Friday, November 09, 2018

Shared WIP Tag, Part Two

Welcome, everyone, to part two of the Shared WIP Tag!!  Hope everyone is having a good NaNo and is enjoying their novels!

Introduce your MC a little and tell us something quirky about them.
Marywyn is a village girl, around twenty-something, and she loves gardening.  I wouldn't really call her a quirky person, though she likes playing little jokes now and then, and she really enjoys helping the village healer as he tends to people. 
What does your MC value the most?
Her family and friends, but especially her siblings, Dominin and Saran.  Then she slowly starts to realize that she may be putting them before God, and that she should be trusting in and prizing Him above all.
What is your MC’s wildest dream?  What is their greatest fear?
Marywyn stills dreams of rescuing her brother, but as time goes on, it becomes more and more likely that he was killed.  And so she begins to realize that she might never see him again – her greatest fear.
What is your MC’s favorite food?  Can they cook?
Marywyn loves berries, or really, anything fresh from her garden.  She’s not the best chef around, but she does know how to cook and can make some good meals, though being a villager, she’s used to simple fare and probably couldn't make something super extravagant.
What do you (the writer) have in common with the MC?  What do you not have in common?
Well, Marywyn and I both love to sing, though she’s better at it than I.  And I know how to play instruments, while she doesn’t.  I love to read and can’t keep a plant alive to save my life, and she struggles to read and is a pretty dedicated gardener.  I love horses and she tolerates them only because they’re faster than walking on her own two feet.
What lie does your mc believe about himself/the world?
Marywyn believes that since she’s just a simple village girl, who can barely hold her own with a weapon, that she is quite useless and has no part to play in history.  She can’t understand why important things keep falling upon her to do when there could be others possibly more suited to doing them.
Who is their best friend and why?
Wisdom Ravencroft, probably.  Though Wisdom is everyone’s best friend, to be honest.  But I think she has a sweet spot for Marywyn.
What song best describes them in this book?
The violin, the slightly creepy tone, but also a bit adventurous, motivating...
What is their personality type?
Crap, I hate these… I got ISFJ when I took the test for her, but I dunno...kind of, I guess?  I really don't go through the types much, to be honest.  So I'm not sure how accurate it is.
Why should your readers care about this person?
Because Marywyn is like a lot of us...she dreams of going on adventures and being a hero, but when she actually does get to go galloping off with a sword, she realizes that it's dangerous.  Not to mention sleeping on the ground is hard, and spending all day in the saddle is painful, and speaking to royalty can make your knees knock together, and tell you what, just stay home because it's a lot safer and less strenuous.
Don't forget to check out the other blogs!!!


Friday, November 02, 2018

Shared WIP Tag, Part One

Hello everyone!!  It's back!!!  Welcome to the first round of the Shared Wip Tag, the WIP Special, Julian's Tag Thingy...this poor thing gets lots of names and no one can really decide what to call it, myself included.

But this round is super extra special because it's NaNoWriMo themed!!!

Okay, not necessarily themed, but it's about our NaNo novels, and it's also going on during NaNo, so we can post while we're racing for that 50K and not have to sweat much about creating posts.
 Introduce the story
Betrayal and Bravery: Words of Song

Marywyn the villager has received an honorable title – Protector of the Princess.  The only problem is, the Princess has just disappeared.  Eager to prove that her friends have not judged poorly in voting to promote her, Marywyn leaves Raybir on a quest to rescue Connaven, but only runs headlong into more danger and betrayal.  And this time there are no mistakes.  The enemy is on the hunt, and they know exactly who they are looking for: a red-haired girl with a powerful singing voice.

As the danger only grows, Marywyn begins to doubt: was she the right person to do all this?  Surely there are many others who can be the hero, others who are more brave.  Can Marywyn rescue her friends and save Raybir, or will she leave at the first opportunity to return to the safety of her garden and flowers?
Where did you get the idea for your story? What came to you first: your theme, character, premise, setting, etc?
Well, the original idea for the Betrayal and Bravery Trilogy came to me sometime in 2014. I was reading up on new plotting techniques and wanted a new story to write while trying them out. I read some old fairy tales, thinking I might do a re-telling, and one caught my eye. I took that idea, shoved in a few old RPG characters, added some ideas from a few dreams I’d written down, and started plotting.

I started out with three books in mind and planned them all out, but while writing the first one, I realized there was so much more to the story. So what originally was the second and third book is now combined to make Words of Song, and the third book, Words of Peace continues the story on even further.
Basically I guess the premise kind of came first? It was supposed to be about being brave, like the fairy tale, though it’s greatly changed since then, and there’s really nothing else from the tale now.
What have you done to get experience for your story? What did you put into the book because it’s something you know about?

A particular scene in this book is taken straight from one of my own experiences – when Marywyn has to ride a highly energetic horse.  Many of Marywyn’s reactions are copied from my own when I had to ride a particularly hyper horse on our farm. And so is the way we both brew braver as we realized we could do this.
Other parts of my life have slipped into the pages, though mostly in the third book. I expect more will happen to Song, but since it’s been a few years since I’ve touched it, it still has a lot of my early writing mistakes in it.
What made you decide to write this particular book for NaNoWriMo?
I actually thought I was going to opt out of NaNo this year. I currently am completely focused on my trilogy, and all three books are already written. I really didn’t feel like putting my editing aside to write something new. But then, during September, as I was starting the edits of Song, I realized that it was a hopeless cause and needed to be completely rewritten. So I decided what better time than to do so for NaNo?
Do you research before, after, or during your first draft writing process? Have you done any research for this particular book? How do you usually research?
Honestly, I do very little research before I start drafting. Because I do minimal prep, I usually don’t know where the story will take me. If I feel the need to look something up during drafting, I’ll do it, but otherwise I wait until the draft is finished. For Song, I think the only thing (recently) I’ve done is made a Pinterest board for some reference pictures. Since I’ve been in this storyworld for years, I kinda know most things about it by now.
Do you plot or plan your book in any way before you start writing? What methods do you usually use and what did you do this time?
I kind of already explained how Song came to be. For this time around, not only have I written the book before this one, but I’ve already done one draft of Song and also written this book after it. So I know where the story is and where it needs to go. All I’ve done is filled in the gap in between.
I usually prep a first draft with just a synopsis. Basically a running commentary of what everyone does just to keep me on track, though I pretty much know exactly where it’s all going to go.
Do you hand write or type your first draft?

Type, for sure. You think I’m gonna write 100,00 words by hand? No way. My carpel tunnel would render me useless for the next three years.  Listen. If I have to alternate hands multiple times while taking notes during a 40 minute sermon, I ain’t gonna make it through a month.
Do you have a brainstorming buddy and if you do, who was it this time and how did they help?

Normally Sarah Rodecker and Evan Diasimah are my brainstorming buddies. Sarah, however, hasn’t read Song or Peace, and is currently focused on helping me with Gold at the moment. Evan knows a little more about the entire trilogy, but usually just because our conversations go like this:

Me: “...and so that’s why I’m not sure if Marywyn should go back to Ristor. What do you say?”
 Evan: *looks up from drawing, mutters something, adjusts the volume of earphones*
 Me: “Thanks! I guess she should go. I’m glad you’re here to help!"

How did you come up with your characters’ names?
So I work as an office manger. And I’m frequently working with people in other countries (Australia, Finland, Germany, you name it). When I come across interesting names, I save them in a note. When I character comes without a name, I just go through the list.
But sometimes characters just come straight in with their names. Wisdom, Connaven, and Duren, for example. I don’t know why, but sometimes they just show up with a nametag.
Do you know what your story's theme is? If you do, how did you find it, and if you don't, how do you plan to find it?

The theme for the entire trilogy is essentially being brave and trusting in God when things seem dangerous and dark. Bravery in the face of betrayal.

Don't forget to check out everyone else's posts!!!  I'll link to them as they're available.



Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Know the Novel - A Linkup

Apparently I haven't prepared enough posts about my NaNo novel month you'll be spammed with info all about Words of Song.  So just consider this post as a sneak-peak of sorts for the upcoming Shared WIP Tag.

Christine is hosting this little linkup, and frankly, I think it's pretty fun!  The first set of questions is fairly introductory.  :)

What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Well, Words of Song is the second book in my trilogy.  Originally the material covered in Song was supposed to be split into two books (the second and third of the series), but while I was brainstorming, I found that there was a lot more to the story, and so put all the original plots into the second book.

It basically continues Marywyn's story from the first book, Words of Gold.

Share a blurb!

Marywyn the villager has received an honorable title – Protector of the Princess.  The only problem is, the Princess has just disappeared.  Eager to prove that her friends have not judged poorly in voting to promote her, Marywyn leaves Raybir on a quest to rescue Connaven, but only runs headlong into more danger and betrayal.  And this time there are no mistakes.  The enemy is on the hunt, and they know exactly who they are looking for: a red-haired girl with a powerful singing voice.
As the danger only grows, Marywyn begins to doubt: was she the right person to do all this?  Surely there are many others who can be the hero, others who are more brave.  Can Marywyn rescue her friends and save Raybir, or will she leave at the first opportunity to return to the safety of her garden and flowers?

Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

The story takes place in the land of Arromëre.  It starts in the little rural kingdom of Raybir, but over the course of the book, Marywyn does a great deal of travelling, and once of the places she visits is the rival kingdom of Ristor.

I love getting to explore new places with Marywyn - she travels through dark, creepy forests, fights tigers, and gets to see ships for the first time.  I also love how, no matter where she travels, she finds fellow believers and is welcomed into their homes simply because they all worship the same God, and so see each other as family.

Tell us about your protagonist.

Marywyn is a nobody, who probably shouldn't be the protector of the princess - there are far better warriors who would love to have such an honor.  She wonders what God has in mind for her, and is determined to do her best, even if it means doing things she's scared of, to keep Princess Connaven safe.  But the enemy isn't after Connaven...they're after Marywyn.

Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Queen Moreno seems intent on getting revenge against Ristor for attacking them, even though her army would just be massacred.  Ristor is only too eager for another war.  There are Rochen marching across the mountains.  Not to mention the stranger in the city is still trailing Marywyn, waiting for something...

What excites you the most about this novel?

Heh heh.  Middle books/movies are always my least favorite.  But this book, however, does have lots of things I love: adventure, music, lots of poetry, mysterious people in the shadows, wild horses, chase scenes, danger, sword fights, torture, I'm just quoting The Princess Bride.

Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?

The second book in the Betrayal and Bravery Trilogy.

Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

Well, kind of.  I wrote the first draft of Song a couple years ago for the 2015 NaNoWriMo.  Since then, I edited the first book and then wrote the third book for NaNo last year.

I could probably "wing" this draft, and get away with it, since I know where the story starts and ends, and who all the characters are.  But I'm still writing my usual synopsis, so I at least have some guidelines.

Name a few things that makes this story unique.

I hate this question.'s no magic in this fantasy novel?  No dragons?  Elves??  Yet it somehow is fairly exciting (I hope)?

How about "Julian Daventry is the one writing this, so while it might seem like an typical Christian fantasty novel, it has elements that are different.  Because nothing is new under the sun, but we can put different spins on things to make them unique."

Share a fun “extra” of the story.

Just a little cover I made via Canva...nothing too spectacular, but hey - it does the job!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Stars and Soul Cover Reveal

So, super exciting news - Rosalie Valentine is publishing a collection of short stories titled Stars and Soul!  And today we're revealing the cover (which is super cool and amazing!!
I mean, let's be honest, that is just absolutely beautiful!  And my favorite color scheme, too.  :)
So what is it about?  Check out the blurb:
A scheming imperial family.
A bedraggled starship captain.
A runaway artificial intelligence.
A dying general.

Four small stories of stars and soul.
The book is being released on November 20th, and you can preorder it!!  (The kindle version, anyway.)  There will be print copies available as well, which is good, because I want one on my shelf...
So check out the link and then join the party to wait until November...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fairytale Riot Blog Tour

So Keturah emailed me a while back, telling me about how she'd recently gotten published and would I like to be part of the Book Tour.

And I was like "...yeah!!!!  Can I interview you?"

So, without further ado...

How did you hear about the book?  That's something that I always wonder, like...I've never heard of this and you're suddenly going to be a part of it?  That's awesome!

My friend, Lauren likes to send me emails with tons of links for different places looking for submissions of different sorts. When I have time I'll look over the submissions and see if I have anything that might fit what they are looking for. As I've written dozens of short stories, I always have something I can submit to many of the places  Lauren emails to me. I've receive tons of rejection letters, but it's been an overall fun, learning process.

What made you decide to do two entries (or did you enter more that we don't know about)?  Were you surprised that both made it in?

I actually entered three stories! I just had three fairy tales I thought might fit their criteria, that were available to be used (the one that's published in Mythic Orbits I could have possibly used if it wasn't already being used elsewhere). Last day of April 2018, Months after I submitted, I received the email from Agorist Writers an hour after I found out my dad had just been in a serious car accident. The letter started out with them saying they were sorry that they couldn't use "Blessed Disasters" in their upcoming anthology, BUT they would love to use my next two stories. I just had to do a bit of rewriting. Which I happily did.
I felt a little guilty being so excited about the stories being accepted, because I still didn't know how my dad was doing, except that he wasn't doing very well.
I was staying with my friend, and I think she thought I was a bit strange. I took the news of my dad being crushed in his truck calmly. I read the email from the publishers and literally jumped up, and broke into a huge smile. "It's good to see you have some natural emotions," my friend told me.
I promise I am human. I just don't worry like most people do. Yet, I love joy.

I haven't read the book yet, though I did get offered a review copy (just have no timeeee!).  Can you tell me about your stories and the inspiration behind them?

Wow, the inspiration behind one of them is really personal. I'll save that for last ;p
I don't remember how the Piper's Last Song exactly started in my head. I know I had been reading a lot of history about the Waldensians. And I didn't like the Pied Piper story very much—but realized I could combine the two stories. So I wrote a rough draft of a short story and put in my files. Years later I went through my folder and saw it, and though, "This is a great idea I need to rework." So I did. I think I was probably seventeen when I did the rewrites? Anyways, it was a long time ago. I also have a notebook full of poetry, so I added all of that into the story. The only poem I wrote especially for Piper's Last Song is the very last poem. The first poem in the book was a silly thing I'd written when I was fourteen or so. I so loved that poem and was excited to be able to use it in that story.
I originally called this story The Last Song, but then I saw that Nicolas Sparks had a romance novel by that name. So I changed my title, a little grudgingly at first.
Prince Perfect I wrote spring of 2017. I had just been through a rough breakup, and I couldn't do anything. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, and most of all I couldn't write. Laughter, of course, was a dead memory. It was a horrible time for me. But in that darkness a satire story came into my mind. Something to make fun of how I had been dumped, something that would lesson the darkness I felt inside. I laughed at my idea. And I wrote the story, laughing the entire time.
This story started my healing, returned me to my pen, and showed me I could laugh at my heartache.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and change, now that you’ve had time to sit back and think about your entries?  Do you ever go back and read your “finished” work and find yourself wanting to make corrections?

Not really. I'm weird like that. I don't really like worrying about anything. And, besides, if I spent all of my time reworking old stories I'd never have time to write all the new ideas spinning around inside. My main concern is that my message in Prince Perfect won't come out clear. It's not about feminism. It's not saying all men are evil. It's showing that some men are such self-conceited idiots that can't see a good thing when they do, and that it's never right to hurt anyone. This same message could be said toward all the women who show no sign of loyalty, and dump guys easily, too.

You can preorder the book at:

I mean, seriously, doesn't this cover look cool?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Villains - A Rant

(Please pardon if this strays slightly off-topic, I just felt the need the type all this out...anyone else have thoughts on this??)

I see it everywhere: How to create a believable villainWhat motivates your antagonist?  How to write a villain that readers can understand.

This is all very fine and good.  Our stories need to be believable.  It doesn't make sense if we did hours of prep for the MC, and then just went "um...the villain wants world domination and he has hair."  The characters in our books (all of them) need to have motivations, and realistic ones.

But lately I feel as if I've seen the rise of "good" villains.  Of villains that readers actually fall in love with and even rush to defend.  Of people who are sometimes good and sometimes bad, depending on their mood or the circumstances.  Of antagonists who are just "misunderstood" or else excused.

(Now I really like redemption arcs.  It's great to see the villain realize the error of their ways and join the good guys in time to make a last stand against the chaos he or she has created.  It's great to see them repent.  And as Christians, we should be praying to that end for people, hoping that they would repent.  But that's not what I'm talking about.)

I'm talking about rooting for a character while they're bad.  Laughing when no one really knows what side they're on, because they're twisty and it's funny.  Excusing their actions because of some tragic backstory that made them do what they do so it's not quite their fault.

Have we grown so tired of seeing the hero do what is right, that we would rather sympathize with what is evil because it's new and exciting and entertaining?  What are we teaching ourselves?  That it's okay to do bad things as long as we help the good guys in the end?  That somehow we can be excused from our behavior because of what happened to us in the past?  That being bad is cool?  That killing is funny?

(Maybe I'm getting a few vibes from Gray's post on Bad Boys in YA, what do you think?)
But, people say, not everyone is completely good or completely bad!  We all make mistakes and have our own sins and struggles.  Some of us are naturally more inclined to do good, and others more inclined to do bad, and I'm trying to show that.  Our stories need to be believable!
Yes, they do.  I agree 100%.  But that's not an excuse.  As writers, we need to show things the way they are.  But we also need to inspire, encourage, and motivate our readers.
We need broken characters, to show us we're not alone.  They can show us the path of despair that sin leads us down.  They can show us that there is redemption for those who repent.
But we also need good characters, to give us an example.  They can show us that it's possible to remain steadfast and not give up.  They can show us how to help others.
But, others say, completely good characters are boring.  I want to read about characters with faults!  Not follow some perfect Mary Sue character who does what's right every single time!
Does anyone ever get tired of Aragorn always being so noble and kingly?  Does anyone ever get tired of Leith Torren galloping off to the rescue?  Does anyone get tired of people being kind and brave, despite the opposition?
You can have a character do the right thing and not have them be "sickeningly perfect."  Maybe they're scared, but they do it anyway.  Maybe they don't want to do it, but they do it anyway.  Maybe they do it, all the while asking for strength because they know they can't do it alone.
If every character we ever read about turns back, we will naturally follow in their footsteps and turn back as well.
So we need characters who push forward, to show us the way.  And we need characters who turn back and then realize their mistake and return to do the right thing so for those who make the same mistakes can realize there is a way for them to return as well.
Ultimately, everyone is completely good or completely bad (in God's sight).  We will all go to one of two places at death - those who have repented of their sins and received Christ's righteousness will go to be with God, and those who have gone on their own way will go to Hell.  And we need to remind readers of this as well.
That sometimes-good-sometimes-bad person might have gotten away at the end of the book with happiness.  The good person might have been horribly murdered and never seen joy.  Maybe the villain got what they wanted at last.  But at death, everyone will get what they truly deserve for eternity.  Things here on earth last for but a moment, but eternity is forever.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

NaNo Checklist

October is here, and that means NaNoWriMo is speedily approaching.  I know many writers are preparing to take part in the month-long writing craze, while others are hesitant, and others have decided to pass this year.
It's a daunting goal: to write 50,000 words of a story in 30 days.  But, I can assure you, it's quite doable.  A little preparation beforehand and some self-control during can go a long way.

Before: Pray

As always, we should bring our plans to God and ask His blessing upon them.  Pray that He would give you time to prepare and write the book.  Pray that you would be able to glorify Him through it all.

Before: Create Your Novel
This is the fun part, and begins the motivation to write.  Sign up or log in and create your novel on the NaNo website.  Put up a cover or a blurb if you have one.  Then share the word among your friends and family that you're going to attempt NaNoWriMo!
Before: Gather Your Intel
I hope you know what you need to do before you start writing a draft.  Some people write out the book chapter by chapter, or scene by scene.  Others just type up everything they know randomly into a word document and then wing the rest.  I like to do something in the middle - a synopsis.  I write out where I want the book to go (kind of reads like /and then they go over here and this happens, and so-and-so runs off to do something else and the rest head off to the forest/), but leave it open for change and even bunny trails.
Before: Organize Your Workspace

I find I like to save current WIPs to my desktop, where I can access them instantly, without having to go through a maze of folders.  Once I've finished using a file, I then store it away into the correct folder in my Documents.
Right now, I have a Scrivener file prepared for my NaNo novel, saved to desktop.  My synopsis is also beside it, easily accessible.  All my other writing material (drafts and such) is saved to Documents, out of the way.
Before: Finish Your Chores
Think ahead to November.  Is there anything you can do now so you don't have to do it next month?  Clean your room, get the fall clothing out, start the Thanksgiving preparations, prep some blog posts.  Anything that can be done now GET IT DONE.
Before: Get Your Reward
Bribing yourself can be very efficient.  Give yourself a treat if you meet your word count every day - maybe a YouTube video, five extra minutes on social media, or even just a piece of chocolate.  Have another reward every week, maybe something bigger: read a short story, bake some cookies, or just go outside for a hike.  And then prepare something big for the end - a movie, a trip with friends, or just let yourself sleep in Saturday morning.  Celebrate your milestones, but don't let yourself get too carried away.  Don't celebrate reaching your daily word count by watching a movie marathon - you can use that time to get ahead!

During: Pray

Continue to pray.  Pray that God would keep you from idolizing this story.  Continuing in prayer can help put this story where it should be - after God.  Make sure you're spending time in God's Word first and foremost.  If you're skipping morning or evening devotions so you can get NaNo accomplished, what are you saying you prize more?  God or the story?

If you complete NaNoWriMo, but haven't touched your Bible, it's not a victory at all.  Put the things of God first, and leave the rest to God's Providence.
During:  Use Your Chances
Have you made your word count and still have half an hour before bed?  Don't stop writing - keep going!!!  Had some plans canceled?  Use that extra time to write!!!  Get ahead whenever you can, so when you don't have time, it's not as stressful.  For example, Mondays are always the slowest evenings of my week - I can easily double my normal word count.  And I write as much as I can then, so if anything happens later on in the week, I can still meet the weekly word count needed.
During: Guard Your Time
I can so easily get distracted on social media.  So I have to make rule that I can't check it until I've reached my word count.  And even then, I can only look at it for five minutes before getting back to writing. 
(Tip: Timers Are Your Friend

When it's time to write, I pull out my phone and start the timer going.  Then it's like I'm on the clock.  I can't get distracted.  I have to write until I meet my goal.  And at the end of the month, I can view how much time I've spent writing and reading and working on specific projects.)
During: Don't Backspace
Three years ago, I was writing the first draft of Words of Song, and at one point realized "they wouldn't do this."  So instead of erasing all those words until I got back to where the story should be, I just...*hits enter button a few times*...started the next scene where things /should/ be and continued on.
Remember, you can fix things in editing.  Forgot about or added a character?  Just pick back up like they've always been there.  Realized one needs to go?  They suddenly vanish.  Hate where thee story starts?  Just forget and keep pressing on.  You can make changes later, right now, you just need to put the words on the page.
During: Save Your Work

There's nothing more discouraging that loosing part of what you've spent so much time typing up.  That happened to me two years ago.  I only lost about 400 words, and honestly, it wasn't even the word count that bothered me, but the fact that I can never seem to do justice to a scene when I'm rewriting it from scratch (editing an already put-down scene is easier).  It's almost as if putting it down in a word document erased it from my mind, and when the doc is lost, then I can't get a backup form my brain.
Lately, I've just been emailing myself copies of my recent WIPs instead of loading onto a Flash Drive.  (I've managed to loose two flash drives in the past month, so yeah...)  But since I have everything saved in an email folder, I can now access the doc anywhere - my laptop, phone, iPad, or wherever else I find myself.  I just need to log into my email and there it is.
But however you do it, SAVE YOUR WORK!!!