Announcing the Title, the Winner, and My Progress

As some of you might know, my upcoming book’s title has changed. I ran a small competition where everyone had to guess a letter until the name was revealed. Which was done quite quick, I might add. 🙂

So without further ado, my soon-to-be released title is: 

The War of Six Crowns: The Vanished Knight

And the winner, picked by random.org is: 

S.P. Bowers!

Congrats! And thank you to all who played along.

Okay. So… Today is Update Day for the Big Dreams Bloghop, which means I get to regale all who are interested with stories of my progress. 

Here’s what I did in August: 
  1. Finished the rough draft to book three in The War of Six Crowns series. 
  2. Saw a graphic designer who’ll be helping me create a brand and image for said series. 
  3. Finished the content and structural edits to The Vanished Knight. We are officially in copy edits, people. 
  4. Wrote half of Birds vs Bastards. 
I’m still waiting on the ITIN, which is putting a serious wrinkle in my plans. The reason for this is that without that number, I can’t publish. So I’m really sitting on needles in the mean time. Without the ITIN, I don’t have a fixed publishing date. And without a fixed publishing date, I can’t arrange for blog tours and the like. Sigh. 
Because the ITIN puts things out of my control at the moment, I won’t be setting any fixed goals with regards to The Vanished Knight. Besides, the edits will be done when the edits are done. In the mean time, I’m eagerly awaiting the production of my first ever book cover. 
The main goal I have for September is to finish the Birds vs Bastards rewrite. As soon as that’s done, I’ll have to clear my head and get back into draft mode. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish one more rough draft by mid-October. But I’ll probably end up drafting right through November as well… 
Depending, of course, on whether or not I’m publishing during that time. Hm. 
But yep, that’s pretty much where I am at the moment. 
How are you doing on your big goals? If you haven’t signed up, please do. No dreams are too insane, too big or too small. 

How to Become a Great Writer

Before I start today’s post, I just want to do a few reminders. Firstly, don’t forget to nominate someone for the Paying Forward Awards! And then, if you haven’t yet, please go guess a letter for my title reveal. I’ve also posted a clue, to make things easier. There are only five letters left, and I’ll be revealing the title tomorrow, along with the winner of a $50 Amazon voucher. So get on it. 😉

And now, back to the post.

How to Become a Great Writer 

Last week, I did a post on what makes a writer. I’m seeing this as a continuation of that line of thought. 
See, anyone who loves a story has the innate ability to create one. 
But to create a story is actually a tiny part of the process. Good writing actually doesn’t come from the writing. Writing is to get the ideas down. Editing is where you’ll become good. 

Good writers are people who understand the craft of writing. So you’ll need to learn plot. You’ll need to learn characterization. You’ll need to understand why an adverb is never a good idea when a strong verb exists. You’ll need to know what “strong verb” means. You need to know how to heighten stakes. And where real conflict comes from. And… grammar.

The good news is, any writer learns as he/she writes and edits. 

The bad news is, any writer will first need to work on a few stories that suck. I wrote seven unfinished drafts before the one I’m going to publish.

So to become a great writer, first become a writer. Write every day. Get into way of thinking where you’ll think in terms of the story and how you can make it good. (BTW, this is something that happens automatically as you learn.) Start with what you’ve picked up from the books you’ve read. What sort of character do you like? What’s the worst thing that can happen to him? That’s a pretty good start to a story. 

If your story doesn’t work out, that’s okay. You’ll probably find that you have an even better idea. Better yet, you now know not to make the same mistake as in the previous draft. 

Once the book’s done and you’ve done your first edits, get a second opinion. Either get critique partners or an editor. Or both. I like CPs because one, in editing someone else’s work, can learn a lot about what makes a great story. 

If you can take the critique you’ll get, see for yourself where you went wrong, and fix those mistakes, then you’ll be well on your way to greatness.

I reiterate: 

Greatness comes from learning from your mistakes. 

What do you think is a sign of greatness in a writer?

Sometimes, I need to rearrange the furniture in my head.

Ever since I’ve gone and set my goal, I’ve realized that I needed to change my approach to writing.

I still pick what I want to do and when, but I pretty much always need to do something.

Fortunately, there’s a lot to do. To illustrate. This is a long term list of  everything I want to get done so far:

Concept
StW
Wo6C4
Wo6C5
ES2
ES3
ES4
ES5
ES6
ES7
ES8
ES9
BvB2
CiC
DD
CaA?
HM
SS1
SS2
Draft
VD
P
MDtS
RH

Rewrite
Wo6C3
BvB
ES
O

Edit
Submit
Publish
Wo6C1
Wo6C2

Every single one of those highlighted abbreviations stand for books I want to write, edit or publish. The red, yellow and green show me my priorities. Green’s what I’m doing at the moment, yellow’s what I want to do in the near future and red’s for things I want to do, but that can or must wait for a bit longer. Either way, my list is growing.

In the past six weeks, I’ve added three more ideas to the list of concepts: HM, SS1 and SS2. SS1 and SS2 are two books in a series. I dreamed something that’s kickstarted a concept the night before last. Usually I just ignore my dreams, but for some reason, the more I ignore this one, the less I can think of anything else. So I gave in and SS is now a concept I’m trying to actively work on. In between my rewrite to BvB.

At least, now that I’ve decided to put more thought into the concept right now, it feels like it’s letting up enough for me to finish the rewrites. Phew.

Since I know some of you will want to know what the abbreviations stand for:

Wo6C is for The War of Six Crowns. So Wo6C1 is in fact the book I’m in the process of editing for publishing. (Remember to help reveal the title! I even made it easy for you.)
BvB is for Birds vs Bastards, which is just a working title for my high concept urban fantasy.
O is for Otto, the main character in the dystopian I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo.

The others… well… Guess you’ll have to wait and see. 😉

Do you also keep track of what you’ve worked on/are working on? Do you also feel the need to shift some priorities around as you go?

A Paying Forward Update and Some Clues to the Title Reveal

Hey all! I thought I made things easy, for my title reveal, but no one wants to pick certain letters. So in the interest of revealing my title sometime this week, I’ll give some clues to the remaining words…

My clue:  
Headwear for kings, 
Horse heads in chess
and a disappearance after the fact. 
Now much easier to guess. 
Hope that helps. If you haven’t guessed a letter yet, go do. I’m offering a $50 Amazon voucher as prize for one lucky guess (even if you were wrong). 
Speaking of help, helping to make people’s day is a bit hard this month, since no one seems to want to nominate people for the paying forward awards. As such, I’ll be extending the deadline. Please please please go here to nominate someone.

A Thank You, An Announcement and a $50 Prize Voucher

Hey all! I’m so seriously excited. Not only did I hit 1000 GFC follows, but I got the go ahead to make an announcement I’ve been dying to share.

Sadly, no official release date yet and no cover. Instead, I can announce that Doorways will be published under a better, more epic sounding name.

But as a show of my gratitude and because I’m just a tad evil, I decided I’m going to make you guys work for the title. I’m going to give you spaces, and you need to guess the letters. I’ll fill in the correct letters one at a time. So if there’s a repeat letter, I’m not slotting it in again before someone guesses the letter a second time. Only one guess per person and one letter per guess, please!

Once all the letters are filled in, I’ll enter all the people who guessed (whether they guessed right or wrong) into a draw and the winner will get a $50 Amazon voucher.

Please please please spread the word! The more the merrier, right?

Okay. Here are the spaces: 

The War of Six Crowns: The Vanished Knight

Get guessing!

But before I go, I just want to say thank you. Your advice and support have meant so much to me. It has been an honor to get to know you. 

Standing Behind David and Michael

I’m not going to say much today. Just that I read this today.

For those of you wondering what that link is for: It leads to a website for a book I was seriously looking forward to.

See… I read the query for that book during last year’s WriteOnCon. And of ALL the books’ queries I critiqued (and I saw quite a few), Woven was the one I most wished would get a deal.

And it had. Except the publisher withdrew it. Because one of its authors, Michael insisted his bio be treated the same as David. Even though Michael is gay.

Now. I’m not going to discuss sexuality and the rights and wrongs of who goes with who. (Not really my business.) But I will say this.

Acting like anyone is somehow less than someone else because he’s different is wrong.

A human is a human.

The equality of man is supposed to be considered self-evident. I stand by that belief.

And as such, I will not ever do business with that publishing house. In fact, I’ll even think twice before even buying anything they publish. Maybe some of you will think this is extreme of me, but I live in a country that still carries the scars from having had people see others as less than them.

Inequality and discrimination does untold damage. Far beyond what those inflicting it can imagine. And I refuse to stand by and support it. In any form.

Paying Forward Awards: Nominations are Open

Hey all, it’s that time again. I have eight prizes available for some wonderful people. However, I’m realizing that giving them away in single categories at a time makes for even counting, I’m going to keep going that.

So. This month’s category is:

Inspiring People

Who inspires you? Who makes you want to do better? Who makes you think that you can achieve those goals you have?

Let me know by e-mail. I won’t accept nominations in the comments, since I like that they’re anonymous.

Please make “Nomination” the subject and include their blog address and/or their contact details. My address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com.

If we have enough nominees, you the readers get to vote for the winners next Monday. If not, I’ll announce who wins.

Thanks again, to everyone who supports my efforts to make someone’s day!