the trope tag

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

I’m back with yet another blog tag today–a battle of the tropes. This one was created by Kenzie @ Featherwick Press, but I found it on the lovely Christine Smith’s blog. In this tag, all of our favorite tropes are pitted against each other in pairs to determine the Ultimate Winner.

But without further ado…let’s jump right in. And don’t be too horrified at my answers.

the chosen one vs. the mentor

Lots of classic books, mostly fantasy, have “chosen ones”. Think Harry Potter. While I appreciate the occasional necessity of this trope, it’s too often overdone. I’m tired of sixteen-year-old blonde-haired, blue-eyed MackKayLeigh being the only one that can save Dystopian Society #1156.

But the mentor? Yes. As long as they’re not problematic (I’m wondering how I ever liked Dumbledore in the first place), give me a good mentor any day. Old or young, grizzled or beautiful, give me a character to knock the protagonist back to their senses and gift the world with the top liked book quote on Goodreads.

The Mentor wins this round!

enemies to lovers vs. friends to lovers

I always found the enemies to lovers thing slightly…off. Maybe it’s my trust issues, but how do you know that they actually love you and aren’t just using you? I suppose that is one of the challenges most characters in this trope face. That on top of the inevitable betrayal I can see coming from a mile away discourages me from the beginning.

The one caveat to this is academic rivals to lovers, which can be done really well and I enjoy in certain settings. But the normal fantasy enemies to lovers is a no for me.

But friends to lovers. Ohhhh. Friends to lovers, man. Especially childhood friends to lovers? I squeal like a little kid every single time. Even when I know it’s coming, it delights me. Like, when they have inside jokes already but now they’re sappy? And they know everything about each other already? I CANNOT. I will simply CEASE TO EXIST. Every time something cute happens, I have to sit there and make dying pig noises before I can continue reading.

I think that this is the most fangirl-y I’ve ever gotten on this blog. If you didn’t know already, I’m a sucker for romance. Stuff like this makes me so happy.

Friends to Lovers wins this round by a mile!

matchmaker gone wrong vs. love potion

Given the fact that I don’t read much fantasy, I haven’t actually read a book with a love potion in it before. But the idea of manufactured love (or infatuation) is kind of iffy to me. I’m sure it could be done well, but I don’t know how comfortable I am with the idea of that.

I’ve never read a book with a matchmaker gone wrong trope either, but I have watched Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and oh boy do I have opinions. These two hated each other with a passion at the beginning of the play, but by the end of the play they’re suddenly in love? How does this work? It’s not even real love! Their friends just set them up!

I genuinely can’t decide between these two. I think that they’re both equally bad, but I’m going to say that Matchmaker Gone Wrong wins this round by default, given that it’s the only one that I’ve actually read.

trapped in an elevator vs. working with an ex

Again, I haven’t read either of these in depth, though I understand that they’re both common tropes in fanfiction. I’m going to answer this question from a writer’s perspective rather than a reader’s perspective.

I think that the “trapped in an elevator” trope has a lot of potential, especially as a major plot point like the climax. Or trapped in any small, enclosed space together, really. This trope works so well as a setup for something like a confession (of love, perhaps?). Even if they’re not lovers, the idea of two characters putting aside their differences for the sake of the common good is something I enjoy.

But working with an ex? The drama. The sheer pettiness. If there’s some good banter, I’ll take it every time. This trope doesn’t necessarily have to end in getting back together for it to be good, either (though when it’s done well, I enjoy that too). It could make for some uncomfortable yet hilarious situations. As long as it’s not too uncomfortable–secondhand embarrassment is real, y’all.

It’s a close call, but Working with an Ex wins this round!

mistaken identity vs. marriage pact

The first thing I think of when I hear “mistaken identity” is The Parent Trap. Romance isn’t the only application for this trope. I think it has a lot of potential, but sometimes it’s infuriating. Like, she (or he) is right there in front of you! Open your eyes, you doofus!

Whereas a marriage pact often fits neatly into the friends to lovers trope, and I’ve already squealed about how much I love that one. I read a true story about a marriage pact once, and it was so sweet. I think that when done right and when the characters actually love each other, the marriage pact can be really sweet and good.

So Marriage Pact wins this round!

kidnapped vs. the one that got away

Kidnapping brings to mind…questionable ethics. Sometimes it’s a “good” kidnapping, like stealing someone away in the middle of the night to go on an epic adventure or rescuing a child from an abusive family. But when it’s, like, a potential love interest? Not a fan. I think that for kidnapping, it depends on the situation.

Versus the one that got away. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I think that it can be a good setup for all kinds of drama and wondering and pining and angst, which can do very well keeping me on the edge of my seat. I’m reminded of They Both Die at the End, except they both got away, so I’m not sure if that counts.

It’s tough, but I think The One That Got Away wins this round!

final thoughts

I want to say one last thank-you to Kenzie for the tag and to Christine for bringing it to my attention! And, of course, to you, my dear readers. Once again, thank you so much for reading.

What did you think about my answers? What would you have answered differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Until next Wendesday!


the once upon a time book tag

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

Today I’ll be participating in a fun tag co-created by Merie Shen of Imperial Scribis. This one has been sitting in my inbox for a little while now as I’ve been stewing over my answers, and I think it’s finally time to share them with the world!

Without further ado…let’s jump right in.

the rules

  • thank the person who tagged you
  • use the tag graphic above (optional) (I opted not to for this one!)
  • name a book for each of the following 12 categories
  • tag as many people as you would like

the fairytales

Cinderella: a book that changed your life

Does the Bible count? I mean, technically it did change my life, but I don’t think that’s the answer y’all are going for here.

This one took me a lot of thought, but I’d have to say Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

I read Stargirl in middle school. It was one of the first books that I read that could be considered YA romance (though it’s honestly debatable whether it’s YA or MG), and it kicked off my love for the genre. Pretty soon I was reading more and more of the genre, and that lead to me wanting to write it. I credit Stargirl, in part, with my love of writing.

Sleeping Beauty: a book that took you forever to finish

I received Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights for my birthday in December of 2021, started it, and didn’t finish it until last month. Whoops.

Technically speaking, I took a long break, but if you classify “taking forever to finish” as “the interval between which one started and finished the book being long,” I’d say fourteen months is a pretty long time. (In fact, it was almost exactly fourteen months!)

Also, can we take a second to appreciate the Penguin Clothbound Classics editions? One day I am going to own every single one of them. They are gorgeous.

A Thousand and One Nights: a book you couldn’t stop reading

I started Crumbs by Danie Stirling in the afternoon, and when my mom poked her head in my room to tell me to come help with dinner, I felt like I was waking up from a trance. I plan to post a book review very soon, so I don’t want to spoil too much, but this is the best graphic novel I have ever read. It was just so CUTE. And the art style was AMAZING. And I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I couldn’t put it down. AAAAHHHH.

Little Red Riding Hood: a book you recently read in an unfamiliar genre

I had to look way back in my reading log to find something that wasn’t contemporary, fantasy, memoir, or dystopian sci-fi, and the earliest deviation I found was from October of last year.

#MurderTrending was recommended to me by a friend who loves thrillers. I’m not super into them, but I’ll read them from time to time, and I had to admit that this was a fairly interesting read. It was certainly fast-paced and action-packed and kept me on my toes. It was a little bit too gory for my taste, but then again, I am unable to handle even the slightest amount of gore, so that might just be me. Overall, a pretty good book.

The Wild Swans: a book with your favorite sibling relationships

The entire Boxcar Children series holds so much nostalgia for me. The original series was twenty-one books (one of which I have been searching for for years), and they’re all chock-full of the siblings solving little mysteries.

They’re intended for a younger audience and published in the 1920s, so there isn’t a whole lot of plot (they just happen to discover a lot of lucky things), but I love it. Sometimes it’s nice to read something lighthearted, you know?

And I love Henry and Jessie and Violet and Benny (and, of course, their grandfather). Their dynamic is just so sweet. I highly recommend all of the Boxcar Children books.

Snow White: a book filled with beautiful prose

You know it already. I’ve ranted and raved about The Book Thief so often on my blog. This was the book that taught me how to write prose. The descriptions, the emotion, the phrasing—yes. Just yes. If you haven’t read The Book Thief yet, you are missing out spectacularly.

Rapunzel: a book that you procrastinated on reading after buying

There are several books that I have acquired years ago and still haven’t read. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (although in my defense that thing is a brick), The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix…I could probably keep going. I need to get on that.

The Little Mermaid: a book that took you on a magical journey

Um…all of them?

I recently reread the WondLa series after a few years and ohhh boy. Ohhhhhh boy. I love these books so much. They’re such well-thought-out, well-written, all-around-amazing books with a teensy little bit of social commentary on humanity and nature.

I love the worldbuilding and the transformation of the characters, watching them grow up in just three books. I love the way the story never goes exactly where you expect it to. I love everything about this series, and I think that it’s a tragedy that it doesn’t get as much press as some of the more mainstream dystopian series.

The Frog Prince: a book that made you want to turn into a frog because you hated it so much

How about Apologia Exploring Creation through Chemistry?

Nah, just kidding. Chemistry and I have a mutual hatred.

It took me a while to find this book in my reading log, but once I read the synopsis, I was reminded why One Night That Changes Everything had the “would not reread” tag on it.

The premise was promising, but the characters were flat, the plot was unrealistic, and the writing was terrible. I put it down feeling completely dissatisfied and like I had just wasted my time reading it. Not a good feeling to walk away from a book with.

(I’m going to be honest—I hate trashing books like this. I’m terrified that the author is going to see it and be hurt. So if you’re Lauren Barnholdt and you are reading this, I am so sorry.)

Peter Pan: a book that reminds you of your childhood

My copy of The Wishing Spell is so beat up by now that the entire book split in half. I loved this whole series as a kid, probably because the bookish, introverted, overly geeky heroine reminded me of myself. I remember my mom getting this for me at a homeschool book sale (because of course) and being utterly absorbed in it for the rest of the day. Good times.

The Goose Girl: a book you had low expectations for but ended up loving

I am not particularly a fan of John Green. When I first read The Fault in Our Stars, I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about. It was slightly absurd and overly pretentious. So I wasn’t expecting to like Paper Towns, but I ended up falling in love with it.

It’s still absurd and pretentious, mind you, but the premise, the plot, the characters are all so three-dimensional. The high stakes kept me on the edge of my seat. I still reread it every so often, even though the long philosophical ramblings don’t really make much sense. (I feel like you either love or you hate John Green’s style. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.)

Hansel and Gretel: a book that made you hungry

The Magic Cake Shop by Meika Hashimoto feels like a fever dream of mine. When I was a kid, elementary school perhaps, I used to check this book out of the library at least every other week. There was just something about it. Maybe it was the illustrations that looked somehow exactly like the illustrations in the American Girl books of the time.

I barely remember what happens in this book. It feels like something my fourth-grade brain made up, but I just asked my sister and she remembered it, so I guess not? Unless it was a shared hallucination.

Anyway, there was cake. Lots and lots of cake. I remember that. I mean, obviously.

Okay, I just checked, and our library still has it. I’m going to read it and report back to you.

the tags

Honestly, tagging people on blog tags has always been a struggle for me, so I’m going to just leave this open for whoever would like to participate. Let me know if you do! I’d love to see your answers.

Thank you again, Merie and Diamond, for this lovely tag! I had a lot of fun answering your questions.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

the new year’s resolution book tag

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog tag, and I saw this one on E. G. Bella’s blog and decided to steal it.

Well, I don’t really have anything else to say, so I’m just going to jump right in. Let’s go!

an author that you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before)

Sara Ella, Joanne Bischof, and Nadine Brandes. Starting in September, these three ladies are going to be among my writing instructors, and I’d like to brush up on their books before I start. I’ve been meaning to pick up Coral (Ella) and Sadie on the Rocks (Bischof), and I’ve heard good things about Wishtress (Brandes). But I’d like to read all of their books!

a book that you’d like to read

Um, all of them?

I’ve heard good things about The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, and I love bees, so that one is definitely on my list. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a bookstagram classic that’s been on my TBR pile for a while. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Six of Crows by Marissa Meyer, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alice Sáenz are also cult classics that I’ve been meaning to read for a while.

a classic you’d like to read

All of Jane Austen’s books! I’ve owned Mansfield Park for a while now but just…haven’t read it for whatever reason. It’s a little intimidating, not going to lie. And I have some beautiful copies of Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Emma that I also haven’t read for whatever reason.

a book you’d like to reread

I reread the entire Harry Potter series every single summer. It’s honestly one of the highlights of my year, which I know sounds kind of pathetic, but there’s something comforting about hanging around outside rereading one of your favorite series.

a book you’ve had for ages and want to read

I picked up The Summer of Broken Things by Margaret Peterson Haddix at the thrift store a while ago, and it’s still sitting unread on my shelf. It’s got a beautiful cover, too—honestly, that might have been one of the reasons I bought it. Maybe I’ll post a review when I’m done.

a big book you’d like to read

Not so much “like to read” as “like to have read”, but A Patriot’s History of the United States. It is one of the thickest books I’ve ever encountered. I’m going through it for my junior year in high school right now, and I honestly can’t wait to be done with it.

an author you’ve previously read and want to read more of

Emma Lord is one of my most favorite contemporary authors, and she recently released a new book! I still haven’t read the book she released before that, so I need to pick both of those up at the bookstore.

a book you got for Christmas and would like to read

I received a book called Making Stuff and Doing Things from my grandparents for Christmas. It’s a compilation of zines with all sorts of things from making record bowls to doing your own bookbinding. I’ve thumbed through it a little bit, but I’d really like to read it cover to cover.

a series you want to read from start to finish

The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy by Kellyn Roth. I saw Kellyn speak at the YWW Conference, and she keeps posting little things about her characters on her Instagram story, so I want to support a fellow indie author and finally understand the jokes.

do you set reading goals? if so, how many books do you want to read in 2023?

I don’t necessarily set reading goals—I just like to see where the year takes me. However, I only started tracking my books last year, and I read over 120, so I know I can easily hit over 100. Maybe I’ll be a little ambitious and set a goal of 150 books this year, but I’m not necessarily going to be strict about it. I guess we’ll see.

any other reading goals?

I’d like to read more biblical nonfiction. I want to dive a little deeper into my faith and read more nonfiction, so why not combine those two? I’ve been pretty good about reading more nonfiction lately, and I think I’d like to expand that even more.

I also just want to have fun reading. I devoured books when I was younger. I used to come home from summer library trips and lie in the grass and just read two or three books at a time (usually Warrior Cats, heheh). So I’m not putting too much pressure on myself. I want to enjoy it like I used to.

Well, that about wraps it up! I’m not going to tag anyone here, but feel free to post this on your own blog (and let me know when you do!) or just answer the questions in the comments. I want to know what you’re reading in 2023!

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

know the novel – part two: writing Project Runaway

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

We are deep into NaNoWriMo by this point, and with that comes the second part of Christine Smith’s NaNo linkup!

I really don’t have much else to say that won’t spoil the answers to my questions, so I’m just going to hop right in. Let’s go!

1. how’s the writing going overall?

I’m pleased to announce that it’s going very well! I’m actually ahead of schedule due to my 10,000-word head start on the first day. I’ve been able to keep up my motivation thus far and I hope it continues. As of yesterday, I have 30,326 words on my draft!

2. what’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Chapter eleven. Not going to lie, I had more fun writing that chapter than I have basically the entire rest of the book. It’s just kind of a vibey chapter–the characters don’t really do much, per se, but it was so fun to write that I don’t really care.

3. what do you think of your characters at this point? who’s your favorite to write about?

Not gonna lie, they’re kind of bugging me. They are making some really poor choices in the way they treat themselves and others, and I wish I wasn’t in charge of them because it’s like herding cats. Gosh, is this what being a parent feels like?

My favorite to write about is Cady. She’s more innocent than Tessa, her best friend, and writing about her experiencing the real world for the first time is so fun. She’s a lot like me, too, so that makes it a little bit easier. Plus, I love her interactions with her siblings.

4. has your novel surprised you in any way?

Not too much. Since I did so much plotting–well, it wasn’t so much plotting, but it felt like it because up until now I’ve never plotted–nothing is really coming as a surprise to me. I’m right on schedule, my characters are doing everything I expected them to…all is well.

Now, of course, it’s all going to derail and I’m going to wish I had answered this question differently.

5. have you come across any problem areas?

I haven’t come across any in the actual story itself (haha…yet), but one of my biggest problem areas overall has been finding time to sit down and write. I ended up being way more busy on the weekends than I anticipated, so once it became clear that the schedule I had planned wasn’t going to work, I had to do some tweaking. Once I did that, though, everything’s been running rather smoothly.

That’s kind of concerning, actually. The novel is going…really well. Like, surprisingly well. I’m a little suspicious now. There’s gotta be something that jumps out at me and completely derails me.

6. what’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Genuinely just sitting down and hammering it out. I planned really well, and now the writing is going really well. I’ve been really good about writing every single day since November 1st, and I’m on track for finishing well before the 30th. I’ve never been this consistent with writing before, and I’ve definitely never written this much in this little time before. It really shows how much I’ve matured since I last attempted NaNo.

7. if you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? would you take any different actions than they have?

Like I said, Cady is a lot like me, so I’m pretty sure I would become her. She’s a worrier, she’s never really seen the world but wants to, she dreams big, and she is good at making plans. These are all things that I also embody, and I feel like we’d be good friends if she were real.

I would definitely take different actions than she has. There is no way I’d have the gall to book train tickets on a whim and run away to California with my best friend. The story wouldn’t even get past the inciting incident if I was Cady.

8. give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

Please don’t laugh at my unedited snippets.

The story starts from Cady’s perspective.

Dear Ms. de Smet,

We are pleased to admit you to the University of California, Los Angeles, class of 2024…

Cadence’s heart stopped. 

I got in.

The next one is from chapter five. It’s right before the first plot point.

“Let’s run away.”

It burst out of Cady’s mouth suddenly and spiraled through the air. She could almost see the moment it landed in Tessa’s mind, her eyes widening, mouth opening…. She didn’t know if she wanted to take it back or if it was the most brilliant idea she had ever had.

“That’s the most brilliant idea you’ve ever had,” Tessa breathed. “Let’s do it. What do we have to lose?”

And one last one, from chapter eight, where they take a detour in Chicago, Tessa’s old hometown:

Sometime in the afternoon, Tessa saw Cady pushing her phone deep into her pocket, looking annoyed. “What is it?” she asked.

“My parents keep calling me,” Cady explained. “Henry too. I feel kind of guilty for ignoring him.”

Tessa frowned as something struck her. “Can they track you?”

A sudden look of horror passed over Cady’s face. “Oh no. They can. They can see me on Find My. What do I do?” She began hyperventilating, panicking. “I’m going to compromise this whole thing. They’re going to find us.”

Tessa wanted to panic too, but one panicking party was bad enough, so she willed herself to calm down. “We have to get rid of your phone,” she said urgently. “How are we going to do that?”

“I don’t want to just leave it here,” Cady said. “But I don’t see what other option we have. I feel like we have to destroy it. Like…for good.”

“We could put it in the street and wait for someone to run over it,” Tessa suggested. 

“Or…” A slow, almost sinister smile spread across Cady’s face. “We could throw it in the river.”

Tessa grinned wildly. “Let’s do it. Come on.”

They were nearest to the Michigan Avenue Bridge. Within minutes, they had raced there. What are we doing? a tiny part of Tessa was screaming at her. But she ignored it and looked over the rail of the bridge.

Cady held the phone in both hands, staring at it. She laughed suddenly. “I feel like we need to have a funeral.”

Tessa made the sign of the cross over Cady’s phone with two fingers. “You have served us well,” she said solemnly, “but it is now your time to be committed to the sea.”

Cady giggled. “You will be missed,” she said, pretending to wipe away a tear. 

“Not by me,” Tessa said. 

Cady tossed the phone over the rail into the rushing river below, and they both watched as it disappeared. Cady stared at where it had sunk below the waves.

“You good?” Tessa asked her, worried that she was about to start panicking again. Maybe she regretted her decision.

Cady shrugged. “I feel like we’re littering. But if a sea turtle starts posting from my Instagram account, I guess it’ll be worth it.”

That last one was kinda long, but it’s one of my favorite scenes overall, so I decided to share it.

9. share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far!

Well, I did change a character’s name entirely about two days before I started drafting. Meredith changed to Cadence, but I call her Cady most of the book. I felt like it fits her better. I’m still not entirely hooked on Tessa’s name, but until a better one comes to me, she’s staying Tessa.

I also finally caved and reactivated my Pinterest account so I could make a Pinterest board for my novel. (Here it is if you’re interested.) It’s been serving me well, because whenever I feel like I don’t want to continue writing, I just go in and add some new pins and it makes me feel productive and inspired.

Another thing I’ve been doing is filling in this little chart that I made whenever I write another thousand words. It has five rows of ten thousand words each, and whenever I hit another thousand-word milestone, I fill in another square. I keep it on my desk next to my computer. It’s a great motivator. I highly recommend having tangible progress in front of you if you need motivation to keep going.

10. take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like.

Well, there are no “normal” writing days, because my schedule is crazy, but here goes.

On weekends and Wednesdays, I’m usually busy, so I don’t get a ton of writing done, usually only about 500-700 words. It’s all I have the mental energy for on busy days, but at least I’m churning out something.

On Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I have schoolwork, so I get it done and then sit down in the afternoon to write. I usually start around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and finish around 4 or 5. How much I write on those days really depends on my mental energy, how much schoolwork I have, and how motivated I feel. I try to churn out at least 1.5k on those days.

However, Tuesdays are my productive days. I finish all my schoolwork in three days so I have Tuesday to write. I’m usually home alone for most of the day, and I can get massive amounts of words out in one day. The first Tuesday of the month I obviously did 10k, and after that I’m hoping to do about 3-4k every week.

As for the actual writing process itself, I usually write in silence. Sometimes I light my amber and sandalwood candle that my sister hates because she thinks it smells like cologne. Generally, I’ll write in my room at my desk with my knees tucked up under me. I write in 50-minute sprints with 10-minute breaks in between, and sometimes I’ll eat snacks or drink my favorite tea. (I’m not being paid to say this, wish I was, but if you like tea, try Tazo’s lemon loaf tea. If you put a little bit of sugar or sweetener in it, it literally tastes like cake. It’s my lifeblood.)

So that’s how my NaNo is going! Thank you so much, Christine, for hosting this linkup. I’m having lots of fun with it!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, how’s it going?

I’ll see you next Wednesday!

the me and music tag…again

Hello, friends! Welcome back to my blog.

Before I begin with the actual content, I would like to issue a warning: I am not pre-writing all of my posts for November, because I thought of that too late, so I’m kind of going easy on myself with the posts this month. I definitely want to keep up my blogging streak, but quite frankly, I am going to be way too fried with NaNo to put actual effort into posts, heheh. So you’re going to get some blog tags and book reviews this month, and I’ll be back with the “quality” content in December, I promise.

Now, you may recognize this tag, because I’ve done it on my blog before in March of 2021. However, Mia (who is mentioned so much on this blog that she probably should be a coauthor by now) inspired me to do it again and see how much my tastes have changed. And I was scrolling through that really old post going, “…yikes, why was I so cringe back then.”

So here’s a redo, throwback, update, whatever you want to call it.

the rules

  1. Link back to original (Sophie @ Me and Ink) so she can see your answers and listen to the tunes.
  2. For every prompt you choose to do, name 1-5 songs (you can use Sophie’s graphics).
  3. Have fun and play your music LOUD!

the tag

Mercury by Imagine Dragons
Origins by Imagine Dragons
X Games by Au/Ra (middle school throwback!)
Year of the Sunflower by Jake Scott

You can already tell that you’re going to be seeing a lot of Imagine Dragons in this post. Brace yourself.

My truest home is my church. I’ve been at the same church technically since before I was born. My parents were married there, I and my sister were both baptized and confirmed there, and it’s where I met my best friends. So I’m going to give you some traditional Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod hymns that remind me of my home.

“A Mighty Fortress” by Martin Luther || A mighty fortress is our God / A bulwark never failing
“For All the Saints” by William Walsham || Thy name, O Jesus / Be forever blest / Alleluia, alleluia
“I Know that My Redeemer Lives” by Samuel Medley || I know that my Redeemer lives / What comfort this sweet sentence gives!

Oh man, I dread this question. I do not listen to popular music (hehehe, I’m not like other girls–KIDDING!). I’ll go through the Billboard charts really quick and see if I can scrounge some up.

“As It Was” by Harry Styles || In this world / It’s just us / You know it’s not the same as it was
“Victoria’s Secret” by Jax (clean version) || I know Victoria’s secret / She was made up by a dude
“golden hour” by JVKE || I was all alone with the love of my life / She’s got glitter for skin, my radiant beam in the night

I swear, if I get hate comments about the Harry Styles song…

Haha…all of them? My dancing’s not terribly good, but I love dancing anyway.

“Calypso – Remix” by Luis Fonsi, KAROL G, Andrés Torres, and Mauricio Rengifo || Un, dos, tres, calypso / Un, deux, trois, calypso / One, two, three, calypso / Te daré, calypso
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé || If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it
“Classic” by MKTO || You’re over my head, I’m out of my mind / Thinkin’ I was born in the wrong time
“Pierre” by Ryn Weaver || And then I found me a lover who could play the bass / He’s kinda quiet but his body ain’t

I’m listening to “Classic” to get the lyrics right now and bopping my head.

“Non-Stop” from Hamilton || Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room? / Soon that attitude may be your doom
“We Don’t Talk about Bruno” from Encanto || We don’t talk about Bruno, no, no, no / We don’t talk about Bruno
“I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” from Hercules || No chance, no way / I won’t say it, no no
“Go, Go, Go Joseph” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat || Go, go, go, Joseph, you know what they say / Hang on now Joseph, you’ll make it someday

Oof, you’re really going to make myself expose myself right here?

“A True, True Friend” from My Little Pony || A true, true friend helps a friend in need / A friend will be there to help you see
“Glow” by Britt Nicole || Turn it up, make it loud on your radio / We’re gonna dance everywhere we go
“Cups (Pitch Perfect’s “When I’m Gone”) by Anna Kendrick || I’ve got a ticket for the long way round / The one with the prettiest of views

Yeah, that’s right. I watched My Little Pony.

I’m pretty sure that if I put the 80’s as “like really old ones” my parents will kill me. But here goes.

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses || She’s got a smile that it seems to me / Reminds me of childhood memories
“Back in Black” by AC/DC || Back in black / I hit the sack / It’s been too long, I’m glad to be back
“Right Now” by Van Halen || Right now / Hey, it’s your tomorrow / Right now / Come on, it’s everything
“Photograph” by Def Leppard || Oh, look what you’ve done to this rock ‘n’ roll clown
“High Enough” by Damn Yankees || Can you take me high enough / To fly me over yesterday?

For the record, I only know these because of my dad listening to the radio when I used to drive with him. I rarely drive with just him anymore since I usually drive myself, and when my mom’s in the car, she makes him turn it off, which is good, because his music taste has morphed from epic 80’s rock to foul German heavy metal.


“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift || You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me / But we are never, ever, ever, ever getting back together
“What You Do to Me” by Blanks || ‘Cause baby when we touch / It’s like the whole world stops / And I wish I knew what it is you do
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift || So it’s gonna be forever / Or it’s gonna go down in flames
“Sharks” by Imagine Dragons || So let it go, let it go, that’s the way that it goes / First you’re in, then you’re out, everybody knows

Say whatever you will about Taylor Swift, but her songs sure are fun to sing.

I don’t tend to listen to music that calms me. I just want to feel something. Generally, calm music puts me to sleep. Anyway, let’s see what we can pull out.

“The Fall” by Imagine Dragons || I’m ready for the fall / I’m ready for everything I believed in to drift away
“Second Chances” by Imagine Dragons || Open up again, I believe in second chances
“the author” by Luz || Someone tell the author / What I really think of her

I forgot about this one! I’ve actually started keeping “song scrapbooks”–Spotify playlists, one for each season, and I add songs that mean something to me from specific events. Given that I only started this summer, all of these memories will be fairly recent.

“In All Things” by LCMSYG House Band || In all things, we see Your face / All of creation shouts Your praise

This was the theme song of the National Youth Gathering I attended in Houston this year. We would sing this at the beginning of every Mass Event. I remember singing it at the top of my voice (which was gone) in a baseball stadium with 20,000 other Lutheran kids. It was amazing. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.

“Fight” by Julianne Post || So I’m gonna fight / I’m not gonna run / You might win but I’m / Not backin’ down till this is done

I know the singer and songwriter of this song through the Young Writer’s Workshop! She performed it at the YDubs conference in August. She also sang an original song she wrote specifically for the conference called “Glory Days,” but it’s not on Spotify. That one made everybody cry.

“Love Story” by Taylor Swift || And I said / “Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone / I’ll be waiting, all there’s left to do is run”

Hehe…this was a fun memory. My sister and I had just given our old minivan a good, thorough cleaning. We took it to go mini golfing with our youth group, and afterwards we went out for ice cream. We ate our ice cream in the back of the van with all of the seats folded down and listened to music together. My sister and I performed a very dramatic rendition of “Love Story,” much to our friends’ amusement.

No…please no. Why would you do this to me?

“Nearer My God to Thee” from Titanic
“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” from Hamilton || And when my time is up, have I done enough?
“Little Girl” by Faith Marie || And don’t speak unless you’re spoken to, little girl / Someday you will find your place in the world

And now I’m dangerously close to crying. Come on. Why?

I’m sorry. Some of these are in German.

“Tote singen lauter” by Philipp Dittberner || Tote singen lauter / Immer ‘n bisschen lauter (The dead sing louder / Always a little louder)
“Selene” by Imagine Dragons || To the top of all the world / To the tasteless underworld / To the center of your heart, oh, Cleopatra is the only one you loved
“Never Come Back Again” by Austin Plaine || I wanna see the world / I wanna sail the ocean / I wanna know what it feels like to never come back again
“Wenn sie tanzt” by Max Giesinger || Dann geht sie barfuß in New York / Trampt alleine durch Alaska / Springt vor Bali über Board und taucht durch das blaue Wasser (Then she goes barefoot in New York / Hitchhikes alone through Alaska / Jumps overboard in Bali and dives through the blue waters)

“W.I.T.C.H.” by Devon Cole || She don’t wanna be anybody else / She’s a woman in total control of herself
“That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony || Destiny said it, you got to get up and get it / Get mad independent and don’t you ever forget it
“I’LL SHOW YOU” by K-DA et. al || I’ll show you what I’m made of / Rise to the occasion / Got fears but I face them

I don’t usually watch a lot of music videos, so you only get one right now.

“Sharks” by Imagine Dragons || So let it go, let it go, that’s the way that it goes / First you’re in, then you’re out, everybody knows

They even have a BTS!

Worth every minute.

My sister tricked me into liking One Direction when she went through a phase a while back.

“What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction || You’re insecure / Don’t know what for / You’re turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or
“Heads Carolina, Tails California” by Jo Dee Messina || Heads Carolina, tails California / Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer

Pretty much all of the songs listed in the “let’s get down to business” one are songs I’m listening to on repeat right now, as well as a few others.

“golden hour” by JVKE || I was all alone with the love of my life / She’s got glitter for skin, my radiant beam in the night
“Queens Don’t” by RaeLynn || Queens don’t hate, queens don’t fight / Queens don’t stay unless their king treats them right

Hooooo boy.

“You Belong With Me” by Taylor Swift || She wears short skirts, I wear t-shirts / She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers
“Still Falling For You” by Ellie Goulding || And just like that / All I breathe / All I feel / You are all for me / I’m in
“Shower” by Becky G || Well you’re the reason why / I’m dancing in the mirror / And singing in the shower
“Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay || But she said, “Where’d you wanna go? / How much you wanna risk? / I’m not looking for somebody with some superhero gifts”

And that’s a wrap! That turned out to be an incredibly long post, but I enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoyed reading it.

I’ll see you next Wednesday!

never have I ever: writer edition tag

It’s time to take a break from all the serious, writery stuff I’ve been posting lately. Today I’m doing something, well, still writery, I guess, but much lighter.

My bestie Mia over at Windows tagged me for two tags, and because I’ve already done one here on this blog, I figured I’d give the other one a go. So this is the Never Have I Ever: Writer Edition tag! Let’s jump right in.

the rules:

  1. Link and thank the blogger who tagged you. (Thanks, Mia! Here’s her post for anyone who wants to read it.)
  2. Include the graphic somewhere in the post (or make your own!) 
  3. Answer the questions truthfully and honestly.  
  4. Tag 3 bloggers. 

never have I ever…

started a novel I didn’t finish

Uh, yeah. All the time. The problem is middles. I get excited about the beginning of the story, and then when it comes time to write the middle of it, I fizzle out. It’s because I never outline, which is bad. I’m working on that, though.

written a story completely by hand

Actually, fun fact, Shadows of Dream‘s first draft was entirely handwritten! It was super short, though, and it caused a lot of trouble with lengthening. I also write a lot of short stories by hand in my various notebooks.

changed tenses midway through a story

I’ve never done this with a full-length novel, but–story time–I was on a FaceTime call once with my friend Lena and we were writing short stories together. I meant to write the story in past tense but kept slipping into present tense without even realizing it. Lena could tell you that there were a lot of agonized yells on my end when I figured it out.

not researched anything before starting a story

This goes back to the first question. I rarely research. I just kinda…jump straight in.

Technically, I did a lot of research for Shadows of Dreams about the Titanic, but I didn’t know that I was going to use it for a story. I was writing a research paper about the Titanic anyway for a school project, and I took a huge interest in the events and the overall story. When the research paper was done, I still wanted to spend time in that world, so I decided to write a story set on the ship. So, technically speaking, I didn’t do research for the story, but I did do research. I don’t know if that counts.

changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft

I don’t think I’ve ever done this. I’ve changed minor characters’ names, but since I’m a character-driven writer, I tend to have my MC fully fleshed out before I write, and that includes their name.

written a story in a month or less

I’ve written plenty of short stories in a month or less, but never anything above 10K words, I don’t think. I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo twice now but never finished it. Hopefully I fix that this year!

fallen asleep while writing

Who even does this?! Certainly not me.

corrected someone’s grammar irl/online

Oh, constantly. All my friends hate me for it. I try not to do it except when we’re already joking around and I know that they’ll take it as a joke and not as an insult, but there’s always that little part of me that cringes inside when someone uses the wrong their/there.

yelled in all-caps at myself in the middle of my novel

Hm…I don’t think so. I just yell at myself in real life. Because that’s healthy.

used “I’m writing” as an excuse

My mom reads my blog. I plead the Fifth.

In all seriousness, probably. Though my family is pretty good about not bothering me when I tell them that I’m writing, so I don’t have to use it very often.

killed a character that was based on someone I know in real life

I have one friend that always jokes with me that I’m going to make a character based off of him and then kill them off, but I’ve never done this. I don’t generally kill people, though, because I’m a contemporary writer, so reasons to kill characters don’t pop up as often in my writing.

used pop culture references in a story

I love doing this. Again, I write contemporary, so casually mentioning iPhones or Taylor Swift makes the world feel more like real life to me. One of my favorite contemporary authors, Emma Lord, does this a lot, and I really like it.

written between the hours of 1:00 am and 6:00 am

No????? I have a normal sleep schedule??????????????

drank an entire pot of coffee while writing

I’m not a coffee drinker, so no. Plus, caffeine messes with me. I have been known to down a few mugs of tea during a writing session, though.

written down dreams to use in a potential novel

Hm, not really. My dreams are usually wayyyyy too weird to use in a story, and I often forget them before I get the chance to write them down.

published an unedited story on the internet/blog/wattpad

Confession time: I actually do this a lot. Generally, with small snippets or short stories, I don’t edit them before I post them on YDubs or my blog. I don’t really know why.

procrastinated schoolwork because I wanted to write

Again, my mom reads my blog, and I don’t really feel like self-incriminating today.

But sometimes that PERFECT scene pops into your head and you just HAVE to write it down and then later your mom comes to you and tells you to hold off on the writing until you’re done with your schoolwork. *sigh*

typed so long my wrists hurt

I’m way too easily distracted for this. Next question.

spilled a drink on my laptop while writing

Not yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I write with tea too often for this to not be in my near future. Though I’m terrified of it happening, so I’m super careful.

forgotten to save my work/draft

Never happened to me. Praise God for auto-save on Google Docs.

finished a novel

I’ve never finished anything above 20K words, although I’ve finished a full-length story before. Again, I will be attempting NaNo this year, and I promise that this will be the year that I finish a novel in a month.

laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene

I’ve probably done this a few times when I was writing and sharing my cringey Minecraft fanfiction and wrote something I knew my readers would yell at me for, but I don’t explicitly remember.

cried while writing a scene

No, but I’ve wanted to.

created maps of my fictional world

I did this back when I still wrote fantasy. I’ve even got one still on my bulletin board in my room, ready and waiting for if I ever go back to the story. I also like to make maps just for no reason, or maybe just because I like using my brush pens.

researched something shady for a novel

My parents are probably really concerned about me because I’ve been researching a lot of stuff on Pinterest about running away. Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this, I promise that I don’t plan on running away. It’s for a potential story concept. I swear.


I’m tagging you! If you’ve never done this tag and you want to, feel free to steal it from me. (I guess I’m breaking the fourth rule…but whatever.)

Here are the categories to copy and paste:

Never have I ever:
started a novel I didn’t finish
written a story completely by hand
changed tenses midway through a story
not researched anything before starting a story
changed my protagonist’s name halfway through a draft
written a story in a month or less
fallen asleep while writing
corrected someone’s grammar irl/online
yelled in all-caps at myself in the middle of my novel
used “I’m writing” as an excuse
killed a character that was based on someone I know in real life
used pop culture references in a story
written between the hours of 1:00 am and 6:00 am
drank an entire pot of coffee while writing
written down dreams to use in a potential novel
published an unedited story on the internet/blog/wattpad
procrastinated schoolwork because I wanted to write
typed so long my wrists hurt
spilled a drink on my laptop while writing
forgotten to save my work/draft
finished a novel
laughed like an evil villain while writing a scene
cried while writing a scene
created maps of my fictional world
researched something shady for a novel

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

the “I’ll get around to it later” blog tag: my own answers

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

Two weeks ago I created my own blog tag, the I’ll Get Around to It Later tag. Because of Holy Week, I didn’t answer it immediately, but this week I’m giving you my own answers!

Sit back, grab a cup of tea, and enjoy.

the rules

  1. Link back to the original post at Quote, Unquote so the creator–that’s me!–can read your answers.
  2. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you and thank them. (Thank you, Me.)
  3. You may use the included graphic anywhere in your post, but you don’t have to.
  4. Fill all seven categories.
  5. You can either leave this tag open so anyone can do it or tag up to seven people.

the categories

a classic book that you have been meaning to read forever but haven’t yet

Emma by Jane Austen. I read Pride and Prejudice for school this year and loved it, so I’ve been meaning to read Jane Austen’s other books, but I want to buy them before I read them. Because I am broke, this hasn’t happened yet, so I haven’t read them yet. Emma is the first one on my list.

a book on your shelf that you haven’t read yet

This isn’t the best picture ever, but I found The Classic Illustrated Sherlock Holmes in my grandmother’s basement (risking life and limb in the process–I could tell you about some crazy stuff I’ve found in that basement). I’ve been wanting to read through these for a while but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I think it’s something I’m going to have to read little bit by little bit.

a book that you got recently that you haven’t read

I just bought The Summer of Broken Things from the thrift store! (Pro tip: If you’re looking for cheap books, thrift stores are your jam. Sometimes they can be a little marked up, but I also brought home a bunch of really cheap autographed copies last time I went.) That cover is so gorgeous (might I say…aesthetic?) and since I’ve enjoyed Margaret Peterson Haddix’s other books, I’m so excited to read this.

a book that you’ve had forever but haven’t read

I’ve owned this one since I was, like, twelve, but I haven’t read it. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just because I’m not a big fantasy person? Whatever the reason, I do plan on reading it. Eventually. (I’m never reading it, am I?)

a book a friend recommended that you haven’t read

My friend Sarah loves the Ilyon Chronicles. I’ve wanted to read them for a while, but she’s warned me against starting them until the whole series comes out. They look pretty epic and I’m excited to read them, but for the sake of my sanity, I won’t. I will not have another Keeper of the Lost Cities situation on my hands.

a book you’re procrastinating on

I’d been procrastinating on The Hobbit before I was forced to read it for school this year. It wasn’t that bad, and I still kind of want to read the rest of the series, but honestly, it kind of scares me. At some point I will definitely read them. I’m just not sure when that point will be.

the next book on your TBR

This is the next (and final–woohoo!) book that we have to read for sophomore year! It’s about Mother Teresa, as you can probably see, and it looks like it’s going to be a good, thought-provoking book. I’m excited to read it and discuss it in class.


Mia at Windows
Maya at Maya Joelle
The Grim Writer at The Grim Writer
Sarah at Sarah Jayne Photography
Merie at Imperial Scribis

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading, and feel free to steal this tag to do on your own.

Until next time,

the “I’ll get around to it later” blog tag

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog tag, and I’ve missed them. I’ve decided to do one this week, except there’s a surprise: it’s totally original!

That’s right. This week I’ll be presenting to you a new and completely original blog tag created by yours truly: The “I’ll Get Around to It Later” Blog Tag. Let’s jump right in!

the rules

  1. Link back to the original post–this one right here!–so I can read your answers and support you. (Alt text for your own post: Link back to the original post at Quote, Unquote so the creator can read your answers.)
  2. Link back to the post of the person who tagged you and thank them.
  3. You may use the included graphic anywhere in your post, but you don’t have to.
  4. Fill all seven categories.
  5. You can either leave this tag open so anyone can do it or tag up to seven people.

the categories

  1. A classic book that you have been meaning to read forever but haven’t yet
  2. A book on your shelf that you haven’t read yet
  3. A book that you got recently that you haven’t read
  4. A book that you’ve had forever but haven’t read
  5. A book a friend recommended that you haven’t read
  6. A book you’re procrastinating on
  7. The next book on your TBR

That’s all for now! I’m not doing this tag myself just yet. I am planning to after Easter–I already have a post planned for next week–but you can go ahead! I’m not tagging anyone, so just feel free to use it on your own blog.

I hope you have fun!

Until next time,

Know the Novel – Part Two: Within the WIP

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

This week we’re continuing Christine Smith’s linkup. I’m making great progress on my NaNo novel, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Without further ado, let’s go!

1. How’s the writing going overall?

Surprisingly well, actually. If you were around when I did this linkup last year, you probably remember me ranting on and on about how hard it was. Well, this year, I’m being smarter about it, and I’m actually getting it done! I’ve already surpassed my wordcount from last year, which is a big deal for me.

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Kittens. I randomly decided to give my main character two kittens, and oh my gosh they are adorable. Their names are Pearl and Nia, and they’re both brown tabbies. I love them. (I’m a huge cat person, in case you couldn’t tell.)

3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

At first, I didn’t like my main character–Waverly. She was whiny and kind of annoying. But now I’ve grown to like her a lot. She reminds me of me.

My favourite character to write about is her new best friend, Juliet. She’s kind and funny and passionate, and I love how she brings out the best in Waverly. Right now, in the story, their friendship is still develloping, but I think it’s going to be something beautiful by the end of the book.

4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

There’s a lot of myself in this novel. I see a lot of my life coming out of it, from Waverly’s relationship to her parents to her internal dialogue. It’s subconscious. It’s also kind of creepy.

5. Have you come across any problem areas?

Yes, actually. I’ve been having a problem with repetitive scenes. Because the main plot is Waverly trying to finish Quinn’s book, I’ve run into a lot of scenes where it’s like, “Oh, Waverly’s working on her sister’s story. Oh, Waverly is having a problem.” And then two scenes later, it’s like, “Oh, look, Waverly’s writing again.”

I tell myself over and over that it’s just a first draft and I can fix it later (and I don’t even have to fix it at all after this if I don’t want to), and it’s helping, but I still find myself falling into those scenes. I need ways to change it up.

6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

My immediate response to this question was, “The fact that I’m actually getting it done.” I was about to write about how I never finish any novels, et cetera, et cetera, blah blah blah.

But I realise now that that’s not actually true. I finished an entire draft a few months ago. I think I need to stop thinking about myself like that now.

But my answer is along those lines. The fact that I’m getting it done, but in a way that’s forgiving to myself and my abilities. At the beginning of the month, I planned out a calendar of how many words I plan to write per day, but lately, a bunch of stuff has been popping up that’s making it really hard to get it done, and I’m a few days behind. I’ve been needing to prioritise other things over writing, but the great thing is, I’m not beating myself up on it.

Right now, I’m actually taking a break from working on my NaNo project to write this. If I was Old Liesl from last year, I would probably be freaking out about how I need to get it done in as little time as possible. But Present Liesl isn’t freaking out, and honestly? I’m a little surprised at and proud of myself for that.

7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

I would definitely be Waverly, and no, not just because she’s the main character, but because she is literally based off of me. And because she’s based off of me, I’m pretty sure that her actions are mirroring what mine would be if I was in her shoes, and I probably wouldn’t do anything differently.

8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

Ooh. I’m very proud of my first sentence.

I hate funerals.

Yep. That’s it. That’s the whole thing.

Want more? Okay, here’s the first few paragraphs.

I hate funerals.

Honestly, I always have. 

I was born and raised in the church, and I remember going to my first funeral–a family friend–when I was five. The preacher droned on and on about the life of the person and how now they were in Heaven, and a few people sobbed into handkerchiefs. But afterwards, the congregation swarmed the lobby, eyes suddenly dry, eating and drinking and chatting just like it was any other church service, except this time, there was a casket involved. I remember thinking, Why on earth are they so chatty? Someone just died!

As I grew older, I came to understand that it really is a celebration. While the person in question has departed from their earthly body, they rose in their heavenly body to be with Jesus, and that really is something to celebrate.

But I still hate them.

Especially when it’s my sister they’re “celebrating.”

Here’s another snippet from Chapter Three:

I force myself back to the present. She’s not here. She’s not here and she’s not coming back.

I’m aware now that I’ve been standing on the ice, motionless, for a few moments. Skaters swish around me in a multicolored blur of scarves and hats. London is watching me closely, a mixture of pity, anxiety, and regret on her face. “Are…are you all right?” she asks hesitantly.

“Fine–I just–just remembered–my mom said–I have homework,” I blurt, eager to do anything I can to get out of here. “Igottagobye.” My words blend together in one big rush of breath as I skate off the ice, tripping over the rail that separates the rink from the rest of the world.

London knows better than to follow me. She just watches sadly as I hurriedly unlace my skates, hand them to the mean lady at the front, and head in the direction of school as quickly as humanly possible. I turn my face away. I don’t want her to see my tears.

And another from Chapter Eight (this is probably my favourite part of the whole thing):

When I walk in, embracing the warmth after the chilly air outside, the first thing I see is London, Amy, and Emilie in our old corner booth. I freeze in the middle of the floor, accidentally making direct eye contact with them. They stare back at me, three pairs of eyes meeting my own. 

Oh. My. Gosh. This is the most awkward thing that’s ever happened to me. At least they have the decency to look somewhat ashamed and abashed, although Emilie just kind of looks angry. My feet feel glued to the ground, and I kind of wish I could just sink through the floor and let it swallow me whole right now.

Think, I command myself, grasping for something, anything.

Then it comes to me in a flash of brilliance. What would Isona do? 

If my fearless protagonist found herself confronted with her former friends all hanging out together without her, she would probably lift her head higher, toss her hair, straighten her back, and stride on fearlessly. She wouldn’t care. She’d just continue on being her awesome self.

So that’s just what I do. Breaking eye contact, I lift my chin, toss my hair, straighten my back, and walk, no, sashay up to the counter to order a drink from Crystal, grinning from ear to ear. 

I did it!

These are all unedited, so they’re a little rough at the moment. But hey, at least it’s something!

9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far!

When I was first planning this novel, I wasn’t planning on showing much of Quinn’s story at all. I was just going to describe it and make little allusions to the characters and events here and there, maybe elaborating on Waverly’s progress every so often, but that was about it.

But now I’m actually weaving little snippets of Quinn’s story into the main narrative, also. It’s kind of fun! It’s like I’m writing a novel within a novel. And while my main motivation for doing that was to sort of pad the word count a little bit (heh heh…don’t judge), it’s been fun to watch the characters in Quinn’s novel shape Waverly as well, as in the last snippet above.

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like.

My schedule is pretty much the same each day, with slight variations depending on if it’s a weekend or weekday. If it’s a weekday, I’ll finish up my schoolwork, alert my family that I’ll be disappearing for hours on end, then cozy up on my room and write my brains out. If it’s a weekend, I usually don’t get started writing until around noon or one o’clock-ish, after lunch. I hate to be interrupted, so I try to get all my tasks done before sitting down to write. That way, no one bugs me.

Most days, before writing, I’ll pick up and organise my room and my desk and make my bed if I haven’t already. Sometimes I’ll turn on music, sometimes I won’t, but if I do, it’s usually either soft piano, classical, or lofi hip-hop. Then I’ll, ahem, procrastinate for a few minutes. Then I’ll feel guilty and actually start writing.

Hey, if I gotta guilt myself into writing to be productive, then that’s what I’ll do.

Well, that’s all for now! Thank you again to Christine Smith for hosting this linkup.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next week!

Until next time,

Know the Novel – Part One: Introducing Unwritten

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

As you probably know, I’m so excited for National Novel Writing Month this year. I learned a lot from last year, and I think I have a much better grasp on what works best for me now.

This year, I’m once again participating in Christine Smith’s NaNo linkup! I had a ton of fun with it last year, and I think this year is going to be even better. Thank you again, Christine, for hosting this!

This year’s novel is called (drumroll please)…Unwritten! The title is still a work-in-progress, but this will do for now.

Without further ado…let’s go!

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Actually, it was a prompt I found on the Young Writer’s Workshop. It went something like this:

Your sister, an avid writer, just died with multiple unfinished projects. While going through documents on her computer, you find a note written by her that begs whoever finds it to finish her stories. Knowing how much those stories meant to her, you decide to try and finish them. You soon find yourself in over your head in random notes about unexpected plot twists, characters that you don’t understand, and a story that you’d never seen before but quickly fall in love with. But before long, you’re at the end of her notes and the story is only halfway finished. What do you do?

So that basically spoils the next question…but here you go anyway.

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

Waverly is grieving. Her teenage sister, an avid writer, has passed away suddenly, leaving everyone in the Pembrooke family utterly stunned. No one was expecting anything like this.

No one, it seems, except her sister. While Waverly is sorting through Quinn’s documents on her computer, she finds a note addressed to her. It begs her to use the pages of notes left behind to finish the abandoned manuscripts. Though she has never written anything outside of school before, she decides to give it a try, hoping it’ll help her bring her closer to her sister.

Now Waverly is in for the ride of her life through her sister’s stories as she tries to fulfill Quinn’s wishes. But her writing is nowhere near as good as her sister’s, and to her dismay, the notes Quinn left to guide her through the story begin to run out. Now what?

In this heartwarming tale of sisterly love and sudden loss, Liesl Brunner spins the story of a girl struggling to cope.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

My story takes place in a town called Belden in southeastern Michigan–where I live. I figured I could take some amount of pressure off of myself if I set the story where I wouldn’t have to be googling weather patterns every five seconds. My favourite aspect about the setting is probably Waverly’s best friend’s house, which is one of those old Victorian homes. You know, the ones with the turrets and the big sloping roofs and the beautiful porches? Those. I’ve always wanted to live in one, so I decided to put it in my story.

See, isn’t that gorgeous?

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

My main character is Waverly Jean Pembrooke. In a nutshell, she’s a 16-year-old middle child who has suddenly been thrust into the role of oldest child. She was never really outgoing in the first place, but after Quinn died, she withdrew into her shell even more. She’s an INFJ, loves gardening, and sometimes dips her fries in mayonnaise.

I love Waverly like she’s my own child. She is sort of me, in a way–I gave her a lot of the same traits and personality as myself. I feel like I’m going to learn a lot about myself through her. I’m very excited to see how she unfolds during the month of November.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Waverly’s struggle is mostly going to be against herself, her own doubts and anxiety. There are probably going to be some external conflicts, too (it’s high school), but most of the story is going to revolve around Waverly’s inner monologue.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

Honestly…the prospect of actually finishing it is pretty exciting. Not gonna lie. This will be my first full-length novel, if I manage to complete it.

But other than that, I’m just super excited to see how the characters grow and unfold. I’m also excited to see how I myself grow through my characters. I think it’s going to be an amazing story, and I’m so glad I get to share it with you guys.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Probably a standalone, though I am toying with the idea of a companion. It’s too early to tell, though.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Hmm…I’d probably define this as plantsing. I have a rough outline in my notebook with things I want to happen and the order in which I want them to happen, but it is very, very broad and subject to change. I learned last year that not having an outline is the same thing as not having a story, so I’m hoping even a broad outline is going to help a lot more.

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Well, for one, it’s going to be a YA contemporary novel that isn’t totally profane and inappropriate. That in and of itself is pretty unique. But it’s also going to be a story that features a portrayal of depression, anxiety, and grief that’s accurate and relatable and says to the reader, “I understand, and I love you.”

At least I hope it is.

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story.

My friend on YWW made me a beautiful cover!

I’m also working on making a playlist (what a shock, right?). It doesn’t have a lot of songs on it yet, but I’ll probably be adding to it throughout NaNo, as I get to know the story better.

That’s all for now! Thank you again, Christine, for hosting this. And if you are doing NaNo, tell me about it! I love hearing about others’ WIPs.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Until next time,