Monday, April 25, 2016

The Infinity Dream Tag

(Still trying to figure out why it's called that? Can anyone clue me in?)

  So I was tagged once more by the lovely Abigayle Ellison and I'm looking forward to going through this tag, it's another one about facts and looks fairly interesting. Let's get started!


Rules

1. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
4. Tag 11 bloggers and give them 11 new questions to answer.

Facts

1. My middle name, Diane, is after my late grandmother, who also happened to be as big of a horse-girl as I am. Sadly, I never met her, but I like to think we would have really got along if she was still around. 

2. I have only been to the ocean three times in my life - and I love it more every time.

3. I've never been able to read music. I've done piano and trumpet both but always had to write in the notes because I couldn't recognize them fast enough. However, I sing a lot, in choirs even, but I only look at the music to see where it's higher and lower and there are rests and how long to hold the notes. I can't look at a 'C' and know what to sing, but if I hear it I can repeat back most anything.

4. Once when I was in public school our art class was asked to make some posters for a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) contest. So we did and all our entries were sent in, a few months later, when I returned to homeschooling, I was called back to the school to accept an award for winning third place in all of Canada for my age category. That's probably the biggest art award I'm ever like to get. xD

5. I've had the bad habit of biting my nails as long as I can remember. It's not a nervous habit or anything. It's like that compulsion to pick a scab or dead skin sort of thing...kind of gross, but oh well. I have been told I have exceptionally nice, clean nails for a nail-biter...

6. I am exactly three days younger than my boyfriend, Jonathan, and he doesn't let me forget it. :P He was born June 30th, '97 and I came along on July 3rd, '97. Going to a restaurant and asking for free dessert for our joint birthday date is high on our bucket list of things to do, just for the reaction. 

7. This will be my fifth summer working as a riding teacher (wrangler) and counselor at my local summer camp. I'm super proud and excited for that, I've enjoyed dedicating the past five summers of my life to winning kids for Christ and working alongside some fantastic people making beautiful memories.

8. I wrote my first "book" at the age of eight. It was a fictional story about me, my horse and my two best friends, Katelyn and Lisa. It was ten "chapters" and illustrated, bound and everything. Also, terrible.

9. I've had a crush on Elijah Wood as Frodo since I first watched Lord of the Rings. However, it's not a romantic crush so much as loving how much I relate to him as a character, and how perfectly Elijah encompasses him through expression and voice. It's hard to explain. :P

10. My favorite books and the ones that have had the biggest impact on me are; The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso, and The Space Trilogy by CS Lewis.

11. One of the coolest things I've got to do is meet Sean Astin (Sam Gamgee) and Billy Boyd (Pippin Took) from LotR and get a picture with them. It was one of the most incredible and surreal moments of my life... 

Questions

1. What is your favorite month of the year?

  I think July, and not just because it's my birthday. Historically in my life it's been the month of most great, fun things. Our town's Canada Day celebration, swimming at the lake, my birthday, the Benalto Fair and Pro Rodeo, and of course, lots and lots of camp. It's the best time of year for me. 

2. When buying a book cheap, do you prefer e-book or used paperback?

  Definitely used paperback. In fact, I also prefer used books to new ones. Especially old used books. I have never owned an e-book and never read one. I'd much rather hold a real book in my hands and smell that book smell and have the satisfaction of turning pages and working my way through. 

3. If you could smell one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

  That is a really hard question...I have three favorite smells; horses, rain and old books. I wouldn't want to give up the smell of any of those. 

4. Have you ever read a Shakespeare play (in Old English)? If so, which one(s)?

  I did read Hamlet for English-30, partly in Old English and mostly in normal English. I cheated. 

5. What are your birthday traditions?

Well, since my birthday is in July and that's Canada's warmest month I usually end up having a lake party at the lake that's about five minutes from us. It's pretty much been a permanent thing every year and I haven't gotten bored of it yet after 18 birthdays. Since I've been dating there's a new birthday tradition of having a joint birthday with Jonathan (see Random Fact #6 above). 

6. Do you prefer to write by hand or type things up?

Depends what I'm writing. If it's just lists or quick notes I much prefer to write by hand, however, I never write my actual story on paper. I can't work as well on paper because you can't write as fast as you can type, and you can't go back and fix things when writing as easily as when typing. 

7. What is your favorite style of house (cabin, modern, Victorian, beach, etc)?

Log cabins are pretty awesome, so are cool cottages like they have in England. I also like old seaside homes...everything can be pretty interesting.

8. Wide rule or college rule paper?

I don't know what this means. xD

9. What is your least favorite chore?

Feeding the cows. Chasing the cows. Tagging calves. Getting cows in. Doing basically anything with cows.

10. How long have you had your blog and what is one tip you would share?

I've had this blog up and running since 2014, but I haven't been keeping it up officially since this year. One tip I would share is to NOT EDIT WHILE YOU WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT. It's seriously screwed me over for so many years where I could have been progressing in stories. Don't do it!

11. If you could visit one fictional world, which would it be?

I would have to pick either Middle-Earth or Narnia. Maybe Narnia would be preferable, and more plausible, since human children make it there all the time. Although, they are always English human children...

Tagging

So I know we're supposed to tag 11 people but I can only come up with one because I'm absolutely lame like that. :P So Jonathan of Fishing For Ideas, consider thyself tagged. Along with anyone else who may be reading this and is interested in letting others get to know them. Here are my questions...

1. Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
2. Who is the coolest person you know and why?
3. What is a weird ability you have that most people don't?
4. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
5. Top three favorite books?
6. If you were on death row and about to be executed but could choose your method of death, which would it be?
7. Favorite band/artist?
8. Where are three places you want to go in the world most?
9. A moment that changed your perspective on something big?
10. Favorite kind of chocolate?
11. What is your strongest-held belief, something you would die for?

  There you have it! Another tag completed. I will hopefully be posting something relating to writing topics really soon. 

  Thanks again to Abigayle for the tag! Happy Monday everybody!

(If you're out there and reading this now I invite you to answer the 11 questions I posed above, I'd love to get to know my readers better!)

Monday, April 18, 2016

How Not to Hate Editing: A Guest Post by Abigayle Ellison


  Hello everyone! Since I was away this weekend and did not get around to making a post for the week I have conscripted the lovely Abigayle from The Left-handed Typist to write about her editing process. She is one of the rare few and precious souls who actually enjoys the horrific task of cleaning up your haphazardly thrown together manuscript, and she's about to tell you just why that is. Enjoy and keep an open mind, I know I certainly enjoyed reading it! Don't forget to check out her blog as well by following the link above!

  Now, without further ado, I shall turn it over to her...

  Editing. It's either your least favorite step of writing or how you like to spend your free time. I'm gonna make a crazy guess that most of you fall in the first category. I happen to fall in the second. What makes the difference? How can I love absorbing a story, eye peeled for errors, so much more than the average person? I know what you're thinking: it's just something I like. Very true. But I'm going to do my best to share the joy I find when editing with you so that maybe hopefully it won't seem like the same mundane task by the end of this post.


  When I edit for myself or other people, there are several things I require:
  • time ~ I'm not going to get anything done in 10 minutes. An hour chunk is much better.
  • space ~ I hate not having all my stuff I might need/want around me. I'll wander the house like a maniac and lose my train of thought if I don't have everything in my own space beforehand.
  • interest ~ I do have to be in the editing mode. Sometimes my mental energy and focus just isn't there. But if you have a really good story I am 34x more likely to edit more often. (But if I get waylayed, that doesn't mean I hate your story.)
  I cannot emphasize the importance of all these things. Editing is no easy task, even for me. Don't make it any harder on yourself than it has to be. :)

~When I edit for others~

  When I edit for others, it's just like reading a good book. Because every submission I have had so far, despite being in its first stages, has been excellent. The important thing about this is that no matter how much editing you may do, your voice will come through. You can't edit it out and others can't edit it in. It will shine through even in the preliminary stages laden with errors and holes. 

  The only difference between reading and editing is if something strikes me as not quite right or there is an error, I can nudge the author and recommend a change. This is the neatest thing ever. Because not only do I get to talk to the author of the book I'm reading, I get to put some of myself into their book as well! Have you ever thought about that? If you beta read for someone, your suggestions that they weigh become instilled in the very pages that will one day be published. The novel could not become what it does with the trusty pairs of eyes that give it a read.

  Another amazing thing about getting to read for others is you are saving them time while getting a good story! I mean, just think about it. There are some things you will not catch in your own writing. And there are errors that you could not possibly find all of even if you search your novel. With a handy editor/beta reader, you don't have to!

  Editing for others is a win-win and a huge blessing. (And, yes, even fun!) Don't ever underestimate the power of words and the thought that has been put into them.

~When I edit for myself~

  Switching to editing for myself, it's a pain. There's no way around it. But it's okay to dislike it. Do I enjoy spending hours losing sleep while trying to weed out my 50 adverbs a chapter? No. Do I appreciate a grand new plot idea at chapter 20? Definitely not. Again, I do not expect you to love doing this. No one does. I enjoy editing and I still hate it . . . if that makes any sense? I mean, no one likes to read one chapter looking for adverbs, dialogue tags, plot holes, inconsistencies, change of tense, blah blah blah. And then you start it all over again with the next chapter. Please tell me I'm not the only one.

  My main advice here is to keep a broad perspective. Don't think about the mess your WIP is at the moment. Think of everything you want it to be. Without the sweat and tears that you put into it, it would not be the same. The reader may not read the time you spent between the lines. And that's a good thing, because they are benefiting from the end product. Stop and think about all the books you have read that were completely effortless. Everything about them just flowed off the page. Do you really think that's what the first draft looked like? Even your most treasured authors worked

  Just to help relate this arduous task to life, think about all the things you don't enjoy doing that you do anyway. Maybe it's flossing or weeding the garden. Now think about why you do those things. Wasn't it worth it? Writing is work and editing is toil. But remember that work existed before the Fall. It wasn't part of the sin curse. There was going to be effort required for results in a cause and effect universe even in a perfect world. Keep in mind your goal: to bless others. Isn't that worth some effort, some toil? I certainly think so. In the end, dislike editing or not, how I can hate something so good?



  Excellent post, Abigayle! Thank you so much for sharing it with myself and the good souls who tarry upon my blog page. Please readers, don't forget to check out Abi's blog located right here and check out some of her other fabulous articles, she's got a lot of great stuff to share with us. :)

  If you've got a comment or question about editing, leave it here and I will let Abi answer your remarks as she sees fit, since it is her post after all. 

  Thank you for reading!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

I've Been Tagged!

  So while I was mulling over what to write about for my Sunday blog I happened to check out Jonathan's new blog post and found out that I had been tagged. Thus, not only do I get to do my first tagging game in the blogosphere, but I also got a post idea to boot. Thanks, Jonathan! XD

  Without further ado...


  Evidently, most people taking part in this tag have not been able to come up with, literally, "just a fact". And I don't blame them, after all it's really hard to come up with one thing about yourself that's interesting enough to fill an entire blog post. But hey, I feel like I must be a semi-interesting person, and, since I'm a writer, I should be able to depict myself as such, right?

  Right.

  In any case, I'm going to attempt to follow the rule of this tag and just come up with one thing. We'll see how it goes. :P

  Guidelines:

  • Take the banner and paste it to your post.
  • Tell a single, meaningful fact about who you are.
  • Explain this fact as open, and explanatory as you can.
  • Tag at least one other blogger, and give a reason why you think they should do this.
  • Add a Bible verse to close out this tag.
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  • Have fun!

  Alright, so here it goes...

  One, single, lonely, earth-shattering fact about me.

  This probably won't be too much of a surprise to people, but I have been super shy and quiet all my life. 

  Yeah, I know, crazy. Like you couldn't have guessed that from me being a writer/homeschooler/farmkid/artsy person. :P

  There's more to it than just that though, which is where I'm going to dig a little deeper into myself, get a little philosophical maybe. Bear with me if you will.

  Growing up quiet and shy isn't too bad really, sure you'll often get asked "why are you so quiet?" and you'll probably here the sarcastic joke "hey Emily, you're SOOOO loud, you really need to tone it down." And then you'll laugh along for the thousandth time and try not to grit your teeth too hard. Sometimes you'll get pushed out of your comfort zone to speak in front of a group or be a camp counselor leading bedtime devotionals or whatever. Of course there are hiccups in the road, but that's just part of life in general, which, even for quiet people, isn't too darn bad. 

  The trouble with being quiet and shy comes when you combine it with being an extremely introverted introvert. And I do mean extreme. Like, to the point where, even when I'm with people I love and want to talk to, my internal thoughts take over and I can't get out of my head. I just keep thinking and thinking and thinking myself in circles. It's pretty bad to be honest. 

  I am waaaaay too introspective. I guess that's why I'm a writer. I just have so much trouble speaking my thoughts aloud. I'm pretty bad at communication. It's not that I'm inarticulate or anything, I don't have a speech impediment and my tongue hasn't been cut out. I just kind of loathe talking to people sometimes. 

  This often gets me in trouble with my parents because I simply don't feel like telling them about this or that event in my life. That also happens with friends and gets awkward. Sometimes I'll get into a debate or argument and just shut down because I don't want to make a response, even if I have thousands of replies swirling in my head, I just don't feel like saying them. I hate that because then it makes the other party think they beat me, which rubs on my nerves. I suck at small-talk. And not just sucking, but like, I just refuse to participate in it most of the time. Either that or I'll start/continue it and then change it to something weird and worth talking about. 

  I spend a lot of time just running through things in my head, whether they be aspects of life I'm considering, story things, things I've read or seen in the media, things in my life, things in the future, things in the past. Often my head is literally anywhere but where I actually am. Throughout the course of my life, while that has helped me I think in many ways to become a well-rounded, thoughtful and (hopefully) more intelligent individual, I think it has been somewhat harmful too. 

  I've never had a great affinity or capability with staying in the present. Along with that, I haven't had too much in the way of a future to look forward to for most of my life either. So, taking away the future and the present leaves me the past. And you know what happens to people who spend a lot of time thinking about the past? They become sad, lonely, nostalgic, depressed...basically full of longing for something they can't ever go back to. That definitely does something to a person. I know it did to me. 

  I spent a majority of my early-mid teens being rather depressed about life. Not to the point of being suicidal or anything, just to the point of being sad. I spent most of my time in my room, alone, not really sure what to do with myself. I had my three passions of course, but they were just hobbies to me, and I didn't know how to spend my time when I constantly just wanted to go backwards. That's kind of a dangerous way to think...

  Thankfully, some of my circumstances have changed in the past almost two years and I am beginning to be free of this. Yes, I am still shy and quiet and introspective, but I also find myself living in the present a lot more. Where before I could spend weeks at a time without leaving our farm I now find myself driven by a need to do something and am I pleased to have that desire. It has made me happier and more productive and more capable. I feel better and more fulfilled, I have things to look forward to and things to keep me occupied, and that is a wonderful feeling.

  Ah! There you have it. One whole fact to take up a blog post! I did it. *grins* Now, I am supposed to tag people. Hehe...well, seeing as I'm only really even sorta close to two bloggers around here and one of said bloggers already tagged me it looks like Abigayle will be the one I'm tagging. I would love to hear what kind of a fact (or facts) she comes up with!

  With the topic of my fact I suppose it would only be fitting to share my favorite Bible verse with y'all: 

  "There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off." - Proverbs 23:18

  It's been a message of inspiration for me through difficult times and hopefully it can be the same for you. 

  So thanks again to Jonathan for saving my butt this weekend and tagging me here. It was a really fun and cool idea and I definitely enjoyed it. 

  Can you guys share one defining fact of yourself? Something that may seem simple at first but is really intrinsic to your personal character? Tell me below. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Writing Wednesday - Introducing 'The Sorceress and the Squid'


  So it's another "Writing Wednesday", that day once every month where I share some of my writing with the wonderful people who follow this blog. Just so y'all know that I actually am writing things and not just pretending or anything of that sort. Also so I can find out whether or not I'm any good at this whole writing thing. :P

  Last month I shared my complete 1500 word short story, The Door-Sleeper, which you can find here. It is contemporary short fiction featuring a guy named Adam struggling to work through his wife's debilitating mental condition. And that's all I'll say, you'll have to go check it out for yourself. I would be honored if you did. :)

  In any case, this month's debut is a sample chapter from my second novel, The Sorceress and the Squid. A fairy-tale story centering on the escapades of sorceress, Estrella, and Jalen, the warrior she turns into a squid. You can read the full synopsis here on my "About My Writing" page.

  I am working on the edits for this one and am looking to self-publish it, probably on Amazon, within this year if possible. It's a really light-hearted work (it IS called The Sorceress and the Squid after all) but I really enjoyed writing it and I think it's a fun story worth sharing.

  I've even hired an artist friend to do some illustrations for me, which is super exciting! Micah Jonsson is a fellow homeschooler and fledgling concept artist who has graciously agreed to provide some art for my colorful little tale. I couldn't be more happy about it! Here are examples of some of his great designs below...




  I really love them, I think they are adorable renderings and I can't wait to see the full on illustrations!

  In any case, this novel has a bit of a backstory to it. The idea of a warrior squid came from a late-night messaging conversation I was having with my (then not) boyfriend, Jonathan. To make a long story less long, we basically came away with the decision that he was a secret ninja squid warrior and...yeah. My imagination is weird, okay? It sort of took off from there...

  So now, a year and a half later, I am working on the second draft of this rather creative piece of fiction. With the backstory I just mentioned I am rather fond of this story and even though it sounds a little ridiculous probably, I believe it's still an enjoyable and even educational read with themes like racial/species prejudice, betrayal and trust, the importance of knowing where to put your loyalties and some good old Spiderman-like "with great power comes great responsibility" stuff. Also, I think it's pretty entertaining too. I hope it will be anyways. 

  I should probably stop babbling now and just let you guys get to actually reading the darned thing! :P I have uploaded it to a Google Drive document which you can open and even make comments on if you see any typos or inconsistencies or have any questions or feedback. Any of that would be superbly appreciated. 

   Here is the link with which I am sending my baby out into the world. 

  Thank you so much for taking the time to read and maybe even leave a comment! It means so much to me to receive feedback. What sorts of stories are you working on and what has been the weirdest story of inspiration for you? Tell me about it in the comments!