Those Word Count Feelings

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this about their writing, but I have this particular feelings every time I reach a certain word count in my novels. I’ve been struggling to come up with a good post idea for today, so this is what you’re all getting stuck with!

0-5k: This is a reasonably slow period. I’m both incredibly excited, and a little nervous as to where this new story is going to take me. For me, this is really make it or break it time as to whether I’ll fall enough love with my main character to continue on.

5-30k: I breeze through this part. I don’t know why, but this section is always incredibly easy for me to write. This is usually the stage where I’m completely in love with my characters and plot, and I start to telling myself this is the best thing I’ve ever written.

30-40k: This is the most difficult stage for me. I’m starting to see plot holes, or I’m sick of my characters a bit. I start to stress myself out about all the editing I’m going to have to do. At that moment, the book will be put back down and I’ll struggle to write more than 300 words at a time. It’ll continue like this for months.

40-End: It really depends on the story as to where the ‘end’ is. Book number one was originally 66k, book two was 41k and book three is currently 44k with somewhere between another 5 and 10k to go. At this point, I’m still dragging my feet along from the previous section, and then one day I suddenly realise I’ve only got another few thousand words to go. Suddenly I’m working double time. I eat, sleep and breathe this novel, and there’s absolutely no way I’m giving up on it now. I finish the last word, and then I let out a sigh of relief.

So that’s how the first draft process usually goes for me. Do you share any of these feelings, or do you have ones of your own?

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How To Write More Than One Novel At A Time

I am one of those readers who can read four different books at a time and not get confused. Somehow, that’s translated into my writing life too. As of right now, I’m actively working on two books and planning countless others, so I thought I’d share a few tips.

Different genres
This works with reading too, but if you’re going to try to write two different novels at once then try and make them different genres. That means when you get stuck or bored with your sci-fi novel, for example, you can move onto your historical fiction. Sometimes that change in scenery is all you need to move past a block.

Different places
By this I mean try and keep the books in different places in terms of word count. Basically, don’t start the novels at the same time because if you tend to get stuck in the middle of books (like I do) then you’re just going to get stuck there with two novels. If you keep them at different stages of the writing process then when you get stuck with one you can switch to the other until you’re unstuck.

Don’t ignore other ideas
If you get attacked with a really good plot bunny in the middle of the night write it down. Don’t give up on anything just because you’re already working on something, just note it down and see where it takes you. It might end up helping you to get another book finished!

So those are a few of my tips. Do you write more than one book at a time? Or do you just focus on one? Do you have any tips of your own?

What Is Your Writing Preoccupied With?

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I’ve been doing a lot of Literature assignments lately, which means I’ve been thinking a lot about author’s preoccupations with certain things. For example; Sylvia Plath’s obsessions with her father, the sea and bees. It got me thinking about the recurring elements in my own writing, and I thought I’d share a few with you today.

Mothers.

I always had a really strong relationship with my mum—she was my best friend, and so for me it’s really rare that my characters aren’t super close with their mum’s. In my first novel, Tied Together, several of my character’s mum’s make frequent appearances, or are at least referenced. My ‘mum characters’ are always very strong women, just like my mum was.

Physical Disabilities.

This is another thing very close to my heart. I have a reasonably minor physical disability, though it does impact me every day. I was reading through Tied Together the other day though, and I realised how many characters have physical disabilities of some kind. I didn’t even realise this as I was writing, but now I’m not sure if I’ve included too many!

Unique settings

My last post was about why you should set your books in unique settings, and I mentioned then that most of my novels are set somewhere unique. I think this is because I love to travel, and I love researching new places. Also, I like to think that a unique setting would only make my books more interesting to read.

So those are just a couple of the things my writing tends to include. Do you have any of these in your writing? Or is there something else you write about? Or is there a particular author you like to read because of what they like to write about?

Why You Should Set Your Book Somewhere Unique

In my extensive reading of YA books, I’ve realised that the vast majority of the books are set somewhere in the US, with a few in the UK or Europe now and again. In fact, the only ones I’ve read set in my home country of Australia were written by Australian authors. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the US—it’s so vast that stories can be completely different depending on what state they’re set in. That being said, I long for books set somewhere different.

If there’s one thing you should know about me as a writer, it’s that I like to set my books in unique places. I have one book set in the US, and that’s in a ghost town. My other books are set in Copenhagen, Cape Town, Budapest, and most recently, New Zealand. I haven’t been to all these places (yet), but I’m interested in the way stories can change depending on their setting.

Today I’m going to talk about why I think you should set your story somewhere different.

It draws the reader in.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but if I see a book set in Norway, for example, I am almost 95% more likely to pick it up. I know absolutely nothing about Norway, but I’d love to hear about what life if like there, and your book has just given me that chance.

The research.
This is for you as a writer. A unique setting will give you the chance to research this incredible place, maybe you live there yourself or maybe you’ve been there and just fell in love with the place. You’ll learn about the history, the people, the streets and everything—it’s one of my favourite parts of writing. I actually got to sit in cafes in Copenhagen where my characters would hang out, and it was just incredible.

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My character’s favourite place, and mine too!

A new perspective.
Think about Norway for a second again (I don’t why I picked Norway, but roll with it). How many books do you know set in Norway? How much do you know about the Norwegian way of life? Writing about somewhere different gives you the chance to give the place a new voice that people wouldn’t have heard before. What’s not cool about that? Think about how different a regular character could be if they’ve lived their entire life in Norway. What different live experiences would they have?

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Isn’t this beautiful?

So those are a few of my reasons as to why I think unique settings are they way to go. I’d like to know where your books are set? Or maybe there’s somewhere you’d like to write a book about?

Oh, Research!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at researching. I tend to either go over the top, or get incredibly distract and not end up doing anything. Right now, I’m in the first round of edits of my novel. I’m using this ‘round’ to clean up my major plot holes, and further develop my characters and world. This means doing a whole lot of research that I neglected while I was drafting. Today, I wanted to show a little bit of what that looks like.

MAGIC
Magic is a huge part of my novel, and it’s also the part I am probably most anxious about, so I’ve got a lot of research. I have both non-fiction, and fiction books about magic, such as The Discovery of Witches, The Final Empire, The Book of Lies, and many, many more.

DENMARK
The novel takes place in Copenhagen, so I’ve done a huge amount of research about the city and Denmark in general so far. I actually got to visit in January, and see the places where my main character lives her life. I picked so much up while living there that I couldn’t have found online or in a book—it was incredible.

ICE HOCKEY
My character’s boyfriend places ice hockey, and while it’s not central to the story, I want to make sure I’ve got the details right. I’ve been reading books, watching movies and games, talking to my hockey obsessed friend Milka, and I’ve planned to go see a couple of games once the seasons starts up here. I’m having a lot of fun with it.

The rest of my novel is just day-to-day life experiences, like University, and going out with friends—the sort of stuff you can’t research. So research might not be my strongest skill, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.

What kind of research do you do for your novels? What’s the best thing you’ve researched so far?