Coming Soon!

I’m wrapping things up with Kiss of The Fey! I just need to put on the finishing touches and it’ll be good to go. I haven’t decided on a publishing date yet, but it will be this summer. I just need to get it out to some pre-readers to get a general opinion of it. I’m excited to finally share this novel with the world!

 

-Charlotte Cyprus

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Write whenever you can!

I worked 8 1/2 hours today. For the first four hours, they put me in “the hole” where I just stood there and took orders and gave change. We were under-staffed, so during the lunch rush the cars were going through the line really slow, meaning that I had time between orders where I couldn’t do anything but wait. I stole a pen from the office and started writing on a blank receipt roll.

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Water bottle for scale (and to hold it still on the couch while the fan was on).

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It’s not a whole scene or anything (that would’ve required a REALLY long receipt), but I didn’t need to write a whole scene. I have two new scenes I have to write for Kiss of the Fey since I’m getting rid of most of the last four chapters, so there’s just a few things I have to add here and there. This will just go somewhere in the first few chapters; wherever I can fit it.

So even if you’re just writing a few ideas on a napkin on your lunch break, remember that you can ALWAYS find time to write.

 

Self-publishing verses Traditional Publishing

I’ve thought about it and I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to go straight for self-publishing. I think it’s just the better choice for me. Here is the basics of what I got of the pros and cons for both sides.

Traditional Publishing:

  • Pro- They have more resources. They will makes sure your book is seen.
  • Con- Not all publishing houses accept submissions if you don’t have an agent. I absolutely cannot afford an agent.
  • Pro- You’ll get a cash advance. If your book does good, they’ll want another one. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.
  • Con- It can take years to get published. Only submitting to reputable (not the vanity presses) publishers who take 6+ months to give you a yes or not who accept unsolicited submissions in my genre.
  • Pro- People will probably take you more seriously if you’re traditionally published.
  • Con- You WILL have to give up some control to editors and cover artists to please the publishers.

Self-publishing:

  • Pro- You have complete control over everything, assuming Amazon isn’t a dick about anything.
  • Con- You need to figure out how to do everything. This can include marketing, editing, formatting for both ebooks and paperbacks, and cover art. No publisher is going to help you come up with that snappy title that everyone will love.
  • Pro- It doesn’t take that much time. Once you’re finished writing you can publish it the next day. If you do well, you can start earning good money in the time that it would’ve taken a traditional publisher to say, “Okay, let’s talk about your submission.”
  • Con- There is no advance. You may only make $1.28 in ten years. You HAVE to find readers who LOVE your story.
  • Pro- Again, you control everything.
  • Con- People might not take you seriously. They might think you write terrible fanfiction about Ginny and Voldemort.

There you have it. Basically, I don’t want to wait for traditional publishing or give up control. The hardest part for me is going to be marketing. I mean, I have 169 followers, maybe ten of which read my posts semi-regularly. I don’t even have a Twitter, and I don’t know that many people. But I got this. It might take 4 years to make more than $1.28, but I got this.

I’ve also decided on using a pen name for sure for my adult novels. I even have it all figured out. It fits my genre, is easy to remember, and doesn’t (yet) show up on Google. So wooo to that. Now I just need to finish editing Kiss of The Fey. If anyone would like to give me a donation so that I can get a new computer/power cord, I would gladly accept it. I’ve typed this whole post with one hand so that I can hold my charger in with my right hand. Poo to everything.

Editing is Work

I just finished editing chapter eight in Kiss of The Fey. That leaves seven chapters and the epilogue to go, then reading through the whole thing once more and trying to get a few people (besides my mom…) to read it. It’s a pain to edit it, mostly because I wrote out all the edits so it’s bothersome to edit the actual computer document.

To give you an idea of the number of changes that goes into the making of a novel (and I consider these changes to be quite minor) here is a list:

  • I actually gave some lines to Johara’s half-sister. And completely changed the opening scene to make that happening, changing a bunch of info-dumping while Johara was trying to sleep into a ballroom scene.
  • I cut lots of scenes with three characters. I changed their motivations and two are killed much earlier than originally.
  • I completely cut out a subplot. In the beginning, Johara was stabbed by an enchanted dagger that put her into an enchanted sleep, which is how Xenos met her. The original plot will be explained down below. *
  • I’ve decided that my characters need last names. Sigh. I was going to just make it “Johara of Blairford” or “Xenos of Malum” but then Johara’s maid could say she was Lorn of Malum and there would be nothing marking her apart from Xenos. I fought with this early on in writing and decided that I didn’t want to bother. However, I’ve changed my mind and now must go back and give everyone names. Bleh.
  • I needed to change how my characters felt towards each other. Johara and Xenos became friends too quickly. Xenos is known far and wide as Xenos the Horrid, so it made no sense that she was okay with him right away.
  • I gave Johara more personality. I hope.
  • Xenos is less dramatic. He acted like a teenager sometimes, and he’s like 30. So.
  • Orion is less like fanfic Dumbledore.
  • I completely changed the dramatic climax scene and replaced it with a subplot’s scene due to the deletion of the major subplot discussed below.
  • Obviously I fixed all weird typos, awkward phrasings, and things like that. Stuff that I typed up in a rush and said “WTF” when I looked back at it.
  • I still need to fix some scenes once I’m all done to add more thoughts of home and stuff like that. Little things here and there.

Again, all these things are pretty minor. I’m only completely rewriting a few scenes. Granted, this novel started off as a G-rated novella, so I guess that counts as an edit.

*Okay, this is the most unnecessarily complicated subplot I’ve ever thought of. Johara needed someone to stab her. I decided that it would be some thugs hired by the King of Yacia. The King of Yacia stabbed a ransom note to the girl in the hope of getting enough gold to buy an army. However, the ransom note soaked through with blood and was never read. Once that failed, he sent his thugs to Malum after Johara married Xenos to steal a lock of Johara’s hair to make a love potion. The King of Yacia gave the love potion to Prince Kain of Yacia so that he would fall in love with Johara and try to go carry her off and be killed by Xenos. See, because the King of Yacia had a magic bracelet that switched his mind with the body of his brother. He truly the brother of the king, and he’d been locked up for killing the Queen of Yacia. He’d had comfy enough quarters to get thugs to put the bracelet on his brother to make him king, and threw his brother (in his body) into the dungeons. But the bracelet wasn’t infinite, and it would switch them back soon, so he hoped to get Kain killed (since he wouldn’t be able to buy an army to defeat his brother) so that he would be his brother’s heir so that he could just kill him and grab the throne.

Did you follow that? No? Yeah, my mom didn’t get it either. I decided to make it WAY simpler than that. At the first mention of this plot I wrote “CONVOLUTED AS FUCK” during editing and knew I had to change it.

Has anyone else made big changes while editing? (And honestly, I don’t think these changes are that big.) Feel free to share in a comment or blog about your own experience with editing and share the link!

Editing – You Have to Embrace Change

So you finished a story. Whether it be a novel, a short story, or some 10,000 word rambling you don’t know what to call. Congratulations! You finished. That’s great. That’s the first step.

Now, you have to take a step back and look at it. You go and fix all those your/you’re confusion or when you accidentally made your character pray to “Gid”. All those little errors that you know are hiding in there from your mad dash at writing.

You’re done now, right? All grammar errors are fixed and all typos have been abolished. You’ve finished your story! It’s all done.

WRONG. BAD YOU, IF YOU AGREED WITH ME.

There is more to a story than grammar. What if all of your sentences are too short? What if ALL your verbs have adverbs riding on their tails? What if you only say “Said” four times, and the rest of the time it was “Yelled,” “Decided,” “Expressed,” “Hissed,” “Gulped,” or “Addressed”? What if your chapters are wildly uneven or your “novel” is only 30,000 words? Or it’s a romance at 300,000?

Still, that’s just surface things. Those are writing elements that you can improve as you grow as a writer. That’s still not focusing on the content of your story.

What if your character starts loving their love interest for no reason? What if by giving your MC’s mom “cool”, you actually made them annoying as fuck? What if your plot is weak, or your character motivations just aren’t there? What if all of your characters are flat generic bores with no differences between them? What if there’s nothing realistic about your story, like a girl from a trailer park owning a brand new BMW?

Some people forget that looking at this is a part of revising your work. The problem is, you might not see it in your own story. I had to reread my novel Kiss of The Fey at least four times before realizing that my MC never mentioned her family after she was taken away from them. The plot I had set up was convoluted as fuck (I actually wrote that in the margin while revising) and it took me days to think or something that would be simpler to replace it. I cut characters and cut scenes, even scenes that had really good lines in them. (I know how it feels to write a sentence that comes out flawlessly, but if it doesn’t fit you have to take it out.) My characters started liking each other too quickly and the old warlock acted too much like a typical old warlock.

I knew I had to change a lot, and I know I’m still not done. I’m a critical reader, even on my own work. Until I can get someone to tear it apart, I know it won’t be as good as it can be. I urge everyone to find a critical reader of their own. Don’t ask for a reader to fix your spelling or grammar, and don’t ask them to help with sentence structure. Ask them to dig deep and find the structural issues in your story. John Green agrees that an editor’s job is not to correct grammar, but to help your story make sense as a whole. I know that those kinds of changes are the painful ones, like when someone tells you your main character is boring or that the plot was stupid and didn’t make sense.

Some people can do this on their own, but many become too attached to what they’ve already written and refuse to rid their story of what shouldn’t be there. Either way, you need to remember why you write. If you write for yourself, don’t bother changing anything. It doesn’t matter. If writing is what pleases you, just keep writing. However, if you plan to have your story available to a wider audience, you need to EDIT. Edit that baby so hard that it’s almost unrecognizable in the end. Don’t just change a sentence here and there, change entire scenes, entire subplots.

Listen to what others say to make your story the best it can be. If ten people say “Oh, that’s great” but one person says “They fell in love too fast” you need to examine to see if that second person is true. You don’t have to try to change your work to please everyone, but I know that some readers just don’t care about quality as much as others. I’ve had people tell me I should get truly shitty writing published. It’s the critical readers you need, whether they’re right or not, to help improve your writing.

So go forth, write, but remember the importance of editing.

 

Preparing to submit for publishing!

First off, I changed the name of my blog and my picture for wordpress, so I hope that doesn’t confuse anyone.

Secondly, I’ve prepared my manuscript for printing so that I can use all the free print credits here at school and steal all their ink. I’m paying thousands in tuition, I deserve it. I still have to do a cover letter and synopsis, but I have some time as I can’t mail it until I get home anyways, so I’ll give myself two weeks to get that done. After that, it will be off to the publisher and I should expect a generic rejection letter within 4-8 months. Way to be optimistic, I know!

Seriously though, I’m submitting to a place that gets like two trillion submissions a year. I don’t really expect anything to come of it, I just have to try. After that I might find another publisher that accepts submissions without agents and is in my genre, but most likely I’m going to self-publish. Just being realistic here. I know what I write is good, but sending it to the wrong agent within the company on an off day, or realizing that my novel has too slow of a start for them to consider it, or if they just accepted ten manuscripts in a row and they don’t have time for my shit; all of that could lead to a rejection letter. I 100% believe that getting into the market is all about luck.

You know that thing about how Rowling was rejected X amount of times but she still made it (or conversely, that Twilight is a piece of shit and it made it)? If you look at Rowling’s first two books (possibly the third one too, I don’t remember) the writing isn’t that good. The plot is fabulous, the setting is fabulous, all those writing elements are fabulous, but the books just don’t read like the later ones do. She improved herself for the last books, but the first books were probably rejected for a reason. Publishers took a look at the writing, thought the plot was okay, but ultimately didn’t think the writer was that good. Their loss, clearly. But seriously…. how the hell was Twilight published?

This is a bit of a tangential rant now. I haven’t even mentioned that it’s Kiss of the Fey I plan to publish. But yes, in summary, I plan to submit to 1-3 publishers and then if that doesn’t work out I shall self-publish.

A new curse!

Very exciting news. At least, it’s exciting if you’re me. I finally reworked the curse in Kiss of the Fey and got it to a point where I like it. It might undergo a few minor revisions between now and when I’ve finally finished editing the novel, but for now I am happy with it.

Babe who’s not yet seen the world
Babe who’s not yet boy or girl
Ice will flow throughout your veins
I’ll make your parents feel my pain
You’ll kill your parents in my place
And until then I’ll keep you safe
But unless with warmth your heart does beat
On your thirty-first birthday it shall cease 

So that’s that. Onward to more editing… and writing… and school work… and becoming a pokemon master…

I’ve been lost in a terrible spiral of procrastination

Over spring break I did nothing. This week I did nothing. I turned in an assignment without double-checking it because I had been too lazy to work on it before it was due. I’m a terrible person.

Madness indeed.

Madness indeed.

What you’re looking at here is my current outline for A Game of Madness. Yeah. That’s my outline. That isn’t normally how I outline. Normally it’s all nice and typed up and detailed…. almost like an actual outline. I really don’t know what I was thinking. It’s not done, either. But Camp Nanowrimo starts on Tuesday. I don’t know if this outline will give me enough material to write with because I’ve already gotten like the whole first column done and written. I just need to write 666 words each day. Then I will feast on the blood of the innocent.

Also during April I’m going to finish typing up the edits to Kiss of the Fey. I’ll do it if it kills me. Honestly, I only work 3 hours a week and during that time I basically just sit on my computer and look up funny pictures on the internet so I may as well use that time for something productive. I just need to make April super productive so that I can have a nice summer full of wishing death upon myself at Pizza Hut (unless I can get a better job) and writing.

A Game of Madness

I had a lot of free time, okay?

I had a lot of free time, okay?

May be the title of my untitled novella I’m working on. It will be eventually turned into a novel and hopefully I’ll be as proud of it as I am of Kiss of the Fey (Woman of Fire, Man of Ice). I’m hoping to write it for Camp Nanowrimo in April. My goal is 20,000 words in April. If I finish the novella in that time (because it doesn’t have to be long, I’m basically using it as an outline because that worked really well for Kiss of the Fey) I’ll just start on the novel.

I’m still working on editing Kiss of the Fey. Like, I ignored it all spring break. In my defense I’ve been feeling like poo.

Here is the shitty description I currently have for the camp nano page:

Wren has worked on a farm all her life, working the land of a Lord of Iborek.  After a late frost kills their crops, Wren’s family finds themselves unable to pay their Lord his dues. To save her younger sister, Wren allows the guards to deliver her to the castle and learns that her fate is to be the plaything of Lord Acton. That is, until she meets Acton’s brother.

Wren doesn’t know how the king has allowed such evil to continue or how the other girls in the castle are so contented with their fate. After a late-night encounter with a ghost and when Wren starts to hear voices, the once-steady farm girl must question if she’s going mad.

But eh. I’m excited for it. Even though school is going to kick my butt.

Also, everyone should listen to this.

More Covers

Image

I’m done, I’m done. I’ll pretend like this is the final cover and the final title. My friend pointed out that if it’s accepted by a publisher that they’ll probably change the title and the cover. I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to be published, but I am going to submit to at least two or three publishers before deciding to self-publish. I think I already have decided to submit my novel to one specific publisher, so my plan is to have it all edited and finished in time to send it to them before summer (mostly because when at school I can print all the submission pages with my school print credits and not pay for ink (well, not directly, I’m still paying thousands in tuition)).

But since I’ve been mucking about all day (really, all I’ve done is nap and use fake photoshop for covers I won’t use) here is an excerpt from Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Or rather, Kiss of the Fey, now. I just don’t know.

Xenos scowled as he looked down on the beach. Orion was standing at the tide line, teetering along on his staff and looking every bit the old fool that he was. Deep wrinkles ran down his face, and his skin hung off of his bony frame. He was tall and stooped, with hands so gnarled they looked like claws. Even at a distance, Xenos could see the bright blue eyes, framed by bushy white brows, that denied all knowledge of the advancing age of the face upon which they sat. The eyes could have belonged to a newborn baby.

Scowling at the twinkle in those blue eyes, Xenos slowly led his horse down the cliffs until he reached the sand. At his command, his men waited for him above as he approached the old warlock. By the time he had ridden down the beach Orion was bent over leaning heavily on his staff, looking, apparently, for seashells.

“Why hello! The beach is always lovely this time of year, wouldn’t you say?” Orion asked, his deep voice booming. His robes were in surprisingly good condition considering his long journey. His sandals, however, were in poor condition, and Xenos wondered if he would need to give Orion his own shoes before they made it to the nearest village to buy some. The old fool was constantly inconveniencing him.

“You’ve gone too far this time,” Xenos said, riding up and dropping from his horse. Lovely indeed. He hated the beach. His kingdom of Malum was cold year round, with snow covering the ground seven months out of the year. Orion had fled so far south that they were in the kingdom of Blairford, the southernmost kingdom on the continent. Malum was the northernmost kingdom. Xenos had not enjoyed the chase, nor did he enjoy the climate. It felt as if he was swimming through the air, and already he could feel the sand from the wind getting all through his clothing. The horses didn’t like the change in weather either, and their progress had slowed the further south they’d gone. They were mountain-bred horses, meant to stay in the mountains. Xenos himself felt sure that he hadn’t been meant to leave the cold peaks either.

“Or not far enough,” Orion said. He turned and smiled at Xenos, holding a large seashell in one hand. “It is your first time here, is it not? Perhaps you should enjoy yourself.”

Xenos grit his teeth. The waves of the ocean were choppy and full of white. The sky was overcast and there was lightening in the distance. Xenos felt satisfaction in the fact that the weather was reflecting his mood rather nicely, even if that meant that there was a good chance he and his men would be caught in the storm. “Must I use force to move you?”

“No, no, of course not,” Orion said, smiling. He started handing the seashell to Xenos. Xenos almost took it before he saw the gleam in Orion’s eyes. His eyes said “yes, trust me,” but the gleam said “trusting me could be your biggest mistake”.

“What have you done to it?” Xenos asked. Old, dried-up warlock that he was, Orion still had some magic in him. In his prime, Orion would enchant various objects with very powerful spells. He could enchant a crown to induce obedience from a king’s subjects. He could make a ring that would transport the wearer to any destination he wished. Now, Orion had the ability to enchant a seashell to give a nasty shock to whoever touched it. Xenos had learned to be wary.

“Nothing, nothing at all,” Orion said unconvincingly. He shoved the seashell into Xenos’s hand. “Just a trinket, that’s all. Wouldn’t you carry it for me? It’s amazing what you can hear with it.” Nothing happened, so Xenos slipped the shell into the pouch hanging from his belt. Nearby, his horse made a noise as it studied the waves curiously. “I’ve missed the sea. It’s so pleasant here.”

“Is it? I hadn’t noticed.” Xenos looked out at the waves as the wind whipped up and sand blew into his face and hair. He shivered and ignored the look Orion gave him. Even there, he was cold. He had never gone so far south because he had wanted some hope left that the heat could warm him. Yet at a temperature that would make any other man sweat, Xenos and his frozen heart were completely unaffected due to his curse.

“So, have we any plans?” Orion asked pleasantly as Xenos lifted the old man up to his own horse.

“Yes,” Xenos growled. “We’re going home.”

“Oh, certainly not.” Orion shook his head. A lone colorful bird flew overhead, crying out and drawing Xenos’s attention. The south was a strange place.