Saturday, 24 June 2017

Am Currently... #9

     Hi everyone! It's been some time since I've done one of these posts, and since so much has happened in the last two months, I thought I'd give you allll the updates!

     The last few weeks have been crammed with assignments and exams (Australian schools' winter holidays begin in July) so I didn't have as much time as I would have liked for reading and writing, but as always, I found a way to squeeze them in. Now, as for what I'm reading...



    For English we were assigned The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood to read, and I really enjoyed it! Some parts made me feel a little bit uncomfortable, but as my teacher said, we're reading very controversial texts this year, so I expected certain scenes and was able to skim/skip them. The book discusses some very interesting points, and if you're a mature reader, I think there's lot to be learned from the writing style!

    As for pleasure reading, I'm about a third of the way into A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. I don't think it will be my favourite book, but the world-building really intrigues me and I feel there are incoming plot twists that will blow my mind...



    On the writing front, most of my focus has been on second draft revisions/editing of Golden Revenge. To sum up the project: "A refugee's quest for revenge collides with a cursed golden princess's desire for freedom." I'm nearing the end of rewrites, and have been sending earlier chapters to my wonderful critique partner (*hugs if you're reading this*)! They've been incredibly helpful, and I know the direction I'll need to take in the next draft thanks to them!

    Apart from Golden Revenge, I had to write a short story for my Extension English course, which both thrilled and terrified me. Thrilled, because, you know, writing! But it terrified me because it was supposed to be around 1500 words. For me that's incredibly short, so I really had to work on nailing down key points and characters.

   It ended up being around 2000 words, but I was still able to write it in the time limit! I titled the dystopian short story BRAXEN76. I based it off the ancient law "an eye for a eye", except in this society it's taken a step further to "a life for a life." Here's a short snippet:


It was a moment, maybe two, before the judge spoke next, Steele’s metal side knew it. But her meaty heart didn’t. It squeezed, stopped, shuddered within a space of time, like the moment before a bomb explodes, its silver hide arching through air.
Unstoppable.
"I have granted Steele Caelus the right to kill."

     
    I've been in love with Carrie Underwood's latest album, Storyteller! I don't usually listen to country music, but the stories in her songs are so beautifully crafted it's hard not to enjoy them. As usual, I've also had my favourite movie soundtracks on repeat (Beauty and the Beast, Prince of Egypt, and La La Land).



    Pretty well! I'm excited to get into my writing today and immerse myself into my characters' stories. Writing endings always gives me a thrill! As for my personal life, the last few months have been a bit of roller-coaster ride for me emotionally, but I understand that's part of transitioning, and God and all the lovely people in my life have been helping me through it.

   That brings us to the end of this month's Am Currently! I hope you have a wonderful month, be it summer or winter, and achieve all your goals!



What are you writing at the moment? (Yes, I will be doing Camp NaNo!) What books do I NEED to read? Any songs you're playing on repeat at the moment?
Let me know in the comments, and good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 17 June 2017

#RebelliousWriting - Where is the Light?

     There's a riddle I'm quite fond of: I need light to exist, but when light shines on me, I die. What am I?

     (Highlight this sentence for the answer: a shadow!)

     I'm going to be talking about light and darkness today. In our world, right now, there is both dark and light; they co-exist. I personally believe that someday the light will win over the darkness, but before we get into that, I should tell you: I'm joining the Rebellious Writing Movement!



     #RebelliousWriting is not about rebelling against your parents; it's a movement rebelling against the dark side that has emerged in YA fiction. It's against the rise in explicit content in books, and it's against glorifying things such as drugs, swearing, etc. in books. Here is Gray's, the founder of the movement, post explaining it in more detail: #RebelliousWriting.

     Now, back to light and dark. I'm not talking about colours here, or what time of the day it is. What I really want to discuss is YA books. Light, in my eyes, is when hope is shown in a book, not where everything is horrible and life is portrayed as not worth living. True, we may feel like that sometimes, but here's the thing:

     Darkness doesn't last.

     Just as the sun always rises after a thick cloud of night, there will always be a flicker of flame to show you the way at the end. There will always be the choice to take the offered candle, and find your way out of shadows.

     It's a choice. It's your choice, your character's choice.

     Do they want to stay in darkness, or walk in light?



     Now don't get me wrong, it's important to show the dark, black, and filthy elements of life. We all sin, we all make mistakes, we all do things we shouldn't or witness them. That's, unfortunately, a part of the world in which we stand. Showing the darkness does not mean you have to promote it, however. Instead we should show it, because there are consequences for sin. There are real, painful consequences, in either this time or the next.

     But please, please, do not write the darkness in a way that glorifies it.

     Sin is not good. Pain is not good. Hurting others, hurting yourself is not good. So why write it like it is?

     Write the darkness in a way that doesn't make your reader uncomfortable, doesn't force them to consider a person's age when they want to recommend your book to them, doesn't make it seem like darkness is fun! so! much! fun!

     It's not.

     So why do I ask you to write about darkness? Aren't I supposed to be talking about light?

     When you write about shadows, you have an opportunity; you can show the burning candle. You can put hope and life and joy, even if it's just a smidgen, into the characters and your reader. You can show them that there is a flame that will show their battered feet where to walk, that they are wanted, and there are rewards for their fight for the good.



     Think about the phrase: "Black and white." Let's imagine that you were taught that no other colour existed, except white. Wouldn't then black also be white to you? Or at least, you would think it a different kind of white. If you didn't know the difference between wrong and right, only that there is "right", wouldn't everything be right?

     We are shown opposites because they help us understand the world around us. Wet, dry. Wood, stone. Day, night. Real, fake.

     Light and dark. Black and white.

     We can get so lost in trying to show the darkness, how raw and hurtful it can be, that sometimes we forget that light and dark must be paired together to really show the truth. If we are shown the consequences of darkness, we can turn towards the light. But if we are only shown consuming shadows, then we'll get lost. The reader will close the book feeling empty and without hope.

     So please, write the light. Show its goodness, its hope, its love, its peace, its perfect love.

     Light will always win in the end.
   


I hope you enjoyed today's post! Feel free to disagree or agree with me in the comments, just please remember to keep it clean and respectful; everyone's ideas are important and should be heard. :)
Do you try to show the light in your own writing? Anything else you'd like to add or ask me questions about? Will you be joining #RebelliousWriting?
Have an amazing day!<3

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Beautiful People - June Edition

    Hello everyone! It's that special time of the month again when I participate in Beautiful People, a writing blog meme/link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Their blogs are awesome, so please go check them out!


   For this edition, I'm switching the WIP I'm talking about from Splintered Crown to Golden Revenge, an YA Epic Fantasy. Why? I'm in the thick of second draft edits of Golden Revenge after finishing the first draft almost a year ago, and I'm absolutely adoring spending time again with its characters. Here's a blurb about Golden Revenge:

In a world ravaged by war, Taylan is yet another scarred teen refugee. He’s one in thousands of Paralinese that fled from their civil war strewn country, caught in bloody battles between magical royals and rebel soldiers. Now in Mohetania's refugee camp, he struggles to last from day to day. Hope keeps him alive; hope that someday he'll be able to return home, rid his country of blood-sucking royals, and bury his family.

Mida is a Mohetanian princess cursed with the touch of gold. A killer by age four, she keeps her hands trapped in magical leather. She isolates herself in order to protect others from the monster she believes lies inside her. But when her victim's brother pays her a visit, Mida snaps and begins to delve deep into the world of illegal magic, hunting for a cure.

When rebel soldiers begin to appear in the refugee camp, Taylan and Mida's desires and lives are caught up in plots of war. A war where there are no winners.

Here's a collage I made for the story agggessss ago!
   Let's throw Taylan some questions!

1) What's their favourite place they've ever visited?

   Taylan has lived in many places in his life, some he loved and some he hated, but as for a visit, probably the village his mother grew up in. When his mother was on the run from their father with Taylan and his sister, they stopped briefly at their aunt's house. It smelled of mint and woodsmoke, and it was where everyone was smiling after crying for so long.

2) What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?

   I would tell you, but that would be a massive spoiler. Let's just say that his anger got the best of him.

3) What was their favourite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?

   It wasn't taught at school, but Taylan always enjoyed drawing. He taught himself by sketching objects over and over again until he got them just right.

4) What’s their favourite flower/growing thing?


   Probably orange trees; he ate an orange once and thought he might die of love for its sweet juice.


5) Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?


    When Taylan returned home from his mandatory time in the Royal Army, he tried to hide the scars whippings left on his back, but his mother eventually saw. Tears fell. He wished then he hadn't been stood up to the older soldiers, and just bowed his head and did as he was told.

6) Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

    Reliable, a hundred percent.

7) What do they dream about at night?


    Nothing good; screams, devouring flames, sprays of blood.

8) They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?


    A "special meal" would mean anything other than weak stew and almost stale bread. Food is scarce in the refugee camp, so having a little meat would certainly be special.

My photos appear to be food orientated today. Sorry if you're now hungry!
9) What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

    Taylan desperately wants to return to his destroyed village and bury his mother and sister. But he knows he can't feel at peace with that until he's killed the royals that led to the destruction of his family, and country.

10) Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?


    He's a very fast runner, and is fairly good at sketching in charcoal, though he doesn't have as much time to commit himself to his art as he used to.


    That wraps up this month's Beautiful People! I really hoped you enjoyed learning about Taylan. He'd appreciate any hugs, so feel free to send him any! ;)

Did you participate in BP this month? I'd love to check out your post! What do your characters dream about at night? What WIP are you working on right now?
Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Tag

    Who doesn't like a little sunshine? Considering Australia's just entered winter, I would LOVE some sun right now. (It's freezing for a girl that's grown up near the equator!) Anyway, my point is I'm fond of sunshine at the moment, so it seemed perfect to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Tag. Jem Jones tagged me over at her blog, so thanks Jem!

    Here are the rules:
#1: Answer the 11 questions from your nominee
#2: Tag 11 bloggers
#3: Ask them 11 new questions

   Let's get to it, shall we?



1) Is there a story you've always wanted to write, but haven't yet?

    I've always loved the idea of writing a story about a group of high-schoolers that are hiking on Leap Year's Day (when two worlds meet), and end up being kidnapped by the inhabitants of the other world. Magic is disappearing on the other world, so they take 'Earthens' every four years and use Earth's knowledge to rebuild their countries instead of relying on magic. Something like that!

    I haven't worked out the details yet, and the plot's still a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I might write it one day just for fun!

2) What tv show/movie have you binge-watched the worst?

    *consults Netflix account* I watched a lotttttt of Continuum's first season during my last holiday, so much so that I'm not sure if I did anything else...?

3) You know those innocent little mistakes we make that are so. embarrassing. they keep you up at night. five years later. Those. Tell me about one of them? 

    Those are the kinds of mistakes I like to erase from my memory. I can think of plenty of embarrassing moments, but none that came from innocent little ones. Hmmmm... I mean, I nearly got knocked unconscious by a fruit falling from a tree I was under. (It was a heavy fruit from a tall tree, okay?) That's the most embarrassing yet funny moment of my life. 


4) What's your biggest NOTP?

    Dorian and Celaena from Throne of Glass. Lots of readers want them together, but their relationship never felt true or comfortable to me. (Plus, I really want her with someone else...)

5) Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? 

    One horse-sized duck, because I feel like it would be far easier to escape one than a hundred? Though the thought of a duck that big is a tad disconcerting...

6) Is there a song you've been listening to on repeat?

    I always have a favourite song on repeat for a day, then it changes by the next day, then the next, etc. The latest though is probably 'Dream For You' by Casting Crowns. I love their lyrics so much!


7) Who is the first person that pops into your head when you think "weird"?

    No one pops into my head...? I find things people do weird, but not people themselves. 

8) What's your biggest pet peeve?

   When people unplug the hairdryer but don't switch it off, so when you plug it in you get a heart attack by it starting by itself. I find this really really REALLY annoying. Please never do that.

9) Oxford comma or no?

   I don't have a side in this debate, actually. For me it depends on the sentence and whether that extra comma makes it flow or not.


10) If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?

   I'm very happy with my name! (Especially my last name, though if you pronounce it Grav-it-tis and not Grav-vee-tis out loud I might glare at you. It's not pronounced how it's spelled weirdly enough.) I'd choose not to change it. Is that an option?

11) Why did you start a blog?

   Two reasons! The first of which was that I started reading writing and book blogs, and I really loved the idea of sharing my thoughts and writing journey. The second was that I wanted to connect with other writers and readers. (Like all you lovely people!)

   I think lots of people have already done this tag so I'll be a rebel and tag as many as I can. 

Rachel @ R's Loft
Audrey @ Audrey Caylin
Christine @ Musings of an Elf
Jeneca @ Jeneca Writes
Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen
Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

    If I tagged you and you've already done it, no worries! And if I didn't and you'd like to, then go for it and let me know! I'd love to read your answers. 

Here are my 11 questions:

#1 - Did anything 'spark' your passion (writing, reading, art, etc.) or did it come on gradually?
#2 - If a library was on fire and you could only save three of its books, which three would you choose?
#3 - Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or another drink?
#4 - One of your characters can come alive for a day. Who do you want it to be?
#5 - How many siblings do you have?
#6 - Do you have a motto? (If you do, share it, if you don't, make one up!)
#7 - What's the strangest dream you've ever had?
#8 - Have you ever traveled out of your country, and if yes, where to?
#9 - If you wished on a shooting star, what would you wish for?
#10 - Would you rather go swimming in Antarctica or camping in the Sahara Desert?
#11 - How did you come up with your blog's name?


Is there a story you've always wanted to write but haven't yet? What are some of your answers to my questions? Are you in winter like me, or are you enjoying summer rays?
Let me know in the comments, and have a fabulous day! <3