Writing Process

Author Interview: Ulff Lehmann

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 

 

  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • Being the stereotypical underachiever, and with no one to challenge my intellect, I was an outsider for most of my life. Only I didn't realize that until decades later.
    English is a second language for me, what with being German and all, and for the most of my time at school I was slightly above failing grade. Then again, I was that for most classes. That changed, however, when I went to the US for a year as an exchange student. After that I kind of excelled at English.
    There should have been several Aha moments in my life, and maybe there were, but I was too confined in my own misery to actually recognize them. The final, all deciding moment came during therapy, when I realized I would never be truly happy, if I did not write. So write I did!

  • What have you written?

  • My first novel, Shattered Dreams, has been out on Kindle and via CreateSpace for 2 months now.
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • The sequel to Shattered Dreams, Shattered Hopes, is currently in beta-read, and I am working on the first draft of Shattered Bonds, the trilogy's finale.
    More for the kick of it than anything else, I have submitted a short story for an anthology. I suck at short stories, too confined for my taste, we'll see how that goes.
  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • That depends. I've always been interested in history, so my knowledge there has helped me wing many things in the past, but nowadays I do a tad more research to supplement already existing insight into various topics.

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I've developed a sort of ritual on the days that I write: get up at around 8-8:30, watch one episode of a TV drama and 2 episodes of a sitcom while having my breakfast. During that time I select the music I will listen to while showering. Shower with music loud enough to piss of my neighbors and incidentally reach me in the bathroom. Once dressed (I listen to The Blood of Cu Chulainn whilst getting into my clothes) I grab the novel I am currently reading, and head out to my favorite café. There I clear my mind by having a large cappuccino and reading and chatting with the staff. Then home, fire up my writing computer, put in my writing soundtrack, and go. (The first two novels, Shattered Dreams and Shattered Hopes(in beta-read) were written this way)

  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • I leave the manuscript alone for a month or so. Then I print it out with two pages beside each other so as to simulate the typical book-reading experience. Armed with that pile of papers, I head to my café and stay there for 5-8 hours a day, reading, making notes etc, for as long as it takes to get through the novel. Then I return to the computer and put in the changes.
    I repeat this process two more times, each with a specific goal: 1) plot and 2) deleting useless, superfluous words.
 
 
  • Tell us about your work space.

  • An old dining room table, situated in front of a window overlooking the roofs of my hometown. Next to the monitor are several dictionaries and thesauri on one side, and a pile of papers with various notes and such relevant to specific minutiae.

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • Let go of the problem, let the subconscious deal with it, when it's done, I know and will write down whatever insight I've gained.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self publish. I tried to find an agent, but with the current fluctuations in the market, finding someone bold enough to not only sign a German author who writes in English, but also one whose sample chapters are meant to be disturbing is kind of tough.
    The process is fairly easy, kdp and CreateSpace offer enough instructions. Since the manuscript has been lying about fully edited for several years now, it was primarily a matter of fitting pages and adjusting the layout.

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1534803254
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1534803254
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ralchanh/

Author Interview: Chelcie Cotton

 
NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

NOTE: THIS AUTHOR IS NOT AN LV BOOK DESIGN CLIENT AND ALL IMAGES WERE PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR.

 
  • First, can you give us some background about yourself?

  • In school, I was the ultimate wallflower! I've always been creative, though, and I am grateful for this, as writing was exactly the outlet I needed. I never said much out loud to anyone, but there was always plenty going on in my head! Being creative, of course, English and Art were my 'passion subjects' and I didn't care that I failed miserably at everything else! Creativity was the one thing that fueled those teenage-angst years and kept me sane.
    When I look back, I can't really say that there was ever a 'jolt' moment where I thought, 'I need to be a writer!' I think this is because writing has always just been such a natural part of me that whenever I do sit down to write, it just feels like it's something that I was born to do! Cliche, I know, but that's the hopeless romance I have for writing, I'm afraid!

  • What have you written?

  • As I love to read a variety of genres, I don't really limit myself to one genre when it comes to writing. I wrote and published my debut novel, Baby Blue, back in June 2016 and I would class it as Contemporary Fiction. However, this wasn't the first novel I ever started writing. I started writing my first novel when I was nineteen and unemployed! It is a Historical Adventure targeted primarily towards Young Adults and I am still editing and re-writing to this day! I am actually in between projects at the moment and it can be hard sometimes to put one story to rest while working on another! It's all part of why I love writing, though! I love the challenge of it.
  • Are you currently working on anything?

  • Yes, I am currently working on a series of novels for Young Adults entitled The Good Pirate. It is a Historical Adventure based in the 18th century and so I am currently immersed in trying to get all the little details just right. Researching is one of my favorite parts of the writing process! The first in the series is scheduled to release on March 1st!

  • How much research do you do for your writing?

  • This is definitely one of my favorite parts of the writing process! For my current project, there is a lot of research I am having to do as it is a historical novel. I spend time on researching different clothing of that particular era, what the village where they lived would have looked like back then, how they would have spoken, their accent or dialect, etc. Details that would make the story more believable for the reader and more authentic. 
    As an independent author, I only have so many pennies in the bank, so it's not that feasible to go out into the world and visit these places, as much as I would like to!
    So, of course, libraries and Google are my most reliable sources at the moment for research!

  • What is your process like in the midst of writing a book?

  • I'd love to say I'm more of an outline-planning type of girl, but I'm really not! And to be totally honest, as much as I've tried to outline in the past - as in plan the story beginning-to-end, page-by-page - that technique really doesn't work for me!
    Those sudden bolts of inspiration that catch me unawares is what makes writing so exciting for me. I'll be in the middle of writing the opening scene, and then all of a sudden, my character will catapult forwards to the end and I'll have to write the last few chapters without even knowing what's going to happen in the middle! That's what's amazing about writing - you just never know what's around the corner! It's like the characters are controlling YOU, not the other way around! I love that feeling. It's what inspires me and keeps me invested in my characters and the stories I have to tell.
  • What does your routine look like when you get to the editing process?

  • Fortunately, my brain is a little bit more organized once I have finished my first draft. 
    I'll go back to the beginning of the novel and then I will read it as if for the first time. This way, I can pick out any mistakes I was sure to have made when I started writing. I've also given several of my first drafts to family and friends who were willing to critique it objectively for me. 
    What I found really helped me in the editing process, though, was to take a step back from my work. 
    I would leave my writing locked away on my laptop for a few weeks, maybe months, and I would come back to it after not thinking about the story, or the characters for a long time. Sometimes, errors and plot holes would jump out at me in such a way that I would think, 'how on earth did I not see that before?!'
    And then after I've re-read my entire story, I'll go back over it and check for grammar, spelling and formatting issues. 
    When you're a self-published author doing everything off your own back, it's a long and arduous task, but, again, I love the challenge! 

  • Do you have any quirks or rituals that help you achieve your writing goals?

  • Movie soundtracks. 
    I don't know why but I love the backdrop it gives me when I'm writing. If I'm struggling with a particular scene, and I play the movie soundtrack from Gladiator, it can fuel me on to finish the scene or it can even give me the emotion I need to give my character a little more depth. 

  • Tell us about your work space.

  • My workspace is pretty much any solid surface on which I can place my laptop and my cup of tea!
 
 

 

  • Are there any software or apps that help you in your writing process?

  • I use Microsoft Word as it pretty much has everything built in that I need. Formatting, spell-check, the lot. 
    If I need to make some quick notes or I'm suddenly struck with an idea for a scene, I tend to jot down ideas in Pages, a built-in app I have on my iPad. 

  • What do you do when you lose focus? Any tips for getting it back?

  • If I lose focus on a project, then I HAVE to step back and take a break. Even if I don't get my writing mojo back until a week later, maybe more. 
    Once I step away and do something completely different - whether it's watching a bit of TV or taking a walk - I can come back to my writing with a fresh approach and renewed motivation for the stories I'm telling.

  • Tell us about your publishing process.

  • I self-published my debut novel, Baby Blue, through Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace (for the paperback edition).
    I didn't know anything about the publishing process when I finished Baby Blue. As a writer, obviously, all I wanted was to get my book out there! So, of course I had to do a bit of research. I considered contacting publishers/agents, but I knew how expensive they could be and I had heard that it can take several months to a year for a manuscript to be fully accepted!
    Well, I knew I was too impatient for that and so I decided to try the self-publish route. 
    I definitely still have a long way to go when it comes to marketing my books and I can fully understand why this field alone is a full time job!
    But, since self-publishing Baby Blue, I've learnt a lot and have been able to connect with like-minded indie authors who know my struggle all too well!

  • Where can people find you and your work?

  • www.facebook.com/chelciecottonauthor
    www.goodreads.com/author/show/15499816.Chelcie_Cotton
    www.twitter.com/chelciecotton
    www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Blue-Chelcie-Cotton-ebook/dp/B01HDWXRSO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1470337023&sr=8-1&keywords=Baby+blue+Chelcie+cotton

Writing Prompt /// Coffee Break /// June 2016

 
 

Each month, I post a writing prompt that you take 10 minutes to write. Just 10 minutes to give yourself a break from what you are working on now but keep you in the flow of working. It may be a topic to write about, or it may be a way of writing that you don't normally use. I am going to try to mix things up so your brain doesn't get bored.

For June, the writing prompt is:

A day in the life.

Pick someone, they can be alive, dead or even fictional, and write about a typical day in his/her life. Don't be afraid to embrace the mundane and push yourself to make it beautiful.


If you post your "Coffee Break" responses anywhere online, I'd love to read them! Share your link in the comments!

Writing Prompt /// Coffee Break /// May 2016

 
 

Each month, I post a writing prompt that you take 10 minutes to write. Just 10 minutes to give yourself a break from what you are working on now but keep you in the flow of working. It may be a topic to write about, or it may be a way of writing that you don't normally use. I am going to try to mix things up so your brain doesn't get bored.

For May, the writing prompt is:

It was all a dream.

Recall a dream that felt so real and expand upon it. What would reality be like if your dream was real?


If you post your "Coffee Break" responses anywhere online, I'd love to read them! Share your link in the comments!

Writing Prompt /// Coffee Break /// April 2016

 
 

Each month, I'll post a writing prompt that you take 10 minutes to write. Just 10 minutes to give yourself a break from what you are working on now but keep you in the flow of working. It may be a topic to write about, or it may be a way of writing that you don't normally use. I am going to try to mix things up so your brain doesn't get bored.

For April, the writing prompt is:

Dragon

Picture a dragon, now what do you do with it? Do you fight? Is it friendly? Write about it!


If you post your "Coffee Break" responses anywhere online, I'd love to read them! Share your link in the comments!

 

Writing Prompt /// Coffee Break /// March 2016

 
 

Sometimes, you need to get out of your mind space, and step away from your current project. I've found that mixing things up can really help when I'm frustrated with a project and help me remember why I love my craft in the first place. With that in mind, I decided to start a new monthly segment, "Coffee Break" to help you give your mind a fresh jolt!

Each month, I'll post a writing prompt that you take 10 minutes to write. Just 10 minutes to give yourself a break from what you are working on now but keep you in the flow of working. It may be a topic to write about, or it may be a way of writing that you don't normally use. I am going to try to mix things up so your brain doesn't get bored.

For March, the writing prompt is:

Coffee or Tea?

You probably drink or both of these beverages, but at the very least know someone who enjoys one. Write about it!


If you post your "Coffee Break" responses anywhere online, I'd love to read them! Share your link in the comments!

The Obstacle and The Path: Facing Creative Challenges & 10 Ways to Overcome Them

LV Book Design Overcome Challenges

All creatives face challenges when we create our art. Whether you are a writer, designer or some other creative, there seems to be a familiar thread to what we all face and struggle against when we make our art.

We struggle with self-doubt, feeling uninspired, not knowing what to do/write next, procrastination, perfectionism, and the list goes on. But what can we do to overcome these hurdles that the creative process can throw at us? Here are just a few suggestions from one creative to another:

1. Change the atmosphere

Whether this means adding some new art to your work space or getting up and working somewhere completely different and new, sometimes a change of scenery is all we need to get new ideas flowing.

2. Don't be afraid to walk away
(for a little while)

Sometimes, we need to give ourselves some time away from our projects. New experiences, time spent with loved ones and even simple self-care can refresh our minds and put us in a better place to do more and create more...not to mention create better.

3. Change your medium

Sometimes we can get stifled by our art. Spend some time playing and experimenting with a new medium. If you are faced with a challenge in your writing, try drawing out the scene/character/setting to get a different perspective.

4. Always have a notebook/journal/sketchbook on hand

As you pull yourself away to go grab a cup of coffee or just go sit in a park for awhile, make sure you have something with you to just record ideas, notes about the world around you, or musings and errant thoughts that pass through your head. This will help your mind get back in the groove and perhaps give you just the inspiration you've been looking for.

5. Sleep on it

Like many creatives, we all get sleep deprived when we are working on a project. Our minds need sleep, however, to help with problem solving. Sometimes, a long nap or a good night's sleep is all we really need to get back on our A-Game.

6. Schedule it

If the obstacle holding you back is procrastination or a busy work load that prevents you from "finding time" to work on your project, then you may need to pencil it in. Putting time aside in your schedule means that it is important enough to warrant your undivided attention (which it is!). Also, if your project feels daunting, having a block of time with a start and an end can help you not feel so overwhelmed. When the time is up, if you want to stop, you have given yourself permission to do so!

7. Make a playlist

Sometimes, I need to set the mood for myself when I'm creating. I'll make a playlist that has the right tone for what I'm working on, throw on my sound-cancelling headphones and jam out. It keeps my active brain in the right mindset by having music that matches what I'm working on.

8. Redefine your problem

If that scene you are writing is causing you to pull your hair out because you just can't get "it" right, think about it differently. Change the question in your head from "how do I write this scene" to "how would C.S. Lewis (or any other person) write this scene?" Giving the problem an unfamiliar spin will help get your brain thinking about it differently.

9. Do something else that you are "the best" at doing

When we start to feel inferior because of a creative block, sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is go do something else that we know we are going to kick-ass at doing. Do you make the best chili? Go make some! Are you a good runner? Go for a run! Do something that will get you feeling accomplished and good about yourself again so that your self-doubts won't hold you back.

10. Always finish what you start

Finally, finish what you start! Ok, this may sound like one of those "easier said than done" solutions, but what I mean is that sometimes you just have to get it done. Just get to a conclusion or an end point and call it finished. Move on, and come back later to the parts that gave you trouble before. Don't let one road block stop you on your journey. Remember, you can always go back and edit and first drafts are rarely perfect.