Getting Close to Finishing a Book

So I realized rather late that it is a Sunday and I haven’t written anything for my lovely blog here. Instead of an advice piece, because I can’t come up with anything else, tonight I’ll go with a “Progress Piece,” or what I’m doing in my writing.

I’ve been working on my novel Fangs and Fortune for a while now (in my opinion, because I tend to finish books super fast). I started in early December, and now that the end of March is approaching, so is the end of my story…I think. I hope, at least. I’ve had a lot of different things going on within the book and every time I think that I’m getting closer to the ending, something else comes up.

But, I learned from all this that in my situation, all of these things coming up has been leading to a much greater word count. At 37k with a lot of stuff still to happen, I’d be glad to be at novel length, the 50k gem. Mostly because this book is a big deal for me. I’m pretty impressed with myself, being only 22 years old and a few weeks away from finishing my 15th book. Maybe even less than that, depending on how much I can get done this week.

I think the hardest part of being close to finishing a novel is knowing that you’re close and just wanting to hit that finish line. That was how I originally gave myself carpal tunnel. With Fangs and Fortune writing combined with writing all day at work, it’s a lot for my hands to hand-le. Back when I was in high school, I’d write 10-15 pages a day just to try and finish something.

So I guess what I’m trying to say, because I can’t just write a personal post without advice, is that if you’re close to finishing your novel, hang in there. Don’t overwork yourself to the point of carpal tunnel, or even ganglion cysts, like myself. If you think you can finish your book tonight, then that’s great. If you need a few more days or a week, then don’t sweat it. Stay focused and stay calm, because the finish line is in sight.

Diversity in Writing

Earlier this week was International Women’s Day. While using my incredibly bad artistic skills to draw a picture of all the main characters from my books celebrating, I noticed how different many of them were. All different heights and shapes, all with different personalities, but what stood out to me the most was the array of different colored faces.

Since I started writing novels at sixteen, I made a promise to myself that I’d have “something for everyone.” I wanted every person to like at least one of my books, so I set out doing all different genres, from comedy to horror, from fantasy to action. I also wanted to have characters with different backgrounds, from rich to homeless, from regular two-parent households to those with single parents or being raised by someone else. I’ve had characters that were adopted, characters that lost a sibling, and characters with up to five siblings.

Most importantly, my goal was to feature characters of different races and abilities. So far, I’ve made main characters that are Armenian, Native American, Asian, African American, Latina, and in my upcoming book, Indian.

Diverse doesn’t necessarily have to mean a different race, it can also be someone who goes through life differently than us, from a mental illness to reduced mobility. Two of my main characters suffer from a physical issue, like Lia who is blind and Violet who is a little person. I’ve also had characters with mental health issues, like Arabella with social anxiety and Freya with depression. Billions of people go through life with the same issues, and I want them to have relatable characters too.

I started thinking about famous modern novels, ones that you see or here about everywhere and have been adapted into movies. Most, if not all, of the main characters are similar. It makes me wonder why there aren’t more ultra-famous novels starring characters of different backgrounds. Mental health issues seem to be covered, but main characters with a physical disability are few and far between. When you think about it, our world is diverse. In a room full of people no one looks the same, so why should our characters?

Illiteracy in America

Although it isn’t well-known, March is National Reading Awareness Month. Largely partnered with  an organization called ReadAloud, who aims to have each parent across the country read aloud to their child for 15 minutes a day, I believe the main goal of Reading Awareness Month is to bring awareness to illiteracy and when we can do to help those who are illiterate.

Illiteracy is an epidemic that I personally care about very much, especially as an author. In college, my sorority’s philanthropy was focused on literacy. We went into schools and worked with underprivileged children who had trouble reading. Illiteracy is something that needs to be talked about.

Here are some facts about illiteracy in the US that you may not know (via the Literacy Project Foundation):

  • 44 million adults can not read a simple story to their children
  • Approximately 50% of Americans can not read well enough to perform a simple task, like reading a product label
  • 20% of Americans read below the level needed to earn a living wage
  • 3 out of 4 people on welfare can’t read
  • 85% of juvenile offenders have trouble reading

We’re constantly reading, no matter where we are. It’s hard to imagine how different our world would be if we couldn’t read. Thankfully, there’s a lot that can be done.

What You Can Do To Help: 

  • volunteer to read at your local library
  • read to someone younger than you, like a sibling or children you babysit
  • donate the books you’ve finished reading to charities, like First Book, who give them to the underprivileged

I hope this post was able to open your eyes to the problem our country faces with illiteracy. We can all do our part to help those who cannot read.