Writing Progress – Slowly Catching Up


I intensely wrote on a book outside of my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series; I have written about it on different occasions.

I was very enthusiastic about that book. The draft is completed… but, of course, when I write, I forget everything around me.

That means book 7 in ‘the Council of Twelve series is still waiting for me to complete the personal editing, book 8 was halfway typed into the computer, and book 9 is still waiting to be typed in.

Now, here I am, planning to do some catching up. And I started. (Sometimes I surprise myself).

In the meantime, Book #8 is typed into the computer and awaits the start of my personal editing. (Book 7 is still waiting for me to complete the editing, but it shouldn’t take much time anymore). And, I started typing in my new book.

Does that mean I’m slowly catching up? I’m not sure I am. I cannot be without writing, and I started to work on book #10 in the series. That doesn’t mean I will forget to type in. But I wrote so much, and I forgot that writing is the fun part. The real work starts after the first draft is completed.

I’m also behind my blog posts, which means I should consider writing a few of those and schedule them. It’s not easy to be a writer.

But at least, after everything got stuck and the drafts were piling up on my desk, I got the feeling that I was getting somewhere.

Keep your fingers crossed that I will keep on working on typing my drafts into the computer. It’s not the easiest or funniest part of my writing process.

I had someone telling me, why don’t you hire someone who is doing that for you? I’m telling you why:

  1. I was told my handwriting isn’t very easy to read
  2. This is only a first draft, which means, while typing it into the computer, I need to make adjustments and those are on me. Nobody can do that for me – and I don’t want anyone to try.
  3. I have an editor and a copyright lawyer, and a book cover designer… they all are a GREAT part of how my books turn out to be. But I still want to be a big part of my books and investing my time and efforts into my stories is part of the job description.

My books mean a lot to me, and the writing process they go through has turned out to be right for me. I doubt I want to change that.

What is your experience with your process? Have you changed anything lately? Let us know in the comments.

How Not To Start A New Book

As many of you already know, my writing process is a bit unorthodox. With the books so far written in my ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I generally worked as follows:

1. Preparation (develop characters and update character sheets)

2. Draft plot and take notes

3. Start writing the first draft of the book by hand

4. Read the first draft, make necessary corrections in red

5. Type the corrected draft into the computer

6. Personal editing I

7. Personal editing II

9. Send book to the editor

10. Additional steps after the book is returned to me, fully proofread, edited, and formatted…


‘The Council of Twelve’ series is published with four books, and books 5 and 6 are written and prepared to be published. I have an additional book connected to the series currently with my editor. Book 7 is in my personal editing; books 8 and 9 are written and need to be typed into the computer. Since I got ‘The Council of Twelve’ series so very well prepared, I permitted myself to write a different story; one that has been in my head for quite some time already.

I have my ‘The Council of Twelve’ plot and character sheets updated and carry them with me constantly in the form of ‘Microsoft OneNotes’, which is a wonderful writer’s tool, at least to me… It allows me to take notes and write down ideas at any given time, on either my phone, my computer, or my tablet, and I have nothing else to do than to sync the program to have access to the latest version on any of my devices. Additionally, after nine books in the series, I know my characters quite well and rarely need to peek at my notes.

Now, I sit here, working on my new book. It’s a remarkable story and wonderful to work on. As soon as my pen touches the paper, it writes. I’m writing, drafting, plotting, writing again… And today I realized that, except a few notes on tiny paper sheets at the beginning and a hand-drafted family tree, I hadn’t done much preparation. In my excitement to start the book, I forgot to prepare correctly.

And now, in my handwritten draft, I’m paying for my omission. I forgot how often I have to flip to the pages to check on descriptions, characters, colors, and names. I discovered two ‘Davids’ and two ‘Peters,’ which angers me to no end.

I’m a very reliable person, and I don’t generally neglect my duties, not even those I have set up for myself, except in the preparation of this particular book. I decided to write a book outside the YA Fantasy genre, where I feel ‘home’ with my series. I should have known that careful preparation to write that book was necessary. But here I stand and could kick myself for not doing what should have been done quite some time ago.

I would therefore strongly recommend to new writers, like myself, to carefully prepare what needs to be prepared before starting the new book. Otherwise, they will find themselves in the same situation I am now, with a few mixed ideas, two very similar conversations, and two Peters and Davids. At least, I find myself discovering my mistake now. I can still work on fixing the problem. But I know I shouldn’t have let it go that far. At least next time, I know what I have to do. Go back to the well-prepared, reliable writer I am.

What kind of advice would you give your fellow writers? What mistake have you been making that you had to correct? What problem were you facing that needed to be fixed? Let us know in the comments.

Authors, Do You Rehearse Fighting Scenes Before You Write Them?

A few days ago, I was working on a complicated fighting scene between two supernatural beings in book #8 in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series.

To describe the fight accurately, I was getting up, using a wooden kitchen spoon to technically rehearse every step of the battle, before sitting down and explaining the movement and natural body reaction on the ‘theoretically’ inflicted pain.

It took me close to four hours for a fight that took a mere two pages to write.  And yes, the argument does include a bit of pain, wings, bruises, and a severe knee injury.

Now, being a martial artist myself might have helped me big time to take this challenge on and solve the problem the way I did. But other writers might not have that [indeed minimal] advantage. How are they doing it? Is their fantasy more extended than mine?

Previously I mentioned my fighting scene took up about two pages of the book. Generally, that is a lot of room for one scene. But that is why I rehearsed. I had to make sure the fight was thrilling and still described well in an imaginative short manner.

Fighting scenes in books are incredibly different from fighting scenes in movies. Compared to what we see, reading the fight in a book has to tickle our own imagination. We don’t follow a fighter with our eyes… we follow him/her with our mind.

To see Bruce Lee fighting twenty opponents to the same time and describing the same scene in words, would need our book ten to twelve pages. To a reader, that would be incredibly boring. Most readers would never read through the entire fight. It would be a complete waste of time and effort. A reader would only jump the pages to the end of the battle. Most of them are interested in who wins.

Therefore I had to shorten something that usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a movie to two pages in my book. To catch the essential things in my fight, I was rehearsing to myself.

 

As an author, how do you write fighting scenes? Do you rehearse too? And as a reader, do you enjoy reading fighting scenes, and if yes, how long should they be to not bore you out of your skin? Thank you for telling us in the comments.

Troublesome Changes In The Book During The Writing Process


In the past few years, I often described my common writing process here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest.’ I will do that once again today.

  1. Thinking of an idea
  2. Drafting the story by hand first
  3. Typing the draft into the computer
  4. Self-editing
  5. Sending to editor
  6. … and so on…

Now, this time, with book number 7 in the series, I am facing a few difficulties I never had before.

After finishing drafting the story by hand, I decided to change the POV from first to third-person omniscient.

That means to me, I need to concentrate awfully hard switching the passages I had drafted in the first person POV.

You might ask now: How come you needed to change the POV? And I have to answer: because there is so much happening in that book, it wouldn’t do the story justice to only delineate it from one person’s view. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of switching between two or even more POV’s during the book. I don’t like that when I’m reading a book, and I sure won’t do that when I write mine. I think it’s irritating and annoying.

But the difficulties to ‘re-think’ during typing the story I know so well is exhausting and, at times, debilitating. I’m used to typing quite fast when I move from the hand-draft to the computer, and I only stop occasionally to correct typos and ‘stuff.’

What I have to do now is different, and it takes its toll on me.

Is there anyone who can advise me on that? Do you have experience with this kind of re-writing, and how did you handle it?

Thank you for your help!

Rachel Poli Had Me As A Guest On Her Blog Today

Thank you very much for featuring me on your blog with my interview, Rachel Poli. It was such a pleasure to be your guest!


Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Aurora Jean Alexander. I grew up in a family involved into politics and was blessed with an excellent education in several countries, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in BA. I was very lucky. I’m living by myself with three cats, working a full time job and I am a new Paranormal Romance/Fantasy author. Currently I work on a series with 13 books. My first book is close to be published.

 

How long have you been writing for?

I doubt I can tell you one particular time or even time frame when I started writing. I felt that’s what I wanted to do. Since I lack a talent in painting and drawing I had to do something with my creativity and decided that’s the way to do it.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

To continue reading go to:

https://rachelpoli.com/2018/12/10/meet-aurora-jean-alexander-author-author-interview/

 

Character Names – Worth A Research?


Lately, I met an Irish woman whose first name I simply love: Mairead. She told me it’s the Irish version of the name Margaret. I was fascinated. Margaret is a great name, but to my ear, Mairead sounds mysterious and a bit magic.

After a little bit of research, I found out that it’s believed the meaning of the name is ‘pearl.’ I’m convinced in one of my books a character called Mariead will show up.

That coincidence is one of the very few occasions so far that I met a person whose name I plan to use in one of my books.

Most of the time I have a ‘rough plan’ about a particular new character in my head already. Before the ‘fine tuning’ I most of the time need a name. In my head, I can only imagine a character as a person if he or she has a name.

XY is often in a fit of violent temper.
XY is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
XY occasionally twirls his beard when…

and so on. These things don’t work for me if I cannot address the person properly.

Erik is often in a fit of violent temper.
Wilbur Carstairs is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
Grandpa Ben occasionally twirls his beard when…

That’s much better. My head has a picture of Erik, Wilbur and Grandpa Ben now.

____________________________________________

Imagine now I created a beautiful Irish woman with light skin, black hair and bright blue eyes. She’s filigree, but no matter how tender she looks, her magic makes her strong. Nobody knows what powers slumber inside of her.

Before going deeper into her character, find out her flaws, build her in detail, I want to be able to think about her as a person, not merely a ‘picture’ or a ‘draft.’ I have a good basic idea of how she will be. What I need now is her name. A name that in my opinion, matches her looks as well as her character (and what I have hidden inside of her).

My research will look like this. First names on the left, last names on the right. I researched the names and the meanings.

After taking notes of the basics, I’ll leave the paper for a while and later on I’m trying to figure out what I like about the names, how they match. I keep scribbling onto the note until it looks like this. (And of course my favorite is red).

And here we go: Welcome to my book, Aideen Brady.

Do you think this is too complicated? What is your process to find your character’s names? Are names really worth such efforts? Let me hear your thoughts, please.

How To Deal With Impatience When It Comes To Writing?

For years already I know that ‘patience’ and myself aren’t on friendly terms. If I want something, I want it now; not sometime in the future, but right now, as in ‘this instant.’ So, me being a writer hasn’t changed me significantly. Sometimes I want too much, too early. The process of writing (or typing into the computer) cannot be accelerated. It still means, to write one letter after the next, one word after the next, one paragraph and then chapter after the next one. I understood that pretty quickly, and that’s not mainly what bugs me.

But being a writer, even deciding to self-publish, means to call on other people’s services. We’re talking about cover designers (even though, mine is faster than lighting!!), editors (and mine is an angel and works with all her heart to make this book look good!!), copyright lawyers, author support service people and so on… Each one of them works with all their knowledge and ability, with all their heart and soul to make my first book a success.

But to me, all I can think of is there are so many people involved in my book – and there’s so much work ahead of me that still needs to be done, that every single delay, like financial straits, is driving me up the walls.

I want to see this book published – and not around Christmas – but now. Now as in ‘tomorrow.’
But: of course, to the same time, I want my book to be perfect. I don’t want anything hasty and sloppy, just because I’m swinging a whip. I want all my supporters and helpers to work at their own pace because I know, they’re excellent in what they’re doing! I’m not impatient with them – I’m impatient with myself, wanting too much too fast – and knowing about it.

My head knows very well tomorrow and the day after won’t be possible – but that little devil on my left shoulder permanently drizzles its poison into my ear and makes my brain fuzzy.
So for the past few months, I have been trying to calm myself down and try to practice patience. How to do that? There are so many different things that are suggested, and I think I tried them all.
Toni Bernhard J.D. writes that she can turn impatience into patience by distracting herself. For example, being stuck in traffic, she starts concentrating on models, colors, and drivers of the other cars. It helps her keep her mind and eyes off the clock.

This, I decided was a good start, but I figured it would be asked to much to listen to the radio to find out where there’s a traffic jam, only to find out how to distract myself… in particular since I’m not in a hurry anyway.

So I tried to distract and calm me with other things. Going for forest walks and swimming helps me a lot, in particular, to focus on myself and my way of dealing with things. Writing lists on what still has to be done, what the delay is and when that particular problem with my delay will be solved. To see it in written form helps me to see more clearly and not listen to my little devil.

I’ve been doing so much research on the things that need to be done before flawlessly publishing a book, that I have been prepared for this and accepted it. Which means, any hold-up is only caused by the weakest link in the chain: myself (or whatever ghost is hunting me currently) Everyone else does a fantastic job with their part of work on my book.

I want it done right, and I won’t let any little devil torpedo my dream, only because I permit my impatience coming the better of me.

This is a wonderful opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to all the people working on this book currently: my cover designer, my editor, and my lawyer. You’re doing such an amazing job!! Thanks so much!!

Are you never impatient? What it is that causes it, in terms of writing? And how do you deal with it? Please let us know, we’re curious.

 

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Picture courtesy of: https://www.askideas.com/60/what-is-destructive-is-impatience-haste-expecting-too-much-too-fast-may-sarton/

 

 

Can A Writer Have Too Many Ideas?

authors_feather
Picture courtesy of http://www.google.com

 


 

I’m in fact a little curious how other writers are doing this…

Do you ever feel like your head is bursting with all the ideas you got? How do you sort them out? How do you arrange them?

 

Let’s say: you get an idea:

·    where do you go with it?

·    how do you know what to do with it?

·    where do you start with it?

·    do you file it? And if yes, where?

·    do you park it until you need it or are ready to write the story?

 

At times I feel like my head is exploding, having so many ideas while at other days my brain just goes blank. But once I get these ideas, what am I doing with them? I do have a file on my computer, named “ideas.” Occasionally I go back to find out if they’re useful at that moment. And so many times I realized, that I’ve got no clue what I wanted with that idea or where to go from there. It can be annoying.

Right now I’m working on a series of novellas and novels… the first book of the series is completed and with the editor now. So is the third one.

I’m still writing the second one… but since the first and second’s character’s are “overlapping” I need to work very carefully on that second book to not make plot mistakes I don’t want to expect my future readers to put up with.

I admit, my thoughts, my idea developing and my research circle mainly around this particular series.

When I lately needed a break from working on my second book, I found myself having a brainwave. And instead of “parking” the idea in my particular file, I decided instead to start on the fourth book of the series. I have huge plans for that book, considering I briefly introduced a few of this particular’s story’s characters to my readers of this blog.

To my great astonishment, I found myself writing like crazy on that fourth book. I’m enthusiastic since it seems I only have to put pen to paper and it writes nearly by itself.

Until a few weeks ago when I discovered a new major character of the series I repeated what I did before and quickly decided not to “park” the idea until I get there, but just start the fifth book of the series.

Here I am now, at the same time working on the second, the fourth and the fifth book of the series.

I was asking myself: am I getting into conflicts? What will happen if I can’t ‘switch’ quickly enough and start making mistakes? But so far I’m good, I know exactly which character belongs where and what my plans with them are.

And still: There is this one question: Did I have too many ideas at the same time? Can I continue like this? How are other writers handling this kind of “idea attack”?

Do you ever feel like having “too many ideas”? Are you writing on one and one book or story? Am I doing something wrong?  Please, help me out, I’d be grateful for your opinion.


Picture courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

The Top 50 Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors

Jennifer Owenby shared an amazing and enormously useful list for self-published and Indie authors. Thank you so much for your support, help and efforts, Jen! You’re great!

Jens Thoughts

I stumbled across this fantastic resource and wanted to share with you. I’d love to hear any feedback.

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