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’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!

Nicholas’ Playlist

Hallet, Matya Frudach!

Translation: “Hello my friend!”

In today’s post I’ll be sharing a handful of songs off of Nicholas’ playlist. Like Roland and Dianna’s playlists having songs that overlap, Nicholas’ songs at times overlap with Rose’s. His playlist has more of a cinematic feel to it compared to my other character’s. I’d say Roland’s at time has this element as well, but many of his songs are selected based off his experiences or states of emotion, whereas Nicholas’ tend to be based off different scenes, chapters or even ideas still floating around in my noggin.

I’ve always adored Amy Lee’s voice, and absolutely love this song for Nicholas’ journey.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab a copy of Vermin, you can get the ebook and paperback through Amazon, or grab the paperback from Indigo.

Now, if you’ve already finished the first book, don’t forget to leave a rating or review on Goodreads or Amazon or follow the official series tiktok @theverminseries for more book and character related content. I’d also love to know who your favourite character is!

So far from what I’ve heard, Nicholas and Roland are ranked at the top, and a lot of readers also seem to like the Crispin kids.

Dianna’s Playlist

Dianna’s playlist often intertwines with Roland’s so I had to go back to my previous post to make sure I didn’t accidentally repost the same songs. I think I’ve managed to avoid that…and so, here are a handful of songs off Dianna’s playlist!

Never Mine is a song written and performed by my friend Mary-Kate Edwards. It’s one of my favourites of hers and I absolutely adore listening to it, along with the rest of her album when I’m writing.

I’m so excited about the scenes I’ve written to these songs in book two! Especially in the cases where the songs overlap between Roland and Dianna.

I also can’t wait to introduce the handful of new characters to you all…hehe!

Roland’s Playlist

I haven’t shared music from my characters playlists in a couple of months, and thought January would be the perfect time to start. I’m constantly adding new songs to these, and occasionally listen to them while I write.

Most of the scenes that I write with music happen to be Roland’s, so his playlist is the longest out of everyone’s. The first song is by a band I used to listen to a lot when I was younger. I started teaching myself one of their songs on the guitar the other day after it popped into my head, and then I went and found the album.

I hope none of the songs provide any series spoilers (they shouldn’t), but I do hope you find one to add to your own playlists.

I’ve written a lot of scenes with Roland to this cover by Chase Holfelder. I highly recommend checking out his music on YouTube, he’s got a lovely voice and his arrangements are really nice.

Roland’s got one of the moodier playlists, but it’s also one that I like to listen to in my free time, or when I’m just hanging out. I’ve found a lot of really beautiful songs while writing this series. Try to Change is probably one of my favourites that I’ve come across while creating this series.

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.

Book Talk Episode 20: Discussing the Book Removal debate

I’ve been following up on the current book discussions, via articles, videos, etc., and I’m saddened that so many wonderful books are being wrongfully removed, without proper review due to misinformation. There is already a lack of representation for these books as it is.

Over the last few years I’ve watched so many debuts come up, featuring diverse characters and stories, directed at a multitude of age groups, from toddlers all the way through to adult fiction. It’s been lovely seeing this reflected in literature…and now that boom in representation is being threatened, due to a lack of research.

Many fantastic, talented authors, who’s books have touched readers hearts are having their work removed from libraries and schools, or inappropriately relocated…and although this isn’t happening where I live, I feel deeply disturbed by this, as both a reader and author.

To give some background, where I live once you are of the age 13, your parents and or guardians are unable to request knowledge of what you’ve checked out of the library. It is your responsibility at that age to return the books on time, and to choose appropriate books for yourself. This is to protect a child’s privacy. My friends mom was our local librarian, and made it very clear when children were old enough to get their own library card, that the information on what they checked out would remain private. This is not just about a child’s privacy, but also their safety. Not everyone comes from a good home…although this is a fictional example, think of how Matilda’s father reacted to her, when she was reading “Moby Dick”?

It’s baffling to me that the privacy and safety of children, especially young adult/teens is being violated in such a way, where there is a discussion on whether their parents should be notified of every book their child is checking out at the library. This obsession to control what sort of literature your children are consuming is bizarre and unsettling.

I completely understand wanting to protect your child, but there comes a time when you need to honour, and value the importance of trust. Trust that your child is capable of choosing what literature they’re ready to consume. Just an ounce of trust, will gain you more respect from someone than not even allowing them to make decisions for themselves…or stripping them of the right to do so.

When I was younger, if I found a book I had purchased or borrowed was too much for me, I stopped reading it. Simple as that. As did all of my peers. it’s no different than quitting on a book you’re not enjoying.

If we were assigned a “difficult” book, that dealt with unsettling content, we were told by some teachers (as providing trigger warnings was fairly new when I entered high school and university), which pages or chapters to skip, and depending on our teacher those sections were discussed in a way that was respectful, versus exploitive.

I highly recommend reading the article from BookRiot’s Danika Ellis on this subject, as it goes into further details on the 414 books that have been placed on this list, and the reasoning behind it.

My main intention with writing this blog post is to bring awareness to this situation, as removing books that could potentially cause “an individual [to] feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex” or that covers topics such as “human sexuality” is wrong, and there are books being placed on this list that make no sense. This is merely being used to shut down and reverse the progress the literary community has made over these last few years.

Think about this for a moment, a book that features a South Asian character as the lead who enters a school talent show with their band shouldn’t be considered “uncomfortable” or cause “guilt.” Yet these are the types of books that have ended up on the list, despite not even mentioning racism as a topic, and merely having a POC as the lead.

I would never put a novel like The Boy in the Striped Pyjama’s on this list, just because it made me cry when I was 13. It is a novel, that is written not to make one feel anguish, but to make you think about how differently children view the world around them, and how as children we value kindness and friendship, over race and religion. Why would this lesson be considered a bad thing? Should this book be banned because it has a sad ending, and fictionalizes historic events in a way that is more accessible for young readers to understand? Absolutely not. We need books like this, so that we can educate ourselves, and grow…to truly understand why we cannot and should not repeat history and go back on our progress.

I also wouldn’t put S.E Hinton’s, The Outsider’s on this list because it deals with gang violence, abuse, and opens up discussions about class. This novel deals with heavy subject matter, and yet it’s assigned to student’s as young as 13. To this day it is one of my favourite books, and films. It talks about friendship, the bond of brothers and how we can lean on our friends and community in times of tragedy. How there is nothing wrong with caring about other’s, and expressing ourselves through art, and finding healing in that after loss. Why would you want to take away a book like that? A book that makes you think hard about the type of person you want to be in your community? A book like this can help you navigate difficult subjects amongst your peers, such as bullying, poverty, growing up and how to be there for a friend who comes from a rough home. again, this is a novel that should never be removed.

Both of these examples, are of books that I read and adored. they bring up things like race, violence, prejudice based on class, religion etc…and yet, I would never put them on a list like this.

In fact, I would never think to put them or novels like Catcher in the Rye, and the perks of being a wallflower on a banned book list. It doesn’t make any sense. We’ve learned so much from these books, not only about the characters but about ourselves. If reading something like The Outsider’s makes you uncomfortable, then it is a good time to ask yourself why. If reading a book featuring a character of a race, religion or social background that differs from yours, makes you uncomfortable then it is a good chance to look inward and reflect on those feelings.

This deliberate effort to eliminate all of the progress that’s been made, is worth discussing among all literature communities. Whether it is effecting you or not…the point is, that this is being done to squander the efforts of marginalized communities, communities that have fought to get their work published…only to have it wrongfully investigated and removed under the guise of “protecting children.”

I highly encourage those of you reading my post to look into this topic, and to think about the novels you read when you were in school (or if you’re currently in school, the novels you’re reading right now). What was the impact it had on you, and do you feel that these books could be wrongfully pulled and placed on a banned book list if the subject matter and character’s were taken out of context?

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, 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.