#IWSG Blog Hop–My Regrets for 2017

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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.

December’s question–As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

If I could backtrack in 2017, then the first time one of my books only had 1 KENP read on Amazon, I would’ve contacted KDP select help support. I let it go, and that dropped my rankings significantly on some of my books. Researching, it looks like many authors were having the same problem as me during those few months. Something about a glitch in the ‘page flip’ feature on kindle. My silence resulted in lost income, and a decent ranking on Amazon. Bad ranking=no visibility for readers to find your books.

I also would’ve never given up contacting bloggers for interviews and reviews for my books, especially Twisted Obsession. After a handful of no’s and non-responses, I got frustrated and quit. No promotion online=no visibility for readers to find your books. Trust me when I say I learned my lesson and am being proactive contacting bloggers for my new release Six Plus One.

If I could backtrack, then I wouldn’t have quit my Duotrope subscription. For the past year, my writing buddy and I have followed Ray Bradbury’s advice of write 1 short story every week for 52 weeks straight. We only have 4 stories left!!! I’m proud of us. If I was smart, I would’ve kept my Duotrope in order to search for online journals and magazines to submit to. I could’ve had a presence in the short story market…plus, I’d love to be in more anthologies. It seems like I’m always late to the party when it comes to finding out deadlines. Duotrope would keep me in the loop.

Those are my biggest regrets for 2017. Instead of viewing them as something to be upset about, I’ve grown and can admit I’ll do things differently in 2018. Lesson learned.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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#IWSG Blog Hop–Character Part of You?

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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.

October’s question–Have you ever slipped any of your personal info onto your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Yes, I’ve absolutely slipped my personal info onto my characters. In fact, I tend to do it all the time on purpose. With my women’s fiction novella, Something’s Amiss, I based the female main character, Poe, off my personality. Children made her nervous, she didn’t want to become a mother, she tried to hide her pain from others, and she pushed Oliver away instead of embracing him. Totally me–that whole pushing people away thing. I really liked Poe. Unfortunately, some readers didn’t like her AT ALL. It made me think they probably wouldn’t like me in real life either 🙂

There’s a scene in Something’s Amiss where Poe was talking to Dominic on the porch. They were reminiscing about their WVU days. Those anecdotes shared between the characters were things that really had happened to me. It was fun sneaking a part of me into the story, knowing I had a secret. The only people who would know were if my readers had gone to college with me and lived in Summit Hall during my resident assistant years.

Another example of slipping my personal info onto my characters–Finia, the female main character of my novella Twisted Obsession, was an accountant. Accounting had been my major at WVU. Finia’s home and neighborhood  in the story was based off my house that I grew up in as a teenager.

It’s fun slipping in my personal information when I’m writing stories, so I’ll probably continue to do so.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Surprised You?

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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.

September’s question–Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?

I’ve surprised myself with my writing. Growing up, I only focused on dramas and mysteries. In 2011, I focused on my women’s fiction novella Something’s Amiss. It was going to be a romance, but I hated all the rules that came with the genre. My men aren’t manly enough, and my ladies aren’t likable enough. Oh well. My drama Room For Two was published in an online literary magazine. My very first short story that got recognition. I was so proud of myself.

Then, I found out about NaNo–a fun challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. 50,000 words! I’ve never written that except for NaNo haha. 30,000-40,000 words is my sweet spot. Since NaNo was supposed to be fun, I didn’t take it seriously. I figured it would be fun to experiment with a genre I’ve never written before. I love horror movies, so why not try writing a horror or thriller story?

My very first NaNo challenge created One By One. I wrote exactly what I’d like to see on the big screen. It took me 30 days to write 50,000 words. Then, it took me a year to revise and edit. I was lucky to have my writing buddy Jim Baroni–a horror author–offer to edit my novel. He helped me keep my publishing schedule. Ever since, I’ve been dabbling in horror and suspense stories. That’s my passion right now. One day I’ll go back to dramas though. I absolutely love a story that can make me cry.

My writing has surprised me, and I hope it continues to do so.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

#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

#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

 

#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

IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Rule I Wish I’d Never Heard

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Last month I joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group on Facebook after reconnecting with my writing buddy Meka. 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.

IWSG also has a website, which 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.

I’ve always joked that writers need a support group, and if I ever found one, then I’d join. Even though I’m a published author, I have fears and doubts and insecurities. After reading the Insecure Writer’s Support Group purpose on their website, I was hooked.

Their purpose–“to share and encourage writers. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.”

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

Okay, here goes…

January’s question–What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

The writing rule I wish I’d never heard is don’t write in passive voice. Only use active voice. For example, it’s bad to say “the tree got chomped dwn by an axe.” The rule says you should use “the axe chomped down the tree.” I swear I don’t mind grammar. English was one of my favorite subjects in school, but man, always having to use active voice is intimidating. What if your character doesn’t speak like that? Isn’t it better to stay true to your character’s voice?

Unfortunately, I tend to speak and write in passive voice. If you read my blog posts, I’m sure passive sentences are used everywhere. I know it’s a bad habit, but I don’t know how to stop. How much do readers really mind passive voice? Writing a first draft, my main goal is to just get my words on paper. Editing comes later…but I stall tremendously. I think it’s all the pressure of every sentence, every word has to be perfect or you’ll lose the reader. I struggle with the revision stage, which is why I probably only publish one book a year. I wish I could just hire an editor to completely fix my manuscripts in the grammar sense.

Since it’s hard for me to follow the rule of ‘don’t use passive voice,’ I often think my writing sucks. If someone leaves me a good review or if a critique partner says I did a god job, I think they’re just being nice. Equivalent to a loved one being supportive just because they care about you.

I know this fear is something I’ll have to get over. I can’t keep losing confidence when I’m around other writers who know what they’re talking about, grammar wise. I need to tell myself that a story isn’t about perfect sentence structure, it’s about following the guidelines of your particular genre. I write horror and suspense. I have plot twists nailed haha. I need to learn how to take a compliment without thinking there’s a hidden meaning.

Thanks for listening.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby