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...

    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

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  1. Aaah! Melissa! These are awesome! I am blown away by how many people are getting tagged, and all this YA-loving conversation :) It's incredible!

    I LOVE the premise and world of Birthmarked too! That's so neat, because I don't hear it talked about very often. It's so interesting for me to hear everyone's responses to these questions. Everyone is different and everyone has unique favorites. It's just amazing!

    Thank you for participating! If any of your tagged writer friends do this, would you tag me on Twitter @CaitlinALambert so I can read their answers? I know that the more this ripple effect spread out, and the more people who do the tag, I won't be able to see every post. But still... I'd love to try ;)

    Thanks again (and I'm sharing your post now!)! I'm so glad we connected. I have another writer friend (and another blog to follow)!

    ~Caitlin @ Quills & Coffee

    1. Awww thank you Caitlin! I hope that everyone I tagged will love the tag as much as I did!

      Yesss Birthmarked is amazing! My sister discovered the series, passed it on, and I fell in love with it. For some reason I don't hear the books talked about on the internet a lot either, which is really sad as they're so wonderful and unique! :D

      Absolutely, I will tag you on twitter when they get their posts up so we can spread the word. :D That's so lovely of you to want to read everyone's posts! I'm also super glad we connected and happy to have another writer friend! <3 Thanks so much for commenting Caitlin!

  2. Melissa your answers are so amazing, I love them! And I also love that Maas quote - so powerful.
    Love that writing advice you shared. It's so powerful and so true :)

    1. Thanks Amy! I'm so happy you liked my answers and the writing advice. If we remember how important our voices are, I'm sure that we'll be able to overcome a lot of obstacles that come our way. Yes, I love the quote for that reason! Thanks so much for commenting!

  3. I've been writing ever since I was 10? 11? It would be better if I were more consistent, though.

    For me, I also need a glass of water to write. Sometimes some music if I need to rewrite.

    1. That's great! Consistency can definitely improve your writing, but sticking with it is super important too. :D Yep, water and some music are key! Thank you for commenting Grace! :)

  4. This was a great post, Melissa! As usual, I loved reading your answers <3

    Same on the glass of water! Although if it's in the morning, I bring my orange juice from breakfast to my computer.

    Thank you for pointing out YA is an age range! It's one of the peeves I have, when people say YA is a genre, haha.

    I've been writing 'seriously' since around 2015. It's impressive you've kept at this writing business for four years now! I'm sure your writing has vastly improved and I can't wait to see you as a writer grow as well. :)

    - Andrea at A Surge of Thunder

    1. Aww thank you Andrea! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading my answers. <3 Haha, I usually bring my breakfast to the computer too to get a head start on my writing!

      Yup, YA is an age range with MULTIPLE genres within it. XD It can be pretty annoying when a book is classified just as YA but has no genres tag.

      Thank you! My writing has improved heaps, even month by month, over these four years and I've loved (almost) every minute of it. I can't wait to see you grow as a writer too! <3 Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. Oh I could totally see Illuminae being an epic movie! I wonder who they'd make it special though with all the transcripts and pictures being like it's THING?!? Either way, I hope it actually goes ahead because #want. 😂😂

    I love love looooved your writing advice there. That is so true! I know a lot of the time we writers get caught up in the fear that all the stories have been told, and ya maybe...but not OUR stories and not the way WE want to tell them!! <3 Writing is truly the best. :')

    1. Yeah, it would be a big challenge for the producers and director! I would be very interested to see who the mysterious video transcriber is though, considering all the sass in their voice. XD

      Thanks Cait! That's exactly right! People claim that there are no more original ideas (which I don't exactly agree with) but the way we tell our stories is just as important as how someone else does. Writing is amazing. <3 Thanks so much for commenting!

  6. I just LOVE your picture of the 'scrapbooking world-building'! That is sooooo creative and awesome! My notebooks look like ants walked through ink on them. It must be so inspirational to look at your pretty notes. Hmmm. Food for thought.

    1. Thanks so much AJ! I really love scrap-book worldbuilding because it allows me to think about characters and my world for long periods of time while drawing. I'm sure your notebooks are great! Feel free to try my method though. :D Thank you for commenting! :)

  7. I love your answers! I think Caitlin really started something with this tag ;)

    And that quote... *happy shivers* It's so beautiful! I really need to go read some of these books! I feel like I'm still catches up on the releases of the past two years xD

    audrey caylin

    1. Thanks Audrey! Yes, Caitlin did a great job creating it. XD

      It's a beautiful and inspiring quote! I suppose that's the reason it's always stuck in my head. Haha no worries, I always feel like that; so many books come out each year! Thanks so much for commenting Audrey! :)

  8. Aw thank you for tagging me! Red Queen was so good! I just finished it. :D I'm officially a fan! Great to know more about you as a writer!


    1. No problem; I look forward to hearing your answers! Yes, I loved Red Queen, especially the plot twist. XD Thanks so much for commenting Victoria! <3

  9. wonderful read!
    thanks for sharing! :)

  10. This looks so fun! Thanks for tagging me! :)
    I used to be a total pantser too, but I've gradually began to embrace the ways of the planner! Mostly because my stories would just end up being such a mess I would end up giving up on them :)
    And A Court of Wings and Ruin is one of my most anticipated books too...I'm currently part way through it and so far it's AMAZING! I hope you enjoy it too :)

    1. You're very welcome! I look forward to reading your answers! XD
      Haha sounds like my old style of pantsing. But yes, it got so stressful for me too that I began to switch over. :) I've yet to start a Court of Wings and Ruin, but I really hope I can soon! Thanks so much for commenting Laura! :D