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Sunday Musings: Tips on Creating Your Own Writing Process

So you have an idea, and you want to write a book. Congratulations! And my sincere condolences.

Maybe it started as a dream you had, or a conversation that took place solely in your head, but you feel good about your idea and you want to turn it into something bigger and, maybe even, have someone else read it (GASP!). But before you even sit down to write the first word, there are a few things you should consider. This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list of everything that needs to be considered when working on your story – but it might help guide you as you prepare to embark on your long, perilous journey as a writer.

Work backwards

This may sound counterintuitive but bear with me. What’s your story about? Is it an epic fantasy that takes place in another dimension? Or a period romance set in the Victorian era?  

Now think about what you need to know in order to write. In my case (and the reason why I love the Fantasy genre so much), I needed to make up a lot of details. What did Sapeiro look like, smell like, feel like? What methods of transportation did they use, what is the logic of the world, where do they get their food?

You write well about what you know. So before sitting down and getting started, figure out those details that will make your story feel more real. You’ll be happy you did later on, when you’re knee deep in writing and realize you never gave any thought to something that has suddenly become important.  

Overthink your world

It’s helpful for you to immerse yourself in the world you are creating, be it from scratch or based on a real place and time. Now overthink it to hell. Consider every single detail that encompasses your world, things that you’ve never even stopped to consider in real life.

How many different cultures are there in your story, and how do they all interact? What’s the geography like and how does it affect the water supply? What’s the local flora and fauna like, and where are they in the food chain? What events or circumstances have shaped your character’s worldview?

These details may seem unimportant when compared to your actual story, but here’s the thing: the more you overthink your world, the more real it will feel to you and to your reader.

Make your characters come alive

Characters make or break a story. You can have the best story idea in the world, a real award

 winner. But if your characters are hollow, uninteresting, or don’t integrate well with the story you’ve built, you’ll lose the reader’s interest.

As I was researching how to write, and tips on writing, I came across a mind-boggling statement: work and develop your characters until they feel that they are their own people.

I scoffed at this at first. How could my characters, who were created in my own imagination, ever possibly feel as if they are their own individual people, with their own individual personalities, traits, and emotions?

But that’s exactly what happened.

Approach your characters as you approach your world: overthink them. Flesh them out until they feel like real people, with hopes and dreams, flaws and skills. Make them perfectly imperfect, with mannerisms and fears. Chart out their lives before the story begins: how are their parents, how were they raised, did anything majorly traumatic or splendid happen to them? How did this affect them as they grew and matured?

Just like with your world, a well-rounded character will feel more real to the reader and improve the story immensely. 

Make a schedule. Stick to it.

Life is chaotic, and busy, and volatile. Think of all the times you’ve told your friend you should get coffee. Now think of all the times you actually did.

If you don’t have a plan, that’s likely what’s going to happen to your book, too: it will remain a half-construed idea somewhere on your hard drive, just waiting to be turned into an actual story.

I wrote my first book, The Sapeiro Chronicles: A Forgotten Past: while I was still a student in my last year at Concordia University. Although I had a lot on my plate at the time, each Sunday, as I sat down to plan out the week ahead, I would carve out time to write, and I would assign a goal to how much I wanted to get done. It didn’t matter if I felt like it or not, but because I had written it in my agenda, I felt obligated to do it.

As a final thought, I feel it’s important to remind you that there is no one path to planning or executing your book. Find a strategy that works for you, and pair it with an idea that makes you feel motivated to write. But just remember, the only way to become a writer is to write, even if it’s just a little bit at a time!

The Sapeiro Chronicles, A Forgotten Past now released!

The day has finally come! The Sapeiro Chronicles: A Forgotten Past is now available in print and eBook format!

It’s been a wild ride, but I am so very excited to show you the world of Sapeiro and the magic that exists in it. It’s an old land, with a rich culture and long, bloody history.

Beast Whisperer – that was Lily’s special talent. Useful, but not as flashy as some. Or so she thought. When she was a child, Lily was found washed up on the riverbank near Basolt, with no memory of who she was. Taken in by the couple who found her, she was raised as their own, alongside their new baby. Years later she does something extraordinary. And word spreads of a new Spirit Hopper, someone who can enter into and control not only beasts, but people. Someone who can change the land of Sapeiro. Someone who supposedly died years before.

You can order your print or eBook copy on Amazon or Indigo. And don’t forget to leave a review on Goodreads if you enjoyed the story!

And if you want to make sure that you are always in the know about news and announcements, make sure to join my newsletter! Just pop your email below!

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Pre-Sales now Open for A Forgotten Past!

It’s here, it’s finally here!

The Sapeiro Chronicles: A Forgotten Past is going to finally be published on June 30th! Pre-sales for the eBook version have now begun, and the print edition will be available as of the 30th.

You can pre-order the book here.

Seeing this project through has been such an interesting adventure, and I am so happy and thrilled to finally be able to share Lily’s story about her adventures in Sapeiro with you all.

WRITING IS HARD. SO WHY DO IT?

There is nothing as frustrating on this earth as having a clever idea in your mind but being unable to fully express it through words. Words are hard. They can suck. Sometimes, you want to describe something and there just isn’t the right word for the exact emotion or feeling you’re trying to convey.

Did I mention that words suck?

I made my peace with writing a long time ago. I’ve always viewed writing as a kind of putty that you try and shape into submission. After enough knocks and molding and tinkering, at the end, you might be lucky enough to have a misshapen mass of… something.

That something is story. And that’s why I write. I’m not so fond of the stitching words together part as I am the create new worlds part. Stories have lived in my heart and soul forever, just dying for someone to PLEASE oh God someone ask me about my idea already. 

My life has been shaped by these stories, and I still remember some of the ones I came up with as a child. No, they were not good. But that’s okay! Because at least I wrote them down. And by writing them, I come one step closer to being able to tell the next one.

Something that has become more apparent to me as I progress in my writing career is that writing and storytelling are deeply personal things. When you tell a story, you’re opening yourself up to the world. To write, you must rip away all sense of self-preservation and bleed on the page for everyone to see. No matter what faraway worlds you create as a writer, a part of you lives in that world, and therefore a part of you lives in that story.

And yet, nothing could stop me from wanting to continue to write, to create, to keep punching the putty into something glorious, not even the potential for humiliation. To be able to use something as mundane as words to build an empire that only lives and thrives in my head is the closest thing to performing actual magic. To create stories, we must use words. Words will breathe life into the empires, characters, and creatures who live in our imagination. Words can strike fear or spark hope or evoke kindness.

Writing is one of the hardest things to do, even if it’s one of the earliest skills we learn when we start school. There’s objectively good writing, just as there is objectively bad writing. There are good stories, and then there are mediocre ones. But just like a muscle, writing can be improved, and storytelling skills can be developed. Ultimately, I think it comes down to writers and storytellers being a special breed of creative beings, who need to expulse the stories from their bodies in order to survive. Keeping it locked inside for too long will fester and boil up to the surface eventually. Better to just excise it, get it on a page, and be done with it.

As for me, I write because I have something to say, and I’ve chosen words as my medium.

COVER REVEAL!

Hi everyone,

I hope you’ve all been staying safe and washing your hands during these difficult times.

It’s been a while, but I have a lot of exciting news! To begin, the first draft of Book Two in the Sapeiro Chronicle series is done. There’s still a lot of work to do, and many revisions to be made, but the bones of the story are there, and that’s what is important.

The more exciting news I wanted to share is that we officially have a cover for A Forgotten Past!

Check it out here. I love it, and as you’ll eventually see, it contains a lot of important imagery from the novel. I’ll be sharing details of the release as soon as I can, and hopefully you’ll be able to order your copy soon and delve into the land of Sapeiro and all it’s magic!

Upcoming event: book launch at Babar books!

We are now only weeks away from the official launch date for Susie and the Dinosaurs!

Feel free to join Christina Pellegrino, Illustrator, and myself on November 16, at Livres Babar Books in Pointe-Claire village for the official book launch. We’ll be there from 11 am to 2 pm to sign copies and chat with readers.

It’s still not too late to pre-order your own copy now at Black Rose Writing.

Check out the Facebook event here for more details.