Camp Update: How’s it going, Kate?

Hi, reader-peeps.

Galavant- I have a dragon
Yeah, this isn’t HTTYD, but it’s relevant.

Time for a Camp NaNoWriMo update!

Well, this is starting like many of my other NaNo events.

I write for a few days and then realize “This ain’t working”.

I think a lot of different things can contribute to the “This ain’t working”. Sometimes it’s me just being stuck early on. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing (yes, I used to be an extreme discovery writer. yes, this is very annoying.). Sometimes, it’s a problem with the story. The story is boring, too complex, it’s somehow in a genre i don’t like, it’s plot driven instead of character driven, etc, etc, etc.

19 Fun facts about HTTYD (gif-fest OC) - Imgur

This time, I think there are a lot of things contributing to “this ain’t working”. Very little of it is the story’s fault.

  1. This is an old story. This was my first NaNoWriMo story, in fact. And this is a story that I can’t let go of. Or rather, it’s characters I can’t let go of. But I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself in writing it. Because I want to get it right. I want it to be a good story.
  2. I’m scared. This was also the first story that ever got a real critique on it. I remember some of that critique. It’s not something I want to relive. I’m scared this story is just as messy as it was at first or that it will be. That it will scream that I haven’t learned as a writer.
  3. On the one hand, I have my mom loving this story to death, like I do, and wanting me to write it. On the other, I have my CP, who I have been lowkey hiding exactly what I’m writing because I feel slightly ashamed/embarrassed that I keep coming back to it instead of finding something new.
  4. This story may be too emotional for me right now. I’m tired. A couple different things are really stressing me out right now. I feel like I am being pursued by a bear, exit stage left, and can’t catch my breath. I’m not sure I want to write this level of emotions right now.
  5. I’m lazy. I see that this story might be hard so I get scared and back off. (Okay, not really. I hope. I’m worried that I actually am doing this.)

A lot of this boils down to “I care too much about what other people think”. And that’s a problem I’m not sure how to fix.

Image result for hiccup how to train your dragon crazy and weird gif

I’m sick of setting stories aside. But this has been part of my normal writing process for years. If I’m not feeling the story, I put it down.

But I wonder just how much of my concern for what other people think has leaked into my writing process. I write every day because I don’t want to look lazy. I see word counts go up, up, up at a rate of 10k a day and I look down at my own word count of 200. I see those people who write 10k do other things besides write and they are happy. I write 200 and feel like it took all day and feel like I am complaining too much or am asking for too much help.

Image result for hiccup how to train your dragon crazy and weird gif

 

When did writing become a “I have to do this” vs. “I want to do this”? When did I stop writing for the joy of writing and start writing to “have written”? When did my world become so fast paced around me and I felt the need to keep up and my stories aren’t keeping up?

Why do I care so much about story structure? I used to be a die-hard pantser and now I freak out if I don’t know what to do next. Like at all.

I don’t know. It’s entirely possible that I’m just freaking out because it’s a good week to do that.

 

I’ll be fine.

This story is not being thrown out. As I said, I can’t let go of it. But it might go on hold for a while longer. Or I might come back today/tomorrow/in a week/a month when things are calmer. Or I may work on it in bursts for the next five years, one scene at a time.

My CP suggested writing short stories for a while. I think I’m going to do that. Use up some plot bunnies. Finish some stories. Not feel like I’m failing someone. I want to get back to a point where writing stories is for fun and I’m not worried what other people think (well, not too worried). I want to write something crazy and weird and not care that it’s crazy and weird.

Image result for galavant dragon gif

 

 

Hopefully your Camp or even just your writing is going better than mine. How is it going, btw? Let me know in the comments!

Kate out.

 

Dragon Reviews The Last Dragonslayer

Hello, reader peeps!

@Missy Fisher. the only person I know who loves Peeps so much, that you may make these Peep Dioramas!!:
Jurassic Peep, anyone?

I have a treat for you.

This is Scorch.

Isn't he sweet?
Isn’t he sweet?

Scorch reads.

A lot.

11142150_1644245939139496_1411559314_n
He’s color-coordinated with Firefight.
Reading Embassy.
Reading Embassy.
Reading SAT prep book.
Reading SAT prep book.
Scorch even helps me beta-read. He tried to read ahead without me when we were reading Brett Michael Orr's book.
Scorch even helps me beta-read. He tried to read ahead without me when we were reading Brett Michael Orr’s book. Naughty dragon…

Now, as you all know, I do not review books often. And when I do, the reviews are short and… well, they aren’t great.

Scorch isn’t happy about this. Because, he tells me, I am holding us back from publishers’ ARC lists. I need to up my review game. Since we don’t get to the library very often, the majority of the books we read are bought. And as any reader anywhere might tell you, having to buy a book you are scared you might dislike is not fun. Also, books cost money, sometimes a lot. Which is a bit of a big detail to a young lady who currently doesn’t have a salary.

As you are imagining this argument between me and my dragon, imagine me rolling my eyes about now. I see my lovely literate lizard’s point, I really do. But I have lots of books I already own that I haven’t gotten to and if you get sent an ARC, you have to read and review it in a timely fashion and what if I don’t like the book, because then I have to give a bad review.

And then Scorch argues with me, saying that they still want an honest review (and that I always try to find something good about a book anyway) and I need to read more (which sounds like the baby dragon might want more time with me, now that I think about that) and if I really tried, I could write a good review.

To which, I reply “If you think it’s so easy, Gareth Scorch Pendragon, YOU write a review!”

There was a small silence and then he said, “…Can I? And can we post it on your blog?”

So, here we are. My ravenously reading reptile wants to write a book review.

For his first review, Scorch wanted to pick a book he knew well. He also wanted to pick one that he liked. Though we are planning a fabulous Mistborn reread, we haven’t gotten to it yet. And it’s been a while since we read The Scorpio Races. So, his next pick was a book we read just this past summer.

WIN_20150925_13_38_57_Pro

And now, without further ado, Scorch’s review of The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde.

Hi.

The Last Dragonslayer was a really good book, despite the name. It was pretty suspenseful for me, though (I am a dragon, after all).
imagine+the+most+horrible+terrifying+evil+thing+you+could+possibly+think+of+and+multiply+it...by+SIX.gif (166×150)The story was about a girl named Jennifer Strange who lives in a magic world with wizards and cars and magic and breakfast cereal. She runs an employment agency/ home for magicians, since her boss disappeared. One day, everyone starts hearing that the last dragon is going to die at a specific time. (SCARY!!!)

The dragons lived in a special land that no one but a dragonslayer or a dragonslayer apprentice could enter. The dragonslayers were only supposed to kill dragons if a dragon was attacking people. When the last dragon dies, the dragon land would go to whoever claimed it first. So people are staking out outside of the dragon lands, waiting for the dragon to be killed by the dragonslayer (which is very sad).

This involves Jennifer because all the wizards are freaking out about this thing called Big Magic that has to do with the dragon’s death. And then, she finds out that SHE is the last dragonslayer! (I was determined not to like her after that, but she is a very good character. And she couldn’t help being the last dragonslayer, really.)

My favorite character in the story was the Quarkbeast. He’s some kind of creature that says “Quark” and eats everything. And he’s big (I am not big).

There were lots of other fun characters, too. There were lots of wizards and magicians and a mean king named Snodd and a Mother Superior who is blind and really, really old. There is a kid named Tiger who is learning how to help Jennifer at the magic agency. And the dragon! His name was Maltcassion. And he was a BIG dragon and he was very polite to Jennifer, even though she was supposed to kill him. *sniff*

My favorite thing about this book was how fun it was. It was funny. Also, the author took a lot of things that seemed random and put them together. This book was a fantasy. But it took place in a city. And the dragon lands were a forest! And it seems to take place in a future America (or somewhere in Europe, maybe; Katie and I aren’t sure). But there are still cars and soda and breakfast cereal. And there are dragons and wizards and a guild of dragonslayers! Everything fit together so well!

I rate this book 4 out of 5 fireballs. I really liked it, but the whole concept of dragonslaying was terrifying! (Katie gave this book five stars. The dragonslaying didn’t bother her, except one little detail that freaked us both out and made us both want to close the book. But Katie was already freaked out from something scary she had seen that was not in the book. [Scorch, finish up, please.])

Here’s a blurb for the book! (That’s what Katie says they’re called.)

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery.

Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic.

It was so much fun writing this review! Maybe Katie will let me do more of these. [We’ll see, Scorch.]

DFTBA!

The Editing Diaries– Procrastination and Music

Welcome to my series, The Editing Diaries!

In a nutshell, I’m editing my story LASER and bringing you guys along for the ride. I want you to see how my process for editing novels works (and maybe I’ll figure out my process with you). So, buckle your seatbelts, we’re going on a trip!

~~~~~~~~~~

This week has not been very productive in terms of implementing fixes to problems. And I am going to come right out and admit that this post is procrastination. I am procrastinating editing.

Why?

Because my Macro list is only four items long but they are all rewriting. And one of those is a fairly large chunk. And just… ick.

I probably just need to get myself started. Grit my teeth and dive in.

But I’ll finish this post first. Because it will be short.

This week towards editing, I finished writing a brand new scene. A fencing scene. I love the idea of this scene, but oh my word processor, I do not like writing action scenes. There wasn’t even that much action by the time I was done…

I also figured out how to fix the problems on my Macro list with help from the fabulous Lily J. We got on video-chat Monday night and we eventually shook loose some solutions from our brains. And by eventually, I mean we started at about 9:15 and got off three hours later and the hardest one to figure out was about the story’s resident dragon. BUT WE DID IT.

Once I knew what I had to do to fix the problems, I broke those solutions down into my Major Micro and Minor Micro lists. Some Macro problems can be fix with a few sentences added. It’s amazing.

I still have a few Macro things to do, mostly rewriting including the climax or at least right before it… *sigh*

And I had better get on it.

That has been my editing this week. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that I am helping clean the house because my dear Grandma Marianne and Aunt Jennifer will be here on Wednesday and we are redecorating the bedroom that I share with 5 of my 6 sisters.

With that, I leave you a couple of awesome songs to ponder. They belong to two of my male characters. The songs are both love songs, but different in tone, as well as what they convey about the personalities of the two men I think they belong with.

 

Ohh yes. A good quote about procrastination.  And I even know the speaker!
(If you click the quote, there’s a good post Liam recently did about being productive. It’s not the post this quote came from, though.)

 

DFTBA!

Crucial Life Advice

So, earlier today, I was looking through a plot bunny notebook and discovered a list of tips…

 

Tips on how to behave when you are friends with a dragon.

Being a dragon’s friend is not always easy. There are several things you should keep in mind in order to safely and successfully have that friendship.

1. Be extra polite.

Dragons can breathe fire and they have terribly sharp teeth and claws. Provoking or even teasing a dragon can be disastrous.

2. Do not wear jewelry.

Dragons are hoarders and are particularly attracted to gold and gems, especially gold and rubies.

3. Do not bring up fantasy novels.

Dragons love debate and reading. If you bring up a fantasy novel, the dragon will either be offended by the portrayal of the antagonistic dragon  in the story or he will spend hours talking about the themes, characters, plot, setting, and all the inconsistencies he found.

4. Do not quote philosophers.

See point 3.

5. Do allow talk about the things that interests him above your own interests.

I believe that’s rather self-explanatory.

I hope this tips are helpful to you as you seek to befriend one of natures most majestic and dangerous creatures. Be sure to tune in next time when I give tips on how to treat 3rd degree burns and give you the phone numbers of today’s best knights in shining armor.

Good night, Night Vale.

^^I couldn’t help that.

DFTBA.

Books!

I have a bookshelf!

Part of my little corner.
Part of my little corner. That’s Katheleen and Toothless on the bed.
Ta-da!
Ta-da!
My lovely LOTR bookends!
My lovely LOTR bookends!
Gandalf side...
Gandalf side…
and Bilbo side!
and Bilbo side!
image
The top shelf.

So, this shelf is my favorites/fairytales shelf (funny how often those coincide). I have one of my dragon books, Inkheart (which I had to put a new cover on), The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland, Redwall, The Mistborn Trilogy, The Jack Blank Trilogy, Mama’s Bank Account, an encyclopedia about fairies, a collection of little poems about fairies, God of the Fairytale (which talks about how fairytales can be sort of allegorical), and Walking With Bilbo and Walking with Frodo (they are both devotionals). All of these are absolutely wonderful books.

The middle shelf.

On the left are notebooks and journals and a creative writing book. That is one of my baby dragons in the middle. (That’s Scorch. He’s a pen dragon, meaning he guards my pens.) On the left are a bunch of books I have yet to actually finish, with the exception of Beautiful in God’s Eyes. So, I have Seraphina, the BZRK trilogy, the second of the Fairyland series, a Jane Austen devotional, a book by Aidyl Ewol (the title escapes me at the moment… I think it’s Secret of the Cave Ptreodactyl), and Meet the Austins. So, yes, a lot of unfinished books…

The bottom shelf.
The bottom shelf.

This is the shelf with my writing resources, with the exception of the dragon book lying on it’s side (though I suppose it could be a resource…). I have a couple of college-level textbooks, Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, The Elements of Style, a book of adjectives (it has a much longer title which I shall look up and put in later), and the 2013 Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market (out of date, but still has good writing tips). I just realized that my beloved thesaurus is missing from this shelf!

And that is my bookshelf!

DFTBA!

Stuff

Just a quick little post.

First of all, today and tomorrow are the last days you can enter my giveaway. I’m giving away a copy of Begin by Ken Ham. Click on the picture to see it on Goodreads.

Begin

Two, I’m going to continue posting about dragons, since I only got in three or four posts this past month. Stay tuned for more dragon awesomeness.

Three… I don’t know. I’ll just wrap up here, I guess. Have a dragon.

DFTBA.

A Dragon-Slayer

The Legend of Saint George

 

Here’s another dragon legend. This one is from Europe– England, I believe. It’s also from the Middle Ages.

Saint George is the story of a knight who rescued a princess by slaying the dragon that kidnapped her.. Basic dragon-slaying story, yes?

“A DREADFUL DRAGON LAY WASTE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, TILL PERCHANCE A GOOD KNIGHT PASSED BY.

I SHALL HELP THEE IN THE NAME OF JESU CHRIST, SAID SIR GEORGE TO THE KING’S FAIR DAUGHTER.

VALIANT IN BATTLE, HE SMOTE THE FOUL BEAST, STRUCK A MORTAL BLOW, RESCUING THE PRINCESS AND SAVING HER PEOPLE.”

 

(Don’t forget about the giveaway. Only a few days left to enter!)

 

First Attempt

I was digging through a tote under my bed this past Saturday. I had come upstairs for a new notebook and found some other notebooks that had already been written in. So I did what any author would do and flipped through my ancient notebooks with the yellowing pages.

I found what I think might be my very first attempt at The Curse Fulfilled.

(I realize that those who haven’t known me for very long actually have no idea what The Curse Fulfilled is. It was my first NaNo novel (2011), which I queried agents with just this past May. It’s about a 12-year-old boy named Drake who finds out he’s cursed and has been turning into a dragon every night since his twelfth birthday.)

TCF first attempt
Drake’s name was Jake at first.

So many things changed during these first attempts. Drake had a different name. He was an orphan. I wrote in a third person omniscient that broke the fourth wall.

I’ve come pretty far since I wrote this bit in October 2011. But I still love this story to pieces.

 

Do you guys still have very first attempts of writing? Or of anything? Do they make you sentimental or make you cringe?

 

DFTBA.