Monday, November 30, 2015

Subplots and Storylines - November 2015

November trundled in with sullen skies of low-slung clouds. For a week it glowered in typical November fashion, all skeleton trees and dead leaves skittering in a northern wind. Grey. Bleak. Winter's prologue.

But at last the sun broke free, and Autumn revived itself for one last hooraha week of blue sky and leaf-raking and lounging on the front lawn just because I could. (In single layers, no less. At 15 degrees Celsius, it was positively gorgeous and rather uncharacteristic for November.)

"Ha!" laughed Winter, and his guffaw blew clouds back in on a high, chilly wind. The first snow arrived. Not much, but enough to initially make for slippery roads.

But you're not here for a weather report, are you?

These tidbits should be more interesting . . .

November saw me turn twenty! My wonderful family took me out for an elegant lunch at a place that served the most delicious wild rice and mushroom soup I've ever tasted. (Alright, so it was the first wild rice and mushroom soup I'd ever tasted. But I still think it was the tastiest.) I then spent the afternoon doing all the best nothings, such as reading. My grandma came over for the evening, I received thoughtful gifts, and then we all had raspberry swirl cheesecake. All in all, I consider myself very blessed.

This month also saw my youngest sister enter the teenage years. Happy birthday, Kit-Kat! I was originally scheduled to work on that day, but at the last minute, was able to switch shifts so I could stay home with her.

I've been working full-time. The store has been busy, especially on Black Friday. (Why, oh why, is that day cause for such a hullabaloo?)

A week ago, I spent an afternoon in the city with a very dear friend of minea kindred spiritduring which time we ate pizza, shopped, and had our nails done. Time spent with her is like a breath of fresh air for my heart. It's uncanny how often we're on the same page life-wise or thought-wise, and we constantly have "What? You too?" moments.

Christmas shopping has commenced. Can you believe Christmas is less than four weeks away?!

And questers. I have obtained my first ever little magical box, a piece of wizardry capable of long distance communication, the capturing of images, and the scheduling of days. Yes. I bought a cell phone! I know, in a world where even little children flaunt these gadgets, it seems a bit unremarkable. But this is my first phone, and my dad found me a fabulous deal. Much excitement.

Now then, as vastly interesting as those little life updates are (at least, more interesting than the weather report), you're really just scrolling down to read about the story-related stuff, am I right? The books, movies, and writing? I shall tarry no longer.

In movies
I watched only one, Inside Out. It was so good! Plugged In's review remarks that "Hollywood's bravest storytellers all work for Pixar," and I'm inclined to agree. Getting inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl was fascinating, humorous, and definitely feels-inducing. Sadness was one of my favorite characters.

In books
Heh. Only two.

Omega Dragon by Bryan Davis

Ah, the epic conclusion to a twelve-book adventure! I didn't think anything could top The Bones of Makaidos, but this one is on par for sure. It made me laugh, cry, and fret over the fate of certain characters. Intense battles alongside heartfelt journeys made for a classic Davis tale.

Something about this book hearkened back to older instalments, which was wonderful, especially considering the dark, apocalyptic setting. Lauren's scenes especially reminded me of previous tests of the heart encountered by her parents. For some reason, I haven't connected to Matt and Lauren quite as deeply as I did with Billy and Bonnie, but this book did strengthen my emotional ties to the younger pair.

Again, that ending. That ending! It was glorious. I wish I could say why, but really you just need to read it for yourself.

Before I move on, though . . . I accidentally skipped a chapter. *le gasp* How could I do such a thing? And with one of my favorite series of ever, too?

See, I checked it out of the library and started reading it, only to receive my own copy for my birthday. (The first book, Raising Dragons was a gift for my thirteenth, by the way. Getting the final book for my twentieth was kind of perfect.) Anyway, because I like to keep my books in good condition, I held onto the library copy to bring with me to work, to read on lunch breaks. At home, I picked up wherever I left off with my personal copy. So I went back and forth between the two books for a while. One morning, in a rush to get to work, I must have moved my bookmark one chapter too far. Because as I was reading on break, I had the strange sense that I was missing something. The characters were doing what they'd planned to do, but I was somewhat confused as to how they'd gotten there. "Perhaps Bryan Davis expects the readers to connect the dots," I thought. "And I am, after all, reading this book in choppy little spurts, so it could very well be that I've just forgotten a detail or two. I'm sure it will all make sense soon." So I kept reading.

It wasn't until that night, nestled in to read the final (28th) chapter, that I realized, "Oh no! I never read chapter 23!" Quickly, I read what I'd missed, then scanned the following chapters in order to iron out the sequence of events in my mind. Finally, satisfied and no longer confused, I read that last beautiful chapter and said goodbye to characters I've grown up with. So bittersweet . . .

One of these days, I plan to read all twelve books back to back.

Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

Not nearly as epic or emotional as the previous read, but then, I wasn't expecting it to be. This one is more like a summer action flick--just there to entertain.

Young Alex Rider (a James Bond type of character, only fourteen years old) infiltrates a school for boys located in France. It's run by a crazy villain and his disturbing cement-block-of-a-woman sidekick. The story follows the same plot pattern as the first book in the series:

-Alex is forced into a mission he doesn't want
-There's a period of training/preparation in which he encounters a series of obstacles
-The real mission begins
-He eventually discovers the villain's plot
-Chase/fight scenes
-The end
-Oh, and there are lots of neat spy gadgets disguised as inconspicuous objects, like a book or an earring or a Discman (yes, this book was written in the early 2000's).

In writing
I worked on a motley of projects this month, or at least more than this single-minded tortoise usually does. (Well, I'm not always tortoise slow, but never mind all that.)

  • The Brightest Thread // I read over it twice, each in two sittings. I tweaked and fiddled with various things, worried over whether parts of it were paced too fast, and in the end declared, "I love this story!" The ending, you guys. It just makes me giddy, which, at this point, is kind of miraculous. Oh, I also caught wee mistakes I hadn't seen before, such as miscounting the fairy stewards in the first scene. And speaking of TBT, the beginning of it recently went up for critique on The Author's Chair (Bryan Davis's blog)! If you feel so inclined, you may hop on over and nitpick it for me. I'm up for big critiques, little critiques, harsh critiques, and I-love-it critiques. Seriously. Any thoughts at all are appreciated.
  • That secretive 'Book 1' I sometimes talk about here // After so much time and effort spent on the aforementioned novella, this 'first love' of mine has been calling to me again. So, while in between projects, I read the first few chapters. I've a few more edits to complete before I can call it ready, so I figured that a read-over would help get my brain in gear for that. Turns out that the distance afforded by my Five Magic Spindles entry has caused me to fall in love with book 1 all over again. A break away was just what I needed, and now I'm itching to dive back into this thing!
  • Darkened Slumber // Have I mentioned that my brother is entering the Five Magic Spindles contest too? I don't recall. Anyway, he is. His story is, in his words, a pseudo-feudal Japanese fantasy. I just spent a week editing it for him. He's done an amazing job cutting it down to size on his own (he was only 1400 words over . . . I's jealous), after which he turned it over to me. To give you a taste, the tale involves an awesome sword, big bad creatures, and an epic journey flavored with a sprinkle of humor and a dash of heartbreak. (Okay, more like a cup or two of that.)
And that was my November. How was yours, fellow adventurers? What quests have you been pursuing? Some of you are Nano survivorscome and collapse and possibly hibernate until Christmas. (In all honesty, I watched you with some envy at the beginning of the month, as you plotted and planned and psyched each other up. By the end of the month, after hearing about the short nights and sore eyes/wrists and rebellious plots, I'm more relieved that I chose not to shoulder that this year. Perhaps I'll join the insanity next year?) But do share the war stories!

And for those of you who did not Nano this year, what filled your month? Have you read any of the books I mentioned or watched Inside Out?

Oh, before I bid you adieu, happy belated Thanksgiving to my American friends!


  1. Actually, I wish all weather reports were like that. For the past few days we've spent our mornings coated in thick mist, all our trees adorned in frost. By the afternoon what used to be frost becomes multicoloured dewdrops, and the sky is a warm blue.

    Happy (belated) birthday to you, and to your sister too!

    Congratulations also to you and your brother on your stories! Whether or not you do NaNoWriMo, writing is always a big journey. I'd love to read both stories some day.

    1. Haha, thanks! I guess it would be more entertaining if weather forecasters waxed poetical now and then. Ooh, that sounds gorgeous! We had fog like that all day today, and when I drove home from work, all the trees were white with frost. ^_^

      Thank you muchly! <3

      And again I extend my thanks. I know that both of us intend to lengthen our Five Magic Spindles stories if they don't get picked. (I'm torn! Winning and losing both have their good points...)

  2. So much wonderosity (totally a word) is encapsulated in this post <3 It's actually kind of strange, but I love things related to the weather. (Which is probably really boring to most normal people, but I'm not exactly normal. XD)

    You're so old now! *pats you on the back* Welcome to the twenties! (That totally sounded better in my head...) And happy birthday to your sister as well!

    CHRISTMAS. I am soooo excited for it! It's my favorite holiday and much-anticipated in my house. We already have all the halls decked and presents under the tree. I'm rather proud of myself this year because I have either purchased or know what to purchase for almost everyone already.

    Your phone case is so beautimous! Hehe, I actually don't really have much of a phone. *hides behind all the ten-year-olds with iPhones* All I have is an ancient Tracfone that likes to decide when it wants to work. Ah, well...

    Wasn't Inside Out good?? Being the Disnerd that I am, I had to see it in theaters and instantly fell in love ^_^ The emotions are all hilarious XD I especially love Fear and Disgust because they're both quite a bit like me :P (Oops, that really doesn't make me sound very nice to be around, does it? I promise I'm not aaalll that bad ;))

    The story your brother is writing sounds so intriguing O_O I totally need to get my hands on it now!

    Aaaaanyway, this comment is turning into a post in and of itself. I just had to comment on all the fabulousness going on in your life. Can't wait to see what journey December will take you on ^_^

    1. Wonderosity is now officially a word for me. XD No, that's great that you enjoy weather-related stuff! Is that something you'd want to get into one day, career-wise, or more of a mild interest/hobby?

      I had to laugh out loud at the "you're so old now" comment. XD I still kinda feel like I'm sixteen or something. Perhaps my birth certificate is false... *shifty eyes*

      Me too! I haven't *fully* gotten into the Christmas spirit just yet, but it's comin'. ^.^ It's a big deal at my place too. My parents are actually putting up the tree as I type this. (My sibs and I will help decorate later.) Wow, good for you, getting so much of that shopping done!! I've . . . eheh . . . barely started.

      Thanks! I had to look up what a Tracfone looked like. Reminds me of the old (discontinued) Motorolas we have lying around the house. XD

      I loved Inside Out! (Disnerd. Haven't heard that term; it's cute.) LOL, that's hilarious. I feel like I'm Joy and Sadness at once. o.O I'm strange and paradoxical like that.

      IT'S SO GOOD.

      Weeeellll, so is my response. :P You're so sweet. Thanks for the long comment! I hope you have a marvellous December, and that you enjoy every minute of Christmas!

  3. OH MY GOODNESS. Your birthday was this month?? I DID NOT REALIZE. D: MY TRACEY TURNED 20 AND I MISSED IT. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. 20! Such a milestone. I'll copy Mary and say welcome to the twenties! XD

    Oh man, you're working full-time? Whew, I can only imagine how exhausting that is. Especially on Black Friday. Meep.

    You got a smart phone!!! :D So exciting! And hey, I've only had mine for a year and a half, I'm behind on the times. But once I got it I wondered how I lived without it. It's my everything now. So terrible. XD I looove your case for it!

    I have been DYING to see Inside Out, but haven't yet. I MUST.

    YOU READ OMEGA DRAGON. *FLAILS* I neeeeeeds it! What's super sad is I haven't read the one before it yet either. Two I haven't read yet. What is this atrocity??? Back in the day I used to buy his books the day they came out, or even pre-ordered one or two. I don't know how I've gotten so behind on things. I'm going to be so sad to see it end though. It's such a huge part of my life. It is so special you got the first one for your 13th birthday and the last for your 20th! ^_^
    OH NOES. You accidentally skipped a chapter? Poor Tracey! At least you realized before reading the very last.

    :O The beginning of TBT went up on Bryan Davis' blog? AAAHHHH. SO EXCITING. I must have missed it in the insanity of NaNo. I've been way behind on blogs. THAT'S AWESOME. Gracious, I love that story.
    It thrills me that you've fallen in love with your other book again. That's just the best feeling. It's amazing what just a little time can do.
    A cup or two of heartbreak for Darkened Slumber is right! Or a bucket. XD But oh so worth it for the amazingness of the story.

    I am SO excited for December! The Christmas season is the BEST. It's going to be fabulous! :D

    1. GAHHH, YOU SWEET PERSON. <3 Thank you! Psshh, don't even worry about missing it. (Besides, I'm pretty sure I missed yours too...) Like I said to Mary, I'm not even sure I feel like I'm 20. Then again, I can't be sure what 20 is supposed to feel like, since I've never been it before.

      I'm getting more and more used to it, though I'm still definitely a hobbit at heart. (Meaning I love to be at home!) People just can't resist a sale, it seems, so Black Friday was ca-RAY-zee.

      Thank you! My sisters wanted me to get a Peter Pan case we saw. It was blue, with the silhouettes of Peter and Wendy and her brothers; it read, "Never grow up." ^_^ Being Peter Pan, it made me think of you.

      YOU MUST.

      Oh man, do you ever need to read those last two!!! The Seventh Door reminded me so much of Circles of Seven, which is still one of my favorites.
      It was sad to see it end, but the ending was the sort that doesn't really feel like an ending, if that makes sense. It's very satisfying. ^_^
      I know! I didn't know whether to laugh at myself or kick myself.

      Understandable. Nano is basically a month of crazy. I'm behind on blogs and I didn't even DO Nano, so... :P
      I love love LOVE that feeling! Every time I've entered these Rooglewood contests, I find myself refreshed and ready to tackle my book once more.
      How about a barrel? XD Oh, you're sweet. I'm sure my brother appreciates your comments.

      *twirls in snow and garland and lights* I just love the coziness of this season! :D I hope you have a blast this Christmas!

  4. YOU GOT A PHONE!!!! Welcome to the wonderfully distracting world of smartphone technology.
    And happy belated birthday! I am sending you some (shamefully late) internet cake. ;D
    That was a beautiful weather report. Its funny how I missed the weather back home, even though November is probably one of my least favourite months weather-wise.
    Wow, you got a lot of writing done, considering you weren't even doing NaNo! The TBT section on the Author's Chair was awesome, by the way - I don't think I remembered to comment on the actual post. O.o
    I kind of want to see Inside Out now. It was so hyped when it came out I was leery of it being way too over-hyped, but I keep hearing good things. Perhaps this Christmas break I will watch it (along with all the other movies and books I have to catch up on... :P)
    Hope you have a wonderful December!

    1. LOL, like I needed one more screen on which to check emails and whatnot. :P But it is handy for when I'm out and about and need a way to keep in contact with friends or family.

      *gratefully accepts internet cake* Thank you, dearie! :D

      November is not my favorite month of weather either, but this year I seem to be noticing the subtle beauty in it. :)

      Oh, thanks!! I'm glad you enjoyed that little snippet.

      You should see it. I'm often wary of hyped up things too (didja see how late I jumped on The Hunger Games bandwagon??), but this was such a sweet movie.

      Same to you! ^_^

  5. Oh what's this?? A new blog reader and potential post stalker? Hi yes, I'm Amy and I recently found your blog! It's pretty good c:

    I feel intimidated by the insanely long comments above, and since it's my first time here I don't have all too much to say.

    Firstly, happy belated birthday!

    I kind of like things relating to the weather, but only if it's blue skies. Give me white or grey skies and I'll switch off.

    Inside Out was okay, if I'm honest though I'm surprised that there wasn't more hype about it, like with the minions and frozen, you know?

    Also, that's some cool-looking story c:

    Little Moon Elephant

    1. A new reader/stalker? Awesome! Welcome to this little corner of the blogosphere! Thanks for introducing yourself. It's a pleasure to meet you. :)

      Don't feel intimidated. I love comments of any length, be they one word or several hundred. XD

      Thank you!

      I love clear skies as well. Give me sun! Give me vitamin D! XD

      I wouldn't say it was Pixar's BEST movie yet, but I certainly enjoyed it. Yeah, it didn't get nearly as much hype as those other ones you mentioned. Huh. (Those two got a little much attention, methinks. I mean, I like Frozen just as much as the next person, but all the Frozen-inspired products are getting a little old.)

      Why, thanks! And again, it's great to meet you. ^_^

  6. My sister just officially became a teenager as well, it was a bittersweet thing.
    I loved Inside Out, it was so cute.

    1. Yours too? Yes, those little darlings are growing up. :')
      I know, right? I liked all the representations of different aspects of the mind (like the train of thought).

  7. Happy Late Birthday! It sounds like you had a good month. ^ ^ I too enjoyed Inside Out though slightly less because someone spoiled a bit part of it for you. XD I need to rewatch it. For some reason I didn't get the same satisfaction in Omega Dragon as I did in Bones of Makaidos. A lot of the end times elements got me depressed. :P And it's funny that you got a phone when you were twenty. I got my smartphone when I was twenty also. XD Best wishes to your writing!

    1. Thanks, Tori! It was a good month. Aw, someone spoiled Inside Out for you? That's a bummer.

      I think OD and TBoM had *different* kinds of satisfaction. I can see how the end times stuff would be depressing. If it hadn't been for the very last chapter, I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much. I don't know--I keep waffling on my opinion about the two endings. :P

      Ha, really? That's amusing. Thanks, and same to you with your writing pursuits! ^_^

  8. A pseudo-feudal Japanese fantasy? I need to read this story of your brother's!

    Also, fairy tale retellings are some of my favorite things! I like the beginning of "The Brightest Thread" and I'd love to finish reading it. Keep up the good work!

    1. Here's hoping he wins so that you can read it. ^_^

      Fairy tale retellings are such fun! I need to read more of them. Why thanks, Grace! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it.

      By the way, hello and welcome! I so enjoy meeting new commenters. :) (Are you by chance related to Rebekah Hendrian, if you don't mind me asking?)

  9. Yes, I'm Rebekah's little, well, one of them. :) Thanks for the welcome! I love your blog!

    1. Awesome! I didn't mean to pry--I was just curious, since Hendrian isn't a common name. (At least I don't think it is... :P)

      Thanks so much!! It's thrilling to hear that people are actually enjoying my little ramblings. ^_^