Writer Ups & Downs

It’s a funny thing: it seems the writers’ life consists mostly of ups and downs.

I mean, there’s all these times when we’re either SUPER EXCITED about writing and just so energized, and other times when we’re super down about it and think our writing is worthless etc. etc.

One moment we are all:

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

And the next:

Quoth the raven: Nevermore.

Our writer lives are a series of mountains and valleys. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

It seems that there’s not an even road, where we are just quietly content in where we are in our writing, things going smoothly but not exciting (because if it’s going smoothly, that IS exciting), or just generally “meh, it’s okay” (because thinking that rockets one quickly to: “there must be something wrong with it if I’m feeling that way about it!” which turns to super down), and it’s all extremes.

(I’m generalizing, and if you’re not this way, then just ignore everything I said. XD)

But I suppose it makes sense, since writers are primarily storytellers, and in a story, things mostly ARE extremes. It’s either enormously happy for our heroes or super-super-enormously, extravagantly bad for our heroes. (Usually the latter; being a book character is a poor career choice, let me tell you. XD) Because in a story, if it was just meandering along a flat place where things were okay or all right, then… there wouldn’t be much of a story.

Perhaps we writers are attuned to that (and are also dramatic souls *cough* *guilty*) and tend to take it in extreme emotions one way or the other.

I’m not saying this is good or bad. XD I’ve just been thinking about it. 🙂 (Again, if you’re not this way, forgive my ramblings and let me know otherwise. :P)

I’ve been going through some writer ups and downs this year myself.

I’ve been writing short stories, which means I’ve been finishing things! But that also means I haven’t been making progress on novels.

I’ve been writing in small dashes of this-and-that, not focusing on any one thing, which means I haven’t made any serious progress on ANYTHING. But I HAVE somehow amassed about 20,000 words of writing this year!

I’ve had some great “clicking” moments that have resulted in excitement over various stories! But I’ve also not been excited enough about one thing to focus on it.

I’ve been writing in snippets, so I haven’t made consistent progress. But I’ve been using Scrivener and that has helped with my snippet tendencies and I’m getting fun inspired scenes down!

I’ve (hopefully) decided what to write for NaNo and gotten super excited about it! But NaNo is 4 months away. (That’s both good and bad. XD)

I’ve written three short stories this year, which total 14,700 words (Wintertale, A Tale of Two Boxes, and a Kedran’s Wood “fanfiction” that will never see publication but was fun to get me back into the series). I’m 2000 words into another short story, Invisible Beauty, and almost finished. I’ve written at least a thousand words of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood a.k.a. KW2 (I haven’t been keeping very good track, just trying to get further since I’ve been stuck) and a snatch of KW3. I’ve written 1700 words of snippets of The Other Half of Everything. And a couple lines of random other things. Plus various plotting I’ve done.

In a way, it’s not very much for six months. In another way, it’s far better than I was doing this time last year during my huge burnout!

Plus, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading and reviewing, getting my story-and-writing-fix that way.

I’m at the point where I have decisions to make of which paths to take as I wander these mountains and valleys of my writing… and these decisions, too, are huge opposite decisions, in keeping with the ups-and-downs-extremes theme of this post. XD

I either need to get seriously back into writing soon, OR take a serious break in order to recharge.

I either need to buckle down and decide that I will focus on one specific story and pick it and stick to it, OR embrace my work-on-multiple-things-at-once thing I’ve been doing slightly and make it work for me.

I either need to start writing in order again and focus on getting things done that way, OR I need to embrace my scribble-snippets-out-of-order-all-over-the-place thing I’ve been doing and make that work for me too. (Scrivener might help. But it’s hard to sew the quilt-pieces together once I’ve made them, so… I don’t know.)

I also need to remember tips that I’ve learned in the past that I don’t always remember to put into practice, such as:

  • Draft zero. This is a huge friend of mine, or at least has been in the past, and it could really help me if I’d remember to use it.
  • Timers and wordsprints. Especially the awesome wordsprint timer on the NaNo site. This is also super helpful for if I want to write something and just don’t have the motivation. I’ve only used it for NaNo and Camp so far, but the amount of progress that can happen in 15-or-20 minutes with this thing is astounding, so I should probably go for it again sometime.
  • Music. I know music can be super inspiring and get me in the grove, but I just don’t remember to listen to it much. (It doesn’t help that the speakers on my laptop are shot, so I have to remember to use earbuds, and I just don’t.)
  • A time to focus. I don’t write when I can’t focus, which means I just don’t have a time for it in my life right now. I need to set aside a time every day, or at least occasionally, to block out distractions and just open my Scrivener documents and at least TRY. Normally those times come at night and I’m either too tired, or I decide to read or write a review instead. Problems. 😛

Anyway. There’s a bit of a ramble on what’s up with my writing life of late, and its ups and downs, and partially just to remind myself of some things I should know. (Does that ever happen to you?) Writing is how I understand things in my life, so writing this out helped show me where I am, which is helpful. 😉

I’m going to leave you with a scribble of poetry that was meandering around my head at 2 a.m. when I was trying to sleep but instead thinking about all these things.

Writer ups and writer downs
We will don our paper crowns
Take up our most loyal pens
Find out where the story ends

Thanks for reading! ^_^

Spring Ishness! {2017}

[Note: Apologies if you got this twice and/or if the link didn’t work! I accidentally posted it wrong and therefore deleted it… so it might have been wonky. >.> SO SORRY. Let this be a lesson to look at things more carefully before posting…]

Half-March, April, May (2017)

Time for my second Ishness of the year! (Yes, these have been less than regular, of late. XD)

Last time, I talked about the first two and a half months of 2017, so this time I’m talking about what I’ve been doing since then, in April and May and part of March. How time flies! *still in shock that it’s JUNE*

This… may be a little long. >.> I hope you’ll forgive me. XD (But really, I usually take nearly this long to talk about just one month, so doing two and a half all at once might even be more efficient. XD)

WRITING ISH

As you probably know, I did Camp NaNo in April! ‘Twas super fun! 😀

I wrote a total of 12,085 words for Camp, which is not bad, considering my original goal was 5K.

I worked on a few short stories for that, including A Tale of Two Boxes.

I’m calling Camp NaNo April 2017 a great success. 🙂

I slacked a bit on the writing front in May after all the Camp NaNo writing; I only wrote six-or-seven-hundread words, but I have been doing some plotting for my Kedran’s Wood series, Starrellian series, and The Siren and the Skyship. I also did #WIPjoy (on Twitter) in April for the 5-year anniversary of The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. I had so much fun playing around in that world for that and my anniversary post! ^_^

These days, I’m scribbling snatches of KW2, The Other Half of Everything, and a short story I’m writing that started as a dare, continued through Camp, and which I hope to finish sometime soon; it’s a fairytale-esque short story called Invisible Beauty.

So it’s slow, but I’m still poking along in my writerly pursuits! I currently am having a hard time pinning myself down to focus on one thing at a time. I’m a slitherer-outer like Howl, and not proud of it. *cough* If I would just tackle one project, I might actually get stuff done! *sigh* But I also need to work on making sitting-down-to-write into a habit, because I’ve slacked on that in the last couple of years.

In other news, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE SCRIVENER! ❤ Ahem. I guess you probably knew that, but it needed repeating. *cough*

SNIPPETS ISH

With semi-amusing commentaries about them from moi.

[I’m not posting snippets of A Tale of Two Boxes, since you can read the whole thing HERE. :P]

The sun sank relentlessly toward the horizon, staining the path and sky and grey stone castle with urgent shades of red.

Invisible Beauty

[Time-limits are fun. The sun setting is a bad thing here, in case you can’t tell…]

***

In a last desperate rush, she pounded down a long winding staircase into the depths of the castle dungeon, and there at last she found the sorrowful prince—chained in his own keep.

Invisible Beauty

[I’m currently stuck there. Great place to stop, no? ;)]

***

But, I reasoned, it wasn’t the end of the world. It could be worse. Teague could have been an axe-murderer instead of just a writer. I’d live with it. I’d have to.

The Other Half of Everything

[Because only Meridian would compare writers to axe-murderers. -_-]

***

“I’m through playing games,” Tare growled. “What do you want?”

“Well, being able to talk with you is a start. You’re a hard one to find, Tare.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood

[Because if there’s one thing Tare doesn’t like, it’s being found. Because that normally entails someone looking for him. Which is almost never good…]

READING ISH

I think I read about 16 books since my last Ishness, before June hit?

Notable books read:

  • Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones, which is my favorite book so far this year.
  • Well, The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead might tie for that spot, actually. O_O (NEW FAVORITE SERIES. ❤ Seriously, just read them, people. Book one is The Skin Map. Go. I can wait…)
  • Other masterpieces include Sentinel by Jamie Foley (SO MUCH FUN) and The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Schultz (SO FUNNY, and Beauty and the Beast retelling and just hilarious).

But really, they’re nearly all “notable”. I’ve enjoyed almost all of these, SO MUCH. ^_^ Much good reading of late!

I should do a reading roundup for this year… Maybe I’ll do a half-way-point post on my book blog in early July, rounding up my reading so far with brief thoughts? Sound like a good idea? If anyone’s interested…

WATCHING ISH

I actually haven’t been watching many new-to-me movies of note, lately. Who has time for movies when there are SO MANY EPIC BOOKS TO READ?? But I did see a couple of interest…

  • Shipwrecked — One of my earliest childhood memories of movies; I think it’s been living subconsciously in my mind and kind of defined epic when I was little. It was amazing to see it again and see how similar and how different it was than I remembered! (Like how the characters are SO YOUNG but when I was little I assumed they were practically grown-up, like… like… old TEENAGERS or something. XD …And now even teenagers, of which I was one not so long ago, seem young. Time is strange.)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Pirates 5) — More nauticalness! Yes, I went and saw this at the theater. Some of it was a mess, but as long as one ignored that, overall it was better than I thought it would be, and I basically had a blast. XD (Not the after-credits scene though. NO. JUST NO. O____O) But much funny, and it was fun to be back with some old character friends. 🙂 And and and I WAS SO EXCITED ABOUT CERTAIN THINGS AND JUST YES. It’s about Will and Elizabeth’s son and he’s trying to break Will’s curse and just alskdjlfkj all the adorbz oh my word. ❤ Not a perfect movie, but overall fun and I’m glad I did get to see it. 🙂
  • Man of Steel — Yep, I FINALLY saw this. I know it came out ages ago, but… *shrug* It’s actually my first Superman movie? Somehow I just haven’t ever watched one. (Too busy with Batman and Marvel movies, I suppose?) Not my favorite, but overall it was pretty fun and I… guess I really enjoyed it. 🙂 (And of COURSE Superman’s dad was the Gladiator…)
  • Studio C — Mainly, if I have time to watch something and am not reading instead, I’ve been watching Studio C. Because yes, I finally got addicted to them. XD I’d heard them mentioned by many friends before, but didn’t really know much about them and hadn’t ever watched any, but I recently got absolutely hooked and from time to time disappear in the black hole of hilarity that is Sudio C and their addictingness. XD

LISTENING ISH

  • Lindsey Sterling. Because all the gorgeous.
  • Also Cara Dillon because pretty voice.
  • And my 2016 NaNo playlist somehow resurfaced so I’ve been listening to The News Boys and Skillet etc., which is making me think of my story The Library and the Stars and… yeah.

BLOGGING ISH

Blogging has been somewhat tricky sometimes, due to less-than-stable internet. >.>

I recently (and currently) have extremely unreliable internet, which loves to go out for days at a time seemingly for a lark. -_-

But I do what I can!

Here are my latest posts, in case you missed them; and/or just for my own personal reference of what I’ve posted lately. XD (Feel free to skip this bit!)

Posts on The Page Dreamer in the last two and a half months (in reverse order):

Posts around here in the last 2 and a half months (also in reverse order):

LIFE ISH

I don’t even know why I put this category here because I really don’t do anything interesting that can’t fall under most of the other categories. XD

I started a bullet-journal around when I posted my last Ishness (I know I had mentioned it) and it’s… almost full already? O_O Ahem. So I’ll probably have to find a new one come July. The past couple of months have been an interesting experiment in streamlining my to-do list processes. It’s very similar to what I used to do, just slightly tweaked. BUT I LOVE IT AND IT’S GREAT. I mean, it makes me realize how behind I am and how I always bite off more than I can chew, but at least it’s all tidily listed. 😀 Hee. It’s been my constant companion and SO helpful. And I’m so glad I decided not to try to make it fancy because who even has time for that. IT’S JUST LISTS, PRETTY MUCH. Which makes me happy. 😛

I’ve also been to a couple of writer workshops, which were interesting; got to see a visiting dear friend which absolutely made my year; went to a library sale; went kayaking and got an atrocious sunburn but had so much fun. That’s mostly it in the excitement category.

And just… life, ya know? 🙂

SUMMER PLANS ISH

Somehow, June has begun (WHAT?? Help me out here. Time is insane and definitely up to something mischeivous) and so begins the long double-month of June-and-July. We should just call it Junely and be done with it. 61 days of a long, hot, summer month that starts with Ju and I therefore mix up.

As for my plans during Junely and August-ish perhaps… well. Let’s see.

  • Reading/Reviewing: I have much reading and much reviewing to do… Kind of behind on that. *eyes stack of books I need to review soonish and twitches* I review slower than I read, and therefore I must do some catching up. XD
  • Blogging: Posts you might see around here and my other blog are mostly… erm… reviews? *surprise* (Sorry, I’ve just been reading SO MANY good books that need reviewing. XD) I might throw a couple of other ideas in there as well. And I’m going to be part of something very exciting, blog-wise, come July, so stay tuned! 😀 I think y’all are going to be pretty excited about it. 😉 Haven’t thought ahead to August blogging yet (good grief, let’s keep it down to a sane two-month plan of blogging. *cough*).
  • Writing: Just for the record, I currently do not intend to do JuNo (June NaNo) or Camp NaNo in July. Just… I probably won’t. (Don’t quote me on it though, in case the lure of cabins and stats-graphs is too much for me.) I do, however, hope to work on writing, regardless. We’ll see if anything happens. I have tentative plans. Fingers crossed that I can do something about them. I DO WANT TO WRITE AGAIN.

So yes, the usual things are up for the summer. Reading, writing, etc. I don’t have plans (at the moment) for anything exciting or vacationy. (I’m not going to Realm Makers, for instance. *sobbing like an octopus trying to find matching shoes*)

Basically, I DON’T KNOW WHAT MY PLANS ARE BECAUSE I’M AN INDECISIVE OTTER WHO JUST WANTS TO PLAY WITH THE LATEST SHINY THING AND THEN FLIT ON TO THE NEXT ONE. I don’t do decisions or plans. Ahem.

(Why did I call it summer plans, then? Shush, do not ask me this.)

FIN (ISH)

SO. There you have an update on what this writer has been doing of late!

I’m kind of in shock at how far into the year we are, but at the same time I feel like I’ve been very busy, so. I guess that’s good?

I can’t imagine why people would like hearing about what’s up with me, but sometimes I hear ’tis so, hence I hope this was at least a little interesting!

What do you think? What’s been up with you, my dearest Roadlings? Any summer plans? Thanks for reading! 🙂

Tare Turns 5 Years Old

(Kedran’s Wood collage I made. Some images belong to me, others were found on Pinterest, here.)

Some of you are probably squinting at the title of this post, going: “…Wait, what??”

(Especially since, as those three or so people reading this who have beta-read some of the books would know, Tare’s actual age is so confusing in the story itself that he doesn’t need any more confusingness added on.)

(For anyone who is further confused due to not knowing: Tare is the name of my favorite character I’ve ever written [sorry, all you other characters] and he inhabits the contemporary fantasy series I’m writing.)

Let me set you straight.

No, it’s not actually Tare’s birthday (which is in January).

No, this post is not actually about an adorable Tare when he was a small boy (apologies).

But a week ago, on April 5, 2017, it was in fact the 5-year anniversary of the day I first started writing the book in which I first met Tare, the first book in the Kedran’s Wood series, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood!

Yes indeed, it’s KW1’s book birthday!

Here, have a cupcake to celebrate:

Today’s post is a conglomeration of random things about the series, including the first book, and basically just A CELEBRATION OF ALL THINGS KEDRAN’S-WOOD-ISH!

How it Began

It began with the forging of the great rings…

…Whoops, wrong story. How about this?

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit.

Wait, wrong one again. How about this one:

In an abandoned apartment down a dark alley there lived a Tare?

Closer.

Ahem.

Anyways, it actually began in early 2012 when I “randomly” started writing what I thought would be a fun standalone novella or short novel called The Owl of Kedran’s Wood. I wanted to try a little modern fantasy story and just… started writing. I knew a few things about the story, but for the most part, I was as in the dark as my main characters, the Chess Club. It was a first for me in many ways. I hadn’t done a lot of “pantsing” stories before, and it was also my first modern story.

I never thought I would write a modern story. Contemporary books were never my thing, and I think it’s because I don’t enjoy the kinds of things that modern books can rarely seem to resist including, like school and its petty backstabbing and bullying and drama (ugh), annoying teen characters who don’t get along and have family life problems, and love-triangles… etc., and just general ick. Many modern books just seemed petty to me and I always enjoyed fantasy worlds instead.

So the idea that I would write a fantasy book in *gasp* modern times? Unheard of!

But it happened.

I started writing a modern fantasy book, and ended up writing it (unintentionally) in direct opposition to all the problems I’d had with other modern fiction. I made it a book that I wouldn’t mind reading myself. On the way, I completely fell in love with this cast of characters — the Chess Club became more than friends, they became MY friends, and Tare became my favorite character I’ve written (so far). It also turned out to be 100K words. So much for “short.” XD

From being a one-time random story I thought I would finish and move on from, it wrapped itself around my heart and turned into a series which, five years later, I’m still working on writing, and foresee being happily involved in scribbling for many more years to come. ^_^

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about this particular book in the series (since it’s been awhile since I finished it) so, in celebration of its birthday, let me direct you to a handy new summary I wrote for it recently.

The Owl of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood, Book 1)
by Deborah O’Carroll

Welcome to the town by Kedran’s Wood

  • Where teenaged best friends (but not, y’know, the angsty kind) don’t need to backstab each other (though they might the recent outbreak of monsters).
  • Where it’s not about life in highschool (because who wants to spend more time there than necessary?) but about life outside it.
  • And where the local chess club (see best friends) does more than just play chess . . .

Meet shy Lavender, rambunctious Baz, fiery Ivy, confident Adrian, and wry Mr. Larch. Oh, and Small Occasion (who is tiny, white, and fluffy, and barks like a tree).

This book is about how they play (badly) at being over-reacting amateur detectives more often than at chess; fight monsters (with some—okay, lots of—help from the resident leather-clad stranger); and still find time for friendships old and new, and small occasions like summer lemonade and puns (yes, that last one is always Baz’s fault).

But mostly it’s about the mysterious young man called Tare (see resident leather-clad stranger), how the Chess Club meets him (though whether that’s a terrific or terrible thing is part of the question—Baz would say both, if only for the puns), and how just at the edge of an ordinary small modern town, lies Kedran’s Wood . . .

And that’s where the pieces are beginning to move for a game that’s far from a friendly match of chess.

Books in the Kedran’s Wood Series

and a little bit about them

Novels

  • 1 The Owl of Kedran’s Wood — the summer when Tare and the Chess Club meet, featuring cake-baking disasters and the (almost) end of the world (#awkward). Status: draft written.
  • 2 The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — wintry novel, current work in progress, featuring mysterious villains and (possibly) an evil faerie. Status: 1/3 done? Hopefully more?
  • 3 The Shadow of Kedran’s Wood — featuring summer vacation, more about Tare, and of course secret agents. Status: snippets.

Novellas (to write)

  • 1.5 Son of Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare does stuff between 1 &2, + prequel about his past (yay!)
  • 2.5 Mixup at Kedran’s Wood — in which Tare and Adrian accidentally switch minds/bodies (because that won’t be confusing at all…)
  • 3.5 Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood — in which there is a birthday party and a wedding (no, I’m not telling you whose)

Bonus Novel (to write)

  • The Quest of Kedran’s Wood — in which Marie undertakes something NaNo-ish and writes an epic fantasy book starring the chess club and Tare in medieval roles. And reads it aloud to them. (What could possibly go wrong?)

Number of KW words written so far

According to one calculation:

190,780 words

  • (105K book 1 current finished draft)
  • (65K book 2 current + 10K snippets out of order later in book 2)
  • (10K snippets total from book 3, 1.5, 2.5, and bonus)

That averages out to approximately 104 words of Kedran’s Wood writing per day for 5 years. XD (Not counting previous versions or plotting, of course.)

#WIPjoy

In celebration of my Kedran’s Wood series turning 5 years old, and in an effort to get myself immersed again in the writing of KW2, I’m doing #WIPjoy on Twitter all this month, featuring The Secret of Kedran’s Wood!

For those who don’t know #WIPjoy is to celebrate and answer questions about your work-in-progress (WIP), with a different question for every day of the month.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, check it out! …For those of you who don’t follow me on Twitter, where have you been?? (Just kidding. 😉 I will excuse you if you don’t have Twitter. XD Ahem.)

It’s been a blast so far!

Tare is an INTJ (surprise)

Yes, I took the MBTI test as Tare (or rather, as Tare IS, not how he would answer, because I’m 99% sure he wouldn’t want a random test knowing things about him so he’d likely be less than truthful in that case) and he came out as INTJ, which is the category most villains and awesome dark people like Mr. Darcy and Batman and Sherlock tend to fit into. Yes, I was monstrously pleased at this. XD It’s creepy how well he fits it, too…

(He’s not shy but he’s definitely not a people person. I love that he’s 80% introverted. XD)

Tare is the only character I’ve taken the test for, since he’s the only one I know well enough.

Some posts about the series

This seemed like a fun time to highlight some favorite posts in the past about the Kedran’s Wood series or (usually) Tare.

And there you have it!

This concludes my reminiscing about this unlikely but beloved series of mine. (Now to just finish writing it and get it published, amIright?? Ahem. That may be far down the road, but it’s an eventual goal. ;))

What most intrigues you about this series, or what was your favorite part of this post? Thank you so much for putting up with me flailing about this stuff (and reading this post), and celebrating with me the 5-year birthday of this series! ^_^

The Return of the Ishness!

Ishnesses of Late a.k.a. the Return of the King Ishness!

Heya lovely blog-readers! ❤

It’s been quiiite awhile since I did an ishness post of any sort (it comes to my attention I haven’t Ishness-ified anything from 2017 yet…) so here’s some of the ishnesses I’ve been up to in the last two+ months, ever since 2017 began!

LIFELY THINGS

GRAPHIC DESIGN IS FUNNNN. ❤

I designed my first “official” website for the Vintage Jane Austen series, as I may have mentioned.

I’d like to possibly get into setting up websites for people, as well as freelance copy-editing, so I’m starting to think about working toward these things. 🙂 I’ve just discovered that I really enjoy designing websites, graphic design work, and freeing the world from pesky typos, so I’d like to pursue these things in the future!

In related news, reading the punctuation section of The Chicago Manual of Style is beautifully refreshing because the punctuation is all correct. Be still my beating heart; what a breath of fresh air. ^_^

(On a related note: It pains me to use incorrect punctuation etc. on Twitter, but I often have to. The problems of being a long-winded perfectionist with only 140 characters in which to say something. -_-)

I started a Bullet Journal this week… It’s really mostly things I’ve been doing for ages now, but streamlined into one notebook with a couple new ideas. (Thanks to Lisa Pickle for introducing me to the concept, and Kyle Robert Schultz for a wonderful post on How To Make An Ugly Bullet Journal which inspired me to stop procrastinating and start).

Hopefully it will help me be more productive! (The notebook was a lovely birthday present from my sis. ❤ The epic Sherlock bookmark I won in a giveaway — and got in the mail today AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH — and was made by Hannah McIntyre of simplywalkintomordor @ Etsy. :))

WRITING

I’ve been creeping cautiously into writing this year. I’ve done more than I had this time last year, but less than I used to; I’m just trying to get back into it, carefully, without overwhelming or stressing myself. (I’m aware this makes me sound like a very small, very startle-able rabbit. Excuse me for being twitchy after burning myself out on writing and having too many expectations. XD)

I wrote a short story (Wintertale) and worked a little bit on The Other Half of Everything and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (also know as Teague and Tare, respectively). And some random stuff like for a dare etc.

I’ve written 6000+ words this year so far, though I’m not keeping too close track (another thing I’m trying… less hounding myself like a police dog — remember the startled rabbit, self!).

SNIPPETS

“That’s none of your concern,” Greg said.

“I’ll find out,” Tare said. He raised one eyebrow, adding, “But you’re right, I’m not concerned. Threats don’t work on me.”

“Then what does?”

“Maybe I’ll let you know if I find that out.”

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2)

***

Tare tilted his head. “Oh, I’m not playing this game.”

“What makes you think,” Greg said, bared teeth glittering, “that it’s a game, little boy?”

Tare smiled.

The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2)

“With how absentminded you are, it’s a wonder your food doesn’t always burn to a crisp,” I grumbled.

“Oh, it usually does,” Teague agreed placidly. “Just not with so many—erm—flames.”

The Other Half of Everything

***

“What is it you do?” I asked, unable to stop my curiosity.

Teague beamed, staring dreamily off into the middle distance, and announced, as if it was the most natural thing in the world: “I write books.”

That was when I knew I had made a horrible mistake.

The Other Half of Everything

READING

Aside from short stories, re-reads, and beta-reads, this is what I’ve read lately (a.k.a. new novels I’ve read this year).

  1. Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede — Regency Fantasy with a former-street-thief heroine and a one-of-a-kind magician hero and humor and shenanigans and a dash of romance and basically Austen + magic? Gimme. (Seriously, I need more Regency Fantasy — where has it been all my life?) 5 stars
  2. Nyssa Glass and the Hall of Mirrors by H.L. Burke — Steampunk/sci-fi reminding me of Doctor Who a bit, with a catburglar heroine and a snarky computer? Yum. A little creepy for me and a touch short, but I quite enjoyed it. Humor makes me happy. Looking forward to the rest of the novellas in this series. 4 stars
  3. The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton — Historical fantasy; I admit, I’m only here for the faeries in Victorian (?) England and the mysterious dark guy named Rieker; oh yeah, it also features thieves (is this a trend??) and the heroine annoyed me etc. but still fairly fun. Ought to be 3 stars, but make it 4 stars for Rieker and creepy faerie things and the prince.
  4. King’s Warrior by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt — I FINALLY READ THIS ONE. Dragons and fantasy goodness and BRANT AND KIERNAN KANE. <333 I’m very attached, I tell you. ^_^ 5 stars
  5. The Firethorn Crown by Lea Doué — Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling? I’M ALL THERE. Great fun, a few annoyances, fun princes, conflicted about the villain. 4 stars
  6. Wild Robert by Diana Wynne Jones — Very short, very strange, stopped too suddenly but enormous fun and I loved the twist. One of the only books I’ve ever considered writing fan fiction to continue because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Oh well. 😛 5 stars
  7. Aunt Maria by Diana Wynne Jones — MORE STRANGENESS BUT WOW. I can’t even describe it. Definitely one of the more strange DWJ books (but they all are) and… yeah, haven’t totally wrapped my mind around what I think, but it had time travel and a girl who writes, and actually delved into some deep stuff too, and was very interesting and fun. Plus Chris is the best. XD 5 stars
  8. Mort by Terry Pratchett — Um. It’s full of strange Discworldness because how else do you describe these shenanigans? I got very attached to Mort — he’s a great hero — and it’s dark in a way, so not for everyone, but quite funny. 4 stars
  9. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — Finally read all the main 6 Jane Austen books! It was so difficult for me to read about all the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PEOPLE in this book… ahem. But I ended up finding it a pretty good book all the same. 🙂 4 stars
  10. Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett — Another Discworld book, sequel-ish to Mort. Everything I said about that one applies; though Mort himself is not in this one. Bizarre/funny. 4 stars

I’ve also been doing much beta-reading, trying to catch up.

And re-reading lots of things, including the rest of the Chrestomanci books. ❤

I also read Howl’s Moving Castle for the 5th time. #NoRegrets

(See everything I’ve been reading here.)

WATCHING

  • The Deputy — I finished this and enjoyed it muchly. ❤ Favorite Western show ever! The humor and characters Deputy Marshall Clay McCord and Chief Marshall Simon Fry (Henry Fonda). Such a great “buddy story”!
  • Sherlock season 4 — I… um… don’t know what to think about this except the last episode was too creepy and the first episode was… yeah. But the middle one I liked muchly (I think?) and overall naturally it’s fun to have Sherlock and company doing stuff again. 😀
  • Gladiator — So I’ve heard a lot about this? A lot of people I know like it for some reason? I guess it was okay, but I don’t care much for Roman things and SOMEBODY neglected to tell me what happens at the end, so… yeah. But it figures. XD I like the music, though.
  • Archer’s Goon — I had no idea this existed until recently (a BBC mini-series from 1992 which is a total of 2.5 hours) and while it was super cheesy and 90s and lacking in budget and the actors weren’t quite right, nevertheless there were a lot of lines from the book and I just greatly enjoyed seeing a Diana Wynne Jones story onscreen. 🙂
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) — Yes indeed, I FINALLY saw the one with Anthony Andrews and Ian McKellen, and I must say, although it wasn’t totally like the book, I did quite enjoy it. 🙂 (Gandalf was young and black-haired and a villain once?? :O) Percy was cool (although huuuugely annoying sometimes XD), Chauvelin was an interesting villain, and Marguerite and Armand are like the most adorable siblings for some reason? I just irrationally enjoyed it a lot, so yes, quite fun. XD
  • Persuasion (1995) — Yes indeed, this is the one with Ciaran Hinds, another one everyone always said I needed to watch, so I finally was able to because I won it in a giveaway (thanks, Rachel!), and ’twas quite enjoyable. 🙂 Now I want to re-watch the other one to compare them. 😀

LISTENING

I’ve been listening to smatterings of gorgeousness by Michael Card and Lindsey Stirling, and various Celtic things like by Andy M. Stewart.

There’s so much gorgeous music in the world, and I don’t often remember to listen to it, so I’m trying to remind myself!

I’ve also been listening to Stars by Skillet, their acoustic version of it (which I hear is for a movie or something but it’s just SO PRETTY). Seriously if you haven’t heard this, go listen to it. ❤

ONLINE THINGS

I live on Goodreads and Twitter a lot lately. *gasp* So if I’m not blogging much about life or reading, I may still be talking about it over there!

In case you missed them… (Feel free to skip this bit. XD)

Book Blog posts this year:

Posts around here:

It’s March Magics! Celebrating Diana Wynne Jones (and Terry Pratchett) all month long. ❤ I’m having a blast, y’all. 🙂

It Is Not Too Much To Ask For A Happy Ending (from The Invisible Moth) — THIS POST MAKES ME HAPPY. PLEASE READ IT. ❤

Speaking of happy endings… This is the end of this (long) post, because that’s all I can think of just now. I hope you enjoyed the Return of the Ishness! Thanks so much for reading! Thoughts? Share them below, along with what you’ve been up to lately! ^_^ I hope you’re having a lovely March, roadlings! ❤

My Year in Writing {2016}

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2017.

A new year.

2017 always sounded like one of those far-away numbers, you know? Just fancy it being here now!

Time, my roadlings. Time is mysterious.

This last year of 2016 was in many ways a tough year for me, but filled with good things too. 🙂

If you’d like to see my Top 12 Books I Read in 2016 and other miscellaneous info about my reading life this last year, you can check out my post on my book blog! You know, in case you’re curious. 😉

This post, however, is all about my year of writing! (I know, I know, you would never have guessed from the title…)

2016 Writing

I wrote 71,854 words in 2016. Which… is less than my usual 100K, but I will be thankful for it. 😉

Since 51K of that was NaNo, my non-NaNo writing amounted to 20,720 words… which is why I feel like it was a slow year. Most months I was writing 2K in a month, which… well, let’s just say I won’t get my enormous 100K+ monster books written in a hurry at this rate. But all the same, I’m very pleased with the writing I DID get done, and I think I needed a slower, casual year of writing anyway. We’ll just go with that.

WRITING THAT I DID…

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I started The Library in the Stars and wrote 51,000 words of that — huzzah! (Now I just need to write the ending. *cough*)

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I “officially” started The Other Half of Everything, wrote part of the first chapter, and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? 6,000 words this year.

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Filled in holes in The Secret of Kedran’s Wood and did editing on a few chapters and officially finished the first draft of Part 1! *celebration* I also started the next chapter, wrote a bit of that… and proceeded to keep writing it out of order later on in the book in snippets. Oops? (Wait, did I just say that earlier? *cough* Apparently it’s a trend.)

I wrote 6,800 words of KW2 this year.

On that note, I’m convinced Tare ambushed me and made me write an extra thousand words post-NaNo solely to be able to show Teague that KW is still ahead of OHE in the word department this year. Nicely played, Tare.

And we will NOT talk about the fact that I’m over 63,000 words into it and only a third done the story. AHEM.

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And I wrote over 3,000 words of The Invisible Mask, and hit 20K, which was very exciting! I consider the “opening” done, so I’m kind of thrilled about this.

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Rewrote an old short story, Midnight Fear, which used to be just over 1,000 words, and now is just under that. Very pleased with the rewrite.

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I also wrote that Silmarillion Awards Strangest Character presentation post poem, featuring Tom Bombadil and Puddleglum, which was 800 words.

Other than that, I wrote another 1000-ish words on random things like my New Year’s poem, short story Hairdo Havoc, The Silver Forest, and other Kedran’s Wood series jots, including Book 4… even though I’m still on Book 2. Yeah, don’t ask. #TareAndChessClubProblems

PLOTTING THAT I DID…

I did various plotting on various books, including The Silver Forest and The Invisible Mask, but mostly for The Other Half of Everything and the Kedran’s Wood series (mostly KW2), and for The Library in the Stars.

The biggest news was The Library in the Stars exploding into being, out of a bunch of different previous ideas, and being plotted and started.

I also had some exciting “clicking” moments for Once Upon a November, The Siren and the Skyship, and my short story Hairdo Havoc.

And new ideas happened too, of course. My Fairy Godmother Muse has been quite busy.

I suppose I should be grateful I only have half a dozen new “official” ones, if I include The Library in the Stars? (Which did actually combine some ideas, so maybe I’m at about the same number? I don’t know, my Fairy Godmother Muse confuses me so much these days.)

  • Painting Rainbows (Underground Rainbow spinoff involving heists & the painter artist Kevin Johnson)
  • From That Shadowy Land (inspired by various ballads and featuring Faeries)
  • The Treasure of A Distant Storm (futuristic London short story)
  • Wintertale (I don’t even know. Thankfully, it’s a short story)
  • (And an untitled novel to be written sometime farrr in the future, involving fantasy tropes)

#FairyGodmotherMuseProblems #PlotBunnyProblems

OTHER RANDOM WRITING FACTS…

  • Best writing day: 7,589 words (Nov 27.)
  • Completed my 7th NaNo!
  • Was an ML on my own for the first time
  • Was interviewed!
  • Got Scrivener (a.k.a. the Preciousss <3)
  • Started a book review blog and managed to write 61 posts on that during the year!
  • Additionally*, I wrote 76 posts on this blog
  • Yes, that is 137 posts total this last year
  • Somebody save me from myself

*I typed that as “addictionally” the first time. Oh the irony.


And that’s about it! Overall, not a bad year (Fairy Godmother Muse and her antics notwithstanding). ^_^

I don’t know what this new year of 2017 will hold for me in the writing arena (and I’m avoiding making plans, since historically plans and I do not mix well together — they tend to laugh at me, attack, knock me out, steal my everything, and leave me looking very foolish) but I’m looking forward to finding out! 🙂

How was your year of writing in 2016? Do you have problems with a Fairy Godmother Muse of your own? Any exciting writerly pursuits in the last year? Tell me all!

P.S. I’m thinking of going on a blog/internet break for two or three weeks… so I may disappear for a bit and come back around the end of January, give or take. Just a heads-up. Have a great month, everyone! ❤