Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 26 April 2017

Things I worked on last week:
  • Chapter 7 of that project: 1252 words (completed at 2962)
  • Chapter 8 of that same project: 3771 words (completed)
  • Fish story for the children: 408 words (completed at 797)
Total for this week: 5431 words

What am I working on this week?

I'm going to try to work on The Blighted Earth, but at the same time, I might not. It looks like the other project has taken much of the space in my head for inspiration, so I might as well not fight against it. So yeah, looks like I'm going to be working on chapter 9 at this point. Though, given that I don't have any other projects I want to work on (aside from that new idea that popped into my head for yet another fantasy-ish novel), my week is likely going to look like it's going to flip-flop between working on chapter 9 and The Blighted Earth. Now that I've been given some suggestions on how to move forward, hopefully that would be the case.

How do I feel about the process?

Despite how rocky non-school-life has been going for me lately (as I had predicted in March how my April will end up being), I'm pleasantly surprised to see that not only have I been able to keep up with writing, but surpass my expectations. (Take notes, Jodee, writing seems to be a good coping mechanism.)

I was also very pleased at how much the children enjoyed my fish story. I already knew they liked having stories read to them, but to know they got really invested in the little fish main character? It really warmed the cockles of my heart to see their endearing worry for when I got the fish to encounter Mr. Shark. So cute!

It's definitely a different experience for me, since I've pretty much known each and every one of these children since they were born and witnessed them grow up. I kinda see them as the copious number of first-cousins I have. (I have over 30 on my mother's side. My dad? Umm... since he grew up with 12 older siblings -- three are half-siblings, but still -- and he's the youngest... Yeah...) It felt wonderful to share the weird images I have in my head with them and have them enjoy it as much as I do.

But it also made me feel a bit sad. Never in my life have I ever shared a story I've written to my parents, even when I was as young as those children. Well, I tried but they seemed more interested in the fact that I got straight As in elementary school and middle school (and thus nudged me into being a doctor or something). I've tried with my siblings, too, but my brother isn't really into reading. My sister? Um... the less said, the better. Gah, I guess a part of the motivation as to why I've been writing a lot lately is kinda like some passive-aggressive way for me to say, "Don't care about my writing? Hah! I'll show you and write ALL THE THINGS! Muahahaha!"

Still, it's gotten me to pause a bit in the middle of the night as I write, making me constantly ask myself, "Why continue writing? It's not like anyone cares."

But then a scene keeps picking at my brain and then I just continue on as normal.

In all seriousness, I will admit that it's hard to pick right back up sometimes. It gets tiring. But at least I know the kids like my writing.

--Yeah right, like that means anything to someone wanting to write for older audiences.
--You know what? No one asked you. So shut up.

What am I reading?

I guess I'm on a roll on learning to manage my time better, since I've been able to split my attention between two books. Les Mis has finally found its space again next to my pillow (because reading helps me to fall asleep, okay?) I will admit that I had to start again from the beginning instead of where I left off when I began it close to the start of the semester, due to forgetting a lot of what happened beforehand.

Super glad I took those years of French throughout high school (and a bit of college). I'm pretty sure if I hadn't, a lot of the phrases would've escaped my understanding.

And then I'm also continuing to read along in The Magician's Nephew with that online group. Fun stuff. Very fun stuff.

What else am I doing?

I tried to find some series or something that interests me over the weekend. Keyword: tried. I must lack some kind of gene that makes me interested in television. Can you believe that I asked my parents to remove the television in my room when I was fourteen? "Because I don't use it, and I could use the space for other things." (A.K.A. more mess in my messy bedroom) Don't get me wrong, I was a normal kid growing up being obsessed with watching the colorful pictures burning their images into my retinas; but once puberty hit it's like the interest just... poof.

So when that didn't work out, I just went back to writing. Or playing my piano. Though I did finally learn how to fry lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) without getting first- and second-degree burns (thanks dad for the help). Adulting skill acquired: pan-frying.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 19 April 2017

Things I worked on last week:
  • Chapter 6 of that one project: 1410 words (completed at 3024)
  • Chapter 7 of that same project: 1710 words
  • A new idea I came up with over the weekend that was going to be for a turn in for narrative #2 but decided against it to develop the other story more: 1738 words
  • The children's fish story thing: 389 words
  • The Blighted Earth (mainly edits and stuff): a paltry 23 words
  • A Tale from the Stars poem: 271 words
I think that's everything I worked on this week (at least in a non-journaling capacity, since I'm always journaling/ranting about something). So that brings my weekly word count to 5541. Really disappointed in the word count with The Blighted Earth, but after seeing what I did this week, I guess I feel better now, hahaha.

What am I working on?

Now that I've got chapter 6 done and out into the world for my tiny audience to read and criticize (or enjoy, I guess), I'm going to continue working on chapter 7. I honestly can't believe that people are still reading that thing despite not updating it weekly like I used to since summer ended in 2016. The fun in writing that project has returned, especially since I've gotten to a point in the plot where a group of main characters are believing the worst of this other main character. Super cliché plot point of "a serious case of misunderstanding," but I got stuck, okay? At least I'm giving what the audience wanted for quite a while and having one of the characters find a reason to go out there and pursue that other person. Talk about delayed gratification, am I right?

The children's story is also something I'm going to continue to work on, since the deadline is this Sunday.

As for the new idea I came up with, I want to write that one so badly, but I also really like working on The Blighted Earth (when I can), so I guess it's going to have to be left to simmer for a bit. Especially since the idea came to me at 5 A.M., I'm going to have to decide whether or not the idea is even worth pursuing, despite how fun and weird I think it would be to try to develop it.

How do I feel about the process?

Pretty great! I was able to bump up my word count by dropping the amount of time I'm wasting playing video games (a struggle I've had for a while, actually), and spent it with writing or practicing whatever new skill I need to learn by the next piano lesson. Namely the former. (Sorry, piano teacher. I swear I'll get those dominant 7 inversions by down heart the next time we meet!) I've also been really inspired to continue writing that-other-project-that-shall-never-be-named-in-the-open now that the characters are in a bit of a tizzy that I have no idea how they're going to get themselves out of, though I have an inkling of how that happens. Nothing really concrete yet, but it's fun just writing something out and not caring what others think of my ability to tell a story because they don't know my real identity.

I guess because of that, I'm just really surprised at how many people like what I've written so far. I still cringe at how poorly written it is and how not-thought-out all the events are, weaving it into a tangled mess that I'm spending the sequel (which is what the project is right now) by untangling it and solving it at the same time.

And also doing a bit of "giving the readers what they want" kind of thing. I never intended there to be romance, but the readers wanted romance, and there they got it. Then I yanked it away from them.

I'm cruel. I know that.

What am I reading?

So many people don't know that I'm part of this group of people that play this one game that happens to be high-fantasy, so we decided to do a book-reading thing online. And because we all have this interest in fantasy (and all somehow happen to have the all the books), we're reading the first book in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Magician's Nephew.

I've read it many times in the past, but it's really different when it's being read out loud. Especially when it's being read out loud by people across the country and around the world. It feels different when someone with a lilting southern drawl reads it aloud, when someone with soft English accent, or a peppy Australian, or a valley girl accent (me when I'm excited), or all these different accents reads the same words I am. Really glad someone in the group came up with this idea. I feel like it makes the fantasy world Lewis created becomes even more magical by hearing the words in a way I'm not accustomed to.

What else am I doing?

As I mentioned last week, I'm taking up piano lessons again after not having them for... um, maybe eight years? My piano teacher's pretty impressed at how well I'm able to sight read (I'm pretty surprised myself), so there's that. But when it comes to modern music, the ability to sight read is a bit useless, so she's having me work on getting chord inversions down to muscle memory and instinct. It's posing a challenge I really enjoy so far.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Tale from the Stars

An attempt at terza rima, which ended up blobbing into some weird semblance of one near the end. Whoops.

she said she traced the stars last night
and found a tale that told her of
someone who chose to lose their sight.

their wont to see was not as loved
as touch, or smell, or taste, or sound;
and thought not of the stars above.

she said they thought it best and found
that much of life is not through eyes,
but heart and soul, not simply bound

to a glance or beautiful lies,
that out of sight meant out of mind;
and thought not of the midnight skies.

they loved the fact that they were blind
for life was easy when it's dark --
until the day the stars aligned

infatuation made its spark,
the only light that they could see,
the wants of the heart made its mark.

to love this person, they agreed,
was something special and priceless
she said, "and yet not meant to be"

"to love someone," she had stressed
"was to see them for all they were
they gave up sight with which they're blessed"

I said, "they're foolish, that I'm sure,
to choose to blind themselves like that,
to ruin chances for something so pure."

"my friend, you're blind," she had spat.
"this person is you, know you not?
you turned your eyes, and this begat

your folly to search what can't be sought
for foolish is they that spurn away
against a truth, which you forgot."

"what truth is that?" I asked, dismayed.
she said, "they love you, so blind to love
you thought not of the stars above."

she left me then, confused.
and then I remembered,
it was her I refused.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 12 April 2017

Things I worked on since last week:
  • Interactive story experiment (Ascend the Tower): 1174 words
  • The Blighted Earth: 1020 words
  • Chapter 6 of that other thing: 577 words (currently at 1614 words)
  • "Manananggal, or Hunting a Philippine Vampire in America:" 2061 words (I got carried away)
Total word count: 4832 words

I think I went a bit crazy over the week.

What am I working on?

Pretty much the same list as above, considering that none of them are completed. The screenplay one, concept-wise, is finished... but I'm still tinkering with it every once in a while. I guess I'll add in that fish story for the children for what I'm going to be working on this week as well. It's due in like a week, after all.

How do I feel about the process?

Really excited and happy, since the two projects that aren't novel-related that I worked on last week reminded me of the things I did because I was bored: write screenplays and write interactive stories. It revitalized this writing frenzy that made me write even more in my other projects since I would jump around from one to another when I got a little bored or stuck in one of them. Each project is so vastly different from each other that my brain was always entertained. It gave me the illusion that I was being productive.

I might not actually have been productive, but it was fun nonetheless. Most of the time when I have all these projects I want to work on all at once, I get intimidated and quit on a few of them to make it more manageable. While the word counts on the novels that I'm trying to write aren't the goals I intended for myself, at least the other projects were nice "distractions."

I'm really thankful for all the time I have this semester. I couldn't possibly be able to write anything substantial next semester since I'm taking up a full load of classes. Again.

The closer I get to the end of this semester, the closer the end of the fun of attending this Creative Writing class. Can I just be in this class forever?

What am I reading?

My physics textbook. I'll try not to cry as I read about light interference and diffraction, since it's so moving and motivating me to read even more about it. Thin films and slits and gratings? Wonderful!

Hah, just kidding. I'm crying because I hate it. If anything, it's grating on my nerves and the only slit I want to study the behavior of is the one I want to make right across my jugular. I have nothing against the teacher or the people or anything... I just really, really hate the subject. Can I go back to chemistry or astronomy, please?

I have a love/hate for this semester. I don't want it to end because of Creative Writing, but I so desperately want it to just keel over and die because of physics. Decisions, decisions.

What else am I doing?

I'm taking up piano lessons again, but not in the classical teachings, no. While that in itself takes years of discipline and study (years that I spent, with nothing much to show for), I'm going the... non-traditional route.

In other words, I'm learning how to play the more modern styles. While technique and music theory involved with the popular music of today isn't as complicated as the romantic era of classical music (I'm look at you, Debussy), it's posing a challenge that I'm finding that I really enjoy. I'm learning how to enjoy the simpler things in my performance.

In other words... I suck. But I love it because it's bringing me back to the days I first started playing the piano, when everything was new and difficult and that the end goals felt attainable. I mean, at the age of twelve, I wanted to master all three movements of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" after learning the first one. I expected to have this accomplished by the age of eighteen.

Six years to master it? Sure! Sounds reasonable. I knew the third and final movement of the sonata would pose the ultimate test of my piano capabilities, one that I was confident that I would pass. I mean, if I can read the sheet music, that means I could play it at some point, right?

First page, first impressions. Looks doable, doesn't it?

Beethoven, WHY?! I thought you were supposed to be deaf!

(I chose this video to make me feel a little bit better about not being able to play since I hear a few mistakes in the performance here and there, but still... why!?)

I am now twenty-two. I still can't. Oh, the naïve nature of children. How wonderful it would be to be a child again. This piece is a constant reminder of everything I can't do on the piano. Look at the stretch of this man's hands. The bias on having long fingers is real when it comes to classical piano.

My sister likes to hold my hands and tell me, "Oooh, they're so cute! So tiny. So delicate."

Thanks, sis. Thanks for telling that to a classical pianist.

But this new opportunity to break away from classical piano? That feeling of newness and excitement is the closest I can get to what I had when I was eight. At least this time, I don't have to learn my scales and chords. It's all technique from here on out.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ascend the Tower (A Choose-Your-Own-Adventure)

Just a bit of a taste of what I've got so far:
You have no idea where you are.

You vaguely remember going to bed last night. After that, nothing.

All you know is that you aren’t in your room laying on your bed, your limbs are tied to the stone floor, and it’s dark.

At least you’re still wearing the clothes you went to bed in. After all, who wants to worry about being butt-naked when they’re trying to figure out how they got themselves tied up in a dark, smelly, humid...


You think you’re in a room. There isn’t any other sounds or sensations suggesting that you’re outside. You’re about 99% sure you’re in a room of sorts. Where this room is, specifically – that’s where the trouble lies.

Come to think of it, the place is just giving off a vibe of... something else. The hairs on the back of your neck prickle at the undeniable sensation of someone watching you. Someone you can’t see.

The darkness doesn’t help matters either.

So, you’re supposedly alone-but-not-quite, you don’t recognize the place you’re in, and you’re tied to the floor in only your bedclothes.

Your first course of action?
It's a work in progress, but you can read what I've got so far by following this link. (Let me know if the link is still giving issues. I'm not sure if it's fixed or not.)

For this experiment, it ended up being a lot more fun than I anticipated it to be. I used to make choose-your-own-adventure stories, but they didn't really have much of a plot to them, and I didn't understand how to use the website that I'm using back then.

Now that I've tried to develop my writing skills a bit more since then, and now that I understand how conditionals work (after trying to teach myself how to code, bad mistake), I've finally got something that's actually working the way I'm intending it to.

It's not done, but I really want to finish this one. It's just too fun to write a story with branching choices!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Manananggal, or Hunting a Filipino Vampire in America

I decided to adapt my manananggal story into a screenplay to be my experiment/dialogue thing for class. Pardon the mistakes with the screenplay formatting. It's been a while since I wrote a screenplay and I'm forgetting a lot of the rules.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Blighted Earth - Chapter 4 (under construction)

We were walking for hours, and still the piles of bones didn’t seem to have an end in sight. I was so caught up in trying not to step on them where I realized I hadn’t taken my medicine for the day. I looked up at the sky to gauge how long it had been since my last dose. It didn’t help that my thoughts were clouding over as I tried to calculate while tip-toeing around the dead.

The crunch of a dried-up femur made me stop.

The Blighted Earth - Chapter 3 (under construction)

Eĵas and I parted ways as he went to talk with the saltkeeper while I went to gather the other necessities we would need in going out into the unknown.

"To ensure that brows won't be raised when you ask for a few days’ worth," he had said. "You might have been able to convince her to give you a pinch with little hassle. Getting a quantity that can’t be contained by your pouch? Imprisonment, easily.”

I didn’t argue since we were being pressed for time and that I was trying to calculate how much I could get away with spending for the rest of our supplies.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Word Count Wednesday - 5 April 2017

Things I worked on this week:

Only two and I'm so behind on my word count goal for Camp NaNoWriMo. Really need to catch up on it.

Camp NaNoWriMo project (The Blighted Earth): 2474 words (it should have been at least 4000 by now)

Chapter 6 of that other project: 797 words

Manananggal story: 635ish words

Total word count for the week: 3906 words

What am I working on?

Same things as I have last week, though my fantasy novel thing ended up being my Camp NaNo project, so it's likely going to be taking more of my attention for the coming days again. As for other projects, I'm likely going to just hop between those as I run into writer's block. Or whatever blog post I feel like typing out because that's usually my go-to writing style when I lack the words for a story.

How do I feel about the process?

I find that it's a lot more fun to write when you have other people who will suffer with you, which Camp NaNoWriMo had turned out to be for me.

Also pretty amused at the fact that I said in my Word Count Wednesday for last week that it was only natural to write chapter 3 of my novel length thing, but it ended up not being like that. I ended up writing chapters that didn't fit that sequence because I was trying to grasp for words... and ended up spending a good amount of time writing scenes around the middle and end of the plot. Whoops.

I'm a bit intimidated, however, by what Stephen King said about how many words he writes in a day. Ten-thousand words!? It took me a span of writing two days straight being locked in my room doing nothing but writing and leaving only to eat and use the restroom to get that many words out. I barely got decent sleep during that time, too. I mean, just writing a thousand words out takes me a few hours.

So, with that in mind, I still enjoy writing, but man does Camp NaNo remind me that my meager goal of writing 30k words by the end of the month could easily be finished in three days if I were as prolific as Stephen King.

What am I reading?

The project that Sarah Covault is working on for Camp NaNo, which is her Mary, Queen of Scottsville Academy. I'm really liking it so far!

And shameless self plug: If you guys are interested, there are totally spots available for "The Scrappy Scribblers" Cabin for Camp NaNo. Just head over to the Camp NaNoWriMo website and sign up, then leave me a comment on either this post or this one that I wrote detailing a bit more of what it is with your username.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Monthly Showcase - March 2017

Oh shoot, I completely forgot to type this out the other day. Got caught up with the hype of Camp NaNoWriMo and lost track of the dates, hahaha.

Anyway, better get this thing out ASAP before the date of this post annoys me at how not-March it is.

As the Winds Blow - Chapter 1:
The first half of the month was filled with me upset at losing a lot of my work, so the first actual post from this month was my attempt at writing an adventure plot given its nuances detailed from the 20 Master Plots and How to Write Them that I was assigned to read in class. Its development is still in its infancy, and unfortunately it appears I won't be working on it this month as I'm preoccupying my time with "The Blighted Earth," the next items on this list.

The Blighted Earth - Chapter 1:
This is essentially a rewrite of the chapter one from here. C'est comme-ci, comme-ça. To be honest, I felt that this chapter was pretty bland.

The Blighted Earth - Chapter 2:
This chapter, on the other hand, felt a bit more exciting, though still not quite up to par in my opinion. Either that, or I'm being too hard on myself again.

Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor:
I think a good portion of how I felt about this project could read be on the post itself.