Monthly Archives: August 2013

Exciting News! – (especially for my international fans!)

I’m soon to have my own official author website! This is very exciting for me, because while I have been able to post Nevermor news here (and I will continue to maintain this blog), my website will be a place to showcase all of my written works and keep up with my book news, but here’s the part that I love best:

I can sell my books straight from the source! (That’s me, by the way)

What does that mean for my readers? Well, it means two things I know you’ll really be happy about.

1: Lower Prices! – Since I’m selling the product directly, I don’t have to account for a middle man taking a cut, so I can actually sell lower and make more!

2: More of my fans will have access to the ebooks! – I’ll be able to sell my books in ebook formats with Gumroad, which means that anyone around the world can purchase copies of my books!

This is exciting for me, and I hope it will be able to bridge a gap I’ve been feeling in the connection I used to feel with my fans. The site isn’t ready yet, but I’m hoping to launch by next month (if I can get it all figured out by then).

I’m making movement on other fronts as well. I just got my book set up in a real ‘brick and mortar’ Bookstore in my area called Angie’s Book Attic. (Hopefully I can get a picture of that soon) Of course I hope it sells, but just to have it on the shelf there is exciting, and people will walk by it, at least.

I’m still going strong with Forsaken Dreamscape rewrites, and I’ll be talking about that a bit more as I get ready to start promoting it a few months early. If you haven’t read Nevermor yet, you should probably get to it! :p


Rewriting an Existing Story vs Writing from Scratch

As many of you know (but for those who don’t) my Nevermor series is based on a Peter Pan fanfiction that I wrote back in the day, approximately 10 years ago. Yet throughout those ten years, I’ve given it a bit of attention from time to time as far as editing and updating the content, gradually improving it along the way, and when I decided to take on this project, I thought I’d be golden.

I made a pretty big mistake – which in reality may not have been a mistake at all. I didn’t READ the one I’d already written, only relied on MEMORY to drive me as I created the new book.  I finished Nevermor and was feeling good about it, and I thought: Okay, the second book is already written.  All I have to do it tweak it some, clean it up a bit, and it’ll be done!

So, so wrong.

While I was able to go in a whole new direction with Nevermor and guessed that I would fix this one accordingly, I hadn’t taken the degree of material that I would have to remove or completely rewrite from Forsaken into account.

In a way, this has been good. I love what I did with Nevermor and I don’t regret it. The rewrites are tedious, but this approach is forcing me to correct things that I didn’t like about the story instead of letting them slide – to really examine the plot and the characters and set things up a bit better.

Consider, there are 10 years of writing experience between where I was and where I am now.  That’s certainly a lot, and worth the effort to capture.

Here are a few of the things that I feel make the rewrites MORE difficult than if I was simply writing it fresh:

Sorting through sections/sentences – There have been many instances in which I’m picking through portions of the rewriting as if looking for rotten spots, trying to decide if I should keep this piece of a sentence and work with it or simply trash it and write another. In the past, I was NEVER able to delete anything I wrote. If I wrote a paragraph, it stuck, even if I stated the same thing in another paragraph later. To say that I can delete portions of my writing truly shows how far I’ve come in understanding what is better for the story.

I added new details in the new book that affect this one more than I thought: It was my intention that all the books should go together, and yet stand alone in their own way. Instead of drawing one long story out over three books, you’re getting three great stories that go together, but also stand alone with their own plot. So, I wasn’t too worried about the new book, Nevermor, being different, but because of the way that I looked into the past and built onto the story, certain details about the characters have been affected. It’s not a bad thing. It gives the characters more life. It just makes the rewriting more difficult.

There is less building and new discovery – The main thing I find discouraging about this one is that I keep getting bored with it as I go along. The reason for this is because I don’t have as much brainstorming going on, and I don’t feel the exciting rush of new ideas as I build this story and watch it unfold, because it is already there. I have built onto a few things, and that was fun, but it’s difficult to remember the contours of this clay I was shaping so many years ago…

When I first started this conversion project, I probably would have told everyone that this was the way to do it:   write the second book first and then go backward. (ha!)  In the end, I’d almost – ALMOST! – rather just be writing this from scratch. It’s going to be awesome in the end, but working on it has seriously been giving me a headache!

But I digress. It is the price that must be paid for art. So, now I turn to it once again.

I find that I keep cutting my wordcount as I delete paragraphs and add new ones, and right now I’m drifting somewhere around 140K, but that’s still a good number. It’s progress!

Writing a Book Description – 150 words or less…what?

Recently, I got a review for Nevermor on Amazon, and while the review for the book was glowing, (five stars and high praise) one comment the reviewer made was ‘While the summary isn’t the best, the book itself certainly is.’

That got me thinking: why isn’t my description very good? But the truth is that writing a description for a book is one of the most difficult things that I do.   It’s the same problem I have with writing short stories – I just have a lot to say and I need a lot of words to do it!  I’m insistent that my description flows like my book, that it doesn’t sound dumb or silly in any way because most of my works have a serious tone.  So the fact that my description is also wordy and colorful is acceptable, right?

I’m not so sure.

Ever since I published Nevermor, I’ve been going over it again and again, trimming the fat and refining my writing, and one thing I’ve noticed myself doing is trying to keep things a lot simpler than I might have in years past. Readers today seem to like fast-paced tales, and I’ve been adapting to that even though I still like to wax poetic at times.  But it’s not just to gain potential readers.  I, too, don’t like things that drag on and on forever.

I decided to look for resources about description writing, and I found a post that I decided to take to heart. It said that book descriptions should be in 150 words. (The entire post is here if you want to read it.) That kind of freaked me out. Mine was at least 3 times that length!

Another thing that it also challenged me to do is use a lot of “power words” – such as passionate, terrifying, and so on – most of which seem like pitch words to me, and honestly I almost always SHUN words like this, because when I read them, I KNOW they are trying to sell me this book instead of actually tell me what it’s about. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at a summary and then found that the book attached didn’t live up to my expectations.

Long story short, I decided to take this advice and edit my story description to see if it helps me out at all as far as drawing in more readers.

I went from this:

LONDON, 1873 – In the foggy city, polluted by coal smoke from the factories along the river, 15-year-old Wren is clinging to a small thread of hope: the shimmering silver dream of a better life.

 Wren and her brothers, Henry and Max, are orphans. They wish to be adopted, but no one wants to take in all three of them. Wren won’t be separated from her family, but no matter how hard she fights to keep them together, she fears she will lose them nonetheless.

 She wants more for both of them – for herself. She wants an escape.

 Prompted by a world she sees in a dream, Wren begins to tell her brothers stories of a place where they can be carefree forever – a place called Nevermor. It is an island at the edge of the universe, where all dreams go. There is a boy who guards it, and he is known only as the Rifter. Wren believes that this place truly exists and desires her own life there, where she can keep her family together without anyone tearing them apart.

 Wren gets more than she bargained for when she is kidnapped by the arrogant and volatile Rifter and taken to Nevermor against her will. It is not completely unwelcome, however. The land is beautiful and there is freedom. The Rifter and his pack of wild boys accept her, and she feels that her brothers will be happy in this place too.

 Wren falls in love with Nevermor – and with the Rifter – and yet the more she learns of the conflict between the Rifter and a wicked man called the Scourge, the more she comes to realize that Nevermor is not a place for children.

To this:

Epic, mind-bending, and as sweet as it is vicious, Lani Lenore’s Nevermor is a dark fantasy based on the legend of Peter Pan, geared toward a more mature audience.

Reading Level 16+ – In 1873, 15-year-old Wren longs to escape her life in a London orphanage.  Prompted by a world she sees in a dream, Wren begins to believe in a world called Nevermor, an island at the edge of the universe, where all dreams go.  She discovers the Rifter, a wild and volatile but handsome boy, who guards the realm of dreams from terrifying nightmare creatures.  Wren begins to desire her own life there – to escape with her brothers without fearing that anyone will separate them.

Wren falls in love with Nevermor – and with the Rifter – and yet the more she learns of a conflict between the Rifter and a wicked, black-hearted man called the Scourge, the more she comes to realize that Nevermor is not a place for children.

The new one is much shorter and to the point, at first pointing out what the main draw of my book is – of course that’s it’s based on Peter Pan. Then after that, there’s a extremely short summary of the plotline of the book, which winks at the romantic aspect (which is all too important nowadays). It does not NEAR cover everything that the book is really about, but it might be just enough to make someone curious enough to find out more.

What do you think? Any words of advice as you’ve worked on your own descriptions? Which one of these works better for you?