Critiquing My Old Writing || Part 1

CritiquingI’m hesitant to share this now because it’s the first fiction I’ve shared on this blog. I don’t want people thinking I’m still this bad at writing. But, I love reading posts like this, so I’m doing it anyway.

In this post, I’m sharing the first chapter of the first book length thing I ever finished, written when I was 15 years old. Needless to say, please do not believe the quality of the chapter below in any way reflects my writing today.

Bluejay Feather

Some context

This draft was around 65,000 words. I never titled it, but often referred to it as Martian Murder Mystery. This temporary title is a good description of the plot: a murder mystery set on Mars. Not that this is apparent from this prologue. Oh, and there was also time travel. Lots of time travel.

The most embarrassing part is that the draft below is the revised edition. Back then, I though the only editing writers needed to do was fix all their grammatical errors.

I do have some plans to reuse my favorite aspects of this novel in future drafts (e.g. the plot and some world building elements), but have abandoned the idea of publication for this specific project, which is why I’ve posted this prologue.

The Prologue to My First Novel Length Draft Ever

Before this prologue there is a horrible poem. This poem is excluded for the purposes of this post.

Prologue: First Contact

Mars was once a rocky planet, devoid of all life. Before that changed 75 seventy-five years ago, no one on Earth would have thought anyone would ever call it home. When I came upon the planet for the first time, I’d expected a relaxing vacation away from the pressures of life on Earth. What I got instead was something I’d never expected, something that would change my life. It all started one Martian summer day as I was giving a speech.

Ugh, why is this started with summary? Start in scene! There is no need to explain what could be explained through action, especially not at the beginning of the story when I am trying to give readers a reason to continue.

Also, dependent clauses need a comma after them if they come at the beginning of a sentence. 

Despite all of my previous speeches, the sheer number of which would have left the average person in the state of shock, this was the first I’d seen of a stage. Also a first, were the unnerving stares of the live audience. All these factors made the words of my speech more difficult, as though the very air was poisoned. However, the most unnerving thing of all was not any of these facts, but instead the expressions of the audience. Before now, I’d always wondered what viewers thought of my speeches, I’d even seen the stats, but nothing could compare to this. Never before could I so clearly see the boredom, accusations, and jealousy portrayed in the faces of many in my audience. I swallowed hard, but made sure that my disposition continued to appear confident and energetic. Showing any sign of nervousness or hesitation to an audience is to tell them that you’re not worth listening to. Despite all these things, I started this speech as I had many others.:

This paragraph is way too long, especially when surrounded by other paragraphs that are also way too long. Paragraph length should vary.

Another low-level concern is that there is way too much abstract language over language that engages the senses. I should, for example, show how Chess is making herself appear confident and energetic instead of saying she appears that way. The audience, too, should be described.

That’s another thing, Chess, our narrator, probably should have had her name stated by now with a description of herself.

“I was only five the day the world moved backwards. I may have been young, but I can still recall the way everything, every broadcast, and every person seemed to freeze a moment. The invention of the first practical method of time travel should have been a joyous occasion, or so one might think. Instead, the possible implications seemed to suddenly dawn on people. If someone commits a crime, why not go back and prevent that person from existing all together? If someone is about to be murdered, injured, or raped, why not go back in time and prevent it from occurring? Why not even go back and prevent some of the bloodiest wars in history?

So much info-dumping and way too many rhetorical questions. The speech should also be interrupted by action.

“Before the year was out, we had a war on our hands. On one side, we had everyone who believed time should be unaltered and on the other, was everyone who believed that, no matter what the cost to ourselves, we should do whatever we can to assist our ancestors and make time as perfect as possible. The two groups were called the preservationists and the perfectionists. As time machines grew more and more readily available to members of both parties, it became all too apparent that battle tactics needed to be completely revised.

The audience would likely already know most of this, so there would be no reason for Chess to say most of it in her speech. They would also mostly be asleep by now. 

“The inclusion of time travel opened the door to a literal whole other dimension of warfare. No longer could wars be won by fighting in simple battles. The members of each side would continually go back and warn their former selves and both sides would be locked in an endless stalemate. Like a song playing on an endless loop that none of them even realized was repeating. As a result, no one can say exactly how long this war (known today as the 4-D War) actually lasted, but everyone can agree on the event that ended it.

*face palms* so much info-dumping. Even my head is spinning with all this information. I could also probably even make all this info-dumping much easier to understand if I were to just rewrite it at my current skill level.

“It was 199 years ago on this day when that war ended all because one man, my father Robert Tempest, proposed a compromise. This compromise became known as the Retribution Act. It stated that true time travel, which was never properly reproduced after the Zephan Aaron disaster in any case, was outlawed entirely, and the more practical, less dangerous form of time travel known as dream travel would only be used in murder cases to force the person who committed the murder in the first place to experience exactly what their victim had experienced. People who die while dream traveling never come back…” I trailed off as I noticed something, or rather, someone behind the curtain of the stage move. I tried to pass this off as dramatic effect about my previous comment to allow the full meaning to sink in. What I’d seen had been a girl about my age, maybe a little older (or way younger depending on prospective) she had been wearing a “retribution is a crime in and of itself” t-shirt. I hated protesters, but wasn’t about to let them ruin my speech.  Something had felt off about this protester though, as though I knew her from someplace, but at the same time I was entirely positive that I had never seen her face before in my life.

Okay, here is the first interesting thing that happens in this chapter. Chess should have noticed this person sooner and had her unease intermingle with all the info-dumping.

Chess should also be sharing many more of her thoughts on the matter and how she is remaining calm in front of her audience despite this protester’s sudden appearance. That would have made it all much more interesting.

There should have been a new paragraph after the end of the speech.

Also, Martians from the distant future wear t-shirts? Who knew.

“On a happier note, many people often ask me how it is possible for me to be so young, not even sixteen and yet have been seven 199 years ago. The answer, I’m afraid, is not nearly as creative as some of the rumors I’ve heard drifting around. As is understandable, not everyone was happy with my father’s compromise, and so, small rebellions continued. It is not that difficult for someone to make the mental leap and come to realize that my father was at the top of the rebel’s hit lists, meaning that the rest of his family was not all that far behind. In an effort to protect me, I was cryogenically frozen and, as a result, became the first person to awaken from a long term cryogenic sleep lasting longer than twenty years. ”

All this information and Chess’s name hasn’t even been mentioned once?!

Besides, it was not by my choice, I wanted to add, but I didn’t because I knew the comment would be everywhere, and therefore was not worth the potential trouble it would cause: even if it was the truth.

Chess’s emotions should be portrayed in a less telly way.

“This in no way violates the laws of Retribution which only mention time travel, not cryogenics.” I wanted to wrap my speech up quickly now to figure out what the deal was with that protester, but now, as I glance at the area where she had been only seconds before, she is already gone.

Chess really should have been a lot more concerned about this protester.

“I must say that Mars is the perfect change in scenery I needed in order to celebrate this historic event in a whole new way. Even here on this planet, it is important to remember that history still links our two worlds. This is my first experience of interplanetary travel, and I must say that the trip is completely worth it. Thank you all for your time everyone! Wishing you all a happy Retribution Treaty Remembrance Day this is Aubriana Tempest.” After my speech had ended I looked around for someone who had seen the strange protester girl, but no one had noticed her: no one except me.

The most cliche end to a speech ever. There was no need for the entire speech to appear here. I could have included only the lines that were important.

I should mention that Chess is the nickname the main character goes by throughout most of the novel. Aubriana is her legal name. This in and of itself is rather gag worthy.

The last line in this paragraph is probably the most exciting thing that happens so far: that no one notices the protester and the protester doesn’t directly disrupt the speech.

Overall Thoughts

  • Most of the speech should be cut with only relevant lines shared with the reader. Those lines absolutely necessary to understanding events should be shared, the rest should be excluded.
  • Chess needs to interact with more of the characters, even if those characters don’t have speaking roles. She’s in an auditorium full of people. There should be plenty of characters around for her to interact with.
  • Chess needs to be more concerned about this protester and do more to prevent the protester from ruining her speech.
  • I need to do more to show readers why they should care about Chess. I suspect the scene starts a little too late. More about Chess can be established if I show who she speaks to before her important speech and her reaction to the need for the speech to be given.
  • Paragraphs need to be shorter and more varied. This is in part due to ungrammatical lack of spacing after quotation marks.
  • There needs to be more description using language that evokes the senses.
  • There is no reason for this to be a prologue. There is no time jump and Chess narrates the whole novel. This should be chapter one.

This is only a small percentage of what is wrong with this chapter, but there isn’t enough room in this post for me to cover everything.

Bluejay Feather

Anyone want to see chapter one or for me to critique another of my old works? Anyone else have some embarrassing old writing shoved in a drawer somewhere? Do you agree with my critique of this chapter?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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The Writer’s Tag || Why I write, The Best Writing Time, and 2018 Resolutions

The Writer's Tag

I wasn’t officially tagged for this, but I did tell Marie @drizzle and hurricane books I might do this, so let’s just pretend. Shall we?

Bluejay Feather

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

I tend to write science fiction and fantasy in almost all sub-genres, leaning a little more towards science fiction.

How long have you been writing?

This depends on how you define “writing.” If we’re referring to writing in my free time as opposed to for other obligations, then around 5 years, possibly a little longer.

Why do you write?

Because I love it.

When is the best time to write?

When I have no other obligations. Just kidding . . . kind of. The only time I tend to have available to write is right before I go to bed after everything else I need to do for the day is finished, but, to be honest with myself, I’m a morning person.

What parts of writing do you love and hate?

I love it when the words flow and everything I’ve researched and outlined clicks together into a coherent whole.

I hate getting started on a day when I’m mentally exhausted and the early stages of the editing process when I’m overwhelmed by all a pieces flaws and can’t see any way to fix them.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

In several ways. It depends on what I think is causing the writer’s block.

My most common solution is to take a break from writing to brainstorm a chapter-by-chapter outline of the next few chapters that need writing.

Are you working on something at the moment?

Sort of. I’m beginning to edit the novel length piece I wrote last summer, but it’s slow going.

What are your writing goals this year?

As the year ends in a few days, this will refer to my writing resolutions for 2018.

  • To receive at least three rejections for something writing related.
  • To finally get to a point where I have edited a novel length draft enough that I feel it is ready for beta readers.

I’m expecting a lot of writing non-related things to happen in 2018, so I’m not setting many goals.

Bluejay Feather

If you write, what are your answers to some of these questions? If not, what surprised you? What are some of your 2018 resolutions, especially book related ones? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below, and Merry Christmas if you celebrate, hope you had a nice day if you don’t!

Beautiful Books November 2017 || Starting Strong, Names That Aren’t Names, and Advice

Beautiful Books

Beautiful books is a meme hosted by Cait @paper fury and Sky @further up and further in in which writers discuss their current writing projects.

This month I’m discussing my science fiction project tentatively titled Pigs Play Pork.

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Disclaimer: Everything mentioned here is subject to change.

Bluejay Feather

Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

My mental state is all right. My novel on the other hand. . . Well, it’s not much more edited than it was at the beginning of the month, but at least I’m forming a revision plan.

This is honestly not too surprising. I opted to focus on getting back into blogging over revisions this month. Hoping to not have to choose between the two next month when I should have more free time.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Okay, this line is even more subject to change than the rest of this, but as of right now it is:

“You play the pork,” Suzie says.

Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

I never have gotten around to naming most of my characters, so that means I need to stick with the rather limited pool of characters that actually have names. Therefore, my choice is my main character, Lyle.

What do you love about your novel so far?

I love that I get to write from the perspective of someone who’s experience is radically different from my own and imagine what life would be like from this perspective.

Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Most certainly, but it would take me forever to find something specific, so I’ll be general here. I use placeholder words for the characters I haven’t named yet. Sometimes I forget to put square brackets around these words and they can end up looking like they’re part of a sentence.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

The beginning, without a doubt. When I sit down to write a novel length work, the idea I’ve picked is that one I’ve had for ages and can’t stop thinking about. The ability to start writing about what I’ve been thinking about for ages is wonderful.

That said, when it comes to writing shorter works, starting is the hardest part. Once I’ve started, the words flow easier.

What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

When I have time, I tend to write in the hour before I go to sleep. That is because in a typical day, that is my only free time, and it only happens around three to four days a week.

That said, I will sometimes squeeze in five minutes of writing time here or there, but this is harder when editing because I need to be more focused to make sure I’m making my WIP better and not worse.

I also write a lot throughout the day on things not related to my WIP, so I suppose you could say I spend about equal time in a day writing and not writing.

How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I tend to be very private during most stages. When I’m starting my revisions on my second draft I’ll show some people the first chapter or two to make sure my feelings about what I need to change are accurate.

That’s about it until I get to a point when I’m satisfied with my work. Which has not happened with anything longer than 6,000 words or so, but it will someday. I’m sure of it.

What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

My seeming inability to give up on things once I’ve started. Seriously, I don’t know when to quit.

What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  1. Use a schedule. You don’t need to write everyday, but writing tends to work best if you take time out of your schedule and make it a routine whether that be once a day, twice a week, or a few times a month.
  2. Set reasonable goals. Emphasis on reasonable here. Set goals that you have full control over, are plausible, and measurable. Instead of, for example, making it your goal to get an agent this year, consider making it your goal to get a certain number of rejections or just to send out a certain number of queries if that sounds too bleak. (I’m a personal fan of the rejection based goal. It makes every rejection something to celebrate.)
  3. Keep trying. Sometimes the unexpected happens and that reasonable goal you set becomes achievable. That’s okay. It happens to everyone.
    Sometimes someone close to you sees success and you don’t. This is okay too. It doesn’t make you any worse off. It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible writer. Their success has no reflection on you at all, no matter how difficult this can be to remember.

 

Bluejay Feather

Do you write, if so how would you answer these questions? If not, do you have any advice for accomplishing major goals? What reading habits do you have? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Beautiful Books October 2017

Beautiful BooksBeautiful books is a meme hosted by Cait @paper fury and Sky @further up and further in in which writers discuss their current writing projects. This time the theme is “Introducing your NaNoWriMo Novel.”

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Since I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this November, I’ve opted to write about the first draft I wrote last summer.

Edit 10/25/17: Disclaimer: Everything written here is subject to change.

Bluejay Feather

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I was inspired by a news article I read about pig embryo with human cells, with the suggestion that people in the future might use pigs as organ donors. An article like this one.

The idea captivated me so much I wrote a short story not long after. At first, it seemed too ridiculous an idea to base a full novel around, but I was still so enthusiastic about these characters and had more positive beta reader feedback than I expected. So, I turned it into a novel length work.

I wrote the short story around last March, so that should give some idea of the timeline.

Describe what your novel is about!

It’s a young adult science fiction novel about Lyle, a teenager who’s only allowed off his parents’ property for doctors visits. Sometimes not even then. One day, Lyle discovers his parents had another child before him. One they intend to sacrifice Lyle to get back. At least, that’s how Lyle sees it, anyway.

Everything Lyle knows about the world beyond his backyard he learned from the few websites he was allowed to visit, his parents’ constant warnings, and peoples’ snide comments about him. Yet, Lyle’s only way to escape a fate he considers worse than death is to find a way to survive in a place he’s only glanced through the glass of a car window.

After running away, Lyle soon ends up trapped. If Lyle doesn’t reveal his identity, he will be killed in two weeks. Now Lyle’s only hope is to escape his imprisonment and avoid being recognized before the two weeks are up.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

I hate to say it, but most of the description in my novel is disgusting. Like, while I was writing the first draft I had to skim on some of the concrete details because the visualization was making me gag. It all serves a purpose of setting up the dark, dreary atmosphere, though, so I guess that’s okay?

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Uh, there are a lot of characters. Twenty-four in my Scrivener character description files, to be exact, and, no doubt, more that I haven’t made a file for. Most of them don’t have names yet. It takes me forever, yes, even past draft one, to pick names out. For the sake of keeping this a reasonable length, I’ll have to sit this one out.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I’m an outliner. In fact, some of my outlines have been known to reach 10,000 words. Fortunately, this outline was only a little over 5,000 words. So, you know, keeping it brief, LOL.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Well, I’ve already written the first draft. To be honest, that was what I most looked forward to. Now, I’m looking forward to having the whole thing edited enough I feel comfortable with someone else reading it.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

There are a lot of settings.

  1. One of them is a barn.
  2. Another is a suburban high school.
  3. A third is a hospital.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Lyle wants people, especially those he cares about, to accept him for who he his. His physical appearance and physical ability stand in his way often, as do a number of individuals who literally keep him trapped, and Lyle’s own ignorance.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Lyle grows more confident, more firm, and less trusting.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I try not to think of themes in my own works. I worry they make my work too preachy. While the story gets bleak sometimes, I want to leave readers hopeful for the future.

Bluejay Feather

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo next month? Have you decided not to participate but work on something anyway like me? Anyone revising a first draft? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

June and July Wrap-up

Monthly Wrap-up

June and July were productive months. I read eight books and wrote over 40,000 words.

Bluejay Feather

Reading

One of the books I read were middle grade, three were young adult, and four were adult.

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Title

The Shattered Lens (Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians #4)

Short Synopsis

Alcatraz must stop librarian cults from conquering the world.

Thoughts

I liked book four better than book three. I thought the conflict was more interesting, the jokes funnier, and I’m excited to continue the next book.

It’s important to note that there are a lot of people who would find this series more annoying than funny. I’m just not one of them. I think it’s hilarious.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #2)

Short Synopsis

Aliens try to conquer Earth. Humans learn about our place in the universe.

Thoughts

I liked this book better than its predecessor. The plot was more cohesive, and a little faster paced, though still slow. This is hard sci-fi at heart. One of the things I love best about this series is the way it’s made me think.

That said, I’m happy with how this book left the story and am not sure I’ll continue.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)

Short Synopsis

Two young shadowhunters must protect the world and loved ones from supernatural forces while sorting out their forbidden romantic feelings.

Thoughts

This book was fun, but I’m tiring of reading books set in this universe. I’ll probably read the series final when it comes out in a couple years, but think I’m done with the future spin-offs.

Of course, if nostalgia strikes, I might change my mind.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

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Title

Defy the Stars (Constellation #1)

Short Synopsis

A teenager fighting for a rebellion teams up with an android to free her planet from Earth’s influence.

Thoughts

Really enjoyed this one. See my full review for more information.

Rating

4 blue jays

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Title

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

Short Synopsis

August and Kate must protect the people of their city from the monsters that seek to tear it apart while they battle their own inner daemons. For my full thoughts see my duology review.

Thoughts

I liked this book, but at the same time felt something was missing that I couldn’t place.

Rating

3.5 blue jays

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Title

The Handmaid’s Tale

Short Synopsis

A handmaid shares the story of her life as a member of the first generation to live under a sexist dystopian regime.

Thoughts

Based on what everyone said, I expected to be left emotionally drained by this book. I think that these expectations and the fact that I don’t have children are the only reasons I wasn’t affected more. It is, however, still a creepy book.

That said, while I can’t say I liked what took place in this book, it was very well written, thought provoking, and made me want to keep reading. For these reason, it gets a high rating.

Rating

4 blue jays

228665

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Titles

The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #1 and 2)

Short Synopsis

When a village is attacked, three farm boys must flee to a legendary city to protect themselves and their families.

Thoughts

I liked the second book a lot more than the first. Given the nature of most first books in epic fantasy setting up the rest of the series this isn’t too surprising.

Rating

3/5 for book one and 4.5/5 for book two averaging to a 4/5.

4 blue jays

Writing

Camp NaNo July 2017 Progress bar

I started writing a first draft in June and continued writing it throughout July. This was accomplished through Camp NaNoWriMo. I had a goal of 30,000 words for July but exceeded it and wrote 40,000 words.

Bluejay Feather

What have you been reading? Anyone read any of these books? Anyone participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

4TheWords Review

4thewords screenshot

4thewords is a site that aims to make writing into a video game. It accomplishes this through users battling monsters and completing quests by writing words.

The game provides a variety of monsters to be defeated by writing a certain number of words in a given time period. Both these and the quests can be ignored by clicking on the “write” menu tab instead of the “play” menu tab if a user chooses to focus on writing instead of the game.

4thewords battle screenshot 2

The site costs $4 per month but can be lowered through the use of core crystals. These can be earned in the game and used to extend your subscription.

Bluejay Feather

I decided to use 4thewords’s 30 day free trial this month while I completed my Camp NaNoWriMo project. The experience has been good overall. I think there are a lot of people who will find the site useful. However, I’m not sure whether or no not I will purchase a subscription in the future.

My favorite aspect of 4thewords is the way it makes writing feel as much like a video game as possible. The monster battles and rewards for writing are great motivation. For me personally, my hesitation about whether or not I will purchase a subscription comes down to the fact that I’m not sure these features are enough to make me willing to pay $4 a month for the site.

I have a good system in place already for writing first drafts. The monster battles are, in essence word sprints. There are other methods I can use for free to mimic the monster battles through word sprints without paying.

At this point first drafts come easily to me, the real challenge lies in finding a way to break down the editing process in a similar manor to how this site breaks down first draft writing. This site doesn’t help with editing.

This would be different for someone at an earlier stage in their writing journey. This site would have been invaluable when I was still at a point where I struggled to stay focused long enough to finish a first draft.

Where I would find 4thewords more helpful today is in writing something I don’t want to. The trouble with using it to write my novel is that fiction writing is something I really want to do. This site would be more useful motivation for writing things I don’t want to. For example, this website could make writing a thesis or lengthy essay a breeze.

Since starting this project was something I wanted to do more than almost anything else in the world, I found the extra features distracting.

Everything was easy to figure out, but even with this simple adjustment period I at first found these extra features annoying because I had to figure out how I could work past them to do what I wanted: start writing.

I came to love the monster battles for their word sprint like nature but at first found the monster battles annoying because I would become so absorbed in my project that I would forget that I’d started the battle.

4thewords battle screenshot

Again, I think this would not be a problem for someone less motivated than I was to work on their project. It’s obvious to anyone not 100 percent absorbed in their project to tell when a monster battle is taking place.

As I continued to work on my project, my motivation dropped and I gained more appreciation for some of the sites features. I adore the way that the site uses a streak to encourage writing every day. The streak led to me writing on days when I would have otherwise told myself I didn’t have time because I didn’t want my streak to go away.

On the other hand, the most annoying feature of the site is the way it saves projects. Each scene has its own file. This isn’t the problem. In fact, this makes it easier to work with long projects. The problem was that there seems to be a limit on how many chapters a project can have, which my work in progress greatly exceeded. The site also doesn’t automatically add new scenes to the end of the document. Instead, I had to drag the new files I created into place.

The site is also slow to update the number of words written and keep track of it’s countdown clock. When I’m battling  monsters, the section labeled “time left” almost always reads “00 h 00 m” no matter how much time remains. Luckily, the end time shown underneath of this battle remains accurate.

I’m used to using writing programs that update in real time. The 4thewords site has a three second delay. This leaves me confused as to why my word count doesn’t go up as soon as I type a new word.

The best aspect of the site’s word count feature is that it keeps track of the total number of words users write even if they delete them while also keeping track of the number of words that are actually in the document. I’ve never used another writing program that does this. It gives me a clearer idea of what I’ve accomplished each day.

This isn’t the site’s only means to keep track of how much a user writes each day, the progress calendar allows users to click to see how many minutes and words were written on a given day.

4thewords streak calendar

I find this inspiring. It leaves me in awe to know for certain that I’ve already spent over 24 hours working on my current novel length work. I’ve never had the amount of time I’ve spent on my projects laid out so clearly before.

Bluejay Feather

I’ve never applied my rating scale to anything other than books before, but have chosen to give 4thewords a 3.5/5. If it were cheaper and the glitches went away I could see myself giving the website a higher rating.

I think the website is the motivation many writers need. However, I already have a system in place that works, so it’s not worth the cost for me personally.

I’d also like to point out that this site is currently in early access mode. This means there could be many improvements still to come. Keep that in mind if you’re reading this review long after it was published.

3.5 blue jays

What writing sites and programs do you use? Do you use or plan to use 4thewords? Should I review more writing software? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Beautiful People July 2017

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Beautiful People is a monthly writing meme hosted by Cait @Paper Fury and Sky @Further up and Further in in which writers answer questions about their characters. Except this month, in which we’re answering questions about our writing process instead.

Bluejay Feather

How do you decide which project to work on?

It depends. Whenever I get an idea I write it down and record it in a folder on my computer. I’ll let the ideas sit in that folder for a couple months. If I’m still excited about that idea after the time I leave it sitting in that file it’ll probably become at least a short story.

I decide which one to work on next by going through my list of ideas. I choose the one I’ve done the most research for or am most excited about in that moment.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

That depends. In someways none of my projects are technically done. I’m always going back and revising. Since none of my fiction is published, this has never really stopped.

In terms of first drafts of my novel length works, they usually take about three months or so. Revising takes much longer.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

Not really, no.

What time of day do you write best?

I write best in the morning, but rarely get to. Instead, I usually write at the end of the day as a reward for finishing everything else.

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I’m sure there are, but I don’t think I’d be the best judge of this fact. I’m too close to my work.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I’m not exactly sure when I started. I was slow to learn to read and write, but I’ve been telling myself stories for as long as I can remember. One day I started writing those stories down. I haven’t stopped since.

I keep writing because somewhere in the midst of writing to share stories, I came to love the words themselves.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

I’m not sure. All of my projects are difficult in different ways. The hardest thing to finish was my first novel length work. That was because I was so filled with doubt.

Part of me wondered if I was capable of finishing something that long. It was a huge step for me to learn I am capable of writing something novel length.

My longest project, a 90,000 word long epic fantasy manuscript, was also difficult because long novels take even more focus than the 60,000-ish word ones I usually write.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

There is, but I feel I’m getting close. I’ve always wanted to write a novel from the perspective of an intelligent non-human being that lives in an aquatic environment. Seriously, I tried to write a story like this for the first time when I was about 12. That story was abandoned after the first page, but the idea of writing from the perspective of intelligent sea life has never left my mind.

Trouble is that it’s really difficult to write from the perspective of a being whose perception of the world is so different from humans. This is why I haven’t attempted this idea for so long.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I was hoping to have something ready to send out to beta readers by the end of this year. This is looking unlikely, but not yet impossible. It’s something I’m working towards but hit a setback when I decided to abandon the epic fantasy project I mentioned earlier for my current one.

I came to the conclusion while revising my epic fantasy work in progress that I don’t think I can make it good enough that it’s worth people spending money on. If I’m going to make people pay to read something, I want it to feel it’s worth their time.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Writing is rewriting.

It’s cliche, but it’s true.

Bluejay Feather

Anything surprising about my writing process? Is anyone participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Anyone have a similar process? 

Share your thoughts in the comments below!