Friday, 28 October 2011

Nanowrimo... coming soon!


So... I've decided to make another attempt at nanowrimo, only because I actually have a story.
And by that, I mean that I have characters (five of them so far) and I have a story arch, and I have a beginning, and I have an ending (I think. It might change as it goes), and I have something of a muddly idea of a middle. So that, I hope, is going to make it just that little bit more easier to keep going after last year's fiasco.

To be fair, I had a great idea last year. I actually was on target up to about somewhere in the second week. And then it happened. I realised that I just didn't know enough of about what I was trying to write about. I just couldn't continue writing after that. Sigh. Don't worry though, that story is still in the pipeline... I will get back to it when I feel that I know enough! (Also, when I have time to go and research).

This year's story... will not face that problem because I am writing what I love to read the most. Fantasy. I don't think it's going to be quite under the epic category (I'm not sure what fits there) but it's gonna be an exciting adventurous story and if I get stuck... I'll just re-read a favourite for inspiration! The thing that is going to be a challenge though is this whole world-building thing. I suck at it. I suck at making decisions as to why this should happen and why it should not. What kind of magical structure it should be? Mysterious or rule-based? Inherent or learnt? (I'm leaning towards inherent)
Argh, and this whole plotting thing? Sigh. I'm so seriously a panster. Then again, who knows? I might find that it's easier to write with all this background and structure in place. We'll see.



At any rate, Sommer Leigh is inviting YOU to be a NaNoWriMo champion

What does that mean? 
It means even if you aren't going to join in the fun, you'll be standing by the sidelines and cheering us on.
How do I do that?
Simple. See that linky list down there? Take a few minutes of your time to visit each of those blogs and leave and encouraging comment - ESPECIALLY on posts that sound something like this: "MY NOVEL SUCKS SO MUCH I'M GOING TO GIVE UP!"
What if I'm taking part?
If you're taking part, add your name and link to the list! And don't forget to pop by at your fellow wrimos blogs and leave sparkly writer dust! Add them to your buddy list so that their wordcounts can cheer you on! (I'm natanna at the site) Most of all, have fun. Write fast. Write with abandon. You have the rest of the year to edit. Just get those words out.
(Also, check back here on Nov 1 for a special post...)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

#REN3: Coach Thief (part 4)

Read:
Part one
Part two
Part three


Prompt: There is a new arrival in town
Wordcount: 590

---

“Look, Cousin Randall. We can easily explain ourselves,” Jean started.

“Why do we need to explain anything to him?” Jane interrupted, pulling away from him. “You’ve already told him enough as it is.”

“I barely said anything!”

“Oh,” she lowered her voice, “telling him we’re engaged isn’t enough, is it? Next you’ll be telling him my family name.”

Randall cleared his throat.

Jean glanced at him. “Come on, Jane. Be reasonable.”

“Reasonable! About what?”

“About the gun in his hand?”

“He won’t shoot. Will you, Randall?” she fluttered her eyelashes at him.

“Well. Now. Why don’t you tell me what this is all about?” Randall said, lowering his gun.

“We just got engaged a week ago,” Jean said, ignoring Jane’s glares. “And Bill’s a new hire.”

Randall tugged at his collar. “Well, congratulations again then, but how could Bill not know? Population about Roundeli is probably much less than our three hundred and thirty three in Renaissance and I’m sure an engagement in the Johnson family would be a pretty big do…”

“Ah, that’s because, we didn’t exactly…”

“Look, Cousin Randall, let’s be reasonable,” Jane glared at Jean. “I made a mistake. Jean here has cleared it up. Can’t we leave it at that?”

“We could, I suppose,” he said slowly. “But there seems to be a lot of confusion about here.”

“Oh, no one’s confused,” she said brightly. “The coach belongs to Jean, and I didn’t recognise his new coachman. Jean here, and the coachman, of course, will follow you back to your place, where I’m sure they will have a wonderful stay in all the comforts of Renaissance. I will have to be heading back to Assart. Have to return the horse, you know. Is that all settled?”

Jean shrugged.

“As settled as can be,” Randall finally said, throwing Jean a look that clearly meant ‘you had better tell me all about it when she is gone’.

“Wonderful. I’ll be on my way then.” Jane made her way to her horse, Jean trailing after her.

“Stay out of trouble,” Jean said wryly, as he gave her a peck on the cheek.

“You better keep your mouth shut,” Jane warned him as she mounted the horse.

“Will you be in Assart when I head back to Roundeli?” he asked.

“I don’t know yet. We will have to see the situation then. I will try to write to you as soon as I can settle things.”

The four of them turned as the pounding of hooves carried over the wind.

Randall squinted in the hot sun. He could make out two riders coming in with speed.

“Plenty of visitors to Renaissance today,” he commented.

Jane leaned forward, her mouth tight. “Time to run for it,” she hissed even as she spurred her horse and galloped away.

Jean watched as one of the riders peeled away, turning to follow Jane’s tracks.

The other rider rode up to the post office.

“What was Jane Heriot doing here?” he asked roughly.

“That wasn’t Jane Heriot. I think you were mistaken,” Jean said. He gripped the railing tightly to keep his hands from shaking.

“Don’t lie to me, boy. I can recognise that redhead from more than a hundred paces. Is her pa here?”

“Nope, no one called Heriot in this town, right Randall?”

Randall nodded. “Those kind stay over in Heriot’s Pass where they belong.”

The man rumbled with laughter. “Outlaws never stay where they belong, mister.”

Randall stared at Jean speculatively. The young man had a lot of explaining to do.

---

And we are done!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

#bookreview: Character Development from the Inside Out

Character Development from the Inside OutCharacter Development from the Inside Out by Scott Morgan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


If what you’re looking for is a book that pulls out from your own subconscious the basic building blocks of how to create compelling characters, then Scott Morgan’s Character Development from the Inside Out is a great resource.

Character Development is a well-structured resource book that leads you a step at a time through subjects like the necessity of creating believable and relevant characters, how characters and their reactions really drive the story (even if it’s a plot-driven novel), getting to know your characters, types of characters and, of course, how to actually build your character. He relates the process with how an artist draws a figure model - from the bare bones outwards.

Morgan also drills down into three main genres - defined as heroic, commercial and literary fiction - to discuss typical heroes and villains that are often found and gives keys to understanding how they were created and how it can be applied in developing your own characters.

Following his points is not difficult - Morgan relates his key points to everyday life observations and our own natural reactions to the people around us. To further drive it home, he then links these to characters in different novels which makes you sit up and go “hey - I kind of knew that. Why didn’t I realise it before?”

This is one resource I will probably be reading again for refreshers.


View all my reviews

Note: I received this a review copy of this book from Scott Morgan.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

#Fridayflash: Waiting

She sighed, watching as pink and orange fingers stretched across the sky above her. The smell of synbatec* wafted over the salty breeze; like old newspapers, she had once told him. He sank onto the mat next to her. Propping up her head with her left hand, she seemed to align herself to him, her eyes devouring that forbidden mystery cloaked in softening half-shadows. Engines roared to life in the distance - work would be starting in an hour or so, but she was wastopaneer** now. Free.

The minutes ticked by and she watched him breathing, wondering when he would say something. If he would say something. She shifted her body again and again. Finally pulling up the edge of the rattan mat, she brushed at the sand until she found an offending stone. She walked to the edge of the water. A flick of her wrist and the stone skipped out into the horizon, finally sinking in a slow wave. Dusting the grit off her hands, she sat back down on the mat wondering what would happen next.

He was moving now, sniffing at the air. She sniffed tentatively with him, wrinkling her nose when she caught it too. The look on his face now was similar to the one he had when he had told the waiter off for spilling the coffee yesterday.

“Sorry, I didn’t realise…” she blurted, her hands reaching towards him in supplication, waiting for the cutting words, bitter sneers.

Instead, he caught her hands, pulling her tight against him, wrapping his arms around her waist. “Tacise***,” he whispered. It doesn’t matter.

She caught her breath as he leaned in; her eyes widening.

His first kiss was the sweetest thing she had ever tasted.

---

Wordcount: 289  

* a synthetic perfume
** someone who has just been retrenched
*** Don't worry.


---
From Rachael Harrie's Third Campaigner Challenge:
Write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:
  • that it’s morning, 
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.
Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: "synbatec," "wastopaneer," and "tacise."   (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).
I know the title is rather unimaginative. I suck at titles.

Edit: I knew I forgot something. I'm #78 on Rachael's linky if you feel the urge to vote for me. :)

A to Z, Intense Debate, Character Development and a Launch Party!

A to Z
The A to Z Challenge now has its own blog here: Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. Click join to become a Friend of the Alphabet!

IntenseDebate
I don't know if you've noticed, but I've recently installed IntenseDebate as my new commenting system. I saw it from over at J.L. Campbell's blog and thought oh hey, that looks snazzy! And it solves the reply-to-comment problem I was having. So I hope it works =]
I noticed that it seemed to revert to the old commenting system sometime during the day. It could be because the new Blogger interface is not supported (the how-to guides were based on the old one) so I've switched back. Tweet/e-mail me if you have problems commenting so I can figure out whether to stay with it or not.
Edit: I figured out at least one thing wrong... IntenseDebate does not show up if you use IE. BOO, IE!! It apparently shows up fine on Safari and Firefox so far. 

Character Development from the Inside Out
I don't know what took me so long to get onto goodreads but I'm seriously loving it! I've just received a pdf promo copy of Scott Morgan's book, Character Development from the Inside Out for review purposes as part of the WriteHook-A-Palooza event. It's good stuff - the review should be up probably by Saturday. (I'd say Friday, but I've got the Third Campaigner's Challenge scheduled then).

Open Minds Virtual Launch Party
I'm taking part in Susan Kaye Quinn's upcoming virtual book launch on November 1st. I "met" Susan recently via our triberr group, Writer Warriors, and am looking forward to reading her novel!
The party involves:
  • posts on #keepingOPENMINDS
  • reviews of Open Minds
  • guest posts by Susan! 
You can sign up here if you want to join in the fun (the guest post option is now closed, though). I'll be posting my review on 1st Nov itself so remember to check back here AND at her site on 1/11/11 to party with us. :)
She's hosting an ARC giveaway right now so hop on over to enter. Two paper ARCs are up for grabs!

Here's the blurb to keep you entertained:
When everyone reads minds, 
    a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

#REN3: Coach Thief (part 3)

Read part one and part two.

Prompt: Relationships unravel or strengthen, a long-kept secret is revealed
Wordcount: 574

---

“Did I? I don’t seem to recall.”
“So you be a liar and a thief.”
“How dare you accuse me…”
“You don’t have problems accusing everyone else.”
“Let go of me, you… you…”
The verbal volley made Jean’s head spin. He was just glad no guns were making their appearance just yet, though he could see the man’s trigger finger twitching involuntarily.
“Hold on a minute here,” he interjected, stepping in between them. “What are you doing here, Jane? Were you following me?”
“Oh Jean, I saw someone drive off with the coach and I couldn’t find you, so I came after him.”
“Then why did you say it was yours?” the man growled. “Who are you? And I don’t like being lied to, woman.”
“I…”
“She’s my fiancee,” Jean said quickly, shooting a look at her.
“And who might you be?”
“I’m Jean Johnson. I’m here to visit with my cousin Randall.”
“That the truth now,” he replied, rubbing at his stubble. Jean wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, so he just nodded.
“Well, then. This is a pickle.”
“What is?”
“I always thought Cousin Jean was a girl.”
Jean laughed. “My mother was French.”
“And that makes it alright?”
“No, that makes it normal - in some faraway places, like the Roundeli Mountains.” Jean had a sneaky suspicion that this would turn out to be his cousin. The man looked less tense now, starting to smile genially at Jane. “And you are…”
“Cousin Randall.”
“Ah. Glad to have finally met you, Cousin.”
“Likewise.”
The two men shook hands.
“Done with your letter writing, Bill? You’ll have to take the coach round to Cousin Randall’s place,” Jean addressed his coachman.
“All done, sir.” Bill purchased a couple of stamps and left the letter with the postmaster.

Noticing Jane’s pinched face, Jean hung back as Randall and Bill headed toward the door.
“Cousin Randall, you two go on ahead. I just need to have a talk with Jane for a little while.”
Not waiting for a reply, Jean turned on his fiancee. “What’s wrong now?” he hissed.
“I thought you didn’t want to announce our engagement just yet!” she said frantically. “Did you forget?”
“Forget? No - he looked like the family-man type and I didn’t know who he was. And it’s the truth anyway. You are going to be my wife, aren’t you?”
She smiled coyly angling her face up for a kiss. He kissed her on the nose.
“What if your mother finds out?” she whispered.
He put his arms around her waist. “We’ll steal the letter before it reaches her. Don’t worry, Jane. We’ll sort it out somehow. Practically though, what do we do now?”
“I’ve got to get back to Assart before Bob throws a fit.”
Jean looked out the window. “You had better leave soon if you want to make it before sundown.”
“Yes. But I’ll miss you.”
“You can ride up any day you want, missy.”
She giggled. Hand in hand, they headed out the door.

Randall was leaning against the coach inspecting his gun, the brim of his hat pulled low over his eyes.
“I do have a question, Cousin Jean.”
“What’s that, Cousin Randall?”
“If this here woman’s your fiancee,” he tilted the barrel carelessly at Jane. “How come this here coachman of yours doesn’t know that you’re engaged? And why would she not know your own coachman?”
Jean held her close, protectively.

---

Tune in next Wednesday/Thursday for the grand finale! :)

Edit: Read part four here.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Three exciting things


After the release of Letters to my ten year old self, I received an e-mail saying that I won a book in a Goodreads giveaway:




Isn't that exciting! I've never read any of Sandra Brown's stuff, but I'm looking forward to it. It should be arriving in about 4 - 6 weeks, according to the site.
Here's an excerpt of the blurb, taken off the goodreads page:
 

Hammond Cross wants to be the district attorney, and for years he has proven himself to be a man of high principles and irreproachable character. When his investigations turn up evidence of the corruption of local tycoon Lute Pettijohn, Hammond has no doubt about what is the right thing to do--even when his own father is under suspicion. However, this simple debate becomes complicated when Pettijohn is murdered and Hammond's alibi is a night of forbidden passion with the suspected murderess, Dr. Alex Ladd.


Also, this is a little late in the posting, but Weng Onn, a friend of mine, is (was?) the composer for the latest Malaysian musical: The Secret Life of Nora.


The write up was in the Star here and I'd initially missed reading it (I don't read the news much) but my mom went "hey, your friend was interviewed."
Back in 2004 we were in the same cell group at SIB KL and we worked together in the first season of Drunk Before Dawn. (Chehwah, sounds so pro... he was one of the composers, I was a lowly chorus member. Haha)
I don't really know why I'm excited for him, since I haven't actually spoken to him since I left KL in 2006-ish and he went off to New York for his Masters, but hey I'm happy for his success!

I've also got my novel synopsis up at on my NaNoWriMo profile! I'm excited that I actually have a plot and something akin to a story line even before November and I think I could really do a lot with this one. It's also something I've been wanting to write for a while now - something which fits the profile of most of the books I read: it has magic and fighting. I'm a little sucky on the world-building thing (which is why I'm glad I have the idea now so I can fiddle with it before the writing spree comes) but there's no better place to start and try than now, is there?
I admit I was also very excited about last year's story, but I hit a glitch called "I have no clue what I'm writing about" which derailed me midway. I'm still researching into that one on a bit of an on-and-off basis because I really do like the story, but it really needs more research, which I don't really have the time to do on a consistent basis. Sigh. If anyone wants to be my political/sociological advisor with a spin on a uniquely Malaysian setup, please feel free to volunteer. I'm also trying to steer off the deep undercurrent of blatant racist blaming that happens so often, so that's a challenge.

Okay. So that's the three exciting things for today.
I'll just add one more for good measure. Alex and Donna Carrick at Carrick Publishing are having a Daily E-book Give-away, so mosey over here to pick up the free coupon codes for smashwords. I've already read Donna's Sept-iles and Other Places, which was a really good read (my review here) so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of them.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Some shameless self promotion

I'm excited to announce that my previous friday flash "Dear ten year old self" has been published in a collection of stories here: Letters to My Ten Year Old Self!
It started off as a writing prompt by Nina Pelletier, full-time writer who lives in Ontario, Canada, and has been compiled by Nina and Drew Nicholson on smashwords via their the soon-to-be-online publishing house Scriptorum Tantillum.
If you liked my entry, I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy the book!
Get it here!
[Edit: I realise I didn't say something I should have - the book is currently free on Smashwords. So go download your copy now!]

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

#REN3: Coach Thief (part 2)

Read part one.




Prompt: A character lies to another on an important matter, One of the characters is revealed to be not who she is
Wordcount: 549
---

Jane glared at the man, pulling her hand away from his grip. She turned on her heel and stalked up and down the porch, shooting furious thoughts at him. As his words filtered through her brain, she stopped mid-step.

“I’m sorry, but uh, actually,” she stammered.

“What is it?” His eyes flickered irritably in her direction.

“Are… are you Cousin Randall?”

She could feel the blush starting from the base of her neck, the warmth blossoming up to her high cheekbones, as he nodded.

“You be Cousin Jean?” he asked wryly.

“I… yes. Sorry.”

“So this here unknown man,” he nodded at the door, “stole this here fancy coach from you from somewhere in Assart?”

She nodded back at him, wondering if she would have enough time to pull this off, even if her face hadn’t already given her away. He was rubbing at his chin now, deep in thought. She watched as his hand started caressing the butt of his gun.

“Where did you get it?”

“Sorry? Get what?”

“The coach. Not something you would regularly be driving round about here, would it? I’d imagine that’s why this here man was trying to get his fingers on it.”

“It’s just painted - not even gilded,” she said in a rush, trying to calm her wobbly voice. She was sure he suspected something the way he was staring hard-eyed. “The old pa did it up with a crest and everything - reminder of the past generations. Said he wanted to ride in style. I told him it wasn’t worth the expense and the effort.”

“Well then, let’s go find this thief to dispense some justice.”

Jane watched as he strode toward the door, arms slightly akimbo, his right hand brushing the holster on his hip. She took a step backward, waiting for him to enter the post office, when he turned again.

“Coming along?”

“Yes. Yes, of course.” She shrugged and followed him into the sunlit room.

The man behind the counter looked up at them then gave Jane a nod.

“Morning, ma’am. Howdy, Randall. That your cousin?”

Randall nodded. “Yep. And by her account your customer here seems to have stolen her coach.”

The sound of scratching stopped as the coachman looked up from the letter he was writing.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” the postmaster asked.

“The coach belongs to my boss,” he said calmly, resuming his writing.

Randall rubbed at his stubble again before speaking slowly. “You say the lady lies?”

“Didn’t say that. She could be mistaken.”

With Randall’s concentration fixed on the coachman, Jane slowly backed towards the door. As the tips of her fingers brushed against the door, it suddenly swung open sending her sprawling on the ground.

“Bill, I see you got the coach here in one piece. Oh dear, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to knock you over,” a familiar voice said. “Why, Jane! What are you doing in Renaissance?” The young man reached down, hand outstretched to help her up.

“Oh, hello, Jean. Just passing through. I think I have to go now,” she blurted in a spurt, scrambling to her feet.

“Hold on a moment!” Randall strode across the room, grabbing her arm. “Didn’t you say you were Cousin Jean?”

She broke out in cold sweat.

---
Read part three.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

#REN3: Coach Thief

Prompt: There is an argument.
Wordcount: 434
Setting: Western (late 1900s)

Randall squinted in the hot sun. He could make out dust clouds in the distance and hoped that it was the herald of Cousin Jean’s arrival. He rubbed at his prickly chin, wondering if he should have taken the time to shave that morning, seeing that the coach was late anyway. Well, it was too late for that now. She would have to take him as he was.

The black and gold coach stopped outside the post office.

“Howdy, stranger,” Randall greeted the coachman. “Welcome to Renaissance. You be carrying Cousin Jean?”

The man looked him up and down. “No,” he replied gruffly, turning away, his eyes stripping the small outpost town.

“Ah, well. Come in through Targe, did you?”

“No.” He threw the reins down to Randall who caught them deftly.

“Kris or Villein then?”

“What’s it to you?”

Randall shrugged. “See any other travellers coming out your way?”

The coachman ignored him and entered the building. Randall tied the reins to a nearby post and went back to surveying the horizon.

The new dust cloud that appeared fifteen minutes later didn’t look big enough to be another coach. Randall shaded his eyes with his hand, trying to get a better look. The woman who came galloping in at full speed was furious - Randall could tell by the set of her mouth, the lines of her eyebrows. He was fairly sure the shade of her face was more to do with the blistering heat and dust than her current state of emotions.

“Why the hell did you steal my coach?” she yelled as she dismounted.

Randall looked around. “I…”

“Don’t deny it! And you dare stand here, waiting for me to catch up with you? What the hell is wrong with you?” She had him pressed against the wall of the post office, pounding his chest with each word.

“But Ma’am, twasn’t me! The man, he…”

“It was you, Mr. Fuzzy Face! Now own up. I had to borrow this lousy horse that I have to take all the way back to Assart!”

“Look here, woman, you can’t simply go around accusing people you don’t know of stealing your coach.” He could feel the heat rising to his ears.

“Don’t woman me. I recognise your shoddy face and dusty clothes. Stupid country men!”

He caught her hand mid-punch, making her wince.

“I’ll woman you if I want to!” he growled. “The man from off the coach just walked into this here building. Now why don’t you go in and yell at him, then? Now leave me alone. I’m waiting for my cousin.”

---
Read part two.
Read part three.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Post camp post: being true to myself, a writer.

We had this session during iBridge camp about discernment, i.e. knowing the will of God. I don't have all the notes (I stopped jotting when they said they would get the slides to us, but I haven't seen them yet) but there was one thing that really struck me that day.

One of the guiding principles of discernment is to stay true and truthful to who and whose you are in Christ. 

There's a lot of stuff floating around about knowing yourself, being true to yourself, standing up for who you really are, and not all of it is Christian. In fact, most of it is rather post-modernistic, individualistic, let-me-do-what-the-heck-I-want-so-get-out-of-my-face-God (or maybe I'm getting the wrong kind of vibes here). But more often in the Christian circles, there's a lot of thing about finding God's will, focusing only on God and ignoring ourselves (we are nothing, we are nothing, we are nothing - kind of Buddhist, no?). True, Christ must increase, and we must decrease, but does that mean we ignore everything that our passions and inclinations drive us towards?

What does it mean to stay true and truthful to who you are? (Let's ignore the other bits for a moment.) Who you are matters, because God made you that way. If you are an engineer, you worship God through your engineering skills and making that no one gets killed by a bridge falling down or a phone blowing up or... something like that (I get a little fuzzy on details because there are so many kinds of engineers). If you are a doctor, you worship God by helping people get well, or at least by easing their pain until it's time to go. If you are a lawyer, you worship God by helping innocent people get their lives back and assist in disseminating justice where it's needed (though it may seem rather arbitrary at times). If you are an accountant or an auditor, you help ensure that the companies don't cheat money off their investors and the employees don't defraud their employers (to what little extent you can). But if you are an artist, or a writer, or a dancer, or anything to do with music and creative arts, it suddenly seems that you can't and aren't doing anything productive or useful unless you are leading worship in church, or decorating the church, or doing an Easter or Christmas production.

WHAT GIVES?

Why is every other profession more important to the body of Christ than the very professions that have the most impact on our daily lives?
And this is where I get into the rant mode, sorry.
I'm tired of people acting like it's SO easy to get a good story down on paper/screen, and to edit it. Like it can be done in a day. Yes, you can get 50,000 words out for NaNoWriMo in a month but that doesn't mean the story is good enough. It doesn't mean the writing is tight enough. It doesn't mean that you're done with it yet. And all this takes time, people. Time I do not have working a 8.30AM to whenever job.
I'm tired of people thinking it's SO easy to put a good play or *gasp* musical together. Like it can be put together in a week. Yes, you can have once a week practices for a month and do a decent play. But if it's anything longer than 5 minutes and you're working with a bunch of amateurs, or people who are just acting for the sake of it or because there is no one else, then it's not good enough. I'm sorry if I'm sounding condescending - I'm not the best of actors or directors OR playwrights - but it takes time to put stuff together that will be worth watching, and frankly half the stuff that comes out on church stages are not. Time I do not have working a 5-day, but in reality 6-day week.
I'm tired of the slipshod way we approach worship in church, like a two-hour anything-goes practice session is good enough to pull together a team that only plays together once in three weeks, and then expect God to DO SOMETHING WONDERFUL. Yes, He can, and DOES. But at the same time, is this what you really want to offer Him week after week? Because it is an offering, isn't it? It's not just "leading people to worship" it's also an act of worship in itself.

Where does this take us again? Well, it takes me back to the core question - who am i? 
What drives me? What makes me tick? What makes me stay up all night? Pulling aside all that I do and try to do, what motivates me?
This. Writing this. (It's 12.32AM now, despite the fact that you'll only see this on Sunday, 9AM because of the power of blog scheduling muahahahah and I have to get up at 6AM tomorrow to catch a plane.) Writing Friday Flashes. Receiving good and not-so-good comments. Trying to figure out which WIP to start editing, because I can't always sit on them until they grow stale and annoying.

And if this who I am is rooted in whose I am, doesn't that really mean that I'm a writer plugged in to the greatest Creator the world has ever seen? If I stay true to who I am and whose I am, doesn't that mean that I've already found my purpose and direction in life? Doesn't it mean that I don't have to keep asking the question, But God, what do you really want me to do?, as if I'm sure He's going to ask me to do something I cannot do or go somewhere I really hate just because I can't believe that He made me love writing so that I can write?

How does this translate into real life? 
I don't know yet. The two-year plan was to wait it out until David graduates and then see what happens. My mum insists it's a maximum one year break, to study some course or other in creative writing and/or creative arts. That may be part of the plan. I don't know. It's the first step I am looking at, just to redefine where I am.
Then again, it may be shorter. I don't know, there's this restlessness. There's this itch. There's this perpetual question (eh, so when are you going to resign? What, you're still at the same firm? Me: YAH, I know I'm loyal!)
But I'm ready, here and now.