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I write novels for teens and adults. Visit me here & on my website http://www.jenniferarcher.net

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thoughts from a Teen Writer: Inspiration

A great post from my teen writing intern, Allison!
________________________
Hello!
So, sometimes I have a little trouble figuring out how to continue a scene or come up with something new. I get stuck and irritated: why can’t I write anything that I like? Listening to music is one of my biggest sources of inspiration. I listen to music as much as I can and love discovering new bands or bands I just never thought to listen to. When I’m completely stuck, I’ll listen to music. Almost every song can strike a certain emotion inside me, thus making me feel like I can keep going with the story and that, no, I don’t need to give up. The soundtrack to “The Phantom of the Opera” is probably one of the most inspiring cds I have. The flowing, sometimes sad instrumental and vocal music creates so many different emotions: sadness, sympathy, urgency, deep love and it goes on. In the music, I can feel the passion, the tragedy of the story. Music can sometimes explain what a person’s feeling better than words can. Bubbly pop songs make me think of the carefree days of summer and I feel energetic and this will make me write more energetic, light scenes. All in all, music is my main inspiration.
I also get inspiration from actual people. (Who doesn’t? J) Strangers are perfect because you don’t know who they actually are, you don’t know their story. This enables you to create any story at all to go with this person. Working at a library has helped me see these possibilities. There are some people who I see frequently while others are fleeting. Those that do come in a lot create different questions in my mind: why do they always come here? Do they just like the quietness of the library or do they want to get away from something? What is there story? Many ideas will jump out at me and when one presents itself a little more clearly in my head, I grab onto that story and start writing. It may morph into something totally unexpected but that’s what, in my opinion, is what writing is about. The inspiration is infinite.
Allison

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writing Class Wednesday: You've Gotta Have Friends

(Maybe I should rename this post: Writing Class Wednesday One Day Late!) Today my lesson is short and sweet. Every writer needs a friend(s) who understands what she/he is trying to accomplish. Someone to whom you can read your work. Someone whose shoulder you can cry on when the going gets tough. Of course, I have my fabulous critique group, but I also have Marge and Harry. I can read the worst writing of my life and they still look at me with adoring eyes. Well, okay, sometimes they yawn and whine a little, but they never utter an insult. And they're cool with it if whine, too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thoughts from a Teen Writer: Phantom of the Opera

A post from my writing intern, Allison:
I'm currently reading The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I'm at chapter twelve right now and I love the story but Raoul seems like a cry-baby. When he sees Christine listening to the Opera Ghost with rapture, he starts to cry because of the way Christine feels about the voice. I really like the whole story about the ghost and how he teaches Christine to sing and the tragedy of how he loves her and wants her to love him despite his appearance. The one thing that I didn't like is how the Opera Ghost tries to make Christine love him when it probaby would've been better for him if he didn't force her. I like that in some ways it's similar to the movie made in 2004 because it helps create visuals when reading the book. Usually, I either like the movie better than the book but both are amazing.
Jennifer had told me about a book Phantom by Susan Kay and now I want to read it because it's about the Phantom's childhood. I read a review that said that it's one of the best adaption from The Phantom of the Opera. So the movie made me interested in the book which made me interested in Phantom.
Allison

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing Class Wednesday: Making Writing a Routine

Yesterday when I met with my writing intern Allison, I mentioned that when people find out I'm a writer, probably at least 75% of them respond by saying they have a book idea or that they've "always wanted to write," BUT "I don't have time." I just bite my lip, nod, and smile. The thing is, I don't know many writers that didn't have a full load of other things going on in their lives when they started writing. In my case, when I started taking creative writing classes at night and began my first novel, I was raising two rowdy little boys, had a part-time job, ran a sideline residential rental property business with my husband, volunteered at my kids' school . . . and the list goes on. If you're serious about writing, you'll find a way to make it a routine part of your life. Here are some ways to do that. Some of these might have you rolling your eyes and snarling, "Duh." But you'd be surprised at the excuses people come up with, such as "I don't have a computer." My answer to that is, Neither did Hemingway.

What Can Serve to Help You Make Writing A Routine Part Of Your Life

  1. Pen/pencil
  2. Paper
  3. Computer recommended but not required
  4. A place. Everyone has a different idea of the perfect work environment: Home, a coffee shop, outside, inside, in a quiet place, in a noisy place. If something prevents you from having your ideal, make do with what you have. I once read about an author who, before he sold a book, wrote at work. He kept a spiral notebook in his desk drawer, opened the drawer slightly when no one was watching, and scribbled away! I don't recommend this -- especially in today's job market. If you have a job, don't do anything that might cause you to lose it! Make what you have work for you. If you don't have an office, use the kitchen table or convert a closet into your writing space.
  5. Try to set aside specific time for your writing if you can. If you can squeeze in time every day, do so! If not, even if you can only write once a week, decide when it's going to be -- for instance, Saturdays from two o'clock until four o'clock -- and don't let anything short of a catastrophe keep you from using it!   
  6. Try to find someone else who wants to write and get together with them periodically to talk about each other's progress, or even read your work aloud and critique each other.
  7. Read books on writing. A couple of really good ones that come to mind are Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, and Stephen King's On Writing.
  8. Desire. You need to really want to write deep in your core in order to make it a routine part of your life. 
    • Is being a writer/ completing a book or story something you really want? Or do you just like the idea of being a writer?
    • Examine your motives. Are you are willing to give up or pare down on certain things in order to make time to write? Will you give up T.V. time, socializing, an hour of sleep? Is so, chances are the desire is there. 
    • Watch out what you choose to give up! Prioritize. Living a balanced life is important to your happiness and well-being. Time devoted to important relationships such as your spouse and children, your parents, close friends, and your health is too important to sacrifice to a large extent. 
  9. Determination
    • You will need to learn not to let setbacks or rejection (if trying to publish) devastate you so badly that you give up. It's part of the business.   
  10. Patience
    • Books don’t write themselves. It takes time and effort and patience to sit down every day in front of the page and work on getting the words down.
    • If you try to publish, the process of finding an agent and/or and editor takes time and can be frustrating and humbling. You'll need a willingness to listen to suggestions and do revisions. It takes time to turn an idea into a published story or book.
  11. Belief in yourself
    • In order to write, you need to believe you have something worthwhile to say
    • If you’re getting rejections from agents and/or editors, you must believe that you’re still "good enough" and continue to submit
    • If you do publish and you get a negative review, you have to remember that you are one of the few people who submitted a manuscript that sold, so that is a testament to your talent, despite the bad review.
  12. A willingness to learn
    • If you can’t take constructive criticism and use it to make your work better, you’ll have a tough time being a writer
    • If you aren’t willing to read and learn from the work of others, you may have a tough time being a writer
    • If you aren’t willing to take the time to study the craft and business of writing, you may have a tough time being a writer.
  13. A support group. (This ties in with # 6)
    • Writing is a lonely business. It helps to have a network of other writers with whom you can talk. Because only another writer can really understand what you are trying to do and the emotions and problems that go hand in hand with that pursuit
    • A critique group or writer group can help encourage you, point out problems in your work you aren’t seeing, point out strengths in your work you might want to emphasize. Warning: be careful about the members you choose to form your group. Trust is important. Chemistry is important. Finding folks who are honest but kind and encouraging and positive is important. Warning II: Critique groups are not for everyone. Some “don’t want another person's footprints on their work until it’s finished.” Some writers don’t find it helpful to only bring a few pages a week to a critique meeting. Design a group that fits the members’ unique needs and desires.
Writing Exercise

            Freewrite for ten minutes about why you want to write, or about what has been your experience with writing. What pushes you to write or what holds you back -- or both? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Follow The THROUGH HER EYES blog tour!

The Through Her Eyes blog tour started on Sunday! You can catch up on the first two posts here and here, and see the other stops I'll be making at The Teen Book Scene. I hope you'll come along for the ride! You'll learn a lot about the book and more than you probably want to know about me. (Some of it's a little embarrassing -- especially one tidbit involving a cactus. You'll have to follow along to find that one! :-) ) Best of all, you'll get to check out some amazing YA blogs.

Also, if you've already pre-ordered Through Her Eyes or you're planning to order it (the hardback version or the ebook version for your Kindle or Nook) you'll want to check out the MEGA contest I'm having! You could win a Kindle, an iPod, a beautiful leather journal, or an autographed copy of Through Her Eyes. Check out the details here or on my website and enter your name into the drawing before April 4th!

Oh, and if you haven't seen the book trailer, take a look! (Through Her Eyes book trailer) It's amazing, if I do say so myself...

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts from a Teen Writer

I may have mentioned before that one afternoon a week, I mentor a seventeen-year-old girl who wants to be a writer. We do this through a program at her school called PRO. I'm fairly sure that I learn as much or more from Allison as she does from me! So I thought it might be fun and informative for her to post from time to time about writing from a teen's perspective -- what she's learning from our time together, through her own practice of the craft, and any other thing she wants to talk about. She might want to discuss a book she's reading and her thoughts about it -- writers are readers, afterall, or should be. I learn so much from reading the work of other authors!

Allison will post on Mondays from time-to-time, and as this is Monday, she's starting today! Her first post will be more of an introduction to get things started. So without further ado, I give you my writing mentee/intern Allison!

Hello, everyone! Interning with Jennifer has been extremely beneficial to me. I’ve learned a whole lot about writing that I didn’t even think about before. It also helps that our meetings are so laid back because to me, writing should be something enjoyable and not reluctant like a school assignment.
Recently, I learned from Jennifer how to format my dialogue in my story and I also learned about free-writing, which is how I got my idea in the first place. (For more about "freewriting" see this post).
I know that writing isn’t as glamorous as people make it out to be, but to me, it isn’t bad at all. Yeah, I don’t know about the struggles with selling a book and whatnot, but the actual art of writing is as glamorous as what I thought it would be. :-)
Allison

Sunday, March 06, 2011

An Awesome Book Trailer for THROUGH HER EYES

Don't forget to enter the THROUGH HER EYES Gargantuan Giveaway! You could win a Kindle, iPod, leather journal or an autographed copy of THROUGH HER EYES! Check out the details here. But first take a look at this awesome official book trailer created by the mega-talented Emily Greaser, a graphic and motion design artist. You can check out more of Emily's work on her website.

Here's the trailer!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Enter the Through Her Eyes GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY to Win a Kindle & Other Great Prizes!!!!!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Pre-order THROUGH HER EYES by Jennifer Archer (that's me) between March 1, 2011 (today) and April 4, 2011 and as my THANKS to you, I’ll enter your name into my GARGANTUAN GIVEAWAY!!


On April 6, 2011 the members of my marvelous writing critique group, The Divas, will draw eight lucky names:

  • 1st & 2nd names drawn will win a Kindle
  • 3rd and 4th names drawn win an iPod Shuffle
  • 5th & 6th names drawn win a bound leather journal, like the one Tansy finds in the cellar in THROUGH HER EYES.
  • 7th & 8th names drawn win an autographed copy of THROUGH HER EYES. (Give the one you pre-ordered to a friend!)

 HOW TO ENTER (Only 4 easy steps!)

1. Pre-order THROUGH HER EYES by Jennifer Archer (that's me) on one of these online sites between
    March 1 and April 4, 2011:





 2. Email a copy of your pre-order confirmation from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indie Bound to me at  thegargantuangiveaway@yahoo.com


 3. Along with your confirmation email, send me your address so I’ll know where to mail your prize if you win!

  
4. Tweet, Facebook, blog or simply call a friend about the THROUGH HER EYES Gargantuan Giveaway! In your confirmation email to me, explain how you spread the news about the Giveaway, and because I’m a trusting person, I’ll take your word for it!

That’s it!

  
All steps must be made and information sent to thegargantuangiveaway@yahoo.com by midnight (Central Standard Time) on 4/4/2011 to qualify! Winners will be announced on my website www.jenniferarcher.net and on my blog www.jenniferarcher.blogspot.com after April 6, 2011. Good luck!!


*Contest entrants will be added to my mailing list & receive occasional updates about my future book releases and new contests.


*If you can't fulfill any of the steps & would still like to enter, explain in an email to me and I'll add your name into the drawing!