Writing is Hard | WIP Update | April 2021 | Vienna

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | March 2021 | Spring, Submissions & Moltres

Ahhhh April, yes. April so far as been a month of getting into a new routine. As the weather has been warming so has my writing. I cleaned my writing space up a quite a bit this month. I guess you could say I was…. spring cleaning lol. It was good for my head and it was good to head back into my WIP, The Lowell Saga (TLS). I cleaned up all my whiteboards and corkboards, then refreshed myself with my notes. Now I am going back through my rough first draft and making a storyboard/outline of all the scenes I have already written so I can better visualize and finally write out… the end… of draft 1 book 1. Wow…. still so much to do but guys…. this might actually be the year I finish a draft!!!

The first time I honestly ever really considered being a writer as a profession was when I was probably around 16 years old. This is a small story, a small memory really, that I will never forget. It was tiny and when I tell you it might not seem like much but in that moment it, and still today, it means a lot to me.

My family and I had gone to a craft festival. It was small, at a convention center not too far away, where all of these artists got to show off their wares and creations. My mom stopped at one particular booth. The artist was a photographer who had taken pictures from all over the world of letters in real life places. For example, a window in the shape of an “O” or a the arch on a bridge that looked like an “N” from just the right angle. Then he would take a frame and place all the pictures in a frame to spell out a word. I remember my mom wanted one really badly but she couldn’t think of what special word she wanted to frame and hang up in the house.

We paced around that whole showcase floor, all the while trying to think of the right word. We passed by so many vendors and artists selling all these beautiful, striking things. Music had been streaming through my headphones on the car ride here and I was totally zoned out… when this particular song came back into my head. I sang it over and over. Repeated my favorite verse again and again, humming it under my breath. The song was “Vienna” by Billy Joel.

That’s when I knew exactly what word. I told my mom and she agreed on the spot. Yes, that was it. That felt right.

Seeing all those artists following their hearts…. I knew one day I would have to write a book. At least try. Follow what my heart said even though it was risky, even though I didn’t know when I would attempt it… but that memory, that moment just solidified the dream in my heart. I was a step closer to deciding to follow my ….

“You got your passion, you got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true (Oooh)
When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?”

The Lowell Saga (TLS) really is where my heart is. As I am rereading my draft I just keep reminiscing and knowing why I wrote what I wrote. I can tell just how I felt skimming through a certain scene. I remember all the feelings that went into creating a certain character. I remember why I am doing this. Even if I had been lost, now I am being found.

This month I’ll introduce you to Quentin. He is brilliant, truly. But also cautious to a fault, and resigned with his life. Oh, my poor boy. Two Pokemon that would be on his team are Alakazam and Furret. Of all seven of my main characters I believe he deserves the world… but he has to go through a lot to get it. 😦

So the writing goes on. I’ll keep chipping at it, and some day I’ll get there. I have to finish this book. I have to. Even if no one reads it but me.

What are your special writing memories?

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word count: 72,183

Writing is Hard | WIP Update | March 2021 | Spring, Submissions & Moltres

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | February 2021 | Power of Notebooks

Hello Spring!! I’m glad you have finally arrived even if we have had a tumultuous relationship in the past. (I have had a tendency to get sick for the past two springs and I’m crossing my fingers this year will be different. ~MANIFEST~). Anywho, now that the days are getting longer my mood has perked up and so has my work ethic. I made a submission this month to one online literary magazine and am currently working on another to be submitted before March ends. Which all in all is excellent since I’m staying true to my 2021 resolution to KEEP WRITING!

This next trek into my writing journey takes me to the ripe age of around 15. When you’re 15 and high school is blah where do you turn? To your imagination on course! 😉 I’ve already told you about my ruddy red notebook in my previous writing posts but all I had were just a bunch of little stories a few hundred words or less in that. None much longer than that. Even though some of the writings that I did in that notebook and then later my black notebook, which followed after I finished my red one, were somewhat of a series I don’t really count it. Nowhere near the length of my Kingdom Hearts story (still lost in the void) that I mentioned a few writing posts ago.

My next full blown adventure into writing an actual long story was, *surprise*, another fan fiction and it stretched all the way back to my roots. Yes, y’all back to Pokemon.

It was going to be epic. I made my cousin and me the stars of said fan fiction and we were going to go on this epic quest to catch, like, all the legendary Pokemon out there. Starting with Moltres of course , who by the way the character based on me had an epic arc of bonding with said bird, while the world revolved around us into a full blown war zone. All the while leading to us then using the aforementioned legendary Pokemon we caught to take down the bad guys. Total self insert, and I am totally unashamed. For 15 year old me then and 25 year old me now I am still enthralled by the idea.

The point is though, that one story (that I never finished) snowballed and evolved and eventually became an entirely different story down the road. In a way it was young me learning how to draft. All throughout my room I have scattered notes about certain things that would have to happen in the story and I plotted out every character’s Pokemon team agonizingly. In fact I still do this today with every character I create. It’s a way of me bonding with them and figuring out their niche.

In fact two very special original characters from that Pokemon fan fiction were born. Now, they have evolved into key players in my current WIP, The Lowell Saga (TLS). I will even tell you their names lol. One is Catrina, and the other is Esmeralda. Catrina is my couch potato basically and Esmeralda is my flower child. And I love them both dearly.

Speaking of TLS, in between and around working on my submissions I did manage to get some writing in. I am still in the messy middle and figuring out out to get from Point A (the beginning) which is written to Point Z (the end) which is yet to be written but I do know what I want to happen. Now it’s just all the rest of the letters in-between. Sigh.

I find myself writing little notes to myself throughout this draft as I come up with some ideas of what I want to happen but as of late I just haven’t felt like writing it. I think I may skip around a bit more and see what happens. Not giving up though. Never giving up. Not in my character. But doing multiple things at once, oh yes that is me. Workaholic to the core, as well as an unfortunate procrastinator from time to time due to the very fear that lives in my bones. Okay, okay I’ll stop.

In the meantime though I am really vibing with just writing whatever I want. These books are going to be a real TRIP for you guys when you get to read them. Like, honestly. I am so weird and these characters are weird and this saga is going to be WEIRD. But also hopefully make you really sad and make you really happy. At least it will be memorable. Well, that’s the goal.

This time around I think I am going to introduce you a bit to Lowell. She comes from a family of 4, her mother, father, brother and her. Top three personality traits of hers are that she is original, longing, and confident. Two Pokemon on her team are Blaziken and Leafeon, and of all seven of my main characters she has the most secrets of them all. 😉

How is your writing going? How do you get to know your characters? Do you give them Pokemon teams like me, lol?

Ta ta for now dear readers,

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word count: 71,806

Writing is Hard | WIP Update | February 2021 | Power of Notebooks

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | January 2021 | Ruddy Red

This writing update is little bit of a detour but an important one I want to talk about. In my previous post I mentioned a ruddy red notebook I had that meant a lot to me growing up. Basically, it was the tangible version of my imagination. To this day it is one of my dearest treasures.

Is the writing in there absolute garbage? Yes, 100% and it will never see the light of day.

But it was an important step on my journey of becoming a writer. Hell, it was an important step on my journey of becoming me, and who I am today. So it’s precious.

I’m sure some of you, if not most, have kept a journal or notebook growing up. Whether it was just for writing down your thoughts, creating stories or scribbling out the daily struggles of living. Anyone else also, low-key, have a diary too when they were growing up? Lock and key included, do not open marked on the front.

Writing might seem like a chore to some but it’s valuable. It’s a written record of your thoughts, your emotions, your life told through memories or experiences or stories. It helps you remember where you came from and also very importantly where you want to go.

Also can I just say it is the one thing that will listen to your venting with no complaints? Just the paper, a pen and you. No judgment all around. It clears out the clutter of your anger, your embarrassment, and your sadness but also highlights your joy too.

Back then, when I was a wee lass, I had no intention of ever being a writer. In fact I think I never wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a hero. I watched cartoons ad infinitum because the characters were always saving the day. I read because magic was real when I saw it on the page. I played video games because I wanted to fight monsters with a sword. And when you are a kid the only chance you get to do that is through stories. (Mostly because your mom won’t let you out into the woods by yourself to see if there are Charmander waiting to be caught, but I digress.) The point is that a notebook changed my life in becoming an integral step to who I eventually wanted to be. A little thing that meant so much.

These were just thoughts I wanted to highlight and to see if they reach or resonate with any of you guys whether you write or read or do anything else. Food for thought.

You never know what you can discover as you just let your imagination run free and basically that’s what writers do every time they sit down to work. But it doesn’t just have to be a writer, it could be anyone.

So for February I stepped back into the muddy waters of my work in progress, The Lowell Saga or TLS for short. No lie there was a bit of a struggle at first to get acclimated back in. It’s like in the summer when it’s hot as balls outside but the pool is Antartica. Sometimes you have to tread in slowly and other times you just cannonball right in. February needed slow treading but as I write this I am fully submerged back into the story, the chlorine reaching right over my shoulders. (Also, low key, kinda loving this analogy.)

I couldn’t write everyday BUT I wrote a little most days and my word count is slowly climbing back up. I would like to get back up to at least writing 1,000 words a day, and even though I’m not there yet I know I’ll get there. I’m a slow writer so I bow down to those of you who can bang out 5K in a sitting. Maybe one day I’ll get there too, who knows? Never say never!

(Me, bowing down to y’all)

I would say I’m in the middle bit of the story now. The messy middle I like to think of it as honestly. The beginning is down and the end I can see. The middle though, like I mentioned, is messy. This part has the most room I guess for my creativity to expand is the nicest way to phrase it. I’ve gotten a bit stuck here and there but whenever I do I reach out to… the internet!

Neil Gaimon gave some great advice about whenever you are stuck to always go back to what your characters want. And he is 100% right. Whenever I get stuck I rely on that and then I find the answer to drive my story forward. Susan Dennard also gave some great advice when she talked about the wonder of ‘magical cookie’ scenes! These are the scenes you want to write that propel the story forward as well. So if I combine the advice of two of my favorite authors I find I’m writing scenes I actually enjoy writing and the story keeps moving! The only downside to doing this is I am going to have to string together all these scenes cohesively in later drafts but that’s a problem for a later day!

Let us just get this first draft down, am I right?

So guys how are your WIP going? Do you have any tips for writing the middle? Let’s talk!

Till next time,

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word count: 66,772

Writing is Hard | WIP Update | January 2021 | Ruddy Red

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | November 2020 | NaNoWriMo Heaven and Hell

It has been a day. And, by a day, I mean that the last time I had a WIP update post was around November. So… it’s been a day that lasted two months. Lol. After taking some much needed time off in December though I am ready to jump back in.

So… where did I last leave off with my story? Ahhh yes. The ruddy red notebook.

In that notebook I created my first original character, that first character who… will play a very important role in The Lowell Saga, that first character who’s… secrets I can’t tell yet because their existence is such a game changer that I can’t even say more lest you be spoiled for this brilliant epic I am writing (lololololololol). Man that was a sentence, phew. For now though let’s call them Gale. I was sixteen.

I was also sixteen the two months later when I created my second original character. Oh, and boy was this one the exact opposite of Gale. Exact. Opposite. For now his name will be T. T also plays a major role in The Lowell Saga aka TLS for future reference so I can’t say much about him either. (Guys, guys I know I’m keeping this WIP tight under wraps but as soon as I can I promise to share more.) Needless to say this notebook was the unofficial start of TLS. Along with all of my at the time anime/video game obsessed fan fiction.

I was seventeen when I created Zelda. Her name has since been changed but for now that’s what we shall call her. She was going to originally star in TLS since she was so near and dear to my heart when she was first created, the beautiful bitter shadow of a girl that she is, but as of today is a key character in another completely different WIP simmering in the back of my mind. If you look back at my previous writing update I mentioned writing a story called Origins for NaNo 2019 and that’s her current place of residence and in hindsight that story fits her A LOT better than TLS. I’ll get to that story one day.

A symbol of a blue rose also appeared a lot as a motif in my writings in that notebook. If you notice on my blog and even in my little divider image below that symbol stuck. It became a motif I resonated with and decided to make my own along with my other favorite symbol, a key. Flowers have many meanings and the meanings even differ by what color they are. For my blog and who I want to be as a writer the blue rose fits. As does the key. *wink, wink*

I went on to create more and more characters in that notebook all of who I bet will end up in one of my stories some day. Being 25 and looking back on it now, I’m a little amazed. To think all those scribbles would one day define my life and who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do…

On the very last page of the notebook I wrote a sad ending because at last I had run out of paper. I was eighteen at the time, still in my first year of college, and a different person then than I am today. That girl was unsure, insecure and probably a little depressed. The girl writing this blog post now (*grinning*) has come a long, long way.

For now I’m still making headway on the first draft of TLS. I took some time off in December to recharge and now I’m spending January getting myself organized so that way in February I can start working on it every day again. See? I have a plan. Lol.

I’ll continue sharing my progress with this story as I go. It’s a way to hold myself accountable, connect with other writers and in the long run work on improving my process for the future.

For all you out there with a story burning in your soul, never let that fire die. We are in this together and our stories have voices that the world needs to hear.

Stay strong and continue on.

Never stop writing.

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Update | November 2020 | NaNoWriMo Heaven and Hell

Previous Post: Writing is Hard | WIP | October 2020 | Catching All Those Falling Stars

Alright.

Guys.

You know. You are all aware. If you’ve been reading the last few of my personal updates or if you are a writer then you know.

NaNoWriMo. My WIP post this time around is dedicated to all things NaNo.

The first time I ever competed in NaNo was 2017. I had just graduated college and was working my first full time job. But life was not on my side. I wanted to be a writer but I had a degree I wanted nothing to do with and was working a job that was putting me into a depression. I don’t want to get into the gritty details but all you need to know is my mental health wasn’t the greatest. My only solace was reading in my car on my lunch breaks and surreptitiously writing post it notes of story ideas at my cubicle. At the time the story I was working on wasn’t The Lowell Saga, which is my current NaNo project. The Lowell Saga was born in the spring semester of my senior year at college. Though, for my first NaNo, a different story came to mind. At the time it was called Tricked.

For NaNo in 2018, I was working a different job. I had survived a previous bad year that I didn’t know would get a lot worse and finally culminate in the middle of 2019. Still, I attempted NaNo again. Again, I attempted to work on Tricked. I preformed word count wise even worse than I did in 2017. My different job was grating on my mental health in a different way than my first job was. This time I wasn’t depressed but I became extremely anxious to the point of nearly having a mental breakdown every Friday night. Then in December I had to have surprise surgery where I nearly asphyxiated. But that wasn’t even as bad as it was going to get. Spring of 2019 I quit my second job and then fell down another rabbit hole of sickness. It was a dark, dark time. The darkest ever probably in my life thus far.

In November of 2019, I was finally finally working a day job I loved. But, my writing was falling flat. I wasn’t inspired in the slightest and I was still trying to work on Tricked, except now I had changed the vibe of the story and renamed it Origins. I preformed worse than I did in 2018.

2020 was the year everything was going to change. And it did. For all of us.

2020 was both a terrible year and a great year. At least for me. It was terrible because everything in the world went to shit. But, I believe there was some universal divine plan to all of it. I have to believe that. I know some of you out there believe it too. Through all this garbage that is 2020 I know we have found some silver linings. I’ll start with the garbage though. I caught COVID-19 at the end of March. I thankfully didn’t have it as bad as others but let me tell you, it is very disconcerting to lose your sense of taste and smell. Honestly.

I had to take a leave from work but in that leave all of my writing inspiration came back to me. SILVER LINING. I decided to shelve Origins for more simmering and went back to my original beloved WIP The Lowell Saga. I researched the hell out of the story, I read a lot of information about story building and just writing in general and I got myself back on track. October I spent so much time prepping and starting to write that way this time for NaNo I would be ready.

Let me tell you I was ready. Still am, since by the time I’m posting this NaNo is still ongoing. This is my current word count:

Guys. Guys. Guys. DO YOU SEE? LOOK! I’m just over 36,000 words deep!!! I’m so happy I could cry. I’m doing so much better. So. Much. Better.

Guys if you don’t have the inspiration now don’t worry. Don’t. Worry. It will come. I promise. As long as you keep believing in your dream and striving it will come.

The first thing I do after I wake up and eat my breakfast is write, then I head to work. If I decided I need more sleep in the morning then I shift my writing to at night. I’m striving to make it work. And the words are flowing. Finally. You have to build that habit, it is so important. But you also have to listen to your body and take care of your self.

I’ve learned that simmering is part of my process. The Lowell Saga simmered for three years before it decided it needed to be written now in the hell year of 2020 which I’m taking as a heaven sent blessing in disguise. Origins is simmering now but I plan on one day going back to it after The Lowell Saga has its say.

Another aspect I’ve been implementing is just writing the scenes I want to write. I’m not writing linearly (which is how I always used to write) and I’m loving it so much more. I will need to connect everything later but I’m not worried. I’ll get to it. One day soon I hope to share more information about my WIP with you all. Once I finish the first draft of the first book of this four book saga I’ll dedicate a whole post about it so hopefully some of you can get just as excited as I am about it. ❤

The most important thing though, which I say all the time but always bears repeating, is just to keep writing. Keep striving. Don’t give up. If you want this dream you have to work for it. It will not be handed to you. But… fortune does favor the bold. 😉

Stay bold, stay strong and let’s finish NaNo this year.

For those of you who are participating, I’d love to hear about your progress and struggles! We are in it together and I’m cheering you all on!!

Till next time,

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word count: 36,405

The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag! (2020 Edition)

Yes everyone, it is that time of year once again. Time to shutter all the windows, grab all the blankets, stock up on all the chocolate, hoard all the caffeine and keep all the laptops charged to the nines. Yes, I fear it is that time again. NaNoWriMo is almost upon us!!

This will be my fourth year participating and because I don’t want to lock myself into any boxes I’m just setting the simple goal of working on my first draft for my WIP The Lowell Saga. No numbers, no time limits. Just the simple goal of continuing to write. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know this has been my goal for a while. As I go on, I am coming to learn more about myself and my process which is awesome and very beneficial for figuring out what works best for me. And with that hope, every year I get a little closer to achieving my dream. To one day publish a book! That’s a dream I’m sure a lot of us share.

Thank you to the lovely Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag (hope all is well with you Soph!) and of course to the wonderful Juli @ Kozy Words for tagging me to participate in it this year! Now, without further ado…

Rules:

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

(Most of this is tentative and subject to change but this is the general idea!)
There is something wrong in The Lands but it has been that way for far too long. Selfishness, deceit, and corruption are an every day part of the lives of the denizens and at this point… who cares? Lowell Ryan, fresh out of the Academy, has no illusions about the world she lives in but she is not going to let that stop her from chasing down her childhood obsession. Shizuka has been underestimated and ignored for too long in her position in The Lands police force and when a mysterious death gives her the opportunity to rise the ranks she will do anything to get what she wants. Unlike the other two, Quentin just wants a simple life but life for him life was never destined to be simple. History of The Lands may have already come and gone but Lowell’s obsession with the Gods of Old sets her heart on discovering their long lost talismans’ said to have mystical powers. If she can find them, it will set her and her comrades up for making their dreams come true. With Shizuka hired as protection and Quentin enlisted as a strategist this trio is in for a hell of a treasure hunt.

What’s the genre?

New Adult, most assuredly, with a buckets of fantasy thrown on top. Also, a seasoning of magical realism vibes.

Describe your MC in three words.

Well… technically I have three main characters! I’ll describe Quentin though. He’s brilliant and cautious, but complacent.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Honest, illusive, and vengeful.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

Very simple goal this year! Just to keep working on my first draft. Short and sweet!

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

This is the first draft technically. Although, I started this story before three years ago and wrote a good amount of words then. Every year since I continuously wrote a little here and there with snippets about the plot and the characters. As you can see the story never left my mind lol, but this year I started fresh and am truly trying to finish the first draft instead of prattling around. But oh, how I love to prattle.

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I guess you could say sort of continuing an existing one while at the same time it is also a new and fresh draft. Does that answer your question? 😉

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Ideally, the morning. (Although, I used to be a hardcore night writer!) I’m going to try again to wake up earlier to write before work, like I did last year.

Where are you going to write?

More than likely at home (since we are in the unfortunate position of being in a global pandemic…).

Computer or paper?

Some of my notes will be on paper but most will be on the computer. The draft itself is going to be typed on the computer.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

Sheer force of will.

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

Probably not, if I am being realistic. But I won’t totally write them off. It’s just that my schedule is very erratic as it is.

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

I used to have to draft beginning to end. LOL, NOT ANYMORE. I am the Queen of skipping around now. Who needs a linear time line when your brain can barely function in a straight line anyway?

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser, 100%. A healthy dose of outlining so I have an idea of the beginning, middle and end. Then, an unhealthy dose of let’s just get writing and see what the heck happens. (This is the exact same response I gave last year when I did this tag and it still holds water.)

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

I don’t usually eat when I’m writing. My favorite snack though are those Snyder Sourdough Nibblers!! I LOVE those. Like, a lot. Honestly, maybe too much.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

Caffeine. Caffeine. Caffeine. In the form of some coffee and mostly tea please.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

I really should think of a reward for myself. This one is TBD.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

Have fun, really. Life is weird and terrible and wonderful. If you can have fun then have fun! It will show in your writing and make the story all that much better. All my best work sprouted from when I was enjoying what I was writing!

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

Anticipatory. I know November will be here any second.

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

(Photos by Dariusz Sankowski, Holly MandarichSteve HalamaSandeep Swarnkar, and Oleksandra Bardash on Unsplash.)

Tags

NaNoWriMo is nearly here! I don’t know if I’m ready but when am I ever ready? Sometimes you just have to grab your sword and jump into the fight. If you are participating this year I’d love to hear about the stories you’ll be writing in the comments below!!

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP | October 2020 | Catching All Those Falling Stars

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | September 2020 | Hero Complex

I was fifteen when I started to write regularly. Every summer before school would start in September my mother would take my brother and me to Staples to get our supplies. That year I had an extra notebook that I didn’t need for school and that’s where something else began… I didn’t know it at the time but with that notebook, I would come to hand write short story upon short story… upon short story. It was a three subject spiral notebook, totally normal in every way even down to its ruddy red cover. But that notebook became my secret world.

Since I was still reeling off Final Fantasy VII, I got hooked on the just announced Final Fantasy Versus XIII (now known as FFXV for those who are curious; that is how long ago this was and how long that game was stuck in development hell, but I digress). All that fan fiction took up the first rush of pages, then I dropped back into the Pokemon fandom for a bit, and then Howl’s Moving Castle for a spell and then came Hetalia and Katekyo Hitman Reborn and then Durarara! and Bleach and Fruits Basket and oh so many others. Just typing all those series’ down brings back the rush of memories. Growing up with all those stories manifested from the brilliant minds of so many different creators got me through and helped me make a few close friends to survive high school with. Back then, if it wasn’t already obvious I spent a lot of time in my imagination. Maybe it was inevitable that I would eventually want to be an author. Even though for a long time growing up I didn’t want to become a writer. But that’s a story for a different time. At that time in my life all I needed was a place to vent my feelings and get lost in someplace that wasn’t the real world. Maybe that was why it was so easy to fill that notebook up with words.

It was two years later after starting that notebook that I created my first original character. Not a self insert or someone to fit in some other person’s world. He was mine, all mine. He has survived to this day and believe it or not plays a significant role in my current WIP The Lowell Saga. As you can see I love him dearly. He hasn’t even changed much from his original design. His core personality is still present, and even his name is the same. I would reveal more but he plays a sort of big, influential role and I don’t want to spoil anything for when this book finally sees the light of day.

I am honestly… really proud of myself this month? Again? Wow. I started to wake up a bit earlier before work to get some writing in, like I did last year around this time and so far it has been working. Just a half hour but it is still progress. Little by little. Something is better than nothing. Because one day all those little somethings add up, but you can’t add up nothing. Nothing just creates more nothing.

I find that (if you have been with me from the beginning you already know) I always struggle to finish a first draft. Beginnings are so easy for me. I can write a million beginnings. Middles are okay, I reach them half of the time. The end is something I have never seen. But I will. With this WIP I will. Positive affirmations and manifesting all the wayyyyyyyyy. Especially with it being that special time of year.

Yes NaNoWriMo time is almost upon us and I have decided to participate! Will I set a goal of 50,000 words? Probably not because that is not how I operate, something it took me years to learn. Will I try to write every day and see where it takes me? Probably more along those lines of thinking but I don’t want to lock myself in a box. As we all know, life happens… and we have to account for that. Will I keep hustling away at that first draft? Definitely, 100% yes yes yes. Maybe I’ll make that my goal. Just keep writing.

What I find working for me, which I didn’t do previously, is that I write the scenes that I want to write instead of going in chronological order. My draft may be a mess but it is still a draft and the words are coming and that is better than nothing. Something is always better than nothing. I’m also not getting hung up on making everything perfect the first go round (which is impossible anyway since nothing is perfect, something else I am learning and willing to entrench into my mind) and am leaving blank spaces or gaps where I need to fill in details that I just don’t have right now. I will eventually. But not right now. My Preptober is just building the habit that way I’ll have an easier time once November blows in. I mean I already spent a lot of time researching this year and outlining and planning. So now the implementation is in progress. Write, write, write.

Legit, do any writers know what they are doing? I don’t really, if I am being honest. I’m a very intuitive person and am going with my gut instinct here. Which, thankfully, has never failed me. I know there are a few writers out there that do have an idea (and please drop me a line cause I feel like I’m flailing in the sea out here) but as for the rest of us let’s make this November a memorable one. Let’s make it count. If you have a dream you have to try right? Or it will die with the falling stars…

And I won’t let any stars (or dreams) die on my watch. Not when they could became a beautiful reality.

I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer. I’ll say it over and over till I feel it’s true. But I do write. Therefore…

I am a writer. We are all writers, here.

But if I’m being honest some part of me still doesn’t believe it. Not till I finish a first draft at least. I have to do it. I want to do it. I’m going to do it.

We are all going to do it. I believe.

Till next time happy writing!

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word count: 8,541

To Wear the Mask, or To Not Wear the Mask? | A Discussion Post about Halloween and Our Costumes

‘Sup my pumpkins,

Happy October!! Only one of the greatest months of the year, only one of the most pleasant weather months in the year (at least where I live), andddddd the ONLY month in which we celebrate Halloween… you see where I’m going with this?

I’m back with another discussion post this month! This time I want to hear all about your costumes!! I want to hear from everyone. Those who have been planning their costumes months in advance, those who decide to dress up very last minute and even those who don’t like Halloween and definitely, will not, in no way dress up. I want to hear from you all and your reasonings behind why you don’t wear a costume (if you don’t) and why you do wear a costume (if you choose to!) and how you pick who you want to be. I’m honestly really curious about this and can’t wait to see your responses in this lovely autumn, candy induced coma, magic of a month’s discussion post!

Origins

The origins of Halloween reach all the way back to nearly 2,000 years ago when the Celts walked the earth, and celebrated the end of the year with their festival of Samhain as summer was coming to near death and winter coming to near breath. The Celts believed that the boundaries between the living and the dead were very blurred during this time and therefore they lit bonfires, burned crops, sacrificed livestock and wore costumes all for their gods. At least according to History.com. Winter marked the start of their new year and prophecies were told and fortunes read. The spirits that were said to walk on this night tended to cause trouble and mischief but their presence made it easier for the priests to predict the future of the coming year. The Celts wore costumes to revere the spirits and also to dispel or ward off the more undesirable ones.

To Costume, or To Not Costume?

So that leaves us today in the modern world. I know there are plenty of people out there who don’t celebrate Halloween. Maybe it’s too childish for some or maybe they just don’t like spooky stuff or maybe… for any other myriad of reasons. Everyone’s opinion is valid!!

Then that leaves the rest of us. Those who wake up, feel the disturbed magical air, and decide to put on the costume.

Now this is where I can get super philosophical and argue that there are those of us humans who put on the mask everyday no matter if it’s October 31st or not. Those who hide their true selves anyway. Those with uniforms of ties, lipstick and shiny polished shoes that don’t match who we are on the inside in the slightest. Does that make Halloween any different then any other day of the year then if you think about it that way?

(Everyone has their own personal demons or spirits to contend with.)

Everyone of us has worn a mask at some point in our lives. Everyone. Halloween though is the only day when it is outright encouraged.

Now this is where it gets interesting. I’m curious as to how everyone chooses their costumes. I know for me the last four years I have been Jessica Jones. No. Lie.

And I’ll tell you exactly why. Now I know Jessica is far from the true blue hero that is Captain America. (Trust me, I know and I love him too.) But Jessica is in no way true blue, she’s black. She doesn’t have an optimistic, can do attitude, in fact she is much more on the pessimistic side. Not to mention she is most assuredly, undoubtably, an alcoholic. Despite all this though, she is a character who impacted me deeply.

The core of the reason why I have chosen to be her for the past four years is because when I dress up for Halloween I pick someone who I resonate with. Despite all of her flaws, and she has plenty, Jessica is one of my heroes. Someone with qualities I wish were my own. (No, not the alcoholism or the pessimism or foul mouth or lack of self worth). Those flaws though are what make her relatable and make her human. Without them she probably wouldn’t’ have hit my soul as hard as she did, and make her other more favorable qualities shine. So what did sucker punch my soul about her? When I pick my costume I always make it personal.

Jessica had a rough upbringing. A traumatic childhood accident in losing her family at an early age, the rough experience and isolation of having super powers through her life, and, of course not to mention, all the strings attached to Killgrave and what he did to her. Despite that though Jessica, for the people she loved, found the will to have courage and face her fears. That to me is truly inspiring and is one of the greatest marvels of humanity that I will never get tired of. The power of love to make us rise above ourselves and have courage to face something near unfaceable. It gets me every time.

Also, growing up on the shorter and tinier side I’ve had my own fair share of experience of being overlooked. Then you have Jessica, a skinny smallish woman, who can fucking lift an entire 16 wheeler over her head. I mean, GOALS. Never underestimate us so called little girls. We are so much more powerful than the world will give us credit for, and when I saw Jess back in 2015 I really started believing it.

Not to mention, her tough personality. Jessica Jones sees your bullshit and looks right through it. I love that. Her personality has no hold for your mask, your lies. She is a private investigator and her job description is to legit find out all the dirty little secrets of who you are.

Jessica Jones is my hero. She is someone who has qualities I admire and hope to one day incorporate into my own personal being. The courage, the strength, the no time for your bullshit attitude. These are all characteristics I wish I had more of. So every year, I try to harness her energy for Halloween and I’ve come to find each year I get a little closer to being the person I want to be. That’s how I decide on my costume, at least.

What about you guys though? If you don’t dress up, tell me why. If you do dress up, tell me why. Do you pick your costume on someone who inspires you (like me)? Do pick a character arbitrarily? Do you pick a costume based on humor? Do you pick a costume for the scare factor? Do you pick someone or something that has no resemblance to you whatsoever?

I’m really so curious!! To each and every one of you, thank you for reading my ramblings haha! May Autumn’s reign be long this year and may you each have a very happy, or haunted, Halloween!

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Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | September 2020 | Hero Complex

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | August 2020 | Roxas

Okay who’s ready for the next tale in my adventure of writing?

Yes y’all, it is time for the Final Fantasy VII craze. So naturally, after I got absorbed in Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy had to follow. Naturally.

If you have ever played the video games you understand what I mean but just in case you haven’t I’ll put a little background in. Kingdom Hearts is essentially a delicious stew of nearly every popular Disney movie and Final Final Fantasy game thrown into one. So. Of course when it became one of my favorite things, naturally because Final Fantasy is a part of it, that also become one of my favorite things. Deductive reasoning at its finest there, folks.

I’ll spare you the tedious details and get straight to the point. I started with the original Final Fantasy because young!Jai thought that I would need to start at the beginning to understand (oh I was such a novice!) and after being so unenamored with it I THEN learned that each game had it’s own story. So naturally I jumped right to Final Fantasy VII. The most popular game in the whole franchise. And coincidently (and I say that ironically because I don’t believe in coincidences) a new spinoff game had just recently came out. For those of you that are familiar it was Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. That dates me to being around 14-15. And that is when I met Zack Fair.

(I mean come on… look at this PUPPY)

You thought my Roxas obsession was bad, it couldn’t even compare to how I felt about Zack. Well, still feel. This man affected me so much that I think I might have developed a hero complex from him and still, to this day, I can’t play the ending of Crisis Core. I stopped right before the last chapter and I know I will never play through it. Ever. But, let’s move on to the brighter side of things.

(Aerith, my beautiful flower, nothing brighter than her)

From this new interest, I started to write drabbles. What is a drabble? Basically, it’s a short piece of writing under 1,000 words (though some are longer, and some super short) without any real plot but to draw a nice highlight on a character or emotion or something. Usually they are fan fiction but not always. I remember grabbing an unused notepad from the closet and making a pact with myself to write 47 drabbles. Why that number? Well, why not that number. To this day 47 is one of my lucky numbers.

Now these drabbles, before you ask, will never see the light of day.

(Sephiroth, protecting my garbage)

But they are part of the story so they get an honorable mention.

I had also, by this point, acquired a new laptop. It was a Gateway gaming computer and it was black and orange and, like, THE COOLEST THING EVER. (Especially whenever I wanted to play The Sims, and let’s be real that is why ALL of us buy computers). Anyway, I started my next fan fiction story. This one about a girl who sneaks into SHINRA (disguised as boy, totally Mulan-ing it) and becomes best friends with, of course, Zack Fair. It was called Hollowed. Of course my Gateway now no longer has a screen so there’s that, but I still have the hard drive. And on that hard drive, my story. As for a way to view said story that is still up in the air. BUT AT LEAST I HAVE THE STORY.

Sidenote, they just remade Final Fantasy VII for the PS4 and do you know what the name of the new theme song they released for the game was ??? Hollow. Guys, guys, I called it YEARS AGO. If that doesn’t mean me and this game have a special bond I don’t know what does.

Final Fantasy VII is one of the best and most influential video games of all time with one of the most touching storylines. If my WIP could even just reach one person I would die happy. Writing gives my life meaning. In The Lowell Saga, my current project, you could say that the characters are all searching for their meaning in life. Some of them have hero complexes, some definitely do not. But all of them in one way, shape, or form are trying to find their way in complex world just like the rest of us twenty-somethings. My original intention with this story all those years ago was to write a story about what happens in your twenties, when life is staring you right in the face and now you are an adult. And everything that comes along with that. Along with magic. Because when given the option to add magic, you ALWAYS add magic.

I got a lot of writing done this month compared to my check in last month in August, and no lie, I am super surprised I actually wrote as much as I did!! (Also, low key, super proud.) This month I focused a lot more on writing the first draft than the previous months where I was doing a lot of research. September was a long month and I had lots of feelings from living my real life that needed some outlet. So I poured some of them into this first draft. #HealthyCoping. At least when I write I can control what happens. 😉

Till next time,

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word count: 4,635

All the Autumn Vibes…. | A Discussion Post About the Ethereal Thing That is Fall

Happy Pumpkin Time Everyone!!!

I don’t really write discussion posts on my blog but they are something I always wanted to try so why not start now? The inspiration came like a lightning bolt and before I knew it I was already typing this post out. As you guys are well aware my outlook is all about seeing the magic that life offers in everyday occurrences which births a lot of my poems and vignettes. Magic can be wonderful! But alas, it can also be terrible. So what I wanted to talk about today was all my favorite (and some not so favorite) things about fall. That season that comes and goes so quickly, so quickly.

Apple and Pumpkin Picking

The feeling I get from picking my own apples is unreal. I imagine I’m out in the country on my own farm and harvesting all the best, sweet juicy apples that I can’t wait to eat when I get home. Of course this all happens in my head, lol, as I’m climbing the trees and subtly not noticing the signs saying “DO NOT CLIMB THE TREES”. Oops.

Picking out the best pumpkins is also one of the nicest feelings in the world. I always pick out two. A big one I can carve and a little one I can keep on my desk all through winter.

Photo by Natalie Grainger on Unsplash

School Starting Again

September used to be my least favorite month out of the entire year. Growing up, I hated school. HATED it. And I honestly never hate anything. But school. I was super shy and super insecure and never wanted summer to end. (This is probably a big reason why summer is my favorite season overall.) So when Autumn rolled around so did my anxiety.

Now that I have been out of school though for a few years and working, I find I enjoy September more and more as the years go by. I haven’t completely shaken the negative feelings but maybe as more and more time goes by…

Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

Scarves and Sweaters and Boots, oh my!

I’m all about the summer sun and shorts and flip flops. No lie. But the change over to scarves and sweaters and boots just… makes me feel so safe and comforted! Since the weather is picking up too, it also makes me feel really warm which is a very GREAT feeling for someone who is usually cold.

Photo by Melanie Kreutz on Unsplash

Winter’s Impending Arrival

I do appreciate the existence of every season. For there to be summer there has to be winter. I do not hate winter at all but I do tend to get a bit down during the darkest days of the year. Winter is not my least favorite season (spring is believe it or not) but the cold really does get to me. I can feel it in my bones and I never seem to get warm enough. But, I will admit there is no feeling quite like watching the first snowfall. As long as it’s just enough that I don’t have to shovel it in the morning, lol.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Pie

This speaks for itself.

IT’S PIE SEASON Y’ALL. I am pro all kinds of pie. Please, yes, give it all to meeeeeeeeeee! My favorite though is blueberry crumb! The only downside to pie is that I wish I could EAT a whole one at once but alas then I would get severe indigestion, my dears, and that is no fun.

Halloween

There is nothing bad about this. All good vibes here. Halloween is just the epitome of MAGIC. The costumes, the candy, the tingle of something extraordinary in the air… Halloween is just indescribable and it makes me feel so alive whenever it rolls around. I just… I just love Halloween okay?

Photo by David Menidrey on Unsplash

I want to try to hold onto Autumn this year. It makes me feel a bit better about life in these weird times. We all need any little bit of happiness we can find. So I toast this post to Autumn. May your reign last long this year.

What are some of your favorite and not so favorite things about fall? Hopefully by talking about it we can all be more present in this ethereal season and make it last.

Till next time,

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