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
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!
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!
Hello everyone! Happy 4th of July weekend! DC essentially shuts down for the Fourth, so I’ve got a super long weekend to look forward to. Only one more week until my writers’ conference! I can’t wait to go. I’m still working on my pitch; I’ll let you all know how that goes!
Today, I want to talk to you about the basics of writing a query letter, especially for you young first-timers. I just wrote my query letter for the first time, and I’ve love to share some of my insights.
Basic Parts of A Query Letter
When I geared up to write my query letter, I did a lot of research. I scoured the internet far and wide looking for sample query letters, guides to writing query letters, and my favorite, lists of dos and don’ts. I made sure to focus my search on what specifically works best for a fantasy query letter. Here’s what I was able to scrounge up:
1. The Basics: When beginning your query letter, I believe that the best way to start is to come straight in with the facts. It’s a simple equation: I am seeking representation for [Title of Novel], a [State your genre and audience.], complete at [Word Count]. I’ve found that this gets the point of your letter across right away. Getting to the point is important in such a quick letter.
2. Referral: Where did you hear about this agent from? Did you meet at a conference? Did you speak with the agent in any capacity? If not, you should list what the specific reason is that you contacted this agent. Go back to that agent’s wish list and make sure your book matches.
3. Summary: I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at summarizing. I can never get my thoughts condensed down to a handful of words. But it is essential for writing the best query possible. Now, I’m not equipped to give tips on how to do this. What I did was essentially sit down for a while and think hard about my story. Then I just wrote it, a summary of a little less than two hundred words. I actually really like the way it turned out.
4. Credentials: After your summary, you should talk about any and all writing credentials you have that may relate to the genre you’re writing. Make sure to mention any published works that you’ve written or any life experience that may relate directly to your genre. I talked about my website and its followers as well as my growing following on Twitter.
5. Closing: Make sure to close your query politely. Thank the agent for their time and consideration, but don’t sound overly thankful or apologetic about your own work. You’ve got this!
Thanks for reading! Comment below if this has been helpful to you.
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.
Hey everybody! I hope you all have been having a fantastic week. I know I have. I’m getting prepared to attend my first writers’ conference, and I’m working on crafting Aphrodite for my other writing project, All in the Pantheon. I’m doing the best I can to build up my image as a writer as I move into the querying stage for Chasing Fae! It’s all so new and exciting, and I can’t wait to go on this journey together with you. I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read posts as they come down the pipeline. I’ve been hearing good feedback so far, and I want to continue down that path. All of your support means so much to me.
That being said, I need your help! Readers and writers, both old hat and new to Fluff About Fantasy, I need input. What do you want to read more of? I’ve covered a lot of different topics from a young writer’s perspective as well as spent some time promoting my own novel. What do you want to hear from me in the coming weeks?
To name a few options for you:
Building An Author Platform series: I have two article ideas lined up to address tips for building a Facebook page as well as a Pinterest account.
Worldbuilding: The SFWA questionnaire series has just wrapped up, so there’s definitely a lot of content on this site. But I’m always happy to talk about worldbuilding. Comment below with specifics!
The Querying Process: Learn with me as I go along!
More information on Chasing Fae: If you’re interested, I’d love to share more information about my novel.
Anything! Anything is up for grabs, as long as it’s related to books or to writing.
I’d love to generate some ideas in order to keep turning out fresh content twice a week. I want to build up this website to be something that I and the writing community can be proud of. Whether you’re a seasoned writer with several published books or if you’re a young writer like me just starting out with a new idea, I want to hear your voice. Please, please, please, if you enjoy the content that you read on this website, please comment below.
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
When I was ten years old, I read Andrew Clements’ novel, School Story, for the first time. For anyone not familiar with his work, School Story is about two twelve-year-old girls who work together to get a book published. Natalie has written a full novel, and when her friend, Zoe, reads it, she is convinced that it’s good enough to be published. Natalie eventually agrees, but she wants the book sent to the publishing company where her mother works. She wants her mom to be the editor, but in order to get the book through to the top of the pile, Natalie and Zoe have to undertake the process through a series of pen names, false names, and a agency started with Zoe’s savings account.
This story struck me very deeply in several ways. First, I was fascinated by the process of getting a book from written stage to published stage. Clements did a fairly good job of running through the various steps and how a book moves through a publishing company. Second, I loved the fact that the girls were young. They were my age. What if I could do that? Get a book written and published at a young age? Could I? Did I have the potential to do that?
I decided I did.
I wrote my first book only a little while later when I turned eleven. It was a silly little children’s story, a story based around my own family set in a fantastical world of princes and battles and magic. It wasn’t very good, trust me; it won’t ever see the light of day. At least not without essentially an entire overhaul. But I loved writing it. See, as a kid, I thought this was fantastic. People my age I had shown it to thought it was good. I felt like I was on cloud nine. Not only had I managed to finish an entire book, I saw series potential. Somewhere I have a couple notebooks with ideas for the next six books. (The best series I had read at the time was Harry Potter, of course, so seven seemed like a logical number to me.) Now the only things I remember are small remnants.
Now almost immediately after editing this book, (yes, even I knew then books needed editing first!) I started to seek out literary agents. I knew it was very important to get one. My mom bought me a book home one day that had a list of literary agents and book publishers for children’s books for that particular year. I spent hours pouring over it. I had someone picked out, and I actually wrote my first query letter. I believe there’s still a copy of it in my email drafts.
But alas, eventually, the book faded from view for me. Don’t ask me why because I really don’t remember. However, my thoughts of publishing never faded. I wanted people to hear my voice. I had a wild imagination, one that many could never understand. Writing would help me change that. I was sure of it.
Fast forward a bit. Over the rest of my middle school and high school years, I attempted many books. Most of them were contemporary romance stories. Some had a couple fantastical elements thrown in. I believe I attempted one contemporary fantasy novel. The thing is, I would get really excited about an idea. I would think, “That’s it. This is the one!” And so I would write for a few months: plan out characters, plan out plots, start stories. But every single time, none of them made it halfway through a draft. I lost interest. I sprang on to the next idea as soon as it came up. I must have eight to ten unfinished stories. Now normally, that would drive me crazy. But these stories didn’t hold up to me. They were easily forgotten.
That’s not what you want when you’re writing something you want to be significant. None of them were “the one”.
Until about halfway through my senior years.
As I’ve mentioned before in a previous personal post, there was an incident the January of my senior year that led to the loss of a very close friend and a brother. I snapped. I was tired of being left behind. I loved him and the good times we had had together, but I was honestly done. This little part of me didn’t want to forget all of the good times though. I wanted to remember the best parts of the sibling relationship while blocking out enough of the bad to make it seem worthwhile enough.
That’s how Chasing Fae was born.
This idea stuck. It was different. It was exciting. It was born out of something real and more passionate than I could have imagined. I spent over ten months planning before I got the courage to write. I wrote character profiles and worldbuilt like a madwoman. I toyed with the details, twisting each one to my heart’s desire. I laid out the plot in front of me, not just the first plot but the subsequent sequels that were born out of how much inspiration I had in my body. In November, I took that leap with NaNoWriMo and wrote my first draft.
It felt so incredibly freeing. I feel like a real writer.
The going is slow. I’ve been working on revisions for almost three months now and am nowhere near done at this point. Some days I feel like it will never get done. That I’ll never get to publication stage. But I think about that little girl, that kid so dedicated to her writing and so inspired that she would stop at nothing to make her voice be heard. I am that girl. She’s still here inside me. I’m still telling our story through whatever means I can. I won’t let either of us down. I will write until I cannot write another word or until the whole story is told with no gaps, no holes, and absolutely no lies.