Editorial Assistance

Caleb Jennings

I seriously almost forgot that I had to blog today. I sat at my computer for five minutes after watching a particularly intense episode of Monster and thought to myself, "Wow; I'm bored. Aren't I supposed to be doing something important today...OH YEAH!"

I have been making wonderful improvements to Savior of the Damned. At first I had a hard time planning out my newest chapter, Officer Clayton. I knew nothing about cops and paramedics, and my first draft chapter summary consisted of vague sentences like, "She ripped the cord thingy out of her arm." So I asked for help, and my friend Maria and author friend Breanna came to the rescue. Maria's paramedic stepdad answered my questions the same day I sent them to Maria. I still await the assistance of Breanne's cop husband, but I can write the chapter and add his input later.

Another reason why I have been motivated to make wonderful improvements is Caleb Jennings. I've been spending a very innovative couple of days at his site. Below I list the things that I participated in:

  • Writing Place contest: This probably should have gone in tuesday's blog post, but it didn't cross my mind. I am Entry 2. Though I didn't win, I still got a good number of votes. My writing isn't so bad!
  • Vlog: Caleb posted a video blog about me and my entry. He did a good amount of talking about dark stories, and he said some very interesting stuff.
  • Interview and Excerpt: This was, by far, the absolute best and scariest part of being featured on Caleb's site. Caleb posted an interview with me, a 300 word excerpt of my choosing, and a reading of the excerpt. The members of the site also had the opportunity to state their opinions on my entry. The discussion that went on down there in the comments, about voice and dialogue tags and description especially, was very enlightening!
  • Audio Edit: I really loved what he had to say, namely because he didn't feel the need to edit alot. lol.
And that's all for today!

Short Post

I blog every Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesdays, I focus on what I'm writing in general. On Thursdays, I focus on my novel in particular. In a previous post, I said that I would spend the two months that my novel is in the hands of critiquers working on a creative writing portfolio. Well, I abandoned that plan about a week ago.

These are the reasons I've been giving myself for the change of plans: 1.) I will be taking creative writing courses in college. I can build a portfolio there, or at least focus on building one on campus. 2.) My novel has a lot of stuff going on, so it would be smart to do some more research and writing.

However, I most likely gave up on this whole creative writing portfolio thing because I get home from the APA at five o' clock, and that only adds to my apparently growing laziness. People think I'm doing a lot this year, but this is NOTHING compared to how I lived my life freshman and sophomore year. In other words, the first creative writing course gave me a personal essay to write. I had no problems taking notes, but when I had to write the essay, I totally bombed it. I'm already doing scholarship essays. And so I realized that, if I was gonna waste my time not doing the creative writing portfolio work, I can use that time working on my novel -- something I always feel the need to work on.

Because I'm back in total Savior of the Damned mode, my Tuesday posts will no longer talk about what I'm generally doing in the writing world (unless I mention a review I've turned into Suspsense Mag or I actually write a freaking short story. lol). Instead, they will talk about the things in the writing world that have grabbed my attention, like MFA's and Self Publishing and Kindles. Mind you, these posts will probably be link heavy and opinionated, but that's nothing new!

Today's post was just an explanation post, though. I'm gonna get some shut eye. I'm not liking that this whole feeling unwell thing is becoming a habit. Reminds me of depression. :(

Novel Development/Editing

I'm sick today, so I probably shoudn't be online blogging. Still, I'd hate to NOT blog on the days that I set to blog - tuesday and thursday. My stomach may be killing me, but if I wasn't blogging right now, I'd just be working on my novel.

And that's today's blog post: what I'm doing with my novel, now that it's finished and in the hands of five readers/critiquers.

Well, it turns out that it's not really finished, but I've said that before. My critiquers would be amused to learn that the draft I sent them, the draft that I thought needed no more massive rewriting (I count massive rewriting as adding more scenes to a chapter or adding a new chapter or deleting a chapter altogether), had actually been undergoing massive rewriting for the past two days. Here's why:

Sub-plots: I'm developing a little more on three sub-plots that originally didn't get enough attention in the first two drafts: The cops, angels, and Samuel's minions. Samuel's minions and the angels were handled without too much rewriting. I just had to explain some stuff in already created chapters. However, because of the cops, I now have to write another chapter called Officer Clayton and explain some stuff in any chapter that mentions cops. I haven't written a new chapter in so long. I'm pretty excited.

Timeline: Back when I first started writing the second draft, I came up with a story timeline listing the dates from the first chapter up to the second book. However, back then, I had 41 chapters. Now I have 39, which means a great amount of the dates are off. That came to my attention when Alecia said, in Chapter 6: Haze, that it was a bright Friday morning. I went back to my notes and realized that, months ago, Chapter 6 was Chapter 9! I'm less excited about creating a new timeline than I am about writing a new, action packed chapter with cops.

Writing and Reviewing

In a previous post, I said that I would explain how I go about reviewing for Suspense Magazine. Well, I keep my word (even if it takes me ages to get back to the word that I kept). But, before that, I'd like to touch on the short story idea that's been brewing in my brain since last night two days ago.

Yes, the genre will be horror; no, I have not written anything down yet. lol. This stems from my fear of writing short stories.

The idea started because there is something odd and dark above my window, and I hadn't noticed it until two days ago. I started to ask myself all types of questions: What is it, exactly? Why did it start above my window? What if the dark stuff started claiming the room until it claimed the whole room? What if only I could see the dark stuff growing?

When I have the time, or whenever I make the time, I have a wonderful premise and vague set of plans. However, I've also accomplished making myself terrified of this room. Of course, the dark stuff hasn't grown, but I also can't get it off, and my eye always finds it. I still don't know what it is!

Now, about my process of reviewing for Suspense Mag. I have a big box of books that the editor has chosen, based on my preferences, to read and review. So far, I've reviewed about 5 books. Within the first 20 pages of a novel, no matter how big the novel is, I already have the whole review planned out and mostly written. When I actually finish the book, all I have to do is go back to the review and add in some stuff here and there.


First off, a Suspense Magazine review is NOTHING like a Wall Street Journal review. Suspense Mag publishes reviews of a lot of books each issue (as well as movies). Because of that, the reviews are asked to be 3-4 paragraphs. There is not a set formulaic format, but this is the set formulaic format I follow:

1st paragraph: Always come up with a hook. Often, the hook corresponds directly to the story's start, but not always. As long as it's catchy and relevant, I use it.

2nd paragraph: Summarize the beginning of the book until it gets to the Big Question of the novel, which will undoubtedly show up within the first 20 pages. Don't say much past the Big Question. I want to make the readers excited to know what's next -- not spoil the plot.

3rd paragraph: I give my opinion of the story as a whole. I try to keep it nice. Even if I don't like the story, I keep two things in mind: 1.) Someone else is prone to like it; 2.) I don't want authors to hate me. lol. Generally, if there's something I don't like and can't get over, I just nicely mention it.

4th: Bring the Big Question back again, usually as a standalone sentence. Or bring forth something good or unique about the novel (The examples are actually from my reviews). Can you keep up with the God of Clocks?/ Now it's up to Madison. Can she help the real vampires stop the wannabees?/ This tale is as much about loss as it is about Mo and Andrea, his wife, reminding Frank that there is as much to look forward to as there is to look back at./ In a time where vampire books are all over the place, Wolf's Cross is not only a refreshing break, but an intriguing view of the werewolves' world.

Even though I can finish most of a review early on in the story, I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS finish the novel and really take it in. I feel it would be disrespectful to the author and Suspense Mag if I didn't.

Well, this blog post is already too long. Thanks for reading!

Relatively Happy!

Before I get into the creatures in Savior of the Damned, I'd like to talk about WHY I am relatively happy right now.

Look to the right! (Have you looked to the right yet? That was a demand, lovely reader you). Apart from the fact that I changed some stuff around, I now have followers! Yes; there are people reading my blog. They may not always comment, but I at least don't feel as much like I'm talking to myself. This is going a lot better than my first attempt at blogging ages ago.


My readers/editors: Now, this is making me more antsy than relatively happy. As I mentioned in a previous post, SotD is in the hands of five critiquers until the first week of December, where I will take the book back, edit accordingly, and finally start sending the books to agents. However, I've only gotten word back from one reviewer, a good friend of mine, and the others haven't said anything. :( That leads me to believe that, though I tried to choose carefully, none of them are as interested as they initially seemed to be. Are they just busy, or is my novel not good enough to hold the attention of at least five people?

Updates: In due time, perhaps tomorrow, I will be updating the SotD site. Basically, I'll add a section that shows which tropes occur in the novel that I know of so far, as well as an info section that will show the number of words and pages as of this draft.

Now, what I wanted to talk about was the creatures in Savior of the Damned. In the first book, there are vampires, angels, demons, werewolves, corpse eaters, ghosts, and soul eaters (not to mention sirens and a three headed demon dog and a killer clown). Throughout the whole tale, I expect to add more, such as zombies and necromancers and witches and hunters.

Do you think that's too many creatures, even if weaved in according to the plot? (And it all makes sense. My main character is, after all, the Savior of the Damned). Or are you happy to see a story that realizes there is more to the supernatural world than vampires and werewolves?

Blogs, blogs, blogs...

So, I'm new to this whole blogging thing, and I started it a lot like how I started writing (well, excluding the whole video game thing I talked about in the My Writing Journey article.). I used to read a lot in the 7th and 8th grade, back when I didn't feel the need to do anything but get A's and read read read. No worrying about college and jobs and publishing and romance and 'becoming an adult' and blaaaaah. I read 7 books a week, sometimes 10 if it was only about 200 pages. Now I read about 5 books a month, and that's if I'm being consistent.

Anyway, this isn't about my reading binges.

Before I started this blog, and while I'm doing this blog,I kept/keep up with a number of blogs. These I follow almost religiously:

Tim's World: He's also an aspiring author. When I first took the step toward using Facebook as both a marketing platform and a social area for my friends/family, I was very nervous. I didn't think anyone in the writing world would take me seriously. Tim was one of the first people I met from taking this step that looked past my age and whatever else and talked to me like a serious aspiring writer. It really helped to boost my confidence, and so I can't help but follow his blog.

Neil Gaiman: I found out about Neil Gaiman sophomore year, when I was working/volunteering in my old highschool's library. I read American Gods first and, from that point forward, fell in love.

Welcome to the Asylum: I write reviews for Suspense Magazine (Which I may have mentioned about a gazillion times since I started this blog, and will probably mention a gazillion times more unless they kick me out of the crew). So, I know a couple of the reviewers. Well, there's a LOT of reviewers, and I'm aware of about three of them.

John announced when the author J.S. Chancellor signed on as a reviewer. I wanted to know why he was excited about this. So, I went on her page, found her blog, and read her posts -- starting from the first one -- everyday. Of course, I never commented, so she has no idea. lol.

Rockets in the Night: I read "Teen Angst...Naaah!" about two years ago. I kinda liked the book, but I recalled really liking the way he wrote it and how honest his accounts of drugs and friends and school was. Recently, a friend of mine let me borrow Ned's book -- now a movie -- called "It's Kind of a Funny Story." And I loved it! Ned's blog deals with depression, writing, and life -- topics I've always been interested in. I'd like to get my hands on, "Be More Chill."

There Are No Rules: This is a Writer's Digest blog by Jane Friedman. I've been a Writer's Digest newsletter subscriber for about two years now. If I had any money, I would subscribe to the mag.

If only Voltaire had a blog! But his vlog will do. NEVERMIND! He does have a blog.<3

Blogs I'd like to keep up with and will soon enough: Mark Sadler's blog and Sue Ann Jaffarian's blog.

Novel Fears

Maybe it's because I'm a horror junkie, and I surround myself with horror, but these past few days have felt like a battle between my fears and my sanity. Not that there's anything wrong or unusual about that. I feel like fear is important to the human species. In my opinion, almost everything is a matter of balance.

Outside of writing, what keeps me running is money and relationships. I owe the library 45 dollars. I didn't have enough money to pay at first, but now I DEFINITELY don't have enough. I looked in my purse and found that I only had five dollars left. Either I blanked out and forgot where I put my money, or someone went in my purse and took it. I'm quite certain it was stolen, though. And my fears with relationships is a loooong story in itself, one that I don't think you will really care to hear about. In all, I feel romantically inept, and a little bit socially inept.

But this blog isn't about me, per se. It's about writing. Before I get into my fears with SotD, I'd like to highlight this beautiful trailer for Suspense Mag. One of these days, I hope to have an emotional and well done trailer like this for my novel:

I don't know how to make the video show here yet, so here is a link. Watch and enjoy!

People will hate it:

I know all about target audiences. I know that everyone will not like my work, no matter how good it is, because we all have different preferences. Still, my fear is that NO ONE will like it. My fear is that everyone will look upon it with disdain. They will think my writing style is undeveloped and crappy. They will laugh at my plot -- the very plot I have lovingly and thoroughly developed for five years. I know this fear is irrational. I put the first two drafts of SotD on Fictionpress, and it was recieved very well by some people. Still, the fear persists.

My family won't support it:

I don't want to make a big deal out of writing something my whole family will enjoy for the same reason why I don't make a big deal out of everyone in the world liking my story. It can't be done. I'm just afraid that my family will...shun me for some of the content. SotD can be pretty dark, explicit, and gothic at times. There are quite a few religious people in my family who I know, for sure, will look down on it. My family loves me, and I love them, but I've always wondered: How do author's cope when family doesn't accept their stuff?

It won't sell:

Yes, I write because it is a passion. Yes, I write because I feel as though it is the one thing I do the best, the one thing I can never stop doing. I know that a writer should never look at the profession as a means of putting food on the table, definitely in the beginning stages. But writers get published to be read, and what's the point of getting published if no one reads or buys your stuff? This also ties in to the fear that the supernatural genre will die out before I get published. (I talk about that here.).

I think my fears are very normal for an aspiring writer, definitely for an aspiring hormonally-confused-teenage-female writer. Don't get me wrong. I have faith in my writing. I honestly have more confidence that I can become better at writing than I have in any other aspect of my life. I'm not confident that I can become smarter, prettier, more well known, but I AM confident that I can improve my writing.

What are some of your fears, both with writing and outside of it?

Just Checking Stuff Off

Wow. 9:15 on a weekday is pretty late for me to be blogging, but that's because my day got unorganized when I went to the library to print out my 250 page novel, clicked print twice by mistake, and ended up owing the public library $45 I can't give back any time soon. Not only don't I have a tangible copy of the novel to give to my best friend to edit, but I am also experiencing debt for the first time.

I don't like it. lol.

Today's blog won't really have an overall topic. Instead, I'm just gonna list the things I am and am not accomplishing. I like the idea that my life is a series of checklists. Whenever I mentally or phsyically check a goal off of my long list, I feel a little better on the inside.

Caleb's Teen Writer Site: Caleb is an author who also devotes his precious time to "Refining Teen Writers and Readers Into Rock Stars." I was very excited the first time I found out about this on Facebook. A couple of minutes ago, I sent an interview and a 254 word snippet of my story to him. I hope it is recieved well! Whenever I can find enough time to stop and chill, I'll post all over his site. I'm 18. I'll only be a teen for so long, so I need to take advantange of such wonderful opportunities while I still can.

Suspense Mag: On October 3rd, I submitted my review of "Murder in Vein" by Sue Ann Jaffarian to the editor. It was an amazingly good book. I finished it within 6 hours, which is record time for someone as busy and time locked as me. Next I'll be reviewing "The Law of Nines" by Terry Goodkind when I finish reading this book by Ron Suskind (That's not a Suspense Mag book). So far, I've reviewed four books. I have five more to go before I'm finished with this box. Reviewing is pretty formulaic and fun! I'll blog about it one of these days.

Creative Writing Class: For my first free online creative writing course, I am taking lessons from The University of Utah's Introduction to Creative Writing. (To see the course assignments, you'll have to click 'Other User' and 'Login as Guest.'). Anyway, I wrote down notes from the Syllabus and...that's about it. lol. This I can NOT check off of my checklist. Because yesterday I needed a break, and today I got home two hours late, I didn't have enough time to do an assignment there. Definitely tomorrow, though.