Life, Writing

Current Status…

How is every one this month? I hope you all are doing great. I am super busy.

In exciting news, I have finished editing my fourth novel!!! Now, I am finalizing some other things (synopsis and query letter) before I start querying next week. I’m super excited and nervous! Wish me luck!

In other news, I am prepping and doing all the things I try to get done before NANOWRIMO starts. I don’t write extensive outlines, but I write out a very rough outline of the book from start to finish. I try to create the names for the main characters too (otherwise I get hung up on naming people and can’t seem to write).

As you can see, once again, I am participating in NANO, and this means next month is basically all booked for me.

I am a little behind at this point in the year as far as writing and some other personal goals go but I should be able to get caught up soon. Gotta keep trying, right?

Anyway, if you are participating in NANO, good luck!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, prompt, Writing

October 2022 Prompt

How is everyone doing? I’m once again trying to play catch up. I went on vacation the last week of September, and then when I arrived home, I was sick within two days. Since then, I’ve been in bed, watching tv, blowing my nose, and wishing I was writing. My head has been too foggy for editing though.

In happy news, I’m feeling much better today. Yesterday I made myself work on editing a bit. I’m a little behind on my list, but hopefully in the next few days I can catch up. And hopefully then I’ll also have time to get caught up on my short stories.

Anyway, I hope whatever you are working on is going well! If you are here for the prompt, look no further:

The doctors had never seen anything like it. She was a perfectly healthy little girl who just happened to have two hearts. The only explanation they could offer was…

Complete the Story

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

Here are a few of my favorite (writing) things…

Writing and editing is a long, tough process, and I’m sure many of you know that as a writer, there is always room for improvement. And there is always room to learn a new skill. And sometimes you need to brush up on old ones.

Even though, I studied literature in college, that doesn’t mean my writing is anywhere near perfect. It just means I can analyze fiction (a mostly useless talent outside of academia).

Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re working on your own writing:

  • 1. Practice makes perfect.
  • 2. Sometimes you need to go back and review things you thought you knew.
  • 3. Have someone else read your work!!!! I cannot stress how important this is.
  • 4. Take some time to learn or study the craft of writing. Every year I read one or two books about writing. It’s nice to read what other writers have learned throughout their careers too.

In addition to practice being the best method of improvement, there are some other things that I use to help with my writing and editing process.

Here are a few of my writing/editing tools:

  1. Autocrit.com
    • This website allows you to submit your writing and it checks it for everything! It’s nice, but it’s still just a program. It doesn’t make up for reading and editing by humans.
  2. Understanding Show Don’t Tell
    • This book by Janice Hardy is a great resource for understanding the show don’t tell concept. When I first edited my own work, it was something I struggled with. It’s a challenging concept if you don’t know how to recognize it.
  3. Ready, Set, Novel!
    • This book was created for NANOWRIMO. I love it! I like to use it when I’m brainstorming a new project. The exercises are practical and build on each other. You can go from something very basic to a detailed outline in no time.
  4. Complete the Story
    • This book is page after page of story ideas. I use it to write my short story every month. It’s also where the original Unicorns Are Really Vampires (my first novel) idea started.

As always, happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, prompt, Writing

September 2022 Prompt

It’s a new month, and that means it’s time for a new writing prompt!

If you’re looking for something to write about, look no further:

“As a young girl, she learned how to juggle fruit: apples, oranges, sometimes pears. There was little risk, little drama, and people smiled politely and then moved on. But they started paying attention when she started juggling…”

Complete the Story

This month is all about editing for me. I am working through my new novel before I start deep editing. I’ve finished my first round of edits, and now it’s time for the real work. If you’ve ever edited something as lengthy as a novel, you know what I’m talking about. It’s an even harder process when you edit yourself. I always have someone else read my work too, but before it goes to them, I go through it about four times. It takes months. And here we go…..

My plan is to start querying in mid-October, maybe November. Wish me luck.

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, reading, Writing

Hauntingly Beautiful

One of the many hauntingly beautiful Lego statues made by Nathan Sawaya

One of my favorite elements of storytelling is the combination of horror and beauty. It shows up in books, movies, and art. And I don’t know why, but it captivates me.

If you don’t follow what I’m talking about, here are some examples that have a hauntingly beautiful feel to me:

  1. The Virgin Suicides (movie)
  2. Follow Me to Ground (book)
  3. Spirited Away (movie)
  4. Pan’s Labyrinth (movie)
  5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (book or show)
  6. Lily and the Octopus (book)
  7. The Night Circus (book)
  8. Poems and Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Guernica (painting)
  10. Lego art by Nathan Sawaya

These are just some of the many examples of storytelling that for me have this distinctive element. I’ve been wondering lately… what makes these stories fit this description?

I think there is an element of sadness and/or tragedy that comes through in these works. And that sadness is combined with horror and/or violence in a way that leaves a lingering feeling of beauty.

What do you think? Maybe not everyone gets that same impression from these things, but I do. Not gonna lie, the hauntingly beautiful is one of those ideas that I am instantly drawn to.

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Scene from Spirited Away
Life, Writing

Trying Something New

In addition to editing my novel, I am brainstorming for this year’s NANOWRIMO. At this point in the year, I try to gather and read through any unused ideas that I have stashed away. I keep them all in a notebook. Occasionally, I pull it out and write down more, or if I have thoughts about an idea already in the notebook, I add to it.

I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to work on in November, but I’m thinking about branching out and trying something other than fantasy writing. To date, I’ve written four novels, all of which are middle grade fantasy. It’s still what I enjoy writing the most, and it’s what I want to try to publish more of.

However, sometimes it’s nice to work outside your comfort zone. I want to try something new. So…. I’m thinking of trying to write a mystery.

As a reader or writer, what are your favorite mystery writers? What types of scenarios do you like to read about? What do you think is over done in that genre? Or, do you love mystery so much that you will literally read anything by anyone?

I’m genuinely curious. I don’t read a lot of mystery, but every once in a while, I do pick one up. I enjoy them, but I only like a handful of writers. I don’t know why I find it so hard to like more mystery writers. And the even weirder thing is, I love, love, love crime shows. I watch any and all mystery shows I can.

Anywho, hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, prompt, Writing

June’s Prompt (plus my excuses)

Okay, let’s be honest. If you follow my blog, you may have realized that I haven’t posted a story in a while. And, I am behind on my normal posting schedule (which is just a personal goal I set for myself, not something that is life or death).

To be honest, up until Memorial Day, I was working a lot more than I usually do, but it’s been over for a couple of weeks and I haven’t made progress on any writing lately.

I was reading an article lately that talked about how starting projects (writing, crafting, diy) is really fun but finishing them can be intimidating. I think part of my personal fear right now is that when I finish editing my current novel project, I want to try and get it traditionally published. This fear is leading to an almost insurmountable amount of procrastination on my part.

The idea of tackling the publishing world terrifies me, so if you can, send some happy vibes my way.

I’m going to try and buckle down and set myself the goal of being back on track by the end of July! (You all saw it, that makes it official!)

And if you’re here for a writing idea, I am getting to that as well. Here is June’s short story prompt:

She told him to try again, and he did, and she couldn’t help but laugh. “I told you I wasn’t a dancer,” he said, protesting. “But you’re an athlete,” she said, “you…”

Complete the Story

Now let’s get to writing!

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

My new DND figure I painted last month!
Life, Writing

Updates on my Blog

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve finally gotten around to making some much needed updates to my blog. My temporary job is finally over (for now) and I have free time again! This means the blog and other endeavors, like writing, will be getting my full attention again.

If you get a chance, check out my new color scheme and layout… Plus I organized all the short stories of the month in easier to navigate tabs. I’m excited about it even if no one else is!

Short Stories!!!! (Click to read all the stories!!)

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, prompt, Writing

May 2022 Prompt

I swear I don’t know what is happening this year. I am soooooooo behind at this point. I’m not making excuses. Time is just getting away from me, and there are not enough hours in the day.  

My current distraction from writing is that I have a temp job that I normally do twice a year (once in the spring and once in the winter) that normally lasts two weeks to a month at this point in the year, and this year, it’s running into its second month now. Basically, I’m working on a project that I was not expecting to be at this point in the year.  

However, on a happy note, I’ve chosen a writing project to work on when I’m not busy with that job, which should be over in early June (maybe…).  

If you’re here for the prompt of the month, look no further: 

They were getting married in just three weeks, and things were not looking good. They hadn’t found a decent band, and Sheri was not going to have a DJ at her wedding. While Daryl didn’t have an opinion about anything, his mother seemed to have an opinion about everything, even the…  

Complete the Story

In addition to that story (which is due by the end of the month), I still need to write the story for March and April. (If it seems like I have no control over what is going on, sometimes it feels that way…) 

As a reminder, here is the prompt I should have written about in March

You know when even the things you dislike about a person make you love her even more? Well, that was Mary. On the one hand, she… 

Complete the Story

And the April prompt:  

Don’t let this one get away, she thought to herself. Tom had the look of a man quietly planning his escape. Christine watched him closely as he… 

Complete the Story

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Life, Writing

State of the Novel Address 2022

My eyes have finally healed enough for me to work on writing again. The last two weeks I’ve been outlining a new novel.

This is a new step for me. I don’t normally outline before I start writing. What I like to do is write and then make mini outlines of what I want the next three or four events to be. Generally when I start writing a novel, I have an end point in mind. Then, I work to get my characters there by preventing them from getting it too soon. (At least that’s how I think of it in my mind).

So at this point, the next step should be drafting, but…

There are two other stories that I want to write. Both are in different stages.

My three projects are:

1. Mages of the Lake (already wrote about 50,000 words during Nanowrimo last year) This one could be worked on. At first when I wrote it, I didn’t really want to do more with it, but now that some time has passed, I can see what needs worked on and what I’d like to change.

2. A New Novel Set in the Magical Realms Universe. This one would focus on Zak before he met Jamie. This is the one I’ve been outlining.

3. A BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW novel about magic that’s been hidden and then found in our time.

So… my brain can’t seem to focus because I keep thinking about all three. I’m honestly not sure which one to work on now. I would like to pick one and get it to a final draft.

I’m going to work on the outline for the second one until I decide. By April, I am going to decide and focus and buckle down!

Anyway, happy reading and writing today and every day!