WRITING IS AWESOME

Saturday, October 21, 2017
The year isn't quite over, but it's quickly coming to a close. For me, November means NaNoWriMo and writing whenever possible, and December means reading and Christmas and trying to recover from the previous sleepless month (aka: regaining my sanity).

I've learned a lot about writing this year -- more so than any other year. I've learned about the world of publishing, the art of crafting a novel, my limits, how I work best, re-evaluating my WIPs and thinking about my next steps in this journey.


One of the most valuable lessons I learned was during Camp NaNoWriMo back in April. My words ran dry. My creative soul was tired, brain pushed to its max with all of my crazy ambitions. I was bored with my story, frustrated with my goals, and losing energy, so I didn't have much of a choice but to take a break. 

I wrote a post during that break: The Joy in Stress Free Writing, where I said that I would take writing slowly until I rediscovered that passion. I'm someone who is driven by conquering goals and challenges, so it felt weird to not have any of those hanging over my head and clogging my to-do list.

It's been five months since my writing break. Did I rediscover the enjoyment?! Did it help? Did it teach me anything??

Well, yes. It taught me two things in particular.

1. I can't stop writing.
I've tried gymnastics. I've tried playing the piano. I've tried swimming. I've tried ice skating. I've tried painting. <-- I enjoyed all of these activities for a certain amount of time, but eventually lost interest. 

Writing is a different story (<-- I think I just accidentally made a really lame pun). When I take a writing "break," I find myself doing some anyway just because I enjoy it so much. Even editing isn't quite as bad as it used to be. Now I've come to appreciate how I'm making my story better and dream about it being on the bookshelves one day. *happy sigh*

The month I took off in May showed me how hard it was for me to take a break.  Yes, I may have taken a break from my story, but my writer brain is always churning, always thinking about some future idea. 

2. I can't stop writing because I really, really, really like writing.
Like I said before, I didn't like taking a break, but it helped me rediscover the joy in writing.

Let me clarify before you read into that: I never stopped liking writing... but I did let the stress and the pressure to overachieve impact the enjoyment. There's magic in creating characters and worlds, and that had dwindled.

So I kept my goals smaller than normal, trying to avoid another burnout or having this become a reoccurring problem. And hey -- it worked! Instead of trying to finish a full round of edits for Camp NaNoWriMo, I only went for half of my novel. I didn't get as much done, but I also didn't end the month hating my novel. (always a good thing)

I've fully recovered from the burnout, and goodness, I've realized how much I really loke writing. I love creating worlds. I love penning stories that can transport the reader to another dimension. (unfortunately not literally. though that would be rather impressive if I could send readers to a warped time in space xD)

When I first started writing I wanted to become a published teen author. I still think that would be awesome, but I also realize that my chances of that happening are becoming slimmer. And I'm okay with that.

Even if I'm never published, I'll keep writing because I enjoy it. 
I enjoy the escape, the thrill, the community around stories. God's given me this ability and place to spew my creativity. (and don't worry -- even though I'm content with being unpublished... I'm still going to work as hard as I can to become an official author. :P) 

I don't even know what my point is for this post. Writing is awesome, guys. And it's important for me to keep checking in with myself: am I writing because it's become a responsibility -- another task to complete and wordcount to meet? Or because I truly enjoy it? It's incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the hustle.

So someday I'll be seventy years old, counting down the days until NaNoWriMo, writing my 50th novel or something crazy like that. I'll have a cupboard overflowing with an enormous assortment of coffee mugs and tea cups. I'll be the NaNo grandma -- writing because she can't stop. Writing because she enjoys it.

(now I'm giggling over that image. CAN YOU IMAGINE IF THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS? dude I want to be a cool writer grandma xD)

Anyway, thanks for reading my rambling post. "See" you next week with allll the October highlights! (and screaming about the fact that NaNoWriMo is SO SOON.)

<3,
katie grace

what did you learn about writing this year?

ABOUT MY SUPERHERO NOVEL

Saturday, October 14, 2017
Happy Saturday! We only have seventeen days left to panic before NaNoWriMo begins! *yay* Last year I wrote a post about what I was writing for NaNo (it's funny how much of that story has already changed since editing), and that went surprisingly well, so I summoned the courage to do it again. 

I'm linking up with the Beautiful Books Tag hosted by Sky and Cait! Thanks for supplying the questions and the community. :D

I first got the idea at the MYWW workshop! I was in Sabaa Tahir's class and our assignment was to create a world together. One of the suggestions was that when a child turned eighteen they would receive a special dragon-speaking ability. That's been done before, so I wanted to turn the idea on its head. What if kids were born with superpowers, but lost them upon turning eighteen?

That's where my story originated! So I've had it for... four months? It came right in time for NaNo and I'm very thankful. xD

SUPERHEROES! *excitement*

Oh. Wait. You mean an actual fancy-professional-like blurb? I'll try. :P
They receive a superpower upon birth. They lose it once they turn eighteen. 
Ten years ago, Tasia's brother was kidnapped by hero traders -- criminals who use children's powers for their own crooked exploits. Her parents haven't been the same since, now convinced that he's dead. But until evidence proves her wrong. she refuses to believe that it's true. 
Tasia and her superhero partners are stationed in a destroyed underground railway system. Guided by her power of light, they spend their days patrolling for possible threats... until they stumble upon a dead body. Officials order them to let stronger heroes deal with this case, warning of hero traders involved with the murder. Clinging to the hope that it might be connected to her brother, Tasia convinces her team to go undercover and hunt the villain of this victim. 
The dead body is only the beginning. They learn crucial information about a rising villain, and soon their mission isn't just about restoring Tasia's family, but saving hundreds of lives in danger. 
The clock is ticking. Can Tasia and her team put their powers to use before they disappear entirely?
[only a rough blurb because it's SO LONG and needs condensing. but it'll do for now.]
 
YESS. This is my favorite question because I simply adore aesthetics. They create this powerful vibe and mood. It's almost like envisioning your book in movie form? I don't know, man. I'm kind of obsessed.
-- flickering lights, soft echoes, baggy hoodies, crunching boots on loose rock, the sound of cars thundering over a tunnel, radio static, coursing adrenaline as you flee death's arms, power, cuts and scrapes, day old fast food, bold newspaper headlines, missed calls, the indescribable bravery it takes to stand against evil --

ALL THE BRAINSTORMING! Lots and lots of brainstorming. I used to despise plotting, but now that I've experienced how helpful it is, I don't think I can ever go back to my pantser ways. Yeah, some people think it's boring to know exactly how the story is going to end (presumably, ha), but until I actually write it... it hasn't happened. I still get to experience that thrill and excitement. *shrug*

Other ways I prepare: ordering NaNo merch, going to a NaNo event at my library (I'm a little nervous about that because I have NO IDEA what to expect o.o), picking a theme album for my story, eating pizza, upping my caffeine intake (I kid, I kid)...


Before I start introducing the characters, please allow me to take a moment to ramble on the struggles of characterization. For instance: WHY IS NAMING CHARACTERS SO HARD? I've created temporary names for them (as you will see below), but... ugh. I despise naming like I despise spiders and vegetable pizza. >.< I'm assigning them a title that they will go by for the rest of their life! And that I will have to type hundreds of times! That's too much pressure for my little heart.

I could go in detail and describe all of my characters... but I have a lot and this blog post doesn't need to be the length of a novel. :P Instead, here are their powers and my pathetic naming abilities.

Tasia - can summon little, burning orbs of light out of her palms. (her name is the only name I have so far. #fail)
Mindy - mind reader. (MIND-y. Get it? :P)
Wallace - can walk through walls. (WALL-ace. Heh.)
Isaac - is able to see through other people's eyes. (EYE-zack.)
Missy [side character] - never misses a shot. (MISS-y. she never misses. :P)




I am so pumped about writing with a cast of characters! My last novel, Where Shadows Lie, had only one main character and one side character. There's little dialogue/interactions in that book, and now I'm transitioning into a Superhero story with four main characters. It'll be very different, but I'm ready for the change.

I'm also excited about finishing the novel! Because... if you weren't aware (you should be), Marissa Meyer comes out with a superhero book, Renegades, on November 7th. I have it preordered, but since I'm also writing a superhero book, I'm forcing myself to wait to read it until I've finished my own novel. Even though my project will be plotted out by that point, I don't want to accidentally sneak in any threads of inspiration from her. It'll be agony to wait, but then my conscious can remain clear in case I spot any similarities. :P

I also can't wait to find a title. Eventually. Hopefully. *grumble* Titles are usually one of my favorite parts of creating a new story... but it's giving me a headache this time. Oh well. xD


one: the majority of the story takes place in the underground railways. They've been abandoned for a looong time. Decades ago a supervillain destroyed them by exploded the railway transports, taking hundreds of innocent lives. It might be fun to write a short story about it someday... but I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't even finished plotting the novel. xD

two: the world is an alternate US reality/timeline. I like the idea of placing the unfamiliar in the familiar. Then the core of the world itself remains the same -- but the culture, organizations, and how the cities run is obviously very different because there are young superheroes everywhere.

three: tying into the point above, it's been really fun exploring how having superheroes would impact the culture! I've created schools specifically for superheroes -- tests detecting their powers upon birth, how to use and maximize their powers, and short-term institutes specifically designed to help them adjust to life after losing their powers and to help settle them in the "real" world. (PHEW that was a long sentence. Oops.) Once they graduate from the school, the heroes will be assigned a mission or a station and use their powers for the good of their city until they turn eighteen. 

[those were more culture/world-building stuff than setting... but oh well. :P]

Well, I already mentioned this in the blurb, but if you skipped past that... my MC's (Tasia) goal is to find her brother who was kidnapped ten years ago. She was only seven when he first disappeared -- just a bit too young to go adventuring into a crime-infested city. :P

Now that she's older, with an opportunity at her fingertips. a group of friends that have her back, and limited time before her powers disappear... It's either now or never.


There you have it -- all the juicy little details of my NaNo novel. I hope you're intrigued! I don't think I've ever been this excited about writing a specific story. Beside the title, the ideas have come fairly easily, and so far there's not a sign of a sequel (I could cry I'm so happy about that).

Here's my NaNo profile so we can become buddies and scream about words, and then here's my Pinterest board for this novel (because #aesthetic).

<3,
katie grace

what are you writing for nanowrimo?

NEW FINDINGS OF 2017

Saturday, October 7, 2017
I love to babble excitedly about things I'm passionate about -- I mean, who doesn't? 2017 has been a fantastic year for discovering all sorts of epic new stuff. I've been mentioning a few in my monthly highlights throughout the year, but I wanted to consolidate my favorites into one, big post. Here's a list of my new findings (specifically: music, books, and movies) of 2017.

(I wanted to write this later in the year since it's meant for the entirety of 2017... but next month is NaNo and December is my blogging break, so I guess it's now or never. xD)

M U S I C:
(links are going to lead to YouTube, though the songs are available on Spotify)
(pictures in this post are not mine.)
>> ARTISTS <<
aurora
nature boy //  half the world away

Her music is absolute PERFECTION for writing -- especially for fantasy stories! She has a hauntingly beautiful voice and gorgeous, lyrical songs. I find them very calming yet an exceptional background for writing evil scenes. xD

[if you like her music, consider giving a listen to the music artists fleurie and ruelle!]

nf
oh lord // real // know

(technically I discovered his music last year... but I didn't start consistently listening to it until this year, so)

Please let me take a moment to scream because he just released a new album yesterday! *screams* I haven't listened enough to create any concrete opinions, but so far I really like it. I'm partial to the song Know (linked above) just because it has a Twenty One Pilots reference in it. o.o So that's awesome. xD

If you don't usually listen to rappers, still give him a try because his lyrics are just so powerful and emotional. You may find this weird, but I almost always listen to NF's music while writing blog posts. I don't know why?? But there's something about the intense word-spitting that gets my fingers flying across the keyboard. xD

(forgot to mention that he is a Christian rapper and his songs are clean so you don't have to worry about any language or gross stuff like that. :P he's not afraid to talk about heavy themes, though.)

>> SONGS <<
underground

THIS SONG. <3 I have a soft spot for simple songs that just tell a story, and this is exactly what Underground does. Ugh, I don't know why I love it so much, but I can't help but smile each time I hear it. This song creates such strong visuals in my mind!

i built a friend
alec benjamin

The first time I heard this song was when a dancer performed to it, and it was so beautiful and heart-touching that I immediately started to cry. IT'S SO MOVING I CANNOT. I recommend watching the dance with the song for the best experience. :P

(also... even though I was crying when I first heard this, I was extremely creeped out because I HAVE A STORY IDEA THAT IS SO. SO. SIMILAR TO THIS. Like, crazily similar. It's like they stole the idea out of my head, switched a few details, and then made it into this epic song. Seriously. It's weird.) 

{other songs}

B O O K S:

This year I've tried to be more realistic with my book ratings. When I was younger I basically rated every book five stars -- maybe four if I really wasn't feeling it. But now as I scroll through my Goodreads I don't know which books were actually worth five stars. Sigh. So here's the general outline of my rating system:

five stars: WOW THIS BLEW MY MIND I PROBABLY READ IT IN ONE SITTING AND EVERYONE AND THEIR DOG MUST READ THIS BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE.

four stars: It was a really good book! I maybe have one or two problems with this book, or it just didn't have that extra magic of "oh my goodness I can't." o.o

three stars: didn't love it, didn't hate it. 'twas "fine."

two stars: well... I finished it! but... it was a struggle. like trying-to-walk-in-high-heels-on-a-tightrope-over-a-sea-full-of-crocodiles sort of struggle.

one star: most likely didn't finish this book. urghhh. reading this story was like getting bitten by one of those crocodiles in the sea under the tightrope. (okay, that sounded harsh. but... there's probably a reason I'm rating the book one star. xD)

OKAY THAT WAS A HUGE BUNNY TRAIL. Anyway, all of that and describing my system was to introduce my five star reads of 2017. So far I've only read four 5-star books, which is a little disappointing, but I also haven't read as many books as previous years. And I really really love these books. *hugs them to death* I almost think they're due for another reread. ;)

(links will lead to goodreads if you click on the author's name)
midnight at the electric
jodi lynn anderson

I've flailed over this book before, BUT PLEASE LET ME FLAIL OVER IT AGAIN. I randomly picked it up at the library because I thought the title was pretty. I glanced at the back cover blurb, saw the word mars, and knew that I had to at least give it a try.

(advice: don't start book at 11:15pm. you will unavoidably stay up past midnight and suffer from an aching back and tired eyes the next morning)

This is the kind of story I want to write. The author has such a way with words, flowing beautifully and lyrically. It's not a huge action book -- there aren't world ending disasters and explosions. Instead it's about family histories that span generations. It's about loss and friendship and getting to know the hearts of the characters. IT'S JUST SO GOOD.

The mood/aesthetic occasionally gave me Interstellar type vibes? (which makes even more sense as to why I loved this book, haha)

scorpio races
maggie stiefvater

So. Confession: I first picked this book up three or four years ago, gave it a try, and stopped a couple chapters in and decided that it was the most boring book to ever exist. I WAS SO WRONG. I must've been in the wrong mood or something, because I completely adored it when I gave it a second try! One difference is that I listened to it on audiobook this time, so... maybe that's what changed my mind?

But, ugh. Super gorgeous, lyrical writing. <3

angel eyes
shannon dittemore

I honestly wasn't expecting to like this book very much. I've never been the type to be intrigued by books with Christian paranormal elements, but Nadine told me that she read it in one sitting, so I decided to pick it up.

And then I never set it down until I finished it. That's huge, because I haven't read a book in one sitting for a looong time. This book has a little of everything. Action, adventure, mystery, a touch of romance, a touch of humor.

This book is Christian fiction book, and it had some very poignant and thoughtful messages. Usually Christian messages don't strike me as much in books, but this one did. And the angel characters didn't seem odd -- they were done carefully and the author handled it well. :D

real friends
shannon hale

Now as I'm going over my list of five star books, I realize that they all have one thing in common: I've read them in one sitting. (excluding The Scorpio Races, but that was a ten-hour-long audiobook, so.) :P

Real Friends was an extremely quick read -- it probably only took me a half an hour. It was so cute! The majority of the book is actually based on the author's life and her struggles with friendship, which made it extremely heartfelt and relatable. READ IT.

M O V I E S:
spider-man homecoming

I mean... this movie probably doesn't come as a surprise to you, seeing that I wrote an entire blog post about my extreme love for it. So I'll just link to that instead of rambling about it here. xD

dunkirk

*sighs happily* I'm not one for war movies, but I love Christoper Nolan's work, and the trailer was amazing, so I tagged along with my dad when he went to the movie theater to see it. I'm so glad I did. It's a very unique movie and it's hard to put it into words. There's hardly any dialogue, hardly any focus on the characters. << sounds like a horrible idea, right? But it worked so perfectly. It's like the movie was made up of little moments instead of a giant, complex plot. Just go see it -- you'll understand what I'm saying when you do.

{OTHER GOOD MOVIES}
gifted // the theory of everything // the greatest game ever played // rewatched Civil War for the sixth time, hehe // rewatched the Harry Potter series

- - -
PHEW YOU MADE IT TO THE END (presumably. maybe everyone gave up halfway through :P *hands you cookies if you did survive until the end*). I think this was the longest blog post I've ever written. Which makes sense since this took four hours to write and format and edit. *naps for seven years* *or maybe just until NaNo*

<3.
katie grace
what are your new findings of 2017?

SEPTEMBER HIGHLIGHTS // 2017

Saturday, September 30, 2017
"Have you heard what Mozart's up to?"
...
...
...
...
"He's decomposing."

(sometimes I use stupid jokes as blog post intros. now to the highlights of september we go :P)

VACAAATIONNNN! I retreated with my family to a lakeside cabin resort for a couple of days, and it was so nice. Vacations are meant for relaxation, but for me vacations = WRITING RETREATS! So I plopped myself down in a comfy chair and window table and basically wrote there all week long. It was glorious and reconfirmed my dream of being a full time writer someday. How glorious would it be to write, blog, brainstorm, + socialize over the internet all day long? :P

We went hiking a few times over the vacation, and I expected a few hills, maybe just a slight burn in my calves after we were done... BUT THEN END UP TAKING A PATH THAT HAS 437 STAIRS. *collapses* As I writer I have put my characters through many less-than-desirable situations... but I would never torture them to such an extreme as this. :P

Our room in the resort also had a giant media screen projector, which meant watching lots of movies (yay movies! especially eating snacks during the movie xD). I rewatched Interstellar for the fourth (?) time, and it is my favorite movie ever. Someday I'll write a post about my extreme love for it. IT JUST INSPIRES ME AND IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF VIBE I WANT MY STORY TO HAVE. *happy sigh* Just writing about it makes me want to go watch it again. <3

this was my writing view all week. TAKE ME BACK. <3
Random, but I've been better about going to bed early? ("early," hahaha) Last year/beginning of this year it wasn't rare for me to stay up past one, but that hasn't happened in a long time. And if it does, it happens on a Friday night when I'm rushing to finish my blog post. :P I'm TRYING to be better about healthy sleep habits, but it's so hard when I'm a natural night owl. >.<

New song of the month: Dreamers by Oh Gravity. I've been playing it on repeat on my Spotify ever since I discovered it. Snippet of the beautiful lyrics below:
We're the lines in between, in the shadows we glow
As the world falls asleep, we're the voices that don't
And together we sing, what our hearts can't contain
Whatever comes next we'll bring all the stories we make

LOOK! I READ MORE THAN TWO BOOKS! The last time this happened was in May, and before that February. I'm a happy bookworm. And since I don't plan to be doing much writing in October -- just plotting -- I'm hoping for another five next month. 

I just really adore stories. I lowered my Goodreads reading goal last month, and that was really freeing, because now I only read when I genuinely want to read. Which has been happening a lot more -- it's great, but also frustrating because I need to write and work and do school and a bajillion of other things as well. xD


Vengeance Road [3/5] - This may sound harsh, but I am not a fan of western stories. So, considering that, this rating is actually quite high! xD Lots of gun shootin', lots of twists, and lots of me squealing over the beautiful cover. // goodreads

Unsanctioned Eyes [4/5] - Huzzah for dynamic, tea-loving characters! This is an extremely quotable book filled with many witty, fun, and thought-provoking one liners. There's so much promise for future stories from this author. :D // goodreads

Broken Wings [2.5/5] - This is the second book in the Angel Eyes trilogy, and for some reason it didn't click with me? Which is disappointing since I rated the first one five stars. But the reviews on Goodreads rave over the third and final book, so I'm still going to give it a go. (supposedly there are lots of plot twists so that gives me hope!) // goodreads

Midnight at the Electric [5/5] - THIS BOOK WAS SO SURPRISINGLY GOOD. I randomly picked it off of the library shelf (which I normally never do) and read it all in one sitting after midnight. Gorgeous lyrical writing, dynamic characters, beautiful interwoven plot... READ IT. <3 // goodreads

Welcome to Night Vale [3/5] - It's a very entertaining story, but if you're choosing between the podcast and the book... go for the podcast. I maybe would've liked this more if I listened to it on audiobook, but it dragged on at some points. *shrug* // goodreads


this is the closest I'll get to my story's setting in real life :')
WRITING WAS SO MUCH FUN THIS MONTH. Editing didn't feel like a chore! I actually wish I had more time to edit! And coming from me, that's a big statement. But I'm passionate about this story. I want to make it better and share it with others someday. <3

I've been working on the second draft of Where Shadows Lie for several months, slowing chugging through the story. But the vacation helped create some extra momentum, and I'm so close to finishing the second draft! *confetti* I'm hoping to go into "super-ninja-editing-mode" after work this afternoon. I WILL GET IT DONE (maybe :P).

We went up north by Lake Superior for our vacation, and the setting was PERFECT for my story. I sat on the rocks by the lake while editing a chunk of my novel that takes place on the sea. It was epic, even though I soaked my boot in the water (oops). And birch trees! They are what first inspired this story, so it was awesome to see little clumps of them scattered throughout our hikes.

October will be the beginning of #NaNoPrep. (of my superhero story!) I'm FINALLY starting to make progress in creating a general plot line. There is still so much to work out, but Hannah has been a huge help in brainstorming the novel. *flails wildly* I'm super (haha, get it? super? as in superhero? sorry) excited about writing in a modern day setting. That means technology and cities and cars and the internet! It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. :D

Do you people watch? Lisa wrote a short story of her observations on a simple Saturday drive, which was so beautiful. It makes you wonder about everyone's story. <3

Anna has some AMAZING tips on "how to stay sane when life isn't." Check it out because she shares some seriously wonderful advice.

Alea shared this next post with me (thank youu!). It's a very insightful article by a successful author and blogger (K.M. Weiland) about "protecting creativity." <--good stuff right here.

Thinking about a Bible reading plan for next month? Nadine's introducing a new challenge: Old Testament October.

- - -

HOW WAS SEPTEMBER FOR YOU? If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, will you be joining the ranks of plotters in October? Or are you a die hard pantser? Somewhere in between? I hope preparation goes amazingly for you -- START STOCKING UP ON COFFEE NOW, hehe. xD

<3,
katie grace

how was your september, my friends?

END OF THE YEAR GOALS // 2017

Saturday, September 23, 2017
"Huh," you may say as you read the title of this post. "This sounds familiar." 

Observant reader, it is familiar to you for a good reason. I've done two End of the Year Goals posts before -- one in 2015, and the other in 2016. I never feel like they're the most interesting topic... but they always turn out to be one of my most popular blog posts??? 

This is a fun and easier blog post to make, so hey -- I'm not complaining. xD Let's get into my goals for the end of the year.

1. NANOWRIMO
  • this one is so obvious I'm not even sure why I bother mentioning it.
  • I'm hoping to do more coffeeshop writing this November! I mean, I work at a coffeeshop, so that works out nicely. I can stay before and after shifts and enjoy a steaming cup of chai/coffee. <3
  • Speaking of coffee, I have a tradition of buying myself a coffee mug each year for NaNo.  AND HAVE YOU SEEN THE MERCH FOR THIS YEAR?!? It's all superhero themed, which is brilliant, since I'm writing a superhero story.
  • I've refrained for three years from buying any NaNo merch, so I'm taking this as a sign that I must buy my first NaNo T-Shirt. :D
  • I was talking to Jane in the comments of one of my other posts, and we were discussing this fear that we'd suddenly forget how to write. That I wouldn't be able to write fast, and when I sat down to make the words happen... they just wouldn't come. It's the type of fear that would take place in a writer's nightmare. I know it's illogical... but I find myself thinking it year after year.

2. PLOT MY NOVEL!
  • because in order to write a novel, I kind of need a plot. 
    • (I suppose this is optional, since I've chosen to forgo it before... but that method is not recommended if I want to keep most of my sanity while editing.)
      • [but no matter what I guess I'll lose some sanity while editing. heh.]
  • Another NaNo fear: what if I can't find a plot?
  • That fear had better not become a reality, because I don't have a plan B. 
  • My method of plotting:
    • brain-dumping all "what ifs" and "possible ideas" onto a notebook page
    • do the above step multiple times until there's a rough over-arcing plot structure
    • cry
    • eat food
      • preferably pizza
      • or cookies
      • or both
    • then use the magical snowflake method!

3. BRAINSTORM BLOG POSTS
  • going along with this theme of "fears..." I also fear that someday I'll run out of blog content to produce.
    • which is another Stupid Fear because there's always something to blog about.
      • like hippos
      • or rhinos
      • or pizza!
      • ahem.
  • but anyway, I want to be prepared for next year. I hate panicking on Friday night, wondering what to blog about... so by brainstorming ahead of time I can avoid the last-minute-writing-long-past-midnight.
    • (so if you have any posts you'd like me to write about... do let me know)
  • Since NaNoWriMo is coming up... I've been thinking about what I want to do blogging wise during November. The past couple years I've done weekly NaNo wrap up posts. Are those still interesting? 

4. KEEP MY ROOM CLEAN
  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
    • ha.
  • I may seem like I would be a neat and orderly person, seeing that I enjoy clean and minimalist and aesthetic looking things... but my room is a catastrophic disaster 97% of the time.
  • BUT having a clean room inspires me, so especially with NaNoWriMo coming up (sorry for continually reminding you oops), I want my writing area to be as motivating as it can be. 

5. ACQUIRE ANOTHER PAIR OF FUZZY SOCKS
  • Fuzzy socks are magical.
    • actually, socks in general are magical.
  • that is all there is to say about this goal. 
  • boo cold, frozen feet.
  • yay comforting, warm socks.

6. BRAINSTORM BULLET JOURNAL
  • so far I've been keeping up with my bullet journal throughout the year (yay!), but I'm hoping to do some new things with it in 2018.
  • right now it's more of a to-do list/planner, and while that's super helpful and motivating... I want to make it into more of an artsy journal.
  • because I won't want to look back on my to-do lists in ten years (they'll probably still all look the same: write, edit, blog, work. :P), but if I make it more personal, it's like a memory book of sorts! That's something future me will definitely want to flip through.
  • with things like:
    • memories
    • quotes
    • doodles
    • souvenirs/letters
    • printing out some pictures??
    • journal entries
    • thoughts about life
    • writing prompts
    • [along with the planners and to-do lists]
  • the prospect of a new year can sometimes be overwhelming, so this is one way I can hype myself up for 2018. xD (but shh it's still three months away so I shall refrain from talking about it)
<3,
katie grace

what are three things you want to accomplish by the end of the year?

THE STAGES OF CHARACTER BUILDING

Saturday, September 16, 2017
NaNoWriMo looms on the horizon, which means I've begun preparing for the epic month-long event. Most of my preparation includes stocking up on coffee, chocolate, and epic soundtracks. But I'm also giving another go at plotting. (hahahaha let the crying and frustration begin) 

Even though I'll officially start plotting in October, I've already had a few quick brainstorming sessions. So far I've exited them without a plot -- only hundreds of more questions and the miserable reminder of how terrible I am at characterization.

Maybe you love creating characters, maybe you hate it, or maybe you're like me and land somewhere in the middle. Regardless of how you feel, characterization is something that's essential to the writing process. 

Normally, this is where the post would segway into "Five Great Tips To Make Your Character Come Alive!" But I struggle just as much as anyone else, so instead we're going to talk about that struggle. :P

When crafting characters, I find myself slugging through three stages. They're not recommended stages -- I suggest you skip straight to the third one if possible -- but unfortunately I am not superhuman and must obey the laws of the writing process.

(This post was inspired by a conversation with the lovely Hannah!)


[[alternatively titled: the "old and crumbly gingerbread man" stage, or the "thin and spindly stick person" stage.]]

Ahh, you've heard of cardboard cutouts. It's a common phrase when referring to flat, boring, and unpersonable heroes. In this first stage, it's impossible to define my character as the hero -- instead they're basically an unemotional blob meandering through my novel's plot. 

My character wouldn't even react if they were stabbed, since they have no feelings or motives or understanding of emotions. I have to drag them through the actions like an amateur robot whose coding is completely whacked up. Trying to build a connection with my character is like pulling teeth. Or smacking my head on my keyboard a bajillion times out of pure frustration. 

Needless to say, I'm not on great terms with my character during this dreaded first stage. They always frustrate me with their lack of personality, and the thought of editing my novel with a hero this boring drives me insane. Sometimes, before I drift off to sleep, I quietly chant to myself this important reminder: don't kill them out of annoyance, don't kill them out of annoyance, don't...

via
Stage number two is where improvement slowly starts to happen (very... very... slowly...). I stop wanting to kill my character and maybe just seriously injury or maim them instead. Now they've transformed from the thin slab of cardboard into a functioning lego character, complete with dimension, shape, movement, and the possibility of a small brain in that little yellow noggin of their's.

At this point we're not best friends... but in mutual agreement that there's hope for the future. It's a growing relationship! And whether we like it or not, we're stuck with each other, because once a character, always a character. (Unless they die. Or unless I'm completely ruthless and cut their whole story arc out of the novel. #beentheredonethat)

via
After HUNDREDS of long hours, working late into the night, and countless drafts... my cardboard lego person finally evolves into what they were meant to be from the beginning: a character. It's like my little child escaped the "terrible twos" and now everything in the story can come together. My hero reacts to hand stabbing or terrible events like a normal human. They have fear and strength and problems and moments of victory.

This sounds awesome, right? I mean, my character and I are getting along! They've become a hero a reader can relate to -- it's what I've been working toward from stage one... but now I feel guilty about their hard and perilous journey. 

When they ache, I ache. When they must travel through haunted forests and fight creatures of the deep, I get scared! When they become injured in any way (or die. WHOOPS.), I feel horrible. I finally built up this connection with my character, only to betray them by killing off their parents or best friend or pet. Go me.

It's a lot easier on my conscious to lead a soulless cardboard cutout through my story instead of a friend... but it all pays off in the end when the novel is a thousand times better because of it. My character would otherwise disagree, but OH WELL. These are the woes of a writer. :P

<3,
katie grace

what about you? do you struggle with characterization?

NEW FIRST DRAFT COPIES! (+vlog)

Saturday, September 9, 2017
Hellooo! I hope this September Saturday morning brings you sunshine and coffee and all things awesome. Huzzah for having a whole weekend ahead of us! 

Last May I ordered paperback copies of my novels -- first draft versions. I wrote a whole post on that and the process. I 100% recommend doing this, and I enjoyed it so much that I did it again. :P Today we're touring the new versions and why I redid them.



I included a selection of photos in this post, but ultimately I felt like it would be easier to showcase the books in a video, so I went ahead and recorded a video. I kept the video under eight minutes so I don't waste a huge chunk of your day (more time for writing and editing!). But if you're not a video type of person, there's a short overview of the books below. 

So I guess today is a vlog and a blog post. It's a vlog post! (ha... ha... ha... :P)


[enjoy my excited rambles about books! And maybe it's just my computer... but the automatic playback quality is super low so make sure to adjust it if it looks horrible xD]

I'm going to be repeating a lot of what I said in the video, so don't feel like you have to read on if you already watched it.

"So why order new copies, Katie, if you already bought some?"

Good question. BECAUSE LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THESE ARE.

Now for a real answer. 

  • I really love the clean and minimalist design
  • these books are a matte finish which looks (and feels!) a lot nicer
  • EVERYTHING MATCHES!
    • even the interior matches. same font, same size, same color, etc.
  • when sitting on the shelf, it's more obvious that I wrote these, and they're not just a really bad collection of self-published novels :P
  • someday I'll publish one of these books, and the professional copy will be so fun to compare to the plain white version!
  • I also wanted these books to be smaller (5x8 instead of 6x9)
  • there were some formatting mistakes on my other copies, so I knew what I had to do differently for these!



Most of the interior changes were nitpicky little things, but I did add headers to my novels! As you can see above, I inserted the title on the top right of the page, and (below) my name on the top left. I suppose there's not much point in doing this, because I'm the only one who will ever read these hideous versions... but it looks nice and professional. xD


The only text I put on the back of the book was how long it took me to write them. I forgot to put the date on my newest novel. -.- I was a sad human the moment I realized my mistake. *sigh* Oh well. It's a first draft, so the cover might as well display the true state of the inside -- imperfect.

(and by imperfect I mean very, very, very imperfect. I fear for the person who accidentally peeks inside one of my firsts drafts and passes out from the mere shock and horror of it all. xD)

Last time I ordered my books using Lulu, and this time I chose CreateSpace. They both work super well, but I chose the latter this time because CreateSpace has a matte finish option.


Thanks for reading and/or watching! Bit of a shorter post, so I want to hear what's going on with all of you guys! Any plans for today or the weekend? Any good books you've read recently? I stayed up past midnight last night reading Electric at the Midnight. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL. <3 <3

And to any of those that are being impacted by Hurricane Irma... be safe. I'm sending some prayers your way.

<3,
katie grace