li’l self-promo here…

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Okay, so I had a ‘Friday Finds’ post all written and ready to go…and WordPress ate it.  Obviously, I didn’t feel like re-typing everything and chasing down the links, so instead I’m just going to direct you to one thing.  I’ve been writing a WWII AU (alternate universe) retelling of ‘Rogue One’ and publishing the chapters on FanFiction.net.  If you’re a fan of the movie, you can check it out here. 🙂  I’ve only published three chapters, so there won’t be too much to catch up on.  Anyway, please let me know what you think if you get the chance!  Thanks in advance.

*awkward wave*

Eva

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‘shoes & spies’: my current WIP

Fairytale retellings are the bomb.  I love them.  Can’t get enough of them.  So, of course, I had to write one.  I started writing Shoes & Spies for NaNoWriMo 2017 but only got about 25,000 words written during that month.  Just this morning I finished my first draft of about 48,000 words.  I know it’s pathetic that it took me that long to finish it, but I’m not the most consistent writer and for the longest time I had no idea how the story would end (so, obviously, I couldn’t write toward an ending).

But, yes, the first draft is now finished.  I’ve still got sooooo much work to do before the story is anywhere near presentable, but I can work with what I’ve got.  First drafts are supposed to be messy, right?  I love this quote from Shannon Hale, because it so perfectly sums up the process of writing a first draft.

So.  The actual story.  I don’t have a blurb or back cover copy yet, so I’m making this up as I go along.

Resistance worker (are they called workers or what?), Lili Verre longs to do something more than simple courier work.  When she finds an invitation to a German party, she knows she has to go, even when her guardian forbids it.  With the help of her best friend, Lili goes to the party anyway.  But when she loses her shoe, one with secret information hidden in its hollow heel, and a German officer finds it, her life takes a dramatic turn for the worse.

That’s the gist of it, anyway.

Then there are all my lovely characters:

  • Lili Verre, my protag. (‘Lili’ because Lily James.  Of course.)  She has a Tragic Past and a professor father who taught her how to speak German.  Basically, she wants to get back at the Nazis for all they took from her and she also wants to keep her little family together.  She’s terrified of losing them, which isn’t the greatest thing when you’re in the middle of a war and your whole adopted family is part of the Resistance.
  • Gard and Marc and Marianne Granger.  One family.  Gard is Marc and Marianne’s dad (they’re twins).  He was super close friends with Lili’s dad and took her in after her parents died.  He’s pretty strict, but that’s because he doesn’t want his children (or Lili) to take unnecessary risks.  Marc has daddy issues.  Marianne loves Gone With the Wind and her brother.
  • Walter (I’m sure I gave him a last name but I can’t remember it right now).  German officer.  A Christian.  Has genuine struggles with reconciling his loyalty to his country (and the “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…” verse) with where he sees the war and Nazism and Germany headed.  Quiet, but a strong personality.
  • Monsieur Ducard.  Owner of the shoe shop where Lili works.  Elderly and very awesome.

I don’t have a Pinterest board for this story (yet), so I don’t have any collages or casting or anything for this story. (Except that Gard is older Glenn Ford.  Like, so much.)  And, like I mentioned before, there’s still a ton of work that needs to be done with plot and characterization and all that.  But I’m ready for it.

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into my WIP! (Also, I don’t think the title Shoes & Spies quite fits.  Because there aren’t really any spies in the book?  Suggestions?)

Eva

authors that have influenced my writing

First there was Jane Austen. (Isn’t that such a delicious sentence?)

I read Northanger Abbey when I was thirteen or fourteen – it was the shortest of her books and as I sped through it, I fell more and more in love with the world of Austen.  I believe I’d already seen ‘Sense & Sensibility’ (1995), but Northanger Abbey is what really made me an Austenite.  I was, to put it lightly, obsessed.  And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I decided to write some Regency-era novellas myself.  They were mostly thinly plotted, poorly written imitations of Jane Austen’s writings, but they were mine and I loved them and I loved writing them and I had so much fun with them, not knowing anything about characterization or proper dialogue or points of view.

Before, I’d written a few stories, but my adoration of all things Austen was what set my feet on the path to writing seriously.  And I’ve never really looked back.

Note: Feel free to check out bits of my horrid writing from this time period here.  I have grown so much in six years and it’s rather encouraging.

After I grew up a little and stopped writing Regency-esque stories, a new author captured my interest.  She was a teenage writer who frequently posted about her writing online. (I just checked and her old blog – the one I’m most familiar with – is still online!  So cool!)  I loved her storyworld – Selkin, a non-magical fantasy kingdom that had EPIC world-building – and her characters.  I read three or four of her unpublished novels and though there were grammatical errors galore, they didn’t bother me.  The rich emotions, characters that lived and breathed on the page, and Christian message throughout fascinated me.  I would pay good money to see the Selkin series in print.

Anyway, because of her, I wanted to write books with massive casts, grand locales, and sweeping emotional moments…so I wrote a dystopian trilogy.  And it wasn’t great.  But I wrote some 250,00 words of it in record time and finished it and it was good practice.  I’m still hoping to revisit that world some day.

And then lastly (and most recently) there’s Louis L’Amour.  It was jessica prescott (who recommended To Tame a Land) and my brother (who owns almost all of L’Amour’s books) who roped me into the wonderful world of Last Stand at Papago Wells, Brionne, The Daybreakers, etc.  Reading Louis L’Amour’s books made me want to write westerns in the worst way possible – so I did.  I vowed that all I’d write from then on would be westerns ’cause I loved them so much (which didn’t turn out to be the case, but STILL).  Awesomeness.

So there you have it!  Three authors who have been a great influence on my life and my journey as a writer.  Who are some authors who have impacted you?

Eva

fanfiction: the underground genre

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I have a unique relationship with fanfiction.  I’ll go for months without writing any (as I have to have a fandom I’m totally obsessed with and a great story idea – most of the time, anyway) and then write a bit, or more than a bit, and read some as well.  And then I go back to ignoring fanfiction for the longest time.

See, ninety-five percent of the fanfiction out there is sludge: poorly written, poorly plotted, and poorly executed in pretty much every other way possible.  When I find a good piece of fanfiction, I treasure it, but they are so hard to find and I dislike wading through all the swearing, slash shipping, and sloppy editing (or no editing) to find the gems.

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With all that being said, fanfiction is tons and tons of fun and I don’t want to dissuade anyone from writing it.  It’s just that I’m a writer so I get more triggered over grammatical errors and poor dialogue and all the rest than the average fanfiction reader – it’s a gift and a curse.  Anyway, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks I’ve discovered whilst writing several fanfictions, as well as some pitfalls to avoid.  Like all writing advice, however, this is mostly subjective and the main goal of fanfiction is to write/read fun stories and (sometimes) unbearable fluffy feels.  So read this post, sure, but keep in mind that I’m only one person.  And not a perfect writer either. 🙂

Fanfiction Tip #1 – The Correct Spelling

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It’s ‘fanfiction’, apparently.  Not ‘fan fiction’ or ‘fan-fiction’.  I dunno why.  Just go with it.

Fanfiction Tip #2 – Do Your Research

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Fanmade wikias are your new best friend.  You can check out character backstories from the Canon, find out if that one location was north or south of the hero’s secret lab, dive deep into relationships between different characters, and so much more.  The wikias don’t tell you everything – and some fandoms don’t have them – but they’ve been an invaluable help to me several times.

Fanfiction Tip #3 – Don’t Write Slash Fanfiction

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They are friends.  In a completely PLATONIC relationship.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Just…don’t.  Please.

Fanfiction Tip #4 – Show, Don’t Tell

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What I mean by that is this: don’t feel the need to document in excruciating detail everything that happened to the characters before your fanfiction begins.  If someone’s reading your fanfiction, they almost certainly know all that info already and it’s annoying.

Example: “Katniss Everdeen, the eighteen-year-old brunette archer who had successfully defeated the Capitol a year ago, drew the bow that Cinna had made for her, and shot the deer just like she used to when she and Gale hunted in the woods before she left for the first Hunger Games.”

Obviously, that’s an exaggeration.  But not by much.  A better way would be:

Example: “The deer moves into the clearing.  I raise my bow and take careful aim before shooting the arrow that ends its life.”

Okay, that’s still not great.  But it’s an improvement?  I hope?

Fanfiction Tip #5 – Friendships are Golden

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It’s not all about the romance, people.  I know how awesome it is to have favorite ships.  I really do.  But there are great epics of alternate universe fanfictions waiting to be written!  Friendship/Angst one-shots!  Crossovers galore!  Not every fanfiction has to be three or four chapters of romanticalness that goes nowhere.  I understand the appeal, and I think it’s fine to indulge in writing and reading such fanfiction, but it doesn’t hurt to switch things up a little every now and then.

Fanfiction Tip #6 – Distance Yourself from the Characters

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No self-insert characters.  Please.  I’m begging you.  And if you must write such fanfiction, please keep it on your computer’s hard drive and not published all over fanfiction websites.  By self-insert character, I mean this: you write a fanfiction centered around one of your beloved fandoms and its most beloved characters.  Only, you stick yourself in there as another fictional character who interacts with your favorites, usually as a little sister or love interest.  And it’s obvious.  And it’s Not Fun to Read.

(There seems to be a lot of self-insert characters in fanfiction for The Outsiders.  No idea why… *fantasizes about meeting the Curtises and hanging out with the gang and basking in the awesomeness and giving Johnny a million hugs because he deserves them all*  Sorry.  Where was I?)

I know that one of my friends has written some self-insert fanfiction, but I had to say it ’cause this is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to fanfiction. (And hers are more for crazy fun than wish fulfillment.)

Fanfiction Tip #7 – Write, Edit, Repeat

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My last tip is this: treat your fanfiction like Real, Serious Writing.  Because it kind of is.  Even if you’re writing about someone else’s characters and using someone else’s worldbuilding and even trying to copy someone else’s writing style (#guilty), you’re still honing your craft, your writing abilities.  And it’s awesome.  So proofread.  Get Grammerly if you have to.  Edit.  Send your fanfiction off to beta readers if possible (trust me, it helps so much).  And when it’s about as perfect as it can be, post it online or circulate it among your family, and wait for the fangirling/boying to begin.

Bonus Fanfiction Tip – The Most Important Thing of All

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Have fun!  Lots of fun!  Loads of fun!  Dr. Seuss-esque amounts of fun!  I’ve written serious fanfiction that I’ve worked on and slaved over for months.  But I’ve also dashed off Angst fanfiction because I needed to vent and I changed up the ending to a classic movie (something I normally dislike when other people do it), and there’s fluffy, mostly-for-no-purpose fanfiction sitting in my files (like Sodapop giving Ponyboy a haircut, which is *heart eyes*).  So even I ignore my own rules at times (except for the slash shipping one and the self-insert character one – because reasons).  Fanfiction is written by fans for the fans and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you write – you’ll always have an intensely loyal audience.

Unless you don’t ship Jo and Laurie.  Then you’d better hide.

Eva

the writer’s tag

I know I just did a tag, but…whatever.  Hamlette tagged me and here are my answers.

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

While I’ve flitted around from genre to genre over the years (ranging from historical fiction to dystopia to fanfiction) I’ve come to settle into westerns.  Louis L’Amour’s stories have inspired me, as have so many of the western films that I love.  Westerns are my happy place, my sweet spot, and I love writing them.

Styles?  I don’t really know.  Sometimes I tend to copy-cat whatever author I’ve read most recently – consciously or unconsciously – especially ones with a strong voice, like Suzanne Collins.  Obviously, that’s a problem.  I can’t really define my writing style/voice/whatever, but that’ll probably come in time.

Topics, topics, topics…I have this weird fascination with the idea of someone being thought a traitor but actually isn’t, or someone who is, in fact, a traitor, but then changes their ways.  Is that an actual topic?  I’ve written a couple of things centered around that, but mostly the stuff I write is all over the place.

Indeedy!:

2. How long have you been writing?

I don’t know exactly how long, but it’s been several years.  The big thing that pushed me into writing was when I read Northanger Abbey in my pre- to early teens.  I became obsessed with all things Jane Austen + Regency, so I started writing my own Regency novellas (they. were. wretched.) and then it branched out from there.  But even before then, I’d write stories.

3. Why do you write?

1) God has given me my ability to write (however small that ability is) and I want to use that talent as best I can to bring honor to His name.  So that when people compliment my writing I can turn it all back to Him.

2) It’s just plain awesomeness.

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4. When is the best time to write?

For me, personally?  When I write, it’s usually sometime in the mid- to late-morning.  My brain’s not trying to wake up anymore and it’s not crammed full of things I’ve done during the day either.  Though writing in the evening has a certain charm about it as well.

5. Parts of writing you love vs. parts you hate.

I love thinking.  Thinking about how the plot could fit together, thinking of crackling, witty dialogue and lovely, brave characters who are wounded in some way, at some time, but still able to do What Needs To Be Done.  I love all that.  And I love listening to cool beans music as I write.

What I hate is actually sitting down and writing and realizing that all those plot twists and dialogue bits and brilliant characterization has flown from my head and all that’s left is the wreck of whatever I tried to write yesterday. (Okay, it’s not that bad.  But sometimes it’s pretty close.)  I also dislike writing dialogue; I feel like I can never get it to sound natural.

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6. How do you overcome writer’s block?

Ignore it and hope it goes away?  Usually, I pray.  Then I switch back and forth between the two major projects I’ve got going right now (more about those in a minute) or I write some fanfiction.  Eventually, it all works out.

7. Are you working on something at the moment?

Yup.  Well, I’m not actively working on it at this very moment and I haven’t written anything in a few days, but I’ve got some things in progress: two western novels – Reese and The Bounty Hunter – and then a spot of 3:10 to Yuma fanfiction.  I literally have no idea where I’m going with the fic ’cause the movie wrapped up so neatly, but I WANT TO SPEND MORE TIME WITH THESE CHARACTERS. (With *cough* one character in *cough* particular.)

8. Writing goals this year?

Write every day.  Seems unreachable, but I haven’t been trying hard enough.

you bet!:

Feel free to snag this tag if you want to.  It’s open to anyone, as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

Eva

on writing, creative juices, and NaNoWriMo

Artists.

We draw.  We paint.  We write.  We make fan-videos and cards and covers of our favorite songs.  We bind books.  We upload every type of fan-art possible.  We compose songs and poetry.  We sew and knit and crochet and embroider.  We design things.  We take photographs, all the time.  We play the piano, the violin, the cello, the flute, the harmonica.  We laugh at our mistakes and shiver with delight when that sentence, that shade of color, that lyric, that scarf we’ve been knitting for two months finally becomes perfect.

We create.  Over and over and over again.  Sometimes (more often than not) what we create isn’t perfect.  It’s messy and full of blunders and sometimes we might worry and fret that nothing will ever come of it.  But it does.  And even if it didn’t, I have a feeling we’d still keep trying.  Endlessly.

Something that’s been on my heart lately is how we, all of us, have the impulse to do things, to make things.  Even the most creatively challenged person in the world must have that desire in his or her heart to create, to craft, to form, to produce something that is unique, something that maybe no-one has ever thought of before.  And you know why?  The answer is both the simplest and the most incredible reason ever: each and every person on this planet has been created in the image of God, the master Creator.  He has placed His image, His imprint in our lives and souls.  That’s an inescapable fact.  We yearn to create, to take the picture in our head and turn it into something real, because that’s how we ourselves have been made.  The same God who shaped the stars, the earth, the leaves on the trees also formed you and me.  And that is why we do what we do.  That’s why we write and paint and play musical instruments.  Because we want to, because that’s the way God has designed us, with an impulse that is an innate part of who we are.

And, to me, that’s is utterly, astoundingly amazing.

Eva

P.S. On the day before NaNoWriMo, I decide to take the plunge and do it again.  HELP.

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busy, busy, busy

For the first time in my life, I understand a little of what college life is like.  Since the new school year started, my grandfather has begun three college courses with me – British Literature, The Life of Christ, and a worldview course – and I have a stack of books to read and DVDs to watch that’s about half as tall as me.  Whew.  Plus, I’m finally (for the first time in several months) getting serious about my writing, so that’s going to take up a considerable amount of my time as well.  I have four or five projects that I really want to work on right now (writing and sewing both) and there aren’t enough hours in the day. (Well, there are, but just barely.)  And I want to keep posting here, too.  Do you see my dilemma?

So.

My college work comes first.  I usually meet with my grandfather once a day (could be upped to twice a day, though) and we go over the stuff I’ve read and learned in between.  Then I have to go and read more stuff. (And we usually watch a DVD together.)  Then comes writing.  The main thing that got me serious about writing again was this: God has given me the gift of writing.  I really believe that.  And since He’s given it to me, it would be incredibly wrong to squander that gift and let it drift away for lack of actual doing.  Totally wrong.  Hence, I must write. (Anyway, I’m excited to start writing again simply because I went over several of my stories when I was organizing my documents and they aren’t actually half bad.  In fact, some of them are pretty good, in my unprofessional opinion.  WOOT.)  After college stuff and writing, I have chores and cooking meals and sewing projects and living in general.

Then, and only then, can I work on other things.  Like blogging, emailing, watching movies, and reading books that aren’t Required.  And Pinteresting.  Always Pinteresting. *wink*  Will it be hard to cram all that in?  Sure.  But I’m not worried, because I have God and an awesome family and plenty of determination. 

I’m optimistic.

Eva