NaNo Ishness 2017! (My Insane 8th NaNoWriMo, Skillet, and Other Epicness)

IT’S DECEMBER. *cue shocked gasps*

This means that a) we survived NaNo (whaaat?), b) I’m no longer trying to write large amounts of words daily, and c) it’s time for an Ishness wrapup of my 2017 NaNoWriMo!

And, y’know, other things that happened in October and November. 🙂

This is mostly about November, but I’ll touch briefly on October (SO long ago; my goodness, was that even a thing?), to say that I was mostly busy prepping for NaNo, that I caught a cold at the last minute so that I was useless in my NaNo-prep the week before November hit (yay. XD) and that I got to see the band Skillet in concert AND IT WAS THE MOST AMAZING THING.

(image courtesy of my brother’s phone…)

Colton Dixon (who’s also a great singer whose music I love!) and a couple others were there, which was fun as well! But but SKILLET. They’re one of my favorites, and I especially usually listen to them a lot around this time of year — their fast and inspiring music is so helpful when I’m typing fast on wordwars during NaNo… 😉 Anyway, I love their music and they also seem like such FUN people, so seeing them live on a stage with their amazing music and amusingness and just — IT WAS INCREDIBLE. They’re so epic and NICE and faith-filled and funny and I just love them. 🙂 I had an absolute blast, and the whole concert (them and the other artists) was amazing, and I came away so inspired and filled up and happy. 🙂 (I did wear earplugs in my ears the whole time because rock concerts are LOUD; I was still able to hear everything despite that just fiiiine, and consequently still have my hearing. XD) Christian Rock may not be everyone’s favorite, but I absolutely love Skillet and this was definitely the highlight of my October. 🙂 🙂

Bookish

I read a handful of books in the last two months…

(in reverse chronological order, from a screenshot of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, because I’m lazy)

For my thoughts on them, see the Bookish Post I posted on my book blog a few days ago! 🙂

In Other Book News: New Genre!

Also, the previously un-named genre which we all needed a name for (the kind that’s basically in another world but isn’t TECHNICALLY fantasy because there’s nothing fantastical, and is more like historical fiction but without needing to be historically accurate) was finally named: Kingdom Adventure! So if you read/write this, be aware! This is an exciting development. XD

Watched

Who has time to watch things this time of year?? Ahem. I sneaked in a few in the last couple months, though.

  • Zorro — I watched a few episodes of Disney’s Zorro with Guy Williams because it’s fun. Gracious, I love Zorro things. ❤ ❤ ❤
  • Once Upon a Time — I saw a couple more episodes of this (I’m still not very far at all. XD) and it continues to be intriguing. 🙂
  • Treasure Planet — This was a re-watch, for… er… research. *cough* (Skyships, dontcha know. ;)) Much fun!
  • The Three Musketeers (2011) — Eheheh, re-watching this for research too. XD (Airships yesss.) Also fun, if messy. 😛
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) — Very… erm… strange. XD But I enjoyed a lot of it… Also, the only reason they had the insane asylum bit was so they could have evil Moriarty. 😛
  • Thor: Ragnarok — I SAW THIS AT THE THEATER. And have complicated feelings. XD Epic and HILARIOUS (seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the theater laugh that hard, that many times), with lots of fun and coolness, and also a couple things that were Not Okay and which I have still not recovered from. *glowers at film-makers and mouths “how dare you”* But of course, spoilers, so I can’t say. *cough* Anyways, it was generally a ton of fun. XD (Other than, you know, those things. *cough*)

(I just realized I over-use the word “fun” in my discussion of movies I watched. But why would anyone watch ones that weren’t??)

Highlights of My November

  • Went to an epic booksale
  • Saw Thor 3 *shrieking*
  • Met up with some awesome authors! Shout-out to Kendra Ardnek, Claire Banschbach, Kelsey Bryant, Sarah Holman, J. Grace Pennington — I love these talented gals! It was such a lovely time getting to get together for a few hours. 🙂
  • (Those three events were all in the first five days of NaNo! :O So much busy. Awesome, but busy.)
  • Had several fun writing events for my NaNo region and met such fun fellow-writers!
  • This was my fifth year as an ML, and it was a blast. Tiring, but so fun.
  • Thanksgiving happened (one of the best things about which is living on leftover dressing and pies after…)
  • My bullet journal told me what I needed to do each day and kept me sane (well… insane, but at least an organized kind so that I knew what I had to do?)
  • Scrivener is life
  • And so are wordsprints
  • Won NaNoWriMo for the 8th time!

Since this is a writing blog, I feel like I should mention that in addition to writing 50K words and learning a lot through that, I also absorbed some writing advice from a knowledgeable author at a write-in, and from a brief creative writing class I attended one day, and read a writing book (No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, who founded NaNo), so I feel all steeped in writerliness. ^_^

Oh, Right, the Actual Writing Part of NaNo

I was a bit of a rebel…

I wrote a 6000 word short story called The Dragon of Kedran’s Wood (or) Tare and the Puppies — which I will share on the blog once I edit it!

And I started my YA Steampunk-Fantasy novel The Siren and the Skyship and wrote 44,000 words of that.

I unfortunately had only done a small amount of plotting in October, so I was not as prepared for writing as I would have liked, which necessitated some hasty plotting partway into November. I feel like I did a lot closer to pantsing than usual. (This year and last year both…) So with that on top of how BUSY I was most days, I sometimes struggled to reach the daily goal. I have no clue how people with full time jobs/school manage to do this — I salute you all. O_O

It was a bit of a challenge to make it to the minimum each day, but I stayed on track except for two days early on. I was DETERMINED to stay on track and I did! 😀 (I fell behind when I was visiting awesome author friends, but I don’t even mind because it was so fabulous. ;)) Sometimes I got ahead and used that to take a break and relax and this was SUCH a good idea. I don’t do really well writing every day for long stretches. It worked out this year that I usually wrote four days and then took one off? Like, multiple times? I didn’t even plan that, it just… happened. O_O Because I love analyzing stats and noticed and I love it. XD

Also, I’ve now written 400K words in 8 years of NaNos and EXCUSE ME WHILE I FLAIL OVER THIS FACT. :O

The novel itself is horribly messy and only half done (if that) and I ran out of plot EXACTLY at the end of the month, so I need to plan the rest of it and finish it sometime, but other than that I’m fairly pleased with how it went. 🙂 I really like the world and characters, and while the Little Mermaid part doesn’t seem to be showing itself as much as it could, the story itself is coming along. SKYSHIPS. ❤ Because I love nautical-ish things, and this is the perfect mix of 18th century ships, modern navy ships, and spaceships… just… better. 😀 And even though they’re frustrating at times, I do love my characters. 😉 *hugs Rook and Tasmania and Auren*

ANYWAY. It’s a mess but I survived and made it this far, and I don’t know how I feel about the whole story, but I was particularly enjoying it later in the month.

And of course I wrote a whole short story first, about my precious Tare-and-the-Chess-Club, which was SO fun. I can’t wait to share it with y’all! ❤

And I stayed on track nearly all month and finished early on the 28th.

I’m calling this 8th NaNo a success!

Quick Version

NaNo was exhausting and confusing and busy, and it’s honestly a miracle I managed it with all the insane running around and lack of plotting, but ultimately I had a mostly really good one and I’m so happy to have made it through to the end with another 50K under my belt! 🙂

December Plans

So, what am I going to be doing this month?

all the blogging and reading and reviewing and basically wearing myself out with my to-do list guilt because I’m two months behind on everything and NaNo’s over so I have no more excuses

RESTING.

…Okay, so you probably know me well enough to know that I probably won’t do neeearly enough of that. But I have SO MANY plans about reading/reviewing/blogging/etc. since I feel like I’ve hardly done any of that for a couple of months due to WRITING STUFF (which was lovely but it will be nice to have a break). So hopefully some of that will happen on top of Christmas busyness and said other plans. I’m ready to chill a little… Doesn’t mean it will happen, but I’m ready for it. XD

I think that’s it?

Maybe I’ll share Siren and the Skyship snippets if y’all want them badly enough. 😉

***

WHEW. *collapses* There you are. I hope you enjoyed this little peek at my NaNo and life! Thank you so much for reading! And let me know in the comments how your NaNo (or November. ;)) went! ^_^

Splintered: A Thor/Loki Fanfic

(Notes:

This, like my Hawkeye fanfiction, was a dream I had and then wrote down. If it’s weird, that’s why…

I wrote this back when I had only seen “The Avengers” and hadn’t yet seen either of the Thor movies… so I didn’t know Thor used to grin in Thor 1, and hadn’t seen Loki’s hair like it was in the dungeon scene in Thor 2.

These characters don’t belong to me, obviously, but to Marvel.

Pictures from Pinterest.

This is just for fun.

Hope you enjoy.)

“Splintered”
A Thor and Loki Fanfiction

by
Deborah O’Carroll

Starring
an Old House
a Random Girl (that’s me)
and
Thor and Loki from the Marvel Movies


974dd788523f19b1affc1d42aeccf977I walked gingerly along the half-finished floor of a room in the big old wooden house that was under repair, trying to find safe footholds on the rickety boards that I feared might snap under my weight. Whoever was fixing this place wasn’t doing a very good job.

But hopefully Thor, who was following my lead, would catch me if I fell. Come to think of it, why wasn’t the so-called floor merely falling apart beneath his weight? He probably weighed a ton.

I swiveled to see how he was faring in our crossing of the room.

Thor was walking easily, his fair hair and silvery armor dulled in the faint light, his dark clothes blending with the shadows, and his red cloak swaying after him as he strode along, finding the solid beams beneath the floorboards.

As he went, he glanced down and absently poked at a board with his boot. The piece of wood snapped and fell away. He kicked another and it met the same fate.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He glanced at me. In his serious and strong-jawed face, dusted with golden stubble, there suddenly flashed what if I hadn’t known better I would have thought was a gleam of malicious intent. It looked more like an expression his brother Loki–who was in the back yard and who we were on our way to find–might make, than anything that would cross the face of Thor under normal circumstances.

(That’s as close to devious as I could find. Thor just doesn’t make devious faces, y’all…)

Saying nothing, he leaned over and started deliberately breaking the floorboards with his hands, in a way that jeopardized my currently safe footing.

“No,” I said, as I stepped hastily backward, and then “nonononono!” in one long word with five short syllables as the boards under me caved in partly so that I fell backward and slid halfway between them. I ended up lying on my back at the bottom of the slanting wood; if I moved the wrong way, I would slide down under the house.

Thor kept coming toward me, leaping lightly from beam to beam, tearing up boards. With his hammer, he could probably have demolished the entire house in three seconds flat, but fortunately he did not have it with him. Apparently he was in a mood for leisurely destruction.

Something was clearly wrong with him.

With some little difficulty, I scrambled out of my precarious position and streaked across the room as quickly as the treacherous floor would allow. I dashed out a side door and I found myself outside on a sort of balcony-porch—only half-finished like most of the house—that was several feet above the ground and didn’t have any steps yet.

I turned toward the back-yard and made a call for help to the only person for miles who might be able to do something.

“Loki!” I yelled.

A short silence followed. I could still hear Thor shattering the floor inside. Then the thin smooth face, sharp nose, and long sleek black hair (spiky in the back) of Loki appeared just above the side of the balcony’s floor, where he had apparently climbed up.

“What,” he said, more in annoyance than inquiry, as he pulled himself higher.

“Help,” I squeaked, barely suppressing an exclamation mark, in a sort of sheepish but panicked plea. Loki was the last person I could imagine going to for help.

Apparently he thought the same thing. His face held a blank and incredulous look as he tilted his head slightly to one side and blinked his shifty eyes at me as though trying to grasp the idea.

Louder crashing ensued from inside.

“Thor’s breaking things!” I wailed.

“Ah.” The questioning look cleared and Loki vaulted himself over the edge of the balcony up to where I stood, his green cloak swishing, and went inside through the doorway I had left by.

Careful to stay away from the area I had been in before, I hurried inside the house another way to find the people who lived in the more completed rooms. I paused in a doorway, unable to go further due to a rift in the floor, and found them in a hurried state, trying to leave. With good reason. Thor’s previous noises paled to nothing in comparison to the catastrophic smashing that now came from the far end of the house, the tell-tale signs of a fight between Thor and Loki.

“Girls!” the mother called. She was a tall thin woman in grey, with wispy blond hair pulled up into a bun on the back of her head.

Her three daughters scampered from the other room where they had apparently been grabbing coats, and began following her out, along with their two dogs who were barking frenziedly at the sounds of the battle.

(In the dream, the mom was Mrs. Everdeen from Hunger Games)

(And two of the girls were Bard’s daughters from The Hobbit movies)

In her haste, the oldest daughter, dark-haired and wearing blue, dropped a pail she was carrying, and it slid down a sloping board.

“Bucket, bucket,” she said, running after it to fetch it back, while the mother called for her to leave it and hurry, herding the two younger girls with blond curls out the door. But the older girl retrieved it quickly and all four of them quickly exited the house, the two dogs following half-heartedly as though torn between going with them and staying to bark at the strangers who were breaking the house.

As I was about to go back out the way I had come, the floor suddenly gave way beneath me—chain reaction from the next room, I supposed—and for the next several minutes I was engaged in trying to clamber my way out from a tangle of broken wood. During that time, things got oddly quiet except for the one dog, who had stayed and was still barking.

I couldn’t find any sort of proper footing on what used to be the first floor, so I clambered up more wreckage to a sort of attic area. It was dark up there, and piled with stuff, but I managed to find a place to stand at the edge of the gaping hole that used to be the ceiling of what had once been the room Thor and Loki had been fighting in.

The dog barked still, and I heard the oldest girl, who must have come back for it, telling the dog, “Be quiet—you’ll wake him!” The dog quieted and apparently left with the girl, for there was silence.

Wake him? I scanned the dark attic anxiously, the words “Waken a sleeping giant . . .” running through my head. It was hard to see in the dark, but I gradually made out a mattress by one wall with a pile of blankets tumbled on top. They shifted, and a pair of boots stuck out at one end suddenly. The person under the blankets moved again and the coverings fell away, showing Thor curled up under his scarlet cloak, apparently napping after his fight.

Not wanting to wake him in case he still had any smashing feelings left, and wondering where Loki was, I tried to tiptoe quietly away.

Despite my efforts, the floor creaked. Thor stirred, flicked his cloak to one side and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. Then he glanced over at me. His mane of blond hair was all pushed back instead of falling to both sides of his face as usual, and he smiled.

“Greetings,” he said in his deep rumble of a voice.

“I’ll just be leaving,” I said.

“What, no kiss to commemorate my victory?” he jested, grinning again. A big grin on him was so weird . . . He stretched again and the movement caused the floorboards to quake a little.

I felt my portion of the floor begin to teeter—I was about to fall.

“Eheh,” I said, grinning skittishly at Thor as I tried to regain my balance and not panic and plummet to my death. “Loki!” I hissed urgently in a furious whisper in the general direction of where the shattered room used to be. Where was he?

Thor looked in that direction as though he saw something.

Loki!” I yelled again.

Loki’s head and shoulders appeared, poking up above the edge of the hole in the floor, his black hair no longer sleeked back and instead hanging forward over his ears from the fight. It struck me that I had never seen his hair like that before.

Thor and Loki faced each other, opposites—Thor with his fair hair pushed back, and grinning, Loki with his dark hair hanging down, and serious-looking. They both looked so different than they usually did, just with their changes of expression and what their hair was doing.

“I win,” Thor said in his deep voice, still smirking.

“You usually do,” Loki’s more flute-like voice said. I blinked. That was an uncharacteristically truthful and non-competitive thing for him to say . . . He turned to me, casting a brief look at his brother and saying with mock-weariness, “Let us be going before he knocks down the entire building.”

He lent me some balance with his arm so I could get off the unsafe part of the floor, and we exited through a far-window, leaving a still-grinning Thor watching us leave, reclining in comfort on a mound of pillows. We climbed back down onto the unfinished balcony. As soon as we were standing there safely, I turned and stared at Loki.

“What is going on?” I said.

“We have to go and find out why he’s being so petty and violent and foolish—it’s out of his character,” Loki said, looking thoughtful.

Thor is acting out of character? I thought. Then what about you? Normally Loki would have enjoyed calling his brother those things, and grinned the whole time.

(“Wait… what?”)

“And we have to find out why you’re acting so serious and noble,” I said as a test.

I expected Loki to blink and suddenly realize he’d been acting like his brother, and shake his head and say, “Oh, is that what I’ve been doing. It’s a repulsive feeling.” Then he would suddenly flash his brilliant grin with all his white teeth and sleek his black hair back, saying, “You know what? You go on ahead. I’m staying right here.” And then he would leap back inside, from where further fighting noises would shortly ensue.

Instead he paused, tilting his head and raising an eyebrow. “And that,” he agreed. Then he blinked and shook his head slightly as if thinking that’s not right, and half remembering . . . but he couldn’t seem to grasp it. He blinked again and shrugged.

“Loki,” I said, almost saying ‘Thor’. “I think someone switched out your personalities with each other.”

“I think you’re right,” Loki said. “Come, we must solve this.”

He strode toward the end of the balcony and I followed him.