Sunday, September 26, 2021

Writing Update: To Sequel or Not to Sequel?

Hey, guys! It’s been a while since I posted a writing update, so here I am to talk about some of my latest projects. I’ll try not to get too in depth, especially since some of my projects with great aspirations never made it past the querying stage… *looks longingly at two novels I set aside*

That being said—stories! I love ‘em. The fun thing about being a writer is that you don’t have to stick with one story. Once you’re past the proofreading stage, it’s time to move on to the next project. The main question then becomes, what next? And of course, should I write a sequel or not?

 

 

WATER SPRITE: Definitely a Sequel

The title is not going to stay, guys. It’s just the best I have right now. I decided to rewrite this book as a novel in verse and completely fell in love with the style. I hope my critique partners like it as much as I do. Speaking of critique partners, if anybody’s interested in helping me tear this novel apart, I’m looking for readers (see 7 Facts about Critique Partners and Current Stories for more info).

As for the plans for a sequel, it won’t be so much a sequel as much as a companion novel. Technically, if you look at it chronologically, it would be a prequel. Why would I be writing this one second? I’m not. I once tried my hand at this companion novel before, and it was a complete flop (I tried writing the novel by hand and hated every second of it). So I set it aside, wrote a different story, and now I’m coming back with a completely different approach.

Even though my current writing order is book 2, book 1, book 3, I particularly like these stories because each one has standalone potential. It’s not so much a trilogy as a collection of books with some crossover.

 

EDGE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM: Probably a Sequel

I still hate this title. Especially since it’s something that carried over from draft one but no longer applies to the latest draft. *shrugs* Titles are hard.

Anyway, whether or not I write a sequel depends on two factors: 1) how I end the book and 2) whether or not I can find a literary agent to represent it. Now you might be wondering, you already sent it off to your critique partners, shouldn’t you already know how you’re ending the book? Hahahaha! No. These things change.

Also, yes, I can totally write a sequel without a literary agent, but from a career standpoint, I don’t want to spend 2-3 years on a project that will never see the light of day when I could be working on something else that might have better success at getting published. Besides, even if the first story does get picked up for publication, it will probably undergo even more changes.

But how do I know what will happen? I don’t. That’s why I want to wait and see.

 

THE CHOSEN ONES: A Sequel?

Hey, wait a second, I’ve never talked about this story before. It’s still in the writing process. Keep it secret! Quick! *cue screaming*

Since this spring, I’ve been trudging my way through a short story with a twist on one of my least favorite tropes: the chosen one. Can I pull it off? We can only wait and see…

 

There you have it! A glimpse at what I’ve been working on and what I plan to be doing in the future. Some of it depends upon the publishing process, but not all of it. I always look forward to future stories. There are so many plot bunnies out there just waiting to be written.

 

Let’s chat! Readers, do you prefer standalones or series? Writers, which do you like to write? What’s your least favorite trope?

 

 

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Similar posts: “Would You Rather?” Writing Tag, How to Balance Multiple Writing Projects, and Writing Update: Between Publications

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Don't Judge a Book by its Author, Or Should You?

Hello, dear readers. I’m baaaaack!

Boy, I’m glad I took a summer hiatus. Having two jobs has kept me incredibly busy, especially since as summer came to a close. That and Ive been dealing with some family stuff. I haven’t had the time to write. 

I feel like the world is more political now than when I was growing up. Or maybe as a kid, I just didn’t notice the political atmosphere. *blech* Either way, it seems that everybody has an opinion on just about everything.

Readers’ opinions of authors are no exception. Some authors are likened to heroes while others are despised. When did art become about writers and not the books themselves?

Sure, buying an author’s books or checking them out from the library supports the author. As an indie author, I get it and often enjoy supporting fellow writers by buying their books. But where do we as readers draw the line? In short: it’s complicated. Here’s why.

Side note: I’m not going about to write about politics. Personally, I like to keep my political opinions separate from my author profile. I will occasionally write about controversial topics, but this post is not one of them. As a result, I will be writing about some real examples and some hypothetical ones.

 

 

The Dangers of Hero Worship

You may have heard the adage, “never meet your heroes.”

Now, I haven’t met many authors, so I can’t say I’ve had negative experiences meeting them. Actually, the authors I’ve met have been inspirational. (Hi, Lisa!)

At the same time, though, I’ve seen the dangers of hero worship. People, even those you admire, will at one point or other let you down. That’s not to say that you can’t admire certain authors, just that it’s not wise to put them on a pedestal. Authors are people too.

 

Authors with Different Beliefs from their Readers

Here’s a tricky one. What do you do if you believe one thing and you come across a book by an author who believes something different? As a Christian, I come across this situation quite often, from authors who are atheists to others who are Mormon. I don’t read much Christian speculative fiction because I tend to find the genre rather limiting (see Controversy in Fiction: Christian Fiction).

I don’t take my beliefs from fiction, either, though there are times when reading will challenge me. Without reading other perspectives, how would we grow?

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” –Unknown (often mistakenly attributed to Aristotle)

 

Amazing Writing, Terrible Lifestyle

I remember one time I was sitting in a book club, and some of the other readers were talking about one author (I can’t remember which one) who was an absolute dirtbag, but they liked his books. For that very reason, I respected my fellow readers for their discernment and their ability to acknowledge that even though they didn’t like the writer’s lifestyle, they could appreciate his work.

I know there are several painters whom I’ve shared a similar opinion, but I can’t think of any writers off the top of my head.

 

Separating the Author from the Book

I like reading the acknowledgements in a book and the author’s bio, but that’s generally where I stop. I read so many books that reading about each and every author would take up a lot of time. If I’m really into a book or another, I may look up more info about the author, but it’s rare.

Generally speaking, I try to focus on judging the book for what it is, not for who wrote it. Yes, an author’s beliefs can influence their writing, but I also take on the idea that once a book is published, it doesn’t wholly belong to the writer anymore but to the reader.

 

Let’s chat! What’s your take on judging a book by its author? Have you ever met any of your favorite authors in person?

 

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Similar posts: 7 of my Go-To Authors; Let’s Agree to Disagree: Reader vs. Author Opinion; and Controversy in Fiction: Christian Fiction

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Poem: bricks

Hello, dear readers!

I know I’ve been neglecting my blog lately, but I have been writing a lot. Just not here. I’m recently finished rewriting the climax to one novel, and I’m trying to finish the second draft of another before the end of May. Oh yeah, and I’m also thinking about submitting some poems for publication, and I’m developing a short story which may or may not turn into a series. *cue distant screaming*

Soooo, I’m taking the summer off from blogging, maybe longer, until further notice. In the mean time, here’s a poem I wrote during a writing sprint with friends.


 

bricks

 

brick-red, the russet hue

that clung to calloused hands

and corroded like crumbs,

coated fingers like chalk

 

brick-yellow, the sunburnt shade

that smelled of asphalt and wind

on a summer’s day—petrol

and the singe of a magnifying glass

 

brick-gray, the mind’s matter

that can’t quite recall

the thrill of the path i carved

when i scaled these walls

 

brick-white, the bleached blanket

that coated the face like foundation,

but didn’t quite belong where the dirt

stained its skirts brick-red

 

***

 

Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Do you have any writing friends you can do writing sprints with?

Similar poems: The Smell of Earth; Seeking the Song of Time; and Concrete Forest, Paper Meadows

Looking for more reading material until I’m back from my hiatus? Check out my books: Dandelion Symphony and Last of the Memory Keepers.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

My Latest Writing Desk

I’ve written a post about my writing desk before, but that was three years ago, and I have moved since then. (Am I running out of blogging ideas? Never! Yes, actually I am. Send help!) Not only that, but I actually bought a new desk, this one with plenty of shelves for books plants. The plants are taking over!


 


Laptop

Where all the writing happens! Well… most of it. Sometimes I use my phone or scraps of paper when I’m on break at work.

Once upon a time, I owned the world’s worst laptop that would crash every time I used it. Not so with my latest one! I did a ton of research and got a touch screen with a detachable keyboard, so it also acts as a tablet when I feel like having watching a movie online with friends.

Not to mention, it has a high-definition screen for when I’m working on things like drawing (I’m not so good at this bit, but I’m learning!), internal book art, and cover designs.



The Essentials: Hydration, Light, and Pens

Sure, I have an overhead light in the sunroom, aka my study. But I like the lamp for the aesthetic. That and I used to keep Thorin in this room, so when their lamp went out, I didn’t want to wake them up, so I used a lamp. Even after I moved the tank for Xephyr, I never moved the lamp.

As for the pens, 50% of them may be decorative, but they’re fun!

 

Plants

Even writers need oxygen, and it if can be aesthetically pleasing too, why not? ALL THE PLANTS!!! With spring in the air, gardening season has picked up again, so of course, I’m excited!


 


Shelves for Books, Projects, and MORE Plants

First, I have my TBR shelf (above), which is made up of some books I own and some from the library. My latest reads have been novels in verse for poetry month! I’ve already read Like Water on Stone, Clap When You Land, and Planet Middle School. Next up: Long Way Down and The Crossover.




Then there’s books on writing, poetry, and those random astronomy books that don’t fit anywhere else.



Last but not least is the latest addition of shelves, which is why it looks so bare. Featuring my books, a couple shade-loving succulents and flowers, and Xephyr’s feeding tank. Cleaning is sooo much easier when I keep all the bugs in a separate tank from his living space.



The View

Over the winter, I brought my ferns inside and hung them in the windows, and they shed leaves everywhere. Never again. Not in my workspace anyway.

Since spring has hit, I have enjoyed watching everything green up. We don’t trim our lawn very often to allow the wildflowers to grow. Right now, the daisies are blooming, and the bees are happy. There’s even a strip of fields across the river that is blossoming with yellow.

 

Let’s chat! Spring is an inspirational time for me. How about you? What does your writing space look like? What’s on your TBR shelf?

 

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Similar posts: “Would You Rather?” Writer Tag, Recommended Reading: Novels in Verse, and My Current Writing Desk

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Poem: Blue

Many people don’t like the idea of “jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.” But, as my dad once said in reference to his paratrooper days, “There’s no such thing as a perfectly good airplane.”

Personally, I have a fear of heights, but I’m also a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I enjoy high ropes courses and rock climbing, and I’ve even been parasailing and paragliding. Perhaps one day, I’ll get the chance to go skydiving. But it is not this day!

Once again, I borrowed this prompt from Julia Garcia’s blog Drops of Inspira. This time, I borrowed the prompt “the color blue” from February.

 


Blue

I’d almost forgotten
the sky was that color
                        once

back when I was a child
somersaulting in the grass
wondering what it would be like
                        to fall up

until I couldn’t take the thought anymore
and wandered to where
a servicemember stood
                        in his uniform

Do you know which one
is my dad?

I asked, watching the parachutes
drift down
                        like helicopter seeds

Kid, I wear glasses,
not binoculars.                

He had a point.
I shuffled back to the
bleachers and sat by Mom
until the last of the parachutes
                        deflated

now I wonder
if we’ll ever get a break
from this popcorn ceiling of gray
and what it must be like
                        to touch the blue

one day, perhaps,
I’ll find a clear day
to strap on a chute and board
a plane with the sole purpose
                        to find out

 

***

 

Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? If you had the chance to go skydiving, would you?


Similar poems: GoldPine Trees, and Goodbye Again

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Book Review: Elatsoe

In the last couple months, I made a wonderful discovery. Audiobooks! More specifically, I discovered Hoopla, an app available at my local library, which has a plethora of audiobooks. With work picking up again (I’m exhausted but enjoying it), audiobooks have been particularly nice.

My only warning, if you’re like me and want to read all the books at once, watch your number of checkouts. Hoopla only lets you use five checkouts a month.

That being said, Elatsoe was a delight to listen to! I’m particularly glad I listened to this one so that I could learn how to pronounce the name, eh-lat-SOE-ay. Though apparently the book contains illustrations, and I missed them!

 


Book: Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Genre: Young Adult, fantasy, mystery, contemporary
My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Mini description: ghosts versus vampires

 

The dog doesn’t die in the end because the dog is already dead. Kirby is Ely’s ghost dog, whom she brought back after he died of old age. I’m not going to lie, I want a ghost dog, or even a ghost beardie! I’ve lost pets over the years, and it would be a delight to see them again, even if I couldn’t pet them.

Yet there are still limitations in this fantasy world. Animals may make great ghost companions, but human ghosts, as the story often reminds us, are terrible things. And the vampire curse, as it’s called, may have its advantages for the young but grows more difficult with age.

I particularly liked the way the story wove Native American mythology, particular Lipan Apache, with what is to me, familiar fantasy elements. The cultural aspects were also quite fascinating, and I appreciated reading about a perspective I don’t normally hear from.

Then there were the mystery elements to the story. Early on, readers get the who in the who-done-it. It’s the why that kept me guessing, and I hadn’t figured it out by the big reveal.

I also enjoyed the way the narrative contained stories within the main story. They weren’t just flashbacks but stories within themselves. I was incredibly pleased with the book as a whole.

In all, I gave Elatsoe 4.5/5 stars for an excellent narrative and characters. I only wish it were a little longer. I’d recommend the book to anybody interested in creative contemporary fantasy. I look forward to reading more of Darcie Little Badger’s work.

 

Interested in the book? Have you read it yet? You might also enjoy these fantasy novels: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.

 

Let’s chat! Have you read Elatsoe yet, or has it made it to your TBR? What are some of your favorite contemporary fantasies?

 

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Similar book reviews: The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Fawkes, and The Snow Child

Sunday, March 21, 2021

"Would You Rather?" Writer Tag

I enjoy coming up with absurd scenarios. Here’s one—pick a fictional character. Got them? Good, now imagine you’re stuck in an elevator with them for 5 or more hours. How dead are you? I usually pick ridiculous characters like Loki, so I’d probably be dead.

The following questions are some would you rather scenarios from the generic to the ridiculous. Enjoy!

 


Would you rather be outlining or writing?

Writing. I don’t really like outlining because I inevitably over-world build and then don’t include all the exciting details. And for whatever reason, outlining never feels like real work because, even though I’m a plotter, it doesn’t seem like I make any measurable progress. There’s no real moment when you have to stop, which drives me crazy.

 

Would you rather be writing or editing?

Editing. Or rewriting. I don’t really like working on my rough draft because I’m consciously aware of how terrible it is while I’m writing it! I’m such a perfectionist. I prefer rewriting where I can go back and change everything or editing where I can really make that sentence shine, even though I sometimes reach that point where I’ve stared at a word long enough that it no longer looks correct.

See my informal Twitter poll. I was surprised (and yet not?) that so many people choose screaming.


 

Would you rather meet the antagonist or the protagonist of your current WIP?

My YA novel doesn’t technically have an antagonist, so my sci-fi novel it is! In that story, I’d rather meet my protagonist, Cory. Definitely protagonist. It would be nice to meet somebody who’s also staring out in their career journey as a linguist/investigator instead of somebody who would probably arrange my kidnapping. No, thank you.

 

Would you rather have a movie based off your book or write a book based off a movie?

Movie based off my book. Even though they have a reputation for being terrible, I still find the idea appealing, and it just grows an audience! That and I like the idea of originality and coming up with my own stories. There’s something about movie to book adaptations that I don’t care for, even though I haven’t quite figured out what it is yet.

 

If you became a super rich author, would you prefer to have your own private island or castle?

I’m going to go with castle. While I enjoy the beach, especially tropical ones, I’m more in love with the idea of secret passageways, creaky floorboards, and the howl of the wind on a cool autumn night. Even if it was just a ruined castle where I could camp out and have a wild garden, that would be awesome.

 

Last but not least, pick one of your fictional characters. Would they rather be stuck in the middle of a bank robbery or onboard a sinking ship?

Hmm, I’m going to go with Haebinna, the profiler from my sci-fi novel. The space colonies don’t really have cash in a system where most currency is digital, but imagining a similar scenario, Haebinna would probably go with the bank robbery. She deals with criminals at her job anyway. She’d probably psychoanalyze the robbers while coming up with a plan to stop them. Somebody would definitely get shot.

 

There you have it! Just a few fun scenarios. As for my fellow bloggers reading this, I tag you! Feel free to borrow the questions and add some of your own if you’d like to participate in a “Would You Rather” Writer’s Edition post. Happy writing!


Let’s chat! Readers, would you rather have lunch with one of your favorite authors or one of your favorite characters? Bloggers, for those who don’t want to write an entire post, feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments.

 

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Similar posts: “Never Have I Ever” Writer Tag, Confessions of a Bookworm Tag, and The Bookish Q&A Tag