Tag Archives: Writing

Writing Update: A Request for Beta Readers

Image Description: a vertical pile of leather-bound hardback books with differently coloured leather jackets.

I’m going to be honest, my writing isn’t doing well these days, I just… feel really lost and meh about pretty much everything related to Novel Writing. I’m considering taking Canis Major down from Smashwords, I probably should have done this already, but everything feels overwhelmingly difficult right now. The idea of committing to another novel project at this point in time just feels draining and I seriously lacking in motivation. I suspect this is largely to due to the fact that Canis Major feels largely unfinished, which has resulted in a lack of feedback from Readers.

I have requested people I know to read Canis Major and give me some feedback on it, but thus far, they have all failed to respond. So, I’ve decided to branch out and ask people on The Internets if they can help me out. I’d like to put out a request for Beta Readers and, before you all rush out and volunteer, here are the terms and conditions.

~Condition One: Time. I know we’re all busy, I know we all have lives, we all have commitments and obligations, but there’s no point volunteering to go through my book with me, chapter by chapter, if you don’t have the time to do so. And this is fine, there’s no judgement in that, but I will judge you on the inside if you say can and then fail to follow through (most writers are going to do this), please don’t waste my time.

~Condition Two: Interaction and Interviewing. The Beta Reader process will be something along these lines – Beta Reader reads chapter, Beta Reader informs me they have finished reading the chapter, I will ask the Beta Readers lots of questions and I’ll need the responses to be more than “it’s nice” or “it was good”. On the other hand, statements like “I don’t have an opinion about this” or “I don’t feel anything for this character” are legitimate answers.

~Condition Three: Genre. The Pushing Boundaries trilogy belongs in the Contemporary Crime genre, at this stage, Canis Major is more Contemporary than Crime, but the Crime elements are going to be more prominent in Orion. While you don’t need to be an expert on the Crime genre, if you don’t have an interest in Contemporary or Crime novels, you’re probably not going to enjoy Canis Major.

So, just in case you’re not familiar with what Canis Major is all about, here’s some basic information about it.
Word Count: 46,610
Blurb:
“James McKenzie, a computer programmer and karate enthusiast, with the help of his best friend and private investigator, Justine Jones, is tracking down local corrupt police officers. Together, they convinced the Gangs and Organised Crime Unit of Specialist Crime & Operations that the Acker family are worth investigating. With a little luck, James and Justine may meet their goal for an arrest and conviction.

Except there has been a snag. James’s grandmother Rosemary decided to lease out their spare room in a university exchange student program, and there’s a possibility that the student may be caught in the crossfire.

Beth Smith, a future primary school teacher, is travelling to the UK for the first time. She just wants to leave her family drama back home in Australia, especially since her family has only a theoretical concept of personal boundaries. She wants nothing to do with James’ complicated family drama or his and Justine’s under-cover drug investigation.

Nobody knows the Ackers like James and, in his experience, bullies don’t go down without a fight and he’s not convinced that it isn’t going to go horribly wrong. After all, it isn’t paranoia if everyone really is out to get you.”

Here’s a Link to Smashwords – you can download a sample from there.
Here’s a Link to the Canis Major Prologue – you can read it and leave a comment if you want to

If you’re a fellow indie author like myself, we may be able to exchange Beta Reader feedback, leave a link to your book in the comment section below and I’ll check it out (although I recommend indie authors check out my book review policy first before offering). So, if you’re interested in volunteering your time as a Beta Reader for my novel, let me know in the comments section below and you can also email me brkyle.author@gmail.com

PSA For Indie Authors – Part 3: Genres and Cover-art

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.
This post is about self-promotion and marketing for Beginner Writers who want to write Genre Fiction or Genre novels, so if that doesn’t appeal to you, fair enough, feel free to pass on this post. This post will be covering basic tips and advice so this post may come across as stating the obvious, however, we all have to start somewhere.

I would recommend watching these YouTube Videos by Jenna Moreci
~How to Choose a Genre for your Book
~Marketing Basics for Writers
~Skills You Never Thought You’d Need as a Writer

I think one of the most important elements of writing is figuring out what type of book you’re writing, as the genre of your book will determine a lot about what type of book-marketing you’ll be engaging in, and which agents and/or publishers you plan to pitch to. Like Publishing houses, Literary Agents will usually have submission guidelines on available on their websites, so you should check those out first before you contact them.

One of the things that Literary Agents advise is to investigate the genre of books an Author is writing in. This is where the advice “read widely within your genre” comes into play, you need to read the good and bad books within your genre, and you need to be informed of the visual art-style that is associated with your genre.

For example: My Work-In-Progress novel series Pushing Boundaries comes under a hybrid category of Genre, it fits into the Contemporary Crime genre, so lets break those categories down and have a look at what type of Cover-art Style is involved in the Crime, Mystery and Contemporary genres.

~Goodreads: Crime

~Goodreads: Mystery

~Goodreads: Contemporary

When you examine certain genres, especially Crime and Mystery together, there’s a distinct trend of book-cover art displayed on the most popular novels. For example:

Crime:
~a vague silhouette of a person, usually from a distance
~empty wide-shot landscape pictures with One Point Perspective
~Large, bold, and brightly coloured book-title and author title
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.

Mystery:
~There’s a lot of overlap between Crime and Mystery, but Mystery covers tend to be more colourful in design, Crime tends to be a dark/bland cover with colourful text displayed on it to act as contrast.
~Partially obscured faces
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.

Contemporary:
~There’s strong and liberal use of colours to make the covers pop-out, the cover and title text are usually bright contrasting colours
~Models on covers are predominately female-coded or a cishet-coded male and female couple.
~if a woman is on the front cover, it is displaying the back of her head.
~The predominate sub-genre of Contemporary is Young Adult, so the use of live models on covers are of 14-18 age-group.

Personally, I dislike the popular book-cover designs of Crime and Mystery, I think the Contemporary covers are much more eye-catching and engaging. In saying that, I have no idea what to make in the rising trend of displaying the back of a woman’s head, I have no idea how that could possibly convey to the reader what that particular book is about. I can only presume that The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Goddesses, and Everything We Keep are all very different books.

Now, it could be argued that best-selling authors like Chris Brookmyre and James Patterson can get away with unappealing book covers involving shadowy silhouettes, people are going to buy their books regardless, unfortunately not all aspiring writers will achieve James Patterson-level of success, so I would recommend putting some effort into the thought-process behind what the book cover should look like.

I’ll use my book-cover for Canis Major as a case-study (Kim made this for me, aren’t they amazing? Of course they’re amazing! You should check out their stuff).

Image Description: book cover of Canis Major - Volume I of the Pushing Boundaries series. The cover is picture of the constellation of Canis Major, as depicted in the Southern Hemisphere (the nose of Canis Major is positioned in a downward direction).

Canis Major:
~Point One: The design is a simple black and white colour scheme, easy for the reader to look at and comprehend

~Point Two: I’ve chosen the constellation of Canis Major (the Great Dog) for multiple reasons. Constellations are seasonal, so the constellation of Canis Major will look different in Southern Hemisphere countries, like Australia, than in comparison to Northern Hemisphere countries like the UK.

~Point Three: James, one of the main characters of my novel, has a special interest in Astronomy, he shares this special interest with his step-father Robert, it’s a bonding thing they have.

~Point Four: Another reason for the choice of Canis Major is because a big inspiration for writing this book was to address a lot of the problems and objections I had with the novel The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon (here’s a review by Disability in Kidlit that goes into why this book is super problematic).

~Point Five: The theme of Constellations as book-cover art will apply to all the books in the Pushing Boundaries series, Volume II will be Orion (the constellation of Orion is right next to the constellation Canis Major) and Volume III will be Scorpius. I plan for Pushing Boundaries to be a trilogy but I’m aware that every time an Author declares their project a trilogy, it somehow turns into a trilogy of four.

~Point Six: My novel is a Contemporary Crime novel, so just like with a crime, you have to put together all the small points in order to see the bigger picture. See? It’s Deep and Meaningful.

Here’s the thing though, while I think this cover is great and it’s exactly what I wanted, is this particular book-cover design marketable? It’s generally recommended that authors get feedback from their target audience, which was something I didn’t do. Another element to consider is that, while I think Kim did a great job, I do need to acknowledge that Kim doesn’t specialise in Graphic Design, and that it’s generally recommended to authors that they hire a professional (here’s a list of book cover designers via The Creative Penn).

So, authors need to figure out what their genre is and research what books within that particular genre look like, however, just because a visual idea is popular within a particular genre, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good. Get some feed-back from your target audience and be willing to shell out some money for a professional book-cover designer.

If you’re an indie-author and you’ve got a .jpeg of a book cover, drop a link to the book-cover image in the comments section below and we can have a chat about the pros and cons of visual design.

Links:
~9 Tips to Building the Book Cover Design You Always Wanted by Jane Friedman

The Beautiful Books #27: August 2017

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

It’s time for another edition of The Beautiful Books, where I write a blog-post discussing how little progress I’ve made on my WIP Novel Project, Orion – Volume II of the Pushing Boundaries series, YAY! Let’s begin with some writing advice, if you need some, check out the links bellow:

Jenna Moreci:
~Tips For Writers

Katytastic:
~WRITING / OUTLINING / REVISING

For this post, I’ll be focusing on Beth and James, hopefully that will make things easier. On with the Questions!

What are they addicted to/can’t live without?
Beth: Caffeine (tea and energy drinks). Beth has a stress-eating problem, but she’s more inclined towards cheese and biscuits, or say, having and enormous tub of Greek yogurt and eating it with savoy-biscuits like dip (IDK, honestly, straight Greek yogurt tastes super weird to me).

James: sweet treats and desserts. James (like Beth) has a stress-eating problem, James will stand in the kitchen and just eat a whole packet of dark-chocolate digestive biscuits without thinking about it.

Name 3 positive and 3 negative qualities about your character.
Beth:
01. Positive – Beth is helpful, she’s willing to help volunteer her time (sometimes overly so) if she perceives someone else needs it.
02. Positive – It takes Beth a while to get attached to people, but when Beth cares about a character, she really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – Beth is eager to learn new things.
04. Negative – Beth can be overly helpful, sometimes giving too much of her time (not being able to see that a project is doomed to fail or being taking advantage of), sometimes taking over a situation completely without asking, she can also come across bossy because of this.
05. Negative – Beth is introverted to a socially awkward level, it can make her insecure and prone to negative thinking.
06. Negative – Beth doesn’t really know what she wants and she’s incisive about things that should be easy to figure out, which is a difficult thing for her to admit to.

James:
01. Positive – James is honest, sometimes too honest, but I consider it a positive thing.
02. Positive – Like Beth, it takes James a while to get attached to people, but when he cares about a character, he really cares and they’re willing to do a lot for other people.
03. Positive – He’s very protective of his younger siblings, sometimes a little too overprotective, he really does care about them, but he finds it easier to display it with action rather than say
04. Negative – James can be super controlling about stuff, like his food and his environment, it’s bad coping mechanism and I’m hoping (over the course of the series) to help him grow out this behaviour and be able to let some things slide.
05. Negative – James can be petty about stuff.
06. Negative – James tries not to to be, but he does get jealous of Dominic, mostly because it seems like Dominic has all the things James has always wanted (a stable job, family acceptance and his own place), I’d like to write a chapter where James eventually resolves his perceived issues with Dominic.

Are they holding onto something they should get rid of?
Beth: Emotional Baggage with both her parents

James: Emotional Baggage with his parents and some guilt/resentment issues with Mac (with what Mac has become and the way Mac is not-dealing with the situation). James also has problems with the way his mother refuses to not-deal with Mac, despite the fact that his mother is the exact opposite with him (his mother is nosy and tends to pry a bit with regards to James).

If 10 is completely organized and 1 is completely messy, where do they fall on the scale?
Beth: Beth is more of a 5 or 6, she’s naturally a messy person, but she tries really hard to be neat and organised
James: James is more of a 8, he’s organised but it’s also part of a coping mechanism and is connected to his anxiety, so it’s not a natural thing.

What most frustrates them about the world they live in?
Beth: Beth gets frustrated by a lack of empathy or not noticing (or refusing to acknowledge) a problem, the more obvious the problem more irritating it is.

James: Communication with Neurotypical people. They don’t mean what they say and the don’t say what they mean. Conversation is where casual ableism usually shows up as well.

How would they dress for a night out? How would they dress for a night in?
Beth: Out = pretty vintage style dresses Mary has made for her, In = casual wear (like tracky-dacks and a t-shirt)

James: Out = overly formal, In = overly casual (track-pants, t-shirt, fluffy robe, thick slippers). James does wear a binder during the week when he’s at work.

How many shoes do they own, and what kind?
Beth: an excessive amount of shoes, wide variety of types, but Beth is prone to gravitate towards brightly coloured shoes.

James: a nice pair of black lace-up shoes for formal events, a pair of nice business shoes for work, a couple of pairs of running shoes, and a couple of pairs of work-boots (one for the farm, one for home).

Do they have any pets? What pet do they WISH they had?
Beth: Beth tends to gravitate more towards dogs than cats, but she doesn’t mind either.
James: he has a calico cat named Sarah Jane

Is there something or someone that they resent? Why and what happened?
Beth: Her mother Claire, for being an alcoholic and being an abusive parent, as a result of Claire’s abusive behaviour, Beth has nothing to do with her. Beth also resents her father because, at the time, Isaac came across as taking her mother’s side, so there’s this unspoken resentment between them.

James: James does harbour some resentment towards his mother, he lives with his grandmother instead of her and he feels she should have made more of an effort in getting Robert’s half of the family to accept him as he is. *Upcoming spoilers* James’s biological father dies in a car-accident and James resents how he has to navigate all the complicated social conventions and social rituals for a person who pretty much abandoned him at five-years of age.

What’s usually in their fridge or pantry?
Beth: snacks, like yogurt and crackers and cheese. Beth likes to have dried pieces of fruits because she forgets to eat fresh fruit and it goes bad

James: James can be kind of anal with his food, so everything is in organised Tupperware containers with labels or ziplock bags with labels. His fridge is most likely to have vegetarian stuff in there but also stuff to make smoothies with. James will often have enormous container of carrot-sticks.

So yeah, let me know in the comment section if you’re working on a Novel Project, I’d love to hear about other people’s projects (that way I don’t have to think about mine).

PSA For Indie Authors – Part 1: Questions

Image Description: a picture of a wooden table with (from left to right in a clock-wise circle) a piece of paper, a pair of thick-framed black glasses, a pine cone, a dusty green-leather bound book, a green vintage type-writer, an open blank notebook, a wooden stick, a small tan-coloured rectangle with black writing on it and an empty glass ink-well.

I don’t get a lot of contact from Indie Authors asking for help, however, I’ve recently been contacted by two very different Indie Authors requesting assistance with promoting their novel, while I don’t what to name the Indie Author involved, because this isn’t about shaming people for asking for help (even if they ask for help in the wrong way), however, I thought it might be prudent to write a blog-post about what they did wrong and how they should have done things differently and, perhaps, this post might help other Indie Authors from making the same mistakes.

I think the first thing to do, as an Indie Author engaging in Social Media Marketing, is perform some self-assessment and ask yourself the following questions:

How much do you know about Marketing and Self-Promotion?
Is this something you don’t know a lot about? Or have you done a lot of research? Perhaps try rating yourself from Newbie, Intermediate to Advanced. Knowing how much help you need is crucial and research is the key. You could watch some YouTube Videos or read some articles on Marketing For Writers, for example: Jenna Moreaci has a great video “Marketing Basics for Writers” (I highly recommend her channel) and Joanna Penn @ The Creative Penn has some great articles on Marketing For Writers (this is just a starting point, there’s heaps more information out there).

What kind of promotion are you interested in?
What is your overall objective? Do you want to get more Book Reviews for your novel on Amazon, Kobo or Miscellaneous Brand X Book Selling Platform? Or do you want more subscribers on your blog? I’m not saying you have to pick only one goal, you can have as many goals as you like, but you need to know what they are.

I recommend writing down all your marketing goals, just do a full brain-storming or mind-dump session and get it all out of your head and onto paper. If the problem is that you don’t know what your goals are or where to begin, and it’s okay if you don’t know what your goals are just yet, write that down too.

What kind of Social Media Platform are you interested in?
While this does go back to the question of, “how much do you know?” and “what type of learner are you?”. Are you a visual-learner or more of a text based-learner? Do you learn better by yourself or in a one-on-one type situation? Or do you learn better in a class/group situation? Some writers are visual learners and like to use Pinterest to make storyboards for their novels and share them.

I have mixed results with visual learning, I find Pinterest too distracting and it doesn’t work for me as a writing tool. I tend to work better with text based-learning which is why I’m more productive on WordPress and Tumblr, although (in my opinion) Tumblr isn’t great with large amounts of text, I’d honestly consider Tumblr to be more visual-orientated (your mileage may vary).

How familiar are you with social media platforms?
Do you already have a Blogger blog or a WordPress blog? Are you already active on Facebook or Twitter? What types of Media Content are you most comfortable with? What types of Media Content are you willing to research? How much instruction will you need? My friend Kim runs a Tumblr-Blog about reviewing Stim Toys, it’s very popular and Kim was eventually asked “How does one go about setting up a Stim Toy blog?”, here’s a link to the article:

~Stim Toy Box: An Essay on Blogging

As someone who puts little to no thought into how to go about setting up a blog or any other social media platform, I think it’s a great article (in fact I printed out a copy), I’m not saying you have to do all the things Kim suggests (do what works best for you), you don’t have set-up a review-style blog if you don’t want to, but Kim asks some good questions and it’s a great checklist to work from.

I also want to point out that, when I first started out as a Writer on social media, I tried to do ALL THE THINGS (as you do) but it took me longer than it should have to figure out that it wasn’t making me happy and I wasn’t getting enough in exchange to justify it.

Now, I’m regularly active on Twitter and Tumblr, I try to update my WordPress blog at least once a week, and that’s working okay thus far (it could be better but I’m trying to lower my expectations due to currently dealing with mental health problems *shrug*).

What kind of limitations do you have?
It’s important to know what it is you can do, it’s even more important to know what you can’t do, figuring out your limitations is super important. It’s all well and good to want to set up a YouTube Channel but that’s difficult to maintain if you have no experience or knowledge of how to make videos. YouTube is one of those complicated social media platforms, everyone does it so it’s common, but common and simple to use are not the same thing.

YouTube channels that started in the beginning of YouTube might not exist now or be successful ventures now because it’s been done before. I’m not saying people shouldn’t make videos on YouTube, I’m just recommending realistic expectations. Like, what’s your budget for recording equipment? What about editing software? Sometimes figuring out what you can’t do or don’t know is easier to figure out than what you can do.

And the most important question of all

How much time do you have available to promote your brand as a writer and to promote your novel/project?
Do you have a partner, children and other family obligations? Do you have a day-job? Do you have mental health problems like I do? Mental Health problems can seriously impact your ability to consistently create good quality content. The same can be said for physical health problems. Time is your most valuable resource and there is simply a finite number of hours in a day.

I’m afraid I tend to squander mine a lot due to procrastination and lack of focus and it’s sort of gotten to a point where I don’t think I can fix this problem and some days I ask myself why I even bother, and let me tell you, it’s a shitty mindscape to be in.

I’m not saying this to put you off writing, or perhaps bitch about my personal problems, I merely wish to convey that writing is something you have to make time for, it’s something you have to actively organise (it’s not just “going to happen” – trust me on this), it’s something you have to want above a lot of other seemingly important things.

This is because people are never going to stop making demands of your time and, with a few exceptions, most people aren’t going to respect or value your time unless you make them and establish boundaries on what you will and will not dedicate your time to.

I also mention my mental health problems because, for better or worse, creative people tend be associated with mental health problems and pretending that this is a problem that will never occur to you or someone you know isn’t going to help you.

I loath the idea of romanticising mental illness in association with the creative arts but the fact remains that Denial and Fear of the thing is more powerful than the thing itself. Acknowledging that this is a thing that might affect you or someone you know in your Art/Writing community is important.

I know this might seem ramble-like or irrelevant, but writers with mental health problems or physical health problems need to take the time to recover and a person’s recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I don’t care if you have to push back the release of your book, and I don’t care if you have to shut down your blog for an indeterminate amount of time, because your recovery, health, and well-being is the higher priority.

I still struggle with this myself on regular basis, I resent the fact that this short blog-post has taken me two days to write, but I have to accept it and let it go. I have to accept and resign myself to the fact that I will never be able to learn at the same speed other people do and projects are going to take longer for me to complete.

So, do readers have any tips or suggestions on marketing for writers? Perhaps recommend some online communities for writers? Let me know in the comment section below.

~Links:
~The Creative Penn: Tools And Resources For Authors And Writers
~The Creative Penn: Marketing Your Book
~DuoLit: 105 Author Blog Prompts: Banish Your Blank Blog!
~DuoLit: Free Writing & Self-Publishing Tools

The Beautiful Books #26 – The Author Writing Process Edition

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

How do you decide which project to work on?
I’m actually pretty terrible at focusing on a singular project and I’m often working on multiple projects at once.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
The Pushing Boundaries series is the only project thus far I’ve been able to focus on long-term. I wrote a rough draft for Canis Major – Volume I for NaNoWriMo 2015 (November) and had it edited and self-published by November 2016. I know a year doesn’t sound like a long time, but it felt like a long time because I was focusing on it for a core unit of my degree and needed the eBook published in order to graduate.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
No, unfortunately, although I am trying to organise myself into the ritual of getting a cup of tea and lighting some tea-candles and an essential oil burner before starting and seeing how that goes.
Image Description: from left to right, a triangle shaped tea-light candle holder with purple flowers painted on the front, a small glass tea-light candle holder, a white oil burner from Dusk with a tea-light candle inside and another small glass tea-light candle holder.

What time of day do you write best?
I generally struggle in the morning and tend to work better in the afternoon and evening

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
As I’m an author who is just starting out, I have no idea, personally I think this is something you’d have to ask a reader rather than a writer.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
Looking back, I began fan fiction writing as a coping strategy for dealing with… well, Life in general, I suppose, however, it also allowed me to experiment with writing possible narratives that could occur within that already structured world, most of these narrative possibilities contained the idea that the canon narrative could have gone in a different direction than the one the author chose. It’s a safe way to explore narratives and characters. But, eventually, the novelty of fan fiction (and the lack of quality control) made the cons of fan fiction out-weigh the pros.

I also realised that if I spent all my time playing around with other people’s narratives and characters, I was left with neither the time or mental capacity to work on my own narratives and characters (although characterisation is still an area I need to improve upon). The reason I keep writing, I guess, is because I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, which is kind of frustrating because I’d like to be able to work on the projects I’ve already started, but we all have our own creative processes.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
During the editing process, I was trying to get my character Beth to convey some plot/character related information to another character Mac, in the original manuscript this took place over three chapters, however, with the assistance of my editor Kim, I managed to transfer this information in three lines of dialogue. It was so frustrating and annoying at the time but it was a good learning experience.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
probably my Lake of Tears project, which is a SFF (Science Fiction Fantasy) Dystopian cross-over involving elves, gods, mages, dragons and time-travel. I am nowhere near the level I need to be (as a writer) to write it, that and I need to do some more research into time-travel and paradoxes.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
I wanted to have written Orion – Volume II written, edited and self-published by the end of the year, but that goal has become laughably out of reach due to personal circumstances and issues with mental health.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
Image Description: a Labrador-dog, wearing a red tie, is sitting at desk with a laptop. It looks as though the dog is typing on the laptop. The picture is captioned with white capital text, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

Technical Difficulties – 2nd Edition


Image Description: a “Very Demotivational” meme, which is a picture of a panda trapped on a branch, with a black border around the picture with white-text captioning down the bottom of the picture: “Technical Difficulties: We has them…”

I’ve been thinking of starting up (surprise, surprise!) another writing project, the big problem is that I’m currently torn between what kind of platforms I should use, I don’t know if my intended project is more suitable for Podcasting, a YouTube Channel or perhaps a combination (somehow?). Perhaps I should discuss my new writing project and maybe it’ll help me with he decision process. I want to set up a platform where I talk about Mental Health and ADHD (as well as some related topic things like stim toys). As I’m not a qualified therapist or counsellor, I would only be able to talk from the podium of my own experiences, so the video path would involve journal-like videos talking about my diagnosis, my personal diagnostic process, as well my interconnected mental health problems.

I’m going to be honest, YouTube has a large market on the “journal/confession” style of video, and while that results in great content like Katie Morton’s YouTube Channel and Annie Elainey’s YouTube Channel, it leaves me wondering “What do I bring to the table that is unique and different?” and “how can I possibly stand out?” See, the funny thing is that there is a lot of ADHD journal-style channels already out there, usually they have ten videos and then they haven’t been updated since or they have been updated but there are irregularities in postings or big gaps.

The problem is that I understand only too well why that is the case, I’ve been doing the same thing too pretty much all my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to embark on yet another project, invest a lot of my time, effort and limited financial resources into a platform only to give up half-way through. And, yeah, I’m perfectly willing to admit that my scatter-gun approach to… pretty much everything might be apart of the problem. My usual method of throwing things at a platform and seeing what sticks isn’t working for me or isn’t working as well as I’d like it to. It’s not that I’m not willing to give both a go, its not that I’m not willing to take risks, what I’d like is some feedback before I make the attempt.

What’s the Project going to be about?
My objective is create channel (regardless of whether its YouTube or Podcast) that covers the following:

  • journal-style content of my personal mental health and Adult ADHD diagnosis process.
  • Facts About ADHD – episodes that focus on the facts and resources regarding ADHD (like books and support groups available). I want these episodes to have a more Australian approach to it and my focus will primarily be Adults with ADHD, because unfortunately the majority of resources currently available tend to be more geared towards children with ADHD and their parents.
  • Interviewing Mental Health professionals or people involved with positive Mental Health support (like social workers or support groups)
  • Mental Health Q&A videos (possibly?) or stuff that’s connected to Mental Health like Stim Toy reviews, Bullet Journal stuff, or Journal exercises

I suppose I should include the possible pros and cons of each platform.

YouTube Channel Pros:

  • Dramatic reenactments with my collection of Weighted Plushies: this is the aspect of making videos that I’m looking forward to the most. I’m already thinking and detailing in my mind the jump-cut sketches I could possibly make.
  • Editing: I enjoy the editing process of film-making, I’m currently using Adobe Premier, which is great if not a little complicated (I’m doing a Skills Share tutorial for it, just to make sure I know exactly what I’m doing). There’s also lots of help and tutorials online.
  • Equipment: I already have all the required equipment to start making videos (I found a tripod at Big W for roughly AU $25), I could literally start tomorrow if that’s what I wanted.
  • Audience Interaction: YouTube is a great method of interaction and for building a community and there’s a proven track-record of people building successful and supportive mental health communities. It’s a big component of why I want to do this.

YouTube Channel Cons:

  • Super Awkward: When it comes to making movies and taking photographs, I’ve spent most of my time behind the camera, and I’m pretty good at directing (aka telling people how to do their jobs). But I don’t have that same sense of confidence when I’m placed in front of a camera. I tried to make a short introduction video for my YouTube Channel, I tried four times to do a short 30 second clip and kept fucking up the short basic script I had devised for myself, eventually I thought “Fuck it!” and decided on doing a voice recording with my phone and pictures instead of video footage (you can view the intro video down below, don’t feel bad for laughing, the video is very much a rush job)
  • Marketing: From the research I’ve doing, a lot of the ADHD journal-style channels are created by people presumably in the USA, now this could give me an edge, an Australian woman talking about her personal experiences would be unique, but there is a risk that this is too unique and that only small percentage of people are going to interested in it. There’s also the problem that there are A LOT of people doing this already, and while I think this is awesome and I’m very much for ending the stigma surrounding ADHD and other Mental Health problems, I still need to ask myself “What am I bringing to the table?” and I’m not entirely certain that I would be adding to the conversation.
  • Interaction: Lets be honest here, YouTube isn’t known for being a safe place, where online harassment is taken seriously. While I know I have reasonably thick skin, the problem is that I don’t know if the possible good I get from this channel is going to out-weight the potential harassment I’m going to receive online. I’m not saying harassment or bullies should hold you back from doing what you want to do, because there are always going to be bullies and nay-sayers out there telling you not to try, this is more from a self-care and time management perspective.
  • Timing: I mean, with regards to filming, it’s lot more work involved in making YouTube videos in comparison to writing blog-posts on WordPress or Tumblr. With videos, you need time to film, organise a guest and/or work around guest’s schedule, edit film, possibly edit audio, publish it on YouTube, and then also make a blog-post about it on WordPress.
  • Length: I’m going to be honest, I talk a lot and at a fast pace, There’s also the problem with YouTube that videos are expected to be short (the implied maximum being 12-15 minutes) and I often feel that this time-constraint isn’t always appropriate for Mental Health discussions, a Mental Health problem can’t always be tackled in a 15 minute video, sometimes it’s more complicated than that. It also doesn’t give much time for me to answer any possible questions people might ask of me.

Podcasting Pros:

  • Comfort: I have no problems with recording myself via audio, I’m also super comfortable with Adobe Auditions (from what I remember, it’s super easy to use, although my memory isn’t the most reliable). In contrast to Adobe Premier, which is a little more difficult (or at least it is for me) and it wasn’t obvious how to use certain features like captioning
  • Experience: I have some limited experience to creating audio files due to taking a University unit Radio Production, I’m also looking into volunteering for a community radio station once a week.
  • Marketing: Mental Health Podcasts, such as The Mental Illness Happy Hour, have a proven track record of success.
  • Accessibility: For transcription, I can use a paid-service such as Trint and I can make my podcasts as long or short as I like.

Podcasting Cons:

  • Equipment: I have yet to obtain the recording equipment I would need to begin podcasting and that’s mostly because of cost, the audio recorder I have in mind (which is the cheaper of the two options) costs AU $180. Unlike the equipment I have for video recording, if I decide I don’t want to make videos, I can still use my camera and tripod for other things, but this isn’t the case with the audio equipment and I don’t want spend money on equipment I’m only going use once or twice.
  • Experience: I’ve been making short films since I was teenager, so I kind of know what to expect when making videos with other people, but I’ve never made a podcast before so I’m not sure what to expect, and that’s a little scary.

Problems that would affect both projects:

  • Effort: Maybe taking on a new writing project isn’t the best idea at this point in time. I’m struggling creatively, everything feels like too much effort and I just can’t, my situation kind of does have a “Going Through The Motions” type of feeling. I’m not doing well with my novel-writing, I had hoped to have a 1st draft of Orion finished by now, maybe I should focus on that instead and figure out why it’s not working for me. There’s a serious concern that I’m just using this idea for a new project as an excuse to procrastinate.
  • Knowledge: Maybe I’m not the best person for this type of project, I have no formal qualifications and I only have subjective experiences to work from,
    I also don’t have the best social skills, a key component required when trying to get people to agree to interviews
  • Interviews: While I would love to do interviews regardless of my platform, getting the right people to agree to interviews will be a challenge.
  • Social Media: I would have to set up some separate elements of Social media for this new project, not a lot but some, possibly a separate Twitter or separate Tumblr page for people to ask questions, and seeing as I’ve just recently had to shut down my Havering blog because I just no longer had the mental capacity to maintain it, I feel a little anxious about the idea. I don’t want to set up social media for this project, only to delete it a few months later.

Maybe this is something I need to think about for a little while longer, however, I’d really appreciate it if readers could let me know what they think. Is this something you’d be interested in? Would you prefer YouTube or would you prefer a podcast? What about a combination of the two? I don’t know, I’m just putting ideas out there. If you’d like to check out my introductory video for my channel, the video is just below:

The Beautiful Books #25: June

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals
Image Description: an image of a white notepad with light-blues with a dark-blue pen. At the top of the picture is text in dark-blue, “beautiful people for writers”. Down the bottom of the picture is text in dark-blue, “hosted by http://www.paperfury.com and http://www.furtherup-and-furtherin.blogspot.com”

Another monthly update on my Pushing Boundaries WIP Novel Project. I’m going to attempt to outline Orion – Volume II in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo in July (here’s a link to my Camp NaNoWriMo profile in case readers want to join me).

These questions have taken longer than it should have for me to answer (honestly, I have no fucking idea what my characters dream about, maybe that means I don’t know my characters well enough, IDK), I suspect that the outlining process is going to take more effort than I first anticipated (here’s the link if people want writing resources from Camp NaNoWriMo).

Honestly, the Camp NaNoWriMo resources weren’t that useful for me, so I’ve included some links down the bottom of the blog post for Plotting and General Writing Resources.

What’s their favourite place they’ve ever visited?
James: Disneyland Paris

Beth: visiting London with Justine and Dominic

Mac: The small greenhouse Robert, James and Mac constructed together when Mac was young

Cassie: Camping with her family

What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?
James: when James was younger, he wasn’t interested in romantic relationships, he found it easier to manage open/casual liaisons. As James got older, he wanted to make an attempt at romantic relationships, however, his relationship with previous girlfriend Claudia was more along the lines of being in love with the idea of a stable relationship and thus was willing to put up with a mediocrity. In his mind, the mistake was entering into a relationship that didn’t meet all his needs and wants, and the lesson learnt was “don’t enter into a relationship just because you’re lonely”.

Beth: Beth is very suspicious of men, this due to bad experiences she’s had in the past and a previous abusive relationship (it became abusive when she ended it), in her mind, Beth thinks her mistake was being vulnerable too early in a relationship or entering into a relationship at all, giving her ex-boyfriend too much information about herself. Beth’s mental objective is keeping her distance for as long as possible, she often plays hard to get in romantic pursuits, if it seems like situation has too many variables or too much risk, she won’t bother, she’d rather go without then to compromise on her own set of terms of conditions.

Mac: Mac tends to be too direct and too honest, he can come across as a little intimating at first, he’s also a little socially awkward, he often gets excited and enthusiastic about comic books, so he’s learnt not to stand too close to women and not to stand in the way of doorways when talking about comic books.

Cassie: I think Cassie’s mistake is that she lacks confidence in herself and often doesn’t speak up about what she wants (and usually regrets it later). I hope that, over the course of the Pushing Boundaries series, Cassie becomes more confident and emotionally secure in what she wants and needs.

What was their favourite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?
James: Astronomy and Science related subjects

Beth: Literature, Home Economics, Drama and Media

Mac: Woodwork and Metalwork

Cassie: Textiles, Drama and Literature

What’s their favourite flower/growing thing?
James: Roses, citrus scents, and herbs, specifically Rosemary

Beth: Lavender

Mac: Herbs

Cassie: Lemongrass and Citrus scents

Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?
James and Mac: Both of them have accidentally made women and girls cry by saying something insensitive or being too honest and/or too direct

Beth and Cassie: Both of them go out of their way to be considerate of people’s emotions, so neither of them had have made someone else cry, but Beth does occasionally suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome and sometimes Beth can be a little too direct.

Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?
James: Mixture of the two, he’s reliable when it comes to observing other people, but can be blindsided by his own biases and some preconceived notions about people, for example: he has a preconceived notion about who Cassie is as a person and has no problems about using her and discarding her in order to fulfil his own objective, James can be ruthlessly efficient.

Beth: Beth is the reliable type of narrator, but she’s the internal type of narrator, she’s honest with herself (to a certain extent), but that’s pretty much it.

Mac: Mac might be considered an unreliable narrator about himself, and he isn’t that observant about other people, Mac tends to wrap himself up in his own little world.

Cassie: Cassie might be considered an unreliable narrator, she likes to think the best of people and she’s kind of oblivious (sometimes it’s out of self-preservation, sometimes it’s naturally occurring)

They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?
James: James enjoys Asian cuisine, vegetarian meals mostly.

Beth: Beth has a weakness for bacon and hard-types of cheese, however, Beth enjoys Lasagna, Asian cuisine, and baked-potatoes.

Mac: Mac enjoys steak, chips and salad

Cassie: Cassie enjoys home-cooked meals but loves Pad Thai and Asian cuisine

What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?
James: James has become hyper-focused on taking down the Acker Family, this is mostly because he doesn’t have a strong concept of long-term goals, it’s difficult to him to think past this goal.

Beth: Beth wants to travel around Europe, she wants to do touristy things, despite the fact that she doesn’t like crowds.

Mac: Mac wants to get married and have kids, but he’s beginning to sort of rethink those objectives, “are romantic relationships really worth the hurt and pain?”, he’s kind of in the mental state of “Life in general is not worth the effort”.

Cassie: Cassie wants to get away from her immediate family, with the exception of her Aunt, and establish her own safe space. Cassie wants to be a primary school teacher to prevent her type of family situation from happening.

Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?
James: Justine and James work well together, Justine handles calling people directly (something James isn’t particularly good at), James is good at writing the required script, finding the right information, James is good at picking up details that other people may miss.

Beth: Beth has this ability for people to feel compelled to tell her personal information (although she doesn’t see it as a talent and would prefer if people didn’t dump their problems on her). Beth could consider her cooking skills and her experiences with her catering business to be her better talents. Beth is happy to make desserts or cakes but isn’t interested in eating the items she makes. Beth is also skilled with crocheting but terrible at sewing with a needle or with a sewing machine.

Mac: Mac is good at hands-on tradie-stuff, carpentry and landscaping. He’s good at gardening and DIY Home Projects.

Cassie: Cassie is good with sewing, she often makes clothes, but she doesn’t wear them (she often donates them).

Links:
~NaNoWriMo Plotting Resources
~Worksheets for Writers
~Four Steps to Putting Your Plot in Order
~THE ONE PAGE NOVEL PLOT FORMULA
~THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GOOGLE DOCS FOR WRITERS (+ WORKFLOW VIDEO & PDF CHECKLIST)
~Story writing websites: 151 of the best
~Plotting and Scheming Cheat Sheet
~Creative Writing Tools


%d bloggers like this: