Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bookish Book Lover Tag

    It's not very often I talk about books on the blog, so today I decided to do a book tag Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me in awhile back. (Thanks for the tag Victoria!) I'm super excited to share with you all my current reads, and bookish loves!

   Here are the Bookish Book Lover Tag rules:

#1- Use the banner.
#2- Answer the questions.
#3- Use lots of book covers.
#4- Tag your bookish friends!

1) What book(s) are you currently reading?

   At present, I'm almost finished with Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. I love the quick and simple style that the scenes are organised in, and seeing it done so successfully has given me some hope for my own similar style.

2) What the last book you finished?

   Technically, the last book I read was Magic Study by Maria V Snyder (absolutely amazing by the way), but I also finished re-reading the play Othello by Shakespeare last week, so that was my latest full read. (If you like intelligent villains, I highly recommend the play.)

3) Favourite book you read this year?

   Goodness, this is hard. I've had such a run of awesome books this year, but the best is a tie between Magic Study and Gemina.

4) What genre have you read most this year?

   Fantasy. No surprises there!

5) What genre have you read least this year?

   Contemporary, though I am reading one right now. It's nice to take a break from my fantasy pattern, but honestly, I don't think I'll make them top priority on my TBR.

6) What genre do you want to read more of?

   I'd love to see more re-tellings of obscure folk or fairy tales.

7) How many books have you read this year, and what's your goal?

   *sheepish smile* So, with the move and school and everything, I've only read about six books this year. I'm trying to read one book every two weeks now though, so the numbers should improve (unless I get a billion essays to write again).

8) What's the last book you bought?

    Holding Up the Universe, as I'll be going to a talk and signing by Jennifer Niven on Friday!

9) What book are you saving up to buy next?

    A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.

10) How many books did you check out last library visit?

    I believe it was four. I couldn't fit any more in my bag!

11) What's a book you can't wait to read?

    I'm eagerly awaiting my opportunity to read Obsidio (which comes out in a couple of centuries, it seems).

12) What's a series you'd recommend to everyone?

    Probably the Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Sooooo good!

13) Who's an author you're hoping writes more?

    *points to last question's author*

14) A few books your heart adores?

    ALL OF THEM!!! (Okay, I don't adore all books, but the following are a few I love to love): Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brien, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Enna Burning by Shannon Hale, and Captives by Jill Williamson.

15) What series' coming conclusion makes you sad?

    I do but don't want the Throne of Glass series to end. So many mixed feelings!

16) What books are on your wish list?

    There are tons, but a few are: the Angel Eyes Trilogy by Shannon Dittemore, the Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill, and the Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye.

    And now, I tag... *drumroll*

and anyone else who'd like to do it!

Thanks for reading today's post; I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about my reading life! What books does your heart adore? What's the last book you bought? Most read genre?
I'd love to read your answers in the comments! Have a wonderful day! <3

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Beautiful People - Parental Edition

     Happy May everyone! (I'm not sure if that's a thing, but let's just roll with it, shall we?) Today I'll be participating in the wonderful Beautiful People link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It's designed to help writers get to know their characters better, so be sure to check it out!

    This month's Beautiful People focuses on parents, and so I'll be answering most of the questions about Crim's (MC of Splintered Crown) sort of adopted parents, Thekla and Xan. They took him into their home after his true parents tried to have him killed.

    In case you're wondering about Splintered Crown, here's a quick blurb:

Recovering from a bitter civil war between two princes, the nation of Cynnica eagerly awaits the announcement of the next Heir to the throne. Three royal children were sent away at birth to grow up out of palace hands, and when the time is right, the best and most suited to rule will be chosen. The other two will never be the wiser of their parentage, and Cynnica will never be caught between siblings again.

Crim is as sure he'll be the chosen Heir as he's sure he's attractive. In other words, a hundred percent. Raised under the watchful eye of a noblewoman who took him from an orphanage in hopes he'd be a prince, his only focus has been preparing to rule--and his violin.

When the Heir is declared to be a sister he's never met, Crim's life spins into chaos. What will he do now? How could they not choose him? After all, he's perfect...right?

    To the questions!

1) Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

    Crim's relationship with Thekla and Xan develops over the story, as he's practically strangers with them in the book's beginning. His first impression of Thekla was a good one, as she welcomed him with a tight hug, but his impression of Xan was not so much. Xan wasn't mean or anything; he was a bit gruff with the unexpected visitor.

2) Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

    Wow this is a tricky one to answer. Biologically, the king and queen of Cynnica are his parents, and Crim has seen them from a distance, but never personally interacted with them. He was formally the son of High Lady Paizelle--until the Heir was chosen--yet she never acted like a mother to him. As a result, Crim has this kind of hole inside him, one he always hoped the king and queen would fill. When he was younger, he dreamed of what it would be like to call them mother and father.

3) How did their parents meet?

    Back to Thekla and Xan. They met in their time in the army during the civil war, in which Thekla was Xan's commanding officer while he was her cadet. Thekla was deep undercover at the time. Their relationship turned to a friendship, and when it became deeper than that and the war heightened to its peak, things got messy. That's all I can say, because, spoilers.

So I tried to find a picture of Thekla when she was younger, but couldn't find a good one, so here's a mysterious one that you can use your imagination with
4) How would they feel if they were told "you're turning out like your parent(s)"?

    Crim would be glad, because they're tough, generous, and nice people. Heaven knows he wishes he were any of those.

5) What were your character's parents doing when they were your character's age?

    It would be a few years before the civil war, so Xan would be mourning the loss of his father, while Thekla would be starting her army training in the capital. 

6) Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

    They break into fights almost weekly over whether or not Xan should leave their farm and go into town, even for an hour. He suffered a significant face mutilation during the war--his head was shoved into a fire, and so he lost sight in one eye and all feeling on one side of his face--and fears to appear in public due to it. Thekla always tries to convince him that no one will be afraid of him, but Xan swears they will. He doesn't want to scare little children with his 'monstrous' face.

7) What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

   Well, since they didn't raise him, I'll go with the biggest challenge they had taking him in; not the persistent death threat on his back, but his drinking. After the effects it had on Thekla (more spoilers there) it was difficult to find the balance between supporting him and drawing the line.

8) What's their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

   Going back to the king and queen for a second here: the queen sitting with a crowd of orphans, laughing, letting them braid her hair. For the king: carrying a tower of manuscripts and scrolls in his arms, beaming.

9) What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

   Crim was a confident toddler who thought the world could not harm him. He might have fallen down a number of stairs as a result.

10) Why and how did the parents choose your character's name?

   Just to confuse you even more, this was High Lady Paizelle's decision (I know, I know, I'm sorry Crim's parental relationships are so complicated). Crim's real name is Crimson. High Lady Paizelle chose it as it's the colour of her noble family, and so when (as she had planned) Crim was chosen as Heir, everyone would be constantly reminded of her influence in training him. The plan didn't, well, didn't go to plan.

That brings us to the end of today's post; I really hope you enjoyed it!
Do your characters know their biological parents? Why did your character's parents choose the name they did? Have you participated in Beautiful People this month? What do you think of Thekla and Xan?
Let me know in the comments and have an amazing day! <3

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Naming Characters and Places

     I love creating characters, exploring what makes them who they are, discovering their history, families, likes, dislikes, all of it. But I find it difficult to do any of that if I don't have a name for them in my head. The same applies to places in my story-world; without names they're blobs of buildings and nature in my mind. So how do you find a name that fits them perfectly? 

   Today I'll be sharing my personal methods for choosing character or place names! So let's get to it, shall we?

1) Google Translate

   Primarily, I use this method for city and country names when I need one quickly. I'll pull up Google Translate, then choose one or two words that describe my place. I type that into the English section, then translate it to a language that belongs to a similar environment as my country. 

    For example, in my latest project Splintered Crown, I typed in "mountain city" and translated it into German, as the country's geography resembles Germany's. As a result, I got Bergstadt! Usually I switch a few letters around but I loved this one, so I kept it. This method is a quick and easy way to achieve cohesive place names if you stick to one language!

2) Search Name Lists

    I mainly use this method for character names when I want names in a certain language or from a certain region. A quick Google search of, for example, "Turkish names" will have tons of baby name sites coming up. At this point I'm surprised Google isn't giving me baby food ads with the amount I visit.

   Anyway, here are a few sites I highly recommend: Behind the Name, 20,000 Names, and Belly Ballot. Check them out for a little inspiration!

3) Choose a Trait

    If you're in a deep and symbolic mood, and want a name that really identifies your character or place by their values, this is the method for you. Simply search "names meaning ____" to find one that represents your character's soul or country's history. The name could even contain foreshadowing...

4) Alter a Common Name

   It's difficult to find new names that haven't been plastered onto other book characters before. So how about taking one of those common names and putting your own spin on it? In one of my stories I changed Johnathan to Jonathon by taking out one letter and switching another, and in another changed Bird to Byrd. Some languages already do this for you if you look up variants of a name (the Bulgarian form of Samuel is Samuil). 

I made a list of all my characters from Golden Revenge for this post, and this just scratches the surface...I just realised I have a whole ton of characters.
5) String Letters Together

    If none of the above methods work, if none of the names seem to fit, or if you're lacking inspiration to create deep names, pick your favourite letter. Then pick a few vowels and consonants, throw them together, and tada! You have a name. Remember, there's always editing if you want to change it later!

That wraps up today's post; I hoped you enjoyed it! How do you come up with character and place names? Are our methods similar or different? Any name sites you would recommend? 
Let me know in the comments below, and have a marvelous day! <3

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Voices of YA Tag

    Happy Saturday everyone! (Or Friday if you're in a different time zone, or whatever day it is when you're reading this!) Today I'll be participating in the Voices of YA Tag, which was created by Caitlin Lambert. The tag has been made for YA writers/bloggers so they can share about their passion for YA! I wasn't technically tagged for it, but as Caitlin opened it up to anyone who wished to participate, and I wished to, here I am! Thank you for creating the tag and letting me join in on the fun, Caitlin!

    Here are the rules:

1) Thank the person who tagged you
2) Link to the original creator
3) Answer the ten questions
4) Tag AT LEAST two other YA writers/bloggers

    This awesome tag is split into two parts, so let's get into it!


#1 - What draws you to YA?

    Firstly, I'm in YA age range, so almost all the books I read are YA and I enjoy writing characters my age. But the odd thing is that I've been reading YA since primary/elementary school. I was always an advanced reader, and when I found YA books I was hooked, even if I didn't always understand everything. I managed to get my hands on some far-too-mature books for consumption by sneaking into my school's high school library. True fact.

    That aside, there's this beautiful thing about YA where topics that are hard, and raw, and tough to get through can be explored. But it's not just all wallowing in darkness. There's light in it too, mixed with hope and examples of people overcoming the odds with bravery. YA characters push through hard times and come out the other side scarred, but having learnt and persevered. I could on about it for days, but that's the heart of my reason for loving YA.

#2 - Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

    Process? What process? 

    I'm kidding, I do have a bit of one. I used to be an extreme pantser but as this made me extremely stressed in editing, I now do some before hand preparation. Most of the time I world-build for a few weeks, fleshing out the geography, history, and culture of the world; which in turn tends to spark character and plot ideas. Then I'll scribble down the basic premise and a few scene/chapter ideas, and if I'm feeling artistic, some scrap-book worldbuilding. Then it's off into the first draft to pants the rest!

Sneak peek of two characters' backstory from Splintered Crown. This style is what I call scrap-book worldbuilding. Apologies for the blurriness; can't have you knowing all the spoilers now, can we?

#3 - How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

    I've been writing seriously for four years now. Before that I always enjoyed writing, but I mark 2013 as the year I began to strive towards being a writer and considered it my career goal. A lot has happened in these four years, and I've grown as a writer both in my attitude towards writing and myself, found my voice, and discovered how best I write.

    At the moment, I'm editing the second draft of a book I believe wholeheartedly could be published in the next few years.

#4 - What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

    A glass of water to keep me hydrated, earphones, and good music that will drown out any background noise.

#5 - If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN "don't give up"), what would it be?

    Wow, this is tricky, simply because there's so much to say. It's hard to narrow it down to a single piece of advice, as every writer is at a different part in their journey, but I would say this (as I shared on twitter the other day):

Only YOU can write YOUR story. No one can write it like you can. Your voice is important, because it's yours, and yours only.


#6 - What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)

    Honestly, as Caitlin also said in her post, Red Queen blew me away with its plot twist. I had a vague idea something bad was coming, but gosh, did it make me mad...

#7 - What books are you most anticipating this year?

    I'm looking forward to Sarah J Maas' new books coming in May and September; Tower of Dawn and A Court of Wings and Ruin. Oh oh! And Obsidio in the Illuminae Files series! It comes out next year, but sshhh, I'll still be anticipating it all year.

#8 - In your opinion, what YA book/series has the most unique premise?

    The first book series that pops to mind is the Birthmark series by Caragh M O'Brien. As the books develop, so does the premise, and it blew my mind. I love the series so much!

#9 - What is your all-time favourite quote from YA lit?

    From Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas: "You could rattle the stars...You could do anything, if only you dared." 

#10 - What book do you most hope will have a movie adaptation?

    Illuminae! There have been rumours about it, I believe, but I would love to see if they could pull off the adaptation. I would be very cross if they messed with my beloved characters though...

    That's it for the questions! I tag the below people, and anyone else who wishes to do it!

Jeneca @ Jeneca Writes
Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen

I hope you enjoyed the post! I'd love to hear some of your answers to the questions! What's your favourite YA book quote? What piece of advice would you offer to another writer? How long have you been writing?
Let me know in the comments, and have an awesome day! <3

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Am Currently... #8

    It's the holidays!!! For a few more days, that is... But despite my quickly dwindling free time, I feel like I've accomplished a whole ton over the last two and a half weeks. Between family outings like attending the Royal Easter Show (the baby animals were so gorgeous) and exploring Circular Quay, where the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are, I've crammed in plenty of other activities.

    Let's get to it!

    Sadly, I prioritised writing over the Easter Holidays, and so I am still reading the Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine, but have also started Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder. I'm super excited about the later as I loved the first book, Poison Study, and I'm hoping I'll love the sequel just as much. 

   This doesn't technically count as reading, but I bought the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, which is a super cool reference guide when you're unsure of how to convey a character's emotion. It lists physical signs of the emotion, internal sensations, and mental reactions, to name a few. I definitely recommend it if you're interested in writing!

   Wow, do I have a lot to put down here. Though I'm not participating in Camp Nano, I might as well have been due to the amount of writing I've gotten through. At present I've written nearly 20,000 words of the first draft of Splintered Crown, a YA fantasy about Crim, who has trained his whole life to become Heir to the throne, only to have his sister chosen over him. You can read a more detailed description of it here.

   In addition to that, I finished the first draft of my piece for Project Canvas (which is an amazing opportunities for teenage writers, by the way) and am looking forward to hearing feedback from the editing team on it. 

   And in addition to that, I cracked straight into second draft edits of Golden Revenge. I've been working on the novel for over a year now (yay!), and yesterday was especially ecstatic about it. Why? Because I finally got inspiration on how to change one of the POVs so it flowed with the rest of the story, and made sense in context to the world. After having a mental block about it for several weeks, it was great to break through!

   Here's a little snippet from one of the novel's POVs, Mida, who is a gender retelling of King Midas with the golden touch:

Mida wrapped her gloved hand around the lord’s elbow, letting him take a minute to realize that the only thing between him and death was a thin layer of magical leather. She kept the smile on her face. Maybe if she freaked him out enough, he would leave. Or die in a hole. 

Whatever came first.

    I am OBSESSED with listening to the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, particularly Evermore (so powerful and raw) and Main Title: Prologue. If you're thinking 'what on earth' to the last one, it's an instrumental song on the soundtrack that is both magical and special. Check it out. :)

    Pretty good. I'm excited to get into the editing of Golden Revenge this morning and hopefully rewrite/edit yet another chapter. It will be interesting to see whether that distracts me from my homework yet again today...

Let's chat about you! How is your writing progress going? Are you participating in Camp Nano? What's on your TBR and what's your favourite song at the moment?
Let me know in the comments, and have a fantastic day! <3

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Who Are They?

    She's the one with a thousand journals. Some are filled, words and ink and inspiration tumbling over and running into each other in creativity's chaos. Others, not so much. Their pages start off in small bursts, but then the words are smudged. Sentences half-finished, ideas abandoned.

    He's the one with a warehouse for a mind. There doesn't seem to be an end to its horizon. Thoughts are produced, packaged, and presented to him by the tens of thousands each day. Most are tucked into the back storerooms or thrown out with trash, unoriginal and unloved. But a few are kept in its blooming greenhouse and cultivated with time.

    She's the one whose fingers know the keyboard better than human flesh. Every letter's place, every hidden trick and short-cut, she knows them all. Auto-correct is her sworn nemesis, 'add to dictionary' her favourite friend. She spends hours pushing buttons painted with symbols as she weaves them into heartache and joy.

    He's the one who hides his dreams behind expectations. In the late nights he closes his door, shutting out one world and entering another. The blinding glow of a white screen is not a midnight movie, but rather a fear bound secret. His mouth says he'll go to university for one thing, yet his heart pleads for another.

    She's the girl who's never been good at anything except this. She binds herself to it, defines herself by its success, builds her identity on the title it brings. So when the hate from those she trusts comes in comments, in critiques, in crucifying her story, she crumbles. Hugs her knees to her chest and cries. Thinks she'll never be good enough.

    He's the boy who could be successful in anything, but happy in nothing. His reports ooze As and teacher's praise, and he's his parents' pride at dinner parties. But someday he's going to tell them what truly makes him feel alive, and their dreams will shatter like fine china.

    She's the girl who seeks what could have gone so wrong. As tears carve permanent grooves into her cheeks, she scours the online abyss for answers. 'Common writing mistakes' 'how to improve bad writing' and 'why am I so horrible at this' plague her search bar. Eyes devour every article as her head bobs, and she realizes where she took a wrong turn.

    He's the boy who fears mouthing the truth. He paces back and forth, wears an anxious road into the grey carpet. Cars hum to a stop in the driveway and sparkle with a wealth he wants, but doesn't need. His hand jerks open the door, breath catches in his throat, and his feet lead him to the living room.

    She's the girl who pushes back her chair, and smiles. Wipes away the tears. Folds up the hate and leaves it in a closed drawer. Cracks open the journals, pours through ink and stories and people that swept her away the first time, and allows herself to love them once more. Tries again. And again. And again, until she knows the tears mean next time it'll be better.

    He's the boy who faces those who he fears, and speaks. Their faces fall, but he keeps talking, letting his gut and heart spill out for them to embrace, or step on. He finishes. Then even as one fights showing utter disappointment, the other smiles and pulls him into a hug. It's new for them, raw for him. But he'll keep going, because he knows that with the secret out the only thing he can fear is himself.

    She, he, the one, the girl, the boy. Who are they?


Hello everyone! Thanks for joining me today with this unusual post. I had a thought in my mind last night, and when I started typing, it turned into this small two-sided story. It's not overly edited, I haven't spent hours examining every word, because I wanted to share my real thoughts and ideas with all of you. I hope you enjoyed it!

What are your thoughts on 'Who Are They?' Can you connect with any of the characters or their struggles? How is your writing going?
Let me know in the comments, and have a wonderful day! <3

Monday, 10 April 2017

First Blogiversary and a Special Q & A!

      I've been blogging for a year. How is that even possible? I'm so confused yet so excited at the same time! I wasn't sure if I would make it this far, to be honest. I've gotten into quite a few mental ruts and times of no inspiration, so I'm super proud of myself for pushing through and making it to this day. 

     I'm also incredibly thankful for all of you! Without you guys, I don't know if I would have stuck with Quill Pen Writer. So thank you for following officially or unofficially, thank you for gorgeous comments that have beyond encouraged me, thank you for sharing my posts and so much love. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you all, truly. <3

    To give something back to you all I wanted to do something special, which is why a few days ago I posted a form where you could submit questions. Many of you asked several questions, and for organisation's sake I'll be answering each separately.

    Thank you to Grace West, Rachel, Hannah White, Jeneca, Shanti, Andrea, and Cait @ Paper Fury for submitting questions!

Do you know when you will try to go into publishing?

    Traditional publishing has always been my aim, though I suspect it's a while off. The first book I'll probably be submitting to agents is Golden Revenge, as it's a stand-alone and is in the best shape at this stage. I still need to do second draft edits and send it out to beta-readers, however, so perhaps my querying process will start next year? A little unknown at this time.

What are your favourite books, movies, and TV shows?

Books -- This is sooo hard, which is why I appreciate the plural form. Presently my favourite books are Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, and Left Behind - the Kids series by Jerry B Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

Movies -- It's a dead tie between Prince of Egypt, the Huntsman: Winter's War, and the new Beauty and the Beast.

TV Shows -- Major Crimes, Dance Academy, and the Australian Masterchef take top place, though I am becoming slightly obsessed with Lost. (No spoilers, please!)

I love love love the soundtrack and film
What was your first completed novel about? (completed first draft, that is) How old were you when you started and finished it?

    My first completed first draft was called Royal Academy, based on an imaginary world I created with my long-term school friends. The world was split into different realms, primarily the Shadow and Sun Realms, who were at odds. In the story, girls are kidnapped from their Earthen homes and brought to the Royal Academy, where they enter a life or death competition to become one of two queens that rules each realm. 

    I was 13 when I started writing it, and finished it four months later at a total word count of 74,735 words. When I went back to look at the word count I was actually really surprised, as I thought it was half of that. I really do love the story, even if it had cringe-worthy romance and a main character too much like me.

    Shadows rule! (If you understood that reference, I love you)

What was the first story you ever wrote?

    Well, in kindergarten I wrote the following story: "Once upon a time there was a magic rose. The rose turned into a bus. The end." The first 'proper' story I ever wrote outside of school was, if I remember correctly, Sharissa's Story, about the best girl thief ever. The best.

What is your favourite food? Favourite drink?

    I have so many favourite foods (like chocolate) including, near the top of my list, hibachi chicken and ravioli. As for favourite drink, water is my fave (I know, I'm weird) but if that doesn't count, ma naow bun is second. It's a Thai sour and salty lemon drink with crushed ice. Yum!

Have you ever been to the US before?

    Despite my accent and having several American friends, no. Maybe someday. :)

Cats or dogs?

    Dogs. Cats can be cute, but most aren't as affectionate in my experience.

What do you say when people ask you where you come from?

    Oh my, this is always a tricky situation. Most of the time people ask if I'm American, due to my accent, but I have to correct them. To be honest I don't consider myself from anywhere other than the world. I answer by saying: "I'm an Australian citizen who's lived in Thailand for fourteen years." I have a Thai heart, international blood, and Aussie heritage.

What's the best thing about attending high school?

    I will temporarily reserve my whining about assignments to say, high school is pretty cool. The best thing is being able to connect with people while still learning. I am grateful to have an education, unlike many others who are unable right now. But I'll still complain about homework, cause, that's what I do. XD

How do you find time to read?

    Sadly I don't read as much as I should right now. I usually try and read before I have my shower or before bed in short little bursts. They eventually add up so I can finish a book.

What inspires you or motivates you to continue blogging?

    Blogging, particularly thinking of post ideas or finding time to write them, has always challenged me. Most of the time I take inspiration from my current writing experiences or problems, as it makes it feel like I'm writing something real and not something put out there for the sake of it. Reading other blogs can also help spark different ideas too.

What is one of your favourite blog posts you wrote on this blog?

    This is so hard! There are so many I love, and ones that got amazing responses from you all. But I really think writing Therapy Session helped me explore a new and interesting part of my blogging style. I'm hoping to put out more posts like it in the future.

Are you first a reader or writer?

    I developed my love of writing from reading, and I adore books, but if I only have an hour to do something in a day, I will write. So I suppose I'm firstly a writer.

Is there a less popular fairy-tale or folklore or myth you'd love to retell as a novel?

    Writing a re-telling of several Lithuanian and Latvian folk tales interests me, like Twelve Brothers, Twelve Black Ravens, where their sister is the hero, and maybe elements of the Swan Queen. What's really interesting is both of these folk tales end with the narrator suddenly revealing himself in first person, and talking about how he was there. Exploring this narrator character would be fun!

    Again, thank you for the questions and for joining me on my writing journey here on Quill Pen Writer! Now to throw a few questions at you!

What was the first novel you ever wrote about? Favourite food and favourite movies? What's your favourite blog post you've written? (link me in the comments!) Any other questions for me?
Have a fantastic day! <3

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Any Questions?

     Hey everyone! This post is going to be a bit out of the ordinary, as my first blogiversary is coming up! On the 10th I'll be doing a special Q & A, answering all your questions. They can be on anything such as my current writing projects, past ones, writing habits, personal experiences, favourite food, current reads, anything!

   Unless I get thousands of questions, I'll try my very hardest to answer all of them. Please don't think that any are stupid! I'd love to hear from each and every one of you. <3

    Below is a google form where you can enter your questions. Thank you all for all your wonderful support!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Old Story Ideas - Yay or Nay?

     Old story ideas can be worth one of two things in my experience: gold or a "what was I even thinking?" mutter. So today I'll be sharing some of my oldest ideas, tucked away in the back of dusty notebooks and folders, waiting to see the light again. In other words, hidden in my drawer. Once I've shared them I'll decide: Yay! or Nay?

     Yay! means I'd consider writing it, or write a slightly altered version of it. Nay means no thanks, it's not worth my time.

     To the ideas!

From a little red notebook beside my bed...

1) There are two choices in the world: play...or be played. -- There's some promise to the statement, but it's kind of vague, so it could be interpreted as in either the romance or dystopian genre, or anything really. So, nay, because it's more like a statement than an idea.

2) A literal place called the Tear Mines where they make people cry and sell tears as a salty additive. -- O__O Okay then. For a fantasy novel this could be a super cool addition, if a bit of a gory one. What do they do to make people cry? Who are those who cry? Who's 'they'? Definitely a Yay! for this one.

3) Now her coffin's in the ground, and the fairies don't come anymore. -- I remember this one! It was supposed to be a poem, actually, about a grandmother who taught her granddaughter that fairies were real, and then the grandmother dies wasn't a very happy premise. But it could be an interesting short story idea so yay!

From an older notebook that used to lie beside my bed...

1) Butter Apples -- I don't know what I was thinking here. Apples made of apples? Butter shaped like apples? What is the premise here??? So, nay.

2) RAZOR BLADE FANS -- I must have been very passionate about this one because I actually wrote it in all caps. I believe this had something to do with fancy balls and silk gowns and fans made of razor blades that were used as weapons? Hey, sounds like a fun time. Yay!

3) "Sometimes I think she married me not for children, but for a debate partner." -- This sounds like an adult voice to me, and I don't think I would base a plot off this quote, so this is a nay for me.

From a more recent journal from which Golden Revenge was also born...

1) She gave birth to death. -- Intriguing, confusing, and somewhat dark. It would be interesting to explore the concept; perhaps a story of the mother of a murderer or villain? Yay!

2) What if people had a limit to how much love they could give? Like they had a thermometer type thing on their chest that only they can see, and whenever they show affection/love it goes down. -- This is similar to the premises of a few short stories I've written, so I could make it work as a dystopian short story. Am I super passionate about it at the moment though? Not really: nay.

From my binder full of sticky notes stuck to pages to keep them in one place...

1) "What are you waiting for?" He asked.
I crossed my arms at the sunset, staring at the sea. "Hope." -- I LOVE THIS. There are so many takes I can have on it, yet the dialogue gives me insight on their personalities and relationship.Why is she staring at the sea? Hope for what? There are tons of opportunities here. Yay!

2) A world where everyone has a biological twin. -- Family dynamics would be different and there are a lot of 'why' questions to be asked, but I'm not jumping up and down to write this. Nay.

3) Mulan Retelling -- Wow, that is so specific (not), but it sounds cool. Yay! It would need a lot more thought, but I'd be open to writing one.

4) The flesh is powerful, yes. But the seeds...ah they are something else entirely. -- Just to clarify, it doesn't mean human flesh, but rather of the fruit. I'm pretty sure this was an idea of a story loosely based around the Forbidden Fruit and the Garden of Eden. I'd be up to exploring this, totally: yay!

5) Night Blisters: In a world where there is a toxic waste in the air that the sun kills. Those who walk out in the night get these horrible blisters. -- Again, I'm getting a dystopian feel, but the idea could work really well in setting boundaries in a world and limiting character activity. Yay!

So that brings us to the end of my old story ideas; which one was your favourite? What are some of your old story ideas that made cringe or laugh? Any that inspire you?

Let me know in the comments below and have a wonderful day! 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Questions to Ask When Creating a Fantasy Religion

    When you think about it, religions have been shaping our world's societies since the beginning of time. Religious beliefs turn into values, which then turn into laws, ways of living, giving purpose in life, and so on. So why wouldn't they shape your fantasy world?

    I've always tried to create religions in my fantasy works, simply for this reason. Often I end up with more than one, as it's natural for people to have differing beliefs and theology, even if they're all focused on a central idea; take the different branches of Christianity, for instance. 

   So how do you create a religion from scratch? Listed below are some questions I ask myself in the creating process, and hopefully they can help you out! (Since there are so many I'll only provide examples for a few of them. I don't want this to turn into a textbook!)

1) Is there a god or higher deity? If so, how many and how are they characterized?

2) How do they believe the world was created?

3) What is the most important historical event to this religion?

    In one of the religions prominent in my story-world for Splintered Crown, called the Order of the Green Winged, the very base of their religion comes from an event. When a people group were fleeing slavery, they entered foreign and dangerous lands, and were lost in dense terrain for several months. Then one day five green birds landed in their camp and when the people followed them, they found prosperous land to live on. The Order of Green Winged use this event to prove how birds contain the souls of gods, as they cared enough for the people to lead them to safety.

4) Is there a place that people of this religion gather? What does it look like? Can everyone enter?

5) Do they worship? If so, how and how often?

6) Is there a core figure within their religious society; whether supernatural or in places of gathering?

7) What symbols are associated with this religion?

8) Do members of this religion try to convert others to it? If so, through which means?

9) Is the religion tolerant of other religions?
     Referring back to the same religion as before, the Order of the Green Winged are far from tolerant of other religions. Anyone who does not revere birds and wear feathers in their hair (to symbolize their commitment to serving birds under the Order's care) is viewed as the enemy. Sometimes the more radical go as far as burning down gathering places of other religions.

10) Are there certain foods members of the religion are not allowed to eat, or clothing they must wear?

11) Does the religion mark a difference between good and evil? What do they define as good or evil? 

12) Is there a hierarchy of members?

13) Can anyone be a member of this religion, or must they be born into a member's family?

14) Are there yearly events, celebrations, or traditions that take place?

15) Are certain animals protected by this religion? What is their view on the treatment of animals and plants?

    Back with the Order of the Green Winged, birds are holy animals to them. Therefore they see killing any bird, or anything with feathers, as a sin. They will not eat bird meat, and any member seen doing this will most likely be killed in return, and if they are outside the community, publicly condemned and threatened.

16) Is there some form of scripture that records the religion's teachings? Is it written in a language understandable by everyone?

17) If you had to boil down the religion down to a single belief, what would it be?

    Whew! That's quite a lot to answer, isn't it? If my list of questions is intimidating, you can pick and choose which questions you think will play into your characters' lives and world the most. Religions are such intricate and complex things to break down, and I often struggle making them myself, but I really hope this list can help you out!

How do you create religions for your fantasy worlds? What do you think about how religions are represented in books? Do you LOVE world-building like me? 
Good luck with your writing, and have an awesome day!