Saturday, February 22, 2014

Writing Process

As I write this, the sun is shining outside, but that wasn't the case earlier this week. Around the middle of this past week, there was this freaky thing with the weather where it was raining and snowing at the same time. I cried when I saw it. That night, there was also this winter storm with thunder.

Anyway, onto better things. I've got just one page left in my book to hand-write! (Maybe two, depends on how big my letters are going to be and how detailed I want the last scene to be.) So, I'm confident I'll be done with my first draft today! Since I promised I'd talk about my writing process once I finished my first draft, that's what this post will be about.

The first thing that I do when I write (after getting an idea) is create an outline. That's actually a recent addition to my writing process. Before, I would just start from the beginning and write until I got to the end. For my first book, I started with just writing the book, but then got writer's block. So, I created an outline and it helped. For this second book, I created an outline first and then started writing the book. Although I've strayed a bit from the outline and had to edit a few things on it, it helped me keep on track and keep out of the multiple writer's blocks I've had in the past.

After the outline comes the first draft. I hand-write the first draft. It's a habit I picked up from writing when I was bored in school and didn't have a laptop to type on. I number the pages to keep them in order. When I'm done with a page, I add it to a binder where I keep everything relating to that book. The binder for this second book has been opened so many times that the cover is falling off. Once I'm done with the book and move on to the next one, the binder is put away, storing the first draft with it. I still have the binder from my first book and my unpublished book from before that.

Once the first draft is complete, I type it up. While typing, I make my first edits: fixing mistakes, expanding some sections, deleting scenes that don't make sense or don't fit, adding in scenes that make the story flow better. Each chapter gets its own document. I then combine the chapters in one document and read through it one more time.

When I'm happy with it, I send the full story to my dad. He then prints it off and gives it to my mom. She loves reading and can easily catch most grammatical and spelling errors. Once she makes her edits, I fix them and send it to my dad again. He then reads it over and makes edits of his own. My dad has always been creative so he's able to give me suggestions to make the story itself better.

After I go over the suggestions and add in the ones I feel would improve the story, I read it over at least one more time. Then, I make structural edits to the document to make it able to be uploaded for publication and distribution. During this structural process, I work on the cover. Once all of that is done, I upload it to Smashwords and Amazon. Smashwords then distributes it to multiple ebook sellers. That finishes the process and I start on the next one. (Before, I started on the this upcoming one while still getting the first one ready for publication. That's probably what I'll do with the next one.)

So, that's my writing process. Once again, I've made a long post. I'll be starting the typing portion of my process today. Hopefully, this will move faster than the actual writing. Anyway, until next time, have a great week!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tablets are Awesome

So, I'm posting a little later than normal today because my antivirus protection on my computer had to do a scan of my computer and it took all morning. And it was on 99% for an unbelievable amount of time. Luckily, I had my new Kindle Fire that I got for my birthday that happened this past week. It was a quiet birthday as I just wanted to work on my book. Of course, when I got that Kindle, things ended up getting delayed as I used that gift. As a result plus the fact that there are some extra things that I've decided to go back and change, it's still not done.

Also this past week, I had to go with my mom to the eye doctor in case she couldn't drive back because of eye dilation. I just sat in the waiting room for a couple hours, reading. She had to go to the eye doctor because she has this eye disease called glaucoma. This disease causes extra pressure in the eye that could damage the optic nerve. If not caught and treated it can cause blindness. Most people consider it a disease that you get when you get older, but my mom got it around 35. In some cases, glaucoma is genetic, so I'm at risk, especially since my eyes are a lot like my mom's were when she was my age. It's kind of a scary thought because there's no cure and I've seen what some of the treatment is for glaucoma, including surgery.

Apparently, there was a holiday this past week as well. That's right, the Tigers have started their spring training so baseball is almost here! But seriously, for Valentine's Day, I spent most of it in my room, making no noise and pretending I don't exist. At least I had the most awesome cupcakes from my birthday.

That's it for this week. Hopefully, I'll have a celebration for the first draft being done next week. (As long as I don't keep getting distracted by my Kindle, it should be.) Have a great week!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How Did I Come Up With The Idea For My Book Series?

So, since I don't have my next book done yet (should have it done sometime this week if everything goes according to plan), I'm going to instead talk about how I got the idea for this book series. It's an interesting story that I haven't told anyone yet. Some people know small fragments, but no one's ever heard it all.

It started after my failed attempts at getting my first novel picked up by an agent. (Ten failed attempts, to be exact.) I was having a hard time thinking positive after all those failed attempts. Every email that I got back (if I even got one) was an obvious form rejection letter. At that point, I was starting to think that maybe there was something wrong with my book. So, I stopped sending the query letters and started going through the book again, trying to find little things that I could improve on it. Soon, I realized that I had been tweaking the story for almost half my life. I would never be happy with it.

Because I wasn't getting any bites from agents, my dad kept suggesting that I self-publish and see where that takes me. Well, I had found so many things wrong with my first book and I was so determined to see it published the old-fashioned way that I didn't want to self-publish it. So, I decided to just write another book to self-publish and get my name out there. Since I had a few short stories from my time in a creative writing class, I chose one and tried to lengthen it into a full novel. Well, it didn't work. I didn't have the ideas for it and there was almost no plot line. The only plot line there was resolved within the short story so it seemed pointless to expand it.

I was in my final year of college when I began to wonder if I would ever get published. Each of my classes were giving me group projects, so I focused on those, pushing writing into the back of my head. Except for my fan fiction. Yes, I write fan fiction. It's a great way to keep my writing skills toned. The best way to get better at writing is to write and having stories that I can get instant feedback on is a great thing. It helps me develop my writing.

Anyway, how did fan fiction play into all of this? Well, I had a list of ideas in one of my documents on my laptop of possible story lines for my fan fiction. One of them had to do with vampires. No matter how much I spun it, I couldn't get it into a good fan fiction. That's when I realized that the parts of the story that I liked only had the original characters in it. I scrapped the story, but kept the original ideas and characters.

Taking what I had saved, I began developing an original story. It started with Brynn, the main vampire in my book series, and her father. I didn't have a name for her father yet, but Brynn's name I got from searching the Internet for strong female names and that one stuck. Something was missing though. Some type of conflict. I needed to figure out something that went along with vampires. Well, vampires and werewolves don't get along, so the story started with me adding in a werewolf, but that didn't work. Rather than scrapping the whole thing, I scrapped the werewolf. Then, I thought about vampire hunters. But it still didn't fit. Vampire hunters are too cliche. Besides, someone that hates vampires should hate everything supernatural. Werewolves, zombies, fairies, wizards, witches, warlocks, mummies and every other mythical or supernatural creature along with vampires. If I put in vampire hunters, I'd have to specify every single type of hunter from werewolf hunters to witch hunters. So, I dropped the specification and the group became just the hunters.

I created a hunter that would follow Brynn, intending on killing her only to get wrapped up in the world of the supernatural. There was no name for him when I created him. I threw around a few names, even looked online for something, but nothing seemed to fit him. Eventually, I got to the point where Brynn asked for his name. I sat there staring at the paper for a few moments, trying to decide what to call him. I almost gave up and even put down my pen when the name Parker popped into my head. So, I wrote it down as a placeholder, but the name grew on me and I kept it.

The story from then on flowed out of me. Sure, I hit a few blocks, but for the most part it came out easily. Originally, this was supposed to be a single book, not a series, but ideas kept pouring out and I realized that I should make it into a series. For the end of the book, I had two different endings written. One cemented the story as a single book while the other was for if I wanted to create a series. After working on both, I eventually put in the loose ending rather than the final one so I could make it into a series.

I'll admit that for some of my classes I paid more attention to my writing than the actual lecture. My professors probably thought that I was a serious note taker because I was writing on sheets of paper instead of a laptop. Anyway, I finished it within a year and, after the editing, got it self-published in the fall after I graduated. Going through it, there are still things that I wish I could change, but I guess that's part of the creator's curse.

Holy crap. This blog post is long. I actually didn't think it would be this long. I hope it doesn't turn people off of it. I guess I'll end it here then. So, until next Saturday, have a great week!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's Snowing... Again...

Had to stay at home for this week because of the house renovations, so I really don't have much to talk about this week. With my dog stuck in my room whenever my uncle and cousin came by to work, I was completely distracted from my own work (writing). I love my dog, but when she's barking at every noise and scratching to get out of the room, it can get rather annoying. She's not usually like that. For the most part, she sleeps on the couch or plays with her toys or stares out the front window. It's just when she has to be confined to a room to keep her away from someone she doesn't like who's visiting, mainly my uncle. Luckily, the renovations are done, so she doesn't have to be cooped up in my room with me.

It's snowing again outside. I love looking at the snow, but there comes a point every winter that I get tired of it. This is that point. Mainly because it's February and I know that spring is almost here. My birthday is this month, so I know that there's going to be piles of snow all over for that. This snow and cold have caused my sister to have four days off of high school in a row. I think I had that many snow days during my entire time in high school. My parents are going to a wedding today and they have to drive through the current snowstorm outside. And apparently, it's supposed to snow even more later this week. It's almost as if nature is trying to force all of us to stay indoors. Of course, I don't mind doing that, but if I wanted to leave the house, it would be nice to see some signs of the snow clearing up.

Most of my book is done. Just a couple more chapters and I'll have my first draft complete. Then, I'll be typing it up and fixing the errors and, possibly, editing scenes in or out. Although I thought it would be longer than my previous book, it looks like this one is going to be around the same length. I guess that's a good thing. Anyway, that's what's been going on here, so until next Saturday, have a great week!