The New Year's Post



How do you spell it?

Answer: The 31st of December is called New Year's Eve.
Why?
: The 31st of December is the day before the new year. Therefore it's the eve OF the New Year. That OF denotes possession. The New Year "owns" that eve, and that's why there's an apostrophe.

Answer: The 1st of January is called New Year's Day.
Why?: It's the first day OF the New Year. That OF denotes possession. The New Year "owns" that day, and that's why there's an apostrophe.

RESOLUTIONS

1. Make the changes to Aundes Aura that will be suggested by the editor.
1. i. Publish Aundes Aura.

2. Write and publish a novella/novelette.

3. Pass my Advanced Diploma of Music.

4. Not let take-away or other food put me over my weight threshold.
(I'm not going to tell you what that threshold is, because I'm skinny and you might tell me that I don't need to watch my weight. But I like being skinny and I want to keep it that way.)

Got any writing resolutions?

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The Next Step

Two days ago when I finished the second draft of Aundes Aura, I didn't know what to do next. How would I approach the next round? How much do I really need to change, anyway? What if it's good how it is?

With the previous suggestions from people on Critique Circle to get a beta reader, plus two more suggestions after my blog post, I've decided to have my friend beta read it for me. I've tried reading friends' work before and haven't got to the end, so I don't have high hopes for this, but I'm moderately confident in it.

Later down the track, I may find some people on Critique Circle or Kindleboards to swap beta reads with. In any case, my editor is scheduled for February, so the book will be going to her then. Her suggestions will be the last changes I make.

First Round of Edits Done! Plus, my secret revealed.

Yes, I've been working moderately hard and have managed to get through the first round of edits on Aundes Aura!

Now I find myself at a loss as to what to do next. As I go through the next draft, what should I be focusing on? I've cut all that needed to be cut, and I've done a lot of tightening, especially in the first ten chapters (they needed it more). I've filled out all those pesky square brackets that held the place for transitions to be written.

Aundes Aura is currently 57,590 words. But what do I do next?

My current thought is to add more description, some appropriate character introspection . . . I don't know.

Since it's looking in pretty good shape, one suggestion from some Critique Circle friends was to give it to some beta readers. I could do both -- but with the edits, I'm just not sure where I'm supposed to go from here.

Either way, here's my secret. I've acquired an editor! She'll be editing the book in late February. Whatever the book's state, she'll be getting it then, and her changes are the last ones I plan/hope to make. Until then, my friend wanted to look at it after this round was done, so that's where I'll start.

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December Revision Update #2: Battle-Plan

It's very motivational to know someone's working when you should be. It makes me work.

Since my last post on Thursday, I've revised another three chapters. On Friday I took a break, but on Saturday I jumped back in and revised two chapters, eating through another one today.

This is partly thanks to my new Twitter buds, @johannaharness and @JCRosen. They participate almost every night in #amwriting "sprints", which include editing. They go for a whole hour, where on my own I usually just do a 1/2 hour.

One great thing about this editing is that I'm certain I'm not skimping on it. What I'm actually doing is being time-effective. Not only am I actually progressing with it, but this approach means that I'm really focusing on what matters at this point: removing the big-picture stuff. Those internal monologues that make me say to my MC, "Dude . . . you're an IDIOT!" Gone. If not gone, then re-worded to something that isn't glaringly obvious, melodramatic, stated in the last page, stated a few chapters ago, clearly stated near the start of the book, or out of character.

So I'm an over-explainer. Which is just perfect because I'm also a sparse writer.

But it's all good! This is what revision is about, and I'm making my book way better! In fact, you should see the last chapter. I didn't need to do much at all to it, but what I did do made it better.

I predict less vicious cutting in the coming chapters, as this is the point where I stopped writing certain subplots, and all the characters to be deleted now have been.

Now, I want to put this progress into perspective.

It took me 8 months to edit 9 chapters.

It's taken me 4 days to edit 5 chapters.

Oh, but I was studying during those 8 months. You know what? No! I now know that half an hour can take me through half a chapter. An hour can get me through almost a whole chapter. And if I'm tired out during the week, I can get through at least 4 chapters on the weekend.

It used to take me hours to get through one chapter. Why?
1. I was focusing on the wrong thing.
2. I wasn't focused!

MY CURRENT GOAL: Get through this round of revision (big-picture) by Saturday!

Once that's done, I'll be going through and seeing where I can deepen things, raise the stakes or make things more challenging, which will take a little more time.

However, those should be as approachable as this big-picture pass has been, since there won't be instances left and right, but only perhaps a few scenes every couple of chapters.

December Revision Update: Make Them Fail

I'm so proud to announce that tonight I powered through the editing of 2 chapters! Even wilder, this was in the space of three 30 minute sessions.

About a week ago I discovered "sprints" on Twitter, where someone initiates it and then whoever wants to join in writes or edits for an hour and comes back with their results.

I procrastinated from editing for hours today, until it was almost midnight. Finally I decided to do one of these sprints by myself, announcing it on Twitter for the fun of it. I was surprised to get through 8/13 pages. I thought, hey, if I do another one at the start of the next hour, I should be able to finish it. I did, and because I had time left, I started on the next chapter, getting through 6/12 pages. After another hour or so of procrastination, I set the 30min timer again and finished the chapter.

Crazy!

Now, to be fair, in these sessions I mostly read/skimmed over the work and put markers for paragraphs or sections that needed to be removed, with just a few changes to wording. But I also managed to catch an inconsistency, one perk of doing quick editing.

I think this is helping me with big-picture editing, which will play a big part for me as once I'm through this draft, I'll be going through and adding things — one or two chapters, and maybe a scene here and there. I think it's good that I've done the cutting and line-editing of the earlier chapters, because they needed it, but now I can actually get to the end of these edits soon enough so I have plenty of time to add in the things I want and double-check the tightening.

I'm sure the 30 minute sprints will help me get through the other kinds of edits as well.

Especially since this month my friend and I are going to be doing productivity sessions. Which are basically when we both sit down and work on just our projects for an hour, and later, another hour, etc.

Just the fact that I know now I can get to the end soon, just having removed what needs to be cut, gives me ridiculous amounts of hope and excitement about what comes after as that's when I get to start creating again — exploring the less explored areas, searching for any chapters that could possibly be added, and as I've read recently as a tool for adding to the plot:
Finding a place where the characters overcame their obstacle too easily (or it could have been harder) and then making it harder for them and raising the stakes.

My simple interpretation of this was, Find somewhere they succeeded and make them fail.

I have some exciting news on the way. (Exciting for me, anyway, and if you might read the book at some point, it's good news for you.) For now, I can safely say that Aundes Aura will be released in 2013.

November Revision Update: Help!

Two days ago I revised Chapter Eight.

Today I revised Chapter Nine.

It's a lot of work and I'm less than halfway. I really need to schedule a block of time every day to get me through this more quickly.

The word count's below 62,000 words, and I still have 12 more chapters to revise. :( I'm going to need some master plan to turn this into a real book.

I was really hoping to send this to the content editor after this draft, but should I expand on some ideas first? Maybe if I send this version to her she can help me bring out some subplots and make it full-length.

It's better, but it's just getting too short! Here's hoping the second half needs more rewording than big chunk-cutting.

Disturbed Author

Meanwhile, on the other side . . .

Unfortunately I can't focus on writing right now, as I still have a month left of my Certificate IV in Music.

Anyway, just thought I'd show off this little song I recorded for my Original Music and Covers channel on Youtube. "20 Good Reasons" by Thirsty Merc.

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Looking for an Editor

Looking for an editor wasn't always in the books for me. I don't have a job. I wanted to do it myself. I still do.

But my friends at Critique Circle have pushed me in the right direction. I have a tight budget and a tight schedule -- two things that don't bode well for an editor. If I miss the Christmas rush, I hope this will all be worth it to help my book hold up in the market and make people want to read more of my work.

There are still elements of the plot that I'm removing from my book, so unfortunately it's in no state to be sent to an editor just yet. (Subplots appear halfway through as I've deleted them from the first half.)

When I've finished the second draft, it'll be time to send it off.

I've never worked with an editor before, so I've got no idea what to expect, or how much work I'll have to do after the editor's gone through it.

Prolificity Be Your Currency

In my bloggy musings I was led to this post by popular self-published fantasy author David Dalglish.

The Triumph of the Dalglish: How I Sold 200k Novels While Not Knowing Squat

His post explains why following the new swarm of authors won't work anymore. You can't win by writing one book, and then chucking links up every day, or even by getting a couple of recommendations on a forum. It doesn't work anymore because everyone's doing it.

The last section of his post enforces my theory of writing a number of good books and being friendly with people. He explains it so well.

Write. And then write some more. You know what’s easier than selling 10,000 books? Selling 5,000 copies of two books. And far easier than that is to sell 3,500 copies of three books.
So many people seem to want to hit the jackpot with just one book. To be fair, people out there do pull it off occasionally. I’ve seen it, even had friends do it. But I’ve seen some of those same people have their sales eventually dry up into nothing, and instead of giving something new for their readers, they keep shopping and pushing that same book, trying to recapture that old miracle.
No.
Stop it.
Keep writing.
And I don’t mean crank out crap. Imagine that you have a fan base out there, one you’re steadily growing. Every book you write, make sure it’s something that audience will love and devour. With each new book, you’ll gather in the new, and satisfy the old.
I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll cut it off here. In short, if you want to self-publish, go in wide-eyed, your pride swallowed, and your ears open. Treat your readers, who are also your paying customers, with respect and courtesy. Don’t make excuses, but instead have the best editing you can have, the best cover, the best formatting, and the best presentation. Most of all, the best story.
And then do it again.
And again.
And again.

This is why, as soon as possible, I want to jump into writing full-time. I'm sure for a long time, I'm going to be doing half-half, working a part-time job while I write, but I need to treat writing as a job as well. There'll be a time frame every day where I just write or edit.

For some reason, I think it's important that I have that experience of the part-time job while writing. Perhaps to help me appreciate writing more when it's my main job?

I'm not prolific by nature; in fact, I'm the opposite. That's why I need the "this is a job" mindset. Only through treating my writing the right way can I turn it into a full-time, or even part-time job.

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Oh, the possibilities!: Three Bridges

Just over a year ago I posted about an idea I had for a four POV book to be written as part of The Válkia Chronicles. It could have been a novel or a novella, but I've been struck with another possibility.

I now want to condense the four POVs into three -- works well for the umbrella heading, Three Bridges. And the possibility I'm considering is this: Could I instead write 3 separate novelettes/novellas?

I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Would you rather pay for 3 separate novelettes at $1.99 each, or just a novel at $2.99?

Marketing: Is it worth it?

I'd love to write a long, helpful post on this right now, but I don't have the knowledge nor the time. What I do have is an article I just read and a theory.

Just Write

Don't read it all because it's not spot-on and sort of long-winded, but it's interesting to get the perspective. (For two much more useful articles that I say you MUST read, scroll down to the Further Reading part of this post.) The thing that did it for me was in the last line.


In the end it's all about stats: the hidden ones and the real ones. If you're writing and trying to self-sell and net-promote, do your own stats. Calculate your investment of time and money in writing versus social media. Do you want to spend 80% of 80% of your time Facebooking about cats in the hope that you'll make a 2.12% increase in sales on a book you had to write in 18 days? Do you want to spend 80% of your time creating unpaid market propaganda for the social media industry?
Or would you rather step away from the hype altogether and spend as much time as you can being a 100% writer?

Some things in the comments were more useful, though. Using a tool such as Twitter is not about linking your book 3 times a day. It's about connecting with potential readers, or possibly people who are reading your work. If you use Twitter to shove your book 3 times a day, people will get tired of you, and the thing is, people just don't click on those links that much.

My book isn't available yet, so I haven't even had the chance to link anything. But I promise you, just thanks to the title in my profile description, I've had people showing interest, asking for me to let them know when the book is out.

And hopefully they'll love it.

My theory? Write good books with good titles and good blurbs. Even better, write better books with better titles and better blurbs. Get more stuff out there. Devote your time to writing. Write novels, and in between, write shorts and novelettes. The more you have out there, the more people can read if they like your work, and they'll be even more likely to talk about you.

Use Twitter and Facebook to update your progress, but don't over-market. Maybe link it a couple of times once it's out. If people have shown interest, let them know. Apart from that, be friendly. If people ask about the book, let them know about it. Stay calm.

Send the book to some reviewers (look up blogs that review your genre or price) to give it a start, mention it on your blog, then forget about everything and write the next project. Update Twitter and Facebook a couple of times a week with your progress -- say, every time you finish a chapter, or a few chapters -- and apart from that, retweet or comment on the Tweets that connect with you.

Getting Focused Followers on Twitter
I write fantasy, particularly high/epic fantasy. So to get followers who might be interested in what I write, I follow people who follow authors who write in a similar genre. So I would go to Christopher Paolini's profile, click "followers", and then go down the list, following around 50 people, for example (aiming for English speakers), and then move on to George R. R. Martin's profile and do the same.

A few days later, I'd use "ManageFlitter" to unfollow the people who didn't follow back, so I don't hit the wall of Twitter's "ratio" system.

In Summary
Focus on the writing! Remember that books take months to find their wings, but once they do, they'll hopefully keep flying. Word of mouth grows exponentially, but it takes time for your book to get started, so give it a bit of a push at the start. Interact with your readers when you can.

And the more work you have out there, the better. (But make it good.)
____________________

Further Reading
I found these articles today. It would be in your best interests to check them out!

The first one discusses how to work Amazon's algorithms with an emphasis on the initial push.
Social media doesn't sell books (In a way, it does -- read the next article to find out how.)

This one discusses with 3 "prominent" authors how effective they think social media is, and how to use it effectively. That is, by being "social" (meeting people and being down to earth), only "promoting" when you have free promotions, and having a web presence (getting interviewed on blogs, simply being there on Twitter and Facebook).
DOES SOCIAL NETWORKING REALLY SELL BOOKS?

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October Revision Update

Chapter Seven. I call it the mammoth. 4,500 words it was.

Last weekend I edited half of it. This weekend I edited the other half. I think it's better. I still need to get the computer to read it to me.

The melodrama, oh, the melodrama! Gone now. Yay!

Oh, the action's the same, but I'm not all like, HE PRETTY MUCH DIED.

I hope I'm not doing this too wrong. Am I wrong to think the plot doesn't need that much changing? Your first draft will be terrible, they said. But I'm certain that's a totally objective statement. It depends how you write your first draft, how much you planned, and how meticulously you wrote.

I wrote to a general and sometimes meticulous outline. Surely my drafts will need less revision than that of a pantser.

I think my plot is the best I can do right now, and to change it dramatically would be to delay something that doesn't need to be delayed. I'd end up with something different, but not necessarily better.

I want to add things. I dropped 1,000 words this chapter. Soon I will be descending into the novella wasteland. My dream wasn't to hold a thin little book in my hands -- I want something that makes me proud, and for some reason, that doesn't cut it. My goal is 200+ pages in print. I think that's a decent place to start.

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September Revision Update #2

Tonight I sat down and finished going through Chapter Six with a pencil. I cut two and a half pages involving the "leaf subplot" that I'm trying to remove, but I don't know if this is just going to screw everything up in the end.

I don't think I have the hang of "edit for content first before doing any line editing, because what you fine-tune might not even be there later". I want to make it all better, while doing the content at the same time -- multi-tasking. Hey, maybe I can do it this way.

I'm going to be rewriting one page to make the characters active rather than reactive, and I've changed some of their attitudes towards the little things to make Saera (I hope) more likeable.

Dialogue has been chopped so interjections that don't really add anything don't slow it down.

At some point I'm going to have to make reference to the two horses they just casually left behind at the stables.

It looks to me like this draft will be the "cutting and clarification draft", where the next one will be the "deepen (add) and line-edit draft".
______________________________

I hate maths, but I love using numbers to predict when a project is going to be finished. If I do a chapter a week from now, this draft would be finished about halfway through December. That means I really want to be doing more like 3 chapters a week, so I have time to go through that next draft and read it a few times before releasing it around Christmas.

I can't wait for that moment when I transfer the book to a .mobi file and read it in that other form -- the form in which it will be read by others.

Is this rushing it? I don't know, but I need to get it out there.

I need to get it out there.
_______

UPDATE: I've now edited the digital document, and have trimmed the chapter of an estimated 1,000 words after taking into account the few paragraphs and the  transition that I still have to write.

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September Revision Update

Hi!

I've been very busy lately with Uni assessments, but I've come back to revisions now and am currently halfway through Chapter Six. I'd love to release the book around Christmas time, but I can't be sure if that's going to happen.

To make up for the words I'm cutting with these revisions, I'm considering how I can work in this love interest subplot that was originally going to be in the book, but I cut it short. Anything that can add to the length and depth at the same time would be much appreciated.

In Other Life News
Apart from studying (an Advanced Diploma of Music), I've released a single called "That Silence" on iTunes for 99c and Bandcamp for 20c. I'm currently writing and recording an EP.

I've been building my Twitter followers for my music @RyanLeeSulMusic. I'm working up a setlist of covers and original songs that I'll use for gigs and busking.

I've moved out of home, now renting a place with two housemates that's a 20 minute tram ride to Uni.

Being about 10 months since I've had a French class (after finishing Year 12), I've been thinking lately that I really don't want to forget what I know. So I bought a self-published Kindle book called Andéhir: la prophétie, the first of two French fantasy books for 11 - 13-year-olds. I don't understand every word, but I do understand what's happening in each scene, the general flow of action, and most of what's being said between the characters. A friend made the point that even if I don't understand all of it, reading it is probably helping me avoid forgetting what I already know. Now if only I could use a French-English dictionary within my Kindle app!

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Revising: And THAT is how you turn 4,500 words into 2,250

Subtitle: Chapter Two Sucked

Phew! I need a beer.

Okay, it wasn't all bad. I think I managed to make something engaging and exciting while hinting at a couple of cool things as well that weren't there in the first draft. The scene with Eoin, Saera and Faine in the cart is much more tense, hopefully. I finally got rid of that weird conversation. I don't think people have conversations like that.

Thankfully, my longest chapter is now out of the way. I think I worked on it for 6 hours straight! Minus the time it took me to get Macca's in between. And I'd been so good with my eating this week!

Now getting a beer.

Mmm.

I've also gotten rid of that horrid "fortifying the leaf" scene with alchemist, and I've begun unweaving the leaf thing from the story entirely. I just didn't find it convincing enough. I might always use the concept in another Chronicle.

So here's what the first page looked like:

























And here's what one of the late pages looked like:

























And here's what pretty much every other page looked like:

























And the sad thing is I'm telling the truth. One of the pages had just one word changed. In the case of the one above, it sucked so much that I got rid of the whole thing. What an awkward, painfully long scene.

Yeah, Eoin, you should feel awkward. Who does this? Weirdo.

I invite you to read all the pages shown here.

2,250 words is on the shorter side for me, but it's above my minimum 2,000 words. I have no doubt at all that this is much stronger chapter. I look forward to reading it to see how it flows. It might go too quickly from early morning to night-time, but hopefully that's something I can easily fix on a later read-through.

I really hope the rest of the chapters don't turn out like this. If I cut 50% of every chapter, I won't have any book left. GASP FACE!

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Revising: Chapter One rewritten

I'll probably continue to be rather inactive while I work through revisions, but I'll keep you updated as I move through the chapters.

Through the last several chapters of the first draft, Chapter One was going to be completely rewritten, but I wouldn't allow myself to work on it until the first draft was completely done.

Now Chapter One's finished, and I like it a lot more than the original version.

From here on in it shouldn't be too hard to delete scenes, change details and rewrite parts of scenes as needed. I'd like to get through four to six chapters every week while I'm focusing on just the content.

See you soon!

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First draft officially finished!: Revisiting "The Editing Process"

As of last night, I've officially finished the first draft of Aundes Aura.

I still have some things to do before I start the real revisions; I have to rewrite the first chapter with my new vision for the beginning.

Time to copy my file and save it as "draft one", rename this one "draft two" and get to work.
______________________________

Disclaimer: The following process was suggested by Marie over at Critique Circle.

Once your novel's first draft is complete, it is essential that you revise it if you want to [give readers a good impression and improve your chances of selling].


1.
Edit for storyline. This is the round where you go through and make sure the plot makes sense and follows through the story. That the subplots wrap up. That you haven't forgotten, lost or dropped anything while working your way through the book. Make as many passes as needed to fix any and all plot issues and oopsies.

2.
Edit for character. Everything from behaviour to appearance. Make sure names are spelled consistently throughout the book. Also, make sure that characters don't mysteriously vanish without concluding their plotline or even more mysteriously reappear after death.

[Yes, I have a vanishing character. I either have to take her out or include her more.]

3.
Edit for description. By now things should be getting better, but make sure that you are describing things effectively, using all five senses. Also, this is a good time to make sure physical items don't unexpectedly change colour, shape or location.

4.
Edit for genre elements. For fantasy you might double check on world building. Since you've already done three passes through the novel, things really should be fairly solid but this gives you one more chance to spot a problem.

[I think I'll be cleaning up all the intricacies of what's really going on between the Gods, the Naeveri and the characters, and how all the complicated events are linked.]

5.
Edit for grammar, punctuation and spelling. By now you should be able to run through and focus just on the clean up details. If you spot other problems, back up and give the earlier steps another pass. Don't rush things. You're not ready for the polishing up unless you've already fixed the plot. Take your time.

Repeat as needed.

Buy this book if you want to sell yours (it's not my book)

Building an Author Platform That Can Launch Anything: a Social Media Minibook


This concise ebook . . . oh, just read the reviews. All 14 of them are 5 stars. You want to buy this book. It's usually 99c. It's currently free.
(This isn't my book.)

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I need more carrots!


When I'm this close to the end, there's no reason I shouldn't be writing. Every hundred words is a weight off my shoulders.

So I bought chocolate. My favourite: Caramello Koalas. Yeah, two of them. And I'm going to eat them. Not yet, though. 100 words will earn me a Caramello. Yum! Actually, let's make that 150 words. I'm sure I can manage that.

If I follow that, it'll put me over 68,000 words in the first draft, and not much left at all until the end.

Although I'm having thoughts about an epilogue. I think it might be necessary for a proper denouement. Because there's a way I'd like to finish it, but that doesn't clearly tie up a lot of loose ends. What happens to them afterwards, like, just afterwards? Like, a week later?

There's an ending, and then there's a satisfying conclusion. I don't want just an ending. If I were to end it without that final part, I imagine I'd end up with something that feels like "he woke up and it was all a dream".

I don't think it'll be a long epilogue. Partly because I want to get it finished; partly because it won't need to be a long epilogue.

Also, just now I've been thinking about writing a short story before or while working on Maechre Aura, so I have something I can sell in between the two novels and keep that "push" going, if you know what I mean. I might discuss that in a couple of days.

For now, writing time. See you soon!
__________________________

Edit: I didn't end up writing just 300 words. I got a whopping 472 -- pretty good since I wasn't going to write at all. And best of all, I haven't even eaten either of my Caramello Koalas. I think I'll eat them now as a reward for my efforts. Yum!

A Look Back: Influence

I believe that my writing style is affected by every different fiction author whose books I read. It's affected even more so by fantasy writers, which isn't surprising because the main genre I read and write is fantasy. In Grade One, when I was seven years old and writing stories that lasted anywhere up to 100 words, I had no particular influences. The stories I wrote were generally accounts of true events hidden (very badly) behind a creative guise.
I don't remember where all the magic in my stories came from. Maybe films and cartoons, or fairytales. But when I wrote my first "longer" story (A Whole New World, or something very similar), it seemed set in stone the kinds of stories I would be writing.

I must have started reading Harry Potter in Grade Two because that's when I wrote "A Magical World", a hilariously bad rip-off of the idea of Harry Potter, with matching 8-year-old style writing. At least it had a unique plot. I was still about nine years off being ready to attack something of Harry Potter's relative grandeur.
So when I was 8 and 9 years old, my biggest influence was J. K. Rowling. 
At 9 years old I started including ideas related to my sudden interest in language and worlds hidden within our own. Somewhere between 9 and 10 years old I tried to rewrite A Magical World. It was still terrible and I didn't quite finish it.
Fast forward to 11 and 12 years old, and I was influenced by Pirates of the Caribbean, and my friend and I co-wrote 3/4 of a story called British Pirate before we burnt out and didn't finish it.
I don't recall writing anything at 13, but at 14 and 15 I was working on Until They Unite, which wasn't terrible, but wasn't particularly good either. That seems to have been influenced by Emily Rodda's series Deltora Quest (which I read when I was about 8 or 9), what with the travelling and collecting  special items of power. I didn't finish Until They Unite, either.
Then it was this, Aundes Aura. The plot is influenced by nothing other than my imagination ad my ideas. But everything's influenced by something, right? Well, yeah, but now that influence is tucked away in the past. I burnt out all my copying until I finally had something truly of my own to work with.
And this is where I stop looking at the influences on what I write, but how I write. This is where I stop looking at plot and start looking at style, because that's where the influences have been in my writing of late. I think I was still writing Until They Unite when my friend was flicking through my copy of Eragon and said, "You write like him." I was humbled, as Eragon was what I was reading at the time. I've spent the course of Aundes Aura refining my style and phasing out elements that were holding it back.
The next influence on my style, I would like to believe, is George R. R. Martin with A Song of Ice and Fire. I've read the first book and am halfway through the second. I think the witty and well-written dialogue, dealings with the intricate plot, portrayal of characters, depiction of scenes and the breadth of the world all really stand out in this series, and these skills are what I aspire to, but in a more compact way. Maybe one day I'll be able to write longer works like his, but I'm not at that stage yet, and I'm content with my full-length novel, if not the typical length for fantasy, let alone high/epic fantasy.
The last influence I want to talk about is purely stylistic, and I think an interesting one. It's also the one that inspired me today to write this post, after this little feature cropped up in my writing again.
It's also interesting because Beowulf was a set text for Literature in Year 12, not one of my books for leisure. In Middle English, or whatever period it was originally written in, the verses didn't rhyme at the end of the lines like many do today. The lines were alliterated.
Every now and again when I'm writing, an alliteration springs forth and I have to stop and think . . . can I actually do that? Of course I can. Why not? Of course, when I revisit them in my readings, I'll have to decide whether they work or not. But for now they're not really doing any harm. Here's the example that inspired this post.


He filtered his memories over the sights before him. Black bark turned brown, bare branches burst full of autumn leaves.


So what books and authors have influenced your writing?

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Holidays, needy writers, trying to get it finished and tablets

I'm on holidays now. (That's vacation for you Americans.) I've said many times in the past how my writing would benefit from a break from studies. Don't believe these lies. Holidays lull you into a false sense of security. They tell you you'll have all this time to write, but really you won't -- unless you make it happen.
That's where my problem often lies. I'm really bad at making things happen. One of those things is writing. If I were to write whenever I felt like it, I'd never write because as much as I love having written, writing isn't easy.
I hate it when people say, "The only reason you should be writing is that you can't not write." Because that's totally not true. Writing is more than a need. It's an ambition. Footballers don't play football because they can't not play football. They do it because they want to, becuse they love it, or because they want to get somewhere with it.
I'm not a needy writer, I'm an ambitious writer. I've spent two years writing this book not because I need to, but because I want to. It's a journey that I want to see to the end.
April is just about to begin, and with only two chapters left to write, I want to see this book finished and edited in the next two weeks, while I've got this break.
I've moved the release date back from Q1 to Q2 2012. No one should ever realease a rushed product. But is that what I'm doing? I don't know, I'm just doing what feels right.

______________________________


Yesterday I bought an Asus EEE Pad Transformer. Look it up, I just typed this whole post on it. 
(If you consider getting one, make sure you get the one with the keyboard dock.)
I'm very excited because now I can work on my manuscript on the 1.5 hour train trips to and from Uni four days a week (3 hours a day, 12 hours a week). It also has enough battery power to last those 3 hours a day and more. Something my laptop was never capable of. (It lasts about 5 minutes unplugged.)
I'm using Dropbox to sync between my tablet and computer, since I was already using it to sync between my laptop and computer. It didn't work at all using the pre-installed Polaris Office, but I spent the $19.99 to buy Quick Office and it synced with my computers straight away. I suspect I'll have to reformat my manuscript in Word when I get home, but what's that when I can be writing all the time?
Now I'm off to write, and we'll see how Quick Office fares with the formatting.

Print Preview: Formatting for CreateSpace 3. Font Choice, Font Size, Line Spacing and Sparkle

So forgetting my mysterious and untimely disappearance, here's where we left off.


You may notice that I've decided to replace the Author Bio with the "other titles by this author" list. The title page should stay on the same page as before.

Now we get to make this baby look like a book!

Go to each of your chapter titles and make them 36pt. Garamond. Also centre them and check that they don't have any automated indents (which you would see in the ruler at the top of the screen).





To get the spacing to look like the one in Chapter Two, click at the end of the chapter title and then press Enter. If there are extra spaces or blank lines, hit delete until the first line begins at your new position.



Now select the main body text chapter by chapter, and do these things:
1. Ensure that the text is "justified". To do this, you might want to click align left, and then click justify again. The buttons are found above the "paragraph" tab.
2. Now select the whole document (ctrl-A). Click on the little box on the right side of the "paragraph" tab and fill out the information to look like this:
(you shouldn't have to change much)


3. Check for areas you wanted spaces that may have been removed when you checked "don't add spaces between paragraphs of the same style", which is a totally useless way of saying "don't add spaces between paragraphs automatically".




4. Select each chapter's individual body of text (in other words, don't select the chapter titles) and make 11pt. Garamond. You can do them one at a time, or you can select multiple bodies of text by holding ctrl.

5. While that text is still selected, go to the ruler at the top of the page and move the top slider to where I've positioned it. (You may want more or less indent than I've given.)


6. Click within the first paragraph of each chapter and remove the indent by moving the slider we just moved back to it's neutral position.



7. Check the last paragraph of every chapter. Sometimes the last line has only two words spaced out evenly across the line. My only solution for this is unfortunately to make that one paragraph aligned left.

8. If your headers are looking cramped like this:


Click inside the headers, put your cursor at the end of the title, name or number (whichever is farthest to the right) and press Enter.



9. While you're there, check that your headers and page numbers are also in Garamond. Make the page numbers 11pt and the name and title 10pt in all caps.

Ahh, this is all looking very nice. But wait, something is amiss!


Why are there extra spaces on the first page?

Press ctrl A to select your entire document. Now go to the "paragraph" menu and click the "lines and breaks" tab.

Make sure "widow/orphan control" is deselected as shown below.


Which will make your lines look like this:



Yay! Much neater. And much more bookier . . . ier.

Nearly done. Now it's time for . . .

SPARKLE!

Select the first letter of every first paragraph of every chapter of the book . . . of . . . of . . .
And under Insert, select "Drop Cap" > "Dropped" from the right side of the ribbon.


______________________________

That's it, that's all the pearls of wisdom I have to offer. Hopefully by now you know the system well enough to make your own decisions about how you want to format your work, but I think what I've given you is a nice, clean, pleasing format if that's all you want.

If you've followed this, you should now have a fully formatted book.

This concludes the Print Preview series on formatting for CreateSpace.

I covered a lot here and throughout the series, so if anything wasn't clear enough, please leave a comment so I can help.

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

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