Tuesday, 5 January 2016

NaNoWriMo Snippets

This year I did NaNoWriMo for my fourth year running. (For those of you who don't know: that's a challenge to write 50000 words of a novel in a month.)

And I didn't win. In fact, I got lower than I ever have before. But that's okay. I feel good about taking this story slow. But I love it. A lot. Like, a lot a lot a lot. 

And, so, I thought I'd share some snippets with you! It's basically a mix of Jack and the Beanstalk and  the Twelve Dancing Princesses retellings. And it makes me happy, even if it is going slow.

Sooo:

“Kenneth, I—woah, what in all that’s green happened to your face?”
Kenneth looked up briefly and cracked a smile. “I sold a cow,” he said solemnly.
Jack slid to a seat next to him. He began to take off his shoes. “Oh, right,” he deadpanned. “Silly me. Don’t know why I didn’t jump to that conclusion in the first place.”




She looked him up and down. “Kenneth, where’s the money you got for Buttercup?” Her voice sounded almost frantic.
Without looking up, Kenneth pulled something out of his pocket and handed it to her. 
There was a rather stunned silence for a moment.
“Beans?”
There was so much contempt in the single word that Kenneth almost felt that beans were a menace to society and should be banned from all respectable houses.
“Well, yes,” he said uncomfortably. “I didn’t sell her for beans,” he added quickly, glancing up at her angry, disbelieving face and back at the ground. “I sold her for money. Of course."





Kenneth gaped up at it, his eyes straining to see how high it would end up—in a matter of seconds, it had disappeared into the clouds. The rumbling stopped. The beanstalk stood there, as calmly as if it had been there for a hundred years. More maybe—how long did it take to grow a beanstalk that big, the normal way? Oh. Yes. It was impossible.
“Whoops.”




A nervous sort of laugh escaped him at the thought of the townspeople’s lives being interrupted by that—a body falling out of the sky. They’d sigh and say they knew Edward Kilney’s son would end up like that, and what business did he have to be interfering with their market day?



He walked up to the castle’s grand front door, surprised to see that it had been left ajar. But then, a Giant probably didn’t have to worry much about burglars sneaking in.



Kenneth thought how lucky it was that there was nothing in that direction for miles and miles once it got past their own land—no one to squash and kill. If he squinted, he thought he could just make out the giant’s shoes, pointing up to the sky like gravestones.




Jack shook his head as if his ears had been waterlogged. “The beanstalk—the giant—you—is that gold?—what—what happened?”
Kenneth shrugged. “I thought you summed it up pretty well.”




“Is that why the giant was chasing after you? You risked your life for a goose?”
“Well…” Kenneth held up the egg, and Jack’s mouth made an o. “I figured it would rather solve our financial problems.” 



But the people of Ahnlia were not fond of anything out of the ordinary, and Mrs. Kilney especially had a reason to hate abnormal plants.
The abnormal goose, though, was somehow okay.


“Oh, hush,” said the giantess in a voice that Kenneth thought was much too loud to be an inside voice. “Mind your manners, my dear young man.”
“Mind my…” began Kenneth, but he sort of felt like his mouth had been disconnected to his brain. 
“Yes,” said the giantess impatiently. “And dear, do close your mouth. You look like a goldfish.”
“What’s a goldfish?” Kenneth asked after he was able to bring himself to speak again.
“I did not bring you here to discuss fish,” said the Giantess. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Cybele.” Her accent was strange; it was rather short and clipped sounding.
“Oh,” said Kenneth. “I didn’t come here to discuss fish, so I guess we’re good.”
Cybele raised a giant eyebrow. 
“Also,” Kenneth amended, “I didn’t come here at all. You kidnapped me.”



She sighed heavily. “My part of the deal was that I would never harm another human being, physically or magically.”
“Well, hate to break it to you, but you just broke your end of the deal,” Kenneth pointed out. “I’m feeling pretty harmed right now.”



"…it’s like…filling a pig’s bladder with so much water--never releasing any--that it finally just bursts.”
Kenneth frowned. “Why would I fill a pig’s bladder with water?”
Cybele rolled her eyes, which was very strange to watch at this scale. 
“It was the first analogy I could think of that would fit your…rustic lifestyle,” she sniffed. 
Kenneth shook his head. “I don’t think anyone I know has ever had the least inclination to fill a pig’s bladder with water. Ever.”



He opened his eyes. He was floating. In mid air.


Peridot leaned over and whispered, “I think green’s more my color anyway.”
Azurite rolled her eyes, but smiled a bit. “What would happen if you wore blue?”
“Probably the kingdom would fall,” Peridot decided. 



 “Ludlow!” Kenneth skidded to a stop a few feet away from the tall man.
“Kenneth?” the man stopped and frowned concernedly. “Are you alright? What has happened?”
“The prisoner,” Kenneth panted. “You have to let him go.”




So, yeah! That's about it, for now. It's certainly got a lot of work needed on it (like, oh...finishing the rough draft), but I think it'll be fun. :)

~Nicole



Just Me

Usually when I write a blog post, it's on something that's been sort of brewing in my head for a while. Once I have that, I basically have tons of stuff to write about, and a blog post becomes relatively easy. But I've been realizing that maybe, I can't always do that. It's not going to work if I want to make a blog that actually represents me, because for one thing, I'll have about five posts a year, and for another thing, I am not a person who always carefully thinks out things.

So, for today, I don't have anything planned. I don't really have anything to say. I'm just writing, just as me.

I love New Year's. I love the idea of a whole year with tons of possibilities in store, as cliché as that might be. I love wondering about who I might be on December 31 of this year, and wondering what stories will have led me to become that person.

It's kind of a strange feeling, somewhere between total excitement and flat out nervousness, that the New Year brings. I'd say it's like being on a roller coaster, but I hate roller coasters, and I like New Year's...so I guess you can just forget that I ever started this sentence.

The New Year is also, of course, a time to set goals for yourself. One that I've been trying to reach for the past few weeks and will certainly keep as a resolution for 2016 is simply being myself.

Being myself is sometimes hard for me. I compare myself to others too much. I sometimes have a hard time seeing the good in myself. Sometimes, it's easy to only see what is lacking. But I don't believe that that is the way my Heavenly Father wants me to be, and I don't actually have a super fun time hyper analyzing the way I'm acting and what other people might, possibly, be thinking of me. The truth is? It doesn't matter. Another cliché, but another true one. I know that I am a daughter of God, and that means that as long as I am making the right choices, I can and should be confident in myself being just myself.

I don't know if that last sentence made any sense. But it's an important thing to me.

Publishing this post is going to be hard for me. It doesn't have anything weird or controversial in it, but it wasn't planned at all. But that's okay. This post is a lot of what I've been thinking about lately, and like I said, I want to start being more me. In what I write, in how I act around people.

(Also, totally random side note, but another thing I'd like to do this year is see a llama. I mean, I've seen them before, but I kind of feel like your year can't be complete without a llama. Or a donkey. Or both.)

I hope you all have a fantastic 2016!


Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Work of God

Hello, people.
I haven't written anything on my blog for months. Which isn't awesome of me. You guys are all probably going through withdrawal.

Sorry about that. :)

Buuuut I'm back!

I just want to share an amazing experience I had recently--yesterday, actually. I got to drive for about an hour and a half to get to this tiny little church building. Which, in and of itself, isn't actually that amazing. Unless that's your thing. I don't judge.

Anyway, the reason I went on this little trip was because the Young Women's President of my church,  Sister Bonnie L Oscarson, and her husband were there, all the way from Utah. What an amazing blessing it was to be able to go and see them! She even gave me a hug. And that made me happy.

A lot of amazing stuff was said at the meeting, but one thing that really stuck with me was an experience that Sister Oscarson shared at the beginning of her talk. It boiled down to this: Sister Oscarson learned that Heavenly Father was going to help her, because this is His work. 

Those words really resonated with me. Life is scary sometimes. It can be weird, and confusing, and sometimes it can seem impossible that we will ever reach our goal of making it back to our loving Father in Heaven.

But we can. Why? Because this is His work. WE are His work.

Moses 1:39 says, "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men."

That means us. We are His children, and this whole, wonderful plan of His that led to us being born and brought to Earth was all so that we could return to Him. It was all so that we could be happy. And because this is His work, He will not let it fail. Seriously. We have the supreme ruler of...EVERYTHING on our side. When you think about it like that, how could we fail?

Obviously, effort on our part is required too. We need to strive to be more like Him every day. We need to repent of our sins. We need to serve others. But we shouldn't get discouraged and think that achieving our ultimate goal here on Earth is impossible. It's not. As long as we are doing the simple things He asks of us, He will make up the difference.

Ether 12:27 says, "..and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Paul also talked about this in 2 Corinthians, 12: 9-10)

Anyway, I guess my point is that we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves. None of us were perfect today, and guess what? None of us are going to be perfect tomorrow. But that doesn't mean we should lose hope. Does that sound cheesy? Probably. I'm sort of a cheesy person. But it's still true. If we have faith in God, then He will eventually help us to be the kind of people we are meant to be, even if that takes a really, really, really really really really, long time. We just need to work on being a bit better each day that we were the day before, and making sure we repent and rely on our Savior to help get us through the crazy wonderfulness of life.

No matter how hard, no matter how difficult, scary, unsure things become, if we are staying close to him, we will succeed. Because this is His work.

And He won't let it fail.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Beautiful People: Rainne

WAIT. Before I start my post, I have to squeal about how I'm-leaving-for-Italy-the-day-after-tomorrow-and-now-we're-also-going-to-Slovenia-and-the-Netherlands-and-the-Czech-Republic-and-also-we're-going-to-stay-in-Germany-for-a-while-with-my-mom's-brother's-family-and-I'm-just-just-I'm-so-happy. 


Nope. I didn't actually say it one breath. That'd be cool, though. 

Seriously, I'm a teensy tiny bit excited. 

**And now on to the regularly scheduled post**

So! I like to write books. I don't know if you know that. Maybe not. It's not like something I announce when I meet people. ("Hi. I'm new to your country. I write books. Well. Sort of. I mean, they're not published. But...what? no! Of course they're real books! Seriously! Just...not...real books....")


But, anyway, I'm going to start doing this cool thingy called "Beautiful People." Basically, it's just answering questions about our characters. If any of you reading this has a story and wants to get to know their characters better, you should totally do it! Just go here, or here. :) This month's questionnaire is about parents, and so, due to the fact that I'm a writer and therefore totally have a bunch of parentless characters, I've decided to choose one of my few with both her parents--Lorraine Sparling, who goes by Rainne. I'm super excited. Right now I'm still in the planning phase of my story (something I have often skipped almost entirely--I'm a pantser), so this should be helpful! 

1. Do they know both their biological parents? Why/why not?
   Yes, she does. Why? Because...they're married. And they live with her. So. She sees them every day. 

2. Have they inherited any physical resemblances from their parents?
  Um, yes. She and her twin sister (Sunny--short for Susannah) probably more closely resemble their father, though. They have his brown eyes and dark hair (instead of their mother's red hair). But they're both tall, like their mother, and Rainne in particular has a similar smile to her mom.

 3. What’s their parental figure(s) dress style? Add pictures if you like!
  Her mother, who is a member of the magical government, likes to wear dressy pants and blouses, usually in more subdued colors--dark blues and greys, typically. And boots. Her father, who works as a college professor, dresses nicely as well, with brightly colored, flamboyant ties.

 4. Do they share any personality traits with their parental figures? And which do they take after most?
  In a lot of ways, Rainne is similar to her mom, but mostly in ways that make it hard for them to deal with each other. They're both more driven by logic than emotion (which I hesitate to say because it sort of makes them sound like robots, incapable of human feeling, and that they are not), and they both like to have things a certain way. Most of all, they like to be right. Always. 
  Rainne shares her father's sense of humor, which is more subtle than her mother's. 
  So, although she's probably closer to her father, she takes after her mother more. 

5. Do they get on with their parental figure(s) or do they clash?
 Rainne has a very rocky relationship with her mother. Her mom's one of the best magicians in the world, and Sunny is showing signs that she's going to be just as good or better. Rainne, who is merely passably good at magic, feels like her mother is unjustly upset with her for not being more like her and Sunny. This leads to definite strain on their relationship. I realize that that's a very stereotypical teenager-y problem, and put down like that it might seem like Rainne is being ridiculous. But neither of them are perfect, and they both struggle when their expectations are let down.
  Meanwhile, she finds it very easy to talk with her father, who has no magic at all, though she is often frustrated with the fact that he just doesn't seem to see that her mom just doesn't think she's good enough, but most stubbornly insists that her mother loves her just as much as anyone else the family. If they have any arguments, it's probably mostly because of stuff like that.

 6. If they had to describe their parental figure(s) in one word, what would it be?
Her mom: accomplished
Her dad: compassionate

7. How has their parental figure(s) helped them most in their life? 
Her mother has helped her learn to think through problems while still remaining a kind person--but that sometimes tough decisions have to be made. Her father taught her to remember not to judge other people without knowing all the facts--and even then, to remember that she hasn't walked a mile in their shoes. 

And they both taught her to remember to do her homework. Which helped her not to fail school. 

8. What was their biggest fight with their parental figure(s)?
Probably when Sunny graduated her magical training and began accompanying their mother to international meetings of Magical Representatives. Rainne, who had been struggling with magic even more than usual lately, much to her mother's disappointment, got into a huge argument with her mom, and wasn't as polite as she should have been. And then her father reprimanded her for speaking that way to her mom, and...well, it ended with everyone being angry.

9. Tracing back the family tree, what nationalities are in their ancestry?
Her dad is half Venezuelan (on his mom's side), and her mother's ancestors came from Germany. 

10.What’s their favourite memory with their parental figure(s)?
Rainne actually has a lot of good memories with both of her parents, especially as the problems with her mother only really started when she was about ten or so. Probably going to the library with them and being read to at night. Her parents love storybooks and history, and they instilled that love in Rainne.

So, there you have it! I'm worried I made her sound like an angsty drama queen or something, which she most certainly is not. I love her to pieces--and her parents, too. They're all wonderful people who just sometimes don't understand each other. Anyway, that's all for this week! I may or may not post next week, depending on how busy I am (in Italy...did I mention I'm going to Italy?).

Bye!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A Few Thoughts...

"...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
~Matthew 22:39

You've heard that, I'm sure. It's quoted pretty often. But sometimes I think that we don't focus enough on what the "as thyself" part means. 

Maybe that sounds really bad. Let me explain.

A couple days ago I had the kind of day that just makes you feel lazy and unproductive. You know those days? When you stay in your jimmies and watch T.V. in the same spot the whole day? Yep. That kind of day.

Yeah.

Anyway, it just made me feel awful. Like, really awful. About myself, I mean. Basically all I could think about was how not awesome I was. I was boring, lazy, not fun, selfish, dumb...ohmygosh, just about every not-good thing I could think of. 

It's not good to be like that. (What? Shocker, I know. But really, it's not.) Sadly, I'm like that to myself more than I care to admit. Anybody in my family could tell you that I'm meaner to myself than to anybody else. 

We really do need to learn to love ourselves. It's weird, but that actually seems to be a really hard lesson sometimes. But it's an important one, and one we all need to focus on, I think.

Maybe you're thinking, What? Focusing on loving ourselves? Isn't that totally selfish?

I don't think so, if you're going about it the right way. 

The way I see it, there are basically two types of "self-love". The first one is where you are more absorbed in yourself than anything else. It's the type where you become totally focused on securing your own happiness, no matter the effect on other people. The type of love that is totally focused on you, and has no room for anyone else. The selfish kind of self love. 

That one's bad. Just so you know. ;)

And then there's the other kind. The selfless kind of self-love. (What? Is there such a thing? Yes!) Jesus, the most selfless person to ever walk the Earth, didn't hate himself. There's nothing in the scriptures about that. Nothing.

He knew God loved Him. He knew He was of divine origin. And those two things are true of you and I as well. Heavenly Father loves us--shouldn't we as well? Christ thought us of enough worth to go through unimaginable pain to save us--shouldn't we also try to see our worth? Shouldn't we stop being so darn mean to a beloved child of God? Won't doing all this make us more like them?

The special thing about this kind of love is that it comes when you forget about yourself, and think more of others. It's strange, but thinking all the time about how awful we are is actually a really selfish thing to do. But selfless self-love...that comes when you stop thinking about yourself and start trying to love and serve others more. 

I don't think it's possible to honestly and sincerely love your neighbors completely, and not have this "selfless self-love". And I don't think it's possible to be full of self-loathing and love others as much as we should. (Now, I am not saying that you can't love others if you're having doubts about yourself. I'm just saying that perfect, Christlike love just can't come if you hate yourself. Probably none of us have that kind of love...it's something we're here on Earth to learn.)
"On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your love?" :D

So--no matter where you are on the self-love-and-loving-others-scale, you and I can and should start getting better now. By serving our fellow children of God. 

And--yay, best part--we can do it! We're fantastic, special, loved sons and daughters of God. And He will help us.


~Nickel

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Cloudy Skies

So. I'm writing a story. Tentatively called "Cloudy Skies".

And, you know what? I'm going to finish this one. (It could happen.)

Anyway, I'm a wee bit obsessed with it right now, so I'm going to rant about it to you guys until my face turns blue. (Lovely image, I know. You're welcome.)

OH! WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT. First I have to tell you something kind of amazing. Scratch that: extremely amazing.

I'm going to Italy in less than a month.

Let me just repeat that. I'm going to ITALY in less than a month.

My dad, as you may or may not know, served a mission in Italy, so he lived there for two years, when he was 19 to 21. (And he can cook about the best pasta in the world, believe me.) Anyway, my whole life I've just thought Italy was the coolest country in the world (behind America, obviously), and I am so thrilled. I seriously want to cry or laugh or...snort. I don't know.  Plus, we're going to be driving there, so we'll go through France, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg (which I've wanted to go to since I was elven, though I can't quite remember why...), Belgium, Switzerland, and a teeny little country name Lichtenstein. It's so small and not well known, that if you look it up on Google, it's not even the first thing that comes up. It's only got about twice as many people in it as Waldorf, Maryland. I kid you not. The whole country has only 66 square miles of land.

I'm so excited. The list of countries I've been to will now go up to 14.

Have I mentioned I'm excited?

Anyway, about my story. It's about a boy named Jamie who wakes up in a pink guest room with no memory of who he is. Or how he got there. Or anything, really. I came up with this part about a year ago, and have bene playing around with it ever since. Anyway, he discovers (rediscovers?) that he's got a magical ability, ends up going to London with one of the world's magical leaders, and getting sent off to another world, with a girl he meets named Rainne.


In that other world, there is an evil king and his son who have been overtaxing their people to the point where most of them don't have enough to pay for food. There's a dreaded outlaw called "The Fox" (I can do that if I want, okay?) going around (with his centaur, I might add), stealing from the rich to give to the poor (sound familiar?), but when he finds out the king and the prince might have a much more sinister plan that will lead his country into certain destruction, he and a servant girl, Ambyrlie (who he meets on the night of a ball that she should have been able to go to, but was prevented from going by her wicked sister), must find a way to stop them.

These four unlikely heroes team up, and hilarity ensues. Well, sometimes. There's also quite a bit of disaster, a few explosions, and a couple times when Ambyrlie throws up...but...whatever.

I'm still figuring it all out. A lot of the king and the prince's evil, sinister plan is a very vague blur of vagueness right now, but I'm having a ton of fun spending time with this story. It makes me happy.

Anyway, I'm probably going to talk a lot about it on here, so I thought I would just let you know what it's sort of about, so you wouldn't be hopelessly confused. I know, I know, I'm so considerate. :)

Well! How about you guys? Any plans for the summer? Any exciting stories that you're trying to makes sense of, too?


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Sorry!

So, you may or may not have noticed that I have been very absent from this blog. I've been sort of taking a break from writing in general, which has been both nice and weird, because, you know, I love writing and it was strange not to be doing any at all. But, I'm back now! 

Also, I'm setting myself a day to blog every week about...what ever I feel about writing. And that day is going to be Wednesday. Just so you all know. Yes. I do realise that today is Tuesday, but I just felt really bad about not writing for so long that I decided to do some today, too.

Unfortunately, I don't really have anything to write about today, so I'm just going to show you some pictures I've drawn lately. :)

This one was seriously just for fun. You see that train in the background? Yes? For a while, it looked like a spaceship. It was kind of amazing. But I changed it into a train. Because that makes more sense.

A spaceship would admittedly be cooler, though.






This was from a while ago, and I was just sort of trying to do some line-less art. It's not done yet, but I like it. Our copy of this movie is scratched, so I haven't seen it since I was like eight. I don't even remember most of it.





As for this one...I drew this ages ago. I don't know who they are, or if that guy's a ghost, or what. But I like it.










And....that's all for now! Thanks, and I seriously will be better about writing in the future!