Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Our Journey So Far #16: A New Year

Alex Steele here today and since it's almost New Years (maybe it's already 2015 by the time you're reading this), I thought I'd talk about my writing goals for the new year. Every year we prepare to leave the old year behind and start a new one, we get thinking, did I accomplish anything this year? And what about the next year, what does it hold in store for me? What do I want to accomplish?

I'd never done New Year's resolutions, and they are way too easy to break. But, you know, it's still a good idea to think of a few things you'd like to happen next year, the thing is to do things you can control. You can put down to start querying your novel but stay away from things like get an agent, of course, that's the dream, but you don't really have a lot of control over that. You can however edit and revise and start querying.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Advice For Writers #17: Setting Goals

Alex Steele here today and in honor of the impending new year, I thought we could talk about setting goals. Every year hundreds of thousands of people set themselves New Year's goals. Writers in general have their own goals all year. Now, maybe you don't like setting yourself deadlines or maybe you can't live without them, either way there's no doubt that setting yourself goals can be helpful!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Weekly Muse #17: 5 Christmas Songs

In honor of Christmas, I'm going to do this list. And I'm hijacking Alex's post. Sorry, Alex, but Christmas is Christmas. And I have to do this before the week ends! 

Best Christmas songs. Read below the cut to know more about this strange post.

First of all, have you ever thought of writing a Christmas story/novel/poem? Well, I haven't. Because I'm sort of busy writing a novel before the year ends (good luck to me!). I know Alex is, so she is perhaps the person who should be writing this post, but I have to get this out of my head before I write my chapters of Welcome to the Dark Side. (It is YA Contemporary). 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Journey So Far #15: Plot Bunnies

Hello, me. Hello, you. So, if you looked at my "Penelope Grace" page, you would see a bunch of writings already completed. (There is a much more detailed page on my Tumblr). 



Does anyone want to play "guess how many plot bunnies does she have" game?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Advice For Writers #16: Two or too? The Icky Thing About Grammar

Raise your hand if you hate grammar. I think half of us really hate grammar and the other half are probably Grammar Nazis. Just kidding. I'm sure I can create a poll to gather the correct data and statistics and everything, form the right conclusion, analyze the data...

Alright. Now, I'm going to tell how this: you seriously need to let it go about grammar. Just write. Don't get down because of a spelling error.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly Muse #16: So... Inspirational Authors, anyone?

Here we go! Well, we all love to read, right? And I sure love to read the occasional book. Sometimes, I might reread books only to find an inner depth and surprising meaning. (Plus, Alex Steele is currently rereading the entire Harry Potter series, so... Might as well do this!) 

Alright, here we go. Top five in an meaningless order.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Our Journey So Far #14: Penelope Grace

Wow. I had an insane week. And I'm still trying to rest. I had a little crazy thing (syncope aka fainting and possible head damage) a few days ago (which is like December 1, but it seems to be a while back since then because we are always scheduling our posts 2+ weeks ahead of time). So for me, today is December the Fourth. While you all are somewhere in the future. 

So I hoped you all had a wonderful time with NaNoWriMo and enjoyed my first chapter (and unedited) excerpt of The Black Queen. (The link is in the "Our Works" page). 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advice For Writers #15: Steele's Top Five Tips For Writers

Alex Steele here today to bring you my top 5 writing tips. This spans your whole writing process and *I hope* is applicable whether it's your first book that you are getting ready to write or your eightieth. Let's jump in!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekly Muse #15: Where To Find Inspiration?

Alex Steele here again with your weekly muse!

Weekly Muse is all about finding inspiration, but what about the times when you just can't? You're just feeling kind of blah. You really want to write, you want to get some work done, you want to get your creative juices flowing, but none of your old standbys work. What do you do? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Our Journey So Far #13: Steele's NaNoWriMo 2014 Wrap Up!

Alex Steele here with another "Our Journey So Far" post, where we like to keep you updated on all our writing progress! Today, I'm mainly going to be talking about my NaNo novel. For those of you who don't know about NaNoWriMo, it's an event where thousands of writers try and write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. So, this is my NaNo update. Look at what's coming next!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beautiful Books #3: Our Editing Process!


One again this is a Meme hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters(now: Paper Fury!) and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. Basically, we're talking about our editing process this month, and if you want to find out more about all this pop on over to their blogs!

Alex Steele
Novel: This World In Gray (NaNo Novel)


1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out?Honestly? A week from now I'll probably change my mind, but for now I'm going to say 8 or 9. I'm really really really happy with how it turned out!

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? Yes, I have. I've edited a couple books before. I don't really prepare myself that much. I'll take a piece of paper and write down notes of all the big things that I already know I need to work on, and then I'll print out my first draft and my brother will read/edit/suggest things, and then I'll take all of that and just start revising!

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? 99,881 I don't really plan on lengthening or trimming, there's a few things I know I need to add and I will more than likely end up cutting some things out, but I'm not setting out to do either.

4. What are you most proud of? Plo
t, characters or pacing? Hmm. Hard question. I think, probably a combination? I don't know. I think I'm most proud of my main character and her voice because it's legitimately like nothing I've written before.

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel? Hmm. Hard question...only because I could spend hours trying to pick something! So, this is from a very emotional part of my book, towards the end, and it's a flashback of my main characters sister.

  “Some songs just speak to you, Lace, and it can’t be explained because it’s words you can’t say and feelings you can’t put into words. That’s the magic. It’s the feeling of not being alone and just finally understanding what it is you’re feeling because it’s right there in the lyrics and the drumbeat.”

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? Probably the secondary characters. They need to be a bit more fleshed out.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? The grief...does that count? I think it does. It's the best way I can describe it, the overall feeling of the book and that thing that I tried hardest to keep throughout it. Really the grief is almost its own character... It's my favorite because it's what makes the book, without it would be nothing.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out? Both. The main ones I think are nice and well rounded but some of the secondary characters need to be a bit more fleshed out.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? Nothing. Yeah, I don't really think I would change anything, I'm very happy with how it all worked out!

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? Mason, the kind of love interest, he definitely turned out differently than I imagined. Mainly he doesn't really play a big part, which is actually good because this isn't a love story...the romance needs to be in the background and it is.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? The theme was grief, and the message that you never really get over death and how hard it can be... and I think it came across pretty well. I know I need to add a couple parts towards the end to bring it across even more and kind of tie it all together better, but besides that, I think it's pretty good.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? Deadline, definitely. I always give myself a deadline. When I first started writing I always assumed I would do bad with deadlines, but they really help me stay focused and having a deadline makes me determined to meet it, so yeah, definitely deadlines.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) Hard question... I would say Fault In Our Stars by John Green meets I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson...

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! By giving myself a week of break, where I don't have to think about working on anything else. I can just read and sleep and ignore the world at large. Also, for NaNo my prize that I gave myself for winning was my Fall Out Boy concert tickets, if I lost I was going to give them away, but I won so I get to go!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with? I want people to be sad yet hopeful when they finish reading this book....which is kind of a large order if you know what I mean.

Penelope Grace
 The Black Queen (One of NaNoWriMo 2014 Novels)

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out? I remain quite optimistic. Because of that warm feeling, I think 9. But I have quite an amount of work to do! 

2. Have you ever rewritten or editing one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? Yes! I did that for The Lost Princess (which is currently being queried now). I usually read over the book quickly and make notes about plot holes, character arcs, etc. If I see anything wrong, I will fix it. I aim to make about 2-4 drafts before I start beta reading. However, The Black Queen's first chapter is already out on this site, because I was bored. 

3. What’s your final wordcount? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? Word count? Ahhh! Don't get me started! But 75,383 is the final wordcount. For now. 

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing? Ohhh... This is a toughie. But I got to say that I'm most proud of one character. And his name is Eric. With that weird accent thingie on the E. (He is French).

(And yes, I do know that it is an acute accent).


5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel? Actually, I have a lot of favorite ones. And they are all names of my chapters. Or at least most of them. Here is some of them:



The ones that are sort of blacked out is either irrelevant or relevant to the plot. Or useless to the plot, because I'm currently editing. Okay.

I'm not editing The Black Queen, but I'm going to.

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? Hahahahahaha. I just can't stop laughing. If you read the titles of my chapters, you can probably tell that the plot needs quite a bit of work.

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? I think this is the easiest to answer. Of all the questions so far.

Because my favorite aspect is the subtext. 


8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out? Some of them are well-rounded. Others are just plain silly. But I do want some of them to remain 2D. I'm trying not to go into too much detail for a minor character.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? Definitely that part that is the most unromantic. And put a bit more humor into it.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? Definitely! Some of the characters I'd planned to be 1D or 2D came out more... defined than I thought. And I concluded that maybe I accidentally made some subtext not so subtle. 

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? Well, I'm trying to be subtle. TBQ is an adventure first and foremost, but I always try to send a message.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes? I love deadlines! 

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) Well... I can't really define it. I based it upon King Thrushbeard (a fairy tale), but it didn't come out anything (for the most part) like it. I can't really say... Hmm... Maybe Romeo and Juliet. But it doesn't really fit TBQ very much. I definitely need to think about this more.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! Dancing! And writing another novel!

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with? This is an easy one. I want them to be mad. Mad about that cliffhanger. 



Gif is not ours.

Well, that is it. Feel free to read my excerpt of The Black Queen here. First chapter! 


Don't forget to leave us links to your Beautiful Books posts in the comments!
Also, what's your favorite line that you've written recently?

Happy Writing!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Advice For Writers #14: The Stages Of Finishing A First Draft

Alex Steele here to talk about the 5 stages of grief that follows finishing a first draft. Basically, I wanted to talk about the five stages I go through after having completed a first draft. This mainly goes for when I've done something like NaNoWriMo. They are as follows.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekly Muse #14: Let's Dance

Penelope Grace again. I want to talk about the songs that inspire you to move. I know that it is a bit weird, because I'm talking about songs that inspire you to move around rather than songs that inspire you to do some writing. 

But dancing always helps shake off the Writer's block, so yes, I'm going here. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best Blogging Buddies Award!

Both Grace and Steele here today to bring you this award post! We were nominated by the awesome Rachel@SecretScribblings for this award and will be doing it together! This is our first award/nomination thing so bare with us!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our Journey So Far #12: Penelope Grace

NaNoWriMo. So it is over. I know I had at least three meltdowns during the entire thing. I was most certainly insane throughout the entire thing. So if you see any random sequences like (jsoidfjiojasiofjsiodjfs) on my blog, Twitter, Tumblr, or anything else, you know I was taking it out on my keyboard. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Wordy Gift #3: NaNoWriMo Excerpt

Third month, guys! And we are going strong here at Grace & Steele. So awesome. And because of this awesome anniversary (by months), I'm going to be sending you all a wonderful excerpt from the NaNoWriMo novel I was working on. For 2014. And yes, this is TBQ (The Black Queen) aka the first book I wrote for NaNoWriMo. 

Here we go! First chapter. Please note that this is an unedited version of it, so it is a bit crazy. And weird. I fixed it up in a hour (I know, so lazy of me), and I had Alex look over it a bit. But this it what I got.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Advice For Writers #13: How To Lie

Now, I'm not trying to teach you how to lie. Whoops! That was a lie. 

Anyway, Penelope Grace is here. I'm going to tell you what excuses you can tell to your family when you are trying to hide the fact that you are writing like a maniac/insane person. Quite honestly, I'm going to tell you that if my family knew I was participating in NaNoWriMo and writing 100K+ words in a single month, they would send me to an institution. Or therapy, at least. Or rehab.

Either way, it is icky.