Writing: A Letter To My Second Protagonist

So, in a bid to make me blog that little bit more, here is a letter I wrote for Aran (around the same times I wrote one for Lauryn)

If this fantasy quadrilogy I’m planning goes the way I think it is, I’ll have five protagonists all in all, and I can already imagine the apology letters I’m gonna have to send to them at one point or another.

So, let us begin.

Dear Aran Rill

I’ll be honest and say I don’t know how you happened. You just did. There was a part of you that already existed in my mind, but you weren’t this whole person that you are now. Despite that, you didn’t let go, and you became an anchor in the world of monsters, ghosts, serpents and Gods. You became so much more than the boy I was going to bring in way later.

You were never meant to exist until the third book.

Your companions were never thought of before you.

Ryan and Bryn were never meant to be part of the deal, but somehow, they weaved themselves in, just like you did.

But, beleive it or not, you are the one I believe in the most, you are the one I think can do this. You have no idea who you are, the pieces are there, you just have to put it together. You are much more than just an orphan from the King’s city Aran.

I know I took a lot from you already, I took away things I never thought had to go, and I’m truly sorry for that. I really am. I literally cried over what I did to you, even if in the grand scheme of things, it’s a minute detail – it had to happen – you don’t realise that yet, but you will.

To make up for what I did, I’m gonna give you more, for a time, and then I’m going to take it away again. You just have to stay yourself throughout it all, because I think you can get through anything you put your mind too. Your friends, the ones I hadn’t planned will always be the strongest, the ones that will make you laugh when you want to cry and live when you want to die.

Everything happens for a reason Aran, you happened for a reason. Your the one who made the first manuscript way over the word count I wanted it to be. You were – are – worth it though. Thank you for coming in to this story when you did. Thank you for being you, thank you for everything, and don’t ever change.

Even when they want you to.

Love,

Jade x

Heller’s Catch-22 Got 22 Rejections

Another guest post from me over at WelcometoRealiti’s blog for his month of 22 themed posts! Make sure to go over and say Hi and follow the man whilst your there!

And Agatha Christie got 500 – so whats your lame excuse for giving up after one?
If you’re a writer, or anything for that matter; in life, you’re going to be rejected, and today, I’m going to tell you about some of the best-selling authors who didn’t give up at that first hurdle on the track…

via Heller’s Catch 22 got 22 rejections —

Writing: A Letter To My Protagonist

I got a lot of things to apologise for…

I saw that Readtolivetowrite did this because of M.A.Ryan and I wanted to give it a go!

I actually have two main protagonists in my current WIP, but I decided to write it to the one who started it all off for me. I’ll probably do a second one for Aran because it’s nice to be able to explain yourself, and apologise for all the lovely and horrible things you do them! I recommend that everyone does this! It was so fun! And if you do, please tag me so I can see them!

So, here goes!

Dear Lauryn

Before anything else, I just want to get one thing clear. I love you, even if the rest of the world won’t, and I don’t mean the one your in. I think readers are going to find you a bit annoying, we won’t know for sure just yet, and I hope they love you as much as I do, but with whats to come, let’s not bank on it. Anyway, you were the first character to pop in to my head and the one I’ll always love the most.

You are not anywhere near the heroine of the story, but your not the damsel in distress either, you are the girl in between. And, from the start, I knew you felt helpless, sad, scared, betrayed, and you still do now, but after all I’ve thrown at you, you still manage to hang on. Your so good at finding them little pieces of happiness, or meaning, and I admire that about you.

Whatever I put you through, just know that it’s done for a reason. I need to see as much as ‘she’ does – even though you don’t know who ‘she’ is yet – if you can do this. Will you be able to fight something your going to lose, will you be able to keep going when everyone else leaves you?

I think you can. And I think that despite the comfy life you had, the one without any problems (except the ones the outside world never saw), the one fit for a Princess, that in the end, you might find the adventure I give you a bit more fulfilling than the life you might have had.

There is much more to come, many more trials, heart ache, death, loss, murder, fire. It’s all coming for you, but just try and hold on to yourself, to your friends, to the people that matter, because in the end, they may be the only ones that can save you. Although, you’ll have to do a lot of saving yourself before that moment comes to pass.

I know it’s easier said then done, and I left you sad, broken and unable to forget the list you created in your head. But keep that list Lauryn, wear the names of those you failed and make armour out of it, make it so they mattered. It doesn’t have to be just yet. I know it’s still raw; but you have to show your gratitude to the people who gave their lives to save yours.

I won’t take everything from you, I can promise that, but I don’t know if you will ever forgive me for the things I do.

Your life isn’t going to get any easier, but I think you can find a way to be happy, to keep going when you feel like it’s all lost. I believe in you, and I always will!

A bit of advice though. There’s no point going through life holding grudges on those who did you wrong. There’s no point worrying about the past because you can’t change it. There’s no point worrying about the future because it hasn’t happened yet. You need to live in the here and now, and give chances to those who may have been swayed by something they truly believe in…

Good luck Lauryn…

Love your biggest fan,

Jade

First Batch of Submissions Sent!

So, just a quick little update! And for me to document this momentous day!
Today, the 8th June 2017, I sent my first finished novel to some agents!

I thought I’d feel better, but the nerves are already bubbling inside of me, and although, I’m a pretty patient person, I think this wait may be one of the hardest of my life so far!

Now, I’ve told myself I’m not allowed to even look at my novel because I know, that despite the amount of times I’ve looked over it, I will find something wrong with it and just make myself feel bad!

So, to keep my mind from it, my aim for the rest of June is to try and put a dent in my TBR pyle!

And I’m also going to continue writing the second novel in my quadrilogy, and start planning out a new novel I’m hoping to complete for Nanowrimo! I’ve always tried, but never successfully completed one so hopefully 2017 is the year of success!

Although, if it’s not, I’ll take it on the chin and try even harder next year!

Just keep writing guys!

When Do You Know Your Novel Is Finished?

This blog post is a bit late. Oops
However, the title of it explains the reason why quite simply. Oops again.

The hardest part of writing a novel is knowing when to stop. When is it ready for the world; For the agents and the publishers your itching to send it too; When have you finished what you set out to do.

The simple answer is the worst answer ever: Never.

No matter how much time you put in to a manuscript, how much world building and character building and editing you do, no matter how many times you rewrite, it is never going to be perfect. In an instagram post, I said that knowing when to stop was the hardest thing, but you have to do it sometime. I may need to learn to practice what I preach…

I’ve recently started on my second book, and I found it so easy to write the way I wanted it to go that I almost panicked a little, worried that I wasn’t portraying the characters correctly. It made me go back, to re-read it, and after convincing myself that re-writing wasn’t the answer, I decided to edit it one last time.

I realised that it was something else bothering me as well. The basis of my story focuses on prophecies, prophecies I weren’t sure worked, but during the night, when I work, I have loads of times to think about it (and doubt myself), and it’s when I realised that I had all the elements there and I just had to put it in to words. It fitted with everything that had happened, everything that’s going to happen and something I was even unsure about.

So, about fifteen thousand more words later, I think I need to send it away before I ruin it.

I still want to rewrite the whole thing, but it’s only because I worry others won’t love it like I do. But! This month, I am sending it away. I poured my heart in to this book and hopefully, even if they think it’s terrible, they can see that.

So, when do you know your novel is finished? You don’t. I’m sure that even published writers have things they wished they’d changed, even J.K Rowling wishes she’d shipped Hermione with Harry rather than Ron. So, just know, that even the writers you look up to still regret things they’ve written, even when it’s been published for nearly twenty years!

So, once you finished it, send it. You may get a load of rejections, but you may just get a letter saying they want to see more of the world you created!

Just keep writing… Or don’t, you know what I mean…

The Space between Finishing and Submitting your Manuscript

In the book writing world, there is a common ground that every writer will go through, and that is all the work between finishing your manuscript and submitting it to an agent or publisher.

It’s the time where you decide whether your want to be self-published, or go the more traditional route of submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher, and receiving all those beautiful rejection letters.

If you go this route, it’s time to start writing your synopsis and your cover letter and all those other things that agents and publishers want you to include. I’ll talk about these things in another post, when I know what I’m talking about, but essentially, a synopsis is an overview or sort-of summary of your story, and a cover letter is different depending on who you are submitting it to.

With a literary agent, they take you on and sell your work for you, whilst it’s slightly harder to submit to publishers as you have to sell yourself and many of them don’t take unsolicited manuscripts or new authors. I’m not saying it’s pointless, because you never know what’s going to happen, and there may be that one publisher who thinks yes, this looks good, let’s go with it.

For me, I’ve decided to go the more traditional route; and to help me in my research of the literary agents and publishers willing to take on a book like mine, I purchased the ‘Writers and Artists Yearbook 2017 on Amazon UK. It has motivational articles including ones on Copyright Law, Tax, Publishing Agreements, E-publishing and Publishing news and trends that are revised and updated every year. It also has pages on writing, editing, proofing, synopsis writing, cover letters and self-publishing.

In short, J.K Rowling said that it is “Full of useful stuff“.

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It also has lists upon lists of agents and publishers for books, theater, TV, film, radio, magazine, art and illustrations, and a whole section on self-publishing!

So far, I’ve read a few of the articles and gone through the list of agents, highlighting the ones who favor the genre of my book, and then done a little more research on them. Most of the agents have websites, which I recommend you go to, because you never know if their still in practice or if their condition of submissions have changed since the book was published. It also gives you a better insight in to what the agency is about, and what their looking for rather than the small paragraph featured in the book.

The book makes it so much easier to find the type of agent your looking for, but there are websites with lists of agents on them too, but it does mean that you could spend hours on the web trying to find those ones that a truly legit, and that don’t make you pay a reading fee. FYI, proper agents will never make you pay a reading fee for your book so don’t fall for it. A lot of the agents websites that I have gone too, and that feature in the book do not ask for a reading fee and many of them believe that it should never be asked for. There are probably some fantastic online resources with lists of agents and publishers, but I think a printed copy just makes me more motivated.


I hope you guys will join me on my journey to publication, with a bit of rejection here and there. And, if your currently writing, editing or in the same space as me at the moment, that you share your journeys too! It will probably be the challenge of a lifetimes, but when you finally succeed, it will all be worth it.

Here’s to the hardest bit of all though, the synopsis! Cheers!

I Finished my Novel…

I’ve been writing for years, and although, I’ve made tons of first drafts, I’ve finally finished a peice that I am happy to share! It took seven years, god knows how many drafts and 105,477 words to finish and I can’t explain how fulfilled I feel.

Now, my next aim is to get it published.

I’m not sure if I’m ready for the rejection letters to start coming, but even world-class authors were rejected at first, so maybe I have a chance!

Although, it does depend on whether or not I find the right words to put in to a synopsis. I’m sure someone said once that writing is a breeze compared to writing the synopsis…

However, I’ll be sure to share it with all of you! Here’s to the next step. Hopefully it doesn’t take as long this time!

Although for the moment, I’m going to try and rest my brain, read some books and maybe start writing the next tale in the story.

The Final Draft – Some Editing Tips!

So, I’m (hopefully) in the final drafts of my first finished novel! It’s taken a while to get right, and it’s only now as I edit my last piece that I’m starting to think that it could be good enough!

I went through the motion a while back of thinking that my story was boring and didn’t have enough depth,or that people wouldn’t have the same love of the characters as I do, but this last edit has been so revealing and I’ve developed things I never thought I would develop, and even some of my characters have surprised me! (One of them made me cry…)

I’ve learned a lot about editing whilst doing it and can honestly say that the time varies. It can take three drafts to complete or it can take nine (mine leaning towards the latter), it all depends on the holes in your plot and your characters and whether or not writers block comes to visit.

The following are just some tips I’ve learned whilst editing, and some tips from the writersdigest and creativepen that I think really help:

  • Let the manuscript rest

I think this tip is the most important! Once you’ve finished writing your book, take a break from it and don’t go straight in to editing. Stephen King does it and just look at the wonders he creates! Go away from it. Maybe start a new novel, write some short stories, develop some ideas or do all the things you haven’t done yet because you spent all your spare time writing! You will come back with a clear head and be able to see all those plot holes and problems you didn’t see when you wrote it first, and you’ll be able to make it more cohesive.

  • Try and print out your manuscript

I know for some, this can be hard, but if you have access to a printer whether it be at home or at a library, printing out your manuscript makes it easier to read. It also allows you to write edits down on the page and means you can use sticky tabs, washi tapes or highlighters to make it easier for you to distinguish chapters or viewpoints etc.

My current piece has two places it takes part in, and to make sure I even out the chapters right and don’t have too many chapters from the same place one after each other, each of the corners have washi tapes to help me distinguish my adventurous group from my homebodies.

  • Using Word processors to edit

For those who can’t print it out, Word processors have track changes and the ability to highlight and add comments! Most word processors also have the ability to find typos and spelling mistakes, and you can easily use find and replace to change place names or character names, or replace those typos you find littering your words when you really were in the moment!

Also, some advice when you come to editing, it’s so much easier to keep it all on one file, and have a page between the chapters. It can easily look like a load of paragraphs as you scroll down without any proper breaks between them!

  • Take breaks

Remember to take breaks when you edit, keep yourself fueled and hydrated and give your mind a rest every now and then. You could watch a movie, a TV show, read a book, play a game, just distract yourself for a bit. Too much editing all at once can make you doubt what you’ve written even more, when really, it’s absolutely fine!

  • Find your place to edit

Find our the best place for you to edit. Sometimes I switch between the busyness of my downstairs and then the quietness of my bedroom. I become so engrossed in my story sometimes that it doesn’t matter if I have the TV on in the background, or the hustle and bustle of home life happening around me, but its different for every person.

For some, they have to be out of their house, sat in a cafe or a pub, and for others, they need to sit in their bedroom or office!

  • Keep a writing journal, spare paper or folder handy

Sometimes an idea will strike you as you edit one chapter for another chapter later down the line, or maybe you’ve changed something that will effect a later chapter. It’s always handy to have a notebook with you, and keep all your notes in one place.

  • Let someone else read it

It could be beta readers, or it could be your mum. It gives you an insight in to how someone else might take it, and be ready for any criticism their probably going to give you!

  • Be original

Don’t write like J.K Rowling, or George R.R. Martin, write like you! It gives the reader world something new because no one writes like you do.

And watch your prose, sometimes your style can overwhelm your content. Sometimes words can be too beautiful. An author called Georges Simeon once said whilst reading a piece “That’s a beautiful sentence, cut it”

  • Character development

Make sure all of your characters have a bit of depth to them and try and show that their three dimensional people. A great tip I’ve found is to write the characters back story, you could write about where they were born, who their relatives are, about what they like and dislike.

Even without writing it in your story, if you have better knowledge on what happened to your characters before, it can show in your writing and help you with developing your characters once you start editing.

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  • Don’t be afraid

Look at editing as colouring a picture you drew. You can colour it however you like, you can add bits and you can erase bits, and, if you need to re-write a whole chapter, or add another, do it! Even in my final drafts, I’ve added new chapters. Half way through my editing process, I added a whole new story that I had to integrate with my old one, making sure that all the chapters slotted into place.

Don’t ever worry about how many drafts it takes you to get it right. Sometimes first drafts can be near perfect and others far from it. Writing a novel is the easiest part, it’s all the things that come after your first draft that make you want to pull your hair out!

My Writing Journey So Far…

This piece is an insight in to some writing projects I did as a kid and my main WIP, which I am on the cusp of finishing.

I have been writing stories ever since I was small. It was a way for me to escape and create, and even though my childhood wasn’t terrible, I never really had many friends, so I guess, spent my days writing about all the adventures I wanted to go on.

My first big project, from what I can remember, was a series of short stories on ‘The Adventures of Taffy and Friends’. It was handwritten with ‘lovely’ illustrations by my younger self and based on my old German shepherd. I think it’s what cemented my way in to writing.

I also made some little picture books on the story of a saber-tooth cat and his family.

The next big project I would undertake, was a 52? page book about me living on a farm and showing horses. It was called Show Girl, and it was followed by another two books of a similar size. I’ve never ridden a horse before, so I have no idea where the idea came from.

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Just before I started writing this, we had just got internet for the first time, and I was fascinated by being able to google photos of anything and slot them in to my story. However, when I look back at it now, I cringe. I also remember my Nan falling asleep while reading it. I don’t know if it was just old lady syndrome, or if it was just really terrible.

It’s very obvious that I was a girl going in to teen-hood whilst writing this. Some of the scenes are so bad, and so unrealistic, I don’t know what I was thinking…

Since then, I’ve moved on to things I hope I will not be so scared about showing another human being. I’ve wrote some short stories, and wrote some first chapters for some novels, but my next big project would be something that I still work on to this day, even if my main WIP takes over most of the time. I think I started writing what I ended up calling ‘The Banished Series’ in late 2006/early 2007.

I remember that at the time, life was really hard and loads of stuff was happening. I wasn’t happy and I needed something to get my mind off of all the bad. So, I looked up at my bedroom ceiling and I asked for an idea. Low and behold, a dream came to me and I was able to turn it in to a novel. I wrote drafts of two books and outlined the third, and even though it’s not finished yet, it gave me that escape that I needed. It’s something I’ll go back to, but more because I want to know how the story goes than anything.

My present WIP, ‘Tales’, I’ve been working on for about six, maybe seven years now. It all started with an idea I got whilst playing Skyrim and my character was stood there, sucking up the soul of a dragon. I’ve always loved olden day games (Fable is my favourite), so I thought I’d give it a crack at writing a story based in medieval times, which over time has turned in to so much more. In the last few months alone, I’ve incorporated qualities from Celts, Saxons, Vikings and Romans.

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Its unbelievable how much it’s changed over the last six years. It’s had a few name changes, a few people killed and brought back to life, a few people killed that I hadn’t intended to kill at all, and I’ve learnt so much about writing that I think it may be the first one that I could give to the world to read.

I know six years may seem like a long time, but as always, life get’s in the way. I had school, college, university, and grown-up stuff to do like going to work and worrying about bills, but it was also because I wasn’t in a rush to finish it. My life was a bit too all over the place and full of drama to be able to do anything with it if I did.

My WIP is a series that has been outlined in to approximately five books, with the first novel having been through seven drafts and the second being on it’s first. I’ve also got future scenes jotted down in my journal and on various pieces of paper here, there and everywhere.

I’ve went through many styles of writing, with the one now being the one I think I’ll stick too. I’m not an overly descriptive writer, I don’t think. I like to get to the point and not ramble (which I realise I have done a lot of here, but it isn’t a book, so it’s okay); but keep a bit of mystery in there as well. I like my characters to be just as confused as the reader.

The most important thing I’ve learnt, other than my style, is that I shouldn’t limit myself to my main WIP. If an idea strikes me for another novel or a short story, I’ll take time out to write it a bit, even if it’s just an outline so I can go back to it later. I find writing other things, whether it’s a piece inspired by a prompt, a blog post on your favourite thing or a baking recipe, it all helps you develop your style and gives you a break, meaning writers block doesn’t come as easily. I’ve found that having a writing journal handy works well for me, and even though I have a make-shift index page at the front, I just use sticky tabs to make the mess easier to navigate.

Maybe in the last year or so, writing took a step back. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to do it, but more because my life was so hectic, with work, university and family issues, that I needed time for other things. But now, I’m back in my rhythm again and I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere.

Although, at one point, I did almost give up because I lost about sixty pages worth of story because I didn’t press the save button. It happened a second time, but atleast I was only editing this time.

For me, I think my worst fear is it not being good enough. Which I think might stop a lot of authors in their tracks, but you never know, there might be someone out there waiting to read a book just like yours, and one smile is better than nothing.

I’m currently on the cusp of finishing my final draft of the first book, and now I finally have a grasp on how I want the series to flow and sound, I think the next few won’t take so long. It’s a been a very long learning curve, but I think I needed it.

Maybe in a couple months, I’ll be able to write a blog post saying that I’ve finally submitted my novel to a literary agent or publisher, and be able to tell you about all the trouble I had writing the synopsis and cover letters, because, I think, that’ll be harder than writing the book itself.

🙂