I’m excited to be part of Bethany Neal’s blog tour for her debut novel My Last Kiss. Today’s stop on the blog tour features Bethany’s writing advice. Hopefully this will helpful to teachers/students/aspiring authors. Thanks, Bethany!
My Last Kiss releases on June 10th from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Summary (From Goodreads):
What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal’s suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
**Bethany Neal’s Writing Advice**
Giving writing advice is a tricky thing. Everybody has their own process and techniques that work for them. And a writer’s process evolves as he/she grows and develops his/her skills. So, giving cut and dry advice on how to write seems counterproductive to me.
There have been many times where I’ve read an article in a magazine or on a website and thought I’d found the cure-all for my writerly woes. And sometimes the advice does help, but it’s usually only a temporary fix for a specific scene or type of book I’m writing at that particular moment.
That’s great and helpful at that time, but I want advice that is helpful all the time. Don’t you?! Something I can always lean back on and utilize to get me through the rough patches of writing—and, trust me, the road to publication is as potholed as my neighborhood streets after the crushing winter we’ve had.
So here it is, the one piece of advice every writer must take and apply daily in order to succeed: Believe in your work.
It sounds so simple, but it is the single most difficult thing you’ll ever attempt. Especially when rejections start rolling in (and they do for everyone at some point in his/her career). It requires constant reminders and sticky notes on your computer monitor (and sometimes bathroom mirror) to assure yourself that your writing is not only good enough but worthy of publishing.
You might feel as if you’re tooting your own horn when you tell yourself these things, but you should be tooting that horn of yours, darn it! Writing is hard and stressful and takes immense dedication, and you are doing it. You deserve a frickin’ orchestra of horns tooting in your honor! But, alas, publishing is more times than not a strings section playing one of those mournful tunes that Russian figure skaters perform to. You need to hold your own horn high in order to get noticed.
But my advice to believe in yourself and your writing is not all streamers and self-help hoorays. There’s a specific practice you can add to your daily writing ritual that will help you gain confidence in your work.
Before you start a new project, make a list of reasons why this story needs to be told and keep it nearby as you write so you can reference it. Tape it to the wall in your office or your desk, your laptop, your forearm, wherever you need to put it to remind yourself why what you’re writing is important.
Then when you’re at the midpoint of your book or story (and probably experiencing a growing amount of fatigue and doubt), make another list. This one is made up of reasons why readers will love your story. If you have trouble making this one, pull the nearest unsuspecting family member aside and ask him/her to tell you about their favorite book, movie, or TV show. If it’s a real good one, you’ll start to pick up on the types of things that readers crave like charismatic, complex characters or a sticky plot hook or ultra cool setting that feels like a character itself. You can also analyze your own favorite if there aren’t any other humans nearby.
Note, this step can also serve as a Litmus test to see if your idea is worth powering through to the end. Not all story ideas are. Sad, but true. If you can’t think of at least three reasons why anyone other than you would enjoy reading what you’re writing—and you am to be published someday—it’s time to shelve the project and move on to the next one keeping the boys in the basement occupied.
Finally, when you’ve typed the two most glorious words in an author’s vocabulary, The End, write a third list. This list is of all the obstacles you overcame in order to complete your opus. This last list will give you the confidence to press forward into the real business of writing. Rewriting.
I make all three of these lists for everything I write. It keeps me motivated, moving forward, and sometimes even throws up a red flag that what I’m writing isn’t a good fit. That can be the most important lesson of all. Knowing what not to write is just as important as—and critical in the progression to—writing a best-seller.
Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.
MY LAST KISS is her first novel. Connect with her online at www.bethanyneal.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BethDazzled.
**Blog Tour Schedule**
May 26: The Fantastic Flying Book Club, Welcome post
Day 1- May 27: Word Spelunking, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 6-10
Reading Teen, Top 10 Kisses (t/o pop culture) numbers 1-5
Day 2- May 28: YA Love, Writing Advice
Day 3- May 29: YAdult Review, Top 6 Bad Boys (who aren’t so bad)
Day 4- May 30: Book Loving Me, Story Inspiration
Day 5- May 31: Broke & Bookish, Top 7 Ghost Stories
Day 6- June 1: Tales of a Ravenous Reader, Pinterest Inspiration Board
YA Reads, Easter Egg Hunt
Day 7- June 2: Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks, Musical Inspiration
Miss-PageTurner’s City of Books, Behind the Pages
Day 8- June 3: Supernatural Snark, Character Interview, Ethan
GUEST POST: First Kiss Stories, Amy Plum’s Blog
Day 9- June 4: The Hiding Spot, Q&A
Reader Girls, Ghostly “Rules”
Day 10- June 5: Book Addicts Guide, Open Interview
Anna Reads, My First Fictional Crush
Day 11- June 6: Lady Reader’s BookStuff, Playlist Reveal
Day 12- June 7: Books As You Know It, Q&A
Book Rat, Character Interview, Cassidy
Day 13- June 8: Proud Book Nerd, Characters Theme Songs
Girls in the Stacks, Podcast
Day 14- June 9: Literary Rambles, Interview/Review & signed book giveaway
YA Sisterhood, Top 10 Fictional Crushes
Day 15- June 10: The Best Books Ever, Origin Story
Day 16 June 11: Fantastic Flying Book Club, Swag Giveaway & Review
**Upcoming Author Signings**
MY LAST KISS Launch Party!!!
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
2513 Jackson Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Join Bethany in publication day festivities! There will be cake, swag giveaways, and the signing of many books.
Michigan Author Event
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Barnes & Noble
3311 Tittabawassee Rd.
Saginaw, MI 48604
Visit Bethany and fellow YAer Aimee Carter in the Teen section during this store wide event featuring Michigan authors from varying genres.
Up North 2-Day Event: Signing/Writing Workshop
Friday, June 20, 2014
McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770
Saturday, June 21, 2014
McLean & Eakin Bookstore
307 E. Lake St.
Petoskey, MI 49770
Call McLean & Eakin for more information (231) 347-1180.