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!!

 

 

A Love Letter to My CPs

I am so grateful to have found some of the most amazing people in this writing world and so lucky to be able to call them my friends and critique partners. As this year comes to a close, and a new year begins–and as I come close to finishing my manuscript at long last, I’d like to say a few words of intense thanks, gratitude, and love to Amanda and Janella for their undying support and friendship. Now, warning, this is going to be an incredibly long and sappy post, so yeah… just letting you know in advance!!!

I was struggling hard this summer. I am not exactly sure why or what caused this, but it felt like my fire had burned out. Motivation is generally not something I struggle with. The prospect of The End is usually enough to keep me going and going and going. So it really shook me when that motivation–that fire I usually feel–seemed to vanish.

I was no longer itching to work on my story but dreading it. So badly. I told myself it was because I was working on my second draft, which is the most strenuous and difficult part of the writing process for me. It happened with my other manuscript, so I figured it was just what it was. But then I got to the third draft. And yet, still, I felt this horrible dread, this horrible feeling of not wanting to write. Every word was a tooth being pulled, every day, I would make myself sit at my computer and try and write and then hate myself because I would write eek out all of a few words in what seemed like hours, feeling like I couldn’t focus. At last, I would go to bed, trying to get myself excited about my story, wondering why I wasn’t, and all the while getting more nervous, more desperate. I felt so, so unproductive during these months and it’s the worst feeling in the world.

People would ask my how my writing was going. I would tell them it was going slowly, that I was struggling with motivation. Many writers suggested burnout to be the culprit and to take a breather. But the thing is, it didn’t feel like burnout. I had been taking breaks. In fact, the lack of motivation had me not writing for quite a while. A month. Maybe two. Maybe even longer than that. Usually when I take breaks, my brain is still whirling, stilling thinking about my characters and plot, things that I need to work on, brainstorming, etc. Usually, I’m still excited. But this time I wasn’t. I wasn’t thinking about my story at all, except for guilt that I wasn’t writing and confusion, anger, and frustration that I couldn’t seem to get my fire back.

In addition, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I didn’t feel like reading, I didn’t feel like watching any tv shows or movies, I didn’t feel like listening to any music, I didn’t feel like writing, I didn’t feel like anything. I felt blah and meh about everything–like I was in a giant everything slump.

(Now, I understand this sort of sounds like depression–but it wasn’t that. I swear 🙂 More like giant mental block of some sort. And another note: I’m not sure that it wasn’t burnout? It didn’t feel that way to me, but perhaps it was? I don’t know!)

Anyways, all of that just made me feel so much the worse because if it wasn’t burnout that was causing my lack of writing, then what could it possibly be? I had no idea and I started to grow desperate in my panic. I tried to figure out what was wrong, what the cause of my lack of motivation and excitement was and couldn’t, which drove me crazy because if I was certain that if I just knew what was causing this, I could fix it, right? I felt like something was fundamentally wrong and it drove me insane that I couldn’t figure it out.

I talked about in one of my posts that my greatest fear about writing is that I would stop. Not because it got too hard or because I wasn’t getting anywhere with it, but because I would lose my love for it. I have an obsessive, all-or-nothing personality and I’ve lost my love for things, people, activities, hobbies that I was once passionate about and that I thought would last forever. So when this happened, I started to panic thinking that I had lost my love of writing, of stories. I kept going anyway because, well, probably denial. I was like, NOPE NOPE NOPE. NOoooo way this could be.

After months of this, feeling listless and hopeless, I finally decided that enough was enough. I wrapped up my revisions on my third draft after some painfully long months and I sent it to my CPs, Janella and Amanda.

By this point, I sent my book to my friends convinced that my story was complete rubbish, broken and useless, and an utter failure. I was feeling pretty despair-y and hopeless. I kept thinking about what a mess my book was–especially the third act, and it truly felt like there was no end in sight. I was sure that this book would never, ever be close to even decent.

But when I got back notes, it revived me. I felt motivated again, excited again, determined again. I had a clear focus and I knew what I needed to do to make my story better and above all, I wanted to make my story better, I wanted to write again. Before sending it to my CPs, I knew that I still had a lot to work on. I knew some things weren’t working and that’s why for the longest time, I held off on sending my book to readers–because I knew what was wrong and I wanted to fix it before giving it to others. But ah, it turns out that I only had a vague idea of what was wrong and what to do about it. And here in lies the importance of critique partners: Janella and Amanda were able to give me specific notes and turn my attention to why something wasn’t working and really put into focus what aspects needed to be fixed. Up until this point, I had been writing and rewriting–er, basically the whole book because I knew things weren’t quite right. I was floundering by myself, trying to figure it all out. My CPs were able to give me specific things to work on and really pinpoint what was wrong. That specificity made such a difference for me. It gave me clarity. I no longer felt hopeless about my book because now I knew what to fix and how to fix it. It gave me purpose again and the sense things could be fixed. My book was not as broken as I’d believed it to be.

Unsurprisingly, after that, writing went soooooo much better.

As I near the end of my book, I feel I need to properly express my gratitude and thanks and love to these two who have supported me from the beginning. Who, by the way, also gave me so much support when I was struggling during these months. I could not have done this without you guys.

Janella, thank you for giving me so many wonderful suggestions and advice when I was going through my awful reading and writing slump. Thank you for taking the time to read my book when you were so busy and giving me such wonderful notes! Thank you for taking the time to give me invaluable advice when I needed it in regards to all things. Thank you for reading my query again and again! (QUERY QUEEN!!!! *high five emoji*) Your notes were amazing and the unwavering support and love you’ve given me has been so incredible.  Thank you for being my friend and CP!

Thank you to Amanda, who read my book not once, but twice. And not only gave the most wonderful, thoughtful, thorough, detailed notes once, but twice, and made time for my book during an especially busy time in her life. I teared up several times and almost cried at work even when I got the most lovely messages from Amanda updating me on her reading progress. (Luckily, I was by myself and not with anyone, hahaha.) Amanda, I have no words to how thankful I am for your support and wisdom. Thank you for always giving me time and answering my bajillion questions (and also for solving a problem to which I had been angsting over for over a year!!!! WOWZA!!) Thank you for all your kind words and love for me and my book. I’m truly so grateful to have you as a friend and CP!

Wow, I just wrote like an entire Oscar speech, but this was something I really needed to say, so forgive me for how long and rambling and sappy this post is, hahah.

Amanda and Janella, I mean it, truly, from the bottom of my heart, that I could not have done this without you. You guys have helped and supported me in so many ways, so many times, more than you can ever know! Thank you so much for being there for me always. My book would not be what it is without you guys and I would still be feeling like an utter failure, hahah. I feel so much better, more confident, and know that my book is that much stronger because of the help you gave me. And most importantly, because of you guys and your words of encouragement, I felt excited about my story and writing again!! THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU GUYS, I LOVE YOU!!!! ❤

Update: December 2017

HELLO BLOG!!!

Wow, I was just looking over at my last update post and… Oh my goodness, has it truly been a year since I’ve last done one of these updates? WOWOWOWOW. It really has been a longtime and this post is much, much overdue!

EDIT: OH JUST KIDDING. Hahaha, I am just dumb. My last update post was in April! Which is still waaaaaay too long ago, but much better than a year!!!! Hahahah!

Um, obviously, a lot of things have happened since April of this year, so this might be a biggish post? I never know with these things! Anyways, shall we hop right to it?

What I’m Writing: 

EDIT: Oh my goodness, after chatting with one of my CPs (THANKS AND SORRY AMANDA!!!), I just realized that this portion sort of comes off as a very passive aggressive message to those with my manuscript and OH MY GOSH!!!! I am so sorry! That is totally not what I meant and it is not directed towards any of the lovely people that were gracious enough to read my story!!!! It is just my general feelings and nothing more!!! I feel like I should make that clear! Also, I forgot to mention below that antsyness and itching are kind of GOOD because it’s been a while since I’ve felt that way! It’s nice to want to write again and feel anxious to write again!!! Okay, yeah! Just wanted to clarify!!! 😃

At the moment: NOTHING. Okay, well, not nothing nothing!!! My beloved Fox Story is currently with CPs and I am awaiting feedback! I’m not working on my manuscript at the moment, but I hope to be soon. I’m not gonna lie: the wait is rather insufferable. I’m super antsy (which I just realized I have been spelling incorrectly as ancy *facepalm*). But I think it might be good? I am itching now. Itching to write and get back into my story, itching to be busy again and have my head full. I am bored without anything to do/write and I’m DYING to work on my story again. (Although I know when the time comes for me to actually get back in the story, I’ll be pining for a break, hahah  > . <).

In the meantime, I have been working on my query letter and synopsis (also with the help of some of my amazing writer friends and CPs!!) which is not exactly the most exciting of things, but as they say, ya gotta do what ya gotta do!! I am terrible at pitches, but one thing I’m so proud and happy to note is that I am sooooooo much better at writing queries than I was a couple of years ago. It’s a small thing, but it has been truly gratifying to know that I have improved! Something that once required multiple drafts and many heavy-duty revisions, and so, so much help from my friends is now a much easier task! Granted, I still get so much help from my wonderful CPs–especially, Query Queen Janella–but nothing like in the past! WOO HOO!!! PROGRESS!!!!!

Anyways, since I am dancing around like I have ants in my pants for all this waiting, I think I might start brainstorming my newest book idea. Hmm… what shall I call it? Let’s call it Spirit Story!!!!! Haha, it doesn’t really have anything to do with spirits really, but there is a reason for it aaaaaaaand it’s also the first thing that popped into my brain. Maybe I’ll change it later, but I’m kind of liking that right now, so I’ll go with it! But yeah, maybe do a little brainstorming/mulling with that in my spare time?

What I’m Reading: 

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

just finished this a few hours ago and it was a beautiful story, brimming with a lush winter atmosphere, reminiscent of a fairytale. The prose was so, so beautiful and every sentence made me crave more. It actually wasn’t quite the story I thought it would be (I thought it would be much more heavy on the romance aspect) and the pace was much slower than I anticipated, but it was a gorgeous read. I have the sequel, The Girl in the Tower, and I’m excited to get to it!

 

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The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Also known as Northern Lights, I read this book a long time ago when I was a child. I had been meaning to reread this series for a while now and I finally did so earlier this week! I really enjoyed this book as a child and I was hoping as an adult now that I would understand more of the nuances held behind this book. I did enjoy the book, but I didn’t like it as much as I’d hoped. I had a few problems with the style of writing that lessened my enjoyment. Regardless, this an amazing fantasy with stunning world-building and I’m really excited to continue on my reread!

My Current Music Obsession: 

MY CURRENT OBSESSION IS NONE OTHER THAN ANASTASIA!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, you guys!!!!!! I held off on listening to the musical soundtrack for the new Broadway production for a long time because I wanted to get the “full effect” when I went to see the show. However, I was telling my mom this and she insisted that I would enjoy the musical more if I was familiar with the music. And then, I was like:

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So I began listening to Anastasia.

And OH. MY. GOD.

It is beautiful. I love it so much. SO MUCH. It is everything that I have wanted and more. The music is perfect and I’m so obsessed with it! Anastasia has always been one of my favorite princess stories. I have a thing for Lost Princess stories and Amnesia stories and I don’t doubt that much of it came from Anastasia! I am seriously astounded by how amazing this soundtrack is. I had high expectations from both the songs and the singers themselves, but OMG ALL EXPECTATIONS AND MORE WERE MET. I’m so in love with all the songs and I haven’t been able to stop listening. I even like doing the dishes lately because it’s just another excuse to listen to Anastasia. The entire soundtrack has completely blown me away–the music is fabulous and in keeping with the movie songs and some of the lyrics are seriously beautiful and add so much depth to the characters and the story.

ANYWAYS. Here is one of my favorites, In a Crowd of Thousands. This is a song that I loved from the instant I heard it, which is rather unusual because most songs take lots and lots of listening to before I can start to form an opinion. It’s one of those songs that feels very familiar and as cheesy as it sounds, spoke to my heart.

But in all seriousness, pretty much all of the songs are my favorite. A Rumor in Saint Petersburg, My Petersburg, Quartet at the Ballet, and Everything to Win in particular are the ones that I’m currently majorly loving (and have been provoking feels and inspiration!!!!) But I’m certain I’ll be obsessing and sharing more in the future, so you shall be hearing more of this!!!

My Current Candle Obsession: 

Sooooo, I haven’t talked about this on my blog yet–mainly because it’s been FOREVER since I’ve blogged and this is a relatively new development, but I HAVE A MAJOR CANDLE OBSESSION. It’s so strange because I did not like candles at all before. Nothing against them, but I had nothing for them either and I was confused about why people were so obsessed with them. HA!!!!!

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OH HOW THE TURNTABLES HAVE TURNED. Because I. LOVE. CANDLES. They’re amazing!!! The Shift happened one ordinary day when I decided to light a few candles to set the mood while writing and BAM!!!!! I suddenly realized how awesome they were! So, about six months later, my rooms is now stuffed with candles and I can’t seems to stop, haha.

Anyways, I thought I would add this section to my updates! And right now, my obsession is Bite and Sting by The Melting Library!!!! As you all well know, The Winner’s Curse is my favorite book ever and when my candle obsession hit, I wanted to get one inspired by Marie Rutkoski’s book! I actually just got this candle today and GA;LKAJSF;LKJADSF it’s sooooooo good guys! One of my friends actually recommended this candle to me saying that it was one of her all-time favorites and NOW I KNOW WHY. It smell of black currant tea, jasmine, and oranges and it’s AMAZING. I love it so much and I highly recommend it to all you candle lovers out there! It’s sitting next to me as I write this post (as I’ve been carrying it around everywhere like a security blanket, hahaha) and I haven’t been able to stop smelling it. In fact, I love it so much that I’m going to order a few more when I get the chance!!! GET THIS CANDLE IT IS SO SO SOOOOOOO GOOD!!!!

What I’m Watching:

I recently finished rewatching my favorite drama of all-time, You’re Beautiful! I sort of rewatched it last year (hehe, meaning I just skipped around to my favorite parts 😀 ) but this time I rewatched all of it in the whole! As usual, it gave me all the feels and I just love it so much.

I’m kind of in-between watching things though? I think I might rewatch The Office? So sorry! Not much to report on this end of things!

What’s Happening: 

Not much actually!! Life has been grand! Work is going beautifully, I don’t have school to worry about, and writing has been going! I am going to Los Angeles tomorrow with my mom for a little day trip, so after I finish this post, I’m heading to the library to snag a copy of Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier to read while on the plane! This is another book I read years back and am now happily embarking on a reread! Which is kind of funny because I went to Los Angeles last month, I read Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marilier, which was AMAZING. Oh my gosh! I had forgotten how addicting and entrancing Juliet Marillier’s writing was and it was such an absolute joy to be that sucked up in a book! It was such a great read that was reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but not a retelling! I highly suggest it to you all!

Well, that is it from me, folks!! I am off to the library!!! Have a wonderful and happy holiday! TOODLES!!!!!!

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!!

 

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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!!!

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!!! 😀 ❤