October 2011 - further up and further in

Monday, October 31, 2011

almost there, and i can't wait

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almost there, and i can't wait
I'm starting to feel the anticipation more than ever for NaNoWriMo. It's going to start tonight, at midnight, and I'm excited. The jury is still out over whether I'll stay up till midnight or wake up early to write. [I'm not sure which method of losing sleep would work better.] Regardless, I can't wait to start.

I've outlined all the way up to chapter 26, and after that I only have a vague idea about what happens.

Crazy, eh? Yeah, I get that a lot.

I can't wait for...

...the chats with friends.
...the writing, of course.
...delving into the plot of my fantasy novel.
...getting to eat, breathe, and sleep my novel for the next 30 days.
...absolute insanity.

Oh, and by the way, after this, my posts may not be as coherent as usual. My brain juices will be focused on NaNo, and I'm embracing the crazy. I'm embracing the challenge... and the adventure. In other words...

I can't wait.

What are you looking forward to about NaNo? [Or if you're not doing NaNo, what are you looking forward to about November?]

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dear Writer

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Dear Writer

Dear You,

Yes, I'm talking to you: the hopeful writer. You are so brave to be forging new ideas and thoughts. And yet you're cowering behind your computer screen, afraid to write one word lest it be imperfect.

You think your novel's not good enough?

Think again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Outlining: In Which I Hit A Wall

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Outlining: In Which I Hit A Wall
A few days ago I was rejoicing because of a new growth in my writing journey. Originally, I had resigned myself to being nothing but a seat-of-the-pants writer for the rest of my life. No planning involved.

NaNo has compelled me to plan. And as such, I'd discovered a new love of outlining.

This new love has been somewhat tainted by the fact that I have hit a wall.

I'm sure you can relate. You're coasting along, loving how your plotting is going, and then suddenly a wall looms up in the path ahead of you, bigger than anything you've ever seen.

You can't go around it. You can't go through it. The only direction to go is... over.

The problem is, you don't know how to get over it.

The wall that I've hit is something you're very familiar with, I'm sure. It's called a villain.

My plot is turning out amazing so far... except for one thing: it's boring. It needs conflict; someone that stands directly in the goal of the main hero. I'm aware of my hero's goals. I'm just not sure how my villain can prevent them. Or really, who is my villain anyway?

Part of the problem may stem from the fact that I'm trying to be original. And the fact is, there are no original ideas - only original ways of writing them.

However, I'm having trouble taking this to heart.

I have a few ideas for my villain, but they're elusive. As soon as I think I've nailed something down, I end up rejecting the idea because of one reason or another. My problem? I think I'm being too perfectionistic, sadly. It's one of my weaknesses as a writer. I want everything to be just right. I want my story to be good enough so that I don't have to edit it later.

Ha!

Moving on.

Then again, part of the problem might be that this is my second day without a shower. We're trying to fix our hot water heater, and I think it's getting to my head. My hair is a literal mess. Time to find a hat, I suppose.

Anyway, I want to hear from you: what are your villains like? Maybe it'll get my brain juices going. Or maybe, it'll just help me to see that maybe writing a villain isn't too hard after all. 

Oh, and are you hitting any walls yet? Perhaps your wall looks a little something like this?


Yeah... me too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

different, yet the same

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different, yet the same
I'm not a pastor's daughter by any means, but sometimes I wonder if the title couldn't be applied informally. I can't remember a time when my parents weren't reaching out to someone in need. I admire my parents. They do their best to completely open themselves up to God's plan, whatever it may be. They're not perfect, but they don't have to be. The thing about surrender is that God sometimes turns it into His wildest, greatest plans.

Along the way, God drops people into our lap. They need us to speak into their lives in different ways, and it surprises me that we often need them, too.

My heart hurts for these people. Our friends. Broken families. Redeemed situations.

I'm learning that life... isn't perfect. If it was, we wouldn't need heaven. We wouldn't need a hero.

We wouldn't need Jesus.

Still, it hurts. The world hurts. Pain hurts. Life is hard.

We are broken.


And the sad part is, we all think we're alone. We feel isolated, and we've fallen into the trap of believing that no one could possibly understand how we feel. So we coldly trudge along, lost in our insecurities and struggles, traversing a lonely, rocky path that we never would have chosen for ourselves. We believe we are alone.

We are wrong. We are never alone.

'Cuz we could never find our way back home with broken hearts
So love has come to meet us where we are."
- Sing, Josh Wilson

I was pleasantly surprised this week to find out that many people go through the same things I do. Insecurity, depression, fear. This is all a part of being human, traversing this road we call life.

And it's going to be okay.

He is coming soon, He is coming soon
He will take his bride,
He will make her new
He is coming soon, He is coming soon
To carry us home."
-The Saints, Josh Wilson

We are uniquely different, yet the same. Same struggles. Same pain. Same Savior.

We are broken, tossed by the winds. We are bruised, battered, and bleeding. We are beautifully made. We are blessed.

We are different, yet the same.

And we are His.

Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Are You Freaking Out Yet?

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NaNoWriMo: Are You Freaking Out Yet?

Every morning this week I've been greeted by a slew of posts about NaNoWriMo on my dashboard. It's thrilling, to be sure.

This is NaNoWriMo, people. It's happening in 7 days.

Seven days?!

I must be crazy.

Oh wait, NaNo is made of crazy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fantasy, Writer's Doubt, and Inspiration

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Fantasy, Writer's Doubt, and Inspiration
I've gone through a dry period in my writing lately when it comes to writing fantasy. I don't think I've written fantasy for the past couple of years. Looking back, I wonder why on earth I didn't.

Reese's Pieces was my first novel I finished, but it is certainly not fantasy. It contained a girl, coffee, her family, friends, and life. No swords or castles, definitely. (Also, I need to work on finding a better title for it. :P)

Before that, I had another work-in-progress. When I was 12, I started writing Talryn's Tale and continued it for at least 2 years until I hit a road block. Sadly, I stopped. I still have it in its entirety, but something has been stopping me from writing it. I'm not sure why.

Honestly, I think I didn't write fantasy because I started to doubt myself and my writing. I decided that my writing wasn't good enough to compare to C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. (Yeah, comparing a first draft to a masterpiece that has been edited and published is not a good idea.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blog World, Meet My NaNo Novel

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Blog World, Meet My NaNo Novel

I can officially say without a doubt, that this is my favorite Beautiful People round ever, as evidenced by the fact that I couldn't wait to put this post up. I've enjoyed reading about all your novels, and I'm amazed by how creative we all are! Writers, I think you all deserve a high-five. :)

As for me, here is my contribution to this month's edition of Beautiful People.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautiful People - NaNoWriMo Edition

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Beautiful People - NaNoWriMo Edition

Hello, writers! Welcome to November's edition of Beautiful People, which is geared around NaNoWriMo. Can you believe we'll be breaking out our Word documents, pencils, and coffee in eleven days? Neither can I. Hopefully, this Beautiful People edition will make you even more excited about it than you were before.

(For those who don't know what Beautiful People is, check out this post, and also the FAQ.)

If you're not doing NaNo, then you can still participate! You can either answer the following questions about your current novel. Or, there is another option, if you are ready for a challenge.

NaNoers, listen up too. We'd like to challenge all of you to... well, a challenge. As evidenced by this blog thing, asking questions about your characters helps you get to know them. So, if you need to figure out what goes on inside your character's brain, we have a treasury of questions. This is a complete archive of all the BP questions, from March until now, and we'd like to challenge you to answer them about your main character this month. All of them.

Are you feeling brave? I hope so. ;) Whether you do it on your blog or just for yourself, we hope it'll help you get a better grasp of the way your main character's mind works. This is an optional challenge, but if you're feeling up to it, click HERE to go to the official BP archives.

However, if you're just looking to answer ten questions like you normally do, then be my guest. Here is this month's round, courtesy of Georgie and I. ;)

  1. Sum up your novel in five words or less.
  2. Novel title?
  3. Sum up your main character(s) in one word each.
  4. Advice for newbies in three words?
  5. Tell us about your secondary characters, how do they affect the story?
  6. Do you plan to stay up till midnight on the 31st?
  7. How many years have you done NaNo?
  8. What came first, characters, or plot idea?
  9. How much prep do you do before November?
  10. Now be honest, how do you really feel about NaNo?

Don't forget to sign the linky, and have fun! :)




P.S. - thanks to all who voted on the poll, telling me what you think about my design. 12 people (66%) LOVED it, and 6 people (33%) liked the other template better. I appreciated your feedback, and maybe my old design will make a reappearance in the near future. ;)

I have a new poll up, so do check it out. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

fearless, pt. 2

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fearless, pt. 2

{follow-up to this post.}

I've been realizing something since my post about being fearless. We don't need to be fearless as much as we need to choose not to fear. There's a difference, believe it or not. We will still have fears, but it matters what we choose to do with them. Choosing not to be fearful is vital.

And it's also very, very hard.

Bravery is a lost art, it seems. It's hard to be courageous. Fear pushes its way in, suffocating us. Paralyzing us. It makes us too afraid to do anything, much less fulfill God's plan for us. We're bound up in ropes of insecurity, anxiety, panic... and fear.

There seems to be no way out. But there is. It's called the Truth.

It's not that obvious, really. The easy way out is to keep struggling, trying to find a way out on our own. But we can't make it out on our own. We need help. We need Jesus. He is the Truth.

You'd be amazed how free I feel when I speak truth to the lies that bind me. I am a redeemed child of God. I am free. I am beautiful. I am loved. I have a hope and a future. I am His.

We have a choice to make. It's a constant, mental decision. Everyday... every waking moment. Will we fear, or will we trust? Will we believe God's words, or Satan's lies? Because that's all they are. Lies.

I can't do this on my own. I need Jesus. I need the Truth.

{I know this post could be considered a bit redundant, but it's something I needed to say, more for my sake than anyone else's. Thanks for reading! :) }


P. S. - check back tomorrow for our NaNoWriMo edition of Beautiful People! :D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ordinary Heroes

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Ordinary Heroes
It's midnight, and I just got done watching the movie Unstoppable. Basically, it's about a train... that is unstoppable. It was my first real suspense movie.

It's midnight, and I should be sleeping, but I'm too excited to sleep. There's something about the adrenaline rush; the feeling you get when you see ordinary people do heroic things. I want to write something just as amazing, a story about someone who does something heroic.

You get all stressed over the outcome. Will they win? Will they lose? Who will live? Who will die?

And then the end comes. And you are completely, utterly satisfied.

Ordinary people doing heroic things. That's the kind of person I want to be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In Which I Copy & Paste... A Lot

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In Which I Copy & Paste... A Lot
If you use a blog reader, you may be confused with all these new/old posts appearing from 2006. No worries; you haven't gone back in time - I've just been moving over old blog posts to my blog.

As some of you may know, I started out blogging at an old site called Homeschoolblogger. (You can find my original blog here.) Since then, I've hopped around to Wordpress, then to Blogger, then to HSB, then back to Blogger again - and I'm here to stay. So I'll be moving over all my old posts, and you can find them under the label HSB.

Just be forewarned: I use exclamation points. A lot!!!!!!!!!

Oi. It must be getting to my brain.

Anyway, I'm thankful for my blogging journey; the ups and downs. I've loved chronicling my life like this, and I've laughed several times reading notes from my 10-year-old self! It's these kind of things that make blogging worth it, and I'm thankful.

What about you? What makes blogging worth it?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Five Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo

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Five Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is simple: write a novel in 30 days. Doing it, however, is another matter entirely.

Yet in spite of the challenge, I enjoy it, and here are five reasons why.

  1. Word wars. Seriously, is there anything greater? The concept is that you'll be forced to battle against a friend (or two... or three) to see who can write the most words in a set amount of time. And let me tell ya - you will be compelled to just write. I don't think there's anything more crazy. Or more fun.
  2. Writing. Well, NaNoWriMo is about writing, and guess what? By the time November is over, you will have written a novel. And that's a good thing.
  3. Friendship. There's something about writing a novel in 30 days that encourages camaraderie. Or insanity. Or both.
  4. Insanity. That seems like a good one to mention. Take it from the girl who wrote 25k in 5 days - it's insane. But it's also possible. And by the time you're done writing, you will feel accomplished. Be amazed at what you've done... and try not to think about how bad your novel actually is.
  5. Skills. Yes, NaNo is fun, but it also teaches you something. It teaches you how to finish what you start. It teaches you how to let go and just write. Most of all, it teaches you how fun writing can be... and how vital sleep really is.

Yes, NaNo is hard, and yes, you will write absolute rubbish. But that's the point of it. You can't be a writer unless you write.

So write.

And make us all a pot of coffee while you're at it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

to be fearless

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to be fearless
I have some friends that really like Taylor Swift. And then some of my other friends aren't really fond of her music.

As for me, I remain kind of indifferent. I don't listen to country music a whole lot, but there are a couple songs or singers that catch my attention. (Josh Turner would be one example of this.)

I've listened to a little bit of Taylor's stuff and actually really liked it. My favorites are Love Story and You Belong With Me - because who doesn't love two songs about Romeo and Juliet, cheerleaders, and nerds?

But I digress. Whether you like Taylor Swift's music or not, I think she has gotten one thing completely right.

Fearless.

What comes to mind when you read that word? Taylor? That's right, it's one of her albums. I think it's one of the best album titles I've ever heard. Just that one word evokes so many vivid images.

Falling off a cliff into the unknown.
Diving deep into the lakes of Elyon.
Living life in vivid, passionate brushstrokes, engulfing your empty canvas in bright colors.
Throwing off the chains of sin and Satan and legalism... to be free.

Freedom.

Could it be that the words fearless and freedom are synonymous?

And then there is the opposite: Fear. It binds us - in so many ways and on so many levels. It shrouds our world in darkness, blinding us. It blinds and it binds. It leaves us believing there is no way out.

But the truth shall set you free...


Truth. It breaks down the walls and the lies. Fear is nothing but a lie. Satan wants us to get wrapped up in fear because when we fear, we are useless. We are trapped in our own walls of anxiety, unable to break down the door.

And then, there was light...


Jesus.
The way, the truth, and the life. He did not come to give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a sound mind.

WHY are we so afraid? Afraid of what people think of us. Afraid of what God thinks of us. Afraid of His plan. Afraid that He's not strong enough. (Believe me, I'm preaching to the choir.)

Life is not about rules, fear, regulations, or laws. It's about Jesus.
Sweet Jesus.
He empowers us to be free.
With him, we can do all things...

Plunge off that cliff, wherever He's leading us.
Dive deep.
Paint from the depths of our soul.
Throw off the chains.
Be free.

To be free is my greatest wish.

Because to be free is to be fearless.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beautiful People: Torin

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Beautiful People: Torin

So, it's time for Beautiful People, and this time I'm not posting it way late. Last time around, I accidentally posted my BP post a day before the next month's version came out. Oops.

Ahem. Carrying on.

This character is in the plot that will tentatively be my NaNo plot. His name... is Torin.

1. Do they have any habits, annoying or otherwise?
Torin has a very roguish, rebellious personality. So, depending on your view of such characters, he could be endearing. On the other hand, certain habits of his will be annoying whether they're meant to be or not. In fact, you're apt to be annoyed with Torin himself.

However, he does have a few habits in particular that can definitely be classified as annoying. The biggest one is cracking his knuckles. The second is the way he manages to defy authority in pretty much everything, and is very willing to debate his point of view. You could see the latter as both a strength and a weakness, I suppose.

2. What is their backstory and how does it affect them now?
This is all very tentative information, but here goes.

Have I mentioned how hard it is to write backstory?

Sigh.

About an hour later, after procrastinating, writing a bit, and then playing Clue, I have written out a full paragraph. The best part is, BP has helped me come up with a backstory... and a plot! Hooray!

So here is the short version of the story... and the most vague.
The King of {Insert The Name Of Their Country Here} had a brother, and Torin is the son of that brother. Shortly after Torin was born, his parents mysteriously disappeared, and were never seen again. The cause behind this is unknown, but Torin believes that the King was responsible for this somehow and had his parents killed on purpose. Because of this, he has always resented his adoptive father. He tries not to show it, however, because he's convinced that he'll inherit the throne.

3. How do they show love?
Love? Ha!

Just kidding.

Believe it or not, there are a select few people that Torin loves. However, he's not very good at showing it... but he tries.

If Torin loves you, he will most likely:
A: Respect you. Mostly.
B: Give you flowers... maybe. If he can find them. And if you appreciate flowers. Preferably if you're a girl. Like his sister-formerly-cousin, Chasiel. Okay, okay. He only gives flowers to her.
C: Smile. Possibly. If he feels like it.

4. How competitive are they?
Let's just say it's not a pretty picture at all when Torin loses.

5. What do they think about when nothing else is going on?
He's always wondered what happens when people die, or if there's an afterlife - this is largely brought on by wondering about his parents and what really happened to them. He thinks about sword-fighting, one of his favorite things. He also ponders what will be for dinner that night, and whether Chasiel will force him to take a bath.

6. Do they have an accent?
Depends. Do you?

I didn't think so.

He either has a British accent or an American one. The verdict is still undecided.

7. What is their station in life?
He is a prince, unfortunately, and he resents it and loves it all at the same time.

8. What do others expect from them?
His father expects him to behave. The world expects him to behave in a princely fashion. And Chasiel expects him to change his attitude and keep his room clean.

9. Where were they born, and when?
He was born in a {City Whose Name Is Yet To Be Determined} in a {Nameless Country} in a certain year that isn't set in stone yet. Isn't that so amazingly clear?

10. How do they feel about people in general?
He likes them. Kinda. If you like him, then at least he'll try to be civil to you.
...Maybe.

P.S. - if you'd like to join Beautiful People and haven't yet, click here for our latest round of questions!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Blessed

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Blessed
"Don't give up! God is still in the business of blessing His children."
-Sandra Byrd
It's been one of those weeks.

The ironic part is that it's barely even started yet. So, I guess I should just say it's been a harder day. Parts of it were amazing, and parts of it were hard. But I guess that's life, eh?

I really don't want to seem like I'm complaining - I'm just being honest. Life is hard... but it's also good.

In the midst of my morning routine, I checked my email and saw this article sent to me by my grandma. The quote really struck me. God is still in the business of blessing His children.

No, life is not perfect. Yes, life is hard.

But God loves His children. And even better than that, He loves blessing them.

He loves blessing us. In everything we do. Sometimes the blessings are little ones that we don't even see. Sometimes they're big ones. But all the while, He is blessing us.

It makes me excited to see how He blesses me. I don't know when He will, or how he will. But I do know one thing: He will.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! -Matthew 7:11

So, as hard as it is, I'm trying to be thankful for the good... and yes, even for the bad. As one of my dear friends says, "Glory in the struggles. We wouldn't grow without them." This is something I'm still working on. ;)

Could it be that our lives would be easier if we saw our struggles as a blessing?

It's funny how you find you enjoy your life when you're happy to be alive.
-Relient K