If you want to write a book, here are five actual tips. (Don’t quit!)

Okay, my fellow writers, we all know that Beast article sucked. Maybe it was trying to be a tough-love kind of motivation. (Yes, it takes dedication.) Maybe it was trying to relate a truth about writing. (Yes, it can be hard.) Maybe the author was just having a terrible time as a writer and wanted to ostracize the community he desperately wanted to become a part of. (Side-eyes the article again.)

Regardless, the article was poorly written, the author comes across as a villain, AND the “tip” he gives (write everyday) while good for some people, simply can’t work for others. The author’s idea of “if you want to write a book, write everyday or quit” is a terrible mindset to have. To that end, here are five tips if you want to write a book:

1.) Read. Read so many books, inside your genre and out, whenever you can spare the time. Why? It’s important to see what’s been done in the literary world, it’s a way to build your repertoire of words (sounds weird, but seriously, reading helps you build your vocabulary), and it’s also a great space to gain inspiration.

2.) Read your work out loud. Yes, this also seems weird and maybe don’t do this in a coffee shop or other public place, but reading the scenes out loud will allow you to figure out the sticky spots, the weird transitions, the too-long sentences. It can help with pacing, too.

3.) Consider having a Post-it note on your computer (or somewhere you can dig it up easily) with an inspiring quote from your favorite author or from your favorite book. It’s something you can look at when times are rough, or when that one scene just isn’t working, or when you can’t think of how to make this one MC amazing. For me, I have this quote from Patrick Rothfuss when he guest starred on Critical Role as Ker saved on my desktop: “There are many things that move through fire and find themselves much better for it afterward.” 

4.) Try not to edit your first draft while you’re writing. It’s hard, I know. I also want to go back and fix things, but if you do that, you’ll literally never be done with the first draft. Give yourself permission to have that first draft be shit. Write whatever the hell you want. There’s always the second and third drafts to pull it into the shape you want it to be in.

5.) And finally, my last tip is a tip of the hat toward the Beast article. If you want to write a book, write. Simply write. You can write everyday. You can write once every week. You can write for a marathon weekend or a marathon month. But if you want to write a book, all you have to do is write. Write when it’s best for you.

BONUS TIP: And please, for the love of all the writing gods and goddesses and muses in this world and beyond, please don’t give up. Your story is worth telling.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Warm regards,
Kellie

Book Giveaway Announcement!

Hello fellow nerds!

Would you like to win a free book? (Of course, you would. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to win a free book? Crazy people, that’s who. Are you crazy? I think not.) Well, my non-crazy fellow nerds, you’re in luck!

I’m hosting a six-book giveaway of Losing Hold over on my author Facebook page! I’m going to sign them, too, so you get to see my pretty scrawl. How do you enter? Simply Like and Comment on this pinned post about who your favorite scifi protagonist is! I did something similar with Finding Hekate and folks really loved it, so I’m hoping my readers like this opportunity, too!

Here are the official specs.

Rules/Eligibility Requirements:
– To Enter: Like and Comment about who your favorite scifi protagonist is
– Giveaway starts on May 16th and ends on May 30th, midnight PST
– US participants only, no international fans (sorry!)
– Adults only (18+)
– SIX winners will be randomly drawn from the entries and announced on May 31st
– No purchase necessary, but feel free to share if you’d like!

About The Book You Could Win:

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In this sequel to Finding Hekate and after escaping Donavin’s grasp, Mia Foley and her crew crash on a prison planet and need to deal with its inhabitants, beast and criminals alike. Mia hears Donavin in her mind once again and knows the transformation into one of his drones isn’t far off. Trapped in her own body, lashing against Donavin each chance she gets, and fearful that she’ll lose it all, Mia has to rely on her crew—on Cassidy—to save her. But she’s not the only one transforming in her little group, and things never go as smoothly as they could out in the black.

So go like and comment today! It’s super easy, and you could win a free book!

I hope you have a lovely Saturday.
Until next time,
Kellie

How The Heck Do You Name Your MC?

So, you have a great story. A plot that’ll throw readers out of their seats. A main set of characters that are relatable and funny and unique. A twisted villain that straddles the line between true darkness and having a reason why they’re doing their evil deeds. You might even have a title for this masterpiece. But then you stop and realize: you don’t have a name for your main characters. What are you supposed to call them? What name would hold the mantle of the story? What should the minor characters shout as they claim victory?

Some authors have no issues finding the right name for their characters. Some authors spend days or months trying to find the right one. I belong in the “days or months” category. It takes me ages to figure out a name that I like, but because of that I’ve developed a set of tools that helps me. Maybe you could use those tools, too? Here are three ways I discover my character names like the ones in my Cicatrix Duology:

Try To Determine What They Represent In The Story
This is an old technique but I use it all the freaking time. Is your character brave? Strong? Shifty? Honorable? Scary, maybe? I used this for both my Across the Stars business owner Cassidy Gates and the big baddies Acedians (not a single character but are important enough they are a single big-bad entity). I knew Cassidy would be smart and independent and more clever than Mia, she’d be able to see through Mia’s ruse in a way no one else could, so I researched those traits and found her name. For the Acedians, I wanted to reflect their last stage, where the human part of them is taken away and they’re basically a shell for Donavin’s use. Adecia means “apathetic” and worked perfectly.

Pick Them Because Of An Inside Joke
Now don’t walk away from this or scoff. It’s a weird way of thinking, but my spaceship captain Mia Foley falls into this category. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to name her, and originally it had been Maria but then I kept on thinking of the song from Sound of Music and kept humming “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria” in my head whenever her name came up. (Spoiler: In the two books, her name comes up a lot.) It wasn’t working out. So I thought about her story, about her past, her capture, her running, her always trying to stay one step ahead. And then it hit me, she literally tried to be M.I.A. (missing in action) after blowing up every ship. I realize it’s not the standard military way of using it (where it explains a missing person after a battle) but she tried to disappear. It made me chuckle and when I wrote her name in the story, it just worked.

Try One Of Those Name Generators
I really enjoy combing through the random name generators to find unique names for my characters – like Nin, who you’ll meet in Losing Hold. I never use the actual names that pop up but I like combining certain vowel sounds I see and figure out if it works, especially for last names or fantasy names.

Those are my tricks of the trade. What are some of yours? Leave a comment!

Hope you’re having a lovely Easter (if you celebrate) and a lovely Sunday (if you don’t)!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Join Me For #SciFiCircle!

Hello fellow nerds,

I’ve been wanting to do a Twitter hashtag game for a while now, ever since I found out that it was a thing last year. It’s such a cool idea, bringing fellow creatives together to celebrate something (writing, fandoms, events, etc.) so I decided to start one too!

In honor of my book Losing Hold coming out in April, I’m hosting a #SciFiCircle hashtag game on Twitter, starting tomorrow and going through the entire month!

There will be one question per day, posted from my Twitter account @Kellie_Doherty between 9–10am PST. Folks who want to join in can answer the questions (using the hashtag) and hopefully connect with other science fiction lovers. I’ll be answering the questions, too!

Here’s a little preview of the questions:
What’s your favorite classic science fiction book?
What’s your favorite recent scifi book?
Who’s your favorite scifi character?
Who’s your favorite scifi villain?

I’m excited to start this game and I look forward to connecting with other scifi lovers!

If you’re on Twitter and you enjoy science fiction, you should join in!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Losing Hold Cover Reveal!

Hey everyone! I’ll be hosting a live Facebook Event this Friday to reveal the cover of Losing Hold! I’m pretty psyched about the artwork—spoiler alert: it’s gorgeous—and in order to celebrate I decided to do something a little different and try a live Facebook Event!

What does that mean?
Well, Friday between 7-8pm (PST) I’ll be on my Facebook Event page posting things like what Losing Hold is about and the inspiration for the story, hosting a Q&A session with giveaways (that’s right, free stuff!), and of course, revealing the cover! Basically it’ll be a chance to ask me some questions and be entered to win one of the four giveaways prizes! Speaking of…

What are the Giveaway Prizes?
I’m going to give away two signed copies of Finding Hekate and two 30-page edits from Edit Revise Perfect. I’ll be picking four participants from Q&A at random to win the prizes, so be sure to ask a question to enter!

Here are the specifics one more time!
Friday, February 24th
7-8pm (PST)
On this Cover Reveal Facebook Event Page (be sure to select “Going” to get the notifications!)

I hope to see you there! *waves*
Warm regards,
Kellie

Sci-fi Romance Sweepstakes!

Attention science fiction nerds!!

Sci-Fi-Doherty-Kellie.pngDo you like reading science fiction with a dash of romance thrown in? Well, if so, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. (If not, the holidays are just around the corner and if you win, you’d have your presents already done!)

To celebrate the end of fall, I’ve teamed up with more than 60 lovely science fiction romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

You can win my novel FINDING HEKATE, plus books from authors like Sharon Lynn Fisher and Veronica Scott.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: bit.ly/sci-fi-rom

Good luck!
Warm regards,
Kellie

#WIPJoy

 

One of the great things about social media is the chance to communicate and connect with people across the globe. Another great thing about social media are the hashtags, because it allows you to pair down all the posts and really see what people are talking about concerning a specific subject. It allows you to join in a conversation more easily.

A hashtag I’m particularly enjoying this month is #WIPjoy. Started by fellow scifi/fantasy author Bethany A Jennings, #WIPjoy is a month-long celebration of your current work in progress (WIP). The writers follow a specific set of guidelines for their daily posts (including #WIPjoy and usually the specific day, example: #WIPjoy D22) specifically about their writing and then can look at what other authors are doing for theirs. Here are the guidelines this year:

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It’s a great hashtag to join in and look through because it connects you to other writers online, it allows you to really dig into your current work in progress, and you can see all the cool things other writers are doing. Plus, it’s fun! It’s a celebration of writing, how can it not be fun, right?

It’s especially good for me since I needed a boost this month to think about my current work, a five-book fantasy series I’m tentatively called The Broken Chronicles. My folks are visiting and we’ve been doing a ton of adventuring in this state of mine, so I haven’t been able to work on my novel very much. This #WIPjoy allows me to keep my mind on it, if only for a short time of the day.

It’s been a lot of fun. If you’re participating, shoot me your Twitter handle and I’ll send you some love! If you’re not participating (or don’t use Twitter), what work in progress would you talk about if you were?

I hope you have a lovely day!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Working on Fantasy Races [Help!]

So, now that Losing Hold is in the beta readers hands I have some free time to work on my next series—a five-book fantasy! I’m in the process of worldbuilding right now.

One thing I’m struggling with, though, is creating fantasy races, and I’d love some feedback on the basics I added in this post below. Originally I wanted to have the common races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people—living in my world, but then I got to thinking how they’re done so much at this point it’s hard to transform them into something different. (And that’s coming from a person who absolutely adores those races.) So I developed a history of my world where there had been those ancient races—elves, nymphs, humans, were-people— and all four races had every type of magic—nature, spirit/religious, animal, and energy—because they were blessed by the goddesses. Something terrible happened (of which I’m still working on) and those races were destroyed. A new generation of races appeared in their place, each one remembering their old race and having some qualities of their old races, but each race can only use one type of magic. Essentially, the magic was splintered.

I like this idea, but now I need to come up with the different races and it’s a bit of a challenge. Thus far I’ve come up with the following:

Race: Nemoras, descendants of the Nymphs
Magic Type: Nature
History: The Nemoras were born of the ashes of nature after the (whatever I’m calling the Big Bad Event). They are powerful folk, grove-dwellers, curators and protectors of all the natural resources, save the animals. In order to get any resource—trees, stone, water, fruits, vegetables, metals—the other races must come to the Nemoras. Because of this, the Nemoras have a good working relationship with the other races, save for one, the Divus. Each grove—regardless of its type—has at least three, if not more, Nemoras.
Physical Traits: Nox (they alternate between change genders as they age); Multi-colored skin representing the grove they protect (poison grove = purple skin, tree grove = green skin, stone grove = gray skin); Narrow eyes; Short hair
Characteristics: They are generally gentle creatures who deal (relatively) fairly, but they can become fierce when needed, especially when trading and protecting their groves.Their gender changes through a connection with their groves and they have no control over it until they turn a certain age when they can choose which gender they would like to have. They are able to come and go as they please, wandering as far away from their grove as they wish. They tend to be a bit haughty, because they feel like they have a lot of power holding the resources (and they do). The power gets to their heads, sometimes.
How they are similar to the Nymphs: They protect certain places in nature, and are associated in some way with that location.
How they are different from the Nymphs: They are not deities; they age with their particular grove; they can transfer from grove to grove (as long as it’s in the same type); they do not sing/dance (because they don’t have time for that kind of nonsense); they can choose to be male.

Race: Divus, descendants of the Humans
Magic Type: Spiritual/Religious
History: Originally from the islands where the ancient Humans lived peaceful lives dealing fairly with everyone and always asking for less than they needed, the Divus are explorers. They are seafarers and land roamers, always on the move, always staying in the darkness. (The daylight is dangerous after all, but they are seen as cowardly.) They rarely trade with the Nemoras because they can harvest food from the sea and are the only race that can do so. (Though they do feel like the Nemoras are greedy and the groves should be equally shared with everyone.)
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Very thin-skinned (get cuts easily); Nearly translucent; Overly bright eyes that seem to glow in the dark; Thin hair of varying colors; Thin build
Characteristics: Divus always wears armor (of some kind) so they don’t get cut. They worship the moon goddess. They will steal from the towns to get better food, weapons, clothing, but they are the traders of the world, who have tenuous deals with each major city and transport major goods back and forth.
How they are similar to the Humans: The roaming aspects are very human-like and the resourcefulness of getting things from the sea.
How they are different from the Humans: They have translucent, thin skin and overly bright, glowing eyes.

Race: Elu, descendants from the Elves
Magic Type: Energy
History: The Elu want to regain their place in the high towers like their ancestors. They are seen as lower class, hard workers, and do the grunt work of the towns and cities. They are the famers and the cleaners. They are out in the daylight doing the dangerous job of transporting minor resources to and from the groves. They want to move up in the world, but because of how they look it’s hard for them (which makes them annoyed).
Physical Traits: Male and Female; Dark-skinned; Tall; Very muscular; Tiny ears; Wide eyes (differently colored); Bushy hair (usually black or brown)
Characteristics: They are usually happy folk, getting joy from the friends and family around them, but they tend to grow sour when working. They learn quickly and are well known for their hard work ethic. They are very smart. They have a great relationship with the Nemoras and tend to protect them from the Divus. Their voices are light. Only a few have ascended to power.
How they are similar to the Elves: Their voices are similar, they are tall and smart, and they like working with nature.
How they are different from the Elves: They have dark skin and bushy hair, and are usually in the working class.

Race: Vagari, descendants of the Venators (were-people)
Magic Type: Animal
History: The Vagari are beast-tamers, held in high regard since the beasts of this world are highly dangerous (dragons, wyverns, basilisks) and usually hold high positions of authority in the cities. They cannot transform into the beasts like their ancient races could, but they do have characteristics of the beasts (strength, speed, scaled skin, tail, claws). Because of this, they also choose the path of guardians and warriors.
Physical Traits: Male and female; Light brown skin; Varying beast attributes
Characteristics: Even though they can be dangerous, they are usually friendly, loyal, and smart. They treat everyone fairly, even in battle. They like being around people.
How they are similar to the Venators: They have animalistic characteristics and can talk to animals. They also like being in “packs” or around a bunch of people.
How they are different from the Venators: They cannot turn into the beasts; they are not “wild” but are in positions of power and are at home in the city.

So…yeah. That’s what I have thus far. It’ll probably change as I write the characters and the story, but I wanted to get the basics down so I can see how they work together, where conflict would arise, and what kinds of plotlines could work.

I’d really love some feedback and some help in fleshing these out. What do you think of these races? What works and what could be changed? Comments, critiques, helpful suggestions are all welcome!

Let me know in the comments!
Warm regards,
Kellie

Let the Freaking Out Commence: School Is Starting

PSU starts on Monday. This Monday. Two days from now. And to say I’m unprepared for my second (and final) year of graduate school would be an understatement.

Things I Don’t Have Prepared (followed by my internal screaming):

  • Class Locations (WHERE ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Class Schedule (WHEN ARE MY CLASSES?)
  • Notebooks (WHERE ARE MY NOTEBOOKS?)
  • Calendar Dates (WHEN IS EVERYTHING?)
  • Internship Research (WHAT DO THEY DO?)
  • Vanguard Copyediting (WHY HAVEN’T I PUT IT ON MY SCHEDULE?)
  • Chronicle Blogging (WHAT AM I DOING FOR BLOG POSTS AND WHEN?)
  • This Blogging Schedule (SAME AS ABOVE!)
  • DPP Author Stuff (WHAT AM I DOING FOR MARKETING?)

So. Many. Things.

So, to that end, this weekend I’m going to be preparing for school.

Thankfully I had a meeting with Chelsea, my co-manager for Write to Publish today, so we have that pretty much covered. And, to be fair, I am having coffee with Ripple Grove Press (my internship place) on Monday, so we’ll figure stuff out then.

I’m just much more prepared by now, you know? It’s awkward. And oddly stressful. But I have my tea with milk and honey and I have a plan of attack for getting everything done, so I’ll be good.

Are you prepared for school to start? Or were you, when it did? (Surely I can’t be the only one, right? Right?)

Warm regards,
Kellie