Etiquette {AAWC Challenge #1}

Let me preface by saying that I had completely forgotten about this challenge until Zielle posted about it and I saw my name in Team Forest.

Let me also say that I didn’t really care for these particular prompts, so I sort of just winged it. (Wung it?)

But let me finally say that I love what came out of this.

Here is my newest short story Etiquette. Enjoy.

fabca33542d54567a3e0b690c1fb5044-clock-tattoo-design-clock-tattoos

I shoved my hands in the pockets of my tailcoat, even though I knew it looked odd. But it wasn’t like like I cared. I had wanted to stay home tonight. I had wanted to continue with my enthralling study on fourteenth-century architecture. In fact, about the last thing I had wanted to do was to get dressed up and go socialize.

But Robin, in that that annoyingly enthusiastic way of his, had promised the host that I’d be there – to “get a bit of air and exercise his smile”, he’d said. And when I’d loudly protested, he’d grinned, like he was enjoying it.

“I’ll be sick that day!” I had threatened.

“I’ll call up the doctor. He can give you a placebo,” was his wry reply.

I sulkily leaned against the pillar behind me. Well, he could make me come, but he couldn’t make me be happy about it.

I caught sight of the top of his head in the sea of people before me. It was unmistakable. He was very ginger, and his hair was pushed up in the front – he had a habit of running his fingers through it when agitated. He was weaving through the crowd, dodging servants with trays of prawns and champagne and trying not to step on anyone’s toes.

Finally, he broke through the crowd. I pretended I hadn’t seen him, because the look on his face was unmistakable. He was coming to chew me up about being a wallflower, and I was going to have to expend some effort and tell him he couldn’t force me to do anything.

He stopped just a few feet from me. “Come on, Ned, I didn’t bring you here so you could sit over here and pout.”

“Well, that’s what I’m doing,” I replied. “Any questions?”

He shook his head, smiling a bit. “I just can’t imagine how you could prefer doing nothing to Yuletide.”

I was actually thinking over intelligent topics, but I decided not to test my luck. “Your cravat is crooked,” I said critically.

“Yours would be too if you were having any fun.”

I shrugged. “Maybe your idea of fun. I’d rather be doing something intellectually enriching.”

“I’ll choose to not be offended by that.” He chuckled. “But come on, the only other person sitting out is Dr. Matterhorn over there.”

“It’s because he’s smart.”

“It’s because he’s a sociophobe,” he whispered, smiling grinchily. “Bring honor to our name and be a bit less reclusive, for heaven’s sake.”

“I’ll do what I want, thank you.”

For a moment, I thought that rebuff was going to work. He stood there and looked at me for at least ten seconds. Then I saw the naughty idea twinkle in his blue eyes.

He took me by the shoulders and turned me round to face the party. There were people I knew, people I didn’t know, people I recalled seeing but couldn’t think where. I felt him grab my upper arm. His hand could almost go the whole way round it.

“Well,” he said as he started to drag me along, “if you won’t come on your own, I suppose I can lend a hand.”

“Let go of me,” I replied, trying not to make a scene. But he kept striding on, nearly pulling me out of my shoes at times. Finally, he let go of my arm. I pulled away, brushed my sleeve off. How embarrassing.

Robin smiled amiably. “Social interaction, courtesy of big brother. If I catch you back on that wall I’ll make you dance. Understand?”

I crossed my arms. “I’m not promising anything.”

He shrugged. “You’d best find a lady you like, then.”

At least he left me alone after that. I began to think of ways I could get out of this situation. Though I may not have been able to confront Robin physically, I definitely could outwit him. Or so I thought.

I must have looked quite odd. Here I was, standing in the middle of a Christmas party, staring down at my shoes with a face of inner turmoil.

“Heart been broken again?”

I turned around. A man was standing behind me, speaking from behind a furry mustache. He was short, stout and was wearing spats. He had his head back and was dangling a prawn over his open mouth. I furrowed my brow and just looked at him askance.

“It happens to the best of us, son. ‘Many a head will rest on pillows wet with tears as prejudice and fear mar the perfect world that spins about our ears.'”

There were many things I could have said that would have sent him packing. But I was curious now, though desperate not to let him know that. I’d learned that people like him thrive on people’s curiosity and disbelief.

“Beg pardon?” I said.

“It’s by Kaiser. Good, isn’t it? But it doesn’t detract from he situation you’ve found yourself in.”

“What situation?”

He looked at me like I was daft. “Why, your pickle, is there any other?” He didn’t wait for me to answer. “You love her deeply, just pining away, but when you work up enough courage to tell her that, she rejects you.”

“Who?”

“You, silly!”

“No, no, I’m rejected by whom?”

He adjusted the bluish crystal monocle in his left eye. “Why, I don’t know. I’m not a gipsy fortune-teller. Be a good boy and tell me, won’t you?”

Some people. “Firstly, I’m not a boy. I’m nearly twenty as it is. Secondly, I’m currently pining away for no one.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be either if she had done the same to me.”

“No, no, I never was.”

He chuckled, patting his belt line. He wore his trousers very high, so that was about right at his navel. Or so I estimated. “Come now, son, don’t be prickly. I do understand that this is a difficult time in your life, but I assure you, you’ll weather through it. You’ll come out on the other side wizened, but -”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He stopped, his mouth still open, then closed it like a spectacle case. “It’s rather rude to stop a man from sharing his words, don’t you think?”

“I prefer not to play by the rules of society, if you please.”

“Aha, so you’re a rebel, are you?”

I didn’t want to explain. There wasn’t any way to speak my mind without offending him. My actual position in the matter? Parties are pointless and are basically cesspools of people like this man – people who won’t leave you alone. But at last he found a new victim to heckle, and sauntered off, seizing a cup of punch from a tray as it passed over his head.

Sighing audibly with relief, I tried to remember where my train of thought had been before he’d derailed it. Ah, yes. I was plotting escape. In all this mess, it shouldn’t be too hard to slip off when no one was watching, to retreat in a cab to my lovely study with its bright fire and claustrophobic bookcases. So where was the exit?

I craned my neck, trying to see above the hubbub I was within. The room was very large – it had a balcony skirting the walls that was supported by thick columns of white granite. I suppose the architect put it in just so the people like me could have a birds-eye view of the frivolities below. Between two of these pillars, I remembered there being a set of gilded double doors, which we had come in through.

A glint of gold caught my eye. One of these doors had been opened – by a certain man with orange hair pushed up in the front. Once he’d closed it again, he picked up his glass where he’d set it down and leaned against the jamb.

Well, so much for that. I wondered whether he’d done it on purpose or not. It could go either way. But there had to be another exit. Wasn’t that required by the fire marshal or something? I turned around to inspect the walls – and nearly ran over a lady in a white organza gown.

It is one thing to be rude to a nosy old man or a pushy brother. But I would have had to have no soul to tell a lady she was in my way, particularly when she hadn’t directly annoyed me yet. That’s the troubling thing with ladies – they lack self-confidence, so if anyone tells them to go away, they take it personally. Perhaps I did spend too much time in my study, but I had read an ettiquette book or two.

“Excuse me,” I said apologetically. Or, rather, as apologetically as I could manage.

She chuckled. “No trouble, no trouble.”

We looked at each other for a moment.

“You look distressed,” she said. Was it that apparent? “Is there something wrong?”

Composure, Ned, composure. “Not horribly. I’m just looking forward to getting back to my study, that’s all.”

She considered that for a bit. “You read a great deal, then?”

I nodded. “You can’t change much about yourself, but you can improve your intellect.”

“Intriguing,” she said, the word coming awkwardly off her tongue. It was evident that she’d been waiting for a chance to use it. “Are you attending a university?”

“Hopefully, I will be soon. Until then, I’ll learn as much as I can on my own.”

We were silent for a bit.

“What brings you to the ball, then?” she asked, cocking her head.

“Peer pressure.” I caught sight of Robin, now occupying a clearing in a forest of people. He seemed to be giving a speech of sort, perhaps telling one of his stories. The room was too large for me to tell which it was. “I’d much rather have spent tonight at home.”

That comment slipped out without my realizing it. I instantly regretted it. Maybe I hadn’t read as many ettiquette books as I should have. You don’t tell people you wish you were elsewhere while at a ball; rather, you’re supposed to give the impression that you are having the time of your life, even if it’s not true. That’s the other thing about party manners – you have to say a lot of things that aren’t expressly realistic, just to save your face.

I worked up enough courage to glance over at her. She was looking at me. I looked away. Yes, she had heard me, but she wasn’t affronted. In fact, she looked…curious?

“You certainly have no problems saying what’s on your mind,” she finally said.

Oh, this was embarassing. “It’s a symptom of solitude, I’m afraid. I apologize.”

“Don’t be sorry,” she chuckled. “It is nice to know that there’s someone here who says the truth.” She didn’t say it with a trite tone and genteel manners. There was a spicy tone to her voice, like she had been lied to, perhaps indirectly.

“If I can be so bold as to make a hypothesis, I’d say we’re agreed on the subject of parties.”

“I’m not exactly enchanted by them, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”

We looked at eachother significantly. She laughed. Without really realizing it, we began to walk together, just observing our surroundings in eachother’s company.

“I suppose it’s a nice change of scenery,” she said, gesturing toward a garland of holly curled around the railing of the staircase.

“It’s a prison cell,” I muttered.

“Hmm?”

“Nothing.” We moved closer toward the railing, shoulders touching as a woman in a very large skirt passed us. “I was being sarcastic.”

We were up on the mezzanine now. She leaned on the banister, staring down at the swirling colours of silk and satin blooming over the dancing floor.

“It’s not the idea itself that bothers me,” she regressed. “In fact, I think it’s a rather nice idea, to all come together and pass an evening over champagne.”

I looked over at her. A strand of her dark hair had fallen out of the bundle on the nape of her neck. Now it trailed down, curling slightly, past a white tea rose she had placed behind her ear.

“Then what keeps you up here with someone as anti-social as me?”

She tore her gaze from the dancers and looked me straight in the eyes. “You’re the first person I’ve met who’s honest with himself.”

Both she and I knew that it was terribly rude at a ball to spend all one’s time with just one person. But neither of us were too concerned with manners that night. It was all a show, anyways. I found myself regretful to leave, strangely enough. It wasn’t because of the other people, though. I had finally found someone who thought roughly the same way that I did, and now that I had made that connection, I almost didn’t want to go back to being a solitary creature in a study.

Perhaps my solitude had always been because I’d never found anyone who saw society the way I did.

The moment I had been looking forward to before hit me with an undertone of sorrow.

“Goodnight,” I bid her politely. “And a happy new year.”

“The same to you. They say two hundred books are published every day, so that means you should have read…” She calculated. “Seventy-three thousand by the time we cross paths again?”

“Let’s hope it’s fewer.”

She chuckled.

“Goodnight, Mister…”

“Edward Glasscock.”

“Mister Glasscock.” She pressed something into my hand as her father, who had chaperoned her, waited with her cloak.

I closed my fist around it, tipping my hat. “And goodnight, Miss -”

“Blair,” she called over her shoulder as they climbed into their cab. “Millicent Blair.”

The coach’s door closed as she pulled her white organza skirt out of its jaws. I didn’t realize it (or perhaps I didn’t care), but I stood there and watched it leave, the horses’ feet clopping on the cobblestones and echoing off into the night. Many others passed in front of me, between the double doors and away in other coaches. Finally, I looked into my hand.

On the scrap of paper torn from who-knows-where, she had written an address in very nice letters.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and jumped, shoving it into my breast pocket. Robin was standing behind me, the look on his face spelling triumph.

“What are you so joyous about?” I asked, turning to face him.

“Oh, nothing. I’ve just got this proud feeling inside me that my efforts paid off.”

He laughed. I sighed in annoyance, even defeat.

“Don’t expect it to happen again.”

fabca33542d54567a3e0b690c1fb5044-clock-tattoo-design-clock-tattoos

I realize this was really long, clocking in at almost 2500 words. So I apologize.

Trivia: Ned and Robin were the main characters of my 2017 Camp Nano novel Brother Robin. Next challenge will feature some more Nano characters – fun!

I only used one prompt. Can we please not use the ridiculous mistletoe one anymore? I kept on trying to think of ways to use it that weren’t repulsive to me, but I couldn’t think of any. And obviously, because of the Victorian setting, I didn’t use the pickup truck. Though I did like the photo.

I also mentioned my Team Name (I caught sight of Robin, now occupying a clearing in a forest of people.) 

So 1 point for participation + 1 point for the prompt + 1 point for mentioning my team name = 3 total points.

Sayonara for now – Go Team Forest!

{Tess}

Advertisements

Goals

There is a good chance that this post will get lost in the myriad of “happy-new-year-here’s-my-unrealistic-list-of-resolutions-that-i’m-probably-not-going-to-do-but-i’ll-justify-it-all-at-the-end-of-the-year” posts. But I just have to add my cherry on that cake.

Without further adieu, here we go.

January/February/March

  1. Post at least a dozen posts here on Steeplechase. I won’t look back on this past year when I didn’t post nearly at all. I’m trying to turn a new leaf and be an actual blogger and not just some teenager with a blog.
  2. Finish my part for the MAP I’m working on (and write a blog post about the process). As I think I’ve mentioned before, I was cast a part in a Multi-Animator Project that’s due January 26th. I’m still inbetweening. Let’s hope I won’t need an extension.
  3. Finish plotting my April Camp Nano project. I have been tangling with tons of ideas over winter break and I kinda sorta have an idea on what I’m going to write about. Next up – craft a plot that’s actually decent and has an end. XD
  4. Help my team win AAWC. I haven’t a clue who the people on my team are, but I want to help us succeed. So I’m out to write stories that are witty, creative and use several of the prompts.
  5. Learn diagonals. This is a horseback riding goal. And I’m almost certain that nobody has any idea what it means. If you do, tell me and we can nerd.
  6. Have a birthday. January 16th, y’all. *refrains from begging for presents*
  7. Do more Art Dumps. You guys seem to like those.

April/May/June

  1. Do Camp Nano! Hopefully my story will be plotted by then. Hopefully I’ll know what I’m doing and not be inconsistent. Hopefully I can break all my bad writing habits and write something cohesive. *inhales* Hopefully.
  2. Finish my Wreck This Journal (and do a WTJ tour). I love my Journal to pieces, so I hope to finish it and give you guys a tour.
  3. Join another MAP. The best way to animate better is to animate more. Seriously.
  4. Learn to draw human faces. I can do pretty good bodies but my faces are always awkward. I want to be able to draw pictures of my charries because then I wouldn’t have to describe them.
  5. Replot Project Orion. I love the characters in that story to death, but the plot is, er…..okay it’s hands down horrible and I skipped a bunch of stuff that should have happened because I honestly didn’t know what I should have written.
  6. Hold a giveaway. Because…*blushes* Steeplechase will be turning two years old in June. Two entire years! I’m thinking already of what I want to reward you guys with for sticking through with me in my crazy blogging journey.
  7. Aaaand post more on Steeplechase. You poor sad neglected blog. *cuddles*

July/August/September

  1. Julynowrimo. In other words, taking on a 50k for Camp in July. This will probably be when I rewrite Project Orion.
  2. Ride Traveller. Otherwise known as my bike. With school being out and the days being long and hot, there should be plenty of opportunities for cycling adventures.
  3. Read three long books (and review them here on Steeplechase). If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love that. I don’t do magic (like sorcery magic) so keep that in mind.
  4. Learn at least three new riding skills. Summer is the best time to ride, and I hope to learn some new stuff. Maybe even compete in one of the little derbies my barn holds?
  5. Take a dare. Bring it on. I want an adventure.
  6. Get in physical shape. My legs are strong as iron from horseback riding. My stamina, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Running, jumping rope and biking should help with that though.
  7. Document it all on Steeplechase. Also known as making rash promises.

October/November/December

  1. Plot out a Nano. Maybe I should start like, right after julynowrimo. Or maybe I should allow myself some procrastination. My summers are busy. (Not like my Autumn’s are less busy, though. Heck, my entire life is busy. It’s what happens when you’re creative.)
  2. Write that Nano. I can’t tell if I want to beat my record of #8k1day or if I want to be safe and keep on track. Nah, I think I’d rather try to beat it. It’s more dangerous fun.
  3. One more MAP. After a summer off from deadlines, I need to get back on the animation bandwagon.
  4. Get in bed at some sort of normal time. I almost hurt myself these past few months by not getting enough sleep. Bedtime for Tessie or she gets cranky.
  5. Make a Hanukkah tag/blog series. I was kind of sad to miss out on all the festivities you guys were having. I believe in Jesus but we don’t celebrate Christmas with presents, holly or trees. So I want to have a Hanukkah party here on Steeplechase and celebrate too.
  6. Actually buy all my family Hanukkah presents. Bad Tessie. Go sit in the corner.
  7. Post. On. Your. Own. Flippin. Blog. Or else you’ll have to take away your title as blogger and give it to someone else more deserving than you.

Well, I think that’s the big stuff. I may do some of it out of order, but it’s good to have a place to start from.

Do you share any of my goals? Tell me which ones – we can be buddies!

Sayonara for now – here’s to a great year!

Tess

Thirty Gifs for Thirty Days

There was not a day I was actually on par for all of Nanowrimo. And because of this, I had a load of work at the end greater than or equal to the mass of Mount Everest.

But you’re not here to hear me complain about how awful and busy November was. You’re here for gifs. So let me introduce….

Thirty Gifs for Thirty Days

(Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don’t have the sources for any of these. They just come out of my personal collection, gifs I’ve found and saved, or made myself. Don’t kill me plz I’m not trying to copy, just entertain ;))
(Disclaimer II: Wordcounts per day based on a 12am-12am basis. Sometimes I stopped to sleep :D)

Day One

day101

I had good intentions, but here, at the beginning, I made the mistake of saying I had twenty-nine days left to get caught up. But the words I wrote this day were just gorgeous, so I wanted to stop while I was still writing good stuff.

Words written: 643

Day Two

day102

Realizing that I hadn’t written very much yesterday, I made the plunge and was fairly productive.

Words written: 1957

Day Three

day103

I threw that resolve out the window on Friday, though. I guess I got busy, or distracted, or just didn’t.

Words written: 0

Day Four

day104

And then there was my Sabbath. I didn’t even give Nano a thought. Which was a good thing. We are commanded to relax on the Sabbath day, so by not stressing, I was doing good, right?

Words written: 0

Day Five

day105

Welcome back to reality. I made a valiant effort to catch up before it got over my head. And though I didn’t get fully caught up, I made a huge dent in it.

Words written: 2588

Day Six

day106

I tried to make the same dent I had the day before. Haha, nope, not happening. But oh well, I still had time, right?

Words written: 849

Day Seven

day107

Just another less-than-productive day passing through. But I was proud of the words so I didn’t exactly care.

Words written: 615

Day Eight

day108

This was the day I told myself, “If you write 1667 every day for the rest of Nano, you won’t be so behind, right?” So I wrote the required amount, even though I really knew that I was slowly getting behind. My chances of winning had gone from an 80% to a 75%.

Words written: 1798

Day Nine

day109

Wrote casually. Yeah, almost just like that. PUSHEEN

Words written: 933

Day Ten

day110

This was the Nigel day, the sorry excuse for an effort day, the least amount of words written (besides the days I wrote nothing). The awkward day. The day I started to realize that I was behind and had no idea where I was going with my story.

Words written: 108

Day Eleven

day111

The realization that this was one of the least productive nanos I’d ever done hit me the second Saturday. I was away for the weekend, relaxing, but then I remembered: oh man Nano. I went to sleep thinking about how much I’d have to write and told myself I was going to do this thing, get caught up. I wasn’t too far behind. Yet.

Words written: 0

Day Twelve

day112

Nope. I was traveling home. I tried to plan out the rest of my novel, but ended up drawing wolves instead. When I got home, I looked at the website.

Par: 20,000 words!
You’ve written: 9,491 words!

It was enough to send me to bed shivering. But I resolved – I’m going to really do it this time.

Words written: 0

Day Thirteen

day113

I should have been writing. I really should have. But I remembered this fateful day that I had signed up for a Multi-Animator Project and my part was due January 23rd. And I hadn’t even started. So I half-wrote and half-animated, too excited about my animation success to deal with my nano failure.

Words written: 1045

Day Fourteen

day114

I did really good that day. Coming to face the dragon of Nano, armed with nothing but a keyboard, I wrote ala Flint Lockwood nearly all day.

Words written: 2565

Day Fifteen

day115

Congratulations, Tess. You did averagely. You didn’t do any more or any less. Yipee.

Words written: 1475

Day Sixteen

day116

I gave myself a pep talk that day. Tomorrow, you are going to write like crazy, so you can spend your weekend in peace. Once you came out of the weekend, you are going to write like even more crazy and get caught up. Got it? Okay. Weekend in peace.

Words written: 1439

Day Seventeen

day117

I tried to try. That’s all I can say. But that trying to try was not enough.

Words written: 0

Day Eighteen

day118

I love Saturdays. Hakuna matata, folks, cuz I took my God-given day of rest and did not even rest my thoughts on Nano.

Words written: 0

Day Nineteen

day119

Did I seriously just do what I set out to do? Did I seriously make an effort to get caught up? Was that effort actually something worthwhile?

I surprised myself with my productivity.

Words written: 5162

Day Twenty

day120

On its own, this day would have been pretty good. Not stellar, but pretty good. But after the first 5k day, it was…awkward. Yee.

Words written: 1846

Day Twenty-One

day121

This was the day where it wasn’t just my wordcount that was bad. It was the day where I could not word to save my life. The end result was worse than a kazoo. Yeah, these scenes aren’t going into the rewrite.

Words written: 1479

Day Twenty-Two

day122

Par: 36,666 words.
Wordcount: 25,000 words.

Reaching the halfway point should be an invigorating experience, and it usually is. But it’s extremely depressing when you have eight days left and you just got there. I made a great resolve to write like a whirlwind, a stand mixer, and Spinjitsu all combined. But then I remembered….I’m going to my grandparent’s tomorrow for Thanksgiving….oh no.

Words written: 498

Day Twenty-Three

day123

Actual footage of me at my grandparents’ house, trying not to think of all the words I should be writing.

Words written: 0

Day Twenty-Four

day124

I wanted to get back earlier on Friday, so that I’d have some time to write before the Sabbath. But between all the stops we made, we got back too late and I hid my disappoinment and shame.

One of those stops was at a river. I love to wade in rivers – something about the water rushing over my feet and yeah. I made the mistake of walking in the water that was not moving, the water on the edge. And in trying to catch minnows, I got – wait for it – actual leeches on my feet.

That was the most disgusting thing I think I’ve ever seen. Fortunately, my dad helped me brush them off. They were little and orange and acutally sucking my blood. Disgusting.

I told my mom when I got home, and she almost lost it.

How did I get talking about this? The point is that I was too busy getting my blood sucked out of me to write. 😉

Words written: 0

Day Twenty-Five

day125

Yup, that’s right, I am going to cry. I checked the site Saturday night and lost it.

Par: 41,666
Wordcount: Still 25k 😛

This was not good. At all.

Words written: 0

Day Twenty-Six

day126

I made good effort to get caught up, but yeah, it felt like I was waking up after seventy years of cryo.

Words written: 2435

Day Twenty-Seven

day127

And then I got it. I should have gotten into this groove days ago, weeks ago. I cracked down on myself and wrote like something otherworldly.

Words written: 7595

Yup, you read that correctly.

Day Twenty-Eight

day128

Hours of sleep for an average teenager for four days: 36
Hours of sleep I had gotten in four days: 20.

That’s a little over half the amount of sleep I needed.

Words written: 1358

Day Twenty-Nine

day129

I had so many words to write by now, I didn’t care what I was writing about. Spend sixty words talking about the joy of smashing an ugly lamp? Totally okay. Use up 400 words on feeder freezer mice for pet snakes? Yup. And yes, these are all actual wordcounts on actual things I wrote about.

Words written: 5612

Day Thirty

FaithfulDetailedHylaeosaurus-max-1mb

I had to do it. There was no choice. I had twenty-four hours to write eight THOUSAND words. Let me put that in perspective.

If one word equalled one mile, I needed to walk from France to South Africa.

If one word equalled one hour, the time would equal almost a year. (333 days)

If one word equalled one calorie, I needed to eat a Family Meal (16 chicken tenders, eight biscuits, and a pint each of rice, coleslaw and mac n’ cheese) from Popeyes.

If one word equalled one dollar, and I made the average wage of an American woman, I would need to work 57 days.

If one word equalled one pound, the words I  had to write equalled the weight of a large hippopotamus.

But I walked those miles. Spent those hours. Ate those calories. Made those dollars. Coaxed that hippo onto the scale.

WORDS WRTTEN: 8023

day130

And with that,

at 11:30 last night,

I finished Nanowrimo.

How did your Nano go? Did you win or lose? What’s your record for words in a day?

Seeking sleep and respite from my Writerapp,

{Tess}

 

Excuses are reasons for not blogging for an entire month in disguise! (gif post)

Table of contents:

  1. Talk of life
    1. School
    2. MAPS
    3. Nano
  2. October Goals
    1. Complete/Incomplete
  3. November Goals

LIFE

When I was still in sixth grade, I thought high school would be an amazing, epic adventure with a bunch of new stuff to learn. Now that I’m pretty deep in it, I’m finding out that it’s an amazing, epic adventure with a bunch of new stuff to learn and a truckload of homework.

(My brother’s like, “Where did you get the idea that it would be fun?”)

Every morning, I wake up and take about an hour to do what I want to do. Then I get cracking on my schoolwork.

three
From left to right: History, Government, Economics

I am literally crazy for attempting all three of these courses this semester. But it has been fun. In fact, they all seem to kind of blend together. Kind of like a three-headed monster named Histgovecon (hist-GUV-ee-con).

And while I do this, I will be animating something actually real….I’M IN A MAP GUYS ASDFGHJKL THIS IS IT REAL DEAL AAAAAAA.

giphy2

Ahem. A Multi-Animator-Project, or M.A.P., is an event where lots of animators get together, and animate little ‘parts’. Once strung together, they make a full video (in this case a music video). And I have twelve seconds to animate. Which is much much much harder than it looks.

And then, there is the all-important thing all of us will be doing this November

nano-2017-participant-facebook-cover

Yup, I’m doing a full 50k. And it will be tough, as always.

http2jsb2cuywrtaxnzaw9ucy5pbgxpbm9pcy5lzhuvd3aty29udgvudc91cgxvywrzlziwmtyvmdqvqnvzes5nawylog
IDK why I put this one in. I don’t even watch Muppets. Maybe it was the donuts.

If you have been following me for a little while, you will note that I started a little club. Go join! We will rock this Nano!

So, between Histgovecon, MAPs and Nano, I’m going to be really busy this November.

OCTOBER GOALS RECAP

1. Write an “October Goals” post. Done! That was so easy LOL
2. Make that post a GIF post. Done! Hehe this one was so easy too.
3. Finish planning my Nanowrimo novel. Half-done. I kinda know what I’m doing but there’s this one part I need to find out what’s going on. In like, two days. :O
4. Get going in animation. Done! I got Cedric and Flash MX2004.
5. Word War with Ava Half-done. We worked on it tho.
6. Get a Wreck This Journal. Done! I bought one and started doing stuff in it.
7. Finish all the books I need to read for school. Half-done. I’m about halfway through all of them. Makes sense right?
8. Learn some new jokes. Done! Here’s an example: What did the pirate say when he put his wooden leg in the freezer?  Shiver me timbers!
9. Write out all the posts that I’ve been meaning to post for a long time. Umm…Not done. I still have five unpublished drafts.
10. Fufill all these goals. Half-done. 7/10 complete.

NOVEMBER GOALS

giphy4

Yeah, I’m feeling like this right now:

76vp4a
ROGERS! FALL IN!!!

So really, I won’t be blogging, neither here nor on SSD, for all of November. Something has to give.

I’m sure when I come back it’ll be like this:

wng3gg
“What have they been doing while I was gone?”

See you in a month!

{Tess}

Full Moon

Story time: Tess is sitting in online class, waiting for things to start, doodling on the back of her homework.

Tess draws a nice wolfo head.

Tess adds a body to that wolfo head.

After consulting with friends, Tess decides to put in a background.

Tess looks up source material.

Tess works.

And works.

And works.

The orange plastic clicker pencil in her hands almost breaks.

A dozen tissues (for blending) and a fatigued right hand later, Tess has one of the best drawings she’s ever made.

howl

Argh, my cray printer uploaded this in LQ! :@ But still, this has a beautiful background (them hills!), a highlighted and shadowed wolf and a great night sky.

What do you think? I know I’m a believer in spontaneous art!

Sayanora,

Tess

(PS: The last day to sign up for the WordPress Authoresses is October 31st! Don’t miss out!)

Hear ye, hear ye!

It has come to my attention that we need some kind of camraderie this November. In only nine days, several of us will be slaving away in the trenches, trying to write something worth reading, or maybe just trying to write to our goal.

It is with this in mind that I am proud to present…

The WordPress Authoresses

Yes, I have begun a little club, and yes, it is open to the public! (That is, the public who is doing Nanowrimo, but that pretty much is all of you guys. :P) This club’s purpose is to promote friendship and fun during Nanowrimo and provide an outlet other than blogging to share your achievements. And yes, there are special perks, including….

  • access to a free online chat room set up specifically for club members
  • a welcome package designed by moi
  • for winners and non-winners alike, a certificate of participation designed, again, by moi
  • and the friendship, laughs and inside jokes that accompany these sorts of things.

The last day to sign up is October 30th, 2017. On October 31st, I’ll send out your welcome email with the goodies and chat room link. And on November 1st? We’ll begin writing in the company of eachother!

Click here to sign up (link opens in a new tab). I can’t wait to get started!

See you in the club,

Tess

Zielle’s Questions & ‘Stuf’

This is that post that comes in between all of everyone’s exciting posts that no one will probably read because everyone else is making much more awesome posts. Oh well, here goes.

Zielle gave me some questions as part of her “Guest Interviews” thang, and so that’s the first order of business. Who doesn’t love to answer questions about oneself?

Zielle: What brought you to name your blog ‘Steeplechase’?

Tess: Oh wow, these questions are personalized! Epic. I had always loved the word, and I thought it reflected the random nature of my blog without being “Tessie’s Random Crazy Stuff Blog!!”

Zielle: How was your blog born? Who/what inspired you to start one?

Tess: Well, I had already made an AG doll blog (still running, btdubs), but I found a bunch of posts that weren’t AG related were falling through the cracks, so I bucked up and made a PB. And now I love it.

Zielle: What quote do you live by if any?

Tess: Literally anything that Winston Churchill said. In particular:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”


“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”


“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
(used in the literal sense of the word, btw)

Okay, that wasn’t one quote. That was five. Bad Tess. *spanks hand*

Zielle: Who are some bloggers you look up to or who inspire you?

Tess: I look up to anyone who’s been blogging longer than I have – Madi and Hayley in particular. As for inspiration, my inspiration comes from all of my followers, all of the people I follow, any random visitors that stop by – in short, every blogger is an inspiration to me.

Zielle: What are some of your blogging goals for the year 2018?

Tess: Finish what I start XD. I have five random drafts in my folder right now and I need to get better at that. Make a two-minute animation for you guys to enjoy. I also want to get to one hundred followers. But that’s just a selfish wish. I don’t even have 50 :P.

Zielle: Are you just naturally good at drawing, or did you have to learn?

Tess: *thinks*
Big Important Drawing Rule One: There is no such thing as natural talent. There is such thing as extensive practice. I’ve been actively drawing since I could scribble. My mom always nurtured me by providing clean paper to draw on and good tools to draw with.

Big Important Drawing Rule Two: Copy. Hold it! There’s a difference between copying and plagiarism. Go to Google, search what you want to draw, and pull up an image. Now draw it as best you can. Think about what it would look like as a coloring page. Also, try to draw from life as much as possible. If you can’t draw from life, then watch someone else draw what you want to draw. Steer clear of ‘drawing tutorials’, though, because those will teach you how to draw that thing in the creator’s style. Not good. You want your own style.

Big Important Drawing Rule Three: Be unique. Do things your way, not someone else’s. That’s the only way your drawings will look like YOU.

Big Important Drawing Rule Four: Block. If you want to be able to draw something from every angle, learn to block. Go look it up. Art Ala Carte is a great Youtube channel for learning how to block.

Big Important Drawing Rule Five: Don’t buy expensive stuff until you’re sure you’re serious.

(This was an essay. Sorry. :P)

Zielle: How many times have you flown in a plane? (#random)

Tess: Only once. I didn’t get a window seat though. So that kind of stunk.

Zielle: Do you stall reading until you’re in bed, or do you read whenever you can?

Tess: It all depends on what I’m reading. If a book is meh or average or not really that interesting, I wait till bed. But if it’s so enthralling that I can’t wait to see what happens next and can’t put it down, then I read it whenever I can (including while getting dressed).

Zielle: How old were you when you wrote your first story? (if you’re okay sharing)

Tess: I was nine. I wrote out a story about bunnies that now, remembering it, sounds mysteriously like Alice in Wonderland…even though I hadn’t read it at the time. I sadly don’t have it anymore. 😦

Zielle: Do you have a book in progress that I can beta read and devour???!! ;P

Tess: Almost. Once I make my Julynowrimo Brother Robin cohesive (not perfect, mind you), you’ll be the first on the list of beta readers!

In speaking of which, I am hiring beta readers! I need some useful crit on the aforementioned story.

Beta Reader Information

– The story is fifty thousand words long and falls under the heading of sci-fi histfict.
– The content is appropriate for ages 8+. There is mention of death, some people in love, and an injury, which is not described in great detail. (EDIT: There is also mention of alchoholic beverages. Not a horrible lot but they are present. This is 1876, guys.)
– The story is a DRAFT. It is not my best work. It is not even close to my best work. It’s complete rubbish, drivel and garbage. But I don’t want to waste a bunch of time editing and fixing a story that will need more fixing later.
– I’ll be sending out the story in December of this year, after I’ve made it cohesive (going back and fixing things that don’t make sense.
– I really don’t want grammar criticism. I’ll fix that m’self, thanks. If something’s not clear, then tell me, but if I use the wrong form of ‘there’, don’t correct me, please.

I’m looking for at least five readers, so jump on it!

And now…the ‘stuf’…the reason why I haven’t been blogging…there’s so much interesting stuff to do and so little time! I’ve gotten some new things that I can’t wait to show you guys.

Books!

DSCN0099.JPG

One trip to Barnes and Noble later…I got some books! The money was worth it.

DSCN0100.JPG

Wreck This Journal. Guys. This is so so so so so awesome! I’m not going to show any pages until I’m done. Then I’ll do a #rekt tour!

And F nish Th s B  k. I am not going to say anything about this one. You have to go get it yourself. Not being lazy, it’s just that you have to see it to believe it.

DSCN0101.JPG

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle is a crazy book that takes itself really seriously. Like it’s completely normal to shave yourself with a broken bottle, Doctor! But it’s a ton of fun and really lighthearted in comparison to a lot of fiction.

DSCN0102.JPG

The best part, though, is that my collection of aesthetically pleasing Sterling edition classics is growing!

DSCN0103.JPG

Ahhhhh….the spectrum….it’s so……

DSCN0104.JPG

SATISFYING.

*wipes brow*

Art Stufs

DSCN0107.JPG

Alright, I broke down and bought a sketchbook. I haven’t drawn anything in it yet, but that will change as soon as I finish this post. 🙂 I also got some new pencils, as I wore my others down to nubs…

DSCN0109.JPG

And they are also fun to photograph. This is the 6B (not like anyone cares).

And now….

…the grand finale…

…the thing you’ve been waiting for…

…please welcome…

…the newest member of my entourage…

…the one who will help me realize my dreams…

DSCN0110.JPG

This is Cedric! He is a Monoprice 10″ x 6.25″ Drawing Tablet and is a real amazing guy (though he can be tempermental). Don’t tell him I said that, though. I got some old Flash MX2004 and am making some babystep animations. But that topic’s for another post.

What’s your favorite thing to do (besides blogging)? Did you sign up to beta read?

Sayanora,

Tess

October Goals

1. Write an “October Goals” post.

tenor
via

Huh.

2. Make that post a GIF post.

Image result for nodding cat gif
via

Okay…

3. Finish planning my Nanowrimo novel.

via

I know some people say that planning doesn’t work or blah blah blah…but as someone who can never decide what to write about, I find it helpful. So far, things are going okay, but I need to iron out a couple of details and pick theme music for each part. (I know that sounds incredibly OCD but 1) I think I have a minor form of OCD so it’s normal for me and 2) it saves time so that you don’t spend an hour finding the perfect music. I’m busy this year.)

4. Get going in animation.

Image result for animator gif
via

If you want to know how traditional Disney animation worked, here’s an epic video. It will help the following paragraph make sense.

Theoretically, I could continue forever in my physical pencil and paper state, but here’s the thing. I can only do so much. With a drawing tablet and some Adobe CC Animate, though, the inking, painting, backgrounds and all that will become SOOO much easier. I’ll be able to start work on the projects I’ve been thinking about.

5. Word War with Ava

giphy
via

Ava and some other blogfriends and I were going to do a Word War, but it kind of fell through, so we just decided to do a collab story. Anyone is still welcome to join, though.

6. Get a Wreck This Journal.

original
via

These look like so much fun. And I have always wanted one.

7. Finish all the books I need to read for school.

drm34b
I made this one.

Silas Marner, Mornings on Horseback, Treasure Island, The Wealth of Nations….yeah I’m busy.

8. Learn some new jokes.

 

gif
Does anyone else watch AlpacaHawk or am I the only weirdo?

‘Nuff said.

9. Write out all the posts that I’ve been meaning to post for a long time.

giphy1
via

Procrastination is the only option, Li Sheng. The only option.

10. Fufill all these goals.

ajidjsu
via

“You just wanted ten, didn’t you…”

What are some goals you’re striving for this October?

{Tess}

 

 

 

Mega Art Dump 2017

To begin, I want to thank you guys for all the sweet comments related to yesterday’s drawing. They just really made my day.

Now, for what you have been waiting for…

…the most epic art dump of 2017…

…28 pages of good drawings…

…including a minor change in style…

…You’re excited, aren’t you?…

…Ready?

Image result for do it gif
from giphy

Part One: Before The Style Change

Scan0004.jpg

Some people. I’m getting better aren’t I?

(A lot of these will be kind of grey because I had to lower the brightness to get the lines to show.)

Scan0019

I will leave you to decide whether this is a wolf or a horse.

Scan0015.jpg

Hand holding a hot dog? I did attempt to shade.

Scan0023

Stargazing wolfos (not inspired by The Lion King II at all….;)) This is really adorable, but the white wolf looks like a bear. 😦

Scan0016.jpg

An epic tree.

Part Two: The Switch

I got into a drawing slump after drawing the two stargazing wolves. I couldn’t get my wolves to look like they had any dimension. Out of desperation, I looked up some wolves from the second Balto movie. Just to get some ideas.

Scan0020.jpg

Yeah, they aren’t bad.

Scan0021.jpg

Not bad at all, actually. But something about them lacked what my drawings usually have. I identified it as the eyes. It always bugs me when animals are drawn/animated with whites in their eyes. There is such thing as an expressive eye without whites. So I experimented…

Scan0030

Hmmm…

Scan0022.jpg

Not bad. (I was thinking about lip syncing here.)

Scan0017

You know, I actually like it! It balances cartoonability and realism, and considering that I draw for the purpose of animation, I decided to stick with it.

So I worked further, seeing if it could be translated into a pup form.

Scan0024

Scan0025

Scan0026

Scan0018

(The big blur underneath covers up possibly the creepiest drawing ever. You should be thankful I covered it up.)

Scan0031

Awww.

I like the style because I’m able to communicate an incredible amount of expression into it.

Scan0007

Scan0029

Scan0010

This comes from the animatic I am working on right now. Here are some other shots from it.

Scan0011

Scan0008

Scan0009

Scan0013

Scan0014

Any guesses as to what it could be about?

Scan0012

Yes, I definitely am keeping with this style. It helps give them dimension and looks the same from all angles.

Scan0005.jpg

And this is the grand finale! I’m in love with these wolfos.

Thus endeth the biggest art dump possibly ever.

What do you think of my new style?

{Tess}

 

The Completed Picture {Thanks, beans}

Scan0003.jpg

blogfriends (pl. n.) – Friends made through the blogosphere that become far more than entities as time progresses.

I’ve met some awesome people in the fourteen months that I’ve been blogging. Every single one of my followers is special to me, and there’s nothing that cheers me up better than when one of them leaves me a comment or a like.

I wanted to try to find a way to thank some of my best blogfriends ever; namely, Mya, Enni, Miles, Sam, Clara, Zielle and Ava. Everyone has been super-supportive, but these seven in particular have really helped me along. I could not write enough to suffice for the inspiration I’ve gotten from them.

I shall now go through each one separately, both telling them how awesome they are and critiquing my rendition (because this can’t get too mushy).

(DISCLAIMER: Distance to or from Tess does not indicate frenship status. If I could have put all you beans right next to me, I would have.)

(DISCLAIMER: Randomness ahead.)

Mya (Life From Behind A Camera)

Mya, you’re an underdog of the blogging world, and you’re totally okay with that. You’re still under 100 followers, but you put together beautiful photos and excellent writing. The result? Posts I always look forward to reading. You’re a bit soft-spoken in comparison to others, but that’s one of the reasons I like you so much. Keep peacing out the world.

(Art critique: I wish I had made her smile a little less wide. Less like this: ) and more like this: >. Other than that, Mya turned out pretty good!)

Enni (Hooves and Pens)

Enni, you horse nerd, we have so much in common! It’s so refreshing to see a blogger who loves her older brothers as much as I love mine. And our horsiness…we should not have coffee together. Caffiene and geeking may have adverse effects upon our riding posture. But it might be worth it. Keep dreaming – we will ship Bristy soon enough.

(Art critique: I only had a rather blurred-out photo to work with, so hopefully my imagination filled in adaquately.)

Miles (Art Style)

Miles miles miles miles miles….remember when we were at the Pottery and I was voted the weirdest girl because of my evil scientist impression? If we were to compete again, you would take the cake, you silly jelly bean. But hey, are you really complaining about that? I can see you doing all kinds of awesome stuff. You hack it out, bubble.

(Miles and I are IRL frens, so this makes no sense to anyone but her and I. :P)

(Art critique: How do you put a crazy unicorn like Miles into a drawing? Hot pink shirt, emoji hat, orange Toms and weird socks, of course. My original design had her giving me bunny ears. Though it would have been more accurate, it was causing problems relating to arm length. I mean, she’s cray, but not stretchy…)

(And we respectfully skip Tess because this is not the time for a session of heavy self-lauding. :P)

Sam (Redhead With A Book)

Sammy, you’re so smol it’s hard to not smile when I see one of your posts. You’re one of the few real booknerds I trust to know the difference between a good book and kindling. And your doll blog. INSANE. How do you do that? You’re epically awesome and you should keep being epically awesome. Finis.

(And…I tried include your swanfriend but his inflatable feathers would have been too hard to draw. And it would have looked really, REALLY weird.)

(Art critique: Sam is probably the most interesting to look at out of all the beans, considering she’s the only one not looking a the cam…I know your hair isn’t THAT red but I wanted it to be more red than – shall I dare say it? – ORANGE.)

Clara (Clara & Co.)

Clara! My first follower! The one I addressed all this drivel to for the first few weeks! I’ve been following you ever since I started ‘pressing, so this frenship wins the Longevity Award. Don’t ever stop being that frendly, sweet, colorful bean you are. Just don’t.

(Art critique: If only I could capture Clara’s frenliness in a drawing…*sighs* The panda is a reference to what was her profile picture for a long, long, long, LONG time. I wanted to give Constance a nametag but there wasn’t enough room!)

Zielle (My Homeschool Notebook)

Zielle, Zielle, I always wished my name had started with an awesome letter like Z. But not Zebedee. Your blog is so awesome! I love your photos and writing, and since those translate to your soul, I love your soul you so much! I know that my chances of meeting you in person are really, REALLY slim, but we can dream across the Pacific, right? Keep it up!

(Art critique: I love the way Zielle turned out. Except for her skin. I had intended to make it only a bit darker, because she said she was epically Filipino, but…I think I went overkill. Let’s just say she got a lot of sun this summer. :/)

Ava (Elysian Artiste)

Ava, you and I were born under the same star. Yes, talking to characters is normal. Yes, feeling that your characters are real is normal. Yes, developing crushes on historical fiction characters is normal (even though people say that they aren’t real, and even if they were, they’d be dead). We could do this all day. Continue writing histfict, continue getting in deep with your characters…continue being Ava, because you are awesome awesome awesome.

(Art critique: I took a gander with Ava’s clothes. Hopefully they match her character. But I thought daydreaming required daydreamy clothes. Tess, what do you know about fashion? You wear your jeans until they turn grey and get holes in the rear. You wear your T-shirts until they get so nasty no one can tell what’s on them. You wear Target sneakers that kind of look like Converse but not really. And you own a pair of corduroy pants. Be ashamed for ever thinking you knew anything about fashion. Ahem. Ava, show all of us sneaker-wearing hoodlums how to wear flats, please?)

And this concludes my 1,000-word epic on you guys. Even if you were not mentioned, I love you so much. Thanks for the great year so far, and let’s hope for lots more epic years!

Lots of tea,

{Tess}