Music Monday – Royals – Lorde

Welcome to Music Monday! As many of you know, music contributes a great deal to my writing process. Whether it’s a song’s lyrics, beat, rhythm, or tone, I find myself constantly inspired by it.

To be honest, I’ve been obsessed with a few songs this week. So, I tossed a coin on which one to choose, and the winner was Lorde’s “Royals”.
I find inspiration in this song for one simple reason: I LOVE Lorde’s voice. It has a husky, resonating quality to it with just a hint of edge. And that’s how I’ve always imagined my protagonist’s voice to sound like. Sharp yet soft, dark yet light. It’s kinda freaky, but also completley motivating. Every time I listen to “Royals”, my MC springs to life. I can actually “hear” her, which leads me to writing her in a sharper, realer, more genuine way.
So, if you’d like to listen to “Royals”, here you go! Maybe you’ll find inspiration in it as well?

What song(s) are you in love with right now? Which one(s) offer you inspiration? Let me know! I’m always searching for songs that motivate my writing.


Friday Funny with Revisions and a Side of Snail

Hey, guess what everyone? It’s finally Friday. Hit it, George!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist myself. I used to hear this song on the radio every Friday morning while getting ready for school. Years and years later, I still sing it to myself on Fridays 😛

Well, overall, it’s been a calm and productive week. I even managed to squeeze in a little fun. Yesterday I played hooky from work to spend the day at the Denver Zoo with my family and a couple of friends visiting from out of town. It was such a nice break from the daily grind.

IMG_2146On the manuscript front, things have been both frustrating hopeful. Last Saturday, I began revising my first draft. Almost a week later, I’ve only edited two chapters. Two! Yeah, talk about sloooow going.

No, my snail-like pace isn’t because I’m being lazy or unmotivated or distracted. It’s because I’m no longer writing a story. I’m building one. As I revise, I’m constantly asking myself, “Why is this happening?” and “Who are these characters?” and “How can I make this more interesting–more relevant?” It’s no longer about pouring ingredients into a bowl. It’s about baking a cake. That means this draft is going to take time. And these first chapters will take a lot of time. They’re the ones that will set the tone and lay the foundation for the rest of the story.

So, with that in mind, I decided mid-week to send the first two revised chapters to my harshest and best critic: my mom. More than anything, I wanted to know what she thought about my two main characters. Are they likable? Are they worth developing? Or are they annoying, cliche, and/or blahhh? I figured, why dive headfirst into the story if the characters carrying the weight of it aren’t engaging? They need to be yum!, not ho-hum.

 Thankfully, after chewing my nails all day, my mom called and told me she genuinely enjoyed my MCs and would like to know more about them. Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, she had issues with a couple of other things, and she asked me some questions about the plot I had a hard time answering. But, it’s okay. That’s what second drafts are all about–finding the problems and fixing them. And, hey, better to fix them earlier than later, right?

So, in honor of my up and down week with my revisions, and my many “yippee!” and “icky” moments, here is today’s Friday Funny. Enjoy!


How about you? How was your week?

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

In case you missed my posts from earlier this week, here you go: 

Music Monday – Downtown – Petula Clark

Book of the Month: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

How to Write the Perfect First Page

How to Write the Perfect First Page

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, last week I finished the first draft of my YA manuscript–yippee! This week, I’ve started revising it–ugh. And I haven’t made it past chapter two–double ugh! Believe it or not, my slow progress isn’t due to lack of motivation or energy, or worst, irksome butterflies. I’ve actually been writing more than I have in weeks.

The real problem is I’ve been struggling with hitting the right note of my first pages. They’re so, so, so important. Not only do they need to hook the reader and entice them to read on, but they need to set the tone and foundation for the rest of the novel. And I just can’t seem to get them right!

hookThankfully, I came across this article via Helen Hart (@SilverWoodBooks) to help me out:

How to Write the Perfect First Page

I’ve changed the first page of my novel a lot. I can’t even tell you how many times. It happened because as I was writing, I followed a lot of writing blogs, attended a lot of author talks, and browsed a lot of guides that had a lot to say about the first page. I guess the thinking is that readers thumbing through books in the bookstore and agents alike make snap decisions based on those initial words—so you better make it good!

To read the entire article, click here!

For more great tips and advice, be sure to follow Helen Hart on Twitter!