Friday, 22 August 2014

New Blog

I've finally done what I said I would and moved over to WordPress. From now on that is where you can find me and my posts. This blog is now an archive of sorts.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

RoW80 Sunday Check In

Well after missing a check in last week (thanks in no small part to a wedding reception where the best man dumped his girlfriend) I’m back on the wagon of taking part in the RoW80 Check Ins. Sadly the same cannot be said for my goals. After a disappointing few weeks I can honestly say that things have not gotten much better. I’m not sure why but it feels almost as though I fell out of love with writing for a while. I can feel that enjoyment coming back though, due in no small part to having spent the last three hours working and writing blog posts. Hopefully I can keep hold of that enjoyment, remember it and get back to hitting my goals like I was doing before.

Now, enough of me being miserable, let’s have a look at how I’ve done this week:

Post 1 blog post other than a RoW80 check in a week –   This actually seems to be one of the goals that I’m consistently hitting. Even when I was at my worst, not really doing much of anything I was still preparing blog posts and putting them up on time. It’s something that I really enjoy doing. I mentioned at the beginning of August that I was planning on sorting out my own website or moving to Wordpress but I think that for now I’m going to stay where I am. I would like to move eventually but until my monetary circumstances work themselves out I cannot really afford web hosting and all that other shiny stuff.
Progress – Excellent

30 Minutes on social media a day – I’ve been on twitter a little more but every time that I think to myself ‘Oh I’ll go on LinkedIn in a little while and check out something I saw in the discussions’ I quickly forget until the next time that I get an email. I’m still not spending 30 minutes a day on social media. Next week I plan on focusing on this goal, getting it down until it becomes second nature to do it, just like I did with the blogging goal.
Progress – Very poor

Spend 1 hour doing a creative activity each day – Yeah... not so great with this one. I’ve barely written 1,000 words a day on the Autharium project this week, something that only takes me half an hour at best. It felt briefly as though I was falling out of love with the project, I had forgotten why I was writing it in the first place and was completely focused on the end piece. That is not how you write good stories. I’m going to try to work my way back up next week but take it slow and steady so that I can get the momentum going again the week after.
Progress – Poor

Spend 1 hour doing a different creative activity each day – Again, this has been a terrible thing. I’ve spent more time watching tv than I have doing anything creative outside of working or blogging. It’s not even as though I’m pushed for time and super busy. I’m not. I have too much time on my hands I think and it shows. Once I’ve gotten the other two goals down into a habit I think I will properly focus on this one. In the meantime I’ll give it my best try but it comes second place to other things.
Progress – Abysmal

Start and try for completion of projects on the order day – This one has been fantastic. I’ve been receiving more work, and it’s been a wider variety of work as well. I’m not just ghost writing now, I’m proofreading and editing. I’m also writing book descriptions on Fiverr, something to get me into practice for when it’s my turn and getting me that little bit of extra income that I know is there in an emergency.
Progress – Great

Over all it’s been a mixed bag. Actually scratch that. I’ve been letting myself down quite a lot. I forgot that these goals are there to help me build a work ethic, to help me get into the swing of things and create some habits that will only help me improve as a writer. I got carried away and arrogant, thinking that I could do absolutely everything at once and thought of them as just goals, not a means to an end. Now I’ve realised that though I can focus once more on treating them as habit building activities, working on one thing each week more than the others until I do them all almost without thinking. It’s definitely the social media one that I struggle with the most however. I just don’t see how I can do it.

What do you think? Do you have any tips to using social media as a marketing/networking tool? Are there any social media formats that you might suggest I use? Am I being too hard on myself? Am I being too soft on myself?! Do I just need a kick up the backside and a good week of hitting my goals to get back on track? Let me know below in the comments and maybe it might help other people too.

 Created by Kait Nolan in 2010 after she began to struggle with the madness that is NaNoWriMo A Round of Words in 80 Days (or RoW80 as it is commonly known by participants) is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. In four sentences she sums up the idea of RoW80 perfectly: "We are all different and we all have different demands on our time.  Why should we all have the same goal?  The simple answer is that we shouldn’t.  If you want to be a writer, then you have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to your changing circumstances.  If that means changing your goals when your life blows up, so be it.  ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life."
Be sure to check out other participants and how their goals are going here at the clicky list and be sure to leave a comment on their blogs to encourage them on.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Writer's A to Z: A is for Advice

For the next 26 weeks I plan on putting up one post a week, focusing on one letter of the alphabet and how, in my mind, it links to part of the writer’s world. I share some ideas, some thoughts and maybe some knowledge (although given it’s me talking that’s a bit questionable).

You can find the link to the full index on the task bar at the top of the blog and easily navigate between whichever letter you want. You can also hope back and forth between the letters with the links at the bottom of the posts. Now, without further ado, let’s begin with…

I read a lot of writing advice books on a variety of subjects; how to write a better story, how to edit, how to self-publish, how to improve the rate of writing, how to improve the quality of writing, how to find an agent, how to build an online platform. You name a writing related topic and I’ve probably read something about it. This isn’t restricted to just books though; I eat up online articles and magazine articles, squirrel away podcasts on my iPod and subscribe to dozens of different email newletters all about writing (incidentally I also save them in their own little individual folders on my account). If there is something to read about writing or self publishing I will read it. Usually I’ll save it but very rarely I’ll throw it away or un-bookmark it. I’ve begun to realise that storing all of this up though leaves me with some very interesting and important questions;

1) When does it go from reading to learn to reading to procrastinate?

2) How do I know the advice is any good?

3) What do I do with this advice?

And now, after a lot of thinking, I have some answers.

1) Learning Vs Procrastination

If I’m spending more time reading advice than actually using what I read, then I’m procrastinating. If I’m spending more time making notes than I am spending actually doing the exercises then I’m procrastinating. If I’m making notes on what I’m reading and then put what I’ve figured out into practice, I’m learning. If I write a blog post on some advice I’ve read as a way for me to understand it better then I’m learning.
It’s tricky finding that balance though. Sometimes I can get so caught up in learning the advice, making notes and trying to put it all into my head that I forget why I started looking for it in the first place. And sometimes I just want to squirrel this advice away, collecting it for the sake of collecting it or because having all of this information makes me feel as though I’m a ‘proper’ writer.

It’s a crutch really. I have the advice there and I can use it but I shouldn’t use gathering the advice as an excuse not to write. I shouldn’t turn around and say ‘well I need to read so-and-so’s book first and then I can finally start that seven book epic about a dog that goes to the moon’. That’s not how it works. The advice is there to help me when I get stuck, not to stop me getting started. So I’ve started doing something new. I’ll read some advice, some bit of information about writing or marketing. If it strikes a chord in me I’ll put it to one side, if I’m violently opposed to it I’ll put it to another side but if I feel nothing, if it doesn’t get me thinking and I struggled to even get to the end then I’ll toss it away.

2) Is It Any Good? : Checking the Source

It can be hard to know whether or not the advice that you’re getting is actually any good. So many people try to make quick money by copy and pasting a bunch of information they found elsewhere and claiming it as their own. Sometimes they don’t even read through what they’ve got. Advice all comes back to the source, the person who you have gotten this advice from. And there are a surprising number of quick steps that I take sometimes to check whether or not the advice I’m getting is actually worth the money I’ve spent to get it or the time I’ve spent reading it. Sometimes, if I’m in two minds about whether or not to actually look more closely at the advice I’ll use them too.

Firstly you need to figure out if the author actually knows what they’re talking about. This one is easy, you just have to do your research. If there’s even the tiniest bit of doubt about whether or not the author knows what they’re talking about then it’s time to get stuck in. Dig around the internet and check out the number of books that they have out besides the one that you have. Read the reviews of these books; see what others have to say and whether they found it useful or not. Even a simple Google search of their names will throw up all kinds of information that will shine some light on whether or not they are reliable and credible.

Secondly check to see if they practice what they preach, whether the advice that they give you is something that they do themselves. For writing guides it might be harder to see but then again writing advice is anything but one size fits all and how a person writes can often change from book to book. If it’s marketing advice dig around and check whether the author has any of the things that they encourage you to put in place, such as a Twitter, a blog and a Facebook page. Also make sure to check how recently they were updated. If it doesn’t seem like they do then step back because the red flags are flying and the alarm bells are ringing.

Mostly though, when it comes to accepting advice from new sources, it’s all about what your gut says. It’s fairly easy to separate the books by those who care about helping people from those books written for the sake of making money. Your instincts, the same instincts that drive you to write or read or knit or do any of those hobbies that you love and make important life choices, will steer you in the right direction. All you have to do is listen to them.

3) Putting Advice Into Practice

There are a lot of different ways for a writer to put the advice that they read into practice. The best way though is to simply do it. If you read something, a technique that another author uses and it interests you then just try it. You have nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work for you then it doesn’t work for you, just put it aside and move on. Remember writing processes and techniques are not one size fits all but you never know what will work for you until you try it. There is nothing wrong with trying and failing. Thomas Edison after all said “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Trying is learning and learning takes time. It’s as simple as that. The only way to actually fail at using advice that you read is to not use it at all. Advice is there to be used, it wants to be used. So use it.

Another thing to remember (and this is something that I occasionally forget) is that you don’t have to stick to advice like glue. And this applies to all advice. The clue is in the name, it’s ADVICE, not actual rules. In the (badly quoted) words of Captain Barbosa, ‘they’re more like guidelines than actual rules’. There is not some form of writing police that will appear and take away your pen and paper if you don’t follow the advice you’ve been given to the letter. No one is looking over your shoulder, judging you for how you use the advice. That’s all behind the scenes and no one really pays too much attention to what goes on behind the scenes. If you use a piece of advice and tweak it, no one is going to judge you. Writing advice is not set in stone and one book won’t work for everyone. The best books on writing advice are those that express this and remind you again and again.

A Few Things To Remember

Advice, of any kind, is there to give you somewhere to work from. You can adapt it, alter it, change it to fit you. Sometimes advice will be something that you may never have thought of for yourself but that actually works really really well. I’ve discovered this so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve also learnt that how I use the advice can change and develop over time. Sometimes I’ve used a method for quite a long time and then suddenly it doesn’t work for me anymore. And that’s the thing to remember. Writing advice is about learning, finding possibly new ways to hone your skills and improve your writing. And as we learn we develop and change. Who we were when we read one piece of advice is not always going to be the same person when we read the same piece of advice a few months or years later. Advice leads to learning and learning leads to growth. It’s as simple as that.

So What’s My Advice?

The most important piece of advice I can give you about advice is; “Don’t be afraid of reading writing advice but remember to use what you’ve learned” and “Just Write”.

You always need to remember that these books exist to help you but more often than not their primary objective is to make the author money. Please don’t be put off by this and refuse to read any more advice but please remember it when deciding which books to buy. Some people out there really do want to help writers develop and you can usually tell this by their writing style or whatever else they have (such as a podcast or a blog). Sometimes I get my books from blogs that I read; the author creates compilations of their posts and extends them a bit more to create whole books about writing (such as Chuck Wendig or David Gaughran). Some books I’ve gotten from writers who do podcasts on the subject and I know practice what they preach and have the number of books published to prove it (for example Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt of the Self Publishing Podcast fame).

Others you can tell aren’t in it for the money but because they love writing (I’m talking of course about Stephen King. After all, let’s face it, he’s got so many books in so many different media that he doesn’t really NEED more money.). These people have written these advice books because they want to help writers, they want to make the craft that they are a part of greater and more welcoming for everyone and they want to bring the magic back into story telling. Or they just want to help people avoid the horrible cock ups that they might have made as they were starting out.

But just in case you’re wondering about what books I would suggest, those I know are written with the intention of helping writers rather than making money (although it is a handy little bonus) here they are;

These are all the ones that I’ve read. I know that many writers have other books, full of writing and publishing advice out there, but I’m only recommending books that I have actually read. There are a lot of books out there full of writing advice and my best suggestion is to look for yourself.

Incidentally I’m also planning a series, reviewing books on writing (expected at a later date) but more on that some other time. For now I hope that you’ve enjoyed this, the first post of my Writer’s A to Z and keep an eye out for B next week.

But what about you? Do you have any advice about… advice? What’s some of the best writing advice that you’ve ever had? What has stuck with you and what has just seemed wrong? Let me know down in the comments and who knows, it might spark off another post one day.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

WiPpet Wednesday: Locked Up

It’s that time of the week again, that’s right, it’s WiPpet Wednesday. This week I’m sharing some more of the Autharium Project with you all. I really do need to come up with a new name for the story, one that I can actually use when I start searching for a cover artist and when it comes time to hit that publish button. After a week or so of making no progress I finally sat down yesterday and wrote almost an entire scene. That’s about 1,531 words for this particular scene. Now I’m not going to show you all of it, that would be silly. But I thought that I share with you the first part. I think I’ve done quite well with the world building here and the reader starts to see the kind of society that Kaya and her crew live in, or rather have escaped from.

To catch you up, Kaya has broken into Crown Haven’s dungeon, managed to make her way to Marrick and make her escape. It was all a trap though and the ‘lovely’ Arnoth Bay caught her and her crew and put them on trial before the Council of Elders. Understandably, as pirates, she and her crew were sentenced to hang until Bay stepped in and offered a deal; they get something for him and they take their chances fighting in the civil war plaguing the Empire. Kaya, naturally tells him no and now they’re stuck in the dungeon, arguing amongst themselves about what to do.

“We don’t even know what the Oracle looks like!” Keiran cried “It could be absolutely massive or the size of a thimble. It’s a death trap taking on this journey,”
“It’s a chance to live,” growled Carrock “A chance for us all to live and go back to our lives,”
“Go back to the front lines you mean,” Carter said, “Or did you miss the bit where Bay said we would be sent there as cross bow fodder should we succeed? We aren’t going to come out of this alive, whichever choice we make. Taking this mission is just postponing the inevitable,”
“At least on the front lines we know what we’re dealing with,” Cassie said, glaring at Carter “We have a chance there! We can fight and we can survive long enough for Bay to forget all about us,”
“You mean the men will have a chance to survive,” Carter said dryly “Or did you forget that women don’t have a place in the Empire’s military too? You won’t get to serve on the ships, you’ll serve at the ports, spreading your legs for whichever pathetic flier has enough silver to line your master’s pockets,”
The cells descended into shouting and yelling, much as it had done for the past two days. It was the eve of the hanging and Kaya had grown tired of the constant talk. Marrick was a little better, able to sit up by himself now but it made little difference, he would soon be swinging from the gallows just like the rest of them. Kaya watched as her crew grew more and more irate. These men and women were not made to be confined, to be locked up within four walls. They were meant to roam free, like the mountain eagles. The confinement, the constant threat of death and the promise that was dangled before them was so tempting but so dangerous, were all wearing thin on everyone’s nerves.

And then, right on cue, came the whistling and slow footsteps of Arnoth Bay, for the third time that day, the arguments died down into silence.

As always this is completely pure and unedited, exactly as I wrote it yesterday. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s there.

Is the world building nice and subtle enough? Is Carter being a bit too mean? Do all my characters sound the same (because that’s something I’m a little worried about)? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it?

Let me know down in the comments and keep an eye out on Friday for a new Series of posts that I’m starting.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Three Act Structure: Act Three

Three weeks ago I started a series about the Three Act Structure, a writing structure, no THE writing structure, that is commonly used by writers everywhere. If you’re telling a story, reading a story, or even watching a story, in any media it’s likely that it’s there. Not everyone uses one, not intentionally, but it’s one of those key plotting tools that helps you plan your story and helps with revisions. And most of the time it sort of comes along through intuition. Sometimes you don’t even realise you’re using one.

As always what I write is not fact, it’s just how I see the Three Act Structure from what I’ve read. If you want to find out about the Three Act Structure just search it on Google and you’ll find plenty of results. My first post in the series was an introduction of sorts, my rambling view about what the Three Act Structure, as a whole, is in my mind. My second post was an in-depth look at the key plot points that I use in my First Act. And my third post, surprise surprise, was about the occasional swamp known as the Second Act. This week though I’m looking at what can be one of the hardest acts to write...

Act Three!

Why Should I Care About The Third Act?

The Third Act is one of the most important parts of your story. Then again I’ve said that about all three Acts. But I’m super serious this time. The Third Act is where all your hard work, all of the hard work of the characters, comes together and creates a big explosion that leaves the audience gasping for breath (metaphorically speaking, not literally, that could lead to lawsuits and we can’t afford those). Everything that you’ve spent weeks, months, maybe even years, working towards has finally come together and born fruit. You wrap everything up, satisfy the audience’s questions and then, if you’re writing a series, smack them in the face with another question. Either way this is the end and whether or not you want to publish your book you should be proud that you’ve reached it.

What’s The Third Act All About Then?

The Third Act is that final milestone in writing a book, it’s where everything comes together and explodes (sometimes literally) and your characters (and readers) finally get some closure. But throughout the Third Act you need to keep amping up that pressure, raising the stakes higher and higher than they’ve been raised before, putting more on the line for the characters to lose. And then let it all go in a way that the reader finds enjoyable and plausible. Or you could be a really evil person and just not give them that and have everyone die at the end. (I’m looking at you George R.R. Martin.) Questions are finally answered, plot points are finally done and everyone gets their happy ending (most of the time). If this is a series of books than the seeds that you planted back in Acts One and Two begin to sprout and you leave some sort of a cliff hanger that gets people to keep reading.

What Goes In To The Third Act?

So know you know why the Third Act is there and why it’s so important, let’s have a look at what goes into Act Three (at least in my humble opinion). Some of these points have different names that they are known by but it’s clear what exactly goes into each at first glance. As usual I want to look at each one a little more closely. But first a quick list of what the plot points are;
  1. Revelations 
  2. All Seems Lost 
  3. Self-sacrifice/Symbolic Death 
  4. Final Showdown aka Climax 
  5. Denouement/Epilogue

At the end of Act Two you would have had a huge obstacle come up, just when your characters were starting to get along once more. This obstacle is defeated in the beginning of Act Three and to be honest it could just hang around for a while if you wanted it to. But whatever happens, Act Three starts with some...


After everything that’s happened in the second act, where it looked like your characters would never pull together to defeat the Big Bad of their story it finally looks like it might happen at last. You start to think that maybe things are going to work out for them and they’ll get their happy ending right? Right? WRONG! This plot point is where things start to go tits up (if you’ll excuse the expression). The revelations of big secrets, and I’m talking government crumbling secrets here, or the start of an attack threatens to once again drive our characters apart, even if it is because the good guys have just seen the size of the enemy’s army and wants to run away. It sounds similar to the Division plot point in the Second Act. It is really but on a much larger scale. These revelations threaten to pull everything apart and I mean everything, not just our merry band of adventurers. Comparing the arguements and division that spills from these secrets to the previous arguements is like comparing World War 2 to a toddler’s tantrum, ie. They may both come from a similar source but the results are a hell of a lot worse in the first one.

The key here is that you are building up the tension, getting ready for the big climax and putting the key players and problems in place. Things cannot look like they’ll go right for our heroes, the reader needs to seriously doubt that they’ll succeed or even start shouting at the page/screen for them to just turn around and run away as fast as their little legs can carry them. This doubt only makes the next plot point more powerful, when....

All Seems Lost

This is another high point of tension. There might be a few scenes before it for decompression, in fact there should be if you don’t want your readers to have a heart attack but once again the tension needs to go up ANOTHER level. Exactly as the name of the point says, everything needs to seem lost. The heroes are nowhere to be seen or they’re on the other side of the country, someone is seriously injured or they can’t find the key to the dungeon holding the alchemist that can save them all (you can tell I write fantasy can’t you). Whatever the problem is it’s got to be BAD! They have to risk losing everything. In fact, if you’re feeling particularly evil you could write two endings from this point on, making it very clear that everyone could end up in a dead gooey mess. Of course you scrap the bad ending once your done but having the idea of how things can go wrong can help you see how things need to go for the happy ending while keeping all of that juicy tension and doubt.

The reader should no longer doubt that the characters will fail, they need to know that the characters will fail. The ideal feeling here is that your reader wants to throw the book away and go do something else (possibly cuddle a bunch of puppies or bunnies) but they also want to know exactly how badly the characters screw everything up. They keep reading not because they think there’s still a chance that the heroes will win but because they want to know how the heroes fail and the consequences. Of course this is a very difficult thing to pull off and it’s not always necessary for it to be completely gut wrenchingly painful but it helps. And then things just keep getting worse as you go into the next plot point and it’s all about...

Self Sacrifice/Symbolic Death

That’s right. Someone dies. Well ok, not necessarily although it can be really really fun to kill of your characters in horrible unspeakable ways (trust me I’ve done it and it was actually a wonderful source of stress relief). But in all seriousness, this is yet another high tension moment, preferably sprinkled with a little bit of relief to take the edge off. Your characters have to sacrifice something, whether it’s their morals, their favourite sword, their innocence or yes, even their life. Something has to change, a death of sorts, before they can go any further.

This means that as your characters get closer and closer to the big battle scene, that final climax, they’re going in weaker than they were before (even if they didn’t think that was possible). They’re bruised, they’re battered, they’re scarred emotionally physically and mentally, they’re going to need therapy for decades if you’ve been an evil author (again looking at you Martin!). And they’ve done it all by choice this time.
But what this sacrifice or death has to do is seal their determination. It gives them that little extra push to beat the bad guy, flips that switch inside them from ‘for the greater good’ to ‘now it’s personal’. They have something to prove and they don’t want the sacrifice to be in vain. So all fired up they head off to the...

The Final Showdown

Did you read that in the action film voiceover guy’s voice because I did. The final showdown is exactly how it sounds. It’s the big climax, that big fight which sends the Big Bad running off into the night for good. Things have fallen into place, the tension is soaring and stuff’s going down. You can be a cruel person and have it all over quickly and simply but most of the time that’s considered an anti-climax and it will show in the reviews. In a comedy that would work but for most other genres it doesn’t really pull its weight and again readers will want to beat you with a big stick. There needs to be a struggle, the reader needs to think, even for a split second, that things aren’t going to work. You can have everything fall apart and all your characters end up dead but you need to remember that there’s a special place in Hell (or whichever realm of punishment and torment you believe in) for people who do that. It’s not nice, I hear they make you listen to Justin Beiber over and over.

You need to remember that not all your characters have to make it. In fact it’s better if they don’t sometimes and your readers are left crying in a heap on the floor or go fetal in a corner. Some of your characters, including main characters, should survive, most of them really if you can, and the characters that do die are usually side characters that people get unusually attached to or one of the main characters (again R.R. Martin seems to ignore this rule and does what he wants). This is the big wrap up point, where all the plot lines begin coming to a close and that tension is released as the Big Bad is vanquished. The characters might not come out completely unscathed but that’s all sorted out in one way or another in...

The Denouement

This is the epilogue. It can be as long or as short as you want it to be. This is the chance for you and your readers to wind down after the big battle scene. It’s the point where the characters clean up the wreckage of the last battle and start pulling themselves together again. They’re changed and the reader is changed but usually there’s some hope that things go back to normal. The characters celebrate and grab normal life once more. They get drunk, they get married, they party like they’ve survived the end of the world (which let’s face it, they sort of have). However they choose to let go of all that tension, it’s a chance for the reader to do so too before they put the book aside forever or until they want to read it again (either works).

This is also the final point where you wrap up all those little sub-plots that were left dangling. The hero gets the girl, the heroine gets the guy, the hero gets the guy, they have a big orgy, whatever! The characters find happiness and get ready for their ride into the sunset and their happy ever after. It’s also sometimes the place where writers like to stick in a few seeds for sequels, leaving one or two sub-plots unresolved or the seeds that were planted earlier begin to bloom. However you wrap things up is good and it’s all up to you. Just don’t leave the promise of a next book if you don’t plan on writing it any time soon. There’s nothing more evil than that (except maybe Hitler... maybe). If you’re only vaguely considering the idea of the sequel then don’t leave too many open points, just one or two things that weren’t wrapped up quite too well, for the reader to grab on to in the next (potential) book.

So there we have it. Act Three in a... fairly large nutshell. With the tension going all haywire at every point in the third act you can see why writing the Third Act can be done so quickly, the action and tension drives the writer on, makes their fingers fly over the keyboard as thought after thought flows from their minds to the page.

So If It’s So Easy To Write Why Do So Many Writers Struggle With It?

Look at all those spikes of tension, the ups and downs and downright torture that writers put their characters through in those last chapters! No human being can write so much tension for too long. It can become emotionally exhausting, mentally exhausting, hell, physically exhausting as your fingers try to keep up with your brain. I’ve written incredibly tense scenes for the climaxes before and when they’ve been done, even though the book isn’t quite finished I’ve had to ignore it for a few days, writing took that much away from it. Knowing how draining writing can be, understanding that writers draw the emotions and feelings of the book from themselves you can begin to see why writers often have to take a break from writing, why it can take so long for them to return to editing or start planning the next book. Just as a reader is exhausted reading it and needs a nice lie down, the writer becomes emotionally wiped and literally cannot spare any unnecessary emotion. They can’t wring out anything else, not even for their families and friends in real life, they are drained! They have to take the time to refill themselves.

And that’s it for this series. It’s taken a while, an entire month in fact but I’ve proven to myself that I can finish a series of blog posts with the right amount of planning and outlining, just like with writing a novel. I hope that you’ve learned something, enjoyed reading or simply wondered why I’ve not been committed yet. Whatever you take away from this I hope it’s something positive and that you can put what you may have learned into practice. And who knows, maybe I’ll have another series up soon.

But what do you think? In your opinion have I summed up the key points of the Third Act well enough for you? Are there any bits and pieces that I’ve left out? Have I gone into too much detail? Which points do you follow when you’re writing? Which leave you the most exhausted? The most energised? What do you want me to write about next? What part of the weird and wacky world of writing do you want my deranged perspective on next time? Let me know in the comments down below.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

WiPpet Wednesday: A Darker Side of the Heroine

Here we are, another Wednesday, another Work in Progress. I actually quite enjoy doing these to be honest, it’s nice to get some feedback from people regarding my writing, especially which characters they really like.

This week I’ve returned to the Autharium Project (that really needs a new title) and we take a visit to Crown Haven’s lovely neighbourhood dungeon. Captain Kaya has finally managed to track down the wayward Marrick (who you all loved last time) and they’ve gone to get him out of whatever trouble he’s in. Of course, being pirates, she and her crew haven’t exactly taken the front door. But when they get inside they begin to realise that all is not as it seems and it’s definitely going to be harder to get Marrick out than they expected and we begin to see a darker side of our heroine.

She rushed through and knelt by Marrick’s head, gently brushing the matted and bloody hair back from his face.
 His eyes were bruised and battered, one so purple and swollen that he could barely get it open. The skin had split, leaving a line of blood to trickle down one cheek and a oozing mass of black clotted blood filled the wound. His nose was swollen too, bent out of shape like it was broken. His lip was split down the middle and bruises covered his face. Some were yellow and green, telling the tale of strikes made days ago, others were purple and black, only hours old. Marrick tried to sit up, grabbing at Kaya’s hands but he was too weak, his body too damaged for him to be able to.
“You shouldn’t have come,” he whispered quietly, his voice thick and rasping “It’s what he wanted.”
 “He doesn’t know I’m here,” Kaya whispered back, stroking her hand through his bloody hair

“We’ll get you out of here.”

“We’ll get you out of here.”
 She slowly climbed to her feet and rounded on Malcolm who had drawn closer as she had tended to her injured friend.
 “What did you do to him?!” she hissed.
 Malcolm didn’t answer, he was gazing at Marrick with shock on his face, the blood drained from his features leaving his skin an ashy white colour.
 “I didn’t do this,” he said slowly, horror in his voice as he shook his head “I had no idea things were this bad, I swear. Bay took him to a room, said he wanted to have a little chat. I didn’t know he was doing this to him.”
 “If I find out that you had any part in this…” she said. She suddenly reached for Malcolm and pulled him close, hissing in his face “I swear that I will kill every person that you love and make you watch,”

There we are. I hope that you like it. Is it mysterious enough for you? Do you want to know more about this Bay chappy? Are you getting the hint that Kaya and Marrick are more than good friends? (Hint: they are) Who is this strange Malcolm chap? Will they manage to get out? As usual let me know what you think in the comments below and please, don’t hold back.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

RoW80 Sunday Check In

This last week has been not so great. For some reason I hit it hard last week and then have had very little success this week. That’s ok though, my goals are all about building habits, not just hitting a word count each day. People say that it takes 3 weeks to really build a habit and I’ve only really focused for one week. So I’m not going to let it get me down, not as much as it did the week before last. Instead I’m going to chalk it up as a learning curve, write off this last week and try again next week. I’m going to keep things simple, make sure I take my time and focus on what I’m doing when I’m doing it rather than always focusing ahead. But enough of what’s to come, let’s look at what I’ve done;

Post 1 blog post other than a RoW80 check in a week –   I did this one. Normally I post two, one on Wednesday and one on Friday. I missed Friday’s post, the last post in my three act structure series because I had a migraine and couldn’t face using the computer. But I did do my WiPpet Wednesday post so I’m happy with that. Progress –  Excellent

30 Minutes on social media a day – Once more this has been slacking a little. I’ve been tweeting and posting on LinkedIn, commenting on blogs and responding to comments here. But I’ve not been spending my 30 minutes each day. I need to improve this, focus my attention and figure out where I’m going to be social each day. Progress – Improving

Spend 1 hour doing a creative activity each day – I’ve not been writing this week, not a single word on Autharium Project. It still needs a name, it still needs a cover, it still needs to be written. So overall this one has not gone well. Progress – Completely terrible

Spend 1 hour doing a different creative activity each day – I have done some outlining on my webcomic idea this week, I’ve been working on the Feral Diaries read through and edits. I’ve also done some sketching which has been really nice to get into. It’s not been every day though but it has been done. Progress – Needs Improvement

Start and try for completion of projects on the order day – I’ve slowly been working away at my projects, completing work and getting more. Hopefully, so that I can build up more work and actually afford the hosting fees (more on that later), I will be focusing more on gaining further work this week. Progress – Improving

Overall it’s been a meh week. But I’m really not sad about it. I’ve tried, I’ve failed, the important thing is that I’m going to be getting right back up tomorrow and trying again. It’s when I stop trying that things are going to be bad. And looking through how I’ve been doing, the goals that I’ve been consistently hitting and the ones that I consistently fail, I can see where I’m strong and where I’m weak and how I can change that.

My goal about posting twice a week seems to be one of the goals that I am consistently reaching, in fact I think that I’ve reached it every week this round so far. I’ve even started to post more than the twice I was aiming for. I’m going to keep it as is for now though as I’m planning to relocate my blog and my updates after a receiving a lot of advice regarding establishing my own website that supports website, particularly from the wonderful and friendly Tammy J Rizzo (another RoW80 member who’s blog you should definitely check out). So that’s the big thing in the pipeline for the month of August, hopefully things won’t go too horribly wrong.

In the meantime, between sorting out website copy, photographs, all kinds of bits and pieces that need to go on the website I’ll be plugging away as usual with work, writing and editing. I’ll more than likely do a series of posts about how it is setting up a website for those people who, just like me, don’t really know what they’re doing. And hopefully, by next week I’ll be partway there and hitting more of my goals.

What do you think? Have I let myself down terribly after a brilliant week last week? Was it something that you expected? Does anyone have any advice for setting up a blog slash website? Anyone know of a good hosting plan that supports Wordpress? Do you have suggestions and advice for time management? What should my rewards be for when I hit each goal each day?