Draft 5: Week 8 Update

Right, I know that I haven’t actually made an update in weeks, but this one is pretty important. Because *drumroll*

I AM FINISHED!!

Ahh, I feel relieved! I mean, I know there’s more work to do. I literally just finished typing the ending a few minutes ago, and I still have to go over the entire draft to polish it up a little. I was supposed to trim it down from draft 4, but I somehow ended up with 4K more words, haha!

I am really surprised that I was able to finish this draft in 8 weeks, considering the past couple of months have been quite difficult for me. I was stressed about a lot of things happening in real life, and I got distracted by so many other things too (*ahem* books *ahem* Philippine Idol).

Draft 5 is important too because this is the draft that I’m planning to send out to editors. I’ll also replace the version on my BetaBooks account to this draft instead, so anyone who wants to read the novel can get what I hope is an improved experience, hehe.

I will make a new post soon to say what my next steps and plans are. I only have a vague idea at this point, so it’s probably a good idea for me to figure that out first.

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Draft 5: Week 2 Update

I really wish I had something quite significant to put on this update, but believe it or not, I managed to finish reading 2 whole books this week, which didn’t leave much for writing.

What happened? I don’t even know. It’s just one of those rare occasions where I happened to pick up books that I just couldn’t put down, and well… there went my time. Yikes.

Writing Update

Well, this *is* a post about my 5th draft, so I’ll start off with that. I am now on Chapter 7, which is about 1/4 way through my book. I’m glad to say that about 75% of the previous draft has remained intact so far, apart from a few grammar and stylistic changes. I’m trying to prune down words as well, so I’m shaving those off whenever I get the opportunity. The other 25% is rewriting. Overall, not bad. I wish I were faster though, and I think if I hadn’t been so distracted with reading, I would be further along.

What was I reading?

I finished Swift and The Weight of Our Sky this week. Both were page-turners, and I highly recommend. I’m still making my way through Red Seas under Red Skies. I remember going into Lies of Locke Lamora two years ago and being somewhat impatient with it (though I enjoyed it a lot), and I’m just reading RSURS with the mindset that these books are meant to be savoured and not rushed.

Draft 5: Week 1 Update

This week, I began Draft 5 of my story.

I spent the last week of April and first week of May poring over the feedback I received from the beta readers who were able to make it through the entirety of the previous draft. Then I brushed up a few things, wrote a tighter outline for the character arcs, figured out a few plot holes, and then I decided I might as well take the dive and start the next draft.

There’s always a moment’s hesitance whenever I start a new draft. I always feel like I could plan just a little better, I could answer a few more questions, or maybe wait for my writing “flow” to come. But I understand that’s just a little bit of anxiety caused by a blank page. After you’ve been writing 100K words, it’s hard to go back to the beginning. And I’m also the type of writer who finds momentum in the previous sections of my story. That’s why the beginning is so important to me, because the tone I set there, the voice I begin with, will permeate the rest of the novel.

So I really took my time this week to begin with a good note.

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Writing Update

I was going through my blog and I realized I never gave a dedicated update about my novel. In the general update I posted a while back, I passingly mentioned that I finished my novel in February and it was now up on BetaBooks.

Ah, yeah, it’s up on BetaBooks, guys! Complete with a better summary and all. You can follow that link and sign up to read it. Mind you, this is a beta, and I’m just looking for feedback for my next draft. This is by no means anywhere near finished.

In hindsight, I feel like I did myself a disservice there. It’s an accomplishment to have finished a story, considering that it took me 3 years to write a draft that I felt comfortable sharing. Then I just bury the news in a post that was about four other things. I mean, to be fair, I did post a lot about it on Tumblr, where I am more active and have more followers. I think there was just a point after finishing the novel where I just didn’t want to write any more, including things like self-congratulatory blog posts, haha. I was so tired. Also, I guess for me and more introverted writers, trying to hype up your book to get readers interested in it doesn’t come so naturally, and hence, requires a lot of energy that I just didn’t have at that time.

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Brainstorming Titles

It’s one of those days I don’t feel like doing anything productive, because I’m somehow just feeling super burnt out (a combination of difficulties at work and my consistent output for hobby-related activities these last few months), but I don’t feel like wasting a weekend by doing literally nothing. So I decided to work on generating a title for my story, something that I’ve been putting off for a while.

Mind you, I just started the brainstorming process, and none of these options are particularly stellar, but I do hope that by writing about them, or by showing off what’s on the table, that it would inspire more ideas that can guide me to a better direction.

Warning: a few spoilers

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General Update

Hey guys! It’s been a little more than a month since my last post. Sorry about that, but lately, I’ve been trying to re-examine this blog’s purpose. I’m a little less into writing book reviews, and since posting my latest draft up on BetaBooks I don’t really have anything to say about writing. I mostly post my artwork on Tumblr or DeviantArt, and I suppose I can post them here as well, but I don’t know if WordPress is really the best medium for art. I know it supports “portfolio” style posts, but I don’t know if it’s going to help me much.

Reading

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, February was a great month for my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I finished 5 books!!

I finished the entire Percy Jackson series (read the first one some years back). I also read the newest from one of my favourite authors of all time, Frances Hardinge. I tend to write short snippets of my thoughts on Goodreads now, because I can control the privacy settings there. Don’t get me wrong, I try to be open and honest about my opinions, but like I said in my previous post, I’m trying to tone things down a bit. Trying to write my own story has given me a bit of perspective on the difficult, tooth-pulling process, and I don’t think I can write book reviews with as much hyperbolic expression as I used to do.

And I mean, like, you guys already know what I tend to rant about most anyway. Love triangles. And I’ve gotten better over the years in avoiding that, so there’s really not much passionate teeth-grinding to do. (Teeth-grinding that happened while I read the last 2 books of Percy Jackson, but like I said, I promise to tone things down, so let’s not get into it…) I also have less time for books I don’t like or get into, so I just move on to something I like.

Writing

I am currently on hiatus. I have posted the entire draft of my story on BetaBooks. A few people have signed up and are reading it. Once I get some more feedback on the entire story as a whole, I will rewrite again, and then hopefully will be able to send to a professional editor.

My goal is to get this released in some way, shape or form by the fall of this year. I think I’m in a good place to say that’s a reasonable goal. The only thing that’s holding me back is marketing. Like, it’s easy to post this on a personal website, or on Wattpad, but how I’m going to get people to read it, I don’t know yet.

Art

I breezed through Victoria Ying’s Visual Development course in Schoolism. I signed up as soon as the class was available. I never knew that the kind of artwork I really enjoy seeing on Tumblr and DA, and the kind I strive for in my usual posts, fall under the category of “visual development.” For some reason I always thought that term referred to something else. I’ll be doing a couple of the assignments from my favourite lectures. I wish I had time to just focus on art and really get better at it, but between work, real life, reading, and writing, my attention is quite split.

While I’m on writing hiatus though, I’m focusing on just churning out more artwork. I’m currently active in the Lockwood and Co. fandom, so expect some fanarts from there.

A hip hop AU hehe

Some of these are from a few months back.

I’m also trying to make more original artwork, because most of the art I had done for my story is now outdated, sadly. Also, I want to get a site up and running and I need some graphics for that.

I discovered a problem with my new laptop screen while working on these. It emits a blue hue that makes all my drawings look garrishly yellow/bright on other, normally tinted computers. I’ve tried a lot of things, but I think this is just a result of me getting a cheaper laptop with an otherwise top-notch CPU/GPU specs.

Anyway, this is getting quite long, but I’ll leave with some colour practice I was doing this weekend. Each one of these is a 10-min render of a landscape image from Google.

January 2019 Books

I didn’t read much last month, even though I had a lot of time during my all the waiting at the airport. I finished off All Systems Red which was a nice, fluffy read. I didn’t expect that coming from the way the cover looks. I also read a Tagalog book, the first time in years. I had an opportunity to buy Filipino books during my trip, although to be honest, I’m still disappointed by the low proportion of Filipino books in Filipino bookstores.

I also read a Dummies book, and I reread The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. I’m still very much in my Lockwood and Co. streak.

Skipping Regular New-Year Blog Posts

I went over to Goodreads to capture my 2018 book summary, and I was in the process of cropping it up, when I realized I didn’t want to do Leng’s Book Awards this year. I had half a mind to retire the entire thing, but I figure I take a less drastic action and just skip it for now. I don’t exactly know why I don’t feel like doing it. Maybe because I’m still so hung up on the last series I read that I feel like most of the awards might just go to Lockwood and co. I also looked at the awards I’ve been giving out, and I just feel very ‘meh’ about them. Maybe in the future if I decide to revive this annual thing, I will come up with better fake awards.

In general, I’ve also been rethinking book blogging and reviews lately. I think when I started embarking on my own writing project, my view on books reviews changed. I used to be very open about my opinions on books, especially the ones that didn’t live up to my expectations (my old LJ used to be filled with book rants), but now I just don’t feel comfortable doing that anymore. It doesn’t feel like very good writer’s etiquette to talk about another book that way, and now that I’m undergoing the stress and difficulties of writing my own novel, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the efforts other authors put in their own works, even if I didn’t like them as a reader. I don’t know if any of you noticed, but I’ve gone back to my old posts and significantly pared down previous reviews. I don’t give star ratings anymore, and I try to keep my recent reviews short and sweet.

There’s also something weird about this upcoming new year. In that I don’t feel like it’s a new year. I feel like it’s just a continuation, and I don’t feel compelled to do anything drastic. 2018 was a tepidly good year for me, in that good things happened and some challenging things happened, but none of the highs are that high and none of the lows are that low. Which, I mean overall, is still a good thing, but it doesn’t prompt me to make resolutions or anything. When I’m feeling a bit more upbeat, I might make another post about what to expect from this blog in 2019.

Okie dokie, guess I’ll leave it at that. Happy New Year, everyone!

November 2018 Books

Okay, first up! The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. I picked up this book not knowing much about it, other than that someone I follow on Goodreads liked it, so I decided to give it a try.

Asha is a dragon slayer. She kills the creatures as revenge for the havoc and destruction they caused her kingdom many years ago. With her wedding to the ruthless commander coming in a week, her father makes her a deal: if Asha kills Kozu, the oldest dragon, then they can call off the wedding. However, when Asha sets out to kill Kozu, she discovers secrets about the dragons, as well as her kingdom, that challenge everything she believes in.

I really enjoyed this book. Especially after the midpoint, when a massive plot twist was revealed, things really fall into place, and it sets you in the right frame of mind to really appreciate everything that came before. 

This month, I finished off the Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud. Let me tell you, ooh boy, it was a wild ride, and this series is definitely in my top favourites now.

I just enjoyed these books sooo much, that they knocked me out of my reading slump after I finished The Last Namsara. There’s just something about Lucy Carlyle’s narration that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. The slow revelation of the bigger mysteries of their world slowly unfold while the back-to-back action-packed individual missions make sure that things don’t get bogged down for too long.

And just like in all books I love, what really grabs me in this series is the characters and their dynamics with each other. I love all the friendships they form, the challenges they face in their relationships, and how they overcome that. The protagonists are still teenagers, and they act very much like so, without me feeling like they’re making terrible decisions. (I kid you not, sometimes I read books in which protagonists clearly make horrible decisions and the story justifies it as them being teens, and it just… doesn’t justify it enough for me).

I especially fell in love with Lucy Carlyle. Oh my dear, salty girl. It’s strange because Lucy actually fulfils the character archetype that I don’t usually like. She’s abrasive, insecure, jealous, looks down on other girls. But I really commend Stroud for writing her flaws in a very understandable way. I wasn’t repulsed by her, like I usually am with characters who have the same personality; instead, I felt for her, and I saw my younger 14-year-old self in her. And I rooted for her and wished she’d grow and overcome her insecurities. And she did. That’s the lovely part of it. She did.

I also really love the way the romance is handled here. There’s not much of it. Perfect, just the way I like it. Hehe.

October 2018 Books

Whoa, I was on a roll again last month! Let’s get to it

6609744Kat Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis

This book has been on my TBR list for a few years now, and it’s satisfying to finally get around to it.

Kat comes from a family with magic, which is lucky for her because her oldest sister is about to get married to a man rumoured to have murdered his previous wife.

I really love how packed this book is with action. It’s short, but so many things happen. I love Kat’s relationship with her sisters, how they don’t always get along, but deep down they have each others’ best interest at heart. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading the rest of the series.

180467

Self-Editing for Fiction Writersby Renni Browne and Dave King

This is a gem of a book! Remember when I was worrying about telling vs showing in another blog post? Well, this book answers that question and so much more! I’m glad I finished it before I started editing my story. I highly recommend this book!

 

 

13149420Quicksilver by R.J Anderson

I read the prequel to this book last year at around the same time, and I enjoyed it a lot.

In this book, we follow Tori, the “perfect” girl from the prequel, as she tries to start anew in a different city. But she quickly finds out that her past is catching up to her, and to escape it, she must be willing to do some pretty drastic things.

I actually liked this book more than I liked Ultraviolet, only because the scope was bigger. Ultraviolet was constrained to the hospital that Alison stayed in for most of the book. Anyway, I loved Tori’s character, especially how she studied really hard to be perfect. The way Alison described her before, she seemed too good to be true. I enjoyed seeing some of the events of Ultraviolet in her perspective as well. Oh, and I really enjoyed the way her friendship with Milo unfolded. And I loved that bittersweet ending. Basically I loved the book, lol.

14059024The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Another series that I’m so glad I got into! In this book, Lucy, Lockwood and George try to solve a case that might related to the ghost of the skull that George experiments on. Meanwhile, the trio try to preserve the company’s reputation, and more importantly, the trust between each of them.

I am really, really loving this series! I love Lucy, her personality, the way she narrates the story. I love her friendship with both Lockwood and George. The only flaw I see right now is that she has the whole “not-like-other-girls” attitude going on, so I’m hoping to see some character arc to address that eventually.

The Lockwood books are fast-paced and well-written, with the tension kept up at all times. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. And yeah, I hope nobody dies, haha.

11545776 Write the Fight Right by Alan Baxter

There’s quite a bit of fighting in my book, so I figured I might as well learn how to write those parts well. The advice given in this book is to focus on the character’s perspective and their feelings, because that’s more important than giving the details or names of all the specific techniques the character uses. Things like those just bog down the story. It’s a short book with lots of helpful suggestions, so if you have a couple of hours, I think you won’t lose anything by picking it up and giving it a go.