Chapter 19 Just Done Got Rewrote!

Anyways, just finished some rewrites this morning, and completed chapter 19. The exciting part (for me) is that I’m done to about the last ten to twelve chapters.

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Hail and well met fellows!

 

Mmkay enough of that business. Anyways, just finished some rewrites this morning, and completed chapter 19. The exciting part (for me) is that I’m done to about the last ten to twelve chapters. It’s probably going to wind up being a little longer… than the last draft as I’m shuffling stuff down to the next chapter behind it. I’m trying to make it a bit more cohesive, as well as throw some more suspense in the mix. You know. Like a real boy author. Anyways, it’s going well, and as always, I appreciate the continued support, kind words, and well wishes.

No end date as of yet due to fluctuating work schedules, but this is a top priority for me this year. I know it’s been a long time in the making, but I feel like I’m really turning a corner this time. Again, the original rough draft can be viewed here, with the new and improved version on the way.

 

WIP Update: Chapter 18 Rewritten!

So work has been absolutely insane lately, and it’s really cut into my work time. And because I live in Florida, this has been made worse by fighting off what feels like both winter and summer colds. BUT, the good news is I’m finally done with chapter 18 rewrites, and I am still progressing forward!

So work has been absolutely insane lately, and it’s really cut into my work time. And because I live in Florida, this has been made worse by fighting off what feels like both winter and summer colds. BUT, the good news is I’m finally done with chapter 18 rewrites, and I am still progressing forward!

The very rough draft can be read here, and I think the improvements that the final version will have will be night and day. Even if you read through all of it, and bless you if you do, you’ll still feel like you’re reading an entirely new story once it’s all said and done with.

As always, if you have any inquiries about having me write or edit for you, I can be reached at the email address chris@writenowfl.com or on Facebook.

Thank you as always for the support. I have a few more travel assignments due in less than a week, so I’ll have some of those to peruse. And I also just used a presumptuous word like “peruse”, so, pardon that.

Happy writing everyone!

 

Write with a Green Thumb: Cultivate Your Story

Like growing a houseplant, writing a story isn’t difficult per se, but it does require dedication, continuing education, and giving it the best growing conditions possible. And while some days you may find yourself simply wishing it would grow itself, it can also instill a ton of pride seeing it growing from just a seed (an idea) to a mature plant (or finished book). It’s also easy to draw landscaping parallels between the two ideas. And since once upon a time I used to do a little landscaping myself, it’s easy to apply similar principals.

I have been known, on occasion, to dabble with growing a houseplant. And now that I’m between growing anything (I plan to again soon, with all of that free time I have) I see certain parallels between making sure something grows and blossoms, and crafting a story.

Just a couple of nights ago I found out that a former coworker of mine, Kimmy Pagnotta, is self publishing her own comic book. Which is incredible! And it also got me thinking about my own struggles with my story, The Autumn Mage.

Like growing a houseplant, writing a story isn’t difficult per se, but it does require dedication, continuing education, and giving it the best growing conditions possible. And while some days you may find yourself simply wishing it would grow itself, it can also instill a ton of pride seeing it growing from just a seed (an idea) to a mature plant (or finished book). It’s also easy to draw landscaping parallels between the two ideas. And since once upon a time I used to do a little landscaping myself, it’s easy to apply similar principals.

Trim the Dead Growth

This one is always intimidating at first, because anyone who starts a new project has that feeling that whatever they write is perfect. It’s not. Whether you’re on your second draft or your 20th, if something isn’t advancing the story, it’s gotta go.

But it’s my favorite part of the story!

While I’m sure your creative genius is without rival, cut it. You can always recycle an idea later, but if it doesn’t help the story, it hurts it. When a plant has a dead limb, you have to hack it off with a nice, clean trim. Doing so allows new growth to take place, as well as reallocates resources allowing the plant to grow healthier. Same rule of (green) thumb applies here.

Prune the Overgrowth

This is similar to the first tip in both regards. With landscaping, trimming is more cutting off the bigger stuff that has to go, which in writing may be whole subplots, paragraphs, scenes, even characters. Pruning, on the other hand, is more of a pinpointed removal of smaller problems.

Pruning is done to plants to help aid its overall shape, like with bushes and shrubs, and to allow better growth with trees and the like. When too much growth is allowed to take place, branches and leaves can start blocking out the sun, which leads to a vicious cycle of the healthier overgrowth on top stealing away food from the rest of the plant. By cutting it away it allows the tree as a whole to grow better.

In the same vein, if your have unnecessary portions of a story, it’s only going to bore readers. It may be well written, but it only takes away from the meat and potatoes of the story. No matter how well you crafted it, taking it out will lead to a healthier body.

 Feed the Roots

Many amateur gardeners think that growing a plant is literally a Just Add Water! scenario. Unfortunately, like any living thing, that’s not enough. Sunlight acts as plant food, but more often than not they need a little help with fertilizer or other added nourishment.

Doing this feeds the roots, not the plant directly. Feeding the roots allows it to distribute the vitamins throughout the body, strengthening it as a whole. This is akin to having someone else edit your story. They’ll show you where you can improve, what works, and what doesn’t.

Find Your Own Way

When you go online for tips on a subject, you’ll always find a message board where Expert 1 is arguing with Expert 2. The Internet is great for sharing information, but sometimes people confuse opinions for facts. While a little bit of the right advice goes a long way, you should also find techniques that work best for you.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Everyone starts somewhere, and everyone needs a little extra help or mentoring. Whether it be the employee working the garden center or a club or group online, it’s always a good idea to find something with helpful tips.

I am always available with writing and editing services! And if you’re working on a project and you’d like to feature it, just ask!

If you have any other writing (or gardening) tips to share, sound off in the comments below! I love hearing what works for others in their creative process.

What am I even doing with my life?

Alright, I know I’ve been sort of quiet. I’ve been hard working on two things: doing freelance work, which chews up most of my time, and also, doing a complete rewrite of the Autumn Mage.

Alright, I know I’ve been sort of quiet. I’ve been hard working on two things: doing freelance work, which chews up most of my time, and also, doing a complete rewrite of the Autumn Mage.

I received it back from my editor, and, as a first-time writer, it needs extensive work. Which I am doing slowly but surely. Today I just finished rewriting chapter 8.

By “rewriting”, do I mean just going Track Changes -> Accept All? No. I mean a full and complete rewrite. Top to bottom. It’s tedious, but it’s already way better than the draft I posted on here.

I’m making tweaks to characters, dialogue, and even some of the story. One of the biggest criticisms was I have a hard time conveying my thoughts to the reader, and I couldn’t agree more. I’m also giving too much detail on frivolous areas, and not enough where it counts.

I know this is taking a long time, and I appreciate the kind words and support I’ve already received, and I’m aiming to make this as great as I possibly can. Thanks for everyone’s continued patience!

If you haven’t checked out my fantasy WIP yet, the (very) rough draft can be found here. That is the inexperienced, pre-edited copy. The one I’m putting through a wood chipper and completely reworking.

And in the meantime, if you’d like to schedule me for all of your business, academic, and creative writing and editing needs, you can visit my website and shoot me an email at chris@writenowfl.com.

 

The Needs of the Few: Using the Pareto Principle

So a few weeks ago, I was jam-packing my schedule, which is preferred considering I’m a freelance writer and editor. I would rather have too much work than twiddling my thumbs. However, I went almost three weeks solid without a break. I was burning myself out and wasn’t necessarily getting any further ahead.

It wasn’t just work, either. I was taking a look at my day and just kept muttering about how there wasn’t enough time. Something had to change.

So a few weeks ago, I was jam-packing my schedule, which is preferred considering I’m a freelance writer and editor. I would rather have too much work than twiddling my thumbs. However, I went almost three weeks solid without a break. I was burning myself out and wasn’t necessarily getting any further ahead.

It wasn’t just work, either. I was taking a look at my day and just kept muttering about how there wasn’t enough time. Something had to change.

I picked up one gig summarizing books, and one of which brought up the Pareto Principle. It’s been around for several hundred years, but it goes mostly unnoticed by most people. What the Pareto Principle states is, in general, 20% of whatever you put effort in to gives you 80% of your results. This isn’t a hard rule, but I bet if you take a look at some things in your life, you can see the Pareto Principle at work.

It sounds weird, but it seems to be everywhere. If you go and and get a Big Mac, that’s the majority of your daily calorie intake from one sandwich. You probably get most of your daily caffeine from your morning coffee. Your smartphone probably hogs most of your daily attention.

If you have clients, like I do, chances are that about 80% of your income comes from around 20% of your clients. Your repeat customers are the ones doing most of the hiring. That means only 20%, roughly, is coming in from all your other efforts. By finding the areas that you excel in, and the customers that keep coming back, you can really maximize your potential.

In order to apply this, I’m taking less time at the gym. I gut my cardio time from 30 minutes with a 5 minute cool down to 20 minutes with a 4 minute cool down. I also started doing fewer repetitions with more weight. This way, I’ve cut my time at the gym from an hour-hour and a half to about 40 minutes. I’m still working up a sweat and I’m getting more time back to my day.

It also helps you take a look at leisure time. I love playing video games. However, I would rather play for an hour than stay up all night playing. The joy and fun that I get tends to wear off, but by limiting my play time I can still get some goofing off time and enjoy it.

I’m also focusing on repeat customers more than before. I still actively pursue new leads, but I understand now where my focus needs to be. Studies have shown that companies spend more money pursuing new leads than if they spend money retaining old ones.

I’ve also tried my best to reign in my work hours. I’m writing for me and my Work in Progress for the first hour before I do work. I was trying to do it after I had finished working on my client’s projects for the day, and it was leading to fewer amount of time spent on writing and generally just being shoddy at it.

So in short, saving time and working smarter is going to make you a much happier camper. A great way to save time is by letting a freelancer take on your writing and editing projects. I am available to schedule your needs today! Visit Write Now to contact me for your academic, creative, or business writing needs.

New Post Soon

I had hoped to post one or two new things this week but I’m hard at work editing and formatting my WIP THE AUTUMN MAGE. The rough, pre-edited version is up on Wattpad.

I do have some post ideas and they are coming. I’m just so close to finishing my first book that 1) I’m excited and 2) that’s taking most of my attention right now.

I had hoped to post one or two new things this week but I’m hard at work editing and formatting my WIP THE AUTUMN MAGE. The rough, pre-edited version is up on Wattpad.

I do have some post ideas and they are coming. I’m just so close to finishing my first book that 1) I’m excited and 2) that’s taking most of my attention right now.

I am still scheduling work that pays. For academic, creative, or professional business writing services you can schedule me. Head over to my website www.writenowfl.com and I can schedule your projects!

I appreciate your patience and I look forward to your comments and your gigs!

7 Tips I Have Learned (So Far) on My Writing Journey

I think it’s pretty obvious that I don’t have a real solid idea of what I’m doing. I am an expert about as much as the McElroy Brothers are expert advice givers. Although to be fair, they seem much more professional, funny, and better at their jobs than I am, so there is that. They also seem like lovely people and I am not just saying that because I live vicariously through their podcasts.

Counterpoint: necessity is the mother of invention. I am figuring out how to do something that I have never done, so a big portion of my time is spent 1) finding and reading articles written by much more experienced people so that I can get an idea of what I should and should not be doing and 2) interacting with for real writers on Twitter.

It’s 2015 and the Internet is literally everywhere. It makes no sense to not ask for advice or learn from the experiences of others. I am still learning every single day. I am still learning how to mix writing for me and writing for an audience. I am still learning to objectively look at my work in progress THE AUTUMN MAGE and make critical adjustments that will take it from just a story to a novel. And I have a few tips that I have picked up and I want to share them with you this week.

  1. Set Daily Deadlines.

With my depression and anxiety it is very easy for me to dig a little emotion hole and fall into it. As you may have guessed from earlier posts it is fairly easy for me lose it when I don’t perform as expected. I currently do not have a deadline for finishing THE AUTUMN MAGE. I wanted it done by the end of the year. It is currently the end of the year. It is not finished. It will not be finished by December 31st. And you know what? The world is going to keep spinning.

NOW. I am real bad at procrastinating if the deadline of something is nowhere in sight. I’ll remind myself just how much time I have to *not* do something, and then I’ll do something like, oh I don’t know, buy Star Wars Battlefront and play that for a few hours today instead of writing. I am very good at having a set deadline that is very close to now and working until it is done. So what’s the best way to achieve this? Set daily deadlinesMake little challenges for yourself. Say that you are going to write for X amount of time, or reach X amount of pages or a certain word count for the day. If I stare at my screen and go “there’s no way I’m going to get productive today,” I won’t. If I set a target and try to reach that, I almost always will, if not exceed it. If you do not have a deadline, make one. Stephen King will write at least 2,000 words each day and tries to hit ten pages. That’s intimidating, and you know what? It should be. Because if writing were easy everyone would do it.

Wordsprints really help me. I set the timer on my phone, usually for thirty minutes, and just have at it. Putting that pressure, that little window of time, makes me rush through and I usually at minimum hit 500 words. That’s a fourth of your daily minimum quota right there. Set the timer, sprint, and then go do something else. Lather, rinse, repeat a few times a day and you’re there.

2. Edit More Than You Write.

I know this sounds counterintuitive. “But Chris, I’m a writer, not an editor! Besides, I’m just going to hire one later!” Yes. Yes you are. But here’s the deal: your first draft sucks. I haven’t even read it and I know your first draft is awful. And do you know how I know? Because it’s supposed to be. And now if you finish your first draft and don’t completely shift things around, all you’re doing is spray painting a turd gold. And I know that’s a weird metaphor, but it’s something a childhood friend of mine actually did and I just like working in that little anecdote whenever I can. I’m not asking you to be an editor, I’m just asking you to edit. On my second draft of THE AUTUMN MANGE I discovered that the tone was all wrong. My protagonist wasn’t dark and mean enough. The female characters were too weak and bubbly (which as a feminist I hated. I want strong females dammit!). So I’m winding up scrapping more than I’m saving and you know what? It’s making it stronger. I’ve finding paragraphs where I decided to just explain and I don’t need it. Do you know why I wrote it in the first place? Ego. “Oh look, my little world is so complicated I need to stop the story, take your hand, and teach you what is happening.” 1) No it isn’t and 2) your reader will be able to figure out what’s happening, and if they can’t then you need to rewrite.

3. Ask for Help

The great thing about Twitter is for every jerk that’s on there you’ll meet ten really great people who want to be helpful. And helpful people like to be asked for advice. Do it. Send someone a Tweet to clarify something. Maybe make sure they know what they’re talking about first, but try it. Chances are they’ll respond. I mean, J. K. Rowling answers fan Tweets all the time. Chances are if she will then your favorite indie author will, too.

4. Surround Yourself with Experts.

This ties into #3. Get some writer friends. Join writing groups. Read articles. You would chart out a course before driving cross country, and this is no different. Find out where you should stop, find out where to keep going. Find the cliches you hadn’t thought of. See what the current trends and current things that publishers and editors hate and take it into consideration. You don’t have to know what you’re doing, you just have to know how you’re going to get there.

5. Use the Google Machine.

For someone who learned how to read at an early age and for someone who plans on attempting to make money at selling books, I stare blankly at my screen quite often questioning the spelling of a word. Granted, I am using a computer that is about eight years old and is running Windows Vista with Word ’07. However, if you don’t know if you’re using the right word or the correct spelling, find out. It’s a computer. You know what computers usually have on them? The Internet. It is so easy to go to Google and find out if it is correct or not. Try typing it in the way you think it should be. If there is a homonym, i like to spell it both ways with a “vs” inbetween them. Don’t rely on spell check; case in point, chrome underlined “inbetween” with a red squiggly line and it is, in fact, a word correctly spelled. I checked it. With Google.

6. Be an Idiot.

Don’t expect yourself to be an expert. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. It took multiple tries to get the first airplane up and flying. It is alright to be in the dark and trying to figure it all out. Just don’t fall back on the “sorry it’s my first time” for lazy errors. The one thing I see time and time again from writing groups and from writers on Twitter is “How can this person be charging money for a Kindle ebook when they still have misspelled words?” Be an idiot. But don’t be a moron.

7. You Are the Characters.

I am currently reading the fantastic steampunk fantasy THE CHARISMATICS and the main character, Lady Ambrose, is described as having “dishwater-blond hair” and “a round face”, “bowed lips”, and “eyes are smallish and brown”. Sounds an awful lot like the author. And you know what? It’s fine. I have seen artists on TV say that a lot of them subconsciously paint or sculpt their own face because as humans we see our face a lot more frequently than others, usually from the mirror. And in order to make effective characters you have to write what you know. In The Shining  Jack goes crazy after the ghosts of the hotel keep giving him booze; Stephen King has said that he wrote that while struggling with alcohol addiction. I used to have a real problem with anger. My antagonist is a dark, moody, brooding character and you know what? I know what that feels like. Draw from what you know. Add yourself to every character. You are their creator, and as their god you should mold them in your own image.

I hope this post has helped at least one of you. If you enjoy this blog, I do ask that you please like, comment, and share. If there is something that I’m doing maybe not so great please offer some constructive criticism because I love to learn and grow. Feel free to connect with me, I would love to hear your thoughts on whatever is on your mind!

I would like to remind my readers that if you want to see the current progress of THE AUTUMN MAGE head on over to Wattpad. I have the first two chapters of the second draft up and the third will be appearing by the end of the week.

And again, I would like to remind everyone that Utopia Editing & Ghostwriting is offering a 10% off with their referral service. This offer is not going to last much longer and I would highly recommend it. Ashley is a wonderful writer, she’s an even better editor, and if you want your works to be the absolute best it can be you will use her. Let her know Chris Wojcek sent you and she will treat you right. You won’t find a more professional editor who is right there in the writing trenches with you and she is going to make sure your works are living to their full potential.