Pinteresting things- plotting and structure around images

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So some of you may be aware that Pinterest is a thing. More of you may be aware that authors love Pinterest. I wasn’t really aware of that until recently- I thought it was just something mums did, y’know?

I’ve recently turned to the dark side. Pinterest has been a go to of mine for story planning. I started rewriting a book recently. I mean, I trashed everything but one or two characters, the the feeling I wanted to convey with it. The plot changed, the genre- literally everything. When I first decided I had to scrape this decade old project that I loved so much but knew wasn’t the story it had to be, it hurt. I had no idea where to jump off. So, I turned to pinterest with a few things I did know- what my main characters looked like, and the vibes I wanted to encompass.

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Though these are only a few of the bunch of images I saved, they were a jumping off point. I found reference images I had considered, and built a story around the setting and the moral of the story I wanted to convey.

I still didn’t know WHAT I wanted to happen. I panicked. I had a vague idea now but no real sub plots. So, I did a google. I knew I wanted to write a south gothic/young adult book. That’s when I landed at this incredibly helpful site.

  • Beginning; use voice/mystery/location/atmosphere to drawn in reader
  • Inciting event: what sets the story in motion?
  • What are the goals, motivation, and conflict of the main character?
  • The guts of the story based on these: dialogue, narration, and the right details
  • The black moment: when everything falls apart for dear old protagonist and they’re rammed into a corner
  • Resolution: How do they/don’t they resolve the issue and achieve/not achieve their goals?

Following this super simple formula, based on the fleeting sentence I had for a plot, I put my thoughts into a paragraph for each of these. I expanded and added onto what I already knew and gave voice to the desires of my MC and thought about where their initial actions would lead them.

You know what I did after this? I took facets I built up in these paragraphs (i.e. the conflict) and found images by looking up what happened/how it felt and finding images in pinterest to add to my board. Some of them felt a little silly but I managed to build a clear reference to the setting of my story and the plot began unfurling like flowers on a tree from there!

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Since then I have been scrawling little sub plots and ideas that I want to explore! You know what they said; an image is worth a thousand words.

 

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Getting some stuff done!

So this week/weekend is getting busy over here! I’ve been pretty ill the last week and suddenly bam, I have a million things I’m getting done for my site, social media, and my writing. On Saturday, I’m having my first out of costume photoshoot with a professional photography friend so I have an actual adult author photo on here…and not one of me dressed like a ten year old magical girl. As much as that is what I am in my head, probably doesn’t scream the most professional person ever to others.

I’m also in the middle of communications to commission some new art! Ah! I have a good idea of what I want and a small artist that I love and have paid for work from before, so hoping that that goes well. If you ever have a chance to support someone budding in their field- take it, and do your best to push their name out there. If everything goes through, I’ll be spamming their work out to everyone.

update: negotiations are in progress, woohoo!

I’ve been pretty lackluster with content and with my writing, but I’m setting myself some goals and some plans. Sometimes this blog is going to be purely catch up, rambling crazy talk but I will be doing my best to hopefully produce some content that you enjoy, or maybe even learn something from.

Also, my mother told me you all need to tell me off and make me write more. So, I was thinking of ways to encourage myself to write. I’ve decided to show you something I’ve been working on- a sample of Audrey. To get access to a chapter of the Story of Audrey, I’d really appreciate it if you filled out this form so that I can email you a sample!

Thanks for everything, guys. I hope to end up making you all proud, even if it’s slow.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Beginning 2018 the write way

Happy 2018 everyone! I hope your new year has started off on the right foot, and you’re already diving into your projects and goals! I’ve already gotten well underway with several things I want to do with my year, one of which being bullet journaling. I also bought a custom embossed journal cover for it, so I can change my book each year. Neat, huh?

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I’m using my journal for my yearly goals (which have changed drastically in the last few weeks), my quarterly goals, keeping track of what I’m reading, blog info, therapy, and different writing notes and bits. I actually FINALLY sorted all my novel notes into separate folders per book etc the other day, but I’d still like to have nicely written synopsis’s tucked away in here for my own benefit. Speaking of quarterly goals, I figured I’d slip some of them in here!

  • Read seven books before April! Should be easy
  • Finish and enter my first short story competition of the year
  • Finish the outline for the short story horror collection I plan to release this year
  • Get into healthy, habitual writing
  • Start DBT and outline the process each week in said journal
  • Participate in volunteering more with Writer’s SA!
  • Have at least 2k words written a month. This is the only target I am giving myself on this
  • Cook at least one new dish a month outside of my comfort zone
  • Get a little ahead on some blogs if I can. Yeah, that sounds like cheating, but I struggle some weeks
    Finish my last FOUR driving hours (if I can’t manage that with all my lessons booked, we have an issue)
  • Finish outlining the rest of Audrey. I’ve been stuck with massive anxiety about this book, and expressing some parts of it and myself, but I want to get there
  • Be more supportive and loving of my partner and his pursuits, as he’s the entire reason I’m giving my aspirations a go!

I’ve also started my first book of the year with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, because I’m somewhat obsessed with the movie. I’ll be reading an Indie published book after that, so if you have any recommendations for that, please let me know! I’m also writing my first short story of the year right now for the Hope Prize, so I’ll be keeping you all posted on how that goes.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the exciting plans you have/have started, I’d love to hear all of them. Other people are my motivation- I just get so pumped up seeing others achieve the stuff they love!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

2018 and onwards

So this is my second to last post for 2017, and it’s pretty exciting. This is also my 20th blog post, meaning 20 weeks of consistent posting (which is a pretty big deal for me, because I usually lack consistency and follow through). I’ve actually already scheduled my final post of the year, so I wanted to take this post to sort of chat about some of the directions I would like to take my blog, social media, and writing next year.

One really big thing I want to focus on is really tying Goodreads into my blog. Goodreads is a pretty important thing for authors- I mean, rates and reviews are massive if you want your book seen and noticed. My intention is to read as much as I write next year, with a minimum goal of a book once a fortnight (two a month is nothing but gotta keep that minimum low, just in case). I really want to put a focus on Indie and debut authors though, so I’ll be reviewing ONE of those at least once a month, with my first book being Keeper by Kim Chance which I preordered (out 20th January!). I also intend to review The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci upon it’s release, which should hopefully be soon.

These are only two books though, and I posted on twitter, but I am seeking call outs for indie published books I can access easily on kindle, as well as debut books. So, if you or a friend has something- feel free to link me! I want to give a shout out to other authors and hopefully help garner them attention. In addition to the Goodreads review, I’ll be dedicating a blog post that month to that author and book, linking their social media, etc. I have a few other plans to go with that, but we’ll see if I can manage them.

I also want to force myself to write more, so I’ll be showing something from my work once a month. It might be some back story, or an excerpt, or some artwork I’ve commissioned, but I WILL be showing something in preparation to hype myself up to finish. There might be some form of giveaways thrown in there, too.

Wising you all a happy holiday, I’m sure you’re all doing something this weekend/week. Thanks for hanging around, and hopefully 2018 I will have a lot more for you all.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Why do I want to be a writer?  

This is something I get asked a lot. Like a ridiculous amount. I’ve always answered the same different ways: because I’ve written since I was little, because it makes me happy, because I enjoy it. Lately though (and by lately, I mean the last decade or so) I’ve questioned what has changed.

I used to write a lot, and frequently. I finished my first (if albeit terrible) full manuscript at fourteen. I won quite a few short story competitions and poetry contests. I excelled at English and basked in praise. I even startee my writing degree at sixteen. But I stopped. I dropped out of my degree, I stopped writing for a long time. I couldn’t find any passion or love for it.

I credit a lot of this to my mental illness. A lot of people know I suffer from. BPD (borderline personality disorder), anxiety, depression and PTSD. I’m not gonna lie, these make things really difficult. Even with therapy and help I struggle a lot. But I knew about these things before I stopped writing. I think that I know the reason why- fear.

I fear I’ll be no good as a writer, that I’ll never make it. Or worse- I will make it, but the emptiness I feel inside won’t be filled by that. The longer I put off finishing something, of trying, the more I can ignore those thoughts.

That’s all excuses though, let’s be real. We’re more multi-dimensional than we believe. I probably won’t be satisfied just writing and being noticed for it. I need to accept that, and I think others need to recognise that in themselves too.

I want to be a writer to find out who I am, and share it to the world.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

I might as well be a trash can

…because all that comes out of me is garbage.

I’m sure we’ve all felt this way many, many a time. I’m sure we’ll all feel that way again.

What I want to address is that this feeling, as consuming and awful and as gross as it is; it’s one we all have. Literally everyone. To be honest, it’s probably good we’re feeling that way, even if it doesn’t feel good. It means we’re questioning ourselves, seeing that we can improve. Which is a little overwhelming.

This feeling can be a lot easier to manage if you break it down. For instance, a) is realising that hey, you’re not too happy with your work. Alright, that means b) is accepting that one, first drafts are just that- first drafts. They are gonna need work, love and effort- and several rewrites. C) would then be implementing that and taking it baby step by baby step.

Unfortunately, some 30k words into Nano, I began to panic a lot. I made some messes with my plot, I (GASP) diverged from my plan, and have left scattered sticky notes all over those notes and my PC, praying I would make sense of it when it came to it. I actually started writing this in the middle of this panic, because I just felt (well, feel, really) so unconfident. What if I wasted all of November writing these words, and they’re all garbage?

Well, I’m coming to terms with accepting something. A lot of those words will be absolute garbage. However, it’s a lot easier to edit or rewrite something if I have something written in the first place. So I’ll be pushing through with it, and hoping I can at least see this draft through to the end.

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(I found this on pinterest and thought you guys might appreciate it).

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Mini Goals

Hey guys! I’m just going to go through a few goals today. I’m very list orientated and I have a little planner I write down the things I’d like to achieve. With the new New Year looming and my 2018 list coming up, I just wanted to jot down and share a few goals I have for before the end of the year. I encourage everyone else to make lists and milestones; it makes it easier to work. All of my goals here will be career/writing related; personal goals go in my personal planner!

A few of the things I’d like to accomplish are:

  • Write at least once a day, 100 words per day!
  • Finish Nanowrimo
  • Hit 60k during November on Nano project
  • Finish 2 new short stories before the new year
  • Finish a round of volunteering at the Writers Centre
  • Write at least one chapter of each of my unfinished manuscripts (eep)
  • Hit 20 followers on here (small and a little sad, but that’s OK!)
  • Get a critique partner ♥♥♥♥♥♥
  • Beta read for someone!
  • Write out my goals for next year (lol)
  • Finish my goodreads goal for the year
  • Do something encouraging for a fellow writer
  • Think of some fun blog posts that might actually interest people

Believe in the me who believes in you! I’d really like to see what sort of goals you guys set yourselves too.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Short Story Share: Echo

Because Nanowrimo is already happening by this goes up, I prepared a blog in advance for this week. As mentioned earlier, I’ve been entering a few short story comps, and I had decided beforehand anything that didn’t get picked I’d post them on here as examples. Here is a recent piece I did; it’s inspired by one of my novels WIP. Since the theme of the competition was freedom, I decided to take one of my characters and write a small ‘before’ piece, just one moment I knew occurred in her life and ran with that. I hope you guys enjoy it, and are having a great time with Nano.

 

An Echo in Silence

People can’t change the truth, but the truth can change people. – Unknown

 

Flickering street lamps were the only source of light amongst the shonky streets, barely casting a dubious glow as the shadows leered from all corners. A perpetual dampness could be felt all around. The air was so thick, it felt as if it were alive and sapping the energy out of those surrounded by it.

This was the only life she had ever known. The thick, high walls surrounding them, coupled with a ceiling above that was so high and dark, it could almost be the night sky. These were the confines of her life, these slums that penned them in like cattle.

Echo had heard the stories of the world outside. There were cracks in the ceiling, where little rays of light filtered through; occasionally at night, if you peered at the right angle, you could see twinkling stars. They were the most beautiful things she had ever seen.

People used to live outside of the slums. They would live in little towns, raising animals and taking care of flowers. Her grandmother used to tell them all about it. Riven was a city that bloomed in the middle of all the towns, a giant source of power and cutting edge lifestyles. It had been the beginning of a prosperous future for all, they had said. Slowly, it had started killing the world around them, destroying it. The little towns surrounding Riven had been swallowed by it. Their homes turned into slums, giant walls built around them to transport energy to all of Riven as its prosperity waned.

Eventually, the people in the slums were all but forgotten about. Resources were focused on the inner city of Riven as the richest kept it clean, habitable. They’d all heard rumours about the utopia that lay in the centre. They also knew that the drivel that was fed to them about making a sustainable and equal community was a load of crap.

The slums of Riven were divided into different sectors that were cheerfully referred to as regions of Riven. They each retained their original town names from before. There was falseness in them, though. No one cared about the people stuck there; officials were mere figureheads, raking in the profit.

They couldn’t even leave this hell. Access to the outside was expensive; even travelling between sectors was nightmarish. It was all a scam. Work hard enough and you could get ahead and move out of Riven completely, or into the centre. There was no moving up or working hard enough in the slums. The people that were in charge, that run everything- they knew this, and kept it this way. They made sure each job was a dead end that was just enough to keep a person alive. They ran people ragged and pocketed the profits.

This was the only life Echo had known. She had spent her youth pushed between orphanages, working the worst jobs in the system to build credit that barely kept her in a cramped dorm in the worst of the slums. It wasn’t a life she would wish on anyone, except the people that forced them to live and work like slaves.

One of the favourite jobs they gave Echo was asking for donations to the all-girls orphanage. She was small and waif-like and appealed to a lot of people, particularly older gentlemen. While no one had money to go around in the slums, the girls home did their best to scam the little other people had. None of which was used to take care of the girls; and as soon as they turned eighteen, they were turfed on the streets. This would soon be Echo’s reality as her eighteenth birthday approached.

The gloom of her situation settled over Echo like a storm cloud as she absentmindedly wandered the streets. She didn’t really care about getting donations. It wouldn’t matter for much longer, so why should she put the effort in. Instead she wandered, aimless.

The sector marketplace was the best spot for this. She could see things, and hopefully people would just put money in her collection can out of sympathy without her doing much. Maybe she’d be sneaky and use some of the funds today to buy a snack.

The market was crammed up against the wall in the middle of the sector. Above it was one of the ceiling cracks where real sunlight could come through. It was the only place Echo had ever seen sun, and sometimes she doubted its existence; the light was probably another lie.

It was a nice place to wander though, to see how everyone else lived out their miserable lives in the hovel they had been shoved into. She could pretend for a moment that things weren’t as bleak as they seemed. These moments of quiet were short lived, however.

It happened before any of them understood what was going on. Echo watched as people were milling around the market, enjoying the brief bliss it offered; the next minute, their shoddy stalls were collapsed, people buried beneath rubble. There was a split second of complete silence before all hell broke loose.

Echo dropped her can in confusion. People were running around her, screaming and lost amidst all the confusion. Smoke shrouded them like a cloak, clogging their sight and lungs. It warped the air around them, which was already so thick from day to day life. Echo coughed and shuddered. What on earth was happening?

Soldiers began milling in the centre around them, roused from their posts by the commotion. They were as dumbfounded as the townspeople, glancing around wildly. It was like the world melted away from her. The screams and yells of the people around her faded away in the din, she felt as if she was floating, isolated from all that was going on around her.

Half of the market by the wall had exploded away as men and women spilled through. The soldiers looked as shocked as Echo as they stared, wide-eyed and mouths open as weapons were raised against them.

That’s when the fighting started. The first few gunshots didn’t even register to her. She was so disconnected from all that was happening. It was as she stood there and a man beside her fell to the ground, his eyes and mouth widened with shock, his body slamming into the ground with a sickening thud as blood oozed from the wound in forehead that she snapped back to reality.

What was going on?

Echo sank to her knees; she didn’t know if the vibrations coursing through her was her body shaking, or from all the commotion around her. She wanted to cry, to scream, to do something. She didn’t feel in control of her own body anymore.

Maybe she could curl up and pretend to be dead. She could run too, but she couldn’t really work out what was going on. Maybe she would just run into something else wrong. Oh God, well, at least working out what she was going to do after she turned eighteen wouldn’t be a thing anymore; she’d probably be too dead to care.

Echo started sobbing as a large man ran towards her, shooting rapidly above her. She screamed and held her hands over her head. Was this the moment she would die?

The gunshots stopped echoing above her head. Wincing, she opened an eye. The man was standing directly in front of her. She squeaked as he crouched down to her level and looked her in the eye. It felt like the very blood in Echo’s body froze.

“I’m not here to hurt you. We’re here to resist.” Echo was confused. “Do you want to be free? If you can stand, you can fight.” He was gruff with his words, but soft with his tone. He hoisted Echo to her feet, handing her a metal bat from the pack on his back. Echo stared at it in confusion as her hands coiled around it. “It can’t save you from a bullet, kid, but it’s a stepping stone for knocking things outta your way.”

What did he mean, fight?!

Echo wasn’t given a lot of time to think. A guard that watched the gate between the sectors spotted her with a bat and came at her, yelling. He unsheathed a sword and continued to sprint at her full tilt. Oh no, he thinks I helped break through the wall.

Echo ducked and swung at his knees. It collided; a dull metallic twang sounded out as he screamed and tripped forward. She was slow and clumsy as she whirled around and whacked him on the back of his head. She mercifully missed most of it, the bulk of her swing slamming into his back as he lurched forward, face first into the ground.

A man was collapsed on the ground possibly dead, all because of her. Horror swept over Echo like a violent wave. She was chilled; she had done that, she had attacked another human. It didn’t matter that he had rushed at her.

A scruffy looking woman ran past her, flagging people down and ushering them. “Run civilians; we aren’t here to hurt you, we’re here to save you! Run for safety, as we pave the way to your future!”

All around her people fell and dashed down alleyways or slammed themselves into doorways, seeking shelter as soldiers let out a hail of bullets. It was so surreal to Echo, to see something so intense and dramatic. She felt as if she was merely floating there, observing it all from afar.

“Move girl, come on! We ain’t got time to hang around!” The gruff man was yelling at her, waving his arm erratically, motioning for her to follow. Though her heart was thumping hard against her chest, she stumbled along behind him. She had no idea where they were going or what was going to happen, but it didn’t matter. She had the ability to make her own decisions and change her life. Echo didn’t have to feel trapped in this toxic cycle; she could fight. It was up to her to snatch the freedom she so desperately desired, to break the chains that society used to trap them all. She left behind the confines of this existence as she scurried through the hole in the wall. Any life had to be better than one where she didn’t get a choice.

 

There you go, guys. I’m off to write some mediocre WIP!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

 

Ready, steady, write.

Hey guys! For those of you doing Nanowrimo next week, this post is for you. For those of you that aren’t doing Nano; my words of encouragement are still for you, too!

With November fast approaching and the harried last minute notes flying, stress levels (at least in my head!) are super high right now. There is a lot of doubt, a lot of tension. Are my notes sufficient? Is my story outline cohesive? Am I going to get stuck down in the cringey, lackluster first draft? Am I going to win Nanowrimo? Can I fulfill my goals as well as my commitments to everything else in my life?

Stress less guys. Take a deep breath in, and out. It’s going to be OK. We write all the time, right? This isn’t new for us. I know some of you thrive on goals like I do (I live for ticking things off of to do lists or using small goals to tear down a big one).

Here are a few things I’ll be doing this week to prepare, and I hope they’ll help you:

  • Doing a massive tidy up. I’ll still clean a bit during November but it’s easier to work/harder to procrastinate if everything is already taken care of!
  • Having writing tools ready. This year I’ll be using Cold Turkey Writer. It’s a really nifty little program; once you start it up, you can’t use your computer at all until you’ve reached the word or time limit you set. It forces you to write and concentrate (I also work really well with smaller goals as I stated earlier, so I get immense satisfaction watching the progress bar fill!)
  • To tie in with this, I’ve made playlists ready to turn on before I open Cold Turkey so there is no messing around. I found a few pre-made ones that worked really well for Nanowrimo too. This is my main spotify playlist for Nanowrimo, a fantasy reading music playlist some kind soul made that I’m in love with!
  • I’m making a bunch of veggie soup to go in the freezer. Bam, instant easy meal for when I want to write and not think!
  • Making sure I have multiple water bottles topped up in the fridge at the start of each morning so I have plenty of cold water.
  • Food shopping: On top of actually making soup, I’ll be doing a massive shopping trip at the start of the month and buying some freezer meals, some healthy snacks, etc.
  • Reward box: I have a halloween bucket full of candy, so I get a fun sized piece for every 2k words written (my daily goal)

This is pretty much everything I have/am going to be doing to get myself all zoned for Nanowrimo. Other than list some ideas to optimize time, I also want to offer some words of encouragement. It’s OK not to win Nanowrimo. Honestly, taking time for yourself and writing at all means you’ve already won something important. Don’t stress too much about the quality; that’s what rewrites are for. Don’t worry too much either if your story strays from your notes. They tend to do that, just go with the flow and see where it takes you. Don’t let writing detract from important things like sleep, eating, and your overall physical and mental health. Most of all, and I don’t say this lightly- whatever you might be writing, actually enjoy what you’re doing. This is your work, and you deserve to have fun with it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone manages in November, and I wish you all the best of luck.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo