Beautiful Books: November 2015

It's time for Round Two of Beautiful Books. If you're new to the linkup, it's hosted by the creators of the monthly Beautiful People linkup. To find out more and to join the fun, check out Sky's blog and Cait's blog!

1.) Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
Some of it is working out like I’d thought (a major part of my first chapter turned out almost like I’d first imagined, which was pretty cool). There’s also a plot point that I wasn’t sure how to introduce, but it has worked itself into tinier threads in the story almost on its own.

2.) What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
For the first time in at least six months, I’m wearing heels.
(That’s Kady’s POV, by the way.)

3.) Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
I’m more of a plantser. I’ve used both methods independently before, but this year it’s been a mix. Songbirds has been an idea in my head for about a year-and-a-half. I did some planning in October, but I like having room to let the story take its own turns from time to time.

I’ve had success with both methods, but I think choosing a process really depends on the individual story.

4.) What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
Usually with candy or some other treat. I’m not sure what this year’s actual reward will be.

5.) What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
Most of the time, my characters will come with a name. Sometimes it’s just a placeholder until I find one that really clicks for them; other times I have to dig.

The Songbirds cast had their names mostly from the start. I had to do a bit more digging to settle on names for Tiergan and Caswell.

I have a document and notebook where I scribble down names I like. is one of my favorite name resources, but sometimes I use Behind the Name. I also like finding unique names on old tombstones and using them for future characters (“Caswell” is one that I found in a cemetery.)

6.) What is your favorite to write: beginning, middle, or end—and why?
It really depends on the project. With Songbirds, I’m looking forward to writing a lot of the events in the latter part of the book. If they turn out like I plan, there will be big action sequences and high stakes, which I’m hoping I can capture on the page without them falling flat.

7.) Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
Probably Tiergan. I’m not writing from his POV, and so far, he’s only been present in chapters from Kady’s POV. It’s interesting to see how his actions and motives come across to her, compared to what they really are.

Of my two narrators, I think Kady is my favorite. It’s easier to figure out her thoughts and to view certain events through her eyes.

8.) What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?)
I’ve researched names of songbirds, military ranks, and jellyfish, to name a few. Jellyfish are probably the weirdest (random research find: there’s apparently a breed of jellyfish that is possibly sort-of immortal).

Most of my research for Songbirds has been internet-based.

9.) Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
I’d have to say I probably write better alone, but I’m used to being around a group while I’m writing. I’ve written at family gatherings, in the car, and even a couple of times during practice for a Christmas play. Sometimes it can be distracting, but usually it’s not terribly so.

I share some of my fiction, though what phase depends. For my novels, I try to make sure they have been polished at least a little bit.  My mom is usually the first to read what I write, though sometimes it’s my sister. Other family members who have read some of my work are my dad, cousin, uncle, and grandmother. Non-family readers have been the teacher and classmates in my creative writing classes, blog buddies, and a coworker. (I also had some stuff on Inkpop years ago…)

10.) What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
I don’t have a specific snack, though I do love having chocolate nearby. I like keeping something to drink (water, iced tea, soda…depends on my mood) already prepped, but I leave it in the kitchen so I have to leave my desk to go get it.

I’ve gotten in the habit of writing in the afternoons. Writing at night is usually easier and more productive for me but I’m not always able to write at night as often as I used to. I like sleep too much. :)

Usually, I have background noise going. Sometimes it’s TV, but most of the time it’s music. While I have a playlist for Songbirds, I’ve actually been listening more to Christmas music and a capella covers than the playlist.

Since moving last year, I don't have enough space for my big desk, so my mom let me use this table to create a writing nook! It's been a good space for noveling and blogging. 

So, there's a little bit of an update for NaNoWriMo! I've been meaning to blog more this month but as you can see, that didn't go as planned. Also, I'm working on blog-commenting; I'm just slow. :)   How has your November been?


  1. That is a super cute writing nook!! And omg I agree...sleep is very very nice. xD Usually during NaNo I'm up late getting my wordcount in, buuut, I find mornings/afternoons are better heehe. Good luck with your middle and action scenes! :D They're always incredibly fun, right?!
    Thanks for joining in the linkup and I hope you have a great rest of November!! :D

    1. Thanks! It is a good writing spot, when the cats decide I can disturb their naps to write there. :)

      Action scenes! I am rather enjoying the ones with this novel, which isn't always the case. But this year's novel has been relatively easy compared to some years so I'm hoping for the best!

  2. Behind The Name is my favorite website ever, I've been using it for YEARS! I love the idea of finding names on tombstones, though, a very unigue way. =) Also, immortal jellyfish? I must know more. Finally, someone else who shares their work with their family first, I was begining to think I was the only one! My brother reads all my stuff first followed by my mom. I LOVE your little writing nook! I find writing in the afternoon is my least productive time, I'm better early in the morning or at night, too many distractions otherwise!

    My Novmeber was awesome, by the way. I'm pretty happy with how my book turned out, especially considering I swtiched what I was going to write two days before NaNo started! Also, congrats on winning! Hope the book turned out good! =)

    1. Name-hunting is so much fun!

      My mom and sister are both big readers too, so I like having them read over my stuff and let me know what they think. :)

      Yay! I'm not sure I could have switched ideas with NaNo so close! :)


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