1. When I get the urge to clean, it’s usually when I should be writing. It’s okay to ignore that rare urge in favor of actually writing. There are small things I can do through the day to keep up or catch up. My favorite tip? Muffin eggs.
2. Even though I have a job that gives me a lot of downtime, I shouldn’t count on that to be my writing time. I still need to set aside time for myself with no distractions, including the incredibly adorable lap warmers that are my cats.
3. Just write. This is obvious, but the reminder is always good. Don’t listen to the nagging during writing time and just get things done.
4. Having a plan for what I’m working on helps. I generally know what will be happening when I sit down to write but it really helps to put into words what I want to get out of the scene. This can be done as I sit down or it can be done the day before.
5. It’s also okay that I don’t always have a plan. Sometimes my best ideas come when I’m just writing. There are times when I just need to see what the characters do in a situation.
6. It is okay to be bad. I have scenes that are just dialog, and no description. I introduce things awkwardly and bring up elements that weren’t mentioned earlier because I forgot. Instead of worrying, I just write a note to myself asking questions or pointing out important ideas or telling myself to put some clue in. I never make notes about how bad things are.
Here’s a crazy thing. I was just looking through some of my digital notes (I tell you my notes are everywhere!) and I came across this picture of a whiteboard diagram I did for one of the stories. What you see illustrated here is one story told through the relationships of the characters.
This is how I work when I get stuck. I am definitely a pantser, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try plotting before I write a story. I did, and it didn’t work in this story’s case. I knew something was off. Rather than look at the planned events for the story again or continuing to just stab around looking for the story through writing, I decided to make a diagram of the character relationships.
To other writers, this probably doesn’t sound that crazy, so I imagine this is more of a post for readers. A behind the scene look at the things that are tried in order to understand a story better. In my case, I feel that my writing focus (my story spirit) will always be contained within the personal relationships of the characters. Though I hope to always write an engaging story with a satisfying ending (which doesn’t always mean a happy ending), the most important thing to take away from any of my stories will always be these relationships. My whole thing is exploring normal people in an extraordinary world just to see what normal people can do when pushed. I don’t believe people know what they’re capable of until they are pushed.
Anyway, I thought this would be fun to share. I’m still working on this story. After I did this diagram, I let the story stew while I went back to edit an older story. When I came back, it all became so clear to me I wrote the first-half draft in a week. I say first half draft because I managed to get the events down, but I need to work on layering in the personal relationships. Because that is the important part to me after all.
So just a question of curiosity, what do you consider your writing focus/story spirit? Do you find it changes with the story or is there something that you’re always focusing on?
No, new author, what do you think? Do you only want to sell to Kindles? Do you realize that Kindles don’t read epub? That it’s a proprietary format? That those books can only and forever be on Kindles and Kindle products and programs?
An author can choose to go that route if they want, but I would hope that they have reasons for doing so other than, “Someone once told me…” or “People say…”
I’ll come out and say it, no, you probably won’t make much money from Smashwords. Yes, you do have to wait forever for their extra distributors to pay. And yes, Smashwords only pays you like once every six months. So why would I suggest going with Smashwords?
Freedom. I only buy indie books from Smashwords. You can download in any format (usually, unless the author has severely limited the formats the book will appear in). Generally I go for the epubs. Why? They’re DRM free, and that’s awesome. That means I can put it on any device. Why, I used to read books on my DS back in the day before I got a proper ereader. Plus, say I do decide to get a Kindle. I can download the book in the .mobi format needed for the Kindle.
I’ll admit that if a book isn’t on Smashwords, I skip it. There are a lot of good books put out by small publishers and self-publishers. I don’t need to work that hard to find a good book to spend my money on. Granted, I’m only one sale is a sea of sales, so that might not concern an author. There are plenty of authors who do great on Amazon.
So that’s freedom for me as a reader, but what about as an author? One of my favorite aspects of Smashwords is that the site allows for me to experiment. I can generate coupons, I can post things for free, and I can even use the “reader decides the price” option, which I will probably test out for the next story or something. I was tempted to try it out for this story, and may even do that later on.
Coupons are awesome because they cost me no money. It’s an easy way for me to mark a book down while still showing it’s value. And who doesn’t love a sale? (Well, except for in-store sales because those usually involve waiting in line.)
In the next year, I’m going to try pushing Smashwords a little more when I go out to sell the book. I’m planning on getting tables at the local anime conventions, and one of the things I’m hoping to do is have a QR code that points to the Smashwords site while handing out coupons. I really haven’t used Smashwords much because I haven’t really been marketing. These are just my thoughts on why I love the site.
Anyone else have thoughts? Hate Smashwords? Like Smashwords? Have a horrible experience with the site?