About Kara Jordan

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So far Kara Jordan has created 7 blog entries.

FALLING AT THE FINAL HURDLES

 

In a previous post, I cited how I felt uninformed about the publishing industry in my teens. I was ignorant and hungry to succeed–or more so, to have a book traditionally published! A restless excitement trails the want to see your name and novel showcased in shops. It’s a dream that feels just that sometimes–fantastical—but one I still strive to manifest. Thankfully, I’ve mellowed and developed since then. Now, I’m just immensely critical—a perfectionist to a fault, and I intend not to fall at the same hurdles again. Particularly the editing hurdle!

Don’t get me wrong, even in my novice days, I knew that a manuscript (especially those intended for agency submissions) needed editing. But I didn’t fully understand the complexities and assumed that grammatical fixes, smoother sentence structure and the addition of some poetic prose would suffice. Oh, how wrong I was! If only I’d been more informed and done the research! Understanding the mechanics of your craft and its broader scope is imperative!

So there I was at sixteen with an overlooked autism spectrum disorder, a mind strained by anxiety and the newest Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook under my arm. I submitted my (dreadful) novel to any agencies seeking young adult paranormal romance, packaged with an (appalling) query letter, a one-page synopsis, and the first three chapters of my book, or whatever was in the guidelines for the agent in question. 

And I got rejected. Again. And again. And again. And I understood why: I hadn’t done the work, I hadn’t put in the hours and proved myself for the writer I was and could be. I hadn’t chopped away those unnecessary words/scenes nor shaped the arc with the highs and lows it desperately required. Sure, there were obstacles in the protagonist’s way, but it all read too orchestrated, too step-by-step. Having a plan is good, but you must remember to breathe life into your world and your words!

In hindsight, I knew that the novel wasn’t strong. It was plot-driven with minor character development; the protagonist and her rivals were merely puppets, poorly imitating others’ lives. I hadn’t developed any emotional attachment to them, only to the idea of success. Still, one only comes with the fruition of the other, so how would anyone care if I didn’t? I was stupid enough to think an agent would love the premise, offer representation and fix any problems for me. HAHA! No, Kara. That’s not how it works. At all!

So I tried again, this time with the novel I’d spent six months planning and another six writing. There was a vast difference between the two manuscripts.

This time, there were plenty of themes to which a reader could relate, an abundance of backstory that shaped the characters and supported their actions and decisions; their dystopian world implemented its own rules and regulations, and each chapter started with a high or low and ended with the opposite. As a result, the story was much more fluid. It was something people could read. Might read. And all because my editing had been much more involved. I’d chopped some chapters and added others. Some characters had been removed, and others reworked to suit the novel’s mood. But what I hadn’t done was shape the story to its full potential; I hadn’t found the correct rhythm or hit the notes right, so words and sentences snagged in places because they weren’t true to the story’s essence. But again, I tricked myself into thinking it was submission-ready and fired The City of Bones / Divergent mash-up into agents’ inboxes. 

And it was better received. There were positive responses, but sadly, no one invested enough to say yes. Because again, I repeat: I hadn’t done the work. And slowly, I fell out of love with it, realising it was too similar to those that had inspired the concept and too far from the book it could be. So, without a passion for continuing, I shelved it and began work on another.

Nowadays, I realise that revisions can mean a total reshape of a manuscript, that each word has to matter and pack a punch. Words must move the story forward but not bog it down. They must show the story in all its glory, be emotional and gripping, and blur the seams between action and character. These mechanisms are not separate from one another but fused. 

It’s okay and sometimes necessary to scrap large chunks of the story and rewrite them to craft what you envisioned. But, you must be willing to show up and do the work. Not give up. Not jump the gun. And know in the deepest depths of your soul when it’s suitable to submit. You’ll know the feeling. If there’s even a slither of doubt in your bones or a little voice saying that more could be done, listen to it. Don’t squander your opportunities with submissions. Your story (usually) only has one chance to make an impact on an agent, and you want it to be a good one!

If I ever reach the stage where I have a draft to revise again, I’ll be sure to document every step for future reference. We live and learn.

But for now, planning continues, and I’ll share my current process for that nightmare another time.

In the meantime, find out about the various types of edits that could help your manuscript over at AmyEdits: https://amyedits.co.uk/pricing-services

 

 

By |2022-07-08T19:03:18+00:00July 8th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

TRIAL AND ERROR – A WRITER’S PROCESS

I’ve tried a few ways of writing books over the years, and believe me, it’s been a tumultuous cycle of trial and error that’s seen some drafts completed and others (more recent) scrapped halfway through conception. And I’m still trying to find what works best for me.

In hindsight, and with a few projects under my belt, it’s clear that this writing malarky is a delicate and complicated formula that requires varying degrees of foundational work dependent on each author and their chosen genre. 

My most straightforward project was a contemporary semi-autobiographical novel; I had a clear premise and plenty of first-hand experience to enrich the story. The book (based on society, mental health and its effect on youths) essentially wrote itself. Besides a few scribbled notes here and there, I didn’t delve extensively into development. It was a breeze. Quite possibly a fluke. I had the first draft written in half a year–you won’t ever hear me do that again.

However, I quickly realised when it came to the next story that planning would be essential. The genre had changed. The mood shifted. The themes were different, broader, and more fictionalised. It would require a lot of thought and imagination. 

The dystopian/urban fantasy crossover (think Divergent means The City of Bones) was thick with character-driven action, world-related rules, paranormal evolutions and a futuristic chronicle of gadgets. Each fabrication had to stitch with its partner seamlessly. Each asset needed its counter, every action its reaction. The hunters, monsters, and people of this territory required rules. Not necessarily to obey, but to make their story understandable, valid, genuine.

The planning and outline process took six months—the writing itself, possibly only a few. I wasn’t paying much attention back then, more concerned with having material to purge from my bones and cast into the world. I was naive. Restless. Rushing. While I knew a lot about books, I was quite uninformed about the publishing industry. But this is all material for another post (or video)! 

It’s been a good few years since I closed the door on that tale, logging a few revised drafts, but again, I didn’t understand the magnitude of work needed to secure an agent. Not like I do now. And it’s enough to make you pick up your favourite book and wonder how the author ever possibly managed to drag themselves through the hellfire of writing/editing/querying/publishing and survive. 

In late 2018 came a new idea inspired by the Netflix hit series, The Haunting of Hill House. I hadn’t fleshed out a plan or honestly considered the premise. This time, unlike the first, however, I did have a list of potential scenes and a turbulent dynamic between the protagonist and her soon-to-be-dead husband, but I grabbed at them like a hungry child and didn’t pause to consider their relevance. The story soon collapsed due to a lack of plot. Sadly it took 80,000 words to realise this. We had just begun the first lockdown, and my mental health had nosedived. The project collected dust until Winter, by which time I’d lost touch with the words and let my creative well run dry. The only way to continue, and write those last 20,000 words, I thought, was to read from the beginning–both an eye-opener and a death sentence. 

It wasn’t what I’d envisioned at all. The tone was wrong; the character’s motivations unclear or foolish. This deliciously dark, grittyimmersive, and atmospheric novel I’d seemingly conjured crumbled to ash before me. 

And I was hurt. Disheartened. Angry. I tried to fix it and shape it into that grand, glowing abstract idea that had tormented me in the early hours, but the work wasn’t even a passing mimic. It was a shambles. And in early 2021, I decided to shelve it. I’d thrown fuel on the embers by attempting a salvage.

Now, it’s been a year spent contemplating something new. It has roots nestled deep in solid foundations. It’s growing slowly, testing the environment, feeling what conditions nurture it most. 

It’s been an entirely new process, turning over the soil of this premise, seeing it outgrow fledgling concepts and form a distinctive shape. I’ve considered much more of every facet than I did with its designed predecessor, and I hope (pray) it’ll be worthwhile. 

No more bullheading for me. No more running with under-developed visions. Only scrutiny. I’ll need to be much more disciplined. Let’s see how this works out.

I look forward to sharing the (ongoing) planning process for this one in another post!

By |2022-06-28T17:25:37+00:00June 28th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

A (LATE) TIME OF RENEWAL

 

A few weeks ago, I was browsing author websites when it hit me. “Kara, you have one of those, tucked away in a far corner of the internet, smothered by virtual cobwebs and spores. Remember?”
Oh yeah. . . . I hadn’t forgotten, but the site and most of my creative endeavours haven’t been at the forefront of my mind these last two years.
I blame the pandemic.
It hasn’t been a good time for anyone but having Asperger’s Syndrome, social anxiety, and a deep phobia of illness wasn’t a healthy combination to fight daily. So I had to up my medication, claw my way out of another depressive state, and fight back the tears and panic attacks to get into work each day and continue (a very unsociable) semblance of life.
If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I worked in the office every day during the pandemic. I started mid-February 2020 and, from March 2020, was left with one interchanging member of staff every day until the end of 2021. So naturally, nothing about that time was fun.

Anyway, I’ve now contracted and fought the bloody virus that’s stolen so much from us all, so I finally took a huge step to socialise over the Jubilee Bank Holiday! I ate out at restaurants, wandered around shops, and went to the cinema (you must see Top Gun: Maverick!), all firsts since this shit-show of a pandemic began!

So now that some worries have eased and I’ve dipped my toe in the pool of life, I thought I should be more present, physically and digitally!
Look out for updates to the site pages (you might notice that TikTok icon in the top left corner of the screen already) and posts detailing the progress of my current project. It’s been slow, but hey, slow is better than nothing, and mental health self-care is a must!

 

By |2022-06-06T19:12:56+00:00June 6th, 2022|Uncategorized|0 Comments

IMPLEMENT CHANGE

It’s something that’s been said throughout history: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, yet we can’t seem to train our minds against those almost-immediate assumptions we make daily. Granted, it’s human nature, and we’re slowly changing our ways–or at least, I hope we are!–but change takes effort, and that seems to be the sticking point for a lot of people: effort.
In a recent interview, Miley Cyrus claimed that people dismiss traits they don’t like about themselves. “That’s just how I am”, they’ll say, and move on to the next incident without reflection. But Miley advised that if people took the time to examine their faults, and be more conscious of their actions/behaviours, they could be better–they could change!
Her comment made me think about author Alyson Noel and how she’s implemented change in her views/responses towards negativity. As a result of years of meditation, Alyson’s gradually trained herself not to engage in it, spoken or otherwise.
It was after a post she shared in December  2019 titled, “Energy is contagious. Ask yourself: What am I putting into the world? What am I allowing into my space?” that I first began thinking about change and how I might implement it in my own life.
In the piece, Alyson explained that she’d been in line at a supermarket. It was the Christmas period, so inevitably it was busy, and the staff were under pressure to assist with only two registers open. Impatient, a woman behind began to complain about the speed of service. Her outburst swiftly found an audience and others contributed to her negative verse. “It was like watching a virus spreading in real-time. One by one, they abandoned the line [for the other] in a huff, until I was the one left standing at the front” . . . “I told the cashier she was doing a great job, that she wasn’t responsible for other people’s choices, and she’d handled a difficult situation in an admirable way”.
I imagined myself in those circumstances and was ashamed to admit I would have been a sheep. Alyson had really set an example with her behaviour, and it was a shame to see how others let their emotions (and the opinions of others) dictate their own.

While this was something I wanted to work on, my initial response to Miley’s comment was in regards to my ASD and how it dictates my thoughts and emotions, particularly towards making judgements about others. It made me wonder, can what is typically innate be changed?

I’m guilty of making snap-judgements, and a lot of the time, due to the paranoia associated with my ASD, they’re completely wrong. But what’s weird about my opinions is that they’re not based on a person’s overall look, they’re based on a person’s facial expressions/structure–I know, it’s weird, try not to judge. For example, I might have a subconscious thought like, “Their face is stern, and their eyes hatefully narrow; they mustn’t be very nice”. Naturally, I know it’s ridiculous, but my brain runs with that initial idea and mutates it until a monster stands in its place. That monster inevitably becomes the innocent person I (typically) so wrongfully judged.
To help you understand, someone I always thought looked unapproachable was Ray Liotta. The actor’s sharp features, pronounced jaw, barely-there lips and slanted eyes put the fear of God in me about his character. I don’t know why I associated features like this to mean ‘unkind’. Still, I did,  so when, at seventeen, I attended the first of several NHS mental health meetings, I’d been horrified to find the practitioner shared an uncanny resemblance to Ray. Right away, I labelled him based on these preconceived notions: he was going to be strict, no-nonsense. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. He would want results and nothing more. Mental health didn’t matter to him–this guise was all part of his job. On these notions, I had a panic attack on the sad grey chair, in the restrictively dull room, in front of this tyrant who had no doubt branded me a fool. After all, he ate little girls like me for breakfast.
But I was wrong. About everything. The seemingly-terrifying monster asked if I was okay and if there was anything he could do to help. He told me about his daughter, who had similar difficulties and how they impacted her. He understood why I was the way I was and didn’t hold any resentments. He genuinely wanted to help.
I didn’t know it then, but that meeting was the first of many lessons in changing my mindset.

A few years later, one of my pre-diagnosis jobs involved ducking and diving through a manic sorting office with around two-hundred other people. For anyone, this kind of environment would be stressful, but for someone with anxiety-dictated ASD, it’s essentially hell on earth. My employment there didn’t last long, namely due to bullying from management, but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back concerning my ASD diagnosis. But I digress! With so many bodies and faces, it was exhausting trying to mix. Add the stresses of being ‘the new girl’, and it was a recipe for disaster. Outside of the school/college setting, I’d never been around so many people, and in my own time, I rarely mingled, so it was all a massive culture shock!
I couldn’t understand how socialising and forming bonds came so easily to others. It all seemed like some natural talent I hadn’t acquired. As a result of this, and fueled my disorder, I began to distance. I made opinions based on this ‘look’ I deemed nasty or friendly. I worried that people were speaking behind my back. Any passing glances I immediately assumed were hate-filled. Thus the paranoia grew, and I began to isolate myself further and further as a result of stupid suspicions formed off stupid first-thoughts. And how wrong those had been!
The very people I’d thought scary (minus one) turned out to be the most considerate. In some way or another, each had experience with mental health or had an innate desire to care for others. It was another lesson for me in learning not to judge. They helped me through some difficult times.

Now, when I catch myself critiquing, I try to stop immediately. I’ve come to learn that you can only assess people based on their behaviour and choices. Like with books, outward appearances can be deceptive. With a shift in attitude, not only can our opinions change, but the very energy we emit can as well. We should aim to help others thrive through example, not wither under the contagion of our negativity.

I hope I’m a better person for these lessons.

By |2020-10-18T14:17:38+00:00October 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

I’ve come to learn that music can be a great tool in the implementation of world-building. Not only does it benefit the atmosphere of a project (and the creative mood), but it can offer invaluable insight and incentive to progress.

In the past, I’ve had a song or two that have resonated with a story, but they’ve been nothing more than happy coincidences.

‘The Devil is a Gentleman’ by Merci (click here) was instrumental in finalising the plot of my current WIP. My writing had come to a dramatic standstill; the story had started to feel flat; the character’s motivations false; I’d veered onto a predictable, unconducive path I didn’t like and knew readers wouldn’t either.

Then I found Merci Raines (thank you Instagram promotions!), and her lyrics inspired a new and exciting change that solidified the plot.
But it would require a lot of work to change what had already been written.
Some characters would need deleting; others writing. Plot twists and crucial moments would require development and alterations, and the target audience would shift from Young Adult to New Adult. It was going to be a very long and irksome process (it still is!), but I’ll share more about that in another post.

Following the inspiration provided by ‘The Devil is a Gentleman’, I sought Merci’s other tracks and found they shared consistent, attractive themes; dark, haunting, twisted–all things I, and the story, could relate to!

I don’t know if it was cosmic intervention or just pure luck, but crossing paths with Merci opened the potential to a whole new spooky world that would awaken the story’s essence.

I hope you’ll listen to Merci’s songs to get a sense of her ‘witch pop’ vibe and thus my WIP.

Speak soon,

By |2020-10-20T08:58:07+00:00October 7th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

WELCOME

Welcome to my website and the first of many entries!

Believe it or not, but sitting down and writing is not an easy task for me. Sadly, I’m not one of these people who can sit at their computer and smash out 5,000 words in a couple of hours—I’d be lucky to get a few hundred down at most! Granted, I probably drag out the task much longer than necessary; I’m a nuisance for making every sentence/paragraph as good as it can be (for that moment at least) before delving into the rest of that project. But I’m learning—slowly—to relent and save the joys of editing until later. That’s what re-drafts are for after all!

I hope to discuss more on drafts and editing soon.
Keep your eyes peeled for the launch of a YouTube channel!

To start, I’ll keep this post short and sweet.

If you haven’t already, please have a browse of my site and hit those social buttons.

A massive THANK YOU to Paul Alexander of BWSIT (Billericay Web Services) for his generosity and help in making this site what it is.
If you’re looking to update or start a web page for your brand or business, check out how he can help over at https://billericayit.co.uk/

Speak soon,

By |2020-10-06T12:40:54+00:00September 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

WIN A LUXURY CANDLE

To celebrate the launch of my website, I’m giving away two luxury candles, handmade with 100% soy wax and fragranced with Peony and Blush Suede. The geometric container has a unique iridescence and would make a glamourous stemless wine glass or tumbler.

So how can you be in with a chance of winning?

It’s simple! All you need to do is enter your details below and hit that subscribe button.
Sharing to your social media platforms would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.

Two winners will be selected at random on October 11th and announced in a journal update.
One candle per winner.

Open internationally.

Best of luck and thank you for your support!

 

Subscribe for news, events and updates!





After using the candle, wash the jar with hot water to remove the wax and cleanse with soap as normal.

By |2020-09-30T12:14:35+00:00September 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|1 Comment