Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Finished ‘The Selected’ Now What?

It felt strange finishing ‘The Selected’ because I didn’t want to finish, if that makes any sense. I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters; which I assume is a good thing if I want to write a sequel (at the least). I haven’t written a YA in a long time, so this was a nice change. Mind you, this YA is not like a typical Ya because that is not like me.

Well, I just started the sequel. Not too sure on where I want to take it, but I am positive it will go where it wants to go.

Now that I have finished that novel I can do my typical break from writing where I type up my next book. I have already typed up 38 pages of ‘Control Me’. My oh my, the writing is poor. I am surprised I even understand what I am writing. Nonetheless, I will figure it out like I normally do.

‘Control Me’ is one of my favourite novels I have written so far. It is more action packed and exciting and the two protagonists are some, if not, the strongest I have written yet.

I am hoping to get it typed up by January. I want to make sure I have plenty of time to edit and work on the cover art. I am not good at that, so I need all the time I can.

Instead of doing Nanowrimo, I will just try to type up 50k of the novel. Figured it works the same to me. Handwriting that much is just too hard.

Now I will go and start typing up a little bit before resting for bed. I am very old and need my sleep. Here is a little bit of the novel for your enjoyment:

 

Within seconds I stopped sending them the feeling of sadness. My point was proven my abilities existed.

“Do you know how much danger you are in with a third of the countries trying to find you?”

“As you have seen and experienced, I am more dangerous than any of them,” I said. Instead of speaking to them through their minds I opted to speak aloud. “Emotions are only one aspect of what I can control.”

“You are a commodity that people will do anything to get a hold of. As you have analyzed, people have ideas with the use of you.”

Friday, October 19, 2012 | By: Megan Held

My Problem With Nanowrimo

Well, my problem with any type of thing that requires you to write a novel in a small amount of days. Don’t get me wrong, I did partake in this last year, but I wouldn’t call my finished product a novel.

Problem #1:

Setting a high word count number to reach expecting every person to reach it.

Sure, if you wasted every free waking moment to writing, or most of your free nights you could do this. There is the slight problem of going grocery shopping, spending time with family, eating, cooking food and any other things that need to get done. Even working is a challenge.

I worked 40 hours a week and spent the majority of my free time writing just to complete the challenge a few days early. It was tough to do on top of everything else.

Problem #2

Letting your brain process what to write.

Sure, you want to write the first thing you think of, but this could make the editing process much longer than it has to be. Your train of thought could work in your favour because it could flow, other times it could be terrible.

You may need  to take a couple hours to days off to let your mind breathe and process. Overworking your brain is what creates writers’ block and exhaustion.

Problem #3

People only write during Nanowrimo.

I understand you want to focus on revising and editing that novel, but you won’t get faster at writing a novel without more practice. Practice helps and only doing it once a year is not helpful.

I find that I write more during the spring/summer where the days are longer versus the winter time. A novel is not 50k, it is more, normally. To be honest, I spend a couple months after the last Nanowrimo to finish my book because of how much more I had to add to make it close, if not over 80k.

If people focused on writing half as much as they do during that month, they would be surprised at what type of work they could accomplish. People find that writing during Nanowrimo makes them an author, but I think authors write year round, not during a challenge-yourself month.

 

I am sure there are more problems, but this was all I could think of. I don’t know if I plan to participate this year because I will be just finishing a novel before it and want to type up another one.

If you are doing this, be realistic. Write for the sake of writing and not because you think Nanowrimo is what everyone is doing. It is not a fad.

Some writers do a great job doing it. I, on the other hand, like to not push myself too hard while working full-time. Hope this doesn’t offend any loyal Nanowrimo writers.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Pushing Limits

I have this weird conception where pushing limits is a great thing. Not in every day life, but in my books. I am not always a mystery writer…I dabble in other styles too.

My books contain violence. Some of it is overdone, others it is just right. What I mean by overdone  is 1440. That book is straight violence. It is hard to read because well, it’s gory. It was a riot to write because it was something so outside my normal way of life and thinking. An escape to a place so much worse than here.

Not saying all my novels are like that. Most do have a strong-willed, tough protagonist. No, that is not me. Strong-willed, maybe, but not tough, or as brave as most of my characters.

Pushing limits in novels is what makes them interesting. Most banned books push limits by containing information that some people find controversial. Not every novel can please every reader. The world would be so boring and generic if novels did do that.

All right, the main reason behind this post is about the next novel I plan to self-publish and the one I am hoping to finish writing soon. Both these books are a little different than I am used to writing, and tend to push a lot of limits; which I tend to do with my writing. I will start with Control Me. No, it is not sexual, start off with that. It’s a little out of my writing comfort zone. That’s right, I have one of those. This particular novel is about a girl born with a certain skills most humans do not have. She can control people with her mind, change their emotions and talk to their minds. She is wanted by all different governments/people wanting power to use as a weapon. She basically is forced to flee the country and hide with a highly trained guy. That is basically the gist of it. Lot’s of fighting, evil people and arguing. Yes, there is sex, but if there wasn’t I would be beaten my friend Shawna…with my own writing book. She is good at knocking that type of sense into me when it comes to my books. I cannot say any more because I am typing up the rough draft and will still need to edit it. As you can see, not exactly for everyone.

Now, The Selected. This one is about 14 year olds that get selected to pretty much become assassins/spies. They train to kill and will train to seduce. I am nearing the end of the novel, and there will be bloodshed and changing of the main characters mentality. I am waiting to hear uproars when I do self-publish it next year. No one is safe because in training people will die. Can’t really prevent people dying when they have to train with real weapons, or I am little sick.

Now that I have told you what my two current works are about you can understand why people may not like them. Some people should, but who knows. To end my blog, I will tell everyone something funny my co-worker told some of our new coworkers. He told people I am crazy because I write novels and like to murder lots of people in them. Outcome, most of them avoid me, but still piss me off. Now I wonder if I yelled if they would be terrified of me. Hmm…time to ponder scary writing mind.

Off to be productive, or think about being productive.

Monday, October 1, 2012 | By: Megan Held

Guest Post by Dean E Smith-Richard

guest post Hello everyone! This is my first time having a guest blogger. I am excited and it will be a nice change from my normal posts. About the blogger and author: Dean E Smith-Richard is the author of the 3024AD series, a science fiction series, with the emphasis on science over fiction. The Kickstarter for the first series of short stories is going on now. You can follow him on twitter for more scifi and crowdsourcing geekery.

Here is what he had to say:

I am writing this about 13 hours after I launched the Kickstarter for my first short story collection. I have been a fun bundle of nerves to be around, believe me. But it's off to a great start and I'm feeling pretty good. When I announced there would be a Kickstarter campaign for it, a self-published author I have a lot of respect for asked why I needed a Kickstarter.

Why, indeed. After all, with the advent of e-publishing as a viable means of self-publishing, the rules have changed. Up until recently, self-publishing was tantamount to giving up- it meant you weren't good enough to get published and marketed. Now with the reach of ereaders and the decline in traditional publishing budgets, it is fairly easy to publish a book to Kindle and the like.

So why a crowdfunding campaign before the book is even out? For one thing, it allows some of the biggest problems with self-published books to be mitigated- namely, editing, formatting and artwork. These can cost thousands of dollars professionally, and that's money most aspiring authors don't have lying around. Crowdfunding those costs can allow you to have your work formatted and edited professionally- thus giving you a more polished product to offer for sale when it is released to the general public, increasing its likelihood of success. It may also allow you to afford cover art that would otherwise be out of your price range, giving it more eye appeal as readers browse.

Another huge advantage- and a fun one, in my opinion- is the buzz it can build around your release. You might be able to have cool promotional, limited edition items that would otherwise be to expensive or just impractical. But by getting your readers involved before the book is even out, they are going to be that much more likely to spread the word once your book is actually out.

Are there risks? Certainly. There is always the risk of failing in meeting your goal, but that carries little financial risk (only whatever you put into promotion). However, the crowdfunding campaigns I have seen fail are not so much due to content as due to planning and execution. How can you avoid failing in your campaign?

First, do your homework. There is a wealth of information on successful and unsuccessful campaigns just a Google search away. Read all you can find. Most whose campaigns failed are candid with what they could have improved- take that to heart. Emulate what made campaigns succeed.

Along with that, you need a base you can count on. This may be hard if this is your first published work, but it's not impossible. If you are active on social media, that is a start right there. Keep a blog where you talk about your writing. Let people know well in advance of any campaign, and tease it with excerpts or quotes. Relying on people to find you via Kickstarter is unreliable- at best.

As to the campaign itself, set realistic goals. There is a lot to take into account- the actual costs, the costs of rewards, the costs of shipping said rewards, the variable number of backers. Your goal needs to be the least it can be while covering all your costs in a variety of scenarios (I have a excel template that I happy to share; drop me an email if you would like a copy). Take a look at other projects that got funded that are similar to yours- what was their goal? Their rewards? Your reward structure is huge- are they inviting? The last thing you want to do is take away opportunities for people to pledge- but people do it all the time, leaving massive gaps in their reward structure with little incentive to pledge more. Kickstarter advises “offer value”- if you do that, you should be in good shape.

Is this is the only way to go about it? Hardly. But it's a start, and signals a wonderful shift in publishing- connecting author to reader more directly and I, for one, couldn't be happier about it.

Take a look at his websites and read some of the work he has written. It’s one of the main reasons I check my blog website as often as I do. Fantastic work. On his one website he has more information about Kickstarter. Thank you again Dean for being my first ever guest post. You are welcome on my blog any time. For the public, find him, follow him and support him!