Aug 282013
 

typingWriting definitely become easier the more you do it. My number one tip would therefore be to keep writing and practising as much as you can.

This doesn’t need to be full-length novels. I personally write a lot of short articles, many of them for a local historical society. I am not paid for that, but it helps me improve my writing. It also gets my name out there, which is important for marketing, but more about that tomorrow.

Fiction writing and non-fiction writing are two very different things.
I have the most experience in non-fiction writing. You choose a subject and do lots of research. Then you write it all out. Sounds easy and it is, as long as you know enough about your subject.
Fiction writing is different in that you have to set the scene, built a world and populate it with characters. In addition, you need a story, a plot. I have found that centring my stories around something that happened to me and then elaborate on it, works for me. I do have an imagination, but I am not at that level yet, that I can come up with just anything. My work in progress is in fact an experiment to see if I can pull it off to write fiction as well. So far, it seems to be working.

Sometimes I get a bit of a writer’s block. I usually break it by leaving that particular part behind for a while and start a new chapter. This seems to work for me as well as for many other writers.

Another very important thing in the writing process, specially when you want to publish your work, is getting beta readers and an editor! If you have decided that you want to make some money with your writing, you need to be professional about it from the start! Of course, you feel that your story is the best that was ever written, but it also means you are far too close to see its flaws. Don’t be stubborn and listen to your beta readers and editor. They are there to help you, not to throw you under the bus.

My WIP is a good example. My beta readers liked it, but felt there was something missing. I have been thinking about their remarks for the last three weeks and have concluded that all of the 20,000 words need to be rewritten. Difficult, but necessary and the book will be much better for it.

Keep writing everyone!

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Interested in reading about the other writers in the Indie Block Party? Then follow this link! (Scroll down the post a bit until you see the picts of the participants.)

Jun 042013
 

MegaphoneMy holiday has finally started! Those of you, who read my previous posts, know that this means I have officially started writing my new book.

So far, I have:

  • written four chapters;
  • consulted my toilet door three times to come up with new character names;
  • had a mini writer’s block;
  • got rid of the writer’s block by adding a completely new chapter, which in turn meant an interesting plot change further down the line;
  • had another mini writer’s block, causing me to be unable to make chapter four into a coherent piece of text, which is why I am writing this blog post instead.

I still have no idea how many chapters I will end up with (the estimate is currently 12), or how many words the book will have in the end (probably between 15.000 and 20.000 words).

However, using yWriter to keep track of all the characters and locations has been fun, even though it is a little bit more work copying in the text from Word.
It is worth it, though, as next to the handy word-count gadget, I love yWriter’s ‘play back’ feature, which actually reads the text back to you out loud. It regularly has me in stitches, not because my book is so funny (well, I do hope it eventually is, as it is supposed to be humorous), but because the ‘woman’ who is reading it has a strong American accent and is pronouncing names in a totally different way I had imagined them to be pronounced.
No matter. It is good to hear someone else read your words, even if it is in a metallic computer voice.

That being said, I have decided to skip chapter four for now and continue writing chapter five tomorrow morning. It promises to have an acceleration of the plot, which should be good.
In the meantime, I will reacquaint myself with marketing techniques, a very important part in the life of a self-published author.

Related post: Fiction Writing is Fun!

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May 252013
 

womanWow, I never knew fiction writing was so much fun! Can’t believe I didn’t try it before.

Although I planned not to start writing my new book until in my holiday, I found myself with inspiration earlier this week. Inspiration should never be wasted (I found that out the hard way), so I started writing the first chapter on Monday. Before I knew it, I was 1300 words further down the road.

What actually started off as a bit of a warm-up exercise (with the goal to get the hang of yWriter), quickly turned into a full-blown writing-mode. Filling in the characters and making up names for them in yWriter, inspired me enormously. However, maybe instead it was the nifty word-count gadget that yWriter has. It keeps track of how many words you still need to write before the book is finished and I just couldn’t bear to have it stand at zero for another fortnight.

Coming up with character names is very new to me. In non-fiction (at least the kind I have written so far), it is not a necessary thing to do. I know some writers use books with baby names for inspiration, but for me it was the inside of my toilet door.
In an attempt to brighten up this little room, I taped an old Ordnance Survey map to its door when I moved in four years ago. Its scale is such that it shows even the tiniest towns and hamlets. These have been a great source for the names of characters and streets in my new book. For instance, Emily’s housemate Jack now has the surname Wilcrick (a tiny hamlet in southeastern Wales) and the road where Emily works is called Woolaston Road (a small town near Chepstow).

Not only do the names on the map give me inspiration for my new book, some names actually spark my imagination. Like Cat’s Ash, a tiny hamlet near Newport. I am sure there is a story in that…

With the word counter now standing on 1300, I just have another six days before my holiday starts. Then I can really start grafting. Can’t wait!

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May 192013
 

computer womanEarning money with writing and selling your book sounds like a great idea. It’s definitely doable and I am going to give it another go.

Not that I haven’t been earning money with selling my books so far, but the amounts have been, let’s say, more like pocket money, and nowhere near enough to properly live on. Hence my need to earn a ‘respectable’ wage as a receptionist at the town hall.
Now I like to see if I can add a bit to that monthly income, by writing, and hopefully selling, a new series of books. Fiction, this time, but sort-of inspired by the things that happened to me on my travels.

In two weeks time I am going on a three-week holiday. That is to say – I stay at home and do nothing but write. I am looking forward to it very much, and have been gearing up towards it by reading some books about self-publishing (to refresh my memory), looking up categories on Amazon, thinking about a target audience and giving my website a major overhaul.
Moreover, I have started blogging again, which is also writing, so good practise.

My idea is to publish a series of six novellas, each about 20,000 words long, in the next 3-4 years, starting with bringing out the first one in November this year. That is, if I can pull it off to write 20,000 words in three weeks. We will have to wait and see how that pans out.

So far, the following has been established concerning my work in progress.

  • The main character is Emily
  • She lives in a shared house in York

Furthermore:

  • Rats are involved
  • Some shady things are going on in the local shopping street
  • There is an agonising bike ride to Appleton-le-Dale (population 117)
  • The church silver is stolen
  • And a protest march is held in the Yorkshire Dales

Fingers crossed it will all work out!

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