How is this possible?!

A few days ago, my mom sent me a picture of the first page of the book she just started reading. I read the first line and thought “Oh, how weird, someone started their first chapter in the exact same way as I did”. Then I continued to read and all I could think for the rest of the page was “What the fuck?!”

I have never heard of Peter May before, or his book Coffin Road. But it is scarily similar to my first page! My first thought was that this might be me in a previous life. But the book was released 2016, so perhaps it was an earlier time in my reincarnation process but in this timeline, because time doesn’t matter in reincarnation? Perhaps I am living a double life as a Scottish author. Haha!

For those of you who have read my first chapter, you will most likely recognize this red-marked part from Coffin Road. May uses different words, but he follows the same path as I do. My first two sentence are “Salt. The air that filled my nose was full of that salty aroma.” His first sentence is “The first thing I am aware of is the taste of salt.” Pretty similar, don’t you think? The second thing his character aknowledges, is touch. Mine feels warmth, his feels cold. Then May’s character opens his eyes after what seems an eternity (mine can’t tell how long she lays there, a minute, several hours?) and it blinded, exactly as mine is.

Then he fills out with environmental descriptions, and throwing up, which I don’t, but then the realization hits both of our characters and they start to wonder who they are and where they are.

Then of course, he writes in a different way than I am, perhaps slightly better. Only slightly though, hahaha!

I still have a hard time believing this. This is insane!! I have had plenty of “what the fuck”-moments lately, but this takes the price. It is unbelievable! His book is a detective story and mine fantasy. It’s funny how two so completely different books can start in exactly the same way. Funny.

Advertisements

Another milestone reached!

Yesterday I hit 20k words!

I have so many things in my head right now, things I want to both rewrite and continue to write. And as from the beginning, I still have tons of ideas for parts that will happen in 30k words or so. If only a day had more hours!

Right now, I am currently adding a whole new section to chapter 1. I am adding conflicts and excitements instead of just having it poetically beautifully written. I don’t want an anticlimax where I built up to something and then just threw it out the window. This will be great!!!

Gothenburg Book Fair

In Gothenburg there is a book fair held annually. And as a book enthusiast, I am embarassed to admit that I have never been, until today. If I hadn’t had an appointment, I probably wouldn’t have gone at all because of the demonstration. I won’t go into detail about it because it is extremely upsetting and I honestly don’t understand how the city of Gothenburg could approve of a Nazi demonstration. So many thousands of people on both sides coming to Gothenburg of all places, from all over Europe to demonstrate. Svenska Mässan, which is the place where most fairs are held in Gothenburg, was right in the middle of all the action but mom and I were lucky and didn’t get in the middle of anything.

We started our day at Heaven 23, the top restaurant in Gothia Towers. In all the years the hotel have been there, I have never been to that restaurant and had one of their famous shrimp sandwiches. But today I did! And at one of the best tables, right next to the window with an overview of all the chaos down in the street. Lots of people there, but we were lucky. Nice experience!

So anyway, at 16:30 I had an appointment with a literary consultant. They offered free analysis of the first chapter. I was nervous, but the woman I had who read my chapter was really nice and gave me some really helpful tips. For example, I was really good at making the text flow, well-written, and good environment descriptions. The first part of the first chapter was really good, built up some suspension, but it got kind of flat at the second part. I put together chapter 1 and 2 as they are written now because it made sense. There is kind of an anticlimax, I build up for some suspension but then leaves it. So I will add some action, or maybe not action, but something exciting instead of the “perfect” and boring paradise life.

Something else she told me that really inspired me was that I need to direct the reader in some direction. Either plant hints about what will actually happen, or lead the reader in a different direction and make them surprised when something else is revealed. I have planted lots of small hints, but they are not enough to guide the reader in any particular direction. I have to think a little bit about that I think. But I already know what kind of suspense I will add. I got the idea exactly when Anna-Carin told me about it. It will be awesome!

There was also a monter where there was supposed to be a short seminar about how to publish a book and what to think about. I was there, waiting, but when I got there the owner of the publisher told me that the security guards told them to keep the volume down. But the monter behind them were allowed becase the security guards didn’t want there to be any conflicts. The monter behind was Nya Tider (the nazi paper)… She is gonna post a presentation online in a week and I will look at it then. She gave me lots of help there though and I knew what kind of questions to ask at least one publisher that I have looked at before. It sounded really nice! But that is far away. Hopefully only a year, but we will see.

Anna-Carin also gave me lots of advice, like what I should do if I get stuck. I should try to write from a third person perspective and from other people’s point of view. Now I will get very “stuck” with my main character, to whom I draw lots from myself. She told me it could be good to write some other things and feelings to get perspectives that will give me a better understanding of the story.

Lots of good help and if I get really stuck in the future or need anything, I now know where I can turn. Unless it is way too expensive. But she was really professional and helpful and kind and excited. It was a good experience and I am now more thrilled than ever to continue to write!

This fall has been better than this year’s summer. Beautiful evening in downtown.

Starstruck

A lot of people are telling me to read books that they loved. Most of the times, it takes me a long time to actually get to read them. One of my biggest regrets is Throne of Glass, it took me way too long before I read it from when someone told me about it. One exception to this behavior of mine is Lars Wilderäng’s Stjärnklart series. I read it almost instantly and I loved it! One of the best series I have ever read. I know a lot of people who think the ending is too spaced out, but I loved it, it was the perfect ending to that story.

Anyway, to my starstruck-story. Yesterday I had a friend from Cal Poly here for a day and I just had to show him my favorite store (and probably his new favorite store): Science Fiction Bokhandeln. When I was there I saw a sign that tomorrow (=today) Lars Wilderäng woud be there to sign his new book, Höstsol.

I have a really bad cold right now, but that didn’t stop me from going. I usually don’t get starstruck around celebrities, and wasn’t at first today either. I was a loss at words first, but then told him that I loved Stjärnklart, and told him, somehow (I honestly don’t know in what order I said stuff or how I got to it, but we talked for a little while) that he had already sent me signed copies of the whole series because I wrote reviews last Christmas. Want to know something funny? He remembered me! And this is where I got starstruck! He told me that my blog post, written in English, was used to promote the book abroad!!! Somehow, I also got it in there that I am writing my own book in English (because he remembered my review specifically since they were in English). I told him that I currently have 17k words and he told me that I should aim for 100k words. He also asked me what it was about and it looked like he slightly nodded approvingly when I briefly told him the story in two sentences. Or at least that’s what I will remember to keep myself motivated to keep writing.

This is definitely on my list of cool stuff that I have been through!

My sources of inspiration

I read a lot and even if I have carefully made sure that my own book is original, I have of course taken inspiration from my favorites, among others.

I have taken bits of inspiration from many books and series, these are some of them.

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Graceling
  • I am Number Four
  • Maze Runner
  • Divergent
  • Carve the Mark
  • Harry Potter

The same goes the other way too. I have read some books and told myself to stay away from certain things that I didn’t like. For example, A Court of Thorns and Roses included both sides to that inspiration actually. As well as Carve the Mark.

For example, my heroine is not going to be a stubborn pain in the ass who pushes away everyone in her surroundings just because she thinks that she can do everything by herself, she will be a stubborn realist and ask for help when she needs it.

She is also not going to be perfect and master any potential gifts and skills she may or may not be given.

Neither will there be any romantic relationships involved. I don’t understand why that always have to be a part of every story. Forbidden love and all of that. It can get tiresome.

I am not going to write very complex, it removes the focus from the actual story. I think I actually also might write both Swedish and English simultaneously to make sure that I capture everything I want the reader to feel from both languages. Since the beginning of 2013, I have only written in English (through school and this blog and living in California for two years), so writing in English is natural for me right now. But Swedish is my native language so there might be some word combinations that come easier in Swedish.

More help

Being an aspiring author is fun but challenging. You have the story very clear in your head, you are confident in writing, but the two has to go together. I think blindness to your own text applies to both amateurs and professionals alike. And that is why I am so grateful for the help that Helena provides. She asks me questions about the text that I haven’t thought about, stuff that might be clear for me but are not written down. But those details matter, those details are what makes the story real.

Now when I have reached 16k words (30 pages in Word), I actually have a hard time finding the right place to add or change things. I know exactly what every chapter is about, but it is starting to become such a long text now that it is actually a tough job to find the right place to add and/or change. I am really glad that I am getting help from the beginning, otherwise it would be a pain in the butt to answer all of the unanswered questions.

Helena gave me tips for chapter 3 and 6 (we haven’t had time to meet yet, but I get an idea from what she has commented and can think about it until we meet). She agrees with me that chapter four and on is “better”. The first three are at this point written in a different way than the rest, and when I have figured out how to change it so it matches the rest, I will most likely rewrite all of those three chapters, probably lots of chapter four too. She gave me compliments, that is is very well-written but also told me that my descriptions are very good. “Your descriptions of the island and the reef are very good and beautiful. It is definitely one of your strenghts to paint a picture that is very clear for the reader.” After reading that on my break at work yesterday, I was so happy and eager to get home to read her comments in the document and improve my script. That is what I am currently doing, and will spend most of the day thinking about, how to answer her questions so I don’t leave any loose ends.

Grass widow

This morning I said goodbye to Jesper. He is going up north with his dad for 10 days to hike in Sarek, the national park. Me joining was completely out of the question, I have to work, and I also don’t have the right physique for it. I would probably complain most of the time of heavy backpacks and mosquitos. I am sure they will have a great time though, walking around surviving in nature, taking pictures with their professional cameras, some father-son time.

This means however, that I am alone for the next ten days, I will be a grass widow (gräsänka in Swedish), which is something that a woman is when her man goes away temporarily. Ever since we started dating a little bit more than a couple of years back, we have never been apart (except for my weekend trip to Marseille a couple of months after we started dating, and when I was in Nynäshamn a couple of days last week). Ten days is a lot! I have to admit that I have looked forward to it, some alone time for this lone wolf sounds nice. But then I realized that he won’t have any reception up there. We won’t even be able to text or call each other. FOR TEN DAYS! No one to hold me during the night for ten whole days. That made it harder to say goodbye today. I will miss him… I hope they will be careful, especially when driving. 17 straight hours of driving!

But, no downside without an upside! This is a great opportunity for me to write on my book. My goal is to reach 20,000 words by the time he comes home. I have 13,200 now. Could be doable, right? I will start with that right now. And then go to sleep in the huge bed all by myself. Maybe Ramses will come and sleep next to me? Maybe even Cleo?