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  • Patricia Hollett

    The Author

  • Currently Writing/Completed

    Currently working on:

    Fallon -70,094 words
    Forest Born -67408 words
    Ice Whisperings -2997 words
    Garrett -9623words
    Northern Blood -11658 words
    Winter's Reign -787 words

    Completed

    Blood Harvest - 998 words
    Keeping Secrets - 1500 words
    Misunderstood -700 words
    Sarah's Amulet-A Necromancer Slave Story -6004 words
    The Cult -1998 words
    Unfortunate Blessings -454 words

    To Be Published

    Artistic Escape - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Happy Birthday Honey - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Making Choices - flash (to be pub 2011)
    Together Forever - flash (to be pub 2011)

    Published

    Allie's Clown - 1500 words (Published on Dark Valentine website March 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine)
    The Angel Wars/Post-Apocalyptic Emails at the end of time-A collaboration with author Tammy Crosby (Published by PillHill Press in August 2011)
    Valeria's Knight - 4807 words (Published in Night to Dawn Magazine-September 2011)

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    All posts, stories and comments made by Patricia Hollett on WordPress.com are property of Patricia Hollett. All rights reserved. 2010 ©
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Making Progress


No matter how small or insignificant it might be, I’m making progress on my intended target of editing and finishing my first manuscript, Forest Born.

I probably spent the past half year putting it on the back-burner most of the time and writing short stories, or working on other things, and from time to time I went back to it, but not with the enthusiasm I had for it when I first started.

I don’t know what happened to that ‘gung-ho’ attitude I had for this story when I first thought of it, but it slowly slipped from my hands and mind as I realized the magnitude of the writing project I had undertaken. And with so little experience when I first started writing, I really wasn’t sure if I could get it done.

Currently I’m at 71k and still trudging through it. Yes, I’ve got a few plot holes and some editing to do and I’ve rewritten the first couple of chapters at least ten times, but right now I’m at chapter 5 and reading it with a fine tooth comb, filling in the blanks, missing plot parts, character descriptions, details, and ideas that now seem to be flowing more easily. I’ve pre-written, the draft is done, I’m currently in the process of revising, and when that’s done, I’ll do edits, and find beta readers to help find what I’ve missed.

Sometimes we have to ‘step-back’ from our work and take a different look at it in order to see it with fresh eyes, and that’s when we can make some progress again. It’s taken a while for me to get back into the swing of things with this story but it’s one I want to write and tell and I like it. I’m still targeting for the end of April, but at least I’m doing a little each day and that makes me feel a whole lot better about where I’m headed with my writing.

It’s not easy writing a whole book for the first time, especially for a rookie. There is so much to learn and read about how to do it well, and a ton of books on how to write in general. I’ve read a lot over the course of the past two years and taken a few workshops to help me hone my craft, but nothing is as important as writing everyday. We learn and get better by doing it. Just like a guitar player learns his music by practice and becomes good, writers learn their craft by writing regularly.

I’m feeling a bit more optimistic about my story now and making progress is making me feel a whole lot better about achieving this goal I’ve had for some time now.

All I can say is KEEP WRITING, SET GOALS, AND KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BRASS RING, and you’ll get it done. That’s what I’m doing and hopefully I don’t lose sight of my goals this time around. 🙂

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Writing In Real Life


Damn! I need to be more dedicated and serious about my writing to be sucessful. I know it.  I wish I could be ‘funny’ about this post, but I take it too seriously to joke about. I tell myself constantly, and yet every thing that comes along in real life takes priority over my writing.

Is it because those other things are more important? Sometimes they are. Sometimes they’re not. And yet I think if I just get this small task out of the way, I’ll have time for my writing.

I make the time for everything else I have to do… and then leave my ‘writing’ to be done on whatever leftover time I have. Is it fair? NO!

I’ve talked about this before on my blog, and yet I failed miserably in achieving what I needed to do. There has been a lot going on in my personal life and I’m hoping that I’ve got most of it under control now. We all go through it. It’s just life. It’s normal. I can’t beat myself up over it. I’m just resetting my goals and moving forward.

I’m taking a stand starting today to put my writing before anything that isn’t important. I’ve been working on my story for almost two years now. That may not seem like a long time, but I planned to have it done long before this. I have most of it done. It needs revisions, editing, some rewriting, then off to beta, etc.

As of today, all those other unimportant things will have to wait.

So here’s where I take a stand! I resign myself to getting my manuscript done by April 30, 2012 come hell or high water. At least the full first draft, with completed revisions. At that point, I’ll either send it off for beta unless it’s not ready, in which case I’ll post the chapters I’m concerned with for my writing group to help me work them out.

And no more excuses! I’ve marked it on my calendar and I’m doing a timetable to decide on target dates for completing each chapter with revisions and edits. I’ll update it when I’ve made enough progress to feel like I’ve accomplished something.

No need for anyone else to kick my ass…I do it just fine on my own. 🙂

What’s Expected of a Beta Reader?


This week I asked some authors/writers I know what they expect from a beta reader and what they want a beta reader to look for. I mean really… what’s important to them and what should a beta reader provide. Here is some great feedback from them on what’s important. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been to me.

Julie Particka-Klumb, aka Seleste deLaney, (Author of: ‘Gunshy’, ‘Pretty Souls’,‘Stockings and Suspenders’, ‘Badlands’, ‘Yule Be Mine’, ‘Forever Summer’, ‘Yes, Alana, There is a Santa Claus’, ‘The Ghost of Vampire Present-Blood Kissed #2’, ‘Of Course I Try-Blood Kissed #1’. Her website is http://selestedelaney.blogspot.com/

I have a few beta readers and each one gives me something different.

I have one who is very good at pointing out big picture issues–where I’ve slacked off and left plot holes, no matter how small.

I have one who points out every time I make her laugh or swoon. Since I write romance or strong romantic elements and I like to know if my jokes work, this is invaluable.

All of the people who read for me point out typos, awkward spots, or where I confuse them (as well as continuity issues), but those other things are what make those my two constant betas so important to me.

Honesty is the key.

Angela Addams (Author of: ‘Ghost Bride’, ‘The Temptress’, ‘Assassin’. Her website is http://www.blog.angelaaddams.com/

I value beta readers so much. What I need from my beta readers is honesty –even if it’s brutal, constructive criticism –highlighting grammar, spelling, things that just don’t make sense or make them say, “Whaaaat?” –what I really love, believe it or not, is the sarcasm that my beta readers use when leaving comments –sometimes the comments are so funny that I laugh out loud when reading them –those are the best kind of beta readers and I’m lucky enough to have found quite a few.

Julie Campbell, aka J.A.Campbell, (Author of: ’Senior Year Bites’, Doc Vampire Hunting Dog’, ‘Into the West Series’, ‘Arabian Dreams’. Her website is http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/

Hmm, okay, what’s important to me…

I really want my beta readers to tell me what is working for them and what isn’t. That is a pretty broad way of saying, point out awkward phrasing, inconsistencies, any obvious grammar or comma errors (though grammar isn’t a beta’s primary function, if you see it you might as well point it out), anything that is blatantly stupid and anything that jerks them out of the story.

They can also point out things they really like – which helps immensely too. Overall, I want to know if they: like the story, like the ending, think it would end better or start better somewhere else. Anything they think is important, it probably is. I trust my beta readers a lot.

Above all, I want them to be honest. These days I wouldn’t send something to them if I didn’t think it was good. One of my poor betas has suffered through a lot of my earlier stuff, but she still reads for me, so I apparently didn’t traumatize her too much. I think it is important that beta readers love to read and are at least familiar with the genre you write in. It also doesn’t hurt if they are writers themselves. Writers do tend to be the harshest critics.

Angela Magee (Avangeline-Mod from OWG group #3)

I think a beta reader should be a super fan who can be a super critic/critiquer. When I send it to the beta reader, the first and maybe second round of edits have been done, IMO, so I need them to find all the typos I can’t see…work out the awkward bits that I’ve put before the OWG and still don’t have quite right… And tell me when something just isn’t working. I think they should be a fan, too, because I’ve seen it from the other side. There’s a writer whom I adore as a friend, who I know can technically write, and who wouldn’t be the published author she is today if she relied on my opinion of her YA. In my opinion, your beta reader should be fully behind your project, not just editing because they’re your buddy.

C. C. Adams aka The Cat (Author of Dolls Eye) A well written story with a plot that twists and turns and keeps you wondering what will happen next. My first experience as a beta reader was for Carl, and it was a learning experience for me, which I can’t thank him enough for. Also, the pleasure of reading this remarkably well plotted out story is still fresh in my mind.

“What I look for in a beta-reader is patience, first off. Sure, I spend time cultivating and crafting my work, but that doesn’t mean that the resulting story is going to enthral everyone. Therefore, the beta gets the role of Court Taster, making sure it’s fit for general consumption. They get to stomach the whole thing from beginning to end, and sift through it with a fine-toothed comb – regardless of whether they like the story or not.

Ultimately, the beta needs a sharp and clinical eye. To me, it’s not an issue of whether a beta read takes a month or a year. The quality of work is all.”

Kelly Metz (Author of A Taste of Blood) An amazing story with a fantastic plot, which I had the privilege to do read and do a beta for her. A good story is one you remember long after reading it, and this is one story you will want to buy when it’s published.
What I look for in a beta…

Well, seeing as how I’m fairly new to the beta process, I guess what I look for in a beta is what I look for in a short crit of a scene. I like praise, really I do. I like hearing the story was good, the characters were funny. I like getting a pat on the head and cookie just as much as the next person does. The problem is that doesn’t make me a better writer. It doesn’t teach me anything, doesn’t improve the story. Tell me how to make it better.

Line edits are fine and dandy, but when the author has a solid grip on spelling and grammar, then line edits are for catching the occasional typo. Again, doesn’t teach me anything other than my brain occasionally skips over things because I know what it’s supposed to say.

What I need from a beta reader, and what I try to give someone who asks me to beta, is a third party perspective coming fresh to the story to look at it on a macro level, not micro. I know my spelling and grammar, but I don’t know if the reader gets the nuances, I have built into the story without smacking them in the face with it. (LOOK! HERE’S A MOTIVATION I’M SPELLING OUT FOR YOU! FLASHING RED ARROW!!! LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!) Are the characters staying true to themselves? Does the plot make sense? Does the plot actually resolve? Does the scene contribute to the plot or draw things out unnecessarily? Did the MC’s eye color change between chapters? Or in my case specifically, did a subplot line once intrinsic to the main plot suddenly disappear into the background of obscurity?

Which is an awful long way to say this: A beta reader will tell you a story is good or bad. A good beta reader will call you on your mistakes; tell you when the story is too close to your heart, and help you fix it. (P.S. A good beta reader will also tell you when you’re too long winded like this response.)

Danielle Wegner (Writer, beta reader for Kelley Armstrong)

When I was first approached about doing a Beta read, it was because the author had heard my complaints about another author’s inconsistencies in her series. The author (Kelley Armstrong) asked if I would read through book seven in her series and just be sure everything was in order. I have a near photographic memory for certain things, and details in books–especially books I love–is one of those things.

I now check for other things besides continuity, but that is still my main focus. Nothing irritates me more than a character’s eye colour changing, or a name, or age. Hopefully I do a good job…I keep being asked to do it again, so I must be all right!

I would like to thank Julie Particka-Klumb, Angela Addams, Angela Magee, Julie Campbell, C.C. Adams, Kelly Metz, and Danielle Wagner for sharing their expertise with me on beta reading.

Well I hope this helped provide some insight into what a beta reader should do and what writers/authors hope to gain from a beta. Yes, I know it was lengthy, but I wanted to get a good cross-section of different perspectives on the topic.

Until next time….

Where Do Your Ideas Come From?


Psst…yep I’m talking to you…it’s me…the right side of your brain calling to you-to create, to develop, to think, and write your ideas down. Write your stories. 

I’m that little voice in your head that comes up with all your brilliant and creative ideas. yep I’m hiding up there inside your brain. I’m that part of your brain that continually thinks and creates.

So, where do your ideas come from? Everyday life, situations, conversations, music, art, the weather, people, places, etc., are all places and things processed by your brain and recreated into something useful.

As a writer, we take these pieces that fill our minds, and put them on paper, finding those bits we’ve saved in the deepest recesses, and integrating them into our stories.

Everything you do, say or think can be used for a story…well almost anything. For example, last night I was ranting to two of my best writer friends about my ex and they suggested I write about it…oh yes! Making life hell for my ex would make a great story. Yes, of course the names would be changed to protect the innocent, but nonetheless, I could think of some creative ways to make his life a living hell or worse.

Or, there’s the time you spent at the beach last summer, good times, but what about that little girl who was sitting in the sand all alone with no one nearby? Did her parents forget her on the beach…maybe leave her behind? What will happen to her?

Or maybe, she’s just sitting there thinking that when she grows up she wants to be a surfer. That could make a great story with some interesting obstacles and twists. You can make up just about anything from any picture, vision or conversation.

Or you remember the time your best friend went missing overnight… and had no recollection of where he’d been. When he returned, he wasn’t the same person you remembered. His personality seemed different, and now he had an obsession with researching alien abductions.

How about that conversation you had with your sister about the blood work the doctor has just ordered her to have done? He suspects something sinister when he notices she has no pulse…   Don’t you remember your her telling you she had an encounter at the local bar with a tall dark man in the ladies room. She remembers him, but she can’t remember what he said or did to her. Then again, she still doesn’t know why she has a curious desire to drink blood suddenly.

Very little of this is true, but seriously, a story can come from anywhere, anytime, as long as you let yourself be open to the possibilities of your creative mind.

Yes, I write the sinister, the dark, the creepy, and the kind of stories that seem a bit twisted… but then we all have our secrets, don’t we?

Let those ideas flow, there are plenty of them all around you, just twist things up a little, and there you have a story to tell.

There are so many ways to get ideas. Dreams, brainstorming, just open your mind and set it free.

Have fun creating your writing masterpieces. 🙂

Setting Goals


I’ve always been good with setting goals. Need to get things done…make a list and do it. No excuses. No ifs, ands or buts, just do it.

With NaNoWriMo coming up next month, it reminds me of last years goal… 50k in 30 days. Yes, it’s a goal, and yes I met it. Because I wrote it down somewhere so I could be reminded I had to meet that goal.

Now we come to the hard part…setting goals for writing all the time. 10k per week doesn’t seem unreasonable. But the problem is, I haven’t been writing it down. I just think about it, so I never achieve that weekly goal.

Our subconscious knows and picks up the slack when we write a goal down. It remembers what we’ve done and keeps reminding us to meet that goal. So on a 3×5 index card, I’m writing 10k per week and posting it on my cork board to remind me of my weekly goal. That way there are no excuses and no deviations from the plan.

Setting goals is a key step to getting your work done, whether it be writing, a job, family responsibilities, whatever it is. Goal setting forces you to achieve what you write down. Well, it does for me. So, today I’m turning over a new leaf. Weekly and monthly goal setting. And Writing It Down!

So, I’ve taken a step in the right direction. I’ve been reading a book aptly titled ‘Book in a Month’ or as they abbreviate it in the book: BIAM, and since we’re coming up to NaNoWriMo it seems appropriate that goal setting and ‘Book in a Month’ are topics worth discussing before NaNo.

Yes, anyone can do NaNo, but to achieve the goal of 50k in a month, you need to set that goal. And don’t lose focus! Keep your eye on the brass ring and you’ll get your book done in a month.

Yeah, yeah, I know…it sounds easier than it is. But, without goals, would we achieve everything we need or want to do?

Not me!

Good luck with NaNo…whoever is doing it…and remember to ‘Set Your Goals!’

Realism in YA stories


Seriously, I have a thorn in my side about this topic. I’ve read quite a few YA novels and really?? Where is the realism? Teens in those books don’t swear, don’t drink, don’t have sex, don’t talk back to their parents and all their friends never say anything wrong to them. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about…the real world doesn’t work that way.

I have 2 teenage daughters and a son who just turned 21, and I’ve had plenty of their friends over and seen them in ‘action’. And I can honestly say that most YA books idealize teens and their habits and behaviours. It’s just not real. My kids aren’t bad, but they are normal and most of their friends are exactly the same. They all drink on occasion, they swear, they post nasty messages on Facebook when they’re pissed off, and they make no bones about saying what’s on their mind.

I want more realism in YA stories, and yes! I want to write it that way too, but there’s that imaginary line that stops us writers from crossing that line. Editors, publishers, agents, all don’t think it’s good to write this ‘stuff’ in to our stories and basically idealize young people so they look wholesome and good and never do anything wrong.

Oh, they make mistakes just like we all do. But, they learn from their mistakes. Their social lives are of the upmost importance to them, and they talk openly about sex and drugs and drinking. I’d have to say mine are pretty good about staying away from the drugs, but not ALL teens are like that.

Are we only appealing to an audience of teens who sit at home with no social interaction and read because they have ‘nothing better to do’? Shouldn’t we be writing with more down to earth and real life stuff so teens can identify with our characters? I’d say yes, but of course I don’t have the final say. I wish I did.

So, I’m working on my manuscript, and I’ve decided to break from the norm and make it more believable. No sparkling vamps, no perfect kids, just down to earth and real…lets see where it takes me. Yes, there’ll be some re-vamping of my work, but I’ll feel more true to my own writing by doing this.

This has been bugging me for some time. Of course I’m not going to take it over the top. There won’t be any crazy ass drug dealers or high school hookers in my story, but just the real stuff that happens to teens every day that we gloss over and don’t write in our stories because someone in their infinite wisdom thinks it won’t sell.

I’m writing for me, and writing what I love and what I love is realism. Maybe it’ll be an eye-opener and maybe it won’t, but lets see where it takes me.

Good luck with your stories fellow writers. Write for yourself. Its the only true way to self-satisfaction. 🙂

What You Write Matters!


This week I thought I’d talk about ways to get rid of writers block and creativity stumblers. Yeah most writers get that from time to time and if you don’t you’re one of the lucky ones!

    1. There is never a best time to write

True! But, when is the perfect time to write? We all have doubts, fears, problems, things to do…so when is the best time to write? Anytime and right in the middle of all that you have going on. Don’t wait for the perfect time to write…just do it. Right in the middle of whatever you’re doing. I have to keep reminding myself that one!

    2. Believe in yourself

Seriously! You have something to say otherwise you wouldn’t be writing, would you? Tell yourself it matters what you say, and eventually you’ll believe it. Push any doubts out of your mind!

    3. Take out the big ‘BUT’

Yep! You all know what I’m talking about here. But, the dishes need to be done, the shopping, the laundry, I’m too tired, I’ve had a long day at work, etc., etc. Whatever it is…eliminate that big BUT that’s stopping you. Stop with the excuses. Oh, its easy for me to preach this one because I’ve flagrantly disregarded it so often. I put everything else first then do my writing. That laundry won’t disappear, the dinner will still get made, etc., but I need to write and forget about doing everything else first. Try not to do everything else first, unless it’s a job, but instead of saying I’m too tired after work, write for a while. Just don’t let that BUT get in your way. I promise to practice what I preach as well. 🙂

    4. Cut out the junk!

Yeah you know those little things that are meaningless! Surfing the web, looking for other things to do besides writing, playing X-box or a game, all the little things that take up so much time and really don’t count for much in the end. You’ll find your day more rewarding when you can look at what you’ve accomplished and how much you’ve written in the time you would have spent doing something that yeilded no results. There goes my recipe hunting excursions, and my web surfing… LOL

    5. Calm yourself

That’s right! Forget about everything else going on around you and just concentrate on the task of writing. Thinking about all the things you have to do leaves you stressed and your mind is not calm enough to think about writing and creating. Clearing your mind of the clutter will allow you to open yourself up to the task of writing. Get rid of the inner turmoil and chaos and just enjoy the calm, peaceful, tranquility of writing.

    6. Take out the fear

Last but not least, take out the fear that’s stopping you from writing. You have a story to tell. Many writers hesitate to continue because they’re afraid of failure. Stop thinking about the outcome and concentrate on the process. If you don’t try, you’ve already failed.

So, that ends my little blog speech for this week. I hope someone got something out of it. None of it is new to us writers, but I thought just blogging about it might be a good way of reaffirming some of the things I personally need to work on to push my writing into the next gear.

What hinders you from writing? I’d love to hear it. 🙂

Note: Some information obtained from ‘What You Write Matters’, by Eric Maisel