Sunday, 30 June 2013

Camp NaNo 2013: ILLUMINATE

The house has been blessedly quiet for the past few days, since my parents took my siblings on a fishing trip to B.C. I was invited along, but considering that I've been sick the past week, I'm terrified/grossed out by fish and I've been looking forward to a girls only party ever since I found out they were going... I declined.

There's another reason, too. Remember NaNoWriMo? I mentioned it in the last post? One month of crazy writing in November? Well, there are summer sessions. Camp NaNoWriMo they are called. I've only done the November NaNo before, but I'm trying to switch over to summer because I don't like how NaNoWriMo interferes with Christmas preparations. (I like to start getting ready in October.)

I also have a novella to write that I want to get finished as fast as possible. (At least, it's supposed to be a novella. It's stretching out pretty long in outlining.) I'm not going to bore anyone who doesn't care with details, but since I know some people will actually be interested in a few facts, I just want to give a quick overview.

This novella is a prequel to my six-year-WIP with the working title Taken. I came up with the idea for Taken when I was nine, so let's say it has grown a lot. It's taken a gigantic leap in the last few months, though, when I cut out major plot threads and reworked everything I'd planned about the plot.

I don't know if you understand this, but making changes that big on a six-year project is disorienting. To deal with that and really flesh out what the heck is going on in this story, I'm writing a prequel with the previous generation. Currently, I'm calling that Illuminate.

And boy am I glad I'm doing this. Everything I thought I knew had happened a mere twenty years before the story was a lie. I'm looking forward to a very fun filled, mind-numbing month. I probably won't check in again before August.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Reflection on NaNoWriMo 2012

Hello, everyone! As I sit here under my brother's bed to protect him while he tries to go to sleep, I decided to look back at the last work I did on my sort of WIP. (I haven't written in it since last October... I think) and compare it with my NaNoWriMo of 2012, the one no one is allowed to read.

I have affectionately nicknamed this unseen draft The Set Animal, a reference you will understand only if you have read The Kane Chronicles. (For those of you who haven't, this is a monster from Egyptian mythology that is gigantic, disgusting and generally monstrous.) I decided last year that the only real way for me to really experience thirty days of literary abandon is to ensure that I am the only person who will ever read it.

Looking over both my half-WIP and The Set Animal, I made an astonishing discovery.

The Set Animal may not be gorgeous, but it's fun.

My WIP, however, the thing I worked on for years, is dry as an oven after it was on Auto-Clean.

There is a very simple reason for this. It wasn't that the plot was mortally flawed, though it was. The Set Animal was worse in that regard, however. It was the simple fact that I wrung all the life out of it. Every time I sat down to write, I sweat and bled and stared at the page and got a few sentences out of it. Sentences that I wrote and rewrote until they were 'perfect'.

Now if I sweat that much picking the BEST word for every. single. word. How are my readers going to feel? Like they want to hit themselves in the head with a hammer until the pain goes away is my best guess. That's how I felt, reading it over. It was like the kind of poorly written classic that evil teachers make children read for poor behavior. The scene structure was okay, it was just painstaking to read.

So, I don't know if any of this made any sense. I may well read this in the morning and wonder what I was talking about. But I just want to say to anyone who reads this and has any kind of interest in writing: Don't sweat it. Learn everything you can about how to write well, but when the time comes to sit down and write it, have fun. Worry about making it look good as the last step. The first draft is for falling in love with the story and fleshing out the idea. Do that. Be happy.

The End.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Percy Jackson Birthday Party

Sam turned 10 last Monday. The poor boy has been sick for a few weeks now--an awful cough and lethargy being the main problems--but he was feeling a bit better on Monday so I let him eat his cake, despite my threats that he wouldn't be allowed to if he didn't get better soon. 

I loved this cake, though I didn't expect to. Mom bought the Whoppers a month ago and I've been trying to find a time when I could use them to decorate the cake. But as I was making the cake and taking the occasional taste of the icing, I was thinking how I would tell people about it. ("It was good. The icing worked well with the sweetness of the Whoppers, the ganache was a nice touch... the only mistake I made was, well, making a Whopper cake.")

Contrary to my expectations, I don't have to tell you that because the cake was phenomenal. The icing tasted far less sweet once it was on the cake, all the flavors worked together perfectly. I detest too much ganache, but I used a hairdryer to spread the little bit I put on the top of the cake into a thin layer. The cake even tasted better the second day.

But you probably don't care about the details of that and I'll be posting it on my food blog, anyway.

This treat deprived sick kid was very eager to dig in

Sam was only allowed one small piece of cake because I insisted he needed to treat himself well and get better. (The one who made the cake has quite a bit of weight in these matters.) Sam was convinced I had an ulterior motive. And I did, just not quite the one he expected...

A surprise birthday party! I'd been planning it since my own surprise party in January, but Sam still had no clue. He persisted in alternating between saying that surprise parties are lame, and complaining that he's never had one. 

After much debate, I discovered that Sam was wanting to do his own Percy Jackson themed birthday party this year, so I just took his ideas and improved upon them. Happily. I'm pretty sure I love those books more than he does, but he'd fervently deny that, so don't tell him.

For those of you who haven't read the Percy Jackson books, I just want to tell you why l love them. Rick Riordan created fascinating, full characters and put them into a fascinating world. I'll be the first to pronounce that Greek mythology is really dirty, but--unlike the movie--the books are clean. Percy is blind to what it says about the Olympians morals that they have so many half-mortal kids, but that's completely natural. People don't want to believe bad things about the people they love. Beneath the fun story, Riordan has powerful messages about perspective.

The invitations were a lot of fun to make. I tweaked the words from an invite I found online, printed them in Greekesque lettering and printed them. Then, I poured raspberry herbal tea on them and let them dry in the sun. Then I burned the edges and tied them up into nice little scrolls.

The next fun order of business was the Medusa head pinata. It was a complicated business. The idea behind the pinata was simple: Blow up a balloon, paper mache it, and decorate! In practice... it exploded twice. So if you make a pinata, don't put it somewhere very warm to speed the drying. Even if you already have four layers on it.

The nose

The best part of making this pinata was watching how clueless Sam was. I said I was making a globe and he believed me. I said the nose on the 'globe' was Mt. Everest and he believed it. It was also fun to fill it with 'ambrosia' and 'Hermes Multi-Vitamins'.

They had to be blindfolded so Medusa wouldn't turn them to stone

They had a wooden sword to hit the pinata with

Sam was an hour late arriving to the two hour party, so we were pretty rushed the entire time but we had a fun time. Erik dressed up as Poseidon for me and kept the kids entertained while we waited. He also taught them sword fighting and led the Poseidon team for Capture the Flag.

 Poseidon's team flag and swords

Athena team (I led this one)

After we got Sam out of the house, I had two hours to get the party things ready and over to the pond for the party. I was rushed enough I ended up leaving about half of the things behind, but the rest of the family was able to bring them later. The toughest bit was frosting the cake, which I had ten minutes to do. And it was an ice cream cake. I have never made an ice cream cake. But I had the right tools so it turned out pretty well. I forgot to take a picture until it was almost gone, though, so you can't see the entirety of it.

And that's it! I could go on and tell the story of tree limbs breaking off with the party guests in them... but the post is getting long enough as it is.

Incoming Blog!

(Note from 2016: This post was written back when the title of the blog was Rambling Through Life.)

So, yeah, I've started another blog.

If you're reading this, you probably found it through my other blog, where I already explained why I was starting this one. Just in case you didn't read that, I'll just say it again. Meg's 1000 Words is too crowded with all the things in my life, so I started Rambling Through Life to keep my life straight. This blog is about the things I do in my life, for the information of the people who actually care.

An explanation for the name: I like to ramble--as Grandpa knows from the 'hike' we went on in Langley. A ramble is a time to go the places you love because you want to go there. It is a time to live and breathe and do what you want without worrying about hurrying to the destination. This blog will be that for me. I'm sorry if I get carried away sometimes jabbering on about something not especially clear or important; but it's a ramble. Expect it.

Also, note that the URL is I forgot the 'meg' once and ended up somewhere else. While it looks like a lovely blog, it isn't mine.