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Monday, December 30, 2013

Stacking Your Brainstorming Ideas

When I sit down to brainstorm--whether I'm letting my ideas free-flow or I'm trying to come up with a solution to a problem in my manuscript--I start listing possible ideas.

After I find several that work, I stare at my answers and try to decide which to use. I start weighing my ideas against one another. Sometimes I get in this little battle over them, weighing the pros and cons of each.

Then it hits me.

Can I find a way to use most or all of my ideas?

Usually the answer is yes.

And my story is better when I stack multiple ideas together. It's more likely to exceed my audience's expectations when I do that.

So, today's post is short, because it's simple. When brainstorming, see if you can stack your ideas and utilize as many as possible. You're story will likely be better because of it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Resources for Writers

Last week I posted about the best books I found this year. Today, I'm listing all of the valuable resources I've found for writers, including a site where you can create your own audiobooks, references for writing tips, and a word processing plugin that will actually teach you to write better.

(Sidenote: Thanks for participating in our giveaway! You can see the winners here!)

References for Writers

If you hold the rights, you can go to and turn your book into an audiobook. You can either read the book yourself, or hire an actor. Here's how it works for the latter:
1. You upload an excerpt of your book
2. Actors audition for it.
3. Judging from the auditions, you pick who you want to read it.
4. Once it's all recorded, you're set to sell it. ACX can get it up on major retail sites.

Watch this (fun) video about the process.

Check it out for yourself at

The Emotion Thesaurus

One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by exploring seventy-five emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment, including situations where a character is trying to hide their feelings from others. The Emotion Thesaurus also tackles common emotion-related writing problems and provides methods to overcome them.

This writing tool encourages writers to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Best Books of the Year

I didn't keep complete count of all the books I read this year, but at some point I estimated around 40 or 50--fiction, nonfiction, and unpublished. Here are the best books I read this year, in no particular order.

Fiction for Readers

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

 Once, a hero arose to save the world. A young man with a mysterious heritage courageously challenged the darkness that strangled the land.

He failed.

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor know as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and even the Lord Rule himself. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one built around the ultimate caper, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine, a street urchin who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a Mistborn.

Read my review here. Or check it out on Amazon.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Read my review here. Or check it out on Amazon.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

R is having a no-life crisis—he is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he is a little different from his fellow Dead. He may occasionally eat people, but he’d rather be riding abandoned airport escalators, listening to Sinatra in the cozy 747 he calls home, or collecting souvenirs from the ruins of civilization.

And then he meets a girl.

First as his captive, then his reluctant house guest, Julie is a blast of living color in R’s gray landscape, and something inside him begins to bloom. He doesn’t want to eat this girl—although she looks delicious—he wants to protect her. But their unlikely bond will cause ripples they can’t imagine, and their hopeless world won’t change without a fight.

Read my review here. Or check it out on Amazon.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Free Books, Gift Card, Critique, and Swag! Giveaway :)

This giveaway is now closed.

Hello my lovely followers! I'm giving away two eBooks (your choice) and a first 5-page critique alongside some other prizes from bloggers, like a $5 Amazon gift card, swag, and more books! Why? While it is my blog's 1st Birthday and the Holiday season and I'm hoping to finish the second draft of my novel by the end of the year(!), this is really just for fun! Just enter below with a click of the mouse. :)

(If you've already followed my blog, Twitter, or Facebook, click all three options below to enter.)

In other news, I've been working away on my book. I'll be honest, it's been tedious the last two weeks--the kind of two weeks that remind me that this really is work, not all play. But my revamps have totally been worth it. The scenes I've been working on are much better than before. Thank you for following my progress and thoughts here on my blog.

**Please help by telling others about the giveaway!

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Thank you :)