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.)

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Nano Check-In

I still don’t have a computer, but I’m still keeping my word count up. I’m around 17k right now, but I’m hoping to pass 20k tonight. I’m okay with how my novel is turning out so far, though I already have a mental list of all the editing I need. I hope everyone else is doing well so far. Don’t get discouraged if you get behind! It’s only the first week, so there’s plenty of time to catch up!

Starting Strong for NaNoWriMo!

Hello all! I still don’t have a computer, but as soon as I knew that my computer was on death row, I ordered an AlphaSmart. It looks a bit like this.

alpha3k1

I got this model because it was the cheapest, though I think there were better, newer models. The keys are pretty tough, I have to slam down my fingers to get the letters to take, but I’ve written 4.8k so far, so I’m pretty happy with it. It came with a cord that I can use to transfer the files I type to the computer, but it’s pretty slow. It transfers it by emulating a keyboard so you have to wait for it to type everything out. My boyfriend has been patient enough to let me transfer everything to his computer since I’m paranoid that it’ll stop saving for no reason. But yeah, hasn’t happened yet, though it’s only been a day.

I’ll post some general nano tips later in the month, preferably when I have a computer I don’t have to feel guilty for using. For the rest of you, keep up that word count! Day one (technically two) is no time to be falling behind!

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part 4, Outlining

Brace Yourselves

Unfortunately, because of a computer breaking only a month after I got it I MEAN SERIOUSLY WTF A MONTH??? malfunction this post is coming a little late, but better late than never, right? Write. (Heh, see what I did there?)

So, for me, outlining is simple. Very simple. I was taught rigorous outlining methods in middle school for our research papers. Here was the basic format:

I. Something
A. Something more.
B. Something even more.
1. Oh lala, more detail.
a. more detail about that detail
b. Ron Walrus for president 4030
2. And you gotta have at least two for each section with more detail
a. dunno
b. why
i. stupid
ii. rule
II. Something else.

Obviously, to do it with that method you just have to make the roman numerals into chapters and break down everything in the chapter. That’s what I usually do, that way I can know what happens when and look right to the next thing when I need to write on, with the roman numerals and the letters having the real action and the smaller ones having the detail I came up with when planning the scene. I did NaNoWriMo with an outline like this one year and it was the easiest NaNo I’ve ever done, hands down. Need to get ahead on your word count? Your next scene is right there. All the detail is right there, all in chronological order.

Now some of you, myself included, either don’t have time for such detail or can’t come up with so much on the spot for plot ideas. Well, that’s fine too. This year I’m going a general outline, which just looks like this.

  • Wild meets the outlaws and agrees to be the princess.
  • The Queen finds Wild and wants to behead her, but the King doesn’t. Says they need her.
  • Wild tries to sneak out but can’t find the outlaws.

Basically like that. Just all the points I can think of now, without assigning them to a chapter or putting significance in the bullet. I wrote it out (though those of you who don’t have to run to the computer lab for computer access may want to type it) and left spaces in-between bullets for new ideas that came to mind. I just bulleted my way from start to finish, though there’s an easier way to do that for those of you who are terrible at outlining.

Fill out these:

  • What happens to start the story off?
  • What is happening in the middle?
  • What happens to set off the final events?
  • How does it end?

Once you answer those, fill out the points between them, even if you don’t know anything. If you know that MC and his love interest will hook up in the second half, put that in there. Will the MC see a bad omen in the first half? Slide that in. Any ideas you take the time to write down will help you when you’re stuck and you don’t know what to write. It’ll make everything so much easier if you have some sort of outline, even if it’s just a general direction of where you want each chapter to go.

Next time I will be covering general tips for reaching 50,000 words (assuming my head doesn’t implode from the stress of not having a computer).

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

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!

Capture

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.

Draft One is Done!

I just finished the first draft of Only in Whispers. I’m so excited; when I lulled after chapter four, I really thought there was no way I was going to finish it. I’m so glad that I have, because I wouldn’t have felt right if I’d kept myself from sharing that story with the world.

Tentative publication date is in February, but that’s VERY tentative. I know that I need a lot of proofreading as well as changing/adding scenes, so editing it is going to take a lot of work. Still, I should have time come winter to really get to work on it, though November will be spent writing Colors of The Sky. Hopefully. We’ll see.

-Charlotte Cyprus

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part 3, Subplots

10703565_916866985007290_1938755099440161884_n
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.

NaNoWriMo For Newbies – Part 2 ½, Your Love Interest

As you can see, I’ve labeled this as part 2 ½ because I know that many of you aren’t writing romance. That’s fine. Tune back in for part three, but for those of you who want to put that spark into your writing, this is the place to be. (If you missed it, part one, the plot is here and part two, your MC is here.)

Alright, so your MC is going to fall in love with this love interest, who’ll be called Squishy from this point on. If you’re writing a romance, you likely considered Squishy when writing your plot from part one. However, you might not have. I didn’t:

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.

Because there are other elements in my story, there’s no hint of romance in it. So we need another fill in the blank.

When MC meets (Squishy) he/she thinks (blank). Then, (blank) happens and they (blank).

That’s very broad, but here’s how I would apply it to my story:

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.

Clearly, just from that sentence you can see a plot emerging. Wild is fun-loving, but Daviat is a stick in the mud. He guards her to keep her in line while she’s impersonating the princess, and you can think of all the situations where they could connect since they’re together 24/7.

Here’s another fill in the blank to be applied to the second act of your novel (or at least it shouldn’t happen in the beginning if you’re writing a romance):

(Squishy) proves his/her love when he/she (blanks) for (MC).

My example: Daviat proves his love when he runs away from the castle with Wild to protect her.

Once you’ve completed that, here are some general romance tips:

  • If your main genre is romance, you need subplots. You can’t have an entire novel of MC and Squishy falling in love.
  • Avoid love triangles, please.
  • No matter what genre you’re writing, your characters CANNOT fall in love instantly unless they acknowledge that it is way too sudden but they can’t stop it OR you’re using as a plot device in YA like, “Oh silly teenager you think you’re in love.” By taking out the slow progression of romance, you’re killing the genre.

Anyways, I hope this helped! Part three will be sub-plots!

November Calenders for NaNoWriMo 2014

So, I went a little crazy and made 10 calenders to cycle throughout November. I figured that since they were so simple, I’d just make it a layer that I could put over any image. All of the images are either stock images or pictures I took myself, so feel free to use these wherever you want. I made them for my computer, but if one of you have a screen that the calenders look really bad with, I can resize your favorite for you.

Anyways, here they are. These are smaller files, the link at the end has a zip folder with all of them together.

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

 

So here’s the link! If you like the boxes and the text and have an image you want for your calender, just tell me and I can make it for you. 🙂