How writers can benefit from historical non-fiction

I’ve managed to make a video this week! I’m pretty happy with it, too, which isn’t necessarily a given when producing stuff all on your own. πŸ˜€ (we all suffer for our art don’t we) This week, we’re talking about historical non-fiction. Having already done a video on this topic before, I was kind of discouraged by the low amount of views. But, since then, I have received so much encouragement to continue on this route, especially since it’s not as common of a subject on Booktube or Authortube. So here’s hoping that there are more people out there who, like me, love this genre and find it very useful when researching for our own writing.

Feel free to give it a watch, and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments!

❀

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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 write some character descriptions

I’m on my third draft, and I’m worrying about this now. Truthfully, I was terrified of writing character descriptions for quite some time. Every time I tried I just felt awkward. I couldn’t care less about a characters hair colour, eye colour or body type – but then again, how else could I describe them? I looked up different descriptions from various types of books and compiled them to get a better overview. Physical attributes, personality traits, metaphors. There are so many ways to describing a character. So, I did a bit of research, and I present my result in this video.

Also, Niles is making an appearance, being his usual, spoiled self.

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™‚


End-of-year Reflections

I hadn’t really planned on taking a break over Christmas, but here we are. There’s no video ready for Youtube either, which makes me feel a little bad, but I suppose it was somewhat unrealistic to be able to stick to my normal schedule during those busy Christmas days.

But now it’s over, and we’re getting closer and closer to New Years Eve. I have mixed feelings about this to be honest. Whilst I’m super excited to start 2019 with a bang, I’m also a little apprehensive about my expectations and whether or not I will be able to meet my goals. I guess this is completely normal though.

What are my expectations? What are my goals? A few months ago, I played around with the idea of being able to publish my first novel in 2019. I haven’t quite given up on this yet – but I think the more realistic approach would be to aim for the end of that. It has come to my attention how much… well, preparation that needs to be done after the book is actually ready to publish. What I mean is, if I want to do things properly, I need to have the finished book printed and ready in my hand months before I can actually release it.

It’s a little bonkers, but it also makes sense.

As writers, we want to focus on writing, being creative, weaving together stories with interesting characters. But the marketing side of things is just as important as the writing side because we want people to read and enjoy our books, and if they don’t know it exists, well, then they won’t read it. With this in mind, I’ve come to realise that publishing a book – even self-publishing – isn’t as straightforward as I initially thought. But that’s okay.

To sum this up, next year will probably be quite a busy one, and I’m looking forward to it. I just have to try and calm down in my expectations, because ultimately, it doesn’t matter if I don’t finish in time to publish next year. The most important thing is that I keep going, that I work hard and never give up. As long as I do that, I can be proud of myself.

Say it with a vlog

Here it is. A completely unscripted video – some might say an unscripted mess – but at the same time, it’s authentic. It’s nothing more or less than me (and Niles being his normal diva self, of course), being completely honest about the experience of finishing the second draft.

Am I proud of myself? Yes. Does it show? Probably.