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Meet Contestant 1: Megan Griffiths

We’ve got our three finalists chosen and posted for Endever’s first writing contest. Please take a moment to meet Contestant 1, Megan Griffiths and then head over to Endever’s Facebook page to vote for your favorite contestant. Remember, please vote only once, or else your votes will be disqualified and not counted. 

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Megan Griffiths is a creative individual. She balances fantasy and reality fairly well in her life, and for her it is valuable to remind herself as much as possible that imagination is just as important as being practical. She is a freelance writer and blogger.

Megan is a single mother of two; teen and preteen. She can be quite a Momster (what happens to Mom after she counts to 3) but thankfully her sense of humor helps to get her through. She hails from the East Coast of South Africa – a ‘little’ city with pristine beaches and a laid-back feel to it. Little being the operative word.

Megan has a passion for reading and writing, as well as giving her fingers a good work out in various other forms of crafty-artiness. She is a self-confessed coffee addict, with a soft spot for cheesecake and rainy afternoons. When the sun is out, she rather enjoys tending the weeds in her garden – a green thumb is not something she was gifted with.

Her personal blog can be found at nopassingfancy.wordpress.com, and is a mixture of the mishaps and motivations of everyday life. She also tweets regularly @MegG78.

Megan was asked about the inspiration behind the story that she wrote entitled “Shoebox Sanity” for the Endever Publishing Studios writing contest. A lot of her writing is inspired by personal life experiences and then woven into a variety of genres, but this particular piece was not. It was, in fact, just the result of sitting down and trying to think of a story with a murderous twist. It was the result of a mind that is fascinated and intrigued by mystery, human psychology, and puzzles. Many years spent watching and reading crime/murder mystery was also a great contributor to the story.

Click here to read Megan’s story and vote for her by simply clicking the “Like” button.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other two finalists, Eric Dill and Jared Johnson

On Writing: Character- vs. Plot-Driven

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A couple of weeks ago I posted a request for my readers to ask me questions about anything concerning writing. If I haven’t gotten to your question, rest assured, I will.

Agyei Agyapong of Vestpalblog asked: “What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? How did you overcome it ?”

There are many challenges I face as a writer. One, dealing with a  full schedule and just life in general. I address that issue here.

But that’s an issue that’s divorced from the writing process itself. As far as struggling with something directly with writing… I would say character development.

There are two kinds of serious fiction writers. There are plot-driven writers and those who tend to be more character-driven.

I was shocked when I heard recently that some people are prompted to start a book because of a character they made up that sounds interesting.

I could never do that. My book prompts are all “What if” questions, such as, “What if a full-grown family man discovered an imaginary world?” (Don’t bother buying this one yet because I’m revising it for a possible second edition.)

“What if a teenage girl falls in love with a guy …AFTER he dies?”

“What if…” Well, I’ll keep the rest a secret for now.

And so, ironically enough, that’s where other people come in. People who’s minds are character-driven. I need their help to add a little sauce and flavor to my characters’ personalities.

I purposefully surround myself with people who can look at one of my bland characters and figure out what makes them tick, what drives them, what are their weaknesses, and so on.

So, as a writer, figure out if you’re plot-driven or character-driven. That’s easy. The harder part is finding people who can be that other side of your brain and fill in those holes in your book.

Also, I’ve begun reading books on the topic of character development so that I can better train myself and stretch that part of my brain so that I can become more character-driven as I write.

I hope this helps. And if I think of other struggles I face as a writer, I’ll write about them in subsequent posts.

Follow me on Twitter or Facebook to read the email Pixar wrote me! Also, need an editor for your manuscript? Consider me. 

Writers: Are You Rushing?

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I want to thank Joey B. for raising this issue in one of my previous posts about what to do with an idea for a story. His website is InStagnation. So, thanks Joey!

His comment was:

I’ve been trying to make stories out of ideas throughout the years and somehow I can’t finish because I’m trying to rush everything.

I want to be the wise sage and offer pearls of wisdom about slowing down and taking time to sniff the ink pen along the way and blah, blah, blah…

But I can’t. I can’t because I too rush like Chris Hemsworth. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing?

Or is it just stupid?

My wife is always telling me my greatest downfall is rushing my writing. And she’s right. I miss plot holes, grammatical errors, I number the pages wrong, and on and on.

But telling a writer to slow down is like telling my dogs to stop barking at every car that drives past our house – it won’t be heard. While my wife is telling me I need to slow down (right as she is), my mind is already planning and plotting chapter 93 in the fourth volume of a series I have no intention of writing until 2019.

And let’s be honest here. We’re not excited about the act of writing, per say. We’re excited about getting our readers’ approval. Write, write, write, send it out to people, and bathe in the luxurious glory of positive feedback.

Ahhhhh.

But are we sending out our best? Or are we flinging mud at our loyal readers and fans?

I’ll admit, it’s been VERY difficult not sharing snippets of my upcoming biography, Profit Over Patients because it is a very good book that I’m dying for everyone to read.

I also admit I’ve indulged in rushing by hash tagging my favorite quotes for my upcoming YA novel These Great Affects

My advice on this sticky subject? Rush your writing. That’s fine. Because your first draft is going to be crap anyway. Indulge in the toxicity of speed and give in to the freeing power of flying fingers over your keyboard. (Or if you’re like me, handwriting with a pen.)

The faster you get it done, the more time you can spend editing it and making it perfect.

But when you’re done, read it back slowly. Pull back the reigns and take your time soaking it in. Put yourself in your reviewers’ minds. Would you be happy with what you’re reading? Not really? Fix it. Would you feel like the reading material was a waste of time? No? Make it better anyway!

Rush the writing. Relax the reading. Then ride the wave of positive feedback to carry you to that last page. Sound good?

Seriously, email me if you want an advanced copy of my YA book about a girl who falls in love with a boy after he dies: These Great Affects

Follow me on Twitter: @atoy1208

Or Facebook

 

This Summer’s Reading List

Summer’s approaching and that means… book fever! Yes, it’s time to dust off those books you’ve been meaning to read for so long, pull out those books you received for Christmas last year, open them up and start reading. I always say that no one is too busy to read. If you’re saying that, then stop *reading* this blog (or tweet), and stick your nose in a book. (And not a book that’s most likely going to be made into the next steamy movie – that doesn’t count… that’s just watching a silly movie in slow motion.)

So as you’ve probably figured out by now, every Tuesday is Book Rec day here on Adopting James. I’m just tingling with excitement over the next several books I’m going to read  this summer. Here’s a sneak peak at my bookshelf I’ll be making my way through in the next few months, so if you have any of these books, you can read along, or maybe this post will inspire you to get out there and treat yourself to some useful purchases. Be looking for my reviews in the next few months. And remember, I’m open to suggestions, so email them to me or comment. Happy reading!

This will be my first official baseball book, as I’ve just recently developed a love for the sport. I’m more interested in the history of baseball than taking it up as something I currently follow. Anytime you mix history in with something, my attention is taken captive. And heck, reading about the world’s longest ball game could be a good way to begin my baseball reading endeavor. Anyone have any other baseball book suggestions?

 

 

I am indebted to this man, like many of you, in so many ways. No so much because of the products he’s invented (Sarabeth and I still only have a MacBook, but would like others), but because of certain investments he’s made. Many people don’t know this, but it was Steve Jobs who gave Pixar Animation Studios their start by funding them back in the late ’80’s. In so many ways, it’s because of Steve Jobs that we have movies like Toy Story, Up, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and others, thus ultimately saving the Disney Studios. And, I’ve been told that it was Jobs himself who suggested Woody be a good guy rather than antagonistic when Lassetter, Stanton and their team were creating the first Toy Story . Why is that such a big deal, you ask? Let’s just say I’ve got a small collection of Woody figurines on my desk, including a real pull-string Woody doll on my bookshelf… with my name (Andy) written on the bottom of his right boot.

 

This is one of my favorite books, written by one of my favorite classic authors. If you haven’t read it, or Around the World in 80 Days, you finally need to do so. Plus, I hear Disney is making a movie about Captain Nemo, so… gots to be prepared for that.

 

 

 

I’ve heard nothing but outstanding things about author Erik Larson, and especially this book of American history. It’s set in Chicago, 1893, and centers around an architect, who was behind the idea of the 1893 World’s Fair, and a serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to their death. This sounds like it has all the makings of a classic. Why didn’t they teach us this sort of stuff in school?

 

 

This book came highly recommended by Dr. Albert Mohler, and quite frankly, after reading a couple of his recommendations, I just keep going back to his list for more. And, after seeing The Conspirator last year, I’m very excited to get the story inside the story. I mean, other than hunting down Nazis or terrorist, what else could be more exciting than searching and capturing John Wilkes Booth? Plus, this will be great preparation for Spielberg’s Lincoln coming out this summer – And no, he does not go around hacking zombies to death with an axe.

Additional books: The Universe Next Door, Sire; The History of Israel, Kaiser; To Try Men’s Souls, Gingrich; America: The Last Best Hope, Vol. 2, Bennett; God’s Passion for His Glory – Piper

Image credits: Bottom of the 33rd, Steve Jobs, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Devil in the White City, Manhunt