How a Book is Made Tag

Book Tag ImageSince I’ll be participating in July’s Camp Nanowrimo session I thought it would be appropriate to do a writing tag. (Camp NaNoWriMo is an internet based event where participants try to write a set amount of words in a month.) This tag was created by WritingMime over on YouTube. I don’t know if this tag has ever been adapted from video form into blog form before, but it’s just what I was looking for so I’m doing it.

1. Should you participate in National Novel Writing Month to create a book?

It’s not entirely necessary, but even if you don’t win it’s a great motivation and way to meet people online with similar interests. So I would say yes overall.
2. Self-publishing or tradition publishing?

I am going to try to traditionally publish once I feel that my writing has gotten to a publishable point. In fact, one of my current projects is in its third draft at the moment and I’m hoping to be done with major edits by the end of the summer with the intention of querying sometime next year. At the same time I am not opposed to self-publishing. I think its a great option to have. I just don’t really have the money to do it properly like I would want to at the moment.
3. Write one idea at a time or write all the ideas at once?

I tend to focus on one idea though I have tried multiple ideas and I usually end up just focused on one despite my efforts.
4. What genre is the easiest to write?

I don’t read a lot of contemporary, so that is definitely the most difficult for me. The easiest harder to determine, but it’s probably YA sci-fi especially if it’s set on Earth in a modern setting.
5. Where do you need to write to get the work done?

I have to sit at my desk in my room. I try to make it so that my desk is only for writing and homework so that it’s all I work on when I sit there and don’t get so distracted.
6. Where do you find your inspiration?

Multiple places. I’ve written stories based off of everything from dreams to real world events to aspects of other novels I felt were not explored to their full potential.
7. What age do you start writing?

I’ve always been making up outlandish stories, but I didn’t start writing them down until I was in middle school, and with a few exceptions most of what I wrote in middle school was just a few chapters before I decided to just imagine how the rest of the story would go in my mind and just leave it at that. It wasn’t until high school that I started feeling the need to write them out in their entirety.
8. What’s easiest to write? Short stories, stand-alones, series, etc.

Short stories are easiest, but I don’t really enjoy writing them or write them often. I spend most of my time on stand-alones with series potential as I find those the most rewarding.
9. Do you mill your books or take years to write a book?

I can write first drafts quickly if I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, but I take a long time to edit and often rewrite.
10. How fast can you type?

I have no idea. Not extraordinarily quickly, but faster than most teenagers.
11. Do you write in the dark or in the light?

Some of both. My best writing often comes in the early morning or late at night, but I can write throughout the day too and sometimes leave the lights on or off.
12. Hand-written or typed?

Typed, I like how I can back it up and don’t need to rewrite it solely for the purpose of putting it on a screen later.
13. Alone or with someone else?

When I’m actually writing I prefer to be alone for the most part, but sometimes word sprints can be great motivation and I enjoy talking to fellow writers. I can write in public so long as I’m fairly certain no one is reading the words as I type them.
14. Any typing hacks?

No.
15. Are you already published?

No, but I hope to be someday.
16. When did you first consider being an author? HOW? WHY? WHO?

Not 100 percent sure I understand this question, but I probably decided I wanted to publish something when I was well into the first draft of something novel length I’d actually finished in my freshmen year of high school. As to whether I consider myself an author I do not, I consider myself a writer, but not an author because I haven’t written anything beyond short stories I feel is entirely finished in terms of revision.

17. How many books do you have in draft form?

Four at the moment. Three are completed first drafts and one is a half completed third draft I’ve been putting a lot of time into lately.
18. Do you outline or no?

Yes, my first completed novel length draft was not outlined, but since then I have started outlining and they get more detailed with each work I finish.
19. What’s your favorite note-keeping strategy?

Using Scrivener or Microsoft Word to type my notes into.
20. What do you think about writing in different genres?

Two of my completed drafts were young adult, one was middle grade, and the latest could have been either adult or young adult depending on how it develops in later drafts. I’ve written one high fantasy, one urban fantasy, one science fiction novel set in space, and one science fiction novel set on Earth in modern times that borders on contemporary fiction so I’d say I’m okay with writing in different genres.

If anyone has more writing related questions for me, want to talk about NaNoWriMo, or have a suggestion for a future writing related post I would love to hear about it in the comments below.

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh 4 Stars

18798983Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publication date: May 12, 2015

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Retelling, Romance

Synopsis:.Everyday a brings new bride and every dawn brings their death. For unknown reasons, Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan, marries a new woman each day before having her executed at dawn and repeating the cycle a new. Among the victims was Shahrahzad’s best friend and she is determined to avenge her death.

Shahrahzad has volunteered to marry the Caliph for the opportunity to get close to the Caliph. It was Shahrahzad’s plan to kill the Caliph, but as she speaks with him Shahrazad realizes the Caliph is not who she thought he was. All the same, Shahrahzad is determined to put an end to the murders. She will survive the dawn.

Review: I read this book directly after finishing The Hero of Ages (The conclusion to Brandon Sanderson’s original Mistborn Trilogy). After enjoying that book so thoroughly and knowing this one was high fantasy, I went into this expecting to be disappointed. Fortunately,  I instead found this to be an engaging, interesting read.

This book is a retelling of 1001 Nights. I was not very familiar with the story line of 1001 Nights, so I can’t judge the quality of the adaptation, but this story made me interested in reading the original work. This retelling focuses on the ongoing plot linking the many stories within 1001 Nights together.

Our main character, Shahrzad, is a very determined young woman and remained so throughout. I liked that she never let Khalid, the Caliph, scare her into submission although she was scared at times for good reason. She also never forgot what Khalid had done or entirely forgave him even as she started spending more time with him. This is something I can’t say about a lot of YA characters and it makes me appreciate Shahrzad even more for it. The retelling didn’t put much emphasis on the stories Shahrazad told during the night, and I’ll admit I found myself skimming through them when they were incorporated as the contents of the stories told didn’t hold much influence in this particular retelling as a whole besides distracting Khalid and making him think.

Although I really enjoyed this, there were some elements that kept me from rating it higher. Every character in this book seems to have their own unique eye color. While the author may have intended to use this as a way for the reader to better differentiate between characters, and this fixation on eye colors is fairly common in novels, I found it extremely annoying. Overall, however, the writing was very good: just the right balance of poetic but not too poetic.

Shahrzad gave the impression that she had planned and expected to distract the Caliph. Much of what she did seemed improvised and I’m surprised she didn’t know more about the Caliph before going in. This made the story a little unbelievable for me, but I guess the author was trying to use the fact that desperation can make people act irrationally as justification.

The love triangle is something else I could have done without. It’s clear who Shahrzed is going to end up with, and so I view it as rather pointless. However, I can see that the author added it to create tension, and it doesn’t bother me as much as it does in many other books. The magic system was also barely touched on. I would have liked to see more of it.

While I was reading this I was trying to place it in history due to references of a few real world countries/cultural elements. The religious references in particular left me confused as the characters would appear to worship the Greek gods but the story seems to take place in the Middle East. Though I think the author might have simply had Shahrzad pick up on terms that implied she worshiped the Greek gods as she grew into a friendship with a Greek serving girl.

What Readers Should Know: Sex is mentioned and there scenes where sex was implied, but this wasn’t explicit or frequent. The characters involved were married. There was the use of the occasional curse word, but it was not frequent. There was no gory violence, but there were mentions of the Caliphs past murders, attempts at murders, and practice with weapons.

Rating: The pacing and overall writing of this book was well done, and I liked that it was set in a fantasy world that did not resemble Medieval Europe as I haven’t read nearly enough fantasy novels where the setting didn’t, but there were too many minor issues I had with it for me to give it higher than a four.

4 blue jays

May 2015 Wrap-Up

This month I read six books. Many of the books I read this month were some of my favorite books of the year so far. I also read the longest book I had read so far in 2015 (The Well of Ascension).

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanShort Synopsis: A girl writes love letters to all the boys she has ever loved and hides them in her room until one day they are sent in the mail.

Thoughts: This book was fun to read. It was lighthearted and had an intriguing plot with well developed characters. However, it was my least favorite book of the month not because there is anything wrong with it, but because some of the other books I’ve read this month will probably become some of my favorite books of all time.

Rating: 

4 blue jays

Challenger Deep by Neal ShustermanShort Synopsis: Caden descends into the depths of the Marianas Trench and his own mind.

Thoughts: This is a hard book to get into as it has a unique writing style of very short chapter alternating between two purposefully confusing story lines. After adjusting this book is unique and thought provoking.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasShort Synopsis: When the wolf Fayre killed in the woods turns out to have been a faerie in disguise she must chose between paying with her life and a lifetime trapped in a faerie’s house.

Thoughts: Though there were some elements at the end that confused me, I really liked this book. For my full thoughts see my review.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

End of Days by Susan EeShort Synopsis: Third book in the Angelfall Trilogy in which angels invade the Earth.

Thoughts: Although I enjoyed this book, particularly the first three fourths, I felt the ending was rushed and left the story feeling incomplete. For my full thoughts see my series review.

Rating:

 4 blue jays

The Final Empire by Brandon SandersonShort Synopsis: A group of thieves with magical abilities gained through consuming metals plot to overthrow an immortal dictator.

Thoughts: This was a great read. The “overthrowing dictator” plot has been done a lot in fantasy, but Sanderson makes it feel original and fresh. For my full thoughts see my review.

Rating: 

five blue jays

68429Short Synopsis: Sequel to Mistborn: The Final Empire. This shows the aftermath of the heist in book one.

Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, and liked that I could hardly ever predict what would happen next. However, the story just didn’t feel as complete to me as book one which I preferred over the sequel.

Rating: 

4.5 blue jays

Currently Reading:

The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, #3)Invaded (Alienated, #2)18243700

Note: I’m probably going to stop reading Invaded and The Assassin’s Blade for a while. It’s not that either is a bad book (neither is). It’s just that I had to return one to the library, and as for the other, I’m just distracted by everything else I want to read and not in the mood for a human-alien romance story.