Friday, 22 September 2017

Current WIP: Week Two

Welcome to my second current WIP update! Yay. :)

This week was another busy one. There seems to be so much going on around here lately that I just can't seem to find any time to relax. Not to mention that although I love spring, I always feel wonky around this time of year. The winter to summer transition is never kind on my body. *cries*

Anyway, my daughter finished up her Year 11 exams on Tuesday. So even though she went to school today for her last day of Term 3, she had a few days off along the way. And now, she's having a two-week break before officially starting Year 12. Yikes! O.o

In spite of all that, I pushed on with my first draft writing and managed to reach 40k! When I set goals, I'm very strict with myself. And when the story's so keen to get out, who am I to stop progress? LOL.

Anyway, this is how this week's w/c looked:
  • Monday: 24,175 (added 4052w)
  • Tuesday: 29,249 (added 5074w) 
  • Wednesday: 32,398 (added 3149w) 
  • Thursday: 37,016 (added 4618w) 
  • Friday: 40,117 (added 3101w)

As you can see, the word count wasn't steady but constant. And I've actually gone over this week's goal. I was hoping to reach 35k, so I'm definitely happy with where I ended up.

The story is coming along nicely, too. Everything is building at a good pace. The revelations keep coming. The creepy factor is always in the background. And just how deep the emotional impact is turning out makes everything that much better. I don't want to write a demonic possession story with a string of shock factors ruling the narrative. I want to tell the claustrophobic story of one girl's sad and confusing deterioration into darkness, while never forgetting she's a teenager. And that makes everything a little more challenging, and even a lot more fun. Plus I'm enjoying the family dynamics a lot.

I'm at that stage where I'm pretty sure the total word count will probably end up somewhere after the 60k-mark. I pretty much know what's going to happen from here to the end, but it's all a jumbled mess inside my head. I really need to sit down with pen & paper to work through everything.

I'm not a plotter but I definitely take a lot of notes along the way. I also find unexpected surprises slipping into the story during the actual writing and totally love that!

For me, brainstorming the mind clutter into bullet points always helps. :D

Well, that's it for now. I'm really looking forward to taking the weekend off.  

Have a good one!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villany edited by Ameriie

Because You Love to Hate Me
This unique YA anthology presents classic and original fairy tales from the villain's point of view. The book's unconventional structure--thirteen of the most influential booktubers on YouTube join forces (writing-prompt style) with thirteen acclaimed and bestselling authors--gives these mysterious, oft-misunderstood individuals characters a chance to tell their stories, their way. 

Like Maleficent or Wicked, these are stories of vengeance, of defiance, of rage. They are stories of pain, of heartbreak, of sorrow. But don't expect a circle of hands. Leave it to the heroes to help the world; villains just want to rule the world. We love to hate them and they hate to be loved, if only because being hated frees them from having to be good.

Contributing authors include bestselling and buzzy names Renée Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, Sarah Enni, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon, with a foreword and a story from anthology editor Ameriie.

I have to admit that I was really excited when Bloomsbury Australia sent me a surprise copy of this book. The cover is bright and pretty, and I was intrigued by the concept. Besides, I enjoy a good villainy story, and there are some pretty cool authors included in this anthology.

However, when I started reading, I realised there was something odd about this collection. For starters, the YouTubers who gave the authors these challenges provided some pretty average essays (or rather, opinions) after each story. And the commentary has no impact at all because I don't know who any of these people are. :/

Not to mention that I personally would've preferred the challenge to be stated before each story. Adding it later is just so strange, and a little annoying.

Anyway, let's talk about the stories...

I've never read anything by this author, so I was excited about giving this story a go. I actually liked the beginning, but started to get bored only a few pages in. DNF, unfortunately.

JACK by Ameriie
Sorry, I couldn't even get past the first page of this one. DNF.

GWEN AND ART AND LANCE by Soman Chainani
Um, nope. The format is distracting and trying to be too clever. Besides, the challenge was a bit much anyway. Didn't work for me. At all. DNF.

SHIRLEY & JIM by Susan Dennard
Finally, a story that actually hooked me in! 

Shirley Holmes sends an email to her friend Jean Watson, to tell her about the time she met the enigmatic Jim Moriarty. Shirley tells her all about how quickly he captivated her attention and befriends her in the library via daily games of chess. How intriguing it was to be captivated by his different view of the world, and mysterious plans that would ultimately lead to conflict...

Just awesome! My favourite thing about this story is how easily it leads the reader down what seems to be an average teenage path and soon reveals how deep Moriarty's manipulation delves. He certainly finds what he was looking for, Shirley just didn't realise until it was too late.

This is such a clever contemporary take on Holmes, Watson and Moriarty. The writing style was so cool. Loved it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Another DNF. Just couldn't get into this one. My mind kept drifting...

THE SEA WITCH by Marissa Meyer
Well, this one was just okay. I thought I would love it, but Nerit's story--although it has a few twists--wasn't that exciting. I know she's supposed to be villainy and all that, but her bizarre quest to force love working against her every time got tiring. Still, I read all of it.

Ugh. This one was just boring. I couldn't get into it, which sucks since I like Medusa! :/ Another DNF.

DEATH KNELL by Victoria Schwab
Now we're talking! I really enjoyed this one.

Death is a beautiful boy with brown eyes who wakes up on a rainy day at the bottom of a well. He's very hungry, but not for food. It's time for him to go to the nearest village and find a burning soul to consume. But when he does, nothing goes as planned...

Wow. The writing is beautiful. The imagery is vivid. The characters are delightfully ambiguous. And the location is perfect. The twist is also wicked. This is how you write a short story that grips the reader from beginning to end, and lingers after the last word. Loved it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

MARIGOLD by Samantha Shannon
Bit of a yawnfest, this one. Lots of skimming, and then ended up DNFing.

YOU, YOU, IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU by Adam Silvera
Oh, hell no. Stories written in second POV are the absolute worst! I couldn't even read more than a few paragraphs. No. Nope. DNF!

It started out all right... but I quickly lost interest. Skimmed to the end.

INDIGO AND SHADE by April Genevieve Tucholke
OMG, OMG, OMG! I knew April Genevieve Tucholke wouldn't let me down. Her books are SO awesome. And of course I loved, LOVED this story. Not only because I absolutely adore Beauty and the Beast, but also because this contemporary retelling totally rocks!

Brahm Valois considers himself a hunter. He's also rich, a town hero and very nice looking. He's a hottie and totally knows it. He's not exactly humble, and is determined to kill the beast haunting the Hush Woods. However, the day he meets the beautiful Indigo, his attraction to her leads him down a very dangerous and sad path, one that is sure to lead to heartbreak...

Wow. This is another beautiful story. I adored Brahm and Indigo as much as Belle and the Beast. The Colorado contemporary setting was so lush and perfect. The town of Valois is steeped in a haunting history that captivated me as much as the story that's happening in the present.

This is another perfect example of a well-written short story that sweeps the reader away and then destroys them. *wipes away tears*  :( Loved it SO MUCH! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

SERA by Nicola Yoon
This story was interesting enough. I liked the way it was told and how it was written, not to mention the shocking conclusion. I especially liked the character names and the gender swap. But I didn't love it.

Because You Love to Hate Me has an interesting concept, but the anthology doesn't reach it's full potential. With the exception of three stories, the others are lacking that special quality guaranteed to keep me glued to the page all the way through.

These odds aren't great, but I don't mind because the THREE (out of the thirteen tales) that I did LOVE were totally worth it. 

I did find two other tales okay, but didn't enjoy the opinion/commentary attached to each one by people I don't even know. To be honest, I would've preferred a small note from each author talking about the inspiration for their story than the waste of time that's actually added. :(

You know what sucks the most? That the three stories I did enjoy--SHIRLEY & JIM, DEATH KNELL and INDIGO AND SHADE--are actually brilliant. Some of the best examples of short stories I've read.

Yeah, this one was mostly miss for me but the stories I actually enjoyed stand out like colourful gems. O.o

Because You Love to Hate Me, September 2017, ISBN 9781408882764, Bloomsbury Childrens

Friday, 15 September 2017

Current WIP: Week One

As I mentioned yesterday, I started writing a new novel this week. Yay.  :)

This story has been simmering in the back of my mind for several months now. When that happens, as soon as I get started the words usually pour out of me pretty fast.

My goal for this week was to reach 17.5k, and a few times this week I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to get there.

Luckily, even though there were quite a few (pesky) distractions, I still managed to stay on track. I thought two technicians coming in at the beginning of the week were distracting, but once the NBN was finally sorted out, remedial works started downstairs. O_o

That means tile removal for TWO DAYS. Even though they stopped hours ago I can STILL hear the drilling sound inside my head. But I pushed on.

Today turned out to be a big wordage day. I even updated my files, photos and pics. My daughter spent all day at school--because she had two exams--so I got a chance to just lose myself in my work without having to worry about anything else.

 So, here's my first w/c progress: 
  • Monday: 4,146w
  • Tuesday: 8,161 (added 4015w) 
  • Wednesday: 11,171 (added 3010w)
  • Thursday: 15,173 (added 4002w) 
  • Friday: 20,123 (added 4950w)

I honestly can't believe I reached 20k! But I'm very excited about the pace of the story, and even happier about the progress.

So, what's this story about? I've already mentioned this is another YA horror, and that it deals with demonic possession. It's a familiar trope twisted into an emotional story of survival and the struggle of one girl at risk of losing herself.

I'm really enjoying it right now.

The only problem with being so caught up in my own story is that reading has taken a backseat. Seriously, I have so many books I want to get stuck into but I can't concentrate because my thoughts keep wondering back to my WIP.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to read something over the weekend. Hopefully. I'm just looking forward to slowing down for a bit and relaxing with hubby for a few days.

Well, have a great one!

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Time for a New WIP!

That's right! 

After spending a lot of last week working through my notes for this idea and brainstorming the beginning, I finally started writing a new story. Yay.

It wasn't an easy week to start something new because my daughter's doing her Year 11 exams. That means she's only going into school for a few hours every morning. Plus, we've been dealing with this NBN connection prob for several weeks now and had two different technicians come in on two different days.

So, yeah, all of the above has taken time away from actual writing. :/

Still, I'm not letting anything stop me from tackling my next first draft because this story is SO ready to be told. It's been inside my head for months now. Waiting very (im)patiently. LOL.

The idea first came to me while watching Annabelle. It was just a simple, very random thought that struck me during the movie. Such a strong thought I ended up writing it down afterwards and then started jotting more notes instantly!

As you can probably guess from the graphic above--and if you follow me on Twitter--this novel is about demonic possession. Or at least my take on one of my fave horror tropes.

So far I'm really enjoying it.

Like my two previous WIPs, this is another YA horror about creepy stuff, a strong girl, her family, friends, and the demonic.

I'm once again aiming for 50-70k, and because I would like to have this draft finished by the second week of October (when hubby has a week off work), it would be cool to write between 3-4k/day from Mon-Fri. Yeah, I like to take the weekends off.

It's filling my head so much I haven't been able to concentrate on reading anything. All I want to do is think about my story, keep researching stuff and taking notes. Not to mention that with so much going on, I'm totally buggered by the end of each day.

Anyway, that's about it for now. I'll be back for my first progress post on Friday.

See ya!

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