Showing posts with label NaNoWriMo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NaNoWriMo. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Mostly Picture Update

Hello Lovely Readers,

I hope this New Years is finding you well... I know its only been six days but if you are like me you are still writing 2015 and then doing your best to make the 5 look like a 6. A few of my last post have been about movies, books, and favorite Christmas songs so I thought it was time for a little update on my life. 

I know Christmas is behind us but I am still replaying the moments I had with my family...

 A morning selfie of my nephew and I (he loves me even if it doesn't look like he does in this picture)
... he is showing signs of having red hair so I call him "little ginger man"
This is us at the park... notice the short sleeves, yeah Christmas in Houston is hot and humid
Playing with my niece and nephew... they invented the game "Squish Attack Aunt Blaire"
Helping my "little ginger man" open his first Christmas gift from me... Yep its a book
Books was unintentionally my theme for gifts

So even though the weather did not feel like Christmas with the family and the kids it was very Christmas-y

Speaking of books...
I am currently re-reading Mansfield Park and it quickly topping my list of favorite Jane Austen novels. Emma and Sense and Sensibility are at the top of my list but this one is joining the ranks. It is not the typical Austen novel because Fanny Price is not like her other heroines who speak their minds or stand up for themselves... no Fanny spends most of the time sitting around and thinking about the people around her, she is also often ignored by her family, and she seems okay with this because she doesn't want attention. The very first time I read this I couldn't finish it because she was so quiet and so mousy that I couldn't stand Fanny Price... now with age I have begun to love her.
Great article "In Defense of Fanny Price" {link}
If you are looking for a modern update of Mansfield Park I recommend the YouTube Series "From Mansfield with Love" (link to channel)

Here is a short trailer:
It is told as a video letter from Franks (Fanny) Price to her brother who is in the navy (or something like that) and she is recording her life for him. Thus far I have enjoyed these YouTube series updates on classic literature... so good job media specialist on keeping us in love with classic stories.

With my progress in NaNoWriMo (I got to 35,000 words) I was able to finish the first part of my story and made a good start on part 2... so I am eagerly making progress on it. After November, I didn't get much writing done, and while I was away for Christmas I didn't get any writing done (I did do some minimal editing on the plane rides). That's okay, as my friend reminds me I am doing this for myself... and while I would one day love to be published I am not on any deadline. Though I do have the goal of finishing the rough draft this story and get to the editing process. Though sometimes after writing a scene I think "Oh this would be much better someplace else" so my outline has gotten a bit of editing to it... and I think I might have to go back and re-write some scenes. Oh well... I love this process and enjoying the moments.

 I don't have a lot of prime time shows I am watching right now. But New Year's weekend was a good TV/ Movie weekend for me.
My friend and I went to go see Star Wars ep. 7 on New Year's day and then I watched the Sherlock "The Abominable Bride" episode. I don't want to give away any spoilers on either one of these things but I thought both were great... obviously for different reasons.
Also this weekend was special as it was the premier of Downton Abbey season 6.
Uh once again I don't want to give out any spoilers but the scenes between Mr. Carson. Mrs. Hughes, and Mrs. Patmore were my favorite. 
{Scenes from ep.1}
 Also over Christmas the show When Calls the Heart, also released their special episode. 
When Calls the Heart, is probably one of my guilty pleasures but I don't care it is a cheesy Hallmark Channel on the frontier period drama.
Needless to say my fangirl heart was very happy over New Years.

Usually I end these updates with a YouTube video I have recently discovered... and I don't want to break with tradition.
Song: "Hello" by Adele (cover)
Clips: Gilmore Girls- Rory and Jess

I think this song is actually quite fitting for their relationship and as the cover is sung by man, I think it tells the story from Jess's perspective.
I am eagerly awaiting for the release of the Netflix reunion episodes that last time I checked were to begin being filmed this year. YEAH!

Hope you have a good day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #3

Hello Lovely Readers,

Frequently how my writing looked
I just wanted to let you know I did not get to 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am okay with that. Before I started this challenge I read some bloggers about how they survived NaNoWriMo and it seemed to me they had no social life and were hanging on to sanity by a thread (okay I might be exaggerating) but I didn't want that to be me so I told myself "what ever I get done, I get done." I said this because I just wanted to focus on my writing this month and it was my first time doing this challenge. Also I still wanted to keep a life...though I'm sure my roommate felt a bit neglected sometimes (sorry).

For this month I set myself little goals, one to type up whatever I have already written out and two to work through some scenes that I was struggling with. I am happy to say I accomplished those goals.

Working through some scenes was hard because I felt mentally blocked and sometimes I would have to tear pages out of my notebook and try again. My mom once told me "crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." I think I went crazy sometimes because I would try over and over rewriting and reworking scenes and even though the words were the same I expected the outcome to be different. I might be a naive writer but I think as a writer you have to do this.

The following scene (set in 1915 between Mattie and Kelby) I think took me five tries to write out before I felt the flow fit into my story:

"Why do men think they can only prove their worth by fighting. I do not think there is a woman alive who thinks in such a way."
"It is is is in our blood, it comes from being cavemen and hunters and gatherers, always fighting to protect our loved ones and resources,"
"Do you really think this war is about resources?"
"No but it is to protect the ones we love," he discreetly rubbed his thumb over the top of her hand.
"You are not going to go are you?"
"Not yet," he pulled back at truth of that statement. He didn't want to go, first he couldn't leave his mother alone with Shane already fighting and second he had no interest in killing men when he was more interested in healing them. However, he knew if war went on much longer he might be recruited, he was of age and in good health.

"Promise me Kelby, promise me you won't go until its absolutely necessary." Mattie had just read Marcus was going to training camp to lose Kelby would be to much.
 "Absolutely necessary, I promise," he took her hand in hers and kissed the inside palm.

"Please Lord don't take him from me as well." Mattie looked into Kelby's eyes and she saw them living a long life together, but maybe that is just what she had wanted to see.

"Now it is a beautiful day, the first in a long while let us not waste it by worrying about a future we cannot know. Do you care for a ride? We can get a nice long one in before sunset, besides we must keep these horses in full form in case they are called for active duty." Kelby tried to make light of the situation but anyone who truly knew him know how it had tore his hear to lose a horse. Last month the army came for Clemson, a horse he had raised since a colt, and that had left Kelby a bit distraught.

Mattie eagerly agreed to the ride, she couldn't remember the last she had been on a horse. The country had been at war for eight months and while the paper was full of half truths and inaccurate numbers, the truth from the front lines were slowly being felt. Everyday they were told they had to make sacrifices for some that meant sugar and for others that meant sons. Any moment that felt similar to the past was a glorious feeling. The sun was so bright and welcoming, it warmed her cheeks and brightened her spirits. She was happy to put away any thoughts of Shane at the front, soon Marcus going to war, and she wanted to believe Kelby would never join them. The felicity of the ride and the beauty of the day made it hard to imagine men were being killed by the hundred in an area of Ypres, not more than six hundred kilometers away.

No one between Cranston and Southerton could imagine the horrors that the Germans were releasing on allied men. The men were praying that their day of battle would soon be over with the setting sun only had new weapon to face. A poison gas floated through the air over no mans land sinking into the trenches that were suppose to protect them from bullets and artillery was now the death of them. The pale yellow toxin burned their eyes, stung their throats, and left them suffocating for air. If they lived through that they suffered severe headaches and feeling lightheaded making them seek comfort on the ground only to breath in more gas. The men who could breath at all was jerky and shallow at best and they would climb out of the trenches against orders but in instinct to survive only to be gunned down by awaiting machine guns. "Its a death trap!" the men yelled as they retreated to a better spot. 
{Poisonous Gas}
I know this scene will need to be edited more but I was so proud of myself for writing a battle scene especially since I have not been battle or in a trench.

So while I did not get to 50,000 words... my last word count was just over 35,000 words I am proud of myself so spending so much time and energy on my story. The work I did makes me feel invigorated to keep going instead of being burned out (as I got the impression from the bloggers). As much I want to keep writing and I spent so much time working away that I didn't give myself much reading time so I for December I now want to find a better balance. AH! it is December! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo... check in #2

Hello lovely readers,

In my previous post (link) I shared that I was stuck in a scene. I am happy to report that I was able to get through that scene and move it towards the ending I wanted to get to, so thank you for your support and encouragement. I also wanted to share that I got 25,000 words last week, which feels to be a huge accomplishment. In NaNoWriMo the goal is to get to 50,000 words, I am okay if I don't get to that. Writing wise this month has been more about my story taking shape and getting it to what I want it to be, sometimes that means rewriting scenes, reformatting my outline, or realizing I need to do more research. At heart I am writer and I totally believe in creative license, but I am also a historian so I want my story to be as accurate as possible which for me means going back and adjusting details and frequently staring at my story saying "how am I going to do this?"

Alicia Vikander portraying Vera Brittian
I knew when I started writing a WWI novel I was going to have to do some research, as much as I love the time period it is sadly not discussed much here in the United States, so I am kind of coming to my story with very little knowledge. There were somethings I knew I was going to have to research for example: major battles in WWI, trench life, women in WWI. Then after reading Testament of Youth  I knew I wanted Mattie to become a VAD nurse, and I was happy to add that to my list of research because it gave my story and character direction. Next I realized that I had made Marcus a pilot... okay so what did pilots do in WWI? WWI was the first war to have a new battlefield in the skies. So add that to my list of things to research. These are things I expected to research and embraced it for my stories sake. However, the more I write the more I realize there are factors I haven't thought about.

My copy of Testament of Youth, marking passages I liked

For example I have brought the Harrington family to London during WWI, guess what happens? Zeppelin Attacks. While the Blitz of London in WWII is way more infamous than the attacks London faced in WWI, it still happened and now I have to make sure my character's house doesn't get blown up. Thus far I have found no record of Eaton Square being attacked in WWI (though it is attacked in WWII).

Also I want a character to be in a major battle... for my time line it has to 1915. Big battle in 1915- the second battle of Ypres. Great! People shooting at each other, "I can write that" (I think). I have read a few books about WWI, in preparation for this. But then I had this thought "Oh look... Germans used chlorine gas for the first time in battle. Awesome" Add research on chlorine gas to my list of things to research. I will just say my "The War to End all Wars" board on Pinterest (link) is beginning to look a bit morbid with pictures of disfigured men... and part of me feels bad for posting graphic photos but then my roommate told me "half the population is watching Walking Dead I think they can handle it." Okay good point. I also think this actually happened and I want my story to be genuine and as historically accurate as possible. So I continue on with my research that may or may not make my stomach queasy. If I am feeling that way about reading it, I can't imagine what my character would feel living it... until WWI Mattie lived a pretty sheltered life and now she is thrown into the world.
So while I didn't expect this research I actually don't mind researching it... like I said I want my story to be as authentic as possible though as writer I know I am allowed creative licensing, which I plan to take advantage of with in reason of course. To me I know this is a fictional story and it may never get published to me it is important because real men and women served in this war and I want to make sure my work is a good tribute to their lives and sacrifice.

A review of the movie Testament of Youth
So while I may not get to 50,000 words in my story I think it is important that I make a first draft that I can be proud of and that will hopefully make a better second draft.

Good motivation to keep going {pic}

Monday, November 9, 2015

NaNoWriMo... Check in

Hello Lovely Readers,

Okay I will admit I am kind of cheating on NaNoWriMo as I am using this time to continue work on my story and type up parts I haven't or maybe write scenes I need to get through. I know this chunk of the story will not make sense but this is the scene where I keep getting stuck.  I know what I want to happen by the end of this scene... I want Leopold to surprise her by visiting her and then somehow on impulse just kiss her. I want Kelby to catch them and he calls Mattie on it but she admit that she loves Kelby. But I don't know how to transition to it. Please read and if you have any suggestions let me know. I really want to get this scene done (at least mentally) and be able to move on.


{Catherine Morland}
The whole dinner was in silence Lord Welford felt no need to ask any of them any questions and without any direct questions Daphne and Mattie had no opportunity to speak. Mattie wondered during the meal if she would be ordered to leave in the middle of the night similar to Catherine Morland had been in Northanger Abbey. If anyone was General Tilney in this narrative it would be Lord Welford, tight, rigid, and border line obsessive. Lord Welford did look down on the Harrington by not being of noble birth or heiresses such as his own wife and he not condone his wife's friendship with that child, that child who bore a marking resemblance to Aurora if Aurora had had the chance to grow into maturity.  It pained him to see the same hazel eyes with a sparkle of emerald in them to look at him, and while some would soften with that pain Lord Welford only grew more severe. The matter only grew worse as Parker discussed the many attributes of Miss Daphne, the eldest daughter, and Lord Parker feared his son would make a horrible match with a woman who only had pleasing looks to recommend her.

            "I am sorry for my father's rude  behavior," Parker softly spoke to Daphne after dinner.
            "It is all right Lord Parker. I understand, I am sure it was a shock for him to have us here, we are practically strangers to him."
            "Still there is no excuse."
            "We will leave tomorrow," Daphne lowered her gaze.
            "I wish that wasn't the best option. I know my mother's desire to have your sister be with her, and I swear as soon as he leaves I will welcome you both to this house."
            "You are so considerate Lord Parker."
            Parker took her hands "I wish you didn't feel the need to be so formal with me."
            Daphne stepped back removing her hands from his grip "Please we are not in London. I cannot do this her, what if someone sees us."

            "You mean what if he sees us. Don't look at me so puzzled. I know Daphne, I know all about you and Shane Foster. He can give you nothing. My father won't let me dismiss him as his family has served us well for years, but he is a servant none the less. He can give you nothing, I can give you everything."

            Daphne would never be sure what triggered her or how she even did it but she suddenly felt her hand slap Parker's face. Then she took off running down the hall. He did not come after her. 

            Mattie was sitting by the window when Daphne came in still shaken from what she had just done. In a swift movement Mattie crossed the floor seeing Daphne look so ill. Mattie asked if she was all right and Daphne just trembled in answer. Mattie would never know what transpired that evening, nevertheless, she wrapped Daphne into her arms and guided her to the bed. Finally Daphne cried out "We have to leave."

            "What tonight?"
            "Yes if we can."
            "What happened Daphne? Did Lord Parker say anything?"
            Daphne just repeated that they should leave tonight. 

            After a little while of Daphne crying Mattie got Daphne into bed, still in her dinner gown but trembling far less and her tears had turned into a whimper. Mattie then snuck out to the stable. Kelby was right where he was suppose to be, reading the thickest book had seen besides the family Bible and studying it intensely. He hadn't seen her come in and did not even she was there until she was nearly upon him.

            "Miss Mattie, what is it?" He could tell she was distressed.
            "Daphne thinks it is best we leave tonight."

            He didn't ask her why, he knew if she wanted to say she would have. He simply said "It is not very safe at night.  I do not think Lady Welford would be at ease knowing her guest had left in the middle of the night. Come calm yourself with a cup of tea."
            "Thank you, no. I have to tend to my sister."
            "Is she ill?" 

            Mattie just shook her head not knowing how to truly respond. Something had happened that night though she didn't know what? She worried that Lord Welford had dismissed them in the night as she feared and Daphne was too kind to say. However, she didn't want to question Daphne as  Mattie feared that would only distress Daphne so Mattie didn't know what had happened. Mattie wondered if Daphne had seen Shane since they arrived, it seemed unlikely as she spent most of her time indoors and with Lord Parke around so much she would certainly not seek Shane out. Perhaps she had run into Shane and they had an argument. Mattie didn’t know much about their relationship and how much they had seen of each other and the strain that must be caused by hiding their relationship, and Mattie wondered if this had grown to alter their love. Love is not love with alterations find, no it is an ever fixed mark.  Mattie pushed these thoughts out of her mind, Shakespeare was hardly needed now. 

            "I am sorry we did not get our ride in," she breathed.
            "I will always be here waiting."
            "Thank you Kelby."

           With that she turned and returned to Daphne who had managed to change out of her own dress and into her night gown and was fast asleep. Mattie stayed up waiting staring out the window to watch when Kelby turned out his lantern in the stable.

           The girls left Cranston just after breakfast. Lord Welford did not come to see them off. Mattie felt she had done something horrible wrong and worried if she would ever be back at Cranston Court again. Daphne hardly made eye contact with anyone that morning and felt to be holding her breath until they were in the carriage. "Well I am glad we have left, I have never felt a place so altered as Cranston has become," Daphne said stoically but in truth it was just an act in front of Mattie. She would never let her younger sister know what had passed the previous night and how she felt the weight of that press on her chest.

             Mattie did not question Daphne's act as she was lost in her own thoughts of why Lord Welford had responded so harshly to her friendship with Lady Adelaide. Last night Parker said it was not for him to understand the thoughts and words, but he must have known something. Mattie had seen him discuss things with Daphne maybe he had told her the reasons Lord Welford had acted the way he did and that made her nervous.

           "Thank you Kelby," Mattie said taking his hand as he assisted her from the carriage.
            "My pleasure Miss Mathilda."
            Daphne was already inside and they held hands a little longer than necessary but both did not want to let go.
            "Please write to me if Lady Welford gets worse."
            "I will come for you the moment I can."

            Mattie shook her head "no don't, I know I am not welcomed while Lord Welford is at Cranston."

            Kelby didn't understand what she meant, he let her hand go after that and her walk. It had barely been a week since she returned and already he felt the distance between her.

            Two weeks passed before Mattie heard any word from Cranston, it did not come from Kelby or Mrs. Banks as she suspected but from Lord Parker. He wrote briefly to Daphne saying his mother's health was on the mend and Lord Welford continues is residence. It was not much news, Mattie replied when Daphne concluded the not though she was happy to hear that Lord Parker was paying so much care to his mother's health. By the time Lord Parker had written  Leopold Brashware had already wrote to Mrs. Harrington and she passed his letter onto Mattie.

Miss Mathilda,
            How has it only been three weeks since I have seen you, it feels such an age ago. The memories of our brief time in London keep me going as I have to handle business here. I long to see you and talk to you again. I know you must be out of sorts with your dear friend ill, but I have faith she will be well soon. I have only met Lady Welford a handful of times in my time of knowing Parker but I recognized a certain strength in her that tells me she is a fighter. The same strength I see in you, though you try to hide it.
            I am promised daily by my father's managers that business should wrap up shortly. I pray for it more than believe their words. Managers are paid whether the work hands show up or not and without the workers they have less stress, so it might be in their best interest to keep the strike going. However, it is not in ours and I can tell the delay in work stresses my father.
            I do hope though that work will resume again and I might be so bold as to make a detour to Derbyshire on my way back to London. I will wait for your approval on that notion.
Your friend,

            It wasn't overly affectionate,  probably because Leopold knew this letter would be read by Mrs. Harrington and all things must remain in check under the rules of propriety. Of course this was good since Mattie only asked for friendship from him. She had been silly in London, to think he could care for her in any such ways, she thought it had been the London air that got to her. Life in London had been quite fast pace almost dizzying. She was certain because of it she had lost focus on any true reality.

            She had not replied to his letter until after she heard from Lord Parker. Mattie told him how Lord Parker believed Lady Welford's health was on the mend, although she couldn't confirm  or deny it. She stopped herself from reporting to him what had happened in their short stay at Cranston Court. She advised Brashware that a trip at this moment would be fruitless. Even with Lady Welford being on the mend she was hardly healthy enough to have guest. With the news she heard from Kelby about Dr. Gibson believing it was Lady Adelaide's heart and how she should go to a specialist Mattie didn't think Cranston would not likely host anyone for another year. Mattie did not write that part, fearing that if she expressed those words would make them come true, and it pained her to think of Lady Adelaide so ill. Daphne was right Cranston had altered dramatically, Lady Adelaide was the heart and soul of Cranston and Cranston reflected her ill health.
{Leopold Brashware}

            After Mattie sent off her reply to Leopold she thought life could return to normal. Deep down she thought he would forget her, she felt that she had written a clear but respectful letter of rejection. She didn't state that she wanted to see him and paid no mind to his longing to see her. Mattie wrote wishing him the best in business and in life and stated that she did not know when they would see him again. Though she had little familiarity of how to write to a gentleman she felt her knowledge with literature gave her inspiration enough to write her letter of refusal. Though as she wandered back to Southerton from the post office she examined herself and thought she had been too harsh and she didn't want to reject his friendship and maybe he would read her letter and think that. No he must not think that, but if friendship is all he wanted then he would certainly read it that way. She wondered if she should follow up her letter with a note stating that she was thankful for his friendship. Why does mind go to such thoughts?  When it came to Leopold Brashware Mattie recognized she questioned herself far more than she did with other people. With others she knew where she stood but with him she felt oddly confused by his words and his actions and as much as she didn't want to admit it, it intrigued her, just a bit.