Thursday, November 15, 2018

NaNo Week #2!

Week two of NaNo is officially over! 

This week was a little rough for me as far as word counts go, but I still got some writing done. My story's flowing pretty well, considering I don't have an outline or anything? I came into this thing so prepared, didn't I?

Anyway, it's time for my weekly update and snippets! This is going to be a pretty brief overview of the week, since I had a hard time keeping up with my word counts and I also failed to write this post as the week went on and therefore there's just not a lot to say. But here it is, anyway! 


This day I wrote an important moment in Archlan's life-- or what he thinks is important, anyway. (Who's ever going to tell these characters that they NEVER know what's best for them at the beginning of the story?? It'd be a lot quicker and less painful that way.)



We don't speak of these two days.


Yay! My highest word count yet!

DAY 12: 567 WORDS

This was a Monday, guys. Don't judge me.


Aaand I beat my word count record again! Getting on a roll. ;)


Aaand the roll stops.

Actually, I was pretty happy with this day because before I went to bed I literally wrote 7 words just so I could say I wrote SOMETHING and then I looked at my word count and remembered I had written a little bit early that morning. So 201 words actually felt like a lot when I was expecting 7. xD
Sorry there were only a couple snippets, but next week I'm hoping I'll have a little more to work with. I'm still determined to catch up on that word count. 

That's it for this week! I have high hopes for the next stretch, and I'm feeling pretty good about this novel so far. I hope you guys are too! Also, I just want to say that yes, I want to catch up on the target word count for NaNo, but you SHOULDN'T feel like you're failing if you're behind! I've done three NaNos before this year and I haven't officially "won" a single one, but I still feel like I won because I worked on those stories and got a lot done on each of them. So stay caught up with your word count, or don't stay caught up, but as long as you're writing and enjoying spending time with your story, that's all that matters. Don't pay any attention to me and my crazy goals. 

So, guys, are you still surviving NaNo? What's been your highest word count so far? Let's talk about our unruly children (novels) together!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

NaNo Week #1 + SNIPPETS!


The face you make when you're excited to be done with week + terrified for the rest of it. 

The first week of NaNoWriMo is officially over. I hope the words have been flowing for you guys and most importantly, you've been having fun with your stories!

My first week was pretty good. Not as good as I'd hoped, but I can't complain! Things are definitely picking up now, so hopefully I'll be able to get into a better flow.

Today's my first promised NaNo update, with a day-by-day play-by-play (hehe) of my word counts and how everything has been going for me! Plus, SNIPPETS for each day! Are you excited? I hope so, because I am. :D 

(The images of my snippets are really small; if you can't read them, just click on them and they'll get bigger. Sorry for the inconvenience!)


Yeah... the first day of NaNo was not amazing for me. I didn't start writing until about 8:30 at night, which was... really not smart. And I didn't have one excuse other than that I was lazy. xD So, shame on me. Buut here's your first snippet!


In which I obviously JUST made it to my target word count for the day. Like, I literally checked my word count, saw it was at 1666, and wrote ONE MORE WORD and quit because it was late.

No, it's not a rock band. I really need to find a better word.


... Really, Emily? You couldn't have written 604 more words?


Wow, that was rough. This was a Sunday, so I really don't know what my excuse was for such a puny word count... buuut I still wrote something, so it's still a win. And at this point I knew that stuff was about to go down, so my motivation would pick up soon and I would hopefully catch up. (Poor excuse, I know. xD)


So there I am, chilling on my bed with my laptop, watching the first Christmas movie of the year and working on my story. And then I see movement and I look up and THERE'S A MOUSE RUNNING INTO MY CLOSET.

So I put my laptop down and groaned and I'm pretty sure I said something like "Not again!" because yeah... this isn't even the first time.

Look at this! Look at this mouse shamelessly sabotaging my efforts to write! 
Just because I'm writing about a thief doesn't mean you have to be one...

Needless to say, my writing was a little bit interrupted that day as me and my dad scrambled to block off my closet and set up traps. But I still got a great word count! I made the daily target and even exceeded it a little. Yay!

(Also, the mouse escaped from my closet. Yeah, that's what you get when you lean a plastic lightsaber against your mouse wall to keep it from falling down... and the mouse just runs up the lightsaber and jumps over the wall.)

Unfortunately you don't get a snippet from day five because the fact is everything I wrote that day was kind of unexciting and bad. xD Oh, first drafts.


Yay, another good day! Things are starting to happen at this point. Archlan's being a naughty little thief and also about to give himself a stroke. Calm down, dude. Stop stealing stuff and you'll be fine.

I was writing this part of the story and Archlan's sneaking around a castle trying not to make a sound and like I said, he's so stressed out worrying that he's going to get caught. And then I stopped writing and went to bed and it was kind of creepy. Even though the sneaking in the book was going on in broad daylight. xD


My highest daily word count so far! The Thing finally happened in my story, and now stuff is about to go DOWN for Archlan. He'd better watch out.


Overall, I'm satisfied with how this week went! I'm still hoping to catch up to the target word count 
goal, but I'm already doing better than I'd hoped considering I had a bit of a rough start. I'm having fun with this story and Archlan's (not) having fun. (The ultimate writer-character relationship.)

All right, guys, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the update and the very imperfect snippets.

So how did your first week go? Do your characters hate you yet? Tell me all about it!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

October Highlights 2018

Hi guys! Today is my first monthly highlights post and also my it's-the-first-day-of-NaNo-let's-freak-out post. I'm not gonna lie, it's after 8:00 at night and I haven't even started my novel. xD So I'm about to get right on that.

Overall I've had a pretty good October, although just like every year, it went by wayyy too fast. I'm a fall person all the way, and I might get a little depressed every year when it comes to and end. (I know, fall doesn't actually end until December. But once November hits I'm in full Christmas mode. :P) I had a fun Halloween; I went to work dressed as a 50's girl, then came home, made candied apples, and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween Adventure. It can't really get much better. xD

Here's what else went on this month:


So for the last few months I've been reading the complete Oz series by L. Frank Baum. I'm alllmost done; there are five volumes and I'm on the second-to-last book in the fifth volume. These books are ridiculous, in a hilarious way. It reminds me of Wonderland randomness, with C.S. Lewis humor. I've enjoyed them, but it's taken me far too long to finish them and I'm very ready to move on to other things. (There are sooo many books to read!)


Yup, you guessed it-- in October my main writing venture was to prepare for NaNo. I started earlier than I normally do and I STILL don't feel completely prepared... sigh. Buut, I mean, are we ever really TRULY prepared for NaNo?

You can read about my NaNo novel HERE, if you'd like. (You would.)


This month involved two big changes. One's a highlight but the other one is not a highlight and actually sad. I'll share that one first so we can end on a happier note.

On the 25th my 18-year-old dog Shadow passed away. I won't go into details about how he declined, but it was happened very quickly at the end and we had to make the decision no pet owner ever wants to make. It's sad but I had EIGHTEEN years with him and that's kind of crazy.

And now the highlight of the month-- I got a car! I'm on a little it more of a budget now, but it's great being able to drive myself to and from work instead of that responsibility being on someone else. 

Another thing I want to mention that I've been doing recently is bullet journaling. I think I'm going to do a post about this eventually going into a lot more detail about my process and how it benefits me. But it's super great; it helps me keep track of my daily goals, and inspires me to make goals and ­reach them. Sometimes I do better than others, but overall it's really useful and fun, too.


Here's what went down on the blog this month:

Books I Didn't Expect to FALL In Love With
Language of Worlds + Know the Novel

I'm still getting the hang of the blogging thing. Although I haven't posted every week, I'm hoping to get into a more consistent schedule soon. Thanks for bearing with me!

And on that note, I want to share what's going to be coming on the blog! Every Thursday this month I'm going to do a NaNo update, sharing with you guys my current word count and how the writing's going. (I'm sure a lot of people have done this, but I got the idea from Katie)

All right, that about wraps it up! Thanks for reading and best, best, best of luck to all you NaNoers this month!

How was your October? Any highlights? How was your first day of NaNo?

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Know the Novel + Language of Worlds

Hi guys! So it's not my usual posting day, but I was running late finishing this post and wanted to be sure to get it up becauuuse... NaNoWriMo is almost here! 

And today I'm doing TWO linkups so you can learn about my NaNo novel-- Liv K. Fisher's Language of Worlds, and Christine Smith's Know the Novel. I'm excited to be a part of these and to be sharing my novel with you guys! 

This year I'm working on a fantasy with the working title of ROOTS TO CLAIM (remember, it's only a working title ;P). Here's a quick blurb before we get into the questions:

Archlan has finally found a place where he belongs: a band of thieves that make their livings off unsuspecting people. Now, to be accepted as an official member, he just has one test to complete. He is to successfully steal from an old master of magic who is known for catching trespassers. But when Archlan is told that he is a part of an old prophecy, his plans are interrupted. Now it's up to him to either take on the responsibility of fulfilling the prophecy or finally put down roots.

Also, I just want to say that this is a new story, and at this stage (or any stage, really) it's very likely that it will change the more I invest in it. Right now it might sound kind of flat and cliché, but I'm always discovering new ideas and what's best for different stories; so if I post about this story in the future, chances are it won't be exactly the same!

All right, now let's get to those linkups!

So the first one I'm doing is Christine's Know the Novel. You can find her post about it HERE. Thanks, Christine!

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel? Well, this probably won't be the answer you're wanting, because the initial idea I had is actually for the story's climax therefore I cannot share it with you. But I just get these random ideas and write them down until I go back to them later, and that's kind of what happened here.
2. Share a blurb! Oops, already did that! See above.
3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting? This story takes place in a Sherwood Forest-ish setting, with fairytale-esque magic. I like it because it's kind of a mashup of different fictional world types; also because the magic comes from the trees and I think that's awesome.
4. Tell us about your protagonist. I'm just going to skip this one and and invite you to stay tuned for the rest of the post. :-)
5. Who (or what) is the antagonist? As of the beginning of the story, an unknown prophecied villain. And that's all I can say about that.
6. What excites you the most about this novel? The setting, like I said before; and Archlan. I'm excited to start putting him into words, because I think he's going to be a great character. Also that thing I can't tell you about.
7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else? At this point it's a standalone.
8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting? I wish I could say plotting. But let's be honest, I'm plansting.
9. Name a few things that makes this story unique. I already mentioned the setting; and that thing I can't tell you about.
10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!). So I was looking for some photos to make a cool aesthetic collage, but I couldn't find enough. So here's one that I found that could kind of be a symbol for this story.

All right, onto the next linkup: Liv K. Fisher's Language of Worlds! Or, a really long answer to question #4, up there. You can find Liv's original post and questions HERE

What does your character fear the most? Not belonging; being unsettled. All his life he's just been here and there, and he feels like there's not one place in the world where he belongs.
How would they handle it if they were to face their fear? Well, in a way I guess he's faced his fear all his life. So I guess he would do what he's always done-- just try desperately to find a place to belong.
Do they want to get married? Why or why not? He would love to get married, settle down and start a family. He longs for stability like that.
What is their love language (i.e. words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, quality time, acts of service)? Probably quality time. Again, stability is important to him, and if someone thinks he's worth taking the time for, he would feel they've got a pretty stable relationship. Acts of service would probably be next on the list.
On a scale from 1 (messy) to 5 (organized), how do they rate? Oh gosh, I haven't thought about this... Probably a 3-4 ish? I'll let you know when I get to know him a little more. xD
How do they feel about debates/disagreements? I don't think he'd start a disagreement, but if he gets in one, his temper will bubble up and he'll hold his own.
What do they bring to a battle (figurative or literal)? Strength and agility; having always been on the run, he's fit and active.
What's their favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Well, he's usually on the road with his horse and a band of thieves, so probably plain old bread and cheese.
How do they treat themself after a long day? Resting and talking with whoever he's traveling with.
What do you most want readers to glean from this story? I think it would be that even if you feel like you don't belong anywhere, there's a place for you. Also that you are capable of far more than you think, and you don't have to settle for anything less than what you deserve.

All right guys, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed learning a little about Archlan and his story! I can't wait for NaNo and I wish all you who are taking part good luck! (Here's my NaNo, if you want to come visit me and my novel! StoryOfSilver98)

Also, stay tuned for my October wrapup post Thursday!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Books I Didn't Expect to FALL in Love With

Yes, that was a lame reference to autumn in the title. But I'm happy because it's October!

Anyway, on to the post! 

Fall always gets me in a sentimental mood, and also in even more of a reading mood (chilly evening + cup of coffee + good book = happy Emily). In this post I'm going to share some books (or series) that I fell in love with immediately and are now some of my favorites. 

(Disclaimer: I purposely excluded things like Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings because those would take up THE WHOLE LIST if I allowed them on here, so.)


I bought the first book of this trilogy on a whim, just to try something new, and it hooked me. (I mean, come on. The opening lines are "Fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds. That's how long I have to live." !!) I'm pretty sure it was the first dystopian book I'd ever read, so it was also very different for me.

And then the second and third books in the trilogy were pretty intense. And it was great.
I also love the faith-based aspect of the trilogy, how God is the One that makes Thalli feel emotion after living in a sterile, heartless environment her whole life.

When I reread this trilogy I noticed that some of the writing/story wasn't as strong as I remembered it from when I first read it with starry eyes, but I think it's still a great trilogy.


I'm cheating here because this includes, like, ten books and they're not all even in one set. But it's fine.

I bought the first three Hagenheim books to occupy myself on a long road trip and they were just so enjoyable! I don't even really read romance that often, but I just really love these books. They're so sweet, plus there's the fairytale aspect and also some action thrown in here and there!

I'm more partial to the Hagenheim series, but I think the Thornbeck books are better, in a way? Particularly The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest. The first time I read it I was just kind of surprised by how good it was, and Odette is probably one of my favorite female characters.

AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I first read this book when I was... nine or ten, maybe? It's the first book I remember absolutely grabbing me and taking me on an emotional ride, and also the first book I remember reading in one day. I think I almost cried at the end.

I like the rest of the series too, but I only chose the first book to put on the list because it's my favorite and the only one that really blew me away. Plus I was kind of disappointed with the end of the series, but maybe that's just me.

(Also, this spot almost went to Haddix's The Missing series. Also super great books. So, honorable mention to that.)


I got these when I was a part of a horse-lover's book club years ago, and they were some of my favorites when I first read them. I reread them a year or two ago, and I just love the magical feel, with Evy living in the middle of nowhere with her horses and being able to communicate with them. Plus a couple of the books take place in the dead of winter in the Canadian wilderness and it's so cozy in Evy and her mom's cabin and the snow just adds to the magic and ahhh. They're just lovely books.
Sadly the last one of the series that I've read is Winter of Sinking Waters... I really want to get around to reading the last few.


Look how pretty it is!

This book.

This was a library impulse-read. Just a random fantasy that I thought might be cute. What I didn't expect was to take an emotional journey with this character whose life I was suddenly very invested in. All the characters were great. And by the time I was done, I felt like I had just gone through everything Ariel had, right along with her. And because of that... I don't know, I'm just realllyyy attached to this book.

Also, I reread it earlier this year, and I was prepared to not be as impressed with it the second time (kind of like what I said about Anomaly above). But I actually ended up enjoying it even more! I mean, I kept thinking about it and itching to go home and read it-- and I already knew how it ended! So. Major bonus points. (I feel like not everybody would have as high an opinion of this book as I do, because it is such a simple story and geared toward younger audiences... but I just love it.)
The rest of the trilogy is good too. I like the second book almost as much as the first one, and the third a little less. I have to be honest and say I was disappointed by the ending of this trilogy, too. I just felt like there was some really good potential for an amazing finale and it just wasn't handled the way I would have liked to see it. But the writing is consistently great all the way through, and I do still like the whole series, so it's definitely still worth reading.

Well, there you have it-- five books/series that I fell in love with! Makes me want to curl up with a cup of coffee and read. ;)

Have you read any of these books? What's a book or series that you didn't expect to fall in love with?

Thanks for reading! Also, in my next post I'll be sharing about my NaNoWriMo novel, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

My Fall Mood

Fall officially begins in two days!

Fall is my favorite season and one of my favorite things in general. There are so many things I love about it and once I start talking about it I literally get so excited and I could just go on and on.

So today I'm going to share with you (in no particular order) five things that put me in a fallish mood. And for me, "fallish mood" equals "writing/reading mood". I know, it might sound weird. But this time of year makes me the most sentimental and wakes up my creativity. 


Okay, this might be cliche, but I don't care. I drink coffee all year round, but in the fall when it's chilly, I thrive on those times when I can settle down, either at my desk, in my bed, or on the front porch swing, with a good cup of coffee and enjoy the weather.

One of my fall coffee mugs. Isn't it the cutest??

Also, I'm going to be honest, I don't know if I drink coffee while I write because it actually helps or just because I'll find any excuse to drink coffee.


Obviously this also doesn't only happen in the fall. I love rain any time of year. But like I mentioned above, I love it so much more when it's cold and I can wear a sweater or a hoodie and just snuggle down under my tin roof and listen to the rain. There's nothing in the world quite like a good downpour. Add a few rumbles of thunder and it's even better. 

Sometimes when I'm home and it starts raining, I run to my room to read or write. xD It's really dorky, but rain is my favorite background noise and I always feel like I'll waste it if I don't use it to fuel my motivation.


This is one of my favorite albums of all time. Maybe someday I'll share why, but for now just know that me and Red are really good friends. 

As for why it puts me in a fallish mood, there are a couple reasons. One very simple reason is that I first started really listening to it and falling (ha) in love with it last October. I often associate things with the time of year it was when I was really into them, and then it sets the mood for that thing after that, if that makes sense. Another very simple reason is some of the lyrics from the album, like in the song Red ("Like the colors in autumn so bright just before they lose it all"), or All Too Well ("Autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place"). Just kind of gives the whole album a fallish vibe.

Just go listen to this album. It's amazing.


Honestly, fall and winter are pretty much the only times of year that I burn candles, because my favorite scents are things like pumpkin, cinnamon, caramel, etc. (I like food.)

I love cool nights when I can shut myself up in my room and light a candle. There's something so peaceful and cozy about writing or reading with a soft flame in the background and some kind of delicious scent floating through the air. 

Walking is one of my favorite ways to exercise, and I do it the most in the fall. I don't really like being outside when it's hot, so when cooler temperatures hit I try to spend lots of time enjoying it. 

My driveway is really long and a good part of it is surrounded by trees. I love walking in cool weather (bonus if the trees are all ablaze with autumn colors), wearing a comfy jacket or hoodie, with some good music playing in my ears. (Let's be honest, it's probably Red.)

Enjoy this unrelated GIF of a puppy aggressively playing with a pumpkin.

I realized as I was writing this that it totally sounds like an advertisement for fall. Oh well. :P

So anyway, there you have it! I think fall truly is one of the most creative, productive times of year for me, and these are just a few things that help me to get in that mood. 

So what are your favorite things about fall? Or if you don't care for fall, what are some things that get you in a productive mood?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

It's Like in the Great Stories

 I knew I wanted a really special blog title.

 From the time I decided I might want to start a blog, I knew I couldn't until I had a suitable name for it. Not just a good name, but a special one. One that spoke to me and would hopefully speak to others, too. One that-- well, one that mattered.

 If you know me well you know that I love Lord of the Rings. What you might not know is that Samwise Gamgee is not only my favorite character in the trilogy, but one of my favorite characters of all time. I won't elaborate on why because I might actually do a blog post about that someday. Instead I'll just talk about something that he said (this is the movie version of his speech, but the book version is just as beautiful):

 “It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something.” 

 In this quote from The Two Towers, Sam honestly speaks about the hardness of life-- the darkness, the danger that makes pressing toward victory so difficult. Yet he remains positive (bless his dear little hobbit heart), because he knows that light will overcome darkness. He challenges Frodo (and all of us) to keep fighting for the light.

 Why did the stories he spoke of really matter? Because they meant something. They were raw and honest and didn't sugarcoat the fight of life. Most importantly, they told of people who didn't give up, who pressed on and kept the faith even in their darkest hours.

 Why did I choose this as my blog title? It reminds us of strength, faith, victory, and hope. It reminds me that I want to make my stories, my work, my character, my life matter.

 What will I be posting on this blog? Well, its main purpose is writing and books, since I'm a writer and those were the kind of blogs that inspired me to start my own. But that's not the only thing I'll write about here. You might see me talk about music, movies, faith, or really random things sometimes. Long story short? The things that matter to me. The things that inspire or encourage me personally and hopefully will do the same for you. I chose today for my first post, but my regular posting day will be Thursdays.

 Thank you all for joining me on this journey. May the words you read here remind you of the wise words of Samwise Gamgee and encourage you to remember the things that really matter.