Ready For Camp NaNo? (Screams)

Sorry for the lack of regularly-scheduled post, but I was at a friend’s house since Wednesday. And while I was there, I was of course freaking out, because tomorrow is the start of CAMP NANO!

I’m gonna keep this short, since my NaNo project isn’t. I’m shooting for 60,000 words (I know right) and tonight I’ve got to scramble to finish my outline because #procrastination. But I thought I’d pop into the blogging world and say hello to you all.

I also have a piece of advice for anyone who like me is planning on doing a large Camp project and has left planning to the last minute. The advice is simply:


Roleplay your characters. There’s this brilliant game called Ungame that’s meant to be an ice breaker, but as it turns out is a fantastic tool for roleplaying your story characters. The questions on the cards range from silly to deep. Some of them are so deep I question the validity of this game as an ice-breaker. (Hi, nice to meet you! What’s your take on death?) Anyway, they’ll help you get down both the minor and the major details of your characterization. #notsponsored

If you don’t have Ungame, you can still look up character questionnaires and answer them in the first person. Or, you and a far-away friend can do a character chat — basically roleplay over text. Set the scene, each of you be your respective characters, and boom. (This also can cause some really funny crossovers between you and your friends’ stories.)

So some quick housekeeping here. On Sunday, my family and I are leaving for a few days as part of our yearly 4th of July celebrations. Being who I am, I don’t have posts planned out for Monday and Wednesday, so I may be less active that week. You have been warned. I’m also not sure how much internet I will have so I might not be online as much. I’ll try to get back to any comments as soon as I can.

Speaking of comments, I’d love to hear about your Camp NaNo projects. Even if you’re not doing Camp, have you ever played Ungame or done a character chat? Let me know! And of course, stay crazy, friends.

The Writing Prompt Tag!

So Wednesday is tag day, but I have not come across any tags that have particularly grabbed my attention this week, so I decided to make one. As you do. So here’s the rules that I’m not totally making up just now.

  1. Read the prompts listed below.
  2. Roll an 11-sided die…wait.
  3. Use a random number generator to pick a number between 1 and 11
  4. Congratulations! Now you know what prompt you DON’T want to do.
  5. Continue until you get tired of it and pick one yourself.
  6. Do said prompt.
  7. Blog said prompt.
  8. Create your own prompts and spread the love.
  9. By which I mean tag other people.
  10. I’m hard to understand sometimes.
  11. Sorry this got so complicated.
  12. It was supposed to be fun.
  13. I’m angsting aren’t I.
  15. Oh and then tag more people when you post it; can’t forget that. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a tag…just more of a virtual nose boop
  16. *boop*

ANYway, I am here with ten delightful prompts for you to choose from. I am also making these up right now so they are sure to be perfect. Make up original characters or use characters from your WIP; I really don’t care.

  1. A character is whispering intensely. The scene is set. The hero is straining to hear this obviously super secret information. Then it turns out that the character was whispering for a completely non-epic reason.
  2. A character makes puns at completely inappropriate times.
  3. An accountant has been selected as an assistant for a trained assassin. Good times.
  4. “Why is there a baby?” “Oh, this is Susan. Mom asked me to babysit.” “EXCUSE ME? WE’RE FIGHTING DRAGONS HERE!”
  5. MC has to come up with a lie about why they aren’t coming to work but is distracted by the kids channel.
  6. Your story except everyone is five years old.
  7. The characters become aware that they only exist inside your story/this writing prompt.
  8. Your favorite character got their wisdom teeth removed and is loopy.
  9. Suddenly, pineapples.
  10. MC finds a toddler wandering through a graveyard at night.
  11. Take your cast of characters. Now they have five minutes to disarm a bomb. Do they all die?

As you can see, most of these are pretty goofy. Because this world needs more silliness. Anyway, I hope you take me up on this because I’d really like to see how you work these out. Don’t be afraid to tag me back with your prompts as well.

I tag:

Grace @ Writerly

Maggie @ Maggie’s Musings

Also feel free to tag yourself if you want to play. We’re all-inclusive here. I just tagged those two in particularly because they’re used to putting up with my craziness.

Now go.

How To Write Conflict And Strong Emotions

So this wasn’t exactly my plan for today, but Grace @ Writerly suggested that I do a post on how to write conflict and strong emotions. Now, I’ve never particularly had trouble with this — giving my characters petty reasons to tear each other apart greatly amuses me, actually — but who knows? Maybe some of you need help with this too. Anyway, here’s what I got.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I don’t come up with plot first. I come up with characters. Deeply flawed characters. For me, that means the character has a belief rooted so deeply in their soul that they don’t even know it’s affecting their decisions. This belief doesn’t even have to be bad. It just has to affect the way they treat others.

For example, let’s look at some of my MCs from my upcoming Camp NaNo novel. (Yay! Another excuse for me to talk about them!) Tim Hayward believes that no one in his family really cares about him. Of course, he’s got a host of other issues as well, but this is one of the core problems. So he feels justified in treating his family like dirt, because he feels that no matter what he does, he’ll never please them.

On the other hand, his sister Nancy has been blessed and cursed with a more realistic view of their family. That is, she knows that her parents value all their children, but definitely favor their oldest son, Gabe. She believes that what other people do is out of her control, and it’s better just to roll with life. While this is a much healthier belief than Tim’s, it’s also resulted in her refusing to confront anyone about harmful behaviors, because she believes there’s nothing she can do.

It’s important to remember that two people can have the same belief and react to it entirely differently. Someone else who thinks their family doesn’t care about them might become reclusive and simply ignore them as much as possible. Or, they might treat them well on the outside, but resent them inwardly. Or — because everyone has conflicting values, beliefs, and actions — they might continue to desperately try to please their family even though they believe it’s pointless. It really all depends on personality.

So how does this create conflict? Well, going back to Tim and Nancy. Both siblings have explosive tempers and hate to change their minds. This naturally creates tension between them. To make matters worse, neither sibling tries to understand the other, as Tim is convinced that Nancy does not care about him, and Nancy is convinced that no matter what she does she won’t be able to change her brother.

As for strong emotions? Well, if all your characters’ actions are based off deep-set beliefs, you better bet that some deep emotions will be coming to the surface. How do you behave when someone challenges your most cherished beliefs? Forget about how you behave — how do you feel? It’s not a great feeling, is it? And depending on your personality, you might fight back, pretend to agree to avoid the conflict, or a host of other reactions.

What you want to do to capitalize off this inner conflict is to put the characters in a situation where eventually, they can’t opt out of conflict any more. Even the most conflict-averse characters will have to face their inner contradictions someday. And that’s great practice for real life, ‘cause that’s gonna happen to you someday, I guarantee.

But Faith. Lots of people die with really wrong ideas about the world. Life isn’t a story. We don’t all have to face our “inner contradictions” or whatever.

Well, yes. And no. We’ll have to face some of them. Because guess what? We all have about 1,000,000,000. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA *cries*

Actually, one way to see if an author has thought through some of the other contradictions a character believes, instead of just the ones pertinent to their story, is to check their sequels. If the character gets bland and uninteresting in subsequent books/movies, you can bet the writers didn’t think them through too far. A notable exception to this are characters in plot-centric stories like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, which don’t revolve around the characters coming to terms with personal issues. This is widely known as a Flat Arc, but you probably already knew that. And even those characters have fleshed-out personalities.

Finally, you might be running into the Author Omnipotence problem. Which, simply put, means that you as an author can see into all your characters’ minds and know exactly what one character has to do to another to resolve the conflict immediately. If you find yourself doing this, stop and ask yourself two questions.

  1. Does this character realistically have the resources to know what they’re doing is exactly what the other character needs?
  2. Is it in this character’s personality to do this, even if they know this will help the other person?
  3. Can I use my omnipotence to create more problems instead of solving them? Aka…I know exactly what would help this character, so I know exactly what will hurt them, too. Do that instead. (Yes, we’re an evil bunch.)
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the prospect of hurting a character in mind.

If it’s not in any of your characters’ personalities to help/hurt another character, you may need to diversify your cast’s personality pool.

When all else fails, remember that humans are extremely petty, and can start conflict over the stupidest reasons. For example, who vs. whom. Or correcting someone’s grammar on the internet. Or starting a war over a soccer match. (This actually happened.)

Stay crazy, friends. I’m gonna go give my characters more contradictions now.

SCREW YOU, 3-Act Structure!

So I wanted to write this ahead of time and be all fancy with charts and info and academic stuff…but it’s 1pm on Friday and my weekly mental breakdown has come to call, so instead you’re getting this.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the famous Three-Act Structure. You set up the story, you burn everyone’s lives and possibly kill a mentor or two, and then everything gets wrapped up in a happy little package. Or completely disintegrates, if you’re writing a tragedy. All the cool kids are doing it.

Well, here’s the thing. I have a bone to pick with you, Three-Act Structure. A distinctly non-mountain-shaped bone. Half the time…you make all the stories sound boring!

I mean really. Think about it. If you’re planning a story, say, like, Star Wars: A New Hope, for example, and for your three-act-structure map you write down “Luke leaves Tatooine, Obi-Wan dies, Luke blows up the Death Star…” That doesn’t sound like a story! That just sounds like a series of unrelated events!

And okay, yes, I was just listing what happens at the end of each of these Three Acts, which really doesn’t give a full picture of the story. You could start at the beginning, I guess… “Leia hides the plans on the droids, Luke sneaks onto the Death Star, Luke delivers the plans to the Rebels…” But still, that doesn’t leave you with much. Sure, it works AFTER the story is written. But does it really work for planning purposes?

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble coming up with three seemingly random events to mark the beginning, middle, and end of a story I’m formulating. Maybe it works if you already know how you want your story to end, or have an idea of what’s happening in the middle. But the idea that it’s the magic formula to building a story — from scratch, no less — is kind of ridiculous to me.

It gets even worse if you start trying to apply it to non-fantasy/action/sci-fi stories. For example, Catcher In The Rye. Now, it’s been awhile since I’ve read this, so excuse me if I get this wrong (and spoilers ahead, obviously), but what would you even put down for this? “Holden gets kicked out of school, has an existential crisis in NYC, and goes home.” Like…how do you get a novel out of that?

The problem is that the Three-Act-Structure is so bare-bones, it doesn’t allow for any planning in the in-between parts. Sure, you can do that too, but I feel like we’re often encouraged to come up with the defining events BEFORE we get the in-between parts. To…save time? Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method encourages authors to create a more detailed outline, but still, the three big events come first.

Maybe I just work differently than these people. I have to admit, organization and a logical approach to creativity has never really been my strong point. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun and trying to use the three-act structure too early. But then…why is it heralded as the best way to tell a story? Am I just seeing the wrong blog posts?

And, why are we ignoring other ways to tell stories? Such as Kishōtenketsu, the method of telling a story through contrast? Or the daisy-chain plot? Or ensemble plot? Or repeated action plot? Etc etc etc?

Well, what do you guys think? Are we using the three-act structure too often? Or do I just have my head on backwards, as usual?

Anyway, I’m signing off. I’m hungry and tired and probably should not be allowed to touch a keyboard right now.

Stay crazy, guys. I know I am.


Picture background from TV Tropes.

Beautiful People ~ June 2017

Hello friends! I’m back at it again with the blogging! Today, as promised, I shall be doing the Beautiful People linkup hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up And Further In. So in case you didn’t know, this linkup is basically just a bunch of questions that come out every month to (a) help authors get to know their characters better and (b) let the followers of their various blogs get to know these characters!

I actually did this challenge in March for a story which is now on hold (because I am a horrible person, really), but this time, I promise things will come to fruition. This time, these characters are actually from the novel I will be working on during Camp NaNoWriMo (which starts in just 9 days — AUGH!). Currently titled What Do We Do With the Haywards?, this is a contemporary YA about several kids growing up in the conservative Christian church. And at this point…like all of them are vying for MC status. So I’m gonna randomly choose two to do this challenge with. You have been spared, my friends.

(And by randomly I mean I pick whatever two characters I want. I pick Amie and Sapphire Longstaff. Ta-daa.) For some context, Amie is 17 and Sapphire is 15. Both are PKs. (That’s pastor’s kids for those of you less familiar with abbreviations.)

  1. What’s their favorite place they ever visited?

Amie’s favorite place has got to be Niagara Falls. Something about the raw power of the water and the overwhelming urge to jump in and join nature in its rush toward entropy entranced her and cemented itself into her memory forever.

Sapphire’s favorite place is Hershey Park. She and her family have gone four times, and every time she wishes they could stay longer. (She thinks it’d be awesome if she and some friends could sneak in after dark and have a horror movie-esque experience there.)

  1. What’s one mistake that they learned from?

Amie learned that putting off schoolwork until the last week of June when you’re also involved in AWANAs and violin lessons and volunteering at your church’s summer kids’ programs is a perfect way to achieve a mental breakdown. (Both she and Sapphire are homeschooled.)

Sapphire learned that reading forewords usually spoils a book and so you should never ever do that. Ever.

  1. What [is] their favorite subject in school? Or favourite thing to learn about?

Amie has recently found psychology and sociology interesting, especially the study of criminology. She wants to understand why people do things that ultimately hurt them. Before that, she liked anything to do with the study of water.

Sapphire likes geology, but also Swazi traditions and mythology, since her mother is descended from this tribe.

  1. What’s their favorite flower/growing thing?

Amie used to like sunflowers but that got ruined when she played Undertale. Now she likes lilacs.

Sapphire likes sunflowers and buttercups because of her sister’s reactions to Undertale. Amie is still not sure how this works out.

  1. Have they ever made someone cry? What happened?

Amie was very good at making Sapphire cry when they were small children through various means of trickery and toy-stealing. However, she usually felt bad about it, and tried to hush Sapphire before their parents found out about whatever had happened. She stopped this behavior when she realized Sapphire was crying on purpose to make Amie give her stuff back.

Perhaps because of the above behavior, Sapphire would use tears to get what she wanted until she was about eight years old. She got upset when she couldn’t beat Mario Kart at her friend Chloe’s house; and Chloe, who was very empathetic, started to cry as well. After that Sapphire decided not to cry around her friends anymore.

  1. Would you consider them a reliable or unreliable narrator?

Well, no human being will ever be reliable due to the warped nature of each person’s viewpoint, but Amie would do her best to give everyone a fair shot. In fact, she’d probably give them too much of a fair shot, reading honorable intentions into their actions even when none were present, and taking forever to identify any possible antagonists.

Sapphire is fairly self-centered, and would probably accidentally leave out bits of the narrative that did not concern her directly. Because of that, some events would seem to come right out of the blue. She’s also good at shutting out conflict that she doesn’t want to deal with, so her story might not involve a lot of important elements.

  1. What do they dream about at night?

Amie’s dreams are either hyper-realistic play-throughs of concerns about the church, AWANAs, homeschooling, and her class at the local community college, or total nonsense about the universe blowing up due to a mischievous school of piranhas hiding in a waterfall.

Sapphire’s dreams are usually about her and her friends doing something ridiculous and then the dream gets changed before she finds out what is actually going on.

  1. They’ve gone out for a “special meal.” What do they eat?

Amie would go for some really good medium-rare steak with mashed potatoes covered in butter, sour cream, and pepper. (She really likes pepper.) For maximum specialness, there should also be tiramisu for dessert.

Sapphire just wants strawberries. Piles and piles of perfectly ripe non-GMO strawberries. And of course bananas, because you can’t have strawberries without bananas.

  1. What’s at least one thing they want to do before they die?

Amie wants to visit Niagara Falls again. She also wants to visit Swaziland, and possibly also Brazil and/or Chile. (She speaks Spanish somewhat well.)

Sapphire really wants to go to a haunted house. Her parents haven’t let her thus far but she really wants to visit like five of them before her death.

  1. Do they have any distinguishing or unique talents?

Amie is fairly good at the violin and plays at church, at people’s weddings, etc. She also has what her older sister Diana calls a superhuman ability to be nice to people who she really shouldn’t be nice to. Amie does not call this a superpower but does recognize that the ability to refuse to give up on people might be something of a talent.

Sapphire is good at climbing trees and hiding. She can practically become invisible when she wants to. It’s especially useful when playing Hide and Seek or Murder in the Dark.

Beautiful People March 2017

Well, that’s my addition to the Beautiful People linkup this month! Don’t be afraid to click the button and take part in the challenge below. If you do, let me know in the comments — I’d love to learn more about your characters.

Stay crazy, friends!


The Fear of Writing OTHERS

Hi friends! As I have promised, here I am with the dreaded DISCUSSION POST.

(I don’t know why it’d be dreaded. It just sounded appropriate.)

So today I am going to talk about something near and dear to my heart, as I am doing it right now and probably so are most of you. This is writing about OTHERS. Aka people who you do not have direct experience being. Aka everyone.

Wow Faith. So in this case you’re just afraid of writing at all, huh?

Well, that’s another valid point, but that’s not what I’m going for right now. I’m talking about writing characters who belong to a community that you do not fit into. That could be a different ethnicity, a religion you don’t observe, a nationality of a country you’ve never visited, an illness you’ve never had, the LGBTQA+ spectrum…the list is endless. It gets more and more specific right down to having a different Myers-Briggs type, which no one seems afraid of tackling for some reason. (Frankly I don’t think I’ve ever tried to write an ENTP. Super smart? Argues for fun? Not afraid of conflict? How do I deal with that?)

(Realizes that ironically enough the ENTP is only one letter away from the ENFP that I am. Oh, the difference a letter can make. You could say, it defines people…to a T.)

(Wow, I efF’d that up.)

(Slowly crawls toward the door)

The point is, acknowledging the existence of people who aren’t necessarily like us makes fiction richer and arguably better because it shows a wider scope of the world. It shows different worldviews. Etc etc.

The problem I (and hypothetically other people) are running into is that because we haven’t grown up in those worldviews and with those experiences, we are afraid of portraying them WRONG. Because as Sarah Hollowell says in “A Guide for Skinny Writers Who Want to Write Fat Characters”:

You’re going to say something that makes a person you’re trying to represent go, “Wait a second, that’s not how it feels. That’s not what it’s like to be me.”

I hate that! I want to be RIGHT. To know that after I’ve tried my hardest and done my best, no one is going to criticize me. My hard work will finally pay off. I will be, as they say, THE BEST.

Yes, I am talking to my therapist about this.

So instead of the usual spiel about how that’ll never happen yada yada yada, I’ll list a couple things that you can do to help you get closer to that. Not that you’ll reach it. Because you won’t. I’m still getting over that. But obviously:

  1. Research.

This is also something that gets said over and over, but…if you don’t research I’m really not sure what you’re doing with your life, because according to MPS (My Personal Statistics), researching takes up 69% of the average writer’s procrastination time. So if you haven’t done any, you REALLY have a Pinterest problem.

But seriously, look for forums and look for #ownvoices blogs like Sarah’s, or the Writing With Color blog on Tumblr. One of the best things I ever accidentally did was find a men’s bodybuilding forum while trying to figure out how to dress a very muscular dude I was drawing. Certain threads were available to the public. I was enlightened on many things.

Also that time I looked up 5’ 4” males, looking for drawing models, and got a bunch of panicked questions about how to find girls who will date short guys.

Adventure is out there, my friends.

  1. Learn from your mistakes.

Problem with this idea being that you have to actually make mistakes to learn from them. But I’m sure if you look over anything you’ve ever done in your life, you’ll find plenty of material.

  1. Change things up.

So my own personal lack-of-research story (I know we all like stories in already-overlong posts) is the time I wrote an entire novella set in 1910 Kansas without doing any research whatsoever because I wanted a setting that would be similar-ish to Hobbiton. I’m not sure what I was doing with my life when I was 13, but I sure hope I’m not doing whatever it was today.

Case in point, I still kinda liked the story, but I wanted to go directions that didn’t really exist in 1910 Kansas. So I moved it to modern day. (State is uncertain. Pennsylvania probably.)

Wait wait wait wait wait wait, Faith. Are you saying we should solve the problems we have with writing different people and places to…not writing them?

Uh, no. No I am not. I’m not sure where you got that.

(Look, I never said I was perfect.)

What I liked about the terribly-written story of years past was not the setting but the characters. I started poking around and discovered that the cast is actually much MORE diverse than it was in the original story. And because I wanted to explore a culture that I actually did grow up with — the modern-day conservative Christian church — I did that. Different perspectives in a familiar setting.

So there’s my rant. I’m curious what you all think about this subject, so I’ve left some questions for you to answer. Just like we’re back in school again. (That’s a great incentive, I know.)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Are you ever afraid of writing from another perspective?
  2. How have you tackled writing perspectives that you might not have thought about before this character jump-scared you in the night?
  3. Any #ownvoices recommendations? (Please, I need them.)

Stay crazy, my friends.

New Blogging Schedule!

Hi guys, I know I said I’d have something fun for you this time, but…I’m gonna be honest with ya. I’ve been having a rough week. It’s like all my creativity has gone down the drain. I’ve been doubting myself alot and it’s taken a toll on my blogging.

However. Like a glorious phoenix I shall rise from the ashes.

Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Anyway, I was paroozing Mikaela’s newest blog post on whether or not you have to follow all the blogging advice (spoiler: no). And ironically, this reminded me of a common blogging advice which I OUGHT to follow, which is making a schedule. So I’ve decided to do that. I will try to follow it but we will see what happens. So, if all goes well, here’s what you should expect from moi in the weeks to come.

Mondays – Genuiune Perplexity (aka Discussion Post)

Wednesdays – Tag, Challenge, or Review (aka randomness. Also this is your cue to tag me in EVERYTHING.)

Friday – Writing Tips (aka hopefully humerous and possibly educational account of my latest creative escapades. Including this blog because hey look, it’s Friday!)

Anyway, since I’m just starting out this is all subject to change, especially the Geniune Perplexity thing (although I’m sure I could drum up endless meaningless discussions, but it depends if y’all want to sit through that). Friday might turn more into a Week In Review type of thing like Maggie does, but we’ll see. Hopefully things will start looking up.

So. In light of that, here’s what you can possibly maybe expect from next week (but don’t count on it):

6/19 – Discussion about FEARS and INSECURITIES (of which I have many)

6/21Beautiful People tag (if I am strong enough)

6/23 – Writing w/out traditional structure (aka an excuse for me to talk about my contemporary Camp NaNo novel that I’m kind of freaking out about)

I think this might be as good a time as any to remind you all that I am GOING TO SPAIN this Fall, which will have a drastic impact on the way this blog works. It’s still pretty far off, but I thought I’d let you know that when I do, I will probably cut back on my everyday posting….BUT, there will be a new and shiny España tab where you can check out all my Spanish adventures. So keep your eyes peeled! (Totally not doing this because Messiah College wants a “deliverable” or anything…)

Stay crazy, friends.

The Daily (but not rlly) Quote Challenge

So I am very late in responding to this tag, but awhile back Maggie tagged me in the Daily Quote Challenge. Since everyone I know seems to be changing the rules for this, I’m just gonna do what she did. So what you’re SUPPOSED to do (according to Maggie) is this:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Tag 3 new bloggers every day
  3. Post one quote on your blog every day for three consecutive days

But, I’m just gonna wing it my way. Because why not. So, um…thanks Maggie! I’m using quotes that I like because I do things the way I like.

mental monster..jpg
Aaand this is a comic not a quote. But it’s my life. (Except it’s more like 3 years ago. I adjust fast. Hopefully.)
I just want to pin this to my wall.
Can you be a writer and not like this quote?
I’m not sure if this is true, but…it’s pretty, so I’ll let it go.
liberty dies
This one’s just sad. When did I become serious?
BAHAHAHAHA (again yes)

And of course…I have to include this one.

that just sort of happened

Because that’s my life.

Let’s see, whom shall I tag. Hmm. Well…

  1. Gabrielle Massman @ Write for the King
  2. Daina W. West @ (appropriately) Daina W. West
  3. Nate Philbrick @ You Write Fiction
  4. Miranda Kulig @ Dreams and Dandelions

Well, on Friday I should have a post ready that’s not just random memes. I actually have been thinking deep thoughts this week. Trust me. They just refuse to take on a phsyical form.

Stay crazy, friends!


Weird Things I Did As A Child

So instead of my normal writing tips (or you know, directions into the chasm of utter destruction), I’m making a list for my own personal writing inspiration. Maybe my childhood self will inspire you. I’m putting my estimated age in parentheses. Wheeeeeee. And onward we go.

  1. Everything had to be FAIR. (3-16)

Like, excruciatingly fair. If I tapped my right thumb twice, I had to tap my left thumb twice. And then all my other fingers twice. And then I had to go on forever because each finger was upset it hadn’t been done last because the first shall be last so obviously being last was special.

  1. I felt guilty over the smallest things. (3-17)

If I scratched the desk I was probably going to hell. (Looking back on this, my anxiety is starting to make some sense.)

  1. I always ate the crust off my sandwiches first. (3-now)

Because my mom wouldn’t cut it off so I had to get it over with.

  1. I always ate the food I hated first. (3-now)

This goes along with the crust. I was gonna have to eat it eventually anyway. I think I used a Bible verse to back this up somehow. The side effect was that the good food got cold. (There are life lessons in these but I don’t know what they are.)

  1. I did long division in sidewalk chalk and thought it made me the coolest person ever. (8)

I distinctly remember showing off with this to two boys who were visiting their grandmother across the street. I think they mostly came to our house for popsicles and the trampoline, but my long division was something else.

  1. I told my little sister stories of what happened to the Disney princesses after the movies ended. (3?)

It’s my first recorded fanfiction! I actually don’t remember any of these stories and have no record of them because they were told completely out loud, but my sister remembers. So I’m trusting her.

  1. I also did this with TV shows like Arthur, Magic School Bus, and Backyardigans. (10-11)

This was during a very awkward period of my life where I wanted to do romances but I also was still into toilet humor. I actually do remember these stories and I wish I didn’t.

  1. I would make myself feel guilty for things I didn’t do, and make myself feel extremely sad over events that hadn’t happened. (10-11)

I remember my mom told me this wasn’t healthy, but I would imagine scenarios where I stole something from a store or where someone in my family suddenly died just to make myself feel these things. I think I was just ecstatic that I had discovered some emotional control? Maybe this is why I still write characters mired in guilt? Maybe I just have a problem.

  1. My first written stories were about kids going to public school and summer camp because I was salty that my parents wouldn’t let me attend these things. (7-8)

And that’s literally all they were about. I remember imagining this endless hallway stretching to infinity of just doors. I staggered them so the odd numbers were on the left and the even numbers were on the right. That was my concept of public school. I also would spend a lot of time designing posters and brochures on MS Publisher for the events I planned in these stories. I think they all got lost when our old computer crashed, which makes me extremely sad.

  1. I decided to be a complete tomboy for about a week. (7)

I’m actually not sure what brought this on as I had about an equal number of male friends and female friends at this time, but I decided I would (a) help my guy friends build traps in the sand for the other girls (we were kindergarteners, okay?), and (b) annoy my sister by making all my stuffed animals karate chop her stuffed animals. Probably because (a) one of my guy friends was my crush and (b) I could annoy my sister.

  1. While reading, I tuned out EVERYTHING. (5-now)

I mean…who is surprised at this? My parents would offer to buy me a dog or a snake if I looked up. I never looked up.

  1. I wanted a snake. (5-now)

I still want a snake. When I rent an apartment, I need to make sure the landlord is snake-friendly.

  1. I made my sister eat sap. (7-now. Just kidding)

This is my proudest sister moment. It was spring and a young tree was bleeding (leaking?) sap near the doctor’s office. I convinced my sister it would taste like syrup. She licked it. Now I wonder why she doesn’t trust me.

  1. I had a steady obsession with the apocalypse for several months. (12-13)

This was in my early teens. And I blame my church for this, but I was completely convinced the End Times were just a few seconds away. I had dreams (nightmares?) about the rapture. Then one day I asked Grace if she thought about this constantly and she was like, “No?” And my mind was blown.

  1. I would make my mom pretend to be fictional characters. (8-9)

Mostly Alice from Alice in Wonderland and Jo March from Little Women. Then I would do what I could to appall or embarrass these characters. (I still enjoy appalling and embarrassing my characters. Huh.)

  1. Then I pretended to be fictional characters. (10-11)

We did this first with hobbits and then with Harry Potter. I say “we” because my sister and brothers were usually involved. It was my first ever roleplaying experience. And I was always the dude. And the love interest. Because no one else wanted to do it. Being the oldest is hard, guys. And of course, the others did what they could to appall and embarrass me. How could they.

  1. I made a 12-inch mystery love note for my crush and expected it to fit in a 2-inch slot. (5)

My mom found it anyway before we went to co-op. I was so embarrassed. I said I wanted to ride horses with him. (I copied it off of Arthur, I think. This is how I learned not to plagiarise. This is also how I learned I hate geometry.)

  1. I built Jurassic Park. (12-13)

In Zoo Tycoon. I put the people in cages and watched them panic as the dinosaurs roamed free. I also made a rollercoaster park where people dove off huge diving boards and hit the concrete.

Now I’m curious if any of this was relatable. Was it?

Stay crazy, friends.

Struggles of the Extroverted Writer

It’s well-known that writers tend to be an introverted breed. After all, the lifestyle requires it. Hours bent over a notepad/typewriter/keyboard (depending on what era you live in and how much you like to defy common technology), scribbling/tapping out stories letter by letter, ripping your brains out over the common likeness of the human soul…not to mention, who would WANT to go outside when you could sit indoors all day reading? Writers tout their introverted flag with pride. For example, see this awesome mug made by Cait @Paper Fury at Society6.

PaperFury Mug
(#notsponsored. However, you should go buy her merch anyway because it’s awesome.)

It’s clear that extroverts, while cuddly and cute and good for that cheerleader character you need for the plot, are really not cut out for the writing life. After all, how can you write when you’re hanging out with friends 24/7? Right? Right?

Wow, I wish I hung out with friends 24/7. Now I’m sad about my life.

Okay, so the thing is, obviously extroverts can be writers too. Case in point, I am an extrovert, and I have written the thing you are currently reading. Boom. So take heart, ye extroverted writers! Ye are not alone, despite being in the minority!

And now, for your viewing pleasure…a list.

Struggles of the Extroverted Writer. (Or EW, as I like to call them.)

  1. Needing people time.

I mean, this is indeed the biggest thing about being an extrovert. People = must hang out. Not an option. But the nice thing is, you can hang out with people and still write. Ergo NaNoWriMo and pretty much any writing group out there. However, it’s really hard to actually SSAW (Sit Still And Write) when all your best buds are around, which brings me to the equal and opposite problem:

  1. Needing Time Alone to SSAW

Because friends = hang out, sometimes we really have to force ourselves to sit alone and write. (At least I do. And I am 100% indicative of all EWs. I don’t know why you’re doubting me.) For me, this can lead to an actual dreading of writing, because if I have no ideas I’ll just be banging my head against the keyboard thinking “I could be doing something else right now!”

  1. Recognizing that Pinterest is not the catch-all for inspiration

Pinterest is blind to the E/I scale. It will suck you in. No matter who you are. No matter what you do. You. Will. Die. (What? Turn off the internet? HOW DARE YOU.)

  1. Feeling like maybe you’re not “introverted enough” to write.

Okay, so perhaps I shall disqualify myself here, but…I am almost an ambivert. (Cue scandaled screaming.) I think I’m about 50-60% E on the 16 Personalities Myers-Briggs test. However. I would like to contest that this makes this problem even worse for me, because I am ALMOST an introvert, but NOT. At the end of the day I still need significant human interaction to function, which is the true mark of the extrovert, but it’s probably not AS hard for me to shut myself away as it might be for some more extroverty extroverts.

Point is, when it seems like almost the whole writing community is introverts, it can be kind of daunting to realize that there are people who can shut themselves away for 8-12 hours a day and do nothing but write. But of course, WE’RE NOT ALONE. Like seriously. Just Google EW, and you’ll get…weird pictures. But Google “extroverted writers” and you’ll get at least 5 more blogs on this same topic.

I’m original. I promise.

  1. Learning to embrace THE EXTROVERTED PROCESS.

Okay, I’ll be real here. I have no idea if there’s any such thing as “an extroverted process.” But I had a grand realization yesterday — angels singing, lights shining — it was the best — and I decided to share with all my extroverted (and introverted) friends.

I actually get my best ideas when I’m doing something NOT related to writing.

True, the ideas I get when I’m in the process of writing are good, too, but here’s the point. I don’t get ideas by sitting inside staring at a screen. I get ideas when I’m picking strawberries with my siblings. When I’m goofing off in the swimming pool. The second I wake up in the morning. (Okay, that only happened once, but the light was at a REALLY good angle that day.) I’ve even gotten ideas while scrubbing the toilet. And maybe this has something to do with the fact that I’m an ENFP-T in particular, and also can’t sit still and do better when I’m moving around, but pshaw. I’m sure that’s not related at all.

During my sophomore year of college (can’t believe that’s already over), I realized I LOVE brainstorming aloud with a friend. Like, I like it even better than writing. My roommate and I spent hours discussing her story ideas, adding onto them, twisting them, building the worlds… (We never did mine because that way it wasn’t my job to go WRITE these ideas 😀 Love you Mikhaela) It was amazing. And I loved it even more because it was WRITING WITH PEOPLE.

So, to all the EWs out there: don’t stifle your extroversion. Let it shine! Like a…something or other. Candle? Piece of scrap metal in the sunlight.

Ahem. Just stay with me.

Actually don’t, because this post is over.

Stay crazy, my friends.