Writing self-sabotaging characters

Hi, guys!

Last week, I talked about writing believable romance and compelling chemistry, exploring the things that might draw two people together.

But if one of the people involved tends toward self-sabotage, the normal conventions no longer apply and relationships tend toward… dysfunctional.

If you’re writing a self-sabotaging character, it isn’t enough to just put them in a bad relationship. You need to understand why they’re there, so you can write them, and the ensuing relationship, accurately.

There are several types of people who do this. People who fear change and sabotage opportunities to prevent change. People who want to make others feel better about themselves.

And the most common, which is the one we’ll be talking about today, people with catastrophically low self-esteem.

People who genuinely hate themselves or feel intrinsically broken, perhaps due to trauma or a broken home or depression/anxiety, aren’t likely to look for someone who would be good for them. There’s a reason so many people end up in shitty, abusive relationships.

They don’t value themselves worth the effort of improvement or worth taking a good person off the market. They probably don’t even realize what they’re doing to themselves, but they’re seeking the shitty treatment they think they deserve.

At such a low point, something small might be enough to draw them in. Attention of any kind from someone who has even one quality they like, even something small like an outgoing nature, a cool tattoo, or good fashion sense, might be enough to draw them in.

Why?

Because they’re surprised they got attention or compassion from anyone.

And since they’re getting attention from someone, which is more than they think they deserve to begin with, they overlook glaring faults (drug abuse, cheating, domestic abuse, etc.) with ease. There’s a good chance they’ll internalize all of that, blaming themselves for their partner’s philandering or the abuse.

They’re likely to push good people away and seek out shitheads. Meeting someone good isn’t going to magically fix them or show them that they deserve happiness.

Until they learn to value themselves (which takes a hell of a lot of time and work), they won’t seek a functional relationship.

And that may very well be their downfall.

These characters can be absolutely heartbreaking to write, partly because it’s all too real. Far too many people destroy their own chances at happiness simply because they don’t believe themselves worthy of it.

So, if you decide to write one of these characters, keep these things in mind. It will be one hell of a journey, with a lot of time spent in darkness.

Now, on to the progress report. I’ve come to realize that Second to None may end up being a novella. I tend to write far shorter than the average length, regardless of genre. I write very punchy stories, sparing very little time for fluff.

I use my characters to build my world and vice versa, something I explained in a previous blog, which I’ll link below. (Ignore the progress report at the end of that one, because so much has happened since then that it’s irrelevant.)

Now, fantasy tends toward an average of 110,000 words (roughly), but mine lean toward an average of 70,000 or 80,000. Thrillers tend to be about 70,000 words.

So, with my writing style, I expect Second to None to total around 40,000 words. I’m currently sitting at about 7,500 words.

I’ve also made some strides toward releasing A Heart of Salt & Silver, and I’ve been reveling in the recent release of World for the Broken. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, it’s available wherever books are sold. (Amazon link: mybook.to/WorldForTheBroken )

For now, I’m going to keep working away on editing Allmother Rising and writing Second to None.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

P.S.- Here’s the link for the blog explaining the concept of using your world to build your characters and using characters to build the world.

The Dangers of Comparison

Hi, guys!

Writers tend to want to learn from their favorite authors and writer friends. Which is good. We need to learn.

With the importance of maintaining a good author platform, social media has made it easier than ever for writers to network with each other and show their readers how they write.

That also means that writers see exactly how other writers write. Sometimes, that makes for a good bonding opportunity or lively discussion. Sometimes, it can be discouraging to newer writers who haven’t quite found their own creative process, yet.

Lurking on social media, comparing ourselves to each other…does very little good.

So what if someone else wrote more or less than you did this week Maybe they used a vacation day to stay home and write. Maybe they had a bunch of overtime.

Did a writer friend start a new project the same day you did? Maybe you were both psyched that you’d be working on your projects, side by side, but now…one of you is falling behind.

That doesn’t mean anything bad about either of you. It doesn’t mean one is better or worse than the other.

It just means that you’re not the same person, and the two of you approach writing in a different way. Maybe you edit as you go, whereas your friend types anything and everything that comes into their head. Of course, their word count will climb faster than yours.

If you like to plot your book ahead of time and your friend doesn’t, they’re going to jump in and write. If they have a few chapters written before you ever start writing? So what.

Your writing journey will be different than theirs.

There comes a point where we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and just write like ourselves.

After all, the thing that could truly make you a great writer…is your unique style and process.

There are so many options, so many ways to personalize your writing.

Trial and error is the best way to find your own voice. Practice writing and eventually, you’ll find your groove.

It might be a niche. It might be a wildly popular genre. Maybe you like to write in the mornings like Stephen King.

Maybe (if you’re like me) that just doesn’t work for you. Writing in the middle of the night instead of getting up at 5 am to write doesn’t make you less of a writer.

Maybe you like typing anything and everything that comes into your head and organizing/editing later. Or (if you’re like me) you make sure everything is halfway decent before moving on to another chapter.

As long as you don’t let that stop you from actually finishing your book, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Writing is a very personal thing. The creative process varies wildly from one person to another, and that’s a good thing.

There are so many different readers out there, all searching for something different.

3rd person or 1st? Both are good in their own ways.

Present tense or past? Both are good in their own ways.

Whether you love interpersonal drama or action, whether you like your prose flowery or quick and punchy…That’s up to you.

Your stile and process will develop naturally. You just need to practice and try new things with your writing.

And most importantly, stop telling yourself that the way you write is wrong because someone else writes faster/slower or different than you.

Keep learning. But stop comparing your progress. You will grow and write at your own pace.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Keep It Punchy

Hi, guys!

So, the hardback proof of Soul Bearer came in this week (the paperback should be in today/tomorrow, and I’ll put up pictures after that. Idk why they shipped separately). It’s so exciting to see it, to finally hold it in my hands after staring at it on a computer screen for so long.

It still doesn’t quite feel real. Lol.

Of course, there are a couple things that need adjusted, some things that didn’t translate to print how they should have (hence the need for a proof copy), and I’ll have to adjust those. But it’s in my library, now.

It’s on my shelf, and I freaking love it!

I’ll stop gushing now though, and get to the point. Lol. The physical copy sparked a conversation between my husband and I. He expected the hard back copy to be thicker than it is.

It’s not a super long novel, by any means, coming in at just over 70,000 words. High fantasy, nowadays has a tendency to run pretty long though, sometimes topping out above 100,000 words.

There’s this trend lately for books to be huge, lengthy tomes that, if used as a weapon, could knock someone senseless. (Ironically.)

Now, my husband is a huge fan of Andre Norton. He has about one sixth of her books (which is saying something, since she wrote several hundred). She wrote high fantasy and scifi. But her average word count was, I think, between 40,000 and 50,000 per book.

Nowadays, that’s considered a novella, not a novel.

So many people want big books, now.

Anyway, my husband asked how I get so much stuff into my books, without the books being far longer. And my answer kinda surprised me. Lol.

I hadn’t thought about it until the words came out of my mouth.

I told him that I use my world building to build my characters, and my characters to build my world. I multitask.

Doing the two things separately just fills the pages…for no reason.
I mean, the main characters are going to play a pivotal role in shaping the world they live in, especially in fantasy, otherwise they wouldn’t be the main character.

So showing their experiences relative to the world…makes sense.

For them to have motive to change things, they have to have been affected by the negative sides of their world at some point. So showing their world relative to them…makes sense.

Okay, I feel like I’m talking in circles, so I’ll give examples.

In Soul Bearer, Aurisye is looked down on and treated horribly for being half-Orc. That tells the reader that the two races don’t get along (they’re actually at war), and builds up who she is…an outcast.

Rafnor joined the military for equal treatment. He grew up poor, and was bullied over it (so money is important in their realm, another problem for Aurisye). But the military runs on skill and the ability to improve, rather than on basis of connections or finances.

Now, in Salt and Silver, Ness is a demi-demon. That alone tells you a few things about her world. It tells you that, in the world of Theran, demons are real, whether you believe in them in our world or not. It also tells you that they can, at times, walk the earth, and procreate with humans.

The existence of demons implies the existence of gods, otherwise a different word would’ve been chosen in place of demon. It sets up the juxtaposition to imply that yes, the gods are real and can be interacted with.

In the opening scene, she’s called a witch, telling you that magic exists in their realm.

Which brings us to the word choice topic again. I wanted to have one term for magic users, regardless of gender, and I wanted it to be one that would be instantly recognizable.

Choices?

Wizard, witch, mage, or caster.

Caster might not be recognized outside the gamer community, so it was out.

Mage works for Soul Bearer because it implies the use of spells, runes, and potions alike. Mage also has a connotation of prestige, of exclusivity. Since not everyone in Visun (the world of Soul Bearer) can use magic, that holds true. The term also lends itself nicely to high councils (which is a thing in Soul Bearer).

Wizard instantly conjures the wizarding world of Harry Potter, where only certain people can access magic, primarily through the use of wands. Sure, magical items, potions, and divination exist, but mostly, it’s commanded with wands.

And in Salt and Silver, that isn’t the case.

Anyone can access magical energy, but most don’t care to. It relies heavily on potion making, devotions to multiple gods or demons, and occasional sacrifices. Basically, it’s useful, but tedious and time consuming for mortals. It’s a skill that has to be developed, much like leather working.

For most, it’s easier to pay someone else to do it.

The term witch makes me think of potion making and lonely little cottages in the woods. It calls to mind paganism and a deeper understanding of nature.

And that’s what I wanted for Salt and Silver.

One word can have such a huge impact on the atmosphere of the world.

Making sure you have those pivotal words down can make a world of difference in the length of a book.

Another Salt and Silver example. I didn’t have to explain that their country is divided up into city states led by their own militaries, because when shit hits the fan, they consult the leader of the local chapter of Knights. That alone spared me several pages of exposition on the way their country is set up.

Basically, it all boils down to that old adage, show vs. tell.

If you show me your character sitting in a classroom, zoning out during a calculus lesson amidst kids who are just a bit older, I’m going to assume they’re in high school, taking advanced classes.

You don’t have to tell me what grade they’re in or what grade the other students are in. You don’t have to tell me they’re attending high school. You can let the character’s mind wander over the problems they’re facing (i.e. the point of the story), thus building the world and the character in the same scene.

If you need me to know that your character is having relationship problems, add in a flashback to a fight or have their partner’s voice echo through their head. That way you can show me the tone of voice, you can show why they’re fighting…how they’re fighting.

And all those things build the world that the characters are living in. It paints a picture of the life they lead, in addition to showing the personalities and desires of the characters.

Of course, there are times where you just need to tell something, and get it over with. A quick thought or comment could do that without devoting page after page to an explanation of the country’s history.

At any rate, there needs to be balance between showing and telling, and that balance lands in different places along the spectrum for every author.

I tend to lean more toward showing. Obviously. Lol. I like my stories…punchy.

The point is, it’s possible to write high fantasy in less than 100,000 words. Lol.

So, if you find yourself falling short of that mark when writing fantasy, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad about your writing. There’s the chance that maybe you missed something, but it could just be that you eliminate most exposition.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling, now.

Over the past week, I did some editing on The Gem of Meruna, and did some work toward the Soul Bearer release. I also added a chapter to Salt and Silver to fill in a plot issue pointed out by beta readers, and filled out the playlist for my sci-fi series.

Basically, I’m jumping from one story to another like a damn maniac.

And this coming week promises to be just as chaotic.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

How do you have the time?

Hey, guys!

I know, it’s not my normal intro. Ahh! Change! Scary! Let’s all take a second to visualize ourselves rampaging through a city because one of the few safe things in our lives has been shattered, and replaced with something different! (It’s obviously a different premise, but the movie, Falling Down, comes to mind, here.)

Anyway…

So, I’ve been on vacation this week, and I’ve made a ton of progress on my editing. Now, I haven’t spent the whole week editing, as I’m visiting family that I only see a couple times a year. But I’ve still had way more time to work on book stuff.

Not only do I now have my e-mail subscription set up (sign up below to stay up to date on release dates and future giveaways), but I did a shit ton of editing. I’m two thirds of the way through this round of edits of The Gem of Meruna, and nearly halfway through the final edits of Soul Bearer!

I didn’t intend to spend so much more time on Soul Bearer than on The Gem of Meruna, but every time I start doing anything with Soul Bearer, I just get sucked in. Lol. I assume that’s a good sign, especially since I’ve literally made myself cry going through this one.

Anyway, I’m pushing through this all at breakneck speeds, and I don’t even have to go back to work for a few more days.

After that, I’ll go back to working around my work schedule.

Which brings me to the topic of today’s blog…

Priorities.

So many of the writing groups (not all of them) that I’m in are filled with questions about how we have the time for writing. Often times, people say they struggle to fit it into their day, while still enjoying their other hobbies. They say that since it isn’t paying the bills, they find it hard to stay motivated, and end up playing video games or watching tv or whatever. (Btw, those things probably aren’t paying your bills either. Just saying.)

Now, I’m not about to tell you that you can’t do any of your other hobbies. Being a well-rounded person and experiencing life is important for writing well-rounded characters.

But.

If you want your writing to be taken seriously by anyone else, YOU have to take it seriously. Writing will never pay the bills if you don’t fucking write.

I love playing video games. I have a million and one hobbies that I enjoy. I like the occasional tv binge.

But I want my writing to (eventually) pay my bills, so I can stay home and write EVEN MORE. And I know that if I don’t write, if I don’t put in the time, and do what I need to do, that will never happen.

Ever.

I don’t expect a winning lottery ticket to blow into my lap. I also don’t expect some magical muse to flutter into my life, and give me the ability to type 3,000 error-free words a minute so that my novels will be written in less than an hour, then for them to somehow be magicked into New York Times bestsellers.

That’s not how the world works, and it sure as hell isn’t how writing works.

If you want to write, you have to give some things up. I used to play video games for hours on end, every night. Now, I haven’t picked up a controller in weeks.

Because that’s a hobby.

Writing is what I want to do with my life. There’s a huge difference there. I’m willing to put aside a few things to make it happen.

If it means I only play video games when my computer is updating or the day after I finish a manuscript, so be it. If it means that only I pick up my bow or crossbow for target practice when my entire body is restless from sitting still for too long, that’s fine.

Because writing is my thing.

It’s an art and a craft, and that requires time and dedication.

I don’t write because I HAVE the time for it. I write because I MAKE the time for it. That’s what you have to do. With anything, really. If you want to do something, if you want to accomplish something, you have to make it happen. Watch a couple hours less tv each night, and work toward your goal.

It isn’t going to happen, otherwise.

Now, there are things you can’t put off, I understand that. The job that pays the bills, taking care of kids, spending time with your significant other…Those things need prioritized, as well.

But if it comes down to choosing between spending a fourth night in a row vegging out on the couch with a show you don’t really care about on the tv and your phone glowing into your eye balls for 6 hours…or doing something that helps you achieve your dream?

Why is that even a question?

Even if you only put your phone down for an hour a day, that’s better than nothing.

For those of you who work two jobs, and take care of a kid on your own, and have to care for an elderly neighbor…Yeah, your time management struggles make more sense. But I assure you, that’s not the case for everyone asking, “How do you have the time?”

I don’t. I make the time. I prioritize my writing because it’s important to me, and I know it will never mean a thing to anyone else…if I don’t fucking write.

Whew…That was…not intended to be a rant. But that’s where it went, and I’m sticking with it. Lol.

Anyway, I’m forging ahead with editing, which means the release of Soul Bearer will get here that much faster, as will the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna (though it will need yet another round of editing). I’m fairly certain I have a cover for The Gem of Meruna. There’s a second design in the works, and I’ll choose between the two after it’s done.

As I mentioned above, you can now subscribe for my newsletter (the sign up bit is down below). I promise, I won’t fill your inbox with a bunch of shitty spam.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep fucking writing. (Lol)

Later.

Wish Fulfillment…and why you probably shouldn’t write it…

Hello, all!

So, fiction is supposed to be about living different lives, looking through different eyes, sometimes at different worlds or different versions of our world, right?

Right.

There’s this tendency when writing fiction, though, where a lot of authors write themselves directly into their book. Not just bits and pieces of themselves, but their whole self in one character.

And, unless it’s fan fiction, that’s bad. For a lot of reasons.

Now, don’t get me wrong, use parts of your life, parts of yourself. have at it. I do it, all the time. I give one character my favorite color, and another drives a car like mine. One gets my anger, and another feels my guilt. Some get an experience that I’ve gone through, though I always tweak them (either amping them up or cooling them to a simmer) to make it fit the story and/or world.

Basically, you want one of your characters to have dealt with a certain bad experience from your past because you went through it, and thus understand it?

Cool. That character has a good chance of seeming genuine, because you know the emotions they would experience, to a degree (They may have a different personality, and thus may cope differently.).

But don’t also make that character look just like you, and act just like you, and think like you…and have a name that’s a thinly veiled variation of your name (or middle name).

When you’re writing for the sake of wish fulfillment, a lot of times, the story is sacrificed for the sake of…getting what you want. Things get twisted, and moved around, and massaged into place, all for the sake of getting the personal satisfaction that the author wants.

That isn’t what writing is about, necessarily. Yes, there is satisfaction in a good story, but…the story comes first. The story should always come first.

And fiction has to make sense. It has to be believable, and relatable…to more than one person.

Another problem with wish fulfillment in writing (because fuck smooth topic segues) is that it breeds a lack of diversity. If all your main characters are exactly like you…well, that’s pretty much the exact opposite of diversity.

If you always write about a short white girl because you’re a short white girl, or always write about a tall black man because you’re a tall black man…you’re not really stretching yourself. If you always write straight characters, or always write gay characters, because that’s what you are…then you’re not looking at the world through different eyes.

If you do that, over and over, your stuff is going to be boring as fuck. You don’t want that. Your readers don’t want that.

Side note…not all of your characters are going to logically be the same race/gender/sexuality as your main character. Mix that shit up. Common sense. There are a lot of different types of people.

Those differences lead to conflict and (eventual) resolution. You know, that thing that’s essential to a good story.

Anyway, back to wish fulfillment. Where was I?

Ah, yes.

The clapback…

When you write stuff that obviously falls into this category, you’ll probably get some crap for it. “Oh, he wrote about a character that looks just like him, and sounds just like him, and the character just went around hooking up with all these girls who were just hovering on the brink of being legal…God, he’s a perv…”

Do you really want that? (The backlash, not the hook up thing.)

No. No one wants their book to be mocked. We want our books to be well-received. (Perhaps even loved.)

And what if people don’t realize it’s wish fulfillment, and bash on your character? What if they call him/her boring or weak? Or worse, an over-inflated side character? It’s going to hurt. You’re going to be super attached, and get your feelings hurt, because…that’s you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure you’re all awesome in your own way. But blatant wish fulfillment tends to…not always be well thought out. But I don’t want every book I read to have the exact same main character…

Sometimes, this beast takes the form of a super character. An idealized, perfect person, with no flaws and no problems. Which instantly loses all relatability.

And then, that brings us back to the whole…boring thing. If the character has no flaws or problems, then what’s the point of the story? They’re not struggling with any major problem.

It just becomes the tedious march toward death that we all live every single day.

And, let me tell you, I ain’t about to read four hundred pages of some perfect bitch living a perfect life.

Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I have tropes that I enjoy writing and reading. Outcasts/underdogs. Strong female leads. Battle-worn and downtrodden, but rising to the occasion. Self-sacrificing hero types (even better if they realize what they’re doing, and see the shit they bring upon themselves by always playing hero).

And, yeah, I refuse to write a damsel in distress (unless she were to rise to the occasion later on), or a slutty brat, or a stereotypical jock as my main character.

But avoiding/preferring certain tropes is different. If you like your leading ladies to be delicate, wilting-flower types, write the shit out of them!

But don’t write yourself as them.

Give them a trait or two that you possess, then make up the rest of their lives and personalities from scratch.

Get creative with it, and have some fun.

Now, I’ll step off my soap box…Lol.

So, anyway…I’m about halfway through my edit of The Gem of Meruna. At work, after building out (a.k.a. I built the amount of tires I’m supposed to build in the entire shift before the end of the shift, and thus could sit in the cafeteria), I started editing Soul Bearer.

That one will be the next release! I’m so fucking excited to get it out for you guys to read.

I’ll be doing a challenge on IG and FB (challenge set forth by World Indie Warriors) in July, wherein I’ll begin talking about the story, introducing characters, sharing a couple scenes, etc.

So, if you’re curious about my upcoming fantasy romance novel, or want writing memes (I’ve been posting a lot of those lately for some reason), follow me on IG or FB. Links below.

If you’re a fellow indie writer, check out World Indie Warriors. It’s still new, but there are a lot of plans in the works. You can participate in the July challenge with us, and, by doing so, be entered to win a box of goodies, including some signed books!

Anyway, I’ve talked your ears off (or typed your eyes out) long enough.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Then Comes the Crash

Hello, all!

Now, those of you who follow me on social media (thank you!) probably already know this, but I finished the first draft of Salt and Silver!

God, it’s exciting. I can’t even begin to express how much of a high it is to finish writing a book. (Not without taking absolutely forever about it, and, lets face it, that would get pretty boring for you guys.) The feeling of accomplishment is incredibly overwhelming, though.

Of course, now there’s the problem of…the crash.

You see, finishing a book is huge. But I’ve spent the past 4 or 5 months (since the first or second week of January) in the minds of these characters. I’ve lived and breathed their lives and breaths.

Ness, Nolan, and Elias have become so real to me, as do the characters in every book I write. And they have to, really. My writing is deeply psychological and very emotional. I have to flesh the characters out, have to know what drives them. I have to figure out their deepest desires, their coping mechanisms, their humor, the things that make them nervous…

All of it.

And by the time you do that, they’re like real people.

Add to that the fact that I’m a pantser, and it’s basically like the beginning of a friendship (or rivalry, in the case of villains). Every time I sit down with these characters, I learn something new. Every time I think through their lives, I figure out something new in their past that explains the personality they’ve taken on.

Yes, I know. I can practically hear the scoffs and see the eye rolls I’m sure some of you are giving me. I’m perfectly aware that most people who do a lot of outlining and plotting think that all this pantser mumbo jumbo is…well, mumbo jumbo. “You made the characters. You control their personality and their actions.”

Yeah, I do. To a degree.

But for the sake of realism, I have to treat them like people. The only alternative is plotting everything ahead of time, and feeling like I’m suffocating. If they each have their own code, their own personality, then writing them by the seat of my pants is easier. Because there are certain things they would, or would not, do.

Plus, much like real people, fictional people cause all sorts of drama for themselves when left to their own devices.

But treating them like real people has a price. Now, there’s the emptiness left behind by getting their stories out. Because, now, I don’t have to learn more about them. I don’t have to figure out their lives. I don’t have to learn what these friends like to eat, or why they like the sound of the birds in the woods beyond their cottage window, or why they feel guilty all the time.

It’s all done. It’s all figured out.

These friends, in their own way, have moved on. Which makes this “crash” seem a lot lonelier than I intended it to. Lol.

And since I’m going to be editing for a while, rather than starting another story immediately, I’m not building a new world or creating people. It’s honestly…a bit boring. Lol. 12 hours shifts go by so much faster when I have a story spinning through my brain. My mind is desperate to work on something, but…I can’t edit while operating heavy machinery.

Not if I expect to come out the other side of the experience with all my parts attached…I kinda have to watch what I’m doing. Staring at a screen is just a bad idea. Lol.

It’s not like I don’t have ideas, though. I intend to finish The Regonia Chronicles this year, and then there’s Second to None, the thriller that I’m dying to get started on.

But if I don’t do some editing, and get all this other shit done, I’ll never get any of these stories out to be read. Between the rerelease of The Gem of Meruna, Salt and Silver, and the other completed standalone novels (I specify standalone here, because technically book one of Regonia is done, but I’m not far enough with the series to even think about a release for that one yet), I have five books…just…waiting.

And since I’ve decided to self-publish, all they’re waiting on…is me.

We’ll see how stir crazy I get, not writing. It genuinely drives me batty. I may have to do a chapter here and there for Regonia, just to maintain my sanity.

For now, though, I’m about five chapters into the preliminary edits of Salt and Silver. (I have the edits for the next couple chapters handwritten, though, because I worked on it in the cafeteria at work. So…sorta seven chapters into the edit.) This is just the “I put that in to fill a plothole, so don’t forget, take it out, and fuck up the story” edit. It’s also the “Why the fuck did I choose that word?” edit…

Basically, just catching wonky flow and typos while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

I have to tighten it up, basically. Not that my first drafts are absolute monstrosities, or anything, but they certainly need work.

Then, I’ll let it sit while I get The Gem of Meruna ready. Then, back into the minds of Ness, Nolan, and Elias in the world of Salt and SIlver for more edits. Then…drum roll…writing something else. Eventually, some more polishing for Salt and SIlver, and then it’ll be off to beta readers.

So, in case you thought books were quick and easy…They’re not. Lol. There are so many steps involved.

Now, I write fast . The last two books I’ve written took about 4-5 months each, while working full time, with overtime almost every week. Hell, since I started taking my writing seriously in 2014, I’ve written six complete novels, a novella, and a lot of short stories. (RIP the novel I wrote in college, that was lost when the laptop and the external hard drive it was backed up on…fried.)

But there are so many things to do to get a story truly ready for readers. Writing it is only the beginning.

Anyway, though…

That pretty much gets you all up to speed with where I’m at, right now. I’ll set a release date for The Gem of Meruna once I get through some of the updating, and I’ll keep you posted.

For now…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

TV, Movies, and Other Sacrificial Lambs

Hello, all!

Today, i wanted to give budding writers, readers, and just plain old curious folks a little glimpse of the sacrifices made to write. Because writing a book, let alone multiple books, is not a passive process. it takes time, a hell of a lot of patience, and a ton of work.

So, here goes.

One of the first things to go, for me, was tv and movie time. I usually watch a bit with my husband while we eat, but beyond that…it’s just background noise.. we occasionally have a binge day, where I set my writing aside for a few hours, but that’s like…every couple weeks.

Now, for me, that was an easy thing to do. I’d already sacrificed these poor creatures to the OCDemons when I was a kid. Remotes were “dirty,” as was the couch, even though nothing in the house I grew up in was ever all that dirty. It just violated the rules set forth by my OCD.

So, tv and movies were never a huge part of my life. For some, this is a big problem.

But you can’t expect a book to materialize in front of you, with your name on the cover, if all you do after work is sit in front of a tv for hours on end.

Not unless you want it to take about 20 years.

Now, video games have been harder to let go.

When I was younger, these, too, were sacrificed at the alter of the OCDemons. But after college, they were resurrected. And they found me.

Hell, for a while, when Final Fantasy XIV came out, my husband and I would alternate nights, and that was just…what we did. One of us played, and the other either did chores, or watched. Then, the next night, it switched. We did that for months.

And don’t even get me started on Skyrim or Fallout 4. I sank so much time into those games, and I loved every second of it.

But I want to write. I want to, eventually, make a career out of writing so I can write even more. That means cutting out other things to make time for it.

So, I put less time into video games.

And…all my other various hobbies. Lol.

And…also some social time.

Basically, what I’m saying is that it takes work and dedication.

And if you’re going to do it, if you’re going to put in the effort of writing a book, you may as well put in the effort to do it right. That means learning about grammar, and style, and flow, and character arcs, and so many other things…In addition to writing time.

So, anyone beginning a writing career, balance is going to be hard. You’re going to have to give up a lot. But if it’s your dream, do it. Make time for loved ones, of course, but if it comes down to choosing between watching a show you’ve seen several times or hammering out a chapter…

You know what you have to do.

Readers…please just appreciate the effort that goes into a book. As a ton of online posts would say, “feed an author, leave a review.” Lol.

But seriously, leave reviews.

Amazon doesn’t put books into certain featured lists until they get a certain number of reviews. They’re pretty important.

Anyway, I’ll stop ranting and raving for now. It’s been a pretty productive week. I typed just over 6,600 words for Salt and Silver, and have a chapter handwritten. Then, just the epilogue and I might add a chapter. I’ve got it planned, and it’ll help with balance and closure, but it isn’t completely necessary.

We’ll see. I’ll probably write it, and then go through the story with and without it. Then…it may face the guillotine.

Either way, I’m getting so freaking close to being done with the first draft. And the closing line of the last chapter…

I can’t tell you (literally, because spoilers) how happy I am with it. That one line wraps it all up so damn nicely.

I still have to type that part up, and I’m genuinely looking forward to typing that last line. It won’t be the last part I type, because I’ll still have to do the epilogue. But I want to get to that part of the story, again. The rush of it when I wrote it out by hand…

*sighs contentedly*

Well, for now, I’ll be signing off.

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.