Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - February 2017


(I have been hanging on to that gif for months, just waiting for the perfect moment to use it. This is so fulfilling.)

But I'm kind of lying, because I'm only halfway back. Posts are scheduled for March, but depending on how day camp prep goes, I may not be able to reply to comments until that's all over. Not to fret, I will get to them eventually! And come April, I'll be back for real. Whew, that sounds like a long time from now. But if the next month explodes just like February exploded, it'll pass in a flash.

Subplots of a February Variety

I think just about every week was packed. I had a friend over for a slumber party . . . I attended my church's young adult night (an awesome Valentine's-themed evening about dating relationships) . . . I was a stagehand for a special Valentine's skit at church (basically just carried stools off stage and carried an easel back on) . . . the youth group where I volunteer every other week had a winter formal . . . I volunteered at a big indoor carnival for families, which was tons of fun (did you know Canada gets a long weekend in February?) . . . and attended a business/leadership seminar one evening.

College is full of volunteering, but this month had all kinds of extra stuff, it seems.

In other college news, I did a book presentation on The Purpose Driven Church, a project on which I made a few mistakes that I learned a lot from. Such as:

  • The way I manage a personal project is not how I should manage a group project. As the lead, I overestimated my group's abilities and started too late, causing us to have to compromise on a couple of things.
  • Don't assume your team can read your mind!
  • Don't assume they will push themselves as hard as I push myself. I need to encourage and motivate them.
  • Stop and think about the why behind the project. Remember the purpose and the people first; the task is secondary.
Oh, and I received my most exotic letter from a friend EVER--it traveled from Kenya!

February Films

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (rewatch)

Peterrrrr. Gwennnnn. My poor heart. Watching it a second time didn't make the ending less sad (or frustrating, considering there won't be a third movie--thanks, Andrew Garfield). I was also watching it late at night, and was too tired to appreciate the last hour of it.

Once Upon a Time - Seasons 1, 2, and 5

I'm still rewatching season 1 with my siblings, but I started season 2 with my parents, and my sisters and I watched a bit more of season 5. I'm all over the place! But now that I'm in the second season, it's a lot of fun to have Captain Hook around.

The Flash - Season 2

Watched a bit more of this with the sibs too, and it continues to be amazing! Patty Spivot is one of my favorite female characters ever.

On a side note, I just realized that all three pictures up there mirror each other, and all of them included a blonde female. Ha.

February Reads

I went 25 days without reading a novel. 25 DAYS. I felt a bit lost! But I was reading plenty of nonfiction for school, so that sort of made up for it. (Sort of. Recently I started reading Marissa Meyers' Winter, which now makes up for it completely. Still love mah fiction.) I didn't complete a lot of books this month, but you do read slower when you're taking notes.

The 5 Love Languages Singles Edition // Gary Chapman

I'd heard of the love languages concept before, but it was good to read about it for myself. In case you're unfamiliar, the basic idea is that everyone receives love in different ways: either through words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. It's important to recognize how you receive love, and to see how to best give love to others in a "language" they'll understand.

My whole class took the test, and I confirmed that quality time is my top love language. (Words fell in second--no surprise!)

Self-Improvement 101 and Teamwork 101, both from The Complete 101 Collection // John Maxwell

I'm reading through an eight-book collection of John Maxwell's core leadership principles, and the two parts I read were both amazing! Very easy to read. The info is so condensed, I know I'll be rereading chapters as I need them in the future. The best part is, many of the principles I'm learning here are directly applicable to college.

February Writings

Technically, I didn't write anything this month. But I did make the decision to set aside The Prophet's Key for the time being, in favor of getting started on the expansion of The Brightest Thread. I had wanted to finish the first draft of TPK completely before switching gears, but I was struggling to get into the right frame of mind. And . . . well, before I explain more . . .

I registered for Realm Makers! Yippee! It's becoming more and more real. My hotel is booked too, but I'm still watching flight prices and hoping they'll come down soon. If not, I'll just have to go for it and buy my ticket. I'm very excited for the learning opportunities a writing conference will bring!

Realm Makers is one reason I switched gears. You remember how I wanted to publish a standalone novel before publishing all the Prophet books? And how that standalone is going to be my Sleeping Beauty retelling? Well, there's the chance to pitch a complete, ready-to-go manuscript to agents and acquisitions editors at the conference, and I'd really like The Brightest Thread to be ready for that! But if I were to plod along for another few months to finish The Prophet's Key, I would have precious little time to write an expanded TBT draft and edit it to my satisfaction--and figure out my pitch--before the end of July. Even starting out now, in February, may be cutting it close.

But I want to put my self-imposed deadline out of my mind, and simply focus on enjoying this story. Enjoying the process. I want to get myself back into a healthy writing place. But that's a post for another day.

In the meantime, what I actually accomplished this month was reading over TBT, both the polished version and the longer first draft, and writing up several pages of notes on what I'd like to expand. There's still work to do: I want to write out a brand new outline, possibly experimenting with the Snowflake Method, before jumping into the actual writing.

I'm looking forward to it! This is one of my favorite stories I've ever written, and it's exciting to think of how it will grow and change in the near future.

Storylines of Growth

February was definitely a month of growing and learning. Some days were overwhelming, but I'm arming myself with what I need to face March--a month that promises to be even more of a stretch!

What have y'all been up to? Tell me all! And while you're at it, what are some ways you gear yourselves up for a busy season of life?


  1. Love hook, and that gif!
    You get to go to Realm Makers that is awesome!

    1. Haha, me too!
      Yep! I'm super excited for it. :D

  2. YOU'RE BAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!! *TACKLE-GLOMPS* (And that gif is perfection. XD) I HAVE SO MISSED YOUR POSTS!!! Literally every Saturday I think, "Oh! Tracey will have a new post up today!" and then I remember... It was a thrill getting this on my dashboard today!

    Wow! Look at all the things you've been up to. o.o So much busy! But it all sounds a lot of fun. And I'm so proud of you for all the leadership things you've been doing and learning. I've never really been a group leader in anything so...I don't know how'd I do. Prooobably not well. I much prefer to be a follower. XD I so admire all you do and how you always strive to learn and grow!

    You know, I never watched the 2nd Spiderman movie. o.o SHAMEFUL. I really must sometime! And obviously I need to continue OUAT and start The Flash. (I'm lovin' your matching pics there. XD)

    I still can't get over how you survived 25 days with no fiction! D: But I suppose it's good to read a wholesome non-fiction book now and again. Something I never get around to... That's cool you read the 5 Languages book! I've always been fascinated by that. (Of course, I'm fascinated by ALL personality-type stuff, whether it's the 5 languages or MBTI or...whatever!) That's funny your main one is quality time and secondary words of affirmation. Because my main one is words and secondary quality time. XDD

    YOU REGISTERED FOR REALM MAKERS. SO EXCITING. And it looks like you're making wonderful progress to prepare for writing TBT. I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT ALL. WIZARD, I TELL YA.

    I just loved reading about all that you've been up to, and am so in awe at your ability to keep up with things. o.o

    I do so hope your March is absolutely spectacular! <333

    1. YES, I HAVE RETURNED! *bear hug* Aww, that is the sweetest thing! ^___^

      Busy and fun--you nailed it. It's crazy how much I'm learning. Moment by moment, it doesn't feel like much, but when I look back over a month, I'm shocked. Even if you prefer to be a follower, I'm sure you still possess leadership qualities! A big thing I'm learning is that you can lead from any position. It doesn't mean being in charge, it simply means influencing people. And you are a crazy amazing, encouraging influence on SO many!

      You...you haven't seen the second one? :O YOU MUST. IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART. Plus it's a lot of fun. XD (The funny thing about the pics was that I showed them to my siblings, and they pointed out that the Flash one is technically a minor "spoiler" for us, because we haven't watched the scene it comes from yet! #oops)

      I rarely got around to nonfiction before college too. But I'm hoping to keep up a healthy side dish of it afterwards, as long as I find *interesting* nonfiction. But fiction is still my first love!
      Isn't it so fascinating? Ha, almost-matching love languages! That must be another reason we get along so well. XDDD

      Thank you, dear! *fans out wizard robes in a flourish*

      I always look forward to reading your comments. Thanks again, Christine! Have a positively amazing March as well! <3

  3. Good to hear from you again!
    Wow, going without a novel for 25 days! That sounds hard. But those non-fictions look like good books.
    Realm Makers- how exciting! Maybe I'll make it next time.

    1. It's good to be back, even if it's only halfway!

      Yes... 'twas very sad. But yes, the nonfiction was really good. (Although I'm ever so happy to be ahead of my homework right now. Gives me some time for a novel!)

      It would be so much fun to see you there sometime! :D

  4. I can't wait to see you at RM! I'm still working on saving up. *pants* I may have to ask /you/ about hotel booking advice. XD Because I haven't done that before. Best wishes!


    1. Same! I can't wait! Eesh, I know, it's a lot to save up for. The conference itself, added goodies and appointments, airfare, hotel... But it's a great investment into our writing lives, so that pretty much justifies it, right? ;)

      My roommate is actually taking care of the hotel booking, so I know very little about it! But if you have questions, I'll try to answer anything I can. (Make sure you use the promo code on the RM website so you get the discounted rate.) Hope everything goes smoothly for you!

    2. Yes, indeed! I'm working hard to get the money. XD

      Lucky. XD Oh thanks for that tip! Thank you! You as well!

  5. I MISSED YOU! *hugs and flails because of the wonderful Tracey posts of gorgeousness*
    Umm. Well. My main love language is also quality time (no surprise there) and my second is physical touch (meaning hugs. No just random touching, because that bothers me.)
    But WINTER. Isn't it the most beautiful wonderful book ever? It got me fangirling, SO HARD! I mean, everything gets me fangirling, but that's not important so SSSHHH. XD I can't even comprehend the idea of going twenty-five days without reading a fiction book. That sounds awful, but at least there was still SOME reading, right?
    Good luck with college!

    1. Aw, I missed you too! *hugs* <3

      Yay for quality time! Sometimes I feel that hardly counts as a love language because to me, it's the basis of any good relationship. To me it's obvious; it's a given. Which is exactly why it IS one of the five love languages, and why it's my top one. XD Oh, I love hugs too! Physical touch was actually a close third for me.

      I'm loving Winter so far! I'm only a couple hundred pages in, but so much is happening... I fangirled like crazy over Cress. XD And yes, at least I was reading SOMETHING during that fiction famine! XD

      Thank you! Hope your March is off to a great start!

  6. Yay! Missed you!
    I know how how it feels too with February being busy and March really busy, but a little tiny space right between them to breathe (or pant, which would be more realistic, but doesn't sound as nice). Fortunately for me, next week is Spring Break, and I plan. . . well, to stay home and have no plans, for once, and enjoy a little absence of deadlines. Though with that kind of thing in my plans, it's going to turn out that my family needs me to rush everywhere and see all kinds of people or maybe it'll be that perennial "Oh, you're not doing anything right now, here, take care of this mile-long list of stuff you should have done months ago. Vacation? What vacation?"
    I'd love to go someday to a writing conference, and meet all the people I only know of online, among other things of course.
    Being an INTP, I mostly prepare for things by procrastinating, so I can't say much useful on that subject. . .

    1. Thanks, Sophia! Missed you too!

      You've been busy too, huh? Must be the school life. XD Ahhh, spring break sounds amazing! Mine doesn't come until the first week of April. LOL, having other people fill up your supposed "free time" happens to me too... I hope you still end up getting some down time during your break--sounds like you need it! ^_^

      Yes! That would be so much fun! Which one(s) would you like to go to sometime?

      Procrastination is an enemy of...well, probably most of us, so I can relate. XD But I also have a side that will work obsessively and forget to take breaks, so. :P

      Hope your March is lovely!

    2. No spring break till April? Yikes. Ours this year comes neatly in the middle, so we get a chance to breathe and rest up before heading into the heaviest work of the semester --- and from here it's all downhill --- which is nice. I have been having a lovely break so far, and it's weird how much motivation I have to do things when I'm not telling myself I *have* to get them done.

      Realm Makers sounds awesome from what I've been reading about it, and I think my time-travel-historical novel might be a good fit, if I ever got it in shape enough to pitch it, and if I ever got money to, you know, actually go there. The Historical Novel Society has a conference, and from their description it sounds terribly intimidating, but on the other hand, a good fit for most of my novels.
      You must tell us all about Realm Makers afterwards (though I suspect several other people will be too, and who knows, your stories may overlap).


    3. Yep! The reason it's delayed a week is because of the day camp we're running during the usual spring break. Glad you're enjoying your break and finding motivation! Isn't it freeing? ^_^

      Time travel/historical sounds awesome!! (It also sounds familiar. I think I remember you mentioning it before.) I've never heard of the Historical Novel Society...but you're right, that does sound intimidating! XD

      I will absolutely be sharing about Realm Makers afterwards! Should be fun. :D

  7. Yeah to growth! My time kind of blurs together while I'm in college, but I think February was good. I can't say that there's really been any bad lately, which is great! That sounds like some fun/interesting volunteering and work. I'm not sure that I'm perfectly in my stride with group work either. I have a tendency to take more responsibility than I probably should (which is fine for grades, but not necessarily good for the other person's development [though if they stepped up, I would be glad to let them do more work]).

    1. Everything happens so fast, it does start to blur together. Ah yes, I tend to take on everything in a group project as well... I need to get better at delegating! Glad your February turned out well.