Posted in Nanowrimo, update, writing

Nano goal: Down. Other goals: Terrifying

So it’s actually Monday right now and dun dun dun…! I finished my Nano goal for the month already. I know it wasn’t the highest goal, but THIS means I have plenty of time to do a lot more and still feel good about myself and not stressed by it.

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No, wait, I lied. I do have another deadline right now. It’s this one.

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I’ve given myself until June 16th to have my WIP first draft done and I am already pretty exhausted, I’m not going to lie. I have my critique partner lined up and raring to rip it apart for me, and some extremely obsessive lists ready. I plan to pitch this story at a Writer’s Festival later this year. This may be a first draft, but this is the FOURTH completely rewrite of this story. I know it pretty intimately. This year is it’s year; I can feel it.

So, in light of that, I’ll be going over rewriting, editing, critiquing, some beta reading, synopsis and preparing for pitches over the next few months. I’ll also be hosting a giveaway hopefully VERY soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that. For now, I’m going to trudge back to this draft, so I can be at 20k well before the week, so that I actually get to rest for five minutes.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in Nanowrimo, update, writing

Camp Nano April 2018

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April is upon us. Easter, family, fun- and April Camp Nanowrimo. This feels really odd to say. Normally I’m excited for Nanowrimo. I like the challenge it presents- how it forces me to get words out, to tackle a project. To genuinely throw myself into my writing without a care.

This April feels different. I’m not as prepared. I have a name. An idea. A vague musing of an outline. That’s it. I haven’t ever been so ill prepared and for once in my life, I’m not anxious about it. I’m not even anxious if I meet my goal or not.

I’ve realised something about writing lately. It’s not the end all if I don’t achieve every one of my goals, or if I take my time getting there. It only matters that I have them. I’ve put so much pressure to be perfect, or have unrealistic expectations to the point that I freeze and ignore my goals- it’s easier to just not do something rather than fail. I couldn’t bear to have my ego hurt like that.

It’s OK now. It’s OK, because I care about writing. That means I can take my time, and have fun, and make mistakes. I’m allowed to make mistakes, because they are what make things better. You learn from them.

I’m going to pants my first Nano. No outlines, no heavily scrawled notes. Just an idea, because writing is a lot like goals. You alter your course as you follow the path, because nothing is going to follow the rigid path you set.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in tips, update, writing

Star Wars: A love letter

Warning: this blog is different to normal and contains spoilers.

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Art by Deya Muniz, a hilarious genius

I was a little girl when the prequels came out. With older siblings that had been born in the seventies, Star Wars was a thing in our house. I had vague memories of it- of a giant Jar Jar Binks statue in the local KFC that scared me, of fighting over Darth Vader Pez dispensers with my older sister. I remember Star Wars, of dashing Han, of Luke and his strength, of the beautiful Princess. It wasn’t until I was an adult that Star Wars clicked with me.

I went to see The Force Awakens on a date, and after that showing, I was obsessed. It wasn’t because it was a new Star Wars, or that I was old enough to properly connect. No- it was because of Kylo Ren.

Now, a lot of you have probably heard people trash on him. I hear it a lot. “He’s such a cry baby”, “he’s more poorly written than Anakin!”, “all he does is whine”. When I look at Kylo, I see a character I relate to. Someone that struggled with rage, who has this idea of who and what they should be shoved onto them from a young age, who has to battle with what others want of him versus what he actually wants.

The Last Jedi was particularly powerful to me. After seeing how scared he was at the idea of killing his father, of the weight of becoming a Sith, a Darth. Then the fear in his eyes, the sheer loneliness, when he couldn’t pull the trigger to kill his mother. You could see the love in his eyes, in his heart. He’s portrayed as this angry, hateful person. You know what makes people angry and hateful? Scared, confused children that don’t have people around them that pay attention. Rey and Kylo are so alike in that regard- different families, similar results. I feel for him. I feel for his character, and my heart breaks for him.

I write about this today because I’ve been worried I’ve been overdoing my own characterization. People don’t want characters to be too nice, or too angsty, too this, too that. That’s not how characters or people work. They’re so much more organic than that, they ripple and flow and change and they feel and experience. Kylo has changed with those things. I have changed with those things. My characters will. So will yours.

Don’t be afraid of the expectations of others. Do what feels right to you.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in reading, review, tips, update

Why I struggle with popular books

Hear me out. This isn’t going to be a bashing or a witch hunt. This is going to be something I lament on because of my own issues and feelings. No fault on any books or what else.

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On instagram I posted a side by side of two books that I’ve read in the last year. They have similar plots (a retelling of Labyrinth and a retelling of Beauty and the Beast). They were both captivating and both well written. I found Wintersong on a whim, had never heard of it, while A Court of Thorns and Roses was recommended to me. Can you guess which one I struggled with?

Hype and the over exaggeration by others can really kill a book for me. I go in expecting a certain standard, a minimum. I don’t mean the genuine, balanced reviews that feature the good and the bad- I mean the fangirl ones. You guys know. I remember reading Twilight before the movie deal and then suddenly- bam. You couldn’t criticize it. I knew it was flawed when I read it. It was a fun indulgence though, a book I didn’t need to think too hard about, and it didn’t have a standard it needed to reach. The second fandom was attached to it- I was out. (Heck, it was even why I couldn’t reread Harry Potter for a few years).

I like to pick a book without any bias. I should be able to see the cover, read the blurb, and make a decision. With the ability to share opinions though, and the inability of some to make a reasonable, well rounded argument for a book other than “it’s the best and you’re stupid if you don’t like it” (not a quote by anyone that recommended this book to me, just a fond one from my Twilight days), makes reading hard. If I had picked up ACOTAR on a whim? I would have loved it. I mean, I like it, but the WHOLE time reading it I had the shadow of my friends and peers looming over me, telling me that oh no it’s good the starts just bad, or the second book is better, etc.

I don’t like this. I want to make my own informed opinion. I also feel like if someone loves something so much they’re willing to make excuses for it, then I can’t say I what I think for fear of offending and bristling them. GUYS. A book can be fun and not well written. A book can have beautiful prose but be boring as sin.

For instance, the first 30% of ACOTAR? I was already expecting a level of high quality, and those pages lacked it. It was slow, self serving (Feyre stop being so narcissistic, goddamn), boring. I couldn’t not shake all the comments I’d be given though. Wintersong was extremely similar but I didn’t struggle with this same issue because I had made the choice to read that book and I had no idea ‘it was going to get better’. It was a journey that I could make with no bias.

So how about instead of blindly defending the books we love, we realise each and every book has its flaws and weakness, and that others will have different opinions to us and we need to let them make them. Then our inner bitchy fangirl can come out and have heated discussions over a mocha. I can be just as catty about books I love!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in reading, update, writing

Rebranding on social media

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Hey guys! This is more of a quick update post than anything. As you may have noticed if you follow me on social media or look at my instagram photos on my front page, my instagram has suffered a bit of a makeover. In conjunction with the beautiful and talented Lauren Rose we’ve started reading, roses and (w)riting, a fun bookstagram style account to track reviews, beautiful covers, and our own writing.

I will be posting snippets of my current W.I.P every Wednesday with an image attached that I find relevant to the story for the first draft to give little hints and excite myself with the project as I go! I really hope to see more of you on social media- while I do update my blog every friday, I like to post stuff in the moment and social media is a lot more accessible for that!

Do any of you have a fun instagram account? Please feel free to drop it in the comments or tag us on instagram for a follow back! We’re always looking for beautiful photos that will sucker us into adding to our TBR pile.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in update

Mental illness, wellness, and not being able to write a fucking thing

I bet a lot of you have, or know someone with a mental illness. There are so many out there to choose from- it’s like Honeydukes up in this shit with the beautiful varieties and concoctions of illnesses. PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating disorders- so painfully many, and they just love to hang out together in little bitchy cliques.

What does this matter though? Well, if you fit into the people above that have to deal with mental illness, you know it fucking sucks. You might not wanna eat, you might wanna die, you might be so unstable with your emotions that you don’t sleep for three days and your room mate has to threaten to knock you out with a bat. Mental illness affects every day life, and even good days can be a struggle.

I myself have been diagnosed with BPD (borderline personality disorder), PTSD, anxiety and depression for literally a decade now. It has had its bouts of good and bad, but for the most part- it’s been bad. I struggled to get through University, I made bad decisions (none of them as bad as Lena Dunham’s entire career, but still fairly catastrophic).  I’ve learned a lot from this- mostly, that I needed help. To also cut myself slack.

I struggle with the slack cutting. A type A, J personality type to the max, I want to be and have to be the best. Which means a lot of the time my fear of failure or not achieving the standard I want for myself means…I get nothing done. My illness literally sits there, flipping me off whilst mooning me.

So today is a pep talk to you, me, and everyone else out there- it’s alright to mess up. It’s fine to not do your best. It’s not fucking fine to not try at all. So haul your ass up, turn off Netflix (I see you, I see you), and get to work. We’re not gonna let each other down.

I’m gonna go force myself to work, and for you to as well. So before you do, I want you to go hug someone. I don’t care if they/you don’t need it right now, cause they might need it later. Go out of your way to make others feel good- go out of your way to make you feel good.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in tips, update

My adventures with Tumblr

For this week’s blog, I wanted to mix things up a bit. I decided to make a tumblr
(which I do plan to regularly maintain!) and write about the process and what happened.

So, first of all, my decision to make a tumblr was based on a few things; one- I felt kinda left out. People seem to really enjoy theirs and I wanted to be apart of that. Two- It had the pinterest vibe but with customization aspects that appealed to me. Three- I like reasons to procrastinate!

So, before making a tumblr, I reached out on my personal FB. I got a lot of messages about tumblr, but my friend actually posted some really good foundations for me on my status about it.

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So, I had no clue that people had multiple for aesthetic and themes and stuff, which should have seemed obvious now that I think about it, haha. So, I opened up tumblr, created an account, and dove right in, because doing is the best way to learn.

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So initially your tumblr is blank as heck. Nothing besides the url I picked, basically. I sort of just clicked around to work out what I was doing. I knew I wanted a fantasy/writing aesthetic vibe to it, so I went to edit theme first and began mangling my tumblr from there.

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Guys, there are a hecking lot of options and it can be OVERWHELMING. I think I spent maybe an hour going through themes, browsing and previewing, trying to find something that felt like me. I don’t know much about html but I figured my partner, who works in DevOps, could mess around with whatever I picked later, so I finally settled on a theme.

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I picked a really simple theme in the end, and it just felt RIGHT. The theme was called “Notes” and I did some simple editing from there. I changed the background colour to be my standard shade of pink, the one that has been used on all my social media and on my business cards, etc. I also went to google fonts to choose a font that I wanted for my tumblr. I went with Indie Flower- it’s cute and light and reminiscent of my own hand writing. A lot of the other stuff I did was pretty simple- I changed the colour of the tabs and added a blog name, description, and an avatar. Really simple stuff, honestly.

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After that, I returned to the dashboard and searched different terms that related to me and began scheduling some items to be reblogged that I felt suited the “vibe” of my blog! This bit was obviously the funnest. I set up some scheduled stuff so I could have regular updating content without having to spend all day on tumblr. I also made a first post to commemorate, and followed a few authors and friends that I knew already had blogs.

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I still don’t have much idea what I’m doing, but I’m excited to get to know tumblr and the community better. It’s been a fun experience thus far and I highly recommend making a blog or two to suit your aesthetic needs. It’s definitely a social media platform that I think I’ll be easily able to spend more time on, and easily customization for future changes. Do you have a tumblr, or follow one you like? Hit me up with a link so I can go have a look!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in update, writing

Getting some stuff done!

So this week/weekend is getting busy over here! I’ve been pretty ill the last week and suddenly bam, I have a million things I’m getting done for my site, social media, and my writing. On Saturday, I’m having my first out of costume photoshoot with a professional photography friend so I have an actual adult author photo on here…and not one of me dressed like a ten year old magical girl. As much as that is what I am in my head, probably doesn’t scream the most professional person ever to others.

I’m also in the middle of communications to commission some new art! Ah! I have a good idea of what I want and a small artist that I love and have paid for work from before, so hoping that that goes well. If you ever have a chance to support someone budding in their field- take it, and do your best to push their name out there. If everything goes through, I’ll be spamming their work out to everyone.

update: negotiations are in progress, woohoo!

I’ve been pretty lackluster with content and with my writing, but I’m setting myself some goals and some plans. Sometimes this blog is going to be purely catch up, rambling crazy talk but I will be doing my best to hopefully produce some content that you enjoy, or maybe even learn something from.

Also, my mother told me you all need to tell me off and make me write more. So, I was thinking of ways to encourage myself to write. I’ve decided to show you something I’ve been working on- a sample of Audrey. To get access to a chapter of the Story of Audrey, I’d really appreciate it if you filled out this form so that I can email you a sample!

Thanks for everything, guys. I hope to end up making you all proud, even if it’s slow.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in tips, update

Making up for mediocrity

This is something that has played on my mind for a long time, and no doubt has played on the mind of many others. The idea of being mediocre, of just OK, is possibly the most terrifying thing to me and plays largely into the fear I had of not trying for a long time. I mean, if you’re terrible at something, you can try to get better, or just shrug it off and decide on a different path though. Being average though is a horrifying realisation; what if that mediocrity is the best you can do?

I don’t want to be an OK writer. I want to reach people. I don’t care about money or fame, but I do want people to read my work and go “holy shit, that made me cry” or “how DARE your writing hurt my heart like that”. I want to evoke emotions in people. Mediocre writing doesn’t do that. Mediocre writing doesn’t leave any sort of impression. People don’t care for it one way of the other; they shrug their shoulders, and move on with their lives when they’re done, your work a fleeting and distant memory. As much as I hate it, at least BAD writing gets noticed, too. You won’t believe how worked up at how sloppily written Fifty Shades is. It appeals to people that want something simplistic and (apparently?) arousing though. The idea of not even being able to achieve that haunts me constantly.

It’s OK to be just alright though. Truth is, if you want something bad enough and work hard enough, you are going to improve. Sometimes we need to lower our expectations for ourselves and cut ourselves some slack. We aren’t always going to hit a standard we set for ourselves. We definitely aren’t going to always meet the standards that others impose on us. Let yourself fail, or not do great. As long as you keep learning and trying, that is the thing that matters. It’ll lighten the burden on your heart, and make doing better in the future easier. I believe in every last one of you.

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo

Posted in reading, update, writing

Beginning 2018 the write way

Happy 2018 everyone! I hope your new year has started off on the right foot, and you’re already diving into your projects and goals! I’ve already gotten well underway with several things I want to do with my year, one of which being bullet journaling. I also bought a custom embossed journal cover for it, so I can change my book each year. Neat, huh?

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I’m using my journal for my yearly goals (which have changed drastically in the last few weeks), my quarterly goals, keeping track of what I’m reading, blog info, therapy, and different writing notes and bits. I actually FINALLY sorted all my novel notes into separate folders per book etc the other day, but I’d still like to have nicely written synopsis’s tucked away in here for my own benefit. Speaking of quarterly goals, I figured I’d slip some of them in here!

  • Read seven books before April! Should be easy
  • Finish and enter my first short story competition of the year
  • Finish the outline for the short story horror collection I plan to release this year
  • Get into healthy, habitual writing
  • Start DBT and outline the process each week in said journal
  • Participate in volunteering more with Writer’s SA!
  • Have at least 2k words written a month. This is the only target I am giving myself on this
  • Cook at least one new dish a month outside of my comfort zone
  • Get a little ahead on some blogs if I can. Yeah, that sounds like cheating, but I struggle some weeks
    Finish my last FOUR driving hours (if I can’t manage that with all my lessons booked, we have an issue)
  • Finish outlining the rest of Audrey. I’ve been stuck with massive anxiety about this book, and expressing some parts of it and myself, but I want to get there
  • Be more supportive and loving of my partner and his pursuits, as he’s the entire reason I’m giving my aspirations a go!

I’ve also started my first book of the year with Neil Gaiman’s Coraline, because I’m somewhat obsessed with the movie. I’ll be reading an Indie published book after that, so if you have any recommendations for that, please let me know! I’m also writing my first short story of the year right now for the Hope Prize, so I’ll be keeping you all posted on how that goes.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the exciting plans you have/have started, I’d love to hear all of them. Other people are my motivation- I just get so pumped up seeing others achieve the stuff they love!

Happy writing,

Emma-Kate xoxo