WIP · Writing

2017 Writing Goals… How did I go? (+ What I Hope to Accomplish in 2018!)

Confession: It’s mid-December, and I haven’t yet written my 2018 (!) writing goals. At end of last year, I sat down with a cup of coffee & wrote a list of everything I wanted to complete that year. It was a very ambitious list. I didn’t expect to complete even half of the list, and as it took me six months to (heavily) revise MIDNIGHT QUEEN, I sort of thought: “Well, I can’t finish everything on my list…but I’ll try.”

img_6740I’ve mentioned this before, but I set aside most of this year for reworking projects that I was still super-passionate about (…which was just about all of them, as I figured out.) So when I did sit down to draft my NaNoWriMo novel last month, it was a strange (and very difficult) feeling to write something new from scratch. But, like they say… You can’t edit a blank page.

So. Here I am—halfway through December—and I’ve finished everything on my List.

 

  1. Revise MIDNIGHT QUEEN.

This took me much, much longer than I expected. And by the time I finished (around June) I didn’t think I’d complete the rest of my list. I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to get this revision done. I think, in part, because this story means so much to me, I was terrified I’d get it wrong. Writing about your own culture/mythology is always a little bit daunting. But once I shed that fear, once I told myself I could edit, tweak, and change later…it became much, much easier.

  1. Revise THE EMPIRE OF STARS.

I think I first drafted this book when I was fifteen. Since then, it’s been revised multiple times…and I’m finally, FINALLY beginning to get to the story I always intended it to be right.  It’s STILL not there, and I know that I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me… but I finally feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

ICYMI, I shared a tinyyyyyyy teaser from the book a few months back, though there’s a chance that’ll change during revisions.

  1. Revise THIS STORM RISING.

After getting some notes back from a crit. partner, I went through and revised my YA space opera again, and I fell even more in love with my arrogant, egotistical thief & con-artist (…umm, this is normal, right?), and the bloodthirsty galaxy she lives in. This is SUCH a fun project to work on, and I love my protagonist’s emotional development throughout the novel.

(Speaking of space operas, I am SO excited for The Last Jedi… Everything I keep hearing about it sounds incredible. I’m off to see this soon, actually.)

  1. Draft my YA high fantasy Fae Novel.

This was my NaNoWriMo novel (which I finished just recently!) I won’t go into too much detail about this novel because a) it SUCKS, and b) I’m still figuring out the plot. But I will say that it was a blast to write!

  1. Revise THE FLAMES ARE LEGION.

This is the book I’m totally pitching as Norse mythology + Game of Thrones. Basically…I love this book. My protagonist tames wyverns for a living, who gets caught up in a rebellion against the witch-queen… So yes, she’s pretty badass! I revised this book just before NaNoWriMo (…I literally finished this WIP the day before NaNo began!) and diving into the next round of self-edits soooooon, before I hand it over to critique partners.

So—I’ve had a pretty successful 2017 with writing… but what do I want to accomplish next year? Like I mentioned, I haven’t yet thought about/written my 2018 writing goals, but here are some more personal goals I’ll be reaching for next year.

  • Exercise more! I used to be so much fitter. But this year I’ve definitely been a lot lazeier…and I’d like to change that in the new year. I love hiking (there are SO many gorgeous places to walk where I live), and I intend to do some more of that next year, too.
  • Blog more! I feel like finally I’ve gotten back into the swing of blogging…and I’d love to keep that momentum up.
  • Catch up & reconnect with old friends. I think everyone—especially after high school/college—tend to lose touch. We get wrapped up in our own lives and sort of move on, but I think it’s so important to maintain those relationships…or at least try to.
  • Procrastinate less. I literally think this could be included in 90% of people’s New Year’s Resolutions… And it’s something I want to try really hard with. Procrastinate less, work more, and relish my free time.

So… those are my goals for next year! How about you? What—no matter how small—have you accomplished this year & are proud of? What resolutions do you intend to keep for next year?


Currently reading: WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo

Currently listening to: “The Return of the King” Original Score by Howard Shore

WIP · Writing

Hades & Persephone: The Queen of Life and Death (& Why I Love Her)

So…. This post was actually intended to be a series of Tweets on my Twitter account…but somehow, I ended up with over 800 words, so I thought it would be better suited for a blog post. This was, in part, inspired by my previous post earlier this year on why I love fairy-tales (and mythology), and one of my current work-in-progresses, MIDNIGHT QUEEN, which I talk about a bit at the end. (I hope you all get to read it one day!! Everything about it so far has been a lot of fun to write/research.)

UNADJUSTEDRAW_thumb_104.jpgSo! I’m of Greek descent (my grandparents were Greek-Egyptians!), hugely proud/passionate about my mythology/culture, and I wanted to chat about my all-time FAVORITE myth: Hades and Persephone. Most people have heard of it, but I feel like few people know more than the cliché, stripped-back version portrayed in media where Persephone is a helpless, floundering maiden (…and often where Hades is the Evil One, simply because he resides in the Underworld.)

Before I begin, in case people don’t know: Persephone is also called Kore (in some versions, Kore only becomes Persephone once she marries Hades.) Kore = maiden. Persephone = She Who Destroys the Light (!!!) (Persephone’s name has been interpreted many ways, but as we aren’t 100% what it means for sure, this is the one I love the best.) Roman variants: Core/Proserpina. Roman variant of Hades = Pluto. (Why yes, I am still annoyed that Pluto is no longer considered a planet. First, Pluto/Hades is given the Underworld, considered rather undesirable to most, and now can’t even have his own planet. Poor dude.)

Some of Persephone’s other epithets (epithets = titles often used in classical epics, poetry, etc.) include ‘She Who Destroys’ (or sometimes simply ‘the Destroyer’), ‘dark Persephone’, ‘Praxidike’ (= Bringer of Justice). Some of her sacred symbols included: a torch, flowers (specifically the narcissus), the bat, and the pomegranate.

A brief rundown of the tale: Hades, God of the Underworld—not Death; that was DSC_0099 copy.jpgThanatos—kidnaps Kore/Persephone. In some variations, it reads like more of an arranged marriage rather than an abduction. When Demeter, Persephone’s mother, finds out, she’s wrought with anger, and refuses to let anything in the mortal land grow. Mortals soon begin to die, because they cannot harvest any food (Demeter = Goddess of the Harvest; Roman variant = Ceres). After pleading with Zeus, Persephone is brought back to the living world—only by this point, Persephone has already swallowed pomegranate seeds (the amount depends on the myth you’re reading), meaning she’s eternally stuck in the Underworld.

A deal is then struck: Persephone will remain in the Underworld for a certain number of months (the amount varies, often correlating with how many seeds she swallowed) and the rest she spends in the land of the living. In defiance, Demeter will blight the land for the months while Persephone is away.

In short: It was a way for the Ancient Greeks to explain the turning of the seasons. Fall/winter = when Persephone was in the Underworld. Spring/summer = when she returns. I also like to think of it as an ancient coming-of-age story. But in saying that, there are 10+ variations of the myth. (i.e. in some variations, Hades is struck with Cupid’s arrow which makes him fall for Kore/Persephone. Sometimes Demeter is with Kore when Hades kidnaps her, sometimes she’s not.)

Often, the myth of Hades & Persephone is called “The Rape of Persephone”, which, traditionally, isn’t quite true (and bothers me a lot—it paints Hades’s character in a much crueler light). In the earliest forms of the myth—before even Homer, I think—there is no mention of rape in the sense that we use it today. Some even go as far to say that rape was added into subsequent variations of the story along with the rise of the patriarchy. (crrinngeeeee.) Hades is often presumed the ‘evilest’ of the Greek gods, but compared to that of Zeus, for example, Hades was a ‘good’ man who remained faithful to his wife.

I feel like Persephone is often overlooked when it comes to Greek mythology today, which is SO frustrating. Because in ancient times, she was not only revered, but feared. She, along with her mother, was widely worshipped (eg. the Eleusinian Mysteries. Which are, mostly to this day, still a mystery.)

Persephone was powerful, and strong, and incredibly interesting.

She was not a pushover. She was (some say) prone to a temper and vengeful—she literally turned a woman who had a romantic interest in Hades into a mint plant. (I legit cannot eat/smell mint without thinking of this anymore.)

In some myths, she was even the mother of the Furies/Erinyes, who were used to carry out acts of vengeance.

flower_3
The hydrangeas at the font of our house are STUNNING. ❤

Persephone was the Goddess of Spring and the Queen of the Underworld (!!!!!)

She literally commanded life and death, and if that’s not incredible, then I don’t know what is. Basically…Persephone was one badass bitch. (But is often reduced down a sulky, naïve child who whined and cowered by her husband’s throne in modern lit.)

And that right there was what made me want to work on one of my current projects, MIDNIGHT QUEEN. (think: Hades & Persephone/Beauty & the Beast meets the Russian legend of the Firebird + traditional Celtic mythology.) It’s not quite a retelling of any of those, but I definitely drew on all those tales/mythology (as well as some other Greek tales) to craft my story…and I adored every moment of writing it. I wanted to explore that darker side of Persephone—the side that sort of…embraced Hades’ darkness. I wanted to write about that vengeful, temperamental Queen of Hell that she was. Not the side I often see portrayed in modern lit.

How do you guys feel about fairy tales and mythology? Are there any in particular that resonate with you? Are you interested in reading a (small) excerpt from MIDNIGHT QUEEN?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Currently reading: WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo

Currently listening to: “Life” (Album) by Audiomachine

NaNoWriMo · WIP · Writing

Looking back at NaNoWriMo…

NaNoWriMo 2017 is officially OVER. Honestly, this year has been a riot of fun. Macbook Pro/laptop issues aside (which was stressful as hell—back up your work, people), I’ve been SUPER productive this month, and overall, I’m pleased with my final word count for November. I’ve ended up with 61k for November, and although there were days where it was like pulling teeth, I adore my book and can’t wait to get started on revising. I’m guessing I have another 10-15k to go, so I intend to have this draft done-done-done before the end of the year.

For those who are curious…here are my stats for NaNoWriMo 2017! You can see how I slowed down once I reached my goal of 50k; I needed that time to think, and breathe, and take a break to reevaluate where I was taking the story.

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 6.26.35 pm

While it might not be uncommon for me to write roughly NaNoWriMo-speed/word count each month, writing books is never easy: each book holds their own challenges, own joys, and it’s always, always a rewarding feeling to finish a book or round of edits. It’s been about a year since I’ve drafted something shiny and new, so indulging in that drafting experience sort of felt like coming home…as cliche as that sounds. And each time I write a novel, there’s always something new I learn, or have to relearn from past experiences. And so…

nano-2017-winner-badgeThings I learned/relearned during NaNoWriMo:

  • It’s 100% okay to let yourself write crap. This is basically how I got through NaNo. Because I let myself suck. Because I told myself revision comes later, and that right now, getting the story down was the important part.
  • Music is my anchor to my story. I learn this every time I write/revise a story. I literally cannot imagine writing without my playlists; I just don’t think the words could come (some more music from my NaNo WIP later in this post!!!)
  • I’ll never have the patience to be a rigorous plotter, but having a handful of key scenes I’m looking forward to writing helps so, so much.
  • I learned that finding my way of writing a book and not comparing myself to others is helpful, too. Keep your eyes down…and WORK. Everyone’s process is different. Embrace it, love it, and get that project you’re working on done.
  • I talked about this in my last post—where I suggested five ways to stay motivated during NaNo—and I seriously cannot stress the help of breaks enough. Often it feels like I’m wasting time, but in reality, it’s letting my brain/subconscious fill in the blanks for my novel or untangle plot holes.
  • Writing sprints are ah-mazing. They might not work for everyone—but they helped to keep me motivated and upped my word count a lot. And just being part of the amazingly passionate and kind writing community is motivating in itself.

And, as promised, here’s another track from my NaNo book’s playlist.

Really Slow Motion is QUICKLY becoming one of my favorite score-makers (alongside Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine), because every new song of theirs I discover just seems to blow me away. There’s just something so…uplifting and so determined about this song I love (and consequently reminds of my protagonist.)

Aaaand that’s all for today’s post. But I’ll be back later this month to look back over my 2017 writing goals & see just how many of them I’ve accomplished.

How did you go in NaNoWriMo 2017? Regardless of whether you won or not…be SO proud of your progress & accomplishments. What did you learn this year from the event? (And, holy hell guys, have you seen the trailer for the Avengers: Infinity War? It. Looks. SO. Good. I’ve already watched it an unhealthy amount of times…)


Currently reading: Still LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare, and still loving it. (P.S. Did you hear that she’s writing a brand-new epic fantasy series for adults!? Eeek, SO excited!!!)

Currently listening to: “Cronos” by Jo Blankenburg (this entire album is amazing, dude.)

NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo: Week Three (+ Five Ways to Stay Motivated)

WEEK THREE. NaNoWriMo-ers, we’re in the home stretch. One more week—and it’s all over. If you’re on target: AWESOME! If you’re behind: Just remember there’s still a handful of days to catch up, and if you don’t end up winning…then celebrate what you have done. This week I crossed the 50k (!!!!) mark on my Fae-inspired high fantasy novel, which was hugely exciting. I still have a fair way of the novel to go, and the inner editor is becoming demandingly loud…but I’m pushing forward. Now that I’ve technically completed NaNoWriMo, I’ve taken a step back from my WIP to breathe. To think. I talked about last week how week two could be challenging, and while I’m finding my WIP easier to work with this week…it’s still tough. Between my MacBook not working and life in general, I haven’t written a ton of words like I wanted to, so I finished off week two hovering at just past 54k.

To celebrate, I decided to binge-watch season two of Stranger Things, and holy hell, it’s addicting. I only have two episodes to go, and I reaaaallllyyyy don’t think I’ll be able to make them last. (FYI: The soundtrack is amazing. I get chills every time I listen to those opening credits & refuseeeeee to skip past them.)

I opened my NaNo Word Doc. for the first time in a few days…and the words just flowed (which, I swear, is the most amazing feeling a writer can have when drafting.) Right now I can see the ending. Last week, I only had a vague concept of where the novel was and how the characters would get there…but today, everything just fell into place, and I can’t wait to get it down on the page.

One of the hardest things about NaNo is definitely finding the motivation. It’s so easy to want to give up, so I put together five (hopefully helpful) ways that you can stay motivated as we near the end of the month.

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.

—Og Mandino

img_63901. Take a break. I’ve mentioned this before—but it can seriously do wonders. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where there’s a ton of trees and wildlife (almost literally at my back door.) Taking a break for half an hour/an hour isn’t going to ruin your chances on winning. Go for a walk, surround yourself with beautiful things. Do some chores. Bake some brownies (seriously…as I’m typing this, I’m devouring the most delicious hazelnut & chocolate-chip brownies I just made). Take a longgggg shower. Let your mind wander, and wait for the ideas to unfurl.

2. Join some writing sprints/word battles. This is one of my favorite parts of NaNo. Word battles! I’m super-competitive, and I always end up upping my word count a lot by the end of the day when I’ve done a few of these, and they’re always so, so, so much fun! Not only does your word count increase, but you get to connect/chat with other writers, too. There’s a bunch on Twitter (you can search for them easily with the #nanowrimo hashtag) and it’s always so much fun to watch other writers around you succeeding & reaching their daily goals.

3. Find that seed of inspiration—the one that made you want to write this book in the first place. That might sound super cliché and/or cheesy…but it’s true! Unabashedly fall in love with your story. Remind yourself why this story is so important to tell. Be fearless in your endeavour to tell your story. I’ve always had a love for elves/Fae (um, obsession might be more accurate… Yes, I’m looking at you, LOTR) and the various myths surrounding them. With my current WIP, I wanted a beautiful, lethal world, with something new around every corner. I wanted magic, and romance, mythical beasts and grand quests. I wanted a protagonist who’s been through bad things—but still they had not broken her.

4. Let go of the pressure. Tell yourself it’s okay if you don’t win. Progress is progress. Sometimes it’s slow—but it’s still progress. Don’t view yourself as a failure if you don’t reach the deadline. I’m one of those writers who can write very quickly—it’s just how my mind works—but everyone is different. I practically do NaNo every month. Right now, I’m positive this book SUCKS, and I’ll have to rewrite entire parts of it…but that’s simply how I work. There’s no good or bad way to write. You do what’s best for your creative process, because comparing yourself to other people’s successes is literally the WORST thing you can do during a time-sensitive venture.

5. Crank up the music. Block everything out. And write. (Or silence, if you prefer that, but music will always be my companion when I write & revise.) Write fearlessly. Write terribly. Put one word in front of the other, and write until you’ve reached your goal. Write on the train, or on the bus. Write in a café, or a library (or shut up in my room, like me.) Write, write, write, until the words pour out of you. Writing does not come easily for anyone—it’s hard work, and it’s supposed to be. But put one word in front of the other, and soon enough, you’ll reach your target, whether that’s 50k or not. Commit yourself to your story, love your story, and claim every moment of writing that you can.

If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.

—Les Brown

And to wrap up this week’s NaNoWriMo post, here’s a song from my WIP’s playlist.

Ivan Torrent is one of my favorite score/soundtrack artists. He’s incredibly talented, and this song just bursts with hope. It’s the perfect blend of adventure and magic and daydreams (with just that hint of trepidation at the beginning)…PERFECT for the scenes I’ve been writing lately. I can literally see the scenes playing out in my mind as I write this. (Another one of my absolute faovrites of Ivan Torrent’s is “Icarus” Ft. Julie Elven. So spine-chillingly breathtaking.)

To all those competing in NaNoWriMo—tell me how you’re doing! Do you have any tips on staying motivation during the month?


Currently reading: LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare (eeeeeek! I’ve been meaning to read this one for AGES!)

Currently listening to: “Bon Appétit” by Katy Perry Ft. Migos (So while I might not be the biggest Katy Perry fan… this song gets stuck in my head 24/7.)

NaNoWriMo · WIP · Writing

NaNoWriMo: Week Two

“Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel.”

—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

IMG-6428Sooo…week two! This is always a hard week for everyone, I think. Things change in week two. I realize what a huge undertaking NaNoWriMo is. Doubt is beginning to crawl along the edges of my mind. I mean, NaNoWriMo have even called it the “week two blues.” So you’re not alone. Thankfully, I’ve remained beyond target this week with 40k—meaning I’ve written just as much this week as I did last week (almost)—but it hasn’t been easy. Some days I’ve sat down and words have just been so achingly difficult. I find this happens when I reach this point with most of the books I write, too: I arrive at a place in the story where things HAVE to move forward, but most of the time I’m not sure how to get there. I mentioned in the last post I LOVE middles…and while that’s still true, I’m in the thick of the book where the plot feels stagnated, my characters are refusing to cooperate (which is ironically fitting as my protagonist is SUPER stubborn…), and I realize that I probably should have prepped more. Thank god for coffee…

But. Just. Keep. Going.

This is exactly what NaNoWriMo is about—writing when it gets tough, writing when you’re not sure you can write. Breathe in. Breathe out. You’ve got this. It’s about writing down the words now, and editing later, and getting down the core of the story—why you’re writing this particular book in the first place. So…breathe. Take a break. Bake some muffins. Go for a walk. Find a way to fall in love with your story, so much so that it banishes fears of failure. Let yourself daydream, let your mind wander. Sometimes the BEST writing happens when you’re not actually writing at all. Tell yourself it’s okay if you don’t win, because with writing, progress is all that matters. Crank up that inspirational music (a la Two Steps from Hell), shut out the world for a bit…and write.

… At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself all week.

And slowly, it’s been getting better. Scenes are beginning to pour out of me; I’m less frustrated; I have a clearer vision of what direction the book is taking. I’ve reached the part in my NaNo project where, as the toughness begins to pass and I become more familair with my characters, I can see the end in sight (or, at the very least, the end of NaNoWriMo). I now know where the story is headed, and I have a firm, but not set in stone, concept of how the characters will get there. And of course, I’m incredibly excited for the climatic scenes and big, explosive moments I’ve been dyinnggggg to write since I began the project.

Continuing in the same vein as the last couple of weeks, here’s a track that’s literally been getting me through week two of NaNoWriMo in one piece, by none other than the hands-down incredible Howard Shore. (The entire score for these three movies are just breathtaking. And this one…oh my gosh, CHILLS. This song literally inspired an entire scene/plot movement for this book.)

I’ve literally been listening to “The Grace of Undómiel” on repeat during certain scenes. It’s somehow hopeful & ethereal, as well as beautifully…sad. (And yes, it’s making me want to rewatch the entire series… Maybe after NaNo…)

Despite the fact that I’m 10k away from completely NaNoWriMo, I still have a TON of this novel left to complete that I’ll hopefully write over the rest of November/December, so for now, I intend to keep doing weekly updates of my NaNo progress! (…and let’s hope I can work out the kinks in this plot before moving on.)

And one last time for all the NaNoWriMo people out there who feel the same as I’ve been this week…

You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plow right ahead.

—George Lucas

Week two of NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. How are you going? What’s gotten you through this week of NaNo?


Currently reading: …again, nothing! But hopefully I’ll pick up a book once I’ve completed the 50k & will probably end up slowing down my pace.

Currently listening to: “Reputation” by Taylor Swift… Yes, I LOVE her new album.

NaNoWriMo · WIP · Writing

NaNoWriMo: Week One (+ Beautiful Books Link-Up!)

ONE week down of NaNoWriMo, three more to go… How is everyone going!? As I draft this post, I’ve reached 23k. So far, I’m SUPER pleased with my progress. I admit, it was a slow start for me—I think about 2k words on the first day—but after that, as I fell more in tune with my WIP, everything has been going much smoother (I mean…as smooth as writing can ever be.) I admit: part of my brain is still, even days later, stuck in my last WIP, but the more I write, the easier it is to open the Word Doc. and dive in straight away. In my last post, I mentioned that I would continue to share some of the music from my playlist that I’ve been using as inspiration … so this week’s is “Flames of Glory” by Really Slow Motion. ❤

I absolutely love the slow-build of this song, and how it’s full of so much hope and determination…and it REALLY reminds me of my protagonist. Whenever I’m feeling unsure in this MS, this is the song I go back to for inspiration.

bb-redone1So today, I’m linking up with Cait & Sky for the “Beautiful Books” link-up. I’m SUPER excited for this, because it fits perfectly in with my first NaNoWriMo weekly update.

(P.S. the lovely & kind & amazing Cait just recently announced her book deal and I am so excited. Go check it out!!)

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

Sort of talked about above, but well! I haven’t yet reached the I-hate-you stage of this WIP and words are coming fairly easily.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

I mentioned that I didn’t intend to share anything from this rough-rough-rough draft, but here we go. (FYI: this isn’t the first paragraph/sentence. Just something from this draft I think is somewhat passable.)

nanowrimo_17

3. Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?

My favorite character will ALWAYS be my protagonist. She’s full of light, and hope, and she’s 100% willing to fight for what she believes in, and for herself and her sisters.

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

This is so, so hard to choose. Because so far, I love everything about my novel. I love the bond shared between the three sisters; I love the concept of my Fae and griffins; I love the dangerous and beautiful world it’s set in. World building has always been a favorite element of writing fantasy to me, and it’s been incredibly fun (…so far) to craft this world!

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

Nothing that I’ve noticed so far, but oh my god, I just know that when I go through to revise/edit there will be so many of them. My last WIP (which I completed just before NaNoWriMo begun), was written in third person, whereas I chose first for my NaNo project. So, as my brain is still sort of in editing mode from my last WIP, I’ve been making embarrassingly stupid third/first person POV errors, and accidentally switching between them. (It’s SO not going to be fun correcting them. Gah.)

6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

It’s sort of cheating if I say “all of it”…but it’s true! I’ve been toying with this concept for just about a year now…so it’s all pouring out of me. Like I mentioned in my NaNo prep post, I’m not a huge planner, but so many scenes, characters, and settings have slowly been unfurling in my mind for what feels like forever. Beginnings are always challenging to write (have I started in the right place? Is it engaging enough? Is it easy enough to understand with a whole-new fantasy world setting?), so I sort of love them for that. I already know this beginning will undergo a whole lot of revision by the time I’m done with it. The middle is fun, too. For a lot of writers this is where the plot sags, but honestly, I see it as an opportunity to introduce new places and people, and plant the seeds for the ending scenes. The ending is always so much fun to write. When I write my endings, I’ll usually write them all in one sitting…because they’re scenes/ideas/concepts that I’ve been DYING to get out the entire time.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

Coffee. So much coffee. Too much coffee. I love to have a drink around me when I write (and edit.) But if it’s not coffee, then definitely tea. Right now I’m obsessing over a cranberry and pomegranate (I drunk SO much of this when I revised MIDNIGHT QUEEN… As it’s partly inspired by Hades & Persephone, it seemed fitting) & strawberry, loganberry, and raspberry tea. I don’t often eat while writing—a little too distracting—but music is a must. As is silence. I can write anytime, but I prefer nighttime when it’s quieter. Also…I am not a morning person. At all. And if you want to see a picture of my writing space, my first ever post on this blog was about that!

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone?

A little bit of both, I guess. It’s so nice to have a writing group to cheer you on, and writing sprints have definitely helped to increase my word count this week, but at the end of the day, drafting is often a solitary thing. I love to be completely, utterly wrapped up in my project, and I can only do that alone.

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

Music. My Pinterest boards (which I’m borderline obsessed with.) Coffee…or tea. And also: those handful of scenes that I’ve been dying to write. They give me a goal to reach for—something in the WIP to look forward to even when writing becomes like pulling teeth.

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

  1. EDIT. LATER.
  2. Take a break. Go for a walk & immerse yourself in nature, bake some cookies, write a blog post. Some space from your WIP will give you clarity, and might be enough to reignite your passion for it.
  3. Don’t freak out if you’re behind with your NaNoWriMo word count. Even if you don’t win, it doesn’t matter. Whether you write 100, 1000, or 10,000 words this month—it’s ALL good progress.

Bring on week two! How are you all faring? Any tips for when writing gets difficult? What’s your favorite thing about your WIP right now?


Currently reading: Nothing right now! Taking a tiny break during NaNoWriMo.

Currently listening to: “…Ready for It?” by Taylor Swift.

NaNoWriMo · WIP · Writing

NaNoWriMo Begins!

National Novel Writing Month has BEGUN! Which means that everyone’s diving head-first into their novels, scrambling to find their NaNo-prep, and banishing their inner editor to get 50,000 words done this month. To recap, I do intend to post weekly with updates, with the exception of this beginning post. I hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween yesterday, too, and although I usually stay up to midnight to write…I didn’t this year. Because apparently I’m an old lady, and I fell asleep.

As a reminder, you can follow me on Twitter (where I hope to do some sprints if people are interested) and the NaNoWriMo website where you can friend me/add me as a writing buddy.

I’m finishing up Day 1 of NaNoWriMo with the daily 1,667 words. Nothing more, nothing less (though I plan on REALLY adding some more numbers to that tomorrow.) Here’s the thing, though: Yesterday morning, after writing over 7k, I finished a redraft of the novel I’ve been working on since (roughly) the beginning of September. Reaching just over 75k, I’m so pleased with the way this draft has turned out. It’s so, so, SO much better than what I drafted late last year. Sort-of inspired by Norse mythology and my adoration for dragons/wyverns, it was INCREDIBLY fun to write, and my inner editor is already ticking away at elements I want to work on for the next round of revisions. I spent the rest of the day doing last minute prepping for NaNoWriMo, but it’s been a slooowww start as my brain is still stuck in the world of my last WIP.

“Creativity takes courage.”
—Henri Matisse

This isn’t my first time doing NaNo and hopefully won’t be the last…but I’m a little nervous. This year, I dedicated a lot of time to working the kinks from my WIPs. This meant heavily revising, tweaking, and sometimes even scrapping entire drafts and starting again, until they fit my vision. First drafts can be super-difficult that way: you KNOW it’s probably going to suck, but you have to keep going anyway. Like they say—you can’t edit a blank page. With the added pressure of the competition-feeling that NaNo brings with it… I’m not altogether surprised that, though the first day is down, I haven’t written as much as I know I can. It was fairly easy for me to finish off those last seven thousand-or-so words for my last WIP, so I can write quickly and smash out great numbers, but I know that this time around, it’s going to take me a little while to get back into that writing groove. Of letting myself suck, knowing I have time to fix it later.

You can fix anything but a blank page.”
—Nora Roberts

My novel this month will be an idea I’ve had since late last year, and I’m SO pleased I’ll be able to finally, finally write it. Loosely based in Celtic myths, it’s a high fantasy about Fae, sisterly-bonds, court politics, lightning, and griffins. (!!!) As usual, I have a growing playlist set up on my iTunes, and here’s the first track on the list, by the always-amazing Audiomachine. (And in case you’re wondering, I probably won’t share any excerpts from this WIP during the month, because it’s 100% going to be terrible. Hah.)

I fell in LOVE with this song the moment the ‘Worlds of Wonder’ album was released. Honestly, it reminds me so much of the book (especially the opening chapters.) I think I could listen to this song over and over again and never get tired of it. There are scenes from this book inspired by songs I’m aching to write, so I’ll share those inspirations as the month goes on, along with the weekly check-ins on how I’ve been doing.

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”
—Jack London

Good luck, NaNoWriMo-ers!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this month, or are you working on something else? Let me know what you’re writing below! And what are your sources of inspiration to get you through the month? Let me know what your NaNoWriMo username is, and I’ll add you as a buddy!


Currently reading: AN INTRODUCTION TO CELTIC MYTHOLOGY by David Bellingham (Research!)

Currently listening to: “Look At What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift. (I’m unashamedly in love with this song… so damn catchy!)