Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Questions to Ask When Creating a Fantasy Religion

    When you think about it, religions have been shaping our world's societies since the beginning of time. Religious beliefs turn into values, which then turn into laws, ways of living, giving purpose in life, and so on. So why wouldn't they shape your fantasy world?

    I've always tried to create religions in my fantasy works, simply for this reason. Often I end up with more than one, as it's natural for people to have differing beliefs and theology, even if they're all focused on a central idea; take the different branches of Christianity, for instance. 

   So how do you create a religion from scratch? Listed below are some questions I ask myself in the creating process, and hopefully they can help you out! (Since there are so many I'll only provide examples for a few of them. I don't want this to turn into a textbook!)

1) Is there a god or higher deity? If so, how many and how are they characterized?

2) How do they believe the world was created?

3) What is the most important historical event to this religion?

    In one of the religions prominent in my story-world for Splintered Crown, called the Order of the Green Winged, the very base of their religion comes from an event. When a people group were fleeing slavery, they entered foreign and dangerous lands, and were lost in dense terrain for several months. Then one day five green birds landed in their camp and when the people followed them, they found prosperous land to live on. The Order of Green Winged use this event to prove how birds contain the souls of gods, as they cared enough for the people to lead them to safety.

4) Is there a place that people of this religion gather? What does it look like? Can everyone enter?

5) Do they worship? If so, how and how often?

6) Is there a core figure within their religious society; whether supernatural or in places of gathering?

7) What symbols are associated with this religion?

8) Do members of this religion try to convert others to it? If so, through which means?

9) Is the religion tolerant of other religions?
     Referring back to the same religion as before, the Order of the Green Winged are far from tolerant of other religions. Anyone who does not revere birds and wear feathers in their hair (to symbolize their commitment to serving birds under the Order's care) is viewed as the enemy. Sometimes the more radical go as far as burning down gathering places of other religions.

10) Are there certain foods members of the religion are not allowed to eat, or clothing they must wear?

11) Does the religion mark a difference between good and evil? What do they define as good or evil? 

12) Is there a hierarchy of members?

13) Can anyone be a member of this religion, or must they be born into a member's family?

14) Are there yearly events, celebrations, or traditions that take place?

15) Are certain animals protected by this religion? What is their view on the treatment of animals and plants?

    Back with the Order of the Green Winged, birds are holy animals to them. Therefore they see killing any bird, or anything with feathers, as a sin. They will not eat bird meat, and any member seen doing this will most likely be killed in return, and if they are outside the community, publicly condemned and threatened.

16) Is there some form of scripture that records the religion's teachings? Is it written in a language understandable by everyone?

17) If you had to boil down the religion down to a single belief, what would it be?

    Whew! That's quite a lot to answer, isn't it? If my list of questions is intimidating, you can pick and choose which questions you think will play into your characters' lives and world the most. Religions are such intricate and complex things to break down, and I often struggle making them myself, but I really hope this list can help you out!

How do you create religions for your fantasy worlds? What do you think about how religions are represented in books? Do you LOVE world-building like me? 
Good luck with your writing, and have an awesome day!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Am Currently... #7

     Somehow it is almost half-way through March already. How did that happen? I still feel like I'm in February (which was way too short, by the way). Anyway, welcome back to another Am Currently! This is where I share my latest life updates, reads, and writing projects.

    Let's get into it, shall we?

    I finished Dracula! It was a long road, but thankfully I met the end. I appreciate it being a classic, but the sexism deeply annoyed me, and I found it hard to sift through all the description and dry dialogue. Now I just have to write an essay on it...

    I kind of decided to read the Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine instead of Empire of Storms. Thank you for the lovely comments suggesting the later, but sadly it's so thick it couldn't fit in my bag. That will probably be a read for the holidays! As for the Shadow Queen, it's already showing signs of promise. I hope I love it as much as I did with other books by the author.

    School has sucked a lot of reading and writing time from me, however, I did manage to finish my read-through of Golden Revenge and begin to crack into the second draft edits. I nearly cried multiple times because I'm so cruel to my characters. Like ugh my heart broke over and over again. 

    I also wrote a short story for English tentatively titled Children of the Wind, based around ghostly people who travel with the wind, always moving, always searching for something. Plus, I'm dabbling into first drafting Splintered Crown and tossing around a few other ideas.

    Lindsey Stirling is soooo amazing. I adored her latest album, and she just released a medley of the songs from Beauty and the Beast and just, wow. It is now playing on repeat and repeat and repeat.

    Ed Sheeran's new album 'Divide' is also awesome. My favourite song from it is either Barcelona or Eraser. Same goes for Jess and Gabriel's EP: Under the Covers. Their voices are beautiful. <3

    Tired. (This is the aftermath of attempting to write an essay on themes in Dracula). It's coming near the end of the term, which means a lot of assessment tasks/exams and that means less free time. I'm really looking forward to the holidays so I can dig deeper into my writing.

Let's chat! How has your month been so far? What's on your TBR? Any new songs/albums that have dominated your playlists?
Let me know in the comments, and have an awesome day! <3

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Beautiful People: March Edition

     Hi everyone, and welcome back to another Beautiful People! This amazing link-up is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In, and is designed to help you get to know your characters better. Today I'll be delving deeper into Crim's character from Splintered Crown, and finding out more about him!

    First, a little background on Splintered Crown if you didn't catch my last Beautiful People: 

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?

    And now to the questions!

1) What is their favourite book/movie/play/etc.?

    Crim is not the type to spend hours wandering a library in wonder, but he will drop by the music section to learn about the composers that have inspired him. Often their biographies are studded with sheets of music, and one Crim's fingers have smoothed many times is titled: Gold Heart, Black Tears. On the violin, the song sounds both grim and hopeful as the music swells and falls like the tide.

2) Is there anything they regret doing?

    He regrets practically everything he's ever done, except play his violin.

3) If they were sick and wounded, who would take care of them and how?

    At the point in the story I'm writing now, no one would take care of him. But later on, Mira would let him stay in her house; she'd go mad with guilt if she didn't help him when no one else would. Up until he was fine, she'd probably shower him with compassion and worry, but afterwards no doubt they would return to their usual distance.

4) Is there an object they can't bear to part with and why? 

    His violin; he 's not sure if he can breathe without it. It's the only time when he can shed all his lies and mounting issues, and connect to something that seems bigger than him.

5) What are 5 ways to win their heart (or friendship)?

     #1 - Obsess over violins or music in general
     #2 - Don't say that getting over his addictions should be easy, and he isn't trying hard enough
     #3 - Not constantly feel the need to fill silence with awkward small-talk
     #4 - Have an interest in him for something other than his money
     #5 - Have goals, passions, and dreams you'd fight for

6) Describe a typical outfit for them from top to bottom.

    Every piece of cloth is ironed and devoid of any dust, tear, or stain. The white collar is stiff around Crim's neck. A deep blue vest rests over a plain white undershirt, and matches the pressed navy pants. Despite the simple palette, the fabric screams quality and bags of gold; even his black leather boots have the sheen of crisp perfection.

7) What's their favourite type of weather?

     Odd as it sounds, Crim likes thunderstorms. He'll watch them from his window for hours, feeling the windowpane shudder with thunder and the sky split with white lightning. It makes him feel powerful in a way, to be safe inside from something outside so dangerous and mighty.

8) What's the worst fight they've ever been in?

    Once Crim got really, really drunk (which happens quite a lot to be honest) and insulted someone. He can't remember who exactly, but they left him with a nearly broken jaw, two black eyes, and a bucket load of bruises. The only reason his pride somehow survived is because he figured the other guy got it worse.

9) What names or nicknames have been called throughout their life?

      Crim (his actual name is Crimson), Crimmy, Crim-Crim (*gag*), and this one bartender who didn't know what crimson was, and so when Crim said "it's like red" therefore called him Red.

10) What makes their heart feel alive?

    His ears full of a violin's song, or cuddling his tiny daughter. Or sometimes, though he won't admit it, catching Mira smile at him.

What do your characters regret doing? Would you like me to do the next Beautiful People on Mira? How's your WIP coming along? (If you did Beautiful People, feel free to link me to your post!)
Let me know in the comments, and good luck with your writing! <3

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

How to Come Up With Book Titles

       If you were to scroll through my folder of old stories (and by old, I mean 'no one can ever read these messes of stories or I shall surely die') all the titles were essentially the same. Take these: "Sharissa's Story" "Lila's Story" and let's not forget the most detailed yet, "Story." As you can tell, I put a lot of thought into naming my books.

     I'd like to say that now I spend lots of time on what to title my stories, so they don't revolve around the word 'story'. At present, my favourites are Draped in DeceptionWrecked in WarGolden Revenge, Upturned, Safe-House, and Splintered Crown.

    Not too bad, right? (I hope.)

    I know several writers who struggle to put together titles, so I've made a list of ideas of how you can come up with a title for your beautiful, magical book.

1) Find Sentences that Jump Out at You

     Draped in Deception had been going under a name so horrible I won't even mention it here, and I was determined to find another one. In search of inspiration, I quickly flipped through the manuscript, hunting for any phrases or words that jumped out at me. And sure enough, my eye caught on this sentence:

Why did the world have to be a woman draped in jewels of deceit, earrings of deception, and a necklace of lies?

     Not the best writing, sure, but the sentence sparked a title into my head by combining two of the words in there, and bam! I had my title. I've noted other books often have their titles in sentences within, like in Queen of Shadows. Give this method a try, but if you're still coming up dry, maybe move onto...

2) List Your Novel's Aesthetic

     This is the method I, almost unconsciously, used for Golden Revenge. When brainstorming my stories, I like to string together different words that I feel communicate the tone or mood of it. But while in the initial stages my list focused on plot, compiling a list of words that relate to your novel's aesthetic can give you lots of adjectives to play around with. Golden Revenge's looked something this:

Hands dripping gold + a mass of filthy bodies amidst glimmering gowns+ velvet wings + drawn daggers + an inferno clawing at darkness + a shy smile + bitter revenge = Golden Revenge.

3) Imagine Your Future Book Cover

    Honestly, we've all done this. Your novel is sitting in place of pride in a bookstore, with its glossy cover and brilliantly crafted words. Forget what the title is for a moment; imagine the cover art. What is on there? What are the colours? Is it stark and simple, or a haphazard of neon? 

    I took this method for thinking up Splintered Crown, and when I pictured a crown, snapped into tiny pieces and scattered around a shadowy room, the title clicked. After all, book cover art is made to fit the title in many respects, so why can't it work the other way round?

    Like with the other two, try this method out as well. Hopefully one (or more!) will work for you, and you'll have a book title to be proud of in no time!

How do you come up with your book titles? Any further tips (I'm always open to learning about new ways!) What is your favourite book title, of your own work or someone else's?
Let me know in the comments below, and good luck with your writing!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Therapy Session: Between a Writer and Their Story

     They sat on opposite ends of the velvet couch, staring at the empty armchair, never at each other. Silence choked the air. As the therapist entered, the writer offered a strained smile, fiddling with a tiny notebook jam-packed with snippets of ideas--none of them for the story sitting next to her. The story crossed arms covered in fine black ink.

    "I'm so glad you both could come today," the therapist said as she lowered her lithe frame into the armchair. The nameplate pinned to her crisp blue uniform sparkled a simple name: Victoria. "You've already made an important first step by coming to see me: admitting you have problems."

    The writer snorted. "Oh, do we have problems."

    The story gnashed its teeth. "We have problems? You're the one who--"

    "Hold on a minute." Victoria held up a hand. "Let's get your names first, yes? Then we can work through this issue from the beginning."

    "Melissa," the writer mumbled, eyes already drifting to something else. A hundred books crammed the two bookshelves claiming half the office, some bound with smooth brown leather, others with glossy paper covers. She'd give up her quill pen to explore their pages, soaking up the scents of a thousand paper worlds.

    "....Melissa?" Victoria lifted a perfectly arched eyebrow as Melissa tore her gaze off the books. "Is it fine with you if I refer to Draped in Deception as Draped?"

    "Um, sure." It didn't matter anyway; she was so done with Draped.

    "Wonderful." Keeping up a bright smile, Victoria jotted down a few words onto a notepad. "Let's start with you, Draped. What caused this discord in your relationship, in your opinion?"

    Draped huffed and shot Melissa a withering glare with eyes like ink wells. "Everything was going very smoothly with the third draft rewrites. I was co-operating, she was coming up with good plot points and scenes, and then suddenly, bam! She just stopped writing me. No reason given, no explanation, just 'bye-bye, I'm not going to open your document anymore'." It lifted an arm coated in a thick layer of dust. "See?"

    That was not how it happened, not at all. Melissa leaned forward, hands spread wide as if the more distance between them, the more Victoria would understand. "I admit, I did stop writing, but not because I hate Dra--" She paused. "Okay, maybe I did for awhile, but right now I'm just full of doubts, and worries, and potent thoughts. What if...what if Draped isn't worth my time?"

    "Woooow," Draped moaned. "Savage, much?"

    Victoria finished a line of her notes, and switched to her 'serious face'; pinched lips, drawn together eyebrows, a slight head tilt. "Is that your biggest doubt, Melissa?"

     "No." Melissa sucked in a deep breath, and closed her eyes. She swallowed back a lie; what was the point of coming to this session if she wasn't going to be honest? "It's that I'll never get Draped edited well enough. That I'll keep going on, and on, and on, and no matter how hard I try it'll never be perfect."

     "And what do you think about that, Draped?"

     The hard, punched out lines of Draped's face softened with those few words. It twisted its paper body to look at its writer. "People can never be perfect, so how can something created by them be?"

     Victoria and Melissa stared.

     "What? Us stories get all the epic one-liners."

     A smile crept onto Melissa's face as Victoria praised such wisdom from Draped, and blathered on about how to create a healthy writer/story relationship. But Melissa wasn't listening, not really. Her mind was still on Draped's one question, like a song stuck on loop.

     Was there such a thing as a perfect story? Or any kind of art? Or would there always be something to work on, to strive for, to push to be better? And, her mind whispered, does that make the story worth writing?

     Victoria's voice floated in. "...the most important thing is that you take your time..."

    By the end of the therapy session, Melissa and Draped sat a little closer, and for the second their eyes met, they smiled.

Hey everyone! I hope you enjoyed the post today; I know it's quite different from what I usually write, but hopefully that's okay with you! It's far from award winning writing, but I wanted to talk about my struggles with editing Draped in Deception in a post which wasn't just me ranting, so I wrote this instead.

Would you like me to do more posts like this? (Feedback's welcome!) Have you ever really, truly struggled with a story? I'd love to hear about your experiences. <3

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Am Currently... #6

     The last month has been a chaotic mess of running around airports, trying to straighten out school enrollment, and adjusting to what seems to be an entirely different world. 

     In other words, I'm now in Australia. My plane landed a little over a month ago, which is crazy to think about; time has both rushed past and dragged on. But enough about that for now! First I'll crack into the other things I am currently doing.

    For my Extension English class, we're reading Dracula. I wouldn't say that I'm enjoying it, as the pages upon pages of descriptions aren't exactly my style, but it is slowly becoming more interesting. I'm not much a horror fan, so hopefully the 400 plus pages will be worth it in the end.

   As for pleasure reading, I may or may not have gone on a bookstore splurge and when the lady in the shop asked if I needed assistance, said, "No thanks, I'm just in heaven right now." *facepalm* Excuse me while I go hide in a hole and sew my mouth shut.

   Yes, so moving on from that embarrassing moment; I'm about halfway through Safe Lands: Captives by Jill Williamson. The world-building is spectacular and I'm loving all the different POVs with their distinct voices. Thoroughly enjoying it. My next read will either be The Shadow Queen or Empire of Storms. Let me know which one I should read next!

     A lot of exciting things to announce here! The first of which is that I'll be writing a piece for Project Canvas. It's an amazing collaborative writing project for teen writers, about sharing tips and talking about all things writing! If you're interested in writing a piece for them, I totally suggest checking their topics page out and getting in touch. It's a fantastic opportunity!

    I wouldn't say that my personal writing life has flourished lately, but it has showed buds of promise. In my last post I revealed my latest project, Splintered Crown, which I'm currently world-building and brainstorming for. I expect I'll be doing that over the next few months, as well as doing a read-through of Golden Revenge's first draft (remember that old idea?). After that, it'll be a break for a week before I attempt to tackle this monster of a stand-a-lone novel.

    If you're wondering about Draped in Deception, well, I'm sorry to say that I'll be leaving that book alone for some time. We've had to break up several times now, and I hope we'll get back together eventually, but it might be awhile. It has a lot of issues that need sorting out, and they require more time than I have at the moment.

     I am in LOVE with the soundtrack of La La Land, despite not having seen the movie (so no spoilers please!). I basically have all the songs on repeat all day, and my favourite would have to be 'Another Day of Sun.' Apart from that, I'm enjoying 'Church Bells' by Carrie Underwood and any NF song ever.

    Surprisingly okay. I think the happy musical soundtrack blaring in my ears helps, which is nice considering I've been having a mix of highs and super lows recently. Settling into life in Australia has been really, really, hard, and not only the broken down cars and delayed flights, but the sheer mental energy it's taking. 

    I've been exposed to a place where I know almost nobody outside my family, and finding connections to people I've shared no experience with is...well, it's hard. I should be a better writer and think of a synonym, but 'hard' already sums it up well enough. Thankfully I've met some of the nicest people, and they've been an awesome help (you know who you are, lovelies).

    I am missing Thailand and my old life and friends, and that's okay. I would be concerned if my heart didn't ache for them, and it does. For now I just need to plow forward, stretch into the new, and keep my sanity through my love of words.

Enough about me; let's talk about you! What are you reading at the moment? How's your writing coming along? Anyone else obsessed with La La Land's soundtrack?
Let me know in the comments, and have an awesome month! <3

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Beautiful People: Couples Edition

     Welcome to another Beautiful People! Not only am I excited to share with you all my answers to this awesome link-up's questions, but also some information on my new book idea, Splintered Crown

     But before we get into that, we should of course give credit to the wonderful dragon queen Cait @ Paper Fury and the lovely Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Beautiful People is all about helping you get to know your characters better and to share about your writing projects; do check it out!

     Now here's a little bit about Splintered Crown. First, a 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?

    And secondly, an equation of words that make up the story:

Broken perfection + yellow roses + the darker side of mercy + five green birds + a king trying to avoid hurt + "you want to hold my hand?" + haunting cries of a violin + a young man trying to find himself when all's been stripped away = Splintered Crown.

    The couple featuring in this special couples edition are Crim and Mira. Onto the questions!

1) How and why did they meet?

    Well, this is awkward. *clears throat* So I'll give a full disclaimer here: Crim (full name Crimson) is not a perfect guy. He's made a ton of mistakes, but I swear he has a good heart, he's just never been taught how to use it. Crim met Mira in the tavern she was serving in, where he asked her questions about her family, if she liked working there, etc. Things went further than a conversation...I think I'll leave it at that.

2) What were their first impressions of each other?

    Crim of Mira -- he was drinking, but he still noticed her good looks. Noted her bright smile, then proceeded with the questions between refills.

    Mira of Crim -- a handsome young lord, whose first words out of his mouth at her were not crude or humiliating. He charmed her by asking questions that made it seem like he actually cared.

3) How would they prove their love to each other?

    Um, so I haven't really written much of Splintered Crown; at the moment Crim and Mira are less of a gooey love-eyed couple, and more of a make-shift one that could collapse at any moment. The only reason they see each other is because of their *spoiler alert* daughter. Not exactly spouting love declarations over here. More like apologies and regrets.

4) What would be an ideal date?

    Crim would buy some sweet meats and a loaf of fresh, crusty bread from the market, and then Mira would show him a little spot in a meadow by the tree she used to climb with her sister. He would bring the violin, she would bring her rhythm. Then she'd dance to his music, and for a moment, they could forget that they weren't a regular couple.

5) Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

     How often Crim can see his daughter, Vee. Mira only wants him at her house once a week at most, until he cleans up his act, but Crim would see Vee everyday if he could.

6) List 5 food quirks they know about each other.

     #1 - Mira loves to eat (edible) flowers.
     #2 - Despite his refined upbringing, Crim would prefer simple food over the fanciest dinner
     #3 - Mira's allergic to any kind of seafood
     #4 - Crim can't stand apples
     #5 - They have a mutual love of eating with just their fingers

7) What's one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

     Mira knows how he hides his passion for the violin, and acts like it's just a hobby; rulers aren't artists, apparently. Crim knows the real reason she 'moved' out of her parents' house.

8) What's one thing they keep a secret from each other?

    Crim hides his true identity; Mira hides how much he's hurt her.

9) How would their lives be different without each other?

     Well, they wouldn't have their daughter, and that makes a dramatic difference, but the full details are spoilers, so... 

10) Where do they each see this relationship going?

     Mira is doubtful it will last much longer; the bet is he'll pack his bag and call it quits within several months, and she'll be on her own all over again. But Crim is determined to stay---at least, until his enemies catch up with him.

What story are you working on right now? Would you like me to do more Beautiful People on Splintered Crown? And if you did Beautiful People this month, please link below so I can check them out!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

How I World-Build (And Hello!)

     Hello everyone! It's been ages since I last posted, and I'm super happy to be back. Life has been a whirlwind of settling into Australia and a new school, but I'll save all of that for another post. (For now I'll be sticking to weekly posts until I get settled into a routine). Thanks for dropping by on the blog even over the holidays; I hope you had a great one!

     Let's get to it, shall we?

(Note: all images, and the content they contain, used in this post are copyrighted)

     Over my hiatus not only did I do some editing on Draped in Deception, I also imagined a new story called Splintered Crown. (But more on that in another post) Like I do with practically all of my stories, I let it simmer in my mind for some time while I pulled together bits of inspiration. When I'd fleshed out the general premise and some semblance of the main characters, I decided to jump into world-building.

     For me world-building isn't just borrowing some Earth culture and shoving obscure customs and unnecessary rituals on it to make it original. It's not about creating odd shaped plants, dangerous terrain, and savage beasts that terrorize travelers (though they're fun). I like to go to the people, and the history that shaped them. That's where I start.

    I don't know about you, but the thought of writing out textbooks of history that will probably never come up in a story makes me wince. So as I stared at my journal, prepping myself for long paragraphs on the world's most important moments, and less than thrilled about it, I got an idea.

    The page started out as a doodle of birds as I begun to think everything through. Then it became a drawing, and soon, something I now refer to as scrapbook world-building.

    The pages are mix of simple (and not that great) drawings and words done in different hand-drawn fonts, to bring attention to certain lines. The above page is about the world's first people, who found safety with the help of five green birds. I also included snippets of paper, as if they were torn from different texts, each showing a different perspective on the event. 

    I've realized now that in most other stories I'd written, I only knew historical events from one group's perspective, but it's so important to know it from all angles. These different perspectives can be vital in forming different cultural groups, enemies, allies, and on and on.

I apologize for the little you can read, but most of the images I took contain spoilers
    The drawing in this picture is nothing more than an arrow, and I could blather on about how symbolic it is, but I won't. I've found that even the simplest drawing makes me spend more time on a page, and the longer I spend, the more time I have to flesh out the story. In this case, what started out as a vague conflict led to a key antagonist revealing himself.

    The fun and amazing thing with scrapbook world-building is that you don't have to write everything down. A mix of drawings and words can convey the feeling of a time period or certain event, and help you visualize how it's seen in the story. I was planning to have a jumbled collection of images to represent Splintered Crown's POV Crimson, but somehow I found the starkness between the small and large print to mean much more.

The bigger text reads "I'm the best. I'm the Heir. I'm perfect." while the tiny, almost invisible words between other letters say "Help me, someone. Please?"
    So that wraps up today's post! I really hope you enjoyed it and perhaps got some inspiration for your next world-building session.

How are you? How's your writing going, and have you done any world-building recently? How do you create your story world?
Let me know in the comments; I'm dying to hear from you! <3

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas!!! / Hiatus

     Hi everyone! It'll be a quick post today, because of the crazy busy season it is. I hope you're having a wonderful break or holidays, and will keep having it through Christmas and New Years'! It's been an amazing year on this blog, and I can't thank you all enough for all your support. I love all of you, seriously.

   I'm at a very big transition phase in my life. In case you're not aware, in mid January I will be moving from Thailand (after 14 great years living here) to Australia, which is where I was born. I'm a mix of terrified, excited, dreading it, looking forward to it, and grieving my leave. For this reason I'll be going on a hiatus until the beginning of February, so I can focus on myself and my family.

   Merry Christmas, and see you soon!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Let's Talk Editing: Is Your First Draft Totally Useless?

     The Let's Talk Editing series is back! I realized it'd been ages since I'd written a post for Let's Talk Editing, and with me slowing sinking back into edits for Draped in Deception, we've ended up with the next installment! If you're interested in the other posts on setting and first chapters, you can click here and here

     Today's topic, and something I've been thinking about a lot recently, is, is a first draft totally useless?

     When writers mention the words 'first' and 'draft' together, you will definitely get some screwed up faces and winces. First drafts are imperfect, gaping with plot holes, and the POV's voices run together into an indistinguishable mess. NO ONE sees the first draft except the writer. 

     The purpose of editing is to fill those holes, clarify characters, and polish the thing till its shine is blinding, right? So once you've moved past cleaning up the first draft, and you're on your third or fifteenth draft, why should you ever return to it?

     Well, you should.

     And here's why: if your final draft is a cut, polished, and sparkling diamond, then that makes your first draft a gem hidden behind rocks and blemishes. You must have seen something in it to take the time and effort to transform a hunk of mineral into a glimmering necklace.

     A few weeks ago I was squinting at my computer screen which held an attempt at planning my massive rewrites of Draped in Deception. I was majorly stuck on how I was going to show a character's change now that the main instigator of it was cut out (as a result of me scrapping the ending third of my novel). As my mind often does, it started to wander down its little creative path while I went off to do some unfortunate life responsibility.

    Then: Aha! My mind brought up a key world-building element I had all but forgotten in the second draft, but in my first draft, it was a huge part of showing my characters' a different side to their world. Now, I know this sounds sort of vague, but I can't go around letting you know all the spoilers can I?

    What I'm trying to get at here is that don't forget about your first draft the deeper you delve into editing. Remember that the first draft is raw, and honest, and true to themes that poured from your heart. It has both good and bad elements. When you return to it ignore the plot holes and look to its core. You wouldn't forget about the diamond underneath all the grit when you were polishing it, would you?

    So when you're stuck in your edits, go back, and take inspiration from the rough gem it is, because no, your first draft is not totally useless. It may need a little or a lot of work, but it is beautiful, because it's raw, and because you wrote it.

Have you ever returned to your first draft for inspiration? Do your edits stick close to your first drafts or do you go waaay away from them? How's your writing going?
Let me know in the comments, and have a wonderful day! <3