Quick Editing Update/Advice

March is here! Aside from the first day of the month being very chilly, I thought today was lovely. I spent the morning in one of my favourite places in the world (among books, would you believe that?) and then snuggled up at home with my blankets and fangirled over Dick Grayson for an hour before reading. Dinner was also great. It’s been a great day.

I’ve been doing a lot of editing. So much in fact, that when I’m away from my manuscript I’m continuously reviewing scenes in my head. It’s been fun. I have a much shorter deadline this time around, so I’ve been trying to manage my time effectively.

It’s can be challenging trying to balance everything but each time my schedule changes and becomes busier, I try to keep track of each thing I’d like to accomplish. Depending on how busy I get, this can be a daily or weekly task. I find that allowing myself to be flexible, helps me not to stress out about things. If I’m ahead of schedule with one thing, then I have the time to spontaneously go off and do something for a few hours.

I believe that a part of self-care is taking the time to do the little things you enjoy. For me that could be reading a book or watching a show. Sometimes it’s doing several very small things like putting on my favourite perfume or listening to a great playlist while I get ready in the morning. Whatever it is, it allows me to take some time to rest.

I highly recommend implementing breaks in your schedule, as if you were at say an 8 hour job. I’m not saying to write for 8 hours straight or anything but give yourself a deadline and allow yourself to step away from your manuscript for fifteen minutes. It can really help to come back to a scene with a fresh pair of eyes. It’s a lot more effective than staring at your manuscript all day stressing out of a single line of text. Step back. Breath. Try again.

Hmm…First or Third Person P.O.V?

When writing there are times when I consider changing from a 1st to 3rd person narration. I like reading both and I like writing both, but I find depending on the story one works better than the other. My debut was written in 3rd person but I’d say around least 85% of my other work is in 1st person P.O.V.

Right now, I’m having this debate with myself while editing one of my projects. This book however is a stand alone project, which I miraculously churned out nineteen chapters for in a week. I still have no idea how I did that. I just couldn’t stop writing. At one point my Dad asked me about my progress and when I looked at my plot chart I went “Oh no…I’m almost at the end.”

Personally I think it was because I’d been on a writing break for so long while editing and prepping my debut for publication.

I felt like my character’s in this book were just so mad at me for dropping them two words into chapter twenty (sorry!).

I really want to capture this story properly, so I’ve decided to take notes and potentially rewrite it in 3rd person. I’m not 100% sure about the perspective change yet…but it can’t hurt to try right? What I am sure of is that the opening scene is currently lacking. The setting isn’t clear until around the 5th chapter and the first few lines are…the best way I can describe it is awkward and clumsy like me at thirteen hiding behind a book from my long-time crush during lunch like Violet from The Incredibles and then when he says hi I blush, slam my face into the book and scream internally like, “HE NOTICED ME!”

Anyway, I’d say this has been enough procrastination.

Just a heads up, the video below has swearing in it!

This Weekend I’m Editing Dialogue

I’ve been attempting to edit for at least an hour every day. It isn’t always possible but I do believe that trying to create a habit is a good start for now. I used to write almost every day…not because I was forcing myself to but more so because I had a lot more time. Taking the time to edit properly means that I have more time to write later on. It motivates me…and encourages me.

Plus the chapter I just went over was hilarious. Sometimes I forget I write things like that. I should do that more often. I couldn’t stop laughing!

I feel like I made a lot of progress during my last few edits. Today’s goal is to actually go back to my earlier chapters and edit some dialogue. I have a habit of using certain things when my character’s speak but at times I do too much of it in one scene as my editor pointed out. So to make her job easier when she goes back to look through the dialogue, I’m going t try and eliminate some of this where I can. I want to leave a reasonable amount in there, mainly because it is something that I feel works well…but I definitely see her point. When something like that is used too often it ends up losing its effect.

Something that I’ve learned throughout this editing process, is to write down crutch words or words you tend to overuse in your manuscript, along with things that you to a lot stylistically. This will help you when you write future works, as well as while editing your current WIP.

I’ve found that since I’ve started keeping track of these things I have been more aware of them in my newer projects. Being conscious of it gives me an opportunity to make my writing stronger in the first draft, which is ideal because it means that I won’t have as much to correct later on when I edit!

Answering Questions 1-4: Writer’s Edition

I thought it would be fun to start off NANOWRIMO with this fun post I saw circulating on Twitter. So far the post has 4 likes, so I’ll be answering the first 4 questions. Each like equals one answer! I don’t think I’ve done one of these since back in the old days when my friends and I used to send chain mail to each other.

So, let’s get to it!

Question #1: What Genre do you write in?

Genre is one of my favourite things to explore as a writer. Over the years I’ve played around with sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, adventure, children’s literature, horror…etc. Most of my work tends to blend genres. I write things that I would enjoy as a reader and if others enjoy them too then that’s fantastic.

What genres I like to read changes often. Currently I’m reading a modern Gothic lit’, a shojo romance series, poetry and contemporary lit which would probably fall under a general fiction category. I also like to write historical fiction…but with a twist.

Question #2: How many projects have you started?

I don’t even know how to answer this question. A lot. The follow up question scares me more. I’d say recently I’ve started around 10 projects. By starting I mean I’ve got the synopsis and characters laid out and a couple introductory chapters done. These are projects I’ve been working on between 2013 and 2020. My debut novel is included among this list.

Aside from that there are the many…many pre-2013 projects. One is a 7 book series that’s been put on hiatus if any of my friends ask. It needs a lot of work. The others dwindled off after about 3 to 5 chapters. I usually know if I’m connecting to a story by then. Doesn’t mean I’ll never return to the story or characters but at the time my skill level as a writer and my knowledge as…well a person…just wasn’t at the right point.

Question #3: How many projects have you completed?

Completed projects…ehhhhhhh. Haha. Okay so for my debut series I’ve completed 1 and a half of the first two books. Book 1 is being prepped for publication so the editing of the first draft of its sequel is currently on hold.

As for those other 10 projects they’re either 50% complete or still in the early planning stages. I basically schedule out which projects receive my attention. Last NANOWRIMO I finished the draft for book 2 for example. I began rewriting and arranging it at the start of 2020 but have now prioritized getting the first book ready for publication.

During my off periods…and by that I mean when I’m working on projects that haven’t been given a deadline…I spend time researching, writing and building my other works. It saves me time down the road and allows me to get to know my characters.

Question #4: Planner, Pantser or Plantser?

I am a…Plantser. It honestly depends on my mood. I could spend hours researching, organizing my notes, getting every last detail in…or other times I sit down and write out whatever comes to me. The majority of the time I might write out a single chapter without any planning whatsoever and then begin my planning stages. I try to give my characters names as I’m writing that introductory chapter. I find that once they have a name, they’re more alive.

It started snowing today…well technically it started hailing and then it snowed. I’m glad I got my winter clothes out early. I may need to invest in some more sweaters for work though.

Who is the biggest influence in your character’s life and why?

Roland would never admit it but the person who influenced him the most, was also the person he’d grown to loath more than anything.

He loved Tabitha. She gave him whatever he’d been missing or at least she tried, but she wasn’t his mother. Leon did the same as did Roland’s older brother. They tried to provide some sort of father figure for him but it was difficult.

Roland had parents. A mother who at times was absent, getting lost in her art or inside her own little world. More absent every day it seemed, as her melancholy came in and out without warning. A father who remained distant, not even acknowledging Roland as his son…and rarely addressing him as such. A father who called him “the boy” as if saying his actual name was some kind of curse. A father who never laughed or smiled in his presence, no matter how good Roland tried to be.

He never wanted them to influence him but as he grew older he realized he’d adopted some of their habits. The way his father paced around when he was frustrated, his mother’s anxious rambling. It was bad enough he continued to get compared to his father based upon his looks, but now even his father’s nature. The things that once separated them, he somehow managed to inherit.

He tried desperately to be anything but. He wanted to grow up to be like his brother. Funny, full of imagination, always smiling. A person who could light up a room with their loud laughter. He wanted to be like Tabitha, kind but firm. Always looking out for others. Stubborn but not entirely unreasonable. He wanted to be like Leon, a man who only said what was necessary. A man who thought things through. A good listener. A good friend.

Sadly as he began leaving his childish ways behind him, he’d morphed into the ugliest creature he’d ever come across. A loathing, jealous, stubborn creature. Not even human. He barked at everyone, cursed at them. He was violent. He had fits of rage. Broke things. Broke himself when he could. At first he thought he was punishing his parents but soon he realized, after an argument with his father in the parlour turned violent, that it was possible he’d taken things too far. He thought the anger, the violence and the cockiness made him feel whole. Made him feel stronger. Made him impenetrable. That was until it didn’t and he realized that it never would.

And so, Roland shrank within himself. There was no more loathing, or anger. A bit of his stubbornness remained but the loud, aggressiveness of it all faded. He couldn’t justify it anymore. He didn’t understand it or himself.

In his attempt to get some sort of acknowledgement from his parents, he frightened those who had loved him all along. He’d forgotten them. Their kindness, their friendship, the way they comforted him. Some left him for good. Disgusted by his behaviour. Others, as he shrank, realized his walls were crumbling along with him and reached out, hoping to find beneath it all, the charming little boy they loved so dearly.


You don’t ever have to be stronger than you really are
When you’re lying in my arms, and, honey
You don’t ever have to act cooler than you think you should
You’re brighter than the brightest stars

Lana Del Rey

I was listening to this song the other day on my way home from work, and thought of Roland as a teenager and the people in his life, especially those who saw the changes in his character. He’s made some really amazing friends and has such a loving chosen family. The lyrics really popped out to me. I really hope as Roland grows in this series that he’ll come to realize how truly blessed he is to have them in his life.

What are your top 5 quotes from your book?

#1: “This smells very sweet but it looks like dirt.” He looked at Rose. “Are you sure it’s okay to eat?”

#2: …no matter how he felt about her, she always managed to find a way to seep back into his thoughts. Always.

#3: “Human teeth aren’t sharp,” he remembered Micah telling him. “They’re dull like an unsharpened blade. Can’t cut anything.”

#4: “What is wrong with an educational read?” Roland snapped.

“They turn your brain to mush.” Rose teased. “That’s why my teacher is so boring and dull.”

#5: “It’s pretty hard to kill a man if you know his name.”

These are my top 5. At least for now! I have other’s that I really like but I don’t want to use anything that might be considered a spoiler. Rose’s comment about the books makes me laugh every time. That’s from the first chapter. She’s the type of person who would rather read than do homework.

Character Interview #2: Dianna

Question 1: Where is your favourite place to be alone and why?

I like travelling alone. I think better when I’m in motion. It’s not really one place or another. Any particular place I can think of is somewhere I enjoy spending time with my friends. I guess I’m not much of an “alone” person.

Question 2: What is your favourite holiday?

It isn’t exactly a holiday, but when I was a little girl we had to put on these Winter Pageants at school. My friends all hated them but I loved spending the month decorating, learning songs and dances. Afterwards we’d have a big dance with everyone and their families, and my cousin and uncle would come visit from out of town. If that were a holiday it’d be my favourite.

Question 3: Describe your family in 8 words.

Caring, overbearing, sweet, hilarious, stubborn, creative, idiotic, loyal.

We’re an odd bunch.

Question 4: What is something that people make fun of you for?

I used to get teased about how I did my hair. Now I get teased for my choice in men.

Question 5: What is the most memorable untrue rumour that has ever been spread about you?

Wow…well anything Connie has ever spread about has been somewhat truthful. I don’t think any of them were untrue. I guess it’s more gossip than rumours. I ran away to get married once. Never got married. For some reason people still think I’m engaged to the man.

Question 6: Do you have any nicknames? If so which is your favourite and which ones do you hate?

Let’s see, Freckles and Pigtails. Both nicknames I absolutely hate. I’ve never understood why anyone would nickname you based on what you look like. I used to wish people would nickname me something like Speedy or Lightning. I think I’ve outgrown nicknames at this point.

Question 7: What are 3 things that you would never do?

Elope (again). Eat bugs. Drink tea without milk and sugar.

Question 8: What’s been on your mind lately?

I’ve been living with a man who hates me, putting up with my cousin’s nonsense and still have yet to tell my parents I’m back in town. I need to get my own place.

Question 9: What is your favourite season and why?

Winter. It’s so much fun! The snow, the festivities, the hot chocolate! It makes me feel like a little kid again.

Question 10: What do you want to be remembered for?

I want to be remembered as someone who made a positive impact in others lives. Even if it was something small. I’d just hope someone remembered me fondly…although I could care less about how that man remembers me. He’s stubborn. He’ll do as he wishes. He can stay miserable for all I care.

Although, if by some miracle I manage even a smile from him I think I’ll have done my job.

OC-tober Prompts for Blogging and Drawing!

For the month of October I wanted to start introducing my character’s. So on my instagram since it’s #drawtober I’ve decided that for 31 days I’ll be drawing my characters using a variety of prompts. Yesterday’s drawing wasn’t one that I really thought through. I ended up drawing something completely different that I’d initially planned, however going forward I’ll be sticking to my schedule.

I’ll also be doing a blog prompt OC-tober as well! You’re welcome to participate. I’d love to check your your posts, so be sure to leave links to them in the comments for me!

I’m very excited about this and I’m looking forward to taking a bit of time each day to do something creative.

Anyway, here are my prompts! The first list is for drawing and the second is for blogging (or vlogging, whichever your prefer).

OC-Tober

  1. Your OC

2. With a pumpkins

3. On their day off

4. Reading a book

5. With their best friend/squad

6. Eating their favourite food

7. With their family

8. As a toddler

9. Saying their catchphrase

10. Enjoying their favourite drink

11. In Love

12. As a villain

13. In mourning

14. Playing an instrument

15. In their happy place

16. As a student

17. Getting ready for bed

18. With their least favourite person

19. Scared

20. Being mischievous

21. Trying something new

22. At a Fall formal

23. Lost in the woods

24. With a black cat

25. Meeting a ghost

26. Singing their favourite song

27. As your favourite TV/movie character

28. Doing something crazy

29. In their favourite outfit

30. In a fun costume

31. At a party

As for my blog posts. I’ve decided to use some different prompts.

Blog-tober

  1. Novel Inspo board.
  2. Create character interview questions
  3. Character Mood Playlist: Chill Vibes
  4. Character Outfit Board: Fall
  5. Interview a character
  6. Write a poem about your character
  7. Describe one of your favourite moments in the book
  8. Which authors inspire you?
  9. Write a song about your character
  10. Interview another character
  11. What is your writing process like?
  12. Character Mood Playlist: Sad Vibes/What is your character thankful for?
  13. Character Outfit Board: Formal
  14. What is your favourite scene in the book?
  15. What are your top 5 quotes from your book?
  16. Interview another character
  17. Describe an average day in the life of your character
  18. Character Menu: If your character had a restaurant what would they serve?
  19. Do the 16 personalities quiz as one of your characters. Tell us the results!
  20. Character Mood Playlist: Romantic Vibes
  21. What was your character like as a child (if they’re a child what will they be like as an adult?)
  22. Who is the biggest influence in your character’s life and why?
  23. Character Outfit Board: Date night
  24. Write a brief scene between your character and someone they admire.
  25. Write a brief scene between your character and someone who hurt them.
  26. Interview another character.
  27. Character Mood Playlist: Angry Vibes.
  28. Character Bedroom Board (show us how your character would decorate their personal space).
  29. Character Bookshelf (show us what types of books your character might enjoy reading).
  30. Come up with a tagline for your book (if you don’t already have one).
  31. Create a Chapter Playlist and describe what your character might be doing today!