Day 1 – A is for Abature

 

Well, well, well…looks like April is upon us already. A promise of spring and all things new. And the looming shadows of my two giant writing projects: 50k words for Camp Nano, and the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

Still, I remain undaunted completely frozen in fear. You would think I would be better prepared, having done NaNoWriMo MULTIPLE TIMES and such…but no, I have been all but running away from my keyboard today. I sat down at 7am this morning and got myself all prepped to write…And here it it, nearly 11:30am, and I’m finally putting words on the screen.
But I’m putting all that fear behind me now, because there’s no use in learning from your failures if you don’t take the risk to fail at all. And basically, I can’t fail with these projects as long as I’m willing to just sit down and write. No one’s judging me on quality here, right? Right?

So bear with me through this month. I’ll do my best to at least keep it real. Without further ado…

Day 1 – A is for Abature

I was going to do something entirely different today. I had lists, story notes, research, help from family and friends, a near-complete topic list…That I promptly decided to scrap literally a minute ago. It just didn’t feel right, whatever that means.

My original topic was going to be all fantasy themed: armor, dragons, classes, etc. But I really didn’t have anything new to say about the topics, other than “Hey, unicorns are pretty cool! Let’s all be wizards, okay?” And for the topics I did have something to say about, it was a much longer article than I wanted. On the A to Z Challenge website, they say to keep your posts short, so that other people can read them quickly and have more time to read more blogs. (It’s really a big social event excuse, now that I think about it.) So writing an essay paper on the function of historical armor versus fantasy flair clothing would not really fall into that category. And so, on a great big ol’ whim, I decided to change my topic.

Plus, I wasn’t sure you lovely peeps want to read a whole month of fantasy nonsense. Sure, I like fantasy and I love to write it, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it everyday…actually, no, wait, I do, but I don’t have a fantasy-themed blog, so it would be unfair to submit all the rest of you to that particular brand of torture. You’re welcome, I think.

So the Official New Theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge will be: Random Words. Yes, I will be picking a random word for each day, hopefully an obscure one so we can all learn something together. I am literally just going to a big list of words and picking one out of the ether, so hopefully it will stay a bit more interesting for both me AND you.

Today’s word: Abature

Noun: (usually plural only) Grass and sprigs beaten or trampled down by a stag passing through them. [Late 16th century.]

I lived in rural Indiana growing up, and hell if I didn’t go down my fair share of abatures. We merely called them deer trails, little paths carved by hooves that always threatened to get you hopelessly lost. My father passed on his love of trail hikes to me, and one of the most infuriating things was thinking you were going the right way on a trail only to end up looped a half mile back and losing the trail in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, deer infrastructure sucks. (Getting into nettles was a serious tie for second most infuriating thing. Tied with ticks. Nature is beautifully gross.)
Now I don’t know if abatures have to only be caused by a stag, or can be caused by any deer, or really what a stag is even (apparently just a really big buck), but I hope I can still call them abatures anyway.

Since this year’s Camp Nano theme is all about cultivating a “Creativity Garden,” I’d like to imagine mine as a hidden forest grotto sort of thing, and the only way to get to it is by running through the Endless Abatures, and you have to backtrack at least three times or else it just doesn’t even show up when you get there.

Bonus points if you get stuck in a deer gridlock on the way.

Happy trails for the weekend, everyone!

 

(A smallish disclaimer: there is a possibility that I am completely misconstruing this word and it just means the ACTUAL grass and whatev’s that the stags step on and not a path, and if so, just pat me on the head and say “yes, dear, whatever you say.” I won’t be offended.)

 

 

Going to Camp

Now that June is wrapping up, my eyes have been looking forward into the future! And not in some divine seer kind of way, but just thinking about the rest of the summer. Actually, just thinking about July because despite being a grown adult, I can usually only plan things one month in advance…

I am especially excited for next month because of Camp Nano starting up on the 1st. If you don’t know what Camp Nano is, then too bad I don’t feel like explaining it then here’s a quick link of its FAQs page. It’s basically Nanowrimo, in the summer, with a virtual cabin of people, and you make your own word count. If you don’t know what Nanowrimo is, then get out here’s a link to that as well. Sorry, the snark-shark must have bit me in my dreams last night.

I’ve been putting together a list of things that I want/need for the next month of camp-writing. Mainly because it distracts me from the fact that I don’t have a complete outline of it yet, but also because it’s more fun to envision it as an actual day camp in my head. Here’s what I have so far:

1) Cabin and cabinmates

I checked this one off last week, go me! I actually made my own cabin, which required setting it up, posting about it on various sites, and then actually inviting total strangers to join me for a month. My hermit self couldn’t believe it. Be still my introverted heart!

2) A campfire

Although I do have a fire pit in my backyard, the chances of me actually taking my laptop out there during the buggy monsoony month of July to write during a thunderstorm are very slim (just another perk of living in the Southwest). So, I’ve settled on replacements instead. I’m thinking a couple of candles, maybe some decorative twigs to really set the mood… It’s a work in progress. I’ll take pictures when I’m done.

3) S’mores

This was a no-brainer, really. I usually have s’mores ingredients somewhere in the house anyway, because why not? I’m thinking of trying to find some s’mores alternatives too, like S’mores Oreos or something. I even pinned a recipe for a S’more wrapped in cookie dough if I get really ambitious. These are definitely going to be rewards for me meeting my word goal every day and totally not snacks for whenever I’m feeling voracious.

4) Notebook

Because every new project is a good excuse to buy more notebooks. And the regular ol’ spiral-bounds are really cheap right now thanks to school sales or whatever. I don’t care the reason; I just want to buy ten notebooks for a dollar and see  my husband roll his eyes when he sees them.

4) Pens

I desperately need new pens. When I moved here from Indiana, pens were not high on the priority on our packing list, so most of my pens are stuck somewhere in a storage shed 1600 miles away. The pens I do have are fading fast. So pens are a definite must for next month.

5) Inspiration

For inspiration, I turn to pinterest. God, do I love pinterest. The only problem is that it can be a bit of a time-suck if you get off track, but I already have a few boards to be my go-to’s. If you’re interested, here’s my board on general writing things and also a collection of picture prompts.

So how do you get ready for a big project? Do you have any go-to’s that you must have nearby to write? Or do you have any kickass Pinterest boards to share? I’d love to see them in the comments!

Happy Writing!

-Christine B

If My Thoughts Were on Balloon Strings, Maybe They Would Stop Floating Away

Well, my undiagnosed ADD has really struck hard today, so this won’t be much of a blog post. I haven’t been able to hold a thought together all day and have spent most of my time writing to-do lists, browsing stupid click-bait links, and wandering around the house from one half-started task to another. I blame vacation for ruining my very delicate routine. But vacation was also very pleasant. I’m so conflicted…

I’ve got some blog posts in the works if I can get my head together this week. I saw Jurassic World on the weekend, started two new Final Fantasy games and revisited my Animal Crossing town, so expect to hear on those topics. Also, it has been declared plot week over on the facebook Nanowrimo page, so yeah, plotting! It actually fits in pretty nicely since my original goal this week was to make an outline for Camp Nano. I can use all the plotting help I can get. I’m more of a “characters first, plot second” kind of writer, much to my frustration.

Here’s hoping your Monday was a bit more productive than mine. And if not, at least we have the rest of the week to make it up!

My Favorite Characters: Part Two (The Good Guys)

Part Two of my favorite characters collection (click here for Part One). This time I’ll be focusing on my favorite characters that I didn’t create. Also, these are all protagonist/hero types. Who doesn’t love a good hero?

1) John Marston, Red Dead Redemption

I don’t like cowboy flicks. I wish I could give you a nice, organized list of reasons why, but I’m not too sure. Too much grit? Not enough magical whimsy? We’ll go with those. But John Marston changed all that for me. Red Dead Redemption is a video game that plays out as an old-western movie. You play John Marston’s story of, you’ll never guess, redemption as he travels across the West and into Mexico to round up kill his former gang partners. In return, the government has promised to grant him amnesty for his past crimes and will allow him to live on his farmstead with his gang partner-turned-wife and their son. I really got into this character and enjoyed his story more than I ever thought I would. He was just the right mix of good guy and badass. A morality system in-game allowed you to play him as good or dirty as you’d like, but the choices weren’t always easy. I distinctly remember stopping to help a poor woman stranded on the side of the road, only to have her steal my horse and gallop away. Or the time I tried to help a man that was being chased by two strangers, only to find out they were cops and he was an outlaw. His story is captivating and is one of the few video games to have left me sniffling at the end of it all.

2) Captain Katherine Janeway, Star Trek: Voyager

For many years I have been a nerd, but it was only a few months ago that I found Star Trek. I had seen various episodes here and there and had never been too interested, but Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager changed all that for me. The debate for best Star Trek captain always bounces between Kirk and Piccard, but my vote’s with Janeway . I was never worried when she was at the helm; I actually trusted her as much as her crew did. She put her ship and crew first at all times and never let them down. I don’t often see women portrayed well in leadership positions (how many bitchy bosses exist out there?), but she handled the position with equal parts grace and tenacity.

3) Dean Winchester, Supernatural

I couldn’t get this far in the list without mentioning Supernatural. It just wouldn’t be right.

Besides being easy on the eyes, I really like Dean. But I don’t think I would like him if he didn’t have his foil/brother Sam. Dean is the badass, Sam is the nerd, at least on the outside. But outside all the monster-fighting, Dean wants nothing more than to kick back to some hard rock albums and eat some pie. For being such a tough guy, he is full of self-doubt and even self-loathing. Most people would try to justify their past, but Dean makes no excuses for himself and I can respect that.

4) Steven, Steven Universe

Steven is probably my favorite little kid character. Steven has a heart full of childish joy and innocence and wants nothing more than to run around with his super-powered caretakers and save the world. He has doubts, he often fails, and he’s all-around awkward. But none of that stops him from being himself and doing his best at all times. His character growth is measured in the people that change just from being around him, and I love it.

5) Master Chief / Cortana, Halo series

Yes, I am putting these two together because they make such a great team. One is a genetically-modified super-soldier, the other an incredibly powerful A.I. hologram, that coexist in the same power armor together and save the human race. Repeatedly. I never thought I would like a faceless sci-fi soldier protagonist, but his back-and-forth banter with Cortana won me over.

Those are a few goody goody characters out of many that I like. Let me know your favorite goody-two-shoes in the comments!

Tuesday, You’re Alright by Me

Tuesday is my favorite day of the week. I remember consciously making that decision sometime in my early teens, when having “favorites” defined who you were. I dunno, the Nineties were weird. Regardless, I always felt bad for Tuesday. It was too early in the work week for anyone to be excited about it, and it seemed to inherit some of Monday’s blahs. But, at the time, I was all about liking things against the norm, so Tuesday it was. I was also starting to develop my love of music, so the songs “Tuesday Morning” and “Tuesday Afternoon” had a lot to do with it. Maybe if I listened to other songs with days of the week in the titles I would think differently? All I can think of is Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” *shudder*

In honor of poor, neglected Tuesday, I wanted to officially tell everyone that I”m challenging myself to blog every day this month. My blog is just over a month old and I’ve already started slipping on how often I post, so I’m coming at it full force. I’m still unsure of what I want to say on this , so I’m just going to throw more words at it until something happens. That’s how writers do it, right? Or hide under a blanket in the corner with a full pot of coffee, hoping that my novel will become sentient and write itself. Is there a computer virus for that?

Encouraging Thunder Award

In other news, some of my recent blogging motivation has to do with being nominated for an award. I received the Encouraging Thunder Award from fellow new blogger Caroline over at carolinepeckham.com. I really enjoy her blog and am slightly jealous of how organized her blog is, lol. Give her a look and a like, you won’t be disappointed.

So that’s the news of the day! Expect more to follow! Anybody else got any big plans for the lovely month of June? Any writers out there wanting June to be over so Camp Nano will start sooner? Or does anybody have any songs suggestions that feature days of the week? I’m all ears. 🙂

The Start of Something Good

Hello!

Yes, I used an exclamation point, because I am excited. Why am I excited? Because I am starting this blog!

You must understand a few things first, I suppose. This is not my first blogging attempt. I have a little blog I post for my family, and I started another blog several months back that fizzled out pretty quick. But this…this blog is something different. This blog is something I feel good about. Something with my name on it, which, for me, is a pretty scary thing. This blog represents a change in myself, an opening up of the introverted nerd-hermit that I am. This blog is special to me. And thus, excitement.

So what can you expect from this blog? Definitely words. Hopefully lots of them. I am currently working on an edit of my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel, so expect to hear a little bit about that process. I’m also a big ol’ nerd of many varieties and fandoms, so if you’re into that, good! Video games and reading are my biggest hobbies, and I am always up for discussions of those sort. Finally, I have a husband, daughter, dog, and three plants that occasionally frequent my writer-ly thoughts.

And that’s about it. There’s much more I could say about my life, so stick around awhile with me, eh? I’ll promise I’ll get to the good stuff soon.