It's been ages since I last participated in a tag, and recently I had the desire to join in with one, so to my luck I was tagged by the ...

It's been ages since I last participated in a tag, and recently I had the desire to join in with one, so to my luck I was tagged by the wonderful Victoria @ The Wanderer's Pen! (Thank you!) I believe it was originally created by Savannah, so thanks to her I'll be sharing a little more about myself, my writing journey, and goals today!

Here are the rules:

1) Link back to the person who created the tag
2) Thank the person who tagged you
3) Share the tag graphic
5) Tag eleven bloggers




Vital Stats And Appearance

Name: Melissa Gravitis

Nicknames: Liss, M, Lissy, or Mel (though only a select few people are allowed to call me these)

Birthday: In the summery month of December

Hair colour and length: Dark brown/reddish

Eye colour: Brown. Though for the first few years of my life, my eyes were green. For some unknown reason they decided to change to what they are now.

Braces/piercings/tattoos: None!

Righty or lefty: Righty.

Ethnicity: Caucasian (a mix of Scottish, English, Irish, and Latvian blood)


Firsts

First novel written: 'Sharissa's Story'. It was about the best female thief in the world, and followed her on her adventures to steal the Black Diamond.

First novel completed: 'Royal Academy'. This one totaled around 90,000 words long, and split into three parts. I originally had all my friends as the characters, until I sent the story to them to read, and so changed their names. (One suspected the truth anyway!)

Award for writing: I received first place in one of my Creative Writing class's competitions, and was a semi-finalist in the GTW We Write Books Contest 2016. :)

First publication: None at present. I'm focusing on developing my craft first!

Conference: None. I've only been to writers' festivals.

Query/Pitch: Also none at present! xD



Favourite...

Novel (that you wrote): 'Golden Revenge'. It's one of the few stories that I've been able to return to, and still love as much as when I first wrote it!

Genre: Fantasy. Though I am enjoying more sci-fi as of recently!

Author: How can I choose? Holly Black, Jane Austen, Jay Kristoff, and Marie Rutkoski are on the top of my list though!

Writing music: Anything and everything.

Time to write: Late evening.

Writing snack/drink: Just water is enough for me. :)

Movie: 'Prince of Egypt'

Writing memory: Finishing writing a huge battle scene in one of my childhood novels (that will never see the light of day, thanks), and being hit with a huge rush. I felt completely in the story!

Childhood book: 'Enna Burning' by Shannon Hale.


Currently

Reading: 'The Crystal Tree' by Imogen Elvis

Writing: Editing draft 4 of Golden Revenge, first drafting Silver Storm, and brainstorming a few projects on the side, including The Tears We Bleed.

Listening to: The birds outside my window.

Watching: Nothing at this exact second.

Learning: How to balance my time better, and prioritise projects.


Future

Want to be published: Yes, definitely! That's one of my goals.

Indie or traditional: At the moment I'm pursuing traditional publishing. Though the control aspect of indie publishing is appealing, I would love to have the experience to work with professionals.

Wildest goal: Be published in five years or less!


I've noticed many have already been tagged for this one, so please do this tag if you'd like to! Aside from that, I tag...


Tell me about you, and your writing! What's your wildest goal? What's your favourite novel you've written? Have you been to a writing conference before?
Have a wonderful day!

Every now and then I like to flip through my old journals. Not only is it fun to see how my writing style and ideas have progressed, but the...

Every now and then I like to flip through my old journals. Not only is it fun to see how my writing style and ideas have progressed, but they also provide good reminders and lessons! Often when looking through them, I'm reminded of key elements or strategies I can use when character or world building. Upon my most recent exploration into my old journal pages, here are three lessons I was reminded the importance of!



The Importance of Symbols

Half my journals are filled with words, comments, and notes, and the other half are full of drawings. A lot of the drawings are, surprisingly, symbols! From tattoos a certain ethnicity have, to distinguish between tribes, to religious icons, to markings of rank, they're everywhere. In some places, they might serve as reminders to myself of how I imagined the feel of their art or culture to be.

Symbols can serve multitudes of purposes in world-building. They can help readers know another character's rank if the MC notes a symbol they wear, without telling them explicitly "this character is poor". Symbols give depth to a world, and add to its realism, since our own world is saturated in them. In addition, they can also show the readers a certain country's or people group's values. An obvious example, is a country with a sword on their flag; they probably aren't known for peace and gardening, but rather warfare.

No Country in Isolation

I was surprised to see in one of my journals, I had written a long list of how eight different countries viewed one another, from "Produce very nice silk, but people are not so nice" to "Scum easily conquered" to "Simple folk who appreciate good wine". It reminded me that there are complex interactions not only between individuals, but likewise between countries. Each country is influenced by its surrounding ones.

It's likely that most people won't follow the stereotype glued to their country (I don't, and neither do most Australians, say G'day, for example). But when two or more characters from different countries meet, these stereotypes and perceptions will determine how they initially react. So much potential for fresh conflict and tension!



History Lives on in the Present

An event does not take place, then immediately fade away in the next day, week, or couple of years. If traumatic, and especially if it resulted in pain or death, it will live on in people's minds. Often, until they die. In one of my journals, I have several pages dedicated to two key events in a country's history -- and their present impact. 

Sometimes I forget of the long reaching consequences of a place's history, but they can be crucial in how characters react to another person, or place. So it's incredibly important not only to name key events, but discover their political and personal impacts. What if they discovered their new friend was involved on the opposite side of the civil war when they were young? Does a king forget a past broken treaty of one country, when approached with the opportunity to make another? The past lives on, through memory, thought, and action.



Do your journals teach you lessons and grant you inspiration? What's your favourite part of world-building? How's your writing going?
Have a wonderful day! <3 

Recently I've come upon the term "play" in writing circles. I first heard it referred to as such on Joanna Penn's podcast ...

Recently I've come upon the term "play" in writing circles. I first heard it referred to as such on Joanna Penn's podcast (which is amazing, and I highly recommend it if you want to keep an eye on the publishing industry, by the way), but many other authors suggest the importance of it.

So what is "play"? It's essentially when you allow yourself to be engaged with a story other than your WIP(s), and where there is no pressure to analyse or edit, just enjoy. Examples of "play" include free writing, reading, watching movies/TV shows, writing fan fic, and so on. I've come to realize how important "play" is, for my both my health, and the health of my story. So without further ado, here are three reasons why "play" is important for your writing!




1) Refreshes the Well of Inspiration

While a lot of writers talk about their 12830200000 ideas, I often find I'm the opposite. I'm not constantly struck in the face by plot bunnies, and rushing to jot them down in the middle of the night. My system is something different -- I have an idea, without much substance, and I jot it down. Then it simmers. For days, months, even years in some cases, and it comes back to me much more fleshed out. And then I get excited about it!

Recently, with such a hectic schedule, and study demands, I found myself receiving ideas and inspiration much less and less. And then I allowed myself to read a craft book, to set aside half an hour and get lost in the mechanics of writing. Not an hour later, one of my fleshed out ideas hit me like a brick, and I spent a frantic hour jotting down everything that came to mind.

Why did it decide to come then? Because as I read the book on writing, James Scott Bell's, "Just Write", I came across a list of prompts. And as I read them, I allowed myself to 'play'. I let my brain wander, to stretch my thoughts to "what ifs", and playing with concepts rewarded me with a strong, fresh one. 



2) Improves Skills

Experimenting is often the best way to learn. By giving yourself no limitations, no stress about how may times you'll have to edit this piece of work, you give your brain freedom. Freedom to try out new techniques, freedom to try new POV styles and voice, and freedom to explore differing prose choices. This is the beauty of a particular type of "play", called free writing.

James Scott Bell suggests every writer set aside a half hour, at least, every week to free write. It's meant to relax the brain, and refine your skills. A break from the WIP you've slaved over for months or years, is a chance to try new things, and invariably, improve your skills.

3) Reignites Passion

When you spend too long on something, you might find you're only working on it, for the sake of it. Occasionally I feel this way about my WIPs -- that I'm not working on them because of passion, but because I have to. Because it would be a waste of all the time I've already spent on it to give up now.

"Play"ing allows my passion to be reignited. Whenever I finish reading a book I love, I'm hit with an inexplicable thrill, clung to by various other emotions, depending on the book, but most of all the thought that "I want to make someone feel this way". Immersing myself in stories other than my own, allows me to have my passion for writing and stories, rejuvenated. It motivates me to finish my own stories, so I might cause someone else to feel swept up in and enthralled by a story.



How do you "play"? Do find reading, writing, or watching movies/TV refreshes you more? What reignites your writing passion?
Have a wonderful day, and best wishes with your writing! <3

Well, it's finally holiday time for me! Hopefully for all you Northen Hemisphere-ers, you're enjoying your summer. For us down in th...

Well, it's finally holiday time for me! Hopefully for all you Northen Hemisphere-ers, you're enjoying your summer. For us down in the south, winter is still going strong, and school's just ended (for the next two weeks at least). The last couple of months have been crazy busy, and this week has been especially rough, but more on that later.

For now, here's some updates on what's going on!



A few days ago, I finished reading "So Sang the Dawn" by my dear friend, and phenomenal writer, AnnMarie Pavese. It's a hefty book, but a beautiful tale of light and darkness, of friendship and family, and of hope. If you enjoy epic fantasy, or strong female friendships mixed in with adventure and magic, this one is definitely for you!

Today I started "A Thousand Perfect Notes" by the lovely and funny C.G. Drews. It's already breaking my heart, and though I don't usually read contemporary, the characters are so vibrant and raw I'm already so drawn in!


Due to a billion and one assignments, and major research tasks being due, I haven't been able to write as much as I normally can. A good chunk of my writing time has been consumed with writing my short story for my English Extension 2 class, currently titled "Here Lies". It's being written in a style similar to the transcriptions in the Illuminae series, so it's been fun to experiment and see how I can push myself! 

In addition to that, I'm also dipping my toe into edits for Golden Revenge. I'm really excited to flesh out certain aspects of my premise, strengthen my character arcs, and (hopefully) tighten up the wordcount. I also have some new twists in mind that work so much better and feel more like the story's heart, so I'm working on weaving those in too!

As for Silver Storm, I'm about 70,000 words into the first draft, and am drawing closer to the climax! I can already see I'll have a lot to work on in edits, but I'm happy that I'm making progress, slowly, but surely.



I'm still listening to my favourite band, Cimorelli, on the daily! I particularly love their covers of Oceans by Hillsong, Praying by Kesha (that high note!!), and their own original song, Cars + Parking Lots. Their voices, and the way they harmonise and intertwine, never fails to amaze me!

A dear writing friend also introduced me to MyNoise. Whether you're in a noisy setting and need to block out talking, want to listen non-stop to the Irish Coast, or a spaceship, they have such interesting and immersing background noises!



The last few days have been particularly hard, as a boy who goes to my school was tragically murdered along with his sister. Since I used to live so close to his house, it's hit me pretty hard. But I'm holding onto my rock, God, and reminding myself of his promises, and my favourite verse:


"Though the fruit tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines...yet I will rejoice in the Lord."
Habakkuk 3:17-19


How has your month been? What songs/artists are you listening to at the moment? What are you currently reading?
Have a wonderful day, and best wishes with your writing! <3