Month: November 2017

The Hardest Things About Writing

The Hardest Things About Writing

via GIPHY

I don’t think anyone with any common sense would say writing is an easy job. From the actual process of turning our jumbled thoughts into words to the relatives who constantly say “So, when are you going to get a real job?” Yeah… those two examples alone speak volumes about the struggles of being a writer. Still, this isn’t where it ends. There are so many parts of the writing process that make us want to pull our hair out and I’m going to talk about them because I’m at a hair pulling stage.

First, finding beta readers. Oh, my gosh, has there ever been a more impossible task? I think not. It took a lot “finagling”, a ton of back and forth, and a lot of what felt like pulling teeth. In the end, I had had about ten betas but out of those ten only two actually completed the story. Some betas just up and disappeared on me (ghosted…), while others gave me that one-time reply. Needless to say, it really boosted my faith in humanity…

Now, of course, some of my betas had to drop out for more legitimate reasons. A few realized they didn’t have the time, one had a family emergency, and etc. So, don’t think I’m not thankful for the betas I had and for what they contributed even if it wasn’t the entire story. I really am but, man, it sucks to be ditched halfway to the finish line. On that note, let’s talk about editing.

Editing is a part of the publishing process some writers may fear. I actually love the editing process because that means I get to take a break while my book is away being sliced up with red ink. What I don’t like is when I get the manuscript back from my editor because (1) it means my mini-vacation is over and (2) editing isn’t so much a correction of errors in the manuscript but more of a suggestion of what to change. So, even if your editor doesn’t like something in your novel, the final decision still rests on your shoulder as the author which is both a blessing and a curse.

And if you think your edits are going to simply be a few grammar corrections, you’ve got another thing coming, my fellow writer.

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Release Day Announcement

Release Day Announcement

I have to admit there were a few times I didn’t think I’d ever be writing this post. Yet, here I am, typing away at my keyboard with an official release date for my novel. Okay, so here we go.

My young adult fantasy novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” will be available for purchase on March 22nd 2018. Of course, it will be available on Amazon but I also plan on using other distribution channels for everyone to have access to it.

I’m really excited to be taking this big step in my writing career. I first started writing this novel when I was in middle school. A favorite teacher of mine had encouraged me to write after doing well on a Language Arts assignment in her class. At the time, I had no clue her encouragement would lead to years of writing, editing, writing some more, market research and…well, you know what I mean. To sum it up, this novel has been a long time in the making.

Additionally, if you’ve been following my journey for some time, you’ll know I’ve only gotten to this point after making lots of mistakes. Though I talk about it openly now, my horrible stumble in the romance genre used to be a sore point for me. Not only was I writing in a genre that I had no interest in at the time but I had no clue what it took to be an author. Of course, learning from those mistakes lead me here, so I wouldn’t change the experiences for anything.

Because this is just an announcement post, it’s not going to be too long. What I want to talk about before wrapping this post up are a few of the themes in “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone.” In the future, I may go into more detail about experiences I’ve had that are reflected in the story. However, for this post, I’m keeping it simple.

One of the major themes is living outside the standard, hence the use of the word pariah which means outcast or reject. Throughout our lives we’re told what we’re supposed to do, who we’re supposed to become and how we’re supposed to act. If you choose to purchase my novel, I hope the idea of breaking those standards comes across to you. Because throughout my life and throughout this writing journey, what I’m learning is that what fits for someone else doesn’t fit for me…and that’s okay. More importantly, I’m learning that there is no such thing as a planned life. Life itself is so sporadic it can never be held down well enough to really be planned.

Usually when one tries to do this, the result isn’t what they exactly expected and they may not even be happy with the life they end up living. So, with that said, live your life as you see fit. Be fearless in your dreams and deviate from the path because climbing a mountain of your choosing is more fulfilling than drowning in a sea of others’ expectations.

And never forget to write your way through life. See ya next week.

Author Highlight: M.G. Herron- Five Tactics Novelists Use to Rescue Themselves from the Soggy Middle

Author Highlight: M.G. Herron- Five Tactics Novelists Use to Rescue Themselves from the Soggy Middle

5 Tactics Novelists Can Use to Rescue Themselves from the Soggy Middle

I’m M.G. Herron, a science fiction author, content strategist, and the founder of the Indie Author Society, a community that helps writers learn the ropes of the publishing business. As an innately adventurous spirit with several years indie publishing sci-fi books and freelance copywriting, I’ve become somewhat adept at writing myself into a corner…and climbing back out again. Here are some of the tactics I employ when the going gets tough, which seems to happen most often in the middle of a novel. Maybe you can find a use for one of these tools in your own arsenal. To learn more about me, or check out my SF adventure/thrillers, visit http://mgherron.com.

It’s almost the middle of November as I write this, which means that thousands of people around the world are approaching the middle of their novel projects for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

The middle of a novel is where a writer’s resolve really gets tested. Perhaps you have already felt bored, stuck, lost, or at a complete dead-end when you’re working on your book.

This is a signal that you’ve reached the soggy middle.

The Soggy Middle

It’s not uncommon for a writer to feel lost in the middle of a long project.

In fact, it’s perfectly normal—even to be expected.

Known as the “soggy middle” or sometimes the more pun-y “muddle,” this is the phase of the project where you, the writer, feel as if you’re lost or stuck.

This is a perfectly natural feeling to have. These, and many others. When Chuck Wendig sardonically constructs the “The Emotional Milestones of Writing a Novel”, the names of the arbitrarily numbered middle points run the gamut of fear and anger and self-doubt, from “Septic Dread” to “Destroy Boredom with a Hammer.”

Which is to say, you’re not alone!

To put it another way, as Stephen King said, “Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction, can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”

The soggy middle is where you let that self-doubt overcome you.

It’s dark. It’s stormy. It’s scary.

You’re paralyzed. You’re frozen. You’re dead in the water.

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Publishing Your Novel In A Not So Nice World

Publishing Your Novel In A Not So Nice World

The thought of finally having your manuscript out in the world is both exhilarating and nausea-inducing. Something you’ve put so much energy, time, and maybe even some tears into (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything) is finally going to be available to the public. You’ll finally be a published author and while the thought of thousands of readers opening your book for the first time and starting the journey builds an indescribable sense of satisfaction in you, in the back of your mind there is doubt.

Because the truth is, not everyone is going to like your novel. Not everyone’s going to like my novel. It’s just how it is.

And while it’s nice to think you may have finally written the universal book, that’s a dream if I ever did see one. I mean, even Harry Potter with all its fandom has critics, reviewers who just weren’t satisfied with the final product. Perhaps, this is hard to believe because the series is so popular it seems to be adored universally and, maybe, it’s even your favorite series. But HP is not without some hate.

No book is.

If you’re like me, at this point in your thought process, you may be thinking “Oh, my green grapes! What if I publish my book and it’s a flop? What if everyone hates it? What if it gets the complete opposite reaction of HP?”

Yeah…

With the release of my novel roughly four to five months away (official release date coming soon), I’m plagued by these thoughts. I try to comfort myself by going through my publishing checklist which isn’t an actual list but more of an outline.

I remind myself of all the tasks I’ve completed on my publishing journey. I’ve had it edited twice, gone through the beta reading process, and ran through my manuscript several times myself. At this point, what more can I really do?

I decide to run through my beta feedback. Despite it being full of positives, I still wonder if they could be the outliers. What if they’re the only group of people who enjoy the novel I’ve been pouring myself into for years?

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All My Characters: The Pieces of Me

All My Characters: The Pieces of Me

This week I did a video on my YouTube Channel discussing why the main character of my novel “The Pariah Child & the Ever-Giving Stone” is a red head. Obviously, this is an odd question to pose and I’m not sure if anyone will understand my purpose behind it but it’s a question I’ve asked myself several times.

Like many authors, aspects of who I am slip into my stories and characters. Some are more intentional, others are complete accidents.

To sum up the video, I realized Sarah was a red head because for me, as a child, being a red head was a sign of the “other.” It was a sign you were an alternative and not a favored one. Additionally, two of my favorite characters from literature are red heads. That is Annie from the musical ‘Annie” and Anne from “Anne of Green Gables.”

Besides their red hair, these characters had several other traits in common. They were witty, talkative, curious, and, sometimes, completely odd. They had a flair for the dramatic and in the end, it’s their own quirks that save the day and make them admirable heroines. Neither Anne nor Annie conformed to what they were supposed to be. Honestly, I’m not sure if they could. It just wasn’t in them.

After doing this bit of self-reflection (writing is amazing, right?), I have a good idea of why Sarah is a curly red head. But as curious as I am, I couldn’t leave it there. I started to wonder where else I had left the pieces of me in my characters and where a therapist would be best to look to get a good idea of my noggin?

Hmmm…

The best answer, of course, is my high school journals. There’s so much hormonal feeling combined with dysfunctional childhood crap in those pages, I think they’d even be too much for Bravo. Considering the dramatic “reality” shows they host, that’s saying something.

Anyway, as I flipped through my journals and old notes, reading bits of stories I wrote (hey, that rhymed!) I noticed a trend. In almost every story I wrote as a kid, the villain was always a woman, often she was the main character’s mother. Though she wasn’t always the evilest of villains, there was a trend, a very disturbing one actually. Because as funny as it is, I have mommy issues.

Ugh, it even reads weird as I’m typing it.

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Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

If you’re an aspiring author or in any way involved in the literary community, you’ll know it’s National Novel Writing month. Every year, during the month of November, writers all buckle down in hopes of completing a 50,000-word manuscript in four weeks. Of course, this is no easy task but most things worth having, aren’t easy, right?

Years ago, I participated in NanoWriMo, though I was much younger and didn’t take it as seriously. More recently, I participated in the Chance Challenge which had writers set a goal of 50, 000-words in one month. Despite, me having participated in these challenges years apart, one thing remained true: Writing challenges are just not for me.

I almost hate myself for saying it. NanoWriMo does so many good things for the literary and writing community. Not only does it give a spotlight on new and rising authors, it also gives some writers that kick in the butt they need to finally put pen to paper. Well, more likely finger to keyboard, still the sentiment is the same.

There’s also the amazing comradery it creates! Writers are always stereotyped as being lone introverts who spend hours typing away and tucked in a small shabby room. Yet, not only have so many authors proven this untrue (some of us are extroverts, believe it or not) but social media has opened the door for writers to communicate all over the world. And, now, every November, aspiring authors across the globe cheer one another on as they pound away in the hopes of turning their manuscript into a reality.

Basically, it’s amazing and I wish I could feel that comradery every November and not miss out but the truth is I suck at writing challenges. Not necessarily because I don’t complete them.

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