Saturday, 26 November 2016

Am Currently... #5

    Welcome back to another Am Currently! November has been such a crazy month, with NaNoWriMo, moving preparation, and a build-up of tests and exams. I haven't been as productive as I would like to be, but I've managed to sneak in some reading and writing.


    I finished 'Pride and Prejudice' a few weeks ago! I absolutely loved it and I swear I was silently laughing throughout the whole thing. The humour is so great, and I have such respect for Jane Austen's writing skills now. 

    My current read is 'Riders' by Veronica Rossi. It's going pretty well, and the POV has a distinct voice which adds some excitement, as does the unconventional start of the book. I'm hoping it finishes on a high!


    Sooo...NaNo. Currently I am 20,788 words into the first draft of Safe-House, which is far behind the 50K most people have already or are going to reach. My plan for this month wasn't to reach the 50K though; it was 15K. I knew the ridiculously busy month I was going to have, and while I'm happy I reached that goal, I can't help feeling a little disappointed I haven't gotten more done. 


   I always enjoy listening to Casting Crowns, especially 'Broken Together' and 'Dream for You'. Their lyrics are beautiful. Since Christmas is approaching I've also pulled out Pentatonix's wonderful Christmas song covers again to get me into the mood.


    Very, very tired. I have a huge dance performance on Thursday, and so from Monday to Friday we had after-school rehearsals until five. This, combined with teachers deciding it would be a great time for last minute projects, was the major force that prevented me from churning out more words for NaNo. Life seems to be getting the better of me for the moment, which is why I have an announcement to make.

    I'll be shifting my blogging schedule. I want to get the best content possible out to you guys, so now I'll be aiming to blog once a week on Saturdays, which means no more Wednesday posts, until I feel like I can get the best quality ones out. Right now I'm struggling to keep up with everything.


How are you? Is life getting the better of you as well, or are you soaring? (I hope you are!) Read any amazing books I just have to read?
Thank you for all the support on my blog! Have a great week <3

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How to Choose What to Write Next

     One of my favourite writer terms is 'plot bunnies', which it used to describe new ideas. I can just picture little bunnies poking their heads out of their burrows, and instantly commanding all your attention. It's the same thing with story ideas: once they get stuck in your head, its hard to shake them off and put effort back into your WIP.

     Another thing about plot bunnies is that there are too many to count. When you've finished a project, which one do you focus on next? How do you choose?

    There are two questions I ask myself to decide.



1) Which one excites me the most?

    Whenever a plot bunny pops into my mind, it seems like the best book idea ever at the time. It'll be a bestseller! I'll become famous! Twenty-four hours later...yeah, not so much. For me, time is a big factor in determining my excitement. I've developed a system that when a plot bunny comes, I focus all my thoughts and creative energy on it for a day or two, jotting down everything that comes to mind.

    Then I leave it.

    When I'm ready for my next project, I browse through where I store my story ideas, and read through them all. Usually I won't have touched them for a month or even six, so by refreshing my mind on the concepts, I will immediately latch onto one that I'm desperate to write.



2) Can I combine these ideas?

   Sometimes answering the first question will be hard, because I might be equally excited or intrigued about several. If that's the case, I'll see if there is a possibility to combine the ideas into one large novel. Some of the ideas might be small aspects like a world-building feature, while others could be a plot.

   Here's an example. You might remember me talking about Golden Revenge a few months ago (it's currently waiting to be edited). That story was a combination of many separate ideas or concepts I wanted to write about.


Refugees + civil war + gender-bent retelling of King Midas + mercenaries = Golden Revenge

   Some of the ideas worked more naturally together, but others seemed like there was no way they could co-exist at first. But when I challenged myself to craft a story out of this mishmash, I ended up with a story I loved all the way to its heart.

How do you deal with plot bunnies? Do you take time to consider which story to write next, or do you jump straight in? 
Good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Character Karaoke Tag!

    The wonderful Ellie @ On the Other Side of Reality tagged me for the Character Karaoke Tag, which a mix of talking about music and your WIP! I always love giving characters theme songs, and since I'm in the midst of NaNo, I'll be sharing about Safe-House again. (Let's be honest here: my mind can't juggle two stories in November. It's literally impossible).

    To the tag!



What song best describes the mood of your novel?


    The lyrics fit Safe-House super well. There are dark moments where the characters feel like: 

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don't change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you're taught to cry into your pillow


    But at the end of the day:

I'm still breathing
I'm alive

    That is, except for the dead characters...

Pick a character and a song to describe them.


    Ash's optimistic perspective basically embodies this song. He has a love for thrill and adrenaline:

There's a moment
In your bones when
When the fire takes over
Blood is running
Heart is pumping
As the battle gets closer


    And he believes he can do anything:

Keeping us down is impossible
Cause we're unstoppable


One of your characters is at a karaoke night when-gasp! They've been chosen to get up and sing! What song do they choose and how do they perform it?


    Mercy would knock this out, perhaps not with the best vocals ever heard, but with a lot of aggressive passion. She would really connect to this song on a personal level from being in a past relationship with someone who was a lot of 'trouble.'

    Also, in the music video (which wouldn't let me put it in this post) several of the lines said in the beginning are very true for Mercy as well, like:

I think that the worst part of it all wasn't losing him.
It was losing me.

Go-to song for writing battle scenes?


    Though the song starts off a little slow, there is a build-up I love which rolls into an awesome explosion of music. Always great for those epic battle scenes.


   I tag...
And anyone else who wants to join in!

What kind of music do you listen to while you write (or are you a writer who likes silence?) What song defines one of your characters?
Let me know in the comments; I love hearing from you! <3

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

WIP Snippets!

   How dare life take place in November. Doesn't it know that I have NaNo writing to do?

   I guess it doesn't, because it hit me straight in the face last week. I was whisked away on a mandatory field trip for three days where I had no access to my laptop...so no writing. It was horrible. And now school has slammed a load of work on me and I have late dance rehearsals every day next week and...enough of me complaining. Simply put, I'm very behind.

   But! Being behind doesn't mean I can't share with all of you some snippets from my WIP, Safe-House. If you don't know what Safe-House is about, the simplest way of describing it is: Cluedo meets Six of Crows.

   All the snippets are unpolished due to NaNo so be warned!


   I really love this first one, said by Ash's sister Catfoot as a warning to him:
"The optimistic cat lost all nine lives jumping from the top of a five-story building because it believed it could land on its feet; the cautious cat didn't lose any because it took the stairs."
     From Mercy's POV:


 If Mercy's father was there, he'd call her into his study. They'd sit on the herringbone patterned floor, in the midst of a cloud of her cigarette smoke and his tobacco leaves, polishing daggers and sharpening blades. They'd toss about ideas for creating new weapons. Knives hidden in hairbrushes. High heels with actual spikes for support. A recipe for a metal that could pierce armour like it was nothing but air. 

But it was if Ash had found the recipe, and his masterfully crafted sword of smiles, touches, and warm words ripped straight through her chain mail. It sunk deep into her chest, piercing her heart. Blood spewed everywhere, painting her emotions with red tears. 



   I love the dialogue I get to write between Mercy and Clyde. 

A holler echoed from upstairs. "This guy keeps thinking I'm going to kill him! All he'll mutter in his sleep is 'mercy, mercy, mercy.'"

Mercy rolled her eyes. "He's calling for me, you idiot."

    Some more Mercy and Clyde banter...

Clyde watched Mercy with high eyebrows as Ash stormed off. "Nice boyfriend."

She huffed and stabbed the bottle of ink with the quill. "He's not my boyfriend."

"If he's your cousin the both of you are messed up."



    Description from Hood's perspective at night, after an invitation from Mercy to sit with her.

The two sat in silence as time ticked on to the thud of their hearts. The clatter of dishes and gurgle of water rushing out from the upstairs bathrooms to the nearby gutter mingled with the fading cheers of a distant bar. Newness, neither shiny nor gritty, drifted with the humid wind and settled on Hood's tongue. 
Mercy tipped her head up to watch the pinpricks of stars. "They remind me of my sister. Gorgeous and peaceful, but so far away."
Hood's words changed into a sweet, mellow tune with help from the voice box tucked into her collar. "Is she dead?"
"Maybe. I don't know."

How is NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you conquering it like a master or falling behind like me? Feel free to share snippets of your work in the comments too; I love hearing about your writing! <3

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

How to Write Romance (When You've Never Been in a Romantic Relationship)

   I'll be honest with you; I've never been in any kind of romantic relationship. No kisses either, or hand holding on the beach, or passionate hugs, etc. (unless you count a skit of Sleeping Beauty where I got kissed on the cheek in Pre-School). I have no problem with this, but it has presented one particular challenge when it comes to writing.

   ...I write romance.


   My books aren't necessarily based on one romantic relationship, but each one has speckles of romance in it. So when I heard the advice "Write what you know" I sort of panicked. How could I write romance when I hadn't experienced it personally?

   If you're in a similar situation to me, don't worry. Think about it like this: Are you a fantasy writer? If yes, if you were following that tip, you wouldn't write about magic or well...anything at all really, would you? The point of that advice is to write about human emotions.

   Here are a few tips on how to write romance when you've never been in a romantic relationship yourself:

1) Read a LOT

   The majority of writers that write romance novels, or novels with romance, have dated, married, kissed, and so on. These experiences reflect in their writing--experiences that you can pick up on. The more you read, the more you can get a general knowledge of what a kiss is like, the pitfalls and highs of dating, and every aspect. It will also show what readers expect for how a couple develops over a story.

  BUT you need to remember that in stories romances can often be dramatized, which leads me to the next point...



2) Observe

   Some of my closest friends in real life have dated, and those relationships were far from easy. I've also seen multiple love triangles exist and complicate things. People all around you might be romantically involved, so talk with them. Ask them questions about how they were feeling at times like their first kiss (I've done this) or be there for them in hard times. This will build up your understanding of romance. Just make sure to be a friend first, and a writer second!

3) Write it as a Friendship

   In my opinion, a romantic relationship is a friendship taken to a more intimate level. You (hopefully) have friends, and so you know what friendship is. Why can't it start as that for your characters? I always try to make sure my potential couple could be friends and only that, before I plan all their romantic scenes. If they can be friends, then in my mind I believe that they could travel to the next level: a romantic relationship.



   Thank you for joining me for today's post! I hope this helped you with your writing. 

   A small announcement: I won't be able to post on Saturday due to a filming field trip where there won't be any internet, and my replies might be delayed. Thanks for understanding, and have a great week!


Do you struggle to write romance, or are you a pro at it? Have any of your characters ever surprised you with who they liked? What is your favourite book romance?

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Beautiful Books: Safe-House Update

    If I was a coffee drinker, I would be cradling some to my chest right now. But I'm not, and so I'm sipping water and pretending I'm awake enough to write right now. Why am I so tired? 

   NaNoWriMo. I think we should rename it "30 Days of Exhaustion".

   I'm (trying to) write the first draft of Safe-House during NaNo, and will be linking up with Beautiful Books today to provide you all with an update. If you'd like to read last month's Beautiful Books explaining Safe-House, click here. As always, the link-up is hosted by bookdragon Cait @ Paper Fury and Skye @ Further Up and Further In.

   To the questions!


1) What is your overall mental state, and how is your novel going?
   
   I feel kind of drained, because I usually work at a much slower pace, but Safe-House is actually going along great! I love writing the first few chapters because when I describe characters I come up with all these future plot twists and get to add foreshadowing.

2) What's your first sentence (or paragraph)?

   It's a single line of dialogue, said by Hood:

"Someone's trying to kill me."

3) Who's your current favourite character in your novel?

   ASH. He's pretty much the opposite of me and though it can be hard not to write his optimistic thoughts as ridiculously cheesy, I love him. He has such devotion to his sister and Mercy; he stays loyal to them when no one else does. 


4) What do you love about your novel so far?

   Honestly, I'm really enjoying all the elements of my own culture that I can build into the world. Sometimes I struggle when my worlds are based on more Western countries, and with this novel's South-East Asian culture and food with touches of Australia, I've forged a special connection with it.

   And the sass. There is so much sass.

5) Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

   Sorry, not really. I write so slowly I always notice in a few seconds and go back to fix it.

6) What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end -- and why?

   EVERYTHING. I'm going to detour from the question a little (look at me, such a rebel) because for me it's not about where I am in the book plot-wise, but where the characters are. I love writing the parts when I can pick apart my characters' brains to find what they're feeling and string it out over a scene.

A lot of Safe-House's scenes take place behind doors...doors they should probably think about locking

7) What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best?  

   I always have a glass of water nearby, but no hot drinks or snacks. For me eating is distracting. I do listen to music though--whatever songs catch my fancy at the moment. Afternoons and evenings are my best writing times, because I'm not a morning or night person. I'm an Afternoon Person.

8) How private are you about your novel when you're writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone?

    Oh, so private. I'm not even sure if my family knows I'm doing NaNo this year. Most likely this secrecy happened because I was slightly alarmed with my lack of plot...


9) What keeps you writing even when it's hard?

   Sheer determination, and a love for the story. I feel like I owe it to the story and the characters to finish telling it, and dropping it half-way seems like a betrayal of sorts.

10) What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

   - Don't be afraid of getting pulled in a different direction by your characters

   - Remember that for each action scene, there should be a reaction scene. (In other words don't go from one giant fight to another without showing the readers how the characters are feeling in between)

  - First drafts don't need to be perfect, so just WRITE   

How is your novel coming along? Do you have any amazing pieces of writing advice? Were there any typos that made you laugh because they were so absurd? 
Let me know in the comments, and good luck writing! <3

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A Little NaNo Inspiration

    NaNo is upon us! Whether you are ahead, on track, or behind your word count, you're amazing. Seriously. NaNo is not about the winning, but about the participating and trying. Do I think I'm going to win this year? Probably not. Do I mind? Not really, because as long as I try my hardest, I consider myself a winner.

   Here's a few quotes that I love that will (hopefully) inspire you to keep going! (All of them were found via Pinterest)






Which quote is your favourite? How is NaNo going for you? How do you keep inspired through November?