Me

Farewell to September

Another month is done, and NaNoWriMo is only a month away. Hooray! But before we get into prep for NaNoWriMo season, let’s backtrack and see what I did in September.

September’s Writing

Over the course of September I’ve written 46,865 all totaled, 20,621 of which was on The Last Assassin, my current WIP. I also wrote almost three short stories, which were 14,559 words altogether. I also created an author Facebook page, which you can find here, and I’ve started cleaning up my Pinterest account to add it to my platform. Guys, platform is hard. Very hard. I also created a Patreon page, found here, and changed the name of my blog. Then of course I’ve written a lot on my blog, and I sent House of Mages to my editor.

September’s Reading

I finished Graceling this month (read my review here), and I’ve also been working through Light of Eidon, The Hobbit, North! Or Be Eaten, and The Fault In Our Stars. There are several other books on my “reading” shelf, but I’m not actually reading them at the moment.

September’s Blogging

All of my blog posts from the past month:

Life of a Teenage Homeschool Writer

Friendship Bracelets & Seashells – Short Story Sunday

Writing Terms & Abbreviations

Character Interview: Detren Everlind

Jac & Jiles – Short Story Sunday

If I Had a Fandom…

Character Interview: Pellan Shyle

Love Is…

What To Do When You Can’t

Rainy Days & Coffee Grounds – Short Story Sunday

Music and Writing

Character Interview: Ismena Ivery

Weekly Writing Update – September 17 to 23

While I Was Sleeping – Short Story Sunday

My Favorite Music

Writing Resource Round-Up

Guest Character Interview: Emma White

Book of the Month Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Weekly Writing Update – September 24 to 30

My Favorite Music

“Autumn,” you say, “This is a writing blog. What are you doing talking about music?”

I know, I know. But I also love music, so you’ll just have to put up with me talking about it for a post or two. This post is about some of my favorite songs and artists and why they’re my favorite.

The topic of this post came about from the sermon before an all-nighter I went to Friday night. They were talking about teens being dangerous to the Devil and how music and movies these days are geared at teens and can be very worldly. Later on the radio in the bowling alley and the trampoline place we went to, I heard a couple of songs that had really fun music and atrocious lyrics. The most memorable was “Shape of You,” by Ed Sheeran. Songs like those, bad songs wrapped in a package of great music, are dangerous. Which is not to say that all secular music is bad, and there is still secular music that I listen to, but you have to be careful. Anyway, that got me thinking about what music I listen to, and thus this post came about.

MercyMe

I have nearly all of MercyMe’s albums saved on Spotify, and there are very few songs of theirs that I don’t like. They do a great job of getting to biblical truths in their songs, and it’s all really eye-opening and deep-reaching.

Even If

This is definitely my favorite of my songs, though all of them are great. I first heard it on the radio when a lot of stuff in my life felt really shaky, and it affected me quite a lot. I don’t think I’m legally allowed to quote it, but the chorus is just a great reminder that things aren’t in our control and God’s plan isn’t necessarily our plan.

Rich Mullins

Rich Mullins is an excellent songwriter, and as with MercyMe, he has very few songs I don’t like. They’re all really deep, and he does a good job of mixing that with fun music.

My current favorite of his songs (because there’s no choosing one favorite Rich Mullins song) is “What Trouble Are Giants.” It seems rather fitting, because the sermon before the all-nighter used David and Goliath as a focal point.

Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns is another one that’s really good at writing eye-opening music. They have several songs on the the lack of alertness and love in the church. One of my favorites is “If We Are the Body,” but it’s hard to pick just one favorite, as tends to happen with my favorite artists, obviously.

tobyMac

tobyMac is an example of really fun music with a good message. A couple of my favorites are “Beyond Me,” “Speak Life,” and “Like a Match.” The latter two are about showing our faith through our actions, and the first is about God being far greater than we are.

Britt Nicole

Another example of fun music and good messages. Her music is especially geared toward teen girls, but it’s great for anyone to listen to. My favorite is probably “Set the World On Fire.” It’s an invitation for God to use you.

for King & Country

A friend of mine termed for King & Country as having “a song for everything.” I listen to them when I want to hear something uplifting. I especially like “Matter” and “Fix My Eyes.”

Hallelujahs by Chris Rice

This song is gorgeous, both musically and lyrically. It paints a beautiful picture of how everything in creation points to God and it’s just gorgeous. ^-^

Thank God for Something by Hawk Nelson

This song is a great reminder of how there’s always something to be thankful for, no matter how small. As someone who tends to overlook little mercies and complains too much, it’s good to hear. Plus it’s wrapped up in upbeat (if musically boring) music that’s fun to listen to.

 

What are some of your favorite songs and why? What is some secular music that’s still good and encouraging?

Weekly Writing Update – September 17-23, 2017

So, I’m going to start something new: A writing update every Saturday. Since this is the first one I’m pretty much playing it by ear, so we’ll see what this includes. :)

Sunday, September 17th – Word Count: 6,189

I wrote two blog posts that day, neither of which has gone up yet, and that was the day I renamed Alpine Writer to Scribes & Archers. Fun fact: The short story I planned to have go up on Sunday is not actually the one that went up. I wasn’t happy with the way the planned one was going, so I wrote 4,099 words of another short story that I knew I could keep on track and posted that instead. I believe that the other 2,090 words were on those two blog posts I mentioned. I also chose names for the characters of a short story that’s currently expected to go up on the eighth. It’s an urban fantasy, which I’m a little nervous about since it’s outside my genre, but I’m excited about it.

Monday, September 18th – Word Count: 2,399

On Monday I got more into the groove of writing The Last Assassin again. I’d been kind of struggling with it, but Monday was my first step toward getting out of that rut and back on track.

Tuesday, September 19th – Word Count: 4,347

I almost doubled the words I wrote per day on The Last Assassin from Monday to Tuesday, as seen above. Yep, all of that was on The Last Assassin. This was where I really got into a groove, thanks to the Fighter’s Block word sprinting tool. Since I found that (or rediscovered it, actually. For some reason the first time I saw it I thought it was boring. Why, Past Self?!) it’s been my goal each day to use it to write 4k on The Last Assassin.

Wednesday, September 20th – Word Count: 3,919

That’s actually not quite an accurate word count. 4thewords counts words differently than Fighter’s Block. I wrote 4k that day. Or Fighter’s Block lied, one or the other. This was when I discovered that at this rate, and presuming that The Last Assassin doesn’t go too far over 100k, I’ll be finished with the first draft on October 4th. I’m excited for that day.

Funny quote of the day: *asking my sister* “What did I do writing-wise today?”

“Tortured me to death.”

I love having a tiny fandom. ;)

Thursday, September 21st – Word Count: 2,598

Well, obviously I didn’t make my 4k goal on Friday. I was distracted making a document of moments I want to remember and looking back through old stories with cringes. Although, looking through old stories did give me ideas for the third book in a dystopian trilogy I plan on writing in the future.

Friday, September 22nd – Word Count: 1,026

Yesterday I did more planning than actual writing. I did write a bit of actual story, but mostly I was prioritizing my list of future projects/past projects that still aren’t finished and figuring out what I need to do with each one before I can write it, so that I can pick one and outline it or worldbuild for it or whatever needs to be done while I’m working on drafting The Dark War Trilogy. Ideally I’d like to have another project ready to start when I finish this one, and then keep that cycle going. How well that works remains to be seen.

The story scheduled to begin after this one, if anyone was curious, is a fantasy temporarily called Dark Queen Rising. (I’m trying really hard not to get attached to that name, since it’s rather spoiler-y.)

Saturday, September 23rd – Word Count: 3,307

And then we come to today. Today’s research on license plates (the MC of Dark Queen Rising needed a license plate number) led me to learning that not all license plate numbers are just randomly selected. In Britain, in particular, the first two letters and the first two numbers correspond to region and date of registration, while the last three numbers are selected randomly. In some states in the US, the license plate number includes an expiration date and/or has numbers corresponding to the county or region in which the plate was issued. The random things you learn from writing research. Also, Tolkien fans will appreciate this one: Elevenses and second breakfast are actual meals in some countries. Countries that eat elevenses include Australia, Chile, New Zealand (I mean, it is Middle Earth, after all), and the United Kingdom, among others. Countries that eat second breakfast include Bavaria, Poland, and Hungary (they must be hungary… Yeah, that was bad. If you want good puns, this is not the place to look, unfortunately).

In addition to learning random facts (e.g. the above about license plates and how London Bridge ended up in Arizona), I actually did writing. I did a lot of work enhancing my story binder for The Dark War Trilogy, which is shared with The Heart of the Baenor, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to write a full 4k in the story once I got to actual writing, but I’m glad I came closer than I did the past couple of days.

What To Do When You Can’t

What do you do when the person you’re trying to help won’t listen? When the person won’t open their eyes to the truth? When you’ve tried every possible thing you can think of and you just. Can’t. Get through to them. When they’re making things worse on themselves and you can’t make them stop. When they’re refusing to do the things they need to just because it’s hard. When they seem to be doing everything in their power to hurt themselves and cause themselves more pain.

When it seems like it’s an uphill climb. When you feel like you’re not getting anywhere. When you feel like your stuck in one spot on the river fighting against the current and not making any progress. When you don’t have all the answers to all their questions. When you don’t have the foggiest idea what to say. When you feel such weight upon your shoulders to take care of them and you just can’t because you’re not capable of doing that right now. When you feel like you’ll be crushed under the pressure. When there’s such a burden upon your heart and you just. Can’t. Lift it on your own.

I don’t know. I don’t know what you do in these circumstances and situations. I don’t know. I hate that I don’t know. If I knew then maybe I’d be a better friend to those who need me. If I knew then maybe I wouldn’t get so frustrated. If I knew… But I don’t. I don’t know. I just. Don’t. Know. The best that I can tell you is to ask God for strength, ask Him to open the eyes of your friend, encourage your friend to read the scripture even if you have to remind them over. And over. And over. And over. And over. Remind them to pray, even if they don’t and even if you have to repeat it a billion times. Encourage them to talk to someone with more experience than you, even if you have to drag them to that person to get them help.

You can’t always do it on your own. You can’t even always do it with a whole group of friends. Maybe you can’t do it at all and God has to be the one to do the actual work, while you’re just the one opening the door or something. I don’t know. I don’t know everything, no matter how much I wish I did. But if you can do even a little bit to keep their heart beating, to keep them going, to just be there for them when no one else is, do it. No matter how hard it is. No matter how much it seems like you’re just going over the same three things over and over and over and over again. You have to keep going. Because you may be the only person they have. You may be the only person who’s willing to build them up when they and everyone else around them is trying to tear them down. They may need you. You may be their only defense against others and themselves.

And maybe what you think your purpose is in helping them and what God’s purpose for you helping them is are two different things and you won’t see that right away. You may not see it until even years later. But there is a purpose to it. I know that much.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

If I Had a Fandom…

When I asked a friend of mine what I should write about on my blog, she suggested talking about what my response would be to a big fandom. This isn’t something I’m super interested in having, just a few dedicated fans would be fine, but it’s fun to think about and I think it’ll be fun to write about, too, so here goes. :)

The biggest thing that comes to mind with a big fandom, to me, is fanart. I love fanart. I love seeing it on Pinterest and stuff. And for that fanart to be focused on my books and characters, bringing to life visually things that I can’t because I don’t draw well? That would just be fabulous. I would love that. It would make me grin so wide… The only problem would be if they got the characters all wrong, like giving a black-haired character red hair. *cough cough* Eragon *cough cough* That would irk me, but other than that… *huge grin*

The next thing that comes to mind is fanfiction. This is one I’m more hesitant to see, mostly because of the bad stuff that tend to come with fanfictions. Gay pairings that were never a thing, adult romance, etc. *gag* I don’t think I’d mind the altered storylines (dude, I’ve written AUs for my own stories. I love messing with timelines. But only when I know they can be repaired. *cough cough* Barry Allen *cough cough*) or even the ones where the main character is basically the author getting to fall in love with one of the characters in my story. If I’ve created characters likeable enough to warrant fanfics like that then I’ll be happy (as long as the romance stays appropriate.) In short, I would welcome good fanfiction, but bad fanfiction would almost make me mad.

If you have a fandom, you’ll probably get letters, emails, messages, etc. from fans. If you have a big fandom, you’ll probably get… more letters, emails, messages, etc. And then there are probably those really dedicated fans who send numerous messages and you either get really annoyed with or become friends with through the correspondence. (Not that I should know, since I have a fandom consisting of about fifty people, all of whom I know fairly well. I’m going from imagination here. Hey, what did you expect? I’m a writer. It’s what I do.) I think fanmail would be cool because it shows that people are enjoying what I’ve written, which makes me very, very happy. The only problem would be if there was too much fanmail and it was hard to respond to it all. That would disappoint me only because I would want to respond to all of it and I couldn’t. And it would be cool to make friends with those two or three or ten who write regularly. :)

If I inspired people to write with my books my life would be made, okay? That would just be spectacular. If someone wrote me asking for writing advice I would have to think about it for a while before getting back to them, but I would be more than willing to help out. Writers are awesome. I’d love to be able to encourage someone to finish their book and publish it for people to enjoy. *cough cough* My dad *cough cough* So bring on the requests for writing tips. I will do my very best to answer well.

Book signings. I have zero experience with these whatsoever. I’ve never been to one (though believe me, I would love to get a book signed by Wayne Thomas Batson. Or maybe seven books, you know…), so all of this is imagination and a few pictures of famous authors signing books at bookstores. Is it weird that I have actually practiced writing my pen name like a signature? Because I have. I am prepared. Other than signing books I don’t know how book signings work. Do readers ask questions? Do readers and the author chat? (Honestly, that would be cool. I’d love to hear specific things they liked about the book. Favorite characters, favorite scenes, etc. I love hearing what people enjoyed or didn’t in my books. ^-^) Anyway, since I have limited experience (as in, none) I can’t really make much of a commentary on this one, but whatever.

In general, I think it would be cool to have a fandom, but not necessarily one like J.K. Rowling’s or George R.R. Martin’s or Rick Riordan’s. I’m happy with just a couple hundred fans, I don’t need a couple thousand.

How would you respond to a big fandom? Let me know in the comments. :)

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