Inspiration Dice Prompt #14

Inspiration Dice Prompt #14 | Paperback Lover

Blue = Character
Pink = Character Traits

For this prompt, you’re going to create a character based around these dice rolls. Because the gender/age dice only have “child” and “adult” (which is the only thing I wish I could change about these dice, actually), it’s up to you what that means. Is the child a, well, child (under 10), a preteen (10-12), or a teen (13-18)? Is the adult in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, older, younger, immortal? It’s up to you and what comes to mind. The important thing is that you don’t get bogged down in making sure that you follow whatever the dice say exactly. This is still your story at the end of the day.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Music Prompt #27


Start by listening. You don’t have to listen all the way through, but do give yourself some time to really listen. Close your eyes, if you’re comfortable doing so, put on your headphones, and listen. Allow yourself to really feel the music and immerse yourself in what you’re hearing. Once you’re ready, start writing.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a story, start by writing a list of words the music makes you think of. Is it calming, energetic, creepy? Does it make you think of a specific place, person, or genre? What type of person can you imagine listening to this kind of music?

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Inspiration Dice Story Helper #18

Inspiration Dice Story Helper #18 | Paperback Lover

Yellow = Genre
Red = Plot
Green = Action

Genre: fiction, adventure
Use these Story Helpers to build off of what you came from the Monday prompts. Don’t worry about them not matching up. The great thing about your brain is that it will find a way to make something work. Have fun with it, don’t fear what comes. Fear is the root of writer’s block.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Photo Prompt #40

Photo Prompt #40 | Paperback LoverSource: David Shankbone from Wikimedia

If a specific story doesn’t come to you, start by writing a description of what you see and move forward from there. Where is this school? What time of year is it? Who are these students? Why would someone photograph them? What class are they in? How well do they know each other? What isn’t seen in this photograph? What is their teacher like? How do you imagine these students act? What social group do they belong to? What are they like when they’re alone? What is their home life like? You don’t have to answer all of these questions, or any of them, for that matter, but they can be good jumping off points for when you get stuck.

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Goals for 2018

When this post goes live it will be December 31st—so, Happy premptive New Year, if that’s when you happen to be reading this!

I’ve always been good at making goals, it’s sticking to them where I’ve always fell flat. Not that I haven’t tried. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who made a list of goals and stuck with them until they were accomplished, but, up until recently, consistency has been my greatest enemy. Notice that I said “up until recently”: 2017 has been different. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it or write you a “10 Tips for becoming more consistent” article that would make get my name published somewhere, even if it was buzzfeed (why do you have to have standards, Rae?). Maybe I’ve been getting better at believing the mantras that I repeat to myself. Maybe I’ve just been repeating them for long enough that I’ve tricked myself into believing them. Maybe something just finally clicked in my brain. Maybe it’s the ever encroaching 30 year mark (I’ve been told there’s a switch in your brain that gets flipped at 30 and, magically, you start “thriving” or something). I don’t know what it was, but, while in the past there was always this thing at the base of my skull that was very convincing and always found reasons not to stick with anything, now there’s something else, maybe that thing’s mama smacking it upside the head and telling me that doing that thing I’m avoiding will take less than 10 minutes and I’ll feel better in the long run having done it.

At the beginning of 2017, I had intended to set goals for myself, my writing, my reading, and this blog, but I never got around to it. I did attempt to do a 365 project with blackout poems and the whole instagram thing, but I found myself burned out around May (which is a hell of a lot longer than all my other 365 projects have lasted). It didn’t help that I found myself in a depressive hole around that time, as well. So, I checked out, I binge watched Father Brown and wondered why I can’t stick with anything. That was when the mama of that thing who was whispering to me from the base of my skull not only smacked her child upside the head, but me, as well. She seems to have unstuck me with a force I wasn’t expecting. Half way through May, I started sitting at my computer every day and writing—world building, character sketching, & outlining a story I had nearly given up on. I finished the first draft of the first book of The Eyes of Texas series in early September. It was the first first draft I had ever completed and it shot my confidence up like a rocket. Maybe confidence isn’t the right word—self-esteem? Self-love? Self-acceptance? I don’t know, but now everything feels lighter, brighter, rose tinted, and possible. I am a lump of clay that only I can shape and mold. For the past two decades, I’ve been neglecting that clay, if not beating it full of anxieties, fears, paranoias, and defeat. It’s time for that to change and I think I’m finally in the place where that can happen.

In January of 2017, the only goal I had managed to come up with was to release anything that was holding me back and preventing me from being happy, being free. I forgot about that goal constantly, eventually entirely until writing this post. Maybe the was the key: setting the goal and then forgetting it (like a soul crockpot, or something). Here it is, December, and, while I’m not actually sure that I’ve released all that much, it feels like I’ve released a decades worth of tension from my shoulders. I think the real key is that I’ve learned what it means to truly forgive myself, pick myself back up, and continue moving forward. In the past, when I’ve fallen down, I would just lie there, letting the waves grab hold of me and drag me out to sea. It’s the reason I would get lost out there so easily. I think Anne Bonny finally found me, righted me, and set me straight. Brigid has finally set her torch in the lighthouse so I can navigate these familiar, yet somehow still foreign waves. Or maybe her torch has always been there and I’m just now seeing it, hearing her call, feeling that strength to start fighting, really, truly fighting.

But this wasn’t supposed to be some sort of therapy session. I apologize. Let’s get back on track.

I want to keep moving forward with releasing the things that don’t serve me and I’m ready to start embracing and recognizing the things that do. I want to jump back into instagram and I want to try and start a youtube channel. I also want to be more active on this blog and possibly Bat Wings & Skeleton Keys, but I’ve learned over the past year to take things slow and not to try and mimic the pace of those who don’t have a creature at the base of their skull who needs to be shut out and ignored.

I definitely want to start writing up reviews again, even if they’re not deep or thought provoking and just my rambling thoughts. I really do love talking about books, plus talking about the books that I read helps me to better process them and to retain the information for longer than if I just read it and toss it aside. My plan is to sit down and write a review within the week after I finish a book. Shouldn’t be too hard.

As for prompts: I’m still going to do them and the story helpers, I really like those, as well, however, I’m going to structure them a bit differently this year and see how it works out.

So, basically, the Monday prompts are going to be focused on creating/establishing a character or a setting. Not so much coming up with a story right then and there, but rather focusing in on who this story is about or where it takes place. Character creation and development is so important to me and something that I love the most as a writer and something that I think isn’t pushed enough. On the opposite side of the pendulum swing, setting is something that I tend to gloss over the most and need some practice actually sitting down and focusing on. Both play a large role in what makes a story feel real and tangible, so, let’s work on putting real energy and focus into building those two aspects.

Now, on Wednesdays, I’m still going to post story helpers, but, rather than using the story helpers to shift your story and keep you on your toes, they will, hopefully, give work as a prompt for the story that your character or your setting from Monday will exist within. I’m not entirely sure if this is going to work, but we’ll see.


I wrote the first draft of the first book of The Eyes of Texas series in three months and I’m hoping to replicate that again with the rest of the books. My goal is to get the first three books, and maybe the fourth (though the fourth book is most likely going to be closer to a novella), to near publication ready before I start querying agents, and, with enough focus, consistency, and determination, I’m hoping I can get at least the first draft of each done by the end of the year. I think I can do it. I know I can do it! I will do it! Huzzah!


Though I surpassed my goodreads reading goal this year, I’m still a bit convinced it was a fluke…also, I read a lot of graphic novels in the beginning, so, I’m going to shoot for 25 again, just to be safe. If I reach 30 again in 2018, then I’ll bump my goal for 2019 up, but, for now, I’m going to play it safe.

I also want to read more books that are on my bookshelves, especially some of my Eyes of Texas research. As well, I want to continue checking out books from the library. I checked out a lot of books this year and I definitely want to continue that trend.


My goal for female authors in 2017 was 10. I didn’t meet that goal. I’m determined to change that in 2018.


I saw a few people using bingo cards to challenge their reading at different points this past year, and I thought it looked like a really fun idea. Then I thought, “Oh! I should try and make one for writing goals, as well!” I’m sure I’m not going to black out either of these cards, but it’ll be fun to see what I can manage to do. Plus, I’m hoping it will be a good way for me to not fall into a slump, since I won’t be able to say, “I have nothing to read/write.”

Though some of what is on these cards is specific to my personal goals (especially the writing one), feel free to take some ideas from them or just steal them altogether (I made some with my personal goals taken out here & here).

 

 

That looks like a lot when I put it into text, but I think I can do it. And if I can’t, then that’s fine. I’m the only one putting pressure on myself to accomplish these things, and I’m the only one who will be let down if I don’t. And if I decide in March that something just isn’t worth continuing, then I can just stop doing it. I’m excited to see where this year takes me.

So long, 2017, thanks for all that you gave me.
Welcome, 2018, let’s see if we can top 2017.


Writer Emergency Pack Story Helper #18

Writing Emergency Pack Story Helper #18 | Paperback Lover

Writer Emergency Pack

Story Helpers are meant to continue off of the Monday prompts as a way to either help expand what came to you from the prompt or to screw it all up and force you out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry about them not matching up either. The great thing about your brain is that it will find a way to make something work. Have fun with it, don’t fear what comes. Fear is the root of writer’s block.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Inspiration Dice Prompt #13

Inspiration Dice Prompt #13 | Paperback LoverInspiration Dice

Yellow = Genre
Blue = Character
Pink = Character Traits
Red = Plot
Green = Action

Though these dice are more specific than the story dice and seem more intimidating, try your best to let go of any nerves or fears that you’re feeling and just let you’re imagination take over. That might be what I love about these dice the most, they force you out of your comfort zone faster than any other writing exercise. But, like I’ve said before, our brains are amazing, storytelling machines and they will find a way to make these seemingly unrelated words come together to make a story. It might not be the best story, but it will be a story.

Feel free to approach the plot and action dice however you feel comfortable. Pick your top three plot dice and use those to follow a three-act story structure. Use all five and allow how the dice landed to dictate how the events unfold. Let the orientation of the action dice dictate the outcome of that action: right-side up elicits a positive outcome, upside down brings about mayhem, sideways confusion. However you choose to approach it, the point of this exercise is to let go and let what happens happen. The point is to have fun and write without worrying about the outcome.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Inspiration Dice Story Helper #17

Inspiration Dice Story Helper #17 | Paperback Lover

Inspiration Dice

Red Dice signify plot and Green Dice signify action.

Story Helpers are meant to continue off of the Monday prompts as a way to either help expand what came to you from the prompt or to screw it all up and force you out of your comfort zone. Don’t worry about them not matching up either. The great thing about your brain is that it will find a way to make something work. Have fun with it, don’t fear what comes. Fear is the root of writer’s block.

Remember: Even if what you come up with doesn’t make sense, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Music Prompt #26

Start by listening. You don’t have to listen all the way through, but do give yourself some time to really listen. Close your eyes, if you’re comfortable doing so, put on your headphones, and listen. Allow yourself to really feel the music and immerse yourself in what you’re hearing. Once you’re ready, start writing.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a story, start by writing a list of words the music makes you think of. Is it calming, energetic, creepy? Does it make you think of a specific place, person, or genre? What type of person can you imagine listening to this kind of music?

Remember: Even if all you come up with for now is a description, keep it and come back to it later. If your muse is like mine then it most likely enjoys giving you puzzle pieces that need to be fit together over time rather than the whole story all at once. You never know what will connect your pieces together, so don’t trash something just because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere right away.


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

by Marjane Satrapi

started: December 8, 2017 | finished: December 8, 2017

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood is a memoir chronicling Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Iranian Revolution in the 1980’s. Told through the use of Satrapi’s own illustrations, the reader is shown the loss, sacrifice, and fight that comes with such a tumultuous time through the eyes of a child.


I have to admit, I’ve never been very drawn to middle eastern stories. I don’t know if it’s a race thing or if it’s an oversaturation that I never really shook off after the early 2000’s, which, coincidentally, is when this book was originally published and probably why I never read it at the time. Either way, I’ve always avoided the topic due to lack of interest. When the Read Women group voted on Persepolis as the December group read, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad to say that I was entirely engrossed in this book. I finished it in a day, which isn’t hard considering the medium and reading level, however, I’m usual pretty good about taking my time with graphic novels so I can spend more time in them, but this book reads so fluidly that it was hard not to just keep reading.


Back in the early 2000’s after 9/11, when the Middle East broke through America’s blinders, I honestly got sick of hearing about it very quickly. It probably didn’t help that I was in middle school, going into high school at the time and had “more important” things on my mind than world relations (I’ve never cared that much about politics anyways), so I zoned out whenever the Middle East came up. So, while some of the information covered in Persepolis I knew, a lot of it I didn’t and the parts that I did already know, my knowledge was very surface level. Though, honestly, it’s always one thing to hear about these generalized events, it’s something entirely different to hear it from the perspective of a child who lived through it and was affected by it. As well, the inclusion of the small things that changed, such as censorship of not just media, but even history, the regulations of women’s fashion, the outlawing of parties, all helped to show just how oppressive and even claustrophobic things had become. My only issue was the ending, which felt kind of anti-climactic for me. It didn’t ruin the book, but I felt kind of left in the cold there at the end.


I love Satrapi’s parents. They were political and intellectual without being didactic and I love the way they encouraged learning in her without being overbearing. They really helped to show the contrast between Iranians who were modern and those who were traditional. I also really liked Satrapi as a child. She was inquisitive and headstrong, refusing to lie down for anyone.


I realize that I can’t really ask much in terms of writing style from a young adult/middle grade book, let alone a graphic novel (though, if Neil Gaiman can pull off lyrical prose in a graphic novel, then no excuses), but, as a writer, it’s hard for me to not notice it and the writing in Persepolis was bare. I wouldn’t say that it was bland, but just bare. I do feel that the writing could have gone a bit deeper to really drive home the darker points in the story.


Much like the writing, I felt the art could have been more detailed, especially with how bare the writing was. I know, I know, it’s a young adult/middle grade book, and I did enjoy the simplistic style, however, I do think it would have been possible to keep the simplistic style and make it a bit more detailed. There were even a few frames that showed that Satrapi does have the skill to add more detail, and I just would have liked to see that more throughout.


(rounded down for goodreads)
I really did enjoy this book, though I’m not sure I enjoyed it enough to buy it…maybe I did. I’m still not sure. I’m glad I read it. I enjoyed reading it. And I learned a good amount about a period of history and a part of the world that I hadn’t previously known much about. However, I don’t think it’s a book that I will be drawn to read again or, at least, not over and over again. It is a good book, just not one that I feel I need to rush out and buy so I can keep it on my self.