The first draft of anything is shit.

The first draft of anything is shit-Ernest H

This is something I have to constantly tell myself when writing. Why? Because I am a painfully slow, pedantic, crazed perfectionist who can sit and obsess over a single word for hours. I cannot write a paragraph without reading over it at least three times, only then can I move on and write the next one.

I spend ages scanning the Thesaurus, determined to find a better word for almost everything I write. I reread sentences until the words no longer make sense and the sentence sounds like Russian. I read sentences out loud. I read sentences to my husband. I would read sentences to strangers if I didn’t fear being ushered off to a white padded room. I hate the idea that anything I write might be shit, or might not live up to the overly inflated standards I set for myself.

I recall one incident in particular that almost drove me nuts; I had started a new book a week ago. One that had a deadline attached to it. One that needed to find its way onto my agent and publisher’s desk at a certain date and time. But after a solid week of writing I was only 1, 943 words in, because I had probably reread and rewritten those 1, 943 words    1, 943 times. Now you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that this is a huge problem, and I may indeed be in trouble if I carry on like this.  But I just can’t seem to help myself.

I’m built to obsess and fiddle. To worry and wake up in the middle of the night because I’ve thought of a better way to start a sentence. But I also know that in the long this is probably going to trip me up. It is going to wear me down and it will certainly drive me mad, not to mention everyone around me.

So to save myself from the inevitability of a straight jacket, I turned to the Internet for help, as one tends to do these days, and found some useful tips to writing your first draft.  They come from various sources and sage’s (but I do have to wonder how many of these wise people are actually authors?)

1.     Don’t edit as you write! This seemed to be the biggest consensus. Some people were even bold enough to suggest that if you aren’t able to articulate your idea properly in the moment, ‘simply put the vague idea in brackets and come back later.’ Brackets I ask you? Of all things holy in this world. (say something witty about the nature of brackets. nb, come back to this later)

2.     Don’t spend forever writing. Another very obvious one that came up often. “Sit, start where you stopped yesterday, and quit when it gets boring. The rest of the day is for the rest of your life.” What life? I thought writing was my life.

3.     “If you think of two different ways of saying something, write them both down and decide on the best one later.” As if! I thought of ten ways to say that better.

4.     “Suspend judgment when writing. Because that freedom opens you to the surprising stuff you never saw coming.” I found this one in a post by Writers Digest who are clearly not writers at all. Because if they were, they would know that it is biologically impossible for a writer to suspect judgment and self-doubt at any stage of their writing process. It just goes against our genetic make-up. A writer without judgment is clearly using strong, happy, mind-altering narcotics. (Can I get some?)

Will I try any of these? Probably not. I might obsess about not trying them though and drive myself a little madder in the process.

Some of this advice was taken directly from http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/12/how-to-write-your-books-first-draft-like-a-professional/

What you should know about dating a writer.

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A writer is a complicated and emotional being. In fact, the reclusive lesser-spotted writer might even be a completely different species. Its natural habitat is most likely a messy, notebook infested, redundant -stationary overrun office. It mainly feeds on coffee, chocolate and other sugary treats it really shouldn’t eat.  Its appearance varies slightly (depending on mood) but you will usually find it in slippers, yoga pants and other unsightly garments. Its only natural predators are itself; crippling self-doubt, insecurity and low-book esteem. It is mainly nocturnal.

So what is the first rule for dating this strange creature?  Maybe don’t date one. Why...because as pointed out above, we writers are not the people that the media portrays us as. The media has created and romanticized some strange version of us that is just downright misleading. These fantasy portrayals usually fall into two (very different I might add) categories.

  1. Hip, sexy, cool and widely glamorous Champagne-sippers. Sex and the City might as well have been a science-fiction movie and Carrie Bradshaw an alien. I haven’t worn a heel since the turn of the millennium.
  2. Dark, mysteriously intriguing and wearing carefully curated black hipster clothes and little berets while sipping expensive Merlot in the smoky corner of the club listening to a live poetry reading.

But if you do decide to date one, if you are that brave, then here are some useful little tips for dating a real writer.

  1. Yup… we’re probably going to write about you at some stage. Because we often draw from the world around us and use our own experiences as inspiration, you might just come across a character that bares a suspiciously, striking resemblance to you.
  2. We need our space. It’s nothing personal. We can be very reclusive and often need to retreat into our own made-up reality.  We write our books from this quite, imaginary place and cannot be disturbed when we’re there.
  3. We have to write that idea down… NOW! Yes, we know we’re in the middle of dinner but an idea has just struck and when one does, we have to go where it takes us. It could be the next amazing idea that catapults our book to super-stardom.
  4. Don’t tell us how hard your day at work was in a manner that implies we sat at home twiddling our thumbs and relaxing on the couch watching Netflix. Writing is real work too, and we would like you to acknowledge how draining and taxing it can be. You try sitting in a chair for 8 hours straight, forcing yourself to move through your writer’s block and figuring out how to resolve that blasted plot issue that has been plaguing you and causing you nightmares. It is emotionally draining work.
  5. We need to spend a lot of time on social media, it’s part of our job. Please know that we are not flirting with some sleazy Latino lover called Juan Pablo. We don’t necessarily like this part of our job, in fact some writers absolutely hate it. But in this day and age, it has to be done.
  6. We will over analyze your words, your tone on the phone and the way you said our name that one time. Writing dialogue all day makes us hyper aware of the way people speak. Often to our detriment.
  7. We are dramatic. WE JUST ARE, OK!?
  8. We are crazily obsessive. I think writing is one of those careers that comes with a certain level of obsession. To write books that are sometimes 100, 000 words long doesn’t just take dedication, it takes a single-minded obsessiveness that is sometimes all-consuming and irritating to others.
  9. We are not always present. We often live in our heads, creating characters, writing our books and running over scenes and dialogue. Sometimes our brains just naturally flick over to that place out of habit.
  10. Sometimes we would rather just be writing. This has nothing to do with you, but writing is not just our job, it’s also our happy place. You can’t compare it to  wanting to hang out at your office over the weekend.

But it’s not all bad. If you do decide to date, or marry a writer your life will never be dull. And I can’t speak for all of us, but when we love, we love with that same crazy obsessiveness that we put into our writing!

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

What I’m going to do with my MILLION Dollar book advances?

It’s Monday, so let’s play a fun game called ‘Imaginary Monday’. Today I shall imagine that I’m the next J.K. Rowling. I’m selling books like tasty little hotcakes and everyone is talking about me. And when I say everyone, I just did Ellen last night (she’s not as funny in real life btw) I’m doing so well, and am so hot and famous right now that even Kanye wants to be my friend (I would consider it, but alas, he comes with Kim Kardashian)  My books are number #1 on Amazon and I’m trending on Twitter #BestAuthorInTheWorld. (Step aside Donald Trump- you’re yesterday’s news)

So what is an author like me going to do with my Ba-Zillions of delicious Dollars? Let’s go!

  1. I’ve always fancied myself a private island kinda gal. So I’ve just gone shopping on this website that caters for rich people, like me, http://www.privateislandsonline.com, and bought this sweet, little gem.  I liked its round, distinctive shape, hopefully this will make it visible from space so passing aliens will also know how rich I am and how well I’m doing. (Mmm, perhaps there’s a potential interstellar market for my books too?) Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.55.40 AM

2. Unfortunately, this particular island has no residence, so I’m going to have to built. But I just can’t decide between a gorgeous beach house….

louis-viutton

A floating villa….

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And it’s always been a childhood dream to live in a treehouse…

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But man oh man, I do like the idea of being underwater too. Nothing makes you feel more powerful than staring into the eyes of a shark and living to tell the tale.

the-world-s-most-incredible-underwater-hotel-rooms

BUT WAIT…OH LOOK, my book just sold another 10 million copies (I think I’ll build all 4)

2. But of course I’m going to need a yacht to get around- and why not get the most expensive one. I mean, who would settle for a 100 million Dollar yacht… please. (Now Kanye really wants to be my friend- still a pity about Kim though)

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3. And who doesn’t hate the damn inconvenience of airports, pesky customs officer’s and not to mention the fact that standing in long lines is just bad for your back.  And then, even when you’re traveling Business Class, you still can’t walk around naked. So how about this modest little jet.

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4. Traffic! Rush hour! Taxis! All that time you waste NOT checking your social media platforms because they have that silly little law about not driving while looking at a mobile phone  (tisk)  Solution… ? Self-drive car. Mercedes has this darling little number. Yay! #blessed

Mercedes-Benz F015 - Luxury in Motion

Mercedes-Benz F015 – Luxury in Motion

5. World hunger, poverty, refugees I hear you ask? OF COURSE.. why not, Paramount just bought the movie rights and are turning my book into a trilogy starring hot, young Hollywood actors (the teens are gonna flock)

6. And being an Absolute Addidas Addict, I think I’ll buy myself a whole shop so I can wear a brand new pair of sneakers every day. In fact, I might as well just get Jeremy Scott to design me a whole new wardrobe. (Jeremy, you’ll have to call my rock-star agent if you want to get hold of me xoxo)

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7. Life is so full of mundane and terribly boring little tasks- like renewing your driver’s licence, paying taxes, paying your speeding fines, going to the shops, cooking dinner and all those other snooze-worthy adult things. So why not hire a team of personal assistants, shoppers and chefs to make your day just a little bit easier? Better still, let’s make them all easy on the eye too. (Who doesn’t love a photoshopped James Franco dressed in a Christmas hat, wearing a teeny red speedo and holding a fluffy little kitten)

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6. And most importantly, above all else, entertainment for my birthday party a la Depeche Mode- only the greatest band in the universe. At a mere 1 million dollars for 4 songs at your private bash, I might as well have them for my book launch too. (Yes, I just signed another multi-seven-figure, ten book deal with my publisher)

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So there you have it, my Monday Imaginings. What are you going to spend your first million dollar book advance on?

What’s in a name anyway: Can a title really make or break your book?

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I’m rather bad at coming up with names for my books, so bad in fact, that my publisher renamed two of my three books. I didn’t mind at all, because the worst names they came up with were far better than my best ones. But this got me thinking about names in general. Are book titles really that important?

But apparently they are. Whilst researching this topic I read a few disturbing things, this one in particular shall add to my overall ‘aa’ (author- anxiety). Elv Moody, Publisher at Oxford University Press Children’s Books  says ‘It’s not over-stating the case to say that a title can make or break a book.’  (And here we naive little authors thought it was all about the strength of our story, reliability and lovability of our characters and our unique voice)

So in an industry where we need to worry, and obsess about so many things already, we now have to consider that our titles could make us a bestseller, or plunge our book to the bottom of the sticky-icky slush-pile.

So I decided to investigate names, and this is what I discovered…

Firstly, I hate pretentious wanky titles that endeavor to show me how intellectually superior you are. They imply that when I (mere mortal) read this book, I am going to need to thumb through a dictionary just to understand what you, oh genius master of English words, has written for me, unenlightened barely educated culturally inept underling.

Another hate of mine would be those hipstery-names. They differ ever so slightly from the above in that the authors are not necessarily intellectually superior to their readers, they do however have a bigger Instagram following and wrote the book only to be ironic whilst sipping on Vegan coffee and listening to obscure music on vinyl. Like this pearly little gem of hipsterdom;

Eeeee Eee Eeee”   by Tao Lin”

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https://www.amazon.com/Eeeee-Eee-Eeee-Tao-Lin-ebook/dp/B004CFAZL8?ie=UTF8&keywords=Eeeee%20Eee%20Eeee%3A%20A%20Novel%2C&qid=1462436162&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

This has got to be the most hipster name that has ever been conceived of. I can  imagine the conversation prior to naming the book. “But titles are just too mainstream. Let’s not give it a title at all, let’s just give it sounds….” *author runs his fingers thoughtfully through his beard and then types away on his vintage typewriter.

But in amongst all the horror, I also found some amazing ones. One of my favorite names out there, hands down, is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5899779-pride-and-prejudice-and-zombies

And I guess this proves the point. I would buy this book solely based on its title alone. I’ve come to the conclusion that my preference lies in titles that don’t take themselves too seriously. It makes me feel that the authors don’t either, and that is always the best kind of writer, one who isn’t totally up their own arse.

But this is probably my all time fave…. When will Jesus bring back the Pork Chops.

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http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/93453.When_Will_Jesus_Bring_the_Pork_Chops_

I would definitely read that! But what I would not read (despite its supposed brilliance)  is Love in a time of Cholera. After reading that Cholera is “an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated” I just cannot imagine love being vaguely conducive to it. There are no two things more opposite than a massive dose of diarrhea, and love.

Delving into the world of book covers even more, I also discovered these;

  1. worst-book-covers-titles-58 copyI’ll give this title one thing, you know exactly what you’re going to be reading about. But other than that, there are just so many things wrong with it. a; if you do not know how to avoid huge ships- ships that can be seen from miles away- do NOT get into a boat and sail the seas. b; this book was so important that it made it into a second edition, and finally, c; how often do huge ships collide with smaller ones? Enough that someone felt it necessary to write a book about it.

2.  And perhaps some more thought should have gone into these!

worst-book-titles-8worst-book-covers-titles-17worst-book-covers-titles-12worst-book-covers-titles-15

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3. Anything that has the phrase ‘Anally Yours’ in its title should reconsider even existing. (But more on Chuck Tingle later, I have a whole blog post planned just for him) P.s I was unaware of the unicorn’s nautical proclivities.

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4. Not only are these titles questionable, but their subject matter isn’t far behind either.

 

 

5. This author also wrote, “God Loves me, why can’t I get my locker open.”

worst-book-titles-2

 

So in conclusion, I am happy to report that I am not the only author who is bad at coming up with names.

 

There are only so many ways to say penis! (sex scene writing woes)

The hard, pulsing shaft of his manhood sought out her most intimate part. The glistening pearl of her womanhood, moistened by the fiery furnace of unbridled passion.  He impaled her on his hot sheath touching her secret centre through the plump, velvet folds of her slick core.” 

penis

No, this is not a competition to see how many euphemisms I can come up with for the act of sex. It is, in fact, a sex scene I manufactured for the purpose of this blog using actual words and phrases I found in real romance novels.

I get sooooo bored writing sex scenes, mainly because there are only so many ways of describing them- hence the use of wild euphemisms above. Think about it from a purely biological perspective, ‘it goes in and it goes out‘ (repeat action several times- hopefully more). Try find interesting and unique words to describe that! I dare you.

As an author, I also find myself faced with a slight predicament. I don’t write category style romance, the traditional Mills&Boon stuff, and I don’t write erotica. I sit somewhere in between the two conventions, so whilst I can’t use words like ‘cock’ and ‘pussy’ and ‘she came like a fucking steam train‘, I also can’t use phrases like ‘sunk into her core’ either. And let me tell you, ‘core’ is a very popular way of describing the vagina (Nb- don’t use that word either). Because there is nothing sexier than saying Penis and Vagina in the middle of a hot love scene. Nipple too, in my opinion, is right up there. But I also cannot bring myself to write “rosy buds” either.

I often find myself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place (see what I did there?)  I do write romance, some might call it chicklit, and sex scenes are a prerequisite! So what is an author like me to do?

Well, I recently did something terrible in a book I posted on Wattpad. Allow me to tell you about the book first (it shall remain nameless) because it is the cheesiest, most ridiculous thing I have ever written.  I vowed I would never venture into the realm of the billionaire -playboy- prince as I like to write about ordinary, flawed characters. But I did. And to top it off, it was a cliched lump of Cheddar. I took the most overused tropes and squished them all into one book.

But it seems that people like cheese, with over 400k Wattpad reads in about a month, it’s safe to assume that readers enjoy some cheese on their reading menus. (Bring on the nachos)

But back to the truly terrible thing I did; when I came to one of the sex scenes, I was so over writing them (I had put 3 in already) that I left the chapter blank. I called it “The big sex scene”  and told my readers to either use their imaginations, or write it themselves! What a cheek, and something I could only get away with on Wattpad.  Imagine doing that in a published book? Whilst I would love to, not so sure my publisher would be down for that.

So as long as I write the books I do, I will probably always have issues with those pesky sex scenes. Perhaps there are ghost writers out there willing to write me some? I can keep them all in a drawer and pull them out when needed.

And if you are struggling with your sex scenes too, please feel free to use my handy euphemism list, it is complimentary with this blog post.

PENIS

  • fiery swollen staff
  • hard pulsating arousal
  • bulging fullness
  • engored fleshy sword
  • rock-hard tumescence

VAGINA

  • apex of her legs
  • damp petals of her needy place
  • the portal to her moist womanhood
  • molten heat within
  • passion-moistened depths of her secret centre

SEX

  • He possessed her Lilly
  • He rose up to meet her hot, burning need
  • plunged into her sacred petals
  • love’s hot lava flowed
  • slipped into her moist tenderness
  • she strained against his impaling shaft

Have fun writing your next sex scene! I know I won’t!

Judge it!

I’m so excited to have my two final covers from my publisher, Grand Central Publishing, for the first 2 books in my series ‘The Destination Love’ Series. It’s a fun, romantic comedy series about finding love in surprising- not to mention warm, tropical and exotic– places. (As the covers suggest)

I loved the covers individually, but now that I see them together, I REALLY love them. It’s super exciting to see the series finally coming together after such a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights (months)

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*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Million times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1