Real talk about community, branding and content

Here it is; my video where I talk about the Authortube community and the risks of negativity, as well as my vision for my content and how I see my channel going forward. It might not be the that writing-related, but I do find it necessary. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Am I following my original plan/vision? If not, what are my reasons for leaving it? I found that those reasons weren’t really good enough, so it’s time to take a good look at how I can make my brand and content into something that is representing me as a creator.

Feel free to give it a watch and gasp at my real talk. Don’t forget to like & subscribe as that helps me out a lot. ❀

I believe it’s time to change things up

I’ve been thinking quite a lot lately about doing some substantial changes to my platform. The whole marketing thing is a trial-and-error practice, and I’ve recently come to the realisation that I’m not following my original vision in the way I do things. This would of course not be an issue if I was happy about the route I was taking, but as it is now, I’m not. Not entirely.

People are (usually) not interested in just one thing. I would say that I have a couple of interests that make up the majority of my time and headspace, and that is 1) writing/reading, 2) history and 3) gaming. History used to be my number one as that was my major at University, and when I was still a student there was no time for leisure writing/reading. Now that I’m working on my manuscript, that takes the number one spot whereas history and gaming are leisure activities. But that is everyone’s life: people have more than one interest and they split their time between different things that they enjoy and that they identify with.

So why am I talking about this now? Well, the content I make for Youtube and my blog have been pretty straight-forward – it’s about writing. There is something special about making writing vlogs as I work on my manuscript. I still enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m thinking long-term about how I can grow as a content creator. At some point, I’m going to finish my novel and go into full-on marketing mode. I don’t want this to cause a drastic change in my content, or worst case scenario, run my channel into a dead-end. On top of that, I also feel like I want more of me in my videos, and by me and mean that I want to define my personal brand. Therefore, I have decided that I need a little bit more versatility in my content.

I won’t be going into too much detail here. But I’m planning on making a vlog this week where I discuss my plans for my channel/platform. I do hope it all goes well.

Have a lovely Tuesday people ❀

Worldbuilding: Character Names

Goodness me, I struggled so much with naming my characters. The first thing that got me was the decision between 1) making something up and 2) using existing names. So for my first draft, I went with names I had made up myself – and they were absolutely terrible.

That’s one advantage with taking your time to finish your book. Something that you thought was great at the start might actually be quite bad, but you can’t see it until you get a bit of distance from it. So back to square one for me – and back to the initial decision. This time, I decided to go with existing names, but tweaking them a little so that they fit the culture of my world. This process was a lot of fun, and I explain it all here in this week’s video.

Feel free to give it a watch. Enjoy!

Time to let loose a little bit

So my new tag video is up! Honestly, I had a lot of fun doing this. Is it intellectual? No. Is it educational? Not really. But is it fun? Yes! I will do the occasional “fun” video, but of course, everyone knows I prefer the pretentious intellectual stuff. I hope you’ll enjoy the video! πŸ™‚

Jane Austen’s Emma – A Study in Character Relationships

It’s finally done! (Not to self; if you know you’re planning a long video, don’t expect that you’ll be able to do it in the same amount of time as the shorter ones. Just don’t. It doesn’t work that way.)

I have to say, I’m very fond of this video. I had so much fun doing the analysis of the various character relationships, and for some reason, a lot of fun doing the synopsis as well – it ended up being twice as long as my analysis (oops). I’ll have to keep that in mind for when I do videos like this in the future. And yes – I will do more videos like these! Just not very often though, as they take a long time to make and I want to get as much writing done as possible.

Feel free to give it a watch πŸ™‚ and if you’ve already read Emma, or are just not interested in listening to my lovely synopsis, then you can skip ahead to about 30 minutes in. (You’ll find all the timestamps in the video description.) If you enjoy it or have any other thoughts about the video or the book, do let me know! Enjoy!

The beauty of nature – especially when it’s odd

We had a lovely mini-hike yesterday where we went to the nature reserve of Skrylle. There’s a certain charm about the rugged, winter landscape here in Sweden. The silhouette of naked trees against a white sky makes for a cold and dead impression, but the faint rippling of a nearby stream still breathes life into the surroundings.

Niles had a great time getting himself very muddy as he ran along the trail.

I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself an “outdoorsy” person. I’m far too comfortable at home on my couch to be able to uphold such a title – but I do appreciate nature whenever I get the chance to visit it. There are so many peculiar things about nature that really inspires me. It could be an oddly shaped tree or a cute little mushroom growing all by itself in a meadow. Contrary to what science often tells us, there are no rules in nature. It does whatever it feels like doing, even if, sometimes, that doesn’t always make sense.

Humans are so obsessed with rules, and truthfully, I’m no different. We like things to make sense. It’s satisfying to know how things work and to be able to detect a pattern. I suppose that’s why I find the strange decisions nature makes to be so interesting. They surprise me, but in a good way (because I generally don’t like surprises). The next time you visit nature, have a look around for some odd things – I’m sure you’ll find many. Take a moment to appreciate it, because, after all, lucky are those who can see beauty in their surroundings.

Why don’t we end with a lovely little quote from Jane Austen:

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and sees nothing that does not answer.

On writing believable relationships

We all love complex characters. Even more so when they meet other complex characters and start interacting with them – there are so many possible ways for this to go! What do they really think of each other? Is there instant like, dislike, jealousy, admiration, attraction? Will there be drama, trust, betrayal, romance? Just like with our real-life relationships, we don’t necessarily think the same of all our friends, colleagues or loved ones/family members. Just as every real person is unique, so should our fictional characters be, thus making their relationships feel real as well.

This is no easy feat. There are only so many questionnaires you can fill about your characters middle name or favourite colour before you start feeling like your brain is just one big pile of superfluous information. But truthfully, this is another matter. My point is that it takes a lot of trial and error to get the relationships right, and I’ve been working on this lately as a way to further improve my story.

The method is simple, but requires having a draft to be able to use. I don’t know if this is common knowledge, I simply sat down and tried some things until I found something that worked for me. So I decided to put it in a video and share it with the world! Feel free to give it a watch and let me know if you have any thoughts, I always appreciate that. πŸ™‚


Day trip to Copenhagen

While I can’t deny that I’m still feeling the repercussions of a very pleasant New Years Eve, today is going to be a rather active day. Oskar has taken this week off from work so we have decided to take a day trip to Copenhagen. Despite it being only 40mins away by train we only go there about once a year, which is a shame, but at the same time, it makes it all the more special. Being a history nerd, I just love to walk around the beautiful city centre and visit museums, and we’ve decided on the National Museum for this trip. Never actually been there before, as I tend to prefer visiting castles (again, history nerd). Afterwards, we will probably walk around some more, maybe even have a pint somewhere. For tonight we have a table booked at a restaurant which seems quite nice. In other words, it’s going to be a long but lovely day! The highly distinguished Niles von Fluffenstein will therefore be retreating to my grandparents’ house, where he will be spoiled with long walks and lots of cuddles until tomorrow.

A small trip like this feels like the perfect way to start the new year, as it will surely fill me up with inspiration. Although I can’t wait to tackle some of the things I have planned, I suppose we all need a little break from time to time.

Cheesy Christmas movies – a rant about A Christmas Prince, The Royal Wedding

I’ll admit it. I love cheesy Christmas movies. Not because of them being genuinely good movies, but because of their guilty pleasure-value. It’s fun to make fun of, with the occasional moment that actually gets to you and you might even shed a tear (or several, because I’m such a girl). So – I had last Friday all to myself because Oskar was away at a company Christmas party. An excellent time for guilty pleasures, in my opinion.

You know, I quite enjoyed the first movie, A Christmas Prince. It had a certain something to it which made it feel cosy and nice, and therefore it should be no surprise that I decided to watch its sequel, A Christmas Prince, The Royal Wedding.

Ok, that’s enough backstory, let’s start the rant. There will be spoilers, obviously.

The amount of ridiculous things in this movie is truly baffling, even for someone like me who actually enjoys corny movies. I’ve therefore made a list of things that I noticed whilst watching. Some of it will seem nitpicky, but I simply couldn’t resist.

  • There is a scene with four people sitting in front of a computer, each of them having a cup with a hot beverage. The funny thing here is that all four cups are different from each other in size, colour, patterns, everything. And this is a CASTLE. This just made me wonder if the royal family of Aldovia couldn’t get a set of matching cups.
  • The wedding planner is an Indian gay guy who is so over-the-top that it makes me cringe into my cushions. Also, who starts to plan a wedding only a week before it will take place?
  • Amber’s father. We all know this standard character, the one that is supposed to be very out of place in a high class/royal environment because they’re so “down to earth” and familiar. That’s him, times 10, despite him only being one person.
  • It’s always nice when the plot requires some hacking skills to solve a problem, and all of a sudden, someone on the team just happens to be really good at hacking! How lucky that someone could take care of that stuff right when they needed it.
  • What’s up with the archery? It’s thrown in so haphazardly that I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a call back to the first movie or if an earlier draft of the script had a proper purpose for it that made sense, but was cut out later on. Also, who keeps a bow and quiver/arrow set as wall decorations in a castle? Swords and shields I get. Suits of armour I get. But archery set?
  • This is a corny detail that I actually loved because it made me laugh, and that was Amber’s notes as she was talking to a guy about the strange on-goings in Aldovia. You know it’s pristine journalism when they write “fishy” in their notes. Just in case she forgets that there’s something… well… fishy going on.
  • I haven’t been to many weddings, but isn’t the dramatic wedding fanfare supposed to play after the ceremony is concluded and the couple is exiting the church? Here it plays as the bride walks up to the altar, and it felt really weird. As if she would have to march to keep up with the music.
  • Speaking of churches. Never been to a royal wedding either, but oh my did they pick the smallest church they could find for this wedding. It just looked so sad, and the only guests were members of staff and that boy the little princess has a crush on. I have to say, I was expecting a little more royal flair!
  • Oh the shoes! Listen, if you’re the kind of person who can’t walk in heels and prefers to wear flats – specifically converse – in your everyday life, that would of course mean that you would prefer to wear converse on your wedding day, too. Because people are that one-dimensional.
  • We have to talk about the crown jewels. So – we’re at a photoshoot for Amber and the King (I’ve forgotten his name, aaaah), and Amber wants to wear a locket of sentimental value. But then, the Indian gay guy insists that she should wear the crown jewels, and takes out this very modern looking necklace. It’s a floral design on what looks like a heavy chain, and it’s gorgeous – but it doesn’t exactly say “crown jewels” as much as “fashion spread in a magazine”.
  • This might just be my foot phobia talking – but I really didn’t need the close-up of her gay friend’s foot as she painted his toenails. I mean, it’s Tuesday now and I’m still not over it.

I had so much more, believe me, this movie is full of weird decisions. Overall I had a fun time watching it, but I have to admit that I wasn’t quite prepared for what I was getting. I’d recommend seeing it with friends, though. Maybe add some drinks, that would surely make it even more enjoyable.

I finished the second draft!

Yesterday was a milestone – a pretty big one, too! Like the title says, I finished my second draft. To explain it a little further, I finished editing the first draft. I feel like I have a new understanding of novels and how they are created. The first draft is, without doubt, terrible. I don’t think there is a writer out there whose first drafts are flawless. Once you start really looking into your writing, your world, your characters, the plot oh my god, the plot… you realise you have a lot of work to do.

It would be interesting to have a specific number showing how much of the first draft I kept and how much was deleted or rewritten. Trust me, it’s not much at all. Kind of a depressing thought when you think about it: I spent six months writing the first draft, and ended up rewriting most of it. Even the outline changed as I worked. But you know, it’s still not a “waste of time” because in the end, my book will be better for it. I’ll probably do a lot of rewriting again once I start with the third draft.

However, before I start with that, I’m going to have a look at my characters and their arcs. I did this for one of my antagonists the other week, just to see how useful it would be: I wrote their backstory, from childhood and up, and then I wrote their side of the story in the book, kind of like an overview of their perspective. I had always known in my head what this character’s personal journey would be, but now I put it into words and fleshed out the details of it. It turned out great, really great. I see this character in a new light now, I know every move they make and why – that is the most important thing for a story in my opinion. Every character has to have a reason for their actions.

I have decided to do this for every important character in the manuscript before starting with the third draft. Some people might think that I’m very late to do this now, but I’m actually quite slow when it comes to building characters. I need to create them as I write my story, they come alive in the setting I’ve made up for them. I have a feeling that this exercise would also be very helpful in discovering potential plot holes and such, which is an added bonus. So that’s what I’ll be working on now!

I hope everyone else is having a pleasant Monday πŸ™‚