The Writer’s Tag

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I know, I haven’t done a tag since…well, since the Week of Blog Tags, and I don’t remember how long ago that was. But what writer doesn’t love talking about writing? And when May @ Forever and Everly tagged anyone who wanted to do it, why not do it…a month later? (That’s pretty good for me, actually.) Thanks, May!

So, it’s time for The Writer’s Tag! Where I talk about writing!


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

Lots of things, but I suppose it’s usually the same things that I like to read about!

For genresFantasy with cool plot reveals and a dash of romance. But, you know, I’ve never read epic science fiction, and yet that’s something else I’m writing about? I need to read more sci-fi…anyone know of any books?

For styles: I usually write in 3rd person, past tense, but for Battle Song, which I’m starting to work on again, it’s actually in 1st person! And my writing style is usually fairly straightforward. I would love to develop better word choice and a more beautiful writing style, but mine is pretty simple right now.

For topics: I love to write about dragons, magic, fairy tale retellings, cultures/beliefs, deep characters, and war. Probably too much war. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure that I’ve written a novel that doesn’t have war in it…I just love the strength and heroism it brings out in people!


How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember! I still have old notebooks from when I was in elementary school with unfinished stories in them (usually about fairies or orphans…who knows?).

However, I never really took writing seriously as something I’d actually want to do with my life until my dad suggested we do Camp NaNoWriMo together, in April 2013. That’s when I realized how much I loved writing.

Then, 2014 was when writing became more a part of my life, when I took the 365K challenge and tried to write a thousand words every day.

And now, I’m trying to make writing my career, so I guess it depends on your definition of “writing”. Maybe I’m just beginning!


Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I write because if I don’t write, my mind fills with new ideas and new plots, and my Creative Dragon awakes within me, telling me that it won’t leave me alone until I write something. (True story.)

I write because I love to express emotions through words, because I can’t always speak, because there’s a beauty in showing how people progress through difficult challenges.

I write because weaving a story is my favorite way to spend my time. I adore my characters, I can’t stop the exhilaration of coming up with a new idea, and I love trying to puzzle out how everything fits together. In short, it’s awesome!


When is the best time to write?

All the time! Just kidding. I don’t know if there’s a particular time of day that I feel more productive to writing, because that’s not something I normally pay attention to, but on my new schedule I’m writing from 3:00-5:00 p.m. I don’t know, if I did it a little earlier, I’d probably be a bit more creative, but it still works! I like having a timeframe that I have to stick to–writing, and nothing else, during those hours.


What parts of writing do you love, and what parts do you hate?

Love:love that moment when everything just fits together! After you’ve been thinking hard and pondering how anything relates, and it’s so confusing, but this flash of inspiration comes and everything makes sense!

When you think of an awesome plot twist or plot reveal.

When you’re developing a character you didn’t really connect with before, and then you figure out something about them, and you just love them to death.

When thinking about a character’s death makes you want to cry (even if you don’t).

When you write that super emotional scene and your heart feels like it’s being squeezed and your characters are all so awesome and dramatic and everything is awesome.

When you have dreams about your characters being shippy. *nods*

When you have dreams that spark story ideas.

When you share your work and someone loves it! And not only that, but they connect with it. That’s awesome.

When you look back on old writing and realize that it’s not as bad as you remembered.

When you think of a deliciously sad and emotional ending or scene.

When you get to be the evil author. All too often done by me…but it’s so fun!

When you’re so in love with your story that everyone else can’t help but love it too.

…that was kind of long…

Hate/Dislike: Being stuck and not knowing where to go next.

When you have such a great idea, and it doesn’t turn out as good on paper.

When your characters are all refusing to develop themselves. Hence all the character-glaring that I do.

When you start to compare yourself with other writers and feel like a failure.

When you feel like you don’t know how to write anymore.

When someone doesn’t like your writing that you’re really proud of.

When you feel so inadequate and like you’ll never measure up.

Gosh, why do we put the “hates” after the “loves”? That’s just depressing.


How do you overcome writer’s block?

I don’t. Umm, probably through endurance, I guess? Sometimes all it takes is to keep going when it’s hard. But I think usually it helps to take a break and do something else (like drawing or playing the piano) to calm me down. After that, it helps to find where things went wrong and then try to fix it or go from there. Identifying the problem is half the battle!

(And fixing it is the other half. *sighs* Usually something needs more development…always more development.)


Are you working on something at this moment?

Yes, I’m writing this blog post. Yup! I just started working on Battle Song, a retelling of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, with warrior mermaids + cool characters + cool religion stuff + wars! (See? There’s even multiple wars in this one.) I started writing it last November for NaNoWriMo, but I’m restarting.

(I’d link you to the page, but some things are changing and I need to rewrite it. And also make a better blurb. Because I’m great at that.)

Anyway, I’m still working on re-developing stuff, but soon I’m going to start writing. This time, I’m going to write the last 10K first because then I’ll know where I’m headed. Plus, there’s some great emotional/shippy/awesome scenes at the end. *grins*


What are your writing goals this year?

Well, I do have goals from my New Year’s Resolutions post, buut a few of those might be changing. My new goals are to write every day, to publish at least two short stories, and have the first and second drafts of Battle Song done.

Unless you mean “year” as in a year from today, in which case to have Battle Song as ready for publishing as I can get it.

And, of course, to always be improving!


Tag–You’re it!

If you read this and enjoyed it, consider yourself tagged. Because I only have a few people who I could tag, and I’m also not sure how many you’re supposed to tag for this…so tag if you want it!

(Also, if you do this tag, feel free to use the graphic!)


we talk and talk and talk

Are you going to do the tag/have you done it before? I’d love a link! And if you don’t want to do the tag, feel free to answer the questions in a comment below! I especially want to know what you love and what you hate about writing.

Oh, and, P.S. I’m going to be gone next week on a family vacation. I was going to write a post and pre-schedule it, but I don’t know if I’ll have time. So if you don’t see me, that’s why!

Rambles on Writing #2: Things Are Looking Up

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In my last post, Rambles on Writing #1, I talked about how everything in my novel seemed to be falling apart and I didn’t know how to write it and the plot was terrible and blah blah blah all of my complaining. So a big THANK YOU to everyone who encouraged, advised, supported, and commiserated with me in response.

I said I wanted my next post to be more happy and so it is! I am much more happy. There are still things to work on (like maybe actually writing something in Enhanced, but I figured out most of the problem and kind of how to fix it. (I found more problems, too, but mainly smaller ones.)

The main problem with my plot, I realized, was that none of my characters really changed. I’d made all of these lovely little plots for them to go through and struggle with, but they weren’t really struggling because the plots didn’t really affect them.

First of all, I added in the moralistic dimension that my writing had been missing. Obviously, you don’t want a book to end with, “And that’s why you should always…” because that isn’t going to change people. But if you can write a book with inspiring characters and play with the reader’s emotions, then they can learn a lesson from it and apply it to them. That wasn’t happening before, but hopefully it will now.

For that, I wrote down a list of a lot of the life lessons that I’ve learned (or should have learned) and a lot of them just fit with characters. Like, “You can’t change other people, so change yourself,” goes definitely to Taira. And Kai’s is clearly, “Heroism means integrity. You have to keep to your standards no matter the situation or justification,” which is possibly my favorite one.

Some of the others were tricky, like with Will or Bennett, but I figured them out. (“You can make a difference” and “if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything,” respectively.)

Then I took the plot and altered it just slightly so that it would affect all of them personally. Since Meryn is so separated from the rest of them and really isn’t participating in the main plot, she was the main problem, so I spent a couple pages figuring out why their plan would affect her.

And now I’m feeling much better about the plot. There’s still so much to do, but at least I know where I’m going and why it’ll affect the character and so hopefully I have enough to get back to writing on.

I may do a very short and basic outline so that I can figure out what I’m already supposed to have written and included, but I might not and instead just continue where I left off with the better plot. *shrugs*

Anyway, I know this is a rather short and bland post, but, hey, things are working out more and I’m feeling happy about the development I’ve done, so I figured that was worth sharing. (Don’t worry, I’ll have some more exciting posts after this busy weekend.)


Oh, and before the questions at the end of this post, here’s a quick update on blogging that I forgot to post a week or two ago-I’ve gotten to a thousand comments! The thousandth comment was done by Kellyn Roth, who well-deserved this honor due to her many comments on my blog (somewhere around 150 by now. Actually, I lied–nearly 200 comments!). Thank you all for all of your comments and your conversation with me! It’s been lots of fun.


How has your writing been coming along? Have you had any breakthroughs like I have had, are you stuck in writer’s block, or are you still just breezing along with amazing skills? I would love to hear about all of your novels–go ahead, ramble!

Spotlight #3: Yay, Battle Song Excerpts!

Today you shall behold wonders.

You shall behold first-draft, unedited, totally fabulous excerpts from my NaNoWriMo novel.

You shall behold that there was great sarcasm in that last sentence. Although, I will only be including my favorite excerpts, so maybe there will be some fabulous bits in there…we’ll see.

So, quick review if you weren’t around, since I still haven’t made a page for Battle Song yet: Little Mermaid retelling where she trades her beauty instead of her voice, is trying to get an immortal soul, is fabulous at fighting, and there are two adorable princes. Got it?

Great. Let’s get to the excerpts, then! Just be forewarned that they may be random and confusing…



“Have you seen the beauty of the ocean? Have you seen the rippling of the sand and the swaying of the seaweed? Have you seen the fish swimming past you in schools, close enough to touch? Have you seen the light streaming through the water and the bubbling of the currents? Have you seen the deep blue that grows so dark light cannot penetrate? These are sights that no human has ever seen. We come here to experience the beauty for a short time, even if it ends sooner than not.”


She [Alavar] bit her lip. I knew it even though I couldn’t see, because that’s what she did whenever she was worried about something. “There was a battle, and you were gone.”

“I…why did we attack them?”

“We didn’t. They attacked us.”

My heart froze as I thought of the implications. “But there wasn’t a storm.”

“That doesn’t matter anymore. Now all that matters is keeping us safe, which means staying together. We needed you there—Tarisah got hurt, badly.”

“Where is she?” I was suddenly frantic. Tarisah, my sister, hurt. I had to find her, had to apologize for not being there, for not protecting her. She was the third youngest, but she’d always been smaller than either I or Kariven. Always the weakest, always the one who needed to be protected, and I hadn’t been there to fight the other mers off.

“That’s not fair,” I said, as I followed Alavar out of the hut and into the blackened ocean. “They’re not supposed to do that. They’re not allowed to.”

She laughed softly, derisively. “You think that matters to them? Now, it doesn’t matter. We’ll have to be on the watch all the time, night and day, on all sides, waiting for attacks from anyone. You think our clan will survive? No. Not us. We lost all power and authority the day Mother died.”


“No, Alavar, you don’t get it. You don’t understand. You think I’m like you–you think I’m like everyone else! I try to be, but it just doesn’t work. I fooled you, but I can never fool myself. I hate fighting. I want to explore. I want to try new things. But you all expect me to be the same and I’m just not!”

She swam back from me slightly, as if my words had physically pushed her away. “What are you talking about?”

“I hate fighting. I never liked it. But I did it because everyone expected me to. I did it because it felt like my only option. And now, my only option is to stay here and be sentry because maybe then someone will trust me again and think I’m a normal mer instead of who I actually am.”

She didn’t say anything, so I kept talking. “You want to know why I spent so much time practicing how to fight? I did it because that’s what Mother and I always fought about. Maybe I thought that learning how to be a warrior would bring her back, but it never worked because she’s just seafoam and I’ll never get to see her again and tell her—” My voice broke suddenly, clogged up so much that I couldn’t speak. “Tell her how sorry I am.”


“She will share her magic with you, but for an exorbitant price, far more than one wants to pay. But she teases it out of you, hiding everything she can with half-truths. She’ll tell you she’s mended her ways, she’ll say that she only wants the best for you, but what she really wants is the best from you. It’s said she’ll steal your tail from you if you’re not paying attention.

“Down in the darkness of the deepness of the ocean she dwells, waiting for any unwary sea creature to come her way, into her grasp. Some are lured in by visionary sights; others choose to bargain. Only those who come knowing what they want manage to leave again at all, but you can never really escape.”


Her [the sea witch’s] voice became soft now, rippling through the water like how the wind caused ridges in the water and the sand. “I know what you want, Amrya, more than you do. I can see into you, to your deepest desire, the reason why you came here. Do you want to know why you are here?”

My heart was already broken; I had no idea why I would have come, so I uttered an emotionless “Yes.”

“You are here because you want to be human. You are here because you have to cling to something and that something is a soul. You want to last longer. Haven’t you thought to yourself that you wanted to be human? When Alavar laughed at that, you wanted to show her that she was wrong. She is, Amrya. There is more beauty up there that you will never see if you stay here your entire life, and all of it will last so much longer. There is no sea up there to decay the houses, nothing to wash away all the life you have known. The human world is so much more permanent than ours, and that is why you want to go.”


After I’d exhausted my spears for the fifth or sixth round, I went to go pick them up. I bent to grab one, and when I stood up, a man was standing there, holding out two of the spears I’d thrown to me. I squinted at him, at the light blond hair, the plain clothing, and then I remembered where I’d seen him before: talking to the prince on the riverbank the day of the fireworks.

“Thank you,” I said, after staring at him for a moment, and took the spears into my arms.

“What’s your name?” he asked, a glint of surprise in his blue eyes…blue just like Alavar’s.

“Amrya,” I replied, picking another spear off the ground, and waited for him to respond with his name, but he never did. Instead he grabbed the last spear, handed it to me, and walked back the thirty-or-so paces to where I had been throwing with me.

“Where did you learn to use a spear like that?” he asked.

I wasn’t sure how to answer. The way he asked it implied that this wasn’t how he normally saw spears being used…either that, or he thought it was impressive and also rare. Either way, saying anything specific might give something odd away. “My mother taught me.”

He looked at me even more oddly than before. “Your mother? So do all the women in your family do it?”

I nodded. “I have five older sisters.”

He looked at me in surprise again, and I wondered if he would ever look at me normally. “And they all can throw spears like that?”

I shrugged. “More or less.”


“What are your plans, then, for your future?” he [the king] pressed.

Before I had time to even think about answering, Aeren put his glass down on the table, a little harder than necessary. “Amrya has just been in a shipwreck that took the lives of her loved ones. Do you expect her to have an immediate plan for her future? She’ll figure everything out, I’m sure, but she needs time, not more stress than she already has.”

“Calm down, Aeren,” said the queen. “We’ll talk about this after dinner.”

Aeren still looked angry with his parents, but his spine, which had stiffened during his outburst, relaxed slightly.


I judged the situation cautiously. I was supposed to be nice to him [Rhys], to try to get him to fall in love with me, but I couldn’t help be a little bit annoyed with him. “You enjoyed that, didn’t you?”

“What?”

“Playing with them. Lying to them.”

He raised an eyebrow and looked at me coolly. “I’m not the one who should be talking about lying.”

I looked away, at the dancing, but I didn’t really focus in on it. “What did you tell Aeren?”

“Why does it matter to you whether he believes you or not? I thought I was the one you were trying to impress. You’re just like all those other girls. You only want the crown prince in order for my money, or worse, to become queen. Or, alternately, you could be a spy from Althair who merely heard about the story of the mysterious girl who saved me from the ship.”

“I’m not a spy, and I’m not like the other girls.” I looked at him levelly and gathered the courage I had. “I told you the truth when I said I was the one who saved you. The only reason I told Aeren differently is because you didn’t believe me, so I knew he wouldn’t.”

Rhys returned the same gaze. “I don’t know whether I should trust you or not.”


We walked in silence for a long moment, both of us looking out at the ocean and the sunset as the light died and drifted into darkness. The palace glowed with faint, yellow light, and we headed toward it. “When are you planning to go back to Althair?” asked Aeren suddenly.

“I do not know yet. I’m not sure. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to go back.” No, I knew that. I was a human now, forever, and there wasn’t a way to go back. Either I would stay a human into the eternities, or I would turn into seafoam as soon as Rhys was married.

“You can stay as long as you need, of course. But my father is already impatient…he wants to know why you’re here. He thinks you’re a spy for Althair. A girl just happens to show up at the brink of war, claiming to be shipwrecked, just happening to be taken in by the royal family…he thinks it’s too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.” He looked at me and his eyes met mine. “You’re not a spy, are you?”

“No. I’m not a spy.” I might have lied about where I came from, but I was not a spy from Althair. It would have been a simple plan, though, had it been so.

“But if war did break out…you would be an Althairian in Sannave. My father doesn’t think that safe, especially because of your training in the spear.” His voice was unsure, and I could tell in his eyes that he wanted me to confirm.

“My heart lies in the ocean,” I whispered. “I have no desire to fight anyone.”

“I believe you.”


Alavar’s voice was more bitter than I’d expected. “Is it everything you’d imagined? Did you find what you were looking for, away from your family?”

“Not yet,” I said quietly, not wanting to confront her, not when I could still preserve our relationship. I didn’t want to lose her like I had Mother.

“I told you blood was stronger than anything else. You won’t find it. You”—her voice broke—“won’t find it and you’ll die.”

I reached out a hand, as if to hold hers, but she wouldn’t come any closer to shore. “I’m sorry, Alavar,” I said. “I really am.”

“If you were sorry, you wouldn’t have ever gone. You would have stayed with us, and this wouldn’t have happened.” She motioned to the stormy ocean, the clouds above that were threatening rain. “It’s chaos down there, Amrya. I don’t know what’s happening. I escaped here because this was the only place I could think of to go. I don’t know where anyone is or even if everyone is alive. The war began and there was singing, but so much of it. As if all the clans were singing, all of them are fighting now. I don’t know if it’ll ever die down, but I can’t find anyone.”

“Alavar…” I whispered, too shocked to say anything else. My breath was caught in my throat. It was hard to think, hard to think about what it was like down there in the darkness. “No.”

“You would’ve been able to fight them off. You would have saved us, at least kept us together. You could have made everything all right, but you weren’t there.” Her tone was as biting as the rain that had just started, splattering against me in tiny drops that stung against my skin. I was already wet, so I bent down and knelt in the water, where I could reach out and just touch the tips of Alavar’s fingers when she reached out her hand.

“I’m so sorry,” I said, and tears rolled down my cheeks just as the rain did. “I don’t know what to do.”

“There’s nothing you can do. You just stay there and try to get your prince to fall in love with you so that you can stay human forever. I…I don’t even know why I came.”

“Because you miss me?” It was more a question than a statement, one that I needed confirmation to.

I thought I saw tears in her eyes. “Because I miss you.”



Can you see why I love this novel so much? Okay, maybe you can’t. I mean, I didn’t even include any of the shippy parts with Aeren and Amrya and the fruit. (Which is great.) But even though I can’t say that all of it is that well-written (these are the best I could find), I love my characters and my plot so much, and maybe in this Spotlight you got to see a tiny piece of that.

7 Lessons I Learned from Losing NaNoWriMo

HELLO ALL OF YOU! 😀 I know I’ve been gone for a long time, and I’ve hardly posted, but I really do want to get back into blogging at least once a week, if not twice a week like I used to do before.

So this November I participated in NaNoWriMo (as I’m sure many of you did also), writing my novel, Battle Song, and I didn’t win. My goal was 50,000, and I only got 37,509 words, which I’m still pretty proud of. But despite that, I think I learned the most from this NaNoWriMo, the one I’ve lost, than from any of the others, so I’m going to share some of those lessons with you (along with some pictures I took, since I was in the mood for photography)!

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Lesson #1: Manage Your Time

This is probably the most important lesson for winning NaNoWriMo in general. If you can stay on track and write the specific 1667 words a day, then you’ll win! Obviously, I didn’t do this. Not only was I busy some of the days, but the other days I procrastinated instead of writing and my time slipped away from me.

The NaNoWriMo goal for 50,000 words is created for a person who actually has a normal life, and there really was enough time for me to be able to do it…I just didn’t. So, yet another reminder that I need to figure out how to spend my time wisely. 🙂


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Lesson #2: Get Enough Sleep

First of all, let’s just admire my adorable little stuffed puppy! Isn’t she so cute?

This was a problem I had, and still have, whether or not it’s NaNoWriMo. Around 9 p.m., I lose motivation to do anything, be it writing or homework or even taking a shower. I would force myself to stay awake, telling myself I needed to write, but I learned that if I waited, I got nothing done, and not only that, I was even more tired the next day.

The biggest lesson I learned from this was really just to go to bed and do better tomorrow instead of stressing about doing it tonight.


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Lesson #3: Love Your Characters

It was about halfway through November, and I decided that I needed to figure out what was going on in my novel, because I’d written less than 10,000 words. Since the walls in my room are mostly full, I decided that I would tape papers and stuff about my characters and plot on my window, just for fun.

I started off by describing my main character, Amrya il Osamarii, and the things she learns by the end of the book. As I elaborated more on the scenes that caused this, I found that I loved her even more than I ever had before. She is so amazing.

After that, I worked on my two adorable princes and how each one of them affected her. (Also, I finally gave them names, hehe. The older one is named Rhys and the younger one is named Aeren.) I also had the cutest dream about Aeren and Amrya and how truly Aeren loved her and wanted to make her happy, and so after that I was sort of fangirling over my characters and it made it so much easier to write the story.


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Lesson #4: Love Your Story

After developing my characters, this step sort of fell into place. I loved my story because of my characters, and I loved my characters because of their story. I think this is such an important thing to remember during NaNoWriMo, to love your story, because if you don’t, nothing is going to happen.

But when you love your story, when you create characters you squee over, when you write in fairy tales and wars and adorable princes because that’s what you love to write about, that’s when the words start coming, and that’s when your story becomes so much better because of the love you’ve put into it.


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Lesson #5: Have Fun with It

This lesson is so important during NaNoWriMo! If you don’t have fun and have a positive attitude, then you’re not going to enjoy the entire month of November, stressing instead of writing. Instead, you have to find ways to have fun. Maybe for you, that means adding inside jokes into your writing or creating characters who make really great jokes. For me, this month, the fun things I did were to tape things on my window and do all of my story development in a rainbow array of Sharpies, not to mention writing scenes that were enjoyable and amusing to me.


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Lesson #6: Be Messy

It can be really hard to let yourself be messy. It was hard for me. I’d been working on revising and planning instead of drafting before NaNo started, so when it did, I was still in the mindset that everything I wrote had to be good. Writing became stressful, and it was really hard, especially when I didn’t know what was coming next.

It wasn’t until I finally allowed myself to be messy, that I told myself it truly didn’t matter  if this draft was terrible, that I began to write as fast as I had during previous NaNos, and even beat some of my own records for writing speed.

Being messy lets you have freedom. Instead of trying to constrict yourself to only writing things well, you can let yourself go…and that’s really when the creative juices start to flow. Sometimes the messiest passages are where you find glimpses of the best writing you’ve ever done.


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Lesson #7: Challenge Yourself

Let’s be honest, NaNoWriMo is a challenge, one that sometimes seems impossible. And setting yourself to an impossible, or even a possible, standard is scary. It’s frightening to think that you might not make it, but you know what? When you challenge yourself, you will write more than you can possibly imagine.

I had two days left of NaNoWriMo and 25,000 words left to write. I doubted I would win, but I kept going anyway. I gave myself as much time to write as I could, and by the end of NaNoWriMo, I kept typing away, ending up with 37,500 words, almost 13K more than I would have written had I given up two days away from the end.

So, I learned to challenge myself, to reach for the moon and land among the stars.


Tell me, if you did NaNoWriMo, how did it go? What did you write about? What lessons have you learned from doing NaNo or just from writing in general? And, lastly, what’s been going on in all your lives? It’s feels like ages since I’ve talked to any of you and I want to know how everyone is doing!

Let Me Introduce You to the Cast of Enhanced

I wasn’t sure really what to post about today, but I finally decided that I would talk to you about Enhanced, the novel that I have been preparing to rewrite during this month.

More specifically, the characters. Because I know that even though you may have read the little summary on the page for Enhanced on this blog, you probably still have no idea what it’s about. (If I just read that summary, I’d have no idea what it was about either.) I was originally going to throw my rambling for the entire novel into one post but that might be a little too long…hehe. So instead, you get to meet the main cast of characters…and learn a few things about the novel along the way.

Have fun! (Also the (POV) next to the first five characters’ names indicates that they are POV or Point of View characters)


KAI (POV)

Up first is Kai, mainly because he is the first character I came up with from my very first idea of the first draft’s first scene (which was (fun fact) originally conceived in biology class and then written in choir).

Basic Premise/Role: Kai has grown up in the Outer Regions (think third-world living) that surround the city (think first-world living), working as an agriculturalist. Yes…he’s a farmer. His father died when he was young, but now his mother has contracted some sort of disease that he has no medicine for–that no one has medicine for in the OR (Outer Regions). He decides to travel to the city in an attempt to earn money to at least give her some comfort before she dies–or maybe find the medicine that will save her.

Personality: Kai is…kind of complicated. He’s friendly and will talk to people, but I can’t say he has any real friends, except for maybe his mother. He sort of keeps his important thoughts all to himself, and kind of feels a need to impress people. Especially the ladies. But inside, he’s really not as shallow as he seems.

Fun Fact: Kai’s name was actually chosen by a friend of mine when I asked her to give me a name, though she was actually thinking of the name Ky. I heard her say it as Kai, however, and have therefore spelled it that way since. However, writing this post, I’m now thinking of actually changing it to Ky. I actually had this big long frustrated rant with myself about possibly changing Kai’s name to something else, but I couldn’t think of what to change it to. I do like the name Ky though…so maybe…0.0

Character Interview: Character Study: Comforts


TAIRA (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Though Taira (POV character) was born in the city, she grew up in the OR with her cousin, Will (soon to be introduced). She went with Will when he decided to go back to the city, however, and what she really wants is to fix herself. When she was younger, she was Enhanced (genetically modified) to have the ability to feel/detect other people’s emotions. The thing is, she can’t turn it off, and even just standing a few feet away from a person gives her a headache. Standing right next to someone makes her feel like her head will explode. So she’s determined to go back to the Enhancement Facility and force them to change her back to normal. if that made any sense at all.

Personality: Taira is very grumpy and rather pessimistic (though she prefers to call herself “realistic”). She basically restrains herself from ever laughing or feeling happy because why should she. She does occasionally show happiness around her cousin, Will, though otherwise she keeps it inside. She spends a lot of time alone and is introverted but blunt and can be rude. Quite fun to write, really.

Fun Fact: Well, there isn’t exactly anything “fun” about her…okay, okay. She has a younger brother that she hasn’t talked to in years. (She also hasn’t talked to her parents in years, but eh, the brother is more interesting.)

Character InterviewCharacter Studies: Introductions with Taira


WILL (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Will is Taira’s cousin, and he came from the OR to the city like I said before, and trust me, there’s some reason why he did that, but I haven’t figured it out yet. (I will, though. Haha, I will. So funny. *facepalms*) Oh, also, he comes to the city about a year before the book starts, whereas Kai comes at the beginning. The Reapers (who are like this subterfuge criminal/rebel group that for some reason has only four people in it before this point) recruit him to be their computer hacker. In Enhanced, he finds out that there’s a new computer code and he has to figure out how to use it, which is easier said than done when you don’t have tutorials or books or websites to explain it.

Personality: Unlike Taira, Will is very happy, and he also tends to make stupid jokes. (He actually laughed at the one I did above. I mean, I did too, but that’s irrelevant.) He really likes to talk to people and never really thinks about what he’s going to say before he says it, which makes him simultaneously fun to listen to and also makes you want to headdesk repeatedly. He can get distracted by anything, except when he’s doing computer work–then he’ll talk to you, but only if you talk to him first. Otherwise he’ll just zone out everything.

Fun Fact: These are surprisingly difficult to think of…  Well, Will can actually be serious, though that is rare. And if he were back a few hundred years to our day, he would very much enjoy cat memes.

Character Interview: Character Studies: Will’s Flaws


MERYN (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Meryn is one of my very favorite characters, though I’m not exactly sure why…? She’s just awesome. And also really spoiled. She grew up in the city in a wealthy family, in contrast to a lot of the other characters, and she loves dresses and dancing and music. But her parents have actually lost a bunch of money recently but they’re unwilling to change their lifestyle, which leaves Meryn to try to earn enough money to pay for taxes…well, something like that. I’m still ironing out plot details. It doesn’t help that her younger sister, Aislynn, is also sick.

Personality: Meryn is fun-loving and like I said before, fairly spoiled. She loves to be with her friends, fights a lot with her sister Aislynn, and her favorite part of the week is dancing. The worst part of her life is school, and she mainly just leads a very carefree life…at least at the beginning of the book. She’s…pretty normal.

Fun Fact: In the first draft of Enhanced, Meryn was blind. Now, I’ve decided to alter that so she just can’t see very well out of her left eye.

Character Interview: Character Studies: Meryn’s Hobbies


LIL(IAN) (POV)

Basic Premise/Role: Lilian, or rather Lil, which she goes by, is a member of the Reapers. She found them after her young son and husband were taken away by government officials and killed in the Enhancement Facility. Throughout the novel, she’s trying to get revenge on the government and the Enhancement Facility, while figuring out how to live without them.

Personality: Lil, despite what she’s trying to do, does not have a vengeful personality at all. She’s actually really sweet and motherly, but she’s confused with desperation and sadness and all of that. I feel like her personality can be summed up in one word: “mother”. She tends to put others’ needs before herself and tries to see things from others’ points of view.

Fun Fact: Lil always wears her hair in lots of little tiny braids (she’s also black, which is cool, though there’s really not any racial discrimination in the books, so it doesn’t really come up much) and she weaves ribbons through several of the braids. Throughout the book, she occasionally redoes her hair with new ribbons of different colors. When she first appears in the book, the ribbons in her hair are gold-colored.

Character Interview: [coming shortly–this post may or may not be updated when it’s done]


JETHRO

Basic Premise/Role: I suppose you could call him the “villain” of the book, although in my opinion that’s not really a fair title. He’s the Lead Enhancer of the Enhancement Facility and also its founder. He doesn’t appear much in the flesh throughout the novel, but he does play an important role and the characters definitely know about him.

Personality: Jethro is on a conquest for knowledge and to push the limits of all known science through his genetic testing–his “Enhancements”. He keeps most of his thoughts and ideas to himself and has a fantastic poker face. He does not show outward joy in successes, or pain at failures. We could call him stone cold, perhaps.

Fun Fact: He actually travelled to all eight sectors/regions of the Outer Regions when he was much younger, before creating the Enhancement Facility, but he’s never told anyone what he saw or what he thought about it.

Character Interview: [possibly forthcoming, possibly not]


AISLYNN

Basic Premise/Role: Aislynn is Meryn’s younger sister, and basically her role in the book is to be sick. Okay, just kidding. She’s actually convinced that the Pinnacles (the four “presidents,” shall we say, over the city) have a million secrets that they’re not revealing to the people, and she’s determined to figure them out. Of course, Meryn thinks she’s crazy, but she won’t let that dissuade her.

Personality: Aislynn absolutely loves reading and learning new things, and she’s very determined to prove herself right. She feels a little outcast by her peers (which Meryn really doesn’t understand) but makes up for that by reading lots of books and hanging out with Meryn and with her friends. While Meryn loves to go out, Aislynn is definitely more of a homebody.

Fun Fact: According to Meryn, Aislynn has no style, and Meryn is constantly trying to dress her up and make her look all fancy. Also, she likes dogs.

Character Interview: Beautiful People: June with Aislynn


RUBEN

Basic Premise/Role: Ruben is part of the mysterious Reapers and also very underdeveloped, so I can’t really tell you what his role is, exactly. But he does stuff. Important stuff. It’s just stuff I haven’t figured out yet. I think he’s in charge of basic supplies and stuff, and he’s also their cook, but I haven’t worked on developing him yet, so he’s just kind of…there. Yay.

Personality: I’m not really sure how to describe him… He scoffs at teasing and Rick’s (to be introduced) jokes, but he secretly enjoys them. He just…finds joy in being around other people. He likes everyone to feel welcome and happy and well-fed…I don’t know if there’s a specific way to describe him. He’s just Ruben.

Fun Fact: Ruben is famous for his pancakes. Also, he has a fake gold earring that I’m pretty sure Rick gave him…

Character Interview: [non-existent currently, though who knows, maybe I’ll do the next Beautiful People with him]


RICK

Basic Premise/Role: Rick is Ruben’s clone at least I think so? It could be the other way around, I suppose… and could be called the comic relief. He’s very amusing to me, mainly because he does stupid things, knowing that they’re stupid. I also haven’t really worked on developing him yet, so he’s also just there, like Ruben, but he’s also the Reapers’ weapon master–which I really don’t understand. I would not trust Rick with a gun.

Personality: Rick has a very good self-worth, I guess you could say. He does what he wants and he doesn’t ever care what other people think of him, no matter how idiotic he looks or how other people look at him, which I think is admirable, even though he’s not really someone I aspire to become like. He’s daredevilish, makes even worse jokes than Will, and teases everyone mercilessly, especially Lil.

Fun Fact: Want to know why the Reapers are called the Reapers? Because of Rick. He’s fascinated with old stories/legends/fairy tales, you name it. After learning about The Grim Reaper, he decided it would be awesome for them to be called the Reapers…and the name just happened to stick. I think even Julius (to be introduced) calls them the Reapers, which is amusing to me.

Character Interview: [not applicable at the moment]


JULIUS

Basic Premise/Role: Meet Julius Shaw, the gruff and quietly mysterious leader of the Reapers. His role? The leader, the planner, the strategist, the one who makes everything fit together.

Personality: He’s very secretive, and doesn’t give any clues to what’s going on in his head until he finds it to be the proper time. He always has a plan, no matter the situation. He’d be a brilliant chess player and is great at predicting things. However, he’s not very good at showing or receiving affection to/from other people, and he always seems a little bit distant from everyone else.

Fun Fact: He thinks fun facts are a waste of time. But I, as the author and creator of these people, will override his opinion and tell you that he really likes sandwiches. Roast beef, specifically.

Character Interview: [nope not yet]


SETH

Basic Premise/Role: A few months or so before the story begins, Seth leaves the Outer Regions to go find out what the city is like and have a grand adventure. He ends up trapped in the Enhancement Facility with no way of getting out, until Kai comes along and they start forming escape plans.

Personality: Seth is really cool. He’s the “let’s go have an adventure!” type who loves doing things with little-to-no notice and is definitely never over-prepared. He makes do with what he has, and what he doesn’t, he does without. He is a little bit of a risk-taker and loves being in the outdoors.

Fun Fact: Seth has this really awesome walking stick that he carved himself from an orchard tree branch years ago. It has little drawings all over it, and what’s even better is that his younger sister, Brie, really wanted to carve something in it at the time, so Seth helped her carve a picture of the two of them in it. He is the sweetest big brother ever.

Character Interview: [there isn’t one yet, but I should definitely do one of him]


BRIE

Basic Premise/Role: Brie is Seth’s younger sister, and she’s actually kind of what sets the entire story in motion. Once Seth hasn’t come back after his long absence, she decides to go looking for him, in case he’s in some sort of trouble. She almost gives up before finding the Reapers, at which point she finds out that Seth is in the Enhancement Facility and convinces them to help her rescue him.

Personality: Brie is very emotional and acts like a child a lot of the time, though no one can really tell if she’s just never grown up or if she does it by choice. So she’s also fairly innocent and naive, and she finds it hard to alter her small home in the orchard region view of life to the big city, with all its new technology and people and everything inside of it. She has unfailing faith and optimism in people that a lot of the other characters lack in exchange for a more “realistic” view of life.

Fun Fact: Brie is a devoted follower of the religion of Cajinism, and she loves singing, birds, flowers, and all sorts of bright and happy things. She’ll also talk to you all day if you just half-pretend to to listen.

Character Interview: [there isn’t one, but I did do a Spotlight on her last Monday]


Hm, yes, perhaps I do have too many characters…but now you know all of them! And now, for a quiz on everything you learned…just kidding. But seeing as this post is really long already, why not make it a little longer with some updates?

So, first off, I lost Camp NaNoWriMo but it really doesn’t bother me for some reason, and I’m finishing up my 40 hours of prep during these first two weeks of August. You can find my progress on the blog sidebar.

Also on the blog sidebar, you’ll see that I have lots of new books that I read! While procrastinating from Camp, I finished 12 books in July, which was awesome, and I’m working on reading more.

And lastly, apparently now I have a Goodreads created on a whim that I don’t know what to do with… What else do you do with a Goodreads account besides read books?

Anyway, yay for August! How was your July and what did you accomplish?

Book Review: Starship Troopers

I’ve81LFWqiZaVL never done a book review before on here before, but as I’m trying to expand my horizons and read more sci-fi and stuff, I decided I might as well start. However, this isn’t exactly a typical book review, as it will involve my analyzation of the author’s style of writing and why the plot/setting/characters work or don’t work, since I think that’ll be more useful to writers.

Today’s book is Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. The book follows Juan “Johnnie” Rico as he joins the infantry during “The Bug War”, fighting against alien Bugs. There are a few points I’d like to touch on for this book.

REALISTIC NARRATION

The book was written in first person, from Johnnie’s POV, and I found the narration to be very unique in the fact that it sounded like he was writing his experiences down at a later point rather than it happening right now. The way he wrote fit with autobiographies and journals I’ve read, making the story seem realistic even though it was taking place in an almost completely different world than ours.

Another thing that added to the realism of the narration was that when Johnnie would explain things to the readers, he would only explain things that people of his time period wouldn’t understand, not going into detail about things that the people should know about, even if the readers didn’t, which I thought helped a lot.

INTERESTING PREMISE

In this system of government, to be able to get citizenship and vote, one would have to serve in the military for a term of at least two years, and the military only accepts volunteers, which I found to be a very unique and interesting premise. The idea is that, by choosing to fight for others, you’ll fight for better laws and rights as well.

“Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.

“…Social responsibility above the level of family, or at most of tribe, requires imagination–devotion, loyalty, all the higher virtues–which a man must develop himself.”

COOL TECHNOLOGY

The most prominent technology used in this book were the powered suits. They work through negative feedback, which I don’t really understand, except that when you move, it moves, it allows you to jump higher and farther, you can communicate with other people, ther’es lots of guns and bombs, and you can do all sorts of other cool things with it. Johnnie describes it as looking like “a big steel gorilla, armed with gorilla-sized weapons”.

The M.I. (the Mobile Infantry) are dropped from spaceships in shells that wear away as they travel through the planet’s atmosphere, letting them land on the ground in their powered suits in order to complete whatever objective they’re ordered to. They’re called “drops” and the first chapter starts out with one of them.

NOT MUCH PLOT

While there is the plot of Johnnie moving through his life in the military and kind of a growing up plotline, there wasn’t a defined big plot to get out of it, like there is in most adventure/fantasy/sci-fi books.

That doesn’t mean the plot was bad, though. It actually fit with the rest of the book, especially with the autobiography-like narration. The style of the plot reminded me of old classics, where it’s about someone’s life, but it’s not arranged in this saving-the-world plot or anything.

I actually thought this added a little bit to the realism of the book (though I do wish there was a bit more of a climax at the end) because in a person’s life it’s not like they normally have that sort of perfectly organized plot line in a lot of books.

STRONG MORALS & THEMES

The reason why this book is considered controversial to many people is because they think Heinlein wrote it simply to add in his own beliefs on how the military and government should work. Maybe he did, but I thought they were really interesting and added to the development of the government and military.

Some of the beliefs I didn’t quite agree with, but some of them I did. The moral that I liked the most out of this novel was the element of loyalty between the soldiers.

But you don’t walk away on another cap trooper, not while there’s a chance he’s still alive–not in Rasczak’s Roughnecks. Not in any outfit of the Mobile Infantry.

WHAT I LEARNED

The main thing that I learned was that a science-fiction novel doesn’t necessarily have to be an adventure-ish novel–it can be just as interesting and popular while using a “classic” style, and I also learned a lot about the life of someone in the lower ranks of military. And other stuff too, but my mind doesn’t want to work right now for some reason.

Overall, I thought this was a great book, and I found it to be a very interesting read. I ended up really liking it, even though it wasn’t what I expected, and I recommend it.


Have you ever read/heard of Starship Troopers? Was this book review helpful or merely interesting (or even uninteresting)? Do you have any advice for future book reviews? I’d like to improve my reviewing skills. And do you have any suggestions of books I should read? I’m mainly focusing on reading science fiction right now, but I love other genres too.

Camp NaNoWriMo: Cryonic

Well, guess what email I received in my inbox on Tuesday?

Screenshot 2016-03-04 at 4.23.46 PM

Yep, Camp NaNo is in a month.

I haven’t even been thinking about it recently, let alone started planning for it. I knew that I’m writing the sequel to KT, a novel I finished last October, I just had no idea what the plot should be about. Plus, I wanted to finish the first draft of my Zel novel before April. Yeahhh…I don’t think that’s going to happen. But I’m still going to try, because apparently I like to put myself through lots of stress by pushing necessary goals and deadlines on myself.

Like Camp NaNaNoWriMo.

For those of you who don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo is like the normal National Novel Writing Month, only it’s not in November, you can choose your word count goal, and you don’t have to write a novel. (I’m thinking of maybe writing a screenplay this July…)

April Camp NaNo was actually where I finished my very first novel, so it has a little bit of a special place in my heart. It also means that this is my anniversary of doing NaNoWriMos for 3 years. This is also going to be my 10th NaNoWriMo experience. So…it’ll be fun.

What’s even more fun, though, is that I had an idea for the actual plot of my novel the day after I got this email. I was researching stuff for history class, and I somehow ended up reading articles on cryonically freezing people.

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Here’s the little google search definition for you. I’m wondering if there’s bodies inside those tanks in the picture…

I’d never heard of it before, and it was really fascinating to read about. (If you haven’t heard of it either, the link to the Wikipedia page is here.) And just by reading about it, I decided that I really wanted to write a book with it. The plot bunny specifically that came to me was that the villian-ish person of the novel had been cryonically frozen about a hundred years ago, and science had finally gotten good enough to revive him and bring him back to life.

KT and its sequel are set in a sci-fi setting, and thinking about it, I realized I could use this plot bunny for the sequel I’ll be writing this April. There were actually a lot of ways it could relate to the first book, and I already have a reason for why he would be revived.

Now, his name, personality, and why exactly he’s “evil” are yet to be discovered, but I’m really excited about writing this. I think it’ll be especially interesting to explore how someone would react to waking up a hundred years later (or maybe even more, depending on how long I decide he’s been frozen for), and seeing how the world has changed. And what about the people he knew? They’d all be dead. It would be like falling asleep and waking up to find yourself in a completely alien world.

I’m also excited to explore a lot of the side characters in this second book, because I introduced some interesting ones at the end of the first book, and I really want to see their personalities and how they interact and stuff like that. I think it’ll be lots of fun.

And since I decided I needed a title for the novel while I was creating it on the Camp NaNoWriMo website, I have given it the working title of Cryonic. It’s fairly simple, but I think I like it, at least right now. Maybe I’ll come up with something later, but I like the symbolism this one could reflect. In the story, people’s hearts could be “frozen” and things like that.

So I’m finding myself very excited for this April, and I can’t wait to get back to Kai and Taira and all of my other characters from the first book. It’s going to be lots of fun!

Melodies and Harmonies in Writing

I realized it’s been a while since I’ve written a music-related post, so I decided to write one, about melodies and harmonies–or rather, plots and subplots.

For example, take this song, All the Pretty Little Horses. It’s a slightly creepy lullaby that I love because my mom used to sing it to me when I was little. I love the melody and the minor tune that makes it interesting.

Or on the other hand, there’s songs like Entreat Me Not to Leave You composed by Dan Forrest. (I shared a song by him in this post.) Based on the story of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible, it’s absolutely beautiful, a cappella, and goes to 8-part harmony at times.

The first song only has one melody, while the second has a melody plus a whole bunch of harmonies. But just because All the Pretty Little Horses doesn’t have the harmonies that Entreat Me Not to Leave You has doesn’t mean it’s bad. They’re both beautiful pieces of music.

But what would be bad is if you had a choir full of beautiful singers who had the capability to sing 8-part a cappella harmonies, and you had them all singing unison throughout the whole song.

If we compare All the Pretty Little Horses to a short story, then having just the melody–the main plot–is just fine. The story is short enough that it would be hard to incorporate more than one plot, just as it’s impossible for one voice to split into multiple parts. (Although, that would be awesome. I wish I could do that.)

And thus, Entreat Me Not to Leave You would be comparative to a novel, with a main plot, as well as a whole bunch of subplots and characters and worldbuilding and all sorts of awesome stuff like that.

But despite that each harmony is different from all the others, they also fit with one another. I could put eight random notes together, but it’s likely that putting those eight together at once would sound…eghhgh.

Yet in Entreat Me Not to Leave You, even though it does often split into eight notes, they go together. They harmonize with each other.

So, how does harmonization of melodies and harmonies go along with writing novels? When writing plots and subplots, they have to, well, fit together somehow. Usually they don’t weave together until the end, but then, suddenly, you realize how everything fits together.

Finding out how everything fits is one of my very, very favorite things about writing.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when you write a novel, you want all the pieces to sort of fit into the main plot. Not only just the subplots, but also even down to the scenes. Every scene should contribute something to the plot, right? So writing something random about gemstones turning all the characters insane is probably not a good idea. (Yes, I did do that in my first novel.)

Similarly, characters that last for more than one scene/affect the characters/are not “extras” should also play roles in the plot, and at least affect it a little bit. Everything, or nearly everything, that goes into the plot should come out of it at sometime in another place, at a way that can either help or hinder your characters.

Like every scene should contribute to the story, so should each character, each setting, each piece of the plot. If they don’t come together like that, the tune will become discordant and confusing.

But when they do flow together and change the story, each piece pushing the main plot along, all the notes will harmonize, and you will get a beautiful song.


 

(My apologies if this post is really disjointed or confusing. I was not only distracted while writing it, but also wasn’t sure how to write out my thoughts very well.)

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.

Chasing Plot Bunnies

I think the story gods are out to stop me from writing Zel or something, because they’ve been sending way too many plot bunnies my way this past week. And strangely, half of them are about fractured fairy tales. So. I need to work on my Zel novel, so I figured I’d throw the essence of each plot bunny down here so that I can have it later. And so I can, you know, let the bunnies go. For now.

Plot Bunny #1: I’m still not sure what the definition of “suspension” means in Chemistry, but the word, along with a cool picture of a helicopter blowing dust into the air, gave me an idea. It’s a sci-fi screenplay called Suspension, even though I’ve never written a screenplay before, and my sci-fi isn’t very scientific. Pretty much, it’s about this people who have figured out how to suspend time in a certain area. And…that’s about all I know. I tried writing the first scene, and heh. I’m really bad at screenwriting. But it was fun anyway.

Plot Bunny #2: I was thinking about coming up with an RP (roleplay) for the YWP NaNoWriMo site, because…it sounds fun. Anyhow, a plot bunny came to me and named it Bloodstone, and it’s a semi-typical fantasy thing with a party of adventurers and such. After all, it is a roleplay.

Anyway, the premise of the story is that there was once this legendary tale of demon made of fire with soulless black eyes who terrorized the land of Eriilaen, and the best warriors of the time fought it and, along with some magic, managed to trap the demon inside a crimson stone–the bloodstone. Since the demon was still able to speak to people through the stone, it was given to the elves for safekeeping, as they were less likely to become corrupted through it.

But then the bloodstone disappears from the elves’ safekeeping, and the characters are called to go find it. (There’s other stuff too that I won’t put here–I’ve been spending way too much time on this plot bunny, but that might be okay if I actually decide to do the roleplay.)

Plot Bunny #3: I actually had this idea a while ago, but the plot bunny came back to me with a vengeance, and told me to write the story of The Little Mermaid. Only, in this version, the mermaid is given a choice to either keep her voice, or her beauty, and she chooses to keep her voice and give her beauty to the sea witch. I also want to follow the original fairy tale in that she has to marry the guy instead of just kissing him. (However, it will probably still have a happy ending, because I like happy endings.)

I haven’t decided yet, but I’ve been thinking that the mermaid might not really want to fall in love/have already fallen in love, she might just want to explore the human world and see what it’s like. She didn’t want to have to do the whole love thing, but since love is one of the strongest magics in the world, that was the only way she was going to stay human. I don’t know about that though.

This idea interests me a lot, because I want her to fall in love, and someone to fall in love with her, without her having to be pretty. I understand that looks are important sometimes, but when people say things like you have to be attracted physically to one another to fall in love, it kind of bothers me. What happened to stories like Beauty and the Beast? And what is that sort of statement telling to girls nowadays who think they aren’t beautiful (though they likely are)? So, I do want to tell this story at some point. I don’t know when that will be, but sometime, hopefully.

Plot Bunny #4: This one actually came today, while I was doodling in the notebooks. It came originally from an idea I had for the world building of Zel–a rainbird. (Which is not the most creative name and I might come up with something later, but for now I’m just calling it that.) It’s this half bird, half fish/amphibian/something that lives in the water. I haven’t decided if they live underwater, or they just have the ability to go underwater.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of ideas on the rainbird. It only flies in the rain. Why? I don’t know, but they’re called rainbirds for that reason. They have really long wing and tail feathers, and when they fly, they look like ribbons. And then something about the rain makes them colorful and rainbow-y, whether that’s just magic or something to do with water and rainbows and stuff like that.

I really liked the idea of the rainbirds, and since I haven’t actually included them in my Zel novel yet, and since I probably won’t because there’s a slight drought going on at the moment, I thought I could create another fractured fairy tale with them. Maybe The Swan Princess, or the one where the girl’s seven brothers get turned into birds. Or some other fairy tale that involves the rainbirds much more than my Zel novel would’ve.

Plot Bunny #5: Lastly, one day I just thought of some random words and wrote them down. I don’t really know if that counts as a full plot bunny because the idea is so random that it has nothing to do with plot, so maybe it’s like…a lucky plot bunny rabbit foot? Actually, that sounds weird. Never mind. Here’s the words:

You must complete the circles…eternity spinning together….everything and nothingness all at once.


 

Have the plot bunnies been trying to infest any of your lives as well? I’m telling you, they can get to be a real problem…