WIP · Writing

Some MIDNIGHT QUEEN Music & Persevering with Writing

I promised I’d have a new post up by the end of the month, so here we are! (Um. JUST.) I’m still working on MIDNIGHT QUEEN, which I’m probably about a quarter of the way through. I’m battling some minor health issues right now…so progress is slow. The last draft clocked in at 80k, and I’m expecting this redraft to be of a similar size (if not a little longer.) I’m still so obsessed with this book but I promise I won’t rant about it too much this post. I mean, even as I’m writing this post I’m aching to get back into the world and characters. To start—I thought I would share some of the tracks I’ve been listening to (almost on repeat) as I’m writing the book.

Okay, so the Snow White & the Huntsman film wasn’t amazing…but that soundtrack? Chills. Literal chills. It’s elegant and magical and romantic and just that little bit foreboding—everything I imagine and want MIDNIGHT QUEEN to be. This book was born from my love of fantasy-romances, as well as my ever-growing passion for mythology. (Like, seriously, don’t even get me started—because I won’t shut up about it.) Pretty much 90% of this soundtrack (James Newton Howard is a musical genius) is on my MQ playlist. If you guys have any music recs (soundtrack/classical), pleasseeeee let me know below. 🙂

So, today I wanted to talk about perseverance…and being a writer. Because really, they come hand-in-hand. You can’t be a writer and not be persistent. Because you are going to doubt yourself. You are going to wonder whether it’s even worth it. You are going to get stuck when writing/revising, and you are going to get up, brush off that frustration—and keep on going. One of the earliest pieces of advice about writing I’ve ever gotten has been that simple…and that hard.

Don’t.

Quit.

I’m one of the most stubborn people that I know. If I want something, then I’ll work as hard as I damn well can to make sure that I’ve achieved that dream. I’m shifting my writing visions now to sci-fi/fantasy, and I know, I know that it’s not going to be easy. It’s already not. I’m already doubting myself. I’m already asking myself if I can do this. Maybe I’ll find successes with my current WIP, maybe I won’t; but what I do know is that I’ll never reach my dreams as a full-time fantasy/sci-fi author if I don’t try.

Every writer out there—no matter how infallible you think they are—are going to have these moments of self-doubt. We all have that tiny voice in the back of our mind, questioning our dreams, fueling our doubts. But blast that inspirational music, open that Word doc., and try again. Because this book—and writing in general—means way, way, way too much to me to give up that easily.

I’m going to end this post with one of my favorite motivational quotes (by Louisa May Alcott)—

“…I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

So. Take a deep breath. Battle that storm.

Keep working hard.

And persevere.


Currently reading: THE GREEK MYTHS VOL. 2 by Robert Graves (a really, really detailed look at Greek mythology!!)

Currently listening toSwan Lake by Tchaikovsky

 

travel · WIP · Writing

Update! New Zealand & WIPs

So…I must confess that it’s been over two months since I last blogged. (Seriously?? The last time I blogged was Jan. 31st!? Where have the months gone?) But, I have good reason! I turned twenty in March, and at the end of the month my parents and I took a ten-day trip to New Zealand. So with that, along with working on MIDNIGHT QUEEN, I sort of let my blog slip through the cracks.

JMvkQ+EOSwipRes0iCcccg_thumb_6e3fI’ve been to NZ a couple of times before (once after I finished grade 9, and again early last year), and I have to say: it never gets old. It’s SUCH an incredible country, rich in both incredibly beautiful landscapes and culture, and honestly, I’m already mentally planning a trip of where I’d go next time. It rained a lot of the time, but the highlight of the trip was Hobbiton (!!!) and the Waitomo glowworm caves.

Being the massive Tolkien nerd that I am—I literally bought a copy of The Silmarillion while I was over there…it just seemed fitting—Hobbiton has been in my bucket list for years. And oh my gosh, it did NOT disappoint. Because wow. Just WOW. I definitely teared up a little on the bus ride there. I don’t even have the words to describe how amazing the set was…and even the photos I posted on Instagram pale in comparison to just how stunning the entire location is. Rolling green hills, the glimmering lake, the old mill, monarch butterflies landing on the well-tended flowers… Oh my god. It was like 1HxqOVeFSEinVgGBAldF4Q_thumb_71efsomething out of a fairytale. The beauty of the place rendered me speechless several times.

Yep. Aaaaaaannddd now I’m going to rewatch the entire trilogy.

Another massive highlight was the Waitomo glowworm caves. Because Jesus, the caves in themselves are incredibly beautiful: mysterious, dark…basically just one giant result of Mother Nature. Stalactites hung from zmqLgjQNSpS%APx%PLotlA_thumb_71a2the ceilings. A labyrinth of streams cut through the caves… it was just magical, and that was without seeing any glowworms. And rowing on the river through the caves was just…ethereal. An experience I doubt I’ll ever, ever forget. Entire constellations of glowworms clung to the ceiling and gave the cave an amazing blueish hue, and the atmosphere was so damn unearthly it literally felt like I was in another world. There’s absolutely no way my words can do that place justice.

I’m not going to ramble about New Zealand forever because I have a lot of other things to talk about, but addition to the photos here, there are heaps on my Instagram. Seriously, New Zealand is every photographer’s dream, and sorting through my iPhotos is already making me nostalgic and I literally just got back a few days ago (and I took an embarrassing amount of photos…)hQLkhkK8RgOg1rpTfbaG3A_thumb_72e7

So, to shift the subject, I’ve been thinking a lot about mythology lately. I read a lot of it, and some of my all-time favorite books/movies are usually in some way related to ancient myths and legends. It’s such a rich well of inspiration to draw from, and, being of Greek heritage, I’m pretty much obsessed with European culture/myths. As I’ve mentioned before, MIDNIGHT QUEEN is partly based on Hades and Persephone (amongst a bunch of other myths), so it’s something I’ve been doing a lot of research on as I revise it. I’ve always been fascinated with Greek mythology in general, but there was just something about the tale of Hades and Persephone that…called to me, I guess. I wanted to write a Hades-like character that was dark, arrogant, and ultimately flawed, but not evil. And Persephone herself has always entranced me, so I wanted to embody a character who was gentle and kind but also strong and fierce—she is the Queen of Hell after all. I wanted to write a Persephone-like character that didn’t submit to her Hades, but at the same time embraces the darkness he offers. And more importantly, I wanted to write the sort of Persephone that was revered, or even feared, among her people. (True story: there’s actual evidence that the Ancient Greeks, at the very least, respected Persephone. She wasn’t considered to just be Hades’ wife.) It’s a lot of fun to dig deep into Greek mythology and find the tiny details that are beginning to shape this novel.

And I really, really, really hope that one day I’ll get to share this tale with you all.

I’m currently about a quarter of the way through this draft of MIDNIGHT QUEEN and I’m falling in love with it all. over. again. That’s one of the best things about revising a novel—that love of clicking with your characters & plot again, and enjoying opening your word doc. every day. There’s so much mythology in this book—Greek, Celtic, Russian—and I’m extremely passionate about it all. Basically: this book is an amalgamation of everything I love: high fantasy, lethal magic, romance, mythology and folktales, and a queen who kicks ass.

All right, so: this post turned out to be a LOT longer than I intended… but I promise I’ll be blogging again—soon. I’ll have a post about writing & being persistent out before the end of the month. (I hope.) In the meantime, tell me what you’ve all been up to!


Currently reading: LORD OF THE FADING LANDS by C.L. Wilson

Currently listening to: The Dark Knight OST by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (This score legit gives me CHILLS.)

Currently watching: Brooklyn 99 (GUYS. THIS SHOW. Hilarious & addicting & such a binge-watchable show.)