I already touched on this topic in Blog 37: On The Importance Of Words, but I wanted to write more about the language and terminology that we use.
As a writer getting the language and terminology right for your characters, setting, plot and storyline is important. The writers who nail this often have the best-selling novels, whilst the writers who don’t, often trail behind. Now that’s not to say that every best-selling novel is a good book and every other book is bad, but you can definitely tell when a book is more likely to be good, based on the language and terminology that the author uses.
Language and terminology can be used to add colour and complexity to your characters without compromising on your word count. Sticking to stereotypes for now, the evilness of your antagonists can be increased with the language and terminology that they use. If their language is mean, cold, and/or condescending, it is likely that the reader will ‘dislike’ these characters. Similarly, the goodness of your protagonists can be amplified by the honesty, good-will and politeness that may shine through in how they speak and interact with other characters. Not only this, but the language and terminology used by characters when they talk about other characters, can be used to paint pictures and nudge the reader’s opinions of those other characters. This happens all the time in real life, you see it in advertising, music, the media, and pretty much every single thing that is written, everyone has an opinion and their own lives, and naturally this will come through in their work, their mannerisms and what they say, even if they’re not aware of it. read more
“The funny thing about writing is that whether you’re doing it well or you’re doing it poorly, it looks the exact same. That is actually one of the main ways that writing is different from ballet dancing.” – John Green
If you’re an indie author and either have, or are considering self-publishing, then let me borrow a few minutes of your time to tell you why I think investing in a good editor is important.
I’ve read many books over the years and I’m by no means an expert in the field of writing, but I have noticed reoccurring patterns and feelings. Particularly feelings of disappointment and confusion when a book I’ve been reading has fallen flat or the characters have just acted bizarrely for no apparent reason, and yes I have fallen into this trap too.
As a writer and author, I know how difficult it is to come up with compelling, yet realistic ideas that make sense for your story. When I was writing my first published book Anomaly, which I rewrote dozens of times with the help of a couple of editors, I found that in later rewrites my mind had become so saturated with my story that I could no longer decide whether my writing and ideas were good, or if they were just plain terrible. I experienced feelings of panic and anxiety for weeks and months, even after I finished the book and it went off for publication. In fact, the earliest versions of Anomaly bear very little resemblance to what I eventually wrote and published in 2016. read more
When I was in high school and studying English Literature, we read books like ‘Of Mice And Men’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’. One day that I remember clearly, a student asked the English teacher why we were bothering to study the sentences in such detail. This student was sure that writers would not and did not plan every single sentence they wrote. They thought that if a writer chose to write that the curtains were blue then they simply were blue and that it was not a subtle attempt at drawing out feelings of sadness from the reader. My teacher didn’t have a reply at the time, but after writing a book, reading hundreds of other books and many years later, I do have a reply. read more
Q1) Briefly, how would you describe ‘In the Depths of Darkness’ to someone who hasn’t read any of your previous work?
In the Depths of Darkness follows a group of outcasts blackmailed into joining the oppressive Earth Alliance army, only to discover they’re the test subjects for an advanced neural Chip that will make them into super soldiers. If they survive. But once the rest of the galaxy finds out they have the Chip, they are forced to go on the run and find somewhere—anywhere—safe.
It’s a YA Star Wars meets Firefly with some Ender’s Game thrown in.
Q2) How long did it take for you to finish and publish ‘In the Depths of Darkness’?
This was my most ambitious project to date. Book one took me about six months to write and do my edits on. Then another 2-3 months to have readers/editors take a look and input their edits. I was actually done with it near the middle of 2016, but I held off to release it so I could get the second one started. I haven’t released Book 2 yet, but it’s done, and I have just a little editing left before letting other people look at it. read more
Now I am not an expert here at all, and as a new author I’ve only had one encounter with a bookshop so far, to say it went badly would be an understatement. However, I learnt some valuable lessons from that one encounter and I’m going to share those lessons with all of you aspiring authors.
As a new author you will want to contact local and independent bookshops. WH Smiths and Waterstones may be less likely to take you, as a new author, seriously but that’s not to say they won’t stock your book at all. Many Waterstones have a local author’s section but as I’m sure you have noticed, the giants tend to stock the famous authors and celebrity cookbooks. Local and independent bookshops will also stock these books but they are more likely to stock your book too. read more
I’m sorry this is a boring and long blog but it is REALLY IMPORTANT, so you should read it.
I’ve touched on this subject briefly in Blog 2: ‘Becoming a Writer is Like Climbing a Mountain’ and now I am going to go into more detail. In the UK and certainly during my school years, tax was and is, that evil little subject that never really gets covered, but you’re expected to know what it is and more importantly how to pay it regardless. Makes total sense right? Not.
If you work for yourself and earn money from what you do, then you are self-employed. You could be an artist, writer, builder, yoga instructor, pretty much anything, but if you do not work for a company or an employer who already sorts out your tax for you (you will need to check this out if you are employed, particularly if you do contract work), then you need to register as self-employed and you need to do your own tax returns.
So, for the benefit of pretty much every self-employed person, I’m going to do my best at explaining how you sign up for tax as a UK resident, and how you complete a Self-Assessment form. read more
Many authors choose to write under a pen name or pseudonym. It’s a difficult decision to make and comes down to personal preference and what you hope to achieve.
Personally, I chose to use my real name but I deliberated for months over it. Luckily my name is pretty unique, and uniqueness is a good thing in the literary world. It means whenever someone searches my name up on the World Wide Web, I’m not lost underneath thousands of ‘Caitlin Lynagh’ results. If you search my name now, you will most likely find Troubador’s website featuring my novel Anomaly, at the top of the first page. However, not everyone has a unique name and not everyone wants to use their real name, and there can be a number of reasons as to why.
Some authors use a pen name aka nom de plume, because they don’t want family and friends to know that they have written, let alone published, a novel. Writing is exposing and there is undeniably a huge part of the author in any published novel. As you write, you will consciously and subconsciously draw upon your own thoughts, feelings and past experiences. The characters in your novel may even be loosely based on your friends and family, and the locations may be based on actual places you have visited. This is all pretty normal, and authors habitually venture into the real world searching for inspiration or sit and watch the world go by. Nonetheless, it ultimately means that your readers will be judging you subconsciously as a person and consciously as an author. This thought can be scary, and it is why some authors choose to use a pen name. read more
Imagine it’s two o’clock in the morning. You’ve been awake all night, working on this and that, and now your little spot on this planet is slowly rotating its way to dawn. You’re tired and you know you should be asleep, your body is practically yelling this at you, but you’ve just been hit by an awesome idea that cannot be ignored. You quickly scribble down the awesome idea in your notebook, but it’s frustrating, your mind feels thick and sluggish and you keep yawning like a Venus flytrap. You desperately want to work on the awesome idea, but your bed is calling you. This often happens to me, yet it is apparently quite common.
Research has shown, and I mean actual scientific research, that people tend to be more creative when they’re tired. read more
Becoming an author is not an easy decision to make. New writers have to convince an agent or publisher to take them on, write a novel that will appeal to readers, learn about the industry, improve their writing skills, and in most cases balance a job and family commitments too. At times it feels like trying to climb a literary equivalent of Mount Everest. It’s not easy, and not everyone is understanding. Your ideas will be rejected, probably by hundreds of publishing houses before one actually takes you on. Your family and friends may also reject the idea of you being a writer. I’ve heard many phrases such as, ‘A writer? that’s not going to earn you money,’ or ‘When are you going to find a real job?’ or ‘How about you take a dentistry course instead?’ and my favorite, ‘When’s your book going to be ready?’ Do any of these sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone, everyone goes through this, myself included.
The truth is, being a writer means that you are deciding to be self-employed, an authorpreneur so to speak. The majority of people would never consider being self-employed, it scares them and to be totally honest it is scary. Most people read more