Writing goals for June 2017

Monthly Goals: June 2017

June is always a very difficult month when it comes to writing and the things I actually want to do. As I struggle to finish university, I have to find time in between the studying and the exams of June to arrange my writing monthly goals and see what and how I can get everything done.

What’s the plan for June?

June is full of exams.

This is something I need to keep in mind. It’s very easy for me to get lost in writing and other creative endeavours. That means my university life suffers. For this month I need to prioritize studying to writing.

Finish edits for “Fool’s Errand”.

At 16k, this shortish story is very close to the end. It’s going through the last bits of editing, I’m getting some feedback for it that will hopefully help me get this story where it needs to be.

Polish “Fool’s Errand”.

At this point, the story will have seen an editor, Beta Readers, and Critique partners. I will just need to fine-tune the last details. Then read it again, and correct anything I might have missed the first 45 times.

And then comes the second short story, “The Duchess”

Sitting at 17k right now, by the time I am done with it, it’s going to have seen some growth for sure. I’m an underwriter people. My stories grow before they shrink.

Edit “The Duchess”. 

I am already going through the manuscript and making notes of all the things I need to fix. And I’m cursing myself for not making a proper outline for this. I’m an outliner. I know the merits of a good outline. And yet I thought I would experiment. Well, that means more work for me now.

Send “The Duchess” to Critique Partners and Betas.

After my round of edits, I need to see if what I fixed and changed makes sense. “The Duchess” will go off to my Critique partners first, then my Betas. And I will have to be patient and wait for their wonderful feedback to come back my way.

Prep “The Duchess” for my Editor.

The feedback is in. Now, I’ll have to go through it and fix the story more. I need to get it as clean and polished as I can before it goes off to my Editor, and she can rip through it.

I know that I have set up more goals than I can handle, than I can do. Maybe I won’t get it all done, but since my priorities are different this month, I’ll be satisfied with a 45% on this list.

What are your goals for the month? Are you going to be writing? Do you also have exams?

~ Harris

#Wordbound: Wednesday, February 15th (writing challenge)

Wed, Feb 15

#Wordbound: Put a character in an abandoned building or space.

WEEK 7: New #wordbound prompt coming at you! This one is due February 22! Have you been keeping up?

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It was a run-down cottage at the edge of Loas Vera. The red forest had grown and spread, engulfing the small, wooden building in vines. Roots broke through the structure, and crimson and burgundy leaves covered the remains like a blanket.
Ilaeth left the safety of the forest. Every step was measured, careful. He had to be quiet. He didn’t know what else could be in there, what could be waiting inside the dark walls of the cottage.
And yet, Ilaeth couldn’t help himself. Even as his heart pounded in his chest, and he could hear his pulse loud in his ears, his curiosity won.
The door was a simple slab of wood without any elaborate carvings or decoration. Unhinged as it was, Ilaeth lifted it up and set it aside, against the wall.
Ilaeth took a tentative step inside.
Part of the roof had caved in over time, and the morning light poured in, illuminating the remnants of a life.
His eyes took in the room. Dust danced in the sunlight. A family of pixies were curled up on the bed, their small wolf-like bodies huddled up together for warmth, their transparent wings rising and falling with their breathing.
They didn’t mind him.
There was a table and a pair of chairs on one end. A layer of dust had settled on them, thick and undisturbed for years it seemed. A tin bucket that was big enough to be used as a bathtub was by the unimpressive fireplace. Ashes and half burned wood still littered the stones, the bricks and the inside of the chimney painted black from the smoke. A few shelves held a couple pots and plates that were there, and an empty trunk sat against the wall.
There weren’t that many things.
Someone had lived there though. Ilaeth could just feel it. There weren’t any clothes or personal things left in the cottage. Whoever had stayed there, they had taken all that with them. But there were two pillows on the barren bed, two chairs at the table.
Someone had lived in this house, and now it stood abandoned, gathering dust and decay. It just was, and it had been so long since someone had lived in there, had sat on those chairs, had lit up the hearth, and had a nice warm meal.
Whoever had lived there, they were long gone now.
Not even their shadow remained.

~ Harris

#Wordbound: Wed, Feb 8th

WordBound: Wed, Feb 8

WEEK 6: This #wordbound prompt is due on 2/15! Ready to cause some destruction?

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“Okay, okay, but listen to me,” Ilaeth scooted closer to Kali, a mischievous smile played on his lips. “We can surprise her. Get her something nice, have a little celebration going on,” he said.
“She won’t like it. She said she wants nothing,” Kali said, and folded her arms.
“She says she doesn’t want anything, that doesn’t mean she actually doesn’t,” Ilaeth said. “You know how much she likes surprises.”
Kali put her hands on her hips. “Look, you’ll just get us in trouble. Actually, no. You won’t be in trouble, I’ll be. So no. Just stay put,” she said.
“You are no fun. I’ll go by myself,” Ilaeth said.
The younger elf threw her arms up in the air, with a pleading look at the sky. “You go by yourself, you end up in a ditch somehow, and then I’m in trouble again.”
Ilaeth grinned and flicked one of her horns. “Then come with me. I could use a woman’s perspective.”
“What are you even getting her?” Kali asked and walked behind him. “Flowers? Feathers? Pretty rocks?”
He put a hand over his heart. “I feel like you are mocking me.”
“Oh my. That was never my intention. How could this happen?”
“I’ll ignore that,” he said. “We can make her a pretty flower crown, or you know how she likes to decorate her spear with lil things… so I got her spear.”
“You got her spear?”
“Yes. So we can make it pretty,” Ilaeth said, and grinned at her.
“We should give it back,” Kali said, and her eyes went wide with terror when he pulled the spear from behind a tree. “We should definitely give it back. Like now. This isn’t smart.”
“Oh come on. It’ll be fine,” he said, and felt the weight of the spear in his hand.
Kali reached out to snatch it, but he held it up, out of her reach. She kicked his leg, and jumped high enough to grab it. Ilaeth didn’t let go, and she didn’t surrender. She yanked as hard as she could, and when she couldn’t take it from him, she kicked him again.
“Stop that!” he shouted at her.
“Then give me the spear!”
“No. I need it,” he said.
“You’ll just get us in trouble,” she shouted at him, as the two pulled the spear back and forth.
There was a loud crack as the wood gave way and broke in two. Kali and Ilaeth dropped back and landed hard on the ground.
“Oh… fuck…” Ilaeth said, staring at his half of the spear.
“I told you!” Kali shouted, and threw the other half at his head. “I told you! Now I’m gonna be in trouble!”
“Well yeah, you broke it.”
“No, you did.”
“You did.”
“How did I break it? Huh?” Kali snapped.
“I’m not the one who grabbed it,” Ilaeth pointed out.
Kali huffed and folded her arms. “You are stupid,” she muttered and threw a pebble at him. “You always get me in trouble.”

 

WordBound: Wed, Feb 1

If I’m embarrassed, why on earth would I say? Because prompt? Fine. FINE. Buckle up. This is going to be a wild ride.
*clears throat*
I was nine. Yes. I was young and innocent and I had no limits. My idea had no limits. I had a group of chosen ones in my story, as one would.
But they were birds.
And they had magic powers.
And they went on adventures together.

There. I’ve come out. Are you happy to know? Does this somehow make your life better? No, it doesn’t 😛

Was it inspired by pokemon? Maybe. Maybe not. You’ll never know. The world will never know, and my chosen ones will stay where they belong. In my childhood memories. (I was going to say trash-can, but I don’t want to be that cruel to them. They tried. Nine-year-old me tried too.)

11 Pet Peeves about Male Characters

In case you were wondering there for a second, that I only had to complain about the women, let me put your minds at ease.

No.

I have so many things I can complain about.

So here are:

“11 Pet Peeves about Male Characters”,

or “I’m here to complain about MORE things”.

1. The Sexy Asshole ~
Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone likes confidence. But, when that confidence turns to arrogance and general asshatery, nobody likes it. Especially when it comes from the protagonist/love interest. Most wouldn’t even date this guy, but here is his co-protagonist, falling madly in love with him. Now, I’m not against some sass in my protagonist. But it’s sass. Not ass.

2. The Love-at-First-Sight Guy ~
He doesn’t know her name, he doesn’t even know her astrological sign, and yet, he is in love. He has seen something​ in her eyes, in her aloof loneliness, that he has never seen anywhere else. This is the one for him. Why bother with pesky things like “personalities”, and “opinions”? Why get to know her? He has learned all he needs to know from her silence. From a distance.

3. The Tantrum guy ~
He is a man. Not only is he a man, but he’s a manly man. How do we know this? Because every room he is in is a western saloon. A fight is always about to happen, disaster is just around the corner, and for what? His drink had an ice cube too many. He can only show he’s manly by punching things and killing things. He has no other characteristics than a flaring temper and his manly manliness.

4. The Spoiled Brat ~
He has had a tough life, everything is just so difficult for him, so very tough. Nothing goes his way.
Or does it?
This guy has everything. Does he need to complain about the minor setbacks in his life? No. But he does anyway. He’s not an underdog. He’s just a bitch. He complains about the smallest of things that don’t even matter.
He’s being whiny. And annoying.

5. The Perfect Guy ~
He’s the most beautiful guy around, he’s the tallest man. You can hear angels sing whenever he walks in a room, and the clouds part to rain sunshine on him.
He’s the perfect guy. Charming, romantic, smart.
Maybe he’s a little too perfect. Unrealistically so. There is no other guy like him in the whole book and the reader is constantly reminded of his perfection.

6. The Womaniser ~
This guy has slept with everything that he can sleep with. Everyone is a potential lover. Until he meets the one. The one who will tie him down and show him a different life. She’s unlike any other girl he’s ever met, and he wants to settle down with and forget his promiscuous ways. Because that’s how people work, that’s how people change. Overnight. Just cause.

7. The Statue ~
This is another example of the manly man, but instead of being angry and punching things, the statue feels nothing. He’s just there to be stoic, understanding, and a pillar of support. Men don’t feel anyway, that is known. Real men don’t bother themselves with feelings, or tears.
Without feelings though, there is no character growth, no conflict, no fun. If he’s not gonna feel anything, what’s the point of hurting him? I mean writing him.
Damn autocorrect.

8. The Walking Hard-on ~
Unlike the womaniser, this character has no luck with the other sex (or the same sex), and yet, sex is the only thing he can think about, the only topic he’s willing to talk about. We all know men only think of sex as it is, right? It’s not like they have other worries and problems. Just sex. 24/7. Nothing else.

9. The Comic Relief Bestie ~
He’s there to throw jokes at the reader, to ease the tension, but that’s the only thing he’s there for. To crack jokes. He has no life outside being funny, no other purpose in the story, unless he dies half way through. But he can’t even do that, because then all the humour would be gone from the story. Because all of it rests on his shoulders.

10. The Gay Bestie~
Girls can only hang out with guys if they are gay, or else the writer is obligated to make them a love interest. They just gotta. But if the bestie plays for a different team, the female protagonist is safe to swoon over her counterpart.
And usually, these characters aren’t even fleshed out properly. Their single characteristic is that they are gay, and they follow a whole list of stereotypes. Why break the mould? Why make him an actual character?

11. The Friendzoned guy~
This guy somehow fell through the cracks and didn’t become the gay bestie. So now he is a love interest. But not THE love interest. He’s a bitter shell of a man, that’s going to make some questionable decisions and cause problems, just because he’s in love with the female protagonist. He can’t really help it. She’s there, he’s there. He needs a role in the story.
Why not just throw years of friendship out of the window, just because now he’s realised she’s a girl? The story needs conflict, damnit, and a love triangle is the only way to get it!

WordBound: Wed, Jan 25

“Brainstorm”

There is just not enough space. Her desk sits under a window that sees nothing but the wall of the building next door.
Between her laptop and the books, there is not enough room for any of the papers she needs.
A world is coming alive in front of her. It’s in the little notes she has scribbled down between classes, notes she’s trying to put together now, in a way that they make sense.
Her mind is buzzing, alive. Ideas fire up and she can’t write them down fast enough. She can’t lose a single one though. She can’t. They are all the tiniest piece of the biggest puzzle she’s ever tried to make.
What if she doesn’t have most of the pieces right now anyway? They’ll come to her with time. They’ll come to her when she needs them. She knows it.
She just has to keep working on her world, and watch it grow.

12 Pet Peeves about Female Characters.

In the world of stories and books, not all characters are created equal. Some are awesome and leave marks in the reader’s mind, soul, and existence.
Others just annoy.

So here are:

“12 Pet Peeves about Female Characters”,

or “I’m here to complain about things”.

1. The Damsel in distress ~
Now, don’t get me wrong, not all characters have to slice and dice and save the day. Some get captured and need saving. But if their whole purpose in the story is to wait passively for someone to save them, then no. Just no. Even people with no fighting chance would fight to save their lives.

2. The Questionnaire ~
She is the kind of character, who is there just so the audience can know stuff. She is a constant question mark, always asking about things, even things she should already know. Her only purpose in the story is exposition.

3. The Unique Girl ~
She is nothing you’ve ever seen before. She is unlike anyone else. She is not like other girls for sure. In a planet with billions of people, she is a special lil snowflake of uniqueness, and no one can measure about to her individuality.
And how did she come to be like this? By being like all other girls.

4. The Pedestal Girl ~
She is amazing, she has value, she is someone you’d aspire to be. Now, I know she sounds a lot like the girl before, but at least the Unique Girl does something with her life.
The Pedestal Girl is just there to be valuable just because she has female bits. She does nothing to prove her value, her worth, or even her usefulness to the story. She just is. And she is amazing for it.

5. The Flawless Klutz ~
She is beauty, she is grace, she trips on air.
She is the girl who is so clumsy for no apparent reason. She just is. She can’t hold a stack of books without dropping them, she can’t drink anything without spilling it, she can’t walk without falling flat on her face in front of her crush.
Maybe she should just leave saving the world to someone else and go see her doctor.

6. The Fixer ~
She’s met the love of her life. He’s hot, handsome, and with enough psychological baggage to have a sane person running for the hills.
Alas, no. She’ll stick by him. She’s there to fix him, to save him.
But mostly, she’s there for all the abuse she’s going to endure. Because she’s there for the single purpose of rehabilitating this barbarian to a decent human being.

7. The Ugly Beauty ~
Epic poems are written every day about her beauty. Songs are sang about her grace and her elegance. How this goddess is allowed to live among the mortals is unknown.
Somehow, she appeals to all. Men, women, all the genders in between. Nobody has unique tastes. They all just love her.
And yet, she believes she’s ugly. She’s a hideous abomination, a freak of nature. She’s not humble, she’s whinny and right on the verge of stupid.

8. The Hottie ~
She’s overflowing with sexuality. Everything she does is sexy. It doesn’t matter what it is, she’ll do it in the sexiest way possible. Whether that’s attending a fancy party, or disembowelling a corpse. The results are one and the same. She’s oozing with sex-appeal 24/7.

9. The Badass ~
She knows the art of the sword, she can take down a whole army by herself, she can do backflips while drinking her morning coffee without spilling a drop.
But the reader will see none of that. The reader is told of her badassery, but sees none of it. She’s badass in name only, and does little to justify it. Not all characters have to go around murdering people, nor do they all need to be badass in the same way. But if you are writing a badass assassin/spy/murderer/whatever, you better commit to it and keep her in character.

10. The Old Woman ~
If you are not young, if you are a bit old in years, there are only two ways to go. The adorable grandma, or the jealous, vindictive bitch.
No way for an older female character to be content and happy with her life, to be independent, to have goals and aspirations, to not be jealous of her daughter’s youth and beauty, or to not be there just to appear cute and the answer a very important question: What are these kids going to eat while saving the world?

11. The Virgin ~
She’s not only a virgin, but she’s also pure. She knows nothing of naughty stuff, nothing of sex. Not even her humour is dirty, and she is always so shocked when people make improper comments.
She’s a pure, white snowflake, there to remind us every single step of the way of her purity, of her virginity.
There to be a Damsel in Distress 99,9% of the time.

12. The Doormat ~
She has a non-existent personality. She’s there to be pulled left and right by the choices of the antagonist and the other characters. She has no original thought in her head, no motivation or initiative.
She’s just there to serve purposes and close gaps. And even though there might be people like her in real life, we require our protagonists and our characters to have a little more drive. Or at least, to have some character growth.
If they start as a doormat, they shouldn’t stay a doormat by the end of the story.

WordBound: Wed, Jan 18

( I’m going to use the two protagonists of my current manuscript to write this prompt.)

“There is a door,” Teresa said. “It is closed.”
Kalith peeked around the corner before he turned to her. “And?”
“That’s it. That’s all,” she said with a shrug of her shoulders that sent his blood boiling.
“Did you try the door?” he asked her. He got nothing but a blank stare. “You didn’t.”
“I didn’t.”
Their eyes locked, neither of them moved.
“Are you going to?” he asked with a wild gesture of his hand.
Teresa huffed and turned around. “Fine. It’s not gonna lead anywhere, even if it’s not locked.”
How or why he was helping her, he still wasn’t sure. The attitude wasn’t helping for one. Nor did her need to defy him every step of the way.
“It won’t budge,” Teresa said right behind him, and Kalith jumped in his skin.
“Can you not creep up behind me?” he said through gritted teeth.
“No.”
He could leave his post to check the door, but he did not trust her enough to watch their back. Running away was hard. Running away with an annoying teenager was twice as hard.
With his options limited, he had no other choice. “Stay here. Make sure no one jumps us,” he said. He got a curt nod as an answer.
The door was at the end of the hallway. It was carved out of a dark, almost black wood, the surface smooth and unblemished. Kalith twisted the handle, but nothing happened. Even trying to force it open didn’t work.
But there was something else that could.
Patterns glowed with a light blue colour on his arms, the air sizzled around him with energy, with magic.
The lock clicked, the handle turned, and the door opened.

 

 

WordBound: Wed, Jan 11

Azreth, 

I’m sorry. 

That’s one sad message to leave, isn’t it? But I’m sorry. Don’t give up. I wish I could be there for you, help you, ease you. You have so much ahead, so many things planned, and the fates are cruel and  unkind. 

You have the world to carry on your shoulders.

Have faith. 

Everything will be as it should in the end.

Love, 

Mom

 

Word bound Challenge #1

First post! #wordbound starts on Jan 4. Get excited!

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I came across an Instagram account not long ago, called wordbound. I’m a little late on the train, I realise, but it’s better late than never, right? I have a lot of catching up to do, to be on track. So here goes nothing.

2017 writing goals and I’m already three months behind. Oh well. At least they haven’t been idle months, and that has to count for something.

So, here is my list of goals for 2017:

  1. I have been outlining, world-building and plotting a story. I want to write that story, get through the first draft.
  2. I have four stories ready, and I want to finish one round of edits on all of them. On “Descent”, “Fool’s Errand”, “Tarnished Gold”, and “The Duchess”.
  3. Hopefully, I can go on round 2 of edits on each story, if I am productive enough, if I use the ‘butt to chair’ technique.

I know it doesn’t make for an impressive list of writing goals, but I’m currently struggling to finish university. If I manage to fulfill 2/3 of the goals, I’ll be more than happy and satisfied.

~Harris