Research for a WIP

For the first time in my writing, I am doing serious research for a work in progress. I’m writing a short story for a project for my writing group, and I am writing a historical fiction.

Up to now, I have either written fantasy or contemporary. As fantasy is my preferred genre to read, that is what I like to write. Air Fay is set in a fantasy world – so all my rules.

My other WIP is an urban fantasy – so it’s set in modern times with magic, again my rules. And my other two WIP ideas are contemporary, although when I get around to one of these it will need research.

For Air Fay, the only real research that I did was in developing the names. I spent a lot of time – and a big spreadsheet later – coming up with names that are significant to the book.

Back to my short story WIP, I am currently reading a book that was written in the 1970s about the 1800s.

And more fun, I have been exploring the place where my story is set and linking the historical account to the modern buildings.

I’m torn between doing the research to be accurate, and just writing the story and only mentioning the surroundings briefly.

Setting vs plot.

Halloween 

At this time of year everything is about halloween. The shops are all decorated and selling goods and children’s activities are planned in the theme. Even my writing group is embracing the theme.

Two years ago when we first formed, our first activity was to write a halloween short story. We’ve decided to do it again this year. 

It’s so difficult to come up with something to write. It can’t be cliché as much of this time of year is. And it obviously has to be different to what was done 2 years ago.

I need to be inspired by the current atmosphere. 

Editing

Phase one of my editing is complete. Now it’s on to the second phase.

Phase one entailed the editor going through and making adjustments and suggestions and then I went through all those and chose whether to make the changes or not.

It’s enlightening to see the suggestions made. Certain things seem obvious now but when I read through them it seemed ok.

After the next read through is done and everything is as polished as possible I’m going to try resubmit to the only people who were interested in my work and hopefully now it will be up to their standards.

Editing my book

I am taking the next step in my book’s life. Today editing starts on my book by a professional editor.

I have been in touch with an editor who comes well recommended by other authors I know, Sinead Fitzgibbon.

She has spoken at my writing group and helped others in the group with their work.

I look forward to this next step. I feel like I’m getting closer to self publishing.

I have been through it myself countless times, and change something every time. But I don’t know if what I’m doing is right. This will be a good learning experience for me.

Books

I saw this Tweet the other day from Lauren DeStefano and it has really stuck with me:

I’ve been thinking about it since then and I realised how incredibly true this is. I tend not to read the top chart books or award winners. Mainly because they’re not the type of books I enjoy. Most of my colleagues at the library read them. I prefer books that take me out of my every day life and mostly take me to a magical place. I do read some normal everyday life books, and some crime books but mostly I read fantasy/sci-fi.

My favourites have been books that have meant something to me. Something that has spoken to me in the story. I always have a book with me, even when I’m writing exams – especially then so I can take my mind off things.

If I could do that for others I’d be so happy. If my work could help someone escape their real life for a bit then what better achievement is there? Of course, I’d love to be JK Rowling (who wouldn’t?) but most people can’t be her. So reaching people and helping them in whatever way is the next best thing.

Books are truly magical.

Sharing my work

After a few suggestions, I will be sharing my work on Wattpad. This will sort of be a beta read to see how it’s received.

I have been very reluctant to put all my work up without having it looked at professionally, but as I have been rejected, oh so many times, I have decided that it’s time I just put it out there and see what happens.

If it’s well received I will look into self-publishing it.

Step one: design my cover.

I have designed my own cover. I did it myself because I actually enjoy playing around on Photoshop. But if people don’t like it, I will look into getting done by a proper designer.

This is it if anyone wants to comment before I post it on Wattpad:

Air Fay Cover ©Carolina De Vivo

Air Fay Cover
©Carolina De Vivo

Alternative to self-publishing

At my writers group last night, we had a guest author join us, Melanie Gow. She is a non-fiction writer and photographer. Her latest book was entirely made up with photos and as such she struggled to publish it conventionally, even though she already was published before. Because of the costs involved in the book, she turned to crowd funding.

This was a concept I’ve never heard of for a book. Movie yes – the Veronica Mars movie, and various fan-fiction films spring to mind – but not a book. It’s actually an interesting route to consider. Instead of taking on all the costs of publishing, you build a business proposal and get people to invest in your book. This money covers the cost of editing, proofreading, cover designs, as well as printing and distribution. And on top of getting the money you need to produce the book, you are also building an audience.

She also suggested that I build a following for my book because it’s such a niche world. So I will be putting it up on Wattpad as I edit each chapter again.

And then who knows, either self-publishing, or crowd funding.

Character Deaths

So yesterday I was watching The Host film (yes, yes, insert judgement), and I will admit that once you wrap your mind around the weird concept, it’s a pretty good book/movie.

Anyway, I was googling after to see if there was going to be a sequel, because it is set up really well for it. I found a mention on Wikipedia (not the most reliable source, as a researcher I know this), about Stephanie Meyer planning to make it a trilogy but that “she has some qualms since The Host universe is a “dangerous place” where characters might die, and she is not sure if she wants to kill them off.”

That got me thinking about writers. Besides all of the many faults with Twilight, I think the fact that she refuses to kill her characters is, dare I say it, cowardly. I’m not saying kill everyone a la George R. R. Martin, but you have to kill some characters if the story demands it. And not meaninglessly, of course; death is a natural part of life and even if you’re writing a totally peaceful story it’s still natural, old age, sickness etc. But if you’re writing a fantasy or sci-fi or dystopia it is a more likely occurrence given the magic, the revolutions etc. that are commonplace in these genres.

I had to face up to a death in my second book that I’m writing. It was tough writing that scene, but it was the natural evolution to the story. I knew it was coming and it took a lot out of me to write it but I did. There should be a reason for killing characters, and I accepted that.

I hated J.K. Rowling for every character she killed but I respect her immensely for it. It takes courage to face the facts and accept them.  Not to do so, just seems disingenuous.

And I do understand that not all stories have to have a death to make it good and that is of course fine – better for the audience. But if the story is leading to a death, to shy away and not write it is a betrayal not only to yourself as the writer but to your characters as well.

Anyway, just my thoughts on writing.

Editing part 2

So I heard back from the publisher after resubmitting my edited work and it’s still not good enough.

I still have a lot of passive voice, and I haven’t built my new world properly, and my descriptions in the beginning – while good – are a bit confusing?

I’m not sure what else I can change. I guess I need professional help to get it right.

Maybe for now I should put it aside and focus on my studies and try again in a couple years?

Editing

This past week I’ve been editing my book after some very constructive critique. I’ve only gotten up to chapter 7 as I’m fitting it around real life.

Never having had any proper feedback like this, my previous editing has mostly been about tidying it up. Sure, I kept adding to it – I have the multicoloured document to prove it – but I’ve never edited quite like this.

I’m probably not doing it right but it’s all I can think to do.

I’ve rewritten some parts, hopefully better. And along the way I’ve been fixing my sentences. Apparently I write in the passive voice.

It’s amazing how much you notice things once it’s actually pointed out to you.

I’m waiting on a proofreader to double check things before I resubmit though. I find it’s always better to hae someone else read things because they notice things you miss. A second pair of eyes and all that.

I’ll hopefully be able to resubmit by Monday.