Writing is Hard | WIP Update | June 2021 | It Is Done.

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | May 2021 | It’s Part of the Journey

Okay, um… so! I am just going to cut straight to the chase. I have some news.

I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT. I DID IT GUYS. I ACTUALLY DID IT. I REACHED MY GOAL. THE FIRST DRAFT OF (BOOK 1) OF THE LOWELL SAGA IS FINISHEDDDDDD!!!!!!! (But more on this later!)

It feels so weird to me to have actually finished a draft, because in my whole entire life I have never written a whole book before. I always stopped or had gotten bored with the story way before I reached the end. If my high school self could see me now!

As I mentioned in my last writing update, when I was in high school I didn’t want to be a writer. I loved writing and because I loved it so much I never thought it could actually be my job. School was my job back then and I hated school. Wrongly, I believed, that work had to be difficult and something that you really didn’t want to do. (How naive and misguided!) Thankfully, the universe had other plans.

One of the first signs that put me on the path of being a writer came in my sophomore year during English class. We were studying poetry and our teacher assigned us, simply, to just write a poem. I remember I didn’t think much of it. In fact I was in the mode that I just wanted to get it done so in the class following (Driver’s Ed) I finished the assignment. Just like that, between studying the driving manual and scribbling in my notebook, I wrote my poem.

A week later after we had handed them in and our teacher had graded them, she said something that I still think about today. It was a small thing. But isn’t it those small things that make us wonder what if ? My high school English teacher was notoriously hard to please. She was a difficult grader and held us, her Honors English class, to a high standard. What she said was small, and maybe not that significant, but it meant something to me, and apparently still does because here I am writing about it. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but she said something like this, “Some of you should consider having your work published in our newspaper.”

When my poem was finally handed back to me there in bright red pen was just simply the word “Wow!”

And that’s when it hit me she might have been talking about me.

At that point I hadn’t really considered publishing my work before. I was too shy and too nervous. I didn’t want anyone to see my work. I was afraid. I dismissed the idea of having my poem published immediately after the thought had been born. The me back then in no way would do something like that.

The me who exists right now though is completely different. I still wonder what would have happened if I had submitted my poem to the paper. But then I know it’s an impossible thought. Everything happens for a reason and that moment in time served as a marker to set me on the right path. It was a crucial stepping stone, one that seems so small but actually since I’m writing about it now, means a lot.

Especially now. Especially with this particular writing update post.

(And that poem, believe it or not, was eventually published. Just a few years after the fact πŸ˜‰ Here’s the link if you want to check it out!)

Honestly, I am still in awe. I finished a draft. I finished a draft. I finished a draft!!! Is it perfect? No way in hot hell. But it is done. It is done. IT IS DONE.

I still have a lot of revision to do. That’s a given. But, from everything I’ve read and from all the authors I’ve listened to, I know getting the first draft done is huge. No matter how terrible it is. Because at least now I have something to build up from. You can’t build up from nothing. And I have something!

I plan on The Lowell Saga being four books. The first draft of book 1 is now complete. At the moment I am currently letting it sleep for a bit and letting my mind focus on other tasks. But then I am going to dive straight in and try to read the whole draft through in a day and see what all the major things I need to fix are.

After that revision begins. Then when I feel comfortable enough there I will be moving onto book 2. Then the same process will ensue through the last two books, until the whole story is finished and then I will make sure the whole series is cohesive and that all the foreshadowing is correctly plotted and all the little nuances make sense all throughout. Then the story really will be done.

It’s a wonderfully scary thought. A very far away thought but one I know I’ll reach.

My writing friends I have a question for you. What do you do once you finish a first draft? Do you have any advice for me? This is new ground.

Till next time,

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word count: 79,327

Writing is Hard | WIP Update | May 2021 | It’s Part of the Journey

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Update | April 2021 | Vienna

Doesn’t May make you sad sometimes? I don’t know… this could just be me rambling but May means summer is almost here, but not yet. And that’s the thing. Summer isn’t here yet so I’m sad. But also, the year moved by so fast and that means that summer (once it comes) will end again too. I don’t know about you but I love summer and I’ve been waiting for what feels like forever for it to come back.

What my beautiful metaphor of an opening paragraph is alluding to is that with writing too I’ve been sad this month, and I’m a little worried about like… everything. My emotions have been up and down, riding all the waves of May. Self doubt is a killer. Everyone has those moments of what am I doing with my life? I had a few this month, and I’ve come to the realization that at the end of it, even if I don’t “make it” or whatever at least I tried my best. At least I listened to my heart. I’ve been writing when I can and planning when I can’t. But I keep going and that’s the point.

Probably because I’m stubborn as shit. And I feel this weird incessant calling to have to write. So. There we go.

In high school, I loved to write for fun. I would scribble poems in the margins of my notebook and I would write fanfiction on the back of handouts. I think in the back of my mind I was subconsciously aware that one day I would end up as a writer, but freshman/sophmore year of high school it was just a very distant dream. I would even go as far to say that the me at that time would say she didn’t want to be a writer. Maybe even at all. You see at that time in my life I wanted to do something with my life. Like, be a firefighter and rescue innocents from burning buildings or be a physical therapist and help injured athletes rehabilitate. I (wrongly) didn’t view writing and becoming a published author as doing something with my life at that time which is so vastly different to who I am now.

So I resisted.

Part of the reason I believe I felt this way was because I thought that if writing became my profession than that would suck all the fun out of my favorite thing. Writing when I was young was escapism, it kept me calm, it made the world seem like a beautiful dream of possibility. But the reality of my life was school, and if I haven’t already said it enough before I loathed school. LOATHED. Literally.

School was my job and my job wasn’t fun. I never wanted that to happen with writing. That was part of the reason and the other was my idealistic sense of purpose that I wanted to be a hero. I mean who doesn’t, at least at some point in their life?

But honestly, maybe I was just afraid.

If I am being honest, I still am.

The Lowell Saga (TLS), as you all know, is the working name for my current WIP. The more I work on it the more I see all its faults. 😦 But I also see all its potential. πŸ˜€ If I can figure it out, then I know I can make this a great story that will hopefully one day be published. Gosh that’s my dream guys. I’m trying here.

This month I got more writing in. Not a lot, but something so I can keep moving in the right direction. May was all ups and downs for me but June will be much more steady. Calm shores and not rocky waves. No one can predict the future but this is what I am trying to manifest lol.

This month I think I’ll talk a little bit about one of the main premises of TLS which is what essentially the entire plot revolves around. The treasure hunt. Their is no one great category to put my weird WIP in but if I had to I’d sayTLS is some weird mix of fantasy, magical realism, young adult/coming of age/new adult, adventure, mystery, noir, anime inspired beast of a story vibes. (That is such a weird combination, Jai, like WTF?) Yes I know that is what you are all probably thinking haha, BUT by the time I actually finish with the story though who knows what it will be? The beauty of drafting is that things can change at any time.

But not the treasure hunt aspect. No that is a main part of the story and always has been. There are seven lost artifacts that my main characters, essentially the main trio, will be revolving around for the entirety of the books. And I can tell you they encounter at least three of them in the first book. πŸ˜‰

How are your stories going? I would love to hear so we can vibe together!

Till next time,

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word count: 75,752

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! πŸ˜‰ 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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜‰

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? πŸ˜‰

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

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. πŸ˜‰

Till next time,

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word count: 4,635