The Best Mistake I’ve Ever Made

This morning, I sat down at my desk to begin edits on chapter 5 of my novel (not novella any more!) Knowing You’re There to get it ready for publication.  As I read the first few lines, I decided to scroll down to the last page because I forget how many chapters I had. That’s when the biggest revelation in this whole process hit me. In the document, I only had 18 chapters. When I checked on Wattpad, that wasn’t the case.

I had forgotten to save the last NINE CHAPTERS on my flash drive! This was obviously the reason why my story was so incredibly short. So I did what any other thrilled mistaken author would do: I copied and pasted everything into the document on my computer. After feeling hopeless about my 29,000 word story, this event has breathed new life into the process. In total, KYT actually has 43,000 words. Mind. Blown.

So what does this mean for the future?

Well, seeing as how I’m not up to my hopeful goal of 50k (which I’d really like to be 60 or 65k now) there is still a lot of work to do. Thankfully, I only have to extend the story by 10k or 12k instead of 20.

Since it is much longer, this means that it will take me loner to edit. But there’s no rush. I wanted to have the book sent out to publishers in May when I graduate.

So if anyone needs me, I’ll be running around campus celebrating and doing happy dances in my room. I couldn’t be more thrilled about what happened today.

When Your Story Feels “Lame”

Today was day 4 of my publishing journey. I worked on edits of chapter 4 of my novella Knowing You’re There.  On the first paragraph of the chapter, I wanted to stop reading. Something about the way I’d written it just felt…well…lame, corny, cheesy.

I’ve had a similar problem with some of my other books. The writing style just feels really unnatural and uninteresting. I try to make my characters interesting, but instead I’m telling instead of showing and not captivating readers at all.

So what do you do when you’re rereading your story and it sounds lamer than a bad horror movie? Try some of these suggestions:

Copyedit: it won’t have super great results, but it’s at least something. Fix some grammar mistakes and change some words around. Maybe that will make it sound at least a little better.

Start Showing: I know that most of the times when my story feels lame, it’s when I have long paragraphs of my character telling the reader a story or explaining something. Show an example of what they’re explaining. Ex, I changed my scene from Lia explaining how she punched her bff Sarah’s boyfriend once to her actually punching him.

Just Write Something Else: back when I was editing my story Hype a few years back, there were parts that sounded so terribly lame and unimportant that I just deleted them. I don’t recommend this as a first option, but in severely cheesy situations, it might be best to just delete the lame part and write something else in it’s place.

Hopefully these tips are helpful.  Happy writing!

Necessary, Fluff, or Necessary Fluff?

Today I began my 3rd day of edits on my novella Knowing You’re There.  In case you have not seen my 3 previous posts, I am currently in the process of editing it for publication and found out that my word count was extremely, extremely lacking. About 22,000 short of 50k, the minimum for YA novels.

Anyway, today I started editing chapter 3, and I am pleased to say that the word count has officially moved up to 29k! (whoopee!) While a 500-word extension is great progress, there is one important question in mind: is what I’m adding just fluff?

I think any author would consider every part of their story to be important, unless it’s something extreme. Today I added better transitions into new scenes. Instead of just saying “two days later…” I put a few sentences about what happened each day.  I would kind of just call this “necessary fluff”. The events weren’t super important, but they were necessary to make a better transition to the next scene…right?

So, with that, I have created 3 definitions to separate the additions that writers may want to include in their work:

Fluff: not needed. Excess details, information that serves no purpose.

Necessary Information: character development, moves the plot along, shows the reader something that they need to know.

Necessary Fluff: extends the word count of the story, but also offers slight character development and more specifics.

And there you have it.  Stay toned for more updates as I tackle chapter 4 tomorrow!

My Publishing Journey: Day 2, A Chapter 2 Success Story

While feeling slightly under the whether and having a rough time yesterday, I did my best to go into the edits of chapter 2 of Knowing You’re There with a positive attitude. Today I needed to focus on more of the whole extending thing and some character development. There weren’t may copyedits to be done, but I fixed any errors that were there.

In chapter 2, my main character, Lia, is currently riding home one a plane with her guide dog and little brother. In between eating gummy worms, she daydreams and gives the readers a nice chunk of backstory into who she is, and where she wants to go in life (be a famous drummer).

I looked at some of the details and noticed that I jumped from Lia wanting to be a drummer to wishing she had a guy very quickly. I took the time to expand on how Lia fell in love with drumming and how she got to be as good of a basement performer as she is. I also deleted the few sentences where she explains how she became blind, (yes, she’s blind) and decided to save those for later, in a new scene that will happen later on when she finally tells her boyfriend Kurt how she became blind.

I’m hoping that having both the readers and Kurt find out what happened at the same time will be beneficial to the story and make it a little more exciting.

Also in chapter 2, I decided to end with Lia making her plan of “having an adorable boyfriend Christmas” and finding a man, instead of the original when she just gets of the plane, is scared in the airport, and almost falls down the escalator. I may or may not use that to open chapter 3.

At the end of edits today the new info in chapter 2 extended the story a whopping 600 words, moving our official word count up to 28,760. I’d say things went extremely well today, and I’m looking forward to what chapter 3 has in store for tomorrow.

My Publishing Journey: Day 1 (Realization, Editing Chapter 1)

After much deliberation, last night I made the decision to put my current book, Saving Flight 926 on hold after seeing how much work it needed.  Today I began the very first steps in my publishing process for my story Knowing You’re There.

Since I haven’t touched the story in over a year, I moved it from my flash drive to my computer, opened it up, and there it was: my beautiful romance story.  And then I looked at the word count of 28,000 words.  That was all.  And I feel stupid, because I could swear that the word count was at least in the 30s, but that doesn’t matter now.

So for a few hours I felt like I was in limbo.  Do I forget the whole thing?  How on earth am I going to add 30,000 words to this story?  I made a forum on Wattpad, where industry professionals told me to just write a new story instead.

For some reason, I’m not going to listen.  A friend in my tech writing class told me earlier, “If you’re f-ing passionate about it, then go for it.”  And I hate to be that naive person whose story has no potential and thinks they can get published anyway, but for some reason I’m going to keep going for it, and keep editing.  The worst that could happen is that I get a better detailed, longer, and cleaner version of my most popular book.

So, I went over chapter 1 today.  Just a few minor things to tweak.  I’m probably going to go back and add some details to extend it a bit more. Today I added almost 100 words.  It’s a small improvement that hopefully won’t more towards the dreaded “fluff” that will have to be removed later anyway.  More updates to come tomorrow!

Torn Between Two Paths

With the start of school, sorority recruitment, and all that senior jazz, I’m happy to say that I’ll be trying to post more often.  So, here’s the topic for today: what do you do when it comes to new books and old books that differ in potential and popularity?  What if you’re in my situation: currently writing a book that isn’t going anywhere, but want to being the publishing process of another, more popular book?

Ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. How much is left? 

This one is quite simple.  How much is left of the book you’re currently working on?  Is it just a few chapters?  Are you at the climax?  Or are you only a few chapters away from the end, but have writers block like I do?

2. Can you focus while having an unfinished book? 

I’m a stickler when it comes to finishing books.  I still lie awake at night thinking about finishing my novel “Runaways” that I started when I was 13. I know that I won’t be able to focus on Knowing You’re There with SF926 not being done.  I’ll keep going back to it.

3. Do I have the time? 

I’ve never been through the traditional publishing route.  Only self publishing, which as many of you know, was probably my biggest disaster ever.  Traditional publishing takes up a lot of time that working on a rough draft for fun doesn’t.

4. What will the benefits of finishing be? 

For me, finishing the horrible first draft of SF926 will mean just that to me: the piece of mind.  Knowing that I finished it, whether I go back to it and try to do anything with it at all.  If you don’t see any reason to finish that first draft right now, then don’t bother.

5. Am I really ready to start this process? 

I’ve been wanting to be traditionally published since I was 13, and even more so when I finished my first book at 16.  Self publishing was hard.  I didn’t have the support of family or friends, I didn’t know a lot about grammar or how to edit.  Now I have a sorority full of willing beta readers and feel like I can catch any grammar mistake.

Do you have support from people around you?  Are you willing to have your story ripped apart by critiques?  Are you willing to stay up late into the night rewriting and editing?  If so, then you’re most likely ready to publish.

Side note:

By reading the above, yes, this is my announcement that I will soon be beginning the process to traditionally publish my YA romance novel Knowing You’re There.  I have no idea what I’m doing and will be posting updates along the way.  I look forward to sharing this journey with you all.

From Hate to True Love

My good friend gave me the idea to write this post.  We’ve all seen it in stories, movies, plays, and wherever else.  But in real life?  Not at all for me, personally.

You know how it goes.  Guy and girl hate each other.  They’re science project partners/dance partners/have to kiss in the school play/are just generally in a way where they’re forced to be together and there’s no way around it.  And instead of ripping each other apart, they realize that they’ve just been in love the whole time!  Then they live happily ever after…

Let’s rewind for a moment here.  Two people hate each other and then fall in love.  It just doesn’t make any sense to me, especially if they are forced to be with each other for a period of time.  What do we do in the real world when we have to be around other people all the time?  We lose our minds.

I’ve worked with other guys several times in plays and school projects.  Of course, we didn’t fall in love.  We did the project or tried to get through whatever we were doing as quickly as possible so we’d be done with each other.

Even if people hated each other and fell in love, how would that relationship possibly work?  I could never imagine dating one of my high school bullies and just ignoring all the names he called me or amount of times I was spit-balled.  How could they move past the hate from all those years beforehand.

I guess this is just another mystery if the clichés, right?