Editing Update

I’m currently doing a read through of my manuscript trying to watch out for crutch words. While drafting my manuscript I kept a list of these words, words that I tend to overuse, and going through the list I’m actually pleased with how just keeping track of them has helped me reduce them a fair amount. Now that I know what the results are for each of these words, I’ve set a minimum and maximum usage amount, followed by alternative words so that I can focus on finding appropriate substitutes. I base the usage amount of the overall word count for my manuscript.

Of course, I’m sure my editor will find other words that I may not have picked up on myself, but many of these words are ones that they pointed out with my first book, so I’m hoping to reduce them before passing my manuscript along to her.

Crutch words aside, I’ve also created a checklist outside of my draft notes on any corrections, additions or areas that I think need fluffing or cutting down. I’ve also included a list of things to keep in mind while I’m reading.

I like to do these types of full edits before I pass my manuscripts along, because I find that the cleaner my draft is, the easier time we’ll have going over it.

For this edit, I’ve been making great use of my thesaurus, and am challenging myself to step away from my comfort zones a little bit. Anything that seems off or feels like it needs to be reworked or cut, I’ve been tackling immediately. My goal is to complete this edit by the end of the day, and so far I’ve been making great progress. With that said, it’s back to work for me. I’ll be treating myself to some ice cream once I complete everything on my list.

You and Me

Lyrics I know you and me Could be More than two I know you and me Could be I don’t want to say goodbye To […]

You and Me

Lyrics

I know you and me
Could be
More than two
I know you and me
Could be
I don't want to say goodbye
To you
I know you and me 
Could be

Ah (Could be)

I know you and I
Could be 
More than two
I know you and I
Could be (be, be)
I just want to be 
With you
I know you and I
Should be

I know you and I
Could be 
More than two
And I think you and I
Would make a good team
I don't want to say goodbye
To you
I want us 
To be
Don't you want to
Stay with me?

Ah, ah, ah (You and me)

You and Me

I think you and me
Should be
More than two


I wrote this song back in university. It’s one of those songs that I never wrote the lyrics out for, and recorded on my phone while alone in my room. I rerecorded it in my studio after it was built, and although I intended to release it when I released Heart and Juliet, I waited.

I initially wrote this song about someone I had been close to, while we were drifting apart. Maybe one of these days I’ll share the original rough version of the song that I recorded with my phone, although the lyrics are different and much sadder, whereas this version is a little more hopeful.

A bit of Rambling After A Lot of Tea

So far the new year has gifted me with wonderful literature. I’ve read dozens of books and haven’t dnf’ed a single one. I’ve actually enjoyed the majority and given many of them 4 and 5 star ratings.

Tonight I plan on reading, as I always do, and I’m finally at a place where my TBR pile is nearly finished so I can actually go out and get some new books. I actually borrowed books for the first time in forever, and finished both the day I got them! They were both equally stunning, and memorable. I’m so glad they caught my attention. I can’t wait to choose my next handful of reads. Of course, there are also a bunch of books that I’m excited to check out this year. One in particular this summer, that I’m definitely going to pre-order. I’ve got a little collection of this authors work going, and thus far she has yet to disappoint me. I’ve definitely got to lend some of those books to the readers in my family. I think they’ll really enjoy them.

I’m a bit wired, despite it being late in the evening, but I’ve had a lot of tea…like three or four cups? I lost track at some point. I tried exercising to help myself calm down a bit but I’m still wound up. I’m usually like this after I record or write…I get really hyper and excited. I suppose excited is probably the best way to describe it.

Oh, right! On that note, I’m pleased to announce that the Vermin book giveaway is officially underway, and people can enter on March 1st. I’m so excited to be doing a giveaway during my birth month. It makes it all the more special. For this giveaway, we’ll be giving away four signed copies, to people who have added the book to their list on Goodreads.

The other day one of my best friends told me that another friend of hers got a copy of my book, which made me super happy! It was so sweet of her to recommend it to someone, and I always love hearing peoples feedback. Plus a few of her friends are local authors as well, and I absolutely love supporting my fellow authors. Many of the authors I’ve met so far are YA and Children’s Lit authors, which is awesome because I still read those genres both in my free time and for work.

The sequel for Vermin still doesn’t have a title yet, but I have to say I am absolutely in love with certain scenes. It’s so hard not to talk about it and gush over things because I want to…but I don’t want to spoil it for new readers! I hate having books spoiled for me. I’ll be sure to share the link to the ARCs when the time comes. I believe these will be digital copies like last time? They should work on kindles. I don’t have a kindle or kobo currently, and read most of my ebook ARCs using an app on my computer called Overdrive. I think it also allows me to sign out library books? So if anyone is ever worried about that, it works really well, and makes it easy to keep track of page numbers, chapters etc.

I’ve actually got a few ARCs to complete before the end of February…I believe those books are releasing mid-March, so I definitely want to get my reviews out by then. I highly recommend checking out review sites that offer ARCs like Netgalley, ARC Reviewers or…there’s another one I’ve used but I can’t recall the name. It might be linked with Reedsy? Anyway, I like all three and I’ve found some really great books on there. I love the fact that I can explore a bunch of new genres, or get to check out debuts, and new series. Plus writing reviews is really fun for me.

I only annotate books with sticky notes and things occasionally. Mainly because I don’t like writing on the actual pages, so instead I’ll write down words or phrases that stick out to me or my favourite things in a notebook. I also developed a skill growing up, where I’d memorize page numbers from where I left off in a book, and now it’s fairly easy for me to flip through and find my favourite passages. This was incredibly helpful whenever we had to do read aloud assignments in university, and explain what stood out to us about each passage. I think annotating everything I read, would make me feel like I was doing homework…but it’s still fun journaling. Perhaps I’ll set up an official book journal this year? Maybe I’ll start one next month.

I’ll share the links to those two ARC websites, for anyone interested in doing reviews:

Netgalley

ARC Reviewers

From these sites I’m currently reading Escaping the Caves, and a manga called Falling Down. As for already released books, I’m reading Let Me Save You, and A Sign of Affection Vol. 4.

Happy reading!

“You’re all probably wondering why i called this meeting…”

@theverminseries

“You’re all probably wondering why I called this meeting” 🙄#booksbooksbooks #bookishthings #reading #theverminseries

♬ original sound – VI KEELAND

What have you been reading lately?

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been catching up on some reading am would love to challenge myself to see how many books I can complete in a week. I’m almost finished the two I’ve been reading, so I’ll probably start this challenge once I’m finished them. While reading, I’m also taking some notes on passages that really stick out to me, not exactly in an annotated kind of way, but more just keeping my notebook nearby and jotting down what about that line or passage made me say, “Wow this is fantastic!”

I’m considering this a part of my research, since I feel reading helps me write better, and pushes me to try out new techniques, genres or styles. Plus, it’s fun!

The one book I’m reading is at a very crucial point, and I’d like to avoid spoilers so…I’ll just let you know, that I’m both excited and worried for the characters! If they kill off my faves I will probably cry. Who am I kidding? I will definitely cry! I’ve had so many of my favourite characters die off between the books and shows I love, that I’m lining up an entire list of soft-cute-fluff shojo to read on the side.

Well, I best get back to my books!

Reading, Writing and Rambling

I’m always fascinated by how my favourite authors always manage to reel me into their stories, so much that I’ve reached a point where if I know they’re releasing a new book I mark the release date in my calendar or prepare for preorders.

They’re such fantastic storytellers. Each story they write, every new character and setting, is so much fun, and it can be exciting to count down the days until a new novel is announced!

Right now, I’m doing a bit of tweaking before my first full read through of my manuscript. I prefer to do the first read aloud to test how it sounds to my ear, get a feel for the pace, and take the time to make sure each scene flows accordingly. This also allows me to pay closer attention to character voice in my first draft. Because I enjoy character driven stories, voice is one of the main things that pulls me into a novel. I’m the type of person who selects which books I’d like to read, based on whether or not I continue reading after the first chapter. Normally, if I find I’m already onto the third chapter, I end up loving the book. This isn’t always the case, but I’d say 75% it’s accurate. I don’t mind plot driven stories, but they usually take me a little longer to get into, and I’m more likely to look for reviews from friends with these types of stories. However, I’ve read great pieces on both ends, and I think that for craft purposes, it’s a good idea to explore both, even if you lean more towards one over the other.

Reading for me is both a hobby, and an exercise. I absolutely adore stories, and because I’m engaging with them constantly through work, I also take the time to think about what I’ve read, the way the language works on the page, and how each writer approaches their craft. I love looking at the ways different writers go about introducing characters into a scene, or how they unveil the setting. There are so many things you can learn about writing when you read. Plus, I find books comforting, and often count the hours until I can curl up in a blanket and read uninterrupted.

Although, slightly off topic, I’m currently reading two books at the same time, and loving both. I can’t wait to share my reviews. I was actually been reading them slowly on purpose because I couldn’t think of what to read next! Thankfully, I’ve got a stack of novels, manga and graphic novels lined up around my room, so I have a wide variety to choose from. Now I’m reading fast again, because truthfully, I’m a little overwhelmed by all the options…perhaps overwhelmed isn’t the right word, as I am in fact whelmed…what I mean is, that there’s so much to choose from and so many new books releasing this year, that I feel as if I must read everything I currently have before I can even think about adding new books to my collection! On top of that, a handful of my favourite authors have announced they’re releasing books this year, so I already have a 2022 TBR in the works. Part of me is hoping I can finish a few books this week. It’s times like this that I miss starting and finishing three or four books a day. How did I managed to read so quickly? Well…I suppose at one time all I did was read on the weekend. In my second year old university, my reading definitely slowed down…but I still was managing 3 or 4 books a week. These were for school though?

Well perhaps I’ll challenge myself once I complete these two, and see how many books I can finish in a week? I’m honestly curious, and I think it’d be good to crack open a good book and dive right into it, versus dragging it out for as long as possible haha.

Well, I best get back to my manuscript if I want to have time to read later this evening. I wish you all the best in your own goals this year! Also, as I’m trying to do this myself, remember to stay hydrated and to get up and stretch every now and then!

Writing Goals 2022

Every year I like to try and set writing goals, and track my progress. Unfortunately, last year I wasn’t able to meet all of my goals, however I did make excellent progress during NaNoWriMo, and I’m pleased with work I was able to do during the year despite having some set backs.

This year, I’m fully prepared to meet each of the writing goals I’ve set, and am excited to do so. Last year, I made an effort to write by hand, which is something I’ll be doing this year with new manuscripts. It’s calming, and allows me to really let an idea sink in as I work. I also really like the fact that I can read from my page as I type, and make edits and changes as I transfer what I’ve written onto my computer.

During the early part of this year, I’d like to complete my current projects. The one I’m hoping to complete fairly soon, so that I can have it prepped for my editor. The other, I’ve been putting on hold on an off, since I’ve had other projects to finish, but I’m excited about it, and would love to complete it. I’ve been building mood boards and playlists for it in the meantime. I find doing this keeps me excited about my projects.

One of my other writing goals, is to complete the script for a project I’ve been working on. I had issues with my computer, and wasn’t about to work on it as much as I wanted in 2021…but I’m hyped about this project, and I really want to see it come to life.

In order to complete each of these projects, I’ve decided to take time and track my progress, taking note of things such as chapters, scenes, word count etc. and scheduling in more time to write during the week.

For example, I may set aside a specific day of the week to work, or I’ll work my writing schedule into my other work schedules (which is what I’ve done previously). Finding a consistent time to write isn’t always easy, so instead I try to find the right time to write, depending on my current situation. That’s actually why I loved writing by hand before university, because I could carry notebooks and binders around with me wherever I was, and work from anywhere without worrying about charging my laptop and having memory sticks handy. All I needed was paper and a good pen.

I’ve mentioned this before on my blog, but I highly, highly, highly, recommend investing in a decent pen. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should write well, and personally it should spark joy in you. For example, my sparkly blue pen, it’s pretty, it lasted me a long time, and every time I use it, it makes me feel like whatever I’m writing is of great importance…even if its just a grocery list. I got a bunch of nice pens for Christmas, one from my friend, which is Sakura’s wand from Card Captor, and a whole pile of cute animal/food ones from my little sister. I also got three beautiful journals, which I can’t wait to use! I’ve already decided which manuscripts as going in each, and I’m just so, so, so excited to write.

My computer stopped working properly after NaNoWriMo, so I was writing deprived for nearly all of December! It was torture….or at least it felt that way. Writing by hand on random notepads and loose papers kept me from going stir crazy. Instead I took that time to read, and do novel scene studies and also study some of the scripts I’d previously recorded. Usually scene studies, at least what I do, is just looking over a text and picking out things that I enjoy. I do this with a range of different books in different genres, for different age groups, and I find it motivates me to learn new writing techniques, but also opens me up to the idea of trying out new genres, or playing around more with language.

I’m really hoping that this year, I’ll meet all of my project deadlines, and will be able to share more about what I’ve been working on. I’d also love to post more of my scene practices I’ve done, because I have fun writing them, and I think it’d be nice to share. I like reading snippets like that on other peoples blogs, and I haven’t shared one myself in a while.

I wish you all the best with your goals this year, and I hope you have a lovely year ahead of you,

–Ardin.

I Recieved My First Royalties

I’m still getting used to the idea that there are people out there that have read my novel, even to the point that after receiving my first royalties I kept thinking, “Is this real?”

The same thing happened after I booked my first show. It didn’t feel real until I saw the animation.

Holding my novel in my hands for the first time, gave me the same feeling as hearing my voice coming from a character on screen. It was the same feeling I had years ago when I heard myself recorded on a cassette as a little girl, singing along with my piano teacher. The final product, is always satisfying.

A friend of mine wrote me the sweetest card, congratulating me on my publication. I almost cried reading it at work. It was so thoughtful! I keep it safe in my “office” where I write…which isn’t exactly an office, but it’s where I keep my notes, supplies, and tend to hunker down and get to work. Everything in my writing space, is stuff that makes me happy like my figurines, and plush, and collection of fun pens.

Speaking of pens, I got a bunch of cute stationary for Christmas! Notepads, journals, washi tape, adorable pens…and new stickers and pencil cases! The pens write beautifully! I’m going to make sure to take good care of them all…but I also really want to show them off.

I’m happy to say that this year I managed to exceed my reading goals. I definitely would’ve liked to finish the books I’m currently reading but my goal for the new year is to still read lots of great books, and to finish each book I own that is still currently on my TBR. I’ve decided not to let myself buy anything new until I’ve made my way through that list. I think that’ll save me some money, and it’ll keep me occupied while I’m working on my manuscripts.

Speaking of writing, I plan on spending as much time as possible on my manuscripts throughout January. I’ve got a lot of editing to do, and I’d like to complete it as soon as possible, so that I can finally start discussing these projects, as well as Vermin’s sequel! I’m so excited about this next book, and I’m really happy that people are enjoying it.

I’ll also of course, start sharing updates on my other projects once I’ve reached the final editing stages. I’m really excited about them, and I’ve fallen in love with these casts of characters. I may even steal some fashion inspiration from a few of them.

NaNoWriMO rEFLECTIONS

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 the month.

When it comes to the importance of word counts I can only speak for myself, but I find that focusing too heavily on trying to have a specific number of words isn’t helpful. It might be because of how much pressure it was to have specific word counts for essays in university, as I never understood why in some of my courses being 200 under or 500 over was so strict? I mean, I get if someone is handing you 10 pages when the assignment required a minimum of 4, but there were some professors (many of which I luckily avoided thanks to my amazing upperclassmen), who would deduct marks for every 10 words you were over. I think this definitely has effected how I approach the 50k words. Like, I want to reach the minimum word count, but if I’m over I’m not going to go through a cut 30% of my book just so I can have exactly 50k words. To me that seems silly. Instead, I treat NaNoWriMo as though I’m trying to reach a writing milestone. Do I wish I could’ve reached this milestone and completed my manuscript in a months time, absolutely. Am I disappointed that I was unable to? No, because I’m happy with what I was able to get done, and at this rate, I should be ready to send my manuscript off to my editor by my deadline as planned.

According to my NaNoWriMo stats, on average I was writing anywhere between 2000 and 7000 words a day. It seems that on the weeks where I missed days I was spending more time writing on my days off to make up for it. Apparently I was also writing a lot between 4 and 5pm, which is a little surprising to me because there were many times that I was up till the wee hours of the night typing away…however, based on my work/recording schedules this month I’d say that it would make perfect sense for me to be writing around 4pm every day.

I also consistently had the “happy” emoji throughout the month, which means that while writing I was feeling great!

I’d say this is 100% accurate. This entire month I was I zoned in, and couldn’t wait to get back to my manuscript. It got to the point where I was dreaming about it, and waking up in the middle of the night itching to get back to it. I tried my best to get enough sleep, because I find when I’m tired a I make more silly errors like spelling a word using American versus Canadian English (like center and centre).

I try to have spellcheck set to British/UK English and or Canadian so that it doesn’t underline words that are spelled correctly here, but most programs don’t correct the American spelling, regardless of whether you change your settings or not. If I had to give feedback for editing software’s and writing programs, I’d say this is something that often gets overlooked.

English is a weird language. You can go your whole life spelling pajama as pajama only to realize that it’s actually pyjama…and that’s why it makes no sense when you look at the word because when you speak you pronounce the word as “pyjama” not “pajama” but you write it as pajama because a lot of the books you read as a kid were printed in the US, versus Canada. Also Canadian’s aren’t consistent with the spelling of this word and we tend to flip between the two versions…but pyjama’s is technically right…and is still the preferred spelling. So neither version of it is considered wrong.

I know that might be a random example…it but this is something that has frustrated me since I was 13 and I read The Boy in the Stripped Pyjama’s. I think that was when I realized the difference.

It’s like, you’re technically not spelling it wrong but you’re also not spelling it right. People lose marks on their essays for something as small as that! So, keep this in mind if you’re taking English Literature in University like I did.

Sorry, I got a bit off topic there…back to NaNoWriMo21.

I had an absolute blast this year, and I really liked seeing how supportive everyone was. I know some people had a bit of a rough time here and there, and it was nice to see other writers coming in to cheer them on and give them a little boost. I think we all need a bit of encouragement sometimes, and the overall vibe this year that I got from the community was really lovely.

I’ll be continuing to work on my manuscript everyday until it’s complete. I’m mainly excited about peoples reactions to certain characters and scenes. I know there are a few spots here and there that I need to go over, but overall I feel extremely good about this book. I love it.

Author Discussions and The End Of NanOWriMO

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!