Giving my characters birthday’s has always been something I’ve done. Occasionally I’d mash together the birthday’s of friends and family members. I started writing the first version of Vermin when my niece was two, so her and Rose have the same birthday. So happy birthday to my super fun, creative, fashionable, warm-hearted niece…and to the outspoken young lady from my debut novel.
So…Roland and Nicholas’ birthday’s have already passed since the novels release. I actually do celebrate my character’s birthdays just like i did with my favourite toys as a little kid.
I’ve got so many novels and writing related projects to finish, and the urge to bounce back and forth between them is strong. Obviously I know that multitask writing won’t help me produce anything faster–that it’s best to stick to one project at a time–but I can’t help but want to jump into everything all at once.
Working on The Vermin Series is lots of fun. I’ve had the time to really bond with these characters, and watch them grow, learn and explore the world around them. It’s just that I’ve also got like 10 other projects that I’ve started, that I really, really want to get back into. Usually what I’ll do is work on another book or writing project while my novel is off with my editor. I find this allows me to build up the foundation of my other work, and develop my setting and characters while I’m waiting for feedback and corrections.
Still, there are days when it gets a little bit frustrating. I often think about those kid shows where the main character finds a way to clone themselves, and becomes more productive. On the other hand, those episodes always ended badly and the main character tends to realize that it’s not always best to get things done quickly, but rather get things done properly by having good time management skills.
Like a few days ago I spent the majority of my time scrolling through social media, versus reading and writing like I’d initially planned to do. While scrolling through twitter, one of my favourite authors was having a discussion thread, which ultimately lead to them explaining why it’s important to set a scheduled writing time during the day so that your family and friends are respectful of that time. Then they know that say from, 9-11 am you’re writing, and not to disturb you.
I honestly think that’s really smart. It’s important to respect peoples time, and their space…and setting that boundary early on, by creating a routine can not only help you with productivity but it also helps others take you more seriously when it comes to your work.
I’ve been writing for a long time, so my family knows that generally if they don’t hear me listening to music or watching Netflix, I’m most likely working on a manuscript or I’m reading. The same thing happens when I’m recording or auditioning, I always let them know in advance, and now it’s become a routine. They’re aware that I’m working and won’t disturb me during this time.
This practice of setting a schedule in order to create boundaries can be applied to all arts, and I personally feel that this author was correct in stating that these boundaries are often necessary for those in the arts to gain the respect of those closest to them. For as long as I can remember, my Dad would advise my siblings and I to treat certain things like a job. Set a time of day, and it becomes routine. Obviously, I will acknowledge that it isn’t always easy to create on a schedule, but people do it for NaNoWriMo every year, if you think about it?
I’ve learned by keeping track of when I write, that I tend to do a lot of work after lunchtime. Whenever I have a day off, I like to write as much as possible, regardless of the time of day. It’s on those days that the urge to work on one of my other projects grows stronger. I’m sure many people go through this. I just have so much fun creating new things, that I honestly can’t wait until I can jump into the next project. I also used to finish drafting novels within a month no problem, but as I’ve gotten older and had you know…bills and such, I’ve tried to find a good balance between all of these things. It’s not always easy, sometimes I get very busy, which I don’t mind, but it can feel like I’m juggling multiple things at once and occasionally I need to take a breather. I know everyone’s methods are different, and truthfully I’m probably not an expert at this sort of thing, but I do find that making a to-do-list helps when I’ve got a lot on my plate. I can cross things off as I go, and it kind of takes away a bit of the pressure once I’ve laid out everything that I need to complete.
I do this with my novels, and sometimes set deadlines for myself outside of my publishing deadlines. Sometimes I want to reach a certain point before I go back and edit something, or I want to spend a teeny bit of time fleshing out a character. Making a list helps me determine what needs to be done first, in order for me to move onto the next task.
Currently, I’ve been forcing myself to solely focus on Vermin, so that I can then have more time to put into my other writing projects and novels. I’m having lots of fun with it, but I have all these storylines I want to develop and explore…and I think it’s the whole development portion that is making me more eager to jump into these projects. Once I know exactly where I’m going with a project that urge seems to settle, and I feel more at ease. With The Vermin Series, I’m always like, “I gotta write this scene. Ooh! Wait what if I change this line here to this and then do this in here instead.” Which is a different sort of excitement, and I think there’s even more now that it’s being read and I’m hearing back from readers.
It’s exciting to be able to talk about my characters and to see people drawing them, and asking about certain scenes. I have to constantly remind myself that because other people are reading it, I need to zip my lip about certain characters and details, because I know that if I say the wrong thing it could spoil stuff, and I don’t want to do that.
If you follow me on social media, you already know that I reached 50k words a week early. overall I feel good about what I’ve written this month, and i cannot wait to share it.
If you haven’t already, you can grab a copy of Vermin from Amazon, or Indigo. currently the eBook is only available for kindle readers. There is also a dedicated TikTok account for the series @theverminseries, and the first chapter is available to listen to on YouTube!
ABOUT THE SERIES: Left for dead at the side of the road in an outlawed town, Nicholas is rescued by a human girl. Plagued by fevered dreams and a lethal illness, Nicholas doesn’t know what to make of her kindness. If she knew what he was, death would be a merciful gift.
Vermin is a Young Adult, Paranormal Urban Fantasy, Romance series by Canadian voice actress Ardin Patterson.
There will be a lot of character and book themed posts on this account, along with information about the series. I really wanted a space where I could share the character art, mood boards and inspiration for this series, and thought it would be fun to showcase it all in short little videos.
According to my NaNoWriMo stats, I’ll reach 50,000 words around November 28th, and thankfully things are coming together nicely. Honestly, word count doesn’t matter much to me…but I do like knowing how quickly I can type.
I’ve been thinking of making little bookmarks with my characters on them…just cute little things to have. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since forever, but I keep putting it off. Maybe I will to celebrate the release of book two?
I’ve been having a lot of fun with NaNoWriMo this year, despite being on the fence about whether or not I’d partake…however, I’m not really aiming to reach a specific word count but instead to complete the ending of Vermin’s sequel. I’m very far along, and have been making an effort to write everyday.
The Vermin Series (along with myself) are now on TikTok, as a large chunk of the readers are use Bookstagram, BookTwitter and BookTok, we thought it would be best to have updates about the series on all three. I’ll try to make the content as fun and engaging as possible.
I just finished writing one of my favourite scenes in book two so far. I’ll try not to give away any spoilers, but the scene follows one of Nicholas’ siblings. For those who haven’t finished or read the first book yet, I won’t say anything more. I’d hate to say something that might spoil it for you.
I’ve also been working on two other projects. One is voice over related, and I have been having an absolute blast recording! What I can tell you, is that it’s for a really cool children’s web series, and that I play two key roles. It also makes me feel like a little kid again, and reminds me of one of my favourite things to do in the summer with my family when I was small.
Well, I’d better get back to writing. Although slightly ambitious, I think I might be able to finish Vermin and start prepping another book that I was hoping to write in December. We’ll see how things go of course.
Here’s a little sneak peek at one of the chapters in book two:
The other day I was able to get a good chunk of writing done, which I’m absolutely thrilled about. Trying to manage several different projects, on top of work can be a bit challenging. I often have to remind myself to take breaks and make time for other things like reading, drawing or playing games with my friends.
I’ve been trying to get through my TBR by multitask reading. I tend to finish my manga and graphic novels within a few hours…usually stretching them out into two nights. Novels I’ve been taking my time with, mainly because I’m really enjoying the stories and want to hang out with the characters a little longer. My manga and graphic novels are series, so I get to see the characters again and again…but all the novels I’ve read recently are one offs and it makes me a little sad when I have to say goodbye to the story.
I have a group of novels that I can’t wait to start, so I made sure to get ahead in my reading goals back in August and September, so that I could have time to enjoy them before the year ends. I love to get to the point where I’m reading books in 1-3 days like I used to, but with work I just don’t have the time and during university reading books that fast really took away from the experience. I like to enjoy the books I read, actually pay attention to the language being used and the way the characters develop throughout the story.
Recently I’ve picked out a handful of 9-12 books to read. I like to jump into them every once in a while because they’re always extremely entertaining and they have the best cover art! I don’t know what it is about children’s literature, but the covers bring me so much joy! They’re always so interesting to look at. The cover artists are so talented! Bravo! These are also my favourite books to do for audiobook narration, so whenever I get auditions for them, I hunt them down and read them (if they’ve already released in stores!).
I was really hoping I’d be posting more art myself this month for #inktober but I haven’t. It’s not even that I haven’t drawn anything or had the desire to do so, I’ve just been more focused on my writing…and much of my free time I’ve wanted to read.
I knew prior to publishing that at a certain point I’d need to become more strict about my writing schedule, so whenever I have a day off I spend it working on my books. I’m glad that this was something I figured out early on, because I like to spend a lot of time on the planning stages and am constantly doing research while I work. One thing that I’ve been doing recently is compiling a list of outfits for certain characters/colour pallets. I notice as I get to know my characters better, that there are certain items of clothing or colours that they tend to wear, for example in Vermin, Rose always has ribbons in her hair. These little details help me connect well with my cast of characters, and I think it adds a little to their personality.
Speaking of Vermin, book two has been coming along nicely. I’m extremely pleased with my progress and can’t wait to share more details on it. I know there are many people who are excited about the sequel, and I’m so, so, so incredibly happy to hear that! Thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts on the book.
As for my other projects, I’ve had to hold off on a couple of them temporarily while I work on other things, but I’m still thinking about how to improve them and also how to really build up to key events.
My sister-in-law requested some series recommendations to help expand my nieces love of stories, so I’ve been on the hunt for a handful that I can gift her for her birthday/Christmas.
In my adult life, after realizing how hectic the holiday season gets, I’ve tried to get gifts for my family members as early as September. With my niece I keep track of things that she mentions throughout the year and buy them later. Shopping early also stops my wallet from crying after the holidays. December is the busiest month of the year for me outside of work, so planning my gifts and getting them wrapped up by the end of November saves me time and alleviates stress.
One thing that I’ve noticed is that I have to get a really good feel for a book before passing it along to my niece. Often I’ll read them first, because I would hate to give her something that she might not enjoy, and on top of it something that might be too scary or too mature for her at this time in her life.
I’d say 9-12 is a hard age group to navigate when it comes to young readers, because on top of each kid being an individual with their own unique interests, there are also different levels of maturity in each of the books and series one might encounter when shopping in this section. I was definitely one of those kids who read books intended for an older audience between 9 and 13…however, much of these books were manga and graphic novels. My experience as a reader definitely effects how I approach recommending books for kids, especially kids I don’t know personally like my niece. That’s why I don’t like to recommend books I haven’t read.
For adults who aren’t big readers themselves, I can imagine choosing books for others is a challenge. I salute you. My personal recommendation, if you have absolutely no idea what to buy the bookworm in your life is to just give them a gift card for your local bookstore. It’ll save you the headache, and they can pick out something they like. You can always pair it with a bookmark, or a mug if you want the gift to feel a little more personal.
I’m thinking of reading through a handful of middle grade books over the next month so that I can get a good idea of what might actually peak my nieces interest. When I can’t think of a series, one thing I try to do is to recommend people specific authors who I’ve read extensively like Judy Bloom, Jerry Spinelli, or Kenneth Oppel. All authors who I’ve read multiple works from, and really enjoyed despite not all of their books being contained within a series.
There are just so many great reads to choose from, but each person has their own preference and I feel it’s important to take that into consideration.
Another little project that I’ve started is that I’ve been creating lists of middle-grade books based on certain topics such as sports, theatre, mystery, family, spooky, pirates…etc…because this can really help figure out what books to recommend. Once my list is a little more organized, I’m going to post it on my blog, with the description. This is is going to include a chunk of books that I haven’t read, but just because something isn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean it isn’t good and I want this list to be filled with books that I can come back to with my niece or a family friend with kids and go, “You really like basket ball, there’s this entire series on that, or you can read this book over here where the kids on the team have to hunt down a thief.”
I love helping people find their next favourite book, so for me this is kind of just a fun little project to do in between working and writing. I hope this list is useful, and I can’t wait to add more to it as I go.
Today I will be answering some questions about myself and my work! I pulled question prompts from the website: The John Fox.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The first book that made me cry was one of the books in the Camp Confidential series. It was when the character Priya got into a fight with her best friend Jordan. I haven’t read this series since the sixth grade, but I remember the scene vividly. The book that made me cry after that was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Haveyou ever gotten reader’s block?
When I was in university I stopped reading novels for fun and only read what was on the syllabus…a lot of which was really dry. The entire time, I felt like I was being forced to read, and it was taking the fun out of one of my favourite hobbies.
I managed to rekindle my love of reading by reading more manga and graphic novels during university. These were my “books to read for fun” while the novels I was assigned for my classes continued to be my homework. Doing this prevented me from getting reader’s block, and I’ve been able to discover so many new favourite genres since graduating!
Did you ever consider writing under apseudonym?
Yes, and I did for a while with my poetry. I ended up publishing under my real name after I became a voice actress since it made sense to keep my work under the same name.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write whatever I want to read. That’s what got me into writing in the first place. When it comes to readers I just try to keep in mind the age group of my target audience, and the genre I’m writing in. Other than that, during the first draft I go wherever the story takes me.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
The majority of my friends who write are poets, song writers and journalists. I love their work and support them whenever I can. Having friends who are into the arts is nice because you can cheer one another on! It’s also great because sometimes they have valuable knowledge to share such as tips, or lessons they’ve learned along their own journey. After graduating however, I’ve gotten to know a lot of amazing authors of a variety of genres, and am always excited to see their work! I’ve also had opportunities to work with some of them whether it was their my voice over work, or by doing editing and beta reading on early drafts of their books.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
That depends on the book. I have some books that are series, and others that are stand-alone. I mostly do whatever the characters ask for…so if the story requires more room for the characters to grow, I’ll do a series. If the events and character growth take place in a short amount of time then it will usually end up being a single book.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep reading! Keep practicing! Keep having fun! But please, please go outside a little more. We need a tan.
How did publishing yourfirst book change yourprocess of writing?
I’m getting better at meeting the deadlines I set for myself. Prior to publishing I would create really loose deadlines, and would do my best to stick to them, mainly because I knew that eventually I would need to learn to work within that time frame. Now, I try to write every day and keep track of my progress for each project so that I can meet all of my deadlines on time.
How manyunpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A lot…like…I don’t even know anymore. Years ago I knew the exact number but now I can’t even remember. I can tell you that I’ve got about 3 projects on the go aside from The Vermin Series, that I’m super excited about.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend a lot of time researching, mainly because I never stop. Before I begin a book, I’ll research whatever I think I need to know at that introductory point…usually this is just to help form the setting. Afterwards I will continue to research as I go and compile all of that information into notes.
How many hours a day do you write?
It depends on the day. I try to write for an hour minimum whenever I can. If I miss a day, I don’t stress over it and make it up later on.
What did you edit out of this book?
There were a few scenes and some dialogue that was taken out. There was also a bunch of stuff that was added, to help flesh things out more. Most of what was added was from the sequel, which now gives me more room to expand since it was introduced earlier in the series.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I really like names, and depending on the story the names of a character are significant. In The Vermin Series, I picked named based on the time period that the story takes place, however in the case of my characters surnames, I believe I came up with those while glancing around my room. A lot of the time I find that characters end up being named after streets in my neighbourhood, or after plants.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’d either be a singer or an artist…which I already do but I’ve missed singing for an audience these past few years. I do get to sing for work though, when I’m voice acting so that’s always fun!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Some of my books have secret inside jokes that are between my sister and I. Only she’d know what they are an I like that, because the jokes are usually really stupid and corny but they make us laugh.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but in book one the hardest scene for me to write was the one between Roland and his mother. I cried writing it, I cried editing it and I cry every time I read it.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes. I like to check the release dates of shows I’ve worked on and I find the fastest way is to look up my own name, mainly because it’s not popular.
What is your favorite childhood book?
This might be a long list…but if I had to pick Jerry Spinelli, Gordon Korman, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Judy Blume were my top authors. I also adored the Babysitter’s Club, Princess School and Camp Confidential Series.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, 100%. I’m extremely grateful and fortunate to have a family that supports all of my creative endeavors. It can make such a huge difference when you have the support of those closest to you.
I’m not sure if I have a favourite. I alternate between first and third person POV’s depending on what works best for the story I’m trying to tell. I do the same with tenses. It just depends on the project.
8. Do you write romance in your projects? What kind?
I do. Not always but I’d say probably 80% of my books have some kind of romance. Honestly the majority of what I’ve written between middle school and university has a sprinkle of romance in it…off the top of my head there’s only 2 books that I’ve written one in middle school and one in university that focused more on friendships and family relationships…everything else I’m thinking of has had a love interest. I think I just like having cute moments between my characters. Funny enough, most of the romance I read is manga…but I do enjoy romance subplots in novels as well.
9. What inspired your recent project?
The inspiration for Vermin came from a dream I had after mulling over what to submit for my creative writing assignment. This isn’t the first time a dream has saved me before a deadline for one of my creative writing courses…but I was so stressed out and kept writing out random pieces of things and nothing was clicking. A few days before my deadline, I had this dream which part of ended up being the first chapter of the book.
What I submitted for my assignment however features an adult Nicholas. The dream was long, and the assignment was a short story, so I ended up only submitting that portion of my dream instead.
10. Is it hard for you to kill your darlings?
Thirteen-year-old Ardin would’ve said, “Absolutely not,” however I’m in my twenties now and after having angered many friends of mine who read my earlier unpublished works throughout school, I would say it gotten harder.
When I was younger, I firmly believed in the phrase, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” so whenever I felt a strong connection to a character I figured that the readers would most likely feel the same way. However, I also learned after killing off a favourite character in a series I’d written back in the day, that its very cruel to put your readers through that…and so I revived the character.
In more recent years, I’ve managed to kill characters off without feeling the need to miraculously bring them back to life…I do miss them when they’re gone though. It hurts and I do cry…but I also feel sad when I get to the end of a story I’m working on.
Well, I’m off to catch up on some reading! Feel free to check out my recent blog posts, and if you’re into YA Paranormal Urban Fantasy books, check out Vermin!
Today is Rose’s birthday! Giving my characters birthday’s has always been something I’ve done. Occasionally I’d mash together the birthday’s of friends and family members. I started writing the first version of Vermin when my niece was two, so her and Rose have the same birthday. So happy birthday to my super fun, creative, fashionable, […]
I thought I’d do a NaNoWriMo reflection post, to break down what I accomplished this year, my feelings about my project, and other stats. In total, I reached 55,453 words during the month of November. Although I didn’t complete my manuscript, I am glad that I was able to reach the word count goal of […]
I’ve got so many novels and writing related projects to finish, and the urge to bounce back and forth between them is strong. Obviously I know that multitask writing won’t help me produce anything faster–that it’s best to stick to one project at a time–but I can’t help but want to jump into everything all […]