The Rising Author Tag

I wasn’t actually tagged for this, but I saw The Rising Author Tag over at Beth @Reading Every Night and thought it would be really fun to take part. There are some definite rules to this, which I am not sure I will 100% comply to, but I still want to try my best.

RULES

  • No tagging back
  • Tag four people
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Come up with 10 new questions

QUESTIONS FROM BETH’S TAG

What is your current WIP about, and what’s its status? (ie. plotting, writing, editing, etc.)

This is already starting out more difficult than I thought, because I am working on several WIPs at the same time. Well, I guess I have neglected Arcadia a bit these past couple of months, but you all already know quite a lot about it anyway. So for the sake of making this post easier (and also to talk about something new), I am going to stick to the infamous #witchyWIP for this one.
It’s in the very early stages of writing, somewhere in the middle of chapter 12 to be exact, and about a family of witches who take in a girl who’s coven was eradicated for yet unknown reasons. The girl’s family was very powerful, so they are all cautious and scared about what she might be capable of and things get even trickier when she and the youngest son of the family perform a (forbidden) binding spell that ties them together forever. It starts from her childhood on and is told from other people’s POV but is meant to ultimately turn into her own POV as soon as she’s an adult. (I am working on a pitch that will make it sound more interesting – promise!)

Do you plot things out and/or outline, or just figure it out as you write?

I am someone who very much enjoys figuring out things as I go along, but for this one I have to plan ahead a little bit, because I am terrible with timelines and WILL mess them up if given the chance (Arcadia is living testimony of that).

What are some book ideas you want to write in the future?

FUTURE!? I have three unfinished WIPs and one finished one that needs desperate editing. I am going to try my best to stick to the current things before getting new ideas. However … one day I would like to write a contemporary YA book about a girl from Europe who goes on an exchange semester in the US (write about what you know and whatnot).

Out of the characters you’ve written so far, who are your favourites?

This is like asking a parent to pick a favourite child – HOW DARE YOU! But … if I must … I love my little confused but rational wolf girl aka Kasia from Arcadia.

What’s your writing routine, if any? (ie. snacks, music, time of day, location, etc.)

No real routine comes to mind when I think about me writing. I do prefer to have music on, sometimes even putting certain songs on repeat for certain chapters, but I have also had days where I needed complete silence. I’d say it all depends

Show your WIP’s aesthetic in images or words (or both)!

I think this might just be the project I have the least visual idea of, but here you go:

Bonus aesthetics for the other WIPs:

Arcadia
Dreamer
Break Up Buddy

What (or who) motivates you to write?

Honestly, it’s just everyone who ever read a snippet (or more) of my work and told me they liked it. Every single person who got invested in the fate of my characters. By now, that group of people I trust to share my projects with has grown far bigger than I initially thought possible and I hope you all know who you are because you are the best!!!

What do you find is the easiest part about writing? The hardest?

Easiest – having that scene in your head that needs to get written down no matter what. It’s okay if it doesn’t turn out right, but you just need to let the words out. I adore those moments because I have such a clear mental image of what I want to say.

Hardest – just generally sticking with a project, seeing it through when the going gets tough and you might get stuck at certain parts of the story.

What genre will you never try, and why?

It’s very unlikely that I will ever write historical fiction, because I hate research and doing those kind of stories without research is just … strange.

Share a tiny (or large) snippet/excerpt of your writing, if you’re comfortable!

This is the entire opening chapter if you like a real glimpse:

And here are two very random bits:

I hope you enjoyed those snippets! Definitely let me know what you think!

MY QUESTIONS

So, I am not sure I got this right, but I am also supposed to create 10 questions? Am I supposed to answer them myself as well? Does the next person only answer mine? Since I am confusion and I really like the questions I found on Beth’s tag, I am going to pass those on to the people I’ll tag.

I TAG THEE

Marie | Caro | The Orang-utan Librarian | Rami | WHOEVER WANTS TO DO THIS TAG

What are your thoughts on this? Did you enjoy another sneak peek into my writing life? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Review + Movie Trailer)

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count
: 249

It’s been so long since I have done a regular review for a book and I know because I checked (for real, I haven’t written one since the end of July). I am not exactly ecstatic that the first book after all these months is Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby now to be honest and it’s a little tough to explain the why of it all.

First, Juliet, Naked isn’t a bad book. It’s about people who feel they have wasted years of their lives, whole decades even, due to wrong decisions and a lack of action to change their less than ideal situations. Even as someone who isn’t in her 40s or 50s, I can relate to that topic. There are times I wonder what I am doing with my life and whether I have gotten into enough trouble, taken enough chances or simply whether I am on the right path for future me. This book chronicles how Annie, Duncan and Tucker have to live with their regrets and make the best of it, all packaged with a good measure of dry English humour, a deep fascination with 80s music, a spin on modern day online conversation/dating and unhealthy fandom culture.

Usually, all those aforementioned elements would draw me in immediately! Who am I kidding? The mere suggestion of them here was the reason I picked up the book and in the beginning it was all really funny. I could see myself in parts of each character, like in Duncan’s passion for something he loved (although I never was on his level of obsession for anything ever and I go deep sometimes), Tucker’s ability to share his deepest thoughts with a stranger on the internet but his inability to do so with his closest family and friends or Annie’s fear of having missed the opportunity to have a family of her own by getting comfortable in a situation because it was easy rather than the right one. I don’t mind having people be the main characters who aren’t perfect. In my eyes, it makes them more realistic and human to have various flaws and even flaws that you don’t have to forgive sometimes.  got all that and I felt that and even though it all sounds rather serious and gloomy, it also had some great humour sprinkled in.

But then there were also all these disjointed parts and characters that truly weren’t necessary. And worst of all the conclusion … it felt so open-ended and with a lack of, well, closure. I understand that not ever story needs to tie all ends together, but here it felt like we stopped a couple chapters short of where Juliet, Naked was supposed to end. I didn’t need for them to live happily ever after, but I did need a couple more infos on their fate. So, while I enjoyed the themes and characters (to some extent), the ultimate execution of the story just lacked something for me. I feel like there was a lot more in there we didn’t get to see.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! A rather average story that could have been more.

Now, as the title promised, I am also going to share the movie trailer here. I believe, and please don’t hold me accountable on this, the movie is currently in theaters (at least at the time of writing this post). I haven’t seen the movie yet, so no comment on that, but from what I gathered from the trailer, it looks like a faithful adaptation that expands on all the elements that were lacking or not quite right for me in the book. I am curious to see if I am right and whether they will change the end, but take a look for yourself:

Have you read or watched Juliet, Naked? Are there any other Nick Hornby books you’ve checked out? Let me know in the comments below!

Writing Life: Sharing Your Work in Progress

I’ve hinted at maybe doing a post about the ups and downs of sharing your work in progress in my NaNoWriMo update from last week, so I hope you are up for some insights on this topic! First off, I want to start by pointing out that I don’t mean to say that everyone should share their WIPs, whether it be in public or in private. I understand that not every writer feels comfortable, ready or willing to share their story in the early stages and that is perfectly alright! You do you and always follow your gut! This is just my personal experience.

              

Writing was always a lonely task to me. Of course, I got to meet all these wonderful characters for the first time and they miraculously somehow came from my brain, which was always incredibly hard to believe. I feel pure excitement whenever I dive into a new story, but at the same time I just want to share that with SOMEONE out there. Every time, I kept a story to myself, I started to procrastinate hard at some point until I was lacking motivation to continue at all. This is clearly an issue concerning lack of discipline on my part, but I found a way to counteract that by sharing my work as I go along with friends, family and sometimes even strangers. And when I say I share my work, I am not talking official beta readers or critique partners, but just people who may or may not comment on what they just read. Obviously, as I mentioned in my opening statement, this is not for everyone so here are a couple pros and cons of the experience:

THE PROS

  • The absolute best motivation I have ever found to continue writing is the constant encouragement of strangers as well as friends who have read and loved my words. They want to know how the story continues, so I want to keep providing them with entertainment and answers to questions as well as new mysteries as I go along. I truly adore everyone who has ever taken the time to read what I have written. It’s not perfect and I appreciate that they stuck with me nonetheless.
  • Sometimes it’s hard to stay objective as a writer. I encourage all my readers to give me suggestions if they notice something that isn’t quite right and I have realised that my first instinct is to get defensive (but that’s the beauty of being online, you don’t have to respond asap and that feeling can go away), but then I can see the value in having a fresh set of eyes on my writing. You don’t HAVE to take all their suggestions into account, that’s not the point of it all, but it’s good to hear different opinions.

THE CONS

  • Sharing your work publicly involves a lot of trust, so you have to find a way that makes you feel safe in the process. There are various platforms that allow you to share your stories to a broader audience, like wattpad, where I uploaded all my current chapters for Arcadia and Dreamer. (Update January 31, 2022: I no longer have a wattpad account!) There are guidelines among the community members that forbid copying content, but obviously nothing is ever foolproof. My current #witchyWIP isn’t on there, not because I have made bad experiences, but simply because I didn’t want to share it with all the world for now, but rather an exclusive circle of friends. I chose Google Docs for that, as it still allows people to comment and has great options for security purposes. It’s just a matter of finding the right platform that works for YOU!
  • Waiting for someone to read your work and actually react to it can be torture! People have lives and they don’t just wait in front of a screen to read my very random story updates. However, the longer the wait to hear from just about anyone is, the more the questions start to plague my mind – What if no one likes it? What if they don’t feel like they can tell me if they don’t like it? What if I shouldn’t have written that part? What if … None of that necessarily has to reflect on your story though. Sometimes it’s just a matter of lack of time and it’s also difficult to hold a reader’s interest if you don’t continue the story regularly. Like, I completely understand that some people might not want to wait a month for a new chapter.

In the end it all comes down to what feels right for you as a writer. Maybe you don’t want share your work until you’ve reached draft 15, but maybe you need that encouragement and interest from the outside to get through writing draft 1. Whichever type you are, I just know that I personally love nothing more than getting reactions be it in comments, people screaming at me in my DMs (always welcome by the way) or just sending me gifs and aesthetics for chapters. It’s what keeps me going and that’s why I am so grateful for all the people who take the time to read my work!


This is it from my little writing insight this time! Do you sometimes share your unfinished work? How are you all doing on your WIPs? Who is still going strong on their NaNo project? Let’s chat!

NaNoWriMo Update: Why I Stopped After a Week

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, know that I occasionally dabble in participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s a yearly event in which all writers out there are challenged to write at least 50K within the span of the month November. It’s a lot of fun, but also very stressful at times. My first year was actually the only year I traditionally “won” NaNoWriMo by completing my RomCom Break Up Buddy. After that I tried to work on Dreamer, Arcadia and now currently the #witchyWIP, but let’s get to that in a bit.

First off, I want to say that I in no way want to discourage anyone from participating in NaNoWriMo. I have made some great friends through it, been to cool meet ups and actually FINISHED writing a book. Those are all things I doubt I would have been able to achieve without the platform that NaNo offers. However, this year I also realised why it doesn’t work for me on the long run anymore and I’d like to go into detail about that a little in this post.

I want to talk to you a bit about process. Every book is different. Even authors with a certain writing routine sometimes face stories that just have different requirements. Sometimes people are pantsers, sometimes planners and sometimes a mix of the two. I usually prefer to just completely take my story as it comes, but again, this doesn’t work for all projects. From experience, however, I know that I cannot sit there and plan out a story, neither in detail nor in a rough outline. My mind wanders and I get terribly bored when I actually write the scenes because I know what is going to happen. When I write, I often feel like a reader, also experiencing and discovering the whole world for the first time with every new word. I don’t know if others feel the same, but the more I know in advance what I am supposed to write, the less fun and the more difficult it is for me to actually transfer it to the page.

So, what does that mean? I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which should be perfect for anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, but here is where life throws me a curve-ball: NaNoWriMo is on a tight schedule. Having a certain word goal every day, getting badges and that sweet satisfaction from reaching certain milestones is something I find terribly motivating. I am also a competitive person at heart (at least when the only person I am competing against is myself), so I REALLY want to reach those goals – at whatever price. And all too often that price is a suffering quality of my writing.

NaNo is not meant for creating a perfect first draft. It’s quite the opposite! It’s supposed to help you break free of the chains of an overthinking mind and to just get. things. done. It’s a tool to get a story on paper, not to send it to publishers right after, but rather to have a framework for the amazing tale you can shape out of it once you get to editing. Now, editing is the bane of my existence. I hate it with all my heart, probably for similar reasons I don’t like outlining.

All of the things I have mentioned above lead to a certain realisation. I am not claiming my #witchyWIP is perfect! I know it is not, but the first chapters that I wrote before NaNo started were of a certain quality. I was aware that it needed tidying up, but I didn’t despise the existence of entire chapters. With me getting into a competitive NaNo mindset and really wanting to hit those word count marks, I just wrote and wrote but overall, I wasn’t really happy with the content I put out there (you have to know that I always share my work with a couple people. Let me know if you want to read a writing insights post on sharing your unfinished work!) So, I made the decision to not participate in NaNo for this project anymore. For me personally, there was no joy in getting chapters done if I wasn’t ultimately happy with what they contained. There was simply no point for me and I don’t regret my choice.

So, to all the brave NaNo writers who are still going – I wish you the best of luck! I hope you have a great time during the event, but I am out.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are things going for you? Have you participated before or do you want to in the future? Let’s chat!