I’ll keep writing anyway!

I'll also keep taking pictures!

I’ll also keep taking pictures!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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My Bookshelf: I’ve Got Your Number

good

Alright, this is not going to be done in my typical book review format. I got this book at Goodwill for maybe $0.50 or so while thrift shopping with my friend. The checkout girl saw it and was like, “Oh, if you read it and ever come back in here tell me if it was any good or not.”

I was like, “Sorry, I’m not from around here. I live in the woods. I have no idea where the fuck I am.”

She just laughed and thought I was like joking or dissing thrift shopping and was like, “Well if you ever do come back, be sure to tell me.”

So I got home and no one was home but my brother was planning to have friends over so I went to my room. I was bored and decided to start reading it because the blurb sounded interesting. And I finished it. Like without stopping for a pee break.

It was amazing. I’m not talking a literary revelation, but I absolutely love it and will be checking out the rest of this author’s work. It was funny and fun to read and romantic and suspenseful. I loved the characters and I just loved everything about it, really. I would recommend it to anyone.

Title: I’ve Got Your Number

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Amazon Summary:

“Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill, but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents, she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.”

Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Ive-Got-Your-Number-Novel/dp/0385342071

 

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.

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

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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.

NaNoWriMo for Newbies – Part One, The Plot

So you wanna write a novel, huh? In one month? I mean, you’re crazy, but alright, I’ll give you a few tips. I’ve been around the block a few times. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for four years now, and I only lost once (and it was only because my personal life when crazy during November). With my vast knowledge, I’ve decided to write short tips through now till November to help some of your newbies along.

The month of November is full of writing madly to reach 50,000 words, but October is for planning. The most important thing to plan is your plot. You can’t write without it.

For now, we’re not going to outline or go into any details, we’re just going to figure out the basics. So, what is going to happen? Gunfights, romance, Jumanji? Fill out the following sentence:

My story is about a (blank) who needs to (blank) in order to (blank).

Example: 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.

Fill out your own and write it somewhere. Feel free to expand on it, but you don’t have to go beyond that just yet. This is all for now.

Until next time!

Getting closer!

I’m super excited to be getting closer to the release of Kiss of The Fey! I’m reading over the book for some last minute tweaks just to dot my i’s and cross my t’s. I’m really happy with how the book turned out. It’s been a long process, almost four years from the first form of the story until now, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It was worth it.

I’m also working on my second book, and I’m about halfway done with the first draft. I want to get it written as soon as possible. After getting Kiss of The Fey ready for publishing, I realized how much I enjoy all the work! I’m glad I’m publishing right as school starts. All the homework should distract me from the big gaping hole that the editing and formatting previously filled.

I hope you’re all having a great summer!

-Charlotte Cyprus

How to Smash Through Writer’s Block

Writer’s block sucks. Seriously. There are almost 7 million results when you Google “How to get through writer’s block,” but I like to think that my advice is different. Because I’m going to tell you to suck it up.

You see, writer’s block isn’t a physical block. I’m not going to hold your hand and tell you to drink tea and take a vacation to a relaxing tropical destination. I’m going to tell you a little secret.

The only way to get past writer’s block is to write.

Now, this seems pretty obvious, but some people don’t treat it as such. They act like the only way to get past writer’s block is to do yoga and meditate until you get an answer from above on how to write your next scene. The truth is, it’s a lot simpler than that.

However, I believe there are two different kinds of writers block. First, we’ll talk about the hardest type.

“I don’t know what to write next. I have no ideas on how to continue the story!”

Alright, I know that feeling. It sucks. You get the princess out of the dragon-guarded castle, but then what? Is she going to go on an adventure? Sail the world? Fall in love?

Lots of time this type of writer’s block comes from improper planning. You get started on a story without really knowing where it’s going. This is how I first started writing back in middle school. “Oh! I know! I’ll write a story about two girls running away from an orphanage to find their real father!” So I would write them slipping out of the orphanage… walking along the highway…. then nothing. The story ended there. I didn’t know how to continue.

Unfortunately, there’s sometimes no way to salvage a story in this state of writer’s block. Sometimes your brain won’t give you the answer when you ask “What happens next?” You can try to write another story or a few poems, or to look at pretty pictures and listen to music for inspiration, but if there’s no spark, you’re not going to get anything. Some stories don’t have the potential to make it to their final draft.  It’s sad, but true.

However, maybe your story isn’t lost to the world. Visit plot generators (even though their suggestions are always completely off the wall) or visit this forum for ideas. If you know that the story started with A and ends with Z but just don’t know how to get there, make something up. Zombies, vampires, random volcano, new girl at school, a death in the family, anything. Write literally anything just to keep the plot moving. If it’s a terrible idea, you can always edit it out once you’re done.

“I’m stuck at this scene. It’s really important and I don’t want to get it wrong.”

This is the second type of writer’s block, and it can be a bit trickier. However, I’ll tell you the secret to getting that scene over with: Stop caring. Unless you’re writing an essay for the SATs, you’re going to be able to go back and fix mistakes. That means fixing the sex scene where both characters acted like cardboard ducks and rewriting the tearful confession that was so bad it brought tears of laughter to your beta reader’s eyes. Honestly, in longer pieces, it’s better to write “JESUS THEY KISS OR SOMETHING MOVING ON” and keep going than to sit there staring at the screen wondering how to word everything.

Luckily, this is the easiest form of writer’s block to get past. You just have to sit down and force yourself to write. Tell yourself you’re not eating until you finish that scene (though I recommend against this if the scene is going to be upwards of 5000 words). I had a tricky sex scene that I put off for days that I finished by locking myself in my room until I got it out there. It really hurt my writing since those were days that I had set aside specifically for writing. Had I gotten that scene out of the way, I could have written a lot more.

Basically, this is all about tough love. Suck it up and write it. Write nonsense if you have to, you can go back and fix it later. Give it a day or two to stew if you MUST, but no longer than that. Momentum is very important when working on longer pieces. If you are away from a project for too long, you’ll not only forget where you were, but you’ll forget the voices of your characters. I once stopped a project for so long that I changed a character’s name from Joy to Hope and didn’t notice until I went back through for editing. Just force yourself to write. Even if your wrists hurt and your fingertips are sore, you’ll thank yourself later.

What was the worst writer’s block you ever had, and how did you get rid of it?

I’m on my way to being published!

I finished editing Kiss of The Fey and then stayed up until 4 in the morning to format the interior of the book (as well as the spine) to submit the files to Createspace for review. This morning I ordered the proof copy. I should have it in a week or two!

I don’t really know what to do with my life now. Between now and September 1st will be marketing, I guess. After the frantic editing and writing and overall obsession over Kiss of The Fey, I feel a little lost now that it doesn’t need more work. I’ll probably return to working on A Game of Madness.

If you want author updates, follow my author blog!

How do you write a good description for your novel?

From what I’ve gathered, your first sentence has to draw the readers in. You need to be to the point without giving too much of the plot away. You have to make readers want to pick that book up, so you have to use strong wording (so, nothing like “yeah, and they kinda fell in love”). It should be short so that you don’t lose the reader’s interest before they even get to chapter one.

I am very bad at writing descriptions. If I plan on publishing by the end of the summer, I need to get my shit together. Here are some of my attempts.

King Xenos has a heart cold as ice from a childhood curse, so how is it that he is the only one who could save Princess Johara? Johara thinks there must be a mistake when Xenos takes her north to be his queen, but they are wed as man and wife and the rest of her life must be spent living in a gloomy castle with a cold husband.

However, things might not all be as they appear. Xenos’s passion is nothing close to cold, and Johara knows there is more to his curse than he’s telling her.
Will Johara turn to ice when pressured with the cold, or will Xenos set her heart aflame?

I think it captures the essence of Kiss of The Fey pretty well, but I don’t know if it would draw readers in.

Princess Johara expected it to be a knight in shining armor that came to her rescue, but what she got was a cursed man in black.

King Xenos hadn’t planned on saving Johara, but now that he had he would wed her and make her his queen.

Johara must go north and live in the freezing kingdom of Malum, where crime is rampant and there are no laws or order. Confined to the gloomy castle, Johara has no choice but to spend time with Xenos, who seems oddly reluctant to spend time with her.

Johara realizes that Xenos’s curse might not be what it appears. He’s keeping something from her, something that might cost him his life. Can she save him in time, or will all of Malum be lost?

Basically I’m really bad at writing descriptions. I think this is a universal thing and everyone is equally bad, but I need to get my shit together so that I have something usable to stick by my book and put on the back cover.

Here is what I had way back when this was on Fictionpress:

A cursed king seemingly as cold as the ice flowing through his veins. A princess chosen to produce an heir. As she unearths the truth behind the dark rumors surrounding her groom, will she find more darkness? Or something to set her heart aflame?

Anyone have any opinions?

If you want to support a starting author, you can follow the “Charlotte Cyprus” tab to my author blog and follow that to keep track of when I publish (there will be much fewer posts there, they’ll only be about publishing and such).