NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 11-17

Current word count: 24,428 words

So, about that second project… I’ve decided to pause it for now and return back to the first draft of my first story since, when I finished it, I realised it wasn’t long enough. For now, I’m writing filler chapters that will help with world building and character development.

This week, I managed to stay mostly on target, but then I fell behind and got busy over the weekend. Any free time I did have over the weekend, I then wasn’t motivated to write, so I’m now playing catch up again.

From this upcoming weekend, I’m gonna get crazy BUSY, so I not only need to catch back up, but I’m also gonna have to pull ahead. Week two is usually when I start to slip behind, which goes to show some things never change each year.

How’s your NaNoWriMo going so far? Are you ahead, on target, or behind?

NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 4-10

Current word count: 16,731 words

This week has been an interesting writing week.

I’ve managed to finish the first draft of my first story, and even though I was sad to leave those characters, I’ve started my second story, which apparently I’ve been bursting to write. The first chapter feels pretty strong, but I’ve done no prep for it whatsoever, so I have no idea how long this is gonna last.

On the plus side, I’m mostly staying on target, which again, is gonna get tougher with no prep or outline for my second story.

How’s your NaNoWriMo going so far? Are you ahead, on target, or behind?

NaNoWriMo 2019: Days 1-3

Current word count: 4557 words

We’re three days into NaNoWriMo 2019 and I’m already falling behind. Not to worry though, since I have no other commitments this month (so far) and can catch up easily enough.

Despite only being three days in, I’m still not sure if I’ll actually reach 50k. But my first draft is coming along and should be done by the end of the week, so long as everything goes to plan. It’s also taken a direction I hadn’t intended, but it’s made the story stronger.

The next project I’ll be starting afterwards, which I have no plan for, keeps subconsciously writing itself. I swear, I dreamt about it the other night and woke up not knowing what specifically I’d thought, but I knew I wanted to start the story. There’s a fire burning within me, subconsciously, to write this unplanned story.

How’s your NaNoWriMo coming along? Plain sailing, or struggling already?

Pre-NaNoWriMo Thoughts (2019)

NaNoWriMo season is nearly upon us.

Am I ready? Nope!

Am I regretting my decision to do it for the 8th year now? Yes.

Am I excited to do NaNoWriMo this year? Uh… well…

My original plan was to get the first draft of my story finished before NaNoWriMo started and do the second draft during NaNoWriMo. However, it’s looking unlikely I’ll get it completed, but on the plus side, I haven’t got too much left to write. About 5-10k words left… ish.

Unfortunately, inspiration has bitten me today, so now, I’m even more erratic about this whole challenge than I already was. I am now planning to write a new story from a female perspective in the same world (probably) with no plan whatsoever.

I’m not a pantser. I used to be when I first started writing and found I’d abandon the projects in the middle of the story, if I even got there. I’d figure out the ending first, but struggle to write from the beginning to that end point. Pantsing seems like a good idea until you do it, like thinking staying up all night will be fun only to crash hard the next day and wonder what possessed you to do such a decision in the first place.

I’m a plantser. A vague outline keeps me going until I reach the end. It’s worked wonders for this latest story.

Although, that being said, there was a time when I wrote a story in a random order and the scenes I wrote weren’t half bad cos I was writing when I wanted to write, instead of waiting until I got to that scene in chronological order. So, with this NaNoWriMo project, I might do that.

Either way, this is certainly going to be a project into the unknown and seeing what happens, and by 2020, it’s looking like I’ll have two projects to edit instead of just one. Why do I do this to myself?

Why does NaNoWriMo make me do insane things like this? Why???

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? Are you ready? Are you gonna dive in like me and hope you swim? Or have you actually been doing Preptober properly so you won’t drown?

Soulmates Book Review

Soulmates by Holly Bourne

Synopsis

Poppy Lawson is sceptical when it comes to love, but upon meeting Noah, her viewpoint changes and she becomes infatuated by him. However, their love threatens to cause destruction on a global scale. Can their relationship survive, or will it crumble under the pressure?

First Impressions

The premise had me intrigued. What would happen to Poppy when she met her soulmate? The build up to the reveal was brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Poppy and Noah’s story arc. Some characters and scenes were a unnecessary, but it was good overall.

Writing Element Thoughts

It was so interesting to have read one of Holly Bourne’s later novels first and then read her debut novel. By comparison, you can see how much she’s improved since this debut novel. For example, she includes scenes that felt unnecessary and slowed the pace at times, whereas in her later novel, she only incorporated the most important scenes.

The overall story arc was consistent and good, and the steady build to the climax did keep me gripped and wanting to read on. The characterisation was interesting in that some of the characters were very well developed, but others felt like they didn’t really serve a purpose. Although Ruth had one redeeming moment, she was only there to undermine Poppy, and Amanda was just there. Lizzie, on the other hand, was a good friend, and the growth between Poppy and Noah was excellent.

But hey, not every first novel can be perfect. It takes those first novels to realise what it is about your writing that needs improving, and what worked really well.

What I Like

  • Poppy and Noah’s character growth – going from distain towards Noah to liking him to dating him was such a wonderful experience. I loved watching the pair getting intimate with one another and allowing their guards to drop.
  • How they used science to explain why this whole experience was happening – despite my basic knowledge of science, I still understood they put a twist on basic human biology and explained it in a way that actually made sense (even if it’s implausible).

What I Don’t Like

  • The melodrama could be too much at times, even for a YA novel – I understand that teenagers are angsty and dramatic, but sometimes it ruined the scene and pulled you out of the story.
  • A few too many scenes – some of the scenes felt irrelevant and unnecessary, which slowed the pace of the story.

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed the overall premise and watching Poppy and Noah’s relationship grow. I wasn’t as hooked as It Only Happens In The Movies, but I did still enjoy picking it up and reading it.

Dreamology Book Review

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

Synopsis

Alice has been dreaming of Max since she was a child, experiencing wild and wondrous dreams together. However, when Alice moves to Boston, she makes a startling discovery: her dream boy is real. Navigating a new city, a new school and new friendships, along with her conflicting feelings towards the boy she thought she knew, Alice’s life gets complicated. Can Alice and Max’s relationship exist in reality, or will she only ever have her dream boy in her dreams?

First Impressions

The idea of two people sharing a dream was such an intriguing concept to me that I immediately wanted to pick up the book and read it. Alice was quite a compelling character, just for her dreamscapes alone, and I enjoyed seeing her go from needing the dreams to survive, to letting them go and living in reality with her literal dream boy.

Writing Element Thoughts

The characterisation was interesting. I thought Alice and Max’s relationship went back and forth a few too many times, making it all the more frustrating, but I’m glad they did end up together in the end. The secondary characters were well rounded, but they were all conveniently in a relationship by the end of the story, which irks me a bit. I enjoyed how they handled Oliver and Celeste, considering how they could’ve made them into assholes after what Alice and Max did, but instead, they chose a mature decision to move on, which I appreciated.

The pacing was well maintained throughout, following the story structure almost perfectly, and the overall story arc was consistent and kept making Alice change and grow as a person. Nothing too drastic happened either, which I appreciated.

What I Like

  • I loved reading the dreamscapes, since I often have weird dreams myself, and I loved that Max was helping to control the dreams. However, I also appreciated how emotions controlled the dreams too, with their fears turning the dreams into something uncontrollable.
  • I liked that there was a psychological reason these dreams were happening instead of a supernatural reason. They actually tried to use science to explain it, even if I don’t actually believe this is possible, which I appreciate.

What I Don’t Like

  • I didn’t like how convenient the ending is with everyone coupling up. It irks me because it doesn’t feel that realistic to have everyone in the story be in a relationship. Perhaps Oliver and Sophie is justifiable, but Alice’s father and Margaret Yang? And Celeste just so happening to date an older man after dating Max for years? Nope, sorry.
  • I didn’t like how Max kept going back and forth with how he felt for Alice, especially compared to the dream version of himself. I know they’re teenagers and they have no idea how to feel the majority of the time, but the constant back and forth was frustrating and used as a plot device.

Overall Thoughts

It was a good story overall. I enjoyed reading it and finding out why Alice and Max were having a joint dream, but I think it was lacking something for me to make me want to reread it.

It Only Happens In The Movies Book Review

Synopsis

Audrey Winters is in the midst of a crisis, leading to her total disdain towards romance movies. With her father moving on, her mother in a catatonic state, and her ex-boyfriend dumping her for another woman, it’s little wonder Audrey feels that way. However, when she starts her job at Flicker (their local cinema), she meets Harry, and her feelings begin to change towards love.

First Impressions

I was addicted to this book from the first moment I picked it up. I was curious about the beginning scene since it happens much later in the book and I wanted to know what led to that moment and what the resolution would be. I’ll admit, I’m much more likely to stick with a book if it gives me a reason to, like showing a much later scene first. Or even just hinting towards something ominous in the future.

Writing Element Thoughts

The characterisation is very realistic. Audrey changes through the course of the story, from letting her guard down and being vulnerable again with a guy, to letting her friends back into her life who she’d been neglecting, to finally expressing her true feelings towards her dad and her brother. It was refreshing to see her try to juggle multiple problems in her life while trying to keep a hold on everything, such as A levels and friendships and a home life. At some point, most people will experience this difficult juggling act, which could end in a very bad way (like a mental breakdown or physical injury).

The story arc is very well written. It has a clear key narrative structure with a good beginning, middle and end. The chapters are interspersed with her criticism of romance films that correlate with the stage of her relationship with Harry, which is a nice touch. I personally like the writing style too. It’s friendly and conversational without trying too hard to relate to a younger audience. There’s ways of speaking that young people use nowadays, but it’s not included in a cringey way.

What I Like

  • I like that Audrey didn’t just take Harry back after the Big Gesture because he hurt her and she couldn’t trust him anymore. I would’ve liked if they’d gotten back together, but it shows a realism to the story by forcing Harry to deal with the consequences of his actions, rather than just sweeping it aside and moving on.
  • I like when Audrey finally talked to her brother about her feelings and shouted at her father for what he did. It showed a maturity and a willingness to handle her problems instead of letting them spiral out of control.
  • I like how Audrey takes back control of her life after realising she’s been living in a zombie state, in part thanks to her shitty ex-boyfriend. She actively fixes her friendships and applies to study media at university.

What I Didn’t Like

  • I didn’t like how, when Audrey did repair her friendship with her best friends, we didn’t have a scene with the girls just hanging (although, since they weren’t the main focus, it does make sense).

Last Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story from start to finish. I honestly couldn’t put it down because it was just so well written. The characterisation and overall story arc was brilliant and the themes were handled wonderfully.

I’d definitely recommend you to read it.