Author Update: Damn the Little Gremlins Messing with My Novels

authorupdate

I mentioned in a post before (I think) that I downloaded a new text-to-speech program that I found and enjoyed. I put Kiss of The Fey in chapter by chapter to sort out the remaining typos. I think it was only a month or so ago that I did the same thing by reading Kiss of The Fey on my Kindle, and I was sure that all the typos were gone, but I still went and found a bunch more with the text-to-speech program.

Clearly, little gremlins have been going through my work and putting typos where they have no business being. Obviously, I am not amused. If they put in any more after this, I am just throwing up the white flag in surrender. I can’t afford an editor and I cannot read through Kiss of The Fey another time this year. Maybe the next two years. I just hate it so much that it will cause me physical pain to do so until I take some time away from it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like the story and I’m still proud of myself, but I’ve read it something like a dozen or more times in the last year and not only will it hurt, but I think that if I read it again I may actually die.

I need more reviews for Kiss of The Fey both overall and ones that don’t mention typos, so I’ll be doing a free promotion on Amazon next weekend. At the end it will also include the first sneak peak at Wildflower Crown! Just the prologue so far, though both the prologue and the first chapter will be available before Wildflower Crown goes on sale.

As for Wildflower Crown, the publishing date is set right now to be June 1st, but I don’t know if that will happen as planned or not. I just got finished with the 3rd draft and so I don’t get sick of it like I have with Kiss of The Fey, I’ll be waiting a few days before starting the final content edit… which will then be followed by heavy proofreading. And more gremlins. Yay. At the very least, reading it over with the text-to-speech program FIRST should save me a lot of grief.

I think my writing has improved since my previous novel and that Wildflower Crown will be a really enjoyable read. Hopefully. (Obviously I write with the intention of having other people read it and enjoy it!) It’s little more fun than Kiss of The Fey, I think the characterization is a little better, and hopefully in my initial release when I go around begging for reviews the reviews won’t mention any typos. I’m not messing around this time!

-Charlotte Cyprus

P.S. Not writing related, but it is FINALLY warming up here. By warm, I do mean 40-50 degrees, but AS IT SNOWED ON TUESDAY I WILL GLADLY ACCEPT 50 DEGREES. Of course, April showers bring May flowers, so it’s now going to rain for like 30 days straight, but as long as it keeps getting warmer and my foot keeps healing I will not complain.

Are you writing the right story?

Being part of a writing community is fantastic. Whether it be a writers’ group on Facebook (like I’m in) or a close group of friends, it’s nice to know that you can share your passion with someone who understands and get feedback on your work.

Lately, I’ve found myself asking a lot of questions.

“Would you hate this character if he did X?”

“Does this scene come off too creepy?”

“Is this typical for erotica, or should I take it out because it’s not really that sexy?”

While it’s great to have feedback, I realized that I was asking too much. If I asked a question every time I had a doubt about something in my novel, it’d be a list of questions as long as the novel itself. It’s nice to hear that yes, your character Bob does come off as being sensitive and edgy, as you wanted, but if you rely too much on what others say, you’re going to lose your writing voice.

On the same group I started asking too many question to, I see a girl who posts something almost every single day.

“Will this sell even though my character is a strong female who talks back?”

“Will people still buy this even though the romance happened a little too fast?”

“Would you buy a story about a prince and princess if the princess is really smart?”

Basically, this woman is obsessed with what will make her book marketable and what other people want her to write. You should write for your fans, yes, but you HAVE to write for yourself. If you’re not, then you’re going to be miserable.

When you ask yourself whether something is working out or not, you don’t need to ask someone else’s opinion. Analyze the scene in relation to the story at large. Go with your first instinct when writing it all in the first draft, then agonize over those little details in the second or third. The time for getting opinions is during editing, when you have an editor or beta readers looking over your work.

Sometimes you may ask yourself “Am I writing the right story?” If it’s a story you feel needs to be told about characters with strong voices that you’re proud of, then the answer is yes, and you don’t need anyone else’s confirmation to tell you that.

What have you written that you’re most proud of?

Grammar Tips for Editing

Now, I am not an English major. I’ve never really paid attention in English class. I have no formal editing training (or writing training, for that matter) but I consider myself a pretty good editor. (Better when editing something I haven’t written, but I believe that’s true for us all).

How did I get good? Practice, the same as anything else. Google is one of my best friends while editing, not only for fact-checking, but for grammar-checking. Here are some of the most common mistakes I make, listed in no particular order.

Farther verses Further

Farther refers to physical distance, like the car was farther away, while further refers to a more abstract concept, like her orgasm can’t be much further.

Lie verses Lay

You lie down next to your lover. You lay down a blanket first (if you wanna get laid). (More here, because I still mess this up.)

Faze verses Phase

Your two-year-old is going through a phase, but the phases of the moon do not faze him because he is not a werewolf. Phase is like a transition, faze means to be affected by something.

Effect verses Affect

The computer was affected by the lightening, though that had no effect on the student’s final essay because he was a fucking hipster who wrote it all out by candle-light. Affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Affect can be a noun, but very rarely, and I’ve only seen it used like that in a psychology journal, so typically you can ignore that exception.

Assent verses Ascent

The mother signed the permission slip as assent for her son’s ascent of Mount Everest. I think this is a mistake people make not realizing that it’s a mistake they could make. If that makes sense.

Wary verses Weary

The owner was weary of how wary the dog was of everyone. Weary is tired and wary is cautious. Again, I think this follows under the same category as the pairing above.

Rein verses Reign

The peasant pulled on the reins in the rain during the reign of King Charles the Butt. If you mess this up in a fantasy novel, your readers will notice. Probably. (A historical novel, too.)

Again, these are either mistakes I make or mistakes I am paranoid about and Google each time I use them. (I’m looking at you, lie verses lay.)

What mistakes do you most commonly make?

 

A Tale of Editing and Insanity

ddd

Day 1: I have killed off a character. Well, not killed so much as erased all traces of his existence. Sorry, Quade. You didn’t fit into the story like I originally thought you would. On the bright side, I can use his name in another story now. (I get irrationally attached to the names I give my characters. Not the characters themselves, just the names.)

I managed to get the prologue and chapter one edited. There is a scene that needs to be written that I’ve decided to add. To make up for getting rid of the one character, I’m giving another character his own voice. He’s a criminal, so his POV should be interesting.

Unfortunately, I realized that my fun-loving and carefree character is a bit more timid than I thought. Poo. Get your shit together, Wild. YOUR NAME IS WILD FOR FUCK’S SAKE. COME ON.

Progress: 10% done. I’m already falling behind!

giphy

Day 2: Shit. Is this really my novel? Err… not too sure of this anymore. Maybe I’ll become a rapper or something. Writing doesn’t seem to be my thing.

I’ve added more scenes to be written by my new character’s POV. He was a total asshole in the first draft, ready to abandon Wild without any qualms, but now he’s being forced to leave her and he feels kinda bad.

The good news it that I’ve already made Daivat more surly, though he’s less likable now. His fascination with throwing knives also seems a little unhealthy at this point, but that’s for the best. Also I got into a fight on Facebook (well, I was yelled at) because Daivat is apparently a pedophile for finding Wild attractive before he knew her age.

Catcaller: Yo baby let me see some ID.
Female Passerby: *hands over driver’s license, birth certificate, and proof of insurance*
Catcaller: Oh yeah baby, 18, damn you fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

(That is an OFFICIAL excerpt from Wildflower Crown.)

Also, I’ve somehow increased the word count? This is good, but I’m not sure how this is happening. Chapter two is edited, as is chapter three, and some of chapter three has been extended to start chapter four.

Progress: 29% done. Back on track!

red

Day 3: I have Senioritis. Does that happen in college? I think it does. Why go to class when I could be editing?

Anyways, I switched one of the scenes to the queen’s POV because she kind of comes off like … a nice Umbridge. So her thoughts help show who she really is despite her outwards appearance. Plus, this will make it less weird when I have the next POV of hers since that was the only one in the book.

Problem: I have no idea how old my character is. You see, in Kiss of The Fey I established Cadmus being around Xenos’s age, who was 30, and now in Wildflower Crown Cadmus is just a boy. I want to make him 13, but I also want him to have left right after Johara was born, and I don’t know how old she is. It’s between 19-25, but that’s a big window. I don’t think this is something readers would ever notice, especially when Cadmus’s age isn’t given a number in Kiss of The Fey, but it still bothers me. Bah humbug.

I’ve made it to the start of chapter six this time. Woo!

Progress: 47% done. Almost halfway!

hurdle

Day 4: I’m cutting even more stuff out. I had to give Daivat’s ex-lover a name so I asked my Facebook friend (who has trouble with the ladies) for a heart-breaker name and he said Sarah. Well. Alright. Sarah it is. Boring, but whatever. I think I only mention her like twice.

I got through chapter six and part of seven. I got distracted and ended up stopping in the middle of a scene, and it happens to be the first sex scene. But at least I got through all the horse nonsense (which has nothing to do with the sex scenes, to clarify) that was a jumbled mess before.

Progress: 63% done.

panic

Day 5: Oh, right, picking right back up in the middle of a sex scene. Not only am I not happy with how late into the book it takes place (I don’t know of a natural way to push it forward, either) but I put a line break, meaning that I was planning to add something, but now I can’t remember what. So whatever brilliant line was there earlier is gone now.

I just…. I just found an error. Like, a big deal. I called my character by a different character’s name. It was the main character. Her name is Wild. I called her Wren. That is the main character of Only in Whispers. And… I almost missed it at first. A+ to me. Good job.

He was wearing one of his mother’s older dresses.

One letter makes a big difference, guys. Don’t forget that.

I just realized how often my characters blush. I think that’s a thing that gets annoying to readers. Like I don’t know, I just think that’s a thing. I’ll have to cut out all of Wild’s blushes during the next edit, but I’m keeping all of Daivat’s. Also, I’m watching Final Destination 3 while trying to edit, so everything in the novel seems creepier than it is.

Progress: 75% done.

yes

Day 6: Okay, I admit that this gif has no relation at all to my writing, I just wanted it in there.

I added an entire chapter of scenes to write. Haven’t written them yet, of course, but it should help with how rushed the first draft was. I have a scene where Rosabel must bathe in the blood of the innocents skin a rabbit cause fuck you, honey, you need to learn about the real world, and then another sexy scene between Daivat and Wild. Can’t have enough of those, can you?

I’ve managed to extend things enough that parts of chapter nine are now in chapter eleven. Wooo! I know you’re supposed to take away during editing, but I rushed to finish the first draft with a lot of bullshit that I know I’m going to delete, so I need to extend the rest of it.

Progress: 93% done. So close!

ds

Day 7: You know, I’m quite proud of myself for the scene where Rosabel breaks into the castle. It won’t be perfect until I go through it with a few more rounds of editing, but it still makes me happy to see that everything I wrote isn’t complete shit.

For the rest of this, though… the gif above about covers it. I had a whole ridiculous fairy gathering with like naked fairies living in trees and that is ALL being cut out. All of it. I don’t need such a silly plot to get this story finished. I don’t know what I need to finish it, but it’s not that. I think instead I’ll add a scene with Cadmus’s POV of meeting the girl he has to marry for the second time and having her be way less charitable than Wild.

Progress: 100% done!

giphy (1)So… what did y’all get done this week?

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?

Dealing With a Bad Review

Some people will really hate your book.

Some people will really hate your book,

So today, I got a three star review. That might not seem so bad, but the review had almost nothing positive to say. I’m in no way trying to call that reviewer out or focus on the review itself, only to call attention to the fact that it’s hard to deal with a bad review, especially when you may disagree what the person said.

For instance, if they say, “Bob’s sister was Mary, not Jane! That’s a serious consistency error!” you’re not allowed to show them to page 58 where you introduce Jane and Mary as Bob’s sisters, plural, and throttle them until they take back your two-star rating. It doesn’t work like that.

People will find creative reasons why they didn't like your book.

and they’ll find creative reasons for why they hate it.

In a perfect world, people would only read books they liked, but unfortunately that doesn’t happen. People will read your book and not like it. It’s inevitable. They’ll read your book because they liked your cover then complain that they don’t like the genre. They’ll read it and hate it and speed through it just to finish and then complain that your story felt rushed. The only way past is to just get over it.

There will always be critics.

There will always be critics,

Harry Potter has tons of bad reviews. 50 Shades of Grey has tons of good reviews. One review either way will not make or break your story. Some people just aren’t going to like your story. It will be too sexy for them or too fantasy or your character’s name will remind them of their ex. Whatever it is, it’s not a big deal. They aren’t your target audience.

You will always have fans, though.

but you will always have fans, too.

First, you need to remind yourself: You wrote a book. That’s a big accomplishment, so good on you. At least you wrote it and got it out there.

Next, ignore the bad reviews. Look at all the nice ones you’ve gotten. Focus on the positive, not the negative. Every time a review is even slightly critical, I think about the one fan I have who requested to buy my book before it was published and has nothing but good things to say about it.

Your fans will always have something nice to say.

They’re the ones you’re writing for,

Lastly, remember that you can always take it back. If your book gets only bad reviews, maybe it isn’t ready for the world. You can take it down, do some serious rewriting, and then release it as a second edition. All the reviews, good or bad, will be wiped clean. You can have a fresh start.

So just move right past the bad stuff.

so just move right past the bad stuff.

How do you handle a bad review?

Planning Ahead – Author Update

authorupdate

I got four calenders for Christmas. FOUR. There are four rooms in my apartment, counting the bathroom. I have a calender surplus.

With the pug calender my boyfriend got me, I’ve written in important book dates from February to October. I’ve planned out when I need to finish writing Wildflower Crown (cough… cause that’s still not done… cough…), when I need to have the first and second rounds of editing done, when I need to start hyping it, when I need to have the second round of editing for Only in Whispers done, when I need to order my proof copies, when I’ll release them…

If all goes well, Wildflower Crown will come out this summer. Yes, I wrote it after Only in Whispers, and it’s further behind, but it takes place during the summer, and Only in Whispers takes place during fall, so I want to release them in their respective seasons. I know that I said some time ago that Only in Whispers was supposed to come out this month or so, and I lied, so hopefully my new plan works out better. It leaves ample time to get stuff done, and this summer is pretty much open to whatever I decide to write next.

At this point, it’s a toss up between Vica’s story and Enona’s story. Vica’s would be set in the same kingdom as Kiss of the Fey, but before Johara’s time, and Enona’s would be set in a new kingdom. Neither have titles, because the only planned books with titles have to wait. One is a sort of sequel to Wildflower Crown, but I don’t want it to seem like a sequel, since it can stand on it’s own, so I’m waiting a little to start it. The other is Kasmira’s story, so hers will come last after I’ve expanded ALL the ideas for the Fairy Curse Novels.

Beyond that, I have two more books planned, which would make for a total of nine (I think nine) books in the universe. It may end up being way more, who knows. I have sketchy plans for another medieval fantasy trilogy about a witch and a transexual vampire possibly set in the same universe as the Fairy Curse Novels so that I don’t have to make up another continent, and I have more solid plans for a modern paranormal series that I will give no details on >:D

-Charlotte Cyprus

Editing Disaster

So I was all ready to edit Only in Whispers. I had everything printed and ready to go. I printed it a while ago, actually, but let’s not talk about how long I put off starting.

Editing the prologue? That was fine. Prologues are short. No big deal.

The first chapter? I realized oh, there are a lot of mistakes. Oops. I got out notebook paper to write down all the notes that didn’t fit on the page.

I got to the fifth chapter, and I realized I made a terrible mistake. You see, editing Kiss of The Fey was a very drawn out affair. I started the very first draft back in high school, but it was just published this September. I had a few years to run through it a few times and get rid of all the nonsense things before I actually printed it out and looked hard for errors.

Only I forgot that I did that. So now I have a printed first draft of complete poo. (Well, not complete poo, but it’s poo enough when trying to edit it by hand.)

I am officially throwing in the towel and typing up the corrections I made so far then doing the rest digitally. It will save me a lot of time and grief.

the horror

the horror

Author Dos

To accompany my previous post, Author Don’ts, I’ve compiled a list of things you, as a new author, should do.

  1. Be nice to everyone you come in contact with. I’m not talking about every John Doe you bump into on the street, but anyone you contact through your blog/Twitter/review requests, whatever. Always make an effort to sound polite and well-meaning, even if someone is being a twit.
  2. Unplug for a while. Always set aside time to just sit down and do what it is you need to do, whether it’s editing, rewriting, writing, outlining… whatever. Procrastination is your enemy, and Facebook and Twitter are leading the attack.
  3. Write something new. I’m not talking a new manuscript, but a new idea. Relying on cliches and old tropes might get you sales, but you can’t be afraid to be an innovative author!
  4. Keep organized! This applies to everything, from editing notes to review requests. Everything saved on your computer should have smart titles and everything in a physical copy should be together in one place. Keep track of who leaves good reviews and which blogs you come across who offer to do reviews for your genre. Also keep track of your sales and expenses down to the cent, so you can finally celebrate when you’re out of the red and know what your next novel will take.
  5. Edit, edit like the wind! … or something. You don’t want to publish a first draft, or a second draft, or a third draft. Maybe a fourth or fifth draft, depending on how things are going. You want to make your novel perfect to stand out from other novels. Literally anyone can self-publish these days, so you need to establish yourself as a serious author.
  6. Keep your feet on the ground. Most likely, your first novel isn’t going to sell enough copies to allow you to quit your day job. Don’t expect your first book to be a runaway success. Or your second. Or your third. Just keep writing until you build an audience, and watch as that audience grows. It may take some time, but if you try hard, good writing will stand out.
  7. Write a good author bio. Wherever your book is, there will be an author page. You want it to stand out, not read like a formula, 3 kids + cats + Michigan = author. Mine mentions pugs because they are my one true love. If people think of me and say, “Oh, she’s the pug author who wrote that romance book” I’ve succeeded. Don’t forget to link your blog to your page, which I know for a fact can be done both on Amazon and Goodreads.
  8. Keep learning. Not all of us writers majored in English. Even for those of you who did, you don’t know everything. If you’re uncertain about a certain aspect of grammar, look it up. Read essays on character development and the precision of language. It’s important to continue growing as a writer.
  9. Read like your life depends on it, because it does. Your life as a writer, that is. Reading is the best tool we have for increasing literacy, and that’s just what you need to do to be a competent writer.
  10. Help other authors! Without the help of fellow bloggers, I wouldn’t know how to number pages properly on Microsoft Word. For someone formatting their own book, that was an issue. You can build a vast network of reviewers, cover artists, and editors just by connecting with your fellow authors, and having friends who also know your craft is invaluable.

On the topic of number ten, Marigold over on Verses Blurb is giving away free copies of her book. Just click the picture to go to Smashwords, and you can download a free copy in honor of her awesome new cover!

the-black-swan-inheritance-final-cover

Also as a bonus, 21 Tips from Famous Authors.

How to Keep Track of Reviews

Alright, so you’ve just published a book. You’re looking for reviews. You just go out and ask everyone you can to review it, right?

Wrong. Well, sort of.

I made the mistake of failing to be organized enough in my quest for reviews. I should have kept note of EVERYONE I contacted for a review, but I ended up losing track and someone was contacted twice… oops.

What you need to do is use some spreadsheet program to keep track of everyone you contact. It should look something like this:

excellThe important things to keep track of are name, where you found them, where/if they reviewed, how to contact them, and if they liked it.

When you’re ready to publish your second book, you can look at the list, copy it to another sheet, and just remove all the entries for people who never got around to reviewing your first book. With Genie out of the picture, you can now contact Aladin, Jasmine, and Dat Tiger for reviews. Only… Jasmine rated your book 2 stars, so she probably won’t be a fan of your second book, so you can take her off the list too.

Each time you see a new review and add it to the list, it’s important to note if the person liked it and mentioned wanting to read more (in which case they’ll probably be happy to get another free book) or if it wasn’t really their thing.

This might seem silly and an anal way of going about things, but I contacted a LOT of people about my book. I wish I would’ve made a list of them all so I don’t end up bugging someone who I already bothered about the first book.

When you publish your second book (or third or fourth) you’re still going to have to do some footwork to, but this will make it a lot easier. It will also give you an idea of how much work to expect. In reality, the example above would be three no responses to every one review.

Just remember, NEVER get into an argument with someone over their review of your book. If they post a racist rant calling you a cunt on Amazon, contact Amazon to have it taken down. If they say “I didn’t understand why the butler killed the maid. There was no motivation there!” don’t reply with the page numbers that spelled that out. Just let it go. No good can come from arguing with critics. Learning to accept bad reviews is part of being an author.