IWSG Question of the Month: Being a writer, when you’re reading someone else’s work, what stops you from finishing a book/throws you out of the story/frustrates you the most about other people’s books?
Oh gosh, there’s any slew of things and it’ll range from griping the remainder of the way through to just giving up.
I remember one high fantasy series I got about 10 books in and just stopped. Right in the middle of the book. I could not take the sheer number of typos that were in it. Not to mention it wasn’t all that interesting either after the previous book, but that was one of the times that I just plain gave up. And it was a traditionally published book as well from a relatively well known author.
Granted there was also that urban fantasy book that I got at most 2 pages in and just stopped. It was another series I had been reading for a while, but between not remembering who some of the side characters were (it had been a while since I read the previous one) and the note at the beginning of how to read the book, I kind of ended up just being done. There was stuff from previous books that was getting on my nerves also. That one I mourned because I really loved those characters and that world.
There was one paranormal romance book I pushed through to the end, but most of the time I wanted to beat the main character over the head and yell at her to get back to the plot. Her two love interests could wait. I figured it was a romance thing. I’ve never done well with heavy romance. Or at least that being the main part of the plot. Science fiction and fantasy is usually my happy place. I’ll enjoy some romance mixed in.
Which after that, I’m sure you know how I felt plowing through some of those popular YA series.
In short, there’s not really one thing, but a lot of little things can throw me off and make me want to quit depending on how bad it is and how determined I am to finish. Losing track of who is talking to the point where I have to reread the passage several times is one that throws me out. Hyper-focusing on something that doesn’t need to be in the middle of something major happening. The list could go on, but it really is on a case-by-case basis.
Lately though I haven’t sat down to read for enjoyment. Much of my time is spent reading through nonfiction for research. Not necessarily even the whole book – just looking for reference. Many articles and blogs. My to-read list is at “all hope is lost” levels and I have no idea where to start. As things stand at the moment, it’s okay if it sits there a while longer. Perhaps later in the year as things settle down I can take another crack at it. There are a number of books I need to donate/sell that I’ll likely never read and I’d rather they find their way into the hands of people who will enjoy them.
ISWG question of the month:Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?
Well, as long as we aren’t looking at 2020…
But yes, and my year more or less follows when there’s NaNoWriMo (November) or Camp NaNoWriMo (April and July). Those 3 months are typically the heaviest along with January and February (sometimes into March) when I’m hustling on getting final edits done. I’m too much of a gamer – I like the little achievements. I also tend to be more productive when school is in session. The virtual learning and constantly needing to be on call for my daughter as tech support has thrown a bit of a wrench into things.
What about the other months? I’m still working, but like this year’s NaNo, I might drift off to some side stuff and play around before coming back. Especially if I’m trying to work out something in the novel I’m working on.
I’ll admit that this year has been rough. That’s why I wasn’t going to kill myself over trying to get a new project finished. While Divine and Conquer (book 6) will be released next year, I don’t think I’ll have one for release for 2022. I’m going to spend some time doing behind-the-scenes work for a bit (aka boring business stuff).
Besides, the next one is a good point to take a break. It ends something of an arc I’ve been working on. And my beta readers seem content, though I got a few threats while they were working through early versions. Pretty sure the end paid off for them. Or at least I’m still alive.
I honestly thought this year I was going to take it easy with NaNo given how chaotic life has been. You know, just toy with other projects, not really going to push out anything brand new (I have enough backlogged in my head as it is). But no, two days before the start, an idea hit for book 7. Barely a concept. No real plot in mind – just who I wanted to deal with. And which character got to sit this one out.
Over those two days I managed to form something that had the vague shape of a story idea (not really). Not where I usually am. I’m flying blind again.
I haven’t attempted a project like this since I first drafted Twisted Magics (and that first version was horrible – it ended up getting a full rewrite). So, I’m quite apprehensive about how this is going to go. I’m not sure it’ll even turn out into a story, but I might as well see where the ride takes me.
And for the record, I had two other ideas lined up for book 7, but I couldn’t choose which one and it’s been a rough go lately. Either way, it’s nice to be back to writing again.
Hate to say it, but I’ve gotten nothing done in the past month. And then I see on Facebook from NaNoWriMo about announcing your novel. It’s September, right?
Wait, it’s September already?
Time has little meaning these days as I struggle to adjust to new ways of doing things (which continues to change faster than I can keep up), trying to find time and energy to get back to writing. I’ve managed to squeeze in some role-play time, but that has been few and far between. Often with interruptions.
Though seeing that post by NaNoWriMo hit home that I have no idea what I’m working on next. I’ve got a couple of ideas I could run with or I could attempt something new since book 6 is a good point to pause with that series.
It also points out things I should be doing with book 6 right now that I’m not prepared for yet. I’m getting to the hair pulling point with trying to find a balance with everything going on.
IWSG Question of the Month:Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn’t planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?
Often enough I complain about how my characters won’t behave, but I have done the above.
The first several (failed) attempts at the series I’m working on, I tried to write a specific genre and I more or less held to it, but the story never worked. Granted, I was also writing from the perspective of another character and much more down the road in the overarching story than I currently am.
When I gave up and simply started writing (from Ketayl’s perspective) to explore the world, neither the genre nor the form was what I had started with.
I also have another project that seems to be taking on a life of its own and not what I had originally intended. For the most part, I’ve given up trying to force things to fit as they never seem to come out well.
Why am I making this statement? Because I know in my writing I explore these uncomfortable truths that are so prevalent in our society. I wanted people to know that the person behind the words is against racism and discrimination.
So, as Mortgaged Mortality launches, I felt it only right that I state that fact. Especially given that racism in particular is much more forward in this book than my others released to this point.
I will be completely honest here in the fact that I strongly considered pulling this book given the current world climate (the first draft was written in November 2018). However, writing only sunshine and rainbows won’t change that racism and discrimination exist. It won’t push toward change.
Why have I not made a statement before now? Because I wanted to create a small bubble that people can come to and breathe for a moment, maybe smile or laugh, before returning to the fight. I will endeavor to continue maintaining that small bubble.
Before I get into this month’s question, I know a lot of people are wondering when the ebook for Mortgaged Mortality will be available for preorder. I promise I’m working on it. With the delays, I’m trying to slim down some of the things I do to regain some of that time which is holding getting the ebook up until the final version is ready. I’ll be posting when it is available.
It’ll be soon! Things are moving well. There won’t be a delay on release. The only thing that will be off-schedule will likely be me having physical copies on hand.
IWSG Question of the Month: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?
A secret, huh? I’m pretty open so I’m not sure what someone wouldn’t know.
I guess a fun one is that I keep a playlist for each project. While that part is known, the fun part is sometimes I toss something onto the playlist that I just want to listen to and has nothing to do with the story.
The entertaining part is my alpha reader usually gets subjected to me listening to said playlist over and over. He tries to match each song to where he thinks it should be in the story. Those one or two songs drives him nuts.
If there is something you would like to know, I’ll try to answer the comments. I’m pretty bad about reading them on the run and then forgetting I need to come back and reply.
Needless to say, that’s kind of my world at this point. The only reason I know what’s going on when at all it seems is if my calendar tells me. And thank goodness for that. Despite the consistent schedule for my daughter’s class calls, I’d mix up which teacher she was talking to which day.
I haven’t been writing or editing much the past few weeks. My brain just shut off. And likely it’s due to this weird world created by Covid-19 (plus having a 7-year-old asking me stuff every few minutes doesn’t get me far). Probably also partially due to I’m coming into the home stretch for book 5 (and trying to figure out when and how to do a cover reveal).
Of course a new release always comes with its own insecurities. Especially where I struggled with this one. It clicked late of what I needed to change for it to be the story that it is and I think I integrated some of the old stuff that needed to remain correctly.
Then there’s the uncertainty of my event schedule for the year. Right now my events that I would be selling at have either moved or are in a holding pattern while they decide what to do. A different event I was going to volunteer at just announced last night that they were canceling for this year. While that makes me sad, I know it’ll come back better than ever with the extra year to plan. And maybe I’ll have figured out a costume by then.
Well, we all know that this is the time of year that I start getting nervous as the next book goes into its final stages for release. I took a huge gamble on this one and I hope it pays off.
IWSG Question:The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?
Scary. Seeing what is normally a lively and vibrant city become so quiet. There’s still some traffic and people moving about as they go to work, but… It’s not the same.
I am grateful for the generosity of the community though. People reaching out (with maintaining social distancing) and checking in on each other. Offering to pick up and deliver for those who are stuck. So much has happened and I wonder how it’ll shape our world once this threat has passed.
In terms of writing, I’m still pushing along. I’m waiting to get working with my cover designer on 5 (I’ve held the title this long – might as well reveal with the cover). 6 is written and in editing. I’m fairly happy with the alpha version (and so is my alpha reader), but it’ll be a while still before it’s ready. I plan on working on it during Camp NaNoWriMo this month.
Who knows, maybe I’ll get ahead and get to some other projects I’ve been letting gather dust. At least I’d like to think that, but as I’ve found out during this time, the house can go from quiet and peaceful to chaos in under 5 seconds.
After some confusion, mishaps, and much cursing, I’ve regained control… of my blog. I claim that on nothing else.
I’ve been pretty quiet anyway over the past few months. Life’s been hectic to put it nicely. I’d like to think perhaps this month I can actually start getting started on some projects I’ve been putting off for a long time, but I need to return my attention to book 5 (and stop poking at 6 for now). Especially if I want to get it out on time.
February IWSG Question:Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?
For the setting, yes, which of course was integral to the story. I remembered when I was getting ready to start Twice Cursed, I had the rough concept, but no location. Someone in one of my critique groups at the time would occasionally send out an email when he found something of interest. I don’t have the original image (or at least I can’t find it right now), but it sent me into looking at what would become Ghost Forest.
Those two I’ve obviously finished. I’m trying to think of others, but those were the big ones. I’ve used other pictures here and there for small things: the necklaces Ketayl and Kitteren wore in Shattered Illusions, what some articles of clothing/armor would look like, etc.
Plenty small ones used in things I haven’t finished or is simply background story for me to have.
I’d love to hear of some fun inspiration other have used.