#IWSG Blog Hop–Valuable Lesson in Writing

It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

July’s question–What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

In the 7th grade, I took a chance by signing up for Mrs. Kirby’s creative writing class. Art had been my passion. Art was all I knew. I had been drawing since I was 8. I loved her class–everything about it. I’ve been writing fiction since 11 years old.

Throughout the years, I’ve learned a lot about writing, but the most valuable lesson that has stuck with me would have to be…listening to music helps set the mood. Music is a must when writing anything. Since I love writing in public places (Daily Grind being my favorite), I never leave home without my headphones.

Spotify is my best friend. The app is downloaded on my tablet and my phone. No shame–I can listen to the same playlists or the same songs for hours straight, and each time the music plays over again it’s like the first time.

When I need to get in a romantic mood for a scene, I listen to Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, Justin Timberlake, Brandy.

When I need to get in a dark mood for a scene, I listen to Civil Twilight, Staind, Seether.

When I need to get in a happy mood for a scene (yeah right–me?–when do I ever write anything happy haha), I listen to Danity Kane, Mya, Destiny’s Child.

When I need to get in a drama mood for a scene, I listen to Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera.

You get the point. Don’t be afraid to let music inspire you.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Writing Board of Inspiration

If you’re a writer, do you have an inspiration board?

I do.

Here’s mine:

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Before long, I’ll also add bulletins of character sketches, storyboards, and plot outlines for every novella I write. My plan is to turn my bedroom into a writing room. Right now, I still rely heavily on Daily Grind and other public places to get anything accomplished. Soon, I hope my desk in my bedroom will be enough. It sits in front of my window–what I like to call my ‘Secret Window’ view.

I just thought it’d be fun to share a part of my writing process with you guys. Now, I’m off to write a short story. My writing buddy Melissa and I have been challenging ourselves to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks based off of Ray Bradbury’s advice. So far, we’re at the halfway mark with 26 shorts to our names. 26 weeks straight without a break!

I’m also still editing Six Plus One. I’m sorry for being slow, but I want to make sure I have everything right.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Calling It Quits?

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

June’s question–Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Technically, I’ve never said that I’ll quit writing, however, quite a few times I’ve considered quitting fiction writing. At least two times since I’ve published my novellas and short story. I’m a fast writer, but a terribly slow reviser. Sometimes it’s very hard to find motivation to keep going when it takes me a year to publish one book while other self-publishers knock out books every other month. Sometimes it seems like I’ll never be a hustler or pro-active–skill sets a person needs to succeed in this industry.

That self-doubt kicks in all the time. There’s always a voice in the back of my head that says my writing sucks and my critique partners and beta-readers are too nice to point it out.

The feedback I tend to keep getting is my scenes lack emotion. I’m a thinker, not a feeler. That’s why my characters are usually in their heads a lot, thinking of their situation instead of feeling it or acting it out. I’ve also been told that I can be too fast-paced scene to scene.

From this feedback, I’ve questioned my writing skills as a fiction writer. I think I’d be better suited as a screenplay writer or a comic book/graphic novelist. A medium that allows my fast pace writing. My favorite story elements are dialogue and plot. I’m all about the twists and the bittersweet endings. It’d be so cool to see one of my short films on YouTube or to see one of my comics on a bookshelf. There’s less of a stigma being an indie creator in the comics world than in the publishing arena.

After I published Twisted Obsession, I sort of gave up writing novellas once it didn’t sell well. I couldn’t write anything new, and I couldn’t revise my old stuff. I was stuck. I didn’t write or edit any fiction for more than half a year.

Instead, I spent my time drawing comics, by taking free online classes to learn this medium. I also wrote short films and worked on a teleplay with two people. We were going to try and sell it to Netflix. My focus was on being creative and doing what made me happy at the time.

What brought me back to fiction writing–my writing buddies. Melissa and I took a free online writing class from Iowa. Those six weeks of creating a short story every week was pretty cool. It let me know instead of giving up completely on fiction, I could dabble in short stories. Short stories can give short film ideas. Around this time, I also heard from Meka. We shared what had been going on with each other over the year and started bonding again. It was refreshing to see someone in the same boat as me. She motivated me to start revising Six Plus One again. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. She’s went beyond a normal critique partner, looking over my short novella in multiple stages. I owe her big time.

Thank you Melissa and Meka for getting me back into the writing groove 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Book Review: Heart of a Hunter by Tamela Miles

*** I received a free copy in exchange for a honest review***

Life has never been kind to teen, Elle Connor. With a troubled home life, the gritty, violent streets of Los Angeles have become her home. She never questions her superhuman abilities until she encounters, in a fight or die situation, a guardian angel Tagas, who reveals her holy origins as one in a long history of demon hunters. She also has her eye on her attractive classmate, Brandon.

Problems arise when Elle finally realizes that life as a hunter is fraught with tragedies and is deeply lonely. Elle is presented with a choice – follow her calling from God as a hunter or live a “normal” life with love. Can Elle tip the scales in favor of what’s good or will she become just another casualty in the eternal war between good and evil?

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I really enjoyed this paranormal story. The beginning was full of suspense. A mysterious being wanted to kill the main character, Elle, as he watched her across the street. Soon, readers found out that the villain was named Pyro. The story switched between Elle and Pyro’s third-person point of views. There were no chapters, only scene breaks, which fit this short novella.

Elle became a demon hunter with the help of Tagas. The setting was in Los Angeles, which I thought was pretty cool. It was nice to see LA in a different light, instead of being superficial and only about celebrities. I really liked Elle and K.D.’s friendship, and the love scene between Elle and her boyfriend Brandon was cute and very sensual.

My favorite lines were: 1) He held her tightly in comfort for long moments in the darkness, the moon and stars in the clear night sky their only witness. 2) Her lips twisted in a private, cruel smile as her eyes settled on Brandon. 3) Hell would come to fear the name Elle Connor. 4) “Not feeling sorry for myself, just stating the facts.”

There was a lot of telling, which was to be expected because the story was a short novella–only 44 pages. Readers were told how much Elle loved Brandon instead of seeing it play out for awhile. Readers were told about the training Elle was going through instead of really seeing it on the pages. The telling didn’t distract from the story though; it just made the scenes move faster. I appreciated this quick read.

The story was full of conflict and tense moments. The demons Pyro and Cascadia really, really, really hated Elle and Tagas. For some scenes, I jumped out of my seat because Pyro was a very intelligent and worthy opponent. That end of the party scene really touched my heart, and I loved the twist regarding her best friend.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Will I Ever Be Able to Market Myself?

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

May’s question–What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

This month I chose not to answer that question. Instead I’d like to discuss my fears on marketing myself as an author. I published my debut novel back in 2013–4 years ago, and I swear I’m probably still at the mediocre level of “marketing” myself as an author that I was back then. I’m proud of my blog. I really am. It has over 200,000 hits. However (there’s always a but), the majority of my hits come from visitors  interested in my INTJ posts. That’s not my readership…I introduced book reviews and author interviews to my blog, hoping to find readers. I don’t have a clue if I met my goal or not of reaching readers interested in the horror and suspense genres.

I’m hit or miss on social media since I don’t use it quite often. I mean, I love twitter but more as interacting with people interested in my favorite tv shows. I feel icky whenever I tweet something about myself. I’m not one of those authors who constantly tweet “buy my stuff!” I hate Facebook. No one ever sees my posts because I refuse to pay anything to boost (or promote) my stuff. I will say that I’ve made a lot of connections with comic book artists and novelists in my Facebook groups. Again, not my readership…The best way I’ve reached readers is through Goodreads. It’s been a slow process but well worth my time. I’ve made genuine connections by being a reader myself on the site.

I need to find a way to create a happy medium for marketing myself. No one will be able to find my books if I don’t share that they are out there. I’m not charming enough to sell myself in person. The only way anyone has known that I write novellas is when someone else spoke up for me ha ha. I’m good at passing out business cards, but I need to create an elevator pitch to sell myself. I’ve been at this for 4 years–I need to do better.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m even in the right field. Instead of creating fiction, maybe I should have been a comic artist or graphic novelist (drawing is my favorite passion)? Or a screenwriter?

I study constantly what works for other authors and then try to implement those strategies. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Knowing marketing is all about experimenting, I don’t mind that aspect. I just wish I could find motivation to promote or market every day. I wish I had that hustle that most self-publishers do.

I need to do better. I will do better. Or will I?…I hate this self-doubt that I have, but I can’t seem to fight it off.

Let’s try this again–I need to do better. I will do better.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

I’m Not A Celebrity, But I Got An Interview Anyway :)

JD Byrne is a fellow West Virginian writer. He’s a fantasy and science fiction author. Check him out if you like to read those genres. JD was nice enough to give me an author interview. I haven’t had one in a long time ha ha. Please click on the link if you’d like to read it–Author Interview Yawatta Hosby

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Reworking an Old Story

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click here.

March’s question–Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

I believe in Stephen King’s advice of giving yourself permission to write a shitty first draft. I’m talking NaNo where chunks of unusable stuff is added just for word count. I’m talking every scene having ten billion characters in each one, trying to get my full attention. I’m talking the beginnings starting way too early, yet the endings stopping too abruptly.

Let’s just say, my first drafts are a hot mess…

I’ve pulled out really old stories to rework them. Case in point–I published Something’s Amiss in 2014. I had written the first draft back in 2011! I remember because I was working on it when I was teaching creative writing through the ACE (Adult Community Education) Program. A friend had recommended Author House after using the company’s services. I googled them and decided to stay far away! Too many red flags…

So, not really knowing how I could publish my story, I kept it on my flash drive and moved on until years later. I opened up my poor, abandoned, dreadful story and patted myself for not publishing it back in 2011.

There was massive head hopping between Poe and Oliver, scene to scene. I had a bunch of boring scenes (according to the critique partners I had found). I thought I had written a romance, but the romance readers would’ve eaten me alive. Apparently, Oliver wasn’t manly enough, and Poe wasn’t likeable enough.

After getting feedback from two critique partners, I decided romance wasn’t a genre I was interested in writing. I had to do a massive rewrite on Something’s Amiss, deciding women’s fiction was my best bet. No more head hopping. No more boring scenes. Just a man who loves a woman while mourning the loss of his cousin.

After creating my second draft, I found a new critique partner. Someone who liked the genre I was pursuing. She was great. She even gave me tips on how to write sex scenes. If you ever read my book, pages 32-35 are pretty graphic haha.

It was a fun challenge, bringing my story to life. If I would’ve given up on it because it’d be too hard to revise, then that would’ve been my loss. Looking back, I’m happy I didn’t self-publish in 2011 because I still had a lot to learn. Back then, it was a foreign concept to get feedback, then improve my work in progress. I thought a story was complete after I wrote ‘the end.’ It wasn’t until I found Absolute Write Forums that I learned the proper process of writing and publishing. I researched for two years, publishing my debut novel, One By One, in 2013.

Thanks for listening. I don’t think I’ve ever shared that out loud…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby