Those Days You Want to Just Quit

I’m having one of those days.  You know it’s bad when you’re Googling, “I just wanna quit my novel.”

Why am I writing? Hell yeah, when I’m already behind on everything and have 2 kids who want to my attention ALL. THE. TIME.

Oh wait, I haven’t been writing much. Posting on Wattpad, ironically, burst my bubble as my brilliant chapters have garnered no more than 60 reads in about a month. Unfortunately, in the time tested tradition of emotionally dramatic writers, it’s sent my confidence plunging south. Now, I recognize logically that this is kind of dumb given that hey, Wattpad is largely colonized (I hear) by emotional YA type of stuff as opposed to the more “classical” style I’m espousing – third person, intricate plotting, lead in, etc.

Rereading my opening chapter on Wattpad did give me enough impetus though to suddenly charge through and edit the first chapter, which I now regard as pretty good. Leaving just the rest of this gloppy mess of a novel…

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Book Cover Designers

Here’s a short summary of some more book cover designer sites that I’ve found:

1. Another designer of book covers, not the best in my opinion but cheaper than many:

http://www.bookwebs.co.uk/ebook-cover-designer/

Bookwebs offer three levels of ebook cover design.

– Bronze £50
– Silver £70
– Gold from £200

They also offer custom websites but I don’t think it’s good value — ” Three page starter ‘ebook’ websites from 199 pounds”, with limited space for uploads of stories. Better to go Word Press where you can get a nice website template.

2. BookBaby.

They are basically an e-publisher but have cover design options too, with a nice portfolio!

Basic package at $149

Deluxe package $279

http://www.bookbaby.com/ebook-cover-design

Muuuch nicer visuals!

 

3. BookTango

Another e-book publisher offering cover design, this for $159. Seem less focused on this than BookBaby but the samples covers shown are strong.

Closer to the Goalpost

Tonight, after a solid 2 hours tidying up the first half of my novel while waiting for my kid to get out of school (oh how my butt hurt from that bench!) I can safely say that I feel it’s getting there. The first half that is. The second, half, ho hum, has yet to spin to a tidy conclusion. And then there’s still Book 2 to deal with.

Still, I feel some hope: part 1 of Book 1 is already long enough to be called a decent-size novella at 40K words. I’m tempted to put it up and self publish as is just to get a response. However, I have a feeling it’ll lack oomph without the second half. (There’s a reason why they are part 1 and part 2 of the SAME book). Either way, the mere thought that I’ve got something nearly good enough to publish without dying of shame has raised my flagging spirits. Beta reader is coming this week, and said friend will be handed a printed copy of the first half to critique. After like 20 years of practising writing novels, classes, finally some progress!

Which means that now I have to put on my thinking cap and see if I can figure out how to self promote. I still haven’t given up on traditional publishing, and I think my book is good enough to be picked up but I’m curious to see if I can break in on self pub. Plus there’s the lure of insta-royalties if you make it. And if the book sinks like a stone, at least my reputation won’t be wrecked!

 

Feeling stuck

Feeling Stuck

20JUL

Today, as I often do after a stint of intense productivity, I felt stuck. Unmotivated. I’ve been feeling that way for a few days after 2 weeks or so on fire. This is good, as it means I can actually concentrate on real life stuff like laundry, client work, etc. Morale-wise it’s kind of scary though — that tiny voice in the back of my head starts nagging, And you actually think you can finish a decent novel!? LO-SER.

Sigh.

Which put me in mind of a really awesome blog entry title I read once, so awesome I had to Google and find it again:

The Neverending Hamster Wheel of Revising Doom

Ha! In a nutshell, how I (and probably long suffering husband) feel.

As it turns out, that was the title of an entry by Maggie Stievater, which you can find here: http://m-stiefvater.livejournal.com/164942.html. Much more imaginative a title than the title of this entry. With that down, I’m going to stop bashing myself for the night and see if I can do 15 minutes of writing…

After years of searching and trying to figure out what it is that gives that feeling of emotional depth and “umph” to a character, I finally found this post which nailed it for me: http://www.crackingyarns.com.au/2011/04/04/a-new-character-driven-heros-journey-2/

Hero's Emotional Journey Allen Palmer Cracking Yarns

Copyright: Allen Palmer

Ironically it wasn’t a site on novel writing but a script writing site. It talks about the necessary “transformation” of character that we’ve come to expect in much of modern writing. Now, this stuff isn’t new to me but I always got confused in applying the catchphrases to my own work, especially dealing with YA stuff. But after reading this post and others on this site, and synthesizing the insights with other items I’ve studied/read, I think at the end of the day what they’re all trying to say is that, over the course of the story the protagonist(s) need to grow emotionally. That growth can be positive or negative, and it can happen gradually or in an instant (much more dramatic) as all the inciting incidents come to bear in a flash of growth-provoking pressure. Two instances – again, citing movies, and ironically movies that the Crawling Yarns guy didn’t even like that much but that I did – are Sideways and Up in the Air. Technically, nothing climactic happens here: at the end of Sideways the protagonist is still single, lost, divorced; at the end of Up in the Air, George Clooney’s one anchoring relationship has gone up in smoke. BUT. You get the sense at the end of Sideways that Miles is moving emotionally out of the morass of his divorce; his love interest actually calls him back and tells him his screenplay doesn’t suck, and he is now able to receive that news positively instead of wallowing in self doubt. He’s looking forward to the future at last. And as for Clooney, at the end of the movie he has realized the shallowness of his current life, suggesting that he can now do something to change it. Oh, and a last one, Little Miss Sunshine: having lost the beauty pageant and the grandpa (dead) to boot, what did they accomplish? The triumph of a dysfunctional family pulling through instead of concentrating on their own selfish crap. Now, the stories I’m personally writing are much more traditionally dramatic, with an Big Evil to fight against and Lesser Bad Things on the way. And my imagination furnishes no lack of those. But it’s always been that subtle sense of inner transformation that’s eluded me in these epic, sprawling stories (I can nail that transformation well in short stories). In addition, character growth in a YA story is often – beat me here and yes, it’s a generalization – less nuanced than in grown up stories; by which I mean, since it is by definition a time of growth and searching for identity, typical character growth revolves around these themes (in a gazillion different ways of course). Whereas, adults aren’t usually portrayed as consciously searching for identity. So, I hope that’s helpful… PS. updates on novel? Still stuck at Chapter 17 and now feeling like I need to rethink the whole dam ending. Only about 5 chapters but pivotal. Ugh!