Writing

Writing Mediums

Hello everyone!

This is technically a repost, but the old content was so useless (in my opinion), that there was no point in editing it or using it in any capacity. Instead, I want to pose a question, and maybe explore how some of the different tools we use to write change the way we write. Maybe multiple mediums can be used in tandem and how that, too, changes the way we write.

The questions I want to pose are: What do you use to write? What do you use to edit?

My answer: A lot. I write with pen and paper, as well as Word on my laptop. I used to be really big into Scrivener, but I find it’s best for editing and formatting. Plus, the hype died for it, so I fell off that train. I guess I just use whatever I feel like when the mood hits. I find I use pen and paper for poetry more than prose. I guess because poetry tends to be shorthand, so it’s just a quick way to get everything down without having to sit and spend a bit of time at the computer.

Another question I’ve always wanted to ask is how many of you write poetry? During my time in undergrad, I found that there were a lot more poets than I initially thought. Poetry doesn’t seem as accessible as prose, so I didn’t feel that poets were as common as they are. I’d really like to know what mediums poets use, specifically, but prose is always welcome.

Let’s start a discussion. I’m really interested in what mediums are out there that I haven’t even heard of. Maybe there are ways of using a medium that I haven’t even thought of. Share any of your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!

-Lissy

FanFic

I’ll Be Posting/Editing FanFics

Hello!

Welcome back to another repost. This original post was essentially me coming to terms with the fact that I am a nerd and like writing fanfiction about all the things. If you’ve been here a while, then, you already know I post fanfiction. If not, welcome! I post fanfiction.

However, most of the fanfiction on here was written around 4 years ago. My writing style has changed, and I feel that I have a much better grasp on writing in general. As such, not only will I continue posting fanfiction, but I will be going back and editing any old fanfiction on here, on my fanfiction.net account, as well as on all the other various fanfic websites.

Let me go ahead and apologize to those who have been following my fanfictions. A lot of them were just left to die without any continuation, and I’m sorry you will be getting no updates until they have been worked over again. Let me assure you, though, I will be working  on them again. Future chapters inbound!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

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Personal Posts

The Big Question: “Why?”

Hello!

Once again, I’m back with another repost/rewrite/thing. When I wrote this original post, I made it a point to say I was writing for others. I was writing for this selfless reason that made me look like such a giving, thoughtful artist. Yeah, that definitely wasn’t the case then, and it definitely isn’t the case now. I have, and always will, write for myself.

When I decided I was finally going to pursue writing and publishing as a serious endeavor, I sought out as much advice as I possibly could from anyone that seemed even remotely more experienced than me. Don’t get me wrong, I picked up a lot of really great advice along the way, but I also heard a lot of bad. One person I knew, who was writing and posting  his work publicly to FaceBook, was one of those people I sought advice from. I admired his voice and the style of his writing, as well as his confidence (which I had absolutely none of), so, naturally, I asked him for some advice. His advice?

You should always write for your audience. Always write for someone else. Writing for yourself is fun and all, but it doesn’t sell. You won’t go anywhere if you’re not writing for somebody else. Don’t write unless you have a purpose.

I took that to heart back then and did my best to focus on others, rather than myself. He’s not entirely wrong, though. You do have to consider audience when writing as that determines the genre, who will most likely read it, etc. But others shouldn’t dictate why you write. You don’t have to have some great purpose in your writing. There should be plot and structure, yes, but you shouldn’t be forced to write because of some underlying reason.

Sure, if you do, do it. Go for it. Fulfill that purpose to the ends of the earth. More power to you, but I’m not going to pretend that I am writing for anyone or anything. I am not writing for my dad, my brother, my sister, the president, Bradley Cooper, etc. I am writing for me. I like to write. If what I write sounds like hot, steamy garbage, who cares? If it never gets published? Oh well. If I post this repost and not a single person sees it, meh. I am writing for me. It’s cathartic, it’s fun, it’s something I’ve done and crafted for so long just because I wanted to be a better writer.

I write for myself. Don’t be ashamed if you do, too.

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Writing

My Editing Technique

Hello!

This is, once again, an edit and repost of an old post I had. I am beginning to realize these are less simple edits and more just flat out rewrites. You know that feeling you get when you scroll through your FaceBook feed from… I don’t know, ten years ago? It starts off all nostalgic and rose-colored, then it just gets more and more cringey. Everything seems so much better, until you actually see it. Well, that’s what ended up happening to me. I went back, started reading these posts, and wondered how anyone read any of this.

I had a tendency to make everything more convoluted and complicated than it had to be, and the same goes for my “editing technique,” whatever the heck that is… Needless to say, I don’t edit the same way I did when this post was originally made (May 4, 2013, jeeeeez). So, it’s time to update. Here is how I edit today:

  • Something that hasn’t changed: don’t edit until you finish.
    This is pretty much the only thing I held on to from my old “editing technique.” I don’t edit anything until I “finish” the piece. Now I say “finish” because until you’ve edited the piece a couple times, I don’t think it’s finished. Regardless, I don’t edit any of it until I’ve finished the first draft. I think if anything, I’ve actually gotten stricter on this. Before, I’d do some minor edits as I wrote, like fixing a misspelling, putting in missing punctuation etc. Now, I won’t even fix things like that. I don’t pay any attention to anything expect putting words on paper.
  • Finish the 1st draft, then add and subtract.
    Even after I’ve completed the first draft, I don’t do any copy editing, which is grammar and mechanics editing. I focus on substantive editing. I add things, I cut things, I move things around… this is the fun part of editing because, honestly, it’s still just writing.
  • From substance to mechanics.
    Once I think I have everything I want to keep, in the order I want to keep it in, I move on to the nitty-gritty: copy editing. I go through and fix all those mechanical issues, grammar issues, misspellings, etc. This is my least favorite because it just proves the point that you never get anything right the first time, and there are always things you need to improve. No matter how long I write, or how many degrees I earn, I still spend the most time copy editing.
  • Let her rest.
    After long rounds of cutting, adding, and editing, the old eyes need to rest. The piece needs to rest, but so do I. I let my piece rest for a day or two before picking it back up, then I do another round of copy edits, and from there just proofread daily until I feel confident in my piece.

And there you have it. Short, sweet, and to the point. It’s weird how time sorta edits us, too, as writers. Before, I was very long-winded and tried to sound smart, but was more obnoxious than anything else. I have pared down how much I write (though let’s be honest, not that much), and I don’t feel the need to prove I am well-spoken. But we’re getting away from the point of the post, and I think that means it’s a good time to wrap it up.

So, thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Personal Posts

Things Beta Readers Should Know

I’ve already made one post on general beta reading for writers, and now this will be directed at beta readers.

  • If a writer requests a beta reader, that doesn’t mean they will send this first draft to everyone. Often times, I will send it to the first few, then make changes, and send that draft to the next group of beta readers. I want fresh eyes, always.
  • If a writer requests a beta reader, that doesn’t mean they will choose you. It happens, sometimes. Most of the time, it’s nothing personal. We’ve all had different experiences with beta readers, and we all have a certain things we look for in beta readers. If I think I’ve already found what I’m looking for, then I may not send a draft to some beta readers. Once again, it happens.
  • “I like it,” usually isn’t what I’m looking for. It’s nice to hear, but if that’s all you have to say, then it wasn’t worth my time. Sorry. If you want to say “I like it” then the best thing you could do is follow it with “because…” and explain why you like it. It lets us know what we did right.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell me you don’t like it. I’m a writer. I’ve been rejected more times than I care to admit. You telling me you don’t like my work isn’t going to hurt my feelings. If the writer can’t handle it, becomes defensive, and is just plain rude, then that’s their problem, not yours. Don’t beta read for them again.
  • The same goes for the “I don’t like it.” It’s okay if you don’t like it. That’s fine, but I’d like to know why. It might be something I can fix, and if not then it’s good to know why people may not like it. The more detail you can give, the better.
  • I don’t expect you to be an editor. If you wanna mark it up, great, but I don’t expect you to. Feel free to read it, then just tell me.
  • A writer should never give you the only copy of their manuscript. You shouldn’t have to feel obligated to read the manuscript, much less feel obligated to keep up with the only known copy of it. If I receive a paper copy, my first question will always be, “Is this the original?” If it is, I give it back and request a copy. I don’t want to be the person who loses it. Do you?
  • If you find that you just don’t have time, you don’t have to read it. You’re doing us a favor, but please let us know so we’re not just waiting around to hear back. It’s just common courtesy. If the writer wants to be rude, then don’t beta read for them again. Another lesson a writer should learn is that they won’t always receive feedback. It happens.
  • Don’t expect the writer to listen to everything you say like it’s gospel. You’re not perfect and neither is your feedback. It’ll be okay.

These are just general things you need to know if you want to be a beta reader. Writers can learn from this just as much as a beta reader can. Know what you should expect from each other, learn, and form literary relationships that can last a lifetime. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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Personal Posts

Writing Goals

With the start of summer break, my new internship, and my job, I’ve had a lot of trouble keeping up with my writing.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been majorly slacking on a lot of things. Sure, I have excuses:

Tornadoes ripped through my state and my town, the great snowpocalypse, general anxiety… but writing is something that has always made me feel good. It comforts me, and to have avoided just because of sheer laziness is unacceptable. So, in order to keep myself on task, I have set up writing goals for myself so as to start the next school semester fresh and productive.

ONWARD TO THE LIST!

  1. Have my three short horror pieces beta read…
    I have already somewhat started on this, and a lot of these will pretty much be continuations of what I’ve started, but it needs to be out in the world. If I post it publicly, I will definitely feel more obligated to do it. If you’d like to help out, please fill out the contact sheet and let me know how much you’re willing to read and when.
  2. Send my short stories out to as many publications as possible…
    I am extremely lazy. BEYOND lazy. I desperately need to sit down, go through some journals and magazines, and filter through the horror market. I need to see where I can fit in, where I can’t, etc. I don’t want to burn bridges by just spamming my work, but I do need to make a more conscious effort to get out there. I’ve already sent one out. We’ll see what is done with it, then edit, edit, edit, if necessary. Then, send again.
  3. Write for some themed journals…
    I’ve never been in to those journals that only publish for a theme. I understand a genre, but themes have just never appealed to me. If I want to get out there, I need to be able to expand my horizons, so to speak. I need to be more willing to write for something else. It’ll increase my productivity immensely, and I will be able to test myself. I need to at least try.
  4. Finish Ice Over, then go back to writing short stories…
    I love writing long pieces. I love it more than anything else in the world. Apocalyptia and An Austrian March were fun. But I need to become a better writer before I can continue to be a novelist. Short stories are just that, short. They don’t require too much time, though time is necessary. I can write a large amount, send them out, get critiques from a lot more people, and better my writing so I can eventually get back to novels. Ice Over will probably be the last long work I write for a long, long time.
  5. Test the waters with my poetry…
    This year, I thought, would be the year for my prose. It has actually been much more fruitful with my poetry. I’d like to explore my poetry a bit more and expand my skills in that field, too.

I, in general, just want to be more well-rounded as a writer. I thought I had found my place in the writing world, but I’m finding that there is so much more still to explore. Writing is a journey, and I’m taking it one step at a time.

Now, if you’ve made it this far, I want to ask you, what are your writing goals this summer? Anything special you’ll be working on? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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Writing

Beta Readers – The Ultimate Guide for Writers

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  • What is a beta reader?
    A person who reads a work for context, plot, and continuity. Not to be confused with an EDITOR who looks for mechanical errors as well as context, plot, and continuity. Is usually not paid. Can be done for any piece of writing, including, but not limited to: blog posts, short stories, poems, novels, etc.

 

  • Where to find them?
    Google+, Twitter, pretty much any social media site you can think of. Local libraries may have info. Friends (the honest, brutal kind, preferably), family (also honest and brutal), local college campuses (plenty of brutality there). Take the time to ASK people! There’s no time to be shy when you might be published.

 

  • Are there bad ones?
    Yes.

 

  • Are there great ones?
    Yes.

 

  • How to tell the difference?
    Good give you concrete reasons why they didn’t like it.
    Good are honest.
    Good mark up your work.
    Good give you more than just: I hate/love it.
    Good give you reasons why they like it.
    Good read what you give them.
    Bad will promise to read it, then never will.
    Bad will give you butt pats and sugar coat everything.
    Bad will analyze you as a person, rather than the work.
    Bad will make changes, but won’t explain why.
    Bad will tell you its garbage and that you’re an idiot.
    Bad will comment on your work without reading the whole thing.
    Bad will usually start with, “No offense, but…”

 

  • How to be a good AUTHOR to beta readers?
    Know that you don’t have to use all their suggestions, but you should still listen to them
    Thank them even if they say they hate it. They took the time to read it.
    Never send them a rewrite unless you asked them beforehand. Don’t take advantage of their kindness.
    Don’t argue with them. They have an opinion. You asked for it. Take it, regardless if you use it or not.
    BE. HUMBLE. Stephen King started as garbage, you started as garbage, EVERYONE started as garbage. Your shit don’t smell like roses.
    EDIT before you send them work. Editors and beta readers are two separate things, though one person can be both. Don’t assume a beta reader is also an editor.

 

  • When do you seek a beta reader?
    When you’ve edited the piece to the point of near-publication readiness MECHANICALLY. Edit out typos and ensure grammar is near-perfection before seeking beta readers.

 

  • What’s the purpose of a beta reader?
    To be your pre-audience, audience. These are the people you let read your work before all of society has access to it. See what they say, take it to heart, and then decide what you need to do before publication or sending it off to a judge/final editor.

 

Once again, and I can’t stress this enough, beta readers are here to help you. You actively seek them out yourself and ask them to read it. They didn’t force you to let them read it. They aren’t forcing their opinions on you. It’s your work. You can do what you want, despite what they say, and that’s okay. But remember they are only trying to help (most of the time). Just thank them for their time and effort and move on. What do you think? Anything you agree or disagree with? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
Want to guest post? Want to trade posts?
Same goes to you! 
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Personal Posts, What Gaming Taught Me, Writing

What I learned about writing from Minecraft

I’m embarrassed to say that only a few days ago I finally bought myself minecraft. I’ve played the pocket edition demo and enjoyed watching my friends and favorite let’s players play it, but never had I played the actual game myself before. I can’t believe I have lived so long never having played it. Better late than never, I suppose.

I knew I was going to love minecraft. It’s creative and exciting, two things I love, and who doesn’t? But what I wasn’t expecting was how much I would learn about writing through minecraft, and, as always, I’ve made a list for it. ONWARD!

  • It’s all about location, location, location
    Where your characters take root or travel to should always play a role in the story. Does it snow? Are the characters acclimated to that kind of environment? What kind of trees are there? What kind of animals? Will there be towns to stay in or will they be forced to shelter in isolation. These are all key in setting up a believable location.
  • Physics, guys. Physics
    If your characters are going underground, and they try to dig, will sand fall onto them? If they’re digging into gravel, wouldn’t it shift depending on the gravity involved? If they stand in a body of water, will the current move them? It doesn’t have to be much, buy don’t make it easy on your characters. The environment can be just as big an obstacle as any other.
  • Please, please, please make your side characters somewhat interesting
    The AI in minecraft can be fun, funny, and extremely interesting to watch as they go about the environment, but the villager NPCs are absolutely dreadful. They make the most awful noises and the only thing they’re good for is trading but they hardly have anything worth trading for. If I find a village, I usually just go on ahead and slaughter everyone (I promise, I’m not a psychopath). Make even the most minor characters into something. If they appear, then they need a personality, too. Make every character appearance meaningful in some way. Otherwise, don’t put them in.
  • It’s okay to write scenes where your characters are alone
    A major part of minecraft is when you’re traveling or just living day-by-day trying to survive. It gets lonely. If you’re in single player, you’re just that, completely alone with nothing and no one to talk to. And hopefully this isn’t just me, but I get majorly self-reflecting when I play. I mourn animals I have to kill, I get tired of killing things, I pray I find a village or that I will find someone or something in the seemingly vast and never ending world. Make your characters self-reflect. They’re humans (or non-humans?) too, and will have moments of loneliness, self-reflection, and in the beginning they mourn having to do certain things to survive. Just something to keep in mind as you write.
  • Even in the most fantastical and paranormal of places, there are rules
    In minecraft there is a mode called “Creative Mode” where you have unlimited access to every material available in the game without having to search for it as you would in the regular “Survival Mode.” You can no longer burn up in lava, or drown in water, and enemies no longer attack you, giving you free reign to build and manipulate the world however you see fit. However, there are still rules. You can spawn any creature, including the boss Ender Dragon, but they’ll still try to escape, they’re still hard to control, and the Ender Dragon will still try to kill you even though it can’t. And if you teleport off the map or try and teleport somewhere, which will get you stuck in a wall, you automatically die. Though this isn’t a big deal and everything is still easy, it is something to think about as you create your worlds. Even though you give your characters free reign and fantastic abilities, there needs to be a limit, otherwise there can be no plot and no conflict. What’s the point of a world with no obstacles?

Most of these are common plot aspects we see in everyday literature and things easily picked up on, but it’s nice to see how they are used in other mediums of creativity. Now for a few questions: What have you learned about writing from video games? Is there anything else you’ve learned in minecraft that I’ve failed to notice? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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Writing

Word counts? How important are they?

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For as long as I’ve been a part of writing communities, I’ve been surprised by how intensely focused everyone is on their word counts. NaNoWriMo? Based solely on word count. Writing sprints? Based on word count (most of the time). Genre? Has preferred word counts. Novels? Novellas? Short stories? Flash fiction? All based on word count.

Success is linked to word count, and I can see why. In the technical and business sense of it all, word count is beyond important. But I am of the variety which couldn’t care less about word counts. If you’ve ever read my editing technique posts (#1 and #2), then you know I start all of my projects on paper, then move up to typewriter, where I then finish on the computer. It’s a long, drawn-out process, but it gets the job done. Paper has no word count, typewriters (unless they are of the modern variety) have no word counts. I usually don’t know my final word count until the draft is already complete and has gone through two edits. I, personally, hate word counts. I feel like they are stifling to writers, though some people find them to be helpful, and keep them motivated.

Though it is against my own personal preference, I’ve decided to make a list detailing why word counts are so important (though I still say write how much you want to write. Write until the story is done, and all that jazz). Anyway, before I change my mind, ONWARD TO THE LIST!

  • Most Literary Journals take Fiction of a Certain Length
    Granted, most of these journals also have themes people can write for, but it’s still worth noting. I’ve found that most literary journals will take lengths ranging from 5,000 words to approximately 10,000, though that is pushing it. They prefer shorter works because the lengthier the journal, the more expensive it is to print. If you’re looking to get into a journal, it’s best to follow their guidelines exactly. If they prefer a certain word count, it would be in your best interest to meet that word count.
  • Most Presses take Fiction of a Certain Length
    Same goes for big name presses. They want big books. The bigger the book, the more money there is to be had. It has been statistically proven that people like buying bigger books. So, the bigger the book, the better (most of the time).
  • Genre Presses always have a Length Preference
    Most YA presses want lengths in the 50,000 to 100,000 word range. Most sci-fi presses want 100,000 to 300,000. Fantasy can go from 50,000 to 500,000. It all depends on how strict the press is and what they believe is the ample word count for the specific genre they are hoping to publishing. It is important to keep in mind the genre you are writing for because that will also determine how much you need to write.
  • Word Counts are Encouraging
    There is a reason NaNoWriMo is always so successful. People like having a specific number to achieve. It’s similar to why I like making lists. I like being able to reach something, to have a specific goal I can aspire to. Thus, setting a word count goal can help to encourage your inner-writer. If you can’t seem to finish a draft, try setting daily word count goals or an entire draft goal. If you give yourself a specific deadline, you’ll have a better chance at achieving it.

Word counts are important, but in all honesty, write until the work is finished. There is no point in adding fluff and useless info just to reach a word count goal. If you finish the draft, then it’s done. Same goes for cutting things out. If you think the work is as complete as it’s going to get, once editing is done, then don’t worry about trimming it down. Now, just for those who are interested. I’ve added a list of common, general words counts for genres and book sizes below. These aren’t set in stone. Each press usually has a different interpretation as to how many words a genre needs, but this can be a fairly accurate place to jump from.

Novel – over 40,000 words
Novella – 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette – 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story – under 7,500 words

Middle Grade Fiction – 25,000 to 40,000
YA Fiction – 45,000 to 100,000 (possibly 120,000)
Paranormal Romance – 85,000 to 100,000
Romance – 85,000 to 100,000
Category Romance – 55,000 to 75,000
Mysteries – 65,000 to 90,000
Horror – 80,000 to 100,000
Western – 80,000 to 100,000
Thrillers and Crime Fiction – 75,000 – 100,000
Mainstream/Commercial Fiction – 50,000 to 120,000
Science Fiction and Fantasy – 80,000 to 120,000

Now then, what do you think about word counts? How important are they to you? How strict are you with them? Are you like me and couldn’t care less about them? Let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.

-Lissy

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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Original Work, Personal Posts, Poems

“Sometimes I wake up and decide I’m a rubbish writer…” a micro poem by Alyssa Hubbard

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a rubbish writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all just rubbish.

Some days, I wake up and decide I am a goodly writer. Everything I write, whether it be a novel, a short story, a grocery list, it is all goodly.

Then there are days I don’t write at all. Those are days I cease to be a writer.

-Alyssa Hubbard

Want to be a beta reader? Click here to fill out the contact sheet, and let me know!
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