Writing Life: Valentine’s Day Write Tag!

As promised, I’m trying to add more writing content to the blog again. The Valentine’s Day Write Tag is a creation of yours truly to help you get to know your characters better. I have previously done this for my WIP Arcadia (you can check that out here) and decided it would be fun to revive it with Valentine’s coming up in a couple days. It’s all easy enough, but let’s revise the “rules”!

RULES

  • If you were tagged, thank the person who tagged you!
  • Please always link back to the original post! (I want to see all your lovely answers, people!)
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
    I’ll be doing this tag for BUB (I talked about it here)! It’s a flatshare romance set in Vancouver, where bookseller Raeleen has to deal with a new flatmate, assistant director Nick, while her best friend is abroad and she just got dumped.
  • Don’t use just one character for all answers if possible!

MY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

If there is a couple in your WIP, what are their plans for Valentine’s Day? And if there is no couple in your WIP, is there someone your main character would like to spend Valentine’s Day with?

Since BUB (Break Up Buddy) is essentially a friends to lovers arc, I’d think that Raeleen and Nick would go out and do some ridiculously cliché Valentine’s activities together – as friends. They’d have a good time and maybe even have some really intimate moments, but mostly they’d just have a good laugh at pretending to be a couple for a day. Which they can do very convincingly … a bit too well for it not to be true, one might say.

Who is the most likely to shamelessly go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day alone?

Jemma, Raeleen’s best friend, is an incredibly bold and independent person. She generally cringes at anything overtly romantic, so she would just treat this day like any other one.

One of your characters requests a song on the radio for their crush! Which song and for which character would they pick it?

Okay, once they’re actually together, I could see Nick doing that for Raeleen. They often have the radio on in the bookshop she’s working at and Nick would do it as a bit of a joke, but then pick an actually really sweet song. Maybe this one:

Is there a character who would organize an Anti-Valentine’s Day party?

I’m sure that someone would be up for Galentine’s Day instead, but I can’t think of any character who would go full out ANTI Valentine’s.

What romantic gesture would swoon your main character?

Raeleen loves words and books and someone noticing the smaller things. She would, however, absolute hate a grand gesture. The one thing that could totally win her over though would be an annotated copy of her favorite book with the time to discuss the material.

Which character would buy a bunch of red roses and hand them out to strangers on the street, just to make their day?

Alrighty, so … there’s this one character in the book – Prosper Reed – who’s this very handsome, young and charming bestselling author. I could see him do that as part of a publicity stunt, but also because he likes to do nice things for people.

What are your main character’s favorite Valentine’s movies? (Note: Valentine’s movies don’t have to be romantic!)

Raeleen is always hoping they play You’ve Got Mail at one of the local indie theaters for Valentine’s. There’s plenty of great movies on Netflix, but she can do that any day of the week. And with a potential love interest who works in film, it’s only natural they both enjoy the actual vibes of a good old cinema.

Who is ready for the February 15th, just to get all the chocolate on sale?

The question should rather be – who isn’t ready for all the chocolate on sale? Sam, Nick’s brother, might be the only one who’s more into sourpatch kids and gummy worms than chocolate, but the entire cast probably has a sweet tooth.

Is there a character who never spends Valentine’s Day alone aka always has some sort of situationship going on?

Hunter, Raeleen’s ex-boyfriend, usually goes from one relationship to another. If he doesn’t have a date, that would be highly confusing for him.

Bonus: Create a Valentine’s Day aesthetic for one or several of your characters!

The List of Questions (so it’s easier to copy and paste)

  • If there is a couple in your WIP, what are their plans for Valentine’s Day? And if there is no couple in your WIP, is there someone your main character would like to spend Valentine’s Day with?
  • Who is the most likely to shamelessly go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day alone?
  • One of your characters requests a song on the radio for their crush! Which song and for which character would they pick it?
  • Is there a character who would organize an Anti-Valentine’s Day party?
  • What romantic gesture would swoon your main character?
  • Which character would buy a bunch of red roses and hand them out to strangers on the street, just to make their day?
  • What are your main character’s favorite Valentine’s movies? (Note: Valentine’s movies don’t have to be romantic!)
  • Who is ready for the February 15th, just to get all the chocolate on sale?
  • Is there a character who never spends Valentine’s Day alone aka always has some sort of situationship going on?
  • Bonus: Create a Valentine’s Day aesthetic for one or several of your characters!

THE LINK UP!

I will add links to posts here, if anyone decides to participate!

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/js/widget/load.js?id=a8b40ada7693d64e5923


I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know in the comments what you thought and whether you’re going to participate yourself!

Writing Life: What Are My Plans?

In my post about my 2022 goals, I mentioned that I wanted to do more about writing on the blog again. I haven’t quite figured out a monthly feature yet, but I’ve decided to revive the “Writing Life” category. This will likely be just about random topics/updates on my progress as I work my way through projects this year instead of a really structured post. I hope you enjoy it regardless! Today, I want to talk about what I want to accomplish this year in writing specifically!

IT HAS BEEN SO LONG!?

I haven’t actively written anything (other than my secret fan fics that I will not ever share with you) for months. I’ve started a writing accountability thread on Twitter (check it out here), but knew that I had zero motivation to work on any of my unfinished scripts. I had all these ideas for stories and I want to see them come to live eventually, but couldn’t muster up the creative energy to write a single word. It was disheartening to be completely honest. I’ve always loved creating and writing, but there was just nothing in me. Whenever I opened a document, there was just this blank page and me disliking every word I tried to put on it.
So, instead, I thought I’d switch it up! I finally returned to the one and only project I ever finished Break Up Buddy! (or BUB, as I’ll call it moving forward) If you’ve followed me for a while, you may remember me talking about it before. However, I should warn you, that I archived a lot of posts from the blog and the BUB content isn’t really available on here anymore.

WHAT IS BUB?

To sum it up, it’s a contemporary flatmate romance, but I’m going to change so much! Reading my words from back then was cringey, there’s no other way to put it. I’m very proud of having written a full story with beginning, middle and end for NaNoWriMo 2014, but the quality was abysmal. I was “only” 21 back then and experienced so much since that just has me shaking my head at what I came up with. Still, there’s a general structure there than I can and want to work with!

I don’t want to go into details about the story, because despite some previous posts I’ve written, I’ve gotten more protective of my story and don’t want to reveal too much. I hope the above aesthetic gives off some vibes you can let your imagination run wild with though.

Here are some of the major changes I’m facing:

  • I’ve written the story in first person present tense and … I don’t think it works for me at all. I don’t enjoy writing in present tense in general and I’ve just learned from some friends that a lot of people actually struggle with reading first person POVs. So, the POV isn’t set in stone yet, but the present tense definitely has to go …
  • I’m changing the entire setting! BUB used to take place in Portland, Oregon, but is now moving to Vancouver, Canada. This isn’t just because I know my way around Vancouver about a million times better than Portland, but also because my male lead works in film and Vancouver is a prime location for that.
  • A lot of the scenarios I imagined were super over the top. Let’s face it, I just didn’t know better. This was how I imagined things to work or pan out based on Hallmark movies I had watched, but I’ve learned to appreciate some subtlety and depth in the past seven or so years and I mostly want to make this story less of a cliché.

As I’ve mentioned above, I have a thread on Twitter that I’m trying to update regularly with some of my progress. For now, it’s mostly outlining and planing the major changes. But for the first time in a long time, I’m excited to write again. I’ve missed this feeling!

CONCLUSION

Having something you actually want to work with and don’t dread doing is great. My plan for this year is simple, I want to get a majorly updated draft of BUB done. It still doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs a lot of work and I know I can do better, so I want to invest my time and focus in this one thing.

Yes, every writing post does have an obligatory Nick Miller reference. If you knew more about BUB, this would actually make so much more sense!

Previous Topics: (that I might no longer agree with 100%)


How are you doing with your writing this year? Do you have things you’re trying to focus on?

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!

Writing Life: Switching Between Ideas

It has literally been over a year since I’ve last used this feature or the previous version that was Writing Insights on the blog. While I have created a couple of write tags, I’ve given very little insight into my writing process and struggles I am facing lately. So, I am here today to talk about how I cope with several story ideas swarming my head, even when I want to focus on one of them alone. I feel like this topic isn’t just applicable for writers though, but also for bloggers who have a gazillion post ideas.

SHOULD YOU SWITCH BETWEEN IDEAS?

I don’t think there is any one way to answer this question. Some people need structure and focus to work on a single project, others need the rush of multitasking to get things done. Everyone is different and that’s a good thing. However, I can’t help but feel a little guilty for choosing to work on newer and shinier projects once the going gets hard on old favourites. Is it my fault for being so easily distracted or is it healthy to get things out of the way that seem to cloud your judgment and motivation for what you’ve been working on thus far?

Let me give you an example! As many of you know, I have been working on my story Arcadia (details about it here) for several years now. I may not be the fastest writer, I may not even do the best job I could with this first draft, but I am being the most dedicated I could be. At least that’s what I thought. As of late, my thoughts have become increasingly occupied by what I skillfully dubbed the #witchyWIP for now. I didn’t have a plot idea, I barely even had names for the characters, but these random scenes just kept invading my mind over and over until I wrote them down.

Here’s the first chapter/prologue that came as a result from that:

And after that, I just couldn’t really stop? I didn’t have answers to the questions I was asking myself with this story, but I sure as heck wanted to find out where it was all going. While I am usually very much a pantser for all my projects, I found myself outlining what could be (even though I am sure it’s not nearly as detailed or coordinated as other people do their outlines) and making notes in all my notebooks and on my phone whenever inspiration struck. So, while I still love Arcadia, Kasia and Dyson and everyone in the story very much, I just can’t seem to focus on that particular story right now. Does that mean I am going to abandon it altogether? Of course not! It’s a story I very much intend to finish and since I was going at snail-speed anyway, it doesn’t seem like it would make too much of a difference if I jotted down a couple scenes for something new in the meantime. Still, the guilt remains

For now, I have decided to just go with the flow and continue to write for whatever story idea I feel most inspired to work on. With everything that is going on outside of blogging, we will see how much time and energy I will have in the weeks to come anyway. But I would like to hear from you fellow bloggers and writers:

Do you get distracted by newer and shinier ideas as well sometimes? How do you balance wanting to explore something fresh, while continuing to work on your old projects at the same time? Do you get things done or gradually forget about what you previously worked on once a new idea comes to mind? I would love to discuss this topic with you in the comments below! 

The Milestones Write Tag

I haven’t done one of my infamous Write Tags in while and I know that at least some of my fellow writers on the blogosphere like doing them quite a bit. So this is your opportunity to explore your characters a bit more in depth, as I will do with my current WIP by answering the questions about Milestones as well. I miss talking about Arcadia (in case you are new to the blog – welcome! All the infos on Arcadia can be found here), because it’s my baby and I still have so much story to tell, but I know that the updates have been scarce. I just want you to know that you have all been amazingly helpful with your lovely feedback and reactions on Twitter and Wattpad. It’s such a motivation for me and seeing the number of views go up to 700 made my heart sing. There’s more coming soon – I promise!

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post(I want to see all your lovely answers, people!)
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
    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.
    You can check out this post to find out more about Arcadia!
  • Don’t use just one character for all answers if possible! (We want to get to know as many of your characters as possible)

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Can your Main Character (MC) remember their first day of school? Who was with them?

Kasia remembers her first day of school as if it had been yesterday. She was nervous as heck, because despite being an inquisitive child who loved to learn, she didn’t know what to expect of all the new people who were about to enter her life. Having been neighbors with Dyson’s family all her life, they went to school together and all her worries evaporated when Dyson confidently took her hand and walked right into school with her without even taking a look back at his parents or brothers.

Which one of your characters would be the first to buy a house or property? (because that’s part of adulting??)

Georgie? She kind of already has a house. Not sure if she paid money for it or if it there was some other kind of transaction though … because magic?

Does someone in your WIP own a pet?

NOT YET! Someone needs a dog. (And no, I am not counting the Claven as Dyson’s “pets” because they are a herd of calm yet mind-controlling beasts …)

What was your MCs first job and how did they feel about it?

While Kasia volunteered at her local library for years during school, her first paying job was a summer internship at her mother’s work. It was a very forgettable experience that mostly involved distributing mail, operating the copy machine and getting coffee for meetings.

Dyson’s first job was at the summer camp he and both his brothers visited each year. He was pretty pumped because he loved being around people and planning activities outdoors. To no one’s surprise at all, he soon became a favourite among the staff and kids.

Does your MC or another character want kids?

That conversation has definitely happened between my main couple and they would love to have kids someday in the future, with Kasia being especially in favour of adoption or fostering kids as well.

Name a song that reminds one of your characters of heartbreak in their life!

 

This song is one Robyn listens to a lot after Chapter 9 wishing things were different … (shout out to anyone who understands what I am referencing here!)

Has one of your characters lost someone close to them? How did they deal with it?

Findlay had to grow up without his parents, but being from the world he was from, he never quite knew if he lost them for good or if he might be able to see them again one day some way. He was a quiet kid until he got taken in by Georgie’s family and he felt at home with them. (There’s more to that story that I just don’t want to spoil.)

What is an achievement your MC is proud of?

Dyson is especially proud of graduating from university with a major in Archaeology because his family didn’t really think he would truly stick to that field or be able to make a living with it. Nonetheless, they all beamed at him with pride when he showed them his diploma and he never regretted following his passion since.

BONUS: Make an aesthetic for a special or memorable day in one of your character’s lives! (It’s up to you if you want to explain it or not!)

This probably won’t be in the book like ever, but if I ever write a companion novella or something like that for Arcadia, this would probably be the story. Although it might end differently than you think!

I TAG THEE

I hope you liked the tag and if you did, please, spread the word!!! People have so many amazing stories to tell and I hope this is a burst of motivation for all fellow writers.

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!