Saturday, June 3, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - May 2017

Transitions are fickle things. Sometimes one hardly realizes that the season of life has changed, and other times one is aware of every minute detail. May was a month of transition for me, slipping from college to "normal" life.

Princess Peach (me) and Mario (my brother)
It started out with exams, volunteering at a Special Olympics swimming event with my classmates, and dressing up as Princess Peach at a church event for moms and their little ones. There was a Mario Kart track set up where kids could drive little motorized cars in a circle, and my brother and I provided the entertainment!

(Ignore my awkward princess pose. And the fact that my crown is falling off.)

On another day, my classmates and the college interns had a barbecue to celebrate the end of the year. We had written letters to God at the beginning of the year, and now we got to open them and see just how far we've come since September.

Then it was Mother's Day. In creative ministry (for college), we worked hard to put up some amazing d├ęcor to celebrate all the moms in church. It turned out beautifully. And at home, we had a quiet celebration involving Chinese takeout. (Come on, we saved her from making supper!)

And then I went to an escape room with my peeps from creative ministry! I've never been to an escape room before, but after this, I would LOVE to go again. I tried a castle-themed room with twelve other people. The logic! The teamwork! The tricky puzzles! If we'd had an extra two or three minutes, we would've made it out successfully, that's how close we were.

The middle of the month rolled around, and with it, college graduation! Celebrating with friends and family, looking back on the past nine months, giving a valedictorian speech, and spending the night at a friend's place for the afterparty--all were such beautiful, bittersweet memories.

We graduated! This is me with Jacky, a good college friend who
recently moved back home, hours away from me. *sniffle*

Like I said, May was a month of transitions. So after grad, life has switched gears. I've returned to volunteering in kids ministry at church (which I had taken a break from because of the intense college schedule). I'm back to working four or five shifts a week. And now that my sisters are done school for the summer, life at home has taken on a different pace too. You'd think it would be slower, but oddly, it's not as slow as I was expecting.


Finally // Wendy Mass
Goodness, I'd forgotten how dramatic the twelve-year-old life could be! This was a cute book about the mishaps and missteps that befall Rory when she turns twelve and can finally do all the things on her list, like get her ears pierced, babysit, and go to the mall with her friends. (Talk about a throwback to simpler days . . .) Four stars.

Crazy Dangerous audiobook // Andrew Klavan (narrated by Nick Podehl)
I read the novel four years ago and loved it then. Listening to the audiobook, I loved it again! It's intense, it's endearing, it's a little creepy at times, and Sam Hopkins is just my favorite. I was reminded of how addictive Andrew Klavan's books are! Because I can count the number of audiobooks I've listened to on one hand, I wasn't sure what to expect with this. But the narrator was perfect for this book. Now I need to go find some more audiobooks to listen to on my drive to work. Five stars!

The Purpose Driven Life // Rick Warren
Another college read. We started in September, but we didn't even finish (as a class) before grad, so I finished the final chapters on my own. I'm pretty sure I read it eons ago too . . . Anyway, there were a number of good reminders in here. It's not like I got nothing out of it, don't get me wrong. But I learned the most from the chapters I disagreed with, because they sparked great class discussions. We dug into the Word, bounced perspectives off each other, and learned how to rectify the disconnect between what we saw in the book vs. what we know of God's character and the Bible. Three stars.

Green Rider // Kristen Britain
At Jacky's behest, I began reading one of her favorite series! It felt like the pacing lagged at times, especially in the first half of the book, and later the climax kept looking it was going to happen, but then it wasn't the climax after all. (That could've been just me, though.) But the actual ending helped make up for it, especially when Karigan, the protagonist, started doing more for herself. And I liked the concept of the Green Riders, a group of special messengers/riders with magical abilities. Jacky tells me the series gets progressively better, so I'll pick up book two sometime. Three stars.

Movies & TV

I watched a fair bit of Once Upon a Time and The Flash, as per usual. My siblings and I finished season 1 of OUAT and started season 2. With my parents, I finished OUAT season 2. With just my sisters, we watched some more of season 5. Jumping around the timeline so much is kind of fun, actually. You get a really good contrast of different parts of each character's arc!

My siblings and I just recently finished season 2 of The Flash as well. Somebody help me, I think the pieces of my heart are all over the floor. (Seriously, I need to write a blog post about this show ASAP.)

The grade 6 students of a nearby Christian school made a movie based on a WWII novel, which I got to watch. They did such a good job!

Moana: While not as good as Tangled, this was a fresh twist on the typical Disney princess story. I liked that it was a friendship story instead of a romance. And the songs were fantastic! I've loved "How Far I'll Go" long before I watched the movie.

Doctor Strange: This was awesomesauce, you guys. Quite different than most Marvel movies, yes, but I think that's a good thing. The beginning--wow. Something about the subtlety and atmosphere (and Stephen Strange's awful attitude) really grabbed me. And then the superhero aspect kicks in . . . and there are jaw-dropping visuals . . . and a dash of humor . . . and gahhh, I want the Cloak of Levitation for myself. Can't wait for a sequel!


I booked my appointments for Realm Makers! Woohoo! It feels even more real now, and the pressure is on to finish The Brightest Thread in time to pitch it.

With college being over, I had some time to pick up Ted Dekker's The Creative Way writing course, so I listened to session 12 and learned more about the four types of conflict. (I've yet to do the workbook part of that session, however.)

In the first half of May, I had a little blip of productive writing time, and then wrote basically nothing until after grad. About 12,000 words have been added to The Brightest Thread, bringing it to a total of 32,824 words. The goal is to fall comfortably between 80 and 90k by the end of June so that there's time to edit a bit before Realm Makers. S.O.S. Please send coffee.

I'll be fine . . . probably. Most of this TBT work has been quite enjoyable, truly, and this week I wrote some positively scrumptious scenes, if I do say so myself.

But still send coffee. I'm going to need it.

So that was May 2017!

Whew! A lot of fun, some hard work. Goodbye to one season and hello to another. And now it's summer, and that means sunshine, gardening, and hopefully more books and more writing.

What about the rest of you? If you're a student, is school out yet? What's on your summer agenda?


  1. *attempts to shove coffee through the computer screen*
    Ah, well. I tried. I'm sure you'll do just fine, with or without coffee. So far it all seems very promising!

    I have some summer goals with my own stories, so maybe I'll keep this coffee for myself.

    1. A valiant effort! Thank you kindly. ;)

      Yes, sounds like you'll need it for yourself! I hope the words flow and the inspiration remains a steady companion.

  2. I just finished college too, and no, things did not slow down. I wish it did though.


    1. Oh, congrats! LOL...I'm realizing that regular life can be just as busy as the student life. I hope you get chances to relax between everything else!

  3. I'll leave the 50,000 words in twenty-six days to you, haha. Hopefully I'll build up some momentum, but for now I'm just putting about 30-60 minutes in per day trying to get my beginning fired up. I'm not using an outline (at least for the moment), so I'm just slogging forward, trying to get things figured out. Once I get to the Call to Action, I think it'll flow a little more.

    I'm still applying places, so at the moment I'm using my time on a bunch of scattered things (and not to a total I like all too much). I put in around 5.5 hours cutting my grandparents' grass and my parents'/my grass each week, and I have other set and sporadic chores to do. My siblings finished school last week, so I don't have to worry about taking them to school or picking them up from school or different activities (which I would do when my parents were at work). I'll still have to do a little driving around over the summer, but not much. By this point, I need to buckle down and get some reading and writing in. I'll never consider watching TV or movies a complete waste of time (I still pay attention to the writing, after all), but hopefully the video game binge I had in there for a little while will stay settled. I also recently joined my Uni's The Odyssey Online team, so I'll be writing an article a week for the next two years unless I quit, haha. I have a habit of spending a couple hours a day just discussing various topics with a cousin of mine, but he's at Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Marine Corps, so I won't have that time-suck (though also duller debating skills, I suppose).

    Well, I guess I just organized my thoughts in the comment bar, haha. Sorry. It's a strange life, being an artist and forthcoming scholar (maybe). I also have some instruments I've been neglecting and a blog I need to breathe new life into. And French to study. Mais c'est la vie.

    1. Haha, it's actually going pretty well! Not easily, necessarily, but it's coming. 30-60 minutes of writing a day sounds like a great way to build up consistency! A call to action (or any conflict, really), always helps me get into it more too.

      Ah yes, the non-structure of summer... It can be great for getting things done, but somehow it's harder to be productive at the same time. One might technically have more time, but with school routines gone, discipline is more difficult. (At least, that was always my struggle growing up!) Sounds like a nicely varied agenda, though.

      No problem! Gotta get organized somewhere, right? Too true: being an artist + anything is interesting.

  4. First off, I LOVE your Peach costume! XD So cute!!

    I agree, Moana wasn't as good as Tangled, but I still loved it A LOT. :) Especially the music. Loved that. <3

    ASDJFKASL DOCTOR STRANGE. I loved it too!! It really did feel different, like not really a Marvel movie. But it was still so cool! :D

    I will leave the coffee on the doorstep. :P And have fun at Realm Makers!! ^_^

    1. Aww, thanks! The little kids were even cuter. ;D

      Yessss, the music was A+. My sisters might be getting tired of my frequent references to "Your Welcome." XDD

      STRAAAAAAANGE. <333 I'm SO curious about the sequel, whenever that comes out! (I'm too lazy right now to look it up.)

      Many thanks, Madeline! ^_^ *sips coffee*

  5. Eeeee! I'm so excited to see you next month! I can't believe it's next month! I'm still scrambling to purchase my flight. XD It sounds like you had a great month!

    1. I can't believe it, either! It feels like it should still be several months away. Haha, while you scramble to get that flight, I'll be over here scrambling to write this novel. We'll be the Twin Scramblers. XD

  6. Wow! Your May was packed full with so many wonderful things! Your Peace/Mario costumes look absolutely fantastic. Did you make them yourself??
    Good luck with your writing in June! :)

    1. It sure was! Haha, thank you! But no, the costumes were of the store-bought variety, and they belong to the church. I WISH I had mad costume-making skills, but I'm not sure I even know how to thread a needle. XD

      Thanks so much, Abbey!

  7. You make a perfect Princess Peach. My sister and I just finished up Once and started The Flash. We are loving it so far.

    1. D'awww, really? <3 YOU STARTED THE FLASH, YOU STARTED THE FLASH, YOU STARTED THE FLAAAAAASH. Ahem. If you can't tell, I'm a little excited. ;)

  8. The escape room sounds fascinating! I've always loved the idea of doing one of them. What kind of puzzles were they?

    Jem Jones

    1. It really was! You should totally give one a try sometime, if you get the chance.

      I can't be too specific about the puzzles, since I signed a paper swearing myself to secrecy (for real). But it's safe to say that we split our group in half and each started in separate rooms, where we had to yell through the wall to communicate with each other. Each of our rooms had clues that would help the other side so that we could open a door between us. From there we progressed through a few more rooms together, all with the aim of "escaping the castle through a secret door." (That was the storyline, anyway.)

      There were clues that required math, there were riddles, there were physical puzzles to maneuver (like pulling on ropes to unhook a window you couldn't reach otherwise; rearranging gears; pulling a sword from a stone; etc.) Anyway, it was quite varied and a TON of fun!

  9. OKAY. I may have squealed aloud when I saw you and Josiah dressed as Peach and Mario. That is the greatest thing EVER. I LOVE IT!!! And you make a beautiful Princess Peach! ^_^

    Oooh my goodness, you did an escape the room thing??? I've ALWAYS wanted to do one of those! And I would totally want to do a castle one, for sure. EEP. That sounds so funnn!!!

    Between everything AND college graduation, you had quite the month, girl. O_O Wow! And isn't it crazy how even when we think life will surely slow down it...doesn't. I'm beginning to learn life never actually slows down, it just has different seasons of crazy. XD

    I haven't seen Moana yet, but I really want to! It does look different from your typical Disney princess movie. But AAAAAHHHH. YOU SAW DOCTOR STRANGE. That movie is just epic. o.o (And it doesn't hurt one bit that Benedict Cumberbatch is in it. Ahem.) But seriously, the complete uniqueness of it and character growth and just AGH. I LOVE IT.

    I'm sooo excited for you going to Realm Makers! I cannot waaaait to hear all about it when you come back! And I KNOW you can get TBT ready in time. Your dedication to your stories never ceases to amaze me. YOU'VE GOT THIS!!! And if you need someone to (kindly) yell at you to write or send (virtual) inspirational cookies or need a brainstorming partner or ANYTHING at all, don't hesitate to ask! If only we were neighbors. I'd totally be bringing you coffee every single day! (BTW, your gif usage was perfection. XD) YOU'VE GOT THIS, TRACEY! *waves pompoms* Go, go, gooooo!!!!

    1. Hahaha, you did? ^.^ We had so much fun dressing up and playing with those kids!

      You would looooove doing an escape room, Christine! *imagines doing an escape room together*

      That seems pretty true, huh? Just different seasons of crazy! Which really isn't all bad. One thing we discussed in college was our definitions of busyness. Turns out you're always busy doing something! It just feels like a different kind of busy when you're busy doing things you have to do as opposed to things you want to do. (For instance, a day in which I write and read and putter around the house feels relaxing to me, but I'm still *doing* lots.) Anyway. That got a bit philosophical and rambly. XD

      Nope nope, Benedict Cumberbatch doesn't hurt one little bit! XD I actually haven't seen all that many movies or shows with him in it, but he's a pretty fantastic actor from what I have seen. I was just fangirling to a bemused friend the other day about the beginning of Doctor Strange--the part that introduces us to Stephen in such a subtle, artistic, atmospheric way (or maybe that was just me??). IT WAS SO SKILLFUL.

      Awww, thanks, girl! One of these years you'll make it there too! <3 Your unflagging encouragement is so dear to me--thank you, thank you, thank you. A kind yeller and baker of virtual cookies is exactly what I might need in the coming weeks! ;D BTW, I totally just melted at the thought of being neighbors and getting coffee every day. <333 THANK YOU AGAIN!

  10. Oh, wow. Your writing goal for June is quite impressive. I understand why you might need a bit of coffee. Wishing you the best of luck on this!

    1. Haha, I'd say thank you, but the goal will probably be more impressive if I actually reach it! XDDD But I know what you mean. Thanks so much, Meaghan!!

  11. Ugh, my laptop took a funny turn while I was in middle of a comment! Darn you, stupid laptop. It is so near death's door, every time I use it feels like a hospital visit ... Maybe buying a new one tomorrow, actually! Sshh, don't tell it ...

    Anyway. What I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted ~glares at laptop~ was that your costume is fab, it sounds like you had a great May, and I really hope TBT is going well! I'll send you tea! (What do you mean, you said coffee? I said tea.)

    Must email or write to you soon! <3

    1. Noooo, silly laptop! Your "hospital visit" comment made me crack up. XD Did you end up buying a new one?

      Awww, thank you! I actually drink tea as much, if not more often than, I drink coffee! I used to like coffee more, but the caffeine makes me bouncy and jittery (and chatty) so I frequently prefer tea, lol. Just had a cup of chocolate orange tea today, actually. (But vanilla chai is my favorite ever.) So I gladly accept your (very British) offering of tea. ;D

      Yes! I look forward to that! <3

  12. Aw, you are so pretty!!!

    I need to read Crazy Dangerous now???

    Also I watched Moana for the first time this summer and you are right - it was quite cute. Although... as much as I like friendship stories and am a teeeey bit tired of stereotypical romances, that IS wshast Disney DOES. So it irked me a bit that they are stepping away from that All Of A Sudden.

    1. D'awww, thank you! ^__^

      YES YOU DO. Almost every Andrew Klavan book is one that I end up positively *flying* through. And Crazy Dangerous is one of my favs. <3

      Hmm, I hadn't seen it from that perspective. Makes sense! I'm sure they'll keep putting out love stories alongside friendship stories in the future, though. (At least I hope so.)