Let’s Talk About “Arcadia”!

I’ve gained a lot of followers in the last couple of months (thank you for that!!!), but I have now wondered how many of those people actually know what I am talking about when I mention Arcadia in tags or monthly-wrap ups. So, this is a little introduction to my personal WIP for those of you are unfamiliar with it or haven’t heard about it in a while!

First things first, what is it even about?

Kasia and Dyson have known each other their entire lives, their paths intertwining at every crossroad. So forgetting he ever existed doesn’t make any sense to Kasia and neither does finding out about the magical beings that took him away from her. Now, with the help of some allies with motives of their own, she will do everything she can to get him back, not knowing if either one of them will ever be the same after all is said and done.

Writing a synopsis for my own story is what I am the absolute worst at, however, I hope it gave you some perspective of what it could be about. It’s Fantasy, because I tried regular contemporary but missed my magical elements to bits!

I first started writing this story late in 2016, but then got a bit distracted when I went abroad in 2017. I am now fully committed to write more again, with regular updates in sight. So far, I have shared about 14 chapters (including a prologue) via wattpad. I know that not all of you have an account, but so far it is still the easiest way for me to share the story with a broader audience. I have been looking into alternatives, but nothing has seemed right yet. Anyway, you can read the prologue here without an account, but will need one for further chapters. *whispers* but if you shoot me a nice email and really, really want to read what I have written so far, I might be persuaded to send you a pdf-file! Clearly this is THE secret way of getting my story and you are the only one who knows about it now …

If you would like some more visual impressions of the story, I have somehow managed to include my pinterest board for Arcadia in the post (believe me, that was more difficult than I thought it would be).

There is a variety of characters you will get to meet throughout reading Arcadia and I have introduced most of the main cast in some previous posts. Through some sort of miracle, I have actually been able to make people care about them and I hope you will too, if you decide to take a closer look! Feel free to check those posts out, the latest come first and the oldest posts are listed last.

Previous posts about Arcadia:

I hope I didn’t send you too much through the archives of my blog, but I really hope I could maybe persuade you to check out my WIP! Getting comments, live reactions, gifs and any kind of feedback has kept me motivated so far and I am sure will do so in the future as well.

Who of my lovely followers is a writer as well? How do you feel about sharing your WIP? Have you already checked out Arcadia?

All Hallows Write Tag

I saw this post recently on Melissa @The Bookish Wanderer‘s blog and I absolutely loved the idea. So, although she didn’t tag me personally, she did insinuate that everyone who writes could do this. It’s been a while since I mentioned Arcadia, but (my cousin can attest to that) I am working on it. There’s some problem solving happening and I hope to share more soon. Anyway, I always love a little insight into the characters and this is the perfect chance. So, here’s the All Hallows Write Tag!

RULES

  • Provide a short description of your story!
    There’s been so many posts about Arcadia already and I still haven’t gotten any better at describing it. Where to start? It’s about a couple having to find their way back to each other after some magical beings messed with their lives (aka kidnapped the boyfriend into another world). Getting tangled up in an ancient struggle for power, they have to be careful to not get sucked in too deep before it is too late.
    I am working on that pitch. It’s not at all where I want it to be yet. You can check out the first 10+ chapters here if you are interested. They are a much better representation of the story.
  • Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers!

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

It’s Halloween night! What is your protagonist dressed up as?

I feel like neither Kasia nor Dyson would wear something scary, but rather something geeky instead. Couples costumes are out of the question though, just because Kasia very much values her independence and is too chaotic to coordinate. So, in the end, I think Kasia would go as Lara Croft and Dyson as Milo from Atlantis, that way they’d both be adventurers at least, even if they were from different stories.

Who in your cast refuses to dress up and shows up at the Halloween party without a costume?

Alaya, for sure! I very much believe she’d think it’s just a stupid human tradition and she’d see absolutely no reason whatsoever to partake in that.

Which character wears the most outrageous costume, and what would it be?

When it comes to style, Georgie likes to change it up the most from the entire cast. Something tells me that she would not hesitate to go all out and have some elaborate period costume for Halloween. She would then proceed to make up an incredibly enchanting and outrageous backstory for her character, without that person ever having existed.

On Halloween, werewolves, vampires, and zombies are on the prowl. Which of your characters gets caught in their clutches, and which creature do they subsequently turn into?  

Is it cheating if I say Kasia? Because, you know … the wolf thing … but in all seriousness, that girl is the most likely to get herself into some sort of trouble by accident.

Who wins the contest for best costume?

Again, Georgie! She is a mastermind when it comes to clothes/costumes/disguises/whatever you want to call it.

Who hands out toothbrushes to the trick and treaters?

Hmmm … I want to say that I can’t imagine anyone doing that, but then I thought maybe Findlay would. Not so much as a healthy precaution for the trick and treaters, but rather to get their house a bad reputation and keep unwanted guests from ringing the doorbell. That seems like something he would try to achieve, just because he hates unannounced guests.

Which two of your characters decide to pair up and do an angel/devil costume together?

Georgie might force Findlay to do that with her, but then she would make him the devil even though he is definitely the angel when it comes to the both of them. And again, Georgie would go totally over the top, whereas Findlay’s costume would be super slick and sharp lines, kind of like the Lucifer from the TV show.

Someone is too scared to even attend the Halloween party. Who is it?

Well, if it’s an actually scary party where they watch horror movies or go to a haunted house and prank each other with jump scares – count Kasia out! She does not like to be scared.

Who overdoses on Halloween candy and ends up sick?

As smart of a man as Dyson is, he has an incredible sweet tooth and will definitely go overboard if given the chance.

Which character is most likely to place a curse/hex on someone and who would they curse?

Oh man, when there are actual curses in your story and several cast members are affected … how do I answer this? *cough* Alaya *cough*

I TAG THEE

Whoever of my lovely writer friends wants to do this, you are hereby officially tagged! Have fun!

What did you think of this tag? For those who have read Arcadia so far, do you agree with my choices?

Writing Life: First Drafts

I am no pro when it comes to writing. I have never published a book or worked in the industry to give any sort of founded advice. Having said that, I do consider myself a writer and with that come certain opinions and thoughts about the topic of writing in general. So, since I have been more interested in creating discussion posts for the blog lately, I’d like to introduce this new feature to talk about the writing life as well as updates on my very own work in progress – Arcadia!

Sharing your writing is always terrifying, no matter if you are a seasoned writer or a newbie. I’ve mentioned this a couple times, but the version of Arcadia that I am constantly uploading right now is only the first draft. Most writers wouldn’t do such a thing! They might show that draft to a trusted critique partner, but most likely they will polish it up beforehand. Quite a few people have called me brave for doing what I do, but I don’t think it’s any braver than sharing later versions. There’s a certain expectation that comes along with first drafts. The general advice is to just get the project done and fix whatever terrible mess you made later on in editing. But does that really work for everyone? Does it always have to be a bad first draft?

We are all different people, obviously, and therefore we also have different ways of writing. I know quite a few folks who have to plot everything meticulously before they can even start thinking about writing their chapters. I, on the other hand, need to just write whatever comes to mind with a rough idea of where I want the chapters to end. While so many people don’t share their unfinished/unpolished work, I need the affirmation and interest of my friends and sometimes random strangers on the internet to keep me motivated to write. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. It’s basically a general – you do you! Does that mean that I think my first draft is perfect? No! I am trying my best to make it a coherent story, but I still make mistakes. Some of them are small, others will cause a bit of problems later on, but that is what editing is for. It’s only normal to not get it perfectly right from the get go, however, I do have the hope that I won’t need a gazillion more drafts during the process of editing. I’d like to think that whatever I am putting out in the world now isn’t utter garbage!

Thinking back to my first finished story Break Up Buddy though, I know I did not care as much about how the first draft ended. And I needed that freedom for the story to be shitty! First of all, I wrote it during NaNoWriMo and I was determined to win. It was 2014 and my first time really participating. I got super competitive with myself in reaching the daily word count and that it was more important to me to get the story done rather than make it a good story in itself. That’s basically what that entire event is for and I loved it. I enjoyed participating so much, I met great people and I FINALLY got that story out of my head. It was an important step for me, but then I reread it all a couple months later and it was just terrible! (Utterly cringe-worthy for the most part to be exact) I never got through that process of editing it, simply because I had to change so much, I didn’t know how to handle it. That’s why I am now trying to get it “more right” on the first try than I did back then. I am taking time with the chapters and I know I will still need to work on it, but it won’t have to be an entirely different story to get done.

This is all just my personal experience. If you are someone who works better with not caring so much during the first draft – go you! We all work differently and shouldn’t be held to certain expectations or feel constrained by what others do or don’t do.

So, up to you! Are you more someone who just lets things happen and fixes them later, or do you prefer to do everything “right” from the beginning? Let’s talk!

777 Challenge

I just got tagged for the 777 Challenge by Michelle @The Writing Hufflepuff and I am so grateful she did! Currently, I am really trying to get back into the writing game, because I have so much time and can finally give Arcadia the attention it deserves. So, what is it I actually have to do for the challenge? Very simple – share seven lines from the seventh page of my WIP!

  1. The neon sign was still turned off, blinds were down to keep anyone from looking inside and most noticeably the door was locked, no matter how much Kasia rattled at it.
  2. “Never seen a woman in crisis over not being able to see her psychic?”
  3. “If you have to be so petty about it, then at least be precise.”
  4. “I owe you nothing.”
  5. When she tried to touch the stone, her hand instantly snapped back.
  6. “You opened up this realm of possibilities and now you expect me to just go on my merry way?”
  7. “I am sorry, but I wasn’t the one who did this to you.”

So, that’s it! I hope it makes you more curious about my work if you haven’t checked it out yet (you can do so HERE). Now it’s time for some others to try this challenge, but please don’t feel obliged or pressured!

I TAG THEE

Writing Insights #5: Lacking Energy

lackenergy

Writing is great! It’s a way to express yourself, to tell your story. However, that doesn’t always mean we have the time or energy to actually write. What can one do in such a case? This question was asked by Chrissie @Bloggin’ and Writing and it’s such a good topic, so I am going to center this whole post around it. (Which is also a reminder that if you ever have questions or want me to talk about a certain topic, just say so in the comments or shoot me a mail! I am very open to ideas!)

I’d say there are two reasons of why we aren’t writing when we want to. One is that life is simply getting in the way and we actually don’t have one free minute to do what we would like to do. And the second is that there is something blocking our writing chi, and that’s always extremely difficult to pin down, and then we end up in an endless loop in procrastination station. Well, fear not! I have some tips for you (but without guarantee, because all writers are unique unicorns and the same methods don’t work for us all)!

  • If you are just hurrying from one appointment to the other, how about you take a little notebook with you? And I am not talking massive, heavy thing that will just weigh down your purse/backpack/whatever-you-use-to-carry-things. I am talking about something that’s maybe an A6-format notebook with about 30-40 pages. It’s thin and very easy to take with you. I have about a gazillion of them, because they cost approximately 1 Euro each at the art supply store. They are filled in no time, because unlike with super pretty notebooks, I am not afraid to write in them or to mess up and scratch things. Since I suggest you use them on public transport, lunch break or while you are waiting for an appointment, it’s not even meant to be filled with full sentences, but notes that you can get back to later on. As long as you can read the handwriting, you WILL be able to transcribe it later on.
    Side note: they are also super handy for sketches and observations!

So, that advice was obviously for people who don’t have much time, but what if you are like me and YouTube, Tumblr or Pinterest swallows all your free time? Deep down, you know that there’s a story just waiting to be written down, but … cute kittens can be so distracting! Well, here are some ways to channel that procrastination power:

  • YouTube and Spotify can be a hole that’s difficult to get out of. But if you hear a song that really speaks to you, start making a playlist for your story. Maybe one of the songs seems like the perfect theme song for your character or it inspires you to write a certain scene. It may seem unimportant in that moment, but it might just trigger a great writing session later on!
  • Not all of us are artistically inclined people, but some of you out there can draw and paint things that give me serious heart-eye-emoji! So, why not get inspired by your own work? Even if you aren’t a painting wiz or super tech savvy, there are a lot of things you can do. How about a map for your world? I once had a story set in the real world, but I printed out different Google maps images, rearranged them and added in parts with pencil. It was so much fun. Or how about character aesthetics? I just made one for a new character in the story called Findlay. Finding pictures that I thought would be fitting for him took a long time, but it also gave me a clearer picture of who I wanted him to be. Even if I changed my mind afterwards, it was a sort of character study.

findlay3

Obviously nothing t I just said is fool proof! But it is a way to get to know yourself, the story and characters a little better, so that even when you aren’t writing actual chapters, you don’t forget about your WIP altogether. That’s already worth something in my book.

Finally, I have updated Arcadia on wattpad again! You can read the whole story as well as the new chapter here. Since I wasn’t able to post much last week, I might treat you to a second chapter and maybe even Writing Insights post this week!

How do you feel about my advice? Do you have helpful tips to add?

Writing Insights #4: Reading vs. Writing

rvsw

Not all readers want to be writers, however, most writers are avid readers. So, how do you combine the two? Let’s talk about that in today’s Writing Insights!

I’ve decided to go with Reading vs. Writing as a topic this week, because it is something I have been struggling with lately. As a book blogger, I don’t just read for fun, but I also feel like it is my duty to read a decent amount of them each month. (Don’t worry, I am not reading just because I have to. I also want to. How couldn’t I!? Reading is the best!) But ever since I started concentrating more and more on my writing again, I found it difficult to combine those two worlds.

The first reason of why it isn’t easy is simply that I love to immerse myself in the world that I am reading about. I bet you like to do the same, but the problem is that as soon as I am all “Uuuuh, I love the villain!” or “Don’t hurt my precious baby!!!”, I don’t waste a single thought on my own characters anymore. Their story just sort of drifts out of my mind and I don’t want that to happen, but apparently I am a very single-minded person and it still does. More often than not it feels impossible to focus on both things and like I have to choose, even when I really don’t want to, because in addition to aforementioned quality, I am also greedy and want all the things at once.

Also, I sometimes feel like I am influenced a lot by what I read, which is a good thing, because it means the writer did their job well. However, I don’t want those influences to immediately show in my writing.

So, what do I do?

  • I always carry a notebook with me just in case, but I’ve dedicated certain days are meant for writing. I won’t even touch a book on those, except if I am in a really, really interesting part or need to finish a chapter for closure-reasons.
  • When I am done with a chapter, I reward myself with some reading time. I don’t even really limit this at all. If I feel like reading an entire book afterwards, that’s what I’ll do. If I just want one chapter then that’s okay too.
  • I am never fighting my mood. Gut feeling is everything and I’ve learned that forcing myself to read OR write never ends well. If all else fails, I’ll just watch a TV show.

How do you balance your reading and your writing? Do you have any tips?

Lastly, I’ve already announced it in my monthly wrap-up, but I’ve uploaded my WIP Arcadia to wattpad. As of right now there is the prologue and two more chapters on there. If you are interested in reading the story, please click here. I would appreciate all and any kind of feedback, emoji response or whatever you can think of! You can always leave a comment, shoot me a mail or send me a DM on Twitter!

 

Writing Insights #2: Routines & Inspiration

ri

Welcome back to my new feature Writing Insights! In case you missed you missed the first part of this new series chronicling my writing adventures, just click here to check it out. I bet you didn’t think I would be back with this quite so soon, but since I am still not very much in the mood for tags, yet feel very inspired to write, I thought I’d just go with the flow here.

Thanks to your questions from last time, we also have great topics today!

Routines & Inspiration

First question is from Rami @Rami Ungar the writer: “Do you have a particular writing routine?”

Short Answer: No

Long Answer: Kind of.

Just kidding, that wasn’t the whole answer. I don’t have a set time or schedule of when I write. I also don’t really have a particular routine I go through before I feel comfortable to write. There’s no ceremonial tea brewing or pencil sharpening before I can let my thoughts pour out, I mostly just write down everything and anything that comes to mind when inspiration hits.
Generally I don’t like to snack while reading or writing though. And neither drinking very much to be honest. I just find it very inconvenient and am always afraid I am going to spill something or get sticky/greasy fingers. So, that’s sort of a no-go. What I can’t do without is music though. It either has to be something that fits the scene or something that can play in the background without distracting me too much. If I ever do need to concentrate more than usual, I will just turn it down. Complete silence doesn’t work for me personally.
Also, I do prefer writing on my laptop, but I really will take any kind of scrap of paper I can find if necessary. The only thing I insist adamantly upon is the pen I write with. Do you know that weird feeling when a pen just doesn’t sit right in your hand or you see the colour fading? I don’t know why, but that annoys me to no end. So, whenever I don’t type away on my laptop, I need a pen I like … and defining that is something I am not capable of.

Do you have a writing routine? Please don’t hesitate to share!

Second Question is from CW @Read, Think, Ponder: “Where do you draw your inspiration from, particularly the fantasy/magical elements?”

General inspiration can come from any of the following sources:

  • Music
  • Movies/TV shows and the actors/actresses involved
  • Random people on the street/coffee shop/whereever-you-tend-to-see-random-people-being-random
  • A photograph or painting
  • Dreams
  • Conversations you have with your bff/family/colleagues

I know that was super vague, but I believe in all honesty that everything can be an inspiration, which is also why I always have a pen and notebook at hand. I have several filled with random observations during the day or thoughts/dreams I had. However, the question was more specific than that and therefore is also more complicated to answer.

I will admit that I sometimes often struggle with originality. A lot of my ideas come from stories I heard and liked. That can be anything from a current TV show to a century-old myth. But there is something weirdly universal about fairy tales and myth that you can, if not always at least a lot of the time, twist to the needs of your story. Technically there are no bounds when it comes to magical worlds, you can literally make up whatever you like. However, everything in our rational mind demands rules, even magic. Figuring out those rules is one of the hardest jobs ever, because there has to be a consistency in the logic of your magic, even when it defies logic. Am I making sense yet?
I always admire people who can come up with a new concept or at least a fresh spin on a topic, because that really is the tricky part and something I always aspire to do in my own writing. One of my first long stories I’ve ever written was about a group of teens who each had control over one element and I thought I had come up with something great right there. Not even weeks later I discovered The Last Airbender on TV and felt like an utter fraud. Because even though I didn’t draw inspiration from the show at the time, it was all the rage and surely people would think I had “stolen” the idea from them. I didn’t even think about the fact that writers had been using that kind of magic for ages already and that some elements were bound to repeat themselves in stories.

So, what this boils down to is that I sometimes draw from existing stories, but always try to make it my own somehow. And in some rare cases, it creates something new entirely and that is just the best feeling.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

As promised I now have the Prologue for Kasia’s and Dyson’s story for you. The title is coming … soon-ish … I just really haven’t found the right one yet. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I am also very open to topic suggestions, because I would really love for this to continue to be an interactive feature! Sharing my writing is always extremely nerve-racking, so I hope you enjoy!

prologue
Kasia was breathless from hiking up the trail, nervously glancing at her watch every other second. There wasn’t much time left and she knew it. Yet she was also miserably aware that if she went any faster now, she would simply pass out and that would do no one any good. As she got closer to the top, the air felt electrically charged, making her skin tingle – a good indication that she had chosen the right place.
The forest around her was thinning, giving way to a gorgeous mountain view she had absolutely no eye for. The stars above illuminated her path as she concentrated on a blurry spot in the middle of a collection of large rocks. It looked like they were placed in specific positions, a stone circle, which even a layman would catch. With relief she threw off her backpack, freeing herself from the heavy weight that had seemed to drag her down for even longer than the duration of the hike. It took all of her remaining energy, but she started sprinting towards the peculiar place. The closer she got, the more obvious it was that something or someone was manifesting in the stone circle.
A grin spread on her face.
“Dyson!”
“Kasia.” He breathed her name as if it were life itself. There was nothing she wanted to do more than throw herself at him, shower him with kisses and drown him in hugs, but she stopped abruptly before the invisible border of the circle. She knew the rules, he couldn’t get out, just like she couldn’t get in. So instead, Kasia took in everything that had changed about Dyson, everything that had stayed exactly the same. She had always been a tall girl, but he still towered over her, his skin as sun kissed as ever. His hair had turned shaggy, his beard scruffy, but it was so like him to look unruly. She’d have recognised him that way any day. There was only one noticeable difference she couldn’t ignore.
“You’re …”
“Older?” He said with a sad smile.
“Yes … how is that possible?” Dyson was only two days older than her, but now it could have just as easily been 10 years.
“Time moves differently where I am.”
Kasia nodded as if she knew exactly what that meant. She didn’t want to lead on that everything was growing way over her head already.
“Where exactly are you?” But there was only silence in response. “Dyson? I need to know.”
“No.”
“What do you mean? ‘No’?”
“You have to stop this impossible search. You have to let go.” He extended a hand as if to comfort her, forgetting all about his invisible restraints. The moment his hand left the circle, he began to fray at the edges. Kasia tried to get a hold of him for just a second, but all she grabbed was thin air.
Defeated, she sank to the floor. “But what if I can’t?” She whispered to the sky as the first light of dawn slowly reached the mountains. Time was up. Her vision changed, her bones began to creak, her whole body fighting against too many sensations at once – the transformation had begun.

Writing Insights #1: Where Do I Even Start?

wdies

Hello there lovelies! I suppose it is time for a new feature here on Life and Other Disaster and it’s one about writing, my WIP and all the struggles that come with it. A dear friend of mine said she’d be interested in something like this (I love you Marie, you are the best! Thank you for all the support!) and just to confirm you would be on board with this, I also did a Twitter poll and your responses were the best and most welcoming! This is still a topic that makes my heart race and my stomach tie up, simply because I am always nervous to share my stories. However, I am totally getting ahead of myself. This will be a feature in several parts and today is all about:

Where Do I Even Start?

First off, I am Jon-Snowing this thing. I am in no way an authority on writing and there are people out there who are way more organised than me. Truth is, I am a messy writer. I have barely to no plan at all, I just dive into it straight ahead and here are some reasons why that can be an issue:

  • If you don’t outline your story, you will eventually get stuck in the middle of story-nowhere with no idea of how to go on. You don’t have to know all the details of the journey before starting, but you should at least know where you want to end up. I found that out the hard way.
  • Research is NOT one of my favourite past times, but it is very often necessary. If you don’t do that beforehand, you might have to stop right in the middle of a writing spree, simply because you have no idea how many years it takes to get a doctorate in archaeology or something like that. Wouldn’t that be a shame?
  • When you write without a plan, you just go with the flow. There is really no limit as to how rough a rough draft can be, but editing is hard and just floating from scene to scene won’t make it easier in the aftermath. (Also learnt this from experience …)

So, I want to do this right. I still need to do my research, although I doubt that I will do it all before I get into the writing process. However, I do want to outline a timeline, just to make my life a little easier. That won’t stop me from writing random scenes that I’ll add in later anyway. Something I always do though, and it’s something that I simply cannot live without, is figuring out my main characters. They need name, age, quirks, likes and dislikes, because otherwise it doesn’t feel real to me and it probably won’t feel real to you, the readers, either. What I really enjoy doing is casting them, but I haven’t really done so this time around, instead I made character aesthetics. I never thought it would be this difficult to find the right pictures, but at the same time it showed me that I had very specific ideas about who these people were supposed to be and what would properly represent them. To leave everything up for interpretation, I am just going to post them here without further explanation.

Kasia

kasia

Dyson

dyson

So, what do you think about them? Do you want to give any guesses as to what their personality could be like? There’s definitely some magic in this story, but more about that later. I have no idea how often I will post Writing Insights, but next time will include the Prologue of Kasia and Dyson’s story … which still doesn’t have a title. Is there something in particular you would like to know about my writing process? Any and all questions are very welcome!