Monday, January 08, 2018

Less Than Perfect preview

Hi all!

You may remember me talking in the past about a book I have called Less Than Perfect. I wrote this book a good seven years ago and my writing has a evolved a lot. However, I've decided to let people read it, so I've started uploading it to Wattpad. You can find it here.

I will try to upload at least a chapter a week (unless it becomes more popular or something). So please do check it out.

While you're on Wattpad, check out my friend's book, Sold to a Wolf Pack. (Werewolves but no vampires.)

Happy reading!


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Two Thousand and Eighteen

Happy New Year!!
Time to party it up like this champ

Everyone likes to make resolutions at this time of the year. I kind of do that by telling myself (and my alpha reader*) how many books I will finish writing and how many I will edit extensively. So what's on this year's list?

1. Three books to finish writing.
2. One book to write for nanowrimo.
3. An entire series, consisting of eight books to edit.

So, you know, no big deal.

Here's to a great 2018 for you, me, and all the fictional people in my head!

- Natasja

*What's an alpha reader? It's a person who reads all your stuff, first draft or otherwise, laughs at the ridiculous mistakes you make, and yet still tells you that you're amazing.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas!

I'm not normally a very crafty person, but this year I decided to make these little fairy gardens for three of my nieces and my daughter for Christmas. It was a fun little project. Take a look...

Abigail's Beach House features shells, gems, a crown, directions to some tropical places, and a lovely statuette of a flowerful fairy. (Also pictured: burlap for sand. Find out why below...) Not being much of an artist, I had to have my sister sketch the house for me.

Evelyn's Treasure Cove features shells, gems, fishies, a treasure chest (made from a ring box), directions to some other treasure spots, and lots of glitter. I made this one first and learned a valuable lesson about not ever using real sand for anything again.

Isabelle's Playground features moss, flowers, a variety of animals, pine cones, mushrooms, a Princess Peach mushroom, directions to some fairytale places, and a door that leads nowhere (shh, don't tell her). Moss, btw, is fairly easy to work with. This was probably the most enjoyable garden to make.

Winter's Wonderland features a train, soldiers, presents, coniferous trees, a snowman decorating a tree, candy canes, directions to other (sometimes) cold places, and a throne. Yes, I made her a snowy, wintery palace. Deal with it.

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

Friday, December 08, 2017

Writer's Block

One question I hear thrown around the writing community a lot is "What do you do when you get writer's block?" Here are my top 5 pieces of advice (and 5 that I don't fancy):

1. Read a book
It sounds counter-intuitive but sometimes reading another book can get you out of a funk, give you inspiration, or just give you a break. Reading more also helps you become a better writer. Try it - you'll be surprised.

2. Listen to music
I pretty much always listen to music while I write. Each of my books has its own personalized playlist. I find if I play it soft enough, it's just enough to stimulate my brain without distracting me.

3. Push through it
This is hard one, especially when the easiest thing to do when you have writer's block is to just stop. Sometimes, the thing holding you back is that you just don't know how to write what you want to say. At those times, you just kind of have to grit you teeth and do it. It's important to remember that even if it's garbage, you can edit later.

4. Step away and do anything creative
There are other times when it is a good idea to step away and take a break. But you can still keep yourself inspired by doing something else that is creative. Do you like to paint or draw? Maybe you like to sing or you play an instrument? Keeping the creative juices flowing doesn't necessarily mean you have to be sitting in front of a blank page.

5. Clean up your space
I never feel better than when my place is clean and everything is in its place. Sometimes even just the act of cleaning is enough to kick me into the right gear, but certainly having a nice tidy home helps me clear my mind enough to write.

Now here are a few things I don't personally like, but they may still help other people:

1. Freewriting
I'm just not a big fan of freewriting. I've tried it a few times, but for me, the fact that it doesn't go anywhere, that it doesn't contribute to any of the dozen or so books that I'm working just doesn't help me. However, some people do find freewriting helps them to get over a block that they're dealing with.

2. Create a schedule
Some people love this. They get up every day at 5am and write for an hour, or they carve out a certain time every day or week to write. I think that's great! But it doesn't work for me and I can't schedule writing around my family. So I pretty much write whenever I feel like it/get a chance. I should add though writing frequently will make you a better writer, whether you stick to a set schedule or not.

3. Get your body moving
Again - this is great for some people. Exercise makes people feel energized, so they're more in the right mindset to do things like write. But I don't exercise much and I don't think I've ever said to myself, "I can't write this. maybe I'll go for a jog." The closest I've come to this is pacing, but that's about it.

4. Drink coffee
All this does for me is keep me awake at night, to be honest. But I get where this advice is coming from. If coffee can wake you up and give you a clear mind, then you might be more set up to actually write something.

5. Go on social media 
Hahahahaha. No. I don't even remember where I read this advice, but the only reason I go on social media is to procrastinate and distract myself. It certainly does not help me get over writer's block. But you do you, random person who suggested this.

Not matter what works for you, the most important thing to remember is that in the end, you won't get over your block unless you actually write something. As the marketing folks at Nike like to say: Just. Do. It.

- Natasja

Monday, December 04, 2017

Me, Myself, And All The Other People In My Head

A post about character creation and how good characters will take over an entire project.

First off, let me just say that I do not "base my characters on people I know." To do so would inevitably land me in a great deal of trouble, especially if I kill the character you thought was written after you. If a character happens to share a certain trait with you, this is either coincidence or I might just like that thing about you. This applies to everything I write, with the exception of two short stories I wrote for two very special people in my life.

Now that I've finished my disclaimer, I can say that, yes, of course you're in my stories! Because you're a part of me, and I'm a part of each and every one of my characters. In order for you to properly enjoy a book, the characters have to feel like real people. Which means they have to have real emotions, reactions, traits, mannerisms, etc. And who better to base those things on than you?

Anyone who knows me and my writing knows that I don't write books. I write characters who happen to do interesting things. Almost all of my stories have started with at least a couple characters with interesting personalities and histories. Sometimes they become so realistic that they start doing things on their own and the next thing I know, I'm in the middle of a plot without a paddle!

 If you love a good character-based story and have a little extra time on your hands, I'm now in the midst of having Knockout Girl beta read and you are welcome to do so as well. Just click here to let me know!

- Natasja