Quest Completed: Write Second Novel in 30 Days

So I did it! :D

I wrote the first draft of my second novel!  It sits at 51,449 words.  Now to set it aside for a while and work on revising my first novel… :creative:

I decided to do it this way because it would mean that I would have a better idea of the world, the characters, and where things were heading.  What I really need to figure out, though, is how many books long the story arc will be.  Will this be a trilogy or will it go on longer?  Or maybe this will be a trilogy and then I’ll write other stories dealing with the world afterwards.  I’m not really sure.  I think this is because of how massive the ideas I had back in high school were for the world that morphed into this one.  I will have to figure out how much exploration we will have into this world.  Perhaps it will be several novels and then many short stories.  In any case, it’s something I need to think more on.

Writing the ending for this one was rather hard.  I won’t say why because that would spoil things, since to explain the why I would have to give details and then those details would give away several things that I don’t want given away. :p   The ending also needs work, but that will be made easier once I figure out whether this is the second of three or of many.

Right now I’m taking a break from writing. (No you’re not!)  Fine, I’m taking a break from writing novels and scripts.  It’ll probably be only for a few days, but just long enough for me to recuperate.  So maybe I’ll get around to drawing and posting what I end up drawing.  Still, my characters are in my ears, are in my eyes, here among the novel writing tries.

Hmmm…. I suppose I should mention that I’ll be in the States for a few weeks so that I may be a groomsman at the wedding of one of my good friends (who happens to have been one of my groomsmen).  I’m rather excited to be a part of that! :D   And not so excited to be away from my lovely wife for several weeks. T.T

Since I’ve basically been cloistered here in my apartment this month writing, I don’t really have much else of note to write about.  So until next time!

Blessings and peace!
~Direlda

NaNoWriMo in October?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo is a most wonderful event that I was introduced to a few years ago.  It is held annually in November.  The goal of this is event is to see if you can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!  The first time I tried it, I didn’t make it because of circumstances that arose (a late start among them).  The second time, I managed to meet the goal! :D

Because I will be participating in a friend’s wedding in November, I realized that it would be rather hard to write a novel around all of that.  So I decided to write my NaNoWriMo novel for thirty days in October (well, two of the days were at the end of September due to travel plans at the end of October, but it’s basically October).

So I won’t really be around too much this month.  Sorry about that!  Lord willing I will have a second novel to work on editing and revising by the end of October 28th!

According to MS Word, my current word count is 11,924 words.  While I’m a little ahead of where I need to be today, I haven’t done much writing today, so I really need to get back to it! :creative:   Cheers!

Park Romp

Yesterday I told you about the adventures I had in Seoul on Friday up through lunch.  Today I will finish recounting what happened to me that day.

Following lunch, I walked south towards the 한 (Han) river in search of a museum for martyrs.  I had memorized a map the night before, so I didn’t have much trouble at all.  Down one big street and then follow the subway tracks as they ascend out of the earth to make the river crossing.  I didn’t spend much time here because I saw a sign that seemed to say shorts are not allowed (at least that’s what the picture seemed to say, but I couldn’t understand the Korean).  Since I was wearing shorts, I didn’t feel like pressing my luck.  However, I did learn that 절두산 (Jeoldusan, literally “beheading mountain”) was where Korean Catholics were executed in 1866. :(

Jeoldusan Martyrs' Shrine

The path leading up the Jeoldusan Martyrs’ Shrine.

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Art Adventure

Yesterday I went on quite the adventure.  I visited two art supply stores, found a museum for Catholic martyrs, saw the outside of Seoul’s World Cup stadium, and romped through several parks.  I’m going to break up this adventure into two parts, with lunch being the dividing line.  So today you’ll get up through lunch and my tomorrow you’ll get to find out what happened after lunch.

My adventure into Seoul started with me failing to get an early start. ^_^;   I wanted to take our video camera with me, but it needed to be charged.  I also wanted to empty out one of my memory cards and charge a spare battery for my DSLR, just in case I took a lot of pictures.  I brushed my tail.  And I had dishes to wash from breakfast.  So it was that I didn’t get out the door until around 9:30 am.

The walk to the subway station was pleasant.  I didn’t even have trouble crossing the street at one particularly busy intersection that is lacking in walk signals.  >.>   Though I did regret forgetting my Irish whistle.  By the time I got on the subway heading north, it was 10 am.

Ever since the 신분당 (Sinbundang, but ‘sin’ is pronounced like ‘shin’) line opened, travel time to certain subway lines and stops decreased.  For instance, I no longer have to take the 1005-1 bus to get to 양재 (Yangjae), which is where Costco is located.  I can also get to Seoul subway line 2 much quicker, which makes travel to and from StarCraft 2 matches that much faster (not that I’ve been to any in a long while…).  The current northern terminus of the Sinbundang line is Gangnam Station.  Yes, it is located in the district that lends its name to the song “Gangnam Style” by Psy.  No, I haven’t seen anyone dancing like that while walking through Gangnam.  Though perhaps that will change if I wander through Gangnam next week… ;)

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Direlda, the Handyfox

So I spent a lot of time this past week working on my den.  It’s not quite finished, but now I’m mainly held up by content that either has disappeared or needs to be created.

Things I’ve done:

  • Rambled! :D   September has seen me stay more active!
  • Organized the Scriptorium enough that a all the areas in it can be accessed. Two are basically done and the others have some content to them.
  • Modified what I tell you upon reaching the front door of my den (aka homepage text) to reflect changes in the den.
  • Dug up the guidebook to the meadow paths, which will allow you to know what lies down various paths in the meadow (aka outgoing links).  The guidebook, however, requires some coaxing from me because it doesn’t really want to let others read it yet (aka I have to write the content).
  • Added a means for you to share certain areas of my den elsewhere in the vast internet.  Pay attention to the tail end of my rambling to see!
  • Created a kit theme for my decorating needs (aka child theme), which means changes I make won’t disappear following updates to the parent theme.
  • Learned a little more about PHP and spent a lot of time with the Codex of WordPress.
  • Played around more with Akismet to help me with spam (I can’t eat all that I’ve gotten).  My inbox of comments is now manageable. Which means if you comment, I’ll be able to get around to it better! :)
  • Harnessed the power of Google’s analysts for understanding where everyone who visits my den hails from.
  • And in case you weren’t aware of a previous month’s fix: Adjusted what you see when you get lost.  As the 404 did when they wandered in error. Just try going to a part of my den that doesn’t exist to see it (so replace a page name that does exist with one that doesn’t).

As you can see, I had quite the productive week. :creative:

Things on my to-do list:

  • Get the meadow guidebook to be more responsive!  Just because it isn’t used to other people, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t let you see what’s in it.
  • Find, digitize, and present you with some of my doodles and/or drawings for the illumination desk.
  • Finish editing a bit of background on the Fox Dreams universe to put as the first piece on the reading desk.
  • Decide on how I want to present my library of books to you for the shelves.
  • Keep rambling on a regular basis. :D
  • Work on my writing and exploring so that I have new things to share!
  • This is a more long-term goal: decide how I want to go about setting up the writing desk.  Eventually I want to be able to give people the opportunity to submit pieces of writing (sort of like fan art pages on webcomics).  This might not happen until I have more of my own stories available.  Or I may have some sort of contest and use the writing desk as the place to submit contest entries (though I’d have to figure out what sort of contest and what sort of prizes…).   I think suggestions on this one would be most beneficial.

And on other fronts, I’ve been doing a lot more cooking.  So I’ll have to share with you something delicious (and spicy :D ) that I made.  But I’ll save that for later this week, after I get my wife’s opinion on it!

Blessings and peace!
~Direlda

Guidebook Introduction

There are multitudes of other lands, realms, and worlds that can be reached from the meadow outside my den.  I have prepared this handy guidebook just in case you want to know where a certain path will take you.  It is always nice to know that someone has ventured that way before and survived to tell of it.

Of course,whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stranger…

In any case, within these pages you will find my thoughts on the places I have reached from my door.

Suggestions?

I realize that it has taken me a rather long time to re-imagine my den.   You can thank MarkyD for pointing that out to me (or give yourself a reward of some sort if you are MarkyD).  So I will be spending this week working on finalizing my den.

However, I would like you, my silent and loyal audience (and visitors, too!) to look around and tell me if there is any functionality I am missing that you think I should have.  This, of course, means you’ll have to speak up.  I don’t have the means of gleaming thoughts straight from the mind of anyone who visits here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some work to do! :creative:

Typhoon Bolaven

The passing of Typhoon Bolaven did not affect me as much as I would have thought.  My wife did get the day off from school – closed just in case the storm was really bad.  I noticed gusts of wind by watching the trees outside my window thrash back and forth.  I saw the rain-soaked pavement.  But when I ventured out the next day, there was little sign of the storm’s passing.  A few leaves and other plant parts were scattered about, but no visible damage to signs or buildings in my vicinity.

In other parts of Korea, however, there was visible damage from the typhoon.  One picture I saw showed a car smashed by bricks that had toppled off a building.  There was a picture of a cargo ship that had apparently been torn in half by the storm.  I am sad to report that Typhoon Bolaven did cause deaths in South Korea.

On Thursday there was a downpour in my region and it seemed like it rained more on that day than it did on Tuesday, when Typhoon Bolaven passed by.  It turns out that the rain was the result of Typhoon Tembin hitting Korea.  Typhoon Tembin had struck Taiwan, looped around to strike Taiwan again, and then went for the Korean peninsula.

The people I am most concerned about right now are the North Koreans.  They had some severe flooding in July and more flooding in mid-August. Typhoon Bolaven passed through on Tuesday and Wednesday and I think Typhoon Tembin dumped some rain up that way on Thursday.  What this means for North Korea is that the population faces a humanitarian crisis.  And while their government is not at all friends with either South Korea or America, the people (most of whom hardly have a say in the government) are the ones that will suffer for it.  Depending on the amount of damage caused, it is possible that North Korea could experience a crisis on the scale of the famine in the 1990s, though it is hard to know for sure what state North Korea is in.  So please keep the North Koreans in your prayers.

“Our indifference to the plight of the homeless and the refugee, Father forgive.” ~from the Coventry Litany of Reconciliation

Dead Poet’s Society

Last night I watched Dead Poet’s Society, which is a fascinating movie about an English teacher at an all boy’s school and a group of students who are inspired by him. It isn’t a movie for young kids, but it would be a good choice for discussion with teenagers. Themes include: conformity, pressures on students (academic and parental), thinking for oneself, creativity, and poetry. It is not a happy movie, though the ending does shine a dim ray of hope for some of the students. There are moments of beauty and moments where teenage boys push against the great expectations of parents and headmasters in ways that aren’t always healthy.

But I’m not here to convince you to watch or not watch this movie. Rather, I want to delve into some of the themes brought up by this movie because of how they connect to my own experiences. So let this be a spoiler warning: what comes after the break will reveal aspects of the plot and ending; caveat lector. Continue reading

In Memoriam

I buried my maternal grandmother today.  :(

She died last week, but it didn’t hit me until yesterday that she was truly dead.  As Tennyson said in the poem In Memoriam A.H.H:

LXVIII

When in the down I sink my head,
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, times my breath;
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, knows not Death,
Nor can I dream of thee as dead:

 

I walk as ere I walk’d forlorn,
When all our path was fresh with dew,
And all the bugle breezes blew
Reveillée to the breaking morn.

 

But what is this? I turn about,
I find a trouble in thine eye,
Which makes me sad I know not why,
Nor can my dream resolve the doubt:

 

But ere the lark hath left the lea
I wake, and I discern the truth;
It is the trouble of my youth
That foolish sleep transfers to thee.

It was only when I saw her in the coffin that I realized my grandmother was dead.  That nevermore would I see her in this world.  (I’m reminded of a passage in the Lord of the Rings where it is said that Aragorn came never again to Cerin Amroth as a living man.)  I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that she was gone.

There is a passage in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People that says:

Another of the king’s chief men, approving of his words and exhortations, presently added: “The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is unknown to us, like to the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in winter, with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of rain and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before, or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant. …”

This metaphor for life seems rather fitting for me at this moment as I am filled with an elegiac mood.  What brief time we spend here is bookended by unknowns.  As a Christian I affirm the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.  But the exact nature of what comes next, of what our resurrected bodies will be like or what things we will be doing, is still largely unknown.  We can speculate all we want, but at the end of the day we will be no more enlightened about what came before and what comes after.  It is, as Hamlet says, “the undiscovered country.”

But the uncertainty should not be a cause for fear.  We should not be frightened of “what dreams may come” (Hamlet again) after we have left this world behind.  But nor should we ignore this life in hopes of reaching the next.  I am glad for the years I got to spend with my grandmother; glad that she did not give up on life when her husband died 13 years ago.

This week I have learned much about my grandmother.  Stories told by my aunts and uncles that revealed things I did not realize.  And I witnessed a relative crying that I did not imagine would cry.  I don’t have an issue with tears (as Gandalf says at the Grey Havens: “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”), but was surprised when this relative cried.

I don’t feel like writing more (see you in about a week), so I’ll leave you with a little more from Tennyson:

LXXXV

This truth came borne with bier and pall,
I felt it, when I sorrow’d most,
‘Tis better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all–

 

O true in word, and tried in deed,
Demanding, so to bring relief
To this which is our common grief,
What kind of life is that I lead;