I have been writing poetry since I was in high school. I fell in love with Edgar Allen Poe, like most emo girls do. My boyfriend, at the time, encouraged my writing. He wrote a lot too and served as a great inspiration to me.
Poetry has always been a way of expressing emotions that I didn’t know how to voice outload. My poetry, much like my fiction, tends to be dark, raw and honest. It is the truest version of me. Below, is my poem entitled, Janus.
Watching but unseeing Touching but unfeeling Listening but not hearing Showing but concealing
I am standing with you But I am so distant Nothing can reach me This sensation consistent
Contact is numbed Sound is muffled Sight is blackened I am unruffled
You so easily feel And show your emotions I wish I could comprehend Instead of just go through the motions
You yell at me You are crazed You scream in my face I am unfazed
You are so angry I am unblinking I never react I just keep sinking
I don’t understand anger Especially what you express Emotions are pointless They get in the way of success
So when you start yelling And cursing and screaming When you begin hitting And the tears are streaming
I switch to my safety An unfeeling facade A beautiful mask I could trick your god
Similar to Janus My duality is true What you see on the outside Is completely subdue
One side is happy Confident and smiling. The other is cold, Emotionless and dying
I don’t think I am going to provide explanation because I think it’s important to interpret it how you see fit. If you would like to talk interpretation, I would love to hear what you have to say. Feel free to message me on any of my social media platforms below. Also, if you would like to buy me coffee, that is linked below as well.
Music has always been a huge inspiration for me even though I wouldn’t consider myself an auditory person. For me, it’s the lyrical content that I find the most inspiration in. Each of my books has a playlist associated with them. In this post, I will discuss the songs that inspired my debut book Cool for the Summer. You will be able to find these playlist on both Spotify and Youtube. I will not talk about every single song on the playlist in this blog post, but the ones that really resonated with me.
Cool for the Summer- Demi Lovato
Lyrics: Take me down into your paradise Don’t be scared ’cause I’m your body type Just something that we wanna try ‘Cause you and I We’re cool for the summer
Of course this one is on the playlist! It ended up being the book title, after all. I explained how this came to be in my previous blog post The birth of my first book.
Here Comes the Weekend- P!nk
Lyrics: Drink some pink champagne I don’t know you yet But we’ll forget So, fuck what they say Let the rum flow until it rains
I’ve always been a huge fan of P!nk, so I knew I wanted one of her songs as inspiration in my first book. This song summed up how it feels to be at the end of the semester and have your whole summer break ahead of you. The freedom.
Lyrics: I did it all to break every single preconceived notion that you have I did it all to shake every single one of your emotions and just to make you Uncomfortable
This song is very much from Xander’s point of view, and the concept of sometimes enjoying making others feel uncomfortable. I don’t think being uncomfortable is always a bad thing. Sometimes, in order to break outside of your preconceived notions, you have to pushed from your comfort zone. That’s what this song is about. Xander’s blatant flirting with Gabriel made Gabriel feel uncomfortable in the best kind of way.
Lyrics: Everything is gray His hair, his smoke, his dreams And now he so devoid of color He don’t know what it means And he’s blue
There was something about this song that seemed so fucking perfect for this chapter, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. I think it’s the idea that when you’re upset, you kind of start seeing the world in blues and grays. They were both struggling in this chapter.
Hungry Eyes- Eric Carmen
Lyrics: With these hungry eyes One look at you and I can’t disguise I’ve got hungry eyes I feel the magic between you and I
This is a very obvious nod to the most classic movie about a summer romance, Dirty Dancing. When I was writing this chapter, this is the only song that was playing through my head. I was just perfect. It really summed up that summer feeling of falling in love for the first time. The innocence. This chapter was huge in the development of their relationship, so I felt this song fit for that reason.
Talk Fast- 5 Seconds of Summer
Lyrics: Leave all of your indecisions with you at home Don’t say you’re doing me a favor Why so complicated, won’t you throw me a bone? I want your love in every flavor
5 Seconds of Summer is probably my favorite band of all time, so they needed to be in this playlist somewhere. I remember being obsessed with their album, Youngblood, which featured this song. It’s the epitome of a summer fling song for me. The push and pull of being in a confusing relationship with no solid ground beneath your feet. There is a begging quality to this song. Like they are begging to be given a chance or maybe just some clarity, but they will take the night.
Let’s See What the Night Can Do- Jason Mraz
Lyrics: I wanna get lost with you And hide out, out under the light of the moon I wanna get lost with you And see what it’s like to spend the whole night With you, just you You, just you
This is probably one of my favorite chapters of the entire book. This song is almost whimsical, for me. Like living in a dream. Getting lost with the person you may or may not be falling for and just taking that night to forget all your worries. This is the chapter where Gabriel gives into his feelings for Xander and takes the first real step in solidifying their relationship. Of course, he doesn’t say that.
1950- King Princess
Lyrics: So tell me why my gods look like you Tell me why it’s wrong So I’ll wait for you, I’ll pray I will keep on waiting for your love
I really felt this song summed up where Xander’s headspace is in this chapter. He knows that Gabriel loves him, but he also knows that Gabriel isn’t ready to admit it out loud yet. He is willing to wait, though. He is going to be patient for Gabriel. There is also another line that really stands out ‘I love it when we play 1950’ which is very clearly a nod to the years where gay romances weren’t accepted in society, so a lot of times gay people were forced to hide their love from the world. This is the first time in the book where they really hid their relationship from the people around them.
Delicate- Janet Devlin
Lyrics: The closer I get to your paper heart; And the tighter I hold on Gently covered in paper cuts; I’m more stubborn than some You’re like the first day of winter; Everyday day of the year ‘Cause you’re too scared to let me in; Never close only near I’m just delicate, just a little more delicate than you
The title of this song really summed up the entire chapter. I wanted this chapter to feel like everything was somewhat hanging in the balance, and there is a ticking clock over the reader’s head. Gabriel also decided he was going to start pulling away in this chapter, but we all know how stubborn Xander can be.
Eavesdrop- The Civil Wars
Lyrics: Oh, don’t say that it’s over Oh, no, say it ain’t so Let the stars watch, let them stare Let the wind eavesdrop, I don’t care For all that we’ve got, don’t let go Just hold me
This is a devastatingly beautiful song. It’s giving yourself over to someone even though you know you plan to leave. It’s pretending that you’re not and allowing them to comfort you, if it’s only for the night. You know it’s your last night with them, and you just don’t care who’s watching. You’re going to spend it how you want, but it’s so very bittersweet.
It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing- Shania Twain
Lyrics: It only hurts when I’m breathing My heart only breaks when it’s beating My dreams only die when I’m dreaming So I hold my breath, to forget It only hurts when I breathe.
This song is so heartbreaking. It is the ultimate breakup song, and I decided Xander had to sing it on stage. Everyone has experienced the kind of pain where it hurts to breathe, and you just don’t want to anymore. Your entire being hurts because you’re missing someone. This song is so underrated.
Collide- Howie Day
Lyrics: Even the best fall down sometimes Even the stars refuse to shine Out of the back you fall in time I somehow find You and I collide
I think this is pretty self explanatory, and in a lot of ways, from the point of view of Gabriel. He says he feels like he can’t stop thinking about Xander, that he can’t stop himself from being with him. He wants it, and they were always meant to collide.
The Promise- Sturgill Simpson
Lyrics: I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say I know they don’t sound the way I planned them to be But if you wait around a while, I’ll make you fall for me I promise, I promise you I will
This was actually my wedding song, so I knew I wanted it to be the last chapter of this book. The one on the playlist is actually a cover. I don’t really like the original. I love the way Sturgill Simpson slowed it down and managed to bring so much meaning to the lyrics. A promise you make to someone. It’s beautiful, and I knew it would be perfect for the final chapter.
There you have it! A small glimpse into my musical mind. As you can probably tell, my music taste is all over the place. I have put it on two different platforms so you can listen on Spotify or on Youtube. This playlist includes a little bit of everything. Was there a song on this playlist that you wish I talked about? If so, please feel free to message me on one of my social media sites below. I would be happy to explain why I chose a particular song. As always, thank you for reading my ramblings.
I want to start by saying that everyone is different. What works for me will not work for everyone. Your writing style is your own, and you should be proud of it. This is just how I outline a book and in no way reflect the ‘correct way’ because there simply is no such a thing. With that being said, I hope this may help writers in the beginning stages of their careers.
So these are my 10 tips for outlining a book:
1. Have an idea for a book
I know this sounds stupid. You’re probably like, “well, duh,” but you’d be surprised how many people want to write a full-length book without having an actual idea for one. Make sure your concept is feasible and within your writing ability. I think you should challenge yourself, but if this is your first book, you don’t want to make it unattainable and out of your current capabilities.
2. Don’t start making the outline right away
I know this one is difficult because you’re so excited you have this brilliant idea. I urge you to not start writing your outline right away, but just start writing lists.
Make a list of themes you want to flow throughout (an example of this is in Cool for the Summer, a theme throughout the book’s entirety was Gabriel’s struggle with his sexuality). The themes need to weave throughout the entire book/series. They are something you will keep in mind as your writing, and you need all of your themes to be cohesive to the overall story arch.
Start thinking of various scenes you would like to be incorporated and write them down, but don’t put them in order. For example, the first scene in Cool for the Summer that I thought of was when Gabriel saw Xander dancing. The second scene I thought of was the baseball game, which came much later in the story.
Music- I usually have a list of songs that have given me inspiration for a chapter or an entire book. I make a Spotify playlist for each of my full-length-books. You can use any music platform like Spotify, Apple Music, or even YouTube.
Have a character profile in mind for your main characters. Some people have pages and pages of information about their characters. In contrast, others just have who they are in their head and somehow manage to remember (I’m the ladder, if you’re wondering). I do recommend writing it down, though, because the characterization is critical. You don’t want your protagonist to do something entirely out of character unless they have an excellent reason for it. To make this easier, create a list of characteristics, including physical appearance, personality, mental health, likes/dislikes, sayings, etc. You want them to be a person. I love all of my characters like they are people because they are to me.
4. Put your existing scenes in order
This is where the actual outlining begins. Now that you have some settings (or several) in mind, you can start putting them in order by chapter. The way I like to outline my books is chapter by chapter, then scene by scene.
Chapter 1- Title -Scene 1- Description- Whos POV (Point of View) it is in -Scene 2- Description- Who’s POV it is in Chapter 2- Title
5. The Order
The order of the scenes and chapters is critical. This will set the whole tone of the book and the story arc. You cannot have the story climax too early, but you also don’t want to draw it out. It can be a very fine line and gets even more complicated with a series.
6. It can be unfinished
Your outline does not have to be finished at first, and it is ever-changing and evolving. You have no idea how many of my outlines say “Idk, something gross and fluffy” instead of an actual idea for a scene. It’s okay, as long as you have a general idea of what should be there.
The reason why having an outline is so important is because of foreshadowing. To foreshadow appropriately, you have to know where your book is going. You can always go back and add a foreshadowing moment during one of your re-reads or edits.
8. Chronological Order
I, personally, write all of my books in chronological order. I never skip a scene or move to a different one, then come back if I’m stuck. The way you read the book is the order in which I write it in. Again, I want to stress that this is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to write a book. This is just how my mind works. Jumping around while writing, for me, is confusing. I find that there are more inconsistencies and plot holes in my rough draft if I do it this way. I know a lot of successful authors that write scenes as they come. They may start off writing the book in the last chapter. This is all personal preference.
9. Talk to someone
I really like planning my books with my betas or even talk to my husband or girlfriend about the plot or ideas for a scene. I use them as a sounding board. Sometimes they have really unique suggestions that I would have never thought about if we hadn’t been brainstorming together.
10. The Ending
The last chapter is often the scariest and most critical. You, as the writer, have a lot of choices. Do you want it to end happily? Sad? Ambiguous? Do you want it to be bittersweet? Do you want there to be a nice little bow where all the loose ends are intertwined? This is up to you, and you don’t have to know that at the very beginning. This is just something to think about, especially when it comes to foreshadowing.
I hope you found this interesting and maybe helpful. Again, I would like to say that this is how I approach book writing. If you do not approach it this way, that is perfectly fine. The way you do it is amazing for you! Do what works. Feel free to use all of these ideas or pick the ones you think may work best for your personality or writing style.