williamholkko-deactivated201504  asked:

I heard you use Evernote to write your books, what exactly does your general workflow look like? I just have a bit of trouble visualizing how that would all work out.

Hello there~ ♥︎

I like you, because you’re one of the few people who ask me technical questions~ It’s kind of refreshing to get a few of these as opposed to the writing ones c;

For those of you wondering, I did a long talk on Evernote and why I use it for writing above all else. You can read that here.

Let’s say that I just decided to start writing a book. I will go through my own steps and will show you how I do workflow.

Step #1. I create a ‘notebook’ in Evernote especially for this Book.

This will be used to hold everything related to said Book.

If I ever get an idea, I will add it to this notebook. If I clip an image, it will go here. This is the designated box where everything about this Book will go.

Step #2. I begin the brainstorming process.

I make a fresh note and follow along the steps of my planning guide, though really whatever you use is fine c;

Step #3. Having your book as ONE note can be overwhelming, and having INDIVIDUAL notes per chapter can be equally as overburdening. So, I break my story into sections.

I like to think of it as the three-act format, but you can just as easily break your story into quarters or halves. This also helps look at your story as a set of pieces, as opposed to a timeline. Nothing makes a big plot easier to understand like breaking it down into pieces!

With this I brand each of the notes as ‘ALPHA’ since this is their first version. Naming the files helps in searching and finding your way through the notebook :D

Once you have all the pieces, you get writing!

Step #3 and ½. During the process of writing the book, I make sure to create additional notes for everything related to the book.

This includes things like: songs that I have been listening to, or notes for the revision! The latter is super important for the next step :D

Step #4. Once the book is complete AND I have given it a few weeks to sit. I make copies of the ALPHA book notes and rename them as BETA.

Then I read over them and make all the edits necessary.

Make sure to look at your notes!

You may be asking yourself “Why not just edit the ALPHA files?” and personally I like to keep copies of EVERYTHING. I prefer being able to go back and see previous versions of the same file. Just my 2 cents, though.

Step #5. Once I have reviewed the BETA file enough (my revision process can be a post on its own, let’s just say that I try to do at least six passes, one of which is reading out loud). Once I feel the book is ready for human eyes, I create a document for my BETA readers.

I like to use Word for this, but really any word editing program would work. You could also use Evernote, true, but I like the ability to add page numbers and so. This is the only place where you will hear me praise Microsoft Word :p

Then I print the file and give the copies to my Betas.

Step #6. Once I have gotten the feedback from them, I create copies of the BETA book files and rename them OMEGA (because it sounds cool c;).

I look over my Betas’s notes and apply their feedback accordingly.

Step #7. Once I have re-read the book and I’m confident it’s ready for my Editor, I create copies of the files and rename them as EDITORIAL.

Then I share the note with my Editor. This is a Premium feature of Evernote, but you can just as easily email your Editor the note, or save it as a text file and give it to them. I like doing it through Evernote since it means that my Editor’s changes are saved automatically :D

Step #8. Once I have all of my Editor’s changes. I create a copy of those files, and rename them ULTIMA. I review the changes. I read the book 2-3 more times, and when I feel the book is finished, I save the changes and prepare to create the print files (for the paperback) and the eBook files.

That, is a post all on it’s own, but the process is similar to what you have seen above c;

Now, do you think this is a little too much? I personally don’t think so. I like being able to see my book change over time. Since Evernote is saved on the cloud I rest in peace knowing that my book is saved~

Also, when you look back on your files is kind of like seeing a Pokemon evolve! They start out kind of… well, shitty, but in time they grow better — and better — until they become something truly awesome :D

I hope this was helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions~ I would love to answer them. This was a blast to write~ ♥︎

shape-shitting  asked:

How would you start off a story? I know this is a very broad question, but I'd like to know what and how you would begin.

This is… indeed a very broad question :p

But, I get your sentiment. There is this unspoken expectation the success of a book is balanced on the first line, or on the very first sentences. Of course, that is silly. I have never met any writer, or reader, worth respecting who closed a book based on the very first line.

Personally, I can’t even wrap my head around that concept. It’s like walking up to a person, hearing the way they greet you and go “I’m sorry I see this relationship is not going to go anywhere.”

It’s downright silly c;

But, that has nothing to do with your question– right? You want to know how I would start a story. And, of course, you are asking for my opinion– so here you go.

Do you want to know how I start writing stories? Some of you have heard this a million times, but here it goes again:

  • Write as though you are telling someone the story.
  • Write as though you are telling someone the story.
  • Write as though you are telling someone the story.

Not clear enough? Try this.

Imagine yourself around a campfire (wearing a badass cloak), or imagine yourself at a bar, or imagine yourself inside an interrogation chamber. Now imagine the person you are telling this story to. What do they look like? What sort of stories do you think they are into? Does this person look like anyone you know? And… just start writing the story, in the same way you would tell it to them.

Seriously. That’s the secret. Writing is storytelling, and (really when you think about it) the act of writing is simply that of translating our thoughts (or inner voice) into paper.

Now, some of you must be asking yourself: “But Max, this does not work for me as my story is told from 3rd person omniscient.” Nope, this still works. I wrote a whole post about that.

I hope this helps c; Your question was a little broad, but really this kind of covers the entire concept of ‘getting over the first line’ which I get questions about every day. Really, the secret is to step back and treat it like what it is… telling a story!

If you (or any other writerly friends) have any more questions, make sure to send them my way! Keep writing~ ♥︎

valentinedarling  asked:

What are your thoughts on the "cut what you love" idea?

Hello there! (I love your hair ♥︎)

I assume you mean ‘cut what you love’ during the revision process, right? I prefer to call it ‘kill your darlings.’ In the past I have talked about editing (or chopping) out parts of the story that may not be effective— even if you like them, or enjoyed writing them. You can read more about my feelings, here c;

Instead, I want to spend this time to tackle the misconception of ‘cut what you love.’

It doesn’t mean what some people think it means.

Those of you who have seen my Top 5 Tips For Revision know that the overall message of that post was that (during the revision process) you must be able to look at your work objectively.

That is the exact same sentiment from which the advice ‘kill your darlings’ (or the misinterpreted ‘cut what you love’) comes from. The reality is that, from time to time, we end up writing things that may not be necessary, or effective, to the story.

I can already tell that someone is rolling their eyes at me, and that’s okay~ we can all have different opinions on this. What counts as ‘important’ and ‘not important’ is entirely subjective. I get that— but during the revision process you HAVE to be able to look at your writing and ask:

“Does this really need to be here? And if the answer is yes, am I choosing to keep this passage/paragraph/element because I believe the story is better because of it… or is it because I am attached to the time and effort I spent writing it?”

That’s it.

That is seriously the key to creating the best story possible: don’t waste the reader’s time with things that are not important to the story. This is also the secret for improving pacing. Again, I can feel that some of you may be taking my words wrongly, so let me clarify as to what I am NOT saying:

  • I am NOT saying that you have to dumb-down your story.
  • I am NOT saying that you have to sacrifice your artistic vision
  • I am NOT saying that you have to cut everything that you love

What is your job as a writer? To tell a compelling story.

Let’s say that again.

What is your job as a writer? To tell a compelling story.

Let me tell you about my first book. When I wrote the first draft of Ravensgem the opening was A LOT more different than it is now. It was a long, and epic retelling of the birth of Gadeen (the fantasy world where the story takes place). It was big, and expansive, and full of magical realism. I liked it. I loved writing it. But when I started editing the book that opening stood out like a sore thumb.

I didn’t want to chop out the entire opening of the book, I mean I nearly killed myself trying to get that first line right— you know? I didn’t want to just throw all of that work down the drain…

But that was exactly what I had to do.

I gave the book time. I let it sit. I came back and I looked at it objectively. I looked at it as though it had been written by someone else. I looked at the book as a whole, and I realized that opening had to go. Yeah, it was epic. Yeah it was fun to write— but Ravensgem was not about an epic fantasy world and the history that brought it to life. It was a story about people, about a young man choosing strife over safety and about a young woman choosing love over wealth.

I rewrote the opening into what it is today. I had fun. I enjoyed it. And I created something better than what was there before.

This is the entire point of revision.

Is it hard to chop out days (if not weeks) of ‘work’? Of course— but you need to remind yourself why you are doing all of this for:

To tell a compelling story.

I don’t know about you, but I want my stories to be awesome. I want my stories to be the best they could possibly be. And that sometimes means that you have to take out the entire opening of a book and start from scratch. Why? Why do all of this? Why go through all of this trouble? Because, at the end of the day, you are doing this… to tell a compelling story.

I hope this helps! If you, or any other writerly friend, has any more questions make sure to send them my way!

Keep Writing~ ♥︎

jinglesly-blog  asked:

I have thirty-eight characters. Not all of them are related, and hardly any of them know of the rest. I use them all for relatively different things. Do you think I have too much? How much is too much? Is it okay if they're all for different things?

Hello there~ ♥︎

Being a writer is kind of like being a crazy cat-lady, except instead of having cats you have characters. Also your pets talk to you, and they make you do things, and they all seem so much more interesting and cool than you. Much like a crazy cat-lady, the garden-class writer cannot have too many pets. This is not by choice, mind you, writers encounter characters as they write, as they try not to write, and… sometimes characters just show up in the middle of the night, kicking down the door of the writer’s imagination and demanding their undivided attention.

That being said, you have no reason to worry. I have hundreds of characters and dozens of stories. Some characters, I have the feeling, may be related but they don’t know it. Some I imagine are probably siblings in alternate dimensions. I get a kick out of picturing college-student (and perpetual frowny-face) Lucian rolling his eyes as his no-nonsense and proactive-as-hell little sister Justine.

Think of it like this: writers don’t ‘find’ characters, it is the characters who ‘find’ the writer. We don’t get much choice in this matter. So we might as well enjoy it. As they say… you can pick your nose, you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your imaginary friends ;p

Just my two cents~ ♥︎

equisitelapin  asked:

O-okay um well as you can probably tell, I'm not a very confident person, but I really want to be a writer and I've written several short stories and poems but every time I try to show it to someone whose opinion I value (my dad, brother, mom, aunt, etc) they either shoot it down or not even read it. I know it shouldn't bother me, but unfortunately I'm really sensitive :/ basically I'm asking how I can become more confident as a writer?

Hello there, understandably-shy writerly friend~ ♥︎

I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. Writing is hard, and even more so if you live in an environment that may hinder your craft :c

Thankfully for you, this is something that I’ve touched on in the past. Here are a few helpful links:

If you’re going to read ONE of the links, read the last one. It is seriously my best reply (to date) about gaining confidence. Seriously, I could go on and on repeating everything I said— but this is not the place for that.

Because there’s something else I want to talk about.

You need to develop a thick skin if you want to be a writer, because (just like you have no control over how people will react to your work) you don’t have any control over what people will say or do. There are nasty people out there in the world, and eventually someone will look at your art and tell you things like…

  • It sucks (or YOU suck)
  • It’s bad (or YOU are a bad writer)

And so on. You have no control over this. Great writers, and awful writers alike, have all had to deal with this. What I want you to understand is that you’re not alone in this struggle— this is something that all writers have to deal with. The successful ones (and the ones we remember) are those who can overcome this.

Let me explain…

Do you like RPGs? I love RPGs. I grew up playing them— and sometimes I find my logic to be broken down into RPG terminology. So, let me explain to you why I think a thick skin is important.

If life was a video-game (particularly an RPG) and your ‘class’ was that of a writer, the way in which you succeed in life is by improving your ability to write (your writing skill). Everyone focuses on this, on their craft. It makes sense. It’s like upgrading your attack attribute. People forget about defense, though. Your ‘thick skin’ (or the ‘confidence’ skill if we continue with the analogy). I have seen tons of people who are great at their craft, but as soon as they get their first 1-star review (and trust me, it’s coming, It’s going to happen sometime) they give up. They literally have to step away from what makes them happy because they can’t handle it. They are practically Glass Canons, they write good stuff (really good stuff) but they have no defense whatsoever.

I am the #1 person to tell you to write all the time, because I truly believe that the only way you will get better is by writing. But, even so, I have to admit that while buffing up your attack stat may seem like the cool thing to do… you need to buff up your defense too. It’s a killing field out there, and if you want to survive you are going to need a thick skin.

Now, how can you go about doing that? Read my article on confidence. You need to understand that your work is not an extension of your persona. And…

Learn to break down the information that is given to you. When people say things like “This book sucks” what they are really saying is “I didn’t like this book, but I don’t want to be held responsible for my opinion so I will claim that my words are objective and ultimate.”

Seriously. Learn to break down what people say. I keep saying this about characters, but it also applies to real life: what people say is a DIRECT reflection of how they view the world, and a reflection of their own most intimate persona.

I can tell you, with confidence, that most of the time people are not effectively trying to be mean you (or your writing). Everyone is wrapped up in their own lives, and (sadly) most people don’t know how to step out of their problems and instead go about mistreating other people as a way to combat the problems they’re not actively working on.

What I am getting to is that… the world is full of people with problems. Some of those people are nasty. Most of the nasty people would rather say mean things than dealing with their problems (because it’s easier to not fix problems than fixing them). You, though, have NO control over this. So, the best thing to do is to work on your defense stat. Gain a thicker skin. As you level up in life the struggles only get harder. If you want to be successful (at ANYTHING in life) you need to be able to take punches.

I hope this helps! Be strong, writerly friend. I know you can overcome this~ ♥︎

patrickarch  asked:

Hiya Max! I have two questions: the fist is I want to write a fantasy/supernatural novel, and I have some notes about what is and what isn't in the universe (an encyclopedia of sorts), do I keep writing it or get on with the story? Also, do I need to have a full plan of the whole story? Or can I just say "I want the story to be about X character" and start there? Thanks!

Hello there~ ♥︎

So, I have actually tackled your latter question before, so let’s look at this from the bottom-up this time c;

Do I need to have a full-plan for the story?

Those who have played with my (Strange) Guide For Planning Your Novel know that I do the most minimal amount of outlining. Of course, there are writers who do that differently. I made a video about that, you should check it out c;

Ultimately, do as much outlining as you feel comfortable with. Just keep in mind that your characters (being the wonderful little shits they are) will probably screw with your plans~ ♥︎

I’ve done some world-building, should I keep working on it or get on with the story?

So, I think most of you can guess my stance on world-building. But I have never actually gone out and say it.

In my experience, world building is good as long as it does not get in the way of the story. When I write I do enough world-building to answer any questions I might have— but that information is not a bible or an encyclopedia. Most of the ‘facts’ I write down change as I write the story. I didn’t start Ravensgem knowing that the people of Gadeen had black blood— I realized that as I wrote the story.

You want my opinion? Start writing.

I want to clarify that I don’t have anything against extensive amounts of world-building. I have found (in my experience) that the more time I’ve spent working on history— the hardest it is to work on story. Because I’ve created an image of the world, and people, before actually meeting them. It’s like going out on a date with someone you have been fantasizing for months. You’re coming in with expectations, and biases. If you stumble upon something that contradicts the world-building, you are most likely to get defensive because of all the time you spent working on it— and ultimately you end up getting in the way of your story.

Just my two cents c;

I hope this helps! If anyone has any more questions about writing, please send them over my way :D

Keep writing, writerly friends~ ♥︎

koko-ai  asked:

I apologize if this has already been asked, but would you mind if I copied prompts and what nots that you post into a sort of personal writing journal? I promise to credit you if I ever share them from that journal.

Hello there, writerly friend~ ♥︎

I have never actually answered this question publicly, so I think this is a great chance to do so! :D

Here are my guidelines:

You can freely use my prompts for your personal use. This means you can use them for your personal journal, blog, website, etcetera. You don’t “have” to link back to me or give me credit, but I would totally appreciate it, as that would enable other writers to find my prompts and that would be awesome! Yay for more writerly friends :D

You own the copyright to the writing you create based off my prompts. If one of my prompts gives you an awesome idea and you go ahead and write a whole book, then that book is yours. You’re no longer working off my prompt, you’re expanding into a work of your own. Thus: your work, your words, your writing. You don’t have to give me credit, but I would be delighted to see a ‘thank you’ note on the back of a book! Like, I would totally buy your book just for that ;3

You are NOT allowed to profit from my prompts. Now, I know that 99.999% of you won’t even consider doing something like packaging my prompts and selling them (I already smacked someone online because they were ‘planning’ to do it, and that is pretty nasty if you ask me :/). That should just go without saying. Prompts are not hard to come up with, I make 25 of them every Saturday while listening to music, so please— don’t be a cheater and make your own content >:P

You ARE allowed to make profit from the writing based off my prompts, as long as you credit me. Now, I have to make this clear because someone was asking about publishing a compilation of short stories, some of which came from my prompts. I’m okay with this. You can publish it and make monies from it (heck I may even buy it), just make sure that you credit me and the prompt. I am not asking for a share of the pie, I just want people to be able to find my well of prompts so that they can make awesome works of their own :D

And that covers basically all of the questions I’ve been answering privately about my prompts! Please let me know if I missed anything. I know nobody likes to read a page of legal jargon, but I felt it was kind of necessary so that the people who were asking harmless questions would be able to write without fear of me suing them or something :0

If any of you have any questions about this, please let me know and I will expand on this post! At the end of the day, I just want you all to write— so I want to make it as transparent as possible that as long as you’re not selling my prompts you’re pretty much in the clear to write, publish, and create to your heart’s content~ ♥︎

I hope this helps! Keep writing, writerly friend!

astcrisms  asked:

Max, I've never worked with a beta before. Soon, I will be assigned one as part of a large writing collaboration. Do you have any tips on writer/beta interaction? I'm really nervous. Thanks! (also I love your blog and it helps my writing a lot!)

Hello there, writerly friend~ ♥︎

First off, I want to say that I’m very excited for you! Working with a Beta can be a very awesome learning experience, as it really deals more with people than writing. I have a bunch of tips for you, so let’s get rolling :D

((For those of you paying attention, you will notice that the tips below apply to ALL WALKS of life. Really, these are tips for relationships c;))


If you’re going to take anything from this, then please make it this. Be honest, straight-forward, and transparent with your Beta. The success of this relationship (because yes, you have a relationship with your Beta) will depend on how well you communicate with them. This is the core of my advice. Have a question? Ask them. There’s something they need to know? Tell them. As with any relationship, you need to be honest, straight-forward, and transparent. They are doing you a favor by reading your work, make it as EASY as possible for them to provide you with feedback.


The #1 problem I see with Writers and Betas is that Writers get frustrated when they don’t receive the feedback they wanted. The thing is, if you don’t TELL your Betas what you want, you will probably not get it. You can NOT expect people to ‘know’ what you want.

You know what I do? I write a cover letter to my beta-book or piece, where I explain the following:

  • What sort of feedback I want.
  • What I believe are the strengths of the piece.
  • What I believe are the weaknesses of the piece.
  • And EVERYTHING I believe the Beta needs to know in order to fully understand the piece at hand. If you’re handing in a part of a bigger work, a summary of events and characters is a must!


Be clear about what you want. If you’re looking for plot-related problems, or grammar, or narration– then say just that. If you are not sure about the protagonist’s motives and want to see how readers react, then make it clear. You will lose NOTHING by being honest, straight-forward, and transparent. On the flip-side, you will lose EVERYTHING (including your time) if you just go about expecting people to read your mind.


Please, have questions for your Beta. This will help them understand better what you are looking for. Additionally it gives them a guideline for their feedback.

Here is what I do for my books:

  • At the end of the first chapter (or where I think the online book sample will cut off) I have a page with questions, asking for the Beta’s feeling on the opening of the story and their relative interest in reading more.
  • At the end of the book I have a page of questions, asking the Betas to give me their thoughts on the over-all book. What they liked most. What they liked least. The one thing they would change if they could (a very good question, by the way). And I ask for their 'mock-up’ of an Amazon store review.

Now, please take into consideration the time of your Beta. You don’t want to have questions at the end of every chapter, because that would severely hinder the flow of their read. Which leads me into the last point…


A Beta is someone who is going out of their way to read your work. Make it as EASY as possible for them to give you feedback. DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOUR BETA READERS. I will hunt you down. A Beta reader is there to give you FEEDBACK, not FIX your book or EDIT it for you.

Let me repeat this.

A Beta’s job is to give you FEEDBACK. Not to FIX or EDIT your book.

Be considerate of your Betas, or they might as well never read any of your work ever again. As with any relationship, you have to make it clear what you want, and how people can go about helping you. The instant they realize you’re taking advantage of them they WILL walk away. I know I have.

Now, I will leave that somber note aside.

I think that you have an awesome opportunity to forge a new friendship– and an even better opportunity to learn! Again, be honest, straight-forward, and transparent with your Beta. The three key-words to a good relationship are: Communication, Communication, and Communication!

I hope this helped! If you, or any other writerly friend has any questions, make sure to send them my way~ ♥︎

unitedstatesradium-deactivated2  asked:

My villain is a mole on the hero team, but for some reason, whenever I try to reveal this, it comes off as Deus Ex Machina. They feel fully developed, but I know that I can't hint towards their true identity. So, how can I not hint at something, then reveal it, but notlook dumb in the eyes of the readers?

Hello there, reasonably-stressed writerly friend~ ♥︎

I totally understand where you are coming from. This is actually hand-in-hand with a few questions I got about writing Mystery novels. After all, how do you keep the twist a secret without making it come out of nowhere, and without foreshadowing it to all hell?

Before we begin, though— I don’t want to be the Word Czar, but I have to clarify your use of the term ‘Deus Ex Machina’ (I totally got what you meant, but I want to make this clear so that you and any writerly friends reading this understand what it means before using this term c:).

Deus Ex Machina is latin for: “God from The Machine.” It is a plot device in which a problem (or situation) that seemed unsolvable is abruptly solved via the introduction of a character, item, or element. This is considered a negative plot device because it makes the story feel as though the writer ran out of ideas to get their characters out of trouble. The origin of this term comes from Greek Plays, in which Gods would be dropped into the climax of a story to suddenly solve all the problems and bring about the happy ending.

A modern example of this would be the ‘battle of wits’ scene from The Princess Bride, in which Westley gambles for the princess via making Vizzini choose one of two cups (one of which presumably has poison in it), meaning that one of the two men will die based on the choice. Of course, Westley has poisoned both cups, and Vizzini dies regardless of his choice— except Westley reveals that he had an immunity he NEVER been mentioned, to a poison that had only been introduced MINUTES prior.

How convenient…

Let me clarify that I love The Princess Bride, it’s one of my favorite movies. I love it. I really do. And I get that the twist was kind of the point of that scene. But still. How convenient that a problem that seemed impossible to overcome was solved by something we could not have EVER seen coming :p

So, now that the daily writing language lesson is out of the way… let’s tackle your question~ ♥︎

How do I make sure the twist in my story is effective? How do I make sure it’s not absolutely unexpected, without telegraphing my intentions?

The secret to a great twist is not in writing the story…

It’s in the revision.

Seriously. Do you honestly think that writers come up with the perfect plot twist on the first draft? Of course not! This is especially true for Mystery novels, in which (more often than not) the writer themselves does not know who the culprit is until the very end.

The trick here is to first write the story. Get it out on the page. Then let it sit for a while, and when you come back to it revise it, revise it, revise it, and the revise it some more. I can tell you from personal experience that once you have completed a book, and stepped aside for a few weeks, when you come back you will be able to look at the story as a whole. You will be able to spot the threads where you made mistakes— and you will be able to find the perfect places to sprinkle a few clues here and there.

In your situation, try not to worry about how it ‘sounds’ right now. Just get it on the page. You have the entire revision process to iron out the details, to add elements that show this character as a mole and to leave hints for your reader!

In case you are wondering, of course I have advice for revision. I actually have a post about my Top 5 Tips for Revision. I think they will be perfect for when you’re ready to start polishing up this story.

I hope this helps! I know that not everyone likes to be told to ‘keep writing and fix it later’ but that is seriously the way to go here. You can’t write a plot twist (or a mystery novel) you have to revise them~ ♥︎

If you (or any of the writerly friends reading this) have any more questions, make sure to send them my way!

Keep Writing~

piplup  asked:

Hello! I really love your blog and I am hoping you can help me with a bit of angst I have been feeling. I love writing, and recently a story I put online has been getting a lot of attention. I was thrilled, all of it was positive... until I got some hate. It wasn't even constructive criticism, it didn't offer advice on how to improve, it was just backless, brutal attacking of my first chapter. This hurt a lot more than it should. How do I deal with haters?

Hello there, writerly friend~ ♥︎

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve gotten some haters :c

Now, you would be surprised to hear that my blog gets hate-mail. I know! That’s weird, right? I can’t believe it myself half the time. It’s super-weird for me because this blog is built around empowering writers, and encouraging everyone to create art. Like, I don’t understand how anyone would disagree with that :0 I have Anon messages turned off and I still get people yelling at me from time to time.

That aside, much like you I have gotten negative feedback on my work. And yeah, it hurt– but overtime I have learned many things. Let me pass them on to you (and all of our writerly friends c;).

1. If there is objective/constructive criticism there, take it and leave the rest. All feedback is important, even when phrased badly.

2. Your writing is not an extension of you. The more you write, the more books you complete, the more you will realize that although you wrote those books… they are not an extension of your persona. They’re things you made, but they are not parts of you. It’s harder when you only have a first chapter to your name, but (trust me) in time you will realize that those stories are products of your persona– not extensions.

3. Getting hate-mail does not mean your writing is bad. I talked about this recently, but your confidence SHOULD NOT be an extension of what people think of you. That is a very dangerous way to live. First learn to love yourself, and value what you do. Again, the quality of your writing has NO relation to what people think of it. Although it is likely that good writing will be liked, there is plenty of evidence that people are willing to hate on something without any objective reasons. Finally, If you need people’s approval to be happy, then you’re in the wrong profession, because…

4. You have no control over what people think of your writing. This is something that I have been talking about for years, but I seriously mean it. Don’t waste your time worrying about what people will think, or say, or tell their friends, about you. You have NO control over this. No matter what you do, people are going to love you– and they are going to hate you. You can write this on your wall if you want to. You have NO control over what people think of you– so instead enjoy the process of writing, and create the stories that excite you, that make you happy.

I really hope this helps. It’s tough putting your work out there, but you cannot let the opinions of some shitty people stop you from making your art. Every artist in history has faced some sort of backlash for their work– this is the struggle of every medium.

Be strong, writerly friend. I know you can overcome this~ ♥︎

whatdoestakumisay  asked:

(Go ahead and publish this) You talk a lot about getting out of the way of one's story. Once, while I was avoiding sleep by thinking about a project, one of my characters told me he had a huge crush on another, and I'd really come to like the guy so I put the two of them together. Does that count as getting in the way of my story?

I see what you mean, allow me to clarify c;

The ‘get out of the way’ philosophy revolves mostly around keeping YOUR judgements and YOUR expectations out of the story. Getting IN the way of the story means that you have affected the characters and plot because they were not going where YOU wanted them to go.

Think of it as being a parent. If you try to force your child (the story) to be who YOU want them to be, then… you’re doing the story an injustice. And trust me, the story is always right.

Stories are like children, they grow, they go their own way, and over time they start to realize what they really are. Anyone who has ever finished a book will tell you that you — as a storyteller and parent — have NO way to know what the story is really about… until it’s over. Good parents, like good storytellers, know when their story is growing and choose to not get in the way c;

Now, did you do the right thing? I would need more context to be sure, but I feel you did as good as any parent would have done c; your kid says they have a crush on this one kid from their class… so you made an arrangement so they would “meet” and “spend time together” in the hopes that maybe their relationship with take off. Sounds fine by me :3

A bad parent would have told that character that they’re not allowed to date that other character because: “this was not in the outline” or “this is not supposed to happen.”

People ask me what I love the most about writing, and I think it’s the little mistakes, the little moments when you realize you don’t know your characters— when they surprise you and become more than words on the page~ ♥︎

if your characters tell you they want to be in love, then let them fall in love. Though, make sure to not make it too easy for them~ nobody likes their mom looking over their shoulders 24/7 c;

Keep writing, writerly friend!

phaedin  asked:

Hey Max! I'm an aspiring author and I'm halfway through a book I plan on publishing later, but It's still saved as "story with bookworm and cats". I always have a hard time making up titles and I was wondering if you could help me at all?

Hello there~ ♥︎

Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever answered this question publicly– well, what better time to answer it than now? c;

Here are my thoughts on book titles:

1. Placeholder names are 100% okay.

You don’t have to decide on a title for your book until you’re looking to publish it (the truth is that there is a high chance that your traditional publisher will rename the book to better fit the market they’re selling it to. Such is the nature of traditional publishing, though).

2. Coming up with titles is weird.

I can tell you, from experience, that I either (a) come up with the title of a book long before I start writing it, (b) realize the title while writing it, or © I come up with the title during the revision process. I have to be honest with you, coming up with a title is a journey every time. If you’re unsure, give the book some time. Finish it, and then during the revision process look for phrases that echo the ‘feel’ of the book. The title of your book is buried there, somewhere, it’s all just a matter of looking for it c;

Right now I have a book sitting on cool-down that could either be called 'Fool’ or 'Rains+Storms’ and I honestly don’t know which will stick. It will come down to the revision process to find out which echoes louder c;

3. Don’t stress out, you can always change your mind.

Again, you don’t have to decide on a title for your book until you start selling to agents (and then publishers). This goes for basically every name in your book. You don’t have to set anything in stone. You can change character names, locations, etc. during the revision process (I mean, that’s what the revision process is for: fine-tuning the details!).

I know that #1 and #3 may not be what you 'wanted’ to hear, but really I think that you’re in a place where you shouldn’t worry to much about the title of your book c; focus on the story, what you call it can wait~ ♥︎

I hope this helped! If you, or any other writerly friend, has any more question, please send them my way!

Keep writing~ ♥︎

korpikaveri  asked:

Hi Max, is it okay if I call you that? No? Okay. I am writing a fantasy novel, and I think that I am going to be writing multiple, that may be similar in the way the worlds are. Have you ever thought of making multiple books about the same world, but with a different group of characters? What are your thoughts on it? I'm not entirely sure I should do it, but I feel like I want to.

Hello there~ ♥︎

((Of course you can call me Max, after all that is my name ;3))

So, let’s look at your question…

Is it okay to write multiple stories set in the same world?

Well, of course! I mean, this is how comic books work c; They all take place in the same world, but each story is told from the perspective of one character (or groups of characters).

I personally have no problem with this. I mean, really, if we get down to it, all of my books take place within the same Cosmos. Different faces, different struggles, but it’s ultimately the same (rather big) place c;

But… my opinion does not matter.

Because if there’s something you want to write about, and you ‘feel’ like writing about it— THEN YOU MUST WRITE ABOUT IT.

Because writing should be fun. You should write about the things that intrigue you, the things that excite you, the things that you WANT to write about. Regardless of how scary, and daunting, and strange they may seem.

Because writing should be fun.

((Say it with me))

Because writing SHOULD BE FUN. Regardless of how scary, daunting, or strange the story idea may seem. As long as it is FUN to write, you should write it.

Here. I made you a thing:

There. You have my permission to write that story now. Actually, all of you have my permission. Why? Because writing should be fun, and most importantly: if you’re having fun while writing the book, then your readers will have fun while reading the story. Because you can tell when someone made something with love, and care, and joy… Just like you can tell when someone made someone without a hint of passion in them ((am I right, English Teachers? How are Finals coming along? ;p)).

I hope my silliness has helped! If you, or anyone else, has any more questions— make sure to send them my way~ ♥︎

Keep writing, and remember: have FUN!

goblinseatingrazzledazzleberries  asked:

I just saw your answer about titles, and part of it was rather distressing to me!! I don't know why, but it never really occurred to me that a publisher might want to change all the names of characters and locations in the story! This sort of freaks me out because I spend a LOT of time thinking of what I view as the perfect name for my characters and locations! As a published author, can you tell us generally a percentage of names that YOU had to change, knowing of course that it may vary?

Hello there, understandably-confused friend~ ♥︎

((For those of you wondering, THIS post is the reason this fellow writerly friend is freaking out))

So, I generally would not answer this question– but since I got like five people asking I think it is good to clarify for anyone else freaking out about this c;

I meant that it is likely the publisher will rename the TITLE of the book to better fit the market.

Don’t be signing any contracts before reading them throughly, friend!

Now, as for your question. Just to clarify again. I’m an independent author. I have never had to deal with any of this because (a) I am my own boss and (b) I have never enjoyed it when books get renamed for marketing purposes. I still think that The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo should have retained it’s original name: Men Who Hate Women, but hey that’s just bitter old me.

I have to be clear, though, that it is not unheard of for publishers to ask you to change elements of your story because they feel it may be a problem later down the road. This, of course, is not really that big of a problem because the only way your publisher will ask you to rename your Protagonist is if you happened to name them something VERY close to another character in literature or real life. And this should not happen from the beginning anyway. I feel that most writers are self- conscious enough to not do that in the first place.

No, you probably can’t get away with naming your wizard Harriet Dotter. Not unless you’re Lemony Snicket, because the rules don’t apply to him :p

Again, let me be clear, your publisher has free reign over elements of your book– but they’re not going to go about changing the names of your characters for no reason. That’s a huge waste of resources and time. As a company, they’re worried about their product being confused for another or they’re worried about possible trademark issues.

I hope this cleared that up! If you’re still worried about this after reading this message I recommend some chamomile tea and a nap c;