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

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

Never Have I Ever Write Tag

Hello darlings, it’s time for another tag!

This one looks like a lot of fun! Thanks so much to my lovely friend Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for tagging me and of course, special thanks to the original creator Bree Dawn @ The Long Voyage! Now without further ado…

The Rules:

  • Link and thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Include the graphic somewhere in the post (or make your own!)
  • Answer the questions truthfully and honestly.
  • Tag 3 bloggers.

…started a novel that I did not finish.

Of course. 100 percent. Yes, to infinity. This is my whole identity as a writer that I’m feeling so attacked right now, lol! 😀 But my goal for this year is to try and change that! My WIP is coming along, slowly but surely.

…written a story completely by hand.

Yes! When I was younger all I would do was write by hand. I wrote a lot of short stories and drabbles and those I was ALWAYS able to finish. Because they were like only a few pages and then they were done.

…changed tenses midway through a story.

Yes I admit to doing this. I was writing a story in present tense once but it just wasn’t clicking so I changed it to past. Now I find I prefer to write in past tense.

…not researched anything before starting a story.

No, probably not lol. I always do at least a little bit of research because I am a perfectionist who gets hung up on the little things I don’t like having to go back and fix things. I like to keep pressing forward but the more I write the more I learn that writing IS editing. Editing IS writing. They are like conjoined twins and I’m training my brain now to accept this.

…changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft.

No, I don’t think I have actually done this. What I HAVE done is completely start over and rework the story from the beginning. You see, perfectionist problems.

…written a story in a month or less.

No, I have never finished an actual story. I believe that is the first step, lol.

…fallen asleep while writing.

Yes, I used to write really really late at night. It was kinda a way for me to wind down after school and whenever anything stressful happened. I was also really shy as a kid so I didn’t want anyone to see me writing self esteem issues so the only time I could write unencumbered was at night. So yes I did occasionally fall asleep.

…corrected someone’s grammar irl/online.

Yes, I do this to my family all the time. (Sorry, guys. I love you.)

…yelled in all caps at myself in the middle of a novel.

ALL THE TIME. I EVEN DO IT ON MY BLOG. ALL. THE. TIME.

…used “I’m writing” as an excuse.

Yes, and I’m proud of it. If I’m gonna make this dream work I gotta put the time in. (Sorry, friends. I love you and thank you for understanding.)

…killed a character who was based on someone I know in real life.

No, I don’t really base characters off specific people I know in real life. My characters are composites of a bunch of different people, places and things I’ve encountered in my life.

…used pop culture references in a story.

Yeah, I tend too! If it’s applicable.

…written between the hours of 1am and 6am.

Yes, yes pretty dark stuff. Pretty dark stuff. Mood Writing.

…drank an entire pot of coffee while writing.

I really only drink one cup of coffee a day, otherwise I get jittery. I LOVE TEA THOUGH.

…written down dreams to use in potential novels.

Yes, I have vivid dreams and some of them I’ve used in my writing.

…published an unedited story on the internet/Wattpad/blog.

No, I always edit. ALWAYS.

…procrastinated homework because I wanted to write.

Totally. I wrote some of my favorite poems during school hours when I should have been paying attention. (Sorry, but not sorry.)

…typed so long that my wrists hurt.

YES. When the Muse is really flowing I’ll go and go and go and go. To my detriment sometimes.

…spilled a drink on my laptop while writing.

I do this, like, every other day? (Sorry, laptop. I love you too.)

…forgotten to save my work/draft.

No. No. No. This is my writing equivalent to saving my file on every video game I own a million times.

…finished a novel.

Never. Working on it.

…laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene.

Yes, I have done this. Not going to lie I do this in real life in front of real people sometimes too.

…cried while writing a scene.

Yes, I have done this too. Honestly those are bittersweet moments. On one hand you feel really connected with what you are writing and you are just VIBING but on the other hand you are also crying messy tears all over the place.

…created maps of my fictional worlds.

Yes! I did this recently for my WIP, The Lowell Saga.

…researched something shady for a novel.

Haven’t we all?

Tags

I tag T.N. , S.J. and Sidharth! If you want, no pressure! Also anyone else who wants to participate consider yourself TAGGED.

Now back to the writing cave!

Till next time,

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Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | August 2020 | Roxas

Previous post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | July 2020 | (Guarding Space and Time)

Kingdom Hearts is one of the most beloved video game franchises of all time. Especially to me. Age ten was when this one first fell into my lap. I have always loved video games, and with that love comes a flood of memories. My brother and I opening up a Playstation 2 on Christmas morning together, my brother and I in the following years combining our money so we could buy a GameCube at Toys R Us when that first came out, my brother bringing my Pokemon Sapphire to my Dad’s work and losing my game (and my Skitty which I worked SO HARD to capture!) making me burst into angry tears… but I digress. Video games are something my brother and I have always shared and bonded over, through good times and bad. Kingdom Hearts is part of the good.

It all started when I was invited over to one of my school friends’ house for the first time. Kingdom Hearts was a thing I had known of before but (like Avatar: The Last Airbender when it first came out) I hadn’t originally pursued. My friend said it was good and that we should play, and long story short, I spent that whole play date engrossed in the Destiny Islands.

I remember that it was around the time Kingdom Hearts 2 was coming out. I bought my own copy of the original KH and played and played and played. I got to the Chernabog, legit, right near the final battle and the end of the game but succumbed and ended up starting Kingdom Hearts 2 immediately as soon as I could get my hands on it. That’s when I saw Roxas for the first time.

(ADORABLE *insert gushing & heart eyes here*)

Little to say I never ended up finishing Kingdom Hearts then. So, I’m left with the weird experience of saying I beat Kingdom Hearts 2 first. (Chain of Memories I tried to play too in that time frame but me and those battle controls weren’t jiving…)

I don’t know what it was but as soon as I saw Roxas I loved him. (That is probably as close to love at first sight that I’ll ever get in this lifetime.) The more I played as him and learned about him the more that affection grew and by the end of the prologue of Kingdom Hearts 2… I was devastated. If you’ve ever played the game you’ll know what I mean.

Why am I telling you all this and what does it have to do with my writing journey? Well, that passion of mine birthed into a story. My second attempt at fan fiction, only this time I typed it. Roxas ignited in me a story that I poured hours and hours into, writing way into the wee hours of the night on my old Dell laptop. Minor spoiler alert here but, I put so much effort into that story and would love to show you an awful excerpt but alas it came to a sad conclusion, just like Roxas.

My old Dell ended up crashing and I lost everything.

Including my story.

(moment of silence)

When I die, I pray God will bring that story back to me. Along with all the other little lost things that I’ve lost track of in my life. Like my Mew card, my Pokemon Sapphire game with my Skitty, and that Kingdom Hearts story. It was my first typed story, that along with my Pokemon picture books, and Sailor Moon fanfic notebook I never got to finish.

I guess that’s where I developed this habit of never finishing a story.

The habit I’m determined to break now with my current WIP, The Lowell Saga. I am happy to report that I have started writing! Snippets here and snippets there, but my word count is now on the rise… so progress guys!! I haven’t finished world building yet but I’ve decided to break that down to bits and pieces as I write. I think that’s better than me trying to do all the research in the beginning. That way my imagination can have some fun. Otherwise I know, as in the past, I may lose interest. The further I go with this WIP the more I’m learning about myself. I’ve been outlining a lot this month as well, and narrowing down the plot points I want to hit in this four book saga. It’s honestly…. very exciting.

And these feelings are why I love writing. I love being excited and feeling like yes, yes if this is all I do for the rest of my life I will die happy and fulfilled.

So far this WIP has been in the making for three years. It started as an idea, then research, some writing, afterward letting it simmer for a bit, and now picking it up again in 2020. More inspiration, more researching, and in the present I’m outlining and beginning to write. My process is like a slow burn romance. There’s the interest, and then the simmer as things calm as we get to know each other better, and then more and more kindling (like right where I’m at now) is starting to be thrown into the fire as I pick up on all these little details that I can’t wait to write about. I pray the burn continues this way. I’ll make it so.

That way one day this story will be a wildfire.

Till next time,

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word count: 1,230

Writing Is Hard | WIP Writing Update | July 2020 | (Guarding Space and Time)

Previous Post: Writing is Hard | WIP Writing Update | June 2020 | (The Beginning … & the End)

I don’t know about you but for me age nine was a very impressionable age. My family life turned upside down right around that time. To compare it to writing, the universe had been foreshadowing and planting plot points for years right up to that pinnacle point in 2004 when my parents’ divorce was finally settled and done. So, of course, when life hands you something ugly we humans immediately want to gravitate towards things that make us happy. Which at that time for me was Pokemon, as I mentioned in the previous post, and then right after that…Sailor Moon.

I loved Sailor Moon.

I would storm home from school just to see if I could try and catch it on Cartoon Network. (I didn’t always find it, mind you, but when I did… let me just say… I was so happy.) I don’t think I comprehended that it was probably on at a specific time because I was a kid and I just wanted to watch it when I wanted to watch it. Everything about the show I loved. The girl power, the heroics, Tuxedo Mask lol… I must have gone through phases for each Sailor Scout. Jupiter initially, then Mercury later on… Venus here and there and Mars from time to time. Sailor Moon herself … believe it or not I did not like at first (I know, right?? How could I not love her??) but now she is such an integral part of my being I don’t know what my younger self was thinking.

I can recall really specific memories from that time period of my childhood. I remember watching the Negaverse attack on a dark snowy night sitting on the floor in the living room while my Great Aunt (now passed) was in the background speaking to my mom. I remember running across the street to my neighbor’s house when her grandchildren were visiting and going to watch Sailor Neptune and Uranus after we played catch in the backyard with Max, my neighbor’s border collie. I remember going to our local video rental store regularly and always renting the Promise of the Rose movie whenever I had a chance…. that all seems like a lifetime ago.

Nowadays, I love each and every one of the Sailor Scouts having read the manga and seen the 90’s anime adaptation too many times to count. Sailor Pluto holds a special place in my heart today. Maybe because of all of the scouts she seems the loneliest to me and I just want to help her and be her friend. If you think about it… she had the loneliest job of all guarding the Space-Time Door…. and isn’t writing also one of the loneliest jobs sometimes too? Like all of us writers at some point are looking to the past or the future, gaging the current state of society, picking up cues from everything all around us and compressing all that and everything into the written word to guide and protect others… like we are all guarding that very same door….

Sorry lost myself there for a second, lol.

My next step into writing was of course to write Sailor Moon fan fiction turning my childhood obsessions into stories at the ripe age of twelve. I was so hardcore I wrote it all by hand in this pink notebook I found lying around. I remember watching the shows on YouTube over and over. Back in those days there was a limit to how long the video could be so one episode of Sailor Moon was broken down into about three or four YouTube videos. After, I made outlines about how I wanted to change the story, and did character analysis’ for each of the scouts and all the new original characters I wanted to add in. I named it Love Bright, Sunlight… and yes I am internally cringing right now.


Needless to say I never finished this story either. True to my track record. On the other hand though, this was another stepping stone to eventually realizing what I wanted to do with my life- become a published author.

Since my last update, life has been hectic. I’ve been working a lot and then coming home and trying to work as hard at my WIP but falling short on doing everything I want to do. I’m still in the pre-writing stage working on world building. Can I just say too- trying to make your own religion is HARD WORK, WOW. I knew it would be hard but due to my overcritical nature this part is taking a long time. It’s all part of the process though (at least that is what I keep telling myself). (You had to want to write a fantasy, didn’t you Jai???) I know, I know. One day all this will pay off. I also spent some time on the main characters this month which was a lot of fun! The Lowell Saga has a lot of characters and character arcs to navigate but I can tell you I can tie it down to seven main characters. Which sounds like a lot, especially when they will all get their own POV sometime down the road in the four books I am planning to stretch out this story into. If I want to narrow it down even further then I guess I can tie it down to at the core three specific characters as the main trio, at least for the first book. Anyway… back to researching interesting marriage ceremonies and racking my brain for weird funeral ideas.

Thanks for hearing me out for my writing update this month! Writing these posts is definitely helping me stay on track and keep working, so I hope if you read this far you got some enjoyment out of this post too.

Till next time,

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word count: 0