How Art Can Save Your Novel’s Life!

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Hey everyone,

Above is a little sketch I drew about a year ago when The Last Queen of Terrivea was just an idea. The sketch is of the necklace Ophelia wears throughout the book, it’s the one her mother gives to her. Anyway, lets get down to business.

How can art save your novel’s life? Easily, by giving your ideas a physical space in the world. This not only solidifies the image you have in your head, but makes it easier on you when you have to describe said idea in writing.

Having a visual reference is always helpful when it comes to writing your book. Sometimes you can’t find the right reference you need online, so you’ll sketch it out for yourself. This is commonly referred to as concept art. It’s a helpful tool to turn abstract thoughts into concrete creations.

You don’t have to be an artist or good at drawing at all, since these pieces of art are generally only meant for you as a reference. I am going to suggest something to you that I think is really important, not only for sketching concept pieces, but for your writing in general.

Carry a small sketchbook around. Why?

  1. It gives you somewhere to jot down your ideas when they hit you.
  2. It allows creative freedom for notes and sketches, since the paper is not lined.
  3. Keeps your mind active and sharp, which can lead to great brainstorming sessions.
  4. It’s less distracting than electronics when doing brainstorming sessions.
  5. Is portable and easy to jot/sketch at anytime you feel the urge.

You can buy a cheap sketchbook pretty easily, but you can also make one yourself. Pinterest and Youtube have great tutorials for this. Here are a few photos of my most used sketchbooks.

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Your writing probably won’t suffer if you don’t bother sketching or jotting your ideas down. From personal experience, I find that it makes the process of brainstorming a lot easier, whether it translates to your prose or not.

One last tidbit of advice: write down any and every idea that comes to your mind, even if it seems stupid or bad. Just do it. Some of the best ideas sprout from bad seeds.

Thanks for reading!

-Lalia LaRose

P.S: Here’s a list of links for tutorials on how to make sketchbooks:

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How Cue Cards Can Be Your Best Friend

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Hey there everyone!

I wanted to talk to you all about something I’ve used to help improve my writing as I’m writing. This trick is pretty simple anyone can use it, plus they can tweak and change it to their needs.

This trick is to use cue cards to remind of important aspects of writing that you need to include. For example, under Story and Plot I have questions like: Are the stakes high enough? or Is the story predictable?

On my ring I have cue cards for Story and Plot, Character, Writing Tools, and Scene. Under each category I have a pile of cue cards with questions and tips about the category. The really nice thing about this is that you can add new tips and questions at any time and easily. You can add new categories or sub-categories to suit your needs.

It’s nice to have these cue cards by your side while your writing so remind yourself of the things that make good writing. You can customize it to target the areas you need the most help on so you can improve your writing. They are meant to be used as a tool to help you get into the habit of asking yourself necessary questions and learning how implement them as you write.

It’s like using flashcards to study. For Writing Tools I used Roy Peter Clark’s book Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. I didn’t write down all 50 writing tools, but I went through and wrote down the ones I know I need to implement. One I particularly like is “Put odd and interesting thins next to each other.”

This cue card technique can be used for just about anything, not just writing. I find that is more compact and easier to use than making check lists on papers to look at. It’s a but more engaging and more fun to make since you can be creative with it. Mine are basic and adjusted for my needs.

It’s simple, yet helpful, tool I wanted to share with you!

Thank you for reading,

-Lalia LaRose

Book Update (including a life update)

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Hey guys and girls, thought I should give you an update on how The Last Queen of Terrivea is coming alone. Still on the second draft, which entails writing in large chunks of story to fill in the plot points that I have added. The next step is to rearrange my current manuscript to reflect the changes I made to the plot. Once I’ve rearranged, filled in blanks, and make a list of my common mistakes to avoid, I will be moving onto the next step.

The rewrite. Probably going to be one the most daunting tasks thus far. Let me be clear, I’m not rewriting my manuscript because it’s unfixable or horrible. I am rewriting my manuscript because I know that I can make it even better that way. In the same amount of time that it would take to fix everything up (including all my boring/mediocre prose), I could rewrite it. The rewrite will also help teach myself how to avoid some of my most common mistakes while writing. Two birds one stone.

After the rewrite I plan to look through the novel, again, and find anything I missed, should add, or should change with the plot further. At this point I hope that there are only minimal plot changes and that my characters are on point. Then I can look at some smaller aspects that might need tweaking, like scenes and prose that need some life. Dialogue and descriptions will probably be on that list as well.

From there it’s redrafting and editing until the manuscript sings.

Now, for the life update.

I’ve been laid off of my day job. Due to budget cuts and union bumps, I will no longer hold my position at the end of June. It’s unfortunate, but life goes on. I will be looking for new positions and in the meanwhile I will be on the casual list. If I cannot find a new position I can remain on the casual list and focus on my novel in the meantime.

Thanks for reading,

-Lalia LaRose

The Last Queen of Terrivea (sneak peek)

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Please keep in mind I am still working on my second draft, so this sneak peek is a glimpse into the rough first draft of my novel. 

“I should get ready to return home,” Ophelia smiled at Saxon, “I had a wonderful evening, thank you.”

“I’ll walk you to where you need to go,” he offered.

“Okay,” Lia nodded.

They walked to Sarah’s room and stopped to ask a maid to tell Sarah that she was getting ready to leave. When they arrived at Sarah’s door, Saxon lifted Ophelia’s hand and gave it a soft kiss.

“Have a safe journey home,” he smiled, “I hope to see you again soon.”

“Same to you,” she felt her cheeks heat up.

He tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear, before she turned and entered her cousin’s bedroom. She went to the changing screen and stuffed her clothes into her large purse. She had just closed her bag, when she heard a loud thud. She turned and walked to the door with her purse in a tight grasp. She opened it to see that Saxon had a man pinned against the wall with a hunting knife against the man’s throat.

“What are you doing?” Ophelia’s body stiffened.

Saxon looked at her with a steely glare, but as soon as their eyes met his gaze softened, “Don’t-”

“Father!”

Ophelia looked passed Saxon and the man to see Sarah standing in the hallway. Lia then looked at the man and realized that he was the King, her uncle. However, he didn’t look shocked or scared. He held a cold stare at Saxon, before he turned his blue eyes towards Ophelia. His eyes narrowed on her, which caused a cold shiver to climb up her spine. He looked back at Saxon.

“So you’re here to assassinate me boy?”

“That’s right,” Saxon sneered.

I hoped you enjoyed! Sorry for being late for Monday’s post, but here it is! 

Thanks for reading,

-Lalia LaRose

 

Inspiration, Motivation, and Imagination

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First, lets get some definitions out of the way: (all definitions came from the dictionary app on my MacBook)

  • Inspiration:
    • The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  • Motivation:
    • The reason(s) one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
    • The general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
  • Imagination:
    • The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or image or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.
    • The ability of the mind to be creative or resourceful.

To be completely honest, you only need one of these things to write, and that is imagination. Don’t curse me yet please! Let me explain.

Inspiration and motivation help make the writing process easier and they are quite valuable in a creative line of work. However, they are not pivotal to the writing process. Just stay with me as I make a comparison.

In any regular day job you don’t need a lot of inspiration or motivation to through the end of that day. It’s nice to have motivation, since it makes the day go by easier, but it isn’t necessary.

When it comes to creative jobs and hobbies inspiration and motivation become intertwined. To be motivated one needs to be inspired, or vice versa. This is a pretty natural process, but for some people motivation is hard to come by and inspiration even more so. Other people are lucky and have enough motivation they could hike a mountain. I congratulate those people, but a lot of people are not like that. I, for one, have a hard enough time getting out of bed.

Inspiration is similar to motivation in the fact that there are few people who are inspired consistently. There are not many people I know that are inspired everyday to do something. I will say that I am lucky enough to feel inspiration a few times within a two-week span. Not everyone is that lucky.

Because most people don’t have consistent inspiration and/or motivation we cannot rely on being inspired or motivated to get work done. If I only wrote every time I was inspired and/or motivated my first draft of The Last Queen of Terrivea probably would not be complete. I have a feeling most writers would be in the same boat.

So how do we crank out those words? We just write. We work out our creative muscle, imagination, and start typing. Sometimes this is enough to inspire and/or motivate us to continue writing for a longer period of time. Sometimes not, but we still do our work for the day.

For those of use who are not regularly inspired or motivated there is a piece of advice I can give to increase productivity!

Create a writing schedule that works for YOU! You’ve probably heard this before and you’ve probably tried this before. For some of you it might have worked, and for others it might not have. There are probably a few reasons why it might not have worked for some of you:

  1. You left your schedule too loose.
  2. You made your schedule too strict or tight.
  3. You did not make it realistic or practical (either too high of expectations, or too low)

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I’ve recently made my own schedule and I made sure to keep these points in mind when I made it. There were other factors that I kept in mind when I made my schedule as well. For example, I wanted to keep my weekends open for time with family and friends. So, I made a schedule that fit in the weekdays.

I also did not give myself time restraints for tasks/goals and I gave myself a limit of 5 goals/tasks per day. I did this because I know I can get overwhelmed easily. So having that limit will make it easier for me to actually complete all the tasks I want to get done in a day.

I’ve also started to improve and increase my marketing with social media, and so I included this in my daily tasks, as you can see. You might also notice that I left blank blocks for tasks, I did this for two reasons:

  1. I couldn’t think of anything to put there, so I left it open for future tasks I might want to add.
  2. So I know I can have breaks between my marketing bit and my actual writing time.

I put a lot of thought into making my schedule, because I didn’t want fail myself. I wanted to succeed in my quarterly goals and I wanted to improve my productivity. I am serious about making writing my fulltime career and I need to take these steps to get there. I know this, so I am putting in the time and effort. I may not have been motivated to make my schedule, or inspired to create a beautiful copy of my schedule, but I had the imagination to create a schedule that will work for me and help me reach my goals.

I will mention that these methods might not work for everyone and that’s fine. Everyone has to explore and find what works for them. Everyone is unique and so their approach will also be unique.

Thank you for reading,

Lalia LaRose

 

 

Life/Book Update

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Hey there everyone!

So I finally made myself a schedule! Woohoo! So this post will be updating you all on what to expect in the future now.

So I will be posting regular blog posts here on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

I will also be starting up  Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. On those accounts I will be posting special content like: Concept Art previews on Mondays, Life/Book Updates on Wednesdays, and Exciting Book Snippets on Fridays. There will also be just everyday content on as well.

Also, I wanted you all to know that you can find me on Tumblr and Pinterest. All of my social media will be under the name Lalia LaRose, so you can always find me under that name. I will be posting the URLs under about me and my contact page.

Thanks for reading,

Lalia LaRose

Summer Quarterly Goals

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Hey there, to accompany the results of my spring quarter I am posting my goals for the summer (June, July, and August). There will be a lot of repeats from the spring quarter.

  1. MAKE A SCHEDULE!
  2. Go for check up.
  3. Read some books.
  4. Write some poetry.
  5. Finish second draft of The Last Queen of Terrivea.
  6. Prepare and Post excerpt of LQoT.
  7. Make basic outlines for future novels.
  8. Write 3 blogs per week.
  9. Do some art.
  10. Research how to improve marketing.
  11. Improve marketing.
  12. Prep for LQoT rewrite.
  13. Budget for summer.
  14. Don’t over stress.
  15. Have some fun while you’re at it.

Numbers 14 and 15 seem like cop-outs, but these are things I need to remind myself of often. I easily can get stressed out and overwhelmed, it’s just how I am, so 14 and 15 are very important reminders for myself. I am hoping to complete at least half of these goals by the end of summer.

Thanks for reading,

Lalia LaRose