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On life updates, books I’m reading, and critique partners

January 11th, 2018Β 

Hi everyone! The east coast of Canada was slammed with a snow storm this past weekend. Today it feels mild and the snow is melting away, leaving lots of water and chunks of ice in its wake. It makes me hopeful for spring πŸ˜‰ With that said, I do enjoy cosy nights at home when the snow is swirling outside and you are forced to stay in.

Little update in my life and people around me:Β Jaden still needs prayer. He is the young man that is a family friend who was in a car accident in December 2017. It was quite traumatic and his body is slowly healing. He is responding to his mother and grandmother which is wonderful. Please, please keep praying for him.

It’s funny, a few new story ideas have been peculating in my mind while I’ve been hard at work editing Evren. That makes me feel excited and relieved; knowing I will have a new project to focus on when I begin to query Evren.

Update on Evren

I have discovered a few things about editing in these past few weeks:

1) It is hard work.

2) It is a lot of fun.

It’s like you’re taking a magnifying glass to your work and brushing away all the debris and clutter, until finally, it stands on its own and is clear what it is meant to be. I am working on cleaning up the clutter of adverbs, over-description, run on sentences, fragments, and cliches. I am also focusing on subplots and characterisation during this read through.

Editing is a lot of fun. It did take me a few days to enter the flow. It’s like anything you are starting for the first time – sometimes the hardest part is just sitting down and starting the project.

I am at page 119/314. Interestingly enough, I have added about 5000 words since I have begun edits. So far its mainly been internal dialogue or narration that I have added into the draft. I want people to feel close to my characters and know what they are thinking and feeling about what’s going on around them.

I hope to complete this round of edits by next Friday.

What I’m reading

This Christmas, I received a few new YA books that have been on my TBR pile. The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli (fellow Canadian, whoop whoop;) and The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. They are both debuts of 2017 and are very, very good.

What I loved about The Last Namsara was the forbidden romance between Asha and Torwin, dragons, and the main character, Asha. Asha is tough, spunky, and a little bit mean at times. Over the course of the novel though, she changes and grows. Oh – did I mention there are dragons in it too πŸ˜‰ It’s an awesome read! The world-building is fantastic and Kristen weaves in the backstory well, not overloading readers with heavy info-dumps.

I’m only 142 pages into The Forest of a Thousand Lanterns but am enjoying it thus far. It is an imaginative East Asian fairy-tale retelling about the evil queen from Snow White. Can’t wait to read more tonight!

Critique Partners

The last time I blogged, I had mentioned I sent out the first chapter of Evren to two critique partners. This is the first time I have ever shared my work with anyone, so as you can imagine, I was a fair bit nervous. I’ve read tons of blogs about how important it is to share your work AND critique others work. You will grow as a writer and learn what works and what doesn’t work in your own novel.

Well, I received the feedback a few days later after I had sent the chapter and it was extremely helpful. I received insight about what the readers thought about my main character, Evren, and the world. I received suggestions on world building and adding in more internal dialogue.

I’ve already taken their feedback, chewed on it a bit, and went back to my chapter and edited it accordingly. Many writers say: receive the critique, think about it, and decide what to do next. Receiving a critique doesn’t mean you necessarily have to listen to everything they say. In the end, you are the one who is writing the story. That being said, it does help to get a fresh pair of eyes on a manuscript that I have been working on for about four months.

I have also met a few new writers who are willing to swap first chapters with me πŸ™‚ Woohoo!

I am so grateful for my critique partners. They are taking precious time out of their lives, and reading my story. Thank you lovelies!

I highly recommend this website if you are looking for critique partners: http://www.ladieswhocritique.com . That is where I found one of my critique partners. The other was from NaNoWriMo’s forums (National Novel Writing Month) years ago πŸ™‚ You never know who you’ll meet!

The joy of writing is also the community you get to meet and be part of. A community filled with people with a passion for storytelling and reading. I’ve been blessed to meet some already.

Enjoy the journey, friends.

Now with a question before I leave πŸ™‚ What are you working on now? What books are you reading?

Until next time,

Loie xo

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