Would you rather . . .

My fabulous phantomy friend Amy tagged me to answer some fun bookish questions! I haven’t done anything like this for a while, so I’m excited to take a stab at it.

1. Would you rather only read trilogies or only read standalones?
Ahhhh. Can I exchange “series” for “trilogies”? Because Harry Potter would not be present in either of those choices. I think I would go for series. While standalones have a very satisfying sense at the end (usually), I love the depth of familiarity that comes from spending multiple books with the same characters.

2. Would you rather only read male or female authors?
Mmmmrp. I’ll go with female authors, since that’s mainly what I’ve been reading lately.

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon?
Barnes and Noble for sure! The smell of a bookstore makes me giddy. I love wandering around and picking random books off the shelves. I’ve found some literary true loves that way. Also, I love people-watching in a bookstore, especially in the children’s section. Seeing kids get so excited over a new book just makes my heart happy.

4. Would you rather books were made into TV shows or movies?
If you have to do that to a book, I’d say go for the TV show. There’s more room to explore the details of the book, instead of cramming the (allegedly) most important details into a 2.5 hour space and shooting them at the viewer like BB gun pellets.

5. Would you rather read only 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
Five books a week, for sure! I would die reading 5 pages a day! What if the page stopped midsentence? What if everybody was about to die? WHAT IF VOLDEMORT CAPTURED HARRY POTTER AND IT TOOK FIVE DAYS TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN?!!

6. Would you rather be a professional author or reviewer?
Author, for sure. I’ve tried my hand at reviews, and I’m terrible at them. Novels, on the other hand, I can’t stop from coming.

7. Would you rather be a librarian or a bookseller?
While I toyed with the idea of getting a degree in Library Science, I’d have to say bookseller. Ever since I watched You’ve Got Mail, I’ve wanted to run a little bookshop like the Shop Around the Corner. Except not in New York.

8. Would you rather read only your favorite genre, or every other genre but your favorite?
My favorite genre. The problem would be figuring out exactly which genre that is . . .

9. Would you rather only read ebooks or physical books?
Physical books. I read ebooks here and there, but I’ve found that I just don’t read them as well. Example: I read Jinx and Jinx’s Magic by Sage Blackwood on my Kindle. I liked them enough to put them on my “To Buy” list, but once I got the hard copies and reread them, I realized that I could remember hardly anything about the plot from my Kindle read. Funny, but ebooks just don’t stick in my brain.

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There you have it! If you’d like to take a turn with these questions on your blog, let me know! I’d love to see what you have to say!

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What? June?

Hey there, guys. Remember me? It’s been a few weeks, but I’m still here. Since we last met, I wen to California, turned a quarter of a century old, killed my old cell phone, caved in and got a smart phone, finally met one of my amazing critique buddies face-to-face, and ran across an entertaining children’s book series about a quirky British family of artists by Hilary McKay.

I suppose writing is in there somewhere, too. And mapping. My fabulous map-making brother sat me down and talked through some details of the map for Demon’s Heart and the two following books, which made a huge difference in how the books run. It never ceases to amaze me how completely a pair of fresh eyes can impact a story. I’m so grateful for my critique partners and beta readers who hammer my stories into better shape.

I’m excited to get back into blogging regularly again, as I now have a backlog of ideas, but for now, take up the Monday Writing Challenge for this week:

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Draw a map for a place in your story, be it a country, a city, or a house. Let someone else have a look at it and ask all the questions that you never thought about.

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Soliloquize!

Have you seen the Hamlet with David Tenant and Patrick Stewart? One of my favorite performances ever. I watched it again with my cousin last week, and while I was basking in the glorious soliloquies, I started to wonder . . .

What would my characters say, given a moment to face the camera and speak their mind?

So this is my challenge to you this week, my friends:

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Pick a character at a certain point in your novel, and soliloquize.

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Dodging Burnout

Do you ever get so fed up with your stubborn characters and tangled plots that you just want to throw it all out the window?

I do. Regularly.

Writing is one of those professions that you have to be crazy to do, but you don’t have to let it make you completely crazy. This was a lesson I learned the hard way, after trying to push my way through a burnout and finally shutting down my writing altogether for almost a year.

I’m getting better now at seeing when I’m headed for a burnout and taking steps to avoid it. Here are a couple of strategies I’ve come up with for binding up a broken writing spirit:

  • Put it away. It’s okay if you miss your word count goals for a day or two or even a week. Or a month, if that’s what it takes. You won’t write well if your manuscript is grinding you into the ground, and you’ll make up for the missed days when you attack it with fresh eyes.
  • Read. Sometimes, I feel like writing has taken all the words out of me, and I have to refill my depleted stores. That’s when I drop my writing and binge read for a day or two. In the past three days, I’ve read four books, and I’m working on number five. (Don’t worry, I look up every once in a while to make sure my child is still breathing.) Once I’m nice and full of brilliant words from brilliant authors, I can get back to putting my own words on the page.
  • Explore other creative outlets. Things you’re good at, things you’re not good at, things you’ve never tried. I’ve dived into piano, guitar, baking, Italian lessons, harmonica, sewing, sketching, coloring books (that I ostensibly bought for my toddler–ha!). The possibilities are endless. Just find something to throw yourself into for a while so you can expel all that creative energy while giving your poor, overworked writing brain a break.
  • Go somewhere new. In a burnout, I often feel trapped in this stupid storyline that I’ve created. The easiest way to shake that is to go somewhere I’ve never been before. Explore a new park, find a new museum, get in the car or on the bus and just go.
  • Do something physically challenging that you love. I hate running for the sake of running, but I will chase after a soccer ball or a tennis ball until I drop. For some people, it’s rock climbing. Other people, weights. Just take the strain on your mind and put it on your muscles instead, and have some fun along the way.

There are my strategies. What do you do to avoid writer’s burnout?