Friday, November 29, 2013

Day Twenty-Nine // currently: 50,031 words

I just wanted to tell everyone out there that I am an official NaNoWriMo winner.

Not completely done with the novel yet, but now that I've 'won' I'm going to finish some homework, hug my boyfriend, eat cheesecake/brownies/chocolate pie, and watch The Office.

(side note: Deacon recently got me hooked on The Office. Shocking, I know.)

I'll do a whole big "Things I learned from NaNo" post sometime, but for right now, I'm closing this computer and stepping outside. Breathing fresh air. Cuddling my kitty. Reassuring everyone that I'm still alive and breathing.

Hope all of you are having a great Thanksgiving!
--Emily

Monday, November 25, 2013

far from home

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I know you saw it. But it's okay.
That's been my word for the past three years.
it's okay, it's okay.

[It's not okay. But we all have our vices
and mine is the art of deception.]

I've seen your face when I close my eyes
for longer than I can remember.

But I understand; dreams can never
measure up to reality.

You used to tell me I was afraid of change.
I think the tables have turned.

It's [not] okay.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I could never find a way to capture this in ink, in words,
to capture your eyes and all of their shades--
those truth-seekers, those honorable spheres.

But they have captured me completely;
they have me shackled, blindfolded.
They have me bound to truth.

I feel them on me, everywhere.
I feel it rage within me.
and i think i know that you know.

I cannot shake them; nor can I
say the words and make it real.
I cannot look at them directly anymore,

lest I turn to stone. 
--Emily
currently listening to: Pray by Blessthefall

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Door

The door stares back at me, laughing at me.
I've no nerve to approach it, and it knows,
though everyone is tugging me along,
everyone is on the other side whispering back
come along, come along now.
But there will always be a red stain upon that door;
a mark like a hand-print slapped across its face,
scratches from fingernails along the handle.

--Emily
currently listening to: Rabbit Heart by Florence + The Machine

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day Twenty // currently: 37,310 words

So that moment when you realize you only have ten days and 12,690 words to wrap up this story?
Yeah, just felt that.

  • I don't think that I'll be able to get to the ending with less than 13,000 words. And even if I do, it will be rushed and I will have to expand it later on.
  • So I downloaded the free 30-day trial of Scrivener the other day and have started writing my novel in that rather than MS Word, and I must say, I am absolutely in love with it.
    • If I get to 50,000 words, I get a major discount off the usual $40 price, which is pretty awesome.
    • It's fun to write on, and it will be extremely helpful when I begin the editing process.
    • By the way, this story is going to need a lot of editing.
  • If you haven't heard of Scrivener, you should check it out. It's great for writing and organizing longer works, but for other stuff, too. Like research papers, short stories, etc.
  • I'm still contemplating the idea of completely changing the story's narration. I'm about 60% convinced to rewrite the whole thing using Avarielle as my narrator.
    • For now, I'm going to finish my first draft with the omniscient narrator, though. Just to simplify things.
  • Another struggle: portraying Rae as a strong female character.
    • I'm really drawing on Korra's character from TLOK to try to accomplish this.
    • But she keeps going back to a love-obsessed moron.
    • Another thing I'm going to have to deal with heavily during the next few drafts.
  • I also keep forgetting to include scenes that I've worked out forever ago, and then remembering them and having to shift things around to fit it in.
  • Writing a novel is hard.
    • But worth it?
  • And I keep putting all these things off for Thanksgiving Break, like reading King Lear, but I realized today that NaNoWriMo ends that weekend
  • So yeah, it's been a bit hectic.
I think Week Three is always my least favorite.
But I'm still pulling through.
--Emily

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day Eighteen // currently: 31,436 words

Week three has come.

I have only written 61 words today, due to having to complete that research paper that is due tomorrow. And I only managed to write 1,000 or so words yesterday.

Week Two = suffering from discouragement due to my crappy writing.
Week Three = suffering from complete lack of motivation to write.

I'm still slightly ahead, though. And I still have time to get my word count up for today, so I have not given up hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will leave you with the last scene that I wrote yesterday:
(P.S. please remember that this is a first draft)

“I thought he said we would have a different task,” Rae yelped.
“We don’t even know what he had to do last time,” Sash replied, nodding reassuringly.
Mylan mumbled something that nobody managed to catch. They all took half a step forward and craned their necks to isolate their hearing.
“What did you say?” Zohar whispered desperately.
Mylan’s eyes flicked to him, then over to Sash, then to Rae. His lips were still trembling.
“D-did they sting you?”
Rae shook her head, surprised at the question. “No.”
His shoulders did not relax. His eyes went back to Sash, who raised his hands before him in innocence. “They didn’t touch me.”
He then looked at Zohar, who stared back at him in silence for a few very long seconds. Finally, he answered, “No.”
Mylan’s breaths slowed down to normalcy, but his muscles were still tense.
“Mylan,” Rae said hesitantly, “what did Makani mean? What is the task?”
His eyes fell down like he had been shot; his chest heaved under the weight of the words. Pain climbed upon his back.
“The Sershii didn’t kill my mother,” he admitted. His voice was strained and both of his hands rose and cupped around his eyes, catching a sob.
“I don’t understand…Mylan, what happened?”
He sniffed and wiped at his eyes, but it did little to stifle the leak.
“It was me,” he said, looking up at Rae. “I—I killed her.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~
--Emily
currently listening to: Cat and Mouse by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, performed by Vitamin String Quartet

Saturday, November 16, 2013

i am, i am, I am.

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I don't hear the silence very often anymore. The places I live are filled. And when something is empty, like the drive back home or sitting in a restaurant trying to write something, I instinctively put on my head phones and turn up the volume.

Why am I constantly trying to fill that void?
Am I afraid of what might happen if I embrace it--am I afraid of thought?

I used to listen to them. The breaths of the people in the room with me, the rustle of leaves outside my window, the horn of a train echoing from a distance. My heartbeat as I sprawled out on my bed and allowed my mind to roam into distant lands.

We used to call each other on the phone and talk for hours at a time, talking and listening back and forth like a game of ping-pong. We didn't just read the words someone wanted us to read, we felt them. We deciphered them. We could recognize someone just by their voice, like a fingerprint. We knew it by heart.

Things are changing now. We're afraid of silence and we're afraid to speak.
Mostly, we're afraid of thought.

--Emily
currently listening to: the hum of my computer

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day Fifteen // currently: 26,357 words

23,643 more to go.
I'm officially over the halfway point.

There are now less words to be written than have been written.
Keep repeating it, Emily

Week two is over! Thank the Lord. The beginning of the week was awful. The middle of the week was awful because I was on a huge chapter and nothing was really happening. Yesterday, however, I wrote 2,400 words. It was crazy and awesome and I wish I could do that every day. I actually had to physically pull my fingers away from the keys so I could study for a test I had this morning.

So, what's been happening? in life, in the novel?

I managed to clean my room this week! That was a big triumph.
I came up with an idea for my Final Project in my Romanticism class.
I took two tests...no word yet on how those went.
I came up with a topic and checked out a book for my Structure paper.
...which is due Tuesday and has not been started yet. Oops.

As for the novel? Well, I've been a bit discouraged. As I'm doing fine on quantity, there's a fine lack of quality going around. And I know that's okay, that that's kind of the point of NaNo, but it is really getting to me. I keep wanting to share an excerpt with you guys, but literally none of it is ready to be seen by another human.

But some highlights:

  • I'm currently on Chapter Ten, which may actually be Chapter Eleven if I decide to split an earlier chapter.
  • I'm currently on page 50.
    • (that's with my adjusted settings. If I put it in Times New Roman, 12 point font, single-spaced, 1 inch margins, I'm on page 59.)
  • Rae finally knows the truth about Mylan. (Squeak!)
    • ...well, at least the part about him saving her in the first chapter. There are many, many things she has not figured out yet.
  • Rae, Mylan, Sash, and Zohar have finally started their quest to find Avarielle.
  • I got to introduce the Kan’proxsershii yesterday...which are more or less big, gruesome gargoyle/vampire creatures.
  • Zohar may or may not have been infected by one of them...it remains to be seen.


Some troubles:

  • I'm having a difficult time having Rae connect with anyone other than Sash.
  • I'm really considering going back and rewriting the whole thing in a different perspective. Something isn't flowing right...and I think it's my omniscient narrator. I feel I write better in first person, but I don't know how I would do it with this story.
  • My vocabulary is the most limited thing ever and I'm a terrible writer/English major.
  • My plot becomes extremely fuzzy after this point. I had the first half pretty lined out, but this next half is kind of a mystery.
  • Even if I do make it to 50,000 words, I have a feeling that I'm not going to reach the end of the story. Which is technically okay, but still stressful.
  • My school life has fallen to the wayside and I don't even care...but I'm not sure whether this is the fault of NaNo or just plain senioritis.
  • Also, I'm glad the group has finally left Lux, but I'm really going to miss scenes with Channery.
I realize I haven't given you guys a synopsis yet, unless you've gone to my page on the NaNo website and looked it up there. I've been waiting until I can formulate a better one, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen, so I'm just going to copy and paste the synopsis I have there:

Synopsis
Her name means "into the light," and that is exactly the kind of life that Eraelyn's parents had planned for her. But upon her birth, her golden-blood revealed her to be a proxii--the children chosen to act like surrogates for the Earth's corruption. To be a proxii was long ago thought to be a great honor, but times have changed, and now it is seen as a curse.

Eraelyn is now fifteen years old, which is the most common age of death for the proxii. When Mylan, a boy from a distant village, finds her after a mountain-climbing accident, he rushes her to a medical center, but learns that the proxii are forbidden from medical care. Mylan secretly smuggles Eraelyn across the border and to his home village.

The attempts to revive Eraelyn seem to have little effect, however, and Mylan learns that the only one that can heal her is the guardian of life, Avarielle. Together, Mylan, Eraelyn, and a few companions travel to find Avarielle, but they must first accomplish four tasks from the other guardians and pass through strange, foreign lands filled with mysterious creatures...

~~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, our campus has been completely flooded by Christmas trees. They are seriously everywhere.

And I won't be home until Thanksgiving. =(

--Emily
currently listening to: Enchanted by Taylor Swift

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Day Twelve // currently: 20,115 words

29,885 more to go.
Can you taste it?

It's starting to get hard. Really hard. You hear all these stories that Week Two is the hardest. Last year, that wasn't so for me--it was Week Three. But this year, Week Two is stepping on my feet as I try to trudge on.

School (and life in general) is part of the problem. Assignments are beginning to pile up. Final papers are due. Presentations must be given. Pre-final tests must be studied for. Clothes must be washed.

Novel must be written.

I've been forced to cut some corners. I had a pretty difficult test today in my Christian Doctrine class...and I really don't think I did so great on it. This morning, I skipped my first class...the first time I've skipped a class the entire semester. I've put off reading assignments. I haven't washed laundry in two weeks. I actually had to use my one skip for room checks last Thursday because I simply did not have time to clean.

NaNoWriMo is beginning to look like a poor life decision.

But then I write scenes like I did today, and I fall in love with it again. I feel lost if I'm not writing, if I'm not pushing forward.

I haven't fallen behind yet, by some grace of God. I'm still on track, but it's surely not coming as easily as those first few days did.

I just passed 20,000 words, though, and the feeling. You can't replicate that.

Halfway is just around the corner.

--Emily
currently listening to: Best I Ever Had by Gavin DeGraw

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tyler & Amanda // Engagement Session

Last month, I got the amazing opportunity to photograph Tyler and Amanda. It was my very first time doing an engagement session, but they really made it easy and quite comfortable...and it doesn't hurt that they are simply a gorgeous couple.

We actually took the photos at Engler Park, the place where Tyler proposed. It was such a beautiful day and excellent weather--in fact, we encountered many other photographers during our session there. Everyone wanted to capture a bit of the beautiful day.

I feel so honored that they asked me to shoot for them, and I know that they will have a happy marriage together. =)

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If you wish to book me for a shoot, send me an email! I hope to have my Photography page up and running in the near future, as soon as my school work dies down a bit.

Have a happy weekend!

--Emily

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day Six // currently: 10,503 words

Your semi-daily dose of NaNo updates:

  • I climbed into the 10,000s last night, a day early.
  • I haven't written much today yet, but otherwise I'm averaging 2,000 words a day. 
  • Starting to notice trends in my writing, such as:
    • I noticed that the past three stories I've written have had leading females with the first initial R. 
      • Rachel in "Eight Minutes" ; Riley in The Dead Dream ; Rae in Eraelyn
      • Okay, technically Rae is a nickname of sorts...but it's what she's called through most of the story.
      • I don't know why this trend is happening. I'm not overly fond of Rs, as far as I know.
    • Requirements for an Emily story: supernatural elements, death of SCs and MCs, child abuse, and detailed descriptions of bathrooms.
      • (SC = secondary character ; MC = main character)
    • Changes of expression only shown in the eyes.
    • Names that I like but would never name anyone in real life.
      • e.g., Shanely, Jovany 
    • ridiculous love triangles. Or love rectangles. Or love triangles plus one that you like even though he is not going to be romantically involved in any way.
    • Psychological problems
    • Singing / Musical talent of a specific character
  • I just had to look up the difference between "i.e." and "e.g."
  • I keep going to hit "Ctrl + S" as I type this ... but that doesn't work on here. Habit.
  • But as far as habits go, that's a pretty solid one.
  • I introduced a new character yesterday on a whim. I named him Sash and he is going to serve as a medical intern / comic relief character.
  • After introducing him, I realized that I now have to figure out a way to get rid of him by the end of the story. And normally this would mean me killing him off, but I really like him. Plus that would kind of kill his comic-relief purpose in life.
  • SIGH.
  • I have gone this long in the story without mentioning the name of the MC.
  • Or at least, one of my MCs. I kind of have two. 
  • I've decided to give you a list of the characters I have so far.
    No judging names....it's a fictional universe.
    • Main main characters and kind-of main characters:
      • Eraelyn --> the 1st MC. She is a proxii from Nyx, the secluded city. 
      • Mylan --> my 2nd MC. He saves Eraelyn after falling from the mountains, but she does not know it yet.
      • Zohar --> Mylan's slightly older cousin. He keeps Eraelyn company as she recovers and she develops a crush on him.
      • Channery --> Mylan and Zohar's grandmother who is taking care of Eraelyn as she recovers.
      • Sash --> a beginning medical student who is assisting Channery with Rae's recovery. He and Rae develop a close friendship.
    • other characters:
      • Previ --> a servant working in the mansion of Eraelyn's keepers
      • Jovany --> a musician and past love interest of Mylan
      • Jase --> the older sister of Sash that was the village's leading medical physician
    • the guardians:
      • Avarielle --> the supreme deity and the guardian of life
      • Amaya --> guardian of the rain
      • Makani --> guardian of the wind/sky
      • Maeron --> guardian of the sea
      • Ayla --> guardian of the forest
    • locations:
      • Erimentha --> name of the universe
      • Nyx --> dystopian-like city that is completely surrounded by mountains and a magical border
      • Lux --> small village outside of Nyx
      • Zoi --> home of Avarielle
  • I'm not giving you a plot synopsis or background or anything yet, though. You'll have to wait until next time. =)
  • Also, I just want to thank every single one of you. You all have been so supportive of me this first week, and I can't tell you how much that means to me. People have been coming up and asking how the writing is going or what the story is about, and that seriously means the world to me. So thank you
  • I must get back to writing! 39,497 more words to go!
--Emily
currently listening to: Get Me Right by Dashboard Confessional
(P.S. I never get tired of this song.)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Day Four // currently: 7,778 words

42,222 to go.
Chipping away at the block, one word at a time.

I wanted to talk about why I'm doing NaNo.
Because initially, I had talked myself out of writing this year. My friend Jenn is the one who convinced me to try it again, and she has been a great encouragement thus far.

But why NaNoWriMo? What convinced me to try it last year? Why was I so easily persuaded to try it this year?

A multitude of reasons. One, I've always wanted to write a novel. And publish a novel. In fact, it's pretty high up there on my bucket list. But that's what everyone says, right? Everyone wants to write a novel.

How many of those people actually do?

I've never completed one. Does that come as a surprise, I wonder? As much as I write, and as much as I'm in love with words and writing, I have never completed a novel. I've gotten pretty close with last year's NaNo project--still unofficially titled "The Dead Dream"--and surpassed 50,000 words, but it is still sitting in the archives of my computer, fragmented and incomplete.

That's one reason why I'm doing this--to switch to a new story, in hopes to have new inspiration for The Dead Dream, which I have literally been working on for five years.

It also, surprisingly, helps me manage my time better. I get my homework done long before it's due because I know I will have limited time to do it. I sacrifice naps to get extra words in. I lay Pinterest and Netflix aside and actually do something. And I get to reward myself later with peanut butter cups.

Another reason: my head is constantly filled with stories and ideas and characters and the events that shape their fictional lives, and I mull over them and greet them kindly every day, but I find it hard to actually write all of it down. But that's what NaNo is all about--to not worry about perfection, editing, or anything. It's about getting your story out. In words. On paper. (or virtual paper).

And I'm so surprised by how much more I discover about those stories and characters and events and backgrounds and settings just by writing, not planning.

My plot changes--I discover holes along the road, and several detours between point A and B. Minor characters become main characters. Archenemies become cousins. Characters get yelled at by angry florists. The elderly are exterminated and a boy makes a rickshaw out a wheelchair and a hospital bed.

And my story gets written.

--Emily
currently listening to: River Flows in You by Yiruma

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Day Two // currently: 3,887 words

46,113 more to go on this mountain climb.

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  • It's actually ironic, because my main character has and is climbing a mountain.
  • I am on Chapter 3.
  • No, I do not have my story specifically outlined into chapters. I like to take life as it comes at me.
  • Also, presenting to you lovely readers the cover I created last week for my novel's page on the NaNo website--->
  • My goal is to get to 4,000 words by the end of tonight.
  • Except I'm also trying to write a 7-10 page paper over I Am Legend for my Romanticism class.
  • I ran into a plot hole today when I realized that I hadn't planned out how my character manages to climb a mountain with an unconscious female when his strength and size are quite limited.
  • So I had to leave him twiddling his thumbs on a hospital bed for awhile while I consulted the love of my life, who gave me step-by-step instructions on how to construct a makeshift rickshaw from hospital materials.
  • Every good writer needs an engineer in her life.
  • I've decided not to identify my character's name until Rae first meets him, which is turning out to be a struggle since it's written in third person.
  • But I'm going to like the effect.
  • I finally went to Walmart and stocked up on junk food! Yay!
  • TLOK is getting intense and I hate that Mako doesn't even know that Korra was attacked and went missing and now Asami is all over him and I love her but MAKORRA.
  • I keep writing about my character persevering in his quest to save Rae but I'm really saying it to myself
  • 50,000 words is so, so far away.
--Emily
currently listening to: Gravity by Sara Bareilles

P.S. I can't hear this song without thinking of this:

(when it says the video player is too small,
just wait a moment and it will appear)