Tag Archive: Novel

5 Tips to Help You Stick with a Writing Project

Sticking with one novel to completion is something I’m only just now learning this year. I know the struggle of losing steam and deciding to chase down a shiny new idea instead, thinking it’ll be easier. In the words of Rick Riordan, “DON’T! That new book won’t be any easier.” And it never is. As someone who has 70+ unfinished stories laying around, I can attest to that. If you keep chasing new ideas you’ll always chase after the new shiny and never finish anything. So, to help you combat that, here are five tips to overcoming “Ooh Shiny Syndrome.”

1 – Figure out what excites you about this project

It could be the characters, the setting, the plot, something more specific within these. Figure out why you want to write this story as soon as you start prewriting (or writing, if you’re a pantser). Write these things down if you need to. Keep them on a sticky note by your desk. Do something so that you can remind yourself of these things when – not if – the going gets tough.

If you’re already part of the way through the process and you don’t know what excites you about your project, you should probably give some deep thought to whether you really want to write this story or if maybe it’s actually a good idea to move on to that new shiny.

2 – Make a plan

Give yourself a schedule and a deadline. One of the things I love about NaNoWriMo is the deadline. It gives a sense of accountability if you tell yourself, “YES. I am going to finish this by this date.” And the nice thing is that you can set your own word count goal and time limit. It doesn’t have to be 50k in 30 days. You don’t necessarily have to be nuts.

You might not need a more specific schedule than a deadline, but it may help to have one, particularly considering my next point, which is…

3 – Make a habit

Figure out when you write best and, if possible, set your writing time accordingly. Whether that’s doable for you or not, try to write at the same time consistently. Eventually your brain will realize, “Oh. It’s writing time now.” As Ralph Keyes said, “Routine is a better friend than inspiration.”

4 – Don’t get too focused on the end goal

If you focus too much on publishing your book and seeing it on shelves and reading it in tangible book form, you’ll start to wish it was already finished and you’ll lose the joy of writing it. I learned this the hard way during NaNo. That said, don’t lose sight of your goal, and a little fantasizing could even be the push you need to keep going. Just don’t take it too far.

5 – Find an accountability partner

Find someone either in the same boat as you or more mature in their writing to keep you on track. Maybe check in each evening with your word count, maybe tell them where you’re at with your book at the end of each week, whatever works. Find someone to keep you writing. And if you share your book with them, they can even get you excited to keep updating by being a little tiny fandom. If you do that, though, make sure you get someone who will give you honest, constructive feedback and point out both the good and the bad. As much as compliments feel good, you don’t really want someone to tell you you’re great in an area if you’re not. If you get someone constructive in their feedback, you’ll learn your strengths and weaknesses and you’ll have an easier time growing in your skill as a writer.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you to stick with a project. Don’t forget those new shinies, though. Always make note of them for later. If one keeps nagging you, make a special note and prioritize it. Chances are it’s a good one. ;) Happy writing.

Clean Fantasy and Boring Cover Syndrome

Since recently subscribing to a number of clean fantasy authors’ newsletters, I’ve come across a disappointing trend. A lot of clean fantasy books have really unimpressive covers. You know the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s great in principle, but when it comes to books, readers really do judge books by their covers. As a reader myself I can attest to this. Heck, it’s why I’m writing this post.

I love finding clean fantasy books. They’re rare, and thus they’re hard to find. *thinks of all of the fantasy books she’s read that have been almost clean, but not quite* We need more authors of clean fantasy (or clean anything, for that matter), and we need those authors to step into the reader’s shoes and think about whether or not the cover they’ve chosen will draw someone’s attention or if it will just be overlooked on the bookshelf or as a reader’s scrolling through Amazon or whatever. If your goal as a clean fantasy author is to bless your readers with something they can easily trust to not have sex scenes or language or whatever else we don’t want to read, bless them by making your book stand out on a shelf, too, so that they can actually find it to read it. Maybe these books are fabulously written, but I’ll never know because the cover doesn’t make me interested enough to even look.

Now, this is not to say that all clean fantasy books have boring covers. I know several authors who write clean books and have wonderful covers (Wayne Thomas Batson, Miranda Marie, Jonathan Rogers, Evan Angler…), but it appears that as a general rule, clean fantasy has dull covers.

As a reader and author of clean fantasy, I just want to ask a simple favor of any other clean fantasy authors out there: Please pay attention to your covers. Please put effort into them. The Book Cover Designer has fairly affordable pre-made covers, if you want to start there. Since I’ve only ever bought one cover I can’t attest to anywhere else, unfortunately, but look around. Find something pre-made or get something custom made, just give thought to your cover.

Character Interview: Alleyn Everlind

Alleyn Everlind is king of Roenor and father of Detren Everlind. He’s Detren’s role model at the beginning of The Shadow Raven, and his son is a lot like him.

*****

Interviewer: Good morning, King Alleyn. How are you?

Alleyn: I’m well. *shakes the interviewer’s hand and sits down* How are you?

Interviewer: Doing fine. Shall we get started?

Alleyn: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Alleyn: Alleyn Detren Everlind.

Interviewer: Ah, so your son was named after you.

Alleyn: *nods* My wife loved the name and wanted to name him after me.

Interviewer: It’s an excellent name. How old are you?

Alleyn: I’m thirty-eight.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Alleyn: I have a sister, Damson.

Interviewer: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Alleyn: I’ve always considered myself an introvert, though most would assume I’m an extrovert. I’ve trained my self to be more extroverted so that I can more comfortably interact with the people, but I prefer the peace and quiet and smaller crowds.

Interviewer: That’s interesting. What’s your favorite food?

Alleyn: Steak.

Interviewer: And your favorite color?

Alleyn: Dark red.

Interviewer: Is there a job you’d rather have than the one you have now?

Alleyn: I don’t know. Being king is stressful, but I like having the opportunity to help each other like I do. I don’t know that there’s something I’d be excited enough to trade it for.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Alleyn: I don’t have much time for hobbies. When I do have time, I tend to play the piano.

Interviewer: Which of these is most important to you: kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Alleyn: Bravery. The others are important, but they’re slightly lower.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Alleyn: Selflessness. Honesty is a very, very close second.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Alleyn: This may sound trite, but a good attitude. I go out and interact with people. It’s hard to interact with people and leave a good impression as king with a bad attitude, and it makes both parties feel good when they’re able to be nice to each other.

Interviewer: *nods* Good advice. That was the last question. Thank you for your time.

Alleyn: You’re very welcome. *shakes the interviewer’s hand and leaves*

Character Interview: Prynn Nemea

Prynn is one of the semi-main characters of The Shadow Raven. She’s Detren‘s cousin, and she does her best to keep him steady as he becomes king.

*****

Interviewer: Good morning, Prynn. How are you?

Prynn: I’m doing well. *smiles* How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing all right. Shall we begin?

Prynn: *nods*

Interviewer: What is your name?

Prynn: Prynn Cantara Nemea.

Interviewer: How old are you?

Prynn: I’m sixteen.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Prynn: No. But Detren is something like a brother.

Interviewer: What is your job?

Prynn: I don’t particularly have one. I’m the daughter of a lord and lady and the cousin of a king. There’s no special title for me, and I’m still in school. So I guess the most fitting thing to say would be that I’m a student.

Interviewer: Do you enjoy school?

Prynn: *shrugs* It’s neither enjoyable nor awful. I tend to prefer reading on my own to reading about how mountains are formed.

Interviewer: *laughs* Well, reading is always good. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Prynn: I’m an introvert, but I love people. I love talking to them, getting to know them, taking care of them when they need it, stuff like that.

Interviewer: What is your favorite food?

Prynn: Hmm. I like a lot of things. Freshly baked bread is always good. I also like plums.

Interviewer: And your favorite color?

Prynn: Dark purple.

Interviewer: You mentioned you like to read; what is your favorite book?

Prynn: Moon of Gold. It’s a more fantastical story set in the same world as Detren’s favorite, Soldiers of the East.

Interviewer: I’ve heard that one mentioned a lot around here. What is it about?

Prynn: It’s set in a desert with a lot of competing countries and divisions with opposing views and values. Soldiers of the East focuses on the Eilram and the Pastyna Regiment, the former of which works for a war-focused country and the latter of which works to preserve peace and justice against the Eilram’s rampages. There are others, though, that focus on other aspects of the world. Moon of Gold takes place in the theocratic country that’s at odds with the war-centered country. It’s hard to describe in short terms, but they’re really interesting.

Interviewer: They sound fascinating. They seem popular, too.

Prynn: They are fairly popular. I think it’s because the world is deep and you always feel like there’s always more to know.

Interviewer: Those are always the best worlds. I guess we should probably move on. Do you have any ideas of what job you might want to have after school?

Prynn: I’m considering becoming a healer, possibly specializing in childbirth.

Interviewer: You seem to really care about people, so I think you’d be good in that role.

Prynn: *smiles* Thank you.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Prynn: Reading and piano, mostly. I also paint, on occasion, but those two are my main hobbies.

Interviewer: What traits do you look for in a potential husband?

Prynn: At the moment I don’t, but if I were looking… Someone kind and generous, a believer in Abba, and someone willing to stand up for what he believes in.

Interviewer: All good qualities. Which of these is most important to you, in general: Kindness, intelligence, or bravery?

Prynn: Bravery. All of them are excellent traits, but bravery is probably the most important.

Interviewer: And honesty or selflessness?

Prynn: That one’s a tougher choice. Probably honesty, but selflessness is a very close second.

Interviewer: What is something you can never leave the house without?

Prynn: Some sort of hairpiece. If I’m going out I don’t want my hair constantly in my face.

Interviewer: Thank you for your time. That was the last question. I enjoyed talking with you.

Prynn: You too. *smiles* Thank you for the interview. *heads out of the room*

Small Talk – NaNoWriMo Excerpt Day #4

“Good evening, Prince Detren.”

Oh no. How had he missed that Anaya was sitting almost directly across from him? “Good evening, Miss Morwen.”

“Please, just call me Anaya.”

Detren smiled, hoping she couldn’t see the sourness behind it. There was no way he would be calling her by her first name any time soon. He preferred to make it obvious in every way possible that he was very much not interested. Sure, she was drop-dead gorgeous, but she was also spoiled, stuck-up, scary cunning, and the way she looked at him… It made his skin crawl.

“How do you like the peach tarts?” Anaya asked. “They’re my favorite.”

“They’re nice,” he said. He tried to look inconspicuously down the table for any escape from Anaya. Thorin was sitting next to him. “Help me,” Detren muttered out the side of his mouth.

Thorian gave the tiniest smile as he looked at Anaya before turning to Detren. “So, what do you think of the weather today? Is it nice enough you think we could convince His Majesty to have the whole gala out on the lawn?”

“I prefer the ballroom,” Detren said, thankful for the reprieve, no matter how stupid it was, “but it’s nice enough you might be able to convince him.”

“What do you think, Lucienne?” Thorian turned to Lucienne on his other side and she looked up.

“What?” she asked, dark eyes shining in the light of the chandelier.

“Do you think it’s nice enough out that we could have the rest of the dancing on the lawn?”

“Oh. Certainly, but I’m not sure what most of the people would think of that.”

The three of them continued the conversation, flitting from one useless topic to another until the meal was finished. When everyone left the dining hall, Detren clapped Thorian on the back. “Thank you, Thorian. I don’t know what I would have done without you.”

“Probably strangled Anaya, eventually.” Thorian grinned.

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