Camp NaNoWriMo & All That Jazz [aka: an explosion of all my craziness about my WIP]

April Camp NaNoWriMo came to a close last Monday, and I’m happy to say it was a successful month for me!

[Warning: Kat from Sparks of Ember gave me permission to just be myself here on Penprints, so the proverbial hair is coming down. Prepare yourself for a super casual post full of run-on sentences and my explosive excitement for my WIP.]

camp nanowrimo and all that jazz.jpg

Now, for those of you wondering what Camp NaNoWriMo is, here’s the short version: “NaNoWriMo” is slang for “National Novel Writing Month”. National Novel Writing Month is a virtual event that takes place every November where writers around the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July and has a similar idea except you can join virtual cabins with nineteen other writers where you can chat, compare your goals, word war and such. And speaking of goals, you set your goal any way you want for Camp. Lines, hours, minutes, words, pages, etc.

I had planned to continue pulling teeth working on Beasts for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set myself a goal of 55 hours. Three days before Camp started, I decided that Beasts and I needed to take a break and come back to reevaluate our relationship after we both had some time away (why, yes, I did just refer to Beasts and I as a “we”, as if Beasts was another person and not a figment of my imagination. #unashamed) Unfortunately, at present, it seems like it’s a toxic relationship. Hopefully this detox from each other will bring us around to a better state of mind and heart. Hopefully.

So I had to scramble for a project for Camp. Should I just write a bunch of flash fictions? Finish a sci-fi short story that’s been rolling around in my head for months? Revisit Flickering Lights and finally make decisions about its fate? Not do Camp at all??

Ha. None of that happened.

Instead, I went straight for False Gods, the novel I drafted last November (during normal NaNoWriMo). Because I’d been dying to get back to it (no, I have not been mentally cheating on Beasts, hush) since December 1, 2017.

So I stowed my Beasts notes and playlist and pulled up the False Gods Pinterest board, the character playlists, and the embarrassingly rough first draft that I somehow still adore even though it’s a complete mess.

An Example Of What A Mess This First Draft Is:

*second week of NaNoWriMo 2017*

*in the midst of drafting False Gods for the first time*

*my small group was also in the midst of a study on the book of Acts and we had just finished the part where Paul is on Malta, a snake comes out of the fire, bites him in the hand, the natives expect him to swell up and die, and then he doesn’t die because God*

Me: *whining* I don’t know why this character is going on this trip with them! I don’t want him on this trip! He ruins the whole dynamic!

Daddy: What if a viper bites him, he swells up, and dies?

Me: Haha, psh. You’re cute. No, I would never do that. *laughs* That would be ridiculous.

*literally 20 minutes later*

“… So-and-so let out a sharp cry. A viper hung from So-and-so’s calf…”

And yes, this character definitely swelled up and died on the spot. Problem = solved. Don’t worry, kids. I’m a professional.

Anyway, April began with a huge bang and kept right on steamrolling. About halfway through, I lowered my goal from 55 hours to 50 hours because there were a few days when I had far better things to do than work on False Gods (and if I’m saying that about The Novel That I Love, you know it’s true).

With the help of my amazing cabin, I made it to my goal of 50 hours by the end of April, and I made so much progress!… sort of… okay, so, looking back at where False Gods was at the start of April, I’m like, “Woah!! I’ve done so much work on it! It’s come so far! Woohoo! FULL SPEED AHEAD!”… but then when I think about having spent 50 hours (50 HOURS) of work on it, I’m like, “How is this all that’s gotten done in 50 freaking hours of work??!”.

So here we are.

I’m going to briefly share a few things—we’ll  call them fun facts—that have happened with False Gods over the month of April.

  • I read and annotated the first draft.
  • Existing plot points and new plot points went on index cards and were arranged into the semblance of a plot. (Side note: why the heck do we even have plots? Who needs them? *distant sobbing*)
  • I dug into Asha (my main character who I adore) and his past, figuring out more of his history and emotional wounds and such. (Hint: hurt people hurt people, people.)
  • I dug into Adele (my secondary POV character) and her past a little more, but she’s been in my head longer than Asha, so I already knew more of her history, but I was able to smooth some things out with her.
  • Asha and Adele were classified and explored according to their personality. Asha’s a rebel according to the four tendencies and a ESTP according to the Meyers-Briggs system. Adele’s an upholder according to the four tendencies and an ISFJ according to Meyers-Briggs. (Yeah, they ended up as almost complete opposites. #oops.)
  • While working on Asha’s brain, I compiled a list of his flaws and his virtues because that’s what professionals do. It turns out that he has eight flaws and counting. His only virtue is his wicked sense of humor, which I don’t think actually counts, especially since “wicked” describes it perfectly.
  • Despite how depraved it turns out Asha is, I still like him, and I think other people will too.
  • Adele, on the other hand, has seven virtues and counting with only three flaws.
  • I cemented down some of the major history for my storyworld (particularly, Asha’s heritage).
  • I finished sorting through an entire book of baby names and compiled a complete list of characters and why they’re there.
  • I revised the first sixteen chapters (part one) of False Gods.
  • A rough map of the storyworld has been drawn.
  • I did some focused work on Adele’s POV voice and settled on a tone that suits her.
  • 47 hours into Draft Two, I finally came roaring out of the honeymoon phase with False Gods (meaning: I started to despair about how much work it needs, began to hate it, etc.).
  • 52 hours into Draft Two, I zipped right back into the honeymoon phase. (Something about these characters, people. I can’t hate them or ignore them.)
  • I realized that False Gods is indeed the correct title for this story. If you remember from my recap post from NaNoWriMo 2017, I wasn’t sure if it suited Asha’s story after I brought Adele out of her story and into his. Spoiler alert: oh, it works.
  • Speaking of Asha’s story, I also figured out that Asha is indeed my main character. One would think I would have already known this, but alas. For a while there, I wasn’t sure which of them was my main character because they both have so much at stake, are so dear to me, etc., etc.. But then I realized that this isn’t about the mortal who goes toe-to-toe with an immortal pantheon; this is about the immortal who gets defeated by a mortal. This is about a dude who actually thinks he’s a god and all the lies he believes that have to be unraveled for him to become truly great. So, yeah, that was just nice to finally get sorted out in my brain.
  • False Gods is not subtle. At all. Most of my flash fictions have been fairly indirect in how they reflect Christ. That’s not at all the case with False Gods; the themes are very direct, born from a season in my life that’s felt like a spiritual wilderness. I’ve come to terms with the fact that while I want to write subtle fiction, False Gods is just not one of those stories. It never has been, and it never will be.

Anyhoo. That was a crazy long post, and it’s not even helpful or anything like that. It’s just me spazzing my way from one thought about April and False Gods to another like a rabbit on caffeine (Out of Time series reference, yo).

Part of me is like, “Oh, this level of hyper is probably incoherent and/or annoying”, but then the rest of me is like, “Lol, do it anyway.”.

SO. This is one of the things I’m super jazzed about right now. What is something you’re excited about right now? A project? A trip? A novel?

With love,


P.S. – thanks again to Kat for telling me I don’t always “have to be on” here on the ol’ blog.

P.P.S. – don’t forget to sign-up for the 2018 Penprints Flash Fiction Dash and check out the giveaway that’s currently running.


5 Years of Blogging [newsletter launch + giveaways]

Every April I say to myself: “You should do a special post on the anniversary of your first blog post.”

Myself always replies: “Ah, yes, what a lovely idea.”

And every year, the 19th of April slips by like a… um… a, uh… Sneaky Thing under the cover of darkness. Or something. (The significance of April 19th is that it’s my blog anniversary, for those of you who weren’t catching on).

Me to myself in January 2018: I decree that it will. not. happen. this year! April 19th shall not slip by like a Sneaky Thing under the cover of darkness! No! Not This time!

Myself to me on April 20th: Oops.

Thus, here we are. On the 23rd of April. Talking about how I’ve been blogging for five years now as of April 19, 2018. Which was four days ago.

5 years of blogging.jpg

A few numbers:

  • 5 years of blogging (in case you hadn’t picked up on that already)
  • 3 different blog names (anybody remember the two blog names that came before Penprints? If you do, keep it secret, keep it safe.)
  • 224 posts (including this one). Only 97 of them remain public; the other 127 are hidden away to never be seen any other eyes but mine own. However, my Original Post remains as cute and 15-year-old-Rosalie as ever.
  • Nearly 300 followers 281 to be exact, but “nearly 300” sounds better

Now, here is quick survey to please fill out with your feedback on Penprints. I want to know what you guys want to see/not see on Penprints, so please take 3 minutes to fill out this survey.

To celebrate I’m launching my newsletter and throwing a few giveaways!

How is subscribing to this newsletter different than subscribing to just Penprints?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a very compelling list of differences that will make you want to subscribe ASAP.

  • Way more info so that you are in the know; need to know stuff, and you’ll need to know it
  • Frequent giveaways (once a quarter)
  • Sneak peaks at my current writing projects (excerpts, collages, playlists)
  • Special announcements (submissions, contracts, first looks at blog posts/series)
  • Input on the newsletter freebie (more on that in a minute)
  • All sorts of recommendations (music, books, etc.)
  • You get emails from High Command (that’s right–this newsletter is going to be called High Command, and thus will, at the very least, sound Super Swanky)
  • Input on what you, as the recipients of the High Command memos, will be called (you get to name yourselves instead of just being called “kids”, “friends”, “guys”, and all the other things I call you here on Penprints)

How often will memos (aka: newsletters) from High Command be sent out?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

Fresh newsletters will be in your inboxes every month or so. (Translation: I’m shooting for once a month, but sometimes it might be every other month.)

If something exciting happens (i.e. – CONTRACT), a little newsletter might surprise you with nothing more than Exciting News.

Newsletter giveaways will happen once a quarter, theoretically corresponding with the beginning of a new season (if I can keep my scheduling head on straight; bullet journal, don’t fail me now). The giveaways will be for gift cards, books, and other such fun things.

What is a newsletter freebie?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

A newsletter freebie is a shorty story or ebook (or something of that nature) that is given out those who loyally subscribe to a newsletter. I’ve been planning on putting together a newsletter freebie since 2016. “Planning” is the operative term here.

SO, as some of the first subscribers to High Command (my newsletter), you would be able to offer special input about what you want to receive for being a subscriber and thus set the trend for all the subscribers that come after you. I’ll give you a few options in the first newsletter.

And what is being given away?

Oh, I’m glad you asked.

Because I don’t have a newsletter freebie to offer you, I’m offering several prize packages. Four prize packages, to be exact.

The Reinke Package

the reinke package 1.jpgThis includes hard copies of three books by Tony Reinke (aka: one of my absolute favorite Christian non-fiction authors ever).

I’ve read all three, and they are a-mazing. Each one has transformed my thinking in exciting ways, and I cannot recommend them enough.

  1. Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books
  2. The Joy Project
  3. 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You

The Writer’s Package:

the writers package 1.jpgThese includes hard copies of three writing craft books that I believe are essential to every writer’s bookshelf. I have read and reread them, and they have taught me so much as a writer.

  1. On Writing by Stephen King
  2. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King
  3. Go Teen Writers by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson

The Brandes Package:

the brandes package 1This one includes–you guessed it!–hard copies of books by Nadine Brandes AND a complete set of the Happy Hello magnetic bookmarks based off of characters from the Out of Time Series. I have read all four of these books and adore each one, and the bookmarks are so much fun!

  1. A Time to Die (Out of Time Series #1)
  2. A Time to Speak (Out of Time Series #2)
  3. A Time to Rise (Out of Time Series #3)
  4. Happy Hello Out of Time Series bookmarks
  5. Fawkes

The Musical Package:

the musical package 1.jpgSome stuff from my favorite musicals! (No, none of this is The Greatest Showman stuff, even though I so enjoy that musical.)

  1. The Phantom of the Opera DVD (the movie version with Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler)
  2. Wicked Original Broadway Cast CD
  3. Les Miserables themed travel mug

When is all this happening?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

Today is April 23rd (in case you hadn’t noticed). The first newsletter will go out June 1, and the winners of the giveaways will be announced in that newsletter.

SO, you have until May 31st to subscribe and be eligible to win one of the four prize packages. That’s over a month, kids.

What do I do with all this info (aka: how do I enter the giveaways)?

Ah, I’m glad you asked.

So, to subscribe to my newsletter and specify which package(s) you want to be entered to win, hop over to THIS FORM to enter your email address and check the appropriate giveaway boxes.

NOTE: these giveaways ARE international! 

And that’s it, kids!

Don’t forget to fill out the survey about Penprints (it’s just a couple minutes, I promise)! I so appreciate all of you who have joined in on this blog over the last five years! You’ve put up with long, unexplained silences, we’ve had great conversations, and you guys make this fun!

What else should I include in my newsletter? Which prize package appeals to you the most?

With love,


P.S. – And, no, I’m not ashamed of having a whole package devoted to Nadine Brandes’ books. Not one bit.

What do you mean this post is supposed to have a title? [it’s something about saying the same thing again and again]

About six or eight months ago, I decided to try to post a God-related blog post every other week so that I would write and share thoughts and findings about God, the Christian life, Jesus, etc. more often because I’d been inconsistent in my posting before. Now, I’m thinking about that decision a little more critically.

on repeat.jpg

Sometimes I worry that I’m just saying the same thing over and over again on this blog.

Sad to be single? –> Be careful not to listen to your emotions too much. Pray. Focus on Jesus. Read the Bible.

Need some hope? –> Be careful not to listen to your emotions too much. Focus on Jesus. Pray. Listen to some good music. Read the Bible. You need the Holy Spirit’s help. You don’t know everything.

Struggling with sleeplessness? –> Pray. Listen to some good music. Work on memorization and meditation. Focus on Jesus. Read the Bible. Also, the Psalms.

Judging others? –> You’ve got some pride. Think about yourself in relation Jesus. Focus on Jesus. You need the Holy Spirit’s help.

Need an appetite for God? –> Think about yourself in relation to Jesus. Pray. You need the Holy Spirit’s help. Also, the Psalms. Read the Bible.

Self-control issues? –> You need the Holy Spirit’s help. Focus on Jesus.

Giving or receiving writing critique? –> You’ve got some pride issues. Be kind.

Trials? – You don’t know everything. You need the Holy Spirit’s help. Focus on Jesus.

In sum: God, Jesus, the Bible. Emotions = fickle and untrustworthy. Pride bad and you’ve got it. Here’s my current playlist on the subject. Read the Bible. You’re having daily devotions, right? The Psalms. Also, the Holy Spirit.

Anyone else noticing a theme? A few common denominators?

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently (aka: the last six to eight months)–if I’m just saying the same thing over and over again, should I simply stop writing about God-related things? Is it useless?

Or is it that maybe the answers to many questions are a lot more simple than we like to believe?

Because, really, how much will our lives change if the Holy Spirit is filling every breathing moment?

Because, really, how much will our lives change if we sit down everyday to carefully read and contemplate the Bible?

Because, really, how much will our lives change if we go daily to our knees and put in the effort to pray like we mean it when we say, “Thank you for this day” and “In Jesus’s name, amen”?

I believe my life, and yours too, will change in ways I cannot begin to imagine.

So while I don’t want to become a broken record on this blog, I don’t want to stop saying what’s true.

1) We over-complicate things, expecting a hundred different solutions to a hundred different problems, but the solution is really quite simple: Read the Bible; pray everyday.

2) We’re creatures who so quickly forget. So, I’ll remind myself and anyone who reads Penprints about the simple truth, the simple Gospel, as long as I need reminding (spoiler alert: that will be a very, very, very long time).

On the other hand, topical blog posts can only take us so far.

I want to start doing something a little different here on Penprints. I want to keep writing topical posts about the Christian life when I have something to say, but I don’t want to speak just to fill the silence every other week.

To balance out the topical posts that seem to all end the same way just with different words, I want to start doing a few more exegetical study posts. I have the four Servant Songs from Isaiah and a few other passages in mind that I want to share studies from sometime this year (“sometime this year” is my way of giving myself an opportunity to procrastinate).

The point of this post.

Some things are worth repeating, but that does not give us *cough cough* me license to grow lazy and simply say the same thing over and over again because I feel like I have to say something but have nothing else new or helpful to say.

It’s just one of those things that’s hard to balance like the Force, but for all our sakes I shall do my best.

What sorts of posts do you want to see on Penprints? What are you up to this happy Monday?

With love,


P.S. – I’m sorry for how last week’s post tried to drag you out of your inbox by giving only an excerpt of the post in the email. I was fiddling with the settings and accidentally hit the wrong button. But I don’t want to be the blogger who tries to up pageviews by not giving her loyal followers the whole post by email as promised (I have unfollowed blogs for that very crime).

P.P.S. – For those of you still trying to figure out if you’re in the 15% that knows what the feature image has to do with this post, there is no 15%. The picture has nothing to do with this post. All our minds = blown. Lol, sometimes I think I’m so funny.

Winter Bucketlist 2018

Since we are almost halfway through winter, I should probably have put this up on the ol’ blog a while ago or not at all, but whatevs. I like winter, and I haven’t even gotten to most of the stuff on this list, so it’s basically new.

winter bucketlist.jpg

  • Finish Draft Five of Beasts. Yeah, this old rag. Right now I’m doing a lot of re-evaluating of themes and characters. It’s an unruly story, and if it’s not careful, it will get torn down and rebuilt again.
dream bigger 1

this gif makes all the blood, sweat, and tears I’ve poured into Beasts okay

  • Reread The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The sequel–Reclaiming Shilo Snow–comes out on March 6, so I need to refresh on this beautiful, difficult story.
  • Reread Unblemished by Sara Ella. The final book in the trilogy comes out this May, and so I need to start in on the reread of Unblemished and read Unraveling so I’m all set for when Unbreakable comes out (I’ve had Unraveling for several months, but I decided to wait until closer to Unbreakable‘s release to read it since I’ve heard it’s a heart breaker).
  • Register for Realm Makers. (Done!)
  • Memorize Psalm 46. There are so many Psalms I want to memorize, but Psalm 46 is currently one of my favorites. It’s only eleven verses, so I think it shouldn’t take me too long to get this baby down.
  • Submit two pieces for publication. (one down, one to go)
  • Some sort of polar plunge thing. Apparently all the official polar plunges take place on New Year’s Day. In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s already long gone. SO, I’ll probably wait until some of the ice melts on the lake and just go jump in with a few people hanging around to make sure they can drag me out in case I black out from the cold. (Fun fact for you: this is actually research for Flickering Lights.)
  • Visit an art museum. (Done!)
  • Read a book about French impressionists. As it turns out, I enjoy French impressionist paintings a lot. So I’m on the lookout for a good book about those French geniuses.
  • Go ice skating. I’ve only done it once before in my life. I had a very up-close and personal relationship with the ice and a bunch of bruises by the time I left the rink, but it was fun! I definitely want to try it again.
  • Go on an early morning walk in the snow. This needs no explanation.
  • Walk on a frozen lake. (Done!)
  • Go sledding. This is mainly because I recently rewatched The Giver and love the wonder of the main character when he goes on his first sled ride. I want to relearn some of that wonder.
  • Go snow skiing. I’ve also only done this once before–maybe I’ll tell you guys about that adventure sometime–and I MUST DO IT AGAIN.
  • Electronic detox. E’rebody needs one of these periodically, and it’s about time I had another one.
  • Watch Black Panther. No explanation needed.
  • Rewatch Gifted. I cannot stop thinking about this movie. I must rewatch it and take notes. So good.
  • Go to an open mic. Probably not to perform anything but just to get out of the house and do something I haven’t in a while.

What about you? Are there any things you want to do before spring melts the snow??

With love,


P.S. – nine days until Valentine’s Day, people.

The 6 Stages of a Weekday [if ever there was a post to be a gif-full post, it is this post] [seriously, though, we’re looking at less than 200 words]

This is a #realtalk post, my friends. It’s about weekdays.

Let’s get to it.

6 stages of a weekday.jpg

Stage One: Waking From Slumber.

Alarm #1.

snooze 1.gif

*gently snoozes*

Alarm #2.

snooze 2

*snoozes less gently*

Alarm #3.

waking up 1

*failing to silence alarm #3*

Stage Two: Waking From Slumber [the sequel].

Actually up.

mushu wake up 1.gif

Profound words.

hungry gif 1.gif

Food is our friend.

waffles 1.gif


limitless 7

it’s all better now

Stage Three: Assessing the To-Do List.

On first glance…

killing machine 1

After further contemplation…

reading 2.gif

A little bit later.

i just need to rule it 1.gif

sometimes I get some earthshaking revelations

Stage Four: Work.

(Disclaimer: I enjoy my day job immensely, but it requires departing from the the house. Thus…)

At first.

hm no 1.gif

Suiting up.

stranger things 18.gif

At work.

singing in the rain 2

because I can

Stage Five: The Revenge of the To-Do List

Approach #1.

eating 3.gif

Approach #2.

procrastination 2

Approach #3.

procrastination 1

Approach #4.

hamster eating 1

Approach #5.

stranger things 27.gif

Approach #6.

doing stuff 4

wait a sec. I think something might be happening.

doing stuff 2

oh wow

dream bigger 1

you better believe it

doing stuff 5


doing stuff 3


doing stuff 6.gif


Stage Six: The End of the Day.


reading 1


yum 1.gif

More reading.

reading 3

General merrymaking.

stranger things 1.gif

The End.

Yeah, that basically sums it up.

Does any of this apply to you wonderful people? Which stage do you find yourself caught in the most? What stages do you experience that I do not?

With love,


P.S. – congrats to Lisa from Inkwell on winning the magazine giveaway! Watch your inbox for an email from me! :D