Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Doings

Oh, look. April's over. How did that happen? I suppose that means it's time for another monthly Doings post, doesn't it? Well, let's get started.


  • I once again completed Camp NaNoWriMo. Mechanical Heart, my novella, turned out a bit different (and a bit more difficult) than I expected it to be. More of the focus fell onto my prince than I had planned for- mostly because he's where most of the action happened. I have come to the conclusion that if I ever write my fantasy-mystery-with-politics novel, I'll have to do a lot more worldbuilding than I did for this project.
  • Anyone want a snippet? Here's the first two paragraphs of the novella:
    "Her heart beat on, as it always did.
    Breen lay, eyes shut, on the smooth wooden floor, waiting as her bones knit back together and the crystal in her chest burned with an almost unbearable heat and the clockwork of her heart pumped unperturbedly on. She'd fallen. Again. That seemed to be happening more and more often lately . . . or perhaps it was just her imagination."
  •  And another bit of description I rather like:
    "Here, high above the city, she watched life go by. Even now, the streets bustled with carriages: most horse-drawn, black, and boxy, others horseless and puffing steam. On the sides of the streets, men in black and brown suits and ladies in bright dresses strolled along before shops and homes. Smoke flowed in ribbons and streamers above them, caught by the breeze and pulled from chimneys of homes and factories alike. Over the slums and factory districts, if Breen cared to look, it hung heavy as a bank of thunderclouds- but she didn't often look that way, save when she was trying to convince herself her life wasn't so bad. 'You could be down there,' she'd tell herself, 'slaving in a factory of clothing mill dawn to dusk, forcing your family to feed another mouth, choked by smoke and never seeing the sky. At least hear you have the view and your work isn't hard and you're not draining anyone's pockets.'"
  • And something from Prince Josiah:
    "Josiah scowled. 'One might think that even if I'm not allowed to be involved in my own government, I could at least take a look in my own clock tower!'"
  • I don't think I really got any editing done this month, unless I've forgotten about it, but overall I'm pretty content- after three writing-and-editing-heavy months, I feel like I've earned a bit of a rest. (And, yes, a 20K month qualifies as a "rest"- or, it does after last month's massive amount of editing. It was practically a full NaNo event, March was.)


  • April was a really, really good reading month, let me tell you. I read and reread a total of 16 books, 15 of which are pictured above.
  • The highlights of the month: Calamity (but then again, it's Sanderson and it's not Alcatraz; how could it not be amazing?), a reread of Guards! Guards!, a slow reading of The Great Hunt (which was better in some ways than The Eye of the World but worse in others), and a devouring of the first three books in The Raven Cycle (which would've all been five-star books, but lost a star for strong language and references to certain things). 
  • Besides rereading Guards! Guards!, I went through three other Discworld books in the space of one weekend: Lords and Ladies (good, though not amazing), Soul Music (amusing, but a lot of the references went over my head), and Interesting Times (about average for Discworld, but since it's a Rincewind novel, that's a step up from what I expected). 
  • There were a few disappointments in the month, of course. Rebel Sands is a book that I was really looking forward to- it has a unique setting and a pair of sharpshooting protagonists, what's not to like? And it was a fairly good book, but even the setting couldn't save the book from certain twists that I found unfortunately cliche. The Goblin's Puzzle also wasn't quite as good as I hoped- it was a fun read, but I've found much better and much funnier.


  •  Y'know how I said back in February that I was going to try not to talk about the weather in every Doings post? Well, I didn't talk about it last month, so now I can complain again: apparently the weather missed the memo that this is spring, because we started the month off with about five inches of snow- enough to keep us home from church that Sunday. And the rest of the month wasn't especially warm either, with the exception of a few days. I was not thrilled.
  • On a happier note, my family went down to D.C. for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, which I blogged about last week. While we were down there, we also got to see several of our Bible study friends, attend our old church, and I got to spend Sunday evening with my former youth group leaders. All in all, it was an excellent trip.
  • On a similar topic: my dad's work had a "Take Your Student to Work" day, which was actually pretty interesting- both because I got a better idea of what exactly he and other people actually do there and because science is still awesome. (For the record: he works at a lab/research center, but not as a scientist.) There was a demonstration of how a laser worked, which was pretty cool, and of quadcopter technology, and a variety of other stuff.
  • I'm pretty much done with all the work for my dual enrollment course! I only have to edit a few (very short) essays and take a last quiz and then I'm done, yay! Plus I only have one poem and a test left in literature. Before long, I'll be done with school altogether. 
  • Certain life-stuff which was stressing me out quite a bit has been figured out. I can't really give a lot of details at the moment. But I've made a new friend and I have one less thing to worry about, so. That's good.

May Plans!

  • I plan to finish up Mechanical Heart, which shouldn't take too terribly long- I'm at the climax now, and I can't imagine there's more than 2K words left in the story. Maybe 3K, tops. Hopefully I'll have it done within a week.
  • I'm also going to be doing NaPoWriMo- a month late, I know, but I and a friend are planning to do our own personal event in May, since we both did Camp NaNo this past month. I'm looking forward to it, since I haven't written much poetry in a while, and hopefully it'll help me be more deliberate in looking for inspiration in everyday life, among other things.
  • And I want to get some editing done, but not a ton- I'm aiming for a chapter a week, maybe a little more.
  • I also have a few different craft projects I want to do- a skirt I'm modifying, three shirts I want to put designs on, and possibly some beading/necklace-making. And I'd like to get at least halfway done on the poncho I'm knitting. We'll see if any of that happens. In theory I should have more time because I'll be finishing most of my schoolwork and I won't be writing as much, but . . . hard to say.
  • Of course, I plan to get a good bit of reading done, whatever happens. I'm not 100% sure what- I still have King's Folly to read (which I need to get to really soon), a bunch of books on Kindle, and some library books, but no really big plans.
  • Finally, it's not terribly exciting, but I do need to clean my room this month, and make sure it stays clean all summer. It's not terribly dusty/dirty, but the clutter is slowly building up on my desk (and has been for several months) and it's gotten to the point that I'm actually bothered by it. So, yeah. I need to deal with that.
Did you do NaPoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo? What else did you do this past month? Do you have any plans for May? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  


  1. Ah your snippets sound amazing, congrats on almost finishing the novel, that's wonderful! 16 books is insane, great job! Also, I see the Raven Cycle... YES.

    You know, I thought I was going to do NaNo this year but I kind of just didn't do it? I don't know, I'm hoping to write the novel this month. I didn't do much in April, but this month I'm going to California and doing loads of crazy things so hopefully May will be more exciting.


    1. Thank you! And yes, I finally read the Raven Cycle and loved it. (And by "loved it" I mean I devoured the first book, waited an agonizing week for the next two, and then devoured those. And then gave thanks that I finished book three just as The Raven King came out.)

      California? That does sound exciting. Have fun, and good luck on your novel!

  2. So glad you like the Raven Cycle! I adore those books. : ) Dang, you write a lot!

    1. I can definitely understand why! :D And thank you! Doing a lot of month-long word wars and writing events has helped a lot with that.

  3. I didn't do Camp this year, but it sounds like your Camp project turned out really well! I love the snippets you posted from it, they're so good! Now I want to read more :).

    1. Thank you! I still need to finish and edit it, and after that I'm saving it for potential entry in a contest, but we'll see what exactly happens . . .

  4. I like the idea of your Mechanical Heart story! I hope to hear more about it! (speaking of hearing, in your description - which is lovely, by the way- you've written 'hear' instead of 'here'. Homonyms can be a pain sometimes, eh? That sort of thing happens all the time with me.)

    I'm envious of your book list. I didn't get much reading in this month, alas.

    1. Thanks! (And thank you for telling me.)

      Heh. I'm a bit surprised I did as much reading as that, what with Camp NaNo and school and all . . . but I'm quite happy about it all the same!

  5. MECHANICAL HEART. I want to hear sooo much more about this novella. I'm so excited about it even though I don't know much. It sounds awesome and really unique. :D

    I gave all the Raven Boy books -1 star for language and things, too. And some confusion, so I think the second (or was it the third?) I gave 3 stars. I'm super excited about the last one! (and scared, because, death...)

    a writer’s faith  

    1. Thank you! I do hope it's both of those things . . .

      I don't remember being that terribly confused in either of the books? But I'm excited for the last one too!

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Great work on your book! I really like the excerpts you have here. Those look like some interesting books on your reading list as well. :D I feel bad that your local weather is still cold. Today we got up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, which is odd for this area at this time of year. It's going to be one dry summer if this keeps up. 0_0

    1. Thank you very much! And lucky you . . . I mean, yes, 90 degrees is ridiculously hot this early, but right now I'd happily take that over what we've got. (Though it's showing hints of giving into spring long-term now? So there's that.)

  7. Omg I wracking my brain but I can't think. xD What does the "po" stand for in NaPoWriMo?? XD hehe. It's probably super obvious and I'm going to facepalm in a minute. ahem.
    BUT YES I DID CAMP! But unofficially. And May for me is going to be about editing my last November novel. Hopefully I'll get it done all this month so I can then use June (or July?) to draft another book. :') I have FAR too many writing ideas though, omg *shrieks* IT's really hard to figure out what to focus on!

    1. "Po" is for "Poetry". :) NaPoWriMo= challenge to write a poem a day. So far it's been . . . interesting.
      Good luck with your editing, and with figuring out what to write! I can definitely sympathize there . . .
      I thought you'd be happy about that. :D


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