Reading + Writing Update!

Happy Sunday!

I usually write these earlier in the day but here I am now, sitting down on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and Shrek on in the background (Shrek is one of my favourite movies, okay?), ready to update you all on what I got read and written this past week. So yeah, life is pretty good right now and let’s just get into this update!

So far, I am 350 pages into the glorious Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare which came out this past Tuesday and I am absolutely loving it. Every morning when I wake up, I make some coffee and sit down with this book for a good hour before I start getting ready for the day. Since it’s like 912 pages, I am nearing that halfway mark but I am taking my time with it because I never want it to end. I will probably be doing a review for it sometime this month so stay tuned for that but yeah, it’s amazing! I have also been keeping up with listening to my audiobook which is City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare, the fifth book in her first series, The Mortal Instruments. This is a book I’ve read a million times, but the narrator for this book is actually an actress from one of my favourite TV shows (Castle), and she is so good at narrating all the characters and bringing the story to life in a new way. I’m only about 4 hours in meaning I still got a good 12 hours to go, but hopefully, I’ll be able to finish it by the end of this coming week. Lastly, I requested the novel adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen and it finally came in for me from the library! I picked it up earlier this week and absolutely flew through it. It was exactly how I imagined and it was a lot of fun to see the musical translated into a YA novel. If you like the soundtrack or the musical or if you just like contemporaries I definitely recommend checking it out!

This week has also been productive writing-wise and I’m hoping the rest of December is like that as well because I really, really need a good, productive month when it comes to both reading and writing (I need to read 10 more books to reach my Goodreads goal…). Tomorrow I have a creative non-fiction assignment due for my writing class, and I’m not going to lie, it has been a struggle to write. I don’t read much CNF (but I really want to so if you have recommendations, let me know!) so it has been difficult to find what I want to write about and then how to do that. I do have a story finished, I just need to edit it profusely, and I am not sure how I feel about it but it’s going to have to do! I already wrote like 4 drafts of it and I don’t have time (or energy) for anymore. Apart from that, I started a new short story that is kind of a playoff on my idea for Project Mystic (a novel idea I’ve been working on since March of this year) and I am having a lot of fun with it but haven’t spent to much time because of my CNF assignment. I’ll probably work on that a lot next week as well as all the scholarship essays I need to write that have looming deadlines. Since I’ve been running myself down with writing and homework lately, I am thinking of taking January off writing to replenish my creativity and all that jazz but I will keep you all updated on that.

Other than that, that is all I have to update you all on and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which will be linked down below. By the way, I started posting again on Instagram so that account is no longer dead! Anyways, thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: December 2018 TBR

 

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December 2018 TBR

This TBR should be super long since I need to read 12 books to meet my Goodreads reading goal, but I don’t want to force myself into reading specific books all month so I am only going to list five books I want to get to. Anyways, let’s keep this short and just jump right into all the books I plan/need/want to read in the LAST MONTH OF 2018. I’m not freaking out, you are.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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This is the second book in the Dark Artifices trilogy which is my FAVOURITE trilogy/series in the entire world of books. By the time you see this post, I’ve probably already read it because on Sunday I only had 99 pages left so that’s awesome! This book takes place in a world of Shadowhunters with a massive cast of amazing characters, our main one in the first book being Emma Carstairs who is trying to uncover the mystery of her parents’ mysterious death. I am so excited to finish this book but I am also really sad because these books are so good. I don’t want them to end!

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

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This is the THIRD AND FINAL book in the Dark Artifices trilogy, and I am not emotionally ready…I wish this was a long, long series, but I am looking forward to getting my hands on this massive beauty. Actually, since it’s Friday and it came out Tuesday, December 4th, I have already picked it up and am probably reading it right now!

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

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This TBR is just jammed pack with Cassandra Clare, but I am NOT complaining. A few months ago I started re-reading The Mortal Instruments series via audiobooks and am still working my through. Currently, I am on book five so that is what I will be listening to this month. The Mortal Instruments series follows our main character, Clary, whose mother is kidnapped and to get her back, Clary has to uncover the secrets of who her mother truly was, and who she really is as well. I’ve read this book…quite a few times already, but I am, of course, looking forward to re-visiting the world and characters and all that fun stuff.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 

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I started reading this book in November but did not get very far which sucks because this book is so, so short. I will make it a priority to read it in December though since short books are going to be my saving grace when it comes to reaching my reading goal. Perks of Being a Wallflower follows Charlie, a freshman in high school who struggles to fit in until a ragtag group of friends take him in and transform his life for the better. This is a great coming of age story that is both sad and heart-warming, and honestly, it is something everyone needs to read.

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

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This is another short book, but it is also one I’ve been meaning to get to ever since I saw the movie last year. Also, I still have yet to read a Stephen King book other than his book on writing, so I need to change that before the new year. While I’ve seen the movie, I can’t really remember anything about this book other than it has something to do with children being special for some reason…and that there is a gunslinger. Yeah, that’s all, but I am excited to read it and find out what exactly happens!

While I have to read 12 books this month, I don’t want to make a super strict and confining TBR so I am going to leave it at these 5 books to give myself some wiggle room. So, yeah! That is all for my December TBR and I hope you enjoyed. Make sure you check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: November Reading Wrap Up

 

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November Reading Wrap Up!

Looking back at my Goodreads page, I realized I read a lot more than I thought…but I was still hoping to have read a few more books than I did. However, I did read 4 books this month and one of them was pretty long (like 700 pages), so I’m not complaining. It does mean I’m going to have to read 12 books in December though…but I can do it, right? Anyways, here are the books I read in November!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

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I was in need of a fun contemporary and while it took me a while to really enjoy myself, by the time I hit halfway I loved the characters and story. Some parts were painfully relatable, and while I didn’t love it, I did like it! Emergency Contact follows two perspectives, Penny who is a freshman writing major, and Sam who is an aspiring filmmaker and works at coffee-shop. Their paths cross when Sam goes to the hospital after Penny witnesses him faint, and suddenly, they become each other’s emergency contact but their relationship develops to something more over time. Again, I did really like this book and it was the fun contemporary I needed! 3.5/5 stars

Bent Box by Lee Maracle 

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This is a poetry collection that I picked up for one of my writing class assignments where we had to pick a living, Canadian poet, read their work and then write a really short summary and response to it. Lee Maracle is an Aboriginal writer, so many of her poems spoke of her struggles of the past. It was a really emotional and powerful collection of poetry and while I am not a HUGE poetry fan, I did enjoy this book and there were quite a few poems that I actually adored. If you like poetry, I definitely recommend giving it a read! 3/5 stars

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Surprise, surprise, I LOVED Lady Midnight! I think I’ve read this book three or four times now, and each time my love for it grows dramatically. This world…the characters…the story…ugh, just everything is so amazing and wonderful and I wish I could meet these characters and live in this world. Lady Midnight is the first book in the Dark Artifices trilogy and a continuation of her massive Shadowhunter world. It follows a large cast of characters, but specifically, Emma Carstairs who after her parents were murdered and their bodies washed up on shore, she has been hunting for the justice of their deaths. The last book in this trilogy has come out by the time you are reading this, and I already know it will ruin me like all the other books have so that will be fun. 5/5 stars, obviously!

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

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Usually, I fly through these audiobooks but after watching Bohemian Rhapsody, my already crazy obsession with Queen grew and suddenly all I wanted to do was just listen to their music. I forgot all about audiobooks and listened to music every time I had to walk or take the bus…so, yeah, it took me a while to get through Emerald Green, but I did! Emerald Green is the third and final book in the Ruby Red/Precious Stones trilogy, that follows Gwen, a girl from a family of time travellers. Her cousin, Charlotte, is the one believed to have the gene but when Gwen suddenly travels back in time, she becomes a part of a world she thought she had escaped. I love this series. It has its many, many flaws, and to be honest, the ending is NOT as satisfying as I hoped…but it is one of those fun and warm-hearted books you can’t help but like. 4.5/5 stars

I was so, so close to finishing Lord of Shadows in time for the end of November but it is 699 pages! It’s so, so long but honestly, I wouldn’t want anything less. I did finish it today though so I am already one book down in December…only 11 more to go, ha ha ha. Anyways, that is all for my November 2018 Reading Wrap Up, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks 🙂

Last Blog Post: My Queen of Air and Darkness Theories

 

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My Queen of Air and Darkness Theories

I am currently taking a break from writing an 8-page essay for English that is due tomorrow to share with you all of my theories for Queen of Air and Darkness which is out TOMORROW. Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows both killed me so I can only imagine how much this book is going to destroy me…but yeah, if you haven’t read Lady Midnight or Lord of Shadows I would advise you not to read this because I will be spoiling both books a lot. If you have though, let me know what your theories for this epic conclusion are because I would love to know! Here are my theories:

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  • Ash is the son of the Seelie Queen and Sebastian Morgenstern – I am definitely not going to take credit for this theory because it is something I have seen going around the Shadowhunter community a lot but I wholeheartedly agree with it. I mean, Ash is described as a 13-year-old boy with blond hair and green eyes. 1) Sebastian had blond hair and 2) he also had green eyes…well, he would have is Valentine didn’t inject him with demon blood. While in reality, Ash would only be like 5 since that was when Sebastian was alive, he would be living in Faerie and as we saw with Mark in Lady Midnight, time works very differently down there so he could easily be older than he really is. A lot of people also think Ash is being held captive by the Unseelie King which is why the Seelie Queen wants the Black Volume; to exchange it for her son. I think this definitely makes sense because when Dru is transported to Faerie, Ash is like “‘Did my mother send you?’ He sounded hopeful. ‘Is she worried about me?'”. It would make sense, right?
  • Shade is Ragnor Fell – Again, this is another theory I’ve heard floating around and I don’t have any hard evidence but it would be an interesting twist to the plot. While Ragnor Fell supposedly died in City of Glass, the third book in The Mortal Instruments series, he easily could have not. Also, he was supposedly really good friends with Malcolm so maybe that has something to do with how he comes into the story.  However, while I don’t have a lot of evidence, there is this snippet Cassie shared that kind of makes me feel like he is someone we know or heard of before: Shade glared. “I was asleep. It’s three in the morning.” The sleeping bag wiggled. A moment later Church crawled out, making chirping noises. He curled up on the top of the bag, blinking his large yellow eyes. “That isn’t very loyal,” Ty said, looking at Church sternly. Shade yawned. “We’ve known each other a long time, that cat and I. We had some things to catch up on.” 
  • Ty is going to use necromancy to bring back Livvy – No way would the Blackthorns not try and bring back Livvy, especially since they have the Black Volume. Livvy is Ty’s twin and the person he loves most in this world, and of course, as Julian repeatedly says throughout the book, he would do anything for his family. I even think they will succeed in bringing her back in some shape or form, but I don’t think it’ll be what she wants and she won’t stay. However, I think the Blackthorns will get the closure they need because of it.
  • Julian is going to do something he can’t take back, and a lot of people close to him are going to hurt because of it – Whether that is severing all parabatai bonds because we all know Julian would do that in a heartbeat as he mentions on page 612, “‘They are not us…This isn’t just about you and me, this is about the children. About my family. Our family.'” in reference to why they need to break their parabatai bonds. Throughout Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows Julian keeps thinking to himself or saying to someone that he would do literally anything for his family. I tabbed some of the many spots he says something like this…and it’s a lot. Like a lot. On page 406, he is talking to Annabel who is telling him that if the book was out there, so much could be destroyed. However, Julian is all like The world can burn if my family lives. And we all know that by giving the Black Volume to the Seelie Queen, he will get Helen back and also learn how to severe the parabati bonds. To him, there is no higher cause. If Julian does try and severe all parabatai bonds to be with Emma, we all know she wouldn’t stand for that. Either he is going to succeed and Emma is going to grow apart from him because of it, or she is going to give up being a Shadowhunter (which I still know she would never want to do) so he doesn’t. There is a snipper that Cassandra Clare shared that kind of makes me think she is going to give up being a Shadowhunter for some reason because the snippet is like: “Emma,” Julian whispered. “Your Marks…” She shook her head, tears bitter in the back of her throat. “It’s done.”…LIKE WHAT? So yeah, that’s another theory on top of my “Julian is going to do something he can’t come back from” one…Emma is going to give up being a Shadowhunter.
  • Christina, Mark, and Kieran are definitely going to engage in some sort of romantic thing with all three of them – While I am Christina&Mark endgame stan, all three of them clearly care about each other and I feel like there might be a moment that includes all three of them. I don’t know how I feel about that, but I do love all three of them…I just love Mark and Christina more but I do want Kieran to be happy. I don’t know. Either that or Christina starts developing more intense feelings for Kieran rather than Mark. I also don’t know how I would feel about that…if there were more Christina and Kieran moments romance rather than friendship wise, I feel like I might be able to get on board but I’d still be heartbroken because of MARK. Anyways, just something we aren’t really expecting will happen between them all though, I just don’t know which one.
  • Ty and Kit are going to make it official – I think that with the death of Livvy, Ty is going to go crazy but Kit will be his shoulder to cry on and also his necromancy partner. Kit is definitely confused about his emotions and I have no idea how Ty is feeling (I’m 99.5% sure he will have lots of POV chapters in QoAaD though) but I think things are going to sort themselves out between the two of them. I definitely ship them so…

Wow, this was long but those are my most developed theories about Queen of Air and Darkness and I hope you enjoyed! Let me know which ones you agree with, and also what theories you have yourself because I’d love to know. Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

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Reading + Writing Update!

Happy Sunday!

I’m not going to apologize for once again, for NOT having a blog post go up on Friday because it’s gotten to the point where I’m just like whatever. My Friday blog post was supposed to be all about my theories for Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare, but since I am re-reading Lord of Shadows right now, all my theories have upgraded or changed completely. So yeah, I finished Lord of Shadows today so now I have all of my thoughts and theories are ready to go for tomorrow’s blog post and I am so excited! Anyways, here is what I read and wrote this past week.

Earlier this week I finally finished listening to the audiobook for Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier which took me the entire month to get through, but I did it. I’ve read this book a million and one times, but I do really love the audiobooks for this entire trilogy, so I always have a lot of fun re-visiting them. I read them quite a few times this year though so I think I’m going to take a little break so I don’t wear them out. My next audiobook I am going to pick up is City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare since I am still working my way through The Mortal Instruments series via audiobook. I also finished reading Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare today, as I mentioned already…and I don’t know what else to say except it is amazing, I love it, and re-reading it has only magnified my already dangerously crazy love for it. I am SO excited for Queen of Air and Darkness and am really happy I decided to re-read both Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows before because I picked up on so many things I didn’t before. Since I am done re-reading LoS which is like 700 pages, I’m going to be focusing on finishing Perks of Being a Wallflower next, and since it’s so short, hopefully, I’ll finish it in the next day or so. I have a December TBR coming out later this coming week so stay tuned for that to see what other books I want to pick up this month!

As for writing, a lot of writing got done this week and I am pretty proud. In terms of homework and school related things, this week was really slow so I was able to put a lot more effort into my own personal writing. I think overall, I wrote about 6,000 words which I haven’t done in a while. I’ve been re-writing old short stories and editing them like crazy to get ready for portfolio scholarship I am submitting to this Tuesday and if I had school work to do I don’t think I’d be able to get as much done as I did. I still have a lot to get done though so fingers crossed it all gets done.

That is all for this reading and writing update, and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks 🙂

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NaNoWriMo Week 4 – Last Week Check Up

Happy Monday!

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I can’t believe it is already the last week of NaNoWriMo! Where has this month gone? While I haven’t been participating in writing 50k this month, I’ve still been celebrating writing and writing a LOT this month. I wanted to use this last NaNoWriMo weekly blog post to do a little last week check up and give some tips on how to really take advantage of these last 5 days so I hope you enjoy!

  • Write During Every Bit of Spare Time – There are only a few more days left of NaNoWriMo, and even if you are close to your goal or not, use every last bit of November to get some words down! You might not have time or energy once the buzz of NaNo is over, so take advantage of all this fun and write, write, write. Instead of reading, write. Instead of watching Netflix, write. Instead of eating…just kidding, eat AND write!
  • Use NaNo Sprints – NaNo sprints on Twitter will be your LIFE saver these last few days in motivating yourself to sit down and WRITE. These are different lengths of sprints where after them, you can talk with other writers about what you got done and how you’re feeling after each writing session. It’s really helpful because the last half of NaNo can be an uphill battle I tell you.
  • Check Out the Write-In Live Streams – Make sure you check out NaNoWriMo’s YouTube channel for some past live streams where the amazing people of NaNoWriMo film videos of them doing writing sprints. They are really motivating and I recommend them if you are having trouble sitting down and writing. Usually, they are an hour long and a lot of the time I sit down and write for that ENTIRE hour…even when they are talking about what they wrote. Super helpful!
  • Reflect On the Writing You Got Done – Even if you are nowhere close to the overall 50k goal, as long as you wrote SOMETHING that is still worth acknowledging. Writing is NOT easy and it’s important to recognize that and reward yourself for what you got done. November is a busy month for a lot of us because it is so close to the end of the year and everyone is trying to wrap up everything, so if you got some words down this month, celebrate!
  • Figure Out What the Next Step Is – Do you still need to finish writing your draft or did you completely finish it? Figure out where you’re at so you can start your attack plan for next month, or for whenever you plan on writing next. That way you know what will happen next and you will be better prepared! For example, I didn’t get my 50k written at all…but I have been working on a lot of short stories, essays, and articles. In December, I am going to keep working on different short stories, essays, articles and whatnot, to build up my portfolio which is seriously lacking material. I would LOVE to work on Project Mystic (the fantasy novel that I’ve been working on since March), but I just don’t have the time to work on one project but the point is that I know I don’t have the time, so now I won’t be wasting any trying to work on it.

Those are 5 tips for your last week of NaNoWriMo, and I hope they were helpful! Hopefully these last few days are good and productive, and remember, if you don’t reach your goal it’s okay! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts linked below. Thanks 🙂

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Reading + Writing Update!

Happy Sunday!

Once again, sorry for no blog post on Friday! I promise this coming week there will be though because I’ve written and scheduled it already. Haha, look at me kind of being ahead of everything for once! Sitting down at the end of the week to write this blog post has been kind of difficult for me because it’s been hard to remember what I’ve gotten done writing-wise. With reading, I have been good at updating my Goodreads page every few days, but I have been lacking with my sticker tracker in my planner! This week I’m going to try and get back on top of that but these weeks have just been so jammed pack that it keeps slipping my mind. Anyways, onto what I read and wrote this week!

I wrapped up reading Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare on Tuesday which was bittersweet because I was so excited to get to Lord of Shadows for my first re-read, but I do think Lady Midnight is my favourite in the trilogy…however, I am 250 pages in Lord of Shadows and LOVING it, so I’m not THAT sad about finishing Lady Midnight, to be honest. Re-reading these books is getting me so pumped for Queen of Air and Darkness’s release which is only in 9 freaking days, and ugh, I’m so excited. Apart from Lord of Shadows I have not made much progress in any other books…I’m still on page 50 in Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, but since it’s so short I’ll probably try to bring it with me to school this week and hopefully squeeze in some reading time. I was also listening to the audiobook for Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier but I forgot to renew it so I had to wait a few days before getting it back, but I have it now and only have about 3 1/2 hours left to listen to so hopefully I will also get that finished this week as well. Apart from that though, I am just enjoying Lord of Shadows and getting ready for Queen of Air and Darkness! (Let me know if you’re as obsessed with The Dark Artifices trilogy as me…it’s definitely Cassandra Clare’s best series, right?)

Writing definitely happened this week…I’m just trying to remember exactly what. I know I did a re-write of my short story for my high school’s writing contest, as well as a LOT of editing because it was due Thursday. I also had to write an entire 8-page essay for English in one night because yep, I put it off to the last minute as one does. We only had to have it ready for a peer edit session but I did get it done luckily. It was complete trash but I still have a few more days to edit it before handing it in for marks. I’ve also been working on two short articles because I am applying to be the student writer for my local newspaper which is super exciting and nerve-wracking! Working at a newspaper or somewhere like Buzzfeed has been something I’ve always considered, along with writing books and short stories of course, because I do love writing articles and essays. I’m also to extroverted (and introverted…I am definitely an ambivert) not to work with other people so apart from writing my own books, I need to have some sort of day job to keep me a part of society. It also would be AMAZING to get paid for writing an article every month so fingers crossed I get the job! Since we only 5 days left of November (where did this month even go?!? I’m not complaining though ’cause I think we can all agree November is not an easy month), I want to squeeze a lot of writing into this week. I need to edit the four short stories/essays/articles in my portfolio and finish writing a few more for a portfolio scholarship I am submitting to which has a deadline of December 4th…so yeah that is coming up and I am NOT ready. Lots of writing needs to get done so I’m going to end this blog post and hop to it.

Anyways, that is all for this reading and writing update and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts below. Thanks 🙂

P.S. I know my Instagram pic below has been acting up but to be honest, I’m too lazy to fix it. Hopefully, it will fix itself!

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The Shadow King

Happy Friday!

One sort of “resolution” for my blog was to share my own writing from time to time…so that is what I am doing! This is an older story of mine…maybe like from 1.5 years ago when I was 15, but I still wanted to share it because it is polished and well, finished. Can’t really say that about any other of my other writing projects…but anyways, if you want to critique it or give me feedback, don’t hesitate! Tell me you like it, tell me you hate it…whatever your heart contents.


 

Her cloak was a flashing torrent of black as she zipped through the forest. Gnarled roots twisted out of the ground, but the princess skipped over them with beads of sweat dripping down her face and thighs screaming of pain. Her blue nightgown caught on a root and she slammed into a tree trunk, gasping, pushing the hood of her cloak off of her inky curls. She dropped to her knees, exhaustion blurring the edges of her vision. Her eyes scanned around. The towering trees had swallowed her up, shielding her from the outside world with their bushy tops. When she looked over her shoulder there was no sign of her castle in the distance, its vine-twisted, cobblestone walls and candlelit windows now just a faint memory of bitter times.

A silver coin winked down at her from high up in the sky, sprinkles of gold-dusted around it. The moon. Had she been running for that long already? She looked around. Night had settled over the forest. It cast its thick shadows which danced in the small slivers of moonlight, and its crisp wind which swept through the leaves. Pinching her lips together, she pushed herself to her feet and wandered deeper into the forest. The princess’s shoulders tensed, her neck angled and grey eyes keen as they scanned around.

Crunch. She stopped, breath trapped in her chest and fingers halting mid twitch. Goosebumps sprouted along her arms as she took another step forward, the icy claw of fear seizing her throat.

Snap. Her heart leapt from her chest and onto the ground. She placed a hand over her gaping mouth. Past the darkness, something flailed from behind a tree, and a deep groan echoed throughout the forest. Fingers trembling and knees wobbling, she shuffled towards the tree, carefully skirting around it in a big arc. Behind it, a wedge of moonlight trickled down onto a pile of leaves. Something twitched on those leaves; a body angled oddly with a face concealed in the shadows of the night. The princess swallowed down the bulging lump in her throat.

“Hello?” she croaked and then cleared her throat, balling her hands into shaky fists. “Hello?” she called out again. A wheezy breath rattled in the lungs of the body at her feet. The princess grimaced. “Excuse me…are you okay?” Several heartbeats passed, and she was only answered by silence.

Help me,” a raspy voice hissed, and she whirled around, expecting to see someone lurking behind her but there was nothing. It was the lump on the leaves that spoke. She turned back around, her stomach flipping at the face which was now illuminated in the pale moonlight. It was the face of a young man with sickly skin so white traces of blue veins shone underneath, and dark streaks of blood and dirt were slashed across his cheeks. He blinked, his eyes a dull blue, like the sky before a rainstorm. The princess could tell his eyes were once a brilliant blue, maybe even like the ocean on a summer day, but now they were leeched of their colour and empty. His clothes were torn and tattered, and like his face, blood and dirt stained. Her eyes flicked down to his arms and legs, which had deep, bloody gashes carved into them. The princess looked away, fist pressed against her sealed lips.

“What happened to you?” she asked breathlessly. His blue eyes darted around nervously, and his skin was shiny with sweat. The princess’s heart twisted, and she reached down for his frail hand. It was ice cold and thin under hers. He glanced down at their hands, his entire body tremoring before relaxing.

“What happened to you?” She shook her head. “Who did this to you?”

“The…” he started, his voice hitching and his eyes wide. “The Shadow King.” The princess flew away from him like he had suddenly caught on fire, the blood slowly draining itself from her body. “I was a prisoner,” he continued, pulling his arms and legs to his chest, “for two years in his castle.” He shuddered, eyes fluttering shut as poisonous memories tainted his mind. A seed of uneasiness planted itself in her stomach, and she no longer felt as sympathetic for the young man as she did a few seconds ago.

“How did you escape?” she asked, shaking as that name rang inside her mind. The Shadow King. Her mother used to tell her stories of a king who lived underneath their land for centuries. An ambitious king made of darkness and shadows who was tired of living beneath the feet of humans. A king who was building up an army to take over the lands above. The only thing was that it wasn’t a story, but a fragment of history people chose to forget. Until now.

“He let me go,” the young man said, leaning over and coughing. A dark liquid blossomed on the ground next to him and the world tilted under the princess’s feet.

“The Shadow King doesn’t just…let people go,” she said as the young man rolled onto his back, sweat dribbling down his forehead and his chest heaving up and down. The princess bit her lip. “Tell me the truth.” The young man sighed and looked up at her through the corner of his eyes, defeat and exhaustion painted in grey all over his face.

“He-he let me go to-to,” he started, squeezing his eyes shut and grimacing. “T-to deliver a message to the King of Nordom.” The world around her faded, all noise becoming just a faint static in her ears. She shook her head, lips parted. What message would the Shadow King give to my father? What does this mean?

“What is it?” she asked, head snapping up as everything came back into focus. The young man stared blankly at her. She pushed the stray pieces of hair from her face and glared down at him. “I am princess Adelyn of Nordom,” she hissed viciously, startling him and herself. She had never known herself as the kind to hiss, or be vicious. The princess glanced away, shaking her head. “Just tell me. Please.”

“The Shadow King said,” the young man started slowly and hesitantly, licking his dry lips, “that the world will not end in a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time…u-until there is nothing left,” he paused, lips shaping invisible words. In his lap, his fingers fiddled with each other. “A-and that end is the next Harvest moon.” The world was a carpet being yanked out beneath her feet. Her knees wobbled and she fell onto the forest floor. The next Harvest moon? That was only four days away! Her stomach flopped and flipped like a fish out of water as fear washed over her in monstrous waves, her skin clammy and chest tightening until no air was left. She dragged her eyes to the young man. He was suddenly still and unmoving. Pushing herself to her feet, she walked over to him, arms crossed over her chest as if to defend her from the bitterness of reality. He still didn’t move. Not even when a stick snapped under her foot, the sound echoing sharply throughout the forest.

“Young man?” she asked, bending down next to him and shaking him gently. No response. She leaned over him and gasped. His blue eyes were open and glassy, and he wasn’t blinking. Letting out a soft breath, she closed his eyes with her fingers before scrambling away and retching beside a tree trunk. Tears trickled down her cheeks in winding streams, sobs silent but stabbing pains in her chest. She stared up at the night sky.

The King’s message played over and over in her head. She realized what she had to do. Adelyn had to go back. She had to go home to her parents and warn her people, despite all the mistakes they made she still loved them.

It was only a matter if they would love her back.

Slowly she backed away from the dead body on the ground, and then spun around, breaking into a sprint. The tears continued to roll down her cheeks, the same words playing on a loop in her mind, inching her closer to the edge of insanity.

The world will not end with a bang or a crash, but with one scream at a time. Until there is nothing left.

Those words sounded insane, the product of one who sees ghosts and talks to the moon like she is a friend, but the princess gripped those words to her chest as she ran through the forest, cradling their power and hoping that it was all enough.

Things I Learned From Draft One

Writing the first draft of this specific project taught me a LOT, and I wanted to share those things in a blog post because while some lessons might be the same, many will also be different.

1. Outlining is a LONG, Hard Process

I always knew outlining was a process obviously, and I knew it took time and motivation, however I realized spending about a month and a half of taking some time each day to work on it, was not enough. I am still adding and changing things to my outline for draft two. I am still having to research things to fill the holes that I should have filled in my outline, but haven’t. Make sure you determine your world, its rules, everyday life, your characters goals and motivation, magic system (if there is one) and anything else you can think of. My problem is that I will outline and then think I researched and wrote out every important thing for my story, but then realize I was missing so many key points later on. I recommend searching outlining tips or outlining worksheets online to help you gather all the main and minor ideas you need to have.

2. Just Because Your First Draft Sucks, Doesn’t Mean It’s Bad

Yeah, your first draft 100% sucks. Words are being thrown left and right, some with meaning some without, but that is okay. Just because you feel as if you word vomited about seventy thousand words onto a document, doesn’t mean the essence of the story is bad. Nobody is a great first writer, trust me. The books we read required dozens and dozens of revisions and edits from not only the author but their editor too. You can’t expect to pump out a clean first draft in one go because that it is the craft of writing. Every time you work on it, it gets a bit cleaner, and slowly, you polish it enough to see that the story hidden behind all those words was never that bad in the first place.

3. Read The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

Honestly, this book has been my savior when it comes to trying to finish outlining my story for draft three. It has everything you ever need to know and more, and will help you see storytelling in a different way. You take away so many valuable tips, tricks, and ideas from this book, and I cannot recommend it enough. I wouldn’t recommend investing in many writing craft books, but this is one of them! Little tip though, I would recommend not using it for first drafts but just knowing you will be using it for future draft will take some stress off, trust me.

4. Focusing on Hours Spent Writing Is More Beneficial Than “Words Written”

I promise you that this is SUPER important. You will get so much more done if you aim to spend an hour or maybe even two hours writing each day, instead of focusing on that pesty little word count tracker at the bottom of your page. I do three thirty minute sprints throughout the morning each day, and all I focus on is writing for that entire thirty minutes, or even writing a bit past. There has only been one or two times I have not reached 1000 words each half hour writing sprint, but other than that, this method has worked wonders for me.

5. Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo Are Excellent Times to Start Your First Draft

Seriously though, if you happen to be close to Camp NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write as much as you can in one month – takes place April + July of every year) or NaNoWriMo (an online writing event where you try to write 50,000 words in one month – every Novemeber), then I highly recommend signing up and participating. NaNoWriMo motivates you because for once, it is not only you working on a project, but thousands of people across the world. Every one is trying to get all the words down, and it is really motivating to see how much progress you will make by the end of it! I have participated in Camp NaNo and NaNo quite a few times, and started my first draft for my WIP during Camp NaNo back in April. I reached my 50,000 words and kept going!

Those are five things I learned from draft one, and I hope you enjoyed! Currently, we are on day three of the Biannual Bibliothon, so make sure to check out ALL the blog posts I have done for it so far!

Last Blog Post: Reading + Writing Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon 2018 + Camp NaNoWriMo Week 2

Biannual Bibliothon: Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1 – Favourite Vacation Spots

Reading Update – Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 1

Summer Biannual Bibliothon Day 2 – Favourite Summer Books!

 

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Prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo #3

Welcome to week 3 of prepping for Camp NaNoWriMo 2018! Today I thought it would be a good idea to talk about researching when outlining because it is a really important part of the outlining process, more so for some than others. I know for me, my current WIP requires a lot of research and often I am asking myself these two questions: what do I really need to research? and how much is too much research?

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When it comes to researching, I recommend researching as much as you can. Do as much as you think is necessary and even a little more. It is important to know more than your readers will, so even if you don’t plan on injecting every bit of this research onto the page, it can come in handy later on. Okay, now onto the first question!

What will I really need to research?

This question depends on what kind of research you are doing. If you are researching an entirely different civilization for your book, it is pretty obvious that you will need to know what they wore, what they ate, what their government was like, what the common day looked like for them…basic things that we know about ourselves. For example, maybe you want to write a book that takes place during Ancient Greece and you are focusing on Greek mythology. Clearly you will need to research everything about the gods and the rich myths and legends that come with this ancient civilization, but it is also important that you know what they ate and what they wore and maybe even throw in a few common phrases people would say. Every little thing you throw in will add to the authenticity of your story and make it that much better. However, if you are not researching a civilization but maybe you need to know about a certain job like a scientist, that means it will be handy to know what kind of scientist they are, their pay, their hours, their duties, etc.

How much research is too much research?

The next question might be the most important one because while I just said above to research a lot, and that is true, but there is researching a lot and than there is researching too much. You should take the time to carefully research what you need to but don’t let the research take too much time away from the actual writing of your story. For me, I am giving myself 3 weeks to research (already 1 1/2 weeks in) and then wherever I am at, I need to stop and write. By the end of 3 weeks I should know enough about what I researched to actually start on my story, thus not allowing me any excuses. I recommend setting yourself a time span like this, and if you don’t feel it is enough time by the end of it, don’t worry, write anyways. You can research along the way or just blast through your first draft and research more afterwards for your second draft. The point is, don’t let researching get in the way of you writing, especially with something like Camp NaNoWriMo!

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That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post: Reading + Writing Update

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