Saturday, November 5, 2016

Subplots and Storylines - October 2016

Well, hasn't this been a packed month! I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with copious amounts of turkey; went from eating outdoors at the beginning of the month (I don't recall it ever being warm enough for that in October before!) to shivering in gusty winds near freezing temperature; and generally spent most of my waking hours in college.

I was looking back over my college notes to see what I all did this month, and I was surprised to see what I'd been learning at the start of October. It feels like so long ago that we talked about stress, attitude, belief systems of the heart, figuring out what you want in life, personal capacity . . . Looking back, I've learned a lot this month. More importantly, I've internalized a lot. The things I'm being taught haven't fully stuck yet, but many things are well on their way to changing my thoughts. It's amazing to see that.

Some other college highlights:

  • Allll the volunteering and being a part of awesome events.
  • My first speech in my communicators class! It was an icebreaker speech designed to give me public speaking experience and help my audience get to know me. It was fun and nerve-wracking, and I received great feedback/critique.
  • Loving my junior high girls small group that I get to help lead every week. It's such a fun age group, and there's a distinct mix of girls who have grown up in church, and girls whose only church is small groups.
  • One of my big college projects has been preparing a message for a high school chapel program. Three classmates and I have been working on this for weeks, and we just recently rehearsed our chapel in front of the class. Because I tend to prefer working alone, it's been a great experience to work as a team. We got creative and filmed our own short video to introduce our message topic . . . a video in which I play a cheesy T.V. anchor. A male cheesy T.V. anchor, complete with a curly wig and mustache. (I am sooo going to regret this.)
  • Youth held a Halloween costume party (pictures to come in a minute), and featured two escape rooms! I got to help plan and build them, so it was fantastic to see them completed and ready to be used. We built a zombie lab where the objective was to find the cure, and also a Bigfoot forest with the objective of finding the dead researcher's notes proving Bigfoot's existence. Really fun!

Here's a couple shots of my steampunk costume. It was quite fun putting it together. I already owned the vest, jewelry, one of the belts, leggings, and boots. I bought the shirt and the other two belts at a thrift store for a few dollars, the skirt at a different thrift store for $6, and the aviator goggles at a costume store for $14.
That's actually a watch, not a choker--I used
thread to tie it around my neck. :)

October Films

The Flash
My siblings and I finished season 1. Oh. My. Goodness. This show is just amazing. I can honestly call it a favorite (shhh, I know I haven't watched oodles of shows to begin with). This season ended spectacularly, leaving me satisfied and in agony at the same time. I'm really going to have to make a separate post on this show just to flail over the characters and twisty plot.
Once Upon a Time (Seasons 1 and 4)
My sisters and I almost finished season 4 during October (!!), and we're about a third of the way into season 1 with our parents. So much is happening in 4, and it's still fun going back to the first season and getting a "before and after" snapshot of the characters.
Tron: Legacy
My brother's college ministry area is media, so he has a number of movies to watch as homework. Tron: Legacy looked like one of the more interesting ones, so I watched it with him. It had some cool things about it, like the main character being a young adult rather than the typical teen, going into a digital world, Light Cycles, identities contained in discs, etc. But the plot itself was rather clich├ęd, and the only main female character was pretty two-dimensional.

October Reads

The Dream Thieves // Maggie Stiefvater
I loved this one, but not . . . completely. It's a complicated issue, much like the first book. I adored Maggie's writing style. I loved the characters. (Gansey and Adam, man.) But the language bothered me again, and Ronan--who was more of a focal character this time around--did some stupid things. There was a middle chunk of the book where I was fed up with him, but then things turned around and made more sense and he made better decisions and a certain somebody got what was coming to him. So yeah. Also the occult stuff from the first book was less occult-y in this one, with more of a fantasy flavor to it, which I appreciated. (It's less real and less weird that way.)

Honestly, though, aside from Ronan's temporary stupidity and the foul language, THIS BOOK IS BEAUTIFUL. I'm so excited to keep reading the series!

Into the Wild // Erin Hunter

This was a reread. The first time I read it was yeeeaaars ago, and I remember loving it until I read further in the series and realized that the astrology-type thing with StarClan was not the best thing to be reading about, and quit. (The idea is that the warrior cats become stars when they die, and living cats seek guidance from the stars.) The only reason I picked up Into the Wild again was to screen it for my youngest sister. It's been a long time since I made the decision to quit these books, so I thought it might be wise to re-evaluate, since she wanted to check them out . . . but I don't think my conclusion has changed.

I will say, however, that the writing was less wonderful than I remembered, but the plotline--once it got past the initial tropes--was still fairly engaging.

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink // Gail Carson Levine

I have been slowly picking my way through this book for an embarrassingly long time. I think it's been a year? Maybe more? Not that it was hard to read--quite the opposite, in fact. I was just reading a couple chapters at a time here and there between novels.

Anyway, this is Gail Carson Levine's second writing advice book. (I also have Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly on my bookshelf.) Writer to Writer is written simply, but in an engaging way that boils down the elements of storytelling into easy-to-grasp sections. I found plenty of good reminders within these pages. Unlike the first book, a lot of the material was adapted from her blog, a valuable resource I've been reading for years.

Eagle Strike // Anthony Horowitz

As the fourth installment in the Alex Rider series, this one broke the mold in some ways, which was a nice change after three very similar books. It still required some suspension of belief when fourteen-year-old Alex runs around pulling James Bond-like stunts (this kid probably should have died three books ago), but it's still an entertaining read. I enjoyed the video game element, which I can't elaborate on without spoiling things, and I had the satisfaction of halfway predicting a plot twist.
Book Haul
Three cheers for second-hand books! I shopped around at the annual book faire, and came home with some fabulous finds.
  • The Lost Road and Other Writings // J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A Hero's Throne // Ross Lawhead (I forgot that I already own a brand-new copy of this book. *sigh*)
  • Inkdeath // Cornelia Funke
  • Mockingjay // Suzanne Collins
  • Allegiant // Veronica Roth (I guess it was the day for YA trilogy finales!)

October Writing

The Prophet's Key advanced by exactly 1,911 words this month. Yep, that's it. I also started working on a character questionnaire by Kristen Kieffer @ She's Novel for Aileen, but didn't get very far. When I actually have the time/take the time to fill out those questions for all my main characters, I have a feeling it could rescue my novel. I've been strangely struggling to connect to my characters, so reviving them should revive me.

And I wrote The Cage, a 1,612 word spooky story. Quite fun to exercise my writing muscles on something with no expectations put on myself!

Altogether, this adds up to only 3.5k words written in October. Of course I would've liked to have written more, but at the same time, I've been doing lots of living lately, and that's just as important. (Not gonna lie, though, everyone's NaNo excitement and wordcounts and progress makes me a teensy bit jealous! One day, you guys, one day I'll join you . . .)

And that, questers, was October.

I'd say it was a pretty solid month. Many subplots going on, lots of personal growth, some good books and shows . . . just very little writing. But Christmas break is coming. Eventually.

How was your October? Did anybody dress up? What's one
thing you learned last month? And who's all participating
in NaNoWriMo? (You guys rock! Keep pushing on!)


  1. Ahh, I am so glad I like in a world where there are Octobers. :) Just had to say that because it's so true. Here in Alabama (waaay far away from Canada, wow) we have been having what the locals say is some pretty abnormally warm weather. As a recently former Nevada resident, it doesn't seem hot to me at all. :P

    I'm so glad you've been having a great time at college! Your steampunk costume is adorable. <3 (I cracked up at the watch-choker. xD What a neat idea!)

    Hm, I've been wanting to read some of Maggie Stiefvater's books, but language really bothers me. So I have two questions: a) on a scale from 1 to 10, how BAD is the language in the book, and b) on a scale from 1 to 10 how MUCH language is there in the book?

    My October was as speedy as all the other months. :P This year has been zipping by. And YES, I am participating in NaNo! I got off to a rough start, but now things are a lot better and I'm getting re-excited. :D

    Hope your November is a fabulous one!

    1. Oh, come one, Emily. -.- I'm so glad I *LIVE in a world where there are Octobers. :P

    2. Aaand... I made another typo! Haha, I'm the typo QUEEN today. xD (and please tell me I'm not the only one who just can't not correct my own typos! xD)

    3. I LIKE the world we LIVE in with the existence of October, too! XD (I had to laugh at your typo-fixing. I hate leaving typos as well! There really should be an edit function on Blogger comments.)
      Alabama... whew, that is quite the distance! We've actually been having unseasonably warm temps as well. A couple days ago, it was about 20 degrees Celsius (roughly 70 Fahrenheit), which is NOT at all normal November weather. But I'll take as much of that as I can get until December!

      D'aww, thank you! I had fun putting all the elements together to pull it off.

      Her writing is GORGEOUS, and her characters are amazing. But...*sigh*...there is the language problem. Hmm, rating it on a scale is a rather subjective thing, and I honestly don't know how I'd rate it. If it helps, I can tell you there are several f-words (I didn't count how many), and I think there were also a couple of d- and s-words. The f's were the ones that bothered me the most. There would be several clean chapters in a row, and then all of a sudden there'd be three swears on the same page. :( Hopefully that kind of answers both of your questions. (Feel free to ask for more clarification if needed. Now I'm wishing I had COUNTED the words as I read.)

      2016 sure has been zipping by--it's crazy! WOOOO, NANO! GO EMILY!!! I'm so glad to hear things are looking up and you're getting excited about it!

      (Gotta love all them typos. XD You're definitely not the only one who can't NOT correct them.)

  2. My goodness. I'm exhausted just reading about how full your month was! But it sounds like some amazing things happened during it!

    Look at all that awesomeness you're doing through college! :D I am so proud of you for doing a speech! Public speaking is...not my thing. But judging by how smooth and eloquently you spoke in that vlog video you did, I have no doubt you totally rocked your speech! And that is so cool you lead some junior high girls! Helping younger girls has always been a passion of mine. So that appeals to me greatly! And oh my goodness gracious, you're going to play a male cheesy TV anchor man?? XDDD THAT SOUNDS SO FUN. I love it!

    BUT TRACEY. YOUR STEAMPUNK COSTUME!!!!!!!!!!! I will not tell you how long I stared drooling over your outfit. IT. IS. PERFECCCCT. The watch necklace is GENIUS. And the goggles and boots and and and EVERYTHING. I LOOOOOOOVE. You dress up as like ALL my favorite things. First the Mad Hatter, and now a steampunk one. SO MUCH EPIC. <333
    Also those escape rooms sound SO. FUN. I've always wanted to do one of those.

    Oh, Tron. I actually quite liked that movie, even though I thought I wouldn't. I've seen the original movie and it was toooorture to get through, sooo I was pretty wary of the new one. XD But I liked it much more than I expected! Even if it can be a little...silly. Haha.

    I didn't know the Warrior books had weird astrology-type stuff in it. :-/ I've always been curious about them, but now that I'm older I doubt they'd interest me much. I always wait to long to try books. XD Ah, well. Maybe I didn't need to be reading them anyway.

    GAH. Speaking of waiting too long, Gail Carson Levine's Writing Magic book is something I've been wanting to read FOREVER. I've never heard of this other one of hers. I NEEDS THEM, PRECIOUS.

    And it looks like you got an awesome stack of books! HUZZAH FOR BOOKSALES. My greatest weakness. Also...I can never keep up with what books I own, and have come so close to buying duplicate copies myself. SO I GET YOU. I keep pictures of my bookshelves on my phone so I can keep up with what I own when I go shopping. XD I literally don't even know what books I have anymore. many books. (Not that it's a problem I'm sad about...)

    Girl, writing over 3k words on a month as full as THIS is impressive!!! If I had all this stuff going, I doubt I would have written a single word. You should totally be enjoying all the LIVING you're doing. It's a special time in your life. ^_^ Your books will still be there later!

    I so enjoyed reading this! I've been living and breathing my NaNo novel since November 1st hit and kinda feel like I've been away from the world and all my beloved friends for the longest. Even though it's only been 5 days. Oops. XD NaNo always does that to me! I guess living my characterss lives so deeply makes real life seem so far away. Buuut I kinda love it, and I'm having the BEST time this NaNo, so I guess it's all good. ^_^

    Anywhoozle, I hope your November is lovely, m'dear! <3

    1. Ha, I'm almost exhausted reading over it myself! XD And I do have my tired moments, but overall I'm surprised to see how...not drained I am?

      Awwww, thanks, Christine! I was nervous going up, and spoke a little fast sometimes, but it was awesome to start growing that skill. (It's funny, according to stats about people's biggest fears, a lot of people fear public speaking way more than death.) Anyway, your faith in me is inspiring, my dear! ^_^
      You too?? I've been passionate about young teen girls for a while too. I'm so grateful I get to do this, because since high school I've wanted to try camp counselling, but it never worked out. And now I get the chance to speak into girls' lives after all. :)

      Lolzy, yeeeeah, it's pretty hilarious. XD The comforting thing is, there's no way I can be worse onstage during chapel than I am in the intro video!

      Awk, you sweet thing! I honestly didn't think I'd be able to pull off steampunk, but it was SO much fun! Heehee, that is true about first the Mad Hatter and now steampunk...what can I say, we have similar tastes. ;D <3

      YESSS. I want to try an escape room too! They sound awesome. Are there any close enough to where you live?

      I've never seen the original Tron movie, but if it's as meh as you say, I won't waste my time. XD Though yes, I also enjoyed Legacy more than expected!

      It doesn't feature ALL that much in the first book, but based on what I remember from later books and the synopses on Goodreads, it does become more prominent. I don't really know what to think. On the one hand, I absolutely know astrology is wrong and false, so reading the Warrior books wouldn't change my mind, BUT on the other hand, do I want to be putting it in my mind anyway? *shrugs* I'd say it's a personal choice.

      Oooh, I think you'd like both of her writing books! She has some great prompts to get your creativity going.

      Huzzah for book sales indeed! It's great to pick up a bunch of books for less money than they'd be brand new. :) I forget who said it, but there's a quote that goes something like, "Never is the human will so weak as in a bookstore." But keeping bookshelf pics on your phone--GIRL, THAT IS GENIUS. o.o

      You're absolutely right. And I am enjoying all this life-ing! But I need and appreciate the reminders to go easy on myself with writing goals and to live in the moment. So thank you again! *hugs*

      That makes me happy! Sometimes I wonder if I write these S&S posts just for me, so it's always good to know they're interesting to readers too! XD
      But ALSKDJDKAK. YOUR NANO POSTS (which I have been eagerly reading and needing to comment on!) ARE MAKING ME SO EXCITED!!! And it totally makes sense that you feel like you've been inside your story for so long. So much HAPPENS, I'm sure it feels like being on a hugely epic adventure every time you sit down and write!

      Thank you, and a most lovely November to you as well! :D

  3. Loved the update! Your costume is super cool! I did not dress up this year, as I had nowhere to go where dressing in costume would have made sense. I was a pirate last year, and that was fun. But my kiddos were Supergirl, Elsa, and Bilbo Baggins, respectively (though the only way Brant would wear the cloak was if we told him he was Batman... so... that's what he repeated all night while trick-or-treating, "Bapman!" Yeah, I knew I should have gotten him a Batman costume... but we already had the hobbit one... so... maybe next year he will get to pick his own costume!)

    I'm not doing Nano, though I do have a smaller November writing goal that I am still falling a bit behind on... oops. Hopefully I can do some catching up in the days to come.

    Love your stack o'books. I have not yet read Inkdeath, but I really liked the first two... well, okay, I liked the movie and the second book. The first book was kind of... ploddy.

    Congrats on getting any writing at all done while in college! I'm impressed. I never did manage to do that... I had to wait until Summer breaks to get things written. Of course, Nano wasn't a "thing" back then, so if I'd had that maybe I would have gotten more writing done at least in Novembers... :)

    1. Thank you, Jenelle! *beams* Ooh, pirate costumes ARE a lot of fun! Your kids sound positively adorable--especially little "Bapman" Baggins. XD (At any rate, I like Bilbo more than Batman myself, so...)

      That's a great idea to set yourself a smaller goal during November. Because then you can use all the NaNo-er's motivation as your own inspiration to get things done. *nods*

      Hahaha, it's been forever since I read the InkWorld trilogy... I don't really remember what I thought about it, aside from liking the premise, the cranky old aunt, and Dustfinger. And also getting annoyed over the final ending, though I can't recall why exactly. :P So many books to reread, I don't know where to start!

      Thank you! It feels like such a tiny amount, but it IS progress nevertheless. Ahh, summer... *breaks out in Olaf song*

  4. I sure got a kick out of the anchorman mustache idea! Come on, that's too fun to regret.

    That's an excellent costume! I love steampunk! I didn't even bother dressing up. My country road had only three trick-or-treaters.

    You've written far more in October than I have. I have a decent excuse, though: I've been using my creative hours for drawing character design...well, some of the time.

    1. Haha, true! The mustache kept wanting to fall off whenever I smiled, which was frequently. XD

      Why thank you--I love steampunk too. So many cool ways to go with it. ^_^

      You draw your characters? That's awesome! I've always wanted to do that, but I have trouble translating the picture I see in my head to the paper.

  5. Wow, that's a nice costume! I played cheap and dressed as a greaser for the fifth or sixth time in a row. As before, your college work sounds very cool and fulfilling (not to say that my work isn't also fulfilling, but it's a different sort of beast). Hey, that's no too bad, writing-wise. I don't believe I got a single word in of fiction in October, though I wrote various things, including a couple plays and poems, for college. Last month I learned that editing is hard. I guess I already knew that, but I came to a better understanding of just how much a manuscript should really change through proper revisions (not to say that these changes need to be huge, but more that they need to be thoughtful and significant).

    1. Thanks! Nothing wrong with repeating a costume, though. Yep, the college busyness is pretty well all things I'm enjoying, so that's a bonus.

      I've never tried my hand at writing a play--well, okay, I did as a child--but I imagine that would exercise a different set of writing muscles. Revising, yes...I have a love-hate relationship with editing. Mostly it's enjoyable, until one hits a particularly tricky issue. Hope those thoughtful revisions go well for you!

  6. Wow hour halloween costume is awesome!
    How on earth do you have time for college AND all those movies and books AND writing? TELL ME YOUR SECRET!!!
    I'm glad to hear school is going well, and that you're learning lots and having fun while doing it!
    Hope you have a splendid November! :)

    1. Aww, thanks! ^_^

      I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW. I think I just make use of my "in betweens." I use my longer meal breaks to catch up on homework or blog or write. I read during half of my college commute (since my brother and I take turns driving) and during lunch break at work. And then there's a bit of home time to use for more of the same. I really didn't watch much this month--just a couple episodes a week, plus one movie. *shrugs* Hope some of that helps! I still feel like I don't get nearly as much of those things done as I used to. XD

      Same to you, Sarah! I hope uni is treating you kindly. <3

  7. I love your costume! Glad you got some writing done.

    1. Thank you on both counts! Wish I could've had you around to stage a steampunky photoshoot--the shoots you post on your blog are amazing. ^_^

  8. I wish I could have seen your costume in person! How do you do so much reading and watching movies and college in one month? I'm managing to keeping up with my homework, maybe watching a little bit of white collar, and barely picking up my book (A crime, I know...)

    1. JACKY! HI! I wish I could've seen your costume too. You'll have to share some pictures with me. ;)

      LOL, it's really not ALL that much--but it's the supper breaks on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays that are my productive times for some of those things. What are you currently reading?

  9. Love the steampunk outfit! The zombie lab and bigfoot forest sound like so much fun! :)
    I just finished reading The Raven Boys, and the "language" bit did bother me, though the characters were interesting. I'm glad to know the story takes a more fantasy-ish turn later on in the series.

    1. Thank you! The escape rooms were a blast. I got to help test-run the bigfoot room. ^_^ Have you ever been to an escape room before?

      Ahh, The Raven Boys! Yes, the swearing bugged me too. I'm not sure if it got a little bit worse in the second book or if it was just my imagination, but the slightly stronger fantasy leanings were a welcome touch. The characters are INCREDIBLE, though. <3

  10. It sounds like you had a great month! I love your outfit! Escape rooms! I looooooooove escape rooms! Keep on writing. Every word counts!

    1. Haha, thanks, Tori! ^.^ Have you been to an escape room? I haven't, aside from these "homemade" ones, but I'd love to try out a real one someday.

      Thanks for the encouragement! I need those reminders that every little step matters. :)

  11. Tray-tray! Love the costume! I dressed up as Jack Sparrow a couple of years ago, in a similar-ish costume. It is extremely gratifying to let out one's inner pirate. You look awesome, love the skirt!

    Your high school group sounds lovely! I led a group of 14-16yo girls in the summer (as I've mentioned here before) and it really is a great age group. (I know I'm kinda only just out of it myself. Maybe that's why I enjoyed it so much.) I'll pray for you and the group.

    Your TV anchor sounds amazing. On the same camp with that group of girls I was in a TV news based sketch (5mins each day over a week ... #plotdevelopment). I was a Brazilian weather girl. So many puns. A lot of hilarity. XD

    I'M SO GLAD YOU READ TDT! It is so beautiful. Ugh. (Gansey and Adam!!!!!!) At this point I'd say it's my fave in the series, though I'll have to reread them all to confirm that. Her language is just so incredible. I can't cope.

    Also, can we take a moment for just how beautiful Inkdeath is?? And all those books?? Just seeing them on my shelf makes me so happy. For, like, two years I've been planning to reread them this Christmas (I take my Christmas kids' fantasy rereads VERY seriously, you know), BUT THEN Skulduggery Book 10 got announced so I /need/ to reread the first nine before it comes out in the summer, so I was thinking of postponing Inkworld ... but I don't want to ... could I fit it all in??

    #bookwormproblems, eh??

    Love this post, hope the last week of November (gulp) goes well for you! <3

    1. Thanks, Em! You dressed up as Jack Sparrow?? THAT'S SO GREAT. Pirate costumes are a lot of fun to put together.

      It IS a wonderful age group. They think deeply and are figuring life out and struggling with things--and they're not far removed from our own young adult insecurities. I appreciate those prayers! <3 Last night's small group meeting went quite well.

      Hahaha, not sure if I'd call it *amazing,* buuuuut... XD Oh gosh, your Brazilian weather girl sounds hilarious!!!

      MAGGIE STIEFVATER'S WRITING IS GOLDEN. I can't get over it. (Gansey and Adam!!!!! indeed. <3)

      Ugh, yes, that trilogy has gorgeous covers. I need to get my hands on the first two, or else Inkdeath will get lonely on my shelf. (Well, to be realistic, it's not on a shelf right now. It's on an undignified stack beside my bed because I have no more shelf space. #bookwormprobs) Oh, rereading kids' books around Christmas sounds like such a cozy thing to do! I've never read the Skulduggery books before. *makes a note*

      You're a dear, thank you! I can't believe we only have a week left! o.o Hope the month wraps up well for you too.