Why I Love the Writing Community

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I've been blogging since 2009. It started out as nothing more than your stereotypical teen girl's blog--I was insanely random (even more than now) and my writing was less then polished. The more I practiced, though, the better I became. It took a lot of time and I still have a long way to go, but every now and then I write something that I think is good (compared to my always-cringe-worthy writing of yesteryear). 

sounds like me

One thing helped my writing journey more than anything. And that very simple thing was the writing community.

When I first discovered writing blogs, I was so encouraged by the advice other teen writers would give. I still love to find writing blogs and read the works of other aspiring writers. Something about it makes me happy. It's neat to meet other writers and see their perspective. I don't know about you, but sometimes it's hard to get "normal people" (because let's face it, writer's aren't normal) to understand. They don't understand the excitement when we get a new story idea. They don't understand how connected we are to our characters.

therefore, I am not sane

That's why the writing community is one of my favorite things about blogging. For the most part, we help and encourage each other. We know the struggles of writing. We give feedback. I firmly believe that writers need to connect with other writers.

So I want to challenge you. 

Be an encouragement to other writers. And don't be afraid to be an outspoken writer. I am challenging myself to do one writerly post a week ('writerly' is a word, right?). Join me and link up. Spread the word. Writer's need other writers to celebrate and commiserate with. You never now how a simple post could encourage new and long-time writers alike. I'm so thankful for the writing community that I stumbled onto--because I'm not sure that I would be the writer I am today without it.

Because alliteration is fun.

Has the writing community helped your journey as a writer? Why has it helped/not helped?


Beautiful People :: Valentine Edition

Thursday, February 12, 2015

In honor of Valentine's Day, this month's Beautiful People meme (hosted by Sky@FurtherUpandFurtherIn and Cait@PaperFury) is all about loooove. Let's be honest -- most people like good loves stories (at least, most of the people I know) and us writers.... Well, we tend to get a little too excited about the couples and OTPs in our novels. 

The couple I decided to feature is from a new story that I've been plotting. It's a post-apocalyptic novel (seems to be one of my favorite genres to write...) and I'm pretty excited about it. My inspiration for it was actually a strange dream about the apocalypse. When I told my family about it the next day, they all laughed. But the dream stuck with me and I thought, "Hey! That would make a good scene in a novel!" Out of that dream has come a twisting mystery and thick plot. Go figure. 

So, dear readers, allow me to introduce Axyl and Zahlia (like Azalea, except without the "A").

1. How long have they been a couple?
A year and a half. They just got married 5 months ago. 

2. How did they first meet? 
Axyl's parents kicked him out of their group so there would be more resources for their other kids. He jumped groups for a little while and even survived on his own. Then he stumbled onto Zahlia's group. They welcomed him and he stayed there until he and Zahlia had to leave (for complicated reasons).


3. What were their first thoughts of each other? (Love at first sight or "you're freakishly annoying"?) 
It wasn't either. They were slowly drawn to each other. Axyl liked Zahlia because she was something delicate in a harsh world. Not just that, though -- he saw intelligence in her eyes. Zahlia liked Axyl because 1) he had a lot of knowledge, 2) he appeared to be fearless, and 3) he was the first person to trust her. 

4. What do they do that most annoys each other?
Zahlia is overly cautious. She weighs ideas before jumping in. This drives Axyl insane, because he is the exact opposite. His impulsiveness worries and annoys Zahlia.

5. Are their personalities opposite or similar?
They're opposite, but they balance each other quite nicely. As I said above, Axyl is impulsive and Zahlia isn't -- they usually compromise and end up making decisions in a few hours instead of two seconds or one week.

Axyl is also rough around the edges, thanks to his parents kicking him out of their group. He's had to deal with a lot. Zahlia, on the other hand, was sheltered as much as possible, so she hasn't had a chance to become hardened.

6. How would their lives be different without each other?
Zahlia would be the worst off. While Axyl would be jumping from group to group, Zahlia would most likely be dead. She doesn't have the basic skills needed to survive -- her parents wanted to make her life easy, but all they did was make her weak.

7. Are they ever embarrassed of each other?
Nope. They don't really give a each other a reason to be embarrassed.

8.Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
Zahlia's parents liked Axyl for the short time that they knew him. They thought he was someone they could trust. Axyl's parents don't even know where he is, and if they did, they wouldn't care who he was with.

9.  Do they see their relationship as long-term/leading to marriage?
Um... They are already married :)

10. If they could go on the "perfect outing" together, where would they go?
They would find the tallest building in the city and have a picnic on the roof (because awesome views and food make everything better).

Anyone else linking up? Do you have any characters that you absolutely adore together?


Just Write + Excerpts

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My novel continues to flow quite nicely. Don't get me wrong, I still have moments where I stare at the screen and wonder what in the world I'm doing. But last week, I tried something new. Something so simple and yet so hard.

I just sat down and wrote.

Your loved ones know when you’re in a “writing” mood. | Community Post: 20 Signs That You're A Writer

Any writer will tell you that the key to writing is, well, writing. I, however, always chose to ignore that little nugget of wisdom. I must have thought that I was different. Wrong! Too much of my time was wasted outlining (not that outlining is a waste of time... but my outlines rarely change. really, I think I just like to make lists). Seriously, if I spent as much time actually writing as I did planning, I would have ten novels done by now.

Anywho, I finally got tired of planning and sat down at my computer. My fingers hovered over the keyboard as I squinted at the screen. Who cares if it isn't perfect? I asked myself. What's important is getting my ideas down. After I do that, then I can write as many drafts as I need. So I forced myself to write. It was hard at first. But then I stopped overthinking and soon, what I was writing wasn't coming from my mind--it was coming from deep inside me. And I think that is the best kind of writing.

 “Tell me you didn’t.”
Erik’s jaw flinches. Whatever Vince is getting at must hit a nerve.
“You used your own cousin as bait.” The quiet words sound like a gunshot in my ear. “You had me announce that Seth and Brynn were bringing new rifles later on, in hopes that the spy would make a move and we could find out if the traitor is in the Kearney. Didn’t you?”
“It wasn’t supposed to end this this.” Erik turns from the window. His look could kill. But it’s nothing compared to Vince’s face.
“You—” Vince jumps at Erik and pins him against the wall. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t slug you right now.” His voice is harsher than I’ve ever heard it.
“You really don’t want to do this, Vince,” Erik says through his teeth.
“She’s only sixteen! Your own cousin! She could have been killed. And what about Seth?”
Erik looks at the floor. “I did what I had to do.” He looks back at Vince. “It was a hard decision to make. You think it was easy risking her? It wasn’t. But I had to narrow down the suspects. And now I have.”
I watch Erik closely; he won’t look at me. He’s on the defense, but I also see shame in his face. Tears start to sting my eyes as what he did sinks in. He used me. Me. Just to find out who the spy was. If he had asked me to volunteer, that would have been different. But he tricked me—lied to me. And I almost got killed. Family doesn't do that to each other.


I hate him for saving me. I hate him because now I owe him. It doesn't matter that I saved his life, too. Maverick risked his life for me and all I did was give him some of my blood.  
He can't be my enemy anymore. We’ve crossed the line now and we can’t come back. The one person I’ve always hated turns out to be the one person who mattered. He was there for me when nobody else was.
The truth is that I misjudged him. Riley is right; Maverick and I are more alike than I was willing to see. Now I know that I was wrong. There, I said it. I was wrong. I was wrong about Maverick, wrong about me, wrong about everything. And it scares me. Because if I misjudged Maverick, then I am probably misjudging someone else.
Erik’s words come back to me: “You can’t be objective… That’s what will get you killed.”
I swallow. Maybe I need to reevaluate my friends. One of them is betraying us, after all. 

Excerpts are my property. Steal them and I'll have to track you down. And I really don't want to do that.