Original photo from Pixabay I sit down. I open my laptop. I rest my fingers on the keyboard’s home row. And I begin. Really, ...

How I Write

Original photo from Pixabay

I sit down. I open my laptop. I rest my fingers on the keyboard’s home row.

And I begin.

Really, it just sort of happens. I have half an idea and no real plan; whether it’s a school project or a blog post or a novel, I just sit and I start and my fingers fly. Sure, it’s awful the first time around, but it’s a release and it’s a start and I know I can improve it later. I’ve got a basis, at least, a skeletal art to be fleshed out and dressed up into something snazzy.

Normally, there’s music playing. It can be any kind. At the time of this post’s first draft, it is Morning Passages by Philip Glass. Lovely piano piece; the video I’m watching has flickering, glowing flowers drifting past on the screen every time I turn my head to glance at my phone. Whatever plays, it’s always something inspiring: rock-hard, or rap-fast, or pop-free. It’s something that moves my mind and moves my brain, makes me think, makes me hope, makes me wonder. And those three together (the things that make me think, hope, and wonder), I think those are the reasons why I write in the first place.

When the first draft is finished, I step back. I wait. I let the project brew and mull it over in the back of mind. I wait at least 24 hours before I come back to it, but sometimes it can be as much as 24 days or 24 weeks; frankly, some projects are 24 months and counting, though I’ve yet to make it to 24 years. ;)

I always come back though. I must. If I spent long enough on it to create it, I will spend long enough on it to perfect it.

The big edits come first: I read through the whole project, calming my inner cringe with a bold over the problem and a note on the side: I’ll fix it later. Smooth this sentence. Make that clearer. What is even happening here? Figure it out. The first half of big edits is just a readthrough to see what needs to be fixed. To get an honest examination on my work and figure out what I need to do next.

The second half of big edits is the actual editing: I systematically and chronologically go through each bold, read the note, and fix the problem. To the best of my ability, just fix it. The full smoothing and perfect polishing will come later, but for now, I unbreak whatever’s broken and plan to improve on the issue later.

When that’s over, I do small edits. All the major problems are fixed, but there are still a few minor errors; complex grammar or clunky sentences that must be reworked, rearranged, and rewritten. I also call this the smoothing edit. All the rougher edges sanded down and evened out until the work is smooth all around.

Then I polish. Scrub that surface till it shines. Analyze that analogy. Is it really the right word? Read it out loud. Does it roll off my tongue? Envision the emotion. Does it sound like me? Because I’m a perfectionist, the polishing edit may happen two or three or more times before I finally declare the project done.

When it is perfect—or as close to perfect as I can make it or I run out of time—I post the work. Or I send it to my professor or to a would-be agent or publisher. Wherever it is that this work is destined, to there it goes. My little baby writing makes its way into the world.

Then I celebrate. I rest. If it was a big project, I watch YouTube videos and read books and eat ice cream and chocolate.

And then, I return to a blank Word document and start all over again.

For that is how I write. :)
***
How about you? Do you have a certain method for writing? A different style for different projects? I’d love to know your secrets, haha. Can’t wait to hear from you, and I’ll see you in the comment section!

It’s July and sometimes I’m cliché, so all of the Melodic Mondays for this month are going to be themed Christmas in July. Because why not?...

Melodic Mondays: Carol of the Bells by Lindsey Stirling

It’s July and sometimes I’m cliché, so all of the Melodic Mondays for this month are going to be themed Christmas in July. Because why not? It’s over 90 degrees outside right now, and I want to pretend it’s not. ;)

I love the grace and elegance of the dance in this video. Perfectly matches the rendition of this lovely Christmas classic.


Do you ever listen to Christmas songs out of season? Have a favorite that you feel can be listened to anytime? Can't wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!

So, I saw Infinity War last weekend. If I don’t post for the next 50 million years, don’t panic. It just means I’m still in mourning. ...

Posts of the Week: 7.7.18 Edition: Inspiration, Ideas, and Dreams

So, I saw Infinity War last weekend. If I don’t post for the next 50 million years, don’t panic. It just means I’m still in mourning.

Anyways, on to sharing the posts of people who have somehow managed to continue their lives after that catastrophic movie.

Holding Your Head High from Empowered Women Collective. The intro alone is on point, but really this whole series has been so inspiring and powerful! Check it out!

The Motherland by Talya. She’s back from the trip now, but still, I had to share this one. It’s so deep, the pictures are incredible, and the way she pulls the message together... I just love it.

On Being an Alien by Jessi. In which she shares some pretty interesting thoughts on relating to characters and fitting in in real life.

Inevitably Selfish, Loose Pain, and If a Guy Changes by Keturah. So good! I especially love If a Guy Changes: the mixture of hope and hard truth is perfect.

Ready, Set... Go Live Your Dream by Rachael. I love her Tangled references and the reminder that you can always find a new dream. 😊 (which I might need after Ininity War)
***
That’s it for this week! Which characters did you (or do you) most relate to in stories? Ever tried your hand at flash fic? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!


So you all might remember a while back when I tried out a new style of post: a Currently Reading blog , where I examined some of my feeling...

Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson: An Ensorcellment of a Story

So you all might remember a while back when I tried out a new style of post: a Currently Reading blog, where I examined some of my feelings on a book while I was still in the middle of it. Well, so as not to leave you hanging, I decided to give an official, full review, tying up the ends I left dangling in my last post.


Plot:
Last time, I talked about the simultaneously swift and slow unfolding of the story and the utter uncertainty of how it would all turn out in the end. The plot was enchanting (see what I did there 😉), but I could feel something menacing hidden under every moment, some massive evil that would have to be defeated, some epic battle won before anyone could even think “happily ever after.”

And my feelings were not wrong. Once the action hits, this book keeps you in suspense all the way to the end, and the tension just RISES, swooping down only within the last few pages! It’s a romantic fantasy, so obviously I was expecting a happy ending; but then it hit about the 2/3 point, and all of the sudden, I didn’t know if it was going to end well or if it was going to end like Mockingjay. I’m not going to spoil which one it turned out to be, but I will say that it was absolutely gripping, and what a finish, gorgeously written and beautifully told. Full of deadly uncertainty, you wonder how it’s possible for this story to end in happily-ever-after, but you wait with bated breath, praying that it will.
Plot: 4 stars out of 5

Characters:
Even though they weren’t my favorite part of the story (unusually for me, that was actually the overall plot and storyline), the characters were pretty amazing to follow. Both of them really learned to blossom beyond their flaws: Rook, discovering what was real, what was worth his honor, what was worth sacrificing for; and Isobel, learning to balance caution and courage and to do something truly incredible with a life she thought would stay conventional. Did they both suddenly forfeit the use of their brains when they fell in love? Well, it wouldn’t be YA if they didn’t. But on the bright side, the brainless stage didn’t last nearly as long as it normally does; and when it all came down to it, I was awed by their courage and the length and the strength of their love. They were sweet and they were brash and they were beautiful, and I would follow them through another enchanted forest of a book any day of the week.
Characters: 4 stars out of 5

Writing Style/Setting:
I PHYSICALLY CANNOT GUSH ENOUGH ABOUT THE WRITING AND THE SETTING. You’ll recall my Million Writing Dreams post where I mentioned “sweeping landscapes that take your breath away”? Well, this book has those—and in abundance. It’s not even that all of them are pretty landscapes; some places, especially as you enter the dark side of the Fair Folk’s realm, are actually rather unsettling. But they’re still described with an artful hand and sweeping language that transports you right into the scene. There are moments so satisfying, they’re like dark chocolate melting in your mouth: a touch of bitter, but perfect in flavor. There are moments so intense, the characters are almost literally on a tightrope between death and ever after—you can feel it—and you have no idea which side they’re going to fall on. There’s an ending, so sweeping and majestic, it actually feels like royalty.

Honestly, it’s just too beautiful.
Writing Style/Setting: 57 million stars out of 5

And so, we come in at about 4 ½ stars out of 5 (don’t ask how that math works). This book is so captivating and enchanting, just… I loved it. If you’re looking for nobility intrigue, complex romance, twisted yet charming Fair Folk, and/or sweeping settings that will take your breath away, I think you’ll find at least one thing to love about this book. If you want to pick up a copy for yourself (and I’m planning to, because I got this one from the library and I need my own copy), you can find it here for $10.31.

So, tell me, what’s your favorite story regarding Fair Folk? (not sure this is my absolute favorite, but it’s certainly creeping its way into my Top Ten). Have you read about (or perhaps watched) any settings that just left you in awe? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section.

Notes: Content: some language, violence, disturbing descriptions of dark magic creatures.

Lessons and Values: Sacrifice. The meaning of love. Dealing with image and self-image, particularly when it’s been distorted by others. The importance of art for humanity. Seeing past facades. Inner strength and helping others find theirs. The things and the people that matters most.

So, last night I was just in a mood where I was looking for some really cute, sweet, even teen-pop love songs. I had a few that I could rem...

Melodic Mondays: Your Call

So, last night I was just in a mood where I was looking for some really cute, sweet, even teen-pop love songs. I had a few that I could remember liking, but at the time, I wasn’t really feeling most of them. So I figured I’d just do something different this Monday and send out a call to you guys for some music! Send me ALL THE LINKS! I need to replenish my romance playlist with some really cute, really sweet, kinda soft love songs. They can have a touch of sadness--actually, even a lot of sadness--because I’m looking for something that hits me in the feels. Songs in the vein of Running Home to You from The Flash, Two by Sleeping at Last, and Ever Enough by Rocket to the Moon. Bonus points if it’s a girl to a guy, and double bonus points if it’s duet.

And go! Post the links in the comments, and I will check them out! Thanks all!

Hey, all! So it looks like Saturday is going to be a general sharing day on Summer Snowflakes, haha. And for this Saturday, I’m doing a...

Blog Tour: Quest for Leviathan by Amanda Tero: Fast-Paced Plot and a Message that Matters


Hey, all! So it looks like Saturday is going to be a general sharing day on Summer Snowflakes, haha. And for this Saturday, I’m doing a blog tour/book release, featuring author Amanda Tero! I reviewed one of her books about a year ago on Verbosity, and let me tell you, that story is splendid. So, without further ado, I will reveal to you the latest from this wonderful author, historical short story Quest for Leviathan.


Review:
The plot of this story is pretty straightforward, yet it's still fast-paced and wisely written. One thing I really like is how it’s woven through with a message that matters; the themes of trust and surrender are clearly written out, but the message works with the story and it doesn’t take over the narrative. The characters are briefly seen, yet they still come alive in their single-word descriptions and the relatability of their journeys. Their quests, their roles, their purpose, their pain, all is clear, and in less than 50 pages. The writing is simple, not ornate or flashy, but it still casts you headlong into the emotion of every scene. The tale is told with a very natural kind of description: it slowly unwraps the story just as it unfolds in front of the characters themselves. You walk through every scene directly in step with Anath, seeing each moment through his mind and his eyes.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

All-in-all, this is a really quick and enjoyable read, complete with some great lessons about trust and surrender that you can take into your daily life. If you’d like to pick a copy for yourself, you can find it here for $8.99 and add it on Goodreads here.


About the Author
Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior, but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Connect with Amanda
Email: amandaterobooks@gmail.com




If that description and review whet your tastes for the book, there is also A GIVEAWAY GOING DOWN! Amanda is giving away TWO print copies of Quest for Leviathanto one winner--one for you, and one for a friend!

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Mine is one of the last posts on the tour, but here’s the link to the rest of the lineup, so you can check out some awesome posts from all the other bloggers. 😊

June 8 – With a Joyful Noise (Release Day Post)
              Resting Life (Spotlight, Review)
             The World of the Writer (Review)
             Authoring Arrowheads (Review)
             Purely by Faith Review (Review, Interview)
June 9 – Victoria’s Book Nook (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
             Bekah’s Books (Spotlight, Review, Interview)
June 11 – Clothed with Scarlet (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
             Reveries Reviews (Review)
June 12 – Chosen Vessels (Spotlight, Review)
             My Purple Pen (Review)
             Read Another Page (Review)
June 13 – Once Upon an Ordinary (Review)
             Maidens for Modesty (Review)
             Yahweh Sisters (Review)
June 14 – Honey Rock Hills (Review)
             Life of Heritage Corner (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
             Kaylee’s Kind of Writes (Review, Interview)
June 15 – The Red-Hooded Writer (Review)
             Blossoms and Blessings (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
             Lit Aflame (Review, Interview)
June 16 – The Left-Handed Typist (Review)
             Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Review, Interview, Giveaway)
June 18 – Great Books for God’s Girls (Review, Interview)
             Peculiar Miss Darcy (Character Interview)
June 19 – Done in Love (Spotlight, Review, Interview, Giveaway)
             Creating Romance (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 20 – Keturah’s Korner (Review, Interview)
             Rock and Minerals 4 Him (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 21 – A Baker’s Perspective (Review, Giveaway, Character Spotlight)
             Christian Author: A.M. Heath (Review, Interview)
             Views from the Window Friend (Review)
             Hunting for Truth (Spotlight, Review, Giveaway)
June 23 – Reading on the Edge (Spotlight)
             Summer Snowflakes (Review, Giveaway)
June 25 – With a Joyful Noise (Giveaway Winner Announced)

So, what most interests you about this story: the cover, the tagline, Anath himself, something else? Have you ever read any of Amanda’s books before? Can’t wait to hear from you, and I will see you in the comment section!


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