Saturday, May 5, 2018

Subplots and Storylines - April 2018

(I almost wrote Subplots and Services. What even? Is that some kind of shop offering services for authors struggling with their plots? Do book mechanics work there? "Yup, not to worry, Mr. Author. Your subplot about the orphan hero just needed a little tune-up.")

(. . . I don't know where my brain goes sometimes, to be honest.)

Parenthetical intro aside, hello! How is everyone? It's crazy to think that a third of the year has whooshed by already. But I'm not too sad because it's finally summer break! The snow has melted at last and it's looking like spring out there.

Blogging nearly fell by the wayside during April, since college was incredibly busy with projects wrapping up, quizzes being crammed in, and final exams happening. Now that year one of business school is done, I'm free for the summer! College was a lot of hard work, but I don't regret it--rather, I'm excited about where this new knowledge might take me in the future.

In other news . . .

  • I bought my flights to and from Realm Makers, so that's another item to check off the list!
  • Two family members plus a grandma had birthdays in April, which amounted to much celebrating and good food.
  • During exam week, I went on a spontaneous cleaning spree and also reorganized my bookshelves. Such a satisfying feeling!

That's about it for life-y stuff, really. School swallowed everything! But I did manage to watch and read a few things.

Screen Subplots

Once Upon a Time season 4 and 6

I think I watched only two or three episodes all month, but season 6 is improving, I'd say!

Piglet's Big Movie

I still love the Hundred Acre Wood, you guys, and I don't plan to ever grow out of it. This here is one of my favorite Pooh movies. It's so precious! Piglet just wants to be important enough to be useful. When he goes missing, his friends set out to find him. Being the brilliant fluffbrains they are, they decide Piglet's scrapbook can show them where he is. As they go along, the memories inside remind them of all the ways Piglet has helped in the past. It's rather sweet.

My only quibble is that I got my DVD secondhand, and because it's scratched, it skips my favorite line: "Kanga, is that a fish in that tree?"

I'm a kid at heart, all right?

Avengers: Infinity War

I AM NOT OKAY. NOT OKAY AT ALL. But I loooooved the movie! It was completely epic and well worth going to the theater for! Marvel's been building up to this for years, so it's payoff time--and wow, they delivered. (I didn't get enough of certain characters, but there were a lot of them sharing the screen, so that's understandable. And some of them may get more attention in the fourth Avengers movie.) I'm zipping my lips and not saying anything more right now, since . . . you know . . . #thanosdemandsyoursilence. Maybe I'll talk more about it once it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray.

Page Storylines

The Returning // Rachelle Dekker

I started this one in March and it took me a couple weeks to finish, thanks to schoolwork. Reading a book too slowly tends to skew my perception of it, but I'll try to present balanced thoughts.

Firstly, I didn't feel as connected to the heroine, Elise, as I was expecting to (partially because of my reading pace), and there were too many secondary characters to keep track of. The group dynamic would have been a lot stronger had the cast been smaller or been introduced more gradually.

That being said, there were some truly beautiful scenes that nearly moved me to tears, particularly one that took place in a hospital. With a strong theme centered around identity, this book approached the topic in a thoughtful, refreshing way. References to God were a little vague--referring mostly to "He," "the light," and sometimes "the Father"--but from the right vantage point, it's easy to see how Dekker is referring to the immense love and power living in us through Christ.

Speaking of which, I was hoping she would finally clarify who Aaron's character is supposed to represent, but she didn't. It's unclear whether he is an allegorical image of Jesus, a regular human being, or a prophet-like character similar to John the Baptist. I'm all for writing outside the box, but in this case, I'm not even sure where the box is.

There were parts I liked in The Returning, don't get me wrong. But this didn't feel like the strongest book in the trilogy, which is unfortunate, seeing as it's the finale. You can check out my review on Goodreads for a few more thoughts. Wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars on this one.

Tears of a Dragon // Bryan Davis

Of all four Dragons in Our Midst books, this is the one I remembered the least plot-wise. So it was rather fun to return to it and refresh my memory! This time around, I especially appreciated how Bryan Davis concluded the series. If I didn't know there were eight more books following DIOM, I would be content with this ending. It's solid and satisfying. (But there are definitely a few things that make me very glad the story continues in Oracles of Fire!)

The main characters of Tears of a Dragon have all grown and changed significantly since the first book, and it shows. Elements introduced earlier gain greater importance as resurrected dragons face off with the Watchers, and Billy and Bonnie seek to free several key characters from another dimension called Dragon's Rest. The core story thread, Billy's relationship with his father, becomes even more compelling here too. I just love these characters so much!

And that ending . . . it still brought tears to my eyes, even though I've read it a few times! 5 stars all the way!

(I know I've been talking about Dragons in Our Midst in every S&S post this year, since I'm rereading it, but would you guys be interested in a spotlight post on the series? With it fresh in my memory, I feel it would be fitting to pay tribute to something that's been such a big influence on me.)

The Story Peddler // Lindsay A. Franklin

I fangirled over this brand new novel earlier this week! If you missed it, you can see my review HERE. 5 stars!

Written Subplots

Eheheh . . . heh . . .


Not much to see here at all. Like I said. Final exams. They are a black hole.

But I did submit a flash fiction piece to Splickety, which I mentioned last month as something I wanted to do. It wasn't chosen, but I'll write another flash fiction and try again! Truth be told, this little 600-some word story has the glimmerings of an entire novel* behind it, so it wasn't a waste.

*Something along the lines of Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendance trilogy, but a little darker and with a stronger fantasy vibe. Very twisty. Very stabby.

Right at the end of April, I also managed to compile beta feedback on a few more chapters of The Brightest Thread. Just chapters 16 through 18, though. It's fun to relive the story through my beta readers' eyes.

Happy May, my friends!

How was your April? Read anything wonderful? Students, are you slogging through your last stretch of school? (You can do it! I'm sending you reviving unicorns and memory-enhancing wizard brews!) Do we need Subplots and Services to be a real shop or what?! And tell me honestly, would you like a spotlight post on Dragons in Our Midst?


  1. I want to read those books!!! I just haven't gotten around to getting them yet (Dragon's in Our Midst). Ha ha! The Piglet Movie!! (Childhood favorite).
    I totally get you... College Mathematics has EATEN my writing time...
    Sounds like you had a great month! ;)

    1. You shoooouuuuld! They're all great in different ways! Oh my gosh, I'm so glad someone else loved Piglet's Big Movie. XD

      Yikes, I'm sorry you've been short on free time lately! You'll probably be out for the summer soon, though, right?

      Hope your May is off to a lovely start!

  2. Piglet's Big Movie is an old favorite for me! Infinity War was so good and awful. I should re read the Dragons in Our Midst series. A spotlight post would be cool!

    1. You too? I'm so glad it's not just me who loves the Hundred Acre Wood! XD

      Good and awful. Yep, that about sums it up. T_T

      I just might have to do a spotlight then. Thanks, Skye! ^_^

  3. Subplots and services! Oh my word. XD That needs to be a thing. Yep, I love it! Maybe that's where plot bunnies are bred and sold???

    I'm sooo excited you're on summer break! I'm sure you are more than ready for a break. You worked crazy hard this school year! I'm so proud of my Tracey. :')

    You got your flights bought for Realm Makers? EEEEEEEEE!!!! SO EXCITING!

    I actually finished season 5 of Once Upon a Time the other day! Definitely not my favorite season, but it was still really fun. I'm glad to hear season 6 is improving for you. I'm a bit nervous about it, but we'll see!
    One can NEVER be too old for The Hundred Acre Wood. NEVER!!!

    Ya know...the events of Tears of a Dragon are kinda vague in my mind too, now that I think of it. *blinks* That's so funny! I do remember LOVING it, I just don't remember all that happened... But anyways, a spotlight post for that series would be sooo fun! It deserves an awesome spotlight! :D

    Okay but that would be THE COOLEST if you turned your flash fiction piece into a novel! It had the makings of an epiiiiiiiiic story! Dark, twisty, stabby fantasy by my Tracey? YES PLEASE!

    Now that school is done, I do hope you'll find time to do all the lovely things you want to do. Have a lovely May, my dear! <3

    1. *gasp* I think you're on to something. O.O

      Me toooo! *falls over* It's funny how I'm so glad to be done SCHOOL work, but ridiculously excited to jump into WRITING work. Awww, thank you, darling! :')


      Oh, you did? We're going to have to discuss all the things! It wasn't my favorite season either, but a certain feelsy aspect of it I really liked. ;) Yeah, I don't know what to think of season 6 yet either, but I'm hoping it keeps improving!
      NEVERRRRR!!! I refuse to leave it!
      *blubbers incoherently about Infinity War*

      I was surprised at how much I'd forgotten, honestly. But Walter is so great in this one, oh my word. XD Well then, I hope to post that sometime this month! Thanks! :D

      Trust me, I would love to! Y'know... someday when I discover how to write all the books in my head at once. XD Oh! Now I'm wondering if I can link it somehow to that dark, twisty, stabby thing I posted here forever ago, that one about Kai and Shin and some sort of rebellion. *squints* Nah, two entirely different plots. But a similar aesthetic, I suppose. (Never mind me. I'm rambling. XD)

      And I hope you have a wonderful month and enjoy your hiatus, my friend! Go forth! Read! Edit! Conquer! <333


    Also!! I haven't read anything by Rachelle Dekker yet, but this trilogy sounds a lot like the Eyes Wide Open series by her dad??? And what you said about not knowing whether Aaron was a Jesus-figure or a human being or just a prophet/wise person was EXACTLY how I felt about Jonathan in the Mortal series?? I was just... so confused. Because he really seemed like a Jesus-character, like Justin from the Circle trilogy, but he fell in love with a human woman and maybe made mistakes and it's weird. *confused eyeballs*

    1. Awww, no, my poor Kate! D': I do hope you get to see it sooner rather than later!!!

      I guess there are some similarities there! (I really loved Eyes Wide Open, btw.) I don't remember what I thought about Jonathan, actually, but I can see how there would be some confusion with him too. And Justin, come to think of it. Hmm... Maybe they're all supposed to be "types and shadows" of Jesus? (Kind of how different people throughout the Old Testament symbolized what Jesus would do? Such as Abraham being prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. But the Dekker novels could have made THAT more clear too.)

  5. Okay, that Loki meme is SO ACCURATE though...*sobs*

    Congratulations on the end of the school year! And on submitting a flash fiction piece, too!--just submitting stuff is an accomplishment in itself, methinks. :)

    1. Isn't it? I have so many emotions. Pardon me while I go curl into a ball until Avengers 4 comes out.

      Thanks, Megan! That's sweet of you. ^_^ We've got to keep putting ourselves out there, right? Hope you're having a wonderful May so far!

  6. Piglet's Big Movie....*cries*...that was one of my favorite movies when I was a wee I'm getting some heavy feels just thinking about it....

    But the Dragons in Our Midst series is what sparked my sister to pick-up reading, after struggling to read anything on her own. I enjoyed the series a bunch myself. Walter is amazing. And Shiloh. And Prof. Hamilton.

    (So you know when they call the Prof. and he's got this really long voicemail message??? I totally went and copied that for my phone. It's great listening to messages...there's always like, a few seconds of stunned silence before the caller stumbles through their message. XD it's great!)

    I would totally go to the Subplots and Services Shop. Probably run into a number of friends there, hanging out. Trade a few tales...yeah, it'd be great!

    1. Awwww, you too? *hands you tissues* It's such a sweet tale. <3

      That is SO neat to hear! The books that encourage reluctant readers to dive in are something special. Ahhhh, Walter! Shiloh! Prof! I just love all the characters so much.

      (Hahaha, I just read that part not too long ago! Was it in Tears of a Dragon or Circles of Seven? That is an EPIC IDEA. I should try it myself. XD)

      We'd probably all be there, to be honest. I can just imagine your typical moody-characters-sitting-at-the-bar-staring-moodily-into-their-drink scene, except it's all writers desperate for plot help. And we'd be a lot more jovial, since there would be so many of us there. XD

  7. School finished up for me when I turned in my last paper via email on the 28th. Three years down, one to go for my BA. Then, perhaps, another 5-7 years of grad school. That is yet to be determined fully.

    It sounds like you had a pretty satisfying April. It's nice to get a lot of work done, with that work punctuated by fun experiences.

    My April was a whole lot of work and stress, but I survived it, and the semester ended very well. I'm still recovering from it all, but I have time.

    1. Woohoo! You're getting so close! Well, if you don't consider grad school. :)

      It was productive, yes! And now I'm happy to turn my attention to more creatively-minded work throughout the summer.

      Glad you survived, and I hope your summer is refreshing.

  8. I find it funny how you say you're on Summer break, but then you're talking about how the snow is finally gone, and it's Spring :P

    1. I thought of that too, but "spring break" was the reading week I had at the tail end of winter... So the seasons/breaks don't match! :P But the other day it legitimately felt like SUMMER, at a bright and warm thirty degrees (Celsius). ^_^

  9. INFINITY WAR WAS NOT OKAY AND I JUST CAN'T WITH THAT MOVIE. T_T That picture could not be more accurate, lol. XD

    I personally would love a Subplots and Services shop. I would totally buy from you! XD

    1. I AM NOT OKAY EITHER. GAH. D': I'm STILL feeling about as shell-shocked as Loki in that picture, to be honest.

      Hahaha! "Here's your tea and subplots, Miss Maddie--piping hot!" XD

  10. I love Piglet's Big Movie! "Kanga, is that a fish in a tree?" is gold. XD Especially when you see a fish later in a tree. I die laughing at that part. INFINITY WAR WAS SO GOOD! MY FEELS HURT BUT IT WAS SO GOOD!

    1. I love that fish! Which is why I'm heartbroken that my DVD skips that little part of the movie. D: