It's time again for another tag! The wonderful Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me for the Dual Character Inquisition Tag, whi...

    It's time again for another tag! The wonderful Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me for the Dual Character Inquisition Tag, which I'm so excited to do! Thanks so much Victoria!

    I originally started answering the tag questions about Taylan and Mida from my Camp NaNo novel Golden Revenge, but a quarter of the way through, I felt like I had answered similar questions for them before, so! You, dear reader, get an exclusive sneak peek of my latest WIP, Of Traitors and Tricksters. I'll be sharing about the story's two main POVs today, Bakari and Ebonee.

    Here's a short blurb about it!:

Bakari is a traitor. Promised to be healed of a disease that makes even walking difficult, he kills the prince, his master. When he's betrayed and caught with a bloody knife, the royal family sentences him to execution by magic at dawn. Yet as the sun rises, the magicians discover he may be harder to kill than they thought. 

Ebonee is an entertainer. Having fled from a rogue magician gang with her younger sister, she now dances for their food in the palace. But old friends and enemies are not finished with her yet, and want one last favour... A favour that could free her from their clutches forever. All she has to do is perform one tiny trick. 

How harmful could it be?

   Right, now to the tag!

1) Who inspired this character?

Bakari -- He sprung from one word: traitor. From there I had to ask myself who this traitor was, why he was a traitor, etc., until I got to the core of who he was.

Ebonee -- She too came from a word: trickster. I was trying to think of a title for this WIP, and "tricksters" sounded good with "traitor" so... 

2) What is their weapon of choice?

Bakari -- He'd prefer not to be violent. At all. But if absolutely necessary, he'd take a curved knife.

Ebonee -- Magic. She'll use her mind-reading talents to peel apart the layers of your brain to render you basically useless. (But only if you try to harm someone she loves. The rest of the time she's quite kind to others' brains.)

3) Have they ever been physically violent with someone else? What instigated it?

Bakari -- Well, there was that one time with the prince, you know. *nods to blurb* I can't tell you the details because, well, spoilers. 

Ebonee -- She prefers sparring mentally with magic, but in the past she's had to fight her way out of situations where others have wanted her dead. Also spoilers, sorry!

I'm using elements of Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew cultures in this WIP, so finding an image of Bakari or Ebonee is a little tricky! This is a pretty accurate representation of what Ebonee would look like preparing for a performance, though!
4) Are they more of a rule-follower or a rebel?

Bakari -- He was a rule-follower growing up, but now he's been pushed into a place where he has to be a rebel to survive.

Ebonee -- Sort of in the middle. 

5) What kind of child were they? Curious? Wild? Quiet? Devious?

Bakari -- He was quiet and timid; the kind of child who would hide behind their parent's legs and peek out.

Ebonee -- Loud. Very, very loud. She could not stop moving, dancing, or running. And she loved to tell everyone and their sheep about her opinions on matters of "great importance."

6) Where would they go to relax and think?

Bakari -- Outside on a balcony at night, with the stars splashed across the sky. It's a quiet, peaceful time where for once burning gazes aren't fixed upon him.

Ebonee -- Before her apartment's fireplace. She would pull a stool up before its crackling depths with a cup of hot tea and watch the flames dance. It's comforting, to be surrounded by nature's rhythm.

This is similar to where Ebonee used to live
7) Do they have a temper?

Bakari -- No. He's more likely to cower and think it's his fault than blow up.

Ebonee -- A slight one. If you say something to insult her choices, or what she's doing to keep her little sister safe, you'll probably be yelled at.

8) Would they be more likely to face their fears or run from them?

Bakari -- Run. Run far, far away.

Ebonee -- She'd face them with some trembling but face them nonetheless.

9) When they are upset, do they turn to other people or isolate themselves?

Bakari -- He turns to his father for guidance. No matter what bad decisions he makes, his father always loves him and is there for him.

Ebonee -- Isolate. She wants to protect her little sister from her fears, so she pretends that nothing is wrong.

10) Say 3 things about where your character lives (as broad or specific as you like).

Bakari -- In a palace made of polished limestone and layered with vibrant murals. He once had a servant's room, but now he lives in a larger, but heavily guarded, room near the Magicians' Quarters. The room's furniture is hard and stiff, yet the scent of blossoming jasmine wafts through the narrow window. (I think that's more than three, but oh well!)

Ebonee -- An apartment within the Dancers of the Moon Compound. There are two bedrooms and a warm, cosy living space decorated in firelight and patterned wall hangings. Her dance partner and friend, Lapis, lives next door.

    So there you have it, a glimpse into the lives of Bakari and Ebonee! I officially tag the following bloggers so I can read more about their lovely characters:

And of course, anyone else who wants to do this, consider yourself tagged!
What WIP are you working on at the moment? Tell me about it! What are your thoughts on Of Traitors and Tricksters? Who would you prefer to have tea with; Bakari or Ebonee?
Good luck with your writing, and have a phenomenal day! <3

     It's no secret I am a wild fan of world-building. Creating worlds that I can mold with my hands and mind is one of my favourite par...

     It's no secret I am a wild fan of world-building. Creating worlds that I can mold with my hands and mind is one of my favourite parts of writing! So I've decided to make "Questions to Ask When..." a permanent blog series! I've really enjoyed writing the previous installments, and you all seemed to find them super helpful, so here's the third post in the series! Hopefully I'll have a new one up monthly or bi-monthly from now on.

     Today's topic is creating fictional cities! And the questions aren't just for fantasy cities, so don't worry! You can apply them to any city setting in your story.

     To the questions!

1) What is the city called by its inhabitants? By outsiders? Does it have any nicknames?

2) What is the "hub" of the city? A market, shopping district, garden, etc.?

3) Are there any famous landmarks? Are they natural/geographical, such as a mountain, or man-made, like a clock tower?

4) Where does the city's government reside? A building or elsewhere? How does the city's government differ from the country it resides in, if at all?

5) Geographically speaking, where is the city? Besides a river, in a valley, in plains, by mines, etc.?

6) What is the city's water and/or food source? The river, the ocean, surrounding farms?

7) Why did this city grow from a town/village into its current state? Is it the capital, a hub for trade, a key resource area, or have some historical/religious significance?

8) What kind of defenses does it have? Walls? Buttresses? Guards/police who patrol?

9) What's the average income for its residents? What is the most common occupation?

10) What kind of architecture would be seen walking around its streets? Are most of the homes made of brick, wood, stone, cement? Are paint colours vibrant or subdued? Do buildings crowd each other out, or are they evenly spaced? Does it change depending on the part of the city you're in?

11) How is the city with crime? Is it overrun by murder and theft, or is it fairly quiet and peaceful? Are criminals bold in flaunting their power (if any) or do they stick to secretive means?

12) Who holds the most power? The government, businesses, criminals, other organisations?

13) What does the city smell like? Does it reek of fish caught at the docks, thick perfume of blooming flowers, the stench of sewerage, etc.?

14) What kind of relationship do its inhabitants have with inhabitants of other cities? Are they friendly, rivals, neither?

15) Are there any places of religious gathering? (Eg. churches, temples, altars, etc.)

16) What are those secret spots that only long-term residents know about? Is there a "best cafe in the city", or peaceful garden tucked away from the hustle and bustle?

17) How popular is the city with outsiders/tourists? Is it a well-known travel destination, or more isolated?

18) What kind of cultures are seen in the city? Are its residents a singular ethnic culture, or a mix?

19) Does the city have any celebrations/festivals specific to itself? When and how are these celebrated?

20) What is the city's history? Has it been under siege or attack? What major historical events have taken place in its depths, if any?

    That brings us to the end of the questions! I really hope they can be of help to you when brainstorming a city setting, or adding those juicy world-building features in edits!

Tell me about one of your fictional cities! What landmarks does it have? Who lives there? Oh, and are you a big fan of world-building too? Any suggestions of what theme to have for my next "Questions to Ask When..." post?
Good luck with your writing, and have a spectacular day! <3

     Hello everyone! I hope you're having a great July and aren't too busy with Camp NaNo/life! For me, it's that time again whe...

     Hello everyone! I hope you're having a great July and aren't too busy with Camp NaNo/life! For me, it's that time again where I participate in Beautiful People. It's a wonderful monthly link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further in. (Do check out their blogs, they're fabulous!) 

    Usually I would introduce which character and WIP I'd be talking about here, but this month's Beautiful People is a little different. Its theme is "all about the author", so I'll be talking about myself, and my writing process! *points to title*

   Let's jump into the questions, shall we?

1) How do you decide which project to work on?

    I am what you call a snail-like writer. This means I might work seriously on only one or two projects a year (as far as first drafting or editing goes). I get a lot of ideas! But as I'm so slow, I have to hone in on which ones I'm really passionate about. If I get an idea and have no interest in it after a couple of months, I won't write it. If I love it after so long? It'll be next on my list!

2) How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

    Too long. *nods to above answer* Generally first drafts can take me between four and six months, second drafts around four months, and the rest varies.

3) Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

    I get my glass of water, start blaring music in my earphones, and sit down. Then I write! Nothing super exciting.

4) What time of day do you write best?

    Late mornings/afternoons/evenings. Anything other than late at night.

This is a random photo of yours truly's journal where her writing progress is recorded daily
5) Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to? be honest I'm not sure? I try not to think about who I'm similar to, so I don't get caught up in comparing myself to them all the time. 

6) Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

    I started because I wanted to get down the stories and crazy worlds inside my head. I keep writing because I've discovered my passion in it, and it thrills me like nothing else to explore characters and places that have been created in my imagination.

7) What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

    Draped in Deception. In case you didn't know, I've set that story aside now. It will always have a place in my heart, but I struggled for months with trying to get the plot where I wanted it, and it still isn't there. Who knows, I might return to it someday!

8) Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

    Ugh, so many! Like Draped in Deception, for example. (And no, I am not going to tell you the others because I don't have a fancy premise/blurb written for them yet.)

Unfortunately I look nothing like this stylish lady when writing. Except for the glass of water.
9) What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

    I don't remember my exact words, but one of the goals was to finish second draft edits of Golden Revenge. And I'm almost there! So needless to say, I am very pleased about that. I also hope to complete the first draft of Splintered Crown this year.

10) Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

    Slow but steady!

So there you have it, my writing process! (Granted, there's a lot more to it, but if you want to know the details let me know, and maybe I'll do a longer post!)
What's your writing process? What are some of your writing goals for this year, and how are they going? How long does a first draft usually take you?
Good luck with your writing, and have a great day! <3

    The comparison trap hides itself well. You could be doing anything--beta-reading, reading another blogger's post, devouring your fav...

    The comparison trap hides itself well. You could be doing anything--beta-reading, reading another blogger's post, devouring your favourite author's latest book--and snap. You're suddenly ensnared in a net of your lying thoughts.

    Why can't I write like this? My writing is horrible... How come they have so many followers when I've been blogging for longer? People must hate my blog... No one likes my story idea. My style isn't as good as theirs. I should just quit. I'm not good enough.

    I'll admit it to you all, at the time of writing this, I'm in this trap. It's odd how it hit me, really. I was dropping by another blog, and something just...snapped. Broke. First came jealousy, and then the trap's metal teeth began to sink into my flesh. I wasn't as good as this blogger. They had far more followers. My average post never got so many comments.

    Now, I really love this blogger's posts and blog. They're amazing! (And just to let you know, I wrote this far before I posted so none of you would begin over-analyzing whether this was you.) I won't lie to you guys, it wasn't even this blogger's best post. But I could feel the trap creeping in this time, first a swallow, then slowly, slowly a tightening in my chest as I read through their post.   

     So what was it then, that made this grey cloud gather above my head? How did I fall into it? What caused me to suddenly feel like I wanted to curl into a ball and cry?

    I compared our styles, our follower amounts, our number of comments, everything. And doing so only reinforced the trap. What was I looking for? Something that I could point to and say: "see? I'm better at this" or "I have more of that". It was wrong of me to do this.

    Here's the thing, something that both you and I need to remember: 

    When you start looking at others' successes, the only thing you will see are your own failures.

    I won't profess to being a super inspiring blogger. I won't scream that I'm the next J.K. Rowling or John Green or any other super famous author. Why? Because I know where I am on my journey right now. Because I know that my "failures" are just stepping stones to becoming a better writer, better person. I may be ahead of you, or I may be a thousand miles behind.

    When I forgot that I was on a different journey than this blogger, I let comparison trap me with lies. We are all on different paths of different lengths, with different obstacles, different mountains to climb, different achievements.

    You too are at a certain point in your personal journey. Maybe you've written a hundred novels or maybe you haven't finished one yet. Maybe you think publication is within your reach, or maybe you're still struggling to get words on the page each day.

    It's okay. Either option of those I listed, and every other issue you're experiencing at the moment--it's okay to be there. Breathe.

    I've had a few days to reflect on my being in the comparison trap. I'd like to cautiously say I'm out of it now. Here are a couple things I did to escape:

1) I gave myself some space from my writing until I stopped moping about. In such a state, the only effect I'll have on my stories is a negative one.

2) I gave myself time to think over my thoughts until the lies exhausted themselves from screaming so loud.

3) I immersed myself in someone else's story. Now, this might seem a little odd given the nature of comparison, but sometimes I need to be engaged in the wonder of storytelling to make myself yearn to do it again. It has to be a story from someone I know is far, far, far ahead of me though.

4) I made peace, acknowledged that I made a mistake getting myself caught up in jealousy and self-doubt, and moved forward. 

5) I returned to writing, slowly, and read bits of my writing that I knew were good. (In some cases, I might even go back to positive feedback from others and read it over and over again.)

   And now I'm out, I'm free.

   For everyone the comparison trap holds them captive in different ways. What you have to realize is that it happens to every single person alive, and you are you. No one else. You are unique and special, and I'm so glad, because that means your journey is too.

   I can't wait to see where it takes you.

Thank you to all who follow my blog, comment, everything! You are incredible to me and honestly, the major reason I've kept this blog up. Sorry for the ramble today; I hope it was half coherent and maybe can help you escape your own trap.
What about you; have you ever been in the comparison trap? How did you break out? And if you're still in it, then I hope you keep believing in yourself. You owe yourself that.
Have a wonderful day! <3

    Hello everyone! Guess what? I'm finally on holidays! (And no, that's not my announcement, though it is pretty awesome as well.)...

    Hello everyone! Guess what? I'm finally on holidays! (And no, that's not my announcement, though it is pretty awesome as well.) Not only does this mean that I have more time to write posts for you all, but I can also devour books and write, write, write. 

    Which brings us to today's post! I was tagged for the Writer's Tag by Andrea @ A Surge of Thunder agessss ago. Thanks for the tag Andrea, and apologies that I'm so late! (Go check out her blog, it's wonderful!)

    Let's get into it!

1. What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

    If you've been around on the blog, you know that I LOVE fantasy. I have so much fun creating whole new worlds, and the cultures, history, and people within them. As for topics, I like writing characters who are far from perfect, but keep trying to do the right thing. My stories are full of raw emotions and show the brutal, disastrous side of war; it's not glorious for everyone. 

    And finally, I like writing cracks of light into a world shrouded in shadow.

2. How long have you been writing?

    I've been "seriously" writing for about 4 and a half years now. That was when I actually had the thought that "I want to be a writer". It's been a blast ever since! (Mostly, that is.)

3. Why do you write?

   Wow, this is a difficult question to answer! I originally started because my massive imagination created scenarios that I wanted to explore. I was always an avid reader, so being able to create my own stories, own books? The idea blew my little mind! Ever since I've loved exploring new worlds and going on journeys with my characters, all of whom become dear friends.

   I believe writing is what I want to do with my life--it's in my mind, it's my passion, it throbs with each beat of my heart--so I keep at it, no matter what.

4. When is the best time to write?

    I write best in the afternoons on weekdays (not that I have much of a choice with school), but on holidays I can knock out a lot of words in the morning/early evening. I'm definitely not a late night writer, however!

5. What parts of writing do you love and hate?

    World-building, first drafting, and some parts of editing are my favourite. Yes, I did say editing. *gasp* While there are aspects of editing I dislike, it gives me a thrill to see my manuscript improve after each revision. Line edits, though, are not my favourite. They can be very tedious.

I'm not sure why, but I really like this picture? I think it's because I'm jealous of whoever has this typewriter.
6. How do you overcome writer's block?

    I don't get writer's block, per se, just times when I don't feel up to writing or uninspired. When that happens, I often switch to another project and read through its chapters to convince myself not everything I write is horrible. If that doesn't work, I watch a movie and/or go on a reading frenzy!

7. Are you working on something at the moment?

   Aren't I always?

   Yes, I am. As I've mentioned in posts before, I'm editing Golden Revenge, and am up to rewriting the last fifth of it or so. Bring on the climax!

8. What are your writing goals this year?

   They are: finish the 2nd round of editing for Golden Revenge, finish the first draft of Splintered Crown, and write at least 3 more short stories. And as for Camp NaNo (which starts right now for me!) I want to do at least 50 hours of work on Golden Revenge.

    That brings me to the end of the tag! Today I'm going to tag EVERYONE; if you want to do it, do it! Now for the announcement...


    You might remember I wrote a post about #RebelliousWriting a few weeks ago. And now, Rebellious Writing is getting its own website very soon! I'm also co-heading its Twitter account, so if you're interested, pop by and say hello!

What are your writing goals for this year? What are you working on? (I hope it's going great!) What's your favourite genre to write? Are you doing Camp NaNo???
Let me know in the comments, and have a fabulous day! <3