YA Author Interview: Aminah Mae Safi

Pen Friends ~ Today’s YA Author, Aminah Mae Safi, has got her hands full with all kinds of writerly projects and great advice across the board! She truly inspires as she talks about not giving up on your craft & dreams and how her first book, Not the Girls You’re Looking For, came to be!
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SP: Hi Aminah Mae! Thanks for joining us. First, can you please tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you have been writing?
Aminah Mae: Forever! But also– seven years. That’s a big difference, no? I grew up writing and I come from a family of storytellers. The kind of people that everyday life becomes a big dinnertime epic. We’re a fairly dramatic lot. I remember the time I read a Camelot comic in some after school program and I noticed that Guinevere didn’t do anything. So I re-wrote it. I must have been about seven or eight. Please note: this involved not only re-writing, but type setting, photocopying, cutting and literally pasting new words over the old comics, then photocopying again to make the final product look legit.

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Editor Talk: With Tara Creel & Write On Editing

Pen Friends ~ Today we have more insightful Editor Talk with professional editor Tara Creel, as she shares her insight into editing, publishing, and getting it right!

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SP: Welcome Tara! Can you tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you worked as an editor?  

I’m Tara Creel. I’ve worked as an editor for Month9Books/Tantrum Books for almost four years now. I have also been doing freelance editing on the side, but have recently launched a freelance editing business with Michelle Millet called Write On Editing. Continue reading

How I Overcame Writer’s Block with the Nerd World

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I have to confess something to you… two weeks ago I took the plunge and played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. Yes, the roll-the-dice, choose your warlock/dwarven/halfing adventure that Dan Harmon termed the “fantasy game [people play] to escape their awkward lives.” Promising, eh?

My high school self would be baffled (“I thought I was supposed to be cool by 24!” she would lament) and honestly, my 3 month ago self would be pretty confused too. But since then, I’ve discovered something. Let me lead you into the dark realm of the nerd where brilliant writing resources have been hiding for decades…

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Journey to the Stars: Discoveries Shaping Sci-fi

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One of the joys of writing Science Fiction is how quickly tomorrow’s technology can surpass a writer’s imagination. Computers the size of your palm? Done. Glasses that help you see 3-D worlds? Done. Real Pokémon lurking in your backyard? Well, sort of. And 30 years ago, no one really expected those inventions to become reality in their lifetime.

So what does that mean for a science fiction writer? Should we all retreat to fantasy? No!

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Fantastic Perspectives: How to Choose the Right POV

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Point of View

Everyone sees the world from a unique perspective, or point of view (POV). If you’re vertically challenged as I am, you’ll likely experience life a bit differently than, say, an NBA player would.

In writing this is also true. Now, a reader’s height doesn’t matter so much when stepping into a book, but how a reader views a story does matter. Continue reading

Author Interview: Brenda Drake

Pen Friends, we are very excited to introduce Young Adult Author and Writing-Contest Guru, Brenda Drake! If you don’t know her yet, quick, get reading below!! 

*PS: There’s a giveaway. Check below for details.

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SP: Welcome Brenda!

Thank you for having me!

SP: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and when you started writing?

I grew up the youngest of three children and an Air Force brat, so I was always the new kid at school until my dad retired in Albuquerque when I was in middle school. I host contests such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on my blog, and hold Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. Unfortunately, I’m addicted to coffee and Goldfish crackers, but not together. Well, unless I’m eating the graham cracker or s’more’s ones. Continue reading

What You Need to Know About yWriter5 Writing Software

pexels-photo-52649-large-1After I started taking writing seriously, I decided that looking for better novel-writing software (say, better than Word) would likely help me to stay organized[1] as I tried to complete one of my stories.

I’ve had Scrivener recommended to me multiple times, along with other paid software, but as a mostly-poor working adult, I wanted to find something else that would serve my needs for free. And eventually I found yWriter5. Continue reading

The Essential Guide to Writing Your First Draft

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You’ve sat down, know your characters, have a plan for writing, the plot is nailed down, and you’re itching to get started.

The first sentence comes out and…. sounds like a preschooler wrote it.

You try again, delete your second attempt, and then switch to paper and pen. That will help! Several crumpled papers later, your waste bin is starting to fill but not the pages. How do you get that perfect intro sentence? How do you set the mood, capture beauty, or develop your style?

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