Why Do I Write?

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This question has been rolling around in my mind for a while, especially as I went through my AP Language & Composition class this last year in school. Why do I write? Or maybe the question would be, more appropriately, What do I want to accomplish with my writing?

I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember. I have old notebooks with drawings and half-finished stories and stuff I wrote for school. Stories come to my mind, ideas, wondering “what if…?” and thinking of what people’s lives might be like.

Writing has always been a part of me. I write because I love thinking of stories, of characters, of making worlds and plots and delighting in how they all fit together. I can’t imagine life without writing (though I still manage to procrastinate it).

But as I attended my English class last year, new questions came to my mind. Should I be writing for a greater purpose? Is my writing supposed to accomplish more than just pleasure?

We read books–classics–and I realized that the reason these books were classics was because they talked about problems in our world. My teacher said once that “Many books come from exaggerating one idea or belief and looking at the results.” Racism, communism, class differences, scientific thought, and so on–we read about them. Discussed them. Thought about them and what needed to be changed.

And I began to wonder: when people read my writing, will it change them?

I’ve always loved fantasy, but I’ve never yet read a fantasy book in school. Is that because they don’t talk about world issues, or just because heroism isn’t classified as something the world needs?

Maybe both.

I love the idea of heroism–and I believe it is something the world needs. We could learn so much from reading The Lord of the Rings in school–strength, heroism, friendship, the battle between good and evil, the struggle to resist temptation. Isn’t better moral character what the world needs?

But that seems to be slipping away in books. It’s hard to find a popular book that doesn’t swear or have innuendos or bad scenes…or actually shows the consequences of bad choices.

We, as humans, are so attached to stories, and so the characters within them become our heroes. We want them to win. We want to become like them. Even if it’s not in very significant ways. Even if it’s just me wanting to be a little more selfless or a little more kind or a little more forgiving.

That is what I want my writing to accomplish. That is why I write: because we need more heroes in the world.

So my books might not become classics, and people won’t read them in school, but so what? I don’t want my books to be a social critique, I want them to be inspiring, to show that there is a difference between right and wrong, and that right is better.

What do I want to talk about? I want to talk about what true love really is or should be (not shallow, not instant, not physical), the difference between right and wrong and why, how emotions like grief, fear, and hurt can be changed to hope, how one person really can change the world, true friendship, forgiveness, love, truth

Yes, I do love writing about wars, dragons, fantasy cultures and religions, and fairy tales, but that’s the outer wrapping. In essence, those things are what I want to write about. I know that God has given me this gift of writing for a reason–and, I think, a love for fantasy. There are people I can reach and touch, and that is my goal: to change the world by changing people, one story and one hero at a time.



tell me!

Why do you write? What do you want to accomplish with your writing? Or, how do you think you might have been blessed to be able to change the world? What is your passion? Are there any topics that you think go unaddressed too much in writing? What is the strongest type of hero, do you think?

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Blog Tour: The Dressmaker’s Secret & Ivy Introspective by Kellyn Roth + Giveaway!

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Hi everyone! I’m super excited to be helping to open Kellyn’s Roth’s blog tour for her two novels, The Dressmaker’s Secret and Ivy Introspective, books 1 and 2 of The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy!

 

Kellyn previously published The Dressmaker’s Secret, but she’s republishing it with some changes as she releases the second novel on June 24, 2017. So let me tell you a little bit about them! I’ll do a little spotlight on both books and then give you a character spotlight on Jordy McAllen, one of my favorite characters from Ivy Introspective! And then the giveaway, of course!


The Dressmaker’s Secret

The Dressmaker's Secret 1After a revealing conversation with the first children of her age she’s ever met, curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway realizes that one ought to have a father … and she doesn’t. Having determined that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice resolves to find him and create a family for herself.

However, Alice’s mother, Miss Chattoway, is reluctant to answer any questions posed about a man she’d much rather forget. While Alice investigates, Miss Chattoway tries to balance her own spiritual turmoil with her need to be both mother and provider to her daughters.

Will Alice ever unravel her mother’s secrets? Can Miss Chattoway let go of the past to reach for the future?

This novel is narrated by a little girl, but it’s actually about both Alice and her mother, Miss Chattoway. It deals with love, spirituality, and family, which are all awesome themes and so fun to read about. Plus, Alice is so funny. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, then you’ll love reading The Dressmaker’s Secret!

Find The Dressmaker’s Secret on Goodreads

Order The Dressmaker’s Secret on Amazon


Ivy Introspective

Ivy Introspective 1Trapped in a world where she doesn’t belong, twelve-year-old Ivy Knight struggles to keep her head above water as her simplicity is brought to light by her new position as a young lady growing up at Pearlbelle Park.

Worried about their daughter’s inability to fit in, Ivy’s parents decide to send her to McCale House, a boarding school in Scotland for boys and girls like her. However, alone and frightened without her beloved mother, sister, and nurse, Ivy can’t seem to focus.

Will Ivy ever learn what Dr. McCale is trying to teach her? Or will she remain lost in her own mind forever?

Ivy Introspective is a fitting sequel to The Dressmaker’s Secret, though, this time, we get to hear about Alice’s twin sister, Ivy, who was born “simple.” We also get to hear about another young and irresistibly lovable girl, Posy, as she goes to her own boarding school.

I loved reading this novel and getting to know Ivy, with her love for stories and for music! (I can’t help but love characters who love music and stories!) The portrayal of Ivy’s struggles is interesting, and I loved to watch her learn and grow, even to the point where she can help other people! Ivy is so lovely and sweet–you can’t help but love her.

Find Ivy Introspective on Goodreads

Pre-Order Ivy Introspective on Amazon


Character Spotlight: Jordy McAllen

Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for (or at least the moment I’ve been waiting for!), the spotlight on Jordy McAllen, a minor but awesome character from Ivy Introspective.

I mean, he just somehow decided to be my favorite character in Ivy Introspective (besides Ivy, of course). Have I ever had a favorite character who was only in a few scenes of a book. Nope…until now!

Okay, so first off, he’s Scottish! So not only does he have look awesome, with his cool reddish/auburnish hair and greenish eyes, but he also sounds awesome with his Scottish brogue! It’s so fun to read his parts out loud, and it’s especially fun to say “Ivy” the way he does: “Ay-vee”. Seriously, try it. You’ll be glad you did.

And secondly, he has such an awesome personality! He’s an ESFP, so not only is he optimistic, enthusiastic, and fun to be around, but he also cares deeply about other people! Seriously, I want him to be my friend, too.

For some background on Jordy: he was born to a farmer’s family with five other siblings. At age 12, approximately four years before Ivy Introspective, he decided he wanted to be a doctor. When Jordy met Dr. McCale, he was offered a job as Dr. McCale’s assistant at the McCale House, a boarding school for mentally challenged children. That’s where he meets Ivy!

Jordy is so awesome, it’s almost worth reading the book just for him. I say “almost” because he only stars in a few short scenes, to my sorrow… But guess what? He’ll be back in Beyond Her Calling (book four)! I’m probably way too excited about that…but I don’t really care! I can’t wait!


Giveaway!

Enter into this giveaway for a chance to win a paperback copy of both The Dressmaker’s Secret and Ivy Introspective! (U.S. only.) Or, if you don’t live in the U.S., you can enter the second giveaway for an ebook copy of both books!

Enter the giveaway here!


Continue on the blog tour

The blog tour for The Dressmaker’s Secret and Ivy Introspective continues from the 20th through the 30th. You can follow along with this schedule and see all the awesome posts that are planned–and find some new blogs and blogging friends along the way!


let’s talk!

Are you excited for Kellyn’s new releases? Will you be following along/participating in her blog tour? And do you adore Jordy as well? What accent is your favorite to talk in? (I like to read Scottish/Irish out loud, but I can’t do it on my own. I can sort of do an Australian accent, and then another accent that probably isn’t even from a real country…) And…how has your summer been so far? Do you have any fun plans?

Becoming an Author — Authory Updates, Goals, and Whatnot

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Yeah, I didn’t write a hiatus post…but it’s too late now. I was gone (church youth camp), I came back, and celebrations are in order. Or a virtual cookie handout. One of the two.

Anyway…this new post! It might turn into a blog series…who knows. It’s called Becoming an Author, with the emphasis on the unspoken “not just a writer”. You see, I’ve made a few decisions over the past few weeks that mainly culminate to this:

If I want to become an author as a career, then I had better start acting like one right now.

Hence becoming an author.

And I want to talk with you about my goals! And ideas! And how I’m faring after my first day at the “job” of being an “actual” author! (Decent…decent.)

But first, some updates.

So, you know I’ve been working on my Iris novella. I finished that last Saturday (the week-and-a-half ago one) at about a total of 24,000 words. It…was pretty great. It felt really good to start and finish something and to know that I put my heart into it. It was fun. It was emotional. And I’m so happy I wrote it.

(And, you know, if you were one of the people who read the Spotlights and decided you wanted more, tell me in the comments and I’ll email the story to you.)

Besides that, I’ve had a whole bunch of plot bunnies, mostly from my dreams, oddly enough. I wrote a 1500-word story/poem/story-poem that was vaguely Rapunzel based from a dream I had. And it was fun.

But I’ve been talking…to myself, to my family, to friends…and I know that I can’t keep writing short stuff like this. If I want to be an author, I need to write a novel. Like, an actual one. That I finish, and revise, and try to publish.

So, I had a little talk/counsel/thing with my parents yesterday and worked out some goals and a schedule for what I’m going to do this summer, and in the future.

First, I needed money. Because there’s things like college looming in my near future (eek!), and who knows when I’ll actually publish something. So I’m working part-time this summer for my dad & grandpa. (I’m transcribing my dad’s journals and editing my grandpa’s history. Both of which should maybe help me with writing, and I’ll enjoy them much more than some other entry-level job.)

And secondly, I need to write like it was my actual job. Well, not necessarily, because I’m only doing two hours a day. But I’m doing two hours a day! Which means I’ll be doing something consistently with writing, which I have not done in the past.

Also, I’m working on one novel that will hopefully be ready to be published by June 2018. If it’s not publishing-worthy or if I don’t publish it by then, whatever. But I just want to have it as ready as I can make it.

Want to know what it is?

Drumroll, please…

It’s Battle Song, the novel I started last November for NaNoWriMo! And, as a plus for me, there’s already a page for it. (An non-updated page, for sure, and everything’s subject to change, but hey, it’s there.)

Besides the novel ha, I make it sound like it’s so easy to write a novel, I’m also looking to publish a few short stories, whether through magazines or contests. If you know of a good one, please tell me! I’d love to hear it! I have one or two (or maybe just one) stories I could try to publish, so I’ll probably need to write more, but I want to try to get my name out there and maybe develop my craft a little more along the way.

I want to publish at least one short story by September 1, 2017. Because that’d be cool. *nods*

Aside from writing, there’s blogging! Yes sirree, you never thought this day would come, the day when I, Lana, at The Music of Words, would actually make…a posting schedule.

I’m going to spend two hours on “writing marketing” (which is basically just talking to people online and writing blog posts) once a week, and write two blog posts & set them to post. (Probably Saturday, since I don’t have “work” that day.) And then the other day that my post comes out, Tuesday, will also be my blog response day where I respond to comments. Which is only supposed to take 30 minutes. Heh. Heh. Heh.

But, as you can tell, it is a Wednesday, which isn’t on my posting schedule at all. It’s also not in my general schedule either, but I’m writing this during my free time. So if I have a brilliant idea for a blog post, it might appear on a random day. (You can thank me later.)

Oh yes! So, today was my very first day on the job. I actually followed a schedule from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. Crazy, I know! (And then I had free time…ahh man, I’m going to love my free time.) So, how did it go?

Well. It went well. (Wahoo for good grammar!)

Okay, it was actually easier than I thought to keep to a schedule, though I was sorely tempted to stop and just finish the book I was reading. (I finished it during my lunch break, instead. And then read another book during my after-five-pm free time. *grins*)

But it was also hard to work on writing. I’m trying to figure out world building so that it’s actually cool (not to mention I think it’ll solve a lot of plot problems), but it’s more difficult than expected. How does one take influences from a real-world culture, put it into a fake world, with certain requirements and characters, and still make it realistic? I have no idea. But at least I’m trying, and that feels really good.


talk with me!

Do you like/not like the Becoming an Author posts & why? What should I do differently in the next one? (less updates, more advice?) Are you excited for my goals as well? What are your plans for the future & what career do you want to go into/are in? What are your best tips for keeping to a schedule? Or for writing? Or just tips for life in general? I’m a willing listener here to all the sage wisdom you have to give. Especially if it’s a little sarcastic. *wink wink*

 

Don’t Think, Just Write

This post is sort of a mix of a pep talk thing to those participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well as some advice for first draft writing. (So, if you’re not doing a first draft for Camp NaNo, you may not find this very helpful…but too bad. You can read it anyway. 🙂 )

Recently, I’ve noticed a bit of an increase in my typing speed as I’m writing, and I think I’ve finally figured out why. It mostly came one night at dinner when we happened to bring up the subject of NaNoWriMo.

“Doesn’t NaNoWriMo just encourage people to use a lot of words instead of an actual story?” said my mom. “It would just make people write things like, ‘I went to the store. When I got there, I couldn’t decide whether or not I should buy peanuts or cashews. Hmmm. The peanuts, or the cashews? Finally, I decided on buying the peanuts instead of the cashews, because they were cheaper.'”

I thought about this for a moment and said, “Yes, but they’d have more of the story than they started with.”

That’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo–not to write words, sometimes not even to write a novel, but to write more than you had before. In the example my mom gave, yes, the writing is pretty terrible. Yes, the conflict is also terrible. But you have more. If those 42 words hadn’t been written, you wouldn’t have anything about your character visiting the store, and who knows, maybe the cashew/peanut debate will become important later on! Although, the decision should be obvious. Always go for the cashews. Always.

So you may be looking at your unfinished manuscript right now, thinking that this is wildly out of character, or it doesn’t even make sense, or why are there evil talking cats this isn’t supposed to be happening. Maybe you’re horribly behind on your word count and the few thousand–or even the few hundred–you’ve managed to write just don’t seem good enough.

The amazing thing is that you’ve already written more than you had before. No matter how horrible, how confusing, or how small the writing has been, there’s more story than there was before, and that’s something that you should be proud of.

I’ve found that the best way to write more, and faster, is this simple motto/phrase/whatever-you-want-to-call-it: don’t think, just write. Stop worrying about whether what you’re writing is good or bad, whether it goes with the story and fits with the outline. Stop thinking that this description is taking way too long or this chapter should have finished already or where did this character come from or why on earth are these characters being shippy. Just write.

Yes, it’s hard not to stop and try to figure out what’s going on, especially when you want this novel to be as good as your original idea for it was, especially when that one word you used really doesn’t seem right, especially when this wasn’t in the outline at all. Usually, I have to find some way to force myself into this frame of mind. Two ways that I do it are:

  • Word wars or word sprints with other people. I find that competition really helps me want to win and I don’t go back to fix things or stop to think because I want to win.
  • Timed goals with myself. (Ex. “I’m going to try to write 700 words in 15 minutes.”) It’s especially helpful if you choose goals you’ve never achieved before, because it encourages you to really push yourself as hard as you can, with no stopping.

The key is to not stop to think. (Again, don’t think, just write.) If you think about what you’re writing, you’re inevitably going to realize that it’s bad writing, and you’re going to want to fix it. Don’t think. The trick is to trick ourselves into writing without thinking, to keep our fingers moving even when the sentences start to sound like, “Then I met a guy named Bob. Bob was weird. He had weird hair that I can’t describe right now. He liked to eat cake.”

People will tell you to not go back to revise, because you’ll take up time and delete words. The fact is that stopping to think about what to write next will take up just as much time, and the time you waste will cost you just as many words anyway. (Well, maybe not just as many, but still.)

So if you’re struggling with whatever writing you’re working on, all you have to do is remember these four words: don’t think, just write. Actually, don’t even think about not thinking. Don’t think about purple elephants…too late.

And remember, even if you feel completely stuck and at a loss for what to write, you’ve written more than you had before. Be proud, pat yourself on the back, because that really is the most important thing.


How is Camp NaNo going for all of you who are doing it, and how close are you to your goals? Do you have any other tips or tricks on how you get yourself to write? And, most importantly, cashews or peanuts? (Or you can just tell me your favorite kind of nut; that works too. I bet you can’t guess mine…)

The Joy of Writing

A long, long time ago, I wrote my very first novel. Okay, so it wasn’t that long ago, but it has been almost 3 years since then. o.O waht it can’t have been that long. My novel was called Raven, finished at about 35,000 words…and I was absolutely convinced it was awesome.

Guess what? It really wasn’t that awesome.

But the great thing is, I thought it was. I loved writing that novel more than I think I’ve loved writing any other novel since. And I was absolutely exhilarated once I wrote that last word on April 29th–I’m pretty sure I told everyone five thousand times in the next week that I’d finished a novel.

Now, reading over it, it makes me laugh. A lot. Mainly because it’s really stupid and cheesy, but I thought it was wonderful, and that’s just funny. Here, I’ll show you a random excerpt, and you try to believe me thinking that this is some of the best writing ever written.

Kergan and the monster come to stand next to me. I become aware that the beast is right next to me. I look over at him, and he seems to grin, and I think I see the fangs wiggle just a bit. I turn away, trying not to notice the flippers that are waving right next to me.

I take a deep breath, then immediately wish I hadn’t. The creature, Balkarr, has an overpowering stench, and I resist the urge to pinch my nose shut. Now I really wish I hadn’t eaten so much. I position my nose as far away as I possibly can, and hope that I won’t be able to smell Balkarr too much.

Yep, there’s pages and pages and pages of this stuff. (Also, a lot of my “jokes” seem to deal with smelly things. I’m not sure why.)

Anyway, the point is that even though the writing itself, as well as a lot of the scenes and ideas, were not very good at all, I loved it, and I enjoyed the writing process immensely.

As you may have heard me mention before, about a year ago, I went to a writing conference, where lots and lots of different authors talked to us. So I ended up hearing the “writing life stories” from many authors, and they all seemed to have something in common.

Almost every author, when they talked about their writing career, they talked about a portion where they fell away from writing for a while, because they stopped enjoying it. Sometimes locked into a series and contracts from publishers, and sometimes just unable to find enjoyment in what they were doing.

So they stopped writing for a little while. And then, what did almost every one of them say?

They said they decided to write a novel for themselves. One writer wrote a mystery when she’d never written that genre. Others just got a new idea and went with it. They thought that this novel, since it wasn’t what they normally wrote, wouldn’t be any good.

But they were good. They were better, in fact, than what they’d written before. Those novels were the ones snatched up by agents and published.

Those were the novels that were loved by readers, because they were loved by their authors first.

Enjoyment and love of writing, I think, is key in writing a good novel. Of course, writing is hard. I know, personally, that sometimes it’s hard to get started writing, especially if a scene isn’t working out, or your characters are being annoying. *glares at Cren*

But at the end of the day, when we’ve finished our writing, we should have found enjoyment in it. Because if we don’t, why are we even doing it? There’s no point in writing if you don’t love it, but when you do…there’s every reason to continue on, even when times get hard.

Romance as a Crutch

Okay, I’m definitely guilty of this one in my writing, but I’m trying to improve and make it better, so I’m going to talk about it anyway.

A lot of the time when I read new books, I find them really boring. Maybe I think everything should be at a higher level now that I’ve read Brandon Sanderson’s books, but I really feel like there’s something missing in all of those books.

Like…a plot.

You see, sometimes I find myself reading a book, just wishing I could be at the end so that I could make sure these two characters would fall in love and have their happily ever after and then I could stop reading. Sometimes that need to make sure they end up together really is the only thing keeping me finishing certain books. And even if they do end up together, I end up feeling kind of disappointed and meh.

I think it’s because they throw it in randomly, like subplots are toppings you can put on top of a hot dog to try to make it edible, when really, they should be a part of the meat that’s ground up into the…actually, let’s not go there.

Instead, let’s talk Kung Fu Panda.

I love this movie. It was well-done, really funny, and I really did love it. But then they decided to make a second one. It seems, as a rule, that the first movies are always the best, unless you decide to plan for them.

I’m pretty sure they didn’t plan for Kung Fu Panda 2. I mean, obviously they gave themselves an opening for it with Po’s dad being a duck. (“Honestly, Dad, sometimes it’s hard to believe I’m actually your son.”) But it just felt like they said, “Hmm, let’s make more money by making a second movie, and since Po feels acceptance now, we’ve got to give him another internal conflict. Oh, right, the tragic backstory! That’ll work.” And…I didn’t really end up liking it.

And now they have Kung Fu Panda 3. I haven’t seen it yet, but just from the cover it looks like I know what subplot they decided to throw on there–romance. I have to say, I’m amazed they made it to the third movie without it. *clap clap*

Why am I amazed? Because romance is one of the easiest ways to trick readers into keeping reading/watching even when there isn’t any other interesting plot. We’re human, and romance draws us. Why did I finish all those books that I didn’t really like? Because I wanted to make sure it ended right, because we almost all like happy endings and people finding love and happiness.

While some romance is done really well, and while I love romance and ships and all that stuff, I’ve found that I have a real big appreciation for books I finish and enjoy that don’t have romance in them at all, because it shows me that their plot is actually good.

Take for example, the book I just finished today, Forest Born by Shannon Hale. The MC didn’t have any love interest throughout the whole book, and yet I still kept reading, because the story is what interested me. The three books before that in the series all had romance, but the main plot was way more important, and kept me thoroughly interested.

Or, let’s take The Lord of the Rings. There wasn’t much romance in that, especially in the books. In the movies there was a little bit more, but still the main plot was much more important, and as far as relationships went, it was obvious that Sam and Frodo’s friendship was the most important one. And I really, really loved that. I cried at the end of the third movie when SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER Frodo left, and I don’t cry very often in movies or books at all. There was something about that friendship that was so much more touching than any romance.

So what’s my point of this post? I’m not saying that romance is bad to have in books; in fact, I love it. But what I’m trying to say is that romance and shippiness shouldn’t be the only thing driving your readers through to the end of the book. Ask yourself if your novel could still survive if there wasn’t romance in it.

As far as my humble opinion goes, I really believe that romance is used as a crutch far too often in modern literature. Sometimes it makes sense, in romance novels and some realistic fic stuff, but in most books, I want a plot that makes me excited and characters that make me want to follow them. I want so much more than just romance, and maybe that’s greedy, but it’s true.

So I’m asking myself now: Could my Zel novel survive without romance? (I’m ignoring the fact that it’s a fairy tale retelling at the moment.) And thinking about that question, I think there might be a few things I need to change. Like maybe actually adding some side characters in. But I think I’m not depending on romance for everything, and that makes me really happy.

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Note: This post is rather long and very rambly. Enjoy at your leisure (and at your own risk).

I recently (as in a few minutes ago) realized that today is New Year’s Eve Eve. For some reason, I thought it was farther away, but here it is, almost 2016. Since I’ll probably be spending tomorrow writing this short story thing (see here), as well as the usual New Year’s Eve traditions, I decided I’d write my end of the year post today. In which, I shall be writing about some of my accomplishments from this past year, as well as my goals and resolutions for next year (most of them being centered around writing).

Goodbye, 2015.

This has been a good year for me, and I’m sad to see it go. There were some sad spots and some stressed spots, but overall, looking back on it, it’s been a good year. I feel like I’ve come leaps and bounds in my writing since January, despite that the year felt so short. So, some of my accomplishments.

1. The 365K challenge. I accepted this challenge in late 2014, and it was to write 1,000 words every day for a whole year, thus resulting in 365,000 words. I didn’t write that much, but ultimately, taking this challenge changed my writing drastically.

Though I started NaNoWriMo and writing novels in 2013, I didn’t really do much in between NaNo sessions. I would write in April, July, and November, sparing a little bit of time in the middle to work on my novels, but never writing much more outside of those three months.

365K changed that. I started writing nearly every day, if not daily. It became a habit. It became part of who I was.

Now that I look back on it, remembering that there was once a day when writing didn’t mean so much to me is like trying to remember a strange dream, I’ve changed so much since then. It’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s now ingrained into my life. I don’t know if I could ever go back to the way I was before.

Though I won’t be doing 365K in 2016, due to that I should (hopefully) be doing some revising instead of writing, I’m so glad that I decided to do it this year. In total, I wrote 336,587 words, and in the end was only 28,413 words behind. I’m proud of myself for that.

2. NaNoWriMo. I love NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t heard of it). It was what first truly showed me my love of writing. I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember, but NaNoWriMo was what really got me started. So, of course, I’ve continued doing it.

In April, I participated in the first Camp NaNo of this year. I wrote 130 more words than my goal of 40,000 in a fantasy novel I tentatively titled The Blade, though I just call it my Riven novel, since the MC was a girl named Riven. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s in the works.

In July, I participated in the second Camp NaNo of this year. I finally came to my senses and realized I had way too many unfinished novels that needed attending to, so I started a project called A Thousand a Day, coinciding with the 365K challenge. I had a goal of 31,000 (a thousand a day), and had a total of 32,323 by the end of the month. I don’t know if it really helped all that much, but it helped some, at least.

In November, I wrote in the official NaNoWriMo and the YWP NaNoWriMo, writing an urban fantasy that was called Behind the Closet Door but shouldn’t be called that now, as that name doesn’t fit. However, I do still call it BCD when I refer to it. I wrote 53,016 words in it (or 53,017, depending on which site you look on), but haven’t touched it since.

Overall, NaNo was kind of crazy and I don’t know that my writing was even that good during it, but I love doing it anyway. It encourages me to write more, try harder, and also gives a sense of community that you don’t get when writing on your own. Besides, all rough drafts are bad, so who cares, anyway?

3. Finishing novels. I’ll tell you right off the bat, I’m not good at finishing novels. I like to chase after random plot bunnies, and I’m not the kind of person who can work on one thing at a time. I always have tons of writing projects going on at the same time, and, in short, I am a procrastinator.

However, this year I managed to actually finish two of my novels. Rough drafts, of course, but they are finished, and I’m pleased with that. In the two years before, I’d finished three novels (all of them shorter than these two), so this was a good improvement.

I first finished DotW, which is short for Daughter of the Wind. (I give all of my novels nicknames, so…be warned. For something. Something evil author-y, obviously.) I started writing that novel for NaNoWriMo in 2014, and finally finished that this June. I have to say, it was really, really nice to not have that hanging over my head anymore. I may revise it at one point, but it’s a mess. It involved time travel and I also didn’t plan much for it, so it did turn out really messy, heh. But it’s finally finished, so yay!

I also finished KT, which doesn’t actually have a title, but its two MCs are named Kai and Taira, which is why it has that nickname. I started this last December, and I wrote it in between NaNos. I wanted to finish it before this November’s NaNoWriMo, and I did — I finished it on Halloween. I’m not really sure what genre it is, somewhere between sci-fi and dystopia, but I liked writing it a lot, and I do have plans for it in the future.

While I didn’t actually finish any other novels, I came a lot closer to finishing some of them, like Riven. Of course, I did start several, but I promise I fought off as many plot bunnies as I could. (I won’t pinkie promise, though…)


I don’t know how well it showed up in all of that rambling, but I did progress a lot this year. I wrote more than I did before, finished more than I did before, and my writing improved a lot. So, yes, I am very satisfied with 2015, but I am also excited for 2016.

Hello, 2016.

I have a few writing goals for this new year, and thinking of all of them makes me feel very professional, hehe. (However, it probably fills you with dread for how much longer this post will go on. Too bad. The post must go on!)

1. Zel novel. This is a plot bunny idea I had just a few weeks ago and have been trying to nurture into health. And novel-ness. It’s a retelling of Rapunzel, beginning with Rapunzel La’arenal (a.k.a. Zel) as a foreign criminal, captured and kept in Davacas’s castle tower as her cell before she is to be executed for her crimes. When she escapes, however, Crennan Torvyr (a.k.a. Cren), a Davac soldier, chases after her in order to capture and bring her back to her cell, and to her death.

Well, that’s the premise, anyway. I’ve done a little bit of planning on the plot, but mostly I’ve been working on the world building (as well as a bit of character development). I’m planning to start work on the rough draft of this novel in early January, and I’ll probably be rambling about it a lot. I’m excited to write this draft, and we’ll see how it goes.

2. Revision of KT. You know that novel I finished up this year? That weird, half sci-fi, half dystopia one? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to revise/rewrite it this year. I’ve never actually revised one of my novels before, so this will be exciting. Despite my inexperience, I do have a few things I already know can be changed, and I really am excited to change this rough draft into a much better second draft. I’ll probably be blogging about this quite a bit when I do it too, so be ready.

3. KT 2. Which is the best nickname I’ve been able to come up for KT’s sequel. After all, it’s still about Kai and Taira, and considering neither have an actual title, I’m calling it KT 2 right now. Anyhow, I’m planning on writing the sequel to KT, if you hadn’t already figured that out from the above sentences, and I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to be about, but I’m going to write it anyway. (Okay, so I have a few ideas, but not many.)

This will actually be the first sequel I’ve written (aside from the sequel to my first novel ever, both of which were pretty horribly written), so this will be interesting. I’m glad I feel excited enough about one of my novels to actually write a sequel to them, and that gives me hope for the future of KT.

4. NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do NaNo again. Yup.

5. Finishing novels. Again, this is going to be a priority for me. I want to finish some of the novels I’ve started, like Riven and AAA and ICS. And some others, of course. There are always more novels that I can finish…


Yep, I have some plans for 2016. Hopefully I can get even more done than that, but so far, that’s what I have, and I’ll do my best to reach those goals.

I now formally welcome in 2016. *drones on in long speech, finishing in a ritual that involves good food, music, and some magical words that sound like they’re in another language which also sounds kinda like pig latin.

“Elcomeway ootay uhthay oonay earyay!”


Utway areay oaryay oonay earsyay esolutionsray anday oaryay olday earsyay achievementsay?