;writing communities (and why we need them)

bookworm things

Most readers I know are also writers. Maybe they’re not writing the next Big Thing, or posting what they are writing anywhere. But they write. Whether reviews or poems or short stories or scenes – they write.

And almost every one of them has a community of fellow writers and readers around them that keep them on task, or distract them when they need it. They have a group of friends, maybe online, maybe people they meet up with – maybe even family members they trust – who know they write, who read their words, and who are there to bolster their confidence when it seems like they need it, or to critique their words.

Writing communities, in my humble opinion, are everywhere. And boy, are they important.

writing communities

Let’s start with the obvious, shall we?

Number One;

Communities are necessary because we do not want to feel like we’re alone in how we’re feeling. Talking to fellow writers, or to people who are willing to listen, makes you feel less alone in your frustration. I mean, there is a reason I have a tag for writing on my personal Tumblr where I reblog relatable posts. It reminds me that there are other people who get what I am going through when I get stuck on a sentence, or a paragraph. That there are other writers who get it. Now, this might not be a community that I personally know, but it is the wider writing community, and it still helps me as a writer to know they are out there.

Number Two;

You know the feeling of frustration you get when you write something, and at first, you think it’s great! And then the self-doubt creeps in, and everything you write suddenly looks like trash? Yeah, that feeling. That is when you should turn to someone you trust and go “Hey, I need you to read this and tell me, truthfully, what you think” because you need to take a step back yourself. Someone else’s perspective will help you clear your mind from doubts, will help you figure out what no longer works for you, and what does. That person you trust? It might just be one person, but that’s your core community. It could be your best friend, or your significant other, or your sibling. It could be someone you met online, or someone you went to school with. That person you share your writing with, whose judgement you trust, that person will help you reach your potential.

Number Three;

Sometimes you need to leave the house for a change of scenery when you write. And sometimes you don’t want to be alone when you do. The person you call? Who sits next to you, or opposite you at the library or the coffee shop. Who does their own thing while you write. Who will distract you when you get stuck, who understands why you’ve called them out like this without you having to explain yourself over and over. That person is your writing community. Having someone there, just knowing they are there to pull you out of your own head, is helpful. Trust me on this. I’ve had the same person there for me for just over half my life now.

ipad

Of course, some writing communities are literal writing groups. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with other like-minded writers, then you could go out once a week to sit and work on your individual projects, bounce ideas off of one another, read snippets of your work to each other, or just talk about what you’ve read recently. A friend of mine has a group that does this, and sometimes I get jealous that I don’t.

And then I remember my other friend and realise that I do have a writing community of my own. I have people online I can turn to, and people in my personal life I can turn to, when I need a beta reader, or a distraction, or someone to just hurtle ideas and verbalise thoughts at.

Writing communities are important because they help us figure out what we want to say. They might not be who you think they are – you might not have even realised they’re a writing community yet. Maybe you call them something else. But they’re there for you, they’re important, and we need them.

What do you think?

2016-04-12 11:46

the nostalgia post;

bookworm things

You know the books you read as a kid that, on looking back aren’t as good as you think, but you’ve still got a warm spot in your heart for them? Yeah, this post is for that feeling. This post is for those books, the ones that you turn to when you need the comfort of your memories, the ones you read when you need to be reminded of your childhood and how much simpler life could be then.

the nostalgia post

There are books that I remember fondly from my childhood. That I can read over and over to spark a feeling of warmth. These books take me back to simpler times. Or sometimes, to the escape I had needed from my studies and, well, society.

I was admittedly a very singular kid. My friends knew when to leave me alone. Too much company got to me.

Books? Books were my best friends.

And these books are those old friends I turn back to when I need comfort. I don’t know many people who have read these particular ones, but I would love to find some. Would love to talk to people who have similar fond memories of the first time they picked these books up.

Patricia C. Wrede’s Dragons series

The first time I read these books, I was 11. I think. My mother, younger sister and two of my cousins had gone on a holiday to visit my mother’s brother. His daughters had drawers full of books – and this series was in one of those drawers. They let me borrow them, and needless to say, I spent a lot of my holiday with my nose buried in them.

It took me years to actually get my hands on a copy of the full series, but when I did, I immediately had a re-read. And while there were obviously some things that, while fantastical and wonderful to a young child, felt a little juvenile to a teenager, it still invoked that same magical feeling in me. Definitely a series I would read again. And again.

Susan Coolidge’s What Katy Did series

Upon reflection, this series can be very preachy. But there’s something about it that I still adore. I think it’s the simplicity of it, the way the characters grow. The familial relationships, and then the friendships that develop in the second novel.

And then the love story – not a very large part of the novel, but a very understated and lovely bit that tugged at my heart strings. It is probably a part of why I keep going back to the books. Why, despite my copies being old and tattered, I can’t see myself letting them go.

Diana Wynne Jones’ A Tale Of Time City

I’ve mentioned this book to a number of people. I still recommend it, because it is a fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy type elements. It still thrills me each time I read it, and I still find myself wondering what will happen next, even though I’ve read it at least three times already.

The first time I read it was when I borrowed it from a cousin (one of the ones previously mentioned in this post), who highly recommended the author to me. She also lent me her copy of Howl’s Moving Castle, which I adored just as much. But there was just something about this one that kept me hooked. That keeps me going back.

C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles Of Narnia

When I think nostalgia, I think Narnia, even though I was in my teens when I finally got down to reading the series. But the influence this series has had on my writing style probably has something to do with how much I adore it. I read it when I need a pick me up. I read it when I need to find a way to get back into writing.

It is just – whimsical and yet grounded. It teaches us something, and yet, I feel like we could have taught the characters something too. I still find that there is much to discuss about the books and the characters, and there is so much world yet to explore.

This series helped me as a writer. And for that, I will always adore it.

books box

Of course, there are more books that I adore from my childhood. That evoke the same feelings of wistfulness for the past. But these are the ones that struck me the most, I think. Does anyone else have those books that meant a lot to them as a kid? Books that you still turn to, even now, when you need some comfort?

2016-04-12 11:46

hashtag twitter book chats; part deux

bookworm things

Yes, I did write a blog post about Twitter chats last year. I was raving about them, and to be fair, most of my thoughts are still the same. I still adore participating in Twitter (book) chats. I still think they are a great way to interact with fellow readers, with finding more books to read, and to interact with writers.

However, circumstances have changed things for me in regards to actually participating in chats, and that, my dear friends, is what this particular post is about.

twitter chat title two

Pretty much since late last year, I have been missing the book chats I usually participate in due to a variety of reasons. First, we were packing up our apartment in Auckland for our move back to Asia. Then we were busy with setting up in Asia, and visiting family we had not seen in a while.

And now? Now I have come to one very important conclusion:

Time differences suck.

When we were still staying in New Zealand, it was much easier for me to participate in chats because 9pm EST meant the afternoon – usually lunchtime – in Auckland. These days, that same timing for a chat means breakfast time. It means that little bit of time I get with the husband and the father-in-law in the mornings before they head off to work.

It means I cannot make the chats I loved to participate in without compromising on time with my family.

And it’s led me to consider organising a Twitter chat that is more conducive and convenient for Asian – particularly South East Asian, if only because that’s where I am – bloggers. The trouble is, I am not entirely sure what it takes to organise and run a chat such as the ones I’ve been participating in. I’m looking into it, that is for sure, but I also know that I cannot do it alone.

I have to find someone to help me out. Someone in a similar time zone to me, with similar interests so that we can run this thing without too much butting of heads. Someone who is up to the challenge.

This does not mean I’m not going to participate in any of the other chats going on. I’m definitely going to try to catch a chat or two every few weeks, if possible. I miss interacting with the friends I’ve made.

I just also want to put together something that is convenient for me. That does not involve me sacrificing time with my family. I’m sure there are other bloggers who feel the same.

What do you think? Should I try and come up with a book chat with timings that Asians can make it for?

2016-04-12 11:46

the year of the diverse?;

bookworm things

It is 2017! And I promised myself that I would try to be better about posting discussion posts on the blog. Yes, that means my schedule is a lot slower than other bloggers, but hey, so long as I keep blogging, right?

But even so, it has been difficult for me to get into the right mindframe. I was having a tough time trying to figure out what I should write about for my first post of 2017. And then it hit me.

No, not literally.

I got an email notification that Cait @ Paper Fury had a new blog post up, so obviously I went to read it. Her 2017 YA Genre Predictions (Which Can’t Possibly Go Wrong) included guest bloggers’ thoughts on what would be on the rise this year in the book community. Which gave me the inspiration I needed.

No, not to do the same thing.

But some of their predictions did spark of a train of thought. With the louder and more stringent demands by readers, is 2017 going to be the year for diverse representation?

the year of the diverse

I’ve talked about diversity before. More along the lines of PoC representation, but that is something that has come up on this blog a couple of times. I am all about diversity in media. More characters that look like me, sound like my grandparents – more characters that struggle with mental or physical disorders without being shamed for it or miraculously ‘fixed’ at the end of their journey.

Basically, I want it all.

And it seems like this year, I’ll be getting it. Or at least, some of it. It is safe to say that #OwnVoices has caught traction with a number of book bloggers, and it just keeps building up. So I’m definitely ready to see some of these books talked about on the blogs I visit. I’m also definitely ready to try to get my hands on these books myself.

Books about generally marginalised groups of people, by members of those communities?

Yes, please!

It’s not that I don’t think an author cannot write about something they have not experienced. Of course they can! So long as they do with respect, and with a lot of research. There’s just something about reading a book by someone who understands what they are writing about because they have experienced it.

I know I’m looking forward to delving into their stories, their experiences. Between Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Bellza, Saints And Misfits by S.K. Ali and A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, it looks like I’m going to be spoiled for choice when it comes to writers with an Asian background. This – is a first for me.

And then there are the other books – the ones about the other types of diversity. And we know that these stories will not be diverse just for the sake of being ‘diverse’. I’m hoping for little to no harmful stereotypes or harmful tropes. I’m hoping for a rich and vibrant world, where everybody is different and everybody has a voice.

Hey, it could happen.

What do you think? Will this year be the year of diversity? Will this year meet our expectations, or will it fall sort?

And what are some of the diverse (not necessarily #OwnVoices) books you are looking forward to reading in 2017?

2016-04-12 11:46

 

;the life and times of writers

bookworm things

Let me start off by saying, if you write, you’re a writer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re published or not. If you studied English, or whatever language you may write in, in college. It doesn’t matter if you’ve posted your work online or sent it to someone for validation.

If you write? You’re a writer.

Of course, writing comes in all shapes and forms. I’m not here to go into that. I’m here to go into the most relatable things writers feel across the board. In my opinion, anyway.

Note; these posts are taken from Tumblr, and I cropped out the original post’s URL because not all of them were in the post, and I didn’t want to not credit someone and credit others. Feel free to head to my Tumblr blog and check out the actual posts, though.

thelifeandtimesofwriters

Number One;

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-15-57-pm

The irony of this is the procrastination involved in being a ‘writer’. Or is that just me? I mean, whenever I find posts about writing on Tumblr, the ones that relate to me the most are the ones that talk about having a plot, but when you open your project, you just sit blankly in front of the screen.

Number Two;

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-17-10-pm

To be fair, this sort of ties in to Number One, but still. You have to pick and choose your battles. In the Venn Diagram of Writing, the three circles never overlap. If they do? YOU LUCKY DUCK, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO WRITE!

Number Three;

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-18-54-pm

When you’re writing, you’re having trouble getting the words out, or something about it is just not the way you pictured. When you’re not writing, you’re thinking about writing. No matter what you’re doing, you feel like you should be doing something else. You just cannot win.

Number Four;

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-21-49-pm

You have a great story idea! You try and write it. You do well for the first few weeks or months, and then you fall into a slump. Writers’ block sucks. And then! You get another story idea! Rinse and repeat, over and over. I have finished maybe one original piece of work, and the rest are WIPs. Whoops?

Number Five;

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-24-10-pm

Just, something is keeping you from writing. All the time. Even when you want to write. (I did say they were all related, didn’t I?)

Writing is hard. Any writer who says otherwise is lying. (Or a robot.) (Or an alien.) But seriously, with all the distractions around us, no wonder I’m more likely to be reblogging writer woes into my #thelifeandtimesofwriters tag on Tumblr than actually writing.

screen-shot-2016-10-27-at-4-28-00-pm

Now, to go and prove this post right…

2016-04-12 11:46

top ten; book blogger facts

bookworm things

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke And The Bookish has such a broad topic that I got a bit confused for a second as to what I wanted to do. I mean, facts about me? As a person or as a blogger or as a reader?

It made sense to put together a list of book blogger facts about me. What I did, I will admit, is check out Cait @ Paper Fury‘s What Does A Book Blogger Actually Do? and 10 Things Book Bloggers Should Not Be Worrying About and see what applied to me as a blogger.

A lot of the things on Cait’s lists applied to me so, here we go!

top ten tuesday

  • I started book blogging, on Tumblr, a few years ago, but I was mostly putting up reviews and reblogging (and creating!) edits and quotes.
  • I think I’ve read less since I started this blog than before I had it. Oops?
  • I keep telling myself I will set up a schedule but have not yet, leading to inconsistent posting. It’s a good thing I have a backlog of reviews from my Tumblr to transfer over, right?
  • I have never gotten an ARC. And – I don’t really care? I mean, I never read well under pressure, and that’s all ARCs are for me, for some reason…
  • I am pretty sure this format and theme will slowly evolve and change but I’m hoping it won’t be too drastic that it becomes jarring for people. #aestheticstress
  • My TBR keeps increasing, while my Read pile remains the same size. Help me.
  • A lot of times, I wonder if I’m simply saying things people have already said before and that’s why I don’t get hits and comments.
  • The amount of “WHY DON’T PEOPLE TALK TO ME???” I feel has become ridiculous.
  • I have only had the one book photoshoot, and I keep telling myself I will have more, but I never sit down and plan them out. Again with the not being scheduled enough, I guess.
  • I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but I’ve been enjoying myself, and I’ve made a few new bookish friends, so that’s a good thing.

Well, ten facts about me. Any of these resonate with you? Link me to your Top Ten facts too! Or just post them below.

2016-04-12 11:46

hashtag twitter book chats;

bookworm things

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a proper discussion on the blog. June was unproductive for me, and on some fronts, July looks like it might be the same. But I’ve had this in my drafts for a while, and I’ve finally gotten down to actually finishing up this post!

twitter chat title

I think almost all book bloggers agree that twitter chats are a good basis for not just getting to know more bloggers and getting to interact with more like-minded people, but also for finding more books to add to our TBRs! (Maybe too many? Nah. No such thing as too many!)

I was taking part in a few twitter chats before I had switched blog platforms from Tumblr to WordPress, and I have enjoyed each chat I have participated in. I think I was lucky, when I started participating in chats, because the time differences meant the chats were happening around lunch time for me!

(Now? Not so much. Early mornings are not my friends.)

There are a few chats I try to always take part in – and a few more I’ve been missing by just a few hours because the timings don’t match. But someday! For those chats? Someday.

nori twitter

The first chat I ever participated in was Nori @ ReadWriteLove28‘s #RQWN. #RQWN stands for Random Questions With Nori, and it is hosted infrequently. But it is ALWAYS fun. And fair warning, it inevitably brings up food. Be prepared to get hungry during the chat.

brittany twitter

Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles hosts #BBTC every Sunday at 8PM EST. #BBTC stands for Book-Themed Twitter Chats, and every week, Brittany hosts a chat about a different upcoming novel. Not only does Brittany post teasers from the novel, the author is always a part of the chat too!

emren twitter

thebooktraveler twitter

Every last Tuesday of the month, Emily @ Emily Reads Everything and Sarah @ The Book Traveler host #BHPChat, or Blog Hop Party Chat. I’ve only participated in one of these so far, but I had SO MUCH FUN, and I’m hoping to participate in July’s #BHPChat later this month.

kaycee twitter

Unfortunately, timings have not matched up for me to participate in either #Fandomso or #yafeministchat, both hosted by Kristen @ Kaycee Writes. But I’ve gone through the hashtag on twitter, and it looks like the chats were quite the discussions! Definitely going to try and be there for the next chat.

storysocial twitter

#storysocial is hosted every Wednesday at 9PM EST by Kristen @ She’s Novel and Jenny @ Blots & Plots. This is a chat for writers, but it’s definitely given me inspiration for blog posts, and made me think more about what I’m reading. It’s a little more slow-moving than the bookish chats, but it’s widened my circle of writing friends quite a bit.

I am sure there are more chats. I’ve seen fellow blogger friends participate in other chats that I have not been able to make, for whatever reason. But these? These are the ones I love and have had a chance to participate with.

What are your thoughts on twitter chats? Which ones have you participated in?

2016-04-12 11:46

top ten; books that are under rated

bookworm things

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve taken part in The Broke And The Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday, but this one intrigued me. I mean, books that I enjoyed that have under 2000 ratings on Goodreads.

My first thought was, how do I check how many ratings there are?

(Thankfully, they were kind enough to provide suggestions on their blog, and I used the first one, and it was simpler than I thought.)

My second thought was, did I actually enjoy these books?

Also – wow, I’ve read books that have A LOT of ratings…

top ten tuesday

Some of these books come from the same series, and some are books I read ages ago, but all are books I remember enjoying when I did read them.

  • I read Bon Bon To Yoga Pants on Wattpad before it was published, and my god, was it worth the read. I loved it. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series, if I’m honest.
  • Has there ever been a fairy tale reimagining I have not loved? Not really. Lili St Clair’s Tales Of Beauty And Madness series was fascinating. Wayfarer, the second in the series, is a Cinderella retelling, and what a retelling it was!
  • Following that was the final in the series, a Little Red Riding Hood retelling called Kin. A little dark (but then they all are), and a lot of fun.
  • I received Tales From A Tiny Room as a gift from my best friend. A signed copy of short stories by a Singaporean author. Being Singaporean myself, I have to admit that I went in with a hopeful and positive outlook. I was not disappointed.
  • I’m still waiting on more in the Kate Stanley series by Jennifer Lee Carrell. Haunt Me Still was the second book in a mystery series revolving around secrets hidden in Shakespeare’s works. Much like how Dan Brown writes about secrets in history, except Shakespeare!

book stack2

  • The finale of Meagan Spooner’s Skylark trilogy was exactly the end I wanted. Lark Ascending ended on a hopeful note, answering almost all my questions but leaving enough questions for open interpretation to the future of the world.
  • The enovella set before For Darkness Shows The Stars, Among The Nameless Stars, sets up the world and the story for the Persuasion retelling, and it’s just great. Highly recommended.
  • I’m not usually one for reading published Austen fanfiction type stories, but I am and always have been fascinated by Mary Bennet’s story. Hence The Pursuit Of Mary Bennet, which was sweet and romantic in all the right ways.
  • I find it a little shocking that Steadfast didn’t have more ratings. I loved the story, the world Claudia Gray has created.
  • The finale of her series, Sorceress, was amazing, and I hope more people will read this series if only so I can yell about it more. (Hmm, maybe I should make a blog post just about this series… I do love it so. I’ve even made edits!)

And there you have it. My top ten books that are under rated on Goodreads. Have you read any of these? What are your top tens this week?

2016-04-12 11:46

top ten; reasons i enjoy the starbound trilogy

bookworm things

Each time I think ‘this is it, this is the best Top Ten Tuesday The Broke And The Bookish have come up with’, they prove me wrong. Each. Time.

I can’t say I feel bad about it though.

I mean, this time, the category is so broad that I thought it would take me forever to come up with an idea.

top ten tuesday

Then I realised one very important thing – I love The Starbound Trilogy. So much. Ever since I picked up These Broken Stars because the cover was GORGEOUS and I fell in love, I’ve loved the series. I thought it would suffer from the¬†sophomore slump.

It did not.

It just got better.

So I figured, why not spread my love for the books, the characters, in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday? Why not give you guys ten reasons I love The Starbound Trilogy?

the starbound trilogy

Note: All fanedits posted in this post were made by me for tumblr, because I love the series just that much. (I love it so much, I’m even making fanmixes! Stay tuned for those.)

  • The romance of it all.
    I mean. Guys. The first novel has literally two characters throughout the whole thing, and was so, so wonderfully written that I fell in love with them both, fell in love while they fell in love, and it was just magical.

lilactarver [big]

  • Each story is self-contained;
  • but also so wonderfully interwoven.
  • THE ROMANCE OF IT ALL.

this shattered world

 

  • Strong female characters.
    Whether they’re physically strong or mentally or emotionally, they have layers and are allowed to be human and vulnerable. Even the side characters! (Sanjana Rao, amiright or amiright?)
  • Strong characters in general.
    They’re wonderfully fleshed out and individual, and just great.

the starbound trilogy (who names a starship icarus)

  • Characters that are allowed to be vulnerable lemme just sit here and cry a little.
    Like I said, strong and human and flawed, but fleshed out and made relatable. Even the villain was made somewhat relatable. I mean. You don’t get any better than that.

the starbound trilogy (who names a starship icarus2)

  • The whole aspect of the OTHERS being given development too!
    I thought they would just be a mythical/mystical figure that we would not be made to understand, but nope! Their Fractured Light gave some answers as to what the beings were, and how they got there, and – almost all my questions were answered, which is EXACTLY what I want from my stories.
  • Did i mention the romance of it all?
    Because seriously, you guys. Each love story was so individual? And I don’t just mean the romances between the leads, but also the romantic notions in the stories. I just – I have no words.

their fractured light2

  • The world building.
    We see so many different planets, all developed enough to understand the people and their lifestyles and their characters! IT IS SERIOUSLY SO AMAZING I RECOMMEND THIS SERIES TO EVERYONE EVER.

Bonus; the fact that the authors are so here for interacting with fans. They respond to tweets (EVEN ONES THEY ARE NOT TAGGED IN YOU GUYS), they reblog fanart and edits (it has happened to me, with bonus flattering comments!), and they don’t dismiss fancasting ideas!

( I am totally speaking from personal experience here. I’ve had the pleasure of having Twitter conversations with both Meagan and Amie after I finished the first book. Mostly just me flailing at them. AND THEY RESPONDED. And then after I finished the last? This happened:

IMG_7195

I didn’t even tag either one of them in my tweets??? BUT??? SO INVOLVED AND READY TO INTERACT??? How could you not love them?)

So yeah. Ten reasons to read The Starbound Trilogy. If you have already, tell me what you thought of them! What would be your reasons when telling someone to read them?

Also what was your Top Ten this week? Link me below! Or if you didn’t make a list, tell me ten things that could fit in this category in a comment!

2016-04-12 11:46

top ten; books i feel differently about

bookworm things

I am going to be very honest. This post was rushed together because I had a difficult time coming up with a list. I’ve read so many books over the years that looking back at them and wondering if I feel the same about them now as I did when I read them is just – not so simple. I’ve been second-guessing my choices, and then realising I don’t think I have ten books? So I’ve just put a quick short list of books that I feel differently about since I’ve read them.

Edit: I almost forgot to link this back to The Broke And The Bookish! Whoops.

top ten tuesday

  • The Harry Potter series. I still love it, that’s for sure, but over time, I have become a lot more critical about it. The lack of notable diversity in it definitely irks me whenever I think about it.
  • Tamora Pierce’s Circle Of Magic series, and some of her other works. The more I look back on it, the more I love her world-building. I want to read them ALL again. Or as many of them as I can get my hands on.
  • Jodi Picoult’s novel with her daughter? Between The Lines. I want to read the next book, that’s for sure, but now when I look back on it, I feel it was a lot more simplistic than I thought when I was reading it. I think I loved the concept of it more than I actually loved the writing of it.
  • I remember loving Just Ella when I read it, but now that I look back on it, I’m wondering if it’s as good as I remember. Maybe a reread is in order…
  • I have read Patricia C. Wrede’s Dragons series quite a few times since I first borrowed it from my cousins back when I was 11. I loved it back then, I loved it the second time around, I think I loved it even more the third time around.

So this was a quick list that’s now done! I had very few ideas on what to put on this list. Because I tend to feel the same for most things I read over the years, I guess. I should do a reread of some books…

What are books you feel differently about now when you look back on them?

2016-04-12 11:46