Saturday, October 31, 2009

My Nanowrimo Survival Kit

I've been inspired by Earwen and several others who have posted the essentials for them to survive (and hopefully win) National Novel Writing Month. Here is my own version of the NaNoWriMo survival kit!

1. Snowflake
No, it's not a real snowflake. I usually plan my novel ahead of time using Randy Ingermanson's wonderful "Snowflake Method." You start with a one-sentence summary of your novel idea and then it builds through several steps until you have a short summary of every scene you plan to write. I've found it to be VERY helpful in years past. I wrote down all my notes in a blue 5-star notebook, and I'll refer to it often during November.

2. Pens
I am writing my novel by hand this year. *gulp*  So, I stocked up on pens today. I got a dozen of my favorite kind, the Tul gel pens-- I love the smooth, black ink.

3. Notebook
Of course I need something to write IN, so I bought a hardcover, unlined notebook at Borders. By the way, it's blue.

4. Index cards
I love 'em. I bought a whole pack of 300. I wrote out all my scenes on cards (53 scenes!), and I also stick a couple in my pocket for random ideas that hit me during the day.

5. My laptop, Phoenix
I'm not using it to write this year because I get headaches and eye strain, but I'll need it to update word counts, check the forums, and of course, blog.

6.  Calculator
This I shall probably carry around everywhere I write...

7. Hot chocolate
For those chilly nights when I have to stay up late to hit my word-count goal.

8. Novel playlist
I usually don't listen to music, but this year I kept finding music that just fit perfectly. I created a playlist on my iPod full of the most inspiring tracks. Most of the music is from movie soundtracks such as Hook, Peter Pan, Chronicles of Narnia, etc, but I also have Jupiter from "The Planets" (by Holst) and some Enya. Some of the songs on my playlist draw specific images from my novel in my mind.

9. My Elven cloak
Something to inspire me when my imagination loses steam. And my character is likely to wear something like this. It's blue, by the way.

10. Cats
We have five of 'em, so there's always one who is willing to sit on my feet and keep them toasty warm. Scout, however, is MY cat. She's my best writing buddy.

11. Candy
'Nuff said.

12. Fingerless gloves
They keep my hands warm. And they're just plain cool. :)

13. Candles
It is soooo cool to write by candle-light!

14. My Journal
I've used my journals for everything from blog ideas to brainstorming for my novel to random scribblings that don't have much to do with anything but allow me to experiment. During November I'll use it for complaining, panicking, procrastinating, and doodling, so I don't do that in my novel.

15. My Bible
My novel is Christian fantasy, so I refer to this a lot. It's cool when you open up the Bible, and an amazing plot idea jumps out. It's incredible to be able to deepen the fiction with Truth.

16. My family and blog friends
You guys are awesome!

NaNoWriMo, here I come!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ten Titles Tag

Joraiem gave me this tag a looong time ago, and I (in a normal phase of inobservance) somehow missed it. I thought it was fitting to do it right before NaNoWriMo begins...

Instructions: Come up with ten titles for books that have not been written.  (yet)
I'm assuming I can put down titles for story ideas I have. All but one of these titles has an idea attached to it already. Anyone want to guess which one is just a lonely title?

1. MindWrite
2. Twyndyllyng (it's actually a real word, though you might not find it in every dictionary)
3. Titantis
4. Treehouse   (I'm realizing how many of my titles start with "T")
5. The Hotel Girl
6. The Secret Side of the Library
7. SoulWorld Traveler
8. Lira Larc

and for the last two, I have the prequel and sequel ideas for my upcoming novel, Bluewillow:

9. Greenheart
10. Redtail

I shall tag...
and Bracie!

Tomorrow I shall attempt to return with a run-down of the items in my NaNoWriMo Survival Kit!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It Came!

Curse of the Spider King has arrived! I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are AWESOME!

In case you haven't heard, there's a cool contest going on to promote their book Curse of the Spider King, and if you haven't yet joined, get thee to this website and educate thyself! We need a few more "tribes" to get the game going, so if you think you could get at least 21 people together to form your own tribe, do it! And did I mention prizes?  Attend a private party with the authors, get a character named after you, and books, books, books! I've also heard that they may be giving away a SWORD! (Tribe leaders seem to get the best of the booty, by the way.) If you want to join or create a tribe, there are a lot of helpful people at the official forum called The Underground, which you can find at Adventures await!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Exploring Sherwood...

At last... my medieval costume entry for Maid Marian's Wardrobe! The rain stopped for a few hours today, so out I went into the forest. Pictures or bust!

I made the cloak, but purchased the dress from an african booth at our state fair's international bazaar. :) The blouse is from Kohl's.

My lovely mother took the pictures for me (it's rather hard to take one's own picture), and then she returned my camera so I could take pictures of my sister, Hepzibah. <--- Check out her blog, too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Merry: a Sherwood Story

I'm waiting for a non-rainy day to take pictures of my costume for the fashion side of the Maid Marian's Wardrobe event (so far no luck-- it has been raining constantly for days!), but here's a short Robin Hood story I wrote for now. Enjoy!

by Evergreena

Robin has been living alone deep in Sherwood for almost a year after fleeing his band in shame when his cocky plans went awry and he accidently killed a man due to a poorly aimed arrow. He's finally mastered the art of the bow, and now it is time for him to return...

I whistled a never-ending tune as I departed from my gloomy haunt in Sherwood. I didn’t know what pace to set, for my heart throbbed with both eagerness and trepidation about my destination: home. I would be there very soon. Too soon. Not soon enough.

I tried to focus my attention on the different kinds of trees and birds, and perhaps that is why I forgot to watch for lookouts. I was admiring the plumage of an especially talkative robin when two men dropped on me from above and knocked me to the mossy roots of an oak. I kicked at my attackers and managed to dislodge one of the men, but the other simply flipped me over and pulled back my hood.

“You!” he gasped.

I laughed. “John! Are we doomed to forever be at odds? First you knock me senseless into a freezing stream—”

He got over his initial shock and stepped back. “What are you doing here?”

The other man approached us. He bent over and picked up his fallen cap. “You broke my feather, Robin,” he said, and held it up to prove it.

“Ah, Will. You’re still the local fashion disaster?” I mock-frowned at my old friend.

John pulled me to my feet. “We thought you were dead!”

“Or deserted,” added Will. “Or captured, or hiding… We thought we lost you for sure!”

We entered the nearby clearing, and John looked up at the canopy of oak trees. “The men must be aloft.”

I put my hood up to hide my face and turned to Will. “Get them down here. We have work to do.”

Will and John exchanged glances. I could tell they were remembering last time. But this time was going to be different. Robin was back, but I was no longer the inept churl with unsteady fingers. No, the hard months of winter in Sherwood had made me more than just a man. I was poised to become a legend. And it was time to make my band into one too. Marian’s words rang in my head. “You just have to find your calling, and I will support you; the others will follow!” she had said when I told her I was leaving. “But first you have to grow up!” I still remembered her sincere, angry eyes.

Will rang the rousing bell, and avoided looking at me. I heard groans and complaints in the trees above, and then the sound of rustling foliage as the weary men dropped down ladders and ropes. They lined up in a rather messy group in front of Will. I could see that winter had been as hard on them as on me. Their faces were a mixture of exhaustion and disgust, and very little hope. There were some muttered jibes behind backs and ruckus guffaws. But no one smiled. No true joy. Things looked grim.

They had no idea what I was about to do.

As soon as they had all arrived, I threw back my hood and stepped forward. When they saw me, they all began to murmur and shift feet. They hadn’t expected to see me ever again, I could tell. Ha. Let them see how much I had changed! Let them see my determination and newfound merriment! Yes, things were going to get good.

I whipped out my bow and showed it to them. “This, “ I said loudly, “is not just a bit of wood with a string. It is more than a weapon and more than a tool.” I held it above my head. “This is an icon! It is a symbol of our life. We are not much to look at, but we are strong, we are supple, and we are dangerous.”

At this I swept an arrow out of my sleeve, and to the men I suppose it appeared to come out of thin air. I drew back my bow easily, and took only half a second to aim… and released.

The goose-fletched arrow shot just above the ranks of men, who gasped and yelled and leaped away. It sailed on, right through it all, and disappeared in the thicket beyond.

I nodded to Much, the miller’s son. “You’ll find it in the knot of yonder oak.” He paled, but nodded and darted out of sight. A moment later he reappeared, holding the shaft of the arrow. “I— I couldn’t get the head out of the wood,” he said. “Too deep!”

The men looked at me again, and this time I saw fear. Did I go too far? Did they think I’d gone mad? Was there respect in that silence? I lowered my head and stared at my feet. One of my toes was peeking through the deerskin.

A sudden laugh burst on the camp with the shock of a hot stone falling from the sky. I looked up. All of the others turned to look, too, and in the very back of the group was Tuck, his eyes dancing and his robe quivering.

He laughed again, and this time it morphed into a giant belly-laugh. “Heavens, Robin! You’ve got your point across!”

A few of the others chuckled at Tuck’s joke while he doubled up and slapped his thighs. I grinned, and John came up behind me and gave my back such a clout that I thought I would fly all the way to the sheriff's front door. I coughed, and that made the rest of the band laugh.

John pulled my hood up and yanked it over my face. “We’ll have to call you Hood,” he said, “Robin of the Hood, because you don’t have anything else to your name!”

I spluttered and grabbed his massive elbow. “And you, my friend, I now dub ‘Little John!’”

The men roared. The whole forest rang with the sound of us! And that gave me an idea.

I hopped up on the speaking log. I rested my hands on my bow until the chuckles died down.

“I have returned to a merry band indeed. And we shall merrily revolt!”

Cheers rose up and gave me the resolve I needed. I belonged here. We were together again, and we had more than enough spirit to get through the coming storms. Laughter had united us.

John raised his voice above the rest and bellowed, “Huzzah for Robin Hood and his very merry men!”


I received many hearty thumps and greetings then, and I became alarmed when a sudden hush fell on the group. I turned and saw a figure in a cloak and hat leading a black stallion out of the trees. I lifted my bow slightly and nocked another arrow. “Come no further, stranger! What is your business here?”

“I am no stranger, Sir Robin Hood of Sherwood.”

Marian! I sucked in my breath and tried to decide what I should do with my bow.

She lifted her chin and stepped out of the shadows. Her dark tresses fell over her shoulders and down her back, and under her velvet cloak she wore a dress of Lincoln green. She curtsied and briefly bowed her head. “Let me assure you, not all of your lively followers are men," she said. "You have at least one friend who shall fight for you in skirts." She drew out a light sword and held it up in a high salute. "Welcome home, Robin," she said, and smiled at me. The whole world could be lit with that smile! Oh, merry!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quick Update

Sorry I haven't posted much lately. I'm feverishly planning my novel to be ready for NaNoWriMo (which starts in 10 days!), participating in an awesome contest* that authors Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are having in anticipation of the release of their new book Curse of the Spider King, and I DO have lots of ideas for posts, but no time to put them up. So bear with me, and I'll be back this weekend with a couple of posts for the Maid Marian's Wardrobe event (see banner above).

*If you want to know more about the contest or the book, check out Wayne Thomas Batson's website at or the series website

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snapshots of My Autumn Life

A tree fell on our house a few days ago. The wind was pretty strong that day, and we didn't know it, but the limb was rotten. It made quite a clatter. I thought the cats had gotten into the dishes and broken a few, but alas, it was our maple. And I wanted to build a treehouse in that tree! I guess it's a good thing I didn't. (We made a movie instead.) The tree guys came and chopped it all up and put it through the TREE SHREDDER! *wince* Terrible. Just terrible. And they didn't stop there! Oh no, they had to cut down two other trees near our house! Of course, those were dead already, but I feel like we're losing trees right and left. Last time a storm came through we lost Gandalf and part of Treebeard (now he looks ever so much more like a real Ent).

Anyway, that's the pain of autumn storms.

A few nights ago was the first frost, so we raced down to the garden after dark to save the food! We covered my dad's (GIANT) pumpkins with cozy quilts and I picked my herbs. My dad also had a ton of tomatoes, so we filled two whole boxes of 'em and brought them indoors for safekeeping, a.k.a. canning. My mom has been busy making pizza sauce and salsa. And tonight we had sausage tortellini soup with fresh tomatoes and basil and parsley. Mmmm... perfect for cold weather!

I felt like taking a nap this afternoon, but when I climbed up my ladder to my loft bed, this is the sight that greeted me. Five innocent* cats had already claimed my bed, and there was no room left for me. So I was forced to lay on the couch instead. I know, I'm hopeless. I can't even fight off snoozing cats for my rightful place.


The muted colors of early autumn...

And last but not least, a makeshift cover I created for my upcoming Christian fantasy/sci-fi novel, Bluewillow, that I'm going to write for NaNoWriMo. More on this soon!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are You Ready?

50,000 words. 30 days. It's coming... Will you be ready?

Join the fun! Write a novel!