Category Archives: writing

Writing Update: #dvpit

“Fear is your enemy only if you allow it to be.” An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir @sabaatahir

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What inspires you? What keeps you motivated to keep trying?

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Whether you own a small business or you’re building your account, or in my case, writing a book, we all are inspired in some way to start but how do you keep going?

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It’s been a while since I last shared my progress on my novel. The quick explanation: for the last two years I’ve been writing a fantasy inspired by ancient Filipino culture and I finished writing it last summer. I took a break and at the beginning of this year, I began the revision process so that I can start querying by summer.

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I will admit, I haven’t made as much progress in my revisions as I had planned to at this point, but now I have a definite goal to shoot for. I will be eternally grateful to Vanshika @thatreadingraven for bringing #dvpit to my attention. It’s an opportunity for marginalized authors and/stories to pitch their unpublished MS to editors and agents. And FRIENDS, I’M GOING TO PITCH MY STORY.

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I’m putting this here to hold myself accountable, but also to keep me inspired. In my experience, when you open yourself to opportunities, they present themselves in different ways. I’ve already had so many people offer to read my pitches which has been incredible and empowering at the same time.

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My original inspiration for writing this story is my daughter. I wanted her to have a story where an empowered biracial female was strong, clever, and valued her family. Then I read a book where a brown girl was fighting alone against a patriarchal society to save her brother against terrible odds. It was the first time for me seeing in print a brown girl as a main character with her own narrative. I knew then that Sabaa Tahir’s book was proof that brown girls had a place in fantasy stories (not just as a side character or in token roles), and there also could be a place for my story too.

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If you’re curious about #dvpit, check out the hashtag for more details or visit dvpit.com. It will take place on Twitter from April 25-26.

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What are your plans this weekend? I’m spending time with family but Sunday I’ll be going to see Black Panther!

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AEITA inspired magnet from Owlcrate @owlcrate.

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Reading Challenge: Kill, Kill, Stab, Stab, Stab

What kind of reading goals do you set? (Besides the number of books you read by the end of the year. 😏) I mentioned in my previous post that I’m also a writer (thanks to every one who liked and commented about finishing my draft! I truly appreciate it!) and to become better at writing, you have to read! Seems logical but in reading dozens of author interviews, one piece of common advice about becoming a better writer was to read in your genre, and also outside of it—know the genre writing conventions of the story your writing and also what good writing looks like regardless of genre.

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One of my reading goals for the last two years (now three) is to read a book outside my preferred reading and writing genre (YA fantasy). I’ve read so many great books from contemporary to historical fiction (still working on non-fiction😅).

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Last year (and most likely this year too), I found a lot of recommendations through the #grimdragon challenge and I haven’t been disappointed! Featured here are a mix of authors that were new to me and outside my preferred genre—okay, so this is still fantasy, but these are definitely not YA. Epic battles, fierce characters, and bloody fighting—I didn’t realize what I was missing in my life until I read Abercrombie, Staveley, Lawrence, and Eames! I highly recommend all of these authors!

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For #grimdragon Day 13: Stabby, stabby kill, kill, kill

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How’s your weekend going so far? We just watched Cars 3 and now I’m like 😭. At my age, everything seems to set me off!

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WIP 1.13.18

Who here is a writer too? I originally started this account as a platform to share my journey to becoming a published author. I’d been sharing the steps in my writing process and about my experience in The Writer’s Studio Online through Simon Frasier University. It was such a rewarding program. I highly recommend it!

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But you’ll see that the majority of my posts are about books and reading which as a writer, I firmly believe that in order to become a better writer, you have to read. If I’m honest though, talking about books and reading is a lot easier to talk about than writing. Writing is such a solitary act but unlike reading, when you’re working on a project, you can’t really give away too many details and there really isn’t a way to make “I’m still writing” sound more exciting. 😅

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But I’m at the point where I’ve finished my first draft and I’m beginning my revisions. My goal this year is to finish revisions by April/May. I hope to start querying by the summer.

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I’m also going to post more about writing to keep me accountable and if you all like to help by kindly inquiring on my progress, even better!

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If you check out my Insta-stories (after all the stuff about my current reads), I actually shared some books about writing, a peak of my book map, and a glance at the hard copy of my draft (collated, hole punched, in a binder). Awesome, right? 😄

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I hope you all had a great week! If you’re a writer, what are you writing about? If not, what are your plans for the weekend? We’re going to get the house ready for my oldest son’s birthday next weekend. He will be eleven. And now my eyes are wet. 😭

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Writing update!

It’s been a while since I shared my progress on my novel! I finished my draft in August and took some time off before revising. And to be honest, when you do a thing for two years and you finish the thing, it kind of messes with you and so I had to spend some time sorting myself out. As an aspiring author, you’re goal is to finish the story. It’s different for everyone but the message is to don’t give up. But when you finish, it’s like, now what? 🤷🏽‍♀️.

I had to spend some time rethinking what I wanted for my story and how I could fix it. It’s not easy because when you finish a draft (that took two years to write), it’s hard accepting that there’s still a lot of work to do.

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Once I came to terms with the fact that I needed to revise (because a part of your brain wants to be done with the thing), I took out a new notebook (because any reason to use a new notebook is the bee’s knees) and did a brain dump of all the things I wanted for this story. I spent some time hemming and hawing at the audacity of my demands (if I were the drinking type, copious amounts would have been consumed) and when I decided it was time to get down to business (read: talk myself down from the very high ledge I put my self on), I began to systematically break down my wishlist for this book into actionable tasks.

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Basically, I Hermioned the hell out of what needed to be done.

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I printed index cards summaries of each chapter (compliments of Scrivener’s index card feature), then I created an index/list in my notebook with each chapter, noting the Acts and Climax points in the story and now I’m book mapping my story–a developmental editing strategy to show where themes and other details show up in the story for consistency and pacing.

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If your eyes are crossing at this point, it all means I’m kicking ass on this revision.

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I’m actually excited for October (and not just because it’s my birthday month and Halloween 😜), but the light at the tunnel does not seem so far away now. I’m setting a goal to be done with revisions by the end of this month!

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Anyone else get excited about doing things that involve notebooks and lists? 🤓 Also, I was recently sorted into Ravenclaw (surprising I know), so when this Luna with the Gryffindor mask (which was where I had been previously sorted), it’s become like my mascot while I work on this book–Hermione inspires me to get things done, but Luna reminds me that there is also wisdom in taking time in the process too.

Monday Inspiration!

Happy Monday! I want to spread some inspiration because Monday. 😩 .

I’m so grateful to have found this community not just for the fact we’re all readers, but also for how creative everyone is! From candles, bookmarks, to temporary bookish tattoos–I love how people express their enthusiasm for the books we enjoy.

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If you don’t know this about me, I’m a notebook addict! Creamy, thick paper that stands up to fountain pens? Gorgeous graph lines? A5 size? You are speaking my language! And if the cover has some type of bookish and/or writing design on the cover? Dead. I can not even handle it!

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Do you guys know Hafsah? @hafsahfaizal She’s got a gorgeous feed and is the owner of Icey Designs. She’s got some gorgeous bookish candles and also notebooks! I had my eye on this particular notebook because as a writer, the quote speaks to me! My very dear friend and #booktwin Amy @ladyofthelibrary got it for me as a gift and I nearly cried because it was a surprise and it arrived at one of those times I was frustrated with writing my book!

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Where am I going with this? If you don’t follow Hafsah on Twitter, you should remedy that situation immediately! She announced after years of writing her Arabian Fantasy book, she found an agent! I’m so thrilled for her and excited for her book! If you visit her Twitter, you can see her book aesthetics and friends, it’s amazing! Also, check out her “The Obligatory ‘How I Got my Agent Post’ ” at her blog, iceybooks.com. It’s so inspiring and gives me hope.

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Hafsah, I’m so excited for you and I can’t wait to add your book to my shelves! Congratulations! 🎉🎉🎉

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Happy Canada Day! (Canadian Authors)

A year ago I finished a creative writing program online through The Writer’s Studio @twssfu at Simon Frasier University in Canada @cs_sfu. I had just started my journey as a writer and being accepted into the program was an exciting opportunity. I became part of a talented and creative group that our mentor June Hutton dubbed the Fictionistas. I also had the privilege of working with Eileen Cook, Claudia Cornwall, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and director Wayde Compton. They were all so generous and gracious sharing their experiences as published authors..

Now a year after finishing the program, I’m working on the end of my manuscript and getting ready to submit chapters to alpha readers to undergo the revision process. Once the revision process is complete, the second draft will go to beta readers and once the revision process is finished for that, I’ll begin the query process. I hope to begin querying by fall/winter this year. Ambitious? Oh yes! August will be the two year anniversary since I started writing this story. I’m ready to finish this!

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Happy Canada day to my Canadian friends, to my mentors at The Writer’s Studio, and my writing sisters the Fictionistas! I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday. 

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Update: Writing, Reading, and Moana

Hello!! Happy Sunday! If you’re in the US, I hope you’re having a fantastic holiday in observance of Memorial Day Monday. .

I’ve been spending time writing and reading this past week in an effort to end May with a strong finish to my reading and writing goals. If you watched my Story, you saw the fantastic reading month I had! I’ll do a wrap-up post next week. For novel writing, I’m in the last climatic scene of my story and it’s both exciting and emotional at the same time. I had to pause to do some research for the scene, but I’m optimistic about finishing my novel before the summer! 

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On my Story, I also posted about making a Moana costume for a princess party I went to last night. I’ve never made a costume before and I nearly broke down! 😆 But I’m happy with how it turned out and shared it on my Story. Swipe to the left if you want to see. ☺️

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Pictured below are the skirt and top I made and also the research books I’m using for my novel. My book is a fantasy inspired by ancient Filipino culture and my main character is a warrior princess who talks to trees because of her connection to a diwata (Filipino version of fairy/fae). Moana inspires me too because her story gives me hope that mine will be accepted too! 

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How are you? What are you reading? How’s your weekend going?

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