Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Doings!

Well, we've made it through the first month of 2017! Overall, I think it's been a good start to the year. (Or, at the very least, it hasn't been terrible.) Not a lot happened, really, but that's ok- and there's still enough to make a decent Doings! post about.


  • As I mentioned earlier this month, I finished Fight Song! I haven't started editing it yet, and I'm not sure when I will, but we'll see. Since I don't think I'll be using yWriter for it, I may be able to edit on University computers, rather than having to stay tied to my laptop. I'm not sure yet. 
  • I also wrote two new chapters for my new subplot in Destinies and Decisions. I haven't gotten any more than that because (A)reading, and (B)I have to figure out how to modify a particular scene in a different subplot- namely, whether or not I'm going to keep a character I added in. On one hand, I like the character, and he does contribute a bit to the plot later; on the other hand, I'm worried that he's a bit cliche, and half of his plot contributions were added so that he'd have a role to play in the story (and also to add a bit of conflict, but mostly to give him something to do). Also, if I take him out, I have to rework every. single. subplot. in the whole book, and that's mildly terrifying- but I'm not sure if having him really makes for a better story.
  • I'm currently reading The Writer's Journey, which is about mythic structure and archetypes in stories. I got it out mostly because I needed to do research on character archetypes for one of my classes, but it's still fairly interesting. It also seems to draw a lot from The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which I'm probably going to read next if I have time. In any case, I think it'll be useful for my writing as well as for research.
  • Um. Yeah. That's about all. But all things considered, I think it's enough.


  • So it looks like I read a ton of books this month . . . and I guess I sort of did? But not nearly as many as it looks like. Why? Well . . .
  • I started out the month with Nimona, which is a somewhat weird, highly amusing graphic novel featuring a villain protagonist and a strange mix of sci-fi and medieval-fantasy stuff and . . . I don't even know how to describe it. Sometimes it was adorable; sometimes it was surprisingly dark. On the whole, though, I enjoyed it . . . and it also put me in the mood for graphic novels. So, I headed to The Silver Eye and checked the links page, and what did I find but . . .
  • Inverloch, which is a fantasy webcomic about elves and wolf-people and mystery and magic and a grand quest. It's five books long, but as I read it online, I didn't really notice- except I happened to look it up on Goodreads and decided to mark that I'd read it. 
  • And then I finished Inverloch and moved on to the author's next project, The Phoenix Requiem, which was . . . odd. Much creepier than Inverloch, that's for sure, and with some weird spiritual stuff, and a few scenes that were a bit . . . well. However, it, like Inverloch, was technically five books long- and I did notice that time, because it felt longer.
  • In between all that, I finally finished Twinepathy by C.B. Cook. I say "finally" because I beta-read a large portion of the book, plus I read the story on C.B.'s blog until she stopped posting it. However, I ran out of time for beta-reading because other things took priority, and I didn't manage to get my hands on the book until this past Christmas, when my sister got it as a present.
  • (. . . Yes, it might've been me who gave it to her. Maybe. The fact that I wanted to finish it had nothing to do with that decision. Nothing at all. Really. I just thought she'd like it, and I wanted to support my author friend. Nothing more to the story. Moving on.)
  • I also read The Invisible Library which is AWESOME and AMAZING and there's a MAGIC LIBRARY and DRAGONS and STEAMPUNK and a magic library and mystery and intrigue and creepy fae villains and did I mention the MAGIC LIBRARY? (I want to work there, please and thank you very much.) And I'm pretty sure that this book was written specifically for me because it's awesome and I love it and you should all go read it now. In fact, stop reading this post, request it from your local library, and then come back. Go on. I'll wait.
  • Done? Fabulous. Moving on to the rest of the month: my next amazing, awesome highlight-of-the-month read was Samara's Peril. Someday, I swear, I am going to read these books at the same time everyone else does and not procrastinate for half a year, but no luck yet- which is unfortunate, because Samara's Peril is the best book yet in the series. There's Jace stuff. And Jayrin stuff. And Marcus-and-Liam-continuing-to-be-awesome stuff. (Especially Marcus . . . he's definitely one of my favorite characters at this point.) And the battle at the end- oh stars. Jaye did an amazing job on it, that's all I'm going to say.
  • Continuing the trend of recent-but-not-too recent books I hadn't read yet: on the drive from home to college, I read Fallen Star, which was an interesting story. Not my favorite, and I understand why some people have said it feels like a fanfic, but I enjoyed it all the same. I also reread the other two Goldstone Wood novellas, and let me tell you: if you haven't read Goddess Tithe since Golden Daughter came out, go fix that now. Knowing some of Sunan's history makes the story twice as awesome.
  • With the return to college, I also returned to a bit of unfinished business from last semester: the Heroes of Olympus series. I only had the last three books left, and I enjoyed them all well enough, though I don't think they're my favorites. And now I'm left debating whether or not to read The Trials of Apollo, because on one hand, I've discovered I really enjoy the Percy Jackson 'verse and Rick Riordan's writing style, but on the other hand, friends have informed me that it's heavy on a certain thing which I'm not comfortable with. So, yeah. I don't know.
  • Finishing up the month: I reread The Rithmatist, which my roommate gave me for Christmas (because she's awesome), and then went on a Discworld kick that lasted until yesterday and might continue if I get my holds in soon enough. Of the two new Discworld books I read: The Last Continent was ok-but-not-amazing for Discworld overall but pretty good for a Rincewind book, and Carpe Jugulum was slow-starting but pretty awesome once you got further in. And then I reread the Tiffany Aching sub-series because the next few books in the series chronologically were checked out. Sigh . . . 
  • (And I think that, despite the fact that I didn't read half as much as it looks like I did, this still ended up the longest section in the entire post. Oh well.)


  • Yep. Still watching Merlin
  • I've finished Season One, which is good, and I just finished episode 3 of Season Two. Apparently the next episode has Lancelot in it, which is good.
  • Also, the design for the Great Dragon changed slightly from the first season to the second and I greatly approve. The new design looks more . . . more real, if that makes any sense when applied to a mythical creature. Also more intimidating.
  • And Merlin is slightly less of an idiot, so yay for that. Except in this last episode . . . Seriously, if you're not going to follow advice, don't follow it all the way. None of this half-and-half nonsense.
  • And I'm currently alternating between liking Arthur and wanting to smack him upside the head for being a pompous idiot. 
  • Actually, a fair portion of the time I spend watching Merlin goes to wanting to smack one person or another upside the head, but it's typically because the character in question is getting in the way of something else being awesome, not because he's being an idiot.


  • The final 9 days of Christmas break were just as awesome as the first two weeks. Much reading, much writing, much playing of board and card games, all that good stuff. I got to go to youth group and see everyone at church again, and generally enjoyed not having any schoolwork to do.
  • And then I had to pack up and go back to college. Sigh.
  • Second semester is going well, though, and I'm enjoying most of my classes. I have a lot more tests and quizzes than I did last semester (a fact which pleases my roommate) but it's OK; I'm dealing with it. (I actually have a test today in Cultural Anthropology . . . which I'm feeling a bit nervous about . . . hopefully it goes ok.)
  • One nice thing is that the amount of reading and projects I have to do have gone down, which means I have a bit more free time- thus why I've been able to do so much writing.
  • Oh, and I got a Pinterest account, partially because I wanted a way to keep all the story ideas and inspiration in one place, partially so that my roommate could just send me whatever fandom or MBTI or such things she finds and thinks I'll like. So far, I like the site, and it is useful for both of those things. I can't go on there just any time, though, since it's so easy to lose track of time; usually I don't allow myself to get on until I've finished everything else I have to do.

February Plans!

  • School as usual, naturally. I have to give a speech on the 15th, which I'm not much looking forward to, but at least my topic is interesting- that's what the character archetype research is for.
  • As far as creative writing goes, I'll be spending most of the month editing. Editing what exactly I don't know for sure; it depends whether or not Fight Song demands yWriter after all and whether or not I decide to give up my Awesome Hour (the hour in between breakfast or chapel and my first class) in order to have more time to do stuff in my dorm room. It also depends whether or not I can figure out what to do with the character I mentioned earlier. I'll sort it out eventually.
  • Nearly forgot- Thursday is opening night for my college's winter play: The Music Man! That's one of my favorite musicals ever, and I'm going to usher on Saturday, which means I get to see the play for free. It's going to be awesome. (And it'll probably result in my looking up the songs on YouTube afterwards and listening to them obsessively again  . . . which will end with said songs being stuck in my head for at least a week, if not longer. Not that that's a bad thing.)
  • There's also a movie night coming up with the Honors organization, which should be cool . . . I missed the last one because I had work to do and other events going on. Not missing this one, though, even if it is inconveniently scheduled for a Thursday night. (Seriously, why does everything happen on a Thursday? Movie nights, hall dinners, shooting club range nights, other club and hall events . . . and the worst of it is that I have to get up early on Fridays. It's like the people organizing all this are conspiring against me so that I have to try to prioritize which friends I want to spend time with.)
  • (Note if you happen to be one of those people organizing events: That was a joke. I'm not mad at you. Just mildly bewildered at why these conflicts always seem to happen on Thursdays. It's honestly getting a bit ridiculous at this point . . .)
  • And that's about all I can think of. Given that it's February and February is basically the most boring month of the year (I'm sorry, but it is), I'm amazed I came up with this much.
How has your January been? Any mildly-exciting plans for February? (Or, any arguments for why February is secretly the most awesome month of the year that aren't "I live in the Southern Hemisphere and it's nice here"?) Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

Friday, January 20, 2017

Stories I Want to Write (Sometime)

So, I sort of didn't manage to mention this earlier, but I finished Fight Song! I wrote the final words a week ago, in the not-quite-an-hour between breakfast and my first class of the day. I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out; it'll need some editing, but it's not bad. I hope to start editing it around the end of the month, and I'll probably post it on here as I do.

For now, though, I'm taking some time to focus on editing Destinies and Decisions, including writing in an additional subplot at the advice of a friend. (By the by, I'm writing it on EverNote on my new phone. I love my new phone, for the record, especially since it has a keyboard large enough for me to type pretty comfortably. And EverNote has italics, which is a stupid thing to be excited about, but I used to have to write in Notepad if I wanted to write on my phone, and so there were no italics and that made it hard to write anything.) Anyway- besides working on old projects, I'm also thinking about new ones. True, I don't think I'll start a new story for a while. But the more excited I am for the story when I start it, the better it'll go. And, tonight, I thought I'd share some of my ideas with y'all.

Stories I Want to Write (Sometime)

  1. A story where the rebellion is actually the wrong side . . . and the characters don't realize it until it's (almost) too late. I don't know if you've noticed this or not, but rebellions and revolutions in fantasy books almost always seem to be more American than French, at least as far as I've seen. If the revolution isn't considered a good thing, that's generally because it was sparked by an outside force- generally a Dark Lord- and the main characters almost always see that it's wrong right off. But I think it would be interesting to have characters get caught up in a revolution that seems like a good idea at the start, but quickly takes a turn for the worse. How would they react? How far would they go? Would they realize what was going on? How long would they try to justify the leaders' actions? And what would they do when they couldn't justify those actions any longer, assuming they reach that point?
  2. A fantasy-murder mystery with a hearty dose of political intrigue. This would undoubtedly be heavily influenced by the Queen's Thief series, since that's where I got the inspiration. Well, technically, I got the inspiration from a daydream that partially came out of the series, but still. I actually have a bit of random scribbling that could be easily turned into chapter one, if I should so desire. The main reason I haven't written this is that it would take a great deal of planning and plotting and research, all things which are more than a little bit intimidating to me right now.
  3. A superhero slice-of-life story or series of one-shots. I got the idea for this last semester, I think while I was chatting with some of my friends about what superpower we'd each want . . . It would be sort of like the Teenage Superhero Society, but with more emphasis on daily life and less emphasis on Becoming Heroes and Defeating Villains- things like a telepath being lazy and using her powers to pull the bag of chips to her, or a time manipulator freezing time right before a test so he can scan his notes one more time, or a telepath wrestling with the temptation to cheat on that same test. You get the idea. Basically, I just want to write about what teenage/college-aged supers do when they're not, y'know, being heroes. The problem is that there would literally be no plot which is why I should probably just write a series of one-shots and leave it at that, but my brain generally doesn't work that way. (Actually, this could extend to urban fantasy slice-of-life in general, not just superhero, but the point remains.)
  4. Evil Rapunzel. What if the witch or fairy or whoever imprisoned Rapunzel wasn't the villain? What if she had a really good reason to take Rapunzel from her parents- a reason that had to do with protecting the world? What if Rapunzel wasn't actually imprisoned as young as the story says at all; what if she was imprisoned later on, for a very legitimate reason, and the story we've all been told is something she made up? What if all that's true? And then- what happens when a well-meaning prince stops by and helps her escape?
  5. A Between Two Worlds sequel focusing more on Kate's sister. I have some idea of what I'd do for this. Like Between Two Worlds itself, what I'm thinking would be drawn from random daydreams- these ones mostly based on combination between a webcomic I read a while back and Heather Dixon's Entwined- but while I know some things, I don't know enough to pull it off. Like, I know that a lot of the conflict will stem from Ella missing Kate and feeling left out of all the adventures and making a few bad choices as a result of that, and I know a considerable amount about the villain, but I still need something to tie all the pieces together. Also, it would be a rather darker story than Between Two Worlds was, so I'm not sure if I'm ready in that respect either.
What about you? What do you think of my ideas? And what are some stories you'd like to write but haven't gotten to yet? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)   

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Mistcloak Tutorial

Every girl needs a good cape, right? Sure, they're not always practical for everyday wear (scratch that, they're almost never practical for everyday wear), but you never know what might happen. Yes, fair enough, I already have a cape (plus a couple capelets, which are rather more practical), but I've wanted to make a Mistcloak more or less since I discovered the series. And, as you already know if you were paying attention last October, now I have!
We Mistborn are incredibly mysterious. Also dramatic.

 Putting the cloak together wasn't that hard, just time-consuming. That said, you can probably do this in a day, if you don't start too late and don't take long breaks and don't have to take pictures every step.

Now, let's get started.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

In With the New

Well, here we are: the first day of a new year. Hard to believe that 2016 is officially over- but so it is. It was a good year, and a long year, filled with new things. As a brief recap, in 2016 I managed to:
  •  Write 113,241 words in various projects, including Monster in the Castle and Mechanical Heart, both of which I finished this year, and Fight Song, which is almost done, as well as various flash fiction and miscellaneous projects.
  • Participate in two Camp NaNoWriMos.
  • Not participate in the November NaNo for the first time in several years.
  • Edit 57,389 words, mostly in Destinies and Decisions.
  • Get my first-ever internship in the corporate comm department of the place my dad works, which was actually really cool and pretty enjoyable for the most part.
  • Crochet a dragon (albeit a small one). 
  • Buy a new Kindle (otherwise known as the Llyfrgell y Lleuad, which is Welsh for Library of the Moon)
  • Participate in White Sulpher Springs Summer Staff for the second time.
  • Realize that I'm not publishing anything this year . . . or probably for a while, unless I buckle down and edit a lot. Or unless a certain thing that just came up a few days ago works out . . .
  • Survive my first semester of college.
  • Watch the entirety of Firefly and most of the first season of Merlin.
  • Make a Mistcloak (pictures and instructions coming soon, I swear!). 
  • Get a new phone (which doesn't have a name yet, though the Kindle app on it is entitled "Pocket L-Space," which Discworld fans will understand and no one else will).
  • Read over 133 books.
At the moment, I'm not certain what 2017 will bring, but I'm pretty sure it'll involve fewer totally new things (though there might be just as many changes as the last two years have contained). A few things that I hope to do:
  • Finish, edit, and post Fight Song. Obviously. As I stated yesterday, the draft is close to completion. Not sure how editing will go, but it should be more straightforward than most of my current editing projects. Speaking of which . . .
  • Finish editing Destinies and Decisions, Between Two Worlds, or both. Both would be awesome. I don't think it'll happen. I'll be pretty happy if I just finish one of them. But, hey, you know what they say: shoot for the moon and you'll land among the stars.
  • Complete at least one Camp NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure if I'll manage both; it depends what April looks like. But I definitely want to try to do July, even if it's only a small goal. (Actually, small goals or otherwise going rebel is kind of my tradition for July . . . not so much for April, but I'll do what I gotta do.)
  • Continue to exercise regularly. One of my classes this past semester required me to exercise 4-5 times a week, which was actually kind of awesome. I'd like to keep it up if I can . . . though it might be harder this semester, since exercising means braving the cold to get to the gym.
  • Learn some kind of self-defense. My college actually offers a "self defense for beginners" program through the gym, so I'd like to take part in that. I can't do it this year because it's at the same time as my Bible Study, but maybe next year . . .
  • Survive my next two semesters of college. Obviously. But it's worth saying anyway.
  • Try tabletop RPGs. I said this last year too, and I almost managed . . . but I couldn't find a group. I know at least one person who might be interested in starting one, though, so if I can find enough people and someone to be the GM . . . 
  • Actually learn one of the things I say I want to teach myself. I keep thinking "Hey, I should try to learn how to-" fill in a variety of things: play some kind of instrument, speak another language (or even just better German- or even just with a variety of accents), do various survival-skill-ish things, computer skills, lockpicking (for story research only, I swear), and so on. Maybe this year I'll actually follow through and do the thing.
What about you? How was your 2016? What are your plans, hopes, and goals for 2017? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)