BTS009, My Australia Trip, A Free Scrivener Tutorial, and Blogging Novella
This episode of my behind the scenes podcast diary is going to be a casual writing update because it’s been over a month since my last podcast diary episode. As I mentioned earlier, the break was due to my recent trip to Australia as well as travel-related tiredness. When I got back, I found my backlog of work hard to manage. As a result, I realised that I couldn’t do it all. So, I decided to cut back somewhere.
A Change to the Podcast
I’ve decided to change the frequency of the podcast to two behind the scenes episodes and two writing tips episodes per month. On top of this, I’ve decided to push back the season two until 2019. These changes mean from October through to December will be behind the scene diary episodes. The reason behind this decision was so I could focus on getting Missing, Silence, and Immunity ready for publication by the end of 2018. Or, at the very least, get Missing and Silence ready to be published. The BTS diary episodes will focus on revision, editing, book formatting, and the lessons I’ve learned while writing three thriller novels.
So, let’s get into the episode.
BTS009, An Australia Trip, A Free Scrivener Tutorial, and Blogging a Fiction Novel
My Australia Trip
In July, I spent a few weeks visiting family members who live in Australia. I don’t get to travel to Australia that often so it was nice to see them, and it was super difficult leaving. While spending time in Brisbane, I noticed that I struggled to read and travel. Reading has become a work-related activity, but it’s still something I enjoy. My reading habit is the exact opposite of the way most people behave. Most consumers will buy books to read while on vacation. But not me.
Work-Life Balance as an Entrepreneur
While on vacation, I banned Roland from working, therefore by default, I had to practice what I preached. So, no writing happened in July. It probably seems a bit harsh that I banned my husband from working, but he does have a tendency to be working, reading emails and responding to the demands of others instead of being on vacation. I felt that in order to be a good wife, I should encourage him to take time off and enjoy the time we spent together in Brisbane.
As a result, our vacation was very laid back and wasn’t jammed packed with lists of things to do. The reason for this is we will always be travelling back to Australia. This trip isn’t a once off for us, in a similar way that trips to France will always be light and carefree.
Roland and I decided to take the new Qantas Flight from London to Brisbane via Perth. It turned out to be a great decision. The flight was quicker going to Perth than leaving due to the rotation of the earth. On the way to Perth, I stayed awake and listened to a few podcasts including Paul’s Podcast Diary which is apart of the Self Publishing Journeys Podcast. The reason behind this decision was, we were landing late at night, and I wanted to be super tired and go straight to bed. This decision helped me to adjust to the new time zone and avoid jet lag.
On the way home, I focused on getting sleep, which I managed to do even with a screaming toddler in front of me. The flight arrived in London at 5:00 AM, so we headed straight to Pret-A-Manger, and had a croissant and coffee. I found it a little alarming that I have no recollection of the first week back, but this is probably due to the jet-lag and possibly the high temperatures in London. I can open Todoist and see that I did a few things, but I don’t remember performing these tasks. So, that week has been officially dubbed, Zombie Week.
My New Free Scrivener Course
One of the things I did do in the month of August is I finally got around to turning my scrivener tutorial into a course on teachable. The original tutorial was fifty-one minutes long, and it’s still available on my youtube channel. After realising many people were signing up for my three-act structure scrivener template, I decided to break up the tutorial into bite-sized lessons. It has made the tutorial easier to follow, so my audience can jump to the parts they want to learn about and not go through the entire video. I’ll be sharing this course with the people who signed up for the template on my website. If you’re interested in the template and the tutorial, you can sign up here.
The Tools I Use
I’ve also purchased a new microphone. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love a new piece of technology. It’s the Blue Yeti, and it produces such a great sound, and it’s easy to use. The microphone has a gain switch and four recording pattern modes. One of the reasons why the sound has improved is I now have control over the direction my microphone picks up the sound. I can choose an option that only allows the microphone to record the sound that’s in front of the microphone. So, any sounds from the sides and the back are not being picked up. It means less editing for me.
Using the Blue Yeti
The Blue Yeti isn’t the type of microphone that you should plug in, and away you go. I do recommend you check out a few of the tutorials on Youtube by other experts who will show you how to use the microphone correctly. There are a few bad reviews on this microphone, but after careful research, I’ve discovered that a few people are not using it as intended.
However, I can hear a tiny bit of background noise because my apartment is along a busy road. To filter out this sound, I may need to change the software that I edit my podcast from Garage Band to maybe Adobe Audition. I may not make the software switch until season two of this podcast. The reason for this is due to the learning curve associated with trying out something new.
Another Research Trip
In terms of writing, I’ve managed to talk Roland into taking a trip to France to visit Chateau de Pierrefonds. For those of you who don’t recognise the castle, it was used to film the BBC television series, Merlin. I’m a bit of a fan, and I want to use it as a location in my crime thriller, Missing. The castle is located an hours drive outside of Paris, and the surrounding areas look amazing. I can’t wait to visit it towards the end of the year.
However, I’ve also considered changing the location to Carcassonne which is another medieval-style city in France. I want to see both locations before making a final decision. Or, perhaps this is me just wanting to visit a whole heap of medieval-style cities in France. Because there’s so many and they look so beautiful. They really do look like something out of a fairytale.
A Writing Update
In regards to Missing, I’ve written 27,000 words so far, and I’m at the start of act three. Since my last writing session, before I went on vacation to Australia with Roland, I’ve written 9,300 extra words for the story. Just to add a bit of perspective, I’ve written these extra words in August and the first fourteen days of September. While this isn’t a huge contribution to the overall word count, I feel refreshed, and the quality of my writing has improved. So, it turns out that what I needed was a break. It’s been the best cure for my writing slump, along with putting my butt in the chair and writing. What a surprise?!
Reading About Writing
In terms of other writing-related activities, I’m reading Plot Gardening by Chris Fox. And, I blame Paul Teague from the self-publishing journey’s podcast for putting this idea in my mind. He has mentioned wanting to read it while on vacation so often that I’ve purchased the Kindle ebook and audiobook and I’ve been listening to it with the kindle whisper-sync for voice feature.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is labelling my scenes by type. This book has helped me to confirm where my books sit within the Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, and crime genres. I now know that I have the right balance between action, surprise, need and reveal scenes. It also covers three-act-structure and has the best explanation of how to structure a story using the hero’s journey. So, if you haven’t read this book, then I recommend you buy it.
Sharing Missing on My Blog
There is a part of me that isn’t sure whether this is a good idea or not. I’ve changed my mind so many times it ridiculous, but that could be put down to insecurity. Over on my author blog, I shared the first three chapters for my crime thriller novella, Missing.
And, then I took a break from blogging, partly because I’m breaking my own writing rules and writing and editing as I go. I guess this might be a case of ‘do what I preach not as I do’ scenario. In light of this, I’ve jumped back on the blogging my book bandwagon and committed to sharing the next four chapters during the month of August. The version of Missing that I’m sharing is an earlier draft. It’s important to point out that I don’t ‘pants’ my fiction. I’m a heavy outliner, and during the earlier stages of the writing process I revise and edit my outline before I start writing the first draft.
There are two schools of thought about blogging a fiction novel; do not share and share.I’ve chosen to ignore the advice of other more seasoned authors and share my work because it’s gone through a few stages of revision, it’s not my first novel, and I want to build a readership before I hit publish. Now that I’ve pressed published on these scenes and chapters I’ve realised there are things I want to change. And, to be honest, I expected this. When I start another round of revisions and finetune the prose, I will update the scenes shared on my blog. As I get closer to publication, I will start to drive traffic to the blog, but for now, I’m happy with my existing readership enjoying these scenes.
Now that I’ve created the blog posts and scheduled the chapters, I’m starting to have doubts set in, in regards to the quality of my writing. So, I’ve gone from feeling relatively happy with my novella while knowing more work needs to be done to worrying that my story is a pile of literary rubbish. Obviously, this change in attitude toward my work is built on fear. As I wrote the notes for this podcast diary episode, there’s a part of me that wants to email my alpha reader to double check that my work isn’t a flaming pile of rubbish. However, I’m not going to let myself make decisions from this place of writers insecurity.
All of this doubt and insecurity has made me circle back to reviewing my initial reason for blogging my novella. I want to build a readership for my James Lalonde Crime Thrillers before I hit publish and get a bit of feedback before I dive into a few rounds of professional editing. It’s not enough to simply read advice and look at both sides of a debate and do nothing. The only way I’m going to know whether this will work for me is if I take action and try it. Independently Publishing or Self-Publishing is a business, and having a business means trying things out then taking a step back and accessing why things worked and why they did not. So, stand by for more updates on my experiences with blogging an earlier draft of a novella.
Have you shared an earlier draft of a book on your blog? Or, have you recently started blogging your fiction? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your tips or experience with blogging fiction in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the Lawn, and the Candidate. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.