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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Guest Post by Andrea Murray

oVivid Tour Andrea Murray


Andrea MurrayToday we're excited to host a guest post by Andrea Murray, author of the brand new novel Vivid.  In addition to Vivid, she's also the author of Omni, a young adult dystopian novel.  Today, she's going to share advice for other aspiring authors out there.


What advice do you have for aspiring authors?


Don’t write that first sentence! Just kidding although sometimes I feel that way.  Once you begin, it’s like an addiction but a good one.


Keep working.  Set up a time daily to work, and keep that time no matter what’s happening.  Finding time is often a struggle, but I really try to maintain my writing/reading time, and that is harder than it seems.  Sometimes, I look around and see toys that need to be picked up, clothes in the hamper awaiting the wash, or a coffee cup that needs to be put in the dishwasher, but I have to put on my blinders and focus on storytelling.  You also have to be willing to sacrifice for it.  What do I sacrifice? Sleep!  My writing time is between 4:30 AM and 6:00 AM.


Know your characters. You MUST know everything possible about your characters.  You should be able to drop your character into any situation and know exactly how your character will react.  Talk to them, but don’t let anyone hear you doing that or they will begin giving you strange looks.  Listen to their responses.  See them.  Know what they look like even if you never introduce that into your story.  If you know your characters well enough, you will be able to create the best conflict.  I try to put my character into the situation I know he/she doesn’t want to be in.  That’s when I get my story.


READ! Good writers are good readers.  If you aren’t reading, how can you expect to write? Yes, it’s time consuming to spend time reading and reviewing other works, but you can’t write if you don’t experience other writers’ styles.  Reading expands your own writing and helps you know what’s out there in the world of novels.  You don’t want to fill a notch that’s already filled, but you won’t know if it’s your notch without reading.


Not having an agent is not the end of your dream. When I began, I really worked hard to get an agent.  I queried, revised, queried again, revised, cried, and repeated this cycle for a year.  I was spending so much time on querying that I’d lost my reason for needing an agent in the first place.  I’d stopped writing and hated even thinking about it.  After that year, I kind of decided to cool it with the agent stuff. Don’t let an agent stand between you are your dream.  Put your work out there despite not having an agent.  Life is too short to wait for the stars to align and for your query to end up on exactly the right screen at exactly the right time.  


Criticism shouldn’t put you in the fetal position.Ever read a novel you hated?  Ever give feedback?  I admit it; I have given some harsh reviews.  (You can read them on my Goodreads Author Blog or Chick Lit Plus.)  Receiving harsh feedback is beyond hard!  You can’t please everyone.  Chocolate chip cookies are amazing, but you can’t get the whole world to eat one.  Not everyone will like your novel.  It’s okay as long as the bad doesn’t outweigh the good, and sometimes you can learn something from your feedback.  Read it.  Digest it for what it’s worth.  Try to pull out something useful.  MOVE ON!  Don’t dwell too long.  It will make you hate this thing you love.


Know your audience. I know teenagers.  I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know, without a doubt, what kids like and don’t like.  I have long since lost count of the number of students I have had over my eighteen years in education, but one thing I’ve learned is that teens don’t really change.  Styles change, language changes, but kids are overall the same.  They might have trouble explaining what they loved about a book, but they most definitely know what they hated about it.  From that, I deduced things they like.  Reluctant readers won’t read a long novel.  It might be the best book EVER, but if it looks like you could smash a small rodent with it, they won’t touch it.  Kids like short chapters.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and a clear goal.  Most kids like a little grit.  They want a character with at least a touch of bad. It isn’t realistic to think kids don’t hear cursing and talk about mature subjects.  If they go to public school, trust me; they hear it.  Does that mean the book should be overflowing with sex and profanity? No, that is likely to turn them away.  It’s a balance—one I’m constantly striving to achieve.


Poor format equals frustrated readers.Take the time to look into the correct format for typing a novel.  There are several ways to do this.  E-Publishing sites, like Kindle and Nook, have formatting guides for their specific devices, and this can become quite confusing; however, a general format for Word is more or less the accepted format.  Double-space.  Use a “normal” font consistently.  Learn to use style headings and bookmarks.  These things are a must if you want to look professional.  No serious reader, much less an agent, will give you any notice with your super-special, totes fab, I-can’t-follow-simple-directions format.


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Thanks for visiting, Andrea!


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Vivid Andrea MurrayAnd here's the scoop on Vivid:  Her entire life she has feared her power and its connection to her mother’s murder. 

When Vivian Cartwright was five years old, she witnessed her mother’s death. Now, sixteen-year-old Vivian only wants a normal life, hard to accomplish when you possess the power to control energy. She has kept her ability a secret from everyone except her guardian, Charlotte, who has hidden Vivian from the man responsible for her mother’s murder. 

Her secret is safe until Vivian defends herself at school using her power. After this first use of her gift in many years, Vivian’s power seems to take on a mind of its own, increasing in strength and demanding to be used. This increase in power also brings dreams of her mother’s death and the mysterious man associated with it. In her desire to unlock her past, Vivian is forced to use her supernatural gift over and over. With each use, Vivian fears she is losing control and discovers her powers are growing—maybe too much—bringing her unknowingly closer to the man who murdered her mother.




Purchase:


Amazon | Book Depository


Marie

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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1 Person left their mark:

  1. Thanks, Marie, for being part of the tour!

    ReplyDelete