I’m Back! (Hiatus Wrap-Up + Battle Song Ending Thoughts + Blogging Plans)

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Hello all! I’m back earlier than I thought I would be because…I finished the first draft of Battle Song

Here are some stats on Battle Song, just for fun! It has:

  • 89,016 words
  • 41 chapters + an epilogue
  • 1 POV character (1st person, past tense)
  • 24 named characters
  • 202 document pages

It was quite the adventure! There were some really dramatic scenes as I reached the end…those were fun to write! Everything started coming together and I had to reference lots of earlier scenes as I pulled everything together. I don’t think I did it perfectly, but I think I did it well enough (for the first draft, anyway)!

So…what are my writing plans now?

Well, I’m letting Battle Song sit for a little while before I come back to it and start revising (which will give my alpha readers a chance to look over it). I think I’ll leave it for a month or two.

Here’s what my main writing-related goals will be during this period:

  1. Start blogging consistently and with a plan.
  2. Decide what my next novel will be.
  3. Outline my next novel.
  4. Outline and begin writing a middle grade novel for my younger brother on the side.

And then I’ll come back and begin the adventure of revising! Which…I’ve never done before. (That’s why it’ll be an adventure. Well, there’s a first time for everything!)

Speaking of the first point, about blogging…I have some ideas. I’m still figuring out the exact plan, and I’ll probably end up experimenting with different posts.

But for now, my ideas are:

  • monthly mini book reviews post
  • writing updates (not sure in what form)
  • writing advice posts
  • possibly book reviews
  • little writing snippets from my life
  • and a monthly post that is currently secret.

We’ll see how these ideas work out. I’m going to be posting twice a week. In the past, I posted on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but once college starts, those days might change depending on how busy I am.

Oh, and just for fun, I wanted to record, after the first draft, what I think are the best things in Battle Song and what things will most need to be revised. Then when I start revising, I want to see if my opinion has changed.

So here’s my top three best things:

  1. Amrya’s conflicting emotions
  2. Plot reveals (hopefully!)
  3. The book’s overall enjoyable-ness

And the three things I think I’ll need to do the most during revision:

  1. Develop Rhys’s and Malena’s characters
  2. Clarify Amrya’s character arc
  3. Add more description

So that will be fun to come back to in a month or two, when I start revising!


let’s talk!

I’m curious about what all of you writers do after you finish a first draft. How long do you let a novel sit between the first draft and revision? How many people do you have alpha read vs. beta read? Do you ask them to look for different things?

And on the subject of my blogging, what posts are you most/least excited for?

I “Finished” Battle Song–Writing With the End in Mind

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I know, I know, you got so excited when you saw this. “Whoa, she finished her novel in a month? Awesome!”

Well, not really…but I did finish the end of Battle Song(Which was only about 5,000 words long…so not that awesome.)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was browsing on Pinterest and I saw a writing tip that said to start writing at the end, so that you know where you’re going with the story. Since I’m not an outliner, this sounded like a great idea to try. Normally, I never have endings planed out.

So I took some time to prepare (though, not too much, since I already had a basis of the world from last November, when I originally started Battle Song). I figured out a few main scenes I wanted to happen at the end, and then I decided to write it.

But every single scene didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

Some might call it a waste of time because I’ll probably only use two or three paragraphs plus some phrases of that ending, but I thought it was rewarding, and here’s why.

Because the ending turned out so much what I didn’t want, I figured out what I did want.

I took a few notes while I was writing, and here’s a few of them to show you what I mean:

When this is rewritten I need to do better at the dagger her sisters giving her being more tempting or something…this is a bit not intense enough, as if everything is already decided. There’s not enough realization.


Ugh, there’s so much explaining in the scene. I want Amrya to figure almost all of it out, if possible, and have <spoiler> be the cinching moment when it all comes together. So I’ll need more stuff throughout the book.


(And a good one.)

Ooh okay so she has this ancestry line… <spoiler spoiler> So as she’s learning more about them, she’s thinking about her ancestors, realizes that…interesting, hehe. Yay!


It was a great learning experience for me. These last few scenes were supposed to be pivotalintense scenes, and they just really weren’t. Writing them told me that I needed to bring more elements of the ending throughout the entire book, so that there would be traces and hints to what would happen from the very beginning.

Basically I need to foreshadow.

Additionally, writing the ending first helped me figure out what I really wanted with this story. What I wanted the reader to feel, to come away with. I’m still figuring it out, but I have a much better idea.

In the first version I started (that is, Battle Song 1.0, (this is 2.0)), Amrya trades her beauty rather than her voice. I realized that, as I was writing 1.0, I didn’t want that. It didn’t affect her enough.

As I tried to figure out the exact aspects of her deal with the sea witch, I was having a lot of trouble, but I came up with a few ideas. Writing the ending scene, when it came up again, helped me figure it outEven though I’m still not sure about it. But it’s better.

And religion! In the original story by Hans Christian Andersen, part of the reason the little mermaid wants to become a human and marry the prince is so that she can have an immortal soul. (The mermaids don’t have souls–they drift into seafoam at death–but marriage to a human would combine his soul with hers.)

It came up in 1.0, but I didn’t really realize how important I wanted it to be, and how much it affected the story. I was really intrigued by this aspect that Disney took out (well, they took out a lot of things), and as I planned and wrote this ending, it became a very integral part of the plot line.

(Not to mention that there was a little scene that was like a fluffy bit of goodness and I love it to death.)

Writing the end was pretty awesome, and it’s also helped me as I restart with Battle Song 2.0! I’ve written one chapter, and it’s pretty great, mostly because of the development I did. Everything is a lot more important to Amrya as a character and expressed in much better ways.

So, writing the end? I’d call it a success.


let us speak to each other wonderful words

Well…that was kind of a rambly post. What did you think? It was supposed to be a writing advice post but I think it turned into more of an update post, so…oops.

Have you ever tried writing/planning out the ending to your stories/novels first? How do you plan for your ending? How do you plan your novel–or do you? What things are absolutely essential to figure out before you start writing?

Oh, and check out Battle Song‘s new pageIt’s even got a synopsis and everything. *wink wink* Don’t ask me why I winked there. I just did.

But You’ve Just Got to Do It

I’ve always had a problem with getting myself to write in my novels. Starting was easy, as can be shown by the many paragraphs and unfinished first chapters I’ve saved. Going a little farther wasn’t hard either–NaNoWriMo forced me to write, rapidly, a large portion of the rough draft.

But finishing…I’ve never been good with that. It just always seemed so hard to go back to that novel, the old one that seemed so boring now, especially when a shiny new story awaited me, taunting me with enticing new ideas that I could unfold in my mind.

Usually when I write, or am about to start writing, I find myself distracted so easily by other things, as I’m sure you’ve also experienced. Everything just seems so much more interesting than what I’m doing–and wait, do I even know what I’m doing? It would probably just be easier to go do something else. It’s not like I was going to get anything done anyway, right?

Of course, whenever I think that way, I do end up with nothing done. So what’s my problem? I think this quote by Jim Rohn sums it up nicely:

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.

I didn’t try. I didn’t want to try, so I found a reason not to. How do we, then, write in things we don’t want to write in?

I don’t think this quote is saying that we need to want to write. We just need to want to try to write. It’s hard, but you’ve just got to do it. Sometimes, there’s no other way to write than to just decide you’re going to do it. You have to make the choice to not look at those distracting things, and instead turn to your writing.

I’ve made a goal to write (or revise, or plan writing) every day, just for 500 words or 15 minutes. It’s going to be tough at times, but I believe I, and anyone else who’s willing to try, have the capability to achieve this goal by exercising willpower and simply doing what I need to do.

Choose to write, and you’ll find a way. It’s as simple as that: just write.