My Writing Space

​I don’t know about other writers and their writing quirks, but I HAVE to have my own writing space. When I wrote my first book I had my own spot on the couch, a blanket, a pillow, and a TV tray where I placed my notebook, tablet, a pen, and snack food/drinks. I sat in that spot every night after we put the kids to bed and wrote for two months straight. 

For my second book my writing space has changed (due to kids, space, work schedules, etc.). I took over the kitchen table (we never use it) and now I have enough room for all my notebooks, tablet and keyboard, snacks and a tea. It’s also away from the TV which I now find to be a big distraction. 

I LOVE MY WRITING SPACE.

As well as occupying a physical space I have a space in time in which I write from 7-9pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If I do any writing outside of this time I will most likely do it in my original writing spot: on the couch in front of the TV. 

Do you have a spot specifically for writing? If so, where is it? Is there something you have to have in your “spot”? I would love to hear about any of your writing quirks!

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

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Generating Story Ideas

​Let’s say you have an idea for a novel or want to try writing a book, what’s the next step? Like I wrote in my last post on “Story Ideas” a lot of these ideas don’t make it past the first stage and I find it’s mostly due to someone not knowing what to do next.

I Wrote Down My Idea for a Story, Now What?

There are many different ways you can get started and it all depends on your writing style. You can:

  1. Write the story from beginning to end.
  2. Write the ending first (or the middle).
  3. Write chapters out of order.
  4. Do your word building, character sketches, etc. first before writing the actual story.

I’m only listing four ways for now because for me the fewer the better (I don’t like to make things too complicated). Try these four ways first and if they don’t work for you then try something else. I do have guidelines for each of my four suggestions:

1. Start to Finish
To write from beginning to end you must know or have an idea of how you want your story to begin and end. The middle part will always be a bit fuzzy and those details will sort themselves out as you write. 

2. The End
If you want your ending to be “they all lived happily ever” (or not) then you need to figure out how that will happen. If you know your ending the middle part should be easier since all you have to do is think “Z happens because a, b, and c happened.” 

3. B, A, D, C instead of A, B, C, D…
It’s okay not to know all the details for your beginning or end, but knowing the details for different parts of your story. Be cautious when writing chapters out of order because you’ll have to figure out how they all connect together. It’s like putting together a puzzle. Make lots of notes if you try this method though especially when you only want certain characters to know certain things at different points in the story.

4. Backstory
This step requires you to learn or become familiar with a lot of backstory and most of the information you write down won’t end up in the story itself. It’s helpful in that your world and its characters will come second nature to you while writing and you won’t have to info dump on the reader every time a new character or major plot point comes up in your story. 

I’m going to direct you to EA Deverell again because her website is awesome and mostly everything on there is free to use. She’s also on Pinterest under the name Lady Writer | Writing, Literature & Language. My Writing Board on Pinterest is full of her worksheets that have helped me generate ideas for my story and I’ll be using them over and over again for future stories. One good thing about Pinterest is that if you click on an image you like it will give you more images of similar things or things you might be interested in below the original image.

Everyone is different, so try different things before settling on a writing style you like. Keep in mind that one method can work for one story but might not work on another.

Know any other ways to start a story? Write them in the comment section below. I would love to hear how you start a story.

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

Calling all Book Lovers!

It’s time!

The contest is now open for you to enter and try to win a FREE SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY of my book Existence – The World of the Undead.

To enter you must: 

  1. Tell me your name (First and initial of last name)
  2. Where you live (ONLY Province/Territory/State and Country)
  3. Your favourite book (limit of two if you really, really, really have trouble picking just one)
  4. Answer this question: Who would you choose as a companion to survive a Zombie Apocalypse with and why?

For Question #4 you can choose someone real (living or dead) or someone fictional. There are lots of interesting people and characters out there so be creative! 

Here’s an example of what your entry should look like:

Megan H.

Ontario, Canada

Emma by Jane Austen

I would choose Darrell Dixon as my companion to survive a Zombie Apocalypse with because he has some great moves with a crossbow, he’s a great hunter (he can even hunt for moonshine), and he’s nice to look at after killing ugly and smelly zombies. Plus he’s survived this long on The Walking Dead so he must be doing something right.

All entries should be e-mailed to AuthorMeganHood@gmail.com. For the subject line please write My Entry for Existence Contest

This contest is open to everyone on the planet Earth.

The contest will run from noon on Monday, September 19th to midnight on Friday, September 30th. 

I will announce the winner at noon on Saturday, October 1st.  

Tell your friends and family, or other authors and bloggers. Help get the word out about this amazing and free contest!

MH 

Story Ideas

​If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they had an “idea” for a book I’d be flippin’ rich. I mean, it’s great you have an idea, but how much have you developed that idea? A book doesn’t write itself based on just an “idea.” It needs to be nurtured, developed, and molded into something more. 

I have tons of ideas for stories every day and most of them don’t fill a post it note let alone make it to the writing stage. Some ideas have merit, others need to be buried deep within the earth and forgotten about entirely. 

I have a folder with pages and pages of notes for half-baked story ideas. Want to know how long it’s been since I’ve written them? Over a decade. I haven’t touched or looked at that folder since high school (as of right now I’m a married woman with two kids and two years away from turning 30).

So, how do I decide what to write and when? For me it depends on how interesting the idea is, if it’s been done before if I can do it better… I need to love it (even during the writing stage when all I want to do is hatehatehate my writing).

My first novel (a horror novel for Young/New Adults) is the first idea I’ve managed to turn into a novel (not including poetry, short stories, etc.) It’s about zombies. Now, I don’t particularly love reading about zombies BUT I love writing about them. My novel isn’t just about zombies though or it’d be pretty boring. I added other elements to it which I love such as paranormal romance and science fiction. It’s a trilogy and right now I’m halfway through writing the second one (and then follows lots and lots of editing). I probably could’ve made it a stand alone novel, but I thought breaking it up into three parts would be better for my audience (helps to keep them interested as to what happens next).

I have another idea for a story and… that’s all it is right now: an idea. It’s a good one though, or it can be, and I want it to be perfect. I’m focusing on finishing my trilogy right now before starting on the next idea so I don’t get distracted.

Here’s the different stages a story idea goes through before it becomes more than an “idea” (in my opinion):

First Stage: What If?
An epiphany while reading or observing something of interest that you think would be “good” in a long, drawn out version such as a play, novella, novel, epic, etc. Lots of “what if this or this happened?” (or similar) questions are asked during this stage, usually followed by “no that sucks” or other similar phrases. About 90% of ideas don’t make it past this first stage (my high school writing folder, for example).

Second Stage: Seriously Though, What If? 
A “good” idea just won’t go away and it sticks in your head playing over and over again until you have no choice but to revisit it. Some people are lucky enough to jot down a few notes on the idea and some of these people move onto the third stage, and others look at the notes and think “what the heck was I thinking?” before chucking it away.

Third Stage: Wait a Minute, This Just Might Work
Turns out those notes aren’t half bad and some of them actually make sense. You might talk about your idea with someone else and see if it has merit. You might do a little research (Google, Twitter, read novels similar to your idea). Before you know it, you have several pages of research and notes to go along with your idea.

Fourth Stage: The Outline or First Chapter
After all those notes, research, and talking with other people about your idea it’s time to start writing (yes, you have written stuff already but that was only a warm up… trust me). You can start with an outline (be a plotter) or you can try writing without one (be a pantser). Both ways are okay (you have permission to not outline every single chapter, paragraph, and sentence); you can decide for yourself which way works best for you and your idea. 

Fifth Stage: Idea -> ? -> Novel
I’m not going to tell you the secret to getting your idea to be more than an idea. Really, the stages after the first one are my own opinion and might not work for you or you may not agree with them. How you feel about an idea is how you feel about it end of story.

Here’s the bottom line: Any idea is a good idea (as long as it’s not illegal and doesn’t hurt anyone physically… can’t do much to stop feelings from getting hurt). Every writer has a different way of judging whether an idea is a good one or not and there’s not set guidelines or rules on how to rate an idea. If it works for you then pursue it. If not, move on to the next one.

How do you judge the worth of an idea? Please comment below.

Until next time.

Happy writing!

MH

Query Letter Rejection

Checked my email this morning and found a rejection from a publisher for my novel Existence (which has since been published). I found it amusing since I sent that query back in April (Tuesday the 26th to be exact). Publishers and literary agents receive so many emails and manuscripts it takes months for them sort through it all. So if you’re still waiting for responses then be patient and use the time in between to develop your skills. 

Here’s what the literary agent (it was an intern who responded but a lit. agent who said no) had to say: 

Dear Megan,

Thank you for your query, but we’re going to decline this at this time. The publishing industry is very subjective, so what may not work for us could be just what another agency is looking for. So we encourage you to continue your pursuit of publication. 

In your search for the perfect agent you may want to check out Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog. We have found it to be a great resource for finding new agents that are looking to build their lists. 

Thank you for considering us for your work and we wish you great success with your writing career.

All the best. 

Feel free to use the link mentioned above and good luck to all writers in their search for representation. 

I’m happy they took the time to address me by name rather than “writer” or “author” and they gave me a helpful tip which I will use in my next search for a publisher. 

Until next time. 

Happy Writing!

MH

Upcoming Online Contest!

Hello family, friends, fellow authors, bloggers, and readers…

It’s been almost a month since my FIRST EVER novel Existence – The World of the Undead became available for purchase on Amazon. I’ve had a few people tell/show me they’ve purchased my book and for that I thank you! Amazon gives me the ability to see how many books have been sold and where, but right now I can only view purchases made in the States (thank you to the one person in Boston!)

If you do buy a copy please, please, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and any other place you can think of as this will help to get the word out faster! Be sure to tell your friends and family too! For an independent (and even traditionally published) author SILENCE is our worst enemy (nothing kills a new book faster than radio silence) so talk, talk, and talk some more. 

For the one month anniversary I will be hosting an ONLINE CONTEST where you can win a signed copy of my book! It will be open to everyone on my Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress blog. The contest will run from noon on Monday, September 19th to midnight on Friday September 30th. The rules for the contest will be posted on Sept. 19th at noon. Hope to see you all then! 

Until next time. 

Happy writing!

MH