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Novel Publications Short Story writing

My WIPs: An Update, An Admittance

I know I posted earlier this week about my “WIP” singular buuuuut, I haven’t been entirely honest. I actually have several projects which I’m working on and here’s a summary of where I’m at for each of them.

Mag Kad
(working title)

I’ve completed the dirty draft for this one which means that it’s sitting at 22,000 words and I expect to triple that. However, I realized that the story was 1. extremely trope ridden and 2. the characters were weak. So, I’ve set that one down for now and plan to come back to it sometime in July.

I don’t have a blurb for this one yet, but it’s an arcanepunk, solarpunk secondary world dystopian novel where magic users are caused by radiation and are viewed as abominations. I’m excited to flesh out this work and the characters. Right now it needs a lot of work, though.

Titaness of Bone (working title)

I’ve completed the dirty draft and dug into draft one on this one. The characters were stronger, I felt more invested in the story, and I knew where/what to change by the time I finished my dirty draft. I’ve revised draft 1 through the first story arc which means I’m sitting at 55,772 words currently and I hope to expand it out to around 90,000 (the higher end for fantasy drafts). I never imagined reaching anything of that length, but as I’m revising… things keep getting stretched out and fleshed out. So, I may end up eventually doing some trimming. Gasp.

I’ve previously posted about this one so go check out my first WIP post for the blurb and more details.

Sellsword
(working title)

This one’s a fantasy romance and I actually haven’t finished my dirty draft yet. I realized I didn’t know where I wanted to go with the story. Unfortunately, since I didn’t finish the dirty draft this one may drop off. But also, I certainly am hopeful that when I come back to it in August that I’ll better see the flaws and I’ll know where I want to take that story as well.

Right now it’s sitting right at 22,000 words-ish. And this isn’t the official blurb but this is what I wrote before delving into the novel. Rinise never wanted the throne. In fact, she and her brother actively fled from their cultish family so they wouldn’t try to sneak them back into the courts. Unfortunately, some fanatics got wind of surviving royals. And well, that would ruin everything. So, to keep the current king they’ve sent out an assassin. They killed her brother, but she’s still alive for now. And she’s in Lazaro looking for a sellsword. There’s all kinds of shifty sorts here. The barkeep said the one in the corner is honorable, however, so she’s walking towards him. And his flat eyes meet hers.

Queen of R
(working title)

It’s laughable, but this one’s sitting at 4,000 words. I started this gender-bent beauty and beast retelling a day or two ago. The protag, Gentry, wants to save his shop and so he’s heading to the soothsayer to see if she can tell him a way to earn the money to do that.

I’ll let you guys know when I finish the dirty draft for this one.

friends of clara

My Collab Works

I actually have two collaborative works going right now which I’m co-writing with two different individuals. Since I’m not the only one working on these projects, I can’t say exactly how far along in these two projects we are, or if they’ll ever reach completion in the way we envisioned. The first one, which has undergone multiple iterations, is currently on the back burner for myself and my co-writer. We’ll have to see if we come back together to salvage that one. The other work, which just underwent a major plot overhaul, is slow going as me and my co-writer are both currently very busy. But it’s moving along slowly.

My short stories

I’m going to say, I’m not very good at writing short stories at the moment. But that hasn’t stopped me from trying. The work is still a bit rough so I’ve set all four of them to rest for the moment. However, I’ve got my eye on them. I’m hoping that after a month or two I can make the required changes and send them out one more time for applications.

So, as you can see I’m a little crazy. Between these and increasing my online presence, I’m ready to pull out my hair, but I will continue to send updates every couple of weeks and I will be published, sooner or later. Thanks again for your support, I wish you all success and glory. What do you have in the works right now? Share in the comments below.

Categories
writing

3 Writing Misconceptions

When you decide to start writing, there’s so much pressure to perform right away. Especially in an age like ours where results are meant to be immediate and visible. Well, sorry to break it to you, but only an outlier would make it like that. The norm for most people is that good old recipe of time, luck, and money. If you haven’t already, go ahead and subscribe to our page for updates; and let’s talk about 3 writing misconceptions.

You have to write every day

writing every day

Flimflam. While it’s true that you do have to write consistently, for some people that does not mean they write every day. Perhaps it’s write so many pages a month or so many pages a week. As long as you have a consistent schedule, don’t worry about writing every day. Especially since so much of writing… isn’t writing. This is a huge writing misconception.

Fact or Fiction: Writing is Hard? Writing is Easy?

writing hard or easy

You’ve been hornswoggled. Some people say it’s a myth that writing is hard. Others say it’s a myth that writing is easy. Both are wrong. “Hard” and “easy” both get confused with time consuming in most cases. The more you write, the faster ideas and structures come to you. So, at first, crafting a good scene will take a very long time. However, with practice you will become more capable. And eventually you will write well. This writing misconception is a hard one to beat since it comes at you from both sides, but don’t give up. Writing really does take time; that’s not a myth. So make sure you set some hours aside for it, or things really will get out of hand.

What do you think? Do you agree that writing is more an issue of time rather than difficulty? Go ahead and add your thoughts to the comments below.

Fact or Fiction: A First Novel really is a First Novel

rewrite

Delusionary diddle. In case the image didn’t tip you off, this is false. People aren’t naturally good at writing. (Well, maybe someone is… but—squints suspiciously—I doubt that.) The book you read underwent at least a couple revisions, which might have taken the writer years to complete. This misconception has agents and self-publishers crying together. Please, don’t do it. A book you hold in your hands is truly a labor of love and effort on the part of the writer and anyone that helped them along the way.

Those are just three of the common writing misconceptions common today. For additional help with writing, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is the book the industry is raving about. Check it out today and save yourself the hassle before you’re knees deep in a dirty draft.

Categories
Reviews

3 Stunning YA Fantasy Covers

Covers are what draw me to books, for better or for worse. Despite the saying, people really do judge a book by its cover. So why are so many covers bleh? Well, in this article we’re going to look at 3 YA covers that most certainly aren’t bleh.

1. Apolar’s Harry Potter Covers

COVER ART BY APOLAR

This book cover from the Thai artist, Apolar, is nothing short of stunning. And all the covers they’ve done for the Harry Potter series are equally as stunning. The face shapes, the story elements, and the use of cover space are all excellently done. If a teen picks up this book they know exactly what type of story they’re in for. And, because this cover is so well designed, if someone picks it up and doesn’t buy it, it’s because either 1. they’ve already heard about the books and didn’t think it was for them or 2. they genuinely aren’t interested in the genre that is presented to them.

With cover there’s no doubt about the content and that’s what a good cover does. A book cover accurately represents the genre it contains.

2. Simon Prades’ Tess of the Road Cover

COVER ART BY SIMON PRADES

After poking around his website, it seems that Simon Prades has an excellent understanding of positive and negative space. This German illustrator certainly implemented his talents on Tess of the Road‘s cover as well. The concepts of the book are gently explored without over-cluttering the space given him. This is more of a personal preference but I prefer when a book cover is concise.

3. Jeff Langevin’s Anya and the Dragon Cover

COVER ART BY JEFF LANGEVIN

Again, an excellent use of positive and negative space from artist Jeff Langevin for the book Anya and the Dragon. The setting, and glimpses of the plot are visible through the frame of the main character. Similar to the last one, this cover presents information without overwhelming the viewer and there’s no mistaking the genre the reader’s getting. This cover feels clean and makes great use of color.

What’s your favorite book cover and why?

Categories
writing

Living Abroad And Storytelling

Writing is the perfect excuse to travel. If you’re looking to write deeper stories, live abroad and if possible learn the language there. In doing that, you’ll strengthen your understanding of people and widen your worldview. Here are three ways that living abroad makes you a stronger story teller.

Why People Do What They Do

We really do view the world differently based on our culture. American tourists abroad will often get a lot of flack for exactly that reason. They’re considered individualistic and inconsiderate. And, comparatively, I can’t say that is entirely wrong. Compared to many other countries, American culture is defined by a strong sense of the individual and personal needs over the needs of others.

By living in another country, people undergo what many call “culture shock.” For me, this felt like a coming to terms with discomfort caused by unfamiliar cultural pressures.
This forced self-awareness gives the “why” to people’s actions. Suddenly, you have to rethink even basic things. “Why do I do this?” becomes a constant question. So, it was by living abroad that I have developed a deeper sense of self-awareness. And as I’ve become more self aware, my writing has improved.

Knowing why people act how they do, subverting that, and juxtaposing it makes character interactions compelling. So, if you’re struggling with dialogue, or character development in general, try a different scenery. You’ll be shocked by what you find.

World Building Inspiration

One of the complaints that agents give is that they’re tired of “euro-centric” narratives. So, knights and castles? It’s a bit overdone, you know. The market is looking for something fresh, something new. You’ll find things so different from what you’re familiar with, and that’s inspiring. Every culture needs basic things: food, water, shelter. And yet, people addressed those basic needs so differently around the world. Going abroad helps you step away from the familiar. You can combine the familiar with the new, or you can pull entirely from the new. It makes the worlds you build feel 1. more real and 2. more inclusive. Nothing’s worse than a white-wash novel full of people, places, and things that are all the same. The world is filled with unique things, so things in your book should be unique as well.

It could be a festival, an art form, a fighting style, really anything could capture your attention while travelling. While in South America I was often amazed at the graffiti around the cities. Literally. Anything. You’ll see how people and culture come together and shape each other, and you’ll better under stand how you can write a culture in the context of a book.

Despite the fact that I’ve mainly focused on fantasy ideas with this, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to travel even when writing a modern fiction because with that it’s all the more important to make sure you’re getting the facts from the source.

Stories Different From The Ones You Know

Stories change around the world, as does the manner of storytelling. Your writing will feel fresh if you implement some of the writing techniques from various countries or cultures. American story telling is… for lack of a better word, very linear. This happens because of this and that leads to that. But, this isn’t true of all narrative styles. Some are more meandering, you’ll get at the finish but it might not be a straight path. Others dance around the central topic without ever brushing it explicitly. The best way to familiarize yourself with different approaches to narratives is to read literature from other cultures. Which is, in my opinion, best done in that language if you can manage it.

I have some recommendations, but I’m biased so take it with a grain of salt. One of my favorite Spanish authors is Federico Garcia Lorca, for obvious reasons. You can purchase his bilingual collection of poems on Amazon. Also, his works Bodas de Sangre, Yerma, and La Casa de Bernarda Alba are all gems in their own right.

For something less European, you could certainly read the works of Machado de Assis. Although I recommend the original Portuguese, I know that many people reading this likely won’t speak Portuguese. As such, here’s a link for purchasing his book Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas and, one of my all time favorites, Dom Casmurro. If you haven’t read them, they’re worth the read!

So, what do you think? In what ways has travelling helped you become a better writer? Comment below and don’t forget to follow the page for more updates.

Categories
Friends Novel Publications writing

My WIP

On 5/19/2020 I finished my Draft 0, my dirty draft, of a WIP (work in progress) Fantasy. The dirty draft, which was written from the 10th to the 19th was 39,549 words. Now, almost a month later I’ve added almost 7,000 words and I’m not even through the first arc of the story. In this article I will go over my process and the content of my project.

Writing the Dirty Draft

What is a dirty draft? Basically, I’ve got a story and I’ve gotta get it pounded out on the page. So, I obsessively write, about 4,000-6,000 words a day to get the bare-bones of the plot and characters out on paper. Draft 0 is so flawed that it needs a heavy re-write, but I’ve worked through my basic character arcs and I’ve taken deep notes on what needs to be changed while writing draft 0. It’s the feel good part of the project.

To set up, I do a mood-board for each of the main characters and I write out a very short explanation of what’s going to take place. Here’s an example of my character boarding below. It consists of bare bones backstory, as well as images to inspire their character. Although I didn’t in this one, I also try to include physical ticks that they’ll do while speaking so that I can fall back on those when in doubt. This bare-bones explanation gives me plenty of room to work, but also direction when working.

Also, these aren’t my images, but they came off google! Credit to the original authors, although I couldn’t tell you who they were!

The Blurb

Once I finish the dirty draft, I try to hammer out a preliminary blurb. I run them by my Tale Foundry friends as well as my writing group (when possible) and make revisions as needed.

This is my blurb for now, but we’ll see if I do any major plot revisions that prompt a change in description. I don’t suspect it’ll be changing much, however. Not only does it feel good to make a blurb that sounds interesting, but you’ll need one later anyhow, so it’s good to get one going.

Digging Into Draft One

I am so grateful to Deseretgear who invited me to join their writing group. They’ve been a great help as I’ve written draft 1, not only to keep me moving but also to point out my reoccurring shortcomings. I wrote a .5 draft which I submitted to them, after fleshing out what I knew needed work. Once they gave me feedback, I added/removed the content that needed work.

So, now I’ve added around 7,000 words and will likely continue to do so. The average for YA fantasy is 60,000-80,000 words and by the time I complete these revisions I should be happily within that word count window.

For now, that’s all, but why don’t you comment below? What is your writing process? Do you write doing a dirty draft or do you have to dig right into the meat when you get started?