Challenges as a (Fantasy) Writer + 5 Tips for New & Aspiring Writers

16 Oct

As some of you know, I’ve been facing a lot of challenges in finishing my first novel—not just writing a decent first draft but editing it, too, to my liking.  The whole process has been taking me a really long time. So. The other day, I decided to make a video in which I share some of my struggles but also 5 tips for new writers, or those who have thought about starting a novel but just haven’t done it yet.

Really, I don’t think anyone’s journey has to be as arduous as mine.  Just keep these tips in mind, live by them, and you’ll make progress much faster than I ever did!

Writing Challenges + 5 Tips for New Writers


Looking back, however, I think I almost had to go through the toils that I did at the length that I did for a reason.  Not everyone will have such a hard time staying dedicated to their writing, but taking this long has allowed me time to grow and mature more in the middle or working on this project—giving me a fresh perspective that has allowed me to tackle subjects in my writing that, in the past, I felt inadequate at handling.

It all works out in the end, I suppose.🙂

Loved the video?  Be sure to give it a thumbs up (click on the video title to see the original page) then visit my YouTube channel, Tiyana Marie Writes, and subscribe to more discussions about writing!

(This video was pretty long, I’ll admit.  I went through several takes before getting to this version, too.  Next time, I’ll try splitting any long videos I make or focusing on just one topic. Also, still figuring out how to get my Canon T3i to focus while capturing video! Normally, I only use it for photography. A bit of a learning curve there, hehe.)

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

So right now I’m really excited because as of this morning, I only have 4 scenes left to edit before I can start looking for beta readers for my WIP.

I mean, look at that progress meter! > > >

After almost 10 years of thinking and toiling and avoiding and dancing with this story that’s grown to become The Elementalist: Rise of Hara, this is amazing!

Today, I have every chance at wrapping up those last four scenes.  Yesterday, I was able to take a crack at seven scenes, so it’s doable.

Don’t worry—I’ll be sure to make an official announcement when I’m 100% done with my edits, though.🙂  It will be a grand affair.

Life Aboard an Airship

3 Oct


“USS Akron (ZRS-4) approaches the mooring mast, while landing at Sunnyvale, California (USA), 13 May 1932.” Source: By USN [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

I was researching a technical point in my novel (for verisimilitude’s sake), realizing I was making some assumptions about technology during the 1930s and ’40s that I actually hadn’t researched–like whether or not airships had any hydraulic systems in place (a minor plot point in my WIP).  Anyhow, I came across a comment by a man named “Stu” on an article at about the Hindenburg, and I thought it was very interesting.  He was responding to another reader’s questions about airship rudders and elevators.

Here’s what he said: Continue reading

Airship Mania!

25 Sep

I was just browsing through videos on YouTube the other day, looking for anything related to dieselpunk, and I came across a few documentary videos about airships that are actually pretty darn cool.

One is a 3-part series covering a broad history of airships, beginning from the late 1800s up until today.  The other uses actual black and white footage along with the journal entries of Lady Grace Drummond Hay, who was a journalist and also the first woman to travel around the globe via air! I’ve found the latter video particularly interesting.  The narrator did a wonderful job, and the writings of Lady Drummond were delightful. (There’s even a side plot about a forbidden romance.)

Just a little something I wanted to share.🙂 If you’re interested in airships, those are definitely worth checking out!


In other news, I’ve managed to get some editing done this weekend on a couple of scenes. Today, I’m reviewing a scene in which my main characters unexpectedly learn more about the history of their enemy through one of their team members, who admits he once was a member of a secret society…

…along with the leader of The Enemy.  Hmmmm…  (Yeah, he might want to explain that one, right?)

At this rate, sticking to weekends to get editing done, I could actually wrap these edits up within the next couple of months! Just got to make time for it. That’s the key. I’m also taking less side jobs, as a result. So far, I haven’t regretted doing so. I find I’m much happier working on the novel, actually.

Back Again + Latest Obsessions

18 Sep

Hi, there! It’s been a while, but here I am. I was looking back at my progress bar here for editing my WIP The Elementalist: Rise of Hara and decided today’s a good day to resume getting closer to the 100% mark. So another scene gets edited today. That’s the goal.

Life has got me all over the place lately (my living room is currently filled with 8 vintage chairs that could use some reupholstering; more on that another day), but even in my seemingly inactive period (as far as the WIP goes), I’ve actually been thinking quite a bit about the novel. In the middle of pondering pensive music and just not doing anything in particular, I’ve been able to solve a lingering plot issue that just hasn’t been sitting right with me plus came up with a handful of ideas to continue the story for my next two novels. Music has proven to be very inspirational for me during my downtime.

Funny how that works.

Speaking of music…let’s talk about some of my latest Netflix obsessions, shall we? Continue reading

Dieselpunk, Fantasy & Fiction ‘Grammin’

24 May

Remember how I said I was thinking about starting an Instagram account related to my Element 7/WIP project?

Well, here it is! (I have my Instagram feed on the bottom of my sidebar here, as well.)

Basically, I’ll be posting about anything awesome that’s related to dieselpunk, fantasy novels and elemental magic as well as technology and fashion from the early 1900s.

Now, back to editing. (Hoping to get through another scene by the end of the night.)

One Year Later…

21 May

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve written a blog post here or worked on my novel, but…I actually did some editing today. (Progress bar went from purple to pink!)

I’ve missed it. I’ve missed it a lot. Reading fiction, working on my own, connecting with other writers…

For the past few years I’ve been busy with my interior design business Simplicit Interiors, LLC and figuring out a career as a visual merchandiser working at furniture stores. It takes a lot to be a business owner–more than I may be willing to give, I’ve realized. Which is totally fine. It’s not for everyone. Waiting to see how things play out for the remainder of this year, to be honest.

In the meantime, I decided to get back into the ol’ novel. Picked up on a troublesome chapter I last left off on. Finally tackled it and fixed some big problems I had with it. Wasn’t easy, but…it was worth it.

I’ve remained fairly active on Instagram and Pinterest all this time. Thinking about starting a new Instagram account specifically for my Element 7 project and dieselpunk stuff. It’ll be a fun way to share what inspired me (and keeps inspiring me) to take a crack at this thing called writing and coming back to the world I’ve created. It’s worth the sacrifice of time, I think.

Been popping in on different bloggers’ websites the past couple of days, seeing what’s up. Don’t be surprised if I stop by and say hi!

Home Renos, Agent Carter & Editing Stuff

1 Feb

The last two weeks I was a slacker. Didn’t get any editing done, so yesterday I plopped myself into my desk chair and combed through a pretty fat chapter.

Cut it down by more than 1,600 words! It was a good day.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing renovations on a new townhome I bought back in November–nope, still haven’t moved in. It’s a matter of funds, which tend to trickle in over time. I hope to move in sometime during March, though. Until then, I work on what I can.

The past couple of weeks me and my dad have been working on switching out all the light fixtures in the townhome for new ones I picked out and purchased. Take a look:

Lights Mix 2-1


I really just wanted to update the whole place, and I think these light fixtures add a very modern-contemporary vibe.

As for the rest of the space, well, I’m very eclectic by nature. I like antiques and vintage and retro furniture and accessories, but I also like more contemporary things, as well. I think my home will be a true reflection of this. My Instagram kinda shows this, as well.

Here are some concept boards I put together, showing more or less how some of my rooms will look like:

My First Place - Bedroom (small) My First Place - Living Room (small)

I’ve changed my mind on a few of the pieces on these boards since I made them, but the overall concepts will still be pretty close to the original. Soon enough, I’m planning on buying these materials for my floors and countertops, as well:

Materials 2

It’s been fun, being my own client!

Meanwhile, I’ve been watching Marvel’s new TV show Agent Carter, which I’m actually enjoying quite a bit. It is a great example of dieselpunk, afterall.😉 Hayley Atwell is as captivating as ever, and it’s been interesting exploring more of the Marvel universe. Maybe I’ll blog about it sometime. As for tonight, I’m going to work on editing another scene. Then it’s back to the weekly grind…

As for my WIP snippets, I’m not sure I’ll keep posting a bunch of those here, but if you’d still like to read some I’ll be participating in’s8 Sentence Sunday” for the foreseeable future.🙂

That’s all for now, folks!

8 Sentence Sunday #6: Business & Pirates

25 Jan

In this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” Voi and Paul, her business partner and one of her best friends, are contemplating the state of AeroTaxi, their air charter and touring venture. This is just after their only tour for the day falls through early on in the story. Business has been increasingly slow–and while Voi is inclined to remain optimistic, Paul sees things differently.

Paul has always been skeptical about government, big business and large organizations in general–to the point of becoming a mild conspiracy theorist. While he and Voi fly planes, Paul is suspicious that a recent airship heist scare, combined with the wild success of a particularly large airship company, is somehow negatively affecting their ability to conduct small business.

Here’s a look at how he sees their current situation as opposed to Voi’s viewpoint. (Aside: both Voi and Paul are from a country named Apexia, though Voi holds dual citizenship in Borellia.)

The Snippet

“One measly Borellian cargo ship—not Apexian, mind you—goes missing, and suddenly everyone thinks Haran pirates are back.”  He looked outside again.  “As for the rest of us with real problems, a hot-shot Borellian war hero practically shows up out of nowhere and opens his own airship company after the war; it does amazing.  A handful of naval mechanics who’ve been working the ship yards practically their entire lives do the same with Skyward Enterprise, and they don’t last more than a year against Neverri before he buys them out.

“A fucking monopoly is what that’s shaping up to be.”

Voi took off her leather gloves and stuffed them into one of her pockets, shrugging.  “So he’s successful.  That’s no crime, is it?”

What are your impressions of Paul?

Do you think there’s a chance his concerns are legitimate, or is Captain Neverri’s imminent “monopoly” over the airship industry (and aerial transportation in general, in Paul’s eyes) as innocent as it seems? Also, what can you make out about the role of pirates in recent history?

Granted, this is all based on a short series of snippets, so this is just for fun.😉

8 Sentence Sunday #5: The Aethercraft

18 Jan

For this week’s “8 Sentence Sunday,” I wanted to share one of Voi’s big, exciting moments in my WIP. It’s probably the most “dieselpunk-y” of my snippets so far.

As a pilot, Voi gets to fly a very experimental plane known as the “aethercraft” that was designed by her newest employer, Captain Neverri. After the basic mechanics of this craft are explained to Voi while they stand in a hangar, the captain reveals it to her for the first time.

This is what she sees.

The Snippet

No one spoke as Voi drew near to examine the machine.  She found herself holding her breath in reverence; surely Colonel Snipes was correct in comparing it to one of Ramboit’s controversial abstract masterpieces.

Its polished metallic body was exceptionally streamlined and much flatter than that of an ordinary plane.  A gentle bulge ran along the length of its almost nonexistent fuselage, which was smoothly riveted to conjoin with its swept-back wings so as to seem comprised entirely of wings.  Here, within this bulge, was also a cockpit enclosed by a clear canopy—perhaps an acrylic construct, Voi guessed, knowing the captain’s penchant for innovation.

Propped up low on its landing gear, the aerocraft reminded Voi of a slick, thin manta ray—like the ones her mother used to take her to see at the Aquiriem du Habour Tuccila in Tryste as a girl.  So sinuously crafted were the wings that Voi was very much left with the striking impression of a work of art…if she dared venture that far in her opinion of a metal aerocraft.

Well, the captain certainly has an eye for aesthetics.

What do you think?

What kind of aerocraft does it look like Voi is getting ready to fly? Can you tell some things that might be different in Voi’s world as compared to our own? Also, is there anything new you can infer about Voi’s character–her attitudes, beliefs and such? (I feel like I’m writing a lesson plan or something, haha.)

8 Sentence Sunday #4: Introducing Captain Andre Neverri

11 Jan

Every writer has their favorite characters, and ideally you’d think it’d be the main protagonists in their stories. As much as I love Voi, I’m afraid I love one of her employers even more. (That’s gotta be some sort of writerly sin!)

Captain Andre Neverri

Ah, Captain Andre Neverri…where to begin…

Aeronautical engineer, airship navigator, former air guard captain, pirate hunter and war hero, entrepreneur, multi-millionaire, gentleman inventor, expert on aetheric mechanics, and knife-throwing enthusiast…

Well, what isn’t this man capable of, dammit!

Ronny hates him, Milia can’t stand him and even Voi has her doubts about the man. Though, at the end of the day, in the middle of a crisis, Captain Neverri is probably someone you want on your side. He does have a reputation, however, for being a queer lone bachelor who keeps a crazy wife locked up in the attic (or local institution, in his case)… Though, *ehem* I digress.

Prolific resume aside, he’s a bit of a headache, to be honest, though that’s just my opinion. I’ll let you be the judge.

Below is a snippet showing the first time both Voi and Milia meet Andre. They were walking into a room full of men who were supposed to be working. Everyone is somewhat oblivious to their surroundings, as they’re all engaged in various conversations and activities.


The Snippet

Without warning, an object came soaring through the air.

Voi froze instinctively, though Milia dodged more quickly than Voi could process.  A blink of the eye later, she realized Milia was holding a combat knife in her hand, hilt clutched at eye level.

Male voices cried out at first in appraisal, apparently thinking the knife would hit the center of the target board pasted on the wall behind the ladies.  Their cheers, however, were cut short as Milia slowly directed her gaze towards them, seeking out the owner of the deadly projectile.

Every wide-eyed soul in the room turned to the lone man sitting at the drafting desk some distance away.

“Whoops!” he declared blithely, tossing his hands into the air.  “Looks like you walked right into our little game!”

What were your first impressions of Andre?

And was it just a little bit absurd that Milia caught a flying knife mid-air? (Hint: the answer should tell you that there’s a lot more to Milia beneath her diplomatic title of “special envoy.”)