Allison: YA fantasy — #PimpMyBio

Hello everyone!

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This year, I’ll be participating in Pitch Wars, and this is Pimp My Bio! Click the links for more information about both of these amazing things.

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First, about my manuscript:

THE KING’S DAUGHTER is a YA fantasy! It involves fae that can manipulate the senses, vampires, and a creature that just might rip your heart out. And some war in-between. Oh, and unexpected friendship. 

It’s set in a variety of lands, from Gryia, with its lush greenery and never-ending forests, to Aizen, with its snow covered fields and gorgeous icicles. It follows two of my MCs: Sophia, the badass future Fae Queen, and Mateo, the sweet future Vampire Lord.

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I’m willing to put in the hard work to make this MS the best it can be! Revising is a drag sometimes, but there is almost nothing like the the feeling when everything starts to click in an MS. I’ve done two rounds of major revisions already, and a few minor read throughs.

About me:

I’m going to be a senior in college in the Fall, majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders to eventually become a speech-language pathologist. I’ll be taking the GRE in August so… wish me luck.

I started (seriously) writing again during recovery after thyroid cancer and wrote my first full book, LUCIDthat will never see the light of day, but it taught me so much. It also got me the best CP in the history of the universe (seriously). 

I’m an aunt to over ten nieces and nephews, I watch Friends probably every day, one of my favorite series ever is Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, and I love delving into unknown creatures in YA that haven’t been discovered yet.

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Good luck everyone! I can’t wait to read everyone’s posts. You can find me on Twitter here.

Voices of YA tag!

Shocking (but not shocking at all), another tag! I love tags, so forgive me.

Thank you to the wonderful Caitlin  for creating this tag! Also, thank you Alex for tagging me. Go check ’em out! 🙂

ABOUT THE WRITERS:

What draws you to YA?

YA draws me in for a lot of reasons. I guess the number one reason is the imagination behind it, how everything can be done what seems like hundreds of times but there somehow is always a twist. YA helped me through a rough time and I know it has helped others as well.

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure or seeing where the story takes you?

I used to just see where the story took me, but that never resulted in a finished book. Finally for Camp NaNo 2016, I plotted and finished my first book, LUCID. That was really awesome and it taught me that I need an outline. I outlined my next book and wrote it in November NaNo 2016, THE KING’S DAUGHTER. That’s my current project! All in all, I love outlines because I never sit down and thing, “But what next?” I always have the basic plot and that’s what first drafts are all about. I can add the bulk of it later, but I’m never staring at a blank page.

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

I’ve been writing since… 2007? I used to write short stories. I never attempted a book until 2012 and failed miserably. The first time I sat and wrote a book in its entirety was July 2016.

Right now, I’m on my second round of beta readers for THE KING’S DAUGHTER. I’m hoping to have this round of revisions done in time for Pitch Wars! Super excited and nervous. I’ve read this book to the point of memorization, spent countless hours talking to my CP about it (sorry, Jessi!), and it has seen two rounds of betas. Writing is so hard! 😛

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

I need my laptop, and that’s about it. I don’t like coffee (whoops). If anything, I love to drink Pepsi, but that isn’t just reserved for writing. I can’t write with music on, though I sometimes draw inspiration from it!

If you give one piece of advice to another writer, other than “don’t give up,” what would it be?

Still cheesy but… write. Just write the damn words. Maybe they’re not good words. In fact, you’re probably thinking, “Allison, my words suck.” Guess what? Everyone’s first draft is a garbage fire. Something that really stuck with me was something I saw on Twitter once. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

“My draft is a mess!”

“So is a cake until it’s baked and decorated :)” – Coryl

So maybe that’s not my advice, but it’s damn good advice.

ABOUT THE BOOKS:

What book still has you reeling from it’s plot twist? No spoilers, please!

Oh boy. Maybe it’s not a plot twist, but I’m still reeling from the end of Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare.

What books are you anticipating for this year?

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. I’m so behind with my TBR that that’s all I can think of right now.

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?

I fail at this question. There’s so many, and I try not to focus too much on if a book is similar to another.

I love the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. It’s my favorite! I like that we get to see the amazing fighters become amazing. 

What is your all time favorite quote from YA lit?

From Vampire Academy, of course:

“If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.”

Now I’m like, actually crying. I love those books so much! I can’t stop reading the quotes. Help me.

What book do you hope will have a movie adaptation?

None of them. Leave the beautiful books alone.

 

And that’s the end of the tag! I’ve seen so many people tagged in this tag… so, like always, I tag anyone who wants to do it. Tag me in it so I can see your answers 🙂

Allison

Writing is Life Tag!

Hello everyone!

Today I’m doing the Writing is Life tag. I wasn’t tagged, but I found the questions over on Jessi Elliott’s channel. Go check it out! 🙂

 

If you could magically make one of your WIPs be finished and ready for publication, which would you choose?

Oh boy. Honestly, I don’t think I would want to do this with THE KING’S DAUGHTER. As daunting as revising it is, I love revising it. I’m going to have to go with LUCID on this one.

Who is your favorite character you’ve written and why?

This one is tough. It’s probably Jae, a character in THE KING’S DAUGHTERHe’s playful and very full of himself. A super fun character to write! He has a very distinct voice in my head.

What is the most terrible thing you’ve done to a character?

I mean, probably kill them. I won’t go into details for spoiler reasons. 😛

What character or work are you most disappointed with or you want to go back and rework?

Probably Nate or Lucy, two characters in LUCID that I think about from time to time. LUCID was the first full book that I ever finished. It’s been sitting in my drawer since I decided to put it away for awhile. I love the both of them and hopefully one day I get to tell their story!

Pick a theme song for your main character of your current WIP.

Shoutout to Jessi for showing me this song… Kingdom Fall by Claire Wyndham. I also just found the song Missile by Dorothy and it screams Sophia.

What is a trope or cliche you’re embarrassed to say you used?

Definitely bad boy love interest… Whoops? (Sorry.) (Not really, though.)

A wizard tells you that if you stop writing forever, one of your other dreams will 100% come true right now. Would you do it?

I can’t think of a dream (that’s plausible and possible) that I want more than writing. So I’ll pass.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read, watch Netflix, hang out with my friends and family, schoolwork.

If you could show anyone (alive or dead) your work, who would it be?

This one is hard. My mom has already read the first draft of THE KING’S DAUGHTERbut my dream is to go with her to a bookstore and see my book on the shelves. For her to be reading my published book. She’s one of my biggest supporters.

What is the most stressful thing you have ever written?

I find any sort of fight scene tremendously stressful. Kind of hilarious considering my book centers around war… but that would be my answer!

I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! 🙂

 

Allison

 

Writing/Life Update

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here. Life has been a struggle this month with end of the semester, medical issues, the beta process, and editing. I thought I would write a life and writing update to hopefully jump back into the swing of things.

The end of last month/beginning of this month were really hard for me. I had a lot of medical anniversaries that I wasn’t ready to face. On March 22, it was the “anniversary” of my first surgery. One year ago on April 4, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. April 6th, I had my second surgery. Those weeks were hard for me. I fell into a slump specifically on April 4 and didn’t write. I couldn’t get myself out of that headspace. Luckily, I had my family, friends, the support of my amazing CP and other writer buddies and I dived back into writing. It’s hard when I think about how this happened to me and it’s never going to go away.

When I finally started writing again, I jumped into the sequel to THE KING’S DAUGHTER. That really helped my motivation to start writing again. Were they good words? Probably not, but I was writing. And that was good enough.

I’m currently in my second round of beta readers for THE KING’S DAUGHTER. Thank you times a billion to all the lovely people who offered to beta read for me. My CP has the last few chapters and is sending me her feedback, then I ship it off to betas after revisions. Reading critiques never gets easier, but I’ve learned my reaction to them and how to handle it. That’s invaluable.

What I took away from this month is very simple: I love writing. No matter what happens, what feedback I get or what happens in my personal life, I love writing. I need to do it. My characters are constantly in my head begging for their story to be written and I can’t wait to write their story. I cannot wait to get TKD out into the world.

I’ll end on that sappy note.

How was your April?

Allison

 

What I Wish I Knew… Outlining Edition

Hey everyone!

When I first started writing, the only thing I knew about outlining was that I hated it. I didn’t know the words yet for pantser or plotter, but I knew the difference between writing with a solid plan and writing by the seat of my pants.

I plotted my first novel, LUCID, with little success. No, that doesn’t mean the outline sucked. The outline was great! It had all the components an outline should have. I had a beginning, middle, and end. I even broke it up into sections. What was I missing? The point. However, outlining my first novel (three times, no less) taught me a lot about the outlining process.

  1. Write down all your ideas! I mean that. Every single one of them! Some of them won’t make it into your “final” outline. That’s okay. Still write down every idea that comes to your mind including plot, dialogue, characters, setting. Anything. It all helps in the long run.
  2. Write down major plot points or scenes on notecards. This is my personal method. Some people can do this on the computer, but I’m a very visual person. I like to spread ’em out on my bed.
  3. Organize them! This might take a while or maybe you know where your story is going. Shift them around until you have a cohesive story, then go back and fill in the blanks.
  4. Type it out. This is a step that involves multiple steps. I write my outline on Scrivener and start with the beginning of the book. But before I type a scene in, I ask myself…
    1. What is it doing for the plot?
    2. Is it necessary? Why?
    3. What does it reveal about my characters?

The problem I had with my outline (and eventual draft) of LUCID was that I had tons of unnecessary scenes that didn’t move the plot along. I had them there because I wanted them there and hey, I had the idea. Why not? Remember: Any scene can be made important by even just adding a line of mysterious or revealing dialogue.

BOOM. You have an outline.

Something that always worried me out outlines was that I felt like once I wrote it, my work was set in stone. That is not the case. My current WIP, THE KING’S DAUGHTER, had tons of scribbles all over the outline by the time I was done (though not as many as LUCID).

I have another blog post, Outlines, very similar to this if you want to take a look! I have a love/hate relationship with outlines now because I see how helpful they are. It makes drafting so much easier. I never stare at a blank screen because my outline is right next to me!

How do you feel about outlining? Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Allison

What I Wish I Knew… Critique Partner Edition

Hello everyone!

I’ve been racking my brain recently for blogpost ideas. Last night, I finally thought of one that I love and I’m so excited to share it with you guys! It will be ongoing posts, typically titled, “What I wish I knew…” with the topic. I thought of this title because I remembered being new in the writing community (especially the Twitter community!). When I was writing with no intention of sharing, I had never heard the words beta reader and critique partner, or knew that first drafts were bound to suck. Basically, there was a lot that I wish I knew when I started building a platform, but I was too nervous to ask. I didn’t want to seem like I didn’t know some of these commonly known ideas or concepts.

So today’s topic is about… Critique Partners!

For starters, what is a critique partner?

In general, a critique partner is a writer that you swap WIPs with. They can offer reactions based on things previously agreed upon, catch plot holes in your WIP, look for grammar issues, characterization, setting… anything. Really, it’s what you and your CP discuss beforehand. What they do for you, you do for them.

CPs are typically people you can speak to about scenes in your manuscript, talk through plot ideas/plot holes, and things like that. I tell my CP just about every thought that runs through my head about my WIP (whoops).

How do I find a critique partner?

This question is really hard to answer. I would start by establishing yourself in the community. I recommend Twitter because the writing community is so great there! There are writing chats on almost everyday of the week, monthly WIP hashtag games, and you get to see others going through what you’re going through. Writing can get lonely and it’s awesome to see that you’re not alone. I found my CP on Twitter.

I recommend knowing the person a little before choosing them as a CP. Swap one chapter and see how you do. Ask them about their WIP, their genre, just talk to them… Being a critique partner requires knowing how your critique partner likes feedback. Do they want straight-forward critiques? Do they like reactions mixed in? Talk to them.

There are also times when bloggers set up “CP Match,” where writers can pitch their WIP with their email and people who are interested contact you.

Allison, I am way too scared to share my work with someone. How dare you suggest something like that? It’s not happening. 

I feel this. I was adamant that I wouldn’t have a critique partner, no way, no how, not in a million years. When I first heard the term, the only way to stop my anxiety about it was to remind myself that there was no way in hell I was doing it.

Then I did it. It is by no means easy. I still get nervous sending work to my CP because I’m sending my words out there specifically to be critiqued. They might have a few nice words, but really, they’re here to rip your story to pieces. It’s how it is.

CPs are necessary for your WIP. They’re necessary for your growth as a writer. We miss things. Sometimes huge things and CPs are there to help us out! Don’t you want your work to be the best it can be?

But what if they steal my work?

This is highly unlikely. Work sent to CPs are often first or second drafts, and honestly… sometimes those aren’t that pretty. However, I worried about the same thing! There are a couple of ways to reassure yourself about this.

  1. In the US, your work is automatically copyrighted as soon as you write it.
  2. You’re exchanging WIPs with your CP. That means you’re receiving their work as well. It is highly unlikely that someone who is working hard towards publication would a) send out their work to someone else with the intent of stealing someone else’s work, b) ruin their potential publication prospects by stealing your work.

If those things don’t reassure you, then: get to know your CP. Be their writing buddy first, ask them how their day was, like quotes they tweet from their MS. You’ll likely feel way more comfortable if you feel you know more about your CP.

How many critique partners should I have?

I have one, but I’ve heard that people generally have 2-3. I think it’s really up to personal preference.

Can my friend or family member be a CP?

I mean, they can. I’m not here to tell you what to do, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Friends and family are generally less honest when it comes to these things, or they see your work as the best thing that was ever written, ever just because it was written by you.

My CP became my friend during the process, but those are two different things. If your friend/family member cannot give you honest critiques, they can’t be your CP.

 

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got for you today. If you have any questions about CPs, feel free to leave them in the comments. 🙂

Do you have a critique partner? How did you find them?

Allison

 

 

 

 

 

Character Tag!

Hi everyone!

I’m going to be doing a character tag because I love talking about my characters. No shame here. I found this tag through Jenna Moreci! Let’s jump into it.

I’ll be using three characters: Sophia, Mateo, and Jae from my WIP, The King’s Daughter.

Question 1: Your OC watches as a person in front of them drops a small coin pouch. Does your OC say something to the person who dropped it, or do they keep the pouch (wallet) for themselves?

MATEO picks it up and gives it back to the person who dropped it. Not because he hasn’t stolen anything before, but who does it right in front of someone like that? Rookie.

Question 2: A good friend of your OC has a crush on another person. The other person has a crush on your OC. Your OC and your friend have an equal chance of being in a committed relationship with this other person. The other person would make your OC’s friend extremely happy for the rest of their life, but your OC would make the other person extremely happy for the rest of their life. Does your OC let their friend take the relationship, or does your OC take the other person for themselves?

JAE takes the person for themselves. Truly, did the other guy really have a chance anyway? When it comes to Jae, he gets what he wants. Doesn’t matter what he has to do to get there.

Question 3: Your OC steals something very valuable. Your OC and a known thief are both suspected in the theft. If your OC admits to it, they will be thrown in jail for a month, but if your OC blames the known thief, there will be no questions asked, and the thief will spend their life in prison. Does your OC admit to the theft or blame the other person?

SOPHIA admits to the theft and gets out of having to go to jail for a month. Perks of being a Fae Princess.

Question 4: Your OC is trapped in a cave with their loving and faithful dog. Your OC knows that help is coming, but it won’t be in time before they die of starvation. Your OC will survive if they kill and eat their faithful companion. Does your OC risk death from starvation or kill and eat the dog knowing they will survive?

MATEO is a vampire, so he would suck just enough of the dog’s blood to keep himself from going insane while also keeping the dog alive.

Question 5: Your OC has been often and severely bullied by another individual. While walking deep into the woods one day, your OC finds this individual has their foot caught in a bear trap and can’t escape without help. There is an equal chance that either a hunting party or a vicious beast will find the bully if your OC doesn’t help them. Does your OC leave the bully there or do they help?

JAE not only leaves the bully there, he knowingly taunts him and waits for people to come. Hell, he would lead a group of people to the person.

Question 6: Your OC is the leader of a small village. Winter is fast approaching and the harvest is complete, which will mean your village will survive the winter. A band of raiders show up and demand that your village has a choice of either giving them all your OC’s villages crops which will likely mean death for the village, or you give them half your crops, and half your OC’s villagers, who will surely be used as slaves. Does your OC give them all the crops and risk death of the village, or half the crops and half the villagers, which will guarantee the village staying alive?

SOPHIA would send half of her villagers off to be slaves. A sucky decision, but she has to think of her people as a whole and not individually.

Question 7: Given that your OC’s parents are still alive (whether true in your story or not), a psychopath has them held hostage. Your OC must make a choice whether to kill either their mother or father, or both will die. Whom do they choose?

MATEO would kill his father and his father wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. And Mateo wouldn’t even have to think for a second.

 

I hope you enjoyed! If you see any other amazing tags, let me know, as they are my favorite to make blog posts about. (If you haven’t noticed…)

Allison 🙂