Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Doings

Hello, everyone! June has been quite the interesting month: half tradition, half new experiences. As such, it's also been a very busy month . . . Honestly, I have a feeling that I'll never have a non-busy month again unless I get really lucky sometime next summer. Oh well- at least I don't have time to really get bored.


Startup Stock Photos
  • Most of my writing time this month has been dedicated to one thing: rewriting several chapters of Destinies and Decisions- ones I'd already edited. Back in March, a friend made several suggestions on how to increase the tension in the story, which I really liked . . . but implementing them meant making fairly significant changes to certain events. Thus, I haven't covered any new ground this month, but I am much happier with the story overall.
  • I'm doing this rewriting in connection with Go Teen Writers' 100-4-100 challenge. For those unaware, this is a challenge to write 100 words a day for 100 days, allowing one grace day per week. The challenge has, as always, been super helpful in making sure that I do indeed write every day- if I weren't participating in it, I probably wouldn't have gotten half as much done as I actually did. Even with the challenge, the last two weeks my average has probably only been about 200-300 words a day, which is really slow for rewriting/editing. However, at the beginning of the month I averaged closer to 500-700 words per day (some days I even made up to a thousand words), so I'm not stressing much about it.
  • I've also been doing a bit of very informal planning for Camp NaNoWrimo next month . . . And by "very informal" I mean that said planning largely consists of talking over my ideas with a friend (not the same one who gave me the rewriting suggestions) and some notes on powers, plot, and characters quickly scribbled down when I wasn't busy with work or editing. Yeah. I might be winging it a lot more than usual this July . . .



  • Reading, like writing, varied greatly throughout the month. All in all, I read 10.1 books, all of which were new-to-me reads. 7 of those books were read during the first twelve days of the month; 3.01 were read during the other eighteen.
  • The highlights of the month were undoubtedly A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold and Shiloh, both of which I raved about in my recent Best of 2016 post. They're both absolutely gorgeous and a touch dark (more so in Shiloh than A Branch of Silver, a Branch of Gold) and mysterious and a little sad and wonderful. Go read them.
  • I also enjoyed King's Folly (though not as much as I hoped, due to certain content), The Night Circus (which was slow, but absolutely enchanting and wonderfully dream-like), and Fahrenheit 451 (which my youth leader told me I needed to read this summer, and so I did.) In addition, I finally started on my adventure into the Star Wars EU . . . and was not terribly impressed, but I've only managed two books so far, and I'm under the impression that the next sub-series on my reading list should be pretty good. And Crosscurrent was, in any case, not a bad read.  (I was more disappointed with Deceived, but oh well.)
  • The other disappointment of the month- though not a serious one- was Keeper of the Lost Cities. Don't get me wrong; I did enjoy it quite a bit. But considering how many people seem to greatly recommend it, I wasn't terribly impressed. One problem is that the book tasted suspiciously similar to Harry Potter in certain respects . . . and I haven't even read that series. Another two problem- one shared, interestingly enough, by Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series- is world. Now, I love the idea of other worlds, and I also like the idea of a secret world within our own. However, what I don't like is how the inhabitants of the secret worlds in both these books tend to look down on people in the "ordinary" world, acting as if they're perfect and do everything better and all that, while normal humans are useless and untrustworthy and so on. And in some cases, yes, the people in the secret world do in some cases have their stuff together more than the ordinary humans do. But that doesn't mean they have to keep rubbing it in my face. Those issues aside, however, Keeper of the Lost Cities was a fun read, and I might try the next book if I have time.
  • Not pictured is the book I'm currently reading: The Shadow Rising, book 4 in the Wheel of Time series. I'm maybe a tenth of the way through and currently feel like I'll be lucky to finish the whole thing by mid-July. As for my thoughts on the story . . . Well, it's too early to really tell.


Last year's picture because I didn't have time to edit any of this year's. Sadness.
  • The first week and a half of June, my family enjoyed our annual vacation in the Pennsylvania mountains. As usual, we did a lot of hiking, a good bit of shooting, some marshmallow-roasting, and generally had a good time. I didn't take as many pictures as I sometimes do . . . but as previously mentioned, I did a lot of writing and reading, so that's good. I'm also rather pleased with how well I shot, considering I haven't really picked up a gun since last summer. (You'd think that, since we live in a more rural area now than we did in Virginia, I'd be able to shoot more, but no . . .)
  • When I got back, however, I had only a day before I started the internship I mentioned in last month's Doings post. I'm working in the communications department, doing a variety of writing and graphic design-type projects. I was rather happy that my tasks have been less "Sarah, get me coffee" and "Sarah, do this busywork-but-educational-for-you task" (which my dad warned me that they might be) and more "Sarah, rewrite this article so it sounds better and is up to date" and "Sarah, make a poster (including trimming and mounting it) about this person to go in the lobby!" I've also been learning InDesign as part of this internship (well, not as a formal part, more as a "A lot of projects I'm supposed to work on are in InDesign so if I don't learn I'm not going to have much to do" part), which has been interesting. It seems to have a lot of similarities to both Photoshop and Word- programs I'm quite familiar with- so I've been able to pick it up pretty well.
  • Having run out of knitting projects to work on, I decided to re-learn crocheting. Like knitting, I learned once when I was relatively young (eight or nine-ish, I think), but then lost interest until now. So far, I'm not sure which I like better, since I've only completed a few projects. (Crocheting does seem to be a lot faster than knitting, though . . . I'm not sure why, since it's actually more motions per stitch.)
  • I'm sure I did something else this month, but what it is I can't recall. Probably it was something to procrastinate on something else, sadly . . .

July Plans!

  • How the pumpernickel is it July already?
  • Obviously I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm writing a superhero/mystery-ish novellette, about 10K words, set in the world of the Teenage Superhero Society, which should be fun. There will be character cameos. And my main character may end up spending a fair amount of the novel wondering if she's crazy. Or she might not- it's hard to say. But her goal is to find justice for a three-year-old murder, which only she knows was a murder, and it should be fun to write. And once I get it edited, I plan to post it here on the blog.
  • Obviously my internship will be continuing for most of the month. Between that and Camp NaNoWriMo, it should be . . . interesting.
  • Plus our church is having a summer carnival/festival/mini-VBS-type-thing midway through the month . . . which I volunteered to help at. (Or possibly someone volunteered me. I'm not sure which. And it doesn't really matter at this point.) Of course, when I signed on for this, I didn't realize that I'd be put in charge of a game booth by myself . . . without any real backup . . .  Yeah. If I get through the day with no calamities and my sanity mostly intact, I'll be happy.
  • All the busyness should slow down at the end of the month, though . . . when I'll be taking another hiatus. Yes, my second one this summer. No, it won't be another sort-of-hiatus where I actually do get on the internet at least once every couple days. I will not have internet access, period. Yes, it will be because I'm traveling. Yes, I will miss you all very much.
  • And I would like to actually get some reading done sometime this month; we'll see how much of that happens. The last week or so I should have a fair shot at getting through a few books; other than that . . . well, like I said earlier, I might be lucky just to get through The Shadow Rising.
How's your June been? Have any plans for July? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade) 


  1. Internship sounds busy, but fun! :D
    And re-writing Destinies and Decisions sounds fun too. Intensive work, perhaps- but rewriting sections of a book can give it such new life and depth! I'm currently doing it with two of my books, though I admit it's a lot more than a few chapters. I basically just started completely new drafts after writing improved plot overviews. The stories just weren't connected enough, and the antagonists didn't come in soon enough, and the scenes needed more impact earlier on. But despite the backtracking, it's been great to be able to come at the stories from a new angle.

    Keeper of the Lost Cities is a good book series. Like you, I have problems with the world setting, and the attitude of the Elves in general. But that actually ends up becoming a central theme: indeed, the catalyst of the main conflict.
    What I love best about it is the characters and their relationships. Every book brings a new revelation, and leaves off on a wretched cliffhanger. I'm waiting on the fifth book now. 0_0

    1. That about describes it. *nods*
      That's pretty much why I'm doing the rewriting. And the effects will stretch over more than just the "few chapters," but the rest of the book should need slightly less changing.

      I can understand that. And I did notice the cliffhanger in the first book . . . which is one of the main reasons I'm thinking of getting the next one if I can.

  2. I totally understand you about the internship thing. I'm sure it'll be awesome, but it adds so much time to everything. :P

    Ooh, I need to read the Night Circus. I love dream like and lyrical sort of books, so it sounds like something I would enjoy. Not to mention that everyone loves it. :P

    // katie grace
    a writer's faith

    1. You mean takes away so much time from everything. :P But yeah. It's good, but I do miss free time.

      Definitely read The Night Circus! I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

  3. Glad to hear that your internship seems to be going along nicely!

    Funny, I was just talking about Fahrenheit 451 with someone the other day. Have you ever heard about those dog-like robots they are making these days? Creeeeepy!

    That's a good point you make, about 'normal humans' being looked down on. What's up with that?

    1. I haven't heard about those robots . . . that is definitely creepy. O_o

      I have no idea. But I really want it to stop.

  4. OH SO MUCH OF THIS BUSYNESS!! *flails* And hugest of congrats for managing an internship and writing! EEEP. I would probably collapse on my face. XD (I'm not good at multitasking omg not good at all.) Alsoooo...superhero book writing? GOOD TIMES. I love superheroes! And MARSHMALLOWS. And yes how is it July?? 0_0 I mean, for me that's good...Winter is nearly over! HAHAHA. But yes. Oh dear, I still have so much to do for this year and I feel like it's going super fast. THE TRIALS OF BEING OLD, I GUESS.

    I also totally get what you mean about those magical worlds were all the non-magical people are just inferior. Hmm. Kind of offensive! I don't like that trope either tbh. D:

    Hope you have a good July! HERE IS TO ALL THE GLORIOUS WRITING! HUZZAH!

    1. Thank you very much! And yes, superheroes are fun (though my MC is currently still working on the actual being-a-superhero bit; right now she's just a girl with powers on a mission who hasn't yet figured out that hero-ing is what she's meant to do.) Also, you aren't old. You aren't old until you're, like, 66.

      Exactly. And it's not like the non-magical people can't be awesome. Look at LOTR. Sam isn't magical. Aragorn isn't magical. Faramir isn't magical. Pippin isn't magical. Yet they're some of the awesomest characters in the story.

      Thank you; same to you!


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