Back From Lent

Back From Lent

Those of you who follow me on Figment or Wattpad may know I’ve been joining my family in abstaining from recreational activities done on a screen for Lent. While we determined that I could still compete in Figgy Idol, since it’s considered extracirricular instead of recreational, I was unable to blog or update other stories.

As a result, I’ve actually had a lot more time for writing. Who would have thought? /sarcasm

Here’s a list of all the things I’ve done during the forty days of feasting. Writing wise, of course. Just click on the title of a work to be taken to where you can read it.

 

Shutdown: A group of online teens are faced with a very unique situation.

Trapdoor: A cyberpunk bounty hunter goes after a big catch, but she might get caught instead.

Hempen Jig: A mermaid trapped in a cage. Here, I had to express a certain emotion without ever naming it. A few Figgies liked it so much that I wrote a few more chapters. I’m looking forward to updating more at the end of Figgy Idol.

Oblivion: Featuring the same characters as my dialogue story Pi, Oblivion shows Setta and and her AI having a confrontation over what it means to be human. Which is my favorite subject.

Everything Behind You: Okay, so this wasn’t technically Figgy Idol. I only posted it today. It’s an eery story from second-person point of view about deserts, memories, and illumination.

 

I’m really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I plan to blog at least once a week, but I might move up from there once my college coursework slacks off in a few weeks. Other than that, here’s a small list of what pieces of writing I’ll be working on.

 

Beast– I finally got my rear into a chair to write Part II. I’ve taken down the previous Part II of Beast on Wattpad so that I can continue to update with the new material.

I Hate Wonderland– A fanfiction crossover between Avengers and Once Upon A Time, where Bucky realizes he’s the Mad Hatter. This is a quirky/dark fic that I’m doing just for fun. It’s been on hold for a while, obviously, but I’ll be updating again soon.

Sidekick– Another fic, this one a Flash/Arrow fic about another earth. But on this earth, Flash and Arrow are mortal enemies, with A.R.G.U.S. agents Abbi Garret and John Diggle between. But the already tentative balance is upset even further when Hunter Zolomon–from the earths we know and love–zooms into town.

Euler Circuit- This one has no links, as it’s still in the planning stage. I got my friend T.R.G. to help with the creation of some planets for our beloved characters of the first novella to protect and save, possibly from themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

Figgy Idol

Figgy Idol

I’ve moved on to Round Two of Figgy Idol! And not only that, but I made Top Writer of Round One with my story A Real Fighter.

But Round Two is giving me serious difficulties.

When summed up, the prompt told us to create a plot driven story in which there is a death neither at the beginning or the end that will affect the reader with the strength of the writing. The issue is that we only have 6000 words total, which means at the most 4k words with which to attach the readers firmly to the characters we kill off and leave to deal with the aftermath. And then we have to sew up the plot completely afterwards!

If that wasn’t hard enough, I’ve selected a crime story as my genre. Crime, mystery, detectives… I read very little of this as compared to other genres growing up (I didn’t have the patience) so it’s far from my forte.

Which is exactly what Figgy Idol is supposed to do; it’s there to push you out of your comfort zone and force you to grow. But geeze, I sure can pick ’em.

Anyways, here’s the summary of Haint. Although I’m considering changing it to A Real Witch to match my other stories.

Haint Blue paint is said to keep away evil spirits. But practical Sheriff Lance knows that no amount of Appalachian superstition will keep away the bad guys found in his line of work. When a girl obsessed with the occult goes missing, however, Lance will have to rely on the local “Granny Witch”–a young woman named Nona–to help him with the case.

Where his mind fails him, hers works wonders, and when her herbs can’t save a life, his bullets just may.

As to other writing, I’m extremely close to finishing Queen. That makes me so excited! It’s considerably longer than Beast already, coming in at around 80k. Whereas Beast is a mere little 30k in need of lots of editing. After some discussion with a few writing (and reading!) friends, I’ve decided to not expand as much as I’d planned and leave a little more up to the publishers. I’ll just be adding in the second part for introductions to Snow for Book Two, and a little more setup for some sub-plots of Beast and overarching plots of the trilogy as a whole. Overall, I’m really excited about how this is turning out!

In non-writing news, my family is still awaiting military orders on where to move next. We hope to know by the end of this week! It sure would make planning a lot easier if we knew what side of the world we’d be on.

Those are all the updates for now! Keep your eyes peeled for a Book Blab later on this week!

Blessings,

J.A.

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story

So on the amazing website of Figment, some users are holding Season 4 of Figgy Idol. Figgy Idol is a writing competition that mirrors American Idol and similar competitions.

I’m lucky enough to join for the fourth season, and things are booming. My audition story–A Real Fighter–served well enough to get me into Round One. Today was the deadline for the first real part of the competition however.

The prompt was simple, but also infuriating. The focus was creativity, and the goal was to create a legendary character, much in the same style as Greek and Roman mythology.

Please feel free to let me know what you think in the comments! Even though I’ve turned in my submission already, I would still love to expand my abilities.

A brief explanation of my strange schedule lately: My family just took a vacation, so I missed two updates. I apologize for that! I also decided to put off my Book Blab until next Monday, where I’ll be reviewing Challenger Deep.

So, with that aside, I’m proud to present A Real Hero!

 

Continue reading “Figgy Idol Round One – A Short Story”

Query Shark

Query Shark

I’ve always been one to put the cart before the horse. Planning things is just so much fun. And sometimes I forget to actually do the things I planned about.

In any case, this week’s Procrastination Tool is Query Shark. I skimmed literary agent Janet Ried’s blog a year or two back, but this time I did the full dive into the shark tank. I read every single query, all of her comments, and read (and reread) her rules for submission. I don’t know if she plans on taking any in 2017, but I plan on giving it a shot.

Obviously Beast needs a ton of editing, and I wouldn’t dream of sending in a query to The Shark before Beast is as polished up as possible. But here’s what I’m thinking so far:

 

Dear Query Shark, 

Belle never planned to love the monster who took her as payment for saving her kingdom. The Assassin never planned for anyone to love him again in spite of his bloody past and shattered mind. 

And his curse never planned on Belle’s true-love kiss causing her to take it upon herself. 

Belle runs before the curse forces her to massacre a kingdom. The Assassin makes a deal with a former employer: if she helps him track down Belle and the curse, he’ll help her take down an evil queen. 

As they play games with hearts and magic, someone else is playing games with their minds and monsters. 

BEAST is a 72,000 word fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Its sequel, QUEEN, will soon be complete at 80,000 words and continues the story of the curse through a Snow White retelling. Thank you for your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 

Jane Apricity

 

Paring down the plot and trying to make it as enticing as possible has also helped my writing not just for the query’s sake, but for editing Beast as well. I’m getting back to the basics of the plot, the feel, the tone and underlying themes that are important to me.

In essence, I’m going back to good old fashioned storytelling. Which, in the end, is exactly what I’m trying to do as an author.

Stepping Into the World of Freelance

Stepping Into the World of Freelance

Project Freelancer. Those words jerk me back to the days of roleplaying with friends, when they were obsessed with the internet show “Red vs Blue.” But while those Freelancers were from the world of Halo and sent off as mercs for hire, I’ll be doing something a little more legal. Specifically, freelance writing.

It should have occurred to me much sooner, really. I enjoy both the creative and the technical parts of writing, and my friends (and total strangers) have been asking me to help them with writing many times before. From simple revision and proofing to practically ghost writing and collabs, I’ve always been doing the same thing.

If you’re good at something, never do it for free.  -The Joker

While that quote was taken from one of the most heinous villains to grace comic books, it seems pretty solid. So after stumbling across this conclusion, I joined Upwork.

Upwork seems to get mixed reviews. “Real” freelancers seem to dislike it, but they have no qualms concerning age, and it looks like a good springboard for someone with limited billable experience. It may not be perfect for everyone, but it seems like a good fit for me.

I spent this weekend setting up a profile, as well as linking it up to a shiny new email, Twitter and matching profile pics all across. (I’m going to be just as bad at Twitter as I am at Facebook, I assure you.)

Am I all dressed up with no place to go? I certainly hope not. As quickly as I got around to doing this, I hope it sticks around much longer. The freedom it could give me financially would be a real blessing, especially as I near the “getting kicked out of the house” age.

And if it does flop, at least I now have consistent profile pictures.

Bessings!

-J.A.

 

 

 

 

The Images of Writing

While I’m definitely not my sister, I’m a relatively artsy person. Which is incredibly handy for worldbuilding. Example:

 

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I swear I’m a mature author.

Okay, okay, not really. But in all honesty, a map can make the writing process so much smoother.

This is a real example of the map above, which will be used in KISA/Legends of Galdre/Sorcerers Familiar. (My trilogy that is in desperate need of a unifying title.)

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It’s still in the works, obviously, but it’s coming along pretty nicely. And I love that I could use Skelside Tower as the Compass Rose.

(For anyone interested in fantasy maps, I used this book by Jared Blando, which is also free on Kindle if you have the right cred. I promise I make no money off of telling you this.)

I’ll be making a map for Tale soon as well, and want to make more detailed maps of individual countries on each.

World building isn’t just restricted to mapping it out, however. This sketch of Naiporl, an important city in Tale, was a blast to do. I got to have fun portraying the architecture based a little more on the Middle East, which is an important part of Naiporl’s–and a lot of the world of Tale’s–identity.

 

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I have part of the Delumbrum (religious center for the Clergy) on the left, and the “Black Market” straight ahead, under the silk canopies. The mosaics and statues of saints become more intricate the closer you get to the Delumbrum. The windows and doors of the buildings are open air to elleviate heat, but are secured by grates.  

 

This is my first attempt at a cityscape… I really enjoyed it! I’m going to try sketching the Assassin’s castle next, and am working on a map for this world as well as touching up KISA’s.

I also want to try sketching the characters, although that’s really more my sister’s area of expertise.

I used to try and avoid doing anything other than writing because I felt like it was cheating. It was time spent not writing, and shouldn’t I be able to express it all in words anyways? I’m an author, not a storyteller.

Oh… right.

In any case, I no longer give myself grief for taking the time to build up my worlds a little more in multiple mediums. If you guys do the same, I’d love to hear about it! Link me to some pictures below, or just blab to me at apricitydefine@gmail.com

Blessings!

-J.A.

 

Kiss 2016 Goodbye

Kiss 2016 Goodbye

I’ve recently been reading a book called Ink and Bone, about which I will write a book review as soon as I’ve finished it. (Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post titled Book Blab!) In it, the main characters who work at the Great Library are constantly writing in their journals. They might use it to vent about their day, or scribble down theories and plans.

I’ve struggled for years to keep a journal, but I liked the way this sounded. Write whatever you feel that day! I could write about something I don’t want to forget (like a funny quote or my grocery list), write a scene that won’t get out of my head but doesn’t fit in a story, or write about “feelings” and similar things.

I wrote this on December 31st, just before the new year. (If you think it sounds at all mature or dramatic, I’ll have you know that I wrote it with a Sonic Screwdriver while wearing llama pajama pants.)

I wonder what fuels inspiration.

One moment, I’m struggling with every other phrase, and the next my fingers glide as images, music and soul all pour from my mind.

I’m inspired by ink and leather and memories stolen from the long-gone. I’m inspired by the culture of society’s heathens, and the heathens of society’s cultured. By time, places, people, as well as art’s pale imitation of them and the caricatures that paint them all the more vibrantly.

I am inspired when emotion takes a form, however brazen or subtle. I am inspired by the fantastic, and the things so real that I can taste them, like one has pointed out my breathing.

The exclusive, the universal. The beautiful, the treacherous. The exotic, the commonplace.

What am I not inspired by?

Of course, I later went on to rail on 2016 and place a few tentative hopes for 2017, but I think that bit will resonate with most authors. I thought I’d throw it out here, in all it’s Sonic-ed and llama glory.

Have a fantastic new year!

-J.A.