Monday, May 7, 2018

" the first draft "

I have always been told by writing people, and books and basically anything writing wise, that the first draft is the hardest thing to do when it comes to telling the story.  Writing is hard.  I am more terrified trying to make it as a full-time writer than I am of trying to make it as a full-time illustrator, and that is scary to me.  I could never class myself with writers, or authors, because I didn't think I was good enough.

I struggled with writing, as well as reading when I was a kid because, I'm dyslexic.  I could never write with the words I wanted to use.  Fast forward a few years.... and I have a phone, that I can write on.... and the phone will fix the spelling of the word I want to use, and if all is lost... occasionally, speaking the word will actually come through on a phone.  But writing on my phone also lost over 4,000 words that I wrote in two days.  So, the phone is not always a good thing.  But back to that scary first draft.

Until recently, the only finished work I had was a children's book I wrote when I was in elementary school, which is straight up hilarious to me now.  Currently, I have finished three novellas this year, one novelette, eleven short stories, and four stories of unknown word count.

Last year I started a story that I wanted to read, but had never found.  I then put that on hold and started a book that was inspired by so many disappointments in the same genre.  I now have finished the first draft of the later, and re-written and finished the first draft of the former.  I know this means a million edits to come, but I feel so accomplished.  I did it!  I finished something (many somethings as of editing this blog post).  I'm not a failure, and I'm not a quitter.  It took me months.  I started in what I did not know was going to my Senior year of high school.  And I took big breaks in between sections and I had to motivate myself to keep going sometimes, making myself talk it over and get excited about the story again.  I had to learn to go with being really motivated to write at any time that I was motivated.

After truly trying nanowrimo, I've decided November is just when I need to not try to do anything.  November is too busy, and if I am expecting December to be a lot better, yes, but no.  Every year in January, though, I always write an absurd amount.  So, I am just going with it.  And something I figured out as I've been writing all these things first drafts, is plot as you go, not all at once.  For me, if I have the plot all at once, I've already lived out the story and I'm done, but if I give myself some plot points to work with and go through and write them, after I'm done with them, plot again. Writing that way works for me, it keeps me excited and on task.

In conclusion, the first draft is hard, but you can do it.  I believe in you!  Probably more than I believe in me.  If you want a story in the world, go for it!  And don't worry too much about it being completely original, because nothing is.  But you are original and if you write like you are you then your story will be original, as original As You Are.

Sunday, May 6, 2018


So one night my Mum was like, "Here is great book to read," and I being who I am was totally going to read it.  BUT THEN I realized that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight totally ripped off Cars #1.
I was NOT going crazy.  Here are the similarities:

Spoilers for Cars One!!!!!!!!!

So there is this kind of jerk named Lighting McQueen, *OR IN THE MEDIEVAL RIP OFF* Sir Gawain!  So, like they are both fighting a Green guy who is like totally also a mean peep.
AND THAT WAS WHEN I LIKE TOTALLY KNEW THAT Sir Gawain and The Green Knight was a rip off or Cars 1 was, because Sir Gawain/Lightning McQueen like goes to the King or like in Cars 1 (the REAL version!!!!!!!!) goes to MR. THE KING and is like "What do I do?  Because this fellow bro is like not being nice!" And like Mister THE KING is like "Yo! Lighter McQueen/Sir G you should be like better like me, yo."

AND then it's like probably a journey of self discovery, but like I don't know, because I skipped the middle, because I did not want to meet rip off Sally.  Because she is like my favorite!  But I did read the end just to see if it was the same, NOT BECAUSE I LIKE LIKED IT! OKAY?  And like it's is just the SAME!  Like there is a big contest and like Sir G/Mr. McQueen is a better person and that Green Knight/Car is being bad still and like *SUPER SPOILERS FOR CARS 1!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

The bad guy/car LIKE TOTALLY WINS!!!!  Because the now good guy lets him!  And the the very end is like "this happened under the ruling of THE KING!!!!" JUST LIKE IN CARS!  Like I don't know how much the middle rips off like I don't know who Mater is in the Medieval one, but like I AM SURE HE IS THERE!


Disclaimer this has been a guest post by "LIKE TOTALLY MARKLESS".  She will most likely not be back soon, but maybe, because like you never know!
This book is not recommended or condoned by the REAL Marklessgirl (1).  This blog post is not necessarily recommended either.

There is a "love scene" which is totally NOT PG like Cars 1, whaah!
There is also like joustings and battles and stuff.
There might be some Medieval cursing, but I don't remember (and I didn't read all the middle part).
UNRECOMMEND Sir Gawain and the Green Knight!  Also, like don't read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Unless you're like forced to for your edumacation.  Then, like read it, or like drop out of school.).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Short stories are awesome! [ Novellas Are Cool, too! ]

Last December, I started to read more short stories, mainly because I was trying to read all the Grace Livingston Hill books that were in our house.  There were lots of short stories in each Grace Livingston Hill Collection, and I really liked them, and felt they had the same impact message, and were just as important stories as were the full novels.  I am sad that I did not keep track of all the Lucy Maud Montgomery short stories I read last year.  I am doing that now.  I learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, I have now read a lot more short stories, and I think they're so skilfully written 99.9% of the time.  To get your story into such a small amount of words and pages takes skill.  I just recently downloaded some more Lucy Maud Montgomery short stories and several Louisa May Alcott short stories.  I just love them!  I can read them so fast and get a full plot!  Reading them makes me want to write a ton of short stories!

I have also recently realized that I adore novellas!  They are also so fun to read!  You can go so fast and have a story!  Short stories and novellas are both good to break up the monotony of reading really long books.  I have started to use them when a book is taking me forever to finish, to give me a sense of accomplishment that makes me go back to the gigantic book and keep reading it, even if it is taking me a month to read.  Picture books are good for this, too.

I recently enjoyed:

Picture books:
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jennifer Bryant
The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock
(Both about art and artistry, and artists themselves.)

Short stories:
Red Boots by Kate Wills
Safety First by Grace Livingston Hill
The Call by Grace Livingston Hill
The Candy Country by Louisa May Alcott
Marjorie's Three Gifts by Louisa May Alcott

Short books/ novellas:
Cinder Ellie by J. M. Stengl
The Little Siren by J. M. Stengl
The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

Monday, April 16, 2018

Daring To Hope by Katie Davis Majors Book Review

Daring To Hope is the continuing autobiography of Katie's life.  We first get a glimpse of her life in Kisses from Katie, I previously reviewed that in 2017I was hoping to review this in 2017, also, but 2018 is okay, too.

This was different than expected, but I still adored it.  I wanted to re-read it right after I finished.  This is a beautiful, faith-filled, slice-of-life.  Just so highly recommend.  It is about faith and daring to hope even in insane situations.  We get to see more into her home and Ministry.  Her Ministry and non-profit is possibly my very favorite non-profit.  Although, I love so many it's really hard, and I don't really believe in picking, and don't have to.  They are really doing God's calling.

It was so lovely to read about Katie and Benji's relationship.  We only start hearing about it in the last like 60 pages of the book.  I was expecting to hear about it a lot sooner, but I kind of like that she made us wait a long time and that it wasn't all about her and her husband, because other things happened and they needed to be shared, too.  I know I am being really vague.  I feel that if I say anything, it will tell you everything, and for me, I wanted to know things first hand, as I read them.  I didn't even read the end flap, or inside cover, or back of the book.  I did start following Katie online, though.  And that was a really good choice, because now I get tons of updates on her life.

If you have read Kisses from Katie, you have to read this one, it's so beautiful.  This book is a call to HOPE openly and all out!  My favorite part of this was Katie hoping and hoping away and seeing healing come in many ways.  I loved hearing more about her girls and her new baby!

This book may be even closer to my heart than Kisses from Katie, because it gives a true call to HOPE, and by hope, I mean truly believe that God's good plan is going to happen, and have all the faith that is asked of you.  Katie's life is more settled in this part of her story, but she is still asked to have tons of such extreme circumstances and believe for so much healing, and she asks you to have the same faith.  She shows her struggles as just a human and believes that the rest of us, just also as humans, can have faith to move mountains.


Real life things, like in the first book.
Burn wounds, HIV positive, AIDS, tuberculosis and other unpleasantries that live in this world, but overall, it is NOT done in a bad or graphic way.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Playing The Part by Jen Turano Book Review

Playing The Part, by Jen Turano, is book 3 in the A Class All Their Own companion series.  It is a loosely based retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.  Our story is set in New York in the 1880's and follows an actress, Lucetta.  When Bram will not give up trying to win her affections, and her own step-father tries to gamble her off, Abigail Hart, the nice widow lady she is living with, comes to her aid.

Abigail takes the actress to her Grandson's castle in the New York countryside.  At the castle, there happens to be a mystery, and a goat named Geoffrey who doesn't like anyone in a skirt.  We meet many interesting characters.  There are also cameos from the main characters of book 1 and 2 of the series.  I have previously reviewed book one.  And I need to review book 2, I know, but it's my favorite of the series and I want to do it justice.  There is an elusive author and playwright, who picked our actress to be the lead in his play.  In addition, there is a girl who wants to meet and marry this elusive man.  We also have Abigail playing Matchmaker and having a really fun time.

This book has plenty of outrageous comedy and a deeper story, too.  It is lovely historical fiction and The Phantom of the Opera re-telling to boot.  Some of my favorite parts are:  looking for secret passageways, discovering the dungeon of the Castle, a midnight horseback ride, falling into a moat and many more!  I love that the Grandson is willing to hire ex-cons to do honest work at his castle, and that he is friends with the Pastor who shows up in all of the books.

This book is a perfect conclusion, with an amazing plot.  I am so glad this story exists, and it gets better each time I read it.  I will say I was a little disappointed the first time I read it, because I was expecting it to have a lot more to do with backstage at a theater and actual acting.  While there is some of that since the beginning and end of the story take place in the theater, and there is a home theatrical work at the castle, I was expecting it to completely take place in the theater and have more Phantom of the Opera vibe.  Now that I know what to expect, I love it more and more every time.  The characters are delicious and the plot is fantastic, the writing is some of my favorite.  This series is high on my list of recommendations.  The best is probably book 2, but the others are close runners up.  Book 2 is just personal preference.  I think Playing the Part and After a Fashion make great Spring reads, and In Good Company (book 2) makes a great summer read, but that is just when I first read them, so I am most likely biased.


Clean for high school teens and above, this is an "adult" book, but I first read it as a teen and I see nothing wrong with that.
A few kisses and bit of morbid joking and light creepiness.
A few light "adult" references that are handled with tact and poise.
The morbid and creepiness come from the fact this is an The Phantom of the Opera re-telling and a bit of a satire the Gothic novel genre.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Reluctant Godfather Book Review

The Reluctant Godfather, by Allison Tebo, is a fantasy fairy tale re-telling of Cinderella, as told by the reluctant Fairy Godfather of Prince Colin and Ella.  Burndee is our Fairy Godfather.  He enjoys baking and is not very good at his job as a Godfather.  As a Baker, he is very good at baking and that is like his under-cover job.

The story kicks off with Burndee being told off for not helping his godchildren.  So, he goes to Prince Colin who is very upset over the fact that his father is making him get married in two weeks and making him have a ball.  Burndee then moves on to Ella and feels very bad for her, because she has to work all the live long day.  And he designs to matchmake them at the ball.  He will have a much easier job if his two wards are married and it will make their lives better.

And that is the synopsis, but this story has tons of twists and turns!  I could not stop reading!  I wanted to read and not even write the story I was almost done writing!  And when I can taste being done with a story, normally I don't read anything.  Or if I do pick up a book, I would rather be writing, and so I write.  Not with this.  At one point, I wanted to stop and read the last page!  That's how badly I wanted to know how it would turn out!

Before I bought this book in paperback, I read the Kindle sample.  When the sample made me laugh out loud before I was even done, I was sold and had to buy it.

Only a few kisses, non explicit.

A short review for a short book! But definitely worth your time.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Book Review

I have had a long relationship with this book.  I have read it so many times over the years that I don't know what number I am on.  I loved my 2017-2018 re-read, and that is what this review is going to be off of.  I started reading this book Christmas 2017, because Christmas is when the story starts, and I kept reading as the story made it into the New Year.

This read was different than all the rest, because with this one I read a book that was talked about within this book, Pilgrim's Progress, which I recently reviewed.  Reading that book, as I was reading this book, made the experience even deeper. 

This is the second read where I did not want Laurie and Jo to be together.  My younger self is yelling at me and saying, "How could you say that?".  If I was reading this review to my younger self, at this point, she would die of shock.  But it's true.  Aughhh! 

This is the first read where I had a lot of my fiction writing destroyed.  Although not as dramatically as Jo's, but I could relate to Jo even more in that aspect. 

I was in Little Women in the Fall of 2016, and I played Sallie Gardiner-Moffat.  So, this  is the second re-read that I now see some of the characters as the people I was in the play Little Women with.  It's especially upsetting to imagine my friends faces as the characters when things happen to them.

I have grown as a person, and this story has grown with me.  I think I will always find something new with every read of this story.

P.S.:  I cried a little less this time at the death.  The most I ever cried at the death was when I re-read it right after the show of Little Women that I was in.

It's the Civil War.  It's Christmas time.  This family is poor.  The father is in the war.  The oldest sister, Meg, is a governess.  The second oldest sister, Jo (Josephine), is a aspiring published writer, but currently she takes care of her old Aunt. Beth, the third child, is just a sickly little girl doing her best.  Amy is the youngest sister and goes through the most dramatic character development.  Laurie is their neighbor friend.  Chaos, romance, family drama and death, and everything that makes a good story.

The writing is fantastic. The moral issues are very important, and very inspiring.

A note:  This review is also of Good Wives, by Louisa May Alcott, or as is referred to by some, Part 2 of Little Women.

The following are things that are in the book that I am going to talk about, so that I can look back on this review and see what stood out to me, this time around:

All of the little things with Meg's house after she is married. I didn't remember anything other than the babies.
Amy and that British guy (the one who came to Laurie's home when they were kids).  I did not remember that he asked her to marry him, when she was in Europe.
Something I did still know happened, but is one of my favorite parts, is when Jo goes away to write and meets the Professor.  The Professor won me over this time around.  I used to act like he never happened and I wanted Jo to never marry.... but it's a book, and I like him now.
Beth... oh, Beth, I love her more, the more I read this story.