January 2015 - further up and further in

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beautiful People: iWrite

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 3
Beautiful People: iWrite

Today, my friends, is a glorious day, because it's all about me. Sorry. I had to channel my inner Tony Stark for a moment.

All kidding aside, this month, Beautiful People is doing something a little differently: we're focusing on the writers behind the characters! I mean, we're all beautiful people too, right? You can enter by skadaddling over to the post here.

I'm here with my humble contributions to this awesome meme. (Ahem. Humility is not my strong suit today.)


1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I've been writing since I was about four or five, which I feel kind of embarrassed to admit. I started reading when I was three, and I remember opening a WordPad document on our old, old desktop computer. It was pretty intense, people. It was a downhill spiral from there, and I've been writing ever since.

I started to take my writing seriously when I was 12, and I started my fantasy novel Talryn's Tale. I never finished it, but it was the springboard into many more books and stories. I'm grateful for that book.

2. How/why did you start writing?
I was reading since I was born (or being read to), and I think that honestly had a lot to do with it. One of my earliest stories was a fanfic of Narnia. (And I had a fanfic of the Boxcar Children, called the Kaboose Kids. Don't laugh.) I think I read good books and I wanted to write stories like that. Since an early age, story has been incredibly powerful for me. How could I not want to join in writing my own?

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
When you have that spark of a new idea, just waiting to be written. I also like finishing stuff.

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
... Finishing stuff.

I've finished four novels (what?!) and every single one was a hard struggle to the finish line. I struggle with keeping to projects--inspiration is a fickle beast, and so is my attention span.

5. Do you write best at night or day?
I've written during either, but I swear, I'm pretty sure my writing juices are made to only kick in at night.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)
My laptop is currently broken, but when it's working, I sit on a couch in our living room.

However, the more inspiring spot in my house to write is our desktop, which has a window overlooking our backyard. Even though we're in the middle of the city, I still thrive on that view.

while drafting Because We Can

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
It varies. Reese's Pieces, my first novel, was started (approximately) in October 2010 and finished March 2011, so about five months. Because I'm Irish took from December 2011 to July 2012, so about a year and a half (longer if you count the time it took me to get around to writing the ending, sigh.) Because We Can took a little less than a year, from July 2013 to June 2014. Lost Girls took 32 days, because that was a NaNo novel.
So apparently I average six months to a year, which kind of sucks and I'm working on getting better on finishing things, no matter how first-draftish they are. I'm aiming to finish at least two novel first drafts this year, so we'll see how that goes.

8. How many projects do you work on at once? 
I can really only work on one actively, but I often switch when I become bored with one project. (Terrible habit, I know.) And just because I'm drafting one project doesn't mean I'm not thinking, or pinning about, the others. So while I can only draft one at a time, I have countless stories tumbling around in my head.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between? 
Depends. If the story is part of a trilogy or a series, I have no problem writing bittersweet or cliffhanger-y endings. I like to mostly tie up some of the problems, but Lost Girls ended with more problems looming, as did Because I'm Irish. Reese's Pieces ended saccharinely sweet. and Because We Can ended bittersweet, as well. I guess I'd have to say I like somewhere in between. At the end of a series, though, I'd prefer to end the story as happily as possible. My characters deserve that much.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey. 
C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Donita K. Paul inspired me to write fantasy.
Erynn Mangum, Jenny B. Jones, and Lisa Samson inspired me to write contemporary/romance.
Stan Lee, with his origin stories and superheroes, inspired me to write awesome tales of valor.
Maggie Stiefvater currently is inspiring me to tighten up my writing and make it even better.
F. Scott Fitzgerald inspired me to write a great story, no matter how sad it is.
And all my friend writers that I've known have inspired me, whether they know it or not.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
Kind of, kind of not. I'm largely skittish about people reading my work. However, a few people have been able to read, especially if they latch onto a project in particular.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream? 
Publication, but more than that, to touch someone through my writing. Stories have come to me in dark places, reached down, and pulled me out. If mine could do that for someone someday, it would mean the world. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do? 
Work in the criminal justice system, or do something to help make the world a better place. Actually, that may still happen. Watch out, world.

14. Do you have a book you'd like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
Every single one. (No, not really.)

One fantasy story, By a Thread, has been around since before 2011 and it won't leave me alone, but every time I try to start it, it falls flat. I also have held off on writing my soul-novel, Souvenirs of a Life Untold, because I've felt I wasn't ready. (And I'm a perfectionist and should probably just write the dang thing already.)

15. Which story has your heart and won't let go?
Honestly, all of them have me wrapped around their little finger in some way. But my number one baby is the Because I'm Irish series. What started out as a stupid little fanfic has turned into a major trilogy that snatched me and won't let go. The runner-ups are The Angel Novel and Souvenirs. 


While I should be working on draft 2 of Because I'm Irish (which is at 36k), my inspiration fizzled out. So instead I'm rewriting another novel important to me: The Angel Novel. 13k in and this draft is working better than any of the others so far; I think I finally know how to make this work. Fingers crossed. 

How's your writing life, blogger friends? What are you working on right now? How long does it usually take you to finish a draft?

link up with Beautiful People by going here!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

December 2014: Recap

Thursday, January 08, 2015 3
December 2014: Recap
Well, well, well. I'll get the big things out of the way by saying...


I know you all desperately want to see a picture or two.

December was a whirlwind. I didn't want Christmas to come, and then I didn't want it to leave. This was our first Christmas without Grandma here, which was obviously very difficult. Despite this, I managed to find the good spots among it. I got Taylor Swift's 1989 and Ed Sheeran's Multiply, along with a Bucky t-shirt. I was able to spend time with my family, including seeing The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. I crocheted again, attempting to make an infinity scarf. I took a course on the psychology of criminal justice and passed. And OH. I FINISHED A NOVEL. HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT THAT?

on the blog

I got so busy with other things that the blog suffered. (I'm sorry.) I started off the month talking about when I finally finished a NaNo novel. Then, I was so wrapped up in writing that I started my first rewrite. Cait and I debuted the final part of our Beautiful Books link-up, which overall was a wild success. After a long blog silence, I returned to tell you that I was alive. And finally, I participated in Beautiful Books, talking about my novel Lost Girls. That was one of my defining books of 2014 for me, so it's fitting that that was the last post of the year.

On the non-fiction side of things, I worked with Grafted Magazine in several ways. On the blog, I wrote Jesus Loves Me. In addition, Issue 4 of Grafted Magazine released, which included my look back on the past year. If you'd like to contribute to Issue 5 of Grafted, you can find out more about that here.

The Fangirl Initiative flourished in December, with our first full week of posting beginning that month. Now, for real, you should go check out all of the posts on the blog for December, because I'm so proud of all the contributors and what they've written. But as far as myself, I wrote about the new Star Wars trailer (it was the last day of November but it counts, okay?). I also put together an exciting collab article in which the Fangirl Initiative's team voices their thoughts on Benedict Cumberbatch playing Dr. Strange in one of Marvel's upcoming movies. I also reviewed the first two episodes of The 100. Last but not least, I wrote about the relationships in The Avengers! (Oh, and I made a Christmas graphic too.)


Well, we've kind of touched on this already, but... I finished Lost Girls! Cue screaming!

After NaNoWriMo and the excitement of Lost Girls, I couldn't just stop writing. So I picked up Because I'm Irish, the book extremely close to my heart, for a complete rewrite. My total for the whole month was 27,588. (I haven't written that much since Petrichor! Which I still need to finish by the way.)

The rewrite is going well for the most part. It's better than I ever dreamed it would be. While I'm not sure if I've completely captured the heart of the story, I'm just glad to be writing it again. There are some things from the first draft that haven't made it into this one, but I know I have many drafts left to make it exactly what I want it to be. (Which is both a blessing, and a curse.)


Alas, my music playlist was dwarfed by November's, and didn't even try to compete. The music I listened to this month was scattered between several playlists, so I don't have an actual Spotify playlist to embed here, unfortunately. What I listened to more than anything is below, though.

On the Way Home - Pentatonix
Paint the Town Green - The Script
Home - American Authors
Alone Together - Fall Out Boy
Pumpin Blood - Peter Hollens
Wake Me Up (acoustic) - Aloe Blacc
Nuisance - John Reuben ft. Matthew Thiessen
Losing Your Memory - Ryan Star
Mess is Mine - Vance Joy
Riptide - Vance Joy
Step Out - Jose Gonzales
The Days - Avicii
I Can't Stop Drinking About You - Bebe Rexha
Boom Clap - Charlie XCX
Take Me to Church - Hozier
Can't Hold Us - Pentatonix
Rather Be - Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne
Gold - Imagine Dragons

On Instagram

1. last episode of Once Upon a Time of 2014 // 2. i'm in love with Bard the Bowman // 3 & 4. braces are gone! // 5. i got superhero movies for christmas. it was amazing. // 6. christmas selfie // 7. christmas loot // 8. i look like a milkmaid // 9. a picture taken by my sister, shiloh // 10. the amazing hors d'oeurves done by my sister, shiloh // 11. my sister, shiloh, reenacting "We are Young" by Fun. using her ponies // 12. my happy place // 13. Lost Girls is done! // 14. my thrilled demeanor about Issue 4 of Grafted and the first full week of Fangirl Initiative posts


photoshoot the last day of the year
I caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., finally, and cried at the midseason finale. My sister and I finished season 2 of Once Upon a Time and went away to Neverland during Season 3. I started watching The 100 and also watched even more Arrow. (I'm almost done with season 1 of Arrow, guys. It's gonna happen.) Also, I watched Parks and Recreation, both season 2 with my brother, and season 6 by myself. I also watched season 3 of New Girl!

Other Entertainment: My mom and I watched Safe Haven. What the heck was that ending? My mom and I predicted it, but decided it was too twisted of an ending. Except yeah, it happened.

In Conclusion

December was more full than I realized, with finishing a book, taking a college class in just a few days, and getting my braces off. It's actually been a pretty good month.

January has already been full to the brim. I can't believe we're 8 days in to 2015; it seems unreal. I'm watching Good Mythical Morning late into the night, listening to even more music, learning Irish, and planning my goals for the year. I can't wait to see what happens.

Beautiful People: Author Edition

Thursday, January 08, 2015 4
Beautiful People: Author Edition

I've been swamped, but my 2014/2015 post is coming SOON. Until then, I've got a new version of an old link-up to share with you!

That's right, folks. Beautiful People is back after a long three-month break. I know, I know, we promised we'd do both, but Beautiful Books was such a success that we just decided to let BP rest for a while. But now it's back, and better than ever.

However, Beautiful People has a twist this month! We've spent the past three months talking about things other than characters. So  to segue cleanly from one meme to another, we're doing Beautiful People: Author Edition. This month we want to focus on you lovely people! (Er, beautiful people, see what I did there?)

But first, what is Beautiful People? It's a monthly link-up hosted by myself and Cait from PaperFury.com! Together we've joined forces to help you get to know your characters better. Every month we ask 10 questions about your characters. You take these questions, answer them on your own blog, and then come back and sign the linky. It's great fun!

We also ask that you link back to Cait and I, either with a printed link or one of these fancy-schmancy blog buttons.

For this month's version, we'll be focusing on you as writers. Often we can get lost behind our characters, so today it's all about YOU. Rejoiiiice!

And now for the questions.
  1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
  2. How/why did you start writing?
  3. What’s your favorite part of writing? 
  4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
  5. Do you write best at night or day?
  6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)
  7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
  8. How many projects do you work on at once?
  9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
  10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
  11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
  12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
  13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
  14. Do you have a book you'd like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? 
  15. Which story has your heart and won't let go?
Take those questions, copy and paste 'em, and head on over to post them on your blog! And don't forget to check out the links of the other participants. It's a great way to make new friends!

Go forth, writerlings! Tell us about yourself with reckless abandon. I'll be waiting.

How is 2015 treating you so far?