Software for Writing

One question that I also constantly get asked is what is the best software for writing. There are so many out there that the decision might be a difficult one, but have no fear. There are many alternatives that you can get to for writing.

One of the amazing programs I had run into has been something like Scrivner, if you can afford it. It’s something that has a $60 fee or something like that and you have to log into it and use it that way, but it has absolutely amazingly helpful devices. It has noteboards where you can plan characters and scenes – separately,  of course, and you can write one chapter at a time, keeping them separate until you compile everything you’ve written into one word document. This comes in handy and I’ve actually have met editors who prefer editing in a scrivner document over anything else (though to me, that’s more difficult).

So another clear option is Mircosoft Word, this being the one that I personally use. I use this one because of the clear format, the clear page breaks and the way you can do scene dividers. I also use Mircosoft Word for the formatting capabilities such as inserting pictures behind the words on the beginning of the chapters and such. It also automatically corrects common spelling errors, something that I am constantly thankful for, though I’m probably biased towards this one.

Another option so similar to Word is Open Office. Now to me, this is one of my least favorite options, but I believe it’s only because I haven’t had a lot of experience with it. This one is free and it’s close to Word. You can do nearly everything with it from what I’ve heard about it, but I have yet to figure out all the tools of the trade with this one.

One more option is using something like Google Drive and have the document private so no one but those you invite can see it. I always have an issue with this because if you’re anything like me, you use someone’s computer and then forget to log out and low and behold, you’ve left your Facebook up and they’re making a rather embarrassing post about it, but not only that, but you’ve left your book up to which point, they can edit it and save it to mess you up and there’s nothing that you can do about it.

The very last option that I can even hink about is using something like Notepad to write, though that is something that I don’t suggest at all. No publisher that I know deals with Notepad files and there is no way to set up indents, formatting structure, centering things and so much more. As an editor, I wouldn’t accept a Notepad document either only because it is so difficult to work with.


Now, I’m sure that there are other options, but there will always be good ones and bad ones. This is just in order from what I would personally advise using versus ones that I wouldn’t advise using at all. Hopefully this list helps you with your decision of program use! Let me know in the comments which one you use and why!


Expanding Word Count

Now, many people ask this question, wondering how some people can write 90,000 words in a book and such and, well, here is my advice to you.

  1. Show – Don’t Tell: When you’re writing, make sure that you’re showing everything to your readers and not just telling them. Saying “Amelia was angry” isn’t exactly showing your readers what’s going on with your character. While your readers are getting what you mean, there is another way to say it. “Amelia’s face became red and her eyes narrowed at the woman who insulted her. With her fists clenched, she held back her retort.” That alone turns three words into twenty-three.
  2. Describe Details: When your character is in a room, describe the room. Describe the weather when appropriate to show how much time has passed. Maybe it was raining in one scene and in the next, maybe you want to say that the pavement is slick and wet and the sky was still riddled with clouds that are overhead. Maybe the room your character is in makes her feel claustrophobic. DESCRIBE IT! You can get away with describing anything, painting the pictures in your reader’s mind.
  3. Include Dialogue: I guess the best way to explain this would be to show an example, but in between dialogue, you could show what else your character is doing because we don’t just sit there while talking, we fidget around, make subtle movements, use your hands, show facial expressions.

“Come on!” Amelia shouted as she waved towards David. The sky overhead cried as there was a light mist falling from the light gray clouds overhead.

“I can’t keep up!” Behind her, Daniel was struggling to keep up with her, running out of breath and slowing down. “Slow down.”

When Amelia paused, she shook her head and turned around, nearly out of breath herself. She bent her knees and placed her hands on them, hoping to be able to fully breathe by the time her boyfriend caught up. Once he got there, he reached out his hand to her.

“Are you ready?” he questioned as he raised his eyebrows, the smile spread over his lips gently.


All of this can come into play when expanding your word count and I’m sure there are other ways, but these are the ones that I try to use frequently. Hopefully they help and I will continue to make new posts if I find other ways!


Dance with Darkness

So, there have been a few changes to Dance with Darkness – for one, it will not be published by Kingsnake Publishing, but instead by me. I won’t say anything bad about them because they are a good company and the group that I was in had people talking about more than Kingsnake things. It was my decision to leave, thinking that it would be best for me and my book due to personal reasons and that’s all I’m going to say.

The other thing that has changed is the formatting. I’m actually working on it now, but I do think that it looks beautiful 🙂 I’m hoping that the print copies also look beautiful and hopefully I can get it posted soon so I can order some proofs 🙂

The last thing that was changed was the cover. Now, I know I just released a cover with the blue swirls and everything, but I do believe that this new one fits the genre more and well… Let me show you and you can decide 🙂

Title – Dance with Darkness
Author – Bree Vanderland
Release Date – 2-17-2015
Genre – Fantasy
Synopsis –
Emmaline just wanted to be normal – a normal life filled
with school, boys, gossip, but what she gets is far from normal.

What if you discovered you were the daughter of the villian? What if everyone was counting on you to perform a task that could save thousands?
What if you had the magic?

Be taken away with Emmaline as she tries to discover who she really is.


Dance ebook



Minimizing Distractions

As we’re writing, there are many things that would pull you away from actually writing – I’m someone guilty of spending way more time on Facebook and on their games than writing or paying more attention to whatever is on netflix at the time. I’m so guilty of all of the above, but when you really want to get cranking on that word count, try a different approach.

When I’m really trying to bust out some more words to meet a goal that I’ve set I make sure I’m in a rather peaceful place (like that exists for some of us) or as peaceful of a place that I can find. Instead of turning on the television or opening facebook, I open my music player (usually spotify, but youtube and everything like that works as well), and put on something soft and quiet – for me, it’s usually classical piano music or something epic that has many highs and lows as far as trying to emote and something WITHOUT WORDS (I don’t even know, but when trying to listen to something with words while writing, I end up writing what is spoken to me instead of what is in my mind). I use the tone and vibe the music gives me while writing and it actually helps me personally by improving my writing as far as emoting goes.

Now, I know the urges to check your inbox or check your facebook are strong, but don’t give in to them. Don’t give in to any of it! Keep them all closed and focus on the words before you and most of all, listen to your characters.

I know that this won’t help everyone, but all I’m suggesting is to try it at least once before you bash it! If I can find at least one other person this helps, then my goal would have been accomplished!


Now, what in the hell are you doing reading this? Turn off the internet and get to writing!

Writing with Emotions

So many people have told me that they can’t write because something happens and their emotions take over and they just can’t – their boyfriend/girlfriend broke up with them, someone passed away, job promotion where they’re too excited, or they get distracted. If you’re the last one, please wait until the next blog post is uploaded which will be all about dealing with distractions!

Now, I’ve been in the same position! I’ve had my share of the emotional roller coaster, riding it on its ups and downs, but do something with it. I’m not trying to come across as someone who is saying, “oh, let’s ignore everything and we will write instead of going to a funeral or being with someone who is sick,” but take those emotions and make something with it once you have the opportunity to sit at a computer.

Write it down – write anything down and remember the way that you feel because it can make your writing ten times better as the reader would be able to connect with you if it was something that they had felt as well. This is an important part about being a writer – making someone else feel what you feel and want what you want. Use it to your advantage because if you write while you’re feeling emotional – even if you don’t want to – it will help you beyond belief and will help people want more of whatever you’re writing. Use the emotions as your inspiration and mold them beyond that.

Opinions Needed

So, I kind of write while I’m at work, keeping the gears in my head turning and I came up with close to 700 words of a new idea. The only thing is that it’s completely out of the box to what I’m use to – that being Fantasy and Romance – and this one seems to be heading down the more Paranormal route.

I need opinions on what I wrote. Think you could help? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think!

I take a deep breath and look at everything around me. Softly, the snow falls, placing a gentle, soft, glittery blanket over everything. I hate the snow, but here… it always snows. Everything else is black except for the stars that shine above me, lighting my way.

I pull my coat tighter around me, thankful for the warmth as I place one foot in front of the other. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m going.

The world around me spins in chaos as everywhere I look, they lurk. The shadows are following me and I swear I’m not crazy like people think I am. They voices in my head start up again, but I try to suppress them to no avail.

/Follow me,/ they whisper but I head in the opposite direction. They call me names, but I give them no attention. I can’t do it. I tell them I won’t.

/But you must!/ They try and try again, trying to bribe me with wealth, love, and power. Little do they know I’m not interested in any of it.

When silence settles again, I’m thankful. I hear the crunching of the snow beneath my shoes and, for once, I’m thankgul for the noise. I focus on that beyond anything else, hoping it’s enough to block out their rasps.

“Stop,” I whisper to myself as I stop dead in my tracks. I look back behind me and all I see are my footprints, glowing a bright blue. There are no lights around, which is scaring me. This isn’t the first time it’s happened either.

“Stop glowing,” I whisper again, this time taking my hands out of my coat pockets, I have gloves on, but I know what is coming next as I carefully reach up and pull the left one off. My hand has a bright blue glow to it, much like that of my footprints and in the center, I see the symbol – the one I have come to fear. It only shows up when He is nearby and he causes all the problems that everything blames me for – they aren’t my fault, but no one ever believes me.

“There you are,” His voice sends shivers down my spine as I spin around.

“You’re a hard girl to track down.”

“I’m not a girl!” I shout as I take a step back, but He takes one towards me.

“My apologies,” he holds up his hands in defense. “You’re definitely a young woman.”

I know he’s toying with me as he rubs his hands together in front of him.

“You see, I have a problem,” He tries to tell me, but I have already turned around and and am now walking in the direction away from him. When I hear nothing, I turn around to confront him, but he’s gone – vanished. With a sigh of relief, I spin again to continue out of my way, but I stop and scream, jumping back, startled. He is standing in front of me, his deep blue eyes sinking into my bones.

“You scared the hell out of me!” I exclaim as I push past him – not touching – never touching.

“And you’re not doing what I asked you to!” he counters as he appears at my side again, but I scoff.

“I told you I’m done. I’m not playing any more of your little games. I’m not going anywhere you want me to. I’m not talking to any one you want me to. Leave me out of whatever you have planned.”

He shakes his head tsking at me. “I was really counting on you, Samantha. You had such potential. It’s a shame to see it all wasted.”

“What do you mean?” I start, but I don’t get the chance to finish as he pulls out a knife and immediately plunges it into my chest.

That’s when I wake up.

(C) Brianna S. Vanderland 2015


Now, many authors you come up to will flat out say that they hate editing books and are thankful for their editor and everything, but personally, I LOVE editing. Sadly, I can’t edit my own book and I would highly advise against it. I believe an author is way too close to their book and they know what they meant to write, so it’s nearly impossible to polish it up as much as needed to be ready for publishing.

If you’re looking for an editor, I know a few that might be able to help.

Hearts on Fire Editing
Keene-Eye Editing
Wide Eye Editing
Heather Kirchhoff
Kate’s Ye Olde Booke Cover Shoppe

Click on their names for more information about them and their editing 🙂 All of them have stories under their belt and experience! Good luck!

P.S. I also recommend the last one for book cover needs! She’s amazing 😉

The Beginning

When you first decide that you’re going to write, the excitement kicks in – at least, that’s what I felt. I was excited to get the first book out there, wondering what in the world I got myself into later on with the editing and the stress of cover design and so much more! But to me, it was all worth it.

Some of you may have heard of me – Bree Vanderland or Brianna Vanderland as I write under both. I’m 21 years old and I’ve been a part of the indie community for close to four years now (wow.. that many already? Time flies)! Well, while I might not be the most experienced person, but I’m here to off you  things that I do know.

Soon, there will be a service page up for prices and everything like that since I head Hearts on Fire Editing. I do editing, formatting, proofreading, reviewing, and so much more! I can’t wait to have pages up for everything too! Please bear with me as i get this all worked out!