Authorly Bucket List

To wrap up my week of tag catching up…

Tag Catch-Up Post #7 (or #8, depending on counting…) – THIS IS THE VERY LAST ONE I PROMISE.

So, a few months back, I was tagged by Sarah @ Light and Shadows for a new tag, created by Erin Kenobithe Authorly Bucket List Tag! (It is also, apparently, known as the the Stuff-I-Need-To-Practice-More-Slash-Stuff-I’d-Like-To-Be-Better-At Tag. But Authorly Bucket List is easier to say, doncha know…) Go check out their blogs, do! You won’t regret it. 😀

Okay, so the the idea with the Authorly Bucket List Tag (Original Post) is to list three to seven things you’re not very good at, and another three to seven you’d like to try.

Shivers, y’all. This looks awesome.

Let’s get this show on the road! (And I may have to steal a couple of your things, Sarah, since I have some similar problems… >.>)

Things I Need to Work On

Actually Writing
Um. Yes. This is my biggest problem. I don’t often actually sit down to write. I procrastinate about it like you wouldn’t believe, I spend a lot of time plotting and thinking and doing little nothings, and basically everything except actually writing. But whenever I try to solve this with goals, or with events like NaNo, it works okay for a bit but then I get major burnout. If I specifically try to write several days in a row, for instance, I get burnt out and sometimes take a couple more weeks to recharge. I tend to write in large bursts (large here having the smallish meaning of like 2k words) with sometimes a couple weeks between. Yeah, it’s bad. But if I’m inspired, I can pound out a whole bunch. So it just depends. I guess I need to get myself inspired and keep it that way, and develop a bit of discipline.

Villains
Ah, villains. They’re what makes the world go ’round — or at least the plot. Usually. I never figure my villains out enough. They like to be kind of flat. And my main problem is that I never know their motives well enough or figure out what their plans are/their timelines. They kind of conveniently do stuff whenever the plot requires it, and… Yeah, enough about villains, let’s move on. I think my villains just don’t interest me much because I don’t LIKE them. I don’t want to spend all this time with them and figuring out their “deal”. I don’t understand people who are fascinated with villains and antagonists. O_O I mean, if they’re lovable/redeemable, sure… But yeah. The bad badguys I just want to stay away from, which does not help my writing since they’re kind of necessary! I guess I need some help in the villain department.

Battles / Fighting
I kind of majorly fail at fighting scenes. I don’t understand the concepts of swordfighting etc., no matter how much I read/watch about it. Much as I would like to! If there is fighting, I will be generally vague about it and move on because… what even are you supposed to do with that? It’s even worse with full-fledged battles. I haven’t attempted to write a battle in years, and I know even then I was horrible at it. How do you do it? You’ve got to focus on mini fighting scenes with individual characters throughout (see above…) and also keep track of all the sides and flanks and attacks and retreats and who’s fighting who and I just get so confused. How do you juggle all of that and make it remotely make sense?? This is probably partially why I’m terrified of returning to writing Epic Fantasy after being so long distracted in the shallower territory of contemporaries… Speaking of which…

Fantasy
So, ever since my first Kedran’s Wood story (The Owl of Kedran’s Wood) kidnapped me and held me captive to work on the adventures of Tare and the Chess Club for the last few years, I haven’t done much in the way of working on anything Epic Fantasy ish, my first love. I sort of popped back to work on my Starrellia series a couple times, and of course wrote most of Heartseeker for NaNo, but the truth is I’ve been away from Epic Fantasy for a very long time and want to get back to it. Which brings me to my thing-I-need-to-work-on: FANTASY. My fantasy is not as imaginative and full of fantastical things as I would like. It just doesn’t often occur to me that I can do whatever I want, and instead I just blunder along with whatever’s right there at the forefront of my brain. What about dragons, fairies, enchantments, intriguing magicalness, totally unique new things…? All the possibilities! My fantasy seems to normally be fairly tame, and I think some exploring of possibilities would not go amiss.

Things I’d Like to Try

Fairy Tale Retellings
Yessss. I actually hope to accomplish this soon, since I’m (currently) planning on writing a Twelve Dancing Princesses story for NaNo this year… We’ll see how that turns out. But fairy tales are awesome, and I adore retellings and they are so fun to read. So naturally I’d like to try my hand at a few! I even recently put together an idea for an epic fairy tale mashup conglomeration, so that might happen someday. I’ve never done a retelling, so it would be interesting to see how to make it similar to the original tales but also fresh and new and… yeah, it sounds like quite a challenge, and one I’m very excited to try at some point.

Mind Reading / Telepathy
There’s something really fabulous about mind-things, somehow. Mind communication. Yummy. I’ve always found it interesting to read about, and seeing the different ways different authors do it… I’d like to try it myself someday because it would just be awesome. Now I just need to find a way to do it… But there are so many possibilities! Maybe it’s been done to death, but I don’t really care. I just want to try because it sounds so fun!

Time Travel
Like mind-reading, there is something awesome about time-travel. Or, specifically, Timeslip, which is the version that’s my favorite and tends to involve someone ending up in an older time period with some sort of magicalness involved, I think… As opposed to the sci-fi-ness of a time machine. It’s also much less predictable, more uncertain, which I like. But I’d also like to try a time machine story as well, which I have an idea for, including dealing with the question of how can people go back in time without changing the future/their present… Yeah, it kind of makes the head spin. Which is part of the fun. I don’t have a specific timeslip idea but I really would love to try it someday if an opportunity presented itself. The main problem with time travel stuff is I’d have to do all the research just as if it was a historical fiction book, the thought of which terrifies me. So… we’re shelving those ideas for awhile. 😉 (Unless of course, it’s time-travel in another world…! Which would solve the research problem. I’ve only seen this done in Diana Wynne Jones’s book The Crown of Dalemark and I ADORED it so so much!! So it can be done.)

Cons and Heisty-ness
I’ve recently become obsessed with reading and watching crimey-heisty things, as I call them. TV shows Hustle and Leverage, the Heist Society books by Ally Carter, White Cat and its sequels by Holly Black (despite their ickness). Even milder versions like National Treasure‘s subplot to steal the Declaration of Independence. I just can’t get enough of the Robin-Hood-like (or at least not entirely bad) con-artists and grifters and thieves, and all of the cleverness involved in a good heist/con, especially when it involves giving the badguys what’s due them. I’m an upstanding citizen, honest, but this sort of thing is fascinating to read about. XD There is also a sad lack of such things, especially in the book (YA especially) world! (If you know of any, either books or films or shows, pleeeease do tell me.) I would probably never be able to write a con/heisty story because my brain just isn’t clever enough, but the thought is there and if I ever dared, I would love to try.

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Sooo… There’s my authorly bucket list, or some semblance thereof! What is yours? I guess I should work on these… Slowly… Somehow.

Or… I don’t know, maybe I should throw all of that together and actually sit down to write an epically fantastical epic fantasy full of full-fledged battles and deep villains who time travel (by means magical, scientific, and otherwise), with heroes and heroines from fairy tale stories, who use mind communication and carry out brilliant heists and cons.
. . .
UM. Actually, I would totally read that because it would be awesome. O_O OH MY GOODNESS. *facepalm* I need to stop coming up with story ideas and write some of my current ones.

What have I done.

(This is why I should not brainstorm when my brain is asleep and susceptible to madness…)

*hastily sweeps new plotbunnies under rug, tramples them quickly, leaves a large and heavy safe on top to keep them down, and surreptitiously walks away whistling as if nothing happened*

And I Tag

Abi // Ashlee // Kelsey // Jenelle // Katie/Robyn // Claire // Any writers who want to.

But please!! Do feel free to snag this if it looks interesting! (And let me know if you do! I would love to read such posts. :))

I’m just trying to spread out all my tagging this week, otherwise EVERYONE would
be tagged with EVERYTHING and it would be exhausting. XD

So there’s the last of my tag catchup posts! *queue cheering* I will now leave y’all in peace. 😉

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Do any of you writers have problems like mine, or tips to overcome them?

What would you like to try in your writing? (Different POVs, steampunk, talking umbrellas…?)

ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS TAG?

Do you know any good heisty books/shows??

Tell me all! Let the Authorly chatting begin! 🙂

In the Merry Month of May

Firstly: giveaway winner! (Lena K. was the winner of Shantelle’s awesome giveaway, in case you didn’t see…) And the winner of my mini giveaway on this here blog iiiiis…

Christine!

Congrats! I hope you’ll enjoy A Dream Not Imagined!! (Who’m I kidding. Of course you will. Because it’s fabulous.)

And thanks y’all for entering and sharing your favorite Cinderella retellings! I must read them…

On to the rest of the post! Which is of an ishness variety.

The calendar has flipped again, so it’s time for a look-back at what went on in the Merry Month of May! (Does nobody else call it that? Is it just me and my crazy self who grew up listening to The Rocky Road to Dublin?)

I had a rather hectic but overall awesome May, involving a lot of rain/storms and consequently dead internet most of the month, or — worse — undead internet, i.e. it kind of wandered around claiming it was there but for all practical purposes… kind of too dead to be useful. But that was probably okay because of all the busy! I’m just very behind on interwebish things. What else is new. XD

But the rest of my month involved:

hawkeyeavengers2poster

(from Pinterest)

  • Seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening day. THAT MOVIE. What even. This was a month ago, peoples, and I STILL am trying to work out my feels/opinions on this thing. I think I need to see it again but probably won’t till it comes out on DVD sooo… But although it broke my brain several times — All the shock! All the things! — and I’m still trying to figure out what I think about a few things, it was mostly sheer fabulousness. Also Hawkeye. I loved how much more he was in it! Because he’s my favorite, obviously…
  • And oh, yeah, I took a totally random, spontaneous, last-second roadtrip through a couple states for a homeschool alumni get-together thingamy which was very much out of my experience but turned out totally awesome. Lots of new experiences with that.
  • Going to my first stage play! I know, I know, I’ve been missing out. It. Was. Amazing. Oh my goodness. It was The Little Mermaid (the movie of which I also saw for the first time this month, to warm up) and I loved this play version way more than the movie. And all the actor kids were adorable and amazing and awesome, especially my friend who played Ariel which was why I went–she was incredible! I just loved and adored it and it was so so fun and sweet and cool and funny and awesome. 🙂 Alskdjflkdlakdj.

I tell ya, this was a month for new experiences, y’all! We shall call it “The May Deborah Actually Did Things”. *nods seriously*

Reading

So… remember that post I did where I talked about all the books I wanted to read in May? Well… yeah. That didn’t happen. I only managed to read a handful, and some weren’t even on the list.

May2015reads

I think I tend to not read as much when I’m in the middle of several books… I think I get daunted. XD Plus I was busy. But I managed to read a few, so yay! “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” was AWESOME and I reviewed it. “Touch Magic” was actually a nonfiction (gasp!) which I actually didn’t love… which was sad because I wanted to. Meh. “Fairest” was a reread with my bookclub and I really enjoyed it. “The Grimm Legacy” was super fun! I don’t think it was quite as amazing as I’d hoped, but I just really… enjoyed it. So yay! And “Galdoni” was super random and weird but I couldn’t stop reading it… I’m not even entirely sure what I think of it… Some of it felt sloppy, which I don’t normally notice, and it was pretty scary (I don’t read a lot of modern/futuristic, okay, guys!) but like I said it kept me reading and I kinda enjoyed it too.

(I am feeling superbly lazy today, too much so to link all hundred five books, so you can find them on my Goodreads reading challenge…)

So! My reads of the month. I just didn’t manage to read nearly as much as I wanted, and basically all I want to do in June is read but that probably won’t happen…

Oh! But look! My birthday presents finally came in the mail (like, a couple months late because of waiting for the pre-ordered one to actually release… Hee) so GORGEOUSNESS!

booooks

I’m now officially dying to read “Illusionarium” (I’ve never read a steampunk before!) and “The Merchant’s Daughter” (Melanie Dickerson, yay!). I’ve already read “The Word Changers”, but I just HAD to own a physical copy of this gorgeous thing! ❤

Writing

So, partly due to how busy I was, and partly due to laziness, I didn’t do a super amount of writing. But I did manage over a thousand words of Tare series stuff, and nearly 2,000 words of my new short story, Darkling Reflections — which I really must finish writing soon. And I also plotted all of Darkling Reflections (yay!) and got re-excited about my epic fantasy series the Starrellian Saga, and did a bunch of plotting and figuring out for that, which I’m super excited about. But mostly quiet on the writing front.

***

So! That was my May! And it is now June… What even. Is it just me, or has 2015 been buzzing by faster than a freight train? (Not that I actually have the tiniest clue how fast freight trains are or if they actually buzz. But anyhow.)

Plans for June?

Well, I have soooo many books I want to read it’s not even funny. (Or… actually it’s extremely funny because of my lack of being able to actually read them all at the moment because it’s just ridiculous. So let’s just all laugh together, shall we?) I’m still in the middle of reading like five books, and I have a library book I should read too and my lovely new books and another stack I just have to get to and just… yeah. So much reading I want to do!

I have been woefully slacking on writing most of this year so I really would like to do some more of that. I have a short story to finish and Tare’s getting impatient at my ignoring of him, and Heartseeker wants to be finished sometime in the next decade. I MUST DO ALL THE WRITING THINGS. The stories call. And yet… at the same time… they don’t. It’s kind of sad. I WANT to write more but I just… don’t… feel like it. Meh. So we’ll see. I might totally slack off my writing again and just devour pretty books… XD

(from Pinterest)

Then of course there’s Life Things. Y’know, that pesky category of stuff that keeps one from spending one’s life doing 24/7 bookish/writerly/internet things. Because clearly Life Things hasn’t gotten the memo about those being more important. HAHA.

And I want to catch up on all the lovely blog tags I’ve been given over the last like 6 months! So that may be a thing. You guys might in fact end up learning a super frightening amount of things about me through tags, so keep an eye out for that. 😉

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How about you?? How was your May? And do you have plans for this month and/or for summer? Spill, spill!

Beautiful People – Author Edition

Today I’m linking up with Sky @Further Up and Further In, and Cait @ Paper Fury (formerly Notebook Sisters) to participate in their lovely interview thingy, Beautiful People!

I did a post for Beautiful Books back in November, but I’ve yet to do an actual Beautiful People post for interviewing characters.

…And it would seem I still won’t have done that, since this month is an Author Edition!

Which means it’s interviewing me instead of my characters.

I know. What a disappointment.

Still… on with the show, shall we?

Beautiful People: Author Edition

1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?

I’ve been writing stories for 12-ish years (yes, I was young!) but I officially decided to be a writer nearly 8 years ago. I did a post about that beginning — I decided I was going to finish my first book and go on to be a writer… And here I am.

2. How/why did you start writing?

I’ve always been, really. Nearly as long as I can remember. There was no specific how/why. It’s a thing that happened once I could use a pencil. And then a computer. It’s just… me. I assume it’s because I read so much (and started reading so early) and was homeschooled and always had stories going on in my head.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?

I DON’T EVEN KNOW. Maybe when I’m deep in the midst of writing a first draft and am totally in the zone and don’t notice anything else (rare). Or, more likely, the “discovery” moments of my plotting, when I find out how something fits together or suddenly “see” something new for the story. I don’t understand writers who talk about “creating” or “making up” their stories. I discover mine. It’s like they’re already there, on the Tree of Tales (as Tolkien would say), and I just happen to catch glimpses of the leaves and then write down the story that was already there. (Naturally, there’s SOME element of creativity and tweaking and putting everything together. But it feels like discovering, not making up.)

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Finishing things. It’s so hard to actually FINISH a book. (Well, that and sitting down to write, sometimes…) I have a million ideas, and I’ve started copious stories, and gotten fairly far into several of those, but… they just don’t finish. I usually get distracted by another shiny idea, or just… lose focus.

5. Do you write best at night or day?

At night. I’m afraid I’m a bit of a night owl… despite my attempts to get on a better schedule. My writerly brain just seems to get working more at night, and some of my best scenes are brainstormed and/or written at 2 a.m.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)

I posted a picture of my writing area/desk once in this post… (It still looks like that, just not as tidy…) But actually, although I do work at my desk a lot, I might do my actual writing more often while sitting in my big comfy chair where I read.

Photo_010915_004

a cozy place to read or type

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?

There’s not really a typically… 18 months. 28 days. Just shy of a year. Those are the stats so far. (Yes, the 28 days was a NaNo; the 18 months was my first; the year-long, I was working on other stuff too.) Of course, that’s novels. I tend to write short stories in a day. *innocent grin*

8. How many projects do you work on at once?

Haaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaha. *falls on floor laughing* …Ahem. Well. I have so many stories flying around in my brain… I guess I’m usually actively working on at least a couple, but I can’t be too active on more than four-ish… Usually there’s one or two that are most prominently being written, but there’s always plotting and snippets from several others going on.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?

HAPPY. HAPPY. Do not give me tragedy; and only bittersweet under verrry special cases, people. I like my happily ever afters! And hope. And good things like that. Reading sad endings often makes me want to throw things. Like the book. At the author. Ahem.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.

Lloyd Alexander–probably the most. George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis. (They were the three who started me writing fantasy.) J.R.R. Tolkien, naturally. And Eleanor Cameron. And probably Mirriam Neal.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?

Um …yessss? Sometimes. My sister always gets to see my latest writing, because she loves my stories and/or because I languish away without feedback. But I’m often nervous about sharing my writing with people besides her. WHAT WILL THESE PEOPLE DO WITH THE WORDS OF MY SOUL? *cowers behind a tapestry* But, on the other hand, I do sort of love it a ton when people read my things. Because when they like them and actually remember to reply/send feedback, there’s no feeling like it in the world. ^_^

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?

Getting all my story ideas written the way I want them to be. (Yeah. Probably not going to happen…) Being published in some dream-mix of all the benefits of Traditional-, Self- and Small Press-publishing would not go amiss either. And I naturally wouldn’t object to becoming fabulously rich. (No fame, though, please. I’m an introvert.)

But to be honest, I’ll settle for actually finishing the stories I’m writing right now, and getting to some of my special projects, sometime in the next few years, WITHOUT going crazy.

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?

My goodness. What a question. WHAT ELSE IS THERE? Um. Probably draw beautifully. Or be verrrrry musically talented! …Or both. (I’d still like to!)

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?

Yes. Six specific ones, in fact.

SomedayNovels

  • The climax of my epic fantasy series.
  • A novella that I can’t even describe in words, so I don’t have the skill to convey yet.
  • My time-travel story because it needs a lot of research and is deepish.
  • Both my sci-fi novels–they need experience, and again, deep things.
  • And another book that has a lot of deep/dark stuff going that I’m not ready for.

Basically the ones with deep themes or difficult content. These are the stories that I not only have to be a better writer for, but need to be older. I don’t want to attempt them till I’m ready because I don’t want to mess them up. (And goodness knows I have enough to keep me writing for years in the meantime.)

For all you young authors who tackle big stuff in your books right away — good for you. But I’m not going to try doing certain things till I know it’s the right time for me to try.

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

KW2coverPWell, all of them in their way, naturally.

But lately, my contemporary-fantasy Kedran’s Wood series — that was recent, sudden, and I was not expecting it to get my heart like that!

But it used to be (and is still in the background, waiting…) my epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga. They were my original stories, and they’ll always be nearest and dearest my heart in their way. Because while the characters of Kedran’s Wood may have become some of my very best friends… Starrellia is my HOME. My original, old home that I discovered first in my writing. I’m letting that series simmer quietly on the back burner while I finish some other things. But I look forward to the time when I can return to it, and give it my full attention again . . .

. . . and return home.

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