Monday, 14 August 2017

Agent Kit // so many WIP projects

I did a WIP post on A Sprig of Green less than a month ago. Is that enough?

NO. NO, IT ISN'T.

Because, see, I have a new WIP. My novella is finished (though edits shall still happen) and I've moved on to a new project. Or rather, an old project that shall be rewritten.


Hahahaaaa no way. My pictures are never totally random. Ever. *cough*

Agent Kit was my NaNo novel last year. I finished it on day 22 at exactly 89,978 words. I flailed and the flopped and took several weeks to recover back to my normal self. (don't do this guys, look after yourself as well as write. DO NOT FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE. xP)

Since then, I rewrote book #1, Rogue Escarlate, in January-February, edited it in march + plotted book #3. April I wrote Operation Flint (aforementioned #3), then May was back editing #1. June I finished my edits and sent it to some wonderful alpha readers. *throws confetti on them*

AND WOW. That was a lot of stuff.

With all of that, I never really got much time to look at book #2 - Agent Kit. But now that I've taken my dystopian break and written A Sprig of Green I'm diving back in. Currently I'm trying to work out one factor.

One word, guys. One important word:

p l o t

Yeah. I need a plot. I meant to be a lot further through plotting by today, but ehh. Plotting is hard sometimes and it doesn't always do what I want it to. I have to work out a plot that fits nicely with book one, preferably book three as well, but I'm already going to have to majorly edit/loosely rewrite that. (I fail at romance. Don't ask.) It's just a bit more bothersome than I was expecting.

But it's still fun at the same time, and it's going along slowly but surely. I'm also quite excited about some ideas that I've had, like bringing in characters that I originally...completely forgot about. Oops. But they actually come into this draft and we've got a whole gang thing going on. Plus some Russian Mafia involvement, a bit of kidnapping, some Ben-doesn't-like-soup-ing, and some more character development that it didn't have before. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of this plot stuff unfolds. *rubs hand eagerly*

Anyways. I have some random stuff for you today. Like...completely random. I don't know what to tell you about this WIP? So hopefully what I've got here will suffice. 



Musics

So after the question that came up in the Rising Authors Tag I was curious to see whether I could find any songs that fitted with Agent Kit specifically. I haven't come across anything that just hits perfectly and I know instantly that it's right, but I've discovered that For King and Country has a few that fit reasonably well. I like 'To the Dreamers' and 'Ceasefire' best. Also 'Take this City' by Everfound has a sort of Agent Kit-ish feel?
(Stalk my five-song playlist (to be expanded over time) here)



Aesthetics/collages

BASICALLY I JUST LIKE MAKING PICTURES, OKAY? :P


Will and Ben <33


the main cast of characters that hang around for the whole book. LOOK AT ALL THOSE BROODING EXPRESSIONS.

Aaand if you missed the ones from last Monday, click here to stalk them allll.



Snippets

And I got asked for snippets. Again. Because apparently you all like that?? So strange. :P I don't really have a lot, and I'd have a lot less but for the fact that I'm kind of (*cough*extremely*coughcough*) competitive and the OYAN forum had/have their annual Olympics. So I had to write something. (I came out with the highest word count for week number one, in case you wondered. The overall results haven't come in yet, but soooon they shall. *crosses fingers*)
(also I'm doing a test. All my posts with the word 'snippet' in the title have rather high page views and I'm curious to see if it's just because of the title, not the content. Because here's snippets and I didn't even warn you in the title. xD)


A high pitched buzz shot through the suffocating dullness. Just the shrill squeal and the pounding throb of his heartbeat.

Jeez what was wrong with his ears?

Ben forced his eyes open, squinting against the bright spots across his vision. Everything wobbled, warping in confusing waves.

Welp. The world had gone mad.

“Ben!” The sound of his name burst through the bubble of fogginess and the high pitched squeal stopped and sound exploded out on him. Falling metal, groaning and grating, and the snap of flames.

Will’s figure gestured frantically from the other side of the smashed windscreen. The entire vehicle shifted backward. Back toward the ground. “Ben, get out!”

Oh yes. Avoiding death would be nice.


- - -

Ben crouched in the deep window frame, tapping his fingers rhythmically against his knee. “To be entirely honest, I kind of imagined Russia to be a little bit more grey and gloomy colours.” He tipped his head sideways. “Not really expecting the cream and pastel buildings.”

A rustle came from behind and Will leaned sideways against the edge of the sill. “It’s ugly.”

“Hey!” Ben twisted around, furrowing his brow at Will. “What do you mean? These are no where near ugly compared to London. Though London does have it’s own charm.”

Will grunted. “Do you always admire a country’s architecture?”

Good question. Ben glanced back out at the coloured buildings. If he studied it, the paint did look a little dull, but a pastel sort of dull. “Not really.” He shrugged and swivelled back to the room, looking around. “But honestly—”

“It’s just a painted building.”

“A city-full of painted buildings. It’s cool.”

“Okay, whatever you say.”


- - -

“Don’t look in the mirror—” Will warned, but Ben flicked his gaze upward just a little.

The mirror showed the room around him, small and pale and dirty. A utilitarian bathroom with one sink, one mirror and one toilet in a small cubicle. But mostly what Ben noticed was himself.

His jacket was burnt.

No fair. He liked this jacket.


And considering I have no plot, I think three snippets is enough for now. xD You can thank the oyan olympics for that.

Also - on the topic of snippets I thought it would be interesting to see the new snippet vs the old snippet just so you can compare, because it's cool. *nods*


Product of NaNo Insanity:

Grabbing Ben’s gun from the floor, Will dragged him forward. “Out.” He shook his shoulders. “Remember, we’ve got to get out.”

Ben blinked rapidly, trying to clear his eyes. A dull numbness surrounded his entire body. He started to look down.

“Don’t,” Will said, grabbing his chin and stopping the movement. “Whatever you do, don’t look at yourself. Save that for later.”

Ben took his gun from Will’s offered hand. “Is it really that bad?” he asked blearily.

Will didn’t reply, turning on his heel and kicking forward through the debris. The wailing of police sirens made Ben follow him with a lurch.


AND BLAH BLAH. You don't need to see any more. xD

Rough Rewritten Scene:

Will’s lips drew into the flat line of worry that had become all too familiar. “I can’t help you here. We have to get out first, then you can rest.”

“But what’s wrong with me?” Ben shook his head, but that didn’t make anything any clearer. “All I did was crash the car.” He tilted his gaze downward to look at himself.

Will caught his chin, gently pushing his head back up. “Look at yourself later. I can’t have you fainting on me now.”

“I don’t faint, I’m more manly than that—wait.” Ben closed his eyes, trying to think over what Will had just said. “Why would I faint if I looked at myself?”

Will lifted Ben’s arm over his shoulders, standing up and half lifting Ben with him. Ben fumbled for footing and gritted his teeth. He could walk. Whatever was wrong with him would just have to wait.


I THINK IT'S PRETTY SAFE TO SAY I'VE IMPROVED A BIT?? I hope so anyway. (also LOOK AT THAT you get four snippets actually xD) I'm honestly having so much fun writing little snippets and playing with Will and Ben and their relationship. Will is like a big brother trying to learn what big brothers are meant to do, and Ben always forgives him for anything as long as he gets lunch on time (and usually when he doesn't as well). 

Aaaaand I think that's all for now. Or did I miss anything?? *squints at blog post* *squints at novel document* *shrugs*


What's your WIP about?
Is there anything else about Agent Kit that I forgot to satisfy your curiosity on?
(I'll answer in the comments if there is *fingerguns*)

Friday, 11 August 2017

Birthday happenings // I'm 16 now?? + random ramblings

You know those times when someone asks you how old you are, you answer and then have a mild internal freak out because "WHOA NO WAY AM I THAT OLD"

Yep. That's me right now.

As of mid-July, I am sixteen.



I remember when I used to go "ooh when I'm sixteen, I'll..."

To be honest, basically none of those child-dreams are true today. Some of those things, I have met. (Growing taller than my oldest sister, for example. :P It used to be a dream of mine, back when she towered a head and shoulders above me.) Some other things...not so much.

I pictured a lot of things. But I never imagined the sixteen-year-old me climbing trees, learning handsprings and flying jump/side kicks, writing novels for fun, and drinking chai tea.

God's plan was always better anyway.

And yes, I am teaching myself handsprings and random taekwondo kicks. Just because.

But believe it or not, I didn't actually plan this post to be at all deep or philosophical. I also actually planned to do this the week after my birthday. But then the photos hadn't been edited properly yet and then the next opportunity it was late at night and my brain wasn't working to write this post so I wrote a completely different one instead.

Because that totally makes sense??

So I also put off writing this blog post until...late at night. Again. Because that makes just as much sense.

I confuse myself sometimes.

*cue me realising that this blog post just got super off topic and whoops that wasn't the plan*

BASICALLY, I had a birthday. It was super great. I don't even feel ancient yet.

Although, since I turned sixteen the time had come...*more dramatic drumrolls* for me to do my driving test and get my learner license. (Hence the header for this post.)

I was naturally thoroughly prepared. I finished reading the rules book eleven hours before my test. And I did some practice tests. Like, five.

See. Very prepared.

I also discovered something interesting. When I'm super nervous, I shake. I knew this a bit already, but this was on a slightly more severe scale. I was physically shivering, like I was freezing cold or something.

So. intense.

At the testing place itself I kept mindblanking of what I was meant to say and just stammering out something odd and trying to ignore the fact that my voice was cracking over every sentence.

Again, it was interesting from a research side of things. *takes notes for future reference* Writers are amusing creatures.

I passed, by the way. Perfectly. Somehow. I don't even know.

SPEAKING OF WRITERS THOUGH. I got two VERY cool t-shirts for my birthday - designed by Clare. One of which I was wearing during my test. (It was very reassuring)

BEHOLD: 



Isn't it so cool??

And it's on the back of course. Because then I can have a nice conversation with someone, turn around to walk away and only then do they realise their mistake. XD

The other shirt is suuuper cool and it's really pretty too. It says "His Grace is Enough" and yass. <3 I love it so much.


Another thing that happened on my birthday was the beginning of a very cool something that I CAN'T WAIT to announce. *tries not to squeal* I'm hoping that it'll be ready by the end of the month, so eep. Hold on until then and you shall get an important announcement, my friends.

Other than those of you who I've already told because, let's be honest, I'm bad at keeping my excitement inside.

*throws some excitement confetti around*


THIS BLOG POST IS SO WEIRD AND RAMBLLY. I'M SORRY. XD I think I started writing it with some sort of idea or plan in mind but then late-night me happened to it and all plans went out the window.

Bye bye plans. *waves*

But seriously guys. I haven't gotten over how old everyone's getting. So scary. Every moment we spend is gone. Forever. And always. We can never get it back again.

That's a slightly terrifying thought. But also a good reminder.

Have I lived my sixteen years in a way pleasing to God? How will I keep on living every minute of every day to give glory to his name?

It's something I want to make sure that I never forget. Because I never know how much longer I have. Or even the world has. So I want to live - in the true definition of the word.

And look at that. I went all philosophical at the end of the post again too. *shoves all the randomness at you* This is what happens when you're sixteen, obviously.


Did I actually say anything other than ramblings in this post?
(no really, I'm curious. XD)
Do you take note of random things you do, for future writing reference??
(I can't be the only one, guys.)

Monday, 7 August 2017

Rising Authors // I HAVE A NEW WIP *flailing*

Some of you who have been around for more than a short while, might remember waaaay back when I did a post called "Of Rising Authors and the Number 777"

Those who don't remember can count yourself lucky. Because I went back and hunted it up and laughed at myself. It was all about my original version of what is now Rogue Escarlate and actually a slightly decent manuscript. *pats my past self on the head* Ah, good times.

Anyways. I did this tag a year and a bit ago, and since then it has meandered through the blogosphere and somehow managed to find me again. Many thanks to my friend Middle Earth Musician for tagging me. Known to her friends/camp nano cabin mates as MEM. Because in the middle of Camp, no one has time to type out the whole of Middle Earth Musician.


And GUYS GUYS. I have now officially decided what I'm writing/working on this month. *drumroll please* Book two of my trilogy. Agent Kit. *runs in circles excitedly* (aka Rogue Escarlate's first sequel) It needs a huge complete and utter rewrite. Because...I wrote it in November last year. 80k in 22 days. 80-plotless-k to the bargain.

Oh suuuure it was full of action, but...that's all it was. Action scenes. Lots of explosions and car chases and fun things like that. But plot is also important. And theme and character arcs and I could write it all so much better now. So that's what I plan to do.

And you know what?

I'm not even depressed or annoyed that my 80k NaNo from last year needs complete scrapping. I'M JUST EXCITED. Super excited. (As you can see with all the caps. Though I use caps about 99.9% of the time anyway. *looks thoughtful* maybe I'm always excited...)

So you guys might just get in a WIP post on Agent Kit sometime this month, eh?


And anyways. Another THANK YOU to MEM because there's no rules so I can just chill out and do whatever. xP Also she's thought up some brilliant questions that I can't wait to answer so YEEP. Let's get right into this.


1. Do you listen to music while you write?

Sometimes. It honestly varies.
Actually no, if I think about it, YES I do listen to music the majority of the time. It's only when I'm not on the laptop (instead on my desktop out in the main room of the house) and hence can't really play music without disrupting other people.


2. If so, what genre?

(the answer of this question = me describing music genres without using technical terms for music genres because I don't know them)

It depends on the story (naturally). If you check out my Playlists section on youtube (*inserts handy dandy link*) you can see that I have a few different character and story lists. Will's playlist is a good example of the basic feel and style of Rogue Escarlate and pretty close for the following books as well (although they each do have their own unique themes). I haven't actually made one for Agent Kit, but it would be faaairly similar.

A Sprig of Green is completely different, with a whole lot more peaceful music and less...angsty?

Lando is more dragony. Green Trident (his story doesn't have a name yet) is allll the superhero-ness. Kip and Karissa (they're from the same story) are more folk-ish.

So yeah. Short answer: it depends what I'm writing.


3. What song do you think is your WIP’s theme song?

Ack, I have no idea?? Something like Renegades or Extreme Ways both work for the trilogy in general. But I haven't yet found a song that would fit for Agent Kit specifically though really.

I'm curious now though. xD I'll have to do some hunting and see if I can find anything.


4. Who is your MC in your current WIP?

Oh only Benjamin Kit. One of my favouritest characters ever.

*throws out a bunch of aesthetic pictures because why not*




5. What is their deepest, darkest fear?

Ooh, this is an interesting question...He's afraid of losing his family. He's afraid of failing the people who trust him.

So naturally I play on those fears. Oh yes. Yes I do indeed.


6. What is your favorite scene you’ve written in your WIP?

I actually do have a few favourite scenes (even though the whole manuscript is pretty messy). I rather like one of the exchanges between Ben and his sister. It's a nice moment where Ben can just be a teenage boy, not burdened by the responsibilities of staying alive and saving the world and where in France to buy the best french fries. (He takes that responsibility very seriously, trust me.)

Another favourite is actually one that I wrote recently, and is just a little snippet that shall be included in my complete rewrite. It's action. aka my favourite thing to write. And it's got Will and Ben interacting and it's so cool to compare that Will to the Will when the two first meet. It's rather cool, I will admit.


7. Do you enjoy writing from children’s, teen’s, or adult’s point of view?

I actually enjoy writing from ALL of them. Little kids are so fun and can have such hugely unique and interesting views on everything (for example, my little 4 year-old Zap Lorde). Teens are a wide range and all different, but probably what I'm most comfortable in. Probably because I'm a teen (*gasp* Who ever knew?). Adults aren't really a whole lot different than older teens. They just have a bit more experience usually and are maaaaybe slightly more mature. And they don't have the cuteness factor of the little ones. (Will is actually an adult, would you believe it. I think he's 23. But he's actually the only character of mine ever that I forget the age of. I keep losing track because it's changed multiple times over revisions.)


8. Do you prefer writing first person or third person?

Rogue Escarlate and co. are in third person. I really like that and it was comfortable and me.

A Sprig of Green is in first person (and present tense to the bargain). I just wanted to try it out and see what it was like and I actually turned out to really love it too.

The Adventures of Lando Erif + other blog stories have been in first person past tense and I also really enjoy that.

DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE. XD I just love everything and all the options yes please and thank you. I play with different genres. I try different aged characters. I test with pov and tenses. And I usually enjoy them all. They all have their quirks and pros and cons. For me, though, I think there's a little bit of sticking with a certain feel. Because Rogue Escarlate wouldn't feel right in 1st person. And A Sprig of Green would be no where near as feelsy in third.
So I usually just use whatever flows with the style of the actual story.


9. What writer would you say handles action scenes the best?

Great pizza and pastry I can't pick one author out of all of them. I have a horrible attention span sometimes so if I say I really liked a book, there's about 70% chance that it had epic action in it. That's all for me. (I'm the stereotypical 'short sentences, short paragraphs, lots of action' sort of reader and writer. :P) If you want some epic action-y book recommendations YOU'VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. Just ask me and I'll throw them all on you immediately.


10. What is the best book you’ve read on writing? Who is it by?

If Theme Mastery were a book, I'd say that. BUT NO. It's just a super epic online course (which you should all totally go buy immediately right now)

If I had to choose a book (okay honestly, you should all be able to see this coming) it'd be Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K. M. Weiland. IT'S AMAZING. So many character arcs. *hugs book* You guys have heard me go on about character arcs but you need reminding. 

I LOVE CHARACTER ARCS.

I love them to pieces.

So this favourite book choice makes absolute perfect sense really. Now you may spend your life's fortune and buy this book (unless you're lucky like me and can manage to win it in a giveaway *flails*) because it must be read by every writer ever. DO ALL THE CHARACTER ARCS, PEOPLES.


And now is when supposedly I think up a bunch of new brilliant questions to give people BUT HONESTLY these questions were so good I'm actually just going to steal them all. Aaand add a few tweaks of my own.

1. Do you listen to music while you write?
2. If so, lyrics or no?
3. Do you have a 'theme song' for your current WIP?
4. Who is your MC in your current WIP? (basic description/snippets/aesthetic pictures)
5. What is their deepest, darkest fear?
6. What is your favorite scene you’ve written in your WIP?
7. Do you enjoy writing from children’s, teen’s, or adult’s point of view?
8. Do you prefer writing first person or third person?
9. Do you like trying allll the different genres or just sticking with the same one mostly?
10. What is the best book you’ve read on writing?

AND THE LUCKY PEOPLE I SHALT TAG. *throws confetti randomly to see who it lands on* Oh look. Everyone. Everyone who wants to do this can consider themselves tagged.
Though actually I'm going to grab out some names because names are good, guys. (there's a reason your parents gave you one, really. You should ask them why, one day. It'll be funny)

Anna // A World Through Her Heart
Quinley // Adventure Awaits
Catherine // The Rebelling Muse

(note: you guys don't have to do this?? I'm just tagging you in case you wanted to, so pizza to all even if you'd rather not.)
And everyone else who finds this even vaguely interesting...PLEASE DO IT. I'd love to see your answers. (just poke me in the comments and I'll come check your post out! *nods*)


What genres do you like writing in??
Do you have a favourite writing book?
(give me alllll the recommendations, yaass)

Friday, 4 August 2017

A Sprig of Green // editing is happening + snippets (as requested)

Yes. You heard (read?) correctly. I am doing more edits.

*dramatic music*
(because why not? Dramatic music makes everything more exciting, don't you think?)


It doesn't seem like too long ago when I was doing this for Rogue Escarlate, but now I'm working on a completely new story and it's still so exciting. I'm really enjoying working through it actually.

I've gone through the whole thing, fixing bothersome typos and mistakes so I can concentrate on what's actually going on. Then I read/scanned through and wrote down all the plot holes. Ahem yes there are several of those. XD Aaand I started to plan out how to fix said plot holes. I also need to work in the theme a little more so it's not quite as vague, and there's a heap of telling and probably tense switches where I accidentally went back into past tense instead of present. BUT for the moment, I'm happy with how it's going.

It's been really easy and fun to edit actually, and I'm not sure why? I'm motivated to go over it, and fix it, and spend hours working on it.

Plus if I ever need some more encouragement, or a laugh, I can just look back through some old comments on my short story version of this, that I asked some friends to alpha/beta for me...Some of them are quite amusing.

And now for some more stuff other than just talking about editing. Let's move on to some pretty collages!


This one is a collage that my friend (and alpha reader) Krystal made for me for my birthday and ack it's so cool. <33 I love it so much. *hugs picture*


Aaand this is one I made, and I don't remember if I've put on my blog before?? Help, I suddenly can't remember anything. xD

I also have a case of 'that character who doesn't seem to belong to any faceclaim ever' and it's very bothersome. Braden is still faceless. *squints at him* Rude.


BUT NOW. The thing you were really waiting for. YOU REQUESTED SNIPPETS AND I HAVE OBEYED. Because I'm a very nice person like that.

If you've already seen some of these snippets, please pardon my forgetfulness because I couldn't be bothered to go back and check. :P

Also they're purposefully vague. Aaand one or two may or may not have had a sentence or two (or three) cut out of them for spoilers reasons. *ahem*

BUT HERE GOES ANYWAYS. *bows out*


Standing again, I blow out another breath and cross over to the door. Someone could come in at any moment and then I’d be roasted. Knowing some of the people who stay at the Maestoso—the roasting may be literal.

I slip out on the landing and check both ways. All clear as far as I can see. The servant’s door is unlocked, and I go down the stairs two at a time. Reno will definitely be worried, since I rarely stay out this late at night.

Leaping down the last few steps, I duck out into the kitchen, and stumble straight into the barmaid. She lets out a yell of protest and spins, giving me a hard kick in the side.

“This is a staff only zone. Get out,” she orders, her brows furrowed in a fierce line.

I press my hand against my throbbing side and stumble toward the door. Falling through, I stagger into the street, looking for all the world like any drunk man. Why has everyone suddenly decided to start kicking me in the side?

It’s not nice.

- - -

 “All I did was smash a vase on his head.”

- - -

He stands, slouched against the wall, hands deep in his dress-pant pockets, his suit jacket meticulously perfect and his white shirt buttoned right up to the top. His eyes are shielded behind impenetrable shaded glasses, but the corners of his mouth are twisted down just a little bit.

I start to cross the room, leaving the supporting wall and trying to get my knee to support weight properly without just crumbling underneath me. He doesn’t even shift slightly as I pull up beside him.

Am I invisible suddenly?

“Sir?” I wince as my voice comes out dry and hoarse.

No response from the man.

“Excuse me, sir?” I stand on tiptoe and try to talk louder so that he actually hears.

Still no sign of reaction.

I narrow my eyes. He isn’t deaf. He isn’t stupid. He’s just ignoring me. I grab a chair from the table and drag it sideways over to him. My leg folds beneath me and I only just catch myself on the chair. I will make him listen even if he doesn’t want to. I scramble onto the chair and use the wall to stand up properly.

As soon as I’m at the level of his ear, I clear my throat and speak as loudly as I can without yelling. “Please excuse me, sir. I’d like to speak to you.”

He pulls away roughly, the movement almost making me topple to the floor. “Leave me alone, girl. It’s not my fault. Go away.”

I scramble down from the chair and peer up at him, trying to see beyond the dark shades of his glasses. “I haven’t even asked you anything yet,” I protest.

“I don’t care. I already told you. Go away.”

- - -

The woman grabs out at my shoulder, but I duck back. Only to have the man grab my hair roughly from behind. I gasp in pain and clutch the box tighter. “Don’t!”

They don’t listen, the woman just grabs the box by the sides and tugs at it. “Let go, girl.”

“No. You let go,” I reply, holding on as tightly as I possibly can. “If you want something you should ask.”

She stops, her mouth opening as she stares at me. I reach up and pull my hair from the man’s grip. “And you. It’s not nice to grab a girl’s hair.”

He stares too.

I run my tongue over my lips, still not relaxing my grip. “If you want something, don’t try attack the person who has it.” And then I turn and run.

- - -

“Are you okay?” I manage to get the words out through the choking in my throat.

The words seem to snap him from some sort of dream. He straightens and shoves his hand across his hair, his pale eyes dropping away from mine. “Why would you do that?”

A tingle touches my fingertips. “Because I care.”

- - -

“Braden?”

I raise my head, straightening my shoulders into their fake, stiff position. Matthew Reno paces down the narrow walkway toward me, his hands deep in his pockets.

“I thought I’d find you here.” He settles down beside me, in the exact same position we’ve been in so many other times.

“Yeah,” I grunt, studying my fingernails.

“Look.” Reno slaps my knee gently. “I know it’s hard when you have to do things like you did today, but it’s got to be done.”

I don’t reply. I just sit, listening, trying to convince my conscience that he’s right.

He’s always been right before. Why is it only now that the doubts are coming?

“You did exactly as I’ve always taught you. It was wonderful.” Reno leans forward, waving his hand in front of my eyes.

I snap my gaze up to his and he smiles a little, his greying brows creased in a concerned frown. “Braden, are you feeling okay?”

“It just…I don’t know.” I clench my hand and press it against my thigh, trying to work out what I even meant by that.

Reno’s smile fades a little and he leans closer. “I’m proud of what you did today,” he says, his gruff voice so old and familiar in my ears. He pats my shoulder and stands, grunting at the movement.

I don’t move from my position as he returns along the raised walkway. I just stare downward, not really seeing the maze of pipes and mechanics below. The vibration of his footsteps fades and then stops fully and I lean my head forward into my hands.

He’s proud of me. That should make me happy. What else could I want? What else have I been trying to aim for all these years?

Nothing.

So why is this guilt building higher and higher like bile in the back of my throat?


AND THERE YOU GO. *throws confetti* Allll the snippets for you. Originally I went a bit crazy and had an insane amount of snippets and then I changed my mind because "nooo let's not tell them all this so that it can be an exciting surprise one day."

To wrap up - here you go with a youtube playlist that I put together for A Sprig of Green!


(It's a perfect ending, don't you think? I started and ended on dramatic music. *bows* Excellent planning on my part, definitely.)


Do you have a favourite stage of editing?
Do you like listening to music while writing/editing?

Monday, 31 July 2017

Camp NaNoWriMo // the final day

1 July 2017, 12:00 AM. I was sitting on a stack of cushions in front of the fireplace in our lounge room.

31 July 2017, (ALMOST) 12:00 AM. I am, once more, sitting in the exact same place and thinking philosophical thoughts.

You know actually I'm not thinking philosophical thoughts, I'm bouncing on cushions. But anyways.



July was a big month. I had my cousin staying over for the first week, I had my weekends booked with odds and ends, I had this and that and everything else on.

Plus Camp NaNo.

And yet right now after all the month is past (*glances at clock* technically it's still another little while yet, I guess. :P) I feel a sense of achievement. I feel like I lived this month. I feel like I took time to be with my younger siblings (and my older ones. :P I actually went to bed at a sane time once or twice so we could hang out before going to sleep). I feel like I did just the perfect thing that I needed to refocus my gaze and remind myself of why I spend hours at the computer everyday. Why I pour my heart and energy into words on a page.

It was a good month.


I actually have a story for you today (ironic, I know). At the end of May, I had a pretty good idea of what I was going to do for July Camp. I was going to write Steam Flight. I was going to have a goal of 70k. I was going to spend half of June plotting.

Haha. Ha.
Nope.

None of that actually ended up happening, but I'm so much happier with what I ended up doing. I wrote A Sprig of Green - the idea of which came into my head about three weeks before Camp. I had a goal of 40k. I started plotting three or four days before Camp, and finished with eleven hours to spare with a chapter-by-chapter plot. I then realised that my novel was actually a novella, and so I lowered my word count goal to 25k.

I had so. much. fun.

A Sprig of Green was one of the easiest books I've ever written. It was just the thing my brain needed to get out of the secret agents and criminals mode, and take a creative break to try out something else. It was an exciting adventure of writing. I finished the novella on day fifteen, at approximately 35k. And then I did something crazy.

I didn't start editing.

I meant to. I honestly planned to. But it didn't happen. And that's all cool by me. I really enjoyed being about to roll back on my insane word counts and hours of typing and delve into other things. I finished some critiquing projects (plus started and finished yet another). I learnt-ish how to do a flying jump kick (don't ask xD although if you do ask, you might get access to a secret youtube video featuring my gymnastics skills xP). I got one or two new movies to fangirl over (Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy yaaass). AND SO MUCH MORE that I won't bore you with telling. xD


At the end of one NaNo month, I automatically look toward the next. November. Actual real super duper 50k NaNoWriMo. Normally I would be starting to plan out "Ohh I'll write such-and-such project then" but right now. I have no clue at all. I don't know what'll happen between then and now. I don't know how far edits I'll be. I don't know what God has in store. But I'm excited. I'm excited to see everything that he's doing and I'm super hyped to see what he continues to do.

I have a pile of projects that are eagerly awaiting my attention, and I could do an entire blog series on what they are and what needs doing on all of them, but I'm not sure that would be terribly interesting after the first one or two. :) So currently, I'm just meandering along as God opens doors or closes them and I'm just so excited for next month. And I'm also excited to have all my wonderful blogging friends so I can bounce along and hear all the cool stuff about your life happenings too. :D

Only two minutes left. :P


What are you excited for in August?
Who's hoping to do NaNo this year??

Friday, 28 July 2017

Comparing Your Work to Others' // dealing with low confidence and fear

Do you ever feel like you’re a failure? Like you’re not as good as so-and-so? Like it doesn’t matter how hard you try, you’ll just never be enough?

Sometimes comparing our work to someone else can help. It can spur us on to work harder, strive more, learn how to be better.

But other times, it simply pulls us down.


It’s so easy to look at someone else and see their work—or even them as a person—and the compare it to your own work, your own self. The problem is that when we do this, so much of the time, we don’t measure up.

We can’t measure up.

We’re all different people, we’ve all been given different talents and gifts. Of course we can’t all be as good as each other. But we know that, and somehow it doesn’t seem to help.

So often I see people hiding back in the corner and not wanting to show their work. For some people they can pass it off as perfectionism. For others—introversion.

But I think for everyone, it’s also just that little seed of doubt.

Everyone has it. That fear that they won’t measure up. That they’re actually a failure. That, quite honestly, they’re wasting their time—and everyone else’s.

And then even worse, there’s the moments of timid bravery when the little artist (not necessarily drawing, I’m using the term in its broad definition) steps out and show some of their work. Some of the art they poured their energy and heart into. And then someone laughs. Or not even laughs, but just passes it off as ‘good’ or ‘nice.’

It hurts. It pulls down the timid hope and our little artist soul scuttles back and hides.

The problem isn’t with the person who betrayed the trust (though they are at fault—a topic I shall be rambling on next week), it’s actually with the artist.

The problem is that so often we look to man to fulfil our desires, to fulfil our identity. We look to our family, our friends, our acquaintances. But they can’t fill that role.

The One who gave us the gift in the first place can.

If you write a chapter, draw a picture, do whatever you do and look at your work and say “I’m a failure” you’re saying that God’s gift is worthless. That he gave you something that is a waste of your time. It’s a ridiculous thought.

You don’t have to measure up to so-and-so. You don’t have to be as good as anyone.

Because that’s not the point.

We need to be looking to God to find our purpose and identity, not the world around us. And when we do that, it doesn’t matter what other people think or do. It doesn’t matter if they all seem better.

Right now, God has you in a special place.

Don’t scorn it and hate it because it’s different than someone else. Accept it and embrace it because it’s a gift.

It’s not easy to accept, and the fear can still be there. But you need to go back to God over and over and over. Every. single. day. Commit it to Him.

I promise you. You won’t regret it. And it certainly won’t be a waste of your time.

Monday, 24 July 2017

#WIPjoy // A Sprig of Green

A day or two ago, Katie Grace did a #WIPjoy post all about her book Where Shadows Lie. IT WAS VERY COOL. Basically, I loved it so much that I decided to jump in and do a post of my own.

(If you don't know what #WIPjoy is, don't worry, I don't hugely either. XD Check out Katie's blog post though because she actually explains it. :P)

But loosely - it's a bunch of questions about your work-in-progress and I'm going to pick my favourites and throw some stuff around about my wee li'l novella A Sprig of Green.



Describe yourself and your WIP.

Me: an energetic, joke-teller, always looking for a laugh...Bare feet, outdoors, callouses on my left hand fingertips from musical instruments, always hungry. I don't even know how to describe myself. XD

WIP: A Sprig of Green, one young girl trying to save her father, one young man trying to save himself.


Your 1st inspiration for this WIP.

It started out because Kingdom Pen was having a Sci Fi themed month and I decided that I was actually going to submit something for once. So then in popped a random idea for a world with no plants and a girl who is looking for them. And it developed from there into a short story (which was then submitted to Kingdom Pen AND ALSO ACCEPTED and (after lots of edits) published *screams* READ IT HERE).


Would you rather: get trapped in your story for a week, or have your antagonist enter your own life for a day?

Can it be after the story is ended?? Because it has a happy ending and everything is all okay again, so I'D BE FINE WITH THAT PART. Before the story...not so much.

And antagonist in my life? No thank you, good sir.


What would your MC be like as an antagonist?

Okay so I have two MCs. Michayla -smol girl- and Braden -a young man. They are both VERY different characters.

Michayla would be the sweetest antagonist ever.

Braden would be confusing. He would have so many internal dilemmas that the hero/MC of the story just gave up and surrendered to him.
He's a fun character. (And technically is sort of an antagonist already, because 'antagonist' is the term for anyone who stands in the way of the plot, not necessarily the main villain.)


What would the antagonist be like as the MC?

VERY EVIL. He would be an exceptionally evil protagonist. XD Ruthless, willing to do anything at all (even deny his own family) to get to his goal.


A line you nailed perfectly.

I can't say that I nailed any line of this absolutely perfectly. BUT STILL. Some of the lines that I am the most proud of currently:


I am not worthy to be called a man.

- - -

Notes of paper money go fluttering everywhere like butterflies with broken wings.

- - -

There’s always another chance in the world.

- - -

“The first leaf means hope.”


Choose an ideal reading spot, food, drink, and music to go with your book.

Reading spot: outside on a warm (but not too warm) day, on the grass. Or, even better, a patch of clover.

Food: ohh this one is actually harder than I was expecting. *hums* How about honey jumbles (yes, I believe it's an Australian recipe (maybe?). Look it up and make them. You won't regret it.) because they're all happy and outdoors-adventure-y.

Drink: Chai tea. I can definitely see Michayla drinking chai.

Music: Rise, True Strength or Becoming a Legend - John Dreamer. Look them up on youtube if you've never heard them before. *hugs the music* But I'm also equally leaning toward having no music and just having the sound of birds and breeze in the background of reading because that also fits.


What's something you're still figuring out about this WIP?

A LOT OF IT.
I need to work out some details with Braden, and something *coughcough* slight spoilery detailish *cough* about him.
Also another character that I kinda ignored from about the midway point of the book. I need to work out what happens to them.
Plus a lot more, but those are the main important factors, I think. (Actually no, there's probably other super important things that I just can't remember right now. XD)


Would you rather: have tea with your antagonist, or be stuck in an elevator for 3 hours with your MC?

Tea is good. I'm not sure that having it with my antagonist would be good though. But still, I can imagine him being quite gentlemanly.
On the other hand, being stuck in an elevator with Michayla for three hours could be quite interesting. I feel like she has so many good thoughts on life and she's a very wise girl (though somehow naive at the same time?? I don't even know if that works, but she just...is.). We could get into some very deep conversations. Braden and me stuck in an elevator...hmm not so sure about that one though. :P


And there I shall leave it! :D Hope you enjoyed some random odds and ends about A Sprig of Green.


Here's the full picture of all the questions. NOW GO AND WRITE A BLOG POST. I wanna hear allll about your stories. Yes please. Even if you don't have a blog/don't feel like posting, just answer some of them in the comments because I'm a curious blueberry and I want to hear everything. :P


Would you rather have tea with your antagonist or be stuck in an elevator for three hours with your protagonist?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Are Your Words Working? // lagging behind on goals and schedules

We're onto the twenty-first day of the month. Only ten more days left before August. Are you on target? Are those words working just how you planned them to be?

For me, I have to admit that the answer is actually no.


Now, I know it sounds bizarre. "But Jane, you finished your camp nano goal aaages ago and you finished your novella and what's wrong with all that??" And all that is completely true but I had (and still have) a few other things planned for this month, and it was all nicely scheduled out on my dry erase whiteboard calendar. (seriously though, if you don't use one of these, you need to try it. It's amazing.) 

I aimed to finish writing on the 15th - tick that box.
I aimed to have at least 25k - tick, again.
I also aimed to have a teensy bit of an easier time - and I think I can check that off too.

But then we get to the second half of the month.

I hoped to finish one of my critiquing novels on the 17th.
I hoped to finish the book I'd been given for free from the author to read and review.
I hoped to dig right in and get down to editing A Sprig of Green right away.
I hoped to finish my rough edits + synopsis.
I hoped to start on a beta reading novel so I had plenty of time to finish it before the end of the month.
Not even mentioning that I really really hoped to have plenty of free time to read the Road Rules book and prepare for my driving test.

None of that went according to plan. And looking at that list, I can honestly see why. I had unrealistic expectations. There was no way I was going to be able to do all that and school and life. I'm an overachiever sometimes and I like pushing myself and giving myself challenges. A lot of the time, I also overestimate myself. I simply cannot fit that much in. And adding to that, all the random things that just pop up unexpectedly and snatch away some of that precious time that I'm desperately trying to balance.

BUT. That's not where the story ends. We're only just getting to the best part.

I'm actually okay with this. I can see that I'm not up to the level I was hoping for, but that's okay. Maybe I don't need to be. I'm right where God needs me at the moment. Because when I'm here and I'm falling behind, I can look up and know that He's got a plan and, my goodness, it's better than ANYTHING I could ever come up with.

And sometimes it's in times like right now, when I stop and look at my goals and what I had hoped and planned to get done, that I realise that it really is better this way. I didn't finish a lot of those things because I was busy.

I was busy living.




So today, I want to encourage all of you, whatever you're doing - whether you're falling behind on goals, whether your striving insanely to reach them before you run out of time, or whether you're sitting right at the top and relaxing already. Whatever place you're at, stop and take a breath.

Take time to look up to God and just smile. Smile because what He's done. What He's doing. And what He will do.

Take a moment of every day and live.


How are your goals and plans working out?
Do you have any methods for keeping on track or scheduling out your plans?

Monday, 17 July 2017

Spider-Man Homecoming // warning: much fangirling

*starts humming the spider man theme*

One week ago, my dad took me to the movies to see Spider-man Homecoming and it officially earned a place waaaay high up on my favouritest movies of all time list. I absolutely and utterly loved every moment of it. 

So of course I'm going to do a blog post solely to flail over it.
This post is spoiler-less, so don't worry if you haven't seen the movie yet, you're all safe.


My reaction basically: I LOVED IT SO SO MUCH AND HELP I CAN'T GET OVER ANY OF IT AND YEEEET.

This movie and I started off on a good foot from the very first. Spider-Man has always been my favourite superhero. I watched the 2002 Tobey Maguire version a year or so back, and before that, I'm fairly sure that I read some comics too. Not the super originals probably, but I have a recollection of Spider-Man comics and absolutely loving them. So when I saw the Spider-Man Homecoming teaser trailer- well, it happened something like this:

Me: oh hey I'll watch this trailer. it's Spider-Man after all.
Me: *watches*
Me: OH SWEET PIZZA AND PASTRY WHEN IS THIS MOVIE COMING OUT I MUST SEE IT.

And for the past two months, my family can confirm that I have been going on about Spider-man...a lot. :P I'd watched every single trailer that I could find - several times over. I even quoted the movie before it was even released. I was hyped, to say the least.

The day when I was going to see it, I was so nervous. I was worried it wouldn't be all that cool. I was desperately trying to not imagine all the awful things the movie could be like. But as soon as it started BOOM. All worries were gone.

SO GOOD.

I have always loved Spidey so much because he's just so relateable, and Homecoming has done this in a super great way. HE'S JUST A TEENAGE KID TRYING TO WORK OUT LIFE AND HELP DON'T WE ALL RELATE??? I'm sure I do, anyway. 
And another thing Peter was so dyyying to get out of school and be spider-man again. THAT WAS SO GOOD. IF I COULD BE SPIDER-MAN I'D WANT TO DO IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Like...who wouldn't?! And he's my age. Not some college-going Superman or some billionaire Batman (or even the other versions of Spider-Man). He's just a kid like me, going through similar things to me (though I'm not spider-man, and I'm not in 'school' school - yay homeschooling XD but still, it's true) and I love that so much.

I'd watched a ton of interviews that Tom Holland (the actor who plays Peter/Spider-man, for those non-geeky people :P) did and once or twice I had a flash of concern of: 'wait, if I do this, what if I can't see him as Peter, but only as actor Tom Holland' BUT NO. It wasn't like that at all. Tom was Peter and the casting of everything was just so perfect.

Have I mentioned how much I liked the characters?? Peter was amazing. Aunt May was young and I really really liked that actually. Ned and Michelle cracked me up. (Michelle though guys, a female character who wasn't the love interest?? How cool is that?) And the villain was super well done. He made so much sense and was so real but so scary at the same time. (scary in a good way)
Gosh I just loved them all. No one felt flat or unrealistic at all.

Is Spider-Man a funny superhero? Hmm, let me think. UM YES. And Homecoming captured that perfectly. Even in the super intense epic action scenes, there's humour and comedy dropped in there. And it's not forced at all. It's just realistic. Because honestly, if I was in that situation YES. I'D DO ALL OF THAT. I'd be like "WHOA THIS IS SO COOL I'M A SUPERHERO - AVENGERS HERE I COME." And it's so quoteable and memorable.
(I have had several gif conversations with a friend in which I use solely Spider-Man gifs and I'm very proud of myself. xD)

And speaking of action, I was so in the movie. I was shivering with tension some of the scenes and I'm sure my heart almost stopped for a moment there with THAT PLOT TWIST. Not to mention that I was discreetly absolutely definitely not crying nope not at all in one certain scene. I just wanted to give Peter a hug because I could relate so much.


And, like the avid fan I am, I've now seen the movie twice. First time when my Dad took me and then I dragged both my older sisters along because I liked it so much and needed some more people to get my quotes and references. IT WAS JUST AS GOOD THE SECOND TIME. *shrieks and fangirls forever*

This is BY FAR my favourite Marvel movie (granted, I haven't watched a heap (*cough*two*coughcough*), but shhh that's beside the point. Silence peasant. XD) and way high up right near the very top of my favourite all-time. It's just so epic and cool and YES.

Help. I don't think I'll ever be able to stop flailing and fangirling over this movie.
Actually no, don't bother send help. I'm quite happy right as I am. xP


Have you seen Spider-man Homecoming??
(if you did, FLAIL WITH ME, you know you want to XD)
Are there any movies that you've been flailing over before they're even released?

Friday, 14 July 2017

Camp NaNo Update // inspiration, pizza, and snippets

WHY HELLO THERE. We're almost halfway through the Camp NaNo month, and I think this is the perfect time for a midpoint update and some pizza and hopefully maybe inspire some more words?
That would be a bonus anyways.


- My Novel Stats -



Chapters written: 20
Chapters remaining: 4
Current shortest chapter: 988 words
Current longest chapter: 3,548 (I think I'll be splitting this into at least two though)
Current word count: 29,152
Estimated completed word count: 35k (give or take a thousand words or so)
Estimated completion date: 15 July

And may I just say how proud I am of my cabin?? They're all doing so well, and having a great time. Shout-out to all you wonderful people in the Fellowship of the Keyboards. Your combined effort makes it a great cabin. (I might be a superhero, but I'm not that much of one that I could keep an entire cabin alive if no one helped :P)

In more conversational tones, my story has been going pretty well (and, as you can see, I reached my camp goal of 25k with ease on day #11). It's been behaving itself fairly decently and I've been enjoying writing it, that's for sure. The style of the story has been a nice break from Rogue Escarlate and all that - what with it being 1st person, present tense and the characters...rather different than Will and Ben and their crew.


- Inspiration -

Over the past half-month, I've had some random quotes or snippets that have drifted past me completely by 'coincidence' and yet they were always the perfect thing that I needed to keep pressing on. So I thought I might share some of them with you, and just maybe they'll inspire you too.


"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
- 2 Corinthians 12:9

Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."

"We aren't called to walk in our own strength - we're called to walk in his"


"We're all on a journey. We're all working at it. We're all falling down and climbing back up again."

"I laugh a lot
for no good reason
sometimes
I just catch myself doing it
and then I grin
and keep on laughing
cuz I'm happy
I'm blessed
loved
and suddenly I'm laughing
for a good reason"
- Joy, Julia Ryan

I'm so blessed to have people in my life who say these amazing things, and I'm even more blessed that I have a God who is always there encouraging me along the way.


- Snippets -
(from A Sprig of Green - my Camp NaNo novella)

Please someone help.

My limping run slows quickly, but I get far enough away from home that I don’t recognise where I am. I lift my eyes from the blurring road beneath my feet, dashing one hand across my eyes and blinking around.

There are streets and buildings and people.

Greys and browns and blacks.

Why isn’t anything green anymore?

The hot road hits my knees and I cover my face in my hands, trying to hold back the tears between my fingers. My shoulders shiver and I hunch over as Venys’s words echo around in my skull.

Get out…you wretched freak…and never come back.

- - -

I extend my arm all the way and can’t lower her any further. “Now you need to swing and jump,” I call down, trying to swing my arm inward toward the balcony.

“I can’t.” Her fingers start to loosen.

“No—don’t you dare let go.” My heart starts thundering, echoing the clouding sky above. “I’ve got you. Just swing in and jump.”

Her fingers stop sliding from mine and I feel a sort of rush as she kicks her legs out and then swings forward. I let go, but she keeps clinging to me, starting to swing back out again. I grab at her hand, the unexpected weight throwing me off balance and starting to slide forward.

Michayla starts forward again and her hand slips away from mine. I topple forward, snatching at the edge of the roof to save myself. My elbows hit the hard surface and I scrabble for grip. I jam my fingers into a tiny gap and manage to stop my fall. My pulse roars in my ears, and I heave in shuddering breaths, my body suspended over nothing by only my own strength. Michayla might trust me, but I don’t trust myself.

“Braden,” Michayla’s cry comes from below. “Swing and jump. You can do it.”

I register her words, but my entire body is frozen up, immovable even if I wanted to. I can’t do this. What was I thinking?

A heave of cold air rushes over me and then the Raining starts.

The sky cracks open and water deluges down onto me. It’s only seconds before I’m soaked to the skin, and then my grip begins to slip.

“Braden!” Michayla screams over the roar of water. “Jump.”


- - -

I close my eyes, pressing against the inside wall of the pod. It’s going to be okay. I repeat it over and over to myself. Everything is going to be okay.

A scrape of fabric brushes against the outside of the pod and I cringe lower into myself, trying to hide in the foot space but there’s no cover anywhere. Someone swings up and pauses above me and I squint up. Braden’s eyebrows are arched above his dark glasses and I sit up instantly.

“Come on,” he says, beckoning to me. “I can get you out of the landing bay but after that, you’re on your own.”

I scramble up onto the seat. “Braden,” I know I’m begging, but I don’t care. “I need your help.”

He is silent for a few moments and then tips his head away. “I can’t.”

I reach up and catch hold of his sleeve. “Please. I can’t do this alone.”

Braden freezes and looks down at my hand on his sleeve, then he slowly pulls his arm away. “Okay,” the word slips like a soft breeze through his lips and I relax, the pounding in my chest lessening instantly.

“Thank you,” I whisper.

He nods, looking down for a moment before offering his hand out to help me from the pod. I slip my hand onto his palm; it’s cold and damp with sweat, but firm beneath me. I trust my weight against his grip and slide down to the ground, his hand steadying me.

“All right.” He nods his head toward the side of the huge room. “Everyone thinks I’m taking you in as a maid, so try to act like you’re old enough to work here.”

I nod, twisting my fingers together in front of me. How could anyone look at me and think I was old enough to work somewhere this important? I swallow, the back of my throat dry and scratchy. “I…I’m not sure I can do this,” I whisper.

Braden looks down at me and then shakes his head. “You have to.”

He’s right. I have to do it, for Father.


- - -

I think that in summary I can fairly well say that camp is going wonderfully for me, and I'm even getting time to chill and do other things. It's my most relaxed schedule since July last year, and I'm pretty happy that I can have a chance to do some stuff other than writing. (I should do that more often actually)


How is your writing going?
(any snippets to share?)
*hands out pizza to everyone* Keep on writing, guys!! :D