Sunday, October 17, 2021

Finding the Best Writing Method

The word writing itself is a little outdated. Or shall I say generalized? Yeah, that sounds better. After all, many different forms of writing don’t involve the physical act itself. Sometimes it’s typing. Sometimes it’s speaking aloud and allowing a device to type for you. Sometimes, yes, it is writing by hand.

In other words, writing refers not so much to the act of putting pen to paper but the creation of words, whether it be an essay, blog post, or story. But which is the best method of creating?


 

Handwriting

Once upon a time, I read somewhere that the best way to write a novel is to write it all out by hand, then type it up and make corrections from there. So I tried and failed. Miserably. I got halfway through the book before I couldn’t take it anymore. My brain works faster than my hand, and I need all ten fingers to type. What’s more, the story stunk, so I ended up scrapping the whole thing.

Besides, there’s no Ctrl + f (find) in something that’s handwritten! How am I supposed to find a certain scene or name if I can’t remember where it is? At least I don’t need to worry about Ctrl + s (save)…

I also keep one of those little notebooks in my purse because somebody said you should write down ideas as they come to you. I never do. Sure, I may pull it out sometimes when I’m bored, but I don’t really use it to outline or keep track of quotes or anything useful.

Every now and then, if I’m out and feel the urge to write, I may use a scrap of paper to start a scene, but that’s no longer my primary method anymore. I like to keep a journal in a physical book, but that’s about it.

 

Google docs

Whenever I have a scene that I want to jot down really quick, I prefer to use Google docs on my phone. That way I can access it anywhere, and I don’t have to worry about tracking down a random piece of paper. Besides, it’s a little easier to copy and paste words than it is to type each and every one.

The last time I was traveling, I had a lot of fun writing on a Google doc because I didn’t bring my computer. Besides, I was writing poetry, so I didn’t have to worry about the paragraphs looking huge on my screen.



Microsoft Word

Ah, my favorite method of all! Complete with the ability to type with all ten fingers. Ctrl+f and Ctrl+s. The ability to create chapters and manipulate fonts. Copy and paste. Word counts. Pages. Italics. Chapter formatting. You name it!

Now, I have incorporated some methods from other pieces of unhelpful advice. Like that type up the second draft bit? Yep, I rewrite everything when transitioning from draft 1 to draft 2 instead of simply copy and pasting it so that I can catch more mistakes while typing everything out rather than reading over it.

Blogging is slightly different, though. I’ll type everything up on a Word doc, copy and paste it on Blogger, then proofread it from there.

 

Other methods

4theWords/Wattpad/Scrivener

There’s plenty of online resources for writers, I’m just cheap and never invest in any of the paid options. 4theWords is a fun one where you can level up your character by defeating monsters by typing a certain number of words in a certain amount of time. I enjoyed using it during NaNoWriMo. The only thing is, I’m that kind of person who would rather study and tame a monster rather than kill it. What is it with our world and killing things?

Wattpad and Scrivener are also options I’ve heard of, but I’ve never tried writing on those sites.

 

Dictation

There are also options where you can say the story aloud and allow a computer program to type it up for you. My sister uses an app on her phone for that method, though I’ve never tried it myself.

 

Typewriter

You know that stereotype where the writer is so obsessed with the aesthetic of writing that they go out and buy a typewriter? Yeah, no, I couldn’t do that. I like my backspace key, thank you very much, and used it maybe 500 times writing this stupid paragraph.

 

The Best Method

You may ask, What is the best method? I would say, The one that works best for you at the time. That method may change from story to story or even from time to time within the same story, and that’s where trial and error come into play. For me, it’s Word, but that may change.

 

Let’s chat! What’s your favorite writing method? Am I missing any? Does your writing process change, or do you have a tried and true method?

 

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Similar posts: 5 Reasons to Attend WriteOnCon, How to Balance Multiple Writing Projects, and My Process for Writing Poetry

Sunday, October 10, 2021

7 More of my Go-To Authors

Do you ever have a certain mood you want to read a book in, so you pick a particular author? I know I do. For example, if I want to read a story with a curios twist on a common trope, I’ll pick Neil Gaiman. Or maybe I’m looking for compelling characters and unpredictable plot twists: Brandon Sanderson. This method has also led me to know which authors I avoid, but today I’d like to focus on the ones whose works I enjoy.

Authors are organized by last name.

 


1. Megan Bannen


Does it count if you’ve only read one of their books but you liked it so much you can’t wait to read the next one even though it’s not a sequel? Eh, who cares. It’s my blog post. I particularly enjoyed her debut, The Bird and the Blade, so much so, that I eagerly awaited her latest book Soulswift. My library finally bought a copy, and I’m currently reading it!


2.   Susanna Clarke


She only has three books out. Who am I kidding? Only three books?! That’s so cool!!! I’ve enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far. I read her beast-of-a-book Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell back when I was living in England, and I particularly liked the way Clarke connected the fantasy elements with the British culture.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories was also quite entertaining, especially the one that took place in the world of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust. Crossovers, anybody? Yes, please! I haven’t seen many crossovers outside of graphic novels, so this was a pleasant surprise.

I look forward to reading her latest book, Piranse.


3.   C. G. Drews


I first started following Drews on her blog where she writes as Paper Fury. One of the ways I like to determine if a book is worth reading is by reading her reviews. They’re great.

So are her books, of course! A Thousand Perfect Notes stole my heart with its characters, and her second book The Boy Who Steals Houses was even better. Though they took a while to release in the US (they’re finally here!), I liked to buy them online at Book Depository.

When will the publishing industry give us another one of her books? I know she’s written some! I know you can’t rush publishing, but I can dream.


4.   Neil Gaiman


I know, I know. I’ve only read three of his books. How could I possibly say he’s one of my go-to authors? I highly recommend his speech “Make Good Art.”

Though I wasn’t a particular fan of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I found Norse Mythology to be quite fascinating. Of course, I’m slightly obsessed with Stardust, especially when it’s the audiobook read by the author.


5.   Hannah Heath


It’s not a proper list if I don’t list an indie author. Heath is one of my go-to indie authors because she always includes some sort of disability representation in her stories. That and she writes fantasy and sci-fi, so of course that’s a plus! Her story “Vengence Hunter” made me hate vampire stories less because she puts an interesting twist on the trope. Her story “So I Accidentally Killed the Chosen One” on Wattpad is quite comical. So far, I think “This Pain Inside” from the anthology Strange Waters, is one of my favorites. I look forward to her next piece.


6.   Jack London


As a kid, I used to pick up a lot of animal stories, and I used to listen to the audiobook of White Fang a lot. When I reread the book as an adult, I remembered why I enjoyed the story so much. Of course, his others books and stories can be good too, though I’ve never particularly cared for Call of the Wild. It has been a while since I’ve read it, though.

I particularly like how his stories include the beauties and wonder of nature and humankind contrasted with its deadly nature. No romanticism here.


7.   J. R. R. Tolkien


When I was a kid, my dad once read The Hobbit to my brother and me. Of course, I loved it! I can’t say I’ve read everything by Tolkien, but I grew up enjoying Lord of the Rings movie marathons, and I later dove into the books.

The last time I attempted to read The Silmarillion was when I was studying English lit. So yeah, it’s been a while. I’ll have to give the book another try at some point.

 

Let’s chat! Who are some of your go-to authors? Have you read any books by the ones I’ve mentioned?

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Similar posts: Don’t Judge a Book by its Author, or Should You?; 7 of my Go-To Authors; and Let’s Agree to Disagree: Reader vs. Author Opinion

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Poem: Reading Glasses

Since I haven’t had a lot of time to write lately, I’ll be sharing an older poem.

Yes, my style may change over time, but I like to think that even the older ones can be fun sometimes. Here’s one of my favorites from a creative writing course in college. I was once a proud reader who didn’t need glasses to read. That is until I read too much…


 

Reading Glasses

Two owlets perch on a wing.

Hooked beaks on plump fools

stuffed with heaps of mice.

 

Two boxes crammed

with clocks and calendars

and leaves to the brim.

 

Two attic windows side by side,

overlooking an owl’s nest,

boxes stacked to the sills. Here

until the house burns.*

 

***

 

Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Any fellow readers out there who wear glasses?

*The final sentence sometimes gets left out because it changes the entire mood of the poem. Personally, I like it because it adds a touch of mortality to what would otherwise be a lasting building.

Similar posts: Do Not Dissect This Poem, Origins, and Pine Trees

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