I’ve done a post about this before and it certainly won’t be the last time I ever touch on this subject, but the real question for writers after they’ve finished their rough drafts and polished their work is this; how do I make it? 

This all inevitably leads to the publication of your work, whether you choose to self-publish or take the long and arduous journey to get published by a real publishing house. My older brother who is a writer was given advice by a woman that had published several books by a publishing company. She said that certain writers have to conform strictly to what the publishing house wants to publish. They had a list of genres and requirements they wanted more of, but that wasn’t entirely what I had in mind for writing. Yes, certain houses have a type of genre they look for, but I didn’t want to write merely so I could get published. I wanted to write to tell a story. Also, she pointed out that it took her ten years to get published by this house. The only author I know to have been published by a house at an early age was Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, and he had his parents as publishers in the business long before he even thought about writing. 

Now to my point. 

 Is rejection really the end? Do you write after? Is there an afterlife for the writers that didn’t quite make it and still feverishly type away on their keyboards? Rejection can make or break you. It can fuel you to write the best story you’ve ever written and demand to be heard. Or it can crush your spirit and wilt your ego into a mere speck that whispers feebly whenever that burning desire runs through your fingers, thus extinguishing your match long before it was lit. 

Don’t be the soggy, limp, little piece of splintered wood not able to catch a spark. Burn. And burn brightly

 It seems as if my posts get farther and farther apart and shorter and shorter. Ha, oops. I have a lot more free time on my hands without school getting in the way; I’ve been writing like a crazed maniac over the past few weeks whenever I’ve had time. And one of the most notable things that I’ve finally accomplished: my rough draft of my book, The Nightingale’s Crown.

 A friend is helping  me edit as we speak, taking it slow over each paragraph and fixing every little detail. I’m excited for what this will bring which also brings me to my post topic for today-the Finish Line. 

 Are you one of those writers that goes on a high after something inspirational  hits them with a book idea and then starts plotting sporadically the next few chapters only to plunge into it by writing all those chapters and then just falling behind as your interest fades and you begin to realize just how hard it is to complete something? Don’t give up. 

Seriously now. Don’t be the writer who is only spurred on by inspirational bursts and then shuts the book away in some obscure word document never to be touched again until you read a book or watch a movie reminding you of the fact. Be the writer that you want to become. Be the writer who completes the story they’ve set out to tell. 

Get your paper, your Pinterest Storyboards, your real timelines hooked in between the bed posts at the end of your bed, your cork boards decked in little pictures or phrases or plot scenes you want to flesh out and remember. Get out your laptop, your marker board, your notebook and sit in Starbucks, the park, in some cases, by the pool, and just write

  
 It doesn’t have to be good. That’s why it’s a rough draft. It’s okay to make mistakes. I guarantee you that all the other authors have to rewrite just as much as you do. And be bold with it. Don’t dillydaily about having too much to do, not having enough ideas, or any of that nonsense. You can see the Finish Line. Don’t be the kid who can find time to eat fourteen donuts while browsing their phone but complaining about not having time to workout. The same concept applies here. 

Like working out, you must find time. There’s even a movement for this with their own special hashtag: #tenminutewriters

Now stop the whining. Stop the excuses. And just buckle down and do it. 

 I found that carrying a small notebook around with me can easily fix my problem. It can fit easily in my purse and still allow me a place to write my book out undisturbed whenever I want it. Perhaps you head to your doctor or the dentist and you are sitting there waiting for your appointment. 

Get out your mini notebook and write

Maybe you’re picking up your kid from soccer or basketball practice and they run into their coach or friend and they start talking. Instead of impatience, get out your notebook and write

And that’s all I have to say about it. There is a Finish Line and it feels so good to reach it. So get out there and write! 

image

Ever heard of accountability partners? The first thing you may think of (if you are a Christian) is an accountability partner for resisting a certain type of sin that you know you struggle with. The second thing you may think of is a workout buddy. You wanted to shed those extra pounds or get toned but you have zero desire to go through with your goal and thus get your friend to pester you until you can’t ignore it any longer. This same idea can apply to writing. Don’t keep yourself at a standstill. Don’t start a book only to leave it for years until you finally get off your butt to do another chapter or two. Keep yourself accountable. It is a good deal harder to let down your friend than it is to make excuses to yourself.

Write until your fingers cramp.

Write until your pen runs out of ink and then go get another pen or pencil.

  Get a partner and keep them on top of you, nagging you and pushing you to try harder when the inspiration just isn’t there.

Change it up with different materials and different writing utensils.

I once had a writer friend tell me that she switched up each time she wrote with a different writing pad. One day, she used a dry erase marker and a white board. Another, she used her notebooks and colored pens and another, she used her ipod to type notes.

Type on your keyboard. Type in Starbucks. Change up your environment. Change up the font that you use. Use a quill and ink. Use parchment. Use a typewriter.

But just write.

And when those fail, your friend won’t. If nothing else, go read your friend’s work. Go read a book in your free time. Listen to music that matches your story and get scribbling. Go on Pinterest and make a story board to get inspiration for the clothes, faces, and environment for the story.  Just get accountability and write.

Xoxo,
Ella

image

Social media is one of my favorite distractions. In this day and age, the user is constantly in their phone, whether it’s checking Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, email or some other app. A user roughly checks his phone over 150 times a day. It’s addicting and time consuming when you find something interesting to look at or read. Still think that social media is a bad idea to promote yourself?

     Very recently, I discovered that getting your name out there doesn’t solely rely on you writing a book, reading over it once or twice, fixing little mistakes like spelling or changing a word every now and then, and then sending out to publishers to become famous and solely rely upon them to make you a star. You’ve got to be willing to put in the same time and effort that you painstakingly (and frustratingly) stuck into the making of your glorious masterpiece into getting your name out there.
Publishers want to know if you’ve been seen before. They want to know that you are a good investment. Recently, a friend of mine told me that through Wattpad, she has managed an enormous following of over five million reads on her book, Marriage to An Adult. I never really realized how powerful gaining such a following could entail.

  The next day, I set about setting up a Facebook page for my writing; made a Twitter account to help gain a following; and created a Wattpad to further post snippets of my novels and to let loose the little prose and fluff that I had accumulated over the years. Some of this, I’ve already posted to my DeviantArt page that I’ve kept running for several years. I’ve gained some attention on there as well as become more comfortable with drawing and finding tips on there. During one of my fanfiction prose that I had posted, a person contacted me about getting published in his email chain magazine that he showcases anyone who wants to participate in the pictures, stories, short stories and poetry that grace the digital pages.
     Social media can be used to further the popularity and awareness of your book and self as an author. And, for those of you who draw, it will showcase your talents and hopefully get the attention of other authors looking for a graphic designer for the cover or art inside the book.

    Best of luck to all you lovely people who take time out of their day to read this. Use this infatuation our generation has and post, post, post!

Xoxo,
Ella

Twitter: Ella_C_Douglas

Facebook: Ella Charlotte Douglas (author page)

Wattpad: wattsyourstory

Covers and Artwork

image

I do write my own books, my stories, my plots, and do most of my own editing. I have my friends read my books and works and tell me what’s wrong with it on first impression and I’m in the process of editing a novel I wrote a year ago, titled: The Honor Code. It’s about pirates, soldiers, the war between Britain and America and all set on the high seas. But during all of this work and sketches that I’ve drawn, I figure at some point, I need a cover for my books. Very rarely do I use someone else’s pictures for a cover-in fact, I’m not even positive that I have done something like that since I had first begun.
Even if I only placed words on a colored piece of paper, I usually only used something that I had made for the covers. The only book that I have seriously considered publishing, really the only book that I felt like it was worth my time and effort to go through the painstaking editing and re-writing and plot fixing and such, was The Honor Code. During the writing of this book, I wanted to have visuals.
image

Pinterest, as well as other medias might I add, has really helped me see the world of my stories or help me gain inspiration to keep writing and keep plodding on. I love to draw and sketch and flesh out my characters. Really the only reason why I began drawing was to gain my own private view of my characters.
image

Even if you describe what you are thinking of in your head to anyone else, a friend, another artist, or family, they will only imagine it so closely to your own view of the character. I wanted to show other people what I saw. So I began drawing faces and profiles of my characters. Terrible at first, and even terrible now (although I have improved drastically since the days of flat Stanley), they are still my characters that I’ve wanted to show people. During my writing of The Honor Code, I wanted a visual,or at least, several visuals that I could choose from for the cover. My first thought was of a girl-one of my main characters from the story. Most of the story revolves around her past and what has shaped her to be the person that she is today. But even as I drew her, sketched whatever picture I wanted, it still didn’t convey the right picture that I wanted for the cover. I used Pinterest to find a silhouette of a soldier-the main character of my story is a soldier named Bayard- and thus, my cover began to take shape. I drew his silhouette but it still lacked what it needed to make it fit perfectly within my story. I added a second, lighter gray silhouette of my second main character and it was perfect. With creating your own cover and book art, it is definitely cheaper than hiring any number of amazing artists. You may want other artists to draw your characters and covers, and that is perfectly fine. But if you plan on selling your book and do not want to create more cost for yourself or more hassle if the pictures do not turn out perfectly, you may want to do them yourself. With a cover, you give your readers and fans something visual to latch onto. They remember that far more than they will ever remember a certain flash of words sketched across the top of a page (whatever font you choose to do).
I encourage you to create your own art, or at least experiment with the rough idea of what your characters will look and act like. It can even help with their personality creation if you have a visual of some sassy character with her hip jutted out and her arms crossed over her chest. It’s the little things that can all add up, and I hope this will encourage all of you to further your writing and drawing abilities in your- as my friend, S.G. Baker would say- quest for publishment.

image

Xoxo,
Ella

Quirks

Posted: March 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

image

Have you ever written or drawn something completely when you weren’t ready but more of on a whim when you happened to find a piece of scratch paper or a Notes app in your phone, and it ended up turning out great? I’ve found that drawing this way (usually during math, may I add :P) or drawing with
some kind of distraction like listening to a tape or story CD or watching a show can help with my focus on the drawing. I personally love messy pencil/pen sketches where I feel as if I can mess up alot and scribble away until it’s roughly the right shape. I’m more pleased with the end result and the overall look of sketches not drawn to perfection than I am with most things that take me hours upon hours to do. I find it more relaxing, and it takes away from the pressure I feel whenever I take to a piece of art. Although I don’t end up with a perfect drawing, I’m usually happier and have had fewer temper tantrums otherwise. ;)

Do you have any drawing or writing quirks that work for you?

Xoxo,
Ella

freyalookalike

“It was mid-morning by the time that I managed to pull away from our duties at the castle. My skirts swished along the floor as I rapidly made my way down the corridor. Guards had been more alert along the hallways ever since the Konigin’s stroke. As my footsteps clicked along the floor, I soon heard an answering quiet thud fall in step with mine. The familiar blue vest swam into my peripheral, alerting me of my constant stalker. The hair on the back of my neck stood up. Panic always overwhelmed me whenever I was around him. My palms would go slightly dry, my tongue curling up inside my mouth as if unsure what to say. It was the task of being Freya that scared me. I wasn’t used to it, even if the people around me were. Dream Dani would definitely make a fool out of herself.

“I apologize for coming up so unexpectantly,” Simon offered, that husky voice sending that familiar shiver down my spine.

I watched him closely out of the corner of my eye, careful not to turn my head to make it obvious that I was staring at him. He had a strong profile and blond eyelashes framed his dark blue eyes. They flickered over to me now, causing me to jerk my gaze back in front of me, self-conscious of being caught. I let my gaze slide past to his face once more when he returned his gaze back to the floor in front of us. His thick lips parted, his dusky freckles filling out his angular face.

When I didn’t offer any words to satisfy his conversation, he sighed and continued.

“I didn’t-didn’t want to push you to marry me. It was all Sebastian’s idea once he-well, once he knew what my intentions were of you.”

I hastily turned my full attention to a wandering thread threatening to come loose from the bodice of my dress. Hopefully he was ignoring the flush that had risen to my cheeks.

“Why-why would I need to get married right now?”

This question threw him off, I could tell. He blinked rapidly at me as if unsure whether or not I was joking or as if that had never once occurred to him.

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“I have other, more important things to attend to.”

“As in?” he replied sharply, his eyes flashing a little but the light dimmed in them almost immediately as he bit his lip at the outburst.

“Pardon me, Freya, but I always thought I knew you better than that. You always liked a little bit of romance and-and-“

He stammered too much.

It was beginning to wear on my nerves when it struck me as this man-more like overgrown boy-was flustered at knowing someone so intimately as he thought he did would surprise him so drastically in the past two days.

I was not acting very Freya-like, but at the same time, I wished that she had stuck up for herself just a little bit more than this. Whoever my dream had placed me in the shoes of, did not often speak her own mind about herself.

Chewing on my lip, I briefly looked back over my life. Dream Dani had no really much imagined a much different Freya to be honest. I took forever figuring out my own life, preferring to rule over Jaz’s-or in my dream-Dahlia’s much more than I liked to take authority of mine own.

I crossed my arms and rubbed the sides of my biceps while deep in thought. Simon was ever quick to notice any slight body language that I had, immediately began demanding that I should have brought a wrap.

“I’m not cold,” I admitted, wondering why I had gotten so used to the drafty castle as I had.

The dresses offered a thick protection against it, the rooms often heated by a fire anyway.

“I’m just not sure.”

I wasn’t entirely sure why I had admitted this to him, someone I barely even knew.

Freya knew him.

But I wasn’t Freya.

 Was I?

“Not sure about marrying me?”

He sounded wounded now, his voice cracking slightly at the end.

My eyes raked over his, his expression a pitiful mixture of his perplexed confusion and hurt.

My chest burned coldly, a touch of guilt.

“Not sure about anything, Simon. Not just marrying you. I don’t wish it. Even Mother Silva-“

My mouth had gotten too far ahead of me; I watched his eyes change from confusion to something much darker, almost sinister. I recoiled from his side, this side frightening me.

He must have noticed my withdrawl, the fire dimming again in his eyes as he gripped my elbow apologetically.

“Mother Silva?” he prompted, the sorrow filling his voice, making it very difficult for me not to throw my arms around his shoulders and hug him and confess that it wouldn’t be so bad marrying him. He was kind of a hottie and obviously cared about me.

Why had I said no?

“It has nothing to do with her. My commitment is to helping Dahlia and Mother Silva as long as I possibly can. My duty isn’t unto myself. The clever thing to do is marry for an intent at a peaceful reconstruction between the Houses.”

I was not entirely certain where that had come from my mind. I was perhaps trying a little too desperately to get his attention away from Mother Silva. I did not want to let him know that she entirely opposed it just as much as I did. I was not a bargaining chip but even as I spoke to him, I realized that I just didn’t want to marry him. The bargaining chip was only one part of it. If Dahlia genuinely had to have me marry someone, I realized that I would do it without hesitation. It was my duty, and I really did not care one way or another. My heart was squashed underneath a slight rebellion inside me whispering that I wanted more than that.

What about my Prince Charming like what Cinderella got or at least, true love like one of the Disney princesses?

The question I needed an answer to that my brain would not offer was this; why was I refusing Simon so strongly? Was it just because he vaguely reminded me of someone I once knew?

Josiah.

But Simon wasn’t an evil jerk. He was a lovable flirt that took too much for granted from me.

Wasn’t that what Josiah did? Just a little more modern about who he made out with in the backseat of his car…

I blinked.

Where had that come from?

I could not even remember the guy’s face.

“But I’m part of the Houses and we grew up together.”

He leaned forward, his eyes darting to the guards farther down the corridor.

I hadn’t realized that we had stopped in the middle of the hallway, nearly at the Dragon’s doorstep. There was no way that they could possibly overhear what we were saying. Most words drifted up into the vaulted ceilings and never strayed more than a few feet at a time. It made eavesdropping very difficult. I wasn’t quite certain whether I liked that or not.

“Remember, you said once when we were little that you would always-always- stay true to who you were. If you have any doubts against this decision, we can make it happen. Dahlia even wanted it. I’m part of the Houses; I’m part of the world that you need to get into.”

These words stung bitterly against my heart, my mind whirling with what he said.

I could sense that he was just trying to convince me-albeit poorly-to accept it. He obviously wanted to marry me, but I could not bring myself to agree. I pulled my arm abruptly out of his grasp, his fingers holding on too tightly for just a few moments. I rubbed my bruised arm, my eyebrow furrowing together. I could see my own hurt eyes mirrored back in his wide irises.

“I already am in this world,” I replied, trying to keep the tremors from my voice. I was on a dangerous path to almost crying in front of him.  “I don’t need you to complete me, Simon.”

Hurrying away down the hall towards the Dragon’s wing, I ignored the burning in my eyes and attempted to steel my jaw. Clenching my fists, I resisted turning around to slap him when he finally called out his own reply.

“But you need an alliance with a bitter rival, don’t you? Go away to your Dragon, Freya, and see who you really want to complete you and draw you into their world. Mine’s not good enough. I get that.”

– all rights go to me, my original work as I attempt to finish out my Adventure Novel for school this year.

Question: have y’all ever had the issue of having chapters that turned out way longer than they should be to align with the proportions of the other chapters but you cannot leave anything out so they just end up looking weird and out of place?  That is my predicament I’m afraid :(

I’m afraid that I haven’t been posting nearly as much, not for a lack of anything to write but I’ve been ridiculously busy with finishing senior year and finishing out my last year of basketball. Nationals is next week and I’ve been neglecting all sorts of writing and drawing that I’ve been meaning to get around to but haven’t yet. I plan on updating my DeviantArt page soon with my drawings and paintings and some writing soon to keep myself diverse in something other than just my novel for school. I’ve recently gotten back into writing The Honor Code, a story about a pirate that I wrote last year for NaNoWriMo. I’ve needed to rewrite it and get it back out there for possible publishing since I want to experiment with my work and see what it takes to become a published author. Also, I’ve begun planning for either my 2015 NaNoWriMo or just a project about a spy that I hope will take off once I get more inspired and fleshed it out more. My graphic novel needs work, and my next art projects will include multiple drawings of these characters and most likely a post asking anyone and everyone’s help in the art of graphic novels which I know very little, if anything, about.

xoxo,

Ella