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March Updates

I have begun to write a monthly free newsletter, and will be cross-posting my updates here. If you wish to receive the updates directly to your email inbox, please click here.

And now! Onto the newsletter!

Hello everyone!

Another productive month for both writing and music! I worked further outside of my comfort zone, and made progress on an ongoing project. Check it out!

Writing Updates

As I mentioned in the February update, I was working on a short story. That particular one, called “The Night Lily Died,” is finished! It’s a little darker and more mysterious than my previous published work, and I really enjoyed exploring those themes. As a young writer in high school, I was often drawn to the dark and macabre, so it was fun to return to my roots a little.

Since finishing writing that story, I’ve been hit with inspiration to write more stories exploring similar themes. Currently, I have 4 planned out—and there will likely be more! I’m hoping to release them all once I have a decent amount to make up a collection.

To organize all my ideas, I’ve begun to use Notion. A while ago, writing Twitter was all abuzz on how helpful it was for organizing project ideas. As per usual, I have been slow to get on the bandwagon—but now that I’m on it, I understand why everyone was singing its praises. One of my favourite features of Notion is that it’s easy to move things around on the screen, and rearrange when necessary. It’s super user-friendly, and there’s lots of room for personalization with photos and emojis. Overall, I’m enjoying seeing all my ideas laid out in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me.

Music Updates

As you may have already seen on a previous newsletter update, my song “Stars” is available in a sheet music anthologyof new art songs from previous entries of Sparks and Wiry Cries’ SongSLAM event. It’s such an honour to see my work in print among so many talented composers, especially since it’s the first time any of my composition work has been printed!

Buy the anthology here.

I’m also in the process of finalizing my old short film tracks. Just a few more steps, and I’m done! I’m planning on releasing them in March to my Bandcamp and YouTube pages. Keep an eye out for that special update!

What I’m Listening To

This month, I listened to a lot of Joel Plaskett. He’s always been one of my favourite artists, and I have so many fun memories associated with his songs. I used to listen to him a lot driving to my music lessons in a neighbouring town. When I hear his music , I still picture the highways in New Brunswick with trees speeding past the car window. I think the longer lockdown continues, the more I’m drawn to listening to artists from the East Coast, as he is. It’s been longer than a year since I’ve been able to visit home, so visiting home through music is comforting.

Joel Plaskett has a long career and a large catalogue, but two of my favourites to listen to at the moment are “Highland Heart” and “On a Dime.”

I hope you are all staying safe and content. I wish you a good March. Let’s hope spring weather comes soon! – Abigail

My Links

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Release Announcement!

I have begun to write a monthly free newsletter, and will be cross-posting my updates here. If you wish to receive the updates directly to your email inbox, please click here.

And now! Onto the newsletter!

Hello everyone! 

Welcome to a special edition of the newsletter. Today, I have some exciting news to share. My song “Stars” was included in an anthology, which is now available for purchase!

The anthology features songs from past entries for Sparks and Wiry Cries’ songSLAM event. “Stars” was first premiered in the 2019 Toronto songSLAM and featured words by Canadian poet Marjorie Pickthall. I was so thrilled when I was contacted last year about having the work published, and I’m excited to see it all come together!

The book was curated by Martha Guth and Erica Switzer, and was edited by Dennis Tobenski from NewMusicShelf. It’s available to order right now! Featuring sixteen new songs, it’s an excellent collection for any vocalist looking for some new material to practice (and eventually perform).

Purchase the Anthology

I hope you’re all having a pleasant month thus far. Stay warm and stay safe! – Abigail

February Updates

I have begun to write a monthly free newsletter, and will be cross-posting my updates here. If you wish to receive the updates directly to your email inbox, please click here.

And now! Onto the newsletter!

This past month turned out to be an exciting month for both words and music! Check it out!

Words Updates

I decided, rather last minute, to apply for Author Mentor Match. The name says it all—unagented authors get paired up with mentors and work towards improving a finished manuscript. 

I’ve never had a finished manuscript to submit in previous years, so I almost forgot that it was even happening. It was only after someone asked me if I’d be applying that I remembered about it. And for once, I actually did have a finished manuscript I could apply with! Everything fell into place really nicely.

Now begins the waiting game of seeing if I get picked for the program. But even if I don’t, it was fun to participate in the games leading up to the application week, and it also kicked me back into thinking about this book, and thinking about editing it some more.

I’ve begun to work a little on writing something new. For the first time in years, I’m trying my hand at short stories. The last time I really wrote one was back in high school, and I’ve been so out of practice doing it, I’ve always assumed I just couldn’t anymore. But, like anything, it’s a skill that requires practice, and it’s nice to try something new. So far, it’s sitting at around 2,500 words, but I still would like to tinker around with it a bit more before it’s finished.

Thanks to Facebook memories, I also came across the fact that it’s been a year since I announced We Go Together’s future publication to the world! I had actually signed the contract on “Christmas Eve Eve” of that year, but due to it being the Christmas season, I decided to wait on announcing the good news! What a year it’s been! If you haven’t read We Go Together just yet, now is the perfect time! The beachy vibes should warm you right up!

Music Updates

I’ve been working on editing my short film music this month. I was surprised at how polished some of the tracks already sounded—it’s been a while since I’ve listened to them. Mostly, I’ve been adjusting levels and other controls I’d previously left automated. It’s been fun to revisit these pieces, and I’m looking forward to sharing them soon.

February 5th is Bandcamp Friday. For those unaware, every Bandcamp Friday, revenue shares are waived, and artists receive 100% of the proceeds of purchases to their music. If you haven’t purchased “Kat’s Song” (featured in We Go Together), then would be the perfect time!

What I’ve Been Listening To

This past fall, I was engulfed in the Kpop craze, particularly with BTS. I listened to them so much, they actually came out as my top artist on my Spotify account, despite having only listened to them regularly for a few months. Through listening to BTS, I’ve discovered a good number of other Kpop groups, and one I enjoyed especially this month was Twice.

Twice is a Korean girl group with sugary, upbeat pop goodness—which is exactly what I need in the coldest months of the winter! I really like “Fancy” and “Feel Special,” among others in their catalogue!

What I’ve Been Reading

Reading has been a struggle for me during the pandemic, but this month I’ve enjoyed making progress on Courtney Milan’s The Duke Who Didn’t. It’s a fun historical romance with lots of humour and a heroine I loved from the first page! I enjoy reading it while waiting for my laundry.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant winter so far, and that your February is full of goodness. While times continue to be wild and unprecedented, I hope you all remain in good health and good spirits. Talk to you soon! – XO Abigail

My Links

Facebook | Twitter | Ko-Fi Website

Writing… fantasy?

As many know, I began writing in the fantasy genre at the young age of eleven. I was completely taken by Middle Earth after watching The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. I wanted to recreate the feelings the movies (and later the books) had given me.

Of course, looking back, all these works were incredibly cliched and developmentally weak, but hey–I was eleven. I can forgive myself.

As I got older and read more urban fantasy and contemporary books, I found my writing calling in those genres. I latched onto contemporary especially, and since then I’ve been a contemporary writer through and through.

In all these years, I haven’t forgotten about my first love in fantasy. I still love reading fantasy and often get little snippets of ideas for my own projects. But I always tell myself I need to let these ideas rest for a while, that I need to properly build the world before I can begin drafting. This has resulted in me just leaving those ideas to rest and never returning.

Until recently.

I’ve been watching more fantasy TV shows, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Untamed, and The Witcher. Each of these shows has different levels of world-building, and each story remained memorable. I’ve not only enjoyed watching these shows, but watching them also brought new ideas to the forefront of my imagination. Things that I had been “letting rest” were resurfacing with new details. I was suddenly very drawn to begin writing the ideas I’d been sitting on for so long.

But…I hadn’t built the world properly. How could I start?

At the same time as these thoughts were occurring, something else happened to me. A friend shared a video with me about JRR Tolkien’s writing process. What stuck out to me the most in this video was the fact that whenever Tolkien ran into a narrative problem, he would brainstorm until he had “written his way out” of it. Then, he would simply restart writing the entire novel up to the point he had originally gotten stuck, and write his new solution.

What surprised me the most about this new to me information was the fact that Tolkien didn’t know everything when he was writing his magnum opus. He didn’t have it clearly mapped out and precisely planned. A lot of the world-building stuff was created in order to facilitate his plot. For example, in the scene where Frodo and his friends meet the Nazgul, Tolkien quickly realized Gandalf couldn’t be present in the scene–he’d be able to quickly dispel the Nazgul with his power. So where was Gandalf, if he wasn’t helping Frodo? Tolkien found a solution in creating the conflict with Saruman. But, he still needed someone to help Frodo and his friends, otherwise the Nazgul would definitely overpower them. That’s where the character of Aragorn came into play.

I was absolutely astounded at learning this. I’d always assumed Tolkien had created the world first. That he’d written a version of The Silmarillion, and then wrote Lord of the Rings. But, no. His process was messy. In all this time, I had envisioned him having it all figured out from the start.

Knowing this, and being exposed to more fantasy media around the same time set a lightbulb off in my head. I didn’t need to have everything worked out before I began. I could work out the basic fundamentals of the world and then proceed to tell the heroes’ story. The finer details didn’t need to all be there before I began. I was weighing myself down.

I’ve realized that what really matters in writing fantasy is the journey the characters embark on. The world can be fantastically detailed, but if the characters are boring and flat, the book is joyless. The characters are the really what needs care and attention pre-writing.

So now, I think I’m ready to begin working on a fantasy story. I don’t want to make it my main project, but I do want to actually start thinking about it seriously. I need to figure out what each character wants, and how they will change over the course of the story. I can’t allow these characters to be empty pawns in an epic plot. They need to feel real. So, I’ll shift my focus from the world, to them. Hopefully I figure something out.

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To MCR, With Love

A year ago today, My Chemical Romance announced their reunion. 

It was a normal day for me. I’d gone to work, then went to tutor a student at her house. On the way home, I picked up Halloween candy, though there was such a rainstorm, I doubted anyone would come. I opened my Facebook and was greeted with someone posting an article about My Chemical Romance’s reunion.

Reader, I gasped audibly. My heart probably stopped for a second. And suddenly, I was filled with so many feelings I hadn’t felt in so long.

I never thought this day would come. I’d been a My Chemical Romance fan since I was twelve or thirteen. The Black Parade had burrowed its way into my heart, and I obsessed over their songs with one of my best friends. We had dreams of seeing them live, but living in Atlantic Canada and being twelve didn’t help our situation. I was heartbroken the day they announced they were ending the MCR journey. At that point, I was in university, and I had hope that the next time they toured, I’d be able to afford going to the show. I remember listening to “Fake Your Death” and tearing up.

As the years went on, I continued to listen to MCR, but my enthusiasm dulled. I still looked on them fondly, but I wasn’t obsessed in the way I used to be.

Fast forward to last year. I’d moved to Toronto a few years before. After years of just barely surviving in Toronto, pinching pennies, stress-checking my bank account late at night, I’d landed a solid, regular office job. Finally, I was making enough money to feel somewhat secure. I had even published a novel! Things, on the surface, were going pretty great. But at the same time, I was starting to feel so tired, so restless. Like something was missing.

When MCR announced their reunion, something returned to me. A spark I hadn’t felt in ages. I started watching interviews, old and new. I felt especially inspired watching Frank talk about his solo music. His passion was infectious, and I longed to feel it in my own life again.

Back at the height of my obsession with MCR, I had dreams to write novels and music. I especially wanted to sing my songs and record them. I wrote songs on my bed with my old guitar, and recorded them on Garageband using a mic headset for vocals. It was very homemade, but it filled me with so much joy. 

I hadn’t written a song in so long. The fire I had for music had been partially doused after going through two university programs in music and feeling generally disillusioned. As I approached 27, I’d told myself I was too old to pursue the music I wanted to write. It was better to move on and find a different use for my skills. But watching the old interviews, I was reminded how Gerard was around 25 when he quit his job and started MCR. It took years afterwards for them to reach the level of success they’d reached. It hadn’t been too late for him, it didn’t have to be too late for me. I needed to take my own chance.

Ever since that day, I’ve been inspired. I’ve been finding ways to build the life I want, the life I’d dreamed for myself as a kid listening to The Black Parade. I’ve started writing songs again. I even recorded one during quarantine! I’m slowly finding my way.

So, I just want to say thank you to MCR. They were there for me as a kid, and they came back to me as an adult, in a time I really needed them. Their music will always mean so much to me.