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. 😄 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. 😄

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. 😄 But…then again. I always need help with those too. I over think my wording too much. 😄

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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. 😄

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. 😄

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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

To-Read: Part 2 || Topic: Creative Writing


Today I’m posting Part 2 of my To-Read list of creative writing books. I’m still so excited to have found so many wonderful books from the library and I can’t wait to read them all. (I shall try to pull together my to-read list of fictional books soon). Check out Part 1 here if you missed it!

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20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias. I’ve read several chapters in this already and it has completely changed how I look at plots! The book is focused how to write classic plots successfully; such master plots include Action, Quest, Rescue, Love and Underdog! I will definitely be returning to this book in the future since it’s been great so far. Highly recommended!

Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom From a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights complied and edited by Jon Winokur. This book is all advice that look like quotes or foturne cookies, organized under categories like Characters, Dialogue, Genres, Money, Reading ect. I’ve skimmed the book and it’s neat; different advice from different people will often contradict each other, which is pretty funny, haha. This is another book I wish I could underline with pen or set on fire with highlighter ink!

A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves. This is one of those “use for the entire year” books–and I think those books are really neat! This book is wide and flat, covers each month, and discusses different aspects of writing with a tiny writing prompt for each day. I really wouldn’t mind going through this book one year in the future!

Getting the Words Right: 39 Ways to Improve Your Writing by Theodore A. Rees Cheney. This one definitely looks deeper then just your regular “creative writing” book, especially since the author is an editor. The author zeros in on 39 specific subjects to talk about, such as keeping a unified tone throughout your story, when to delete a chapter, and how to use figurative speech. Definitely excited to read this one and apply its advice on my current story!

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How to Write Your Life Story in Ten Easy Steps by Sophie King. (This isn’t really on creative writing, but I got so excited about it that I have to include it. 😄 ) I’ll DEFINITELY be using this book as a guide to capturing my life on paper later in the future. It’s full of suggestions on how to remember things and recount them well. I’m so glad this book exists; simply looking through it made autobiography-writing feel easier–I highly recommend this to those wanting to write about their life!

Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind by Kelly L. Stone. This one looks kinda neat as it has more of a relaxation/meditation approach to discovering creativity. I’ve really not seen another creative writing book like it. This one definitely has me intrigued to see what it has to say!

Vex, Hex, Smash, Smooch: Let Verbs Power Your Writing by Constance Hale. This book is pretty thick with smaller text, so it looks rather daunting to me. However, it’s also full of examples and verbs that look really helpful. And I love verbs. So. I’ll give it a try. 😀

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? A Writer’s Guide to Transforming Notions Into Narratives by Fred White. First off, I grabbed this book because of the cover; vintage, personalitiy, and turquoise, lol. This book looks pretty neat, as it guides you through the story’s idea, plotting on paper, and then writing the first draft. As a panster who could use help with actual plotting before writing, this could be a good read that I’ll definitely give it a go.

Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron. I love this idea for a writing book. Readers use their brains to read but how does the brain work and how can we take advantage of it to get them sucked into our story? Before I publish, I hope to read through this book and use what I can in my story. I love psychology anyway, so understanding a bit more in the world of my craft would be fantastic!

Are there any books on creative writing that I should read? Please recommend one in the comments!

~Jamie

The Art of Characters (a link up)


So, today I’m linking up with Victoria at Stori Tori’s Blog and her link up The Art of Characters. TheArtofCharactersButtonWithText2“This link-up focuses on your characters from the outside and how your character’s description can tell a lot about your character. I’m hoping this will not only help pure writers, but also writers/artists to draw their characters more.”

This is a fantastic idea and something I should ponder on more (this month’s focus was supposed to be on couples because of Valentine’s but I failed to see how to make that work, so I’m not doing that part.) I’ll be using my new main character (still going with the temporary name Zoe) to fill this out; I’m curious to my own answers. 😄

(I do not have any images my character.)

1.) What does your character’s eye, skin, and hair color tell about him/her? Within the world of Immersed, a Multi-Player Fantasy Role-Playing Virtual Reality Game, my main character, after nearly choosing the human race, chooses to play in the avatar of a demon. (Demons have purple skin with unique black patterned splotches and black hair, along with a tail and cloven feet. No horns.) Zoe think she’s being unique by choosing an avatar that’s not human, but she’s not as original as she thinks she is.  I have not really decided on Zoe’s features outside the game–she is only described as her avatar.

2.) What does your character’s hairstyle tell about him/her? Zoe’s female demon avatar has black full hair that reaches past her shoulders. When she first enters the game, she wears it loose but as she becomes serious about dungeon crawling, she pulls it back (or will wear it under a helmet.) I haven’t put too much thought into anything beyond that.

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3.) What does your character’s default outfit tell about him/her? I actually haven’t created Zoe’s default outfit yet, she’s still in the basic garb of a new player. However, since she can and will be able to buy herself armor, charms, and an identifying outfit, I’ll be able to bring out her personality more. What I currently know about her is that while she’s not a genius, she does know common sense and that will show with the clothing she chooses.

4.) Does he/she have an object(s) he/she carries around a lot? She has a trademark tiny dagger that delivers more harm against monsters than it’s meant to and she carries a small trinket with her as a good luck charm, even though it’s not technically a “charm” from the game’s data base. It was given to her by a merchant on her first day within Immersed.

5.) Does he/she have any particular scars or birthmarks? Generally, once healed, avatars don’t keep scars from previous battles. However, on Zoe’s real body, she has a small scar on her thumb where a rose thorn stabbed her when she was 14.

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6.) Does he/she have any piercings or tattoos? In both reality and virtual reality, she has pierced ears. You can get tattoos in the game, but she does not have any.

7.) How does he/she carry themselves? Shoulders back? Eye contact? Eyes down? Slumped shoulders? Zoe is about eighteen (Can you believe I have not pegged down an official age and name for a main character yet?!) so she sees herself at prime of her youth; she has bright eyes, straight shoulders and a quirk of curiosity to her step.

8.) What is his/her default expression? Smiling? Frowning? Solemn? She has an inquisitive, curious facial expression. She’s not completely trusting of everyone she meets or sees, but she’s intrigued about virtual reality, and her curiosity comes across through her face.

9.) Does he/she wear make-up or face paint? She does not wear either in virtual reality, but in her real life she sometimes wears mascara and lip gloss.

I like the snake-ish helmet here...
I like the snake-ish helmet here…

10.) Does his/her physical appearance change at any time? For example: If they have a power do their eyes glow or hair turn blue? When she executes magic that is only used by the demon race, her eyes flash a soft blue gleam. However, her body doesn’t really react to other magical powers or skills–at least, not that I have developed, but this is something I should come up for other characters.

Bonus: Does the character change his/her appearance to impress the love interest? Currently, I’m not planning on giving Zoe a love interest. I choose this because I think fantasy and sci-fi books use the “in love” symptom between the female lead and a male presence too often as motivation or tension, and I want to try something completely different!

I really appreciated this link up, it’s definitely given me a better idea of my character and different aspects of her two lives that I can use throughout the story! Thanks for reading! 🙂

~Jamie

To-Read: Part 1 || Topic: Creative Writing


I haven’t done a list in a while, so I thought I might as well blog this year’s To-Read lists. 😄 Currently, I have each of these books borrowed from the library and am peeking into each of them–so this list is something of an impressions post. I think it would be handy to record my thoughts on them, since I won’t be able to read them all at once.

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Bullies Bast#rds & B#tches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Jessica Page Morrell. This looks like a good read, with certain chapters covering the different types of villains. While I think I need more help writing compelling, realistic heroes (more practice, is more like it,) it never hurts to learn more on the baddie topic. They can also be tougher to write.

Crafting Novels & Short Stories from the editors of the Writer’s Digest. THIS book looks like one I might personally buy just so I can underline and dog tag pages. Just from the Getting Started intro I wanted to mark up a dozen different lines. It looks sharp, smart, and to-the-point. Definitely high at the top of the list to read!

Pep Talks, Warnings & Screeds: Indispensable Wisdom and Cautionary Advice for Writers by George Singleton. This one looks awesome. Everything is in short paragraphs which are quick to read and to-the-point. Some of them are like fortune cookies–I like honest writing advice in this format. There are also cute pictures dashed in too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one became a “want-to-buy” as well.

The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life by Fred White. I’ve actually borrowed this about four years ago so it feels pretty new to me, lol. There’s a page for each day with a prompt at the bottom. I love the cover and the layout and the diverse topics for reading. Another possible “must buy”.

The Pocket Muse and The Pocket Muse: Endless Inspiration by Monica Wood. I LOVE. THESE. BOOKS. Their pretty small but are bursting with inspiration. Between each cover they’re filled with images and prompts set up in unique ways to inspire a creative spark! I own “Endless Inspiration” but I think I’ll need to get the rest of the series too! (Not pictured.)

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Writing: A User Manual by David Hewson. Already sent this one back, but I think once I get through some of the others I’ll come back to it…looked a little like dull reading, but who knows for sure. 😄

Word Hero: A Fiendishly Clever Guide to Crafting the Lines that get Laughs, go Viral and Live Forever by Jay Heinrichs. Full of colorful words that aren’t too ridiculous, this book is exactly as it says it is: how to use words in a memorable way! I look forward to reading through this one to widen my vocabulary and use those words well! I have high hopes for this one!

Writing Monsters: How to Craft Believably Terrifying Creatures to Enhance Your Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction by Philip Athans. I’ve read the foreword, intro, and the first chapter, and the author seems to have a great perspective of what exactly a monster is or can be, so I have very high hopes for this book. I love that in the beginning there’s a section for filling out details for your monster, immediately equipping me as a writer! This book looks fantastic, and I’ll be reading through this one first as I need monster ideas and tips for my video game novel.

Write Starts: Prompts, Quotes and Exercises to Jumpstart Your Creativity by Hal Zina Bennett. I actually own this one already, I ordered it on Amazon to reach the free shipping level, lol. More short chapters with neat exercises and prompts! I hope to get some good creativity spurts out of this one!

Writing 21st Century Fiction: High Impact Techniques For exceptional Storytelling by Donald Maass. The title itself made me pull it off the shelf. Sometimes certain how-to-write/publish books are becoming dated as the style of storytelling changes, so I like to find a book that’s aware of the times. Hopefully it will be worth the time to peruse through the pages.

That’s the end of part 1 (yes, I have a second stack of books just from the creative writing section.) Have any of you read/used books on writing, prompts or publishing that were helpful? If you do/don’t read these types of books, why or why not?

~Jamie

3 Things I Thought Difficult but Actually Aren’t


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Making my bed.

Most of my life I never made my bed; A) because I slept on the top of a bunk bed, and B) I wasn’t expected to make it. When I was eighteen I started sleeping on a twin by myself– it became more central to my room, influencing how the rest of it felt. At first, straightening blankets and pillows felt so hard, but when I actually attempted to do it, I found it made my room feel so much cleaner all by itself. And it’s not actually difficult! Surprise! (It’s the same when I open my window curtains! What a world of difference!)

Drinking enough water.

I’ve almost always liked water anyway, but it always seemed very hard to drink as much as you need every day. However, I started making time to drink right before bed and as soon as I got out of bed. It’s not actually difficult at all! I feel a world’s difference too! (Plus, drinking right before bed ensures no sleeping in! 😄 )

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Making time to write.

I’ve always loved writing, and had lots of time for it growing up. On top of a year or so when I was either tired emotionally or mentally OR I just couldn’t click on the word document button, my time seemed to get gobbled up more quickly by other things. However, this past NaNoWriMo, I exceeded the 50k word count by 10k in a month– a record for me! I realized the deadline had forced me to find time without being brutal. I’d determined, “I will make this word count, and no one is going to stop me from fulfilling it, not even myself.” It turns out, it’s not hard to make time to write: you just need to want it bad enough.

How about you? Are there things you thought were hard and then discovered they weren’t? Has someone cracked it for washing dishes?!?!?!? (I have not, and probably never will, because the activity of washing dishes is my mortal enemy for life. 😄 )

~Jame