Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The New Adult Genre

So, recently I've gotten into Wattpad in a big way. Not only have I been putting a few chapters of Sterling Silver on there every Saturday, but I've also found some of the best books on there as well! And you know what? Most of them I would categorize as New Adult. This genre is something I've heard about but never really explored until now.

I've heard about the New Adult genre enough to know what it is. When it first surfaced I did a lot of research about it, having been interested in the creation of a new genre for, well, new adults. But at the time I hadn't considered myself a "new adult." I was still like seventeen and still very much in love with the MG and YA genre. I don't think that will ever change. The MG and YA genres will always be where I read the most books and I don't see that changing any time soon.

But after reading a few of these Wattpad books, I realized how much I had forgotten how good it feels to read about a character you can relate to so much. I had forgotten what it was like to read about a character who was going through the same things, the same transitions and feelings as you. I don't relate so much to the coming of age stories or the stories of the teenagers getting through the woes of high school. (To be honest, I only related to some of what went on in those high school books, seeing how I was homeschooled during high school). None of those characters are starting or going through college. None of them are figuring out who they are, what they want to do with their lives, where they fit in. None of them stand on unsure footing as so much changes all around them. But these Wattpad books? These characters are going through the same thing as me and I relate to them so much (some more than others).

But this isn't the point of my post. The point is, after devouring works of Bella Higgins and Lovepenny and now K.D. Campbell on there, I went to the library in search of books like them. Where the characters are college age, my age and in the same season of life as me. I'll admit I don't think I searched hard enough, but that's just the thing. If you want an Adult book or a YA or MG book, you don't have to search at all. You just go to their designated spots in the library and pick out a book. But it's nearly impossible to find any NA books, especially ones that are decent. Having rekindled my interest in this mysterious genre I decided to do some research. (And my research I mean Google New Adult and see what popped up). One of the articles was talking about why this genre hasn't taken off yet and the stigma of NA. I didn't know about the stigma, but after reading about it and seeing the many NA books that popped up above the articles it makes sense. NA books are more or less known as erotic YA. Think Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses books. And after reading that and really thinking about it, I realized that's exactly how I saw the New Adult genre too. Because the few NA books I have read, have been graphic and full of tons of swearing. You know, because that's what all new adults between 18-25 want in their books. They don't want any depth or meaning. But that seems to be what the publishers are picking up and selling to this age range while the teenagers get to read books full of deep themes, meaningful characters and development. Most of the YA books coming out right now have some kernel of political significance too. So why aren't the NA books getting the same treatment?

When I read that article and then compared the published NA books with the ones I'm reading on Wattpad, it really doesn't make any sense. The characters I'm reading about on Wattpad are all around my age. Eighteen-early twenties. They not only deal with the magical and fantastical and usually a lot of horrible stuff happening to them, but they also deal with the changes and transitions that comes with being a new adult. Starting or being in the middle of or even ending college. Getting your first real job. Falling in love for the first time. Deepening friendships and family ties and romantic relationships. Figuring out your place in the world. Yeah I know, in reality that last one isn't all that simple, but in books there's a thing called a plot and character development and usually by the end of the plot the character has a pretty good idea on where they fit in with this world. There isn't a lot of sex scenes or even making out in these Wattpad books. If there's romance, its deep and meaningful  and slow, progressing as a normal relationship would in the real world. There's like no swearing at all in any of them either and yet they still manage to be amazing NA books. I love them so much more for the non-graphicness of them. So why can't publishers actually publish books like this? Half of these Wattpad books I'm reading, they so deserve publication. In my opinion, they're better than some of the most popular published books I've read.

To kind of deviate from this rant a little bit, I realized maybe that's why I've been so resistant against writing in this genre. I've always written either characters that are my age, a year younger or a year older. As I've gotten older my characters have gone from early teens, to teenagers, to late teens and... its stopped there. I know there are some full-fledged adults out there who exclusively write in the YA and MG genre and that's great. But I want to branch out. I want my characters to be eighteen, nineteen now. I want them to be a little older, out of high school and living the college experience I've lived the past few years. But I've been hesitant. I've been playing it safe because I have no desire to have graphic scenes and language in my books. That isn't me. I am not that writer. Before I explored Wattpad, I really thought that's how it had to be though. That those were the rules of the genre. If I wanted to write a character who is eighteen, nineteen, twenty, they had to act a certain way and be a certain way. But I was wrong. It all depends on how you write them. Lovepenny's Emyln in her book Friends with the King of the Underworld, is in college, lives with her parents, plays Dungeons and Dragons with her best friend and loves Doctor Who. She's innocent and sweet. Not the rough and tough and overly independent college age MC I associated with the NA genre.

She showed me that I can write as diverse characters and storylines for NA as I can with YA or MG. And so that's why I decided to branch out and give this genre a try. Victoria Schwab tweeted about how just because your successful, doesn't mean you'll always be successful and that's why it helps to  have several books in several different genres. I don't think I'm ready yet to write an MG book. I usually go a little overboard and get dark and scary and that's not how I view or want my MG book to be. So once I learn how to dial it back a bit then I'll work on that. And I am definitely not into the Adult genre. The only adult book I've ever read is Vicious by Victoria Schwab. But this NA genre? I think I can manage it. In Sterling Silver, Tabitha is seventeen, but by the end of Blood Brothers (the sequel) she's eighteen and transitioning into the New Adult genre. For this project I'm working on right now, a Peter Pan retelling, I made my main character eighteen. I know that's on the very edge of New Adult, but baby steps, right?

Anyways, I guess what I'm saying is, don't be afraid to venture into this new genre. Don't even be afraid to venture into the Adult genre. Just because these characters aren't teenagers doesn't mean they can't be as diverse and different as the many casts of the YA genre. They can have varying interests, backstories, and personalities. Just because someone turns twenty or even thirty, doesn't mean they instantly fit into a mold and become boring. They have stories to tell to. And those stories don't have to be riddled with bad language and graphic scenes. Again, they can be as diverse as any book in the YA and even MG genres.

For my Peter Pan retelling, I knew that Wendy (my main character) would be eighteen. You know how as a writer, once you meet your character they just tell you what they want and who they are? There's this intuition about them that you have? Its sort of a really cool, magical thing that can't be explained. Or at least, I can't explain it. It's just this... instinct I have. I know the best way to tell Wendy's story is to have her be eighteen. She needed to be that age and in that head space for this story to work, even if most of my characters are sixteen or seventeen. So that's how old I made her. If your character, if your instinct, is telling you that your character needs to be a certain age, listen to it and don't be afraid to take that risk or leave your writerly comfort zone.

(Just a quick link add-in, I really liked this article about the New Adult genre and explains the problem with that genre better than I can on here so check it out: The Problem With New Adult Books)

So yeah, that's my two cents about the New Adult genre and what's been on my mind over the past week. Seriously, if you want some good books to read and like fae books or vampire books check out Bella Higgins and Lovepenny on Wattpad. Both of their series are really good!

Have a great Wednesday and a great rest of the week guys! 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sterling Silver Chapters 31-33

Hey! So I was out of town on Friday and Saturday and was too busy to make a blog post for the three new chapters on Wattpad. Sunday was pretty busy too, so better late than never. Three new chapters of Sterling Silver are up on Wattpad! There are a few more weeks left before it is officially finished! I hope to keep up this new hobby of sharing my stories on Wattpad and maybe even on my blog too. For my Peter Pan retelling, if it pans out (which I hope it does) I think I'll share the chapters on here and Wattpad.

For now though, here is an excerpt from chapter 32 of Sterling Silver:

Someone cleared their throat and Tabitha opened her eyes, finding her gaze settled on a pair of understanding green eyes. No doubt Sebastian had just had a difficult discussion with his own sister.
Sebastian held a large black gym bag out in front of him, toward the two of them as if it were a peace offering. "Well I think the best way to finish that conversation is to let off some steam. Care to join Tabitha as she beats me up?" he directed the question at Derrick who glared down at the black bag.
"You got stakes in there?" he asked gruffly.
Sebastian nodded, and Derrick grabbed the bag from him. "Good. As long as I get to try and kill you I'm good. Let's go." And with that he walked away into the woods.
Tabitha let out a breath as Sebastian curled an arm around her waist and led her into the forest behind her brother. "Don't worry. You two will be good by the end of the day, I promise," he whispered in her ear, his head dipped down to her height.
Tabitha stared straight ahead, blinking the tears away. She hoped so. "Do you really think so?"
Sebastian chuckled more to himself than anyone else and squeezed her close to him, almost making her trip over her own feet. "I'll make sure of it, Tabitha. Derrick's just trying to process everything you just said. It was... quite a shock for him."
She snorted and glared at her brother's back. "Good. So did you bring the swords too?"
He grinned and winked at her, slipping his hand through hers. "Of course I did. I know how fond you are of them. So are you ready to reconcile with your brother and try to kill me?"
Tabitha flashed him a wicked grin and nudged him. She was definitely ready to attack Sebastian. Derrick on the other hand? Not so much.
"Let's do this."

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sterling Silver Chapters 29 and 30!

It's Saturday again, which means new chapters of Sterling Silver! Thanks to everyone who's given this book a chance on Wattpad! It's been a great experience putting a book on there and seeing what happens. I've never been committed enough to update a book every week like this. I've been on Wattpad for a while, but never really gave it a shot, so this has been a fun experiment.

Here's a sneak peek of chapter 29:

Tabitha's hand went to her parted lips and she stumbled back a step, hitting the wall next to the door.
He couldn't have done it. Her father had been hunting a... a random vampire. A random vampire had killed him, and Tabitha had made it her mission to avenge him. To kill every vampire she met in hopes that one of them who died at her hand was the one who had killed him. Tabitha had gone into the hunting business because of her father's death. Her siblings had left her and her mother all because of her dad dying. But now... all of her hard work... every horrible thing that had happened to her in the last three years? It was all his fault. The man standing in front of her had very literally ruined her life. He had made her the person she was today. Without her father's death Tabitha couldn't fathom where she would be right now, what kind of person she would be.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday in Review: A Goodbye to the Originals

Well, get ready for lots of sadness and nostalgia! Despite the new show Legacies continuing, well, the legacy of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, I feel like this is the end to an era for me. A little dramatic, I know, but really, The Vampire Diaries and The Originals changed me as a writer and helped me through a lot of difficult times in my life. Both of those shows gave me a distraction when things got hard.

***Spoiler Alert***

Where do I begin? I guess I should begin with this:

Always and Forever. That's the Mikaelson family motto. Even when they do horrible, awful things to each other, even when they hate and despise each other, they would still die for one another all because of that one promise they made together when they first became vampires. To stay together, to protect each other and love each other for always and forever.

I didn't start watching this show until like the second season I think? I was in the middle of the Vampire Diaries and had gotten past the season where The Originals branched off into their own spin-off before I gave it a try. At first I wasn't sure how I would like it. I loved Klaus and the entire Original family obviously, but it was much darker than The Vampire Diaries. More mature, with not as much drama and teen romance. But after the first few episodes I was hooked. It helped to already know so much about the Original family, to have already spent several seasons getting to know them. As I was rewatching The Originals before this final season ended it hit me just how... complex this show is. Yeah it's about vampires and is supernatural and not real, but they deal with real things, especially concerning family. There aren't a lot of shows out there that is at their core, about family.
That's what The Originals is all about. It's not about the romance or the drama or the violence. It's about family. A dysfunctional, centuries old family, but I mean, that's what happens isn't it? Could you imagine spending hundreds of years with your siblings? Most siblings can't stand to be in the same room as each other for ten minutes! So imagine being stuck with them forever! I love my brothers, we have a better relationship than most other siblings do, but I don't know... I think there would be a few problems we were stuck with each other for hundreds of years. I think I would go a little crazy. So it's no wonder the Original family has so many problems. Plus, through in two messed up parents and a crazy aunt, and you have the makings of a real disaster.

What made the show for me were all the complex relationships between the siblings. Its what made the show so compelling and unique. Like I said, there aren't many shows that revolve around a family. Not like this. You get to see all the different relationships between the different siblings and the ups and downs of those relationships. I think I'll start with one of the first relationships that truly became compelling and interesting: Rebekah and Klaus.
Their big brother, little sister bond started in The Vampire Diaries and throughout the entirety of The Originals Rebekah says time and again she was always the one to stand by him. Even when he did horrible things to her like kill off every single one of her boyfriends, dagger her and leave her in a coffin for centuries and pretty much make her life miserable for centuries, she always came back to him. She always forgave him and she always stayed with him and loved him because he was her big brother and even though he did horrible things to her, she couldn't stop loving him.
It's been interesting to see their relationship change and evolve over the years. In The Vampire Diaries Klaus was a demeaning, rather cruel big brother to her who did bad things for "her own good." He said mean things to her and made her feel lesser and never truly returned the love and devotion she gave to him.
By this last season he's a better big brother. He's willing to let her go. He wants her to be happy even if that means "leaving" his side and finding someone romantically speaking. He protects her and returns the love and devotion she's given to him for years. They have a better relationship.

I feel like learning about Elijah perfectly explains his relationship with Klaus and the deep, brotherly bond they have. He is totally an Enneagram 2. He is so completely selfless, one of the most selfless characters I have ever seen. He is devoted completely to his family, especially to Klaus. Devoted to keeping his family together, trying to right the many wrongs of his brother and heal them, find their redemption.
Throughout their time on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals he does nothing for himself. He doesn't allow himself to get close to anyone because he's so preoccupied with Klaus and Rebekah and all the craziness going on there.
Despite all the crap Klaus puts him through he remains at his side through all of it, pulling him back, putting him in his place, fighting by his side. All of it. He's always there and at the beginning Klaus just takes that for granted. He takes Elijah's love for him for granted, but by the end he truly understands what he has in his brother. He loves Elijah and returns that devotion and selflessness he has for Klaus back to him.
At the end Elijah finds a balance. He had his memories erased at the end of last season and was unburdened from Klaus and his entire past. He got to start over and fell in love with someone else. When he got his memories back he wasn't the same Elijah. He fought on the side of his family once more. Is devoted to them and loves them, but I also am routing for him to get his happy ending. To have his family and Antoinette (his love interest) too.

I really liked how they added Marcel in there too. Klaus found him in New Orleans in like the 1800's at some point (I don't remember the specific year). He was a slave and was being beaten and Klaus saved him, gave him a name and adopted him into his family.
Marcel was raised by the Original family of vampires. He had a father-son relationship with Klaus. Klaus taught him everything he knew, made him the man he was. And as he grew up he came to fall in love with Rebekah. When he was an adult and still human he told her he wanted to be with her, that he loved her and he didn't care if Klaus disapproved. Klaus turned him soon after and Marcel has been a vampire ever since, ruling over New Orleans and living in the shadow of Klaus. Their relationship was rather... rocky. There were times when they really were a family. Marcel was adopted into the Original family, permanently making him one of them and permanently stuck in all their drama.
And even though he hated Klaus sometimes he never could kill him. Even when he despised him and wanted him gone, he could never bring himself to do it because he still loved him. Klaus was the same way. He may have said love was a weakness, but he never stopped loving Marcel like a son and a friend. Even when Marcel disobeyed him, ruined his plans, hated him, tried to hurt his siblings, he could never off him or get rid of him.
Rebekah's relationship with him was on and off and mostly in secret for years since Klaus couldn't stand the fact that Marcel and Rebekah's love for each other might out-weigh their love for him. He didn't want them to leave him and so eventually he sabotaged their relationship, making sure Rebekah and Marcel would never happen. But years later their relationship rekindled and then ended and then started up again and then came to a head in this last season, where it fizzled out again... But like I said, I'm still hoping for them to be together at the end of it all.

Ah and then there's Kol. He was introduced in TVD and I had hoped that he would get an actual storyline to himself.
There's three in the family that were truly bonded together, that were like the inner circle: Rebekah, Klaus and Elijah. Kohl and their oldest brother Finn didn't make the cut. Since Kol was never tied down by their promise of always and forever and because his siblings mostly ignored him, he felt no obligation toward them. He despised them most of the time. He never had any self-control and was a murderous ripper most of the time that had no problem sabotaging his family, throwing them under the bus or just leaving them for years on end.
When he returned to The Originals he came back in a witch's body. Turned out he had always had a love for the magic arts like their mother and being a witch and mortal again was something he enjoyed. That was probably one of my favorite seasons because his romance with Davina was so sweet and beautiful. Because Kol didn't allow himself to get mixed up in his sibling's messes (most of the time) his relationship with Davina flourished and they ended up getting married. Throughout the entire series, he did grow to learn that he wasn't the outcast of the family. His siblings loved him and that he was part of always and forever, but he still remained selfish and did the very least he could to help his family.
Especially in this last season. He has everything he ever wanted. A beautiful, loving wife and a life away from the drama of his family, so when he was forced back into that life he did everything he could to help them so that he could leave. Though of course, he had a sweet spot for Hope, his niece. For her he stuck around and helped.

Freya came in a little later as the surprise big sister to the entire Mikaelson gang. At first she wasn't my favorite. I didn't know her like I knew the other characters and she just seemed kind of... weird. But as the season went you, and the other characters, grow to trust her. I love how she just walked into her family's lives and instantly embraced them and their always and forever.
She's been the voice of reason in the family and the resident witch, so she's the one who gets everyone out of trouble most of the time.

And let's not forget Vincent. I honestly feel so bad for the guy. He's had it rough. A wife who went crazy and started killing people, then having to kill her and then having two love interests stripped away in a matter of two seasons. Since the very beginning he was dragged into the Mikaelson drama, though he wanted nothing to do with them. He doesn't hold a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings for the family and has been working against them since the moment they entered his city.
Throughout the seasons he's been the character who makes the most sense. Who is level headed and doesn't make excuses for all the horrible things the Mikaelson's did and that's one of the reasons why I like him so much. I also loved his friendship with Freya. Especially in this season. They're like best friend and its so sweet to see, especially because they balance each other out so well. When they're having hard times each other are always there to given advice.

Then there's the romances. The Originals isn't as full of romances as TVD is, but when there is a romance it's epic. Camille and Klaus was the best... Seriously everyone still hates that they killed her off. They were so good together and besides Caroline, Camille was the only other woman I think he truly loved and could have seen a future with. Though their relationship started out rocky with Klaus manipulating her the whole time, by the end they really did see eye to eye and were equals and in love to the very end.
And in this season all the Klaroline moments is killing me! Especially in that last episode. I really want to see them be together. Klaus had promised Caroline in TVD that Stefan might be her recent love, but that he intended to be her last. That he could wait and in this season you can see that he really did mean that. I'm excited to see what happens between them in this last episode.

Kol and Davina is probably one of my favorite romances. It took me a little getting used to Davina, but I quickly warmed up to her. She was such an amazing character and actually reminded me of Bonnie a bit because she sacrificed so much for her friends.
Davina didn't really have any family, but she did everything she could to protect her friends and those she cared about the most. Her relationship with Marcel was really sweet too.
He was like a father to her and it was cool seeing the ups and downs of that relationship. But Kol and her? That is an epic romance right there. It reminded me of TVD. They are perfect together.

But the big romance of the entire show is Hayley and Elijah. Their romance was so frustrating most of the time because Elijah never let himself truly get into a real relationship with her because of Klaus. But there were so many moments between them where it was just perfect. Plus there was Hayley's arranged marriage with Jackson and I actually sort of shipped them... That was a difficult time cuz I liked her with both of them. And then... their relationship never truly blossomed or came to a head which was unsatisfying, but I was happy Hayley got to have peace at last. Even if it meant Elijah and her never really got to have their happy ending.

Speaking of Hayley, she was sort of like Marcel and was brought into the family. She was pregnant with Hope, her and Klaus' child and at first everyone (except Elijah) only tolerated her, but as the seasons went on she became a real part of the family. Hayley became a part of always and forever and protected the Originals as fiercely as they protected her. It was also really cool to see Klaus' toleration of her grow to a true platonic love and respect for her. I feel like she was one of the few people that he truly respected and had equal ground with. He trusted her with his life and his daughter's life and vice versa.

How could I forget Josh? Josh was like the Matt Donovan of The Originals. Even though he was a side character and just sort of there, always on the outside looking in, he always managed to somehow survive. He was always good friends with Marcel and that was a really cool friendship to see. His friendship with Davina was really sweet too and I loved it so much!
It was so sad when Josh didn't make it this season. But I did like how they carried through the theme of finding peace in TVD to The Originals. In TVD in the last episode they showed everyone who had died finding their peace either amongst family or lost loves. Stefan got to be with his best friend Lexi again. Elena was reunited with her family. Damon got to be with Stefan again. Tyler was with Vicki and they were all looking over their loved ones. In The Originals Josh found peace with his past love interest and Hailey was reunited with her parents, her pack and Jackson.

 At one point (because you know I have nothing better to do than to analyze fictional characters in my head), I thought over all of the characters, dissecting them and figuring out all of their problems. I think I was doing it as a way to analyze character motivations and drives and weaknesses so that I could apply it to my own writing. Anyways, it's so interesting to dig into these characters. They all have so many problems. The big three, the easiest to figure out are Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah who promised each other Always and Forever from the beginning. Klaus was abused by a cruel father all his life. He has self-destructive tendencies, he has a fear of abandonment and that's why he never wanted Rebekah or Elijah to find romance with anyone else because he was afraid they would leave him for that other person. He sees love as weakness, but I'd say his biggest driving force and problem was his abandonment issues.
It's what drove him to dagger his siblings for centuries if they didn't agree with him, what caused him to want to create a hybrid army. What caused him to do all those horrible things to his siblings, so that they could never leave him. But by the end of The Originals Klaus has a beautiful daughter who he loves more than anything. He realizes that love is a strength, not a weakness. He respects his siblings and loves them. He's made emotional attachments and has moved past his self-destructive tendencies (more or less) to be the best father he can be to his daughter Hope. It was so amazing to see his character development cuz he really was a horrible guy when he was first introduced. The true Big Bad to outmatch all Big Bads of the TVD universe. And now he's a loving, respectful father who would do anything to protect his daughter and his family.

And then there's Rebekah who is so desperate for attention and love that she will do anything for it. Throughout both shows she throws herself at any guy who will pay attention to her. Stefan, Tyler, Matt (which that whole relationship was actually pretty sweet).
Then there was Marcel who she has love for centuries and he has loved her back for centuries. She was confident in herself but had a lot of self-esteem issues. By the end though she's more self-assured, is self-confident enough to not need the constant attention of a man. She even turned down Marcel, sort of friendzoning him but still remained happy with herself. Though I'm still routing for a happy ending for them too, I think it was a testament to her character development. Her biggest thing was she always wanted to be human and despite how the finale ended, I was glad to see she at least got her wish and her happy ending.

There's so much more about this show, but what really made the show was the core theme: family love. Sibling love. The fact that even though they do horrible things to each other, they always have each other's backs. They stick together always and forever even when it means sacrificing things for one another. And now Hope is a part of that always and forever. I'm excited to see how that theme carries over to Legacies and what kind of a person she becomes. I am so excited for Legacies and to see the, well, legacy of TVD and The Originals to carry on to the next generation in that world. Seriously it's so amazing and inspiring to see how one TV show can create an entire world that can branch off into not just one, but two spin-offs!

The Originals, it's been amazing and I look forward to seeing cameos of all of those characters in Legacies and to continue Hope's story for many, many seasons to come (I hope).

So, as Elijah said: it was a glorious ride. There was betrayal, romance, drama, forgiveness and a bittersweet ending that I am still trying to process.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

July Monthly Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! So I almost completely forgot about July's monthly wrap up! But, so here it is!

July Writing: So for most of July I've been working on an assortment of different projects. I finished writing my YA fantasy serial called Easthallow. Then I started working on Blood Brothers, the sequel to Sterling Silver (which is on Wattpad if you want to check it out). Right now I'm in the middle of Blood Brothers actually and am loving every second of writing it! I'm pretty sure at the beginning of the month I also worked on revisions for Golden which are going very slowly. And now I am finishing up edits for Project Hellion. I really thought it would be completely ready by the beginning of August but now I'm thinking the end of August. Anyways, so yeah, it's been a busy writing month. I feel like I've gotten so much done and have been working on so much which feels really good. Once I finish Blood Brothers I have my heart set on starting either my Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan retelling, but I'm not sure which yet. All I know is I am very excited about both of those projects. I also am so happy and excited at how many reads I've gotten on Sterling Silver. It's only my first book on there and it has 166 reads! I just hope people like Blood Brothers as much, if not more, than Sterling Silver.

July Reading: I haven't read this much in a very long time. At the start of July I took more of a notice in Wattpad and tried to find some books to read and, well, I sort of got carried away. I can't believe how many books I read in July! I'm sure it's not as many as some read in a month, but for me it's been quite a lot. I read Belle Morte, Revelations and Hunted by Bella Higgin on there (a vampire series with a world that reminds me a little bit of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown). Then I moved on to Friends with the King of the Underworld and the sequel Saving the King of the Underworld by Lovepenny which is a Fae New Adult series that I am loving! She took down the sequel to rewrite and will, I am hoping, have the third book up in September! And now I have moved onto A Cap Stained with Blood by K. D. Campbell which is also a book set in the world of the Fae. It's much darker than the King of the Underworld series though, with Redcaps and all the more vicious Fae, but I'm loving it so far. Reading on Wattpad has reawakened my love for just some good YA romance. Most of the main characters are college age though, so they feel more in the New Adult section which I think is pretty cool. I've never read in New Adult but I'm really loving it cuz these characters are all my age and in the same sort of stage of life as I am. It's just nice to get lost in a goof fantasy romance sometimes. And now I just started a debut novel by Alexa Donne called Brightly Burning. It's a YA sci-fi and reminded me of Starflight so I checked it out. I'm so glad I did because I'm loving it. I'm not a huge fan of hardcore sci-fi. I like sci-fi books like Starflight or Alienated by Melissa Lander. Spaceships, the occasional alien, cool gadgets and plenty of romance. It's more a subgenre of science fiction I feel like, set in a smaller scale world. Not so much Star Trek or Star Wars but more like Firefly. Anyways, I'm enjoying it a lot.

July Life Stuff/Random: July has been full of math studying since I have to get around to taking a math test to get into math classes at my college. That's been my main goal and now that its August I really do need to hurry up and pass the test. Other than that, not much has been going on. Though I have been seeing a lot of movies in the past few months. I saw Ant-Man and the Wasp which I loved! My brother and I thought it was hilarious whereas our parents thought it was Ok. And that end-credit scene? That blew my mind and made me feel so bad for every character involved.

Anyways, so yeah. It's been a good month and I'm not looking forward to my free summer ending. Classes are starting soon which is a bummer, but I'm also ready to jump back into it, even if I'm not exactly excited about it. Be ready for a goodbye post for The Originals on Friday. Every time I think about this week being the last week of The Originals airing forever it makes me so sad!

Have a great week everyone! 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sterling Silver Chapters 26, 27 and 28!

Heey! Chapters 26, 27 and 28 are out on Wattpad!! I started working on the sequel that I'm calling Blood Brothers for now and it is by far one of the best books I've written. I'm loving every second of writing this book, of writing more of Tabitha and Sebastian's story and I can't wait to share it once I'm finished! For now though, Sterling Silver is on Wattpad and we only have a few more weeks before it's finished, so catch up while you can! Right now it's also ranked as #37 in the vampirehunter tag. :)

Here's a sneak peek from chapter 27:

Tabitha followed his line of sight and found Keller getting to his feet. The angry vampire growled through clenched teeth and clutching his healing stomach.
"Don't touch her again," Alistair commanded.
Keller snarled something nasty under his breath, grabbed his drink and stalked off into another room. Alistair gracefully swooped down and grabbed the bloody knife from the floor. He didn't bother to even give Tabitha a glance as he went to the kitchen and set his grocery bag on the counter and the knife in the sink. He grabbed a wash cloth that hung by the fridge, watered it and began to mop up all the blood. Tabitha was frozen, maybe in shock or maybe in pure terror but she couldn't move. Jonas sat unmoving on the couch, his eyes wide and staring at Tabitha, his hands fisted around the blanket.

And then Alistair straightened. He rung the bloody cloth out in the sink, set it down and turned to her, resting his hands on the counter, a faint smile on his lips. "Now I believe I have some explaining to do. And so do you Miss. Sterling."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

What I Learned from Writing a Serial Novel (Update #2)

So I've officially finished all ten episodes of my serial novel! Since this was my first attempt at a format like this and I already shared how I've decided to write my serial novel, I thought I would share what I learned from it. First of all, all the blog posts and articles that said how fun it was to write a serial novel was true. Almost every author who wrote a serial novel and wrote about it said how fun the experience was and they were absolutely right. If you're having writers block or if you just want a change in pace, I definitely recommend trying to write a serial novel. Ten episodes isn't that much, especially if you do less of a word count than I did. My episodes were supposed to be exactly 8,000 words but since I'm a pretty wordy writer, they ended up being over 8,000 words but under 9,000 words. Except for the tenth episode. I thought it was appropriate for the final episode to be 9,000-over 9,000 words since it's the big finale and all that. Anyways, here's five things I learned from writing an episodic novel:

When I finished the final episode what surprised me the most was the fact that I had just written 80,000 words in just a few weeks! It took about 3 weeks for me to write an 80,000 word episodic novel. Writing a novel usually takes me about a month and they usually range from 60-80,000 words. But this? This is a new record for me. You know why it only took me about 3 weeks? Because I had to think about my story differently. I wrapped my head around the fact that OK, today and tomorrow I'm going to write this 8,000 word episode. And then the next two days I'd write another 8,000 words. Some days I was hammering out 5,000 to 6,000 words! It's all because of the way you think about it. If you have your mind set on a giant full length novel and your goal is to get to 80,000 words that feels way more daunting than if you have your mind set on writing ten 8,000 word episodes every other day. It just makes it easier to think about and more accomplishable. Writing Easthallow I've realized how important small goals are. A lot of writers and authors say its always good to give yourself small goals but I was never very good at that. I like to think big and to accomplish big things. 300 words a day doesn't feel like enough to me, but 8,000 words for two days combined? That feels good to me and by the end I feel like I've accomplished something bigger than just a 300 word goal in a day. Anyways, I think I might even try to apply this to what I'm working on now (Blood Brothers, the sequel to Sterling Silver). I think the project would go way faster if I separated it out into several smaller 8,000 word goals.

Another thing that took me by surprise was how much I learned about each character while writing this book! Look, I'm pretty good at fleshing out a protagonist. I do a lot of work on my main character and my love interest and maybe one or two other characters that I really love. But what has always drawn me to TV shows and what I love most about TV shows is how one episode can hold so many subplots. You get to follow not just the protagonist and their love interest and best friend, but a whole cast of characters. In TVD you don't get to just learn about Elena and learn to love her and Stefan, by the end of episode 1 you know so much about her and Stefan plus Bonnie and Caroline and Jeremy and Tyler and Damon and I think you get the picture. By the end of season 1 you know and love all of these characters equally. They all got screen time and they all have their own plots and lives to live. Its obvious to the viewers that all of these characters see themselves as the main characters of their own stories. I've always had a hard time with that for some reason. Maybe I just never put enough work and effort into my other characters, but I think with Golden and Project Hellion and now Sterling Silver and Blood Brothers I'm starting to grasp that. Easthallow really helped me wrap my head around that though because I wanted to make sure that by the end of episode 1 my readers would know enough about every main character to care about them and even like them and want to follow them. I even got in a few POV scenes of the main antagonist and his sister which was just amazing. Writing Hyacinth (the main antagonist's sister)'s POV was probably my favorite part of writing this entire season. When I first introduced her she was just this ice princess, cold and heartless and unfeeling. But when I write her POV I saw a whole other side of her and it really helped me get a grasp on her character and actually sort of like her. I also got to see the main antagonist (Warrick) through her eyes and it gave me a new perspective on him too. So if you're having trouble with fleshing out characters I highly suggest writing a few scenes in their POV. Even if it doesn't make it to the final draft, it will help you so much!

I'm not sure how great I am at pacing. I think I'm pretty good, but I never really thought about it a whole lot. Probably because I've been writing novels for so long that I didn't even have to think about the format and pacing in a book, it just sort of was already there when I wrote out the first draft. But for Easthallow I had to really think about the pacing of the story. I had ten episodes to complete a story and though, combined that equals 80,000 words, it didn't feel like that much. So I had to be really selective on what scenes and characters I wanted to showcase in each episode. I had to be careful how I used that episode, how much information I wanted to reveal and when I wanted the big middle scene to happen. It couldn't be too soon but it also couldn't be too late. I think my second favorite part of writing Easthallow was writing episode 7 (I'm still brainstorming names for each of them). But this one was sort of like something you could really only do if you were writing an episodic story. You know like those episodes where they are solely dedicated to one character or one plot point? Like an entire episode for a character remembering something or being trapped in some place? Well episode 7 is kind of like that and it seriously was so awesome to write cuz I've always wanted to write something like that. The next thing on my episodic bucket list is to write one of those random episodes that are just fun and don't forward the plot at all, like the Monsters and Mana episode of Voltron or The Ember Island Players on The Last Airbender. Although even for The Ember Island Players there was character development in that so I mean those writers were on top of the writing game.

Anyways, right now those are the three big things that came to mind when I was thinking about what I learned from writing this book. It's been a super interesting, informative and fun experience and I really hope it goes well on Wattpad because I would really love to write the second season and beyond. Right now I'm taking my time revising it because I don't plan to release it until after Sterling Silver is complete on Wattpad. I'm also considering releasing one episode at a time on Wattpad and my blog while also releasing the entire thing on the Kindle for a 0.99 or something so if you don't want to wait for installments you can just buy the whole thing. Also, it's going to have a professional, like really nice cover cuz my mom wanted to do the cover for it so I'm pretty excited for that. But all that won't happen for a little while still.

For now though, Sterling Silver has ten more weeks of installments left, I'm working on revising Easthallow and writing a summary for it. I've started writing Blood Brothers, the sequel to Sterling Silver (it's ridiculous how much fun writing this book is) and you know I still have to get Project Hellion ready to be published at some point this year! So yeah... there's a lot going on right now.

I hope this has been informative and has persuaded you to give serial writing a try. Have a great week everyone!