Relinquishing creative control can feel like the end of the world. One cannot simply do everything and have a successful book launch.
- Let your editor edit. You’re paying them to do so. Give them space. Let them work. And if they don’t meet their deadline, let ’em have it. All hell will break loose. Be easy on your editor who’s focusing on the substantive editing. They need to pick apart your story and ask questions. Don’t flip out on them. Take a chill pill.
- Unless you’re designing your own cover, you’ll also need to take a step back and tell yourself: “I’m not the expert.” Give the designer what they need, info-wise. Maybe a little more. Be realistic in your feedback and don’t get irrationally angry if they don’t follow your original request. They may have a marketing tactic or two behind their reasons why. Just ask.
- If you’ve hired PR to help with your marketing, then you need to lay out your terms and conditions to a degree. Once again, you’re paying this person to do a job for you. They’re the expert. Not you! They will treat your upcoming work with TLC and sketch out a marketing plan tailored to a genre and audience. If they don’t, something isn’t being done right. Ensue virtual yelling.
Think of this time away from your work as a vacation. Go to the beach, go for a hike. Drink a nice, cold pina colada. And when you’re notified from any of the people you’ve hired about your book…
This is one of the last two areas of the world we are traveling too. So, let’s venture into the deep woods of the Americas to start the beginning of the final countdown!
Wendigo | Algonquian Tribes
Cannibalistic beastly humanoid, possibly once human.
- This creature is aligned with murder, insatiable, and cultural taboos against “normal” behavior. They’re also associated with the winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.
- The Wendigo is bigger than a human, and whenever it feeds on human flesh, it grows! It never gains weight and will always appear thin. They’re always hungry so watch out!!
- There’s also an explanation as to why they may have been human once before turning into the Wendigo. When they were human, they may have been incredibly greedy. Or if the human was in contact with Wendigos for too long, they would become one.
- Powers include: mimicking human voices, possession, controlling weather, manipulation of darkness (sunset), control of forest creatures, healing, and incredible strength and speed.
- Believe it or not, there is a psychological disorder called the Wendigo Psychosis. People diagnosed crave human flesh even though they have access to normal food sources.
…Third times a charm! Right? Right?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case when it comes to editing and proofreading your novel. If you’re trying to save money and doing everything by yourself is your only option, we want to be there for you.
Meaning, we’re going to give you some advice.
- Take some time away. We mean it. You may not be able to do a vacation getaway from your writing, but you could leave the room. That’s like a vacation, right? Leave your writing domain for an extended period of time and take a breather. You deserve it! And plus…if you jump into proofing and editing immediately, you’ll end up critiquing yourself as a writer more so than edit your actual book.
- Figure out what you want the process to be like. While you’re away from your writing space would be the best time to do this! Mapping out your editing goals will help you focus on what’s important and needs to be done. Don’t let your mind wander!
- Sit down.
- Make sure you’re reading your book as a stranger. Another important part of taking a break is coming back with a new, fresh perspective. With healthy distractions, you’ll be able to forget (for the most part) what your book was like and when you start to re-read, you’ll think…”What did the author say?…Oh wait, that’s me.” You’ll notice details differently, too.
- Get into the reading groove. Maybe you’ll read very slowly, maybe you’ll read it aloud to yourself (or force someone to read it for you…ALEXA.)
- Pace in your space because it becomes too much.
- Don’t worry! We always see writers attempting to word particular things differently. Don’t worry about that. Sometimes…you just have to use the word ‘said.’ There’s no reason to get fancy. Focus on other bits, not that.
Writing is an experience which changes from person-to-person. Some are very straightforward: outline the work, write as they’ve planned, and stick to what they initially imagined. Others…this one is for you…let the writing take over. Some may let the characters do the writing for them. Even with an outline to give an overview of what’s to come, sometimes a character’s personality or background won’t allow what’s been planned to happen the way the writer may want. (And we don’t recommend forcing it!)
The character may become the author of their own story – you’re only the vessel!
If you’re feeling as though your story is straying away from the original plan, don’t worry – this may come with purpose.
During the editing process, make sure everything links together. Even if your character takes the wheel and steers you in a new direction doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always going to be right! Nervous about taking the leap? Duplicate the document, re-read each chapter as it’s written, refer back to your notes and put your brain to work!
Writing doesn’t have to be a cut-dry part of your life; your characters have a story you’re destined to tell, so let them help you tell it.
We know what you’re thinking: Grandma Snake? What the heck kind of myth is that?
It’ll make more sense as you read…
Baba Yaga | Russia
Mysterious old woman who floats around in a mortar.
- The description may say a singular old woman, but this myth opens the possibility of running into not just one but three baba yagas (can it be plural?) Crazy part? They’re all equally as deformed and terrifying to look at it.
- Not only does she float around in a mortar…she’s armed. With a pestle. The thing you use to grind stuff up in the mortar. Sounds like if you get her mad, you know what will happen to you.
- She can be found in the forest, in a hut. Most people who come across her seek her out for a maternal role or something in relation to forest life. (Read some of the stories – they’re crazy!)
- Baba Yaga may be seen as a villain, but she’s portrayed as a helper or ambiguous being in a story.
- The meaning of her name varies (take a peek at the title again); baba has a variety of meanings, ranging from grandmother to sorceress. Yaga doesn’t have a clear translation but most believe it revolves around serpents.
You read that title correctly. We’re talking about a mythological creature who tickles his victims to death…not a way I want to go. We’re traveling to West Asia, and for the next four weeks, this is where we’ll stay.
Şüräle | Turkey
“Horned, woolly humanoid that tickles people to death.”
- The Şüräle has long fingers (used for tickling), a horn on its forehead (like a unicorn), and a woolly body (similar to that of a sheep.) Somehow, this terrifying sounding creature lures people into the thicket of the forest it resides in and tickles them to death.
- It can transform its body, usually into a human. The human will almost always have glowing eyes and wear its shoes backwards. Lo and behold, this may or may not be how they lure their victims in.
- If you’re lucky enough, you can befriend the monster and learn the secrets to magic. People will make deals with it and gain the creature’s protection of livelihood and animal stock. Beware though…if the Şüräle doesn’t like you, they’ll make you ill or force you to get lost.
- In a lighthearted way, the Şüräle can be a jokester; there’s a myth about them taking the axes of woodcutters and hiding them.
- In order to get the Şüräle off your back if you come across it, you have to turn your clothes inside out and wear your shoes backwards.
What lesson do you think kids (we’re talking teens, tweens, and drama machines) these days need subconsciously taught to them? Is it something you remember neglecting when you were a little one yourself and regret wholeheartedly? Or maybe it’s something you were never taught! Writing a YA novel can open a door in a young adult’s mind which will start them on the road to success or down a path of self discovery.
One thing to remember in writing a story for a younger audience is you want to tap into their emotions. This is a time in one’s life where they’re channeling all sorts of feelings: some old, some new. They’re trying to sort things out and maybe, just maybe, your book can assist them along the way.
You know what else teenagers are trying to sort through? The latest trends. You don’t have to be a genius to know this one. You were a teen once, right? Remember how you wanted to go and grab the most popular pair of shoes or learn every word to the number one hit on the radio so you could scream along with your friends and not feel like an outcast? Utilize teen culture to cultivate your world, your characters, and your readers. Don’t rely on trends too heavily though – it’ll make for a bad YA novel. Mainly because you’ll hear in the back of your head, “Mooooooooom!/Daaaaaad!” in a whiny tone to stop trying to be cool. You want to be able to speak to your audience, eye-to-eye, and connect with them.
Speaking of an audience, know who you’re targeting! You should that for any book before you start writing but it’s easy to write a book about young adults rather than for young adults – catch my drift? For example, Stephen King’s IT is about young adults, tweens, whatever…but it’s written for an adult audience. Don’t aim for adults: know how your audience talks (don’t go crazy with slang either, it’s not that important), what they like, what issues they may encounter. You want to be able to relate, not have your reader feel like you’re talking about them to another adult right in front of them.
Oh, and stereotypes. Tropes. Get rid of them. Or if you’re going to use them, please make the idea original. Please. The future leaders of the world are begging you to.
Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?
Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?
Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.
Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.
We’re not saying there are fake endings floating around in the writing world but what we are trying to say is realism is a wonderful way to end a book. Seriously! To remind your reader their head shouldn’t be in the clouds will have them feeling a lot.
Take a moment to think about a not-so-happy ending you read and stuck with you. There’s a reason why you remember it…it’s memorable due to being different than all the rest. We also want to mention: these endings don’t have to be sad, necessarily. Just real.
Sometimes people like the chaos and fire-burning-everywhere ending to a book they’re invested in. Or the cookie-cutter romantic, hero saves everyone at the end of the day. It’s about preference.
Or shock value.
Originating in Japan, the visual novel has made quite the impact on interactive reading for tweens, teenagers, and new adults.
A platform designed for artists and storytellers, visual novels take reading to a new level. Some stories revolve around custom characters, while others don’t. The storylines vary but the biggest genre here is romance.
By teaming up with graphic designers or digital artists, authors can create a version of their story which would appeal to those who like visuals accompanying their story or travel down the similar route as Harry Potter. (We’re talking about the game released where you become the witch or wizard, in case you missed it!) Building the world for your readers first and building a fanbase, may make transitioning to visual novels much easier. They don’t all have to be romance stories; they’re just the easiest genre to get into!