Reading and Writing Progress

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything, so I thought I’d share my reading progress. 

I made a reading goal on Goodreads to read 50 books for the year. So far I’ve read 34 and I’m currently well on my way with the 35th. To see what I’ve been reading click here

While I was exploring Goodreads I found some cool data about my reading goal. 

The number of pages I’ve read by year:

The number of books I’ve read each year (what the heck happened in 2016 I have no idea):

The books I’ve read by the year they were published and the year I read them:


I thought those things were kinda neat. I accessed this data on the Goodreads website, not the app, by clicking My Books at the top left side of the page then clicking Stats on the left side navigation column. 

As for my writing progress…

I haven’t done much mostly because I’ve been waiting on feedback from beta readers. The MS right now is 72k and 201 pages in Word and will grow from the feedback I received. 

I asked my beta readers to keep in mind the following while reading (authors probably don’t do this normally, but this was necessary for me for certain reasons):

  • Chapter lengths – short, too long, just right?
  • Diction – does it read well? does it read like a young adult novel?
  • Dialogue – not awkward/forced? natural?
  • Mr A’s stories – do you need to know more about him? less? 
  • Mr A in general – how is his character overall? does he sound too far fetched?

I’m thinking of handing out the MS to one more beta reader to check for grammar and punctuation errors while I rewrite a few scenes, add some details, and do my own editing. Overall I’m happy with the feedback I received and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing. 

Until next time. 

Happy Writing!

MH

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Editing Progress #3

Previous progress on editing posts 1 & 2:

Horror Novel: 

  • Re-read Chapters 18-23 (out of 37). 
  • Minor line-editing.

Fantasy Novel:

  • Wrote in details for 4 territories (names for towns, rivers, cities, etc., race that lives in each place, climate, tradeable/material goods, population size, etc.)

Tonight’s Progress:

  • Horror Novel: re-read Chapters 24-33 (out of 37) of first novel and fleshed out a few more plot points to keep in mind while editing the second novel. Minor line-editing and fixed a couple plot consistency errors.
  • Fantasy Novel: butkiss. Editing an old WIP takes precedent over a new one IMO. 

How’s your writing coming along? Anyone doing Nano? Tell me your word count so far!

Until next time!

MH

Editing Progress #2

Tonight’s progress:

Horror Novel: Re-read chapters 21-23 (out of 37) and wrote down some plot points to remember. Did some line-editing as well.

Fantasy Novel: Filled in the details for two more territories (place names, population size/race of each place, climate, and tradeable goods). Still using Fantasy Name Generators for help with naming (gave me some insight on how to label each area).

Slow progress is still progress.

Happy Writing!

MH

Character Sketches

Creating new characters is one of my favourite parts of writing a story. Each of my characters are unique and I love writing about them and how they interact with their world. It’s interesting to find that my characters tell me how they’re going to act and behave in a certain situation rather than the other way around.
My favourite part of a character sketch is the name (don’t ask me why it just is). Once I have the name down the rest falls into place. 

I didn’t do character sketches for my trilogy. There aren’t a lot of characters so it was easy to keep track of them all. 

For my next series I will need to keep a list of all my characters and their behaviours (there’s 13 protagonists, not including secondary characters, the “villain(s), and minor characters).

I found a few well written articles and character sketch guidelines which I will share with you (as well as use them for myself).

Like I’ve said before, EA Deverell has loads of writing sheets with guided questions to help you write. Here’s one on how to do a Character Sketch. If it’s not detailed enough for you then you can search Pinterest for more detailed variations, or you can use a few different worksheets and this will really help you become familiar with your character(s).

If you are creating a lot of characters, or just want to keep things organized, you might have trouble coming up with different words to describe each of them. To get those creative juices flowing use this Character Trait Vocab List to help you out. A Thesaurus is a great tool to use as well (I’ve used one several times and I’m not ashamed to admit it).

Now comes the hard part: how to communicate these traits to your reader without resorting to the dreaded “info dump”. Kristen Kieffer, blog writer of www.shesnovel.com, provides writer with a handy four step method on how to do just that. Here are the Four Steps in a nutshell:

  1. Step One: Self-Perception
  2. Step Two: External Perceptions
  3. Step Three: Be Subtle
  4. Step Four: Avoid Clichés

To view the details and explanations behind each step you will have to click on the link above.

Do you have a method you follow when writing new characters? Please share your ideas and tips below!

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

Generating Story Ideas

​Let’s say you have an idea for a novel or want to try writing a book, what’s the next step? Like I wrote in my last post on “Story Ideas” a lot of these ideas don’t make it past the first stage and I find it’s mostly due to someone not knowing what to do next.

I Wrote Down My Idea for a Story, Now What?

There are many different ways you can get started and it all depends on your writing style. You can:

  1. Write the story from beginning to end.
  2. Write the ending first (or the middle).
  3. Write chapters out of order.
  4. Do your word building, character sketches, etc. first before writing the actual story.

I’m only listing four ways for now because for me the fewer the better (I don’t like to make things too complicated). Try these four ways first and if they don’t work for you then try something else. I do have guidelines for each of my four suggestions:

1. Start to Finish
To write from beginning to end you must know or have an idea of how you want your story to begin and end. The middle part will always be a bit fuzzy and those details will sort themselves out as you write. 

2. The End
If you want your ending to be “they all lived happily ever” (or not) then you need to figure out how that will happen. If you know your ending the middle part should be easier since all you have to do is think “Z happens because a, b, and c happened.” 

3. B, A, D, C instead of A, B, C, D…
It’s okay not to know all the details for your beginning or end, but knowing the details for different parts of your story. Be cautious when writing chapters out of order because you’ll have to figure out how they all connect together. It’s like putting together a puzzle. Make lots of notes if you try this method though especially when you only want certain characters to know certain things at different points in the story.

4. Backstory
This step requires you to learn or become familiar with a lot of backstory and most of the information you write down won’t end up in the story itself. It’s helpful in that your world and its characters will come second nature to you while writing and you won’t have to info dump on the reader every time a new character or major plot point comes up in your story. 

I’m going to direct you to EA Deverell again because her website is awesome and mostly everything on there is free to use. She’s also on Pinterest under the name Lady Writer | Writing, Literature & Language. My Writing Board on Pinterest is full of her worksheets that have helped me generate ideas for my story and I’ll be using them over and over again for future stories. One good thing about Pinterest is that if you click on an image you like it will give you more images of similar things or things you might be interested in below the original image.

Everyone is different, so try different things before settling on a writing style you like. Keep in mind that one method can work for one story but might not work on another.

Know any other ways to start a story? Write them in the comment section below. I would love to hear how you start a story.

Until next time.

Happy Writing!

MH

WIP – 39 Days Until NaNoWriMo/November 1st, 2016

Progress for Thursday, September 22nd, 2016:

Word Count: 44,398 (962 words added)
Pages: 126 (2 pages added)
Chapters Completed:​ 23.75 (0.25 of a chapter added)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016:

Word Count: 43,436 (1,273 words added)
Pages: 124 (5 pages added)
Chapters Completed: ​23.5 (0.75 chapter added)

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016:

Word Count: 42,163 (1,886 words added)
Pages: 119 (5 pages added)
Chapters Completed: 22.75 (1 chapter added)

Total words added this week: 4,121
Total pages added this week: 7 pages
Total chapters written: 2 chapters added

Not too shabby considering my brief fight with writer’s block last week. I made a rough outline for what I want to happen in the last few chapters. I figure I have about 5 chapters left to write and about 10,500 words left to add to finish this first draft.

Hooray for a progressive writing week.

Until next time.

Happy writing!

MH