Friday, October 16, 2015

Nanowrimo News

It's been almost three months since my last post, but fret not! I have actually been writing a more than normal amount lately and I've decided to channel my rediscovered penchant for over-writing by joining Nanowrimo 2015! This will be my fourth time trying it and I'm very excited. Last year, I didn't do it. With a months-old baby and absolutely no motivation to speak of, it was just not happening. But this year, I've got a plan.

Those of you who know me know that I am a complete pantser. Normally, I let my characters run the story and I kind of just record whatever they do and say. But this year, my characters and I have planned the story ahead of time. I decided that I didn't want to get lost fumbling around looking for something else to write. Which is also why I'm going to do something I very rarely do - write out of order. I know that's how most books are written, but believe it or not, most of my books are written in order. 

Hopefully with the changes to my own personal process for writing, I will be able to complete my challenge. Feel free to:
- Go to my Nano page and keep track of how I'm doing starting November 1st
- Sign up and write alongside me
- Ask me for a detailed synopsis and then suggest book titles

Cheers to a great Nanowrimo 2015!
- Natasja 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Here's to Making Up Words

I haven't posted in a while, mostly because of reasons,* but I do apologize. To make up for that, I would like to share about how I recently have been introduced to the concept of listicles. What is a listicle? It is an article made up of a list (or lists), solely for the purpose of posting something easy, light, and entertaining. Supposedly, I should write a listicle if I'm having trouble coming up with things to post. (Oops. Was I not supposed to mention that?) So, without further ado, here are some lists for you!

Things I have been reading lately:
1. Overqualified by Joey Comeau (A hilarious set of overly truthful cover letters)
2. Personal Days by Ed Park (A novel about a bunch of people who work in an office)
3. Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber (Yes, it's a Christmas book and I'm not even ashamed that I watched the movie afterwards)
4. City Love by Susane Colasanti (Yes, I do read a number of books at the same time)
5. The Cage by Megan Shepherd (Come on now, no one said I couldn't do that)
6. The Accidents of Style by Charles Harrington Elster (Everyone in every vocation should read this)

Things I have been writing lately:
4. This list.

It's true. I've spent much more time reading than writing. I mean, that list would be at least twice, if not three times as long if I included all the books I read to my son on a daily basis. But I'm not discouraged. Sometimes I need to do a good clean sweep by reading a lot of outside writing and then I can get back into my own stuff with a fresh mind. Anyway, there we have it. A listicle!

- Natasja

*Reasons include: being a bookaholic mommy and librarian.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Write, Write, Write!

Okay, so I've been back to work for two weeks now, which - as you can imagine - has left me with very little time for myself. I was also busy preparing for my one-year-old's birthday party (I just had to mention that). However, I have been keeping up my writing and I promise that my new super short story series is coming soon! (Ish. Soon-ish.)

However, I've been writing something lately that I have no intention of letting anyone else read. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but just that I've been rediscovering the meaning of the phrase "write for yourself." Trust me on this - writing something you know no one but yourself will read is one of the most freeing exercises you can try. And it's completely motivating. Much like during nanowrimo, I barely read back, I don't edit, and sometimes I write complete nonsense. But you know what? That's not a bad thing. In fact, it's rather cathartic in a way.

So that's what I've been up to (other than helping a certain little man learn to walk on his own). Again, new stuff to read is coming very very very soon!

- Natasja

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Amazing Adventures Of...!

Coming soon to a blog near you (this one) is a short story series called The Amazing Adventures of Jamie and Joey! If you've ever wondered what happens in the lives of two little buddies, then you'll wonder no more. Watch as bffs Jamie and Joey* take the world by storm in my brand new series that will be exclusively posted to this blog and this blog only!

- Natasja

*Starring my very own little boy, James and his best friend and cousin, Joseph.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Books and also, more books

I have just one week left of my maternity leave before I return to my job at the Clarington Public Library. And as much as I love love love my little guy, I am very much looking forward to going back.

Every job has its ups and downs but fortunately for me, mine has more ups than downs. The biggest one being the obvious - I am surrounded by books upon books upon books. Not only that, but I am surrounded by book lovers, my favourite type of people. It's kind of like... being an alcoholic who works at a liquor store, except my addiction isn't as unhealthy.* My first year I worked there, I got so attached to two certain books** that my sister ended up buying them for me that Christmas and I think I've maybe read them about 5 times each.

So what will I do with my last week of "freedom"? Probably the same thing I did before I had a baby and during my maternity leave - write!  I've been writing so consistently the last week and a half that I would hate to interrupt the flow and lose my sense of purpose. It isn't easy to get away with writing every day when you have a baby that needs attention and it certainly won't be easier when I'm back at work, even though I'm only part time. But I've already made my promise to write every day and I'm going to stick to it.

Here's to many, many more books in my future!

- Natasja

*Symptoms of a book addiction include, but are not limited to: lack of sleep from reading too much, seeing words everywhere you look, inappropriately falling in love with fictional people, feeling naked while not holding a book, and utter horror when people say they "don't really read."
** Here and here

Friday, June 05, 2015

Knockout Girl

I've spoken a lot in the past about a book I have called Less Than Perfect. It's a book I wrote a few years ago that I hope to one day have published (either traditionally or self-published). However, I've been rethinking it and reworking it and it's just not ready to go anywhere yet. But that's okay! I have plenty of other books and today's post is actually about one of those.

Knockout Girl is a new young adult novel that I finished writing a few months ago. It's about a girl named Elli who is forced to move from Hawaii to Toronto in the dead of winter. Although she's rather resistant at first, she makes friends with Julian, who she discovers is being used as a punching bag for the school's boxing champion, Red. Elli quickly realizes the only way to get this guy off her friend's back is to beat him at his own game. With the help of a cute jock, a sweet tattooed loner, and Elli's burnt out boxing champion uncle, she and Julian enter a boxing tournament where Julian will have to face his bully in the ultimate showdown.

Why I love this story so much is because, for starters, Elli is hilarious. She's moody, sassy, and generally unhappy with her life, which somehow comes across in the funniest of ways. Once she learns that living in Canada is not the end of the world, however, she becomes a pretty good friend to Julian. (Just friends.) Julian is a perfect counter-part to Elli's narration - he's calm, cool, and collected. He's smart and and a self-admitted loner. But he's also compassionate to Elli's plight in having to be the new girl in school and in a new country.

This story isn't just about bullying or how two people learned how to beat someone up. It's a coming-of-age story about finding friendship in unlikely places and having courage in the face of adversity. I don't want to give away the ending,* but I will say that before Julian even fights Red, he's already won in the eyes of his peers.

So there it is! This story is already being sent around a little bit. With a few minor tweaks, it would be ready for publication. If I can't find a publisher or agent who wants to take it on, I'll do it myself, because I really believe in this book. (My mom says it's great, so obviously it is.) No matter what, I'll see this manuscript turn into a book.

- Natasja

*Interested in finding out what happens? Ask about being a beta reader.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Where have you been?

When I came back to my blog today, I learned that the last time I posted was in August of 2013 - nearly 2 years ago! And why is that, you may ask. I have to be perfectly honest; around that time, I was going through a rut. I wallowed in self-pity over my lack of being able to write anything worth mentioning. I felt virtually useless in my craft. I couldn't pen a single thing. It was awful.

Soon after that, I got pregnant and I honestly didn't even have the stomach to sit in front of my screen and attempt Nanowrimo that year. I wanted to, but if you've ever experienced morning sickness, then I think you could forgive me for that. I was also busy working two jobs and preparing for the greatest change of my life.

I got back into the groove after my little guy was born and I'm proud to say that over the last year I finished writing 3 books, and started 2 new ones and 4 sequels. So, I haven't done that badly. And from now on, I won't neglect my blog either.

That's is for today! Anything you want to know, just ask. Interested in being a beta reader? Send me an email! Love you guys.

- Natasja