Monday, May 30, 2016

My Month in Writing

As some of you may know from past May posts, I started this month off struggling to write. You've been such a wonderful audience as I stumble my way through the writing issues that have been plaguing me. I wanted to share what I was able to accomplish this month because your support has helped me drag myself out of the rut.

Anyway, here's the list of the things I've done (with my commentary):

  • Worked on the short stories that I mentioned earlier this month
I was happy to keep moving forward on my short stories, even if I didn't do as much editing/finishing as I wanted to.
  • Filled 65--that's right, 65--pages of a notebook with my atrocious penmanship. And this doesn't count the 13 from earlier this month!
I'm really proud of this one because those pages remind me of my commitment to writing. I'm a slow writer, and each page takes me about 10 minutes. 65 pages represents 650 minutes of my time, or roughly ten and a half hours! 
  • Wrote a poem
This one isn't as exciting. The poem wasn't very good, but it was the first poem I've written in a VERY long time. I was worried that it would end up as inedible word much, so I was thrilled when it proved to be mediocre (mediocre mush is edible, at the very least). 

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That's it for today! I hope that June will prove to be more productive territory. Have a great day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nothing New Today!

Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful day! I can't believe how fast May has zoomed by. I don't have a new post for you today (sorry!). I know May has been a boring month as far as posts go, and I'm going to try to do some fun things in June. Maybe a review or two would freshen things up a bit? If there's anything you would like to see, let me know in the comments! 

See you next week! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

My Week of "Writing"

Last week I promised that I would let you know how the "writing" is coming along. I hoped that blogging about it would give me the kick in the pants I desperately need. It worked somewhat, but I'll admit that I haven't gotten nearly as much writing done as I wanted.

I don't have a word count for you, but I did compile a list of the writing I got done.

This week I...

  1. Finished a short story that was sitting in a folder on my computer and gathering dust (it's 2040 words long)
  2. Started another short story (I'm 1300 words into this one)
  3. Filled thirteen pages of a notebook with my messy handwriting
  4. Outlined an idea for a novel that I'm probably not going to get around to writing anytime soon
To be honest, I hoped that I would write a little more than this, but I'm glad that I'm writing again. That's the important thing, right?

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Why In the World Can't I Write?

Back in 2013, I bought WRITE THIS BOOK by Pseudonymous Bosch. On page 36 (I have the first edition--I don't know if page numbers differs by edition), Bosch states that the main elements of most stories are a hero, a task for the hero to complete, and a world where said task-completing can take place.

Personally, I've found this a tried-and-true formula. But something doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting a new story, and I have my hero, my task, and my world by my side. So what's missing? Why have I been deadlocked and completely unable to write?

I was pondering this question when I noticed that I hadn't read a book worthy of a review this week, and decided that maaaaaybe reflecting on it via a blog post would help me break through this writer's block. Because that's what it is, isn't it? Writer's block?




But I don't think it's writer's block. I think it's straight-up fear.

I have a huge word count I want to reach by the end of next week, and the number is just staring at me, telling me that I'll never make it.

I also have a time restraint because of everything else that's going on in my life. Furthermore, I've been sitting on this story for a while. I'm scared that if I don't write it now, it'll never get written.

My own expectations of what the first draft should be also drives this fear. I want it to be better than the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel. I want it to be something that's edit-able and not a story I'll have to completely rewrite when I go through revisions.

It's also my expectations about what I will do with it. My end goal is publication, and I'm putting a lot of pressure on this story to be "the one."

So now what?

The word count is here to stay, I'm afraid. I wish I had the courage to throw it away, but I feel like it's motivating me, too. The time restraint isn't leaving either. So what's left?

My expectations.

My expectations of this story are causing me to sit here in fear. This has to be perfect, I think to myself. Perfect and nothing less than. But if I wait for perfection, I'm going to be deleting every word I write, and you can't edit a blank page, can you?

So that's why I'm taking a piece of paper, writing the word "expectations" on it, and throwing it in the trash can. The one outside, because I'm not going to let it simmer in the house. No. These expectations are leaving for good.

If only it were so easy, right?

All the same, that little exercise helped quite a bit. Considering I was figuring this out as I went along, I think this is a coherent post (yay!). I'm also pretty happy that I've relieved some of the stress that what stopping me from writing. I'll let you know next week how the writing is coming. Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS

Hello! As promised, I soldiered through April, made it out alive, and arrived on the other side: May! To kickstart May, I'm reviewing THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS by Skylar Dorset. You can check out her author website here. She also has a pretty cool Tumblr; I just spent the last twenty minutes scrolling through it.

I'll admit that the cover captured my imagination, and that's the reason I picked this book up at Hicklebee's, my favorite bookstore in the world. Take a look at this awesomeness:


(source: Goodreads)

ISN'T IT GORGEOUS?!

Here's a brief summary (I'm trying to get better at writing these):

Selkie Stewart's family is a little different. First of all, they don't talk about birthdays. Or say birth dates. Ever. She's never met her mother, either. But Selkie never thought they were anything other than ordinary. She certainly never guessed that her family was extraordinary.

When Selkie starts to look for her mother, she learns the truth about the nature of her family...including the fact that her mother is a faerie queen who is set on killing Selkie.

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How was that? In case I missed something (I'm a believer in short-and-sweet summaries), here's the Goodreads perspective:

Goodreads says:

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS is the story of Selkie Stewart, who thinks she’s a totally normal teenager growing up in Boston. Sure, her father is in an insane asylum, her mother left her on his doorstep—literally—when she was a baby, and she’s being raised by two ancient aunts who spend their time hunting gnomes in their Beacon Hill townhouse. But other than that her life is totally normal! She’s got an adventurous best friend who’s always got her back and an unrequited crush on an older boy named Ben. Just like any other teenager, right?

When Selkie goes in search of the mother she’s never known, she gets more than she bargained for. It turns out that her mother is faerie royalty, which would make Selkie a faerie princess—except for the part where her father is an ogre, which makes her only half of anything. Even more confusing, there’s a prophecy that Selkie is going to destroy the tyrannical Seelie Court, which is why her mother actually wants to kill her. Selkie has been kept hidden all her life by her adoring aunts, with the help of a Salem wizard named Will. And Ben. Because the boy she thinks she’s in love with turns out to be a faerie whose enchantment has kept her alive, but also kept her in the dark about her own life.

Now, with enchantments dissolved and prophecies swinging into action, Selkie finds herself on a series of mad quests to save the people she’s always loved and a life she’s learning to love. But in a supernatural world of increasingly complex alliances and distressingly complicated deceptions, it’s so hard to know who to trust. Does her mother really wish to kill her? Would Will sacrifice her for the sake of the prophecy? And does Ben really love her or is it all an elaborate ruse? In order to survive, Selkie realizes that the key is learning—and accepting—who she really is.


My review:

THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS confused me when I first picked it up. So after reading the first chapter, I put it back on my TBR shelf and left it there for a few months.

Flash forward to the end of April. I picked it up again. I didn't expect much, but I wanted to give it another chance.

At the beginning, I felt like there was too much going on and too much to process. The fantasy world was interesting but too complicated, and I felt like I was always playing catch-up. But it didn't stay like that. As I made my way further into the story, the book found its footing, and I started to really enjoy it.

It will take you a little bit of energy to get through the beginning, but it's worth it. The climax is excellent, and the ending left me wanting more. The good news: the second book is out, so no waiting!

I thought Skylar Dorset did a wonderful job crafting the plot. There were a lot of little hints dropped as the story went along. After years of obsessive reading, I catch onto plots pretty fast (it's hard to surprise me), and THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS didn't manage to catch me unaware. But the plot is deeper than most, and I think it will surprise some readers.

Selkie seemed a little shallow at the beginning of the book, but I grew to like her as the story progressed. That's how it was with most characters. I also liked how Skylar Dorset made Selkie's best friend, Kelsey, her own character. The best friend rarely does anything but sit around and look pretty, but Kelsey held her own.

If you are a fan of lighter books about faeries and willing to move through a slow beginning, I would recommend THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS.