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?

Character building

I have come so far in my story now that it is time to really think about the characters, to get to know them. So far it has just been the main character. But now there are other characters, and even if they aren’t too many yet, I still need to know everything about them when I am writing so I give the right hints about who they are without writing right off who they are. I realized this today. So I wrote about 500 words in the story, and then have dedicated the rest of the evening to character descriptions.

Name – title of the character
Looks
Age
Gift
Inevitability
Heritage
Background

These are the categories I am now describing my characters with. As for now, it is enough. I give them a little background story that motivates their actions and behaviors in the present. It is really fascinating, it is like I am really getting to know these people.

Here, let me introduce to you the first group of people in my story: Myra, Leem, Meon, Uulu, Yuli, Mali, Edo, and Nio. Who they are, you will have to stay tuned to find out.

A big help

Today I got my first real constructive criticism and it was so inspiring! One of my mom’s friends has taken many writing classes and knows what makes a text a good one. She read chapter 1 and 2 and gave me a lot of tips that I will think about in my writing from now on. I did already feel that chapter 1 and 2 were very different from at least 4 and forward, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. She helped me to understand what it was and the biggest thing is that I have only used descriptions in those two chapters, not “gestaltning” as she called it. That is best explained as when you are writing events as they are happening, rather than describing them. It is hard to understand, but as soon as she said it I totally understood what she meant, and I will rewrite some in those two chapters. On the other hand it is a nice progression from only backward-looking descriptions in the beginning to more descriptions of actual events as they happen and I think that progression is going very smoothly, like the introduction of the book is slowly turning into the actual book, if that makes any sense.

She also told me the importance of good environment descriptions and how to use them. I have good descriptions, but she told me that I can use some of them in the future when the character is looking back at something for example. That is good advice. It is no fun reading and not leaving anything mysterious for the reader to think about.

It was extremely helpful and I am so grateful that I got some real help with my writing. She also told me that it is very well-written and that I write better than some that she has taken writing classes with. That felt good to hear and a perfect spurr for me to continue. Today, after meeting her, I wrote almost 1 000 words! I think I finished chapter 6! Go me!

She was also super nice and lent me three books about writing. Stephen King’s memoir, a course book she had for one of the courses she took and a book about fantasy “Thousand Years of Fantasy” with descriptions of fantasy through the ages. I am not going to write high fantasy with dragons, unicorns or dwarfs, but I am sure I can learn a lot from it anyway! I compare my book with Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses the most. It will be a feel-good fantasy story.

A big big shoutout to Helena. Thank you!!

My writing process

Like I have said previously, writing has always been a huge interest of mine. My imagination has pretty much never run dry, except when it was in ‘power save mode’ when I was at Chalmers and was busy with other stuff. I have never taken a creative writing class, nor any similar classes on how to write and without knowing anything at all about the “official” way to write a book, I have chosen my own path and created my very own writing process. And so far so good!

I started to actually write on June 12th this year, but that was after some planning and thinking. I can’t tell exactly for how long I had been thinking about the plot and environment, but at least a month. I wrote down everything that came to my mind in a document, and when that document was 8 pages or so long, I couldn’t keep myself from starting to write.

I still use the note document, there are many many things I haven’t thought of yet. I even have a small physical notebook always in my pocket so that I can write down things as soon as they come to me, wherever I might be.

My note document is divided in different parts.

  • Plot
  • Environment
  • Characters
  • General thoughts

Under Plot I have both a short short version of the whole plot, no details, just the major steps in the story. I also have started on a more descriptive version of the plot where I write a paragraph on all the things that will happen. I haven’t made it too far on that and probably should spend some time on it so I don’t write more than I have planned for. I want this to be a well-thought story where everything is connected and makes sense.

Under Environment I have written descriptions of all the different territories and their potential names. Names are hard! I have also used some references for this part so the climates make sense.

The part about Characters are pretty short right now. I have no idea what the main character’s name should be, but I know that character so it has been easy to just write it as it happens. Up until this point she has been alone so I have to work more on that part now. I have written down several names, I have thought of themes that the different tribes’ names will have, but those names are not live persons in my head right now unfortunately… This is a fantasy story, so there has to be some magic in it, and here comes a minor spoiler perhaps, but all characters will have a power and a determined destiny so I have written lists of potential powers and destinies as well.

Under General Thoughts I have written down my yeses and noes. What things have I previously read and loved or hated? What things should be in the story and what should not. What do I enjoy to read? That is also the part in which I write questions I ask myself on stuff that I am unsure of and need some time to figure out.

 

As of now, I have the major plot all figured out. Now it is time for the minor details that will make the whole book great! I have been thinking a lot about one part and I really want to write it, but it is at the end, or at least very far ahead, and I don’t want to write outside of the order. The characters will develop and it will be weird to write stuff that will happen, even if it will be super cool, before I have written what will happen until then.

 

I honestly don’t think that there is a right or wrong way to write a book. My way probably could use some improvements, but I am having fun and it is exciting to figure something out all on your own!

10 000 words

A milestone was just reached: 10 000 written words!

I don’t know if I have a goal. What is a normal book? 150k maybe? If I write in this pace, and write that many words, it might be done in 15 months, haha. That is so far away!

I started writing on June 12th, and 10 000 words in one month doesn’t seem too bad. I do feel however, that I would have come further if I wasn’t so distracted at home. I don’t know why, but whenever my boyfriend is home, Netflix is always on, even if he is doing something on his computer. It is very hard to concentrate with something on in the background… I might try to find a place somewhere where I can sit and write, undisturbed. Best would be to get a two bedroom apartment soon so I can have a whole room to myself, but with the housing shortage, I wouldn’t count on it happening anytime soon.