“So how long did it take to write?”

As a writer who can genuinely say I’ve written and finished a novel (finally!!), one of the most popular questions I am asked (as I am sure most authors are) is how long it took me to write it. The shocking (or maybe not so shocking) answer? About two years. Holy hell! you might be thinking. Two freaking years?! Why that’s preposterous! Yes, yes it is. But there’s a perfectly logical explanation.

There are so many different contributing factors to that ridiculously long timeframe. Some of which include the fact that I have a full time job that has nothing to do with writing, along with horrible time management skills which leave me almost entirely incapable of maintaining focus on any one particular project at a time. But aside from all that, another huge reason that writing a book takes so, so long is research! I’m pretty sure any author can attest to this fact. One of the fundamentals of writing a compelling, believable, relatable story is by conducting a significant amount of thorough research. And when I say research, I mean

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Soooo much research! As I was working on my first novel, Personified, I wish I had actually kept track of all the hours I spent fact checking, analyzing maps, researching legends, looking up meanings of words and names, translations, timelines etc. etc. If I had kept track, I’m pretty sure I’d find that nearly half of the time I spent working on Personified wasn’t spent writing it, it was that blasted research. Why so much research? Well depending on the subject, as well as the location of your story, it’s imperative that everything makes sense. Even if you’re writing  a work of fiction, there has to be a certain level of logic applied or you run the risk of telling an implausible story. Unrealistic storyline = disengaged reader = bad news for reader and author.

But sadly enough, the research doesn’t end at the writing phase. Oooh no! It goes far beyond that! As I ventured into editing, proofreading, publishing, I found there was a lot I didn’t know. So many steps in the process I hadn’t realized were necessary or even how to carry out each step. That’s where more of that lovely research came into play. But you know what? I can’t gripe on research too much, these days it’s relatively painless to obtain an abundance of knowledge on practically anything fathomable. I’m so thankful for the internet and the vast amount of information that’s out there, so easily available. I don’t even want to think about how tedious of a process it was and how long writers spent on research prior to Google and smartphones.

Now that I’ve actually gone through and experienced the entire daunting process of writing and publishing a book for myself, I’ll never again complain about having to wait a whole year for the next installment of a beloved series. (I might whimper just a little, but it’s completely out of love!).

So please, folks, if you retain nothing else from this rambling tirade, remember this – as a reader, stop being such a crybaby (I can’t make any promises myself, haha). And as a writer, do your freaking research!

Peace and love

Writing Truly is an Art

If you see me out at a coffee shop with my laptop in front of me, odds are more times than not you’ll find me staring intently at nothing in particular, or perhaps my eyes are locked in your direction, seemingly gazing deep into the darkest, most secret depths of your soul. However, let me first apologize because I do tend to stare off into space a lot and many times when I mosey back to reality, I find that I’ve been unknowingly staring at some poor freaked out stranger (cue the red cheeks of embarrassment). BUT I solemnly swear that there is nothing nefarious being contemplated behind those piercing eyes of mine, well not unless we’re talking about the next villain plotting his scheme to thwart the hero’s victories.

Every bit of writing, whether it’s an email, blog post, or novel, has to be perfectly crafted, with each word chosen to most accurately convey the intended message. And that takes a lot of thinking! At least for me, it does. Sometimes it’s a single word that bothers me, and in my opinion throws off the entire sentence. But after careful consideration, and sometimes a thorough thesaurus consultation, I find the right word and viola, everything just fits together seamlessly, like a perfect outfit designed solely for me! It’s truly that serious!

Anyway, enough of my rambling. The point I’m trying to make is that to create good writing, one must strive to surpass simple sentence structure. Take the extra time and put forth the effort to not only build better sentences, but more importantly, use your words to create a world that completely transports the reader from reality and makes them feel utterly immersed into your story.

Be sure to click on the link below to read Writing is Design: Parts 1 and 2, both are great articles that reinforce the concept of writing as art and are full of advice on how to take your writing to a more imaginative level.

http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/pronouns-generic-verbs/

Goodreads Giveaways: Don’t Do What You’re Told

This lady definitely knows her stuff! Check out this awesome post about brilliant Goodreads Giveaways tactics, as well as her immensely knowledgeable collection of self publishing advice!

CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD

This summer I’m working on revising and updating my self-publishing ‘how to’: Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing. Edition #3 is scheduled for release in a few weeks’ time. (I will definitely be taking advantage of KDP’s new pre-ordering function, so stayed tuned for that.) When I did the second edition back in 2012, only one year had passed since the first but still, so much had changed. This time around, the entire landscape has changed, and there’s so many new and exciting opportunities for self-publishers to take advantage of. I’ve completely changed my mind about some of my advice, and believe more than ever in the rest of it. One thing hasn’t changed at all though: I still think self-publishing is something every author should be involved in, whether it’s their main career or a sideline, and I still think that with great power comes great responsibility…

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