Sharon X Wong

Writer of words. Builder of worlds.

Month: January 2020

Every Heart A Doorway: Chapter By Chapter Analysis, Introduction and Prologue

This is new series in which I analyse Seanan McGuire’s novella Every Heart A Doorway, chapter by chapter. Every Heart a Doorway is a story about a boarding school for children who have come back from the fantastical journeys to other worlds. Whether it be the Halls of the Dead, a world of insects, or the setting for every gothic horror ever, each child had found a world where they felt at home, and now have to deal with the fact they aren’t there anymore. (Also, they have to deal with the fact that they’ve had experiences most people wouldn’t believe.) Also, there’s a murder mystery.

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Things I Learnt from Hotel Fulcrum

I’ve finally finished Summer at Hotel Fulcrum. This is the longest work of fiction I’ve completed by a long shot (probably the next longest would be under 2000 words). So this is a really big achievement for me, and a project that I’ve learnt a lot from. Specifically, the following:

Never publish a work in progress
I mean, I don’t regret publishing Hotel Fulcrum as a serial, because doing so gave me a schedule to stick to. But it’s obvious that what I have now is not what I started with, and I need to rewrite it a lot. Also, the added pressure to make it publish-worthy without actually being able to do so (because I was still working through the story) is not something I want to repeat. I admire fanfic and Wattpad writers who can just post every week and apparently still keep a story together. It’s not for me.

Scheduling and planning works (even more when the schedule is external)
I’ve been a pantser for a long time. But I’ve found a general plan does help me not write myself into a corner. And having goals for where in my story I want to be at a particular time works. Especially when I’ve told people I was going to publish every fortnight. That was helpful. There have been times where I’ve set time limits for my novels, only to throw those deadlines out the window. Couldn’t do that with this one which ultimately helped me finish it.

Editing is the Scariest Part of Writing
For me, at least. There were definitely times when I put off editing, or simply published without a final read-through, because the idea of rereading what I’d written and finding out exactly how much it sucked was not something I wanted to do. When I’m writing, there’s less pressure to make good words, because I know I can fix that in editing. However, when I’m editing, that safety net is gone. Editing is the safety. And yes, I am aware I can edit multiple times, (and I did), but that doesn’t take away the fear, seemingly. Especially when a deadline is looming. I’m going to have to dig into that and find ways to deal with it.

What Now?
I’m going back to focusing on short fiction, at least for the first half of this year. I’m hoping to have an anthology done by mid-year. About half the stories are already written, so on the bright side, there isn’t much left to do. On the not-so-bright side, most of that work will involved editing.
In terms of the blog, I have another series planned, but it’s more along the lines of book analysis rather than my own work. Stay tuned!

New Years Resolutions

Yes, it’s a cliche. Yes, most people abandon these things before February. I don’t care. I’m doing it anyway.

I’ve had a surprisingly good track record with New Years Resolutions. Last year’s one was setting up and posting regularly to this site, and aside from taking a break in November, I did pretty well at that. In a previous year, I fulfilled my resolution to cycle from Bag End to Rivendell using this tracker (to be fair, I used an exercise bike so I will admit that it may not have been entirely accurate). It does help that the things I’ve chosen don’t require massive amounts of effort, and can be sustained throughout the year. Something to keep in mind.

Here’s my list:

  • Finish editing Summer at Hotel Fulcrum: This is less a Resolution than it is my immediate goal. (It was supposed to be my December goal. Never mind.) I’m more than halfway through my second pass, so soon my previous posts will look very different and you’ll have to read them again. Sorry.
    Deadline: 13 January
  • Write and compile an anthology: I’ve been looking over some of my old stories, and noticed a common theme in a few of them: they tackle the issue of death and what lies beyond. So I’m going to write a couple more stories to flesh that out, and try my hand at putting together an e-book with the (working) title Beyond Death. If all goes well, I will attach this as a freebie to anyone who signs up to my email newsletter.
    Deadline: 1st July
  • Regularly send an email newsletter: What’s the point of having a freebie to sign up otherwise, right? Very few people have signed up so far, but to be honest, I’m astounded and privileged that there have been people letting me into their inbox. So I will be writing and sending a newsletter every month, just for them.
    Deadline: Ongoing. Every Month.

Out of the three, I think the anthology is the biggest and scariest goal. This will be my first foray into formatting a book for publication. But I have a timeline, I have a plan, and it’s going to happen.

I think that’s one of the key things to keeping resolutions. Never entertain the thought that they might fail.

So here’s to the New Year, and success to your every endeavour.

Let’s go.

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