Novel Outlining: Chapter Guides || YA Ink

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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.

 

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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]

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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!

Writing Progress of Novel #3 || July Goals

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Today’s my 21st Birthday! It’s also Independence Day here in America! With that said, the video you’re watching right now is most definitely pre-recorded because as you’re watching this I’m on vacation in Boston.

With the writing of my third novel officially underway I’m going to start doing monthly check-in videos. At the beginning of each month I’m going to be saying what the word count of my novel is, and maybe some goals I hope to accomplish by the end of the month.

July Goals:

Word Count

At the time of writing this blog post, novel #3 stands at about 20,000 words, but this is pre-recorded/written. So I’ll probably have a few thousand more words written by the time this blog post goes live. My goal has been to write 20,000 words each month and I’ve accomplished that for June, so I’m hoping in July I’ll have 40,000 words!

Re-Organize Author Website

I really like my website, but I feel like the content could be organized a bit better. My goal is to fix just a few minor things and maybe give the header of the website a face-lift.

Exercise

Non-writing related, I used to work out a lot, but recently life has gotten in the way of that. I’m hoping that since things will be a little less stressful in July, I’ll be able to hit up the gym at least 4x a week, though the goal is 5x a week. (Setting the bar low so I don’t disappoint myself).

Become a Remodel Master

As I write this I’m in the process of moving into my basement. The past few weeks my dad, myself, and my boyfriend have been working to put up drywall, paint, and add a window. Everything is coming out great and my hope is that my July goal isn’t to move in, but to re-finish a desk. My dad has this really old desk that I use for my sewing machine and I’m going to try to sand it, paint it and give it new handles. We’ll have to see how that comes out at the end of the month…

I’m going to stop here. If I give myself more goals then I probably won’t accomplish anything at all. Let me know in the comments below what you plan to accomplish in July!

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

Even Book Nerds Need a Puppy

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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

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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

Book Unboxing || BookCase Club June 2017

BookCase Club Unboxing

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

In this month’s box:

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

On her eighteenth birthday, Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt,” will inherit her family’s treasure: the Newington Emerald. A dazzling heart-shaped gem, the Emerald also bestows its wearer with magical powers.

When the Emerald disappears one stormy night, Newt sets off to recover it. Her plan entails dressing up as a man, mustache included, as no well-bred young lady should be seen out and about on her own. While in disguise, Newt encounters the handsome but shrewd Major Harnett, who volunteers to help find the missing Emerald under the assumption that she is a man. Once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure that includes an evil sorceress, Newt realizes that something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

bookcase club unboxing

Find me on Instagram! @mandilynnwrites

AuthorTube WorkInProgress Tag

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So there’s this tag called AuthorTube WIP Tag and I was tagged by the lovely Natalia Leigh. Unfortunately for me, good for all of you, the tag asks questions about my latest work in progress. I wanted to wait until I had a least the first draft of my third novel done before I started revealing information but I figured, eh, why not? So here we have it! The official title reveal of my novel! (Coming to a bookshelf near you)

What is the working title of my book?

To be determined! Right not I call it novel #3 because I’m not original.

Where did the idea for your book come from?

Both my grandparents have/had a form of dementia. I wanted to write a book that reverberates around the themes of desperation to cling onto your loved ones and also the fact that when someone has dementia you loose them twice. First mentally, then physically.

What genre is your work in progress?

Thriller? We’ll have to wait and find out!

Choose the actors for your movie rendition.

I don’t what TV or movies enough to have a list of actors I love…I live in a bubble.

One sentence synopsis of your book.

Sam’s house was on fire the night Willow reached her breaking point, and now she doesn’t care who’s life she ruins when she attempts to find a cure to Alzheimer’s disease.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My goal is to query agents once I’m happy with the outcome of the manuscript. I feel I’ve finally reached the point where I have enough experience and a big enough platform that maybe, just maybe, a publisher will take me on!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I’m in the first draft phase still, but we’re getting there! I’ve been working on this story since the summer of 2016 but I wasn’t able to get serious about it until recently.

What other books would you compare the story to?

Still Alice by Lisa Genova, in terms of subject matter, not genre. If you haven’t read her novels yet, pick them up! They’re amazing!

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

My grandmother who has frontal temporal dementia (Pick’s Disease) and my Memere who had Alzheimer’s.

What else about your book might peak the reader’s interest?

This novel doesn’t even compare to Essence and I am Mercy. So far, this novel reaches a whole new level (but I may be biased).

I tag: Shaelin Bishop, Kristen Martin, Vivien Reis

My First Experience at BookCon!

 

Guess who went to BookCon for the first time! I may have only gone for one day, but I had an amazing time! I went with a friend from college, Ellen, who is a fellow writer/booknerd. We had a fabulous time and although I didn’t get to vlog as much as I wanted to, I still want to give you guys some insight into the experience.

When Ellen and I first got there we arrived late so we missed the first book signing we wanted to attend. As BookCon newbie’s we also didn’t know that you needed autograph tickets to go to any of the signings that weren’t at a booth and by the time we realized this all the tickets were sold out. We were a little bummed but we were determined to get an autograph from at least one BIG author. And that author was Reneé Ahdieh. She had a booth signing so we bought her book about two hours before the signing and got in line about 45 minutes before-hand. And guess what? We were some of the first ones to meet her!

 Reneé Ahdieh BookCon Book Expo of America

Also, you may think standing in line for 45 minutes is boring but you meet really awesome people to fan-girl over with about books. Also, while standing there we also fan-girled over Mayim Bialik from Big Bang Theory signing her book, Girling Up.

Mayim Bialik Girling Up BookCon Book Expo of America

We went to a few panels, bought some books, got an ARC and, oh! Did I forget to mention I met Kristen Martin? It was great to finally meet a fellow author YouTuber! I’m a huge fan of Kristen’s and if you haven’t checked out her channel already, be sure to now! And since I met her I also bought her series so I could have them all signed!

new york times best selling author

All in all it was a great day! I didn’t come home with bags and bags of books, but honestly, I didn’t want to. (Do you have any idea how heavy books are?) Next year Ellen and I are crossing our fingers to go both days, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you there!

Bookcon Book Expo of America

BookCon goodies:

The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh (signed)

The Alpha Drive, The Order of Omega, and Restitution by Kristen Martin (signed)

The Cellar by Natasha Preston

Why Do Dukes Fall in Love? by Megan Frampton

Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward

BookCon Book Expo of America

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