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!

NANoWriMo Update

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:

Her image danced before him, bright and colourful like the inside of a kaleidoscope.

Vermin, Ardin Patterson

Reading & Writing

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.

Rose Crispin by @nuggiedraws

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.

Author Q & A

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.

Have you 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 a pseudonym?

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 your first book change your process 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 many unpublished 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.

Want to learn more about Vermin and where you can grab a copy? Check out the link above!

FOR EVERY LIKE I’LL ANSWER: QUESTIONS 7 – 10

Continuing from the list created by @mouthyjen, I’ll be answering questions 7 to 10!

7. What’s your favourite tense to write in?

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!

HAPPY bIRTHDAY!

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

It’s Friday

This weekend I’m planning on reorganizing my bookshelves to make space for my author copies of Vermin. I’m very excited to see them and hold them and flip through them, and see the final product of all my hard work, especially since I’ve been writing and editing the sequel.

I’ve got to go record before I head out this morning, so this post will probably be short, as I need to get setup in the studio in a couple of minutes, but I’m hoping to complete everything on my to-do-list this weekend and hopefully have some time to relax.

I find that my writing and drafting has become much faster now that book one has been published. I’ve gotten so much completed in the sequel, along with in another separate novel and I’m surprised at how quickly I’ve been making progress on these projects. I think it’s due to jumping out of edits, and back into writing. I’m more aware of what decisions I’m making and am taking the time to think things over before putting it on the page, which I’ve personally found helpful.

I’ve got to go record…I’m also going to be thinking of a game plan for my shelf reorganization. Not sure exactly where to start with them, but it’ll definitely take me an hour or two.

The Countdown Begins!

2021-08-01T01:00:00

  days

  hours  minutes  seconds

until

Vermin Release Date

If I could show my awkward happy dance I would. Vermin is almost out in the world!

So many wonderful things happened over the weekend as well, despite all the rain.

I’ve got some work to do this afternoon, and have been keeping an eye out for my author copies in the mail. I’m also really happy because folks have been requesting more content from my Let’s Read Shojo Manga series, and asking a lot of questions about Vermin!

I am happy to announce that I will be picking up my Let’s Read series again! I have so many favourite series I want to share, along with the review I gave them.

I’ve also been working on little creative projects with my niece and sister, that have been an absolute blast!

Keyboard, Pen, Typewriter

The other day I discovered that there is a special putty you can use to clean your keyboard, and now I keep thinking of how great it would be to have. I try to clean my keyboard, because it gets fairly dusty but having something like that would be way easier to get between the keys!

My laptop has been though a lot since the time I dropped it in Toronto before I went to a recording. A piece of it chipped off, and at the time I had been editing my manuscript so I freaked out. Luckily, my laptop still worked when I opened it up but it’s had a crack in it ever since.

My Dad thinks I should invest in a smaller one, for when I’m on the go, which I agree would be convenient but I’ve also gotten back into using notebooks and those are fairly easy to transport. One of my favourite things to do when I first started writing novels was to write in the car, and with my old laptop that was possible, merely because it was tiny but with this one it’s big and I have no idea how long the battery will stay on for, so I’d rather write by hand and transfer the pages onto my laptop later. It’s less of a hassle.

One thing that I think is kind of funny, is that I own an old typewriter. I like typing on it, but I never actually put paper in it or anything, just push down on the keys and pretend to write out a few sentences. It’s missing a piece and one of the keys is a little stuck. I found it in my grandparents basement and they said I could keep it, since I liked playing around with it so much. I’d love to get it working so I could use it. I like that when I write with pen it forces me to get my thoughts out, without any distractions. That’s the same feeling, I imagine one gets with a typewriter. There’s also something satisfying about the heaviness of the keys…the weight when you push down on them, gives off firm a sense of purpose, like each letter has meaning. Writing by hand has that same vibe…not that typing on a keyboard isn’t purposeful or meaningful, it is…but I type so fast that it almost seems like I’m in another zone. I still think about what I’m going to say but there isn’t that moment of hesitation where I mull over the phrasing of a sentence or try to draw out that perfect word every time I write. Language is a precious, beautiful thing. There are so many ways to convey something, and I find I’m more aware of this when I can’t just hit backspace or instantly scrap an entire paragraph. I’m more satisfied with the initial result because I didn’t put words down to fill empty space, I put words down that stirred my imagination.

Sorry for rambling. I’ve definitely strayed away from the subject of cleaning putty. The whole subject of writing instruments has been one I’ve been mulling over for years now, mainly because while I was editing Vermin, which was initially written on paper, I was typing everything out on my keyboard and after a while, I like to switch back to paper. I like paper. I like the feel of it, and despite complaining at times, I love how my left hand smudges ink on the page.

I’ve enjoyed writing scenes on paper recently, and doing all sorts of writing exercises. Making notes and exploring my thoughts…trying not to let the paper fly off when a breeze comes by. My pen rolling away on me….

It’s just different. A good different.


The eBook edition of Vermin is now available for pre-order, both this edition and the paperback will be released on August 1st, 2021.