Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!!! / Hiatus

     Hi everyone! It'll be a quick post today, because of the crazy busy season it is. I hope you're having a wonderful break or holidays, and will keep having it through Christmas and New Years'! It's been an amazing year on this blog, and I can't thank you all enough for all your support. I love all of you, seriously.


   I'm at a very big transition phase in my life. In case you're not aware, in mid January I will be moving from Thailand (after 14 great years living here) to Australia, which is where I was born. I'm a mix of terrified, excited, dreading it, looking forward to it, and grieving my leave. For this reason I'll be going on a hiatus until the beginning of February, so I can focus on myself and my family.

   Merry Christmas, and see you soon!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Let's Talk Editing: Is Your First Draft Totally Useless?

     The Let's Talk Editing series is back! I realized it'd been ages since I'd written a post for Let's Talk Editing, and with me slowing sinking back into edits for Draped in Deception, we've ended up with the next installment! If you're interested in the other posts on setting and first chapters, you can click here and here

     Today's topic, and something I've been thinking about a lot recently, is, is a first draft totally useless?



     When writers mention the words 'first' and 'draft' together, you will definitely get some screwed up faces and winces. First drafts are imperfect, gaping with plot holes, and the POV's voices run together into an indistinguishable mess. NO ONE sees the first draft except the writer. 

     The purpose of editing is to fill those holes, clarify characters, and polish the thing till its shine is blinding, right? So once you've moved past cleaning up the first draft, and you're on your third or fifteenth draft, why should you ever return to it?

     Well, you should.

     And here's why: if your final draft is a cut, polished, and sparkling diamond, then that makes your first draft a gem hidden behind rocks and blemishes. You must have seen something in it to take the time and effort to transform a hunk of mineral into a glimmering necklace.


     A few weeks ago I was squinting at my computer screen which held an attempt at planning my massive rewrites of Draped in Deception. I was majorly stuck on how I was going to show a character's change now that the main instigator of it was cut out (as a result of me scrapping the ending third of my novel). As my mind often does, it started to wander down its little creative path while I went off to do some unfortunate life responsibility.

    Then: Aha! My mind brought up a key world-building element I had all but forgotten in the second draft, but in my first draft, it was a huge part of showing my characters' a different side to their world. Now, I know this sounds sort of vague, but I can't go around letting you know all the spoilers can I?

    What I'm trying to get at here is that don't forget about your first draft the deeper you delve into editing. Remember that the first draft is raw, and honest, and true to themes that poured from your heart. It has both good and bad elements. When you return to it ignore the plot holes and look to its core. You wouldn't forget about the diamond underneath all the grit when you were polishing it, would you?

    So when you're stuck in your edits, go back, and take inspiration from the rough gem it is, because no, your first draft is not totally useless. It may need a little or a lot of work, but it is beautiful, because it's raw, and because you wrote it.
   


Have you ever returned to your first draft for inspiration? Do your edits stick close to your first drafts or do you go waaay away from them? How's your writing going?
Let me know in the comments, and have a wonderful day! <3

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Character Guest Post: Isla

      Greetings everyone. I'm Isla, and it really is so wonderful to meet you. *offers a cup of ginger tea* I'm so glad we could sit down and chat today. How are you?

      Once again, I'm going to interrupt our lovely guest speaker here today. This is Melissa speaking in italics, by the way. Today Isla from Safe-House will be answering a few questions about her personality, job, family, etc. I did a previous post with a similar format with Mercy if you'd like to check it out, and here's some background on Safe-House.

     Okay Isla, are you ready?

    Of course!



1) What is your role in the Safe-House?
     
      I'm the maid, or overall helper, though technically I'm not paid, as I'm an indentured servant.

2) How did you become an indentured servant?

     I lived with my uncle growing up, and he was big on gambling. From betting on knuckle-bones, to card games, to how many days it would rain that month. He was a good man at heart, really; he took me in after my parents caught a deadly disease that swept the city, but he didn't know when to stop betting. He got in some deep debts with those in the Rat Guild, and when he couldn't pay them he...well, he sold me, to put it quite simply.

     The Rat Guild takes criminal activity that one step across the line. While the Desirable Goods Guild sells drugs, and illegal goods, the Rat Guild deals in people. Selling people. Because they bought me for such a high price, it took several months to find someone who would double that price to buy me. But Zelma--she's the founder and headmistress of the Safe-House--paid it, so now I work for her. The pay I would receive every month if I was a regular servant is instead crossed off of the debt I now owe to Zelma.


Symbol of the Rat Guild
3) Three quick facts about you?

     #1: I believe strongly that if you do good for others, then good will come onto you, whether in this life or the next ones.

     #2: Ginger tea is my absolute favourite drink of all time

     #3: I'll take harmony over intrigue any day

4) What's your greatest fear?

     I guess...that I won't be able to fix things. That conflict will just keep happening, continuously getting worse, and that I won't have a positive impact on any of it--and everyone will hate me because of it. That would be a nightmare.



5) Any passions?

    Creating things gives me a lot of joy. I love to be able to take what other people might discard and recreate it into something beautiful. Everything deserves a second chance.

6) If you could leave the Safe-House a free woman, what would you do?

    Wow, that's difficult. I suppose I've always been thinking about how long it will be until I've paid my debts, not what comes after. I'd like to leave Low End, where all the Guilds are based and hope seems forgotten, and get some sort of creative job if I can. Nothing feels as good as creating, you know?

    I do indeed Isla. Thanks for joining us!


How is your WIP coming along? Are you editing or drafting right now? Any suggestions for which character I should have guest post next?
Let us know in the comments, and good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 3 December 2016

What My Stories Have Taught Me

      When I think of the word 'writer' a thousand different images pop into my mind. Someone typing in an aesthetically pleasing coffee shop, a person griping about characters while eating chocolate, frantic typing as someone wears a NaNoWriMo shirt and pretends they've slept, and on and on. But another picture that comes into my mind is of a person sitting down at a desk, carefully arranging a story to share their life experiences and what they've learned from them.

     I'd like to say I'm always the last image, but that's not true. I reflect some of my life experiences in my writing, of course, but it's never been just about me teaching my characters; they've taught me.

     Here are just a few things out of many that my stories and characters have taught me:



1) It's okay to feel like you're a contradiction

    In my first draft of Draped in Deception, there is a scene where Lissaer shares all her contradictions, such as being a warrior who never wants to kill, and how alienated she feels because of them. Her physician friend Adam, who's with her, says, "When I was working in the labs, they had us experimenting with these two dull looking chemicals. The only thing they had in common was how completely different their properties were. When we mixed the chemicals together, they exploded. Not in flames, but in colour. They were a rainbow in a test tube. It's ok to mix opposites, Lissaer: you get something beautiful."

   Maybe it isn't the most remarkable piece of dialogue, but the conversation struck me hard. I was going through a time where I was insecure about certain aspects of my personality, and this story helped me through it.



2) Standing up for something you believe in doesn't always mean starting a war

    I can't say too much about this one because of spoilers, but this has to do with Safe-House. In it is a character called Clyde, who battles with drug addiction, and how he is being controlled by others because of it. Clyde is so brave even after all he's been through, and it's so inspiring. Violence isn't always the best route; being non-violent can be an even stronger protest.



3) Patience and endurance

   I'll be the first to admit I am far from a patient person. I get irritated when things aren't done quickly and sigh a lot when someone else is late. So it surprised me when I wrote my first novel how long it took--and how willing I was to stick with it for such a long period of time. Throughout my years seriously writing I've learnt to accept that some things will take awhile, and that's okay. As long as I keep working at it, keep going, it will be worth it in the end.



What have your stories taught you? Did you expect finishing a book to take so long when your first started writing? What's your WIP about?
Let me know in the comments and good luck with your writing! <3