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.

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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!!!

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!!