There will not be a round 2 (unless you win again in a future contest). I hate to have to say this, but if you win a critique, it’s NOT an invitation to send me a bunch of your revisions. I wish I had the time available to be able to look at revisions, but sadly, I don’t. If you try to break this rule, I will nicely say no, and also remember to choose someone else should you win a second contest. Which would make me sad. :(

So that’s it! If you’re okay with all of the above and would like to enter to be the thirty-seventh public critique on Writability, do the thing with the rafflecopter widget below. You have until Friday, October 20 at 11:59 PM EST to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discussion: Do You Read Books Similar to Your WIPs?

Photo credit: kbrookes on Flickr
As I revise the last book of the Beyond the Red trilogy (which is surreal, and weird, but also, in a way, feels right), I've been thinking about all the YA Sci-Fi books I'm going to catch up on. Because since 2013, when I first started writing Beyond the Red, I've let my YA Sci-Fi reading—especially Sci-Fi that involves other planets, or aliens, or space—fall to the wayside with only a couple exceptions.

It wasn't an accident, either.

I think it's really important to know your genre and category really well—and I do feel that I do know YA Sci-Fi relatively well. But as a person with a lot of anxiety, I've also experienced more than my fair share of anxiety attacks over my brain convincing me my book(s) are too similar to books that are already out there. And not in a Red Queen is similar to Hunger Games and both are successful kind of way, but in a THE AUTHOR WILL SUE YOU FOR PLAGIARISM kind of way, which is an irrational fear because no, I've never plagiarized nor will I ever, but anxiety disorders aren't rational with their brain spirals.

So, as a way of coping with that, and also as a way of avoiding the worry as I write that I'm being too influenced by what I've recently read (which, as you can imagine, is a paralyzing thing to worry about), I've avoided books even remotely similar to what I'm working on.

And you know? Anxiety-wise, it's worked: I haven't had an anxiety attack over too similar!! in over a year now. And as a nice bonus, I now have a pretty decent idea of all of the YA Sci-Fi alien/space books I'd like to catch up on.

As I start thinking about projects I'm going to work on after I'm done with The Rising Gold, I've acknowledged I'll want to do research before I start writing—research involving other books in the genre and category that aren't too similar to my premise, but will still help me get to know the genre and category before I dive in. Once I start writing, though, I imagine I'll cut myself off a little more strictly.

I'm curious, though—do you read books similar to your WIPs while you're drafting? What are your thoughts? 

Twitter-sized bite:
Do you read books similar to your WIPs while drafting? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)

Vlog: How to Handle Foreshadowing

What is foreshadowing and how do you include it in your manuscript? Today I talk about how I handle it in my own work.




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How do you handle foreshadowing in your WIPs?

Twitter-sized bite:
Want to add foreshadowing to your WIP but not sure where to start? @Ava_Jae shares some tips. (Click to tweet)

INTO THE BLACK Pre-Order Campaign!

So my second novel, Into the Black, will be out in just over month! Which is...really weird to think about, but also really exciting because I love this book to bits. And I have some exciting news about Into the Black, namely—there are goodies for pre-orders!

If you pre-order Into the Black from any store in any format before 11/14/17 and have a US mailing address (I'm sorry international friends, truly I wish shipping weren't so expensive), you will get:

  • Signed, very pretty bookplates for both Into the Black and Beyond the Red (unless you only want one, which is fine). The bookplates are different for each book and I'd show you a picture except I don't have them yet so you will have to just trust that they are pretty because they are.

  • Into the Black and Beyond the Red bookmarks (again, unless you only want the one, which is fine!). These are also very pretty if I do say so myself. 

  • A personalized post card with a note from me to you. 

So many things! I'm super psyched to get these goodies out to everyone and also share this book. It's near and dear to my heart and I hope you guise love it as much as I do. 

To make things easy for you, here is a sample of links you can pre-order Into the Black from: 


Also! If you haven't read Beyond the Red yet, but are curious about Into the Black, that's cool! Beyond the Red's paperback releases on Halloween (which is a pretty cool release date, not gonna lie) and there will be a sneak peek at Into the Black at the end of the paperback. You can get that in many places as well, such as:


So that about covers it! I hope you guise are as excited as I am, and I look forward to putting together pre-order goodies for everyone! 

So I've pre-ordered, how do I get the goodies?

Glad you asked! Just e-mail your receipt and mailing address to avalonjaedra @ gmail on or before 11/13/17 at midnight EST. That's it! 

Hooray!

Twitter-sized bite:

INTO THE BLACK is almost here & you can get signed bookplates, bookmarks & more for pre-ordering! (Click to tweet)

Vlog: On Shiny New Idea Syndrome

So you're in the middle of a first draft, struggling to get words down, when suddenly you get this AWESOME idea for another book. Today I'm talking about Shiny New Idea Syndrome and how I generally handle it.




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How do you handle Shiny New Idea Syndrome? 

Twitter-sized bites:
What do you do w/ a new MS idea while drafting another WIP? @Ava_Jae talks Shiny New Idea Syndrome in today's vlog. (Click to tweet)

Fixing the First Page Feature #39

Photo credit: WordRidden on Flickr
October is just days away! Which means all things Fall are upon us, the leaves are changing colors, the weather is cooling in the Northern hemisphere (hopefully), and, of course, it's time for the next Fixing the First Page feature.

As usual, I'll start by posting the full first 250 excerpt, after which I'll share my overall thoughts, then my redline critique. I encourage you guys to share your own thoughts and critiques in the comments (because I'm one person with one opinion!), as long as it's polite, thoughtful, and constructive. Any rude or mean comments will be unceremoniously deleted.

Let's do this. 

Title: SONG OF BLOOD

Genre/Category: Fantasy
"The tavern was filled with pirates of various fashion senses. A gaggle of them roared for refills, sporting offensively garish breeches and egos to match. The older ones slouched in corners, black trench coats pulled up around their grizzled faces, rapiers hanging like dead men from their belts. With her outlandishly feathered hat and high collared coat, Captain Scarlet Rogue was right at home. 
She sat in the corner, hands clasped around a mug of ale that, by the look of the tavern, was most certainly watered down. The amber liquid sloshed in her glass as she tipped it back and forth, listening to pirates shout for drinks and pretty barmaids. 
One such barmaid had approached her, asking in a reedy voice if that was all she’d be having. Scarlet ignored her until she flounced off to go sit on some drunkard’s lap. She’d been sitting in the same tavern all day, and her hands were clenched around the mug so tightly she didn’t think she could let go if she tried. 
Her crimson hair was tied up and shoved under her hat, her revolvers tucked away into her coat. She was no longer the feared Scarlet Rogue, captain of the Vespers, a name that had once struck terror into the hearts of every good-hearted merchant and dirty-mouthed sailor. She was just Scarlet, captain of a ship that hadn’t left port in months."

This is so interesting! I love the characterization of Scarlett and definitely have lots of questions, as a reader. There are also some really nice moments of imagery I enjoyed.

I do think it'd be helpful to condense a bit to get to the part about how her ship hasn't left port in months a little faster, though, because I felt like it went on just a tad too much in places where it'd be more effective to get to the point.But overall this was an enjoyable start.

Now for the line edits!
"The tavern was filled with pirates and Captain Scarlet Rouge was right at home of various fashion senses. I'm suggesting you move (part of) the last line to the start, for a few reasons. First, starting with the protagonist right away helps better ground readers, who in your original version are left to kind of float around aimlessly until you mention Scarlet. And secondly, the "various fashions senses" bit wasn't really carrying its own weight, meaning that it was vague and didn't really add enough to the sentence that I felt it was worth keeping. A gaggle of them privateers (or another word for pirates) roared for refills, sporting offensively garish breeches and egos to match. The older ones slouched in corners, black trench coats pulled up around their grizzled faces, rapiers hanging like dead men from their belts. I love this image so much! "rapiers hanging like dead men from their belts" like, what powerful imagery! Really, really nicely done. With her outlandishly feathered hat and high collared coat, Captain Scarlet Rogue was right at home. 
She Scarlet sat in the corner, hands clasped around a mug of ale that, by the look of the tavern, was most certainly watered down. Nice voice. The amber liquid sloshed in her glass as she tipped it back and forth, listening to pirates shout for drinks and pretty barmaids. 
One such barmaid had approached her, asking in a reedy voice if that was all she’d be having. Scarlet ignored her until she flounced off to go sit on some drunkard’s lap. I want to encourage you to be careful with the word choice here, because Scarlett is starting to come off as arrogant, like she thinks the barmaid is beneath her. It's not endearing. She’d been sitting in the same tavern all day, and her hands were clenched around the mug so tightly she didn’t think she could let go if she tried. 
Her crimson hair was tied up and shoved under her outlandishly feathered hat, her revolvers tucked away into her high-collared coat. Bringing back some of that description I cut earlier. She was no longer the feared Scarlet Rogue, captain of the Vespers, a name that'd had once struck terror into the hearts of every good-hearted merchant and dirty-mouthed sailor. She was just Scarlet, captain of a ship that hadn’t left port in months."
So there are my suggestions! Overall, they're mostly just tightening notes, to help move things a little more quickly and ground the reader right away. I think this was a really strong start to begin with and I'm totally interested—if I saw this in the slush I'd definitely keep reading. 

I hope that helps! Thanks for sharing your first 250 with us, Arden!

Twitter-sized bite:
.@Ava_Jae talks grounding the reader, imagery and more in the 39th Fixing the First Page Feature. (Click to tweet)
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