Title: Omni (Book 1 of the Omni Duology)
Author: Andrea Murray
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
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They will risk everything, even challenging the all-seeing eye of the Omni government. But will the prize be worth the cost? Seventeen-year-old Pierce is a Drudge, the lowest social stratum in society. For over two years, he’s hoped—prayed—that his upcoming aptitude test will finally free him from his virtual slavery and give him a chance at a better existence.
When he rescues Harmony, an Artist and member of the most successful stratum, his life takes an unbelievable twist. With his gallant act and good looks, he becomes a media sensation. Every stratum in society seeks his membership for their publicity, but as he becomes closer to Harmony, Pierce realizes what fame in Omni is truly like. His choices will not only affect him but Harmony as well. The life Pierce thought he wanted may not be worth the cost to either of them.
Author Bio: Andrea Murray has been teaching English for longer than most of her students have been alive. She has taught everything from elementary reading groups to concurrent credit classes. She is currently teaching junior high language arts. She has a BSE and an MA in English.
She lives in a very small town in Arkansas with her husband of nineteen years and their two children. In addition to teaching, she also blogs on Chick Lit Plus, writes young adult fiction, and recently completed her fourth novel, Omni, a YA dystopian based on the story of Paris and Helen. Andrea has also written The Vivid Trilogy, a YA paranormal romance. When she isn’t doing that, she’s probably reading or watching bad B movies.
Guest Blog Post by Andrea Murray
Tips for Writers
It’s so hard to find the time to write sometimes. You have to create a schedule of sorts, a set time every day or a certain number of days per week to sit down and devote yourself to your writing. I have two young children and a full-time teaching job. Finding time is often a struggle, but I really try to maintain my writing/reading time, and that is harder than it seems. Sometimes, I look around and see toys that need to be picked up, clothes in the hamper awaiting the wash, or a coffee cup that needs to be put in the dishwasher, but I have to put on my blinders and focus on storytelling. You also have to be willing to sacrifice for it at times. What do I sacrifice? Sleep! My writing time is between 4:30 AM and 6:00 AM.
Know your characters.
You MUST know everything possible about your characters. You should be able to drop your character into any situation and know exactly how your character will react. Talk to them (just don’t let anyone hear you doing that or they will begin giving you strange looks). Listen to their responses. See them. Know what they look like even if you never introduce that into your story. If you know your characters well enough, you will be able to create the best conflict. I try to put my character into the situation I know he/she doesn’t want to be in. That’s when I get my story.
Good writers are good readers. If you aren’t reading, how can you expect to write? Yes, it’s time consuming to spend time reading and reviewing other works, but you can’t write if you don’t experience other writers’ styles. Reading expands your own writing and helps you know what’s out there in the world of novels. You don’t want to fill a notch that’s already filled, but you won’t know if it’s your notch without reading.
Know your audience.
I know teenagers. I may not be the best writer in the world, but I know, without a doubt, what kids like and don’t like. I have long since lost count of the number of students I have had over my eighteen years in education, but one thing I’ve learned is that teens don’t really change. Styles change, language changes, but kids are overall the same. They might have trouble explaining what they loved about a book, but they most definitely know what they hated about it. From that, I deduced things they like. Reluctant readers won’t read a long novel. It might be the best book EVER, but if it looks like you could smash a small rodent with it, they won’t touch it. Kids like short chapters. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and a clear goal. Most kids like a little grit. They want a character with at least a touch of bad. It isn’t realistic to think kids don’t hear cursing and talk about mature subjects. If they go to public school, trust me they hear it. Does that mean the book should be overflowing with sex and profanity? No, that is likely to turn them away. It’s a balance—one I’m constantly striving to achieve.
Editing is hard.
I am still working on this one. It is so difficult to edit your writing. That page you just sweated over is your baby, your pride and joy! Cutting one word feels like a wound. You NEED that word, that sentence, that paragraph. If you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have written it, right? Well, eliminating that one word might improve the entire piece, so it has to go. Painful? Sure. Necessary? Absolutely.
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