The results are in! A whopping 87 people voted in my latest poll 'Help Me Choose My Author Photo'. Thank you to every single one of you who participated! I truly appreciate it more that you know! You are all a part of what I do and I can't wait to share my work with you.
I have updated my website with the new official 'face' of my author brand and I will be updating my social media pages as well. Speaking of social media, I now have my own Facebook Author Page!! Please, please take a moment to head on over to check it out & give me a 'like': www.facebook.com/kierstenmodglinauthor
I'd like to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement throughout this entire process. It's trying and stressful and downright heartbreaking sometimes but it is also the most exciting thing I have ever been a part of. Having the support of each of you has made it so much better. You are all a part of this girl's biggest dream coming true, & that means everything to me. I will forever be grateful for each of you!
I'll be back next week!
Hey guys, so as part of the publishing process authors are asked to pick an official Author Photo. This photo will be featured on my books, in any press releases or media kits that are sent out surrounding my book's release, and it will also be the photo used for my social media presence.
Today, I got the opportunity to get out in this gorgeous weather and have a few shots taken. I tried to capture the feel of my novels into my pictures (I wanted suspenseful- dark & mysterious--- do you think we got it?)
Anyway, I am just SO in love with each of the pictures that I am having trouble deciding! I need your help. Please take a look at the 6 pictures below and vote only for your favorite. This contest will last until Wednesday 3/16 and the winner will be announced Thursday 3/17. Thanks so much for voting & for keeping up with my posts!
Until next time!
Okay, okay... so, I may have fibbed a little the last time I posted in stating that I'd be back soon....
I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. When I started my publishing journey, I told you all that I wanted you to be a part of it, and I meant it. So, forgive me for taking so long to come back and catch up. I promise I'm going to do better!
So, I have a bit of good news. My time away wasn't just spent Netflix-ing and reading some spectacular books, but a lot of it was spent finishing my new novel. That's right! I've officially finished three novels now, and with each novel my writing process has changed and improved a bit.
Here is a sneak peek into what my process looks like:
Step 1: The voices come to me.
Okay, laugh it up. My husband thinks I'm ridiculous when I say this too, but I'm pretty serious. I've never gone all Stephanie Meyer and 'had a dream' that lead to a great story idea, but so far just when I've finished a novel and decided to give myself a break... I'll start hearing my new character. Each of my characters are so different, they all have flaws and parts of their lives that never make it into my books. For a few weeks, I allow myself to learn about them and figure out exactly what I want you all to take away from the story they have to tell. (I'm currently in this phase for manuscript #4, and boy is it fun!)
Step 2: Pen to Paper
For the next step, I usually write out an outline. It's not always specific or even accurate. (The murderer in my first novel never even existed in the outline) I'll take a few days to write down each character and describe them in great detail. Hair color, eye color, height, what they like, what they don't like, how they grew up, who they admire, what secrets they keep. It's always interesting in this stage because I finally get to lay all of my ideas out and see the characters brought to life. I'll usually even base them (physically) off of someone I know, that way when I'm writing the novel I can picture them in my head and it makes the descriptions come a lot easier. I keep the outline with me throughout the process that way I am sure my characters are consistent and someone's hair doesn't change from blonde to red throughout the story or that someone who is strong willed and stubborn doesn't start acting weak for no apparent reason. This is also the point where I will begin doing my research on elements I will include in my novel that I'm unfamiliar with. (My Google searches probably have me on some sort of watch list by now lol!)
Step 3: The Notebook Comes Out
I always write my first draft on paper. ALWAYS. A very good friend and fellow writer once told me there was nothing better than putting pen to paper and letting your ideas flow, and he was right! I usually fill about three large notebooks with my first draft. By the end of it, my hands are cramping, the margins are scribbled with notes, edits, additions, and thoughts, and the book finally has it's bones. This step takes the longest, usually about six- nine months. Some weeks I'll have no inspiration or I can't seem to figure out where the characters are headed and so I'll just jot down ideas until the perfect one comes to me. Sometimes the ideas flow out of me quicker than I can write them down--- you just never know what to expect day to day. FUN FACT: In the latest manuscript, there were a lot of minor characters who weren't mentioned a lot so they weren't added into my outline. I would draw blank spaces in the notebook if I couldn't remember their names (_______________) for me to fill in later, when I began editing. (Every character is important, it's just my memory!)
Step 4: Technology finds it's place
Finally, when my first draft is finished (and after I've let my hand rest for a few days) I begin typing. I'll spend hours a day in front of the computer going over my story, editing what I need to, and reliving the story once more. This process usually takes about two weeks to a month, depending on the word count and my schedule.
Step 5: Reading
When the last word has been typed (and after I do a happy dance), spell check has been checked, and I've checked for any formatting issues, I will read through the manuscript carefully, checking for any errors or inconsistencies, and fixing them as I go. After that, I will read it again, this time out loud to make sure all of the dialogue sounds natural. I also usually catch the majority of my errors when I read it out loud because my mind can't just fill in the blanks of what I was trying to say. My wonderful husband suffers through being read to like a kindergartener in order to help me improve my art and for that I love him. :) (and who are we kidding, he's getting to hear AMAZING stories for free! Audible, anyone?)
Step 6: Finishing Touches
After this, my novel is ready to be submitted to publishers. I usually write a 'blurb' right away (what you would find on the back cover or jacket of the book to tell you what it's about) If my story doesn't already have a title at this point, I add it now. As a creative outlet, I'll play around with book covers and marketing ideas.
Step 7: Celebrate(!!) & Wait
For a moment, my work is done. I sit back with a book that has been on my 'To Read' List for nine months and enjoy it. I bask in my accomplishments (tehe.) and try to find a new show to binge watch. And then I wait. I wait for good news to come and I wait to hear that little voice- to tell me it's time to start the process again-- they've got a story to tell.
Thanks so much for reading my post. I'd love to hear from you--- what is your writing experience like? Did anything I say sound similar to yours? Anything surprise you? Let me know!
Until next time!
Hey everybody! I know it's been way too long since my last blog post and I'm so sorry. My agent (eeek! I'll never get over how exciting it is to say that) and I are anxiously awaiting word back from the ten (!!!) publishers we've submitted to so far. Of course, I'll keep you guys updated as we hear back.
While we wait though, I still wanted to keep in touch with everyone. As most of you know, I am working on my third novel (about halfway through now). One question I get over and over is how do I pick names for characters... so I thought I'd use my latest blog post to answer that:
First of all, everyone's method for naming their characters is different I'm sure. As for me, I'm very meticulous. Sometimes I'll leave blank spaces in my novel where a name should go for weeks, even months, until I figure it out. ("_______________ was shocked") It probably sounds crazy to some of you, but my characters are like my children, even the bad ones. Their names are ones that I'll (hopefully) hear for years to come and so I want them to be names that I actually enjoy hearing and saying. I like unique names and speaking as someone who has NEVER found her name on a personalized keychain I want it to be exciting for my readers to open a book and see THEIR name!
Characters in my books are often names of people I know. The main character in my soon-to-be published novel is named after one of my best friends from high school. The other characters gathered their names from several of my friends, my relatives, my science teacher's son, a former coworker, the street that I used to work on and many other people and places. (Literally MANY-- but I can't give away all my secrets) In fact, the name of the town where my book is written is actually the last name of a lady I met in passing. When I was writing my novel, it was originally set in Wilmington, NC, a town that I adore, but as it came to a close I realized that a lot of the things I had said about the town weren't true to Wilmington and so I decided it needed to have an original name. (Spoons, WA anyone? :P) I had met this lady through a few friends and her name had stuck with me, but I wasn't sure where I wanted to use it.... but as luck would have it La Rue, NC was the perfect name for my little fictional town.
So there you have it, my method for naming characters is as random and unplanned as can be. You've heard the old joke: Be nice to me or you'll end up in my novel... I guess for me it should be: be nice to me AND you'll end up in my novel. (Not saying that there aren't a few snooty people who may or may not find themselves in it as well... who knows) In the end, my characters grew into their names and have made them their own. I hope you'll all agree when you get the chance to read their story.
If you have any other questions that you'd like to see me answer, leave a comment below or fill out my contact form. I've heard from so many of you already and I love it!
I guess that's all I have for you today, but I promise I'll be back much sooner that last time. Until then--
Today is the day I've dreamed of my entire life! Think I'm kidding? No. Once, when I was about seven or eight I rushed into my living room, grinning from ear to ear, and thrust a handful of paper into my mothers hand. She asked me what I was doing.
"I wrote a book." I told her.
She glanced at the pages, reading each of them aloud. She frowned at me. "You wrote this?" She asked.
"Yes!" I said proudly, then from behind my back I produced a book that I had copied from word for word.
Of course, I was devastated that I hadn't actually 'written a book'. My little seven year old mind just couldn't wrap itself around the fact that just because I had written a book, did not mean that I had literally written a book.
In fifth and sixth grade, I began writing short stories. By high school, I had written notebooks upon notebooks full of poems and story ideas. When I was seventeen, I wrote my first "novel".
Skip forward a few years, last July I finally decided to sit down with a pen and paper, (okay, technically this was only after my laptop crashed and I lost the first SIX chapters) and began to write a story that had been swimming in my head for about four years. Yes, you read that right... four years.
In March, I began the grueling process of querying agents. A few full and partial requests, several "No's", and two Twitter pitch contests later... I finally got THE EMAIL.
Authors, you know the one I mean. Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary asked if there was a time that we could talk to discuss my manuscript further.
Ya'll... I can't describe to you the happy dance that I did at 5:00 in the morning when I sleepily read that email.
Yesterday, July 29th, 2015, was a day I will never forget. Jessica and I hit it off immediately. She has the same vision for my book that I have and she was incredibly sweet in answering all of my mountain of questions. (A page long list, I promise)
After the call, I decided I'd like to think about her offer. I wanted to let the excitement pass, and the hysteria fade away in order to make the right decision.
I'm the type of person who REQUIRES like ten hours of sleep to even be half friendly the next day, but if I got more than four hours of sleep last night it would be news to me. I woke up at three in the morning trying to make sure that this was all real and truly happening to me.
Today I accepted Jessica's offer. So, now I can say it proudly and officially: I am excited to announce that I will now be represented by Jessica Schmeidler and the team at Golden Wheat Literary.
I literally can not control my excitement and I look forward to the journey ahead, and to sharing it with all of you.
Until next time.
Kiersten J Modglin is an author of suspense & mystery novels. Lover of books, blogs, and Boston Terriers.