Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

Rusty Fork VIII: Nearing the End and Looking Forward

I have around 20,000 words left to write on my current draft of WCAG. In the grand scheme of things and looking at how far I’ve come, that is not a lot of words, but they are some of the hardest. All the pinning and pissing and lallygagging have led to these words.

I’ve been calling my current draft the second draft when really it’s more like draft 1.5. In January, I was stir crazy and decided to print off everything I had written. I felt like I was walking around a dark cave, bumping into rocks and swiping at unseen bats. I needed to shine a light on my progress. What I found was horrifying:

Boring chapters that led nowhere. Two useless characters eating up scenes. Plot that needed refining and motivations that needed a kick in the head.

I started over with the plot. Dissecting and rearranging scene by scene, trimming the fat, and sewing it back together. I noted the holes and the sore spots. I immediately cut two characters and about 20% of the writing without a second look.

Then I began the current draft. It’s a better draft. Not perfect. It’s still its own monster that will need to torn apart again, but it’s more cohesive and more to the point I’ve been trying to make all along.

For the first time, I feel like I’m coming to the end of something. I’ve started and stopped projects before, but nothing as ever been complete–only glimpses into imperfect daydreams.

I need a plan of attack…

Here are some of the writing goals for the coming months:

  • Finish my “second” draft around 100,000 words

Duh, this one is a given. I have a set a deadline of May 1st, but deadlines are always meant to be broken. I want to finish this draft as soon as possible, though, because I’m starting to grow restless. I have other stories I’d like to plot, but I don’t want to spend too much time on new projects when this is still unfinished.

  • Find a critique partner

This might be the hardest thing on the list, and I still have no idea how to find one. Any suggestions?

  • Take a break!

Read. Relax. Don’t think about WCAG. Stop it! Stop thinking about it! Let it simmer.

  • Take a mini writing retreat to review my second draft and make a game plan for the third

I want to take a solo writing retreat in Hickory, NC. In previous Rusty Fork posts, I’ve mentioned that the town in my story is based heavily on Hickory, NC. I’ve done research on a bed and breakfast in the area, and I would love to take that time for myself when I read through my second draft. I don’t want any distractions. Being at the location of my inspiration would also spark some much needed mood.

  • Vlog more of my writing experience 

I’ve already started this one! This will not become a weekly thing, but I would like to vlog my experiences whenever I’m feeling motivated because I have found others’ vlogs motivational to my own work. I would like to help entertain and inspire others. It would also be neat to have for the future reflections, as well.

So there is a simple list of some short-term goals.

It’s important to remember that the end of the second draft is not the end the story.

It’s all an endless pursuit of artistic endeavors. I can strive for something, though. I can polish the story until it shines, until the surface is clear enough for some reader to see something of themselves on the pages.

I have to make a human story out of a monster.

How hard could that be?

Link to Previous Rusty Fork Posts

Thursday Thoughts

Thursday Thoughts

There’s something buzzing in my head.

Image result for bee gif

I decided one of my minor characters will be a beekeeper. Big mistake. I have spent hours learning about bees because a beekeeper should sound bee-lievable. I don’t even know how big of a role this character will play, or if they’ll even make the final cut. I think beekeeping has become a new form of procrastination.

When does research hinder instead of help a project?

I’m not sure, but bees are so hawt right now.

Bees drinking the water from the Bird Bath.

Bees drinking water with a hummingbird. So cute. omg

Did you know that a queen bee will mate only once? She stores enough sperm to lay eggs for the rest of her life. Oh, and the males lucky enough to mate with her? Their genitals are pulled out while mating, and they die. Talk about a healthy relationship!

Bees are clean freaks. Disease is a very real threat to a colony, so workers will clean off bees who look dirty. When a bee dies, the hive will slowly push the body out one by one like macabre crowd surfing.

Beekeeping is very intense, and my anxiety is not built for a hobby like that. I’d probably quit after the first bee died. Imagine a whole hive!

APIARIST Beekeeping Suit - Fencing Veil - Total Protection for Professional & Beginner Beekeepers

Hawt. Can I get one with pockets?

APIARIST Beekeeping Suit - Fencing Veil - Total Protection for Professional & Beginner Beekeepers

Where did she go?!???

But I see why people do it. It’s not all about the honey, money. From what I’ve read, a lot of people do it because it is a chance to be part of nature. Bees are an integral part of our lives. 80% of food is pollinated by flying insects, and most of that is by the honey bee. A beekeeper is the guardian to thousands and millions of little workers. It’s almost like playing god. Playing god to little bomb ass bitches who would sting you to death if they had the chance. Now that is the dream.


buzz buzz, bitches

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

Rusty Fork III: The Tools

This will be the most visually stimulating post that I make in this series. I have mad respect for bookstagrammers who can actually take decent photos. Enjoy the harsh sunlight. I didn’t think about editing or adding filters to the photos until I wrote this sentence, and I am too lazy to go back now.
A) Neo 2 Alphasmart – deserves an explanation. Maybe one day I’ll do a post on it.
B) Laptop – self-explanatory
C) My Bible – this is where I plot and draft many of the scenes. The pages are scattered with quotes and descriptions that have not been used yet. I had a nightmare that someone broke into my car and stole it from me.
D) Sticky Notes
E) Pens and Highlighters
F) Progress Calendar – I stole this idea from VE Schwab. It’s an easy way to see what progress you’ve made and can be utilized in many different ways. Each stars represents something I have completed for the day: read for an hour, write/plan for an hour, and work out.
G) Plot Sticky Notes (different from regular sticky notes) – I’m a very tactile person and Scrivener wasn’t cutting it. I had a flash of genius a few weeks ago, and stuck up the basic plot points for the three main characters on my bedroom wall. It has helped tremendously.
H) Progress Stars – everybody loves a reward, even a sticker reward.
I) Plot Calendar – this plot calendar is much more detailed than the original plot hanging on my wall. The story takes place over three weeks, so this makes it easy to break down each character’s story day by day.
J) Candle – because it’s calming as shit.
K) Note cards
L) Books on writing – okay, sometimes books on writing can be cheesy as hell and very limiting, but you can always find a glimmer of inspiration from them. I have enjoyed the Write Great Fiction series shown above.
M) Kindle
N) Book with prompts – this book has become part of my nighttime routine. I pick one prompt and write a short paragraph from the perspective of a main character. It has helped A LOT at finding the voices.
O) Desk

Rusty Fork I: The Why

Rusty Fork II: Strength




The Worst Books of 2016

The Worst Books of 2016


Let us take a cathartic dive into the trash heap that was 2016 and look back at the three worst books I read this year.  I found them so atrocious that I wouldn’t mind traveling to a Fahrenheit 451 reality with all the known copies. They were so horrendous to the eye, and they would be lovely additions to Satan’s library. Please no tagging the authors. I love to talk about people behind their backs not to their faces. I am a coward. Open eyes and tight lips, people.

The Girl Before by Rena Olsen. This book is literally the toilet paper Gillian Flynn wipes her ass with. Actually, it is the toilet paper that Gillian Flynn uses to clean up her dog’s shits. Okay, okay. This book is about a girl who is kidnapped into a strange Midwestern-mafia style family where she is groomed to become a prostitute. She ends up becoming the wife to the boss’s son, and she helps groom the other children with a strange level of naiveté and pride. The book doesn’t have traditional chapters, which borders the line of gimmick, and switches between the past and the main character’s current captivity with the FBI. This book felt like a crap, short story I would have read in one of my creative writing classes. Honestly, this might be the worst book I read this year, but I did read to the end. It’s only like 200 pages, so it doesn’t waste TOO much of your day.

The Merciless II by Danielle Vega. I won’t spend too much time tearing this book down because I already did that once in my review. Review here. I will say that this is one of the worst books I have ever read. It is like if you took the worst story line of Gossip Girl and added a demon. Well, I guess Chuck was kind of always a demon, but like a real demon who kills people. Oh wait, Chuck killed his dad…okay well like a demon who possess girl’s bodies. I was actually very enthusiastic about the first book, but this book had too much Catholic fetishism for my taste. Maybe the whole book was a metaphor for puberty?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Review here. I know that everyone has joined the Sarah J Maas is over party, but really the party started for me with this book. This book is HIGHLY dangerous and manipulative to its very young audience. It romanticized abuse, and don’t give me any of that “the second book explains everything” crap. I’m not here for your excuses. I don’t have as large of a bone to pick with Maas as other people do (mostly because I have never taken her writing to heart), but that doesn’t mean I don’t see why people hate her and her books. I will still finish this series and her ToG series because I can’t bring myself to quit right in the middle. I have to know what happens to these burning trash piles.


Six of Crows: Book Review

Six of Crows: Book Review

Six crows walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What the hell! How did all these birds get in here?” The bartender tries to swat them out the front door and yells to a patron, “Call the caw-ps!”

Okay, I really liked this book. I have been wondering why my gut reaction was to give it 3 stars (only on Goodreads because I don’t use star ratings to my blog). I thought about changing it to 4 stars, but I think I am sticking with 3.

It’s almost unfair to rate this book. People have said over and over, “Oh, you don’t have to read the original trilogy to read Six of Crows.” At the end of the day, I am not so sure about that. I had a lot of disconnect to the story and world in the beginning. It took a very long time to understand or care about any of these characters’ motivations. I felt like someone gave me the gooey insides of an apple pie but forgot to include the pie shell–still enjoyable but a pie is not a pie without the shell.

Picture of the six Crows breaking into the Ice Court. (If you don’t get this reference then we can no longer be friends because I spent way too much time on this joke for it to go unnoticed [See: The Crow, 1994].)

Don’t let this discourage you. The story was still really, really good. It follows Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and an ensemble cast as they try to steal from a Las Vegas casino. Oh, did I just describe the plot of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven? Sorry. Six of Crows follows six moody teenagers (da crows), hardened by lives of crime and tragedy, who attempt to perform an impossible heist. Each chapter switches between 5 of the crows (where are the Wylan chapters?!), and the plot unravels quickly and precisely. I would recommend this book to anyone who is getting over a reading slump or has a free weekend ahead of them because this book does move very quickly. I felt like one second we were strolling through Ketterdam, and the next, ships were exploding and people were dying. Because the writing is very cinematic, some of the writing does fall short. The character development was generic at times. They felt like every other teenager I’ve ever read about, BUT that doesn’t mean I wasn’t obsessed with them. Inej? Good god, what a sorceress of emotions. NINA? Stole my heart. Matthias, hubba hubba. Wylan? I wanted more. Jesper? I WANTED MORE! Kaz? Well, Kaz was honestly the least interesting character (he’s the generic I was referring to earlier). I’m just really bored of the internal struggle of bad boys, but I did imagine Joe Cole from Peaky Blinders as Kaz which made the reading experience VERY enjoyable. Honestly, if Leigh Bardugo did not base Kaz’s character off Peaky Blinders, then I will eat my own words (I will eat my computer).

Please, try to tell me this is not Kaz. Try me. TRY!

Bardugo does that annoying thing with Kaz that Sarah J Maas does with Aelin in Throne of Glass, where one character seems to know EVERYTHING, and everyone is always in awe that this person knows everything. It is a sloppy way of revealing plot twists.

I will read Crooked Kingdom, at some point, but I didn’t have that immediate need to read the sequel when I finished. I do want to know what happens to these little baby (what is the word for infant crow*?) cinnamon rolls, but I can wait.

*I looked it up. The word for baby crow is chick. Six of Chicks sounds like an amazing book or girl band.

What to Expect

What to Expect

Hello, to all the old and new faces! I thought I’d explain how this blog will work moving forward. Lay out my plans for world domination.

I (hopefully) will post every Wednesday. Hump day treat!


My review of And I Darken by Kiersten White while start it off this Wednesday. So look out! I’m in the middle of writing two other reviews at the moment, so I at least have my schedule for the rest of the month.

What about when posting catches up with my reading? I don’t read as much since I became another boring cog in the machine (I’m being dramatic…I got a real world job), so I don’t normally finish one book a week. I have some other bookish blog ideas. I would also like to post original short stories. I am currently writing a horror story for Halloween. I watch a lot of horror films, so I could attempt reviewing films every so often? Films seems like a hard medium to review in a blog, but I could always try. This post is turning more into a journal entry or to-do list…

What I’m trying to say, CONTENT IS COMING! You can look at this 100% certified baller picture of me with a Belle sweatshirt. Your childhood does not compare!

xoxo, Gossip Girl

just kidding, it’s Dan

spoilers: GG was Dan the whole

yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense

why the fuq did Serena agree to marry Dan?

he made he life hell with a gossip site

fuq that

(this turned into some weird Gossip Girl poetry…okay bye..really this time)

Empire of Storms: Book Review

Empire of Storms: Book Review

I know why the pages in Empire of Storms are bible thin, so you can rip them out and use as tissues for all your goddamn tears. How does SJM do this? There is nothing particularly stunning about her writing or characters. There is actually a lot to criticize. A LOT. But I always find myself in this position after finishing one of her books. I am running on limited sleep because I stayed up until 4:30 A.M. to finish this book. I will warn you not to start the last 200 pages if you have an early flight in the morning or any other event that requires you to set an alarm because you will spend half the night trying to finish with an erratic level of mania and fear.

Here is a three sentence, spoiler-free review because I am not spending a second longer on a freaking review that is spoiler-free (nobody’s got time for that): Empire of Storms is better than the first three books but on the same plain as Queen of Shadows. SJM does not learn from her mistakes, but I am almost willing to look past that for the excellent side characters and the frequently changing perspectives. If you were 100% against QoS then I don’t think this book is going to change your mind, but if you are willing to suspend your disbelief, you’re in for a roller coaster.

Okay, that is it. Spoilers from here on out. You’ve been warned.

Read more

The Girls: Book Review

The Girls: Book Review

As stated on my Instagram story (plug: you should follow me on Instagram), the writing in Emma Cline’s The Girls is disgustingly good. It is the kind of good you don’t believe at first–quick to judge any new “It” book at the top of every list–but this book has it. If you have even a passing knowledge of the Manson Family then I don’t think there is anyway I can spoil it for you. This story ends in blood.

Read more

The Merciless II: Book Review

The Merciless II: Book Review

It’s hard to review a book that has already left your memory.

Just a quick summary: Sofia Flores survived the exorcism and death of her fellow classmates and friends(?). She convinces herself, with the help of a therapist, that the demonic events she witnessed were not real (yeah..okay). Then her mom dies (it’s not a happens within the first 10 pages). Then she is sent to a Catholic school for troubled teens (not so much of the “troubled” but definitely some “teens”). There she meets two girls and an altar boy who she totally wants to bone. Oops, take that bone back girl because this boy is crazy and wants to whip the devil out of you. It’s Fifty Shades of Grey meets Catholic suppression.  Read more