A 2 Z challenge 2018

Here are all the posts from 2018 A 2 Z Blogging Challenge, you have no idea how long it took to transfer these here.

I have officially signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2018.

I didn’t do the challenge last year, and not awfully sure if I did it the year before, but I have done it in the past, in a now defunct and deleted 50 plus Teenager Blog on Blogger. I decided that I would give it a go again this year. If you click on the picture above, you will be brought to their page that tells you all you need to know about the challenge.
As sometimes there is swearing on my page, and in my novels, and violence (a demon being taken down, or a deserved ass whopping), and the odd intimate scene (don’t hold your breath), I will be creating an Adult Content badge to add to my header. Oh and I’m number 62 on the list of signed up bloggers.
Feel free to follow along if this is your bag. It starts in April and continues for the month. Please see the various links to where you can follow me in all my amazement…um, amazing writing…
Elephant’s ChildMarch 5, 2018 at 9:11 pm Edit
I am far too lazy to do the A-Z.
I will enjoy reading the work of more disciplined (and talented) people though.
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 6, 2018 at 9:18 pm Edit
lol, that’s exactly the reason why I am doing the challenge, I have gotten very lazy with the blogs I am hoping that this will get me moving again.


A to Z theme reveal

Right, am I still on time to do this…checks clock…checks date…yup, so here goes. My theme for the A to Z blogging challenge is…queue drum roll….’writing a novel and getting it published as an e – book (ish)’…ta da…
Not to much of a shock there is it…lol. I have the ‘sort of ‘ list made out. This should be interesting. 13 thoughts on “A to Z theme reveal”
jrvincenteMarch 20, 2018 at 1:36 am EditAwesome! I’ve self-published two novels, but I’m sure I still have lots to learn. Looking forward to April!Liked by youReply
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 22, 2018 at 10:36 am EditIf you have published two novels, I am sure that you would be able to teach me a thing or three. Congrats on that, and thank you for commenting.LikeReply
Elephant’s ChildMarch 20, 2018 at 4:23 am EditThis reader is looking forward toyour take on the A-Z.Liked by youReply
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 22, 2018 at 10:37 am EditEC I am so happy that you are along for the ride.LikeReply
HopeMarch 20, 2018 at 11:39 pm EditWell my theme on one of my blogs is blogging, so that isn’t too far off. Although I won’t be talking about book publishing, etc.Liked by youReply
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 22, 2018 at 10:38 am Editoh, well I definitely have to follow you so. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing LikeReply
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 22, 2018 at 10:42 am EditHi Hope, I tried to follow you, but there is no link on your page, and Bloglovin’ doesn’t seem to be able to find you. Let me know how I can follow you in the A to ZLike
HopeMarch 22, 2018 at 11:23 am EditHi, you can go to http://hopesthoughts.blog/feed, or http://feedpress.me/bloggingsimply, and add that to your RSS reader. I do have an experimental blog here on wordpress.com but I’m not going to be participating with that one. I don’t have any of my blogs set up on Bloglovin, mostly because they do everything inside an inline frame, instead of taking you to the original site when you click a link. If you use Feedly or something like that though, it will definitely work. I don’t have email updates set up yet, as I need to figure out which mailing list provider will give me RSS to email for free.Liked by you
HopeMarch 22, 2018 at 3:02 pm EditWell if you’re on Twitter you can follow my tweets! That should work fine. You can also sign up for a feedly account https://feedly.comLike
MistressoftheInkMarch 22, 2018 at 4:28 am EditGreat theme! Good luck on your blogging challenge! Liked by youReply
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)March 22, 2018 at 10:38 am EditThank you MistressoftheInk, much appriciated.Liked by 1 personReply
MarquessaMarch 31, 2018 at 3:41 am EditLooking forward to checking out your posts this upcoming month!Marquessa @simplymarquessa from The Next Chapter
Visiting from the 2018 A to Z ChallengeLikeReply

A is for….

Hi all and welcome to my first A to Z blogger post. I will be blogging about ‘writing a novel and getting it published as an e – book (ish)’. As I am a whole day late, I won’t waste any more time.
A is for…
Achievement, this is when you decide to write your piece of work, it is also when you finish the drafts that it takes to complete a readable work of fiction, or indeed non – fiction, and when you finally see your name in print whether it be on a paperback in a shop, a journal, e-book sellers site.
Action, which isn’t just blowing things up in a novel, nope, this lovely little A word is not just confined to loud noises and body counts, nope, it’s actually anything that moves the plot forward, and it is when the writer sits down at the computer and begins her novel, she is finally taking action to making her dreams come true, and trust me, you are never too old, or too young.
Agent, among writers there is much debate as to whether or not an agent is actually necessary. Well I believe one is, if you want to traditionally publish, or someone wants to make your novel into a movie, then one might be handy, so far, in my opinion, the boat is still out on whether or not you need an agent if you are going down the E-book trail. Either way you are going to have to do most of the grunt work yourself.
Author, What is an author, lets see, as far as I am concerned, an Author is a person that has a book published, whether it be as a traditionally published book on a shelf in a brick and mortar book shop, or on a shelf on Amazon, or Barnes and Nobles, or Easons, or any other shop that has their own e – readers. A writer is someone who writes, and doesn’t yet have anything published.
In all honesty, I’m not 100% sure that this format is going work, what do you all think?
Elephant’s ChildApril 2, 2018 at 8:58 pm EditLooking forward to reading more.
And this reader is so very grateful to authors.LikeReply
Jeanne Bryan InsalacoApril 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm EditGreat A to Z… I have a novel Story I’ve been working on/ although more of it sitting on the back burner!LikeReply

B is for…

So, two posts in one day, mainly because I missed yesterdays, lets see how we do now.
Today’s journey begins with as you guessed, beginnings, these can be quite difficult, staring at the screen and watching the cursor flicker away at you while you try to figure out what it is that you want to begin with…well now see, what you put down at this stage, doesn’t really matter.
Okay I can hear some of you yelling at your screen already, demanding to know what kind of demented soul I am by saying that, when you have sweated blood over your opening sentence…to you I say, bravo but only if you have it and been able to figure out where to move to after that.
The thing is, some writers can become so het up with trying to find that perfect opening sentence, or paragraph that they kill the flow of their imagination and creativity. Now unless you are some writing protegee, you will have several drafts to get through before your work is publishable, so you can use all those draft beginnings to construct the perfect opening sentence or paragraph.
Begin where you feel the story should begin, and if halfway through the book you have started too soon, or not soon enough, then you can make a note and start at the point that makes more sense to start at. Bear in mind at this stage that some writers will begin with an outline, that they will flesh out until it resembles more of a first draft than an outline, then work from there, each draft building upon what has gone before.
What I am trying to get across to you, the writer and soon to be published author, is that when you are beginning this journey, don’t have a whole set of rules in your head just yet. I read someplace recently that a first draft should be ready to be seen by other people such as Beta Readers who are asked to read through your almost ready to be published novel and give feedback, I call hogs swill on that one. I’ll get back to first drafts later, but at the beginning you should try to relax and let the story flow out. Just make sure that you have it backed up, the cloud seems to be most peoples go to at the moment, I like to use the Cloud, Dropbox, and my portable hard drive and because I’m just that little bit anal at times, a hard copy of each draft to work on.
Question:
Do you prefer this kind of format? Let me know in the comments.
Elephant’s ChildApril 2, 2018 at 9:00 pm Edit
This format is working just fine for me.
And yes, to the don’t cage yourself in rules. For writing and for life.

C is for….

At the moment it is difficult to type, my hand is in a restraint, due to the fact that I think that I may have sprained it and won’t know until this afternoon and a visit to the doctor, but I digress…today’s letter is C…
In the last post I talked about beginnings and how some writers will begin with a plot outline (more on that later), which over the course of several drafts should flesh out into a workable novel or book. But I believe that in order to write up and flesh out an outline, or begin just to write you need Characters, people who will inhabit the world you are writing about.
Now if you are writing non – fiction you may think that you won’t need to create any characters, but that isn’t always the truth, some stories based in real life, will sometimes require you to ‘create’ a character that is different to the real person you are writing about in order to protect the innocent, or avoid libel. In the world of fiction, sometimes a writer will create a character from a mixture of a real life, person they met and a multitude of characteristics they want portrayed by their character. Now if you don’t have a base in real life, you may create that character from the air.
Now this isn’t as difficult as it sounds, creating a character in the beginning is all about noting down how that character looks and speaks, what they like and dislike, where they work, what they like to eat etc., over time (usually the duration of writing your novel), this character will become more fleshed out, more real. In order to help with this there are several sites that offer a blank biography which you can fill out however much or little you desire. Main characters take more work than say someone that is just a sidekick, or a passerby.
In order to create well rounded, three dimensional characters, the writer needs to remain committed to her writing, it can become so easy to be distracted. I read someplace (feel free to let me know who said it so I can credit them with it).
‘You must treat your writing as a job, get up, get dressed and go to work, even if it’s in an office in your home, or at the kitchen table.’
The commitment is not only to the characters, but also to yourself as a writer, some even go so far as to create a written contract that they sign and then stick to. Writing of any sort takes time and commitment, even if it’s ten minutes a day, because you are working in a 9 to 5 job, or lifetime of looking after children, you still need to commit yourself to your writing.
Once you have committed yourself to your writing, and have worked through several drafts, had feedback from beta readers, and are ready to publish, you will be looking at publishing, either traditionally, or by yourself, either vanity, print on demand, or e-book. Traditional Publishing still have people who create the perfect (in their eyes) Cover for your novel, which is good as it’s all part of a package and you get to say yey or ney. Vanity print, print on demand and e-book doesn’t give you this option, so you will need to look into having one created by someone who knows what they are doing, and who will charge you for it, or making one yourself.
Can I just say using paint unless you are very good isn’t really a great idea, sometimes the art work can look a little amateurish…using Photoshop unless you know what you are doing can produce the same kind of thing, but when you get it right it is awesome. May I recommend Cava, a program that has a free version, and a paid version. It allows you to upload your own images and create some beautiful covers, or use one of their own.
The art work, or images you use in any of these programs, must be royalty free, and also if you are short on cash as most starting out Authors are, free full stop. There are sites out there that have free images that you can use, which is helpful, but might be worth while paying for a yearly subscription. There is, also your own photography.
The last thing…(still here, well done…) that I want to mention in this post is Critique. Over the course of writing your novel, and creating your cover art you will probably send it, or give it to people to read and hand back feedback. Personally I’d wait until I’d at least three drafts of the novel / article / book, done before I handed anything out, but if you must, you must. Anyway, if you are a member of a writers group that you trust you can see if anyone will read it for you, if you aren’t a member of a writers group, maybe see if there is one nearby and join up, if you don’t like it, look for another one and leave. Other wise you can search online and see if there is an online beta group that will take it and read it, FB and Goodreads both have beta group pages.
Remember one thing about Critique, if they haven’t trashed your book, but pointed out one or two things that could do with a tweek, or questioned one or two things in the plot, or article, or book, it doesn’t mean that your work is rubbish, it just means that it isn’t ready and these issues, if mentioned by everyone that read the piece, need sorting.
Well, that’s C tackled…I hope you enjoyed it, let me know in the comments below.
Elephant’s ChildApril 4, 2018 at 10:19 pm Edit
Lots of important C words. I think the link between creativity and commitment is often understated. The ideas might appear from the air, but bringing them to fruition is work.

D is for….

As I would think almost every writer knows, that time spent staring into space, or Daydreaming, is not wasted time, like an artist contemplating their next piece, a writer uses this time to think of what they are going to write, it is the idea, or characters, or world gestating until it is ready to hit the fingers and be brought kicking and screaming, or purring into the world.
Staring out windows, people watching, nature watching, and even sometimes gaming, can be considered work time. A writers brain, like that of an artist, is rarely switched off from writing, they are always noting things in their mind that may make their way into their writing, rushing around looking for the memo section on their phone, or tablet, a piece of paper, a pen, or even word document, in order to jot down something they just saw or heard that might make it into their writing.
Please note that many writers don’t ever stop daydreaming, nope, they continue right into their own writing, even when Developing Their Idea into a work of fiction or non fiction, they still will spend time staring out the window, picturing in their minds eye what it is they need to put down on paper, and how they are going to do that.
Developing their idea can take many forms, it can begin with noting the characters and creating a biography for them, it can be developing the world (sf/fantasy) that the characters or story will take place, and then working out the beginning, the middle and the end, before outlining the chapters, and then fleshing them all out.
There are several methods to doing this, you can keep your information stored on your computer (always back these up), using questionnaires that you fill in that you got from the net, these can be printed off and kept in a folder in your desk, filing cabinet, or even plastic box. You can also use a program that most writers seem to swear by which is called Scrivener, this will cost you some money to purchase, but it does keep track of changes, also allows you to develop your characters and writing, while keeping track of any changes that you may make.
A lot of times the question will arise as to how many Drafts do you need in order to complete your novel, the school is most definitely out on this subject as no two answers are ever the same. Some say by the third, some say it will take nine or ten, others have proposed 12,  here is an image that I found online…

download

I think it depends on the writer, and whether or not they need someone to edit their novel, or not, but here are some links to pages I found that discuss this. I don’t think it matters, as long as it ends up going through three of them before you let it out to be looked at by the betas.
https://brevity.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/how-many-drafts-must-a-writer-draft/
How Many Drafts Did You Do Of Your Book?
https://writing.stackexchange.com/questions/26257/how-many-rewrites-should-a-writer-expect-for-a-novel
How Many Drafts Does it Take to Finish a Novel?
Well there you go, I’m up to date on my A to Z blogging challenge, hope you are enjoying it so far, I have to go visit some of your blogs later on this evening, but for now it is time to sign off and go see the doctor. Leave me comments after the beep…cheers.
Elephant’s ChildApril 4, 2018 at 11:04 pm Edit
I do hope the doctor’s visit gives you some relief.
And yay for dreaming. A girl HAS to dream. Well this girl does.

E is for…

E – books, while becoming more acceptable, e-books are still viewed in a lot of circles as being less than traditionally published books. This is, from what I can figure out, down to the fact that a lot of books available in this format, have only gone through one draft, not been beta-ed or edited in any shape or form. the covers do not look professional, which in a way could be creating a whole new type of cover acceptance.
Why are they wiggling into general acceptance, you might find yourself asking? Well that is a relatively simple answer. Their rising acceptance is due to the fact that electronically available reading material is actually becoming a thing, even down to some schools trailing tablet devices in their schools to cut down on  the amount of books young kids carry, and ease of homework. even some libraries have gotten on board and lend out digital books. then there is the fact that you don’t need to have a publishing house, or agent to use this method.
If we want the service to change we must all, as users of the service, insist that the work we share there is the best possible work we can actually do. In other words, we need to do several drafts but we also need to edit the book ourselves, or pay someone to edit for us.  As https://www.nownovel.com/blog/editing-novel-drafts-pro-tips/
‘There are different types of book editing. [..sic..]
Editing:
Addresses sentence-level problems (e.g. spelling, grammar, punctuation, or word choice)
Is typically not a process of dialogue (when you work with a novel editor rather than self-edit) – an editor finds mistakes and creates effective substitutions
Each type of editing serves an important purpose for your book:
Proofreading: This is the lightest form of editing. Proofreaders only focus on minor errors. This eliminates embarrassing textual errors such as typos. These can include grammar errors (such as incorrect tense use), punctuation errors (such as inappropriate use of colons, periods and apostrophes) or spelling and word use mistakes
Copy editing: This type of editing also includes editing for style (making sure the elements of writing such as word choice fit the subject and target audience, for example). Copy editing spruces up your writing more
Substantive or developmental editing: This is the most comprehensive kind of editing. Substantive editors work on your novel as a whole. Problems in your structure, consistency, coherence and style may be edited, both within sentences and paragraphs and between chapters and other divisions. Because this is the most complex and thorough form of book editing, its also costs the most
Some handy sites to help with Editing…
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/7-tips-for-revising-a-novel
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2014/08/11/editing-writing-craft-tips/
https://jerryjenkins.com/self-editing/
https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/category/editing-your-novel/
I was going to do a longer post including Ego and Epilogues (getting ego out of the way and if you should ever use Epilogues, which I do myself). But due to the fact that I’m wearing a splint, and need a coffee before moving onto the letter F…I’m going to stop right here…
Question…are you finding these posts helpful?
howikilledbettyApril 9, 2018 at 3:46 pm EditYes I am! This is brilliant … again. It’s clearly a bit of a minefield out there in the world of writing. Thanks. Katie
Elephant’s ChildApril 9, 2018 at 8:54 pm I am a bit of a dinosaur and much prefer paper books. And have to stop myself from writing ‘real books’. You are so very right about the need for professionalism whatever mode of publishing is adopted though. And have more than once read (or started to read) an e-book which had obviously had less than optimal editing.

F is for…

Final Drafts…when I reach this particular draft, i have a mixture of emotions, happiness that I have actually reached this stage, and a feeling of dread, because the next stage is publishing. So, what do you look for when editing this draft before you publish or send to publisher…

  1. Does the lead grab the reader?
  2. Can you summarize the main theme of your article in a title and subtitle?
  3. Is your theme clearly encapsulated in your hook? Is your hook “high” enough?
  4. Does each paragraph or section flow easily into the next?
  5.  Is everything that belongs together placed together?
  6. Does the rhythm move the reader along?
  7. Does your ending tie it all together?
  8. Have you written to the right length?

Examine each point you make with these questions in mind:

  • Does what comes next logically follow? (If not, you have what is known as a non sequitur—an unexpected, and disconcerting leap from one point to the next.)
  • Does the evidence you present actually support your point? Look for logical leaps and factual holes, for what lawyers call “assuming facts not in evidence.”
  • Have you left out something that “everybody knows” when “everybody” really doesn’t? Do you introduce new terms and ideas at the proper points, or must the reader skip around to understand what you’re saying?
  • Does everything read as if it belongs to the same article? In short, do a unity check. This means being alert to nuances of tone and style as well as spotting content that simply doesn’t belong.

More about these, and where these were taken from visit:   http://www.writersdigest.com/a-checklist-for-your-final-draft
Writers digest is actually a good site for all kinds of writers queries….
First  Drafts, although not actually the first thing you write, that is usually the idea, which can become the outline, it is the one where you just let the story flow out of you and onto the page.
Now there is a school or two of thought that believes that a first draft should be ready to be read, I don’t think so, nor do the majority of writers. Your first draft is the one where you are telling yourself the story, where you are working out the plot and letting the characters come to life. This draft, by the time you reach the last draft will be unrecognizable, and should not be shown to anyone. Maybe by the time you have written the third draft you can consider letting others read it, but until then, nope as its still developing.
I also believe that when you are writing the first draft of anything, you should not edit yourself, you need to tell that little voice to shut up until you finish it and start on the second draft. Self editing at this stage can lead to many months (yes you read that right), of editing, re-editing, and re, re-editing each paragraph until you get it ‘right’…t here is time enough for that later. For now…just blurt it out onto the page.
Well that’s F done…
howikilledbettyApril 9, 2018 at 3:36 pm EditCrikey … I had no idea about writing a book, clearly! Thanks for sharing this information… I’ll have to have a bit of a rethink if I’m going to get beyond the blogging stage. Katie
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)April 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm.But, if it is something you want to do…
Elephant’s ChildApril 9, 2018 at 8:57 pm I have a friend who considers himself a writer who would benefit from reading this. However he is emphatically NOT a reader (or taker of advice).

G is for….

Genres…what are genres? Simply put, they are the types of stories we are telling in our novels, the areas into which publishers and readers see them as fitting. There are many different types of Genres and sub-genres these days, whilst way back when writers were drawing pictures on walls and  then scrawling their imaginings on paper and wax, there were only a few.
Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance and Non – Fiction are all the parent genres,  these are the ones that seem to be the most important and the ones that all others will be placed under. Genres are important not only to writers but also to readers, for readers Genres signifies what kind of novel they are picking up and if  that novel fits in with what they like to read. Though in my opinion that can be rather limiting.
When someone decides to write a book, they usually write in their favorite genre, or  classification of non – fiction book that they are used to reading because as the adage goes, ‘write what you know’. As readers and writers i would recommend  that people join sites like Goodreads, that list all  types of books and give writers a platform to interact with their fan-base, or even build a new one.
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/ this site if you are not a member yet, is fantastic, it can help you find that book you read when you were in your teens, it helps you list the books you’ve read, and ones you want to read, as an author as I said it gives you a chance to connect with people and advertise any books you have put out into the world. Each book also carries a link to a place, or places where you can purchase them, thereby supporting your favorite author. Every year, they run a personal contest (as in the only prize is the knowledge you have succeeded) as to how many books you can read in a year. Why not check it out which leads nicely into the whole idea around GOALS
Goals are something important that you want to achieve, such as finish your novel, short story, article or non – fiction piece. We all have goals, things we’d like to achieve, to complete, with me at the moment, I want this damn splint of my hand so that I can continue with A to Z and also Campnanowrimo. But given the painful aches of trying to type these few posts… that might not happen.
In order to set yourself some goals, why not follow these simple steps that I found online, now where online escapes me, but I have it copied into my bullet journal and am now sharing with you.

  1. What do you want – Be specific
  2. Why do you want it – what will you gain / how will life change
  3. What is holding you back – what  obstacles will you face
  4. Go for it, TAKE ACTION – break down big goals into small tasks – create a game plan –  tackle one small  task at a time.

What are your writing goals?
Elephant’s ChildApril 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm
I have discovered that I much prefer reading books which refuse to be sandwhiched into one genre. Which must make marketing them difficult.

H is for….

How long is a piece of string? Well that is the question that all writers and authors find them selves asking.
Now  they don’t actually want to know how long a piece of string is unless it pertains to the story they are writing…nope, what they are looking for, most often when they are only starting out, is how long should the chapter, novel, article, short story excreta be.
If you are writing in chapters (Terry Pratchett didn’t), then according to the internet, between 3 – 5,000 words would be quite sufficient. But to be honest, some authors write long chapters, others write short ones, just be consistent.
‘As for th e length of a Novel,  that comes in around 300 – 400 pages which is 80,000 to 100,000 words long,
general fiction for adults should come in at 100,000 words. But genre books (fantasy, sci-fi, or historical fiction) are often longer; around the 125,000 word mark.
Giants of the genre (e.g. George R R Martin) might come in closer to 300,000 words, but established authors can get away with a lot more than debuts. As with general fiction, for a debut it’s best to err on the side of caution and stick to 100,000 words where possible.
For literary fiction, it can go the other way; anything from 55,000 to 100,000 words is acceptable.
For young adult fiction, the word count is once again lower, with the ideal being 55,000 – 80,000 words.
Younger still, middle grade fiction (ages 9-12) should come in between 30,000 and 55,000 words.
Books for readers aged 5-8 typically sit around 20,000 words. And lastly, picture books can have as few as 100 words, and in any case certainly fewer than 1,000 words.
Find out more here:
https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/33/preparing-for-submission/how-to-find-a-literary-agent/how-long-should-my-ms-be
As for Articles and Short Stories etc., if you have been asked to write one, or  doing the short story for a competition, then the rules will tell you how long they should be. If your short story is longer than 10,000 words, then it isn’t a short story, it’s on it’s way to being a novella.
Well, that’s me all caught up with the A to Z, I have no idea how to catch up on the novel just yet. I may have to let it go, but I will remain hopeful.
Jean DavisApril 9, 2018 at 1:36 pm EditKnowing the general target range is helpful. I’m always torn between advising new writers to know the length of the genre they are writing and just telling them to write the darn story and worry about the length later. Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the how to do something rather than just getting it done. In this case, length does matter, but only once you are ready to submit/publish.
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)April 9, 2018 at 2:05 pm EditI would agree with the last sentence you wrote in the comments, when you get to the final draft, or the one just before it, then take note of your length. Up till then just write and edit. Thanks for the feedback.
howikilledbettyApril 9, 2018 at 1:41 pm EditThat’s a great post … I had no idea! This might be a really obvious question but presumably there is a way of the computer counting these words for us?! What on earth did they do historically? Katie
The Wicked Writer (aka abydos6)April 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm A lesson in backing up, I had a wonderful reply typed, pressed a button to edit and it vanished…lol. Most writing programs have word counts or stats, and there is also online apps that you copy and paste your document into. In the old days they would count the words very carefully, much like the following piece I found online states…’Well, the 500-word essay length depends on several factors, particularly on how big you write or the font that you use in your 500-word essay. You may be wondering how many pages this number of words will take. Usually, handwritten 500-word essays are about 2-4 pages long (4 pages if your writing is colossal)’…hope that helps.Liked by 1 person
howikilledbettyApril 9, 2018 at 3:16 pm Brilliant! Thanks … Looking forward to reading more of your posts … Katie
Jeanne Bryan InsalacoApril 19, 2018 at 3:28 pm
Interesting on the word count! One of my blog posts was almost 5000 words – I know it was too long but as I wrote it for myself to print, I wrote long posts!

I is for….

One of the things you get asked when you first let people know that you are a writer, besides…”I have this story I would like help with…” is ‘where do you get your ideas?’ to people who don’t write the getting of ideas seems very daunting. but like other artists out there such as musicians, and those who paint or draw for a living, the answer is…everywhere.

Now to us it seems like such a simple comment, because for us it is true. our ideas come when we are daydreaming, when we are people watching, reading, watching tv, doing dishes and yes, even sitting in the bath…everything is capable of giving us an idea for a novel, or short story.

While watching the news one day there was a piece about a disease that could harm pregnant women in i think Brazil. My imagination took hold of that and created this idea…one i am sure had been thought of several times before, by various writers and told in their way.

THE END OF MAN

  1. VIRUS ESCAPES LAB
  2. VIRUS ATTACKS MALES ONLY
  3. MALES START TO DIE OUT
  4. SPERM FROM THAT GENERATION IS NO GOOD
  5. IT BEGINS TO ATTACK STORED SPERM IN CHEAP VAULTS
  6. A METHOD OF PROTECTION IS CREATED FOR WHAT STORED SPERM IS LEFT
  7. YEARS LATER, WHEN MALES ARE DEAD, AND IT IS SAFE TO USE THE SPERM, A LOTTERY IS CREATED

That is as far as I got with it. I realize looking back that it is another version of ‘A Handmaids Tale’ but with men being the ones with the virus. Reading other writers work will also spurt ideas, a line that the Author has written can raise a what if question. A line from a song can make you wonder what would happen if a knight from long ago was to arrive in our time? how did he/she get here? how do they get back? what do they do? This can be so many things…a comedy (most would write it that way), a romance, a thriller, a fairy tale,  a horror, a fantasy…all you need to do is get your brain working, and if its having issues, give it a kick start use the Internet.

The internet is both the savior and the bane of modern writers, in the old days we would have a library full of reference books, that we would have to visit, or our own collection at home, if we could afford them. Now it is all available at the touch of a button, and with it also new distractions.

We writers who publish our own books and at times even those who have been picked up by traditional publishing, are expected to build our own platforms online (more on that later), while maintaining these our selves we can often find ourselves falling down various rabbit holes and neglecting the actual novel writing. there are apps available that can stop you sneaking onto the web, sounding an alarm if you go over a set time limit.

One such app is this:  https://forestapp.cc/en/  it plants a tree and if you don’t stay focused it kills it, available free as a chrome extension, which i will let you know more about when i get a chance to use it.

Well that’s today’s letter. Thank you for all your comments.

Elephant’s ChildApril 10, 2018 at 9:06 pm Edit

Definitely interesting. Ideas are like butterflies aren’t they? Ephemeral magic.

J is for….

Journals…aka notebooks….

All writers are supposed to have them, tucked away inside their coat pockets, their bags, and sitting beside their beds in case of that spur of the moment idea. They can be any shape or size, expensive or cheap, but they should definitely be part of your writing life.

In 2018, with smart phones, smart watches, tablets, netbooks and laptops, journals aren’t necessarily needed to be brought everywhere. Instead little memo apps are the new journals. These little apps either come pre installed, or you can download them free. They are basically there for making quick notes.

If you want to get more technical, with the actual Journal or even digital Memo, you can section them off, compartments for character descriptions, Plot ideas, people watching, location descriptions, research, things heard to be used later…that kind of thing. As far as digital memos go, you can open up new memos with each of these things and others as headings, or invest in OneNote, or evernote, or other tabbed devices like that.

I prefer the feel of paper, and seeing my own handwriting, but in a pinch I will use the memo program on my phone, I just forget to transcribe it when I get home.

As a fantasy writer, I have several ‘journals’ for different sections of my novel building, I have character bios, world building, organisations, Novel / Series Outline, Notes on Beta Draft, TG Bio, Novel Outline, Research_Cover_Inner pages_Blurbs. Each one is extremely necessary and extremely useful. Though I am thinking of moving them to plastic folders which won’t take up as much room on the desk…decisions, decisions.

K is for….

Killing Characters and Keeping Drafts…

One of the most difficult things to do, unless you have already pre – determined who is going to die, is to kill off your characters. let me put it to you this way, you have written this characters bio, you know them better than you know your nearest and dearest, and now, you are about to send them to Hades, or heaven, or the summerlands, or where ever. They are to bite the bullet…

But…how can you do it, how can you end the life of this person…for a lot of writers it can be difficult for the above reasons, you’ve become attached. You’ll squirm your way around it, then apologize profusely to the character as you have the place explode, or the cave ceiling fall in on them. Others don’t find it so hard, the character that has to die, is based on someone they don’t like, someone that has annoyed them beyond belief, so it for them is a simple matter of typing the words gleefully as they end their fictional lives.

The one thing I will say about killing characters is that you should make their deaths count for something, a mystery solved, motivation for Lillian or even hero, the start of a mystery…make it count, because if you have created a character, one that not only you, but your readers are going to become attached to, you better have a damn good reason to end them.

Other characters are easy to kill, these don’t get much of a bio, they are there to move the villain / hero forward as well, we don’t have as much vested in them. In their creation we have only spent moments, their lives may or may not link with the hero, or the villain.

Drafts of your novel should be kept in print on your book shelves (the first one, and the last one), as versions 1 – ? on your computer, saved to the cloud with the novel name, and the draft version number, as well as backed up onto another hard drive. I keep a version of all my novels on my computer and on my portable hard drive, as well as saved to the cloud. Every time I start a new draft at the beginning, I copy and paste the previous version to a new blank document, then promptly save that with Draft 1, or 2, or 3…you get the idea.

It is important for me to do this, as I can look back on these drafts and see if I missed anything, or how good / bad it’s become.

L is for….

Libricide and Loving what you do.

What is Libricide? It is something that every single writer and reader is fearful off, it is the killing of books. Now when I looked this up, some of the various sites indicated that writing in books, and bending pages back, and folding down corners was just as terrifying as banning them or burning them.

That is NOT how I view the killing of books. Let me tell you what I think, and please, remember these A to Z posts are mostly my own opinion, unless otherwise stated. I think how books are killed is burning, deleting, and not passing on the love of reading to the next generation and yes I am including E – Books in this.

Making notes in a book, underlining a section, putting down a corner is not destruction, to me it is love. My dad passed a few years ago, he left a load of books, inside them were various things used as book marks, receipts,  scratch cards, and cardboard book marks with the shops names on them. Some had folded corners, which I’ve left folded down, none had writing in them, which I found a little upsetting as I would have loved to have known how he felt about them, and kept that reminder. On reading some, directly after his passing, I have written my own little missives inside.

My kids may or may not keep these books when I pass, if not I hope they leave my little messages alone, so someone else can read how I felt on reading those precious memories from my father. In other instances, cookery books, with notations of how the chef / cook changed each recipe to suit themselves or their families are a link to the past and the mind that once owned them. I do know that people think this is destruction as the inks or lead will corrupt the page, but I don’t, I see it as a connection, a piece of historical reference…always have, and I doubt if that will change at this stage.

No, Libricide to me is the wanton burning, and ripping apart of books, it is deleting a book from existence because you don’t agree with it. I can’t even watch scenes in movies where you see book burning during the second world war, or a fire in a library, or people even using books to make art. I still mourn the loss of Alexandria. Killing books also happens when we as parents neglect to pass on the love of reading to the next generation, to our children. They don’t have to read fiction, just have a love of reading books. We should bring our children to the libraries, spend the day with them, or at least an hour, picking books to read at night, or during down time from computers and such. But, that’s just me.

Loving what you do, it seems to be such a given thing. I mean, if you hate reading, hate the process of writing, then why do it? Can you love a thing because you expect it to earn you money? I don’t know and personally I don’t think so. There needs to be a love there, a love of the subject, a love of the writing, of reading the finished product. Sure writing is time consuming, and yes it is generally spent alone tap, tap, tapping on a keyboard while staring at a screen or a blank sheet of paper, but in order to do it well, I think someplace, along side seeing it as a job you also need to be in love with it.

Once again, I will use what I love as a reference. I love the world building, the outlining, the initial drafts, tinkering with the story and the plot. When it is flowing, I am so in love with what I do that I get one heck of an endorphin rush. Then when it’s not flowing, when it refuses to move ahead no matter how I approach it, I would love to chuck the computer out the window, I still love it, just not as much. I guess it’s like any good relationship.  It won’t always be flowers and nights out, cuddles on the couch cooing to each other, nope, sometimes its a silent slam of the door, a glare across the room, an ‘I’m not bloody talking to you until you apologize’ moment. Where you don’t pack your bags and leave because it’s not violent, and not manipulative, and not abusive, but still loving, just not talking.

To do what we writers do, does take love and I for one j’adore writing.

M is for…

Marketing…

Oh boy, Marketing…hands up everyone that hates this part of the job? Yup me three. Marketing them selves as well as the books they have written has become something that all writers have to do now days.

When you get into the whole writing business you are told that you need to set up yourself a writers platform. Now you ask yourself, all fresh and new to the business, what on earth is that. Well my new little beauties, it’s where you set yourself up a whole slew of media accounts online.

Facebook:

It is recommended that every writer has an authors page. Now this can be quite difficult at the moment when a few people are leaving facebook as it takes up their time and gets in the way. My Author page is directed at other authors, at fantasy / urban fantasy/ women centered book pages, beta readers, nanowrimo pages, A to Z challenge pages, blogger pages, critique pages, publishers…that kind of thing which helps you build a fanbase.

Twitter:

Twitter is basically there to add more groups and writers etc., it allows you in only 240 characters to tell the world about your book, your process and build a base of followers.

Instagram:

This one works by also allowing you to add people in the above categories, but also allows you to take photos of things pertaining to your life of writing and share them with your expanding fan base.

Good Reads:

Allows you to create an authors page, especially if you already have a novel / book written. This is another way to build a following. It also allows you to follow other writers and find books you’d long forgotten about.

Pinterest:

Now when I first read that I should build an account on here I was over come with a ‘but why would I do that, it’s all about pinning images and stuff’ but I recently found out, that it is handy for creating an online mood board, someplace where images pertaining to your novel (or images that remind you of characters, places etc.,), can and do reside. It might also help expand that fan base.

All Author:

This is a new one for me, this site helps you to promote your book, and also allows readers to find your book. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Website:

You can either build a free one (check out other Author sites to see what they have on them and copy what works on them to suit yourself), I use WordPress as you can see for my Website, once again, its all about marketing not only your book, but yourself.

All these sites can also give you personal pages, but I would recommend (advice I need to take for myself), that you have not only a Author page, but a private one as well, that way the Author page stays the ‘work and marketing’ page and the private one is just what it says on the tin.

So there you have it, any questions, just ask.

N is for….

Nanowrimo, and Notes….

I’ve mentioned Nanowrimo several times in various posts on here, and some of you might think, well what is that, it is simply a thing whereby every single November you sign up to write 50,000 words in that entire month. At the end if you succeed you will get a certificate and the knowledge that you have an awesome first draft done, then in April and I think June you get a chance to go to Campwrimo (which I’ve failed this month) in order to work on that draft, or another one…https://nanowrimo.org

Now if you lose, you still have a piece of work to work with, and that’s good as well. During this process you will have made tonnes of notes (right!), in your notebooks and possibly even have a rough outline made.

You will have the base of a character outline, a world outline, and the rest of the things we talked about in Journals. So that when campwrimo rolls around, you have something to work with.

I love notebooks, my darling wife is always asking me why I need so many, and I ask her why does she need so many canvas’ or paint brushes, or sketching pencils…then I think she kinda gets it till the next time.

Isn’t there something about a pretty notebook that gives you the writer/author a thrill are you like me, do you touch the paper inside to feel how smooth or rough it is, do you smell it? Is it the cover that sells it to you? I’ll let you in on a little secret, I do all of these…and another secret, I have a beautiful A4 notebook that I have no idea what to write in it, but it’s just pretty…lol. Worse than the pen / pencil fetish.

O is for….

Opening Scenes and Outlines….

Ah the opening scene…how many writers have sat at their desks, staring at blank pages and trying to figure out what the perfect opening scene is? I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to do that (please don’t scream at me, just keep reading), well not yet anyway. When you begin to write, just write, get it started, then you can come back and sweat blood about it if you so desire.

We are fed in school, so many brilliant opening scenes and told so often that unless we have one our book will fail because no one will ever buy it. Well that wouldn’t work on me as a reader because I’m one of those flick to the last page and read purchasers…sacrilege….but I never claimed to be ordinary.

I personally love the ‘open with a bang’ idea, start with action and keep on going with it. By action in this instance, I actually do mean Action…people fighting, running, a murder, a theft…things like that. But don’t let it weigh you down if you don’t. Start as you think it should start, and keep going, and as I said before, come back to it and rework it. I mean, once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, other beginnings were popular, and no longer are.

Besides which, if you outline your book, you will have a fair idea (hopefully) as to how your book should start and if not how, at least where. Now some people don’t like outlines, I didn’t really in the beginning either, like most I believed that it would halt my creativity, it would crush my imagination, stifle my writing skills and lead to blandness…but once I realized that the outline is NOT carved in stone…but only a list of guidelines, subject to change (more than once in some instances), I was able to create my first one, and you know what I haven’t stopped since.

OUTLINE:

Short Version of Story

Woman is in train accident, family thinks she’s dead, she wakes up in a cryo tube years in the future, an experiment that is now being hunted by the decedents of the systems creation for fun.

Chapter One:

  • introduce character
  • driver is paid to create crash
  • train crash
  • fake medical services arrive, there is a countdown
  • real medical services arrive

Chapter Two:

  • family goes in search of daughter do not find her
  • her apartment has been trashed
  • investigations begin
  • investigator is warned off, tells family he has no idea

Chapter Three:

  • Cryo lab where woman and others are frozen
  • medics debate where bodies came from
  • boss pays off all involved with a hitman
  • bodies are stored in various sites around the world

Chapter Four:

  • World War 3 begins
  • everything falls apart
  • some tubes are destroyed
  • people starving, all goes bad
  • cryo creater becomes big wig, his kids are spoilt

Chapter Five:

  • Woman’s tube opens,
  • hunter in room, she almost gets killed
  • stranger saves her
  • she escapes both
  • on the run, the sights, sounds, disbelief, goes home

Chapter Six:

  • building of home destroyed
  • discovers family is dead bar one
  • person who saved her says they might help her, if she helps them…

And so on, this is a very basic outline, it has loads, and loads of wiggle room. This is also a story I don’t think I’ll ever write as I have so much more to go on with. But you never know.

P is for…

Preparing to Publish, Prologues and Proof Reading….

When you look on the internet there are a whole load of sites that offer you guides to publishing your book, or rather, guides that will help you prepare to publishyour book,  such as https://www.wikihow.com/Write-and-Publish-a-Book which seems to cover from getting your idea to the printed copy and it comes with pictures too. Then there is https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/06/10-quick-tips-to-get-your-manuscript-ready-for-publication/ which lays out ten rather decent steps to cleaning up your manuscript before you send it onto a book designer, https://www.standoutbooks.com/getting-your-book-published/ has more ideas all lined up for you to write and prepare to publish your book. All three sites are worth bookmarking for future reference. As with all things, researching what to do is always the best option. Find out what works for you and then go do it.

Prologues seem to be getting a bad rap these days. They are no longer in fashion, but that doesn’t stop writers like myself from using them. Some writers maintain that a prologue is simply a first chapter, I would tend to argue that most prologues are several years / centuries and even months before the start (official start) of the book. They are setting you up with the information that you need to know in order to continue reading. Which in fantasy and Sci – Fi can be rather important. Also bear in mind, even in the movie world these days more and more prequels (prologues) are being made to explain or explore characters or stories backgrounds. I personally have no problem with them, and rather enjoy them.

Proof Reading is another thing that is rather important, it is when you hire someone, or you yourself go through the finished manuscript and search for errors, and here you need to actually make a note of things, such as blue eyes in chapter three, and same character having green eyes in chapter 10, now unless they have put in contacts that won’t fly. Proof reading will also catch the spelling of Alien Names, or / and grammar. As with anything else, a search online will bring up some sites, also bear in mind, that there are apps that you can get for free, or purchase that will help you with proofreading your document, but they really can’t beat someone that is trained to do the job professionally. Here are some sites that I found…

Well I hope they help you out.

Q is for….

Query Letter and Quitting…

When you have reached your last draft (some writers will say before that), you can, during your down time, attempt to tackle, especially if you are going down the route of traditional publishing, or paying to have your book published by vanity press or one of the other kinds of self – publishing houses, you may need to get acquainted with writing a Query Letter or two…

Now, what is this thing you may ask, and I would answer it is what it says on the tin, a letter enquireing of an agent, or of a publishing house, if they would like to take on you and your book to publish. As mentioned before, if you are going down the traditional publishing route, you may and most often do need the hand of an agent to help get you through the door. Writing these letters seems to strike fear into the hearts of some writers, but it’s worthwhile trying your hand at. I haven’t done one yet, because I chose to e-publish and a query letter wasn’t necessary.

Here are some sites that will help you find your way through this maze.

They can be difficult to get through, but I am sure that if you do your research, and follow the guidelines that each has in common, you will succeed with a decent query letter that will get your book noticed in the right way.

How often as a Writer and as an Author have you felt like throwing in the towel? I know I haven’t written as much as I should have, or even when I should have, self – doubt and depression has crippled me for years, but I’ve never quit, I’ve never thrown my arms up in the air and screamed that I cannot possibly do this anymore…sure I’ve felt like it, but I haven’t yet.

Quitting writing to me would be like cutting off an arm, my head swims with way too many stories, my characters are to me like my long suffering children, clamoring to be written down and sent out into the world, and so far I’ve only put one out there. Sometimes I feel like I should draw her back in and rework her, but I’m being good and leaving her where she is, even if I’ve had no comments good, bad or indifferent. I’ve sold a few, just no one seems to be reading it.

Which, when working on this second novel in the series makes me wonder sometimes if I am fooling myself, the answer is no, I’m not, I’m going to keep going and each novel will be better than the last one, as I said, quitting doesn’t really appeal to me where my writing is concerned. If it appeals to you, then maybe you aren’t cut out for it. Maybe it’s time to look at something else…or simply to change genre or audience age grouping…

But, if writing and publishing are things that make your blood rush a little faster through your body, make you happy and leave you feeling fulfilled, then maybe you should just step away for a little bit, maybe all you need is a break, a holiday. If that doesn’t bring you back on track, then maybe it really isn’t for you and you need to look at doing something else.

R is for….

Reading and Research….

Both my topics for this post are relatively the same thing, and completely different in other instances. It has been said that in order to write one must read, and read widely. As authors of one genre or another, we are also told we should be reading what we are writing, and by such I mean reading Young Adult books if that is what we are writing, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Sci – Fi, Romance, Horror…etc.,

The reason behind this is that we cannot be proficient (so it goes), in our chosen genres if we don’t have a clue what others have written before us. Now that does in the most part hold up, but what if its one of those new little, offshoots of genre, one of those barely known little segments? Well then I guess you are kinda on your own aren’t you? So where you can, I personally would recommend that you read what you are proposing to write, just to show you the various styles of the writers in your genres. It has also been said that while you are in the act of writing you should read anything but the area you are writing, in case your words begin to reflect the author you are writing (even if copying is the best form of flattery), it can be rather annoying as well.

Reading in the area you are writing about can also be considered to be research, and it can be considered such when you are reading to figure out how to do it, or how it is written and if there are any particular rules you must follow. Otherwise, it’s simply fun. Research can be both, personally, I tend to get sidetracked (which is why I usually have a notebook with the question or thing I am researching written down clearly in case I loose track), because I love finding out new things and you never know when they might be useful…but…we need to learn in that case to draw ourselves back and bookmark that area for further reading once we’re finished what we are doing at the moment.

There are various ways to research something,

  • People, professors, historians, and experts in many fields if they are amenable to being interviewed on their chosen subject.
  • The Internet in 2018 is the most used source we have, everything you ever wanted to know about everything (and somethings you didn’t want to know) are openly available.
  • Books, Yes those heavy things that your parents had in the house called encyclopedias, handy for historians, there are also books on every single subject you can, or would want, but they cost money, though some older books, can become available as a free PDF, or free e-book which is back to digital media.
  • Magazines, one for almost every single subject you could be looking for.
  • Maps, of houses, localities, the earth, the solar system…
  • Libraries as a resource for research contain all of the above.

It is a lot easier these days to research a subject, but when looking to have something historically correct, you must ensure the site, or the author of the site, if searching online, actually knows what he / she is talking about and accurate.

To do this you should check the following…

  1. Look for Sites from Established Institutions. …
  2. Look for Sites With Expertise. …
  3. Steer Clear of Commercial Sites. …
  4. Beware Bias. …
  5. Check the Date. …
  6. Look at the Site’s Look. …
  7. Avoid Anonymous Authors. …
  8. Check the Links…(https://www.thoughtco.com/gauging-website-reliability-2073838)

also check out this site for more info on how to check sites https://blog.webnames.ca/how-to-determine-if-a-website-is-a-fake-fraud-or-scam/

S is for…

Self Publishing, Short Stories and Synopsis…

There always has been a lot of debate around Self Publishing vs Traditional Publishing, most of it has tried to tell authors that there is only one way to be truly considered an author, and that is to go down the route of Traditional Publishing, where by the writer and hopefully soon to be published Author gets an Agent and together they proposition Publishing houses in order to get the newly finished manuscript published. This can take anything from 6 months to a year or two, providing you have been accepted and your manuscript hasn’t made it out of the slush pile.

Self Publishers have maintained that publishing e-books, publishing on demand (POD), paying to have your book published and vanity press is the way to go, especially in the age of computers, smart phones and smart tv’s. For these you don’t necessarily need an agent, they can be done by the writer (WITH CAREFUL RESEARCH TO MAKE SURE YOU AREN’T BEING TAKEN FOR YOUR MONEY). E – books like Kindle don’t cost anything to upload, if you use cover apps such as Cava you can create beautiful front page images, and now you even have the option to Print On Demand.

Some well known authors are now having their books updated into e-book format.

In the world of writing Short Stories seem to be making a bit of a comeback, it could be debated that the rise in popularity again could be caused by low attention spans, and the desire to finish a story quickly. Short Stories are even shorter for the most part, than Novellas, which are shorter than Novels. A lot of Authors are writing short stories to put into their own anthologies, or other group anthologies where they share the fame with other writers. A short story is about 10 pages long, or 30,000 words.

When you have finished writing your piece you will then have to write a Synopsis, this is when you give a brief (very brief) summery of your novel that you will send to the prospective publisher of your new book. Some sites I looked at have said that you can actually write these before you even start writing your book, but then I would personally call that your ‘story idea’. Some writers panic about writing these, I haven’t had to personally do one as of yet as I am an e-book publisher.

T is for…

Time Outs, Travel Writing and Trust.

Time outs are important in writing, they are the down times in-between drafts where you let the story rest, and let your imagination wind itself back in again before you take it out and start the re – drafts / writes. Time outs are also important if you have a case of writers block, the kind that happens when you are stuck on a scene and can’t move any further, at these stages if you take a break and go for a walk it can clear your head, if not then come back and open a clean page, then interview the character, or characters (you could even add the villain) about the scene that has you stuck, this could do the trick. If you find yourself trying it, let me know if it works for you.

So what do you do if you are traveling and writing at the same time? This is where the likes of one note, or Dropbox, or any of those online little notebooks/ programs come in handy as you can take your work with you no matter where you are. Also, when travelling, if you like to write the odd blog post, or article on travelling, you can use your portable app to help out with that. Personally, being paid to go and do Travel Writing does appeal to me, I wonder how you get into that job?

One of the biggest things a writer / author does is to trust people, they trust that beta readers will give them accurate and credible feedback, they trust that an Agent won’t take them for every penny and will have their best interests at heart. They trust that if they are paying to be published that the company they have chosen will actually do as they said they would, and that those who read the books will leave reviews and let others as well as the writer know what they thought about it. Writers and Authors also trust that what they have written will be good enough for people to read.

U is for…

Understanding the Process and Underestimating your Audience

From start to finish the process of writing and publishing your piece of work is a long and sometimes arduous. Many writers fail at the first hurdle, they either overwork their manuscript, or don’t do anymore than one edit of the first draft. A writer must Understand the entire process of writing from where they get their ideas from, how to do research, if they are going to outline or not, what is  needed to world build, how to flesh out a character, that it takes more than one draft, sometimes an editor is needed and whether or not they want to go down the traditional publishing route or choose one of the other methods of self publishing.

All this takes time and practice. Most of us aren’t able to write a novel in one sitting, not a decent one. And I don’t mean working and reworking each sentence until it’s perfect, because no matter what you think, you are still drafting, redrafting, and redrafting again, the only difference between this method and the one that I choose to use (the whole thing first, then work on it for several more drafts in it’s entirety), is that I work on the entire manuscript until I’m satisfied of it’s completion.

Which brings me to another point, which is do not underestimate your audience. The people who read your books aren’t stupid, so don’t treat them as such. You don’t need to explain everything to them, or as the saying goes ‘draw them a picture’ the trick is to try and figure out what needs more in-depth explanation, and what doesn’t. Using the adage that you write what you know, why not aim your explanations in that area as well, if you have had to research it, maybe a short explanation is needed in the novel, with more showing than telling.

V is for…

Viewpoint and Voice

Viewpoint is a persons opinion or point of view, where as Voice is the authors style of writing, and sometimes they both get mixed up.

When you begin writing your piece of work, you must figure out who or what is talking, what kind of narrator you have. The simple method is this…is it in YOU, is it in I, is it in SHE, HE, IT, or is it a view point that comes from everywhere? When you have decided, then you can start writing, usually I write in the She, he, it style and alternate chapters to give the view points of my various main characters, sometimes two good guys, and the villain…sometimes a little more.

One of the hardest viewpoints to write in is the ‘I’ viewpoint…though once you get the hang of it, it can be fun. What viewpoint do you favor?

The authors style of writing, or Voice is something that is developed over time, it’s how you write, what brings your work to life, breathes air into your characters. It can be difficult to find at times, especially if you are copying other writers in order to learn how to do it. I think, and it’s just what I think mind you, that you should write as you mean to go on, sit down, and write. If you have read widely, a style that you like will develop, stay patient, it’s in there, it just needs to wake up and get out.

W is for…

Write what you know…

Now this is a big one…this is one that got me staring at my blank pages for a long time in my 20s and early 30s trying to figure out what exactly did I know. I mean, if I wrote what I knew, really knew, then it would be extremely short, and there would be nothing there. Then I had a light bulb moment.

I liked to write sci – fi / fantasy mix, slash fiction about superheros and shows I watched, as I had watched them, and read some books based on them, then for the sake of argument, I knew them. So I could write about them with confidence.

Then I got another realization, I was writing fantasy, sci – fi, urban F and Fi, and building worlds, and creating characters from scratch, having read tonnes of Sci fi, urban F and Fi, and fantasy books, I knew about them, about those worlds, so all I needed to do was take what I knew and adapt it for my worlds, my characters and try to work my novels that way.

Once I had that figured out, the block I’d built up fell away, I realized I knew more than I thought I knew and what I didn’t know, I could research and learn it. I was still sticking to the ‘write what you know’ adage, but now I was learning new things every single day, I was becoming an expert in pub quiz levels of knowledge and in actual comprehension of a subject level (though now the wo pause is active I find the brain a little soft).

So you see, ‘write what you know’ covers a whole range of stuff and if you read, or surf the net, you already know a lot more than what you think you do.

X is for…

Xenagogue and Xerox…

Now to be honest, to be completely and utterly honest, I was stuck with X, and Z but I found some words that I could use, you’ll have to wait until Z for those ones, but for now lets tackle Xenagogue, now what does it mean? Go on, I’ll wait…

Xenagogue means guide, and that is what I hope this A to Z Blogging Challenge here on ‘The Road to Being a Published Writer’ has been for you out there. Although a bit jumbled, and probably not making much sense in some places (mail me if this is the case for you, or message me and I’ll get back to you), but a guide none the less.

In the world of writing, and being an Author, the best guides for writers are those written by other writers, on subjects such as characters, viewpoints, villains, costume, being a private eye and poisons…to name a few. Other guides are websites that belong to writing groups, writing magazines, publishing houses and sometimes Authors themselves that will contain information that you may require.

As for Xerox, we actually covered it in C…or was that B, or D…anyway, what it means is Copies, and you should have a copy of your manuscript saved to the cloud, portable hard drive, memory stick, and of course, in hard copy. Keep your copies numbered, version, or draft number helps, as well as start and finish date. Also if you wish you should make notes in a notebook regarding how many pages you’ve written, what needs to be done, version / draft…etc.,

Y is for…

Young Authors (YA) and Yield!!

Writers for Young Authors are writing for the age grouping of 12 to 18 years of age, although a good many readers now days are also adults. If you propose as an adult to write in this genre you should read as much of it as possible. These books usually have a teen as a main character and deal with most teenage situations (some in the fantasy/ sci – fi/ horror/ mystery realms among others).

What you may ask do I mean by Yield, well I mean we as writers need to recognize when our work is done, when the manuscript that we have slaved over is finally ready to go to the editor / proof reader for the last time. It is at that stage that we must Yield to that that knowledge and tell the nerves and the negative committee in our heads to shut up and sit the feck down.

Z is for…

Zazzy and Zone…

Well folks, that’s it. I did what I didn’t think I could do, and finished the blogging challenge, now there are no physical or monetary awards, but a sticker I can put here on the blog, and the achievement.

At the moment with writing, anything that is too flashy is frowned upon, writing must have purpose, each sentence and paragraph sculpted to the nth so that it can be read precisely. Back in the day novels such as the penny dreadful, and the dime-store novel were zazzy in nature, flashy, Gothic and filled with tales of daring do, death and blood.

As for Zone, this is the wonderful zen like state you enter into when you are writing and everything is pouring out of you and onto the page with no need of editing or correcting, everything is perfect, even the temperature in the room, and you feel no pain in your sore wrist while you type, so unlike me at the moment, so I will just stop there and go put my brace back on, safe in the knowledge that I finished at least one thing this month.

To those who have followed me through this, thank you for sticking with me, for those who have just joined me, welcome, I hope not to disappoint, please feel free to comment and ask any questions you may have.

To you all…

I am done for today, I will see you all soon.