Friday, 12 May 2017

Sunshine Blogger

Micaiah @ Notebooks and Novels tagged me for the Sunshine Blogger Tag: thank you, Micaiah! (This is my first time actually getting tagged by name, so that's awesome! :D )

Here are the rules:

...Answer 11 questions from your nominee
...Tag 11 bloggers
...Ask them 11 new questions

So, because I'm terrible at introductions, let's jump straight in, shall we?

--{ What is your favorite type of post to write?}--

Ooh. I've only been blogging for - *counts on fingers* *gives up and looks at calendar* two months? Two months. And I don't know... mostly I've written waffle-posts?

I like writing posts about things that I can't normally talk about because #nonwriters. Like crazy history things or a cute way for your characters to meet (haven't written that one no you never saw it okay?) or how hard it is to come up with names (no haven't done that yet either) ...Maybe ask me again in a few months when I've written more posts??

--{ When did you start writing?}--

Writing stories? And because I wanted to, not because I had to for school? Maybe twelve, I think. (These stories were all rubbish.) I was thirteen when I started my first 'novel' - I'm still working on it, although it's barely recognizable. (It was full of cliches and the MC was perfect and could do no wrong. I still have trouble with her. 😞)

--{ What is one piece of advice you'd like to give to new bloggers?

[I am a new blogger??]

The obvious piece of advice is that blogging is all about the community - make friends. Be a friend. "A man who has friends must himself be friendly" (Proverbs 18:24) and all that.

Assuming these new bloggers know that, though, I'd say: before you start making friends with everyone, and leaving your URL everywhere so they can find you, make sure your blog looks neat. Not tacky; not amateurish. (Yes, you can always go back and fiddle with the code to your heart's content, but you only have one chance to make a first impression.) I have no idea if there are guidelines as to what looks good and what looks like - well - a Blogger blog?! - but you can judge by eye. Does it look professional? And by that I don't mean stiff, unfriendly professional; I just mean neat! (Neat like we can trust you as a writer?) (...??... What are you trying to say, Jem?)

--{ Do you prefer Microsoft Word or Google Docs?}--

Microsoft Word. I've never actually used Google Docs.

--{ What member of the Fellowship of the Ring can you relate to the most?}--

Gimli: hates running. grumpy and aggressive.

Legolas: facial expressions.

Aragorn: '200% done' facial expressions.

Frodo: tired.

Sam: PO-TAY-TERS and would hit sleazy guys with a saucepan.

Merry: sassy lines and leads Pippin into trouble.

Pippin: gets into trouble and hadn't realised the non-glorified consequences of war (same for Merry).

[Hobbits in general: eat a lot, enjoy home comforts and parties, all that stuff. Also short, cute, curly hair, barefoot, and live in adorable homes. #lifegoals ]

Gandalf: is gone most of the time you need him. harried by the responsibility of looking after all these crazy hobbits/people/etc who insist on running rings around him. also messy hair.

Boromir: human. actually human. tries, fails, and is sorry.

[You were probably not looking for a five-minute lecture.] [Be grateful I didn't bring the PowerPoint slides.]

--{ How are you pursuing your dreams right now? }--

RIGHT now? I am pursuing my dreams by ignoring them.

*reads over last sentence*

That wasn't the right answer, was it... Let me elaborate.

I am pursuing my dreams of working in the library by ignoring my imminent assessment in my tertiary studies in that area. And I'm pursuing my dreams of finishing a novel by ignoring that too because I'm "working on my assessment".

*reads over that again*

Still not working, is it?


--{ What is the hardest part of being a writer?}--


The end.

Seriously, I don't know. I'm only on first drafts - never done serious book edits, never worried about publication. I do know, from a few short story competitions, that rejection is hard - especially when you loved your story with all your heart and thought it was perfect.

Apart from that, the hardest part is writing. I mean, it's solitary, and you end up all hunched, and you get grumpy from your characters being grumpy or misbehaving, and you spend so many hours working just to find a plot hole that renders all those words useless.

Don't give up, guys. Your story will be worth it.

*thanks self for the pep talk*

--{ What is your favorite hot drink? }--

I once had a caramel hot chocolate. *dies from deliciousness*

*comes back to finish post*

*and see if I can scrounge some more caramel hot chocolate somewhere*

I suppose I should mention here: I'm one of those almost not-a-real-writer writers. I don't drink coffee. Yes, you read that right. I write without caffeine. How do I manage? Well, it's quite tricky, actually. The human body was not made to function as a writer without caffeine.

(But I've heard the stuff's addictive? don't want that? and the only coffee I've ever tried was a mockuccino [how do you even spell that] I think? and while the caramel flavour was great, the coffee flavour was "I think someone burnt something??")

(As an example: my sister made chocolate truffle ball things. They have coffee neatly balanced with cocoa and sugar and biscuit, and they are so. good. But today I got to the middle of mine and the last bit was a big lump of pure coffee and it got stuck in my tooth and I nearly died. I have decided that when I die, I don't want it to be by coffee. And I have now warned my sister about putting coffee death in her chocolate balls.)

--{ How do you come up with your story ideas? }--

I do not actively "come up with" story ideas. They come to me. If they didn't I would be relieved and not write and enjoy the calmness of ordinary life.

Unfortunately characters keep knocking on my brain and insisting I need to know their story; the only way to do that is to write it, and I'll know how it ends when I get there. (AKA I don't plot.) These characters typically do not even have the decency to come with names. So I spend hours trying to find one that suits them, and they are invariably fussy about what suits them.

Bulking up my story's plot, on the other hand, is hard. And requires work. Which usually consists of me spending a day sitting staring at the paper, then ignoring the story until an amazing plot thread/twist/complication pops into my head, at which point I 'write through' it (a page or so, explaining to myself how it will work and talking through the problems/holes).

This has been a crazy rant by a sleep-deprived writer. Now, the weather.

--{ Which do you prefer, ebooks or paperbacks? }--

I only got Kindle (on my laptop) a month ago.


I mean, ebooks are typically cheaper, but I don't tend to buy many new books anyway (I am a devoted library member).

And hard copies of books are so much better and asdasdlfkj how can you even ask that??

--{ What is one book that has made you cry? }--

The first book I ever remember crying over was Seven Little Australians. Probably you haven't read it. It's about a family of seven kids who have a stern dad and a sweet step-mother and those kids are just horrors - without meaning to be bad. It's a classic Australian kids' book, anyway.

Despite this book, I TRUSTED authors when I was young. (My mum pre-read our books, which maybe had something to do with my trust.) I might have gotten anxious, but deep down I knew the characters couldn't die.


(I read more books with characters dying, now, but I just get bitter instead of crying?? like that makes sense??)

So those are my answers to Micaiah's Sunshine Blogger tag. Now before I get onto the rest of the rules, a little maths.

(No, seriously, bear with me.)

If I tag eleven people, assuming they complete the tag in exactly one week, next week there will be eleven people tagging eleven more people. Each. So:

Week 0: Me. Tag 11 people. Total 1.
Week 1: 11 people, tag 121 people. Total 12.
Week 2: 121 people, tag 1331 people. Total 133.
Week 3: 1331 people, tag 14641 people. Total 1464 (plus the 14641 people who will be doing this next week).

If the maths was unclear, sorry. But what I'm trying to say is: I'm going to break the rules, giving maths as my excuse. Do you think we know 1464(+14641!) people among us?? I know this doesn't take into account people being tagged twice, but I don't want to be a bother by tagging people who've done this plenty of times already. (If you are always open to being tagged, comment and tell me, and I'll keep you in mind!)

Anyway. I am going to break the rules and tag three people. Only do it if it's convenient, of course. (if inconvenient do it all the same)

(As far as I can see you haven't done this tag recently? Not that it would really matter, because the questions change every time, but I don't want to be a bother.) (did I already say that in this post?) (help I'm trying to be cool but my real personality is bleeding through) *takes a few days off from blogging to get my cool online persona back*

And here are my questions:

[Hang on, is there supposed to be a theme? like sunshiny stuff or something? because it doesn't say and I've thought up some random questions that I'd love to see you answer but really have nothing to do with sunshine??]

--{1. Is there a story that you've always wanted to write, but haven't yet?}--
--{2. What tv show/movie have you binge-watched the worst?}--
--{3. You know those innocent little mistakes we make that are so. embarrassing. they keep you up at night. five years later. Those. Tell me about one of them? (I promise I won't tell.) (I might put it in a story though?)}--
--{4. What's your biggest NOTP?}--
--{5. Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses? (seriously I want to know)}--
--{6. Is there a song you've been listening to on repeat?}--
--{7. Who is the first person that pops into your head when you think "weird"?}--
--{8. What's your biggest pet peeve?}--
--{9. Oxford comma or no?}--
--{10. If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?}--
--{11. Why did you start a blog?}--

I hope you have fun with these! - and everyone else, I'd love to read your answers to ANY of the questions, in the comments!


  1. 1. I'm working on a story idea that is sort of a history to my current WIP. I'm super excited because it is about one of my favorite characters.

    2. When Calls the Heart. #loveit #swoon

    3. My big mouth. Or, more accurately, my horrid facial expressions that say precisely what I'm thinking.

    4. Maybe Rachel and Percy? I don't know.

    5. A hundred duck-sized horses...

    6. Just about all of Mandisa's latest songs on Youtube. LOVE HER! Bleed the Same and I'm Still Here are my personal faves right now.

    7. My younger brother.

    8. People starting a really interesting sentence and then never finishing it. I hate that.

    9. YES! OXFORD COMMA!!!!!! Please, for the sake of my sanity!

    10. I've always been Sarah. Never anything else. Sarah, Plain and Not-So-Tall would probably be my blog name if I had one.

    11. Don't have one, so I can't answer this one.

    Thanks for allowing us to answer these in the comments. I would have been disappointed if I couldn't put my two cents in as well!

    ~Sarah R.

    1. 1. I know, right? I created several countries for a story, and then those countries had to have histories, and then I wanted to write about that instead! Also I really wanted to write about my favourite supporting characters... (I have trouble with abandoning first drafts for more glittery ideas!!)

      2. I haven't seen that, but I've heard of it. It's a bit like When Love Comes Softly, isn't it?

      3. Aw. But there are probably worse things than being really transparent! At least people can trust you to not be hiding anything! (not successfully, anyway xD)

      4. Is that Percy Jackson? *feigns non-ignorance* (I read the first and second, but haven't got around to reading the rest.)

      5. But all their hard little hooves! ;P

      6. Mandisa? Hm! I'll have to check out her music. What kind of music is it?

      7. My answer was actually 'me'. ;P

      8. Yes! Especially when people just talk over them so they trail off and blink and don't finish because they think no one cares.

      9. YES

      10. That would be a cute blog name! *considers* Cute probably isn't the right word? It sounds like an literary girl who would be interesting to talk to! (don't know why?)

      11. ;)

      I'll have to remember: in the future, I can tag you in the comments! Thanks for answering the tag, Sarah!

  2. It seems that May is the month of tags! But I LOVE reading these, so I'm not going to complain.

    1. I still have to do /your/ tag, Gray, so it's a good thing you love reading them! xD

  3. I loved your answers! *raises hand* I am also proof that writers can write without caffeine xD

    "Would you rather be attacked by one horse-sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?" Really? DUCK-SIZED HORSES. They would be SO CUTE. (I might be slightly horse crazy xD)

    And regarding those embarrassing little mistakes, here's my story: I was walking through the parking lot with my family, and the family of my brother's friends. Brilliant me decided to walk backwards for some reason. I nearly tripped and fell on my face. #embarrassed. ;)

    audrey caylin

    1. Thanks, Andrea! *high five for non-coffee writers*

      I think I'd rather a horse-sized duck? I could hang around its neck and it might fly with me on its back? Also 100 duck-sized horses would have 400 pointy little hooves... ;)

      Yep, those are the kind of mistakes. Innocent, but awkward and really embarrassing. *files away for possible use when a character needs embarrassing* *suitably anonymized, of course* xD

  4. Another writer who doesn't drink caffeine; I think I might know of four others now! I used to think I was the only writer on the planet who doesn't drink coffee. XD I'll take a glass of water or bitter lemonade any day. :)
    Thanks for tagging me! I'll try to do it when I can, but I have quite another few to get through first! As Gray said, it seems to be the month of tags! :D

    1. I thought I must be the only non-coffee writer too, Melissa! I'm glad to hear from others. :)

      Of course, do the tag whenever it's convenient!

  5. Haha. Love your humor, Jem. And this post was peppered with it. :D

    For the record, I don't drink coffee either. (Maybe that's why we have such a hard time getting a lot of writing done???) NAH! We can be successful writers without coffee! WE CAN!! ;)

    Your math though! Goodness gracious. When you put it that way, tagging fewer people seems like an absolute necessity!! :D

    Thanks for tagging me, by the way. I love being tagged. Of course it really ISN'T convenient. I mean, I'm terribly swamped with all the posts I need to write but...I guess I'll have to do it anyway since you give me no choice. Hahaha. ;P Seriously though, your questions look fun and I really do want to find time for it. So we'll if I can manage it. ;D

    1. You loved my humour, Miss March?? *turns into squeaking ball of happiness* (Actually, this was just me writing at 10pm after a week or so of staying up until 10pm. Now you know what I am truly like inside...) ;)

      How does caffeine help them SIT and write, though? I thought it made people jittery... it might help by extending the hours they can write, I suppose? (because staying up late every day is such a good idea a good idea a good idea hahaha maybe I shouldn't?? I have heard good things about sleep.)

      *proud of my maths* (Plus I don't know many bloggers yet... and I don't want to annoy you all by tagging you without breaks!)

      You're welcome, but don't mind me if this /is/ actually inconvenient! The Sherlock quote just sort of came out (have I mentioned it was 10pm??) Do the tag if you want to, and whenever it's convenient!

    2. "because staying up late every day is such a good idea a good idea a good idea..." Mwahaha. You're hilarious!! :D

  6. Ahh, I loved this! And you wrote such good questions at the end too *grins* I can't wait to do this! It looks super fun. But you ... don't like coffee?? *collapses in a puddle* IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL THOUGH. *sobs*

    1. Thanks, Hannah! But no... to me, coffee just tastes burnt (and not at all like the smell promised!). (Coffee cake is gorgeous, though.) *scrapes up puddle and tries to pat it back into a Hannah shape*

  7. AAAH YES I LOVE PAPERBACKS. I did write with MS Word but I just finished drafting with Google Docs and I have to say I'm pleased with it!

    SAME ON YOUR ADVICE TO NEW BLOGGERS. I technically am I new one but I completely agree! <3

    Your answers are great as usual, Jem!

    - andrea at a surge of thunder

    1. YES TO THE BOOKS the ones you can hold in your hands and breath them in yasss.

      Your blog has the neat, non-tacky look that I was talking about, too, Andrea! (thought I should mention) *still don't know how to describe it* (Currently words feel like fruit scones and syrup? heavy and doughy?) *needs to use the sleep* xD

      Thanks! *beams*

  8. I don't drink a lot of coffee either haha, so I hear you! Although I DO like the taste, I just would rather eat a hot chocolate/tea instead (also a caramel hot chocolate sounds 1000% divine! I so want to try that someday). Also neat blogs = excellent advice for any blogger! I'm always keen to come back to a blog when it's not like a weird font on a black background or something. The eyes caaaan't. 😂

    Also I loved your LOTR relatability analysis there. YES.

    And writing is hard. FUN. But hard.😂


      I agree - black backgrounds can be quite off-putting. And weird or tiny font - or having the text in a column only four inches wide.

      To be honest, I do mostly relate to the hobbits. Not the adventurous, cool ones like Bilbo or Merry, either... more like a Sam? but without his good features, like his willingness to carry the heavy stuff across serious cross-country ground. And his ability to not stab Gollum because Frodo liked him. Basically I just want to stay home and read and eat (and if that attracts wandering wizards/companies of dwarves, so be it).

      Yep, writing is HARD. I do focus on the fun, though... *will not admit to having a dozen WIPs and no second drafts* *because when I got bored I left* THIS WIP WILL BE THE ONE, I PROMISE. x)


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