January 2019 Wrap-Up

For the first time in a long time, this section in the beginning that is always dedicated to books, isn’t completely empty. I’ve gotten a bit of my reading groove back and had a blast with most of the reads I picked. Not gonna lie, I have become even more careful with the selection of stories I actually read, just because I don’t want to end up in the slump that was the previous year again.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea  Dumplin’ Movie Tie-in Edition  Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)  Echo North

Like in the olden days, click on the titles to get to my reviews and on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads!

January was a challenging month for me. I don’t want to get into the details as most of what happened was very private and took me a long time to come to terms with, so I’d rather not rehash it all. However, all of that made January feel like years and the blink of an eye at the same time. It was a strange one, so much so that I didn’t even hesitate for a second writing the date in the title. I am DEEP into 2019 already.

All that aside, I did actually post a couple new chapters in the Google Doc for the #witchyWIP that still roams my mind just … every single day. I haven’t had the time and energy to write the way I wanted to, but maybe going with the craze and switching to Comic Sans as a font did help a little bit. I have also decided to publish the existing chapters on wattpad in the near future. Any takers for that? (I hope so, because at least some people were interested in a little Twitter poll I did)

So, while I’ve been productive to a certain degree and able to balance some aspects of my life better than others, I am somewhat glad this month is over. It just wasn’t exactly a smooth start into 2019.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

Hands down, it just HAS to be a tie between Halt and Catch Fire and the Roswell reboot on the CW. Both of those shows have completely enthralled me for very different reasons, so don’t make me choose!

Halt and Catch Fire has complex characters that aren’t really likable … at all. They are so very flawed, but as you watch, they grow on you big time and you cannot help but love them regardless. Also, it’s set in the world of computer programming and engineering in the 80s with excellent female badasses. 10/10 would recommend if you are into slow character studies (and a better Mad Men).

Roswell, New Mexico on the other hand is everything CW represents and I am here for it. It has beautiful actors and actresses, most of whom will look very familiar from previous shows on the network. It feels very current, with them not holding back on making political statements and trying their best at integrating LGBTQ+ characters (I say try, because sometimes they are misguided, but I give them A for effort). Most importantly though, I like this reboot so, so, so, so, so much more than the Charmed one (They lost me when they butchered the whole whitelighter storyline). Roswell, NM is nothing like the show from the 90s, but you DEFINITELY have the chemistry between the characters. It works that they are all aged up to adults and I feel like they all got more pressing conflicts than their High School equivalents did. It’s still early days, but I am in love.

MY POSTS

2018 IN REVIEW

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

That was a short recap of my month of January! I hope you had a less turbulent start into the new year and I am looking forward to chatting with you!

December Wrap-Up – 2018 in Rewind

It’s no secret that I haven’t been reading much these past months. I am glad to say that I managed to read at least 3 books (two of which were comics) in December. It’s more than I have read in a long time, so I am still quite content. If you’ve missed my mini-reviews, you can read them all here.

  • Heart of Gold (Act I) by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner (5 stars)
  • Venustransit by Hamed Eshrat (3 stars)
  • Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter (4.5 stars)

Heart of Gold Act I  Venustransit  Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)

Just like in old times, click on the book cover to get re-directed to Goodreads!

And even though there really isn’t as much to show as there was in previous years, I still want to share my reading statistics from Goodreads with you! (If you have a Goodreads account of your own, you should be able to find these stats on the right hand side of your profile.)

It has been the lowest amount of books in YEARS for me. As a bookworm/bookdragon, I am not entirely happy with that number, but then again, it’s the most I could have done in 2018. It may not be as much as others have managed, but there are people out there who read 1-2 books a year and they’d surely think I was crazy for reading so much. There’s always two sides to each story.

In addition, I am not surprised my shortest book was THIS short. I have started to read more and more graphic novels and comics and a lot of the time they don’t have an enormous page count. But tomes like Obsidian are rare for me anyway. I whole-heartedly agree with my average page number, because around 300 pages is truly what I feel most comfortable with length-wise with a book.

Lastly, my average rating has also gotten lower in 2018. I was usually somewhere just about 4 and this is the first year that I have ended up below that average. It’s nothing bad per se, it’s still a really high rating overall, but it also means that I wasn’t as good at picking my reads this year. Here’s to hoping 2019 I will get back on track!

2018 once again was a year of very irregular blogging for me. Aside from the trailer posts, I have really struggled to find a work-life-balance that includes this little corner of the internet. No matter how much I tried, I was unable to do more than the bare minimum and engage with everyone (especially on their platforms) the way I wanted to. Still, you showed up anyway and kept this blog from plummeting into nothingness and I am so very grateful for that! 

Just like 2017, this year was also a strange one. Some really amazing stuff has happened, but in the end, 2018 leaves a bitter taste behind. The general atmosphere was filled with loads of anxiety, stress, frustration and sometimes helplessness. I genuinely hope that 2019 will have an overall better vibe, because we all deserve a break, but I don’t want to leave it on a bad note and rather celebrate some really amazing milestones instead.

  • The blog currently has 2,267 WordPress followers, a number that kept growing even when my posts dwindled. Add the 31 people who follow me via e-mail and we are SO close to 2,300. What a nice number!
  • This is post #999, so I will start the new year with a fantastic milestone!
  • I really, really want to give a shout-out to my top commenters, because they are such lovely people and always brighten my day. Thank you Marie, The Orang-utan Librarian, Caro, Savannah, Beth, Marta and Rami!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2018

(click on the title of the post to read it!)

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook (Book Review + Movie Trailer): I am honestly a little bit surprised that my most visited post is a book review, especially for a book that was written FOR a movie and not the other way round. I can’t say this was a favourite read of mine, but I am glad people seem to be curious about it nonetheless.

Still Star-Crossed: Book vs. TV Show: This review was actually written in 2017, but I think it actually got more views this year than when I actually wrote it. I guess people miss a cool historical show with POC characters. Who can blame them?

The Netflix Book Tag: We all love Netflix. No surprise here!

How I See Myself as a Fictional Character: This post was actually one of the most fun to write for me this year, so I am very, very happy to see it resonated well. Eden Rhodes will forever be my alter ego!

Your WIP in Gifs Tag: It seriously warms my heart to know that people want to know more about Arcadia. I don’t know if the success of the post is due to the gifs or not, but I am elated either way. (In case you missed it, I also did my WIP in Gifs for the #witchyWIP, click here to check out that post!)

MY (DECEMBER) POSTS

Lastly, here is what I’ve written this past month:

WRITING RELATED

TV SHOW RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had great holidays if you celebrated and even more so, I hope you have a great start into the new year! Do you have any resolutions for 2019? I am going to do best of lists for 2018 in the upcoming days, with a special focus on TV shows and books. I hope you’ll enjoy those posts as well!

My WIP in Gifs Tag! (again)

I already did this tag a while ago for Arcadia (it was originally created by Michelle @The Writing Hufflepuff) and I had so much with it, that I now really want to dive into it for the #witchyWIP! I was always fascinated with witches, but being surrounded by such a witch comeback on TV, I just feel so motivated to work on it. I hope you’ll enjoy reading the post as much as I enjoyed working on it!

THE RULES

💛 Thank the person who tagged you
💛 Credit the creator of this tag (Michelle!) and link back to this post so she can find out aaaall about your WIPs!
💛 Try to limit the amount of gifs you use per question – I’d say maybe stick to five or less but I’m not the boss of you

THE QUESTIONS

Sum up your WIP in 4 gifs!

I hope this will make sense eventually but I am not even through planning the story at the moment.

Time to introduce your main characters!

August

That girl has the patience of a saint, but if anyone comes for Josh, she’s not going to hesitate for a second to get into a fight!

Josh

Josh has a heart of gold and can charm the pants off of pretty much anyone. It’s hard not to swoon for him (but that’s just my opinion)

Rosalie

Rosalie loves her children with the fierceness of a thousand suns … sometimes she goes to far though.

Mirabella

This is on point Mira ever since she laid eyes on August.

Matthew

None of you (not even the Google Doc people) have met Matthew yet, but this will make more sense once he shows up … in the future … at some point

How would your main character react in a crisis?

August is the Queen of Crisis! I am pretty sure she’d be calm and collected with a plan already forming in the back of her mind.

If you were to meet your main characters, how would you react?

Nothing can get me near those folks, but I’d be there watching from a distant, all giddy inside!

And if you were to meet your antagonist?

I’d be out of there so fast and I don’t even have a specific antagonist in mind right now.

Is there any romance in your WIP? How would you sum it up in gifs?

I don’t want to give anything away on this one. You can guess for yourself what this romance is and who it is about. I’d love to hear your theories and may even be willing to tell you if you are right!

How do other characters feel about this ship?

They are generally not too happy …

How do you want people to react to reading your WIP?

I TAG THEE

Since I already did this tag and nominated a couple of friends to do it, I just want everyone to have the opportunity to take part now! So, if you are a writer and want to tell us about your WIP, consider yourself tagged!!


What are your thoughts on the #witchyWIP? I shared some snippets of it during the Rising Author Tag if you want to know more. Tell me all about it in the comments!

November 2018 Wrap-Up

Can you believe it? I actually read something last month. It doesn’t really warrant a full round-up of books, as it was one singular novel, but I am still glad that books haven’t left my life entirely. I read Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (click on the title to get to my review) but I also got halfway through A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I am enjoying it a lot so far, but I was just super busy and didn’t get around to finishing it before the end of the month.

So, what else has been happening in November? It was a time of doing nothing and way too much at the same time. I still haven’t managed to make any friends outside of work. That fact leads to me really looking forward to the weekend and having a little bit of a break, while also dreading it endlessly because I will be all by myself. However, no one can tell me that I haven’t made an effort!

During the past month, I went to a number of events – some related to work, others completely on my own volition! I got to go to the opening of a new cinema, where they showed an exclusive advance screening of Fantastic Beasts 2. Also, the opening screening (with one of our films) of the French Film Week in Berlin, and two concerts. I was especially excited about the Hozier concert, because I’ve seen him live before and it was the best.

The concert turned out to be even better than I expected. I was seated (this was a surprise as the event wasn’t supposed to be seated) right behind the opening act (Saint Sister) and Andrew basically sang while looking our way the entire time. In a way, it felt a little like he was singing it all to me and I still felt free enough to sing my heart out in return.

And then, this week, Saint Sister was back in Berlin playing their own gig and I went to that concert too. Again, I was kind of on my own on this one, but Saint Sister (just like Hozier) and their opening act, Ciaran Lavery, are all from Ireland and there were a lot of Irish people around, I sort of felt at home. I honestly don’t really know what happened, but I was in this crowd of strangers and they were playing beautiful music and … I just started crying and didn’t even care? Afterwards, I had a really nice chat with Ciaran and I wasn’t even the one who approached him. He started talking to me and what has my life become?

I want to do more of those things. Maybe find more Irish acts who perform in Berlin? Because I have a feeling that the same people tend to visit those gigs and maybe that will mean I’ll finally find some likeminded folks and hopefully also friends here? Anyway, it was all a lot of fun and really exciting but at the same time massively exhausting. I am still surprised I didn’t get sick like 80% of my co-workers did.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

It simply has to be the fact that I actually got to meet Andrew (Hozier) after the concert. He is the kindest, tallest bean out there and he even signed my ticket. What a lovely bloke!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Again, I was terribly bad at keeping up with your posts, unless you tagged me in them. However, a couple of you took part in NaNoWriMo and I just want to say I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! No matter if you wrote 1 or 50,000+ words, you attempted something brave and deserve recognition for it. So, if you have a round-up on your NaNo experience or any other kind of post you’d like to share with me, don’t hesitate to leave a link in my comments!

MY POSTS

WRITING RELATED

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

This was my month! How was yours? Do you have any kind of favourite type of event where you like to meet new people? Let’s chat!

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!

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 (click on the titles to read the stories). 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!