Trust the process

April 7th, 2018 7:09 pm

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Hey guys!

I decided to participate in Camp National Novel Writing Month. If you can tell from the title, yes, you attempt to write a novel in ONE month 🙂 I decided to take a break from EVREN and KING BLUEBEARD, while they are with beta readers and editors, and instead write a new story about dragons and a young woman who has been imprisoned in a tower for the majority of her life. So far, I have about 10,000 words, and am enjoying this process. I am completely pantsing the project, meaning, I have no outline or previous brainstorming for it. I am literally opening the document and writing what comes in my head at the time.

I thought today I would talk a little bit about trusting the process. Trusting the process of drafting a new novel, brainstorming a new novel, or editing said novel, whatever spot you are at in this journey.

Trust 

Before I began pantsing this project, I’ll be honest, I was nervous. What if I couldn’t come up with characters that readers would follow for a novel? What if I just stared and nothing came together? What if the plot did a face plant?

I am happy to report that as I’ve begun drafting, the characters and world have revealed themselves to me. There have been parts where they have surprised me and made me laugh. This for me, is part of the joy of writing, when you are surprised by your own characters. It feels so magical.

However, if there is a part where you get stuck, there are some things you can do to unstick yourself 😉

-With a notepad and pen just scribble scene ideas down and circle some of your favorites to pen later

-Go for a walk or hike in nature and try to give your brain a chance to float and be quiet. Sometimes my best ideas pop up during these times.

-Research! Research often sparks plenty of ideas for me that gets me rolling again

Writing freely

Many better writers before me have spoken about this but they really recommend that the first draft of anything, to try and write freely without having that inner editor speaking too loudly in the background. The first draft tends to help you get a feel for your characters, world, and plot, but it does not have to be perfect! Try and silence that inner editor and write this draft for fun. That’s what I have been doing and its a liberating experience. I know oftentimes in rewriting and revising, that the magic occurs. That is where I can fix sentences and deepen character motivations, fix the plot and subplots if there are any gaping holes.

So, enjoy writing! Trust yourself that you can finish this draft. Give yourself permission to write a messy first draft, but have fun while doing so! Another note, everyone’s process is different. This is what works for me. 🙂 What may work for me, might not for you. I just hope you feel encouraged and excited with whatever you are working on.

What are you working on at the moment?

Until next time,

Loie xo

Encouragement is life giving

March 31st, 2018 10:33 am

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Good morning, all!

How are you making out? It’s been a little while since I last blogged. There was a picture book contest on Tuesday that I participated in. Turns out, picture books are a lot of fun to write but also super hard! I wrote an article for Wow Women that is going to be published on April 6th 🙂 Just found out two days ago and am so thrilled. I will post the link when it goes live.

Today I would like to talk about encouragement. Why encouraging others is so important and why receiving that encouragement is incredibly life giving, even when you have just received a rejection, slipped up, or have received terrible news.

Don’t give up.

I’m serious, please don’t let the darkness creep in and steal the light. Hold onto the promise that you will be okay, that there will be another opportunity coming your way. That even if you slipped up with whatever you are struggling with, it doesn’t mean the end for you, and it certainly does not define you. There is a new day. You will get through this.

I wanted to talk about encouragement because there have been so many contests lately and opportunities in the writing world. Some, I have managed to succeed in, and others, I was not chosen. The thing is – in writing and in life – this is going to happen all the time. What’s important is not letting this steal the joy of writing from you or knock the confidence from your core, but instead, you can learn how to gracefully accept the rejection and keep your head above the water. Allow yourself a moment to grieve or feel frustrated, but don’t stew in it.

My Mum always said, when one door closes, another will open.

Encourage others. In these moments when we feel dismay, a word of encouragement can mean the world to someone. I myself was on the receiving end of a word and it really lifted my spirits. I didn’t settle into a cloud of doubt and worry that I wasn’t good enough at writing and would never succeed.

You can do this ❤

What are you all doing this weekend? I can’t believe we are at the end of the month!

Also, just discovered a fun activity happening this April, for writers, if you would like to join, check this out:)

Until next time,

Loie xo

#1st5Pages of your novel

March 17th, 2018 –  12:23 pm 

Happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you are having a good week. We received tons of snow on Wednesday but today was quite sunny, as was the day before so the crusty snow is beginning to melt away. The powder blue sky hints of spring. Soon 😊

In the publishing industry, the first five pages can make or break it for a reader, potential agent, and editor. You want those first five pages to be intriguing, introducing readers to a character or characters that they will happily follow for the next 300-400 pages. The writing, tone, voice, setting, and characters are all integral. I feel like writing is a balancing act, sometimes. So, you ask, how do you make sure that your first five pages are stellar? I have a few ideas.

Critique Partners

 About six years ago when I first began pursuing writing seriously, I didn’t think about critique partners. I just wrote for myself with the hope that the book would be solid enough to send away at some point. Hahaha…oh naïve Loie. I can’t do it alone. Oftentimes, we are too close to our work to see  glaring mistakes, pacing issues, awkward wording, etc. There are many things a critique partner provides you.

They can be a cheerleader; encouraging you on as you embark on this wonderful and wild journey of writing with the hopes of eventual publication. They are the ones who you can turn to and scream/laugh with over the fact that an agent requested your full MS. Alternatively, they can be someone you can cry to when you receive a rejection from one of your top five agents.

They also can help point out things that aren’t working in your MS. They can give you an unbiased opinion of how the pages are working for them. If there were any places where it felt like they got confused or the dialogue was unrealistic.

So, critique partners are just wonderful, wonderful human beings. You really want to find yourself a critique partner, friends. Or a few critique partners!

Pitch consultations

Another avenue to see if your first five pages are working is to sign up for a pitch session or consultation with an agent or editor. This is costly but it is a great opportunity to see what an agent thinks about your opening pages.

Here is a link if you’re interested:

http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/find-agentseditors/consultations/

#1st5Pages Workshop (COMPLETELY FREE!) 

 Finally, here is an amazing opportunity for you to enter a free workshop. You submit your first five pages and have them critiqued by four other workshop attendees, published authors, and in the final week of the revision, a literary agent!

It is first come first served and submissions open at 12 pm EST on Saturday of the month. The workshop runs every month except August and December.

For this month, I was lucky enough to have submitted on time and received a spot! It has been so amazing getting to read my fellow workshop participants work and critique their work. When you critique someone else’s work, you are also growing your writing brain so to speak, because you’re seeing what works and what doesn’t. This will inevitably help you with your own writing.

Thank you so much, Erin Cashman and all the other wonderful folks involved in making #1st5Pages workshop happen. It is an awesome opportunity for up and coming aspiring authors.

Link is here if you want to check it out:

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/

Oh, and if you want to read my first five pages (lol shameless plug, eh) here is the link:

http://www.1st5pageswritingworkshop.com/2018/03/1st-5-pages-march-workshop-dunn-rev-1.html

I have one more revision to send in. It’s due by Sunday evening. That’s what I will be working on today, friends 🙂

Is there anything you are working on this weekend? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

Loie xo

 

Seasons and new story ideas

March 13th, 2018 – 11:18 am

Hello everyone, how has your week been so far? Last week the predicted snow bomb didn’t amount to much 😉 This time it did snow. I’m at home working and I keep peeking out the window to see the snowflakes building up. However . . .

Spring is near!

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I have been potting new seedlings and picking up succulents and indoor plants for my apartment. I’ve read that they help the air as well as lighten one’s mood. At my local nursery there was a poster and it said that having plants around you also increased one’s creativity. I’ll take it! I love plants and flowers and nature so much.

With spring approaching, there is also the promise of spending time outside again. I can’t wait to go to the beach with a towel and book. I know my boyfriend and I have mentioned countless times this winter that we can’t wait to go to our local beach and swim. Here in Canada the beach is still frigid but less than in the winter so we bare it and grin, saying it’s great, haha!

Books I’m reading 

 

  Heart of Iron is soooo fun! Ashley’s hook about the book is “Anastasia in space”. She is a beautifully descriptive writer and the pacing is awesome. I can hardly put it down.

Blurb from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35181314-heart-of-iron?from_search=true

   The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages. I finally received the hardcover in the mail and I cannot wait to read it.

Blurb from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32075671-the-hate-u-give?ac=1&from_search=true

Working on new projects

My YA fantasy, EVREN and KING BLUEBEARD are off to two editors. I won two full MS critiques at auction for Elodie’s #letsdosomethinggoodnow auction to raise money for organizations that support young people with cancer. She is an amazing writer and you can find Elodie here:

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While I wait for EVREN and KING BLUEBEARD’S critique, I am going to work on a new short story I started, The Dragon Wielder.

One thing I want to talk about today is how easy it is to get sucked into one project and have tunnel vision for that story. I have been dreaming about Evren’s story since I was fifteen years old. 11 years later and I finally have a finished draft that I’m proud of. But if I want to really survive in the publishing industry, hopefully down the road, I need to be able to work on new projects.

That’s why I have been going through my “IDEAS” word document and looking through old ideas that I posted snippets of. I want to see if anything jumps out at me. My boyfriend and I were daydreaming the other day and he came up with a really neat idea about a water dragon and its mistress. He is super creative and we have toyed with the idea of trying to co-write that story.

What do you guys do to re-fill your creative well? And what do you do when you’ve gone as far as you can with a project and need to work on something else? I’m praying that EVREN sells but I also have to accept that if it doesn’t, that is okay, and I will work on something else.

I’m participating in an online workshop through Romance Writer’s Association and its a fairy-tale retelling class. We are brainstorming our own Cinderella retelling.

On a fun note, I’m going to try baking a pizza with quinoa flour today 😀 LOL! I will let you know how it goes and what it tastes like on my instagram if you’re interested in finding out.

https://www.instagram.com/loie_d/

Have a wonderful day! Please tell me what you are currently working on, whether it’s a writing project or something else 🙂

Loie xo

 

Happy Thursday friends (before the snow bomb hits eep) !

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University of Nottingham. Picture taken in January 2013 when I arrived there.  

March 8th, 2018 6:17 am

Good morning lovelies! I have been waking up mad early to participate in twitter’s writing community called #5amwritersclub and it has been quite fun. I managed to re-write EVREN’s ending and work on my twitter pitches for #PitMad. However, when 11 am rolls around, I am definitely feeling it 😉

That is when coffee lovingly calls my name.

Eastern Canada and the States are expecting a “snow bomb” (very descriptive of the weather channel ;). So we may get snowed in today or tomorrow.

Finding peace in the busyness of life

In any case, this month is filled with heaps of writing contests and fun opportunities to grow as a writer (#PitMad, #1st5Pages, #AMM to name a few) All wonderful things. I just wanted to make a post about finding some peace and quiet when things pick up and get busy. I find it difficult to concentrate on my writing when my mind keeps flitting to that contest I just entered or wondering if someone is going to comment on my entry on so and so’s website. It is hard to focus right now.

One of my favorite verses that I hold close to my heart is from Philippians 4:7:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Breathe in. Breathe out.

My first experience of deep peace

When I went to England in 2013 on a student exchange, I was so nervous I wouldn’t make any friends. I suffered from social anxiety and found it difficult to relax in social settings. I asked God before leaving if He could help me relax and make friends. I wanted to experience a new culture and stretch myself but I was afraid.

That was my first real experience of a peace that transcended understanding. I stepped on a plane in Toronto at the end of January and didn’t feel nervous about the prospect of leaving behind my home. I wasn’t thrilled about flying in a death tube for 8 hours but I wasn’t nervous about going to a new country. I was SO excited!

I landed in London the next day and foolishly booked my train to Nottingham eight hours later so I could explore the city 😉 HAH! Naive over-excited traveler I was, thinking I could actually be a tourist after an eight hour flight, haha. I lasted for a few hours, beaming over a latte in Kings Cross and then slumping over my basil tomato pizza in a sweet diner hours later, feeling the jet lag kick in.

When I finally got on the train headed to Nottingham, I ended up sitting next to an older gentleman (after struggling with my big suitcase) who politely asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Canada and headed to the University of Nottingham for five months, he smiled and told me he used to be a Professor of Psychology there (which was my major!) and that I should go to the student exchange fair later that week. He told me it was where I would meet all my friends.

And friends, I followed his advice, and I met the most wonderful people! I don’t think that meeting was random. I know it was God taking care of me through His people. Very cool and encouraging.

That exchange changed my life, for the better. I got to meet one of my online writing best friend’s for the first time in person in Ireland and squee over our writing life goals together. We traveled to the Cliffs of Moher with her hubby.

Kendra Leighton and I went to a book signing together ❤ She was another friend I met in the online writing world. We met Marissa Meyer in London when she was touring Scarlet from her Lunar Chronicles series. Kendra also gave me some awesome raw and dairy-free chocolate. The link to her business is here:

https://www.rawrchoc.com/raw-chocolate-bars

I grew as a person and learned that we are better together. Everyone brings a different gift and way of thinking to the table. I met people from Australia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, and the USA. Everyone had different ways of coping with life struggles and I learned so much from them. I learned I didn’t need to stress or worry about certain things that I always ruminated on in the past, particularly social stuff.

God is so good. I asked Him for help and He answered.

So if life is getting crazy and busy – whether good or bad- take a moment to yourself and breathe in and out. You are not alone. ❤

Until next time,

Loie xo

#AMMConnect

March 3rd, 2018 9:53 am

Good morning all!

This blog post is dedicated to my young-adult fantasy, EVREN. I am planning on participating in Author Mentor Match – a fabulous opportunity for an aspiring author to be matched up with a mentor. The mentor and mentee work together to get the manuscript ready for submission to potential agents. *Squees*

It’s an amazing opportunity and I cannot get over the support and encouragement I see in the children’s literature world these past few years. There are heaps of contests and opportunities for aspiring authors.

http://authormentormatch.com/

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Traveling through Killarney, Ireland

Welcome! My name is Loie Dunn and I am an aspiring young adult fantasy author.  I am twenty-six-years old and I live in eastern Canada with my barber and ancient Jack Russell Terrier. Walking on the beach to collect sea glass is one of my favorite activities 🙂

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This photo was taken at the Cliffs of Moher where I was visiting one of my best friend’s, Triona. That trip was one of the best I have ever been on. Ireland is so beautiful – it truly is an emerald jewel. The people are so genuine and friendly. Did I mention they have awesome live music at nearly every pub?

I love to travel 😀 I hope to travel more in the future. Paris, Moscow, Africa, and Germany are on my bucket list. Someday …. 😉

Without further ado…. my work-in-progress: young adult fantasy, EVREN…

AKA a seafaring adventure with magic, romance, and friendship! 

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EVREN follows the dual POV of a young female sea navigator and an elf who has just been promoted as King’s Guard.

We get to follow Evren while she navigates the sea and East, who is learning how to manage his new position while relations become strained with the landwalkers and the sun-fae of Tarkais. East finds it doubly hard when a lovely sun-fae comes to court and asks for his help. Why? Her people are being persecuted.

Evren lives on a poor island, fishing for a living, because she cannot find any navigating jobs. When the handsome and eccentric Captain Sa’av arrives on the island looking for someone to bring him to the sinister Sea Queen’s lair, Evren jumps at the task. Even though Rusalka’s lair is not found with landwalkers eyes, Evren promises Sa’av that she can bring him there.

Evren has a secret: she can navigate the sea without a compass.

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What happens when Evren finds out the real reason they are going to Rusalka’s Lair?

An epidemic is sweeping Tarkais and Captain Sa’av is charged with finding an antidote to the sickness that has infected him and more to follow. Evren cannot walk away from this task, especially not when she has begun to fall for the Captain.

Will Rusalka give them the antidote? Evren is uncertain, especially since the Sea Queen has begun to utter death threats over the wind.

There you have it, friends! Thank you for reading. I hope you like my story 🙂

Now to keep editing until Author Mentor Match.

Loie ❤