Intense Focus: friend or foe?

Intense Focus: friend or foe?

I’ve mentioned before–but some of you may not know–I’m an INFP personality type. One of the strengths of INFPs (or is it a weakness? 🤔) is–as the website 16 personalities states–INFPs are “Passionate and Energetic – When something captures INFPs’ imagination and speaks to their beliefs, they go all in, dedicating their time, energy, thoughts and emotions to the project. Their shyness keeps them from the podium, but they are the first to lend a helping hand where it’s needed.”

Oh, is this ever true! I think it’s the reason I can write an entire novel where other people think they could write one (boy am I tired of hearing that, btw) but can’t actually do it.

It makes it hard for me to concentrate on doing more than one thing at a time, though. I’m supposed to be querying, but this new book idea struck and suddenly, I’m all in.

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Me focused on my new book

When I practice my guitar, I practice every day.

When I’m working on growing my social media platforms, it’s all I can think about doing.

The upside – when I want to get shit done…I get shit done!

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The downside – I don’t accomplish much of anything else.

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Just kidding. I’m not a hoarder, and my house is (fairly) neat. (As long as you don’t peek inside my office–yes, it’s messy once again 😬) but that pile of stuff falling over represents all the other stuff I’ve neglected while focused on whatever it is that the project (or person) du jour.

Oh well, friend or foe, it’s who I am, and it’s what makes me, me. For all my weaknesses, I’m not sure that’s something I want to change.

What about you? Are you able to multitask? Or do you focus on one thing at a time?

Is there anything you’d like me to blog about? I’d love to know.

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Sinking

Sinking

My darling friends,

I know I usually post on Mondays but I have some feelings to work through and the best way for me to do that is always by writing.

Over the last few days, I’ve been sinking. Not like a rock in water but more like a discarded daisy tossed in some bubbling, gray muck. I’m not exactly sure what brings me to this place, again and again, but here I am.

I suppose it may have something to do with this sunless, never-ending winter. At this point, it feels like summer is just something I dreamed about once. It snowed this morning, and my spirit sank as quickly as these daffodils.

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I’m taking my vitamin D supplements, but I don’t know if there can ever be a replacement for the warmth of the sun kissing your skin. It’s kind of like a virtual hug versus the real thing.

Maybe part of it is the feeling that people think of me as a toy and not a person with a beating heart. I’m real. And so is my pain. It would be easier to have your heart completely snapped in two and left alone to repair, rather than slow, cracking fissures repaired shoddily with sweet, loving words.

The biggest culprit, I’m sure, is the rejection that comes along during the querying process. I know this is typical, but I think what bothers me most is that people who are not writers and have never written and queried a novel seem to think that if the book is any good, or if you have any talent, your novel will immediately get picked up. I think that’s the part that makes me feel like a big, fat, failure more than the rejection itself.

I’ve been honest about my process and failures, but it’s hard to share that part. It would almost be easier to suffer in silence in some ways and not share what I’m going through. It’s hard to live up to people’s assumptions. If I didn’t suck, I would be successful. Simple. Easy. That’s what they think.

And so many people think they could write a novel (if they had time–how many times have I heard that) and it would be the next great American novel or a New York Times Bestseller. I know that’s how people think because many have messaged me for “writing advice” and told me how they could write a book and that they’re sure it will be “better than anything they see on the shelves now”–the shelves I currently can’t get my book on. That’s why I know that they think if this book doesn’t get published, then it must be because I’m a talentless loser.

I already feel that I’m a talentless loser all on my own. I have a lot of fear that this is what’s going to be proven to me and not the phrases I’m always repeating to keep going. “Keep writing. You can do it. One day it will happen.”

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I know I can work through this. I always do.

Perhaps there wasn’t a lot of point to this post other than me knowing that this expression of my feelings will begin to heal me. Maybe some of you feel the way I do, and you’ll know you’re not alone, in whichever way you are sinking.

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Writer Interview 📝 with Jim G. Black

Writer Interview 📝 with Jim G. Black

I’d like to introduce you all to a fellow writer I met on Twitter. He’s such a supportive and wonderful person, I wanted more people to know about him and his writing.

***

I asked Jim a few questions and here are his answers…

Q: What is your favorite thing about writing?

A: My favorite thing about writing is the research. Writing outside of what I know gives me the opportunity to learn new things.

Q: What is the most difficult part of the novel writing process for you?

A: The most difficult thing is staying on track. I’m ADD, and get distracted easily.

Q: What inspired you to write your work in progress How long have you been working on your work in progress?

A: What inspired me? Long answer lol. I have always had several book ideas floating around in my head. As a result of two rounds with renal cancer, I lost a kidney in 2012. In August of 2017 my other kidney shut down, resulting in a hospital stay and several weeks of recovery. During that recovery time I started thinking about my bucket list, which included all of the books I ever thought about writing. I told myself that, if I was ever going to do it, now is as good a time to start. I’ve been working on it since last November.

Q: Do you plot out your stories, fly by the seat of your pants, or some combination of the two?

A: Some of it I have outlined, however, I tend to write it in my head as I go along, then just type it up when I get time to sit and write.

Q: How do you select the names for your characters?

A: My MC is named using my middle name, Grant, and the middle name of one of my ancestors, Canaada, yes, with two “a”s in the middle. My book has several “beasties” in it, and it’s hard to come up with names for them.

Q: Are you working on anything new?

A: Not really working on anything new. I also blog, and am doing more of that lately. I have a couple ideas for short stories, but haven’t made any notes on them yet.

Q: Do you prefer to write in the morning, afternoon, night, or whenever you find a spare moment?

A: I write whenever I can find time to sit down and do it.

Q: Do you have any writing rituals?

A: I don’t have any rituals. Maybe I need to develop some. It may help me get into a routine lol.

Q: What do you think makes a good story?

A: I think relate-able characters make for a good story. When I read a book, I like it when I can actually place myself in the story through one of the characters. Not necessarily the main character, but one with whom I can find something in common. It just it that much more fun and easy to get into.

Q: Dogs or Cats?

A: Lol…I love all animals. We have five cats, and I love them all, however, I would love to have another dog in the near future.

Q: Savory or Sweet?

A: Savory always lol. My dessert philosophy has always been “no sweets, more meats”. I’ll take an extra burger or hot dog over cake and pie any day. Tastes better with beer 😉

Q: Beach or Forest?

A: Forest. I grew up in Southeast Tennessee and spent a lot of time in the woods, camping and hiking. I never even saw the beach until I was a teenager. Living in South Carolina, I do go to the coast, but prefer dirt over sand. Another philosophy, “any place with more palms than pines is no place for me”.

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you like to do with your free time?

A: In my free time I’m reading. I also like attending plays, concerts, ballgames and singing.

Q: How can readers keep in touch with you?

A: Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlueHose2006

Facebook: Jim G Black Writing https://www.facebook.com/jimblackwriter/

WordPress:

I hope to have my website up and running by the summer.

Q: Do you like to hear from your readers?

A: I love hearing from people, and am always happy to talk with anybody about most anything.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?

A: There is not much else to tell. I try and be laid back and just exist for the most part.

***

Thanks for spending some time answering these questions for my blog, Jim. I hope my readers will check out your blog and social media sites.

 

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What Every Author Needs To Know About Editing A Manuscript

Hi friends,

As you know, I’ve finished my book and I’ve begun the long process of editing it. I’ve been fortunate to have award-winning author, Christina Kaye, work with me on the edits. So, I’ve invited her to make a guest post on my blog to help all of you who are going to be editing or are currently editing your novels.

The blog is all yours, Christina!

***

 

What Every Author Needs To Know About Editing A Manuscript

Author: Christina Kaye (author of the Award-Winning Flesh & Blood Series)

You’ve finished your manuscript. Congratulations. Now what? Time to send it off to agents, right? NOT SO FAST! SLOW YOUR ROLL! HOLD YOUR HORSES!

This is one of the biggest mistakes newbie authors make when trying to get their book published. They want to rush straight to querying agents the moment they type THE END. I get it. It’s exciting. You’ve spent weeks, months, or even years pouring your heart out through your fingertips and creating your “baby.” You know you have written THE book…the next best seller. Come on, don’t deny it. You know you’re thinking it. That’s okay. All authors have had the same feeling. But you can’t rush the process. You can’t skip the most important leg on the journey to book publication…editing.

It is essential that your novel be thoroughly edited before you even consider querying agents. But most authors, especially newbies, aren’t sure how to go about editing their manuscript. Either that or their intimidated by the idea of having someone “tear apart” their work. So let’s discuss some key points regarding editing so you can hopefully ease your mind about this absolutely crucial part of the writing/publishing process.

Why Hire an Editor?

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but there are so many authors who believe they can simply type up a manuscript, review it themselves, and call it a day. But that is super risky. Why? Because everyone becomes blind to their own mistakes. You’ve spent so much time focusing on getting your story down on paper that you probably weren’t thinking so much about grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and even those pesky little rules of writing that go above and beyond what we learned in high school and college English courses. You need an experienced, trained, and objective set of eyes to check your work and make sure the manuscript is in as good a shape as possible. If you send an unedited manuscript to agents, no matter how great your concept may be, you will be done before you even get started. If an agent asks to read a manuscript because the query has piqued their attention and then they begin reading only to find the script full of errors, or not properly written, they will stop reading immediately and write the book off. I’ve seen so many manuscripts come through my email based on an amazing query and then had my heart broken because it’s clear the author didn’t bother to have the manuscript edited before sending it to me. Don’t do this. It’s not worth it. Hire an editor.

What Exactly Is Editing?

There are a couple different types of editing for manuscripts. Which type you choose is completely up to you, but I highly recommend you go for broke and have your manuscript edited as thoroughly as possible. Here are the two main types of editing:

Copy Editing (sometimes referred to as Line Editing)

This is where the editor will focus solely on the words in your manuscript, not the bigger picture, plot, characters, etc. Your editor will correct any spelling, grammar, sentence structure, or punctuation errors. A good editor will also keep an eye out for all those annoying little writing rules, such as dialogue tags, overuse of adjectives/adverbs, dangling modifiers, passive voice, and so on. Again, these are the kinds of issues an author typically either doesn’t know, or doesn’t catch on their own because we are so focused on the story and characters. Even if you think you’re a good self-editor, trust me, you’re not. No offense. You may be more highly skilled with the technical aspects of writing a novel, but as I said earlier, I can guarantee you can’t catch even half of your own mistakes. It’s just human nature.

Developmental Editing (sometimes referred to as Content Editing)

This refers to the work an editor does on the “big picture” aspects of your novel, such as plot, consistency, timeline, plot progression, pacing, and character development. This can be done in lieu of or in conjunction with Line Editing. Again, as with technical writing, there are so many rules we authors have to follow to please editors and publishers. For example, where you start your novel is one of the most important things an author can consider. If your book starts with a dream sequence, description of weather or setting, or too little/too much dialogue, then you’re going to lose the reader’s (and the agent’s) attention on page one. Also, slow pacing is a huge deal breaker for agents. If your book moves too slowly, if you spend too much time describing a person, place, or thing, you will lose their attention and put the book down (which means an instant rejection). These are just a couple of things a good editor can help you with.  In my opinion, you should always pay a little bit extra for good developmental editing. Not only will you learn so much more and progress as an author, but your book will be so much better than you ever imagined possible.

How Much Does Editing Cost?

Depends. Like any professional service, editing can run the gamut from super cheap to painfully expensive. You don’t have to hire the highest charging editor. There are plenty of affordable options out there if you take the time to research. But keep in mind, you get what you pay for. If you settle for the lowest possible price and put cost above all other considerations, think about what and who you are paying to work on your baby.

I’ve seen editors out there charging upwards of $1,000 or more for an average length manuscript. To me, that’s just ridiculous. Now, maybe if you’re Stephen King or Nora Roberts and you have money to burn, you can hire a top of the line editor and pay them an arm and a leg for primo editing. But most of us are struggling artists and very few of us have the funds to pay that much money. I argue that you don’t have to break the bank in order to find a quality, experienced, and professional editor. Most reasonable editors will charge you something like this:

.007c per word (80,000 word MS would run about $560.00)

Be prepared to spend anywhere from $250 to $600 (or maybe slightly more), depending on novel length, editor’s fees, and type of editing desired. You will typically pay less for line editing and more for content editing. Some editors will ask you to pay this all up front, but I strongly urge you to seek an editor who will consider either payment plans or splitting the fee (half up front, half upon completion). God forbid you pay someone $500 to edit your book and either you don’t get your work back, or they don’t do amount of work you have paid for. Trust me, this happened to me once, so I now only work with editors who will split the fee half and half. This keeps everyone honest and relieves some of the financial burden, making editing more affordable and less painful for the author.

How Do I Find/Hire An Editor?

This can be a bit tricky. How do you know you are hiring the right editor? Look for editors with experience, testimonials, and even better, published authors on their resume. To find a quality and dependable editor, reach out to your author friends and do some networking. Ask around for recommendations. Another way to find a great editor is to join groups on Facebook for authors and editors (just search Groups for those words). Or follow the #amwriting and #amediting hashtags on Twitter and tweet that you’re looking for referrals. There are also databases you can find online that list professional freelance editors, their requirements, what they offer, and their fees.

This is super important! Never, ever hire an editor without first asking them to provide a sample edit for you. Most reputable editors will offer you a sample edit (5 or 10 pages) so that you can get a feel for their skill level as well as if you will work well together. I repeat, NEVER pay an editor the full fee up front without at least checking their references, getting a sample edit, and doing your research on them. Once you’ve narrowed the editors down to your top choices, ask those editors not only for the sample edit, but for names of authors they have worked with in the past. Ask if you can reach out to them and DO IT! Ask the other authors if they were satisfied with the work the editor provided, did they work at a reasonable pace, etc.

TO SUM IT UP:

Now that we’ve gone over the important aspects of hiring an editor for your manuscript, it’s time to get the ball rolling!

If you are seeking a reputable, experienced, and affordable editor, please keep in mind that I do offer editing services to authors of all genres and categories. I have testimonials from past clients posted on my website. I offer reasonable, competitive rates you’ll be hard-pressed to beat. I have a fast turnaround time and I offer unlimited free communications by email, phone, or social media messenger during the process. And also important – I’m an author, too, so I know what my peers need/want and I treat all my clients with respect. I am very thorough and honest, but never rude or condescending.

If you would like to discuss working with me to edit your baby and get it in the best shape possible, please check out my website. Read my Bio Page so you can get an idea of who I am (author, editor, literary agent intern), then check out my Editing Services Page for rates, guidelines, and contact info.

www.xtinakayebooks.com

Best of luck to you. Any questions, comments, etc. can be directed to me at the following email:

xtinakayebooks@gmail.com

I never charge a dime for advice or guidance. I love to help fellow authors navigate this exciting but demanding industry.

Christina Kaye, Author/Editor

***

Thank you so much, Christina, for sharing that important and useful information with my readers. I can’t tell you what a difference you’ve made with my  novel!

 

 

Be a good little manuscript!

Be a good little manuscript!

I’ve sent my baby out into the world. If my manuscript were a person, he’d have just gotten on the bus wearing a little backpack. And I’m standing in the driveway waving goodbye with tears streaming down my face.  bus-school-school-bus-yellow-159658

Goodbye, my darling.

My stomach is tied up in knots. Is he prepared? Did I do everything I could do to make sure he would perform well out there on his own?

I sent my manuscript to a beta reader, a critique partner, and an editor. I’m very nervous to find out what they’ll think. (It’s stomach churning misery)

This time is difficult for me. I’m already trying to find ways to occupy my time. I don’t think I’m quite ready to move on to a new manuscript but maybe I’ll work on my query and a synopsis. Did I ever mention how much I hate writing a synopsis? I REALLY hate it. It’s torture for me.

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Eh, maybe I’ll put that off a little longer. Ha!

I could paint (I’m not good at it but I enjoy it) or practice my guitar. I might do some reading or binge-watch The Sopranos.

Whatever I do to occupy my mind, I’m excited for my little manuscript to come back to me because however he does out there in the world, I’m very proud of him.

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And as always, I’ll be working on my Patreon page to share some of my writing with my patrons.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

Procrastination Queen

Procrastination Queen

Hey, friends,

So, as you know, I finished writing the first draft of my novel. YAY!!!! As much as that was a huge accomplishment for me, the hardest work is ahead.

Editing! Over and over and over, I’ll have to read this novel and find plot holes, inconsistent character traits, sentences that don’t make a lick of sense (oh, man that happens more than it should), wrong word usage, etc. This part is tough for me. I think the biggest reason is that I keep saying, “Oh my gosh, I’m such a crap writer!” and I will tinker with the same sentence over and over and over. Remove the comma. Stare. Add the comma back in. Take it out. Turn the sentence into two. Make it one sentence again. Add the comma. Stare. Delete the entire sentence.

This may be why I’ve all of a sudden become the crowned Queen of Procrastination.

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I got off to a good start on the first day. I edited the first two chapters, but then I really earned my crown.

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What did I do to earn my crown? Well, I sat around watching movies. It’s so important to clear those movies off my Netflix list, you know. I’ve been tweeting and playing hashtag games. I’ve watched Youtube videos. I’ve researched screenplays (like I need anything else to work on right now). Oh, and I’ve suddenly found Snapchat filters to be a very important use of my time.

I feel so much better now. Glad I got that done.

Sigh.

I know I need to sit my ass in the chair and edit these chapters. Once I get the second draft done, I’ll be able to turn the novel over to my first reader. And that might be another reason I’m dragging my feet so hard. It’s terrifying to share my work. Even though my first reader is someone I trust completely and someone who has been honest but gentle with feedback on my other novels, I’m still scared. I’m scared to reach each new step.

I’m scared of sharing with betas and critique partners. I’m scared of rewrites. I’m scared of querying and the rejection that will come with it.

But I’m going to take a deep breath and stop with all the procrastination. I’m going to take off my crown and remember how much I love my stories and how good it does feel when I finally do share them.

Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

The downs are beating the ups.

The downs are beating the ups.

I try to be pretty honest on this blog about my feelings and my writing journey, and I have to say, this morning I’m pretty pissed and hurt.

I started a Patreon page as a way to share some of my work and my writing process with people who may have enjoyed my writing here or have enjoyed my humor on Twitter. Recently, I had a patron sign up and then treat me like I owed them more… like I owed them a relationship on a personal level.

I can’t tell you how hurtful it was to realize that someone didn’t give a shit about my work but expected that their money purchased me. I feel disrespected. I don’t mind being nice. In fact, it’s the way I prefer to treat people, but people take advantage of kindness, don’t they?

I already have a hard time believing that I have any talent and it felt like a kick in my already uneasy gut.

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Social media is excellent for connecting with readers, but it also opens us up to be hurt by people with creepy intentions.

So if any of you are interested in the way I look and not what I have to say, I don’t need you. I’m going to keep working, keep on trying. I’m going to keep on writing because it’s what I love to do. I’m even going to keep on being kind. But I’m also going to set limits and not feel as though I have to be extra nice to people who may or may not be pretending to support my work.

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Feelin’ good!

Feelin’ good!

I took a week off from writing on the blog, but I’m back!

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And I’m feeling good, friends.

First, I can tell my Vitamin D supplements have made a world of difference in my mood and energy level. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to feel like I might feel like my old self again.

Second, PeachyTags had its debut game on February 10th, and it went very well. The tag was #LifeIsPeachyWhen and here is a link to the moments if you want to read some of the tweets that came out of the tag.

Third, I got some more patrons on Patreon! I was completely shocked. I had just decided I’d give it six months and then I’d give up. So now I have a total of five patrons, and I’m so excited about it. In a world where people want everything for free or aren’t willing to spend more on a book than a cup of coffee, I’ve felt like my dreams aren’t worth much. But then here come these people who want to support me and my writing–my art and make me feel like it’s a dream worth believing. So to my patrons, if you’re reading this, Thank you! My heart could just burst–in the best possible way.

Finally, I’m very close to finishing my novel. I only have a few chapters to write to reach my word count goal. And that’s what I’m going to do now. I’m going to finish that book, let it rest a few weeks before returning to it and starting draft two.

I feel proud of myself. I feel optimistic. I just feel so damn good!

Also, thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate you, my dear friends and readers.

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

I’ve launched my Patreon page

I’ve launched my Patreon page

Hello, friends. I just wanted to make a short post to let you know that I’ve launched my Patreon page. I had quite a bit of fun setting it up and I’m looking forward to working with the site.

I will be sharing a middle-grade fantasy on Patreon to kick things off.

Thanks again for all the love you’ve given me. I’m going to continue writing in this blog and I’ll try to post every Monday. If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to talk about, feel free to leave a comment. I love hearing from you.

https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau

 

 

 

Thanks for the support

Thanks for the support

Hello friends, just an update from last weeks blog (in case you were wondering how I’m doing) I’m feeling much better. Hopeful. Stubborn. Determined. I’m sure I’ll end up down in the dumps again one day, but it’s so nice knowing I have so many hands reaching out to help me back up.

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So many of you reached out to me with encouragement and support after my last post. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it. All your messages of support made me feel like I wasn’t alone and just maybe people actually appreciated my writing and connected with my voice. I used to feel like I was just shouting into a void with this blog. I know that’s not true now.

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So many of you supported my need to take a break that the pressure I was putting on myself just drifted away. The next morning, I was filled with the urge to write. When my writing didn’t feel like something I had to do anymore, the joy naturally drifted back into my heart.

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Sometimes it’s hard to admit, or even recognize, that I need support, but it really did make a difference. I loved the interaction with all of you who read my blog post and took the time to send me a message. I honestly had no idea how many people were reading along. It touched my heart. Thank you to everyone who reached out to me. I was overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful, inspiring messages…and only one dick. Ha ha! There always has to be one, doesn’t there?

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To allow people to support me in other ways, someone suggested I set up a Patreon page–which I’ll be launching in a week–for anyone who wants participate as I move along this writing journey of mine. It does feel awkward to me to allow anyone inside and show them my work before anyone else sees things or to accept financial support. Even when I had my middle-grade fantasies published through a small press, I had a hard time accepting money for my books. I think I gave away more than I sold. But I’ve realized that I need to get over that. I should feel proud of my work, time, and effort. Support will allow me to spend more time writing, attending writing workshops and conferences, and purchasing resources that will allow me to improve my craft. I want you to know though, that just because I’m starting this Patreon page, you shouldn’t feel obligated to contribute. Believe me, your words of encouragement are enough. I won’t disappear from all the ways we interact now. I’ll still be tweeting like a madwoman (I have an addiction!), and I will keep writing on this blog. But individuals who want to become patrons of mine will have more access to my work and my process.

I’ll be offering rewards for my patrons. What will these rewards be?

1) Access to early drafts. You’ll be able to read my chapters (and tell me what you think, make suggestions.)

2) You’ll get to see extra materials that won’t be included in the book. (Scenes I’ve deleted. Ridiculous lines that I can’t believe I wrote. See the ridiculous scribblings I put in my dream journal. A behind the scenes look at where I find inspiration.)

3) Q&A’s – Ask me anything! Want to know about my creative process, when I write or are you curious about whether I have any weird writing rituals, you’ll be able to ask.

4) My super patrons will find their way into the acknowledgments of my finished work (if it ever gets published. No promises there but I’m a stubborn daughter-of-a-gun so, while it might be 84 years from now, if it happens, I won’t forget you.)

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5) Access to signed copies of any of my work that gets published.

6) Name some characters for me or help me name the book. Sometimes I struggle with character names and titles for my books. I’ll be looking to my patrons for help.

 

 

If you have any other ideas for rewards, I’d love to hear them. You can comment here, tweet me, or leave a comment on my Facebook or Instagram page.

Thanks again for all the love you sent me. I’ve brushed off the dust, and I’m ready to do this!

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https://www.patreon.com/KAliceCompeau