My Twenty Sixteen

My Twenty Sixteen was chaotic,
An interesting twelvemonth at best.
There were times when I felt in control,
And times I was put to the test.

I managed my greatest achievement
Through months of a studying spree,
‘Til at last I defended my thesis
And earned me a Master’s degree!

Though in writing I’ve always been active,
I found it was hard to keep pace.
With my thesis, my blog, and my novels,
This year’s been a creative race!

November by far closed the hardest
Of modern political years,
As I spent the eighth shaking profusely
And woke the next morning in tears.

Yet I’ve braved the emotion and chaos,
And I’m ready to start fresh and clean.
Let’s just hope it gets better from now on!
Have a Happy Twenty Seventeen!

Happy New Year to all my family, friends, and readers! I hope you had a pleasant 2016, and that you all have a wonderful 2017!

The Year in Review: What I’ve Learned About Writing in 2016

Welcome to the last creative writing post of 2016! It’s been a pretty crazy year, and while it may not have been the best for many people, my “Year in Review” has some of my proudest achievements yet! Following last year’s format, my final 2016 Wednesday post is a review of my resolutions from the beginning of the year. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Did I complete that Master’s thesis on time?

Yes and no. While I did have to request a couple of extensions, I at least managed to complete my thesis within the year to meet a defense deadline in September. After revising it a final time and submitting it to my school library last month, my next goal is to complete the paper for submission to a scientific journal next year. Here’s hoping I can meet my next deadline in 2017!

Did I expand my blogging network?

Yes! While I’m not exactly pulling in thousands of readers a day yet, I did meet some new writers through WordPress and get a lot more networking done this year than last. I commented on more blog posts, shared several articles I enjoyed, and even participated in blogging events! I look forward to meeting even more writers in the year to come!

Did I start monetizing my writing?

Not quite, but I’m on track. I didn’t sell any articles or win any story contests this year, but I did sign up for Fiverr and just got approved by Google AdSense this month. I’ve already started placing ads on my blog, and you can expect to hear about my new freelance writing and editing services soon. Now that I’m done with school (for now), hopefully 2017 will prove to be a much more fruitful year for my writing career!

What about you? What have you learned about writing in 2016? I hope you had a productive year, and that your 2017 will be even better! Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

What If? Writing Prompts: Holidays III

Welcome to December! Wow, the year just flew by again, didn’t it? As we reach the end of 2016, why not help yourself to one more batch of “What If?” Writing Prompts? Today’s set features more prompts in the theme of the holiday season. See what new holiday stories you can spin from these ideas! Enjoy!

What If - Parchment and QuillWhat if… Christmas came early this year?

What if… you were stuck reliving New Year’s Eve every day until you fulfilled all your resolutions for the past year?

What if… you found a note from Santa Claus leading you on a scavenger hunt for your Christmas present?

What if… there were a mixup at the North Pole and you had to help Santa get all the presents to the right children by Christmas morning?

What if… on New Year’s Eve, time were reset and the same year started over?

Good luck spinning some more holiday tales!

If you have any “What If?” writing prompt suggestions (for any theme), please feel free to share them in the comments below. Ideas I like may be featured in future “What If?” posts, with full credit and a link to your blog (if you have one)! Also, if you’ve written a piece based on an idea you’ve found here, be sure to link back to the respective “What If?” post. I would love to see what you’ve done with the prompt! Thank you!

Five More Books I Want to Read in 2016

Remember that list I shared last week of five books I want to read this year? Well, I just thought of five more. I feel a 2016 reading challenge coming on! It’s hard to say if I’ll be able to read all these books in one year, but I’ll definitely keep them on my list for future reading!

Just for fun, here are five more books I want to read in 2016. Enjoy!

6) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

Fantastic_Beasts_and_Where_to_Find_ThemI recently received this book as a surprise gift, and I have to say I couldn’t be more thrilled to have it in my collection. The Harry Potter books were a huge part of my childhood, and no Harry Potter fan’s bookshelf is complete without the spinoffs! The best part is that the profits from sales of Fantastic Beasts go to Comic Relief, a charity Ms. Rowling has long supported that was founded to “bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people”. It’s been too long since I finished the main series, so I look forward to diving back into the magical world of Harry Potter! Of course, after I’m done with this book, I’ll have to tackle Quidditch Through The Ages next…

7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering-HeightsIt’s this tragic love story between Cathy and Heathcliff, and it takes place on these really creepy moors in England, which I think represent the wildness of Heathcliff’s character. I totally get symbolism!

– Phoebe Buffay, Friends (Season 5, Episode 9 – The One With Ross’s Sandwich)

Yes, more period drama! This one’s another book that’s been sitting unread on my shelf for a while. My mother read Wuthering Heights a long time ago and recommended it to me because she enjoyed it, though she did warn me that it’s a rather tragic story. Just as well; I’ve always been one for a good dramatic tragedy!

The-Hunger-Games8) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I know, I know, I’m really late to the party on this one. The last movie isn’t even in theaters anymore (at least, not where I live)! I did buy the first Hunger Games novel in ebook format a while back; I just haven’t yet gotten around to reading it. I have been looking forward to immersing myself in some dystopian fiction, though, and since this one’s been on my to-read list for years and I’ve already seen most of the movies, The Hunger Games trilogy is almost certainly the best place for me to start!

Divergent9) Divergent by Veronica Roth

While we’re on the subject of dystopian fiction, Divergent is another title that piqued my interest some time ago but that hasn’t yet made it to the top of my reading list. I actually read the synopsis for this story well before the announcement of the first movie (which I haven’t even seen yet), and it definitely struck me as the sort of story I’d enjoy. The idea of a society divided into factions based on valued qualities is hardly a new concept (Hogwarts, hello?), but I find it always makes for a thought-provoking read!

Hamlet10) Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

It’s high time I got back into reading Shakespeare. Luckily, I have a complete single-volume collection of his works sitting on my shelf! There are several Shakespearean plays I’ve been meaning to read, and one of the plays at the top of that list is Hamlet. Yes, it’s another tragedy, as were the last couple of plays I read, but even though I would like to read some more of his comedies too, I just can’t resist drama! If I’m going to get back into Shakespeare, I figure why not start with the story that loosely inspired one of my favorite Disney movies?

Thus concludes my top ten to-read list! Now let’s see if I can take on the reading challenge this year! Thanks for reading!

What about you? What books do you plan to read in 2016?

Five Books I Want to Read in 2016

Ah, January, the month of new beginnings. I’m all for making New Year’s resolutions, even if most of them never make it past February. One of mine for this year is to read more books, and while it’s too soon to tell what new stories will have everyone hooked in 2016, there are some classics still sitting on my shelf that I’d love to start with.

So in no particular order, here are five books on my to-read list for 2016. Enjoy!

A-Game-of-Thrones1) A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Late to the party? You bet. I received A Game of Thrones for my birthday in 2014 and started reading it a little over a year ago, but with all the scientific texts constantly taking priority on my list, progress has been slower than I’d like. Still, it’s been a captivating read so far, and I’d love to be able to finish the book this year. Maybe then I’ll finally get into watching the series!

Pride-and-Prejudice_BN2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This one has been on my to-read list forever, but I can never seem to get around to reading it. Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic, and while I’ve seen the 2005 film more times than I can count, I imagine Ms. Austen’s literary masterpiece must be even greater in its novel form. If I’m going to read more period dramas in 2016, there’s no better book I’d love to start with!

Jane-Eyre-Collectors-Library3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Speaking of period dramas, this one’s another book given to me as a birthday present and that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I received Jane Eyre last year after my mother recommended it to me, and since my copy is in a pocket edition, I can at least keep it in my bag and do some light reading while I’m out and about. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one too; a Victorian feminist coming-of-age story seems right up my alley!

The-Picture-of-Dorian-Gray4) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This book I received as a Christmas present a few weeks ago, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise as I have yet to indulge in the works of Oscar Wilde. The Picture of Dorian Gray was also recommended to me by my mom, and though it doesn’t seem like the first book I’d grab off the shelf in the store, the reviews of this Gothic classic have certainly left me intrigued. Knowing it was an incredibly racy work that pushed the boundaries of moral sensibility in its time, I can only imagine what an exciting read lies ahead!

Tree_Thinking5) Tree Thinking by David A. Baum & Stacey D. Smith

Yes, one of these books is not like the others. Tree Thinking is a nonfiction book that serves as an introduction to phylogenetics, and though I’ve already read part of it just to get my foot in the door of my field of study, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have as much knowledge of the subject as possible under my belt. It’s proven to be quite a pleasant read so far, which isn’t surprising for me; if I learned anything in my college years, it’s that evolutionary biology is fascinating!

What about you? What books do you plan to read in 2016? Any other resolutions you’ve made for the new year?

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