Tag!

I was tagged by Rebcake (Becca, I had no idea you had another blog) for a writing tag of sorts. Now, I am not a Canva wizard with money to spend on those countless one-dollar beasties, so instead of trying to finnick with the free images for hours, I figured the quality, conciseness and intrigue of the answers was more important than graphic design. Some things just don’t click with me.

I. What genres, styles and topics do you write about?

Stellar question. When I don’t have a new story rolling around in my head, I write anthropomorphic animal fiction. As in, talking horses. But it sounds more dignified when you use large words to describe it. If I happen to not be in a anthromporphism mood, then I write brutally innacurate historical fiction.

As for topics, I try very hard in my stories to avoid orphans. Pick up any book on the shelves of your local library these days and there’s a 70% chance it features an orphan. Can’t we have some parental supervision these days? I wouldn’t think of giving any of my characters mental instability by removing all of their parental attachment. The cruelest it gets is losing one of them, and even so, they’re forever remorseful over it.

Other things to be avoided: any kind of magic, too much shipping, academies of special people (where’s the idiot academy?) and most “E.S.” stories. E.S. is an acronym used commonly in my notes. It stands for “enigmatical something”, meaning, some sort of thing that every single blasted person knows about and wants except the people irrelevant to your story. The Lord of the Rings, although I really don’t like it, is a classical E.S. story. I usually use the acronym in a annoyed/sarcastic tone, e.g. All this story needs is something to go between part C and part D. Oh, I know! An orphan with an E.S.!

Well, I have spent a lot of time talking about the things I don’t like to write about. So it is safe to assume that I like to write about the things I have not mentioned. Proof by counter-example.

II. How long have you been writing?

I got interested in writing via an online course I took that gave me a bounty of information on how to write, which happened sometime in 2014. But I had been making up stories long before then.

When I was around six years old, I began playing out stories in my head before I fell asleep at night. Most of the time they revolved around this kid named Tony (heavily based on my brother Mac) whose dad was a police officer, and, naturally, went on crime-fighting, mystery-solving adventures that were a lot of fun to think about. Of course, looking back on it, it was awfully cheesy, but I was six.

After that phase three to four year obsession, I began making up animal stories due to my love of animals and the fact that I began to like Tony’s German Shepherd Trooper (made up in the second year of my playing those adventures) better than Tony himself. So I dibbled with those for awhile. But my ‘big break’ was Nanowrimo 2015, when I finally sat down and wrote 40,000 words. I haven’t stopped since.

III. Why do you write?

This is the part where all eloquence flees my mind.

I write because I have stories that need chronocling. As anti-climactic as that is.

Wow, this is oppressively short.

IV. When is the best time to write?

They say that Nanowrimo builds habits. I believe them. I get up before eight every morning, eat an egg and some turkey sausage, read some Bible, then sit at the computer and write for at least an hour. So, morning, I suppose.

This sounds all hunky-dory but I get writer’s block like crazy, so most of the time I only end up with a few hundred words.

V. What do you love about writing?

I love the imagination involved in creating characters and stories and worlds.

I love the tingly feeling I get when I make something that’s actually good.

I love the big thought trains my words buy tickets for and the long discussions they incite.

I love the research I end up doing and the knowledge I gain that was sparked through a simple question I thought up while writing – What does miso soup taste like? What even is miso soup?

(FYI: Miso soup is a Japanese broth made out of soybeans. I have tried and I have to say that if you haven’t had it, you’re not missing much.)

VI. What do you hate about writing?

I hate it when I spend effort and brain cells making something up and then realise that it’s already been written.

I hate it when words don’t behave as they should.

I hate it when I can’t eke out any words despite my most violent efforts.

I hate it when I have a brilliant idea just waiting to be written and then I forget it.

I hate it when I get distracted.

And I hate writing culture. Sorry. I believe in happy endings and moral choices, despite the critics who call that uninteresting and psycologically boring. I’ll show ’em.

VII. How do you overcome writer’s block?

I switch projects. I go write something else. And I wonder why I can’t seem to finish anything.

VIII. Are you working on something at the moment?

Indeed. The votes have pointed towards Dog Story, which I began – ha! This morning!

IX. What are your writing goals this year?

Camp Nanowrimo (July 2017)

15,000 words of Dog Story

Nanowrimo (November 2017)

Editing Camp Nanowrimo Project from April

Over-achiever. *scoffs*

Indeed, I realise that this post is nearly one thousand words long! For your cooperation, you have won access to something you may or may not be interested in.

Introducing…

Secrets

A members-only page for those who make it through posts!

Yay! Free stuff!

But – there’s a catch. To get your classified information, you must answer the comprehension question below:

What was the name of Tony’s German Shepherd?

The answer, which is case-sensitive, is the password to the page. If you can remember the answer, then you will find out the title of the long-awaited Dog Story. And it’s a pretty awesome title, if I may say so myself.

Good luck and good day!

{Tess}

I Touched A Real Human Brain

Yes, I did touch a real, preserved-in-formaldehyde human brain. I also touched a heart and a liver, which were also human and preserved in formaldehyde.

Yes, it was creepy.

No, I did not visit any black-market organ donation joints in creepy alleys.

Today, I went to the  Sci-Port, in Shreveport, LA, courtesy of my friend, Cyto. Now, I had been before today and witnessed all the cool stuff they have there, one of the attractions being an excellent model of the Solar System. Nothing makes you awe at the works of the Creator like seeing your tennis-ball sized Earth next to the thirty-four foot wide Sun. I powered light bulbs and hair dryers with an exercise bike, stood in an old steamboat, and discovered that I have the extremely rare trait of bent little fingers.

But by far, besides petting the milk snake that was out, witnessing the adorable juvenile alligators, and experimenting with pulleys, the coolest thing was the brain.

Of course, the credit of my experience goes to the guy who brought it out of its bucket and let me touch it. That has to be one of the coolest things I have ever done.

The other really, really neat thing that I have done happened yesterday. Whenever I come up to Shreveport, my siblings and I always make sure to visit Cyto’s neighbour, a certain Mrs. Ann Horn. She has told us all kinds of things in past, and showed us several as well. Once she told us how when she was going to college in Princeton, New Jersey in the 1930s, the newest H. G. Wells novel, The War of the Worlds, was being played over the radio, and how everyone mistook the gripping descriptions of alien motherships for the apocalypse being forecasted and fled the town. We all found that quite amusing. But yesterday left me awe-stricken.

She had this book on her dining room table when we came in, explaining that we may want to look at it. So I picked it up and opened the barely-attached cover. The following greeted me as I breathed in the dusty, musty scent.

The Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1754.

I just stared at her. And she smiled back, replying that it was indeed an original printing.

That had to be the oldest thing I had ever held, save a rock. And I couldn’t believe that she had it. Apparently her brother had given it to her.

As I sit here writing, I realize that this sounds a bit far fetched, but I assure you, everything I wrote about is 100% true. On my honour.

What is the weirdest or most interesting thing you’ve ever touched? I would love to know.

Signing off for now,

Tess

Writing poll from Tess

Well, after a week in Louisiana, I realized that I hadn’t posted on Steeplechase in quite a bit. So I decided upon a quick update on the state of lierary things in my Microcosm.

Now, I want some participation, but I know that it isn’t easy to get answers from your average Reader viewer. Understanding that, I have put together a system that should make it easy for you.

In the post below, I will be assigning numbers to responses. When you wish to respond, all you have to do is to type the number of your response in the comments – no composition required. It sounds confusing but it will become clear as you read. Hopefully.

Ready to begin?

I am currently in a dilemma, trying to decide which of my numerous projects to work on. I’m certainly full of ideas, but not will power to do them all at once. Which do you think I ought to work on?

For NaNoWriMo 2016 I wrote a very thrown-together tale about a girl who was trying to cope with her older brother’s absence. At the same time, her brother’s horse Falconer was dealing with the loss of his best friend. An unlikely love springs up between the two, which translates into a full-time friendship. Although it is a very good idea, it needs a tonne of work to be something really moving. If vote to revise my NaNoWriMo project, “A Charger In Command”, comment the number 1.

Camp NaNoWriMo this April also  held some surprises, as I set out to write about something that I knew absolutely nothing about (Feudal Japan) and after a lot of Wikiresearch came back with a lot of new inspiration and the skeleton of a really good  story. Skeleton meaning that so much meat and sinww needs to be put onto it that it would wind up a completely different story. But still. If you think I should revise my Camp NaNoWriMo project, “The Taiso Senshu”, comment the number 2.

Possibiliy number three is one that has occupied my creative juices since last November. It’s a dog story, but not really the sort I have ever seen told. The only hiccup that I have run into is that I can’t decide how it ought to end. This doesn’t mean I can’t start it, though. If you think I should finally begin the canine story I have been thinking about for what seems like decades, which is entitled “The Vagabond”, by the way, then type the number 3.

And now we come to the last option. I was asked once to make up an AG GOTY story. Of course, knowing me, you should be able to guess what talent I have given my heroine…not all equestriannes are Western riders, AG. It actually sounds like it could be one of her stories. If you are more inclined in my writing my GOTY story that’s been milling about my head for a while, type 4.

One last thing!

If you like this new and improved easy responses thingy, then give me a winking face with your number! Thanks for your cooperation, and remember, my writing until November depends upon your whim! I will post the result of our poll on Wednesday.

{Tess}

Amateur Art Update

(Before we begin: why is it that just when I get used to how the WordPress post editor is, Automattic changes it? 8-| )

It has been epochs since I’ve posted some amateur art, though I have been drawing prolifically. But to ease your worries, I’ve picked only my best sixteen to show. Not all of them.

Also, I read the survey results, and although I can’t draw cats (sorry, whoever that was) for a hill of beans, I have been trying to diversify. Slightly.

We’ll begin with the sketchy, not-so-great stuff.

animals

(Lions are cats, right?)

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more huskies

The copper husky turned out better than the grey. The grey’s head almost looks too small. Oh well.

(Side note: I have been studying Pirkei Avot with a friend, so naturally, you’ll see some interesting quotes on some of these drawings, like this one. More on Pirkei Avot here.)

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I already edited it so that line A is level. 😛 I accidentally drew the horse over-jumping, so I just altered the angle. 🙂

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Here’s another jumper.

evenmore horses

More Pirkei Avot. I like the rider’s posture.

more horses

Still more Pirkei Avot. I like the horse’s big, pretty eyes. I tried to give the chestnut a wall eye, but it was too late, and it just ended up looking odd.

horses3

More Pirkei Avot. The quality is getting slightly better…

horses2

(Sorry for the high exposure.) Better?

horses1

Better….

wolves (2)

This is intended to be a female wolf. Better….

wolves

From that same sketch. Better!

pongo

Pongo from 101 Dalmatians.

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Lady and Tramp. Do I actually need to tell you where this is from?

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I had considered entering this in the Western Horseman Youth Art contest. Any encouragement?

I saved the best for last.

wolf

I JUST drew that this morning, copying from an online picture. I love it. The mouth looks just right! Hooray!

That just about wraps things up. I hope you enjoyed the more diverse selection of drawings.

{Tess}

Crazy Russian Hacker, Updates, and Some Other Nonsense

First of all: Have you heard of Crazy Russian Hacker? Because if you haven’t, I need to redirect you to his Youtube channel: Crazy Russian Hacker

I love this fellow’s videos (or, as he says them, veedyos). When he announced that he was taking fan mail, I considered a lot of things I could send him, but I eventually decided on a drawing…SO this means more amateur art! Variety lovers rejoice!

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I just learned how to draw huskies, which is perfect. After all, he has two. I’m quite happy with the way this turned out…I’m going to make a photocopy to keep.

Now, for travel plans and other stuff…I’m going to Louisiana for the holidays, and besides my doll stuff, which we will not discuss at the present moment, I’m undertaking something that sounds like fun – The Plastic Challenge.

The rules of this game are simple.

  1. Gather up about twenty little plastic Chuck E. Cheese guys (like army men, cowboys, horses, whatever. I’m using ninjas.).
  2. Set a time period (mine is the week I’ll be gone).
  3. See how many you can leave in interesting places (with notes telling to pass it on).

I have these twenty plastic ninjas I got at Gattiland that I’ve been trying to get rid of, and I finally developed this challenge to get rid of them. Hopefully I’ll get a picture of each one and its note. The note is IMPORTANT.

If you feel like doing this challenge, let me know – maybe we can compete to see how many we can do.

I’m leaving on the 23rd and won’t be back till the 2nd, but I will have lots of interesting nonsense to share. 🙂

Where are you going this holiday season?

{Tess}

 

A Proposition for My Readers

How. Does. The. Time. Fly. By?

It seems like just a couple of weeks ago, it was my birthday, and my two awesome brothers were gigging me with a bunch of stuff that annoys me (like Yo-Kai Watch and Star Wars Rebels). Now, it’s December, my birthday is next month and I feel like it hasn’t been long enough to make a year.

Maybe that’s a sign of my brain trying to mature but my six-year-old “it takes a million years to have your birthday again!” thing fighting dirty. XD

But on less depressing topics than aging (I did that on purpose), the actual reason for this post is….

I NEED AN EDITOR.

Well, sort of. I could carve out mountains of time to try and edit my 2015 or 2016 novels, but I’m so ca-hooting sick of this year’s novel, and feel that I might chirp my chips trying to edit last year’s. So the idea came to me like a clap of thunder, a flash of lightning and Martin’s outdated flash – why don’t I cajole one of my readers into doing it for me?

Well, not exactly. You would be paid…in compliments, virtual boot shining and erecting virtual monuments. (Which is another way of saying that I’m dead broke and the best I can do is give you a guest post. Not exactly like my blog is an amazing epoch of the blogosphere that would be worth lowering yourself to post on, but whatever. More publicity!)

All I’d need edited are problems with story (as in, you said it was winter but now it’s fall, what happened???). I can do all the grammatical stuff, but I need an outside, trustworthy source to tell me that the ending was cheesy or that this character changed drastically without explanation.

If you’re interested in being the nicest person in the world (and laughing hysterically at my farbiness in some areas), just let me know, and I would let you read over the novel of your choice and BE RUTHLESS.Just kidding. But do let yourself go and, in the words of the Nanowrimo handbook, WIELD THY MIGHTY RED PEN.

Cheerio!

Tess

(PS: I will be going out of town this weekend for the holidays and won’t be back until January 2nd. Perhaps that can be an excuse for not posting the rest of this week? But I promise lots of photos. :))

 

An absurd assortment.

Do you have that feeling, dear Nanowrimo participants, that you’ve been under a rock all of last month, but you rather enjoyed being under there? Of course, now you have time to do the things you like and look up funny horse memes on the internet,

mud

but it was nice having a story to work on.

I suppose my problem is that now I’m not in a mad scramble for words, I feel like I can’t devote time to writing something crummy. But there is a line between crummy and first draft. I just can’t seem to find the sweet spot. Someone tell me to sheq it and show this funny picture.

revising-meme

I know, right?

I’m probably not even going to be editing this Nano project. It’s just too awful. Bleh. When you change equine main characters halfway for no purpose other than you thought your other equine character was more handsome, WITHOUT EXPLANATION, you’ve got problems.

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However, my little partner in crime, the one that made me so obsessed with Thomas The Tank Engine, is having a birthday on Thursday, so I bought:

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plus the five other books that come directly after it, because she’s turning six.

That’s right. She’s my little sis.

Her even being here is an amazing miracle. I was four when I started asking God for a baby sister. I was the youngest of six and wanted to play “older sister” desperately (so much that I used to boss my baby dolls around). Four years later, she was born…and we’ve been buds since. Of course, life isn’t perfect between her and I, but it is most of the time.

Tonight’s movie night. We’re watching The Great Race (the newest Thomas movie).

Gahh! How did I get to talking about Thomas again?!?!?

Do you have a movie night?

{Tess}

No. 1

I want to start off by saying that I have still been doing Nanowrimo, I just haven’t found the time/energy/motivation to post every day like I had been doing. I’m 37,000 words strong, though! And I found some time today for some amateur art.

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My sketch. I sort of like the messiness. It looks like it comes out of a margin of a notebook. And here’s an actual side view from the original series for comparison:

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I thought this one was pretty good. It was, ironically, the first time I’d ever sat down with the express purpose of drawing everyone’s favorite engine. I call it “No. 1.”

So, would you like to see any more Thomas or are you tired of my weird obsession? Let me honestly know.

Yours truly,

Tess

Gray days? In Midland? {day 2}

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Today is officially the second day of Nanowrimo. It is also an actually overcast day here in the desert! Thrilling! I love gray weather. It reminds me of London (one of the places I’m going to when I get the chance).

Let me tell you, it’s easy while you’re peppy on the first day to sit down and write a million words. But on the second day, it’s a bumload harder. If you wrote equal to or more words than you did yesterday, you win just smashingly! If you wrote less than yesterday, you still win, just not as much. And if you didn’t write at all, go write. Write now! NOW!

A couple days before Nanowrimo started, I got a fortune cookie. It read:

FORGE AHEAD WITH YOUR NEW IDEAS
Panda Express – Panda Inn

Word for word. #truestory

So that little slip of paper is sitting on my bulletin board right now, beckoning me to stay creative. (Along with my amazing amateur art drawing from a couple days ago, my number from my horse show, and a bunch of other random stuff.)

And here is my fave paragraph today:

Thunder watched him. His eyes were fully closed now. His mouth was brought down in a subtle frown, his topline level, his tail still. He was breathing shallowly, like he was asleep, but every now and then his ears would follow the sounds in the stable, especially when Okie hiccuped. Then they’d dart in that direction.

Remember, I’m on Nanowrimo as blackiesunshine315. Find me!

Yours truly,

Tess