Cosy Sundays In

Cosy Sundays In

I love love love love the weekend. More than anything. I’m always looking forward to Friday nights to roll into Saturday.

And Saturday rolling into Sunday has me bliss.

One thing I love about the weekend is how relaxing and cosy Sundays can be. I attend Church online. Light a candle. Do some yoga. Stay in a robe all day 😂 and just be. I pick up a light romance book (hopefully rom com that’ll have me laughing my ass off) and just relax.

I scroll through Netflix to find something soothing or intriguing to watch. We’re slowly entering the Christmas season, so maybe a cheesy Christmas movie (but I won’t lie, I’m not there yet). So today, I watched Miss Bala. It was nice. Interesting, I’ll give it that.

Another thing I love to do is make time for my novel (I write fiction books 😅). I’m currently taking part in NaNoWrimo 2020 so it’s easy to keep track of my word count. I plan writing sprints with other writer friends of mine and we just pump out words in an hour of no distractions.

So yeah, that’s my Sunday in a nutshell. I love relaxing just before the manic of Monday hits 😌😌😌😌😌😌😌😌😌

Alright, I have to go now. My uni coursework is calling my name and it’s not going to write itself. (I wish it would).

See ya lovelies xx

How to avoid a sagging middle in your novel

How to avoid a sagging middle in your novel

You’re getting in to your characters and your story is forming itself by the chapter. You’re now at the middle of your novel and things seem to be dying out.

THIS IS THE WORST FEELING.

This can happen both to pantsers and plotters so no one is exempted. I’ve recently come upon this issue many times and it has caused me to put aside many manuscripts. In my current WIP, I hit this snag again and decided that I needed to do something about it ——– hence RESEARCH!!!!

Funny enough, I hate research when it comes to my law essays but with my manuscripts, it is a life saviour and I crave it and thrive in it.

1. Raise uncertainty about your character’s goals — in the beginning of your novel, you’ve made the focus on introducing us to your characters and their GOAL. The middle can focus on the first steps they take to reach their goal. You can either start them off as getting the hang of it and then throw in something to mess it up or vice versa.

If it is a romance novel, it may be when they actually go out or a scene to make them come into contact with the other person in a way they didn’t realise was possible. If it’s a friends to lovers situation, then it would be when one of them realises they have feelings for the other. Just throw in something that’ll keep us on our toes and interested.

2. Increase plot complications and character obstacles — this is the time to begin throwing in all the obstacles for their race. The hurdles and tyres and climbing walls should appear on the track. It could be subtle misunderstandings that lead to bigger problems or the discovery of a secret that makes them begin to question everything.

The ‘sagging’ middle is sometimes caused by insufficient development towards a climax. We need the grounds to shake and for the earth to quake (not literally haha) but we need something to throw us off balance.

3. Create sublpots that add interest to your main story arc — this one is something I do in all my writing. The middle is the best time to make the story more interesting. Subplots can give characters the knowledge or skill they need to achieve an aim, taking them one step closer to their goal. The same way interesting side characters makes a story richer, subplots do the same thing. Take your main characters on an unexpected adventure (maybe even with a side character) that helps give them clarity or a part-solution to their problem.

4. Stay focused on your character’s end goals — this is the most important one. When a middle is ‘sagging’, it is often that the direction and purpose is disappearing. One thing I would suggest is to go back and read the beginning to remember the GOAL. The whole point of the novel. At this point, you could create an alternate route to a different goal. This point only works if you are trying to teach your characters a lesson (maybe about happiness over work or something like that). But this is the time to refocus you and your charaters’ views on the goal despite whatever direction you decide to take the story in.

Hope this was helpful.

Now, I am going to apply these to my WIP, so I’ll speak to you later 🙂

How to Make Time for your First Draft

How to Make Time for your First Draft

The first draft of anything is shit

Ernest Hemingway

One question I usually get asked a lot is how I manage my time — balancing university, work and writing. One of my friend’s even asked me if I sleep at all and I always reply — obviously, I wouldn’t survive otherwise.

Anyways, back to point. From Ernest Hemingway and not me, the first draft of anything is — excuse my french — shit. 🙂

What this simply means is that you can write and write and write without stressing as to how perfect your writing is. But you still need TIME!!

One thing I’m honestly grateful for is the amazing writer community we have on social media. I’m mostly active on Instagram and I’ve gained a lot of friends and a lot of advice through it.

There’s a tip I’ve gotten from many author friends of mine that I want to share with you — ‘placeholders.’

And I kid you not, it is a life saver. There have been so many times I have been trying to write but felt stuck on a particular place and my WIP becomes in danger of writers block, but never fear — **placeholders to the rescue**. In chapter seven of my WIP, I have a section where I said, ‘input witty banter here.’ And I moved on with my writing.

With all the things going on in life, sometimes it is hard to find time for your manuscript. What I have realised over the last few months is that you have to make a CONSCIOUS decision to write. You need to be determined and make some sacrifices.

One sacrifice I made that made my WIP go from 9k to 15k in a couple of weeks was word sprints. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on my WIP so I made a decision and set aside an hour every morning. I would include it into my morning routine so that it becomes a part of my day.

Before I knew it, it turned into a habit. If you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen my word sprints every morning at 8. I started slowly typing around 300 words. Before I knew it, I was typing 500 words. Then I was typing around 700 words. Then I started typing around 1500+. It was a struggle, I won’t lie to you but it was worth it in the end.

I made time for my WIP and the words just flowed after a while. Then I felt like a faucet that had just been turned all the way on. Before I knew it, I was writing at least six times a week — resting on Sunday 🙂

So start typing. KEEP writing. CONTINUE working. And you’ll see the progress in due time.

Have a lovely day xx

Beta Readers

Beta Readers

You’ve written a great story, right? You’ve gone through the editing process and you’ve broken down your story and put it back together. You’ve written something so amazing one that it will soar through the stars and excel (excuse my dramatic self)

Obviously you have written a great story according to your standards as an author. Then you passed it on to an editor/(s) to cut it down and build it back up again.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how critical you are on yourself and how much you aspire for perfection — you won’t be able to find those secret corners of your manuscript that will turn a reader with the ultimate self control into an junkie for YOUR words.

And that’s where beta readers come into play…..

When I published my first book, if someone said the words “beta reader” to me, I would’ve looked at them like they were mad — ‘why you making up words?’

But a year and half later, I’m recruiting beta readers for my Christmas novella. Beta readers read through your manuscript after it’s been through all the stages of editing. They read the manuscript before it is published just to give some thoughts on the story from a readers point of view.

They are essential because as an author, the story is your baby and there are only so many ways you would be willing to be strict with it. Then your editor would be looking at it like the aunt asked to care for the child — so yeah they may be stricter but there’s a sense of familiarity.

A beta reader is like that one person in the park who sees your child doing something wrong and isn’t afraid to tell you. Yeah sometimes we don’t like that person because we think we’ve done a good job on our own but usually, they are right.

Enough with the family analysis — a beta reader helps tell you what your readers would think. They help to pick up on final areas for clarity and or reorganisation.

When I wrote my Christmas novella, I felt it was a good story — great even (dare I say). But when it came back from beta readers, I knew what I had wasn’t a diamond yet. They pointed out things that I wouldn’t have seen even if I was wearing my reading glasses. They pointed out phrases that maybe weren’t clear or maybe needed a little more explanation.

By the time I finished editing with their recommendations and my editor saw my work, I knew at that time that I had an amazing piece of work. On publication day, my book made it to TOP ten on Apple Books for Fiction and Literature. So, don’t take my word for it, stats speak for themselves.

Thanks for reading.

This post is part of a series I’m starting called Ten Things I learnt from self publishing.