The “What’s Your WIP?” Blog Tag!

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today I get to tell you more about my WIP, thanks to Sara at Sparkle Girl! Thanks so much Sara! (And y’all, go check out her blog! It’s amazing!) This will be a long post but I hope you enjoy it. Let’s dive in! (Also… this post looks much better on the actual site, https://kaleykriesel.wordpress.com.)

Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you & link to their blog. (Thanks again, Sara!)
  • Link back to the creator, Katja @ Little Blossoms for Jesus, & add the tag graphic.
  • List the rules.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Feel free to add snippets!
  • Tag as many or as few people as you wish & let them know they’re tagged.
  • Add a clean copy of the questions at the end of your post for the tagged.

Tag

Note: This tag is long so I tried to keep my answers short but full of information. This book contains some minor trigger warnings but nothing is explicitly mentioned here.

Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be?

My main WIP is titled “What Matters Most.” I’ll be talking about it (and its sequel) for the tag today. The sequel’s title is currently No Matter What but I’m not sure it really fits the story yet.

Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about?

Here’s the blurb for the first book:

Trixie Alcaraz doesn’t understand people. Sometimes people care, and sometimes they don’t. Like her parents, who don’t care for each other and left her with her older sister, and like her sister, who seems so caught up in building a future she hardly sees Trixie. So when it seems that the popular kids at her new school are caring, Trixie happily jumps into their midst… only to find out that she still feels alone.

Clover Montgomery is hard on herself. Even as her blog grows in followers, she can’t help but wish that she knew how to speak to people offline the way her best friend Amelia does, and when people say mean things, she’s prone to believe them. When she encounters bullies, she begins to inwardly tear herself apart.

Amelia Standish feels forgotten. As the middle child and only girl in her family, she wonders if she’ll ever be as popular as her best friend, Clover, or the new girl, Trixie. When she sets her mind to get noticed, it hardly seems to matter who’s doing the noticing; as long as they’re popular, she wants them to see her. When popular boy Wyatt begins to pay attention, she’s determined to do whatever it takes to keep it that way.

A little bit of chance and their hidden desires blaze into a fire of friendship when the girls meet. But as each is confronted with the question of who they are and what they believe in, things start to fall apart. Is friendship worth preserving if it exposes your brokenness? And how do you save what already seems gone?

I won’t reveal anything about the second book’s plot simply because it isn’t written yet and would spoil the first.

Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind?

One is in the works for What Matters Most! It’s going to be a watercolor painting of some key things from the book with some fairy light. My sister will be painting it, once I get a picture of the objects to her. Which… hadn’t quite yet happened. But I’m also brainstorming a similar but different one for the sequel.

How did you get the idea for this story?

I’d wanted to do a story about friendship with three plots that meld into a fourth for a while, but I wasn’t sure how. Then I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo and I decided “Ok, if I’m going to write this, I’ve got to figure it out now.” So I brainstormed some things that affect teen girls today and decided to write a school story as realistically as I could. I didn’t want to load it with stereotypes and mean girls without purpose. But writing a school story realistically when I’m homeschooled is a real challenge. Hopefully I can pull it off. The second book really just came because I couldn’t leave my characters after I finished What Matters Most.

How long do you think it will be? Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be?

The first is around 50k right now and that’s after the first round of edits. It’s shorter than I wanted it, which is kind of disappointing but I do know some things that I might be able to successfully bring out more to enhance the plot. If they work, I’m expecting it to at least reach 53k. The second might be longer but it will probably be around the same size.

Who’s your favourite character so far?

I want to say all of them but I really have to say Noah Hamilton. He’s in both books, in the first as a side character and in the second as a main character. He. Is. A. MOOD. He looks stoic and unhappy, is extremely intimidating on the outside, and doesn’t speak much. But when he does speak… he’s a total marshmallow on the inside. He just hides it away and sometimes pretends he isn’t. He’s blunt and to the point but not one to hurt with his words without a reason. He’s fiercely loyal and protective as well as gentle and caring. I am obsessed with him…. He has flaws, but man is he the best. Is it bad that I have a crush on a character I created?

What’s your favourite memory related to this WiP?

Ooh… that would probably be the day I wrote 6k and met my NaNo goal. But there’s so many memories of laughing and stressing and pouring everything on this book I don’t exactly have an answer. I don’t yet have much for the sequel, but the first chapter is currently one of my favorite things I’ve written.

Any special person(s) who helped create it?

Oh gosh… I’m going to make you all wait for the acknowledgments page whenever it publishes simply because I have so many people who have helped me and pushed me forward. I’m so insanely lucky.

What’s your favourite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)?

I think the least spoiler-y favorite is the scene where Noah and Clover really meet the first time. She’s so scared of him even though he’s just helped her with something. He proves in that moment that there’s a sweet side hiding underneath all the intimidating layers. Clover also surprises herself in this scene, but I think explaining that would spoil. And, as mentioned for the sequel, my favorite scene has to be the first scene in chapter 1. But I won’t spoil…

Can you give us a snippet?

… or maybe I will spoil from the sequel, just a little.

Here’s an edited portion of that scene without major spoilers from Noah’s perspective. Trigger warnings: blood, mention of death.

“I force myself to pack my old guitar into its guitar case slowly, telling myself it isn’t that big of a deal. Guys and girls hang out all the time, and when they’re our age, it normally gets forgotten in about four weeks. I’m dreaming too big. Picking up the case with my right hand, I adjust my hat with my left before walking out the door, through the hall, and into the living room. Nodding at my dad, who’s sitting in the old armchair, I open the front door. “See you, Dad.”

“Love you, Noah,” he says, his deep voice tired. He coughs softly and then falls silent. His eyes are sleepily trying to close, even though his glasses are still on and his book lies open in his lap.

“You too, Dad,” I tell him, not really feeling like smiling now. He over did it at the store stocking shelves again. I can see it in his face, in the way his arms limply sink into the threadbare armrests, in the way he’s just sort of melted into the chair. Frowning, I walk outside and shut the door behind me. Her house is pretty far away, so I start walking quickly, not wanting to be late. The sun that felt so right just a little bit ago feels overly optimistic. A girl shouldn’t be liking me if my dad can’t have my mom because of stupid people. A girl shouldn’t like me if my dad can’t have his leg, an actual part of him. And even more than just a girl, … a beautiful, super smart girl like [her] should definitely never like me. Kicking every crack in the sidewalk in our neighborhood, I ask the cement silently how come I get to have such a good life when my dad can hardly do his job without feeling exhausted. Then I reach The Concrete Block and I force my eyes up and away quickly. I can’t look. I force myself to breathe like I’m fine, but I didn’t mean to see it.

The Concrete Block is a reminder of all I lost, all the stupidity of this world, all the reasons I don’t deserve this. The Concrete Block has splotches of red where nobody bothered to clean the blood and where it’s stained forever. The Concrete Block is where the screams and sounds came from, the ones I heard all that way away and that haunted me for so long since even though I didn’t know the girl. The Concrete Block is where I first really knew what my mom might have suffered when she died. And if I look, I might break. So I don’t look and keep walking, wishing I hadn’t agreed to hang out tonight.

Sorry for any tears caused lol.

Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curveballs?

I definitely didn’t see anything from the sequel coming, nor several things from the first book… I couldn’t even begin to list the curveballs if I wanted to.

Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story?

For WMM I think Abbie Emmons’s cover for 100 Days of Sunlight inspired me most, although I know the quote “When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them,” from Maria Popova sums up the theme of the book fairly well.

When and where have you done most of the writing so far?

Mostly sitting on the floor…. For some reason I work best there. To be specific, I wrote WMM sitting on the floor of the library we have in a corner upstairs. I did most of it in the evenings of last November for NaNoWriMo

Where do you get inspiration for this story?

I remind myself of all the girls out there who keep getting told to ignore what certain people say but still don’t know what they’re worth. I remind myself of all the people reading books that don’t relate to their real lives and wonder “when will I find a book that I can really believe can happen and find help for my situation from?” Those are the biggest ways I’ve been inspired, but not the only ways.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Actually this book has totally changed that. I was a total pantser and now I will never again write a book without plotting it first.

Do you have a little ritual before you start writing?

Not really. I look over the outline and whatever I’ve last written and just dive in.

Are you thinking of publishing this story?

Yes! Both should be out by 2025 at latest, but WMM will be out (hopefully!) next year.

What things have you learned while writing this story?

I can. That’s what I’ve learned. I can write characters I don’t share much experience with. I can write every day for a month. I can write 50k. I can plot. I can write something that can make a difference. I can.


I hope you learned something new and enjoyed this post! I’m going to leave this open to anyone who has yet to share their amazing book with the world. Here are the questions:

  • Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be?
  • Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about?
  • Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind?
  • How did you get the idea for this story?
  • How long do you think it will be? Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be?
  • Who’s your favourite character so far?
  • What’s your favourite memory related to this WiP?
  • Any special person(s) who helped create it?
  • What’s your favourite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)?
  • Can you give us a snippet?
  • Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curveballs?
  • Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story?
  • When and where have you done most of the writing so far?
  • Where do you get inspiration for this story?
  • Are you a plotter or a pantser?
  • Do you have a little ritual before you start writing?
  • Are you thinking of publishing this story?
  • What things have you learned while writing this story?

Is there anything that surprised you in the post? Anything you’re excited for in my book? Whats your book about? Let me know in the comments!

Summer Reading Challenges To Try

Hey, friends! Welcome or welcome back to Words! As we enter into the summer, people my age and younger have more time and are starting to think about what to do with it. Meanwhile adults see the fun kids are having and, even though most are working, embrace the nostalgia, fun, and sun this season brings. If you’re looking for reading challenges for the summer, here’s a few I came up with! I’m doing two of them. Let’s dive in!


Two Books a Month

You know that one friend or family member who always has a list of books you should read? And you know how you normally have a few books for them? This is the challenge for the both of you! For this challenge, you and a friend swap a list of six-eight books and, over the summer, you each read two a month. This really helps knock out a little of that TBR and forces you and your friend or family member to chose which books are really the highest priority. My sister and I are on our second summer of doing this!

The Sequoyah Master List

As some of you may know, this next year’s Sequoyah master lists are out. I’m planning on reading through the children’s list later this year. This list isn’t extremely long but it has several fresh books worth reading. I don’t know what’s on the teen or adult list, though; you may want to research the content of the books.

Out of Your Genre

If you spend most of your time in a certain genre, you may want to try something different for the summer. For this challenge you choose a genre you normally wouldn’t read and find a number of books in the genre. This doesn’t sound hard but it can be! I read certain books much slower than others.

Family Book Club

If you and your siblings are around the same age, a fun option could be a summer book club. Everyone would pick a book they’d like to read and over the summer everyone would have to read all the chosen books. If you wanted to make it harder you could allow everyone to chose two. I think this challenge could be extremely interesting and a cool way to get to know your siblings better, even if you’re busy or have different schedules.

Other’s Choice

If you don’t have the one friend needed for the two books a month challenge but would love to do it, that’s ok! You can ask multiple people to give you one must-read book and organize your reading the same way. Ask people you don’t talk to as much, such as someone online you know or a librarian. This way you get a lot of variety and fun surprises!

Through a Library Section

This one is the most ambitious challenge: most libraries are divided into sections and, a month or two ago, I decided I’d read through one. I chose the children’s section. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m reading every book in the section, but I’m slowly reading through every title and as many summaries as possible. Then I choose the ones that interest me most. This is more organized browsing and so much more in-depth. I’ve found several books I wouldn’t have normally seen.


If you’re looking for book recommendations for the summer, I’m working on my reading list page. You can find my favorites and recent reads, as well as short reviews and content warnings. I’m going to be updating it often. Note, it’s still in progress and started recently. I’m still working on it. If you have suggestions for me, you can comment or reach out through my contact page.

Thank you for reading! What challenges are you doing this summer? Are you going to try any of mine? Let me know in the comments!

Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post will be pretty casual since I’d like to just have a sort of conversation with you, and first up on the agenda is an explanation as to why I just called you warriors and why I’m going to keep it up. Ready? *makes a cup of coffee* Let’s dive in!

Warriors

You’ve probably heard people say that the pen is mightier than the sword before, right? And you may have also heard of books changing lives, especially one book called the Bible (I’m a Christian and proud of it, changed by the Bible not because of words but because of the Spirit in the Word of God. Read John 1:1 if you don’t understand. But this post isn’t about what I believe in this regard.). If you think about it, a pen has begun wars and a pen has ended wars. A pen has started revolutionary movements and saved lives. If someone holds this power, I think they’re a warrior, don’t you? So I’ll be calling you warriors from now on. *sips coffee and nods*

So how are you guys? How are your writing projects going? What books are you reading? Any questions lately? I want to hear all about what’s on your minds, if you’re willing to be the warrior you are and tell us. I also want you to know that this place is a safe place. I will personally delete anything meant to hurt because this place is for a family, a group of friends, and a team of writers and readers supporting and teaching each other. Please get to know each other more in the comments! I challenge you to reply to one person you’ve never talked to before. Your words could change both of your lives, even in a small way. So maybe answer my questions. Maybe introduce yourself and say hi to everyone. I’ll be responding to as many comments as possible.

Why I read more kids’ books than YA books

What’s that your asking? *sips coffee and looks at you innocently* Oh, you clicked this post to find out why I read kids books and choose to miss out on all the excitement of stuff for my age? Not to be asked a bunch of questions and told you’re part of some family you didn’t really ask to join? *swallows coffee calmly* *sets coffee down* I should probably explain that. Since I’m a storyteller, I’ll start with a little story.

Every Wednesday I visit the library with my family. Normally I’m not thrilled to be there simply because I’m being tutored on how to take the ACT test best, but even still I always have time to look at books (although I admit that occasionally this time has been used for texting). One fateful day I decided that instead of sitting around waiting to test I’d look at the books. As I entered the children’s section, I overheard two boys talking (far too loudly for a library) about some Pokémon books. I ignored them at first since boys will be boys, but then the older boy made a comment about children’s books being babyish (except Pokémon, he meant) and he was going to look in the teen section because, he would have the other boy know, he was thirteen. Now I could tell the younger boy wasn’t extremely happy with this comment and I was one row over so I calmly peeked around the corner to tell them that I was older than them both and I was in the children’s section. The older boy was embarrassed that I heard him and somewhat insulted when I gently alerted him of how loud he was. But we both returned to perusing the shelves. A few minutes later I happened to glance up and spot him in the teens’ section. For some reason, I felt the urge to talk to this stranger again and tell him that he should look in the kids’ section, and I did so, offering my reasons. Soon after he was, to my slight discomfort but satisfaction, following me through the shelves of “babyish” books. Do you know what books he really wanted in the end? Take a guess.

He wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hank the Cow Dog.

I laughed to myself softly and sadly when I saw that. Do you know why?

Books are often labeled “kids’” or “teens’” not only by the age of the characters but also by the content. This means that it apparently appeals to teens to read books filled with unnecessary language and actions that parents don’t encourage but their reading material discusses. This means many adult authors writing books for teenagers feel the urge to include the darker side of humanity in their work simply because they believe that’s what teens want to read and hear. They insert passionate romance and cussing into all genres and wave their beliefs like a banner. In some ways, this exposes their hearts, but, in many ways, it is cunningness or ignorance that children’s authors often don’t use in writing.

Not all teens want to act like they’re married to someone they hardly know. Not all teens curse like a walking dictionary of explicit language. Not all teens believe or want to be persuaded into believing in political views, religious ideas, or other concepts. Maybe some teens just want a story; maybe some teens just want to read about someone who is like them and makes it through whatever they’re going through. Some YA authors acknowledge this, but not enough do. I walk into my library’s teen section and am immediately disgusted by covers of romance books and titles that leave me in the dark as to whether or not I can trust the book. I’m afraid to open these books because I don’t ever know what I might find. These are the products of fools and masters both: the fools write this way because they only know their own heart, not teens, and the masters write this way because they know teens are most likely to learn a new way or new belief because their minds are still developing and trying to separate from their parents as they get older. If you’re careful about your companions, then you should be wary of these books because a book well-written becomes a companion.

Now I also read children’s fiction because it is simple and to the point. These books are about kids learning how strong they can be, what complex feelings are, and how to come together to make the world better. These books can be masterfully written and have you on the edge of your seat with a simple theme almost everyone can agree on. If we’re all so set on being politically correct, why aren’t we more aware of the way words often divide when they could bring people together? These books also contain imagination that teens scoff at and adults laugh at because it can’t be believed. These books are the treasures of childhood that have been preserved in some authors’ minds formed into words that make us gasp and laugh and smile with pleasure. These books bring us back to simpler times.

Now don’t get me wrong. Some “kids’” books would be classified as these teen books if someone took the time to read them before calling them kids’ books. I’ve started one that was ridiculously political in chapter one and I’ve read a kids’ book with bad language and some references that I very much didn’t care for. And some teens’ books are amazing. Dust, Shadow, and The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson are some of my favorite books, as well as Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. Ignite by Jenna Terese is beautiful and The Lunar Chronicles were overall excellent stories. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch had me up way past my bedtime. But even several of these books contain unnecessary romance and references. I’m starting to think that a book without a kiss (or a million kisses) is hardly a YA book. It shouldn’t be this way.

In my writing, I’m taking a stand. I don’t want to use bad language when it doesn’t add to the story (which it normally doesn’t, in my opinion). I don’t want to discuss only the romantic troubles teens suffer. I don’t want books about bullying to only be in the middle-grade category. I want stories that teens can relate to that encourage us to go down the right paths because a book is food for the mind and we teens are mostly offered junk. I want to change that.

What about you? What are your thoughts on kids’ books vs. teens’ books? Do you accept the huge amount of explicit content in YA or are you against it? What is your favorite YA book without much or no explicit content? Let me know in the comments!