Week 3 Already – How the ROW time flies by!

Three weeks down and time for another ROW80 update. I’m pretty pleased with my progress so far, I’ve managed to keep up with all my goals (as diverse as they are) and still feel like I’m mostly on top of things.

By the way, I’m now on Goodreads (I don’t know why it took me so long). Anyway, I would love to be friends with you all, so make sure you look me up and befriend me.

Also, in case you didn’t know I now have a Facebook Author Page. If you haven’t already, I would love for you to ‘like’ it. Here’s the link. Cheers!

 

GOALS FOR ROW80 ROUND 3

1. Read 10 books and watch 10 movies to keep me on track to hit 50 for the year. Watched – Nothing (Actually not entirely true, I watched National Treasure last night and Alvin and the Chipmunks today with the kids but I’ve seen them before so they don’t count) Total thus far =  2/10. Read – Read my Dead by Emerald Barnes (I’m three books for three weeks and almost finished another, I don’t think I’m going to have any problems with these goals) Total thus far = 3/10.

2. Keep exercising as often as possible (preferably 2-3 times a week). Only once this week, but I also went to the Dentist for the first time in 12 years, so I think it was a pretty good week for health and fitness so I’m going to give myself a break.

3. Write 5000 words a week on either of my two current projects. 4368 words on Project 1 + 0 words on Project 2 = 4368 words total. Missed the total again, but wrote more words on Project 1 this week than I have in previous weeks and managed to get the word count for that novel up over 30,000 words, so all in all pretty happy.

4. Complete one additional ‘Spring Cleaning’ project per week. Cleaned all the windows in the front room – they look gorgeous and sparkly, now I just have to get the motivation to clean all the other windows in the house!

5. Try and find some time in among all that to do some edits on Soul Hunter and send it out for another round of beta reading in prep for serious editing. Da Da Da DAAAAA! Yes, I finally started the latest round of edits. I’m 10% done (the advantage of editing on my Kindle is it’s easy to know exactly how far through the document I am). I’m going to aim for another 10% this week, fingers crossed.

 

How are you going? Do you have goals as diverse as mine? Are you able to keep up with them all or are they swamping you? As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

ROW80: A Week Down, How Goes It?

Another round of ROW80 has begun! I had the best intentions this week and was genuinely planning on posting my goals for this round of ROW80 last week but unfortunately I have been busy and sick, so it didn’t happen. But here I am.

By the way, ROW80 is A Round of Words in 80 Days, a writing challenge for people with busy lives. If you want to know more about it please go and check out the website of ROW80 queen and all round champ Kait Nolan.

So my goals for this round include:

  1. Finish the lastest edit run of Soul Hunter and get it to my first group of beta readers
  2. Write an outline for the sequel to Ankhari (current working title is Kaminu)
  3. Re-read Ankhari book 1 in preparation for writing the sequel
  4. Write the sequel (aiming to write 5000 words per week)

Okay, so obviously I am not going to complete the entire novel during the current round of ROW80 but I am going to give it a good kick start.

 So we are a week down already and the good news is that despite a fever and tonsilitis and an overpowering desire to spend 2 days in bed I actually managed to get something done this week.

  • The edits on Soul Hunter are done and the novel is ready to send off to my first set of beta-readers. I am super excited. The exhilaration of handing a completed novel over to someone for the first time gives me a real kick. I can’t wait.
  • I have already started working on the outline for Kaminu, hopefully the plot outline will be completed by the end of next week and then I can get into the writing.

Overall, so far, so good.

What about you. Are you participating in the current round of ROW80? Did you have a good week? How do you get the motivation to push through even when you’re sick? As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

 

ROW80 Round Four – Let the Fun Begin

Has it snuck up on you too? Yes that’s right Round 4 of a Round of Words in 80 days begins TODAY! True, I thought it was due to begin tomorrow, so I was under the impression I had one more day of rest and recuperation. Alas, not to be, so straight back into it!

Goals for Round 4:

  1. Finish 1st Draft of Soul Hunter – Despite my original plans to finish the first draft of Soul Hunter over the break, I decided to have a rest instead so Goal 1 is to finish that first draft (I only have two chapters – about 6000 words – to go!). I am hoping to complete this during the first week (in a little over a week I am heading overseas for a few months and I want to have it finished before I go) so here’s hoping!
  2. Complete ‘Empowering Characters’ Emotions’ Lectures – I have purchased Margie Lawson’s lecture packet on Empowering Characters’ Emotions and along with my iCrit pal Crystal Cipriani I will be attempting to complete a lecture a week over the course of ROW80.
  3. Critique for the iCrit girls – During Round 3 I met three amazing women, Crystal Cipriani, Ozlem Yikici and Lena Corazon and we formed a group known as iCrit. I am planning to set aside AT LEAST 1 hour a week to devoted to critiquing their work.
  4. Edit my first novel, Ankhari – I have no idea how long this is going to take so I am going to plan to edit 50 pages a week (but that might change as I have no idea how achievable this will be particularly as I will be overseas for pretty much the entire Round).
  5. Write 2 blog posts per week – The current plan is one ROW80 check-in post and one other post, but with all my entirely ambitious goals we will see how we go.
  6. EXERCISE!!! – Okay so this is the most ambitious of all but the apartments we are staying at in Los Angeles have a gym so I really don’t have my usual excuses. 3 times a week or bust!

Oh Dear! I have 6 goals, how the hell did that happen? I was planning on taking it easy compared to last round.

Are you participating in Round 4 of ROW80? Do you have no idea what ROW80 is and would like to find out? (ps click here) Are you being overly ambitious with your goals too?

By the way don’t forget the ROW80 party on the 5th of October, gather at the #ROW80 hashtag on Twitter. For more info refer to Jenny’s blog.

Looking forward to catching up with all of you over the next few months.

Jody Moller

Wednesday’s Rambling Writer – Character Meme + ROW80 update

I feel like crap! I’m sick. My head feels about four foot wide, my back aches, and I’m super tired. So, no suprise that I haven’t even looked at starting the flash fiction piece for the writer’s campaign that I was going to post today. So instead something a bit different.

A few days ago Jo Eberhardt posted a Character Meme on her blog. That she had taken from Anthony Lee Collins. Who in turn had taken it from Maggie’s blog. (All awesome blogs and well worth the click!)

So I thought I would post the Meme and my answers here. If you are doing it make sure you pick the characters before you read through the questions. It will make it more fun!

Step 1: Randomly pick 12 of your original characters without looking at the questions.

Okay, so it didn’t specify whether or not the characters should be from the one novel or not (but I struggled to come up with 12 from 1) so I decided to choose very diverse characters from 3 completely unrelated novels (not even in the same genres). Turns out this was a good thing! Made for much more entertaining answers 🙂

My 12 characters are:

1. Anderson (17-yr old girl the the ability to teleport –  from Ankhari)

2. Nate (19 yr old guy with the gift of mind control – from Ankhari)

3. John (54 yr old not-so-nice man with the power of telekinesis – from Ankhari)

4. Kyle (19 yr old college student, no powers (poor guy) – from Ankhari)

5. William (Anderson’s father, also has the ability to teleport – from Ankhari)

6. Ava (17-yr old school student, no powers – from Ankhari)

7. Grace (Anderson’s mother, no powers – from Ankhari)

8. Zepherina (800-yr old Demon – from The Soul Hunter)

9. Meredius (900-yr old Demon – from The Soul Hunter)

10. Reed (28-yr old human – from The Soul Hunter)

11. Kali (15-yr old cancer patient – from Kali Jacobs Please Take a Seat)

12. Riley (15-yr old guy – from Kali Jacobs Please Take a Seat)

Step 2: Answer the questions below to gain some insight into your characters!

1. Who would make a better college professor: 6 or 11?

Ava or Kali? By coincidence these girls are the two stereotypical blonde bimbos from two different stories. I have scientists, musicians, demons, and nurses and I have to pick between two blonde school kids! I call it a tie, but I wouldn’t want either of them teaching me unless the subject was cheerleading 101.

2. Do you think 2 is hot? How hot?

Nate. Ahhhh, hell yes! (That is if you are into 19-yr old guys of course). Tall, brown hair, green eyes, rippling abs, perfectly formed v-muscles – it’s all there girls!

3. 12 sends 8 on a mission. What is it, and does it succeed?

Riley who is a kind of geeky-muscian 15-yr old sends a violent Soul Hunting Demon on a mission? Hmmm. I guess it would be to take out all the bullies at his school. Does she succeed? Of course, she’s awesome!

4. What is, or would be, 9′s favorite book?

Meredius’s favourite book is actually mentioned in my manuscript. It is ‘The Elathial Texts’ a kind of modified version of the bible.

5. Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around?

Nate would defintely sweat fealty to Ava – he is just that kind of stand up guy. (She might return the favour if it meant she secured herself a new boyfriend).

6. For some reason, 5 is looking for a room-mate. Should they share a studio apartment with 9 or 10?

William has to choose between Meredius or Reed. Well Mer would definately be more fun (he is an Anarchist Demon afterall) but as he resides in Hell I am afraid that I have to choose Reed.

7. 2, 7, and 12 have dinner together. Where do they go, and what do they discuss?

For some reason I missed this question when I was doing my answers on paper the other day and now my head hurts too much to bother coming up with an answer. I will pick Italian for not other reason than it is my favourite 🙂

8. 3 challenges 10 to a duel. What happens?

John challenges Riley. John wins. He is a nasty piece of work and he has superpowers to boot so it’s not really a fair contest.

9. If 1 stole 8′s most precious possession, how would they get it back?

Anderson steals Zepherina’s most precious possession. While I have no idea what Zeph’s most precious possession might be (even she can’t decide!) I know that she would certainly be able to get it back. She is a Demon with impressive powers of persuasion. Or at worst she could get a Redemption Demon to ‘take care’ of Anderson for her.

10. Suggest a title for a story in which 7 and 12 both attain what they most desire.

Grace and Riley? Maybe ‘The power of regret’???

11. What kind of plot device would you use if you wanted 4 and 1 to work together?

No plot device necessary, they already do.

12. If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would you get along?

Grace would be a mothering figure. Caring, generous, if I was lucky she might even clean the house and cook me dinner.

13. If you could command 3 to perform any one task or service for you, what would it be?

To replicate the virus he creates in my manuscript that cures cystic fibrosis.

14. Do any of your friends resemble 11 (either in appearance or personality)?

Kali looks and acts like some of the girls I went to school with – not the ones I was friends with – I will leave it at that!

15. If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, which would it be?

Nate would have to choose Kyle, who is his best-mate, no contest.

16. What might 10 shout while charging into battle?

Reed would say something along the lines of ‘Revenge’ (if he had to speak – in reality he goes into his own personal battle in silence).

17. If you chose a song to represent 8, which song would you choose?

Zepherina is an albino Demon (I am not kidding) so it would have to be ‘A White Demon Love Song’ by The Killers.

18. 1, 6, and 12 are having dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time. Who gets to eat it?

Anderson would give it up for Ava (they are best friends after all) and Ava would give it up for Riley (she is a consummate flirt).

19. What might be a good pick-up line for 2 to use on 10?

Ummm. Nate and Reed – wouldn’t happen. Ever!

20. What would 5 most likely be arrested for?

Of all my characters probably one of the least likely to be arrested. Maybe for illegal gambling?

21. What is 6′s secret?

Ava has many secrets, it depends which book you are referring to. Besides, I can’t say it here as it would give it all away!

22. If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?

Meredius can use portals between Hell and the surface and Kali is limited to a wheelchair so not really fair.

23. If you had to walk home through a bad neighborhood late at night, would you feel safer in the company of 7 or 8?

Grace would be pretty useless so the obvious choice would be Zepherina. The only problem is that Zeph is far scarier than anything you’ll find on the street.

24. 1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4′s sinister secret organization. 11 volunteers to help them, but it is later discovered that he/she is actually a spy for 4. Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force their surrender. Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest. What title would you give this story?

Ahhh! I’m confused.

Step 3: No I’m just kidding that’s the end!

Hope you enjoyed it. If you are trying to get develop your characters further I can highly recommend it (or if you just want a laugh).

Okay so now onto my ROW80 check-in. Don’t worry it will be quick.

Word counts for the week:

Thurs – 1045

Fri – 870

Sat – 686

Sun – 577

Mon – 719

Tues – 1198

Wed – 546

Total of 5641 words for the week. YAY!

Hope you all had a good week!

Jody Moller

Only in the English Language

I am ashamed to admit it, but when I first starting writing Ankhari (my first novel) I used American english (well I attempted to anyway). As you may or may not know, I am not American, I am, in fact, Australian and as such we use British English (with a few unique Aussie inclusions).

Why, I hear you asking, would I have attempted such a feat? Well, here in Australia we are quite used to reading books by American authors, and as such I thought that if I was hoping to compete against these books in an American market, my book should be written in their language. Also my book is set in America with an American protagonist!

If you are confused as to exactly what I am referring to here are some examples.

First of all there are the words that we spell differently (don’t worry I am not planning on listing all of them):
Mum/Mom
Colour/Color
Synthesised/Synthesized

Then there are the words that don’t even exist in the other language (or even worse have a different meaning entirely):
nappy/diaper
torch/flashlight
petrol/gas
serviette/napkin

Then there are the differences between the Metric and Imperial systems:
metres/feet
grams/pounds
degrees Celsius/degrees Fahrenheit

I think you get the picture.

After writing the first draft of my novel I realised (ah there is another one!) what a ridiculous task this was – there was no way I would be able to do it well. So I went back through my book and I changed all the words back, all the measurements, everything. I figured, that if my book was ever sold in America that the publisher could fix the book if they saw fit!

Now, however, the conundrum is back! I am seriously considering the self-publishing route for Ankhari, and as such I have to choose a language.

So, now I need your help. I am after your opinion. Does a book about an American need to be in the corresponding language? Will American’s happily read a book written in British English?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

The Exasperated Novelist

Let’s start at the very beginning…

… a very good place to start.

The other day I was reading Jo Eberhardt’s Blog entitled ‘Begin at the Begining, End at the End’. She spoke alot about being able to define what a story is about and that if you don’t have the ‘beginning’ of your story right it makes the defining part just that much harder.

I have always, and I mean always, had trouble defining what my story, Ankhari, is actually about. I can tell you all the twists and turns, I know the characters inside out, but when is comes to condensing what it is about into three sharp sentences I fail (and I know I fail because I am still unable to produce a query letter that I am 100% happy with).

But Jo helped me to see that it is the beginning of my story that is the problem. As the writer, I know that my protagonist has self-esteem issues; that she would love to travel across the country for college but feels trapped by a requirement to stay close to her single mother; that she has never been kissed; that she would give anything to rise above the throng and be extraordinary – just for one day. I know all these things, but my readers don’t. Because with all the cutting and editing to get into the action of the story faster, I lost all of this somewhere along the way. My story has no beginning. If the readers don’t know who my protagonist is, then how can they appreciate her journey?

Don’t worry I plan to fix it!

While we are speaking of beginnings there is something else I would like to talk about – The Prologue.

I can honestly confess that until a few days ago I had no idea that prologues were such a big no-no. Apparently they are literary C4 (as in put one in your story and watch it spontaneously explode!). In Kristen Lamb’s Blog she details the reasons why prologues are so perilous, so I won’t repeat them here. Save to say that of the three novels I currently have in the works, all three have a prologue!

“Kaboom”

Also, until reading her blog I had no idea that readers tend to skip over the prologue – I have NEVER done this and don’t understand why anyone would. Unlike Kristen I am a big fan of the ‘set the mood’ type of prologue – they help me determine if I am going to bother continuing onto the first chapter.

Let me know your thoughts on beginnings an prologues. Am I just being overly sensitive? (don’t worry, you won’t offend me)

The Exasperated Novelist

p.s. as a side thought I thought I would provide I link to one of the aforementioned Prologues and you can judge for yourselves. Check out my blog Prologue Central.

Stolen Ideas…

Imagine working on a novel for two years, only to have your project show up under someone elses name, ruining any chance you may have had at getting published. Enough to make you want to cry isn’t it? But it happens… all the time. I am not saying that there are authors out their literally stealing people’s work and publishing it as their own, but there are lots of people out there trying to get published, writing very similar books with very similar concepts, and sometimes they clash. Of course, it doesn’t always stop you from getting published (look at JK Rowling!!). The problem is, it can be the smallest of ideas that really ties you up.

For me, this is what has happened with my novel ‘Ankhari’. When I started writing this book I had never heard of Pittacus Lore’s (AKA James Frey and Jobie Hughes) ‘I am Number Four’, I mean, how could I? the book was still being written. But I have now. I will set the record straight: the protagonist of my book is not an alien, though she does have supernatural powers; obviously she is also a she, not a he; the members of the Ankhari are not being chased by an alien civilisation intent on destroying Earth, though they are being pursued; primarily my book is a romance with a bit of action and fantasy thrown in for good measure, where ‘I am number four’ is an action book with a bit of romance on the side. So no problem right?

Well there is one very similar concept in both books… the idea that when someone loses control of their emotions they also lose control of their supernatural powers. I’ll quote from both books –
‘An emotional imbalance will cause them to come right back on again, if you get overly nervous, or angry, or sad.’ (PITTACUS LORE)
‘It can happen anytime your emotions are out of your control – any emotion… grief… rage… ecstasy.’ (ME) – and yes i wrote that line at least twelve months before I had even heard of ‘I am number four’!

The problem is that this concept is vitally important for my novel… it’s the way I have managed to write a romance novel with two teenagers that are obsessed with each other while still mantaining my PG rating.

My final note is an apology to all the authors I accused of stealing (possibly even JK Rowling included) perhaps, just perhaps, those authors came up with their ‘stolen’ ideas all on their own.

If any of your ideas have inadvertantly appeared in someone else’s work let me know.

The Exasperated Novelist