NaNoWriMo · Writing

NaNoWriMo Prep

So… It’s that time of the year again! NaNoWriMo (or, for people who have no idea what I’m talking about, then National Novel Writing Month: aka where writers aim to write a book in a month—you can read more about it here!) is juuuuuussst around the corner. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure I’d compete this year. A few posts ago I talked about how I was a bit burnt out from writing and how I fell back in love with writing again & my current MS, and I realized this is the perfect way to continue that. I’ve spent most of…okay, all of…this year editing, revising, and sometimes completely rewriting some manuscripts from scratch. It’s been…interesting.

But I’m so, so excited to dive into this new concept, because it feels like it’s been forever since I’ve had a chance to let myself be bad at writing, since I’ve let myself draft something just for fun instead of revision (although I DO love revision.) I intend on working on my YA high fantasy Fae novel I’ve been aching to draft, because yes, I’m totally obsessed with anything and everything that’s elves/Fae related. I have a current working title, which I love, but I won’t share it yet incase it doesn’t stick.

I also plan on blogging weekly with my NaNo adventures, so keep an eye out for that. And add me as a writer buddy on the NaNoWriMo website, because I LOVE meeting new writer friends. 🙂 … And I think we’ll ALL need as much encouragement as possible to get through November in one piece. Join me on Twitter too, where I’m thinking about hosting some writing sprints throughout the month.

nano-2017-participant-badgeAs we’re nearing November, I’ve been thinking a lot about prep…and how I, personally, prep for NaNoWriMo. I’ve always been a bit of a pantser (if you don’t know, pantser = no plotting… Just winging it, basically), because I love to be surprised by the twists and turns in my story as I write it. But sometimes it’s not always the best approach. I know people who meticulously outline every detail of their novel, and others like me who finds that outlining rigidly kills the creative process. The more I write, the more I get to know how my writing process works, and how it changes with each novel I write, and how each novel is a different journey.

In saying that, I’ve realized I’m this strange amalgamation of a pantser and a plotter. Generally, before I write the novel, I’ve had the plot/concept/characters in my mind for some time. Before I write it, I have to be excited and passionate about the novel…or it’s just not going to work.

Prep-wise, here’s what I like to know before I start an exploratory draft:

  • The beginning (this is super important for me—if I’m stuck at the beginning then I’m just going to get frustrated, and want to quit.)
  • The middle and/or the major turning point in the story (for me, it doesn’t have to be a massive plot point—it might just be a shift in my protagonist’s attitude, a reveal of some sort, or something that pushes my characters toward their goals.)
  • The end (this is an obvious one, but I find it difficult to start a novel if I don’t know how it’s going to end, so knowing how the novel ties up helps me come up with key points along the way.)
  • A few key scenes I’m DYING to write (these are the scenes that are aching to spill out of me, the ones that, even when writing is tough, keep me going, because they just need to be written.)

I’ll also have a playlist ready to listen on a loop as I write, and I’ll share some of the songs with you guys during November. If you’re a visual plotter, then Pinterest is also an AWESOME way to prep…and totally counts as research. I’ve been plotting by hand, too, which I absolutely love, and do before every draft/set of revisions, because it makes the novel feel like, well, a real novel, and my perspective on the book changes.

And my final piece of advice

Write the novel that’s aching to be told. Write the tale that’s burning to be set free. Write the tale you’re not sure you can, because it seems too large, too scary, too raw. That’s the story you must tell.

Now I’m off to power through the rest of the novel I’m working on, so fingers crossed I’ll have it finished by the end of October.

Writers out there: Are you doing NaNoWriMo next month? How do YOU prep for the event?

P.S: Have you guys seen The Last Jedi trailer yet?!! Literally watched it about five times now, and I’m obsessed. The music, the voice-overs…I get chills every time. Can’t WAIT for this movie, and Rey looks completely badass.


Currently reading: Just finishing up CRIMSON BOUND (which is amazing!) I then intend to devour Beren and Lúthien. ❤

Currently listening to: Melodrama (Album) by Lorde.

Reading · Writing

Current Reads & What I’m Listening To

Hi, everyone! So, it’s October! Which means warmer weather (or, if you’re on the other side of the world, then autumn leaves and frost), candy (!!! I. Love. Halloween.) … and the one-month countdown to NaNoWriMo. I told myself last month I’d participate and I plan on holding myself to that, and if I’m successful, it’ll mean I’ll most likely complete ALL my writing goals for ’17. So: keep an eye out for later this month when I’ll blog about NaNo prep—and how I plan for the event (which might help some of you if you’re competing!)

It’s been a little while since I’ve talked about what I’m reading, and although I’ve been so slow at it lately, here are a few of the books that I’ve read recently & some of the ones sitting on my desk to be read.

fromthebeasttotheblonde2From Beast to the Blonde by Marina Warner. This is a fantastic, fantastic look at women in fairy-tales and folklore, and consequently quite feminist (which I freaking love.) While most of the non-fiction serves a purpose for my writing, I picked this one up on the whim because the title caught my attention, and while not strictly related to my writing, I love crafting female characters who are strong, and vulnerable, and real. So—if you’re a fan of females and their role in fairy-tales and folklore, I highly recommend!

29939048Roar by Cora Carmack. I haven’t read any of Cora Carmack’s contemporary romances, but as she’s been compared with J. Lynn (who is one of my all-time favorite romance authors—I LOVE her Wait For Me series) I intend on doing so soon. First off: this book sounds AMAZING, and everything I like in fantasy…so fingers crossed I’ll love it. Secondly: that cover is so gorgeous, and the cover for the sequel, Rage, is equally as beautiful.

images1Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. I’ve mentioned this before, but I was a HUGE fan of Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty. It enchanted me from the beginning and held me captive until the end, and Crimson Bound (so far) is exactly the same. I admit I was surprised at first to see it’s written in third-person-POV (whereas Cruel Beauty used first person), but Rosamund Hodge handles it beautifully. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to checking out the author’s other series, Bright Smoke, Cold Fire. Also: All of Rosamund Hodge’s titles are so beautiful.

BerenLuthienBeren and Lúthien by J. R.R. Tolkien. If you even remotely know me…then you’ll know I’m a massive Tolkien fan, and The Silmarillion is hands-down my favorite Tolkien book ever written. (I would pay good money to see this one adapted to screen, because oh my GOD, I think it has the potential to be breathtakingly amazing.) A tale similar to Arwen and Aragorn, Beren and Lúthien’s story was my favorite from The Silmarillion, so naturally, when I discovered Christopher Tolkien was releasing this? I was thrilled. (That—and there are totally gorgeous illustrations by Alan Lee, whose previous work with Tolkien’s books capture everything so perfectly.)

Music-wise, I’ve added a whole bunch of new songs to my writing playlists thanks to Two Steps from Hell and Audiomachine releasing new albums on the same day. It was like Christmas, and WOW. Both albums blew me away. They’re vastly different—whereas Unleashed (Two Steps from Hell) is badass and adventurous, Life (Audiomachine) is gloriously uplifting and beautiful. ❤ Music has always been an essential part of my plotting and writing process…and both these albums are just both so incredibly inspiring. I’ve talked a bit about how influential music is to me as a writer—and honestly just a person in general—and both these new albums were MORE than I could have hoped for. ❤

So if you guys love score/soundtrack music, then go check them out!

Additionally, I’ve been binge-listening to Lorde’s new album, which is FANTASTIC, and while I don’t usually listen to pop, or at the very least I’m super-selective about it, I love Melodrama and the new angle she’s taken on her music. And ‘Green Lights’ is such an uplifting, hopeful, new-beginnings sort of song… I just love it.

That’s it for this post, but later on this month I’ll have a new post on NaNoWriMo prep, and I’m even considering blogging weekly about my NaNo adventures…but we’ll see.

Readers and writers: Do you plan on doing NaNoWriMo ’17? What are you all currently reading? Any music you’re obsessed with right now?


Currently reading: CRIMSON BOUND by Rosamund Hodge.

Currently listening to: Basically just alternating between ‘Unleashed’ and ‘Life’ right now.

WIP · Writing

It’s Spring! + Writing Burn-Out

Hey, everyone! As much as I adore the cold weather, I’m super-glad it’s spring…because spring means so many glorious photography opportunities (and reading out in the sun and not getting icy-cold.) The flowers are in bloom, the skies are blue, and in Greek mythology, Persephone has returned from the Underworld and is raising the flowers from the winter-soaked soil with Demeter.

Here are a handful of my favorite shots from the past few weeks!

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Apart from photographing flowers… I’m a HUGE astronomy nerd. This was taken from my backyard!

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So, at the beginning of the year, I wrote an outline of what I wanted to complete by the end of the year writing-wise. I totally admit: it was VERY adventurous. But…I wanted to push myself. I wanted to see how much I could accomplish. I wanted to stretch those writing muscles to the very limit. It was a personal test of mine—to see if I could do everything on my adventurous writing list. It took me six months to write MIDNIGHT QUEEN, so by the time I’d redrafted that, I sort of figured: hey, I might not finish everything on my list, but I gave it a go, I tried, I did as best as I could, and I pushed myself. Once I let go of the pressure, I heavily revised (as in rewrote, like, 99% of it) TEOS in just under two months.

I now have only two things left of my list for the year. It’s September, and it’s completely doable. I’m a quick writer, too (not as quick as some writers out there, but I can still get a lot of words down in a day) so theoretically, it should be easy to tick off all my writing goals for ’17.

It’s also impossible for me to not have a working WIP. I love to have something to brainstorm about. Something to write, or fix, or plot…to daydream about.

But, like most writers, my creativity cycle ebbs and flows.

Sometimes inspiration crashes into me, and I can’t get the words down quick enough. Other times it feels like the world has sucked all the words from me, and this is one of those times. I think every writer goes through cycles of creativity, and sometimes it’s SO HARD to get out when you’re in a rut, like I am now.

Writing right now is…hard, like pulling teeth, but it’s getting better slowly. I think it’s been a culmination of things: Drafting and revising so much already this year, I feel sort of burnt-out. I not only needed to recharge, but find the love again in writing and my current project. I’m currently working on THE FLAMES ARE LEGION (a brief rundown of the plot: a wyvern-tamer is forced into taming/training the rising dragons for the tyrannical witch-queen of the Empire and her army) after not touching it for over six months, and it’s a strange, but exciting experience, to fall back into my volcano-ridden, ash-covered, blood-filled world.

I realized something last night: I needed to figure this WIP—and myself—out before I could push on with this draft. So this morning I woke up. Made myself a cup of coffee (or two…) and got to work. I spent most of the morning on this WIP, and I think I’m finally, finally, finally working my way out of the rut I’ve been in for weeks, and it’s slowly feeling like a weight’s been lifted from my shoulders. To reignite that writing spark, I did the following things:

1. I wrote a pitch/query, as well as a synopsis. I’m not a huge outliner; I prefer to be surprised by my stories and where they take me…but sometimes this leads to very muddled, very confused drafts (and I think in turn why I’m in such a rut.) This helped A LOT. I now have a clearer direction of where I want the story to go. I know my characters better, and how their emotional development affects the plot around them. I have an ending, too, as well as a way to set up into the next book in the series and the events to follow. I also focused on ramping up the tension between the characters, and how to twine some of my most beloved characters more closely into the plot.

2. I reread what I’ve already written—and decided that it wasn’t as crappy as I thought it once was. (Or at least I know there are ways to fix it in later drafts.)

3. I found a way to fall in love with my MS again. Writers can be so focused on trying to write the perfect story we forget to take a step back, forget about its flaws for a moment, and let ourselves fall back in love with it. For me it’s been finding the root of the story and the initial inspiration which has helped. My protagonist is a wyvern-tamer, and because I was so focused on what was wrong with the story, what needed to be done, just how much further I have to go on it… I kind of forgot how badass she is, and how much fun she is to write. Writing a synopsis and query has helped me realize that, okay, so while I might still have a long way to go until this novel is done-done, I love what I currently have of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what unknown twists will surprise me along the way.

To all the writers out there: How do YOU deal with a writing burn-out?


Currently reading: THE SONG RISING by Samantha Shannon

Currently listening to: Game of Thrones S7 score by Ramin Djawadi (!!!!)

P.S. guys: HOW GOOD WAS SEASON 7 OF GAME OF THRONES!? I was literally spellbound the entire time. From the music to the acting to the special effects… simply AMAZING. (And—well, dragons!) I need the next season NOW.

Reading · Writing

Fairy-Tales: Writing them, Reading them, & Why I Love Them

It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged… so, an update: Last blog post I shared a teaser from TEOS which I’ve then since finished (!!!). This draft finished up at 80k, and I plan to give myself a couple of months’ distance before looking at it again & editing. That way I can look at it with a clear mind, fresh eyes. Since finishing TEOS, I’ve been polishing THIS STORM RISING (which I’ve now done) and I know I’ve said it before—but I love this novel. I mean, I love all my novels, so it’s totally redundant saying that. I like to think of it as Star Wars meets White Collar, and although I don’t know if it’ll go anywhere (fingers crosssedddd) I seriously had a blast writing/editing it! (Even though my last round of edits was…painful. But going back to the characters and the world was seriously a joy.)

But today… fairy-tales. If you slap ‘retelling’ or ‘fairy-tale inspired’ on the back of a book, there’s a 100% chance I’ll read it. Hands down, retellings of myths and fairy-tales, are my favorite. No two stories are the same—ever. Every person is unique…and so are their stories. This rings true with fairy-tales and retellings, too, because while we all might read the same story, we all take away different things from it. Maybe you see Cinderella as weak—unable to stand up for herself. Or maybe you see her a kind, beautiful soul, even when she was treated like…cinders. Maybe you see Belle as foolhardy for loving the Beast…or maybe you see her as being brave for daring to love someone so seemingly monstrous.

(Also, as I’m writing this, I’m watching a livestream of the US total solar eclipse… and WOW. Total fairy-tale, mythic vibes.)

I confess: most of my books are inspired by fairy-tales. MIDNIGHT QUEEN, my YA fantasy, is a mash-up of “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Firebird”, and “Hades and Persephone” (as well as some Celtic and Norse myths.) THE EMPIRE OF STARS was inspired by “The Maiden with the Rose on her Forehead” (although since then has become more original than a retelling) with a few nods to “Cinderella” along the way. Even THIS STORM RISING, my epic sci-fi, has nods to myths and fairy-tales here and there.

I can’t pinpoint what it is I love so much about fairy-tales. I grew up on them. I sought them out in every book and movie I could. They’re are an endless, glorious source of inspiration for writers, and I love them for so many reasons. And they’re challenging to write, too: you might have an original source of inspiration…but it’s also your duty to find a way to make it unique. Write the same tale as the original, and people are going to notice (and complain.) Make it too different and it might not even be considered a retelling anymore. So it’s a fine line between creating something original and exciting—and telling the same tale again.

Research is crucial when writing retellings. Think of the unanswered questions, the What Ifs of the story, the fairy-tale’s origins. Blend it with other tales, fragments of mythology. Put it in a futuristic setting—a la Cinder by Marissa Meyer—make it different. Make the reader question what they thought of the tale, turn a beautiful world into a terrifying one, a terrifying one into a beautiful one.

DSC_0007One of my favorite retellings must be Splintered by A.G. Howard: it turned what I thought of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland on its head. It was no longer the carefree, pretty world Carroll made it out to be but a dark and terrifyingly seductive world that I LOVED and never wanted to leave. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi takes “Hades and Persephone” and blends it with Indian mythology into a sumptuous, beautiful romance. Cruel Beauty uses “Beauty and the Beast” and twists it into a Greek-styled world with a curse. Even Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass began as a re-imagined Cinderella that turned into an epic fantasy.

There’s an infinite amount of possibilities out there—so many ways to tell the one tale. Make the villain the hero. Make the hero the villain. Fairy-tales represent humanity in the most beautiful and terrible and raw ways; they give us hope and show us the way authors see the world around them through fantastical, richly-imagined tales. So now I’m off to look through my MSS to decide which project I’ll work on next (…And yes, I can guarantee it WILL be fairy-tale/mythology inspired in some way.)

So how about YOU? Do you enjoy fairy-tale retellings?


Currently reading: FEVERSONG by Karen Marie Moning

Currently listening to: Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov

Reading · WIP · Writing

Recent Book Recommendations, What I’ve Been Up To, & A Teaser From My Current WIP

Happy July, everyone! You’re either freezing your butt off, or you’re sweltering hot, and here in Australia, I love the fact that it’s winter. A perfect excuse to read out in the gentle winter sunshine and curl up in a sweater/in front of the heater at night.

I’ve been in such a huggeee reading slump lately, but oh my gosh, have I read some simply BRILLIANT books in the past weeks that are beginning to tease me from my slump! So, without further ado, here are some of the books I’ve been reading…

imagesTHE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi.

Simply amazing. I had to put this book down at several points so I could savor Chokshi’s lovely, heart-rendering prose. A blend of Indian mythology and the Greek tale of Hades & Persephone (which, as you know, is my favorite EVER), it had me enchanted from the beginning pages—literally. I read this book in one sitting; it was that good. Along with the gorgeous romance, I don’t have the words to describe the originality of this book. Read, read, read! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of A CROWN OF WISHES (which has a stunning title and cover. I love it as much as the first.)

images (1)THE CHOSEN by J.R. Ward.

I’ve been a fan of this series from book one, and several books later, J.R. Ward has not lost her flair for exceptional romances (that are very steamy, readers beware.) I’ve been waiting for Layla’s story for a long, long time, because heck, she deserves the world. I loved the deeper exploration of the characters and story, and had me hooked from beginning to end, and let’s face it: those Brothers are amazing (except Qhuinn—he deserves a kick up the ass.) I’m so, so looking forward to seeing where J.R. Ward takes the characters next.

 

images (2)WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones.

Oh, wow. Everything about this book had me spellbound. The writing, the lush world, the romance… It’s a book that’s really, really worth reading. It’s also fitting that it’s the middle of winter, and there was nothing lovelier than sitting curled up by the heater and utterly devouring this book. But more than anything, I felt this book. Lisel was such an incredible, raw character, and I truly felt her in my heart. Her pain, her triumphs, her anger—it was all so fabulously and painstakingly written. I adored the emotion in this book, and I’m really looking forward to finding out where S. Jae-Jones takes the story in SHADOWSONG.

I have SEVERAL amazing-looking books on my TBR—Frostblood, This Savage Song, The Flame in the Mist just to name a few waiting for me—and I can’t wait to dive into them. (So. Many. Good. Books. This. Year.)

Moving on…

If you don’t already know, another one of my passions/hobbies is photography, so when I recently got a new lens (a 35mm), I thought I’d test it out and share some of my favorite shots. (Which I’m super nervous about, because I’m fairly certain I still suck. I’ve put them in a slideshow below, which I’ve never done before…so I’m not 100% sure it works.) And… I love this lens. It’s a lot easier to handle in manual mode than my other lenses, so NO regrets in buying it at all.

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(Aaaaaand, if you’re interested in more of my photography, check out my Instagram!)

As I mentioned in my last post (which you can read here), I told you guys I started working on, or, more accurately, reworking an old MS called THE EMPIRE OF STARS—also known as TEOS as the title can be a little too much to write. So I thought it would be fun to share a teaser. It’s only short, but this comes from the very beginning of the book…which is probably one of my favorite parts. The beginning of a journey that’s very close to my heart.

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I’m incredibly excited about this novel for so many reasons…and I hope I get to share the rest of it with you guys one day. ❤


Currently reading: FROSTBLOOD by Elly Blake

Currently listening to: The Force Awakens OST by John Williams (Chills, guys, chills. Rey’s theme is so breathtaking.)

WIP · Writing

Why I Use Music to Plot + Five Things About My Current WIP

It’s recently occurred to me that I’m probably a bit of a workaholic when it comes to my own writing. I tend to get anxious when I’m not working on something…so I decided to dive into a new WIP the other day. I’m finally getting back to THE EMPIRE OF STARS, and gosh, I forgot just how much I love working on this book (as hard/frustrating as it can be.) Re-exploring it has been so much fun so far. And so today I thought I would share some music inspiration & some things about this novel.

It’s rare that I’m writing and not listening to music (Unless I REALLY need to concentrate on something.) I always seem to have my novel playlists going on in the background. A lot of writers I know do the same, too. For me it’s not only a way of visualizing the novel in my head, it literally inspires whole scenes, sometimes even characters. Most (okay, basically everything) is soundtrack-based and classical (LOVE ballet/Russian artist’s classical) and it’s just so, so inspirational to me.

 

 

I chose these tracks because BOTH inspired entire scenes from TEOS. Both are just so emotionally moving and although it’ll be awhile until I get to draft them, I’m really, really looking forward to them. One scene, inspired by Valse Sentimentale, is a pivotal point in my MC’s emotional development (well, technically, they both are, but this one maybe more so in some regards.) And oh my god, Hans Zimmer & James Newtown Howard are actually legends…and dude, it would sound incredible live. The entire soundtrack to the Batman movies, the three they scored, are downright incredible. Spine-chilling. And so, hopefully, is the scene I have planned. So basically, that’s how I plot my novels: Pinterest and music. ❤ (…Welllll, that and a lot of handwritten scrawls in my notebooks.)

And now…a bit about the novel.

1. I’ve been working on this novel since I was fifteen! I’m now twenty. So…that’s five years. It’s developed A LOT since the first draft (um, thankfully) and I’m heavily revising it yet again. I literally cannot stay away from this book. It’s my heart. It still hasn’t reached the vision I’m aiming for, but it goddamn will one day, because I just can’t give up this book. Will you ever see it on shelves one day? God, I hope so, because this book is my entire world. I believe in it endlessly.

2. My protagonist, Evony, was inspired a lot by the Morrigan. For all of you who aren’t OBSESSED with mythology as I am, the Morrigan is the Celtic goddess of war, death, and fate. (Fun fact! Her name either means Great Queen, or Phantom Queen.) She’s also often associated with ravens/crows. She’s always fascinated me, so I blended her character with my protagonist’s, and I adore the outcome. Evony is one of my favorite characters in the book—she’s lethal, not afraid to embrace her darkness, and very heart-driven…which gets her in a lot of hell, usually. (All the time.)

3. It’s fairy-tale inspired. I love, love, love fairy-tales. While THE EMPIRE OF STARS isn’t strictly a retelling, there are nods to some of my favorite tales (and pieces of mythology) here and there. Initially, the book was inspired by a pretty unknown tale called “The Maiden with the Rose on her Forehead” (which is literally about a girl about a rose growing from her forehead) and I seriously just found myself so…intrigued by the concept. I started thinking “Why” and “What if?” and, well, TEOS was born. There’s also a Cinderella aspect to it which I love…and I can’t wait to explore that more in this draft.

4. It’s about elves (aaaaand the inevitable rift between the mortal and the immortal)! Ever since LOTR, I’ve been fascinated by elves/Fae (…I also have another WIP mainly featuring Fae…SO excited to get to write that project. Hopefully sometime this year, too! It’s been gnawing at me for ages now.) Called the “highborn,” they’re arrogant, lethal, and my MC definitely has a bone to pick with a certain highborn lord she may or may not be in love with. This book involves perytons, too, which is a concept I NEVER see in books these days. Legit the most underrated mythological creature I know. They’re a mix between a stag & a bird.

5. My protagonist is sort of an anti-hero. Basically: she’s out for revenge against the people who wronged her. But she also has a gentle heart—and that mix between being out for revenge but being caught up in a much larger plot—is super fun to write! Evony is a character that’s been with me for years, so I know every little thing about her, and she has a wickedly fun (and terrible) past I hope that one day I’ll get to dive into! I’ve always be fascinated with the concept of good and evil—which a lot of what this series deals with—and more so the concept of a character whose teetering on the edge of darkness, I guess. Plus, Evony is a super capable woman who absolutely knows it and when push comes to shove, she can kick some serious butt (but, ultimately, is loyal and kind.) And this pic is DEAD-ON how I picture my MC, which is epic.

Annndd now I’m off to write more of this WIP. ❤ This post ended up wayyyyyy longer than I intended. So, writers/music-listeners out there! What do you love? Anything to recommend? And: I’m thinking of starting a regular music-inspired posts! What do you think? Let me know! And—what WIPs are you writing now? I’d love to hear about them.


Currently reading: THE BLACK SWAN by Mercedes Lackey

Currently listening to: The Runner by Zack Hemsey

WIP · Writing

The Importance of Female Characters in Sci-Fi/Fantasy

So, err, my resolution to blog more frequently hasn’t gone all too well lately, BUT! I have just finished my most recent round of revisions for MIDNIGHT QUEEN. I’m super happy with the way it turned out—although I am aware it does need a lot more tweaking to fit my vision of how it should be—but for now I’m pleased to have it…done. Which also means that I can focus on other things! I’m currently at the blissful stage of “What do I work on next!?” which is both terrifying and exciting…and one of the feelings I treasure most as a writer. And as I’m drafting this I’m combing through my current list of WIPs and deciding which one is beginning to be written/edited next. ❤

So this post comes on the heels of the release of Wonder Woman which I’m so, so, so excited to go see. (About TIME we get a female lead for a modern superhero film.) And of course, whenever a big-budget female-driven film is released there undoubtedly comes a ton of male criticism—or, just as bad, the need for this film to “prove itself” for more female-driven superhero films to be created. I’ve been meaning to draft this post for a while now on female leads in sci-fi/fantasy, and I can’t think of a better time.

Literally all protagonists I’ve written so far are female. A lot of my books (basically all) revolve around science-fiction or high fantasy. I grew up with an older brother, which meant Star Wars and computer games, and learned quite quickly that female presence in a central role in them…wasn’t a lot. As amazing as Leia Organa is, I wanted a female to be the one saving the galaxy; I wanted a female Luke Skywalker. I’m now eternally grateful for characters like Rey and Jyn Erso but sort of wish that I’d had women like that when I was a kid…hence why I write what I do now. For teens, especially. One of my current WIPs, THIS STORM RISING, is a YA sci-fi in the same vein as Star Wars and yep, you guessed it, my protagonist is female. She’s a thief, she’s a con-artist, she’s a character I intentionally put in this role because it felt like such a traditional…man’s role. (She was also sort of inspired by White Collar’s Neal Caffrey & Leverage’s Parker. Side note: if you’ve never watched these shows before, DO SO. They’re amazing.)

With my protagonist in THIS STORM RISING, I wanted to write a female character that challenged feminine stereotypes. I wanted to write a character whose femininity was viewed not as a weakness, but a strength. A woman with high standards and knows what she’s worth. I wanted to write a character who owned herself; her body, her sexuality, her own intelligence, and didn’t let the men around her—no matter how powerful they were—define who she is. She cares how her nails look and uses her beauty as a weapon…but she’s also not afraid to fight and get her hands dirty (both literally and figuratively, I guess.) She lives in one hell of a gray moral zone, kicks some MAJOR butt throughout the book, but ultimately, I want to craft her as a flawed human being that messes up. A lot. But neither does she let her mistakes define who she is—or how others see her.

It’s a novel I’m aching to get back to because the characters—the MC, particularly—mean the world to me in so many different ways.

So—chin up, ladies.

We rock this world.


Currently reading: THE CHOSEN by JR Ward (DAMNNN these books. <33333)

Currently listening to: The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky