Saturday, May 30, 2015

Subplots and Storylines

Time has a way of marching along at a rather quick pace. I feel as if I’ve blinked and May has whirled by in a blur of color. It’s been an eventful month! If life were a story, this particular chapter would be chock full of new subplots. Shall I unspool them all for you?

Yes. I shall.

I’ve started working at a new job. Last month I had some training shifts, and the beginning of May brought with it a sizable chunk of online learning. In the meantime, I’ve been asking hundreds of questions as I learn the ropes and get settled into a new schedule. This job was a real answer to prayer, so I’m glad to adjust to a new season of life!

Another notable happening was two dear friends’ graduations from two different Bible/leadership colleges. So exciting to celebrate their accomplishments!

The first couple weeks of May were grey and rainy. Perfect weather for curling up with a book, either one to read or one to write. I’m not a slow reader, nor am I the devour-ten-books-a-week sort of girl. But I am pleased with the six novels in which I’ve spent time this month.

Outlaw—really different from the usual Dekker book, but still with his distinct hue. Not for the faint of heart!

Divergent—a reread, and a good one at that. It was interesting to remember how the book differed from the movie.

The next three books are the result of a little something I did with my siblings. The four of us visited the library and picked out a book for each of our sibs to read. So we all ended up with three new books to try. It gets us out of our usual reading zone, and also gives us some common reads to discuss afterwards. 11 Birthdays was chosen by my youngest sister, and was an adorable tale of two friends stuck reliving their eleventh birthday over and over and over again. The Storybook of Legends was picked by my middle sister, and basically smashed a bunch of fairy-tale characters into a story about choice versus fate. The False Prince was selected by my brother, and lulled me into the happy trance of a good fantasy before jolting me awake with a great plot twist. I was a wee bit jealous of the author’s idea, to tell you the truth.

Right now I’m in the last third of Insurgent! And, um, it’s kind of . . . sad . . . and heavy . . . but really intense, so I’m not complaining. Apparently I like getting my literary heart ripped out.

Oh! Speaking of which, in May I have also had my heart ripped out by some awesome movies.

The Battle of the Five Armies: all I have to say is OUCH. Well, that and OHMYGOODNESSITWASAMAZING. Intense battles, fabulous character development, and great set-up for LotR. An epic conclusion to the Hobbit trilogy!
Guardians of the Galaxy . . . What. In. The. World. Okay, it was quite hilarious, and I loved how it didn’t take itself seriously at all. (And guys—Lee Pace was in there! I didn’t know until I heard him speak, because he looks nothing like the Thranduil I’m used to.) My main complaint would be the language. But you have no idea how much I loved this:

And perhaps my favorite flick of the month (okay, it’s tied with TBotFA) was Age of Ultron. I’ve heard people say it wasn’t as good as the first Avengers film, but I have no idea what they’re talking about. This was EPIC. And it ripped my heart out too. See, I’m just a bleeding puddle of feels this month. (Ew. That was graphic. My apologies.)

Anyway, I did say it was the perfect rainy weather for writing books as well as reading them, did I not? So because my book 1 is sitting on the backburner for now, I decided to tackle book 2. I wrote the first draft three years ago at the ripe old age of sixteen and declared it marvellous, full of tight writing and great characters. I recently reread it and . . . well, yes, I did marvel at it, but only in the sense of “Ahahaha, you say I wrote this monstrosity? Did I really?” The writing was . . . er, yes, we could call it tight. We could also call it bland and lackluster and far too fast. The characters displayed great amounts of inconsistency, passivity, and stupidity—so of course sixteen-year-old-me was partially right in labeling them ‘great.’ And let’s please ignore the plot’s gaping, dragon-sized holes. Yes. We won’t comment on that.

Needless to say, I was (and am) faced with a good deal of work. All of which I’m very excited about, don’t get me wrong! I can’t wait to plow into this project, kick it all into pieces, and put them back together again in a much better way.

A peek at my brilliance. ;)
So during this month of May, I have been masterminding. What’s that, you wonder? Well, it stands to reason that if I, the author of this obstinate fantasy series, am the mastermind behind the story, then the act of worldbuilding and hatching brilliant plots could be called ‘masterminding.’ We can definitely change a noun to a verb, right? (Aaaand I just checked. Apparently I’m not as original as I thought: masterminding is already a word. Phooey.)

Anyway, this masterminding is more than plotting. It goes beyond worldbuilding. It’s not even the same thing as brainstorming, although all three of those things play significant parts. For me, it was pulling my scattered notes, thoughts, and ideas together and deciding, once and for all, exactly how the big story elements work. I took a look at the people, worlds, and objects that are important in these books, and documented how/where/when/why they do what they do. It was great fun! My file isn’t entirely complete, but it’s a good launch pad for what I have in mind.

Oh, and did I mention that I decided on almost three thousand years’ worth of history in another world? Just the big events, but still, it left me feeling quite powerful in an author-ish sort of way.

While I found the drizzly weather lovely for bookish pursuits, one of the resident robins felt that the wet conditions were perfect for nest-building. This would not normally be a notable thing, except for the small detail of where he decided to construct it: on top of an outdoor light.
(I apologize for the poor zoom quality.
Birds don't like you getting too close.)
I suppose he was tired of living in trees like a sensible bird, and wanted a better view of the goings-on around him. Not the tidiest nest-maker, either, is he? Sadly, we did not allow that pile of seaweed slop to stay. (At least I thought it resembled seaweed.) But lucky for the robin, there are plenty of spruces in which to nest instead.
Thankfully the rain stopped and the sun returned in time for garden planting, walk taking, and sun tanning.
And with the big series elements in place, I took a deep breath and plunged into outlining book 2. Version One (or Version Horrendous; you choose) is itty bitty. 68,000 words, eighteen chapters. The new version is looking to be twenty-eight chapters or more. I am positively bursting with excitement! Since I’ve grown so much as a writer in the last few years, this will be an entirely different book once I’m through with it.
And that, fellow questers, is what my May looked like! The life of an employee has begun, a new book is underway, some friends are entering new phases of life, and several literary/film adventures wriggled their way into the cracks in my busy schedule. How was your month of May? Anything new happening, or perhaps something old-yet-significant?
(By the way, if you’re still reading this longwinded thing, my hat’s off to you.)
And just a quick heads-up—I have a special announcement coming early next week. Stay tuned!
Oh, and one other thing. I’ve been wanting to do these summary-of-the-month posts because they’re excellent places to throw in all the random bits of life that don’t necessarily merit their own individual articles. But I’m not sure about the title, Subplots and Storylines. What say you? Does it fit? Too cheesy? Other ideas I had were Wanderings or Far-Flung Paths or Motley Tales. Any suggestions? Nothing’s too out of the box around here.
Well, here’s to an adventuresome June! Wherever the road may take you, I hope you find courage to step around the bend and strength to lift your sword.


  1. Gotta love you, Tracey. XD

    I actually haven't read any of those books, which is kind of sad. And I'm really proud of your job and your graduate friends!
    When it comes to movies with questionable content, have you ever heard of Clearplay? It's magic.
    WRITE THE THING. YEEESSSS. I'd really like to edit mine BEFORE I leave/get back from my mission, because if I don't, I'm going to have a heart attack in a couple years when I get back to it.
    And I like Subplots and Storylines, and Motley Tales is another favorite. XD

    1. Teehee, thanks. XD

      You should! They're all great in their own ways. (Andandand guess what--I finished Insurgent today. O.O THAT ENDING. Ahem, anyways.)

      If that's the thing that skips over the questionable content automatically, then yes, I believe I have heard of it. Is that used via Internet, or...?

      That'd be awesome if you could fit that in! Yipes, a couple years is a long time to leave a story. :'( But I'm sure your mission will be amazing!

      Thanks--I'm still debating which one to settle on for future posts, so I'll be keeping your picks in mind. :)

  2. I love all the movies you watched, The Last Hobbit one, and Age of Ultron killed me. PIETRO!!
    He is the best. The pictures of writing things, made me wish I was writing. That bird is adorable, and I laughed so hard at the 'If any of you actually zoom in on blog pictures,' Guilty. Motley Tales sounds super appealing to me. Seems like you had a busy month. :)

    1. I knoooow, all the good movies! ^.^ Yes, Pietro was amazing. I loved the twins.

      Aw, how come you're not writing right now? :(

      Oh, I'm guilty of that too! I love looking at people's pics. Is that snoopy of me...? :P

      Thank you! Like I said, I'll be keeping that one in mind, since it seems to be liked. :) Yep, it's been busy, but good! Thanks for the comment, Skye! Hope you had a great May as well.

  3. Great post, Tracey! I like the idea of a monthly update.
    Insurgent is probably my favourite in the Divergent trilogy because Character Development. :D
    I considered picking up The False Prince a few months ago... would you recommend it?
    Age of Ultron was definitely my favourite movie of the month, too. I liked how they explored Hawkeye's character a lot more, and also the Maximoff twins. They were amazing.
    I was wondering where that robin found all that seaweed. :p Hopefully he finds a better place to build his nest.
    Oh, and my vote's for Motley Tales, though it's hard to pick because they're all so good.
    Wish you luck on all your June adventures!

    1. Thanks! (I was all curious to find out who inkandpapertallship was, and then I clicked the link and voila! It's Sarah! :D)

      Insurgent was AMAZING. It was appropriately heavy for a while there, but by the time I got to the end...oh mah word. Wow. Yes, I'd definitely recommend The False Prince! It was a comfy read in the fact that the storyworld wasn't particularly new or hard to follow, but the plot and characters kept me on my toes. :) I think you might like it.
      I know! Hawkeye shot WAY up in my personal favorites rankings. Don't want to spill any spoilers here, but it was so good. Also the twins, yes! Everyone had so much depth in this movie.

      LOL, hopefully!

      Hmm, looks like Motley Tales is growing popularity... :) Thanks, and same to you, Sarah!

  4. That dancing baby Groot is the best thing ever! :D
    Best of luck on your June adventures!

    1. I know, right? Groot was the best part of GotG. :D
      Thank you! And thanks for popping by!

    2. Whoops, wished you luck on June adventures twice. Hehe typos. :p

  5. I love these types of posts! It's so nice getting to see what all my blogging buddies have been up to. ^_^

    I do hope your job is going well and you're settling into it nicely. I'm so glad you were able to find one!

    Oooh, looks like a lovely list of read books! Sadly I've never read any of them. D: I WILL read Divergent someday, I will, I will, I will! And that's such a fun idea you did with your siblings! :D

    THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. GAAAAAHHHH. SO MUCH HURTING FEELS. D': I only saw it when it was in the theaters, I'm dying to see it again. (Because I apparently enjoy my heart being torn to shreds.)
    Oh. My. Goodness. YOU SAW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY? DAT MOVIIIIEEE. It's sooo hilarious and fun and *FLAILS* I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I definitely could have done without the language and some things, it seemed like one of the less appropriate Marvel movies, but it was also one of the best Marvel movies. It's just so funny! AND LEE PACE YESH.
    :O AGE OF ULTRON TOO?? My fangirl heart is going to explode and make MORE of a mess with your bleeding puddle of feels. AoU was amaziiiing. It WAS epic. I still like the first Avengers film better, but that doesn't mean I didn't completely love the second movie. SO MUCH AWESOME.

    Oooh, how fun to get into a peak of Tracey's masterminding brilliance. Look at all that plotting that going on. I mean, three thousand years' worth of history?? o.o Good gravy, you are a masterminder! That's just wonderful!!! Go Tracey! *waves pompoms* :D
    Annnd...I'm toootally guilty of zooming in. When I see words, I have to read them. Hehe. You are hilarious for typing that out! XD

    The bird is so cute! I think it's dreaming of being a mermaid, because that totally looks like seaweed. XD

    Your May looked so full and fun and productive. I hope June is even better!

    Hurray! So we'll be getting these posts monthly? :D Subplots and Storylines is actually my favorite title. I absolutely adore your thought on parts of our lives being full of subplots in addition to our full storyline. What a fun idea! Your brain is like the best thing ever!!!

    1. It is, and I am--thank you!

      YES, READ DIVERGENT. NOW. GO. You cheered me on to read The Hunger Games, so now I tell you: read the Divergent series. :)

      I know! So much sadness! And epicness...and long battles...and sniffles...and sad music... D':
      Lolzy, exactly. It was hilarious. Like Star Lord just dancing around listening to a Walkman (of all things). And that blue guy--what was his name? Yondu?--spouting gibberish at that Broker dude. XD
      We shall all just bleed together, methinks. I think I like both the first and the second equally, but in different ways. There's something glorious about beginnings (and there's Loki!), so I loved the first one. And then Age of Ultron dug so deeply into the characters, as well as presented a completely chilling/fascinating villain. So if I had to choose, I'd be torn. SO MUCH AWESOME, YES.

      Aw, you're a fabulous cheerleader--thank you! And it was just the major historical events. Not *every* little thing that happened. But still. I was quite happy to have a nice table outlining all the important things. :D
      Bahaha, it's for people like you that I do such things. XD

      Dreaming of being a mermaid? LOL. Have I mentioned lately how funny you are?

      Thanks, and same to you!

      I think so, yes! Oh dear, now I have to decide between the two... Decisions, decisions. Thanks so much, Christine! Your brain is also the best thing ever. ;)

  6. It sounds like you had a fun month! I love Age of Ultron. It had so much depth. The character development was so amazing and Ultron was such an amazing villain. Hurrah on writing progress you can do it! I'm currently editing and kind of nervous about it lol.

    1. I did, thanks! :) Everything you said about depth, character development, and Ultron--YES. I really admire how the moviemakers delved into so many different characters, and the stuff about their fears was perfect.
      Thank you! And yay for editing! What's making you nervous?

  7. Awesome post, Tracey!!!! I like hearing about your daily life. :P :D (Even if I, like, see you everyday...)

    1. You funny girl. XD I'm glad it was still interesting for someone who sees me every day!