Wednesday, 15 November 2017

ideas from Pinterest || dialogue: snark

Apparently people have enjoyed my 'ideas from Pinterest' series; the post with explosion-related dialogue prompts is one of the three most popular posts on my blog. Which is awesome. (And disturbing.)

If you haven't read these posts, they're here:

...feel free to check them out. *winks*

And today - you may have guessed it from the title, but shush, you - I have another dialogue prompt post for you!

Snark. (Sarcasm. Witty banter. That stuff. I'm just going to pretend this is a serious category of dialogue prompts.)

"Somehow you don't even have to open your mouth to make my head hurt."

"Don't give me attitude. I have one of my own."

"You can't just sit there all day."
"Never underestimate my ability to idle."

"Turns out separate planets wasn't far enough, huh?"

"Never take advice from me."

"There's no need to repeat yourself. I ignored you fine the first time."

"I am under no obligation to make sense to you."

"I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong."

"That's enough, old me."
[This may or may not be borrowed from an X-Men comic.]

"How am I going to explain THIS??"

"Give me one good reason I shouldn't shoot you right now."
"...I'm driving?"

"The real treasure is the memories we made along the way."
"I almost died!"
"Ah, yes. That was my fondest memory."

"Sorry I hung up on you, I didn't mean to answer the call."

"I'm afraid I've been thinking..."
"Always a dangerous pastime."
- Halt, probably. Several times over. 

"Look, only one of us is right. The other one is you."

"Silence, you uneducated peanut." 

"Everything about this screams 'recipe for disaster'."
"I don't-"
"You'd hear it yourself, but you haven't stopped talking."
"Are you clinically insane, or just incredibly annoying?"
"I don't know, but probably both." 

"Why are you glaring at me?"
"I'm hoping you'll spontaneously combust."

"Any shorter and you'd probably fade out of existence."

"I have neither the time nor the crayons to explain this to you."

So! There you have twenty-one dialogue prompts. All taken from Pinterest - none of them are my own creation (although I did modify a few). Use them as crazily as you wish! And I'd love to hear about any character you might use them for.

Do you use Pinterest as a writing tool? Drop your links in the comments, if you like! I'm always open to procrastinating on Pinterest :) WAIT NO I DIDN'T SAY THAT. PINTEREST IS COMPLETELY A WRITING TOOL OKAY.

Which of these dialogue prompts is your favourite? Which of your characters is most snarky? Do you make your characters bicker to boost your word count?? (please say it isn't just me...) What's the most witty line your characters have said?

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Beautiful Books part 2: NaNo update

There's another Beautiful Books linkup going this month! Normally Cait and Sky do 'Beautiful People' - questions about your characters - but around NaNoWriMo they change it to questions about your NaNo story. Last month's linkup, Part 1, was to introduce your NaNo story to the blogging world. I skipped it, though, because I had Julian's whole WIP Special to introduce my story with.

But Part 2 of the Beautiful Books linkup is a sort of NaNo update.

So, since I am all about ignoring my responsibilities and NaNo in particular accountability and boring you to death with abundant but insignificant details of my writing life keeping you up to date with my progress, I thought I'd take the questions this time.

Why are you even here you should be writing.

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?


I'm a much slower writer than everyone else seems to be. On the bright side, I spent a few days thinking, and ended up with a few pages of plot! Like, two whole pages! Or one and a half. But it's definitely helped me write more... decisively. Because I now have an idea of what I'm aiming for.

(Did you think that because I don't plot, my brain isn't screaming, "PLOT, YOU FOOL"?)

(Because it is. It is screaming.)

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Wellll, I kind of... didn't start a new first draft?

Which you all knew already.

So apparently I'm a rebel.

Here's the first paragraph[ish] of what I wrote on November 1st:

His jaw snapped shut. "Fine," he said, voice tense. "Sorry for interrupting your perfect life. Sorry for thinking you might want help. Sorry for opening my mouth."

He abruptly turned and strode out, bellowing to his men from the hallway.

(I left things in the middle of a tense scene last time.)

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel? 

Wha- you want me to play favourites with my babies??

Riiight this instant, my favourite is probably Rowan. He's going to enter the scene I'm currently writing soon, and I'm looking forward to it. BUT, favourites change depending on what I'm writing and what new thing I've discovered about my story and what I feel like at the time.

4. What do you love about your novel so far? 

The characters. And making them misunderstand each other and the conflict that ensues.

Also the aesthetics, which are even almost making it onto the page??

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes? 

I know some people just write during NaNo - not even stopping to fix typos - but I cannot do that. Aaargh no no nope. Part of the reason I'm not so great at sprints, I guess. I need to loosen up :/

Mistakes, on the other hand? A heap of general plot holes - that come from not having a clue where I'm going except maybe a vague idea. Characters changing how they talk/think/act, characters who leave the scene but I need them to be there later on, characters just plain giving 'but plot' as an excuse when questioned by other characters.

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why? 

I'm... actually not sure? When I start at the beginning, I have a tendency to write fluff and never get around to the important bits; I worry about not getting enough content to fill a whole middle (but I've decided middles are a conspiracy to make young writers suffer, so there's that), and endings - well, I'm still not sure what the ending is??

Me to me.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space! 

My writing habits:
  • Ignore writing until after dinner and then try to write 1000 words before my parents chase me off to bed. 
  • Get up the next morning and sit at my laptop, swearing to do things differently. 
  • Do things exactly the same. 
I don't eat - my mother raised us to not be snackers - and I generally write best when I'm not listening to any music, even instrumental.

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)? 

Except on my blog, I do not share my writing at all. Sister 1 reads my blog to find out what I'm writing. I do not talk about any details of my writing in person. I can't even write if someone else is in my room. I work alone.

[I believe I've ranted before on how Batman actually works with the biggest superhero family ever?? so I won't do it again. Unless you want me to. I'll totally do it if you want me to. :P]

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard? 

The knowledge that, if I don't finish this thing, I won't be able to read it. Why though.

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Just about everyone else is more qualified to give writing advice than I am, so I'll go with "top 3 pieces of writing advice yOU REALLY SHOULD TAKE, JEM. SERIOUSLY."

  1. Prioritize your writing. Take it seriously. Do not wander Pinterest or YouTube X-Men clips or the Babylon Bee or the general internet when you are supposed to be writing. No. BAD. BAD JEM.
  2. You can edit anything except a blank page. It doesn't have to be perfect first time. A plot would be nice, but is, apparently, not required. 
  3. Write. Write. wRITE. WHY ARE YOU HERE. GO WRITE. 

How's your project going? Is there screaming and/or fire? If not, tell me your secrets! What's your word count? Out of idle curiosity, what's the body count? (mine is zero, if you were wondering, but I'm going to have to get tougher soon.) Have you made some typos that made you laugh? (I just wrote it 'tpyos'... *headdesk*) Do you write better at night or in the morning? What writing advice do you know you should take... but don't? And did you know there's animated bloopers for The Lego Batman movie?

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

The Mysteriously Nameless Tag of Doom


- it's 10pm November 1st
- NaNo is here
- I am hiding from NaNo
- shhh
- I have succeeded in hiding from NaNo for *counts on fingers* 22 hours so far??
- it's working
- this is going to be my most productive month ever
- in everything except writing

Except I NEED to write at least 20k because I joined a dare/threat thing?? The NaNo Dare Squad (courtesy of Kenzie)! Each person gives their goal and privately submits a dare; anyone who doesn't end up achieving their goals will randomly get one of the other people's dares. The dares are secret until half-way through the month or something?? so you don't know what horrors potentially await.

BUT if everyone but Kenzie achieves their goals, she gets to do ALL the submitted dares herself, if I'm understanding this correctly?? so. I live in hope.

(She's a super good sport to suggest this xD)

...ANYWAY I HAD A POINT HERE. *rereads title*
. . . . . . . .

A little while back [my catchphrase...] [it was like 2 months now?? SORRY KATE] Kate Marie tagged me for something she called "The Mysteriously Nameless Tag of Doom". I have since realized why it is a 'tag of doom':

It asks very difficult questions about books. I know you all sympathize.

So. I might waffle. Avoid the point. Talk around the question. I'll try not to outright refuse to answer... but you never know what may be necessary.

--{ What book has been on your shelf the longest? }--

I'm not sure - maybe Anne of Green Gables, or The Chronicles of Narnia? (both gifts from grandparents when I was young). Or maybe one of my "children's classics" - that term meaning, basically, "book that once was good but has been revised and edited so it's shorter and simpler and [an unfortunate but inescapable side effect] much more boring". E.g. The Railway Children is a good book? but my children's classic edition is so boring as to be unbearable. They take out the beauty of the writing style!

--{ What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next? }--

Currently reading: nothing, because a) I don't have any unread books at the moment; and b) upcoming assessments and NaNo
Last read: Leave it to Psmith, P.G. Wodehouse. (Reread.)
Next read: I don't know - it depends on what I can get my hands on.

--{ What book did everyone like, but you hated? }--

Who's "everyone"? People I know? Bloggers? Goodreads users?

Goodreads and I probably have the most disagreements. For example, I seem to recall that the reviews for Flame in the Mist (Renee Ahdieh) were overwhelmingly positive. Personally, I had no idea what was going on, didn't like the MC, hated the love triangle, didn't appreciate the "romance", and overall hated the book.

(Apparently it's supposed to be a Mulan retelling?? which I didn't know and didn't see.)

--{ What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t? }--

There are multiple classics I feel like I should read, but haven't and probably won't. Jane Eyre is one. Most of Dickens' work is also on the list - I've read Great Expectations and a kids' version of Oliver Twist, but that's all.

--{ What book are you saving for retirement? }--

Why would I save a good book for retirement?? I might never live that long! I might DIE and NEVER get to read it! Or I might go blind! Or not like that kind of book any more!

--{ Last page: read it first, or wait ’til the end? }--

Wait until the end.


But if I don't like the way the book's going, if the quality of the content seems to be going downhill, or if the book's just boring, I'll check the end to see if I should continue.

And then continue anyway, because DNFing a book is not something I do except in extraordinary circumstances.

--{ Acknowledgement: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside? }--

While I'm sure it's an amazing experience for those mentioned in the acknowledgements, I normally skip that page.

But then there's these kinds of acknowledgements:

I believe these are from the Percy Jackson series? but I've only read the first book so I can't confirm.

--{ Which book character would you switch places with? }--

Which character would I be able to fill in for without dying or causing the end of the world??

I'd love to be Will from The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice #1). Buuut [as I have previously mentioned] I would die. Of pain. Because I am not fit at all, and Halt is a super-tough mentor. (But I'd love to be able to shoot and ride and throw knives and Trust the cloak and everything.)

Also, I would fail in Will's responsibilities, plot-wise, and then the Kalkara would kill Halt and me and everyone. And there would be no more books. The end.

--{ Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person?) }--

I have two books which were birthday gifts from two friends, and whenever I look at them I remember that these people knew me well enough to give me a book :')

(Or, okay, it was obvious that I would appreciate a book. BUT THEY GAVE ME A BOOK which is all that matters and I am very grateful.)

--{ Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way. }--


Most of my books were either gifted to me (for birthdays/Christmas) or I bought them myself at a thrift shop? I can't think of any particularly interesting acquisition stories. Sadly. (Those stories would certainly spice up my book collection.)

--{ Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person? }--


I am a book dragon. I hoard books. I do not get rid of them. (Unless they're below standard.)

(Fine. I sometimes give people books. Because that's the best gift I can give. But they're typically new and not from my book hoard, just saying.)

--{ Which book has been with you most places? }--

Technically my little Gideons' Bible - you know the tiny ones with the NT + Psalms + Proverbs? It's in my handbag. Other than that, I'd take whichever book I was reading at the time with me for a trip in the car and I would get terribly carsick. Not that it stopped me.

(Me @ my bad life choices)

--{ Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad later? }--

 I was not impressed when I was told we'd be doing Pride and Prejudice for English in Grade 12.

Buuut I loved it. When I got over my "it's a classic it mUST BE BORING" prejudices. And I watched both movies. And moved on to reading Emma and Sense and Sensibility (my least favourite) and Persuasion. Haven't read her other [more Gothic] novels, though.

--{ Used or brand new? }--

Used. Thrift shops are the best. I can buy the entire first 10 of the 39 Clues series (okay, #9 wasn't there, but Cahills vs. Vespers #1 was) for $2 each. They're basically in brand new condition?? what fool threw them out??

Books are super expensive when they're brand new, so I don't buy them unless it's for a special reason.

--{ Have you ever read a Dan Brown book? }--


--{ Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book? }--

Love Comes Softly.

--{ Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included? }--

Not that I'm aware of. (Who reads cookbooks anyway?) (scratch that, as kids my siblings and I would go through all the Sweet Treats-style cookbooks and pick out all the things we'd like. Probably that made us hungry. Or at least grumpy.)

--{ Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take? }--


Not sure. My mum used to pre-read our books, and she has some pretty good advice, but our tastes have started diverging. (She seems to tend towards heavier reading, e.g. children in the Holocaust.)

As for anyone else... "always" is a bit inflexible? there are people whose tastes are similar to mine, but that doesn't mean we're going to agree all the time on what books are good.

--{ Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving? }--

The Lost Girl of Astor Street is historical fiction - in the jazz era. I don't believe I've read any other book set then, and I'm not usually big on historical itself. But I picked up Lost Girl because I "knew" Stephanie Morrill from Go Teen Writers. And I am so glad I did, because it was amazing.
. . . . . . . .

So that's the Mysteriously Nameless Tag of Doom done. Thanks for tagging me, Kate, and I now tag:

Lila @ Cheapskate Bibliomaniac
Evangeline @ I Just Happened
Jazzy @ thriving hope

Only if you want to, of course!

I didn't receive any rules with the tag? which suits me anyway :) #IdowhatIwant #youcantoo!

Have you read any of these? Are any on your TBR?  Where do you buy your books? Which movie was better than its book? Are you a book hoarder, or a giver? What character would you swap places with? Jane Austen - yea or nay? Am I missing out by not reading Dickens?

Do you have any random ramblings about books? (I am here for all the book ramblings <3)

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Four-Part Writing Special // Part Four: Writing

Today, we have our last part of the 4-Part Writing Special: Writing! With no introduction because intros are hard and I've already done three in the last three Writing Special posts!

1. What do you do to get yourself in the story?

I simply write myself in.

'Jemma' is not completely me, but she's close enough that I didn't have to think up another name. Or personality traits. And I think that counts as me being in the story.

...hang on. *rereads question*

Ohhh sorry guys.

I sit down at my laptop. Stare at the wall. Read the last thousand words (or so) that I wrote. Stare at the wall. Check my private story + aesthetic boards on Pinterest. Stare at the wall. Type twenty words and backspace them. Stare at the wall. Give up. Go onto MyWriteClub and try to blast out some writing, flicking over to my story's Pinterest boards when necessary. Stare at the wall.

2. Do you do anything extra - art, covers, character journals, glossaries, playlists, etc. to help you with your story?

I did develop a bit of a playlist to get me through a difficult spot (it was supposed to be super-emotional...), but overall I don't really have playlists. Neither do I have covers or self-made art. I have done character journaling in the past, but not as much for this story.

Basically... no? (I am a very boring writer.)

3. What is your writing process?

See answer to #1.

It involves a lot of staring at the wall.

Occasionally with a face like this.

4. Anything you learned about yourself or your writing that you would like to share?

Staring at the wall is not very productive.

Also, I can only write any significant amount if it's Camp NaNo. And then it usually means a lot of late nights because I don't seem to be able to write in the morning. Which leaves me here:

5. What keeps you going when you start to worry you’ll never finish?

The knowledge that I have to finish a first draft someday, and I want it to be Three Sisters. Because I want to READ Three Sisters.

6. What inspired you to start writing, and how long have you been at it?

I have no idea what inspired me to start writing. I've always loved reading, from super young, but I hated writing in primary school. So it's kind of bizarre that I now write. (Especially considering that I recall howling at my mother "WELL I'M NEVER GOING TO BE A WRITER SO I DON'T NEED TO DO THIS.") (Top tip from my school experience: be careful what you say and keep your options open. You never know when you might be required to eat your words.) 
I've been writing "novels" (all unfinished) since I was twelve or thirteen, I think? And I choose to continue because I want to read the stories.

7. What author is your writing style similar to?

I haven't actually written enough to develop a distinct style yet.

(My current style can tend to be similar to whoever I've been reading recently. e.g. Grade 12 English gave me a bit of an Austen flavour. Which I think has worn off now, though.)

8. What writing goals do you set, and how do you reward yourself for meeting them?

I set myself Camp NaNo goals - 10k, usually, and 20k is my max so far.

And I reward myself for meeting them by stopping. Which is totally a good habit.

Actual footage of me not writing. 
what are you talking about of course I'm actually a middle-aged man.
everyone on the internet is actually a middle-aged man
didn't your mother teach you that 

[I am not actually a middle-aged man. ]

9. What does a regular writing day look like for you?

A... regular day. Because writing is currently a hobby, not a career. I do need to treat it more seriously... hopefully once I'm finished studying I can focus more on writing.

10. How many ideas do you currently have saved on your computer/flash drive? 


I've never completed a first draft. However, I have started MULTIPLE stories. There is  one only logical conclusion, Watson; there are multiple stories abandoned in favour of more glittering ideas, hovering around me like vengeful spirits. Or... y'know... lurking in the stacks of paper hunched all over my desk. Oh yes. There are many, many stories waiting for their time. Their time for revenge. Their time to-


(Possibly a good idea, Gollum.)


That's the LAST PART of the Four-Part Writing Special. Enormous thanks go to Julian for the idea, and to her and everyone else who developed it. If you kinda wished you could join in too (I know... I make things look like such fun...) you'll be pleased to hear that Julian is currently thinking of doing ANOTHER Writing Special Not-Tag-Thing (with different questions, I assume?) in February. So look out for that! 

And in the meantime, go read the other participating bloggers' posts.

Julian || Sarah || Ivie || Lisa || Carol || Faith || Lila || Evangeline

Is there anyone who hasn't finished any serious first drafts yet? (I can't be the only one, right?) What's your writing process? What extra things - playlists, mock covers, etc - do you use to excite yourself? How do you "get into" your story? Are you a NaNo fan - or are you not? (which is also fine. it isn't how everyone works.) Do your abandoned drafts hover threateningly? (no? oh... hahaha... just me then.)