Staying Inspired During Camp NaNoWriMo

Greetings, writers! We are entering the third week of Camp NaNoWriMo, and this is usually when I start losing my writing inspiration. So… Here are five tips for finding the inspiration to finish that first draft!


  1. Remember why you originally wanted to tell this story. Make a list of everything that originally made you want to write it, and stick it somewhere where you’ll see it often. Mine is at the very front of the notebook where I keep the info for my Shaman Novel.
  2. Listen to your writing playlist. If you don’t have a playlist for your project, consider making one! If music isn’t your style, check out some writers on youTube or read some writing related blog posts like this one. Sometimes listening to other writers talk about being excited to write their stories can inspire you to write your own! You can check out this post for some awesome writers on youTube.
  3. Do some word sprints. Word sprints are where you set a timer for a certain amount of time and try to write as many words as possible in that time frame. If you don’t want to sprint alone, you can follow @NaNoWordSprints on twitter and write with lots of other people!
  4. Ponder this question: What is your main character’s current social media status? This does two things. First, it allows you to think about your character in a context other than your story which allows you to understand them better by thinking about how they interact with their friends. Second, it makes you think about what they’re doing. Maybe they’re reacting to what happened in the last scene on Twitter. If that’s the case, then you should probably write their reaction next.
  5. When all else fails, start what-ifing! Read the last scene you wrote, and then write “what if… insert plot event here“, until you know what you need to write next. This can be super painful if you’ve outlined every single detail, but sometimes that outline just needs to fly out the window for a while. Yeah… This can cause a mess when it comes to editing the thing, but it also makes a better story in my experience!

Snippet Sunday

Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet of your current writing project. It’s been forever since I’ve done one of these, but today I bring you the “unofficial official” synopsis for my Shaman Novel. This is the blurb that I’ve posted to my Camp NaNoWriMo profile, but it’s subject to change as I continue to edit the story. I hope to have the book ready for beta readers by June, but in reality it’s probably going to be more like August or September…
Since you guys are following my book/writing blog, I’m assuming you’re all readers, writers, or both. That means you probably know a thing or two about books and their blurbs, so please let me know what you think of mine in the comments! Does this synopsis make you want to read my book? Is there anything you don’t like about it? Any and all feedback is appreciated! 😉


Nico Deverow’s entire life is built on secrets, lies, and blood. His family built their fortune in blood money and poisoned their way to a seat on the Royal Mist Council, but Nico doesn’t belong in that life. Ancient murders, restless spirits, and the uncensored truth in everyone’s auras are all revealed to him through residual layers of energy, and no one can ever know about it. The second sight is a shaman power, and a Deverow with a shaman gift would kill his bloodline’s reputation completely. His mask is flawless as his family name decrees, but underneath he’s shattering. With no one to help him contain his powers, the magical drug called Bliss and the raiser sharp blade of a dagger become his only salvation. But when natural born healer Adam Rachadon discovers his abilities, Nico is given a choice: trust a shaman with a secret his family would kill him for, or refuse his offer of help and continue to live a lie.

Writing Up Wednesday #5 | The Craft of Writing–How do you learn?

Writing Up Wednesday is a writing link-up created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. This week’s topic is “The craft of writing,” or more specifically, “How do you learn the craft of writing?”


I honestly don’t make a conscious effort to study the writing craft unless I need to research a specific aspect of it for my story. I don’t plan to take professional writing classes, and I usually don’t go out of my way to read writerly text books. Studying the craft is just something that comes naturally to me through reading a wide range of books, writing book reviews, and connecting with other writers via blogging, youTube, and Twitter. I feel like this is more beneficial than making a conscious effort to study the craft because it allows me to take the advice I like and discard the rest without being boxed in by “professional” rules. Also, by filling my social media feeds with writerly stuff, I can actually justify opening Twitter and youTube! 😉
Here’s a quick list of some people that I’ve learned from:

My Favorite Writerly youTubers

Shaelin Bishop
Emma Lederman
The Y.A. Word Nerds
Vivien Reis
Jenna Moreci
Natalia Leigh
Burgess Taylor
Kim Chance
Coffee Reading Writing

Awesome Writerly Bloggers

Shaelin Bishop
Emma Lederman
A Writer’s Path
National Novel Writing Month
Fiction University
Better Novel Project

Fear the Drowning Deep

Fear the Drowning Deep
“And with the melody came the unmistakable sound of water slapping against the rocks far below us, slowly eroding the foundation of Port Coire and everything I loved.”
-Sarah Glenn Marsh, Fear the Drowning Deep

Title: Fear the Drowning Deep
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Pages: 304
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adutly, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: October 11, 2016
Amazon
iBooks
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Fear the Drowning Deep is told through the eyes of the main character, Bridey, who embarks on a quest to figure out what is making her friends and family willingly walk into the ocean to drown. At the beginning of the book, Bridey is terrified of the ocean that surrounds her island home, and haunted by memories of the night her grandfather jumped from the cliffs with a smile on his face. She saw a ghostly creature riding the waves that night, and now that others in her village are vanishing, she believes that it might’ve returned to claim more victims. However, she is ridiculed because of her fear and belief in the supernatural and apprenticeship to the island’s only witch.
Bridey’s character arc is one of the most complex and well developed transformations that I have seen in a while. It is very interesting to see how the first and last scene mirror each other to demonstrate her transformation. The first scene shows her watching as a drowned girl is pulled from the water. She’s afraid to be so close to the water, but at the same time she can’t quite make herself walk away. The girl reminds her of her grandfather and the creatures that ride the waves at night. The last scene is a mirror image of the first. Bridey has made peace with the sea and its inhabitants, and she sits proudly beside her father on his fishing boat, far out in the water that she was once terrified to go near.
Bridey’s character is strengthened further by the setting of the story and the cultural beliefs that she has grown up with. The book is filled with words in Manx, (Bridey’s native language), and mentions of her village’s superstitions and traditions pop up throughout the story. These cultural influences provide backstory in little bits and pieces, rather than large chunks, and make Bridey seem more realistic. It’s easy to dismiss all of the bits of language and beliefs as a fantasy world out of Sarah Glenn Marsh’s imagination, but in reality, they are parts of history! Manx and the culture surrounding it were very well researched, and as far as I can tell, everything mentioned in Fear the Drowning Deep is historically true to the setting and time period.
The plot of Fear the Drowning Deep is very fast-paced, but that doesn’t detract from any other aspects of the story. The plot, character arcs, and world building blend together almost seamlessly, playing off one another so they form an almost perfect balance. Every plot point causes Bridey to grow as a person, and the world building creates a perfect backdrop for the events to unfold. It’s usually easy to say whether a book is plot driven or character driven, but Fear the Drowning Deep weaves the two together so that they are inseparable!
With its smooth writing style, strong character arcs, and fast-paced plot, Fear the Drowning Deep is a very quick and easy read! Just don’t start it when you need to be productive because it will catch your attention and hold it until you’ve read the very last page!

Getting the Most Out of Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo is here!!!!! If you have no idea what that is, head on over to campnanowrimo.org to learn more! If you’re looking for some last minute advice before you start your journey, stick around!


  1. Make sure that your Camp NaNoWriMo goal is actually achievable! If you set a goal that you’ll never reach due to your schedule in April, you’ll probably give up half way through and end up regretting it later. However, if you set a goal that pushes you a bit but makes sense with your schedule, you might surprise yourself and exceed it! Also, you can now choose to set your goal in pages or hours instead of just words, so there’s really nothing stopping you from setting your goal however you want! My goal is currently 150 hours of editing for my Shaman Novel. That seems pretty small when you do the math and convert it to days, but I know that the last two months of school are going to be a whirlwind of semester projects, therefore I made sure to set my goal according to what I thought I could accomplish. I should definitely be able to hit that, and I can always raise it if I realize I’m going to blow it out of the water.
  2. Organize your outline! Trust me… It is NOT fun to sit down on April 1st and go, “I have no idea where anything is in this Scrivener project!” Even if you don’t use complicated Scrivener templates to organize your projects, make sure that you know the location of all of the information that is necessary for you to write your story!
  3. Decide how you plan to back up your project. You really do NOT want to loose any of your precious writing due to a technological failure or a lost notebook! Personally, I dump all of my Scrivener projects into a Scrivener folder in Dropbox, which backs up everything to the cloud and syncs everything to the Scrivener IOS app. Also, don’t just trust the cloud to keep everything safe for you! Put those precious writing files on a flash drive, an SD card, an external hard drive… whatever you’ve got!
  4. Schedule stuff around your chosen writing time. You need to plan your writing time just like you’d plan anything else because if you don’t, it might not happen! You should either pick a time each day and dedicate it specifically for writing, or pick a day or two out of each week and write like the wind on those days!
  5. Be active on Twitter and in your Camp NaNo cabins! Some of you are probably going, “Being active on Twitter is NOT conducive to a good writing session!” But it is if you follow the right people! Go to the @NaNoWordSprints page! Do NOT scroll through your timeline! Do NOT check your notifications! You WILL get writing done because lots of other people will be on that page writing with you!

Writing Up Wednesday #4: Word Cound Woes

Hello, writerly people! I have not blogged in quite a while because… school/life happened. But today I bring you a Writing Up Wednesday Post!
Writing Up Wednesday is a weekly writing meme created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm! This week’s topic is “Word Count Woes!”


If you’re a serious writer, you probably know that word counts are pretty important. Sometimes the word count of your manuscript can make or brake a publishing opportunity! Because of this some writers obsess over the suggested word count guidelines and stick to them religiously, and some writers tend to ignore it entirely. Personally, I am somewhat in the middle.
I like to make sure I stay kind of in the range of the suggested word count for my genre, but I do not let that number define every single move I make. I do set word count goals before I ever start writing, but I don’t force myself to stick to them. Now… The process I use to determine my prewriting word goal gets kinda nerdy, so be prepared!
I like to loosely mold my writing projects around the four act structure, so I try to pick a word count goal that is sort of close to the suggested range for my genre and is also easily divisible by four! Doing this makes it super easy to figure out how long each chunk of the four act structure needs to be, which gives me a few big milestones to hit!
To give you an example, the prewriting word goal for my “Shaman Novel” was 100000 words. That meant that every 25000 words, I needed to start transitioning to the next act. That being said, I exceeded that goal, and that’s totally fine because the story just wasn’t over at 100000 words! The current word count is 142397 words, but that is still subject to change! I am revising this novel for Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’m sure I’ll add some scenes and chop out some others! I expect the final count to round out somewhere around 150000 words, but that number isn’t set in stone either. My end goal is to tell a good story that feels complete, and I’m not going to let a number of words interfere with that as long as it isn’t completely unreasonable for the genre.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor | Spoiler Free Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Cover
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.”
-Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Genre: young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 422
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Published: September 27th, 2011
Amazon
iBooks
Audio
Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Coming from someone who is sick and tired of romance over-riding fantasy plots in books, this five star review is high praise! I literally cannot find fault with this book!
The quote at the top pretty much sums up the basic plot. An angel and a devil fall in love, and things end badly, but there is so much more depth to this story!
Karou makes an awesome main character! She knows nothing about where she came from at the beginning of the story. All she knows is that she’s caught between two worlds. One is made of magic, teeth, and monsters; the other is made of humans who can never know the truth. Karou keeps her secrets by telling the truth in such a way that people think she’s lying, which is a nice change. It seems that most fantasy characters simply weave a web of lies, but Karou hides behind a mask of sarcastically spoken truth.
The world building in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is super complex but blends almost seamlessly! In the beginning, Karou is part of two worlds: “Elsewhere,” where she spent her childhood, and the human world. However, her two worlds end up colliding with a third world: Akiva’s angelic realm. I can’t really continue with this train of thought because spoilers abound, but the way in which the three worlds meet is written very well. I don’t think I’ve ever known a book to juggle three worlds as well as Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Something interesting is the way in which the “big reveal” was written. For the majority of the first half of the book, Karou has no idea where she came from, and that question is eventually answered through what is basically a giant flashback to her past. This kind of seemed like a writerly copout to me, but it also worked well in the situation. It was a little confusing to jump into another time and setting for a few chapters, but I honestly don’t know how it could’ve been done differently without altering the plot in a big way. I would typically knock off a star for something like this, but the writing was good enough that I decided to let it slide.
As you can probably tell, this is one of those books that you can’t really talk about without spoiling everything, so I’ll go on and end my review here. Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an excellent read, and I definitely recommend that you have the second book ready to go as soon as you finish it because… talk about a cliffhanger!

Writing Up Wednesday #3: What’s Your POV?

Writing Up Wednesday is a writing link-up created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. The theme for this week is POV.


When I sit down to write a story, I usually just start typing a scene from my outline and see what happens. Whatever words flow from my fingers are the words that will dictate my narrative POV for the rest of the story. Those first words are usually the most unfiltered by my own mind because they are the foundation for the entire story, and there is nothing that comes before them to dictate what they must make happen. In the case of my “Shaman Novel,” the first words that appeared on the page were in first person present tense and told through the eyes of Niko Deverow, my main character.
Narrative POV is very important to me. The POV has to feel exactly right before I can continue with a story. I see many authors saying that they only feel comfortable writing in a certain point of view, and in my opinion, your story and narrating character should be the deciding factor in your narrative POV and not your writerly comfort zone. The wrong POV can kill a book’s success, just as the right POV can make a story magical. I naturally gravitate towards first person for a lot of things, but I can usually tell if a character voice isn’t working with the narrative. I feel like first person is perfect for this story because it allows you, as the reader, to understand a character who might otherwise be difficult to connect with.

My Favorite Writerly Apps

If you’re a newcomer to this blog and you haven’t already figured this out, I’m a self-proclaimed tech nerd as well as a writer and bookworm! I recently cleaned out my iPad, (no one needs 128 apps in their life when they aren’t using 50 of them), and decided to compile a list of the top ten writing apps that got to stay on my home screen. I am using the Mac/IOS versions of everything, but I’m pretty sure some of them have Android and Windows apps as well. Also, if you’re visually impaired, all of these apps are fully accessible with Voiceover! 😉


  1. Scrivener
    Scrivener is literally the best thing that has ever happened to my writing process! It basically lets me have all of the files associated with my WIP right in front of me in the same window! If you’re a writer and you’ve ever had to do a bunch of research for something, you know what it’s like to have multiple Word docs stored in multiple subfolders. It’s not exactly the easiest thing in the world to look at your research info and your writing document at the same time, and when it comes to reorganizing the scenes that you wrote in the wrong order, you’re in for a copy/paste party and lots of scrolling. Scrivener makes all that super easy because you basically get to drag and drop virtual index cards around your screen! It’s kinda hard to explain, but it’s amazing, and you should go download the trial!

  2. Dropbox
    Dropbox keeps your files synced between your phone, tablet, dropbox.com, and the Dropbox folder on your desktop! Also, you can put your Scrivener projects in there, so all your writing syncs with the Scrivener IOS app! If you forced me to pick only two writing apps, Scrivener and Dropbox would be my dream team.

  3. Simplenote
    Simplenote is possibly the easiest text editor I’ve ever used on my phone. All you have to do is open the app, tap the plus button, and start typing. It keeps everything synced in the ever mysterious cloud so you always have it on any device. You can even collaborate on notes by putting someone’s email address in the tag field! It’s kind of like Google Docs, but simpler and way more blind friendly. I put all my random brainstorm notes in Simplenote before I transfer any of them to Scrivener.

  4. Writer Lists
    This app as a list for pretty much anything you could possibly want. I use the name lists all the time, and sometimes I’ll shuffle a random list to get a quick writing prompt. I believe the IOS app costs $3 now, but it is well worth the money!

  5. Write or Die!
    This is for those times when you just really cannot make words happen. It’s for those of you who need some rather… threatening circumstances to get you through writer’s block, and it does its job quite well! I usually don’t need any incentive to write, but it’s super fun to just watch my score climb!

  6. Carrot To-Do
    Have you ever wanted an angry robot to yell at you for not completing items on your to-do list? There’s an app for that! I put all of my tasks into Carrot To-Do, (writing related or otherwise), and I’ve actually been a lot more productive since I bought the app. There’s just something about an angry robot screaming at you that makes you wanna do stuff so she’ll shut up and let you gain a level so you can unlock another function of the app…

  7. Due
    This app lets you create reminders and preset timers. I haven’t used the reminder feature much because I always either yell at Siri to make my reminders or feed them to Carrot, but the preset timer thing is awesome! I do a lot of word sprints, and I also use the Pomodoro method, so that means I set a lot of timers! I don’t always wanna yell at Siri to set a timer, and the little flicky time picker thingy in the IOS clock app gets real old when you change the time length 20 times in a given day, so having a list of timers set for various lengths of time that I can just tap to start is super nice! Also, it has cool sounds!!!

  8. Voice Dream Reader
    This is a text to speech app that was originally developed for the blind and dyslexic. Basically you can give it almost any document, hit play, and it’ll read it in a really good sounding computerized voice. You can also buy several other high quality voices, and some of them make your documents sound almost like a real audio book! I’ve used Voice Dream to read eBooks and convert stuff to blind friendly formats for a while, but I recently got the idea to use it to play some of my writing. I’m currently editing my “shaman novel,” and listening to it with Voice Dream Reader has helped me pick out some rough places, so I thought I’d include it on this list.

  9. Nature Space
    So maybe this isn’t directly related to writing, but I’m the kind of writer who cannot write in silence. When I just need a little background noise, this is my go-to app. It has a ton of super realistic sounding nature sounds, so I can slip on my noise canceling headphones, turn on some ocean waves, and write away!

  10. Spotify
    This isn’t directly writing related either, but I always make a playlist for the plot and characters of whatever I’m working on. I use Spotify to do it because it’s super easy to use, I don’t have to pay $1.29 a song, and it even shows me related content so I can find songs that I myself might never listen to but that fit my characters perfectly!


That concludes my top ten writerly apps! I hope y’all found this helpful, and feel free to ask me any questions about any of these! Also, tell me about your favorite writerly apps in the comments!

Writing Up Wednesday #2: What Genre is Your Novel… or Does it Even Have One?

Writing Up Wednesday is a weekly writing link-up created by Lizzy @ The Bent Bookworm. This week the theme is “What genre is your novel… or does it even have one?”


My “shaman novel,” (currently code named flawless Cracked and Broken), is very… complicated. Teens are my target audience, but I think it could appeal to a certain kind of adult as well. My main characters are all between the ages of thirteen and seventeen for the most part, but the story does touch on some heavy issues like mental health and drug addictions, and it gets pretty darn dark in some places!
As far as a specific genre is concerned, I’m gonna call it a weird cross-over between fantasy, paranormal, and SciFi. It’s got magicians, shamans, demons, brownies, (the little pixie-like critters, not the chocolate things), goblins, ghosties, elementals, and all kinds of other things that inhabit the “Unseen”, which makes it super fantastical, but there’s also a giant plot twist that I am not going to tell you about that strays into the realm of SciFi. It’s kind of one of those crazy books that everybody sticks in a different genre but hopefully will appeal to several different audiences!