- Finish all outstanding fanfic series or Discontinue them.
- Get over 100 fanfics posted up on A03
- Blog at least once a week
- Finish Collab novel
- Finish Limbo
- Finish Cerulean Darkness Rewrite
- Finish Committing Murder
- Finish Unknown NaNo Novel (Obsidian Light?)
- Write at least 10 short stories
- Query agents
Deciding a project is always hard to do… and I’m having that issue right now. I’m doing my commissions, and I’m working on getting a very good rhythm going with those. I’m pleased on that front… but I’m still torn about which project I want to select as the novel that I really focus down on and polish until it shines.
And that’s just the thing — sometimes it isn’t always an easy decision. And sometimes you need to get some outside advice. I’m going to finish rewriting one into first person, and I’m going to add the last few chapters onto the other… and then I’m going to give the manuscripts to some very well trusted people to ask them which one they think has the most potential. It’s honestly so important to have people that you can trust, and people who you can go to for an opinion. It’s not me going for a critique, or for editing. It’s not even me going for constructive criticism (which is so important, trust me), it’s me trusting a small group of people who I know can read the book without me having to edit it and tell me, “Hey, this idea is better.”
You need to surround yourself with people who understand your needs, and who understand your desires. Look for a writing group, make some writer friends ❤ You won’t regret it!
So, that’s my bit of advice for the day ❤ I hope it helps, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! If there’s a subject you want me to touch on for the next blog, leave it in the comments or email me!
Author Amanda McCormick
Oh, look it’s Zombie time! What’s that? You guys haven’t seen this cover in a little bit, have you? Well, I wanted to give a small update on what I’m doing!
I’m narrowing down the novel that I really wanna go forward with. It’s a toss up between my fantasy novel Cerulean Darkness and Limbo! The thing about Limbo is that I need to finish it.
_> Yeah. I did like 50,000 words, but it’s not done. Oopse.
So, I’m going to be prodding to get it finished. At the same time, I want to finish my rewrite of Cerulean Darkness. Once I’m all done, I’ll do some edits and then look for beta readers. O_O It feels crazy, but I really wanna crack down on getting these things done and getting things going. There’s an odd urgency to me now, a desire to feel like I’m accomplishing things.
I’m going to ride that as hard as I can and get this done. I’m excited.
What are you all working on? I’d love to hear about it! Let’s work together!
Until then, keep reading and writing!
Author Amanda McCormick
It’s that time again, guys! It’s that time for me to post my response to my writing prompt… and I have to say that this one is a big one. I had a lot of fun with this, and I wrote a bit more than I meant to. But, that’s one of my favorite things about writing prompts – you never know if it’s going to spill into something bigger than just a few hundred words. You never know if you’re going to make an actual story out of it!
So, the Day Four Writing Prompt was:
The words on the page were gone – instead, a trail of black ink led to your bedroom door…
And here is my response!
The book had been innocuous when Donovan found it at the store. The old shop was one of his favorite places to be; he’d often find himself there after work, browsing the shelves for hours. Sometimes, he’d go to the back of the store, where the spines were covered in dust, and there was no guarantee that you’d even be able to read the title that you were picking up until you gave it a thorough wipe down.
That was how he’d found the book. He’d been climbing ladders and searching the shelves for something truly interesting to take home – the work day had been long and dull, and he’d answered the same tech question fifty times. He’d gone to college for four years and gotten a job that paid well enough for him to have his own apartment in the city… but it wasn’t really fulfilling.
What was fulfilling was looking for a new book in the corner bookstore by his house – what was fulfilling was those moments when he found something worth buying.
It was when Donovan was half up the shelf on a ladder that he noticed it; the spine wasn’t covered in dust like the books surrounding it, as though someone had happened by it recently and found it just as interesting as he did. The black leather was bound with silver, with no trace of a title to give way to what the book was actually about.
Maybe it was the fact that it had no title – maybe it was the fact that it was clearly in better shape than all of the old books around it.
Whatever it was, it was almost like music was coming from the pages, and he couldn’t help himself – his fingers spilling forward to pull it from the shelf, and he was shocked to see that those digits were trembling.
Trembles or no, he snatched it from the bookcase and tucked it under his arm without looking at the cover.
It didn’t matter what it said. He took it straight to the front of the bookstore – when he realized that the clerk wasn’t at the register, he dug into his pocket and pulled out two crisp bills. A twenty – a fifty. Donovan didn’t care. He threw it onto the counter and half ran out of the store, shoving the book into his backpack as though too greedy and protective of it to let anyone else see it.
It was his. He’d purchased it. And now he was going to take it home.
With the book hidden away in his back, he thought that he’d forget about it. He knew that he had homework, that he needed to make himself dinner… that he had things that he needed to get done before he could take the time to read. And yet, even hidden away in his bag, he couldn’t help but to continue to flick his gaze to the canvas, as though he could see through it. As though he could see that black binding, and it was calling to him.
He only made it half way through making dinner, and he’d already burned himself twice before he took the pan off of the stove and threw it into the sink. He was walking to his backpack before he could stop himself, and flinging the latch open with wide eyes full of curiosity and wonder.
He hadn’t even seen the title of it.
He didn’t know what the book was about at all.
But he needed to see it.
The leather binding almost felt warm in the chill of his backpack when he wrapped his fingers around the edge of it, and a low hiss of pain poured from his chest as he pulled it forward. The paper had caught his finger and cut. He quickly pulled the book out and jerked his bleeding hand away from it – a spatter of blood fell onto the cover, and crimson stained the page where he’d cut himself. It didn’t matter though – his eyes weren’t for the stains on the pages.
His eyes were for the cover.
There wasn’t a title.
There was just an image.
The man’s face was etched deep into the leather, chiseled like a God and sinisterly beautiful – the only color on the black leather front were two red stones set where his eyes would be.
The book felt like it was vibrating in his hands, and that face seemed to be staring straight through his soul. Donovan’s digits were trembling yet again when he finally flipped back the cover, the weight of it heftier than he thought, almost as though it was resisting being opened. But once he did, his brows instantly knit together.
He couldn’t read the words.
It was some language that he’d never seen, and he’d studied languages while he was in college, between the countless computer and programming classes. He bit his lower lip for a moment, his eyes skimming the words – it wasn’t even anything that he’d heard of before, it didn’t look familiar.
None of it did, but his lips tried to form around the words anyway; they sounded foreign coming from his throat, read aloud with lips having to purse and tongue having to curl to bend around the pronunciation.
His hand came up as he read, and when he came to a name in bold, he stopped for a moment… the pad of his finger traced the word, and he spoke it aloud softly. “Bellan.”
It was the only thing in the book that made any sense – his hand came away from the page and he frowned. He’d smeared crimson across the name from his paper cut – he’d smeared the book red three times now.
“I’ll be back.” Donovan murmured the words softly and pushed himself away from the table. He was going to go and put a bandaid on his finger before he managed to ruin the book entirely with clumsy fingers.
Cool water stung at the cut on his finger, and he was surprised to see that his reflection was pale – it made his blue eyes seem all the bluer, and his dark hair that fell against his forehead and swept over his cheek even darker than usual. The bandage was easy enough to wrap around the cut, and a splash of cool water helped him to catch his breath, to calm down. There was no reason for him to be feeling this way. He’d just read a book…
It had been a strange day.
With a soft laugh he flipped the bathroom light off and went back to his living room – he was going to put the book up,and get his work done.
When he stepped into the room, though, he instantly realized that something was wrong. There was a spattering of black on the table, and when he half ran to the book… the pages were blank.
He frowned, flipping through the paper quickly… there was no ink – no words. It was empty like a journal. With a small noise of protest, he shut the book entirely.
The man on the cover was gone.
His heart was thundering in his chest, catching his breath and keeping it captive without him noticing. The book fell thick to the table, the enchantment and music that had been spilling from it gone. It no longer held his attention captive – what did was the spill of black ink that fell from the table, half smudged into a hand print… and then trailed those foreign words along the white of his carpet, before shifting into footprints…
And spilling into his bedroom.
So, I actually had to cut myself off with this response, because I realized something.
I’m making a small novel here – at least a decent sized short story. It kind of transformed from something other than a simple writing prompt. When I hit 1300 words, I realized that I needed to pull back. But I promise you, this isn’t the last that you’ll see of Donovan, or Bellan. They may end up making a surprise novel appearance!
Make sure if you end up doing any of my prompts that you tell me. I’m going to make a list of all of the responses at the end of the month, so we can have a big compilation of horror stories, for anyone who is really in the Halloween mood and wants to get their fix.
Until next time guys!!! Keep reading and writing, and keep being absolutely awesome!
Author Amanda McCormick
My Discord Group (click to join) is starting to rev up for NaNoWriMo! If you want some help with plotting and a group to stay steady with after, feel free to click and join!
I found this tag over on Chapterchick’s tumblr! It was just too good to pass up. However, I’m going to answer these questions about characters and books that I’ve written! I thought it would be fun to make this a writer tag! There may be one or two questions that I have to defer to another book for the answer, but for the most part, I think that I can pull this off with writing! ❤ I would love to see you guys handle this the same way – answer in relation to your writing! Books, short stories, fanfics, whatever!
1. The Little Mermaid
A character who is out of their element; a “fish out of water”
Oh! So, what about a bird in the ocean instead? My character Caithe exists in my novel Riptide. She actually lives in a post-apocalyptic world and is transformed into a mermaid. Though there’s a lot of development that needs to happen in the beginning of the novel (It was a NaNo novel, so I rushed the beginning), she’s truly a fish out of water, so to speak… Or, well, the exact opposite. But she’s learning a whole new world (that’s the wrong Disney cartoon, Amanda.)
A character who goes through a major transformation
Would it be cheating if I said Caithe again? Yes. I’m going to try to use a different character for all of these answers. Hmmm… so, probably Liam, from When Flowers Fall. He thinks he’s simply a normal human male, but before it’s over… he’s going to discover that there’s an entire past full of baggage in his life that makes him something altogether different. Sorry that I wasn’t a little more clear on that one, but I don’t want to spoil the entire plot of the novel!
3. Snow White
A book with an eclectic cast of characters
Hmmm… out of all of my novels, I think that Insert Epic Title Here has the most eclectic cast of characters. It’s a satire on a D&D game, so I have multiple roles, races, species, and alignments. Including (maybe most importantly) an Arm Giant. Yeah, he already has a fan base.
4. Sleeping Beauty
A book that put you to sleep
I don’t know how to answer this about my own novels.I suppose the last project that I abandoned was a Hannibal fic that I was writing. It didn’t put me to sleep, but I don’t know if I’m going to return to it anytime soon. I got kinda… meh with it.
5. The Lion King
A character who had something traumatic happen to them in their childhood
My novel Shattered Reality includes a girl who watched her parents die in a car crash. It actually shapes who she is in the future, as well as her fascination with the Grim Reaper. So, even though I could certainly answer with a lot of my characters, I’m going to go with her. I actually wrote that book back when I was a teenager – it’s a thought that I might want to revisit and rewrite someday. Who knows.
6. The Beauty and The Beast
A book that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful
I was really intimidated to write my first real fantasy novel, Cerulean Darkness. Like, I was worried that I was going to fail, that I wouldn’t do it right… that I wouldn’t meet expectations. Until I dove into it – and the story was so enchanting and wonderful to write that I finished a 100,000 word novel in a month. (My first NaNo win).
A character who gets their wish granted….for better or for worse
Hmmm… Katherine, from When Flowers Fall. She’s my MC’s mother, and she’s actually the one who sells Liam’s soul away to Djinn for fame and fortune and the life of her other child. Suffice to say, in the end it isn’t going to pay out for her very well. Making deals with the Djinn never does, so…
A character who pretends to be someone or something they are not
Lex, from my story Limbo. It’s a post-apocalyptic zombie novel, and Lex is one of my main, male characters. I’m not going to say who he is pretending to be, or what’s going on with that… because it would completely spoil the story line. Suffice to say though, his name isn’t even really Lex.
9. Toy Story
A book with characters you wish would come to life
Since a lot of my novels have to do with the mystical and magical (and, you know, apocalyptic), I’m not sure how to answer this. Maybe… hm! Danse With Me is my Fallout 4 fanfic over on my AO3. If I could have a real life Paladin Danse and Quinn… mmm, yes please? Give me, give me, give me a thousand times over.
10. Disney Descendents
Your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character
Hmmm… It’s kind of a toss up between Lex, from Limbo, Djinn from When Flowers Fall, or Kellen from Insert Epic Title here. But! Since I’ve written about all of those already… I’m going to pick my character Jack, who is from my Fallout Fanfics, but I’m going to actually give him his own independent, non-fanfic novel, because I love him so much. Evil-ish, gorgeous, lethal. What more is there that you need? Mmm.
So, there we go guys! My Disney Tag, turned from novel to writing, because I think it’s a fun way to give snippets of your novels without really giving away huge details! I’d love to see you guys do the same thing ❤ If you do, tag me in it and let me know, so that I can see your answers! If you don’t have enough stories to do everything individually like I did, you can certainly use just one or two stories. I can’t wait to see what kind of answers you all come up with, and I can’t wait to get to know you and your writing a little better!
Until next time, you guys! Keep reading and writing, and keep being amazing!
Author Amanda McCormick
*tag created by Katytastic
I actually debated for a bit as to what I wanted L to be for. Love interest, lethargy… but I finally decided on a topic that I think a lot of writers stress over. Length – how long or short should we make our stories, and what really qualifies our pieces of work as a novel.
There’s a neat little cookie cutter format, if you’re looking at the internet:
Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words
Now, the thing is… I don’t disagree with this little classification chart, I really don’t. But… the internet doesn’t take into account the fact that we write, we edit, we change and add or take away from our story. Other writers will, even editors will… but you can’t write a story and instantly say, “Well, damn, this isn’t a novel!” Because you’re at 30,000 words. Trust me, you could certainly add to it.
I had a short story in High school (It was my portfolio piece, and I was damn determined to get a Distinguished on it (Distinguished is the highest marks you can get on portfolio.) However, the teacher took one look at the… stack of papers… that I gave her and told me that I wasn’t going to be able to use it for a short story.
It was 10,000 words, nearly on the nose.
She said she’d read it, but she was going to have to insist that I cut it down. I told her just to give it a chance, and then tell me if anything could be cut. I handed in 32 pages. I waited.
The teacher passed our papers out again a time later… and she pulled me aside. I wasn’t sure what to expect… but what I got was her telling me that I didn’t need to change anything about it, and I could put it into the portfolio for my short story as it was. Even though, technically, it was a Novelette, and not a short story.
(I got my Distinguished, and that novelette later turned into a full blown Novel.) The point is, sometimes we have to look past the clear cut lines in what is and is not a story/short story/etc, and be true to ourselves. If you have a 10,000 word story, my little Novelette that could is proof that it can pass as a short story in some circumstances… and it’s also proof that you can take those 10,000 words and turn them into a novel. When all was said and done, Shattered Reality was around 60,000 words, and part of a series. Don’t ever think that you can’t expand your story ❤ You can! Your short story has the potential to be a novel, and if you randomly only hit Novella point in your first draft? That’s fine. Don’t write yourself off as not good enough to be a writer. Expand, explore your world. You can make it a novel, if that’s your goal. I promise you, you can do this.
The thing is, we shouldn’t just get caught up on length. Some of us are so worried about hitting a certain mark that we try to make our chapters fit a certain word count. To me, especially during your first draft… you shouldn’t do that. Just write what you feel, write what comes to mind. Worry about fitting in more words later – that first draft is everything that you have, heart and soul, in one sloppy pile that was born to be edited! Don’t take that away from it. Don’t worry about how long or short it is – that’s what editing is for. Just worry about your idea, your baby, get it out there. Give it life.
With short stories (and this is where I have issues). Sometimes, we figure out that our short stories aren’t… so short. Shattered Reality wasn’t. Most of the things that I write aren’t. I have a hard time writing a short story – the one shot fanfic I did for Fallout turned into a 60,000+ word story. >_> If your muse wants to go wild with a short story, let it do it. Follow what your creativity takes you to, no matter what it is. I think that you’ll appreciate the result if you do.
Now, the only time that we can actually worry about length is during NaNoWriMo. That’s 50,000 words in a month. We have to get those 50,000 words, even if 20,000 of it is the main character blathering about the color of their clothing. xD NaNo is a special circumstance, where we pound out a novel in a month. If it works for you, it works for you. If it doesn’t xD Don’t use NaNo as your normal writing circumstances.
Honestly though, in the end, it all comes down to the fact of knowing yourself, your writing limitations, your writing expectations… and realizing that we can’t always go off of some cookie cutter chart. The world is ever changing, and our writing especially is an evolving, malleable thing. It is what we choose it to be, and there is no right or wrong answer. There’s just what works for you.
Follow your muse. Follow your creativity!
We still have M-Z to go through in this alphabet series! Let me know below if you have anything you’d like to see! I’d also love to hear about your writing, story length problems, or short stories that accidentally got out of hand!
Author Amanda McCormick
… because you aren’t sure what to blog about. I try to get useful blogs out there, and sometimes I just feel like I’m running in circles for a topic. (I notice this is when I feel a little less inspired to write in general.) Anyway, I’m going to be doing another blog tonight ( My writing challenge ), I just wanted to go ahead and write this. ^_^ If you guys want to suggest ANY topics for me to touch on, whether it’s a certain novel, a writing tip/trick/advice, a movie review, some creative story, scrivener tutorials, anything at all, just let me know! I always love hearing from you!
-Author Amanda McCormick
So, I’ve decided to go ahead and make myself a patreon. I’ve had a few people telling me how I should do it for a while now… so I figured, what the heck? Even if I only make a dollar a month… that’s a dollar that I didn’t have before! Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about doing this just yet… but I knew if I didn’t go ahead and DO it, I wouldn’t be able to figure out how I felt about it. I think that all writers deserve to make a living doing what they love, honestly. If I get enough money off of this, I’ll be putting it into helping other people do the same.
I will copy/paste the content that I am using here, and then I’ll probably do a follow-up blog tomorrow of how I feel about having launched it! So… enjoy below the content of my Patreon! (CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ACTUAL SITE!)
It is what I do. It’s what I am passionate about. I want, more than anything in this world to tell you a story that will burn into your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. If I can bring you a moment of joy, then I’ve done my job. This Patreon page was created so that I could continue to do just that!
Four years ago, I left my home and everything that I owned in Kentucky and moved to California – things here have been fantastic. When I moved here, I started a commission business, and I’ve been running that steadily… but I want more now. I want to create my own content. I want to share my dreams made tangible by way of story with the world! You can help me do that – you can help me live my dream.
Any amount of monthly donation that you make will grant you access to my monthly content. I promise to upload the following:
- One Chapter from the two novels that I have a current copywrite on and am in the process of editing for publication! (Either a Fantasy called Cerulean Darkness or a Zombie Apocalypse novel entitled Limbo.)
- At least One short story of my own creation (and your suggestion!)
- I will also put up at least one blog post per week on my blog, located Here. These blogs posts give writing advice, writing tips, writing tricks, writing prompts, and just general discussion. I also include creative writing here, so it’s double your rewards, double your fun!
- When goals are met, I will also post one vlog a week, either reading some of my creative writing content or talking about writing tips, tricks, and strategy.
Your support honestly means the world to me – you are making it possible for me to continue doing what I love, what I dream of, and what I truly feel I was put on this earth to do. I’m here to bring you joy, laughter, sadness, tears, emotion. Will you help me do that for the world?
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So, first of all, I’d like to give a huge thank you to my NaNoWriMo theme song. xD
Anyway, I really have to say that NaNo was a bit of a task this year. Between worrying about my poor pup and having to deal with the fact that I forced myself into a rewrite half way through…
Well, let’s just say that last year went a LOT smoother than this year.
Still, I managed to win with a few days left over. The difference between this year and last year is that I didn’t finish the novel. Last year, I wrote 90,000 words and completed the novel. This year, I am far off from that. It’s a much more complex story, and something that I haven’t worked with as far as writing goes. Still, I’m proud of it, and it’s something that I’m going to continue on.
I’ve really enjoyed NaNo this year, however – it’s been great to spend time with my friends, encourage them, and know that my words can help to make a difference. I love that I can give someone advice or encouragement and it helps them to get along with their story.
You guys have been amazing – you’ve responded to blogs, messages, etc. I love your enthusiasm and help! Over the next month or two, I will be finishing the novel that I started, and then I’m going to chose if I would like to edit it or the NaNo project from last year. Either way, i’m going to start polishing it up and getting it ready to query. Any tips/tricks/advice on that would be forever useful!
As it is, I had an amazing Thanksgiving, and I hope that you all are as well. I’m going to be doing some writing sprints/word wars on my twitter @EgoDominusTuus over the next few days to help my friends who are straggling to finish up their wordcount. if you’d like to join in, I’d love to have you there!
Otherwise, I hope your day has been great, and I hope your writing is flowing as smooth as the turkey gravy!
Until next time guys, keep reading and writing!
Author Amanda McCormick
Ah, so… November is literally just around the corner. I can hear it calling to me xD And I can hear the way that my poor husband will start cursing the month – it eats his wife, after all. Still, the NaNoWriMo website was finally relaunched! You can now put up what novel you’re going to be working on… and I am left with a bit of a question…
What do I work on?
I am between two novels in my decision.
One would be the Sequel to the novel that I wrote last year: Cerulean Darkness. This novel is called Obsidian Light. The series is a duology, so I would have that project completely finished (as far as writing… as far as editing? hahaha…) They’re Fantasy/Young Adult novels. I think that it would be great to get an entire series finished, and it would certainly feel like a wonderful accomplishment. Even though I haven’t worked on the book in a year, the characters are still very fresh to me.
On the other hand, there is a part of me that wants to wait until I have completely finished my edited on Cerulean Darkness first. After all, what will happen if I dive into Obsidian Light, and find that there is something, some scene, some character, some portion of the prior novel that I have changed to the point that the entire plot line needs to go in a different direction? I really do not think that this will happen… but I know that sometimes in editing, there are surprises that we do not foresee.
And so… there is my second option. It is a Zombie Apocalypse novel with a twist that I am hoping will make it more original and unique than every other zombie thing that seems to be out there right now. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I know that it would be a fun project to tackle. I am afraid with this, however, I will throw myself out of the Cerulean Series vibe.
So, the real question is… do I go ahead and write Obsidian Light? Do I carry on with my as of yet unnamed Zombie story? Do I rush like a madman to finish the edits on Cerulean Darkness so that my issues with Obsidian Light won’t be so present… or do I work on my plot and plan for Zombie Story?
NaNo opens up so many possibilities, and it makes me feel so very creative. I’m never going to be upset over the fact that I have too many ideas!
What do you guys think? Are you facing a similar situation? What are you going to work on for your NaNo project? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time, keep reading and writing!
Author Amanda McCormick