Speed Editing

rush

I’d like everyone to repeat after me: Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. Procrastination is bad. 

I am FINALLY ready to start editing Wildflower Crown. It needs SO much work. I need to stick with the schedule I set to get it published on time, hopefully in May or June. (I forget which day I actually circled on the calender, but it’s set for when the weather is warmer.)

Since I procrastinated so much, I want to have the first draft edited by next weekend, not including scenes that need rewritten or just written period. (That will be for the second draft. I’ll have two weeks for that.)

Sometimes I forget that writing is work. It’s fun and I love it, but it really is difficult at times.

I may be a little absent from WordPress this week, so now you’ll know why. It’s because I’m trying to get my ass in gear. (Also, I’m not going to talk about how much school work I have on top of everything. AND on top of that, I have the hiccups. Poor me, I know. :p )

Is anyone else editing too?

Things I Don’t Understand About Blogging

So I’ve been blogging for almost a year now, and I feel like I’ve learn a lot in that time. However, there are still some things I don’t understand. Maybe some of you can help me out.

1. I don’t understand people who follow everyone they can.

I mean, I get the concept. If you follow people they may follow you back, and that can increase your audience. That’s great. Only, who cares about the numbers? A good number of my followers are fashion bloggers and lifestyle bloggers that clearly were just following to try to get a following of their own, but I didn’t follow them back. I don’t care about fashion. I don’t need posts like that showing up in my reader. If you follow me, it doesn’t mean I’m going to follow you back. If it seems like you blog about writing I may check you out, but it still doesn’t mean anything, and if I follow you I can still unfollow you if all you blog about is your grandpa’s dentures despite claiming to be a writing blog.

2. Why wordpress changed the stats page.

This really bugs me. I like the old one. At least move the “go to the old page” button to the top so I don’t have to scroll down each time. Seriously.

3. How to find bloggers who interest you.

I’m pretty sure that like half of the blogs I follow are Australian. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m American. I found one Australian blogger and that just led to more of them. I’ve looked for tags like “writing” and such, but I don’t want to follow blogs about poetry, I want to follow blogs similar to my own. The blogs wordpress suggests are useless, in my opinion. I don’t want to follow a blog with 10,000 followers. What are the chances of actually starting a conversation when 100 other people comment on their posts as well?

4. Why people keep trying to buy my kidney.

I’m not joking. And most of the comments get sent to spam. These are all ones that made it through.

5. Why so many writers write blog posts in purple prose.

My fingers caress the keyboard as my thoughts dictate the keystrokes of this post. The cars pass by my apartment as unaware of my life as I am of theirs, paths crossing but never intertwining. The small red line snakes under the word, and they greet each other like old friends. It is apparent that I am unable to correctly spell the word intertwining on my own. My face crumbles. Even as a writer, I struggle to arrange my letters in the correct order dictated by the dictionary.

I just… don’t get it. I’m want to read you blog for information, not poetry about your cup of coffee or your recent publisher rejection. I try to be eloquent, yeah, but sometimes being eloquent means saying, “I’m done with this shit.” It’s all about getting your point across while making it easy for the reader to understand… and that means no waxing lyrics about the deep web of depression that a spider of grief spun from your heart when your favorite novel series ended.

6. Whether or not my blog matters.

Is this something the rest of you have trouble with? As an author, I would love it if my blog promoted my book like crazy and I got rich, but that’s not really why I’m doing this. Now I just want to connect with other writers and share advice. I want to be able to help others who had the same self-publishing problems as I did, or to get marketing advice for someone who’s been self-published for a few years now. I expect my blog to keep growing, but how much will the numbers matter? Will I continue finding followers who interact with my blog, or more “I’m a hot model/musician/actor who’s following everyone I find, buy my stuff!”

What confuses you about blogging?

 

My Guilty Pleasure

I watch real estate shows. House Hunters, Property Brothers, Love It or List It… I love ’em. When I’m at my parent’s house, I’ll change the channel to HGTV and subject my whole family to housing shows, and my mom will sit there are yell at the woman on Love It or List It for never renovating everything she promised to.

But further than that, I go on Craigslist to look at apartments in Seattle or Montana. I go to realtor.com to look at houses near Pittsburgh that fit all my wishes (out of the way, big lot, woods on the property, fireplace) and waste hours looking at houses and planning how I’d renovate them. No, I am not in the market for a house. I’m in college and will have a legitimate reason to look at apartments in about 6 months, but not before then.

This is just a hobby completely unrelated to writing. Does anyone else share a similar hobby? Something silly just to pass the time?

Improve The Chances of Your Blog Being Seen!

Waldo of "Where's Waldo?" for those of you who don't know.

Waldo of “Where’s Waldo?” for those of you who don’t know.

When I started blogging, I had no followers, just like the rest of you. I just started off by making a post that said “Hi, I’m new to blogging!” then by posting whatever I wanted to blog about. For the most part, that’s writing-related posts, but I don’t limit myself to that. I also posted thoughts on other matters such as Barbie dolls and the Alex Day scandal, as well as blue Sour Patch Kids and the title of “Basic Bitch.”

While my followers mostly look at my writing posts, which is evident in the comments and views following the day I post it, the broader topics are the ones getting my blog on the top of Google. People come here looking for basic bitches, Alex Day, and motivational posts. Overall, those viewers contribute very little, never leave comments (or when they do, they’re ignorant ones like BITCH HOW DARE U SAY DAT bleh bleh blah that I filter out) and never have an account to like or follow me, but the truth is that those views are the ones we need.

I published a book in September and I’ve posted links to it EVERYWHERE. I put it at the end of my most Googled post, put it in the sidebar, have a link in the menu to my author blog… basically, if you come to my blog, you’re going to see it. I check the stats page every day and there are always clicks on my Amazon and author blog links. That means that some of the people who are coming to my blog are looking at my book! That’s great! It doesn’t matter that it’s only 5 people a day and they don’t buy it. Considering that I’m still new to blogging, I think it’s a pretty significant accomplishment.

Tips to make your blog more visible:

  • Give every post a good title. Don’t make it “This is how I do it” before going into your workout routine. “This is how I do it” means nothing to most people. “Tips For a Great Workout Routine For Lazy People” is obviously better.
  • Repeat yourself. See how I have my title for this post and then the title of this list? Both phrases can be used by Google to find me, rather than just one.
  • Vary what you post, but not too much. If your blog has no theme, you’re not going to get as many followers (unless you happen to be funny). I post mostly about writing and self-publishing, as well as book reviews, but I don’t hesitate to post something else that’s on my mind. My followers see that most of my posts are relevant, and people from Google find the non-relevant ones.
  • Comment on other blogs. Not just a “Alright!” or “Congrats!” I admit that I do that, but only when I genuinely want to congratulate the person. When you want someone to check out your blog, do NOT post “Oh hey check out my blog.” Add to the discussion with a similar problem you’ve been facing or with a polite opposing view. Not only is the blog owner more likely to check out your blog, but if it’s a bigger blog, their followers may as well.
  • Don’t be fake. You don’t want meaningless followers. Sure, it looks good to have 500 followers, but does it mean anything if they never comment on your stuff? If they don’t care about your book or your life, they’re just a number? Don’t sell your blog as a fashion blog and then critique feminism. Don’t title your blog “My Witty Ramblings” and then complain about college the whole time. Market yourself correctly so that the right people will see you.
  • Make each post the best that it can. Lots of people are turned off by bad grammar and spelling. If I click on a blog that looks interesting but they have a mistake in whatever post happens to be on the top, I click away and never return.
  • Don’t spam your followers. Have a book coming out? Then yes, feel free to mention that in ever post. However, don’t just post six posts saying, “MY BOOK IS COMING OUT.” That’s how you lose followers. Make a post about editing, then marketing, then how you’re handling your nerves. If you’re selling something, let everyone know that by making it visible, but unless it is the sole focus of your blog (as in, no blog posts, you’re just here for a business website) you need to make people want to come to your blog in the first place to see what you’re selling.

 

On an unrelated note, I almost died last night because the interstate turned to ice and I had no idea until I saw the other accidents. For those of you in the north, remember to drive safely!

I’ll keep writing anyway!

I'll also keep taking pictures!

I’ll also keep taking pictures!

I can’t quit my day job because I have student loans to repay. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I have one friend who thinks I’m going to sell millions of copies of my books (unrealistic) but basically everyone else just says “meh” when I say I’ve already published one book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

The attitude today seems to be that anyone can write a novel. Oh well. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I’ve only reached a handful of people with my blog, and even fewer with my book. I’ll keep writing anyway.

I might not be the next big hit, or even a hidden gem among writers. I might just be average. I’ll keep writing anyway.

My books aren’t some literary explosion of genius, they’re just meant to entertain. I’ll keep writing anyway!

There’s no daily reward for my work. I don’t save lives or change people’s outlook on life. Each word can sometimes be a struggle, and I don’t see the fruits of my labor until months after I write that first word. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I don’t have a writing nook. I don’t have scheduled writing hours that I can write. I don’t have a ritual, I don’t have time to write some days, and sometimes I feel like the real world has sucked out all of my writing energy. I’ll keep writing anyway!

My professors are not amused. Too biased. Too personal. Try to be serious. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I can’t write everything I want without giving up my real life. I’ll keep writing anyway!

I need to keep my apartment clean and make time for my boyfriend. I can’t skip showering to write, and I need to eat at some point. Sleep, too. I’ll keep writing anyway!

Life will go on. I’ll keep writing anyway!

 

A reaction to this post (check it out!)

Beautiful Books Link Up: Writing

1. Be honest: how is your writing going?

It was going pretty good, but my parents came up on my day off and I didn’t get very much writing done. I’m at the lull spot just below 20,000, so I just need to fight through that.

2. What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

Wild raced across the field as Flower barked happily, trailing behind with her tongue lolling out. Wild jumped over a hole and sped up even more, pushing her aching muscles until she slapped her hand against the rough bark. She grinned and turned back to see where Quade had gone, but he was nowhere in sight. Before he could crest the hill, she told Flower to sit and hid herself completely, ready to surprise him.

 

3. Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

Yes. I don’t have my computer, so to see it just go here.

 

4. Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

Wild has pale skin and long black hair. She’s petite and has a dainty nose with big purple eyes. Quade looks the same, though he’s taller and maler and he shaves his head in the first few chapters. Daivat has short brown hair and brown eyes. He has broad shoulders and he’s of average height, and he’s very muscular. Cadmus is very skinny with shallow skin. He has brown eyes and dark hair, and he is prone to shivering even when it’s warm.

 

5. What scene are you most excited to write?

Hmmmmm. When Wild blows things up (not literally) and has to leave the castle.

 

6. Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

“I have been informed that there is something more important than our current lessons. You’ve started your bleedings, correct?”
“Yes,” Wild said. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Dear, do you what it means to have a bleeding? Why only women get them?”
“Quade said that women have too much blood so they must bleed each month to get rid of it.”
“Oh, Mercy,” the queen said. “And how do you think children are made?”
“Like all other animal babies,” Wild said. “They start growing in your stomach and then in the spring someone has to take it out.”
“Yes, but how does it get there? Do you know a man’s part in it?”
“The man has to keep the baby healthy and protect it once it’s born,” Wild said. She smiled. Finally, she had the right answers for what the queen was telling her.
“Dear… I regret to inform you that you are wrong.”

 

7. Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

It’s happening a little differently, but it’s basically the same as I thought. I might need to add some stuff to keep it from being boring. The characters are also a bit different than I planned, but I think I’ll edit them during editing to keep them as I had imagined them.

 

8. Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

It’s harder than I thought to keep things interesting while my character is trapped in the castle.

 

9. What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

I think my favorite character is Cadmus. He’s just so sweet and earnest.

 

10. Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

Nope.

 

11. Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

Not yet, but I always listen to Muse whenever I get behind. It’s just my standard writing music.

 

12. Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Quade, because he’s a bastard.

 

13. How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

I don’t have a computer, so there’s not much else to do other than write…

 

14. What your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

Steinbeck thought that everything he wrote was crap, so remember that next time you think your writing is shit.

 

15. How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

A bit frustrated. I want it to be funner and funnier, but it’s not there yet. I’ll need to add more life to it during editing once I get the framework in place.

(Here was part 1.)

Beautiful Books Link Up: Planning

What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Character. Wild was a girl in another short I had written, one that I might post if I ever find the file. I was writing with the prompt, “Your character must protect what is hers” and I wrote about this feral woman protecting a field that people were trying to develop. In that versaion, she was much older, much more feral, and she could transform into a lion. She was also ginger. I took her, made her younger, made her more fair, gave her a dog and an uncle, and then decided from her personality what the plot would be. I am most certainly a plotter, so I need to get outlining to hammer out the details.

Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?

It’s called Colors of the Sky and here is the terrible description:

Wild has been running her whole life from the power she never asked for. She does everything she can to push her dark secret from her mind, determined to fill her life with excitement and fun. When a band of outlaws comes to her with a proposition to infiltrate the royal castle and switch places with the princess, she immediately accepts the job.

Daivat’s life has always been structured and orderly. He wakes every day at dawn and practices tirelessly at his sword work and archery. His dream is to be a member of the king’s personal guard, but first he must prove himself by keeping an eye on the imposter princess while she fools visiting nobles into thinking she’s real royalty.

Wild and Daivat’s personalities collide. Can Daviat bring order to Wild’s life, or will Wild awaken something Daivat has never felt before?

What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?

Completely finished? 75,000 – 85,000. I probably won’t get much further than 50,ooo at the end of November though.

Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.

A wild girl has to learn to be proper in order to impersonate a princess. She falls in love with her guard while the real princess must deal with the outlaws that kidnapped her. When Wild’s secret is exposed, she’s threatened to go on the run once more, evading those who seek to end her life.

Sum up your characters in one word each.

Wild (since I assume I can’t use her name): Enthusiastic

Daivat: Serious.

Roseabel (whose name I forgot): Spoiled

Quade: grumpy

Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!

Wild, for sure. She is super excited about everything in life, and she thinks that pretending to be a princess is just one big game. She’s naïve enough to constantly get herself in trouble, but she’s quick-witted enough to get herself out again. Because of her, the book is going to be full of energy and fun.

What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?

There isn’t really a villain. Quade is a bit of an asshole, but in his own way he wants what’s best for Wild. In the end, she’s hunted down, but that’s still not really out of maliciousness. The outlaws are obviously outlaws, but none of them are overtly evil.

What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?

Wild just wants to have fun. She constantly fears her secret coming out and revealing itself, so she is her own worst enemy.

What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?

An injured outlaw staggers into Wild’s field. She takes him back to her cave to heal him, and then takes him to where he was supposed to meet with his outlaw friends.

Where is your novel set?

The medieval fantasy world of Arium. Specifically, the kingdom of Eskia.

What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?

  • When the queen decides to allow Wild to continue pretending to be the princess instead of having her put to death. Not only does the queen come to care for Wild, but Roseabel (I am totally spelling that wrong) was promised to the crowned prince of Blairford, and since the kingdoms have been on the verge of war for years, the queen is afraid that if they don’t produce a bride for the wedding, Blairford will call it off.
  • When Wild jumps Daivat. Literally jumps. He is not amused, but he softens up eventually…
  • When Wild’s secret is revealed. No, I’m not telling anyone what the secret is. Y’all will have to read it when it comes out.

What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?

I have to say with Quade. Her relationship with Daivat is pretty straightforward, but Quade is different. She doesn’t know he’s her uncle in the beginning, and she gets quite mad when he reveals it, because she’s never had any real family, and in the end he tells her that her mother is actually alive. The entire time, he’s been raising her waiting for her to display her secret, though he thinks he nature of her secret is MUCH different. He’s been doing it out of duty, not love, so the feelings between them are a little complicated.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

She learns to be much more level-headed. She doesn’t push people’s boundaries as much and she learns to just be calm sometimes.

Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?

I see Wild running away with Daivat with hounds at their heels. Quade finds them and takes them to his secret hideaway, with lots of interesting spoilers. Her and Daivat decide to see the world and sail away, waving to the readers as they go (not really).

What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?

I just hope that it’s as fun for the readers as I envision it. It’s going to be a lot of the character finding herself, so I hope that girls of that age (18-25) will be able to connect to it because of that, but also that people will be drawn in by the characters and the plot. I’m not aiming for anything deep here, I just want to write an enjoyable book that others will like.

 

I encourage you all to do this, I think it helps get you into the mood for NaNoWriMo. Plus it was fun. Here’s the blog I found it at, and she’s writing about a sheep so you can check that out.