Monthly Archives: January 2014

Pen Names


Do you have a pen name? I’m not really sure how the pseudonym business works. Enlighten me.

H.M. Brooks is not my real name.

Long ago, I started my first (I think it was my first) blog; and I used the username hesthermay. It’s a combination of my middle name, first name-ish, and month of birth. I have the same username for Twitter (follow me!) and, obviously, this blog too. I was a bit annoyed that I was stuck with that name since I had a bit of an audience under that name. I was afraid if I changed it, I’d lose some readers and followers.

All that to explain why it looks like my name is Heshter May Brooks. Plus I’m not entirely ready to let the whole world (okay, as if the whole world cares – but maybe a few acquaintances) know what I do. And my real name doesn’t sound that artsy. And I’m from Germany, so you wouldn’t be able to pronounce it anyway.

All right, I’m done rambling.

What about you? Do you reveal your identity on your social media? If yes or no, why? I’d love to read your comments on this topic.




In high school I learned the steps of the writing process –

  1. Plan
  2. Write
  3. Rewrite
  4. Edit

Do you follow this process? And particularly the rewrite step – do you start a fresh document and write everything again? Or do you leave some sections the same and only rewrite some scenes or chapters?

As for me, I will be starting the rewriting process of my project Hidden People soon. I will rewrite every word, though most times I have my first draft at hand (yay for Scrivener’s split-screen!), and a lot of the process is copying what is already there. But it is good to go over every word again, often changing or adding, cutting things.

What is your writing process in four steps?

Why I Listen to Taylor Swift


I believe writers are artists. They are creative and imaginative. And we all can use a boost of inspiration. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22 — Okay, that’s actually not what I was going to say. I don’t know about you, but I listen to a lot of music while writing. Some people say lyrics distract them. (They distract me too until I have the song memorized.)

I love listening to lyrics, which brings me to Taylor Swift. She is a storyteller and one of the reasons she is so successful is her ability to communicate her thoughts and emotions so genuinely. It makes me a bit jealous, and I hope that I am able to share my characters’ emotions just as well.

All this to say that Taylor Swift’s (and many other musicians’) music style inspires me to show emotion in my writing, digging deeper into my characters’ souls, giving reasons and whole stories for their actions. Do you have musicians you listen to in order to get inspired (emotionally or not)? For example, I also like listening to epic soundtracks when it comes to fight scenes or battle. Romantic music for the romantic parts, etc.

I am always on the lookout for new music, so if you have anything in particular that you love, please share!

Please don’t hate me if you don’t like Taylor Swift. We can still be friends. 🙂

Before You Start Editing


Hello everyone,

after the last post‘s discussion, I have decided to wrap up the first draft of my fantasy novel. At this point, I want to set the draft away for a while before I pick it up and start the editing/rewrite process. I have two reasons for this –

  1.  No time! I have exams coming up and I need to finish my darn bachelor thesis soon.
  2. It is recommended to take a break so you can look at your work from a fresh viewpoint.

How long do you usually wait between completing a draft and starting the editing process? I’ll probably wait three weeks. More like four, actually. My last exam is on February 14th – Valentine’s Day!

Share your experience and advice in the comments and have a nice week!

Sequels And Word Counts


After unsuccessfully trying to get the following discussion into one or two tweets, I decided to write a post about it. The thing is…

My current project – Hidden People – is going to turn into two books. My first draft is close to 60,000 words at the moment; and according to my targets on Scrivener, the entire first draft will end with about 70,000 words. However, I want one book to be at least 90,ooo. (Sorry if this is a lot of numbers.)

I know where I want the first book to end, but the plot isn’t providing me with that word count. I am nearly finished with everything I want in the first book, but it’s too short for my liking.

The question is – Should I take things from the sequel into the first? Or should I come up with a new subplot to fill up the first book? Or should I turn it into a single but longer book? (I don’t know what the expected word count for the sequel is.)

Yeah, I don’t know if any of this makes sense; but please feel free to share your thoughts or experience if you have dealt with a similar issue. Thanks!

A Progress Report


I know I love reading about other writers’ progress and their current work. And so I decided to fill you in on what’s keeping me busy. I’m plowing through the first draft of Hidden People and loving it. Here are some facts –

Word count: 54,326 of 90,000

Chapters: 22 of ??

The image is an overview of chapters, word count targets, etc. Those who use Scrivener will recognize the layout.


Obviously, I need better chapter names, since “Questions” and “More Questions” seems a bit dull. And naming the last chapter “Safety” gives things away. In truth, I don’t like naming chapters at all.

Which leads me to some questions I’d like to hear (actually read) you answer…

  • Do you name your chapters?
  • How long are your chapters on average?

Tell me in the comments or tweet me!

Do You Ever…


… question the purpose of your blog? I do. My current questions are –

  • Why do I blog?
  • Who am I blogging for?
  • What do I expect?

Ultimately, I thought a blog would be good to connect with (potential) readers and build a platform; but considering the content, I’m not so sure after all. Most of my posts are about writing and the writing process. Are my potential readers actually interested in that? I know I love reading other writers’ blogs and what they’re up to, but are other writers my target audience with my blog? Is that why I set this up?

As you may be able to tell, I’m just thinking this through and wondering about it. Maybe you have a thought on this topic. Tell me about it in the comments. I would love to hear some other ideas and insights.