Hey guys! I just realized that I didn’t do a book review for the month of March. It was just so crazy last month, I think we can all agree on that. I haven’t been able to keep up the reading pace I had set at the beginning of the year, unfortunately. With all that’s going on, I haven’t had a lot of reading mojo, sadly, but I do hope that I will soon find the right book to get absorbed in, and to help me through these uncertain times.
These are the books I managed to finish in the last two months.
Hi guys! Before I jump into the meat of this post, I’d like to say that I hope you are all doing okay. Wherever you are, I know there is a lot happening. No matter the degree of severity, we’re allowed to feel stressed and uncertain about our situation.
I’m probably one of the lucky few whose lifestyle wasn’t affected too much — the company I work for was able to transition smoothly to a full-time virtual environment, and all the things I love to do like reading, writing, and drawing, are things I can do at home. And yet, the past couple of weeks have been bone-wearying for me. Change is hard, even if only a few small things changed in my life. The constant barrage of tragic news makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the things I used to do, even at home. The conflicting reactions to stress creates tension in a household I can’t leave. One would think that with stay-at-home policies in place, I would find all the time I needed to really dive into the last stages of my writing. But the fact is that I’ve been wallowing a bit. I know, it’s not a good excuse, and I have resolved to do better.
I hope that wherever you are and however you are dealing with the pandemic, that you will stay safe and strong!
I will be writing the final draft of my story next month, and I thought it’s a good time to reflect on the journey that has brought me to this point. In the end, I will have a total of 7 drafts. A part of me feels that’s too few — I know that some writers go through dozens of drafts. But on the other hand, 7 drafts in 4 years feels like a lot, especially considering that I was doing all of this on the side.
Drafts 1 – 3
For the first couple of drafts, I was mostly concerned about the main plot of the story and the characterization of my protagonists. These first several drafts focused on getting all the pieces into place in a way that makes the most narrative sense. I didn’t worry much about grammar or style.
Last year, I started building a website for my novel (either to fully host it or to just be a hub of information), and I made a header that, in hindsight, I didn’t feel was strong enough to represent the story. So in the past few months, I’ve been working on a brand new header image.
The most challenging part for me was that, just like a book cover, my header image should showcase the concept of my novel in an effective way. I have to be able to convey the feel of the story, what it’s about, and other concepts that the reader can expect when they read my novel. I wasn’t used to thinking this way about art. As a hobbyist, I mostly dabbled in character sketches. Rare is an image I will make that even has a background on it.
But I wanted to make a really good header image. If I do end up hosting my novel on my own site, I can’t be driving away readers on the home page because I have an image that doesn’t capture anyone’s attention.
So last December, I started the ideation process. I went back to paper + pencil and sketched whatever ideas came to my mind. I thought about the most important aspects of my story, and how I can display them through an image.
To start off the New Year, I picked up The Vengekeep Prophecies by Brian Farrey. I bought this a long time ago, but didn’t get around to reading it until now. I thought it had some very smart twists and a great world-building. I warmed up to the Grimjinx family instantly, and I was a little disappointed that for most of the book, we don’t actually get to see them operate as a team. I think that’s really the only issue I had with the story, and perhaps it was why I found the middle to ‘sag’ a little. It had an awesome ending though.
Sorcery of Thorns was such a joy to read. It’s the kind of cozy fantasy that was perfect to read on a winter’s afternoon. The characters were all lovable and the romance went at the perfectly right pace for me. The plot was amazing, full of twists and turns. And yes, I have to mention this, being such a big fan of Fullmetal Alchemist, but the plot is very similar to FMA. Not that it takes away any enjoyment. On the contrary, picking up on the similar plot lines made me more excited to see how things would turn out in this world.
I just sent the latest draft of my story for copyediting, so I’m now back to Art Mode!
Sometimes I forget that I have a character who raised a child for sixteen years entirely alone, by herself. I do actually have a lot of feelings about Kabi, and I have an entire backstory for her, but the novel never presented an opportunity for me to reveal much. Instead she comes off as this super capable, all-knowing character. Now that I’m pretty much wrapping up the novel, ideas for the next book are starting to pop up, and I’m hoping that I could flesh out Kabi’s character more there.
Anyway, we never get to see Kabi and Sano’s life in the forest, so I decided to draw a few snapshots. I have ideas for more, but let’s start off with these.
This topic has been weighing on me for a while now. I try to keep my posts relatively upbeat – even when I’m wrangling with my story — but now that I’ve finished my latest draft, I finally have the energy to tackle this subject.
So, so, so… I noticed while I was working on my latest draft that I’ve been disengaging with the writing and reading communities. It didn’t just happen recently either. It’s been happening since I embarked on writing my novel, and I just wasn’t overtly aware of my reactions until now. I find it such an counter-intuitive behaviour, considering the number of times I complained about how isolating writing is.