Dear Indie | Writing Challenges & Word Counts

Hi Indies!

This is just a quickie. I’m not promoting or being sponsored by Reedsy, I swear–but, I wanted to share that they have weekly writing challenges on their site that pay out $50 a week to winners. So, if you love writing challenges and fancy a go, you might want to check that out. Also, their writing prompts are a bit like challenges, too, only without the payout, and the best part is that they offer prompts for different genres.

I also came across 10 free lessons for writing “Short Stories.” Now, I was reading 300+ page novels as a young teen, so when I used to hear “short story,” to me that was anything under like 80,000 words. I had to cut out 3,000 words to meet my publisher’s word count limit of 100k words on my first published novel. Actually, on every novel they’ve published – but my point is: What exactly is your idea of a full-length novel, novella, and short story?

I now know, thanks the NaNoWriMo, that 50,000 words is considered a full-length novel, yet some people say it can actually be between 40-50,000 to be considered full-length. 😐 Really? That’s half a book! So what do you call a 100,000 word novel, then, a double-length novel???

Honestly, I was excited about the free lessons, because I know I can’t keep things short (see? I called this a quickie, and yet here we are) But, according to them, a short story is no longer than 20,000 words and I’m looking at that like “Yeah…that’s not happening.” That’s a submission to the Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine, which granted, would be a ‘short story’ by definition, but like…shorter. More like an essay.

If my book is under 100,000 words in length – guaranteed it’s part of a series. The whole story is not beginning and ending between those two covers. Especially, considering that I have actual series where each book is 100k words. But, I’m really TRYING to write a “shorter” stand alone novel, and the struggle is real y’all. It’s real.

❤ What do you think about novels lengths and their word counts? Any tips on how to write shorter books?

Dear Indie | Using Daily Prompts to Stay Active

Hi Indies!

Whenever I stumble upon something that I feel would be a great resource for you all, you know I have to share. When I first started my blog back in October of 2013, I used the WordPress Daily Prompt challenge to build up my followers and writing network. It was great for awhile – actually for a few years, but it was so time-consuming it cut into hours I needed to spend working on my actual WIPs. Unfortunately, the cost of not doing the DP’s anymore, was losing all of those followers and the interaction I used to have with them on a regular basis.

My blog is still a work in progress and I rarely see likes, comments, or re-blogs the way I did way back when. But, I’m even worse when it comes to Social Media. It is unarguably one of the most daunting aspects of being an author that I have always struggled with. I’m not ashamed to admit that if I never had to use it, I wouldn’t. Unfortunately, in this day and age, authors and aspiring writers who don’t use things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are cutting out a huge resource for building their platforms and potential readerships.

But it can be hard to think of what to share, especially for the long haul. For some, this seems to come naturally. For me, it’s a chore. I never know what to post. I never know when re-posting is not enough or too much and I’m a bit more picky about who I follow back, because I don’t want my feed clogged up with spam bots.

My latest discovery, however, has enabled me to go from maybe 1 tweet a month, to at least 1 tweet a day. First, if you’re not already a member of the #writingcommunity on Twitter, I would recommend checking it out. This is where I’ve found this fun writing challenge called #vss365 which stands for “Very Short Story” – Each month, a new host/ess is selected to come up with the Daily Prompts. What’s great about this DP challenge vs the WordPress one, is that there’s no pressure to have your post ready first thing in the morning to reach the most participants and Twitter is so limited, you’re only writing for a minute. No time-consuming creations followed by hours of editing. It’s short, fun, and offers positive results.

It’s keeping me active on Twitter regularly, helping me gain exposure while expanding my writing community network, and I’m enjoying reading others #vss365 creations. The inspiration from seeing how people can take so many different approaches to the same word is limitless. That’s why I knew I needed to share it here with you. In my opinion, these outcomes make this a good resource for any writer, but especially if you’re just starting to build your author platform or like many (myself, included) find social media overwhelming and intimidating to navigate.

There’s no wrong or right way to go about the challenge, as long you use the prompted word. There are even a few members who do multiple posts using a different approach each time, i.e. poetry for one, then a short story for another. Not to mention, there are many who include multiple challenge prompt words in the same post (#vss365, #bravewrite, etc.). I’m creeping in slowly, doing one DP challenge to start, but I might join in others later on down the road.

I thought it would be great fun to only draw from one book to create my posts – this has proved quite challenging! – but that only get’s my creative juices flowing all the more. Again, because it’s Twitter and the word count is limited, all of my posts are original. They wouldn’t actually be found verbatim in the book, itself, but the ideas behind them are definitely there. If I still like that process by the end of this month, than I’ll pick a different book for September, and so on.

❤ That’s it, Indies. If you’re already participating in the #vss365, #bravewrite or any other Daily Prompt challenge drop me a comment below to share your experience and how you prefer to approach your unique creations!

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Self-Inflicted

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Self-Inflicted

Henley sat at a small, window-side table in McCallan Point’s only café and glared at the screen of his laptop. The reports staring back at him couldn’t be right. He would’ve sworn he’d dumped far more money into his offshore account than that. Just in case. Fuck, this was his just in case, and now it was worse than he’d already believed!

His fists clenched under the table and he counted down from a hundred, combating the urge to throw his laptop across the room. What the fuck was he going to do? He’d lost everything overnight. Every business, every penny and worse, every ounce of respect his name had commanded for years. Over two decades, he’d busted his ass building an empire and with one blind spot, it had all come crumbling down. It killed him that it had been someone he’d spent half his life thinking of as a brother. His best friend. The one who’d been with him through it all. To be betrayed by the only person he’d ever trusted enough to divulge all of his secrets to, was beyond crushing. It was a living hell. A nightmare Henley simply couldn’t see a way out of. He was in ruins. Even if he could start over, take what little capital he had left and rebuild, his name was dirt. Vic hadn’t been satisfied with just ripping his wealth away from him, he’d made sure Henley couldn’t even get a fucking loan!

Nobody trusted the Crane name now. That was the worst of it. The hilt of the knife Vic had stabbed him in the back with. The salt he’d maliciously scoured into the open wounds. How had he not seen the signs? Henley prided himself on his ability to read people better than he let on. He’d always known who his enemies were, both socially and professionally. Vic had never made a blip on his radar. They’d done everything together; college, startups, women. There had been nothing secret between them and nothing they hadn’t shared. That kind of bond, that level of trust…

Henley’s thoughts were just as jarred as the bells hanging over the café door, when it was thrust open and a woman tripped inside with a shocked expression on her face. Though, that was mostly covered by stylish sunglasses. Embarrassment reddened her cheeks until they almost matched her gaping lips, and Henley felt a dangerous, familiar stir low in his gut. It was a good look on a woman. One he’d personally triggered countless times.

“Wow, I’m so sorry.” She recovered quickly, turning to apologize to the baristas behind the counter. “I had no idea it would open that easily, that is…really light.”

Henley nearly sneered at the dimwitted remark and drank in her tall, statuesque form from behind. Designer jeans hugged slender legs under the pale gray sweater that draped over her ass with a rounded hem. Even from twenty yards, he knew it was cashmere. Just like he knew her over-sized, deer hide handbag was real and carried a price tag in the thousands. Her hair was layers of golden browns and blonds, salon produced, not natural and pulled into a fashionable ponytail at the back of her head. The sunglasses she perched atop her perfectly styled hair couldn’t be found in any store in America. They’d undoubtedly been shipped directly to her doorstep, along with other accessories some Italian designer wanted to impress her with. Anything to have their brand advertised on the most effective billboards in existence: famous people.

But who was she? Henley couldn’t draw a name, not that he always expected to. Contrary to popular belief, not all rich people knew each other. There were still cliques among the elite, and they rarely overlapped. He’d spent all of his time rubbing elbows with other wealthy businessmen and women, networking among the corporate moguls and Fortune 500 tycoons. He hadn’t dabbled in the realm of celebrities, and the only time he’d entertained conversation with a trust-fund kid, was when they were actually in the game, getting ready to take their place as a rightful heir to a throne within his world. More than her name, though, Henley wanted to know why she was there. A sudden feeling of distrust settled atop the other nonsense he was struggling with. McCallan Point wasn’t a tourist destination for the wealthy. It was better known for local artists, crabbing, fishing, boating and people who just wanted to be left the hell alone. Like Henley. That’s why he’d chosen it. So, why was someone from his old life there and why so soon? He hadn’t even had the chance to lick his wounds yet.

With half an ear, he listened to her order some fancy latte to go. The moment she asked for directions, she had his undivided attention.

“Would you know how to get to White Rock Landing?”

Henley rolled his eyes to the ceiling and barely managed to keep his groan checked. She had to be joking. It was just more cruel punishment to dump on the head of someone already down and bleeding. Because fate hadn’t gotten its rocks off yet, or what? Fuck.

“Yeah, of course, I do, I mean sure.” The teenage, pimple-faced boy behind the counter grinned, causing Henley to smack his lips dryly.

Keep dreaming, kid.

Torn between prolonging his misery and just getting it the hell over with, it took Henley a few minutes to shut down his laptop and polish off the rest of his coffee. Now that he knew his nest egg was more the size of a chicken’s than an ostrich’s, it would undoubtedly be the last espresso he’d be splurging on for awhile. After standing and shoving his laptop into its carrying case, he scraped the chair in with enough noise to get everyone’s attention. He hadn’t been prepared, when the woman turned and their gazes collided. Her eyes were as undecided as a storm cloud, hovering somewhere between gray and blue. Too light to be called slate, too dark to be anything else. Her stunning features were mostly sharp, yet delicate. It was her mouth Henley was instantly drawn to. Lush and glossed with that wet sheen women knew how to use to their advantage, her top lip was a little more pronounced than her bottom. It gave her the sexy parted lip look used in almost every commercial and magazine ad, except she wasn’t posing. She was just staring at him.

“I’m headed that way. You can follow me.”

Something shifted almost imperceptibly in her eyes, but she quickly smiled to cover it up. “You sure?” she asked with fake politeness, obviously not expecting him to retract the offer, since she didn’t wait for an actual confirmation. “You’re a lifesaver, thank you.”

Henley didn’t respond. He slipped his own sunglasses into place and stalked out the door, letting her scramble to catch up. Exactly when he’d turned the proverbial whip on himself and became the masochist, he couldn’t say, but apparently he felt the need to be punished for that joke of an offshore account. With a single glance at the pretend, beaming smile molding the sexiest set of lips he’d ever seen, Henley had to admit his own sadism was outlandishly worse than he’d ever believed possible.

###

©A.C. Melody_WIP_Topple

Could You 30 Day Challenge Yourself Every Month?

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If we can participate in NaNoWriMo, then why aren’t we challenging ourselves to write a novel in 30 days at the beginning of EVERY month?

This is the question I just asked myself, as I’m looking at my goals for 2019 and realizing I don’t have as much time as I’d like to think. My list of books to publish this year total 3 and 1 is already done, so that’s nothing, right? But I’m staring down the barrel of February toward spring with less than a chapter written on one of those books and sweating bullets over how little time I have to get this done, because finishing the book is just the first step. In order to publish when I want to, I need to make sure it’s done in time to order a book tour in advance, get it through my editor and off to beta readers before launch day.

I don’t even participate in NaNo every year, but the last time I did, I was successful at getting more than 50,000 words written on a novel. So, why can’t I do that on my own? I’m an Indie Author, aren’t I? I’m used to doing everything myself, so there is absolutely no reason why I can’t. It’s all a state of mind. Which, is why I’ve decided that I’m going to challenge myself DIY style and will dedicate Wednesday as my word count accountability day. Granted, it’s not the first of the month any more, but in all fairness, I already have a word count going, so I think that makes up for it.

Here’s my first DIY 30 day challenge to myself: Get the first draft for Fox Trot (Dark Day Isle, Book 3) done by March 7, 2019!

Current word count is: 3,668

Wish me luck… o_O

 

 

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

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Well, last week was a total bust – though, I am still working on getting my video tutorial squared away. For anyone who’s just joining in, welcome to my fairly new writing challenge. Below are the guidelines for those who’d like to participate. I started this challenge for myself, primarily, to try to keep my creativity flowing more steadily. I tend to run into dry spells, where all I’m doing is nitpicking at WIPs without really writing any fresh material to get them finished. In short, I’m trying to apply more discipline to my writing, so that I’m more productive.

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Statuesque

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Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

 

#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

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It’s time to reveal the word for this week’s #WeeklyWritables!

I’m on a mission this week to keep my Thursday’s submission much shorter than I’ve been doing so far. Last week’s results took me deep into my old ‘story idea’ archives and churned out a much longer excerpt than I’d been planning for, but I suppose finding inspiration and motivation to write is the whole idea of this challenge! 😀 For those interested in how it works, here are the guidelines again, followed by a screenshot of the random word.

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! Feel free to grab the badge/banner above for your posts, if you’d like. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

The #WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Frightening

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#WeeklyWritables ♥ Word Reveal

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It’s time for week two of the new writing challenge, #WeeklyWritables, hosted by yours truly. Last week was a huge success for me, because I ended up with a bonus scene I’d never planned on writing for my new semi-psycho-taboo-thriller WIP (I have no clue what the genre really is, but that sums it up). Anyway, I should have done this last week, but didn’t think of it – so this week I’m including a screenshot of the random word generator just so y’all know the word really is random! LOL

First, here’s a recap on what this challenge is all about:

Every Tuesday morning I will post a random word and anyone who’d like to join in will have until Thursday to publish their work.

The rules are simple:

  1. Your post must contain the random word at least once (using it for your pingback is probably the most familiar practice for anyone who’s ever done the Daily Prompts)
  2. Short stories, flash fiction, poems, WIP excerpts, and real life experiences are welcome
  3. Please no song lyrics, unless you wrote them yourself – there are already so many music challenges out there, I’d really like this one to be all about creative writing

That’s it! There are no restrictions on length, you can make it as long or short as you want, this is all about feeding your creative energy! You’re free to use the graphic I’ve created for my posts or you can create your own. And if you do participate please don’t forget to leave a pingback so I can find your post and read it. I don’t expect this to be an overnight success, but do hope you’ll join in if/when you can!

p.s. Your feedback is more than welcome! If you’d like to join this challenge, but don’t feel the time-limit is long or short enough, I’d love to hear your input!

#WeeklyWritables word for Thursday is: Noise

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