Beautiful People: Writerly Resolutions and Goals


10928109_595959117172101_1450331761_n 1_zpsw3b8il6sI have a day left to join the link-up for Beautiful People, hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up and Further In. Last month they had questions for writers on their resolutions for the new year! Considering I’m taking a very different approach to my writing this year than I did last year, I thought I’d join in and attempt to pin down my thoughts for 2016 and my fictional writing!

What were your writing achievements last year?

They were nothing that I originally wanted, at least in terms of “finishing first drafts and publishing”, but I still broke a wall last year that I’m happy a bout

I wrote completely for myself last summer. I was hit by a strange form of inspiration, for the continuation for an old saga that’d I’d been stuck on for years. After being scared of following that character route due its nontraditional elements, I decided to challenge myself to break the walls in my head and write completely for myself. I didn’t tell anyone but my sister about it, for the entire summer, and wrote completely for me.

Honestly, it was the best thing to happen to me as a writer last year…learning to write for myself. I wrote like I was mad (I felt mad too,) and I got to know my longtime favorite characters like I never had been able to, just by being experimental and brave! So, I consider that the best achievement of 2015 when it comes to my writing.

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Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

I have decided to do something different this year and not make any one book a top priority project. I did that last year and when I realized I needed to do something different, I almost felt guilty for changing my goal. I want to avoid that feeling this year. I’d like to give myself a more open path. I want to follow my heart and the words in my head without feeling the need to “reach a goal.” For one year, we’ll see how that works.

List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

I have actually only 1 area I want to work on this year, and its to stop stopping at the “boundaries” in my mind. Basically, to grow on what I learned last year. I learned last year that experimenting for myself leads to amazing breakthroughs, so this year I want to stop holding back on things I want to write. Especially when it’s completely personal anyway. I want to give myself permission to freely express what I need and thinkig in my fictional writing. I hope to bring that into what I blog as well!

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Are you participating in any writing challenges?

Noooooo, sadly. I’d love to think I could start writing every single day, but I won’t even pretend that I could give that an honest go right now. XD But since I took this past NaNoWriMo off, I would love to do it this year for sure! Every other year seems to work best for me when it comes to NaNoWriMo. XD

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

While I let my best friend and my sister read things when they can before I publish them, I currently don’t have anything else set up at the moment. I don’t have anything in particular that I need beta readers for, since I’m focusing on a lot of short stories at the moment. XD But…then again. I always need help with those too. I over think my wording too much. XD

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Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

Last year I bought several writing books cheap and I’d love to put a dent in them! I would like to read the book “Writer with a Day Job” and really use my copies of “The Pocket Muse” and it’s sequel (excellent books for inspiration!) “The Little Red Writing Book” is slim, looks extremely promising and should be easy to read as well!

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

If I had to get to know a character better this year, it would be my villain-turned-anti-hero, Kyle. I created Kyle when I was fourteen and for years he’s remained the bland, two-dimensional baddie whom I didn’t understand personally or know how to use properly. But last year when I got to know my lead hero better, I also realized that as Kyle’s role expanded, I began to understand why he felt the way he did. After seven years, we finally began to click.

So, if I had to get to know one character better this year, it would be him. He’s the angry, grieving, screaming sound in my head that’s slowly mellowing and releasing and changing when I reflect on him. I want to get to know him even better!

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Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

Oh no, I can’t make any serious promises for that this year, like I did last year. I’m going to just write and follow my gut this year. XD

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

I desperately wish there were more books that followed a guy and girl friendship that didn’t have any real romantic tension or didn’t develop into romance. I’m determined to write stories like this myself.  It just would be refreshing! Also you then completely bypass all those annoying love triangles. XD

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What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

I hope to have achieved a stronger sense of freedom in my writing, to be less terrified of exploring my own consciousness and writing inspirations. Right now, I think the most I want to ask of myself is to become a better writer than the writer that I am in this moment. Continuing self-improvement, at my pace and in my way, will be all that I’ll demand of myself this year.

And quite honestly, that's a tall order all on its own anyway.

Are you a writer? What are your goals for the year? Did you accomplish something you’re proud of in 2015, whether in blogging or novel-writing? 

~Jamie

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New Blog Post Series! Intro


I love writing stories but it can be hard work; I like to switch things up and try new things to keep the mundane away. I wish I could find more blogs by writers who share the silly little tools and thoughts that randomly help them write. So, I’ve decided to be that blogger myself instead. Today I’m introducing a new blog post series:

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While I’m unsure if this will be a weekly or bi-weekly thing, the point is that every once and while I’d like to share a resource, a YouTube playlist, a blog post, a quirk, or just something that I’ve found helpful with my own writing, in the hopes that it might help along someone else’s creative journey to.

I’ll mostly be focused aiding writers of fiction, but bloggers and anyone who enjoys creativity of some kind shall hopefully find good things here too! 😀 If just one person finds this blog series helpful, I will consider it a grand success! (And I’ll be able to always go back to find them again here.)

Well, just so for some fun (and because I’m curious) I thought I’d try a poll today! What Helps You Write? (If I didn’t include something that does help you, please let me know SO I KNOW YOUR SECRETS. XD )

Hope you all are having a nice Friday!

~Jamie

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession


It has been very nice having this blog on hiatus to blog only when I want to…which hasn’t happened until today. XD

This morning, while checking blog posts updates as I scrambled out of bed, I saw this week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s topic was on the latest books you’ve just acquired. I couldn’t help but get excited!

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Latest Read

The past month I’ve been getting back into books, or at least trying too (it’s a slow process.) I’ve been specifically immersing myself in the online book community as a spectator. I’ve discovered Booktube (the YouTube book vlogger world) and have been familiarizing myself with contemporary, modern books that are dearly loved by the community. Partly because I think reading more will help my writing, but partly because I kind of miss reading. 🙂

I’ve been specifically going through these posts here to discover unique reads. I’m not very interested in run-of-the-mill YA or single genre novels. I really want memorable stories, or books with magic, or books in unique settings or with unique elements–I credit this crave to my current anime diet. XD

Lately I’ve bought thrift store copies of different books the past couple weeks (most of them just by gut feeling, not by acquired knowledge of them) and my book shelves have overflowed to my under bed! My Instragam followers have probably gotten tired of my different book haul pics. XD

Top Ten Tuesday’s a blog link up hosted by the writers at The Broke and Bookish, and their Top Ten Tuesdays are incredibly popular in the blogging world of books. I’ve never done one before, so this will be exciting to join in, especially since books have become more relevant in my life the past month or so! I’ve bought more books the past month than I have the past five years! (Book titles link to their Goodreads pages.)

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The Graveyard Book: Firstly, the cover is gorgeous, even more so in person! (hugs physical copy of book.) The premise of this book really captured my attention and I desperately want to read it–I actually ordered this a thrift copy for myself in a “Half.com-Early-Birthday-Online-Shopping” excursion a few weeks ago, and it just arrived yesterday!

Swamplandia!: This has been on my to-read list for a while, so I’m happy to finally own it! I saw it on several “most unique reads” list, which has my hopes up in the clouds. I love how old-fashioned the cover art looks. The copy I ordered is a little beat up, but that merely means it was well-loved! XD

The Teleportation Accident: Time Travel. 1920s-ish… maybe? This was also on a lot of “unique reads” lists. I got a ex-library copy cheap in superb–I mean superb!–condition, so I’m happy!

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making: The title alone is enough to guarantee a read from me–it sounds so different! I’m glad its small, though, so I can find a place for it on my bookshelf.

Life After Life: I’ve sampled Kate Atkinson’s writing before and really enjoyed it. I stumbled over this book at a thrift store in beautiful condition. For once, I was so happy the author’s name was the larger print on the spine than the book title (generally that is a peeve of mine) because it caught my eye.

Counting by 7s: I randomly found this at a thrift store (I had a Goodwill gift card about to expire, so I was grabbing any book that piqued my interest by the spine to use it up.) This spine had a fish on it, and when I pulled it off to see the cover, I fell in love immediately. I brought it home when I discovered it was about eccentrics. XD

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Nightmares!: I saw this online many times, loved the purple cover and the mansion, but thought “I’ll probably only ever read the library’s.” But then I spotted the hardback spine at Goodwill and nearly fainted over my shopping cart. The cover is gorgeous in person, the page’s edges are uneven and wrinkly like an old-fashioned book, and the illustrations are awesome. I don’t care that this is a children’s book, I’m happy to own it!

The Casual Vacancy: This was another book I first saw online–I’d never realized J.K. Rowling wrote other books besides Harry Potter. XD I found this hardback right next to Life After Life and brought them home together. It’s written specifically for adults, so I’m very curious to see what it’s about. I love the yellow cover!

The Shogun’s Daughter: I didn’t know anything about this book when I bought it. That it was a historical novel set in Japan was enough to interest me; I also thought the cover was beautiful, and I just felt good vibes: I couldn’t leave it behind. It was only after I got home that I realized it was a mystery (HUZZAH!) and it was highly praised on Goodreads. I always follow my gut now while shopping books because of that….

The Blind Assassin: I bought this the same way I did The Shogun’s Daughter. The spine caught my eye at the store, the cover looked appealing when I pulled it off, I felt good vibes, I brought it home, and Goodreads said it was good. It’s quite a large hardback, though, so it’s one of those “can you squeeze me in?” books. 😀

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this book is literal magic

This is only half of the books that only recently came into my possession: The Night Circus just arrived a few minutes ago in the mail. I just wanted a copy so badly. Because it was awesome.

I picked up a hardback copy of The Goblet of Fire and wedged it in with my big books like Sherlock Holmes, a HG Wells collection, and Dracula. JK and her dinosaur-sized books!

I picked up fourteen different random hardback/paperback books on the 4th because of gift card and more good vibes (which all proved right,) and I’m had to put several of those under my bed. XD And I have more books  coming in the mail!

I’M SO HAPPY TO LOVE BOOKS AGAIN BUT WHEN WILL I EVER READ THEM ALL.

Well, I wonder what I will feel motivated to blog about next. Are you reading anything unique this summer?

~Jamie

To-Read List || Topic: Fiction


I’ve been using Goodreads more to find interesting fictional books… mostly fantasy. I’ve found several that I’m one hundred percent positive I’m going to read throughout the year, unless I find better ones along the way. XD

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All the synopsises on Goodreads intrigued me to a certain degree, so I think they’ll take me on some good adventures…at least I hope so! Besides these, I want to start reading the Harry Potter books too. Right now I have an audio book of The Sorcerer’s Stone that I’ll try listening to! 😀

I completed The Night Circus awhile back, and I highly recommend it to all you book nerds. It’s book of many descriptions, very detailed and delicate but not exhausting to read; a major plus for me! Together they beautifully paint an enchanting black and white circus which is used as the curiously odd battle ground for two magicians. The genre is romance, but it actually took a long time for any of it to happen, which is fine by me. XD

I completely enjoyed it, and am desperate to find any book similar to it! ALSO IT NEEDS A HIGH QUALITY TV SERIES. *gasp* ACTUALLY THIS BOOK WAS MADE FOR ANIME OMGOSH *melts*

What fictional books am I reading right now? I’m on break at the moment, but I’m about to pick up The Scorpio Races from the library this week! It’s my next challenge! Have you read The Scorpio Races or The Night Circus? Have you read any of the books on my to-read list? Any bad apples in there I should maybe avoid? 😀

~Jamie

4 Things My Writing Career Has Taught Me


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So, an awesome thing happened. TheLadders.com are currently running a project where they seek out specific career advice, and they asked me to share my own advice for people looking into writing as their career. I thought, sure why the heck not?!

I’m still pretty new to my writing career, even though I’ve been blogging for four years and writing fiction for over ten; I have SO MUCH to learn! However, here are a few big things I have learned.

1. Helpful criticism is your best friend.

Everybody thinks they know this, but it’s another thing to have your work returned to you with more than just a few glowing remarks on your genius. Generally, unless they’re anonymous internet trolls, people simply want to be honest. If you’ve asked specific people for their feedback, trust that they’re wanting to help you. Even if you don’t change or do every single thing people suggest, it is smart to hear a reader’s perspective on your work.

I learned several years ago that my writing improved when I swallowed my pride and listened to the feedback people had to give. If you can take helpful criticism, you and your writing will improve quicker than if you didn’t.

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2. Go out of your way to learn more about writing.

I’ve exhausted my library’s creative writing section for a couple of months now, looking for books that talk about building characters, plots, worlds, grammar, story flow, ect. On can learn so much from doing this, especially if you’re going out of your way to find. Finding online articles about writing strong and better is even more convenient! Find anything that could expand my knowledge as a writer and give it a try.

I’m currently reading six different books on writing at the moment and they’ve already changed the way I view my craft. I strongly suggest all writers should learn from others shared mistakes and success to see what might help your individual needs and weaknesses as a writer.

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3. Unless you dare to try or to take risks, nothing will happen.

To be a writer is to take risks, to move forward when you want to move backward, to be open, to be insecure, to have gnawed finger nails. I hit these crossroads a couple of years ago myself. I discovered a platform for self-publishing but became scared people wouldn’t like what I wanted to publish; that it stunk; even worse, that people wouldn’t be interested to even try reading it. I saw two choices: keep rewriting till the story turned to mush out of fear that my work wasn’t good enough… OR take a risk to move past my insecurities and publish despite my inner voice of doom.

I realized that if I didn’t at least try I would never know either way if my work was good or bad. So in the end I hit publish and the response to my first short story was encouraging and kind: And people wanted more of it! I’m always thankfully I took that jump because it has led some wonderful success!

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4. WRITE. Everybody says this, but that’s because it’s important.

I don’t care what you write, but the more you write the better you get. This is the simplest piece of advice I’ve learned yet and hopefully most of you seriously considering writing already know and do this as often as possible.

These some the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned the past four or five years. If a writer’s career is the life for you, well, welcome aboard. Tighten your seat belts since the goings usually rough…just remember that the view is worth it.

~Jamie