Update: 30/03/2017

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It has been over a month since my last update, and with CampNaNo just days away, I thought I’d sum up my writing journey over the past 5 weeks.

Word Count

My promise to write everyday during March has been fruitful. I only missed about five days due to commitments, and some of my word counts were little more than 100 a day, but little by little I managed 15.5k words. I’m happy with that, considering this month has been hectic. There has been more birthday parties, school parent’s evening, school science display afternoon, Mother’s day, treats out, volunteering on school trips, and song presentations. Not forgetting, my asshole of a cough. Yep, some of you may know that I have had a time of it with colds and coughs. 6 weeks later, I’m still coughing but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m feeling much better, and there is no threat of me coughing up a lung.

Reading

I have been catching up on my reading of late. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff wouldn’t let me go, so I read when I should have been writing. Sometimes, we’ve just got to do these things, right? Also, I was honoured to receive an advanced ARC of Brianna West’s final book in the Promiscus Guardians Series, Resurrection. I have been patiently waiting for this book whilst West did other things. (Oh, you know, have a baby and what not.) Seriously though, the woman is a power house when it comes to writing.  Again, I couldn’t put the book down. Damn all the brilliant storytellers distracting me from my writing!

CampNaNo

I’m not going to lie and say that I’m a NaNo prepper because I’m not, so I can’t use that as an excuse. That being said, knowing that I’ve set myself a 25k word count for April has left me a little complacent on my March writing. I don’t want to burn out, do I? Hopefully, CampNaNo will see me nearly finished with my first draft of EVO Ghost. *She says tentatively.* I shall not be doing another update post for a while as I shall be doing weekly NaNo updates. Keep your eyes peeled for those.

Excerpts (EVO Ghost only. I have done zero writing on Zombie Playlist.)

EVO Ghost: (sorry for the short teasers, but spoilers…)

Throwing my bag over my shoulder and readjusting the black wig, I make my way to the truck. Rafe places a hand on my chest. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?”

“Since when does Rafe Lloyd pander to anyone?” I say, sliding passed him. Looking over my shoulder, I throw him a half-baked smile. “I’m fine.” I know I’m kidding myself, but it’s not going to change the fact that this needs to happen. I have to leave the safety of The Hive, and today is the day.


One of the women leans a little closer to me. “You’re not what I expected.”

“Despite what Towley would have us believe she doesn’t have horns and a thirst for blood.”

The woman shakes her head. “I expected someone polished- sharp and shiny around the edges. You’re a bit of a mess, no offense.”

I shrug. “Little offends me now.”

She throws me a wink. “You’re human and that’s reassuring, even if you are coming apart at the seams.”

Am I that obvious?


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Why Did This Draft Feel Easier??

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As you may be aware, I have completed the first draft of Thrown to The Blue and it is having a little rest before I start the redraft. I’ve been thinking about this drafting process and why I found it so easy (much easier than my EVO Nation series.) Maybe there is a plethora of reasons, and this story just seeped from my pores, but as a pantser, I scrutinise my methods and techniques to try and better understand what suits my writing style.

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More POVs

For the first time, I have written a draft in multiple POVs; two for the majority of the book, and three toward the end. It is unconventional to add a POV late on in the narrative, but I’m a rebel like that. Once my MCs had met the antagonist, Lyerdith, she got her own POV. I did this to add depth and hopefully lead into book two. This was a source of debate for me, but in the end, I liked being inside Lyerdith’s head, and her POV helped progress the narrative.

Shorter Chapters

Due to the multiple POVs, I was able to make the chapters shorter. Writing shorter chapters kept me thinking about the next step, and the next POV. This made the drafting that little bit easier. I had to get what I needed to say down in shorter intervals, which eliminated a certain amount of pointless rambling.

CampNaNo

There is no denying that CampNaNo helped me no end. I hit my 30k target with the encouragement of my cabin mates. Feeling accountable for my word counts was a great motivator.

Letting Go

Everything about this draft was out of my comfort zone, yet I felt so at home. I allowed myself the freedom to explore POVs, time lines, and characters that blur the lines between good and bad. For the first time, I didn’t set myself an ideal deadline. I went in with the mindset that it will take as long as it takes. I’m still in the mindset in regards to the redraft and edits and it is a refreshing perspective for me. If I have to cut or rework during the redraft, then you know what, it’s all cool.

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Do you have a particular drafting style that makes the process run smoother? Can you relate to any of the above?


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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First Draft Done and Dusted!

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I have completed the first draft of Thrown to The Blue!

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Thanks to some much needed motivation from CampNaNoWriMo, I flew through this WIP. An extra 15k brought me to the end of my first draft, and I’m totally stoked! This has been the most stress free, smooth flowing, easy draft I have ever worked on, so I’m expecting a bitch of an edit.

You know what I’m going to do now for a few days???… Read, and read, and read. I want to have a break and enjoy some other author’s glorious words. Oh, and there will be plenty of celebratory tea.

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Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

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Thrown to The Blue Excerpts

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I have been working tirelessly on this WIP, and I’m getting drawn deeper and deeper. I’ve been wanting to share everything about this novel with everyone, but seeing as that’s not a wise move, I shall share some excerpts.

As there are two points of view in this novel, Ezrahli’s and Reed’s, I shall share an excerpt from each. (They are not in any particular order, just chosen at random.)

Ezrahli

Smiling politely, I step into the vast hallway with Quinn just a few steps behind. The guards fall into formation- one in front and the remaining four in a circle around the both of us.

“The Prince has requested you meet him in his chambers, Your Majesty.”

“Very well.”

I’m escorted through the hallways, and then we stop outside father’s room. Ten guards line the entrance and bow as I face them. I laugh heartily on the inside, trying to keep a cool exterior. Brenneth’s serve, Cashel, opens the door, and I breeze in with Quinn close of my heels.

As soon as the door closes, and I enter the bed chambers, I laugh out loud. “Is that bed even cold, Brenneth?”

Brenneth sits at the mirror, scraping his hair back into a severe up style, tied with a small strip of black ribbon. “I shall be King by dinner. Is it not right that I sleep in the largest bed on my first night as Imperial Majesty?”

“You know I care not where you sleep, Brother.”

He looks at me through the mirror. “Now, that’s not strictly true, is it?” he says, his eyes flicking to Quinn.

Quinn stares at his fingers as Brenneth studies his attire, skimming from his sheer blouse to the red lips. Rolling my eyes, I step behind Brenneth, blocking Quinn from his gaze, and I help him place his crown; a solid ring of heavy gold with spires similar to mine, only masculine and austere.

“What is the story?” I ask.

“My sister waited for me to leave the palace with a solid alibi, and then murdered my father, the King, so I could take the throne.”

“Honest- I like it.”

He reaches up and holds my wrist tightly. “Thank you for making sure I was protected from accusation. I will protect you, Ezra. On my life I swear it.” There is deep sincerity in his face, and I rest my chin on his shoulder from behind.

I sweep my veil aside, so he can see my eyes. “Ye’Sande is yours,” I say.

“No, sister, it is ours. An unknown, trained assassin entered the castle and killed Father without alerting the guards. You were the first to find him.”

Nodding, I step away, allowing Brenneth to admire himself in the mirror.

“Are you ready, my King,” asks Cashel.

Brenneth grins. “My King… Well, that does have a ring to it. Yes, Cashel, inform the guards.” He steps forward, adjusting his mourning tunic one last time, and then turns and strokes my cheek. “My beautiful, little assassin,” he says. “It is just you and I from here on in.”

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Reed

I perch atop of the church roof, hidden behind the bell tower. I could go back to Teal, but I will-nay just yet. The Princess had scars alright, just the wrong ones, but what she did have was a burning anger. I could be angry like her, but I chose nay to be. I dealt with my anger much like she dealt with hers, but it has-nay seemed to help her. I can-nay imagine living my life so consumed and bitter. I feel for her, though, whether she wants my pity or nay. I understand what she went through.

Teal did-nay want me to just see her scars, he wanted me to get close enough to sense her. Energy gathers around witches as if the air around them is alive, even without being claimed. Aye, the air was alive, but I can-nay tell ye if it was magic or her fury. I can-nay tell ye much about that woman, yet I want to know everything.

Curiosity may be the death of me where Princess Ezrahli is concerned… Ezra. She allowed her serve to call her by a pet name of sorts. I hung around long enough to hear his fable; a story he told her to help her sleep. She trusts him. So, now, I know there are two people in the world that she holds dear. Two people who love her, but do-nay really know her. If they did, perhaps they could help her. Perhaps nay-one can help her. Perhaps I’d like to try. Perhaps I’m just a foreign fool in her damned Kingdom.

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Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

WIP Update #1

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When I was writing EVO Shift, I posted weekly updates of word counts and excerpts etc. I simply don’t have the time to do that weekly during EVO Ghost drafting. I want my sole focus to be on my WIP. I will still be posting my writing exercises, but as you may have noticed, I’m allowing myself to miss weeks here and there in regards to those as well. I will still post musings and reviews as and when the feeling takes me, I’m just not giving myself anymore commitments for the time being.

During the drafting of EVO Shift, I spent a lot of time preparing blog posts, and my drafting process suffered. I sometimes missed days of writing because my attention was elsewhere. I’m putting my foot down with myself for this draft, and it is working brilliantly. I’m writing faster than I’ve ever done, and managing to read much more- yay! This means I get to beta read and ARC read, and give the projects my full attention. Something, I would have struggled with last year.

So, on with the first update:

Title & Cover Reveal:

EVOGHOSTThe title was announced on March 11th, as was the cover design. I usually don’t have a title until well into the drafting process, but this one has been on my mind since I wrote the end of EVO Shift. Once I started drafting book three, the title grew more prominent in my mind. I just had to use it. I’ve had great feedback from readers of the series. They agree that the title makes perfect sense, and even commented on how reading the new title gave them goosebumps, or made them doubly excited for book three. Bonus!

I feel the cover is simplistic, in keeping with the previous two covers, and has something haunting about it… Ghost…haunting… get it? *laughs to self*

Word Count:

I’ve been drafting since mid February, and I have put down 18k words; leagues ahead of where I was at this point in the drafting of EVO Shift. I’m conscious of this being the last in the series. I keep chanting to myself, ‘no loose ends, no loose ends.’ I’m sure I’m just being over paranoid, but this book has to be on point in regards to conclusions, and at the same time, I want it to hold mystery, suspense, and be…EPIC! It’s so hard to not write in twists that may require more than one book to explain, when I have enough to wrap up. That being said, there is one twist I simply had to include because it links into the very first book- I shall say no more on that score!

Excerpt:

It is hard to pick excerpts that don’t give too much away. I’m purposely trying to find paragraphs that don’t feature too many character names etc, because if readers haven’t yet read EVO shift, I don’t want them guessing the outcome to events in that book by reading excerpts from EVO Ghost.

Here’s my choice:

“They’re looking less inflamed, and the ones I’ve stitched are healing nicely.” He dabs on some kind of antiseptic that stings to the high heavens, but nothing more than a hiss escapes my lips. “Rafe wants me to assess you for training. Ideally, I would hold off on any physical exertion, but I know you won’t pay any attention to what I say.”
  “You know nothing about me,” I say, sliding a t-shirt over my fresh dressings.
  “I know why you hate me, and I understand your reasons, but you of all people must see that I was just a pawn to Towley. You saw what he is capable of. I couldn’t go against him.”
  I lift my head, staring at the blank wall in front of me. “Another doctor I knew said the same thing about Alan Roscoe. She turned out to be a psychotic, supremacist, who double crossed everyone. I don’t trust you, doctor.” I purposely emphasise the last word. “I have no idea why Papa does.”


 

All written works & images are the property of K.J.Chapman

 

EVO Ghost: Writing Playlist

Creating a playlist for the drafting process of each novel is a big thing of mine. Music helps set tone, pace, and emotion to name a few. Sometimes, you only know what you’re thinking, or what you want to write, once you’ve listened to a certain song. Click the links to listen to the playlists for EVO Nation and EVO Shift.

My drafting playlist for EVO Ghost:

Yes, I love Sia!

I need to just add that the opening lines to’Fight Song’ gave me actual goosepimples. ‘Like a small boat in the ocean, sending big waves into motion.’ EVO Nation readers will understand my being in awe of this line considering the start of book one. Such a perfect summary!

There is a story here: 30/30-150 was the song I was listening to when EVO Nation was just a seed of an idea many years ago. I think this song could have set the tone for the whole series. EVO Nation series readers, what do you reckon?


 

The Series Finale: Plotting Not Plotting

I’m a pantser. It’s how writing rolls for me. If I plot, I force my character’s to fit the narrative and not vice versa. I enjoy character development and this goes to shit if I’m not letting them develop organically. This is just my experience and how I get my drafts finished, but I have to admit that I’m having to partake in some minor ‘plotting’ for the series finale.

After two books with massive progressions in the narrative, it’s understandable that I have a vision/direction, but it’s my characters who have shown me that vision along the way. Book three, the series finale, is a culmination of every vision, narrative arc, character arc, sub plot, plot twist- ahhhhhh.

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I’ve had to ‘plot but not plot’. I’ve written timelines of loose ends, lists of character’s histories that interest me, brainstormed ‘possible’ scenarios, but there I draw the line. As long as I have a visual list to refer to to make sure nothing gets forgotten, I think I will be alright. Bullet points, but no further descriptions is the way forward for this author. I can’t have too much plotted in my mind or on paper for fear of everything I have stated above not coming together.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

 


All written content is the property of K.J.Chapman

GIF sourced from GIPHY.COM

EVO Shift Editing Update #2

The changes have been made.

As you can see from the picture, I not only have a love of highlighters, but I have also worked my way through my whole list of notes and amendments.

6tag_290116-123131It was quite a feat. It was only when I made it through half the notes that I finally started to feel confident that I was heading in the right direction. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

So, what is in store for stage #2 of editing?

I have approximately three chapters/ scenes to add. The story flows, but I feel these scenes will flesh certain areas out a little bit. Once, the chapters are added, I will go back through my processes in stage #1 again to highlight anything I need to amend in the new writing.

Then, I will be ready for the second read through. I change the font style and colour for the second read through as this helps me see it in a fresh way. This genuinely works, or at least it does for my brain. I always pick up things I have missed when I get to this read through. I will pick a different colour from stage #1, but yep, I do highlight anything I’m still not happy with. I usually don’t need to make notes during this stage. It’s more of a narrative polish-up than anything else.

I will post another up-date when I have completed stage #2, but for now, here is another excerpt:

Cooper has spent the entire day working out. At one point he asked Bo to count his crunches, but she told him to do it himself in not as many words. I know why he is doing it, I want to be occupied myself, but there is nothing for me to do other than pace.

“I need to lift,” Cooper says, panting. He looks to me, but I turn my back on him and continue pacing. Then, he looks to Bo.

“Lift this,” she says, flipping him the bird. “Will you quit with the strong man routine. We get it- you work out. Now, do us a favour and give it a rest. I’m done with your grunting.”

Cooper spits into the piss bucket and comes to stand beside me at the bars. “And I thought you were bad,” he mutters.


Images and excerpts are the property of K.J.Chapman

EVO Shift Editing Update #1

My draft of EVO Shift has been sitting untouched for the past eight days and I couldn’t refrain from editing any longer. It has been hard to leave it and I had to distract myself with the usual means- Netflix, Pinterest, and reading. I know some writers like to leave their first drafts to sit for much longer, but it has been seven months in the making for me, so I have pretty much not seen the first chapters in just as long.

So, how do I start my editing process? 

Highlighting! I don’t print out my work. All editing happens on screen, and I have quite ritualistic methods for the beginning of my editing process. I re-read my entire draft, marking anything to keep in one colour, and anything I don’t like for whatever reason in another colour.

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During this read through I will jot notes about anything that jars with me, that I need to add, find figures or facts on etc etc. These notes take up pages and pages. When I draft I don’t worry about time scales and statistics, and instead I will do a ‘__’ , so I know I need to research it at a later date during editing. I’m a forward plowing drafter which I think stems from being a ‘pantser’ and not a plotter.

Here are my notes so far (there will be many more!):

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When I have read through the entire draft, I will make the necessary amendments. I find it easier to work methodically through my list and check off everything as I sort it. For me, that is stage one of my editing process.

I will post again once I have finished the above mentioned. Until then, here is an excerpt that I had forgotten about, but still very much like:

“What is Cooper’s problem?” I ask under my breath. “I don’t have him down as the equality, peace, and harmony type of guy.”

Jude smirks. “But you can see it of me?” He’s got me there. “Cooper’s alright. Yeah, he has some anger issues, but it all stems from Daddy issues. I like him.”

I laugh out loud. “You like him? I’ve been half expecting you to kill each other since we got on that yacht.”

“What is it with women? You can’t appreciate a decent argument for what it is. You’ve always got to turn it into a drama. Men say what they got to, scuffle it out if they have to, and get over it.”

How can I even respond to that sexist nonsense?


 

Images and written excerpts are the property of K.J.Chapman

First Draft Complete

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I have completed the first draft of EVO Shift… finally. I’m walking about in a daze of relief, euphoria, and editing dread. As usual, I’m having nightmares that I’m going to start editing and realise I’ve written in Mandarin and can no longer translate it.

Writing EVO Nation was a much smoother, quicker process, but I wasn’t blogging or marketing another eBook when writing book one. EVO Shift just feels a long time coming, especially when you have readers of book one asking when book two will be finished. The pressure is definitely on.

I’m just grateful to be able to say the story is down, the characters feel well developed, and EVO Shift has led me nicely into book three.

giphy (66)Book three… WOW. The final book in the series. How crazy is that to try and get my head around? I’m all the more closer to starting book three, and then I say goodbye to the voices who have occupied my mind and have to create new ones. *Sobs* Stop getting ahead of yourself, Kayleigh. 

I’m going to let my manuscript rest for a little, so I can go back to edit with a fresh set of eyes. I have a side project that is near completion, so at least I have that to occupy my time for the next few weeks. I shall also be re-reading EVO Nation before venturing into any editing.

I will check in again when I have something of significance to report. Wish me luck, and minimal plot holes!!


 

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