Unveiling My Nano {APADO #27}

(*chinese flute*
this blog series is called APADO
*huah!*
i write a post for every single day-o
*huah! huah!*
although the commitment is a little bit frightening
*huah!*
backdate posting is saving my timing
*dum dum dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum*)
(it’s one o’clock in the morning and i have no idea what to post about and maybe – just maybe – i just want to have some fun tonight. so i apologize in advance.)

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I starting writing The Sentinel in July. More specifically, I started building on a little sliver of an idea that had been rattling around in my brain for approximately thirteen hours.

Gotta love pantsers.

What I came out with was a story that

  • had much more promise than I was used to my stories having
  • was cohesive enough to be read by outside sources and get a second opinion on
  • and deserved a sequel.

I left a lot of things unexplained in The Sentinel. It was sort of on purpose – to get into the things I didn’t elaborate on would have taken away the focus that I’m so proud of the story having. So I’m writing a sequel to:

  • build more on the themes and arcs I set up in the first part
  • and retrospectively elaborate on some things I brushed over in The Sentinel. I’m not sure if this is the thing I’m supposed to do, but considering that I’m a Fauxthor™ and don’t care, I’m doing it anyways.

Working cover for now:

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Working teeny-weeny blurb:

Gwen feels that the faster she runs away from her fears, the taller they seem to loom over her. In an effort to take back what’s rightfully hers, she quests to find her roots, her scars – and perhaps a strength she didn’t know she possessed.

I’m really trying hard not to spoil anything. Hehe. Because the first Sentinel only worked on a basis of being stomach-churningly twisty.

I’m still not sure I’m ready for Nano to begin in four measely days. But I’d love to hear about your Nano projects! Talk my ear off. I’m listening.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

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300,000 Words {APADO #14}

(i’m now two weeks into APADO – a freaky-awesome blog series that has me posting something every single day. it’s been fun. and panic-inducing. and fun.)

(golden rule of blogging: when you’re stuck, go back and look at something you haven’t touched in at least a year. you will have inspiration.)

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I guess I had never realized just how much I written until, back in March, I decided to make a cohesive list of everything I’d ever written. It was not a simple task. Instead of just listing my Nanowrimo novels, I dug through my old notebooks and found even the scraps of stories I’d started and abandoned.

Really, I’ve already spoiled how many words that adds up to, but now I have to prove it. Right?

Let’s get into it.

Nanowrimo

2015’s YWP sorry excuse for a novel was A Falcon of Gold. Also known as the most horrible piece of garbage to grace my writerapp. Somehow 40k words long.

2016’s novel, A Charger In Command, was the equally trashy, but at least not stereotyped. And it was the first Nanowrimo I actually won. 50k words.

I got busy in 2017, starting in April’s camp event with the 15k words of ridiculously confusing narrative entitled The Taiso Senshu. It’s so inchoerent it’s not worth anything, but it was good practice.

July 2017’s camp project was the first one I was actually somewhat proud of, even though it’s just as confusing as the others. The secret is the characters. Brother Robin weighs in at 50k words.

For the actual event in 2017, I wrote up Project Orion, which has promise but is a mess. It’s still on the brain, though, and I may rewrite its not-so-abhorrent 50k words.

I didn’t do any actual writing for this year’s April camp, but in July I wrote a 50k word novel called The Sentinel…which is still missing a scene or two, and honestly I need to fix that.

Short Stories

I competed in Zielle’s AAWC competition, which churned out some pretty decent short stories earlier this year. These are:

Ettiquette (somewhat of a crowd favorite!) – 2.5k words
House of Ghosts (my personal favorite) – 2.5k words
Syre’s Comic Stand Fling (this title is just awful!) – 2k words
The New City (ambitious but somewhat disappointing) – 7k words.

Abandoned Stories

A Genius In Paradise/Egg Pie: I tried to rip off Counting By 7s, got about 3k words in, and quit. I have it somewhere in my files, but I can’t find where.

The Journeyman is a world-building venture involving anthropomorphic dogs and four books worth of information? I haven’t gotten past 9k words with it – mostly because though it would make a beautiful movie, it makes a horrible book.

Random Stories

These are all the little random stories I’ve ever created. I’m not even going to try to explain them. I’d average that each one is about a thousand words long.

Runaway
“Crimple”
The Daweseseses
Gurks
Yearbooks
Cierra Leone
Detective McPheean
Autumn & The Chair (oh this story was weird!)
Phreedom Phor Phinn
Sonata Island
Penney & Mr. Dawson
Island-Group-Wreck
Grandma’s Tuition
Riiin & Rory – The Basement
Wild Horses
Army Horses
Westwood
That Tablecloth Skirt
RfR Substory

This adds up like so:

255k words from Nanowrimo + 14k words from short stories + 12k words from abandoned stories + ~19k words from little snippet stories in notebooks =

All-time estimate: an even 300,000 words!

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I almost can’t believe it. And I’m going to add 50,000 more words to this count next month.

I hope this didn’t come off as bragadocious. Regular posting resumes tomorrow.

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

Pansting vs. Planning: The Great Debate {APADO #3}

(this is APADO, a little blog series where I try to post once a day for the entire month of October. Yep, it’s a stupid idea. OH WELL.)
(I’m not psychic but this post will probably have a lot of opinionated comments. That’s okay. I like opinions. And comments >w<)
(also I legit just said I wasn’t a book blogger and here I am, making a bookbloggerish post. talk about indecision)
apado_3
ahem, totally not showing off my nano certificates. I’M NOT.

Things have been nice and inspirational here on Steeplechase this week. I think it’s high time we opened a can of worms.

We all know that there are exactly two ways to do Nanowrimo:

a) Spend all your energy, creativity, and the month of October plotting out a gloriously complete story.

or

b) Throw caution to the sky and start Nanowrimo without a plan or a care in the world.

(Well, I guess there are a couple more ways, but we’re not going to get into those today.)

It seems that the entire Nanowrimo community is divided on this topic. Some swear by planning. Some live by pantsing.

And some are amused by the debate and want to hear more of these differing opinions. Hehe.

Let’s have a quick overview of both schools of thought.

Planners

Planning is the “correct” way to go about Nano. It also happens to be the sure-fire way to make sure that your hard work will pay off.

Planning pros:

It gets you in the Nanowrimo spirit nice and early! There’s nothing like getting excited about a new project, and planners get to dabble in their plot bunnies in their notes before committing to anything.

It’s social. Since you actually know what you’re doing, you can chat with people about how your story’s coming along. You could even have a planning party with other coordinated planners!

And it makes the writing process a bit easier. With enough notes, you can come out of Nanowrimo with a nice, clean novel that makes enough sense to be beta-read.

But:

Planned novels are often a little stiff. They make sense, but they tend to struggle with pacing because “the plan said that this scene should last for at least 5% of the novel”.

Planning is stressful. The fear that your plan won’t be finished and that your novel will turn out trashy can start to control you if you’re not careful.

Isn’t planning a little…boring? What’s the point of writing your novel if you’ve already plotted it out completely? Doesn’t that seem redundant?

And woe to you if you have to make a change in the plot. Because a well-planned plot is well-connected – one simple mistake could end up forcing you to rewrite your story.

And then…there are…

Pantsers

Pantsing is also known as rapid-fire-stress-free-unconcerned-natural-writing-with-a-streak-of-weirdness-because-why-not. Memorize the acronym, there’s a test on Friday.

Pantsing pros:

Spontaneity = creativity. The ideas you roll out are raw, fresh and fun!

It takes a lot of the stress out of Nano. Can’t get off track if you don’t have a plan, ya know?

It’s fun. I’m not saying that planners don’t run into surprises, but when you’re down on the wire and have to make something up, the result is usually a lot more natural (and funny!).

But:

It usually results in a second rate project. Like, maybe two hundredth rate. The lack of control can make your story inconsistent – sometimes even unreadable. And there’s nothing more depressing than wasting a month writing something that no one can read.

It takes much, much more work. Even if your pantsed novel has promise, it’s a long road to edit it into anything polished.

All this makes it easy for you to do the unthinkable – to abandon your project completely and banish it into the depths of your files, so you can mock it later for your own amusement.

So:

What’s your nano style? Pantser? Planner? Something in between?

Personally, I think that the one that works for you depends on your personality. But I’m saving that tangent on MBTI and plansting for another post. Hehe.

But this isn’t about me – what do you think? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

The floor is officially open.

Be nice. But please speak your mind!

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

Project Orion {Camp recap + mandatory beta reader signup}

(wow it has been ages since i’ve posted here on steeplechase. i apologize for that. school and animation projects and stuff like camp nanowrimo have been keeping me busy.)
(i have 50 followers! should i be doing anything special for that milestone?)
(PO = Project Orion. my wittle novel project that takes up most of my brain RAM these days.)

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Camp Recap

March 30th: This Camp, I’m going to go through my 2017 Nano, Project Orion, and edit it into something I can give to beta-readers.

April 6th: Well, this novel is ridiculous. I don’t know why I forgot that it’s spazzy, weirdly-paced, and has the craziest rambly details. (Yeah, three paragraphs about comic book plotlines are not really important to the story.) So let’s just rewrite the stupid thing. What could go wrong?

April 15th: I haven’t progressed in days. And the more I think about it, the more stupid it is. My inciting incident is horrible, there are characters that do nothing for the plot, and my setting is irrelevant. I guess I could write it…but I’m bored. And if I’m bored, what are my readers going to be like?

April 25th: Help. This is going to be the first Nano I’ve ever lost. I need to talk to Madison.

Madison: Change your goal.
Me: What I need to change is my story.
Madison: So why don’t you?
Me: Like…plotting?
Madison: Yep. Change your goal to a plotting goal. Write out stuff about your story. You’ll be better off.

April 30th:

apr2b30252c2b20182b11253a51253a552bpm
this is what happens to you when you don’t sleep well for five or six days and you win fifteen minutes before midnight.

sharpie

My Project

po adhd
This is one thicc boi.

Goal: 50 pages of planning, notes, character development, or ranting on how horrible PO is. (Well, I didn’t want to rant, but I ended up ranting in some places. Hehe.)

I completed the goal: at 11:45 pm on April 30, 2018.

Translation: I WROTE 50 PAGES IN FIVE DAYS. And 23 of those pages were on the last day. HAHAHAHAHA *psychotic laughter fades into the distance*

Now.

You know what time it is.

It’s time for…

Project Orion ADHD Notes: Snippets

Here we go.

(Snippets that are LIKE THIS (and then like this) are page titles. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture above.

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Hurricane Snippets (run for your lives)

How did the flashdrive get into the antique shop anyways? It’s like they found it behind some Hubba Bubba or something…I really don’t need anymore throwbacks to The Winter Soldier in this nano. I ALREADY HAVE A COMPUTER MAN AND A COMPLETELY ALTRUISTICALLY ADORABLE MC.

Before we get any further in, I should probably say that most of this was written past 3:00 in the morning. It gets a little….well, I called it ADHD planning for a reason. (K.M. Weiland would personally kill me.)

Ways to tipoff the tipoff (brainstorming):
– a robbery of something important
– a break-in

– a natural disaster

– FLYING MANTA RAYSSSSSSS

(“Flying manta rays” is a house term usually describing that-thing-that-you-never-planned-to-put-in-your-novel-but-ended-up-in-there-because-you-were-like-“Hey-wouldn’t-manta-rays-look-cool-as-flying-animals?-Like-seriously-they-could-flap-their-unifinwing-and-be-like-a-living-magic-carpet.”
Or it refers to deus ex machina. Either one.)

And Nero is just hating everyone. XD.

(Nero is the main antagonist.)

Nero has no sympathy for:
– his colleagues
– his fellow Davi-followers
– his friends
– anyone’s feelings
– anyone’s plans
– anyone’s self-esteem
– the lawmakers
– anything.
PERCENT OF HIS BRAIN USED FOR CARING: 0%.

THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION
(whoops, I don’t have one?)

It’s like you accidentally bought a T-rex thinking it was a frilled lizard.

I want to waste paper and do this the fun way.

(Don’t look at me like that. All I wanted to do was draw bubbles and arrows. *pfft* Hypocrite.)

Omw. Is this a good ol’ classic story?
I love it. It’s a familiar story…IN DISGUISE……

DO THEY KNOW OR NOT?
(settling how stupid Leo and his frens are)

Looks like I need to add this to the plotty plot thingie.

(I just called my plot a “plotty plot thingie.” SAY THAT AGAIN, IN SLOW MOTION.)

Kablam – Project Orion!

In the words of a wise man:
“This is legitness!”

And then poor Dav-Davs kicked the bucket, because cancer.

(Prehistory. No one dies of cancer in PO.)

Meet Mystical Hipster Who Now Looks Like A Hipster Raisin Because Hipstering Is So 2018.

(Post history. I wanted to think about a sequel so that I’d know how to end PO. So I made up a new character…accidentally…and she’s weird. Oh boy.)

*crickets*
What was I talking about?

MJ GETS TRIGGERED
(and other stories)

GOOD THINGS ABOUT PO
(i want to feel good right now)
Leo Cordova.
Never mind, all the charries.
But Nero in particular.
AND SYRE SHANKHOR. LEMME HUG DAT BOI.

Heterochromia.
STUFF. ACTUALLY. HAPPENS.
It’s so sequelable.

Wide variety of MBTI.
Diverse charries
and………………………………………
THE FACT THAT I MADE ALL OF IT UP.

Thus endeth the snippets. *dies*

sharpie

What next?

Wow. I didn’t expect you to survive that. But here you are, ready to be barraged with…

MORE INFORMATION.

PO is a long way from being done. I mean a distance-from-the-Sun-to-Pluto long way. But it is started, and I have something like a game plan for it. Yay.

Tess’ Tentative Schedule For Completing Project Orion

(okay half the reason I named it Project Orion is so that when people ask me what I’m doing, I can be like, “Oh, I’m working on….” *mysterious toss of head* “…Project Orion.”)

By May 13th: Finish planning. Write out a little guide sheet so I can remember where I need to foreshadow my ridiculous plot.

May 14th – June 30th: Write it. Yeah, just like that. This is Draft #2. (Draft #1 is the aforementioned piece of trash that meanders around and uses weird metaphors.)

July 1st – July 30th: Take a break from PO and write something totally different for July camp. I can’t go burning myself out…

August 1st: Release PO to my hungry beta-readers…

…that I need to have a definitive list of.

I know several of you have raised your hands when I’ve asked you if you want to beta read. But I don’t have a list list.

If you want to beta read PO, you must sign up below. It is MANDATORY. If you do not fill in the simple form below, then you will not be on the list of beta readers and that first chapter will not show up in your inbox on August 1st. Even if you’ve told me in person, or through the camp message board, or anywhere elseYOU. MUST. SIGN. UP. WITH. THIS. FORM.

Click me to sign up for beta reading!

(Look, I even made it a Typeform, so it would be fun. Link opens in a new tab.)

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How I know I’m excited about PO

  • I think about my charries like they’re real.
  • When I’m doing something, I muse about how each of my charries would do it.
  • I make references to it, laugh hysterically, and then stare at everyone around me like not getting my personal jokes is a social crime.
  • I write about it in my journal once a night.
  • My next animation will feature PO charries (because my people drawing skills have gotten wayyy better)
  • I made virtual Funko Pops of all of them.

Ahahahaha! You want to see the Project Orion Funko Pop collection, don’t you? Time for another round of…

Secrets

(shhhh…)

Steps to complete secret mission and unlock the PO Pops:

  1. In one of the pictures in this post, I shared my last name. Find my last name and write it down.
  2. Go to the Secrets page (located on the top, next to the trophy shelf. It’s hard to miss.)
  3. Enter my last name as the password in all lowercase.
  4. See the Pops. I also provided a link to the tool I used to make them. But I’m not going to give you that link here….you’ll just have to go unlock the Secrets page. >:)
  5. Leave a comment, if you want.

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Did you sign up for beta reading? Which snippet was your favorite? How was your Camp Nanowrimo?

(I’ll respond to whatever you comment below – probably in all caps/no caps/complete disregard of grammar and punctuation, which is awful in writing but somehow okay in commenting? I never understood that, but I do it anyways. :))

Sayonara for now,

{Tess}

 

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.

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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}

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

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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

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Yeah, I’m feeling like this right now:

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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}

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

AG Create-Your-Own: Nanowrimo Edition

I had no idea whether to put this on my doll blog or here on Steeplechase, but I decided that since it involved the characters of my past Nanowrimos, I should post it here.

Anyways, today I’ll be trying to duplicate some of my past Nanowrimo characters (and probably ranting about them in the process ;)) with the AG Create-Your-Own maker. Enjoy.

Sybil Glasscock
A Falcon Of Gold, 2015 (40k)

sybil

Ahh, Sybil, you extremely pessimistic bean, your clothes are completely period innacurate but they’re more to reflect your character than your actual costume. I apologize for shipping you at the last minute. That was unfair.

(Sybil was part islander and part English. But the islander was more dominant. She was a really big jerk though.)

Kat McKittrick
A Charger In Command, 2016 (50k)

kat

(The picture size changed for some reason. Sorry for triggering your severe OCD.)

Kat was a more sedate Sybil. Maybe it was the horses; maybe it was the fact that she wasn’t an orphan. (There are really too many orphans in today’s literary world.) Whatever it was, she was more stable. But I shipped her at the last minute too. *ducks as people throw tomatoes*.

I’m fine with shipping characters, it’s just when it’s last minute that makes it bad. Instantly.

Kaori Sasaki (sound familiar?)
The Taiso Senshu, 2017 (15k)

kaori

It was after I wrote Kaori’s story in April that I realized that I wrote almost exclusively about dark-haired, pessimistic girls. Nevertheless, she was my favourite out of the three, only because she was Japanese and Japan is awesome. (Well, because I didn’t want to do any research, I made it a Japan-like society called Pseudo-Japan in my notes. I’m lazy.)

(So much from her story was borrowed for my doll stories, so I can’t share much more. :P)

Millicent Blair
Brother Robin, 2017 (50k)

millicent

Millicent, you refreshing change to the norm! It’s a pity you were an underexplored side character. At least the MC of Brother Robin was a light-haired, blue-eyed British man. He was still pessimistic though. Maybe you’ll be a good influence for him. As I did ship the two of you. (sorrynotsorry).

Honorable mentions, also from Brother Robin:

And one more honorable mention: Kseniya, a she-wolf, from my novel in preparation about canine culture, reimagined as a human.

kseniya
“Where are my ears?”

And finally, from my upcoming story for Nanowrimo 2017…

Sasha Sokolovsky
Project Orion (50k)

sasha

Part Russian. Part naïve. All nerd. I’m going to have so much with you this November, despite that you’re only a side character!

Time for…

Secrets

The answer to this question is the password to the Secrets page, which holds a bonus picture for you to enjoy! (It will be all lowercase.)

What is the ship name of my OTP?
(hint: it’s in a caption)

What kinds of characters do you tend to write about? Do they all follow a pattern or are they different? Are you going to do this on your blog? If you are, then link it back and I’ll read it!

Sayonara!

{Tess}

 

Winner, winner, chicken dinner (and review of my cake batter)

Ha. I knew the title would catch your eye. Doesn’t food always catch the eyes of humans? But this post has nothing to do with food. It’s about a lame achievement I made this April.

camp-2017-winner-twitter-header

Now, you must play the fanfare I won for winning Camp.

Well, no one awarded it to me but myself, but I think I deserve it, right? I wrote fifteen thousand words. The track is seventeen seconds long. That’s about eight hundred eighty-two words per second.

(Off-topic: I could listen to the Lego Universe Soundtrack for hours and never grow tired of it. The mix of brass and violins and interesting percussion is so intriguing, and the feeling I get when I listen to them is nothing short of an adrenaline rush. They have been my life soundtrack for a year or so now and I’m not growing cold on them. Brian Tyler is awesome! Here’s the link to the entire soundtrack via Youtube: Link! My personal favourites are Rocket Escape, Battlegrounds, Monument Race, Blastoff, Nimbus Plaza, Nimbus Station, Red Blocks, Pet Cove, General Forestry, Forbidden Valley, Ninjago Monastery, and Battle Against Frakjaw, which I have linked for your convenience. You can thank my brother Mac for this discourse, because he was the one who got me hooked on this.)

So, my Camp project. It was an idea made up a couple of weeks days hours before camp started. I wanted to write a story about feudal Japan, but it would have bugged me if it were inaccurate. But I didn’t want to go and do a bunch of research on feudal Japan. So I just infused Japanese culture into somewhere that I never expressly mentioned was Japan, I’d be good, right?

Bam. The Taiso Senshu was born. And it probably won’t make a bit of sense because I sprinkled too many Japanese words in it. So many that I’m not even going to bother identifying them for you. Now is a good time to practice your context clues. 😛

The story’s track was different when I began writing it than when I finished it. When I began, I was writing a story about Kaori Sasaki. She was the niece of the main taiso kyoshi and thus steeped in taiso since birth, practically. But the only other female senshu wasn’t a very shining example. She had one chance to prove herself to the other senshu or else she’d have Hanoka Norman’s fate.

As much as I liked that story, the story I finished with went something like this:

Akio Hayashi was trained from birth to infiltrate the taiso senshu and give the Farukon the information leading to their fate. He was supposed to not say a word, to avoid camraderie with the enemy. Yet, in an accident, he breaks his vow of silence by accident, and strikes up an unlikely alliance with Kaori, the only senshu he deems worthy of his time. (Akio has an extreme superiority complex.) But now he’s got a problem – stay loyal to the Farukon, or stay loyal to the senshu?

It’s a lot better reading it, I promise. There were several things I needed to fix, though, and here’s a long to-do list of those things.

  • Change the setting slightly
  • Focus the plot
  • Re-do the POV from an all-Kaori to a half-Akio, half-Kaori
  • Change the details I ended up changing

I’d give The Taiso Senshu a 3.9/10 right now. Maybe once I’ve baked my cake batter, it’ll taste better. (See what I did there?)

Did you win Camp? How many words did you write?

{Tess}