zaterdag 30 november 2013

Writing as a hobby vs writing as a job.

“So, you’re a writer?”


“That’s nice. I do a bit of a writing too. Might put my book out there some time.”


I never know how to respond to these kind of things. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people write as a hobby, it’s great. Everyone should write, it’s good for your creativity. But it’s not the same to write as a hobby as it is for your job. It’s like me going to the dentist and saying “I pulled out my own loose teeth when I was young”, and expecting him to think I do the same work as he does. I know Amazon has made it easy to publish, and in many ways that’s a good thing. But please don’t publish your book unless you are serious about being a writer.

A nice story idea does not necessarily make a nice book. You know what makes a nice book? Hard work. With a few exceptions, most writers don’t have a perfect first draft. A lot of us have to write, rewrite, have beta-readers look at it, rewrite some more, get an editor, edit back and forth and polish a book before it’s finished. Those who do have good first drafts tend to take a long time, and in my opinion, they still need to do the editing dance.

Writing is more than just the story, writing is also about the writing itself, and about the character building and the world building. The story tends to be the easiest part. But how do you keep your characters consistent?  Are you sure your language isn’t repetitive? Or passive? Are you drawing your readers in? Are you staying true to the reality you’ve created? Does your story work or are there plot-holes? Is what you’re describing physically possible, and if not, do you have a good explanation why this is happening? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself.

I’m challenging myself with my latest project ‘Alleria’. I’ve written an entire book in 1st person present tense. Let me tell you, it’s tough. I can do short stories like this, but an entire novel gives me a challenge. For one, the whole book is in my character’s head. I can’t have too many flashbacks, because that would make the story passive –but would also mess with the present tense thing and make the book confusing. So everything needs to be explained along the way. And in such a way that I stay true to my character without making her annoying or repetitive. This is harder than it sounds. So far I’ve written a monstrous first draft, but I think there is a story there. I’m very limited because I can’t go outside of my character’s mind in a way, we only see what she sees, and feel what she feels. On top of that I decided to write high fantasy romance. As you might have guessed… this is not my genre. I like writing about strong women, and guess what: my character starts out as an underdog. Not that those aren’t strong, but she’s been suppressed for such a long time, that I had troubles getting her out of her submissive state and still make it realistic. Between you and me, I don’t think I’ve quite succeeded in that yet. I will have to seriously polish her up in the rewrites.

And how to write romance without too much doting? Personally I hate insipid characters that swoon and faint over a man. But I do like a good bit of tension and attention between two characters, but to get that on paper is a whole different story. Some people are naturals at romance, yet a lot of romance is highly dramatic, and that doesn’t suit my reading and writing style. So, I’m faced with many dilemmas during this project. What do I want from my characters?

It only took me three weeks to write ‘Alleria’, I did it for my NaNoWriMo project. That’s just the first draft though. I think it’ll take me at least half a year to sort it out and get it polished the way I want it to. My first step now is to let a beta-reader look at it. I’m too close to this thing, and I can’t see what works and what doesn’t. With those notes I will cut pieces out and add other pieces. Then I’ll make a new draft, give it a little rough edit and will test it on someone again. If it works, then I’ll start the editing dance with Apple. This is the most arduous process, and also the most frustrating. At several times I will be convinced this book is absolute drivel and no one will want to read it (in fact, I went through 2 of those moments already, whilst writing)

By the time the editing dance is finished, I will be sick of my own book. Not because it’s bad, but because it has taken up 80% of my life for several months. I will have read, re-read, written and rewritten every chapter numerous times until my eyes have gone cross-eyed. I will have laughed and cried, been angry, upset, happy and proud at different stages of the project. It’s my process.

I’m not saying every writer has the same process. We go through our own writing journey. What I am saying is that you can tell the difference between someone who takes it serious, and someone who writes for a hobby. There is nothing wrong with having writing as a hobby, and if you want to step it up a notch, that’s fine too. But then you need to accept it will take time and hard work to get your book the way you want it to be. Don’t just put your work on Amazon because your friends liked it, if you’re going to charge people money be professional about it.

vrijdag 29 november 2013


To all those who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday. And to all those celebrating Hanukkah:  Happy Hanukkah! And to everyone else: TGIF!

I decided to take the day off today, but in my case that usually means that I’m blogging, doing promotional work or something else. The only time I can truly step away from writing is if I actually leave the house and use my phone for nothing but taking pictures of my beautiful daughter.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. Obsessed? Yeah, maybe, but I do love my job. It’s a struggle and hard work, but I celebrate the little rewards. Hopefully I get to share some good news with everyone soon! I live for moments like that.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be nice to write a blog about what I’m thankful about. I’ll keep it to work related things, because I’m sure people don’t want to hear sap stories about how happy I am with my husband and child *grin* (now… let’s see how many times I can put the word ‘thankful in one blog, shall we?)

A year ago I had no idea I would be where I am right now. I was still in shock that people actually wanted to publish my work back then, and now I’m working on new changes and exciting projects. I actually have editors ask ‘me’ for work now, and I can tell you: that doesn’t suck!

I’m very thankful for the journey I’ve been on. It’s been a mad ride all the way. I had to get over some serious insecurities to take certain steps, and I’m learning more every day. From last November to this year I was privileged to be a part of a lot of exciting projects and I got to meet a lot of wonderful new people that have enriched my (writing) life (but also the rest of my life really).

I’m thankful for the great response my books have gotten, and for the things I’ve learned about writing. I’m thankful for my editor, Apple Ardent Scott, and for the fun we have during the editing dance.

I’m thankful for people who call themselves my fans. I like to call them wonderful gifts of humanity (no I’m not drunk, just a little sentimental –which is just as bad, or maybe worse) I’m thankful that my work gets read, I can’t tell you what that does for me. I might not be rich and famous, but it’s wonderful knowing that people out there enjoy what I write.  I’m thankful for the ridiculous amount of inspiration I have (though I wish I could write and edit faster, so I could write all the stories that bug me at night). And I’m thankful for the person who invented notepads, so I can stop tormenting myself and write ideas down *chuckles*. It’s been a weird year, with ups and downs. I wonder what will happen next year, because I have the feeling life has so much more in store for me.

If you are reading this, I guess I’m thankful for one more thing: I’m thankful for you! You took the time to look into my life and my work, and that’s great. So… Thank you ;)

zaterdag 2 november 2013


Yay, it’s here!  A little later than expected and we’re not ready with the paperback versions yet (November 8th will be the day), but it’s here.

20 of my stories now bundled in one collection.


So without further ado, I would like to present to you: DEEPLY TWISTED!

"A mother murders her eldest dauther. A clock appears in the middle of a park. A one-eyed man with a raven on his shoulder joins three homeless men on a chilly night...

Embrace the night and all its terrors in this macabre gallery of monsters. The living and the dead, the spectral and the material -- horrifying visions from the tormented mind of Chantal Noordeloos. Your nightmares will never be the same."


Ode to a very special person

People always tell me “write for yourself, not for others.” I don’t, I really don’t. I’ll write what I like to write, but I want to share my world with other people. If I didn’t, I would have picked a different job. And so I do think of an audience, though I know I can’t please everyone. I want readers, and preferably lots of them (duh) and I want to share my world with them. I love it when people tell me they enjoyed my work.

So far my friends have been very kind about my writing. But then again.. aren’t everyone’s friends nice to them about their writing. I can’t help it, when friends tell me they like my work, I always wonder how much our friendship will influence their opinion.

And then I got a friend request from a guy on Facebook (I won’t name him by name, because I don’t know if he would appreciate that, but… you know who you are) and he wrote me a message that he read Coyote and he wanted to seek me out.

I. Was. Stunned.

There was a reader who liked my so much that he wanted to know what I was about. I told my husband “Someone I don’t know just told me he likes my work.” And we both did the little high five and squee thing. Daan said “You have a fan.” I waved it away… too soon to have fans. But then this guy apologized for being such a ‘fanboy’ (can you imagine, he actually apologized?? I was waving at the screen for him not to say sorry)

For me it was the first time I ever considered I might actually have fans. And I can tell you, it feels freaking GREAT. Of course by now the guy has become one of my friends. It’s hard not to like him, he is so incredibly sweet and lovely, I’m honored to know him! He introduced me to this wonderful woman who blogs (you can find her here: who has really put my work into the spotlight. I’m so humbled by all this kindness and attention.

So I wanted to write this blog, for this guy who really makes me smile. Thanks for being there!