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.)

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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!)

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 · 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