Saturday, October 14, 2017
Happy Saturday! We only have seventeen days left to panic before NaNoWriMo begins! *yay* Last year I wrote a post about what I was writing for NaNo (it's funny how much of that story has already changed since editing), and that went surprisingly well, so I summoned the courage to do it again. 

I'm linking up with the Beautiful Books Tag hosted by Sky and Cait! Thanks for supplying the questions and the community. :D

I first got the idea at the MYWW workshop! I was in Sabaa Tahir's class and our assignment was to create a world together. One of the suggestions was that when a child turned eighteen they would receive a special dragon-speaking ability. That's been done before, so I wanted to turn the idea on its head. What if kids were born with superpowers, but lost them upon turning eighteen?

That's where my story originated! So I've had it for... four months? It came right in time for NaNo and I'm very thankful. xD

SUPERHEROES! *excitement*

Oh. Wait. You mean an actual fancy-professional-like blurb? I'll try. :P
They receive a superpower upon birth. They lose it once they turn eighteen. 
Ten years ago, Tasia's brother was kidnapped by hero traders -- criminals who use children's powers for their own crooked exploits. Her parents haven't been the same since, now convinced that he's dead. But until evidence proves her wrong. she refuses to believe that it's true. 
Tasia and her superhero partners are stationed in a destroyed underground railway system. Guided by her power of light, they spend their days patrolling for possible threats... until they stumble upon a dead body. Officials order them to let stronger heroes deal with this case, warning of hero traders involved with the murder. Clinging to the hope that it might be connected to her brother, Tasia convinces her team to go undercover and hunt the villain of this victim. 
The dead body is only the beginning. They learn crucial information about a rising villain, and soon their mission isn't just about restoring Tasia's family, but saving hundreds of lives in danger. 
The clock is ticking. Can Tasia and her team put their powers to use before they disappear entirely?
[only a rough blurb because it's SO LONG and needs condensing. but it'll do for now.]
YESS. This is my favorite question because I simply adore aesthetics. They create this powerful vibe and mood. It's almost like envisioning your book in movie form? I don't know, man. I'm kind of obsessed.
-- flickering lights, soft echoes, baggy hoodies, crunching boots on loose rock, the sound of cars thundering over a tunnel, radio static, coursing adrenaline as you flee death's arms, power, cuts and scrapes, day old fast food, bold newspaper headlines, missed calls, the indescribable bravery it takes to stand against evil --

ALL THE BRAINSTORMING! Lots and lots of brainstorming. I used to despise plotting, but now that I've experienced how helpful it is, I don't think I can ever go back to my pantser ways. Yeah, some people think it's boring to know exactly how the story is going to end (presumably, ha), but until I actually write it... it hasn't happened. I still get to experience that thrill and excitement. *shrug*

Other ways I prepare: ordering NaNo merch, going to a NaNo event at my library (I'm a little nervous about that because I have NO IDEA what to expect o.o), picking a theme album for my story, eating pizza, upping my caffeine intake (I kid, I kid)...

Before I start introducing the characters, please allow me to take a moment to ramble on the struggles of characterization. For instance: WHY IS NAMING CHARACTERS SO HARD? I've created temporary names for them (as you will see below), but... ugh. I despise naming like I despise spiders and vegetable pizza. >.< I'm assigning them a title that they will go by for the rest of their life! And that I will have to type hundreds of times! That's too much pressure for my little heart.

I could go in detail and describe all of my characters... but I have a lot and this blog post doesn't need to be the length of a novel. :P Instead, here are their powers and my pathetic naming abilities.

Tasia - can summon little, burning orbs of light out of her palms. (her name is the only name I have so far. #fail)
Mindy - mind reader. (MIND-y. Get it? :P)
Wallace - can walk through walls. (WALL-ace. Heh.)
Isaac - is able to see through other people's eyes. (EYE-zack.)
Missy [side character] - never misses a shot. (MISS-y. she never misses. :P)

I am so pumped about writing with a cast of characters! My last novel, Where Shadows Lie, had only one main character and one side character. There's little dialogue/interactions in that book, and now I'm transitioning into a Superhero story with four main characters. It'll be very different, but I'm ready for the change.

I'm also excited about finishing the novel! Because... if you weren't aware (you should be), Marissa Meyer comes out with a superhero book, Renegades, on November 7th. I have it preordered, but since I'm also writing a superhero book, I'm forcing myself to wait to read it until I've finished my own novel. Even though my project will be plotted out by that point, I don't want to accidentally sneak in any threads of inspiration from her. It'll be agony to wait, but then my conscious can remain clear in case I spot any similarities. :P

I also can't wait to find a title. Eventually. Hopefully. *grumble* Titles are usually one of my favorite parts of creating a new story... but it's giving me a headache this time. Oh well. xD

one: the majority of the story takes place in the underground railways. They've been abandoned for a looong time. Decades ago a supervillain destroyed them by exploded the railway transports, taking hundreds of innocent lives. It might be fun to write a short story about it someday... but I'm getting ahead of myself. I haven't even finished plotting the novel. xD

two: the world is an alternate US reality/timeline. I like the idea of placing the unfamiliar in the familiar. Then the core of the world itself remains the same -- but the culture, organizations, and how the cities run is obviously very different because there are young superheroes everywhere.

three: tying into the point above, it's been really fun exploring how having superheroes would impact the culture! I've created schools specifically for superheroes -- tests detecting their powers upon birth, how to use and maximize their powers, and short-term institutes specifically designed to help them adjust to life after losing their powers and to help settle them in the "real" world. (PHEW that was a long sentence. Oops.) Once they graduate from the school, the heroes will be assigned a mission or a station and use their powers for the good of their city until they turn eighteen. 

[those were more culture/world-building stuff than setting... but oh well. :P]

Well, I already mentioned this in the blurb, but if you skipped past that... my MC's (Tasia) goal is to find her brother who was kidnapped ten years ago. She was only seven when he first disappeared -- just a bit too young to go adventuring into a crime-infested city. :P

Now that she's older, with an opportunity at her fingertips. a group of friends that have her back, and limited time before her powers disappear... It's either now or never.

There you have it -- all the juicy little details of my NaNo novel. I hope you're intrigued! I don't think I've ever been this excited about writing a specific story. Beside the title, the ideas have come fairly easily, and so far there's not a sign of a sequel (I could cry I'm so happy about that).

Here's my NaNo profile so we can become buddies and scream about words, and then here's my Pinterest board for this novel (because #aesthetic).

katie grace

what are you writing for nanowrimo?


Saturday, October 7, 2017
I love to babble excitedly about things I'm passionate about -- I mean, who doesn't? 2017 has been a fantastic year for discovering all sorts of epic new stuff. I've been mentioning a few in my monthly highlights throughout the year, but I wanted to consolidate my favorites into one, big post. Here's a list of my new findings (specifically: music, books, and movies) of 2017.

(I wanted to write this later in the year since it's meant for the entirety of 2017... but next month is NaNo and December is my blogging break, so I guess it's now or never. xD)

M U S I C:
(links are going to lead to YouTube, though the songs are available on Spotify)
(pictures in this post are not mine.)
nature boy //  half the world away

Her music is absolute PERFECTION for writing -- especially for fantasy stories! She has a hauntingly beautiful voice and gorgeous, lyrical songs. I find them very calming yet an exceptional background for writing evil scenes. xD

[if you like her music, consider giving a listen to the music artists fleurie and ruelle!]

oh lord // real // know

(technically I discovered his music last year... but I didn't start consistently listening to it until this year, so)

Please let me take a moment to scream because he just released a new album yesterday! *screams* I haven't listened enough to create any concrete opinions, but so far I really like it. I'm partial to the song Know (linked above) just because it has a Twenty One Pilots reference in it. o.o So that's awesome. xD

If you don't usually listen to rappers, still give him a try because his lyrics are just so powerful and emotional. You may find this weird, but I almost always listen to NF's music while writing blog posts. I don't know why?? But there's something about the intense word-spitting that gets my fingers flying across the keyboard. xD

(forgot to mention that he is a Christian rapper and his songs are clean so you don't have to worry about any language or gross stuff like that. :P he's not afraid to talk about heavy themes, though.)

>> SONGS <<

THIS SONG. <3 I have a soft spot for simple songs that just tell a story, and this is exactly what Underground does. Ugh, I don't know why I love it so much, but I can't help but smile each time I hear it. This song creates such strong visuals in my mind!

i built a friend
alec benjamin

The first time I heard this song was when a dancer performed to it, and it was so beautiful and heart-touching that I immediately started to cry. IT'S SO MOVING I CANNOT. I recommend watching the dance with the song for the best experience. :P

(also... even though I was crying when I first heard this, I was extremely creeped out because I HAVE A STORY IDEA THAT IS SO. SO. SIMILAR TO THIS. Like, crazily similar. It's like they stole the idea out of my head, switched a few details, and then made it into this epic song. Seriously. It's weird.) 

{other songs}

B O O K S:

This year I've tried to be more realistic with my book ratings. When I was younger I basically rated every book five stars -- maybe four if I really wasn't feeling it. But now as I scroll through my Goodreads I don't know which books were actually worth five stars. Sigh. So here's the general outline of my rating system:


four stars: It was a really good book! I maybe have one or two problems with this book, or it just didn't have that extra magic of "oh my goodness I can't." o.o

three stars: didn't love it, didn't hate it. 'twas "fine."

two stars: well... I finished it! but... it was a struggle. like trying-to-walk-in-high-heels-on-a-tightrope-over-a-sea-full-of-crocodiles sort of struggle.

one star: most likely didn't finish this book. urghhh. reading this story was like getting bitten by one of those crocodiles in the sea under the tightrope. (okay, that sounded harsh. but... there's probably a reason I'm rating the book one star. xD)

OKAY THAT WAS A HUGE BUNNY TRAIL. Anyway, all of that and describing my system was to introduce my five star reads of 2017. So far I've only read four 5-star books, which is a little disappointing, but I also haven't read as many books as previous years. And I really really love these books. *hugs them to death* I almost think they're due for another reread. ;)

(links will lead to goodreads if you click on the author's name)
midnight at the electric
jodi lynn anderson

I've flailed over this book before, BUT PLEASE LET ME FLAIL OVER IT AGAIN. I randomly picked it up at the library because I thought the title was pretty. I glanced at the back cover blurb, saw the word mars, and knew that I had to at least give it a try.

(advice: don't start book at 11:15pm. you will unavoidably stay up past midnight and suffer from an aching back and tired eyes the next morning)

This is the kind of story I want to write. The author has such a way with words, flowing beautifully and lyrically. It's not a huge action book -- there aren't world ending disasters and explosions. Instead it's about family histories that span generations. It's about loss and friendship and getting to know the hearts of the characters. IT'S JUST SO GOOD.

The mood/aesthetic occasionally gave me Interstellar type vibes? (which makes even more sense as to why I loved this book, haha)

scorpio races
maggie stiefvater

So. Confession: I first picked this book up three or four years ago, gave it a try, and stopped a couple chapters in and decided that it was the most boring book to ever exist. I WAS SO WRONG. I must've been in the wrong mood or something, because I completely adored it when I gave it a second try! One difference is that I listened to it on audiobook this time, so... maybe that's what changed my mind?

But, ugh. Super gorgeous, lyrical writing. <3

angel eyes
shannon dittemore

I honestly wasn't expecting to like this book very much. I've never been the type to be intrigued by books with Christian paranormal elements, but Nadine told me that she read it in one sitting, so I decided to pick it up.

And then I never set it down until I finished it. That's huge, because I haven't read a book in one sitting for a looong time. This book has a little of everything. Action, adventure, mystery, a touch of romance, a touch of humor.

This book is Christian fiction book, and it had some very poignant and thoughtful messages. Usually Christian messages don't strike me as much in books, but this one did. And the angel characters didn't seem odd -- they were done carefully and the author handled it well. :D

real friends
shannon hale

Now as I'm going over my list of five star books, I realize that they all have one thing in common: I've read them in one sitting. (excluding The Scorpio Races, but that was a ten-hour-long audiobook, so.) :P

Real Friends was an extremely quick read -- it probably only took me a half an hour. It was so cute! The majority of the book is actually based on the author's life and her struggles with friendship, which made it extremely heartfelt and relatable. READ IT.

M O V I E S:
spider-man homecoming

I mean... this movie probably doesn't come as a surprise to you, seeing that I wrote an entire blog post about my extreme love for it. So I'll just link to that instead of rambling about it here. xD


*sighs happily* I'm not one for war movies, but I love Christoper Nolan's work, and the trailer was amazing, so I tagged along with my dad when he went to the movie theater to see it. I'm so glad I did. It's a very unique movie and it's hard to put it into words. There's hardly any dialogue, hardly any focus on the characters. << sounds like a horrible idea, right? But it worked so perfectly. It's like the movie was made up of little moments instead of a giant, complex plot. Just go see it -- you'll understand what I'm saying when you do.

gifted // the theory of everything // the greatest game ever played // rewatched Civil War for the sixth time, hehe // rewatched the Harry Potter series

- - -
PHEW YOU MADE IT TO THE END (presumably. maybe everyone gave up halfway through :P *hands you cookies if you did survive until the end*). I think this was the longest blog post I've ever written. Which makes sense since this took four hours to write and format and edit. *naps for seven years* *or maybe just until NaNo*

katie grace
what are your new findings of 2017?


Saturday, September 30, 2017
"Have you heard what Mozart's up to?"
"He's decomposing."

(sometimes I use stupid jokes as blog post intros. now to the highlights of september we go :P)

VACAAATIONNNN! I retreated with my family to a lakeside cabin resort for a couple of days, and it was so nice. Vacations are meant for relaxation, but for me vacations = WRITING RETREATS! So I plopped myself down in a comfy chair and window table and basically wrote there all week long. It was glorious and reconfirmed my dream of being a full time writer someday. How glorious would it be to write, blog, brainstorm, + socialize over the internet all day long? :P

We went hiking a few times over the vacation, and I expected a few hills, maybe just a slight burn in my calves after we were done... BUT THEN END UP TAKING A PATH THAT HAS 437 STAIRS. *collapses* As I writer I have put my characters through many less-than-desirable situations... but I would never torture them to such an extreme as this. :P

Our room in the resort also had a giant media screen projector, which meant watching lots of movies (yay movies! especially eating snacks during the movie xD). I rewatched Interstellar for the fourth (?) time, and it is my favorite movie ever. Someday I'll write a post about my extreme love for it. IT JUST INSPIRES ME AND IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF VIBE I WANT MY STORY TO HAVE. *happy sigh* Just writing about it makes me want to go watch it again. <3

this was my writing view all week. TAKE ME BACK. <3
Random, but I've been better about going to bed early? ("early," hahaha) Last year/beginning of this year it wasn't rare for me to stay up past one, but that hasn't happened in a long time. And if it does, it happens on a Friday night when I'm rushing to finish my blog post. :P I'm TRYING to be better about healthy sleep habits, but it's so hard when I'm a natural night owl. >.<

New song of the month: Dreamers by Oh Gravity. I've been playing it on repeat on my Spotify ever since I discovered it. Snippet of the beautiful lyrics below:
We're the lines in between, in the shadows we glow
As the world falls asleep, we're the voices that don't
And together we sing, what our hearts can't contain
Whatever comes next we'll bring all the stories we make

LOOK! I READ MORE THAN TWO BOOKS! The last time this happened was in May, and before that February. I'm a happy bookworm. And since I don't plan to be doing much writing in October -- just plotting -- I'm hoping for another five next month. 

I just really adore stories. I lowered my Goodreads reading goal last month, and that was really freeing, because now I only read when I genuinely want to read. Which has been happening a lot more -- it's great, but also frustrating because I need to write and work and do school and a bajillion of other things as well. xD

Vengeance Road [3/5] - This may sound harsh, but I am not a fan of western stories. So, considering that, this rating is actually quite high! xD Lots of gun shootin', lots of twists, and lots of me squealing over the beautiful cover. // goodreads

Unsanctioned Eyes [4/5] - Huzzah for dynamic, tea-loving characters! This is an extremely quotable book filled with many witty, fun, and thought-provoking one liners. There's so much promise for future stories from this author. :D // goodreads

Broken Wings [2.5/5] - This is the second book in the Angel Eyes trilogy, and for some reason it didn't click with me? Which is disappointing since I rated the first one five stars. But the reviews on Goodreads rave over the third and final book, so I'm still going to give it a go. (supposedly there are lots of plot twists so that gives me hope!) // goodreads

Midnight at the Electric [5/5] - THIS BOOK WAS SO SURPRISINGLY GOOD. I randomly picked it off of the library shelf (which I normally never do) and read it all in one sitting after midnight. Gorgeous lyrical writing, dynamic characters, beautiful interwoven plot... READ IT. <3 // goodreads

Welcome to Night Vale [3/5] - It's a very entertaining story, but if you're choosing between the podcast and the book... go for the podcast. I maybe would've liked this more if I listened to it on audiobook, but it dragged on at some points. *shrug* // goodreads

this is the closest I'll get to my story's setting in real life :')
WRITING WAS SO MUCH FUN THIS MONTH. Editing didn't feel like a chore! I actually wish I had more time to edit! And coming from me, that's a big statement. But I'm passionate about this story. I want to make it better and share it with others someday. <3

I've been working on the second draft of Where Shadows Lie for several months, slowing chugging through the story. But the vacation helped create some extra momentum, and I'm so close to finishing the second draft! *confetti* I'm hoping to go into "super-ninja-editing-mode" after work this afternoon. I WILL GET IT DONE (maybe :P).

We went up north by Lake Superior for our vacation, and the setting was PERFECT for my story. I sat on the rocks by the lake while editing a chunk of my novel that takes place on the sea. It was epic, even though I soaked my boot in the water (oops). And birch trees! They are what first inspired this story, so it was awesome to see little clumps of them scattered throughout our hikes.

October will be the beginning of #NaNoPrep. (of my superhero story!) I'm FINALLY starting to make progress in creating a general plot line. There is still so much to work out, but Hannah has been a huge help in brainstorming the novel. *flails wildly* I'm super (haha, get it? super? as in superhero? sorry) excited about writing in a modern day setting. That means technology and cities and cars and the internet! It opens up a whole new world of possibilities. :D

Do you people watch? Lisa wrote a short story of her observations on a simple Saturday drive, which was so beautiful. It makes you wonder about everyone's story. <3

Anna has some AMAZING tips on "how to stay sane when life isn't." Check it out because she shares some seriously wonderful advice.

Alea shared this next post with me (thank youu!). It's a very insightful article by a successful author and blogger (K.M. Weiland) about "protecting creativity." <--good stuff right here.

Thinking about a Bible reading plan for next month? Nadine's introducing a new challenge: Old Testament October.

- - -

HOW WAS SEPTEMBER FOR YOU? If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, will you be joining the ranks of plotters in October? Or are you a die hard pantser? Somewhere in between? I hope preparation goes amazingly for you -- START STOCKING UP ON COFFEE NOW, hehe. xD

katie grace

how was your september, my friends?