Another question needs an answer :) My favourite thing to do is get in touch with my readers, hear their questions and answer them. Blogging is so lonely as a one-person act!
So the question for today is:Q: Where you do the majority of your writing? Do you have a writing room?
A: Believe it or not, I do most of my writing in my bedroom, on my bed! I don't officially have a writing room - yet! However it will happen one of these days when I get a chance to revamp my study into something resembling more of a writing room and less of a storage room.
I spend my evenings with my music playing and my trusty little net-book on my lap, working away at my writing. My net-book goes absolutely everywhere with me (I have abandonment issues when I leave it behind!) so that if the mood strikes me - or inspiration - I can tap something out resembling the beginning of a new chapter or a new story.
I hate writing in a quiet space - and I know some authors out there might throw their hands up in horror at the thought of ever
having any background noise when writing is going on - but for me, music is my muse and it sets the tone for a lot of my writing.
I find that having a space to write is not as important as having an environment in which to write. Music moves me and gets my emotions going. Then I feel I can step into my character's mindsets. I have various songs that speak to me from my characters' hearts, and I use that as a "setting" then I write the story to fill the gap.
My bedroom is a comfortable, safe space for me. I can write and laugh or cry along with my characters, without feeling like the whole world is watching me. Then, once I'm done, I can safely venture out into the world again, satisfied that I've poured my heart - or my characters' hearts - out onto paper, for editing later!
If you've read Extraordinary Part 1, you'll see that there are a couple of songs mentioned there, and they are songs I play a lot when I'm writing. Believe me, those songs (and many like them) have been blasted out through my net-book speakers, or my loudspeakers, when I've been tucked away in my room writing.
Ask me about some of the songs that inspire me - that would lead to a whole other posting here on Inside Evie's Mind :)
Via Twitter, I was asked the following question by Kelly (@lavuedici):
Q: "Where do you find the motivation?"
A: Motivation comes from a number of places, and depends on the situation. If, as I suspect, we are talking about the motivation to write, and to continue writing, my motivation for that comes from a couple of places.
Firstly: Trying something new a.k.a. Experimenting.
This was a project of sorts that I started, that I now want to see through to its completion - no matter how many years that may take! I give myself a lot of grief sometimes, due to my personal high standards. I had started out doing this just as a means to test myself, to see what I was capable of. I surprised myself, and now wish to see how far I can take it. Will I end up turning all of the drafts I have typed into full novel-length manuscripts? I don't know. What I do know is that as long as I am enjoying it, I will keep doing it!
That brings me to my second motivation: Enjoyment
So many people spend their lives doing things that they feel they have to do, in order to afford to do the things that they like to do. I have to say I have done that myself. Spent hours working hard, just to pay the bills.
Then I discovered that writing was something cheap and cheerful, yet something which really appealed to me. I found it fun! I had discovered a method of "seeing the world" in a way I never had before. I had to research and used Google Earth to explore the areas where my characters live, where they travel, what they do. It really opened my eyes and costs next to nothing! What keeps me coming back to work on my books is the adventure of actually telling a story, creating characters and their backgrounds, lives, motivations and reactions. I love starting with an idea for a person, a scenario or a place, and then building it up until it's almost real to me. I also hope that others will get enjoyment out of reading the story I have created. Of course, when I've worked so hard on a creation like that, I really don't want to leave it alone. I want to perfect it - that is my high standards coming into play again!
Mostly, I think of my writing like an art-form. I'm only going to get better if I practise! I happen to enjoy practising my art, and really - if you love doing something, why stop?
Okay, so anyone who has read my story will know that Cassie suffers from strange dreams, as part of her Oracle gift... But now it's my turn! I don't often dream much to do with my books, and they're not often something I remember 12 hours after the fact.
However, in amongst everything else weird I usually dream (lately: food dreams anyone?? Making me hungry!!) I had the most bizarre dream that I was back in high school.
I was at the school library, looking for books on drawing dragons. That in itself isn't so weird, since I have actually been looking for books like that to help with some concepts images for my Astra character.
Anyway, in my dream I found such a book. It was awesome, since it had an image of a Black Labrador (!!) and the section description was "Drawing dragons using a dog as a base form".
Too perfect, right??
Anyway I went to the librarian to borrow it, and found out I had no library card. So I got an application, filled it in, and gave it to her. Then she told me that the book was not able to be released to me "because it is in it's holding phase, which all new books go through."
I thought, "Well, okay. Whatever their rules are, it's TOTALLY worth the wait."
They boxed the book up with a whole lot of other books in a massive box, and taped it up. They told me that the book was registered against my name, and once it was released from "holding" I could have it.
I was just about to ask them how long I'd be waiting, when I woke up! HOW FRUSTRATING!
Yes, I know it was just a dream! It was definitely one of those dreams that Cassie describes as "one where you want to go back into it to finish it".
Perhaps, maybe there is a book out there like what I'm looking for. Or perhaps someone way more artistic than I am would be able to draft up some concepts for me? I have images in my head that want to get out!
Okay, enough of my waffling about my crazy dreams!
In other news, I spent my lunch hour today looking at my Smashwords format manuscript of Extraordinary Part 1. I'd made some changes as I formatted it, so was comparing it to the original manuscript to make sure the changes got transferred. After about ten minutes of side-by-side comparison, I started editing some more. Just small tweaks to the original (and therefore the Smashwords one) but it is now slightly different to the online version I've posted on here. Therefore, once I've finished each chapter, I'll be posting the further edited versions online, replacing the chapters that are there. They aren't TOO different, so you won't have lost out if you don't re-read them. I am just hopeful that the changes mean the story runs smoother (every writer's dream - and by that I mean mine!) and is even more enjoyable.
In the meantime, please share my story, "Like" my Facebook Page, Follow me on Twitter, and let me know what you think, good, bad or otherwise,
Also, please feel free to comment leaving questions for my "Q&A Spot" here on my blog. I need questions to answer please!
Can't wait to hear from you!
Yesterday, I posted Chapter 40 - Frightening Times. In this Chapter, Jennabeth arrives with the news that Cassie and the Graysons have been dreading - the Craevyrn are on their way.
But don't worry, Chapter 41 - Last Minute Preparations (and the last chapter in this part of the Extrarordinary story) which I have just now posted, reveals some new vampire and Star Kin friends, who have rallied around the Graysons to help.
And, my reader friends, don't panic... Part 2
is definitely on the way. I have written it, but I just need to do as I have done with this part of the book, and run in through a hard edit, then do a chapter by chapter fine edit to iron out any wrinkles, then I'll be posting it up here as well.
In the meantime, I have also been working on some ideas for book covers for the Part 1 story. I've come up with a couple of concepts, which I will post up here over the next few days. In the meantime, they are up on my personal Facebook site, which you can find here: Evie's Facebook.
Now I have a favour to ask: I know I post requests for feedback ALL the time, and I"m sure you've heard enough of that, but I am going to request it once more, from those who have completed the first part of the story. Please leave feedback in any of the following places:
1. On the Table of Contents page - you have the choice between answering my poll question or leaving a slightly more detailed response in the Comment field there; or
2. On the Comments/Feedback page - again a Comment field, however if you leave feedback, I will post it up on the page for you to see. With the Comment fields,, it does request an email address - if you leave one, I will send you a quick message back.
3. On this blog you can click the "comment" option and leave a quick note there.
If you leave any questions, they may end up in my "Q&A Spot" here on my blog with my (probably) longwinded answer. So feel free to ask anything you like.
If you do not wish your comment to be made "public" on my site, just say so in the comment field, when you leave the feedback, and I won't post it up.
I would love to hear from you!
Updated my status on Facebook and Twitter to read: "No editing done today, but finally got some stuff down on virtual paper that I'd been wanting to for ages. Ideas and concepts for future books and to expand on current ones."
So I had several draft manuscripts open on my screen, putting notes in for things for me to think about/add to my stories... such as:
- Adding to Amaia's story, A Guardian's Love, the concept of a discussion where the vampires get told what they really are. Yes, they call themselves "vampires" but as Alex said when he told Cassie about himself "we've been known by many names over the years..." I always had an idea in mind for my "vampires-who-aren't-really-vampires" but I don't want to give too much away here. Suffice to say, they're also not angels, though they appear angelic when the sunlight hits them. Hint: It has something to do with the sun, and the stars...
- Working on the next Alex/Cassie novel, The Star Effect. Another character is set to make an appearance later in Extraordinary, who will also be involved in this novel. I have drafted it being written from all three character's point-of-view (P.O.V.). It is not really as confusing as that sounds. What I was working on today was ideas for how to tell a certain part of the story, where none of the main characters are present to tell that part of the story. I have decided to, for just a small part of it, add a fourth character P.O.V. to fill in the blanks. However, which character? I finally came to a decision (I think) and I hope it will work out. The only way to tell is to write!
I am hoping that I get to a point with Extraordinary
where it can actually be published, whether through traditional routes or through the newer "e-publishing" route. I'm still a little undecided. The current poll on my Table of Contents page is just that - should I get this book e-published? If you have an opinion, please choose one of the options and let me know.
Still need some feedback, too. If this site doesn't provide the feedback that I've essentially created it to do, then I might have to look at other options. That would mean taking the site down, and the books would no longer be a free-read. I'd love to have at least one novel at any given time being published on here for feedback purposes... but I need the feedback to make it worth my while.
I'm about halfway through editing Chapter 38, which is the next chapter to be put up. Please, if you're reading the novel, or if you have an opinion on the site set-up, or if you think there is anything I could be doing differently, leave a comment and let me know. Also, if you have a question, please ask! I need more questions for my "Q & A Spot" on my blog.
Finally, if you know of any good websites where I can share my website, for more readers to discover, please tell me. Posting repeatedly on Facebook and Twitter doesn't seem to be getting me very far, so far... Perhaps I need to give it more time?
I hope to hear from you soon.
Who asked: A good friend of mine, Julia.
Question: Why did you base the novel in America, when you are a New Zealander? Why didn't you base it in New Zealand?
Short Answer: The main reason I based the book where I did, (America) was because I'd never been there. I am by no means well-travelled, and I love reading about and discovering places that I've never been.
Long Answer: I researched the heck out of Castle Rock and its surrounding areas, including Kelso, and Mount St. Helens. In choosing Castle Rock, I took the following things into consideration:
I wanted a small town, near a major mountain sightseeing point. I knew that Mount St. Helens was a very well known mountain, and I was pleased, upon discovering Castle Rock, that it has been labelled "The Gateway To Mount St. Helens".
This was ideal, as one of the themes of my story was that Cassie, our heroine, was at a point in her life where a lot of decisions need to be made, and also she would, in effect, be choosing to follow a path into an almost alternative reality, stepping through a portal, or gateway, into a new and "Extraordinary" life. Portals will also play an important role in later stories in the series.
Mount St. Helens plays an important role in the story, effectively showing off and yet hiding Astra's arrival.
I had, as the story progressed, also developed intricate back-stories for a number of the characters. In that respect, I had them arriving from various places around the world.
My ultimate plan, in this, is to take my readers on journeys to those places, as novels are written telling other character's stories. Alistair and Charlotte, for example, met in France. I plan to base their story there. Yes, I've never been to France. Yes, I intend to research the heck out of it, so that I can create a story that takes my readers there, and in the process, take myself there.
And yes, for my fellow Kiwi readers - I do plan on at least one of my future stories being set here in good old New Zealand.
Perhaps, one day, I'll be able to visit some of these places for real, but for now, GoogleEarth, and the internet, and travel shows, and other books, will have to fill in the gaps until I do.
Welcome to July everyone!
Random start, I know! However a new month means some new ideas!
Firstly, in relation to the novel, Extraordinary, I have now posted up Chapter 33 - Cassie's party. Cassie gets her surprise party, and is surprised by how many turned up. This girl is obviously loved by many. I think this is one of the more heartwarming chapters in this book.
In relation to the site, I have altered the Homepage slightly, and put up my Comments/Feedback page, which has a further place to leave, surprisingly enough, Comments and/or Feedback. Please don't be shy! I want to hear from those who are checking out my online novels, and would love to get some feedback, and comments, and... questions.
Yes, you read that right.
I want Questions!
I have decided that I will be opening up a Question & Answers part to my blog. If I get asked a question about my novels, or me personally, or the writing/editing/publishing process, either through the site, or in my everyday life, I will post it here and answer it.
So shoot me those questions, guys! I want to know what you want to know, so that I can answer!
Ask me about my characters, my settings, my plans for future books, or anything else you can think of, and I'll do my best to give an answer. Of course, if you want, you could ask me a question that I probably don't know the answer to (anything relating to physics, for example... or magnets...) and see what I say.
I have been asked a question already, which I'll cover in my next blog post, so you get the idea of what I'm aiming for. Any future blogs relating to the Questions and Answers, will be able to be found via the "Q&A" filter on the sidebar.
I look forward to hearing from you!