Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Another NaNoWrimo Pep Talk

NaNoWriMo starts in a few hours. If you aren't aware of what NaNoWriMo is, you're out of luck. Also: pleased to meet you. NOW RUN.

Now that that is out of the way, I'd like to say that though I will not be fully participating this year (I mean, I will be writing this November, and probably more than usual, but I'm not going to try 50,000 words again for the third time this year), I am still very excited for November first to come along. I will now explain why in a list, because as you're probably aware of by now--if you've been reading this blog for a while--I like making lists.

  1. About 100% of my writing friends have been made somehow or another because of NaNoWriMo. While I meet ("meet") a lot of people online during November, only a few usually remain by the end of the month, and then I have these lovely writing buddies to clutch onto hang out with the rest of the year. 
  2. I would most definitely not like writing as much as I do now had my mom not introduced me to NaNoWriMo in 2010, so I suppose it's natural for me to feel excited about NaNo even though I am not exactly participating. 
I have won four of these insane competitions in the past two years, the novels themselves coming out as broken specimens that get better in writing each time I participate but are still utter junk-piles (if that sentence made any sense the first time though let me know). And so excuse me if you think I'm not qualified to give NaNoWriMo advice, but here goes:

Do not be afraid to fail. 

This seems like an easy enough thing at first, until suddenly you're 20K words into this story and you're invested in your characters and their lives, and suddenly you don't want to make them do this and that because it will alter the plot ever-so-slightly. 

 Let me tell you a story.

The first NaNo I ever got serious about (the July version of Camp) and won I sucked at. Utterly sucked. But let me tell you, it was fun to write. I loved it for a while, and once I was finished I promptly realized how much it sucked and tossed it in the trash bin. 

Everything aside, that sucky manuscript made me a better writer. That is why I do NaNoWriMo--even multiple times a year. It makes me a better writer. It's fun. It gets me to loosen up and try stuff I wouldn't normally. 

Don't be afraid afraid to fail, guys. It's one of the best snippets of writing advice I've ever gotten.

Goodbye October, and Hello November.

Monday, October 29, 2012


  1. Idea
  2. Forming that idea into something bigger
  3. Initial write
  4. More chapters
  5. More chapters
  6. More chapters
  7. --insert breakdown and procrastination here--
  8. More chapters 
  9. More chapters
  10. More chapters
  12. --insert break--
  13. Revise
  14. Revise
  15. Revise
  16. Revise
  17. Discover plot holes
  18. Revise
  19. Revise
  20. Revise

Friday, October 26, 2012

*Flour House References*

I don't usually post twice in one day but I figured I'd indulge since it is my birthday. Now that I'm safe at home and ready to have some rest (I don't know why but after sitting in the car for twelve hours I want to sit still even more), I can recount the day. 

The horse (who I will now lovingly refer to as Oleander--Ollie for short) turned out to be very docile, friendly, and is going to grow up to be a massive horse, not so much in height but in chest width and muscle and such. Ollie is very pretty already, and after I rode him my parents and I agreed to buy him. Right now we've put a down payment on him and we'll pick him up in a couple of weeks when we bring our Excursion and horse trailer.

On Sunday I have a violin concert for the local orchestra, and we're playing some of my very favorite violin pieces, such as Dance Macabre, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, and The Harry Potter Theme by the beloved John Williams.

My Birthday and a Horse

Today is my fifteenth birthday. As I write this we're driving up to Topeka (the capitol of Kansas, and also the setting for one of my novels) to look at a horse. I'm excited, and hoping that this horse will work out for us and that my parents will buy him for me.

I think he's very pretty in the photos provided on his profile picture. I'm anxious to meet him.

That said, it's also my birthday. 

And finally being a year older has now opened a little space in time for me to post about how it felt to be fourteen. 

I have to say that I didn't really like it. I mean, age-wise it was okay, but I was (am) constantly looked down upon by adults because of my age. People acted like I was below them simply by being young. When I told a published author that I was an aspiring author, she sent me a (admittedly nice) note telling me not to bother yet, because I was not an adult and being a writer is for adults. 

I feel guilty now, driving up to go look at a horse who needs trained, me being the possible one to do it. I feel like I'm under-qualified, like I'm an eight year-old aspiring to be an astronaut. Like training horses is for adults, because they're the only ones qualified to do it.

Being fifteen is no different. Pretty much, until I reach the age of thirty or so, people will always look down on me because I'm young. Because they assume I'm stupid and immature.

I'm young, and the thought is almost resentful because adults have taught me that it is. 

One of the (many) blogs I follow recently wrote a post about reading John Green's novels. As you can tell by reading back into the archives of this blog, I am a fan of John Green. He writes about people very well, describing them not as cliches but as individuals. His works detail love stories, illnesses, trips to the Netherlands, adventures, road trips--and above everything else, that teenagers are people too

A quote from the aforementioned blog that I follow:
The thing I think I like best about John Green as a person and a storyteller is that he treats teenagers like human beings. Why do you think he has such an enormous fanbase? Because he speaks to young adults as his equals, both physically and through his novels, and acknowledges that the things that happen to them and go through their heads are worth absolutely no less than anything that occurs to the adult brain or the adult soul. They are not kids, they are people.
I heartily recommend following her, because she writes like a wise man and has very pointed views of the world.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Cat, Percy

My cat Percy is no longer a kitten. Earlier this March he turned one years old, and grew the size of our largest cat, Harry (who I might add is the size of a small elephant).

 Pictured here is him (right) snuggled up next to his brother, George. They sleep together a lot, and they're also caught running around the house and playing with each other frequently. It's mostly Percy's idea, but George is a good sport and plays along with him. 

In fact, Percy has gotten most of the family cats--except for Hermione, who you can find a little more about in this post--into moving more. Cats naturally spend two-thirds of their life sleeping, and the other third eating, grooming themselves, other nasty business, and playing.

Percy also likes lounging. When I walk into the living room, I can usually find him perched on top of a couch or on the floor, gazing forlornly around the room with half-closed eyes. 


Percy has grown a lot in the past year. Aside from growing really tall, he's also gotten fat; he now has that characteristic fat roll on his tummy that most of our male cats possess. It's okay, though, because I still love him. 

The day that he dies is going to be a sad one, because I've become accustomed to carrying him around the house and feeding him when he sits on me and such.

... And to think he nearly died. To read that story included with graphic photos, click this link here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween and Doctor Who

Halloween is coming right around the corner, then soon after Thanksgiving, and then finally Christmas. My birthday is on Friday, and I will be spending all day at the homeschooling class--perfectly acceptable, if you ask me. 

But first I'd like to talk about Halloween. 

Every year it's always been a big deal in my family what we're going to dress up as for Halloween. Up until a few years ago, we all dressed in themes (my favorite being Harry Potter, my brother dressed as Harry, our little sister Ainsley dressed as a fat dragon, and Elizabeth, Hope and I dressed as witches), but now we just dress as whatever, so long as we put together our costumes. 

This year I've gotten really into tv shows, like Once Upon a Time, Sherlock, and Doctor Who. I've also read quite a few books, and so I would like to dress up as something nerdy. Last year I dressed as this obscure book character that in hindsight wasn't the best costume because it looked cheap even though I did work on it. 

I have made my decision, though, after a lot of deliberation: I would like to be the Eleventh Doctor from Doctor Who

I was going to dress as Loki from The Avengers, but I really feel that I cannot replicate his warrior horns and staff. I also contemplated Katniss Everdeen for awhile, but then decided against it purely based on the fact that there will be a million little Katniss-es running around on the 31st. 

So why did I choose the Eleventh Doctor?

But no. All things aside, I think he's cool. Hope (older sister) is trying to talk me out of it because a) he's a boy and b) tweed jackets are apparently exorbitantly expensive. I think my mind is set, though--unless I can't get the stuff to put the costume together, then I would like to go as him for Halloween.

What are you going to dress up as for Halloween? Or a better question is, are you going Trick-or-Treating at all?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Productive Week

The past few days have been very productive for me. I laid stepping stones in our yard, unloaded a truckload of hay bales with a few friends for a job, finished a section of the backyard fence with my dad, planted different assortments of mums, finished my huge load of homework for the homeschool class this week, and slept a lot between gymnastics-practice/lesson. So there hasn't been much time to write a post (or so I tell myself).

I haven't been writing much lately, though I did revise a few chapters to one of my stories and uploaded them to Figment, and I got a few friendly comments from readers. I really like reading comments on my stories, good or bad (but preferably good); it gives me some real motivation. I haven't gotten a really horrible review for a while (not since the-book-which-shall-not-be-named) which is also nice.

After this week I'm tired, but happy. Like the animals in Animal Farm (spoilers coming up), how most of the time they're hungry and tired but they're proud of their farm and their 'freedom'  and what they've done so they're also happy. 

Okay, goodnight.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Late Acceptance

Back in August NevilleGirl nominated me for an award. It's taken awhile, but here it is--me accepting the award. Liebster means 'favorite, dearest, or dear' in German. So thank you, NevilleGirl!

Official Rules
“The Liebster Award is for bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Award winners share 11 facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who tagged them, come up with 11 of their own questions and tag 11 more bloggers with the award.”

Eleven Facts About Me
  1. I am very bad at potions on Pottermore.
  2. I hate Comic Sans.
  3. Recently I was given a foam gravestone with my name on it in Comic Sans, as an inside joke. 
  4. My light switch cover has Lumos and Nox written on it, in the appropriate places.
  5. I love the BBC show Sherlock.
  6. For Halloween I will either dress up as Loki from the Avengers or a dalek.
  7. My room has tri-colored walls.
  8. On a string hanging from my ceiling fan there is a plastic spider. Sometimes it gets tangled in my hair. 
  9. I love Snapple peach tea.
  10. There is a cat laying on me right now, as I write this. 
  11. I'm currently reading Animal Farm.
Eleven Questions From NevilleGirl
  1. Which would you rather put on an iPad: all the books you own or all the music you own? Music, definitely.
  2. What is your favorite city? Chicago.
  3. What is your favorite blog name (not your own)? I Wear Milk Crowns.
  4. What TV show(s) do you hate and why? I don't really hate a particular tv show--if anything, I just don't like comedic sitcoms, because the writing usually isn't great.
  5. What is your favorite cheese? Mozzarella.
  6. What is your favorite sandwich? Tuna salad.
  7. What is your favorite soda? Mountain Dew.
  8. Have you ever read any of Bill Bryson’s awesome writing and if not, why not? I have, actually! My mom is a fan of him and so I sort of got into his writing. So far I've read In a Sunburned Country, The Life and Time of the Thunderbolt Kid, and I've started At Home.
  9. What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Musings From Neville’s Navel? Severus-Snape.
  10. Which do you like more: dictionaries or thesauruses? Thesauruses; through the synonyms I can sort of piece together what the word means, if necessary.
  11. How do you feel about being asked all these questions, anyway? A little like I'm back competing in the Fair Queen contest, actually.
Eleven Questions That I Made Up
  1. Have you ever ridden a horse?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
  3. How many pets do you have, if any?
  4. Homeschool or public school?
  5. What are your hobbies?
  6. What are your favorite books?
  7. What is your life goal?
  8. Favorite fictional character?
  9. What are your favorite tv shows?
  10. Which do you prefer: chocolate or vanilla?
  11. What is your favorite movie?

Samantha Chaffin at Her Inklings

Saturday, October 13, 2012

John Green Books

Having just lent a new friend my copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I cannot ever express how much I recommend the book. It's funny and cripplingly sad and tragic and beautiful. And if you haven't read it you need to do so now. I saw something in the Youtube comments the other day that I found was true. The comment went:

Me: *finishes John Green novel*
Me: *rethinks entire life*

And I think it's very true in a lot of ways because no matter what, anything that I read from John Green always makes me reconsider something about how I perceive a particular topic. Here is something that I put together last night before I fell asleep (and yes, all of the quotes were from memory).

Looking for Alaska (a book about escaping the metaphorical labyrinth that is your brain): "How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?"

An Abundance of Katherines (a book about wanting to/being loved and losing the people you love): "You can love someone so much, but you can never love someone as much as you can miss them."

Paper Towns (a book about the dangers of miss-imagining people): "Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than the stories and people we're quoting."

The Fault in Our Stars (a book about how much cancer sucks): "My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."


My favorite out of all of them is The Fault in Our Stars. I feel like the author has really given me something more than worth the ten dollars I paid for it. The story itself, while it is strikingly beautiful, does not compare to the knowledge that accompanied it.

So thanks, John. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dried Plants and Old Snapple Bottles

I love dried plants. Not weeds: the tall, spindly things that swell in the summer and take root in my backyard and leave prickly seeds behind--but flowers. Little plants like sage and brome hay. Sometimes even brambles, depending on how poky they are. I have never ventured to bring them into my house yet, though. My littlest sister sleeps in my room, and I have no shelf high enough to escape her destroying hands.

I would love to keep a few jars filled with dried seeds and flower heads this year. But until I can get the okay to hang a few shelves in my room, this will not happen. 

I started a new crafting project the other day, which is what started this sudden need for dried plants. Also, it is officially fall now, which has made me think of how strange it is that we've come to see the dying world as beautiful.

I'm a huge fan of Snapple Peach Tea, and as a result of that I have quite a few empty glass bottles laying around my room, as I couldn't bring myself to throw them away (that, or I'm just lazy/I completely forgot about them). The other day I dug out my old acrylic paints from another project and started painting them.

I got a little into the photo shoot.

Anyway, I like the bottles. The reason why the orange one is so plain is because the paint glows in the dark. How cool is that? It glows green whenever the light is shut off. However, this makes the paint extremely thin and runny, so I had to paint five coats onto the bottle to get it looking the way it is. I think it's very cool.

You may notice that the blue bottle has the word 'wanderlust' painted at the bottom. Here is the meaning of the word:
A strong desire to travel: "a man consumed by wanderlust".
I thought I'd be like the hipsters of the web of paint it there. Hehe.

Now that I have the bottles, I'm thinking maybe I'll convince my parents to let me hang a little shelf to house them, even though they are cheesy. And then I can get some dried plants to put in them. Yes, I shall do this.

Question for you:

Is there a specific thing that you enjoy about fall? Leave your answer in the comments. I love hearing from you.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bits and Pieces: October.

Picture/ Photo Find:

Something I Did:
At robotics class the other day (I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but every Friday my mom, littlest sister and I drive up to the next town over from ours and while they're reading books and playing in the church nursery, I take a few classes with other awkward homeschoolers, like Spanish and Speech and such) I went out to the car for a jacket and fell flat on the asphalt! I scraped my knee, elbow, side, and hands, including ruining my pants by busting a hole in the knee. 

So that was fun. 

It did get me out of pep band later that night, though. Hope (my sister) reports that homecoming was cold and miserable, and everyone else in the band whined about it, even though the teacher gave everybody ample warning time to dress appropriately. Our team lost anyway.

A Writer Thing:

At the aforementioned homeschool class, I've met a ton of other aspiring authors. One girl and I met on the first day; she told me she loved my Mockingjay pin, and I remarked how I loved the Hunger Games, but it had sort of ruined the dystopian genre, and I didn't think anything about it from there. I didn't know she was a writer until the next week, when at lunch she commented on how nobody else understood her when she started using the words 'dystopian,' and 'genre.' 

Then we generally started talking about writing and such--and also books. Lots and lots of books. She somewhat agreed with me about post Hunger Games dystopian novels, but we did agree that a few were good--particularly Divergent by Veronica Roth, which she loves and I think are alright, mostly because I think that some of the aspects of the book are very unrealistic. I won't get into details here, because of my new no-whining policy I have. 

Anyway, my mom and her mom started talking to each other while waiting between classes, and there is the too-real possibility that we might start a new young writers' group for the area, as there isn't one for miles and miles (almost to Topeka--can you believe that?). I'm very excited and I'll--hopefully--keep you guys posted with exciting new details.

Song I Can't Stop Listening to:

My sister has gotten me hooked onto a band called Of Monsters and Men. They're an indie band, but I really like their music. It's hard to decide one song to post here, because truthfully I've been listening to nearly all of them, but after a little bit of deliberation I decided that this song I listen to most.

A few of my other internet friends like this song a lot, and so they recommended it to me most. It's the type of song where I can't memorize the lyrics easily, so maybe a few more plays and I can sing it through? *winks*

Also, aside from being a good great song, I think it embodies some of the feel of one of my stories, Mermaidens, about a small seaside town with mermaids, flour, and a big, black horse whose name is ironic (at least to me, which is all that matters for right now).

                                                Food I Would Like to Put in My Mouth:

 I swear that ever since I read Flour House, I've been wanting to eat a macaron (yes, I'm spelling it correctly). They're cookies made out of meringue and almond flour and powdered sugar. And then a flavored center with whatever. They look delicious. 

When we were at Dillons' the other day, I convinced my mom to buy almond flour--but although they had buckwheat flour and poppy seed flour and whatever else, they did not have almond flour! Later that night my mom searched Amazon for the stuff and found out that it was over fifteen dollars for half of the flour needed to make a batch! I'm disappointed, because this means that I will not be able to make them.

Other Stuff:

I'd like to wish my mom a very happy birthday. I hope it was satisfactory and fun, even though you did have to wash the dishes and cook supper--and other normal-day stuff. I felt very awkward just standing around in the kitchen while you did everything. I promise next year will be a little different, and maybe you won't have to wash the dishes, although unless we have mashed potatoes and chicken fried steak for supper, you will have to do the cooking. Sorry.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The New Theme

One autumn evening, about three days ago, I was laying in my bed and reminiscing about the days when I used to actually post things on here frequently, and regularly. My posts have become sporadic, because I came to the conclusion that my life has become rather boring. Or, rather, I'm getting lazy and I don't want to blog about the exciting stuff.

It will never change (cue maniacal laughter).

But anyway.I would like to start posting more--at least one post every two to three days. I know I get annoyed if any of the people who I know blog frequently haven't written a post in a few days, so why should it be different for me?

Also, I skipped a month with the Bits and Pieces, completely avoiding September. Something got messed up with the photos for the writing section and I've been putting off retaking the photos for a while. Also, today was no-tech day, as my mother's birthday is tomorrow and she decreed that it should be so (hey, mom. Hope and I got you the best card EVER).

I won't be posting it. Sorry. But most of what is covered in the post will be covered in others, I'm sure of it.

You may have also noticed that the theme, layout, banner, text font--and everything else changed today, if you looked hard enough. I think it looks very good, and I most likely will not change it for a while, even though the banner will change every month, to accommodate my ever-wandering imagination and graphic design skills.

I believe that's it. Hopefully I will be posting more frequently, even if it is about boring things like counting by twos and tying my shoes (name that tv show).

(Also, this is not the post that I was working a week on, mom).