Saturday, 17 June 2017

#RebelliousWriting - Where is the Light?

     There's a riddle I'm quite fond of: I need light to exist, but when light shines on me, I die. What am I?

     (Highlight this sentence for the answer: a shadow!)

     I'm going to be talking about light and darkness today. In our world, right now, there is both dark and light; they co-exist. I personally believe that someday the light will win over the darkness, but before we get into that, I should tell you: I'm joining the Rebellious Writing Movement!

     #RebelliousWriting is not about rebelling against your parents; it's a movement rebelling against the dark side that has emerged in YA fiction. It's against the rise in explicit content in books, and it's against glorifying things such as drugs, swearing, etc. in books. Here is Gray's, the founder of the movement, post explaining it in more detail: #RebelliousWriting.

     Now, back to light and dark. I'm not talking about colours here, or what time of the day it is. What I really want to discuss is YA books. Light, in my eyes, is when hope is shown in a book, not where everything is horrible and life is portrayed as not worth living. True, we may feel like that sometimes, but here's the thing:

     Darkness doesn't last.

     Just as the sun always rises after a thick cloud of night, there will always be a flicker of flame to show you the way at the end. There will always be the choice to take the offered candle, and find your way out of shadows.

     It's a choice. It's your choice, your character's choice.

     Do they want to stay in darkness, or walk in light?

     Now don't get me wrong, it's important to show the dark, black, and filthy elements of life. We all sin, we all make mistakes, we all do things we shouldn't or witness them. That's, unfortunately, a part of the world in which we stand. Showing the darkness does not mean you have to promote it, however. Instead we should show it, because there are consequences for sin. There are real, painful consequences, in either this time or the next.

     But please, please, do not write the darkness in a way that glorifies it.

     Sin is not good. Pain is not good. Hurting others, hurting yourself is not good. So why write it like it is?

     Write the darkness in a way that doesn't make your reader uncomfortable, doesn't force them to consider a person's age when they want to recommend your book to them, doesn't make it seem like darkness is fun! so! much! fun!

     It's not.

     So why do I ask you to write about darkness? Aren't I supposed to be talking about light?

     When you write about shadows, you have an opportunity; you can show the burning candle. You can put hope and life and joy, even if it's just a smidgen, into the characters and your reader. You can show them that there is a flame that will show their battered feet where to walk, that they are wanted, and there are rewards for their fight for the good.

     Think about the phrase: "Black and white." Let's imagine that you were taught that no other colour existed, except white. Wouldn't then black also be white to you? Or at least, you would think it a different kind of white. If you didn't know the difference between wrong and right, only that there is "right", wouldn't everything be right?

     We are shown opposites because they help us understand the world around us. Wet, dry. Wood, stone. Day, night. Real, fake.

     Light and dark. Black and white.

     We can get so lost in trying to show the darkness, how raw and hurtful it can be, that sometimes we forget that light and dark must be paired together to really show the truth. If we are shown the consequences of darkness, we can turn towards the light. But if we are only shown consuming shadows, then we'll get lost. The reader will close the book feeling empty and without hope.

     So please, write the light. Show its goodness, its hope, its love, its peace, its perfect love.

     Light will always win in the end.

I hope you enjoyed today's post! Feel free to disagree or agree with me in the comments, just please remember to keep it clean and respectful; everyone's ideas are important and should be heard. :)
Do you try to show the light in your own writing? Anything else you'd like to add or ask me questions about? Will you be joining #RebelliousWriting?
Have an amazing day!<3

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Beautiful People - June Edition

    Hello everyone! It's that special time of the month again when I participate in Beautiful People, a writing blog meme/link-up hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Their blogs are awesome, so please go check them out!

   For this edition, I'm switching the WIP I'm talking about from Splintered Crown to Golden Revenge, an YA Epic Fantasy. Why? I'm in the thick of second draft edits of Golden Revenge after finishing the first draft almost a year ago, and I'm absolutely adoring spending time again with its characters. Here's a blurb about Golden Revenge:

In a world ravaged by war, Taylan is yet another scarred teen refugee. He’s one in thousands of Paralinese that fled from their civil war strewn country, caught in bloody battles between magical royals and rebel soldiers. Now in Mohetania's refugee camp, he struggles to last from day to day. Hope keeps him alive; hope that someday he'll be able to return home, rid his country of blood-sucking royals, and bury his family.

Mida is a Mohetanian princess cursed with the touch of gold. A killer by age four, she keeps her hands trapped in magical leather. She isolates herself in order to protect others from the monster she believes lies inside her. But when her victim's brother pays her a visit, Mida snaps and begins to delve deep into the world of illegal magic, hunting for a cure.

When rebel soldiers begin to appear in the refugee camp, Taylan and Mida's desires and lives are caught up in plots of war. A war where there are no winners.

Here's a collage I made for the story agggessss ago!
   Let's throw Taylan some questions!

1) What's their favourite place they've ever visited?

   Taylan has lived in many places in his life, some he loved and some he hated, but as for a visit, probably the village his mother grew up in. When his mother was on the run from their father with Taylan and his sister, they stopped briefly at their aunt's house. It smelled of mint and woodsmoke, and it was where everyone was smiling after crying for so long.

2) What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?

   I would tell you, but that would be a massive spoiler. Let's just say that his anger got the best of him.

3) What was their favourite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?

   It wasn't taught at school, but Taylan always enjoyed drawing. He taught himself by sketching objects over and over again until he got them just right.

4) What’s their favourite flower/growing thing?

   Probably orange trees; he ate an orange once and thought he might die of love for its sweet juice.

5) Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

    When Taylan returned home from his mandatory time in the Royal Army, he tried to hide the scars whippings left on his back, but his mother eventually saw. Tears fell. He wished then he hadn't been stood up to the older soldiers, and just bowed his head and did as he was told.

6) Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

    Reliable, a hundred percent.

7) What do they dream about at night?

    Nothing good; screams, devouring flames, sprays of blood.

8) They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?

    A "special meal" would mean anything other than weak stew and almost stale bread. Food is scarce in the refugee camp, so having a little meat would certainly be special.

My photos appear to be food orientated today. Sorry if you're now hungry!
9) What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

    Taylan desperately wants to return to his destroyed village and bury his mother and sister. But he knows he can't feel at peace with that until he's killed the royals that led to the destruction of his family, and country.

10) Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

    He's a very fast runner, and is fairly good at sketching in charcoal, though he doesn't have as much time to commit himself to his art as he used to.

    That wraps up this month's Beautiful People! I really hoped you enjoyed learning about Taylan. He'd appreciate any hugs, so feel free to send him any! ;)

Did you participate in BP this month? I'd love to check out your post! What do your characters dream about at night? What WIP are you working on right now?
Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your writing! <3

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Sunshine Blogger Tag

    Who doesn't like a little sunshine? Considering Australia's just entered winter, I would LOVE some sun right now. (It's freezing for a girl that's grown up near the equator!) Anyway, my point is I'm fond of sunshine at the moment, so it seemed perfect to participate in the Sunshine Blogger Tag. Jem Jones tagged me over at her blog, so thanks Jem!

    Here are the rules:
#1: Answer the 11 questions from your nominee
#2: Tag 11 bloggers
#3: Ask them 11 new questions

   Let's get to it, shall we?

1) Is there a story you've always wanted to write, but haven't yet?

    I've always loved the idea of writing a story about a group of high-schoolers that are hiking on Leap Year's Day (when two worlds meet), and end up being kidnapped by the inhabitants of the other world. Magic is disappearing on the other world, so they take 'Earthens' every four years and use Earth's knowledge to rebuild their countries instead of relying on magic. Something like that!

    I haven't worked out the details yet, and the plot's still a bit fuzzy in my mind, but I might write it one day just for fun!

2) What tv show/movie have you binge-watched the worst?

    *consults Netflix account* I watched a lotttttt of Continuum's first season during my last holiday, so much so that I'm not sure if I did anything else...?

3) You know those innocent little mistakes we make that are so. embarrassing. they keep you up at night. five years later. Those. Tell me about one of them? 

    Those are the kinds of mistakes I like to erase from my memory. I can think of plenty of embarrassing moments, but none that came from innocent little ones. Hmmmm... I mean, I nearly got knocked unconscious by a fruit falling from a tree I was under. (It was a heavy fruit from a tall tree, okay?) That's the most embarrassing yet funny moment of my life. 

4) What's your biggest NOTP?

    Dorian and Celaena from Throne of Glass. Lots of readers want them together, but their relationship never felt true or comfortable to me. (Plus, I really want her with someone else...)

5) Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? 

    One horse-sized duck, because I feel like it would be far easier to escape one than a hundred? Though the thought of a duck that big is a tad disconcerting...

6) Is there a song you've been listening to on repeat?

    I always have a favourite song on repeat for a day, then it changes by the next day, then the next, etc. The latest though is probably 'Dream For You' by Casting Crowns. I love their lyrics so much!

7) Who is the first person that pops into your head when you think "weird"?

    No one pops into my head...? I find things people do weird, but not people themselves. 

8) What's your biggest pet peeve?

   When people unplug the hairdryer but don't switch it off, so when you plug it in you get a heart attack by it starting by itself. I find this really really REALLY annoying. Please never do that.

9) Oxford comma or no?

   I don't have a side in this debate, actually. For me it depends on the sentence and whether that extra comma makes it flow or not.

10) If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?

   I'm very happy with my name! (Especially my last name, though if you pronounce it Grav-it-tis and not Grav-vee-tis out loud I might glare at you. It's not pronounced how it's spelled weirdly enough.) I'd choose not to change it. Is that an option?

11) Why did you start a blog?

   Two reasons! The first of which was that I started reading writing and book blogs, and I really loved the idea of sharing my thoughts and writing journey. The second was that I wanted to connect with other writers and readers. (Like all you lovely people!)

   I think lots of people have already done this tag so I'll be a rebel and tag as many as I can. 

Rachel @ R's Loft
Audrey @ Audrey Caylin
Christine @ Musings of an Elf
Jeneca @ Jeneca Writes
Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen
Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

    If I tagged you and you've already done it, no worries! And if I didn't and you'd like to, then go for it and let me know! I'd love to read your answers. 

Here are my 11 questions:

#1 - Did anything 'spark' your passion (writing, reading, art, etc.) or did it come on gradually?
#2 - If a library was on fire and you could only save three of its books, which three would you choose?
#3 - Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, or another drink?
#4 - One of your characters can come alive for a day. Who do you want it to be?
#5 - How many siblings do you have?
#6 - Do you have a motto? (If you do, share it, if you don't, make one up!)
#7 - What's the strangest dream you've ever had?
#8 - Have you ever traveled out of your country, and if yes, where to?
#9 - If you wished on a shooting star, what would you wish for?
#10 - Would you rather go swimming in Antarctica or camping in the Sahara Desert?
#11 - How did you come up with your blog's name?

Is there a story you've always wanted to write but haven't yet? What are some of your answers to my questions? Are you in winter like me, or are you enjoying summer rays?
Let me know in the comments, and have a fabulous day! <3

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Questions to Ask When Creating Magical Worlds

    I am a total lover of fantasy. There are so many takes on it, from the more hard-core, almost 'traditional' fantasy, to the weird and wonderful. Some love it for great adventures or crazy animals. Personally, I adore it because of the world-building; because I can create communities and entire worlds and craft them to my own liking.

   Sometimes fantasy worlds have magic in them, sometimes they don't. In today's post I'll talk about the ones that do. In the past I covered three aspects of how to create a magic system, but today I'll be compiling a list of questions I ask myself when creating worlds with magic in them!   

1) Who has magic? What terminology is used to refer to them (eg. magician, wizard, witch)?

2) Are magical powers gained, are people born with them, or can it be both? If gained, how so? If they are born with them, is it their bloodline or something else?

    Drawing from my WIP, Golden Revenge, one of the types of magicians are called Stormdancers. They are able to control rain, lightning, and thunder. The powers are only granted to babies, however, who are born during storms. Another kind of magician is called a Soulstreamer, and it is passed down through their blood.

3) Where does magic come from? (eg. the world, an object, within the magician)

4) How are magicians viewed by those without magic? Are they hated? Feared? Revered? And how do magicians view those without?

5) Are there any religious groups against magic? Why or why not?

6) Does magic play a part in the political system, or is it completely separate? If separate, are there any policies in place to enforce rules regarding magic use? What is the magical community's response to this?

    Again from Golden Revenge (as will all the later examples), in one of the countries, any magic that is not performed by a certain organisation is considered illegal. As an act of defiance, magicians not in the organisation set up illegal magic markets underneath its cities. 

7) What kind of form does magic take? Is it visible?

8) What effect does magic have on the magician? Are there immediate effects or do they apply gradually over time?

9) Are there any places of education where those with magic are trained? If so, are they being trained for careers in the future, or are their powers being purposefully subdued?

    The organisation mentioned before is called the Scholarly, where those who suspect they have magical powers may attend to learn how to heal the body and mind. When they have finished training they are granted jobs, but they're never allowed to practice illegal magic.

10) What are the limits/rules of magic? What can it do, and not do?

11) Are there different levels of skill magicians can fall under? Can they move between levels? Are there different kinds with different powers?

12) Do certain locations within the world give a magician more power than others? Are there places that magic cannot touch or be used in?

13) Do magicians have a code of behavior between them? What does it entail? Have/do any magicians refuse to follow this code?

    The magicians in the illegal magic markets have no code other than don't get caught. As they're not under the watch of the law, they grant themselves freedom to do whatever they wish, from creating monsters of talons and scales to crafting flowers made of tiny eyes.

14) Why is magic a part of your world? Was it given by a god, or has it been around since the beginning of time? What is its history?

15) Do any other people groups or species have magic? How is it different or similar?

16) Are there any identifiers of those with magic? (eg. robes, pins, a certain tattoo)

17) How does magic influence wars and conflict? Are magicians brought in to fight, or to bring peace?

    And that brings me to the end of my list! I really hope it can help you out in your world-building and fleshing out the magical presence in your world!

Do you have any questions to add to my list? How do you develop the magical presence in your world? What magical power do you wish you had? Are you a great lover of fantasy like me?
Let me know in the comments below, and have a magical day! <3

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Bookish Book Lover Tag

    It's not very often I talk about books on the blog, so today I decided to do a book tag Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen tagged me in awhile back. (Thanks for the tag Victoria!) I'm super excited to share with you all my current reads, and bookish loves!

   Here are the Bookish Book Lover Tag rules:

#1- Use the banner.
#2- Answer the questions.
#3- Use lots of book covers.
#4- Tag your bookish friends!

1) What book(s) are you currently reading?

   At present, I'm almost finished with Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. I love the quick and simple style that the scenes are organised in, and seeing it done so successfully has given me some hope for my own similar style.

2) What the last book you finished?

   Technically, the last book I read was Magic Study by Maria V Snyder (absolutely amazing by the way), but I also finished re-reading the play Othello by Shakespeare last week, so that was my latest full read. (If you like intelligent villains, I highly recommend the play.)

3) Favourite book you read this year?

   Goodness, this is hard. I've had such a run of awesome books this year, but the best is a tie between Magic Study and Gemina.

4) What genre have you read most this year?

   Fantasy. No surprises there!

5) What genre have you read least this year?

   Contemporary, though I am reading one right now. It's nice to take a break from my fantasy pattern, but honestly, I don't think I'll make them top priority on my TBR.

6) What genre do you want to read more of?

   I'd love to see more re-tellings of obscure folk or fairy tales.

7) How many books have you read this year, and what's your goal?

   *sheepish smile* So, with the move and school and everything, I've only read about six books this year. I'm trying to read one book every two weeks now though, so the numbers should improve (unless I get a billion essays to write again).

8) What's the last book you bought?

    Holding Up the Universe, as I'll be going to a talk and signing by Jennifer Niven on Friday!

9) What book are you saving up to buy next?

    A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas.

10) How many books did you check out last library visit?

    I believe it was four. I couldn't fit any more in my bag!

11) What's a book you can't wait to read?

    I'm eagerly awaiting my opportunity to read Obsidio (which comes out in a couple of centuries, it seems).

12) What's a series you'd recommend to everyone?

    Probably the Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Sooooo good!

13) Who's an author you're hoping writes more?

    *points to last question's author*

14) A few books your heart adores?

    ALL OF THEM!!! (Okay, I don't adore all books, but the following are a few I love to love): Birthmarked by Caragh M O'Brien, Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, Enna Burning by Shannon Hale, and Captives by Jill Williamson.

15) What series' coming conclusion makes you sad?

    I do but don't want the Throne of Glass series to end. So many mixed feelings!

16) What books are on your wish list?

    There are tons, but a few are: the Angel Eyes Trilogy by Shannon Dittemore, the Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill, and the Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye.

    And now, I tag... *drumroll*

and anyone else who'd like to do it!

Thanks for reading today's post; I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about my reading life! What books does your heart adore? What's the last book you bought? Most read genre?
I'd love to read your answers in the comments! Have a wonderful day! <3

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Beautiful People - Parental Edition

     Happy May everyone! (I'm not sure if that's a thing, but let's just roll with it, shall we?) Today I'll be participating in the wonderful Beautiful People link-up created by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It's designed to help writers get to know their characters better, so be sure to check it out!

    This month's Beautiful People focuses on parents, and so I'll be answering most of the questions about Crim's (MC of Splintered Crown) sort of adopted parents, Thekla and Xan. They took him into their home after his true parents tried to have him killed.

    In case you're wondering about Splintered Crown, here's a quick blurb:

Recovering from a bitter civil war between two princes, the nation of Cynnica eagerly awaits the announcement of the next Heir to the throne. Three royal children were sent away at birth to grow up out of palace hands, and when the time is right, the best and most suited to rule will be chosen. The other two will never be the wiser of their parentage, and Cynnica will never be caught between siblings again.

Crim is as sure he'll be the chosen Heir as he's sure he's attractive. In other words, a hundred percent. Raised under the watchful eye of a noblewoman who took him from an orphanage in hopes he'd be a prince, his only focus has been preparing to rule--and his violin.

When the Heir is declared to be a sister he's never met, Crim's life spins into chaos. What will he do now? How could they not choose him? After all, he's perfect...right?

    To the questions!

1) Overall, how good is their relationship with their parents?

    Crim's relationship with Thekla and Xan develops over the story, as he's practically strangers with them in the book's beginning. His first impression of Thekla was a good one, as she welcomed him with a tight hug, but his impression of Xan was not so much. Xan wasn't mean or anything; he was a bit gruff with the unexpected visitor.

2) Do they know both their biological parents? If not, how do they cope with this loss/absence and how has it affected their life?

    Wow this is a tricky one to answer. Biologically, the king and queen of Cynnica are his parents, and Crim has seen them from a distance, but never personally interacted with them. He was formally the son of High Lady Paizelle--until the Heir was chosen--yet she never acted like a mother to him. As a result, Crim has this kind of hole inside him, one he always hoped the king and queen would fill. When he was younger, he dreamed of what it would be like to call them mother and father.

3) How did their parents meet?

    Back to Thekla and Xan. They met in their time in the army during the civil war, in which Thekla was Xan's commanding officer while he was her cadet. Thekla was deep undercover at the time. Their relationship turned to a friendship, and when it became deeper than that and the war heightened to its peak, things got messy. That's all I can say, because, spoilers.

So I tried to find a picture of Thekla when she was younger, but couldn't find a good one, so here's a mysterious one that you can use your imagination with
4) How would they feel if they were told "you're turning out like your parent(s)"?

    Crim would be glad, because they're tough, generous, and nice people. Heaven knows he wishes he were any of those.

5) What were your character's parents doing when they were your character's age?

    It would be a few years before the civil war, so Xan would be mourning the loss of his father, while Thekla would be starting her army training in the capital. 

6) Is there something they adamantly disagree on?

    They break into fights almost weekly over whether or not Xan should leave their farm and go into town, even for an hour. He suffered a significant face mutilation during the war--his head was shoved into a fire, and so he lost sight in one eye and all feeling on one side of his face--and fears to appear in public due to it. Thekla always tries to convince him that no one will be afraid of him, but Xan swears they will. He doesn't want to scare little children with his 'monstrous' face.

7) What did the parent(s) find hardest about raising your character?

   Well, since they didn't raise him, I'll go with the biggest challenge they had taking him in; not the persistent death threat on his back, but his drinking. After the effects it had on Thekla (more spoilers there) it was difficult to find the balance between supporting him and drawing the line.

8) What's their most vivid memory with their parental figure(s)?

   Going back to the king and queen for a second here: the queen sitting with a crowd of orphans, laughing, letting them braid her hair. For the king: carrying a tower of manuscripts and scrolls in his arms, beaming.

9) What was your character like as a baby/toddler?

   Crim was a confident toddler who thought the world could not harm him. He might have fallen down a number of stairs as a result.

10) Why and how did the parents choose your character's name?

   Just to confuse you even more, this was High Lady Paizelle's decision (I know, I know, I'm sorry Crim's parental relationships are so complicated). Crim's real name is Crimson. High Lady Paizelle chose it as it's the colour of her noble family, and so when (as she had planned) Crim was chosen as Heir, everyone would be constantly reminded of her influence in training him. The plan didn't, well, didn't go to plan.

That brings us to the end of today's post; I really hope you enjoyed it!
Do your characters know their biological parents? Why did your character's parents choose the name they did? Have you participated in Beautiful People this month? What do you think of Thekla and Xan?
Let me know in the comments and have an amazing day! <3

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Naming Characters and Places

     I love creating characters, exploring what makes them who they are, discovering their history, families, likes, dislikes, all of it. But I find it difficult to do any of that if I don't have a name for them in my head. The same applies to places in my story-world; without names they're blobs of buildings and nature in my mind. So how do you find a name that fits them perfectly? 

   Today I'll be sharing my personal methods for choosing character or place names! So let's get to it, shall we?

1) Google Translate

   Primarily, I use this method for city and country names when I need one quickly. I'll pull up Google Translate, then choose one or two words that describe my place. I type that into the English section, then translate it to a language that belongs to a similar environment as my country. 

    For example, in my latest project Splintered Crown, I typed in "mountain city" and translated it into German, as the country's geography resembles Germany's. As a result, I got Bergstadt! Usually I switch a few letters around but I loved this one, so I kept it. This method is a quick and easy way to achieve cohesive place names if you stick to one language!

2) Search Name Lists

    I mainly use this method for character names when I want names in a certain language or from a certain region. A quick Google search of, for example, "Turkish names" will have tons of baby name sites coming up. At this point I'm surprised Google isn't giving me baby food ads with the amount I visit.

   Anyway, here are a few sites I highly recommend: Behind the Name, 20,000 Names, and Belly Ballot. Check them out for a little inspiration!

3) Choose a Trait

    If you're in a deep and symbolic mood, and want a name that really identifies your character or place by their values, this is the method for you. Simply search "names meaning ____" to find one that represents your character's soul or country's history. The name could even contain foreshadowing...

4) Alter a Common Name

   It's difficult to find new names that haven't been plastered onto other book characters before. So how about taking one of those common names and putting your own spin on it? In one of my stories I changed Johnathan to Jonathon by taking out one letter and switching another, and in another changed Bird to Byrd. Some languages already do this for you if you look up variants of a name (the Bulgarian form of Samuel is Samuil). 

I made a list of all my characters from Golden Revenge for this post, and this just scratches the surface...I just realised I have a whole ton of characters.
5) String Letters Together

    If none of the above methods work, if none of the names seem to fit, or if you're lacking inspiration to create deep names, pick your favourite letter. Then pick a few vowels and consonants, throw them together, and tada! You have a name. Remember, there's always editing if you want to change it later!

That wraps up today's post; I hoped you enjoyed it! How do you come up with character and place names? Are our methods similar or different? Any name sites you would recommend? 
Let me know in the comments below, and have a marvelous day! <3

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Voices of YA Tag

    Happy Saturday everyone! (Or Friday if you're in a different time zone, or whatever day it is when you're reading this!) Today I'll be participating in the Voices of YA Tag, which was created by Caitlin Lambert. The tag has been made for YA writers/bloggers so they can share about their passion for YA! I wasn't technically tagged for it, but as Caitlin opened it up to anyone who wished to participate, and I wished to, here I am! Thank you for creating the tag and letting me join in on the fun, Caitlin!

    Here are the rules:

1) Thank the person who tagged you
2) Link to the original creator
3) Answer the ten questions
4) Tag AT LEAST two other YA writers/bloggers

    This awesome tag is split into two parts, so let's get into it!


#1 - What draws you to YA?

    Firstly, I'm in YA age range, so almost all the books I read are YA and I enjoy writing characters my age. But the odd thing is that I've been reading YA since primary/elementary school. I was always an advanced reader, and when I found YA books I was hooked, even if I didn't always understand everything. I managed to get my hands on some far-too-mature books for consumption by sneaking into my school's high school library. True fact.

    That aside, there's this beautiful thing about YA where topics that are hard, and raw, and tough to get through can be explored. But it's not just all wallowing in darkness. There's light in it too, mixed with hope and examples of people overcoming the odds with bravery. YA characters push through hard times and come out the other side scarred, but having learnt and persevered. I could on about it for days, but that's the heart of my reason for loving YA.

#2 - Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?

    Process? What process? 

    I'm kidding, I do have a bit of one. I used to be an extreme pantser but as this made me extremely stressed in editing, I now do some before hand preparation. Most of the time I world-build for a few weeks, fleshing out the geography, history, and culture of the world; which in turn tends to spark character and plot ideas. Then I'll scribble down the basic premise and a few scene/chapter ideas, and if I'm feeling artistic, some scrap-book worldbuilding. Then it's off into the first draft to pants the rest!

Sneak peek of two characters' backstory from Splintered Crown. This style is what I call scrap-book worldbuilding. Apologies for the blurriness; can't have you knowing all the spoilers now, can we?

#3 - How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?

    I've been writing seriously for four years now. Before that I always enjoyed writing, but I mark 2013 as the year I began to strive towards being a writer and considered it my career goal. A lot has happened in these four years, and I've grown as a writer both in my attitude towards writing and myself, found my voice, and discovered how best I write.

    At the moment, I'm editing the second draft of a book I believe wholeheartedly could be published in the next few years.

#4 - What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?

    A glass of water to keep me hydrated, earphones, and good music that will drown out any background noise.

#5 - If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN "don't give up"), what would it be?

    Wow, this is tricky, simply because there's so much to say. It's hard to narrow it down to a single piece of advice, as every writer is at a different part in their journey, but I would say this (as I shared on twitter the other day):

Only YOU can write YOUR story. No one can write it like you can. Your voice is important, because it's yours, and yours only.


#6 - What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)

    Honestly, as Caitlin also said in her post, Red Queen blew me away with its plot twist. I had a vague idea something bad was coming, but gosh, did it make me mad...

#7 - What books are you most anticipating this year?

    I'm looking forward to Sarah J Maas' new books coming in May and September; Tower of Dawn and A Court of Wings and Ruin. Oh oh! And Obsidio in the Illuminae Files series! It comes out next year, but sshhh, I'll still be anticipating it all year.

#8 - In your opinion, what YA book/series has the most unique premise?

    The first book series that pops to mind is the Birthmark series by Caragh M O'Brien. As the books develop, so does the premise, and it blew my mind. I love the series so much!

#9 - What is your all-time favourite quote from YA lit?

    From Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas: "You could rattle the stars...You could do anything, if only you dared." 

#10 - What book do you most hope will have a movie adaptation?

    Illuminae! There have been rumours about it, I believe, but I would love to see if they could pull off the adaptation. I would be very cross if they messed with my beloved characters though...

    That's it for the questions! I tag the below people, and anyone else who wishes to do it!

Jeneca @ Jeneca Writes
Victoria @ Wanderer's Pen

I hope you enjoyed the post! I'd love to hear some of your answers to the questions! What's your favourite YA book quote? What piece of advice would you offer to another writer? How long have you been writing?
Let me know in the comments, and have an awesome day! <3

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Am Currently... #8

    It's the holidays!!! For a few more days, that is... But despite my quickly dwindling free time, I feel like I've accomplished a whole ton over the last two and a half weeks. Between family outings like attending the Royal Easter Show (the baby animals were so gorgeous) and exploring Circular Quay, where the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are, I've crammed in plenty of other activities.

    Let's get to it!

    Sadly, I prioritised writing over the Easter Holidays, and so I am still reading the Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine, but have also started Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder. I'm super excited about the later as I loved the first book, Poison Study, and I'm hoping I'll love the sequel just as much. 

   This doesn't technically count as reading, but I bought the Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, which is a super cool reference guide when you're unsure of how to convey a character's emotion. It lists physical signs of the emotion, internal sensations, and mental reactions, to name a few. I definitely recommend it if you're interested in writing!

   Wow, do I have a lot to put down here. Though I'm not participating in Camp Nano, I might as well have been due to the amount of writing I've gotten through. At present I've written nearly 20,000 words of the first draft of Splintered Crown, a YA fantasy about Crim, who has trained his whole life to become Heir to the throne, only to have his sister chosen over him. You can read a more detailed description of it here.

   In addition to that, I finished the first draft of my piece for Project Canvas (which is an amazing opportunities for teenage writers, by the way) and am looking forward to hearing feedback from the editing team on it. 

   And in addition to that, I cracked straight into second draft edits of Golden Revenge. I've been working on the novel for over a year now (yay!), and yesterday was especially ecstatic about it. Why? Because I finally got inspiration on how to change one of the POVs so it flowed with the rest of the story, and made sense in context to the world. After having a mental block about it for several weeks, it was great to break through!

   Here's a little snippet from one of the novel's POVs, Mida, who is a gender retelling of King Midas with the golden touch:

Mida wrapped her gloved hand around the lord’s elbow, letting him take a minute to realize that the only thing between him and death was a thin layer of magical leather. She kept the smile on her face. Maybe if she freaked him out enough, he would leave. Or die in a hole. 

Whatever came first.

    I am OBSESSED with listening to the new Beauty and the Beast soundtrack, particularly Evermore (so powerful and raw) and Main Title: Prologue. If you're thinking 'what on earth' to the last one, it's an instrumental song on the soundtrack that is both magical and special. Check it out. :)

    Pretty good. I'm excited to get into the editing of Golden Revenge this morning and hopefully rewrite/edit yet another chapter. It will be interesting to see whether that distracts me from my homework yet again today...

Let's chat about you! How is your writing progress going? Are you participating in Camp Nano? What's on your TBR and what's your favourite song at the moment?
Let me know in the comments, and have a fantastic day! <3