Monday, September 19, 2016

The Wisteria Writer Tag


  This isn't really a writing-related post, it's another personal post - because I seem to be good at those. I was tagged by the stupendous Jonathan Trout of Fishing 4 Ideas to do what is I suppose formally known as the 'Wisteria Writer Tag'. Jonathan has posed a lot of cool questions, and since I've stayed home from church this morning due to being sick and have the house to myself, I figured this was as good an opportunity as any to go ahead and make (start) a new post. 

  So, without further ado...


1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 
2. Answer the ten questions asked. 
3. Add ten (writing or book related) questions of your own. 
4. Nominate people. 

Here are Jonathan's Ten Questions:

1. Which of your writing projects is your favorite and why?

  That is an extremely difficult question to answer...I think I'd have to say my fantasy series, The War of the Three Crowns, is my favorite. Simply because I've been working on it for so so SO long that the characters are my literal children and it's fantasy and my plot is so involved and complicated that I might never ever finish them (but I'll keep writing anyway - even if it kills me). I've grown and changed so much as a writer and as a person by writing these stories and I love them so much. They are killing me slowly (I've been thinking/plotting/writing/imaging them since the tender age of 11 - so like, nine years ago) but I cannot give them up. They simply don't leave my head, no matter what other projects enter in, they are still there. And I wouldn't have it any other way. 

  The basic synopsis' of the first two books of this series can be found on my About My Writing page if anyone is interested in checking it out. 

2. Can you share some snippets from your favorite project? (and no you cannot say no to this IT IS MANDATORY) 

  Well, if you insist I suppose I can try to find something that might not make your eyes bleed. :P Bear in mind that none of this has been properly edited yet!

feat: my angst-ridden, anxiety-filled mc, falaroy and his many insecurities
3. What is your favorite tense (past, present, future) and voice (first, third; I don't think it's actually called that but I'm using that word because it makes sense to me and I can't think of the right one. XD) to write in? 

  For the most part I use third person, past tense. I've done some third person, present tense and some first person past tense and some first person present tense and probably lots else that I'm forgetting. But I like third person and past tense because then I have a lot more freedom with who to use as a narrator. Probably too much freedom. :P

4. When is your favorite time to write?

  I used to have a scheduled writing time in the morning and that was really good, I got quite a bit done. I generally prefer to work in the mornings so I can spend the afternoon outside or off somewhere and the evening/night just being on the internet for fun and not working. 

5. What is the the most unpleasant thing you've put one of your characters through? (random note but this question stems almost entirely from a Camp NaNo April conversation in which we discussed why it's good to be mean to your characters. XP Yup, I still remember it.)

  Um, like, my whole freaking book? *sorry characters, you deserve a nicer person to write your stories than me*

  Haha, I don't know though...I mean, I don't have any super specific instances. My one character, Saagar, (whose story I'm working on now) lost her entire city, country, life and family because her husband/childhood companion was a secret terrorist and blew everything up; leaving her with third degree burning, PTSD and a lot of emotional angst and I mean. Can it get much worse than that?

6. Are you a more character-driven writer or a more plot-driven writer? 

  Well, I love a great plot and I like to think I've come up with some good ones. But I do generally construct a more vague or less streamlined plot than I do with characters. I become kind of obsessed with characters and emotion and drama and I definitely feed off of that when writing a lot more than plot. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing... 

7. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

  It kinda depends, but overall I am a plotter. I have way too many things going on in my head and too many story worlds (belonging both to me and others) to not write stuff down and figure it out. I'll go crazy and forget it all when my brain crashes someday if I don't release some of that data onto paper to refer back to when needed.  

8. What is your favorite word processing system to write in and why do you like it? (SCRIVENER FOR THE WIN)

  I've only ever used Microsoft Word and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon.  

9. If you were left on an abandoned island with the last character you wrote about, how would that go for you? (I know it's super original but unfortunately not from me. XD I pulled it off a meme.)

  The last character I wrote about is Saagar and she's kind of flipping useless (sorry, honey) and so am I so we would probably die. But we're both angsty and emotional and over-dramatic so at least it would be interesting.  

10. What is your favorite writing resource? (this could be a blog, website, newsletter, writing book, that one pet who listens to all your writerly ramblings, anything basically XP)

  Good question. I love reading other books I think most of all for inspiration. And also other blogs. Veronica Roth had a really excellent blog back in the day and I've read many many very good ones since getting more into the blogosphere. Twitter is quite an impressive resource too if you know how to use it. I guess in general, the Internet would be my choice. XD

  And here are my ten questions...

1. What about writing a best-seller someday most appeals to you? Or if you aren't interested in that, what motivates you the most in writing?

2. What was your favorite book as a child and why?

3. What is your least favorite part of writing and how do you get yourself through it?

4. Choose your favorite character from your current manuscript. If you could have the chance to do a crossover, which other fictional character from another story who would you choose to have meet them?

5. Which writer's work has most inspired you in your writing journey?

6. If you had to write a historical fiction novel, who/what would you choose as your subject?

7. What is the highest word count you've ever written in a single day?

8. What is your biggest dream as a writer?

9. Who is your favorite blogger to follow?

10. Where do you see yourself (writer-wise) in the next five years?

  I don't really have anyone to nominate for this, so instead I'm going to be a rule-breaker and demand that those who read all the way through this post answer my questions in the comments, so I can get to know you ALL better in a way that is fairly easy for everyone. How does that sound? Good? I thought so.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Emily's Top Writing Tips

  Because you didn't ask and I delivered.

  1. USE OUTLINES. They will keep you on track, they will keep you from getting stuck and not knowing where to go, they will literally save your life. No joke. It makes sense, cause if you don't know what you want to write then you'll either do one of two things:
  a) Write nothing.
  b) Babble incessantly about things that ultimately don't have anything to do with anything in your story because you're just writing to figure it out for yourself. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that, but you can avoid the hassle and give yourself a break by using outlines to keep you on track.

  As a disclaimer: this doesn't *always* work like you think it would. I finished a sixty chapter fantasy novel last year. I had a tremendous fifteen or so page outline with a paragraph of description for each of those sixty chapters. And you know what? My stupid characters decided they were going to play "real person" and decide their own fates. I know, how inconsiderate, right? It was ridiculous and now I have a first draft of over 200,000 words with dozens of characters and plots running absolutely amok, killing each other, starting wars...

  So yeah. Be kind to yourself and use outlines. Even though they probably won't actually save your life, cause your characters are generally hellbent on ruining it - if they're anything like MY characters anyway.

2. DON'T BE A PERFECTIONIST (at least, not at first). If you want to finish a story ever at any point in your existence you've got to put aside that awful, innate desire for it to be perfect right away. Just write the dang thing. Forget about it being The Best and Shiniest Novel Ever™ because it's simply not going to be right now. You've got to face the facts otherwise you'll end up like this...

actual footage of me

3. SHOW - DON'T TELL. When you write, you want to be showing, not telling. That just means leave it up to your audience to understand characters and situations. If you have a character who is a compulsive liar rather than saying or describing that straight up, let the audience figure it out through the narrative. Show how the character lies all the time with the plot, don't just say that he does. Make us believe it! This is a basic rule of description and great for character/plot development as well.

what it looks like to try and make show - don't tell - work

4. SOME CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT KEYS. Show - don't tell//Develop characters through each other, just like people in real life, characters are shaped by other characters and their relationships//Develop characters through struggle and hardship, this is how we develop in reality//Don't put characters in molds, types or stereotypes, round them out. Real people are always very out-of-the-box when you get to know them//Avoid basing characters off yourself - though I like to take aspects of myself that I struggle with or put myself into other situations for inspiration.

your well-developed characters will be proud of you
5. ORIGINAL SMIGINAL. Don't worry about being original, that isn't your goal as a writer. Your goal is to write a story worth reading. And if that's the case then your audience will enjoy it, whether it's completely, totally original or not. 

  And there you have it, Emily's Top Writing Tips. The thing you never knew you needed in your life. You're welcome. 

  Do you guys have any go-to writing tips for fellow writers? What are some things that have really helped you along in your writing journey? Share them below. 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Summer Highlight Reel

  *casually shows up to the blog a month later, with Starbucks*

  Just kidding, I dislike Starbucks and its overpriced-ness. I also detest coffee.

  But yes, I have been virtually dead on here for over a month now. But I'm back! You can all cheer and jump up and down in excitement!


  Or just scroll down and continue reading to hear about my awesome and totally unproductive summer!

  You've probably heard this a million times and had the thought yourself another million, but man, where did summer go? It flew by ridiculously fast, more than ever before and I am sad to see it go. But also not, cause there are many exciting things happening this fall/winter and I can't wait for those. Ah, life is thrilling these days.

  Speaking of which...


//GETTING OLD. The uber-hectic summer started out 19th birthday! Meaning I am now, at the time of writing this, 304 days away from being 20. How terrifying.
I spent my actual birthday on a birthday date with Jonathan. Since our birthdays are three days apart we generally celebrate together. This time we went to the pub *le gasp* and ordered yummy food. I wore a hot red dress and after our food we went to the park and walked and there was rain and thunder and sitting in the car and it was wonderful all around. The next day I had an actual birthday party with some of my friends. We played a few games and then decided to brave the chill of the local lake, even though a thunderstorm was building. The water was numbingly cold and I couldn't feel most of my body by the time we climbed out, but it was really fun. Did you know that cold water sends girls into fits of high-pitched giggling?
After that we headed home and more or less hung out and later fell asleep to Treasure Planet on VHS (yes, I turned nineteen, not nine). All in all a fantastic time.\\

//CAMP. I have no idea how to sum up an entire two months of working out at a wilderness camp. So many different adventures and happenings and challenges, it'd take a whole separate blog post (or two!) But I definitely grew and changed over this summer and I am super thankful for all the experiences I had my fifth year of work. I so enjoy my fellow staff and seeing how we collectively shed the light of Jesus into so many lives. It's pretty amazing. Also, I didn't have another sketchy bee incident on horseback this year. Hooray!\\

//GOODBYES. Worst part of the summer was having to say goodbye to my lifelong friend, Mackenzie, for a year while she goes to serve as a missionary in Cameroon for a year. She won't be back til next July - which sounds like a super long time but it'll surely go by as fast as anything. I am and will be missing her, but I'm also very excited to hear about her adventures and see how she grows and changes over this next year. She's awesome and she'll be a blessing overseas just as much as here I'm sure. My last day with her and my other MacKenzie friend was very sad. Despite our stoic exteriors we all kind of broke down in the end and there were a lot of tears.\\

//RIVER TRIP. I went on my first canoe trip down the North Saskatchewan last month. It was quite a ride. My legs got super cramped sitting up front with the dog for hours, but I really enjoyed it. Even going over the whitewater - I was quite nervous at first. Thankfully the canoe did not flip and we made it safely downriver. I went with Jonathan's family and we had a pretty awesome day.\\

//WEDDING. Two of my friends got married a couple weeks back and I got to be part of the bridal party, which was pretty great. I haven't even been to many weddings, let alone been in one, so I'll cherish that memory. It was out by a mountain lake and the weather was lovely and everything was picturesque and awesome. Jonathan was one of the groomsmen so we got to be coupled up and I rather enjoyed that.
I rode with him on the way back, as we were both supposed to be heading out that night for our last week of camp, but a crazy thunderstorm hit us and stayed with us all the way out of the mountains home and we abandoned plans to go to camp and stayed just at my house for the night. The lightning and hail and rain levels were unbelievable. It was such a cool experience.\\

//BAPTISM and STAFF PARTY. At camp's end we had a baptism for Trina, Jonathan's sister, and a camp staff party. Both of which were excellent. Camp staff parties are always a great time, lots of games and good food and friends to hang out with. It's always a great way to end the summer.\\

//INTENSE HIKING. Jonathan and I went on a double date with another camp couple up a mountain near Banff. It was not an easy climb. I'm not even exaggerating to say that I nearly puked twice and nearly fainted even more. However, as you can tell by the pictures below, the view was very much worth it.\\

  Some other cool life things, I tried trimming horse hooves this summer. So far I've done the equivalent of one horse. Trimming is when you take the horse's foot or hoof and clip their nails basically, but you have to do it so as to help not hinder the growth of the foot and then rasp it off and make it nice. It's a lot of squatting and holding up a horse's leg along with it, so it's a good work out, especially when you're slow and inexperienced like me and it takes a long time so you have to squat for a long time. Leg pain anyone?

  I've also garnered a huge interest in photography over the summer. I've enjoyed the art quite a bit throughout my life, but I got really into the idea of making it a career over the summer. Writing is my favorite activity of course but I do enjoy photos and art a lot and I think it'd be a really fun job...

  In any case, if anyone out there is interested, I have a VSCO page for photography that I've started. If nothing else it'll give you a glimpse into my aesthetic and life for sure. Check it out here if you like!


  Well, in the busyness of six weeks at camp and all those other activities (plus many more unmentioned) above, I did not find much time to write. Like, at all. So much for my summer project story, I guess it'll have to wait til winter this year. Which I suppose is okay, since it's a winter-type story anyway.

  I wrote a little bit of Faithless and I'm currently working through chapter twenty. That story is all over the place and I'm not sure exactly how to gather it up and streamline it to my prepared ending, but I guess I'll figure that out this fall as I get back into it. I've hardly touched it this summer so it might take me a bit to get my muse back.

  The past couple weeks I've finally gotten the opportunity to start working through the beta-reader comments (thanks so much, Abby!) in my novella, The Sorceress and the Squid. I think after a couple more read-throughs and a grammar check or two it might be ready for *squeals* publishing! Super exciting stuff. I'm aiming to self-publish this one through Amazon, since it's not really a serious work of fiction. I have no idea whether anyone will actually be interested in it or not, but who know? I might make a little bit of money off of it. At the very least I'll be able to say I'm a published author, right? 

  So I guess we'll see what fall/winter bring. I know I'll have a full load between working, some college courses, writing, arting, horsing and running around to various hang outs and activities, as usual. But I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of writing goals I'll have accomplished by year's end.


  The summer was terrible for reading. I know it shouldn't be, but there's definitely no time for reading anything other than your Bible at camp (unless you want to get up at like, five am, ugh) and the rest of the time was me scrambling to get other things done. So yeah, not much reading on my part. I did manage to read one novel however...

A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness. Jonathan bought this when we were out on one of our dates and once he'd read it, recommended it to me. It was an awesome read. Quite short - I devoured it in less than two hours - and hugely thought-provoking. Also very sad. I made the mistake of reading it to the end upstairs in the main room where everyone could see me start crying. The story is about a boy learning to deal with grief. I can't say more without spoiling, but it's very magically written and really gets down to your core. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for something short and simple, but deep and profound.

  Another reading-type thing that I did this summer was make a Goodreads page (jumped onto that bandwagon a little late, I know). I don't have much up there yet but as I'm hoping to read more this fall/winter I should post some of the books I get through. Maybe that will motivate me...
  You can check me out here!


  As you might have noticed, I didn't really have one of those this summer. It's hard without internet most of the time. XD I'm hoping to get back into it with a little more vigor though. I've got some ideas for writing-related posts that I hope to spin out over the next few months.

  Current blogger stats...
  3134 pageviews
  8 followers (slowly climbing, thank you so much!)
  44 posts


  Some new goals for the upcoming month since I didn't really give myself any for the summer...

  ///THREE CHAPTERS OF FAITHLESS. Keeping it small cause I have a lot of things happening here in September, including my cousins from Australia are coming!! Yayyy!\\\

  ///FINISH TSATS EDITS. If I keep at it I should be able to get through all my comments and the third draft edits fairly easily. We'll see if this happens in the craziness of harvest season and visiting cousins.\\\

  ///MORE READING. Like two books, at least. Doable right? Hehe.\\\

  I'll keep the goals basic and short for now and see what happens once the snow flies I'll probably have a little more time for these things. It's only the first of September though (only - ha! It was like, January yesterday), so I've got a bit of summery-ness left.

  Now that I've finally managed to spew out some kind of messed up blog post, I'd love to hear about your summer. What was one of the biggest highlights for you? Are you looking forward to the new school/work year? Tell me all about it below.