#TheWritersTag (Oh No Please Save Me)

BAD NEWS BEARS.  I've stopped writing Ethandune forever.  Ba ha, just kidding.  (you hate me now) THE ACTUAL BAD NEWS: what in the world is energy? or motivation?  Because I have neither.  Time?  Yes, technically I have time to write.  But when "have time to write," I really need to spend that time looking at Instagram resting so that I can make it through each day.  Why is energy so hard to find??  Why do other people have more stamina than me??  I REALLY HATE THIS, YOU GUYS.  I REALLY, REALLY DO.



What?  Oh.  Writers' tag.  I justify taking the time to do this with the following reasons:

a:: i actually did do a smidgeon of writing on ethandune
b:: i got my what-i've-written-of-ethandune-so-far manuscript back from my alpha reader + i need to think about what she said*
c:: i was proactive + wrote a list of questions that need answering in the plot
d:: i just want to be on my computer, okay??

*her comments were almost entirely positive + raving, which is really encouraging because that tells me my manuscript is not a dung-heap of which i am sole chanticleer, so hurray for me us!

#THEWRITERSTAG

what genres/styles/topics do you write

GENRES || "I recognize that the council has made a decision; but, seeing as it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it!" O_x  Okay, I get why we have to have genres, but I've always been in the habit of mixing my genres up into a confetti cake batter rather than dividing them off into separate sections.  Planetary science-fantasy?  Why not!  Mental illness, coming of age, psycho-thriller murder mystery?  Sign me up!

  • genres i don't like to write: contemporary, biography, anything requiring insane amounts of research + a decent understanding of government structure

STYLES || ("put the chicken back, styles." I AM NOT A VERY HUMOROUS WRITER.  I take myself so stupid seriously.  But I am not immune to recognizing + inadvertently creating humorous scenarios, so my works are not without their lights of levity to brighten the way.
  • third person (usually)
  • first person (occasionally)
  • melodramatic (unfortunately)
& then I just write with lots of intense description + growling + snarling + colours that are best defined in medieval French.

TOPICS || I am, oddly*, not a topical writer, but I have noticed that I have an interest in pursuing plots that contain depression (like, clinical depression, not depressing stories), not really because I think that I can somehow educate the world on this topic, but because I haven't seen it often in strictly "fantasy" stories, & it's definitely a common, long-standing, relateable topic.

*i like reading topical books, but not writing them

adamantine


how long have you been writing

For about ten minutes.

oH, OVER ALL.  Right.   Let's see...I think my sister was born when my memory of writing a "story" first crops up, so I was older than five.  (the story was of a black alicorn with numerous miniscule varicoloured freckles + it's name was twilight, & it went to the pool with me) I've been writing ever since, so I'm gonna say where is my phone + the calculator feature what do you think i am a homeschool graduate eighteen plus years.  Wow.  Yep.

why do you write

WHY DO YOU BREATHE.
 

when is the best time to write

When everything is quiet + I don't feel like I have any other obligations pressing on me; see also, when my muse is actually operating properly.


what parts of writing do you love // what parts of writing do you hate

LOVE || I really do love writing.  I'm pretty tongue-in-cheek online + in person; I don't want to say shallow, but I function near the "surface" - whereas, when I'm writing, it's like I'm in some deeper, more comfortable part of myself.  I love being there.  It's the only form of meditation that I've managed to pull off. XD

I love going back over my writing + being surprised that I wrote something good.  Enjoyable.  Remarkable.  Writing is such a solitary, introspective, + at the same time oddly blind work, I don't realize when I've pulled something off well until I break the act of writing + transition into reading.

&, you know, i like hearing that people like my work, too...

HATE  || Being a by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer.  That's who I am, & while I do try to ask myself concrete questions to guide my way, it's a fact that I'm intuitive + not mathematical.  & it's so frustrating to not actually know what I'm doing.

you never learn how to write novels. you just learn how to write the one you're on.

Editing.  It's such a struggle to pull the first draft out of the hat, let alone going back in + trying to add to the meagre skeleton.  


how do you overcome writer's block

ha HAA. i don't.

The only thing I've found that works is staring down my manuscript + slowing putting something on the page.  That's it.  No magic.  Nothing fancy.  No playlists, no drama, nothing else; just grim, determined junk being put down on a page until something sparks.  


are you working on something at the moment

It's at this moment that I am once again faced with the onerous task of constructing a book-back summary blurb for my work-in-progress Ethandune.

a man in a gilt mask asked of me,
'how many coffee beans grow in my tree?'
i answered him, as i thought long,
'as many notes as are grown in a song.'

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??


do you have any writing goals for this year

I have the modest goal of finishing the first draft of Ethandune.  I can't (or won't) move forward with the series until Ethandune is squared away because it's next up in the chronology.  So even though Talldogs is ready for editing + Drakeshelm needs reworking at the end, I won't go back to those until the next brick in the wall is placed to my satisfaction.

or adamantine commandeers my brain + derails all my otherwise best-laid plans. -_-


BOOM. That's the #WRITERSTAG* with my answers.  I originally saw this tag on Paper Fury, so be sure to check out Cait's answers; they are always a hoot + a half!

*writer's tag? writer stag?? how majestic!

If you are a writer + you can also read this post (i didn't know you could read), I tag you, too!  Please link to your post in the comments because I am curious + I want to see your answers.

au revoir, penslayers!
xoxo, jenny

Sneak Peek: My First Lines + How I Make Them

I know beginnings are super hard for a lot of people, & most people loathe them to death.  But I don't.  I love beginnings.  As I mentioned in a previous post, beginnings are basically con games that you play on the reader, & I love conning my readers.  AH ha.  AH ha.  (forgive me a cruel chuckle).  I'm not a gambler, but have you ever played Yatzee?  Remember shaking the dice a million times in the cup (like that's gonna make a difference) + feeling that crazy rush of adrenaline right before you throw the dice down?  That's me when I'm warming up for the pitch.  That's me when I'm burrowing inside my deep dark inner genius place where I do my creating + I'm one second away from opening my eyes on the opening scene.

i follow lichipan on instagram because her feed makes me jelly

THE THINGS YOU DON'T DO  ||  I've learned a lot over the years about what to not put in a story's hook.

a:: gobs of description
b:: dwindling hope of actually meeting the character within the first five pages
c:: an upfront, exhaustive detailing of what the character looks like (bonus points if the character is totally plain + swoon-worthy gorgeous at the same time)

THE THINGS THAT I DO  ||  Remember Yatzee?  That's how I play with opening lines: the story is the cup + my readers' imaginations are the dice.  Shake it up, charge it with energy - hurl it into the plot.  

tippity tip-tip: pose a question

Your reader owes you a big balance of absolutely nothing, so you've got to prove it to him that your story is worth his time.  There are hundreds of different ways to make your reader care*, but I find the question is one of the most potent methods.

"did i tell you about the time a very not-straight guy in a yellow slicker got chased round a glaswegian bus stop?"
"wait - what??"**

*citation needed.
**i am not making this scenario up.

THE "WAIT - WHAT??" RESPONSE  ||  is a great one.  & now you're all going to recognize it when I use it on you.  Way to go, Jenny.  

lichipan

JENNY'S OPENING-LINES RUNWAY SHOW

Not all of my upcoming novels have opening lines yet, but many of them do.  Would you care to take a peek?  I really love them, & I hope you do, too (even if they are all subject to editing, scraping, + rewriting cuz i'm the leader + i say when we go.  ...   here we go.).*

I stood on the last railway platform of my journey.
In all, the experience of riding in a rail carriage was the least harrowing yet in this bleak, unfriendly island country. Not such an island as I was used to: high-topped, volcanic peaks blistering white beneath the smithing of a summer sun, slopes tangled in olive and bay, streets clapping with the sounds of bare native soles and the shriek of gulls... Such islands were graceful, young in their antiquity.
This island was dead.
adamantine


“What is a son of man?”
I looked up critically, instinctively lifting one hand to shield my eyes from the early morning sunlight. Pan Aeneas stood in front of us with her crazed red mares’-nest falling round her face and her fists bunched at the linen pleating of her gown. Her narrow face was white and drawn, and every freckle stood out starker than ever.
ampersand

"MY LORD, I AM TRYING. You are asking me to do a thing which Christ himself did not accomplish until after his resurrection!"
blueshift (what even is this novel??)


“No, from the sound of it, it’s the Fellows.” Lord Dammerung uncurled languidly from his deeply recessed armchair and reached for the smart silver tray of tea I had put down for him. “With any luck, they’ve brought the post up with them. Simon, do you go tell Lady Margaret, please.”
ethandune

It would not have made a difference, but in the end Alwin wished Destrian had not said it. It soured all from the outset.
drakeshelm

“—You mean she has no abigail?”
“She has two sisters; what in the world could she need an abigail for?”
maresgate

Goddgofang de la Mare rolled a pair of shirts together and thrust them wholesale into the depths of his saddle-bag. “Are you sure you will not come?” he asked, whirling from the bedstead with the swiftness and smoothness of a kingfisher. “Aaron is coming, you know.”
talldogs


*these are in alphabetical, not chronological, order

Questions, questions, QUESTIONS.  Are you excited to read the rest of these stories?  Yeah, me too.  XD  I consciously began Adamantine as a mirror image of Plenilune's beginning because I wanted that reminiscence + continuity.  Blueshift?  What is it that yours truly is trying to do which only Jesus has done??  Who are the Fellows?  What foreboding doth loom upon Drakeshelm?  Who doesn't have an abigail? Who won't come to where?  We may never know because I might expire before I get to all these, yikes.

I can't be the only one with first lines prepped for upcoming stories.  Do you have some to share?  Do you have some that maybe need a fresh coat of paint + a sharper hook?  Please share!  After all, first impressions are everything.*

*don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise

thank you! you've been a great audience.
xoxo, jenny

How To Identify Your Crutch Words & Destroy Them Forever

While I was editing Plenilune for publication, to my chagrin, it was brought to my attention that I relied heavily on two words, & that I needed to start cutting them because they were

a:: lazy, +
b:: unhelpful

& guess what?  Because I'm such a perfectionist + it galls me to realize I've made a mistake, my two crutch words now have huge Minion sirens that go off whenever I use them - "BEE DOH.  BEE DOH.  BEE DOH."



HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR CRUTCH WORDS + DESTROY THEM FOREVER

VERY & LITTLE  ||  My two crutch words of note.  I used them all. the. time.  One might even say, very often, & not a little.  But don't, because that would be lame.

WHY ARE THESE ROTTEN?  ||  They're empty, indefinite.  They offer scant information to the reader, & as a result, the reader may (at best) ignore them or (at worst) find they bog down the narration.  Writing faux pas.

WHAT TO DO??  ||  Being as close to my writing as I am, I don't always notice when things go awry.  How am I going to notice these mistakes when I'm kind of programmed to overlook them?  HERE ARE MY TIPS.

a:: have someone (if at all possible, not yourself) read a sizable portion of your manuscript so they have an idea of which words reoccur + which shouldn't be used

b:: read it aloud (if you don't have anyone to read the manuscript for you +/or you can't stand the thought of anyone seeing your manuscript because i totally appreciate that sentiment) so your voice can catch repetitive words + bring them to your attention

c::  slow down.  think about what you're trying to say.  find the word you actually need rather than grabbing the literary equivalent of a poptart on your way out the door, late for class.

THERE'S HOPE FOR RECOVERY

Sayeth what??  Yes, it's true!  While I was tooling about on The Great Noveling Adventure blog, I came across a link to a Word Frequency Counter, & I thought, "Hey, this looks like fun + like it won't steal my manuscript, let's give it a go!"  The results were more encouraging than my pessimistic attitude expected.


I took a scene of 2,200+ words, plunked it into the counter, & this was my result!  HOO DA LALLY very + little don't even make an appearance in the entire scene!  I AM CURED.  

ARTICLES + PREPOSITIONS ARE NOT CRUTCH WORDS.  ||  The, a, of, I, + and are my top most-used words, but these are backbones to English so this is not a bad thing.  Just because a word shows up with a frequency in the hundreds does not mean you're relying on it too heavily: it could just be a staple of our language.

THE WFC ALSO LETS YOU KNOW USEFUL STUFF LIKE  ||  the fact that I (not shown) used the word "Lazarus" as a descriptive probably too many times in a scene.  It's a rare word & needs to pack its punch, not be swinging so many times that overuse renders it exhausted.  Thank you, WFC.

MY TAKE-AWAY RECOMMENDATIONS

Try this out on a scene like I did.  Scenes are semi-self-contained stories which, all together, build the entire novel; in order to make sure each brick is as solid as it can be, take them individually & check on their word frequency.  Is a key word overused?  Are building-block English words the mainstay of your scene?  Are there areas you need to polish?  This will help clue you in.

At the same time, don't be neurotic.  Yes, we all have issues + particular tendencies to literary sins, but do be gracious with yourself (this is the proverbial crab tell her proverbial son to walk straight, i know).  We all have crutch words.  It's not the end of the world.  Just do your best to figure out what your particular weakness are, & work on strengthening your manuscript around those points.

so now, take a scene + plug it into the counter.
share your results!

thank you so much for reading.
see you soon!
xoxo, jenny


3 Ways Social Media Can Help Explode Your Library

spoiler alert! i'm going to be soliciting your book recommendations so stick around like a bug on fly paper!

via @infinitelynovel
 3 WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP EXPLODE YOUR LIBRARY

#bookstagram is no joke.  With nearly 1o,ooo,ooo entries on Instagram, there are TONS of folks linked together in the grand game of gramming books.  & a lot of those pictures give me book-envy.  Because really, do we pick up new books solely by their synopsis?  No.  No, we do not.  Book blurbs are universally obnoxious creatures to create, & most of the time they do the book NO justice.  It's sad.  Sad, but true.

APPEARANCES ARE IMPORTANT.  You may wish it was otherwise, but it is not.  Author note: I've lost track of the times people have expressed surprise over the cover of my novel Plenilune because "it doesn't look like it was self-published!"  THAT'S THE KEY, FOLKS.  That's the key...

okay, but why is social media important for your tbr list? i'm glad you asked. i'm glad you asked...

via @infinitelynovel

1. IT'S FREE + BEAUTIFUL MARKETING
**Angel choir.**  I go on Instagram & discover gorgeous #flatlays of books that are basically completely free eye-candy.  Some of these grammers are super good at photography.  Am I a sucker for good photos?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  Am I going to be interested in a book based on it's cover + arrangement in the photo?  Yes to that, too.  ("sign me up for the NEXT book club!" )

2. YOU MEET NEW NOVELS
Bee tee dubs, I had never heard of V. E. Schwab until @emileighlatham  + @paperfury gushed about her on Instagram.  Cue me, scrounging around our local library website for a copy of Vicious - which took an age to come in but cOME IN IT DID & guess what I'm really enjoying it.  BOOM.  Wouldn't have heard about this author except for the world's new marketing platform, Instagram.

3.  YOU WANT TO SHARE #BOOKSWAG 
("I said 'bookswag.'  I said 'bookswag,' Sam.")  Am I susceptible to the allure of sharing flatlays of my newfound novels on Instagram?  I totally am.  Social observation note: people who enjoy a book REALLY LIKE IT when you get that book too + start reading it.  When you tag them, link them, shout out to them that you're reading in their textsteps, they get really excited + BOOM a community is born.  It's an introvert-friendly community, too, so that's double the awesome.

via @infinitelynovel
#bookstagrammers i follow

@thatjennyfreitag (wait a sec...)

your quest, should you choose to accept it, is

  • a:: comment below with bookstagrammers you follow + love!
  • b:: comment below with book recommendations for me + the other penslayer readers!

thanks so much for reading. see you soon!
xoxo, jenny



4 Character Tropes That IMO Need to Die

If you've read books that have living, breathing people in the cast, you've probably read some of the big relationship tropes in the biz.  Tropes happen, ya know?  There are a number of patterns into which things tend to fall, & relationships are no exception.  The problem is, if you think, "Oh lookie, this is Trope X," then the trope has failed.  Nine times out of ten, tropes should NOT be so obvious that you recognize what you're seeing (exception: outrageous parodies).  Here is a personal rant enlightening post on my top most annoying relationship tropes.


4 Character Tropes That IMO Need to Die

The Geometric Affection
I. hate. love triangles. so much.  If every heroine had Elizabeth Bennet's view of matrimony, so much the better.  I mean, sure: love is a tricky thing.  What is it?  How do you know when you love someone?  How do you know when you LOVE-love someone??  Well, I don't pretend to have those answers because they are not simple answers, but I can tell you that it does not involve yo-yoing the affections of two other people.  Authors.  I am so over this.  I have seen how awkward it is to be the recipient of two people's jockeying, & it is not fun, you guys.  THIS SHOULD NOT BE NORMAL.  THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE BECOME A TROPE.

"if you're in love two people at the same time, choose the second. because if you really loved the first one, you wouldn't have fallen for the second."
(ashamedly quoting the faceless actor)

The Engagement Ring
"Dude. I got this ring for X but I don't want her to see it before I'm ready to give it to her.  I trust you: hold on to this for me."

Oh, nO ONE KNOWS HOW THIS WILL END.  Except that we do.  We all do. Not only does this one annoy me because it's so predictable, it stresses me out at the same time because the chucklehead protagonist is TOTALLY GOING TO LOSE THE EXPENSIVE RING.  This trope.  This trope needs to be buried.  Buried + not allowed to rise from the grave so help me amen.  

The Banter
 Banter has almost zero purpose in a novel.  Almost.  Maybe one time out of ten it serves a useful purpose to help display character personality/growth/something to help sketch the individual's character, but those other nine times?  It's just irritating, childish, flimsy, pointless verbiage.  (bitter much, jenny??)  Quit with the banter thing unless the dialogue serves to improve your novel.  Why are we writing this novel?  To tell a story!  Will this help build the perfect cathedral showcasing your amazing genius?  Probably not so INTO THE SCRAP HEAP WITH YE.

The Bickering
Oh but there's more.   I. HATE. THE BICKERING.  Note: this is coming from someone who thrives on contention.  I love being angry + complaining about stuff.  (let's all enjoy this meta moment).  HOWEVER.  Bickering is the cheap, knockoff replacement for meaningful character dialogue.  Countless times, I have seen "character development" which was nothing more than two protagonists (bonus points if they're love interests) nitpicking + sniping at each other in a manner that is unrealistic + implausible.

(i kind of feel like protagonists bickering + going on to save the world is actually proof of God's existence + common grace because i can't believe the protagonists would ever survive + succeed otherwise)

Hey, you made it through my pet-peeve tropes!  I give you two challenges:

a:: avoid these tropes
b:: use these tropes but in a manner so cunning that no one realizes what you're up to

got any special tropes that annoy you?
share, please! misery loves company
xoxo, jenny

Is the Hook of a Great Novel Actually Criminal?

White Collar, Leverage, Squad 38, The Sting.  The premise of these shows/films is fundamentally illegal.  You're frowned on by the government when you lie to people + take their money, & ultimately, people hate you.  Yet the premise of these shows/films is equally crucial to pulling off the best sting in the book: the beginning.



does anybody know what "con" means?

The term "con" has floated off with its own grammatical uses: conning, for instance, which is the negative act of scamming people out of their belongings.  But remarkably, the actual term is confidenceConfidence.  & that's vital to the whole game because ordinarily people won't give you their possessions if they don't trust you.  Before you can get anything, you must first gain their confidence.

If your reader is like me, he's going to be sceptical about a new book.  The blurb on the back might pique his interest, but it's the first page that is the real clincher.  In English grammar we call it a "hook," which is telling: we're trying to snag the reader & keep him on the line for the rest of the story. But a fish doesn't like being on the hook & a painful intro won't enamour the reader to you at all.

instead of writing a hook, think of it as a confidence game

"it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife."

We all recognize this opening line (& if you don't were you born under a rock??), but look at how perfect it is!  With brevity it combines

humour
desire
omniscience

OMNISCIENCE  |  The author doesn't just settle at saying she knows this to be true - she states it as everybody who is anybody knows this is true!  You're an absolutely dolt if you don't & none of us want to be taken as a dolt so we immediately take her at her word.

DESIRE  |  If she is in the market, what girl in her right mind would say no to a:: an unattached young man + b:: significant quantities of money?  The author casually tosses both of these gems into the first line of her novel & suddenly you want those things right now so you keep reading.

HUMOUR  |  We like funny people.  When people laugh + tell jokes, we open up to listen.  When people yell + make arguments, we close down.  Which tactic is more likely to gain confidence?  That's right.  Humour.

You are the confidence artist.  Writing is your medium.  The reader is your mark.  In a world brimming over with published works, why should the reader give you his attention?  Why should he be interested in your story?  Why does he think it will have any benefit to him?

BECAUSE HE TRUSTS YOU

xoxo, jenny

How To End a Book Like a Concert

That feeling you get when you end a particularly good song & you're still soaring on the last notes, loving it + sorry it's over?  That's an awesome feeling.  It's the feeling that keeps you hitting "repeat" until you're sick of the song. XD  But this kind of magic isn't exclusive to music, you know.  Writers use it, too.


I think almost any form of artistry is a form of magic.  Like Uncle Iroh + the four elements, I also think different forms of artistry can inform + improve across mediums.  This definitely goes for music + writing.  

cadence + resonance

If you have the choice between grammatically correct & technically-incorrect-but-sounds-awesome, go with the second option.  People are not going to remember your grammar, but they will remember how your words sounded.  Words play a melody in our minds.  Why do particular songs get stuck in our heads?  Because the cadence of the words resonates with us so our subconsciousness continues to vibrate with them long after we have ceased to listen. 

As a writer, you want your words to stick with people.  As a writer, you want your whole book to cling to the reader's subsconsiousness & haunt them long after they have finished the story (because that's not creepy at all, right??).  How do you do that?  Pretend your book is a concert.

writing novels is a performance art

In a world where you can simply download an artist's music on iTunes without leaving the comfort of your home, why do people choose to go to concerts?  It's not even strictly the same music because you can't do everything on a stage which you can do in a sound studio.  They go because they want to be part of the performance.  They want to experience the hypnotic magic of the singers + the lights + the bass.  They want their senses to ring in time to the music.  They want to soar.  They want to be limitless.  And when everything is over, they want that last display of lights & that last crash of notes to leave them resonating before the free-fall, out in constellation sky without gravity.  That's the awesome they want.

Beginnings are important because they hook the reader's interest for the immediate story, but ends are even more important because they impress the story into the reader forever.  When concluding your story, my advice is to end before the emotional resonance of the scene fades out of perception.  Leave the reader with that "high," whether it is an explosion like a firework or one tiny ring of struck crystal.  Let the music go on.

xoxo, jenny

2017 + Stuff About Me You May Not Know

It's March??  I'm telling you, next thing you know it's going to be Christmas - again!  Our weather, which is usually just beginning to be yucky, has gone from one brief semi-winter moment to some serious springtime temps.  I think I just saw a polar bear walk by wearing shutter shades.


 me as a person, if i am still that

I have a two year old + a two month old, & despite my best efforts I am flat-out tired.  (jenny. you just said you have an infant. duh you're tired.)  The children are honestly pretty good about sleeping (usually), but all the same I have zero stamina & most days I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails to get to my favourite lying-down-in-a-prone-position-in-my-comfy-king-size-bed time.  & yep, despite my best efforts, that's me physically + emotionally right now.

me as a better person, maybe??

My best efforts include exercise because people tell me that exhausting yourself with exercise makes you less tired.  Something about your body increasing its resistance to stress.  I laugh.  I cry.  But it's for my good.  & I can't really complain because the real hard stuff hasn't even begun; I'm working gently on my inner-inner core which rules out ALL standard abdominal exercises because those can just make the damage worse.  (most difficult bit is the "TVA squeeze" 'cause you haul in the hugest breath, suck in your belly button to your spine, & let the breath out as slowly as possible. i have successfully not passed out while doing this.)

mamamoo
me as a person trying new things (screaming emoji)

WHAT THE HECK IS MAMAMOO.  I have no idea.  I looked & I can genuinely say, I have no idea.  But the four-girl Kpop band wrote + performed "Girl Crush," which I finally gave in + listened to; turns out, that's basically me.  O___o

i just wanna be
awesome girl
girl crush!

Being smart may be better than being pretty, but can't I be both?? XD  Well, maybe not, but I do my best with what I've got.  I was never the fashionable, popular girl - I didn't know what that thing was.  Now I know, & that sounds cool.  Cool + kind + at least able to fake intelligence because that's what most of us do anyway, right...?

bullet journalling

When this was first introduced to me, I a:: zoned out because I am 100% not capable of fancy hand-letting, & b:: couldn't follow the mathematical purpose of the exercise.  But then I got frustrated with some bad habits of mine & started scrawling goals + notes down in a moleskin notebook (best notebooks, so cute + portable this post is not sponsored honest), & the next thing I knew, I was basically bullet journalling.  My how the self-righteous have fallen.

alpha reader (full-bore screaming)

I have never shown a work-in-progress to someone while it is in its ugly, barely-constructed stage, but Ethandune has been stumping me so badly that I scootched a la inchworm over to the brain behind Intuitive Writing Guide (which I still need to officially follow, bee tee dubs; I keep forgetting to do that), & asked if she would look over my manuscript + provide some feedback to help me see where I need to go - you know, the kind of stuff everyone else has been doing since the dawn of writing.  But I am a:: nervous, b:: shy, c:: my writing in a first draft is practically buck-naked + I'm not happy showing it to anyone; oh + d:: I'm passionately independent so of course asking for help goes against all of what is me.  But I did it.  & she said yes.  So here we go.

boom.  that's me.  not my most flowering time of life but thank you all the same for sticking with me + caring. until next time,
xoxo, jenny

Beautiful People | Valentine's Edition

Irony seems to haunt me.  Musing briefly over which two characters to include in this Beautiful People post, the "couple" that I chose was probably the least qualified to fill the vacancy.  But since various demographics have been working long + hard at busting wider the defined borders of "Valentine's Day," I don't feel sketchy spotlighting a couple which is not really actually in any way a couple.

valentius the dead + chivalry which is probably likewise

You can read a lot about St. Valentine because nobody actually knows anything about him.  Because the playing field is so alluringly wide open, I'm going to casually ignore all amourous glosses on the concept; that leaves me with the notion of chivalry as such - which is the real root of the irony, for this couple exhibits a breed of chivalry which was never raised in the green fields of L'Occitanian.


ADAMANTINE + THE BLUE DUKE

1.  HOW + WHY DID THEY MEET?
Well, how would be telling, wouldn't it.  They met, or they chose to meet, because they were both fish out of water & both of them fish unable to swim back to their accustomed pools.  (yay, the old exile motif)

2.  WHAT WERE THEIR FIRST IMRESSIONS?
I jolted. Countersunwise to the light I looked round and found a doorway above me, stone-keyed and red-shaded by the earthen surroundings, and occupied by a fairy who looked back down at me with a hard-bitten, angular face devoid of any judgment. But it was devoid, also, of compassion, and in a blink I was put in mind both of Miss Coventry and of a moment in the hall of the Haloed Swan which my shock had swallowed until jogged by the fairy’s reappearance. I remembered him, like one remembering a premonition. There he had been as he stood now: on the periphery of things, with that same disinterested, dispassionate expression. My eyes in shock had seen him, the one colourless thing in that sea of screaming hues, and he had seen me. He had seen me with a look like a touch—I remembered that. But I remembered also that he had turned away, as if the brush were commonplace, and he had no desire to continue the connection.

3.  HOW WOULD THEY PROVE THEIR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER?
In defiance of chivalry...I don't believe they would "prove their love."  Their regard for each other is apparent to them both, & Adamantine is far too genteel - & the Blue Duke too unsentimental - to attempt such an uncomfortable venture as "proving one's love."  

4.  WHAT WOULD BE THEIR IDEAL DATE?
A flat, sardonic smile cut across his face for an instant. With a rustle-flutter of wings, he moved to my side and pried back the cover of the book. I sat like a hare under an eagle’s eye, electrically terrified that he was so close, smelling to me of the weird, the bizarre, and something indefinable which reminded me of home.
With a word—here? there?—he indicated a page for me, full of running text which leapt shouting out at me like crowds of babel. With a crooked finger, his blue-veined hand coursed the page downward, settling beneath a line so that I saw nothing else. With his other hand, he pointed across the enclosure the animals, belly-deep in shadow and munching on their hay.
He said a word. His finger tapped the page.
Dear Lord! I sighed. He is trying to teach me Latin.

5.  IS THERE SOMETHING THEY EMPHATICALLY DISAGREE ON?
"The Blue Duke, has he not lost the honour of his people?  Is he not chattel-chained to my command?  Is he not a reed shaken by the wind?  I have no fear of him."

6.  WHAT'S ONE THING THEY KNOW ABOUT EACH OTHER WHICH NO ONE ELSE KNOWS?
If there is something, we haven't got there yet.  I guess you'll have to stick around until I find out myself.

7.  WHAT'S ONE THING THEY KEEP A SECRET FROM EACH OTHER?
On the Blue Duke's part, probably 98% of what he is thinking; on Adamantine's part, probably 2%. XD

8.  HOW WOULD THEIR LIVES BE DIFFERENT WITHOUT EACH OTHER?
Upon reflection, I think the Blue Duke is spared a quiet + unobtrusive suicide - not anything to make a statement, but just to finish things off.  Adamantine herself would not be totally destitute, but there is something to be said (nyuck nyuck) for someone you can actually converse with.  

9.  WHERE DO THEY EACH SEE THIS RELATIONSHIP GOING?
I dare say it's bound to go along much the way it has been; the only thing that would upset its course would be the future as wrangled by the powers that be.  As much as is possible between them, they constitute friends, & friendship, on a peaceable track, will only improve, not change, with age.

(i skipped the question about food because a: they would be unlikely to dine in the same vicinity + b: i have no thoughts on their food at present.  check back in another two years er so i don't actually know when i'll write this story for good)

hey! that was probably super boring but it made me write for the first time in two months, so i'm not even mad. one day i'll get to this story + i'm really looking forward to it. thanks for reading!
xoxo, jenny


original linkup via cait drews @ paperfury      ||     previous beautiful people post: dammerung

The 5 Books I Would Rage-Quit Immediately

I'm going to take a brief break from the Plenilune Colour Collage series to fill out an angry a book-related blog questionnaire that I was tagged in.  This tag is all about books you would utilize in violent manners (rather than read) because you have such a low opinion of them, you don't mind them getting destroyed - but you're practical, so you want to use them somehow.  Or something like that.  Look, it's a blog tag; there isn't usually an abundance of logic involved.

oh, i have an unofficial resolution to read library books this year. i hate the pressure of having to return a book so then i end up not reading them.  i intend to change that this year; subsequently, the image below is one of my own & not pilfered off borrowed from pinterest!



The 5 Books I Would Rage-Quit Immediately

AN OVER-HYPED BOOK  ||  You are in a bookstore when the zombies attack. Over the loudspeakers you hear the military announce that over-hyped books are the zombies' only weakness. What over-hyped book will you chuck at the zombies?

I'm gonna go with One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  No, I'm gonna go with the whole shelf of them because the book isn't that large (thank goodness).   Inspirational Christian literature written by women usually gives me hives just thinking about; this one, I had the misfortune of trying to read shortly after my daughter was born & I was neck-deep in postpartum anxiety + depression.  Oh yeah, it opens with a retelling of her little sister getting hit + killed by a truck.  Thanks.  That's exactly what a hormone-ravaged young mother wants to read.  Sure thing.   HELL NO.

NOTE: if you want to know where God is when life is tough & why bad things happen to people, maybe spend some time reading the Old Testament & less contemporary Christian inspirational literature.

RUNNER-UP: Game of Thrones, even though I haven't actually read any of them.  Periodically, I think, "Oh, maybe those would be cool to - " SMACK.  JENNY.  GET IT TOGETHER. 


A SEQUEL  ||   You are caught in a torrential downpour and you're probably the type who melts when you get wet. What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself.

My original draft of Adamantine.  XD  I was going to go with my original draft for Ethandune, but the Adamantine draft was more substantial & would potentially provide more coverage + time to get me through the rain.  Yes, I have no qualms about using my old manuscripts as umbrellas.  They should not see the light of day anyway.

EDIT: I'm counting this as a sequel because it is looseishly tied to Plenilune & is therefore readable directly after my published novel & is kind of like a sequel if you squint + you're drunk + you don't look up the definition of "sequel" in the dictionary thanks.


A CLASSIC  ||  You're in English class and your professor won't stop going on about a classic that "revolutionized literature". Personally you think the classic is garbage and you decide to express your opinion by hurling the book at his head. What classic is that?

Ooh, that's a difficult choice.  I think I'll go with The Odyssey, followed closely (& literally) by Le Morte D'Arthur.  I can only conclude that editors were not an established demographic for literature during antiquity, otherwise the rambling saga of Odysseus' "journey" home would have been a lot shorter (I thought he didn't even want to go to Troy??).  And for being a book about the death of one of the greatest legends in British history, Le Morte D'Arthur is largely nonsense.  UTTER nonsense.  I feel like you could give the general outline of the plot to Tumblr, & Tumblr would craft a better, more interesting, + far more plausible story.

go for it, tumblr


A LEAST-FAVOURITE BOOK  ||  You're hanging out at a bookstore when global warming somehow manages to to turn the whole world into a frozen wasteland. Naturally, your only hope of survival is to burn a book. Which book would you not regret tossing into the fire?

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  First of all, don't try rewriting so complex a book as Hosea; not a good idea.  Second: if you do, maybe try making it a little more subtle...?  Explicit allegory is good when, say, Bunyan does it - not when another inspirational female Christian author does it.  And thirdly: hEH BLEH don't write bodice-rippers in the name of Christ oh my lands.


A SERIES  ||  There's a flooded stream you have to cross on your quest and you can't get your feet wet. Which series (you have an undetectable extension charm on your purse) will you use as stepping stones?

Ironically, The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin.  I really wanted to like these!  I thought they were going to be a cool new world.  But alas, I was underwhelmed.  I am unabashedly in favour of the film "Tales From Earthsea" over the books, because the pose + plots were lacklustre to me, but the film was done by a Miyazaki, so how could you go wrong...?

there you have it, folks!  five books that make me angry + that i wouldn't hesitate to utilize at the expense of their existence.  p.s. we are of course vastly better than these books; standing on the moral high ground helps you throw when you have scant arm strength.



are you a human being? do you have an opinion? go ahead + make your own rage-quit-five posts, & be sure to share the links below!




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Plenilune Colour Collage || Indigo

Here is the fourth installment of the Plenilune Colour Collage series from yours truly the monochrome minimalist!  Irony is delicious & is best served hot.  This installment is also later than I'd like because Zzzzzzz...



disclaimer: caveat emptor, none of these images belong to me, i'm just sayin'. but they're pretty awesome.  still just sayin'.


|| INDIGO ||

Watered down to periwinkle or concentrated into the deepest hue, what colour better embodies the changeableness of the sky? Indigo an elevating colour, indicative of advancement in the virtues; it is the colour of stability, masculinity, + lordship; it is associated with the supernatural, & in Plenilunar art it represents sapience + beatification (in tapestries + paintings, the Magi are always depicted in robes of indigo + gold for this reason).

o Lord my God, thou art very great;
thou art clothed with honour + majesty.
who coverest thyself with light as with a garment:
who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters:
who maketh the clouds his chariot:
who walketh upon the wings of the wind

I notice that I use indigo least of the spectrum, & then usually as an intellectual indicator (dark blue), or to give the impression of purity (light blue). I have used it as a particularly significant motif (if it was subtle or not i don't know you'll have to tell me) as the dominant eye-colour of the House of Cheval: it goes hand-in-glove (body metaphors be jumbled) with the visionary + the ability to manipulate star-craft, also the motif functions as mental coordinates for the reader, letting him know roughly where he is + connecting him to other parts of the Plenilunar arc as a whole.

The sunlight made the whole room amber-coloured, like a woodbank in autumn, and the professor looked like a grey, narrow heron on the woodshore, robed in faded blue shades like the sky of a world which is tired of living.
lamblight

And when I say I use this colour least, I mean I could barely find any instances of it as I poured amongst my manuscripts so MAYBE I SHOULD CHANGE THAT.  Blue + green are reputedly the two most favourite colours in the spectrum & I did not mean for this to happen but evidently ONCE AGAIN I am breaking the norm in my choices.  I don't mean to be a rebel, I was just born that way. (I can foresee indigo being used more in at least one upcoming eventual down-the-line novel, but that one isn't connected to Plenilune so I'm not including it here.)

do you have the blues?

  • Do you have passages in your stories that showcase your use of blue?  Does it signify anything particular, or do you just really like the colour blue?  Share in the comments!

HOW TO COLLAGE || I use the LAYOUT app with images saved off PINTEREST. That way I can arrange them however I want, & presto! I have a pretty collage. That's honestly all there is to it.

thanks so much for reading! i hope you enjoyed this perspective on blue.
see you soon!
xoxo, jenny

Plenilune Colour Collage || Verdigris

Welcome back, darlings!  Oh my goodness, I had such a time putting this particular colour showcase together.  I pull from my Plenilunar Pinterest boards to help me construct the collages, & apparently I'm secretly adverse to green??  I had to dig + dig to find representatives for this post!  Which strikes me as super weird because I see Plenilune with lots of today's colour.  (Maybe I'm actually super picky about my greens & I just haven't found THE PERFECT GREEN images?  Is that likely?  I mean, I'm never picky or anything...)



disclaimer: i have no idea who took these pictures but as i have marvelous taste, clearly these photographers are amazing + if i could give them full credit, i would.


|| VERDIGRIS ||

This colour, despite its lack of representation among my pins, is probably the first impression you get of Plenilune (belated spoiler warning...?).  Verdigris is a rich, sleepy, vital, established colour, a colour with roots.  It's the colour of the land & growing things, linked with the cycling of the year, with the memories of past generations + the promise of descendants.  If I had to pick a single colour to represent Plenilune, it would be this.

Verdigris was especially helpful for me when beginning Plenilune.  With an entirely new setting to present to the reader, while at the same time making sure the setting didn't feel conjured for the sole purpose of the reader's view, verdigris + it's sense of the evergreen was crucial in subconsciously informing the reader that this setting has been here, as far as you know, forever, with its own times + rhythms, histories + hopes.  

the colour of the commonweal

As such, verdigris is traditionally considered the mark of peace, linked to (among a few others) the third heavenly house (The House of the Two Brothers) & in star-craft is typically depicted by a shorthand illustration of an evergreen branch.  (Geeky author irony is not overlooked here, considering Plenilune features a house of two brothers who most distinctly did not exchange a Green Branch in even the sketchiest peaceful sense, okay geeky-author-moment finished.)

home || health || tranquility || durability || honesty || loyalty || promise of growth

Verdigris may be one of the least-flashy colours in the Plenilunar spectrum, but it is certainly not the least important.  Conscious or receding from awareness, anyone in Plenilune has that comfortable green sense of belonging somewhere in their genius.  (The question for first-time readers is: does Margaret...?)

what is your opinion on green

  • Do you find it plays a role in your stories?  Please share your thoughts with the class! & if you write your own blog post, please link to it in the comments so we can all enjoy! :D

HOW TO COLLAGE || I use the LAYOUT app with images saved off PINTEREST. That way I can arrange them however I want, & presto! I have a pretty collage. That's honestly all there is to it.

i hope you enjoyed this new glimpse into plenilune! i'll see you soon!
xoxo, jenny

Plenilune Colour Collage || Gold

Installment number two of my Plenilunar colour series...you'll notice below that I've done scarlet & I'm skipping orange.  Personally, I dislike the colour orange in most of its combinations + arrangements: it's literally the ginger stepchild of the colour spectrum.  Okay, hatin' on orange aside, orange is collected under the scarlet heading in Plenilune; there isn't so much hue differentiation there as we have here, so if you happen to really, really like orange, go back + read my scarlet post




usual disclaimer, all images used are from pinterest & none of them belong to me.  art is all about sharing, right??


|| GOLD ||

Gold.  Rich, opulent, & in high demand among anyone who is anyone in the Honours.  Gold is typically worn, whether as jewellery or goldwork embroidery, & is not usually made into things.  In the ancient world, if you didn't cut your wine with water, you were considered an alcoholic; in the Honours, if you start decking your halls with groaning tons of goldware, you're often considered tacky.  Gold retains its charm with rarity, & Honourfolk are aware of this.

the gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
like to some branch of stars we see
hung in the golden galaxy.
the bridle bells rang merrily
as he rode down from camelot...

Gold is considered a good-omen metal, a physical embodiment of the element fire; as the "meteor" of colours, it can represent any of the twelve heavenly houses + their associated aspects of life, with the exception of the House of the Two Dolphins (which is associated with water + death, so not really gold's speed, you know?).

In my writing, I find that I use gold to evoke emotion as well as visual impression.  Memories + feelings are frequently elicited into the foreground of our awareness by something as simple as a particular scent (dior j'adore perfume always reminds me of one of my aunts, her house, & the early desire to be pretty + fanciful); colour can do the same thing, especially (I find) through writing it, which bypasses the eyes & goes straight to the mind, & isn't hindered by any material image.  I can link gold with a sense of richness,  a sense of nostalgia, a feeling of energy just on the verge of being kinetic...  Mercury's colour is quick to carry any notion I like.

share your thoughts!

  • Do you use gold?  Does gold represent anything special in your writing?  Tell us what you think!  If you make your own colour post, please link to it in the comments so we can all enjoy it!

HOW TO COLLAGE || I use the LAYOUT app with images saved off PINTEREST. That way I can arrange them however I want, & presto! I have a pretty collage. That's honestly all there is to it.

thank you so much for reading! i hope you enjoyed it.  see you soon!
xoxo, jenny

Plenilune Colour Collage || Scarlet

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love making layout collages of images.  It's an easy form of art & everyone seems to enjoy the results, so I've decided to harness the fun & run the colour spectrum, this time highlighing the world of my novel Plenilune + its accompanying stories.  Yes, I love monochrome, but my novels are where the colour's at.



just as a normal disclaimer, i want to point out that all of these images are on pinterest, & none of them belong to me.  i'm just borrowing their plumage.  enjoy!


|| SCARLET ||

Not a cheap dye to manufacture, scarlet is a potent status symbol, but it is also a visible expression of the choleric temperament, representing passion, energy, + power.  In Plenilune, it is prominently associated with the first + tenth houses, of Mars + Capricorn, & is subsequently linked with personal ambition + patriarchal responsibility. (Astrology is a real deal with these folks.

Scarlet is a life colour, & possibly one of my personal favourites to crop up in my writing.  It is vibrant, potent, + symbolically vivid.  Yes, I love to be monochrome, but I'm scarlet on the inside. (Love it or hate it, my writing has never been called drab!)  Even though I write prose (with the occasional dubious foray into poetry), I love the way poetry can lead you through a series of colour sensations, & I work hard to do the same with my prose.  In Plenilune, scarlet is one of the boldest colours to leap off the page, & I love it! 

share your colours!

  • There are more colours to come, but I'm curious to see what colours you utilize in your writing.  You can do the whole spectrum with images, or maybe just highlight a few favourites.  (It's also a helpful way to see which colours you tend to leave out, eh heh...)  

HOW TO  ||  I'm sure there are lots of ways to create these collages; mine is probably not the most efficient but OH WELL.  I use the LAYOUT app with images saved off PINTEREST.  That way I can arrange them however I want, & presto! I have a pretty collage.  That's honestly all there is to it.


i hope you enjoyed, & i'll see you next time!
xoxo, jenny

My Highly Lucrative Way to Ring In the New Year

2016

For those of us of the internet generation, it's been a crazy year across the board.  Politics + pop culture have seen some insane disruptions which leave us youngsters scratching our heads.  And then many of our personal lives have experienced what seem like abnormally large setbacks too (it could just be the PMS effect, though: everything bad seems to wait to strike during PMS, & is magnified tenfold by hormones...).


I never have the urge to relive a year.  I'm usually scuttling in panic to get as far away from the last as possible - 2016 is no exception.  Lots of stress, lots of anxiety, lots of physical + mental pain.  No year comes without those, but 2016 seems to have been given a double portion.

so you can imagine my delight + relief to be able to close out the old year + ring in the new with such a wonderful culmination of 2016's agonizing, everlasting waiting

Roughly 3:30 New Year's Eve morning, Wolfgang Aleksandr plopped into the world.  I've got lots of funny, gross stories - like my water breaking basically like an enormous + hilariously-timed water balloon - but I'll try to keep those to a minimum.  Despite carrying nearly twice the weight I had with Filigree, Wolfgang turned out to be only three ounces heavier than his sister.  (I don't even know, you guys.  I don't even know.)  But that means my physical damage has been minimal, & my recovery is trucking along beautifully.

Mr. Squishy-face Wolfgang I is also doing very well.  There's a lot to learn when one is only a few days old, but he's managing.  He'll probably get to the last lawn cut of the season by next week.  Well, we might let it slide this once, since he was so obliging as to come inside of 2016 & provide us with an immediately viable tax deductible.  XD 

here's to being done waiting, here's to that new-baby smell, here's to squishy kisses + a brand new year

// obligatory squishy-face photos of the cubling <3

xoxo, jenny