The Blog Hop Stop: The Spotted Writer Station

Throughout the two and a half years I’ve been building this platform, I’ve received blog awards and surveys that help share who I am as a person and a blogger. It’s reminiscent of a right of passage for bloggers to post at least one of these introspective questionnaires. This survey of sorts is probably the most personal and technical I have had the pleasure to write.

And so I have been invited by my very dear friend Matt from WantonCreation to take part in a themed post about my writing process. Matt and I began our blogging journeys around the same time, and he has been such a phenomenal inspiration to me since we first found each other. His blog is much more versatile than mine including posts about music, interesting sites to check out, and his recent move to Sweden. Matt is both witty and humorous in his posts, so please be sure to check him out!

My lovely writing nook!

My lovely writing nook!

So, this particular blog hop stops at Spotted Writer Station for a look inside my writing process, which up until this post I hadn’t given nearly enough thought. I hope you, my ferocious minions, learn a little bit about me from these questions and the person I’ll be tagging at the end.

What am I working on?

The only answer I should have at this point is my novel Dollhouse Daughter. As most of my writer’s group knows, I have terrible issues with procrastination and focus (hence why I’m typing this post instead of revisions). Dollhouse Daughter is a coming of age story, but also a reaction of how families recycle mistakes across generations. Here is a working book blurb:

Cassie Brooks, a bookish 13-year-old girl from Pennsylvania, must move hundreds of miles from her childhood home when her grandfather falls ill and her parents are left to care for the Brooks Plantation in Warrenton, GA. Cassie has a choice—settle for her narcissistic mother, a passive family, and the unforgiving awkwardness of a new school or give in to the temptation of vodou after meeting a mysterious woman in the forest?

Insert Pudgy kitty picture!

Insert Pudgy kitty picture!

The blurb could use some fine-tuning, but I’m over halfway finished with the novel. It’s taken me two years to get to this point, but I feel confident in my characters and the way my story is told. I think people will enjoy my main protagonist Cassie with her love of Japanese anime and her snarky comments. I also think they will love to hate my antagonist Marge— not necessarily a true villain, but she’s mighty difficult to tolerate in the same room. Eventually, I hope that at least one person will enjoy the finished product and it will lead me to my Master’s degree.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I branch out into a few genres (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery), but if we’re talking about Dollhouse Daughter the genre would definitely fall under YA fantasy. Yes, I know it’s a mega popular genre, especially within the past ten years, but when the characters speak to you—you better damn well listen. Anyways, I think I bring an honesty to the genre that otherwise could be forced or disingenuous. I think me being a 25-year-old lends to a closeness to the suffering in my teen years. I mean, I still haven’t fully processed everything I am and everything I can be. The terror and loneliness that Cassie feels when she’s with her family isn’t something I pulled out of the ether; it’s pulled straight from my heart onto the page. Not only that, but the fantasy element isn’t an escapism like it is typically defined in the genre. I wanted my fantasy to intensify the situations in my stories. Instead of running away from reality, my characters, especially Cassie, must face the harsh facts life has to offer.

Why do I write what I do?

I’ve loved fantasy and science fiction ever since I started reading. It’s really as simple as that. I write the same wonderful ideas that have nurtured me into an avid bibliophile since first grade. Dragons, ghosts, aliens, vampires, zombies—all of my favorites will find their way into my writing not on purpose, but because it has helped shaped me into the writer I am today. My love of fantasy began with Into the Land of the Unicorns by Bruce Coville, and from then on I knew I wanted to write about magic and space for the rest of my life. It allows me to show the truths of humanity without the limitations of what’s “real”. I can choose to make a story about zombies with my imagination and people will learn more about me in the process.

Iz rly comfy like dis!

Iz rly comfy like dis!

How does my writing process work?

That's right I said no kitty. Too much distracting cuteness

That’s right I said no kitty. Too much distracting cuteness

This is the tough question. My process goes against everything that most authors/mentors tell you to do. But hey, whatever works right? I don’t wait to revise until after I’ve finished the first draft. For me, there is no first draft. There’s only the work in progress and the finished manuscript. I keep working at each sentence until it feels right to me. So, it makes me a slower writer and it takes me much longer to finish a piece, but it’s so worth it.

By the time I finish a chapter, it has gone through at least three to four “drafts” and is nearly ready to share with my writer’s group. Sure, there are mistakes, and things that need to be touched up. However, I try to make it count the first time instead of waiting until I’m completely finished to go back and change it.

At the same time, the best place for me to write is actually at lunch during work. No internet, no kitty, no bed—NO DISTRACTIONS! I find myself getting the most work done when I physically have no other distractions or ways to procrastinate. I think the most rewarding part of my process is that the product is well worth the wait. I end up with a fantastic chapter after a few weeks or a month of work.

Who’s Next?

Her authorial name is K Orion Fray, but I know her best as Rion. She is one of the most imaginative, focused writers I’ve ever met. Let me break down how stellar she is:

Maxed out twice during 2013 NaNoWriMo with two novels in progress, one of which is currently being published on her website as a serial. Rion has successfully become an audiobook reader, cosplayer, moderator (not sure about the exact title) for NanoWriMo, blogger, published author, and many more. I could effectively write an entire post about how much I adore my dear friend because well, it’s easy to find great things to say about her. In the workshop where we first met, Rion astounded everyone (especially me) with the sheer amount of quality content she was able to write during our ten minute prompt. It was at least three full-sized pages if I recall. Nay my friends this was no exaggeration or fluke; she is the real deal full of wonder and geekery that blows my mind every time I talk with her. Plus she loves all the cool shows like Doctor Who and Supernatural. I wish her luck on her version of this post, it was a blast! Now you must check her out!

Happy reading and writing!

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Slivers of Glory: Guest Post By an Awesome Friend

I have the most phenomenal friends. I don’t mean to brag. Well, I kind of do.  My friends (old and new) have been so gracious to let me into their lives and become a part of my “chosen family” and there is no real way to repay them for being such a huge part of my life. I feel honored every day to know so many diverse and talented people. Not only do I share company with dozens of talented (published and unpublished) writers, but computer technicials, graphic designers, beauticians, medical practitioners-all so passionate about what they do. They have a way of always surprising me with their creativity and it’s an inspiration and a kick in the butt for me to get to work. While I’m trying to finish Dollhouse Daughter, I thought it was time to share how my friends in inspire me to keep going.

So this blog post is a spotlight on one of my most versatile friends, Erin. She has degrees in Biblical studies and history to name just a few, and has a healthy love of all things science fiction and fantasy. And she has a knack for early morning flash fiction! She shared this little bit of hilarity with me and I knew I needed to show my lovely minions what good company I keep outside of my little blog home.  Enjoy this, comment about it, share it with your friends.

Captain’s log: 3:00AM

The small, white Ewok insisted she needed to go outside even though she was out there not too long ago. Upon our trek to the door, I heard one of her claws snag on the carpet. I detained the Ewok and proceeded to trim her enormous talons. She tolerated this, but upon release she was no longer interested in a foray into the dark night. All the while these events were transpiring, the giant gremlin looked on patiently and intently. Sensing his opportunity when the Ewok ambled away, he demanded to be escorted into the darkness outside. I obliged, if begrudgingly. Upon our return, I realized the remnants of the Ewok talon-shearing were strewn about the mess hall. Not knowing what mystical powers these shards held and not wanting them to fall into the wrong hands, I swiftly gathered the pieces and chucked them into the incinerator. As they disappeared before my eyes, I lamented that we now may never know the potential of those slivers of glory. Finally, I retired to my cabin to reflect upon the recent events and seek the solace of my pillow.

 

Happy Caturday! Don’t forget to read and write something furry today!

Nyla hopes you have a sexy, sassy day!

Nyla hopes you have a sexy, sassy day!

 

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A Look in the Life: Entitlement

amyoung0606:

So important to remember. Just because you’re a fan, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the time and energy of the person who created the piece of art/composition/writing/film.

Originally posted on I am not lost...:

I know there are plenty of people out there that likely get this a heck of a lot more than I do, but since this was my first run-in with this kind of behaviour, it really stood out to me. Now, your mileage may vary on this, but I’ve heard more than enough stories to make me think it’s more common than I’d like to believe. Here’s the problem: someone likes your work and has followed you for some time. Now that they’re delving into the field themselves…

…well, guess who they come to?

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Adventures in Unemployment

amyoung0606:

My best friend just started a blog and she’s flipping awesome at it. She’s comical about serious life issues and she’s an intro-nerd. What more do you want in a blog?!

Originally posted on Tawdry Tales from a Foxy Intro-Nerd:

I’m in the midst of a quarter-life crisis that just doesn’t seem to end. I’m constantly struggling with the idea of “growing up” and what that means to me in the scope of my life. This especially applies to my recent bout of unemployment.

I’ve been unemployed for just about a month now and I absolutely love it. What’s not to love about sleeping for ten hours straight, snacking all day, and playing video games or watching Netflix until you pass out and do it all over again? Oh yeah, that whole not having money thing. That tends to put a damper on things. I felt fairly accomplished: I had beaten two different video games; written some more of my novel; and read a few books, but it was time to get serious about finding a job. Watching my bank account dwindle down lower and lower, and having to refrain…

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Life Rage: This Writer Is Going H.A.M.

Disclaimer: This post contains a heated rant of one extremely repressed writer. If you do not wish to join me on my angry rant, please refer to this adorable video of a Bengal cat playing fetch.

Let me start with the fact that I am naturally an angry person, but a happy angry person. Although that may seem like an oxymoron, it honestly isn’t. You can find me in most situations as an encouraging, optimistic person, who is always will to please others before pleasing herself. But when something angers me, it’s sometimes best to step aside and let the tornado run its course from a safe distance.

My boyfriend is, at times, on the receiving end of my anger, not for something he has done wrong, but by being a spectator in my path of destruction. Sometimes my only healthy source of relieving stress is writing, which leads us to my life rage. From annoying pests to driving in the car, my rage runs deep and true. I welcome any comments: agreeing with the few I’ve listed here, listing some of your own, and even your points for disagreement. All are welcome.

Ants- I want to assure the animal-conscious readers that I don’t willingly loathe any living creature, but ants make it difficult to be humanitarian about the whole “invading my home and bringing diseases onto every surface” situation. Besides the fact that there are 1.5 million ants for each human, a queen can make a million a day. I’m personally not worried about extinction when the below species have made themselves basically invincible.

The bulldog ant will follow you from a meter away, and they’re responsible for deaths every year in Australia. Or how about the Safu or killer ant, who causes elephants to flee before them in addition to having jaws that stay locked into your skin even after the ant is torn off.

These two pale in comparison to the sheer terror I felt last week when I had dozens of big, black carpenter ants swarming my kitchen over night. The physical danger is minimal, I’ll admit. However, the emotional and psychological trauma of finding your home overrun with these invaders is beyond the 1-10 pain scale can categorize.

How did they get in? Why did they chose my home to ransack? And how do I get rid of them? These questions raced through my mind as I ran from one end of the kitchen to the other to catch these greedy, fast-moving pests. The chaos following bordered on apocalyptic proportions. As the lady of the house, I failed miserably inside my head. If I can’t protect my kitchen from these invaders, then how will I make our home, a home? It seems silly to think of a few ants as an invasion, but it angered me to my core. Luckily, the magic of Pintrest allowed me to take back my thunder, restoring my kitchen to its pest-free glory.

Being called Mandy-This one is a simple issue. My name is Amanda. Not Mandy Not Mandie. Amanda. Please don’t call me Mandy because that’s not my name. You can call me Manda, Manders, Manda Panda, Amanda-kiss-n-hug, Manda-lin, etc. It’s less about particularities of my personality, and more about common courtesy. Why do people insist on addressing me by a different version of my name without knowing me or my preferences? It’s like calling someone Bill before they have a chance to tell you they prefer their given William. Just ask if someone has a preferred name before you rudely assume you are best friends and can call people whatever you want.

People who don’t say goodbye on the phone-Another courtesy issue (oh, there are so many) that I’m bothered by at work. As a customer service rep, it is a daily struggle to find common, American etiquette in other people. Please, please, please say good-bye before you hang up the phone. It is the courteous way to let the person on the other line know the conversation is over. Just do it, so I don’t have to wait on the line like a douchebag for another 5+ seconds hoping you’re going to hang up on me. Ugh!

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Writer Rage:

Writers against editors-My only coherent response is—STOP BEING SO PRETENTIOUS! My non-coherent response is rjsdjftjjfdjft.  Translation: I feel an extra special disappointment for all writers who choose to snub an editor. It makes no logical sense to discredit a tried and true aspect of the writing/publishing process. To disregard the input of an editor both in a professional situation and in general conversation is to cheat your characters from reaching their full potential.

Regardless of whether the editor is a friend, stranger, or world-famous, his/her opinions matter. The occupation of editor strives on bringing out the best in the story no matter the cost. It’s not about personal preference or what HAS to be in the book. The editor doesn’t care about the writer’s feelings because it’s not their job to make sure you’re happy. The editor worries about the characters, the overall story and of course, the reader.

Sure, as a writer you should begin every piece writing it for yourself. Yet, if you so choose to publish then it becomes a less selfish act of sharing your personal thoughts and experiences with others. By handing your precious composition off to a trusted source (the editor), you allow your story to be scrutinized and elevated to a level of completeness you couldn’t have imagined. In addition, it helps lend credibility to your work when you don’t have glaring grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, or giant plot holes. Editors are a writer’s friend. They give you the unbiased, critical support your story needs when you get too close. Gah!

So, there is my current life rage. There are many more, which I chose to save for another post, and instead I will show off my newly painted cell phone case, which happens to be modeled after my rather snazzy new domain/brand-The Spotted Writer. I feel like I am on my way towards success with a little piece of merch to go with my blog. Check it out!

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Happy Reading/Writing!

 

 

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June 21, 2014 · 1:23 am

Have You Ever Been Struck by Lightning?

amyoung0606:

Love knowing that others share the shock when a new idea comes in to your brain.

Originally posted on Fiction All Day:

Not literally – though if you have literally been struck by lightning you can answer that question, too – but have you ever had an idea so explosive and exciting pop into your head that you felt you just had to go with it?

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I have to admit that this does not happen to me very often.  Ideas pop into my head all the time, and I have a few organized files where I make sure to write them down so that I can come back to them later (read: never).  But being hit by an idea that you just can’t ignore is something special, and I think that I’ve only had it happen to me twice.

The first time was about four years ago, when I had an idea for a four book series that I am still completely obsessed with.  It’s been running around my head ever since, but I’m not…

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Are celebrities our new gods?

amyoung0606:

So accurate and disturbing. Must read.

Originally posted on honeythatsok:

As a curious atheist with only an academic interest in religion I have over some time now come up with the following working theory: celebrities are modern day gods. I think it makes perfect sense. I mean, it really is the only way to explain the amount of coverage someone like Kim Kardashian is able to receive in a time where we have so many actual problems facing our existence on this planet.

love-is-my-religion

We have more media than ever before, for the first time in history being published doesn’t cost anything. We have phones, tablets, computers, TV and radio are still hanging in there – all designed to give us lightening fast access to information. And wouldn’t you say about roughly 70% of that time spent on these devices is spent talking about ourselves (Facebook), improving our image (Instagram) and gossiping about celebrities and the latest corporate media distraction/sensation?

How…

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