Does Word Count Matter?

Does word count matter?

This is a question every author must face while writing their book. I wish it weren’t true, but I think that may be the case.  With my book reaching 100,000 words, it can be lengthy for someone who has never been published before. This truly isn’t very large, but when you look at the young adult genre they recommend around 60 or 80 thousand…not 10! Young readers like quick reads, and if they don’t know the author they may not pick up a large book.

Personally I love large books. The BIGGER they are the BETTER!!!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind while writing your books. The things you should be thinking about before and after.

1. Focus on writing-

While writing your book, DO NOT think about the word count at all! Right now I am writing the first novel to a trilogy I am working on and I keep repeating to myself, “I need to keep it short, I only want 60,000 words.” But I’ve realized that while that is going through my head I am missing some very important conversations between my characters.

Sure I can try to slim my book down a little, but the truth is-  the less you write the more likely you will skip over a really important part.

So the moral is to FOCUS on your writing and not on how long it should be.

2. Editing the rough draft-

Your all done with your book! You feel great like you had just climbed Mount Everest or finished a Marathon. The problem is…now comes the hard part.

Writing your book was easier then editing.

When you go back and edit your book you may notice that some of the great ideas you had before didn’t work out so well. In the process of editing you need to first take out everything you don’t need, and add in the things you do need. After rereading through the book several times you should be getting a feel of how long your book is actually going to be.

3. Final Changes-

Now is the time to fully embrace the length of your book. Is it too long, too short? If your new to publishing you should really consider not having your word count stand out. Most agents don’t like unique lengths by unpublished authors. The more subtle the word count the better.

So if its too long, you need to say good bye to a few of your pages/chapters. You’ve already reduced the amount of things you absolutely don’t want in your story, but now you need to realize some parts need to be pulled for the sake of selling.

I hope this helps those thinking about word count. And remember,  if you don’t have a strong writer’s platform you might want to think of what your genre requires on length.

As Always,

A. Willow

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An Expression of Rejection

To express one’s self on a page is hard to do. It comes from the soul hidden deep behind the corners of your mind. All you want to focus on is what feels real, what feels right.

But then you get rejection after rejection and you can’t help to think that maybe your miracle will never happen.

Becoming published is a business you must have patience in, which I lack severally. I wish the day would come where I can float among the clouds of achievement, where I can see my work on a shelf and I can say “That’s my baby. That’s my treasured book.”

To imagine that moment brings tears of joy to my eyes. To actually think I could be chosen for such a high achievement. I just have to keep telling myself, be patient, work hard, and  soon you’ll get there.

If you are in the same position as I am, I just want you to know that a rejection isn’t the end of the world. You just have to believe that out of all the thousands of literary agents out there only ONE is perfect for you. We just haven’t found them yet.

Stay inspired to write, and you’ll get there when the time is right.

A. Willow

A Scene’s Complexity

imageWhat makes your writing unique?

Is it the way you spill it onto a page or could it possibly be the types of things you focus on?

Everyone is unique in their own way, and when it comes to the image inside your head, nobody else is going to have the same thing.

The landscape falls with just enough sunlight to stretch across the grass. The flowers, blooming red, symbolize the new beginning to my life. Stress has overcome all the senses, but soon a tranquil breath will wash over and release me from this heavy burden. 

Seeing an image like this one in your head is all your own, and something you might want to share with the world. But how do we effectively put a strong image into words? No matter how hard you try, you probably won’t give every person the same exact picture that’s inside your own mind, but you can try to get close.

Here are the things you should be thinking about while writing a scene.

1. The mood-

You must insinuate the mood you are feeling while you see this image. Does it seem to lift your spirits when you do see that sunrise. Can you feel the taste of freedom in the soft flowing air?

OR- Is it a drastic change where darkness sets in and you feel lost. Its feels as though your trapped in a dark cave with no light around you. You can only feel the course dank walls of your tormented enclosure?

Try to make your audience feel the way you do. Once you’ve achieved that you are getting closer to showing your audience the essence of your scene.

2. Vivid Description-

Now the question is what do you want to focus on? Is the narrator focusing on one object?

The coffee cup was still dripping with condensation. Letting the water slide down the side, and drip off the edge of the table. It’s as if the cup knew he felt the stress of his job beginning already without even taking a sip of his black bitter coffee. The cup was white, like his pale face, and resembled the staleness of life he had possessed over his many years of greed. The cup was a symbol of his life, and he knew that eventually the cup would drain down his throat dry without any comfort from the outside world. 

Or

Is the narrator unable to focus strictly on one thing, where everything is in a blur?

I heard the phone ringing, but could only focus on the people around me. There was a girl talking so fast it was as though her red lips puffed out in a blur, the man next to her eyeing her goods on his way to his lower end table, the lady in purple drummed her fingernails against the counter impatiently, the man chomping on his gum so loudly it made my stomach twist in nausea …

“Excuse me, you gonna get that or what?” 

I heard the snarky comment from a flimsy girl, but my head grew fuzzy and everyone began turning into one big blur of solid movement. I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time, but instead of answering the bar’s phone like I was supposed to, I bolted out of the spinning room and coughed up my lunch from earlier. 

What was it with me and large impatient crowds?

By looking at these examples you can see a drastic difference when you focus on one main object or too many at one time.   Whether it be a really quick glance of a description, or a long enduring eye for everything in the room.

My last piece of advice on the matter is you should be able to feel the writing being soaked up by your story and not disturbing it. Even if the paragraph is phenomenally written, if it isn’t flowing with the story you might have to save it for a later date.

3. What Feels Right-

When writing out your scenes, don’t focus on anyone else’s opinion but your own. It’s hard enough to write everything by yourself, but when you have more than one voice in your head it can get stressful. All you need to do is close your eyes and visualize what you think you should focus on in your heart. If the writing is rough, and you don’t know how to fully describe whats in your head, just write down random words that make sense to you and the scene. Come back to it later, and fully edit in the sentences. Writing isn’t supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be an expression of thought.

If you want to share, I would love to see hear how it helped you and even share what you came up with.

Enjoy your scene writing,

A. Willow

Quenching Your Thirst: The Elite

Happy Thirst-day….Again!

Yep that’s right, this is my second book this Thursday.  Lets just say I’ve been busy catching up on my reading this past week. I’ll also admit that I was way too excited to wait until next week to post this book. It’s a good one!

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Name: The Elite

Author: Kiera Cass

YA Genre: Dystopian Romance

Book Form: Hardcover

Pages: 323

Reading Time: 2 days

Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

Back of Book:

The Selection began with 35 girls. Now, with the group narrowed down to the Elite, the competition to win Prince Maxon’s love is fiercer than ever. The closer America gets to the crown, the more she struggles to figure out where her heart truly lies. Each moment she spends with Maxon is like a fairy tale, filled with breathless, glittering romance. But whenever she sees her first love, Aspen, standing guard, she’s swept up in longing for the life they’d planned to share. 

America is desperate for more time. But while she’s  torn between her two futures, the rest of the Elite know exactly what they want- and America’s chance to choose is about to slip away.

Book Review:

There is nothing greater to me than a book that plays with my heart. A book that gets me so emotionally attuned to the character that I can’t even tell us apart. This is what Kierra Cass does to me in this series.

Being the second book of a trilogy, I thought it was going to be horrible. Usually, these middle books are used to fill in blanks, and get you to the third one. I did get a slight sense that she was filling, but her character and her story overpowered any thing more than a seconds thought on the matter.

This book, along with the first, is exactly what teen girls are looking for. They want the romance, but the hesitant step to dive forward. There is doubt in America’s mind, like most U.S. girls, but there is also an erupting courage. America’s struggle with the two men in her life is a problem a lot of teen girls are dealing with. Should we pick the man we had originally planned a life with, or should we take the person who seems to care for ME.

To be honest, America made me angry in the first one, but I realized it’s only because she hasn’t truly found herself until the very end of this book. I admire her new found strength and her courage to take large steps, and it made me fall in love with this book even more. The last part I will mention is my favorite scene towards the end, when the truth is finally discovered within America, and she decides to take the bold step and speak out.

This book is for all of us hopeless romantics out there, but I will ask you to please read the The Selection first so you aren’t lost along the way. I also didn’t give this a full five because there where still minor things I might not have loved, but overall this book blew me away.

I can’t wait for the third one The One coming out next spring. When I first found out I had to wait that long I grew very angry. I wanted to dive right in to the next book, and here I have to wait another year. Oh well, I should probably work on my patience  anyways.

Feel free to let me know if you like the book too, or if it wasn’t for you. We can’t all be in love with Maxon!

A. Willow

Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

I’m sure many of you have heard time and time again to never, EVER, judge a book by its cover. It’s something that’s been drilled into us since the first time we could read, but does it still do us any good to ignore the one thing that catches our eye?

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 I am here to tell you to Stop following this rule and to START judging!

The phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may truly have  meant something a decade or so ago, but with this new generation of YA books it’s hard not to disagree?

In earlier years I put my heart and soul into this one little phrase, but as the years went by, the more books I read, the more I realized covers in the Young Adult genre are unique for a reason. YA has stepped up to be the boldest genre in the book world, and for that reason publishers are putting more time into their covers. Covers are now providing the readers with more meaning behind the artwork, and beginning to grasp the concept of the book as  a whole. All it takes is to take a  closer look, into the depths of the illustration itself.

Today I will tell you how to judge a book, and why it is significant.

There are 3 specific qualities that will help you:

Step 1. What grabs at your heart?- There are people who believe that artwork is the gateway into one’s soul. So look around and find the cover that speaks out to you.  When skimming through the hundreds of books on the shelf, it’s easier to find a cover you fall in love with a lot faster than reading every single back that you pass.

So, when you find that one book that seems to be screaming out your name, take it!

Step 2. Take a closer look- Glimpsing a magnificent cover isn’t the same as thoroughly inspecting it. There are going to be certain quirks to the cover that tell you what specific sub-genre it is, and little quirks that will tell you the main theme or plot of the story. For instance, it will be pretty easy to tell if it is a contemporary, romance, fantasy, or paranormal book by just looking at the cover. Teens in their swimsuits on a beach is usually contemporary, while a wolf standing next to a girl with odd colored eyes is normally going to be paranormal. After doing this, you’re going to start getting a sense of the book you are holding in your hand, but we must dig deeper to find the actual story within the artwork.

Usually, the cover will hold a certain trait that is very significant for that book. It will be a little hidden symbol that represents the book as a whole. It could be as simple as a phrase on the front, or a discolored star in the sky, or simply a rock on the ground that is glowing from the moonlight. This shows the interesting aspect that makes the book unique.

Step 3. When in doubt, don’t toss it out- If you aren’t sure about the cover, or even if you’re obsessed, you should still read the back before placing it back. YA covers are supposed to help you decide if the book is right for you, but they shouldn’t be the ultimate decision. The back is there to guide you further into the story you have already seen unfolding in the cover-art.  So when I say you should judge a book by its cover, what I’m actually saying is you should judge a book by the front cover first, and then the back .

With such an intense and wide variety of YA, it might seem like you are being bombarded by all these books you could never hope to read in your lifetime. These steps are supposed to help you find the book that YOU love, but if you have a natural knack for adventure, then maybe it would be wise for you to do the opposite.

Enjoy your crazy cover journey, and let me know how it goes!