Writing Trail X 1 – Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume Two and YouTube

Not Writing Trail Day 1. Not Writing Trail Week 1. Welcome to Writing Trail X 1! Why X? Because my posts may be days apart or they may be weeks apart. I might post two days in a row or I might not have much to blog about for months. Who knows? Hence the addition of the X factor. (No, not that one. A different one. 😜)

It’s been almost six weeks since my last blog post, not including the short story I posted about four weeks ago. Would you believe me if I said I miss blogging? Yes? No? I don’t miss blogging every day though. It’s given me time to work on other stuff. For example …

I finished Don’t Disappoint Me Volume Two! I actually published it a little while ago and forgot to announce it on here. Ridiculous, right? 😲 I’ve been going on about writing the book for about a year and when I finally finished I didn’t let you all know about it. How silly of me. But yes, it’s out as a paperback and as a Kindle ebook.

I decided to join the Kindle Unlimited programme this time, which means the the ebook is exclusive to Amazon and can be read for free by people who have also subscribed to the programme. Due to the minimal sales from the other ebook distribution channels that I used for Volume One, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try something a little more exclusive. Now I just need to work on my marketing skills (Spoiler alert: I have none. 😌)

You know what else I’ve done? I’ve only gone and started a YouTube channel called OI Writes. I’m serious. I’ve already posted two videos and a third one will be out tomorrow. I hope it does better than my podcast did 😅. Who knows, maybe I’ll turn it into a podcast as well later on.

In hindsight, I think I have a lot more to work with and I can focus better when a video is involved. It’s a lot more visual, though I’m not in the video. Not entirely. But I can add little effects and have a bit more fun with it, which is important to me. I actually enjoy making the videos more than I thought I would. I should probably tell you what the channel is about, right? Oh wait … I can show you instead 😏:

I have so much planned for the channel. Everything in the trailer and much more, such as notebook tours and videos of some of my stories. It would mean a lot to me and my goals as an author if you subscribed to the channel. Even if you can’t, I appreciate you simply having a look at my videos. And if you think there’s anything wrong with them or if there’s anything I can do better, feel free to leave a comment on the video or on this post. I’ll get your feedback either way and I’m always ready to learn.

Off topic, but do you know anything about creating apps? I have more plans but I don’t know anything about coding. Nor do I have the technical skills to make one by myself from scratch. Any information about that would be great.

That’s it for today’s post. I hope you’ve been keeping well and staying as safe as possible during this ongoing pandemic.

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars ⭐. I’ll post again soon, God-willing 🖖🌕🐯.

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews

Amazon

Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume One alternative ebook versions

Like YouTube videos? Check out my YouTube channel, OI Writes

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Born Broken – A short story

It’s been about two weeks since I last posted on here.

(I feel like I’ve forgotten how to blog. Help me … 😐)

About five months since I last shared a fictional story with you.

So you’re due for another one. And guess what? It’s an original short story! 😱

Do you understand? An. Actual. Short. Story. I did that. Aaaand I finished it in one day. It’s the second short story I’ve ever written and it was challenging. I have a bad habit of writing never ending stories 😅.

Here’s the synopsis (A teeny tiny one. Heh heh):

You can connect over coffee. Connect through pain. Connect with someone’s smile or with their tears.

It can be that simple.

But sometimes it’s not.

And here’s the story:

It was complicated.

She was more than just a sad girl.

More than just a mad girl.

More than just a bad girl.

I think I wanted her to be my girl but –

~~~

“Y- You’re pregnant? Don’t lie to me, babe!”

The guy standing next to us at the bus stop was loud, despite the rain. Though she didn’t move, a tremor unearthed something beneath her neutrally flat expression. Something that drew my eyes to the pharmaceutical bag in her hand. Again.

“Babe! Babe, you can’t just tell me something like that on the phone!” The guy slapped a hand to his forehead, hard enough to redden the skin. “I’m waiting for the bus.”

His happiness was a sun that would burn anyone standing too close. The woman between us closed her eyes against the shine. Maybe praying for patience. Or relief.

“Screw it, I’m not waiting for the bus.” The guy lifted his slim brown briefcase over his head, stepping into the downpour with the enthusiasm of a maniac. “Do you need me to get any – Nah, I’m coming straight home, okay? I’m coming right now. Love you, babe.”

He made a kissing noise and hung up, hesitating for several seconds before darting into a flower shop. The woman exhaled silently, rubbing the ear that had been closest to him against her shoulder. Slowly. Discreetly. As if she lacked the motivation and the energy needed to move her hands.

“Are you okay?” I shuffled towards her.

She blinked, forcing her gaze up from the ground like someone picking up weights. “… Sorry?”

“You – Are you okay?” I pointed past her. “He was quite loud, wasn’t he?”

“Oh – It’s okay. That won’t give me a migraine or anything.”

“You get migraines?” Again, she didn’t follow my eyes. Even when they drifted down to count the number of boxes visible through the plastic. Painkillers. Different brands.

She smiled as though all two hundred and six bones in her body had decided to ache in unison. “Do you?”

“Sometimes.” She looked at the orange letters above, showing the bus timetable, and I wanted to grab her arm. “Really bad ones. But – but they always go. In the end.”

She didn’t answer at once. The chill in the air clung to her hair, like diamanté decorations on a bridal bun. It burned at the base of my stomach less prettily.

“They do, don’t they?” she murmured. I wanted to snatch the bag from her hand instead.

“Medicine doesn’t always work. When they’re triggered by – by other things.” The bus was coming in ten minutes. Was that how long I had? Just ten minutes? “Have you tried finding out what your triggers are?”

“Are you a doctor?” She finally turned back to me. Humour rattled around in her expression like coins in an upended swear jar.

“Do you need a doctor?”

“No.” She raised the plastic bag to eye level. Her stare landed like a roundhouse kick to the face. “As you can see, I’ve already been to the chemist.”

Bold. Unapologetic. A challenge. Was that why I was so desperate?

“Self-diagnosis isn’t always accurate.” I let go of the bus ticket in my pocket, gesturing towards the parade of shops. “Or the best idea. Want to grab a drink?”

“So you are a doctor?” Her gaze flitted to my chest. The absence of my ID hung like a noose around my neck.

“Would you drink coffee with a doctor?” I threw a smile out of the back door of my mind. I needed more than ten minutes.

“I always thought doctors didn’t have have time to waste.” She shrugged as if I’d started to make excuses.

“I don’t think this would be a waste of time.” Were those orange bus lights moving in the distance? I held an arm out to her, knowing she wouldn’t take it. “Shall we?”

She seemed to sigh somewhere out of sight. “The next one’s going to be here in half an hour. I don’t want to miss it.”

“Deal.”

She tied a knot in the plastic bag, adjusting her grip on it, and walked past me into the nearest cafe without stopping to confirm its menu or name.

~~~

She was more than just a mad girl.

“I’m –” She froze my mouth with a single movement. A long distance press of her finger against my lips.

“It doesn’t matter.” She continued in a slightly less harsh tone. “Not now. Not to me.”

“Then can –”

“You don’t need to know my name either.”

“What if I want to?” We were interrupted by a waitress.

“Ready to order?” She smiled sweetly, pressing a pen to her small notepad.

“I’ll have a caramel latte. What about you?” The end of my question snagged on the absence of her name like wool caught on a fishing hook.

“An espresso. Thanks.” The name sounded foreign as she spoke it.

“You like coffee?” I asked as the waitress bounced away cheerily with our order.

“No.” She leant back in her seat with the same empty defiance. A skeleton dressed in teenage fashion.

“They probably serve tea here too, you know?” I started to stand. “Or hot chocolate. Do you want me to –?”

“– Don’t.” She nodded down at my chair, tapping the table top impatiently until I sat down again.

“Why would you order something you don’t like?”

“I think you know why.”

The rain struck the window beside us like mini bullet. The conversations in the warm café around us softened their impact.

“I don’t know why exactly,” I said slowly.

“You never will, doctor.” Her gaze slid to the bus stop, half visible beyond a pattern of trickling droplets.

“Do you think they’ll make you feel better?” I waited for her attention, re-directing it with a nod at the bag sitting on the seat beside her like a loyal friend.

“They won’t make me feel worse,” she replied. Black nail polish tinted the inner curve of her nails. Smudges remained on her cuticles.

“How do you know that?”

“No one knows that.” She turned her hands, flattening her wrists against the table top. “Ever.”

“Doesn’t that mean the opposite could also be true?” I smiled as the waitress returned, placing our drinks in front of us. She smiled back and told us to enjoy them before leaving.

“I suppose it could.” The young woman slid her hands further away from the steaming mug between them. “So what?”

“Don’t you want to feel better?” I tried to identify the texture of each word before I let them leave my mouth.

“Of course. But not everyone can.” She watched my fingers as they curled around the welcome heat of my own mug. As I inhaled the bitter-sweetness rising from its interior.

“You think you can’t get better?”

“Not any more.”

“Why?” She wasn’t wearing any make up. Or, if she was, she had gone with the natural look. One of her hands rolled off the edge of the table. The white bag rustled. “Why don’t you think that any more?”

“Why do you care if I get better or not? Because you’re a doctor?”

“Because not all broken things need to be thrown away.”

She smiled. Suddenly. Terribly. Lights flicking on in a derelict mansion.

“It’s not your job to ‘fix’ me, doctor.” She somehow made finger quotes without moving her hands. “Especially if you’re off duty.”

“I’m not trying to fix you. I just want to help you fix yourself.”

“Then you’ve already got one up on my parents.” She should have laughed. I was glad when she didn’t. “You look surprised. Did you think all this was about some guy?”

I pushed aside the ecstatic voice of the man on the phone and the way her entire being had flinched, focusing instead on her hand as it captured the handle of her mug.

“Most emotional and relationship deficiencies stem from issues with our parents.” I blew steam away from my latte. Warm moisture gathered along the edge of my finger. “No one can perfect the art of parenthood. But some can definitely do better.”

“Can they?” Her eyebrows twitched upwards.

“You don’t think they can?” Was that why she also thought she couldn’t get better?

“Do you have any children, doctor?” She waited until I shook my head. “Do you work with children?”

“Not very often,” But I didn’t need to. I had seen children crying behind the faces of adults for years.

“Sounds like neither of us are qualified to judge them then.” Her leg had begun to rock under the table. She didn’t seem to realise it.

“Is that what you were taught? We can’t point out our parents’ mistakes unless we become parents ourselves?”

“Doesn’t that make sense?” She dipped her head, drawing the strong scent of her espresso deeply into her lungs.

“Does it make sense to you?” I pretended to look at the menu for dessert.

“You’re not answering the question,” she pointed out without making eye contact.

“Does that make you angry?”

“No.” She drank, even though she winced as the hot ceramic met her skin. When she put the mug down, triumph outshone the water in her brown eyes and the painful red tinge to her mouth.

“You don’t need to be a parent to have the right to judge your own,” I told the tears in her eyes and the struggling curve of her smile. “You only need to be a child. Their child.”

“Hm.” She glanced at the clock behind the counter. “The bus’ll be here in fifteen minutes. You having dessert?”

I swallowed the warning in her words and suddenly I wasn’t hungry. I now knew why she wasn’t hungry either.

“Sure. Can I get you anything?”

“Don’t bother.” She exhaled amiably. “Thanks.”

~~~

She was more than just a bad girl.

“Can I ask how old you are?” I had ordered the smallest slice of cake. Soft sponge. White icing with rainbow sprinkles. “I’m thirty two.”

“Twenty six.” Her espresso mug was half empty.

“That’s young,” I breathed, finishing the last of my latte.

“Thirty two isn’t exactly old either.” Her knees had shifted beneath the table, pointing towards the open side of our booth.

“You’re absolutely right. Even if it feels like it is.”

She grunted as if she regretted the bitterness of the coffee remains on her tongue. As if the cosy embrace of the cafe was making her nauseous. I pushed my untouched cake towards her but she waved the invitation away.

“Are you going to tell me I should be patient?” She slid her espresso aside, glancing towards the bus stop again.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” I only had ten minutes left. Again. “Twenty six years. That’s only a measurement of the time you’ve spent here. Not a calculation of what you’ve experienced in that time.”

“You kind of remind me of this teacher, back in high school.” She half huffed, half laughed. “He was about fifty though.”

“Thanks.” I collected each arrow, dusting off the insults they carried, wiping the poisonous implications from their barbed heads. One of the Three Little Pigs might have been able to build a house out of them but I wasn’t sure I had that sort of skill. “Was he good at it?”

“At teaching? Yeah.” She was sitting with one leg crossed over the other. Had she noticed how much it had been moving under the table earlier?

“Did you like his classes?”

“I failed them all.” A skeletal smile.

“But did you enjoy them though?” I started eating the slice of cake, shrugging at the wariness in her eyes. “Not everyone excels in the subjects they enjoy.”

“What … do you mean?” One foot was visible, clad in a sensible dark trainer with loose laces. It started to jiggle once more.

“It’s not always about the results. Lots of people would rather enjoy the learning process and benefit from the lessons they never meant to learn.”

“People like you?” Her hands slipped off the table and into her lap. “Successful people?”

“Maybe,” I admitted. “Though I believe the most successful people enjoy both their destination and the steps they took to get there.”

“Sounds a little fictional to me.” The plastic bag crackled softly, presumably in her grasp.

Time was running out. The cake lost its taste.

“It sounds like happiness to me.” I swallowed the chewy lumps, trying not to choke on them.

“Same difference really.” She tilted her head, eyelids lowered as if she were listening to the rain. Or a call I couldn’t hear.

“I’m sorry you’re not happy.” I finished the cake without getting any of it stuck in my throat. My eyes watered anyway.

“Are you happy?” Her eyes closed completely for a moment. As though she expected me to lie to her and didn’t want to witness it personally.

“Most of the time.” The urge to snatch the bag of painkillers suffocated me. “Not all the time.”

“That’s good.” Drops of tension rolled down from her forehead, from the corners of her eyes and mouth, falling off her chin and out of sight.

“Not now.” I hadn’t meant to say the words out loud but it was too late.

“I see.” Her eyes opened. Twin paths to an abyss. “I’m sorry you’re not happy, doctor.”

“That’s not your fault –” My heart quivered indignantly.

“– I should go now. I don’t want to miss the bus.” She stood up, dragging the white bag across the seat and into her arms. Cradling it like a soft toy for a moment.

“I’ve already paid.” I stood up as she turned towards the counter. “You don’t have to pay me back. It’s my treat.”

I wanted to ask her to pay me back. I wanted to ask her out for another drink.

“Oh. Thanks.” She headed for the exit, clutching the bag to her chest like a little girl. She walked out into the rain and the evening that accompanied it with the fortitude of a front-line soldier.

I couldn’t bring myself to salute her courage.

~~~

I think I wanted her to be my girl but –

“Wait!” The bus was coming, the orange numbers and letters across its head glowing like evil eyes.

Her ticket was already in her hand. She faced me beneath the shelter of the bus stop.

“It’s time to say goodbye now.” Her fingers tightened in the plastic as she unknotted the bag.

“It doesn’t have to be.” I cleared my throat and tasted salt.

“It didn’t have to be,” she reminded me gently. “I’m sorry you wasted your time, doctor.”

“It wasn’t a waste of time.” The bus swallowed the distance, creeping up on her like a demonic hound.

“Really? Even though you couldn’t help me fix myself?” Her voice was clear through the rainfall.

“I’m sorry.” I reached out. My hand was no where near her.

“It’s not your fault. Life isn’t for everyone.” She slipped her hand through the handles, letting the bag stay at her side as though it was her child.

The bus pulled up at the stop. My calves stiffened.

“Wait –”

“Some of us are just born broken. Didn’t you know that, doctor?”

“I’m not a doctor,” I blurted out as she acknowledged the arrival of the bus with a sideways glance. “Not yet.”

“You will be.” She moved towards the bus as its doors hissed open.

Fortunately a small queue I hadn’t noticed before had formed. I still had seconds left … didn’t I?

“Don’t. Don’t go.” I still didn’t know her name.

“I wish you all the best, doctor. Keep succeeding.”

“I’ll do better knowing that you’re – that you’re okay.” It was a cheap shot. We both knew it.

She paused before stepping into the bus. “What’s your name, doctor?”

“Tell me yours first.” I clutched the air by her elbow.

“I won’t.” She inclined her head empathetically.

“Why?” Her face blurred. And I didn’t have her name.

“Because it still doesn’t matter. I won’t let it matter to you.” The person in front of her finished paying for their ticket.

“Please wait a sec –” My finger scraped her sleeve and she entered the vehicle.

She showed the driver her ticket. Turned to look for a seat.

“You getting on?” asked the driver.

My suit was cold and wet against my skin. My throat swollen around the words I couldn’t say. I wanted to take him up on the offer but she shook her head and left me paralysed on the pavement as the doors closed.

Frantic, I shuffled sideways, squinting through the glass. Meeting pairs of puzzled eyes over and over again until I thought my chest would burst.

She was at the back of the bus, looking down at me with the bag of painkillers nestled in her lap. The queen of a faraway land, frozen on her throne.

Words hadn’t worked.

So I pleaded with her in silence, using as many facial muscles as I could, shaking my head. I placed my hand against the cold glass and she finally reacted, tracing words onto my palm through the window separating us. I couldn’t decipher them until she cupped a hand around her mouth and breathed out against the glass.

Giving life to her final words.

Holding my stare for as long as possible as the bus pulled away from the stop.

Nodding at me right before it turned, taking her from my sight forever.

I stepped back, crumpling onto the cramped bench beneath the shelter of the bus stop.

Pressed my fists against my eyes.

Used the blackness to burn those foggy words into my memory. Even as condensation blocked out the face of the woman who had written them.

I feel a bit better, doctor.

Thank you.

Tears made a mess of my face. Pain crawled out of my throat in ugly sobs. I wanted her to be my girl but …

It was too complicated.

The End


Thank you for reading my story. Did I do a good job?

Feel free to let me know if and why you enjoyed it.

🖖🌕🐯
——-
If you liked my post, why not have a look at my other stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Writing Trail: Week 25 – What will change in the New Year?

After the unending trials of this year, I don’t think many people have the heart to make New Year resolutions, let alone declare them.

If anything, most of us will probably enter 2021 with more questions than we had at the beginning of the decade. Will things get worse? Will they get better? Will everything eventually go back to normal? Will wearing masks and living separated from friends and family become the new norm? Will we achieve anything? Will we reach our targets?

The truth is … we never know the answers to those questions, regardless of the year. 🤔

2020 has undoubtedly been a spectacularly difficult year for most of the world. But can we let one bad year wipe out the good years that preceded it? Do you think 2020 was a “bad” year or simply a challenging one? A lot of sad things happened and are still happening. People have died from the Coronavirus and are still dying, no thanks to the new COVID variant that was recently identified in the UK. 😒

Then again, lots of people die every year. 😢

Are their deaths less meaningful because they weren’t caused by a virus? No, of course not. But life goes on, the same way it always does. Things will change and then change again. Good things will happen. Bad things will happen. Some will be happy and some will be sad, and some will experience both. During the global lockdown, many people had the chance to spend more time with their families or take better care of themselves. Some got to work from home and get a breather from the work environment. Some had the time to learn new skills, try out various activities, or simply relax and become more self aware.

2021 may be another challenging year. Things will change. Let’s just hope it’s for the better 😅.

Is this too soon?

This will be the last weekly Writing Trail post, as I’ll be posting on Medium too. (Apparently I haven’t written anything about Medium before. Whaaaat? 😱) I’m hoping to provide richer, more engaging content in the future but don’t worry. I won’t leave you, especially after you chose to follow me on here 🥰. Whatever I post on Medium, I’ll share on this blog too, provided I haven’t already posted here and it’s allowed. Heh heh.

In 2021, I hope to share more of my fictional work with you via short stories and random scene. I’ve mentioned something like this before but I think the best way to find readers for your stories is to give them stories to read. And that’s what I’m going to do next year, God-willing. Feel free to follow me on Medium though. If I get enough readers and engagement on there, I might even get paid!

I wish you a better new year. Take care of yourself.

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next year, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Writing Trail: Week 24 – How do I win NaNoWriMo?

I didn’t get to finish my project. Not sure why I’m trying to be all mysterious.

It was Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume Two. That was the project. I was supposed to have finished the final edit and published it yesterday, which was the one year anniversary of Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume One. But my plans were disrupted over the weekend and I’ve fallen behind schedule. I’m still determined to have it out before the end of the year though. I haven’t given up, so don’t worry. I also wanted to share a picture of my new writing space but I haven’t had the chance to organise it properly yet. Maybe I’ll be able to do that once I’ve published the next book and share it with you once the new year starts.

As for the main topic of this week’s post … There are many ways to win NaNoWriMo and this is probably the wrong time to share this information being as this year’s challenge is already over. Then again, Camp NaNoWriMo will be upon us soon enough so you can see this as a short preparation for that? Maybe? I don’t know.

So … how do I win NaNoWriMo? The obvious and fastest answer is: I write. How do I write? That’s the better question. Assuming I’ve got the basic idea for my story (which I would decide on before NaNoWriMo begins), I’ll aim to do the following:

Set out chapters – I like to have a rough idea of how many chapters are going to be in my story. For a full length novel, this normally starts between 22 – 24 chapters. For novellas, it can be somewhere between 6 – 12. Of course, some of my stories can be shorter or longer than either of those but having an estimate helps me plot out the journey of the story line, one part at a time.

Bullet point what happens in each chapter – To be honest, I sometimes do this before NaNoWriMo, if I have the chance. But this is also a sneaky way of upping your word count. It might not be an actual part of the story but plot points are still words written for your NaNoWriMo project, right? That means they count, okay? You can have as many bullet points as you like. I try to include key scenes, characters involved, and any major milestones for development of both the character and the storyline.

Expand upon those points – Now that I know what’s supposed to happen in each chapter, I pick a starting point (which is normally the very beginning of chapter one or the prologue) and start writing the scenes in detail. Detail is the key word here. I try to describe things as much as I can. I even include unnecessary details that I’ll probably cut out later. The main objective of this is to use aaaaaall the wooooords, even if it seems stupid. as long as it makes some kind of sense to you if/when you go back to editing it later.

Write as much as possible each day – By this, I mean that even once I’ve written enough to make up my expected daily word count (for NaNoWriMo in November, that’s approximately 1667 words a day) I still try to write more whenever possible. Why? To get as far ahead in the race as I can, so that I can make up for all times I can’t word sprint fast enough or for the days I don’t get to write at all. Believe me, that happens. Especially when you’re busy. And the less words you have to write to catch up, the less stressed you’ll be about it.

Skip to scenes that want to be written – Sometimes no matter how hard I try to write a scene, it just doesn’t want to be written. So I end up taking a lot longer than I need to write it. Or I write it fast and hate every word. Sometimes both and that’s the worst. The whole of this year’s NaNoWriMo novel felt like that for me. So don’t be afraid to skip to the scenes that you feel like writing. those normally flow out the best and save you time. And all you have to do is patch the story together afterwards, which can be a challenge by itself. And lastly …

Be fierce about winning – Technically, this is also something I do before I start my NaNoWriMo project. I never begin writing with the thought that it’s okay to lose. You know the whole failure is not an option thing? That’s my attitude when it comes to NaNoWriMo. Which is stressful but it’s helped me win for the last nine years so I’m not complaining too loudly. Heh heh. Of course, some people don’t make it to the end and that’s okay. Bonus points for if they’re okay with it personally. NaNoWriMo is probably a lot more relaxed for them.

And that’s it for now. If I think of any more I might write a part two to this post. What do you think of the tips above? Did you learn anything?

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Writing Trail: Week 23 – What kind of posts do you like to read?

I’ve been wondering about this for a while.

I know that likes, comments, and engagement with a post in general depend on various factors such as timing/reader time zones, presentation, accessibility, content etc. And that the value of a blog post shouldn’t be judged solely by the visible response that it may or may not receive.

As a new follower, long term, or casual reader of my blog, which kinds of posts do you enjoy reading the most? Correct me if I’m wrong but I think I tend to write in at least three different categories:

1 – Posts based on personal feelings and experiences. Such as things that have happened to me that day or during that week. (Which reminds me … I had a minor accident that could have been a major accident a few days ago. Let me know if you want to hear that story 😅)

2 – Posts that are directly related to writing/reading, which could be considered … informative? Maybe? (Or wishful thinking? Heh heh)

3 – Posts with random content such as abstract ideas or my opinion regarding certain topics. These are normally a bit longer and a little more in depth (aka me going off on a written tangent)

Have I missed out anything? Those are all the types I could think of. So tell me … Which kind do you prefer to read? And, while you’re at it, which do you tend to write?

(Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about my NaNoWriMo tips. I just have a … project 👀 … that I need to finish within the next few days. After that, I’ll be able to focus a bit more on these Writing Trail posts, I hope.)

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My Writing Trail: Week 22– What happened during NaNoWriMo Week 4?

I did it!

I managed my ninth NaNoWriMo win, as expected. (And I mean that in the least arrogant way possible. Of course 😜). I’d like to shout out all the people who didn’t reach the end of their word count this year. Especially those who got really close to completing but life did its thing and they didn’t quite make it.

Whoever you are, if you participated in NaNoWriMo, regardless of whether you won or not, you’re a winner. The moment you signed up to take part. The moment you wrote the first word of that 50, 000 word challenge. The moment you tried to do it whether you believed in yourself or not, you won against something inside of you. The something that stopped you from starting that story. Or continuing that story. Or trying out a whole new writing style or genre or anything.

You won against that something and you should be proud of yourself for that alone.

I was supposed to write about the things that I do during NaNoWriMo to increase my word count and thus my chances of officially winning it. But I wasn’t feeling too great yesterday, which is why this post is late. And now I have work tomorrow and I don’t want to rush that information. I’d rather present it to you later in a way that’s easier to understand (I hope 😅).

Lastly I just want to thank everyone who’s recently started following me and everyone who’s been following me for a while. You’re great people. And they say opposites attract. Wonder what that says about me. Hmm … 🤔😂

(Oh wait … Can I add one more lastly? Heh heh. I wanted to reward myself with a NaNoWriMo T-shirt and a travel cup. But that’s another story by itself. Feel free to find out more and support me here.)

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Writing Trail: Week 21– What happened during NaNoWriMo Week 3?

NaNoWriMo is coming to an end soon.

Those who are up to date and now within the final 10, 000 words out of the desired 50, 000. We have five more days left to go. I’m aiming to finish sooner but that miiight just be wishful thinking on my part. I remember the good old days when I could finish five days earlier. Good stuff. So far, my main character spent at least three pages getting out of a lecture/sports hall, I’ve just introduced a character who has the most significant influence on the development of my main character, and I’m not even halfway through the story yet. 😅

Since this is going to be – God-willing, provided nothing out of my control happens to stop me – my ninth (November) NaNoWriMo win, I’m going to share some NaNoWriMo tips with you, as promised last week. I’ll start off small, with two things I do before NaNoWriMo starts:

1. Plan small, miss small

(If you got that reference, give me a high five 🙌 in the comments because you’re a legend. Or maybe a Patriot. Who knows 👀). One of the most common NaNoWriMo-related questions is whether you’re a Planner or a Pantser. Or, in my case, a Plantser. What does that mean? It means I plan a little bit before starting the story, like a Planner, but also write “by the seat of my pants” like a Pantser.

This year, I noticed what happens when I don’t plan a little bit before NaNoWriMo starts. I don’t plan out chapters and scenes. Nothing as complicated as all that. I fI did that it would take away the fun of flying off into a new story and keep me tied down to a structure that I can’t wriggle out of. Instead, I write down brief character descriptions and decide on the details of main recurring locations in the story. This gives me stepping stones into the new fictional universe I’ve chosen to delve into.

2. Arrange the stepping stones

I don’t always do this but sometimes I write down the main plot points in the order that I need to reach them. This doesn’t have to be detailed at all. It can be a sentence long and/or it can include details such as the point of view or where the chapter or scene takes place.

These can be used as milestones throughout the novel writing process and can help you focus on a particular stage of the story, such as a scene you need to write towards before moving onto the next one. And when you reach the final one, ta-da! You’ll end up with a completed first draft and something to work on after the month is over, only if you want to, of course.

Next week, I’ll share what I do during NaNoWriMo in order to reach the 50,000 word finish line. I was thinking of compiling these points and adding a few more to make an extensive NaNoWriMo post. So if you like this post and think that would be interesting, let me know, okay?

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Writing Trail: Week 20– What happened during NaNoWriMo Week 2?

On Sunday, we reached day fifteen of NaNoWriMo. Fifteen out of thirty days.

I was supposed to be halfway through my story by then. Instead, my main character had only just reached the main location of the story. I’m still at the beginning of the story. Also I’ve been behind on my word count for the last few days and I only just caught up late last night. Hence this veeeeeery delayed Writing Trail post. Can I still apologise? Or should I just give up on the idea of forgiveness already? Heh heh.

That’s how my NaNoWriMo is going so far.

If you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo, let me know what’s happening with your story. It’ll be interesting to see what everyone else is doing and whereabouts they are in their story.

An accurate image of me fishing for blog post ideas

Next week – or should I say, in approximately three or four days? – I’m hoping to share some of my NaNoWriMo tips. How I boost my word count. What I do to stay on track. How I prepare for NaNoWriMo. All of that and maybe a little bit more. Who knows. So remember to keep an eye out for that, if you’re interested or taking part in NaNoWriMo. Or just writing in general, I suppose.

Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ve got a word count to maintain …

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Writing Trail: Week 19– What happened during NaNoWriMo Week 1?

I have something to confess.

I forgot about tonight’s Writing Trail post. Twice. I went to bed yesterday and I was already curled up when I remembered that I hadn’t posted anything on here. And today I almost did exactly the same thing. I blame a worrying lack of sleep. And having the central heating on. It makes me want to fall asleep. As in … I feel like passing out because it’s too hot. Same difference, right?

So we finished the first week of October a few days ago

I’ve introduced the main character and his love interest. Three semi-antagonists. And the main characters parents. All but one of them have names, which is better than I expected considering I started out with none whatsoever. Right now, I’m on Chapter 5 of the story but I know I’ve skipped some parts because I just don’t feel ready to write them yet. Such as some very important game play parts. I haven’t written the blurb so I’ll just share a very short snippet with you:

“You know like how they have au pair nannies? This is kind of like that.” Sheila was one projector away from a teacher who had conveniently forgotten to bring her USB to the lesson and had decided to wing her way through the class content. “Except you won’t be the ones doing the babysitting.”

“You’re doing it on purpose, aren’t you?” muttered Dwayne without expecting an answer.

“There’s only so much we can say before you sign the contract. Don’t blame us.”

“You’re threatening me so I agree to do a job I don’t know anything about,” he said acidly. “Of course I’m going to blame you.”

“I didn’t sign up for recruitment for a reason, you know?” grumbled Sheila a little too loudly to be talking to herself. “This is why he should’ve just come himself.”

“Who’s he-?”

“Why should the Director come out just to see a random kid who carries all his personality in his hair?” Dave spoke up for the first time in a while. “No offence, kid.”

Dwayne ducked away from the hand reaching out to pat loose curls on the top of his head with a scowl, feeling very offended.

What do you think? Please bear in mind that this extract has barely been edited. There are probably words missing or added in random places. And I’m still getting comfy in the heads of these characters so I might just change this later on. So don’t get too attached to any of them. Mwahahaha. But it’ll be funny to hear what you think of it so far, especially without any context. Heh heh.

This is my temporary cover. I borrowed it from Google. Obviously. There’s no way I could draw something like this

Oh and before I forget … Remember the good news I wanted to give you all last week. I can’t tell you exactly as I wanted to tell you. I wanted the news to be a bit more definite before I shared it with you. But I’m determined to get it done so I’m going to just say it and hope for the best.

Here it is: There is a very real chance that Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume 2 will be out in December 2020! 🎊🎉✨

As in, it’s practically done. Just two more scenes to include, a flow edit, and several overall edits left to do. But it might actually happen, people. I might actually manage to publish it before next year, God-willing. How do you feel? Happy? Annoyed that it’s taking me so long? Filled with disbelief because you believe it until you see it? All of those are very valid feelings. I’d rather you held onto those feelings until I can confirm the publish date. I’m hoping to be able to do that at the end of this month, once I’ve completed NaNoWriMo.

Hopefully then we’ll be able to celebrate together. Well … not together exactly. COVID, and social distancing, and all that. You get what I mean? Heh heh.

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Writing Trail: Week 18– What time of the year is it again?

It’s NaNoWriMo tiiiiiime!

Pure writing indulgence. Self inflicted torture. A mental and physical challenge in ways that don’t always make sense. One of the sweetest marathons run only by writers, all around the world.

It started yesterday – well, on Sunday – hence this delayed blog post. I was supposed to write this in advance on Saturday but I was too busy working on something. I wanted to use this post to share some good news with you all but I think that’s going to be reserved for the next week’s Writing Trail post. So don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for it. 👀

Remember when I said I’d work on another story for NaNoWriMo if I finished Don’t Disappoint Me: Volume 2?

Okay, here’s the thing. I have only two scenes left to write. And one to edit a little bit more. But only two scenes. That’s close enough to finishing it, right? Okay, okay, I admit it. I’m judging myself a little for starting a whole new story. 🙈 But it’s been in my head for months, dying to be written, and I couldn’t give up the opportunity. I just couldn’t.

So for NaNoWrimo 2020 I’m writing a new story for the first time in about two years.

That’s not too bad, considering the amount of story ideas I get daily. But I’d forgotten just how much work it takes to create a whole new world for a story. The setting. The way the characters speak and think. How their different personalities come with completely new back stories and habits and speech patterns.

For the first time in my life, I started writing a story without knowing the names of any of the characters. Not even the main character. I had to find their name once I got to a part in the story where it needed to be mentioned. Thankfully, I’ve found it now but it’s a very strange thing.

I have to learn about these new characters from scratch. And I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy every second of it.

Thank you for following my Writing Trail, Stars 🌟. I’ll post again next week, God-willing. 🖖🌕🐯

——-

If you enjoy my posts, why not have a look at my stories too? You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find:

Story previews: https://observingintrovert.wordpress.com/my-stories/

Amazon: https://t.co/rO0wXvDE42

Ebook versions: https://t.co/OejFmEwCJD

You can support my writing/reading endeavours on Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/sakinahbaksh

Posted in My Writing Trail | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments