Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo~The Calm Before the Storm...

Today is October the 31st of the year 2013. Tomorrow, the national phenomenon called NaNoWriMo will begin once more. I have some long days ahead of me.

I'm excited about NaNo this year, truly I am, but having 'won the game' in my first attempt and holding to that three more times after, I'm beginning to wonder if...well, if it's too easy for me.

What you're now thinking: “50,000 words. In a month? And you think that's too easy. What brand of chocolate are you eating and where can I get some?” (Truthfully—and surprisingly—no chocolate is involved.)

Last year I held the number goal within a T-Rex's arm-length five days before the 30th. In 2011, my word count from the 29th read: 48,794. 2010's second-to-last day was 49,254. The only time I've cut it close was in my first year, writing longhand, when I had to make up about 6,000 words before midnight on November 30th.

I know it's crazy, and there have been tense moments in the past that I've worried about getting my 50k, but I have gotten it. Four times in a row.

NaNoWriMo is not hard enough for me. This is the conclusion I've finally come to.

And it's a frightening conclusion. Why? Because NaNo is a challenge. It's designed to push your writing output limits, and mine have not been significantly strained since 2009.

Here's my second conclusion. Since NaNo isn't sufficiently difficult, I need to make it harder on myself.

(In part, this has already been done for me. My trusty-rusty computer of choice has been even more unreliable than usual of late, and I'm not sure I can trust it, let alone be efficient working on it, this year. My second choice in computers is a fine model, but one with an unfamiliar word-processor with a poor automatic dictionary, and controls and tools I've no idea what to do with.)

Below is one of several options I have been considering, and the one I believe I have chosen to employ:

Raise the word count goal. Normally, the quota of words per day (wpd) is about 1,667 words. If my goal was raised to 60k, that would equal 2,000 wpd. If I aimed for 70k, I'd need to churn out roughly 2,334 wpd.

So, for this year's NaNo Project—The Turq Wars—I'm aiming for that high goal of 70k, but if this proves far more difficult than I've imagined, I have the cushion of the 60k to fall back on. Even then, it's an added 10,000 words written over the course of one month.

Here's to NaNoWriMo 2013, may your pen be mightier than the sword, and may your sword be useful in chasing off plot bunnies.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Liebster Award

What is the Liebster Award?  The Liebster Award, as best as I can figure, is a judge-less award/ chain-letter. Blogs can be nominated for the award when they have under either 200 or 3,000 followers/readers or somewhere in the bizarre between.

To accept the award, one creates a blog post which links back to the blogger who nominated you. Answer the list of ten questions they ask. And nominate anywhere from 3 to 10 others, ask them ten questions, and let them know they've been nominated.

Here are the questions Ophelia asked me to answer when she nominated me for the Liebster Award. (Thank you, Ophelia!)

1) What is your favorite thing you've ever written?
I'll have to go with the ballad "Stranger on the Wind". It's still rough in patches, but I love it.

2) What blog post on your blog has the most views?
That would be my NaNoWriMo Week Two post with a whopping 135 page views.  ;)

3) If you could meet any currently living author, who would it be?
*thinks* Well. My first pick would be Andrew Peterson, but since I've 'technically' met him already—at a concert—I'll go with someone else: Gerald Morris, not to be confused with Gilbert Morris. I love the Squire's Tale series and it'd be so amazing to talk to him about Arthurian legends and writing stories.

4) What is approx. the most words you've written in a day?
I record that during NaNoWriMo and have no clue the rest of the time. On November 27th of last year, writing The Last Storming, I clocked in 6,210 words.

5) What is the last book you read?
How to Catch a Bogle, by Catherine Jinks. I enjoyed reading this children's book-the idea was original and interesting, the writing was clever, and I finished it quite happily. However, for a kid's book, it had rather one too many foul words, so I probably wouldn't recommend it. :P

6) If you could demand a rewritten ending to any book, which one would it be?
Green, by Ted Dekker comes to mind. Or perhaps Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens, the last as of yet in this series. And that's exactly why. I don't believe Mr. Sanderson has any inclination to tell us the ending of the story.

7) Do you have any books/blogs on writing that you'd recommend?
Yes, definitely. My favorite books on writing so far are Wordsmithy, by Douglas Wilson; No Plot? No Problem!; by Chris Baty; and James Scott Bell's Conflict and Suspense. 
As for blogs, I recommend that of Anne Elisabeth Stengl. Currently one of my favorite authors of Christian Fantasy and a prolific blogger, her Friday Tidbits are especially wonderful.

8) What book to movie adaptation do you find the most annoying? ;)
Prince Caspian. (Yeah, you never saw that one coming did you?) It's too dark—remember that whole extra battle where everyone died? Also, Caspian was one of a very few characters Lewis ever described, a description the filmmakers utterly ignored. Then there's Susan falling in love with Caspian and—in my mind, the worst of these deviations—Peter's greed over Caspian's throne, which was opposite of the book.

9) What genre are you least likely to read?
Paranormal Romance. (Anything paranormal or romance, actually.)

10) If you could write a book based off of one song, what song would it be? ... And if you'd like to answer, Why?
Legend of McBride, by Mark Schultz. Hands down. The song is already an epic story and one I have tried and failed to recreate multiple times. It's just too perfect in the song to do anything with to make it better, but I would so love to write it as a novel. This is one of those very few songs that I can listen to and then instantly restart at least five times. I never tire of hearing it.

Now, I get to nominate other bloggers—the rules for the Liebster Award are rather jumbled, and the specific numbers are different in every place I look. I nominate:

So, my dear nominees. Here are my questions:

1)      Who is the earliest Main Character of a story that you can remember writing?
2)      If you had the perfect place for reading/writing, what and where would it be?
3)      (spring-boarding from one of Ophelia's questions because, as she said, it's just so good:) Name one song that is a perfect theme for one of your stories, or for a story you wish you could write.
4)      Who is the one person you believe to have inspired your writing the most?
5)      Name one specific location (a museum, shop, house, mountain peak, etc.) that you'd love to visit.
6)      What is your favorite book you've read this year?
7)      You're at a costume party with friends. What is your costume?
8)      Name five actors you would cast as five of your characters.
9)      Who is your favorite character in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy?
10)   Lastly, I'm going to use one of Ophelia's again: If you could meet any currently living author, who would it be?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Save the Jewels of Anniera (or) A Story Finds Its End

Hullo, all!

I am here (once again) to tell you about my favorite author/singer/songwriter on the face of this wide, green earth and of the absolutely wonderful Christian Fantasy he has been creating for us over the last few years.

A tale that is soon to find its ending.

(Best bookstore ever...)

The Wingfeather Saga consists of On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North! Or be Eaten, and Monster in the Hollows. Due to the spoiler-effect it might have on those who have yet to read these fabulous treasures (and if you haven't, you must), I'll not say here what the title of the upcoming fourth book is.

I regret that I've not been following author Andrew Peterson as closely as perhaps I much as I should be of late, or this post would have come a whole lot sooner:

(Beware the Toothy Cows!)

The Wingfeather Saga, now being published by Rabbit Room Press, is in the final stages of a terribly exciting Kickstarter Campaign for Book Four's upcoming release. For those who pledge their hard-earned cash towards helping the book along, a whole passel of extras are being added to the package. (Including pre-release digital copies of Book Four, signed copies of select books, hardback editions, exclusive illustrations, and more. Lastly, the two I'm most excited about: audiobooks read by the author himself, and your own copy of Pembroke's Creaturepedia!)

I can't tell you all how much I am fan-girling over this series right now. It's probably not healthy...

I encourage all of you to read these wonderful stories, as well as help raise funds for the fourth book over these last few days—while simultaneously getting your hands on all the fabulous extras to reward your support!

Teaser for Book #4:

Rallied behind [spoiler], the [spoiler] of Anniera, the people of [spoiler] are prepared for war. But high atop the Killridge Mountains in Castle Throg, Gnag the Nameless broods over dark secrets, and those secrets may prove more than a boy, even a [spoiler], can bear. 
While Leeli, Podo, and Nia, fight to save [spoiler], [spoiler] and [spoiler] strive to overthrow the Fangs of Dang and liberate the long-enslaved people of Skree. 
But [spoiler] and [spoiler], will be driven into darkness to face a nameless evil (that has no name). Dragons will rise. The Jewels will shine. And in the end, a [spoiler].”
(Okay, I just could not resist doing that.)

Seriously, though, check out the Wingfeather Saga. You won't regret it!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Many Happy Returns!

Wow. Do you realize it's been one entire year since the first post on this blog? The Novel Season: November was published October 7th 2012, which makes today...

Transcribing These Dreams' First Official Birthday!
*noise makers go off*
*throws streamers and glitter in the air*
*hands out cupcakes*
*kazoo chorus buzzes 'Happy Birthday'*

I didn't know what I was doing when I started and—surprise, surprise—I still don't. But it's been so great this first year. I've learned a lot about blogging, reviewing, and writing in this time and I hope TTD's second year has just as many lessons in store!

So now I'm going to share some boring stats, because this is the only time I get to do so:

Followers: I have, to this date, 8 wonderful followers! Thank you all for making this much more fun!

Posts: 48 posts! This crushes my original hope of having one post a month. :D
* 20 book reviews (not including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and counting Floors and 3 Below separately). This is probably twenty percent of the books I read this year--and none of the classics I read ever got reviewed!
* 18 writing articles—basically just me ranting about the things I've discovered in the hopes that it will somehow be helpful.
* And 9 'other' posts, about owls and books and writing contests and the like.

Page Views: A whopping 2,629 page views! Isn't that fantastic?

Most Popular Post (besides book reviews): 
NaNoWriMo: Week Two and a few extra days... Viewed 111 times.

My Favorite Post:
Ah, this would have to be Far-Fetched Fairy Tales: The Goose Girl (originally posted under the title: 'Friday's Tale: The Goose Girl'), mostly because of my ridiculous rendition of the fairytale and the even more ridiculous original. And also because I love Shannon Hale's Books of Bayern series.

My Favorite Book Reviewed: I have to go with the most recent: The Runaway King.

Favorite Blog Images:
I just love this picture of Bo, the Barred Owl we rescued. It's a grainy photograph, but you almost see the expressions on Bo's face as he peers up at the camera. (From the post Hospitality for a Feathered Friend.)

I found this one on Pinterest, and just love it so much. The little astronaut in his pajamas, reading books up by the moon. (I used this one in the post A Day in the Life of a Bibliophile.)

Some Interesting Factoids:
1) When Google searches for my name, this blog and my ApricotPie account are the first results—which isn't saying much, but it's cool seeing my name at the top of any Google search. :D
2) TTD's Audience: According to my Blogger stats, the country with the second most views of my blog besides the United States (which has 1,341 page views) is Germany (at 171). They are followed by Russia(153), China(136), UK(102), France(54), Canada(53), India and Poland (tied at 29), and Ukraine (at 25.

3) Lastly, my blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award! (post upcoming)

(I just thought this was an amusing picture.)
The Best is Yet to Come”
Paul Colman

Oh come hear a story, oh come gather friends

I'll tell you a tale, though is isn't done yet

You saints and you sinners, you daughters and sons

The best is yet to come...

So lift up your glasses, yeah raise them on high

Here's to the failures we're leaving behind

Cheers to the future, 'cause it's just begun

Oh the best, oh the best, oh the best

The best is yet to come!

Yeah, this is our story, but not where it ends

As long as we're breathing, it isn't done yet

Let's toast to the battles we haven't yet won

Because the best is yet to come...

So happy first birthday, Blog!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Last Storming & The Turq Wars

September ended rather sooner than I would have liked. And while I'm disappointed that I didn't finish editing The Last Storming before October, I am glad to see how far the story has come.

The Last Storming, where it stands right now is approximately 37,000 words in length. (After some major cutting of lengthy sections from NaNo...)

There are still gaps in the information, chinks in the armor if you will, but the holes are being slowly patched up as best as I am able to do so.

Even though the story still needs work from where it stands now, the time for editing has passed, at least until December. For this month, my writing goals are set on world-building, character-building, and plotting for this year's upcoming NaNoWriMo Project: The Turq Wars.

The Turq Wars promises to be a fascinating tale—we'll just see if it lives up to that promise. Sequel to TLS and another exploration into the steampunk genre, I'm excited about the open world of possibilities here, as well as the rather uncommon elements to be included.

TTW happens partially inside the city from the last novel, but half of the story is played out on the ravaged plains of an African-esque countryside. That's right. Lions and rhinos and elephants—oh my! :D

This amazing mechanical cheetah was created by the genius of Andrew Chase and it, along with some of his other creations, inspired The Turq Wars into existence: