DONE WITH MY MONSTER DRAFT

AT LAST. AT LONG, LONG LAST, MY FRIENDS!!!!!!

(I tried to think of a good title for this post for about ten minutes, but inspiration isn’t striking, so I’m gonna call it like I see it!!! Hahah!)

There was a time when men were kind. When their voices soft and their words inviting–

Har har har, I kid!

But in fact, there was a time when I thought this draft would never end and this day would never come. I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED MY DRAFT OF FOX STORY!!!!!

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*collapses*

This was a really hard draft to complete and there really were times that I thought the end seemed so far away. Even when I was nearing the end, I felt like I was no closer to finishing this draft because it was going so, so slowly. In addition, my motivation was dipping low. Every time I was writing, the words had to be pulled from me like teeth. I think I was writing only a couple hundred per hour, which made me go like this:

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It was frustrating to say the least.

There were couple reasons for this, one of which is that I started over a few times while in the middle of this draft, as seen in this post here. And I don’t think I blogged about it, but I end up going back to the beginning again towards the end of April when things got stuck and I realized I was going to have to go back. While I don’t regret doing this because it was all for the better, it made this second draft–which is already the most grueling part of the process–even… gruel-ier. And if at all possible, I’m going to try not to do this again.

I know there are some writers who revise as they draft (Laini Taylor comes to mind) as well as a few of my writer friends and it works for them. But for me, I need to have a sense of completion. Even though there will be many drafts to come, that sense of finishing a draft is what keep me going. It’s when a story feels never-ending that I lose my steam. I started this rewrite way back when in November. It’s July now. That’s… nine months! And I really thought I was going to go crazy.

I’m so excited to be finished with this second draft. (I actually have no idea what number to call this draft, since I went back a few times? So I’m just going to stick to Draft 2). It’s still very awful and it needs so much work–especially my third act, which is in major need of reconstruction as it is very rushed and disjointed–but it feels so good to know that I am done with this round.

Anyways, I feel like I’ve learned a lot (as always) writing this draft and I wanted to share! So here goes!

 

Reading is Integral to Writing

I cannot stress how important this is. I honestly had no idea how much my reading affected my writing, but I was proven time and time again during these long months that when I don’t read, my writing suffers.

For the first time ever really, I went through a really bad book slump toward the end of April and beginning of May? Timeline is a bit murky, but regardless, I was having the toughest time reading. I’m not sure what exactly caused this slump (and we may perhaps never know! I do have my suspicions, but I’m not going to get into them today 🙂 ) but it was kind of brutal. I wanted to read so badly, but every time I would start a book, it failed to suck in me and inevitably end up putting it down.

I came to an all-time low when I realized that I had still not read Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh, which was one of my most anticipated reads from, as you know, one of my favorite authors! Normally, I would have been so excited that I would have binge-read it immediately. And yet, it sat on my shelf, unopened. This might not seem like a big deal, but it hit me hard because that was just very unlike me. And even though I had been waiting for Flame in the Mist ever since it was announced, I had absolutely no desire to read it.

(For the record, I still haven’t gotten to Flame in the Mist, though I have plans to binge-read it very soon… perhaps as soon as today, might I dare say?!!)

During this time, I struggled hard with writing. The words were not coming. I was procrastinating and dreading having to open my laptop. I dragged my feet and whined a lot.

I struggled with trying to read a lot of different books before ultimately putting them down. I would finish a few, but it still wasn’t quite hitting the stop. Somewhere in between there though, I began my reread The Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. I read these books as a child (around ten or something years ago?) and enjoyed them, so when Thick as Thieves came out earlier this year, I decided the time was ripe for a reread!

I don’t know how to tell you guys, but this series is everything to me. Particularly, King of Attolia. I literally can’t talk about it–or even think about it–because I get overwhelmed by the emotions and it makes me cry every time. Literally. I love them so much.

Anyways, I became utterly consumed with these books and suddenly–everything was a little bit better. The words came easier, I got into the flow of writing. I had ideas for subplots I wanted to weave in for my next round of revisions and thoughts for what I wanted in a sequel.

It felt like taking a breath of fresh air after being held underwater for a long time.

I had my second experience with this just a few days ago when I started reading a book that I wanted to like but found that I was very apathetic to within the first couple of chapters. I forced myself to continue reading in the hopes that it would catch my interest; it was not long before I started dreading opening this book and as a result, I stopped reading.

And once again, my writing suffered for it. The feet dragging began. The lack of motivation. The words did not flow, but eked.

When I noticed that I was dreading reading, I knew it was time to stop. I don’t DNF books often and rarely do I do it consciously (many times I will just put a book down with the intention of coming back to it later and then never do), but this one had to go.

I picked up Finnikin of the Rock instead and decided to reread. And it was the best decision I could have made. First of all because I LOVE the Lumatere Chronicles and because Melina Marchetta is absolutely brilliant and I cannot get over how good these books are. And secondly, because I was able to write again.

Coincidence? *shrug* Maybe–

“Oh, Sherlock. What do we say about coincidences?”

“The universe is rarely so lazy.”

–but I don’t think it is.

I hear a lot of authors–published authors mainly–say they don’t have time to read anymore. That always made me sad because I could not imagine not reading for a sustained period of time, but now, I understand just how important it is to keep reading and in particular, to read/consume books/movies/tv shows/music–anything really that speaks to you and inspires you. It made WORLDS of a difference when I was reading a book I loved. I cannot emphasize this enough. I know sometimes, it can seem like you’re “wasting” time reading when you could be writing, but wow. Reading is so, so integral to writing. I had no idea how much I was inspired on a subconscious level. I had no idea how much reading inspired me to write.

Writing starts with reading: This is truly one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned and I am so grateful for it.

 

Magic Hour

“Magic Hour is when actors look their best.” 

-Titus Andromedon

Or in the case of writing, magic hour is when writers write their best. This one is more of a personal revelation for me, but I realized while writing this monster of a draft that I write best in the evening and night time!

This was HUGE for me. I am a morning person and consequently believed for the past few years that I wrote best in the morning and during the day. Because of this, I always stopped writing at about 8 o’ clock or so, give or take? I went to bed early so that I could get up early in the morning and write all day. It makes me laugh now because wow, I could not have been more wrong. I write best when the sun has set. I think of all the Magic Hours I must have missed and just laugh.

In hindsight, this was kind of obvious and I don’t know how I went this long without realizing it. It’s so clear to me now. It’s just easier to get into the writing groove during the evening for some reason. I don’t know whether it’s because I know everything I have to do is done for the day or what? I don’t really why but I’m not going to question it too much! Conversely, I realized that my worst time of day to write is the afternoon. Again, this should have been obvious to me considering that after lunch is when I get super sleepy and tired. And as for mornings? They seem to be the happy medium between the two! I don’t get into the writing flow as easily as the evening, but it’s a lot better than the afternoons!

This information has been vastly helpful because now I am allocating my chores and other tasks to the afternoon when my brain isn’t working and making sure that I keep my mornings and evenings in particular, free to write!

 

Random Fact

This isn’t anything I learned from writing, but I just thought I’d note that last night was the latest I have ever stayed up to write! I think I finished my draft at around 1:30 am! I have never stayed up that late before to write! I usually stop writing anywhere from 9:30-10:30pm and go to bed at around 11pm after reading for an hour or so (like I said, early bird!! 😀 ) Anyways, I don’t know why I find that so interesting but I do > . <  New record!!!

 

Anyways, those two things were the biggest things I learned from writing this crazy draft. They were both such great revelations and I’m so glad for them! I’m so, so excited to be done and I can’t wait to start a fresh round of revisions! I’m planning on spending the next few days reading through what I have (and cringing a lot) and taking notes on what to fix and all that jazz. I’m really excited because I think–knock on wood–that I’m finally at the point where it’s going to be more revising than it is rewriting, which is my favorite part of writing!

Oh! One more thing!!! I’m also super excited because though I cannot afford it and probably shouldn’t have, I bought some new candles as a reward for finishing!!!!! I recently discovered my love of candles and the mad, obsessive buying has begun O___o  It’s super nice because I’ve been lighting them when I write and it’s definitely so cozy and writerly! I am super excited to try these new bookish candles and can’t wait for them to arrive!

Wow, this post a lot longer than I’d intended! I’m going to stop here! And as always, I’m going to try and be better about posting, but no promises! Thank you all for reading!!! ❤

HEY OHHHHH!!!! :D

Long time, no see, dear blog!!!

MUAHAHAAH! For once that is not true!!! I have returned in a week!

I thought I would write a blog post today concerning some of my new goals with Fox Story! When I initially scheduled this story, I meant to be done with the second draft by the end of February… And that was my lower limit goal. I had planned to revise once more and depending on how that went, I was going to send it out to CPs and get feedback  in March-ish? And revise with their notes and possibly be querying by June? Perhaps even May if all went very well?

[EDIT: JK!!!! Hahah, I actually just checked back on the post that I wrote for when I first started this story–this one–and ya know what? I gave myself LOTS of time. Clearly Past Me was smart and gave me PLENTY of time to work on this story. Haha, this is actually making me chortle–yes, CHORTLE. Apparently I planned to query in September, not in May/June. I think May/June was what I was working towards as I was working on Draft 2. Ha, I find this highly hilarious for some reason. I guess I’m not as behind as I thought! Why does it still feel like I am ages behind??? Bahahah, more chortling! Okay, anyways, read on! :D]

Well, obviously, that’s not going to work. And while it was a little saddening to see time fly by and with it, my goals/deadlines, I suppose it was all for the best. And either way, I’m back on track and ready to write!!!!

I mentioned on my most recent post that I decided to start over Fox Story from scratch! Anyways, the past week or so has been spent brainstorming and figuring out what I truly want to do in my book. I reread The Wrath and the Dawn and also ended up rereading The Winner’s Curse, which is another FAVORITE FAVORITE and always provides so much inspiration and awe for me. (I’m starting my reread of The Winner’s Crime tonight, by the way!!) I’ve enjoyed rereading these books again so much and I feel so inspired by them!

I started rewriting this morning! To be honest, it’s always scary starting a new draft–especially after coming from a super long break–and I kind of had to force myself to get writing. But

ANYWAYS. Wow. Let’s get back to my original point of this point!! GOALS!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀 😀

APRIL-JULY:

  • Draft 3 – I want to finish this draft, at the latest, by the end of July! Now, seeing as I’m aiming for about 90,000 words (less if I can), that should be ample time! Of course, there are always things that crop up unexpectedly that cause deadlines go awry, but as far as I can see, there isn’t much standing in my way at this point! 😀 I really do think I can achieve this goal! Since I started rewriting today, that means I have 112 days to finish my book (yes, I did the math) and seeing as my goal is to try and write about 1,000 words per day, this should be very doable, even if I have days that I’m not able to write as much as I’d like!!!

 

  • That said, it would be AWESOME if I could finish earlier. Say… Like end of June? Which would give me about 81 days? Don’t know if this is quite a goal that I can achieve, so let’s say that’s my upper limit goal!

 

AUGUST:

  • CPs – Yayay!!! Hopefully, by August, I will have a draft ready to send to my CPs and be able to get some amazing feedback from them!!

 

AUGUST-SEPTEMBER:

  • Draft 4 – Of course it will depend on what sort of feedback and how big the notes I receive are, but I’d love to try and finish implementing their critiques by the end of September or so?

 

OCTOBER:

  • Query – MEEP! If all goes well and according to plan, I should (hopefully? maybe?) be querying in October! *clutchy face*

 

Of course, who knows if this will all work out the way I want it to? I guess good news is that I’m not really so far behind schedule that I thought! Hehe. Anyways–you know me–I love goals and I love seeing these written out and it’s making me really excited. I’m feeling pretty good and even though it’s always a daunting task to have to rewrite a book, I have to say, that nothing beats feeling like you’ve made improvements! And while I know that this is going to take many more drafts to get right, I know that the first couple of chapters I revised today are INFINITELY better than what they were. And that in it of itself makes me super happy!

Let’s hope the good spirits keep on rolling! Thanks for reading, everybody!!! 😀 ❤

Update: December!

It’s been a reaaaaaaaaaaallllly long time since I’ve done one of these update thingys (I think March was the last one?) which is too bad, because I actually like doing these!! Hehe, anyways, lots of things have been a happening, so I thought it’d be nice to actually catch up on everything that’s been happening since March in an official post!

But first things first… I know it’s been a month and a half since the 2016 elections have come and gone and initially, since it had passed, I wasn’t going to bring it up again… but that felt kinda icky to just let it slide by, so here I go!

I don’t have much to say other than that this is horribly disappointing, shameful, and I still have a hard time believing it. I am not at all into politics (I find it really boring) but that was the thing: This election was not about politics. It was about basic human rights and equality vs. racism and hate. Perhaps this is my privilege speaking, but I never, never thought this would happen. I was really excited and proud to live in a time where I got to see the first black president and the first woman president become elected. I was devastated that this didn’t happen. A part of me is still in a very shocked state, while the other part of me feels kinda numb and perhaps a little bit in denial. I’m not a very eloquent person (ironic considering I wanna write), so I don’t know if I can ever truly express everything that I want to say, but for now, I think that’ll work.

And if it wasn’t clear before, this is going to be a loooooooong post. So bear with me 🙂

 

What I’m Writing: 

I am working on the second draft of Fox Story! I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve learned that the second draft is always in the most grueling, most arduous part of the writing process. Not only in terms of the actual writing, but this is the point in which I struggle SO hard with motivation (not having very much of it) and procrastination (having waaaay too much of it). I hardly ever feel like writing and most of the time, I find myself letting myself get distracted by other, more fun things. As a result, it’s been a slow process, especially with the holidays getting in the way. However, I am determined to do better in the coming days and I will get this draft done! YEAH!!!!!!

What I’m Reading: 

Reading has also been slow this month… I don’t know, I just haven’t felt like reading much! I’ve learned this is just the way reading life is, so I’m going with the flow! However, I have read some books that I adored!

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Windwitch by Susan Dennard

I have long awaited this book ever since I finished Truthwitch last year! Truthwitch was one of those books for me that you want to love so so bad and are afraid it will let you down. Luckily, I LOVED loved loved it. It was at the same time everything that I wanted and nothing like I expected. My favorite part about it was how very classic it felt. I’m not really sure how to explain it better than that, but it had a distinct “feel” to it that I absolutely loved! Anyways, Windwitch was just amazing as the first, if not more amazing. Again, I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t be what I wanted it to be, but worry not, my friends. It was amazing. You will not be disappointed. If anything, you will be astounded by its sheer brilliance.

 

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A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Eep!!! Another book that I was dying to read. Okay, first of all, just look. LOOK AT THAT COVER. How could you not want to read it? Also the description. A tournament in which the prize is a wish??!!! I was actually really mad I didn’t think of that idea first because HOW COOL IS THAT. I just love that concept. Anyways, I loved it! The writing is gorgeous, the story unique. I think it was even better than The Star-Touched Queen! Part of it also reminded me of the k-drama, You’re Beautiful (my favoritest drama ever, in case you didn’t know!!), and literally right after I finished, I had to watch the last episode of You’re Beautiful and then sob tearfuls. So yeah! Read it! You’ll love it!

My Current Music Obsession: 

 

THIS. HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS SOONER? HOW HAVE I GONE MY ENTIRE LIFE WITHOUT THESE?

Hands down, this is THE BEST–THE BEST–Disney medley I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. It is so freaking clever how they connected the songs and you can tell that they put actual effort into this and I am so astounded by how creatively and how beautifully they produced this. Not only are the lyrics so beautifully woven together, they’ve also connected the songs with the notes. Every single time I watch this, I am so in awe. How brilliant is it???

Once upon a dream/ is a wish your heart makes.

When the prince of the my dreams comes to/look at me. 

I would break my family’s heart/don’t fail me now.

Finally they’re opening up the–what’s that word again? (gates)–street.

Wandering free, wish I could be, part of that world/what I’d give to return.

 And to think I’d complained of that dull provincial town/and you’ll never hear the wolf cry. 

I know I don’t really have to explain this because it’s really obvious in the video, but I thought I’d point out my favorite parts (which coincidentally happens to be the whole thing……. O____o)!!! 😀 Also, SO BRILLIANT when they go from For the First Time in Forever back to Part of Your World. It never fails to crack me up!

I could talk about this for months and months. And months. I’ve probably watched this literally 30 times. I love it so much. I could listen to it forever and marvel at how wonderful it is.

Also, Laura Osnes. Wow. She really needs to be a Disney Princess. I don’t understand how she’s not one already. She’s amazing! Her voice is so perfect! She was made to be a Disney Princess. (PS~ Big, big shout-out to my CO-G, Janelly Bear, for introducing me to Laura Osnes!)

What I’m Watching: 

OKAY ANOTHER NEW HORRIBLY BIG OBSESSION: THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES.

WOW.

Talk about brilliant. It is the best retelling of Pride and Prejudice I have EVER seen. It is so creative and just a perfect translation. The moment I saw Ashley Clements on screen, I immediately thought: LIZZIE. The way she looks, the way she talks is exactly how I would imagine Elizabeth Bennet were she living now. I have a feeling I’ll be talking about this more in the future and most likely in more depth (because I just have sooooooo much to say about this show!!!!!!), but just WOW. The character arcs, the little nods to the original, the medium, the sheer, sheer brilliance of it.

I binge-watched the entire show in just a day. A DAY. So get thee to Lizzie Bennet Diaries!!! YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!!!!

What’s Happening: 

Actually… quite a lot. About a month ago, I QUIT MY JOB. While I loved loved some aspects of my job, I had a TERRIBLE boss. I was always nervous when he was around because he’d nitpick at every little thing. He’d yell at me for things that did not heed yelling. He treated us (the aides) like we were servants and morons.

The last straw was way back in September. I had forgotten to put the bike pedals back on the bike the previous night and when I came in the next morning to work, my boss exploded. He yelled at me and threatened to fire me in front of a patient and that was when I had this epiphany. I suddenly realized: I don’t deserve to be treated this way. While this seems obvious, it was actually a huge epiphany for me. I realized he treated me–and my co-workers–like complete trash. None of us deserved to be treated like this.

Not only did he yell and explode over nothing, but once he was mad at you, he would make personal attacks. He’d make snide comments and nitpick even more. He’d “test” me and ask me questions to see if I’d get them wrong, he’d interrupt while I was working with patients and say that I was doing something incorrectly, even though it’s how I’d been doing them all along. He’d do an “inspection” every night and make up a list of everything you’d done improperly. In addition, he would misunderstand things (not intentionally, but still) and somehow I’d be blamed for it. He also blamed me for a lot of things that weren’t my fault.

I bring this up because I just want to say: You do not deserve to be treated this way. You shouldn’t be looked down upon because the position you serve is “lesser.” Don’t let anyone treat you like that. I don’t care if it’s a boss, a “friend”, a family member, a random person–it’s not okay.

I constantly think of this quote from Sirius Black:

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals. 

It’s so very true and so very revealing of what a person is like. I will never forget that.

I worked there for over a year. It’s shockingly easy for behavior like this to become your normal. I’d somehow forgotten or never quite realized until that moment that I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I’d forgotten that it wasn’t normal for your boss to yell at you because of a tiny thing no one else notices. I’d forgotten that you shouldn’t be super nervous when you’re boss is around. I’d just kind of accepted that that’s the way things were.

I miss working for the therapists there (who were so great to me and the only reason why I stayed there as long as I did), I miss the patients, and I miss the work of it, but I’m glad for the change for many reasons. I’ve just started my new job and am enjoying it. It’s a hospital instead of an outpatient clinic, so it is different, but it’s been great so far! I love the people that I’ve met and I’ve met some hilarious patients!

 

Well, I hope everyone has had a wonderful winter holiday!! The new year is just around the bend, and how exciting is that! Because it means… SHERLOCK SEASON 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO SO SO EXCITED.

Anyways, that’s what’s been going on with me! I’m going to try and be more consistent with my updates, but I also know better than to make any promises because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I am very fickle and impulsive with my blog! But thank you all for reading and have an amazing day!!!! 😀

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:

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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!!!

First Draft Done!

Or at least… I think I’m done?

Or at the very least, I’ve reached the end of my story! I finished my first draft last Friday, I believe, which was the 21st of October! It’s a little bit ahead of my intended schedule, which would have had me finish Sunday of this week. But I have to say, I’m happy with the way it turned out. This current week is a busy one for me: I’ve got three author events I want to attend, as well as a test, and a whole new batch of homework! It’s perfect because I can focus on non-writerly stuff for this week, which will also double as my week break from writing–which of course, will mean that I will be ALL FIRED UP for next week, which will mark official start of revisions/rewriting, which I am really excited for!

Anyways, the first draft of Fox Story ended up at a paltry 40,594 words! I aimed for around 60k, but I’m happy with what I have. I wanted to try and have a short first draft this time around–and goal achieved!! I do indeed have a short first draft!! I’m not quite sure how I feel about it however.

My confusion over whether I am done or not stems from not quite feeling “done”. I think this is because I skipped a lot of scenes that I didn’t know how quite to write and leaving some blank spaces where I knew which scenes I wanted, but didn’t know how to execute them.

[Edit: I actually left this blog post unfinished and now it’s a week later and I can’t remember what else I wanted to say… Oops! Uh, I’ll wing it???]

Anyways, uh… Haha, I don’t really know where I was going with this… So I’ll say this!!! (OH WAIT I REMEMBERED!!!!) I don’t know how well this whole “Leigh Bardugo-ing” is going to be honest. It might turn out that this whole thing doesn’t work out and I would have been better off writing my 100k first drafts full of crap. I don’t know yet! I’m just going to see how this goes! The very worst that can happen is that this method is terrible for me and now I know that my process entails writing really really long first drafts that I will have to completely rewrite! Who knows?! Of course, I’d love it if it turned out to be great, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

In other news…

I’ve started my revisions! It’s going to be an entire rewrite (I’m pretty sure)! I started revising this past Monday after my week-long break and so far I’ve revised/rewritten a couple of chapters. I’m not really happy with them (to say the very least) and I can tell it’s not the Right Story yet, the writing is absolute crap and it burns my eyes to try and read through it, but that’s okay. If there’s anything I’ve learned from writing my Faerie Story is that, revisions take time. It takes a lot of time and thinking and daydreaming and wondering to get it right. It takes layers and layers and revisions upon revisions, sometimes rewriting upon rewriting. The revisions I’m doing now are NOTHING close to what I want my story to be–but it’s a whole lot closer than my first draft. Even as I rewrite and revise, I know it’s going to take about a thousand more rewrites and revisions to get the story I have in my head down on paper. And then probably a hundred more rewrites/revisions to make the words pretty and all.

This whole process might have been daunting to me once (and it still is sort of daunting right now), but you know what? I feel pretty good about. I can be patient. I understand that this will take months and months to get right and hundreds of thousands of wrong, ugly, crappy words and tons and tons of time. But I know that with enough patient and enough persistence and work, I’ll get the Right Story eventually. So for now, all I can do is keep writing. And that’s just fine with me!

As always, thanks for listening to be ramble, guys!!

What are you guys working on? How’s it going??

 

Plotted

Woo!! LONG TIME NO SEE!!!

*cackles*

Apparently, I either post a billion times at once, or once every five blue moons.

Anyways, just a quick post to say… I’M ALL DONE OUTLINING!!! It’s strange because I’ve never felt so conclusive about an outline before. Usually, I feel much more foggy about my ideas and scenes and it feels like I have SO MUCH left to smooth out. I finished today and for once, I didn’t have that foggy feeling. I mean, I still do have a lot to think about and more brainstorming to do, but the bones are all there. Again… I feel weird about it because I’ve never felt so Done with an outline before.

I’ve been thinking about why this might be so. I mean, my goal with this outline was to make it much more brief. I have a tendency to overplot/outline, going into very intense details about little things. While I don’t mind putting in all that work up front, I don’t think it does me any favors. Speaking from past history, I have had to COMPLETELY rewrite all of my first drafts, so all that time I spent agonizing over what a certain character was wearing or how so and so character felt at this point in the draft, or how this character … Well, that all changed! Or else was removed from the draft when I rewrote it. Or was not relevant at all. Of course, I do believe that initial brainstorming–particularly in regards to characterization and world building–helps A TON later on, so none of it is wasted time, but in my case, I feel like I was obsessing waaaaaay too much on plot details that added up to nothing.

So I’m very happy to say I managed not to get caught up in minor details this time! I really did focus on the Big Picture stuff. And I think it’s what contributed to what made this outline feel very solid and very Done. I have more Blank Spaces (*AND I’LL WRITE YOUR NAME*) this time around, many more Between Scenes in which I don’t really know what happens, but I’m okay with it. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the actual writing part of it will help me figure it out! (And in any case, the Between Scenes are what usually get cut after the first draft anyways!) It’s been very refreshing and I feel great about it (at least for now…. We’ll see how I feel when I’m drafting >.<)

The ending surprised me, but in the best way possible! I’m SOOOOOOO happy with it and it’s gotten me excited all over again about this project! If I can get ahead with my homework in the next day or two, I may even start this drafting thing…

*sneaky grin*

Anyways, I’m feeling good!!! And I hope you all are, too! 😀 All right, I better go study for my test now!!!

Byyyyyyyyyeeeeee!

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!