No more so than usual, but this week, I feel like I need to just lay around in bed for a week and recuperate. Unfortunately, there is much to do. I’m preparing to go back to school which means packing. And cleaning. And frankly, I’m not very good at either.
I’ve been trying to write for several days now. All kinds of projects to work on: Aphrodite and Apollo’s storyline must go on, I have a few more queries I would like to send out, and I should be working on character building for the sequel to Chasing Fae. And of course, there should have been a blog post on Wednesday.
But it has finally happened where my creative juices have temporarily run dry.
I have a couple pieces in the works to boost the blog’s traffic and visibility in the writing world, but I am begging to hear from you. You, readers, are the ones who drive much of what I write on this blog. If you want to see more interesting things from this blog, please comment below with the following:
Any information you would like to hear about any stage of the writing process
Magic power in the Three Realms comes from the energy in a Fae or demon’s soul. A magic user feeds the spells with his or her willpower. While the magic that is present in the general world is inexhaustible, the magic present in an individual person is exhaustible. It can usually be recharged with rest, sleep, or certain potions if exhausted. If used up too quickly or too strongly, the magic user will fall into an unconscious state, whether temporary or in extreme cases, permanent. If magic continues to be used to the limit consistently, death is inevitable.
Limits of Magic
Fae are born with a certain small number of inherent magical gifts, or specific types of magic that they have a greater affinity for. This type is called inherent magic. However, noble Fae are born with a greater number of inherent gifts because of their bloodline.
Fae can also learn other types of magic that they do not have a natural affinity for. However, it takes years and years of study to perfect their talents, and even then, some people cannot achieve other types of magic effectively. There are a handful of mages who have power nearly equal to that of a noble Fae because of their propensity to learn. They spend their whole lives studying and usually teaching magic.
Some spells are limited by the time they can be cast. An example of this is a spell that depends on the position of the sun or moon.
Casting A Spell
Casting a spell requires up to three distinct pieces. The first and most general one is intent. The intention of the spell must be focused on intently in order for it to work. In the beginning, Fae must focus for an extended period of time to get a spell to work. More advanced magic users only need a few seconds. The second one is the correct wording. Some spells require a recitation of words coupled with the intent to complete it. This usually starts out as a verbal command and then eventually, with time and practice, can become a non-verbal command. The third one is the correct materials. Certain protection spells or soul-seeking magic must occur at specific times with specific items handy. This can consist of anything from ordinary plants to magical artifacts. These items can usually be obtained from magical craftsmen or magical merchants. However, occasionally, it takes a far rarer type of item that can only be found in certain geographic locations or in certain centers.
Some spells can be stored in charms or amulets for later use.
Some spells require long drawn out rituals, usually ones involving elements of nature (sun, moon, ocean, etc.).
Two or more magic users can combine their power to amplify a spell. However, it is extremely taxing on the both of them and usually not worth the energy loss. It is only used in dire situations.
A mage’s powers often grows stronger over time with age. The level of power in a Fae is measured by:
Presence of noble blood.
Number of inherent gifts.
Execution of non-inherent magic.
Types of Magic: Levels and Tiers
My magic system is broken up into three levels, each with five tiers. At each tier, you step up the strength of each type of magic. At each level, you also increase the strength. Using this method offered me a clear path of seeing how strong an individual character was, how others measured up against one another. It’s been incredibly useful. I have tables and everything. I started typing those, but they would make this article about twenty pages long. Let me know if you’d like to see that in a PDF in the comments below!
Here are the types of magic that exist in the Three Realms:
Animation Magic: The ability to bring in animate objects to life
Disintegration Magic: The ability to disintegrate matter
Elemental Magic: The ability to control or manipulate the elements of nature (water, fire, wind, earth).
Absorption Magic: The ability to absorb energy and convert it into something else like physical strength.
Augmentation Magic: The ability to enhance or weaken someone else’s powers.
Conversion Magic: The ability to absorb one form of energy and convert it into another form of energy.
Energy Manipulation Magic: The ability to manipulate another person’s powers into something else.
Force Field Generation Magic: The ability to project powerful fields of manipulated energy that often act as shields.
Negation Magic: The ability to mute the powers of another person.
Sacrificial Magic: The ability to draw power from the death of another.
Sensing Magic: The ability to sense or recognize magical power.
Sourcing Magic: The ability to draw magical power from energy sources.
Flight Magic: The ability to levitate oneself or to fly.
Forensic Magic: The ability to backtrace a spell for the purpose of tracking down people who commit crimes.
Glamour Magic: The ability to disguise oneself.
Healing Magic: The ability to heal or heal from any injury.
Illusion Magic: The ability to disguise something as something else.
Divination: The ability to foresee or foretell future events.
Invisibility: The ability to be invisible.
Shapeshifting Magic: The ability to turn one’s form into that of an animal.
Gravity Magic: The ability to manipulate gravity and its effects.
Light Magic: The ability to generate or extinguish light.
Quantum Tunneling Magic: The ability to move through walls.
Medium Magic: The ability to see and communicate with the dead.
Necromancy: the ability to reanimate and/or control the dead.
Poison Magic: The ability to work with poisons more adeptly and/or possess poisonous abilities.
Possession Magic: The ability to occupy, dominate, and/or control another person from within.
Psionic Magic: The ability to communicate or perceive beyond the five physical senses, including empathetic magic, memory manipulation, mind control, telekinesis, and telepathy.
Sound Manipulation Magic: The ability to alter sound.
Durability Magic: The ability to have a higher resistance to injury than an average person.
Reflex Amplification Magic: The ability react faster than an average person.
Senses Magic: The magnified ability to see, hear, feel, smell, and/or taste.
Speed Magic: The ability to move faster than an average person.
Strength Magic: The ability to have more strength than an average person.
Water Breathing Magic: The ability to breathe underwater.
Herb Magic: The propensity for discovering/working with various herbs.
Plant Magic: The propensity for discovering/working with various plants.
Weapons Amplification Magic: The ability to strengthen the impact, defense abilities, and durability or weapons.
Wow, that’s a mouthful, huh? It’s fairly complex, but I really enjoy the way it all fits together. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Happy writing!
Hello everybody! First, I want to make an exciting announcement. Today, episode #7 of the Write Track Podcast released today on which I am a guest panelist. In this episode, two other fantastic authors and I discuss YA as a genre along with the host, Valencia Stokes, along with its strengths and biggest criticisms. This was such a fantastic experience; I had a great time recording this with these ladies. Listening back to it, I sound pretty professional. Blows my mind. I’d appreciate it if everyone would give it a listen. Click this link to take you to the website! This podcast is also available on Spotify and iTunes.
This brings up a great topic that I’d like to briefly touch on today, which is how to conduct yourself during a podcast. Doing a podcast was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Surprisingly, it was really easy to get into it and communicate effectively. Here are my top three best tips that I can provide for doing a speaking engagement like this.
Prepare. – Now in this instance, I was lucky enough to receive a list of questions that would be asked beforehand. That gave me the opportunity to make some notes about how I wanted to answer each of the questions that I could have with me during recording. If that is the case for your podcast, I would highly recommend making some notes. It’s a great guide even though you will absolutely go off on a tangent. Don’t be afraid of it. If you don’t get a list of questions, make some notes about the topic in general so you will feel less blindsided.
Make sure your audio is set up. – No matter what recording platform you are using, all of them will use some kind of audio settings. If you’re recording over your laptop or phone, take some time beforehand to make sure your microphone and speakers are in good working order. Be prepared to fiddle with it if something goes wrong during recording. My speakers suddenly cut out, and the audio I was listening to dropped to a whisper. I had to hold my phone up to hear for a couple questions before I spoke. Luckily, I got it fixed, and everything went smoothly from there. Which brings me to my next point…
Don’t be afraid to adapt. – The conversation is going to flow in a lot of unexpected directions even if there is a loose outline in place. That’s the beauty of a podcast. Expect to come up with things on the fly. But if you’re invited to a podcast, you know your stuff. You know your topic. You just have to talk. Let it flow. Play off of what someone else has said. Take an opposing point. Make yourself be heard.
Thank you for reading today. Check out the podcast, and happy writing!
I am so pleased to announce that I am officially published in the historical field. The World War I Centennial website is currently being archived by the US Government for future research and therefore counts as a professional publication. I am absolutely ecstatic. To be published in my field at my age is a huge deal, and I’m incredibly proud of this piece. Please enjoy!
Yesterday, I attended the Chesapeake Writing Workshop in Arlington, VA. This was my very first writing conference, and it was such a whirlwind! I had the opportunity to interact with other writers in the area, get some feedback on my first ten pages, and pitch my book to a literary agent for the first time. I’ve got a lot to tell you about, so let me get started right away.
I actually missed the first train to Crystal City.
I was in the Foggy Bottom metro station waiting for the blue line train to come at 8:36 am. An orange line train was stuck on the track because of a holdup at the next station over. I was getting nervous because I wanted to get to the hotel with enough time to check in and get oriented. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I watch a blue line train pull into the opposite track. Turns out, I had been looking at the wrong side.
Typical of me to get turned around, to be honest.
The doors closed before I could hop on, so I had to wait for the 8:48 am train. Luckily, I made it to the Crystal Gateway Marriott in plenty of time. I got my nametag and a folder with a copy of the day’s schedule before setting off to the first talk I wanted to see.
The first lecture I attended was about middle grade and young adult books. It was there that I truly understood how versatile the YA genre truly is; people from mid elementary age all the way up to adulthood read young adult novels. You have the ability to cater to a wide audience with YA that I think is very genre-unique. I only got to stay in about twenty minutes though because at 10 am, it was time for my 10 page critique.
Ten Page Critique
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into my critique. I wanted to keep my expectations reasonable, but I also wanted to believe that I was ready for querying. In my heart, I was ready. But was the book ready?
I met with Moe Shalabi, a Palestinian-American author and former junior literary agent at Talcott Notch Literary. As soon as I sat down, the first words out of his mouth were how he loved the story, loved the characters, and needed to know more. I have to say, I was floored. I just filled up with excitement, wanting to hear more of what he had to say. His evaluation of my work was incredibly helpful. He pointed out some details to elaborate on: ways to bring the world to life more, a few points about fleshing out the characters sooner, and some points about verb tense in flashbacks. He also said something to me that I will never forget, something that’s going to stick with me for a long time.
He told me that I had a natural talent for writing.
In that moment, I felt like I was on the right path in my life. This was the idea, this was the story, this was the one that was going to get me where I’d always wanted to be ever since I was 11 writing my first novel.
It was such an honor to hear that, and I’m quite humbled by it. I couldn’t wait to get home and make those edits. I knew they were going to make my work stronger.
My First Pitch
Of course, then I had to turn around and pitch half an hour later! I spent about ten minutes riding out the high of my critique before I buckled down and drilled my pitch out loud several times. I wanted to make sure I could deliver my summary confidently and clearly.
At 10:50 am, I walked over to Stephanie Kehr, a junior agent for C.Y.L.E Literary. She was my one and only pitch for the day. I liked what I had read about her, and I was hoping that I could make a good impression. After introducing myself, I sat down and launched directly into my pitch. For the first time, I delivered something verbal clearly and concisely with no waver on my voice and without my face turning bright red. It went off without a hitch.
She asked me if I happened to have a sample chapter with me. Although the conference had said you shouldn’t need to hand over anything to the agent you’re pitching to, I had thought ahead. I had seen on Stephanie’s website that for in person pitches, she liked to see a sample chapter, so I had one on hand. She glanced over the first page and told me it seemed like good writing. She handed me her business card and asked me to submit materials to her: my first three chapters, a synopsis, and platform numbers.
I was ecstatic. Especially because she’s currently closed to submissions. To make it over that hurdle means the world to me even if that’s where my book stops with her.
Somehow after all that, I still had almost five minutes left in my ten minute pitch time. I felt incredibly awkward, so I tried to start up a conversation. She gave me some good advice for debut writers and young writers in particular, and we talked briefly about YA as a genre and its versatility. I thanked her for her time and walked out of that room beaming.
Afternoon Lecture: Author Platform
After lunch and a sit-in on a live agent critique of authors’ first pages (never got to mine), I went to my favorite lecture of the day on building an author platform. This is probably my favorite subject, and as most of you know, I’ve been doing a lot of work on building that up over the last six months. But I really wanted to know what more I could be doing to improve my visibility.
A couple takeaways for me:
I really need to start working on an email newsletter. I’ve attempted to start one a few times, but due to international spam law (that’s a thing!), I have to leave a mailing address at the bottom of the newsletter. Now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I probably could use my mailbox at my college. That would be a physical mailing address I have access to, but if something malicious were to occur, I can’t be tracked to my dorm room or my home address. I need to look more into that.
I want to do more guest posts for others. Preferably fantasy leaning or writing blogs that would help boost traffic onto my website. I think I’m doing a fairly good job of writing about fantasy writing, so why not share it with more people?
After the conference, I worked into the late evening on editing my first ten pages according to my critique. I pulled all of my query materials together, and last night, I sent out the first batch of query submissions: the six that I originally selected plus Stephanie Kehr from the conference. I had a little send off call with my mom, sister, and boyfriend where I sent off the emails/online forms with them on the call with me. My dad was unfortunately traveling, so he didn’t get to join me. Next time though for sure! I’ve forbid him from traveling during the next submission round xD.
Now comes the waiting game.
How long will that be?!
Note: I want to especially thank my father for paying my way for this conference. It was an invaluable experience that I will never forget. I made steps in my writing career today because of him, and I just want to say thank you.
Hey everybody! For today’s post, I want to take some time to go over what’s happening in my life right now, both the writing news and the life news.
Chasing Fae is Complete!
Monday night, I finished my novel, Chasing Fae! It’s finished! I’ve done four different revisions on this book from first draft to the final draft (draft five!). It’s been a real learning curve, learning how to edit properly. I’ll definitely be pulling information on revising and editing your novel for a blog series for you guys because I had enough difficulty trying to figure it out on my own research. I did my final readthrough and grammar check over two days to make sure I caught any remaining mistakes.
I’m incredibly proud of this novel; it has been a long time coming to get from idea to where I am right now. I want to thank everyone in my life who has supported me throughout this journey: from my parents, to my little sister, to my amazing boyfriend, and all my friends over in the Writing Community. I wish I had the time to thank absolutely everyone who was involved, but you’d be here all day!
Next Stop: The Querying Stage
Starting Saturday, I’ll be sending out my first batch of queries. Six, to be exact. I’ve read that it’s good to send out between six and eight at once. I’ve already picked my first six literary agents to query to, and honestly, I’d be pleased to work with any of them. I’m feeling confident about my query letter itself; the professional editor thought it was very strong. Now, it’s all up to fate! Wish me luck!
My First Writing Conference
On Saturday, I will be attending the Chesapeake Writing Workshop right here in DC! I’m so humbled to have the opportunity to attend this writers’ conference. I’m going to be sitting in on various lectures from professionals on a variety of subjects on writing and publishing. I also have the opportunity to pitch my book to a literary agent for the first time and get feedback on the first ten pages of my novel, which is usually part of your standard query package. I can’t wait!
I’m super excited to announce that this week, one of my articles I wrote at my internship is going to be published on their website this week! Because the website is being archived by the government, it qualifies as a professional publication. I’m so incredibly proud. To be professionally published in my chosen field of history at nineteen is crazy. I can’t wait to see it. Let me know if you want me to link it on the site!
Getting Geared Up For Fall Classes
I know it’s almost two months out, but I’m already getting ready for fall classes. This fall semester is going to be a big one for me. I’m declaring both of my majors, history and anthropology, which means I need to start thinking about who I want to be my advisors! That’s gonna be a difficult find. I’ve also got a really great line up of classes. I found a way to take three history classes because one of them is under the classics department. Sneaky, huh? (They don’t typically recommend doing that, but I know what I want!) I’m taking a Greek Civilization class, a class on the Crusades, and a class on historical method. I’m also continuing on with French while simultaneously starting German. Yes. I know I’m crazy. But hey, if I’m looking at grad school, I want a good head start.
Thanks for reading! See you on Saturday where I’ll be catching you up on what happens at the writing conference!
I woke up this morning to find this! I can’t even believe it. The blog has only been live for about six months, and I found myself on a list with some pretty impressive people. I am so, so honored to have been selected. Thank you so much, readers for your love and support. I’m super excited to move forward into the querying phase within the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!
What is your full name? – Grace Andrea Richardson.
How old are you? – I’m 19.
When were you born? – I was born in Lisden in the Middle Realm.
What is your current state of mind? – Current state of mind? Pretty chaotic. Lots of thoughts scrambling around. I’ve kind of blocked out most of my emotions. I guess that’s autopilot, huh?
What do you consider to be your lifelong dream or aspiration? – Lifelong dream? I don’t know… to get revenge on my brother’s killer? To avenge his death? I don’t know if I have many aspirations. I suppose I’d like to take care of my mother, make sure she’s okay. Oh! For myself? I suppose… I suppose I’d like to have some place where I feel like I truly belong.
How close are you to your family? – That’s such a loaded question. It’s entirely different for my various family members. Like, my brother and I? Inseparable. My mother and I are somewhere in the middle. We used to be close, but we’ve kind of grown apart since Leo’s death. And my dad? He was never around. I’ve never even met him. So our relationship is nonexistent.
What is your earliest memory of? – Violin music. I heard the violin for the first time when I was about three years old. I don’t remember much about where we were, but I could make out the melody of a pretty song. I begged my mom to let me try the pretty music. She and my brother had to physically drag me away from the performer.
What is your favorite memory from your teen years? – My first violin gig. One of Mom’s regular art clients was hosting a party. She caught me practicing one time when she stopped by to pick up a painting, and she demanded that I perform at her party. She offered me a decent amount of money, so I took the job. My mother and brother both came. I was super nervous, but when I finished that last note, I remember how brilliantly my brother smiled. I’ll never forget it.
Who is the person you despise the most, and why? – The Fae. Just… just all of them. I hate them. They took my brother away from me. They’re self-centered and all they do is take. They take from the people, they take from our Realm, and they take from our families.
Describe a normal day for you. – I wake up early to go for a run. Like, really early. About dawn. After my morning run, I can usually sneak in an hour at the gym before I head back to my own house before my mom wakes up. I eat breakfast with my mom. On non-gig days, I practice my violin for a couple of hours and then either do some studying/planning or paint with my mother. On gig days, I don’t really practice. Gives me more time to study or work out or rest for the evening. My mom and I always have dinner together. We talk the most then. In the evenings, I’ll either be at a gig or reading and relaxing some more. Sometimes I go out and back to the gym.
What about you is heroic? – That’s a weird question. I don’t really know how to answer it. I suppose my mission and my passion for it makes me heroic. My willingness to do whatever it takes maybe. A willingness to die for my family and friends? I don’t know.
What is your occupation? – I’m a freelance violinist. I used to do some art on the side as well, but now, it’s primarily playing violin. I play gigs and then also, I sometimes play street corners or train stations.
Do you like your job? – I love it. I love playing. Sometimes it can get monotonous cause a lot of clients want the same boring songs. But…even just playing makes me happy.
Describe your perfect romantic partner. – I want someone who will listen to me and let me have my space when I need it. I need someone stubborn and intense to match me. I need someone to take care of me when I need it and let me take care of them when I don’t. I want someone who’s not afraid of chaos cause my life is a lot of chaos. He should be able to keep up.
Do you think the future is hopeful? Why or why not? – I…. no. I really don’t see hope for our future. The Middle Realm is subjugated by the Upper Realm, I’m headed headfirst into a snake pit, and my brother is dead. What kind of a future could I hope for? Even if I do come out of this alive.
I am incredibly excited to announce that the third draft of Chasing Fae is finally finished!
I’ve had a decent amount of time on my hands after working at my internship during the daytime. I’ve had many an afternoon and evening to concentrate on making this book the best that it possibly can be. Major structural changes have been made that I believe really transform the reader’s experience in the world of the Three Realms. From character arc clarification, to new plot points, and a renewed sense of urgency in the storyline, the changes I have made make me very proud to be a writer.
I tried a new technique this time of working with two drafts side by side. I started an entirely new document for draft three and wrote alongside draft two, making large changes or copying and pasting between drafts. I felt like this really allowed me to watch the writing expand and shift directions. I could really see the movement of the story much better than any other revision technique I’ve used thus far. With a very clear to-do list in hand, I wrote and rewrote and wrote anew. The novel length increased by over eight thousand words. This puts it in a fantastic range for YA fantasy without going too far.
There’s nothing more invigorating than seeing your hard work finally come together on the page.
So what happens now?
I’ve sent off my book to three new beta readers who I’ve met through various #WritingCommunity projects. I’m going to give two of them a quick shoutout here since I know them well enough to do so: my wonderful friend, Hill T. Manner over at steamblogger.com (who I’m now collaborating with in admin on his site!) and the fantastic CJ Landry who I collaborate with over at All in the Pantheon. (She’s also just released a new poetry book, which I’m going to link here.) I’m super grateful to all of them for taking this on for me. I’m really excited to hear their feedback.
While I’m waiting to hear from them, I have a variety of tasks on my author to-do list! I’m going to spend some time working on the website to build up more of a following. (So if you’ve got some friends who you know would love this site, please send them a link!) I’m going to focus on Aphrodite’s storyline over at All in the Pantheon and make some decisions about who I want her to be. Finally, I’m going to work heavily on my query letter and my synopsis to make sure that those will be ready for querying this fall.
The writing never stops! But that’s what we love about it, isn’t it? We never have to stop.
Thank you for your constant support, everyone. Much love. <3
Hey everybody! On Monday, I finished up my last exam and my last paper, and I am officially finished with my freshman year! I can’t believe this year has gone by so fast. It feels like just a few weeks ago, I was moving into my freshman dorm, and now I’m trying to move out! I swear moving in was a lot easier.
My thoughts are a little jumbled right now due to me being a little under the weather. But I wanted to make sure I put out something solid for you all to read. So, I want to talk a little more in detail about the work I’ve been doing over the last couple weeks on the novel.
At the advice of a very handy revision guide (linked here for reference; I will most likely do an article on this later), I decided to break down my novel into chapter summaries. Basically for each chapter, I made notes about which characters were featured, where the scene takes place, and the important plot points. This serves as a really great tool to understand everything that is going on in the book without rereading the whole thing every time you want to make changes. Note: You should still frequently read the whole book when you do make changes; but right off the bat, I’ve found this to be a good first step.
After this, the revision guide provided me with a multitude of questions to identify the main structural edits that my book desperately needs. I really loved working through them. They gave me the best information I needed to identify what needed to be done. Sometimes it’s very hard to formulate these questions on my own without any direction. With these, I made a list of about 25 major/moderate structural changes that needed to be made.
25 seems like a lot to me. The guide recommended listing 20 for your first pass, but I’ve never been able to do anything with limitations xD. Now, once the list is made, the guide recommends to go ahead and start revising. But… I felt like I really wasn’t prepared to do that yet. Two of my biggest fixes were as follows: make character development bigger and much clearer and incorporate more worldbuilding throughout. I didn’t feel like I had all the tools necessary to revise in the best way.
So I went all the way back to the beginning. Back to my ten months worth of research and notes from before I wrote this novel in November. I hadn’t visited them in great detail in a decent amount of time, so it was long overdue. I worked with the character interview questionnaire alongside my character profiles so I could work with both my basic original ideas and have inspiration to build off of them.
I focused on Grace and Aiden for now as they are the most prevalent in the novel. I plan on working with other characters as I revise as they pop up in the story. Grace has become a fuller character: retaining her stubborn and passionate nature while mixing in a few more character flaws, fears, and somewhat of a softer heart underneath. Aiden has completely reverted back to my original intention for the character that did not come across at all in the current draft. He plays a little more fast and loose and is driven by a strong desire for adventure. His regrets in his life will hopefully come more into play as well as he develops.
What Happens Now?
Now that I’m finished with character development for the time being, I plan on working a bit with each of the locations. As much as I talk about worldbuilding, I need to revisit mine and create more descriptive details that can be readily incorporated when I need them. Especially in the Middle Realm: that area has not been as planned out as I would like.
So because of all this, my timeline has shifted significantly. I plan on spending the entire summer in revisions. A second beta read will be pushed to either late July or August, depending on how efficiently I revise once I’m ready. I won’t be querying until potentially September or October. As much as I am a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to start looking for literary agents this summer, it is more important that the book is in its best possible condition before being judged. I believe it will make the process go quicker at the end of the day. I want my novel to be strong. So I will put in the time.