The Beautiful Books #26 – The Author Writing Process Edition

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals

How do you decide which project to work on?
I’m actually pretty terrible at focusing on a singular project and I’m often working on multiple projects at once.

How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
The Pushing Boundaries series is the only project thus far I’ve been able to focus on long-term. I wrote a rough draft for Canis Major – Volume I for NaNoWriMo 2015 (November) and had it edited and self-published by November 2016. I know a year doesn’t sound like a long time, but it felt like a long time because I was focusing on it for a core unit of my degree and needed the eBook published in order to graduate.

Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
No, unfortunately, although I am trying to organise myself into a get a cup of tea and light some tea-candles and essential oil burner and seeing how that goes.
Image Description: from left to right, a triangle shaped tea-light candle holder with purple flowers painted on the front, a small glass tea-light candle holder, a white oil burner from Dusk with a tea-light candle inside and another small glass tea-light candle holder.

What time of day do you write best?
I generally struggle in the morning and tend to work better in the afternoon and evening

Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
As I’m an author who is just starting out, I have no idea, personally I think this is something you’d have to ask a reader rather than a writer.

Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
Looking back, I began fan fiction writing as a coping strategy for dealing with… well, Life in general, I suppose, however, it also allowed me to experiment with writing possible narratives that could occur within that already structured world, most of these narrative possibilities contained the idea that the canon narrative could have gone in a different direction than the one the author chose. It’s a safe way to explore narratives and characters. But, eventually, the novelty of fan fiction (and the lack of quality control) made the cons of fan fiction out-weigh the pros.

I also realised that if I spent all my time playing around with other people’s narratives and characters, I was left with neither the time or mental capacity to work on my own narratives and characters (although characterisation is still an area I need to improve upon). The reason I keep writing, I guess, is because I’m constantly coming up with new ideas, which is kind of frustrating because I’d like to be able to work on the projects I’ve already started, but we all have our own creative processes.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?
During the editing process, I was trying to get my character Beth to convey some plot/character related information to another character Mac, in the original manuscript this took place over three chapters, however, with the assistance of my editor Kim, I managed to transfer this information in three lines of dialogue. It was so frustrating and annoying at the time but it was a good learning experience.

Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?
probably my Lake of Tears project, which is a SFF (Science Fiction Fantasy) Dystopian cross-over involving elves, gods, mages, dragons and time-travel. I am nowhere near the level I need to be (as a writer) to write it, that and I need to do some more research into time-travel and paradoxes.

What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
I wanted to have written Orion – Volume II written, edited and self-published by the end of the year, but that goal has become laughably out of reach due to personal circumstances and issues with mental health.

Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
Image Description: a Labrador-dog, wearing a red tie, is sitting at desk with a laptop. It looks as though the dog is typing on the laptop. The picture is captioned with white capital text, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.

Technical Difficulties – 2nd Edition

Image Description: a “Very Demotivational” meme, which is a picture of a panda trapped on a branch, with a black border around the picture with white-text captioning down the bottom of the picture: “Technical Difficulties: We has them…”

I’ve been thinking of starting up (surprise, surprise!) another writing project, the big problem is that I’m currently torn between what kind of platforms I should use, I don’t know if my intended project is more suitable for Podcasting, a YouTube Channel or perhaps a combination (somehow?). Perhaps I should discuss my new writing project and maybe it’ll help me with he decision process. I want to set up a platform where I talk about Mental Health and ADHD (as well as some related topic things like stim toys). As I’m not a qualified therapist or counsellor, I would only be able to talk from the podium of my own experiences, so the video path would involve journal-like videos talking about my diagnosis, my personal diagnostic process, as well my interconnected mental health problems.

I’m going to be honest, YouTube has a large market on the “journal/confession” style of video, and while that results in great content like Katie Morton’s YouTube Channel and Annie Elainey’s YouTube Channel, it leaves me wondering “What do I bring to the table that is unique and different?” and “how can I possibly stand out?” See, the funny thing is that there is a lot of ADHD journal-style channels already out there, usually they have ten videos and then they haven’t been updated since or they have been updated but there are irregularities in postings or big gaps.

The problem is that I understand only too well why that is the case, I’ve been doing the same thing too pretty much all my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to embark on yet another project, invest a lot of my time, effort and limited financial resources into a platform only to give up half-way through. And, yeah, I’m perfectly willing to admit that my scatter-gun approach to… pretty much everything might be apart of the problem. My usual method of throwing things at a platform and seeing what sticks isn’t working for me or isn’t working as well as I’d like it to. It’s not that I’m not willing to give both a go, its not that I’m not willing to take risks, what I’d like is some feedback before I make the attempt.

What’s the Project going to be about?
My objective is create channel (regardless of whether its YouTube or Podcast) that covers the following:

  • journal-style content of my personal mental health and Adult ADHD diagnosis process.
  • Facts About ADHD – episodes that focus on the facts and resources regarding ADHD (like books and support groups available). I want these episodes to have a more Australian approach to it and my focus will primarily be Adults with ADHD, because unfortunately the majority of resources currently available tend to be more geared towards children with ADHD and their parents.
  • Interviewing Mental Health professionals or people involved with positive Mental Health support (like social workers or support groups)
  • Mental Health Q&A videos (possibly?) or stuff that’s connected to Mental Health like Stim Toy reviews, Bullet Journal stuff, or Journal exercises

I suppose I should include the possible pros and cons of each platform.

YouTube Channel Pros:

  • Dramatic reenactments with my collection of Weighted Plushies: this is the aspect of making videos that I’m looking forward to the most. I’m already thinking and detailing in my mind the jump-cut sketches I could possibly make.
  • Editing: I enjoy the editing process of film-making, I’m currently using Adobe Premier, which is great if not a little complicated (I’m doing a Skills Share tutorial for it, just to make sure I know exactly what I’m doing). There’s also lots of help and tutorials online.
  • Equipment: I already have all the required equipment to start making videos (I found a tripod at Big W for roughly AU $25), I could literally start tomorrow if that’s what I wanted.
  • Audience Interaction: YouTube is a great method of interaction and for building a community and there’s a proven track-record of people building successful and supportive mental health communities. It’s a big component of why I want to do this.

YouTube Channel Cons:

  • Super Awkward: When it comes to making movies and taking photographs, I’ve spent most of my time behind the camera, and I’m pretty good at directing (aka telling people how to do their jobs). But I don’t have that same sense of confidence when I’m placed in front of a camera. I tried to make a short introduction video for my YouTube Channel, I tried four times to do a short 30 second clip and kept fucking up the short basic script I had devised for myself, eventually I thought “Fuck it!” and decided on doing a voice recording with my phone and pictures instead of video footage (you can view the intro video down below, don’t feel bad for laughing, the video is very much a rush job)
  • Marketing: From the research I’ve doing, a lot of the ADHD journal-style channels are created by people presumably in the USA, now this could give me an edge, an Australian woman talking about her personal experiences would be unique, but there is a risk that this is too unique and that only small percentage of people are going to interested in it. There’s also the problem that there are A LOT of people doing this already, and while I think this is awesome and I’m very much for ending the stigma surrounding ADHD and other Mental Health problems, I still need to ask myself “What am I bringing to the table?” and I’m not entirely certain that I would be adding to the conversation.
  • Interaction: Lets be honest here, YouTube isn’t known for being a safe place, where online harassment is taken seriously. While I know I have reasonably thick skin, the problem is that I don’t know if the possible good I get from this channel is going to out-weight the potential harassment I’m going to receive online. I’m not saying harassment or bullies should hold you back from doing what you want to do, because there are always going to be bullies and nay-sayers out there telling you not to try, this is more from a self-care and time management perspective.
  • Timing: I mean, with regards to filming, it’s lot more work involved in making YouTube videos in comparison to writing blog-posts on WordPress or Tumblr. With videos, you need time to film, organise a guest and/or work around guest’s schedule, edit film, possibly edit audio, publish it on YouTube, and then also make a blog-post about it on WordPress.
  • Length: I’m going to be honest, I talk a lot and at a fast pace, There’s also the problem with YouTube that videos are expected to be short (the implied maximum being 12-15 minutes) and I often feel that this time-constraint isn’t always appropriate for Mental Health discussions, a Mental Health problem can’t always be tackled in a 15 minute video, sometimes it’s more complicated than that. It also doesn’t give much time for me to answer any possible questions people might ask of me.

Podcasting Pros:

  • Comfort: I have no problems with recording myself via audio, I’m also super comfortable with Adobe Auditions (from what I remember, it’s super easy to use, although my memory isn’t the most reliable). In contrast to Adobe Premier, which is a little more difficult (or at least it is for me) and it wasn’t obvious how to use certain features like captioning
  • Experience: I have some limited experience to creating audio files due to taking a University unit Radio Production, I’m also looking into volunteering for a community radio station once a week.
  • Marketing: Mental Health Podcasts, such as The Mental Illness Happy Hour, have a proven track record of success.
  • Accessibility: For transcription, I can use a paid-service such as Trint and I can make my podcasts as long or short as I like.

Podcasting Cons:

  • Equipment: I have yet to obtain the recording equipment I would need to begin podcasting and that’s mostly because of cost, the audio recorder I have in mind (which is the cheaper of the two options) costs AU $180. Unlike the equipment I have for video recording, if I decide I don’t want to make videos, I can still use my camera and tripod for other things, but this isn’t the case with the audio equipment and I don’t want spend money on equipment I’m only going use once or twice.
  • Experience: I’ve been making short films since I was teenager, so I kind of know what to expect when making videos with other people, but I’ve never made a podcast before so I’m not sure what to expect, and that’s a little scary.

Problems that would affect both projects:

  • Effort: Maybe taking on a new writing project isn’t the best idea at this point in time. I’m struggling creatively, everything feels like too much effort and I just can’t, my situation kind of does have a “Going Through The Motions” type of feeling. I’m not doing well with my novel-writing, I had hoped to have a 1st draft of Orion finished by now, maybe I should focus on that instead and figure out why it’s not working for me. There’s a serious concern that I’m just using this idea for a new project as an excuse to procrastinate.
  • Knowledge: Maybe I’m not the best person for this type of project, I have no formal qualifications and I only have subjective experiences to work from,
    I also don’t have the best social skills, a key component required when trying to get people to agree to interviews
  • Interviews: While I would love to do interviews regardless of my platform, getting the right people to agree to interviews will be a challenge.
  • Social Media: I would have to set up some separate elements of Social media for this new project, not a lot but some, possibly a separate Twitter or separate Tumblr page for people to ask questions, and seeing as I’ve just recently had to shut down my Havering blog because I just no longer had the mental capacity to maintain it, I feel a little anxious about the idea. I don’t want to set up social media for this project, only to delete it a few months later.

Maybe this is something I need to think about for a little while longer, however, I’d really appreciate it if readers could let me know what they think. Is this something you’d be interested in? Would you prefer YouTube or would you prefer a podcast? What about a combination of the two? I don’t know, I’m just putting ideas out there. If you’d like to check out my introductory video for my channel, the video is just below:

Stim Toy Review: Smencil Buddies Pencil Case

Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (watermelon flavour), it’s a teal-green pencil case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles a slice of watermelon with a smiley face on it.

Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (rainbow sherbet flavour), a bright-pink pencil-case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil-case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles an ice-cream cone (it has three colours: pink, green and orange) with a smiley face.

Item: Smencil Buddies Pencil Cases

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: AU $10.00 (Shipping Fees: AU $7.99) per pencil-case

Store: While I bought my pencil cases from eBay, I can’t say I recommend eBay as a reliable option for this item, however, there are other purchasing options:
Scent Co. – $9.99 (Shipping Fees: $5.99) = $15.98 total (not sure if this is in US$ or AU$)
Amazon – $15.49 (Shipping Fees: Free Shipping)
You can also use your Amazon account to purchase items from the Scent Co. website

My Location: Australia

I was planning on using these items as part of my Diverse Reading Challenge Giveaway, but as they turned out to be scented items, I decided against it. The problem with scented items is that there’s just too much risk and variation (what I find enjoyable may just give someone else a headache), however, I figured I may as well do a review of these anyway.

This is how wide it is:
Image Description: a pale-white hand holding  one end of a bright-pink pencil-case with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil-case. The image is showcasing how wide the pencil-case is, which is 10.5 mm wide.

This is what it looks like on the inside:
Image Description: a pale-white hand holding  one end of a bright-pink pencil-case open so that the viewer can see the inside of the pink pencil-case, it has the eight rows of indented bubbles across one side of the pencil-case.

For comparison purposes, this is my Hoopla Ice-cream pencil case:
Image Description: Hoopla Sweet Collection Stationery Pencil-case. The pencil-case is pink and has clip-art pictures of an ice-cream-on-a-stick with a smiley face, a doughnut-with-pink-icing also with a smiley face and an ice-cream-cone with blue-gelato and a smiley face. There are also a single cloud and a rainbow.

The Ice-cream pencil case is reasonably sized (by my standards) and it contains a rainbow collection of pens I bought from Daiso and a collection of glitter pens and metallic gel pens I bought from Aldi.
Image Description: The insides of the Hoopla Sweets Collection pencil-case. It’s pink with a couple of sections of netting to separate the two halves of the pencil-case. Within the netting sections are a rainbow collection of pens, glitter pens, and metallic gel pens.

While I managed to squeeze all those pens into the Rainbow Sherbet pencil case, the result was a little concerning, and it looked like it would explode any minute.
Image Description: an image of a Smencil Buddies Pencil Case (rainbow sherbet flavour), a bright-pink pencil case with with eight rows across of raised bumps decorating the outside of the pencil case. Attached to the zipper is a small decorate key-ring that resembles an ice-cream cone (it has three colours: pink, green and orange) with a smiley face. In this particular image, the pencil case has been filled with the rainbow collection of pens from the previous photo, which is causing the pencil case to bulge in a rather concerning matter

So, as a pencil case, I would probably consider it too small (but it this could just be me), however, it’s size should make it okay to use as a Stim Toy Case, but due to the fact that it’s a scented item and thus not recommended for public use due to chemical sensitivities, I wouldn’t consider it practical.

But it feels so good to touch, the knobbly parts are great to run your fingers over, and I also enjoy the smooth side as well. I really like the Rainbow Sherbet one, and I’m probably going to keep it for myself, despite the fact that I know it’s completely impractical.

If you’re interested in tactile pencil cases or coin purses that aren’t scented, I would be happy to recommend Yoobi Fuzzy Pencil Cases (they come in blue, purple, pink, green, and aqua) and Yoobi Fuzzy Coin Purses (they come in aqua, pink, blue, and green). In Australia, you can buy these items from their website or from Officeworks, although pricing does vary depending on location.

The Emerging Writer’s Festival – Writer’s Night School: Podcasting

Image Description: a lit sign positioned outside of The Wheeler Centre, it consists of multiple-panes of glass, upon the first pane of glass is the logo for the Wheeler Centre, below the logo there is text on the sign which says, “The Wheeler Centre. Books Writing Ideas”, on the second pane of glass is a collection of logos that indicate a number of writing-orientated organisations that reside within the upper floors of The Wheeler Centre.

Image Description: it’s a display sign for the Emerging Writer’s Festival. The background of the sign consists of blue buildings in various shades of blue, with the occasional pink object in the back ground to add contrast, for example: there is a pink flower at the bottom of the sign, pink petals from the flower are scattered across the bottom of the poster. There is yellow text superimposed on top of the blue and pink background, the yellow text is “EMERGING WRITER’S FESTIVAL 14-23 JUNE”.

While completing my Bachelor of Creative Arts Industries, there was a unit available known as Radio Production, which was something I was interested in pursuing. Unfortunately, Victoria University doesn’t have a University Radio Station set-up like RMIT does (in fact we had a field-trip to SYN Media to check it out), so my unit lacked that much needed practical experience element.

During one of the lectures, we had a guest speaker come in and talk to us about podcasting, while I can’t remember much of the person himself, I can remember the intimidating feeling he gave me as he listed all of the very expensive equipment he felt was necessary in order to produce a high-quality podcast. Despite the reassurances of some of my class-mates, who had created podcasts themselves, that such expensive equipment wasn’t a mandatory requirement, I still had my doubts.

After all, I had tried and failed at so many projects previously, was podcasting worthy of the time and money I would need to invent into it? To be honest, I don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience with Audio Equipment, although I have been doing some research into it, and I have been tossing up the idea of either starting up my own podcast series or perhaps starting up my own YouTube Channel. I ultimately decided I needed more information on both subjects and chose to attend the Writer’s Night School: Podcasting event.

My teacher and host for the evening was Honor Eastly and it took nearly all my limited self-control not to make an Avatar: The Last Airbender joke (I managed to convince myself that she’s most likely heard them all already). She’s created and been involved in many various art projects, but the podcasts she predominately talked about were Being Honest With My Ex and Starving Artist. Honour talked about Content, Craft and Audience, however, the main topic of choice was Craft, which can be broken down further into Interviewing, Gear, Editing, and Narration.

During the University unit, I was able to get some interviewing experience as Victoria University arranged for us to interview staff at Western General Hospital (I interviewed a gentleman who worked as an interpreter). It was a positive experience and I would be considering creating an interview-style of content, however, there is a potential road block to that particular style of narrative. How do you go about getting people to agree to an interview with you? I would image this would be especially difficult if you’re just starting out.

But contrary to what I thought (which was simply cold-calling people), Honour put forward her method, which was emailing contacts. Honour also recommended being as transparent as possible about the interviewing process, which included a pre-interview over the phone before meeting the interview subject to clarify what questions she would be asking and establish which directions she intended to take the interview. Honour emphasised that the key to good interviewing was making sure to value time of other people.

Next, we moved onto Gear and Editing, which I was interested in finding out more about. During my time at VU, we used Zoom H2N Handy Recorder, they were okay (sound quality was good and relatively simple to use) but the interface was a pain in the arse. If I were to invest in audio recording equipment it would probably be the Zoom H1 (if anyone has some experience or feedback to offer, please feel free to do in the comment section).

When it comes to software, my unit teaches recommended Audacity, mostly because it’s free, however, this software made me want to pull my hair out and cry, so now I refuse to use it. I previously had a student subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, which has the program Adobe Audition, which works like a dream, so I highly recommend Audition (if you can afford it).

If not, there is another alternative that Honor suggested, which is Reaper. I’ve never used Reaper before, so if readers want to leave feedback in the comment section below, please feel free to do so. Honor also recommended Trint, which is a paid Transcription service she uses but is also happy to recommend to others and I figured, regardless of whether I decide to pursue podcasting or a Youtube Video channel, this could be helpful for me either way.

Unfortunately, this meant that we didn’t have a lot of time to talk about Audience, however, Honor did have some good advice, such as “Make something people want to hear, give them something, so that they gain something by listening.” and “The best marketing plan is the one you can achieve.”. Although Honor was quick to point out that a component of her success with podcasting was good timing and consistent content releases (once a week being optimal for a singular podcast project).

All in all, it was a fun evening learning about something new, but I’m still uncertain as to whether or not pursue podcasting, however, I have decided that I shall investigate my local community radio station and take from there. So my dear readers, are you involved with a podcast? What’s it about and what is/was your experiences like making it? Was it a singular project or a team effort? Let me know in the comment section below.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Title: The Princess Diarist
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Format and Price: Ebook at $16.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

General Observations:
~Before, During and After: The Princess Diarist goes through three phases: Carrie Fisher’s life before Star Wars, during Stars Wars and after Star Wars. I must confess the before and after periods were more interesting to me that the segment during Star Wars.

That is not to say the during Star Wars segment lacked for interest. I liked reading about how she was nervous for her audition, how she was afraid she would be fired for not losing weight, I enjoyed reading about her hair and make-up sessions and her talking to the cast and crew, these parts were genuinely interesting. But a large chunk of the section was Carrie Fisher being obsessed with Harrison Ford.

As it was a three-month affair with little substance, it was far more interesting to Carrie Fisher than it was to me, but given Carrie Fisher’s age at the time, it’s understandable. There’s a reason why some people re-read their old journals containing passages written by a love-sick teenager and wish to burn them, however, I’m glad Carrie Fisher resisted that impulse (even if it did drag on a little too long).

~Sexism in Cinema: Seriously, Carrie Fisher is one of the greatest examples of Sexism and Misogyny in Cinema, while Harrison Ford and even Mark Hamill get to move on from Star Wars and complete other projects, Carrie Fisher is immortalised in that stupid metal bikini outfit (seriously, Madame Tussauds Wax Emporium has immortalised Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in that particular outfit with Jabba the Hut holding the chain and lurking right behind her, what the holy fuck?). Carrie Fisher is a brilliant writer and damn good actress and she deserves/deserved better than that.

~Right In The Feels: Unlike Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, The Princess Diaries were difficult for me to get into, I suppose when you read memoirs detailing Carrie Fisher’s problems with alcohol, then read chapters from a nineteen-year-old Carrie Fisher’s perspective about how she doesn’t like to drink, there can be some disconnect.

I suppose the biggest problem I had with The Princess Diarist was that parts of the book were long segments of introspection of a young woman, starting out as an emerging artist, playing the role of entertainer to cover up the fact that she was deeply unsure and insecure of herself, in other words, it was deeply and uncomfortably familiar.

Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic are the recollections and reflections of an older woman who knows that she has bi-polar, the recollections and reflections of The Princess Diarist are from the perspective of nineteen-year-old woman who isn’t aware that she has bi-polar yet, and is struggling to figure out who she is and what she wants, as well as how to deal with undiagnosed mental health problems.

It was difficult to for me to grapple with the idea that, at one time, Carrie Fisher could be someone like myself, which I suppose was the purpose of the book, one must be a princess before one can become a general.

In conclusion, an interesting insight into the mind of Carrie Fisher, a legendary icon, at a particular stage of her life. It’s a little slow to get into, and there’s not as many jokes, but I consider it a worthy read as I was glued to every page.

Available For Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books
Image Description: a button image displaying text that reads RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge

Stim Toy Review: Starry Night Fidget Spinner

Image Description: a blue fidget spinner inside it’s box, which is purple and decorated with white dots that resemble stars, there is a white bar-code stuck across the front of the box.

Image Description: a blue fidget-spinner decorated with white dots that resemble stars

Item: Fidget Spinner – Blue Starry Sky

Category: Review/Feedback

Cost: AU $4.09 (Shipping Fees: Free Shipping)

Date of Purchase: 29/05/2017

Date of Delivery: 09/06/2017

Store: Banggood (China)

Location: Australia

I bought this for Novel Research purposes (it seems like the type of stim toy that James would have), however, I was also curious to see what kind of quality Banggood’s Fidget Spinners were. Kim acquired on my behalf a plain blue spinner, a blue-camo spinner and a black batman spinner, and while the blue spinners are great and work fine, the batman spinner is rougher and less smooth. While my smoothest spinner is my green and silver fidget spinner, however, the Starry Night spinner is just as smooth as my other blue ones and works just as well. I’m actually rather happy with my Starry Night Fidget Spinner, however, I believe the postage could possibly be improved (there’s not much padding between the packaging and the fidget spinner), I will have to order more just to make sure, quality control purposes and such (Mwuhahahaha).

The Beautiful Books #25: June

Image Description: The Beautiful People for Writers - Writing Goals
Image Description: an image of a white notepad with light-blues with a dark-blue pen. At the top of the picture is text in dark-blue, “beautiful people for writers”. Down the bottom of the picture is text in dark-blue, “hosted by and”

Another monthly update on my Pushing Boundaries WIP Novel Project. I’m going to attempt to outline Orion – Volume II in preparation for Camp NaNoWriMo in July (here’s a link to my Camp NaNoWriMo profile in case readers want to join me).

These questions have taken longer than it should have for me to answer (honestly, I have no fucking idea what my characters dream about, maybe that means I don’t know my characters well enough, IDK), I suspect that the outlining process is going to take more effort than I first anticipated (here’s the link if people want writing resources from Camp NaNoWriMo).

Honestly, the Camp NaNoWriMo resources weren’t that useful for me, so I’ve included some links down the bottom of the blog post for Plotting and General Writing Resources.

What’s their favourite place they’ve ever visited?
James: Disneyland Paris

Beth: visiting London with Justine and Dominic

Mac: The small greenhouse Robert, James and Mac constructed together when Mac was young

Cassie: Camping with her family

What’s one mistake they made that they learned from?
James: when James was younger, he wasn’t interested in romantic relationships, he found it easier to manage open/casual liaisons. As James got older, he wanted to make an attempt at romantic relationships, however, his relationship with previous girlfriend Claudia was more along the lines of being in love with the idea of a stable relationship and thus was willing to put up with a mediocrity. In his mind, the mistake was entering into a relationship that didn’t meet all his needs and wants, and the lesson learnt was “don’t enter into a relationship just because you’re lonely”.

Beth: Beth is very suspicious of men, this due to bad experiences she’s had in the past and a previous abusive relationship (it became abusive when she ended it), in her mind, Beth thinks her mistake was being vulnerable too early in a relationship or entering into a relationship at all, giving her ex-boyfriend too much information about herself. Beth’s mental objective is keeping her distance for as long as possible, she often plays hard to get in romantic pursuits, if it seems like situation has too many variables or too much risk, she won’t bother, she’d rather go without then to compromise on her own set of terms of conditions.

Mac: Mac tends to be too direct and too honest, he can come across as a little intimating at first, he’s also a little socially awkward, he often gets excited and enthusiastic about comic books, so he’s learnt not to stand too close to women and not to stand in the way of doorways when talking about comic books.

Cassie: I think Cassie’s mistake is that she lacks confidence in herself and often doesn’t speak up about what she wants (and usually regrets it later). I hope that, over the course of the Pushing Boundaries series, Cassie becomes more confident and emotionally secure in what she wants and needs.

What was their favourite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?
James: Astronomy and Science related subjects

Beth: Literature, Home Economics, Drama and Media

Mac: Woodwork and Metalwork

Cassie: Textiles, Drama and Literature

What’s their favourite flower/growing thing?
James: Roses, citrus scents, and herbs, specifically Rosemary

Beth: Lavender

Mac: Herbs

Cassie: Lemongrass and Citrus scents

Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?
James and Mac: Both of them have accidentally made women and girls cry by saying something insensitive or being too honest and/or too direct

Beth and Cassie: Both of them go out of their way to be considerate of people’s emotions, so neither of them had have made someone else cry, but Beth does occasionally suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome and sometimes Beth can be a little too direct.

Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?
James: Mixture of the two, he’s reliable when it comes to observing other people, but can be blindsided by his own biases and some preconceived notions about people, for example: he has a preconceived notion about who Cassie is as a person and has no problems about using her and discarding her in order to fulfil his own objective, James can be ruthlessly efficient.

Beth: Beth is the reliable type of narrator, but she’s the internal type of narrator, she’s honest with herself (to a certain extent), but that’s pretty much it.

Mac: Mac might be considered an unreliable narrator about himself, and he isn’t that observant about other people, Mac tends to wrap himself up in his own little world.

Cassie: Cassie might be considered an unreliable narrator, she likes to think the best of people and she’s kind of oblivious (sometimes it’s out of self-preservation, sometimes it’s naturally occurring)

They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What would they eat?
James: James enjoys Asian cuisine, vegetarian meals mostly.

Beth: Beth has a weakness for bacon and hard-types of cheese, however, Beth enjoys Lasagna, Asian cuisine, and baked-potatoes.

Mac: Mac enjoys steak, chips and salad

Cassie: Cassie enjoys home-cooked meals but loves Pad Thai and Asian cuisine

What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?
James: James has become hyper-focused on taking down the Acker Family, this is mostly because he doesn’t have a strong concept of long-term goals, it’s difficult to him to think past this goal.

Beth: Beth wants to travel around Europe, she wants to do touristy things, despite the fact that she doesn’t like crowds.

Mac: Mac wants to get married and have kids, but he’s beginning to sort of rethink those objectives, “are romantic relationships really worth the hurt and pain?”, he’s kind of in the mental state of “Life in general is not worth the effort”.

Cassie: Cassie wants to get away from her immediate family, with the exception of her Aunt, and establish her own safe space. Cassie wants to be a primary school teacher to prevent her type of family situation from happening.

Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?
James: Justine and James work well together, Justine handles calling people directly (something James isn’t particularly good at), James is good at writing the required script, finding the right information, James is good at picking up details that other people may miss.

Beth: Beth has this ability for people to feel compelled to tell her personal information (although she doesn’t see it as a talent and would prefer if people didn’t dump their problems on her). Beth could consider her cooking skills and her experiences with her catering business to be her better talents. Beth is happy to make desserts or cakes but isn’t interested in eating the items she makes. Beth is also skilled with crocheting but terrible at sewing with a needle or with a sewing machine.

Mac: Mac is good at hands-on tradie-stuff, carpentry and landscaping. He’s good at gardening and DIY Home Projects.

Cassie: Cassie is good with sewing, she often makes clothes, but she doesn’t wear them (she often donates them).

~NaNoWriMo Plotting Resources
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~Four Steps to Putting Your Plot in Order
~Story writing websites: 151 of the best
~Plotting and Scheming Cheat Sheet
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