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.

bb-redone

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!

Advertisements

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.”

bb-redone

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!

Beautiful Books: 2017 Writing Goals

bb-redone

Beautiful Books is a tri-annual linkup and variation of the monthly Beautiful People meme run by Cait @paperfury and Sky @furtherupfurtherin in which writers discuss their writing projects.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I finished rewriting my epic fantasy work in progress.

What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

To reread my project from last year, decide what to do about it, and write another first draft. Hopefully have something I feel comfortable sending to beta readers by the end of the year.

Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!

Not quite sure what the focus will be this year. I have a lot of ideas I could start, and am not sure which ones I will chose yet.

How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?

I hope to get better at revising my completed work. At the end of 2017 I hope to see myself with at least one revised manuscript.

Describe your general editing process.

This is still forming, hence the goal to get better at revision, but I tend to start with big picture issues first then move to smaller ones.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Five, it’s a lot better than the first draft, but needs a lot of work.

What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

World-building, this piece deals with a lot of fictional cultures, and I’m having trouble deciding on some of their characteristics.

What do you like the most about your draft?

That it’s complete now. 🙂

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

Not sure yet. It depends how confident I feel in it after more revisions. however, I’ll almost certainly be sending it to beta readers, but not for some time.

What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?

Set it aside for a little while before deciding what to do with it.