Rejection

Today I am writing an antithesis to the daily prompt: One-Way.

There was once a time that I believed that writing a story was a one-way experience. I would write the story, share it and it would be accepted. Job done. This has changed, I don’t think as a writer I can exist within my own little bubble. What I am so, so looking forward to, is seeing fan-fiction or fan art of the worlds I create. It might never happen, but I want my readers to fall in love with the words and be inspired to make something of their own, or express that passion. Wouldn’t that be amazing? I love reading comments on my blog and interacting with followers, it’s just the best, and I’m no longer in this one-way world.

Yesterday I spoke about how I’ve been reaching out in author and reader communities to seek advice, make connections and work on making Burning Embers a success. One of the people I’ve been catching up and exchanging ideas with is the lovely Alison Ingleby and I’m delighted to announce that her novel is launched today!

Alison has been so forthcoming with help and advice, she’s just been one of those rare lovely people who has been selfless with her experience.

Now for all of the exciting details about Alison’s new book: Expendables.

Book 1 of The Wall Series

Expendables-dual-on-shelf-1000-wide-compressor

Two societies.

A London divided.

A history lost.

Aleesha is an Outsider. If the government find her they’ll kill her. She survives each day by looking out for herself. And trusting no one.

Trey is an Insider. He never knew what the Outside was like until he finds himself hunted by his own people for an unknown crime he didn’t commit.

Drawn together by forces outside of their control, Aleesha and Trey must learn to work together. It’s not just their lives that are at stake. It’s their country’s future.

Set in a disturbingly realistic vision of a future London, this fast-paced dystopian thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger GamesDivergent and The Maze Runner.

Expendables is currently on Amazon UK and US and it’s a novel I highly recommend. I might even be adding my own review in the next few days…

Alison has kindly provided a free novelette (Outsider) that’s a prequel to the main series and a nice introduction to a few of the characters. This is available here: BookHip.com/BQADSS

Outsider new edition ebook cover small.jpg

 

Let me know what you think! I think the covers look particularly badass…

Happy Reading, and remember to leave a comment or a review so that other people can find amazing YA fiction.

Fibi xx

 

Weaving Networks

I’m a left-handed dyslexic and I cannot Knit. I love to sew, paint, draw and I’ve even turned my hand to crochet and lucette; but I cannot knit. I’ve watched friends and family knitting, and they always ask why I’m frowning at them. I’m usually not, but I am glaring at the whirr of wool between their hands because it just doesn’t make sense. I’m sorry, I know it’s a terrible confession to make, but I can’t get my head around the way the knot on the needle joins with the other one-and-why-doesn’t-it-all-just-fall-off?!

Knitting, I just have to admit, is a skill I do not have.  This is also not due to a lack of kindly (and very patient) tutors. I’ve had to make my peace with knitting, and continue to observe it as a strange, wool-based-ritual that I may not join. What I remind myself – is that it’s okay that the tangle of wool has eluded me because I have other talents.

Now, in my head is a Thunderbirds countdown of Five, Four, Three, Two, One – lift off! This is because Burning Embers is released on Friday. ARGH! That’s right, Friday!!! For everyone that has pre-ordered a copy online, it should be downloaded to your screen of choice or posted to you on the 1st of December – ARRRRGH! Time for me to hide under the desk!

It’s funny how this has come about though, this book. It’s been in the pipeline for so long, but it’s the way my writing interlinks with the rest of my life which has pushed it to the forefront now. Expecting our first little one in the New Year, meant that I was determined to pull this project to an end. So the decision was made to self-publish. All these choices are carefully interwoven, like fine threads that tug and pull on each other.

Having decided to self-publish, I realised that I had done all of my research…and that I still didn’t know enough to give Burning Embers the best shot at life, out there in the big world. So I joined a few groups of facebook, and the wealth of experience and advice has been astonishing.

When fellow indie authors are posting about how they’re selling 500 paperbacks a month, and how can they increase this? I just about fall of my chair in a scramble to grab the computer and shout ‘tell me all of your secrets!’ I feel like I’ve made connections with lovely people, who are all stitching together their books and projects with the same passion and enthusiasm I commit to my own work. It’s a beautiful community. Join us!

I’m compiling information and experimenting across the internet and I fully intend to share my findings with me.

However, in this final run up to the release of Burning Embers wish me luck (and positive reviews!)

Remember you can still pre-order a copy of the paperback and the e-book online, and for a short story from the world of Arenith, The Last Charter is available through instafreebie. Nearly 100 copies have been snatched up already, so make sure that you don’t miss out!

Happy Reading!

Let me know what you goals for this week are!

Fibi

Short Story Release! The Last Charter

Happy Friday Everyone!

Just a sneaky little update for today – woohoo!

Burning Embers is set in Arenith, an empire that has been crumbling for three hundred years. Now, with all of the edits to bring my novel to print and publication; chapters and additional story arcs have been brutally hacked away; until now.

I’m delighted to release: The Last Charter. It’s a short story set in the world of Arenith and might just tie in with the events of Burning Embers… but I’m not giving too much away about that!

The Last Charter is available for free download: here!

Adobe Spark (1)

I hope that you enjoy it! I love hearing from you all, so please feel free to leave comments about the cover or the story itself!

There will be more short stories from Arenith to follow, along with some from the other worlds that are floating around in my imagination.

In the meantime – two weeks before Burning Embers is released! Argh! You can still pre-order on Amazon, or for a signed copy with limited artwork print directly from yours truly: Shop.

Happy Reading!

Fibi xx

Paperback Pre-Order! Woooo!

Second post of the day!

First of all, you might notice that you have been re-directed to FionaJeeves.com! There have been some changes and I’m working hard to update this new site to make it look beautiful.

Secondly – and even more exciting! It is with great delight and excitement that I can tell you that Burning Embers is now available to pre-order in paperback! Yes, that’s right Mum you can pop over to amazon to order the book and hold it in your hands.

Burning Embers  – Amazon

Book!

Please bear in mind that Amazon is currently showing the book as out of stock – this isn’t the case, it’s just on pre-order until the 1st of December.

In the middle of November the publishers will send Amazon all the books that have been ordered and Amazon will distribute them as usual. Exciting stuff!

I will also be selling signed copies from my fibijeeves! If you would like a signed copy you’re able to purchase it directly from me. Hooray!

Autumn leaves in golden light

Autumn leaves flicker in golden light. A bright sun breaks through grey puffs of cloud. It’s warm, suspiciously so. A chill wind pulls at unfastened coats and untamed hair. The green is fading from the grass and bare earth appears in patches. Still, the leaves fall in turbulent circles;  gold and Orange they flicker.

It’s here!

LOOK! In all of it’s autumn, orangey goodness!

Book!

Well you could say that I have been busy.

I have, at this very moment, a printed copy of Burning Embers! I love it! I have to say, that the quality of printing is incredible, and my book baby looks like a book! An actual book. I’m going to be excited about this for a while…

Over the next few the days the printed proof will be examined with a magnifying glass, tweaks will be made and then – THEN it will be available for Pre-order. *Cue Fainting*

Review copies have been sent out, and I’m watching Amazon like a hawk. Hopefully when the next boost of sales come in, then the reviews will keep the book ‘sticky’. (From what I can tell, sticky means that it stays in the higher rankings and ‘sticks’ around the bestseller mark – whoohooo!)

But that doesn’t sound very busy does it? What else have I been up to…

Well, I’ve been writing horror tips for Black Star Publishing; just in time for Halloween. They’re starting a new blog and invited me to be their first guest blogger. (I may be getting a little too big for my britches at this point.) I also intent to submit a short story to their competition. Luckily we all have until December to come up with a suitably spooky idea. Once the post is up, you can be sure that I will share it with you.

Wattpad is up to date (incredible by itself) Six free chapters of Burning Embers are available to read – and they’re being read. I’ve joined a few review groups, so I’ll be anxiously biting my nails waiting for those to come in from my fellow wattpadders.

I’ve planned out a very very long blog post about self-publishing and the decisions that I’ve made and why. Over the coming weeks I’ll also be divulging my marketing strategy – I tell you, the more you delve into this with self-publishing, the more there is to know! At times it feels like an endless ball of wool that I’ll never fully untangle, but it is fun.

In the meantime, the e-book is still available to pre-order and currently at a discounted price of £1.89 (correct 27.10.17)

I’d love to know your thoughts – don’t forget to leave comment and let me know what you’re up to. I’m also still happy to send out review copies if anyone is interested!

Happy Autumn everyone!

Fibi xxx

Self-Exceptional

I was thinking on the way back home from another dreary commute about self-belief. This is something I consider a lot, considering Burning Embers is all about the importance of accepting and loving who you are. You’ve got to be yourself because you can’t be anyone else – and no one else could do it as well!

Having made this decision to self-publish, I’ve been coming up with a few goals and targets for myself. A way to test if what I’ve written is exceptional. What is going to constitute success for all of the time and investment that’s gone into Feia’s story?

I want to have targets that I can reach – but that are also challenging. After all, if I set myself a target of one person to buy the novel and then that person is me, we’ll I can pat myself on the back for meeting my goal, but is it worth?

I set myself a few targets this year with my blog. I wanted to reach 1000 views this year, have 500 visitors and 200 followers. It won’t make this the most successful year for Fibijeeves, but it is a considerable improvement on the last two years where my blogging has been sporadic at best. Those two goals are in touching distance and I get a little thrill after each post and I can see them growing closer.

Now, Burning Embers…what do I want to achieve? What will be success and what would be Exceptional?

How will I achieve my goals?

A cunning marketing strategy I hear you cry!

Well…I’m going to give it ago. Is it a strategy? I’m planning to increase my blog posts (hello!) and twitter feed, and update my facebook page more regularly. I’m reaching out to bloggers who review YA fantasy – if that’s you or you’d be interested in reviewing Burning Embers then drop me a message or e-mail me at fibijeeves@gmail.com.

So, I’m doing all of those things, and I’m reaching out to friends and family to say that this is -finally- happening, after the many many years of people asking me how the book is going. I will now be able to say IT IS DONE! Not only is it done, but I’m working on something new…

I’m also posting chapters on Wattpad, which is something I’m really excited about. It just seems the right platform to try and find my readers. Readers of YA and NA fiction, readers who will (hopefully) fall in love with the world and want to know more about the characters, the places. I want fans that want to live in Arenith, the way that I never wanted to leave Narnia behind. Wattpad seems the place to find these passionate and creative people. Second Chapter is going up as soon as this blog post is done published.

What are my goals? I’m going to be honest with them, and I’ll let you know if I meet them or not. I’d love to sell 100 copies before release. That’s 100 pre-orders on ebook and print.

I’d love 600 people to buy the book in the next six months. Is that even achievable – I just don’t know!

In utter fantasy land, 1000 copies within a year would be a dream. This would be the exceptional, incredible ending (or beginning) to my adventures in Arenith with Feia.

Wish me luck!

Let me know what your goals are and how you’re working towards them.

Also, don’t forget to get in touch if you would like to review Burning Embers. I’ll accept totally honest reviews!

Happy Reading

Fibi xxx

News Update

Even more exciting news!

First off, another piece of flash-fiction is going to be immortalized in an anthology with proceeds going to charity; hooray! I submitted to Christopher Fieldens’ Sensory Writing Challenge and I’m excited to see another snippet of writing in print.

Following previous publications of the same type, this anthology should be available for purchase on Amazon during pre-release – super exciting! I’ll be sharing the details once they’re available, so keep an eye out.

Secondly, the target for pre-sales for the Third-Word anthology has also been reached. This was due to be in print before Christmas, and I’m excited to get my hands on the teeny-tiny book that is being created. I think it will make a lovely present and suspect I might end up buying a few more copies…

Finally, as promised work is going ahead with Burning Embers. It’s been officially sent to a professional Editor this afternoon and I’m feeling a bit giddy. The manuscript should be returned to me by the end of October and then…then it’s simply a matter of publishing! Eeeeek!

In the meantime, before I burst with excitement I can at least promise to share the cover with you in the next few weeks. Yes, the picture featured might be a bit of a teaser…Also, as I’m no longer following a traditional publishing route with Burning Embers, I can share some of the writing with you. I hope that you enjoy. Leave me a comment!

Extract from Burning Embers #BE – Due November 2017

In the heartbroken depths of night, exhaustion overcame her tears and Feia slept. It was a fitful restless sleep on cold hard ground and she woke when the first rays of light touched her. The world was replete with layers of autumnal colour. She lay on leaves of copper, geranium, magenta, burgundy and cerise. The leaves still attached to the tree were in the middle of transformation.

With arthritic movements she sat up. She pulled off the leaves that had fallen on her during the night. Her eyes and throat itched, her clothes were damp through and she was chilled to the core. She could smell the forest pine mingled with the waxier scent of the tree she’d sheltered under. Poking through the pile of cast off foliage were stalks of lush grass and a plant with purple and maroon berries that twined around the base of all the trees she could see, linking them. Feia pulled her cloak round to inspect it, realising that she’d lain on the vine. She found berry stains mottling the grey cloth like a bruise and she felt a rueful smile pulling at her mouth. Perhaps it was an improvement. She’d never liked the colour grey anyway.

She could hear the river in the distance and the trees rustling above, shaking final drops of rain from their branches. Gradually, she became aware of another sound. Crackling and spitting then a louder pop. Why had she not smelt smoke? She sniffed the air, purposefully, drawing it in, but the forest scent kept its secrets. Dread wrapped around her like a cloak. She wasn’t alone. Please do not be a man. Please don’t be Bill. She sent her silent plea to the Spirits. However, Feia suspected that if they had ever been listening they weren’t any longer. She was no longer a child.

Happy Writing,

Fibi xxx

Tender – But Should We Be?

A response to today’s daily prompt of Tender

I’ve been giving some careful consideration this week to the creation of characters, and the advice I could share on this.

Tender is a lovely word isn’t it. The tender loving care, devotion and gentle hands are conjured by its appearance on a page. It’s a beautiful description for a character and perhaps embodies a characteristic of personality trait we’d like to explore. However, I think it’s also how we tend to treat our characters – with caution. Your characters, once fully fledged start leaving the metaphorical nest and it’s hard to let them go. Harder still to let them crash to rock bottom. I for one, try to protect my characters. That doesn’t mean that I don’t let anything happen to them, but I always write in an escape hatch – a way out. A way to mitigate the dark circumstances. I can’t help but feel that maybe I shouldn’t – that they would be stronger characters with me hovering around with a parachute or eager to pick them up when they fall.

Enough musings for now – onto the serious business.

Character Creation – Names

(Because I’ve just realised how much there is to discuss around this topic – oh my)

I have a feeling that this part of my ‘writing advice’ series is going to take more posts than intended. That can only be a good thing – right?

Let’s start with the basics

Who is this character? Is it your main character, a supporting member of the cast, or a background extra?

If your answer is ‘Main protagonist,’ then carry on reading – if not, then I’m sure one day soon I’ll have information about the other types of character creation. Although, a lot of my advice is going to be very very similar…

Now, I struggle with names for my characters. Always have and probably always will unless I dive into a Tolkien-esq exploration of language and development. The problem with names, is that they mean so much!

Take Bob Brown as a name. What does it make you think of? It makes me think of someone maybe a bit boring, steady. I think of a middle-aged man and Brown – well it’s not an exciting colour is it. Those two simple words, two simple names come packed with associations we already have stuffed into our minds. What’s more, Bob Brown is alliteration, and when I see names like Bob Brown, Matt Murdock, Peter Parker – I think superhero.

Bob Brown – tax accountant by day, crime fighter by night?

Now transplant Bob Brown into a fantasy setting and hang on a minute. Do those two words have different associations in the world I am building? Brown – is it a colour of power? A symbol of status high or low? What if this is a civilisation where castes are allocated a colour. Brown could be the lowest of the low, Bob Brown could be rebelling against the absurdity of having your life mapped out because of your name and perhaps that is why he’s a super hero in this context?!

What if Bob is short for Roberta?  Bob is a woman trying to gain her shield as a knight.

Looking at the history of the name, Bob from Wikipedia- It most likely originated from the hypocorism Rob, short for Robert.

According to Wikipedia – Robert is a Germanic name.

Now if Bob comes from Robert, and Robert is Germanic, and Bob is my main protagonist in this story – then how closely do I centre the rest of the names in the book on Germanic language? If Bob is the only Germanic name, and the rest has a basis in Hebrew or Polynesian culture – then there might be some jarring.

There are some very very useful name finders online. Baby name search tools are wonderful – and I love forming new words and names from a selection of meanings and finding a name that utterly embodies the personality I’m aiming for.

My advice is to investigate current languages and to play with them for your fantasy worlds. Once you get the name of your protagonist clear in mind, you’ll be naming cities, towns, forests, gorges and everything else that they encounter. If Bob is a stranger to those lands, then it makes perfect sense for his name to be of a different sound and origin. If this is where he was born and has lived his entire life – then his name should possibly be more common in the surroundings.

In The Poisoned Well, I have a character called Redston – A baron. Now, this has raised several questions, are the names of my nobility based on geological features, or is Redston a one off? What I’ve developed is Redston’s backstory, which may never feature in the book, but he is a man of the Northern Mountains. Mountains that are rich with Iron deposits which make them (surprisingly) red. His ancestors were born in the mountains and they carry the name of their heritage with pride. He is proud to be Redstone. However, times move and his own Barony is further to the South in Golden Fort. This may be a fairly simplistic way of naming and world building, but I feel that this small snippet of history has given Redston a feeling of Authenticity. There has been a change in his life, an arc of development that he has undergone – off screen or off page as it were.

What does Redston as a name tell you as well? Red – firey, passionate, red-headed? Stone – stubborn, forceful, slow to move? But the Stone is shortnened – meaning that there has been a development in his history, this is an old name because it’s been corrupted over time. Just like places called Little Town might now be Littleton.

What are you thoughts? How do you find names for your characters?

The Dragon’s Bride

I’m Writing for the Poisoned Well is going well! I’m getting closer and closer to the end and then the editing will begin in earnest. However, for now I thought that I would share this extract with you. I hope you like it! Remember to leave me a comment 🙂

The Poisoned Well – Extract

They made a fire on the beach beneath the stars. No clouds covered the sky or hid the stars as they stretched out, wary of the flying bugs. Lyris buried her feet in the sands as they started to cool. Timmit told them about his travels by foot from Ipito to Golden Fort. He’d trained in the capital city before venturing out to live somewhere a little quieter, and further away from his family. Kit shared a story from the caravan, how Rafa had fallen in love with Kelanin and defied his guild to follow the wagon’s, forsaking his license of medicine. Arnit had declined to share a story of his own, and instead, Timmit had started to speak again.  An ancient folk-tale about a dragon who fell in love with a girl.

The mighty Arian would watch the girl from the mountains above the castle where she lived. With all of his years of life upon the world, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever laid eyes upon. He was a guardian the pass between Veglen and Ipito and he watched over the girl and her family, and visited her in her dreams. Till one day, word reached his cave that the Princess of the land was due to marry. Jealous, he made a deal with the old gods, and traded his scales and impossible hide for breakable flesh of a man. Though he retained some of his mighty power, an ability to communicate with the beasts, the birds and the serpents of the sky.

‘I heard he kept his gold too,’ Kit interrupted and Arn, who had been sat listening to every word, punched the traveller in the arm.

‘Dragons are famous for their hordes of coin,’ Timmit conceded, ‘though it is believed that Arian sacrificed his wealth for this, a chance to wed his beloved before she could marry a Prince from a distant land.’

‘He probably couldn’t carry it down the mountain,’ Kit was stretched out, with his hands looped behind his head, and this time, Lyris prodded him in the belly. He yelped, gripped his side and rolled to his knees. ‘Alright, alright,’ he laughed and gestured for Timmit to continue.

Lyris must have heard the story a thousand times, but sat watching Arn over the firepit the myth meant more to her. The young woman wrapped her arms around her knees, and with a final glare at the repenting Kit, watched Timmit as the dark-haired man continued once more.

‘Arian came down from the mountain,’ the Smith paused, waiting for Kit’s additional commentary. The traveller grinned, but remained mute, ‘and he approached the castle with an aura of splendour. The guards knelt before his power and he was granted an audience with the King. Arian made his request, to take the hand of the King’s daughter. For he was certain that she loved him as truly and as deeply as he loved her. For they had spoken in dreams about their desires. The young woman wanted to travel the world and save it, too bring light to dark places and the hearts of men. She had no desire for wealth or nobility and Arian knew that there was no heart so pure as that of his love. The King, believing that Arian was the Prince sent from the distant lands, was eager to agree the match and the next day. Arian was bound to his bride. The ceremony complete, he turned to the girl beside him and lifted the veil from her face.’

It had been difficult, to see Arn all throughout the day, without any chance to speak to him alone and ask her questions. To reach out and touch him, or pull him into a dark corner and forget that the rest of the world existed. The young woman watched him now, fascinated by his expression as he listened to the story that he too, must have heard a thousand times.

‘Arien had trusted the king,’ Timmit continued and poked the embers of the fire with a stick. Sparks shot into the air and scattered in the wind, drifting like fireflies over the beach. Everything smelt like wood-smoke. Sand covered her feet and hands and the young woman shifted. It always looked so soft, until you sat on it for too long.

‘Arien was furious to find that his bride was not the princess. His love had hair the colour of smelted gold and eyes as dark as the night. He turned his wrath on the king, and demanded to know what trickery this was. The princess, his bride and now his wife, was a woman with dark hair like yours Lyris, and eyes as pale as the jealous moon. The King grew angry and demanded to know why Arien, a prince of distant land could treat him so poorly. Arien explained that this was not his love, the woman he had come to marry. The King was confused, this was his only daughter, and a whisper rose through the court. Finally, a young woman stepped forward, with her hair the colour of the setting sun and the darkest eyes the dragon had ever known. His love, a servant, daughter of servants and granddaughter of servants. She had watched the ceremony with tears in her eyes, and her lover marry the princess and bound with blood.’

‘What happened to them?’ Lyris had heard the story, but there had been different endings. Sometimes, the King annulled the marriage and the servant and the dragon lived happily ever after.

‘Arien was bound to his wife,’ Timmit finished the story, ‘for his foolish belief that beauty could only belong to the rich and the powerful. When in truth, beauty is something that is born within, and more often found in the humblest houses.’ He prodded a lump of coal and avoided the young woman’s gaze.

Kit snorted and stood, brushing the sand from his trousers, ‘or he regained his form as a dragon, melted the King on his throne and flew away with the servant on his back.’

Arn stirred, his own hair the colour of burnt copper in the firelight. He lifted a shoulder in a shrug, ‘they say that he grew to love the Princess, though when the Prince from a distant land arrived, the servant girl was offered to him in marriage. Part to punish Arien for his secret love of the maiden, and in part to hide the fact that the King’s daughter had been married to the wrong man.’

‘What do you believe?’ Lyris joined Kit on her feet. Together they doused the last flames and scattered sand on the embers.

‘I believe that it’s a story,’ Arn smiled, and staggered to his own feet with a groan. He watched her, across the pit but kept his distance.

‘Come on,’ Kit slung an arm around her shoulders and led the way back to the boat, ‘tomorrow we’ll be docking in Toscun, and you’re still never going to beat me at dice.’

‘Because you cheat,’ Lyris and Timmit responded in chorus.

‘Everyone cheats,’ Kit laughed, ‘you just have to be the better cheat.”

‘You’re full of brass

To plan the words – or to let them dictate?

This weekend started with an impossible goal. Intending to get everything finished for The Poisoned Well, I decided, yesterday, that I was going to write 20,000 words in two days. No big deal. Then reality dropped by and this obviously has not happened. I’ll Detonate that target now and gladly; ka-boom! Although I have made a respectable amount of progress and I’m pleased with the development of the story. I just about hit my target for today, when a writing friend from across the globe in New Zealand explained they were planning to write 15,000 words. Naturally, a challenge was set and the race is on. My brain is already a little tired today, so there was no way I was going to reach 15,000 words! However, Hollie has managed an amazing 4,000 and I’m 1000 words up on my target and ready for the week ahead.

Now, onto the serious blogging.

I’ve started to do a series of posts about writing a novel, so here is part two: Planning

To plan, or not to plan?

Now, having attempted novel writing myself, and finishing the first manuscript: Burning Embers, I feel I have a good idea of how to get this ball rolling. I’ve also be reading up on other writers and their techniques to what can feel like a long slog. The conclusion, is that like anything, there are several different ways to plan a novel.

1: Using a program to write. I’ve never done this, but I know a lot of people swear by it. There are a lot of free programs, and paid ones out there. They seem like a useful place to store information, write character sheets and keep motivating. Such as at: Bibisco

One thing that strikes me about this kind of software, is how easy it is to plan to an exacting detail. You can set how many chapters, what will happen in each one, their intended word count and then map the arc of your book in a diagram.

Pro: You’re able to set clear targets and goals. You’ll also be super organised!

Cons: Does it allow the same flexibility? If you’re going to go over your word count for that chapter, will it feel like a bonus, or a negative thing? Knowing myself, I think I’d have too much fun setting up the minutia and then not get as much writing done. It’s hard enough with facebook, and reading daily prompts, and twitter to get a clear head and just get the words down.

Then there is perhaps the opposite to using a program to plan out the individual steps.

2. No planning. When the LOTR extended box-sets were released, I was addicted. I probably know the words of every single interview, better than I know the films. Viggo…if we tip over…save yourself…

One thing that always remained clear in my memory though, was the discussion about how Tolkien approached the LOTR. After the success of the Hobbit, he set out to write the sequel. Now, there’s a lot of complaints about G.R.R.Martin finishing a Song of Ice and Fire, yet it took Tolkien 12, (17 according to some sources) years to write the Lord of the Rings! 12 YEARS! Now, the image that stuck with me, was the way they described Tolkien’s approach. He sat down and he started to write.  He didn’t know where the story was going, and eventually he got stuck, scrapped it all and started again – from the beginning. This time, he got a little further, until he reached a point where he couldn’t continue – scrapped it all, and started again.

This is in the day before the computer! It was described as the waves rushing up the beach, every time they got a little further until we had the Lord of the Rings that we know and love. It sounds exhausting.

I like to have flexibility when I write, I like to be able to let my characters breathe and develop their own voices and ideas. This is possibly because I am rubbish at Character sheets. In the role play community people ask me – so how much planning did you put into this character and their arc and I get all embarrassed and mumble…I wrote the bare minimum so you would let me write on your site… however, I think it’s a good idea to have some vague concepts in mind and at least a direction.

Now, I was always going to advocate for option three – the middle ground. Option 1 is a planned hike with your day sketched out to the minute. You have everything in your bag, that you might possibly ever need. A strict schedule to keep you moving, and gps on your phone so you don’t stray from the path. Option 2 seems like setting out on a journey, with just your boots on your feet and wondering where you’ll end up. There’s a certain amount of mystery and allure to this, I must admit. However, Option 3 – you’re prepared for a hike. You have essential supplies to get you through and regular way points to tick off at each chapter.

3. Middle-Ground Planning

When I start off on a journey, ready to write a longer piece of fiction. I like to have a clear idea of a few things. They’re listed in Getting Started as well.

  1. Approximate word count. How big of a beast is this going to be?
  2. Audience? Adult, Children, YA? (Inevitably the answer for me is YA)
  3. What do I plan to do with the project when it’s done? My current intention to publish The Poisoned Well on Wattpad has meant that I’m aiming for chapters with around 2000 words in each.
  4. What is the destination – roughly? I love to have a good start, but then I like to now where I’m aiming for. As a few chapters get ticked off, then a plan starts to form, of how I’m going to get there. I can draw a few lines on the map at least. Then a few more chapters down, and I work out how I’m going to mess with the straight lines, and make a more interesting narrative.

I like to think of this as a middle-ground plan, a rough guide. It’s not without its downside. I could probably do with being more focused at the beginning of a project and do some world-building first. It’s hard to build a map around a narrative, and feels less realistic. Then you realise that you characters have been walking in the wrong direction, and it’s edit the map, or edit the text…I could probably take a bit more from planning the tiny details, but then I could probably loosen up a little more as well.

Let me know how it goes, or if you use a different programme for writing. I’d be interested to give one a go on another project.

Happy Writing

Fibi