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Is A Cliche Always Bad? 

Lately, I’ve been hard at work writing not one, but two novels. One is the sequel to the recently published ‘The Fated’ and the second is something a little bit different. But for anyone that knows me, this latest round of writing has led onto my latest round of Google mania. Whenever I get a bit stuck, or un-motivated, or just want to waste a bit of time, I turn to Google and search for pretty much anything. Some of you may have read the previous post I wrote when I started freaking out about the first book I wrote, and my discovery of plot clichés and Mary-Sue’s.

So this time, during one of my Google breaks, I was concentrating on how to write a good plot twist. Yet again, I found myself inundated with posts about clichés, and what you shouldn’t write. But nowhere does it really ever say what you should write. So just for fun, I thought I would gather up my favourite over-used plot lines and explain why I still think they are great.

 

1. The hero with a pre-destined future

This has been used about a million times. Harry Potter and the prophecy to knock off You-Know-Who is probably the most well-known. Basically, taking the main character and giving them a destiny that they have to fulfil whether they like it or not. And yet, I love this plot line. Why? Because who doesn’t want to think that Fate has a grand plan for them? I mean, have you ever imagined that you’re suddenly a chosen someone and the survival of the world as we know it rests on your shoulders? 

2. The boy gets the girl…

Or the girl gets the guy, or the guy gets the guy, girl gets girl, etc. Whichever way around the storyline goes, who doesn’t love a happy ending wrapped up in a neat little bow? I know I do. You spend a whole book rooting for this love story. Who cares if its predictable that Jane is going to end up with John and they will live happily ever after? We like to know our favourite characters have defeated the bad guy and won their love interest. Happy endings for the win!

3. The love triangle

Kind of links in with No.2 here. But there is nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned love triangle. Who doesn’t want to be fought over by two good-looking people? Tell me you’ve never fantasised about exactly that. And that is the point of a book. To give you something to day-dream about. I know I wouldn’t have complained about having Stefan and Damon Salvatore vying for my affections…

4. The break-up

The main characters have gotten together and life is a bed of roses. Until it all goes horribly wrong and they have a big fight and suddenly they aren’t living happily ever after. Twilight sticks in my head for this one. But it’s still great, because it’s a reflection of how life actually is. People make up and break-up all the time. It’s good to know it happens to your favourite book characters too. 

5. The good guy wins

Deep down I think we all like to believe that the good guy will always win. I mean, and I’m gonna point out here that I’ve never read a book where good didn’t beat the crap out of evil so if you know of one let me know, but what’s the point of good NOT winning? Just imagine for a second that Harry Potter didn’t beat the Dark Lord. My world imploded just trying to imagine that ending.

So, these are just a few of my favourite plots and yes, I’m aware that they are over-used and clichés, but I also think they are still great. And as long as you can put a new spin on an old classic, then I say use whatever storyline you like.

An open letter to Glastonbury, from a victim.

Not ashamed to admit this made me cry. There are some beautiful humans in the world.

lifeonlauralane

Dear The Eavis family, and all who make Glastonbury happen,

So I write a lot of letters, but I promise this one will be worth reading – stick with it. This isn’t complaining about the crowds or the headliners, or telling the world how life changing the week was for me to provoke envy inducing angry faces all over Facebook. This is a story about a girl who contacted a giant festival who cater for hundreds of thousands with a request for help and was met with compassion, love and overwhelming acts of kindness.

I was lucky enough to get tickets to Glastonbury for the first year ever, with a group of friends who were equally as excited as I was – WhatsApp groups sharing outfits and line up rumours sprung up within minutes of receiving the golden tickets, and June 2017 could not come soon enough.

Unfortunately for me…

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The Next Steps 

The picture says it all really. As anyone that either knows me or has read my blog will know, I’ve recently self-published my very first book, The Fated. Which in itself was a huge learning curve that taught me so much about the world of writing and publishing. But now it’s all done, I’m moving into another unknown: marketing. 

Now, I’m completely new to all of this. So the challenge of getting my book out there and read by people feels like a giant mountain that I have to try and climb, when I’m wearing flip flops. I’m completely unprepared for this task! I genuinely don’t even know where to start. I’m not going to lie, it’s taken me three weeks to figure out how to set up my author page on Amazon. Or, more accurately, to even realise I needed to do that. Not the best start. 

I have come to the conclusion that I have hours of Google searching ahead of me, and a lot to learn if I want to get people reading and reviewing my book. So far, the response has been pretty good but it’s mostly from friends and friends of friends. I’m really eager to get a few more people reading it, whether they love it or hate it or don’t really care for it either way. (Although to be honest, the first time someone says they hate it I will probably curl up in the foetal position with a family-sized bar of chocolate questioning my choice to write!) 

One positive is that I finally have a professional looking website that has been set up for me thanks to an actual pro, (thanks, Paul!) And I feel like that is a big step in the right direction. So maybe I’m now trying to climb my mountain in slightly more suitable footwear. 

Where did all my motivation go?

That’s a serious question. I genuinely don’t know where it all evaporated to. Ever since I hit publish on The Fated, I’ve been seriously lazy. Honestly. I don’t mind admitting it.  

But the problem I have is that now people are actually reading the book and some of them, yes mostly friends and family so far, are asking if there’s gonna be a second and when’s it gonna be done. So I smile and explain that The Fated took 18 long months to get right, and yes there will be a second book but it will take a while, promising them that I’m working on it. Then I turn my back and pull a face to myself because I know the truth. 

And the truth is I haven’t written a damn word of that book in weeks. My laptop is sitting in the corner of my room, silently judging me for not writing anything and simultaneously mocking me for being useless. I can see it right now out of the corner of my eye. I might throw a towel over it!! 

I’m not sure this post has an actual point, except for me to vent my own frustration at myself for my current laziness. I’d like to blame writers block, but I’d be lying. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I just can’t seem to find the will to write it. It’s ok to take a break though, right? 

And Breathe!

So this is just a short one to say I’ve only gone and finally done it! The Fated is now available on Kindle. I’m officially an actual published author. Feels kind of amazing!

Ive learned some very valuable lessons along the way which should make writing and publishing my next book a hell of a lot easier. Well, in theory. But I am still me so chances are it won’t be!

You can find a link to the book on my about me page: https://wordpress.com/page/clabramsblog.wordpress.com/3

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone that has followed and read my rambling blog posts along the way. I’ve no doubt that there will definitely be more of them in the future. 😀

Chantelle x

Things I’ve Learned About Self-Publishing Part 4

Or maybe it’s 5 by now?

Anyway. Last night I discovered that nothing is easy. Ever. I’ll set the scene for you… I finished work at midnight. Drove home super excited to review the final proof for my book and click that magic button to publish it. Got home, booted up the laptop and starting reviewing. Only to realise I’d uploaded THE WRONG BLOODY FILE! 

Excitement quickly turned to annoyance at myself. So, thinking not that big of a deal, I’ll just do it again with the right one. Go into word to double check which file it is I actually need, and here is where I’ll give you some advice. A) Clean up old files. I have so many drafts and revisions of The Fated on my laptop it’s no wonder I managed to upload the wrong one. And B) always triple check your changes have saved. Turns out that the upload to onedrive had failed and I’d already clicked the discard old files button when it prompted me to say it had recovered some stuff. Big massive fail right there. So two hours later, I’d had to proof read the whole thing again and find all the errors I’d picked up in my last proof, then upload the whole thing again! 

So now I’m impatiently awaiting the email to say it’s been approved so I can check the whole thing again and hopefully, fingers firmly crossed here, publish my book. It’s taken nearly 18 months of hard work, blood, sweat, tears and the odd sacrifice to the writing gods, so what’s a couple more hours?? 

So close…

Well, as the title says I’m so close to being a freaking published author! I’ve just submitted my files for review on createspace. Which is an insanely good feeling. In 24 hours time, I’ll get a response! However, in true ‘me’ fashion, it was harder than it should have been!

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know I ran into a copyright issue. If you haven’t, I’ll explain briefly. Basically, I made the mistake of using some song lyrics within my novel. Later discovering that I needed a copyright licence to actually use them, I dutifully applied for one. Then I waited. And waited. Sent another email. Waited some more. I never actually got a yes or no response. But since I’m ready to publish, I decided to remove the lyrics and replace them with some (potentially terrible!) lyrics of my own. 

I should add in here that I had already formatted the entire manuscript and finally got everything on the right page without a single error. Then I changed the lyrics and reuploaded the manuscript onto createspace. And here is where I ran into trouble… suddenly everything had shifted onto the wrong pages! I could have cried. It took me several hours to format it the first time. I still don’t know how changing two lines managed to screw everything up so much. 

Another two hours later and I’ve mostly fixed the problem. Except for one tiny flaw that I’m not going to point out because I’m hoping no one will notice!!! The point of this ramble is to offer some advice for anyone who, like me, is completely new to this process. Format the damn thing before you start! Createspace have a template you can use. It will save a lot of time and heartache when you should be feeling pretty freaking epic for finishing the fiftieth and definitely final draft of your book. Lesson well and truly learned. 

So, to end this post, by the weekend, after I’ve finished having a mini panic attack about whether I should go through with it, I should be able to write a celebratory post about how I’ve done it. I’ve published a book. And I can’t wait to be able to say that.