Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap-Up

   Shh, I know it's already a week into February. I'm just trying to stick to the schedule here.

   I honestly can't believe January is over??? It still feels like it was barely New Year's Eve, and now it's nearly Valentine's Day*. If you ignore all the crazy politics, it was a pretty good month for me.

*aka time for me to obsess over fictional boys because I can't find any of them in real life

   At the beginning of the month, I finished Unwholly(4 stars of suspense and feels and hatred for Starkey) as well as The Fire Within(2 stars of a ridiculous amount of squirrels). And then I had no new books to read and got into a reading slump. I started rereading A Time To Die but still haven't finished it. I'm really hoping February is a better reading month. (I also listened to an audiobook with my mom on our drive to work, but it was terrible so we're not gonna mention it.)

   Well writing didn't go as good as I hoped. I wanted to reach 25k by the end of the month, but I'm only at about 17/18k. I pushed back my finish-by date to April 15th, and I'm feeling optimistic.
   Also, I got a new beta!! Caroline is so lovely, you guys. She and my other betas are SO NICE.

   Miraculously, I posted three time in January. I have a few months' worth of posts scheduled, and I plan on posting every Monday and on the last day of every month. I'm really excited to become more consistent with my blogging and hopefully get a few more followers eep. I also redid the blog's design, and I am in love. It's much more my style, and I just want to flail every time I look at it.

My posts: 

Friends' posts:
When The Words Don't Word//A Writer's Faith (guest post by Aimee Meester)
When Inspiration Doesn't Strike//To The Barricade (guest post by Katie Grace)

   If you follow me on Pinterest, you probably have noticed that I've been pinning a lot of Voltron stuff. That's because season 2 came out on January 20th, bringing my obsession back to life. I don't even know why I love this show so much but I do.
   My friend from church let me borrow all of Avatar: The Last Airbender on dvd, so my family's been rewatching it for the first time in years. Guys, this has got to be one of the best shows out there(in my opinion). It's the perfect blend of action, humor, character delevopment, and important lessons. The only thing I don't like is the romance. (Why on earth did I ever ship Kataang)

   Oh boy, guys. January was a good month for new music. I finally listened to Bastille's newest album Wild World and I am completely in love. My favorites are Send Them Off!, Campus, and Glory. 
   On the last day of January, I really wanted to listen to some new music, so I listened to Pvris because my good friend had talked about them and I was curious. And BOY OH BOY AM I GLAD I DID. My favorite is probably You and I, but all of their stuff is so darn good. And good for stories.
   Also, IMAGINE DRAGONS RELEASED A NEW SINGLE ON JANUARY 31. It's so lovely, you guys.

   Life was pretty good in January. I'm really pumped for the new year and planned a lot of stuff that I want to do over the course of 2017. I did some art and bought a Wreck This Journal(which you should totally check out). My little sister turned 16 which I am NOT okay with. Stop growing, child. 

   I'd love to keep rambling, but if I don't shut up now I won't get this posted on Monday. So tell me about your January! Did you listen to any new music? What was the best book you read this month? Also, thank you for getting through this crappy blog post.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Beautiful Books ~ 2017 Writing Goals

   If you're one of the few people who frequently reads this blog, you already know this, but I'm SUPER EXCITED about it so I'm gonna say it again. For my birthday, my parents are paying for me to go to the Minneapolis Young Writers Workshop this summer! Which means I'm going to meet Aimee, Katie, Hannah, Caroline, and Olivia!! I am beyond thrilled to meet you* girls, as well as all the authors who will be at the conference(including Shannon freaking Hale oh my gosh).

*"you" because you're really the only ones who read this blog

   The only problem with this is that I have to have a draft ready way sooner than expected. Which is scary. So instead of actually writing, I'm going to blog about my writing goals for 2017 by joining the Beautiful Books linkup!

1. What were your writing achievements last year? 

I actually did a lot of writing last year, including the beginning of a few stories that I'll post about later. And, because I'm sure you want to know everything I did, I'm going to make a list.

  • Children of the Nameless draft one (72,739 words) This is the first first draft I've ever finished, so I'm understandably thrilled. I also won Camp NaNo(the first NaNo event I've ever won) while writing this draft. Those 72k words were actually written over a two-year period of time, but I still finished in 2016 and I'm really proud of that.
  • Children of the Nameless draft two (17,546 words) Draft two is a thing, guys, and I love it. I have wonderful betas, the plot is coming together, and the writing is infinitely better. And yes, some of that 17k was written in 2017. Sue me.
  • Unnamed NaNoWriMo novel (10,695 words) I obviously didn't win NaNo, but it was really nice to focus on something other than CotN for the first time in 2 years. And, when I reread it the other day, it was a lot better than I remember. So perhaps there's hope for the future for this story.
  • Rust, Blood, and Stardust (2125 words) This is a lovely sci-fi about three best friends that has aBSOLUTELY NO PLOT but I love it so much.
  • We Are The Summer (3456 words) I normally don't write contemporary, but when it's a novella, I actually trust myself to finish. Also it's very fluffy and cute and summery(obviously) and I kinda love it.
  • (also there was some fanfic, some of which I'm actually really proud of)

2. What’s on your writerly “to-do list” for 2017?

Finish draft two by April 15 and then edit the first few chapters for the conference in June. I plan on finishing draft three as well, possibly working on one of my other projects, and writing more fanfiction because gosh dang it, fanfic is really fun.

3. Tell us about your top-priority writing projects for this year!
I kinda already answered that? I have several projects I might work on after CotN, but I won't decide until the time comes.

4. How do you hope to improve as a writer? Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017?
I want to get more consistent at writing. I'm coming to terms with being a slow writer, but my inconsistency is annoying and detrimental. By the end of the year, I want to be writing every day and have draft three(or maybe even draft four) of CotN finished.

5. Describe your general editing process.
This is kind of a complicated question, because the beginning of CotN was so messed up that I'm having to completely rewrite it in draft two. Draft three will probably be tightening up loose plot stuff. After that, I want to print it out so I can make notes on the actual manuscript like a cool person.

6. On a scale of 1-10, how do you think this draft turned out?

Honestly, 6-7. Draft one was such a mess, but it has lots of good parts and lots of potential and I'm SO PUMPED.

7. What aspect of your draft needs the most work?

The beginning of both drafts need some work. Draft one has a lot of plot holes and I'm working on fixing those in this draft.

8. What do you like the most about your draft?

Well the fact that draft one exists is pretty spectacular. And honestly I really like the kissing scenes, even if the romances were rather abrupt. *sighs at myself for not planning better*

9. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

More edits! Take it to a writer's conference for people to look at! (*screams*) Even more edits! More betas! Repeat cycle until published! 

I couldn't get away with not using a gif in this post

10. What’s your top piece of advice for those just finished writing a first draft?
For the love of all that's holy, take a break. You won't want to, but you need to. Also, it's not as bad as you think. I promise.

   How did your writing go in 2016? What are your plans for 2017? Would you actually be interested in hearing about my many plot bunnies/future projects? Also, it's not midnight for be yet so this totally counts as posting two weeks in a row. #virtualskittlesforme

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Smashing & Dashing Character Awards

   So, Cait @ Paperfury (a.k.a. my favorite book blogger) made up this tag in the beginning of December, and since I need a fun way to talk about the books I read in 2016, I tagged myself. Because who wants to follow the rules.

1. Most Relatable Character
Abigail Rook from Jackaby. What an ENFP. Wow. (Honorable Mention goes to Cress from The Lunar Chronicles. Awkward, shy, nerdy dreamer with a huge celebrity crush? I relate.)

2. Most Pure And Precious Animal Companion
I wouldn't call Bovril, the Perspicacious Loris from Behemoth and Goliath* pure, but it's freaking fantastic.
*if you haven't read this series yet, what are you doing with your life that is important enough to deprive you of this glorious weirdness

3. Fiercest Fighter
Wolf from The Lunar Chronicles. I'm sorry but my love for this man will never die. He's huge, tough, violent, and strong, and he is also the SWEETEST SOFTEST TEDDY BEAR I HAVE EVER SEEN. I JUST WANT TO PROTECT HIM AND GIVE HIM TOMATOES.

4. Most Amazing Sidekick
I didn't love the book as much as I thought I would, but Weevil from The Scourge was one of the most loyal best friends I've ever read about.

5. One You’re Surprised You Loved
So I kinda sorta really hated An Ember In The Ashes, but Helene was beautiful and hardcore and 100% did not deserve the crap her idiot best friend is putting her through. (I have....several issues with this book.)

6. Best Sassmaster 
Sharhzad from The Wrath and The Dawn. HOLY COW THAT WOMAN IS SAVAGE and I love it.

7. Best Anti-Hero And Morally Grey Grape
I feel like I somehow missed the "adoration of characters with wishy-washy morals" gene? I mean, I'll like them if they're good characters, but they aren't my absolute favorite, like every other book blogger. *shrugs* The closest to an anti-hero that I can even think of is my boyfriend Connor from Unwind.

8. Best Worst Villain To Hate

Not sure if this is supposed to be a villain that you hate because they're evil, or a villain that you hate because they're pathetic? But I'm going with the first because holy heck Steelheart is a complete murderous monster*. That first chapter was so sad.

*honestly I want to say Levana but I am restricting myself from talking about TLC too much in this post

9. Truly Astounding Worst YA Parents 
Technically this is just one parent, but Channary from Fairest is kinda a horrible person???? I'm so glad she didn't raise Cinder. (Un-honorable mention goes to Cath's parents from Heartless. Maybe you should try actually talking to your daughter instead of forcing her to be exactly what you want?)

10. Truly Astounding Best YA Parents
Honestly the only book I read with decent parents was A Time To Die. Parvin's parents aren't perfect but they try, and they really love their kids.

11. Toot Toot Best Ship Of Them All
Hello have I ever mentioned that I adore Wolflet* with every fiber of my being? Because. I do.

*Wolf+Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles, again

12. The Most In Need Of Protection
Kate, Micheal and Emma from The Books Of Beginning. Good grief. Those children have been through way too much and just need to be SAFE and LOVED and HAPPY.

13. Most Boring As A Barnacle  
The entire cast of Journey To The Fringe. Which is the only book I can remember officially DNFing.*

*does that disquailfy it? it had better not.

14. Best Little Royal  
Literally everyone in My Lady Jane. They're ridiculous, awkward, romantic little muffins and I love them.

15. Very Surprised You’re Still Alive 
Sage/Jaron from The Runaway King. My buddy...my pal...plz you need to chill. This is not healthy. Stop putting yourself in so much danger.

16. Best At Horrible Decision Making
...Taran from The Book Of Three/The Black Cauldron. Son. You need to stop. You're going to get everyone killed. Stop being so impulsive.

17. Cutest Dork

18. Cleverest Little Hellion

I really want to say the kids from The Mysterious Benedict Society, but since that was a reread, I'll just go with the group from Heist Society, the sneaky little geniuses.

19. Most In Need Of A Nap
I wasn't able to finish reading The Raven Boys(darn library due dates), but my gosh Gansey needs a nap. Several naps.

Am I allowed to say The Lunar Chronicles again? No? Sigh. I'll probably go with the kids from The Books of Beginning. I just wanna know what happens after the last book gosh dang it.

   Congratulations for making it through my post of rambles and rantings! 2016 was honestly a great reading year, and I'm hoping 2017 will be even better. I post every Monday (*crosses fingers that this actually happens*),  so come back next week if you want to hear about my writing plans for 2017!

   What were your favorite/least favorite books of 2016? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Who is your favorite TLC ship(and if you haven't read them yet, why would you make such a terrible decision)?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year, New....something

   I've been procrastinating this post. I had to make something fancy. Something put-together. But that's so hard for my brain to accomplish, when it's being pulled in twenty different directions and the thought of blogging makes me want to cry.
   I think I felt that if I started blogging at the beginning of the year, I'd have to be consistent for the rest of it. And I don't know if I can do that. But right now, it's after midnight and 2017 is 8 days old and I have no filter, so here we go.
   2016 was a mess. Not just for the world in general, but for me. I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but my family moved in August, and I started college. My dad wasn't able to move with us, because he needs to sell the businesses he owns first. My little sister is going to a real brick-and-mortar charter school for the first time in her homeschooled life. My mom is working for the first time since I was born. So, life has been understandably difficult. And if that wasn't enough stress, Mom's health problems and anxiety have gotten way worse. For a while, she was barely able to eat, and she had to go to the ER twice. Since my sister is so busy with school and ballet and my dad isn't here, that leaves me with a lot of the responsibility.
   That's why I've been so inactive here. That's why I failed NaNoWriMo. And that's why prayers are really really appreciated.
   I have lots of great plans for 2017. Big plans. Exciting plans. Whether or not blogging will fit into those plans, though, remains to be seen. I want to do better. I'm going to try to get better. You can expect some posts coming up in the next few weeks, at least.
   I swear, I had a plan for this post when I started it. Oh well. There's your 2016 life update. I hope your 2017 is off to a good start.