“You’d think no one had ever had a cold before”

Possibly the only good thing about having a cold: remembering that Howl had one, and going back to reread all the snatches of Howl’s Moving Castle where he had a cold.

In the words of Diana Wynne Jones, the author, herself, Howl’s “a man who had head colds like a drama queen.”

It’s glorious. (I love Howl a ton, okay.)

I’m in a constant state of wanting to reread that book. ❤ (Howl’s Moving Castle does after all tie The Lord of the Rings for the honored “favorite book” spot for me…)

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And yes, I am indeed using my cold as an excuse to unashamedly fangirl over Howl and make graphics of quotes from my favorite book, why do you ask…?

Beautiful People: 2016 Writerly Resolutions/Goals

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IS HERE! With Writerly Resolutions and Goals for 2016. Sound scrumptious? Of course it does. Let’s get this proverbial show on the proverbial road!

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Beautiful People is a monthly meme for writers held by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In — join in the linky if you like! It’s a lot of fun! 🙂

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

R&RWriting and editing an entire novella (The Rose and the Raven) and entering a contest. Writing two short stories. And working on several novels and getting a total wordcount of over 100k words for the year. Also taking new approaches at my two series. And I learned how to do a draft zero, how to write a lot of words, how to write small things, and also how to CUT a lot of words. I also learned how to write utterly adorable romances (in my humble opinion) so I’m proud of that. XD Basically I made some achievements and learned a TON in 2015 about writing and vaguely feel as though I’ve taken great strides.

*blinks* …Wow, until I answered this question, I had no idea I felt that way about the year! o.o Hurray for Beautiful People bringing out our deepest thoughts! (If it works for our characters, it can work for us writers too!)

S&Scover42. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Ummmm. Work on The Other Half of Everything, The Siren and the Skyship, The Silver Forest, continue The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2), and replot my entire epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga? Maybe? I know, that’s not one, but I’m sort of on writing hiatus right now and… yeah. Those are what I’m thinking about anyway and want to work on the most. 🙂 (Now watch something entirely different happen… >.>)

3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

  1. Plotting. I get so caught up in “I have to write WORDS and increase my number of actually WRITTEN writing!” that I often write when I’m not ready for it. I need to remember that plotting is a HUGE part of writing, even though it’s not easily visible.
  2. Actually writing. I’m very much a binge-writer, and I can’t write consistently to save my life (or… okay, during NaNo. But it’s exhausting and I usually would rather write 3k one day so I can take a day off than write 1667 words consistently every day). Consequently, it can be really hard for me to actually sit down and START writing! I need to work on this.
  3. Stop waffling. In line with the first one, I need to try to make my plots tighter and more interwoven. I tend to go off down rabbit trails and have a lot of stuff going on without actual plot happening, which makes for freakishly long and daunting books.
  4. STOP CHASING PLOT BUNNIES! …Okay, so this one is probably out of my control. *cough* But I keep getting SO distracted by attractive new plot bunnies that hop by me and drag me off down rabbit holes. I have oodles of perfectly good books to work on already and I don’t need any more until I’ve actually WRITTEN a few of these!
  5. Write what I love. This is actually a contradiction to the point before this, since many of those plot bunnies ARE what I love. But vaguely, I get caught up in stories the way they appear, and sometimes I don’t remember to throw in things that really catch my interest. I’d like to focus on that more this year.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

NO. …Ahem. Yes, I’ll probably participate in NaNoWriMo in November, because I love NaNo, but I’m kind of burnt out as far as challenges go so I think I’m going to leave it at that… (Of course, that was my plan last year and then I randomly entered the Rooglewood Press contest soooo there’s that. *cough*) Challenges tend to stress me out and make me feel guilty for not writing, and I really need to relax and rediscover my joy in writing without all the pressure. 🙂 Currently, writing is for ME so I shouldn’t get caught up in deadlines when I don’t have to!

5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

Hum. I have a few lovely people who like to read my things at times — I still don’t quite know WHY. O_O — and… I haven’t worked on this much. I still haven’t figured out what I want most from a critique, which also accounts for my struggles trying to be a good beta-reader for others (I’m sorry, everyone!) so… I don’t know. I basically fail at all things beta/critique. :-/ I guess if I had plans it would be to actually read and give feedback for the lovely stories people send me, and figure out what I actually am looking for in a critique? Basically: LEARN THINGS AND NOT BE A HORRIBLE PERSON. There. That can be “plans to expand,” right? 😉

writingmagic6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I’d like to read Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine and possibly On Writing by Stephen King and maybe a few writing books I have around. I do have like twenty random ebooks on writing etc. that were given to me. Not sure. *shrug*

Research… not really. I’m not much of a researcher. Reading fabulous books that I love is my research in general and always has been. 😀

7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

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Meridian

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know. O_O I do have a few characters who kind of lack something or I don’t really know what they’re LIKE yet… like Meridian in The Other Half of Everything, or Arielle in my Kedran’s Wood series (and also a certain spoilerish character from KW who I can’t even mention). So maybe someone like that. Or maybe just rediscovering my favorite characters from my Starrellian Saga, or any one of my favorites in the other books I want to work on.

As to how to achieve it? I have no idea. My characters do what they want and I can’t make them behave so I’ll just sit here and wait probably, because I’m lame like that. 😛 (Tips, anyone?)

8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I don’t knooow! *flails around* I usually edit somewhat as I go, and whenever I actually FINISH a thing I edit it… I don’t have a plan of attack and I have no idea about queries vs. self-pub and all of that utterly confusing industry type of questions. Basically I want to write and not worry about such things right now.

9. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

OHEcoverWhimsical, funny, epic, rollicking, insane fantasy adventures of the sort that Diana Wynne Jones wrote. The world does not have enough of these. I have no illusions that I will in any way approach DWJ’s genius, but The Other Half of Everything is SUPPOSED to be more along those lines… (Though it is still very vague and also keeps throwing dark subplots/characters at me… HONESTLY. It’s supposed to be lighthearted! Like I said, my books do what they want. >.>)

Also retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. There are definitely not enough of them. Which is why I’m going to totally return to The Silver Forest and write MY version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (and hopefully make it fabulous *cough*).

(Also, there need to be more YA heisty/con-artist books. But I’m afraid I can’t help there. Yet…)

10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

I’m really bad at making goals and actually sticking to them. My inspiration is a flighty and unpredictable thing, and whatever I think is the most important will probably get tossed to the wayside as my writing self tackles a totally random project I never heard of before (*cough* basically everything I wrote last year *cough*). So instead of having anything particular I’d like to have achieved by the end of 2016, I will only say that I would like to HAVE ACHIEVED. I’m not particular. As long as I can look back at my writerly year and say “I achieved”, then whatever that is that I did achieve, I’ll be content. ^_^

Double Liebster Award

Tag Catch-Up Post #2

So… In January and then again last month, I was tagged for the Liebster Award by C.B and Shantelle. Thanks for tagging me! ^_^ Although I’ve done it before, I thought it would be fun to answer the questions anyway! 🙂

But I’m going to ignore the rules for the most part. XD I’m not going to bother with 11 facts or tagging anybody, but if you want to answer any of the questions, feel free!

On with the show.

Questions from C.B. (post)

1. Do you wanna build a snowman?

YES. YES I DO. Unfortunately it’s like 100 degrees where I live right now, so that’s not going to happen… And even if it was winter, I don’t really get snow, I’m afraid… But I would LOVE to build a snowman if I could.

(from pinterest)

2. What is the craziest thing you’ve done during a game of hide-and-seek?

I… have no idea. Probably hiding in a curtain… I’m not a very imaginative hide-and-seek-er. XD

3. How many books do you have?

For real? O_O I’m feeling spectacularly lazy at this moment and I feel as though I have WAY too many books to count… Let’s just say I have three large bookcases stuffed with books, some shelves stacked, some 2 deep, plus some on my desk and dresser and bedside table… Um… Okay, I started counting and lost track somewhere around four or five hundred and gave up. How’s that? 😉 (Someday I’m going to have to post some pictures of my bookshelves and introduce them to y’all…)

4. Writers, what’s the most useful piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Probably this quote from Gillian Bronte Adams in an interview on The Dreaming Hobbit:

“Read the books you want to write, and write the books you want to read. And don’t try to do it alone. Far too often, I find myself striking out on my own, and the whole “lone wolf” writer thing is grand … until it’s not. Writing can be a lonely business, so make writing friends and encourage each other. You’ll both be the better for it.”

–Gillian Bronte Adams

GillianBronteAdamsQuote

5. Favorite type of fanfiction?

I don’t know… I’m afraid I don’t read a lot of fanfiction.

6. Which Avenger are you most like? (From the movie, not comic books)

Hawkeye. (I’m just going to say that and walk away like nothing happened…)

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7. Favorite Stan Lee cameo?

Um… Forgive me for being horribly out-of-it, but I only THINK I discovered what this really was recently. Is it that guy with the mustache who’s like one of the writers or something? Ahem. I have only noticed a couple of his cameos, so IF I’m correct in what I think they are, my favorite is definitely the one in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when he’s a security guard and sees Captain America’s old uniform missing and goes: “Oh man, I am so fired.” That was hilarious. XD

8. Favorite writing resource?

Probably pinterest. XD If that counts…

9. Do you have trouble staying organized?

*bursts out laughing* That is a great question. Because I’m a perfectionist and pride myself on being super organized. And yet sometimes I feel like I’m the most disorganized person I know. So it just depends. But mostly I think I’m organized… Mostly…

10. Favorite school subject?

Hiiiistory. And anything related to words and writing and stuff like that.

(from pinterest)

11. Favorite food/food combination others don’t like?

I don’t know… maybe canned black olives? Combination… I can’t think of a weird one I like. Mostly my food is very tame and uninteresting… 😀

Questions from Shantelle (her post)

1) What is the driving passion of your life?

I don’t know. That may sound weird but… I don’t. It used to be writing, but I’m not so sure about that anymore. I feel a liiiittle bit lost these days. Mostly I’m just taking life a day at a time here and hoping the Lord will direct my feet to the path I should take. So I guess He’s my driving passion, because I tell ya, I’d be entirely lost without Him. 😉

2) Can you name a favorite character from a movie you’ve seen recently?

Dimitri, from Anastasia! He was kind of awesome…

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3) What’s one book (or chapter, verse, whatever…) of the Bible that has particularly touched you and why?

Um… All of it! For real, though. 🙂 But Psalms and Ruth and James and the Gospels come to mind…

4) How tall are you? *smiles*

I haven’t measured in awhile but I think somewheres in the 5′ 2″ area? All the gals I know seem to be like 5′ 10″ though… 😛 I feel like a small person in a world of tallness. (Perhaps that means I’m a Hobbit at heart…) And maybe my tall friends like having me around. XD

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(from pinterest)

5) What’s one thing a book needs to have in order to make it a favorite for you?

I think that depends, because there are many things that I really enjoy a book for! (Humor, great plot or twist, characters, a dash of romance, great dialog…) But ultimately, I think for it to be a book I REALLY love, it has to have a character I love. Which normally seems to mean an awesome guy… What can I say. Intriguing fellas can make books so very interesting!

6) How did you start and what’s your favorite thing about blogging?

I started blogging to have a place on the internet of my own for my future writing self and to share my thoughts on books and writing. My favorite thing? Commenters. I absolutely love hearing from people about what they think! 🙂

7) What’s something exciting that has happened in your life recently?

Going to my first stage play, The Little Mermaid, last month. It was soooo much fun!

8) Why do you write (blogs, books, whatever)?

Because there are stories and characters and words and ideas in my head and I can’t not write them.

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(from pinterest)

9) Can you describe (or find a picture of) a different-era outfit that you’d love to wear?

Long sweeping gorgeous gowns, please. 😀 Specific dresses off the top of my head: Cinderella’s blue dress in the new movie, Eowyn’s white dress in The Two Towers, Arwen’s red and black dress in The Return of the King… But really I’d most love some sort of emerald-green dress with a sweeping skirt. ^_^ To look like a medieval forest princess, y’know. *nod nod* And… well… most things on my Costumes pinterest board. 😉

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10) Favorite songs?

Never-Ending Road by Loreena McKennitt is my favorite. Then off the top of my head… Whispers in the Dark by Skillet, The Last Goodbye sung by Billy Boyd, lots of songs and melodies from soundtracks like The Return of the King, Brave, How to Train Your Dragon… How many am I allowed? 😉

11) Any advice for your fellow Christian bloggers/writers?

Stay true to yourself and the Word, and don’t be afraid to write what you think. 🙂

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So there you go, everyone! My randomness for the day. 😀 Hope it wasn’t entirely boring…

Feel free to snag the questions if you want — or answer some in the comments!

And mostly I’m curious… did you learn anything new about me, or did you feel like you knew all of this already? 😉