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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Elemental Killers #2 & Beta Readers

Today I completed the first draft of Elemental Killers #2. Standing at around 88,000 words without editing it is currently my longest novel to date and so far I'm very pleased with how it has turned out - although I haven't read what I've written yet...

There were ups and downs with creating the main plot line and I'm sure there will be many more in ht editing process. Most of the downs came from one male character, who will remain nameless, acting up and not listening to my wishes. However, I got there in the end and the character started to behave so nearly all of the writing was a positive experience. I really enjoyed creating the book and I'm looking forward to re-drafting even more. 

Because of my exams I will not be able to release the book before the end of June at the earliest, however I want to offer out a few ARCs (with basic editing) to around five or six beta readers to get a feel for what I need to work on in the book before release. Keep checking back as I will be posting a form in the near future.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Hitting Publish

I don’t know whether it is the same for other self-publishing authors but for me, hitting publish on Amazon is one of the most nerve-wracking things in the whole process. I hover over that minute button for ages, just trying to build up the courage to send the book into review.

When it comes to pressing that button all of my confidence goes and suddenly I am questioning things I would not under normal circumstances, for example my form filling in skills are suddenly under scrutiny as I check, double check and most probably check a further three times to make sure I have filled everything in correctly. Even the spelling of my name is brought into question. I mean how hard can it be to spell “Mia?” It only has three letters in it, but as soon as it comes to clicking that button my mind starts to doubt things I have done all of my life.

Pressing that button is the culmination of months of hard work. It is the final hurdle for authors and even after all the work that goes into writing the novel itself, I still find pressing that button harder. My head is full of ideas I am hoping to turn into novels, I enjoy the planning and seeing the ideas unfold on paper and I love the writing process, especially watching the pages/word count slowly increase. The editing process I don’t like so much but more time goes into re-drafting and editing than writing it the first time. So after all that it seems silly to worry about pressing a tiny button doesn’t it? I mean, I’ve put the effort into writing something and getting it ready for the public to see so shouldn’t I be excited about the prospect of it being available to buy?

Well of course I am, I love seeing my work out there but every time I go to press that button saying “finish and publish” nothing seems as good anymore. I automatically think I have uploaded the wrong draft of my novel or my computer has a mind of its own and has done something it shouldn’t – which did happen once, Chrome auto fill put my name as ‘Mia Hoddell Hoddell,’ luckily I noticed it before in one of my many checks.

Combined with this there are also the nerves caused by people being able to see and read my work. Questions form in my head like “is it really good enough?” or “are people going to like it?” as I doubt myself. Sadly, this feeling never goes away and I don’t think it ever will. Authors have a personal connection to their work and getting any kind of feedback will always be nerve-wracking as each book is a little piece of us.

I still find that little button the biggest hurdle though. Once I’ve clicked it my mind goes into overdrive, screaming at me “What did you do?!” and that fact that I have to wait 12hrs to change anything I may have got wrong only increases this feeling. However once I get the email through from Amazon saying my book is live and I can see everything is fine the whole drama of clicking that button seems just slightly over the top.

*First posted on I Heart Reading as part of the Deadly to Love tour.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Counting Down

The countdown has begun. There are only 6 chapter left!

I have been doing a chapter a day (maybe more sometimes) and now I have only the final few chapters of Elemental Killers #2 to write! I'm aiming for the first draft to be complete by the end of April, if not a few days sooner depending on my college work load. I've given myself a deadline and this time I'm going to stick to it. I have to, or else I'm going to get no revision done in May...

Anyway despite the first draft being nearly complete due to May/June exams I'm going to have to sit back and wait to start editing and re-drafting so the book won't be out for another few months - late June at the earliest maybe but don't hold me to that. It will give you time to read the first installment Deadly to Love though if you haven't already.

I may be looking for beta readers as well so if you're interested keep checking back as I will post and update and form here when I've decided.

Besides that nothing much else has been happening. The Deadly to Love tour has been on going and ends tomorrow (25th) so make sure to check out the stops and get your last minute entries for the giveaways in. There will be something for everyone who has entered or hosted!

Find the schedule and giveaways HERE. There have been some amazing blogs hosting me, you have to check them out!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A New Pet and Giveaway Announcement

Just hatched
Last year we had a load of caterpillars climbing up the house to settle in the eaves for the winter as chrysalises. They had come from the vegetable patch next door and it was quite a slight to see as I walked out into the garden one day to read. 

Anyway I had forgotten all about them well that is until two days ago as we noticed one hatching inside one of the bedrooms. It must have crawled through an open window during the summer but we hadn't noticed it. 

Due to the unusually cold spring we are having in the UK none of the others have hatched yet as the temperature is too low outside. However because this one was in the house he has come out too early thinking it is warmer than it really is. I watched him in the window but as it was raining I didn't want to let him outside because he would just die either from the rain or cold so we left him in the house for a day and night.

It refuses to get off my hand
When we went back to check on it the next day though it became apparent that only one of its wings had developed properly, the rest stayed curled up meaning it would never be able to fly. Not having the heart to let it fend for itself outside as I knew it wouldn't last long it is now living in my bedroom window and it's my new pet- well sort of, I'm just looking after it really.

I hate seeing injured animals and even though I know it is nature I couldn't just put this butterfly outside and forget about him as for one there are hardly any flowers around to feed off, two it is still too cold and three it can't fly anywhere so it would just be sentencing him to death. Anyway he looks happy enough bathing in the sunset every night on my window ledge and we've researched food etc so yeah I now have a new pet.

*sorry about the fuzzy images they were taken with an iPod camera

2 days later, wings
still haven't uncurled

Giveaway announcement!

With the Deadly to Love tour still on going I haven't announced the winner of the ebook copy yet. I have decided though that even though only one person will wins a copy of the book I am going to give everyone who entered either giveaway something! I've got it all ready so when the tour finishes in the next 10 days be sure to check your email to find out what you've all got!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Troublesome Characters and Chapters

So I am just under half way through writing the first draft of Elemental Killers #2 and yesterday I got to one of the chapters I have been dreading to write since the planning stages. You know, the ones you can't skip as they have all the tiny detail that link the plot together? The ones that normally involve a lot of thought while writing? Well that's what I had to force myself to write yesterday.

While in the planning stages I even dreaded it, skimming over the vague outline of what would happen but not figuring anything out. That probably didn't help my situation when I woke up to find myself faced with this awkward chapter that would tax my brain for 15 hours but I couldn't do anything about it at that point. I was going to have to write it at some point and there was no denying that, even if I wanted to.

Putting it off was not an option as for one I was dying to write the chapter after it and secondly I've promised myself I will do 3000 words minimum everyday so I can finish the first draft by April 30th at the latest so it is out the way before my revision starts. 

I must admit that as much as I tried to write the words just wouldn't come so I did stare at a black computer screen for a few hours and only wrote 30 words (including the chapter heading) in four hours. I thought of everything to avoid it. Suddenly I had the urge to clean my room, go for a run or bake something - stuff I generally hate doing - just to put it off but the thought of "I should be writing right now" kept nagging me.

It took about seven hours before I made some progress finally. It may have only been 400 words but my page no longer looked so depressing. However I then noticed a film was on T.V so getting distracted once again I put my laptop down and didn't pick it up again until 9pm. Normally I don't write so late as I find it a struggle to switch off and sleep after it, but I was determined not to let the chapter beat me.

Struggling through for about an hour I forced myself to continue writing, even if it didn't make sense. I could go back and edit it later but I needed to have something there to edit first so after about an hour and a half I finally got into the swing of things and it started to flow more easily. In the end I ended up going 2000 words over my target and it only ended up taking 3 hours to write (that's if you exclude all the time I spent staring and trying to mentally prepare myself to write it).

Anyway I think I've learnt my lesson that it's better to plan bits properly and just to suck it up and get on with it... well maybe until next time.

Sadly though this isn't the only problem I've been having during the first half of the novel. Recently one of my new characters has been playing up immensely. He just won't do as he's told! 

Before I begin writing a book I create a chapter by chapter plan with the general idea of what is going to happen in each scene, who's going to be feeling what and reactions etc. However this new guy (I won't name names, he'll know who he is) refuses to stick to the plan I have written. I keep finding myself ending chapters in different ways to what I have originally planned or people not reacting how they are meant to because he does something different.

There's one scene where I planned for Rea to get angry at him for something. Turns out he can talk himself out of most situations and they ended up laughing and joking together. This isn't necessarily a bad thing while writing but when I come to start the next chapter after a nights sleep it can be a challenge when my plan doesn't link up with the previous event.

I find myself mentally screaming at this new guy sometimes, wondering why I am making him do some of the things I am. I don't know, maybe I'm being too harsh on him and should cut him some slack. I mean, he is new and I haven't learnt everything about him yet or developed him as much as the others but he does frustrate me to the ends of the Earth, especially when I'm struggling with a chapter - like the one previously mentioned - and he decides to act up.

Oh well better get back to the next chapter, I'm no where near my target for today!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Back in a Routine & Under Construction

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I have finally got back into writing this week and all I can say is... I didn't realise how much I missed writing until I picked it back up. I mean, I knew I missed it a bit and wanted to start again but due to my final A-Level exams coming up in June everything has been crazy with course work and revision so obviously my writing has taken a back seat in the past few months. As well as this, the on going book tour for Deadly to Love has had me rushed off my feet as I try to fit everything into my already packed schedule.

However with all the content now sent out and two weeks off I have finally got back to writing Elemental Killers #2, completing about 21,000 words in the past two day. When I left it I had got up to chapter 4 so the task of having to read everything through without editing it only helped in putting me off starting again. On Friday though, I told myself that I would not pick up a new book to read (even though I got a new box full in the post this morning) until I had finished at least one chapter and now I don't think I'll be reading again for at least the next weeks.

My goal is to finish the first draft of Elemental Killers #2 by at least the end of April, so once again I won't be sleeping for awhile as I find the best time to write is in the early hours of the morning when no one else is up to distract me.

When I started writing again today, I could feel the smile on my face getting bigger and bigger. With all the stress I'm under lately I had forgotten how happy getting lost in my thoughts and books made me. Combined with the reappearance of the sun, this week looks like it's going to be a good week, filled with lots of writing!

Under Contstruction

As you may have noticed I am changing the design of my blog again. There are still a few things left to be done so please excuse the mess while I sort it out over the next few days. I'm fitting it in around my writing which take priority but it will get done...eventually.

I'd love to hear what you think as well so leave me a comment, I love reading them!

*As a side note, to everyone who entered to win a copy of Deadly to Love on the tour, I will be announcing the winner in the next week or so, so keep an eye on your email. I also have something planned for everyone who entered, even if they are not the main winner so everyone will be getting something!
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