Letting Others Read Your Work: A Guest Post By Hanna Rothfuss

June 26, 2017

   Hey, all! I'm only popping in for a quick second, because I'm not the one posting today ;). Instead, my awesome and talented writer-friend Hanna Rothfuss from Taking My Time is here to talk to y'all about letting others read your writing - which, in my experience, is both terrifying and completely worth it xD. Shall we let her get on with it, then?

   Hello, readers! I’m barging into Savannah’s blog today to talk about a scary subject: letting others read your work. It’s a question every writer has to ask at some point or another, even if they don’t really know they’re asking it: Should I let others read my writing?

   I didn’t happen to ask myself this question for a long time. I started making up stories before I learned how to write, so my “writing” career started by dictating to a family member. As I began writing myself, I continued to let my family read my stories. I was blessed with a very supportive, encouraging family and the idea of letting others read my stories didn’t scare me. (As long as I didn’t have to read them out loud--something I still struggle with!) Everyone told me they were great, and I was a great writer.

   When I started a blog when I was thirteen, it only felt natural to start posting stories. It wasn’t until then that I realized how scary sharing your work can be.

   I got upset once when someone critiqued my writing. When I told my Dad about it, he said there will always be people who dislike my writing. He added that there will probably always be people who say so. I think this is true for all writers. So does that mean we shouldn’t let others read our work? Should we just write for ourselves and bury our precious papers in a drawer? Or--safer yet!--keep our thoughts inside our heads and quit writing?

   My answer to these questions is a resounding no. This post contains two reasons why.

1. It Helps The Author 

   Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” One reason I believe it’s invaluable to let others read your work is how helpful it can be. Handing someone something you wrote and asking them to look for problems is hard--especially if you think they’ll actually do it! But having proofreaders makes your story so much better. Having a second person to tell you if something makes sense or if something is grammatically correct makes your writing better. (Just now, I typed your instead of you’re. If my word processor hadn’t caught it and underlined it in red, I probably wouldn’t have noticed!)

   It’s also a good idea to ask people with more life experience than you to proofread. They can coach you through writing things you’ve never felt or done. In the last story I posted on my blog, my main character was a hunter. I asked my parents to proofread it before I posted it. After reading the first chapter, my Dad and I sat down to talk about it. He said, “Hanna, you’ve never shot a deer.” We went back through the scene and revised it with Dad’s added experience deer hunting in mind. I had written from the point of my knowledge of archery. With my Dad’s added knowledge, we came up with something much better than I had done alone. One of my friends even e-mailed me after I posted the story on my blog and asked if I had ever been bowhunting!

   Before we move on to point two, there’s one more thing I want to say about proofreaders: Needing proofreaders doesn’t make you a bad writer, or your story unoriginal. Trust me, your proofreaders couldn’t sit down and write your story without you! No one else can write your story.

2. It Blesses The Readers

   What is it that makes sharing your work so scary in the first place? Well, people can love it, or they can hate it. To be honest, they both scare me. It hurts when people dislike your work, but others loving it almost scares me more.

   Because when you share a story, it’s not all yours anymore. I mean, it’s still your story, you’re the author, and you probably know it better than anyone else. But you’re not the only one that loves it and cares about it anymore. If someone loves your story, they’ll claim it. I feel a sense of possessiveness about my favorite stories--that book is my copy, that series is my favorite. I love them, and it makes me sad when others dislike them. When people fall in love with your world or your characters, they’ll get protective too. They might even get mad at you if you’re not nice to their favorite character.

   And it scares me a bit to let my stories out of my control like that.

   But I still share my work, because I know it blesses others. Think of your favorite book. Now ask yourself: What if the author had gotten scared and just not written and/or published that story? Scary thought, huh? I’ve read early-draft stories that weren’t even completely edited, and still been inspired by them. Stories bless people, writers! Please share them with us.

   *applauds* That was super insightful, thanks for sharing it with us, Hanna! I've had a couple of betas and alphas for Killing Snow, and even though it's so scary to let my work out of my hands - even for only a few weeks! - it's always worth it in the end!  

   Now, scamper on over to Hanna's blog, Taking My Time, and check out the guest post that I did over there! ((especially if you're a fan of Lord Of The Rings or Narnia ;))

~ Savannah Grace

   Have you ever had proofreaders or beta readers (or any other eyes than yours) go over your story? How did it go? Go ahead and ask Hanna any questions you have in the comments!

Character Interviews with David Sullivan from A Question Of Honor (by Jesseca Wheaton)

June 22, 2017

   Today I'm interviewing the epic character, David Sullivan, from the equally incredible book A Question Of Honor. (I reviewed A Question Of Honor (a YA historical fiction novel) a little while back, if you want to read more about it before the character interview)

    There will be spoilers in this post for those who haven't read the book so proceed with utmost caution, oh bookdragons xD.

    Savannah Grace: So, I've heard that you're a pilot, David - what's your favorite thing about flying, and what's the hardest?

   David Sullivan: Favorite thing? It's a variety of things. For one, the freedom I feel. There's no feeling quite like the weightlessness of flight. When the ground falls away beneath you and the sun is the only limit. You feel totally and completely free. As if, nothing can ever hold you back. It's something priceless.
   The hardest thing? Landing. For one, because I have to leave the sky. The other because it's often difficult to land on the many different kinds of runways. And over in England, it's not often guaranteed that we'll get a runway. If our plane gets hit, we have to land in any flat place we can find, which is often dangerous.
   Sorry, that was a long answer. ;P

   SG: That's fine! Flying sounds SO amazing (well, maybe not the landing part xD), I hope I can try it someday! What kind of plane do you fly?

   David: Right now I fly a J-2 piper cub. It was what most of us who were in the Army Air Force during WWII were first trained in. After the war, they were transformed into crop dusters, which is what I use it for now on the farm.

   SG: Very cool. Okay, tougher questions now - leaving Elaine to fight in World War 2 must have been a very hard decision for you. Why were you convinced that it was the right choice to make?

    David: To be honest, I wasn't. I'm not sure one can ever be convinced when they make a decision like that. For such a long time afterwards I worried that I had heard God wrong. That perhaps, I should have gone overseas. Not before I was called, anyway. But a good friend helped to remind me of why I had made the decision. Why I had felt a peace about it. And he pushed me back to Christ. And it was there, at the feet of Jesus, that I knew I had made the right choice. Because God doesn't give peace about a decision that is wrong.

    SG: "Because God doesn't give peace about a decision that is wrong" Agreed in full. And what was one of the hardest choices you had to make during World War 2?

   David: Leaving my family was one. and then leaving them again the second time was yet another hard decision. I think the second time was harder than the first, though. I had tasted the bitter taste of war. And everything in me screamed to stay where it was safe and treasure the loved ones I had left. But if I had learned anything, it was that God will never lead us wrong. And where He calls, we must follow. Even if it's something that our natural mind can't see any point in.

   SG: I'm glad you were brave enough to make those hard decisions, because they were obviously the right ones in the end :). Who helped hold you together through all of World War 2?

    David: Who? Well, to name one person would be impossible. Jesus, of course. I'm not sure I ever would have made it through the war with my sanity if He wasn't by my side. Also, Gil. He helped me through many struggles, both before and during the war. Elaine was a huge strength, always praying for me, and loving me enough to let me go where God was calling me. Also, my brother Rafe. I'm not even sure what all I can say to express the bond we have.

    SG: It's so awesome that you had people to stand by you during the war.
   Okay, almost done here - do you think any good came out of Erich taking Joyanna hostage?

   David: Did any good come from it? Yes. Without that happening, I would never have met Joyanna. I would never have been able to know the priceless treasure she is, and the sun that she brings to our life. What Erich meant for evil, to help Germany, God used for good. He gave me a daughter, and Joy a new home in a land where she'll never have to live in fear.

I can't help but be a LITTLE glad that Joy was was captured, too - she's such a sweetheart <3.
    Alright, final question - do you think that any good came out of World War 2 (other than Joyanna ;)) for you?

    David: Oh, that's a hard question to answer. I don't think we’ll ever really be able to see how God brings good from things like that until we get to the other side of glory.
   I pray that it brought me closer to God, and in a way, I know it did. I had to depend on Him like never before. Also, it brought me closer to my family. It's made me appreciate many things that I took for granted before. Often little things, such as a carefree smile, or the ability to walk down the road without fear of attack. Things I had never considered before.

   SG: I think all hard things bring us a little closer to God :). 

. And that was the end of this interview! Thanks for popping in, David, I loved hearing your answers to my questions! 

~ Savannah Grace

   Do you like Historical Fiction? What's your favorite historical fiction book? (and make sure to check back here in a few days - one of my friends will be posting in my stead!) 

July Camp NaNoWriMo - What Am I Writing?

June 17, 2017

   So this is partially me joining in a #CampNaNoCountdown linkup, and partially me randomly deciding that I should tell you guys about what I'm writing for July's Camp NaNoWriMo.

   Because obviously you were waiting to find out xD. 

   I'm assuming that a good portion of you saw my Five Poisoned Apples contest reveal - obviously I'm entering it ;). And that's going to be my Camp NaNoWriMo novella!

   I can't tell you much about it yet (it's still in that super-secret mode, and only a few of my critique/writing buddies have heard anything about it), but I'm hoping to tell you more about it in a few months. I can't wait until it turns into a proper story, instead of a foggy-wild-crazy-idea-in-my-head!

   But (seeing as I'm a NaNo Rebel), I'm not only working on one project. I'll also be writing more of Killing Snow, because I'm WAY behind schedule with it. The story has been changing majorly as I re-write it, so it's tons of fun and tons of stress. At the same time. My head may explode, someone send help.

and here's a messy snippet, because some of my friends said I should share one ...

   So, in a nutshell (and a very short post *cringes*), that would be what I'm writing for Camp NaNoWriMo.

   Except, there's always the slight chance that I might find some fun plot bunnies to go running after, and then I'll have to write even more. Just a slight chance xD. 

~ Savannah Grace 

   Who here is doing July Camp? What are you currently writing?

7 Books For Your Summer Reading List + 7 Books On Mine

June 12, 2017

   Summer is here! (well, not officially - not until the 21st - but I've been melting in 90-degree-and-above weather and battling mosquitoes over here, so I consider it summer) Which means that it's high time to talk about summer tbr! (and if you're wondering why I picked seven books instead of the regular ten, it's because it's unique. And Ariel and I didn't want to take any more book pictures. So there xD)

7 Books For Your Summer Reading List + 7 Books On Mine - Header Image

   Summer-y stories are read-by-the-campfire, lighter, friendship stories that I want to read while sitting on the deck and listening to fireworks go off (literally did that last year). And Summer is the perfect time for binge-reading middle grade books, admit it. So I'm here to pile seven more books onto your (probably already heaping) Summer reading pile! Ready?

   Let's do the thing. 

Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass

   Every Soul A Star had to go on the list - and no, it's not just because of the gorgeous cover (#highlybiased). While the story isn't five-star, I've read it multiple times over, and it was really cute and fun, and perfect for reading while sitting out in the backyard at night and trying not to get bit by mosquitoes. (yes, you can read in the dark if you're really dedicated. I have xD).

The Sea Of Monsters by Rick Riordan

   Let's ignore the fact that I'm holding the second book in this picture, shall we?

   This series is perfect for summer because each book takes place during Summer break. Come on now. But seriously, it's a really fun, middle-grade series that I really enjoyed (because the main character is sarcastic, and who doesn't love sarcastic characters?).

   (content caution: there are a couple series that branch off of this one, and I'm pretty sure there was questionable content in some of them, but I'm pretty sure there wasn't any in this one? Don't quote me on that though)

The Blue Door by Christa Kinde

   It takes place on a farm, you guys. During Summer. And it's about a girl who can see angels and has all sorts of adventures - which should be enough to get this book on your TBR xD. 

   But in all honesty, I love Christa Kinde's writing style. It's so much fun, and so easy to read. And it's ten times more fun when Ariel reads the book aloud, because she has an epic story-telling voice. Maybe I'll bribe her into reading them aloud again this Summer ;).  

Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire

   Martin Hospitality released in February, and I'm super glad that it came out a few months before Summer, because now everyone can go nab it and add it to their Summer reading list.

   And not only is the cover gorgeous, the story is, too! I gave it 4 stars in a book review that I wrote for it a few months ago, and it's in a genre that I don't read all that much, so it was kind of surprising that I liked it so much! (and it starts out during the Summer, and half of it takes place on a farm, so this one gets extra Summer-points)    

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

  This is one of the strangest and one of the most fun books that I've ever read. It reminds me a bit of a slightly-modern Alice In Wonderland. It's so fun and whimsical, and absolutely perfect for reading outside on a Summer day. This is honestly one of my favorite books, so I'd probably recommend it even if it wasn't Summer xD.

   Also, there is a dragon who is basically a library in the book. All of us small book-dragons will adore him, because he is pretty much one of us. <3

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

   If you thought I wasn't going to recommend Harry Potter, I'm afraid you were sorely mistaken.

   Who doesn't want to read the Harry Potter books during the Summer? The next best thing to sitting outside and eating ice cream is sitting outside and going on a magic adventure whilst eating ice cream. I love the Harry Potter series so much, and J.K. Rowling is a wizard herself when it comes to writing. Plus, the series is definitely long enough (and big enough! You can pick out the monstrously big end-of-the-series Harry Potter books on my shelf) to keep you busy during the Summer - unless you read books quite fast, like I do xD. 

On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness by Andrew Peterson

   I just discovered this series within the last month - and while the first one was a bit childish (it is middle grade, not YA, after all), The Wingfeather Saga got SO GOOD by the middle/end of the second book. I was hooked for good, and the last book reduced me to a puddle of feels in the corner.

   ANYWAYS - I'll put off my tirade of raving until my Monthly Highlight post for June. The Wingfeather Sage would be great for Summer reading - the first book (which you definitely shouldn't judge by its title) is light enough to be a fun, Summer-y read, and the rest of the series turns into an adventure that you can't put down, even if the pool, trampoline, and sprinkler are all calling your name xD.

   *glances at all the books* Well, seeing as half of my recommendations were series, I'm pretty sure that that was a lot more than seven books xD. Shall we move on to my Summer TBR? 

Books On My Summer TBR
+ Howl's Moving Castle and Inkheart, which will be re-reads

   Five Magic Spindles was released quite awhile ago, and somehow I haven't read it yet? Same with Unblemished - the second book in that series (Unraveling) has recently released. And it looks amazing, so obviously I need to get started on this series xD.

   The Lost Kingdom of Bamarre, Breakwater, and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow have all been released really recently and OH MY am I excited to have those gorgeous works-of-art in my hands! Especially Sofi Snow - I've got it on hold at the library already!

   Exiles hasn't even released yet - but I'm pretty sure that it does sometime in July. And I'm incredibly excited for it! I'm reading through the whole Ilyon Chronicles series again, so that I have all the facts fresh when the fourth book comes out.

   THAT was a lot of books. Hopefully your TBR is not currently trying to kill you, but if it is nobody blame me. TBR's are known for doing that xD.  

   Here's hoping you have a wonderful, book-filled Summer! 

~ Savannah Grace

   Are any of these fourteen(ish) books on your Summer reading list? Which books should I read this Summer?