National Novel Writing Month is starting in a few days and writers everywhere are frantically typing away to reach the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month.

For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is an important event in November for writers all over the world. It’s our version of a 5K Marathon or P90X. It’s when we flex our muscles and creativity and pour all of our blood, sweat, and tears into a rough manuscript that we will then spend the next several months polishing and editing.

I’ve personally never participated in NaNoWriMo in November, because I was always in school focusing on my final projects, papers, and exams. Those who could crank out a novel during a hectic time of year are the real MVPs of the writing world.

However, I do take place in Camp NaNoWriMo regularly! Check out my blog about my latest Camp NaNoWriMo experience here!

While I’m not taking place in NaNoWriMo this year, I am spending my time focusing on editing the sequel to The Art of Falling. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to finish the second draft revisions by the end of the month!

Q/A: Ask the Characters

Quick, a Writing Challenge! How well do I know my main character(s)? Here’s a brief interview with five provided questions that I found online to do for fun:

1. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Regal: Once I landed a role in an adult film that catered to a select market. I coveted 12 human souls that evening. That includes the actors and film crew.

Keir: My biggest achievement? I don’t quite know if I have one…I’ve only done what is expected of me.

2. Which talent would you most like to have?

Regal: Being musically inclined would be useful. Everyone loves a musician who can sing and play a guitar or piano.

Keir: My mother was always talented at knitting and sewing. She tried to teach me but I couldn’t get the hang of it. It’d be nice to make her something for a change.

3. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Regal: I would get rid of the scars on my back.

Keir: I wish I were wiser and understood more about Earth.

4. What do you do when you get bored?

Regal: I’ll hang out with Etoile and we’ll play poker or some other card game. He typically wins, but every once in a while luck is on my side.

Keir: I really enjoy solving puzzles, like Sudoku or word searches. I’m really bad at crosswords though…

5. What is your worst fear?

Regal: Losing my sense of self.

Keir: Disappointing those who put so much faith in me.

REVIEW: Challenger Deep

challenger deep

One of my favorite authors of all time is Neal Shusterman. I fell in love with his Unwind series, and have been influenced greatly by his writing style and story telling. However, his novel “Challenger Deep” moved me in ways I can barely describe. This was by far one of the best books I’ve read this year for so many different reasons.

First, I was instantly drawn to this book by it’s subject matter. As a person who deals with anxiety and has a strong interest in mental illness and psychology, I couldn’t wait to read this story, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is one of the most important books of the year in my opinion. It takes a subject that affects so many people on the planet and fashions it into a medium where we can all safely step into the shoes of someone who is dealing with these challenges. It sheds a light on a serious medical condition that most people shun or abhor.

Second, the writing is perfection. Neal Shusterman is a master at writing compelling stories with gripping and realistic characters. I was able to sink myself into the book with ease, much like Caden does with his thoughts. The book is divided into small segments, almost like diary entries, and are titled with compelling sentences that peak your curiosity. And then there are the shifts in pov. When Caden is at his worst, at his most dissociative with himself, at his darkest, the perspective shifts from first person to third person. You really feel like you are disconnected with reality as you read Caden talk about himself like he was watching a movie or a play. This was a brilliant way to demonstrate the dissociation that happens with schizophrenia.

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ART: Evolution of My Art

While my passion is writing, my first love in life was drawing. I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid – starting with copying the art styles of my favorite cartoons such as Teen Titans, Kim Possible and Danny Phantom.

At first, I used pencils and paper, then eventually moved to using MS Paint to draw digitally. When I was in eighth grade I finally convinced my mom to buy me a pen tablet and started learning how to use Photoshop.

Around this time, I joined DeviantArt, a popular art sharing website. Now, it’s been ten years and my art has changed a lot.

As you can see below, I compiled some of my best pieces from my accounts into one document where you can see the improvement in my art.

Looking back, despite how embarrassing it may be, is a great way to see just how much you’ve improved as an artist. It’s been a long ten years, but it feels like yesterday I posted my first drawing on this website.

While I may not draw nearly as often as I used to, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.