Hiccup…was I Drunk?

I don’t remember an alcohol beverage in the last half of my manuscript…sure feels like I was totally wasted.

Normally I have a single drink when I consume alcohol. I know what being drunk feels like, like come on, we were all young once. There was something that happened in the middle of my newest story that made me feel that all my marbles rolled right out of my head and all over the floor. I know that I can’t even blame being drunk.

I love this hobby that I’ve chosen to dig deeper into. It’s a passion that burns within me. This incident made me reconsider my life choices.

I’ve Become to Much of a Dreamer.

Here’s the deal. I had written 80,000 words in my new story. I breathed life into the characters. The setting couldn’t have been more magical, and the plot twists left this yearning. The fourth draft gem was almost ready for a polish. As I read the words I noticed this tiny problem that seemed to rip until all the words dripped from the pages with my tears.

I Dreamt Up the Best Part…

I remember pounding in the words to this part. It was an almost all nighter. The piece was so juicy that I ignored my own blatter to write…and there in the pages of the story I bled. The characters connected better than I thought they would. Their unlikely team blended together better than cake and icing. The creation of such a piece made me write day after day off of that part.

Until, last Thursday. I needed a small bite of information that was in the story. A bite that didn’t exist…it wasn’t there. The piece that I had fallen in love with had vanished. No, it wasn’t lost from not saving. The chapters never had a skip. The more I thought about the writing experience, and where I was at the time that I wrote it. The whole thing didn’t make sense. My desk was in the wrong spot, there wasn’t anything on the walls, and my cat never interrupted me. All things that brought me to the conclusion…I dreamt up the perfect part.

Here’s Why I Didn’t Catch It.

I don’t read back into my script until I have finished writing it. I spend to much time messing up my story if I do. I only go back to find the small things, if it’s important. I didn’t do this with my first book and spent too much time editing when I should have been writing. I’m glad that I did go back this time, or I would have finished the story with a gaping hole. It wasn’t even something I could add in…I couldn’t remember it. I could only remember the feeling it gave me.

And that will end this entry to the journal of being a writer…Today’s mood towards it:

Today’s mood towards being a writer: …no comment.

Book Promo: Wicked Soul Ascension

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The Deadly Journal

I tried many times to keep a journal by my side. I’m not 100% sure why I never kept up with it. I bought one from Indigo with a gift card I got for Christmas. The colours of the book are eye catching. The caption on the front speaks to me, grabbing my attention making me want to write in it. I’m not a fan of gold, but it sure is shiny. This brings be back to why I haven’t been able to write in a journal. I don’t think the look and feel of the book have anything to do with the fact that I don’t like to write in one.

So, why did I buy it?

Well, I understand the importance of capturing the spur of the moment ideas. By the time that I sit down to write that amazing idea I had before I fell asleep…the blasted daydream is lost in the swirl of thoughts that I have every second. My little brain has so many thoughts running through it that I can never recall what it was I’d like to write. Hence, why I bought this journal. I need to be able to catch that idea. Seal it in words. To grab that daydream by the horns and nail it into place.

Writing in it was a slow process. It was once I started that I realised why I hated journaling. I’m one of those writers in need of an editor. See, I have dyslexia. It doesn’t effect my speech much. It does, however, play a huge factor in my writing. I always trip up when I spell a word wrong, or the word looks wrong but is spelt right. I mix up my letters all the time when I type, it’s nice when the computer fixes that for me. I find the program on the computer helps me learn language faster. This also helps with repeat words, grammar, and other small writing problems I didn’t learn in school. I gave up on English classes in school since I found that the class wasn’t for me. I knew in my heart I wanted to be a writer, it’s what I enjoyed more than anything. Art class was fun and all, but an adventure through a tale of words was the most exhilarating part of going to school. I heard it time and time again in school that I was never going to make it in life. I let my grades drop. Why should I even try then? I ignored my lessons. I let all the information teachers told me in and out of my ears as if they were commercials on TV. When I dropped out of school to take the homeschool program my tutor, a retired teacher, told me to get tested for dyslexia. She saw how hard it was for me to read, and write, she watched as I jumbled everything up as I read from a page. Once I got tested positive, she worked with me to develop ways to calm the jumping letters. This happened in grade 11. Why hadn’t all my others educators seen this? It wasn’t that I was a problem child, okay maybe I was a tiny bit, I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing. I thought that everyone saw words that way. I didn’t know that what I saw was wrong. 11 years behind my peers in reading and writing with one more year to learn it all. Even now, at 26, I feel far behind my peers. I won’t let that stop me.

I published Wicked Soul Ascension December 1, 2016. That was the first time I felt as if I were getting somewhere. I got this. I haven’t let the dancing letters stop me.

With this journal in hand, I’m going to conquer the next hurdle that I’ve been facing. Writing freehand. The only help from the computer is the spellchecker. I’ve always been nervous writing freehand. Being 11 years behind with spelling and grammar made me self-conscious. People point out my spelling mistakes all the time saying, “I thought you were a writer.” They’d laugh and go about their day. These phrases used to hit me hard. I’ve chosen to brush this off like I did with the teachers from my school.  For the most part, I have become a fully self-taught writer. I look for information everywhere. My editor helps me where I need. She even gives me homework and has been a huge help. I know I have a long way to go.

This deadly journal is going to be apart of my everyday life. It’s time to kick out that little self-conscious child that nags at me when I have to write freehand. I plan to fill the pages of this journal with all the things I think about. If there are ideas about the story, small things I see, odd thoughts, and even if I see something I’d like to buy in the future I will write them down.

The next step has been taken to become a better me. I’ve come this far, so now it’s time to push myself that much harder. Every step forward, no matter how small, is a step towards being where I wish to be.

C.B. Dixon

 

Decisions, Decisions, Nightmare!

Woohoo, Wicked Soul Ascension was launched December 1, 2016. What an emotional day that was for me. I wanted nothing more than to be home staring at the computer screen. I didn’t expect the trouble that was coming my way. I used this self-publishing publisher type company. They place my book on all the websites like Kobo, Google Play, Amazon, Barns and Noble, and Goodreads. They also do a ninety-day book marketing for me. This company, I won’t give names yet due to the fact that I am locked into a contract, polished my script, and cover. The list goes on.

Some back story: I’m using this self-publishing publisher type company. They place my book on all the websites like Kobo, Google Play, Amazon, Barns and Noble, and Goodreads. They also do a ninety-day book marketing for me posting on Twitter and Facebook. This company, I won’t give names yet due to the fact that I am locked into a contract, polished my script, and cover. The list goes on. And all it costs me is $99.00 USD a month for twenty-four months. It’s the most cost-effective way for me to get my book out, without haveing to fork over a lump sum of money upfront. I was excited to get started with them, it sounded like a dream come true.

Why them? Having them on a payment plan was gold to me. They also sounded like the perfect final step before launch. 90 days marketing that would start before launch, Wicked Soul Ascension would be released in 4-5 months, one final edit to polish the script up, and they’d use my cover illustration to make the jacket out of. On top of it all, they would manage my book sales that happened on the web so I could work on the rest of the trilogy without worry.

Too good to be true? Seems so. They didn’t steal my money and run. That was nice. Instead, they killed all my hard work. Took a knife to it, slit it’s throat for all the world to see.

That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? Okay, maybe a tad. I’ll let you decide.

The relationship started out great. They let me know all the things that the company offered. They let me know that they would meet the deadline I gave them. I accepted to get the polishing edit, thinking…why not? Another set of eyes looking it over wouldn’t hurt, right?

April 24, 2016: I made my first payment. December 1, 2016, is when my book was launched… My goal was October 1st. I had all the major things done and ready for them. Even a main edit was done by my editor. My cover illustrations, and the draft of what the jacket was to look like, all done. The deadline should have been reached.

Well, April 27 is when I got confirmation of when they got my script to edit. June 28th is when I got it back. Now, remember, I had a professional editor edit it for me so it shouldn’t’ve taken that long. It was a polish edit, not a full edit. The person that edited the story praised me throughout the story and edited a few things. Not as much that was needed. Since getting my book in book form I’ve found some mistakes than my editor and I missed, and it was this person’s job to find them that’s why I paid them to do that.

Next was formatting. And my worst nightmare came alive and took my poor manuscript, hung it from the ceiling to torture it, and my doing so almost made me quit publishing Wicked. If it wasn’t for my editor, my backbone, standing beside me to nurse the author back into me. All my italics in the story went missing! Now, most would say it’s not that bad. But, Wicked’s book has dreams and thoughts that are in italics. That makes up most of the story. So, instead of getting the manuscript and redoing the formatting they made me go through the manuscript twice to put in all the italics. This took two months to do. By then, it was late October. Missed my deadline, missed the Halloween market which was the best market for this type of story…

They still hadn’t made the cover or gotten anything else done during the time of their mistake. I had to pay for it…Not in money, in wasting my own time. I guess I lost money due to this mistake because I missed my target marketing time.

With the help of my editor, we forced the book out for December 1st. I had to hound them to hurry the F up and get my book launched. It’s now almost Christmas, and I missed another market…they still haven’t launched the ninety-day marketing that I was promised…and I have a feeling they will start it after Christmas when no one will have money due to how expensive Christmas is for everyone. Not only that, yesterday was when they finally put a book cover on my Goodreads page.

Thank you for listening to my rant, my ramble, my awful headache. Next time, I will not be using this company. When it’s all done, I will be placing the companies name on here. If you would like to know what company it was I used. Please feel free to message me on my website: www.cbdixon.com

If you have had a similar experience I would love to hear it in the comments below.

What I learned from my first time using a professional editor.

1. Editors are real people. 

When I went through the edits that my editor Ann had wrote on my manuscript, I could read the emotions that went into the correction. I found it neat that she had gotten so involved with the characters and scenes that the font she used (in her hand writing) changed as the story sped up and slowed. Then there was this; I kept making the same mistake over and over again. At first she wrote the correction like all the other edits, but as the story went on the pen get heavier, and soon it was written in all caps. Sorry Ann, now I know how to use that punctuation.

2. My editor taught me a new way to see my manuscript.

I had never made it to hiring a professional editor before. My stories used to be locked away in a hidden spot were only I could see them. Since I hired an editor I am able to see my manuscript through a readers eyes. I tried to do this before I sent it off to Ann by letting my story rest and then go back to it a month later. This helped but I didn’t really know what I was looking for. Now I can see the repeated words, missed punctuation, added letters, character mishaps, and the fragmented sentence. Even one of my characters magically appeared out of nowhere. Lesson one: Always hire someone that knows what they are doing.

3. Phone calls from the editor can be a scary thing.

Right before Ann returned my manuscript to me I got a phone call. When her name showed up on the caller ID my heart skipped a beat. She had a few more days till she would be done the edits so why was she calling me? Oh no! Ran over and over in my head. What did I do? I clicked answer and greeted her with a shaky, “hello”. She had good news for me. My manuscript was edited. She had enjoyed it. There was work to be done, and learning too. That I could handle, that I understood. The conversation didn’t go like I first expected. It was quite pleasant. We said our good byes and then the sensation of being a author set in. I was on my way to publishing an actual book. I had an editor, she was real. I knew what she thought of my manuscript, her excited voice told me all I needed to know. I should be proud of what I wrote. I couldn’t help the shake that took over. A new anxiety grew. I wrote a book, and having my first edit done made it all real.

If a new writer was to come up to me and ask; what is one of the most important things they could do for their story, I would suggest an editor. They have that critical eye that makes the story flow without the glitches. Even though this is the end of my first edit, my manuscript has improved in ways that I could never do alone.

Time for round two!

Enter the New Year

I enter into the new year with high expectations for my future. In the past, no matter what my New Years resolution was, it seemed to get lost around March. Every year, the same thing. Well 2015 is going to be different. I am going to complete my New Years resolution. There is no might or attempt or even try! I will. You can hold me to it.

This year I am going to get my book Wicked Soul Ascension published.

So far I’m off to a good start. I have a completed manuscript that is ready for an editor.

With my manuscript in hand, I found an editor that was interested in my book. Her name, Ann Westlake. She is one of the most helpful people I’ve come across. Over a two hour phone call her and I talked about the craft of creating a novel. Ann had great ideas above and beyond editing and writing. With her help she made it possible for me to afford the costs of publication.

After I talked to Ann I knew that it was time for me to get a publishing name. I got my business licences and registered Hidden Words Publishing as my publishing company. I was actually about to accomplish a life long dream.

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(Fox art by Christine White)

In November I took on the NaNoWriMo challenge for the first time. For those that don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. Everyday as I worked on the challenge I would walk by a charcoal drawing of a fox that hangs on my wall. A beautiful work of art. Edgy and sinister. Around the end of November I began thinking, cover, cover, cover. Wicked needed an image. I called up Christine White, the artist of the fox I admire, and pitched the idea of her as my cover artist. She accepted and was thrilled to take on the challenge. I went to her studio and we talked for hours about the cover. As I spoke she doodled, took notes and asked in depth questions. I was pleased by how serous she took me. Her work is magical and I know she will aply that magic into the cover of Wicked.

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Iryna Spica then found her way into my life. Her passion for transforming a story document into a beautiful book caught my attention. The way she talked about covers, spines, margins, fonts, and paper made me want to see a book through her eyes. She had many great inspirational ideas that let me see my manuscript as a novel. Iryna and I will put the word document, cover art, and text together to create a beautiful novel that you can hold in your hands or put on your ereader.

I am ready to take the new year head on.
2015 I’m ready for you.

Near the End…

It’s almost the end of NaNoWriMo, it’s a scary thought. I’ve discovered many important things over the past few weeks that I will carry with me into the future.

Lesson 1: Distractions can happen anytime, anywhere.
-Whether your at home, a coffee shop, in your car, in a small box out back, you can be swept away by the simplest of things. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have learnt from many from my distractions and sometimes I just needed a break from the scene. It resets the thought process. The down side is the words won’t write themselves.

Lesson 2: The creative block.
-When writers block happens and there seems to be no way over the wall, keep writing. You can always go back and delete what you’ve written or change it. I’ve surprised myself countless times after these moments.

Lesson 3: The force.
-Don’t force the story to go where it doesn’t want to go. I tried to and ended up deleting two hours of hard work because I wasn’t listening to what the story was telling me. I wanted the character to help my protagonist and the story wanted that character to die. Killing him off was way easier, it gave the story flow that I couldn’t force no matter how hard I tried.

Lesson 4: Write.
-Write, write, write. Take a pee break then write some more. When I gave myself more time to write, the story was given a steady flow over longer periods of time. If I had to stop in the middle of a scene due to having to work, sleep, eat, or drive someone somewhere, I found that scene to be choppy. The times I was able to write hours on end my scenes became crystal clear and my characters personalities blossomed.

Lesson 4: Get down with it.
Get it down. All those ideas that your brian tosses at you spiral all over the place. Some times your scenes feel like they are mismatched. That’s okay. Knife it later. I already know I want to do a scene shuffle in December. A character comes in out of nowhere will be given a fresh start later and an object that gained importance could be hinted at earlier in the story line.

Lesson 5: 50,000 words.
-One month can equal out to 50,000 words. At first I was nervous I would never accomplish this goal. With only 3,000 more words to go I understand that it is possible.

Well that’s all for today. Time to get back to my manuscript and plug in my tunes to drown out many distractions.

Cheers,
C.B.

I write. I become. I experience.

Why do I love writing?

The joy and relief I get when I crunch a few thousand words into my keyboard is much like when a Martial Artist gets after beating a bag of sand. When I enter my hidden world I get to open myself up to many new opportunities that I have never experienced. Yes, I don’t build the muscles although the stimulation I receive is real.

Have you ever wanted to fly on a dragons back while being chased by crazed witches? Have you ever wanted to breath underwater? I know I have, among many, many, many other things.
While my mind rapid fires ideas at my fingers my story unfolds, and in those moments I become whatever I want, when ever I want.
That is why I love to write.
Fighting demons. Meeting Gods. Nothing is impossible. All is possible.

Write. Write. Write.

Happy NaNoWriMo to all my writing friends.
Keep up the great work!