Writing Dark Fiction, Guest Post by TE Carter

Today I have a special guest for you! At my last book signing, I met TE Carter, the author of the upcoming over I Stop Somewhere. The two of us got to talking about our experiences writing dark fiction, so I asked her to write a blog post on her experiences and some of what she dealt with to write her debut novel. Learn about my experiences writing dark fiction by watching the YouTube video, or read the blog post by TE Carter’s to see what she has to say about the subject.

About TE Carter:

TE Carter was born in New England and has pretty much lived in New England her entire life (minus a few years in high school). She still lives in New England with her husband and their two cats.

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading classic literature, playing Xbox, organizing her comic collection, or binge-watching baking competitions.

Find her online at:Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

About the Book:

I STOP SOMEWHERE will be released on 2/27/18 from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan in the US and on 5 April 2018 from Simon & Schuster in the UK.

US Purchase Links!

UK Purchase Links!

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Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

Writing Dark Fiction, feat. TE Carter

There’s that old bit of writing advice that you should write what you know. I’ve always taken this to mean less that you should write only what you’ve experienced, but more that you should focus on the topics and ideas that are relevant to you personally. I strongly believe in this advice, but I also think it’s sometimes misunderstood. I don’t think JK Rowling “knows” young wizards; instead, she was writing a region she knows, with themes that mattered to her.

For me, what’s always been present in books is a place where I could feel like I belonged. I didn’t have that in my life outside of reading for the most part. Because I’ve long struggled with anxiety and depression, I tend to have a very hard time connecting to people, but I never felt that way with fictional characters. On the page, there were people who saw the world the way I did and, in their thoughts, they reflected back some of the feelings I was struggling to express. This drove me to reading and, as a result, writing.

What I know is that there’s comfort in addressing the darkness we sometimes feel by saying it aloud and facing it head on. So, I’ve used that in my own writing, focusing primarily on YA contemporary with a darker edge. It’s cathartic and has allowed me to voice what I’ve kept inside for most of my life, but at the same time, when you do face these things directly, it can take a lot out of you.

Another famous bit of writer advice is to write every day. Because of the content I write, I’ve never been able to do this. I need a lot of time to recharge, so I can go months without writing. I suppose I’m never actually “not writing,” because I live in a way that means I’m always observing, making note of things in the world, seeing patterns in behavior. All of this goes into my work, but as far as sitting down and putting words to paper, I probably only write about 3-4 months a year. When I’m actively working on a book or edits, I’m invested in that world 100%, and I sometimes write for 10-12 hours in a day. I write quickly as well during those periods, but after writing draws that much energy from me, I need a break. Generally, I step aside from the writing for a bit, go back for edits and revisions, and once the book is finished, I can go several months without thinking about the next story. It’s the only way to keep myself from getting too deeply invested in the darkness of the things I tackle in my novels and to leading to further depression.

What I think this demonstrates is that every writer has to find the advice that works for them – and also has to know when to say no, that doesn’t apply to me. The literary world is full of so much wonderful variety that it’s expected writers come from various places and thought processes. All writers should embrace what works for them, and put aside any doubts that their system isn’t the right one if it’s improving their own process!

5,000 Subscriber Free Book & #ChanceChallenge

It’s already the second week of September! How is that possible? My last semester of college has begun so things are a little crazy for me, so I wanted to let you know I’ll only be posting once a week until finish classes in December. On another note, by YouTube channel hit 5,000 subscribers! In celebration of having 5,000 amazing subscribers, I wanted to do more than giveaway a book to one person. I’m going to give a book to…well, anyone who wants one.

For five days, starting today, my second novel, I am Mercy will be available for free on Kindle.

Download I am Mercy for free.

If you end up downloading the book, let me know in the comments below! Also make sure that once you read I am Mercy to review it on Amazon or Goodreads!

Normally at the start of each month I’d do a monthly goal video, but because I have classes I want to focus all my efforts on graduating and finishing writing the first draft of my third novel. To finish writing my third novel I’m going to be joining fellow YouTuber, Kim Chance, in the #ChanceChallenege.

Why wait until November to have national novel writing month? Kim took the lead and is hosting any writers willing to join in from now until October 8th to bring everyone together to hit their word count goals. I’ve been working on my third novel all summer to finish writing it, and now I’ll be using #ChanceChallenge to finish the first draft! Finally!

How to Take Part:

Create an Account on myWriteClub. It’s easy to set up, and it’s free! Create your goal and start adding friends to help motivate you to achieve your goal! My username is mandilynnwrites.

Use #ChanceChallenge to follow everyone taking part.

Most of all, check out Kim’s blog post for full details and follow her on myWriteClub as well!

Time to get writing!

 

 

Witches and Cadets || BookCase Club August 2017

Get your subscription to BookCase Cub: http://bit.ly/2ljr9R3
Use the code Mandi15 to get 15% off your purchase!

The Summer on East End Tripple Moon by Melissa de la Cruz

After they cause a terrible accident at their old high school, twin witches Mardi and Molly Overbrook are sent to live with their “aunt” Ingrid Beauchamp in North Hampton, on Long Island’s mist-shrouded East End. Because the twins cannot control their powers, their father begs Ingrid to tame them over the summer, before the White Council exiles the girls to Limbo.
Trouble continues to bubble and boil when the girls meet the younger Gardiner boys, who are just as handsome and sexy as their older kin. But all is not as it seems. As Ingrid helps the girls learn to control their magical impulses, Mardi and Molly have just this summer to figure out how to grow up, how to love, and how to be a family.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.
So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty… no matter how much she wants him.
As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.
Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust… and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Novel Outlining: Chapter Guides || YA Ink

Watch on YouTube

You’ve all heard me talk quite a bit about novel outlining. Over the years I’ve used a few different methods to get the same result, but what I haven’t talked about is how I also like to outline my novel while I write. When I outline my novels I start by making a simple chapter-by-chapter outline of my novel of what I want to happen. As I write each chapter, I go into more detail, answering the who, what, where, when and why questions. This means that whenever I write, I have two Word documents open. One of my actual manuscript, and another of my chapter guide. Once I finish writing a chapter in the manuscript, I hop over to my chapter guide and input the information there.

Why Does it Work?

Keeping a chapter guide keeps you organized in your story. You know what happened when and if you forget something you’ve written, you don’t have to jump back into the manuscript, you can just jump back to the chapter in your chapter guide.

The answer to What is the most important (in my humble opinion). If I can’t get a good answer to What, then that means I’ll have some re-writing to do when draft 3 comes along.

 

Find me on Pinterest!

Keep in mind that when you create your chapter guide, you’re the only person who will read it. Don’t worry about proper sentence structure. These are your notes. Use bullet points and write only about what’s important. This is not the place to write long sentences of description.

Side note: You don’t have to create your chapter guide as you go. Sometimes I like to use it after I’ve finished the first draft of my manuscript and I’m getting ready for draft 2. By going through each chapter and answering these questions, I not only see any holes in the plot, but I’m able to see what chapters drag on too much and maybe need a touch of excitement.

 

Download the template or find the template on Pinterest.

Do you think a Chapter Guide will help you craft a better novel? Let me know in the comments below!

 

How to Get Motivated to Write || YA Ink [w/ Kristen Martin]

Watch on YouTube

This week I’m teaming up with the wonderful Kristen Martin. If you haven’t heard of her already, be sure to check out her YouTube channel and check out her videos on writing! But this week Kristen and I are talking about three things that keep us motivated. After to watch my video, be sure to check out Kristen’s here: https://youtu.be/gKU1mq1NAzk

Surround Yourself With Other Authors
My biggest motivator is surrounding myself with other writers. Have you noticed that as I’ve written more, I’ve been collabing more with other author YouTubers? That’s not a coincidence. Working with other authors and following their social networks is a huge motivator, and it pushes me to work harder. For example, I met Kristen in person at this year’s BookCon, and after I saw her at BookCon I’m more motivated than ever to work hard so I can find myself at BookCon some day. And let’s face it, most of us who watch writing videos on YouTube aren’t watching them to learn, we’re watching them to get motivated.
Talk About Your Writing
I love to fake it to make it. Tell yourself you’re a writer and you’ll eventually live up to it. Tell people about your writing, that way they’ll start asking, “Hey, Mandi, how’s that book doing?” And hopefully, you’ll say, “Great, I just wrote another 1,000 words last night!” Hold yourself accountable for your writing. Make it so people will check in on you. Tweet about it on social media talk about it on your YouTube channel. Make it so you have to write so you have something to tell other people when they ask about your book. And then when you’re done writing it, they might just want to read it!
Give Yourself Something to Write About
While locking yourself away to write is great, you have to make sure you experience your life. I recently had a conversation with the graphic designer from my job and we were talking about the benefits of travel. When you travel you open your eyes to new things. When you’re on vacation you notice things differently: textures, smells, sounds. Take note of them when you’re on vacation and use them in your writing. I love to travel and one of my favorite ways to do this is through hiking. I have a second channel where my boyfriend and I go hiking and we use my GoPro to film. If you’re interested in our adventures, check out our YouTube channel, DustySnowboots. (Those are our trail names…).
How do you motivate yourself to write? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to watch Kristen’s video!

Even Book Nerds Need a Puppy

Watch on YouTube

This is not book-related at all. This week’s video is purely about showing off my family’s new little puppy Dawson. Dawson is a 9 week old (at the time of filming) Shih Tzu. He’s the cutest little ball of fluff and even though he likes to bite anything near his face, he’s still absolutely adorable! See his debut on Youtube!

And sometimes he helps me write…sometimes…

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Picking a Title for Your Novel…My Author Fail || YA Ink

Watch on YouTube

So you may remember my recent post? I said I was revealing the title of my third novel? Not to make it seem like it was click bait–I had all the intentions of revealing the title of my newest novel–but…I may have overlooked one tiny detail. I originally said my third novel was going to be titled Remedy for Memory, but there’s another wonderful Youtuber, Brista Drake, who has a book titled Remedy for Memory. Now Brista has been awesome and said I can title my book that as well, but after feeling a little bit silly for not remembering that was the title of her book (I follow her on YouTube for God’s sake!) it just doesn’t feel right to title my novel Remedy for Memory.

For now, novel #3 has no title, but it will I promise! And when it does I won’t have the same issue!

I wanted to spend today talking about how you should choose a title for your novel. More specifically, if you’ve chosen a title, making sure it will work for you.

Do Book Titles Have Copyright?

The good news is books can have the same title. There is no copyright over titles unless it’s a book that has an “image.” This would be the case for something like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is a trademark, if you used the name in your title you would get sued if it caught their lawyer’s eyes. While you can legally use the same book title as someone else, it’s not always the best idea.

Same Titles?

It’s important to do a Google or Goodreads search when you’re titling your novel. It’s okay if a title is the same as another book, but it shouldn’t be a book in the same genre simply because you don’t want people confusing the two books. Now the book I’m writing and the book Brista published aren’t technically in the same genre, but we use the same marketing techniques. We both appear on YouTube, so our books, and ourselves are bound to bump into each other. With the same titles, things would just get confusing.

Does the Title Fit the Genre of the Book?

Just like you want your cover art to speak for the genre, you want the title of your book to speak for the genre as well. Often times you’ll know a romance novel from a mile away because of the title, and that’s a good thing! A lot of books will get bad reviews because their cover art or title was misleading. Some readers don’t always check what genre a book is, so when they pick up a book with a title like The Floral Night and it ends up being a book with blood and gore, odds are a reader will leave a not-so-good review.

Most of all you just want to make sure the title feels right to you. Play around with a few different options until you find out what’s right for you. And don’t do what I did and announce the book title is absolutely final and you’ve done your research.

What are some of the titles of your novel/works in progress? Share them in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

How to Become a New York Times Bestselling Author || YA Ink

new york times bestselling author how to become

The New York Times Bestseller list. It’s a goal all author aim for. Once you’re on that list, you get that title for life. For every book your write, you get “New York Times Bestselling Author” printed on the cover of all your books. Unfortunately, getting this goal is a little complicated and the first step to getting on the list is to know how it works. So let’s break it down!

Self-Published? Not Going to Happen

You can be a bestseller on Amazon (which is still amazing!) you just won’t be a bestseller per the New York Times. Self-published books can never reach the mass quantity of sales needed to hit the bestseller title and in a little bit, you’ll see why.

I Have to Pre-Order How Many?

So the bestseller list is, in theory, based upon sales the first week a book is published. You sell the most books that week out of all new released? Bam! You’re a bestseller. But the thing is, in order to sell a huge amount of books, you have to have huge amounts of books to sell. A bookstore isn’t just going to magically stock hundreds of copies of your book. Last I checked you have to sell about 10,000 pre-orders of your book for your published to be like, “Well this is awesome, we need to thousands of books to sell!” Preorders are how publishers gauge how many sales they expect to make. Bookstores also use preorders to determine how many more books they want to order on top of that to sell to those who haven’t yet preordered the book.

But My Publisher Will Print Thousands of Copies!

There’s a lot of prep that goes into traditional book publishing. Publishers have a professional media team that markets the heck out of books so they can make the most out of that first week of sales. The thing is, they aren’t going to do this marketing or printing of thousands of copies unless they are 99.9% sure your book is bestseller material.

It’s About Supply and Demand

Or in this case, demand and supply. Once again, your publisher and bookstores will only request a huge supply of books if there’s a demand for it. And of course, you have to write a good story.

So do I, a self-published author, still dream of being on the New York Times Bestseller list? Of course! I’m an author and I could love to have that title! I don’t care if behind the scenes things are a little screwy and not fair. As long as I’m writing, I will continue to shoot for this dream (no matter how unrealistic it may seem).

new york times best selling author

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites Stay tuned for my vlog of my first experience at BookCon!

3 Things I Learned as a Writer

3 things I learned as a writer Shaelin Bishop

Today I’m doing a collaborative video/post with another awesome writer who I know you’ll love. Meet Shaelin Bishop, another writer on youtube. Today we both decided to discuss some of the many different things writers learn throughout their career. After reading/watching my points, be sure to check out Shaelin’s video. And if you haven’t subscribed to her already, be sure to do that!

What Are Some Things Every Writer Learns?

Hater’s Gonna Hate-

Not everyone is going to enjoy your writing, it’s just a fact. The larger audience you reach, the more haters you’ll gain. But also keep in mind, your fans will always outweigh your haters and it’s your fans you need to listen to. If you have haters, then congratulations, because this means you’re at least semi-famous and people have invested enough time and enjoy into their daily life to dislike you. Take it as a compliment.

You Can’t Protect Your writing-

A lot of people are hesitant about sharing their writing when they first start off because they are terrified that their ideas are going to be stolen, then talk of copyright ensures. The fact of the matter is that no amount of copyright can protect your work. In theory it does, but there’s nothing stopping people from stealing your work unless you want to jump into a lawsuit. The only thing you can do is stay on top of things and report any abuse. Even best-selling authors get their work stolen. Just keep in mind, if someone steals your story, it means they like it, so it’s a compliment in a way. I’ve had my own novel stolen and uploaded to a site that was giving it away. The only thing I could do was report it, and I did and it was eventually taken down.  If someone “steals your idea” you have to remember that there’s no original ideas, just an old story being told in a different way.

You’re More Than Just a Writer-

Whether you’re traditionally published or self-published you’ll end up doing a lot more than just writing. As a published author, you not only get to write, but you’re in charge of marketing yourself. Ultimately, your success is dependent on your hard work. As an author you’re in charge or writing, marketing, your website, going to book events and the content you create online. If you’re a self-published author your list of to-dos more than doubles because now you need to do everything your publisher would normally do for you on top of all your authorly duties.

Check out Shaelin’s video!

What have you learned as a writer?

3 things I learned as a writer

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Why Do I Write? #IWriteBecause

#IWriteBecause why do I write

Reedsy recently contacted me to do this #IWriteBecause video and I’m so happy to finally share it with all of you! If you’re a writer you’re invited to make your own #IWriteBecause video and submit it to Reedsy and for every submission, they will donate $10 to Room to Read which provides education to girls in Africa and Asia. Join the movement and share your love for writing!

See why other authors write: https://blog.reedsy.com/iwritebecause

#IWriteBecause reedsy author novel

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites