#inkripples Finishing that novel! #NaNoWriMo2017

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

It’s only the 3rd of November and it has already been one of the more exciting months this year. Two days ago, my romance novella, Romancing the Princess, was published as part of the Can’t Buy Me Love box set. I’m finishing revisions on another novel (non-romance), plus NaNoWriMo started! I imagine the topic for this month’s inkripples was chosen deliberately, with NaNoWriMo in mind.

I tried NaNoWriMo twice before, once successfully (the novel I’m now revising) and once not so much. This year, I’m well ahead with the word count and unless something downright shocking happens I’m confident I’ll finish the novel. I got the idea for the novel only a couple of months ago but I really ‘feel’ the characters and I have an urge to keep writing way past the required daily word count.

Amongst my reader friends, I’m known as someone who never gives up on a book. It has only happened a handful of times that I didn’t finish reading a book because it was so terrible. I’m like that when it comes to writing, too. When I get an idea and the characters start to reveal themselves to me, I’ll write like a woman possessed. My biggest problem is not finishing the novel, it’s retaining my interest long enough to go back to the story and edit it until it’s publishable.

Handpicked Bridie HallAn additional incentive to finish this year’s NaNoWriMo is also the cover for my novel which was designed by the super talented Eva Talia. I mean, looked at that? How could I not finish the story when I have this beauty to look at? It captures the essence of the love story, the vineyards as the setting, the guarded main character and the charmer who swoops in and shatters her protective walls.

My fingers itch the wrap up this post and open the file with the novel and start typing. 😉

 

inkripplesgreen

Advertisements

Career vs hobby #inkripples

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

inkripplesgreen

Writing has been my hobby ever since I could remember. Even before I could actually write, I made up stories and entertained other children with them. Later, I wrote them by hand in notebooks, later still I used an old typewriter with a defective letter p. Now I tap away at my laptop daily. But writing is still just a hobby.

I’d love to make writing my career, but sadly, I have to pay the bills every month. My consolation is that my day job has to do with books too. I translate and sometimes edit novels, so I get my fill of mysterious, romantic, intriguing stories on a daily basis. So far, I’ve been able to keep a perfect symbiosis between my job and my hobby.

I’m deeply convinced that having a day job which gets me away from my manuscripts but still deals with books has helped me largely to avoid any monumental cases of writer’s block. Translating other people’s work is inspiring and rewarding and it keeps me ‘fit’ for when I tackle my own writing.

It’s because of that I’m not sure I’d choose to dedicate all my time solely to writing even if I had the chance. I think I need some time away from it. I would feel too pressured to constantly write and write well if it were my job. So I believe my situation is pretty much ideal.

stack of papers
I have so much to write and revise this fall!

 

How about you? Do you find you’re still inspired if you write for six or more hours a day? Or do you need to get away from it to rest your mind (and fingers) for a while?

 

World building #InkRipples

#Inkripples is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the first Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

It’s been a long while since I wrote an #InkRipples post but the summer has been busy as I worked on a new novella to come out this fall.

But I couldn’t not write about world building as I’ve just finished reading the masterpiece that is Six of Crows.

My stories require little to no world building because they are mostly contemporary so they take place in a world we’re all familiar with. It doesn’t take much more than a place name or the mention of the season for the readers to find their bearing in the story setting. I would say my skills at world building are flimsy as a result. I’ve seen this most clearly when writing my current WIP which takes place at a royal court. I had to do a lot more research before I felt comfortable writing about royalty.

So I admire writers like Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas so much more because they create entire worlds in a way that makes them not just believable, but captivating and intriguing. Even though Ketterdam in Six of Crows is inspired by Amsterdam, the atmosphere Bardugo creates on the page is still unique and so authentic it simply sucks you in. It’s as though you walk those streets and smell the rot in the canals.

Of course, even contemporary stories require a setting so I could call that world building, too. But this is done on a much smaller scale, with descriptions of the surroundings, the details about buildings and weather. It’s important that all this is done through showing and not telling to attract the readers. It’s more about creating an atmosphere which supports the main story, rather than creating an actual world out of nothing. For that, I think magic is needed. Magic like the sort one sees in Six of Crows.

inkripplesgreen

But I suppose, no matter what sort of a world one is trying to set their story in – an imaginary world where epic things happen or a quiet neighborhood street – it’s all in the details. Even the grandest worlds are built from small pieces of information, descriptions and – most importantly – the characters’ reactions to them. The way the surroundings influence the characters shows best what sort of a world it is and consequently it also affects the readers most. Which is what we, as authors, wish: for the readers to respond to what we write.

inkRipples Tropes

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Mary WaibelKatie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on this page, and link back to their three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

inkripplesgreen

 

“The certainty that everything has already been written annuls us, or renders us phantasmal.”

  • Jorge Luis Borges

 

I often feel phantasmal (in Borges’s sense) when writing. What can I write that hasn’t yet been written? Not much, it turns out. Fiction is full of tropes, it consists of tropes. Just look at any genre you like to read – aren’t the books just endless variations on a theme or several themes at best? Happily ever afters in romance, the fight of good versus evil in fantasy and sci-fi, the whodunit in mysteries, enemies to lovers in YA etc.

Every now and again there comes a book so radically different from everything I’ve read so far that it will stun me. Harry Potter, anyone? Or the Illuminae series? They blew me away. Like, waaay away! But if you analyze them, after your heartbeat gets back to normal and your initial head-over-heels feelings pass, you realize they use the same tropes as any other book in their genre. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make them any less good, in fact, it makes them even greater.

When tropes abound, what starts to really matter is the voice. The VOICE. That is why when you ask any agent or editor what they’re looking for in their future clients, they will without a doubt mention the voice, regardless of whether they’re looking for any other specific premises and stories, the voice will be on their list, and probably very high on their list. It’s the voice, the writing style, the way you make a story individual that sets it apart from the other stories even when using the same tropes.

In Illuminae we see teenage romance gone awry, rogue AI, plague, hacking, escape on improvised evacuation ships, the fight to survive and save others etc. We’ve all seen it before. Just not in the form of reports, emails, doodles, illustrations, commentary of video footage, graphics, transcripts, censored words (I found this hilarious). And not told from the perspective of the super smart, pink-haired Kady and Ezra. Illuminae is the story of an apocalypse, yet it is very personal and intimate. It makes you forget about tropes and focus on that which differs from anything else you’ve ever read.

#InkRipples: Genre

inkripplesgreen

I’ve written about genre recently, and about how difficult it sometimes is to fit a book into distinct genres. While knowing the genre of a book helps me decide whether it’s something I’d want to read or not, sometimes it can be a deterrent so I end up not reading a book I might have liked if I’d have given it a chance.

I don’t like to label things all that much in general, and same goes for books. I’m an eclectic reader, only avoiding Christian fiction and hard core science fiction.But when choosing my next read, I usually first check the blurb (apart from the cover, of course). Naturally, one doesn’t always have to check for the book’s genre because often it’s apparent from the cover and/or the blurb or even because the author is already familair to us.

I will more often check out books in my preferred genres, like young adult, romance, contemporary, but I’ll read in other genres when the blurb or reviews convince me that the book is worth my while. So it seems that genre labels only work together with other information about a book, like the cover, blurb, author, reviews, recommendation from someone.

And since the topic of last month was book covers, I’d just like to give an example of when book covers and genre can be  a bit at odds with each other.

6553175This cover made me think the book is a fluffy romance, an easy read with fun characters. But it’s so much more than that. Yes, it’s a romance, it’s funny, but it also deals with mental illness and all the sadness, stress and anxiety that that brings with it. The chracters are complex and well written and the story is compelling.

So it’s not just about the genre, or the cover, it’s the whole package. And essentially, it’s about what you like.

#InkRipples: Book Covers

While reading Meradeth Houston’s blog Write Stuff I came across a fun meme.

inkripplesgreen

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. CarrollKai Strand, and Mary Waibel. They post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on the #InkRipples tab on their blog, and link back to their three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that they toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

So, this month’s theme is book covers, which is fitting as I’ll reveal the new cover for our Valentine Kisses anthology next week, but also because I’ve been known to buy a book simply because I loved the cover. For example, this one:youius

Here are a few more favorites:

blue

I adore the Clockwork Angel one because it looks mysterious, romantic and adventurous at the same time. Isn’t it gorgeou? It makes me want to read the book, in fact, it’s been on my to read list for months. One of these days, pretty, one of these days …

Out of my covers, my favorite is the one for On the slopes. Well, apart from the one I’ll show you next week. 😉

OnTheSlopes.v1-Final

Save

Save