December 24, 2012 | Categories: Life | Tags: Christmas, Christmas and holiday season, Christmas lights, Holiday season, Holidays, laney mcmann, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
Some readers hate them, while others love them–especially fans of a series. Cliffhangers keep the story moving forward from book to book. They have the ability to leave the reader wanting more.
Or … less.
Some readers get so furious when a story leaves them hanging that they give up on the series entirely. The majority, however, cling to the book, wanting more, more, more!
So, as a reader, do you hate a cliffhanger ending, or do you love them?
December 17, 2012 | Categories: Author, Novel Writing, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, books, Cliffhanger, Fantasy, Fiction, laney mcmann, Literature, Readers, series endings, The Fire Born Novels, Writers Resources, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author, YA readers, YA series | 2 Comments
Aspire: to long, aim, or seek for.
Aspire is one of those words with an embedded escape clause.
“If I really suck at this, or if I just give up, it won’t matter because I’m only aspiring.”
Do you love to write? Does it speak to you?
Aspiring isn’t goal setting. It’s an escape hatch. It is scribble, scribble, blah, blah … What was I talking about?
If you want to write then write. If you want to become an author work your ass off at it. It’s hard and it will make you want to scream one second and cry the next. But writers write. It’s what we do. Don’t be afraid to put a label on it.
December 8, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Writer, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Arts, Author, Author of The Fire Born Novels, Chats and Forums, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Goal setting, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, Publishing, Word count, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 6 Comments
Yep, I said that.
Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.
It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.
From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.
But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. 😉
December 4, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing To Deadlines, Inspiration, Novel Writing, Publishing, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Contract, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Facebook, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel creation, published author, Publishing, Publishing contract, Publishing contracts, Technology, Writers Resources, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment
“Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
November 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes | Tags: Author, Children's literature, Fiction, goal accomplishment, Harry Potter, Hogwarts, Inspiration, JK Rowling, laney mcmann, Literature, Novel, Tales of Beedle the Bard, Writers Resources, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
Which one are you?
I’m the latter. Definitely.
Although I’ve always written, my love of the written word began before my sentence structure did. My imagination of worlds far and beyond sparked at a very young age. Writing the stories I imagined in my own head, came later.
I realized recently, after having a conversation with a fellow writer, just how different the above breeds of writers can be. When I began my novel and truly delved into learning craft, I found reading for my usual enjoyment difficult, and suddenly lacking. Instead of the story I saw sentence structure, grammar use. I would hear myself questioning the decisions the author made and wondering what I would have done differently. I couldn’t see the stories anymore. I’d lost the magical quality that had originally turned me on to writing. I’d lost what I craved most. The story.
Writers who are readers pick stories apart. Readers who are writers, read. For the sheer enjoyment of it. To be transported. To live in someone else’s shoes.
I learned that when you are only looking for errors, they are all you will ever see. And when you are editing your book as a writer, they are all you should see. But when all of that is done–you should see your story.
Now, I have to shut off the writer brain (as hard as that is sometimes) and turn on the reader one. If I don’t, I find myself reading as I would a text book. But if I do… I remember why I love to read. Why I love to write, too. I have worlds I want to share. Characters and plots. I have to stories to share. That’s the aim, right? To share good stories? And at the end of the day, after all the edits are done and proofreads have been finished, I want to be able to read my book through the eyes of a reader. If I can’t do that — if I can’t still feel the emotion that sat me in front of the laptop for months on end — if I can’t see and feel what I need the reader to see and feel — well, what exactly have I been doing? Remember that readers read because they want to be carried away. You need to see your book not only through your eyes as a writer, but more importantly, through the eyes of your readers. They are the ones who matter. They are the ones who will make or break you as an author. Every single time. And readers, the vast majority of them, are story cravers, not editors, not writers, just readers.
Write the best book you can. Get the best editor you can. Nit pick the crap out every tiny detail in your novel. Then go back and read it. And remember why you wrote it in the first place. The best grammar in the world will not save a crappy story. But…an awesome story will trump a few overlooked grammatical errors. Check out some book on the best sellers list. Readers aren’t looking for perfect. They aren’t looking for the same things writers are. They’re looking for that one story that digs into their soul. The one story they can’t stop thinking about. The one they read over and over again. That’s the book we as writers should be writing.
WRITE ON, WRITERS! And tell your stories.
November 19, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writer, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, art, Author, Fiction, Grammar, laney mcmann, Online Writing, Reading, Reading (process), Short story, The Reader, Writer, Writer Resources, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 9 Comments
“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek.”
November 16, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Joseph Campbell, laney mcmann, Literature, Mythologists, Mythology, myths, Myths and Folktales, Power of Myth, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment
Young Adult fantasy novels are my first go-to on reading shelves. My first love of books in general. I write them too. Pretty well, I think. At least in content, anyway. 🙂 Sometimes, however, “Laney, YA writer” gets crossed with “Laney … well, Laney.”
Why do I sound like an adult sometimes when I write? Besides the fact that I am one, I get caught up in the flurry of the story–action scenes, love scenes– and I occasionally forget contractions and ‘teen speak’, as my editor calls it. When I’m on a writing roll, I write what I see in my head. The words kind of disappear. Strange? Maybe so.
Stories read like moving pictures for me. Like a blur of color. My editor slows the view down so I can see what’s staring back at me from the screen. It’s an invaluable tool.
Writers need editor’s eyes. They are programmed to see what we miss. Although, sometimes it may feel nit picky or overwhelming–we need to use it, learn from it.
My story reads tighter, cleaner … better. As far as I’m concerned, the frustration that can come from full-blown edits are worth every ounce of hair pulling and head banging. The goal is to produce the best story I can. Even if that means cringing every time I open a document to find blue ink covering my pages. 😉
November 14, 2012 | Categories: Author, Editing, Editing To Deadlines, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Book Writing, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Exercises, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author, Young Writers, Young-adult fiction | 4 Comments
A writer never finds the time to write. A writer makes it. If you don’t have the drive, the discipline, and the desire, then you can have all the talent in the world, and you aren’t going to finish a book.
- Nora Roberts: A Publishing Phenomenon (bookmavenpicks.wordpress.com)
- Nora Roberts’ happily-ever-after life (cbsnews.com)
November 12, 2012 | Categories: Author, Writing | Tags: Amazon Kindle, Arts, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Nora Robert, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, Writing process, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments
“I believe legends and myths are largely made of truth …”
November 7, 2012 | Categories: Author, Quotes, Writing | Tags: art, Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien, laney mcmann, Literature, Lord of Rings, Middle-earth, myths, Myths and Folktales, Quotes, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
“It’s always too early to quit.”
November 5, 2012 | Categories: Publishing, Quotes, Writing | Tags: Editing and Proofreading, Inspiration, laney mcmann, New Age, Norman Vincent Peale, Power of Positive Thinking, Quotes, Rewrites, Writing and Editing, Writing process, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment
Pre-Final edits are in full swing, so forgive my sporadic blog posts of late. The writing pendulum is searching for the mid-point.
Turns out real editing with changes and revisions takes a while. Add in a deadline and … yeah, it’s a time stretch. With that in mind, I’m continuing my What’s In An Editor post series (a spin-off of What’s In A Beta Reader). And since I’m new to the editing game, it will be a work in progress. Here we go:
I keep asking myself, “How would you feel?” Or, “What does that look like?”
Feelings are hard to write. For me. Well, I should reword. Feelings are hard to show in my writing. It’s a point of head banging lately. Rewriting sections to show instead of tell. Showing say … scrutiny, for example, causes my head to ache. How would I show scrutiny? It’s a good question. One that I’m working on.
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi is an invaluable tool. One that I use from time to time (more often lately). It doesn’t, however, give a writer all the answers. It simply leads them a bit farther down the ‘expressive’ path. After that, showing is still in the mind of the writer. Showing without repetition … harder still.
I’ll move back to my example. The sentence I needed to alter per my editor was this one: I scrutinized both of them.
So, how do I show scrutiny?
Here’s the definition: A critical observation or examination.
I could have my character shake his/her head, but I do a lot of head shaking (it’s an easy and probably overdone fix). I could have a disbelieving eye roll (also a bit overdone even though I like eye rolling). How about narrowing eyes? That works. When we are skeptical of someone’s behavior we narrow our eyes in disbelief.
Still, it’s a crap shoot. Seeing eye to eye on every little detail is unlikely when it comes to editing, but your words should feel right. Put yourself in your characters shoes and ask yourself, “How do I feel?”
Nobody said editing would be easy.
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
November 1, 2012 | Categories: Editing To Deadlines, Novel Writing, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Beta reader, edit, editing, Editing and Proofreading, Facebook, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Twitter, Typing, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing and Editing, Writing Tips, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
An interesting thing happens when you work with an editor. You are quickly reminded (or I am) that although you may be a good storyteller and okay grammatically, becoming a terrific storyteller and a grammatical whiz, is quite another animal. Patience reigns. Glad my editor has a lot of it. 😉
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
** The homonym police got me…. reins vs. reigns. See what I mean about editing? Thanks, Carol. 😉
October 26, 2012 | Categories: Editing, Publishing, Writing | Tags: Author, Editing and Proofreading, Grammar, laney mcmann, Language, Revisions, Structure editor, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
I can finally talk again and share my big news! Details below:
Laney McMann signs three-book contract with J. Taylor Publishing for her Fire Born trilogy, a dark, Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, including TIED, TORN and TRUE.
Apex, NC – October 24, 2012 – With a passion for the supernatural and all things magical, Laney McMann developed a voracious appetite for reading fantasy at a young age. By the time she reached her teens, Laney had accumulated notebooks full of poems which led to short stories and finally novels, specifically in the young adult dark fantasy, paranormal romance, and mythology genres.
“A lifelong love of writing fantasy led me to write TIED, ” says Laney. “TORN and TRUE naturally followed.”
That love of writing brought her to J. Taylor Publishing. “The premise of the Fire Borns compelled us to read TIED, the first of the trilogy, ” says J. Taylor Publishing, adding, “and the romantic possibilities, and intrinsic conflict placed up on the main characters won us over. We had absolutely no hesitation contracting this work.”
Figuring out life is a tremendous element in many young adult novels, and TIED is no different as it explores the facets of growing up, discovering oneself and deciding what parts of a future are important to the main characters.
”The tie in to lesser-known mythology truly captured our attention,” says J. Taylor Publishing. “We’re very excited to add another YA novel to our catalog and expect adults and teens alike will enjoy this series.”
TIED is planned for release in September 2013 with, TORN in late 2014 and TRUE to follow one year later.
About the Publisher
J. Taylor Publishing is an Independent Publisher who, thanks to the Internet, has a worldwide reach. Our debut authors are in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The company produces print and electronic books. For more information about J. Taylor Publishing, please visit www.jtaylorpublishing.com.
October 24, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Dark fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Fire Born, J. Taylor Publishing, Laney, laney mcmann, Mythology, Paranormal Romance, Publishing, The Fire Born Novels, The Fire Born Trilogy, TIED A Fire Born Novel, TIED by Laney McMann, United States, ya fantasy author, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author, Young-adult fiction | 12 Comments
It’s every new writers nightmare. The reason so many hide their stories away.
What if no one likes my book? What if I only think I can write…but really, I can’t!
Oh, god, people are going to judge me.
A quote by Bruce Patrick
WRITE ON, WRITERS.
October 22, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Self Publishing, Writer, Writing | Tags: Author, facing fear, fantasy author, Fear, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, Judgement, laney mcmann, WIP, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Advice, Writing Tips, YA Fiction, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments
UPCOMING NEWS IS ON THE WAY REGARDING TIED! *SQUEEEE*
The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can’t help it.
October 2, 2012 | Categories: Author, Quotes, Writer, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Communications, goal accomplishment, Henry David Thoreau, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Leo Rosten, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
I am elated. Elated!
That’s all I’m going to say. More to come. Soon, I hope. 😉
- The Publishing Roller Coaster (laneymcmann.com)
September 27, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writing | Tags: art, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, novel writing, Publish, Publishing, YA paranormal romance author | Leave a comment
A few days ago I received an email. A request for my manuscript in full to be sent to a publishing house I queried. And then I received another one.
Am I thrilled? Absolutely.
Do I feel terrified and on the verge of throwing up? Definitely.
I remember the feeling of accomplishment I felt when I completed TIED. Edits, beta readers, and all. It was as if a weight lifted off my shoulders. For about an hour. Maybe.
A few weeks later, I queried my first publisher with shaking hands, and terror replaced accomplishment. Still, I sent it anyway. I had to. All of us writers have to. This whole process is well…part of the process. I think we need to go through it. It makes us a little stronger.
Now, after sending off my baby that I’ve loved and coddled for two years, I have a different sense of accomplishment. One that is mixed with the discomfort of judgement. The word all writers hate. But you know what? It’s a great feeling. It is. Because whether or not they decide to take my book on, they believed enough — and saw enough — to give it further than a glance. And although this could be the only elation I feel in a long run of disappointments — I plan to appreciate it for what it is — THE BEST FEELING I’ve had since I jumped on this roller coaster ride of writing.
I love what I do. And I’m thankful to be doing it. Even more thankful, too, that my betas also love my stories and I’ve been given a small pat on the back by yet another interested party. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. Wish me luck. 😉
September 26, 2012 | Categories: Author, Inspiration, Publishing, Writing | Tags: art, Author, Editing and Proofreading, goal accomplishment, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Publish, querying process, Writer Resources, Writing process, YA paranormal romance author | 6 Comments
There is no such thing as too much description. Okay, maybe later on when you’re a few drafts in some details will need to be scaled down. But in the beginning when you are just writing, just write. Tell your story and every little detail that you see in your mind. First drafts need to be loaded with details. There will be too many but come draft two and three you can pick and choose what’s important enough to stay and what needs to go. And through those changes your story will start to become alive.
Every character in your story needs a voice and I don’t only mean the ones who can talk. I mean EVERY character. The buildings, the car, the woods, the town. The world you’ve created needs to breathe. It needs life. Life in writing is created through details. The edge in someones voice, the creak of a clock tower, the feel of a touch, the sweetness of a flower. The ripped, faded jeans. The wickedly flirtatious smile. The racing blood. The charred forest. The reader needs to see it, taste it, feel it, hear it and know it. They want to walk in the world you create, to feel what the characters feel.
I think we all can get caught up in writing dialogue. It is no doubt, extremely important but at the end of the day, if all you have is dialogue, where’s the setting? Why does the reader care if he can’t see your characters sitting on the hillside, or fighting in the alley? The only way to create your world is to give it a personality of its own. Give it an identity and make it come alive in the minds of all who read it.
WRITE ON, WRITERS!
September 18, 2012 | Categories: Inspiration, Publishing, Thoughts, Writing | Tags: Advice on writing a novel, Arts, Author, Editing and Proofreading, FAQs Help and Tutorials, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Mailing Lists, novel creation, Publishing, Short story, Writer, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing and Editing, Writing Exercises, Writing process, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 8 Comments
What shall we listen to today? How about this….
You get ideas from daydreaming. You get ideas from being bored. You get ideas all the time. The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.
September 11, 2012 | Categories: Author, Craft, Inspiration, Writing | Tags: Arts, Author, Inspiration, laney mcmann, Neil Gaiman, Organizations, Sandman, Writers Resources, Writing, YA paranormal romance author | 2 Comments
A few of my Cocteau Twins favorites on this rainy writing day. Enjoy.
August 27, 2012 | Categories: Inspiration, Music, Writing | Tags: Antony Hegarty, Arts, Arts and Entertainment, Cocteau Twins, Elizabeth Fraser, laney mcmann, music, my music monday, novel writing, Robin Guthrie, Song To The Siren, Steve Hackett, Tim Buckley, YA paranormal romance author, you tube | Leave a comment
You wrote your first book. Now you’re marketing it on every social media site you can think of. Or maybe you’re on submission and you’ve chewed your fingernails to bits with nervous energy at the thought of rejection. Either way, you’ve started your second book right? Right?
The tale goes that most writers need to have between three and five books in the marketplace before they will take off and be seen. If they do at all. There are exceptions, of course. So are you writing those three to five books and beyond, or are you putting all your efforts toward promoting your first, and only, book?
I won’t lie and say that I didn’t go into a state of panic when I went on submission, or that I didn’t freeze into a no writing phase for about a week afterwards. I did panic. I did freeze. Then I realized I was wasting both time and energy, and I continued on with TORN, the sequel to my first book, TIED, now on submission. I realized that regardless of what happens with TIED, I needed to move forward with writing. It was the only thing I could control. And if everything did work out with book one, I would need to have book two in the wings, finished, ready and waiting to go live.
The turnover with e-book technology is simply too quick. What I learned when I continued on with book two was that my anxiety decreased, my reason for writing in the first place resumed, and I fell back in love with my story. For me, that in itself is all I can ever ask for. To love what I’m doing regardless of where it leads.
Now, I won’t lie and say that marketing doesn’t scare me to death, or make me uncomfortable. It does. And I am only doing a fraction of marketing now compared to what I know will be required of me when I do publish. But even then, a balance will need to be struck. Because in order to sell books, you have to continue writing them. There needs to be something to buy within a reasonable amount of time after you’ve created a buzz with your first masterpiece. So market away, submit away, but remember, this is a writing game we’re in. We need not forget that.
So, what about you? Are you in a terrified state on submission? Marketing your Indie book? How’s it going?
August 21, 2012 | Categories: Author, Publishing, Writing, Writing Tips | Tags: Amazon Kindle, Arts, Author, Book, E-book, Fiction, goal accomplishment, laney mcmann, Marketing, Publish, Publishing, Self-publishing, Shopping, Social media, WIP, Writers Resources, Writing, Writing Tips, ya fantasy author, YA paranormal romance author | 1 Comment