Symphony of Words 2019: Winners

Today is the day Charis, Anika, and I finally announce the winners of our Symphony of Words writing contest!

First of all, I’m sorry that this announcement has been so delayed! Some unexpected, unplanned for life stuff/busyness came up for me and one of the other judges, and the judging process ended up taking a lot longer than we planned for. We are sorry for the delay, and we so appreciate your patience. <3

Also, thank you so much to everyone who entered! There were so many amazing stories and styles sent in, and it was wonderful to step into your imaginations. Thank you for sharing your creativity and heart with us! <3 <3 <3

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Now, without further adieu! The winners! Just click on the story title read the story and a note from each author about their inspiration!

Here are our honorable mentions:

Merie S. with her story The Nightingale Girl inspired by For King and Country’s God Only Knows.

Alexis C. with her story When I Belonged With You inspired by The Lumineers’ Ho Hey.

Kaitlyn K. with her story Porch Swing Hugs inspired by The SteelDrivers’ Where Rainbows Never Die.

Ash R. with her story Peony inspired by Taylor Swift’s Clean.

Now onto our prize-winning top three!

In third place: Abigayle C. with her story Remembrance inspired by I See Fire by Ed Sheeran.

To me, the author went a very unexpected route as far as setting and subject, and it was super refreshing! Not only is the writing tight, but the subject matter is handled with maturity and taste without wandering into undue morbidity or romanticism.

In second place: Emily H. with her story Stelle Tremanti inspired by Red by Taylor Swift.

I think what I loved most about this story was the feeling of being seamlessly taken into another period of time. With its winsome description and nostalgia-evoking writing style, I felt like I was just on the other side of a camera lens watching the story unfold in quick flashes. *dreamy eyes forever*

In first place: Bekah B. with her story Let Me Fall inspired by I Need U by BTS.

This is a very close story, told in such a way that you don’t just see the main character but you also experience her thoughts and emotions with her (which is a huge mark of good storytelling on its own). Unfortunately, I can’t say much more because I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I will say that while it dives into some heavy subject matter (all dealt with well within this contest’s guidelines, but I just want to give sensitive readers a heads up), it’s a story you don’t want to miss.


Abigayle, Emily, and Bekah: you can expect an email within a week regarding the final details of your prizes! Congratulations!!

Of course, thank you, Anika and Charis, for dreaming up this contest and letting me participate in it as a judge alongside you.

Thank you again to everyone who entered!! I was, personally, blown away by the depth and breadth of the type of stories we got, and I’m so glad you all participated. <3

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – very sad news: WordPress crashed, and Anika’s blog has vanished entirely. *screaming ensues* If you want to keep up with her, be sure to follow her on Instagram.

 

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Oh Beloved One Tour [giveaway]

Happy Tuesday!

Today I’m participating in a blog tour for Oh Beloved One (OBO for short)–a magazine for Christian young women to remind them that they are beloved!

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A bit about Oh Beloved One.

Oh Beloved One is created by young women who believe that our highest calling in life is to love God and bring him glory.

The OBO team seeks to help other young women love God and bring him glory by providing content that assists readers in taking their next spiritual step.

The giveaway!

You will win a hardcopy of Independent, OBO‘s July/August issue with articles about solitude, breaking out of your comfort zone, and knowing when and with whom you can be honest about your weaknesses as well as everyday how-to’s every girl should know for life and more.

IMG_0800.jpgBe sure to enter this giveaway if:

a) you are curious about Oh Beloved One

b) you are trying to decide if you want to subscribe to OBO

c) you are a girl looking for some encouragement and edification

d) you enjoy getting mail

e) you adore aesthetically pleasing things (if this magazine isn’t #aesthetic, I don’t know what is)

f) the balance between godly dependence and godly independence confuses you

and/or g) you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter who would enjoy a copy of Oh Beloved One.

Enter the giveaway here!

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Fine print:

  •  this giveaway is U.S.A. only (sorry, international peeps!)
  •  this giveaway will close on September 23, 2019 (the last day of this blog tour)
  • the winner will be contacted by email

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This Oh Beloved One tour will be running all month long with a couple other giveaways happening along the way, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next stop (it’s with Jane Maree in a few days)!

– Check out the OBO magazine here

– Subscribe OBO‘s mailing list here

– Stop by OBO‘s Instagram here.

I’m so excited to follow the rest of this tour! I’ve known about OBO for a while now, and I’m so jazzed to spread the word about this beautiful magazine for girls.

Have you heard of Oh Beloved One? Do you subscribe to any magazines?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – all photos belong to Oh Beloved One

My Noveling Process [in gifs]

Noveling is a process. It’s arduous. The Arduous Process looks different for everyone, but I just want to share a snapshot of what noveling is like for me, personally.

Obviously, there will be gifs.

Here it is from start to finish (because there comes a point where a novel is finished, right? RIGHT????).

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The Spark of Creation (aka: when an new story idea strikes).

The moment of inspiration is different for every novel, but the moment it takes root, there’s no going back.

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This is the part where I cheat on the novel I was working on by thinking about and creating playlists and Pinterest boards for my new idea. It’s all fun and games in the beginning, when it’s forbidden.

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^^^ me having fun with all the new characters and plot bunnies and worldbuilding nerdiness ^^^

Everything is shiny and new and exciting about this idea, and I’m usually pretty jacked and acting kind of weird around the house.

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It’s very much like the beginning of The Lion King, when everything is bright and hopeful and beautiful.

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I am Rafiki; Simba is the new idea

Drafting Begins (aka: I write the rough draft of the novel).

It’s time to get started! All the Pinteresting and playlist-making and movie-trailer-dreaming has come to this, and it’s time to start actually writing the novel. I couldn’t be happier!

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Two chapters into the novel:

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But I’m not stressed because I’m a discovery writer, which means I don’t plot out a novel before I write it; I just start with some inspiration and make most of it up as I go along (because what can possibly go wrong with that?).

This leads us to the next phase: intermittent snacking.

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The time eventually comes to kill off the first character. I usually meet this challenge with a healthy mixture of maniacal zest and sincere sorrow.

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I also tend to get stuck in research ruts, which is where I spend five and a half hours researching one minute detail (which I’ll probably end up throwing out further down the line in the editing process).

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^^^ me after getting stuck in a  research rut ^^^

By this point, we’re where everything is falling apart for the characters, and my main character has reached their lowest point (this is often called “the dark night of the soul”). All their hopes and dreams (and maybe even some of their loved ones) have gone up in smoke. It’s a very traumatic time. For the main character. Less so for me.

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^^^ me watching my characters hopes and dreams (and maybe even some loved ones) go up in smoke ^^^

Inevitably, I slow to a halt and spend a while existential crisis-ing.

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Shortly after this, I complete the first draft, which is hands down one of the most amazing feelings of this whole process.

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Editing Begins (aka: I try to fix up the story to make it presentable to others, and it promptly falls apart).

Editing usually begins well. I typically take a few month break (sometimes even more) between my first draft and my second draft and am thus very refreshed and ready to dig into my novel once more.

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I read the first draft, which often feels like I’m discovering the novel for the first time all over again. Except this time without all the frills and euphoric visions. No, this time, I read it with all the cynicism my dual personality can muster.

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^^^ actual footage of me reading dialogue from my first drafts ^^^

And then I begin to notice that there are some, well, some rather large problems that my witty back and forth banter with myself won’t fix.

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Then, I lose all comprehension of all words, story craft, plot structure, character building, etc..

Enter from stage right: the Google search.

Typical Editing Phase 1 Google searches look like:

  • how to tell if your novel has a plot
  • yikesyikesyikesyikes
  • how to plot a novel
  • why does my main character need to have a goal?
  • how to write a plot twist
  • wHaT IS A pLOt?
  • is my novel trash?
  • save me

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People generally think it’s pretty cool that I write novels, and this is the part (when I can’t recall the difference between an inciting incident and a plot twist) where they ask about it. I can’t help myself but respond thusly:

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Editing Continues (aka: something has gone terribly wrong with the story and I’m still editing it a year and a half later).

It’s usually at this juncture that I find some irreparable plot hole and can’t cope.

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me, not being able to cope with the gaping hole in my plot

Eventually, I do learn to cope…

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because if you can’t fix it, you might as well burn it

As I said, some people are kind enough to check in with me every once in a while. They’ll ask me again about my novel, to which I reply like Edna Mode:

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which is really code for “I’m dying*

Despair and confusion continues.

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And continues…

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After I’ve spent three years of my life editing a novel….

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After I’ve reworked that first chapter approximately 4543 times:

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Again, with the thoughtful, invested people asking me how the novel is coming:

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I am Mike, the inquisitor is Sully, the novel is Boo.

But then I start to get a second (or maybe this is the third? Or fourth? Or fifth?) wind, and things start to turn around. Something clicks in my brain; I get some sort of breakthrough. I see how to take this novel to the next level and end this hell editing.

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we all knew this gif was coming

I respond in the only way I can.

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In general, there is Renewed Vigor, and I’m ready to kick this novel in the butt.

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^^^ me and my Renewed Vigor ^^^

Me to my Renewed Vigor:

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And then, some time later, I finish the novel.

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And there it is, friends.

My noveling process from start to finish. Now, please excuse me while I get back to editing my novel.

What does your process look like?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – this was going to be a serious post, but that clearly didn’t happen, lol. Someone *cough cough* let themselves loose on a gif-hunt, and now here we are.

p.p.s. – I think I may have used a record number of gifs in this post. I was also a bit loopy while putting together this post because I’ve been staying up late working on my novel and am thus a little sleep-deprived.

Christian, Your Bible Is Your Life

I’ve written so many versions of this post over that last few months trying to get it right. At this point I don’t care if it’s “right” because I just know it’s true.

Also, I may have already posted something similar to this on Penprints a while ago. But here we are again because this is something that’s worth repeating every single day for the rest of your life:

Christian, the Bible is your life.

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I’ll say it again.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

From the instant you wake up to the moment you fall asleep—and even the moments in between—you are prey to attack from the enemy: temptations, lies, discouragements, and distractions, whether you realize it or not. And most Christians don’t realize it anymore.

Most Christians don’t realize that just because Satan can’t rip Jesus’ elect out of the Father’s hand doesn’t mean that Satan the accuser isn’t trying to destroy Christians any way that he can. He’s prowling around like a lion just looking for someone to devour.

Satan and his demons are master deceivers. They’ll trick you into locking yourself into a cage built on lies—lies about yourself and God. They’ll say things like: Yes, there is grace, but you still need to earn God’s love.

God’s disappointed in you. He doesn’t approve of you.

God gives rewards, not gifts.

How embarrassing that you’re so weak.

It’s okay if you don’t tell anybody about that sin you commit in secret; you can fight it on your own.

Someone else would be better equipped for this task than you.

God’s silence means he’s angry with you.

They’ll lull you to sleep, wooing you into complacency until you die in your foolishness. You already understand forgiveness. Why study it anymore?

You’ve already heard so many sermons on Galatians. Why listen anymore?

You’ve already arrived, you already have so much wisdom, so shhhh, this teaching doesn’t have anything for you.

They’ll accuse you, taking you down again and again and again until you simply stay down, pierced through with flaming reproaches that burn you from the inside out. Remember this sin? The one that always comes to mind when you hear the word “sin.” That disqualifies you.

If you really loved Jesus, you wouldn’t feel this way.

You’re such a fool.

You should be doing more.

Christians shouldn’t be depressed.

And most of the time, they do all this without your notice and certainly without your consent. They’re constantly working in the background, leveraging difficult emotions and painful, unseen hurts and lies that you already believe to sow more lies, despair, distraction, foolishness, and death.

So often, these thoughts that slip through our heads or these feelings of shame or accusation that wash over us that we a) don’t take any real notice to, b) pass off as our own thoughts, negativity, and low self-esteem, or worst of all c) even mistake as a the Holy Spirit’s right conviction are actually a type of attack.

So subtle we don’t even notice, but we still feel the effects—the weariness, the despair, the shame, the heaviness, the guilt.

And if we do notice, we think it’s the Holy Spirit telling us to get our act together or something like that. But that’s not how the Holy Spirit relates to Christians. That’s not how God speaks to his redeemed children hidden in Christ. The New Testament is filled with truth like: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” So why would God’s voice sound condemning or accusing? It wouldn’t. It doesn’t.

Yes, the Holy Spirit convicts, but he doesn’t do so on a basis of guilt or shame. The Holy Spirit convicts with the gentleness and kindness that leads us to repentance, not mere regret.

So how can we know what God’s voice sounds like?

His Bible.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

More than anything else in this world, the Bible is your life.

It is God’s chosen self-revelation to his people, his spoken words written down and sovereignly, miraculously preserved for thousands of years.

It is solid, absolute truth that can be wielded as a weapon and fled to as a refuge.

The heavens and the earth will pass away, but God’s Word, his Bible, will stand forever.

Yes, it is difficult and confusing and ancient and prone to make people uncomfortable, but all those difficulties lie with us, not with the Bible.

Ours are the small, finite, fallen minds that are so easily distracted and thrown into confusion.

Ours are the hearts so overtaken by pride that we judge and question what God did and chose to pass to us as if we have any right to speak back to the only Holy One of Israel.

Christian, the Bible is your life.

It is what shows you who God is—mighty and merciful, holy and kind, just and gracious, zealous and tender. It is what tells you what’s true. It is what trains your heart to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from the lies and accusations of the enemy. It is what fills your soul. It is what teaches you wisdom. It is what unfurls the life, death, resurrection, and glory of Jesus for all to see.

There is no self-help book, no act of self-care, no mental health routine, no pep talk, no vain positivity, no drug, no drink, no fantasy, no TV show, no novel, nothing that can give you life or see you to the end of this life in joy. Any “solution” apart from the Bible is a lie.

Christian, my beloved, your Bible is your life.

It is not optional. It is not for when you happen to have the time. It is not for when you’re feeling like reading the Bible. It’s not for feel-good, flowery Instagram posts. It’s not for a reading plan you start in Genesis and stop somewhere in Leviticus. It’s not for ignoring.

It is life, truth, and wisdom. It is for life, for enduring, for rejoicing, for remembering, for meditating on, for preaching to the ends of the earth, for repentance, for fighting the good fight, for finishing the race.

Every day of our lives we’re at war, whether we know it or not. We’re going to end up harassed and beaten down by all manner of temptations and deceptions, limping through life instead of walking in the victory and freedom of Jesus if we don’t know the Bible.

Christian, the Bible is your life. Do you know that? Do you?

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – This theme has kept coming up a lot for me since I moved to Texas in January, and it finally came out in words that make sense (mostly). Also, I didn’t link to any of the verses these truths were pulled from because those links never get used, so if you want me to include links to verses and passages in the future, let me know in the comments!

p.p.s. – thanks for hanging in with me while my posting schedule has been all over the place these last six months. You guys are the best. <3

p.p.p.s. – I’m 80% sure there’s a typo or two that eluded me. My apologies. I would blame it on my blogging rustiness, but we all know I’ve always had typos.

p.p.p.p.s. – Also, I couldn’t write this post without including this gif.

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p.p.p.p.p.s. – here’s a link to a post from last year about when you don’t understand the Bible if Bible reading feels especially hard for you.

Announcing a New Writing Contest: Symphony of Words

“A Penprints post on a Saturday after a month of radio silence. Something must by up,” you think to yourself.

You would be right.

I’m here to announce a new writing contest: Symphony of Words.

And guess what. Sign-ups open TODAY.

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What’s this?

Symphony of Words is a musically-inspired contest put on by Anika Walkes, Charis Rae, and yours truly. It’s the brain-child of Anika Walkes and Charis Rae, and I was privileged to be brought onto their team.

Each entrant will receive a song as a writing prompt from one of the three contest hostesses and will then have 30 days to write and submit a story.

We’ll be judging the stories on a scale of 1-10 and totaling up all your ratings for a final score (i.e. – each judge will give an individual score, and then we add our scores together. e.g. – if I give your story an 8, Anika gives it a 9, and Charis gives it a 8, your final score will be 25; 30 is the highest possible score).

Prizes, prizes, prizes.

Yeah, you have a chance to win stuff.

First place wins a free graphic design from Anika, an edit on your story from all three judges (judges will single out your strengths, areas to improve, etc.), and the winner’s choice of a coffee mug from C.G. Drews’s legendary PaperFury Society6 shop.

Second place wins an edit on your story from all three judges (judges will single out your strengths, areas to improve, etc.).

Third place wins a free graphic design from Anika.

(A graphic design from Anika will look like either a) a cover for your story, or b) a blog header + signature.)

Dates to keep in mind:

  • July 22, 2019: sign-ups close
  • July 24, 2019: entrants receive their songs
  • August 24, 2019: stories due back; judging begins
  • September 24, 2019: judging ends; winners are decided
  • September 30, 2019: winners announced

How To Enter:

Whether you’re in a writing slump, wanting to try your hand at short stories for the first time, finishing up a mammoth Camp NaNoWriMo project, or just drooling over PaperFury’s writerly mugs, this contest is for you.

(If you’re unable to view the Google form embedded in this post, follow this link to sign-up.)

The Rules:

  1. Stories must be 2,000 words or less.
  2. Minor swearing is allowed.
  3. Romance is definitely allowed, but explicit sexual content is a hard no.
  4. Violence and gore shouldn’t get gratuitous or very disturbing (I say “very disturbing” because violence is always disturbing).

Basically, keep things PG-13 and below. As the hostesses and judges of this contest, Anika, Charis, and I reserve the right to automatically disqualify any story at any time at our discretion based on these rules.

Meet the Judges:

us

Find Charis on her blog or Instagram.

Find Anika on her blog or Instagram.

That’s it!

Sign up today, get your prompt on July 24th, and craft a spell-binding story. It’s as simple as that.

Anika, Charis, and I can’t wait to read your stories!

With love,

Rosalie

p.s. – I’m going to try to ease back into my regular posting schedule in the next week or so. I’ve had a lot on my mind, and I’m still sorting through what this blog is going to continue to look like. Thanks for hanging in there with me, kids.