Set Realistic Goals

This was posted as a part of the Clearing Out My Drafts Goal. It was supposed to be published during NaNoWriMo 2016, but was lost. Rather ironic now, isn’t it?

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Book Review: The Wrath and the Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Purchase: Book Depository

This review contains spoilers but they are marked.

I feel the need to start this review by saying, I know nothing about Tales from the Thousand and One Nights, so this won’t be a review about how this is or isn’t like the original tale.

I feel the need to start this review by saying, I know nothing about Tales from the Thousand and One Nights, so this won’t be a review about how this is or isn’t like the original tale, because people are arguing about that a lot over on Goodreads. In my mind its a good book regardless of how it stands in comparison to the other retellings. Its a love story with enough history and danger thrown in to make it interesting to me.

The Wrath and the Dawn was really good. The thing I wished I had known going in was that there is an index in the back and it’s really helpful to understanding what Shazi (the main character) was talking about. The clothes are so richly described, but I didn’t have access to the index, so I found myself weeping over the sheer frustration of trying to figure out what was going on.

I’ll start by getting my complaints out of the way: I felt like there should have been more story telling. Honestly she only tells stories for the first… night or so? Then they immediately move to past the story telling to the ‘I love you stage’ and the book gets a little sappy. I really wanted more story telling because Shazi seemed to be good at it! I was not a fan of her friend Tariq (I had to get my book out to remember his name, that’s how dull he was). He didn’t seem to do much, and everything he did was to control Shazi. He didn’t like what she did or believe in her bravery, so he decided to start a war and risk killing hundreds of innocents. And I hate love triangles, but they’re everywhere so I won’t deduct anything for that. No I’ll just say that it could managed without it and move on. I also thought that Yasmine could have been handled better. She seemed like a great character and I liked what we saw of her. It’s always nice to have a woman say that she wants whats best for her friend, rather than insisting that he has to be with her. But the author seemed to treat her as a bit of a throwaway character, who was just there for shock value.

Overall I really loved the book and can’t wait for the sequel, even though I did lower the rating while I was writing the review. Once I was sitting at my computer and really thinking about what I wanted to say (and not initially shelving the book after finishing) I realized that it wasn’t quite a five star book, I had too many bones to pick. What it is is a great story that I will read again and I am waiting for baited breath for the sequel, The Rose and the Dagger.

Writing Tips

  1. If you put an index in the back of the book, TELL US IN THE FRONT otherwise it is a waste of pages.
  2. Why are some of the Indian words in italic and some are not? I’m certain there’s a reason for this, but I still don’t understand it and found it kind of distracting to stop every few pages and wonder, “Why is it like this?”
  3. Foreign countries are hard to read about, no matter how educated you are. Either make the decision to explain every little thing or explain nothing and include an index. Don’t try to do both.
  4. Someone should write a book called ‘One Thousand and One Knights’
    • I don’t know what it would be about, but that title is the best pun I’ve come up with all day.
  5. Love triangles are not necessary.
    • You can’t have a character (Yasmine in this case) and set her up to care about the guy and want him to be happy even if he’s not with her and still try and force a love triangle. It detracts from the girls in the triangle and it makes you seem foolish.
  6. If you’re going to have two POVs (Tariq and Shazi) make them both interesting and coherent. The POVs need to mesh and tell the story together.


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Pinterest and Your Novel

I’ve previously covered Pinterest in my NaNo Guide series, but there I only had you setting up one or two boards. Well, if you’re a bit of a perfectionist (like me!) that wasn’t enough. So I’m here to introduce you to my latest endeavor: Pinterest Book Profile!

This may seem a little crazy, or like you’re overdoing it a little, but its already helping me a lot with getting back into working on my Tales of Aleinea Series. So how should you set it up? Clearly you should do what works best for you – if one board on your personal Pinterest is enough for you then stick with it! However, one benefit to a profile just for your book is that then you just pin things that are related to the book, and any potential fans are more likely to follow something that’s just what they’re looking for: your book (and maybe not that knitting pattern you saved for your niece’s baby blanket).

If your Pinterest is only for your book, you can also make it a lot more user-friendly. Since Tales of Aleinea is such a complex novel with lots of characters, places, and races I’ve created a board for each one. My main character has the most filled out board thus far:



Her best friend Arko also has a board, and her hometown Inger Xin. In case I stumble across something and think “that fits!” but I don’t know where exactly I want it yet, I’ve created a few boards for that too, my favorite being titled “Strange Creatures.”

And I’ve fallen in love with some of my boards, those for the Malda and Princess Myramor in particular. Just look at all the books and alchemy!

Another benefit is that I can follow only the Pinners and Boards that I’m interested in. On my personal Pinterest I’ve followed various family members and friends, as well as various librarians, knitters, crafters, etc. So I would have to hunt through that to find exactly what I wanted for my book.

If you didn’t want to juggle multiple Pinterest accounts, but still wanted access to boards for cooking, laughs, and whatever you could take advantage of “secret boards” for all that other stuff. That way it appears to the public that your page is neat and only your novel, but to your eyes (and whoever you’ve added to the board) there are dozens of other topics.

Do you use Pinterest for your novel?

Will this change how you use Pinterest?

Do you think one way or the other – one board or a whole profile – is easier?


Final NaNo Update & The Nutcracker on Ice

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 10.14.20 PMSo I did win NaNoWriMo!! Which is great, but I didn’t post about it on here, which isn’t so great. However, I have a really good excuse, wanna see?

No? Well to bad, you’re not getting a choice.

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I’ve been in the Nutcracker on Ice and it’s almost finals week, so I’ve been very busy.

There have been some downsides of course, but over all it’s been a blast. There are still two more shows tomorrow (there was one Tuesday, one Wednesday, one Thursday, and one today (Friday). Not to mention a “dress warm rehearsal on Monday.”

Do you see why I like the Nutcracker so much? It means a lot to me, which is why I’m writing it how I think it should happen.

So soon we’ll be back to our regular programing, WRITING!


Nutcracker on Ice selfie!!! #Christmas #iceskating #Nutcracker

A photo posted by Camryn (@camryn.daytona) on Dec 2, 2015 at 4:15pm PST


Back to the Beginning

You’ve written, and written and written, and now you can’t. So what do you do next?

My favorite is to roll back, to start fresh and write a prologue. Now, some people will tell you to never have a prologue in your writing, are they correct? I don’t know. However, keep in mind that not everything you write will make it into your book, it’s totally okay to write things that don’t go into your finished manuscript. This is something to help you get to know your characters, and their back story. Write thousands of words of backstory if it helps. Even if it doesn’t make it into your finished work, there’s no reason not to write it. If you’re one of those people who insist that you have to use it, if you’re going to write it, you can provide it free on your blog, as a teaser for people to read your book, or as an extra treat for people who read your book then hunt down your blog.

I'm Stuck Now What

Nightly NaNo Update: Day 12

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.48.49 PMRecent Blog Posts: A review of the book The Farmerettes, which I won through a Goodreads Giveaway and a NaNo Guide about Staying Hydrated (Please stay hydrated. Please).

As I said yesterday in my nightly update, I’ve started writing flashback sequences, to help flesh out my characters, and because I was getting bored of the section I was working on. Why am I bored, you might ask (some people say that being bored while writing it makes it boring for your readers). Not true, says I. I’m bored because it’s NaNoWriMo, I write almost 2,000 words a day, and I am simply burnt out. I don’t want to be that way, so my solution was that I needed to find something else to work on. Because the point of NaNo is to write a single book, I resisted the urge to start typing on another work of mine, (I’m not saying you can’t do that, you absolutely can) and instead started working on some scenes I had plotted in my head.

In the process of writing my flashback, I’ve completely changed the story from what I had planned, but thankfully this doesn’t change the middle too much, just the beginning and – possibly – the end (which I’ve not written yet anyway!). So here’s to hoping it all works out in the end!

Today I was on the website of one of my favorite authors, Jessica Day George, and I came to this heart wrenching conclusion:



Claire was ten years old when she began to ignore her imaginary friends. Snowflakes, she told herself (and ice crystals too) could not talk, and it was quite silly to imagine otherwise, because there was nothing life-like about them. She imagined little as she once had, her focus was on Fraulein Trutchen and Miss Louise, not on the objects outside her window.

Fritz grew into a healthy young boy, an odd boy, but healthy, and Claire wanted nothing more than to be rid of her annoying brother by the time she was eleven. It was when she was thirteen that she first heard it, a faint calling from out in the snow. Emily said that she was hearing spirits, and that she absolutely must ignore them for her own sake, and slammed the door, leaving her standing in shock and confusion.

Claire followed her advice, and ignored the strange sounds she heard, pretending not to notice when small voices echoed at her from the darkness, or when she heard singing from the woods, or imagined she could hear the voices of the fishes in the pond outside.

This version of the waltz scene is a bit odd, because it has no male characters, just a bunch of women dancing together, which is great, but different from what I expected.

Your NaNo Guide: Pinterest

I’m Here to Tell You To Waste Time

Kind of….

Pinterest is a great source for inspiration, so why not make a board for your NaNo novel? I’ve titled mine Writing – The Nutcracker and I fill it with anything that reminds me of my characters. Mine is full of nutcrackers, clips of the ballet, traditional Russian clothing, and research on 19th century ice skates. If you’re feeling extra determined you could even change the description of each pin, like “this is Claire” or “this would be Demyan.”

My Pinterest search history
My Pinterest search history

The great thing about Pinterest, is that you can pin anything from anywhere. Some of my pins I found just by searching Pinterest itself, some by going to google and tying in key words and doing a bit of research. But remember, Pinterest is for brain breaks and short rests. Don’t over do the rests. Keep noveling. I believe in you!

If you have a Pinterest board for your NaNo – or just for writing – send me a link!

Using Pinterest