Self-Publishing

I’ve decided to take a breather from my main novel. Again… shut up.

There was something that wasn’t sitting right with me. I felt all motivation leave each time I sat down to type. There was no flow, no satisfaction, no light at the end of the tunnel.

But I realised, it was all down to thinking how much readers would hate my book, if it were to ever hit a shelf. That’s when I had to write something new, something for me.

I’ve taken to challenge of writing a children’s book, which I tend to self-publish through Amazon’s KDP. Now, this isn’t the best for advertising, or selling. But that’s not what I care about. For this one, I intend to write for myself, and publish for myself. Once I see my book online, then I’ll know what I’m capable of doing. There’s something exciting about the thought, and that’s what drives me.

L. A. Draper

This is the cover for me new book, Glass Houses. I’m writing under a pseudonym surname, as it helps be separate this from my main novel. It’s about a young boy named Jordan, who collects Snow Globes, and can speak to them. I’m not going to go into the entire plot and bore you even further. But for those of you struggling to push thorugh your novel, here’s my recommendation this time around:

Stop.

That’s it, just stop.

 

You can’t do your best work when you’re pulling out your hair one strand at a time. Those chapters are going to be rushed and rough. So just stop. Close the word document, and start something new, nothing too long, nothing too strenuous, just something small, something you can craft a little easier. Something that, when you finish, will tell you just how much you love to write.

That feeling when you finish a book is like nothing else, and will give you a hunger to do it again. Only when you feel that, can you truly write what you indented.

 

 

(oh look, an advertisement) – Glass Houses is up for pre-order: Glass Houses https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B089T5NBR5/ref=cm_sw_r_other_apa_i_M.N5EbNN21YZM

Writing a book – the realism

Were you ever young and wondered were books really came from? How long did it take you to realise that it took endless, agonising hours for one individual to sit at a desk and type it all up, just for you to read?

For me, it took far too long.

I remember the first book I read interdependently: Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak. This is the novel that gave me a desire to do this on my own. I sat there and thought “I can do that!”, so, like the young naive, not even a teenager idiot that I was, I wrote a story about a boy with snake scales who scoped around a city, which of course, was far too similar to a book I’d just read, but that’s needed.

It took countless ideas, multiple jumps of joy as a new idea popped into my hair, only to get to a thousand words and get bored, and finally, something clicked: it’s not as simple as having an idea and away you go.

Oh no, it demand blood. And depression. And every ounce of hope that you have just to get a plot down. My writing got better, I began to plan fully, I lived for the new worlds I created just for me, but they never seemed to stick. Yes, I enjoyed them, yes, I miss the days when all I cared about was getting home from school and sitting down at my desk, but it never got me anywhere.

Until one day, in 2013, when I was running home in the rain, and an idea dropped into my head as a tiny droplet of water gave me the ideas I needed. I’m not going to tell you what the idea was (yet), but I can say it’s the only idea that has stuck with me all these years.

I pondered the thoughts for hours that night, already having a developed plot in my head, and the next day, I got to work – my method is to write a full A4 page of hat I think happens at the start, that way I can filter out what works and what doesn’t, what needs tweaking and what has potential, but it still wasn’t enough, I needed more planning, more driving force for the protagonist, an obstacle only he could over come: a plot with meaning.

Now, seven years down the line, one overly rushed first draft and countless rewrites, I finally gave in, and did what I should have done almost seven years ago – plan EVERY tiny detail, down to the last bullet point. And here’s how it goes.

Call this my timeline of a downward spiral of mental state:

  • have an idea
  • Create the characters
  • Set the scene
  • Create a justifiable ending
  • Figure out how they got to that point
  • Create realistic relationships between characters
  • Go far too in-depth about the backstory of a dog that appears in one scene
  • begin to like the book
  • read some back only to realise you hate the book, and yourself
  • Question why you do this to yourself
  • Do it all again
  • Find reasons not to write even though you always say “I really need to finish writing” (Oh really, Liam? Then why are you writing this blog post?…. shut up)
  • Cry

 

And here we are. Hating every inch of the novel, craving to find something new to write, just a little something to “get you back into the habit”, only to find yourself back at that idea. And that’s the most important part. It stick with you.

Think of it like a leaf; it’s there on that tree, you know what it looks like, it’s green, with a hint of autumn orange. Turn away for one second, only to look back and the leaf is gone. Now, you see another leaf, it’s a similar colour, if not a bit more withered, but you like it, it has potential, until all you can think about is how much fresher that last leaf seemed, and it falls,  and all of a sudden, that one leaf you began with is back on the tree, and that’s all you can look at.

It’s a cringe worthy analogy, I know, but you get my point. A bit of advice: NEVER disown an idea that follows you everywhere. If it stick, it must be something. It might be a disaster, but it’s yours, and yours to write. Who else is going to do it?

 

 

So, I’ve realised that I’ve written more words on this post than I’ve written on my novel in, what, a week? Heh… Practice what you preach!

 

Defining a writer

There’s nothing more painful than reading success stories, while your unfinished project remains open for the fifth year.

It’s probably best not to read into how J. K Rowling’s success came out of the blue, but I suppose there’s some inspiration to take from it. After all, if we don’t believe we can get somewhere, then there’s no point in doing anything at all.

I’m forever flicking through countless articles of what makes a writer a true writer, but in all honest, most of them are filled with over the top money making schemes that takes away what is essential in the art of writing – personality.

What is the point in trying so hard to work out the ways of the novel? What do we benefit from taking lessons on how a certain character should act? Not much, in my opinion. There’s a delicacy involved when creating your own world. It is literally taking a part of your self, and bleeding it into electronic ink so finely, that you can call it your own. Taking away the creativity and adding in structured lessons you found online, is just taking away what makes you a true writer.

Yet, there are other issues I need to face other than originality. Patience and determination is just a few amongst dozens of others. But perseverance is the most important. One day, I’ll get there, and I’m sure it will be awful and lacking of all correct structure and dialogue. But it will be mine, a part of me that I plucked out so carefully, and crafted it into something worth my own time.

As usual, I’m babbling, but I hope there some form of clarity to be found. Don’t define your stories based on what other deem useful. Write about what you want, not what you think is essential.

The End is Near – NaNo 2017

There’s less than 48 hours left of NaNoWriMo 2017, and I believe it’s time to reflect on the month.

I failed, the end.

Ok, so perhaps it’s a little harsh to say that I failed, because even though I haven’t managed to reach 50,000 (yet, maybe a miracle will happen), I’ve still began a story that I love, and will hopefully finish in the months to come. I believe it’s important to understand that success isn’t always the best thing to happen to you.

For those of you who have managed to reach 50k, well done, I hope you keep on writing! And for those who just couldn’t make it this year, don’t be too hard on yourself, you haven’t “failed”. Just because you fell a little behind doesn’t mean you haven’t done something productive.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to encourage you to write daily, the target is simply there to point out that a novel word-count is around that mark.

Now that the end is near, it’s time to think about what comes after. For me, I’ll be finishing my project, and then editing a novel I wrote last year, and because I participated in NaNo, I am in the mind set of writing everyday, and that’s what I think being a writer truly is, not just finishing a novel, but being devoted to setting time aside to write each day of the week, thinking about it every day, from the moment you wake.

This year may not have been your year, but perhaps the next one can.

Falling Behind?

NaNoWriMo is now well underway, and like many, I have fell victim to the usual distractions that this world has to offer… mainly Netflix…

I suspect that you’re behind by a larger margin than you anticipated? Don’t worry, when you break it down into statistics, it’s really not as awful as you assume.

I am currently at 10,213 words, which is over 6,000 words behind target, so, I found myself in a constant slump, telling myself that 30,000 words would be an acceptable achievement this year. Well, even though that is still an impressive number, it’s not the best I can do.

Try this little trick: write at least 4 sprints per day, for 20 minutes. That’s just one hour of out your day. Not long, right? Most of us assume that we must hammer the keyboard or page with so much effort, when really, 20 minutes at a time is all you really need.

In 20 minutes, I can write, on average, 600 words. 600 x 4 = 2400 words. Now, think about it this way; if you began with such a strategy, you’d have written 50,000 words in just 20 days.

Nothing is so daunting when you break it down into basic numbers.

Now that we have that out of the way, the next step is getting motivated to write, yes? Well, try this little task:

Each morning, John Steinbeck would sit and gaze outside of his window for just 10 minutes, and he would write about what he saw. This warmed him up each morning, and encouraged him to work on something different after those 10 minutes had passed.

I want you to try that each morning for the month of November. Just 10 minutes. See how it makes you feel.

Good luck with your novels. I’d love to chat with some of you about the experience!

 

Writing Challenge

Ahead of NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to create some practices that may help you push for that daunting 50,000 word mark.

At times, when I’m writing my novel, I struggle with specific events in which a character react in a certain way. I often find that the dialogue between multiple characters can merge into one, as though it were the same person speaking. Developing a thought process is key to a strong character that your reader can learn to adore (even if it’s an antagonist).

So, here’s a little challenge that can help you through:

I want you to write about your character in the process of dying. Now, I don’t want you to set the scene, or describe some event in which your character meets their final fullstop, no, I want you to simply writing about their thought process: what are they thinking? Who are they thinking of? Are they afraid, do they believe in an afterlife?

This method has helped me get the best out of my characters, as it encouraged me to understand how they would speak and react in different situations.

 

I hope this helps you, and I’d love to read what some of you wrote! (I’ll be happy to publish anyone’s work on my website if they wish).

Good luck for next month!Shield-Nano-Side-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes

It’s Been So Long

It’s been so long since you were here,

But I won’t cry, I shan’t live in fear.

You’re up in the clouds, watching from the sky,

Even now I bet you’re telling me not to cry.

I look up now and smile to you,

Smile for all you’ve done, you helped me through and through.

Lives shall pass and fade so fast,

But you’re not forgotten, your memories shall forever last.

I miss you now, like I always will,

There’s a place in my heart and life, that no one can dream to fill.

I love you, Grandma