Why I’ve Been Gone and Why I’ll Continue to Be

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Hello, all my lovely readers! First of all, this is not a goodbye post. I will come back! Rather, it’s a summary of what I’ve been doing these past few months, an announcement of the continuation of my hiatus from my blog, and the reasoning why.

What have I been doing?

The last time I posted was January 22nd. I’d finished my Snowflake Method outline for Battle Song and had written about 10k in the first draft (though I did mention that I was having difficulties forcing myself to write). And then–poof!–I disappeared.

I wrote fairly consistently in Battle Song through the first week of February, and then I wrote only sporadically through part of March. I probably added 5k-8k more words to what I had before. I just didn’t feel very motivated to continue–especially as I didn’t feel like scenes were turning out the way I wanted them to.

So…I stopped writing.

Then I went on choir tour in March, and I started writing a novella. If you’re interested in the whole story behind it, you can read this next part; if not, just skip ahead.

((Remember the Iris novella that I did two spotlights on? Iris’s daughter, Aleria, came from a novel that a friend and I wrote together. That friend was with me on choir tour…so I decided that I wanted to write her a story about some of our other characters…which of course grew longer and longer.

((If you’re interested in how the stories connect…in the novel we wrote, Aleria (daughter of Iris) meets this guy named Ryder. He was adopted when he was a baby by a different family. That family had a daughter named Sophie. She died when she was a young girl…but this novella explores what would have happened to her if she hadn’t died.

((So it’s not even real, which is depressing because it’s adorable.))

Okay, back to the story of what I’ve been doing. So, I know a couple of girls at church who also like to write and we started this writing club where we set goals. Anyway, in April, we decided that if we all finished our goals by our next meeting (the first Friday in May), we would get to have a potstickers party.

So I guess I have potstickers to credit for helping me write in Battle Song again. You see, I made this goal that I would finish writing the novella and write three scenes in Battle Song in that month. And I had to do that so that we could get potstickers.

So with potstickers in mind, I kept working on the novella…and it kept getting longer! My stories have a tendency to do it. But I needed to finish by the next meeting…so as I neared the end of that time, I was pretty much writing every day.

When I finished the novella (at 31,026 words–Iris had 24K), I only had two days to write three scenes in Battle Song, but I did it! (For the potstickers, of course.) (Except our meeting has been postponed twice since then, so will I ever get my potstickers? Who knows.)

Since then, I’ve actually been excited about writing in Battle Song, and I’ve written fairly consistently, trying to write about an hour every day. I usually end up writing 4 days a week.

I started keeping a writing log where I keep track of how many words I write in how much time…and then I calculate my average words per minute…usually between 18 and 22. Which ends up being around 1K an hour. I don’t know why it’s so fun to calculate my writing speed…but it is!

Anyway, long story short, I’ve been writing consistently in Battle Song and it currently has a total of 27,686 words.

Other than that, school is out (!!) and I figured out where I’m going to college and I’ve had a lot of choir concerts!


Wait…so you’re still on hiatus?

In short, yes.

This could turn into another long story, but that’s okay. Basically, I’ve decided that I won’t be blogging until I finish drafting Battle Song. I may do the occasional update on writing stuff, but I won’t really be here.

The reasoning behind this? Well…the other day, I was looking through my dad’s kindle and saw the book The One Thing by Gary Keller. And since I didn’t have anything else to do (we weren’t at home, so there really wasn’t much I could do), I started reading it.

It’s actually a book about how to be successful as a business, but…I thought it was interesting and applicable, nonetheless. One of the parts I found most interesting talked about balance and how it’s not always a good thing.

Basically, the idea was you try to balance your life, relationships, etc. but with work-related things, sometimes you have to throw yourself off-balance and completely pursue “the one thing”.

“The one thing”, according to the book, is the thing that is most important, the thing that will make everything else unnecessary or easier to accomplish. I’ve decided, that for me, right now, the one thing” is to finish Battle Song.

And instead of trying to divide my time between blogging and writing, I want to just write, and then come back when I’m done…when I can adequately focus on blogging well.


What will your blog look like when you get back?

I’m not entirely sure yet, but my hope is to post more consistently for sure. I want to really put some effort into my blog and think about what I’m writing.

I have had some post ideas that I’m excited for…there’s this blog series that could be fabulous (we’ll see) that has to do with short stories and possibly some world building posts. Hopefully, more ideas will come as I write Battle Song so I’ll have a whole plethora to choose from when I come back.

If you have any ideas, feel free to tell me!


A short thank you note

Also, I want to thank you all for your support…even though I am crazy and disappear all the time and have these really long rambling posts…you guys still read and comment! I’m so happy that I have made such great friends with my blog who are so kind to me.


Let’s talk, shall we?

What have you been up to in the time that I’ve disappeared? Tell me all about how life is going! What writing projects are you working on?

Do you agree that being off-balance is sometimes necessary, and in what aspects of life? What “one thing” could you work on?

And also, tell me if you want a spotlight or two from the novella about Sophie that I wrote! If you do, I can post those in the next few weeks since it really won’t take too much trouble. And if you have post ideas for when I come back…I’m definitely open to suggestions!

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Battle Song Q&A — An Introduction to My Current Novel

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Sorry this post has been so late in coming! It’s mostly because I feel like I haven’t really made significant progress on Battle Song. I’m in the middle of scene 10 (out of 64), and I’ve written just over 11,000 words. I love my outline, and I love the story, but I still find it hard to actually sit down and write.

But here I am to talk about my novel! In a nice Q&A format that I made up myself.


So…what’s it about?

Good question. It should be easy to come up with a blurb, with all the planning I’ve done, but I still can’t come up with something I’m satisfied with. I’ll keep trying, but here’s what I have for right now:

Amrya il Osamarii is trapped in tradition. Forced to fight and kill, she longs for something besides the ceaseless battles and bloodshed of the mers. Something more. Something like the humans.

After the pain and conflict become too much, she risks all that she has in order to become human–only, the humans aren’t anything like she dreamed. Forced to fight in a war, she continues to seek for peace.

But how can it be found, when forgiveness is impossible?


Where did you get the idea for Battle Song?

This is actually a long story.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed that Battle Song has evolved a lot.

My very first idea was written down at school, I think. I don’t remember where I got it from, but I had the idea that “the little mermaid trades her beauty instead of her voice”. I was tired of love at first sight, and I wanted a story where people fell in love for someone’s personality, not just how they looked.

Then other stuff got added in, such as warrior mermaid clans and fabulous princes. I became especially fascinated with the mentions of religion in the fairy tale, and I decided that religion would be an important part of the story.

(If you haven’t heard, in the original fairy tale, the merfolk don’t have immortal souls, but the humans though. When the little mermaid becomes human, she has to marry the prince, so that their souls can become one and she can live forever.)

Unfortunately, as I continued to develop it more, I found that both of these aspects became less prominent. I still would love to address the religion aspect as it relates to marriage more in Battle Song, but it just doesn’t work. The conflict just doesn’t work.

When I wrote (or, more accurately, started) Battle Song 2.0, I touched on some really great conflict at the beginning. However, I didn’t realize how important that conflict was at first, still thinking that the main issue of the story was marrying the prince, like the original fairy tale.

Then I began the Snowflake Method, and I realized that the real conflict of the story was about war, forgiveness, and hope. So the conflict became much more internalized–and much more complex, which is awesome and what makes it so exciting!


Who are the main characters?

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From left to right, we have Malena, Rhysdan/Rhys, Amrya, and Aeren.

Although I’d say Amrya is the only actual main character, the others do play their roles. (Plus, I drew this before the others became less important, so that’s why they’re all on there.)

Amrya il Osamarii–

In one word, I’d say she’s conflicted. Throughout the entire story, there are so many different things pressuring her. But she’s also determined and loyal, which is why she’s so great.

Prince Aeren li Sannave–

Aeren is just…awesome. Okay, I’ll come up with a better word. He’s tender. But he’s not necessarily weak; he’ll also fight for those he loves.

(And no, the pineapple shall remain mysterious.)

Princess Malena il Althair–

Malena is a princess from the neighboring island of Sannave. She’s perceptive. And she’s surprisingly kind for who she is and how she grew up, which is awesome.

Prince Rhysdan li Sannave–

Yes, Rhys and Aeren are brothers. Rhys is older. Rhys is resolute. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep Sannave and his people safe. Even if that means doing something good. Definitely an ends justify the means kind of guy.

There’s also another awesome character, but he doesn’t have a name yet, so I won’t introduce him. (I also don’t know all that much about him, but he is awesome.)


What do you think will be your favorite part to write?

Oooh, I have several. Of course, I can’t tell you about any of them because of spoilers, but…scenes 37-38, 46-47, 54, and 60 will be quite fun. *grins evilly*



What are your thoughts?

What do you think about Battle Song? Do you have any ideas on how the blurb could be improved? What questions would you add to the Q&A? I’ll try to answer them, if they’re not spoilerous. (Just so you know, spoilerous is probably the best writing word ever. It’s just so fun to say! Spoilerous!)

Oh, and do you like fairy tale retellings? If so, which ones are your favorites?

Review of The Snowflake Method

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As you may have known, I’ve been using The Snowflake Method to plan my novel, Battle Song. The Snowflake Method is a method created by Randy Ingermanson to design a novel outline. The idea is that you start small (one sentence), and expand it until you get to something large and complex (a fifty-page outline, then your first draft).

Here’s the link to his article about it: The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel

I haven’t yet finished all ten steps of The Snowflake Method, as the last step is to actually write the entire first draft, but overall, this method has worked quite awesomely for me. In this review, I’ll share some of my thoughts, including my likes and dislikes, about this method.


My Favorite Part: The Outlines

I know, I know, I told you that I wasn’t a planner, and I didn’t like outlines! Well, that’s just what I thought. I love my outlines. Why do I love them? Well, for two simple reasons:

  1. They organize my writing and plot fantastically. Previously, I’ve struggled with writing my middle…which then led to struggles in writing the climax and the ending. But having an outline makes it easy to see how the story progresses and will serve as a great guide as I draft Battle Song.
  2. They make me feel so professional! Which is definitely the more important reason, haha. But seriously, it’s so much fun to be making notes about a certain spot in the book and be able to say, “But wait, in scene #42, she says…” It just makes me feel like a real author, which is such a cool feeling.

In The Snowflake Method, you end up making two outlines. The first is in a spreadsheet, with just a short explanation of each scene. At times, it was hard to boil down the essence of a scene into 10 words or so, because there was just a lot going on in each scene. Plus, I wasn’t entirely sure what constituted as a scene. However, I love being able to see the novel at a glance. Instead of having to scroll through pages to be able to find a specific scene, I can just look at the spreadsheet and go, “Okay, that happens ten scenes later, in scene #35.” (And referencing specific scenes is, again, ridiculously fun.)

The second outline is an expanded version of the first, taking those few words you wrote and then making it into a couple of paragraphs. This is actually an optional step, but I’m loving it. It’s so fun to imagine writing these scenes later on, and since I’m not actually writing anything, the first draft will still be fun. And it will be easy to write, because I’m outlining every scene.

I made a google doc for this step only, with header links for each scene, which allows me to navigate the doc easily. Each scene has a little template that makes it easy to fill out, too.

 

 

I’ve just been having so much fun with the outlines! That being said, developing the plot enough to get to the point where I could make an outline was difficult, and I ran into several large problems. Now, however, I only have to solve little problems, so planning becomes a lot more fun!


What I Liked: Expansion of Plot

The thing I like the best about The Snowflake Method is this idea of expanding your novel from a tiny idea into an thought-out outline. And the best part about this is that you don’t expand linearly–you expand from the center outward.

To clarify, it’s not as if you start at the beginning of the outline, write the first scene, then the second, and so forth. Rather, you start with an idea that slowly leads you to create a comprehensive guide to the entire book. You have a beginning, middle, and an ending all the way from the second step, which is only a paragraph long.

Which was awesome! In previous novels, I hardly ever knew the middle or ending of the novel when I started, but by using The Snowflake Method, I was able to come up with an entire plotline that actually worked.

The organization of these plot-related steps is very cohesive and smooth. By the end of each step, I had enough information to move onto the next step. Rather than being daunted by the idea of creating an outline involving every scene, by the time I had a four-page summary of the novel, I was ready!

Here are all the plot-related steps:

  • 1 sentence summary (logline)
  • 1 paragraph summary
  • 1 page summary
  • 4 page summary
  • Spreadsheet outline (short description of each scene)
  • Expanded outline (longer description of each scene) (optional)
  • First draft

I loved how these steps fit together, and they helped me create a plot that I love.


What I Disliked: Insufficient Character Expansion

There are seven plot-related steps above. But what about the other three? Well, those are for developing characters.

  • 1 page character sheets (including a 1 paragraph storyline)
  • 1 page character storylines for major characters, 1/2 page for minor
  • Character charts detailing everything there is to know about each character

To me, these steps just aren’t sufficient to create an entire character, especially one who develops in synchrony with the plotline.

The first two steps work well together, but then, you’re suddenly expected to know “everything there is to know about each character” (the last bullet point is, in fact, a quote from the Snowflake Method article). I ended up skipping that step (more or less), as it actually seems impossible to me.

Rather than that step, I researched character arcs and developing realistic characters, and I found an article about a very simple yet emotional way to develop them: Creating Deep Realistic Characters

This includes only 4 steps:

  1. The Goal
  2. The Motivation
  3. The Deep Dark Belief
  4. The Origin of the Deep Dark Belief

It was difficult to figure this out so late in the process, so when planning another novel, I will definitely move this sooner. I still have yet to figure out how exactly I will alter The Snowflake Method to fit my character needs (perhaps adding more steps?), but I will.

Which is actually another thing I love about The Snowflake Method: you’re allowed to, even supposed to, alter it to fit your needs. You can add, remove, and change steps all you want, so that it works for you.


No Worldbuilding?

There is no worldbuilding, or even setting development, involved in The Snowflake Method. Which can be a problem, especially if you’re creating a fantasy world.

There are two sides to this issue. On one hand, you want to be able to develop your setting enough that it can take part in your plot. On the other hand, you don’t want the setting to be so important that it constricts your ability to create a good plot.

For me, this wasn’t as important. I’ve started writing Battle Song twice, and both times I developed the world and the magic a little bit more. I already had enough information that I could incorporate it into the plot.

I don’t think there’s a way to include worldbuilding into the steps of The Snowflake Method, though. Character and plot are very much intertwined, while the setting may only have a minor effect.

I’d assume this is part of the “composting” that Ingermanson talks about: the time before you begin The Snowflake Method, where you spend time just thinking about your novel, collecting ideas. Doing some development beforehand gives you a solid backdrop while you create characters and plot, but you can always change it later on, if needed.


Overall

I love how The Snowflake Method helped me organize my novel into something cohesive and understandable! It needs a few personal tweaks and alterations to work for me, but there is definitely a solid foundation.

I would definitely recommend this method to anyone who:

  • doesn’t already have a planning method that works for them
  • wants to become more serious about writing
  • wants outlines that make them feel professional (obviously important)

Your Thoughts

If you’ve tried The Snowflake Method, what did you think of it? What were some things that you would change?

If you haven’t, how do you plan your novels (or do you)? What is your favorite part of the writing process (planning, writing, revising, etc.)? What do you think is the most important element to develop when planning a novel?

(P.S. I started drafting Battle Song the other day! So you should see a post about that soon!)

The New Year Approaches (2017-2018 Goals)

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Hey, everyone! Hopefully you all had a wonderful Christmas and so forth! I am back–hopefully for real now, since I want to continue blogging at a more constant pace this next year. Of course, I said that last year, too. BUT! This post is about the New Year, and New Year’s resolutions!

It’s a tradition to review my goals from last year, and make new ones for next year. I’m going to try to make this year’s goals more clear and concise–hopefully just one for each section. However, the review from last year will be a little longer.

If you want to see my post like this from last year, see here: Review of 2016, Plans for 2017


2017 Goal Results

Life Goals:

1. Continue reading my scriptures every day, and pray every morning and night.

Well…I did well at this for the first part of the year, and then it started to drift away. I still read my scriptures in the morning, but I’m so tired that it’s just not very conducive to reading and understanding. And I’ve also been struggling with praying…so I know that I still need to improve on this one!

2. Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days every week (85% of the time).

Hahahhha nope. But…I actually did better than I thought. I got 201 entries (as of Dec. 19th, when I started writing this), which is only 55% of the time. But that’s still a lot of entries.

My worst month: March, with only 6 entries.

My best month: June, with 25 entries. (Which is so close to meeting the 85% mark!)

1st half of the year: 100 entries exactly!

What I noticed is that I tend to write more entries if I write every day–skipping a day leads to skipping more days, while writing multiple days in a row makes me more likely to write more further on. (And maybe this is obvious, but it was cool.)

3. Start researching colleges and apply for college at the end of 2017.

Yes! I have applied to some colleges, and I know I’m accepted to one of them…we’ll see on the others in 2017. I’m not sure exactly where I want to go, but I have an idea…the question is if I can get a scholarship because I need money.

But I am proud for my applications! One of them was especially stressful, with basically 6 essays required…but I did it!

4. Get my driver’s license and finish my online class (this should be done by February, though).

Yes, and yes. Although I did not get my driver’s license by February, hehh, and I think I had to get an extension on the online class. Thank goodness those are both done!

5. Do an act of service at least once a week.

Oops. I forgot about this. And while I did some service, I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it once a week. I need to do better at this one as well.

6. Get a job. I don’t want one…but I need one and it’ll be a good experience for me.

No, I didn’t get a job. I’m still afraid of being stuck working a job that I hate…but I’m also realizing how much going to college will actually cost, and…I either need to get a job or do some work for my dad some more.

But, I sort of got a job… I think I might’ve mentioned it once–my grandpa wrote his own history, and I edited it for him. Not necessarily a “real” job, but I did earn some money from it.


Reading Goals:

1. Read at least 5 books a month and post reviews on them on Goodreads (so a goal of reading 60 books…though I might change that to 75).

Definitely did this! Well…not necessarily the 5 books a month, but I did read 60 books & add reviews for them. I read a lot more, too, but I went through a phase where I didn’t want to write reviews on Goodreads, so I didn’t…

At the moment, Goodreads says that I have read 74 books, though I assume what I actually read is somewhere in the range of 85-100, which makes me quite satisfied!


Blogging Goals:

1. Blog at least 6 times a month (at least 72 posts throughout the year).

Yeah, that didn’t happen. You may have noticed, but halfway through the year or so, I just got tired of blogging and didn’t do anything. However, I’m hoping to do better next year! (Posting less frequently, but more regularly.)

2. Keep the sidebar of my blog updated.

I think I need a sidebar that doesn’t need to be updated, hehe.


Writing Goals:

1. Complete the 365K challenge.

No…I did this for January, and then it all fell through once February began. I definitely haven’t done as much writing as I wanted to, and while I feel like it’s okay that I didn’t meet some of my goals, I’m sad that I didn’t write often or consistently.

2. Finish 3 novels, one of which has to be Enhanced.

I didn’t finish Enhanced, and technically I didn’t finish any novels, but I did write and finish my Iris novella, which is something that I’m really proud of! You can read excerpts here and here, if you’d like.

3. Start a maximum of 2 novels.

I have to think about this, but I might have actually done this one since I didn’t write as much this year, haha. I started (and finished) my Iris novella, and I started the MG dragon novel I mentioned in last year’s post for April Camp NaNo (and lost).

I also started Battle Song again, but since that was a second draft, it doesn’t really count, right?

4. Write a short story/flash fiction every month.

This did not happen. I think I might have written one short story this year…though I did start a couple of them, I think.



Thoughts on 2017 & Other Accomplishments

So, I clearly did not do very well on my goals (except for the reading one, haha), but…I feel pretty good about my year as a whole. Maybe it’s just rosy recollection, but I think I needed some time and space to spend more time on school and the people around me. So here’s some other accomplishments from the year:

  • I made some really awesome friends this year at school! And since one of the things I’ve struggled with for a long time is being shy, it feels so good to be around people who actually care about my opinion and want to be around me! Whenever I’m around them, I can’t help but thank God for the blessings He has given me.
  • I started “Becoming an Author” with Battle Song. I think I’ve only done two posts in this series, but hopefully it will continue in the future…or it will just become my entire outlook! I’ve become more focused on my writing and trying to improve with it, to make it actually something I can do in the future.
  • I applied to college! And I tried out for a music composition major, something I probably wouldn’t have done on my own, but my voice teacher encouraged me to. And even though I don’t know if that’s something I want to do, I feel good about reaching out a little more than I normally would.

There are probably other things, too, but I’m really only remembering the last few months or so–but they have been good months!

Now on to the New Year! Yay! *hands you some cookies to help you get through the rest of this post*



Goals for 2018

I want these goals to be slightly more ambiguous than the last two years’ have been. Not in a bad, vague way, but in a way that allows me to accomplish something good even if my perspective changes throughout the year. With this, I’m trying to keep it to only one goal per section as well!


Life Goal(s)

Learn how to live on my own. (See, kind of vague.) I’m planning on going to college next year and living on my own, even though I could probably still live at home, in order to help myself grow and learn new things, and so forth. So…I have to figure out how to do that (which kind of terrifies me)! And a lot of things could be involved with this, but that’s my main goal, so I’ll leave it at that.

Grow closer to God and more secure in my beliefs. I know I said I was keeping it to one per section, but I feel like this one is important enough that I need to add it in as well. This year, I feel like I’ve grown farther away from what I believe, and I know I need to do better.


Reading Goal

Read 60 books and review them on Goodreads. I know I’ll read more than that, but I think this is a good amount for me to actually review. I should probably also figure out how to use Goodreads as a sort of form of social media or something, but right now, I just use it as a way to track my books, and that’s okay.


Blogging Goal

Find out what I want to blog about, and do it consistently. I’ve spent a little bit of time deciding what it is I want to blog about and what I want to share with you all (basically I’m just going to talk about my writing every day, mwahaha). I don’t know how often I’ll post–maybe only twice a month or something–but I want to make it consistent and not have several-months-long breaks from blogging. Hopefully, though, I’ll be more excited about posting and post more often!


Writing Goal

Publish Battle SongI can’t accurately describe the tingly, nervous, and excited feeling that writing that goal down gives me! But I think that I can actually do it. I’m finally at a place where I think I care about writing in the right way to try to publish, and with a novel that is actually publishable. (I am so excited about Battle Song, by the way! Even though it can often be very confusing and frustrating.)

I want to try to traditionally publish first. If that doesn’t work, then I will self-publish, but the reason I shifted my focus from Enhanced to this novel is because it felt the most plausible to be able to be traditionally published, and I’m super excited to embark on this crazy adventure with it!



Let’s talk!

How did your year go? What were your best moments/accomplishments, and what are your top goals for 2018? Link to your New Year’s Resolutions posts once you’ve written them; I’d love to check them out! And what do you think about me trying to get Battle Song published? Crazy, exciting, or both?

Also, it’s been a while! How have you all been? Tell me about your Christmas and all the adventures you’ve had while I’ve been gone!

The Snowflake Method (Becoming an Author, Part Two)

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After much procrastination, relaxation, stress-ation (aka school) and vacation, I am back! At least for today. No promises for the future, but hopefully I’ll post during NaNoWriMo, which I am…not really but kind of doing? Essentially, I’m not starting a novel during November, but I’m going to be working on planning one.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post…the Snowflake Method, which I’m using with Battle Song! Are you excited? I am.

(P.S. Want to see my first Becoming an Author post? It was ages ago, but whatever. You can find it here.)


So what’s the Snowflake Method?

The Snowflake Method is a way of planning or organizing a novel, starting from a tiny sliver of your story (a one-sentence summary) to the full complexity of a first draft. Successive steps along the way help you expand it piece by piece until you’ve created an entire novel.

This ten step method was developed by Randy Ingermanson, and you can check out the ten steps here at his website.


Why am I using the Snowflake Method?

The first time I heard of the Snowflake Method was when my dad and I did Camp NaNo together (my first NaNo experience) in April 2013. He used this method to plan out his novel, but I didn’t really know much about it except for the basic idea (from basic to complex).

I used to shun the Snowflake Method without knowing much about it because I’m not a planner. I didn’t want to be a planner. I thought it would limit my creativity, freedom, and enjoyment–and maybe it will, but I’m going to try it out.

But lately I’ve been frustrated with how I can’t seem to finish a novel. I’ll write a few chapters or even 20- or 30,000 words…and then it fizzles away. In the past, even when I have finished, the middle of my novel has sagged. I can write a beginning just fine, but the rest? Not so much.

So, I decided I’d just check the website out. If it helped me, I’d try it out. And when I read through it, I realized that it was exactly what I needed.

I needed something to organize my work, to help me develop a functioning beginning, middle, and end, and to assist me in writing a novel that would affect other people–and that’s what it’s for.

(I didn’t worry about buying the book or the software. Like he says, everyone will do it a little differently, and I don’t think I need those things to make it work for me.)


Is it working?

Yes…as far as I can tell. I’ve only done the first three steps, so who knows? And I’m not sure if I’ll know until I actually write the first draft. Or technically, third draft? Because it will be the third time I’ve started Battle Song. But for right now, it’s helping me.

It’s not that it suddenly made me realize what everything was supposed to be–on the other hand, it revealed the problems with my story–the lack of a specific conflict, especially. When describing your novel in such a short time frame–one sentence–you have to strip it down to its very essence and build up from there.

Here’s that one sentence (or logline) describing Battle Song:

In a reimagining of The Little Mermaid, a warrior mermaid seeks divine forgiveness for her murders while forced to fight in a war.

It took me a while to figure out what the central conflict was and how to make sure it conveyed the interesting parts of the ideas (not just the fighting but also the religion and Amrya’s conflicted nature throughout the book), but now that I took the time to figure it out, I really like the logline and how it will affect my story.

Also, if you’re interested in starting the Snowflake Method or just writing a logline for your book, here’s the two sources I liked the best. (The readability is awful with a black background, but the information was clearly stated and helpful for me.)

Building the Perfect Logline for Your Book, Screenplay, or Other Story

Logline Workshop: Jurassic Park


Your thoughts?

Have you ever used the Snowflake Method? Do you want to? How do you plan (or not) your novels? Do you think that’s the right way for you, or could you improve? Do you have a logline for your current novel? If so, please share it! And what do you think of the logline for Battle Song?

I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

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Photo by samsommer on Unsplash–thank you!

Okay, so my Camp NaNoWriMo goal was less than any other NaNo goal I’ve had in the 4.5 years I’ve done it (only 20,000 words). But it’s been over a year since I won a NaNoWriMo event, so just winning felt awesome and like I could do amazing things.

Screenshot 2017-08-01 at 4.16.21 PMLook at my lovely chart…. Clearly, I did not do very well during the first half of the month (partly because I went on vacation for an entire week), but I pulled in by the very last day. (Go procrastination!) Not quite as awesome as the NaNo where I wrote 12K the last day to win, but still pretty great.

Also, this draft (rewrite?) is turning out much better than the first one–and also very different. It’s become more emotional (I hope) and a lot more centered on war and fighting and the results of that/how that affects people. But also still about family and religion and love and all of that fun stuff. (Not sure if I told you this, but there’s an actually semi-decent synopsis/blurb on the Battle Song page! *nudges you to check it out*)

But there’s still some stuff that I have yet to figure out. My biggest problem right now is figuring out what exactly Amrya traded with the sea witch. You see, the whole idea of this novel came about from the idea that the little mermaid traded in her beauty instead of her voice. But then…that didn’t work. It didn’t affect the story at all because it’s not about beauty or about a society that really cares about beauty.

So then I decided that she was going to trade out her fighting skills, but that didn’t work because when I began writing this second draft, Amrya’s personality changed a bit. Rather than liking being a warrior, she hates fighting and killing but feels honor-bound to do it. So giving up her fighting skills was not going to challenge her enough.

When I wrote the scene between her and the sea witch, I had her trade some heartscales, which are like tokens of war + mer currency, which worked but also doesn’t affect her after she becomes human.

Now I’m wondering, should I just have her lose her voice like the original? It would better follow the original fairy tale narrative, and I think I can make it work and still have decent character development, but I still don’t know if it will affect her enough. The story isn’t about not being able to communicate; it’s about not wanting to fight. And though having her lose her voice could work, I’m afraid that it’ll detract from the point I’m trying to get across.

(What is that point? you may ask… Well, probably something along these lines: life has value + war is sometimes necessary + family is important + faith + true love and friendship + something else maybe? But that’s what it seems like it’s heading toward.)

So…what do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to have her not trade anything that really affects her (considering that the part that really affects her is that she has to marry one specific person)? Should I have her lose her voice at the risk of it sounding like it was just put there because of the original fairy tale or would it work because it’s from the original fairy tale? Or maybe she just loses it partly (like only the magic part or only for a certain amount of time)? Or do I need to find something else entirely that would make it hard? I don’t know, but I just really need someone’s opinion besides my own.

Okay, we’ve talked about my issues with Battle Song; what about the good parts? Well, there are actually quite a few.

1. The mer culture decided it wanted to be something different and it was awesome. Like, it’s still the same basic warrior clan idea thing, and there’s still a lot I have to develop more fully, but there’s magic that’s awesome and relates to singing! (Points for reference to the little mermaid’s voice being important.) And I kind of figured out why they’re fighting…which kind of leads to the next point.

2. The big problems with the mers got figured out and incorporated into the plotline! The problems were:

  • Where did the mers come from?
  • Why don’t they have immortal souls while the humans do?
  • Why are they always fighting?
  • And I also figured out why the humans are fighting, so points for that too!

And I can’t tell you the answers (because spoilers) but they’re pretty great and are actually important to the plot.

3. The minor character becomes more important. So in the original, after the little mermaid saves the prince, some girls from a convent/temple find him and he thinks one of them was the one to rescue him (and the little mermaid can’t tell him otherwise because she can’t talk). Of course, he thinks he’ll never see her again (she is in a convent, after all), but–surprise! Turns out she’s a princess from a neighboring kingdom, just put there to learn “every royal virtue.” And then the prince falls in love with her and the little mermaid turns into seafoam and that’s the end.

Anyway, this princess (Malena is her name) made a brief appearance in the first draft of Battle Song, but she becomes much more important in this draft. Not only as the character from the original fairy tale but also as Amrya’s friend and the one who introduces her to the religion of the island (which I just now realize should probably get a name). And I wrote a scene with her yesterday and I learned some deep stuff about her and she’s a great character.

So yes, I have been having fun with it (despite all of the struggles)! Somehow I doubt I will finish this first draft before the end of summer…but I do want to keep writing every day and make this story as awesome as it can be!


let’s talk!

How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less? And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?) And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)? How did it go? And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?

Also I hope you enjoyed the rambling because I did and I will probably ramble more about stuff in Battle Song, hehe.

Why Do I Write?

why I write header

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?

5 Random Updates

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I should make all my headers like this…it took me about three minutes. Then again, it’s rather uncreative. But it works in a pinch when you’re tired and want to go to bed.

Well, some of them are random, anyway. They’re less random and more rambly. I should’ve called it 5 Rambly Updates. So, I don’t know what to post about but I decided I should probably post before I leave on hiatus for a little bit.

So randomness/ramblyness (rambliness?) ensues.

#1: Update on Blogging & Hiatus

Okay, this isn’t random, really. But I’m going to be gone next week. *nods* And maybe longer than that because I don’t know what to blog about if I’m not writing regularly. And I haven’t been writing regularly. *hides in shame*

Also, I now have over 100 followers! Thank you, everyone, for reading. It means a lot that you read and (hopefully?) enjoy my blog!

#2: Update on Life

I’ve been thinking a lot about college and stuff and whyyy does it cost so much? Some days it seems so far away and I’m like, “Oh, I’ll just not worry about it,” and other days I’m so overwhelmed and I feel like I’ll never be ready. (I spend a lot of time between two conflicting emotions like that.)

I also don’t want to think about school, so I haven’t started my summer homework. And I have been procrastinating a lot recently. It’s a problem.

I read around 20 books in June…some have yet to see the light of a goodreads review, though. But I’m working on that. Actually, I’m reading rather than writing reviews. Probably not a good thing, but I’ll get around to them sometime.

#3: Update on Self Growth

Hm. Hopefully I’m not getting any taller, but I think I am getting better as a person. More or less. I don’t really know. I’ve been praying to have more charity, and it’s helped, but then I also have days where I get frustrated and take it out on everyone around me.

And I complain way too much. Any ideas? Say two things positive after every complaint?

#4: Update on Musicality

After all, this blog is called The Music of Words. So, what musicking have I been up to? Not much. I’ve been taking voice lessons but I haven’t practiced much since my last one…eep. So I know my voice is probably getting worse as I sit here, not singing.

But I’ve been playing the piano recently, not practicing, but at least playing. Mostly as a form of escapism from the world. I can’t escape through singing…it’s too much of me, I think. I know people hear it and they hear me. But when I play the piano, they hear the music and I hear the music, and I don’t have to worry about improving my voice or how I breathe or that I miss a few notes. I just play.

#5: Update on Writing

*sigh*

Yep, that’s a pretty good description on it’s own. Lots of sighing. Lots of glaring at myself in the mirror (and at my characters if I feel like it). Basically, I haven’t been writing much even though I’ve had time to, and that just makes me feel all guilty inside. Grrrrr.

Plus, Camp NaNo? Ha! Especially since I’m going on hiatus. I’m going to lose again. And it’s because I’m too lazy to write.

But I have made some progress on Battle Song! I’m at a grand total of 8,570 words so far and I’m having a lot of fun exploring the world and some of the magic of the world. (The mers can do magical stuff through singing, which is so fun to play around with. And traumatize Amrya with.)

I want to talk to you about it! Though I’m not entirely sure what to talk about…what do you want to hear about? Characters? Plot? Setting? A Spotlight with an excerpt or snippets? What I’m struggling with? I don’t know, you tell me what you want to hear. I’ll try to oblige, unless inspiration suddenly strikes…


Alrighty, there’s my updates & basically my tired, late night version of a monthly wrap-up post. (What happened to the Dares? I don’t know. I would still like to do them, but the posts took a long time to write, and I never seemed to accomplish much.)

Anyway, how have you been? Any updates you want to share with me? Tell me how your writing is going or what thoughts have been on your mind lately during life. Do you play an instrument or sing? How do you feel about music?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


(And a good one.)

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


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

Basically I need to foreshadow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


let us speak to each other wonderful words

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

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

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

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!