Do You Re-read Novels?

There are hundreds of new books published every year, many of which we will never read. At least a dozen of them are added to my to-read list, which is already over three hundred books big.

I’ve been reading fifty or less books per year, and last year I read a grand total of twelve. If I ever get to the end of the list, it will be many years from now.

It’s true that a lot of the books I read I enjoy immensely. Many of the ones that I truly like I think about for days after I’ve finished reading. Even once the newly-finished-book phase ends, I think back on them from time to time.

But there’s only one book I’ve ever had the urge to re-read.

I can definitely understand the desire to re-enter worlds you love and follow your favourite character’s adventures. There are many I’d love to explore again from a different perspective, but with the amount of books out there and the new ones that are always coming out, I don’t believe re-reading books is practical.

It’s simply better to remember that world as it was when you initially read it. If you really need to jump back into the book, there are alternative ways to do it. You could re-read certain passages or chapters that you liked in particular, or visit fan forums that discuss the books.

Personally I don’t do any of this, but I’d do it before I made the decision to re-read an entire book.

That’s my stance on this, at least. I don’t plan to re-read a book any time soon.

What about you guys? Do you re-read books?

~Erynn

Advertisements

Taichiren’s Update #2

In my first Taichiren’s Update post I spoke a bit about the large errors I made in the novel’s original draft, as well as a bit on what I planned to do to fix them in the new version.

Today’s post will be about what I learned from writing the initial draft, and finally, a bit of a reveal as to what happened in the book. You’ll have to note that while much of the premise and characters remain the same, the story itself is now vastly different. I’m explaining this because though this will be a “big reveal” as to the content of the original draft, you will still only see glimpses of what will carry on to the new book.

So, let’s begin.

A lot of the insight I gained came either during the time I was writing the draft or after I completed it. While better known before I began, it is better to know now than never at all. Most of this pertained to the writing itself, such as: that I should limit my usage of adverbs, that “said”, “asked” and other invisible dialogue tags were better used than ones that stood out. I could go on forever; this is a list of things any novice writer is to learn if they are to succeed.

The most important lessons, however, were things I discovered on my own when I realized my draft was bad.

Characters and Characterization — This was one of the first hard-learned lessons, and it came about when I discovered I hated my main character. She wasn’t a goody-two-shoes perfectionist as you find written by most first-time would-be authors, but another level of entirely plain. She was useless and provided nothing but a lens through which we could see the story told. I wrote a more detailed post on the specific reasons I hated her, which you can read here, as that’s not exactly what this lesson was about.

The lesson was that no matter how good the idea for the character is, unless it is properly portrayed in the writing, they are just an idea and not a character someone would willingly read about. I wanted a story about a young woman who cared about nothing but herself, and was rewarded for her selfishness. Instead, I created something entirely different because I failed to properly build the characteristics needed for her to fulfill that role.

You can’t have someone be selfish and selfless without forcing that character into a devastating identity crisis.

My other characters were alright, but will be stronger the next time around. I tried throwing in some traits that I had never played with before, and though some of them turned out wonderfully– Take Cysar, the playboy who falls in love but still finds it difficult to tame his desires, as an example– others did not take so well to being written.

Making things happen — This was something I struggled with during the writing phase. I kept trying to make things happen; I would insert action in places where it wasn’t needed, as I was sure that action was the only way to make things happen. Of course I eventually learned otherwise, but until then it was fight after fight after fight after fight. Though I enjoyed the scenes individually, reading the book grew tiresome. It was then that I realized that there should be “breaks” in between each tidbit of “action”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Just because there should be a break every here and there doesn’t mean you should switch from something exciting to something dull. You still want to keep the reader intrigued and dying to read what’s next, so you don’t want to write something that goes from an epic battle between two warriors to a woman talking about how she plans to paint her nails the perfect shade of pink. I would probably cry.

Thankfully, I was smart enough to realize that as well. I told myself, “If my intent [with the action scenes] was to keep the readers interest, then I don’t want to lose it in the downtime.” And I was right. This is what brought in some of my other sub-plots: Mydeth’s child, the Raiya, and pretty much everything that didn’t involve the main storyline, which is where I kept most of the action.

Adding too much — This was less obvious at first, but I came to the realization with time. I simply had too much going on and it was starting to feel all over the place. It wasn’t that what I had was bad, but that the story wasn’t mature enough to handle all that content. An example of something I added and later decided to push to a later book was what i dubbed the “God Children” arc. It was something I really enjoyed creating and it was hard to come to terms with the fact that I needed to move it to the second book. Some of it remains in the first (Mydeth’s child still remains an important character in the story) but most of it, including everything with Tael’rah’s sister, have been moved to the second book.

And finally, throwing more in a scene than I was able to handle. This became a huge problem near the end when the v’yeras and the elves sought to relieve their differences with bloodshed. I had the elven armies come to the battle on foot, and their summoned, undead dragons from the skies. While it sounds like a good idea without knowing anything about the scene, it ended up being an awful mess. Because I wasn’t able to handle so many things at once, I basically had the elves and v’yeras fight each other while half of the elven army remained in the sky doing nothing! Yeah, not a surprise that they lost.

I also removed the undead dragons because I’m tired of zombies and decided against death magic. That was a great decision.

Okay, so this post is a little long now. This isn’t really all I wanted to say, but because I’d like to keep it on the shorter end, I’ll have to finish this another time. But because I don’t want to keep these updates as dwellings on the past, the third update will be about the book I’m writing, and you will hear more about what I learned at a later date.

~Erynn

Dealing With Low Paying Clients

Alright, so I haven’t actually been a freelancer all that long, but because I freelance for a living, I established early on what my rate would start at. Since then it’s risen substantially, of course, but getting through the struggle of not knowing what to charge was key to my eventual success.

Over the last year I think I’ve been pretty lucky with finding clients. One of the first people I worked with paid me more than half of the amount I used to purchase my new computer (the money didn’t actually go toward the computer, but that’s to give you an idea of what I was working with), and though sometimes I’ve had trouble finding people willing to pay me an amount I could live off of, overall, I haven’t had that many bad experiences… but boy, one or two of them is more than enough for me to say okay, I’ve had enough.

There are a lot of people who undervalue writing. Lots of people think that because pretty much everyone can write, they can get away with paying next to nothing to have their stories written, as well as treating you like shit because they’re giving you the “privilege of their business”. Seriously? I’ve had people contact me about doing work at my normal rate (This was a long time ago, so it’s a lot lower than I charge now– and it was next to nothing). Sure, not a problem. Except, it’s in a genre that I don’t usually write in. And they want the writing to be good enough that they can get the attention of a traditional publishing house. And they want me to give them all of my time– literally. If I’m not writing their stuff, they want to be on the phone talking about it or something ridiculous (I don’t handle phone calls all that well). I can understand the desire to get to know the person that you’ve hired to write for you, but it’s a little out of line to pay someone next to nothing and demand that they write you the next Twilight (gross) and give you all your time. You really can’t be so conceited as to expect someone to write you a novel for a couple hundred bucks at the most, when you want it to make you millions, can you? Nope. It happens all the time.

I don’t think I could tell you about how many job postings I’ve seen of people looking for writers to write long, elaborate stories at a rate of a fraction of a penny per word. Early on in my freelancing career I established what my rate would be, and I can tell you now that I haven’t ever been afraid to tell someone that there’s no way I’ll write them a novel at $0.002 per word. Of course, early on I made a couple exceptions out of desperation– and I’m still paying for it now.

There’s a project I took on in late November of 2014 that comes out to be paying about $0.006 per word. Pretty awful, I do say, but it’s not as bad as the example above (and that wasn’t even an exaggeration– I have seen jobs paying that low). The only reason I ended up taking it was because I was in need of rent money for December and the guy was willing to pay about half of the total projected cost up front. It really helped me at the time (and for that I’m extremely grateful), but for now I’m kind of stuck finishing it because I’m not the kind of person to dip out, especially after someone’s helped me like that.

Things have improved a lot over the last few months, though. I don’t see myself ever needing to take a job below $0.05 per word because I’ve got lucky with a steady flow of level-headed people who understand the value of writing.

It’s unfortunate, but the only real advice I can give to people in a position like this is to value yourself, your time, and your work. I can totally understand those of you just trying to make ends meet (as I’ve been there), but there are too many people who undermine their own abilities and give people the impression that they can buy excellent works of fiction for less than the cost of a new computer. (Seriously, do you people know what some publishers pay their authors as advances alone? Some people need to do some research.)

Sorry, this turned out to be a bit of a rant. Love you guys. ❤ If you have any questions regarding getting clients/ managing your rate, I’d love to chat. I’m not really a professional, but I think I’ve managed to find my own way around the freelancing world and can still offer some pointers.

~Erynn

Changing Opinions: NaNoWriMo

Hey everyone! Sorry for missing out on a new post last week– I was kinda busy and never really got around to it. I’ll have an extra post up sometime within the next few days to make up for it.

Anyway, onto what I wanted to talk about today. I know a lot of writers nowadays participate in NaNoWriMo, be in the official November one, or the Camp NaNos that occur during the spring and summer. I’ve written a bit about my experience with the event– mind you, it’s mostly been positive– but today I want to try something a little different.

Since I first participated in NaNoWriMo in November 2013, my thoughts toward NaNo and writing in general have changed. When I began to believe in the power of my writing and the creativity needed to bring it to life, I started seeing things a little differently. Back then, I wrote once in a blue moon. Why? Because I simply had other things I’d rather be doing. NaNo, really, was the perfect opportunity for me to dive full-on into the trade and learn more. And that’s exactly what happened.

Now, I write pretty much every day. Sure, it’s not always toward my book (I actually have fallen behind on that, but we’ll talk about that in a different post), but I’m a dedicated writer. I do plenty of writing and editing for work, as well as pleasure. There are some days where I only pump out several hundred words, but then there are also days where I do more than five thousand.

I didn’t really participate in NaNo 2014. Why? Well, because I already got what I needed out of NaNo the year before. I don’t need a special month to tell me when to write or what my pace should be. Real writers just write, and I consider myself a real writer. My passion for writing was reignited, and now I write full-time. I don’t have a use for it anymore.

What about you guys? I think I’ve “seen the light” regarding writing. I don’t have to be told to write, I just do it. Do you still participate in NaNo? Do you plan to?

~Erynn

Crowfall

Some of you have probably heard about it already, but for those of you who haven’t, don’t fret. Today I’m going to talk about Crowfall, a game that’s recently popped up on kickstarter and has already raised over 1 million dollars.

I’ve always loved MMOs and games that I can play with my friends, be it some PvE adventure game or some kind of PVP game. Sure I haven’t always joined a game specifically to play it with friends, but even with as anti-social as I am, I do find people I enjoy playing with and that I continue to play with.

I pre-ordered Guild Wars 2 a couple months before its release, with the intention of playing alone. Instead, however, I ended up discovering that a few people I knew in real life were also planning on playing it (one of which is still my boyfriend to this day) and joined up with them instead. I had a guild, some people to talk to and group with, but still plenty of time to do my own thing. A bit of both worlds, really.

Anyway, onto Crowfall. It’s a new, upcoming MMO that I’ve been dying to get my hands on since the moment I heard of it. It’s PVE, PVP, and I guess a little simulation (all my favourites). The world is completely made out of voxels– so like minecraft, you can destroy anything! You get your own homeworld that you can build up and control (and invite other players to live there!), and inside the Campaigns, there’s open world PvP (depending on the mode) that kinda reminds me of my PKing days on Ragnarok Online. What’s not to love?

One thing I’m especially looking forward to is the class system. From the looks of it, it’s not going to be a simple class selection. You get to pick a class, which is essentially an archetype like a mage or a tank, but at some point (it’s not clear if you pick it at the start or after a certain level) you can turn into something that takes the essence of the class you’ve chosen, and specialize in something specific. The example given on the Kickstarter page is the Knight, which can change into a Swordsman (a tank), a Crusader (a melee DPS) or a Sentinel (Ranged Specialist). It doesn’t mention whether or not you can switch between these or if the choice matters– but personally, I hope you can’t switch. That would make it so unless you plan on buying a billion character slots to have every class with every sub-class, which classes and sub-classes you choose will be very important.

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about this. I’m really excited for this game, and though I haven’t backed it yet, I definitely will be before the Kickstarter ends.

Anyone else looking to play Crowfall? If you are, you should totally hit me up so we can play together or something when it comes out. 🙂

~Erynn

New Year, New Goals

So, the new year has begun. Have you guys made any new years resolutions? I don’t really consider the changes I’m making to my blog resolutions, but still a change I want to uphold. Take it as you will.

Anyway, today is day one, and we’re going to talk a bit about my book; my progress through 2014, and my plan moving into 2015. A couple months ago before things went seriously downhill for me, I made a lot of goals for the completion of Taichiren’s and the other books of the series.

The plan was to finish the second draft of the book before January 2015. Of course there have been a few things that prevented this from happening, such as work and depression, among many other things. I think after I restarted the second draft (which was approximately 1/4th done at the time, early July I believe), I ended up having time to write out the first two chapters and that’s it. It’s a shame, really, because I’m super pumped to write out the new storyline I’ve built up. I don’t want to share too much about it, but the best way I can think of to describe the largest change would be that I’ve switched up the perspective at the beginning. As the story did before, it still starts out on Kristinn, the main character, but the focus doesn’t stay on her for long. In the first version, the first half of the book was focused mostly on Kristinn and Cysar. In the newest version, the plan is to have a bit of focus on Kristinn on the beginning, and then introduce the perspectives of other characters as time goes on (rather than all at once half way through).

Since this didn’t happen, the new plan is to complete the second draft by the end of May. Starting tomorrow I’ll be dedicating enough time every day to write at least 1,000 words toward this goal. Since I expect the book to reach 100,000 – 150,000, this gives me me about 140 days to reach 140,000 words. If everything goes as planned, the story will end much before then, and that leaves me with a couple days to play around with in case anything comes up that stops me from writing.

A thousand words really isn’t that much– I know I can easily write 5,000 or more per day and still get lots of other stuff done– but by keeping my goal lower, I know that I’ll have time to work on everything that needs to be done without getting too stressed about the bazillion things I’m expected to do every day. And, to make things even better, I don’t intend to shy away from getting those good days where I get more than 1k words in while still getting everything else done.

Alright, that leaves us with my plans for the proceeding books. I’m honestly not too sure what my original plan for them was, because I have all that info saved on my laptop, which I don’t really use anymore and am too lazy to dig through for the purpose of this post (sorry!). I believe the goal was to have the first drafts for the second and third books done by the end of 2015, which would have been entirely possible assuming I had as much free time as I did the previous year. This also would have left time to write the first draft of the fourth book, assuming I couldn’t end the story in just the three.

As it currently stands, this is no longer possible. Not really a big surprise there, eh? But I don’t focus as much time on the details for my first drafts, so I know that it will be possible to finish the second book this year.  Depending on where I am after that’s done, I should be able to get started on the third, though I doubt I’ll finish it by the end of the year. I think it would be great to be able to stick to this, but because I don’t want to guess how busy I’ll be at that point in time, I’m not going to make any solid goals in this regard until May comes around. Once the beginning of May hits, I should know whether or not I’ll finish the first book in time, and then that’s when I’ll start making plans for the second, third, and (maybe) fourth books.

What do you guys think about my new and improved goal? Have you guys set any new writing goals for yourself with the start of the new year?

~Erynn

Merry Christmas!

I know it’s a day late, but a day late is better than never at all. So happy holidays all, hope you all had a good one.

Mine was pretty typical; met up with family for dinner and today my boyfriend and I are going out shopping for boxing day… hoping to score some new stuff. Nothing too exciting.

This is the last semi-BS post to ever be posted on this blog. That’s something exiting, isn’t it? Though lately I’ve been upkeeping the every Friday morning schedule, my posts haven’t really been anything productive. Haven’t been about writing, reading, or anything else that I’ve really permitted myself to talk about on this blog. So, sorry about that, guys! Things’ll be a bit different around here come January, but most definitely in a good way. I can say that I’m looking forward to actually talking about reading and writing again, and I’ve also got some pretty great posts lined up for the new year.

So, as the final BS post to ever be posted, I’m just gonna say that comes to mind. Why the hell not?

The first thing that comes to mind is that a week or so I completely reorganized how my email works. I did it sort of because it was messy as fuck, and sort of because I was hoping to boost productivity. And boost productivity it did!

My main problem before was that because of how frequently I got new emails, I was always checking my email on my phone and not really getting anything significant done. With the changes I made, I’ve pretty much stopped checking my phone for email unless I’m expecting something important or quite literally have nothing else to do. I no longer get notifications on my phone, I no longer check my email inbox 20 times a day, and I no longer have an inbox filled with 5000 emails to keep me distracted and stressed. I realize that this might be something that you guys are interested in, so I’ll be sure to make a post about it in January.

Let’s see… what else is there?

I’ve been sleeping a LOT lately. Damn these winter months. Not only am I at my busiest, I’m also the least productive that I’ve been all year. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later… but I suspect things will be back to normal pretty soon!

Anyway, hope you all had a great holiday and I’ll talk to you again in the new year!

~Erynn

Writing Buddies

So, I don’t really know anyone whose too interested in writing, let alone writing fiction, or even fantasy fiction. I guess I know a couple writers… although every single one of them is online. And, to make matters worse, every single one of them I’ve met through work.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I suck at making friends. I’m not very social. I struggle to maintain the friendships that I DO have; I’m not really looking forward to creating more that I can’t handle. Because, you know, when you grow to like someone, it kind of sucks to watch them disappear before your eyes because you don’t know what to say to them any more.

Regardless, I’m not here to talk about my friendship failures today. Instead, I’m here to talk about how disappointed I am in the fact that I don’t have anyone who is as enthusiastic about the written word as I am.

Obviously it’s not the end of the world. Things will change over time, and there’s always the opportunity to find people who are interested in the same things as I am. So here I am, trying to find someone who likes writing and wants to chat.

Are you a writer? Do you want to talk about writing stuff? Your book? My book? Other books? About how writing works? Want to discuss style, characterization, plot creation? To rant about whatever the writing world has cursed you with today or will in the future? Then you’ve come to the right place! If you just want to talk one time and never again, so be it! If you want to be one of those people who message me every time you fart, so be it! I want to speak to you all, everyone who loves writing and wants to talk about it.

Feel free to add me on skype: tabeteiru

Or send me an email: kisshuquiche@gmail.com

Looking forward to hearing from you!

~Erynn

The Arcade

During my visit to California this November, I actually learnt a lot about myself. I’d gone travelling for plenty of reasons; I wanted to get away, go somewhere warmer than here in British Columbia, to see friends, and to do whatever else was really worth doing on a mini vacation. Learning anything about myself, in some ways, was exactly what I didn’t want to do– but I guess it still happened, so I may as well tell you about it.

I didn’t really have all that much money to spend on my trip. And really, that’s not a huge deal at all, though most people who go to California want to visit all of the theme parks and probably Hollywood and other tourist attractions. Generally speaking, that’s not me at all. I don’t like doing those things, though I did go with my friend to Knott’s because he had free tickets. So, what I went for was to enjoy myself in every other way.

One thing I did quite frequently was go to the arcade. Truthfully it wasn’t really something I was too interested in– I’d only gone to a real arcade once before, with my cousin– but I went because my friend was super into them and wanted to show me a bunch of games. At first it was his interest that prompted me to go.

At the first arcade we went to, we played dance dance revolution for hours (I SUCK) and I watched him play a few fighting games (I believe it was Marvel vs. Capcom or something like that). And really, though we didn’t really do all that much, it was incredibly fun! Though I still sucked at DDR by the end of the night, there was one thing I knew: That I wanted to go again.

Though we did end up going to the same arcade several more times during my stay, there was another that we went to. My friend wanted to take me there for a specific reason, and that was to show me more games that he thought I’d like. I figured at that point I was already in too deep to turn back, so off we went! Long story short, we played a ton of other games; more DDR, Project Diva, and some others that I can’t remember right now.

My friend already told me several times by then that rhythm games were his favourite genre. I’d always knew he was a weird one– so this didn’t really change anything– but I struggled to understand why until I stepped in and tried not only one kind, but multiple from a very large selection. It didn’t take me long to learn that it was not only incredibly fun, but also challenging in a way I hadn’t really experienced before. You see, rhythm games are all about patterns, though more specifically the beat of each different song you can play. Timing is absolutely key when the goal of the game is to press buttons in sync with certain aspects of the song. Because of this, I’ve started to love these games as well. I still suck tremendously, but I’m enjoying myself, and that’s what counts, eh?

The game in particular that I’ve been obsessing over is Project Diva.

Here’s one of my favourite songs from the game:

I’ll probably start playing different ones eventually… but for now I’m quite content with this game. 🙂

See you guys next week!

~Erynn

Okay, okay…

It’s been almost a month since my last post, and honestly I hadn’t even realized it’s been so long until the other day when I got to my mom’s house and was looking for things to do. You might know me by now– sometimes I’ll do whatever it takes NOT to work when I have to.

And yeah, that. Work. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my work. Sure I’d much rather be writing my own stories, but having the opportunity to bring other stories to life is still so much more enjoyable than the boring retail or fast food job most people my age are stuck with. Let’s delve a bit deeper into work before we move on, though.

I believe I mentioned some time ago that I signed a contract to write for an indie video game company (yay!!), which is one of my primary projects as of now. I PROMISE I’ll post more information on it when the time comes, but for now that’s all I’m going to say. On top of this I have several novel projects on the go– three to be exact– and two more prospective ones that may be coming within the week, looking to be completed before the new year.

I swear, I’m busy. So busy that I’ve barely been able to find time to read before going to bed each night, so busy that I can hardly enjoy the time I spend playing games because I’m trying to get as much studying out of it as possible before I move on to something else.

There’s even more than that! I’ve registered for several online courses (since I don’t believe myself currently in the proper state of mind to attend real university) that I’ve planned to use to enlighten me on several subjects I’m interested in, such as deeper into the musings of Shakespeare, learning more about the ocean, and even about psychology and how the mind works. One course that I registered for- and I’m quite thankful that I have- even cost me a hefty sum of $600. I know that the skills I’ll gain from completing it will be much more valuable than the money (otherwise I wouldn’t have registered!) but I just feel so terrible that I haven’t been able to work on that so much either…

*sigh*

Then there’s NaNoWriMo. I planned on coming back from California and picking it up at full speed to complete on time. Sure, I did… I completed the 50,000 words within the last 13 days of the month… but only about three hundred of those words were toward my own book. That’s rather depressing to think about, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve had a busier month before this November, and though I’m only a couple days into December, I’ve got the feeling that it’ll be much worse. Work, work, work, work, work. When will it ever end?

I say oh well. Things’ll sort themselves out sooner rather than later, and if I’m not capable of finishing the second draft of my book this month as planned, then you can bet that I’ll be working on fixing myself a regular working, writing, and being Erynn schedule that’ll hopefully get me doing everything that I need to get done without a worry. It’ll probably be with less sleep, though. 😦

The first thing I’m going to do is to return to updating this blog weekly. I promise you that! I’ve already got posts for the next three weeks sorted out!

~Erynn