Sunday, February 5, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - January 2017

The first 2017 edition of Subplots and Storylines is here! It's a day later than planned, but January has left me a little breathless. To keep my head (and yours) from spinning, here's the month in list form.

  • Christmas holidays wrapped up, and college resumed on the 9th.

  • I started officially bullet journaling, and I'm loving it so far! I'm keeping up with it better than with my old planners, plus it's great for tracking habits. (Future post topic, maybe?)

  • I renewed my passport. Bleeeegh, paperwork.

  • Remember how I was in youth ministry during my first semester? Now I'm in creative ministry! I have discovered what a broad term "creative" is. So far I've tidied the warehouse, re-strung lights on garland being packed away with all the Christmas décor, painted signs, brainstormed spring/Easter/Mother's Day décor, and more.

  • Because of the abovementioned brainstorming, I was asked to join Pinterest. (See, I'm a social media hermit, basically. I intended to wait a good long while to make a Pinterest account, knowing how much of a temptation all those pretty pictures would be when I have productive things to be doing. But alas, my hand has been forced. I'm currently clawing my way out of a black hole of gorgeousness . . .)

  • Skating!

  • A random assortment of new experiences this month, like Skyping in a class because snow kept me home, stepping into a professional recording studio for the first time to help classmates record stuff for a promotional video, and being totally engrossed in a class about how to pitch ideas. (So many things I want to do with that info!)

  • My great-grandma passed away. She left a legacy of love behind, and was more than ready to travel home, so I'm honestly glad for her.

  • My class started working on our final project: a day camp for kids ages 6-12, happening during spring break! Though we're guided by our teachers, it's basically our responsibility to organize, plan, and build this camp. Lessons, crafts, outings, décor, everything. I've been placed on the admin team, which is stretching me like crazy. But it's going to be an incredible experience!


Once Upon a Time // 14 episodes
Season 1: four episodes with my parents, six with my siblings. Season 5: Look what was under the Christmas tree! My sisters and I have watched the first four episodes and, um, wow. My mind's already being blown.

The Flash Season 2 // 5 episodes
Another Christmas gift. SO GOOD. If you like superheroes, fantastic character chemistry, and character development, and you haven't watched The Flash yet, DO IT.

Pete's Dragon
This one's going on the list of favorite movies ever! I've never seen the original, so I don't know how it compares, but this one is the sweet tale of an orphaned boy raised by a dragon in the woods. It's a beautiful, gently told story that hit me right in the heart. I need an Elliot now.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
After hearing mixed reviews, I wasn't sure what to expect. Though it was better than I assumed it would be, I'm not sure what my full opinion is. I'm more of a Marvel girl, let's just get that out of the way right now.

What else do I know for sure? This movie was dark. I skipped the unnecessary bathtub scene. Batman was more cruel than I liked. (I thought he had a no-killing rule, but he goes around brutally killing people and using guns no problem.) I liked Ben Affleck in the Batman role, however. Superman's human side came out, which was great, though it wasn't explored as deeply as I was hoping. I think that's my main bone to pick: the characters, the heart behind the story, got lost behind gunfire and villainous plots.

Speaking of villains, Lex Luthor was one of my favorite parts of the movie. I know, I know, he's dark and twisted and just plain weird. But Jesse Eisenberg did a great job bringing across a fascinating enemy with a warped view of right and wrong and God.

Oh, I'm also really hoping Wonder Woman gets fleshed out more in her own film. Yes, she's a kick-butt hero in a genre with few female supers. But I didn't get to know her. Prior to her action scene, she was the typical, personality-deficient gorgeous woman in a dress.

(Apparently I have more to say about movies that complicate my thoughts than I do about solid, I-love-this movies like Pete's Dragon. Oops.)


Knife // R.J. Anderson
I read this one years ago, enjoyed it, but never continued the series. Last year I won a copy of my own in a giveaway, so I figured it deserved a reread. It was better than I remembered, though the plot was a wee bit thin in places. I thought the story had some interesting things to say about the nature of art and creativity, and how relationships inspire that. Four stars.

The Purpose Driven Church // Rick Warren
Although the cover is outdated, the main thrust of the message (how you can grow a healthy church without compromising the Word) is something a lot of churches need to grab hold of. I'm doing a presentation on this book pretty soon. Four stars.

The Lightning Thief // Rick Riordan
One of my sisters picked this out for me, and I'm glad she did! I've been meaning to read the Percy Jackson books for a long time, but she gave me the push I needed. What a fun story. Percy's sass is A+, and I enjoyed how Greek mythology was woven into an urban setting. I did predict one of the twists, but overall, this was a five star book. I'll be continuing the series!

Blue Lily, Lily Blue // Maggie Stiefvater
Okay. I'm torn again. I loved all the same things I loved in the first two Raven Cycle books: fantabulous characterization and writing that slays me every other sentence with its gorgeousness. But I also disliked all the same things: tarot cards and profanity. (I confess, I did a very reviewer-ish thing, and kept track of the swear words. I wanted to get a handle on whether there really was as much as it felt like, or if I was being hyper-sensitive. There were over 140 swear words or rude references, plus one instance of implied sex. Argh.)

BUT. Tone-wise, I liked this book more than The Dream Thieves. It wasn't as dark. And Blue + Gansey = YES.


Thanks to free time over the tail end of Christmas holidays, this was my most productive month ever! Well, ever since I started tracking monthly word counts. Compared to last year's best month of 12k, I wrote 17,000 words this January. Woohoo! I managed to meet my goal of reaching 100k in The Prophet's Key just in time. Griffins have flown into the story recently, which is fun.

I also did one session of The Creative Way. It was nice to return to it after a long absence. Another highlight was receiving feedback on The Prophet's Quest from a friend. (So many comments. It's lovely.)

okay . . . breathe.

If one month can hold so much, I'm excited to see what the rest of 2017 will look like! How was your January, patient questers?

A note about the blogging schedule: I foresee increased busyness with the day camp project and ambitious writing goals. So I'm giving myself permission to miss a few posts in February if necessary. Then the plan is to schedule a boatload of fun tags for March! I don't like bumping the blog lower down the list of priorities, but I need to keep a healthy amount of brainspace free for other things during the next couple of months. Not to worry, I hope to return to my normal schedule at the end of March, which coincides with Adventure Awaits' 2nd birthday!


  1. PINTEREST. Welcome to the (yes) black hole of gorgeousness. XD (Excellent wording.)

    I need to try The Lightning Thief... it IS on my shelf after all... SO LITTLE TIME! *collapses under pile of current reads which I must finish before I can read random things*

    It's true, things we're conflicted about take a lot longer to review than just saying we loved it. XD Oops?

    Haven't seen Batman Vs. Superman yet but it sounds like I'd prefer Marvel (mostly) and Batman Begins. *must also try Once Upon a Time and, apparently, The Flash* And I will read Raven Boys someday because I'm curious, though bleh about the content. Popular books and movies always do that. -_-

    OH MY GOODNESS SO MANY WORDSSS. I wrote like 2K. But... well... I'll just have to be okay with that. XD (GRIFFINSSSSSS.)

    Fun post, thanks for sharing -- always fun to hear what's up in the world of Tracey! I hope things get a little less hectic for you! *is sad about fewer posts but understands very well* Best wishes on all your busy life/reading/writing/blogging things! ^_^


      Oh, the joys of humongous TBRs! (I complain, but it's really not a bad problem to have. Better than the reverse, I suppose.) But yes, I think you might enjoy The Lightning Thief! But I totally understand wanting to finish other things before starting a new series. I'm the same way, just...sometimes I get out of hand.

      Glad I'm not the only one with that problem! XD

      That Batman trilogy was pretty good! I enjoyed it, anyway. Except for The Dark Knight--I mean, I enjoyed it too, but it's not a movie I'd want to rewatch as often as the other two. The Joker is just...yeah. Creepy. XD
      YES YES YES, OUAT AND THE FLASH! Both are excellent!
      I'm curious to hear your thoughts on The Raven Boys when you do read it. :)

      2k is still great! That's two thousand more words than you had in December. <3 (Yus, griffinssss!)

      Aww, thank you, Deb! I love getting your comments! *hugs*

  2. Wow! Your January seems like it was busy, I hope your head isn't spinning too badly!

    Condolences about your great-grandmother, it sounds like she was quite old, but saying goodbye is always sad. :(

    Like you, I attempted to hold out against Pinterest, but finally the vortex of amazing photos and witty sayings sucked me in too! Now I have TWO accounts! (to be fair one is dedicated to my novel)

    My entire family was a bit disappointed in Batman vs Superman, you'd think after some of the excellent films Marvel's done, not to mention the award winning Batman trilogy a few years ago, filmmakers would have a better idea of how to make a good superhero movie! Luckily it seems like most of DC's stuff for the small screen is better, The Flash is great! (have you seen the Flash/Supergirl crossover?)

    I'll have to add Knife to my reading list, and you have my sympathy about Blue Lily, Lily Blue, why do people ruin otherwise gorgeous books with profanity? Not just a few times, but(as in this case) dozens or possibly hundreds?

    1. Nope, it's not all that bad! I've kind of gotten used to the busyness over the past several months. Of course there are days that FEEL very busy, but overall, I think my stamina has increased. XD

      Thank you. :) I didn't know her very well, but it was hard for other relatives who were close to her.

      The vortex is strong! Haha, so it pulled you in twice? Having all your novel stuff in one account sounds like it's probably a good way to stay organized.

      True! That's a great observation, because I LOVE The Flash! No, I haven't seen that crossover--is it good? I did watch an Arrow crossover in Season 1, though.

      It's unfortunate, that's for sure. I would be shoving this series in everyone's faces and ordering them to read it if not for the language. :P

  3. I just followed you on Pinterest! XD I'm a bit of an addict...All your boards are so pretty! :D

    I LOVED Peter's Dragon!! I never saw the original either, but this one was so, so good! <3

    I have been wanting to read Percy Jackson since forever. Seriously. My friend is reading it right now and she says it's amazing. I really need to get my hands on a copy.

    Wow, 17,000 words?! That's AMAZING!! :D So happy for you!

    I hope you have a nice February and have fun with the day camps! <3

    1. I saw that, thank you! Just followed you back. ^_^ (So many great INFJ quotes!)

      You too? I could just hug Elliot forever.

      Same! I've had a number of friends rave about Percy Jackson for years, and now I'm finally starting to read the series. XD

      Thank you! *beams*

      Same to you, Madeline! Hope your February is splendiferous.

  4. FIRST S&S OF 2017! YAAAAY!!!

    My goodness. What a full January. o.o I am so in awe at your ability to keep up with such a crazy life! But it does look like you have so many awesome things going. Creative ministry sounds PERFECT for you. You are SO creative! Eep. I'm excited for you! AND YOU JOINED PINTEREST. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS DAY. Obviously I just followed you! But I understand. The day I joined Pinterest was the day I threw away my life. XD "Black hole of gorgeousness" SO ACCURATE. (But but but...MY TRACEY IS ON PINTEREST!!!!!!)
    I am so sorry about your great-grandmother. *hugs* But it sounds like it was her time to go Home. I've experienced those losses before--the bittersweet ones where you'll miss them, but you're also comforted that their suffering here is over.
    That day camp sounds like a BLAST. You must tell us more about it sometime!

    PETE'S DRAGON. It was so good! I cried like 3 times. XD I'm just so loving these remakes of all the Disney classics. They're doing AMAZING. weren't missing much not seeing the original Pete's Dragon. It's kinda torturous to get through, to be honest. And, thankfully, nothing like the remake really. XD The original is illogical and basically one horrifyingly annoying endless song after the next. Needless to say, it's not my favorite movie. Lol. BUT THE REMAKE. <3

    I haven't seen Batman vs. Superman yet, but I've also heard mix reviews, and most say exactly what you did--that the heart of the characters is forgotten in the midst of action. I think that's DC's downfall and where Marvel shines. DC values absurd explosions way above good, strong, loveable characters. Characters should always come first!

    YOU READ THE LIGHTNING THIEF??? AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! Wasn't it so fun? And ridiculous, but the best kind of ridiculous! I think you're gonna love the whole series! The 2nd book is my least favorite, the plot is a little weak, but after that the whole series is perfection!

    17k words in one month??????????? TRACEY. OHMYWORD THAT IS AMAZING. You wrote 17k words and STILL had so much going on? I MUST KNOW YOUR SECRETS. That just...I am in awe. YOU. ARE. AMAZING. And griffins. GRIFFIIINNNSSS!!!! <3

    I'm so going to miss all the lovely Tracey posts, but as someone who just took a hiatus, I absolutely understand needing to step back. I actually might take more breaks myself. Posting every single week can sometimes be too much. BUT I WILL MISS YOU. *glomps*

    I hope your February is an absolute blessed one, my dear! <333

    1. I just have to keep taking it one day at a time, honestly. XD Yes, creative has been fun and so varied! Re Pinterest: OH YOU MAKE ME LAUGH. If I remember correctly, you were the first person I hunted down on there! "The day I joined Pinterest was the day I threw away my life." LOL, so accurate!

      Yes, it was definitely one of those passings. I myself didn't experience a lot of grief (since I didn't know her very well), but at the same time I'm really glad she's Home.

      I shall! I imagine it's going to be all I can think about during March, sooo... XD

      I cried too! It was such a sweet movie. The kind I want my kids to grow up on someday. ^_^ Heh, sounds like I don't need to watch the original anytime soon...

      That is probably why I love Marvel so much. *nods* The characters take first place. (Buckyyyyy...)

      I DIIIIID!!!! XD It was kind of ridiculous, but like you said, the best kind! Good to know that even if book two is a slump, there's more Percy wonderfulness coming up.

      I don't even know how that was possible. I suspect Christmas break was a big factor. I remember pushing myself hard during a couple writing sessions. But as for February... *whispers* I've written nothing yet. #homework
      I'm loving the griffins so far! They're so fun. (And they all have super long names that require shortening for my MC's to even be able to address them. XD)

      Aww, thanks! I'll miss the posting too, but I hope to come back better than before once life calms down again. ^_^

      You too, dearie! <333

  5. Wow, busy January! Renewing a passport isn't fun...but being able to use it is!
    I'm sorry about your family's loss, but at the same time I'm glad for your great-grandmother's incredible gain.

    I remember reading Knife. Thorn and Wink were Awesome. I've never seen Pete's Dragon, but I like the idea of the dragon being fluffy!

    Congratulations on meeting your 100k goal! (Yay, griffins!)

    1. Yep, I'll be glad for it this summer when I do a bit of traveling!
      "Incredible gain" is so true. Thanks, Blue! <3

      I have yet to read past Knife. Looking forward to Thorn and Wink! I didn't think I would like a fluffy dragon, but he acts so much like an adorable dog anyway, it suits him perfectly.

      Thanks again! ^_^

    2. I meant the characters, actually. I haven't read past knife either. Maybe I'll pick up the series again sometime.

    3. Oh, that's right, Thorn and Wink are characters! :P I must have been tired when I was replying to your comment. You're right, those two added a fun flavour to the book. :)

  6. I like griffins. . . they're about tied with dragons for my favourite common fantasy character.

    I know what you mean about being happy for your great-grandmother dying. My mother's mother died in the last week of Advent, of cancer, and really it was more of a relief than anything, since she was a Christian --- it's so cliched to say things like "She's home now" or "she's free from pain", but at the same time I wasn't sad, because those cliches were true. Or it could just be that I'm heartless.

    January was busy for me too --- and I completely forgot about doing a wrap-up post. Whoops. February's short. Maybe I can combine them. College started up on the 9th for me too, and with it the still-growing realization that I only have one year left. This time next year could be my last semester (if I can get all the classes I need, which due to low enrollment might not be the case and I'll need to hang around for an extra semester). I could be graduated in eighteen months. It's weird. At present, though, my main impression is that someone is rationing out time and was very stingy with my portion. Also I have two real-life JOBS: two and a half hours a week as a tutor on campus, and then I'm editing a novella for a friend, for pay (and boy the responsibility. The editor is the last stop before publishing, which means if there's one single mistake left in the book when reviewers chew it out, that's my fault). And in three weeks I'm starting my last year as a teen. Your classes sound fun. What is your major, exactly?

    1. I think dragons edge out the griffins just a little bit for me, but both are on my favorites list for sure!

      Yes, there are those times when it really is a relief for everyone involved, especially the one who passed away. I've always loved the verse in the Bible about how we do not grieve as those who have no hope!

      Sure, go ahead and combine--couldn't hurt. :) Oh wow, your last year of college? How many years have you been in it? That would be a weird thought. I'm already feeling bittersweet about grad coming up!
      Goodness, sounds busy with school AND two jobs! I hope your February isn't too hectic!

      There aren't really any majors in this program, per se. It's a small class of sixteen students, and we're taking a one-year leadership development program. So it crosses over into management, communication skills, people skills, Bible study, personal development, ministry, etc. I'm loving it!

  7. Hey, grunt work is ministry too, haha, and that camp sounds interesting as a project. The Lighting Thief is definitely one of my favorite books (though Book 5 of that series is up near the very top). Griffins?! Griffins are cool. January was pretty fun, actually. Most months are, but this January had a good rhythm to it for me.

    A request for brief creative help, if you have ten minutes to spare:

    1. It certainly is! I'm looking forward to continuing that series; I've heard so many good things about it.

      Yes! Griffins! They seem to be an underused fantasy creature (in comparison to dragons).

      I did follow your link, but haven't had time to watch the video yet. I'll get to it when I can!

    2. Don't worry about the video. I was just trying to draw in some outside collaborations (which was a requirement for the project) in a tight timeframe. I got what I needed, I think. Though you can see the result of the project here:

  8. 17,000 words in January!! That's awesome!

    PETE'S DRAGON! AAAAAAHHHHH! I loves it so much. *grabs it and hugs it like a stuffed animal* I grew up with the original, and love it, too... but after re-watching it recently I think perhaps I love it more for the nostalgia and memories of watching it at my grandparents' house than because it was a phenomenal specimen of movie-dom... I mean, it's fun, and entertaining, and Mickey Rooney.... and "Candle on the Water" is just beautiful... but the new one absolutely blows it out of the water... which is saying a LOT coming from me.

    One thing DC is doing a much better job of than Marvel is setting up excellent villains. I've always been more of a DC girl... Batman is my favorite. But... there are some issues with the DC movies so far. Except for when it comes to the villains, who have been absolutely spectacular... something Marvel could take some notes on, because their villains have grown increasingly lame. (With the exception of the recent Doctor Strange addition to the universe).

    Eventually I need to watch The Flash. And catch up on Once Upon a Time.

    As always, enjoyed your Subplots and Storylines post!

    1. I was pretty happy with it! Thanks!

      ME TOO!!!! I've definitely been there, enjoying a movie purely for nostalgia's sake. Lots of my childhood movie favorites would fit that category. :)

      Ah, good point. I've personally enjoyed the Marvel villains (especially in the Avengers movies), but I can see how the DC villains are really well fleshed out. Like I said, Lex Luthor was pretty wow. (I want to see Doctor Strange so bad!!!)

      Yes. Do it. Both are fantastic. :D

      Thanks, Jenelle! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  9. So glad you're on Pinterest. Join the madness!

    1. I have indeed joined the madness! Now if only I could find the perfect picture for that one character... *proceeds to waste half an hour* XD