My Last Christmas as a Child

Merry Christmas, folks!

I’m not trying to put a damper on what is arguably the second best holiday on the American calendar but I just wanted to write a post.

I’m seventeen.

This is my last Christmas as a legal child.

Well, technically, I’m called a “minor” but I’m definitely not a piano chord and I’m fairly sure we left the coal mines in the past. Besides, we all know my maturity never aged past middle school.

I am a child.

Shut up.

Next Christmas, I won’t be a child. I won’t be allowed to get excited over Christmas shopping and the Walmart toy aisle. I won’t be allowed to wake up at five am and see if Santa came. I won’t be allowed to have the choice between buying for my family and friends or not.

I’ve been practicing this year. Getting ready for how next year is going to be while I’m in a safe environment. Buying gifts. Working retail during Christmas (I actually don’t hate that part, I love my job). Driving on crowded roads.

Even though it’s stressful and sad, I still love this season. I’m always filled with so much joy during November and December. And then it’s the New Year and I get sad, but that’s not what we’re talking about. I love looking at lights with my little brothers. I love buying gifts. I love opening presents. I love watching my siblings open presents (their excitement is always so entertaining). I love attending Christmas church services. I love listening to Christmas music. (I was not listening to Christmas music when I wrote that sentence, but don’t worry, I’m listening to Pentatonix Christmas music now.) I love the food. I love wearing my Santa hat.

I love what Jesus came to earth to do.

It’s not like it’s going to become illegal to love all these things next year (at least I hope!) but it will be harder to appreciate them when I’m away from my family and having to worry about adult things like. . . . the things adults worry about.

I’m absorbing every moment from this Christmas season like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser I am. It makes me sad to think that I’ll be in a stinky old college dorm during the Christmas season instead of home with my siblings marveling at lights and watching Christmas movies and singing every single song on the Shelly E. Johnson Christmas is Beautiful (Deluxe Edition) album.

At least there’s Christmas break.

This has been a reflection post by the wild and intriguing

Tune in next time to hear the VeggieTales version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / your undies on display / la la la la la la de / La la something Christmas day

🎵 That’s Christmas to Me by Pentatonix 🎵

Know the Novel: Part Three ~ In Which We Have All Survived And Hopefully Have Something to Show For It

Welp. Somehow we survived NaNo.

I am literally so proud of myself for writing 50,000+ words in 30 days. I am so happy with how well plotting worked for me and how well I was able to stay motivated, despite writing ten thousand college essays during the month as well. I stayed focused and motivated and pushed through burnout to produce an almost-completed rough draft that I am so very proud of. I love every inch of my novel.

Since I managed to survive NaNo (somehow LOL), I can now do the final part in Christine Smith’s Know the Novel linkup. I’m so excited. So let’s get into it!!

The Questions:

1. How did writing this novel go all around?

Honestly, way better than I was expecting. The first couple of weeks, I found my groove and I was cranking out 2500 words in an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I lost my momentum when I took a break to go on a trip with my parents and sister. I took three days off, and when I came back, I was only writing roughly 1500 words a day. And then I got sick. But I still managed to finish on November 29th.

Aside from NaNo, November was just busy in general. I had that three day trip, like I mentioned, but I was also having to deal with four college classes, Thanksgiving holidays, and various other things that were taking up my time. So props to NaNo Mia for finding time to fit it all in.

*high-fives past self*

2. Did it turn out as you expected or completely different? How do you feel about the outcome?

I plotted the whole novel a couple of years ago and I had to wait to write it while I plotted the other four novels in the series. Then I had to come back to my old plot and make sure everything made sense, because obviously my idea of the series had changed a lot in two years. Despite putting so much time in plotting, I knew there were a lot of specific details I could have added but didn’t. Actually, a lot of the plot points for the first two books are pretty vague because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go there and I figured I could come up with something when I actually had to write it.

I regret that decision now, but y’know, it seemed smart at the time.

Some of my characters turned out a little differently than I was expecting, but they’re mostly the same. There did end up being a couple that aren’t as prominent in the story as I wanted, but they’ll pop in more in the later books, so it should be fine.

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Everything???? But especially the dialogue. I put a lot of effort into writing dialogue and I feel like it shows. Part of that comes from hyperfixating on the way I talk and the way other people talk, and the other part of it comes from reading a lot of Tumblr memes and building up an absolute unit of an internal dialogue.

I have issues, I know, thank you for telling me.

4. What was your least favorite part?

Ummm. . . . I’m not sure. The scenes with less action were harder to write. And there are certain characters that are just more difficult to write for some reason.

5. What do you feel needs the most work?

Grammar!!!! I never can get my commas right. There are also some descriptions that I’m not sure how well they’re going to come across. But that’s what Alpha and Beta readers are for.

6. How do you feel about your characters now? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

I still love them. I’m never gonna stop loving them. They are literally like my children. I just. I love them.

My favorite is definitely Voro, my villain. I didn’t understand anything (anything) about him before I started writing. When I reached his first scene, I just wrote with my gut and my gut decided he should be an Instagram pretty boy with an Elvish accent. But he is so sarcastic and good-natured and silly and he has an accent and he speaks my own original language— *sucks in breath* I mean, what’s not to love? Okay, he is the villain and he did try to possess my protagonist and he also hit his daughter, but otHER THAN THAT—

As for least favorite. . . . I mean, I have some boring side characters. I didn’t make them boring on purpose and they’re all distinct and special in their own way, but I just don’t always like writing them. Also Ryan. Ugh. He’s my main character’s love interest and he’s just so. . . . unrealistic. I think I’m just writing him too much like I would a girl character. So he needs some work.

OH AND MATTHEW!!! In the original Masters of Fate draft, I wanted Matthew to be serious and mysterious and dramatic and then he ended up being funny and sarcastic and not at all like I wanted. So while I was plotting, I made sure I was careful to make Matthew the serious guy. And then I wrote him. And he tried to be funny again. *sighs* They never listen, do they?

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Well, I have to finish it first. Then I’m going to edit it. Then maybe one day I can publish it. We’ll see. Right now, I just have to focus on finishing it.

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

I would love for MoF to have a fandom like the PJO or KotLC fandoms. I want to see all the fanart and textposts and memes and just. . . . everything. Having a fandom would be wild. And a dream come true.

9. Share some of your favorite snippets!

*rubs hands together* I won’t hold back this time.

[WARNING: Unedited snippets ahead. Continue at your own risk.]

Eno beckoned his group further across the room, putting a good distance between his group and his brother’s group. Several training dummies were lined up in front of the wall, surrounded by weapons of varying intensity and size.

“Why are all those dummies lined up like that?” Evan asked, pointing.

“Are they about to have a race?” a short boy asked, scratching his head.

Eno closed his eyes and pinched his nose. “I see how this is going to go,” he muttered.

“HEY!” someone from Tro’s group shouted. Violet whipped around and saw Iris waving at Eno’s group. “HEY! IS THERE ANYONE OVER THERE WHO CAN GIVE ME A CRASH COURSE ON HOW TO KILL SOMEBODY WITH A TOOTHBRUSH??” There was an awkward silence before Iris said, “NOBODY? OKAY. THANKS FOR THE HELP!”

Harmony snorted.

Okay, context. The powerlings were having training time with Eno and Tro, who are brothers, and they’d been split up into two teams. As for why Iris wanted to know how to kill someone with a toothbrush, your guess is as good as mine. She crazy. But we established that in the last KtN post.

“Wake up, coblari!” The deep voice tore into Violet’s strange dream. She was soaring through the bright blue sky, but it turned gray, then black, and Violet fell, farther and farther and farther until she could fall no more. “Nort veepin, eck coblari!”

Violet opened her eyes. She was groggy, but she managed to make out a tall, dark man. His hair was well-kept but his outfit was covered in dirt and twigs.

“Finally!” he cried, throwing up his arms. He started ranting in a language Violet didn’t understand as she slowly resurfaced from her dream state. She suddenly became aware of the uncomfortable chair she was trapped in. Course ropes cut into her wrists and ankles, and her hair was in her face, obscuring her left eye. As her consciousness returned fully, she whipped around, trying to escape her bonds. The room she was in was dark and claustrophobic. She could just barely make out a few human-like figures behind the man in front of her, standing against what appeared to be a door.

The ranting man stopped. He peered at Violet, and she was instantly self-conscious, wondering what he was staring at.

Eck ne human?” he asked, taking a step closer.

“What do you want from me?” Violet asked, her voice threatening to break.

“Ah, youi, you are,” he said.

“I’m what?” Violet demanded. “Where am I? Where are my friends?”

“Friends?” The man laughed. “They are not here.”

Violet stayed quiet, knowing she would burst into tears if she made a sound.

“You can understand my accent, youi?” the man asked, looking a little frustrated.

“I can understand you just fine,” Violet mumbled. She’d thought the halting tone to his voice was just him struggling to speak English. “You have an accent?”

“You insult me,” he said, smirking a little.

“I thought you were just incompetent at the English language,” Violet said, her confidence growing a little.

The man laughed. “You think I am incompetent?”

“Seems that way.”

“I could make this accent go away,” he said in a perfect American accent. “But I prefer not to betray my people by abandoning the Elvish accent. You understand, I’m sure.”

“Elvish?” Violet asked, her confidence waning.

“They have not told you my name?” he asked, looking offended. “Min amin?”

“You’re Voro, aren’t you?” Violet said, the realization making her heart drop like a stone.

“So they did,” Voro laughed. “Perfect.”

“I—I wasn’t imagining you this way,” Violet murmured, trying to make her mental image match with the man—the elf—standing before her.

“They did not tell you I am hailum?” he said, a smirk adorning his face again.

“I don’t know what that means,” Violet said, “but I certainly wasn’t expecting an Elven pretty boy with perfect hair and a chiseled jaw.”

Voro smoothed his hair. “Ah, you think my hair is perfect?”

Violet shrugged. “Perfect is relative.”

“I do not know what that means, but I do not care,” Voro said, bringing his hands behind his back in a classic “handsome villain” pose. “I have learned to take compliments when they come.”

Check the Elvish! This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole draft. It was the first time I got to implement my original Elvish and the first time Voro entered the story. I had such a fun time writing it. I didn’t want it to end.

“I hope everyone is ready because we are going to have an intense training session today,” Eno said, breezing by them.

“Wait, Mr. Eno, sir!” Evan said, rushing after him.

Eno stopped. “What?”

“Um. . . . how old are you?” Evan asked.

Eno stared. “Why do you need to know that? Will that save you on the battlefield?”

Evan twisted his fingers. “Well, no, but I just thought—”

“Then I’m not telling you how old I am.” Eno took a step, but Iris appeared in front of him.

“We have ways of figuring you out,” she said, steepling her fingers and trying to look menacing.

“Oh yeah?” Eno crossed his arms. “And how are you planning to find out my age if I’m not going to tell you?”

“By cutting you open and counting the rings!” Evan suggested. Everyone burst out into laughter.

“Wrong living organism, dude,” Ryan laughed, clapping Evan on the shoulder.

Evan pursed his lips. “Counting the points on his antlers?”

Hehe, the dialogue in this scene came from a random conversation in Sunday school between the teacher and one of the highschool guys. I knew I would have to use it in my novel because it was just too funny to pass up.

Anddddd those are all of my favorite snippets that are spoiler-free. Maybe one day, you guys will be able to read the entire novel.

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

Time management was a huge one. Of course, that also had to do with my massive heap of college assignments, but I had to learn to fit it all in and push through the burnout to reach something I’m proud of. I’m so in love with this project. It’s amazing.

This will probably be my last time attempting NaNo for a few years, since I’m going to be at college starting next year (LOL, fingers crossed) and I know for a fact I will definitely not have time for NaNo. Between being a music major, being four hours away from home, and, of course, holidays, I know for a fact I will not have the time, patience, or energy to write 2000 words a day. But that’s okay. Maybe I can attempt it again after I graduate. Or drop out of school. At this point, it’s a toss-up LOL

I am very much proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. I literally have no words. A’s and B’s in my dual enrollment classes, a completed NaNo novel, surviving multiple trips for the holidays and Other Important EventsTM, and just. . . . the amount of personal growth I went through outside of all the chaos. I don’t want to grow up, we established that in my last post, but I am growing up anyway. And I’m proud of myself for that.

Welp. I’ll see y’all in the next post. Not sure when that’ll be, but we’ll see.

🎵 Don’t Throw Out My Legos by AJR (I’m obsessed I can’t get this song oUT OF MY HEAD) 🎵

December is Hereeeeeee ~ In Which I Get Kinda Angsty But That Happens When You’re Old Like Meeeee

IT’S THE CHRISTMAS SEASON WOOOOOOOOOOOOO

I think we all know by now that Christmas is my favorite time of year. I’ve got my Santa hat on and I am READY to GO BROKE on CHRISTMAS GIFTS!!!!! WOOP!!

*sigh* I love the Christmas season. Although it’s kind of crazy that it’s already the last month of the year. Where did the time go??? I wish it would slow down. Especially because in less than nine months, I’m going to college. Every time something happens, like my siblings’ birthdays or a special tradition around the holidays that my family has, there’s this little voice in the back of my mind that’s like, “This is the last time.”

I don’t want to grow up.

Oof, I’m getting teary-eyed thinking about it.

I mean, I’m very excited for college and I can’t wait to get out and make friends and study my passions, but I always take my time with my family for granted.

I once heard someone say that 90% of your time spent with your parents is before you turn 18.

My 90% is almost over.

Maybe I’ll write a song about this.

LOL, sorry, didn’t mean to get all depressing on y’all like that XP

November Memories

Gosh, where do I even start? November was amazing. It was such an amazing month. I grew up so much during November. I’m definitely not the same girl I was when October ended. I mean, we all grow in a month. Thirty days is a rather long time for literally nothing to happen. But I can’t always see where I’ve grown after a month is over. I can see it this time.

First off, I won NaNo! It’s my first time winning NaNo, my first time writing 50,000+ words, my first time writing from a full plot. There were a lot of firsts with this project. I’m so deeply in love with it. I fall in love with my characters every time I read over my almost-finished draft. I love them.

I had great momentum the first couple of weeks and I was a week away from finishing, when I had to take a trip with my parents and sister and went three days without writing. After that, my motivation kind of faded and I was really burnt-out towards the end of the month. And then I got sick. But I won NaNo at 11:20 PM on November 29th and no one was awake so I couldn’t celebrate until the next morning LOL

Let’s see, what else happened?

Oh, I finally got a Google account in time for NaNo, so I can stop mooching off of my dad’s Google Docs and use my own! It’s very exciting.

I read the ninth Keeper book.

Chapter forty-two is amazing.

If you haven’t read it yet, I would recommend not reading chapter forty-two at three in the morning. I had to refrain from screaming so I didn’t wake the whole neighborhood up. Aside from that, it was a wonderful experience.

I got accepted into college, so that’s pretty rad. All that’s left to do is audition for the music school and get accepted into that, and I’ll be good to go, I think. I have until March so I’m going to not think about that for as long as I can LOL

I got a cold two days before we went to visit the campus so I had to deal with that while we visited ✨my future college✨. It was freezing cold but the entire two day trip was amazing. I was thoroughly exhausted but I loved every second of it. And it evaporated a lot of fears I had about going to college. It’s going to be great.

Anyways, so much happened on the trip, so I’ll probably write a separate blog post about it. It was this little event thing the college hosted called “College Up-Close” (or CUC, which is not an acronym I’m completely comfortable with but I’ll get over it LOL) and we got to go on campus tours and visit classes and meet faculty and it was just an amazing time. Everyone and everything there is beautiful and I have so many stories.

The Minecraft server I’m a part of with a bunch of my writing friends was hacked and several bases (including mine and my friend’s) were destroyed. It was a whole thing and I found out while I was at my grandparents’ house and yeah that was a weird day.

I’m a sprint guardian on YWW now! My job is to make sure everyone is competing correctly during writing competitions. I’m literally so happy. Of course, right after I found out, I was off YWW for almost a week because I was so freaking busy. *facepalm* That’s the way it goes, I guess.

Thanksgiving was awesome. I was just so unbelievably happy all day. The older I get, the more introspective I get, and the more introspective I get, the more joyful and thankful I am. The first thing I did was text my friends and tell them how thankful I am for them. I don’t know what I would do without them. To be completely honest, I don’t think I’d be here without them. Most of them don’t know that, but that doesn’t change what they did for me.

I love you guys ❤

We went to the grandparents’ for Thanksgiving and ate with them and hung out and had a good time. I decided it would be fun to practice handstands after years of not practicing handstands and also while standing on a hill and I somehow hit an almost perfect handstand and broke my spinal cord in the process. It was great. I came inside and smelled like sweat, dirt, and the neighbor dog, Chipper.

That evening and the next morning, me and my sisters helped our Nana set up her snow village and decorate their tree. Nana has a huge snow village. She’s been collecting buildings and people for years and we help her set them up every year. It’s awesome. My favorite building is this little garage sale she has. It has so many pieces and it’s so fun to set up.

We came home that afternoon and an hour later, we went out and bought a Christmas tree for our house, and then decorated it! This year’s tree is named Vincent. Vincent is a jerk. He broke my favorite ornament the other night. I’m mad at him.

I just gave him a glare and he glared right back.

*grumbles* Stupid Vincent.

He stands there in the corner looking all menacing but he pretends he’s cute. I see right through you, Vincent. That angel on your head doesn’t change anything.

*glares*

Thanksgiving Saturday, we went to see the cousins. My best cousin-friend-whatever she is’s brother and sister both got engaged within days of each other and their fiancés were there for most of the time. You know I fangirled over the rings. So pretty.

The entire day was spent in gossiping with my cousin. She spilt a lot of tea. I spilt some too. We didn’t bother cleaning it up. We love spilling tea.

That paragraph read like a Twitter meme. I’ve been on the internet too much.

Guys okay storytime.

So.

My dad’s sister (who owns the house we did Thanksgiving with the cousins at) lives two and a half hours away from us. I drove there and back. It was fun. However, for some reason, when I’m driving, everyone on the road just becomes dumb and decides they need to pass me at whatever chance they get, despite the fact that I always drive four-ish over the speed limit. I don’t know why they feel the need to drive faster than the speed of light but they do. I just keep driving and let them do their dumb taking-risks thing.

On the way home, it was dark out and rainy, so I had my cruise control off for better control. We were on a hilly road, so my speed was kind of fluctuating. There were two cars behind me. The first car passed me and I was like, okay, that was kind of dumb but you do you. The second car was a truck and I thought he would behave because he was going a little slower, but no, he decided he would be dumb and pass me on a hill.

When I say I almost witnessed a wreck–

The car in the opposite lane literally had to stop to avoid being hit.

And I was just cruising along in shock like “oh no he did not”

I actually forgot I existed in that moment I was so surprised, but if I’d remembered, I would have stopped. It just happened so fast.

Remember kids. Safe driving saves you money.

And also the sanity of the car in front of you that was going FOUR OVER THE SPEED LIMIT I’M NOT EVEN DRIVING THAT SLOW WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL THE NEED TO PASS ME WHAT THE HECK

Oh, and there was also a red light that I was pulling up to, and there was this car in front of me that I stopped behind. The light turned green and he started driving, then this car does a left turn in front of us through a red light, and the car in front of me TURNED ON ITS RED AND BLUE LIGHTS IT WAS LITERALLY A COP I’M CRYING

I didn’t even realize it was a cop until he chased after the car that ran the red light. It was hilarious.

Remember kids. Safe driving saves you from becoming a laughing stock on the internet.

Yeah, that was an eventful drive.

Ooh, speaking of driving, I drove without my parents for the first time. We had a late rehearsal after church for our Christmas play, so my dad just left his truck in the parking lot and I drove me and my sisters home! It was great!

I got another job! I started on the second. I really like it! It’s great!

Anyways, I think that’s everything.

Well, except school.

*narrows eyes* School……

I’m taking four college classes right now, okay. Two are English classes, one is History, and one is Math. The first three require a good bit of writing, but that’s okay because I already write a lot and I’m basically a pro at writing essays at this point. Since I took that three day trip to college, I got my school done early so I wouldn’t have to stress that week. I thought that was the end of it.

It was not.

Last week. Thanksgiving week. I had to take three quizzes. Give three well-rounded responses each to three discussion forums. Write a 3-page (MINIMUM) reading comparison essay. Give a paragraph answer each to 13 history questions.

The real kicker?

I had to write an EIGHT PAGE ESSAY.

EIGHT PAGES.

WHO MADE THIS COURSE.

Small mercy in that I only had to do 33 math problems. But just. Whose idea was it to assign me this much work during Thanksgiving week??? Thankfully, my classes end next Friday, so I’m almost done. I won’t have to take anymore dual enrollment classes after this.

November Goal Recap

1. WIN NANO ✔

I finally did it! In thirty days, I wrote 50,052 words. I’m not actually done with my novel just yet. I still have six plot points left. But I won NaNo and I’m so pleased.

2. MEMORIZE ALL MY LINES FOR THE CHRISTMAS PLAY ✔

There’s one line that I keep forgetting for some reason, but I know it, I just don’t know my cue. It’s fine. We perform next Saturday and I am terrified because no one knows their lines.

3. WRITE A THANKSGIVING SONG (OR SOMETHING) ❌

Aww, I forgot this goal again.

4. PLAN OUT MY CHRISTMAS CARDS ✔

Yep! And I’ve already sent out one. I just have to make and send thirteen more. I’ve totally got this.

December Goals

1. Complete My Dual Enrollment Classes With A’s and B’s

I would say all A’s, except math is hard. So A’s and B’s are fine.

2. Make and Mail All My Cards

I failed this goal last year, so I’m going to try my best to hit it this year. The card designs I have planned are fairly simple so hopefully it won’t be too difficult.

3. Write a Song

I have some ideas. And ideas are good. Although I need to find my songwriting notebook. It’s missing.

4. Finish My NaNo Novel

May as well finish it off. Then I can write the next one in the series. And the next one. And the next one. And the next one!

5. Make/Buy All the Gifts I Need

I made a brainstorming page in my bullet journal and I think I’ve decided on what I’m going to get everyone. I just need to actually get the things.

November Stats:

Blog posts published: 2
Letters written: 1
Letters received: 2
Art done: 1
Words written (outside of blog posts): 50,052 (oh wait. There’s also the essays I wrote but *barf* those don’t count)
Journal entries: 0
Songs in playlist: 732

It’s funny. Last year’s November recap ended with me complaining with how unproductive I was. But this year, I feel like I did so much and learned so much and changed so much. I’m growing up.

Also, I’ve been listening to AJR this entire time and I relate a lot. I think I’m an AJR fan now.

Anyways, I hope y’all have a wonderful Christmas season, even if you don’t celebrate Christmas. See y’all in the next post.

🎵 No Wind Resistance! by Kinneret 🎵