Month: June 2016

10 Amazing Things About Camp

I mentioned two weeks ago that I went to a camp and it was amazing. Anyway I thought I’d tell you just why it was amazing and what exactly I got out of it.

  1. I got to spend time with great people
  2. I don’t really get out a lot, so seeing people is always good. And these weren’t just any people, they were fun, encouraging people. About half were people I’d met before, but not seen for a long time. And despite it being a small camp we had people from all over the world.

  3. I got to observe people interacting
  4. This one’s a writer thing. Watching real people inspires characters sometimes. I’m not necessarily directly basing any characters off real people, but I pick up little things that I use. And I get to observe more than I would with random strangers, but the people are still new to me so I notice things.

  5. My room-mate was a writer
  6. Of all the people I could have been put with I was with the lovely Jess of Jessie Grace blogs. I think God’s hand was in it because I do have a bad tendency to judge by appearances and I might not have really talked to her if this hadn’t happened. Since I have been wondering a little if I am even supposed to be a writer this encouraged me a lot. What other reason would God have for sticking me with a fellow writer?

  7. The teaching was amazing
  8. We had a whole lot of good solid Bible teaching. Sometime I get caught up in studying complex controversial things. This wasn’t that. It was about how we live in Christ, and came straight from 2 Timothy. We were encouraged to get up early and read our bibles and given tips on how to make it more worthwhile. I felt as if I got my focus and enthusiasm back.
    .

  9. I was inspired to be adventurous and trust God
  10. Though it wasn’t actually the main focus of the camp the thing that hit me hardest was the fact that we need to and can fully trust God in anything. There was a hypothetical question that we had as an icebreaker: If you had unlimited money, where would you go and what would you do? One person gave the answer that God doesn’t have limits and if he wants us to do something he will supply the means. That along with other things about trusting God had made me want to do more than just sitting at home writing. But it has also made me realize that I don’t need to worry about doing enough. I do intend to do some new things, which will in turn give me more life experience to draw on in my writing.

  11. The weather and scenery were amazing
  12. It’s the beginning of winter in Australia, but it wasn’t quite too cold. Also though it almost rained one day it never quite did. And just look at the view we had: beautiful mountains and a bright blue sky.

  13. There was some dancing
  14. I had wanted to write a scene with dancing in Girl of the rumours, but despite watching many videos of renaissance dances I really didn’t feel up to the task. Then we had some dancing at camp and I got it written. Besides it was fun despite the fact I mostly watched.

  15. There were enough people to play games requiring large groups
  16. We played a bunch of different games, mostly indoors, but we also had a soccer game. I’m not a huge sport person, but I do enjoy joining in a game of soccer. (despite the fact I’m not very good and stay in deep defence) I hadn’t gotten to play any since this same camp the year before. And this time I was on the winning side. Also I won a game of Cluedo.

  17. I came home with more energy than I went
  18. I had fully expected to be exhausted after camp since that’s what happened last year. But I wasn’t. I felt invigorated. Maybe I didn’t stay up so late as last time or maybe I’m in better health. Or perhaps ‘the joy of the Lord was my strength’. Anyway I wasn’t tired out and that’s a good thing.

  19. I finally shared Samara’s Peril with my brother
  20. I made him wait and actually managed to keep from spoiling it for him. But I decided the wait had been long enough. While I drove he borrowed my phone and read. When my other brother drove, I read aloud. Sharing books is fun.

Speaking of camps, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo again. This time with a goal of 25,000, my biggest yet. But I realized recently that writing really shouldn’t take up that much time. I can sometimes write 300 words in 15 minutes. That mean my total writing time per day only needs to be an hour for my goal.

Who else is doing Camp NaNo? Does anyone need a cabin to join? If so tell me and I’ll get you an invite.

9 Ways my Beliefs, Interests and Personality Try to Affect my Writing

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. This is not necessarily about the ways my beliefs should be affecting my writing, but just about small things. Little unnecessary things that are sometimes good, but sometimes annoying. It fits in well with a Writing Excuses podcast of a few weeks ago about examining unconscious biases.

Many of them are actually somewhat important beliefs but might not actually benefit from the way they come through in my story. To make a point, bad examples are important as well good ones. Other points might actually just be tendencies I have for other reasons.

  1. I have trouble making my main characters bad
  2. To be exact, I’m not right stories about people who you could call villains, but I do want them to be flawed. But with some of the flaws I shrink back and think that I’m making them into a person who isn’t nice enough. Of course that might actually be a legitimate concern, I don’t want my characters to be unlikeable. But that doesn’t mean that Natalia has to be the perfect sister. Especially if the story is partly about the fact she isn’t the best sister.

  3. I prefer to show the society I like
  4. Lady of Courage was intended to be set in a very feministic society. But I don’t like feministic societies, so despite the fact I was trying to show some of the problems in one, it keeps creeping towards being more equally governed. I think I’ve found a balance I’m comfortable with now and a good reason for many of the people in power to be women. There was this very terrible war about 20 years before… But I’m not here to explain my backstory, that’ll have to come some other time, when I’m actually working on the story.

  5. I try to invent food I consider healthy
  6. This one is slightly ridiculous, since I still haven’t figured out diet and nutrition stuff for myself and the lifestyle and amount of physical labour of my characters is somewhat different to my own. I was going to give them beans as the main staple instead of a grain. Fortunately I did some research and realized that every civilization has a grain or other starch as a main staple. But my characters still won’t be getting much sugar.

  7. I write minimal romance
  8. I’m not actually sure why this is, but I cringe from to much focus on romance. I value the commitment side of relationships over the emotion side.
    Lady of courage has a major focus on Natalia needing to marry someone. But it’s not so much a story about love as it is about respect and working together. The romance might come in more when I actually write it, but it might not. In Girl of the Rumours one of the relationships have very strong parental involvement. And it’s barely at a subplot level.
    I may also being avoiding it since I have no experience and therefore little skill. If I were to write any more romance it would probably be terrible.
    .

  9. My characters tend to be private about their feelings
  10. This one is simple. I’m private about my feelings, and if I let my characters spill a lot out I feel uncomfortable. But I know I need to do it sometimes. Not everyone is like me.

  11. Clothing is practical and modest
  12. I tend to design clothing for my characters (the female ones) that I would wear myself. And I think about the technicalities of how it’s made and where the material comes from. So I have nothing overly fancy or complex. It’s still pretty I think. but very practical. That’s something else I need to talk about in more detail someday.

  13. There is always a chivalrous young man who doesn’t talk to girls much
  14. Always doesn’t mean much considering the little I’ve written, bit does seem to happen. It’s probably based more on observation than beliefs though. But I must have a character of that sort. And since the heroine isn’t much like me she finds him annoying. And because she is like me she wishes he wasn’t so withdrawn. But unlike me she tries to talk to him, that’s why she will find him annoying.

  15. Fathers are important
  16. At one time Aydel didn’t have a father at all, but it didn’t feel right. So she has a father though he isn’t around as much as I would like. I wish I could have him their more but the story wouldn’t work. And in both Lady of Courage an the other book that I never actually wrote, my MC’s father had died, but she’d had an amazing stepfather for most of her life. Natalia’s father wasn’t supposed to be quite to wonderful but I couldn’t help it. He’s got to be a good man, even with the faults he has.

  17. Parents are wise
  18. Woe to any of my characters who don’t listen to their parents. Even when they might be wrong about some things their advice is usually good. But it usually takes my characters, especially Aydel, quite a while to figure that out.

And that is that. For a bit I thought this list was going to be too short but more ideas keep popping up. Now I had better click the publish button because I’m behind on my word count and spent the bits of yesterday when I wasn’t working or procrastinating, writing fiction not blog posts.

Beautiful People: Mim’s Childhood

Hi everyone,

This is a rather rushed post because I just got back from an amazing camp last night and almost forgot about my blog.

I’m doing Beautiful People again, this time about a sweet red-haired brigand girl named Mim.

What is her first childhood memory?

  The time her half-sister Elind arrived in tears and started living with them permanently.

What were their best and worst childhood experiences?

  She has fond memories of harvest feast in the town where being poor didn’t matter. And also the time when she was given a new dress. The worst time would be just after her mother and uncle died of the coughing sickness. She and Elind almost starved before Elind finally gave in and married.
What was their childhood home like?

  A ramshackle cottage on the outskirts of the town of Jarrah. it was a dirty noisy place, often dangerous too.
What’s something that scared them as child?
  The men that her uncle would hang around with.
Who did they look up to most?
  Her mother. She was a wonderful woman who always made things come out alright and kept Mim safe.  She wouldn’t let people impose on her.
Favourite and least favourite childhood foods? 
  Favourite food is pies; least favourite is watery soup. 
 
If they had their childhood again, would they change anything?
  She would have had a father.
What kind of child were they? 
  She was very wild adventurous and warm-hearted. Making friends, but scaring their mothers.
What was her relationship to their parents and siblings like?
  She loved and then missed her mother, feared her uncle and never knew her father. Elind was almost a second mother, but she saw her as being weaker than her own mother. Her other half sister was someone she barely knew existed and never wanted to meet.
What did they want to be when they grew up, and what did they actually become?
  She hoped to become a maid and work herself into a better life. She became a brigand instead.
And that’s the basics of Mim. If you ask me any questions in the comments I’ll answer them for you.

13 Things I’ve Learnt in a Year of Writing.

Hello internet people,

I’m not exactly sure when I started seriously writing. A year ago I was probably in the midst of outlining Girl of the Rumours. I believe I started actually writing in the end of June. I had also been dabbling for over a year before that.

Anyway I’ve learnt quite a bit in that year. These are of course just my experience and you may find things work differently. But I also thought these little bits of knowledge could be quite useful. I thought I had a dozen, but I found I had miscounted and had an extra one. But I’m a baker so that’s okay.

  1. It’s important to know where the story is headed from the beginning
    1. I got stuck in a major way when I realized that the climax I had planned didn’t actually work as a climax. The story would have needed on the wrong note. So I tried adding other stuff on afterwards.

    2. I need my outline to be loose
    3. The further along in the story I was, the more the more it differed from what I had originally planned. I was still headed on roughly the same direction, but the details changed. When I actually get to a point in the story I can see clearer what the character would do. Also I discover things that don’t really make sense. My outline wasn’t very tight, and I don’t think I ever will outline tightly. I also found it can be good to outline roughly and then add more detail as I approach it.

    4. It’s okay to go back and rewrite before continuing
    5. I know it is recommended not to edit the first draft. I’m not talking about editing though. I’m talking about when you realize that what you just wrote was all wrong. Go back and write what the story needs. It will help keep the story on the right course.

    6. It’s also okay to just rewrite it in your head
    7. Sometimes I realized that some of the earlier event of the book happened differently. I even removed a character who did appear quite a bit in the beginning. But since it was back a long way and I knew where I was going, despite the changes. I just made few notes and didn’t actually rewrite it at the time. That means that my idea of the story and what I actually have written are different. Also I now know that I would have still had to make even more changes.

    8. It’s okay to summarize
    9. There were times when I was little bored with a bit, or just couldn’t quite figure it out. Instead trying to push through it I just put in some vague place holder test such as, “Aydel does something awesome to escape,” or “They got back safely.”

    10. Or write badly
    11. I did a lot of this. Sometimes I just let dialogue ramble on stupidly. Sometimes I left out dialogue tags, Sometimes there was no description or someone contradicted what they just said. And sometime I just plain didn’t like it. It kept me going. I’m just going to be rewriting the whole thing anyway, so it would have been a waste to make it beautiful

    12. Or write out of order
    13. I didn’t do a lot of this. But there where times when I was stuck but had an idea of what might happen later, or I realized that I had missed an important scene. Sometime I wasn’t even quite sure what order it should go in. I wrote it anyway.

    14. It’s possible to write when you don’t know what’s going to happen next
    15. I know I said I needed to know where the story was headed. Well one time id really had very little idea. I knew that Leisa had to warn the others about danger, but I didn’t know what the danger was. At the very last minute I figured it out. And then I still didn’t know what was really happening in my climax. But it was all right. I survived. It’s a dreadful mess, but I did finish it.

    16. Continuing to write is often the best way to sort things out
    17. This has really already been covered, but if you’re stuck keep trying to write. Even if you end up writing about your story instead, I t can help. You’re bungling along, and then suddenly you know the answer, or at least something that looks like an answer and will do for now.

    18. Ideas aren’t always brilliant as they first seem
    19. This is sad a but very true. I found the perfect answer that was going to solve my plot problems many times. Then I actually stated thinking about the plot again and realized things weren’t any better. It will happen and there’s not really anything you can do about it. But sometime an idea really will be good and sound. It may be one that come slowly, a little bit at a time.

    20. Main characters must have a consistent goal
    21. This was my biggest problem and the key to solving my story. Since I had added more onto the end, it didn’t all fit consistently together. Aydel’s actions were inconsistent or at times rather stupid. Just a couple of weeks ago I realized what goal would try everything together. And then all I had to do was figure out how everything else interacted with that. Insert a few other little ideas and her actions mostly make sense.

    22. Characters need to have the right name
    23. I wasn’t completely happy with the name of one of my main characters. He also had very little personality. He wasn’t charming enough, or smart enough, or at all intriguing. His name made him sound stupid. Once I had the right name everything snapped into place. I’ve had the same experience with other characters on a smaller scale. Names do dictate our impressions, even when we make them up ourselves. So if you have trouble with a character consider changing at least part of his name.

    24. I need some kind of daily or monthly goal
    25. When I don’t have a goal, I don’t get as much done; it’s as simple as that. Even though I do love my story and am excited about it, there are so many other thing that take up my life. The goal give me something to work towards, and forces me to make time for writing. But I do find that high goals stress me, so I try to avoid that.

    Did any of you gain anything useful from that? Should I make more lists like this? Comment and let me know. My next post will probably be the Beautiful People link-up and I’m going to tell you about a sweet red-head girl named Mim.

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