Happy New Year 2019!

It’s been a while, so I wanted to post something quick while I work on a longer post for you people.

First of all, Happy New Year!!

I apologize for the lack of updates, but I’ve been very busy since November and haven’t had time to write that much. The little time I had, I spent with friends… or resting when my anxiety turned too depressive. But I’m feeling better after the holidays! The days are getting longer and I’m still going to therapy, so I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

I know 2019 will be full of awesome books to read, and I hope I can write something (anything) before the year ends. So yeah, my goal this year is to finish writing something, but it’s not a resolution. Does it make sense? Actually, my New Year’s resolutions are: writing more (in general), updating regularly, and taking better care of myself. And in order to take care of myself, I can’t feel like I HAVE TO finish writing a short story. This way, I may trick myself into thinking that I have no deadlines or expectations to meet and I shouldn’t feel guilty if things go wrong. Will it start out as a pastime and become an obligation? Probably, but I’ll let you know how it goes! (Don’t mind me; I’m just judging myself for judging myself.)

You’ll be glad to know that I haven’t stopped doing my research, and I’ve spent some time during the holidays visiting places and museums that are relevant to my stories. I hope I can tell you more about them soon, but the next post is gonna be about how I started reading Romance. If you’re curious, you have Lee Welch to thank for, since she said that sounded interesting.

Image of a new dawn in the world that reads "2019 HAPPY NEW YEAR".
Shared by Dorothe on pxhere.com

About Romance

It’s about time I wrote a post about the genre I want to explore, isn’t it? You may remember that, when I talked about the books that changed my life, I mentioned that one of them made me rediscover a genre I thought was too homogeneous for me: Romance.

Twenty years ago, I was an avid reader of Science-Fiction. Ten years ago, I read nothing but Fantasy. Now I find it hard to read anything that’s not Romance. I have to confess that, before that book changed my life, I’d tried reading some books and comics with romance elements, my favourite being Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. However, after a while I started thinking that they were all similar; I didn’t feel represented by any of them (in my defense, I mostly read physical books in Spanish, and there was not an ounce of diversity to be found back then). I thought it would always be the same. Never have I been so glad to be proved wrong.

Once I stepped out of my comfort zone and started reading new books, I realized that Romance had actually become the most open and complete literary genre. There’s variety (fantasy, paranormal, historical, sci-fi, contemporary…), diversity (characters who are POC, LGBTQ+, disabled, depressed…) and hope (happy endings are the norm). Romance readers and authors have been leading a loud revolution that you may not have noticed (if you don’t know anyone who’s part of the community), but —I believe— it’s making the world a better place. Of course I’d want to do anything in my power to help! The problem is… that a little is never enough for me, so now I’ve turned to writing.

To be honest, I never thought I’d end up this way. As a person with anxiety, zero self-confidence and a different mother tongue, I know it’s gonna be hard. But hard is not impossible, so I had to try. And who knows, maybe my weaknesses can help me write something that will help people like me. Even if it’s just one person, that would make all hardships worth enduring.

 

Old book with pages bent inwards forming a heart.
Photo shared by congerdesign. Creative Commons.

 

October Update

I’ve been here for three months and in that time I’ve received many follows, likes, comments, and a lot of encouragement from all of you. Thank you so much!

In this time, I’ve transcribed some of my notebooks, updated an old fanfic, read a lot about writing, and decided to write a short story.

Of course, in these three months I’ve also created this blog and my new account on Twitter. I even got a new mobile phone with a better camera that will hopefully allow me to take better photos for this blog (you’ve seen some of the old ones, like the photo in this post). I’m now trying to find some books that will allow me to do some research before I write the short story.

For this short story, I had some ideas:

  • Summer crush that turns into love. Takes place in Northern Spain, one of them is a foreigner and there’s a dog involved.
  • Rich boy with an old building meets student that not-so-secretly wants to turn it into a museum. There might be ghosts in the building, though.
  • A young superhero from Spain has a crush on another European superhero and tries to get an Erasmus scholarship so he can meet his hero.
  • This super popular guy finds himself without home, family or friends just before the holidays, but there’s a serious guy in the office who never talks to anyone but offers his help.

So, which one do you prefer?

And since November is approaching, should I try to do something like NaNoWriMo? If it’s too stressful, I may have to pass this year.

Have you tried it before? Did it work for you?

Logo of NaNoWriMo
Logo of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

New avatar and domain

I finally decided what pic to use as an avatar! I will use something different in the future, but I hope this one is good enough for now.

Sol_Vera_Avatar
My new profile picture.

Do you like it? I’ve chosen this image (with assistance) because it’s a photo I took of the sky in Madrid. You can see the sun, which is “sol” in Spanish, together with the clouds and sky I like so much.

Dusks with beautiful colors are very common and popular in Madrid, all thanks to pollution (I wish I was joking), so I thought it would be good to have an image people could associate with my name and origins.

I have also updated my twitter account with the same profile picture and then embedded the twitter widget on the sidebar here.

Now I just need a new header, right?

 

By the way, it’s probably too early, but I just got a domain for this blog. It’s https://solverawriter.com/ and… we’ll see if it’s worth it!

Too old or too young?

I’m always surprised to find people on the Internet who think they’re “too old” to write a novel and… they’re… 30 years old. Or younger!

It makes me wonder how literature is seen in the rest of the world. In Spain, important and famous writers are over 40 years old. The older, the better, since you have more experience and you’re supposed to write serious novels that critics will approve.

So I always thought 30 was young for a writer to start publishing. Below that? That was gifted-kid level. But maybe things have changed since then. Maybe it’s just different in Spain…

…Or so I believed until a Spanish friend mentioned she felt it was too late for her, and she’s younger than I am! So, here is what I have to say about this: no, you don’t have to accomplish everything before you’re 20, but it’s fine if you want to start before that (even though you’re not even an adult in some countries). You can also be a genius and write amazing novels before you’re 40, but life experience will always make them better with time. So go ahead and start writing as soon as you can, but don’t stop there. Keep writing and getting better at it.

As I said in this post, I’m glad I didn’t try to publish what I used to write years ago (because it was terrible). However, I’m aware that I’m taking the slowest approach and it’s not the best way to do it. That’s why I decided to create this blog and check what I’ve accomplished and what I have left to do. So far, I think it’s working: for the first time in two years, the mountain of notebooks I have to transcribe is decreasing!

I still have much to do, but at least I don’t feel too old or too young anymore. I’m just proceeding at my own pace, and trying to make it the right one for me.

 

Laura_Ingalls_Wilder
Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first novel at the age of 65. Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Change of background and new Twitter

Hi, everyone!

Thank you for your support, as always.

Today I wanted to let you know that I’ve changed the color palette of the blog. I hope this one makes it easier to read! But let me know if you liked the previous one better, of course. For me it had an important issue: the default color for links was too similar to the rest of the text, and I couldn’t tell where they were. Did this palette fix that or do you have trouble seeing green text?

In other news (already spoiled by the title), I got a new Twitter account! This one is in English and will be related to this blog, so I hope I can use it almost daily. We’ll see, I guess. For now, feel free to check it out here!

 

Twitter_Logo_White_On_Blue
Twitter logo

And that is all for now. If you have any suggestions, complaints or pieces of advice, feel free to contact me here or on twitter!

 

What do I write about?

First of all, thank you for all your likes, comments and questions! It was a surprise to find so much support and encouragement after just a few posts.

Some of you have asked me about the actual contents of my notebooks. In other words, you wanted to know what I write about. I don’t know if you meant everything that makes it into my notebooks or what may become a book one day, but I’m assuming it’s the latter.

I’m still reticent about giving details because I’m not sure about anything I do… and I’ve changed plot and characters too many times to ignore the very real possibility that it may happen again. I’m aware that nothing is set in stone… but I can give you (and myself) some general ideas.

These are the stories I’d like to finish one day:

  • A fantasy romance with a disabled MC.
  • A paranormal/historical romance set in Madrid, Spain.
  • Another fantasy romance with an MC trapped in someone else’s body.
  • A paranormal/historical romance set in Alcalá de Henares, Spain.

Since I love fantasy, historical and paranormal romance, I want to write those, but I keep having ideas for other contemporary stories with main characters and situations that’d be fun to write. Perhaps even a superhero romance…

Maybe I should start with those, since the research wouldn’t take that long? I could write a short story first….

As you can see, I can’t make up my mind.

 

Alcala_de_henares_plaza_cervantes
Alcalá de Henares. Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons

Books that changed my life

I’ve always wanted to give credit where it’s due, so before I answer any more of your questions, I thought it would be good to give you a bit of a background. For me, reading comes before writing, and I learn something new from every book, but I wanted to share a list of the books that had the biggest impact on me and why:

  1. The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende: In hindsight, this is the book that made me want to become a writer, even though I didn’t dare say it out loud. I know I’m not alone here; this book is really inspiring.
  2. The Hobbit” + “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien: A classic, right? But these books did not only fuel my love for epic fantasy… they also helped me decide I wanted to study English Philology. I was very young at the time, so I didn’t really believe I’d go through with it, but at 17 I realized (again) that it was the best degree for me.
  3. The Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling: These novels belong to the fantasy of manners subcategory and are to blame for the longest book hangover I’ve ever had (over a year and a half!). Yes, they are that good. I’d never read anything like this series, and I thought I never would again. I’m glad to report I was wrong, but it was the first time I’d read a fantasy book in which the main characters ended up being LGBTQ+, and I didn’t know where to find more.
  4. Widdershins” by Jordan L. Hawk: It turned out one of my friends did know where to find more, and wisely told me to read this book (which is the first in a series). It cured my book hangover, made me want to read and write again, and helped me rediscover a genre I thought was too homogeneous for me: Romance. The book was a real eye-opener, the kind that makes you ask “Wait, people can do that?!”, and my life has fortunately never been the same afterward.

 

This list is chronological, as you might have guessed. Of course, there are many books I love just as much, but reading these were life-changing experiences, and I hope this post will help you understand what I want to write one day.

 

el-hobbit
The edition of “The Hobbit” my parents have. Photo taken from elbiblionauta.com

How did I start writing?

I got asked this question and the short answer is: I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about it, and I remembered I used to write diaries and very long letters, but I wasn’t very good at keeping diaries and people tend to stop replying to handwritten letters, so that was it.

But then I started what I didn’t know was a self-insert fanfic when I was 10 or 11 years old. As you might have guessed, I’m very glad I never shared it online (I didn’t have a computer and AO3 didn’t even exist back then!), but it must be hidden somewhere. And it shall remain that way forever. It was an animorphs fanfic, if you have to know, and all my friends were in it, of course. Together we were fighting the Yeerks, saving the Earth, getting Tobias to open up about his feelings…. the usual. There was no romance because I wasn’t the only one who liked Tobias, so I didn’t want to make him choose. Better to keep all options open and all parties interested.

I was 13 when my parents heard about a writing workshop for kids. I went there every Sunday for a while, but they cancelled it. Some years later, they decided to open one for teens with the same teacher, and I joined again. And after a while, I joined the one for adults, even though I wasn’t an adult yet. There was a a very intelligent boy who was even younger than me, a goth girl that fought ignorance and intolerance in every way, a Tunisian girl whose writing flowed as beautifully as her drawings, a journalist that hated journalism, a historian that loved auctions, and lots of mate (the drink). One day I got to touch a piano score handwritten by Chopin. It was amazing.

We even published a few books, but nothing too long or elaborate.

After the workshop ended for good, I tried writing a couple of things. But not having a teacher who would tell me if they were good or not… meant I just decided they weren’t. To be honest, my fantasy story was too childish and still a bit of a self-insert, so I think I was right to abandon it. Still, I didn’t want to let some of the characters die, and I kept thinking about them… until I got that notebook I told you about. That’s when I decided to rewrite the whole story now that I know what I want. More or less.

Years have passed and I’m still not confident enough, but I’ve decided to keep writing. Mainly because I enjoy it. But also because these stories and characters are eating my brain until I let them out.

Books don’t write themselves, yes, but they also take a lot of space until you do.

 

Power-of-words-by-antonio-litterio-creative-commons-attribution-share-alike-3-0
Taken from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Why did I choose that pen name?

Yes, Sol Vera is a pseudonym, and I have to use it for various reason. I have a day job, I use my real name for other kind of publications, I’m terribly shy…

I wanted so use a short name that shared my nationality (Spanish) and sounded familiar. People who know me have said it reminds them of my personality, so maybe I chose well after all.

I chose Sol because it means “sun”, which is something typically Spanish. A vera can be the bank of a river or somebody’s side (as in she stood by my side), but also half of the Spanish name for spring, “primavera”, which is the season in which I was born.

I can still change it if I find something wrong with it, so let me know if you think it’s a bad name for any reason!

17127683158_bd707f38c2_z
Taken from https://www.flickr.com/rrnavero/17127683158