Saturday, October 31, 2015

Subplots and Storylines - October 2015

You know those chunks of narrative in certain novels (particularly fantasy) that detail a long journey? Like those insanely long walks Frodo and company are always taking, or the Pevensies trekking around the island of ruined Cair Paravel in Prince Caspian? Not a whole awful lot happens, but the characters walk and walk and walk . . . or ride . . . or fly . . . or zap through portals . . . or something.

Anyway. That was my October. What I did this month was not varied, but there was a lot of it. Like walking day after day toward some epic destination, except I wasn't carrying the One Ring or discovering my castle in ruins. No. Not quite.

Basically, October was Work and Editing. Of the first there is little to say, aside from the fact that hours are picking up now that Christmas is around the corner (say what?!), so I've been getting closer to a full-time schedule. This is good. Also busy.

Of the second item, Editing, there is much to say. Too much for this particular blog post, so you will just have to twiddle your thumbs and wait for the next post. (Who twiddles their thumbs while waiting, anyway? I don't. I just shift position a lot and try to get comfortable. Or stand/sit with good posture. Sometimes those two things are not synonymous. . . . Wow. Where was I going with this?)

Moving along!

Of course, Frodo and company encounter obstacles and meet people and do interesting things along the way--they don't just walk. And the Pevensies find a creek and eat squashed sandwiches and get hot and tired and look for a way to the Narnia mainland. Little events do happen during those drawn-out narrative journeys, and little things have sprinkled my month too.

*pulls out day planner*

What, you don't keep a day planner?

Ahem. *flips through to remind herself of October happenings*

Well, there was Thanksgiving, which I celebrated at three gatherings, and which prompted a post about the many things we can be thankful for.

Mid-October, I got together with a family friend (someone whom I consider an honorary aunt and a fantastic person) to set up her blog. She wants to start one and asked me--me, a fledgling blogger myself--for help. So we had fun all afternoon, trying to get the template to work right, messing up, and then doing the work all over again. But it's a good start, and hopefully one day soon, once she's launched her blog, I can introduce her here!

Another happening on this long walk called October was a local book faire I attended, where I found three specimens.
  • The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. (No, the last name is not a typo.) Mint condition. Cover displays a bug car parked on dragon skin, so . . . very large dragons may be contained within? The blurb looked interesting--main character works at an employment agency for magicians, but the land's magic is drying up. (Let's hope the dollar store sticker on the back doesn't mean it's a cheap story.)
  • Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. Previously a library book. Cover looks very 90's. But ever since I heard a bunch of friends raving over Howl's Moving Castle, I've been scouring every book faire for anything by this author. This is obviously not HMC. But it is Diana Wynne Jones.
  • Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet. Almost mint condition. And I adore the series, so I was thrilled to find the second installment for $4.50 instead of $15.99. Have any of you read the Auralia's Colors books, by the way? What did you think about them?
Adventures of a Film-ish Variety
Avengers: Age of Ultron: I'd already seen it in theaters, but the very day it released to DVD, my brother and I hurried out to buy it . . . and proceeded to watch it twice in the same weekend. No regrets. Pure awesomeness all the way.

Disney's Descendants: Watched it with my two sisters, chuckled at some parts, winced at some of the songs.

Tomorrowland: I was pleasantly surprised! It wasn't what I expected, but it was nevertheless quite good. Even funny at times. And one scene near the climax was incredibly thought-provoking. I was hanging on every word of the villain's monologue. (Yes, there was a villain monologue. But it did offer some intriguing food for thought about how we give power to what we focus on.) I'd definitely recommend this film!

Adventures of a Bookish Variety
I read five this month! That's about my average, so it feels better than the measly three I managed last month.

Messenger by Lois Lowry: It wasn't bad. It also wasn't super amazingly good, either. I feel like so far, the first book (The Giver) was the best, Gathering Blue was second-best, and this one settled into third place. Let's hope that Son, book 4, changes this downward slope. Although I do have to admit that the trading concept in Messenger was interesting, and the ending was somewhat unexpected.

Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum: Funny! Romantic! Fluffy without feeling like cotton candy! As in, it was fluffy without being overly sappy or sugary or . . . You know what, my analogies are just not functioning today. Never mind.

Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art by Emily Brightwell: Apparently I haven't read any of these mysteries since last winter. Oops. There's a ton of books in this series, and I'm progressing through it at a rather sedate pace. Every now and then, a good old London mystery is a nice way to deviate from my usual genres. I thought I predicted the outcome this time--I truly did--but I was completely wrong. Again. Am I the only one who tries to figure out the mystery before the characters do? And am I the only one who tends to fail miserably? I gauge the suspects, but I also gauge the author. "I think this character is the murderer, but is that because the author wants me to think that? And if she wants me to think it's him, that means it's probably someone else, right? Like that person over there--he doesn't seem suspicious at all. IT'S PROBABLY HIM. But then, it could be the obvious choice, hiding right under my nose . . ."

Emissary by Thomas Locke: Hands down, this was my favorite read this month! It took me a bit to get into it, for whatever reason, but once I did, my goodness. It was a tightly packed bundle of so much high fantasy awesomeness, I don't even know where to start. First off, a good fantasy instantly makes me feel at home in some way, which Emissary did. And then there was the spine-tingling magic! I wouldn't say it functioned in a particularly unique way, but its vibrancy definitely made up for that. But the plot! And the characters! So good! Interestingly enough, I had a bit of trouble connecting to Hyam, the main character, at first. But as the book progressed, I fell in love with him and the others . . . Joelle, Master Trace (hah! it's almost my name!), the elves . . . Basically everyone. The POV was handled a bit more distantly than perhaps I'm used to, but Hyam's selfless actions spoke louder than his thoughts or words. He is wonderful. Go read this book. And then wait impatiently with me for the sequel coming out next year.

A Templar's Apprentice by Kat Black: This was a reread, but seeing as I read it eons ago, my memory of it didn't outpace my reading. Meaning, certain things were familiar as I came upon them, but not once did my recollections spoil the ending for me. Ha. Funny how that works sometimes. Anyway, it's a good little book that begins in medieval Scotland, and follows thirteen-year-old Tormod as he becomes apprenticed to a Knight Templar. There was a teensy bit of language, as well as some sketchy spirituality. (After meeting some Arabs who serve Allah, Tormod concludes that everyone worships the same God in different but entirely acceptable ways. This message doesn't have a lot of bearing on the story, though.)

In Summary
October didn't seem to fly by as rapidly as previous months, but it didn't stick around for long, either. I managed to read and watch some epic things to go along with my not-quite-as-epic walk, a.k.a. Work and Editing. Plus there were some fun goings-on in between. Oh! And if you missed it, I hosted my very first interview with a talented artist last week. You can read it HERE. So all in all, October was a satisfying month.
How was yours? Busy? Quiet? Were you trekking across the Misty Mountains, slogging on one step at a time, feeling as if no end was in sight? Or was the plot of your life more like all the interesting and varied and rapid-fire bits of a tale? (I think I just need to shut off my analogy side for a while. NONE of the analogies in this post have made much sense.) And perhaps the biggest question of all: are you participating in NaNoWriMo National Leave Your Sanity Behind Month? (I, sadly, am not. I never have. Yet. One of these years, I shall!)
Do tell in the comments!


  1. Editing, ugh.
    I loved Tomorrow land too, wasn't expecting to.
    Age of Ultron, is awesome.
    I think I have that Diana Wynne Jones book, but I haven't read it yet.
    I always try to figure out the mysteries and usually fail :D
    I have been seeing Emissary around I should check it out.

    1. Heh. More on that in the near future...
      Wasn't it good? Frank and Casey's relationship (er, conflict) was awesome.
      Ooh, neat!
      The day I finally do figure out a mystery novel, I will feel exceedingly brilliant. XD
      Definitely do that! It's just so good.

  2. Hey, my library has Emissary on audio! I should -literally- check it out!
    Now you've met a book character with (almost) the same name, too! What did you think of that?
    My month was full of politics and work, yet I've managed to make a new schedule for writing projects. I'm not prepared for NaNoWriMo yet. I value what little sanity I have too much for that.

    1. Really? Neat! I hope you enjoy it--I found it engrossing.

      Oh yeah, that's right, you've met a book character with your name before too. XD Honestly, I didn't find it distracting or irritating at all. Maybe because it was a male character (gotta love the crazy old guys), and the name wasn't *completely* mine? I don't know. I feel like an actual Tracey might be a different story. Er, no pun intended.

      Yay for squeezing writing in between stuff like that! Once you have a job, juggling that and writing can be interesting. :P Which is why, like yourself, I've chosen not to participate in Nano just yet.

      Happy November!

  3. I adore your analogies so don't you dare stop! And October has kind of felt like a rather hard journey, but it flew by for me. My October consisted of getting used to my new job and plotting NaNo (which was being stubborn), so quite a journey indeed! But goodness, have you sound busy!

    I love how you have a day planner. That's fantastic!

    The Last Dragonslayer! I saw that book not too long ago and thought about getting it, but held out. But it sounds very interesting. You must let me know how it is!
    You got a Diana Wynne Jones book! :D :D :D Although I've only read her Howl books, but I think ALL her books are good, so this excites me greatly!
    Annnd, I need to read this Emissary book. Like soon. *nods, nods* All the awesome books!

    I've only seen Age of Ultron once in theaters and am dying to see it again! I think it's awesome how you watched it twice in the same weekend. XD
    Tomorrowland! I want to see that so bad but haven't yet. I muuust!

    Between all that work and your absolutely AMAZING editing skills, you have had such a busy October. I so admire you. I don't know how you do it all!

    I hope November is a fantastic month! If I disappear I apologize but...NANOWRIMO!
    National Leave Your Sanity Behind Month. Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard at the accuracy! XD TOO TRUE.

    1. Glad somebody does! XD Crazy moods beget crazy analogies, it seems... Anyway, yes, you've had quite the October! A new job can be such an adjustment, yet you managed to plot out your epic Nano project too. Awesomesauce!

      I'm not sure I could write up these monthly summaries without one, LOL.

      I shall do that. *salutes*
      And I shall have to do the same with the Diana Wynne Jones book. ;)
      Yes. Like, very soon. As soon as humanly possible.

      Well, the first time was just my brother and I, and then two nights later my dad wanted to see it, so we thought, "Why not?" I hesitated a little, not wanting to dampen my excitement for the movie by watching it too often, but it was definitely just as good the second time around. XD
      You muuuuust!

      You are just too sweet. Thank you for the support and encouragement! ^___^

      Go ahead and disappear--I know such disappearance will result in DRAGONS... and if dragons are involved, anything is excusable, right? XD Happy Nano, Christine!

  4. Love your analogies. ^ ^ Best of luck with editing! I know how much work it is! I was in your position June/July. So much work. But so worth it in the end! You can do it! I'm currently doing NaNo and last month I got a headstart in my book because most of the time my books end up being around 70K and this book has three main POVs so ... it's going to be a monster. XD Happy editing!

    1. LOL, thank you!! Yes, it is a TON of work, but completely worth the effort. :)

      Good luck on Nano! I'm always amazed by the participants, pumping out so many words in such a short time. And often with other things going on in their lives too, like school or work. So thumbs up! (Monsters are the best. I'm sure you'll tame it in no time.)

  5. Not gonna lie this post made me laugh out loud. :P
    Hold on a moment while I shamelessly fangirl over Age of Ultron. It's SO GOOD! Character development! Plot! Action! *Flails*
    Anyways... you certainly read a lot more books than I did this month! And I haven't read any of the ones you did, which means my TBR just got that much longer. O.o
    There's a used bookstore just down the street from me, and I've been itching to go there all semester and check it out. Next week is reading week, and I have no classes, so you know where I'll be. XD
    And as for your analogies - priceless, Tracey! I love it!
    My October is kind of a blur, though right now I rather feel like I've walked from the Shire to Rivendel while being chased by black riders - I mean, midterms. BUT I SURVIVED! YAY!
    And you survived, too! Sometimes a long walk is just what we need, even if it isn't very exciting.
    Hope you have a great November (yay non NaNo insanity buddies!).

    1. That made my day. XD

      AGE OF ULTRON. It was incredible, ESPECIALLY all the phenomenal character development! Superhero flicks, or really just action films in general, are sometimes superficial in that area, but not AoU. I could go on and on... But I don't want to spoil things for those who haven't watched it yet. :)

      Well, you've been university-ing! Not much time for pleasure reading, I'd imagine.

      Yay for used bookstores! Hope you find some treasures there next week.

      LOL, thank you!

      Midterms being likened to the Black Riders. That. That is probably entirely accurate. XD So glad you survived!

      *high five* I'm feeling somewhat jealous of all the Nanoers, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one not participating. ;P May your November be splendiferous!