WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from a Fantasy Romance that I’m planning to start publishing on Wattpad in July (if things go according to plan). The main characters are the King (Arain) and Queen (Shae) who have a marriage of convenience, but have been thrown together due to circumstance and are getting to know each other.


Shae lay deadly still, trying not to move, lest she brush up against Arain who was lying on the other side of the bed. It wasn’t overly large, and it was difficult to lie comfortable without touching one another. Especially since her husband was not only a fairly large man, but also liked to sprawl. Which left her lying as far out on her side as she could without falling off the edge, and keeping her arms and legs perfectly straight.

Even with several inches separating them, she could feel the heat radiating off Arain’s body, and it was nothing if not distracting. He was breathing deeply, obviously having no issues falling asleep with her in the bed, while she was wide awake, unable to let sleep claim her. It wasn’t fair.

“For the love of the Gods, Shae!” Arain suddenly growled, making her jump. Turning her head she saw that he was lying on his stomach, facing her, his eyes drowsy, but definitely awake. “Relax, please. It’s impossible to sleep with you lying like a log in the bed.”

“You’re welcome to sleep on the floor if you prefer,” Shae replied stiffly, which only made him chuckle.

“No, but thank you for the kind offer. Why don’t you just relax? I promise I won’t bite.”

“I’m not used to having someone in the bed with me,” Shae muttered.

“Well, whose fault is that?” Arain asked as he turned around and nestled into his pillow.

Shae stared at the back of his head for a moment, anger burning hotly inside her. The person who had originally requested a marriage of convenience was he, so he had no right to complain now. How dare he?! Unable to quite control her anger, she kicked out with both feet and pushed as hard as she could.

Arain went careening off the edge of the bed and landed on the floor with a yelp. Sitting up, he ran a hand through his tousled hair and stared at her. “What was that about?”

“I’m sorry,” Shae said, her voice deadpan. “Leg spasm.”

She turned her back to her husband, suddenly feeling much better. Maybe she’d be able to sleep after all.

WIP Wednesday

Once a month, I will share a piece of my current Work in Progress, and I arbitrarily decided that it will be the third Wednesday of every month. Because logic is over rated.

This is a scene from the Regency Romance I’m currently writing, tentatively titled As He Likes It. The scene takes place at a ball between our hero Nathaniel, the Marquess of Pensington and our heroine Angelique (Angel) Grafton.

It’s unedited as I’m in the middle of revisions.


Finally, he gave up and walked across the room to where Angel seemed to be trying to hide behind a potted tree while sipping some punch. Apparently Chettisham had seen fit to give her something to drink, but didn’t bother to stick around. She looked up as he came to stand beside her.

“Are you enjoying your evening so far, Miss Grafton?” he asked politely.

“Very much, thank you,” she answered just as polite.

“Is that why you’re hiding behind a tree?”

Angel choked on the punch she’d just been about to swallow and started to cough. “I beg your pardon?” she sputtered.

Her eyes were watery from the coughing, making them appear greener than before. Framed with thick, dark eyelashes they were one of her most attractive features. Her pink lips were slightly parted, as if she could not quite believe what he’d just said. Nathaniel was shocked by the sudden urge he had to kiss those lips.

“Lord Pensington?” Angel queried softly.

“It seemed to me as if you were hiding,” Nathaniel said, pulling himself together. “Lurking behind plants usually isn’t an activity of those who enjoy a ball.”

A faint blush crept up Angel’s cheeks, making her look even more adorable. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she mumbled, facing the ball room and refusing to look at him.

“It was not my meaning to embarrass you. Please accept my most sincere apologies.”

Angel gave him a quick look. “Are you making sport of me, Lord Pensington?”

“I would never dream of it,” Nathaniel said with a look of mock horror, causing Angel to laugh and finally relax.

“I fear I really am hiding,” she admitted with a sigh. “I’m terribly shy and all these people make me nervous.”

“Where is your Chettisham?” Nathaniel asked, looking out over the crowd trying to locate him.

“He’s not my Chettisham,” Angel muttered, only to add, “At least not yet.”

“Well, he should be by your side if he hopes to win your hand in marriage.”

That caused Angel to laugh again, though it had a hollow quality to it. “There is no winning involved. It is simply how it is meant to be. I’m to be his wife, and that’s the end of it.”

Nathaniel knew he shouldn’t ask, it was none of his business, but he couldn’t help himself. “Do you wish to be his wife?”

She fell silent, looking out over the people on the dance floor until she found Chettisham, dancing with a beautiful, buxom lady.

“That is an awfully personal question, Lord Pensington,” she said quietly. “Do you really think that we are acquainted enough to speak of such private matters?”

“I did sleep in your bed,” Nathaniel said with a straight face.

Angel gasped and turned abruptly towards him, her cheeks turning beet red. “That is an awful thing to say to a young lady, my lord!”

“It was merely an observation.” Nathaniel tried to look innocent, but failed miserably.

“You, my lord, are a rogue,” Angel said, but she was smiling now.

“I believe that considering that you have seen me in a state of undress that few can claim to, you can call me Nathaniel.”

She blushed prettily. “Then you may call me Angel. But I thought you told me we should never mention that incident again.”

“So I did,” Nathaniel agreed. “But that was before I realized I could not stop thinking about it.”

They fell silent, Nathaniel felt as surprised by his admission as Angel looked. His dark eyes locked on to Angel’s light green ones, and neither of them were able to break the contact. Unable to stop himself Nathaniel leaned a little closer.

 

Character Names

One of the more enjoyable parts in writing is finding the perfect character names. Or if not perfect, at least names that you feel fit and you like. There are lots of ways to do this. Sometimes a name might just come to you, or you’ve read it in another book, seen it on TV, maybe you even know someone with that name.

Other times, you’re struggling and you can’t come up with a name no matter how hard you try. These are the times when you might need some help, and I will share some of the places where I go to look with you.

Contemporary Names

These are probably the easiest, because pretty much any name goes. You’ve seen some of the names celebrities name their babies, right? I usually go to any baby name website to look for names that I like for a contemporary story.

Babynames.com

NameBerry

Babynames.co.uk

BabyCentre

Historical Names

When it comes to writing historical fiction, it helps if the names are at least plausibly from that era. If your Regency hero is called Maddox for example, people might call you out on it. For my historical fiction I tend to look at the above databases for names, and then double check their etymology to see if there was any chance they existed back in the early 19th century.

For me, in reality, Regency names were quite limited in which names were actually popular at the time – so to avoid writing books where a lot of people have the same name – I’m allowing myself some leniency on the names. As long as it’s not too far from the realm of possibility.

You can also find some places online where you can look at registers of people who actually lived at the time. Or steal a name from an author that you know lived back then. We all know Jane, Emily and Charlotte were names used in that time period!

For my four book series, I named the four siblings after characters in Shakespeare’s plays (their mother loved all things Shakespeare). So something like that is also possible. Choosing names that appeared in works published in, or before, the time period that you’re writing about.

Name Etymology

Fantasy Names

For fantasy names you can go either way, all depending on what kind of book you’re writing. You can make names up from scratch, you can use a name generator, you can use common names with slight variations.

In the few fantasy stories I’ve written I tend to do a mixture. Some names are made up, some are old gaelic or roman names, sometimes with a slight variation. Some are more common names with some variation. The advantage in fantasy is that it’s your fantasy, and the world you build will adhere to your imagination and your rules. If you want common names like John to be what people are called in your story, then that’s what you do.

An example of someone who used common names with a slight deviation, combined with some made up names: George RR Martin.
Jon Snow (John)
Eddard Stark (Edward)
Joffrey Barathian (Geoffrey)
All obviously based on real names. But then you have names like Sansa, which didn’t seem to exist before Game of Thrones.

Fantasy Name Generator

Surnames

I use a surname website for the last name of my characters, combined with just making things up. Sometimes I will look at maps of the UK when I need surnames and/or titles to get ideas. There are a lot of great names in street names and areas!

Surname Database

How do you name your characters, and do you have any tips on where to find names?

Editing

Whenever I read articles about self-publishing your books, whether it be in paperback or e-book, everyone is always pointing out how important it is with editing. I agree, editing is very important, and I can get quite frustrated when reading books if I find an inordinate amount of mistakes (especially if it’s in the first few pages!).

However, they often tell you to use a freelance editor to do your editing. I don’t expect to make a lot of money on my books. An e-book, on average, sells a total of 250 copies in its lifetime. That’s on average, which means that you could very well be below that number.

If you then spend around £1000 on a professional editor for your novel, you’re most likely going to make a loss on your book. While I would like to think that I write mainly for myself (and this is true), I can’t really afford to lose money on my writing. So, I’m sorry my friends – but I have to do my own editing, revising and proofreading.

If I somehow get lucky and sell a lot more than expected – then I’ll spend that money. When I might stand a chance to earn it back. Until then, I’m on my own.

Do you do your own editing, or do you pay someone else to do it?

Keep or Discard?

As I’m editing my novel I’m finding myself questioning how many changes I want to make. There are things that I think maybe I should change, while at the same time I’m not sure if it would make the story better or worse.

It’s my first novel that I’m going to publish, and the people that have read it so far are basically a couple of friends and a sister. They’re not the most likely to give me negative feedback, and they also are not massive romance readers, so it’s difficult to ask them if they think this or that thing should or should not be included.

This means I’m left on my own, and as a writer I find that it can be difficult to be objective about your own story. You wrote it, and cutting parts out or changing them massively can be difficult, even if it’s for the better. That said, if I knew that it was for the better, I imagine that it would be easier.

Needless to say, I can see where editors come into the picture in the publishing world. A freelance editor is not something I can afford though, so I’m going to just have to make the decisions myself and hope for the best.

A few examples where I’m wavering (it’s a Regency romance):

  • The hero gets angry and leaves, going back to London. I enjoy the scene because it’s a funny exchange between him and his best mate, but it might be a bit over the top. Or does it show how impulsive he can be with his hot temper? I don’t know!
  • The male villain tries to sexually assault the heroine, in an attempt to ruin her. This might be too much, maybe it would be enough to just have her alone in a room with the intent of getting caught? Back in Regency times that might have had the same effect?
  • The female villain is very secure in herself, which I want to keep – but I feel like it sometimes veers towards slut-shaming from the other characters. Definitely do want to change this since I don’t like slut-shaming. When I wrote it ten years ago I was younger and didn’t really think about it, but seems very obvious now that I’m reading it again.

These are all decisions I’m just going to have to make on my own, and I am definitely struggling. Maybe I’ll end up doing a coin toss…

How do you deal with editing?

Have I lost it?

A big worry of mine is if I’ve simply lost the touch when it comes to writing. I used to love it – I still do, I just never really seem to get around to doing it any more! Did life come in the way? A lot has happened in the ten years since I finished my two novels, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. Other writers have to deal with life and things happening as well, and they still manage to write.

So have I lost it?

Am I no longer a writer? Can I no longer sit down and get those words down on paper the way that I used to?

I’ve tried writing the next book in the planned series that I started with those first two novels, but I can’t seem to get the words out. Everything sound wrong. At this point, I don’t know how many versions I’ve written of the first chapter. (Well, there are currently 25 items in the discarded folder, which includes some old plot lines and other things that have changed.)

It’s why I have considered not going back to the series for now (other than to proofread and revise the first two), since I seem to be completely stuck. But when I look at all of my other ideas, nothing appeals to me. The ideas seem fairly static, at the point where I left them, with nothing new coming to me.

So have I lost it?

No more inspiration? No more story ideas?

All I have are partly fleshed-out ideas, some are even less. Maybe I should just pick one and start writing. Maybe it will come to me as I go. Perhaps to get inspiration I must force myself to writewhether I have any idea of where I’m going or not. For the sake of writing.

Or have I lost it?

Scheduling time to write/revise

I’m learning from my mistakes, and realizing that my original idea to write in the evenings just isn’t going to happen. In the past I lived on my own and could write whenever, but since just over a year back I live with my partner, and have discovered that I can’t write with him around. We share a desk, so he’s right next to me – which is nothing short of distracting. Especially when he’s yelling at random strangers in a computer game.

The new plan is to write in the afternoon when I get home from work. I usually have a couple of hours before he arrives, so that will be my writing time. As long as I can stay awake, that is. Definitely my biggest issue at the moment.

Once my new job starts, I’ll have even more time every day before the partner comes home, since I’ll either have a day off – or I’ll be coming off the night shift and will have from whenever I wake up to when he comes home.

I definitely need to schedule my time though, because if I think “oh, I can write whenever” – it doesn’t happen. There are too many other things that I’m doing. (Most of all sleeping, or working. My life is filled with excitement, as you can see.)

My goal from now on will be to revise at least one chapter per day. I’d like to schedule some writing in there too, but I haven’t quite decided what I’ll work on first. To ease myself back into writing I might just finish off a couple of short stories (not for publication) that I have lying around. Get my fingers (and brain!) warmed up again with something that’s not as important as something I plan to publish.

What are your goals and how do you schedule your writing time?

2017(!)

I can’t believe that it’s 2017 already. Where did the time go? This means that I am out of excuses, since I’ve been saying that this year is when I will get back to writing and get my stuff into gear.

So, I need to make a plan. A writing/editing plan. Keeping in mind of course the available time I have, and my limitations in regards to my chronic pain and fatigue. I don’t want to have another burn out, but I also don’t want another year of doing virtually no writing. This is it. I’m going to publish at least one of my books this year. It “only” needs some editing. (I say “only”, because it needs a lot of editing and editing is hard work.)

I don’t really want to do New Year’s Resolutions, as I don’t necessarily believe in the whole “new year, new me”-thing. But I would like to put some goals up for the year.

  • Create a writing/editing schedule and stick to it.
  • New blog theme, including a new header. I find it difficult to choose something I like. It needs to be easy to read while also easy on the eyes, and not too boring.
  • Get better at commenting on other blogs.
  • Read more books (maybe review them?).
  • Finish up my short stories.
  • Publish first book (self-publish as e-book) before the end of the year.

Non writing/blog related ones are:

  • Start getting rid of and sorting through all the boxes of stuff just “hanging around”.
  • Finally sort out the closet in the hallway. It’s a mess!
  • Figure out a better way to store things in the kitchen. It’s small and I desperately need to figure out better solutions to fit things!
  • Home improvements (lots of rooms need painting etc. and we’ve been here a year now, no more excuses!).

What are your goals/resolutions for 2017?

I need a plan!

Since I’ve decided that 2017 is the year that I’m going for it in regards to getting a novel published (most likely self-published as an e-book, but I will write more about that another day), I need to start making a plan on how to go about it.

In fact, I really need two plans. The first one being how to get my manuscript edited and ready for publication, the second one being a general writing plan. A schedule, basically. I need to figure out how to fit writing into my life again.

I started this blog a little bit before 2017 as a means to get me back into the writing habit, even if only to blog for now, and to start said planning.

My first step will have to be to find a dedicated time for writing. This is most likely the most difficult part, and I admire writers who seem to be able to sit down and just get it done. I need to work on becoming one of them!

My weekends and evenings are generally free, minus two nights a week. The biggest issue for me is probably energy, rather than time. When I get back from work I’m usually knackered, and I often end up falling asleep. I suspect this is because of my chronic fatigue, in that I have a limited amount of energy and work tends to drain all of it. Still, if I can somehow push through it – that’s easily an hour or two every day that I could write rather than sleep.

I think that’s going to be my goal. Limit the sleeping (anyone have any tips on how to stay awake?) and use that extra time to write.

Step two will be to figure out how to split my time writing between the things I want to write/do. There’s the editing/proofreading and formatting that needs to be done on the finished manuscript(s), as well as the writing I would like to do on new projects. I don’t think it’s good to do only editing and proofreading, one also needs to do some writing and get the juices flowing. And after all this time, I definitely need to practice writing again!

Writing Woes

I have discovered that I have some problems with my writing. There are always periods when I feel like I struggle to write, but this one is a bit different. Since moving in with the boyfriend, writing has become extra difficult.

We share a desk, and I’ve realised that I find it incredibly awkward to write when sitting next to someone. Writing, to me, is a solitary activity – and sitting right next to someone who is busy playing games, sometimes chatting to friends on Skype; it’s really putting me off!

I wish I was able to write anywhere, under any circumstances. But as it turns out, I need things my way to be able to do it.

It’s extra frustrating, because I really want to get back to it. I am slowly plotting a series of shorter stories set in a fantasy world. It’s basically just romance stories with a fantasy setting. I have no great plans for them other than publishing them either here on the blog, or on a separate blog dedicated to the series of stories. (Since there’s quite a few if I continue them all.)

Naturally, I also want to do the finishing bits on my two written books, and finally continue on the third (and eventually fourth, to finish the series). These I want to release on Kindle and/or other e-book publishers, since you can do that on your own.

I have so many ideas, y’all. I just need to figure out how I will be able to write with someone next to me. Help!

So. Many. Ideas.

So. Many. Ideas.