How to Avoid Writer’s Panic

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Your face when you look at your to do list.

What is Writer’s Panic, you may ask? Well, it starts when you realize you haven’t been writing as much as you should. Then it deepens when you realize you’re falling behind. Next you’re neglecting your side projects to the point where they don’t exist, and something completely unrelated to writing completely monopolizes your time.

Now, it might be a happy thing. You could have a baby or adopt a kitten or go on vacation, or there could be a death in the family or a stressful move to another city. Either way, once you settle back in, all you can do is sit there and think about how very, very far behind you are.

Having just had a quarter-life crisis of sorts, I am there. I have an unedited novel from two years ago that still needs finishing, for god’s sake. Follow these steps and you will be up and running in no time.

Step One:

Get over your Writer’s Block. I have a post on that here, and it basically boils down to forcing yourself to write. The easiest way I’ve found is to just write whatever I feel like it whether or not it’s any good. Just sit down in front of the computer and make words happen in some sort of logical order.

Step Two:

Create a list of everything you’ve been working on in the last year or so (or shorter/longer, depending on how long you’ve been away from things). Organize the list in groups of things that are nearly finished, things that you’ve just started, and things you absolutely want to finish.

Step Three:

Decide on what to start on first. Have a short story that just needs editing? The choice is clear. Do you have five half-finished novels and no idea which to start? Think of which one is going to be the easiest to write and which ones you would weep to see go unfinished.

Step Four:

Don’t set any hard deadlines. Until you’re back into the swing of things, deadlines will only make you worry more. You can maybe set goals such as “finish novel B this year” or “write every other day at least” but you have to find a relaxed balance where you can stretch your wings, as it were. It might take time for some people to get back into the groove of things and there’s no use in stressing yourself out when you don’t have to, especially when returning from any kind of stressful break. 

Ask family members and friends help for motivation if you need to. Activities like NaNoWriMo or writing groups can help motivate you without putting any real pressure on you. You just need to remember that writing is supposed to be fun, no matter how much the opposite can seem true sometimes.

To celebrate my return to blogging, I’ve put my book Wildflower Crown for free on Amazon! Click here to claim your copy for Kindle. (It will work on a regular computer too, just download the app!)

Thanks for reading 🙂

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The Perfect Bad Review

So, I recently got a 2 star review of Wildflower Crown on Goodreads. The person said that they couldn’t finish the book and found it entirely not suited to their tastes. I was a little bummed that she didn’t like it, but I actually wasn’t upset because of how nicely she worded the review.

I was really glad to get this review, even though it wasn’t good, because it can actually help people decide if they want to read my book or not. Rather than saying “This book is terrible, don’t read it, my eyes were bleeding” or any nonsense like that, she just pointed out where she thought the book needed work and what she didn’t like about it. She was also very polite about it.

When writing a bad review, keep in mind that you’re commenting on something a person made, and that person has feelings. You don’t have to lie or anything, but try to think of what is constructive and could help the writer/other potential readers. If you hated every single thing about the book, you can say that, but word your review as you would if you were telling the author your opinion in person. Or over Skype, at the very least.

Before you publish your work you have to be prepared for bad reviews, even if they are just hateful nonsense, because not everyone is going to like your book. I steer far away from what I consider to be purple prose when I write, and this person thought my book was too simple. And that’s fine. If they didn’t like it, they’re allowed not to and I bare them no ill will. Another person emailed me to say she couldn’t finish my book because she really hated third person POV. You know what? I can’t help that. My book is third person POV and that isn’t going to change, and neither will her tastes. I don’t aim to write a book that everyone will love, I just aim to write a book that I would enjoy reading.

Random Writing Prompts

Anyone out of ideas for a story? Anyone tired of their current project and want to get sidetracked for a few hundred words? Well I’ve got some writing prompts for y’all. (I’m trying out this whole y’all thing. I’m not from the south but it’s such an efficient way of saying “you guys.”)

  • Write a story in the POV of an inanimate object. (Alright so this is just because I wrote a story in the POV of a banana but whatever.)
  • Write a story with only dialogue.
  • Write about something that happens in the great outdoors.
  • Write about something that happens in a fast food restaurant.
  • Write about someone being in incredible pain. (Emotional or physical, whichever.)
  • Write a character who swears every time they talk. (This may be me. The other night at work I called a chicken sandwich a “son of a whore.” Don’t be afraid to get creative.)
  • Write a story that starts off angry and ends up happy.
  • Write a story featuring two people with sexual or gender orientations you’ve never written about before.
  • Write about an argument such as dogs vs. cats or Pepsi vs. Coke. Kill off the loser.
  • Write about a serial killer doing the things in his mundane life.

Go crazy, guys. Make sure you post to your story below if you end up writing one.

An Author’s Meltdown

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So I’ve posted before on how to handle bad reviews and multiple times I have mentioned that an author should never respond to a review unless the reader is asking a genuine question (such as when is book 2 coming out). For those of you who missed it, there was a significant meltdown on Goodreads a few days ago. (Sorry I’ve been late about posting it, but my own book was just released and I am now working two jobs.)

The author went back and deleted his comments but I have the link to an archived page. I’ll provide the best snapshots then link to it below so you can see for yourself this hot holy mess. This is mostly for entertainment purposes since I don’t know of anyone who would react so badly and needs to be warned against it.

This was just…so unnecessarily wordy and pretentious. I just did not enjoy it at all. Which makes me sad because the summary says it’s for fans of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and World of Warcraft. Aka three of my favorite things. So how did I loathe this so entirely from page one? I don’t know.
-Reviewer

Sorry that my book evoked such a horrible response… I’m an indie author. I work over 100 hours a week to get my books to succeed so that I don’t have to be a slave anymore. This review is not good for my business, so unless your desire is to ruin my dreams, it would mean a great deal if you could remove this review from my work and forget about it. But if it’s your desire to hurt me financially and ruin my business, then it’s understandable why you would post such a harmful review
-Author

The book has a number of good reviews so far so obviously plenty of people enjoy it, I just wasn’t one of them… I hardly think one review by a single person who is in no way affiliated with any company or big name blogs is going to ruin you financially or otherwise…I think we both know being an author is going to come with positive and negative attention… I personally did not like the story, it wasn’t for me… My one review is not going to sink your life’s work. If you are only here to police your book, only allowing good things to be said about it, I think that says more about you than the reviewer… I’m not going to remove my review because that would be a lie. I read it, I did not enjoy it, I’m within my rights to say so.
-Reviewer

I’m not here to “police” Goodreads…. Leaving a 1 star review on a book says much more about what kind of person does such a thing, and then attacks it for being “pretentious,” which is an erroneous statement that is defamation at best…. I’m happy I could be your Ego’s stepping stone… I’m just always amazed that someone would go out of their way to slander someone’s work like this. [Goodreads] is like Yelp, where essentially the only people that use it for negative reviews are those that have nothing better going on in their lives… I would’ve rather you got your money back than curse my book with your toxic opinion of it because it’s “in your rights to do so.” Do you have empathy? …Or do you just look at other people like they’re automatons that you can slander as though your actions don’t manifest consequences? …400,000 children go missing each year in the US alone. Do you know where they’re going? Do you know who’s behind it? Do you know why the media is silent about it? Do you know how much a person risks to confront the evil that’s running amok in this world?…
-Author

Alright, a minor break. WTF is he bringing up kidnapping for????

For all the people that observe this exchange, when you leave a negative review on someone’s work, you are potentially driving away a person that could have had their life changed for the better by that work. For someone to leave such a toxic review on a book that contains so much gnosis, that people had to die in order to learn in the past, is an utter disgrace to the human condition… So again, by all means, leave the review up if you feel like it’s the moral thing to do, if you must have it on your Goodreads profile so people can see how relevant your low opinion of “The Tale of Onora” is. The review mocks the reviewer, not the book….
-Author

You do realize that every author in the entire world has had their work negatively reviewed, right? Like literally all of them. The best writers in the entire world have had their books torn apart on a much more public platform than Goodreads. Why do you think you are above that? Why is your work above criticism when others aren’t?
-Reviewer

Then other people caught sight of this exchange and started chiming in. Obviously, a lot of them were against the author’s behavior.

And all of you who are taking [reviewer]’s side, what you’re doing in the bigger picture is waging war on the consciousness of humanity. The end… What bothers me is when people that operated at a low level of consciousness defame the work of people that are trying to help humanity, and no one helps humanity better than artists…. You’re immoral for defending this 1 star review. What is wrong with your POISONED WORLDVIEW where you cannot understand the damage that [a 1 star review] does???
-Author

Um, okay. He’s like literally saying that he’s God’s gift to humanity.

There aren’t any sides, [author]. I’m not trying to fight with you or defame your work. I just simply, on my own, did not enjoy the book… Maybe, like you said, I’m not at a high enough level of…intellect or consciousness or whatever else to understand it the way you meant it to be read…. I’m just a reader. That still doesn’t change the fact that you don’t need to come on here and threaten me over it… No one would have even noticed this review if it hadn’t been turned into this giant argument over nothing.
-Reviewer

The reviewer feels threatened but is still staying calm. She’s not doing anything to escalate this.

You know what it feels like to… see someone write that about you? Wow. No shame. All of you that have commented on this thread are EXACTLY what is wrong with this world, and EXACTLY what is ENABLING what is wrong with this world by CONDONING it… I hope you contemplate what it means to tear someone’s work down on a public forum and have the cognitive dissonance to believe it’s anything other than bullying. You’re unraised.
-Author

Talk about cognitive dissonance.

This continues for some time, continuing to say how immoral giving a one star review is while others chime in to agree with “WTF” to the author.

What I stand for, what [my book] stands for, and what the people that read it on every continent represent is SELF-EVIDENT and needs NO defense. What you stand for is all that is IMMORAL, HARMFUL, and WRONG.
-Author

So there you go. The archive only lasts till page 2 of the comments, so I don’t know if he posted anymore because all his comments have been deleted.

Kids, if you’re confused, always avoid engaging with readers. Even if someone leaves a one star review saying “John Doe is a bag of dicks and I used his book to wipe my ass” you do not reply. You flag it and report it to Amazon/Goodreads and they’ll take it down if it’s pointlessly hateful like that. (Also, readers usually avoid reviews like that when looking for pros and cons of the book before buying.)

Archived link: http://archive.is/rFgtE#selection-5187.0-5187.216

Wildflower Crown is now available for purchase!

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Wildflower Crown is available on Amazon in eBook and paperback! Until Amazon gets around to joining the pages, here is the eBook link and here is the paperback link.

I’m super excited to share this with the world. I really like the story and I think you guys will too!

For those of you without money who are interested, I’m looking for reviewers and will give a free PDF or MOBI of Wildflower Crown in exchange for an honest review to be posted on Amazon, Goodreads, and your blog. You can comment below or use the contact form on my “contact” page to ask about getting a copy.

The Editing Never Ends

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This was the “final” copy of Wildflower Crown. The one that was completely corrected and without errors. Yeah. That’s like 150 markers. To be fair (to me), there were only two or three actual mistakes/typos. The rest were “Hmmm, I could totally word that better,” or “DIALOGUE TAG WHAT ARE YOU DOING GTFO.”

So yeah, this is a little reminder not to freak out over shitty first drafts. This is the 6th draft now. However, all I have to do is make sure that fixing all those little tab things didn’t mess up any spacing and then format it for Kindle and it’ll be ready for publishing. Depending on how much time it takes to go live, Wildflower Crown will be out sometime this weekend or early next week. (I don’t know about you guys, but I’m excited. My second book! Woo!)

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Seriously got down to one of these things. Didn’t even notice until I’d already shut the book. Good thing I didn’t find two more things to be super picky over :p

The Importance of Plot Bunnies

For those of you who don’t know what plot bunnies are, here is the official urban dictionary definition (can’t get more official than that).

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Alright, so ignore the fanfic thing. It can happen for any kind of story. Basically, you think of something or see something that is so inspirational you’re like OH MY GOD I HAVE TO WRITE THIS. I don’t know why it’s called a plot bunny. I was nine years old in 2003, so this has been around for a while.

Recently, I was attacked by plot bunnies. Or plot wolves, if you will. I had a super realistic dream (I don’t know if this is a thing all writers experience, because whenever I tell people about them they’re like “wtf”) about this land cursed by wolves. I woke up and I KNEW I had to write it. I started it right away and I’m at 12,000 words right now.

The strangest thing is that the story is coming together really well so far even though I’m pantsing (i.e., winging) it, though usually I plan a lot more. I’ve put aside the other project I wanted to work on this summer because the idea for this just completely consumes me.

BABY BUNNIES, BROWN, WHITE, GRAY

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A lot of people will say to ignore your plot bunnies, to put them in a box and only take them out when you need them. However, in real life putting bunnies in a box without attending to them will kill them all. Ideas are a bit like that. Even if something is a good idea, the more you put it off and think about it without acting the duller it can become. If you have some kind of breathtakingly amazing idea you can’t get our of your head, act on it.

Just… don’t make that a pattern. If you keep abandoning your stories at 20,000 words because something new distracts you you’ll never get anything done.

Wildflower Crown too was started with a plot bunny. Though I’ve changed that bunny so much it probably looks more like a bird now, it’s still the same basic idea I started with. I’m excited that I’ll be sharing the story with you guys soon!

Excerpt from Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

© Charlotte Cyprus

Prologue

The woman kept to the shadows, avoiding the torches that lit the streets. A hood concealed her face and black cloth was thrown over the basket in her arms. Little whimpers came from the basket, but the woman shushed it, moving through the unfamiliar village slowly. She avoided the men walking home from the pub and went farther to the outskirts of town where there were smaller houses stuffed with squalling children.

Fog rose up from the ground in the cold night air. The streets were tracks of dirt that the recent rain had turned into mud, and it sucked at the woman’s boots as she struggled to keep herself unnoticed. A pitiful cry came from the basket in her arms. The woman paused to reach her hand in and stroke the baby’s cheek. She was rewarded with a happy gurgle.

The woman was caught off guard. She looked at the baby, so sweet and small and innocent. Had she gone far enough south? The king would be hunting her, she knew. It had been a foolish thing to take revenge on the king, but she hadn’t counted on getting pregnant. The baby’s father had no idea where they were, or that the baby existed, but it was for the best. The babe could live out an anonymous childhood away from the chaos of her own life.

A child’s cry rang out in the night, but it wasn’t her baby. The woman froze and listened hard to find where the noise was coming from. The child called out again, and the woman determined that it was the little house across the street. The roof was crumbling and the door was hanging at an angle. As the crying continued, a light was lit. The woman could see it through the shuttered window.

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Mini Update

I’ve been away for a while because I had to graduate and then move all my stuff, but the proof copy of Wildflower Crown is here so you can all enjoy the dorky picture I took of it. Hopefully I’ll start posting reviews for all the books I’ve recently read as well as finally posting an excerpt from Wildflower Crown!

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The Origin of Wildflower Crown

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Wildflower Crown was a long time in the making. I was fascinated by the thought of someone growing up in the wild and then trying to adapt to normal life. It’d been done before, but typically with men. When someone on an old writing site I used to use gave the prompt, “Someone must defend their home,” Wild was born.

Here is that piece. Literally nothing you read from this will be in the actual book, but I think it’s a nice standalone piece and it’s interesting (to me, at least) how this came to be Wildflower Crown.


As an infant, I was left in a field to die. It was a justified decision of behalf of the farmer who left me there for he was no kin of mine; he had no ties to me. I was a halfing, part forest folk and part human. My parents must have each come from another world, my existence stemming from their union. As I was not fully Other, I could not live among the creatures of the forest, the eldritch presences that lurk and lure travelers to their doom. Nor, as not fully human, could I live among the people, in a small farm or in the poorer districts of a crowded city.

I was caught between the worlds, never to live comfortably in either. My parents, not caring about my fate, left me on the old farmer’s doorstep. He heard my cries, took a look at my glistening hair and unnaturally colored eyes, and left me in the barren hills for the wolves to devour.

Any human child would have died from either the elements or the predators in the area. Being half Other, I survived. The wolves did not make a meal of me. They talked to me. Animals lived between the human world and the world of the Others; that made us one of the same. Therefore, they took me in, fed me in their den, raised me until I was fit to live on my own. I could talk to them, of course, not in words, but through our minds, using a power bestowed upon us by something greater than ourselves. I made friends with the wolves, as much as one can befriend wild beasts, but as all pups are pushed from the den and into the wild, I left them behind for a life of my own.

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