Category Archives: My Writing

Notebooks

While we’re talking about writer-ly things, I just read this blog post about what excites writers and knew I should share it.  I expected to relate with a few points, of course, but I did not realize I would agree with all of them!  Each new point and I was thinking, “Oh my goodness, yes, that thing makes me feel so excited!”  So if you’re a writer and you love reading about yourself (like me!), or if you’re not and you want to hear some things that make us whoop with excitement, click through and read ahead!

http://www.notebooksandnovels.com/2017/10/5-things-that-excite-writers.html

Happy Saturday!

 

All the Writerly Angst

I think one of the perpetual questions a writer asks is will anyone really want to read this?  I often find myself wondering if anyone else cares even a bit about the things I write about.  I have yet to find some perfect way to know what the world (or even my corner of it) wants to read, so I fall back on writing to myself–I like reading this kind of thing and I’ll trust that others do too.

So we have this post.

I love reading about other writers’ writing processes, so I’m going to take a little long post to talk about my writing desk.

When I finished writing Catania’s Forest close to this time last year, I was left with the inevitable question of what to write next.  The stories come and go so fast!

There was a quaint little story I had left lying around half-written called Blue Eyes Eastward.  I picked it up again and decided to finish writing it before anything else.  I got a new story idea partway through (Anchored, my pirate story) and started plotting it, but Blue Eyes was still a priority.

Well, then I had a setback, that started when I realized my villainess was sadly shallow.  In the end I realized I didn’t like the themes of my story at all, I was doing things I had seen other authors do and hated, and I needed to consider dropping it.  So that story died–I killed it.  And man! was that hard.  When I look back on it, I don’t feel much for that story, but at the time it was a very hard decision to make.  As Anchored was still deciding what it wanted to be and how many characters would live through it, I was not ready to start writing it (still not!).  So there was a lull.

And into that lull came “Nieo and Star”, the story I’m currently writing.  And guys, I love this story so much!  There literally aren’t humans in this story, it’s straight fantasy creatures, and my imagination is. in. heaven.  While Cat’s Forest was certainly fantasy, I was very focused on making it feel real and it’s darker than what I usually write (I know that some of you will find it amusing that I call Cat’s Forest dark, but it’s dark for me!).  And so as Anchored isn’t typical fantasy and all the important characters are human, and I’ve been toying around with some sci-fi lately, this story is just perfectly timed!  It feels so, so good to get back to good ol’ classic Medieval fantasy and remember why it’s my favorite genre.

But, of course, it isn’t all peaches and rainbows through and through.  While this has been a pretty peaceful stage in my writing with minimal writer’s block, it’s also lead me to think about being a writer more than usual.  This story feels unique.  It’s also very, very me.  It’s been a long time since I wrote something so fresh off my imagination.  It’s hard to put into words, but this story feels personal.  Which means it’s more fun to write, but it’s really scary!  I feel like I’m slicing a piece off my heart and pasting it to a page.

And hence: the inevitable question.  Does anyone want this stuff besides me?

And I don’t really have an answer.  Would people like Nieo and Star?  Would anyone read it?  I don’t know.  But I’m writing it anyway, and I’m writing it the way my imagination wants it, in hopes that someone else is like me, and someone else likes to read such things.

Anyway, I hope this post didn’t feel too down-in-the-dumps and someone found it interesting.  If anything, it was interesting to write!  Happy Monday!!

“The Summons”

This is a little poem I wrote while Becca was in Italy last summer. . .  It’s rather melodramatic and sentimental, but I’m quite proud of how consistent the rhyming is:

The summons is echoing across the waves,
To the one who slays and the one who saves.
The voice calls low, and thou must go;
The song of farewell hath found me.

I smell the tang of gulls and brine,
I feel thy hand slip out of mine.
Blow me a kiss, through the mist;
I know that it shall find me.

The black oars dip in the green waves fast,
I know our parting hath come at last.
Watching the foam, I’ll stand alone;
‘Till you come back to find me.

“Describe Tag” Re-Run

Ugh, it’s been way too long!  Anyway, I’m back now, with a new story idea in tow.

This random plot bunny showed up a little while ago, and I liked it but didn’t give it much attention.  Very recently though, it started to take over more and more of my thought-life, until it finally just straight-up asked to be written–right now.  I tried to explain I had too much going on and it wasn’t fair to the older story ideas if I didn’t write them first, but to no avail.  If you haven’t yet realized, I frequently argue with plot bunnies, yet never win.  All that to say, the story won as usual, and I started writing the first draft yesterday.  Still not sure where it’s going, but I’m still super hyped about it right now and I decided to do The Describe Tag again with five of my new characters!

(I changed the order of the questions and left the last one out, because I’m just having fun here and making my own rules. 🙂 )

  1. Alin

Is the character the main character of the book it’s in? Yes!

Is the character magical? I don’t think so. . . ?

What is your character? Human or other? Other.  In fact, there isn’t (as of yet!) a single human to make an appearance in this story.

(And because you probably want to know, Alin is an elf.)

(Yes, I am obsessed.  End of story.)

Good or bad? For some reason, this question always throws me off!  Maybe because I end up redeeming so many of my bad guys and I try so hard to make all my characters realistically flawed?  I don’t know.  To stay on topic, I’d call Alin good.

What hair color (if applicable) does the character have? Blonde.  Because for some reason I’m really “in” to blonde elves??  I do often relate to elves, and I’m blonde, so maybe I just subconsciously portray all elves as me?  I really have no idea.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.? Hm.  Pretty quiet and reserved before he gets to know people er, creatures really well.  Very determined.  A bit impulsive, quick to act.  A deep feeler, but quiet about it.

 

2. Nieo

Is the character the main character of the book it’s in? No.  But he might be my favorite. . . *insert guilty smile*  What?  Authors pick favorites?  Yep, totally.

Is the character magical? Not. . . as of yet?  As you can see, I don’t have my world-building figured out yet.

What is your character? Human or other? Nieo is a troll, but since my trolls aren’t typical trolls, I guess that’s not super helpful. . .

Good or bad? Good.  Like I said, potential favorite.

What hair color (if applicable) does the character have? Inapplicable.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.? Very reserved, very quiet, but very strong and opinionated.

 

3. Star

Is the character the main character of the book it’s in? Nope.

Is the character magical? No.  (As far as this poor, uninformed author can tell!)

What is your character? Human or other? A goblin.  But once again, not a typical goblin, so that’s not an altogether appropriate title, though I don’t know what else to call him.

Good or bad? Good.

What hair color (if applicable) does the character have? Brown.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.? Uh. . . Star is hard to categorize.  He’s energetic, but pretty laid-back and forgiving.  He’s cautious, very sarcastic, squirrelly (in every sense of the word), and pretty emotional.

 

4. AEmilia

Is the character the main character of the book it’s in? The story began by following Alin, but I’m pretty sure some of it will be from AEmilia’s perspective as well.

Is the character magical? Potentially.  Even probably.  I could see her being “magical” like Luthien was in The Silmarillion (subtle magic connected to her voice and–when she wants it–her hair).  I think I want to give AEmilia healing powers.

What is your character? Human or other? Another elf.

Good or bad? She doesn’t always move the story in a positive direction, but I’d call her good.

What hair color (if applicable) does the character have? Also blonde. *cough cough*

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.? Hm.  She isn’t reserved, she’s very open and blatant about her opinions, though she usually tries to be respectful of others’ beliefs.  She likes to think things through, but once she makes a decision, there’s no turning back!  AEmilia goes all in, and she’s very loyal.

 

5. Kaen

Is the character the main character of the book it’s in? No.

Is the character magical? This story world is very open to magic, so I’m really enjoying experimenting with it, as you might have noticed!  The plotline would work perfectly well with Kaen only using his wit and physical skill, but I think he’ll use some simple magic as well.

What is your character? Human or other? ‘Nother elf.

Good or bad? Once again, kinda grey area here.  But unlike AEmilia, he doesn’t really have a decisive ending and character arc, as he’s not a main character.

What hair color (if applicable) does the character have? Blonde again, but dark blonde, slightly red.

Is the character mean, loud, quiet, reserved, etc.? I wouldn’t call him reserved–he’s friendly and very outgoing–but I wouldn’t exactly call him loud.  Kaen is very sympathetic, and very loyal–loyal to a fault, maybe.

 

And there’s that.  Yes, they’re all pretty much good–my bad guys are boring, so I never talk about them. 😉  Hope you all enjoyed reading this!  Do my characters catch your interest?

Three Reasons why Lord of the Rings and Narnia survived the Test of Time: A Guest Post by Savannah Grace

Happy Monday, readers!  As you can see, we have our first-ever guest post today, by the lovely Savannah Grace!  So enjoy the post, and hop over to Savannah’s beautiful blog, Scattered Scribblings, here.

“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them …”

“Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.”

I think almost every writer or reader of fantasy would know which books these two quotes are from – and neither of the books are modern! Both of them are over sixty years old – so what helped Lord Of The Rings and Narnia survive the test of time? And how can we help our stories do the same?

1. Both Authors Took Risks

Fantasy was still a new thing when J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis wrote their stories – a lot of people consider them the ‘Founding Fathers Of Fantasy’. Fantasy wasn’t a popular thing back then like it is today, so it was a little risky to write a story like Lord Of The Rings or Narnia. But, looking back at these authors, and other authors whose books have lasted, I’ve learned that it can really pay off to take risks.

It’s hard to really hard “go out on a limb” with our stories nowadays – it feels like every idea has already been thought of and used! But one of the important things to learn about writing is that no one writes the same way. Two people could write a story with the same premise, and the stories would still be so different. Which means that it might not just be an idea that you can take risks with – it can be your writing style plus the idea that is a risk. And sometimes risks seriously pay off ;).

2. The Characters Are All Unique, Realistic, And Easy To Relate To

The Pevensie siblings are some of the most realistic characters – the childlike innocence of Lucy, the feeling of responsibility for his siblings that Peter had, Edmund’s jealousy, and Susan’s caution. All of the siblings are unique from each other, and they’re all easy to relate to.

Same thing goes for Lord Of The Rings. Not only are the character different from each other in personality (I don’t think anyone would mistake Gimli’s personality for Gandalf’s!), but J.R.R Tolkien has different races of people in his story, which makes each character even more different from the others.

One of the easiest ways to make sure all of your characters are different is to put them side-by-side and see if the story would change much if you cut one. If the answer is ‘no’, then you’ve probably got a character or two that isn’t quite needed in the story. And if the answer is ‘yes’, then well done! Keep your story-people realistic, unique, and easy-to- relate-to, and you’ll have a cast of winning characters on your hands.

3. The Books’ Themes

Honestly, I think this one is the most important. Books always stick around when they have powerful themes, because – no matter what time we live in, or what the circumstances are -there are just some themes that we’ll always be able to relate to. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (the most well-known Narnia book, in my opinion), has themes of redemption and sacrifice. The Lord Of The Rings has themes of courage and hope.

It’s easy for books to survive when they have themes that everyone can relate to, no matter how long ago the book was written. Some themes, like bravery and love and never-giving- up, are never going to run out of steam, because they’re some of the themes that will always play a big part in real life.

Let’s take risks, writers. Your story could be the next one to survive the test of time.

“Courage, dear heart.”

~ Savannah Grace

Which is your favorite, Narnia or Lord Of The Rings? What are your favorite themes to read/write about?
Feel free to ask Savannah any questions you have in the comments.  Also, you can read a post by yours truly on her blog today, so go check it out!

Pirate Ships

Greetings, friends!  Just dropping a quick note to say that I’m brainstorming a new story idea, and I need to name some pirate ships (and some not-pirate ships, actually).

Image from thegraphicsfairy.com

So, if anyone has any ideas for ship names, I’d be grateful.

Happy Friday!

I hope to be back soon.

More ramblings, starring Reese

Do you remember when I did the Describe Tag, and asked you all to help me name one of my characters?  Well, I’ve officially named her Reese Shattercane.

I actually named her shortly after I did the tag, but forgot to post again.  I recently remembered I promised to follow up with you guys, so. . . here we are.  Her name is Reese.

Sorry I’m late!

I just finally got a feel for the plot of her story, which I’m excited about.  It’s not very high on the “What To Write Next” list, but I still like playing with it, so it’s fun to know where I’m going!

 

In other news, I bought my first piece of Star Wars fan gear last month: Jyn’s stardust necklace (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).

(Apparently the fans have dubbed it Jyn’s “Kyber necklace”, but I have been calling it her “stardust necklace” to myself since I left the theater, and I prefer that. 😉 )

My Lord of the Rings gear is getting excessive (as in, two shirts, a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a Galadriel crown), but this was my first Star Wars piece.

 

I posted about reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream recently, if you remember.  Well, I read The Tempest today, and it’s giving Julius Caesar (my favorite Shakespeare play) a real run for its money.

“My library was dukedom large enough. . .”

-The Tempest, Dover Thrift edition, page 6

Shakespeare was a master!

Happy Wednesday (because it is one), my amazing readers!

“Catania’s Forest” Questions & Answers

Well, here we are.  A little later than I wanted, but here we are.  Enjoy!

~~~

Who was your favorite character? (Jaidyn)

My personal favorites are Catania and Lythia.  I’m super happy with how Cat turned out (and she’s a lot like me!).  Sadly, you don’t actually get a lot of Lythia in the story, but I really love her.

Who was the hardest character to write? (Jaidyn)

Probably Jéru?  I thought he would be easy and straightforward.  He was not.  I always felt like he was slipping out of character. Tyre’s dialogue was also tricky.

Were there any plot twists? (Jaidyn)

Plot twists I wasn’t expecting?  Jéru giving Catania bread.  The line about her not remembering what bread tasted  like was already there, but her actually tasting it in the story was actually a surprise.

Which character was the easiest to come up with? (Jaidyn)

Like I said in the behind-the-scenes, Tyre came first.  (Catania and Jéru came next.)  Lythia  probably came the fastest–once I realized I needed her, she came pretty quickly.

Was this story harder or easier to write then some of the others? (Jaidyn)

Hmm. . . There was a lot more angst about Cat’s Forest, but there wasn’t as much writer’s block.  At least to the best of my memory. . .

What inspired you to write this story? (Jaidyn)

Like I said, the idea of a Narnian centaur being connected with the Christmas star is what inspired me first.  That’s where the idea of the plotline came from.  There were many, many other things that inspired smaller plot-points.  A lot of Cat’s archery is probably the result of my own hobby (and some of its inspiration probably lies in The Hobbit as well. 🙂 )

Was there anything that you had originally started with, but decided to take out of the story? If so, why? (Jaidyn)

Nothing comes to mind. . .  It was mostly the other way round with Cat’s Forest: random things popping up that I wasn’t expecting.

When did you decide that you wanted to do a retelling of The Little Drummer Boy? (Savannah)

When I first had the idea about Tyre and the star.  I had never even considered re-writing the little drummer-boy before I had that idea.  I’d only really thought about retelling fairytales, like some of my friends have done.

Will you ever expand on Cat’s story (maybe a prequel or a sequel? That would be epic *nodnod*)? (Savannah)

I knew Savannah would ask that, so I’ve been mulling over this answer for a while. 😉 The answer is: maybe.  Strong maybe. I’ve thought about what a sequel would entail–what author could help doing that?  I’m hoping a sequel will happen, especially because it will involve more of the gospel, which would be amazing to try to write about!

Disclaimer: No promises, I don't know if it will come together yet.  As of now, I have no inkling of a plot.

From what I have so far, I think a lot of it will take place in Hynara, not Syrelia, which will be interesting.

Cat would still be the main character, as far as I know, and Lythia will have to be involved, at least a bit.  Tyre has refused to be left behind, and Jéru wants to be in a little.  Actually, Jéru really wants to do something rash and get himself killed.  I keep telling him that’s not allowed and is going to make my readers unhappy (and that–trust me!–he doesn’t want to face Ellen’s wrath), but he won’t listen. It’s like I’m the one human in the cosmos who can’t make him do anything!  Unlike Tyre, who I can convince of almost anything if I’m tactful, and Moth, who does anything I say without a moment’s hesitation.

As for a prequel, I have considered writing a longer version of Cat’s Forest, including her life in the city, or at least her early friendship with Lythia.  I haven’t put a lot of thought into that idea though.

How many months did it take you to write this story? (Savannah)
How long did it take you to write this? (Cerra)

I have “3/3/16” written at the top of the notebook page with the first part of Cat’s Forest written on it, and I finished in November.  Which would mean nine months. . . wow, I didn’t realize it took that long!  Writing always takes longer than I expect.

What was your favorite part to write? (Skylar)

Hm. . . probably the first one with Moth and Horbrid.  I love writing dialogue!  The conversation on the road with Tirim and Tyre was also fun (once again, dialogue!).

Do you like writing retellings or stories you come up with completely on your own best? (Skylar)

Well, that’s a hard question to answer.  Cat’s Forest was actually my first retelling.

(Unless you count The Sacrifice, which I guess was a retelling of St. George and the dragon, though it wasn’t exactly supposed to be.)

I don’t think I’ll ever stop coming up with original stories, but I’m starting to fall in love with retellings.  Personally, I think my strong point in fiction writing is detail, not overall plotlines, so I love retellings, as they give you a storyline to start with, and you get to add the names, the details, the characters, etc.

Are you planning on posting another story anytime soon 🙂? (Skylar)

Currently, there is no story for the blog actually in the works.  But there will most likely be one soon, because I can’t help myself, and I know you guys will pester me about it, like you always do.  You’re hard to resist.

What part was your favorite? (Cerra)

I’m pretty happy with how the last couple parts turned out, and the part with the fight on the road makes me happy, because so many of you liked it.

~~~

And that’s it.  Thank you all for asking great questions (they were fun to answer!), and for reading my story and giving me feedback!

It was super encouraging to know you all enjoyed reading Cat’s Forest!  How many of you would be interested in reading a sequel, if I wrote one?

words

She knelt on the floor beside their bed, hearing her sister’s even breathing just above her.  She leaned forward against the carpet and whispered a prayer into the darkness.

“I have no words to describe You.”

Maybe, she thought as she stood up and crawled under the warm blankets, when I get to heaven, I’ll find the words.

And when she realized that it was one of the most exciting ideas she’d had about heaven, she knew she was, and always would be, a writer.