Thursday, May 28, 2015

Time Management as a Student & Writer || Guest Post

I'm so excited to get to have Abigail here with a fabulous guest post on time management for writers. Enjoy and please read, comment, and share!

Attending high school is hard. Writing as a serious hobby is even harder. When you combine the two of them, it becomes downright ridiculous. Are you studying Calculus and attempting to write the next Tolkien epic? You’re in the right place.

As teen writers, we have several aspects to our lives: our education, our families, and our writing. There are four main problems we face when we try to manage the three at once.

We lose track of time.
We suffer from burn-out.
We procrastinate.
We don’t get our work done.

Those are some big problems, so we need some big solutions. If we want to get stuff done, we need to manage our time. “Time management” is a complicated term, but in this post, we’ll break it down into a series of five steps.

Now that we’ve explained things, let’s look at the solutions.

Know Your Schedule
If you have to wash the dishes at five o’clock, don’t schedule your writing time for six. You’re not helping yourself by planning crazy, hectic weeks.

If your classes are getting intense, and you need more time to study, reschedule your flexible activities. For example, wake up half an hour earlier to write in the morning. It’s better than coffee. If your chores are a flexible activity, ask your parents if you can reschedule them. You can mow the lawn later in the evening, or dust the living room before breakfast.

 Don’t be afraid to start a task at a different time each day, swap chores with your siblings, or wake up an hour earlier. Be creative with your schedule. You’re a writer. Creativity comes naturally to you.

Stay Mindful
I’ll be the first to admit it, staying mindful of your time is hard work. But, we can use a few tips and tricks to help ourselves out.

Once you’re aware of your schedule, you’ve gotta stick to your schedule. Set an alarm for the amount of time you can spend on a task, and when the alarm sounds off, quit. That’s right, quit. It doesn’t matter if you’re almost finished, or if you weren’t able to make progress. Quit, gosh darn it, and get on to the next task on your to-do list.

We do this because, when dealing with multiple projects, we have to keep working. If you aren’t making progress on one project, switch to another. If you’re in the middle of one project, keep working hard by tackling your next task.

Also, switching projects helps prevent burn-out. How discouraging is it to stare at a blank screen for hours at a time? Very discouraging.

So, stay mindful, switch projects, prevent burn-out, and keep busy.

Implement a Reward System
Maybe when you were younger, your parents would treat you with a reward if you brought home a good report card. Did the possibility of a reward make you work harder? Chances are, it did. So, why not give yourself a reward when you make progress on your tasks?

It’s an easy thing to do. First, make a list of cheap, easy, or fun things you enjoy, and then assign a task to that reward. For example, my reward list looks like this:

Write a blog post = Watch the evening news
Finish homework = 15 minutes crocheting
Write 1,000 words = 30 minutes of Internet use
Finish chores = grab a cookie

See? Easy as eating a slice of chocolate cake. (Which is a great idea for a reward.)

Create Checklists
Some tasks can appear so daunting that it’s hard to get to work, and that’s why checklists are such a helpful tool. You can use checklists to break up complicated projects into smaller tasks, and it makes the project seem less threatening.

For example, say you had to write a research paper. We’d break down that monstrous project into bite-sized chunks, like this:

Visit Library
—Search and checkout books on topic
Organize Research
—Get folders
—Label folders
—File papers
Write Outline
—Find topic angle
—Find “walkaway point”
—Find “connecting points”
—Find “supporting points”
—Outline topic sentences for each paragraph
Write Paper
—Write first page
—Write second page
—Write third page
—Write (etcetera…)
Write Bibliography/Citation Page
—List all research quoted in paper
—List sources
—Write page
—Check page for accuracy
—Edit page
Edit Paper
—Edit for extraneous content
—Edit for “purple prose”
—Edit for spelling and punctuation
—Edit for final copy
Hand in paper

That’s an example of how powerful checklists can be. You can see how we broke down that huge project of writing a research paper into little tasks. It makes the ordeal more manageable, doesn’t it?

Know How You Spend Your Time
When you’re not getting your work done, knowing how you spend your time is a great way to remedy the problem. Once you know where all that time goes, you can get a handle on any procrastination.

To track your time, I suggest a program like RescueTime. It tracks how you spend your time on the Internet and your desktop. Once you’ve spent a week with the program, the software will send a report to your inbox on how you spent your time during the week. It’s a helpful productivity tool.

Let’s say you got your weekly report. You found out you spend most of your time on social media. Well, that’s a problem. But, now we have that information, and we can use it to our advantage. Most, if not all, of social media is online-based. So, just shut off the Internet. If you use mobile devices that have Internet access, stash them in another room to avoid temptation.

Or, you could just grab your work and head outdoors.

So, we’ve noted a few problems, proposed a few solutions, and got down to the nitty-gritty of time management. Now, get writing!

But first, tell me, how do you manage your time? Do you struggle with slipping time for writing into your day?

Abigail Post is a seventeen-year-old fantasy writer with four novels stuffed underneath her bed. She is a freelance writer, blogger, author, and editor. Her short stories have appeared on the website of Teen Ink, and she is a compulsive writing contest-enterer. When she can't bother her cats, she's tinkering with her fountain pens, or planning to toss her next book in the fireplace.

You can find her at, or stalking her favorite authors on Twitter.

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Makes Us Writers || Guest Post

Sarah here. I'm so excited we get to welcome Anne Marie Schlueter of AM Station today!  Please show Anne lots of friendliness, and if you like what you see here, head over to her blog and check it out!


We have a complex job. But is it really a job? It’s more of who we are. It is part of our essence, a part of what defines us. So perhaps it is more appropriate to say that we are complex people.

But are we really?

We understand the world in ways that others overlook. We can be still and silent and just watch and listen. Not many people can do that. We are aware of the sounds and smells around us while others are so lost in moving from point A to point B that they miss it all. We’re more concerned about what happens between. We want to know about the roads and dragons and forests that lie between A and B.

To be a writer is to be someone who is determined.

We don’t quit. Even when it feels like we’re spewing garbage, we put one word in front of the other. Even though we have a folder full of rejection letters, we hit “submit” anyway. We are unable to quit. Why? Because, for us, to quit would be to stop breathing. Simply, we cannot.

To be a writer is to be able to articulate beauty and sorrow. It’s the ability to turn feelings into words and slather them onto a page.

Writers are fearless. We are courageous. We are strong even when we feel weak.

We’re not afraid to just live.

A writer is not something you can become. A writer is someone that you are. If you write, if you listen, if you notice, if you love, then you’re a writer. Claim it. Embrace it. Be empowered by it. Don’t be ashamed of it. Tell people “I am a writer” because writing is tied to you as much as your name is.

Now go write!

Anne Marie Schlueter is a teenage writer with an affinity for words, music, food, and Jesus. Her articles have appeared on the Life Teen website and she blogs regularly. Other than that, she writes short stories and poetry, and is currently in the midst of editing a novel. Her blog: Twitter: (@sassqueenofmw)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Novel Spotlight: Dauntless

Happy Monday! Or not so happy Monday, depending on how much you take after Garfield.

Today we have a novel spotlight.  The book came out about month ago and has gotten tons of 4 and 5 star reviews. I happen to know the author through two mutual friends, which I think it cool. Let me introduce you to Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman.

Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads

Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king. Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, will he choose fame or love?

Dina L Sleiman is the author.  Here's a little more about her:

Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Dina also serves as an acquisitions and content editor for WhiteFire Publishing. For more info visit her at or check out her latest series at

Have you read Dauntless? What did you think? OR What is one of your favorite medieval fantasy books? Comment below and let me know!

I received a copy of this book as a thank you for writing this post. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

When You're Too Frustrated to Continue || Guest Post

Today I'm very excited to have a guest post for you all. Please show a warm welcome to Jessica Wolf from Simple Scribbles

Writing is hard. No one ever said it was going to be easy. If it was easy, everybody and their mother's brother's dog would be doing it. Like E.B. White once said, “Writing is hard work and bad for the health.”

There are times when I hate writing. I mean, I really, really hate it. There are times when I want to delete everything I've ever written and forget about it all.

Recently, I finished the first draft of my first novel, The Carpenter's Wife. Like most writers, after letting it sit for awhile, when I came back to begin editing, I found that I hated it. First drafts are supposed to be bad, but this was worse than I had expected. It was choppy, it jumped around too much, and overall, it just didn't read well.

After about two weeks of making small edits before moving onto the big ones, my Frustration Meter hit its limit. I could not take anymore. I was so disappointed in myself and so discouraged I had to walk away for awhile. In fact, I still haven't touched it since sometime last month.

Don't do what I did, though. Here are four things to do when you get too frustrated to continue!

1. Take a breather.
It's okay to step back every once and a while, especially if you're in the editing phase. But even if you're just drafting, sometimes taking a break from something that's causing you unnecessary frustration is what's best. This could mean take a break for ten minutes or take a break for ten days. Whatever you think will give you the most time and space to recharge.

2. Start something new.
If you're anything like me, you find sticking to one project at a time is difficult. I've learned to force myself to work on one thing and one thing only. Sure, I use Pinterest to pin the heck out of my growing ideas and I take notes on them like crazy, but I force myself not to put words down on paper until I've finished (or moved on, if need be) from my current project.

Even so, if you're finding that whatever you're working on is frustrating you to no end, choose one of those ideas you've been mulling around and start it. While first drafts aren't easy, they're sometimes the most freeing because you get to do whatever you want in whatever form you want. Try this tip out especially if you're in the editing stage and you're craving a good plain-ole' writing session. I tried this out myself when reaching my limit with The Carpenter's Wife, and I'm loving what I'm working on now even more.

3. Take a nap.
Simple, straight forward, effective.

Taking a nap might seem like a kid's thing, but it's a great way to get rid of frustration. Close your laptop or put down you pen, and throw yourself onto the nearest bed. Sleep it off and get back to work when you wake up. You'll be refreshed and you may even find you dreamt of a way to cure the cause of your frustration.

4. Stop. Yell/groan. Continue.
You might do this already, but, if you don't, venting your frustration is a great tool to get rid of it. Stop writing and yell, curse, groan, kick something, punch a pillow, stamp your foot. Do something to release some of that anger. When you're sufficiently yelled-out, sit back down and continue. Sometimes that little shout or punch to the pillow is all that's needed.

Getting frustrated with your writing comes with the territory. If you're never frustrated, that's probably not a good sign. Just remember: Never let your frustration get the better of you. You are a writer; your story deserves to be told. With practice, hard work, and determination, your novel will get finished and you will have triumphed over the frustration.

Until next time, keep scribbling, friends!
~ Jess

Jessica Wolf is an aspiring author with a sweet-tooth for historical fiction and period dramas. She is currently working on the first draft of her second novel attempt and hopes to one day self-publish. After high-school, she plans on attending college to become an editor. You can read more of her writing at

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Importance of Community & Ch1Con Book Giveaway

This post and GIVEAWAY is brought to you by Chapter 1 Young Writers Conference. Inklined is participating in the Ch1Con 2015 Blog Tour, which spans a number of writing-related blogs and includes a ton of original content from the Chapter One Young Writers Conference team. I’m super excited to be a part of it.

Founded in 2012, the first Chapter One Young Writers Conference (Ch1Con) took place in Chicago with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream. It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: Could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference? The answer soon became apparent: Yes. And so the conference was born!

 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Three speakers have been confirmed so far: headliner Kat Zhang, the bestselling author of The Hybrid Chronicles, Taryn Albright, better known as the Girl with the Green Pen, and Ava Jae, debut author of BEYOND THE RED (YA sci-fi coming out in 2016). As a special bonus, Ava Jae’s agent, Louise Fury of the Bent Agency, will open to queries only from conference attendees for up to thirty days after the event.

The 2015 conference will be held in the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/South Marriot, with sessions from 8:30am to 4:30pm on Saturday the 8th of August. Tickets for transport and room reservations can be bought online with links on the conference’s Travel page. Early bird registration is currently open at this link with adult registration for those 18+ and youth registration (with parental/guardian consent) for those under 18. 

 For more information and to join in on the Ch1Con community, check out the website and social media platforms for the conference:

Website: Chapter One Young Writers Conference 
Twitter: @Ch1Con 
Tumblr: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
YouTube: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Pinterest: Chapter One YW Conference
Facebook: Chapter One Young Writers Conference 

The Chapter One Young Writers Conference. 
Every story needs a beginning. This is ours.

While I haven't signed up yet (due mostly to me being a proscrastanator (I'll look up how to spell it later)) I hope/plan on being at the Ch1Con this year! I would love to see you there.

Now, you might be asking

I'll tell you why. It's because I believe in the importance of community. Particularly, I believe in the importance of a community of teen writers who want to encourage you and help you write better.  There are three reasons for this.

1. Community Encourages You
Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time I took a year long creative writing class, in which we were encouraged to write a novel. I did great in the class, writing a chapter a week. It was the first time in my life I wrote consistently. A huge part of this was that I had a teacher expecting me to turn in a chapter every week. My writing class was my community. That summer, after class ended, I didn't write. And then the next semester, I didn't write. I didn't become a disciplined writer again until I joined the Go Teen Writers' Facebook Group.  When you have community, you have a group of people that will cheer you on during your high points, and give you a helping hand during your low points.  Your community plays Haymitch to your Katniss.

Community Encourages Your

2. Community Fosters Friendships
There are so many people I would consider my writing friends. Guess where I met them. If you guessed "Through your writing community," you'd be absolutely correct! Some of them are much better writers than me. Some of them are just starting out and still don't know the difference between there, their, and they're & don't know what an Oxford comma is. I pity those poor souls. Through the blogging and Facebook communities I'm a part of, I've built relationships with all sorts of writers. When you join and online community, you either make friends or become a non-contributing member of the community.  Communities by their very nature help you form and grow friendships.

Community Forcing you to make Friends

3. Community Makes Your Writing Better
I found all of my closest writing friends through the teen writing online community. My closest writing friends are the one's I trust to tell me when my ideas stink and when they are pure genius. It is not a huge leap from close writing friend to critique partners. Without community to teach me, support me, and encourage me, I would still write like a 4th grader. Your community, and most definitely your critique partners know how to give it to you straight to make you a better writer.

Community Gives it to you Straight

Those are my three biggest reasons community is so important to writers (or any creative person.)  What are some of your favorite or least favorite things about community? Leave a comment or tweet me @SarahFaulknr and let me know.

And now, the promised giveaway!  This giveaway is brought to you by Ch1Con
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much for reading! I hope to see you at Ch1Con. Are you planning on attending?

777 Tag from Ink Castles: My Novel Excerpts

Hi guys! Skye from over at Ink Castles tagged me in the 777 tag. Here's how this tag works. You go to your WIP. Go to page 7. Find the seventh line on the page, and post seven sentences.  I'm so glad Skye tagged me, because if she hadn't, I probably would have done it anyway.

I've decided I want to do this the fun way, though. So I will be coming excerpts from all the novels I've ever written (3 & 3/4.)

Novel 1: High Fantasy about Rebellion
Dear Zeldea,
This is my daughter.  I would keep her if I could.  I heard about your own exciting news.  Congratulations.   I hope you will enjoy motherhood as much as I have these past few days. 
I have a request of you, Zeldea.  I am asking something huge from you, but I hope you will forgive me.  

This is a snippet of a letter that plays a very important part in the story. (Although I think the letter will be cut in a later draft, or at the very least, heavily rewritten.) This is the first novel I wrote.

Novel 2: Sequel to Novel 1
White light burst out of my hand to blind me for an instant before dissipating. I blinked a few times before trying again and getting a sphere of soft light.
It illuminated Jammeand rubbing his eyes with both hands. “You must really have it in for my vision.”
“Sorry,” I said.
Jammeand waved a hand and blinked a few times. “Your mother used to do the same thing.”

Let it be known that Jammeand is my favorite character I've ever crafted. If I have to kill him off one day, part of my soul will die with him. This novel is 98K and was written during November NaNoWriMo and April Camp NaNoWriMo 2012-2013.

Novel 3: Middle Grade Sci-Fi about Space Cadet

"Who . . ." He started again. "Who are you? What planet are you from?"

She tilted her head. "My name is Sandra Lettensong. I was originally from a small planet in the Beta 2 quadrant, but that planet was evacuated before you were born, so I doubt you’d have heard of it. I've been saddled with the unfortunate task of training you through your last year at the academy."

This is perfect, because it's a great summery of what my novel is about, and it sums up Sandra's personality so wonderfully. I wrote this novel kind of while writing the sequel to Novel 1, and I think it's the best first draft novel I wrote. The plot and characters are much stronger than in my previous two novels. I finished this novel in July of 2013.

Novel 4ish: High Fantasy set in Greece about Loyalty
“It is the decision of this court that Mr. . .” Clement looked at the thief.
“Gemmi,” the man whispered.
“Mr. Gemmi is guilty of the theft of fourteen chickens from Sergeant . . .” he paused again and looked to the former sergeant.
“Sergeant Havrold Carlice, Your Lordship.”
“Sergeant Havrold Carlice. As such, Mr. Gemmi must pay Sergeant Carlice two times the monetary value of the goods stolen. He shall also be held for sixty days in the Duke’s dungeon. 

Of all the excerpts I've shown today, this is the least representative of the story. Clement is the main character, the son of a senator. He blames his father for the death of his mother, and hates the plans his father has for him. This novel was written during November NaNoWriMo of 2013 and April Camp NaNo of 2014. It is incomplete at 83,000 words, because I'm not sure how to get from the plot twist at the end of the middle to the climax.

Which excerpt did you like the most? Which novel should I focus my attention on for the time being?  Leave a comment and let me know. If you want to do your own 777 post, consider yourself tagged.
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

10 Books with Criminally Awesome Characters

It is probably no secret that I love me a good criminal. Books about outlaws, criminals, spies, thieves, scoundrels, or anything of that sort are my favorite! This link-up is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but this post was directly inspired by Paper Fury's similar post.

Honorable Mentions:

The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
This is the story about a knight who forces a thief to help him on all sorts of adventure. It is great! I haven't read it in a while, but I think it deserves some re-reading.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This book starts out with our main character in the dungeon. She has magic, which is illegal in the storyworld. But instead of being sentenced to death, she becomes the King's taste tester.

10. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The main characters in the book aren't exactly criminals. They're incredibly smart and gifted children. But they must join forces and become spies in order to stop an evil man from taking over the world. I'm not joking.

9. The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
This book is about a boy who pick-pockets a wizard by mistake. He take the wizard's magic stone, which should have killed him on contact. When the wizard tracks him down and sees the boy still alive, he takes the boy on as an apprentice. The boy, Con, is constantly getting into trouble because of his ties to the criminal world.

8. Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks
This book is about a young boy who is a genius. His therapist encourages him to indulge in criminal activity. Bonus, it takes place in Australia. I will say, I enjoyed books 2&3 in this series more than book 1.

7. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
This book is about a young street thief who accidentally kidnaps a princess.  The fantasy/historical setting in this novel is one of my favorite  things. Chima nails the worldbuilding wonderfully. This book is a must read for fantasy lovers!  It's so great! I own the first two books, and hope to own the whole series one day soon!

6. Heist Society by Ally Carter
This book is, in my opinion, the archetype for YA heist books. The main character is from a long family of crime. She tries to leave the life, but quickly gets dragged back into the family business when her father is framed for a crime he didn't commit. Heist Society has a great cast of characters, a well executed love triangle, some of the best one-liners, and a reference to Princess Bride. What more could you ask for?

5. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarivs McGraw
Mara, the main character in this novel is a cunning spy.  She was a slave, but because of her quick wit and good looks, she gets recruited to be a spy. She then gets blackmailed by the very people she's trying to spy on, and has to stay on her toes while secretly playing a double agent. This book is set in ancient Egypt, and has a great combination of adventure, suspense, and romance.

4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
This book has two main characters, Artemis and Holly. Holly is a fairy working as a reconnaissance officer for the Lower Elements Police.  In other words, she's a LEPrecon. Artemis is a child genius and heir to a criminal empire. He learns of the fairies existence and decides to kidnap one and hold it for ransom.

3.The False Prince by Jennifer Nielson
This book is about a orphan boy. He's a sneak thief until he gets kidnapped by a noble. The nobel has a nefarious and treasonous plan for the group of orphans he's taken. Little does he know that our main character is one step ahead of him the entire time. This book, I would have to say, is my favorite Middle Grade novel. It's great!

2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
This book revolves around the life of Celaena Sardothien. She is a teenage assassin. The crown prince takes her out of prison so she can compete in a competition to become the King's Assassin. Think Hunger Games meets Game of Thrones (I haven't actually read Game of Thrones.)  Celaena is one of my favorite characters ever! Definitely my favorite female character. She is the perfect mix of kick-butt awesome and prissy girly girl.

1. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
If you are a follower of my blog and haven't read this book by now, you clearly have no common sense. I know some people don't enjoy this book, but it is so great!  It takes you on so many twists and turns you don't see coming, and when you go back and reread it, it has all sorts of clues you missed the first time through. It is a must read for loves of thieves!

If you read a loved several of these books, I think you'll also love the movie Catch Me If You Can and the TV shows White Collar and Leverage.

What are some of your favorite books with criminally awesome main characters? Leave a comment and let me know.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Don't Write What You Know

[photo credit]
Sometimes I hear writing advice that is fantastic!  And sometimes I hear more popular advice that seems totally off base to me.  One piece of advice that fits the later category is
"Write what you know." But think about that for a minute.

If every writer only wrote what they knew, we wouldn't have science fiction or fantasy novels. Those are two of my favorite types of novels. Think of the genres and wonderful novels the "Write what you know," rule would have put an end to!

Then I heard another interpretation of that rule. It said you don't have to write what you know, you just need to write what you're familiar with. Meaning that if you read only fantasy novels, don't try to write a historical mystery. When I first heard that idea, I thought it sounded pretty good. In fact, I liked it so much I applied it to my first novel.

You wanna know how that worked out for me? Before I wrote my first novel, I made a list of things I loved in novels. It included the following:

  • Wise Old Mentor
  • Training Sequences
  • Chosen One
  • Rebellion
  • Magical Savior
  • Prophecy
Needless to say, that novel turned out more than a little on the wrong side of cliche. It has improved in the last few drafts, but it is still very much a beginner novel.

So obviously that advice didn't work out great either. I completely disregarded the "Write what you know," advice for a while before I finally had a revelation about it.

Writing is so much less about plot and characters than it is about feelings. If a book doesn't make you feel something, you won't remember a thing about it.

So don't write about that you know about, personally, and don't write about the troupes that are your favorite, write about what makes you feeling things. Write about feelings you know, feelings you have experience with.

That's all I've got for today. Happy writing!
What's some writing advice you've heard but don't necessarily agree with? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Getting Into the Writing Zone ||| Guest Post

Hey everyone! You might remember that in my last post I mentioned that Andrea Marie had approached me and asked if she could write a guest post for Inklined. Well, she's here today, so everyone please give her a warm Inklined welcome, and don't forget to check out her blog, where you will find a guest post I wrote.

Andrea Marie on

Getting Into the Writing Zone

Hey guys! This is my very first time guest posting, and I’m especially stoked since this is for Inklined, an amazing writing blog! Anyway, I am here to talk about Getting into the Writing Zone, which is what I call that period of time when all you want to do is write, write, and write some more.

There are a bunch of different ways to get into it-the ones I find the most effective are what I’m going to discuss right now. However, it really depends on you; all of us have our own writing styles, rituals, and the like so some ways could work for you and some may not.

So first of all, I give myself a pep talk (I think this is weird, I’m not sure) and tell myself that I should just go ahead and write and enjoy doing it. I tell myself that I write because I want to, not so that people will know about me or my friends will think I’m cool (because honestly, they don’t). Finally, I tell myself to actually write and not just keep thinking about writing.

Sarah here. To listen to the music on Pandora that gets
me into a fantasy writing zone, click here!
Secondly, I have this playlist on my phone called ‘Writing Motivation Music’. It all started about a week or two ago, I was stuck at 4k words, and I just couldn’t push myself to hit that 5k milestone. I opened my phone and started playing Alive by One Direction, and before I knew it, by the end of the song I was almost halfway through 4k! Again, music may work for some people-I personally like upbeat songs-while some people may get the motivation to write when there is silence.

Aside from music, I really like going on the Internet and watching writing videos to keep me on track and to push myself to write. Basically I go to YouTube, watch a few videos on writing, and then I go back to my writing! Some Writing YouTubers I suggest are Word Nerds, Mandi Lynn, Katytastic, Kristina Horner, and Andrea Heckler. Their videos just want you to go back to writing as soon as you finish the video you’re watching!

Another great way to get into the writing zone is to read writing blogs. I recommend blogs like this (Inklined, duh) to be read when you’re stuck in the middle of a scene, a chapter, or anything and you want that push to keep going. The online writing community, especially the bloggers, are seriously so, so helpful when you need motivation and inspiration. After a few minutes of surfing through all these blogs online I just get this urge to shamefully stop what I’m doing, head off to my laptop, and write because I saw this pep talk post saying I write well and that I should be writing now.

Finally, turn off all distractions. If you really want to go deep into the writing zone and write for long amounts of time without getting distracted, be sure to turn off your phone-or put it on silent-, turn off the WiFi on your laptop, and turn off the TV. Getting into the zone needs a lot of discipline, but it’s worth it when you’re typing away and finally get a good look at the word count, and you’ve written over a thousand words in one sitting!

So I hope you enjoyed this post, be sure to share it with your writing friends just because, and check out Sarah’s post on my blog!

Keep writing!


Andrea Marie

Andrea Marie is a teenage writer, and now, a sort-of blogger. She is currently working on the first draft of her novel, while juggling her time with school, her school newspaper, practicing the electric guitar, and her reading time. You can find her on her blog,, where she rambles about anything from weird writing habits of hers or talking about Pitch Perfect for the 836493th time.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Approachability || Being a Public Figure Online

I've been blogging for three years. During that time, I've gained 121 followers and published 215 posts. In my eyes, I'm just this teenage girl with big dreams and internet access. It still floors me that people read my blog! I average 5-7 comments per post. I am by no means an internet celebrity.

And yet, when I look back at the blogs I loved before I started blogging, I'm shocked. I have more followers now than my favorite blog, Go Teen Writers, did when I started reading it. The blogger I most looked up to when I started blogging, Lily for Lily's Notes in the Margins, is now my closest writing friend. One thing I've learned about the internet is that it levels the playing field.

There are people who've said before that Inklined is one of their favorite blogs. This shocks me!  But more than that it honors me. The other day I was reading a blog called Opal Swirls. I'd just nominated the blog for a tag. Wild Horse, the blogger, said, "So when I was reading Inklined (a blog I used to be waaaay too scared to comment on) I was excited to see Sarah had a tag, about books."

Now I will confess. I used to be too scared to comment on Cait's blog, Paper Fury. But the idea that someone might be too scared to comment on my blog is crazy!  I love comments. When people comment on my blog, it delights me.

So you have people like Wild Horse, too scared to comment. And then you have people like Andrea Marie. A few weeks ago, Andrea commented saying she'd love to guest post on Inklined and have me guest post on her blog. To my memory, Andrea has never commented here before. I'd never read her blog. But she had the guts to put herself out there to me.  Because this is the internet. Anything can happen here.

For instance, I've interviewed a NYT Bestselling author on this blog, Jennifer Neilson author of The False Prince. I've been retweeted by another NYT Bestselling author, James Dashner. But I initiated both of those interactions. The reason James Dashner saw my tweet was because I tagged him in it. The reason Jennifer Neilson allowed me to interview her was because I emailed her and asked if she would be open to an interview.

I have my email address sprinkled all over this blog. I also provide my readers with links to my Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ profiles. By making those things publicly available, I'm giving you permission to contact me on any of those forums. You'll notice there isn't a link to my Facebook page. That's because I almost never accept friend requests from people I don't know in real life. I don't really want readers of my blog to approach me on Facebook, and so I don't link to my Facebook profile. But because I give you my email, I'm giving you permission to email.

On the internet, we are all accessible to the public. And if the public wants to Tweet at us, follow us on Pinterest, or comment on our blog, we need to be open to that.  And even if you're just a lowly fangirl, you are capable of tweeting at and following your favorite bloggers, writers, and actors too.

We are all on the internet for a reason, and that is to feel connected to other people. So you never have to ask permission to reach out and make connections.

Have you ever felt scared to comment on this blog or anywhere else? Is there an article you want me to read or something your want me to blog about. Tweet or email me! I promise I won't bite (unless you smell like chocolate. Then all bets are off.)

Thank you so much for reading!
And if any of you just really love my blog, shoot me an email and let me know. I'd love to chat with you!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Epic Reads Tag || Blogging Rebel

So in case you don't know, Epic Reads is a Youtube channel and website that is basically HaperCollins Teen interactive advertising. On their Youtube channel, they created a tag for Booktubers(basically book bloggers, accept on Youtube so larger audience.)  I saw the tag and thought it looked awesome. But I don't make videos. I have a list of about 7 things I have to have done before I can make a vlog. I haven't completed the items.

So I decided to bring the tag to the book blogging world, because I am a rebel like that.

Epic Reads Book Tag

Question 1
If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
I would invite Megan Whalen Turner of The Queen's Thief series, and the Queen's Thief himself, Eugenides. I would serve them tea and scones, because I think Gen would  like those, and their easy to eat one handed.

Question 2
What book do you wish the author would write the prequel for?
Maybe the Demon King by Cinda Willians Chima, because I want to know about Han's life on the street. But I gotta be honest, I would love a book about James Potter at Hogwarts too!

Question 3
Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?)
So, I was thinking about characters whose relationships I didn't approve of/love/were single and I thought of Tobias Eaton from the Divergent series and of Simone Lewis from The Mortal Instruments series. So my thinking is, let's set Four up with Izzy Lightwood so that Simone can date either Kath from Fangirl or Luna lovegood from Harry Potter. I think all three of those relationships might have a chance to work out. But if Izzy was too broken for Four, maybe he could date Susan Caraway from Stargirl.

Question 4
If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them who is it and what would it be?
Well, my favorite author is Megan Whalen Turner (hence why I'd invite her for tea.) I think I would say to her, "I'm ready for the Prince of Attolia to be a book."  If you haven't read The Thief, do so now. It is one of the most brilliant books you'll ever read!

Question 5
What book made you a reader and why?
Buy on Amazon
I've always loved novels, but for the longest time, I refused to read, thus limiting myself to my library's audiobook collection. Then I wanted to read Dealing with Dragons. My library had an audiobook, but my sister also owned a hard copy, so I read that. Then I read it again. Then I read the second book in the series. Then I was hooked.

Question 6
Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught fire! What is the one book you would save?
My Personalized, Autographed
Copy of Go Teen Writers!
This is too hard, because there are six.* First I would save my autographed copy Go Teen Writers, which is on my night stand, not my bookshelf, so in the scenario, I would have plenty of time to save it. (We're going to ignore the fact that my nightstand is one of my three bookshelves and houses everything but my non-fiction sections and my fantasy sections, which are big enough for their own shelves.)
Next I would grab my autographed copy of  Allegiant. It is also on my bookshelf/nightstand because I don't count dystopian as sci-fi or fantasy for shelving purposes.
Then I would grab my entire Queen's Thief series, along with their personalized book ends.  That's right. In fifth grade pottery I made bookends specific to my favorite series, and that is how said series is displayed in my bedroom (on top of my "real" bookshelf.)
*It should be noted that my Kindle, while having a place on my bookshelf, is currently in my messenger bag, and so not at risk of burning in a bookshelf fire.

Question 7
Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?
My original answer was the world of Legend by Marie Lu, because I might survive that one, but then  I wondered if Cinder counted? Because it would totally be Cinder. And then I saw the Unwind books on my Goodreads Five-Star bookshelf (thank goodness that's not the one burning, because then I would need to save ALL THE BOOKS!!) and I thought that would be an interesting world. True, I might get unwound, but I might be able to help get that world back on it's feet, morality wise.

Question 8
What is your most Epic Read of all time?
Buy on Amazon!
Even if you don't read them
they'll look impressive on your shelf.
Okay, for this one I'm going with what book (series-ish) sounds the most epic when I tell people I've read it, and that's Lord of the Rings. Here's a conversation I had this weekend:
Person: Are you a Lord of the Rings fan?
Me; I wouldn't say I'm a Lord of the Rings fan. But I've read all the books. And seen all the movies. And one time I marathoned the extended editions in one day. So . . .  I guess you could say I'm a fan.
Person: *nods and backs away* *slowly*
But I have friends that marathon LoTR every New Years Eve and went to the Hobbit in full costume. Compared to them, I am not a fan.

Tag Some People
I tag
Cait from Paper Fury
Lily from Lily's Notes in the Margins
TW from Ravens and Writing Desks
Sarah from Dreams and Dragons
Brooke Faulkner from Teen Words of Steel
Wild Horse from Opal Swirls or Ravens and Writing Desks

Another of my favorite YouTubers did this tag, so I thought I'd include her video too!

If you want to be tagged, feel free to do it! If I tagged you and you don't want to play, I won't mind (too much.) (One of the biggest problems I face is wanting to use smiley and winky faces inside parenthetical statements and then feeling like I'm giving my face a double chin. ;) ) <--- See what I mean?

What is your most Epic Read? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where Realism and High Fantasy Intersect to Create a Stronger Story || Guest Post

If you like this post, pin it to your Writing board!
Andy Walser is a sixteen-year-old homeschool student and aspiring YA fantasy writer. While he writes fantasy stories involving dragons and witches, he also enjoys reading books, including comics, and watching Doctor Who. He suffers from a slightly more than mild coffee addiction and watches a surplus of movies, especially anything that carries the Marvel logo. Andy blogs at and Tweets (occasionally) at

I’ve got a good idea of what comes to mind when you think of high fantasy: dragons, elves, sorcerers, castles, kings, and majestic storyworlds like Middle-Earth. Then when you think of realism, you get…well, you get real life, which isn’t nearly as grand nor as fantastic. But the realism I’m speaking of is a bit less than that; in fact, it has more to do with Sir Isaac Newton than your smartphone. Namely, I’m talking about keeping things realistic by keeping them within the boundaries of human limitations and the laws of physics (unless you’ve got a storyworld where the laws of physics don’t apply/are different). For instance, nobody, especially a dwarf, could jump a ten-foot wall without the aid of magic. And isn’t it more fun, not to mention engaging, to make your dwarf reach the wall, then have to fight his way to the top before jumping off? Not to mention that, if he did jump of a ten-foot wall, the chances of him hitting the ground and breaking/twisting/spraining an ankle or leg go way up, hindering his escape efforts even further.

This isn’t the only example of how writers can mistakenly push human (or dwarf) limitations. For instance, if your character has broken an arm, he won’t be climbing any cliffs or using a sword to fight off enemy soldiers. And a person can only lose so much blood (normally about 4 pints) before they’ll die without a transfusion. Couple this with the facts that, depending on where your characters is hit, this can happen in a few minutes, and that in most high fantasy worlds, medical technology isn’t advanced enough to do a blood transfusion, and you may need to find yourself a new main character. Another thing to look out for is a sudden characteristic change in your characters. Not in the sense of their personalities, however, but their physical abilities. For example, if one character is known for being clumsy (i.e. tripping over his own feet, knocking over tables and chairs, bumping into people) then you don’t want him to turn into a graceful ballerina waltzing his ways through a bunch of thugs jumping him.

Keeping human limitations in mind doesn’t only apply to high fantasy, or even fantasy novels at all. Let’s say you’re writing a mystery. Your MC has tracked down the bad guy, but the bad guy is getting away with a form of transportation your character can’t compete with or predict, like getting into a cab. Unless your MC can stay on the heels (tires?) of the cab, s/he can’t predict where it will go unless they’re Sherlock Holmes. And if your character randomly ended up on the same street as the antagonist right after he got out of the cab, it would be a bit of a plot hole. This scenario isn’t just a physical human limitation, but a mental one as well. It’s important to remember that a person can only do/take so much mentally as well as physically.

So there you go. If you pay attention to the laws of physics and human limitations (and elf limitations, and dwarf limitations, and dragon limitations, and so on) then your story will be stronger and more realistic, helping you to draw readers into your story and keep them there. Here are a few more human limitations to keep in mind:

  • It takes 4-6 weeks for a hairline fracture in your bone to heal (trust me, I know). If your character’s horse falls with him on top and he hobbles away with a leg at a funny angle, it’s probably going to take longer. A lot longer.
  • Somebody who’s never been near a boat probably won’t know all of the fancy seaman’s names for various parts of the ship and how they’re used. Just because you’ve done your research doesn’t mean your character has.
  • Much as your character can’t suddenly know everything about boats, they can’t suddenly become good at a physical task like sword fighting or magic. If they’re accomplished in these types of things, find a way to show it before the fighting starts, so that the reader knows they can fight off, say, an entire group of thugs or a troll.
  • No matter what you say, a dwarf still can’t jump a ten-foot wall without magic (or a trampoline).
Sarah here. Thanks to Andy for a great post!  Be sure to stop by Andy's blog if you like what you see here.

What's the most far-fetched thing you've ever read or watched in fantasy? Share it with me in the comment section!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday || TBR Books of 2014 I Didn't Read

Link-Up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
So I've seen this link-up lots of places, but I think I've only done it once before. But in the spirit of posting more in 2015, here's the Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To.

*fair warning, I did not read nearly all the books I wanted to last year.  some of the books contained on this list may shock viewers. discretion advised.*

Bonus: 11. The Treatment by Suzanne Young
I received an ARC of book 1 in this series what seems like 3 years ago.  Maybe it was 3 years ago, because when I sat down to read The Treatment, remembered absolutely nothing of book 1.  It quickly got tossed aside, never to be picked up again.  I doubt I'll return to the series, but since I own book 1, it's not impossible.

10. Defy by Sara B. Larson
I don't know why, but somehow I heard about this book and decided I'd love it. I went so far as subscribing to the author's blog and following the author on Twitter before the book even released.  Then I read the first few pages and decided I'd rather marathon Scandel, because guys, Olivia Pope.  So yeah. Don't see myself returning to this novel.

9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I heard about this book on BookTube.  I think I've read another Jenny Han book, and I liked it well enough.  I liked the title of this book. For some reason it reminded me of The Boyfriend List and 13 Little Blue Envelops, both stories I enjoyed.  I never started this book, but If I get it from the library in the next few months, I could see myself reading it.

8. #scandal by Sarah Ockler
I think maybe Cait at Paper Fury mentioned this book?  I heard about it somehow, but never saw it at my library, so I haven't started it yet.  (Also, currently the people at my library hate me because I have their books and have not given them back.  So I haven't been there in a while.)

7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Guys, Anne and the French Kiss was one of the first YA romance books I actually liked.  I feel like I just have to see this series to completion.  *repeats mantra* I will read this soon. I will read this soon.*

6. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
Book 1 was great.  Book 2 was, well, fine.  Just not fine enough to  inspire me to go searching for book 3.  If it had showed up on my bookshelf, I would have read it.  But since the TBR faeries didn't see fit to hide it under my pillow, I haven't read it.

5. Undivided by Neal Shusterman
I actually didn't even realize this book was out until I started writing this blog post. In case you didn't know, Guys! The next Unwide book is out!  This series is one of my all-time favorites and has had a huge impact on me personally.  I will read it post-haste. You should too.

*these are the books you guys might really hate me for*

4. Panic by Lauren Oliver
I don't know what is wrong with me, but I just don't LOVE Lauren Oliver like some people do.  Nevertheless, I thought I would give Panic a shot.  It's a standalone, so not too much commitment. And I've heard great things about it.  So I'll probably keep it on my TBR and see what happens.

3. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
As a self-identifying Celaena Sardothien fangirl, I am seriously ashamed of myself for not having read this book.  I feel like I must fail at fangirling.  I read the first short story, but shorts just aren't my thing.  You feel me?  Did you read Assassin's Blade?  If so, how was it?  I'm sure it is worth the read, and I'll get to it sometime in the future.

2. The One by Kiera Cass
I feel like at this point I'd need to go back and read the whole series to fully appreciate this book.  I'm sure it's a great book.  Maybe I'm just sick of dystopian love triangles.  Isn't everyone by now?

1. Cress by Marissa Meyer
I LOVED Cinder, but Scarlet really threw me through a loop. I have a hard time dealing with more than two POV characters, and from what I can remember, Scarlet had three.  I think I was worried Cress would have four or more, and I just wouldn't enjoy that very much.  If the TBR faeries gave my the whole series so far, I might marathon them.  Otherwise, I just don't see myself finishing it.

That's it for the linkup.  BUT

Four things before  you go!

Uno)  Please don't throw things at me for having not read these books.  I thought I would.  I honestly thought I would!

Dos) Let's make TBR faeries a thing. For realzies. If one of you is an artist, I want TBR faerie art!  *it would honest to goodnessly make my month*

Tres) They'll be another post on Thrusday. It's all polished (LOL I almost typed Polish[I should go to bed]) and ready to go!  Come back for it.  It'll be good.

Cuatro) I'm taking two college courses this semester, Chemistry and Spanish.  So you can expect shorter posts, but with a higher Español to English ratio.

Thanks for reading!  What are some books that you looked over in 2014?  Are you going to read them now? And if you did the link-up too, feel free to leave your link in the comments.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

GIFs and Things || Beautiful People Link-Up

Look at this!  Third post this month and it's not even the 10th. You should be so proud of me.
This post is brought to you by Paper Fury and Further Out and Further In.
ALSO, because Cait from Paper Fury uses GIFs and this post is inspired by her, this post may contain GIFs.  And some words in all caps. She's rubbing off on me. Sorry in advance.


1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I've been writing for 5ish years.  I think I considered myself a writer the during 7th grade. That year I took a creative writing class and that's when I began to get involved in the writing community, specifically when I started reading writing craft books and when I started reading writing blogs.

2. How/why did you start writing?
I started writing because I loved the Eragon books and wanted to be as cool as their author, who was 15 when he wrote the first book.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
Falling in love with beautiful characters who don't think they're beautiful.

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
Climaxes and then editing.  Editing climaxes is basically torture.  I just want to start writing new stories and I CAN'T yet because these other characters need SO much editing.

5. Do you write best at night or day?
My most excited and best writing comes from 9:00AM to 12:00 PM and then again from 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM.

6. What does your writing space look like?
It's a couch in my living room.  From it I can see the piano, fireplace, staircase, and some horses if I look out the window.  It also happens to be the second best room in the house for hearing every conversation in the house. (Don't tell me family I said that.)

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
My record for a first draft is six months.  I have yet to complete a Macro Edit aka second draft.

8. How many projects do you work on at once?
ONE!  Though I might be plotting one novel while drafting another.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
<-- Does this answer your question?

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
Cara Putman, Stephanie Morrill, Megan Whalen Turner, Christopher Paolini, John Flanagan, Sarah J Maas (most recently) and every other author I've ever read.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
Not really, because I'm bad at editing and don't want anyone to see my less that perfect first and second drafts.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
To be JK Rowling.  But seriously, to be published as a teen, be well loved as an author, and to help other young writers fulfill their dreams too.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
I would either find a way to monetize reading novels, or I'd become Olivia Pope.

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
Yes. I'll talk most about it in the last question.

How I feel when I think about VC
15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
I'm in love this story seed. We'll call it VC.  This story is basically Harry Potter meets the TV show Leverage or the Lies of Locke Lamora.  Sadly, to tell this story the way it deserves to be told, I'd need to write 7 books and 21 short stories.  I'm not in a place in life to commit to something like this.  But I love this story.  I've written random scenes from random books. I have the 6 MC's names (DID I MENTION THERE ARE 6 MAIN CHARACTERS?) written on notecards and tacked to my bulletin board.  I am in love with this idea, but I'm not ready to write it yet.

That's all I've got for the post!  Thanks for reading.

If you want to answer some of the questions for yourself, leave your answers in the comments section.  Or if you wrote a Beautiful People post this month, leave the link below and I'll read it!

This GIF has no purpose. I just wanted to use it.