Valentine’s Day Write Tag!

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Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

I was about to post something else entirely today, and then Kat @ Life and Other Disasters tagged me in this SUPER fun write tag! I absolutely LOOOVE write tags, so I couldn’t help but do this one RIGHT away. Please do check out Kat’s blog. She is so sweet and you will love reading her answers!

The Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post! (I want to see all your lovely answers, people!)
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
  • Don’t use just one character for all answers if possible!

My WIP: Children of the Sun

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Meredith, Rio, and Edene are detectives at the Deviant Investigation Unit. They are responsible for investigating strange deaths in the city of Toronto. One of the victims is Sandy.

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It’s hard to be the only teenager on the Unit. On an online forum, Meredith meets fifteen-year-old Zenith, who is nice, funny, and seems to understand her though they never met in real life. Zenith lives with his mom, Carmen.

If there is a couple in your WIP, what are their plans for Valentine’s Day? And if there is no couple in your WIP, is there someone your main character would like to spend Valentine’s Day with?

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Meredith doesn’t have a significant other, but she looks forward to spending Valentine’s Day with Rio. It’s not a date (she is too young for him, and he doesn’t believe in relationships anyway.)

Who has no shame about going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day alone?

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Sandy would rather prefer her own company. People are over-rated.

One of your characters requests a song on the radio for their crush! Which song and for which character would they pick it?

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Zenith would pick “Fly Me to the Moon” for Meredith, not only because it is his favourite jazz song by his favourite jazz musician, but also because the song choice would show maturity and depth of character. After all, how many teen boys know jazz?

Is there a character who would organise an Anti-Valentine’s Day party?

“Party” is Rio Matsui’s middle name. He loves an excuse to host a party, but a Valentine’s Day party? That’s just so lame.

What romantic gesture would swoon your main character?

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Edene is a sucker for old romantic movies, which she would watch with a bucket of popcorn in one arm and a box of tissues within reach. Roses, is that too much to ask?

Which character would buy a bunch of red roses and hand them out to strangers on the street, just to make their day?

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Sandy loves practical jokes. Once, she was hired by a radio show to give roses to strangers on Valentine’s Day. Why not spice things up with fake spiders?

What are your main character’s favourite Valentine’s movies?

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Carmen doesn’t have a favourite Valentine’s movie, but her guilty pleasure is marathoning Gilmore Girls. Zenith used join her (back when he was smaller and had chubby cheeks.)

Who is ready for the February 15th, just to get all the chocolate on sale?

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Rio can’t resist chocolate. Why can’t every day of the year be February 15th?

Is there a character who never spends Valentine’s Day alone aka always has some sort of date?

Edene always has a date for Valentine’s Day. Even if it is a different guy each year and it never ends up working out.

Bonus: Create a Valentine’s Day aesthetic for one or several of your characters!

Zenith is all tough and spiky on the outside, but he’s been waiting for the one person who will soften him up.

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Photos courtesy of Pinterest 🙂

I won’t tag anyone this time. However, if you would like to do this tag, please go ahead and do it! 🙂

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Any special plans for Valentine’s Day? Would you ever go out for dinner alone? (I’ve done it a few times and it terrifies me!) Tell me about your WIP!

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2017 Wrap-Up: Books, blogging, writing, and life

2017

Hello everyone!

Whoa. I am a bit intimidated to write this post. It is one thing to wrap up a month but…….. an entire year!?! I am not even sure if I remember everything that happened this year, since I have a memory of a goldfish.

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However, let’s have a crack at it and see how it goes!

Reading

Read 55 books! WHICH IS MORE THAN I’VE EVER READ IN A YEAR! Though there are many amazing peeps who read many more books out there (I don’t know how you guys do it), 55 books is still very very amazing for me :’)

Discovered some amazing authors, like Becky Albertalli, V.E. Schwab, and Jasmine Warga, who I will follow to the end of the Earth until the end of time.

Fell back in love with reading. I was a big reader back in elementary school and high school. Then something happened in university (academic journal articles and pharmacology textbooks, to be exact), and… I stopped. For a long stretch of time, I thought that fiction was fiction and that though I loved reading, books can’t help me in life. But I realized that I was wrong. Because in stories, we find ourselves and we become more accepting of other people.

Blogging

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Started a blog and STUCK TO IT. To be honest, I’ve had a few failed attempts at starting blogs in the past. This time around, because I discovered the book blogging community which made all the difference! I found some amazing blogs and met some awesome people that made me want to keep blogging!

Wrote 100+ posts!!! A week or so ago, I got an alert from WordPress congratulating me on 100 posts. And I thought, “What? It can’t be?!” BUT IT WAS!!

Blogged about some topics (bookish and otherwise) that matter a lot to me. Here are some of my favourite posts:

  1. Stereotypes in Fiction
  2. On Being an Introvert
  3. The Upside of Being Alone
  4. 5 Reasons to Pole Dance
  5. Come See China with Me

I’ve always been a quiet person, but in blogging, I learned more about myself 🙂

Writing

Edited a novel for the first time (and the second, and the third.) AND WOW, writing a novel is one thing, but PERFECTING it is a whole different beast.

Posted snippets of my novel on this blog. Which is a SCARY, SCARY thing at first, but hearing others’ feedback is something I grew to enjoy.

Learned the value of plotting and research.

Dscovered other writers through blogging. For once in my life, I realized that I am not writing in a vacuum, and that there are other people who love writing as much as I do.

Life

Drove across Canada (Toronto to Vancouver), which was a super DUPER fun road trip. And WOW, Canada is a beautiful country.

Travelled to Banff, Hawaii, and China. I can’t pick a favourite place: They are wonderful in different ways.

Prepared to move across the country, which involved job interviews, apartment hunting, and figuring out what is happening with my professional license (ultimate #adulting, you guys).

AND, last but not least…

I got engaged 🙂

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And that’s all!

Of course there were a few things that I’ve set out to do in the beginning of the year that I didn’t get around to doing- books that I wanted to read, healthier eating and sleeping habits, home decorating, blog-renovating, minimalism… However, I accept that there is only so much that I can do with my time. In hindsight, I have no regrets 🙂

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How did this year go for you? What are some of the highlights? What are your proudest accomplishments?

Winter is Here Write Tag!

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GUESS WHAT!?!?? I started writing my WIP!!!

As you know, a few weeks ago, I was knee-deep in the researching and outlining process. Then life came along and whacked me in the face (#adulting), and I did NO work on my WIP at all for two whole weeks. I didn’t type a word, I didn’t open the document, I didn’t even think about it. 

Then things settled down a bit, and I took a look at my novel and thought that I probably have lots more plotting and researching to do.

But instead…

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I decided to START WRITING! 

This outlining thing? I tried :’)

Anyway, I love coming back to writing after a while. It’s kind of like eating a bite of chocolate cake again after not eating any chocolate for a long long time.

Beauty!

I want to thank Beth @ Reading Every Night for tagging me! Beth is so sweet and she has an amazing blog – please do check it out if you haven’t already!

Also, credits to Kat @ Life and Other Disasters for creating this awesome tag.

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you but also link back to the original post!
  • Provide a short description of your WIP/story!
  • Don’t use the same character for more than 3 answers!

The Quick & Dirty:

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Meredith, Rio, and Edene are detectives at the Deviant Investigation Unit. They are responsible for investigating strange deaths in the city of Toronto.

Zenith_CarmenIt’s hard to be the only teenager on the Unit. On an online forum, Meredith meets fifteen-year-old Zenith, who is nice, funny, and seems to understand her though they never met in real life. Zenith lives with his mom, Carmen.

Which protagonist is most likely to break into Christmas song first?
Bonus: What song?

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As a single mother, Carmen finds it hard to make ends meet, even when she works 12-hour shifts as a nurse in a prestigious hospital. She comes home exhausted every day. It doesn’t help that Zenith started to wear black clothes and a lip ring.

However, every year in December, when snow coats the streets, when colourful lights illuminate store windows, when Christmas songs play on the radio, it is like magic. She can’t help but sing along, especially when it is Feliz Navidad.

It’s the first snow of the season, who would immediately book a ticket to a hot beach location?

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Rio dreams of living in Orlando… or San Francisco. Yes, San Francisco. He’s always thought of himself as a California type of guy. Too bad that the DIU can’t afford to send anyone on business trips across the continent. Maybe he will tag along with his brother (who happens to be a millionaire) on his next conference trip.

Which character believed in Santa (or a mystical equivalent) for the longest time?

There are a few things in life that Zenith counted on. Not his dad, first of all (that bastard.) Or his so-called friends (there are no such things in high school.) But he can count on Santa Claus, because every single Christmas morning, there is a gift for him underneath the fake Christmas tree at the corner of their apartment.

He has no clue how Santa gets there though, because they don’t have a chimney, but never mind that.

Who is most likely to build a blanket fort and go into hibernation with books, Netflix and tea/hot cocoa/coffee?

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Meredith loves her coffee, and she’d take books and Netflix any day, rather than talking to actual, living, breathing people. Other than Edene, and Rio. And maybe Zenith (then again if they ever meet in person she would be horribly nervous so maybe not.)

Who would be the first to start a snowball fight and then get really competitive about it?

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Rio values a good joke over things like money and status (there is a reason why he isn’t the millionaire in his family.) As much as he dreams about California, he can’t wait to throw a snowball at Edene (who is way too uptight) and Meredith (who really needs to lighten up.)

And Meredith can’t just take it. She needs to show Rio that she’s the best snowball-thrower there is.

Who buys their Christmas presents super last minute?

Despite being on his resume, organization and time management are not Rio’s strong traits.

There’s a local snowman competition, who would be the best sculptor? What would they build?

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In another life, if Edene hadn’t decided to go into law enforcement, she might’ve been an artist. She would build an abstract piece that symbolizes love, harmony, and the joy of Christmas.

If someone were to organize a Secret Santa event, who would it be?

Edene doesn’t hold a title like Manager or Director, but she is proud of her (unofficial) status as the Social Director at the Unit. After all, if she doesn’t organize the yearly Secret Santa at her workplace, who will?

Someone refuses to leave the house unless strictly necessary because of the cold. Who is it?

Meredith. It’s not worth it.

Who puts style before comfort and would rather freeze in fashionable clothes than be warm but not on trend?
Bonus: Add a winter aesthetic for the character!

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Edene’s personal philosophy is to dress to impress. To be confident on the inside, you gotta dress the part on the outside. Never mind that she is in her thirties (and, her mother reminds her, still single). A woman can look and feel beautiful at any age. And you don’t need a man to tell you that.

I tag the following awesome peeps:

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

The Orang-utan Librarian

Dani @ Perspective of a Writer

JW Martin @ Storeys of Stories

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What do you love about Christmas? Do you have a favourite Christmas song? Any Secret Santa plans this year? Do you like snow!?

For the writers out there: Do you outline your stories? If you do, how much detail do you go to in your outlines? (Every chapter? Every scene? Or just the general gist of the plot?)

My WIP aesthetics (and blurb!)

Happy Wednesday!

Have you ever played pranks on a telemarketer? Recently, when a telemarketer called, I couldn’t resist. It’s kind of a funny story:

Telemarketer: Hello, my name is Susan. I am calling you from The Organization that Do Surveys about Cereal Products.* Do you have a few minutes to participate in a survey?

Me: Sure.

Susan: You can only participate in this survey if you are 18 years of age or older. Are you over 18 years of age?

Me: Yes, but is there a maximum age for this study?

Susan: No, we have various age brackets.

Me: I am 120 years old. Do you have an age bracket for that?

Susan: …

Susan: All right, ma’am. Have a good day.

Me: But-but the survey-

I couldn’t help but burst into laughter when the phone call ended :’) I am 26 but I have the maturity of a 6-year-old.

*To protect the confidentiality of the telemarketer and the telemarketing company, names have been replaced with fictional ones. It’s also because, well, I forgot the actual names.

My WIP Aesthetics

Anyhow, today I am hoping to tell you guys a bit more about the WIP that I’ve been working on. Children of the Sun is a science fiction novel that takes place in present day. (Is there such a thing as an “alternate present” novel?)

This is the blurb:

Since the discovery of DNA in the 1950s, there has been tremendous interest in the potential of modifying the human genome. How soon can genetic diseases be eradicated? Can we push the boundaries of human fitness and intelligence? Now, in the year 2018, genetic modification of human embryos for medically necessary purposes is endorsed by the World Health Organization.

Meanwhile, there are rumours of a new genetic disease, one that can give rise to spontaneous combustion and allow its host to breathe underwater. Those that carry these mutations, Deviants, must be medicated and controlled. It is the job of the Deviant Investigation Unit to track these people down.

Fifteen-year-old Meredith doesn’t have a last name or a passport. The only family she knows is Rio, Edene, and the other detectives in the Unit. When Edene, her best friend and guardian disappears, Meredith investigates the unexplained deaths of three young women, and uncovers her own past and the darkest secret in the history of genetic modification.

Meredith

Meredith

Rio Matsui

Rio

Edene Adams

Edene

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Do you ever prank telemarketers? What are your thoughts about human genetic engineering / genomic editing / genetic modification? Should it be allowed, or are the consequences too great?

The Writer’s Tag!

The Writer's tag

Happy Wednesday!

But… but… What happened to WIPPet Wednesday, you ask!?

Usually I post a snippet of my WIP on Wednesdays, but this Wednesday, well………. I actually have no snippet for you guys.

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This is because I am still plotting and researching my new novel, and I want to make sure I get all the kinks ironed out before I put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard.) No worries: I am actively working on it, every single night.

So, instead, I will be doing The Writer’s Tag. Thanks to The Orang-utan Librarian for tagging me. Be sure to check out her post and her blog, because both are absolutely awesome.

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

The novel that I just finished is a contemporary fiction about art history and depression. It’s… pretty heavy, and now I am ready for something lighter.

My new project is a young adult science fiction novel about human genomic editing, space exploration, and pharmaceuticals. Did you know that in February 2017, the first human embryo was genetically edited in the US? (Fact.) Can you imagine a world in which editing of the human genome is accepted and even preferred?

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Long story short: A bit of everything! I am still experimenting with which genre(s) jive with me the most.

How long have you been writing?

Ever since I picked up a pencil and learned to make coherent sentences! I remember writing my first short story when I was in my ESL (English as a Second Language) class in grade 3. I used to fold printer paper in half and staple them in the middle to make a “book” :’)

Here is little Asian me:

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Why do you write?

I have people in my head who talk and if I don’t write I will probably go crazy.

When is the best time to write?

All day everyday! However due to adulting demands, that is impossible :’)

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What parts of writing do you love and hate?

I love…

  • Creating characters and worlds
  • Being able escape real life (come on guys, adulting isn’t what it’s hyped up to be)
  • The feeling of being so absorbed into your world and your story that you forget that you are just a writer punching words into a word processor

I hate…

  • Writer’s block
  • Hearing about the plot of another book that sounds similar to your own (Hey, WE had that idea first)
  • Showing my story to other people (“Sophie, I just read this part in your novel and-” “AHHHH NO DON’T TALK ABOUT IT- IT SUCKS!!!!” [plugs ears])

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How do you overcome writer’s block?

I stare at my laptop screen until a word comes out (it works.)

Are you working on something at the moment?

Yes!

What are your writing goals this year?

In the next 40 days of 2017 (What?! 40 days?! Really?! I know right?) I am hoping to finish planning this novel and start writing it. Small steps :’)

Thanks for reading, you guys!

I tag these fantastic folks: Marie, Dani, Beth, CaitJW Martin, Phil Taylor, Jeanne G’Fellers, AM Leibowitz, and Fallon Brown. And of course, any other writer reading this post!

(You absolutely do not have to do this tag, if you have done it before, or if you just don’t like doing tags.)

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How long does it take for you to jump from one WIP to the next? What do you like and dislike about writing? What are your writing goals this year? How is Nanowrimo going?!

WIPPet Wednesday: Harmless Crimes

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Happy Hump Day!

After arriving back from China, I am hit by the super cold weather here in Canada. I am not a big fan of the cold (brrrr), but this singing bear cheers me up:

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Oh, bear, you are a true Canadian. (I am obviously a fake one :’) )

As for the current state of affairs: My manuscript is now in the hands of my trusty beta-readers (people are reading my novel! eek!) And I have been (slowly) researching and plotting my new project, which is a science fiction novel titled Children of the Sun.

Which leads to my question for the writers out there: How do you guys go about researching your novel? Children of the Sun will dabble a bit in astrophysics, genetics, and pharmaceuticals. Though I deal with pharmaceuticals on a daily basis (legally), my Genetics 101 course is a distant memory, and my knowledge of astrophysics is… well, non-existent. I am hoping to find a few good books, and of course, there is always good old trusty Dr. Google :’)

Also! I should mention that Children of the Sun will be a rewrite of a Nanowrimo novel I wrote 10 years ago (when I was 16). You know that amazing feeling when you read something that you wrote a long time ago, expecting it to be terrible, only to find that it’s… kind of… good? That’s how I feel about this one :’)

Because I haven’t picked up the pen yet for this project, I am cheating a bit by sharing a snippet from my original draft, which I may keep, since it captures the essence of the novel:

The best way to deal with this situation, the government said, is to go about it silently, under everyone’s noses. Only through this will the threat be safely eliminated with the least complications.

So much for “a handful of harmless crimes.”

WIPPet Math: 3 sentences for Wednesday.

WIPpet Wednesdays is a blog hop where writers can share a snippet from their WIP. The only stipulation is that the excerpt is somehow related to the date. Be sure to check out some of the other lovely WIPpet snippets here. Thank you Emily Wrayburn for hosting.

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Do you like cold weather, or do you fear it, like me? How do you go about researching your novel? Have you reread any of the works you’ve written a while back?

WIPpet Wednesday: The Price

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Happy Hump Day!

It was SUPER hard to choose today’s snippet, because this is going to be the last snippet that I will be posting from Matt and Olivia’s story*. Now that I’ve trimmed, formatted, and compiled the novel into a neat PDF for beta-readers**, it doesn’t quite qualify as a WIP anymore. It’s a bittersweet feeling :’)

Curious about the final word count of my novel, after revisions? Well, I was able to reduce the length from 147K to…

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103K!!!

Not bad, I’d say 🙂

My other announcement is that I will be taking a break from WIPpets for the next 2 weeks. That is because I will be away in China with minimal, if any, access to WordPress (thanks to the Great Firewall of China.) After 2 weeks, I promise to be back with a snippet from my new WIP, a young adult / adult science fiction titled Children of the Sun.

*I’ve cycled through 3 titles for this novel, only to leave it unnamed :’) If you guys have any novel-naming tips, do let me know!

**Although I already have a few trusted beta-readers, let me know if you want to join in. (My story does contain sensitive content such as suicidal ideation and self-harm. Please please please don’t ask to read if any of these can be potential triggers for you.)

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Today’s snippet is from a deleted scene that I absolutely love. On the way to a concert, Matt makes fun of Olivia for rolling her eyes too much, because apparently excessive eye-rolling can cause your eyes to fall out.

“I mean, for all you know, maybe your eye fibres are already loosening up,” Matt says. “Since you roll your eyes so much.”

“No!” Olivia says.

“Although, I hear that there’s a way to remedy that.”

“What?”

“Oh… I don’t know,” He says. The corners of his mouth lift up into a smile. He can’t help it. He’s having too much fun.

“Come on, you gotta tell me,” She says.

“At a price,” He says.

“What? What’s the price?”

“Hmm,” He says.

Except, there is something that Matt wouldn’t mind doing. As they walk side by side, they are so close that their shoulders are just an inch apart, which means their arms are just an inch apart, which means their hands almost touch. Matt’s hands feel wet and clammy, he wipes them on his jeans.

“Come on, Matt!” Olivia says.

“We could, maybe, you know, hold hands,” Matt says. But at that moment, a streetcar screeches past on its tracks, and a group of teenagers chase after it, pushing between Matt and Olivia. When they are gone, and the street is quiet again, there is a wide gap between them.

“What’s that, Matt?” Olivia asks.

WIPpet Math: 25 sentences for the 25th of October (Phew! That was easy :’) )

WIPpet Wednesdays is a blog hop where writers can share a snippet from their WIP. The only stipulation is that the excerpt is somehow related to the date. Be sure to check out some of the other lovely WIPpet snippets here. Thank you Emily Wrayburn for hosting.

 

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How is your week going? What is the title of your WIP and how did you think of it? Any naming tips? Are you guilty of rolling your eyes?