Introducing: Elizabeth Nakamura

“To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately. All other things, ruling, hoarding, building, are only little appendages and props, at most.”

– Michel de Montaigne

It’s been a while since I’ve done an introductory blog about my characters. I’ve introduced Grace Nakamura and Matt Harris, so now it’s time for another crucial character: Grace’s younger sister, Elizabeth.

If you read my previous blog about Grace, then you’ll already know this, but for those that haven’t: Elizabeth dies before the novel begins. Although you may not be sure how, Elizabeth is a strong character throughout my novel. She is the reason behind Grace’s purpose and she is the driving force that keeps Grace fighting.

Grace and Elizabeth (Credit: EK Evans)

Elizabeth died approximately 6 months after war broke out. She and Grace were incredibly close, despite a large age gap. Grace saw herself as responsible for Elizabeth, and she took her sister’s death hard.

This suffering for Grace was a turning point in her post-apocalyptic life. She suffered greatly with her sister’s death and spends a long time blaming herself. She seeks to honour her sisters name and use her life to remember her little sister.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

– Helen Keller

Because of Elizabeth’s death, Grace’s will is strengthened, and she fights for a better world. Although Elizabeth isn’t tangibly within the novel, she is often referenced and seen within dreams and flashbacks throughout the novel.

Elizabeth was a bright and vibrant little girl. She was always energetic and happy. She looked up to her big sister and aspired to be just like her. After the war broke out, she continued to have an optimistic look on life and encouraged her sister to keep going for them both.

Even after death, Grace remembers Elizabeth’s strength and positivity and uses these traits to continue to try to succeed. She wants Elizabeth’s dreams to come true and tries not to fall into negativity, purely to honour her sister.

I love being able to posthumously write Elizabeth into the novel. She is such a positive and bubbly person, even in the face of adversity, so it’s fun to write her character and bring her into the world, even if she can’t physically be there.

I can’t wait for you all to meet her within my novel, once it’s complete!


Review Time: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This is not a new novel, as it was released in 2015, but I have only just discovered it for myself. My best friend has said it’s amazing, so I decided to give it a go. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir is an amazing fantasy novel that sucks you in from the very first page.

“Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing. Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after. Such moments are tests of courage, of strength.”

– An Ember in the Ashes

The story follows Laia, a scholar, whose world is turned upside down when her brother is arrested due to an association with the Resistance. Her story becomes intertwined with Elias, who is the finest solider in the empire.

Both Laia and Elias are captive by their situations and dream of being free. Their destinies become entwined and they begin to fight for their ultimate goals. Laia becomes a slave while Elias is a solider – they have such different lives and personalities and that is what makes them so compelling.

Laia faces disbelief in herself and finds it hard to come to terms with her inability to help those she loves. Elias is seen as the complete opposite to her – strong and courageous. But their interactions throughout the novel tests both of them and their own weaknesses are shown, and strengths grow.

The story is intense and hard to put down. Other characters are brought to the front of the novel and bring a new diversity in. The main characters are fighting for their freedom and it becomes a powerful book from start to finish.

“There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that’s a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It’s damaged but it’s there. Don’t let them take it from you.”

– An Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir doesn’t shy away from brutality and violence. It is set in a military world, so I expected some violence, but Sabaa Tahir makes you feel like you are right there with how she portrays the violent and dangerous world.

I really enjoyed reading this novel. I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it in one long setting. It’s a powerful novel with incredible characters that go through so many trials and still fight on. Their strength and faith are tested throughout the entire novel and it brings so much intensity to the story.

I am looking forward to reading the sequel now, and I definitely recommend this novel to anyone to read! It’s an amazing fantasy novel that draws you in right from the start.

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

– An Ember in the Ashes

Behind The Scenes – Researching Like a Pro


Writing a novel is not as simple as just writing. So much goes into writing a novel that many people are unaware of. One such thing is research. Oh, the amount of research that goes into a novel is insane.

“The heart and soul of good writing is research; you should write not what you know, but what you can find out about.”

– Robert J Sawyer

Writing is a process, and it requires many, many hours of not only writing, but also research. You can’t just assume things will work out in your novel, you need to be sure of it. If things are too unrealistic, then the novel won’t read well.

Everything is set on a plain of some reality – sure, magic might exist, or elves might roam the land, but there should always be a set of rules in a novel. Research is crucial to creating these rules and producing a believable novel.

Not only will you be able to produce a more believable novel through research, but you will be able to avoid clichés and create environments you wouldn’t be able to without research. Pictures, essays and other books can all help mould your novel and create something unique and amazing.

“Do research. Feed your talent. Research not only wins the war on cliche, it’s the key to victory over fear and it’s cousin, depression.”

– Robert McKee

I tend to always over research my novels. I enjoy reading other books in the same genre and researching probabilities and how things look (if it’s a real place) or might look (if it’s a fictional place or set in the future).

I will spend hours upon hours reading and visiting libraries in order to fully obtain a sense of how my setting will look and how my characters would interact.

I like being able to draw a basis from other novels and research science and medicine books in order to get my facts right and not mess things up. There’s no point in severing someone’s leg off if you don’t know how to do it or the process for patching it up after.

If you create a scenario and don’t know how to go about resolving it – research. Odds are other people have created similar scenarios or even know what to do if that situation occurred. I find it so important to research and read and make sure that my worlds are believable and enjoyable to readers.

Of course, don’t fall into the trap of researching and not writing. You need to investigate things and draw inspiration from life around you, but you can’t spend all your time just doing that. You need to be able to set time aside and write out your ideas and research endeavours.

I’m going to keep on researching current situations in my novel and ensuring that the scenes are the best I can possibly make them. I’ll research to know my content and read how others create similar scenarios.

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write: a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”

– Samuel Johnson


Holiday Season – Writing Amidst the Chaos


So, Christmas and New Years have officially come and gone! It’s been a crazy period of time: seeing family, seeing friends, driving here and there and everywhere, working over the holidays and trying to fit in some writing among all of the busyness.

Among family and friends and enjoying the holiday season, my mind has been as active as ever. Ideas will come to be out of the blue, and the biggest issue has been finding the time to actually sit down and write!

I had slacked off over the past month. It’s been hard to find the time to write, and then when I have had the time, I haven’t had the motivation. I’ve been really exhausted from all the travelling and holiday events, so I just don’t want to do anything when I had the time!

I’ve had to force myself to write over the past month, and I’m still struggling a little with motivation after being so slack. I know that the holiday time is busy and it’s hard to do things like writing, but I definitely lost my mojo and momentum over the holidays.

I am working on getting my mojo back. At the moment I’m just writing word after word and sitting down for a minimum of an hour to write. I need to set those timelines and limits for myself so that I will just continue to write things down, and hopefully my momentum will come back soon!

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

– Margaret Atwood

I am going to keep working on my motivation and will continue to force myself to sit down and write. I’m finding time almost every day at the moment just to put word after word and get something onto my page. I can always edit a bad page, but I can’t edit something that isn’t even there.

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

I will continue to write and write. It is the thing that brings me the most joy and I love it with every part of my being. I’ll get my mojo back, I know it! But, for now, I’ll trudge along putting word after word and hope that the plot bunnies come along to help me soon.


NaNoWriMo is Over For Another Year

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NaNoWriMo Badge

And it’s done and dusted for another year! 50,000 words of my novel has been completed and now my novel is done and is ready for editing! It was seriously a stressful month and I spent so much time writing and scraping my brain for ideas and pushing myself to keep writing.

It was definitely hard to remain motivated and keep to my goals, but I was determined to get 50,000 words done and get my novel completed! It’s not perfect, but it’s done.

Don’t just plan to write — write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.

PD James

It’s hard to write, and it’s hard to smash out a novel in a month. But it definitely can be done. I would have quite a few days when I didn’t want to write, when I wanted to do anything but write. Authors go through times where it’s a chore and a hassle.

But it’s necessary to just write. I had to force myself to sit at my computer and just write. Even if I thought it was stupid or didn’t make sense I would type one word after another and one sentence after the next and just keep writing until I hit each word count.

Sometimes this would give me so much inspiration that I could keep writing past that word count, and sometimes I would be dragging my feet and stop instantly at the word count because I couldn’t do it anymore. It can be a hassle sometimes, but the critical thing is to just write.

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

Louis L’Amour

Once I reached 40,000 words and week 4 my stubbornness kicked in and I had to see NaNoWriMo through and complete my novel. There was no choice once the word count clicked over.

I am really grateful that I completed my novel at finished NaNoWriMo. It was really hard and it was quite stressful to write so much in such a short span of time, but I now have a completed novel over 50,000 words that I can edit over the coming months and perfect.

I managed to see it through and hit my small goals throughout the weeks, which in turn meant that I hit the overarching big goal of 50,000 words. I now have that completed novel and I can’t wait to edit it and start submitting it to publishers!

You must write every single day of your life…You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads…May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

Ray Bradbury


NaNoWriMo Progress and How I Stay on Track

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NaNoWriMo Badge

National November Writing Month is well and truly underway! It’s quite an intense time of year for us writers but it’s definitely a fun one to go through. At the end of November, aspiring authors are hoping to have a 50,000 novel to walk away with or at least the beginnings of a novel.

Not every person will complete NaNoWriMo and that’s perfectly okay! It’s a really busy month and writing 50,000 words in one month is no easy feat, but even writing a small amount and starting the novel you’ve always wanted to is an amazing step!

Don’t just plan to write — write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.

PD James

I’m currently at 38,000 words (approximately) and I’ve hit a bit of a rut. I actually haven’t done any writing so far this weekend and the thought of having to write another 12,000 words to finish the novel is rather daunting. I am a really stubborn person however, so I will definitely accomplish this goal, but it’s definitely going to be a stressful week!

I find that setting goals and rewards throughout NaNoWriMo work the best for me throughout the month. I set small goals each day and try not to focus on the large, daunting word count. Rather than focus on 50,000 words total I’ve focused on writing 1,700 words a day. I find that setting this goal feels less daunting in my mind and is more of an accomplishment.

I’m also a chronic planner. So everything is planned out so that I don’t fall too far behind or stress out too much. I don’t want to be caught in a situation where I have to suddenly write 20,000 words in a week! By keeping to my schedule and keeping small goals, I find I have less stress and I still have some time to do things outside of my writing.

Just writing is a big motivator as well. Sometimes I just have to sit down at the computer and make myself write, even if I don’t really want to! It can be difficult, but it’s necessary sometimes to just force yourself to write!

As long as you can start, you are all right. The juice will come

Ernest Hemingway

I also give myself small rewards at the end of the week. If I hit my goals I make sure that I reward myself with things that I like and breaks and fun things. I have a long bath on Sunday’s if I’ve made it to the 10,000 words I’m meant to hit each week and I have small rewards at the end of each day if I hit 1,700 words each day. It helps me to stay motivated and continue through!

So I’m going to keep writing and pushing towards that 50,000 goal! Remember that it’s not too late to start NaNoWriMo if you want to just start a novel! I’m going to get back to putting words into my word count and pushing towards that 50,000 word count!


Preparing for NaNoWriMo


I absolutely love this time of year! We’re heading into summer in Australia which means shorts and dresses are coming back out. It’s almost socially acceptable to start playing Christmas carols again AND it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!

Now, if you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, never fear, your girl is here! NaNoWriMo stands for – National November Writing Month. On November 1st, hundreds of thousands of crazy people (like me) start a 50,000 word novel that they plan to complete in a month!

Link to the website of this sounds like something you want to hop on the train to do (feel free to add me as a buddy. I’m Emmy_lb): https://nanowrimo.org/

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Photo by jakkapan21 on istockphoto

A big thing for me leading up to NaNoWriMo is preparation! I am certainly not one of those people that can just start writing a novel on November 1st with no prep at all. I have to plan out where my novel is headed and who the characters are the setting and all that jazz.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

Alexander Graham Bell

I always have a journal that I fill out with the details of the novel and the basis of everything, but I wanted to do something a little more this year. Usually my journal is rather easy to follow and simple, but I find myself needing more information about halfway through November.

Bring in my absolute favourite person: Eva Deverell. She does the most amazing print outs for writers to get some inspiration and basic how-to’s when you need to know where to go. And lo and behold she even has a NaNoWriMo journal printout!

The most amazing writing worksheets – she offers courses as well if you’re struggling and want to check her out!

Personally I like to be a little more crafty, so I used her template as a basis and created my own in my journal. It seriously has helped so much in getting my thoughts in order and getting everything into my journal.

NaNoWriMo Preptober Schedule
NaNoWriMo month before checklist

I really do find that preparation is key to a successful NaNoWriMo! Getting a 50,000 novel completed in 30 days is no easy feat but when you prepare effectively it certainly makes the task a little less daunting!

I’ve got my main characters mapped out, my main plot points mapped out and the basic world setting mapped out as well. I’m slowly starting to unwrap more of the complicated things and I’m sure I’ll be ready to go by the time November 1st comes around!

“Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations.”

Alice Walker

I do highly recommend that people try NaNoWriMo! It’s really fun to do and if you are going to give it a shot, definitely plan in advance!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a buddy on NaNoWriMo if you join! Feel free to shoot me a message and I’ll add you too! It’s easier to do when you have friends by your side!


Mental Health Awareness

I’ve been absent for a while on my blog, I do apologise! I’ve had some personal issues to address that have disrupted my carefully paid blogging plans so I haven’t been able to write or post anything. This blog I wanted to change it up briefly. It’s October 10th, which is also known as:

That’s right! It’s World Mental Health Day! As someone on both ends of mental health, this day is especially important! Not only am I studying Psychology to help people with their mental health, but I’ve also struggled with my own. I’ve had serious issues with anxiety and depression and self harming behaviours that have severely impacted my life, and this day and all mental health days are incredibly important to me.

“1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness, yet many don’t seek help because of stigma”

This fact is scary, since suicide is a leading cause of death in Australia, and worldwide. Mental health is so incredibly important for everyone, and people need to know that it is okay to seek help. Mental health needs to be discussed and normalised in order for people to open up and seek the help they need.

I am seeking a world where it is normal for people to be open about their mental health struggles, and celebrated when someone is brave enough to seek help. We’re not meant to walk through this world alone, we have so many people to help support us through and it is incredibly important to lean on others when we need too.

My goal in the future with my studies as a psychologist is to write a book focusing on mental health. I don’t know what style it will be in, but I really want to contribute to the normalisation of mental health discussion.

“Courage is not having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength” – Teddy Roosevelt

If you’re in Australia and you are struggling with mental health, please find someone to talk to or visit one of these sites:




Feel free to DM me as well if you ever need someone to chat with ❤️


Advice on writing while overseas

It’s difficult to focus on writing while you’re on a holiday. All you want to do is have fun, live in the moment and not do anything except eat food, go places and sleep. I have quite the absent memory so if I want to incorporate things I do or see into my writing, I often need to write some things down just to remember them.

Once I see something written down it does jog my memory, but I do need those reminders. Especially if I get an idea for a story while I’m travelling around.

I saw these while in a shrine in Tokyo and the cogs in my head started turning straight away! I couldn’t write down my ideas as soon as I saw them, but once we hopped on the train and jotted it all down!

I always have my phone on me with my notes open. You just never know when inspiration will hit! And when you’re on a 30-minute train ride or a 2-hour bus trip it is useful to be able to write some ideas and get some inspiration on digital paper.

We stayed about 30 minutes out of town in Tokyo. This meant that we caught the metro pretty much every day for approximately 30 minutes. When you’re standing (or occasionally sitting) on a train for that long it can get quite boring and I always like to have something to do!

I’ll often open my notes on my phone and jot down any ideas or just write complete junk to get something down. Sometimes there is gold amongst the garbage, sometimes there is not. But I find it useful just to write while I can and keep in the habit.

Making time for writing is always essential, even while on holidays. Especially when you have beautiful scenery like the photo above!

Now it’s not like I spend hours writing while on holidays, but I do try to find some time to jot things down and write a little. It keeps you in the routine to write and helps flex your mind and encourages inspiration! There is so much inspiration while you’re overseas, so you have to use it!


Overseas Artistic Inspiration

There is something truly amazing about being overseas and seeing new places and new scenery. It really is awe-inspiring to see so much history and so many beautiful places. Japan is an amazing place for both history and beautiful scenery. The places I saw and experienced help to make my mind whirl and create new inspiration for book covers and artistic things to do with my novel. 

Now I should mention that art is not my forte and I have trouble just drawing a straight line. But I still dream about the places my characters would go to and the things they would see and experience. I dream about the kinds of novel covers I’d have, what scenery I’d want on them or what they’d showcase.  

I love the scenery in Japan. From snow falling to temples and Mt Fuji, it’s all pretty magical and historical. I paint pictures in my head of my characters in these places, I imagine Grace vising the snow when she was younger and her parents showing her Mt Fuji. It’s pretty amazing to be able to stand there and picture your characters there. 

For my current novel it’s a bit trickier to incorporate Japanese scenery. Grace is half-Japanese, but the story is told within Australia. Bringing Japanese scenery into the story would be a little odd, to say the least. 

In a recent story development, however, my protagonists are based in Japan. This idea came to me while in Japan, and it’s been slowly developing over the past two weeks into an actual novel idea. I’ve mapped it out and know where I’m going with it, and these beautiful historical sights help me so much. 

Having pictures of temples is one thing, but actually standing in temple grounds and seeing it’s beauty and history up close is a surreal experience. I loved seeing all the history and the beauty of these places. Watching women walk around in kimonos was so cool to see as well. 

My recent story idea was developed from visiting these places and seeing all the culture and history. I wanted to write a novel and convey my love for Japan and its culture (yes, I’ve been obsessive since I was a primary schooler).  

Using pictures like these I can work out the setting of the novel. It also helps to paint pictures of my novel covers and what I want things to look like in this world – primarily remaining historically accurate and not changing what things looked like.  

I really did love my time in Japan and I can’t wait to go back and see more places and experience the culture more!