Kimberly Derting's Blog, page 3

January 13, 2015


I could write a fancy blog post to go with this, but the flyer pretty much says it all. I will add that Cynthia Omololu is an amazing person, a wonderful mother, and a great friend!

 And her book, THE THIRD TWIN...I loved it! See...

"Delicious and deceptive, The Third Twin is a twisty-turny thrill ride! I couldn't flip the pages fast enough!" --Kimberly Derting, author of the Body Finder series and The Taking




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Published on January 13, 2015 17:42 • 45 views

January 9, 2015

That YA Dorm Life 
Hello all! My name is Ashley, college student and author's assistant extraordinaire,  all wrapped up in a short, YA fiction-loving package. I'm here to share with you all the fun facts and interesting territory that comes with being a YA fiction obsessed college student! I know everything from how to squeeze six, (or more), mahogany book shelves into your matchbox dorm room, to fitting time around your hectic class schedule for finding new reads. So, to kick off my grand debut, I'll share with you three things I've learned in my 3 years of being a YA college girl. 

1. There's No Such Thing as "No More Space" 
It's true. When it comes to books, there will always be room in your dorm. It's like this magical void of literary space that just keeps expanding- Narnia wardrobes, eat your heart out. However, you may have to get a little creative. All you have to do is unpack all of your books, look around your four-walled cement room, and mutter these words: 
"I am in Belle's library. This is Beauty and the Beast." 


And Bam! You've got it. Who says Belle's library has to be huge? Perhaps the surface-to-book ratio is all that matters, and if that's the case, you're a winner. 

2. The Book Budget


Yes, yes this does exist. And no, I'm not talking about college textbooks. You see, in a college town, there are discount book stores and Barnes and Nobles on every street corner, just calling your name in twinkling green block letters. It's a gorgeous thing. But, before you get too antsy, it's good to write down your "Book Budget" rules. Here's how mine go:
1. For every five discounted YA books, you may buy one full price. 2. NO HARDCOVERS. 3. Okay, for every five paperbacks you may have one hardcover. 
Yeah. I have a lot of hardcovers. 

3. The Starbucks Shuffle


So a lot of college campuses have their own personal Starbucks, which is awesome. Mine just so happens to be one of those, and I have my designated seat/drink combination that I love to stick with when I go to read. However, there's always a slight problem: 
I can't look up from my book long enough to order and sit down. 
Right. Okay. So this is what I like to call "The Starbucks Shuffle." You have to pause in between pages while waiting for the line to move, casually tell the barista your drink order (correctly) without spacing out, and make it to your seat by the window without tripping because Four/Adam/Ignifex just raised his eyebrows at Trys/Juliette/Nyx. 
Good luck. 

And there it is everyone! A little introduction into my life as a college YA student, (aka: that crazy blonde child who treats her books like her children). I hope that anyone reading this can either A) glean a few good tips from it, or B) laugh at the weirdness that is me. 
Have a YA day! 
-Ashley 





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Published on January 09, 2015 10:00 • 59 views

January 5, 2015

Fiction Food Fest! 
If you're anything like me, you like to sit down to write with a nice snack at your side. Something to keep you plugging away when you're working on that twentieth chapter! But, as writers, there may be certain foods that can boost our creativity (and hopefully!) brain power as we work. What are these tasty word enhancers, you ask? Let's find out!

1. Nuts 


Any type of nut is great. They're small but packed with protein and good fats, the kind that fuel your mind and your body. Cashews, almonds, and brazil nuts are a few examples that can really get your brain going. Mix them into a delicious trail mix, and maybe even add in a few raisins or (gasp) chocolate chips....that's the stuff! 
2. Dried Fruit 


Dried fruits are a perfect writing snack because they're packed with natural sugars and carbohydrates. These will give you an energy boost but without the nasty crash of caffeine or processed sugars- not only that, but having something to chew on may help some people's attention spans! 
3. Cooked Fish


Just like nuts, cooked fish such as salmon is a total brain food. It's filled with omega 3 fatty acids which boost brain activity and help keep your cells happy. A small fillet of salmon contains a dense amount of protein as well, making it a perfect "pre-editing" meal.
4. Blueberries



Blueberries, fresh or dried, are an amazing source of natural sugars and antioxidants. They can boost your mood and maybe even your creativity with a refreshing surge of energy! And they're easy to eat- just plop a few handfuls in a bowl and enjoy.
5. Dried Veggie Chips


This is my favorite alternative to potato chips- it's a mixture of dried beets (okay, maybe I pick out the beets), carrots, green beans, and other vegetables, and it tastes exactly like a chip! Only better, because these beauties pack in a lot of vitamins and minerals, which will keep your mind sharp while you're perfecting those last few chapters. 

And thus concludes my brain food writing snack list! All of these are tasty and brain-friendly, and there's a little something for everyone here. Of course, there's always those days when you just want to chow down on some pizza and chocolate- and that's great too! Writers need all the fuel they can get, so feed your brains and happy writing.


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Published on January 05, 2015 09:08 • 55 views

January 2, 2015

Setting GoalsNow that the new year is upon us, a lot of writers have a long list of resolutions to take into account--word count, that is! If you're anything like me, the new year is ushered in with promises of "hours of writing time every single day" and "complete and total focus during the editing process." Yeah, because those things are the easiest New Year's resolutions to keep, right? Well, maybe they can be! Here are a few tips on how to make your New Year's writing resolutions, and how to keep them: 

1. Keep a Journal


If you write down your New Year's resolutions in a journal or notebook, you're much more inclined to keep them. Start on Day One, and track your progress. After that first month you'll be happy to be able to go back and look at your success, and it will empower you to keep going! 

2. Don't Share it- Make it Personal


A lot of the times when we make a New Year's resolution we share it with the world. It's only natural- the one question on everyone's lips in January is, "So, what's your New Year's resolution?" And while this is a great party conversation starter, sometimes it can make us feel pressured to deliver. Soon you find yourself so stressed that the resolution becomes a chore rather than something fun and productive--so keep it to yourself! Have a few resolutions to share, and let your writing resolution remain untouched. If this isn't your cup of tea and you like the sharing, go for it! But for all of you who get stressed, this may just work. 

3. Don't Try to Do it All at Once


Sometimes we get caught up in the first month of the new year and try to finish our resolution quickly. This isn't the point! Your writing resolution is something you want to keep up, day after day, month after month, for the entire year. Don't rush yourself, it will only exhaust you.

4. Reward Yourself


Set up some sort of reward system for every month that you complete your resolution. Be it food, a fun activity, or a girl's night out--anything! Choose something that motivates you to work toward it and enjoy the productivity. 
5. No Excuses


As hard as this is, it's the epitome of the reason new year's resolutions don't work. There are hundreds of reasons why you can't write on certain days; you're tired, you left your computer at home, you have writer's block, etc. Nip those pesky excuses in the bud! Try to find little ways to get around them and keep writing, because getting words (even a few at a time!) on the page in the most important step. 

So there you have it! Five ways to make your New Year's writing resolutions a reality. 
Have your own ideas for keeping on task? Leave them in the comments below!


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Published on January 02, 2015 07:30 • 70 views

December 22, 2014

Distraction Central- Get Focused!
So if you're anything like me, writing is a lot of attempting to stay focused while the forever tempting internet tugs at my senses. 
Wait, which YA sequel is coming out this December? Oh- look at that cover reveal! This quiz will tell me my personality in thirty seconds- I must take it six times to make sure it's correct. 
You get the picture. 
Sadly, the Internet Epidemic, (IE for short), is one that we writers are most vulnerable to. It's hard to get through those last few chapters when there are so many fascinating Pinterest boards and Instagram photos to see- yikes! The temptation alone would drive any writer mad. So, here are a few tips to stay focused on that manuscript, and have your google fun after. 

1. Close out ALL Tabs:


This one is a doozy. If you had to google-search a fact for your character, chances are a ton of other articles came up as well. So after you grab what you need, you may leave that window open. Not good. It's easy to see the little blip on the corner of your screen and go back to it, no matter how much strength and determination you have. 
2. Listen to Your iTunes, Not a Video:


Okay so sometimes music can help us relax and get in the writing zone. But don't make the mistake of you tubing your favorite video (even if your plan is to minimize it).  I recently tried this with Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," and you can bet I wound up watching that bad-boy eleven times. In a row. So instead try to turn on your iTunes and listen to video-free music. Much less distracting. 
3. And Finally Close out of Your Facebook:


This one is key. Whenever I sit down to write I automatically go to Facebook first, check all of my messages, then minimize it. It's like Facebook is directly linked to turning my computer on and it's the first thing I have to do if I want my Macbook to be balanced. Right. But here's the deal: even with Facebook minimized, you can still hear the little ding of someday messaging you, and we all know that's impossible to ignore. So do your characters a favor and exit your personal page before you start that dialogue. 
And there it is! A few good reasons that may help you when it comes to internet distractions. Yes, it is an uphill battle that we writers must face, but in the end we will come out victorious and with a stand up manuscript that we can be proud of. 
Never give up hope!






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Published on December 22, 2014 08:34 • 66 views

December 15, 2014

Why I Love Coffee Shops
There's more to a good writing session than a chair and a table- I really believe that it's the setting and atmosphere that set the mood for great writing, too. That's why I'm a huge proponent of mixing up your writing space! Get out and discover new local coffee shops and book stores that you can sit and loiter in for a while. Sip some coffee, write a few chapters, then maybe even browse when you're done. Here are a few reasons why coffee shops and writing make great friends: 
1. A Change in Scenery Provides a New Outlook

When you stay in the same writing corner for weeks, your perspective tends to get a little bleak. Same walls, same chair, same people,(or lack thereof)- you get the picture. But if you stray past your normal writing world boundaries and discover a new little shop to write in, you'll have observations galore at your fingertips! And who knows- maybe that quirky barista who put a funny name on your cup may worm her way into your next chapter. 

2. New Spaces are Filled with Life


Whenever I find a new writing space that works for me, I find myself filled with way more energy than if I had just stayed at home. There's something to be said for the comfort of my own couch, but there's also something about a comfy little nook in a coffee shop that just spurs good writing. It's new, cozy, and a breath of fresh air from the norm. 

3. Food, food, food


Now this one's a given! Whenever you find a new space to write in you discover a new coffee menu, and maybe even a few delicious desserts or sandwiches. It's possible to sit in a shop for hours and much on tasty new foods, all while accomplishing a whole day's worth of work. Bonus! 

4. Coffee Shops are Stimulating


Whether it's the ear-pricking conversation going on a few tables away, or the way the couple eating their sandwiches next to you interacts, there will always be something to pay attention to in a small shop. And I've found that these distractions aren't quite so bad as my TV or internet at home- on the contrary, they tend to give me inspiration. Every little life observation counts, and strangers are perfect to draw from!

And there are a few reasons why coffee shops rock my writing world! Sometimes just packing up your computer and notes and heading off to a new place can really help stimulate  your fiction. Give it a try and comment what happens!




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Published on December 15, 2014 09:30 • 61 views

December 9, 2014

Getting into Character There are lots of great things about being a writer, what with all the fictional worlds and intriguing plot twists constantly on our minds. But sometimes the simplest things, like the inner workings of a our newest protagonist, can stump us up. So, here are a few ways you can "get into the head" of your protagonist, and gain a wealth of writing material! 

1. Have a Character Q&A



Before you get started on a new chapter, write a little interview with your protagonist. Ask her questions and get some answers, then when you're done take a second read over what you wrote. Sometimes the answers start to write themselves, and that's when your character begins to gain momentum. 

2. Create a Playlist



What would your character's favorite music be? What about music that reminds you of her? Create a play-list of about ten songs that embodies your protag and play it while you write- these might help you get a better feel for your character.
3. Journal Entries


Find a cheap spiral notebook and start a "Character Journal." Write in it from your character's POV a little each day as a sort of brainstorming exercise before you take a crack at that next chapter. If you're feeling fancy, pick out a notebook that your character would, and try to match your handwriting to their personality. 
4. Do a Little Day-Dreaming


Most of the time us writers find our heads in the clouds- and for good reason. Day-dreaming is one of the best ways to get into your character's head, because you can make up anything you want. Ideas and feelings flow freely and without constraint in your mind, so your character has space to roam. 
And there you have a few basics of character bonding! Try a few of them and see if any work for you, because one of the hardest things for a writer to do is get to know a protagonist that you're going to have to put through some crazy plot twists. Good luck!



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Published on December 09, 2014 08:29 • 94 views

December 3, 2014

Reading While you Write 
There's a wonderful way to jump start your mind and get your creativity flowing, even on those days when you feel like you can't get a single chapter written. And do you know what it is? Reading! Simply alternating between days of reading and writing can boost your word count and speed up your writing time. Here's a few reasons why: 
1. Reading helps with Vocabulary



Let's face it, sometimes we just can't find that one right word. And that's ok, it happens! But after a few hours of reading your favorite trilogy, you may recall a word used here or there that would just work perfectly. 

2. Getting Connected with Other Characters Helps your Dialogue


Reading interactions between other characters in other books can help you flesh out your own scenes. The more you read the more the dialogue comes innately to you, and before you know it your characters are writing themselves. 

3. Stepping out of your Story for a While Clears your Mind


And it's true! Sometimes you need a day to just clear your mind and take a break from your characters, because they can be exhausting. That doesn't mean you have to write off fiction, though. By reading another book, you not only get a break from your writing, but you keep up the conversation in your head in a different way. Writing is like any sport- practice makes you stronger.

4. And Finally, Reading Gives you Ideas



Not that you're going to copy them straight out of another book, but the actions and personalities of different characters can help you get to know your own. You find yourself wondering how your protagonist would react to the setting, people, and lifestyle of this other book. It's extremely beneficial, and when you're done reading you have contemplated your writing as well! 

So don't hesitate! Go write for a few hours and when you're finished, take a break and pick up a new read. It will be more than helpful and even a little fun. To get you started, here are a few links to some new YA reads that would be great for just that! 

* Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/8794.YA_Novels_of_2014
* 40 Top YA Reads: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/17/living/fall-young-adult-book-releases/
* Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/MSLibraryComm/best-ya-novels-2014/
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Published on December 03, 2014 08:37 • 101 views

December 1, 2014


But it's not here. If you want to see it, you'll have to over to Fangirlish.com.  There you can check out the gorgeous new cover AND enter a giveaway for an advance copy of THE REPLACED!

So, what are you still doing here...?


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Published on December 01, 2014 11:08 • 140 views

November 24, 2014

Writer's Life: Hitting that Wall?So if you're anything like me, I tend to get stuck on certain scenes fairly easily. One character confesses something to another, a wall comes down, and suddenly I don't know how to kick my protagonist into action. The usual. But hey- no worries! Us writers are prepared for word battle and come loaded with tons of tips to stave off that pesky writer's block. Here are a few, I hope they help! 
1. Take a Step Back


Sometimes taking a step back and not writing for a few hours is simply the easiest way to go. If you take a small break you won't be stressed to come up with the "perfect dialogue" that you need- and perhaps you might even draw some inspiration form the world around you. 
2. Ask a Friend

We all have that one hardcore reader-friend who loves to pick at ideas. Sit down with a couple cups of coffee and run your latest scene by them- perhaps they can help you sort of all of your thoughts. 
3. YA Method Acting


What better way to get into the mind of your character than to pretend to be them? Try speaking like your character for 15 minutes; to friends, family, the baristas at Starbucks. What would he/she say? Order? How would your character interact with others? All fun stuff, just don't get too carried away!
4. Just Keep Writing

Sometimes we are a little too hard on ourselves and think a little too much. Not to worry! Maybe the best dialogue isn't that difficult to master- just keep writing and something natural will come to you.

5. Go to Bed Thinking of your Scene

This is probably the best trick I've used to help myself through writer's block. If I'm stuck on a certain scene or can't get into the head of a certain character, I lay down that night and start off my own dream. I picture the setting, the dialogue, and the events, and just let my brain run wild. Sometimes I even wind up dreaming about my characters, and that can go in so many directions! 

So there you have it fellow writers, a few tips and tricks for getting past that sticky scene you just can't seem to find the words for. I'll close with a few blogs and lists with plenty of other good tips for letting your ideas flow!


* 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer's Block: http://boostblogtraffic.com/writers-block/

* The 10 Types of Writer's Block (and How to Overcome Them):http://io9.com/5844988/the-10-types-of-writers-block-and-how-to-overcome-them

* Writer's Block 911:http://www.webook.com/911writersblock


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Published on November 24, 2014 07:40 • 182 views