Saturday, November 4, 2017

Subplots and Storylines - October 2017

I'm always amazed at the huge spectrum of events and emotions that one month can hold.

Gratitude & Contentment

  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with family a couple times over
  • Stuffing made with mandarin oranges and cranberries (the best in the world)
  • Yummy pie
  • Remembering that I don't have to feel thankful to be thankful

Stress vs. Peace

  • Lots of homework, which is always an ebb and flow
  • Working on several group projects
  • Surviving midterm exams (which was actually more relaxing than a regular week of school, oddly enough--I booked time off work, so besides sitting for a 1-2 hour test each day, I had the rest of my time to study and do whatever the ham and eggs I wanted) (that felt soooo good) (and I actually did pretty well on the exams, yay)

Sorrow & Hope

  • Attending the funeral of a dear mentor's wife. She passed away too young; her love story with her husband was too sweet and strong to be cut short . . . and yet we celebrated her life, singing "Amazing Grace" and "Beautiful Things" with tears and smiles both.
  • In times like these--when we wish the tale had taken a different turn and don't understand why it didn't--we cannot give up what we know for what we don't know.

Joy & Camaraderie

  • A simple coffee date with a close friend
  • An evening out with my church's young adult group

The contrasts aren't always this stark, but this October brought with it something new every week, it seemed. Mostly good things, some growing opportunities, and one difficult event. I'm thankful once again that no matter how things change and no matter what life throws our way, God is unchangeable.

Storylines on the Screen

Yes, I watched more of The Flash season 3 and rewatched more of Once Upon a Time season 3. I sound like a broken record by now, I'm sure. Moving on!

The Lego Ninjago Movie
The first Lego Movie is still my favorite, but I did like the Ninjago one more than The Lego Batman Movie! (And I'm wondering how many times they can put "Lego" and "Movie" into their titles before people start mixing them up.)

Anyway, it was a lighthearted flick with a generous dose of humor and quotable quotes. We went to the local theater to watch it, and I splurged on popcorn because I never do that--and I figured, if I was putting homework aside to go to the movies, I might as well really go to the movies.

Also there was a cat. A real, live-action cat in a world of animated Lego people. Pretty great. And Jay's comments are still my favorite. "This is my new least favorite place."

Spider-Man Homecoming
It came out on DVD recently, so of course I had to rewatch it! And it was just as awesome as the first time, even if I saw it on a much smaller screen.

The Scorch Trials
Another rewatch! My sisters have read/are reading The Maze Runner books, so they had great fun pointing out all the things the moviemakers got wrong. (What else is new, right?) That ending still frustrates me like crazy! I'm pretty sure The Death Cure is coming out in the near-ish future, so it's good I refreshed my memory on the plot.

The Giver
I read the book a while back, but this was my first time seeing the movie. It wasn't quite as good as I expected--a bit of a step down from other dystopian films like The Hunger Games or Divergent. And Fiona's character annoyed me. But it was still neat to see the book in visual form, and I found the ending of the movie more satisfying than the book!

Subplots on the Page

Beyond the Gateway and Reaper Reborn by Bryan Davis

I reviewed both of these amazing books last week! If you missed it, check it out HERE. Bryan Davis also reposted my reviews on his own blog HERE.

Sadly, I didn't finish any other books besides those two this month.

Storylines of My Own Creation

Is it just me, or have I been pretty quiet about my writing world lately? Maybe it's because I still don't know what I'm doing with my work-in-progress. Heh.

But during the month of October, I wrote 12,000 words in my Snow White novella (for the Five Poisoned Apples contest)*, which means I finished the first draft! I wasn't sure if I'd manage to meet that goal before November hit, but midterm week gave me the time to write 8k of those words. So grateful for that!

*The story still doesn't have a title. I think I might call it "Epically Confused and Possibly Schizophrenic Snow White Retelling" and leave it at that, because I changed things halfway through and didn't stop to edit the beginning. xD

And you know what else? ECaPSSWR (that's Epically Confused and Possibly Schizophrenic Snow White Retelling abbreviated in case you missed the footnote, pal) clocked in at 19,906 words. I FINALLY LEARNED MY LESSON. I FINISHED IT UNDER THE MAXIMUM WORDCOUNT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY OF MY LIFE.

Take a look at these first drafts, all written for the Rooglewood contests, which require entries to be 5,000-20,000 words long:

The Glass Girl (Cinderella) - 21,689 words
Blood Rose (Beauty and the Beast) - 21,224 words
The Brightest Thread (Sleeping Beauty) - 29,933 words
Untitled (Snow White) - 19,906 words

I. Am. So. Pleased. Because honestly, if I ended up with a 30k first draft like TBT, I'm not sure I'd be able to wrangle it into shape before the December 31st deadline. Not with college going on. Buuuut I know I have different problems with ECaPSSWR. Things like that schizophrenic plot I mentioned, a whiny protagonist I didn't even like half the time, forgetting to add an important fairy tale element to the ending, and overall choppiness.

But that's what editing is for, isn't it?

In the meantime, I also received even more feedback from beta readers of The Brightest Thread (talking about the current novel right now, not the old novella). Guys, I have some of the best betas EVER with this project. I've been so blessed and encouraged by their praise, and challenged and motivated by their critiques. I'm already eager to start implementing their feedback sometime in the New Year! (Which is two months away . . . excuse me, but who gave 2017 permission access to the HyperSpeed 3000 button?!)

Going forward, I plan to edit ECaP . . . you know what, that's too long to type and I'm getting lazy. Snow White. I plan to edit Snow White this month and submit it so that December is free of writing deadlines. November is a great month to push myself, because I'm surrounded by epic NaNoWriMo participants who are surviving on coffee and wordsprints alone, and their insanity creative energy is catching!

Oh, and one more thing! This month, I have been bombarded by SO MANY IDEAS for things I cannot yet disclose. I think business school is actually helping, you guys. Somehow in the quagmire of income statements and supply/demand graphs and platitudes about marketing, another side of my brain is waking up. And it wants out.

basically me
Wait, no, that sounds terribly gory. The ideas in that part of my brain want out! Sheesh, Tracey.

Everything's in that fragile bubble state of newness, so I doubt I'll have time to develop those ideas until December or January . . . but I'm hoping that I can start creating these secret projects and unveiling them to you all sooner rather than later! This is going to be fun, trust me.

So that's October in a not-so-small nutshell. How was your month? Are you doing NaNo? (I'm jealous if you are!) Are you entering Five Poisoned Apples? And if you're the one who gave this year a HyperSpeed 3000 button, confess now, or I'll send my army of time dragons to your doorstep.


  1. I'm entering the contest, but not doing NaNo...although if I can finish my entry I MIGHT do some Watched editing. It depends. ;)

    Ooh, you saw Ninjago! And you liked it! That makes me happy. I went to see it with a couple of my good friends and it was so much fun. (No popcorn, tho. We just smuggled in a whole load of candy.)

    Good luck with your story and with college! So exciting!

    1. Good luck on FPA! I love that there are so many people entering. And we can be non-Nano buddies this month. ;)

      Haha, yes, I'm an unashamed fan of Lego! Ooh, smuggled candy is just as good as popcorn. (Now HOMEMADE popcorn is better than both, in my opinion, but I can't exactly bring my popcorn maker into a theater. XD)

      Thanks, Faith! Hope your November is off to a great start!

  2. I'm still planning to enter the contest, but definitely not doing NaNo. Too much school. But I've also found myself in that stage of fragile ideas and being both really excited about mine (because it's so new and shiny and I haven't ruined it yet!) and not wanting to talk about it (because what if it breaks! Or I end up not doing it and then everyone I got excited about it is disappointed?). It's a weird place.

    And I don't really like my Snow White's protag. either! I'm glad I'm not the only one having trouble with that. If, during editing, you come up with any ways to fix that, I'd be all ears. Hopefully my beta-readers can clear up some questions about theme and pacing for me. I'm not looking to win the contest exactly --- there's so many great ideas going on out there. But if my entry gets professional feedback that alone will be worth it.

    1. Hooray for FPA! I really hope at least one of my writer friends wins this year. ^_^
      School just doesn't lend itself well to Nano, does it? I know there are students in high school or college/unit that manage it, but they must be superheroes! *sigh* Maybe in 2019, when I've graduated, I can finally participate. :)
      Your thoughts on the fragility of new ideas are EXACTLY mine too!

      Ack, oh no! Not you, too! If I discover any helpful tips and tricks while editing, I'll be sure to share them here. And if you figure something out too, let me know!

      Yes, professional feedback is amazing, regardless of whether one wins or not! All the best with your story, Sophia!

    2. I'm having a little bit of trouble liking my Snow White too. Who would have thought that Snow White was such an unlikable character?

    3. @Nicki: I wasn't expecting that either! But then again, the original Snow White didn't have much going for her other than her unnatural beauty--and our sympathy, since the queen tries to kill her. XD So it's our job to give her some personality, I suppose!

  3. So glad you got your first draft done. Congrats!
    Especially considering your workload, you inspire me to do more.

    Loved the Ninjago movie!

    1. Thanks, Skye! Now I can hardly wait to start making strides in the editing phase... And I need to keep reading your story too! :D

      Yay! Wasn't it fun?

  4. What a month you had. Wow! Congrats on doing well on your exams! :D *throws confetti* I find it so funny you found exam time more relaxing than a normal week of school. You're awesome, girl. XD

    Oh, Tracey. My heart breaks to hear about the loss you've experienced! I am so, SO sorry! I know the hollow ache that losing someone causes. If you need to talk my inbox is always open. *HUGS*

    I haven't seen The Scorch Trials yet! I've been meaning to for the longest but can never seem to get to it. Though I'm not wild about the books, the first movie was entertaining enough where I'd like to see the next one.
    The Giver is a movie I did thoroughly enjoy! Except I haven't read the book. Yes, I did the shameful thing of watching a movie first before reading the book. :O I do want to try the books though! I agree the movie certainly didn't hold up to the high action dystopian we get these days. But I loved how it actually focused on hope, with good and deep messages, and all perfectly clean. We just basically NEVER get movies like that anymore and it was refreshing!

    YOU FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF YOUR SNOW WHITE STORY. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS! *THROWS CONFETTI EVERYWHERE* And you finished it during midterm week. YOU ARE AMAZING! That is also fantastic you finished it at the target wordcount. GO, TRACEY!!! I do so hope editing ECaPSSWR (<-- I'm laughing hysterically at that XDDD) will go well! *sends you motivational cookies*

    Also TBT!!!! <333333333 I need to go read your alternate first chapters! I DESPERATELY WANT TO. and NaNo has taken over every second so... :-/ BUT I MUST READ THEM.

    And I am verrrrrrry intrigued about these new ideas you are having! o.o I NEED TO KNOW MOOOORE. *flails* Just keep us in suspense, Tracey. Sheesh. :P

    I'm with you, WHO gave this year a HyperSpeed 3000 button???? We must seek them out and complain. >.>

    Ahem. Aaaanyway! I hope editing and school and just EVERYTHING will go well! Happy November, my dear! <3

    1. Thank you!! Yeeeaaah, what can I say? I'm a walking paradox sometimes! (But seriously, even studying couldn't dampen the wonderfulness of being at home more often.)

      Oh, thank you, girl! *hugs* I know her husband better than I knew *her* personally, but it was still sad. My prayers are definitely with her family.

      Yes, you NEED to watch Scorch Trials! I can't speak to whether it's better than the book (although I do remember your review of The Maze Runner waaaaay back), but it's an exciting movie. Terrible ending, but I think that's the way it was supposed to be. XD Anyway, *I* need to read the books sometime.
      Haha, movie-before-book is what I've been doing with The Maze Runner... XD Very good points about The Giver, though, especially the hopefulness of it! I think you'd enjoy the book too (plus it's a very fast read).

      I DIIIIID!!!! :D :D :D Technically I finished it close to the end of October, but I DID write most of it during midterms, yes! *devours motivational cookies...because editing, ack*

      YOU JUST KEEP WRIITNG FOR NANO, SWEETIE, AND DON'T YOU WORRY ABOUT TBT. Not until December, anyway! That's an order! ;) (LOL, but my brain connected "NaNo" with "every second..." and now I'm thinking about nanoseconds. XD)

      Mwahaha! I love/hate when other bloggers keep me in suspense, and here I am doing it to you! :P I just need more tiiiiime to develop all the things.

      Much complaining. Much. XD

      Thanks, Christine! I read your NaNo update today and loved it, btw--just haven't had a chance to comment. I hope things keep going well!

  5. *claps enthusiastically* another business major? Awesomeness!!!! I thought I was alone in the sea of Creative Writing majors.

    1. You too?! Sweet! A part of me would love to be majoring in creative writing or some such thing, but I realized that for me personally, there are SO many sources of knowledge for writers outside of the school system. So I decided to take business because hey, authors are pretty much one-person businesses these days! :)

  6. I loved watching the first Lego movie with my little brother. I hope I can also see the Ninjago one with him sometime soon.
    I'm sorry about your loss, but it sounds as if the funeral was a beautiful and hope-filled one.
    I'm intrigued by these mysterious new ideas! I love getting a shiny new project idea- but I'm always afraid to talk about it while it's in its most delicate stages.

    1. I'm sure you guys would love it! Have you or your brother watched the TV show? I saw the first season or two a looong time ago. XD

      It was, and thank you!

      Heehee, you'll just have to wait and see... I'm with you, though, it's still so new and delicate that I'm not ready to share it just yet. One day soon, though! Thanks for the comment, Blue!

  7. First of all, I'm sorry for your loss. *hugs*

    But CONGRATS on finishing your Snow White first draft! So exciting! *fires confetti cannon*

    I'm getting SO CLOSE to finishing, myself, I can taste it! On the unfortunate side of things, my draft is almost double the maximum word count. ._. WHY?! It hurts, Tracy. It hurts bad. But, I do already have ideas about how I can cut it down, partially because of that post of yours about editing, which I have saved and to which I will be referring heavily because it's so good. :) Then I'll have to go begging for beta readers in the middle of Nano when most of my internet friends are busy. Awesome timing on my part. :p On the bright side, I do have a title idea: "Sonja and the Moonsilver" or maybe just, "Moonsilver." I'm not sure which would be better yet. Anyway, I agree that the creativity of Nano is contagious even when you're not doing it, because just seeing all my fellow writers so excited and motivated is making me more motivated, and the words have been flowing more easily for several days. :D

    Wishing you the best with all your projects, especially school!

    1. I think Moonsliver is best, and I would love to read your story, even in the middle of November, if you wouldn't mind reading mine ;)

    2. Nicki, I would appreciate that so much! And yes, I'll do my best to help you out as well. :) My e-mail is

    3. Awesomesauce! My email is nicky(dot)chapelway(at)gmail(dot)com

    4. @EFB: *hugs you back* Thanks so much. <3

      Eeek, thank you! *twirls in falling confetti* It feels great to have the first draft done...although now I've got the editing stage hanging over my head. XD

      Nooooo! Twice the word count? Oh dear, I can sympathize with something close to that (30k, not 40k)! It's definitely not easy to trim down a story that much, but you'll be amazed at how much leaner you'll be able to make it. You definitely learn a lot about making EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. COUNT. on the page! And I'm super pumped that you found that post helpful.

      Heheh, silly November, stealing all the beta readers away! ;) I wish I could offer my beta services, but unfortunately this month looks to be packed to the gills already. :( But seeing you and Nicki find each other here makes my heart so happy! I love being part of a great writing community here. <333

      Moonsilver strikes me the best too, by the way. Thanks, and all the best with your entry and everything else going on this month!!

  8. Oh, what an awesome wrap up. I'm sorry for your loss.

    I want to see the Lego Ninjago movie, too. I'm waiting for it to come to Netflix.

    Great post!<3


    1. Thank you, Ivie! Much appreciated. <3

      I hope it comes out soon! It's a fun movie, for sure. May your November be a wonderful one!

  9. I'm sorry for your loss, but congratulations on finishing your Snow White short story. And below the word limit too! I finished the first draft for my Snow White story (titled Winter Cursed) in October too (and my story is unfortunately schizophrenic too, I think it might be contagious), and have been working on a lot of edits. Also I have to figure out how to shave off about two thousand words, so...

    I'm not "officially" doing NaNoWriMo, but I am attempting to write a book in a month. Not sure if I can with college knocking on my door, and a Snow White short story needing edits, but that isn't going to stop me from trying ;)

    I want to watch the Lego Ninjago Movie, but I'm waiting for it to come out on DVD.

    Have a great November!

    1. Thanks on both counts, Nicki! I know--I was kind of shocked that I managed to stay under the limit this time! Oooh, Winter Cursed is a great title. :D Good luck with the cutting and the edits! (Keep an eye out for any character or scene or plot point that can shoulder double the weight so you can cut out something else. Like merging two characters into one, trying to make some of your scenes accomplish more than one thing, etc. That helped me with The Brightest Thread a couple years ago!)

      Welp, you're a superhero! Unofficially NaNo-ing, editing Winter Cursed, AND college? All the best! ^_^

      I almost always wait for the DVD too. XD Going to theaters is a treat.

      You too, Nicki!

  10. I promise, I had nothing to do with the Hyperspeed 3000 button.... *whistles innocently*

    Seriously... where has this year GONE!??

    Hoping you get all your writing projects worked out the way you want! Congrats on finishing your Snow White story and staying under-budget... er... word-count on it!!! That's wonderful!!!

    1. IT WAS YOU. O.O

      I have no idea. I feel like it was just summer--no, that I was just graduating leadership college, but that was in APRIL. WUT.

      Thanks, Jenelle! I've been too busy to even touch Snow White yet (and the month's one-third over... *hyperventilates*), but I've got the weekend off for Remembrance Day, so hopefully I can get cracking! And I hope November is treating you well too.

  11. I saw on pinterest a meme (That is what those are called, right? *shrugs*) that said: "I don't always get snacks at the movies, but when I do, I have to re-mortgage my home." Also, I read somewhere that movie popcorn costs more per ounce than filet mignon in the US. I wonder if it's as bad in Canada?

    I actually watched 'The Giver' before reading the book, and I was generally more satisfied with the book. It felt a little more explained than the movie? I generally don't like non conclusive endings, though. I guess I should read the next book some day...soonish.

    I love your notes on your Snow White retelling =) Totally made me laugh. I've had some of those books where I've changed something partway through without making the needed edits. Definitely makes for some fun editing :P

    1. Well, that's not too far off! XD (And I'm pretty sure meme is the correct term. But I'm not exactly an authority on the subject, haha!) My little local theater isn't too bad for snack prices--I think popcorn and a drink was around $5? But the big combos in some of the larger theaters can range upwards of $20. o.O Not sure how expensive it is for the U.S.!

      That's true, the book was fleshed out more. But...*cough*...I'm sorry to say that continuing the series won't tell you much more about the ending of The Giver. The books ARE connected, but loosely so. Then again, I haven't read the last one yet, so maybe I'll learn more about Jonas there.

      Haha, thank you! Editing will be...interesting, that's for sure. XD Hope your November is off to a great start, Meaghan!

  12. I JUST ALWAYS LOVE THESE POSTS. It does sound like there were TONS of ups and downs! I've had a season in life when it seemed to keep throwing me curve balls, but we need to remember that in those times the ONE THING that is going to remain steady and the ONE THING that is going to remain the same is our King.
    And secret projects?? I'm excited to see what you are going to unveil!!

    1. AWWWW, YOU. <3 Thanks for the terrific reminder! In the ups and downs, twists and turns, it's easy to forget our anchor. I'm so grateful God never changes!


      *chuckles evilly* Allll the suspenssse... XD