I can’t say I’ve missed this blog though. I feel it became a toxic ranting space for me, and I don’t want to contribute to that kind of atmosphere. So! I’m thinking of rehashing this space. I think I want a nice space for my writing dilemmas and ideas, with the occasional mental health update. I guess I want to still give you all a glimpse at what it’s like ‘behind the scenes’ as well as somewhere to talk with people about my writerly life.
So, on that note, how have things been going with me?
Things have been going well, darlings. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been very active with my birdies and getting a grip on managing them and their many projects. That was, for a while, my most engrossing project. But lately, I’ve been finding my feet with Farfadel and other novels as well. My mental health has been very up and down, but in a general upwards streak.
Lately, as in the past month or so, building up until the past week, I’ve been having Kuryo and Chaos’ story stuck in my head. So! I decided this week to bite the bullet and start re-editing that messy blurb.
In my head, it was an impossible task! How could stories inspired by dreams be anything but a chaotic mess?
But, after re-reading the first three books, those in Kuryo’s series, I’m shocked. They’re not that bad, for real! They’re pretty cohesive, and the last one is the one that is the most messy, but it’s not unfixable. It’s hardly as bad as I thought it was!
One major thing I want to rework is an ending for one of the villains of part 1: Kay.
Now I’m not going to tell you who he is (that would be spoilers!) but I am going to say I’m thinking of having him team up with Bella later on in the series. That would be such a pain in the ass for Kuryo and Chaos! He also is the absolute opposite of Bella, so they would make quite a team. Whereas Bella is more of a hysterical squirrel with rabies, I think of Kay as more calculated and professional. Like an angry ice cube!
On another note, I got my quasi-ancient scanner to pick up on my watercolor paintings, so here is a painting I did yesterday of Kay. You can maybe guess who he is by the picture 😛
Finally, I’m going to blow some time rehashing this blog. I want to redesign it and make it all pretty and writing-focused. So hopefully that means lots more artworks, and writing-focused sections! Let me know who you think Kay is in the comments! And do tell me how you’ve been doing!
Not only is today Beltane, but I finished writing a book today! Ranger’s book!
Of course, it’s the first in the series and it needs to be heavily edited, BUT -> it’s done! It just feels so poetic to have finished it, typing those very last words, out today, on Beltane!
I was thinking it would be EPIC to do, but was sure that something would come up. I thought that it wouldn’t happen but IT DID! It feels so poetic and dramatic and fateful, like I’m really on the right path ❤
Now, I know it needs a TON of editing. Really, I’m not sure what to do with it beyond that. I don’t feel ready to share it with y’all yet. But I want to! I want to talk all about it! It’s just so much fun and Ranger is such a blast and Ursula is so epic! The plot is so dense and AHHHHHH!
Is it normal to fansqueal over your own story? Asking for a friend, haha!
Anyways, I’m doing good y’all. A little fan-squealing, not just over my own story, but over a CDrama on Netlfix called ‘the Untamed’. Y’all, it’s based off a gay romance! They had to turn it into a bromance to get it past censorship issues, but it’s essentially, at its core, a gay romance! SQUEAL! I love it. It’s just so hilarious and over the top and dramatic. Cringe-y, but fun and distracting. It really, honestly, makes me wish I could write something so funny and distracting. Like, now I want to write a silly romance because of it!
But nope, I probably won’t. I think I’m going to stick with Ranger’s series and (hopefully) finish that!
Finally, this is a quick sketch I did of a very important character (and general badass in the story) – Ursula. Prior to the novel, Ursula was a nun, renounced her vows, wrote a philosophy book, stoked up a rebellion, and took over large parts of the country the novel is set in. She was stopped when she was mysteriously murdered, and the story of the series centers largely around her minions trying to bring her back to life so she can return to rule once again.
Anyways, I hope y’all have a good day! I’ll be… drawing and writing? Celebrating with more drawings? Who knows?
Alright, epically, you’ve written art. Cool. Good job. Now you’ve got to edit it.
Aughhhhh, no one wants to do that, but we’ve all got to do it. Especially us indie authors who have no editor friends. Also, even if you’re querying, it’s a good idea to edit your manuscript and polish it until your nerves are practically done before handing it out to anyone.
So how the hell does anyone edit something that they’ve written themselves? I’ve heard it said that it can’t be done, but again, I beg to fuckin’ differ.
Here’s how I approach editing: you want to read through the text and check for 1) ‘feel’ 2) technicalities 3) all the senses.
Now, I wrote those in order of importance. First, if your happy fairy tale suddenly has bugs bursting out of bodies, you’ve got a major problem, no matter your grammar. So first things first is to make sure that your ‘feel’ stays consistent, as much as you want it to.
Secondly, ‘Feel’ trumps grammar. If it’s part of your ‘feel’ for a character to speak like a sailor, then that sticks and grammar fucks off. If you have a character that talks like Yoda, then you keep it that way and forget about sentence structure. This is important, so I’ll repeat again: Feel trumps grammar.
So say you’ve read your chapter through and through, and the ‘feel’ is consistent. Then you move on to technicalities. Technicalities includes things like grammar, your character having the right color of hair throughout the entire story, and making sure that your bread is rising in the right direction (up and out) in your baking novel.
Also, this is the part where you make sure there are no gaping ‘plot holes’. If it helps, make a running chart or list of unfinished pointers and questions as you read the novel through. But you really want to make a point of tying them all in, without disturbing the ‘feel’.
You edit technicalities as long as they don’t interrupt the ‘Feel’. If they clash, you’ve got a major editing decision to make. If it’s part of the ‘feel’ of the story for your bread to not rise, then maybe you’ve got some researching to do as to why the bread isn’t rising and work that into the novel. Or maybe you’re writing a surreal novel? Either way, you want the ‘feel’ to work with your technicalities, not to clash. So work that out.
Third, and finally, and least important of all, you want to run through your novel and check if you satisfy all the senses. In my opinion, you’re going to want to immerse a reader by tickling all their senses, like sight, smell, taste, texture, and emotion.
So let’s go back to that apple and the knife. What does it feel like? Sharp? Crisp? What colors are they? Steely grey and bright red? What does it smell like? Sweet apples, I hope. What’s the emotion you’re trying to convey? Sadness, maybe?
Now, as I said, this is the last and least important. WHOAH! You’d think this’d be the most important, but it’s not. It’s even after grammar (and I hate grammar). Why, why, why? Because, if your ‘feel’ is already there and okay, not only should you already have a certain amount of senses covered, but you should already have chosen which sense you’ve covered.
If you start every paragraph by listing the senses, your writing is going to get dull fast. The point in checking this point is not to make sure they’re all always there, but that the right ones are at the right place. I’d say, on average, to aim for three to four senses to fill per scene. If you’re really setting a scene, aim for more. If you’re more spartan and want a ‘lighter’ feel, aim for less. That’s it.
Basically, that’s how you edit your novel. You can go nuts breaking down things and saying that you need to plot out the character’s love arc and double-check that it all makes ‘sense’ and whatnot, but really, I think that if you let your intuition reign while writing and editing and sticking to your ‘feel’, your story will turn out pretty good.
I tend to write a bunch. But one thing that (fatefully) I said the other day, was that I couldn’t write about writing. And now someone has asked me to do just that – and I think I can do it.
Let’s just explain something for starters here. There are two kinds of authors out there: plotters and pantsters. Plotters ‘plot’ out everything that they want to happen before they write it. Pantsters ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ and wing it.
Theoretically, plotting is the smarter way to write. But practically, it leads to stale, choked-up writing in my experience. Pantsting can lead to more of a ‘feel’, but then can need massive editing and lots of work tying in ‘loose ends’.
Ideally, therefore, you’re going to be a mixture of both. You want to be flexible, but have an idea as to where you’re going.
So let’s start with starters. What do you need to start? I’m going to put my hand down and say that you need Two Things to start. They are: 1) an idea, and 2) a ‘feel’.
Now let’s start with the first one: an idea. What counts as ‘an idea’ in the writing world? Well, basically anything that you can shape a story around. It can be either a) character-based or b) plot-based. Now, again, ideally, you’re going to want an idea that’s a bit of both, but I find that authors tend to be either one or the other in their emphasis.
So, a character-based story is all about the ‘who’, the personality of your characters, their development and their emotions. Here is where quirky characters come forth and charm the readers.
A plot-based idea will grab the readers with intrigue, suspense, and mind-bending notions. It’s all about the ‘how’ and ‘what’ behind the story.
Again, ideally, your idea will have a bit of both to it. But really, don’t be shocked if you find yourself placing emphasis on one or the other. That’s really how it goes (in my experience).
Okay, okay, but how much do you really need as far as an idea goes? Here’s the fun truth: That depends entirely on you.
The entire basis for Chaos’ novel series was a dream that was, literally, ‘teenager named Chaos gets picked up off the highway by a trucker’. One sentence, and really, honestly, nothing more. I spun a series I’m still working on from there. That’s because I don’t need much to spin a story off of. That’s just the way I am. Other people, however, may not be like that. They’re going to need a setting, a plot figured out, a character arc, and maybe even more before they even set ink to paper (so to speak).
Now here’s an essential thing to this ‘idea’. It’s got to interest you. The reason I wrote down Chaos’ story was because something about that teenager on the side of the highway intrigued me. It still does, almost a year later, after writing on it almost every day. So this idea has to really, really, interest you in a long-term kind of way.
A good test that I sometimes do, is just to wait on the whole writing out the idea. Wait a few weeks and see if the dream comes back (if it was a dream), if you still care about it, and if you still want to write about it.
If, two weeks later, you’re still captivated and have built up the idea, congrats! You’ve now got an idea. If not, then oh well. It wasn’t an idea for you.
Now, okay, we’ve covered the ‘idea’. What about this mysterious ‘feel’? What’s a ‘feel’?
The ‘feel’ is the tone of the story. It’s the setting and theme and message and style all rolled into one. Will it be narrated by a peppy, sarcastic, cheerleader? Is it grim? Is it patronizing? This ‘feel’ will dictate the metaphorical color that stains your page. If it’s a ‘dark’ story, or if it’s ‘serious’.
Why is this so important? Because it affects literally every word you write. Because it dictates where you start the story, how you start it, and how you tell it.
Consider these few sentences.
The knife sliced through the apple.
The knife made its way through the apple.
The blade, dangerously sharp, cut through the helpless apple’s flesh without remorse.
Forsooth! The blade, quickeningly sharp and ah, so vile, cut its evil way through the pure fruit, pouring forth sticky juice and raw flesh from within.
Well, not only is each sentence longer than the last, I think we can all agree that they belong to different stories entirely, due to the way they’re written, their ‘feel’.
Now, again, before even starting writing, you want to think about this mystical ‘feel’. You want to know if it’s going to be a funny read, serious, etc.
For me, personally, the ‘feel’ is not a very clinical thing. A more technical person might write out a list of pointers to help them dictate the ‘feel’ of the story, such as ‘no jokes, only sarcasm, little description, lots of dialogue’. But personally, I do no such thing. I really stick to the way the story makes me feel in my head. And perhaps I’m unique in this, but I think of what the story, or the spirits behind the story, want. Do they take this story incredibly seriously? Do they want it to be passionate? Or is it a loose, happy, and silly tale?
For me, the ‘feel’ usually comes with the ‘idea’. It comes with images, song snippets, and emotion. If a story makes me think of dark pine trees, (as Chaos’s did), but also has a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, that’s what I’ll try and bring forth.
So, to summarize! You’re going to be plotting or pantsting. You’re going to want an idea, which can be either plot or character-centric, and a ‘feel’ to start with. From there, you’re going to start the ‘writing’ process. That’s another post, however.
No, no, I don’t need your money! My problem is that I’m not really well organized, and lack the motivation to keep myself consistent. And, thanks to someone’s perky attention, I realized that, yeah, I let “Dreaming of Lights” fall to the wayside, along with other stories (Ranger, cough cough!).
So, while reading Olivia’s lovely encouraging comments, a thought struck me. I wanted to reach out to her about this, then, but decided I would make a blog post about it to give everyone a chance to participate.
You see, writing is a solitary thing, but I love the social aspect of sharing my story with y’all. That, I think, is why ‘My Name is Chaos’ has been so successful and actually gotten itself written! It’s because of my lovely readers who give me input and motivation!
So, does anyone out there feel like helping me out? I would need help editing ‘Dreaming of Lights’, as well as setting myself up realistic publishing goals and steps (like, do the book cover when for which book). If someone is trying to establish themselves as a writer, looking to build each other up through our social media and sharing of mutual skills, or just wants to pitch in to help, that’d be great! If you happen to know someone trustworthy too, feel free to pass the message along. 🙂 This would be a great opportunity for anyone trying to get their feet wet in the writing world.
I especially need people who are: understanding of mental health issues (as I can cave in to anxiety quite often!),patient, quite flexible, and would work well in a group (hopefully we’ll be more than two brainstorming this together!). Artists of all sort and fellow writers welcome!
So say you or someone is interested, what do you do next? Well, start by emailing me at email@example.com with a list of what you are skilled at, and how you would like to pitch in (including how much time you’d like to devote to the project, as well as what you’d like in return [more social media visibility? Featured blog posts?]). If possible, I will then make us a facebook group to chat and pitch ideas around in. If that doesn’t work I will try… something else? I’m sure y’all will have fabulous ideas if facebook doesn’t work out 🙂
I’m really looking forward to your thoughts and ideas ❤