WiP Marathon #4 (NaNoWriMo Version): November 2016

It’s that time of the month again: recap time on the WiP. Here’s WiP Marathon, November (and, therefore, NaNoWriMo) edition. Let’s do this!


Last report word count + chapter count/scene count:

Because I started this WiP (BEDROOM HYMNS) this month, I don’t have a chapter count. I do, however, have a word count from last week: about 21,000 words.

Current report WC + CC/ SC: 

word-wc-2016Current word count is 50,006 words on Word, but, on the NaNoWriMo website, it’s 50,241 words. Either way, I did it, you guys! I’ve won!
word-count-2016

Chapter count is 141. 🙂

WiP Issues This Month:

Finding time, really. Because I started halfway through the month, I had to work doubly hard to catch up. But I did it. I really did it!

What I learned this month in writing: 

Always go with your gut for the first draft. Part of my goal in writing BEDROOM HYMNS was to write whatever came out. It was a journaling exercise, a chance to take the most random thoughts and build off of them, developing them into something I could take elsewhere.

And boy, did I take things elsewhere.

What distracted me this month while writing: 

Schoolwork, for sure. And life in general, but especially school. When you’re writing on deadline, you realize just how little time you have to work with. The key is finding that time and writing like the wind.

Goal for next month: 

Maybe I’ll add more to BEDROOM HYMNS in the future. But, for now, I think I’ll let it sit. And I think I’ll read over it. I’ve had so little time to write that I haven’t had the chance to read the last 10,000 words, at least. So I look forward to doing that. 🙂

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A THOUSAND NIGHTS (A Thousand Nights, #1): Review

21524446A Thousand Nights (A Thousand Nights, #1) by E.K. Johnston
Published by Disney-Hyperion on October 6, 2015
Genres: young adult, fantasy, mythology, retellings
Format: eBook
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★★½


I started this book expecting a dynamic 1,001 Nights retelling. I hoped it would be a clever novel about identity and sacrifice and family.

It was definitely about sacrifice and identity and family. But my final impression falls short of what I expected.

Let me elaborate by saying that this has the potential to be a very powerful, impactful read. And it touched on almost all the right notes.

We get glimpses of our main character’s sister and her other family members, and we see our main character as a headstrong, clever young woman who loves her family and is driven to protect it from the wrath of a demon king.  Also, another interesting thing to note about the characters: None of them have a name except the demon king, Lo-Melkhiin. This is particularly noticeable among the women, and it’s a very interesting commentary on how even the seemingly least significant people (the “nameless,” if you will) can, in fact make the biggest differences.

I also loved our main character’s interactions with her sister. I saw strong parallels between their relationship, and my relationship with my own sister: they are each other’s best friend, and they love each other fiercely. In that regard, I could absolutely understand the main character’s willingness to sacrifice herself as a bride to spare her sister; I would do the exact same thing if it spared mine from certain death. This was a great aspect of the book, and I wish we could see more sibling relationships like this one in books. It was very well-done.

Now, to where this book let me down: plot. Judging by the premise, this book sounds like it’ll be a tense novel, where our main character goes to Lo-Melkhiin’s qasr, explores it, and discovers secrets about herself and her husband that might enable her to save him and other girls from a murderous king’s tyrannical rule. Only, once our main character gets to the qasr, not much happens.  Lo-Melkhiin is not a major character in this book, and, while I understand the decision to put more emphasis on the strength of our main character and her family than her relationship with her husband, Lo-Melkhiin’s potential as a character was never fully realized for me. He fell a little flat, and as a result, for the majority of the novel, I didn’t feel the stakes were high enough for me to care about what was happening.

Another disappointing thing for me was the lack of action once our main character arrives at the qasr. Very little happened except for our main character practicing her powers, trying to find out more about Lo-Melkhiin’s condition, and spinning with the other weavers. I’m fine with plots of the slower variety, where conflict simmers instead of bubbles, but this pace makes the climax and all the action near the end of the book feel a bit overwhelming and a bit too late, which, in turn, made things feel anti-climactic. The conflict was resolved too quickly and neatly for my taste, and, for me the overall impact of the story took a hit.

This novel has a lot to offer: rich world-building, beautiful, lush prose, some wonderful messages about family and what power truly is, and a great sibling relationship—all delivered in a quiet and subtle manner. It’s an effective novel. It just felt uneven to me.

 

Mood and Music Monday: 11/28/16

Hello, everybody! Welcome to this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? I’ve listened to George Ezra’s “Budapest” before, but I just found “Did You Hear the Rain?”, and I love it. The beginning reminds me of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? (one of my favorites), and I love it. I’ve also been listening to Sia’s “Never Give Up,” and I love the sound of it. She’s so, so talented. If you haven’t heard her music before (on the radio doesn’t count), give her a listen. Her music is both danceable (I think I just created a word, and real, and that, in my opinion, is the best kind of music.

What are you reading? I finished A Thousand Nights and Before I Fall. Now, I’m reading an ARC of Spindle, also by E.K. Johnston. (She wrote A Thousand Nights.) I hope I like it; it’s a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and it looks really interesting!

What are you drinking? Water. Always.

Any goals for this week? To finish NaNoWriMo! I’m behind, but I’m so close (about 12,000 more words to go), and I can’t quit now, even if it’s stressful. Wish me luck! 😊

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

WiP Wednesday (NaNoWriMo Version): 11/23/16

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like. I have made the crazy insane decision to participate in NaNoWriMo 2016. (For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, read this.)

For those of you who don’t know, The L.S. M.S. is actually my NaNo 2014 manuscript. I also participated in 2013, my first time writing a full-length novel. Last year, I didn’t write anything because I was just too busy, and I thought this year would be the same.

But, lo and behold, inspiration has struck. Halfway through the month. (My muse has excellent timing, FYI.) So, for the rest of the month of November, all my #WiPWednesday posts will be about my NaNo project instead of The L.S. M.S. Here we go! Wish me luck, folks–this is gonna get crazy. (Also, forgive any typos; I’m on the road. I’ll fix them as soon as I can.)

WiP:  Bedroom Hymns, or: Things I’ll Never Say Out Loud

Writing or Revising? 

Writing, writing, writing!

Current Word Count:  somewhere around 21,000

How It’s Going:

It’s going well! It’s really refreshing to write something so honest and real. I’m being honest with myself, and I’m really exploring my own mind in this story, and it’s a very refreshing experience. I’m hoping to reach 25K (the halfway point!) by tomorrow. We’ll see!

Goal for Next Week:  

NaNo ends next week, so to win, I guess? *cracks knucles* Let’s do this.

MY SOUL TO TAKE (Soul Screamers, #1): Review

6315602My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1) by Rachel Vincent
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 1, 2009 (first published on January 1, 2009)
Genres: young adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Pages: 279
Format: Paperback
Amazon Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound

Rating: ★★★½  


I started this series at the recommendation of a friend who sang its praises as a fun, unique urban fantasy series about banshees (or bean sidhes, as they are called here).

And I will admit, the bean sidhe aspect is actually pretty cool. I find banshees to be pretty cool creatures, but I don’t see them as a major species in a lot of these types of books, so it was cool to see them as the primary species here. I enjoyed Vincent’s spin on them and her spin on reapers (so much, in fact, that I wish she’d do a spin-off series on them; I’d totally read it). Her explanations are clear and simple without being too watered-down; it’s a good framework for the rest of the series.

Overall, I liked the characters—Nash and Emma, especially (and Tod, too). They’re all capable characters with distinct personalities, and they’re easily relatable. However, I didn’t find them developed enough to be remarkable. There’s a good foundation there, and they were almost across that line that elevates them from characters to people, but, in my mind, they fall a little short. Kaylee, in particular—I couldn’t really visualize her very well, though I do like that, unlike some YA heroines (*cough*Bella and Nora*cough*), Kaylee has a backbone and is more determined than most. But I had to look up her name in order to remember it. Same with Kaylee’s friend, Emma. That should tell you something.

The plot was also intriguing; someone’s killing students at Kaylee’s school, and she’s trying to figure out why before the next target is someone she loves. However, while this plot was, overall, compelling and a good page-turner, I found the ultimate payoff—the reason why girls at Kaylee’s school were dying—to be a little lackluster and anti-climactic, though it made sense. Everything just seemed wrapped up a little too abruptly for me. But, as a whole, the plot was interesting, fun, and even a bit chilling at times, and I enjoyed the ride.

A decent start to a promising series, but not a remarkable one. I’ll probably read at least the next book, just to see what happens next.

Mood and Music Monday: 11/21/16

Hello, everybody! Welcome to this week’s Mood and Music Monday!

Mood and Music Monday is a weekly meme I’ve started, wherein I’ll post a song and talk about how it relates to my day/week, as well as a few other things. (And, in case anyone’s wondering, this meme has no relation to Lauren’s [from Always Me] “Music Mondays.”) Feel free to participate and to leave a link to your posts down in the comments!

Here’s the update for this week:

SONG(S) OF THE WEEK

What are you listening to? This past week, I’ve tried to find good music to write to during word wars. Seeing as the book itself is more on the quiet, confessional side, I wanted music that would put me in that mood and stoke my creativity rather than overwhelm my thought process, as music sometimes can. So I ended up putting on Daughter, and I actually found some more songs by them that I really enjoy. “Medicine” really struck a personal chord with me, and “Landfill” (which basically describes the mood pervading this novel) and “Smother” are also very good, too.

What are you reading? I’m still reading A Thousand Nights, and I’m a little under halfway through Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I set aside The Forbidden Wish 70 pages in because I didn’t feel very invested in it, but, because I’ve heard it’s good, I might pick it up again.

What are you drinking? Water, but if I had time today, I would have brewed some tea! It’s getting cold here, and it even rained today, which was pretty cool. Perfect writing weather. Fingers crossed things stay that way for a little while.

Any goals for this week? Writing and schoolwork. I finally have more time to do it because of Thanksgiving Break–even if it’s just for one week.

How about you?

  • What song(s) are you listening to today?
  • What is your current read? Are you enjoying it?
  • Do you have any plans or goals for this week?

WiP Wednesday (NaNoWriMo Version): 11/16/16

Yes, this is exactly what it looks like. I have made the crazy insane decision to participate in NaNoWriMo 2016. (For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, read this.)

For those of you who don’t know, The L.S. M.S. is actually my NaNo 2014 manuscript. I also participated in 2013, my first time writing a full-length novel. Last year, I didn’t write anything because I was just too busy, and I thought this year would be the same.

But, lo and behold, inspiration has struck. Halfway through the month. (My muse has excellent timing, FYI.) So, for the rest of the month of November, all my #WiPWednesday posts will be about my NaNo project instead of The L.S. M.S. Here we go! Wish me luck, folks–this is gonna get crazy.

WiP:  Bedroom Hymns, or: Things I’ll Never Say Out Loud

This manuscript (if you can even really call it that) is just a compilation of free-writing I’ll be doing over the month and hoping it makes it to 50,000 words. So, basically, I’m just doing a ton of free-writing (mostly with an intimate, confessional feel) and calling it a novel.

Writing or Revising? 

Writing, finally.

Current Word Count:  1,289

I just started today. Hopefully I can get caught up over Thanksgiving Break.

How It’s Going:

It’s easy because I don’t have to plot things, but it’s hard to find a lot of meaningful things to say. I have a lot to say, sure, but do I have 50,000 words worth? We’ll find out.

Goal for Next Week:  

Get caught up. I have a long way to go.