My Thought’s On Love

For the longest time, I avoided relationships like the plague. It wasn’t that I couldn’t commit to anyone it just seemed like a lot of stress and pain. Plus Junior High and High school were also stressful in itself being the quiet girl, who wears baggy clothing because I was self-conscious about my way to fast developing body.

I have never been the kind of person who dates just for the sake of dating, which is what most of my friends around me did. On the rare occasion, I was asked out which didn’t happen until I was in 8th grade I would ask why they wanted to date me. Mainly because it was usually guys, I didn’t know well. I mean if you’re going to ask a girl to be your girlfriend right off the bat you have to expect that question. Especially when you only have one class together where you’ve barely spoken. Or sometimes I didn’t even have a class with them.

The two most famous answers were because you have pretty hair, or because it may be fun. Okay so maybe they aren’t terrible answers. But, that’s what dating is for. You go on a couple of dates and then decide if you want to be boyfriend and girlfriend. But everyone around that time was so quick to put a label on things. It was maddening.

As I got older and switched to cyber school, my mind caught up with my body, and I started to wonder what it would be like to date someone. Problem is when you’re in Cyber School it’s hard to meet people. I won’t go into all the details, but when I left school, I left a lot of toxic people and teachers behind. So I was starting with a blank slate. Sure I communicated with a few of the kids from the Cyber School via Facebook, but most of them lived far away.

It wasn’t until I started taking martial arts that I met someone who I considered dating. I was terrible at flirting, and when I talked to him, I felt like half of what I said was nonsense. Then after I mustered up the courage to tell him how I felt I found out that he had a girlfriend.

After that, I had a few small crushes, but after getting to know the person, I realized that a relationship would never work out. Meanwhile, once I got into college, the whole game had changed. Either people were already paired up since high school and getting engaged, or they decided they preferred friends with benefits rather than a two-person relationship.

Without getting into to much detail, I had two terrible dating experiences in my first two years of college. So much that they really did a number on me. For at least two years cursed myself for being with people who didn’t care about me. At that time I decided to focus on school and worry about boys later.

Of course, sometimes life has another plan for you. In the form of a cute guy who just won’t leave you alone! I mean he wasn’t a stalker or anything, but it’s hard to ignore a guy and focus on just schoolwork when he keeps smiling at you and looking at you. Then, of course, he eventually talks to you, and at that point, all other logic goes through the window. What hurt most about this experience was the ping-ponging around. One minute he liked me and then the next minute he didn’t. And then it went back and forth like that several times.

Long story short I ended up feeling like I had been chewed up and spit out. That’s not a fun feeling. Shortly after that I closed off my heart and put up walls around myself. I began ending things before the other person ended it because I was scared and didn’t want to get hurt.

Problem with doing that is that it doesn’t solve anything. It just turns you into this lonely person. So I lowered my walls not all the way, but enough for people to get through and I wised up to people who were there for the long haul and people who were just in it for a minute.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it hasn’t been lonely and that I wish I had someone to share life with. But I also know that at some point someone will come into my life and stay there. For now, I’m thankful to have a job, time to write, and very cuddly cats!

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Keeping The Reader Hooked

Duologies, Trilogies, Quadrilogies are really popular in the book world. Writing one book is hard enough, but having to come up with two or three other books is even harder. As a novelist who is hoping to publish in the future once I get my story together, I have learned a lot from reading book series.

The main thing that I have learned is that to have a successful series you need to keep your writer so hooked that they won’t want to put down your book. The three keys to keeping their attention are:

Unattainable love/love triangles

Most of us know what it is like to be in love with someone who doesn’t love you back. Or maybe you are in love with someone, and they are in love with you, but it’s not the right time. Then there is the love where there is a big obstacle such as they are currently with someone, or maybe you’re both afraid of what other people would think about you and said person as a couple.

Love triangles can suck when it happens to you, but when it happens in a story, you are all about shipping one couple over another. It also puts pressure on the main character and makes them do crazy things especially if they are in love with two people at once.

Action

Having an awesome fight scene in your novel really gets the heart and blood pumping. You don’t know who’s going to win. You don’t know if your main character will make it out alive, or without being captured. It also shows a different side to your character. It is an excellent way to introduce the main villain of the story as well.

It’s good to pepper action throughout your whole novel. It doesn’t necessarily have always have to be a fight scene. It could be your main character running toward something, or them getting into a heated argument. I loathe when an author leaves all the action to the end of the novel, especially when the rest of the story has been dull and hard to get through.

Suffering

This sounds terrible, but we are all guilty of watching our character’s suffer and feeling some sense of happiness about it. Okay, I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out. We have all suffered in life one way or another, and when we read about a character that has suffered as well, it helps us connect with them more. That’s not to say that the character cannot start out perfect, but we don’t want to hear about how happy and perfect their life is for the next three-hundred pages.

Suffering also helps the character grow and think. That doesn’t mean they won’t make the same mistake again, but the next time it could go differently. It also makes the character more believable. And some of the time suffering is needed in order to get to something good unless it’s like Game of Thrones where there is an unlimited amount of suffering.

I have a huge amount of respect for people who tackle duologies, trilogies, and quadrilogies. It’s a hard task to take on. I have seen authors belt out a successful series and I have also seen authors fall short on the last book. I recently read the third book in a quadrilogy. The fourth one is not out yet, but I have mixed feelings about it. The first two books hands down were great. But the third book was a struggle to get through. The author glossed over key parts in her story and took one of the main characters down a path that did not even make sense for the character. It wasn’t until the last fifty pages where all the action happened that I got into it.

I am not sure if I will read the fourth book or not. She’s a great author, and I don’t want to hold one bad book against her. I know that it’s a lot of pressure to get a book out in a year and that sometimes there isn’t time to get it the way you want it too. In the article, she mentioned that she intended for the series to be one book, but then it spanned into more. My thinking is that maybe there wasn’t a concrete enough blueprint for the novel which is what made the third book struggle.

I worry at times that I will run into the same issues since the novel I am currently working on is part of either a duology or a trilogy. I haven’t decided yet. I have idea’s for two books, but the third book, if there will be one, seems hazier.

Plus there is also the pressure of having to have a book done within the span of the year. A year sounds like such a long time, but it really isn’t, which is why before I submit my novel to an agent which probably won’t be for some time I want to have a general idea of where I want the other book or two to go and have a rough draft. That way I have some idea of what I want to happen.

Getting Real

You ever write a story with the intention of it being a full-fledged fiction story only for it to start to seem familiar? One of my New Year’s goals is to submit to more publications and short story competitions. It has been quite some time since I have written a short story due to spending all my energy on my novel Anarchy.

Lately, I seem to be on a psychological thriller buzz. The latest one I saw was the TV series You, which is on Netflix. It is also a book series which is something that I just found out. After binge-watching the series in two days, it inspired me to write my own psychological thriller.

Four-thousand words into the story and I was feeling pretty good. My keys were flying across the keyboard like lighting. And then I began to realize that my characters seemed familiar. My hands were all cramped up, so I gave it a rest and paid some attention to my cats. Over and over the story turned around in my mind until I realized that I was writing about something that had actually happened. <p>Now I know what you’re thinking. It’s not uncommon to write about what we know or incorporate it into our stories. But, was disturbed me the most was how vulnerable, confused, and messed up I was during the time that this particular event happened to me. I was not in a good place at the time. I was reeling from a bad break-up and wanted someone to take away my sadness.

Plus I was still trying to figure out how to manage my depression and anxiety. Therapists were great, but once you were out of their office then everything you said that you were going to do and try suddenly falls to the wayside. Plus you’re on these pills that help for a while until they don’t.  Then it’s a different medicine and more literature on how to cope and what to do to keep your mind off of it.

It was hard during that time for me to trust friends during that time. Plus I needed constant validation that I was not annoying and that they still wanted to be my friend. I clung onto a guy that I didn’t even like because I thought he was the key to unlocking the shattered pieces of my heart.

By the time my hand was finished cramping and roaring to go, I had lost all my steam. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, but I couldn’t will them to touch the keys and type.

Because thinking about that time and who I was during that time and what I did and said will always haunt me. I know that things are different now and that person is in the past, but it’s hard sometimes to believe that it was really me.

For about an hour I laid back against my bed and tried to forget I even wrote the stupid story and told myself that it was all in the past. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted so badly to erase it from my life or go back and do it all over.

After some words from my best friend, I was able to pick myself back up. I finished the story giving it a corny ended and packed it away. We all have done things that we are not proud of. We’ve all said things that we didn’t mean. After all, we can’t always be our best selves. Sometimes we fall, but then we rise again.

I cannot change the past. All I can do is live in the present.

Bring On The New Year!

This year has been a weird one. It feels as if it has been long and drawn out, but at the same time, it is as if it has gone by in a blur. I’ve had my highs and lows this year.

While it has been a year now since I graduated college, it still seems like it has a hold on me. Paying off loans is a taxing process especially when your monthly payment cuts into most of your salary. I hope that in the future education will become less expensive or be free.

But, enough wallowing. Let’s go over my goals for this year that I set last year.
1. Get my sleep schedule back on track
2. Find a Job
3. Read more
4. Start submitting to writing journals and online publications
5.Finish the second draft of my novel

My sleep schedule this year has had its ups and downs. Sometimes I sleep so great that when I wake up, I feel good. Other times I feel like a train has run me over. For the most part, though I think I have kept to a good sleep schedule aside from a few times where I went off schedule.

I was able to find a job as a Clerk II with the Department of Corrections. It’s a mindless job since there isn’t much work to be done, but it’s a job. Hopefully, by this time next year, I will be on my way to a Clerk II or Administrative Assistant I. That way I can make some more money so I can move out.

Reading has been on and off for me this year. But, I have incorporated it more and started carrying a book around everywhere again. I read 33 books this year which isn’t too shabby.

At the beginning of the year, I submitted writing pieces to several contests. I also submitted to two publications. As of late though I have been focusing a lot on my novel, but I have plans to submit to more publications and projects.

As you all know I have had a tough time with my novel Anarchy. I started and restarted my draft several times and got to a point where I was going to set it aside. But eventually, I was able to realize that I needed to take a step back and do some more planning on what I want to happen in my novel before I begin writing. So right now I am in the planning stages and taking my time.

I would say that I did pretty good in accomplishing my goals. I had some rough patches, but ultimately I was able to persevere.

Here will be my goals for 2019:
1. Continue to read more
2.Begin writing my next draft of Anarchy
3.Socialize more
4. Eat Healthier
5. Continue submitting to online journals, publications, and contests.

Most of my goals are the same with two additions. The first addition is to socialize more. I spend a lot of time at home burrowed in a booked or ensconced in my writing. I want to hang out with others more and do some fun activities.

I always tell myself that I am going to eat healthier the next day, and then the next day comes, and I eat junky again. So this time I am going to eat better and less of junk. Why? Well, I would like to lose some weight. I’m not a cow or anything, but some of my clothes are getting a bit snug. Also, because diabetes runs in my family and the last time I went to my doctor my cholesterol was on the high end.

All in all, they are pretty simple and straightforward goals. What are your goals for the New Year?

Starting Over

It’s hard to believe that almost a year ago now I graduated from college. It seems like an eternity since then. Sometimes I feel as if the days drag on at an excruciating pace and other days it feels as if it is moving way too fast. I suppose the speed of time equates to how you choose to use it.

After much pain and wallowing, I took a brief break from writing. I started re-reading some of the books on writing that I have and also purchased some new ones. Reading about the struggles that all aspiring authors and published authors go through I realized again that I was not alone.

During that time I also took the time to reach out to fellow aspiring writers as well as published authors I met through workshops and conferences. I received a lot of helpful tips from them and found myself ready to dive back into my novel and start over.

Currently, I am using that knowledge to better my novel and have a concrete plan for it. I am also reminding myself it is okay to write badly. As long as I am writing that is all that matters.

Going through the outlining process and each scene step-by-step is by no means an easy task. I tend to be very impatient and want to dive right into my story, but I have to restrain myself from doing that. If I don’t then about a hundred pages into my novel, I come to a standstill.

While initially, it was a weird process and hard to get into I am starting to see my story unfold before me and am finding plot holes easier.

Now the biggest hurdle will be getting through the middle which is the most crucial part of any novel. If your center falls flat, then you will lose your reader. Of course, the beginning and end are also equally important.

The beginning hooks the reader in and lets them know whether or not they will invest their time in reading your novel. The end either gives your reader great satisfaction or if it is a series the urge to purchase the sequel and find out what happens next.

For a while, I lost myself as a writer and started to wonder if I was cut out to be one. I was in pain and tortured myself by staring at a blank page and ridiculing myself for starting over my fifth draft so many times.

After several days of that, I decided enough was enough. I then proceeded to draft a letter to myself to read when I begin to feel like I am not a good writer. Writing the letter and then reading it lifted a big weight off my shoulders and I now know that I can do this and will do this.

It won’t always be easy, and I may fall down many times, but that’s okay. Because I will stand back up and I will persevere!

Leap and the Net Will Appear

Leap and the net will appear – John Burroughs.

So I have decided to do one blog post bi-weekly. Since starting my permanent full-time position with the Department of Corrections as a Clerk II, I have been surrounding myself with inspirational quotes. These quotes remind me to stay strong and keep on writing. It also reminds of who I am and that my day job may be a Clerk II, but I am still a writer. I bought two letterboards from Five Below so that I can change my quotes each day.

If you look at my Instagram Widget on my page, you will see the other quotes that I have put up as well as my progress with my novel. My two quotes for today are “Leap, and the net will appear” by John Burroughs, and “If it Matters to you, you’ll find a way” by Charlie Gilkey.

What do these quotes mean?

The first one means that if you take the chance then whatever else comes after that will follow. If you are starting a new novel or even embarking on a new adventure, there will always be a net there to catch you. Metaphorically of course. Don’t go jumping off buildings and expecting there to be a net! Not unless you are a wizard or a witch.

The second one means that if something is important enough to you, then you will find a way to do it. Which is true. If you want to do something you will make time for it. Sometimes life gets in the way of our goals in life. But if it is something that you want to do then surround yourself with people who you know will support you in trying to reach your goal. Some days when I come home, I just want to flop on my bed and be a vegetable. So I meet myself halfway. I loaf around for about an hour, and then I get into my writing.

For those of you who are avid readers of my blog, you know that I have been struggling with the fifth draft of my novel Anarchy. Well, not just the fifth draft. All the drafts. Each time I put my novel through the wringer I feel like it ends up turning into something different. When it came to the fifth draft, I kept stopping about halfway through my writing.

This time though I believe I have the right combination and I am going to push through the draft until the story is done. I am about one hundred pages into this draft, and I’m starting to get to that point again where I think it is all wrong and going downhill, but I am pushing through anyway.

It’s hard because I am going off the original plan with my storyline at the moment. So I am following that path and hoping to link it back up with my storyline. Then once I finish this draft, I can clean it up. Once I save up some more money, I can have a professional Editor look at it.

So I am taking the leap, and my net is appearing beneath me to carry me keep me safe wherever my novel takes me.

Adulting Sucks

If there is one thing that I have learned from my twenty-five years on this earth is that adulting sucks. I thought that once I graduated that a huge weight would be lifted off of me. But, instead, I gained more weights.

They give you six months before you have to pay off your student loans which at the time seems like a lot. But, those six months go by quick. And then you think okay maybe I’ll be paying $200 or something a month for loans, but nope. $600 a month which is half of what I make in a month. You know before they take out money for taxes, healthcare, and other stuff.

Then there is this car payment that I have to pay off because well I need a car. Lol. I’m starting to miss my old car which only needed $35 for gas every other week. But, well it was totaled when some dummy drove into it at night while I was sleeping at home. And now I have to pay $50 almost every week since my car seems to eat up so much gas. It’s a nice car and drives well, but I wish it didn’t eat up so much gas.

And now I have a permanent full-time job with the state which was cool at first because I would be making more. But, once I did my budget I realized all that money would be going to my loans, and car payment and of course my savings so that I can hopefully move out in two to three years.

On top of that, I’ve been stressing out about my fifth draft of Anarchy. I had a hard time muddling through the outline and trying to make sense out of what I wanted out of my story. I was all set to shut it away in a drawer when it came to me. I just finished up the outline and am going to take another stab at the fifth draft.

If I can’t get through this draft, then I might move on to another project otherwise I will just keep obsessing over this story. I almost gave up on medieval writing altogether. I thought that maybe I wasn’t suited for it. But, I decided to push through my fears and tell myself that I can write it.

And then there is my blog. Sometimes I wonder if I want to continue blogging. I’m surprised that I even made it as a year blogging, to be honest. Blogging can be a big release for me, and it’s nice for sharing my experiences with others. I also enjoy reading the other blogs on here.

I must admit as of late I have been trouble with coming up with material for my blog. I don’t know if I will call it quits on my blog altogether, but I think that instead of a twice-weekly thing I might do something like weekly or bi-weekly.

I also want to take a moment and thank those who read my blog, and I will keep you guys updated on what my plan and future for my blog is once I figure it out.

Finding The Right Mixture

Apologies for being MIA this past week. Last week was really stressful. I started a new job with the Department of Corrections which is excellent since it’s a permanent full-time position. It also comes with benefits, and in a year I will have built up vacation and sick leave. Which is good because I can go back to seeing the physician I was seeing. Except for the fact that he is booked for the next few months and if I didn’t set up an appointment with another doctor within their outpatient facility then my case would be closed.

So now I have to go to Lancaster to meet with one of their doctors which is a pain because it means that I have to miss time off of work. Luckily though my supervisor is pretty cool and is letting me make up the hours.

On top of that, the protective glass covering the back of my phone camera cracked. They were going to charge me a fortune so I tried to fix it myself, and now the camera is taking blurry photo’s. So after arguing with the phone company and finally figuring out, they made a mistake and that I was insured they will be fixing my phone.

And the cherry on the top is that the engine in my car isn’t working right, so it’s now at the car doctor. I was hoping that it would be fixed today, but now it’s not ready until tomorrow.

Anyway, I’m done ranting now. lol.

Another reason why I haven’t been posting is that I have been wrapped up in trying to figure out the outline for draft five of my novel Anarchy. I keep running into the same issue right around the second half of the middle part of my novel. At first, I just thought that it was writer’s block. But, now I think it’s because I have all the ingredients of the story I just need to find out how to mix them together and make a three-course meal.

Good news is that I think I have figured out what the issue is and that I should be able to begin working on draft five within a week or so. I’m not rushing through it. I’m taking my time with it.

And it’s been a year since my first blog post! Yay! Hopefully, I will have something better to blog about by the time Friday rolls around. Hope you guys are enjoying the month of October and that you have lot’s of candy for trick-or-treat night.

 

Writing: The Exhilarating But Cruel Mistress

Writing can be exhilarating, but it can also be a cruel mistress. As you know, I have been struggling with fitting all the pieces in my novel together and finding a purpose for my story. After talking with some fellow writers, family, and co-workers, I have realized why I am having such a rough time of it.

I have the bread and the meat, but I still need the mayonnaise and the lettuce to bridge it all together. I also need to flesh out my characters more because there is a disconnect between how a see my characters and how they are perceived on the page.

My original character profiles were way too long, so I have shortened to fit on one page. But, I made sure that it was detailed enough that I wasn’t spitballing for details on a character. I also left plenty of room in the margins to make extra notes as they come along and to add small details that can be easily forgotten.

So that took up most of my evening last night getting that done. I was all set to work on my outline when my flash drive died on me. Luckily I did have my stuff saved to another location, but it was still frustrating. I guess I have had it for a couple of years now. I guess I will have to replace it every two years. Electronics and memory devices can be useful, but frustrating as well.

At some point, I will have to get a new laptop as well. Several months back my battery that was in it died which was frustrating since I have only had the computer for about two and a half years. I bought a new battery, but it does not last long, and there is no warning when it’s low on battery. It just shuts off which is annoying.

Now that I have secured a permanent full-time position within the state which I will be starting on Monday I will be able to save up money to get a new laptop. Hopefully, by the time Christmas rolls around I can get one.

It’s bittersweet getting a new full-time position. On the one hand, it will be good to be making money, but I have grown to like it here at my temporary job. Although I have only been here a little over a month, I have made some good friends. I also enjoy the work that they do here. Plus it didn’t hurt that I had extra time to work on my novel since there isn’t much work to be done.

Who knows what the future holds. Perhaps I may find myself back here if any promotional positions open up.

Anyway back to writing. Lol. Currently, I am working on my outline and trying to figure out how to bridge my scenes together. Hopefully within the next week or so I will be ready to hit the ground running. But, I am going to take my time and put myself in the scene. I am also going to work on my imagery more and setting up my scene.

How about you fellow writers? How is everyone’s writing going? Are you having any struggles? Or are you on a buzz right now?

I’ve Got Two Tickets To Paradise

Well, technically it would be one ticket since I’m currently single. Lol. But, the title sounds so much better with two. Lately, I have been having trouble figuring out what to blog about. So I looked up some ideas of what to talk about in my blog. For this week the blog prompt I chose is, “Talk about if someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why.”

I haven’t traveled out of the country since I was maybe about five or six. Which was when I visited Mexico with my mom to see her family. The last time I was out of state was a couple of months ago to visit my friend in New York which was fun. When I was sixteen which was to attend a wedding in Hawaii. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do as much sightseeing there as I wanted due to being seasick for half the trip.

If someone gave me a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, I would either Scotland or Ireland. I’ve heard that it’s very peaceful in both places and the scenery is breathtaking. At least from what I have seen in photos. It would be nice to stay at bed and breakfast and be able to work on my writing and wander around.

In Scotland, I would like to visit:
1)  Ben Nevi which is the highest mountain in the British Isles.
2) Cairngorms National Park which has a lot of fun activities such as white water rafting and hiking.
3) Isle of the Skye which has beautiful scenery.
4) The Shetland Islands to see the diverse wildlife and the unspoiled beaches.
Inverness Castle because I’ve always wanted to see a real castle up close and go into one.

Those are just a few places I would like to visit. Ideally, if I ever went to Scotland, I would want to spend maybe a month or two so that I can take in everything. If I got a free ticket with all expenses paid that would be awesome.

In Ireland, I would like to visit:
1) Cliffs of Moher for the view
2) Tollymore Forest Park because I have heard writers can get inspiration through walking here.
3) Blarney Castle because I love castles and want to visit as many as I can.
4) Giant’s Causeway which just looks really cool and kind of scary at the same time.
5) Dark Hedges because it looked spooky and used in Game of Thrones
6) Lismore Castle because it’s a castle!
7) Glenariff Forest Park for the waterfalls.

Of course in this scenario, I only have one ticket so I would have to choose one destiny. It’s a hard choice, but I guess I would go to Scotland. And then save up money to go to Ireland.

If you had one free ticket to go someplace where would you go?