Beautiful Books 2017 | How’s the writing going?

Beautiful Books is a writing link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury. Today’s topic is, “How’s the writing going”?


  1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
    My mental state is pretty frazzled at the moment. It is day five of NaNoWriMo 2017, and I have 1057 new words to my name. That isn’t even the recommended word count for day one… Because of this pathetic excuse for a day five word count, I have switched my goal around a little bit. Instead of trying to edit Scarred Flawless and draft 50K words of the sequal, I have made my primary goal to finish editing Scarred Flawless. This is WAY more important to me than drafting a new thing right now because I want to have it in the hands of beta readers by January. Therefore, I’ll be counting every thirty minutes of editing as one thousand words for NaNo this year.

  2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
    The Counsel Hall was no place for the innocent or kind at heart. So much innocent blood had been spilled upon the tiles that it was a wonder the floor was white instead of scarlet. Niko Devereaux had watched every drop of that innocent blood spill a thousand times over, and sometimes the presence of the unseen in the Great Room was so strong that it was difficult to tell what was tangible and what was non-corporeal.

  3. Who’s your current favorite character in your novel?
    The proper answer here is, “Please don’t make me pick a favorite fictional child”, but I’ll be honest… Niko is my favorite.

  4. What do you love about your novel so far?
    I LOVE my characters! The characters actually came to me before the plot, so they were extremely well-developed before I even started writing.

  5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
    I haven’t made any hilarious typos myself, but autocorrect did a number on my first draft! I didn’t realize it was on, and for some reason it insisted that my main characters name should be, “Nero Develop”, instead of Niko Devereaux. Let’s just say I spent some quality time with the find-and-replace feature before I did my first read through… 🙂

  6. What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
    Beginnings are my happy place! Nothing has to make a ton of sense in the beginning because the rest of the story is there to explain things, but middles and ends require logic! I don’t like it when writing and logic collide!

  7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
    I don’t eat while I write because food and keyboards should never mix, but I do drink coffee or tea depending on what I’m up for that day. I do listen to music while I write, )you can click here to view my Scarred Flawless playlist on youTube). I write best either late at night or early in the morning when no one else is awake.

  8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
    No one gets to know about my writing except my closest writerly friends until the first round of edits are over.

  9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
    Other people did it, so I can do it too!

  10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
    ◦Don’t chase after any shiny new ideas unless you are absolutely sure that your current project isn’t going anywhere. You’ll never get anything published if you don’t stick with something.
    ◦Write about something you are passionate about. If you love something, you’ll probably also enjoy writing about it.
    ◦Writing has no rules; don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!

My NaNoWriMo2017 Bullet Journal

Happy Halloween/NaNoWriMo Eve! This is kind of last minute, but I thought I would share five of my favorite NaNoWriMo bullet journal spreads.
*If you are unfamiliar with the bullet journal system, click here for a video that will explain it better than I can.

Unfortunately I can’t show you pretty pictures like most of the bullet journalers on Instagram because all of my spreads are in braille, and the vast majority of you couldn’t read them. However, I will do my best to describe the spreads well enough for you to actually understand what I’m talking about… 🙂

  1. The Monthly Spread:
    This is basically a staple of all bullet journals, not just writing ones. I don’t typically use the monthly spread when I’m planning for a normal month, but I do during November. This is so that I can easily see what weeks are going to be insanely busy and what weeks are going to be basically free. If I’m going to have a crazy week, I make sure to cover for it in the week prior.

  2. The Word Count Tracker:
    This is a table consisting of three columns: day, word count, and damage control. Along the left-hand side, I list the 30 days of November. In the word count column, I write the word count I achieved for that particular day. In the damage control column, I write the number of words that I need to write the next day in order to fix any damage I did the day before.
    The recommended word count per day to win NaNoWriMo is 1667. Although it is possible to win NaNoWriMo by not writing on the week days and doing nothing but writing on the weekends, (I have done this), it is MUCH easier if you stick to a daily goal of somewhere around 1667 words per day. Hence the word count tracker!

  3. The daily spread:
    For me, this spread is literally just a todo list. Basically, these pages consist of checklists of everything I have to do before I can write. Without these pages, I would get completely sucked into NaNoWriMo, and important things like homework and algebra tests would be forgotten.

  4. The Inspiration Spread:
    This page consists of a list of things that inspire me to write my novel. The majority of WriMos, (including myself), tend to get sick of whatever they’re working on half way through the month and move onto a shiny new idea. This is bad, because you will never finish anything if you don’t stick with something. Also, if you were excited enough about an idea to decide to do it for NaNo, it’s probably pretty good, and you should probably stick with it! My inspiration pages usually consist of things like…
    ◦I love my characters!
    ◦My plot is super exciting!
    ◦These characters have a story to tell, and it’s my job to put it on paper.
    ◦The world needs my novel!!!!

  5. The playlist Spread:
    Most of you probably know by now that I make a playlist for everything I start. I can’t rite in silence, and if I’m going to listen to music while writing, it should totally be stuff that pertains to my story! Putting the playlist on shuffle and listening to a few songs is usually enough to get me in the writing zone, but sometimes I need a little extra help to get into the mindset to write certain scenes. So… I list all of the super important scenes that may be tough to write and associate each of them with a song so that I can listen to that song in order to get in the mindset to write that scene.

October Updates & NaNoWriMo Time!

Hey writerly people!

You may or may not have noticed that I haven’t posted anything in like… three months or so. That is because school happened! It’s my senior year, and I haven’t had time for much of anything other than classes, college stuff, and the occasional stolen moment of editing Scarred Flawless. However, I am going to do NaNoWriMo again this year, and, (because I am a crazy person), I have two projects:

  1. I am editing Scarred Flawless. I have about 25 more scenes to put into place. After that, I will do the final read-through, and it should be ready for beta readers in December or January!
  2. I am planning to write 50 thousand words of the first draft of Fractured Faith, which is the sequel to Scarred Flawless.

Will I win NaNoWriMo? Probably not! But at least I can say I tried!
I will still probably be pretty inactive on here until January when my course load lightens up a little, but I will be posting NaNoWriMo updates on Twitter! At least I think I can manage to write a 140 character update every day… Maybe… Probably NOT!
If you are also participating in NaNoWriMo, feel free to add me as a writing buddy! Also, let me know what you’ll be working on in the comments! I promise I will check the comments! And respond to the comments! Over Thanksgiving break… 🙂

Beautiful People | Author Writing Process Edition

Beautiful People is a writing link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury. This month’s topic is your writerly process!


  1. How do you decide which project to work on?
    I always write the thing that I want to read most. Usually this is the project that I’ve thought out the most and at least somewhat outlined, but sometimes it’s a completely new project that I know very little about but already love.

  2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
    That depends on the project… I can usually do a short story in a month. Novels take about a year, (with three months of drafting and nine months of cleaning up the mess that I call a draft).

  3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
    I always diffuse peppermint oil when I’m writing because it helps me focus, and I usually listen to either my project playlist or nature sounds.

  4. What time of day do you write best?
    Either really late at night or really early in the morning… what is sleep?

  5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
    Ummm… no. My style is my own, just like every other author’s style is their own. I honestly think that you could give three different authors the same prompt and ask them to write a story, and they would come up with completely different stories because everybody’s brain works differently!

  6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
    I started writing because I loved reading and telling stories, and I just never stopped. It’s so much of a habit to write every day now that it feels weird to not write in a day! I’ll keep writing as long as I have stories to tell, and I’ll probably cry if I ever run out of stories!

  7. What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
    Definitely my Shaman Novel! The number one piece of advice that you’ll hear as a writer is, “Write what you know”. I personally think that this “rule” is idiotic and hardly ever follow it, but it does have a tiny bit of value. When I started writing my Shaman Novel, I stepped off a cliff into the deep blue unknown, and that was the most terrifying moment of my writerly life! It’s one thing to create a magic system, world, characters, plot, and fantastical creatures out of your imagination, but it’s a completely different thing to combine fantasy and psychology when you know absolutely nothing about the psychological disorders at hand! Speaking from hours of experience here… Google is a writer’s best friend!

  8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
    Nope! Now that I’ve written two drafts of my Shaman Novel, I can write anything!

  9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
    Uhhhh… I’ll just skip this question! Just kidding… My main goal for 2017 was to have my Shaman Novel ready for beta readers by June, and clearly that did not happen! I have world building woes, ok?! Cut me some slack here! I still gotta name some fictional countries!

  10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
    I absolutely positively despise gifs because gif + screen reader = BAD! So… here are my three words: messy, incoherent, somewhat insane. That turned into four words, but I’m calling it good!

Six of Crows

Six of Crows
“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”
-Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

Title: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Suspense
Pages: 462
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: September 29th, 2015
Amazon
iBooks
Audio
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Six of Crows is very dark for a young adult novel, yet it still manages to be an easy and entertaining read. The character development is amazing, I loved the romantic tension, and it has some of the best world building I’ve seen since Harry Potter! The only major complaint I have is the plot. As far as I can tell, the first chapter is completely unnecessary, and the pacing seems kind of slow for the first quarter of the book. That being said, Six of Crows is easily one of my most favorite books ever because of the characters and world alone!

Everything, Everything

Everything Everything
“Everything’s a risk. Not doing anything is a risk. It’s up to you.”
-Nicola Yoon, Everything, Everything

Title: everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 310
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Published: September 1, 2015
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Everything, Everything is one of those books that you can read again and again and get something new from the story every time. It is a somewhat slower-paced story, but it still manages to catch your attention and hold it until the very end. The characters, plot, and setting are all very well developed. The only complaint I have is that the romance seemed very “instalovy”.
The characters in Everything, Everything each have their own backstory that contributes to the plot. Maddy, (the main character), has a severe immune disorder that prevents her from leaving her house. Olly, (Maddy’s love interest), hasn’t had the greatest family life. Maddy’s mother lost her husband and another child in a car accident, and now Maddy is all she has left. Each of these unique backstories contributes to the plot and character development in a way that makes Everything, Everything feel like more than the average teen romance.
Everything, Everything has a very interesting writing style. It is told in the first person narrative through Maddy, (the main character). The writing seemed a little… choppy at first, but after the first chapter or so it became much more fluid.
The plot of Everything, Everything is well-paced for the most part. I do think that some of the exposition could’ve been cut from the beginning, and the romance did feel a lot like instalove. I’m choosing to forgive the instalove in this instance, however, because of the unique situation. I believe that the instalove was made up for by the interesting backstory, strong character development, and bitter-sweet ending.
The ending of Everything, Everything was not what you usually see in young adult romance, but it was a welcome change in my opinion. Without spoiling everything about Everything, Everything, the ending brings a psychological twist into the story that ends everything on a bitter-sweet note.
Overall, Everything, Everything is a great read if you’re up for a cute teen romance with a psychological twist!

Top Ten Tuesday | Most Anticipated Fantasy Books On My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is “books from X genre that you’ve recently added to your TBR list”. I am choosing to list my top ten most anticipated fantasy books because fantasy is basically all I read…


  1. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  2. Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
  3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  5. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  6. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  7. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  8. The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross
  9. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  10. The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Embers

Embers
“We all have responsibilities from our circumstances,
even if we didn’t ask for them.”
― Karen Ann Hopkins, Embers

Title: Embers
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: The Wings of War #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 394
Publisher: Self-published
Published: March 15, 2015
Amazon
Audio
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.
While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.

My Rating: ☆☆

Embers is one of those books that has a lot of wasted potential. The premise is great, but the follow-through just isn’t there.
The plot of Embers is interesting enough to hold your attention, but the story starts earlier than it should. For starters, the prologue is entirely unnecessary! By unnecessary, I mean its only purpose is to make you wonder what’s behind the creepy wall in the woods. The writing of the prologue isn’t that amazing either… It’s in third person; the rest of the book is in first person. Also, it is very gorry and almost made me put the book down. Maybe it’s just me, but heads should not come off in the first twenty pages unless the book is a horror story or somebody super important is being murdered, (neither of which is the case here)! The first three chapters are also just a bunch of unnecessary set-up. The story doesn’t start until the main character gets to her aunt’s house, but for some reason we’re given explicit details about how she got there in the form of three extra chapters. That being said, Embers tells a pretty good story once the plot actually kicks off. It isn’t the kind of thing you read for brilliant writing or a message that’ll stick with you, but it makes good mindless entertainment!
The characters are… flat. The main character, Ember, is basically a puppet who does whatever has to be done to move the plot along. There was a lot of potential for her to go through some major development, but it was not fulfilled. I mean… The girl watched her parents burn to death in a fire and discovered that fire couldn’t hurt her in the process. She should be traumatized to the point of needing therapy, but instead she just comes across as a winy teenage girl who is quite honestly super annoying. Her love interest is slightly more developed. He’s a demon who doesn’t want to be a demon and has actually considered suicide to escape his demonicness, but again some great potential is wasted. The romance was also major instalove, and the love triangle that was introduced about two-thirds into the book was obviously just there for the sake of having a love triangle. Seriously… Who is going to believe that there is actually a possibility that the descendent of an angel is going to fall in love with a human guy when she basically threw herself at a demon the first time she saw him???
Embers is an excellent example of a book that should not have been written in first person. It would’ve been better if the characters weren’t so flat, but because neither of the two narrators was developed enough to have a strong narrative voice, the first person narrative was just really awkward sounding. Maybe I’m just an up-tight writerly snob, but I wanted to scream and rewrite the entire book in third person the whole time I was reading it. The only thing that got me to read through the writing was the plot. It kept me turning pages to see what happened even though I predicted every single twist from the midpoint onward. Overall, Embers is a pretty good read if you’re into plot driven stories with the “mindless entertainment factor”, but you should probably avoid it if you’re going to be irritated by cardboard characters and not so fantastic writing.

Beautiful People | Parental Edition

Beautiful People is a writing link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury in which you share a bit about your characters. This month’s topic is parental relationships! I’ll be answering the following questions for Niko Deverow, (The main character of my Shaman Novel.)


  1. Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?
    Niko’s biological parents mysteriously disappeared when he was three years old. His Aunt Zelda and Uncle Quinn are his legal guardians, but they don’t really care what he does as long as it doesn’t ruin their chance at a spot on the royal counsel. The closest thing he has to a real parent is his shaman mentor, Archer Cross. She was like a sister to Niko’s mother, and now she’s made it her mission to save him from the royal lifestyle as his mother would’ve wanted.

  2. Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence, and how has it affected their life?
    I already answered the first part of this question above… Sophia and Gidian Deverow disappeared when Niko was only three, so he never got a chance to know them. Niko inherited his Mom’s shaman gift: the ability to see spirits and residual energetic imprints. For example, he could see the blurred image of a violent murder that played out 50 years in the past because of the energetic imprint it left behind. This made it super hard for him when his Aunt and Uncle got guardianship. His dad basically ruined the Deverow name when he married a shaman, and now Zelda and Quinn care about nothing beyond fixing their reputation and reclaiming their spot on the royal counsel. From a VERY young age, Niko has been taught to hide his abilities. He wears a flawless mask to keep up his royal pretence, but beneath it he is filled with scars and secrets that can never be revealed. Because he’s holding so much inside, he finds ways to numb the world. He becomes addicted to Bliss, (a made-up drug), and turns to self-injury as a form of release.

  3. How did their parents meet?
    Every year, the Counsel and the Shaman Court meet under a peace flag. Gidian Deverow and Sophia Murser met at one such meeting. Sophie saw that something was off in Gidian’s aura. He didn’t quite fit with the other royals, and that intrigued her. She struck up a conversation at the peace banquet, and after several months of secret meetings, Gidian made plans to desert the counsel which would throw his family name into exile.

  4. How would they feel if they were told, “you’re turning out like your parent(s)”?
    Niko would be overjoyed to get ANY kind of information about his parents! He’s spent most of his life trying to find out what happened to them, which is difficult because he has no access to shaman records, and the counsel doesn’t keep information on traitors. Even though he sees the spirits of the dead, he’s never seen his parents. He can’t decide if this makes him scared or happy because it either means they’re not dead, they’re in some kind of afterlife, or they’re alive and somewhere worse than death.

  5. What were your character’s parents doing when they were your character’s age?
    Sophia was training to become a spy for ISA, (the International Shaman Alliance). Gidian was being groomed to carry on his family name and one day inherit the Deverow’s counsel seat.

  6. Is there something they adamantly disagreed on?
    Considering they never new each other, they didn’t have a chance to disagree on anything.

  7. What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?
    It was very difficult for Sophie to find out that Niko had her abilities. Sight and Empathy are two of the most difficult shaman gifts to master, and when they’re combined, they usually result in madness.

  8. What’s their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?
    Niko has a vague memory of his mother singing him to sleep in a foreign language that sounds a lot like Hawaiian. However, he can’t decide if it really happened, or if he just made it up to feel some connection to his life before the counsel.

  9. What was your character like as a baby/toddler?
    Niko was a very quiet child. He was always watching, listing, and absorbing the world around him.

  10. Why and how did the parent(s) choose your character’s name?
    The name Niko means, “victory,” or, “warrior”. Gidian and Sophie named him Niko because they knew the world was a harsh place, and they wanted it to remind him that he was strong enough to fight and win.