Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: August 22 – 28

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 3,477

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Friday with 1,700 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on editing Snow and writing fanfiction.

The Good News: I made my goal! Yeah!

The Bad News: I had a pretty busy week, so I didn’t get as much writing done as I would have liked.

Lesson Learned: I read a Go Teen Writers post about 10 things Ms. Morrill did in her teens that helped her to become published as an adult. You can find the post here. That post gave me lots of great tips. Some of them I already knew about, but quite a few of them I hadn’t thought of. It was a great “lesson learned.”

Goal for Next Week: My goal is to write 4,000 words over the course of next week.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

Grammar Rule – Commas, Cities, States, Countries, and Dates

“I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out,” complained Oscar Wilde, author of The Importance of Being Earnest. I’ve often echoed Wilde’s protest as commas are one of the toughest punctuation marks to master. That’s why I’ve been doing a continuing series on comma rules so I don’t have to spend most of the day wondering where to put that little piece of punctuation. Today I’m tackling another tricky comma rule, so let’s get started!

Commas, Cities, States, and Countries

Aliens always seem to invade London, England, on Doctor Who.

When the name of the country is listed after the city, a comma is needed between them. A comma is also needed after the country’s name.

The Doctor visted Salt Lake City, Utah, with Rose Tyler.

Just like before with a country, a comma is needed between the city and the state as well as a comma after the state’s name.  

Commas and Dates

September 22, 2890, is a very important date in the Shire as it is the birthday of Bilbo Baggins.

If the date includes the day along with the month and year, then a comma is needed between the day and the year. A comma is also needed after the year in a sentence.

The Ponds arrived in July 1969 with the Doctor.

Since there’s no day, no comma is needed between the month and the year or after the year.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla


Quote of the Week

This week’s quote comes from George Orwell, author of Animal Farm, and is a list of rules Orwell gave for writing. I thought all of his advice was really good, especially the second one. I tend to add extra words to sentences like “that” that aren’t needed. My writing always flows so much better when those extra words are gone!

“Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”  – George Orwell

~ Kayla

What I’ve Read This Month

Last month, it was all about Percy Jackson. This month, it’s all about the Heroes of Olympus, the second Percy Jackson series. I’ve enjoyed these books as much as I enjoyed the last Percy Jackson series. Including the three Heroes of Olympus books I read, I finished a total of five books this month.

The Mark of Athena and The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Mark of Athena and The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Jason wakes up on a bus with no memory of where he is. All he knows is that a girl named Piper is holding his hand and a guy named Leo is claiming to be his best friend. The three of them discover their demigod heritage at Camp Half-Blood where they undertake a dangerous quest to save the goddess Juno. Just like the first Percy Jackson series, I’ve really enjoyed this one. The viewpoints of the different demigods switch back and forth which gives the reader a chance to really get to know them.

The Heroes of Olympus: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is fighting monsters in California, trying to find his way to a camp for demigods. His only memories are of his girlfriend, Annabeth. After finding his way to the camp, he undertakes a quest with his friends Frank and Hazel that will allow his memory to return .

The Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

When the Greek demigods’ meeting with the Romans goes wrong, the seven demigods of the prophecy sail off to find the Doors of Death and stop Gaea from destroying the world. This was the most exciting and heartbreaking book so far. I was pretty close to tears at the end!

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

After escaping from the Maze, Thomas and the other Gladers are sure they are safe. However, WICKED has other plans for them. The Gladers are forced to face madmen and burning hot deserts in the race for the cure that will save them from the fatal disease they were infected with. I read The Maze Runner several months ago and loved it. I finally got the second book from the library, and it was just as good. I read it all in one day, and it was super exciting and thrilling.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

This is the classic “letters from a demon” tale. Wormwood, the older and wiser devil, instructs a younger tempter on how to cause a new Christian to stumble.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think of them? Do you have any book recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla

Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: August 15 – 21

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 2,806

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Thursday with 506 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on fanfiction and my new novel idea.

The Good News: I worked on editing Snow this week!

The Bad News: I was so close to my goal this week, but I just missed it. Ugh!

Lesson Learned: I just can’t get my novel idea to work out. Writing it, I realized nothing seems to be flowing and that I’m forcing it to work. So, I plan to let the idea go and not work on it anymore. Whether I come back to it or not, I don’t know. I do know that my lesson learned is that sometimes it’s better to take a break than try and force an idea to work.

Goal for Next Week: I’m retrying my goal of writing at least 3,000 words over the course of next week.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

An Interesting Word – Fractal

“Let it go, let it go, can’t hold it back anymore…” At this point I’m sure we all have heard the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. I know I have it memorized. When I was listening to it for the umpteenth time, I realized there was a very interesting word buried in one of the lines. “My power flurries through the air into the ground; My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around…” What in the world is a fractal? Well, read on to find out!

According to dictionary.com, a fractal is “a geometrical or physical structure having an irregular or fragmented shape at all scales of measurement between a greatest and smallest scale such that certain mathematical or physical properties of the structure, as the perimeter of a curve or the flow rate in a porous medium, behave as if the dimensions of the structure (fractal dimensions) are greater than the spatial dimensions.” 

In case you were as confused as I was after reading that definition, a more simple definition can be found  at http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-are-fractals/. They say “a fractal is a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.” These “never-ending patterns” were first discovered in 1975 by Benoît Mandelbrot. He discovered a set of numbers called the Mandelbrot Set. When the numbers belonging to this set were graphed, they created a pattern.

The Mandelbrot Set Courtesy: "Mandel zoom 00 mandelbrot set". Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Mandelbrot Set
Courtesy: “Mandel zoom 00 mandelbrot set”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

These beautiful, infinite patterns are called fractals. The word fractal was created by Mandelbrot and was derived from the Latin word “fractus” which meant “broken.”

Approximate fractals are found in nature. They’re called approximate since they don’t repeat infinitely like true fractals that are only found in math. Approximate fractals can be seen in heartbeats, pineapples, ferns, DNA, broccoli, lightning, and snowflakes.

In case you want to know more about fractals, here’s a short video about them.

If you want to know even more, here’s a video from Dr. Jason Lisle talking about these beautiful patterns. It’s a little long, but if you have the time, it’s definitely worth it.

Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla


Quote of the Week

Today’s quote of the week comes from Shandy L. Kurth, author of Devastation. I chose this funny quote because I’ve experienced this myself! Sometimes I’ll have this perfectly planned out scene, but the characters rebel, and I’m forced to change it or face the dire consequences.

“I’ve learned to let my characters speak and act the way they want to! I’ve tried to interfere but they just get angry at me and throw big rocks.” – Shandy L. Kurth

~ Kayla

Scribbler Award

Today I’m accepting an award from Bessie Lark! Bessie Lark and I share a love of all things Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit and writing fanfiction, and she’s commented on my blog many times. Thanks to Bessie Lark for nominating me. 🙂


The rules of this award are simple. I’m supposed to link to my favorite writing blog and/or share a writing tip. Then I’m supposed to pass the award on to no more than five people.

My favorite writing blog is easy. It’s Go Teen Writers! It offers writing advice for teen authors such as how to get published and what to focus on now in your teens to be a better author. The two ladies that run it also take the time to answer questions and offer personal advice to commenters. It’s not just for teen authors, though. Their writing instruction is beneficial to authors of all ages. A good example is one of their more recent posts (which I linked to in my Monthly Link Share) about writing dialects.

Now, for my writing tip:

When you are writing, don’t edit, just write. This is what I learned from my first year of NaNoWriMo, and it helped me to finish my first novel.  I used to start a story and then get discouraged by how bad my grammar was or how many plot holes had emerged in my story and then give up. By focusing on just writing the story, I am now able to finish and then worry about fixing the problems later.

Now I’m supposed to pass this award on to other writers. Here are my nominees! 🙂

Jennifer K. Marsh

Like Star Filled Skies

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to Bessie Lark for nominating me!

~ Kayla



Weekly Writing Wrap-Up: August 8 – 14

Welcome to my Weekly Writing Wrap-Up for this week.

Total Word Count for the Week: 2,455

Top Writing Day: My top writing day was Wednesday with 568 words.

What I Worked On: I worked on fanfiction and my new novel idea.

The Good News: I came up with my November NaNo novel this week. I’m excited that I’ll have time to develop the story before November!

The Bad News: I didn’t make my goal this week. 😦

Lesson Learned: I’m sad about going down to four days a week on my blog. I didn’t want to change my posting schedule, and it was something I debated about for a long time before making my decision. My lesson learned is that sometimes change is necessary and good.

Goal for Next Week: I’m retrying my goal of writing at least 3,000 words over the course of next week.

If you’d like to share your weekly wrap-up, go ahead and post it in the comments below!

~ Kayla

Monthly Link Share – Writersroom

Welcome to August’s monthly link share! I’m sharing some links I found helpful this past month.

When I researched Steven Moffat for my Author Profile post, I stumbled upon a really neat interview he did about writing and his TV shows. That interview came from the BBC’s Writersroom. I poked around a bit on there and discovered it’s a website with all sorts of cool resources for writers! They even have a section where you can send them your script. Even if you’re not a script writer, the website still has inspiring interviews and a whole blog to explore.


This is from my favorite writing blog, Go Teen Writers. Here Ms. Williamson discusses how to create characters using dialect and dialogue. I’ve never actually used dialect for my novel characters since it’s always been a bit of a mystery to me as to how to write it correctly. This was a great post that helped to demystify dialect!


This article is about adding depth and layers to your characters by giving them strengths. It takes you through the processes in an in-depth and very helpful way.


Who knew I liked pumpkin so much? It started with pumpkin pancakes, which by the way are DELICIOUS. They’re even better covered in whipped cream and syrup. Here’s the recipe to amazing and easy pumpkin pancakes:


After pumpkin pancakes, we wanted to know if there was anything else you could do with pumpkin. Apparently, you can. These are the most delicious muffins. It’s a bit like eating a healthy cupcake. You really can’t beat that, can you?

Here’s the recipe we used:


Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla