Posted in Writing

Revisions: Working on Chapter 1 – The Saga Continues


Want to look through that window and see more of what editing and revising looks like?

Let’s take another peek.

I’ll kick off with a GREAT resource I found! Susan Dennard, author of the Something Strange & Deadly Series and The Witchland Serieswhom I mentioned in my post from 7/22/17, has created a giant list of her processes and tips for planning, writing, revising, publishing, and more. I’m going to focus on one specific part of her revision tips, as I have only just cracked the surface of revising and I have not even made it through Lesson 1: What the heck did you write?

I have printed out my entire manuscript, read her How-To page, and also printed out multiple copies of each of her Plot, Character, Setting and Other Problems PDF sheets (I keep having to print more out as I fill them up-I have lots of problems, but all first drafts do). I would like to give a huge thank you to Ms. Susan Dennard for creating these! It has been an immense help for going through and revising my book.

Now, to my current issue at hand. I have only made it through Chapter 1 of my manuscript, The Rendin Chronicles, five or six times. I am currently about to sit down while I write this post (I’ll be posting some of my process on here for examples) and rewrite my first chapter….again.

The reason I keep rewriting my first chapter, is that every time I have gone through and weeded out my problems, I keep changing my plot. I have a general sense of where I want my book to go. But as I go through, I realize that it’s not quite the direction I have wanted the entire book to flow. If I am going to finish revising the rest of my book, I need to know where I am going with it in a whole general sense.

My first steps  would be to start with a blank sheet of paper or a new doc on the computer. I prefer to work in Microsoft Word as I rewrite my chapter. Afterwards, I will transfer my revised chapter and scenes to Scrivener.

On my desk, I lay out my Problems Sheets, my notes (epiphany ideas that have struck at random moments, but are changes to the current chapter I am on), and my manuscript with coded notations.


Read S. Dennard’s How-To complete instructions for a full explanation.

In brief, you code your notes on your problem sheets and manuscript pages. For example- Notating Plot Problems, like Problem Number 2 in Chapter One, would be written in pencil in the margin of the manuscript with “P-1-2.” This avoids writing a bunch of notes and arrows and littering the manuscript with unintelligible words that would need to be deciphered later. That code would be added to the Plot Problem sheet with the page number in the corresponding column and the problem code with a detailed explanation in the main body of the worksheet.

As I type my new revisions, I follow the manuscript from the beginning and reference to each coded note as I start my rewrite. For my first rewrites, I will always be starting with a new document. This is because I find it too confusing to cut/paste, etc. If nothing in a large segment needs to be changed, I will just copy and paste that part into my New Doc.

I am currently working on this project in a bit of a Benadryl induced haze. I had an itchy reaction to laundry detergent…Those ellipses are time passing as I lost my battle to Benadryl and fell asleep. I am back at this and it is now, late in the evening. I started this posting in the morning and it has been a slow work in progress with a few obstacles, as well as, fun times spent with my littles and my husband.

Over on Twitter, @NaNoWordSprints ran a very inventive sprint session, which I utilized to revise this chapter. I have added a couple pages to the beginning, which I am liking as I go.

Here is a comparison of a small excerpt:


He gazed wistfully out into the the mountains and turned back to go into the palace.


He gazed wistfully out towards the mountains. When he was a small child, he had lived in those woodlands in a tiny country house, where the forest met the mountains. Only one other person lived with him, a woman, whom he had originally thought to be his mother. He came to learn that she was just his nursemaid. He had no memory of his real mother. He was told that she had died in childbirth. It had been a peaceful life for those first few years out there in the country, before he had been summoned to live in the palace. Now, as he looked out at the mountains, he wondered what had become of the young woman who had taken care of him all those years ago. She had not come to the castle when he was brought here. He had heard nothing more of her since his departure. She was the only woman he had known as any type of mother figure.  She was a very beautiful woman with brilliantly red hair that always looked like it was on fire; especially, in the bright sunlight. She was so much a part of his distant past, kind words that always came with a smile for him. She never judged him for his largely disfigured face. She would tell him he was a beautiful child who would one day grow to be a great man. Once he had come to the castle, everything had changed. She was no longer there to protect him and the people he came to live with were mercilessly unforgiving in their stares and comments. The prince, a young boy at the time, had also lost his mother when she had given birth to him and they had bonded in the sharing of this similar loss. Prince Varden had never teased him for his mottled look and he was always grateful for that kindness, but other differences arose that created a separation between them that grew as time wore on.


Why did I wrote so much in my revision? The answer is in the note I left myself. My Main Character (MC) just had a brief dialogue with his soon-to-be king brother. He is looking out across the sky and remembering a feeling of peace and comfort. That far off country home is the only place he had ever found peace in his life. He has known none of this in his castle home. My notes read: “Page 3: C-1-1: Why is he gazing wistfully to the mountains?” I wanted to explain this very vulnerable moment for my MC. A moment of wishing, a moment of regret, a moment of sadness. I wanted to capture that in this wistful distant gaze.

Questions that may arise and come into play later are 1) should I include such a large flashback? 2) Is this the best place for these thoughts from long ago? 3) Does it flow okay with the rest of the scene?

For now, I will keep this revision over my prior, because my prior sentence was, obviously, much too small and non-descriptive. This current version will be added to my latest draft.

I am learning that in the process of writing so much changes. This small segment will be revised, changed, possibly cut completely. What these added words do as I revise, is to help me work on and build the world I am creating with my characters. Maybe these words will only give me insight into how I write my MC, what he went through as a child, growing up, etc. Maybe these memories will come out later in actions or feelings. Maybe a memory of this woman will arise later in a later meeting. I do not know the answer to these questions, yet. But this is what I find in the joy of the journey. I find it right there in that, joy in the journey. Writing is a process, a journey of thousands of words put down and deleted. Thoughts and ideas flood the mind, creativity flows and pen meets paper, fingers meet keys, ink flows and ideas pour out of the heart and through the fingertips. Remember to let those creative juices flow and enjoy the journey.

You never really know what you just might discover along the way.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to shoot me an e-mail, leave a comment, tweet me a note, or send me an InstaMessage. I would love to hear how you are voyaging on this journey of words.

Until our next meeting.

Signing off…





Posted in Books, Writing

Working on Revisions – Rewriting a Descriptive Scene

I found this beautiful artwork of a throne room inspired by Final Fantasy.  This artwork was created by the artist, Jennie Goggin.

I am currently sitting at my computer with a pile of papers around me, working on my first draft revisions. I came across a setting I had created early on in my writing of this book, The Rendin Chronicles. At the time, I had thought, “Wow! This is such a beautiful scene I wrote!” As I sit here now, rereading it, I am finding redundancy errors, awkward wording, and bad grammar. Basically, it didn’t read as glamorously as I had originally thought. Here I am going to show you my original excerpt. And I will follow it up with the rewrite I did today.

Here is my original excerpt:

Jandit made his way across the Great Hall. He was standing at the entrance to the Great Hall. It was completely made of intricately carved wood. The entire Hall was made of Riffentrunk, the strongest trees on all their planet. The Riffentrunk was a reddish brown wood, that when polished and shined would have a golden glow to it in the sunlight. It actually glowed gold when the sun hit at just the right time. This time was one of those moments. The Great Hall had been built with great crystal openings in the ceiling. Cut crystal windows that allowed the sun to shine through in a glorious prismatic effect. It was just past noon, when the Second Sun was high in the sky. The light was dancing off the carved pillars that lined the Great Hall and it shown a glorious golden throughout. The pillars of Riffentrunk wood were draped with golden fabric across every pillar and between each were new crystalline chandeliers individually lies with a hundred candles each. The Throne was also made of Riffentrunk. A special crystal had been placed on the ceiling just above the throne, so that no matter day or night, sunlight or moonlight, it would reflect golden all day and all night. The crystal had been cut so that all lights could reflect upon the glorious throne.  It had just recently had Varden’s name carved into it below the other kings. Jandit found his father pacing in the room behind the Great Hall.

Here is my scene rewrite:

Jandit stood at the entrance of the Great Hall looking out across the grand marble floor. This room had always been glaringly opulent to him.  A place which meant greatness to all others, meant pain and misery to him. He was constantly belittled by the nobles. He was unwanted, an outsider. He was the king’s bastard.


He looked up at the intricately carved wooden pillars that lined the hall, made of the finest Mordebung trees, polished and shining in the late evening sun. These Mordebung pillars were meant to represent the great strength of the Nardisians and the Great House of Nardis. These lofty colonnades glowed red and gold in the sunlight. Diamond shaped openings sat every twenty feet in the ceilings and walls. Instead of windows made of glass, they were of cut crystal. Throughout the day, rainbows danced through the hall as the sun made its journey across the sky. In the last hour as the sun set, just before its final drop below the horizon, the sunlight came through these crystal panes and lit the Mordebung walls up like gold in what was appropriately called the Golden Hour.


Today, these pillars were draped with golden fabric and crimson velvet. The crystal chandeliers that hung from the ceiling had already been lit with three hundred candles each. Breathtaking was what everyone who came into the Great Hall had called it. But to Jandit it was suffocating. To Jandit these bloody colored walls reflected his bleeding heart and the golden light cut like daggers in his soul.


Today was Prince Varden’s coronation. Today, his brother would be crowned king and sit upon Nardis’ almighty throne. It was a magnificent throne, one Jandit knew he would never touch. A special crystal had been placed on the ceiling just above the throne, so that no matter the time of day, the throne was constantly luminous. Just yesterday, Varden’s name had been carved into the throne, below all the names of the previous kings. His brother was being handed everything Jandit would never have. He felt a sharp pang of jealousy and desperately tried to wave it away.


I tried to change my point of view to be specifically how my main character (MC), Jandit, was seeing the Great Hall. He is the bastard son of a king and has been treated in this lowly position all his life. To all others, the Great Hall is impressive, but to Jandit, it has always been oppressive.

For this revision, I went through my original scene, grabbed a “new sheet of paper,” in this case a new Word Document, and started retyping the entire scene.

I read through my original writing a few times and noted that I still wanted to keep the idea of this grand and opulent hall, but in the same respect I wanted to give the comparison of someone who couldn’t see it in all of this great beauty that everyone else did.

I want to note that this still is not a final draft, but it’s definitely well on its way to sounding much better than my first go around. It will still go through more revisions, but it’s a glimpse at the process of changing what doesn’t work and adding what does, etc.

Now, I’m going to go add this to my Scrivener docs.

Next posting, I’ll share some insightful tips I have come across out in Twitterverse.

Happy writing, y’all!

Signing off…




Posted in Uncategorized

Current Projects as of 7/22/17 – A lot about NaNoWriMo


Hi, y’all! Let’s dive right in and I’ll tell you a little bit about what I am currently working on.

Last November, I became obsessed with something called NaNoWriMo and in April and now July, I turned to Camp NaNoWriMo.

Short blurb about what NaNoWriMo is. NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” It takes place only in November and it’s pretty straight forward – 1 month, 30 days, 50,000 words – Boom!

April and July, when Camp NaNoWriMo is held, are much more flexible. You can set your goals for whatever works best for you and that includes: words, hours, pages, etc.

The first time I did NaNo, I made it to almost 30,000 words. In April, I made a 50k word count goal and exceeded that by 17k words. This July (it isn’t over, yet) I made a goal of 60k words and broke that in the first week and a half. I still have more to work on, though I have entered the editing stage of my first draft right now.

I think NaNoWriMo is awesome. So awesome, in fact, I signed my two sons, ages 11 and 8, up for NaNoWriMo: Young Writer’s Program. Can I just say, they are loving it! It is so wonderful to watch your children have such a joy and passion for the written world at such a young age. I homeschool my children and we will definitely be incorporating NaNoWriMo: Young Writer’s Program into our upcoming school year, as well. This July Camp has been a great way to battle the summer boredom.

Also, when they complete their first drafts, I will be teaching them the world of editing and revising. After which, I will have their books printed out and bound, so they can enjoy the fruits of their labors and have their own book on their at home library shelf.

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Family of writers

Big shout-outs to the entire community at NaNoWriMo for all the work they do year round to keep this non-profit organization going. I also want to mention their NaNoWordSprints page on Twitter. I highly suggest anyone involved in NaNo go check them out. It really helps to boost those word count goals and be encourage and inspired by other writers out there. They have amazing sprint leaders who run sprints every single day for hours at a time. In short, a word sprint is when you set a timer, in this case the leaders set the time for you, and you try to write as much as you can in that allotted time. Many times optional word prompts are provided. Personally, I have found these to be immensely helpful. Thank you, again, NaNo Community! You make these first draft days easier, bearable, fun, and actually, possible.

Okay, so what projects am I currently working on?

Last November, I started a book called Losing Neverland.full I loved writing it. It is a very adult version of Peter Pan, so I would suggest dispelling all notions of Disney’s version, because it will throw you off completely if you see my characters in that light. I’ll keep it PG for sharing and post an excerpt soon.

I also discovered a lot in the world of copyright laws during that time. I wanted to make sure I was and am doing everything by the book. J.M. Barrie created a beautiful world and I loved writing what I was inspired from it. But there are still laws and I would like to follow those. Briefly, everything before 1920 is fair game. You can write whatever you want, sequels, prequels, spin-offs, the works. Post 1920, copyright laws come into play. Here’s where it gets a little muddy with anything Peter Pan related. J.M. Barrie, wise old soul was he, sold the rights to his book to Great Ormond Street Hospital, so they could continue to receive royalties even after his death (pretty cool, right?). A bit confusing though for a writer working on any Peter Pan related works. Best that I can gather, having not heard back from Great Ormond Street Hospital themselves, is that it’s okay to write spin-offs, prequels, sequels, etc. But there is still one standing copyright out there for Peter Pan, the play, which has all the Peter Pan-y goodness in it, too, and it’s copyright doesn’t expire until 2023. You can read more about the Peter Pan copyright laws here Needless to say, Losing Neverland, this work of mine that I thoroughly loved writing, is sitting on the back burner, for now. I have completed majority of the first draft for it, much of which I finished out during this April’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

My current project is called The Rendin Chronicles (working title). It is a fantasy novel that started off with the idea of being a sci-fi novel, but has evolved differently since then.

I got the idea for that book over a year ago and had started playing around with it, writing a little bit here and there. I delved much more deeply into it at the end of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. This month of July, I really got into it and have turned it into at least a three part series. In short, it’s a book of betrayal, of love, of loss and it’s sprinkled with some lovely elements of dragons and magic.

I’ll post some experts later on when I have some more polished up pieces. Currently, I am working on my first round of edits. I have rewritten the first scene over five times, not the first chapter, the. first. scene. But I think I have a very direct focus that will really grab the readers attention, at least, I hope I do.

A couple more shout-outs!

Thank you to Lara Ferrari for all of the great writing tips, advice, and encouragement. Check out her Twitter page and Instagram stories for some excellent advice on the writing process. You have questions, she has answers!

Thank you to Susan Dennard, whom I heard about from Lara Ferrari, great recommendation. Susan has an immense website filled with writing tips, advice, lessons, etc. I am currently utilizing her PDFs and lessons on revising as I go through my current novel for the first time. Her process is a great help and definitely keeps your work organized. So, thank you, Susan! Check out her page specifically for writers, here. She is the author of the Something Strange & Deadly Series and The Witchland Series, both series of which I am now very interested in reading!

There you have it. Those are the two current writing projects I have going on, Losing Neverland and The Rendin Chronicles. I do have other ideas on the back burner right now, but I am taking this process baby steps at a time. Editing is a brand new world for me and it’s a BIG world. I also just finished up some painting projects a couple of weeks ago. Head over to my Fine Arts section to check those out, soon. Haven’t posted those, yet. I need to gather up some project photos and will post on there shortly.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email, comment, Tweet, message, or Gram(IG) me. Signing off, for now.

this is




Posted in Music

In the end…

I would like to dedicate my first music posting to the late Chester Bennington.

Songs are a beautiful thing. You can lose yourself in them. You can leave your world, your circumstance, and your pain in them. Songs can whisk you away to another dimension of emotions. Music has always helped me get through the painful times. It has helped me reach that emotion that I need to deal with. It helps me confront what I’m going through.

Today, I listened to this song with new ears. And I have to tell you, it chilled me to the bone. I have dealt with depression throughout my life and it is no walk in the park. It is truly the most alone experience one can go through. Even with people around you and those to lean on, it can still feel like you are taking a trip all by yourself. And that trip feels like it’s a never-ending tunnel with no light and no chance of finding a way out.

It is a sad day at the loss of another person to such a dark illness. It’s feelings that I am not unfamiliar with going through. Painful wounds can feel completely unable to heal. The cards one is dealt can truly create a bleak view of one’s own worth and value.

I implore anyone going through depression or suicidal thoughts to reach out! Call out for help! You are not alone! You have a purpose and a future! Even when the road is at its bleakest, there is still a reason to hold on.

Let me tell you, you never truly know what difference you have just made in another person’s life. Chester Bennington helped so many people with his music. I have learned that in these last couple days since his passing as I browse through Twitter and see the outpouring of people who’s lives were touched by the words in his music.

Don’t give up. Hang on. Talk to someone!

In the end, you matter. Don’t stop trying. You are worth it!


Be Strong


Posted in Uncategorized


Hi, Y’all!

My name is Ilse, just call me Ilzz (it’s easier, trust me!) and I would like to welcome you to the wonderful world of well, my right brain!

I love art and I want to share everything I love about it with you.

Got a little something for everyone-Check out the embedded links on each page or just hover on the menu bar to see all the latest and greatest content:


This is everything about my writer’s life. I am going to start filling it with my novel excerpts, poetry, thoughts, etc. I’ll also be posting what I am learning along this path of writing my novel. Want recommendations to other great writing advice, I’ll be sharing my finds here.

-My Random Thoughts

What’s cool? What neat posts, pictures, or words did I just run across? I’ll be sharing all of my discoveries right here with you!

Music – The Rhythm of the Heart and Soul

I love music! As inspiring songs come along, I’ll share a music video or favorite song right here. I’ll also post the lyrics, so you can follow right along with the words as you sing your heart out to those tuneful tunes. I love all kinds of music, so I won’t just be stuck in one genre…like country (but I do LOVE country, so there will definitely be some). Look for all those latest and greatest and oldies but goodies right here.

Fine Art

This is where I’ll share past and current art projects I am working on. I love painting. I am currently into acrylics and watercolors. But so much about the world of fine art enthralls me. I will also be posting (to the best of my memory ability) how I went about my art process, what materials I used, tips and tricks, etc. I am not just into painting, though, I create art on the iPad with the Procreate app, as well. I also dabble in crocheting, hand sewing, and more. It will all be splattered right here.

A Musing Maverick Photography

This is a passion of mine that I have had for a very long time. I love photography! I love taking pictures. I love seeing beautiful things and capturing them through the lens of a camera. I’ll be posting my photography journey right here. Follow along and let me know if you like what you see!

Still working out more details on this website, but keep checking back!

In the mean time, I am excited to share this world of all things art with you!


“You are going to visit the land of marvels.” -Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea