Reasons I DNF This Book: The Ruin of Kings

Hello everyone. I had hoped to have a Your Mileage May Vary book for you this week, but my latest read just… didn’t do it for me. Which is how we arrived here: at a bonus back-to-back week of Reasons I DNF This Book. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

As always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

This week’s DNF: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons; DNF at 16%

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: The Ruin of Kings”

Short But Sweet #004

This week’s prompt: Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education! What did that woman do to my little girl?

Jovian seethes as he watches Penny prostrate herself before a seventh, seventh, altar. He’d been led to believe that prayers for a good harvest would only need to be made at one such shrine, but evidently his daughter decided to combine the task with her daily devotions to the gods. He knows what she is about. She thinks that perhaps if he actually sees her religion in practice that he might change his mind about it. She’s wrong. It only serves to entrench his hatred further.

Continue reading “Short But Sweet #004”

A Bitter Pill

Hello and welcome to a post-hiatus, another-one-of-those edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, let’s get right into it yall. It’s no secret that, thanks to my lack of active project to work on plus the new content schedule for the blog, I’ve done a lot more reading than I’ve done writing of late. It should come as no surprise that this has been a great way to refill my creative well, and as such, I am starting to feel the itch to get back to writing. But this time, the itch has come with a difficult realization.

When I shelved Border Towns while I mulled a major revision, I was still sold on the concept and the core story arc. I was convinced that, though un-fantasyish in many ways, it was a fantasy story that I would want to read and if I wanted to read it, surely there would be others out there who would love it as well.

I started really devoting mental energy to developing that revision this week, and, as it so often happens, I got a bolt from the blue whilst lying in bed.

Border Towns, in its current conceptual form, is a bad book in which so little happens over the course of its 120k plus words it would laughable, if I wasn’t so horrified and embarrassed.

I touched on this 9 months ago when I ruminated if my fantasy was fantasy enough. Though my conclusion was in the negative, I was still enamored enough with my own story to believe that… it was still good enough to write anyway. I balked at the idea of adding elements that I had not originally planned on including.

Some significant distance has changed my mind on that, to say the least. Not only am I okay with changing the complexion of that original idea, I think it’s actually necessary if this novel ever wants to see the light of day. I can’t say I’m super thrilled about it, really, but the more and more I read, the more I have come to realize that my story idea, the one I have committed two drafts and a couple hundred thousand words (and countless untold hours not only writing, but brainstorming, worldbuilding, and obsessing over) just isn’t adequate as it stands today.

So I’m going back to the drawing board in an even bigger way than I thought. I don’t know if I’m excited. Resigned a little, I guess. Relieved, as always, to come to a decision. Daunted by task and doubtful of being equal to it. Hopeful that I’ve finally gotten over the hump that has held Border Towns back all this time.

We’ll see.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt (but for really real this time):

Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


This kind of reads dark, but I’m honestly not that down on myself or even Border Towns in general. I think this is the most clear eyed I’ve been about the subject. And without a timeline to hold myself to, I don’t feel panicked or rushed into making a decision I’m not comfortable with. I’m going to let my muse supply me with ideas as they come and actively brainstorm when she doesn’t. I’m gonna get it figured out, with the help of some good books and the knowledge that my struggles have all been had before, by people way more talented than me. They’ve been through it, and now so have I. And that gives me hope for the future of this stupid book.

Oops I got introspective again. Okay I’m really done now. Until next time, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Reasons I DNF This Book: Six of Crows

Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog after a two week hiatus. I wish I could say I was well rested for the break or that I had read a lot while I was gone, but neither is true and we’ll get into the latter point with another edition of Reasons I DNF This Book.

As always:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

This week’s DNF: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo; DNF at 13%

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: Six of Crows”

Celebrating the Victories, No Matter How Small

Hello and welcome to another modestly celebratory edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

So, we are just over a month into my new content schedule and since I’m feeling a bit introspective today, I thought I would take a look at how I’ve managed those changes so far.

It honestly feels a little cynical to talk about, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the data the new content has yielded is trends in traffic. By and large, my book review posts are the most popular week in and week out. I continually get clicks and likes days and even weeks after the original post goes up. It’s encouraging, considering it was something I was very nervous about doing. I still don’t know if I’m reviewing things “correctly” but the fact that people are reading them (and even liking them) anyway means I must be doing something right… right?

Some other anecdata: posting at a certain time of day (evenings) tends to draw more views as opposed to afternoons. Misfingering a hashtag on Twitter meant (or at least correlated to) the post not getting any views at all. People from China really like my Short But Sweet posts.

But most important of all, keeping up a content schedule like this one has had, so far, the one effect I most desperately desired: it’s gotten me engaged. It’s given me something to work on every week. It’s motivated me to keep reading, keep writing, keep creating, even when I feel utterly uninteresting.

I haven’t been perfect of course. I missed almost a whole week of posts once, and just this past Sunday I failed to get my Short But Sweet done in time. Once upon a time, that might have been hugely discouraging to me, and made it harder to get back up on the horse. However, if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that it’s okay to fail sometimes. It’s does me no favors to push myself past my limits and if I need to take breaks, that’s fine. As long as I’m not giving up entirely, what’s the harm?

If anything has driven this lesson home, it is the milestone the blog reached this week. 50 followers. Now, I realize that doesn’t sound like a lot but, at a time when I’ve been especially struggling to be creative, it matters to me. It matters that people have taken an interest, no matter how passing or moderate, in what I have to say. Since starting the new content schedule, I’ve gotten 13 new followers. 13 in about a month. Which means I gained 37 in the previous 23 months

So I’m going to take this modest, personal, meager victory and celebrate it. I’m going to be proud that I’ve kept up a three-post-a-week schedule with just a few hiccups. I’m going to, in this year of our lord 2020 where so much of our interactions, our relationships, our work, is, by necessity, online, look at this as a much needed positive.

Thanks to everyone who hit that follow button, even if my blog isn’t strictly in your lane. Thanks to anyone who liked (both in the digital and literal senses) what I had to say. Thanks for wordlessly motivating me to keep going. It’s seen and deeply appreciated.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt (but for real this time):

Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


That’s all from me this week. Just a quick note, I am on vacation next week, so while I intend to put up a Short But Sweet post on Sunday as expected, there will be no new content after that until September 15th. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Dancing With Disappointment

Hello and welcome to another fussy, self-indulgent edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

This week has been an ass-kicking for me at my day job, and so I find it to be something of a miracle that I’ve had any mental energy to do blog-stuff at all. That said, I’m gonna do a bit of whining in this post, so… consider yourself warned.

We writers are no strangers to disappointment. Your dream agent responds to your query with a form rejection. You spend months on submission with no offers. Your self-pubbed title doesn’t return the numbers you had hoped. Being a writer of the handful-of-unfinished-ideas and-exactly-one-completed-first-draft-of-a-trunk-novel-and-that’s-about-it persuasion, my disappointments are a bit smaller in scope, but I feel them keenly all the same.

The thing getting me down of late has been the realization that I probably won’t be able to compete in NaNoWriMo this year.

I’m a planner, not just in writing but in every facet of my life. Every Monday morning, as soon as I get to my desk, I fill out the week’s events in my planner. I write in my schedule, I make a list of tasks, both work related and home related, I fill out a handy habit-tracker chart. Throughout the week I tick off the boxes of completed chores, and add new ones. I adjust my schedule as needed. I make little notes about my successes and failures. Even on my commute home, I’m organizing in my head what the first, second, and third things I need to do when I get there. I largely dislike surprises because a lot of my mental health is wrapped up in being prepared.

So believe me when I say, when it comes to NaNo, I can’t just wing it.

September is the month I typically spend brainstorming a NaNo project. My ideas usually need years of percolating before their ready to be developed, so when I choose one to blitz-write in November, it’s already somewhat matured.

This year, however, the fruit of my muse is woefully unripe, leaving me with three less than optimal choices.

  1. Take another, exhausting crack at Border Towns. Spend September and October mentally working through the necessary revisions so I can dedicate my THIRD NOVEMBER IN A ROW to this WIP.
  2. Un-repurpose the Pillar-verse, the setting I’ve been writing my Short But Sweet vignettes in, despite the fact that I know it’s a mess, I know it’s a trunk novel, and I’m having more fun with it in its current format.
  3. Allow my “opus,” the novel I labored over for 10 years without ever getting beyond the 10k word mark, to resurface. I’ve matured a lot as a writer since I last took a crack at it and it could be fun. But I’ve already spent a decade of my life on it only for it to flop back into the depths of my brain.
  4. Or. Just… forgo NaNo entirely. Spend this year percolating and brainstorming and be ready with a fresh project.

None of these choices feel great, honestly. And that’s disappointing to me. I enjoy NaNoWriMo. I mean, I hate it, but I enjoy it (much like writing in general). It succeeded two years running in actually getting me to put words on the page when I would otherwise procrastinate. I also like the feeling in the community in November. The rush, the exhaustion, the elation, the motivation. It would be a bummer to miss out on that because of poor timing with the tide of my creativity.

But, I also have to accept that it might be the right thing to do. It’s a disappointment, sure, but as far as disappointments go, it’s one I can live with.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:

Damnation, such obsessed faith and flawed education!


Or maybe… I’m just performing some Olympic level procrastinating and this is all my way of rationalizing it. So says the anxiety brain. In any case, thanks for joining my pity party. I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet prompt, and again on Tuesday with a Your Mileage May Vary review of N. K. Jemison’s Fifth Season (I’m at 63%, I think I can make it!). Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Reasons I DNF This Book: Priory of the Orange Tree

Hello friends and welcome to another lovely Tuesday here on Just Another Struggling Writer, the day I devote to talking books. The good, the bad, and everything in between. Today’s is a review of the DNF persuasion so get your critical hats on, folks.

Before we get started, as always, a reminder:

Spoiler alert
Spoiler alert!

This week’s DNF: Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; DNF at 36% (though it might have actually been closer to 50%, the Kindle e-book formatting for this book was janky as hell).

Continue reading “Reasons I DNF This Book: Priory of the Orange Tree”

Short But Sweet #003

This week’s prompt: And now the star is dreaming.

And now the star is dreaming. The last vestiges of sunlight have faded beyond the horizon, leaving a sky of black velvet dotted with diamond-like stars overhead. Beneath is a bed of springy, sweet-smelling grass, and all around is the nightly chorus of crickets and toads and the occasional owl.

On the right, just inside Elyse’s peripheral vision is the Pillar — jutting garishly out of the ground, blotting out the stars where it stands. Elyse doesn’t like it, never has. Despite it’s prominence in the valley writ large, to say nothing of the village that encircles it’s base, it has always put her ill at ease. She cannot help but feel it is… watching her, like a great stone sentinel, unmoving, unceasing, unnerving.

Continue reading “Short But Sweet #003”

Character Driven Road Trip

Hello and welcome to another introspective, wakeup callish edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about my heretofore WIP (now trunked) Border Towns. If you’ve been with me on this journey since its inception, you might be familiar with my struggles with it (and subsequently a little bored of hearing about it). Well, strap in, because we’re taking another cruise through Border Towns.

bad trip

About a year ago, I was approximately 8000 words into the second draft and I was stuck. No matter how many times I rewrote it, no matter how many ways I approached it, no matter how long I spent bashing my head against it, I could not get the inciting incident* right. I got distance from it, I came back to it. I told myself I was overthinking it and moved on from it. I came back to it. I stopped writing entirely. I came back to it.

Eventually I just scrapped the scene and wrote a hollowed out version of it just to get me through NaNo, but I was never quite satisfied. I told myself, and others, that I just couldn’t figure out why this scene was so difficult to write.

But… well, that was a lie. I’ve always known what was wrong with it. I just also thought I could force myself to make it work anyway.

The thing is, my main character, L, turned out to be a spitfire. She was spunky, she was decisive, she took absolutely no shit. I thought, as I wrote, hell yes this is a female character I want to read. The first version of that scene was no doubt its best iteration.

Then, I remembered that her inability to take charge and make hard choices was sort of the whole narrative thrust of the book. Getting the point where she would make a stand in the face of adversity was her entire character arc. If I let her be a spitfire now, what the hell would the rest of my story be about?

And the thing is, I’ve realized, is I should have just let myself… find out.

I’m a planner. I’ve expounded on that at length. I love outlining, and I love having my roadmap, and I absolutely fear the unknown. Despite that, I always thought that if presented with a case of the story taking on a mind of its own, I would let it. Yet here I was, resisting with all my might the idea that my character was going to be this way, from the beginning, whether I liked it or not. Would that change really have altered the trajectory of the story that much? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll never know now, because instead of letting L take the reins, I forced myself to remain inside the extremely rigid box of what was, in my own mind, canon.

Man, I was an idiot. But that’s what first novels are for, right? Making mistakes and, if you’re good enough, learning from them.

I find myself wondering now if Border Towns can be salvaged by starting fresh with this new perspective in mind. But, even if it can’t (after all, my struggles with Border Towns did not begin and end with L’s characterization), I’ve learned a valuable lesson I could have sworn I already knew.

On this winding, wandering, wild road trip I call writing, let the damned characters do the driving.


Mental Health Check-In: Last week turned out to be the perfect black hole for productivity. Busy day job, doctor appointments, birthdays, and my main hobby coming out with some attention grabbing things. The anxiety brain was loud as each day passed without any blog-work getting done, telling me I failed and this is why I will always fail, because I won’t prioritize writing, yadda yadda yadda. That said, one of the biggest hurdles I’ve overcome with my mental health this year, is knowing that no matter how many times I fail, I can always get up and try again. So here I am, back on track, and with a reminder to be kind to yourself. Thanks for reading.


This week’s Short But Sweet prompt:

And now the star is dreaming.


That’s all from me on this Thursday Words Day. As always (or as near to always as life allows) I’ll be back on Sunday with my answer to this week’s Short But Sweet Prompt, and watch this space Tuesday for my next installment of Why I DNF This Book. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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