Mind Rut – Writing Slump

Recently I’ve been in a sort of mind rut when it comes to writing. I realized about a week ago that I was once again avoiding my favourite pastime and career goal and instead focusing on other things. I the last few months I’ve gotten a new boyfriend, learned to play Magic the Gathering, which I am ridiculously obsessed with, and moved into a new place.

I’ve been gaming, gardening, going for walks, making home cooked delicious meals, and hosting movie nights. In general I seemed to be doing everything but writing. I attribute this to a few things…

One.

I finished my edits on Maji Born. My immediate and depressing thoughts were focused on the fact that I didn’t feel like it lived up to the six years of writing and learning that I spent on it. The years I’ve poured into Panorila, getting to know my trio, world building, and rewriting over and over and over again. It felt like a waste of time and I came out feeling sad and disappointed. So I let it sit.

Two.

Okay this is really One and a half. I am scared to fail, to share my baby with the world and discover that in fact it is boring, badly written, and predictable. Nothing scares me more than failure and boy was I terrified. Instead of posting the edited manuscript on wattpad as I had originally planned I hesitated and left it to simmer on Dabble for a few weeks. I learned how to play Magic the Gathering and proceeded to pour all my free time and energy into building a Vraska Gorgon deck, a Fey deck, a treefolk deck, a centaur deck…. you get the point. Time was consumed writing was ignored.

When I realized this I was appalled at myself. I am a go getter. I don’t give up and I don’t hide from critique good or bad. I realized that though I was scared I needed to embrace my plan and release my baby to the world. After all I can always tweak it once I’ve posted it on Wattpad. That is one of the best parts of publishing Indie in the digital age. I decided to continue forward and began uploading chapters. As of tonight I have 28 of 38 chapters up on Wattpad. Tomorrow morning I am going to get at least four more online and then hopefully proceed to add the rest as the day goes on.

I also posted my Book Trailer, which is something I’ve been sitting on for quite some time! I’m very excited to have that online and live. I made it and am very proud of it no matter how simple it is.

Due to the nature of my job (I work at an Inbound call centre) I have quite a bit of time to read, write, and draw. I bet you can guess which two out of three I’ve been doing… I’ve started to writing again at work. In between calls I open up my email and plot my next book, send memos about characters, and start new stories.

I am feeling particularly inspired today, though it is now coming close to 12:30am. It makes me feel very happy to know that things are back on an upswing. When I realized that I was dragging my feet I had a moment of disappointment with myself and then I realized that it was just another part of the process and I realized that, fuck it, pardon my language, I should be celebrating! I just completed the third draft of edits on a 74,000 word novel! Just that is something to celebrate.

All this to say, Maji Born is live on Wattpad for your reading pleasure and I am happy that it’s there even if it does turn out to be just my passion project. I love Panorila, I love writing my trio, I’ve already planned books two and three, but I also have to move onto new things and publishing Maji Born is the first step of many toward my larger goal of becoming a full fledged paid author!

I’ll be keeping Maji Born free but if you’re so inclined and enjoy it please consider donating a couple of dollars my way via my Ko-Fi account! This broke author would love the support!

ABC Book Tag G

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” 

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

This list would not be complete without Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This book is one of my favourite Young Adult Fantasy books. It follows Katsa, a young woman graced with the ability to kill. She was given to the King as a child and has since then been used as a tool for killing and torture. She has only known one path and know she is being offered a new one. Katsa has a choice and her decision will affect the lives of many. This book was a page turner! I read it in one sitting and then immediately dug around the internet for more Kristin Cashore!

“What are you grinning at?” Katsa demanded for the third or fourth time. “Is the ceiling about to cave in on my head or something? You look like we’re both on the verge of an enormous joke.”
“Katsa, only you would consider the collapse of the ceiling a good joke.” 

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

Game of Thrones

“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.” 

Tyrion Lannister – A Game of Throne – George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin comes to mind immediately when I think of books starting with the letter ‘G’ that stuck with me. It is a complex web of intrigue, poor decision making, mystery, and romance. The characters are all extremely well fleshed out and have complex motivations. Most characters in this series are quite grey in morality, excluding the odd couple of characters. I was immediately sucked into this series and could spend hours digging around in the immense history and character backstories built by Martin. Definitely take a read of this fantastic series.

“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.” 

Eddard Stark – A Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin

The Giver

“If you were to be lost in the river, Jonas, your memories would not be lost with you. Memories are forever.” 

The Giver – Lois Lowry

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a quick read, a classic piece of literature which shed light on the power of free thought, uniqueness, and societal conventions. The story is sets up a perfect utopic civilization, but as it progresses it becomes clear that the character, Jonas, is really living in a dystopia. The world is black and white, simplified by ‘sameness’, a convention society has engineered based on the retrieval of memories. The society is a blank slate, void of emotional depth. Jonas is assigned the task of becoming the ‘Receiver of Memories’ and begins to notice the flaws in the society he lives in. This book is hard to put down and ridiculously well plotted. The story is unsettling and thought provoking. I would highly recommend everyone read this one.

“The life where nothing was ever unexpected. Or inconvenient. Or unusual. The life without colour, pain or past.” 

The Giver – Lois Lowry

A Great and Terrible Beauty

“Because you don’t notice the light without a bit of shadow. Everything has both dark and light. You have to play with it till you get it exactly right.” 

A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray follows Gemma Doyle, who has just returned from India and been sent to attend Spence Boarding School following her mother’s’ death. Gemma can’t seem to get her mothers death out of her mind and is plagued with memories and visions. These visions seem to be leading her toward the unknown, and hopefully the answers she desires. Who is Circe? Why did her mother take her own life? And who is the boy who is following her?

This is a fantastic series. I love the gothic feel and mysterious plot of this book. The characters are fleshed out and flawed and make plenty of grey decisions. A Great and Terrible Beauty is an intriguing and fast paced read with the right levels of romance, mystery, and dark magic.

“May I suggest that you all read? And often. Believe me, it’s nice to have something to talk about other than the weather and the Queen’s health. Your mind is not a cage. It’s a garden. And it requires cultivating.” 

A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray

Plotting As A Former Pantser

Some of you may be aware of my past as a self proclaimed “Panster”. I have discovered as I write that I am growing into a “Plantser”. For those of you who have not heard of this term before let me elaborate.

Once upon a time on the Internet I discovered the terms ‘Plotter’ and ‘Pantser’ and my glee ignited as I learned more and more about the two facilities of writing practice.

Plotters, as the name suggests, plan and plot their books prior to jumping into the actual writing.

Pantsers, on the other hand, fly by the seat of their pants, prefering to let the ideas flow and figure out the flaws at a later date.

I tend to seek the adventure of writing and to my plotting seemed like a great way to crush all the creativity. Now I have come to realize that this is simply not true.

In recent years the term ‘Planser’ has entered the realm of writerly terms and I can firmly say that I fit within that category.

In recent years the term ‘Planser’ has entered the realm of writerly terms and I can firmly say that I fit within that category.

When I start a book I begin by freewriting the first chapter or two. Once I have an idea of what’s transpiring within the text I take a break and outline a basic skeleton.

I recently discovered the Story Grid Podcasts by Shawn Coyne and Tim Grahl. The podcast is based on the Story Grid Book by Shawn Coyne. The concept is simplistic and approachable. I’ve found it to be very helpful in my plotting and outlining process. Throughout the book Coyne breaks down the Story Grid within Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. This is outlined in handy charts and the book breaks down the process in easy to understand chunks. The chapters are very manageable which has made it fantastic for reading at work. I would definitely recommend listening to the podcast and/or picking up the book.

I used this method to start outlining my current fantasy and science fiction projects and have found that it cleared up some plot issues and helped to define what needed more work within the outline.

The transition from Pantser to Plotter was gradual, and as I said previously, I consider myself a Plantser not a full blow Plotter. I think it’s the happy medium between both styles.

With Camp NaNoWriMo is around the corner (four days!) I have begun my usual panic about my plot not being ready. I will hopefully have a reasonable road map prepared prior to April 1st but I also work 8hr days up until the first so that may be wishful thinking! One can hope though.

I will be working on my science fiction currently titled ‘Doxis Down’. It’s a near future military/cyberpunk science fiction adventure with elements of thriller/horror. So far I’ve been really enjoyed writing the witty banter and fast paced action sequences. My goal for the rest of the week is to create a more complete outline of the plot so that I will be able to properly reach the 20k goal for camp. Currently the manuscript is at 30k and my goal is to get to 50k by the end of April, then edit Maji Born during May and June, and then write another 20k during Camp NaNoWriMo in July.

I am hoping to be done editing this draft of Maji Born by the end of May. At that point I will do a brief reread and flesh out the language and then I will send it to my beta readers for appraisal.

What’s your process? Do you tend to freewrite, plot it all, or do a mix? Also are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? If so what are you working on?

Looking forward to hearing from everyone! Now I’m off to plot and edit.

Mira~

Why I Left Facebook

During the past month, I’ve gone through a shift in my personal and professional life. We are constantly evolving and this is reflected back to me every month through my choices and every new bridge I chose to cross or door I chose to open or shut.

As of yesterday, I am no longer on Facebook. This is a big change for me as I have held my Facebook account for over fifteen years.

At this current moment I am unsure how this will affect my quest for an online writing career.  I have been considering this transition for quite some time and yesterday I finally hit the deactivate button.  

I realized that promoting myself and my literature shouldn’t be reliant on one platform, no matter the popularity.  I can market through other means.  This includes Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, My Blog and Website, Goodreads, Live Readings, and Conventions.  There are so many ways to market oneself that the fear of leaving one platform and jeopardizing my writing career should not feel like such a huge decision.

So here is why I left:

  1. While on Facebook I kept in contact with lots of people but most of them were people I barely know and don’t connect with even on Facebook. The ones I do talk to are also on Instagram or Twitter or I have their number and can text them. As a side note deactivating Facebook does not affect Messenger so I can still use that.
  2. Facebook Ads have grow into a beast that cannot be ignored and paired with the ever present harassment of reminders and notifications I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the platform. I was constantly bombarded with content that was irrelevant to my interests in the platform. Play this game, join this group, buy this product, see your memories, it’s four peoples birthdays, it’s a friendversary, it’s a holiday, this is what happens when you block someone, this is what happens when you unfriend someone… yada yada yada. It felt both invasive and patronizing, neither of which made me want to stay on the platform.
  3. I felt that it was a habitual addiction. Hear me out. This morning I have tried to open the application twelve times due to boredom. That is not healthy! Anything that takes that much of your time and energy without substantial true reward is probably unhealthy. I reach for social media when I’m bored rather than enjoying stillness or letting boredom set in. Boredom is healthy it is when our brains activate and creativity is allowed to come out and play. By going on social media immediately I am limiting myself and blocking my brain from creating.
  4. Negativity. Facebook is a pool of people complaining about their lives and other people, negative articles, and posts that fester with rude and unhappy feelings. All of us have at some point scrolled through the comments to read the drivel and ‘trolling’. That doesn’t help me and I could spend that time in a better way, specifically by writing and getting active.

As for my writing practice, I can still share updates here and in my newsletter. I will continue to post primarily on Twitter as that is the most writer compatible network!

Sorry about the rant but this was one that’s been coming for a while! Hope everyone’s writing and reading is going well. I am currently planning for Camp Nanowrimo which is only a week away. You can bet there will be more on that coming soon!

I’m off to write.

Mira~

 

Maji Born Update

Hello Everyone! I’ve been MIA for a month or so due to my crazy busy work schedule and thought I should give you an update on my book. Maji Born is in edits as previously mentioned, but the first chapter has been polished to completion and submitted to Booksies First Chapter competition. If you are subscribed to my newsletter you will already be aware of this! This is very exciting news and I can’t wait to here back with the results some time in June. I have also finalized the cover, which I am proud to unveil to all you lovelies.

I also have finalized the book trailer (Newsletter subscribers got a sneak peek of that!). I will be releasing it to the public closer to publication. I have received very positive feedback about all three though! I’ve been told the first chapter is compelling and makes you want to read on, the trailer was intriguing and really draws you in, and I picked up a customer for a three book cover design thanks to my work on the cover of Maji Born. All positive things!

If you are interested in reading Chapter One of Maji Born please check out my submission to Booksie: https://www.booksie.com/584350-maji-born-chapter-1# Please vote and share if you enjoyed it! Every little bit helps!

Today my focus is on editing chapters 20 – 22 of Maji Born as it is my day off from my dayjob! I will hopefully be posting another blog post later in the week. I may even get a chance to update my fanfiction on Wattpad.

If you’re interested in supporting my writing endeavours please consider donating to my Ko-fi jar! This helps me counter the costs of editing, marketing, and publishing Maji Born. Your support is truly wonderful and I can’t wait to share my work with you in the near future.

Mira ~

Editing, Editing, Editing, Oh My!

When you start a book you never begin by thinking about all the work. During the last few years I’ve really begun to focus on my writing and on getting my work up to getting my work published.

When writing began it was a fun way to dive into another world, to experience someone else’s story. Now those elements, though still present, are met with lots of intricate partners. It’s a dance between finding the right words, sentence structure, and the most compelling story possible. I’ve learned a lot over the years about my strengths and my flaws as a writer and have been able to redirect my attention to match my needs.


My process is such:

  • First Draft (Pantsed).
  • Read Through – Make Notes.
  • First Edit – Large story details and character rewrites. Plot changes.
  • Second Draft – Re-Write and Fix Plot Holes.
  • Print and add notes/highlight sections that need work or should be removed.
  • Edit with the notes, improve word choice and increase conflict.
  • Read though plus Beta Readers.
  • Apply their feedback.
  • Send through an editor.

I’ve been having difficulty motivating myself to write in the last couple of weeks. Normally it is second nature to write and I’m driven to do it. But at the current moment, I’m feeling slightly burnt out and in need of some RnR. Due to my new job I now have the time I need to write and edit, though I won’t be able to do that till I get my slow time privileges. Then I will be able to read, write, edit, and draw to my heart’s content.

At the present time, I am in my second draft of Maji Born, after several rewrites, I am also in the midst of writing book two and several other projects. As previously mentioned I work best when I multitask. A couple of posts on WordPress that I’ve read recently have focused on the writing process and editing process’ of writers and this is my response. But if I’m honest it’s mostly fumbling around till you get the words that make the most sense and feel genuine and well crafted, and sometimes it’s knowing when to stop editing and let it breathe, or getting a second opinion.

Personal style is something you have to keep in mind too. Every writer has their own voice and sometimes we fall victim to the trends and voices of popular novels. We forget what we cherish about our own work and focus on what we love about their work. I definitely fall into this trap, and that’s when I do a word sprint or two, shake off the jitters and get my voice back. Also remember sometimes your voice isn’t exactly what you want it to be and that’s okay. I wanted my voice to be more gritty and grim, more G.R.R. Martin, turns out it’s more built for Young Adult. Now that I’ve come to terms with that I’ve embraced it! After all my dream is to be compared to Tamora Pierce who is my idol is Young Adult fantasy.

This got a bit rambly but the point is: Take your time, trust your voice, keep writing, and remember to have fun. After all, this is why we write.

Now back into Editing!

Mira~

ABC Book Tag F

The Fire Sermon

“A history written in ashes, in bones. Before the blast, they say there’d been sermons about fire, about the end of the world. The fire itself gave the last sermon; after that there were no more.”

Francesca Haig’s, The Fire Sermon starts off slow but builds into a very enjoyable series. The plot is based around the idea that 400 years from now everyone is born with a twin. One twin will be the Alpha, born strong and healthy, and the other is born with a disfigurement or disability, an Omega. They are immediately separated and the Omega is sent to work fields, mines, etc. The catch is that the twins are connected, entwined in life and death. If one dies so does the other!

This is a fascinating concept and I love how Haig engineers the series! When you hit half-way point, the story really picks up and Haig hits her stride! Book two is also fantastic!

Fire

“While I was looking the other way your fire went out
Left me with cinders to kick into dust
What a waste of the wonder you were
In my living fire I will keep your scorn and mine
In my living fire I will keep your heartache and mine
At the disgrace of a waste of a life”

I am a big fan of Kristin Cashore’s books! Fire is one of my favourites as it is connected to Graceling, but can also stand on its own. The story follows Fire, a woman named for her bright red hair. She is considered a monster due to her ability to read minds. This is a fun adventure with a touch of Young Adult romance.

The Falconers Knot

“Study your prey, learn her habits, accustom her to your presence by seeming harmless and kind. And then, when she is tame and off-guard, you pounce!”

Set in Renaissance Venice, this story follows Silvano da Montacuto who is a marked man. He is accused of murder and is sent to a Franciscan House, to poise as a young monk. Soon after he meets Chiara who also living with a secret. Both are unable to say how they feel about one another. As the story continues more bodies are found through out Venice and Silvano must solve the murders to clear his name.

This story kept me on my toes. As someone with an Italian background. I was fascinated by the social constructs and really enjoyed reading it.

Feed 

“The difference between the truth and a lie is that both of them can hurt, but only one will take the time to heal you afterward.”

This one is currently in my top ten! Love this series to death! (See what I did there?) The Newsflesh trilogy is set in the near future, following the zombie rising. It centers around three bloggers as they follow the Republican candidate in the upcoming election. It is a political thriller with zombies, calling it a horror novel actually does this series a disservice as it is phenomenal but I would argue not a horror series. The zombies are part of the environment but not the central conflict. That is part of what makes this book so gripping, it is unique and I love all the characters perspectives. If you’re looking for banter and suspense look no further.

This one was very enjoyable to make! Love all four of these books and hope you do too! Do you have any other books to add to the list? Leave them in the comments along with what you thought of these books!

Mira~