Just Because You Can Write Doesn’t Mean You Should

I’ve known I would be a writer since I was in first grade. My teacher asked us to write three double-spaced pages about a class trip to the moon, and I wrote 10 single-spaced pages (which may be why she always hated me, I hadn’t quite mastered pronoun use at that stage of my life). I wrote “novels” until I was in high school, and then the more reading I did the better my writing got. My high school English teacher praised my writing and encouraged me to keep going, and I continue to improve now.

Writing isn’t easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. If it was, everyone could do it. Writing is a skill like anything else. You don’t expect to be good at basketball the first try or for everyone to be able to swim like an Olympian, so why does everyone seem to think that if you want to write, you can?

I’m not saying that writing should be exclusive. If you want to write, go crazy. Enjoy yourself. However, know that you might not be good enough to get published. I love soccer, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to play for college (and I was only good enough for high school because we had a no cut policy and we were constantly in need of players) so now I can only play for fun. It doesn’t bother me, because I don’t need validation as a soccer player. I know I’ll never be one of the best, but that doesn’t stop myself from enjoying the game when I play.

One of the problem with self-publishing is that it’s so easy that everyone thinks they can become an author. They devalue writing with that kind of attitude. If you like writing, that’s great. Write all you like and take criticism gracefully to allow yourself to improve, but until you honestly believe that you’re a good writer and other people agree, don’t self-publish. You would profit much more from posting your writing on a free site for people to offer helpful critiques, rather than making unsuspecting readers buy a piece of work that should have never been published and making them angry over wasting that money.

I worked in the writing center of my school and let me tell you, I saw some terrible papers. One, of them was, written. Like this. And when, I asked the, girl. Why she, was using. Unnecessary. Punctuation. She said. “I didn’t know sentences could be that long.” Another person’s phrasing was absolutely terrible, and some guy’s paper was so boring and tedious it made my eyes bleed to revise it. These people knew they were bad writers, but there are some people out there who write just as bad but want to be a writer, so they convince themselves that they’re good and that other people are wrong.

Someone asked for feedback on their book, saying that it had been rejected a bunch of times and wanted to know if it was them or the publishers. I read it, couldn’t bare to finish it, and gave her my notes on what was wrong (which was a lot of things, from characterization to plot to grammar to being unrealistic). She ignored me, bashed me for being rude, and then went on to self-publish. Do you think that that book will help the author? She’s not going to make any money on a bad book, and she’s not going to improve in her writing when the reviews will say “don’t buy this book” rather than “maybe if the characters showed some sympathy in chapter five” or “the plot needs to be wrapped up better at the end.”

General Tips to Improve Your Writing:

  1. Take criticism. If someone says “your plot is weak,” they are not being rude. If they say “THIS SUCKS” and nothing else, then they’re being rude. Ignore them and seek more specific reactions.
  2. Write more. The more you write the more you’ll improve.
  3. Read more, especially in your genre. It will help you understand how plots and sentence structure works.

Now, the title of this is a little misleading. If you like writing, I’m not telling you to stop. However, I want every self-published novel I read to be just as good as the traditionally published novels. I want the stigma of self-publishing to go away. The stigma is there because of the people who think writing is for everyone. I want everyone who self-publishes an amazing novel to be able to get the pubic to read that novel, but they can’t do that if those readers first find a terrible self-published book and now won’t touch them.

This post isn’t just criticizing bad writers, it’s just some tough love. Wouldn’t you want someone to tell you that you were a terrible singer before you went on American Idol? (Although, some of those people don’t graciously accept Simon’s decision when they’re told that they’re terrible, just like some people don’t accept that they’re bad writers when they’re told.) A general rule of thumb should be that if you can’t find at least two unbiased non-friends and non-family members who themselves are writers that say you’re a good writer, you probably need to keep practicing.

Writing is a gift, just like musical talent or athletic skills. We need to keep treating it as something special, not as something everyone can do.

“You’re self-published… so, like, not good enough for real publishing?”

A quick reminder that Kiss of The Fey is free on Amazon until Sunday 12/14/14!

There are typically three reactions when I tell someone I’m self-published.

  1. Oh, I’m self-published too! I understand. Let’s discuss relevant book stuff!
  2. Self-publishing? Is that different from publishing? I don’t read much.
  3. Self-publishing? So, a shitty novel that got rejected from everywhere you submitted it to?

Clearly, it’s the third reaction that’s the problem. I will admit upfront that there are lots of self-publishers whose books aren’t good enough to be published. I wrote an entire post about self-publishing fails. I’m not picking on those authors because I understand that some of them don’t really understand what it takes to be successful. They just want to be a writer, and I can sympathize with that. I’ve wanted to be a writer since 3rd grade.

In my internet searches, one article said that self-publishers flood their reviewing service and that they just can’t consider looking at them. Aside from assuming that self-published books are worse, they explain how traditionally published books “…are books that had to find an agent. And then a publisher. And then were professionally edited. And now are being professionally marketed by people with money on the line.” (source) Basically, traditionally published books have more work that go into them.

Ahem. For those of you who haven’t self-published, let me take a quick minute to explain how easy it was to self-publish. First, I wrote a novel. Next, I edited it. Then I edited again. And again. I then went out and found beta readers (sent out my novel to about 50 readers, heard back from 3). I started a blog to start getting people interested in my book. After reviewing the notes of my beta readers, I edited again. I spent hours looking for fonts and pictures for my cover, then I had to actually make my own cover.

I ordered a proof of my book to look at and realized that my cover wouldn’t work. I redid the cover completely. I ordered another proof and made sure there were no errors. I formatted my book for Kindle then released the eBook and the paperback. I looked though book blogs and asked another 50 people to review my book, of which 4 or 5 came through.

I admit that I didn’t get a degree in English or creative writing, but do I need one? I read and I’m a critical reader. I worked at my school’s writing center editing other people’s essays, so why can’t I edit my own novel? What I don’t know on the grammar end, I can Google. My covers aren’t going to be a fantastic piece of work, but they look good if I keep it simple.

To be traditionally published, the author has to write their novel. Then they probably edit it lightly before submitting to an agent. Then they submit to a publishing house. They are accepted and talk with the editor, make the changes that they need to. Someone makes a cover for them. Someone formats everything for them. Someone spends money to market their book and get reviews. These authors spend more time sitting around waiting, but they don’t personally put more work into it.

To say that self-published authors don’t put the same amount of effort into their work is an insult. Yes, there are self-publishers who can’t be assed to edit or make an effort on their cover, and I really think that it hurts the rest of us.

Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t self-publish because I was rejected by a publishing house. I didn’t want a publishing house. There was nothing an indie publisher could give me that I couldn’t give myself, and I didn’t feel like waiting around for 6-8 months wondering if someone sitting at a desk, reading thousands of submissions, would have the patience for my novel after they read the first three paragraphs and threw it aside.

I didn’t want them to say “Congratulations! We’re putting you in print!” and then give me a list of things I had to change to make my book more appealing to the lowest common denominator of readers. I didn’t want itty bitty royalties, or the threat of “write this or else!” to keep a contract. I wanted control of my work, and as someone willing to be patient in waiting for a paycheck, self-publishing was the choice for me.

Another blogger writes, “Despite the wealth of information found online and the relative success of the self-publishing industry, the general public is still impressed by actual publication. They want to read books distributed by well-known houses and imprints… and many will turn up their noses at the idea of a self-published book… Perhaps you are convinced that you’ve written the next Great American Novel… Unfortunately, most people won’t ever recognize your brilliance because of the stigma placed on self-publishing.” (Source)

It’s clear that the problem isn’t self-publishing, but the stigma of self-publishing. As authors, we can’t decide to publish if our manuscript really isn’t ready. Can’t afford an editor? Try to find someone will to trade editing for another skill you may have, like cover editing. Talk to old English teachers and ask, or make writer friends and offer to swap. Stop buying coffee and save up to pay an editor; do whatever it takes to make your novel the best.

Before you publish, get second opinions. Do four out of five out of your beta readers say your novel is crap? Maybe it is. Lots of people want to be writers, but some aren’t cut out for it. Even if you do self-publish, chances are you won’t make a profit. Go on a free site like Wattpad or Fictionpress where you can share you stories for free and get feedback, maybe improve enough to eventually publish.

Self-publishing is real publishing. Publishing is like a popularity contest now. If you have 5000 followers they’ll consider you. If you jump onto the right trend, they’ll milk your story for all they can get. If Stephanie Meyer can get published, and people consider that real publishing, then why not my book? I admit that it’s not perfect, but it’s not the pile of crap that people make it out to be, and that’s the case for lots of self-published authors.

Beautiful Books Link Up: Editing

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1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?

Like a 6? It needs lots of editing, but doesn’t everything? I’ll get it all sorted out before anyone reads the terrible bits.

2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan?

Yes, just the one. My plan is to print it out to see it on paper (using my school’s free print credits) and go through editing it all, rewriting what I have to, rearranging things, you know. Then I’ll go through it again, make any more major changes that need done, then read through it two more times or so to find any smaller mistakes.

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book?

TBA. Still writing, but I’m guessing that I’ll be over at around 70k, but I’ll want to make it longer during editing to about 80k.

4. What’s are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing?

Um… plot? Maybe? Everything needs a lot of work, so…

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel?

Before she could say another word, Daivat captured her lips and pulled her against him. He felt a fierce need to claim her, to mark her as his own, but he pushed it down. She was still new to everything, and he would teach her to enjoy their time together, not that she seemed to be having any trouble.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work?

All the aspects! But pacing, technical errors, character consistency are at the top of my list right now.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite?

The characters.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?

They need fleshed out and shoved back into their personalities. Wild needs to be less serious and Daivat needs to be more serious.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process?

Nothing.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad?

Yes, actually. The kidnapped princess didn’t go as I’d planned, but I like the new direction.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more?

There wasn’t really a theme or message. Overall, it was just about growing up.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?

I like write-as-it-comes, but then it takes forever to finish anything.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.)

Um, nothing? Maybe Ella Enchanted meets Game of Thrones?

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?!

With editing!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

Just pleasure from reading a good story.

NaNoWriMo For Newbies – Part Five, Reaching 50,000

unrelated awesome picture

unrelated awesome picture

Alright, this is the final installment in the NaNoWriMo for newbies. I’ve been scanning the forums for tips and tricks to reach 50,000 words, and I’ve picked out the best ones, not that I don’t have my own tips to share.

Don’t despair at the quality of your writing. Critics points out that NaNoWriMo does nothing but force writers to churn out shit that will never make it to the final draft, but that isn’t true. NaNoWriMo forces me to write when I would rather sit and watch TV or avoid writing a difficult scene. I have to keep thinking about how the story progresses, and I have to finish it (or get within the last few chapters). Once it’s done, I have all the scenes and character development, or lack thereof. I can see what the story needs and start editing it to make it actually readable. It’s worth the stress just to be able to make it that far.

Don’t edit. At all. Unless it’s going to add to your word count. Decide that you want to change your MC’s uncle’s name? Don’t go back, just make a note of it and keep writing. Decide that you want to hint at a hidden door in your FMC’s walk-in closet? Go ahead and add a paragraph about it in chapter two, then come right back to the end point and keep writing. Typos and grammatical errors will be easy to catch when reading back through, you don’t have to worry about it. It’ll be fine.

Don’t be afraid to jump around. Write the last scene, then the sex scene that will happen later. Go back to the fourth chapter then write an awesome scene that still needs some sort of connecting to your current point. As long as you remember the order, you’ll be fine. (I do everything old school and just sit down and write in a Word doc. If I’m writing ahead in time, I just insert a page break and write it so that it’s at the end of the document whenever I need to put it into the actual timeline.)

Make a playlist that motivates you. Try an inspiration folder (but only when you’re caught up on your word counts!) Give yourself treats for reaching your word goals. I know that week two is the worst, and that it’s hard to get through the period of not-beginning and not-ending, but push through. Write whatever crap comes to mind. It might turn out to be gold, or it’ll serve as a good starting block for a real scene.

Dirty Tricks: Give your character two names, like Mary Jane. Use long chapter titles. Add in blog posts about your writing. Give your character a very long title that he insists on being referred to as, like The Mother of Dragons, The Unburnt, Breaker of Chains, and so on. Have a babbling character who speaks about really mundane things. Do not use contractions. Use all five senses to describe things, even if it’s just to say that your character heard nothing interesting.

Good luck to all of you! If you’re behind on your word count, use the weekend to get ahead. Feel free to share any problems you’re having with your novel. I’m really struggling just to keep thing interesting when not much is happening, but I will push on! I’m having foot surgery over winter break, so I’ll have lots of free time for editing.

Previous parts: The Plot, Your MC, Your Love Interest, Subplots, and Outlining,

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.)

100 Things To Do Once You Finish Your Novel

That’s right. At the beginning of the week, I finished the first draft of Only in Whispers. It was amazing, it ended with scenes I never envisioned, and it made me realize how far my characters had come. It’s weird to not feel pressured to write constantly anymore, and whenever I’m on Facebook I think, “Shouldn’t I be writing?” before realizing that until November, I’m taking a write holiday. So weird.

Not only that, but I got my first royalty from CreateSpace for Kiss of the Fey! This is only my paperback sales since I accidentally published my eBook with a different email (so that it isn’t linked to CreateSpace), so that’ll be another $5 whenever they release that. I’m a published, paid author! And that’s enough for pizza!

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Just so you all know, I still have a rafflecopter giveaway going on! I guess I’m terrible at giveaways, because no one has entered, so if you want a chance to win a free copy of Kiss of The Fey (and bookmarks!) click here.

Now that you’re all updated on my life, we can continue with the list.


  1. Tell everyone.
  2. Including people who don’t care about writing.
  3. “Oh, does that mean I can read it?”
  4. “No, first drafts are shit!”
  5. Relax.
  6. Think about all the terrible mistakes you know are waiting to be edited out.
  7. Freak out a bit.
  8. Try to relax again.
  9. Fail.
  10. Give up on writing.
  11. “Um, but didn’t you just say that all first drafts are shit?”
  12. “This is extra shit! Steaming shit! I should never write anything again!”
  13. Get a new idea.
  14. Outline it.
  15. Get excited about it.
  16. Write chapter one before feeling guilty about the novel you need to edit.
  17. “I thought you said you were never writing again?”
  18. “I lied. Isn’t this scene awesome? I’m writing about a pirate who travels through black matter and sings karaoke and steals diamonds to use as rocket fuel.”
  19. “Uh… right. You have at it, then.”
  20. Stall at chapter three.
  21. Remember you first novel.
  22. Open it back up.
  23. Read the first paragraph.
  24. Groan at the terrible errors.
  25. Stay up late into the night surface editing.
  26. “Are you planning to recycle all that?” your significant other asks, looking at the stack of paper next to you.
  27. “Oh… no. These are my editing notes.”
  28. “So you are writing again?”
  29. “STOP QUESTIONING MY LIFE CHOICES.”
  30. Tell your writing group.
  31. Smile like crazy because they are the most awesome people. (Note: If you don’t have a writing group, I suggest joining the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook. Even if you don’t do NaNoWriMo. They’re great.)
  32. Tell your mother.
  33. “Does this one have sex scenes too?”
  34. “Um… yes.”
  35. *sigh* “We can’t let your grandfather read this one either…”
  36. Remember the terrible sex scenes in your novel.
  37. Read them.
  38. Cry again.
  39. Buck up and ask your significant other for a practical lesson.
  40. “No really, it’s for research! We have to!”
  41. “You should write more books…”
  42. Write a list instead of editing.
  43. Write a list instead of planning your next novel.
  44. Write a list instead of doing homework.
  45. They can be different lists.
  46. Go to CreateSpace and create a profile for your book.
  47. Even though it’s not even a second draft.
  48. And you don’t know if you’ll self-publish.
  49. Decide that you need to establish yourself as an author.
  50. Start blogging about it.
  51. “Oh, when’s your book coming out?”
  52. “Um, what book? Untitled hasn’t even been edited yet. My main character’s sister is still named PICKLE.”
  53. Attempt to explain poor PICKLE’s tragic backstory while keeping a straight face and still calling her PICKLE.
  54. While explaining it, realize you wrote a plot hole.
  55. Rush home and open your novel.
  56. Rewrite the scene, kill off PICKLE.
  57. No one likes pickles anyways.
  58. Find the motivation to finish editing your first draft.
  59. Think you’re done.
  60. Don’t hear the experienced writers laughing at you from behind their computers.
  61. “You can read my novel now!”
  62. “Um, there are a lot of problems. Your main character either has two dads AND a mom or a dad with two names, you don’t explain how the killer escaped the first time, and there were a ton of typos.”
  63. “Noooooooooooooooooooooo. Second drafts are also shit? That’s not right! I’m a terrible writer!”
  64. *gives some space*
  65. Complain online that you will never be a real writer.
  66. Be virtually slapped by someone more experienced.
  67. Buck up and continue writing, get all the way to chapter seven of your new novel.
  68. Stall again.
  69. Go back to your first novel.
  70. Read through it again.
  71. Rearrange things.
  72. Put in more character detail.
  73. Take out irrelevant scene detail.
  74. Make your characters more consistent.
  75. Correct Microsoft Word once again about your character Wren not having a grammatically incorrect name.
  76. Realize that you have a third draft.
  77. Push it aside for a while, remembering last time.
  78. Realize that life can’t be writing 24/7.
  79. Take some time to relax with friends.
  80. “Honey, I finished your novel. I think I finally understand, the princess loves the king, but then the prince was under a love spell so he wanted to save the princess from the king, but the princess didn’t really need saving-”
  81. “Mom, I took out that subplot ages ago. Here’s the newest draft. There are dragons this time.”
  82. Crack your novel open one more time.
  83. Edit again.
  84. Then double-check for errors.
  85. Go to your writer group and look for beta readers.
  86. Contact lots of them.
  87. Send out lots of copies of your novel.
  88. Get two critiques back.
  89. First one: “The pacing was too slow.”
  90. Second one: “The pacing was too fast.”
  91. Explode.
  92. Take it with a grain of salt, rewrite problem areas.
  93. Edit again.
  94. For those with money, professional editor.
  95. For those who want to, submit to a publishing house.
  96. For those who don’t, self-publish.
  97. For those who want none of that publishing nonsense, post online for free.
  98. Advertise your book everywhere you can.
  99. Apologize to your significant other for everything you put them through.
  100. Start the process over again.

For those of you who disagree with my methods, what’s the first thing you’d do when finishing a first draft?

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.

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part 3, Subplots

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Okay, so the picture is completely unrelated, but I found it on the NaNo page on Facebook and I think it perfectly sums up how it feels to be a writer.

Anyways, today I’ll be talking about subplots. So, here’s all we’ve got so far with parts 1 through 2 1/2:

My story is about a fun-loving girl who needs to keep her secret hidden in order to continue impersonating the princess until the real one is found. When Wild meets Daviat, she thinks he’s boring and rude. Then, he’s assigned to guard her at all times, and they are forced to put up with each other.  Daviat proves his love when he runs away from the castle with Wild to protect her.

So, it’s hard to distinguish what is plot and what is subplot, so I’m going to call it safe and say that both the romance and impersonating the princess counts as the main plot, because they’re really tied to each other, and I can’t have one without the other. To keep things interesting, you need a subplot. Or two. Or six. Really, this being NaNoWriMo, I’m not going to tell you how many you can have (especially since my novel Kiss of The Fey has more than a few, though they are tiny) but here is a quote from another blog on the matter:

That being so, here is my formula for the maximum number of subplots, by word count, you can have in your novel (a novel being a minimum of 60,000 words).
60k words: 1 subplot (e.g., in a category romance, you might have the female Lead plotline, and the love interest plotline, which intersect)
80k: 2-3
100k: 3-4
Over 100 k: 5
James Scott Bell

So, since NaNoWriMo’s goal is 50,000 words we’ll focus on one subplot today. Because I like them so much, here’s another fill in the blank:

While (MC) (blanks), (blank) happens to (character). (Character) must (blank) to make things right.

Yes, that’s very vague, but there is so much room for subplots that it’s hard to narrow down. I’m not trying to give you ideas, but to help you translate your imagination into a paragraph you can work on to write you novel.

Here’s my fill in the blank:

While Wild learns to be a princess, the real princess is taken by the kidnappers and kept as a hostage. The real princess must survive the savage band of barbarians if she ever wants to see her family again.

Again, it’s not exact, just a general guideline. This is a reminder that there are adoptable in the NaNoWriMo forums, so if you still can’t think of a plot, a character, or a subplot, you can snatch one from over there. Here’s another example of how a subplot would fit into the fill in the blank: While MC fights the villain, she begins seeing a dark figure lurking out of the corner of her eyes. She must find the source of this shadow before she can hope to send the villain back to the dark realm. (If you want that plot, you can have it. It was from the adoptable.) 

I hope that helped some of you. Next time I will be covering outlining, and then there will be one post on general tips for reaching 50,000 words.

If you missed it, part one on plot was here, part two on your main character was here, and part two and a half on your love interest was here.

A Look at Vanity Presses

So a while ago, back when I used FictionPress a lot, I was approached by a vanity press who wanted to work with me. To make things simple, here was our conversation.

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Alexis being the Vanity Press, clearly.

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And I am the majestic blue-footed booby.

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I looked her shit up, thought no thank you, then decided to fuck with them.

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They never emailed me back about using my editing services 😦 Granted, I have never ever used that email address and I don’t know if it fuctions or not, but hey. The reviews DID say it needed editing.

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But yeah, my research led me to believe that they were not to be trusted.

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Also, anytime a profile has no activity then updates or is created right before messaging you is 100% shady.

However, I ignored it until I was going back through my old messages finding people who had been interested in Kiss of The Fey when I found this message, and I when I started to look up their information for putting together this post….

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And poor Lisa Alfonso is gone as well!

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Her author page is still up and someone mentioned that they couldn’t wait for the sequel, and the author replied “It’ll be out in March!” back in 2012. Someone came along in 2014 and said “I’m guessing that wasn’t March 2013 that it was coming out.”

Assuming that Lisa was a real person, not just part of the Vanity Press, I feel bad for her. It seemed like she had a really good story and she was doomed when a Vanity Press took her book, didn’t edit it so that it would actually sell, and then vanished and left her high and dry. All she can do now is self-publish since publishers only want first rights. But Believe might still be under a legally binding contract with the Vanity Press, even though it’s no longer for sale on Amazon. She just can’t sell the second book and have the first one be unavailable, so what is she to do?

The moral of the story is, NEVER trust a Vanity Press. If they try to make YOU pay to publish your book, it is not a real publisher. This is the internet. Trust no one. Always do your research!

 

My Week of Writing Madly (and Beyond)

Well, technically, the week isn’t over as I’m hoping to finish the scene I’m currently on, but it’s pretty much done. I only wrote 9300 words this week, which is pretty poo in my opinion. I got to the scene where my characters need to have sex and I got stuck. I’ve been writing foreplay for about four days. At one point, I even went back and wrote the prologue rather than continuing.

I’ve just never written a gay sex scene before. Also, I don’t know where this novel is going. Not plot-wise, just how am I going to market it? It’s super dark, there’s rape in it, the sex is between two guys even though the romance that is the focus is between a different guy and a girl… it’s just a very odd novel. Quite outside the normal set-up of your typical romance novel. Personally, I’ve never come across anything like it, but if there are books about dino sex I’m sure it’s been done before.

But yeah. I need to just push through and write the damn scene. Once I’m through with that, I’ll need to work on contacting people to do reviews on Kiss of The Fey. I also have to start with my final draft read through, which will basically be me going through the proof copy and flagging any typos that slipped through the last round.

There’s just a lot to be done. Luckily, they’ve cut our hours at work because we’re doing a remodel so we’ve been sent to another store. This isn’t actually “lucky”, as I need the money for school, but I know now that I’m getting enough back from my loans to pay rent so I don’t have to worry about that, at least.