Brooke E. Wayne: Contemporary Romance with a Kiss of Humor
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Brooke E. Wayne: Contemporary Romance with a Kiss of Humor by Brooke E. Wayne is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Workbook Review: PROMPT ME by YA Author, Robin Woods

PROMPT ME by Robin Woods is the perfect workbook to jump start your creativity.

PromptMeWhether you are a seasoned writer or you’re simply a creative thinker and wish to exercise your writing chops, Robin Woods’ PROMPT ME workbook has countless prompts and exercises to fuel your imagination. I’ll even add that, if you’re an English teacher and you use bell work to get your students to focus, you may want to add this workbook to your repertoire of writing exercises.

The prompts range from photographs to one-liners and cater to all genres and POVs. First and third person prompts include gems like: “No matter how hard I tried, my feet couldn’t find purchase. Panic set in and my palms began to sweat …” and “When they tore down the wall, they discovered …”.

The booklet is organized so that you could just jump right into any section or simply start from page one. Journaling pages to explore your thoughts are sprinkled between the various prompts-all categorized-making it super easy to bounce around as your creative whims carry you.

There’s even a section that lets you do writing sprints with predetermined dialogue prompts. Robin Woods also includes lists of phrases that are easy to add into a paragraph to make your writing pop, like this alliterative one: “slick surface”.

Prompt Me isn’t just loaded with different types of prompts, it also includes several fill-in-the-blank charts for defining your characters far beyond hair and eye color. Some of the exercises have multiple choices that cater to just about any type of creative writing from Sci-Fi to Romance. And there’s also a list of writing prompt questions that explore self-discovery, roll play, and listing, as well as Haiku poetry exercises—a goldmine of personal journaling/bell work prompts.

Basically, this booklet has it all!

If you’re not familiar with Robin Woods, take at look at her website. She’s the author of several young adult novels, including The Watchers Series. Her site boasts a great writer’s tools section (just like the reference section in the back of this workbook) which is an excellent go-to for tips.

You can buy PROMPT ME on Amazon for $9.95 right now, and the best part is it ships through Prime, so you can start using your new workbook the day after tomorrow!

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Workbook Review: Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook

If you’re a hands-on person and you’re starting from scratch as a newbie writer or you need to capture and organize all your random thoughts and scribbles to prepare to write your next novel, then Robin Woods’ Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook is meant for you.

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Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook by Young Adult author, Robin Woods, is organized with a reasonable, progressive flow to construct your novel, yet it’s easy to navigate back and forth between sections to suit your writing approach.

It’s full of all kinds of writerly information, graphic organizers, worksheets, and plenty of room for journaling to get your novel up and running.

So …

I recently decided to quell a trilogy plan I had been working on for a while that accompanied the current novel I’m querying. (Yep, I’m still hanging in there.) Instead, I am pressing forward with a sequel that can function as a stand-alone by branching a new love story from two minor characters in the first novel. In other words, I’m going with a two-part series.

My reasoning for this big change is because the premise for the third novel is just too exciting to keep it waiting, and the guts of the second novel could, with a little nip and tuck, easily serve up an overall better plot if I use that premise as the inciting moment and just move on.

Enter Robin Woods’ Fiction Writing Journal & Workbook.

It happened to be a happy accident that I was ready to delve into making sense of my independent sequel (is that even a term??) simultaneous to my long-time friend offering me a free copy of her workbook. Yes, you read that right, we’re friends, for, like, decades.

So …

Instead of just reading through the informational parts of the workbook and blasting an unbiased review all over the Internet once I’d finished (no doubt garnering some eye rolls and tsks or wonderings about whether friends ever really give friends ‘honest reviews’), I thought I’d show how I actually used the workbook and prove why I give it the maximum stars.

You see …

I have all these colorful spiral notebooks—a stack of them to be exact, and they have all kinds of disorderly information in them that, when pulled apart and mixed around, make perfect sense to me. Character studies, setting notes, plot points—you name it—and somewhere in my stack of madness there might actually be a method to this budding new sequel I want to pursue.

In addition to my teetering stack of stuff n’ stuff full of all kinds of random this n’ that I have accumulated over the last year, I also have lots of tidbits on my iPhone in the Notes App full of my thoughts-on-the-go, and I even have two Word Docsx outlines I had once planned for the trilogy plus oodles of rough draft writing to boot.

In other words, I’m hands-on and all over the place when I prepare to write. I just am.

And …

I was in need of a singular place to vet and compile before typing everything up into a functioning outline because I was dying to get this WIP rolling in the right direction.

Can you see how it was destiny? My mess and Robin Woods’ workbook were made for each other.

I was not kidding when I said BIG stack. FullSizeRender

HUGE.

Just look at it. ———————————>

All kinds of random going on in that mess. Two books’ worth of ideas that I needed to boil down into one poignant, romantic plot …

 

… Then this happened.

FullSizeRenderI found this workbook satisfied my need to write things down in a journal. Don’t get me wrong—I love using my laptop for all parts of the writing process—but this workbook helped me scratch that itch to put pencil on paper, so that I could compile my final outline. The fact that it has everything I need in graphic organizers to help me reel in the stack of madness makes this workbook the bomb.

Here’s a peek at the table of contents to give you a better idea of what the book contains to help you organize your future best seller:

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Robin Woods’ website, http://www.robinwoodsfiction.com, also contains lots of helpful information for writers of all genres. She’s a YA author of The Watcher Series and has six novels and one work of non-fiction under her belt. Definitely, check out her site, and, if you like a hands-on approach to organizing your fiction ideas, her book is the tool you need.

Dating When You’re Married

Valentine’s Day  launched me into a week long vacation. Not so much for my little darlings—the subtle differences in working for one school district and having our children attend another. Once I got over the sheer horror of being at home without the girls (they’re only five and eight … practically babies … and I’m an over-protective mama … so yeah), I started taking advantage of all this free intelligence-based babysitting courtesy of the state of California.

I have gone on more dates this week with my husband than in the last few years. (For the record, we’ve been married for nine.)FullSizeRender

With the children safely tucked away in school, we’ve been restaurant hopping each day this week. I’ve been wined and dined so much I’ve added a two-plus-mile-a-day walk to my not-so-busy schedule just to combat the extra calorie dump.

I’m not even embarrassed to say we took advantage of our free one-week trial of Hulu just to watch The Goldbergs show from the very beginning. We were late bloomers in discovering this awesome 80’s laugh-out-loud sitcom, so it’s been totally bitchin’ to get caught up on it. TV binging has been kinda fun. 🙂

In the midst of spoiling myself silly, I even wrapped up an extensive edit on my manuscript, fine-tuning a couple of elements. Then, I did something either completely bonkers… or just plain smart. (Time will tell.) I resubmitted the updated version to the agents who have my full MS and haven’t responded yet.

Nudging is nerve-racking, to say the least—right up there with querying. But this business takes time. And, if these agents want to squat on my manuscript for months on end, so be it. Like I said, time will tell.

As the weekend fast approaches, I’m getting a little restless. Diving back into work is like jumping head first into the Bering Sea. We all need to warm up to the daily grind, but I did leave us on a cliff-hanger with the novel I’m teaching (not on purpose, in case you just shrieked right now), and I’m hoping Monday will be kind … to all of us.

Until then, there’s one more day left before we head into a weekend of family fun. My husband is picking tomorrow’s dining experience … and he said something about catching a movie, too. Fun. So much fun!

Oh, and the cliffhanger … Ponyboy is about to become a hero. (I know, I know, but I might have Monday inadvertently in the bag.)

Email Newsletters – The Next Big Step in a Writer’s Life

Romantic Mystery/Romance novelist Susan Roberts now has a Newsletter link. Check it out!

Susan's Musings

Since I left South Africa I have become a full time writer by default. Those of you who know me, know how much I love writing. I will happily write all day if given half a chance. In the last few years I have written six novels: two for practice, three for sale as ebooks on Amazon, and one more to join them shortly.

I don’t have a problem writing at all.

However, I do have a problem marketing both myself and my books. It’s not that they don’t sell, but rather that they don’t sell fast. Granted, I haven’t exactly been bending over backwards to publicize them for the last few years. Moving to Australia took rather a lot of time and energy out of my life in the not too distant past, especially in the last two years.

Time waits for no man (or woman) and in the…

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Happy Valentine’s Day

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I had insomnia the night before last and was curled up on my side, eyes shut, trying to force myself to go back to sleep when my husband stirred awake. He draped his hand on my hip and breathed, “Aww, you’re so beautiful when you’re sleeping.” To which, I replied, “Thank you,” nearly giving him a heart attack. He didn’t know I was awake. Compliments me in my ‘sleep’ people. I love this man! Happy Valentine’s Day ❤

What I Got out of my First #NaNoWriMo Experience

What I Got Out of my First #NaNoWriMo Experience

I started prepping for my first National Novel Writing Month in mid-October by gathering research and summarizing my chapters and scenes. A little here, a little there, until I had a 38-page word doc outline to run with come November 1st.

I wanted to participate by the rules 100%:

  • Writing EverydayIMG_7825
  • Logging in and recording my progress
  • Earning my badges for participation as I go
  • Tweeting regularly on the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on Twitter @brookeewayne
  • And keeping to the Nov 1st as word-one rule

 

In the end, it took me twenty-three days to write a 53,838-word novel, sticking to my outline about 95% of the time.

I found it difficult to get started even though I had everything in place. The words just wouldn’t flow at times as easily as I had hoped despite all the prepping I had done to keep that from happening.

LESSON LEARNED: That setback reinforced my belief that no matter what, no matter when, if the inspiration strikes and the words begin to flow, WRITE THEM DOWN! Don’t let the moment pass believing it will return when the ‘time is right’. It won’t.

The pressure of meeting a deadline of 50,000 words in 30 days wore on my nerves harder than I thought it would at first. As soon as I passed the 50K threshold, I could literally feel my shoulders relax when I was typing. Weird.

LESSON LEARNED: When I’m faced with publishing deadlines someday, I need to brace myself for the inevitable psyching-out that will occur. Cue husbandry duties of nightly back massages…happy wife-happy life.

When I rounded the halfway point, I found my stride.

LESSON LEARNED: Keep moving forward, fighting, clawing, and forcing the words out like you’re digging out of your own grave because you will break through.

I also fought the urge to go back and edit, delete, revamp, and mess with the story every step of the way. I even forced myself to wait until the end to run spell check. Yeah, that took a good twenty minutes of my life away.

LESSON LEARNED: I need to go back. I just do. I have to fuss with the way things are written a little before moving on. Not major editing, just, you know, getting that voice down that drives the story. Every word should matter, right? Not doing that along the way made moments of writing forward feel like I was walking on broken glass.

In the end, a story that had begun as an Adult Rom-Com spoof on an 80s throwback story pieced together from actual events in my HS days emerged as a viable YA novel that I am definitely going to polish after it marinades for a couple of months. And I will pitch it alongside the Adult MS I have out now still surviving in the trenches of querying-round-one.

Between now and the revision period, I’m continuing the practice of writing everyday–specifically, I am going to write a sequel to my queried MS. My “break” from writing yesterday that I allotted myself still yielded three sentences to that story already underway just to keep to my promise.

I am proud that I pushed myself to write a second full MS and even more proud that I wrote it through NaNoWriMo, challenging myself when life was ridiculously cluttered with progress reports, parent-teacher conferences, a sinus infection piggybacking the cough & cold flu, while others in my family were tossing their cookies with the stomach flu, and even adding an afterschool club I had decided to run two days a week.

Of all the lessons learned, I discovered I could handle a lot in a short amount of time without going completely crazy.

Week One of NaNoWriMo

As a first year NaNoWriMo participant, I made a deal with myself to start day one and keep moving forward with one goal in mind: 50,000 words.

In preparation for the event, I scrounged around inside my head and pulled out some heartfelt, funny, and awkwardly painful memories of my high school days and threaded a story line through it. My chapter and scene outline, character sketches, and research amounted to over 8,000 words. None of which, I would count towards my rough draft.

Then on day one, I started to type.

I liken the experience last Sunday to running up hill holding my breath.

Not being allowed to reread, delete-delete-delete, revise, and then keep on going has been a slow, torturous journey for me.The reason is because I like to fine-tune as I go.

Notice how I didn’t say polish.

So rereading became inevitable by mid-week, and to scratch my nagging itch, I finally gave into bolding the lines I thought were keepers…the rest, debatable…but not delete-able, not yet anyway.

IMG_7693Getting to 10,000 in one week was a lot harder than I expected. Not because chocking up a word count was some sort of challenge—I’m more than capable of rambling on and on at the keyboard—but that I examined every word in my head before it came out of my fingertips like I was picking out the perfect mix of my own assorted Godiva box of chocolates.

If you’ve never done this, grab a credit card and go to the mall.

Go now.

(You’ll thank me later.)

I also had a lot of my writing time eaten up with How-the-Hell-Did-I-Do-That? moments this past week. (See pic.)IMG_7687

I admit, some words did get the ax here and there when I broke down and reread what I had written after a few days, but overall, the story is unfolding, as is.

(Gulp.)

And I have 21 days left to go.

I know I need to pick up the pace to reach my word count, but I do get a full week off before the deadline (Yay, teaching perks!), and I am finally finding my groove with the MC’s voice.

I just need to resist the urge to backtrack, as well as, stop treating every single word like it’s there to stay. I still have 40,000 more words to go, and I’m learning to accept that they’re just not all going to be a mouthwatering delight. And I must Keep. Moving. Forward.

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