nanowrimo: some pros and cons

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I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS POSTER. (source)

NaNoWriMo is upon us (in less than two months!) and I couldn’t be more excited.  Last year was incredibly productive for me and while I don’t expect magic to happen twice, I’m still looking forward to what this year’s NaNo has in store for me + the writing community.  After all, this year marks the 20th anniversary of NaNoWriMo, we’re getting a brand new (super cool) website, AND the theme is time travel!  Could things get any more awesome???

If you’ve never tried NaNoWriMo before and you’re wondering what it’s all about…it’s pretty simple.  Basically, your mission (should you choose to accept it) is to write 50,000 words during the month of November.  That works out to 1,667 words a day (totally doable, trust me) and even if you don’t get all 50K written, you’re still a winner because you got words on the page.

And now, without further ado, here are some of my personal pros/cons for NaNoWriMo. ❤

Pro: NaNoWriMo brings writers together.

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Have you ever been up at two in the morning, thinking about your story or writing your story and wondering if anyone else is out there writing too? (Trust me, many writers are.)  If you’ve ever felt lonely while writing or when explaining your writing to a non-writer, NaNoWriMo could be exactly what you need. 

NaNoWriMo brings thousands upon thousands of writers together in one mad, epic, insane quest for the 50K.  There’s a thriving Facebook group that stays super active all year long and the forums are bursting with writers just like you. (Not going to link to the forums because the site update could mess up any links I give.)  The NaNoWriMo community is an amazing, warm, and welcoming place.  I love it.

Con: Writing every day might not work for you.

I’m not talking about not having the time to write every day.  Most, if not all of us can squeeze in at least a hundred words of writing each day. (It all comes down to priorities.)  What I’m talking about is whether or not your creative process works in a way that allows you to write for thirty consecutive days.

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Some writers can only create in bursts, knocking off thousands of words in one day and then not writing for another few days.  Others can write every single day without fail (and have been doing it for years).  I find that I can write every day for a while but my well of inspiration tends to go dry after a few weeks.  However, since I’m a pretty fast writer I usually finish NaNoWriMo well before the end of the month.

Basically, you’ll need to figure out what kind of writing schedule works best for you and see if it can be integrated into the NaNoWriMo challenge. (And if it can’t be, that’s fine too!  You need to write at your own pace.)

Pro: The amount of motivation is insane.

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Okay, so this might vary a little from writer to writer because we’re all different in more ways than one.  But I find (as do many others) that NaNoWriMo fuels my motivation to write like nothing else. (Except maybe a pressing work deadline.  But those aren’t as fun.)  Just knowing that thousands of other writers are also writing toward 50K during November…it’s awesome.  Motivational quotes have nothing on NaNoWriMo.

There are also virtual (and IRL) write-ins, awesome prizes for winners (and participants), and the idea of having a completed first draft by the end of the month – there’s so much to push you forward to success!

Con: Your family/friends might become annoyed with you.

I see a lot of people talk about how hard NaNoWriMo can be, how difficult it is to reach their word count for the day, and how much time/energy the challenge takes out of their life.  Personally, I don’t really understand that because I can knock of 1,667 words in an hour or less (I’m a reasonably fast typist, so I think that helps). 

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this meme isn’t relevant – I just love the starter pack memes. (source)

Yes, it’s tougher when the inspiration isn’t there or if I don’t know where to go with a scene or if I’m behind a few days.  But NaNoWriMo (and first drafts in general) are all about getting the words down on the page – good, bad, or indifferent – and editing later.

ANYWAY.  When I talk about your loved ones becoming annoyed with you, I don’t mean the amount of time you’ll be spending away from them (though that may become a part of it).  I’m talking about when you become so excited about/enamored with your novel that you can’t. stop. talking. about. it.  That’s when you run the risk of ticking off your friends and family.

Pro: Any writing is good writing.

I read once (I forget where) that a writer needs to write one million bad words before they can really write anything good.  I know that’s a blanket statement that doesn’t apply to everyone.  But the truth is that the more you write, the more experience you gain and the more you’ll know about your craft. 

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Your brain doesn’t waste any of your writing; even if your first draft is horrendous (as most first drafts are) you still wrote.  You still have those words out of your head and on the page where they can be polished into something great.  Or where you can delete them because you’ve grown enough to recognize what needs to be cut and what needs to stay.

(Fanfiction also counts towards your one million words, btw!)

And NaNoWriMo can help with giving you an opportunity/reason/excuse to forget everything else and write.

Are you planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?  Do you have any pros or cons to add to this list?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

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announcing the winner of the ‘Name the Cat!’ contest

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I got a ton of responses from you guys, regarding the naming of a cat in my novel, The Darkness is Past.  The book itself is nowhere near publication but I’m hoping that it’ll be in print someday. (Someday soon-ish?)  Anyway, there were a ton of great names submitted…but unfortunately, there can only be one winner.

And the name that won the contest isssss…

‘Misha’

Submitted by ‘awesomestarreadergal’, whoever that is. 😉  If you’re her, please email me at evaschon1793@gmail.com and we can work out all the details of your Amazon gift card, mailing address for autographed copy of (future) book, etc.

Thanks so much, everyone who participated!  I hope to do another one of these contests in the future.

Eva

time for (another) rant

Last year, I posted this big rant about one of my indie book reviews being [kind of] censored.  I’m not going to link to it because it turned into a mess, but I’m here today with another rant centered around an indie author. (Not naming her, fyi.)

And it’s worse?

Earlier this year I had the privilege of beta-reading a dystopian trilogy for an indie author whose books I enjoy.  She’s not my favorite indie author, but she’s written some good stuff and created at least one character I really like so I jumped at the chance to help her out in the beta-ing department.  I read all three books, gave her my comments, and that was that.

Until yesterday, when I saw that she’d posted the final book to Goodreads (so it was now available for rating/reviewing).  I added it to my shelves and rated it two stars. 

EXPLANATION: I was stressed yesterday about completely unrelated things.  I was in a hurry to get the book on my shelves, wasn’t really thinking, and since the book left almost no impression on me…I rated it two stars.  I admit that I should have taken more time to think about my rating and maybe leave a short review, but I didn’t. (And, I mean, it’s not like I’m required to by law.)

Later that night, I opened up Facebook Messenger to find a super long message from the author in question.  Why, she asked, did I dare to rate her book only two stars?  If I had issues with it, why didn’t I bring them up when I beta read? (To be completely open with y’all, I pointed out any typos I found when I first read the book and honestly answered all the questions she had for the beta readers.  It’s just that the story/characters didn’t connect with me and I definitely didn’t like it as much as some of her other books.)

“I was planning on offering my beta readers paperback copies in reward for their assistance during the process.  Sorely disappointed I can’t do that for everyone involved now,” she said, passive-aggressively. (Spoiler alert: I’m grateful for the gesture but I have limited shelf space and that offer doesn’t tempt me to raise my rating.)

Still, none of the above would have been enough to prompt this blog post.  Yeah, I’ve bought all of her books and reviewed some and helped her in any way I could and micro-managing reviews and ratings is Bad Form, but…I would have let it go.

Except that she blocked me on Messenger directly after sending the message.

I had a thoughtful response planned out, explaining that I’d not really been thinking and that maybe I could see my way to bumping my rating up to three stars.  But then I tried to send that message and, yeah, it didn’t go through.  I was ‘no longer able to reply to this conversation’.  In one of the most juvenile moves imaginable, she blocked me from her author page’s messaging system so I couldn’t defend myself.

So, yeah.  I’m kind of mad about that.

I’d been reading a different book by the same author and was really enjoying it until all of this happen.  I’ll still finish it, but the whole thing has gone sour for me.  Indie authors, please don’t try to keep your rankings high by following up with every single reader and asking them why they didn’t rate your book higher.  As a reader, I’m not required to post a positive review – or any review.  I’m sure that when I become a published author, I’ll get reviews that will make me shake my head.  But I’m not going to engage.

I’m not quite sure what the point of all this was, except to get my response out there since I couldn’t do it in private.  I’ll probably look back on this post in a couple weeks and roll my eyes because I thought this was such a big deal, but I’m honestly angry right now.

Grrrrrrr.

Have you ever had a similar experience with an author (indie or otherwise)?  Or do you have a happy author interaction story to share?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

the ‘Name the Cat!’ contest

So, remember how I said I was going to do some kind of giveaway thing to celebrate reaching 400 followers? (402 now, by the way!)  Well, I thought about it quite a bit and couldn’t come up with a good giveaway prize that wasn’t an Amazon gift card because you all have such varying tastes and interests.  I have varying tastes and interests.

But I was thinking about my novel yesterday (The Darkness is Past – working title) and I thought that my main character should have a cat and then I thought “Oh, what should I name it?” and then I thought “Why not make it into a contest?”

So here we are.

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Rules:

-You can submit up to five names through this form.

-Like the form says, identify yourself by a pseudonym so that I’m not biased.  And since I won’t have your email, make sure to check back here in a couple weeks to see if you won the contest.

The contest ends June 25th.

-That’s about it?

Other Important Information:

-My main character is a guy in his mid-twenties who has never owned a pet before.  The cat’s gender/color/breed are undetermined (probably going to be a random stray, tbh) so you can submit male, female, and gender neutral names.  Basically, I’ll pick the one I like most and figure out the cat’s gender after.

-The story world is dystopian America (though my MC finds the cat in Russia).  MC is American himself.  So futuristic sounding names are a good call. 😉 (Though not required.)

-This book is a dystopian retelling of the Apostle Paul’s life, so that might give you a few good ideas.

-Literary reference names are also awesome.

Prizes:

-The name you submitted will be used in the book – obviously. (If, for some reason, the cat ends up getting cut from the story [which I can’t imagine happening, but it could] I will use the name for something else.  Not sure what, but it will be in the book.)

-$5 Amazon gift card!

-An autographed copy of the book sent to you when it’s published. (I don’t know when that will happen, but it will happen and one day you’ll check your mail and there’ll be a mysterious package inside and then you’ll remember winning this contest…)

Contest is open to residents of Canada and the continental US.

That’s about it!  If you have any other questions for me about my main character or whatever, let me know in the comments. 🙂

Eva

‘two suitors’ (or, why fourteen-year-old Eva was a sucky writer)

Yesterday I discovered some of my old writing.

THE CRINGE IS REAL.

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I was fourteen or fifteen when I wrote a certain trilogy of novellas set in Regency England.  At the time I was high-key obsessed with all things Jane Austen and, guys, I plagiarized lines from the books AND the movies in this trilogy.  Also names.  And as I read through the novellas last night, there was a definite Elsie Dinsmore influence as well.  My heroines were forever bursting into tears and some lines of description are almost verbatim from the Elsie Dinsmore books.  And the sad thing is that this isn’t a case of #copypastecris – I didn’t copy and paste lines from Elsie Dinsmore.  I’d just read the books so much that they were ingrained in my brain. (But that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post some excerpts from the cringiest book in the trilogy – The Two Suitors – along with commentary from moi. (The title= #lovetriangle #subtle.)  I might add some stuff from the other two novellas but, honestly, it’s going to be a struggle to leave quotes out from Two Suitors because everything is a joke.  Including my chapter titles (we’ll get to those).  Annnnd you’re probably going to hear variations of ‘cringe’ a lot because, yeah.  It’s unbelievable.

(I recognize that every author has to start somewhere.  And since these novellas were what really set me on the road to a writing career, they do hold a bit of a special place in my heart.  Plus, grammar and spelling are on point.  So that’s nice.  But overall… *shudders*)

So, the title page (#professional) reads Two Suitors: The tale of a girl who knew her place in the world. (At this point, we’re all vaguely alarmed…and it’s just the title page.)

Basic plot (from what I gathered in my skim-through): The main character is named Marianna (totally not based on Marianne Dashwood) who’s really snobbish (totally not based on Emma Woodhouse) and who falls in love with this probably-a-villain guy named John Albertson (totally not based on John Willoughby).  But there’s this other guy named Thomas Hilton who also loves Marianna (heaven knows why – she’s always super rude and snobbish toward him because ‘his family made their fortune in trade’ and doesn’t THAT sound familiar).  Marianna ends up becoming friends with Thomas’s niece, Anna Taylor (I CAN’T), and falls out of love with John super quickly because the plot demands it.  Thomas proposes again (oh, yeah, he proposed after dancing with her, like, one time but she refused) and amid plenty of happy tears, Marianna accepts him.

Ugggggh.

Now onto the quotes! (I also put a really pretentious ‘introduction’ before the story began but the one for Two Suitors is pretty tame compared to the introductions for the other books so I’m just going to skip it.)

Marianne called Emma her aunt even though she wasn’t quite her aunt. Her mother had been Emma’s cousin. However, Emma had wanted Marianna to call her that so she did. (Lol, wut?  Trying to figure out the familial connection is making my head spin.  And I’ve never heard of someone wanting someone else to call them ‘aunt’.  ‘Mom’ or ‘dad’ maybe, but not aunt.)

She was two years younger than any of his children and was quite used to being the center of her little world. She was the established head of her group of friends and she made sure it stayed that way. (Marianna sounds like a brat, tbh.)

“May I have this dance, Miss Arlington?” [John] asked eagerly.
“You forget…we have already danced our allowed two.”
He frowned. “I’m sure no one will notice,” he said with a smile. (Try to picture that in your mind.  He frowned…he said with a smile. *face-palm* Also, when I read this part out to my sister, she was like, “Flexing your knowledge of Regency customs, eh?”  And, yeah, if there was one fact I knew about Regency customs, it was that a couple couldn’t dance more than two dances together.)

“He has made his fortune in trade,” Marianna replied shortly.
Emma sighed. When would Marianna stop being so…snobbish? she wondered. “But Marianna, he is a true gentleman.”
Marianna did not reply and excused herself. (Head-hopping!  And I was right about Marianna being a brat.)

“Aunt, I am hardly old enough to be thinking about marriage,” Marianna said. (What I meant to put there was “said no eighteen-year-old girl in Regency England ever”.)

She met Mrs. Pratt on her arrival in town. Mrs. Pratt was the widow of a certain Mr. Pratt, the town constable. Mrs. Pratt was the be all and end all of all the town gossip. Every bit of news was weighed and sifted by her. If you wanted to know anything that was going on in the town, she was the one to go to. If you wanted to know something about yourself that you didn’t know about, she was the one to go to. (Nope, nothing stereotypical or cliched about Mrs. Pratt at all.  Also what does that last sentence mean?)

“The assembly ball has been moved up to this Saturday.”
“Ah, now that is good news. I have wanted to go [to] an Assembly for so long.” [Marianna said]
“That’s right…you have never been since you have only just come out. Well, I hope you’ll not be disappointed. But I doubt you will be as the assemblies are very enjoyable. May I secure the privilege of the first two dances?” [John said]
“I’d like that very much.” (I’m sorry but what is this dialogue?)

Miss Arlington,
I write to you on a matter which has become (to me) most urgent. I am, in short, in love with you. Please accept my proposal and make me the happiest of men.
Yours truly,
Thomas Hilton (Hate to break it to you, bro, but there actually wasn’t a proposal of marriage in that whole, very long, very eloquent letter.)

Even though her money was a strong pull, [John] could not be around her often and not be fascinated by her beauty, wit, and charm. However, he constantly reminded himself that if she was poor he would not try to win her. But as she was rich, it was just an added bonus that she had many other attributes besides. (Cue the creepy villain music.  And the ‘if she wasn’t rich, he wouldn’t try to win her’ is totally from when the fortune hunter was trying to marry Elsie Dinsmore.)

“You must try some of this beef,” John said to her, “It is quite delicious.”
“No, thank you,” she said quietly, “I’m not very fond of beef.”
“You mean you don’t want it because I suggested it,” he said teasingly. “I’m sure that if old Dr. Davis asked you to try some you would have.”
“You are impossible!” she said, smiling broadly.
“Maybe my impossibility springs from the fact that I am sitting next to,” here his voice lowered to a whisper, “To a beautiful lady.”
She blushed. “You flatterer!” She struck him playfully with her fan.
“Then tell me what I can do to atone for my flattering (though truthful) words.”
“At present I can think of nothing,” she said striving to hide her smile. But she could. Marry me was in her mind. (IS THIS HOW I THOUGHT RATIONAL PEOPLE FLIRTED???  PLEASE NO.)

Again she felt that something about John was not right. Something bothered her about him. She felt as though she did not quite trust him. (These doubts came out of nowhere.  I obviously just put this bit in so that Thomas could win Marianna’s heart eventually.)

[Context for next quote: Emma tricked Marianna into talking with Thomas’s niece and she actually had fun.] Back in her room she thought hard. Why am I not angry? Why am I not embarrassed that I chatted with Thomas Hilton’s niece? She could not know the answer. (ughhhhhhh – makes no sense)

(Just found a part where John asks Marianna “Will you grant me an interview?” which is snatched directly from the screenplay for ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (1995).  Whyyyyy, Eva?  Whyyyy?)

That night as Marianna lay in bed, she found that she was crying. Why? she asked herself. I’m almost certain that he’s going to propose. I’m sure we will be very happy. I shall be happy. And yet… She could not lay aside her doubts and fears until she fell asleep. (I was such an obvious writer.)

Okay, okay, in my plot summary I forgot that one day, out of the blue, Marianna’s uncle-figure, Edmund, announces that the entire family is ruined.  None of them have any money left.  So they have to move to…Bath.  And Marianna hates Bath and I’m ripping off Persuasion so bad. *cringes into infinity*

Marianna almost never thought of John anymore and when she did, she was almost indifferent. She was quite certain that he had only courted her for her money. Her reason for believing so was this: he had always visited their home whenever he had made a request to do so and was granted a visit. He had never forgotten or had been detained. He had also not come on subsequent days. (What is this ‘logic’?  I literally can’t understand what I was going for here.)

She had always felt slightly uneasy about him and now she felt justified in her doubts. (I don’t know why you feel justified because he’s really done nothing to make you think he’s a fortune hunter.)

“Your uncle and I have been worried about you.”
“How so, aunt?”
“To be frank – you have not spoken of John Albertson lately and we were wondering if you had had a lover’s quarrel before we left. Please correct me if I am wrong but if I am right, tell me that too.” (The quality of the dialogue hurts me.)

(A little later, Marianna finds out that John has just married a girl named Kitty [no originality in the names].  And she’s totally chill with that.)

“He is married,” Marianna declared as she walked into the house. (Way to be dramatic, Marianna.)

Another, sobering thought came to her. She must never flirt and carry on so outrageously with any man, no matter how charming he was. Her infatuation with John had caused her friend and even her aunt and uncle to suspect an understanding between them. From now on, she determined to be more discreet in her admiration of any man. (I’m thinking of deleting this novella.)

After [Thomas] had taken his leave, Edmund and Emma stayed and talked to each other, but Marianna excused herself. She ran to her room, almost in tears. Tears she did not know the reason for.
“He did not even look at me or speak to me,” she sobbed into her pillow. She stayed there for a long time, crying bitterly. (#elsiedinsmorediditbetter)

“What did you think of Thomas Hilton, Marianna?” she asked. “Did you find him very disagreeable?”
“Not at all,” was her short reply.
“Well,” Edmund said, setting down his paper, “I am very glad to hear that. I always thought him a very gentlemanlike person and I’m glad you don’t have any aversion to him.”
“Yes, ever since his…well, you have not been so averse to him for quite some time. Or his niece.” [Emma said]
“Yes, I misjudged him. I believe I’ve misjudged him very much.”
Emma looked at her questioningly, but Marianna resolutely kept her eyes fixed on the pages of her book and Emma did not revive the subject. (ARE THE SHADES OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE TO BE THUS POLLUTED?)

At the mention of Marianna, Thomas glanced over at her. He gave her a strangely, searching look and then turned his attention back to his niece. “Why does he hardly acknowledge me?” Marianna thought, almost miserably. “It must be because I refused him…oh, how I wish I could change the past.” (Angst some more, why don’t you?)  

Marianna sat in her room, looking at the tranquil twilight that was settling over the busy city. The sun was going down, leaving the sky a mixture of pink, yellow, and mauve. A tear trickled down her cheek and landed on the window seat, leaving a spot of brightness in the light dust…She sighed deeply. Was [the reason for her unhappiness]…could it be…Thomas Hilton? At first her mind refused to accept it but she finally admitted that she loved Thomas Hilton and would until the day she died. But it was hopeless. She admitted it. Ever since she had met him in Bath, he had kept aloof and plainly showed he was not and never would be interested in her. (See?  Angst everywhere!  And I doubt I even knew what ‘mauve’ looks like, ’cause I still don’t.)

Thomas looked at her for a moment and then continued. “I came here to tell you that my feelings have not changed. If you still do not feel for me, please tell me at once. I cannot bear to go on, not knowing. But if you do care for me, please tell me. Your words will decide whether I enter this house again.” (ALERT! ALERT! S&S and P&P plagarism!  And Persuasion, too, in that last sentence.)

“I convinced myself that I could conquer my feelings for you if I did not speak to you. But I deceived myself. Every time I looked at you, every time I heard your voice, I fell in love all over again.” [Thomas said] (*muffled groans*)

“Sir, I remember a time when I asked your permission to marry your niece, Miss Arlington. May I ask you again?”
Edmund was astonished. “But I thought she always disliked you,” he said at last.
“Perhaps she did at one time, but she and I have both greatly changed. For the better, I believe.” (Soooo many things.  First of all, does he really have to ask for permission again?  Secondly, the dialogue is vaguely ripping off Mr. Bennet’s concern about Lizzy marrying Mr. Darcy.  And thirdly, Thomas did not change at all.)

Anna, Thomas’s niece, suddenly faints and gets deathly sick at the engagement party.  It comes out of nowhere and adds absolutely nothing to the plot except that this guy comes to visit Anna when she’s sick and they end up having a double wedding with Marianna and Thomas.  Let’s pair those spares!

I always added a cringy ‘Postscript’ to the end of my novellas.  The one for Two Suitors included this interesting development: A few months after their marriage, Thomas fell off the horse he was riding and broke his leg. The doctors were able to set it but he always walked with a limp afterwards.  They had six children.  Why???  The leg breaking bit isn’t important information.  I don’t even know what to think anymore.

And then there’s the chapter titles: ‘Preparations’, ‘Marianna’s History’ [info dump], ‘The Come-Out Ball’, ‘After the Ball’, ‘Visits’, etc.  Only, by the time I hit chapter eleven I was apparently tired of coming up with such fascinating chapter titles and I just called the chapters by number after that.

So, yes.  That’s some of the cringy bits, with commentary.  If you want me to do the same with the other two novellas, I totally can. 🙂

Is this the worst writing you’ve ever read? (Personally, I’ve read worse on Wattpad, but not by much.)

Eva

 

the narnia writing tag

I didn’t have a good idea for today’s post so I hunted down some tags and look what I found:

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Narnia = the best.

Writing = the best.

Together = YAAAAAS.

Let’s get into the tag, shall we? (I’ll be answering the questions based on my current WIP, The Darkness is Past.  It’s a dystopian retelling of the Apostle Paul’s life.) (And I made a few tweaks to the original tag – feel free to use whatever version you want.)

Narnia: Where is your story set?

22nd century North America.  It’s a dystopian world based on some current politics (though not totally, because that would just date my book).  I do like to think that the world of The Darkness is Past is different from a lot of dystopian worlds in books I’ve read.  Time will tell…

The Magician’s Nephew: How did you come up with the idea for your story?

This is slightly embarrassing, not gonna lie.  But I was thinking of writing a Christian dystopian parody (because some of the Christian dystopias I’ve read have been rather cliched).  And I thought “What kind of useless ability could I give the protagonist to make him or her the Special One?”  The ability I came up with got me thinking and while I’m not sure when Paul came in, he did and that was that.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: How do your characters meet?

Um?  In a bunch of different ways at a bunch of different times?  I honestly don’t know how to answer this.

The Horse and His Boy: Are there animals in your story?

Nope.

Prince Caspian: Which of your characters turned out different than you’d expected?

There’s this one character who’s a mashup of Barnabas, Peter, and Annanias (that last one is the guy who laid hands on Saul/Paul to give him back his sight) and at first I thought he’d be this nice, kind, gentle pastor who is Very Wise and Laid Back.  Ha.  Come to find out, he’s a warrior with a tortured past who lays down the law and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer (though he is still wise and nice and kind and gentle…in the proper time).

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: What is one of your character’s personal quests?

Sol, my main character, wants to save as many lives as possible to make amends for all the ones he took before he was saved.  He feels tremendous guilt over his past actions, but the problem is that he tries to solve that guilt apart from God.  So it doesn’t work.

The Silver Chair: Who is the villain?

There actually isn’t anyone who I’d classify as an honest-to-goodness villain.  There are antagonists but no straight up villains.  The character who’s closest to being a villain (Ryan) still has redeeming qualities.  He makes some very wrong choices throughout the story but there’s still good in him.  So there’s no truly villainous villain in The Darkness is Past, but still plenty of conflict.

The Last Battle: Does your story end the way you expected it to?

Yes.  And if you’re at all familiar with Paul’s life, you probably can guess how my story ends. (Though I hope I have a few surprises for you!)  I delayed writing the final few scenes for days and days and when I did…my pulse raced, my hands actually shook, and I was a mess.  It was both thrilling and horrible to feel such intense emotion for characters I created.

__________________________

I’d love to see your answers to this tag on your blog or in the comments!

Eva

why I’m pursuing traditional publishing (instead of self publishing)

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There have been multitudes of blog posts and articles written about the pros and cons of traditional publishing and self publishing.  There are plenty of things to be said about both methods and this post will simply be my thoughts about why I, personally, am going with traditional publishing.  I know of several indie authors who do a brilliant job at writing/editing/marketing/etc., so there’s definitely merit in self publishing.  It’s just not for me.

Why?

Well…

I’m a perfectionist.

I’m not a perfectionist about everything (#chores) and I’m not OCD, but when it comes to my writing, I kind of am.  If I were to self publish, I’d want my book to look just as good – if not better – than traditionally published stuff.  I’d want my release schedule and marketing plan to be The Best Ever.  I’d never stop tweaking and changing things.  And the thing is…if I was going to design/market/advertise my book perfectly (or as close to perfect as you can get) I’d have to spend thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars.  And that’s money I definitely don’t have.

I want the validation.

When I decided to go the traditionally published route, I already knew it would be a long, hard slog (unless I get incredibly lucky).  Querying agents, querying publishing houses, having to go through several rounds of edits on top of all the drafts I’ll have done to get my book ready for querying…it’s going to be a ton of work.  But with so many people becoming ‘authors’ these days (more on that in a bit) I want the validation of seasoned industry professionals looking at my book and saying, “This.  This is good.  We’re going to give you a chance.”

Anyone can be an ‘author’ these days.

Like I said before, I know many indie authors who are killing it. (In a good way, lol.)  But if there’s one thing #CopyPasteCris has taught me, it’s that a lot of people are self publishing just to make a quick buck.  And since anyone can self publish (completely for free if you go through Amazon KDP and don’t hire anyone to format your book or create a cover) a lot of books are going public when they shouldn’t be.  What I mean by that is this: a lot of people (especially after NaNoWriMo) write a novel, think “man, I want everyone to read this”, and publish it without thinking things through.  Stuff like that gluts the market unnecessarily, which leads me to my next point…

It’s extremely hard to make money – or get your book noticed – when you self publish.

Trust me: I don’t have any illusions about traditional publishing being the gold at the end of the rainbow. (And I’m definitely not writing for the money.)  But when you self publish, you might not sell more than ten copies of your book. (Technically, that’s also true of traditional publishing, but usually you get more buyers with traditionally published books.)  According to this article, traditionally published books only sell about 3,000 copies.  Ever.  And for indie books?  250. (And from all the reading I’ve done, that’s super generous.)  It’s harsh, but true.  Your chances of your book selling are a little better with a traditional publisher; I want to get my book in front of as many people as possible.  So…yes.

I want my story and characters to get the best possible treatment.

I want my book professionally edited and vetted by professionals. (You can, of course, get professional editing for an indie book.  But with a publishing house, you’ve got so many eyes on your book.)  I want a shiny, beautiful cover. (Again, possible with indie.  But you’ll probably have to pay hundreds of dollars.)  I want gorgeous formatting and cool chapter headings and all those little things that make a book look like a million dollars (even if it doesn’t make that much).  I’m looking forward to the day when those dreams become a reality.

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Okay, so with all that said…I’m not ruling out self publishing as an option.  I’d be stupid to do that.  But right now, at this stage of my writing career, I would love to be traditionally published and that’s the goal I’m working toward.  So the above points still stand.

Are you a published author?  Which direction did you take?  And if you aren’t a published author yet, what path do you want to choose – traditional or self publishing?

Eva