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.”

 

Book Review: Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward

The third book in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series follows the story of Bella and Zsadist.
We’ve seen Zsadist in the two previous books, and Bella in “Lover Eternal”, but they had minor roles in the story. In this story, we get to see more of Zsadist’s trauma and the kind of life he’s gone through that resulted in how he is at the beginning of the story.
This book is easy one of my favourite in the series. The pair has to learn and grow and change through progress of the story, both of them have to overcome abuse in many levels, and face the prejudice that society throws their way. For Bella, that is her status as a female from a good family that has slept around, and for Zsadist is his scarred visage that marks him as a monster in the eyes of many people.
It is a story that contains strong language, sexual abuse and its aftermath. That makes it for a very emotional ride for the reader.

Zsadist is one of those ‘tortured hero’ kind of characters. His own twin calls him ruined and warns Bella to stay away from him.
And rightfully so.
Zsadist has been through so much since the day he was born, is so broken that it takes the whole length of the story for him to get himself back together piece by piece. Trauma doesn’t just go away overnight, and that’s highlighted in the book. The whole topic of Zsadist’s backstory, his growth, and his eventual redemption and salvation are earned and fought for, even when Zsadist himself is resisting it every step of the way.
A shell of the male he could be, Zsadist has every right to be afraid of contact, both physical and emotional, but by the end of the story, he has grown into a protective and caring male, especially when it comes to his shellan.
Also, Zsadist has a loyalty in him that most people don’t expect, or even believe. He’s loyal to Wrath as his king, to his Brothers, his twin, his shellan.

Bella is a perfect counterpart for Zsadist. A strong, intelligent woman, who isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind and shake him up whenever he needs to be so.
She is also a survivor herself, and she has to overcome her own trauma.
She possesses great courage and she’s a very good example of a female character who isn’t a warrior and yet she can be strong and protective of her male.
And yet, she’s a rounded character. Through the story, she gets frustrated and angry, and she knows to walk away when she needs to walk away for her own sake.

It’s hard to talk about Zsadist without bring up his twin, Phury. Zsadist’s twin has spent the majority of his life either looking for, protecting, or taking care of Zsadist. He carries a lot of guilt over what happened to Zsadist, what he had to go through, always thinking that things would have been better if he had been the one to endure these things.
His guilt shows in the story, as he goes out of his way to do everything his twin needs him to do, even if those are things that break him inside. He’s even willing to sacrifice himself, if that will give Zsadist a well-deserved shot at happiness.

We see more of the reappearing characters, in bigger or smaller roles, and I’m a fan of that, as I get the feeling that I learn more and more about the world and its people.
This is, for me, one of the best – if not the best – books in the series, and Zsadist remains one of my favourite characters even in later books, with other things that happen to his character (no spoilers).

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.)

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.

Book Review: Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

“Dark Lover” is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward. When I first read this book, I looked high and low to get it, and I still had to wait some time before it was finally shipped to me.
*makes grabby hands*

The book starts off with a very interest premise: The black dagger brotherhood is a band of vampire warriors and they are the only thing that stands between their race and the Lessening Society.
Wrath, is the only pure vampire left, an unwilling King to his race, as he refuses to assume the role.

The book kicks off with a murder, and a death wish. It all boils down to Wrath’s loyalty to one of his closest friends.
As the story goes on, as Wrath and Beth interact more and more, Wrath changes from a cold, unbending warrior, to a King. It is a fascinating change to see.

“Your language is beautiful,” she said.
“There are no words worthy of you.”

Beth is a half human/half vampire, who has lived in the human world all her life, unaware of what goings bump in the night. Until she bumps on Wrath that is. She was a strong, well-rounded female character, curious and headstrong. I love her. Sometimes, in books like this, the male or the female character will be lacking, but not this time. Wrath and Beth are a very good match for each other.

We are also introduced to many more characters, but we only get little hints of them, as they show up as the main couples in later books. And those little hints are enough to spark interest and curiosity.
The world J. R. Ward has created is alive, breathing, and slapping his chest like some King Kong and I want to get more of it.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

Fantasy has truth in it.

Fantasy is not easy to write. There are so many things that can go wrong, so few things that can go right.

Fantasy isn’t just epic quests, an adventure to save the world, or kingdoms at war. Fantasy comes alive in the little details that the writer weaves into the story, the fine threads that make up the world and the people.

It’s that kid who goes on a quest because he wants to make something of himself, because he wants to grow and explore the world around him. It’s that mother who lost her children in the war, it’s the burden that weighs down on the hero’s shoulders every time they have to make an important decision.

Because they can save the world, or they can be the reason why it crumbles and burns.

Things are not black and white in fantasy. At least they are not for me. Magic isn’t bad, the same way a gun doesn’t kill people. But the abuse of power, the misuse of a tool, that’s what’s bad. It’s a king that can be good and benevolent to his people, or turn into a tyrant after the loss of someone he loved. It’s the grief, the pain, but also the joy and happiness that people experience.

Does it matter that they experience those things in a land with dragons and sword-fights? Does it make any real difference if the protagonist is not human, but an elf?

For me, fantasy gets to explore every day things like friendships, discrimination, racism, but in a bigger, larger, and more magical environment. It gets to present things that people don’t usually want to talk about, things they want to hide away, because people expect things in a fantasy story to go crazy.

But it’s not going crazy.

It’s being honest.

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.

 

 

Writers write.

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. ~ Eugene Ionesco

Writers write. Sometimes we have a notebook, and a pen in front of us. Sometimes we have nothing but loose scraps of paper, others we have a keyboard. But we write. We always write.

Even when we are not writing.

We write when we are riding the bus, with our headphones on, and a little fight scene is playing out in our head. We make up dialogues between our characters long before we put the characters to page. We know that our protagonists like ice-cream, but only the fruit flavours. We’ve been thinking about our protagonist all day after all. We’ve been interacting with them in our head for ours, to the point we start to notice that when they are nervous, they bite their nails, but only in their left hand, that sometimes when they feel too low, they won’t shower for days, or go out, just to feel guilty about it later.

We write, even when we are not writing.

All the times between our little writing sessions, are our brainstorming times. That’s when true magic happens, when we learn our characters, when we learn our setting, and find out why our antagonist is being such an asshole lately.

Because, you see, we are in love even with that antagonist. We know why they are the way they are, the reason behind their every decision, no matter how cruel, and unkind they might appear. We know what hurt them, what broke them, what made them laugh again for the first time.

Sometimes, those things never make it to page. We think of our stories and our writing, and yet so little sees the light of day. Or the light of a lamp. But still, these are things that help us grow as writers, that allow us to know all the little nooks and crannies of our world, so when the reader finally gets to meet our characters, and read our story, they are welcomed to a new world, pulsing, and vibrant.

Writers write.

Always.

P. S. : Everything you do and say will be used in a story at a later time.