As every writer knows, plot bunnies are stubborn yet welcome additions to our brains, because who doesn't love new ideas? But they also...

As every writer knows, plot bunnies are stubborn yet welcome additions to our brains, because who doesn't love new ideas? But they also (at least mine) have a habit of abandoning ship soon after arrival, leaving us to wade through uncertainty of how to proceed with the new story. And so brainstorming comes in to save the day!

Today I've moved away a little from my usual installments in 'Questions to Ask When...' to give you ideas of questions to ask when brainstorming a new story. These are by no means everything you have to know before you start writing, as everyone has a different process. But if you're stuck and searching for a way to develop your story, I hope these questions might spark inspiration!

1) Who is the story’s main character? Why? 

2) What problem is the MC (main character) faced with? How did this problem come about? How do they respond to it at first, then later on in the story?

3) What does the MC want more than anything?  How does the problem make this difficult or important? Is what the MC wants actually good for them? Is what they want their goal in the story, or is that something else?

4) What lie does the MC believe? Why do they believe this? Will this lie ever be broken? What or who will it take to break it, or reinforce it?

5) What is the overarching story problem? Will this be resolved in one book, or will it be part of a problem throughout the series?

6) Where is the story set? Earth, another world, outer space? How will this affect the MC and the story problem?

7) Will there be several POVs, or just one? What tense will you write in?

8) Who or what is the antagonist? Who stands in the way of the MC getting what they want, or meeting their goal? Why are they standing in the way? Are they deliberately causing harm to the MC, or are they simply caught in crossfire?

9) What does the antagonist desire more than anything? Why do they want this so badly? What kind of ethics do they follow? Can they justify their actions, or believe them to be right? 

10) How far will the antagonist go? What is one thing they will never, ever do? Is there anyone or anything they would protect at all cost?

11) What other characters are in the story? What’s their relationship to the MC or the antagonist? What do they desire, and what stands in their way? What are their fears?

12) What’s at stake for everyone in the story? Is there are a specific timeline that they must follow to avoid catastrophe or solve the problem? If not, then what keeps driving them towards their goal?

13) How will the story start? What pushes or convinces the MC to go on a journey? Where will it start? Will there be a prologue, or a scene from another POV?

14) Who is your ideal reader for this story? What kind of books do they read, what kind of characters do they love to read about? What tropes do they expect, and which ones can you twist?

15) How would you sum up your story in one sentence? Two sentences? A paragraph? What images or music represent your story and can give you inspiration?

16) What are some ways the story could end? Will the story's problem resolve, will the MC get what they want, or something else?

17) What will be the character arc of the MC? Will they undergo a positive or negative change, or no change at all? What events will lead to this change or keep them in the same position?

18) What will the story's title be? How does its title represent its characters, themes, plot, or key ideas? Will you need a working title until you can brainstorm more?

More in the 'Questions to Ask When' series...
Cities      History      Celebrations      Magic
Characters (Backstory, and Interview)
Schools      Monarchies      Religion (Part 1 and Part 2)     

Would you like me to do more posts in this series like this? What new stories are you working? Tell me all about them!
Have a wonderful day! <3

There are tons of books I've seen friends shouting the praises of, or authors I follow who've released books, and my hands are itchi...

There are tons of books I've seen friends shouting the praises of, or authors I follow who've released books, and my hands are itching to get hold of them! Today I've compiled a list of books I desperately want to read, but something has held me back. Most likely it's that shipping on Amazon to Australia murders wallets, the book hasn't come out yet, or life has been rude and interrupted my reading time. Nevertheless, I am determined to read all of these as soon as I can.

All that being said, to the books! And may your TBR survive this post!

1) Love and the Sea and Everything in Between

I follow Brian McBride on Instagram and have heard about his book in Go Teen Writers for a while now. Contemporary isn't often my go-to, but his passion for the story comes across in every single post. It explores mental health, holding onto your faith, and everything that's raw and deep.

2) The Blood Race

Everyone has been screaming about this one to me! It's described as a sci-fi/fantasy thriller series, which is right up my alley! Everything about this book seems epic and like it will smash my feels in half, so of course, I'm up for reading this as soon as I can.

3) Romanov

Nadine Brandes is officially now one of my favourite authors, and I'm incredibly jealous of those who got ARCs for this book. Not only is the cover absolutely stunning, but I love the movie Anastasia, so I'm super excited for a Romanov retelling, with magic no less!

4) A Sorcery of Thorns

I recently finished Margaret Rogerson's "An Enchantment of Ravens" and while I did have one minor problem with it, the worldbuilding and description captivated me so much, I'm very excited to see how she might incorporate that away from a romance-based plot. And again, a beautiful cover!

5) Mark of the Raven

Another one I've heard so much about! The main character is being called "reserved but strong, and not in the physical sense", which is exactly the kind of character I love to read about. I'm eager to grab hold of this one ASAP!

6) The Boy Who Steals Houses

Cait, who runs the spectacular blog Paper Fury, is releasing another book this year!! A Thousand Perfect Notes hit me in the feels, so I'm expecting another wonderful and heartbreaking contemporary from her. And the cover!! The colours are perfect.

7) Within These Lines

Stephanie Morrill was one of my early writing mentors through all her advice and encouragement over on Go Teen Writers. (She's even given me lovely feedback on my first chapter!) I'm so grateful for all her support, and for her amazing stories!! Within These Lines sounds like the kind of book the world needs.

8) Project Canvas

I finally received my paperback of this, and I'm so proud to have been a part of this project! My article is about worldbuilding, but there are so many great articles on everything from writing inspiration, to creating characters, to plotting, to blogging... A must read for all writers!

9) The Girl Who Could See

Apart from the stunning cover, and how lovely Kara Swanson is, the premise has some similarities to a WIP I'm working on right now, and I'm eager to see where she takes the story! It's a TBR veteran of mine and I keep hoping for the day I might finally hold it in my hands.

10) Gilded Wolves

Praise is gushing in for this book! The setting and characters sound rich and complex, and I'm always up for adventures through worlds that are as glamorous as they are dangerous. Did I mention the cover is simply beautiful too?

Have you read any of these books? Which books are you dying to read? Which of these should I read first?
Have a wonderful day, and happy reading! <3

This is the post I never thought I'd write, because I type up almost everything, including this blog post. I type my novels, emails, mes...

This is the post I never thought I'd write, because I type up almost everything, including this blog post. I type my novels, emails, messages, short stories...the lot. But as I've begun English tutoring and slowly going back to using my journals, the importance and sometimes necessity for handwriting is showing its face very plainly.

I'm (fairly certain) that you, dear reader, are older than the children I teach, so I won't spend ages talking about how handwriting is essential for learning how to read and write. But the benefits extend far beyond the basics. So what are they? Why is it so important? 

1) Break From the Screen

I love my laptop, I really do, and I will forever spend the majority of my hours writing on it for convenience's sake. But often my eyes get tired from staring at the screen for hours, and they ache to do something else. These days I'll move away from my computer to a journal, and scribble out new writing ideas, brainstorm my next steps, write a quick poem, anything. Eye health is so important, and spending time away from your devices will make you your eyes' best friend. 

2) Cements Ideas in Your Brain

Anyone who has ever taught or tutored knows this. The act of writing down ideas, rather than simply spouting them off, fosters both memory and increased understanding of what you're writing. It's likewise a workout for your brain; as Susan Reynolds in "Fire Up Your Writing Brain" says, "handwriting is one of the most advanced human capabilities, because it combines all the complexities of language in concert with psychomotor activity." She also quotes studies that explain how handwriting makes you more likely to remember what you're writing. If you'd like to remember that shiny plot bunny, write it down!

3) Slow Down and Think

I can type much faster than I can handwrite. For writing my novels and longer works this is convenient, but it also means I rarely slow down and really think about my stories and where I'm going next. I just keep typing and switching words and stumbling around in the document blind about my next goals. I've found handwriting my next steps, or brainstorming scene possibilities on a physical page, to be incredibly useful, as the slower pace allows my brain to think through everything I write. Slow thinking can lead to the solutions for many plot holes!

4) A Lost Art

It's likely that as technology continues to grow in importance in everyday life, that typing will become more popular than handwriting, which is a shame! There's such beauty in it. (At least, handwriting that doesn't look like mine.) We may have fonts and all, but the perfected letters of these doesn't express emotions like handwriting does. Handwriting is literally the soul of a moment in time. Looking back at my old diaries, the way I've written cues me better into what I was feeling than my words ever will.

5) You've a Ton of Journals and Need to Use Them

I collect more and more journals by the month, so I'm serious about this one! As writers we love journals so much, gush over stationary, so we better put them to their intended use. Filled journals are like the unpublished novels of people's lives, dreams, and thoughts. It's a bound up collection that has more beauty and gives more insight than typed documents in a digital file. Journals are yours to keep, and are waiting to be filled with writing!

Do you handwrite at all? Why or why not? Is handwriting a lost art to you, or is it something we can all do without?
Have a wonderful day! <3

If you've been around Quill Pen Writer for long enough, one thing is pretty clear; I LOVE worldbuilding. I'm talking full on adorati...

If you've been around Quill Pen Writer for long enough, one thing is pretty clear; I LOVE worldbuilding. I'm talking full on adoration for soaking myself into another world, and figuring out everything from where to place mountains to the values of a people group to why half-horses, half-lions like to play with flowers. It's so much fun!

So today I'm going down to the very basics of worldbuilding itself. I have a tendency to skip building the foundation and start creating magic systems without making sure the world fits together as a whole. Everything has to flow, or the reader will be left confused and disorientated. Consider this post a reminder for the both of us!

When worldbuilding, everything falls into two categories; the material, and the intangible. Both are equally important and rely on the other to make the world coherent and realistic. Let's have a look at what each one is.

The Material

Simply put, the material is everything that is physical in the story world. It's the backdrop for your story, but it goes beyond setting. It includes the weather, biomes, geography, creatures, locations, the rules and laws of the world, and so on. If you (or your characters) can touch it and interact with it with one of the five senses, it will be the material.

In this world, the material would be the differing continents, the gum trees swaying in the warm breeze outside my window, the red dirt under my fingernails, and the roads that cut through my city like knives of concrete. These are all things I can either experience for myself, or learn from the experiences of others.

The Intangible

If the material is everything you can interact with, the intangible is everything you can't. If you were to pick up the world of your story and put it into a juicer, the essence that came out would be the intangible. (It's a weird analogy, I know.) More often than not, the intangible is everything created by intelligent or divine beings, or God. 

On Earth, the intangible often takes form in abstract ideas like culture, opinions, people groups, history, belief systems, myths. It could even be emotions such as love or hatred, though these are linked to the physical since they are felt in both realms. Spiritual experiences also fall into this category.

What Does This Have to Do with World Building?

I'm so glad you asked. We've already covered that the material and intangible are the building blocks, so let's look at how that should affect our worldbuilding; they should never be in isolation. Just as how our world is complex, and how the material constantly shapes or is shaped by the intangible, so too should it be in your story world.

Let's look at an example. Say that you're trying to expand the different kinds of  ethnicities in your world, and when you're looking at your map, you see that there's a large desert unoccupied, so you place them there. This ethnicity's location will drastically shape their culture and the way they view the world. Because of the lack of water, they might become nomads, moving from oasis to oasis as they follow the rain. This would change what they value. Perhaps the lack of stability in a physical home means that family, which goes wherever they go, is the strength and foundation of their culture. Family, when you have little else, means everything. Or perhaps this lack of water means that water itself has become something sacred, and was the focus of stories until it became a god itself.

The material has a huge affect on the intangible, because people respond to their environments. They adapt. To have a people group in the desert who have built a city with no permanent water source, and who throw water away without a totally unrealistic. The building blocks aren't working together.

Does that mean that you're restricted when creating cultures and histories to the environment they're in? Of course not. It will limit elements that you can include, but just because you've drawn border lines doesn't mean that there's not a huge scope of imagination within them. If anything, it could push you to move beyond the obvious to think about what could be unique and make sense.

What If I Have an Idea for the Intangible First?

This happens to me all the time. I might have a specific cultural element that begs me to explore it, and so I do. There's nothing wrong with this. Working out how the material shapes the intangible is one method, but you can also do it backwards. It's simply a matter of rather than asking How does this change people and their culture? to Why is it this way?

For example, back at the beginning of my writing journey, I had the idea to have a group of people wear tiny glass bottles around their necks, in which were roses. The roses would represent their life, the number of petals their age, it would wilt if they were sick or dying, and so on. But I had no idea how or why they had these necklaces. So I brainstormed. Elements started falling into place; the necklaces had been a gift from their god to remind them of the fragility yet beauty of life. Why did they need reminding? I came to the conclusion that they had often engaged in wars with no care for the lives they took. From there I wondered what the wars were for, which led me to the realization that they were in an area low in natural resources and so fought for them, which meant that they would be in a certain biome and... You get the idea.

The beauty of worldbuilding is that you are the weaver of the tapestry. Just as tapestries have two threads, one running vertically, one horizontally, so too does worldbuilding. The material and the intangible play off of one another and form the base of a masterpiece. The key is to link them, so the world seems like a whole!

Do you often start with material or intangible ideas when worldbuilding? Which building block do you tend to focus on? What worldbuilding post would you like next?
Have a wonderful day! <3

The Language of Worlds is back, and I couldn't be happier! I've been wrestling with a character in my latest and most stubborn WIP s...

The Language of Worlds is back, and I couldn't be happier! I've been wrestling with a character in my latest and most stubborn WIP so far, Call of the Vanished, so Liv's timing was impeccable. For those of you who don't know, The Language of the Worlds is a bimonthly link-up, and though it's tailored towards those writing speculative Christian fiction, anyone is welcome to join!

Now for a (VERY rough) blurb for Call of the Vanished, before we get into the questions!

When the portal to another world opened in Lonnie's backyard, his older sister leapt through in the name of adventure, leaving him behind at six. Ever since, Lonnie has had hallucinations. Convinced he's crazy by psychiatrists and himself, he ignores the man that shadows him everywhere. Then one day the man tells Lonnie about an interworld exchange program, before it makes the news, and that if he doesn't apply, danger awaits his sister. Lonnie brushes it off as another illusion. Yet when a new memory of his sister's disappearance surfaces, one far more sinister, he too steps through the portal, desperate to know the truth.

But in a new world of magic, there is no such thing.

1) In five words or less, how would you describe your character?

Lonnie: Hidden cracks, "this is reality."

2) When do they see an opportunity for self-improvement?

Practically every moment of the day. He mentally kicks himself for caving into fears, or for doing something the slightest bit wrong, or for still seeing the man following him everywhere.

3) How do they view themself (good, evil, neutral, etc.)?

Lonnie considers himself mentally unstable, as a result of being diagnosed with PTSD and possible psychosis. As a result he doesn't trust himself to do most tasks, apart from caring for his grandma.

4) Is there a story that inspires them? What is it?

When Lonnie was younger his sister Maisy used to tell him stories before bed, mostly about ducks. And though he'd never admit it now, he could recite to you by heart "The Day David the Duck Defeated Death Dog". When he was six it gave him courage to walk down the street without being terrified of his neighbours' dogs, and he still mumbles it to himself when he's highly stressed.

5) What proverb or quote do they identify with?

He hasn't read the Bible (yet), so the quote that scares him with how much he relates to it is "Sometimes the worst place you can be is in your own head."

6) What does their standard day look like?

On weekdays he wakes up early to make breakfast for himself and his grandma, then wakes her up and helps her take her medicine. By the time breakfast is finished and the care nurse comes over, he dashes off to school, where he's in his second final year. After school he usually works at the local post office until the evening, then he goes home to make dinner, shower, do any homework, and flop into bed. It's a rhythm that keeps him from thinking about the man shadowing him everywhere.

7) When they picture their ideal day, how does it go?

Lonnie doesn't let himself think of ideals much, he knows he's not going to be successful after graduation, and he needs to stay in their small town anyway for his grandma. But if he could change one thing, it would be to cut his claimed hallucinations out of his day.

8) Do they have a favorite memory? If so, what happened?

It's a memory where he, his sister before she left, and his grandma before she got dementia, are all out in the backyard watching the stars. Maisy spotted a shooting star, but then pulled Lonnie into a hug. "I don't wanna wish for anythin' else," she said.

9) Where do they see themself in five years?

Still working in the post office, and caring for his grandma. He suspects that he won't have any friends around since they'll all have left for city universities and jobs where the lights always shine. And still driving three hours a month to see a psychiatrist who's supposed to be helping him. 

10) What is their life dream?

If he dared admit it, there's a girl in town he's always liked, called Summer. He's pretty sure if he was going to marry anyone, it would be her. Not that she knows it. He barely has allowed room in his head for the classic dream---wife, house, kids---let alone something radical.

Let me hear about your writing! What are you working on at the moment? What is your character's life dream? How would you describe your character in five words or less?
Have a wonderful day! <3

It's now officially been a month since I stopped being a teen and entered young adulthood. As I was redoing my blog design, I revisited ...

It's now officially been a month since I stopped being a teen and entered young adulthood. As I was redoing my blog design, I revisited my About section, and realised that I can no longer put "teen writer" into every single blurb I write for social media and websites. Despite still feeling like a teenager, in classic Melissa-style, I reflected back on what my teen self's writing dreams, aspirations, and hopes were.

Then something struck me: I'd always said I wanted to be published as a teen.

And you know what? I'd forgotten.

It should have hit me with a wave of sadness realising that meeting that goal could never be achieved now. (Despite eighteen having the word teen in it, apparently I'm an adult?) But it didn't. If anything, I remembered it and thought "Oh yeah that was my goal once."

I know that there are a lot of writers out there who want to publish while they're still in their teens. For some reason, we all think that this is the ultimate prize, the ultimate badge to wear as a teen writer.

Today I'm going to challenge that.

You don't need to publish a book when you're in your teens. The world and your writing career will not end if you reach eighteen and your hardback copy isn't cradled in your arms.

So why do so many of us have this idea that it will?

I wonder if some of it has to do with pride, with this idea of having people flood in praise and wonder that "someone so young could write like this". I wonder if we just think it seems cool to have met a milestone so early. And I wonder if maybe we secretly think that having this achievement will make us better than other writers our age.

I'm now going to ask you something: why rush? Why are we in such a hurry to get our books out and on shelves, when our lives are really just beginning? What darkness is breathing in our ears to get published now get published now now now now or you're a failure. Look at all these teens putting books out on the market. Why haven't you published? Failure, failure!

My friend, would you rather have a story half polished and thrown onto Amazon so you can be known as a "published teen writer", or a story that you have laboured and loved over for years, edited until you can't anymore, published when you're an adult?

Don't rush the writing process to reach a goal that, attractive as it might be, won't benefit you as a writer in the end. Are we writing for praise and achievement, or to touch hearts and weave worlds out of words?

If you have poured years of blood, sweat, and heart into a story and you're a teen when you're publishing it, amazing! You get an extra little sprinkle of glitter. If you've done the same thing, and you're not a teen when it's released, still amazing!

What I'm trying to say here is that when you publish your novel or story is not the important part. The most important part is that it's a piece of work that you're proud of, something you can say you've edited as much as you can, and now are ready to share with the world. Whether that story is ready when you're a teen or not, who can say?

To all the teen writers, don't pressure yourself to write and edit and release before the teens leave you. Take your time. Your story, and your readers, will thank you for it.

If you're a teen writer, are you hoping to publish in your teens? If you're not, did you once have that goal? What are your thoughts on this deadline we seem to put on ourselves?
Have a wonderful day! <3

Somehow, due to the strange occurrence called 'time', it is now 2019. I was musing over what to write for this post yesterday (yes I...

Somehow, due to the strange occurrence called 'time', it is now 2019. I was musing over what to write for this post yesterday (yes I am a very last minute blogger), about what would set the tone for Quill Pen Writer this year. One thing I always love to do here on this blog is help you all with your writing. So, I hope today to make a helpful addition to my 'Questions to Ask When...' series, for all of you who are writing stories with alternate worlds!

What do I mean by alternate worlds? My definition is a world separate to, yet attached to Earth in some way. It could range from a world underneath ours, a secret one hidden within it, on a different timeline, or something else! The alternate world for my current WIP, Call of the Vanished, is connected to our world by a single piece of history, and a newly opened portal.

So now that we've got the definitions all set, to the questions!

1) How is the AW (alternate world) connected to ours? Is it by a particular place, a portal, a person, or location?

2) Who knows about the AW? Is it kept a secret, or is its existence public knowledge? If it's a secret, why? Does anyone know about it? If its public knowledge, how long has it been so?

3) Who lives in the AW? Is it people, magical creatures, a combination of the two? Do they know about our world?

4) What is the frequency of movement of goods between the AW and this world? Is there established trade? Do people move across often? Are these movements secretive, or public knowledge?

5) If the existence of the AW is secret, who keeps the secret in this world? What measures do they go to to protect it? Is the secret passed down, or is it kept by one individual? If so, what happens if they die?

6) If the existence of the AW is public, what have been the international implications? Has war been declared, or peace treaties made? What does the public think?

Does magic exist in the AW? If so, what kind? What are the limitations of this magic? What is the magic able to do? Who has access to the magic, and would it work in our world? Has it been brought over to our world?

8) How big is the AW? Is it the same size as ours, smaller, or in the smaller spaces of our world (such as underground or in isolated areas)? 

9) What is the environment like? Is the AW varied in terrain types and environments, or is there only one type?

10) How similar is the AW to Earth in terms of plants and animals? Are they all the same, or are there unique types? How would they cope if they were brought to Earth? What do they look like, what do they eat, and what are any unique talents or abilities they might have?

11) If people live in the AW, what is their culture like? What do they value? If they were to be compared to Earth cultures, which one are they most alike to, and which one the least alike? How has their environment shaped their culture? What traditions and celebrations do they have?

12) What religions are prevalent in the AW? Are they similar to those in this world, or completely different? If so, how? What are the creation stories of their world, and how do they perceive the existence of our world?

13) What do the residents of the AW think about people on Earth? Is their opinion positive, negative, or neutral? Why is this the case? What history or people have affected this perception?

14) What do people on Earth think of the AW residents? Is their opinion positive, negative, or neutral? Why is this the case? What history or people have affected this perception?

15) Who was the first person to cross between the worlds? What led them to be able to cross, and what was their motivation for doing so? How long did they remain in the other world? Did they ever return? What happened while they were there, and how did they change from it?

16) Who else, if anyone, has crossed between the worlds? Is travel between them readily permitted, or must they undergo intense training, interrogation, or sneak across in order to make it? Do you have to pay to cross, or complete a task?

17) What is the history and mythology of the AW? When did it come into being? What wars have taken place, and what key figures have changed the course of its history? What stories do they tell, and what legends are held high in esteem?

18) Has anyone ever tried to control the AW from Earth, or the other way around? What reasoning did they have, and did they succeed? How did this affect the relationships between the two worlds? Will there be retaliation in the future?

More in the Questions to Ask When series!
Cities      History      Celebrations      Magic
Characters (Backstory, and Interview)
Schools      Monarchies      Religion (Part 1 and Part 2)     

Have you written a story with an alternate world before? Or read any great books with them? How is your writing going?
Have a wonderful day! <3

I have one question for you all: how is it the end of 2018 already??? I feel like it just started, but also has gone on a long time, if that...

I have one question for you all: how is it the end of 2018 already??? I feel like it just started, but also has gone on a long time, if that makes any sense. Time is a strange thing. In all honesty, this has been one of my busiest years ever, with lots of life changes wrapped up in a slew of reading and writing. Because so much has happened, I thought it was time for a wrap up of 2018!

But rather than me rambling about all that happened, let's try and have some structure, shall we?

This was the first year I took part in the Goodreads reading challenge, and I'm so excited to say I won!! My goal was to read 35 books (not sure where that number came from, but anyway) and at the moment I'm at 42! There were some brilliant reads this year, and some not so great ones. I had A LOT of 5 star reads, probably more than ever, which made it an amazing year!

5 Star Reads:

Best Fiction
So Sang the Dawn by AnneMarie Pavese: heartwrenching, deep worlds, message of light and hope, you WILL cry.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo: moody, magical, and darkly whimsical takes on the classics, with mouthwatering illustrations.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: intriguing characters, spying, magic, and faeries!

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews: tugging on the heartstrings, music and madness, exploring pain and family.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: sweet, brushed with wit and charm.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: read it for the first time, and wow! Raw yet powerful.

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes: engaging, fresh take on magic, a fun twist on history with inspiring characters.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows: hilarious, bizarrely fun, and full of characters you'll remember.

Best Non-Fiction
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: thought provoking, challenging, a must read for those looking to delve deeper into the Christian faith, or those who want to challenge it.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis: cuts right into the soul in a good and challenging way, an uncomfortable at times yet necessary read.

Best Series

The Kinsman Chronicles by Jill Williamson! It has some of the best worldbuilding I've ever read, delves into the human heart admist a world that's ending, and has characters that your heart will follow across worlds.

I'm happy with how Quill Pen Writer has been going this last little while, considering that I've struggled to maintain being online much because of...well, life. We're growing! I'm hoping to do a renovation of my look over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that when I do! 

Most Popular Posts:

Questions to Ask When Creating Fictional Monarchies

Questions to Ask When Creating Fictional Ethnicities

10 Character and WorldBuilding Prompts

Why I Won't Self Publish

Pros and Cons of Multiple POVS

My Favourite Posts:

To Be a Writer

For Us - An Easter Poem

Most of this year has been spent writing and editing two major projects: Golden Revenge, and its companion novel, Silver Storm. While I waited for my betas (you're all the best by the way!) to get back to me with feedback on GR, I wrote the majority of the first draft of SS. Towards the end of that draft I started questioning the story, so I've left it to sit there until my mind puts the pieces together. 

Golden Revenge has seen some BIG changes, and I mean big. I decided to completely rewrite two of my POVs, which then meant I had to change details in the others, and so...I essentially rewrote the story into what I hope is stronger and deeper still. I didn't want to put a bandage on the story problems my betas uncovered; I wanted to do surgery and make it better than it's ever been. Did it work? Well, I guess we'll find out soon.

So Draft 4 of GR is finished, and hopefully soon I can get back to editing it! (I might also be looking for people to quickly read over it soon too...) I'm really proud of the draft and how it turned out. In my short break from the story, I'm now madly working on writing a new one. The only hint I'll give on what it's about, is that it's called Call of the Vanished, and I'm already in love with the characters.

A lot happened in my personal life this year, some of the biggest events being me becoming an adult (and learning how much I dislike paperwork), and graduating from high school! I had the BIG exams called the HSC in October and November, my formal, and lots of other school events where I said goodbye to school, forever.

Now I have a job which I'm loving, and am ready to start university where I'll be studying communications and creative writing in the new year. Hopefully I'll also be taking archery lessons, so there's that! A lot of change has happened this year, but the good and challenging kind of change that makes you appreciate everything and everyone around you, and the kind that draws you closer to God. <3

(I know it says 2017 in the picture but shhhh it's a pretty photo. Pretend it has the right numbers)

It feels as though this year has been preparing me for the ones to come, and now I feel ready to take the next few steps and see where God leads me. I'm excited for the things to come!

Tell me about your year!! What were your favourite reads of the year? How has your writing gone? How would you describe your year in one word?
Happy New Year, and thank you so much for supporting me and this little blog in 2018, and hopefully in the years to come! Love you all! <3