What to do when stuck on the mid-point of your story…?

I’ve talked about it before, but I find the mid-point of a story to be one of the most important parts of the book. That’s why I didn’t stop at merely blogging about it, I also made it the topic of this week’s Youtube video!

It’s always a valuable experience whenever you struggle with something. It forces you to think outside the box for a solution, and many times, you end up seeing things a little differently. The aim of this vlog is to share this experience in the hopes of connecting with other writers. Feel free to share any thoughts in the comments!

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New week, new goals!

It’s seriously troubling how fast the weeks go by. I had planned to have my book ready for beta reads around Christmas time/end of the year, but now I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to reach that goal. I’m still working on my second draft, and I wanted to give myself a third (or even fourth) before starting to look for beta readers. Some chapters are obviously more complicated than others and would, therefore, need a little extra love before the send-off.

Like I’ve said before, I’m that kind of person who likes to worry in advance. Trust me, I am painfully aware of this flaw/quirk/issue of mine. It’s because of this that I have to try and ignore some anxiety-inducing thoughts if I want to be able to do anything at all, instead of just worrying about it in en endless loop of what-ifs.

With that in mind, here’s what I hope to be able to achieve this week:

WRITING: I want to finish editing my mid-point, meaning chapter 13 and 14. It was only one chapter at first, but as I was editing it I realised it was far too cluttered and busy so I decided to split it. I’m already about half-way through chapter 13 so, hopefully, this won’t be too much.

YOUTUBE: I want to prepare, film and edit a video on my comparison between The Ladies’ Paradise – the novel – and The Paradise – the tv series. This will complete my video review of the book that I made last week. I’ve made some really interesting observations that I would like to share. After this however, it’s back to writing vlogs.

OTHER: I will try to stay on top of Instagram updates and some blogging, but I’m not pressuring myself too hard with that this week.

So – those were my goals for this week! It feels like quite a lot, I must say, and I might have to sacrifice some evenings as well. But I know it will be worth it in the end. In my point of view, there’s no greater satisfaction that the feeling of accomplishment.

Have a great Monday everyone!

The bravery and vulnerability of being a writer

Most writers that I talk to all seem to have one thing in common: we’re all incredibly self-conscious of anything that we create. We are our own worst critics, this is a hard truth indeed.

The reason behind this isn’t that we don’t enjoy our stories. We have, after all, crafted them carefully with the intent of them being good. We pour our hearts and souls into our work, and by doing so, it makes us all the more vulnerable. The mere thought of another person reading our work and finding it bad is the most terrifying thought.

Someone once said that it is only when facing our fears that we can truly be brave. I find that this resonates well with the idea of publishing a book. All authors, no matter their level of success, have gone through this act of bravery when publishing their books. And I dare say that all of them, again – no matter their level of success – must have found it utterly terrifying.

We have this intense hope within us that our books will speak to their readers. That we will be able to connect with other people through our stories. This is why we must open ourselves up to vulnerability, because if we don’t, then how are we supposed to achieve this? It’s a great risk for sure. There is no guarantee that success will follow just because you write with your heart and soul.

I haven’t published any books yet, but in my case, making the decision to self-publish was still quite scary. I know which road to take. It’s up to me now to continue down this road, to eventually take that leap of bravery – but without the affirmation of a traditional publisher in my corner. It’s amazing how you can both look forward to something as well as dread it. I suppose only time will tell what happens at the end of it.

New vlog on motivation & dialogue

I’ve finally uploaded another vlog! I’ve struggled quite a bit lately, both with my lack of motivation as well as (once I got my motivation back) writing dialogue. I couldn’t decide which one of them to talk about so the solution was simple; I included them both!

This whole vlogging and youtube business is a bit like fumbling about in darkness until you think you’ve found your way. Sometimes, you end up taking the wrong path and have to go back a few steps and try and new one. It’s both exciting and a little scary. I’m really enjoying my vlogs though, and I’m looking forward to getting better and better at recording them.

New camera!

It was time to decide on whether or not to take the whole Youtube thing seriously, and well, the decision was yes. I ordered and have just received my new camera, which will hopefully help me make videos of better quality. It’s not a super flashy camera, as that is not within my budget, but it’s probably still better than my smartphone, which has awful limitations when it comes to recording video.

So – I hope to start using it today and film another writing vlog! I’m just waiting for the battery to charge. Seriously, I’d completely forgotten about that. I had the strange idea that I would just be able to unpack it and start using it right away. Silly me.

Here it is, my brand new Canon Powershot SX730 HS

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As far as camera stuff goes, I found this one rather pretty, and naturally Oskar made fun of me for thinking that was an important part in deciding which camera to buy.

Monday, lovely Monday

I am determined to get back on track this week. I’ve already made a light start by tackling chapter 11, and hopefully I will finish editing it either today or tomorrow. I’m slightly apprehensive though, because I know what’s waiting around the corner…

The mid-climax.

I had so much trouble here when writing the first draft, it’s the only chapter in the manuscript that still has placeholders – I simply couldn’t figure it out the first time around! That’s usually a clear sign that it needs a lot of work. Perhaps even a complete renovation. We’ll see when I get there though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Apart from moving along with my chapters, I will also try my best to get another writing vlog out this week. I’m sad that I couldn’t manage to film last week, but I know that the end result would have been terrible, so there was no point in even trying. Goodness, that sounded really bad. What I mean is that it wouldn’t have been entertaining enough for a fruit fly, much less my small yet distinguished audience.

I suppose I should get back to it then, if I actually want to reach my goals. I wish everyone a happy and productive week!

The pressures of impactful dialogue

I had a plan for this week that I don’t think I’ll be able to follow. It was my intent to make a new map for my world – which would include more countries and areas that I’m working on – but I simply can’t find the motivation to work on it. It’s rather frustrating, to be honest. I love maps and I want the map making process to be fun and exciting, not dreary and dull.

I think the reason behind that is because I’m slightly overwhelmed by where I’m currently at in my editing.

I’m on chapter 11 at the moment, still second draft. It’s getting harder though. I’ve been having some trouble creating impactful dialogue – the kind that really shows a character’s personality, gives hints of their weaknesses and strengths. This is especially important in some scenes, where something significant happens… for example… when a character meets a love interest for the first time.

It’s interesting how an entire novel can feel too short for what you want to say. It simply can’t go on forever if you want the end product to be good and keep the readers’ interest. Therefore, moments like the one I just mentioned become exceptionally important. It needs to be impactful, every spoken line has to be there for a reason, have a purpose. It’s a lot of pressure, that’s all!

Maybe I’m asking too much of myself for trying to achieve that on my second draft. But as I’ve said before, I’m a perfectionist, and that’s a difficult habit to break. I’ll have to try my best though, my story deserves better than me not finishing it because I get stuck and over-complicate things. Sometimes, we just have to move forward even if we’re not 100% pleased with the previous step – it leaves a bit of a sour aftertaste but we can always go back to it later.

There’s one major flaw concerning Plotters and Pantsers

There’s a lot of talk going on in the writing community about whether you identify as a Plotter or a Pantser. I know, apparently you need to keep up with the lingo if you want people to take your writing seriously.

In short, a Plotter is someone who plots a lot (obviously). They make an outline and spend a lot of time plotting what’s going to happen in the story before actually writing it. A Pantser is kind of the opposite. They make it up as they go along, letting their characters determine the direction of the story as they’re writing it.

There are clear benefits with both of them. A Plotter usually knows beforehand what the next step is and would therefore not get stuck as often. A Pantser, however, might be less constrained by too much planning and overthinking things.

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Sometimes, stories evolve by themselves as the characters and worlds we create become alive. That’s definitely something I’ve noticed as I was writing my first draft. I’m a Plotter – but I wish I could write like a Pantser at times. I’ve spent so much time making my outline, and in the end, I had to change a lot of things because it didn’t feel right anymore. As my story had evolved, it no longer fit my initial plan for it. Like I had created something… organic.

I’m too much of a control freak to let go and have my story take me to new places; I want to be in the driver’s seat. This means that I’m constantly fighting the natural progression of things. Kind of like shooting myself in the foot during a marathon. I might be stubborn enough to reach the end eventually, but I’ll do so on a painful limp just to prove a point. Or at least, I would have done before – but now I’ve realised that things don’t exactly work that way.

It’s difficult to know when to remain in control and when to let go. Sometimes when reading my manuscript I find little hints that weren’t put there intentionally. It could be foreshadowing to a completely different ending, perhaps, or a character acting in a way that goes against my initial portrait of them. That is when I have to decide whether to remedy this by going with my original plan – or to act upon these hints and make significant changes to the story. Each and every one of these hints means a new, major decision that no label can make for me.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, whether you identify as a Plotter or a Pantser, be careful of putting labels on yourself and your writing. Whilst some people might feel safe knowing what works “best” for them, my experience is that it can also hold you and your story back from its true potential. Just a little something worth thinking about this fine Friday afternoon.

Vlog is now up!

My first writing vlog is officially up! If you are in any way interested in discussing writing, writing first drafts and editing chapters, feel free to give it a watch and let me know if you agree, or if you have different views and experiences. (And yes, it’s rather embarrassing that I just now figured out that I could just paste the link in the blog post.)

First time filming without a script

I just filmed my vlog about chapters! It’s a real mess, truthfully, but I hope to be able to make sense of it during editing. This was my very first video without a formal script – I had basically just made a list of points that I wanted to talk about, so that was an interesting experience. Not really sure if I like it though, we’ll see what the end result is before I pass my sentence on it!

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My more casual filming setup! I thought, since I’m filming myself just talking about my experience and views, I would need a more casual setup. So here it is.

I’ve always admired Youtubers who can just sit down with a camera in front of them and talk cohesively for like an hour, with minimal cutting. It might just be me being inexperienced, but I find it really difficult to talk without a script. Not when I’m with my friends, obviously, but when I’m alone with a camera my mind just goes blank for some reason. It’s probably just some kind of performance anxiety that goes away with time.

The video will be posted tomorrow, as Thursdays are my usual upload days. 🙂

I hope you all have a lovely day!