Sneak preview into my work in progress.

 

I know that I should publish a creative life post but unfortunately I haven’t written it yet…

 

Sneak preview

 

I’m not going to make any excuses but to make it up to you I will give you a little bit of insights into my current work in progress High Queen.

Currently the story only has about two scenes written and is still poorly planned but what I can share with you is some world building.

 

A long time ago the Caeli people were at war with each other. The five different kingdoms all battled for as much ground as they could. They never got along, they never compromised and they never shared.

Eventually though a great enemy came in from the coast and faced with sudden destruction the Caeli kingdoms joined together. Alliances were formed and after a massive battle the enemy was banished.

The king who killed the enemy was then announced the High King and the other kings swore to serve under his rule. This Kingship system is still the governing system in place – and the High King’s heirs are still on the throne. This new great Kingdom is called Caelum.

With so many years past, details of the enemy had been lost, but rumours have it that it is held captive somewhere in the massive forest which grows next to the capital city.

The fear of it is what drove the citizens to start painting protective marks on their house walls and the city’s streets. They claim that the markings can keep the old enemy away.

Despite the fact that a large amount of people simply believe this is superstition they still paint – which leaves the capital city one of the brightest places to live as layers and layers of paint have been used to create these patterns.

Since the ancient times, the Caeli have turned their eyes outwards and made alliances with the surrounding nations.
These surrounding nations include the giants, the humans, the pixies and the pirates (fancy names still need to be created)

 

 

This series is going to start with the newest High Queen, Aster who has to face a monster that may or may not have snuck out of the forest. Her only help is the shy young Lord Nickolas and the Princess Flam whose mother is bent on dethroning Aster. But then you can’t always choose your friends can you?

 

That’s the small sneak view that I can give you today. Please let me know if you like the idea of the story so far and then I’ll post again on Friday (or Saturday because I’m tardy)

 

5 things to do when you are bedridden 

Somehow in the past week I managed to do something to my lower back and now it hurts… Properly. At first it was because I sat and worked for hours on end and I figured it would just go away with a little rest but now it’s lasted 2 weeks with me growing more and more aware of the pain every day.

When you have back pain it’s like metaphorically running a marathon  with your feet tied together. You can probably still finish the marathon by hopping but you’ll move slow and probably fall over a couple of times. 

In the way that having your feet tied together would keep you from running my back pain keeps me from sitting or in other words writing, doing homework, drawing, going places etc. 
So the question is what can a person do when they can’t move because of back pain? If you don’t know yet,  I went through a back operation about five years ago so I’m more than qualified to answer that question from both the perspective of a kid and a teen so here is a little list. 

1. Read… A lot. 

Back in the hospital I finished the black magician series by Trudi Canavan and I honestly suggest it for everyone. It’s a great series that is not actually children’s books despite the fact that I was about 12 when I read it. The story still sticks with me and a lot of my earlier writing was based off it. 

This week I read the Magisterium books by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. These are children books actually and I can still suggest it if you like a well written mean character. It’s really funny and will definitely take your attention off of your back pain. 

2. Binge watch a series

This is yet another nice thing you can do while lying down. 

Back when I was little and had just gotten home from the hospital I basically watched Pokémon nonstop. For the more grown audience (keep in mind I’m a teen girl) I suggest something like Finding Carter or Veronica Mars to binge watch because they both definitely grabbed my attention when I watched them.  I’m currently thinking about binge watching BBC Sherlock or maybe Doctor Who just to up my nerd status a little so you can always join me and go for one of those. 

3. Create a Pintrest board

One of my favorite things to do is plan stuff and collect pretty motivational pictures. Lying on my back I can’t do that physically anymore (I normally stick stuff to my wall) so Pintrest is the perfect solution. 

A Pintrest board can be about anything. If you’re a writer you can make one to gather inspiration for your next book. If you just finished a nice book like #1 suggests then you can create a fan board full of pictured of the characters and such…

4. Message or call friends. 

Face it being stuck on your back gets really boring and lonely so if you have someone who can keep you company ask them to do just that. 

When I was in the hospital friends snuck in to come visit me there and despite the fact that I couldn’t sit only moment ago I practically jumped  up when I saw them. Sometimes company is all you need to keep yourself from succumbing to boredom. 

So text someone, call someone, or ask someone to to come chill with you. 

5. Create a list on your phone. 

Pick a topic any topic and make a list. That’s exactly what I’m doing right now because while I can’t sit to work on my laptop or notebook my phone is easy to use. 

Topics I can suggest are 

  • Five happy moments in the past five years. 
  • List of things that help make your back feel better. 
  • 10 things to do when you’re bored. 
  • Favorite movies to watch over and over again. 
  • How many books you’ve read 

That’s it! 

I hope that if you’re stuck in bed like me you feel better soon. I suggest keeping a hot water bottle near where you’re hurt and a cuddle buddy 🙂 

Tell me what do you suggest for those of us stuck in bed? 

Photo of the puppies
My 2 cuddle buddies chilling on my messy bed while I get myself tea

Newbie lesson #1 – Planning out characters.

For the past few weeks I’ve been a part of the Young Writer’s workshop – which has been awesomely put together by Brett Harris and Jaquelle Crowe.

What I love about the workshop the most so far is the facebook group that is filled with the most awesomely amazing nerds ever. They all support each other, answer questions and read each other’s work. (I got my first beta reader btw!)

I really love being a part it!

It does mean that I’m exposed to a lot of brand new writers though. Writers who haven’t written their first novel yet. Writers who don’t know how to write that fist sentence or how to plot that first character. There are questions being asked on the group every day.

Inspired by their questions, I have decided that I want to write a writing lesson on one of the basics of writing.

How to create a character.

So here it is.

How to create a character – My own method.

In my time writing I’ve discovered that no matter how bad the rest of your story is, people will still love it if you’re characters are well written. That’s not a promise but that is how it works for me. For me characters are the heart of a story.

So that’s why it’s the first thing I want this series to cover.

Let’s get into it.

The first thing you need to do to create a character is grab a piece of paper. I use a normal A4 sheet with lines on it. You will hopefully not need too much more paper than that at first.

Now what do you put on the paper?

(there is an example of how it should look at the bottom of the post. Fill in sheet style)

Name:

At the top of your paper write down your character’s name. If you can’t think of anything go check out this baby naming site.

I like using a name with a meaning behind it, because that way I already have the first aspect of my character figured out. (example: Nava- beautiful. Bellona – goddess of war)

Gender:

In the next line write down either male or female… simple right?

Age:

Third line is age. I was taught that if you’re a new writer try to keep your characters around your own age – give or take two years. That way you can relate to them and as a result they’ll be more realistic. If you’re a grown writer who wants to write children’s books you may skip this advice.

Appearance:

Now the fourth part is where things get exciting.

In about 6 lines (on the paper) explain how your character looks. Go into detail.

When I was just starting out I thought that all you needed to describe a character was eye and hair colour. I was very naive back then.

No – eye and hair colour is not what takes to make a character appear to your reader. Instead try to go into depth in how your character looks at certain times of the day. Think about how they move. Think about the tiny scars that cover their arms etc.

Good things to use in descriptions are how they move, what kind of body build they have, how they dress, if they have long thin fingers or short chubby ones. These details help make a character real so take a minute to write down as much as you can think of.

Where necessary also add how they feel about their appearance.

Hermione had large front teeth. She hated them.

Doesn’t that give way more of an impression than eye colour?

Character’s life

Now take another six lines and fill in a bit about the character’s past and present.

Before you can write a story you need to know what mindset your character is currently in.  So go ahead and write down what you have figured out about them by now.

Here you should basically start by writing a quick overview of the character which can be prompted with questions such as. What social class is your character in? How caring is this character? How many family members does this character have, who do they care for the most etc.

Next think about their past. What have they lived through? What was a couple of defining points in their lives? Who helped them along the way?

Lastly what is your character’s current mindset? What is your character busy doing with in their life before your story begins? What is your character doing day in, day out? Does your character have any goals?

This will help you know who your character is when you just start off with a project.

That’s it. Those are five simple areas that if answered correctly give you a character.

Now write.

The next step would be to honestly observe your character. I’m going to give you a scene and then you just place your character into the scene and write it out so you can see what kind of character you have.

This helps because it sets you into the mindset of your character, and if the character acts out of the guidelines you built, you’ll be able to decide how to fix that problem before you start with your main project.

Scene

Your character is about to have a lesson in (insert interest of choice) and is laughing with their friend to the side when their instructor barks at them to come show off what they had been practicing the week before.

How your character approaches the lesson is up to you.

Got it? Go.

When you’re done, feel free to share your writing with me. I love reading how other writers interpret my prompts.

untitled

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The Prologue and title release for my next novel :)

I don’t really feel like doing much in the way of introductions for this next piece of writing. All you need to know is it’s the prologue of my next novel trilogy.
The first book will be called the “High Queen of Esnium.”
It’s high fantasy and I hope you like it!

High Queen of Esnium – Prologue.

“If you don’t make it to tomorrow’s dinner I will stab you with a fork,” Aster’s mother threatened her. The woman’s face was bright with laughter despite the threat and the tip of her nose was bright pink from the cold air.
Aster wondered what all the court members would say of their beloved High Queen if they saw her like that – dressed in flight pants and with her light hair pulled into a tight braid and not a single pearl on her. At that moment, the High Queen looked less like her normally noble and delicate self but more like… well Aster.
“There’s no need to threaten her,” Aster’s dad said stretching his one wing into his wife’s direction. “You only need to tell her that young Nick will be there and she’ll be there two hours early.”
Aster’s face was pink, and it wasn’t simply because of the cold mountain air. She pulled her wings in close to her as she turned her back on both of her parents and walked over to the edge of the cliff.
The mountains where empty this time of year, when instead of soft green grass it was covered in stone hard ice. The sun was just starting to come up, and painted the sky bright greens and blues – the brightness of the colours contrasting with the white earth.
“I’m not going to the party,” Aster said, her voice sullen despite the smile she was hiding from them. “Regardless of who is coming.”
“Yes, you are coming,” Aster’s mother said again. “I invited King Tatsuo and his son. They are both attending. I want you to try and make friends with the boy.”
“He’s just kid,” Aster moaned.
“You’re acting like a kid right now,” Aster’s mother said. “Please Aster, after the incident this summer; it’s as if the whole alliance with them has been on edge. Tomorrow is to help smooth things over.”
Aster’s dad was quiet but Aster could picture him frowning. Her mother had a knack for knowing when things were about to go wrong, so her words seemed more like a warning then simply a request for help.
Aster turned to her parents again. They were the two most regal people she knew, and that meant quite something. Her father had great big purple wings, that marked him as High King but she had the feeling that even without the wings no one would be able to mistake him for anything less than noble. He stood tall and strong, his one arm around his wife’s waist as he looked down at her with a slight frown.
The high Queen herself was looking right at Aster.
“Come on, please?” she asked sweetly.
Aster knew that if she disagreed one more time, all the nice asking would vanish and her mother would still have her stuffed in a dress in time for the party. She still didn’t want to go – the whole ball would be thrown in honour of her – the heir to the throne – and honestly she couldn’t help but feel like it was wrong. The title wasn’t meant for her.
Aster pulled in a deep breath at the sight of her mother’s face and knew that she had lost.
“Fine, I’ll go,” Aster said.
The queen started to grin and pulled out of her husband’s embrace as she walked out to Aster, her arms outstretched.
“It’s going to be so much fun, you’ll see. I have the perfect dress planned out for you” The queen put her hands on Aster’s shoulders.
Aster regretted her decision on the spot but caught her dad smiling at her. Their eyes met for a moment before he nodded his thanks.
Perhaps if she did this, she might at least be useful as an heir.
Her mum’s hands went stiff on Aster’s shoulders. Aster frowned at her and looked up to see her mum staring just past her into the open air.
“What is it?” Aster asked starting to turn around.
“We need to get out of here,” Aster’s mum said pushing Aster away from the edge. Aster’s dad caught on immediately and reached out for the two of them. He was too late.
A great big arrow whizzed past Aster’s head, missing her and her mother by a hair’s breath. Aster was facing just the right direction to see it thump into her dad’s chest.
Her breath caught but she opened her mouth to scream anyway. Her dad – her king – stumbled back a step. Then fell.
Aster’s mother pushed her backwards now, straight towards the edge of the cliff. The ground gave way beneath Aster’s feet and finally the scream broke free of her lungs.
Aster screamed even as she flung open her wings. She screamed as she finally caught a glimpse of the giants standing on a nearby peak. She screamed as her mother spread her own multicoloured wings to slow their fall.
Their fall broke into a stumbling glide and they fell away from the attacking giants, as well as where they had left her dad.
Another arrow was fired and went straight through the queen’s left wing.
The High Queen screamed in pain, and they fell the last bit.
Aster struck her head and stars filled her vision. She ignored it and scrambled out from beneath her mother. She managed to push herself onto her haunches before the world started to tilt. She balanced her footing even as she grabbed her mum by the arms.
“Come on mum,” Aster said pulling. “We need to get out of here.”
Her mum looked up at Aster, her eyes glazed slightly over, the traces of magic was clear in the queen’s face. Aster had only seen this happen to her mum once before and her heart sank.
“We’re not going to make it,” The queen said with certainty. Aster shook her head.
“Yes we are,” she said. “We’re going home now.”
She pulled on her mother’s arms one more time and managed to pull her mother into a sitting position. The whole world shifted at the movement. Aster stumbled and had to let go of her mum to steady herself.
She saw him then. A giant dressed in a fur coat stood not ten steps away from them, crossbow in hand.
“I already saw one of my children die,” The queen whispered.
Aster’s turned to her mum to warn her about the giant. It wasn’t necessary.
Her mother grabbed at Aster, her grip strong as she started to whisper.
“Mum, no,” Aster started but before she knew it darkness enveloped her. Cold stone closed around her and she opened her mouth to scream but the cold filled her mouth too. She tried to look for her mum, but the High queen was gone.
So was everything else.


There it is!
The Prologue of a story not yet completely planned out. Over the next few weeks, as I write the rough draft I will be giving you character stories, plot plans, world building secrets and of course pieces of writing like this one.
Do you have any questions so far? Please don’t be afraid to comment!

8 things to know before you write your first “first draft”

8 tips for new writers

I’ve been talking to some young writers who would like to start a novel, and while talking to them it occurred to me how many things new writers do that keep them from finishing their first draft. Sometimes it’s because they want someone to read and give them feedback while they are writing their first draft while at other times it’s because they just don’t know where to take their story because of a lack of planning.
Then I remembered how much I learned while writing my first book’s draft and how many things I wish I had know or been prepared for. Perhaps if I had been warned my plot wouldn’t have fallen flat on 5000 words. While I had pushed through I was very close to simply calling it quits.
So this post is for those of you who are thinking of writing a novel.

8 things to know before you start to write your first novel.

1. To get through your first draft takes a lot of discipline. Yes writing is fun, but there will be day where you just don’t feel like writing. I’m not trying to throw you off or keep you from writing by saying this, I just want you to be prepared because it’s true and it’s often where people give up on their writing. The truth is that writing will get hard but even on those days you need to put your butt in front of a computer (or pen) and keep writing. You will need to be disciplined to keep writing. The best way to be disciplined is to make sure you write at least 100 words every day.

2. You can find that even though you are disciplined in your writing a day might come that you need to kick up the motivation. I’m stubborn so my motivation is proving a point most of the time, or because I really want to reach the end of the book but if that doesn’t work you need to find a way to motivate yourself, perhaps the reward system can work for you. (500 words for a cup of coffee?)

3.  Expect to learn a lot while writing. I’m not talking random facts; I’m saying that you will learn a lot about yourself. You will also learn that you suck at writing…
Not that that means you’re a bad writer, it just means that this is your first time attempting something like this and I’m sure any successful writer can tell you that their first draft of their first story also sucked. It’s not a bad thing it just means that you have things to improve on. When you realize that your writing is worse than you would like it to be, don’t give in, and embrace it. Yes it’s bad but you can only improve your writing if you write.

4. This is another thing you need to know about your first draft, your writing will improve. I have no doubt about it. As you write your brain becomes more accustomed to the way sentences sound and by the end of your 120 pages you will have gotten much better. Don’t be surprised; let it motivate you to keep writing.

5. I often hear young writers who has never finished any book tell me that they don’t plan because they’re more on the seat writers. If you’re a pantster (someone who writes without a plan) then that’s great, but if you tell me you’re a panster and then later tell me that you keep losing interest before you can finish your novel then I suggest you try planning.

It takes a little extra time but it really does help. If you know where your story is going then you will never be caught in one of those moments where you ask yourself “well what do I write now that won’t be boring?”

6. Here is something more common among the young writers on forums on the internet; they often start to worry about title, covers and dedications before they even finished their first draft. These things don’t matter at the moment, just focus on finishing your novel.
Yes a good title is always nice but the title is focused on the audience and getting them to buy your book, and guess what, that doesn’t matter until you have a book to sell. You don’t need a good title or a cover when you are writing your first draft. You want to know what I’m calling my work in progress? Felix vs Aida… it’s not the title it will keep but it helps me remember in which Word file the story is being saved.

7. I feel I need to say that

you don’t write your first draft for an audience. You write it for the story. A friend of mine has this habit of sending you bits of her first drafts, and I love my friend to bits, I see potential in her writing but her first draft is just like mine, not all that good. So please I’m asking you while you’re writing don’t give your writing to someone just to be read so they can give you praise, it puts people in an awkward position. The only exception is for when you are in a writing group and you have discussed reading your work out loud. Even then people might give you bad feedback and this has also kept people from writing so that is where the whole don’t write for an audience comes in. While you are writing your first draft you are writing the story your way, and other people don’t have a say. Only when you start to edit do you start considering other peoples feedback.

8. The last point I want to make is that your story will grow. You might have had a simple idea but as you write the idea will twist and turn. Again this is where your planning helps, it keeps you from making drastic choices… but these twists in your idea isn’t a bad thing and that’s what I want you to know. Don’t panic because you’re not sure whether or not to implement a change. Examine it from all angles and ask yourself if it fits, if you want to add the change go for it. This is your first novel you have free reign on how it goes.

 
I hope this helps the new writers out there and if you happen to have a novel finished then share something you feel young writers should know.

If you have a unfinished novel lying somewhere or you have a spark of an idea without any substance then I challenge you now to go take a look at it and turn it around in your head a few times to see if you can get something from it.

5 things to help with a writing routine.

IMG_2976Every night I would wait up for my nephew to come back from work so my dog can greet him. Then I will take my dog to say goodnight to everyone in the house.  It is a routine I just cant break if I want to sleep that night.

I try to keep a routine with my writing which is difficult but I like to think it’s working so here is the 5 things I do to make it easier.

 

  1.  I first took note of when I do my best work for me it is during the morning before my dad comes home for launch and late at night when every one else is getting ready for bed.
  2. I set up reasons to write. I decided to start a novel which we all know doesn’t really finish itself which is a reason for me to write just as this blog is a reason to write.
  3. Just a few reminders. I have an alarm on my phone that reminds me to blog it goes of three times a week and although I do not immediately blog when I hear it it does remind me that I should blog which gives me time to think about a post before I sit down and write it.
  4. Once it’s time for me to sit down and write I make sure there is no distractions. I get a glass of water, a pen and paper then settle into a comfortable spot where I can simply write,
  5. Often I don’t feel like writing but I know I have to so I might start by simply editing something I wrote a few day’s ago or read a prompt out of my prompt jar.

When it comes down to it I basically just force myself into writing every day. The more I do it the easier the words come to me and the more I like writing.