October & November Wrap-up // Long Time No See!!

I haven’t sat down to write a blog post in what feels like forever, so bear with me as I relearn this blogging thing.

I can’t believe that we’re already in the last month of 2020! I’m eager to leave this awful year behind us, but at the same time I don’t really see how 2021 could magically make everything better. I still haven’t left my house since late February/early March, and I may actually spend an entire year without going outside.

Online school is a scam. I thought it was going to be easier because classes only lasted for half a day, but I was wrong. Little did I know that teachers would give homework that take an average of an hour and a half to complete. And many take even more.

Also, I just hate how online school is structured. I’ve been complaining about this to all my friends, but listening to lectures is not my preferred way of learning. I learn by doing things myself and asking questions along the way. Zoom lectures are pretty much useless to me because I space off so easily.

this tweet is so relatable

Besides school, my life was pretty boring in October and November. All I can say is that I fell deeper into the BTS hole. These seven men give me serotonin without fail!!

Perhaps the biggest highlight of the two months is that I won NaNoWriMo!!! This year was my first time participating in NaNo, and I’m very happy that it went well. I ended the month with a total word count of 50,010/50,000 words. About 5k of those words came from my outline, but whatever, it counts because I outline very extensively. I wouldn’t have anything to write without my outline.

As you can see from the graph below, I was behind on NaNo for all of November except the first and last day. Thank god I got a week-long break from school, which I spent the whole time writing, or else I would’ve ended the month with just 10k words or something.

NaNo graph

During my semestral break, I discovered that I can average 3.5k words a day if I spend the whole time writing, with my record number of words in a day being 5k. That’s surprising to me because I’m usually a slowpoke at everything, but I guess that’s the benefit of all the outlining I did in October. (Fun fact: my outline stopped when I was less than 10k words away from finishing, and I had to spend two days brainstorming what to write next. Never write about smart characters. They’re such a pain.)

The draft I’m working on isn’t perfect and writing definitely isn’t easy, but it’s very fulfilling! I haven’t written in years, and it feels so good to be writing again. Unfortunately I’m self-conscious about my writing (and this writing section could easily be a post by itself), so I won’t be sharing more about my WIP in this post. All I’ll say for now is that it’s YA fantasy!

In October and November, I only read six books because I was dedicating all of the free time I had to writing. But I am taking December to focus only on reading and blogging, so pray that I can somehow read 24 books this month and complete my Goodreads challenge…

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab– I really enjoyed this while reading it, and it’s amazing that I flew through it in a matter of days while I was busy with school. As always, V.E. Schwab’s writing style was exquisite. However, I’ve grown to realize my problems with this book and Schwab’s books in general. For a book about a French girl that spans centuries, I was disappointed in the lack of discussion of colonialism and lack of BIPOC characters. Plus, this woman has lived and traveled for 300 years, but she’s only been to America and Europe? Okay. (This review by Aentee perfectly sums up how Addie LaRue erases BIPOC, since this post would be too long if I elaborated.) I’m probably coming off as nitpicky, but as a POC, it’s tiring to read about the white feminism present in Schwab’s books and constantly be reminded that people like me don’t fit her aesthetic. Besides the BIPOC erasure, I’ve realized that Schwab’s characters almost always come off as two-dimensional. Addie felt like a very replaceable character, and the devil was the only remotely interesting one. Also I do not get why everyone hypes up this book’s ending so much.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas– The plot, a murder mystery, was SO lackluster, but I get why because the characters were probably meant to be the star of the show. Though they didn’t become all time faves, they were definitely likable.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery– I see why this is a classic, and I think it still holds up to this day. And I got so much sapphic vibes from Anne. The girl literally threw a fit when she found out that her “bosom friend” was going to marry a man someday.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi– This wasn’t bad, but it was pretty forgettable. It had really great discussions surrounding the hardships of being Muslim in America, particularly after 9/11. But I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you don’t like romance-focused stories, especially because the love interest was pretty bland.

The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso– This is marketed as a character-driven fantasy, which is unfortunate because I didn’t like any of the characters. I really wanted to love this because the author is Filipino and the book is set in a Filipino-inspired world, but it’s barely been a month since I finished it, and I can’t remember any particularly strong emotions I felt toward it.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn– This book was such a pleasant surprise! I absolutely loved how tropey and reminiscent of 2000s YA it was (though this time the protagonist is Black). I’ll definitely be reading the sequel because I need by ship to sail!!

As we all know, I was a very bad blogger in the months of October and November. I basically disappeared, and I have comments from three months ago that I haven’t replied to yet. Please don’t judge me if I reply to a comment you posted in September. (Though there’s a chance that I won’t reply to all my backlogged comments because there are a LOT, and I feel like it’s too late to answer some of them.)

On a more positive note, I interviewed Xiran Jay Zhao, author of one of my most anticipated 2021 releases, Iron Widow! It was the first ever author interview I hosted on my blog, and I hope to host more!

What I posted:

What are your thoughts on Addie LaRue if you’ve read it? Any end of the year plans? How were the months of October and November for you? If you have online school, are you also dying like me?

39 thoughts on “October & November Wrap-up // Long Time No See!!

  1. congrats on finishing nano!! i’m so proud of you πŸ₯Ίβ€οΈ i haven’t read addie larue yet, and i’m not sure i want to. i’m glad you liked legendborn and cemetery boys though! i’m not doing anything in december except christmas, and i’m probably just going to end up suffering in cold weather (even though it’s not really cold because california’s not considered a ‘cold’ state?). as for online school, the only word i can think to describe it is ughhhh. a little part of me dies every time i’m called on and i’m not paying attention 😭 i’m sorry for all this rambling but i hope you’re having a great december!! πŸ’–

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thank you so much katie!! i hope you have a great december too ❀ i think addie larue is a book that's worth having an opinion on, so you should pick it up if you're curious. ahh, i hope the weather isn't too bad in california :(( and yes! it usually happens during calculus for me, and if i really don't know the answer i just text my friend & she usually provides it πŸ˜… though i've turned off my internet & disconnected from the chat once (i'm a very responsible student what can i say)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Caitlin! So happy to see you on my feed again πŸ’•
    I feel you about online school. I started my new semester in November, so it’s my first time doing online classes and I’ve been so busy 😴 Almost all content is prerecorded as well, which I find difficult as that means my week isn’t as structured.

    Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo, that’s amazing!! πŸŽ‰ Best of luck with your writing project, very excited to hear that it’s Fantasy, my fave genre πŸ₯°

    I loved Cemetery Boys as I love character-driven stories, but I agree that the plot wasn’t that strong. Happy to see that you loved Legendborn, I really want to read that one! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ahh, caro!! thank you πŸ₯Ί omg prerecorded lectures sound so good though! i space out so much, and i would have a much easier time if i could replay all my lectures lmao. but online school is hard to adjust to, so i hope you’re doing all right! i’m so glad you loved cemetery boys, and i really hope you enjoy legendborn <33

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  3. Congratulations on finishing Nano! I bet your book is great πŸ’™ I’m absolutely a supporter of sapphic Anne headcanons! She definitely has vibes of that.
    I hope school gets better for you! Online learning is tough 😭

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  4. Caitlin!! This is long time no see for me too because I haven’t even opened WordPress or any book blogs since September so this is my first post I’ve read in forever. I totally hear you on online school – thankfully in the UK my school is back in person, and even though I’ve never loved school, I didn’t realise how much I preferred it to online until I was back. Secondly congrats on finishing nano! That’s so exciting and 50k words in a month is something to be really proud of. As a non-writer (wish I was though!) any amount of words is amazing to me haha.
    Also I literally just reread Anne of Green Gables and I love it so much. Never fails to give a mood boost!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahh, long time no see emme πŸ₯Ί honestly, now that i’ve gotten my first semester grades back i kinda take back what i said abt online school, bc they weren’t that bad & the teachers were more lenient in grading than i thought they would be LMAO. but yes, it definitely has its flaws—i’m so excited to see how online school compares with in-person classes (if school is physical next year). and same lmao i just hate school in general—it’s only the first day of xmas break & i’m feeling SO much better. thank you so much emme πŸ˜­πŸ’—
      yess, it’s a classic that definitely holds up to this day!

      Like

  5. Hello Caitlin! It’s lovely to read a blog post from you again πŸ’• Congrats on finishing NaNo, thats a great achievement and you should be so pleased with yourself. I can understand how demotivating it must be to only learn via Zoom, I would struggle with that too. Have a wonderful December ✨

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much stephen! have a wonderful december too ❀ (but ahh i feel bad bc after posting this one post i promptly disappeared again—i'm just not in the mood for blogging these days πŸ˜…) yep, it's really demotivating. i'm just trying to make the most of the extra time online school affords me & teach the lessons to myself

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhhh congratulations on finishing NaNoWrioMo, good job! I completely agree, online school is a scam and I’m so done. It’s finals week for me so ahh just a couple more days before I’m free πŸ˜€ Omg I read Anne of Green Gables a while back but I loved it and hehe, can definitely see her as sapphic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i’m so glad everyone in the comments is agreeing that anne is sapphic 😌 and thank you so much charvi!! i hope finals week has gone smoothly, but if not, remember that grades don’t define you & just being able to get through a semester during a pandemic is cause for celebration ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. YES I AGREE THAT ONLINE SCHOOL IS A SCAM. It’s so hard to concentrate and I usually just end up recording the lectures and listening to them later πŸ˜† Congrats on winning Nano! I really wanna read The Cemetery Boys after hearing so many amazing thing about it! And yes BTS gives me serotonin too πŸ₯Ί Hope you have a great December!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG YES! i just end up teaching myself the lesson for most subjects, & in the others, you don’t even need to listen to accomplish the graded assessments 😫 i wish i could record, but we’re not allowed, but i should really look into screen recording apps lmao. thank you so much! i hope you enjoy cemetery boys, & have a great december <33

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  8. School is an absolute pain. We get more work than we did in school, and I just found it really hard to concentrate with all the distraction in my house. Glad you’re back πŸ™‚

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  9. omjg!! caitlin!! 50k words!! that’s such an amazing achievement, and i’m literally in awe right now!! also yes!! i feel like we need sapphic anne fanfic, but nobody bothers to write any because anne of green gables is literally seen as a classic to so many people!! my grades are on a downward spiral!! last year, or even last semester i was like at the top, and now my parents are getting mad because i’m only getting 85%’s and 90%s πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜­ 2020 is the worst!!! hopefully i do something soon and focus more on lectures, because my attention span is also decreasing so much it’s not even funny!!

    eep i haven’t read any v.e. schwab but everyone’s been saying such amazing things about addie larue!! i’m sorry her characters felt 2 dimensional and whatttt!!?? there weren’t any bipoc characters!! that’s awful!! on a brighter note, i bought a copy of legendborn, and i’m so so excited to read that soon!! loved reading your wrap-up πŸ’—πŸ’—

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much ahaana <33 yess, there are so many lines in the book that could be interpreted as sapphic, & tbh i can clearly see her as bisexual. OMG SAME! a good chunk of my grades are in the 85-90 range too :(( it's disheartening bc online school could've been an advantage to get higher, but i just got my first semester grades back and they weren't bad (totally did better than i was expecting to do in some subjects), so i guess it could be worse 😭

      i really hope you enjoy legendborn!! & there was one Black side character, but she's literally the only POC in the story, which was such a wasted opportunity considering the story spans 300 years & is about being forgotten. there are literally so many POC who were erased from history on the basis of their race 😭 i think addie larue is still a book worth having an opinion on though, & it's not outright problematic, so i'm not discouraging you from picking it up!

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  10. me having learned absolutely nothing since march can absolutely attest that online school is a scam & i hate it so bad πŸ™‚ BUT AN ABSOLUTE MASSIVE CONGRATS FOR WINING NANOWRIMO IN THE MIDST OF EVERYTHING!!!!! i am shocked you were writing around 3k words a day. i started nano with an advantage of like 20k words, and still took until the last day to complete it, lol. i believe the most i wrote was like 2.5k words in a day and my brain was fried by the end of it. but, really, that’s amazing, and i am really so proud that you made it as well!

    initially, i didn’t really think i was going to pick up addie la rue, but everyone i know has been giving this 5 stars and it made me want to read it. i loved that you brought a different perspective on it, though, and i’ll definitely keep that in mind if i ever read it!

    as for cemetery boys, i really adored it and thought it was so fun. a very large expanse of sea definitely is super romance focused, but i remember actually really enjoying the romance and the 2000s references as well (i’m pretty sure the main character did break dancing which i just thought was the most 2000s thing ever lol).

    hope you have an amazing december, caitlin & a great end of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes, i just end up teaching myself for most lessons 😭 and for the rest you don’t even need to study or listen to the lectures to accomplish the assessments they give you?? it’s so annoying. and thank you so much!! i was honestly so surprised that i was able to average 3.5K words a day bc i’m usually a slowpoke at everything. but i guess i have my outline to thank for that? plus, i spent entire days just writing, HAHA. 2.5k words in a day is still so amazing, and congrats to you too for winning nano in the hell year that is 2020!!

      i think addie larue is a book worth having on opinion, so definitely pick it up! i’m excited to hear what you think about it! and i totally see how other people wouldn’t have the problems i had with it.

      i’m so glad you loved cemetery boys, and the romance in AVLEOS, bc i think you’re basically done for if you don’t like the romance in it πŸ˜‚ and omg i didn’t know that breakdancing was a very 2000s thing to do lmao. i’m just culturally illiterate tbh

      same to you lais!! congrats to us for (almost) making it through 2020 πŸ’—πŸ’—

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Online school has to be so, so damn annoying, I’m honestly glad not to have that anymore πŸ˜… I’m sending you all the love!! ❀ and AH CONGRATULATIONS on NaNo, I'm so, so proud of you and all of your writing, that's fantastic. I so get the being self conscious thing, I'm always like that with my writing. do whatever you feel comfortable with and know that I'm always rooting for you and your fantastic writing! ❀
    I hope December has been kind to you so far, take care of yourself always ❀

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    1. thank you so, so marie i hope you’re having an amazing december πŸ₯ΊπŸ’• im taking a break from writing rn, and during the break i’ve just been relieving so many things about my draft that are just plain bad 😭 i’m really gonna have a hard time revising it, i just know. & i believe in you too—you’re an amazing writer & i just know that you’re capable of getting an agent & book deal ❀

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  12. Ah yay glad to see you coming back and I hope that online school gets better Caitlin!! And yay for winning Nano, that’s so so amazing. I’m so glad you liked Anne, that book is one of my faves. Also yes THE SAPPHIC VIBES. I think I have to headcanon as bisexual here because we also can’t deny the serious enemies to lovers vibes with Gilbert hehe. Hope you have a wonderful December xoxo

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