Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Let's Talk Editing: Setting

    Editing is not exactly my best friend. I absolutely adore first drafting and the freedom that comes with it, which is probably why most of my stories seem to lose my attention at the end; I jump straight to the first draft of the next idea.

   I'm at the beginning of draft 4 of Draped in Deception, and can I just tell you, I'm terrified. 



   It's not only the sheer amount I'm rewriting (between half and a third of the book) but all the details I need to refine, and new scenes to incorporate. In today's post and upcoming ones I'm going to be chatting about what I'm currently focusing on in my edits.

   Today's topic is, (that's right, you guessed it from the title):

Setting

   Draped in Deception takes place in Laceria, the capital of an empire. Laceria nestles against a roaring river that flows into the bitter Eastern Sea, surrounded on all other sides by steep cliffs. The city is a mix of old and new with ancient ruins dotting it, and new coal lamps line the cobblestone roads. In the time frame of the story, dead winter has hit. Snowstorms, icy rain, sleet; all of it are plaguing my characters.

   But guess how many times the cold is mentioned?

   About four times in fifty chapters...not nearly enough.



   That's not to say that every chapter should be slathered in description of how frigid my MC's nose is, but setting plays a vital role in stories. There are so many opportunities to not only suggest what the weather is like, but to use it; incorporate it to your advantage.

   In Draped in Deception, there are a tons of fights out on the streets. What if my MC or the antagonists slip on an ice patch mid battle, giving their opposition the upper hand? What if the icy rain limits the characters' vision and they lose sight during a chase scene? 



You can also use setting to:

  • Set mood and tone
  • Reflect your characters' feelings
  • Show the characters' wealth/economic standing
  • Cause obstacles and conflict
  • And waayyy more that can fit on this list
   Honestly, there are so many possibilities with settings. So in this round of edits I'm going to be trying to use Laceria's setting to my full advantage, from its rich heritage to the troublesome weather.


Do you like to develop your setting or do you hope it will sneak in by itself? What's your favourite setting ever from a book? 
Good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Wisteria Writer Tag

   It's time for another tag! The amazing Ellie brought the Wisteria Writer Tag to my attention today in her post, and she tagged everyone who wanted to do it. So here I am; thanks Ellie!

   For the sake of length and so I don't go on very long rambles of my love of writing, I decided to do five of Sunset's questions, and five of Vivian's


Sunset's Questions:

1) What one thing do you struggle to write the most?

    For some reason, it always takes me awhile to nail my dialogue. I'm more comfortable writing description and internal dialogue. 

2) Favourite character(s) from your current WIP?

   Ahhh this is so hard. Now that I'm back to editing Draped in Deception, that's my current WIP. (I'm seriously having a hard time choosing) Okay, okay, I'll choose: Adam. I love his layered personality, and I'll just leave one of his quotes below:


3) Why exactly did you begin writing?

   Because all these stories were threatening to burst out of my skin and run rampant if I didn't record them. 

4) First, second, or third person narrative?

   A couple of years back I would only write first person, but recently I've been drifting more to third person. That's mainly because I have several POVs in my WIPs, so it's easier to transition between them.

5) What genre do you prefer to write about?

   Fantasy is my first love, but I also like to dabble in dystopian and science fiction on occasion. 


Vivian's Questions:

1) Where do you like to write?

   On the dining room table. I have seized a small corner of it, and next to me I have binders full of notes and writing books stacked up.

2) Where do you get your writing inspiration?

   This post sums it up pretty well!

3) Have you done NaNoWriMo?

   Yup, I've participated two years in a row now (and I'm proud to say I won both times). It's definitely a challenge that pushes me, and I love it. I hope to do it this year as well if schoolwork allows.

4) Do you listen to music when you write? What music?

  I struggle to focus if I don't listen to music. I just listen to whatever songs I love at the moment, from pop to rap to instrumental.


5) Do you have a writing buddy or group you share your progress with, or do you work alone?

  I'm in numerous writing groups such as Go Teen Writers, and my lovely writing buddy Grace and I chat a lot about our WIPs. I have such a great web of support.

  If you'd love to do this wonderful tag, feel free to do it! I am officially tagging EVERYONE. That's right, you!

   What's your favourite genre to write? Do you have a particular spot where you do most of your writing? Also, how are your WIPs coming along? 
Let me know in the comments, and have an amazing day! <3

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

How Do Writers Get Their Voice?

    If you've ever haunted a few writing blogs, a term that's thrown around a lot is 'voice.' This could be a the voice of a character, or the voice of the author. I used to struggle to distinguish between the two, and while I'm definitely no expert on the subject, I've been thinking about one question quite a bit recently.

    (Quick side note: the wonderful Laura sparked the idea of this post when she got me thinking about whether readers are born or made. Be sure to check her blog out!)


How do writers get their voice? 

   Loads of blog posts and articles are very helpful on helping you tell the difference between the voice of your characters and your own. (An author's voice is usually defined as the author's individual writing style; a combination of character development, the use of syntax, characters, dialogue, etc.)

   But where does voice come from? Does it arrive in a magical parcel in your mailbox, polished and perfect the moment you crack it open? (I wish) 

   I've compiled a bunch of ideas on what the mysterious origins of a writer's voice might be, so let's get to it!


Idea One: 'You are what you read'

   I've noticed that when I read books in a particular genre, I tend to get story ideas almost exclusively in that genre. Similarly, if I'm in the midst of reading a humorous book, joking dialogue slips into my WIPs. So do the books we're reading or have read determine our voice? If we only read a certain style of writing (e.g. lengthy description) do we adapt that style for own voice?


Idea Two: 'Born to write'

   Maybe writers have their voice ingrained in their DNA. Then it would directly reflect their personality, their sense of humour, their tone, everything. In this idea a writer already has their certain style (think of it like how a singer is born with a, well...voice). So is voice something that changes and adapts, or will it be the same no matter what?


Idea Three: 'Life shapes all'

   This idea is a combination of the previous two with a bit more added on. Perhaps a writer's voice is influenced by three things: what they read, personality, and life. I know life is a huge topic, but events in a person's life, what kind of difficulties the writer is exposed to, all of those can influence a writer's tone and style. Maybe there isn't a fixed origin of voice, but it's instead crafted by the stories and experiences of the writer.


So what do you think? Do you think it's a combination of everything, or is there only one source? Are you able to describe your voice? (I'd love to know I'm not the only one who struggles to do that) 
Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you! <3


Saturday, 17 September 2016

Am Currently... #3

   Hi everyone, and welcome back to another Am Currently! Here I share my current reads, life and writing updates, and what kind of music I'm listening to. 



   I don't usually read Middle Grade books, but I saw "The Iron Trial" in the bookstore with Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's names on it, and I had to pick it up. (Not to mention leaving a bookstore without a new book in hand is nearly impossible). So far I'm thoroughly enjoying it. 




   I honestly can't wait until 'Empire of Storms' arrives in my local bookstore. I'm dyyiinngg from the waiting. I just want to gobble it up right now. 



   This month has been a crazy writing month. I was part of a 100-for-100 writing challenge, where you have to write at least 100 words for 100 days, and I managed to write way more than I expected! My total was 92,012 words (for me that's really big because I'm usually a super slow writer).
   

   I also did some prep for the WeWriteBooks contest over at Go Teen Writers. My synopsis for Golden Revenge ended up being seven pages...five over the limit. So I spent hours trying to simplify the synopsis, which was sooo hard. I love details, and to have to cut out minor subplots hurt my soul a bit. I also rewrote my first 3,000 words of the story for the contest. (Only to realize I made a mistake the moment after I submitted it!)

  Apart from all that, I'm trying to gather my courage to stop dawdling over planning the gigantic change to Draped in Deception and just plunge into the rewrite. Wish me luck!



   Recently I've been listening to my favourite rapper, NF, a lot. I love how his (clean) raps are about what he's experiencing in life, and his lyrical skills are absolutely amazing. Definitely check him out!



   A jumble of all different kinds of emotions. School has been pretty stressful of late (when is it ever not?) with lots of assignments taking up my time. But I'm about to go celebrate a friend's birthday, so that should be loads of fun. Hopefully that will relax me!


Let's chat about you! How has your day been? What are you currently reading/writing? Any amazing songs I totally need to listen to? 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Beautiful People: September Edition

    I'm trying to think of a word that conveys how excited I am about doing Beautiful People this month, but my brain isn't properly functioning at the moment, so here's one for you: YAY!!! I absolutely love doing these, in case you couldn't tell.

   This link-up is designed to help you know your characters better, and is hosted by the lovely Cait @ Paper Fury and Skye @ Further Up and Further In


   So this month I'm going to be asking the questions to a character from my WIP Safe-House: Clyde. I'll be writing Safe-House in NaNoWriMo, and here's a quick blurb for you if you don't know what it's about.

The Safe-House.

Criminals from all over the city seek shelter behind its walls when their lives are in danger. The Criminal Guilds' laws demand that no murder take place in the Safe-House, a rule that most follow grudgingly--or die. When weapons expert Mercy falls out with her Guild and takes a job at the Safe-House, she never expects to wake up to multiple murders.

Everyone is a suspect; the sassy cook quick with poison, the mysterious Hood who changes faces every day...even Mercy's own boyfriend.

In the Safe-House, safety is just an empty promise.
   


  To the questions!

1) How did you come up with this character?

   Clyde is the sassy cook quick with poison in the above blurb. I suppose I wanted a) a sassy character b) a character who has a strong contradiction (in this case he loves food but also loves poison) and c) Clyde is the kind of character who forces their way into your story. He's a stubborn one.

2) Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast?

   Many times. Clyde broke he, his sister, and a bunch of other kids out of a drug factory. They were used to test the power and effects of different dosages. Shortly after their escape they had nowhere to go, so they went hungry for days. The fast was broken with nothing more than what they could find abandoned at the back of restaurants, or what they could steal. 



3) Do they have a talent or skill that they're proud of?

   Clyde is immensely proud of his cooking skills, and his specialty is cinnamon rolls. He makes them not too sweet, but just sweet enough to make your mouth drool.  

4) List three things that would make them lose their temper.

#1: People that insult his food. He worked hard on that dish, putting sweat and tears and probably other people's blood and HOW DARE YOU SAY IT'S TOO SWEET. There is no such thing. 
#2: Anyone who's serious all the time.
#3: People that mess around with his poison bottles. He arranges them by both colour and deadliness, and is very protective of this order.

5) What is their favourite type of weather? Least favourite?

   Clyde + summer = very moody Clyde. Clyde + winter = Clyde with an excuse to eat cookies while they're still warm and drink lots of hot chocolate without burning his throat.



6) What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality?

   He's an ESTP, I believe. Unless he decides to change his personality halfway through NaNoWriMo.

7) Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future?

   Clyde doesn't like to think about the future, in case he realizes it'll be horrible, and focuses more on what needs his immediate attention.

8) What is their favourite thing to drink?

   Hot chocolate, because he can add lots of cream.



9) What is their favourite colour? Least favourite?

   Favourite -- red, because it's so bright and stands out. Least favourite -- white, because it reminds him of the colour of drugs they used to force on him.

10) What is a book that changed their life?

   The only books Clyde reads are cookbooks, but his ultimate favourite is "To Sweet or Not to Sweet? A Volume on How to Kill With Sugar". He may or may not have added on the last part.


What's a book that changed your life? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? And if you've done Beautiful People, feel free to link in the comments so I can check them out! <3 

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Four Places I Draw Inspiration From

   Inspiration is one of those things that is impossible to control. It pops into your life with no warning, but can't be forced to come to you. Despite that, I always get super excited when inspiration hits me on the head and says: "Hey, over here!"

   Sometimes it's hard to pin-point exactly where story ideas develop from, but I've identified four places that never fail me.


1) What if?

    I'm the type of person that gets lost in thought or daydreams very easily. I might be in math class or in the car, for example, and when my brain thinks of an interesting topic or my eyes wander around, boom. I'm gone, lost in the depths of my imagination. 

    What if that man walking down the street was actually a bomber walking away from an explosion he just set, and the timer is ticking down? What if that teen actually didn't run away but was kidnapped? What if *insert mythical creature here* existed in the modern world?

    Even if I never end up writing any of the 'what if?s' into a story, every now and then one jumps out, and I know I can develop it into something amazing.

Not that I do this while daydreaming, but I've thought about it
2) Real Life

    When I say real life, I don't just mean what's happening in my own life. I draw inspiration from situations people are actually experiencing everywhere in the world. For example, more than half of my characters in my manuscript Golden Revenge are refugees. There are so many refugees in the world right now, and through my story I hope to let people know the problems and fears they go through. I hope I do all of them justice with my words.


3) Art

   Art doesn't just apply to painting, or sculptures, or drawing. Art, to me, is anything that tells a story, whether it be music, writing, or dance. So many song lyrics spark ideas in my brain and I can build off them and create my own story. Other books apply to this section too. 

   While you should never copy someone else's ideas, think of fairy-tales. There are dozens of fairy-tale retellings out there, and each of them have their own spin on a traditional story.


4) Nature

    Our world is stunning. Looking at scenic photographs of far off places often inspire settings in my fantasy worlds, and learning about all the different kinds of wildlife is prefect for creating fantastical creatures. The world is so vast, it's practically impossible to not be inspired by it, no matter what genre you write.


Where do you draw your inspiration from? Do you share any of my places, or do you have others? Are you a daydreamer? Let me know in the comments, and I hope you have a day full of inspiration! <3

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Purposeful Pages: September Edition

     Hello everyone! It feels like ages since I've blogged, for as you might have noticed, a post didn't go up on Saturday. I'm super sorry about that, but I was really sick and am currently recovering. Anyway, I'm joining the Purposeful Pages Link-Up for the first time today (yay!), so let's get straight into it!

     Purposeful Pages is a monthly link-up designed to unite bloggers on answering questions about life, blogging, the Bible, writing and books. Hannah and Amanda are its wonderful hosts.

     To the questions!



1) How have you been growing spiritually this month? What has God been teaching you?

     I've been going through a lot of internal struggles over these past few months, which is always tough. But it has made me try and strive for a deeper and more personal relationship with God. Throughout it all he's been telling me that I can trust him.

2) When you're under stress, what actions do you take that help calm you and keep you sane?

     Music always helps, as well as some alone time watching Youtube/TV shows/reading. Praying and writing keep me sane.


3) Who are some people that inspire you, and in what ways do they do that?

     Instead of specific people, I'm going to go ahead and talk about a group of people; those who stand up for others. Whether it be through words, or art, or actions, these brave people never fail to inspire me with their strength and passion.

4) Have you learned any tricks this past month that have helped you in your blogging journey?

     Oh, you mean like not writing the post the day before it's supposed to go up, or on that day? (This may or may not be happening while I'm writing this) I swear I will try to write posts ahead of time in the future, as this seems to make my life less rushed.


5) What is it about a book that makes you keep on reading? If you're a writer, how can you incorporate that into your own books?

     I have to be sold on the characters and an intriguing premise in order to be hooked by a story. Hopefully I can achieve these things in my own stories through developing my own characters (read: I need to do this more).

6) What's a book cover that describes your life right now, and why?

     Because everything is going on at the moment:


7) Do you have a song in mind that you'd consider your current theme song?

     I mean, if there was a song called: "I'm so tirrreeeddd" I think it would play every time I woke up. Me + mornings = not good friends

8) If you're a writer, how do you see yourself incorporated (most of the time unknowingly) inside your story?

     Most of the characters have my humour, and a lot of the problems they deal with mirror my own. This is especially true in a recent novel of mine, Golden Revenge, where the core of Mida's conflict is almost identical to one I'm currently experiencing.

No, I don't have the touch of gold; I'm talking about her internal conflict
9) How have you seen aspects of God's character through other people recently?

     The leaders at my youth group are a true blessing. They encourage me every week, and never fail to listen to my struggles and pray for me.

10) How long, on average, does it take you to put together a blog post? Are you the morning person working at 5am, the afternoon blogger, or the night owl up until midnight trying to throw things together?

     It usually takes me around an hour, maybe slightly longer if I need to create a graphic. I'm the evening blogger, who frantically types before the exhaustion of the day threatens to close my eyes.

Do you have any theme songs that match your life right now? Does your writing ever reflect problems you're experiencing? Let me know in the comments, and remember you're all amazing! <3