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.
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).
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.
What time of day do you write best?
Either really late at night or really early in the morning… what is sleep?
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet of your writing. This snippet is from my Shaman Novel.
So much blood has been spilled upon this floor that I can’t believe the marble is white instead of scarlet.
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…
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
- Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
- Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
- Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
- The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is there something they adamantly disagreed on?
Considering they never new each other, they didn’t have a chance to disagree on anything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet from your current writing project. This snippet is from my Shaman Novel.
Vivian Deverow was drowning. It was kind of ironic if you thought about it. “Strike a match and let it burn,” she muttered to herself through a choked laugh. That’d been her motto for years, but her matches couldn’t burn under water.
Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s about things that make you instantly want to read a book!
- If there’s magic involved, I’ll probably read it without question. I especially love books with super unique magic system like the one in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
- Myths/legends from other cultures like those found in Fear the Drowning Deep.
- Royal people fighting to take over the throne, (preferably with magic!) 😉
- Assassins because they’re sneaky, and sometimes they throw daggers, and I just love them! I mean I love them in books, NOT real life! I would NOT want to meet an assassin in real life!
- Any kind of psychological illness!
- Bad boys with deep, dark secrets who actually turn out to be good. So what if it’s a giant trope?!
- Diverse characters like those in Tiny Pretty things.
- I’ll read pretty much anything about angels.
- Awkward, preferably writerly characters because they’re just so relatable! Fangirl, anybody?
- I will read literally anything by Rick Riordan or Maggie Stiefvater because they have never failed to tell an amazing story. In other words, go read The Raven Cycle right now because you are missing out on great literature if you haven’t!
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 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
Awesome Writerly Bloggers
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.
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.