The New Year Approaches (2017-2018 Goals)

Screenshot 2017-12-23 at 6.34.42 PM

Hey, everyone! Hopefully you all had a wonderful Christmas and so forth! I am back–hopefully for real now, since I want to continue blogging at a more constant pace this next year. Of course, I said that last year, too. BUT! This post is about the New Year, and New Year’s resolutions!

It’s a tradition to review my goals from last year, and make new ones for next year. I’m going to try to make this year’s goals more clear and concise–hopefully just one for each section. However, the review from last year will be a little longer.

If you want to see my post like this from last year, see here: Review of 2016, Plans for 2017


2017 Goal Results

Life Goals:

1. Continue reading my scriptures every day, and pray every morning and night.

Well…I did well at this for the first part of the year, and then it started to drift away. I still read my scriptures in the morning, but I’m so tired that it’s just not very conducive to reading and understanding. And I’ve also been struggling with praying…so I know that I still need to improve on this one!

2. Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days every week (85% of the time).

Hahahhha nope. But…I actually did better than I thought. I got 201 entries (as of Dec. 19th, when I started writing this), which is only 55% of the time. But that’s still a lot of entries.

My worst month: March, with only 6 entries.

My best month: June, with 25 entries. (Which is so close to meeting the 85% mark!)

1st half of the year: 100 entries exactly!

What I noticed is that I tend to write more entries if I write every day–skipping a day leads to skipping more days, while writing multiple days in a row makes me more likely to write more further on. (And maybe this is obvious, but it was cool.)

3. Start researching colleges and apply for college at the end of 2017.

Yes! I have applied to some colleges, and I know I’m accepted to one of them…we’ll see on the others in 2017. I’m not sure exactly where I want to go, but I have an idea…the question is if I can get a scholarship because I need money.

But I am proud for my applications! One of them was especially stressful, with basically 6 essays required…but I did it!

4. Get my driver’s license and finish my online class (this should be done by February, though).

Yes, and yes. Although I did not get my driver’s license by February, hehh, and I think I had to get an extension on the online class. Thank goodness those are both done!

5. Do an act of service at least once a week.

Oops. I forgot about this. And while I did some service, I’m pretty sure I didn’t do it once a week. I need to do better at this one as well.

6. Get a job. I don’t want one…but I need one and it’ll be a good experience for me.

No, I didn’t get a job. I’m still afraid of being stuck working a job that I hate…but I’m also realizing how much going to college will actually cost, and…I either need to get a job or do some work for my dad some more.

But, I sort of got a job… I think I might’ve mentioned it once–my grandpa wrote his own history, and I edited it for him. Not necessarily a “real” job, but I did earn some money from it.


Reading Goals:

1. Read at least 5 books a month and post reviews on them on Goodreads (so a goal of reading 60 books…though I might change that to 75).

Definitely did this! Well…not necessarily the 5 books a month, but I did read 60 books & add reviews for them. I read a lot more, too, but I went through a phase where I didn’t want to write reviews on Goodreads, so I didn’t…

At the moment, Goodreads says that I have read 74 books, though I assume what I actually read is somewhere in the range of 85-100, which makes me quite satisfied!


Blogging Goals:

1. Blog at least 6 times a month (at least 72 posts throughout the year).

Yeah, that didn’t happen. You may have noticed, but halfway through the year or so, I just got tired of blogging and didn’t do anything. However, I’m hoping to do better next year! (Posting less frequently, but more regularly.)

2. Keep the sidebar of my blog updated.

I think I need a sidebar that doesn’t need to be updated, hehe.


Writing Goals:

1. Complete the 365K challenge.

No…I did this for January, and then it all fell through once February began. I definitely haven’t done as much writing as I wanted to, and while I feel like it’s okay that I didn’t meet some of my goals, I’m sad that I didn’t write often or consistently.

2. Finish 3 novels, one of which has to be Enhanced.

I didn’t finish Enhanced, and technically I didn’t finish any novels, but I did write and finish my Iris novella, which is something that I’m really proud of! You can read excerpts here and here, if you’d like.

3. Start a maximum of 2 novels.

I have to think about this, but I might have actually done this one since I didn’t write as much this year, haha. I started (and finished) my Iris novella, and I started the MG dragon novel I mentioned in last year’s post for April Camp NaNo (and lost).

I also started Battle Song again, but since that was a second draft, it doesn’t really count, right?

4. Write a short story/flash fiction every month.

This did not happen. I think I might have written one short story this year…though I did start a couple of them, I think.



Thoughts on 2017 & Other Accomplishments

So, I clearly did not do very well on my goals (except for the reading one, haha), but…I feel pretty good about my year as a whole. Maybe it’s just rosy recollection, but I think I needed some time and space to spend more time on school and the people around me. So here’s some other accomplishments from the year:

  • I made some really awesome friends this year at school! And since one of the things I’ve struggled with for a long time is being shy, it feels so good to be around people who actually care about my opinion and want to be around me! Whenever I’m around them, I can’t help but thank God for the blessings He has given me.
  • I started “Becoming an Author” with Battle Song. I think I’ve only done two posts in this series, but hopefully it will continue in the future…or it will just become my entire outlook! I’ve become more focused on my writing and trying to improve with it, to make it actually something I can do in the future.
  • I applied to college! And I tried out for a music composition major, something I probably wouldn’t have done on my own, but my voice teacher encouraged me to. And even though I don’t know if that’s something I want to do, I feel good about reaching out a little more than I normally would.

There are probably other things, too, but I’m really only remembering the last few months or so–but they have been good months!

Now on to the New Year! Yay! *hands you some cookies to help you get through the rest of this post*



Goals for 2018

I want these goals to be slightly more ambiguous than the last two years’ have been. Not in a bad, vague way, but in a way that allows me to accomplish something good even if my perspective changes throughout the year. With this, I’m trying to keep it to only one goal per section as well!


Life Goal(s)

Learn how to live on my own. (See, kind of vague.) I’m planning on going to college next year and living on my own, even though I could probably still live at home, in order to help myself grow and learn new things, and so forth. So…I have to figure out how to do that (which kind of terrifies me)! And a lot of things could be involved with this, but that’s my main goal, so I’ll leave it at that.

Grow closer to God and more secure in my beliefs. I know I said I was keeping it to one per section, but I feel like this one is important enough that I need to add it in as well. This year, I feel like I’ve grown farther away from what I believe, and I know I need to do better.


Reading Goal

Read 60 books and review them on Goodreads. I know I’ll read more than that, but I think this is a good amount for me to actually review. I should probably also figure out how to use Goodreads as a sort of form of social media or something, but right now, I just use it as a way to track my books, and that’s okay.


Blogging Goal

Find out what I want to blog about, and do it consistently. I’ve spent a little bit of time deciding what it is I want to blog about and what I want to share with you all (basically I’m just going to talk about my writing every day, mwahaha). I don’t know how often I’ll post–maybe only twice a month or something–but I want to make it consistent and not have several-months-long breaks from blogging. Hopefully, though, I’ll be more excited about posting and post more often!


Writing Goal

Publish Battle SongI can’t accurately describe the tingly, nervous, and excited feeling that writing that goal down gives me! But I think that I can actually do it. I’m finally at a place where I think I care about writing in the right way to try to publish, and with a novel that is actually publishable. (I am so excited about Battle Song, by the way! Even though it can often be very confusing and frustrating.)

I want to try to traditionally publish first. If that doesn’t work, then I will self-publish, but the reason I shifted my focus from Enhanced to this novel is because it felt the most plausible to be able to be traditionally published, and I’m super excited to embark on this crazy adventure with it!



Let’s talk!

How did your year go? What were your best moments/accomplishments, and what are your top goals for 2018? Link to your New Year’s Resolutions posts once you’ve written them; I’d love to check them out! And what do you think about me trying to get Battle Song published? Crazy, exciting, or both?

Also, it’s been a while! How have you all been? Tell me about your Christmas and all the adventures you’ve had while I’ve been gone!

Review of 2016, Plans for 2017

Creative title, I know. I spent a long time on that one…

I know I’m a little early to be writing my end of year/new year’s resolutions post, but I didn’t really have anything else to write except a couple of updates that I’ll mention really quickly before the whole new year’s thingymajig.

Life updates: Christmas was fun! We decided as a family to open our presents on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, so that we could focus on Christ during the actual Christmas day, which was really awesome. We did lots of singing and service. Then on Boxing Day we exchanged gifts; I got the digital drawing tablet that I wanted and a lot of other fun stuff (like llama pajamas that amuse me greatly). So it’s been a good holiday season so far, and I still get a few more days on break!

Writing updates: For Christmas I also got a Brandon Sanderson book (Arcanum Unbounded) and while I was reading it, I just really wanted to write my rewrite of Enhanced. Because that’s the closest I’m getting at the moment to something as awesome as Sanderson’s epic fantasy.

So I may have put Battle Song on the shelf for a little while. I know I shouldn’t, but…I wanted to write Enhanced, and I wasn’t getting anywhere with Battle Song anyway, so…Enhanced it is. I started yesterday and have written about 3.4K more, so I’m at 7Kish. It’s going well; you can see my progress on the right side of the blog.

Okay, I’m done with the updates; that’s all I wanted to say, and now it is time for the old year/new year stuff!


Last year’s post, if you want to read/skim: Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016


Review of 2016

It’s been a good year…well, that could just be me looking at it with rose-colored glasses, I suppose. I feel like I changed and improved a lot socially and as a person, but while my writing is improved, I didn’t really do as much as I could’ve/should’ve. (Which was in part because school is hard and busy a lot, but I also procrastinated quite a bit.)

Since I didn’t make any life goals on my blog last year, I’ll just share some of my accomplishments:

1. I joined marching band (color guard) during this summer/fall! It was a big accomplishment for me because I was trying something new, not to mention something I didn’t always feel good at, since I’m not as good with physical activities as I am with mental ones. But I progressed a lot and made new friends and gained a lot more self-confidence, so it was a big accomplishment for me.

2. I started taking voice lessons this summer, also. For the same reasons as above, it’s been hard but also rewarding. I don’t practice as much as I should…but when I do, I can hear my voice growing better and better! I also had my first voice recital and did very good considering getting up and singing solo in front of people terrifies me. It’s also helped with my self-confidence.

3. I definitely improved on my scripture study–I’ve started reading every morning and I also have a journal to take notes in with my scripture study and while at church, which is awesome.

4. I went on a date. Okay, that shouldn’t be such an accomplishment to go on one single date, but I hardly talk to guys and so I was proud of myself for asking a guy out on a date and having a fun (though slightly awkward at times) time with it. It was a good experience.

That’s all I really have to say/I can think of. So yay! Life accomplishments were definitely awesome this year. Writing accomplishments, on the other hand….not so awesome.

From last year, I made several goals:

  1. Write/finish my Zel novel.
  2. Revise Enhanced (which was at that point nicknamed KT).
  3. Write Cryonic, the sequel to Enhanced (I called it KT 2 in that post).
  4. Do NaNoWriMo again.
  5. Finish novels–I even mentioned it was a priority.

And here are the results of these goals:

1. Write/finish Zel novel.

Ahah. Well. I did write it. Some of it. Approximately 34, 515 words of it. Okay, I’m downplaying this quite a bit because I feel bad that I didn’t finish it this year, but I am proud of what I have of this novel. I really love the setup of this story (Rapunzel as a foreign criminal + awesome magic quest) and my first chapter is great. (Hmm, maybe I should post that as my next Spotlight, even though it has nothing to do with what I’m writing right now.)

So I made progress, but I didn’t quite complete the goal. (Which is the case with most of these.)

2. Revise Enhanced.

Well…no. Not really. At the time I made this goal, I’d only just finished, and I didn’t really know what it entailed. I think I did close to, if not a total of 40 hours working on developing the characters, setting, and plot in order to rewrite it, but I only have about 8.5k written. I love the story, though, and I’m making progress on it now.

3. Write Cryonic, the sequel to Enhanced.

Sort of. I wrote 40K worth of the sequel during Camp NaNo, but then my planning for Enhanced’s revision took over and I wasn’t ever prepared to write it at all. I hadn’t planned out anything when I wrote it, so there wasn’t much of a way to finish it, without first rewriting Enhanced, which didn’t happen, as said before. So nope, not really.

4. Do NaNoWriMo again.

I did do it, but I lost everything. Well…not everything. I won April Camp NaNo writing Cryonic, with just over 40k/40k. But July Camp NaNo, when I was trying to do 40 hours of prep for Enhanced, I only ended with 24 hours/40. (I did finish up those hours afterward, though.) And then November, the official NaNoWriMo, I procrastinated from Battle Song a ton, and ended up with 37.5k/40k. So, I did do NaNo, I just lost more than I ever have.

Screenshot 2016-12-29 at 1.14.41 PM.png
Stats for the preparation of Enhanced.

5. Finish novels.

Nope. While in 2015 I finished two novels, this year I finished nothing, which is one of the biggest reasons my writing goals feel unsatisfactory to me this year. I wrote a lot. I prepared a lot, both for Zel and Enhanced and even Battle Song, but not one of those novels (or even my previous ones) did I finish. So while I am proud of what I did accomplish, I’m a little bit frustrated, and I’m going to try to do better in 2017.


Phew. This post is already past 1000 words long and we’ve only just finished with 2016’s review. Prepare for more rambling. Maybe take a hot chocolate break, or rest your eyes with a short nap before continuing.

But…I’m not really sorry. This post was long last year; I have reason to expect it’ll be even longer this year, especially with the inclusion of life goals and not just writing ones. Plus, I’m rambling more than I was last year, even in this middle part. (But there are pictures in this next part, so that makes things better, right?)

Right ho, then, let’s move on to 2017.


Plans for 2017

I want 2017 to be better than this year–way better. Which means I have quite a few goals to share, though more writing ones than life ones. I want to try to keep them better, too…I think I may put my goals on the sidebar of my blog so I don’t forget about them, and maybe show my progress on them somehow…

One of my friends, Kellyn Roth @ Reveries has been doing posts with monthly “Dares,” which is essentially daring yourself to do something each month and following through with it the next. (Basically, a lot like this post, only monthly…because I know how much you all love to read extremely long posts.) Here’s an example of one of her Dare posts! Anyway, I think this would be really fun to start doing and help me to segment my goals into smaller pieces that will help me keep on track. So look forward to those!

Anyway…the actual resolutions/goals!

Life Goals:

1. Continue reading my scriptures every day, and pray every morning and night.

2. Write in my journal at least 6 out of 7 days every week (85% of the time).

3. Start researching colleges and apply for college at the end of 2017.

4. Get my driver’s license and finish my online class (this should be done by February, though).

5. Do an act of service at least once a week.

6. Get a job. I don’t want one…but I need one and it’ll be a good experience for me.

Reading Goals:

1. Read at least 5 books a month and post reviews on them on Goodreads (so a goal of reading 60 books…though I might change that to 75). And…that’s about all.

Blogging Goals:

1. Blog at least 6 times a month (at least 72 posts throughout the year).

2. Keep the sidebar of my blog updated.

Writing Goals:

1. Complete the 365K challenge. In 2015, this was one of the things that really helped me write a lot and integrate writing in my life–the idea is to write 1,000 words every single day for an entire year. I didn’t do that this year because I was going to be doing so much planning, but this year I’ve done a few more things to help me.

Firstly, I’ve decided that planning/developing/researching/etc. for an hour can count as a thousand words. Secondly, I’ve create a color-coordinated spreadsheet that will calculate how many words I’ve written total by only putting in the number of words I wrote that day, which will help me easily keep track of what I’ve done.

Screenshot 2016-12-29 at 12.58.52 PM.png
Here’s a little screenshot of part of the spreadsheet.

2. Finish 3 novels, one of which has to be EnhancedThis was one of the things that most frustrated me about last year’s writing: no novels finished. So next year, I’m going to finish three novels, one of which is the rewrite of Enhanced.

enhanced cover

The other two novels, I don’t care what they are, as long as I finish them, but I do have several novels I’ve started that range from 20K to 55k already written, and it would be very simple to complete a couple of them. Specifically, I’d like to finish Riven and Zel, maybe even Battle Song, but if those aren’t the ones I finish, that’s fine. I just need to finish at least two other novels besides Enhanced.

3. Start a maximum of 2 novels. That’s right; I’m only going to start 2 novels this year because I’m going to be focusing on finishing the others. One of these is going to be in November NaNoWriMo, because I always start a new novel for that, which means until November, I can only start one novel. (Writing down ideas/first scenes doesn’t count.) I’m thinking about starting an MG novel about dragons for my little brother, but maybe not. I want to keep my options open at the moment. Although, if I start that one in the next two days, I wouldn’t be starting in 2017 and so it wouldn’t count…heheheh.

105_0140.JPG
Doodles of the people in the dragon MG novel, though the guy in the middle is definitely inaccurate. I just need to figure out how his personality is and then I can actually draw him. But Mikael and Asta are spot-on.

4. Write a short story/flash fiction every month. This one is less important to me than my novelling goals, but I do know that I need to improve on writing shorter pieces than novels, and it would be really cool to submit one of them to a magazine or contest so that I could get that experience of writing, revising, and submitting on a much smaller level than with novels.

Screenshot 2016-12-29 at 1 edit.png

5. These aren’t necessarily goals, but I do have a couple of things that I’d love to get done writing-wise, though they may not happen:

  • Find beta-readers after rewriting Enhanced. After I finish the rewrite, I want some feedback from people on the overall story and the big things that I need to revise.
  • Get a short little thing published where people will read it just because…like I said, I want that experience, and I also think it’d be really awesome.
  • Plan out and really develop Cryonic so that I’ll be able to write it soon sometime.
  • Research more about publishing options, both traditionally and self-publishing.

Happy New Year, everyone! How has it been for all of you? What are you planning on doing next year? Comment with some of your achievements/goals or link to your new year’s posts! Also, if you have any ideas on how to keep myself motivated, please tell me! What do you want to hear updates on? What novels should I work on in 2017? Etc. Thanks for reading!

Short Story: Deserter

I mentioned in my last post that I was participating in a short story writing challenge, where we were supposed to write, edit, and publish a story in 24 hours or less. So, with two minutes to spare before my 24 hours are up, here’s my short story, Deserter. (Helpful critique is appreciated, if you’d like to give it.)


 

Zavat’s sword was knocked out of his hand, just before one of the razor-sharp spikes on the duvolon’s tail slashed across his leg. He dropped to the ground as the tail writhed above him, trying to find where his sword had landed among the corpses that littered the ground.

There. His eyes focused in on his weapon, and he dragged himself toward it, trying to stay low, out of sight of the duvolon. It was hard to move himself forward, the ground slick with blood, but he forced himself to keep going. He had to find the sword, had to keep fighting.

Zavat’s fingers slipped around the hilt of the sword. For a moment, he just clung to it, feeling the cold metal beneath his fingertips, remembering the first time he’d seen it, so long ago.

The other soldier—Zavat thought they’d said his name was Tiren—grinned, unsheathing his blade. “You’ve never seen one of these before, kid?”

Zavat shook his head, staring in awe at the sword. “Will I get to use one of those?”

“Not until you’ve trained with this,” he said, tossing him a wooden practice sword.

The younger boy caught it, feeling the rough ridges of the wood beneath his fingertips. Swinging it through the air once, experimentally, he smiled, then looked up at the older soldier. One day, he’d be like him. One day, he’d get to fight.

The gash in Zavat’s leg didn’t look too deep, and he pushed himself upward, moving back toward the duvolon. His eyes caught sight of the battlefield, scattered with bodies. So few men remained, slowly being overpowered by the huge duvolon—the beasts of blood.

A shout of fear and pain reached Zavat’s ears, and his blood ran cold as he recognized the voice. His captain stood a few hundred feet away, fighting one of the duvolon, alone and unaided, looking tiny compared to the ten-foot-tall beast. He wouldn’t be able to survive this, not without help.

He looked up in surprise to find Captain Lucann entering his barracks. Zavat jumped to his feet to salute, but then saw what he was carrying. Fear jolted through him, and he stumbled backward, bumping into his cot. “W-what are you doing with Tiren’s sword?”

“I’m sorry, son. He asked me to give it to you.”

Zavat couldn’t breathe. No. No! “Where is he?”

The captain seemed to be having trouble finding the right words to say. “Tiren died in the battle. He fought bravely, and was killed while defending those he loved. He died well, Zavat.”

“No! You’re lying… He can’t be dead!” The tears were starting to fall from Zavat’s eyes, and he frantically wiped them away.

Captain Lucann didn’t say anything, his face weary, and for a moment, Zavat wondered if he was going to punish him for calling him a liar. He took a step forward, and Zavat pulled away. “I didn’t mean it, Captain,” he said, though his words were marred tears.

“I know, son,” the captain whispered, and then his arms were around Zavat, holding him still and quiet while the boy sobbed. “I know.”

He trembled in the captain’s arms, tears streaming down his face, nose running. “He died. He left me. He left me!”

“No…his death was a brave one. Just because he has died does not mean his life has ended. He will continue to fight in the afterlife, and he will always be with you.”

Zavat couldn’t speak. His world was crashing down around him, crumbling into pieces. His friend was dead, and now he was all alone.

Captain Lucann held him while he wept.

He was almost to the captain when one of the duvolon spotted him, turning its huge head toward him, white tusks and fiery scales glinting in the sunlight as his orange eyes narrowed in on him. Two men were already fighting it, but it ignored them, taking lumbering steps toward him.

The line of men in front of them charged, coming directly toward them. Zavat couldn’t breathe. There were so many of them…they would be slaughtered…he would die…

Unless he ran.

Zavat looked at his captain. The duvolon was too close now. He could not go to him now, unless he wanted it to kill him. He’d have to kill the huge beast first, but would no one help their captain? He was still alone.

The duvolon coming toward him raised its spiked tail, and he ducked under it, aiming for the chink in its scales between its leg and its body. His sword bounced off the scales, and Zavat frantically tried again. He couldn’t hit the tiny open area between the two plates of scales, but Captain Lucann would be dead soon if he didn’t help.

The other two men were stabbing at the creature too, but it would take to long for even the three of them to finally hit it. He needed to be faster, to take it down in time for him to help the captain.

A plan formed in his mind, as he continued dodging out of the way of the tail. The biggest opening between the armor of the scales was on the duvolon’s neck, too high in the air to normally attack. But if he could…

Zavat slid his sword into its scabbard, and waited for the perfect moment, as the tail whipped above him, and the duvolon roared its battle cry. Finally, it moved its head toward him, and he lunged forward, grabbing to one of its huge tusks and clambering onto his face.

The scales were sharp and slippery, slicing his hands and the fabric of his uniform as he tried to move his way upward. It shook its head wildly, trying to fling him off, but he held steady.

He would not run.

Not anymore.

Zavat scrambled down the other side of the duvolon’s head, pulling out his sword while trying to keep his balance.

“Watch out!” someone yelled from below him.

He would not run.

With all his strength, Zavat slammed the sword down into the duvolon’s flesh down to its hilt, then ripped it free.

Its tail smashed into him from behind. Spikes pierced him through, then were torn out as the duvolon threw him to the ground among the rest of the bodies.

The corpses covered the ground, pale and blood-spattered, piling on top of each other in some places. So many of them…Zavat felt sick to his stomach.

Pain spread throughout his entire body. He couldn’t open his eyes.

He should have been there. He should have died. He should have been one of those corpses on the ground.

Zavat thought he could hear his captain’s voice, from far, far away.

Captain Lucann stood among the bodies, weeping. From behind the trees, Zavat could see the pain on his face. He shouldn’t be crying, shouldn’t look like that. The guilt rose up in him again, and he stumbled out of the trees to kneel at the feet of his captain.

“Zavat? You survived? Oh, thank the gods, you survived.”

He looked into the captain’s eyes, red-rimmed, filled with pain, and yet smiling to see him. Him.

The tears started to trickle down his face as well, and he lowered his head to the ground. “Captain…”

“Yes?”

Could he say it? Could he admit it? “I d-didn’t survive, Captain. I…I… I ran.” The tears came faster now, and he choked up. “I…deserted.”

The captain didn’t say anything for a long, long time, and finally Zavat could bear it no longer. He raised his eyes, and this time, all he saw was disappointment. He had disappointed him. He had left the other men to die alone, had let his fears consume him.

He had failed his captain.

“I will forgive you of this,” said Captain Lucann. “You will be allowed to come back, and will not be punished for your desertion.”

Maybe he knew that the disappointment in his eyes was punishment enough. Maybe he knew that it would haunt him forever. Maybe he knew that execution would be less painful than living on with this guilt.

Zavat fixed his eyes to the ground, unable to speak, and the captain left the same way he’d come.

Weeping.

No…

No.

Zavat forced himself to his hands and knees crawling across the bloody ground. “I’m coming, Captain.” His voice was weak, but he kept moving. “I won’t run anymore. I’m coming…”

Blood spilled from the wounds the duvolon’s spikes had given him. Feebly, Zavat crawled along the ground toward the sound of his captain’s voice, too dizzy to open his eyes. He could feel the life fading from him with every second that passed.

He would not run.

The sunlight hurt his eyes, so bright. Everything was blurred, like an abstract painting, with huge splotches of red-orange paint for the duvolon, and smaller blue swipes for the soldiers, on a background of blue sky and plains dotted with bodies.

Zavat’s eyes finally found the captain, battling with one of the duvolon. He was still alive… He had to help him.

Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth as Zavat rose to his feet, swaying.

He would not run.

Zavat managed a few stumbling steps before his legs collapsed under him and he fell to the ground. One of the other soldiers ran past him, going toward his captain, to help him. Zavat reached after him, but he could barely move.

No… He would not run.

He barely moved a few inches toward the captain, the soldier, and the duvolon. His strength was fading, and now all he could do was lie there, breathing in agony.

He had failed him. He was supposed to have helped him, was supposed to be there for his captain. But now he was dying, deserting his captain again. His captain would find him lying there when his last breath had disappeared, and would wonder why he hadn’t helped him.

Disappointed eyes…

Zavat had failed his captain.

The sounds of battle slowly faded around him. The colors slowed and blurred. With each inhale and exhale, Zavat’s life disappeared into the darkness.

A hand touched his shoulder, and the pain rushed back as Zavat struggled to open his eyes, to find out who was there, next to him. He slowly blinked them open.

“C-Captain?” The tears tumbled from his eyes. “I’ve…failed you. I said…I would not run. I…deserted you. I…I’m…sorry.”

He didn’t want to see the disappointment in his captain’s eyes, but Zavat couldn’t help but look, one last time.

The captain’s eyes were filled with tears. “No. I watched you try to come to me when all other men would have let themselves die. You have shown me more loyalty than any other.”

“But…I’m…a deserter.” Zavat coughed a few times, the blood choking in his throat.

He could feel his captain’s hands lifting him up, helping him breathe. “No, Zavat. Not anymore.”

“I…ran. I’m…running…now.” He was dying, leaving his captain behind.

“You must go now…to your new life. You must go bravely, Zavat. You have helped me more than you know, but you cannot stay in this world any longer.”

“Captain…” The darkness was about to consume him. He would be brave, as his captain had commanded. Brave into this new life.

“Yes?”

He knew what he must do.

“I…will…not…run.”

 

Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016

Note: This post is rather long and very rambly. Enjoy at your leisure (and at your own risk).

I recently (as in a few minutes ago) realized that today is New Year’s Eve Eve. For some reason, I thought it was farther away, but here it is, almost 2016. Since I’ll probably be spending tomorrow writing this short story thing (see here), as well as the usual New Year’s Eve traditions, I decided I’d write my end of the year post today. In which, I shall be writing about some of my accomplishments from this past year, as well as my goals and resolutions for next year (most of them being centered around writing).

Goodbye, 2015.

This has been a good year for me, and I’m sad to see it go. There were some sad spots and some stressed spots, but overall, looking back on it, it’s been a good year. I feel like I’ve come leaps and bounds in my writing since January, despite that the year felt so short. So, some of my accomplishments.

1. The 365K challenge. I accepted this challenge in late 2014, and it was to write 1,000 words every day for a whole year, thus resulting in 365,000 words. I didn’t write that much, but ultimately, taking this challenge changed my writing drastically.

Though I started NaNoWriMo and writing novels in 2013, I didn’t really do much in between NaNo sessions. I would write in April, July, and November, sparing a little bit of time in the middle to work on my novels, but never writing much more outside of those three months.

365K changed that. I started writing nearly every day, if not daily. It became a habit. It became part of who I was.

Now that I look back on it, remembering that there was once a day when writing didn’t mean so much to me is like trying to remember a strange dream, I’ve changed so much since then. It’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s now ingrained into my life. I don’t know if I could ever go back to the way I was before.

Though I won’t be doing 365K in 2016, due to that I should (hopefully) be doing some revising instead of writing, I’m so glad that I decided to do it this year. In total, I wrote 336,587 words, and in the end was only 28,413 words behind. I’m proud of myself for that.

2. NaNoWriMo. I love NaNoWriMo (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t heard of it). It was what first truly showed me my love of writing. I’ve been writing since as long as I can remember, but NaNoWriMo was what really got me started. So, of course, I’ve continued doing it.

In April, I participated in the first Camp NaNo of this year. I wrote 130 more words than my goal of 40,000 in a fantasy novel I tentatively titled The Blade, though I just call it my Riven novel, since the MC was a girl named Riven. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s in the works.

In July, I participated in the second Camp NaNo of this year. I finally came to my senses and realized I had way too many unfinished novels that needed attending to, so I started a project called A Thousand a Day, coinciding with the 365K challenge. I had a goal of 31,000 (a thousand a day), and had a total of 32,323 by the end of the month. I don’t know if it really helped all that much, but it helped some, at least.

In November, I wrote in the official NaNoWriMo and the YWP NaNoWriMo, writing an urban fantasy that was called Behind the Closet Door but shouldn’t be called that now, as that name doesn’t fit. However, I do still call it BCD when I refer to it. I wrote 53,016 words in it (or 53,017, depending on which site you look on), but haven’t touched it since.

Overall, NaNo was kind of crazy and I don’t know that my writing was even that good during it, but I love doing it anyway. It encourages me to write more, try harder, and also gives a sense of community that you don’t get when writing on your own. Besides, all rough drafts are bad, so who cares, anyway?

3. Finishing novels. I’ll tell you right off the bat, I’m not good at finishing novels. I like to chase after random plot bunnies, and I’m not the kind of person who can work on one thing at a time. I always have tons of writing projects going on at the same time, and, in short, I am a procrastinator.

However, this year I managed to actually finish two of my novels. Rough drafts, of course, but they are finished, and I’m pleased with that. In the two years before, I’d finished three novels (all of them shorter than these two), so this was a good improvement.

I first finished DotW, which is short for Daughter of the Wind. (I give all of my novels nicknames, so…be warned. For something. Something evil author-y, obviously.) I started writing that novel for NaNoWriMo in 2014, and finally finished that this June. I have to say, it was really, really nice to not have that hanging over my head anymore. I may revise it at one point, but it’s a mess. It involved time travel and I also didn’t plan much for it, so it did turn out really messy, heh. But it’s finally finished, so yay!

I also finished KT, which doesn’t actually have a title, but its two MCs are named Kai and Taira, which is why it has that nickname. I started this last December, and I wrote it in between NaNos. I wanted to finish it before this November’s NaNoWriMo, and I did — I finished it on Halloween. I’m not really sure what genre it is, somewhere between sci-fi and dystopia, but I liked writing it a lot, and I do have plans for it in the future.

While I didn’t actually finish any other novels, I came a lot closer to finishing some of them, like Riven. Of course, I did start several, but I promise I fought off as many plot bunnies as I could. (I won’t pinkie promise, though…)


I don’t know how well it showed up in all of that rambling, but I did progress a lot this year. I wrote more than I did before, finished more than I did before, and my writing improved a lot. So, yes, I am very satisfied with 2015, but I am also excited for 2016.

Hello, 2016.

I have a few writing goals for this new year, and thinking of all of them makes me feel very professional, hehe. (However, it probably fills you with dread for how much longer this post will go on. Too bad. The post must go on!)

1. Zel novel. This is a plot bunny idea I had just a few weeks ago and have been trying to nurture into health. And novel-ness. It’s a retelling of Rapunzel, beginning with Rapunzel La’arenal (a.k.a. Zel) as a foreign criminal, captured and kept in Davacas’s castle tower as her cell before she is to be executed for her crimes. When she escapes, however, Crennan Torvyr (a.k.a. Cren), a Davac soldier, chases after her in order to capture and bring her back to her cell, and to her death.

Well, that’s the premise, anyway. I’ve done a little bit of planning on the plot, but mostly I’ve been working on the world building (as well as a bit of character development). I’m planning to start work on the rough draft of this novel in early January, and I’ll probably be rambling about it a lot. I’m excited to write this draft, and we’ll see how it goes.

2. Revision of KT. You know that novel I finished up this year? That weird, half sci-fi, half dystopia one? Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to revise/rewrite it this year. I’ve never actually revised one of my novels before, so this will be exciting. Despite my inexperience, I do have a few things I already know can be changed, and I really am excited to change this rough draft into a much better second draft. I’ll probably be blogging about this quite a bit when I do it too, so be ready.

3. KT 2. Which is the best nickname I’ve been able to come up for KT’s sequel. After all, it’s still about Kai and Taira, and considering neither have an actual title, I’m calling it KT 2 right now. Anyhow, I’m planning on writing the sequel to KT, if you hadn’t already figured that out from the above sentences, and I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to be about, but I’m going to write it anyway. (Okay, so I have a few ideas, but not many.)

This will actually be the first sequel I’ve written (aside from the sequel to my first novel ever, both of which were pretty horribly written), so this will be interesting. I’m glad I feel excited enough about one of my novels to actually write a sequel to them, and that gives me hope for the future of KT.

4. NaNoWriMo. I’m going to do NaNo again. Yup.

5. Finishing novels. Again, this is going to be a priority for me. I want to finish some of the novels I’ve started, like Riven and AAA and ICS. And some others, of course. There are always more novels that I can finish…


Yep, I have some plans for 2016. Hopefully I can get even more done than that, but so far, that’s what I have, and I’ll do my best to reach those goals.

I now formally welcome in 2016. *drones on in long speech, finishing in a ritual that involves good food, music, and some magical words that sound like they’re in another language which also sounds kinda like pig latin.

“Elcomeway ootay uhthay oonay earyay!”


Utway areay oaryay oonay earsyay esolutionsray anday oaryay olday earsyay achievementsay?