My Top 3 Tips for Drafting

Writing the first draft is one of my favourite parts of the writing process. (World building and creating magic systems take the top spot). But I know it’s a lot of people’s most hated part, and some of you even prefer editing *shudder*.

So, I thought I’d share a few quick and simple tips for getting that first draft done, whether you’re a plotter or a pantser. Here we go:

Tip 1.

Write a scene/chapter summary at the top of each new page to refer to whenever you get stuck.

Okay, this one is more for the plotters amongst us, but even a lot of pantsers have a general idea of where the story needs to go before it reaches its ultimate conclusion. If you know some of the essential beats or big plot events that will happen in your story, jot them down and paste them throughout your document so that when you finish the first beat you have an idea of the next one. Or, if you’re an outline obsessive, like me, you can write a paragraph at the top of every single chapter so you never find yourself staring at a blank document with no idea what’s supposed to happen next.

Tip 2.

Stop in the middle of the action so you know exactly what’s happening when you come back to it.

This is the one I find the hardest to put into practice, I much prefer ending a writing session with a complete scene, but if you want to hit the ground running the next day, this one works a treat. Just close your laptop mid-battle/kiss/argument/revelation and when you open it again tomorrow you can carry on from there, easing you into a new writing session with as little pain or procrastination as possible.

Tip 3.

Leave yourself a short note about what needs to happen next at the end of each writing session.

This one works if you’re like me and hate to stop in the middle of a scene. When you’re in the flow of the story, you probably know exactly where it’s going next, but you have to stop at some point to eat/walk the dog/socialise with your friends or family. It’s a drag, I know. Just kidding, but if you quickly scribble down a summary of the next scene before you stop for the day, you’ll thank yourself tomorrow when you don’t have to spend ages rereading your last few pages or trying to think of what to write next.

And there you have it, three very simple and effective ways to help yourself get that first draft finished and move on to the next phase of your publishing journey!

Lyndsey

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Mid-year update 2022

How is it June already? 2022 has absolutely flown so far, and as we’re now halfway through the year I thought it was a good time to check in and do a little update on my reading and writing progress.

Reading

I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to 36 books for 2022 – I’m an incredibly slow reader and I don’t have a lot of time to read between work, writing, being a mum and all of the other plates I’m spinning. But I’m really pleased with my progress so far, I’ve read fourteen books and am on track to hit my target.

I fell into a huge reading slump while I was editing The Solitary King at the end of last year. I couldn’t get into any fantasy books, I started several and just ended up putting them down and trying something else – nothing to do with the books themselves, and I’m looking forward to going back to them (I’m halfway through A Court of Silver Flames on audio and a few chapters into House of Sky and Breath on audio, so it’s definitely not because I chose badly!). I ended up grabbing a couple of crime/domestic thrillers from the library and they turned out to be exactly what I needed, so I’ve been predominantly reading thrillers all year. But I can feel the slump coming to an end, and I’m ready to jump back into my one true love, fantasy.

Here are the books I’ve read in 2022 so far:

And I’m currently reading I Know What You’ve Done by Dorothy Koomson. Then it’s back to fantasy for some of my favourite authors’ new books, including Kingdom of Feathers by Alice Ivinya.

Writing

After editing and publishing TSK, I was so completely burnt out I couldn’t write a word for months. I’m only just coming out of my burn out and it feels so good to be inspired and motivated again.

I’m currently working on a new WIP, it’s the next email subscriber exclusive story, A Fair Vendetta, and you can find out more about it and the rest of my upcoming short stories for subs in this blog post. My plan is to publish all five shorts on Amazon as ebooks, and give them away free to my email list, and once they’re all published I’ll compile them into a collection called Fair Tales which will be available in ebook and paperback.

I’m also really excited to be cowriting a short story for an anthology with the absolutely incredible Shana Vernon! We’re working on a villain romance/redemption story for Jafar from Aladdin, which we’ve titled Three Dark Wishes. It features a gender-swapped Aladdin and Jasmine, and a romantic arc for Jafar and our female Aladdin (all names will of course be changed, we’re not planning on getting sued by Disney!).

And I’ll also be getting back to The Fair War, book three in the Fair Chronicles, as soon as I can, but at the moment the muse is really pulling me towards these two stories, and who am I to argue!

Publishing

Back in January, I published the second book in my The Fair Chronicles series, The Solitary King. It’s doing really well, and was a fantastic launch, more than quadrupling what I achieved with The Fair Queen. Reviews are coming in steadily and they’re really positive. I’m actually planning to have a few free days to celebrate the release of an upcoming anthology, so keep your eyes peeled if you’d like a copy of TSK for FREE!

Get The Solitary King on Amazon

Then in April, Once Upon a Name was published, a short story anthology that I put together with some of my Enchanted Anthologies friends and coauthors, and a whole host of new teammates! Working with such a big team (twenty of us) was an incredible experience and I learned so much from every one of my coauthors, about writing, publishing, marketing and more. My story, Baroness of Blood and Bone, is an urban fantasy centred around a female alpha of a pack of wolf shifters and her quest for vengeance under the Blood Moon. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before and I actually loved it, so don’t be surprised if somewhere down the line I do write a full length urban fantasy series!

Get Once Upon a Name on Amazon

And today marks exactly one month to the day Enchanted Forests comes out! We enjoyed working together on Enchanted Waters so much that we decided to do it again (and again, but more on that soon!). As you can tell from the title, these stories focus on forests and woodlands, featuring all manner of magical and mythical creatures including unicorns, elves, and a talking racoon. My story, One Fair Eve, is a spin on the goblin market with a young man in Victorian England searching for a way to get into the prestigious musical conservatory he dreams of, and finding more than he bargained for.

Preorder Enchanted Forests on Amazon

And that’s it for the first half of 2022 so far! Seeing it all written down like that, I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved this year, alongside all of my other commitments and responsibilities, and being thrown some serious curveballs.

How is your 2022 going so far?

Lyndsey

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My publishing plans for the next five years

Everyone has a five year plan, right? Just me? I like to have a few goals to work towards in the short and long term, to keep me on track.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll never get there, but if you have a destination in mind you’ll eventually reach it, even if you take the scenic route.

Okay, enough of the driving metaphors. Here’s what you can expect to see from me in the next five years:

2022

January: The Solitary King, The Fair Chronicles #2

April: Baroness of Blood and Bone (Once Upon a Name anthology)

July: One Fair Eve (Enchanted Forests anthology)

December: The Fair War, The Fair Chronicles #3

2023

April: Twice Upon a Name anthology

July: Enchanted Flames anthology

2024

The Rose and the Serpent

April: Thrice Upon a Name anthology

July: Enchanted Anthologies (possibly Enchanted Winds)

2025

The first three books in a new prequel series to The Fair Chronicles, tentatively titled the Crowns of the Fair Saga:

A Crown of Thorns

A Crown of Embers

A Crown of Pearls

2026

The final two books in the Crowns of the Fair Saga (titles TBD)


So, there you have it! Which book are you most excited about?

I’m really looking forward to writing The Rose and the Serpent (historical fantasy set in Victorian England, for fans of Stalking Jack the Ripper) and plotting my next five book series, the Crowns of the Fair Saga! It’s going to be set a few decades after the creation of the Fair Realm, and follow the five children of Queen Oriana as they each marry into the Five Kingdoms and face the challenges and politics that come with royal life!

Lyndsey

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