Word Count Weekly

Word Count Weekly #4

It has been a strange week. I’ve scraped by on my word counts for the first part of the week, fell five words short on Thursday, wrote with a rocket up my backside on Friday, and then dropped back down to the bare minimum again over the weekend.

  • Monday- 427 words
  • Tuesday- 417 words
  • Wednesday- 438 words
  • Thursday- 395 words
  • Friday- 1610 words
  • Saturday- 442 words
  • Sunday- 471 words

My little one is back to school tomorrow, so I expect to see a dramatic increase in my word counts. Only time will tell if I manage to do more than procrastinate next week.

Excerpt from this weeks writing:

I hold out my hand, stopping the darts mid-flight. He hesitates for a moment, staring at the fallen darts littering the grass. He’s hunting EVO, but I doubt he’s seen one of us use our abilities. I doubt he knows much about any of us. I guess it’s easier for them not to know. He’s just following his orders like a trained dog; not asking questions, not understanding the truth.

All excerpts are the works of K.J.Chapman

Writing and Me

Official Title Reveal

Book two in the EVO Nation Series has finally got it’s official title. I have been tossing about a few titles for the past three months, but there was one that I kept coming back to, and even started using privately.

EVO Shift: EVO Nation Series Book Two

There are a lot of changes happening in this book, and not just in regards to the character’s personal lives. Huge societal, political, and moral changes are present as the story advances from book one, EVO Nation. You could say that the world as we know it ‘shifts’ as a new era dawns.

Buy book one- EVO Nation from Amazon for just 99p!

100% K.J Chapman, Books and Me, Writing and Me

EVO Nation Series

In this post I shall introduce my debut novel, EVO Nation, the first book in the EVO Nation Series. I am currently writing book two, and I’m sure to create blog posts regarding my current journey writing the sequel, so I thought I’d give some background on book one.

EVO Nation is a young adult, science fiction and fantasy novel. A particular favourite genre of mine to read, and evidently to write. The process from starting the first draft to self- publishing on Amazon Kindle took about nine months.

Here is the link to EVO Nation on Amazon Kindle (check out the ‘look inside’ feature to read the first few chapters and get a feel for the story.) Find EVO Nation by K.J. Chapman

The blurb:

The government tortures her, her own kind uses her, and she is learning the true meaning of ulterior motives. Teddie Leason has been dragged into the festering underbelly of the secretive world of EVO. A world about to be blown wide apart.

Now, the reclusive teenager who couldn’t get upset without her unruly ability causing destruction has to somehow embrace her gift to save her new friends and her new love.

Will the actions of one man fuel a suppressed, supremacist society’s thirst for war and vengeance, or will Teddie be strong enough to stop him?

EVO Nation is set within current society, and pushes the limits of human and social morality. I have read a mountain of dystopian novels that are currently on the market and I enjoy them immensely, but I decided to write a world within our current world to hopefully appeal to readers searching for a realistic, present day take on the science fiction genre in today’s young adult market.

I’m a stickler for habit and write all my novels in my tried and tested method that involves as little planning/ outlining as possible…(gasps). However, I do have a concept, character ideas, and plot twists whirling around in my head for a few weeks before I sit down to write. In my opinion, I work better without detailed outlines, and I like discovering the journey my characters take me on.

Check out my blog post, Writing and Me, for my writing habits and peculiarities.

Here are some of the rules I did set myself when I first embarked on EVO Nation’s first draft:

1. Teddie Leason was not going to be a damsel in distress…(barf). Feminism has happened folks! I wanted her to be human, real, flawed, but not weak. I hope reader’s think I rose to the challenge on this one.

2. I wanted well rounded characters who had their own minds. This meant that when it came to writing their stories, I had to let them talk to me and not the other way around. I wanted their reactions, dialogue, actions, to be in keeping with their personalities.

3. There was always going to be a plot twist- I left certain areas of the story open to develop a plot twist later on. I didn’t pre-plan my plot twist, it developed over the course of my first draft. It felt more natural to allow it to develop and unravel on its own accord.

4. I wanted Teddie to have a love interest. This is purely because I wanted a sub-plot to run alongside, and interweave with the main plot, and more importantly… I’m a sucker for a good romance.

It was incredibly nerve wracking when I first self-published EVO Nation on Amazon Kindle. More nerve wracking knowing my book, my baby, was out in the world for criticism.

However, I have received great feedback from readers. My most recent feedback/ review was posted to my Facebook page: K.J.Chapman on Facebook (all new likers welcome).

Latest review for EVO Nation:

Seriously what an amazing book. Right away you’re sucked into a roller-coaster storyline filled with characters you can’t help but relate to and love.. But also one you love to hate and can’t wait to see them get a damn good comeuppance! And oh what fantastically satisfying comeuppances K, Chapman dishes out!!
Evo nation is the sort of book that makes you want to abandon every day life in favour of a comfy chair and silence (and the book of course!) , the kind of book that makes you read till your eyes feel like they’re going to shrivel up!
A sassy, addictive read! Can’t wait for the sequel! If you haven’t already read it, get on with it!

Knowing that readers are appreciating my story and characters gives me an immense sense of achievement. If people enjoy reading EVO Nation as much as I enjoyed writing it, then I’m doing something right.

I aim to have book two of the EVO Nation Series (title yet to be confirmed) published on Amazon Kindle by the end of 2015. Between now and then, I shall create update posts on my sequel writing journey.

Happy Thursday

Writing and Me

Sex in Young Adult Literature

blog ya scenes

As a writer of young adult literature I have asked myself the question- how do I handle sex in my novels?

Researching other author’s tips and advice on this matter led me to the conclusion that there isn’t a sure fast method for tackling the subject, and each author must set their own boundaries and guidelines for what they feel is appropriate.

Here are mine:

There has to be love involved.

This is my feeling toward sex in general. We should instil into younger, impressionable people that it’s okay to wait for the right person. My characters only have sex if they are in love. It’s as simple as that.

This obviously doesn’t apply to authors tackling sensitive subjects such as rape, but I write Sci-Fi/ Fantasy and shall focus on the rules I set myself for writing in my genre.

Don’t cop out.

I have read those awful ‘and it fades to black’ chapters. Did they? Didn’t they? If writing about your characters having sex makes you uncomfortable as an author, perhaps they shouldn’t be having sex. It should feel like a natural progression in the story and the character’s relationship.

However, I don’t think every little detail should be included. Readers have their own imaginations and can put two and two together, but a little description is necessary. Focus on the character’s emotions, how the other person makes them feel, and accompany that with a few prompts into logistics. Graphic detail is not required. In my opinion, if I wanted to write graphic sex scenes I’d write for Mills and Boon. There will be no ‘throbbing members’ in my young adult novels thank you kindly.

Don’t leave readers guessing, but allow them the use of their imaginations to a certain extent.

In my novel I take the readers through the build up with details, feelings, and logistics, but the actual sex is implied. Here is an small excerpt:

He moves back to face me, kissing me again. His hand slides against my face, his thumb brushing my cheek. Wrapping his arm around my waist, he pulls me close to him. I let myself feel his arms, and his back, and his butt. My body heaves from rapid breaths, and I’m reassured by the feel of Adam’s heart beating through his chest.

I’m in a fantastical blur of excitement, nerves, pleasure, and just being loved. I’m not the type of girl to use the word perfect. Real, this is real.

Sober Characters.

This is pretty self explanatory. Both parties should be sober, fully coherent, and engaging in consensual sex.

These are the guidelines I set myself when writing young adult sex scenes. My ultimate guide is my maternal instinct. I have a four year old daughter, and I do not write anything that I wouldn’t be happy for her to read when she is a teenager.

Like I said, the individual author must decide how far is too far. Don’t be shy in your writing. If you’re uncomfortable just leave sex out.

Writing and Me

Writing and Me

I thought I’d jump on the band wagon and blog about my writing habits.

I am always curious about other author’s techniques and tips, so thought I’d impart some of my own fancies.

1. Pretty notebooks and new highlighters.

Say what you will, but I can’t help but revel in a new notebook and pens. I turn to that first page with a giddy excitement that one should not acquire from stationery. Those blank pages get me in the right mind set to create, create, create.

It must be pretty because the said notebook travels with me everywhere and I am known to whip it out at a moment’s notice. All my ideas such as names, dialogue snippets, funny quotes, end up in my notebook.

The highlighters are not a necessity, but I just love to highlight things. It’s an illness I live with.

2. Make a good brew.

I can’t function without a mug of strong, hot tea in front of me. Call me an addict.

3. Start to draft.

I don’t plan or outline. Is that a collective intake of breath I hear? Yep, I don’t work well with a plan, but that’s just me. I have an idea, I nurture it in my head for a few weeks, and then I sit down at my laptop and get stuck in.

I enjoy the process of letting my characters follow their own natural story arc. When I plan I fail miserably. My characters kick up a stink about following my outlines, and like stubborn teenagers they sulk and just won’t do what I want. When I said I was crazy I meant it.

However, if something pops into my head that I reckon would fit well with a character’s development, or aid my story’s natural progression, I will ALWAYS jot it down in my pretty notebook…and highlight it.

4. Set a word count deadline.

I have a family calendar in my kitchen and at the end of every month I write in my word count deadline for the next month. I have a young child and many, many commitments to keep, so I try to be realistic.

For my book, EVO Nation, I set myself a twenty thousand words a month deadline. Sometimes I just made it, sometimes I smashed it.

For my current work I have upped the word count to twenty five thousand words a month to test myself. It is a mini achievement to tick off my calendar at the end of each month.

5. First draft and then edit.

If I attempt to edit as I write I end up with a load of tosh. Not to mention that I would never hit my word count deadlines, or progress the story in any way.

Writing my first draft is my absolute favourite thing to do. I love to see where my imagination takes me, and how I develop character traits and story arcs. I can just grab and idea and run with it- pure freedom. If I edited through this process my creativity would be inhibited.

6. Take a step back.

The first draft is complete- hooray.  I literally float around from my achievement, but the euphoria is short lived when I realise what an undertaking editing is. It’s like believing you’ve reached the summit of the mountain, only for the clouds to part, and you notice that you’re not even close.

It is at this critical point that I take a step back. If I allow my first draft to simmer for a month or so I can return to it with my fresh, editing head on. I love how surprised I am when I read something funny or clever and think, ‘wow, did I write that? Go me!’

These are six of my writing habits. However, I am a firm believer in ‘each to their own’.  Find the process that works for you and roll with it.