Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo: The Wrap-Up

Hear that sound?

It's the sound of cheering as people all over the world cross the NaNoWriMo finish line.

I am thrilled, grateful, and relieved to count myself among them once again this year.

The month of November went by surprisingly fast this year. One moment I was marathoning Disney's Halloweentown movies and keeping a close eye on the clock, and the next, I was gathering speed for my final 3,000 words this evening, and then I was crossing the finish line. It all seemed to happen in a blink of an eye this year.

I think getting ahead early had something to do with that - I wasn't nearly as stressed as last year, and even though I had days when I fell behind, I didn't have to put in as many late nights writing and had more downtime. The fact that this is my fourth NaNoWriMo, and that I'm finally getting the hang of balancing insane amounts of writing with school, extracurriculars, and other distractions, probably had something to do with it as well.

Although I love the journey of NaNoWriMo and found it a little bittersweet to hit 50k and bring the month to a close, I am glad that I wasn't extremely burnt-out by NaNoWriMo this year. In fact, I almost feel like I would be up to another insane writing challenge right now if you asked me.

Maybe not another 50k in a month, though. But finishing this novel within the next few months is definitely a strong possibility. There's still a lot of plot to unfold. I'll post updates every now and then to let you know how it's going. I'm more optimistic than ever about being able to incorporate writing into my daily life.

Before I finish, I do have some thank-yous I'd like to make:

Lindsey, Grant, and the whole crew at the Offices of Letters and Light. Thank you times a million for all the hard work you put in to this incredible program. My life would not be the same without it.

My lovely supportive family & friends, who left me alone to write for most of the month, and only dragged me away from the laptop occasionally to make sure I was still sane.

Dearest Emily and Emily, who decided to attempt this crazy thing alongside me this year. Having you guys frantically writing beside me in study hall was so encouraging.

Everyone else around the world who participated in NaNoWriMo. The sense of community on the site, in the forums, and all over the internet is what makes this event what it is. Congratulations on an incredible attempt, no matter what your final word count is, and I'll see you next November! Keep writing!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2013

10. Thousand Words
By Jennifer Brown
May 21, 2013

I read Hate List a year or so ago, and I absolutely loved it. It was intense, emotional, and well-written, with fantastic character development. Thousand Words looks equally awesome - it seemed interesting but not too out of the ordinary when I first started reading the description, but the end of the synopsis really made me want to read more. I've seen similar things happen on a much smaller scale, and the idea of how different people would respond sounds really intriguing. I can't wait to read this. 

9. Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets
By Evan Roskos
March 5, 2013

This book looks phenomenal. Just the summary is thought-provoking and emotional. And hey, any book that has "Advice For Sad Poets" in the title is one that I pretty much have to read. It's been awhile since I've read a book with a tone similar to how this one sounds, so I'm eager for this to be released. 

8. Out of the Easy
By Ruta Sepetys
February 12, 2013

I loved Between Shades of Gray, also by Ruta Sepetys, and so I'm definitely willing to read more by this incredible author. Everything about this book just draws me in; the title, the synopsis, the setting, even the cover art. I really want to read this book.

7. Shades of Earth
By Beth Revis
January 15, 2013

Okay, so, Across the Universe wasn't among the best books I've ever read, but I liked it. I was interested in the plot, and although it didn't leave me dying for more, I am curious to know how things worked out for the characters. I haven't read A Million Suns yet, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to this release, so I can finish off the series. 

6. Blaze (Or Love in the Time of Supervillains)
By Laurie Boyle Crompton
February 1, 2013

I have absolutely no idea what this book is about, but with a kick-butt title like this, I just have to read it. I mean, Love in the Time of Supervillains? Come on! There's really nothing I love more than a good supervillain. Plus, the cover? Amazing. I love her hair. I need to read this book. It looks freaking fantastic.

5. Sever (Chemical Garden Series)
By Lauren DeStefano
February 12, 2013

I absolutely love the Chemical Garden series. It's one of the best dystopian series I've ever read, and I adored Wither and Fever. I can't wait for this book to be released so I can read more of this amazing series and find out what happens. I'm dying to know how it ends. 

4. How to Lead a Life of Crime
By Kirsten Miller
February 21, 2013

Kirsten Miller = Amazing. I would have put her new Kiki Strike book on the list, but I won an advanced copy of it on her blog, so I'm not as antsy for the official release anymore. I am, however, really looking forward to this book. She's such an incredible author, and I love the look of this new novel. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.
3. Battle Magic
By Tamora Pierce
April 1, 2013

I have been searching for information about this book's release date ever since I heard Tamora Pierce was writing more books featuring her Circle of Magic characters, who I've dearly missed since finishing The Will of The Empress. To now have a title, a cover, and a release date (however far away it may be) is thrilling. Plus, I've been dying to find out what happened to Briar and Rosethorn between The Circle Opens and The Will of the Empress. 

2. Fearless
By Cornelia Funke
April 2, 2013

I've been dying for a sequel to Reckless ever since I bought it way back in 2011. The wait has been excruciating, but the end it finally in sight. Thank goodness - I have been deprived of Cornelia Funke books for way too long. The Mirror World might be my favorite world that she's ever created, too, making me even more excited for this. 

1. Clockwork Princess
By Cassandra Clare
March 19, 2013

This book was originally supposed to come out in November or December of this year, so to say that the time between now and March is going to be way too long of a wait is the understatement of the year. Clockwork Prince just made me love these books even more, and I need to know how they end. The wait for this book is going to be almost as bad as the wait for the new season of Sherlock. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012


Two Days Ago: I will not watch the season 1 finale of Sherlock until I am caught up on NaNoWriMo and have the time to immediately watch the first episode of season 2.

Yesterday: I am finally caught up with NaNoWriMo, meaning I am free to watch Sherlock this weekend.

Tonight: I have time to watch one episode of Sherlock without being up much later than I normally stay up reading. I should read, instead, though, because even I will be too exhausted to watch two episodes in a row.

About two hours ago: I really want to watch Sherlock. But I shouldn't, because I shouldn't watch the season 1 finale of Sherlock until I have time to watch the first episode of season 2.

An hour and a forty-five minutes ago: Why am I logging into Netflix? Do I really want to watch this now?

About five seconds after that: Screw it, I'm watching Sherlock now.

Over the course of the past 1.5 hours: Various reactions of delight and happiness that come from watching Sherlock.

Approximately twenty minutes ago: Sherlock, what do you think you're DOING?

Fifteen minutes ago: John? JOHN!

Ten minutes ago, after angrily ripping out my headphones in despair and closing netflix: NO! I hate you, stupid, stupid creators of Sherlock, why, why, WHY would you end the episode THERE!

The most detailed description I could provide without giving too much away about the episode. Seriously, though. Be smarter than me, and DO NOT watch this episode unless you can IMMEDIATELY - and I mean, even faster than if you were to let Netflix automatically continue to play it - watch A Scandal in Belgravia.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Reading Room (30)

The Reading Room is a weekly update on books I'm reading and planning to read, and is posted on Tuesdays. It was inspired by the feature On Myshelf at the blog All By Myshelf.

Thanksgiving break is within sight, meaning that even though I will have to devote several chunks of time to cooking and eating, and an even larger chunk of time to getting caught up on my novel for NaNoWriMo, I'll still have plenty of time to read. (We have six full days before we have to go back to school; benefit #1 of living in a small rural town is days off for hunting season.) In anticipation of this, I stopped in the school library today and picked up two new books.

The first I grabbed was The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima, the third book in her Seven Realms Series. I absolutely love these books and can't get enough of them. I'm super-excited to read this one, and even more excited to get my hands on the fourth book, The Crimson Crown, which was recently released.

I also checked out Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. I've seen it on a few blogs and Barnes & Noble and heard some good reviews about it, and plus it just looks good, so when I saw it on the shelf I snapped it up. I'm the first to check it out, apparently. I can't wait to start it.

For the past week or so, I've been working my way through a stack of books I got from the public library, including The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead and Pegasus by Robin McKinley, as well as Nightwatch by Sergei Lukyanenko, which was lent to me by a friend. I'll have a lot of reading to do over the break, and I am thrilled about it.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Just Past the Halfway Point

So, here we are on November 17th, just on the other side of the halfway point of NaNoWriMo. By this point I should have around 28,000 words, on track to hit 30,000 by the end of this weekend. 

Say what?

If you hadn't guessed, I'm not exactly at that point. I considered 23,000 words yesterday and accomplishment, and that only got me to a point where I would be 5,000 words behind today, not 7,000. Even last year, when I fell behind for much of NaNoWriMo, I had a better word count than this. This is serious. 

I've been blaming my NaNoWriMo struggles on two things: school and plot bunnies. 

The reasons for school being a problem are obvious. Between English teachers who think it's okay to assign 20-40 pages of reading a night, choir teachers who find it perfectly acceptable to schedule extra practices whenever they feel like it, guidance counselors who tell you you've been selected to go to a World Affairs Council in Pittsburgh (I meant to blog about that, but haven't had the time), and just my mind-boggling physics class in general, time and energy to write has been slim. It's one of the reasons I was so relieved for the weekend to come - it's a chance to get caught up, which is exactly what I plan to do. 

The plot bunnies don't make as much sense. After all, aren't plot bunnies good in NaNoWriMo? The answer is no. Not if they don't apply to the novel you're writing. Not if they give you ideas for other things. Things like fanfiction, a movie/musical sort of thing involving ballet, and a story about a haunted history classroom. There have been occasional plot bunnies for my novel, and I've managed to generate lots of ideas to get me through this weekend and the last two weeks of NaNoWriMo. But the other ideas have still been nagging at my mind, and I haven't been able to resist making some notes on some of them.

Still, although it will be difficult, I don't see any reason why I won't be able to get caught up this weekend, back on track for this week (three day week for me) possibly ahead over Thanksgiving break, and then experience more or less smooth sailing into the winner's circle of NaNoWriMo during the last week. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway. Wish me luck. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted every week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category.

Top Ten Books I'd Want To Have On A Deserted Island

This was a fun topic, and one I just had to do. For this list, I picked books that I feel can sustain me - stories I find myself reaching for over and over, no matter how many new novels beckon from the library or bookstores. These are the books that I'd read if I couldn't ever read anything else. 

10. The Wild Girls
By Pat Murphy

9. The Complete Sherlock Holmes
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(I have it in one volume, therefore it counts as one book.)

8. The Thief
By Megan Whalen Turner

7. The Count of Monte Cristo
By Alexandre Dumas

6. The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien

5. The Book Thief
By Markus Zusak

4. A Little Princess
By Frances Hodgson Burnett

3. To Kill A Mockingbird
By Harper Lee

2. The Lord of the Rings
By J.R.R. Tolkien
(See comment on book #9)

1. The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater

I should add that I only included fiction books, i.e., novels, on this list, because that's what I blog about. However, if I really was being shipped off to a deserted island, the book I'd most want to take with me is of course my lovely purple-and-turquoise NIV Faithgirls Bible. Or any Bible, really, but especially that one.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


And that is all I will say on the topic of the election.

No offense to anyone else, of course. I respect everyone's opinions, even if they differ from mine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tuned In To (10) - NaNoWriMo Playlist Edition

Tuned In To is a weekly feature discussing albums I've been listening to, songs that have been stuck in my head, or artists that I've discovered, and is posted on Fridays. This week, in honor of National Novel Writing Month, I'm posting the playlist for my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel.

1. Cemeteries of London
By: Coldplay
Album Viva La Vida

2. Ain't No Rest for the Wicked
By: Cage the Elephant
Album: Cage the Elephant

3. Hear The Bells
By: Vanessa Carlton
Album: Rabbits on the Run

4. Demons
By: Imagine Dragons
Album: Night Visions

5. Haunted
By: Taylor Swift
Album: Speak Now

6. Bleeding Out
By: Imagine Dragons
Album: Night Visions

7. Ghost
By: Ingrid Michaelson
Album: Human Again

8. Never Forget
By: Greta Salome & Jonsi
Album: Never Forget - Single

9. Nothing Left to Say/Rocks
By: Imagine Dragons
Album: Night Visions. 

For any of you participating in NaNoWriMo, what's your writing playlist for this year?


Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Anyone who's been following my blog knows that November 1st is one of the most exciting days of the year for me, because it begins a month of frantic novel-writing adventures that nothing else can compare to. If you haven't heard of National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo, you should check it out at and sign up for an account - it's not too late to join! 

I kicked of my 2012 NaNoWriMo today at midnight, and on all counts it's been a great success. I was much less stressed about my novel idea than last year - I had it picked out months ahead of time and had done some preliminary outlining to figure out the basics of my plot before I started writing. It's an idea that's been floating around in my head for a few years now, ever since my first NaNoWriMo back in 2009, and has finally solidified enough to write it. It involves ghosts, witches, an insane demon, and Victorian-era London, and I am beyond excited to see where the plot takes me. You can read my full synopsis at my user profile on the NaNoWriMo site:

I managed to get about 1,700 words written between midnight and 1 AM, at which point my brain demanded sleep; I went through the rest of the day writing bits and pieces wherever I had time and then put in another long stint of writing this evening, managing to reach my Day-One goal of 5k. I've always set it as my goal for the first day because getting ahead early is one of the best strategies to use, but I've never achieved it, even though I've written 5k in a day before. Usually I make it to 3 or 4k, and I'm thrilled to have so much written already. I'm almost finished with the first chapter of my novel, and like where it's going so far. 

That about wraps up my Day One report. Best of luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo!