Posts Categorized: writing

[Guest Post]: On Writing a Character With Anxiety + Mental Health Book Recommendations (Shattering Stigmas)

October 4, 2017 books, recs, writing 7

I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Marie Landry to the blog today! Marie is an author, and she is going to tell you about her writing process and how much of herself she puts into her own characters in this post. She will also give you a couple of book recommendations for YA/NA books discussing mental health. Make sure to check out Waiting for the Storm and Marie’s other books. I’ll let Marie take over from here.

Shattering Stigmas graphic
Shattering Stigmas is a two-week blogging event focused on mental health in literature and mental health generally – check back for guest posts, reviews and discussions around mental health.

Marie’s story

When I started writing my YA book Waiting for the Storm five years ago, I didn’t intend for it to be about a girl with anxiety. Initially it was about a girl, Charlotte, who had finished high school at home while taking care of her terminally ill mother. After being shut away for almost a year, she had become anxious and jumpy, afraid of things that never bothered her before, and unable to cope with her emotions. As I continued writing and Charlotte became more fully formed in my mind, her actions – things like jumping to conclusions and overreacting – seemed familiar.
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November 8, 2016 writing 4

Welcome to November! Wow, that went fast, didn’t it? Then again a lot of people seem to be comparing 2016 to a dumpster fire, so maybe you’re looking forward to next year already. Either way, November means it’s time for my favorite holiday of the year: National Novel Writing Month! If you’re not familiar with the concept, NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50.000 words in one month. You don’t really win anything at the end, other than bragging rights, so all it proves is that writers are masochists. Seriously though, it’s great for inspiration and motivation.

In honor of NaNoWriMo, I figured what would be a better way to cheerlead than talking about all the various struggles writers and by writers I mean mostly me face. I already wrote a sarcastic post on writing struggles, so I decided it was time for a real one. I am nothing if not an optimist.

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Top Priority Writing Projects

January 7, 2016 miscellaneous, writing 9

I’m doing this again, because I thought it wouldn’t hurt to set some writing related goals for this year! Also, I like replying to questions I can actually answer as opposed to Why do we exist? or Is this term paper you’re writing the same term paper you told me about last summer? Fine, I can answer that last question BUT YOU WON’T LIKE THE ANSWER, MOTHER. Ahem. Let us commence.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I almost won NaNoWriMo! It was SO CLOSE. I mean what’s 30.000 words in the grand scheme of things, right? I also wrote some term papers and stuff.

Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

The book I started last November! I have 20.000 words, and I’m totally not considering starting something else NOPE NOT ME. And my bachelor thesis
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Speed Typing Test Review (How Fast Can YOU Type?)

December 29, 2015 discussion, fun, miscellaneous, writing 15

Help. There are so many more productive things I could be doing. But Kristen asked me whether I’ve ever done any typing tests in the comments of my speed reading test review, so you know what I’m doing for the next hour. I’m much more confident about my speed typing abilities than my speed reading abilities, but we’ll see how it goes. Please no one link me to anything that looks like a test, survey or buzzfeed quiz in the comments after this though, because I will have to forward my university expulsion letter and a bucket full of my tears to you.

If you know me, you’ll know I did my research and totally didn’t pick out the very first test that came up when I Googled “typing test”. This test prides itself on being able to tell your “true” typing speed in 60 seconds (I wonder what a false typing speed would be) and is preset to give you a text from Aesop’s fables, but you can choose different texts to copy. I chose Space Cowboys, because that sounded a lot more fun.

I got 64 words/minute with 1 error, so 63 words per minute. I wasn’t sure if quotation marks and such counted as errors and the fact that the test always colored the next word I had to type blue distracted me a little even though it was supposed to be helpful (my brain is weird and confused but loveable, like Kirk from Gilmore Girls). The test says between 60 and 80 words per minute is fast, but the next level is “pro”, so you know I had to try it again. I left it on Aesop’s fables this time and got 77 words/minute with 2 errors, so still fast, but 5 missing to be a pro. I, um, got competitive with myself then. I chose Baseball Rules and typed 85 words with one mistyped word, so an adjusted speed of 84 words per minute, which officially makes me a PRO. YES, MY LIFE GOALS ARE COMPLETED.

You know I had to use this gif.

I also switched to German once and got a science-y text on musk deer (WTF) and typed 68 words/minute with 51 mistyped words and an adjusted speed of 0 words per minute. Um. I don’t quite know what happened there.
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What I Learned During NaNoWriMo 2015

December 9, 2015 miscellaneous, writing 6

November, or as some writers know it “that crazy month where you ditch life and try to write a book in four weeks”, has come and passed and selfless person that I am I’d like to share some insights with you (fun fact: I once wrote “insides” instead of “insights” in a university essay and didn’t catch it while proof reading, so now I’m always worried it’ll happen again and people will think I want to share my innards with them – I do not).

So first things first: I didn’t win. It pains me to admit it, but since I so cockily declared that I Bet I Can Write a Book, I figured I should share my failure with you and explain to you why it wasn’t actually a failure. HOW CONVENIENT, you might think and you would be completely right, but keep an open mind. Generally, I mean, not in relation to my fake failure, you may judge me on that all you want. It never hurts to keep an open mind, does it? Look at Aberforth and his goats – some might wonder why JK Rowling chose to include bestiality in her books, but never explicitly mentioned Dumbledore was gay in the text, but to those people I say keep an open mind; maybe Aberforth loved his goats more than Dumbledore loved Grindelwald and clearly love is more important than taking over the world is what I say to deflect attention from my devious plan of taking over the world (fun fact number two: Sometimes I wonder whether what I’m writing is inappropriate or only makes sense to 0.2 out of a hundred people. That’s usually the stuff that I keep).

Before I grace you irritate you with more weird Harry Potter humor, let’s take a look at the things my first NaNoWriMo experience taught me!
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NaNoWriMo Week 2 + Snippets

November 16, 2015 miscellaneous, writing 2

My week two writing process was very… mercurial. You’ll see what I mean. I did write words though, so I decided to share some snippets in between my daily recounts. Everything subject to change, obviously.

Day 1:

I challenged myself to write 5.000 words today. I needed 3.700 to make up for not writing over the weekend, but 5.000 was a prettier number, and I like a good challenge. Actually I hate a good challenge, and I’ve been struggling all day, but- OMG I DID IT. I procrastinated all day and didn’t really start writing until late evening, and it’s exactly 3 am now, which isn’t ideal, because I need to get up and go to work at 8 am, BUT SCREW IT I ACTUALLY DID IT. I’d like to thank the academy, my family, my writerly friends, and, most importantly, the progress bar in the Scrivener project and session target tool that turns from red to green as you reach your target word count and makes writing seem like a mini game I am 97.6% convinced it’s the reason I’ve been reaching my goals so far. Word written: 5.211

Alex sat down on her bed to put on a pair of tights, swearing when her fingernail caught on the silky material. “I swear these things are made to torture people.”

Allie looked over her shoulder at where Alex was fighting with her tights. “I’m pretty sure they were used during the Spanish Inquisition. Who needs an eyeball scraper when you can use tights?”

“An eyeball scraper? Sometimes you scare me,” Alex said. She was finally happy with the tights and stood up to smooth down her dress. She had still been wearing her make-up when Allie arrived, but she added some dark red lipstick to round out the look. Allie beamed at her in the mirror.

“Thank you. I do try.”

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We’re live in 3… 2… 1…

November 14, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous, writing 10

Cake Conversations Banner Kopie - Kopie

What’s New?

Me and my friend Verena (she blogs in German, but I’ll link to her blog anyway, because you can look at her drawings) are going to have our own radio show soon! As you might or might not remember, I did an internship at a local radio station this summer, and I decided to ask whether I can do my own show. I convinced Verena to join me, because I thought it would be more fun together. We worked on a concept last week and presented it at the monthly meeting yesterday. They all voted yes, so we’ll be going live for an hour every four weeks starting January. I’m really excited about it, because I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s good practice if I want to do something radio-related after uni. In other news, I’m still doing NaNoWriMo, although slightly less successfully. I’m a bit stuck in my story, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out and persevere.

I also edited my England vlog, so if you’re interested in seeing what I got up to, you can do that here. I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath.

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