Writer’s and Artist’s are seen as fragile creatures, introverted and mysterious. But those are simply stereotypes; artists come from a multitude of backgrounds and have different personality traits. One thing we do all have in common is courage and persistence.
They say writers and artists see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every hand we touch could become story fabric. – Buffy Andrews.
I love the last quote, the more I write the more I realize the truth in those words. I watch people and observed their behavior, I begin to ‘borrow’ their traits. How they reacted to bad news, how they hold their posture, and then I start to morph those borrowed pieces into characters.
When did this happen? When did I start enjoying psychology so I can channel it into my writing? When did I first observe my emotions so that I could transfer them on to the page? Suddenly, poetry is important because I want to know how to describe a simple object and give it meaning.
All of those things are fascinating, but other facets of our journey have become more apparent. In order to achieve our goals of becoming published, we constantly put our art out there: Submissions, beta readers, critique partners, writing groups and competitions.
We struggle with self-doubt and crippling anxiety over the future of our novels. All the while we work on; pressing our fingers to the keys, tapping away in the silent hours in between our real lives, where family and work commitments take president.
We continue to push through our fears, purging our darkest secrets into our written art, allowing our glittering hopes to shine through our WIP. When criticism pinches, or the rejections roll in, we fight on to make our work more succinct. Through our vulnerability, we risk everything in pursuit of our dreams, knowing that failure is inevitable. Yet when we fall, we brush the dust off our knees only to rise and continue.
My fellow artists: We are courageous. The next time you type on in seclusion, feeling the burden of isolation, I want you to congratulate yourself for being brave, for persisting, for following your dreams, because many people simply never bother.
So my fellow artists, do you believe you see the word differently? Have you realize your own bravery, and if not, why not? Share your experiences with me, you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
Thank you, Ari Meghlen for nominating me for the Round Robin game. The talented blogger, Ari, has created this game to help fellow writers introduce their WIP.
To play the game, I shall introduce my WIP, nominate another writer to introduce their WIP and then they nominate the next person… and so on.
Let’s get to it….I want to introduce you to my WIP “Mischief and Mayhem ”.
What genre isMischief and Mayhem?
Mischief and Mayhem is a High-Fantasy / Romance novel.
I love worldbuilding and playing with a cast of mythical creatures, therefore, my WIP features fae, djinn, nymph, witches, elves and much more.
How did you come up with the Idea?
A powerless magician and a mischievous nymph can destroy realms with their wicked games, unless they work together to save them.
Theo and Tali, were secondary characters from my first novel: A power hungry magician, originally the antagonist, and a wily nymph became my favourite characters to write. I wondered what would happen if Tali rebelled against Theo, causing him to lose everything he coveted.
Who is the MC of Mischief & Mayhem?
Theo Belvedire is ruthless and wicked; his one goal is to find his estranged father who is trapped in a sacred realm, his one weakness is Tali.
In exchange for a safe haven, Tali brokered a deal with Theo,
in exchange for her alliance. Now they’re bound by an enchanted vow, meaning she
must assist Theo in reaching his goals, but Tali is cunning and will always
find a loophole.
What POV isMischief & Mayhemwritten in?
I write in third person POV, telling the story through Tali and Theo.
I love writing duel POV’s so that the reader is fully immersed in the complexities of the love story.
What is the current status of Mischief & Mayhem?
Mischief and Mayhem is current in submission. The novel has been complimented for its ambitious premises, but I’ve had no full requests… yet!
Who isMischief & Mayhem’s target audience?
My characters are mostly in their late teens and early twenties. Therefore, my target audience is mostly Adult, but it may appeal to people who enjoy reading upper YA and NA. My demographic will most likely be women.
Share the blurb ofMischief and Mayhem
Let me know what you think, I’m always looking for ways to improve my blurb.
Ruthless magician, Theo Belvidere, has amassed power, wealth and dominance. All in a bid to discover his estranged father’s realm. On the eve of unlocking the portal, Tali an unscrupulous nymph becomes severely injured and Theo chooses to ease her pain by overpower her. But Tali is outraged that Theo has manipulated her with magic and rebels by stealing his power.
From ruthless to ruined, Theo loses everything. As a powerless magician, he’s taken prisoner inside the deadly realm. How will he escape to regain his lost kingdom and magic? And what punishment should he mete out on the trickster nymph for sabotaging his plans?
Share a small piece of your WIP
Safety was a luxury most took for granted. Tali had carved hers out with lies, wiles and unwavering zeal. It wasn’t an easy choice. Her destiny wasn’t predicted in the night sky with distant stars and spiralling galaxies. No. Her trail, whilst still blazing, was too complex, too twisted for fairy tale endings.
A flutter of fear caught in her chest, she pretended to caress the hourglass contours of her corset, forcing herself to smile for the guards in black armour. The cold tiles nipped at her toes as she strolled to the courtyard. As a water nymph, she thrived near the Groves she hailed from, but even though she never returned there, she still walked barefoot everywhere, keeping herself as grounded to nature as possible.
How dare Theo question her commitment, after everything she’d done for him? She ruffled the scrunched edges of her skirt, maintaining her playful, nonchalant pace through the fort.
Theo was becoming desperate, his temper flaring and his patience for her—thinning. What would happen when his father arrived? With the Dark Prince at the helm, there would be no need for casual distractions. Her days as his master spy were coming to an end, meaning she would become disposable.
Their relationship, of sorts, was complicated.
It had been based on mutual respect and alliance. Anything more was a fool’s
game, males like Theo weren’t the committing type. In fact, Tali didn’t think
his infatuations lasted more than a month. Not that she was checking.
She shook her head in pity for the girls that
longed for him.
Her future relied upon being a commodity to the great Theo Belvidere. She simply had to figure out what that role would become—her side of the vow depended on it.
How willMischief & Mayhembe published?
I’m seeking representation from an agent, so that I can become traditional published. I’m looking forward to working with a team who will help guide me through the industry. Yikes, I’m excited thinking about it!
Round Robin Nomination
M.L.Davies,I nominate you because I know you’re going to find an agent soon, you write gripping mystery/ thrillers. More people should be checking your work out. Its been an honour to be your beta reader.
All you need to do is:
Write a post next week and answer the following questions:
What genre is (WIP title)?
How did you come up with the Idea?
Who is the MC of (WIP title)?
What POV is (WIP title) written in?
What is the current status of (WIP title)?
Who is (WIP title)’s target audience?
Share the blurb of (WIP title)
Share a small piece of your WIP
How will (WIP title) be published?
Link back to this blog post
Nominate another writer into the game to introduce their WIP using this “Round Robin Nomination” format.
Tell me what you think about my WIP, you know I love hearing from you.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
With less than two weeks until the end of NaNo, many of you should be halfway through your first draft. And if you’re anything like me, then you’re also stuck in the middle of your WIP. So today I wanted to show support, offer a little guidance and throw in a couple of great quotes to get us all moving again.
Whether you write a detailed outline or dive straight into your new WIP, there is going to come a point at which it’s hard to move forward. Trust me, it’s not unusual, and it’s happened with my first two novels and again with my third. I’ve hit the halfway word count; I know where I’m heading, but something is stopping me from progressing. And yes its procrastination, but it’s more than that, it’s the inner monologue that comes with the writer territory. Well, let’s nip that self-doubt/ critical voice in the bud.
As soon as I stopped over-thinking my process, my infernal internal editor shut up, my characters started talking to me again, and my writing improved vastly. Turned out the very thing I thought was helping me be a good writer was holding me back. K.M. Weiland – Are You Over-Thinking Your First Draft?
The best we can do in this situation is to apply self-discipline. Sit down at the laptop – typewriter – notepad – napkin or whatever your preferred method is and begin, keep going and don’t stop. Whatever you need to do… Do it! Research, plot, plan or write. Become your own personal cheerleader. You’ll soon be over the hump.
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. – Ernest Hemingway
And for those of you who are struggling because you’re stressed, under the weather, or have too much on your plate with work and family commitments: I want to tell you that it’s ok to have a duvet day. Our creativity can’t bloom under those pressures. The best thing you can do is practise self-love. Your creativity will thank you for it.
If you are willing to do something that might not work, you’re closer to being an artist. –Seth Godin
I hope I’ve inspired you to keep going. What do you do to get over the writing hurdle? Perhaps your advice will help me, plus you know I love hearing from you.
I’m currently tying up loose ends in my two novels before I continue writing the third novel in the Shadow Knight Series. After being away from my second WIP – Mischief and Mayhem to tighten up the premise of the first novel – Secrets and Shadows, I’ve come across a problem.
I’m struggling to remember tiny details about the different realms. And as the series develops not only is the world-building expanding, but changes continuously evolve.
This is also true for my characters. Remembering eye and hair colour is easy enough. And I’m confident in remembering my MC traits and personality types. The trouble lies with minor characters. Plus changes in hairstyles and costumes in particular scenes are starting to become problematic.
So today I’m considering different methods to store all the relevant details for your stories.
My good friend and creative writing tutor Judith Barrow is an advocate for the Pin-board Method. Above her desk, directly in line of sight, Judith uses notes and images to mind map her novels. A quick glance forward and all the information is to hand. Dates, Places and characters… whatever information deemed necessary.
Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have a cosy desk. So, for the more technological-minded writers they can use apps compatible with their computer or tablet. Similar to the Pin-board Method, except all the information can be stored in one easy accessible space. Great if you’re a writer on the go, maybe you write in a cafe or at your work during your lunch break. Carrying notebooks and files everywhere is impractical and a nuisance. Why not try one of the following?
3. My current method, The File System. Many authors love printable lists or a one page character summary. Where they can jot down character attributes, personality traits, fears, goals and flaws.
And they’re great to get the ball rolling, but I needed something a little more intricate. So I’ve been compiling information about individual characters. Copying descriptions and quirks from my novels and pasting them onto a document. These are then printed off and filed. So the next time I need to jog my memory about a setting or character, Instead of trawling through my novels using the find feature, I can flip open the relevant section of my folder and have instant access.
I’ve also discovered that by having bullet-point sections listing the descriptions, I can maintain continuity and eliminate plot holes.
Which of the three methods do you prefer? Or do you have another method? If so, why don’t you share it with me? You know I love to hear from you.
Every story has a beating heat. And though every story has been written before, it has not been written by you. Therefore, each story takes on a unique premise. Now I’ve hear this a million times, but honestly I’ve only just grasped the concept. The importance of hooking readers with the premise, by either immediately revealing it or by sowing the seeds throughout the opening pages. Allowing the premises butterfly effect to ripple through your story.
If you like, it’s the first building block of your story. I thought I knew my story. I thought I’d nailed my hook. I was wrong.
If you’re struggling to identify your premise, then read this great post on: How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook by Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s written eloquently with great examples. Honestly K.M Weiland is my go to bible for writing tips.
I didn’t know this until I sent my submission package to a literary agent to be critiqued. A service Writers & Artists provide. I’d come to a dead end with my first MS. It has been rejected by 30 agents with no feedback. It was either shelve it and focus on my second novel, or give it one last attempt. And I’m not a quitter.
So I took a bold move and opened myself up to feedback from Sallyanne Sweeney from MMB Creative. She taught me a valuable lesson about the first few chapters. I hadn’t introduced the premise. I hadn’t introduced my hook. Therefore, I hadn’t rewarded my readers with the foreshadowed inciting moment. Which also came in too late, chapters 4 and 5. Huge mistake!
I had opened with a fast paced scene believing that was the premise. Wrong. It was simply the first domino effect of my story. Then my story floundered to world build, without teasing the reader with my premise. Therefore the story lacked enough tension to drive the plot forward to the all-important inciting moment. The protagonists call to adventure.
Now, I knew what was coming… but my readers had no clue…. worse still, they might have given up and put the book down.
Once I discovered my premise, the revisions came easily. And now the antagonist, the conflict and goal are easily identified within the first few paragraphs. And my story is much stronger for it.
Thanks for reading and best of luck with your WIP. Remember, failure is proof that you’re trying. Don’t ever be afraid to grow and learn. 🙂
The saying goes, ‘don’t judge a book by it cover’ yet we all do. Equally as important, is the books title. It needs to be compelling, intriguing and in a few short words pinpoint what your novel entails.
Many writers develop a ‘working title’ which is a rough draft of the title. A temporary idea, while the work is still in progress. Sometimes after writing the book, the title becomes clearer.
My first WIP changed titles numerous times, and may even change again before publication. That’s ok, just as we revise our manuscripts over and over again, we’re free to alter the Logline and Synopsis, especially when we are trying to Hook an Agent.
Research is a vital, integral part of this process. Look at novels within your genre to see what catches your eye, what pulls you in and even what makes you think… yes, that’s precisely what the books about.
A successful novel begs the reader to ask questions: Who is Harry Potter? Why is the Court full of Thorns and Roses, what could that possibly mean? What happens in the Hunger Games?
Some novels use the name of the protagonist – Percy Jackson. Others use a phrase from the book, or a word – Twilight. As a pose to the character’s name, perhaps use a word to describe them, highlighting their differences, for instance Pride & Prejudice. Don’t forget to consider the location: Through the Looking Glass. Or mix some of those ideas: Alice in Wonderland.
Be sure to write down any ideas that come to your head, even if they’re ridiculous. Brainstorm what links the theme, plot, characters and locations of the novel. Then get feedback. Ask readers, friends and family what title stands out for them. Which one hints at the novel beyond the pages or evokes intrigue or mystery.
Lastly be original. Your book’s title has to compete with many similar novels. Having a title that stands out from the crowd is vital. So, check to see if the titles already taken, you don’t want to compete with an identical title, in the same genre. This is your time to stand out from the crowd.
So my wonderful, loyal readers, what do you think of my title? My first novel is YA fantasy/romance called:
Knights of Shadow and Lies.
Harbouring secrets caused a rift between Sander and Fae princess Alysia. For he is a Shadow Knight, masquerading as one of her kind. When truthfully, he’s a fairy-tale hybrid, feared by the pure-bloods for the potential of his unprecedented powers. Catastrophic events force their lives to collide once more, when his brother, a nefarious Magician, seizes the kingdom in search of Alysia’s telepathic powers. To save the Enchanted Realms, they must risk everything and sacrifice all, to protect the ones they love.
Please give me your feedback. Or share your working title. Let me offer you some feedback. As always, thanks for reading and have a fantasic day.
Getting our writing critiqued is a vital learning process for writers. Through feedback, authors can mould their novel into a piece of work that’s coherent and has marketable appeal. Beta Reader’s response can help to judge which part of your book will work for your audience and those that may not.
I’ve wanted a Beta Reader for quite some time, but had no idea of how to go about it. Can we rely on our family and friends to be honest? Probably not, I tend to sugar coat things for those I care about.
How do we find Beta Readers?
Blogger Ari Meghlem recently asked this question on Facebook. Reaching out on social media is a great way of finding Beta Readers. It’s daunting. It requires bravery and a little common sense.
Finding the right reader is a vital first step. There’s no point in asking someone to read your genre if they don’t like it. Their feedback will be less than helpful. Ask questions and build a relationship. Your ideal reader should be similar to your target audience.
Here are my 3 tips for working with your Beta Reader.
Develop a list of questions that you’d like answered. These might be about plot, pacing, strength of character, or the organisation of the stories concept. Your checklist should meet the specific needs of each book you write. As a great starting point for question inspiration, go check out some of my ideas on these Pinterest boards.
Learnt to love negative feedback
Not everyone will like your work. So you shouldn’t revise your book based entirely on one person’s perspective. Gaining different points of views can help pinpoint the areas that need working on. And as hard as it can be, ask yourself: Will addressing the issues make your book better? Sometimes accepting the truth hurts, but that’s how we grow and learn. So remember to thank your beta readers, and embrace their feedback.
Return the Favour
Offer to work in tandem with your BETA reader. Or consider returning the favour at a later date. By reading someone else’s work you can gain experience at reading with a critical eye. This will be invaluable when editing your own WIP.
I want to say a huge warm thanks to Ari for agreeing to beta read my first novel, her feedback so far has been fantastic. You can read Ari’s previous guest blog post Here.
Thanks for reading my post. Do you have any tips on working with beta readers? If so, please share.
As writers we have to a pretty hefty job of carrying all those characters, worlds, ideas around in our heads desperate to come out and be added to the blank page.
Today I want to talk about the first few pages of your book.
The first pages of a book are what sell it. You can have a fancy cover, great blurb and a dazzling plot – but if you fail in the first few pages, you could have lost your chance to shine.
This is one of the reasons I usually write my first chapter last or at least after much more of the book is written. This allows me to move the scenes around and sometimes find a mid-scene that works better for the first chapter.
From publishers to readers, those few pages have to be gripping (not talking suspenseful, unless…you know…you’re writing a suspense novel!) but they need to draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading.
No point having the best action scene, romance or climatic ending ever if nobody is able to actually get to it.
So take those first few pages extremely seriously.
Here are some thoughts on what you should have in your first chapter (preferably in the first few pages)
• Voice – Don’t wait until you are further into the book before you show your voice, get it right out onto the page at the start. If I’m reading a book I want to know the author has a strong command of writing, a voice that can clearly be heard through the words.
• Senses – Engage the reader immediately with sensory detail. If you get to chapter 3 before we even have a plethora of sensory information, then you’ve missed something. Be aware of getting caught just using sight and sound. Use all five of the main senses to fill out your world. Whether it’s the sharp smell of horse manure in the street, or the bitter taste of fruit on the turn. Let’s get some details!!
• Location, location, location – No we don’t need to know the longitude and latitude, but we need some detail about where this story is set. Character and dialogue can often place a story, but don’t forget to set the scene. Are we storming a castle? Trudging through a muddy field? Maybe even just listening to a grieving mother in the kitchen of her small apartment. Give the reader some direction as to where they are when they start reading.
• Characters – Now, some writers state they want to meet the protagonist or antagonist in the first chapter. Since my manuscript doesn’t actually start with meeting my protagonist but in dealing with the aftermath of her going missing, I ignore what “some writers” suggest. You don’t have to have your MC right in the thick of it, but make sure whoever you have on stage first has an important role in the plot, even if they just throw in a set of magic beans and vanish. Those magic beans better be pretty important!
But these characters need to be interesting or likeable. While characters we hate are fun too, it’s recommended we don’t add them at the beginning as it can drive a reader from continuing – so keep your obnoxious, love-to-hate-them characters for later on.
Make sure there is some depth to these characters. That means they react, they emote, they live the scene. Let’s not just follow them around with a camcorder seeing what they might do. Give them a voice, give them a purpose, give them a mental state!
• Plot – your first few pages should touch on the plot. It should hint or whisper or build on something that is coming up. We don’t want to see characters going through daily routines and ending with nothing. If you haven’t even hinted on what the plot is about then you’ll be boring your reader.
Readers want to get a sense of something happening. Not sure what, so they will want to read more. Nobody…and I mean NOBODY wants to read about your character brushing their teeth, picking out clothes and then leaving for work. Unless all that banality ended with you exposing that this mild-mannered, mousy gentleman is actually an assassin off to execute a government official – you should probably skip it.
So think carefully on what you are putting in your first pages. Think about the books you love and re-read their first pages. See what those authors did to catch your attention.
In the last #Editing blog we looked into Developing characters, if you missed it why not take a look. Next time we’ll be delving into emotional beats.
The first draft of my YA fantasy novel was finished. I’d succeeded in writing the story, working towards The End, scene by scene, until the book was complete.
Yay! It’s a fantastic feeling. An accomplishment of hard work, creativity and a dash of doubt.
If you’re working towards that goal, keep going, you can do it.
So, what happens once you reach the finish line? It’s time to edit, revise, cut, add and alter your first draft. Working it until it’s the master piece it deserves to be.
Today I’m highlighting crutch words. Or in my case, an over use of body parts. How many times did I write heart, lips or eyes in that piece?
I’m talking about particular words that you’ve peppered your page with. You’ll being to notice the words you rely on. With diligence you can begin to remove them from your work.
Edit out crutch words. Jot down a list of your culprits and search your document, preening them out. Try rewriting the sentence using different words? Ask yourself; do the words adding any meaning to the sentence? Will its removal, alter the story? Can the crutch word be replaced with an alternative description? Eliminating the obvious eyes sores before our readers identify them.
#TIP. Word document has a Find tool that searches and highlights them in your manuscript. Making it easy to alter or remove.
Air caution, when using the thesaurus. While its function is invaluable to us authors, it runs the risk of stripping our unique voice from the story. I must admit to replacing a word for a recommended substitute and losing the original meaning by not understanding the definition.
Hey!! I’m a creator of worlds, not a master literary knowledge. (Perhaps one day I’ll be both.)
My last tip is to read your work aloud. We’re often too close to our work to see fault. But by sounding out the writing, our brains have the ability to process the information, thus picking up on the crutch words. I find that reading out to my critique group gives me extra awareness. I’m guaranteed to find at least one more, even after a thorough edit.
An editor will spot these for you. Unfortunately, they won’t do the revision for you.
Yes, it’s tedious and hard work but with persistence your writing will improve.
What is your main crutch word? Don’t be shy. I love it when you share your thoughts and opinions.