Progress is Not Failure

Hi everyone!

November is NaNoWriMo, I was pumped at the beginning of the month, because I had a plan to finish Alter Reach and start editing. Clearly, that plan fell through. While I had all the time in the world to write, I spent the majority of my days on the couch (or at the doctors).

Tomorrow is the last day, and there isn’t even a slight chance that I will hit 50,000 words. A year ago, I would have called this a failure and been super hard on myself, but I have been trying (and succeeding) to change my mindset.

I wrote words. It might not have been a lot of words, and it definitely wasn’t the amount I was hoping for, but given the circumstances, I still made progress. And progress isn’t failure. It’s…well, progress.

Alter Reach is closer to being a complete draft today, than it was on November 1st and I can’t complain about that. All I can do is try to feel better and get writing on a regular basis again.

So, if you’re not quite reaching your goals this month (whatever they may be), don’t sell yourself short. Progress is a good thing and it should be celebrated. Don’t let that little part of your brain start screaming, “failure,” because it isn’t.


I hope you’ve made progress toward whatever goals you may have.

I have another test scheduled for Friday. Hoping to get some answers and start feeling better soon. I will update again soon. 😊

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SOCIAL MEDIA:
Twitter: @jessica_rachow
Instagram: @jessica_rachow
Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

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Writer Tag

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I’m currently reading through the second book in my September TBR challenge, so I thought I would do a quick tag.

On another note, I’m super close to 100 followers on this blog. I wanted to say thank you for the support. I’m trying to plan my 100 subscriber blog, so stay tuned for that (hopefully soon! 😊)

As always, I tag anyone who wants to participate.

______________________________

TAG Questions:

W- Wherewhere do you do your best writing?

At my desk in my living living room. In the apartment, I don’t have a ton of options but it’s my own space.

R- Ritualsdo you have any rituals you have to do when you want to write?

Not really. The only thing I need to do is shut down Twitter…because Twitter is the downfall of my writing progress.

I- Irritatewhat irritates you most when you struggle with writing?

Lack of ability to write what I’m seeing in my head. The visuals are there, but the words aren’t flowing. That is just so disheartening.

T- Talentwhat aspect of writing do you feel you’re most talented at?

Creating relatable characters. I love creating diverse, relatable personalities.

E- Essentialwhat part of writing is absolutely essential to who you are?

All parts of writing? I don’t think I can pick one part of writing. Writing in general just means so much to me.

R- Reflections- what is something that you’ve written that is a reflection that something that’s happened to you in your life?

Almost every piece of poetry I’ve written has been a real story.

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Well, that is all I have for you tonight. I hope your week is going well.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Twitter: @JessicaInspired
Instagram: @JessicaInspired
Facebook: @AuthorJessicaRachow
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Need to contact me? Email me: jessicarachow15@gmail.com

Alter Reach Inspiration

Hey everyone,

If you are following me on social media, you may recognize these. I took some of the images I pinned on Pinterest and created “story boards” for some of my characters.

NOTE: I do not own the rights to these images.

MARCI

FAELYN

ALYSON

ZEKE

WREN

BRASTON

I hope you enjoy checking these out. I can’t wait to share this story with everyone.

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @jessicainspired

Follow me on Facebook: @authorjessicarachow

Until next time –

Jessica

Writing Resources I Find Useful Pt. 2

Hello everyone!

I kind of fell off the face of the earth the last few days and I apologise for that. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I am looking forward to a long, three day weekend ahead to recoup and catch up on all the blogs I planned to put out, along with continuing the progress on Alter Reach!

Tonight I thought I’d put together another list of writing resources I find useful. You can read my first list here. 

1. Jeff Goin’s blog is fantastic. He has advice on writing, publishing, setting up your blog…just about anything you need advice on, he has. He does have some paid services, but I think you can find quite a bit of useful info that he offers for free. 

2. Mandi Lynn is a YouTuber/Published author who has tons of useful info to share…from outlining to publishing options, she is a great resource I find myself referring to when I need help. 

3. Beyond Your Blog is a great resource. There is some advice, along with writing opportunities to help you take your writing to the next level. 

4. Every Writer – tips, tricks and contests galore. This is a great resource for inspiration.

5. The Write Life – I follow this on Facebook, and they always have great articles and memes to spread inspiration and laughs along the way. I just discovered their actual site. It has many useful articles and links to other great resources (some of which, I have mentioned.)

6. I mentioned Well-Storied in my last post of useful resources but I never mentioned the Facebook group. If you’re a Facebook user, search for Your Write Dream (what Well-Storied used to be named). You should find a Facebook group you can join. It is fantastic, there are so many friendly people willing to give advice and help you out. I’ve gained a lot of inspiration from that group. 

7. #AmWriting – if you’re a Twitter user, this is a must-use hashtag. You can find resources and other authors to connect too. I use it every time I post and it’s helped me build my platform more than I think I would have, had I not used it. 

8. Narrative Ink Editing – while not an advice resource, I figured in this second installment of resources, I would touch on some of the editors I’ve been researching. If you’re in need of an editor, I’d highly recommend checking this one out. It’s on my top list of editors I’m considering. 

9. Think Written has a cool article with 365 writing prompts. When I’m feeling uninspired, I seek out writing prompts. Here’s some fun ones if you’re feeling the need. 

10. Descriptionari is a cool site where people post descriptions of all sorts of things. It’s a great place to get inspiration for descriptions.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you find some of these useful. I will try to get back on track with regular posts 😉

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

Until next time –
Jessica

Split – Movie Review

Hello! I have been waiting to see this movie since the trailer was dropped. I’m a huge fan of most of Shyamalan’s movies, and thriller movies like this are right up my alley.

Before we get into it, please note that I will do my best not to spoil this film, but I think it’s best if you watch it before you read anything on it. I went in completely blind because I knew there would be twist and turns I wouldn’t have wanted to know before watching. I think that worked out in my favor. You’ve been warned.

Synopsis:

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.  – Written & directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

Review:

Alright, so Split has some fricken incredible actors who portray some very believable characters, and I’m going to do a brief overview of some of them.

The human brain is the most complex object in the universe.

Betty Buckly plays a psychologist named Dr. Karen Fletcher who is desperately trying to understand and communicate with Kevin (played by James McAvoy). Kevin has 23 distinct personalities and Fletcher is attempting to figure out how his brain works and how to help him. She is very convincing and plays an incredibly important part in this movie. As she attempts to learn about Kevin’s condition, some mysteries begin to unravel and it’s just compelling to watch her.

There’s a flower on the pillows, a flower in the bathroom, like we’re important.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Casey, one of the three girls abducted. She is a very interesting and intricate character. She is not a person you will understand right away – she’s more of a puzzle and the farther you get into this movie, the more you understand why she is the way she is.

Are you trying to trick me? I’ll tell on you.

James McAvoy plays Kevin, a man with 23 distinct personalities. He was incredible. I can’t give this guy enough credit for the role he played. Each personality is so unique, and distinguishable that I never questioned who he was when he walked on screen. McAvoy truly gave his all in this performance, and it pays off. I can imagine attempting to portray one person in a movie is difficult, and McAvoy pulls this off over and over again with very unique characters.

This movie looks incredible. The camera work is amazing – some of the unique angles and shots make for a very interesting ride for the viewer. The tones are dark and dank, and when we are watching the girls or McAvoy’s character, you really feel like you’re in a dangerous area. The score of this movie is also interesting. It is so subtle at times, you barely notice it’s there. It just adds to the dark, claustrophobic feel the lighting and camera work gives you.

This movie knows when to make you laugh and when to make you nervous. I won’t go into much detail here, for fear of spoiling, but the film does a really good job of letting you know what emotions you should be feeling. It also does a fantastic job leaving you on the edge of your seat. You are given just enough information to push the plot forward, but it keeps you waiting until the very end to give you the answers you seek. This is what, I think, makes a thriller a good thriller. The ability to hold back enough to keep you sitting there for the entire two hours.

He’s done awful things to people and he’ll do awful things to you.

Another upside to this movie was its lack of gore. I think I’ll be making a more in depth blog post about today’s movie’s use of gore and sex rather than characterization and plot to sell movies, but this isn’t the time or place to get into it. I enjoyed the fact that there was very little gore. There were cringe-worthy scenes, but nothing so over the top. I enjoy movies that have the ability to shock you without sickening you.

The downsides to this movie are more of my own personal downsides that I can’t get into without spoiling everything. I might make a spoiler review in the future where I discuss it, but for now, I will just say that there was some info I wish I had known going in.

Wrap Up:

This movie is fantastic. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a movie that makes you work for the answers rather than making it easy.

RATING: 5/5 ☆

Let me know what you thought of Split in the comments below.

You can still read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

Until next time –

Jessica

Passengers – Movie Review 

Hi there! 

This blog is going to be a review of the movie Passengers starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt. I have to admit, I was so excited to see these two starring in a film together. I’m a big fan of both of their work. 

Per usual, I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free but I’d suggest you watch the movie before reading this. 

Synopsis (Taken from IMDB.com)

A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.
Review

I had high expectations and hopes for this movie. The trailer looked pretty cool, I am a fan of both actors, so I thought it would be pretty great. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Now before I get into it, I’ll start off by saying this wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen but I was left feeling like if I never saw it again, I wouldn’t be depriving myself of anything.

I’ll start with some of the good parts. The movie is very pretty. The CGI and scenes of space are super appealing and for the most part, believable. 

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt do pretty well given the material they had to work with. I don’t blame either actors for the weakness of this movie. 

The outside look of the ship was pretty unique and cool looking. My husband disagrees, but I thought the inside and some of the technology used on the ship was fun as well. 

Alright, on to the bad. 

My biggest issue with this film was that it felt like two different movies that they tried to combine into one. The trailer teased this as a romance, scifi action movie. The movie focused so long on the romance (almost 1.5 hours of the 2 hours mocie), that when things finally started getting interesting, it felt like the writers just threw a bunch of things in at the last minute to make it “exciting.”

I felt like there were moments when the writers added things to cover up plot holes. The ending was rushed and predictable. I barely cared about the characters (again, I don’t think that was Lawrence or Pratt’s fault…the story has to hold your interest as well as the actors). 

The other big issue I had was the over sexualized nature of it. There are two times that I can think of where you see Chris Pratt’s naked behind for no reason..it doesn’t move the plot forward, it just makes the girls in the audience swoon. 

The pace is very slow, like I stated earlier. After an hour of the two main characters (Spoiler alert…kind of) flirting, screwing, and being mad at each other, I felt myself wondering when the movie would actually become interesting. By the time the action started, I was already over the movie. 

Wrap up

Like I said, the movie wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen…but I definitely won’t be buying the DVD and watching it over again. Which is such a shame given how excited I was to see it. I’m glad I didn’t see it in theaters and waited to rent it. 

RATING: 3/5 ☆
 That is all I have for you today. Let me know what you thought in the comments!

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

I hope you have a great rest of your week, I will write to you soon. 😊

Until next time –
Jessica

Jessica’s Monthly Goals 

Hey Everyone!

Happy Friday!!!! I can’t express how happy I am, it has been a long week.

For this blog, I wanted to start something new. My plan is to tell you at the beginning of each month, 10 solid goals I would like to accomplish, and then at the end of the month, tell you if I succeeded or failed. I need a little bit more planning in my life if I ever want to accomplish the things I’ve set out to do. So, without further adieu, here’s my April Monthly Goals.

  1. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo. – I have a rough goal of 25,000 words, but my main goal is to finish Alter Reach.
  2. Post 3 blogs per week (including Jessica’s Weekly Poetry Post).
  3. Clean out/organize under my kitchen cupboards (yes, there will be non-writer goals!)
  4. Start looking into editors (if you have any suggestions, let me know!) and pricing out my options.
  5. Start looking into cover designers (if you have any suggestions, let me know!) and pricing out my options.
  6. Get some “professional” photos of myself taken. (By professional, I mean have my husband take some nice portraits of me.)
  7. Clean out/organize my closet and donate things I don’t need. 
  8. Go to Church every Sunday. 
  9. Update Twitter and Facebook more often. 
  10. Plan a nice Birthday for my hubby (his Birthday is the 27th!)

Okay, I think that’s a pretty solid list of writing and non-writer goals. Wish me luck in completing them!

That is all I have for you today.

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Don’t forget to check out my review of Kong: Skull Island Review with my husband on YouTube!

I hope you have a great weekend!

Until next time –
Jessica

Would You Rather Author Tag

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. I know I’m looking forward to the weekend, as always. Here’s another Tag for you to enjoy.

Have a Male main character or a Female main character?
Tough call. Alter Reach has a female lead, but I think I’d like to write a book with a male lead too.

Wake up before dawn every day write or stay up into the early morning hours to write?
I’m a weirdo, and I don’t know how to sleep in, and I can barely stay awake past 9…so I’m going with morning writing hours.

Write a book that is torturous to write but which is very popular or write a book that is fun to write but which is only known by a small audience?
Write a book that’s fun to write. I don’t write to be popular, I write because it’s something I love to do. I wouldn’t write if it was torturous.

Write a SciFi story or a Fantasy story?
I’m writing a Fantasy now…want to write a SciFi next. So, I’m saying both!

Use first person or third person?
I think I like to write in third person for the most part. Every time I’ve attempted first, I haven’t gotten very far in the story.

Meet any character of any book/short-story in real life for one day or personally know any author you wish?
Personally know any author. That would be pretty sweet.

Only be able to write dialog if you act out the voices out loud or only be able to write action if you act it out in real life?
Dialog. Can you imagine having to act out action scenes?

Publish with the most successful publishing house in your genre but have to wait 2 years to see your book in print or self publish with no expense or marketing assistance but see your book in print within 3 months?
Self publish. That’s the avenue I’m going with. There are benefits to both, but I’ve decided self publishing is what is best for my story.

Write a goofy story or write a serious story?
I guess serious. I’m not very funny.

Write a story knowing that you will have to kill off the main character eventually or write a story knowing that everyone the main character is close to you will eventually have to kill off?
Kill the main character. It’s less expected.

Leave your ending somewhat open and bittersweet or leave your ending on a cliffhanger?
Somewhat open and bittersweet. Cliffhangers make me want to throw books at walls, and I don’t want that to happen to a copy of Alter Reach 😛

Write in many different genres or write only in one genre?
Different genres. It’s my plan…I think it will help me to branch out and challenge my creativity.

Have all of your characters have some physical deformity or have all of your characters have some internal twisted nature?
Internal twisted nature.

Have an orphaned main character with good friends or a main character with a good-sized family and family problems?
Orphaned main character.

Write the sex scene or not write the sex scene?
Not write the sex scene.

Write about uncertain dangers and intrigue or write about direct confrontation and violence?
Uncertain dangers and intrigue. I like to read books like this, so it only makes sense that I would like to write like this.

You can read Chapter One of Alter Reach here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

I tag anyone who wants to participate. Make sure you let me know if you do! 🙂

Until next time –
Jessica

Writing Resources I Find Useful

Hi everyone! Happy weekend!

I thought I would do something a little different with this blog post. I have a few books/websites/YouTube channels I frequent pretty often when I am trying to figure out how to write certain scenes, or get a little inspiration. As a reminder, these are just a few of the MANY resources out there for writers. I just picked a couple I use on a regular basis, in no particular order. 🙂

1. Master Lists for Writers – Bryn Donovan
This is such a fantastic resource. It has so many useful lists that I use on a regular basis to draw inspiration.

2. Bryan Donovan’s website
So, when I started putting together this list, I found Bryan Donovan’s blog. She has a lot of fantastic resources and lists you can look at on her blog. I enjoy having the Master Lists on my desk, but I’ve now also bookmarked her blog.

3. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression – Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
If you get on Amazon and check this book out, look down at the recommended books – you’ll notice there is a whole series of thesauruses that look super useful. The only one I own currently is the one linked, but I definitely recommend checking out the others. The linked book is a great resources for “showing not telling” emotions…which is such a struggle sometimes.

4. How To Make A Living As A Writer – James Scott Bell
I want to be a full time writer, and make a living off doing what I love to do. This book has given me some great tools and ideas on how to make this a reality. I definitely recommend checking this one out – BONUS it looks like it’s free on Kindle right now. 🙂

5. Jenna Moreci’s YouTube
Jenna Moreci’s YouTube is jam packed with advice on writing, marketing, and Q&A’s. She also answers your questions through twitter and Tumblr.

6. Kim Chance’s YouTube
Kim Chance is another YouTuber who dishes out super useful advice on the writing world.

7. Well-Storied
This site has fantastic resources – some that are free and some you can buy. Free writing tutorials, novel planning, and a Facebook group (which I have joined) where you can connect with other writers, ask questions and give advice.

8. NaNoWriMo
The NaNoWriMo site is always a great place to go, even when it’s not November. The forum is still pretty active and people are very friendly and willing to give out advice/inspiration/etc.

9. AllPoetry.com
This is a fantastic place to go if you’re writing poetry. It has loads of useful resources on publishing and writing, and you can post your poetry and receive honest feedback. If you click around, there are places to write short stories as well to get some feedback on.

10. GoodReads


Not exactly a writing resource, but as a writer you should be an avid reader as well. I love Goodreads – it allows me to set reading goals for myself, share what I am reading, review and read reviews, etc. It’s a great place to find some new books to read and challenge yourself to be a more avid reader.

That’s all I have for you today. If you have any useful books/sites/etc you use for inspiration or tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

I still haven’t taken down Chapter One of Alter Reach – you can read that here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Until next time –
Jessica

Alter Reach Writing Tag!

Hello! Today’s blog post is another tag. This time, I’m answering the questions with characters from my WIP, Alter Reach. If you’re new here, I’ll give you a little background info on Alter Reach.

Three years ago, twins, Marci and Olivia Edelman, woke to find their parents had vanished. After touching a strange stone, the twins’ memories are suddenly wiped and all they remember is each other. A full FBI investigation turns up no leads on the disappearance and a full psych evaluation turns up no leads on their strange case of amnesia. The sisters are left to face a town full of rumors and accusations. Right after graduation, Marci moves to New York City to escape while Olivia vows to figure out what happened that night. On the third anniversary, Olivia shows up on Marci’s doorstep with a lead, a strange man named Zeke, who claims he knows where their parents are.

1. A crazy hacker’s gone into your computer, and has deleted all of your music, except for one song off of your writing playlist. Which song is it?

What a horrible thing to do to someone.
Anyway, if I had to pick one song off my Alter Reach playlist, I guess I’d go with Lindsey Stirling’s Lost Girls. This song just really brings me to a lot of places when I’m writing Alter Reach, so I wouldn’t want to lose all that inspiration.

2. Your protagonist and antagonist have been paired up by friends to go out to lunch together. Where do they go?

I don’t really want to go with the obvious antagonist here because I think this answer would be a little more interesting. Watching Marci and Jade trying to choke down a lunch without murdering each other would be so fantastically awkward to witness. I feel like Jade wouldn’t even consider this proposition unless they were going somewhere fancy and high class. They would probably settle on Olive Garden after Marci convinced Jade she could still wear her cocktail dress there.

3. You’re crossing a bridge when the troll living under it stops you. He demands to read a chapter from your novel, and won’t let you cross otherwise. Which chapter do you give him?

I guess I would give him Chapter 7 because that is where you start putting the pieces together of the mystery. I feel like the troll would be satisfied understanding why Marci and Olivia lost their memories.

4. Your friends have invited you out to a party. Surprise! All of your characters are there. Who do you choose to hang out with?

I wouldn’t hang out with Cybil because she is effing crazy. She would not be fun and I think she’d be the hardest to control. All Cybil wants to do is murder people. That doesn’t sound like a party to me.

Faelyn is bad ass. She is the kind of friend you want with you during any crisis and any party. She’s going to keep you level headed with her smarts and grounded with her sarcasm. Faelyn likes her vodka and would be a good wing woman to help you get the attention of the hot guy or keep the creep away from you.

5. Crap. You left your car keys in your house, and you’ve (somehow) locked yourself out. Which of your characters picks the lock for you?

Wren. Or Faelyn, but I’m trying to use different characters for each question. Wren could pick a lock…or break the door down pretty easily. Either way works for me.

6. The zombie apocalypse is happening right now. (It sucks.) Everyone is fleeing the planet, and moving to Mars. ONE of your characters can go with you. Who do you choose?

Braston. I know I’m not supposed to have favorites, since all of these characters came from my head…but Braston is ❤

7. You’ve been given the opportunity to travel to one place (town, building, landmark, country) in your book. Where do you go?

Alter Reach Inn.

8. Crazy acid rain is falling from the sky. Which of your characters would you use as an umbrella?

Triston. Easy. I can’t really tell you all that much about him without spoiling, but I think you will agree.

9. You’re out at a restaurant with your main character, and the time has come to order dessert. What do you order for them?

Cheesecake.

That is the end of the questions! I hope you enjoyed this. A little bit of insight on some of the characters I’ve spent over a year with. If anyone does this tag, please let me know! I’d love to read/watch your responses. I hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Until next time –

Jessica