Muse-ic for Fox Story

HEHEHEHEHEH. MUSE-ic, get it? Hehehe. I think I’m so clever right now, hahaha. Sorry for being obnoxious!!

I thought it might be a fun post to list all the music that I listened to while I wrote Fox Story! I noticed while writing this book that during drafting I like listening to music that evokes the emotions and feelings of the characters and book; while rewriting/revising, I prefer to listen to just whatever song I happened to be obsessed with at the moment; when I’m revising/rereading, I prefer to have silence.

Which makes sense to me because while drafting I’m just trying to get everything down on the page, tapping into character emotions and all that. When I’m revising, I don’t need–or even want–the emotional connection because I’m doing more thinking and structuring. And of course, while rereading and deep revising, I usually prefer complete silence since I find listening while reading things very distracting.

Granted, I don’t listen to music all the time while I write. I think more often than not I don’t listen to music. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it–other than I either feel like listening to music or I don’t, haha. I also only listen to one song at a time on repeat, as I find that the change in music is REALLY distracting.

Anyways! Here is the music that I listened to while writing Fox Story! Or most of it–I may have forgotten a song or two 😀

 

1.Red by Taylor Swift

Red is one of my favorite songs and I felt like the emotions–the pain, the hurt, the loss, the sorrow, the grief–were exactly what I wanted in my story. Loving him was red–that lyric, I felt, was perfect and everything about this song was what my characters were feeling/what I wanted them to feel. I believe I listened to Red for the entirety of drafting!

 

2. Uma Therman by Fall Out Boy

I really love this song! In fact, I really like Fall Out Boy! I never seem to talk it about it much though! I listened to this song while I was rewriting Fox Story! (AKA, when I was working on my second draft!)

 

NOTE: I can’t remember what other songs I listened to, though I’m sure there were some others, but here’s the next one I remember!

 

3. Fields of Gold by Sting

A bit of a departure from what I usually listen to, but this song just had perfect touch of wistfulness and memories that made me want to write to it. I first became familiar with this song through The Office and I’d just rewatched it when this song got stuck in my head. I love the imagery and the softness and emotions in the song and while it wasn’t quite right for revising/rewriting, I listened to it anyways!

 

4. 에라 모르겠다 by BIGBANG

Okay. I LOVE this song. I LOVE BIGBANG (which you guys all probably know by now, hahah). I listened to this toward the tail end of rewriting for the second time (AKA Draft 3!!) in fall of 2017 while I was on a writing retreat with my friends in Boston! This is such a good song and I’m so obsessed with it!!!!

 

5. I Did Something Bad by Taylor Swift

This is the last song I listened to while revising Fox Story, back in November of 2017! To be honest, I listened to this song out of necessity–because I was at a cafe and it was noisy. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was obsessed with it? I mean, I like it and I think it’s a fun song, but I’m usually OBSESSED with a song when I listen to it while writing. I don’t know why I feel that’s significant, haha, but it is! In general, I have a whole lot of Thoughts about Reputation, but I won’t get into that today!

 

No doubt, there are songs that I listened to that I have forgotten about, but I suppose these are the main songs that I listened to while writing Fox Story! Hehe, this was fun! (At least for me!) I’ll try and keep better track of the songs I listen to for my next project! All righty!! That’s it for now!!!!! BYE EVERYONE!!! THANKS FOR READING!!!!

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New Year’s Resolutions 2018 + Things I’ve Learned + Favorite Reads and Most Anticipated

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR’S MY FRIENDS!!!!!

New Year’s is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s a fresh start and a brand new year! And unsurprisingly, writing my goal and resolutions for the new year is one of my absolute favorite posts! In fact, I think it’s the one post that I have done consistently for the past few years! Woo! As you might know by now, I LOVE goals! So without further ado, here are some things that I’ve learned in 2017 and my goals and resolutions for 2018!!

 

Things I’ve Learned:

Work Smarter, Not Harder 

Balance has always been such a tricky thing for me because I tend to be an all-or-nothing type of person. Since learning this about myself, I think I have done a lot better, but it’s still a struggle! So it is not a surprise that I’ve struggled with balance in writing. For the longest time, I thought that I had to WRITEWRITEWRITE everyday, all day long to be productive. It meant I thought that any moment I did not spend working was a waste. I used what I call “brute force.” It means keeping your head down and powering through no matter what, using sheer force to get through everything.

This year, I learned that I don’t need brute force. In fact, brute force–while it can be helpful and even necessary at times–was actually kind of a dumb way to go, haha. It was a really unbalanced and obsessive way to live. (And granted, many times when I’m caught up in the moment, I don’t necessarily care about balance because there is a sort of high to being obsessed with something–but that’s a story for a different day 🙂 ) ANYWAYS, one of the most important and best things I learned this year was to work smarter, not harder.

For me, that meant learning my productivity. I’ve talked about this before, but I learned this year that I am most productive during the mornings and evenings and absolutely brain-dead in the afternoons. Like I said, before, I used to power through all day. That meant I woke up at the crack of dawn and wrote till the night–with the exception of meals and a few breaks. Afternoons went terribly and yet I would force myself to keep writing and writing and writing. I really am not able to get much done during the afternoons and in hindsight, I was wasting time and energy trying to get myself to write.

(Ironically, I am writing this blog post in the afternoon at the worst time possible AKA 3:00pm, so forgive me if I don’t make any sense at all, hahaha!)

By allocating my hours properly, I learned I am able to be just as productive as if I had used brute force to write all day. Now, I make sure that I keep my mornings and evenings free to write and use the afternoon to get other stuff done–i.e. chores, errands, exercise, etc–and it’s been SOOOO NICE. I no longer spending hours in the afternoon, agonizing as I try and write and I’m also able to get more chores and things that I need to do in during the afternoons. I used to stress so hard about not writing in the afternoons because it felt like a “waste of time”, but now I know better–why force yourself to write and spend hours to get 1,000 words when you could do the same amount of work in less time if you write in the evening? Get my drift?? I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW!!!! I feel so free now and it’s been absolutely the best! Productivity is not a constant thing–it ebbs and flows–so make sure you utilize that and make it to your best advantage!

 

New Year’s Goals and Resolutions:

Writing

In terms of writing, my goal is simple!! I want to draft and revise another project! More specifically, the project I have dubbed Spirit Story!!! I am SOOOOOO excited for this story guys! The idea came to me not long ago while I was on the most beautiful hike I have ever been on (no exaggeration–though, granted, I guess I haven’t been on that many hikes, hehe) and it’s the most I’ve been excited about a project in a while now!! I’ll be starting brainstorming/outlining very soon and I’m super excited!! In fact, mayhaps I’ll start a Pinterest today… 😀 😀 😀

 

Reading

For 2018, my goals will pretty much be the same as it’s been for the past couple of years: I want to read more poetry and read outside my genre more! As I reviewed last year’s goals to see how much I had met, I found that I made the WORST GOALS EVER. They were waaaaay too general and I couldn’t tell if I had actually reached my goals because I had no way to quantify them. Hahaha! This time, I’m going to make more specific, quantifiable goals! I’ve made a TBR for the year of books that I want to get to in 2018!

In poetry, I want to read:

-Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

-The Sun and her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

-Williams Shakespeare’s Sonnets

-Two other poetry books

 

In fiction, I want to read: 

-The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

-Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (or really any Neil Gaiman)

-The Secret History by Donna Tartt

-The Rules of Magic Alice Hoffman

 

Favorite Reads of 2017

1. Windwitch by Susan Dennard

Is anyone surprised this made my favorite reads list? Heheh, I LOVE the Witchlands series and this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2017! I LOVED it so much!! My favorite scenes were the ones with Iseult and Aeduan and I could not put this book down. In fact, I had promised my mom earlier that I would come with her to take Nabi to the vet and then regretted it SO BADLY because I was interrupted during one of the most amazing chapters. I was so antsy to get back home and finish reading the book, hahah. Anyways, I LOVED this book and am dying for Bloodwitch (WHICH I AM SO EXCITED FOR BECAUSE AEDUAN!!!!!!!!)

2. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

This was the most unexpected book I loved this year! I struggle with middle grade books so I went into this book fully expecting not to like it–not because the story or writing was bad, but because I usually have a hard time getting into middle grade books and end up leaving them unfinished. OH MY GOODNESS!!! This book was SO GOOD. SOOOOO GOOD. I loved it so much and it’s become one of my favorite books ever! It was laugh-out-loud hilarious and reminded me so much of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan. I cannot recommend this book to everyone!!! HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommended!!

3. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

I’m a huge fan of The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon and this book was no different! Her books are so much fun, filled with tons of action, and I adored this one. This was a fabulous addition to the series and I cannot wait to read more!

4. A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

I read this early in 2017 and oh my goodness, I LOVED it. The story was amazing and I loved Vikram and Gauri (they had such great banter!) The world and atmosphere was gorgeous and fairytale-like and the prose was lush and glittering–basically filled with everything that I love in a story! SO GOOD.

5. Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and it did not disappoint!!! It was a gorgeous, gorgeous story with captivating, lush prose. I LOVED this book so much! It had sooooo many Phantom of the Opera Easter Eggs and the Death and the Maiden trope is one of my favorites, so no surprise that this book was one of my favorite reads!

6. The Queen of the Tearling series by Erika Johansen

This was a series that I really wanted to get to in 2017 and I’m happy to say that I did!! While I found the first book rather difficult to get into, once I got into it, it was SOOOO GOOD. I blew through the entire series and even had to run out to get Fate of the Tearling after I finished the second one. To be completely honest, I was not a fan of the ending of the series, but regardless I really enjoyed these books a ton!

7. One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns was one of my favorite reads of 2016 and One Dark Throne was the same! I love this series–Kendare creates amazing characters and it’s such a thrilling read from start to finish. I also had the joy of meeting Kendare this year and she’s AMAZING. She’s so kind and smart and funny and so personable. I totally fangirled and wish I could have talked to her more! Definitely one of my idols!!! *heart eyes*

8. Chime by Franny Bilingsley

This was a book recommended to me by my friend, Axie Oh, WOW!!!! It was an absolutely amazing read! I couldn’t stopping thinking about it and I was completely blown away! Absolutely LOVED this book and recommend it to everyone!

9. King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

I decided to reread The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner this year and it had to have been the best decision I have ever made. I read these a long time ago when I was a kid and liked them, but I absolutely fell in love this time around. They’re incredibly clever and subtle books with incredible plot and characters. One of my absolute favorites. King of Attolia is my favorite of the series and tore me to pieces. I love this book more than words can say.

10. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

This was a gorgeous story with some of the most beautiful prose I have ever read. It was quite a bit slower than I’d anticipated and a different story than what I thought it was going to be (I was expecting a Death and the Maiden story, but it turned out to be something quite different), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I find myself thinking about it quite often and craving a fairytale-esque story with beautiful atmosphere and language.

11. Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne

One of my new favorite authors I discovered this year! Lauren Layne creates the best characters ever (which is something I rarely say) and she subverts tropes in such an amazing way. I binge-read a ton of her books, but my favorite was Walk of Shame. It had a Darcy-esque love interest (ahhhhh!!! ❤ ❤ <3) and the most adorable heroine, who quickly became one of my FAVORITE characters I’ve ever read in a contemporary novel (and seriously, I rarely love characters this much!!!!) I will say that the pacing and emotional beats didn’t quite line up for me the way that I wanted, but I adored this book so much and highly recommend it if you’re a fan of romantic comedies!!!

 

Most Anticipated of 2018

1. Rise of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was an amazing read and I’m SO SO EXCITED for this companion novel!!! As you all know, I am a huge fairytale lover and I cannot wait to see what sort of twists and turns Julie is going to create in this story!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!

2. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding #2 by Alexandra Bracken

I can’t wait for this book if you couldn’t already tell by my flailing above. I can’t wait to see what the next installment of this story will hold! I’m SO ready and can’t wait for the adventure and laughs that are sure to come!!!

3. My Plain Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

I absolutely LOVELOVELOVE My Lady Jane–such a hilarious read in a world devoid of comedic fantasy novels!!!–and I’ve been waiting for My Plain Jane for what seems like a thousand years. I’m doubly excited for My Plain Jane because Jane Eyre is one of my favorites! I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS!!!!!

4. The Bone Season #4 by Samantha Shannon

I’m always looking forward to the next Samantha Shannon book! She’s also working on another book–a fantasy about dragons–that I’m dying to read, but I don’t know if that’s a book that will be coming out this year? Anyways, I always want more Samantha Shannon!!!

5. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I found out about this book a few days ago and FREAKED. As you might know, Uprooted is a favorite book of mine and I went around screaming like a headless chicken when I found out that Naomi Novik was writing another fairytale book!!! I. AM. SO. EXCITED. Spinning Silver is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. I don’t know much more than that, but honestly, I don’t need to know more than it’s another Naomi Novik book!!! It comes out in July which is waaaaay too far away! I can’t wait!!

6. The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

I still have yet to read The Girl in the Tower, but regardless I know I’m going to crave more of Katherine Arden’s writing. I think I can safely say that I will want to read all of her books regardless of what she writes–though, I hope she writes more fairytale-esque books because they’re my favorite!!! *heart eyes* I also love that these books take place in a winter-y setting and seriously, the atmosphere is incredible!!! So lush and beautiful!

7. Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

finally read my first Anna-Marie McLemore book this year (Wild Beauty) and it was just as gorgeous and lovely as people have been saying. I’m super excited to read her other books, The Weight of Feathers and When the Moon was Ours, as well as this new book coming out this year, which is a Swan Lake retelling!!!

8. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this book–coming out tomorrow–and I can’t wait to read! I love books about faeries and I love Holly Black, so I know I’m going to love this one!! Can’t wait!!! In fact, I may run out tomorrow and get it!!!

9. Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes is one of my favorites and I’m DYING for this book!! Sabaa’s writing is simply exquisite and every single one of her stories is phenomenal, so no doubt this one is going to be amazing as well. I know it’s definitely going to be worth the long wait that we’ve had!!! CAN’TWAITCAN’TWAITCAN’TWAIT!!!!

 

Wow, this was a mighty long post!!! Hehe, I had fun writing it though and I hope you have fun reading it! I’m really excited for the new year and can’t wait to see what’s in store!!! Have a lovely new year everyone!!

 

 

Writer Facts

HELLO!!!!! Once again I find myself apologizing for neglecting this poor old blog. I know I say this much too often, but WOW! Remember the days when I used to blog regularly (ish)?? WHAT HAPPENED?? I honestly don’t know. Well, haha, I am a bit busier now than I was then, but I swear, I still love my little blog and I wish I were better at updating it!

Now, I looked and saw that my last post was waaaaay back in July. HOLY MOLY!!!!!! It’s been almost six months!!! How has time flown so fast? I’m pretty sure that might be the longest time I’ve gone without writing a single blog post. Anyways, I know I should probably start off by doing a little update post to catch everyone up on what’s been going on, buuuuuut then I saw this fun thing on Twitter and I wanted to do it! I swear I am going to do an update post soon, but for now, here is a fun little post on writerly facts!!!

So technically this a Twitter thread thing, but I wanted to do a blog post on it so I wouldn’t be limited to a certain character count! Anyways, here is the graphic with all the questions made by @writer_jem!!

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 8.01.01 PM

 

1.Age you started writing?

I am a late bloomer (compared to most people, it seems) and started writing when I was twenty! (I am now twenty-four!) I’ve always loved reading books and I would occasionally try to write after reading books that impacted me profoundly, but I did not seriously try writing until much later in life.

 

2. Story that inspired you to write? 

My life changed when I read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. When I finished the book, I was hit with the biggest book hangover ever (which, at the time, I didn’t know what it was called, heheh). It triggered something in me and I thought: Oh my gosh, I want to write something that will make someone feel this way. It was very strange and sudden because, like I said, I’ve been reading almost all my life, and yet something about this book in particular made me not only want to read, but write. I didn’t immediately start, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was actually very scared to even admit I wanted to write, so I started out with poetry (which for some reason seemed less daunting) and dabbled in that for a little, though what I really wanted to do was write books.

After months, I finally said out loud to my mom, “I want to write a book.” I said it rather offhandedly, like it was just a whim of the moment rather than something I’d been thinking and secretly wanting to do for months and months. I was completely surprised when she said that I should. She even sent me a text later that night before I went to sleep and encouraged me again, saying that she would read my book. It was probably that very night that I started thinking about ideas that I wanted to write about and committed to writing.

It is not an exaggeration to say that I would have never written a book had my mom not given me that push.

(Wow, that’s the first time I have ever talked about that and bahah, wow, getting all the feels!!!)

 

3. First WIP title?

Oh goodness. It was called The Lost Young Women’s Society. It was a historical fantasy/steampunk retelling of Peter Pan and it was supremely awful. SO EMBARRASSING. I am so sorry for all my CPs for making you read this (special shoutout to Janella who read the entire thing and didn’t dump me as a CP!!!! 😀 )!

 

4. First, second, or third person?

When writing, third person seems to be my point-of-view of choice, though I do have a couple of projects that are in first!

 

5. Favorite time of day to write? 

Bright and early in the morning or in the evening! Evenings are my most productive hours! Mornings are not quite as productive, but I enjoy writing in the morning a lot! Perhaps even more than evenings! (Depending on my mood, of course 😉 )

 

6. Favorite place to write?

At my desk or my kitchen counter!

 

7. Most overused word?

Hmm… probably gaze? I know I use that one a lot. I also use the word heart a lot. I really love that word, hehehe.

 

8. Most overused punctuation?

Oh, comma for sure! I seem to stick commas everywhere–probably even when it’s not grammatically correct or necessary. I just like the way the add pauses and breaths to sentences and so I stick ’em in whenever I think there should be some sort of pause or breath. 😀 I also love colons though! They’re probably my favorite punctuation! *hearteyes*

 

9. Long or short sentences?

Hmm… Probably long sentences, though I love short sentences because I think they can be very poignant.

 

10. Plain or purple prose?

Haaaaa. Purple!!!!

 

11. Your first main character? 

Heheh, from said terrible first manuscript, my first main character was named Gwendolyn Darling–which I thought was sooooo clever because the name Wendy is in Gwendolyn!! Hahah!

 

12. Favorite trope?

Hate-to-love romance 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

I also love Death and the Maiden (which I’ve been thinking about very often recently, huh), lost princesses (again which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, but probably because I’ve been obsessively listening to the Anastasia soundtrack), and a few other tropes I love, but can’t seem to think of right now, heheh!

 

13. Least favorite trope?

Honestly, hate-to-love romance done poorly/pseudo hate-to-love. My biggest pet peeve is when a character hates a character (who is obviously the love interest) yet is ultimately swayed by them because they’re “hot”. THAT IS NOT HATE-TO-LOVE!!!!!!!!!!! It is what I consider, kind-of-hate-because-he’s-a-jerk-but-wow-he’s-so-hot-so-I’ll-kiss-him-and-now-I-love-him.

Of course, I understand that people you hate can be attractive, but I find it very superficial for someone to suddenly fall in love with a person that they’d previously hated and fall instantly in love solely based on looks and not because of a true change in character or learning more about them.

Woo!!! Sorry for the mini rant, but this clearly gets my ire up, hahahaha!

 

14. Least favorite OC?

I feel really dumb, but what is OC???? *clutchyface*

 

15. Worst writing habit?

Probably ignoring people/not listening to them when they talk because I’m writing. Hahah… so sorry!!!!!

 

16. Weird personal writing quirk?

I save my document obsessively. Like every sentence, sometimes when writing is slow, every word. Hahah, I feel like that’s probably super common among writers though, so perhaps it’s not so much a weird quirk than it is just a writer quirk!!

 

17. Notebook or computer? 

I use a notebook and pen for brainstorming and outlining and then computer for all the rest (i.e. drafting and revising!)

 

18. Favorite setting to write? 

Well, a common setting that always crops up in my stories are forests. So I guess forests!!

 

19. Biggest writing fear? 

My biggest writing fear is that I will stop loving to write. It sounds strange, but I’ve come to learn throughout the years that I have a rather obsessive personality. I will become obsessed with something and run with it–sometimes for years–before I peter out and discover that the initial light has been extinguished. I am afraid that this will be the case with writing. That it’s a whim that I’ve gone with and I’ll find in a couple years that I don’t really want or care to write anymore. This fear has lessened greatly now that time has passed and I’m still going, but it does linger in the back of my mind from time to time and scare the bejeezus out of me.

My other fear is that I don’t have enough time to write all the stories that I want to! (Which is why immortality would be AWESOME, in my opinion, hahah. Since that’s not an option, better get cracking!!! 😉 )

 

20. Biggest writing hope? 

THAT I WILL BECOME THE NEXT JK ROWLING. Haaha, juuuuuuust kidding!!! (Although, I certainly would not say no to such thing!) My biggest writing hope is that I will continue to write and love stories and I’ll keep doing it forever!!! And hopefully improve, too!! 😀

 

Hehehe!! Well, this was fun!!! It reminded me of the good, ole days when I used to do this sort of thing more often! Anyways, I have some posts in mind that I want to write about hopefully soon! Thank you as always for reading! I love you, my precious blog!!!

Things I’ve Learned, Things to Come, and New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody!

2017 is approaching and in just less than two hours, 2016 will have flitted away and the new year will be here to take its place!

I feel as though 2016 has been a very enlightening year for me. It was very… epiphany-filled. I realized a lot of things and learned a lot of this. So, as the end of the year and the new year approacheth, I thought I would share what I’ve learned!

So! Things I’ve learned in this very enlightening year! I have three main ones that have been huge, huge epiphanies.

1.Awareness 

I’ve realized this year that awareness is such an important thing to have in your life. And in particular, self-awareness. Being aware of what you do, what you say, how you behave, and especially being aware of how you are perceived by others is so so incredibly important. Why? Because if you aren’t aware of yourself, how can you ever know what to change? How to make yourself a better person?

Awareness is the first step to change.

For example, I am prone to hanger. I was not aware of this however for a while. I used to get really defensive and lash out any time anyone suggested I was cranky or irritable because I was hungry. I thought it was an implication that I was always looking for food/was a fatty. Anyways, one time after I’d gotten irritated with my mother, she asked me “Are you hungry?” Of course, I lashed out, thinking that the notion was absolutely ridiculous. Usually, I dismissed this idea immediately, but for whatever reason, I thought about this later on that day. And that was when I first even entertained the possibility that my mom was right and I had been cranky because I was hungry. And after even more thought, I realized she was right. Ever since then, I’ve become aware of my hanger and am much better at controlling my irritability.

I know that sounds like a silly story, but I really mean it. You can’t change (for either better or for worse) if you aren’t aware that you need to change.

2. First Impressions and Trusting Your Instincts

The original title of Ms. Austen’s novel that became Pride and Prejudice. Haha, I actually think about this a lot. While I do believe that first impressions can be misleading and that they can be woefully wrong, this past year, I have learned that first impressions are very important and actually say a lot about who you are as a person. I remember my 6th grade math teacher, Mr. Matson (a legend and one of my most impactful teachers), one time said that your first impressions are usually correct. I was actually surprised at the time. But you know what? He was right.

I only learned this this year. I used to feel so terrible about this when I’d meet a person and instinctively not like them, for whatever reason. Most of the time, I couldn’t quite pinpoint what exactly bothered me, so I felt incredibly judgmental and mean. I know myself to get annoyed easily, to judge people easily, to be very rigid in my thinking sometimes, and it is something that I try and work on, so for a long time, I’ve dismissed any misgivings I had.

But this year, through both personal and secondary experience, I learned to trust my instincts. I’ve found that even if, at first, I can’t quite tell why I dislike a person or why a person is rubbing me the wrong way, it usually is for a reason.

Yet. You still have to remain open-minded. It’s really easy to close up and forget everything around you and only see inside your bubble. It’s a hard balance and I’m still learning how to do this, but I think it’s something really important to consider.

In other words: Trust your gut, but give the benefit of the doubt.

3. Deception Never Works

It may work for some time, but deception always fails. Always. There is a quote from Sherlock that says:

“Do you know the big problem with a disguise, Mr. Holmes? However hard you try, it’s always a self-portrait.”

I love this quote because it really is true. You can’t hide who you are no matter how hard you try. Who you are will always bleed through. Your true intentions will bleed through.

If you want someone to praise you, it will show.

If you are bragging about something, it will show.

If you are begging for attention, it will show.

I’ve seen many people this year–some that I know personally, some that I know only distantly–do this to some degree. But guess what? No matter how much you try and hide your true intentions, they will show.

***

They may not seem like much, but these have been huge, huge life-changing lessons for me. I don’t know how or why 2016 was such a big year in terms of epiphanies, but I’m glad for it. And I hope learning about these things will ultimately make me a better person.

So, now I’d like to share with you my resolutions. I usually post my goals here and now that I think of it, I don’t know if I’ve genuinely ever made New Year’s resolutions. Well, 2017’s the year!

1.Awareness

I’m sensing a theme… Hahah, like I said, I’ve learned this to be a very important thing and I’m still learning to become more aware of myself and how my behaviors might effect other people. I can be quite rude and callous sometimes–a lot of the times without even realizing it–and I want to change this. I know for a fact I’ve said hurtful things to my brother without thinking twice about how he might feel. A lot of this stems from my inherent belief that people don’t care what I think or say (especially when it comes to my brother), but I’ve learned that what I do and what I say do have an impact and I need to be aware of that. I’ve said some things in the heat of the moment that I regret when I think back upon them and I don’t want to say or do any more things that hurt anyone. It really won’t be easy, but that’s why I’m going to be working on this in 2017 and probably the rest of my life.

2. Be More Forgiving

And by “Be More Forgiving” what I really want to say is, “Be Less Spiteful and Petty.” Haha. Because I am. And this one is another really hard one for me. I’m not sure why I have a tendency to be spiteful and petty, but it’s there. I think it might come from stubbornness and pride?

Either way, this is something I want to get better at. Another thing I realized this year is that my mom and I are more similar that I gave credit for. I’ve always believed my mother and me to be vastly different people, almost opposites, and because of this, I believed us to butt heads sometimes. While this isn’t entirely incorrect, I’ve learned that the reason why we get into big disagreements sometimes is because we are too different in some ways, but more importantly, much too similar in other ways. For example… We are both petty and spiteful.

My mom and I had a time this year when we didn’t speak to each other and barely saw each other for an entire week because we were both so angry. Neither one of us wanted to cave and we both refused to apologize and forgive for what we had done.

I thought of this lyric from, Beauty and the Beast.

“Then somebody bends, unexpectedly.”

Hahah, in our case, neither one of us was willing to bend. And this is what I want to try and get better at. Because what did that accomplish? Absolutely nothing. It only wasted our time and energy. And especially because I love my mom and my relationship with her is something that I will keep forever (in contrast to someone I might be willing to let go.)

Anyways, this is what I want to work on. Not just with my mom, but in general. This one is going to be incredibly hard for me. Even today, I had a tough moment where I almost let anger and spite win out. Luckily, (at least today), it didn’t work. And it really was hard. But it’s possible and the more I do it, the better I’ll get!

[Note: All said and done, learning this about my mother and me was actually a very fun revelation because it was one I never would have expected! But I’m really glad for it because I can’t wait to see what it will do to our relationship!]

All righty… As I finish this post, it is now two short minutes till midnight, till the new year. I’m so grateful for all that I’ve learned this year and I can’t wait to see what the new one will bring me. New Years is one of my favorite times of year. I love the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning, of a clean slate. I am always excited by the days to come and ready for all the possibilities (no matter how cheesy that may sound).

And the clock strikes midnight!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! ❤

Let this be a good one!

Ten Things About My Writing

So I ran across this post by Lyra Selene as I was stalking various authors’ blogs and thought this was such a cool idea! I found myself thinking about these things, so I decided that I may as well post them!

1.I always brainstorm in a notebook by hand. 

I’m pretttttty sure that I could open up a document on my computer and spew my creative juices as well as I could on paper, but for some reason (perhaps habit? Probably because I really like notebooks and pens!) I like brainstorming by hand. It usually is just a stream of consciousness about whatever idea is harping at me the most that day. It’s very unorganized and really just an explosion of chaos. Sometimes I have multiple book ideas in a single notebook because I’ll write down whatever comes to mind. I never really go back and read what I’ve written, but getting it down on paper and the acting of writing it seems to help fine-tune what I’m thinking!

 

2. I usually outline extensively, but after the outline is written, I hardly look at it again. 

Hmm… Not sure why this is?? I think the only exception to this is for my current book, Fox Story! I actually did have to go back and see what I had planned while I was drafting. However, I think this is because my outline was sparser than it usually is (which was definitely intentional!) and because I was trying out Leigh Bardugo’s method of drafting, which had me moving along my outline faster than I usually do (which was also intentional!)

 

3. Sometimes I like music, sometimes I don’t. 

Depending on what kind of mood I’m in, I’ll either write to music or write in silence. I’m not sure why I want music sometimes and not others, but it seems to come in giant spurts. I’ll go for a long time listening to music and then suddenly, I’ll switch to writing without any music for a long time. (Not sure what triggers the switch?)

 

4. I rarely listen to instrumental music

For the most part, I usually like listening to music with lyrics. Not that I have anything against instrumental music or soundtracks, but… I don’t know. I think it’s easier for me to connect to music with words in them. A phrase or a sentiment that I hear in the song will strike an emotion in me that I’ll become obsessed with. I know a lot of people find songs with lyrics distracting to write to, but I’ve never quite had that problem. (Haha, if anything I’ll just sing while I’m writing).

I think the one time I used instrumental music was the waltz from Howl’s Moving Castle (which is an AMAZING piece, by the way) when I was writing my Peter Pan Story ages back!

*SIGH* I LOVE this music!!!!!! *heart eyes*

 

5. I only ever use one song on repeat during a writing session.

Something about hearing songs switch REALLY distracts me. So I only ever listen to a song on repeat while I’m writing. Hence, this:

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-10-10-44-pm

Hahaha, and I also end up using A LOT of Taylor Swift for my writing! (And in case you were interested, I listened to Out of the Woods while drafting my Beauty and the Beast retelling and Style for my Faerie Story!)

 

6. I like different songs for drafting vs. revising.

This is actually a very new revelation for me (and who knows! I could be wrong or it could change–we’ll have to see!). I only just noticed I like to use songs that really draw out the emotion of the story when I am drafting but I tend to favor songs that have nothing to with my story when I am revising. For example, when I was drafting my Fox Story, I used Red by Taylor Swift (yup! Another T-Swift song >.<), which totally gets the pain and angst of my story, but now that I am revising, I am obsessively listening to Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy, which I LOVE, but let’s face it, it has NOTHING to do with my story.

(By the way, I’ve been trying to use the emotions in the song Red for the longest time! I’ve always wanted to use it for a story and I didn’t plan on using it for Fox Story, but it turned out to be a good fit, so YIPEE!!!)

And here they are, in case you wanna take a listen!

 

7. I don’t start truly loving a story until revisions.

You know how you’ll ask authors “What is your favorite part of writing?” and you’ll hear them say, “I love that moment when everything comes together!” I honestly had NO IDEA what those authors were talking for the longest time. I’d hear it again and again, but not really know what they meant and I’d think they were crazy. But I finally, finally understood when I got far enough my revisions in Faerie Story.

For the longest time, I was so scared and worried because every single step of the writing process was so absolutely grueling and felt like pulling teeth and I thought there was a very big possibility that I might actually hate writing. It wasn’t until I completed the third rewrite of Faerie Story that I felt, Yes! It’s finally coming together. I mean, it was still SOOOOOOO far from being a Good Book, but wow! That moment hit me and I finally saw the shape of story taking place. It’s definitely the most exciting part of writing for me. Honestly, everything up until that point is SO HARD and I have to fight to keep writing. But man! Once it started coming together, I was so excited to write each and every day. I didn’t have that Fear and the ugly procrastination that comes with The Fear. I was so motivated and I actually wanted to write and that was such an awesome feeling.

 

8. The most difficult part of the writing process is the Second Draft. 

Not only are my second draft usually complete rewrites, but wow, the procrastination kicks in HARD during this phase. And this is what I have to battle with the most during this draft. Luckily, I know this is a phase now. When I was revising Faerie Story and rewriting it for the third time, I was so frustrated with myself because I would procrastinate so hard and do anything I could to avoid writing. It took me months and months to finish that draft because of it (hence my extreme annoyance with myself) when it should have taken me about three. The strange part is, once I started writing and got in the groove, I had a pretty good time writing! So I have no idea why I had to fight that I DON’T WANT TO WRITE bug so bad.

But it really does help that I know it’s a phase now–The Second Draft Syndrome, if you will. Like I talked about above how I was scared that I didn’t even like writing? Yup! The third draft of Faerie Story was when I was very concerned that writing would always be awful and never get better and why was I still doing this???? The motivation is REAL low and the procrastination real high during this point–a bad combination! But now I know this is just a phase and it, too, will eventually pass! And that more than anything else, has helped me so much as I revise Fox Story right now!

(Oh by the way, the third draft of Faerie Story is what I consider my real Second Draft because I basically wrote two first drafts of Faerie Story because I misunderstood what revising was and what it required–anyways, I digress! That is a story for another day!)

 

9. I’m no longer afraid of rewriting.

When I first began writing (poor, wee thing I was!), I was SO afraid of rewriting. I would do anything in my power to prevent that from happening, which (surprise!) was very difficult because most of the words that I write are PURE CRAP and have to be rewritten (multiple times!)!! I’d try to piece together broken fragments, hoping somehow I could mash them into a book before giving up and realizing there was no way around it. But now, I’ve accepted that I will most certainly have to completely rewrite my first drafts and possibly many drafts after that! I’m no longer scared of this! I think this is one of things I am most proud of! It’s one of those things that makes me see how far I have come as a writer and I’m really so so excited and proud! I truly believe that had I known how hard writing was when I first began to even think about writing a book, that I would never have attempted it. It’s actually a good thing I was arrogant enough to believe I could write a book and that it would be easy (MUAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!! *laughs at former naive baby writer self*!!!!) It’s shameful to me that I would have walked away from this because it’s hard–because that really is the laziest, lamest reason to not do something–but that’s the truth! And while I have a long, long way to go in my writing journey, I’m so very glad for how far I have come!

 

10. My ideas have shifted and evolved very much since I first started writing. 

It’s hard for me to say exactly how they’ve shifted and changed, but they most definitely have. I do think my ideas have become more sophisticated (God that sounds SO pretentious, but I SWEAR, I don’t mean for that to sound so hoity-toity/self-congratulatory!! It’s just a statement!) and perhaps a bit less conventional (though for the most part, I think my ideas are all fairly commercial)???And I also think that I had less things I needed for an idea at the beginning. I would just get that Spark and that was that! Lately, I’ve been getting more ideas that I call “Dull Ding” ideas, meaning… it’s an idea without any Spark, an idea that seems really cool, but is missing that extra OOMPH. And honestly, it’s just a matter of time, waiting for the Spark to hit. I’ve also been getting a lot of emotions/series of emotions that I want to use in a book, but have no context or plot to support them yet. Or I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten more ideas that grow from a character than I have in the past, as opposed to ideas rooted from plot. For example, I somewhat recently got the feeling of a girl that was binge-eating everything in sight. She throws up and with tears in her eyes, continues to eat. I don’t know if that will ever become a story or it will simply remain a flash of an idea, but I really love it and feel for that girl. Her sadness and loneliness and self-loathing is strangely lovely to me and calls to me and I hope that with the right Spark, it’ll be come a fully-fledged Idea. 😀 😀

Wow. Sorry, that answer was very all-over-the-place and all kinds of incoherent… O__O !!!!!! Anyways, haha, I guess there’s at least some insight???

 

Hey! I talked A LOT about music, didn’t I?? Hahah, that’s fairly ironic considering I don’t think of music as a necessity in my writing process. Anyways! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this! This isn’t a tag, per se, but I think this is such a fun blog post that I’m going to force–AHEM, I MEAN ASK–my lovely CPs, Janella and Amanda to do this with me!!!!

WOO PASSING ON THE BATON!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Thank you, as always always, for reading my weird ramblings!!!

Snowflakes and Updates

Hello, my dear sweet blog!

Today was a good day!… (I didn’t have to use my AK)… Hahah JK (hey, that rhymes!!!)! Funny story–I don’t listen to Ice Cube (or really rap in general, excepting Eminem), but because of this scene from one of my favorite shows ever, Happy Endings:

I got introduced to this song and naturally began singing it (because I always get songs–especially from sitcoms–stuck in my head and the urge to sing become too much to resist… plus, I guess according to my mom, I’m always being loud and singing anyways… haha..). Haha, well, my brother (who’s a hardcore rap maniac) walked past and heard me singing and did the BIGGEST DOUBLE TAKE EVER. After a brief silence, he was like, “ARE YOU SINGING ICE CUBE?” Of course, I didn’t know this song was by Ice Cube, so I just shrugged and said, “I don’t know!” Ha… Anyways, I’m finding that this story is getting rather long and also it’s not that funny… Hehe, I guess you just had to be there??

OH BOY! Let me get to the point of this post now! So today was a good day! Here are some things I did!!

  • Took Husker Pups to her doggy training class and she graduated today! Yeeeeee!!!!
  • Went running with a friend, had lunch, and then had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte! (Technically this was yesterday, but whatever, it was still fun!!)
  • Went up into the mountains to take some pictures with said friend!
  • Slipped and fell in mud!
  • Hugged a tree and got white chalky stuff all over me (I was wearing all black!)
  • Stepped in dog poo
  • Sent Leigh Bardugo a long, fangirly email
  • Finally decided to write this blog post

That’s the gist of it! Like I said, it was a good day, despite all the stepping-on-dog-poo stuff that went on. Can you believe it? This is the second time I stepped in dog poo with that same friend! I raged real hard as my friend laughed her head off. Hahah, okay, I laughed too, because it was kind of funny, but it was also SUPER DISGUSTING and we both wanted to barf. The worst part of it is, we went up to Little Cottonwood Canyon, which has VERY strict regulations that do not allow any dogs up there due to watersheds. Like, you can’t even have dogs in the car up there! It was supposed to be a safe space!! So during my rage, I was like, “WHO BROUGHT THEIR DOG UP HERE?? I’M GOING TO REPORT THEM!!!”

(Hahah, I don’t even know who to report them to, much less how they would ever determine who is to blame… But ya know, when you’re in the heat of the moment, you just say a lot of stuff, haha).

WOW, LOOK HOW MUCH I DIGRESS. Well, I guess it’s because this is such a random post, but I do have some things that I want to report!

Sooooooo… in my previous post, I talked about how I was embarking on this crazy plan to finish a draft in like three weeks or something (D-Day equaling the release of Crooked Kingdom). While I still concede it was a Crazy Plan, it turns out it was for moot because I ended up not starting drafting.

MERRRRHHHHH.

You see, the reason I decided to start drafting is because I had stalled out completely on brainstorming. I didn’t know what was going on, or how to get the brain wheels turning again, but it just was not working. So after feeling very unproductive for a few weeks, I decided that maybe drafting would jumpstart my brainstormy, idea-rolling feelings. I mean, I wasn’t making any progress with brainstorming/outlining anyways, so why not try drafting and see what it does? Well, it turns out I had more brainstorming juice left in me than I thought! Once I got the ball rolling, it really started going.

A big part of me hates writing this post because it makes me look like a flake. And one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is flaky people. I need–absolutely need— to be able to trust people to follow through. If you say you want to have dinner tomorrow at 5pm, I most certainly expect you to be there. If you say you want to watch a movie, you better not cancel on me thirty minutes before. Better yet, you better not stand me up. Ha… Stuff like this has happened to me quite often by those who I considered friends, so I really, really, really dislike flakes/flaking.

(To be clear–of course, I 100% understand that things sometimes come up and it requires you to cancel! I’m talking about the chronic, reliable flakes!)

Failing to follow-up on my last post makes me feel like a flake and I really hate it. But I know that it was the right choice. I’m so glad the brainstorming juices started flowing again and I’d rather wait until I have a more solid outline in place before I start drafting. So, yeah. I didn’t draft. But I don’t feel bad about it.

Onwards and upwards, right?

On the bright side, this might have been for the best because I managed to find a copy of Crooked Kingdom in the wild a few days before its release date. I mean, that would have been absolute TORTURE not to be able to read it until I was done drafting.

So here’s the new plan!! The new plan is actually the old plan! Before my brainstorming rut, I had planned on drafting October and this is what I want to do again! I’ve got a much better, solid outline in place now. I’ll spend the rest of this coming week brainstorming and outlining some more and come Monday, October 3, 2016, I will start my first draft of Fox Story!

My goal: I would really, really love it if I could finish this draft within a month. I’m going to try my very best to meet this goal, but in the back of my mind, I know I’m going to be busy with school, work, and volunteering, so I’m going to (try to) not to be too hard on myself if this doesn’t happen.

Well, dear blog, I think that’s it for me today! I’m excited to start this new story and the itch to write has been creeping up on me the last few days, which is always a fun, fun feeling!

Thank you for reading!!! 😀

ERIN OUT!