Sunday, April 19, 2015

Some Notes on Priorities

At church this morning, our pastor was on vacation (which he really deserved), but we had a guest pastor preach today.  He was fantastic.  So, I thought I would share it with you, because it can apply to anyone. 

He began by talking about how your life is split into minutes.  Every minute is precious and a gift from God.  This minute could be your last. 

The introduction not only touched me, but helped me realize that every single minute should be used wisely.  It encouraged me to live every minute like it is my last, and I encourage you to do the same.

Okay, and that was just the introduction.  So, here are the notes that I wrote down from the sermon.

Setting Priorities for 2015

1. God is my first priority.
There are three primary areas where we need to demonstrate that God is our first priority.
*We worship him. (Luke 4:8)
*We obey him. (1 Peter 1:14-16)
*We accept our status as His children.  (John 1:12-13)

2. My family is my second priority.
*To Provide a Christian home/atmosphere. (Joshua 24:15)
*To Live by God's standards. (Ephesians 5:21-26 and 6:1-3)

3. My church is my third priority.
*To find my place of service.
Look at the "Christian's Core Values" through the purpose statement "SERVE".

S = Spiritual Gifts
E = Experiences
R = Relational Style
V = Vocation Skills
E = Enthusiasm

*Learn to depend on other believers.

The sermon showed me there are some things that should always be at the top of your list.  And since this month is April, one of them is not Camp NaNoWriMo... sorry readers!

- Mickayla

PS - Camp is going well!  I have written 16720 words out of my goal of 25,000!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Covers 101

Book covers... what do you think when you hear those two words?  I think of two things - one of the most common ways to catch a readers eye and using it to describe your novel. 

I have had someone ask me about how I make my book cover, so I decided to make this post.  Some authors like to create their covers themselves, while other authors have professionals help them out.  If you are just writing for fun and want a picture to show and tell your novel, here are a few ways to help you out.

Figure out what program you will use.  First, things first, you need to try a few different styles and programs.  Here are few questions you might want to ask yourself:  Do you want to draw it out by hand or do it on the computer?  What kind of fonts do you want to use?  Do you want your cover to fit with your genre?  How do you want to express your novel through an image or drawing?

Here are a short list of some programs you could use: Paint, Microsoft Publisher, paper and pencils (this is not a program on the computer :P).

Note: If you are using pictures from the internet, there is copyright and all that.  But, if you are just doing it for fun, I don't think it really matters.

Get creative.  Plan out what you want it to say, what shapes you want to use and make a small rough sketch.  You many have to experiment a little bit with some different styles until you find the one that really fits your story.  

In my cover (which I might end up doing again because I have started my novel over), I used a large black paper for the base, some pictures of galaxies and traced a font from the computer.  Then, I pulled it all together with some glue, and you can look at it on the My Writing page.

I really hope this helps you create your cover!  Remember, the cover is usually the first thing a reader sees in your novel.  Make it stunning... and have fun!!! :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Creating a Great Midpoint Twist

Don't you love when you are reading a book and suddenly the story changes in a way you never thought it would?  If you want to write a good story, a surprising plot twist is one of the many keys to keeping your reader on the edge of their seat.

Midpoint twist are always fun to write, but it takes some tough brainstorming to figure an option that still flows with the story and is surprising to the reader.  

You want to be constantly switching between good things and bad things.  This really applies to your whole novel, but you have to make sure it fits in with the plot twist.  Even if the good things are small, the reader will stay more interested if you switch off.

Give your readers something they wouldn't expect.  As I have already said many times, making a novel unpredictable will keep the reader into your story.  But, creating a good midpoint twist is not always easy.  In my book, something bad happens to my protagonist (I am not sharing the details, because I don't want to give it away), then something good happens.  But this thing that all the readers thought was good is actually really bad.  

The hardest part is coming up with your twist.  I usually like to invent it when I am in my planning mode - suspensful music playing, brain thinking faster than my hands can type.  But, if you don't have time to wait for that wonderful and inspirational moment, then what I suggest is do some research and read other book's midpoint twist (probably a book that you have already read).

Think about what happens after the midpoint twist.  After your midpoint twist, usually things seem hopeless for your protagonist.  The antagonist seems to think of every option the protagonist has to win and blocks it.  The midpoint twist is usually the start of your novel's "turn for the worst".  Think about the best way to start what comes ahead.  Will your protagonist be captured and beaten?  Or will he/she be hindered in some other way?

By the way, I probably won't be posting a lot during the month of April because of Camp NaNoWriMo. But whenever I get the chance, I will definitely post! :)