Monday, March 31, 2014

Embarking on (not quite) Camp

Oh, hello there! Excuse the mess. *scoops up laptop, piles of paper, pens, and pencils and tosses them in a suitcase* I’m headed off to camp you see, and trying to get ready. It’s a month long camp that starts tomorrow. But don’t worry, I have no intention of stepping out of the house to get there.

That’s right. This is no ordinary camp. It’s a camp for my imagination. Camp NaNoWriMo!!!

CampNaNo Banner

Yep, yep, yep. I’m jumping on the CampNaNo bus and headed off to the trail of creativity for the month of April. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo offers an alternate (or additional) NaNo in the month’s of April and July called Camp NaNoWriMo, in case NaNo in November isn’t enough for you. Normally November is plenty for me, and I’m not ready to attempt another NaNo until a year has rolled around, but this year is different.

Fallen Matter CoverI’ve been madly working on my current WIP Fallen Matter. I’m hoping to get the first draft of this thing written as fast as possible, but sometimes I need a little push to get things done. So that’s where Camp comes in. The lovely thing about CampNaNo is that it’s far more lax than the official NaNoWriMo and allows you to set your own word count goals. So instead of the fixed 50k, you can set your goal for 10k to 999,999 words! (But is it even possible to type that fast. . .?) I don’t want to be stressing about writing all month, so I set my goal for a doable 30k, just enough to get most of the rest of Fallen Matter written, but not too much where I have to ignore life to do it. Squeezing in 1k a day shouldn’t be too bad. I always intend to do that anyway but it doesn’t happen much. . .

It took me quite a while to decide if I wanted to commit to Camp or not, but now that I’ve official decided to do it, I’m extremely excited. I’m having a blast with Fallen Matter, and now that I have something to keep me accountable to write each day instead of, you know, wasting my time looking for picture for its Pinterest board and such, I think things are really going to take off.

So are any of you doing CampNaNo in April? If you are, please let me know! You’re welcome to check out my page HERE. I’d love to share the journey with you!

I just hope I remembered to pack my creativity.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Sometimes I like being in the midst of a crowd,
then other times I prefer solitude.

Usually I smile at the sight of sunlight,
yet often I relish the sound of rain tapping on the rooftop.

I love when life takes a busy turn,
but I also enjoy the quiet, lazy days.

Noise—children playing, the TV going, music blaring, people chattering—thrills me,
yet silence comforts me.

I adore lyrical music,
and instrumental.

I’m an extrovert,
but have introvert tendencies.

I really dislike touching,
but I hug everybody.

I love the outdoors,
but I. . .hate the outdoors.

I’m extremely organized,
in a chaotic way.

I’m well known for being very talkative and loud,
I’m notorious for being exceedingly quiet.

I can act like a 4 year old,
or a 93 year old.

Some days, I’m really not sure who I am. My personality, taste, interests is so contradictory I feel as though I break the universe sometimes. I seem to have strange opinions on things, or more like two contradictory opinions on the same thing. I couldn’t really tell you who I am because I contradict myself in almost every area of my life. And yet I’m a pretty consistent person. See? Contradictory!

Sometimes, this fact frustrates me. Why can’t I just be one thing or the other? Why both? It’s weird and confusing. Who AM I?

You know who I am? I’m a daughter of the King. God created me to fulfill His purposes. I am who I am because He made me that way. I’m learning to embrace my peculiar personality (or shall I call it personalities?). In fact, it’s actually rather convenient seeing both sides to almost everything in life. I tend to be the mediator when arguments arouse between my friends or family, because usually I understand each person’s opinions. I can go watch The Avengers with my brother and turn around and watch a Disney princess movie with my sister. I’m content with laying around watching TV all day with one person or go romping through the woods with another.

There’s no rule that claims I have to be one particular thing. I enjoy exploring all the different aspects of life. Being two things at once. Delighting in all of God’s creations.

As long as I’m solid and constant in embracing HIS love, being a little mismatched is okay with me.

Mismatched Socks

Friday, March 21, 2014

Literary Sunshine

Rachel Heffington was discussing pleasure reading, giving a list of books that are comfortable and pleasant to spend time with. As a result, Mirriam over at Wishful Thinking continued the discussion with a form of a tag involving her list of "Cosy Books". Those books that you choose to read in your favorite chair next to the window, with the sound of rain pat pat pattering on the windowpane. Or the ones you take on a picnic to read under the shade of your favorite tree. Those stories that are quiet, unassuming. They don’t raise your adrenaline and get your heart pounding. They’re simply there for your pleasure, to bring a smile to your face and lift your spirits, like a small patch of sunshine.

Book Outside

I rarely read such books as these. I like fast-paced plots, grueling journeys, dangerous quests, head-scratching mysteries. But on occasion, if the mood is right, you may find me cracking open the cover to something more quiet and cozy.

So here’s my list of “cozy books”. . .

Anne of Green Gables Cover

Anne of Green Gables

I can’t think of any series that describes this type of book better. I think I was 13 years old the first time I read this series and I’ve never been the same since. These books transform your perspective on life, like pulling a curtain on the window to let the sunshine in. After reading these books, everything seemed brighter, lovelier, better. Life became so much more radiant. I believe every single girl in the world should read this series.

Betsy-Tacy Cover

Betsy-Tacy Series

Despite my love for fantasy, and the fact that I rarely stray from anything beyond, this is one of my absolute favorite series in history. There was never a point in my life where I didn’t like to read. I’ve always been fascinated by books, by words, but when I started reading this series I think that was the moment that I really realized how magical reading was. It is simply a fun little historical series about Betsy and her journey through life, from five years old all the way to marriage. I honestly cannot imagine not enjoying these fun stories. And did I mention they’re based off the author’s own life? How fun is that?

Little Women Cover

Little Women

Obviously this book belongs here. What’s more cozy than following the escapades of Jo and Meg and Beth and Amy? I never grow weary of their story.

The Secret Garden Cover

The Secret Garden

Another one of my all time favorites. Though maybe not quite as lighthearted as the previously mentioned stories, there’s still something cozy and pleasant about this book that brings me to it time and time again. I love spending quiet moments in that garden, even if it is within imagination.

Peter Pan Cover

Peter Pan

Yes, I broke the cycle, didn’t I? Although I still seem to be doing classics. But, really, PETER PAN. I could read this book over and over and over and. . .oh wait, I already have. Ahem. I just never grow tired of it! And though yes, there are some perilous journeys and action-packed pirate fights, I still get a sense of coziness while reading this book for some reason. I cannot pinpoint why, but just thinking about it fills me with a sense of comfort. Maybe that’s it. It’s a childhood favorite, probably one of the very first things that introduced me to that wonderful world of fantasy. While reading about Neverland, it makes me feel as though I’m returning home. And that, I think, may be the reason it’s so cozy to me.

Howl's Moving Castle Cover

Howl’s Moving Castle

Now I’ve really veered away from my pattern! And this may be an extremely strange choice for the type of book I supposed to be listing. But these are my cozy books, right? Not books thought pleasant by the public. And, honestly, Howl’s Moving Castle is probably the most pleasant book I’ve ever read. There’s something about it that makes me feel so. . .happy. Even if there was no plot, I’d still love it. In fact, the moments where nothing much is going on are my favorite parts. I could hang out in Howl’s castle all day listening to Howl and Sophie bickering, Calcifer complaining, Michael studying. . .ah, I just love it! It makes me indescribably happy! I could read it for eternity and still want more.

So there’s my picks for cozy books. And though usually I would choose a more thrilling read, there’s something special about the quiet, pleasant story every now and again. We all need a little patch of sunshine from time to time.

What about you? What are your top  “cozy books”?Reading Outside

Monday, March 10, 2014

Queen Navi the Great commands you all to read her words

Hello, random human people. My name is Navi (I prefer Queen Navi the Great and Wonderful but no one around here ever bothers with proper titles, the insolent peasants. Instead they often resort to horrid nicknames such as “Nav nav”, ‘tis a disgrace to Her Majesty).

Navi in Sunglasses

Christine is my human. My human has had the audacity to leave Her Greatness for an entire week! By Fido’s tail, you read that correctly. She has left me, her ever gracious, loving, and kind queen, for a week’s length of time. Thus I have taken over this strange thing with the bright screen she spends far too much time using when she should be doting over me in her absence. I raise my paw for you to hold your growls of disgust, because there is far worse to tell. That’s correct, it gets even more atrocious. Not only has my impudent human taken it upon herself to depart without my consent, I have heard tell she has settled herself within a house ruled by yet another poodle! A poodle that isn’t me! Her Majesty’s luscious, silvery hair sticks up on end just thinking of it! Why, my human may be using her hands—hands that are specifically engineered to pamper to the high calling needs of Her Majesty—to. . .to. . .scratch behind his ears! It’s a disgrace! Oh, how my sharp teeth bare.

I demanded she not go. . .

Navi in Suitcase

But she left anyway! Rebellious human.

You must all understand that Her Majesty has needs, needs my human was appointed to fulfill. It is a demanding job, mine is, keeping this household (properly known as my kingdom) in order. How anyone ever functioned here without me is a mystery I will never solve. I must assure the other dogs, my subjects, the lesser ones, behave themselves properly and learn from Her Majesty’s knowledge on how to tend to the humans.

Navi, Teddy, and Baby

The poor dimwitted humans would never know how to survive without us, me more specifically. So, naturally, in return they cater to our own few needs. Not that Her Majesty would ever demand much. Besides which, my human enjoys serving me, that much I know. So why she would leave for many days—humans are so senseless!

Who is going to give me my daily massages? (Which Christine refers to as—I can hardly repeat it—tummy rubs! Humans have such disgraceful names for things.) Who is going to lift Her Majesty up into the bed when Her Majesty’s delicate paws are far too tired after overseeing her kingdom to jump up herself?

Navi in Bed

And what about my allotted amount of food from each of my human’s meals? I even thank her distributions by licking clean her plate for her until it glistens, and then go as far as to ask Christine’s other family members for their plates so I might clean them as well.

Hungry Navi

Why would she leave my kindness? Depart from the pleasure of serving me? To a kingdom of another! Scandalous!

My human will have many massages to do and treats to provide once she finally returns from this “visit with friends” so she calls it. Though Her Majesty calls it a disgrace to humans everywhere, instead. What a bad example my human is being to you other humans. Do not follow in her shoes (why do you humans wear those despicable things, anyway? It hurts quite frightfully so when you large, clumsy humans step on our frail paws while wearing such ridiculous devices).  Do you not all realize it is your sole purpose to serve us? You may leave the castle for an hour’s worth of time once a week to purchase our sustenance and items that strengthen our teeth, such as toys, so we may protect you puny people, but otherwise your place is at our side.

Now if you’ll excuse me I believe I hear someone in the kitchen. I must stand right at their feet and clean any morsels the clumsy thing drops. Oh, the things I do for these humans! And then my own leaves me for a week’s time. Disgraceful, just disgraceful.

Her Majesty the Queen,

Queen Navi

Monday, March 3, 2014

“I don’t know who I am.”

Isn’t it funny how we can go almost our whole lives thinking we dislike something, only to discover we like it quite a lot? For 20 years of my life I thought I didn’t like cheesecake. Then one day I gave it a shot. Guess what? I now sing ballads with my little sis about our love for cheesecake. Give me a slice and you’ll have a very happy Christine.

Strawberry Cheesecake

I tend to do this a lot in life. A few years ago, if you asked me do I like sci-fi, I would have made a face and given you an emphatic, “No.” But now? Sci-fi is cool! Now, I’m still picky with my sci-fi. I’m not a Star Trek sort of gal (sorry, trekkies) but at the mention of Doctor Who I’ll squeal like a 4 year old in the toy aisle of Wal-Mart.

Doctor Who Excitement

My tastes in things have broaden greatly as I’ve gotten older. Used to my reading material was strictly fantasy, but these days I’ve been apt to pick up some different genres now and again. (You still can’t beat fantasy though.)

Last year I wrote a steampunk, time travel story. The first non-medieval, fantasy story I’ve ever attempted. (With the exception of this modern story about a girl and her horse I wrote when I was 9 but. . .) It’s strange enough for me to veer away from fantasy with reading, but to write something different? Absurd bits of absurdity! And NOW I’m writing a superpower, dystopian, sci-fi novel. Which brings me to my main point. . .

This book I’m writing, Fallen Matter, is set in first person, as I mentioned in this post. I also mentioned in said post how I’ve always detested first person. Detested it! I’m always so disappointed when I find an intriguing book only to discover it’s in first person. I’m not sure what puts me off so with first person. It feels so. . .limited. You can only ever see through the point-of-view (POV) of one character. I’ve always enjoyed multi-POV books, seeing a broader picture. FP feels confined, I didn’t like that. I knew I would never, ever, ever write in FP.

Then Fallen Matter happened. I first got the idea for a prologue for it, and the words kept coming out in first person inside my head. No matter how hard I tried to force it into third person, it just wouldn’t do. It demanded to be FP. So, with a huff of frustration, I resented and started writing.

“Huh, this isn’t so bad.”

The words flowed so freely. I wasn’t confined, I was soaring through the infinite human brain. I didn’t feel limited at all as I began my story. In fact, being able to be right inside the mind of my main character gave me a chance to picture her circumstances exactly as she did, to feel her pain and confusion, and describe it far more accurately than if I was writing in the disconnected way of third person. I was seeing the world through her eyes. I was her.

BreighlyFallen Matter’s MC, Breighly

Intimate. That’s what writing in first person is. There’s an intimacy there that I’ve never experienced with third person. You and your main character are of one mind—feeling, seeing, experiencing all the same things. With my other characters, I feel sorry for them, I cringe when they get hurt, tear up when tragedy strikes them, but it has always been like viewing their adventures through a screen. When I write in FP, it’s as if the adventure is happening to me. All the pain and sorrow strikes me. And as such, my writing has far more feeling behind it I think.

That very thing I vowed to never do, is the very thing that has improved my writing. Isn’t life funny?

Now that I’ve personally experienced writing in FP, felt that deep connection with the character, I’ve discovered FP is actually really nice in all forms. The unthinkable happened the other day. I picked up a book I had bought at a secondhand bookstore and really knew nothing about, cracked open the cover, and glanced at the first page. Then, I saw. This book was in first person. And you know what my first thought was? “Oh, cool. I can’t wait to start reading.” WHAT? Can it be so?! After my thought, I realized what I had done. Normally, I would have groaned in disappointment, but instead I was genuinely excited. It happened. I learned to like FP. Shock of all shocks! Who was this girl enjoying FP?!

I don't know who I am

I haven’t completely converted though. I do think I still prefer third person a little bit more. You still can have that deep connection with characters. Most books are still written from a specific person’s POV, whether in TP or FP.  But there’s just something special about really seeing the world through their eyes. Still though, TP is great, and I think I’ll always love it more. At least for reading, it’s yet to be determined if I find writing in FP more enjoyable. I think a good dose of both is best. But for right now, I’m very, very much enjoying FP.

So take it from me, folks, the girl who has always been far too frightened as well as stubborn to venture out from her handful of interests. Try new things. You might be surprises.

Keep trying new things

What about you? Do you prefer third person or first person? A little mix of both?

(The post title is kind of the main quote from Fallen Matter because the MC has no memory and can’t figure out who she is. I thought it was fitting.)

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