CAMP NANOWRIMO BEGINS!: Day 1 – Freebies and Frenzies!

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

I’ve been flipping and flopping over how to start this month off here on Smudged Thoughts. As you all know, April’s Camp NaNoWriMo is one of my absolute F A V O R I T E months of the year, which means that I naturally want this first post–this first step into the month of April–to be something truly special.

I debated character interviews, Camp NaNoWriMo blog tags, pep talks, writing prompts. . . But none of them felt right. During all of this mental brainstorming, however, I was working on a side project of my own–a simple little thing that I was planning on using to make this Camp NaNoWriMo the best NaNoWriMo I’ve had thus far. Spurred on by my constant failure at tracking my writing process, I decided to delve into the confusion that is Google Spreadsheets and create my own kind of progress tracker–a tracker which, instead of being filled with a bunch of useless information I had no desire of knowing, was filled with the kinds of things I was actually excited to track.Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode III – Liam & Eleanor

This episode of LET’S CHAT! is brought to you by . . . Sir Arthur Conan Doilies! Now available in 221 different colors!



KENZIE: Good morning, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of LET’S CHAT! In our last interview, we got a sneak peek into the lives of Ed, Shelby, and Beau–three of the main characters within the universe of SK! Today, we’re going to be interviewing two new characters from that very same cast!

KENZIE: Ladies and gents, boys and girls, please give a big, warm welcome to Eleanor and Liam!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode II – Preparing for Camp (#campnano2020)

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Last week I announced what project I was going to be working on for Camp NaNoWriMo 2020. This week, we’re going to be diving into my preparations for the end of the world Camp!

A few years ago I made a post detailing my NaNoWriMo Survival Kit, and–quite honestly–most of the things I listed in that post still apply. I still hoard candy like the smol little gremlin that I am. I still collect notebooks and hide them into every nook and cranny in my room. I still stuff my friends into my briefcase and haul them around lest they abandon me. However, there are some things I’m doing this year that are a little bit different than years previous. I have some new materials that I shall be trying to utilize for productivity in April (planners, a google spreadsheet??? [what is this madness??]) and–if all goes according to plan–hopefully they’ll help me conquer my goals and become the ultimate productivity master!

(this is not happening. i’m just gonna call it now, folks.)

So this week in my Camp NaNo 2020 series, we’re going to be taking a closer look into my step-by-step guide to preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo!Read More »

CAMP NANOWRIMO APPROACHES!: Episode I #campnano2020

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

How on earth did we get to the middle of March already? Some wizard out there is laughing maliciously at us all whilst twirling his magical time clock, I swear. (and once I find him, that little man is going DOWN.) But I digress. It is the middle of March, we are nearing the perfection that is April, and–if any of you know me at all–you know precisely what this means. . .

CAMP NANOWRIMO IS NEARLY UPON US!

Read More »

THE WRITER’S OTP CHALLENGE!: in which I squeal like an insane grandma about my precious children

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for writing challenges and tags. There’s just something simple and easy about answering questions, and when you’re in a tight pinch for a blog post, they are quite literally a heaven-sent.

So when I saw a writerly challenge over on Faith’s blog (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already!!!!) I just knew I had to participate.

Now, I THINK this was supposed to be done in the month of February (it was created by the fairy godmothers of Fairy Tale Central as a February Instagram challenge, and was later posted to the blogosphere for us peeps who aren’t as acclimated with Insta), but I digress. It is March, and we are doing it anyway. #tinyrebellions

Also! You might have noticed that this is a writer’s OTP challenge. This means I’m going to be talking about the romantic ships locked within my own story pages. This, as you can probably tell, is going to be exceedingly awkward for me.

Please ignore everything I am about to say, because–as I have mentioned multiple times on this blog and literally everywhere else–I DON’T WRITE ROMANCE.

Let’s continue onwards, shall we?Read More »

THE FRANK EXPERIMENT: Writing Old-School For Twenty-Nine Days Straight

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today is the day, folks! It is March! It is SPRING (at least, it’s sorta kinda beginning to feel like spring? who knows when spring will actually start. I think the weather is currently bipolar)! Which means that February is officially over, and–as promised–thus concludes The Frank Experiment.

If you saw my initial Frank Experiment post, you already know what I’ve been doing for the past 29 days. BUT. If you’re confused, I highly suggest you take a quick little gander at this post, where I explain the whole ordeal in a nice, neat little package, complete with a smol storytime.

However, if you’re busy and just want to get on with things, here’s the tl;dr–I decided to ditch my laptop and write with naught but a typewriter (or, if the typewriter was unavailable at the moment, a notebook) for the entire month of February.

Sounds cool, right? Sounds pretty simple . . . right?

Well. Today we’re going to be talking about how that actually went. . .Read More »

The Fairy Tale Blog Tag!

 GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

Today I’m coming at you with YET ANOTHER BLOG TAG! Aha. I know. I’m so original. But the fact of the matter is, there’s only one more day left of February. Which means that there’s only one more day left to enter the Fiary Tale Blog Tag linkup over at Fairy Tale Central.

WHICH MEANS THAT IF I DON’T POST THIS NOW, I’M NEVER GOING TO POST THIS. And that, my friends, simply cannot be. This is a tag about fairytales. I LOVE fairytales. Therefore we are doing this tag, peasants.

So sit back, relax, and listen to me squeal for the next half hour. *flings cookies in your face*Read More »

THE BOOKISH BEAN REVIEWS: ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

good morning, cyberspace!

It’s pretty common knowledge that your girl doesn’t exactly “DO” reviews. As a rule, they’re pretty stiff and informal and dry, and the mere thought of writing one makes me shudder. Ask me in person whether or not I liked a book–and whether or not you should read it–and I will literally slap you in the face with all of the pros and cons and beautiful, gory details about why a book is absolute PERFECTION. But here, staring at an empty screen. . .? Yeah. The words don’t exactly flow in the fangirl-gibberish that I’m typically used to.

But today, I am willing to shove all of my common misconceptions about review-writing aside for the sake of one specific book–a book which was so good and wonderful and perfect that I physically must get all these emotions off my chest, or it is possible that I may implode.

Today, I want to talk to you all about Illuminae. And, more specifically, why you seriously need to read this book.

Read More »

Fantasy Creatures Blog Tag!: February Is Fantasy Month

good morning, cyberspace!

Today is a most magical day, my friends, because today we are not only celebrating my favorite genre of ever, but we’re also participating in a tag designed and created by THE queen of fantasy herself–Jenelle!

I’ve been a part of the blogosphere for three full years now, but somehow I’ve always managed to miss the memo that February is Fantasy Month. And this just BOGGLES my mind meats, guys, because fantasy is, in a simple manner of speaking, my lifeblood. So the fact that I’ve always missed its celebratory month is nothing short of an egregious error on my part, and one that I must work hard to rectify. Which is exactly what I’m trying to do with today’s post!

Over on her blog (which you should 1000% follow because it is BEAUTIFUL and she’s been posting fantastical posts literally all month long to celebrate Fantasy Month–as well as a giveaway!!! which you should also definitely check out. just saying.), Jenelle has created one of the most amazing tags I have ever seen in my life. It’s called the Fantasy Creatures Blog Tag, and I am over the moon excited to be participating in it today! Seriously, guys, I’m not even exaggerating when I say that these are quite possibly the most unique questions I’ve ever seen in a tag. Keep reading and you’ll see what I mean. . .

Fantastical Realms Blog Tag

FANTASY CREATURES BLOG TAG!

THE RULES

  • THANK THE BLOGGER WHO TAGGED YOU . . . so technically I stole this tag from Jenelle’s blog, but I’m still going to thank her, because ALSO TECHNICALLY she said that anyone who was interested in the questions was tagged! So thank you, Jenelle! <3
  • INCLUDE THE GRAPHIC SOMEWHERE IN YOUR POST
  • LINK BACK TO JENELLE’S BLOG SOMEWHERE IN YOUR POST . . . ha! this means you have to go check her blog out to snatch the link! (unless you just copy and paste it from here, but I mean DON’T DO THAT. SERIOUSLY. #rude)
  • ANSWER THE QUESTIONS . . . the best part, obviously. XD
  • TAG A FEW BLOGGER FRIENDS — AND LET THEM KNOW THEY’VE BEEN TAGGED . . . I’m good at tagging people. I’m horrible at letting them know.
  • HAVE FUN! . . . well, at least THIS is an easy step. XD

THE TAG

i. In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?

Oh my goodness, this question is the most wonderful thing in the whole entire universe. Okay, so the fantasy realm of my choice would obviously be Wonderland. I mean??? You can’t offer me the whole of fantastical realms and expect me NOT to choose the one place in the whole of time and space where madness reigns eternal, can you? Wonderland is filled with color and blue butterflies and potential death by decapitation and madness, and I would just LOVE to spend a day there.

Unfortunately, there’s that second little bit of the question up there, which means I have to reveal my absolute least favorite fantasy creature–centaurs. (please don’t ask me why. i don’t know why they bother me so much, but they DO. *shudders*) So I guess I’m going to be a centauress during my stay in Wonderland, and–I’ll be honest–that kind of ruins the whole thing for me. XD

ii. What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?

Oooh. . . This is a tough one. There are a LOOOT of fantasy creatures I adore–dragons, mermaids, fairies, pixies–but the majority of these are over-saturated in today’s literature. SO. A creature that I adore that doesn’t seem to make as big of a splash would probably have to be gnomes.

. . .don’t you dare judge me, peasant.

Okay, look, gnomes are smol and cute and have those big, floopy-pointy hats, and I just think they deserve to be in more stories! I can’t even remember a book I’ve read that has a gnome in it, and I believe that, my dear bean, proves my point.

Unfortunately, this also means I can’t exactly answer the second half of this question, so if any of you remember a book with a gnome in it, hit me up.

iii. As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:

A hero true, a leader strong,
A quest is where you do belong,
So arm thyself, and take your stand
With an item to your left your fate is at hand.

Besides the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)

So, according to this most glorious prophecy, I am now armed with . . . a pirate pencil.

Hang on. I need to grab photo evidence of this.

YOU THOUGHT I WAS JOKING. HA. How dare you doubt me.

Okay, so now that I’m equipped with the Pirate Pencil of Pillaging & Plundering, I suppose I should give it magical properties, no? If I was going for normal magical properties, I would probably say that everything I write with Mr. Eye-Patch here comes to life. But that’s a pretty obvious trait for a magical pencil, so we’re going to go one step further and say that, with this pencil, I can summon the nine pirate lords to come to my aid at any point in time, simply by scribbling down their names.

OR . . . perhaps I now have the power to draw super cool maps! which is a talent I’ve always wanted, but have never succeeded in actually possessing.

OR . . . maybe this pencil grants me the power of Good Pirating Luck, and I can now pillage and plunder to my heart’s content without getting caught! (…or dying.)

OR . . . best of all, this pencil is ACTUALLY possessed with the spirit of my oldest mentor and dearest friend–the once-captain of my fine vessel, The Scorpion. Now, after inheriting his ship, I can still commune with my dead past-captain by asking the pencil–adorned with his shrunken head–all the questions I probably should have asked him while he was still among the living. (<< this option seems a little bit more morbid than the others, but goodness am I getting some plot bunnies here.)

iv. You happen across an ad in a catalogue promising a magical fantasy cruise that will allow you to stop in any three realms of your choice and explore each for several days before returning you home (and the ad promises your safe return or your money back, guaranteed!) Assuming this is not a hoax and that the tour guides will actually be able to cater to your requests, what three realms will you tour and what do you hope to see/who would you like to meet along the way?

OOOOOH! A magical cruise!!! Seeing as though I’ve never been on a cruise, this is somewhat terrifying, but getting to see all my favorite fantasy realms?? SIGN ME UP, CAPTAIN!

Okay, so obviously I would want to go to Wonderland (because how can I list it as my favorite fantasy realm up above and NOT have it number one on my place to go on a magical cruise???), and while I’m there, I’d absolutely adore to have tea with the Mad Hatter and talk to the Cheshire Cat and paint white roses red and nearly get decapitated by the Queen of Hearts and slay a Jabberwocky and steal the blue caterpillar’s hookah pipe because THAT IS NOT A HEALTHY HABIT, SIR and think of six impossible things before breakfast and ride a Bandersnatch and . . . !!!! I’m not sure the cruise line would let me stay there as long as I’d actually like, which is clearly forever.

Second up on our destination checklist would have to be Neverland. And obviously I would want to meet Tinker Bell and learn how to fly and explore Skull Rock and talk to Tiger Lily and defeat Captain Hook and befriend the Lost Boys and never grow up. (actually, that last one is something I’m CURRENTLY doing, so maybe I don’t need Neverland for that. . .?)

Third on the list would be a fantasy realm of my own creation–everlost. This book takes place on the island of Crocodoc, and I would literally give my right kidney to explore this world for even just one day.

You think I’m joking. I assure you I am not.

v. Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?

A GNOME! And don’t you even DARE look at me like I’m insane. Gnomes are exceptionally helpful and would be a great asset to me on my questing adventures! And yes, they’re not like an animal-esque kind of creature, but they’re a creature nonetheless, and they’d make an excellent conversationalist companion, so I digress.

vi. Elves or dwarves?

I . . . I don’t know if I can choose between these two. . . I’ve always adored Elves (thanks, LoTR), but I personally relate more to the dwarven culture.

Specifically because I’m short. And kinda chubby.

So I think I’d have to go with dwarves, simply because they are my brethren, and brethren must stick together.

*begins humming The Misty Mountains Cold*

vii. Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?

Definitely a mix of both! I believe that–as with any race or culture–there is always good and evil and a mixture of grey space in-between, and fantasy races–especially ones that we write–should be no different.

Besides, with every dragon that I have created, they’ve always had a bit of good and evil inside of them, and I personally think that dragons–because they’re so serpentine and mischievous–should always have that sort of ambiguous “are they good or are they going to eat my face off???” complexity about them.

viii. World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?

So this question is a little bit difficult for me to answer, but here goes:

I like my fantasy worlds to be unique, slightly nonsensical at times (please refer back to my unequivocal loves of Wonder- and Neverland), confident in its existence, but above all else, easily readable.

Give me a world that I’ve never seen before. Something strange and whimsical and so off-the-wall it makes me laugh out loud. Give me a world full of color and dragons and the occasional ogre or two. Give me a world that’s structurally sound–a world with its own diverse cultures and backgrounds and histories. But my goodness, please don’t confuse me with a bunch of gibberish when trying to explain it to me.

Science Fiction is hard for me to get into at times. Why? Because most of the scientific lingo goes RIIIIIiiiiight over my head. I mean, I’m sure that the writer knows what they’re talking about–and that most sci-fi readers can bob their heads right along with them–but as for me, a smol reader who does not happen to have a degree in scientific engineering, I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, SIR.

So yes. Keep the writing clean and understandable, don’t talk over my head, and make the world something colorful and unique enough to make me want to spend my entire life there. That’s all I ask of you, really. #notdemandingatall

ix. You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for this shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)

So apparently I’m a dragon now (and I’m just going to go ahead and call it–most of us are going to be dragons at the end of this question. XD), and judging by the fact that my bedroom is quite literally tiny . . . I probably just exploded up through the roof. And through the giant window stretching across one wall.

And also maybe through the flooring, because I don’t think our house was designed stability-wise to have a dragon spontaneously appear on the second floor. So assuming that I haven’t already broken my family in my plummet to the first story–and also assuming that I still have the ability of human speech in my new dragon form–I’d probably break the news by just telling them who I am over the tremendous screams they’re most assuredly screeching. We’ve got pretty open minds over here, so I’m sure they’d understand after a few minutes of complete and utter chaos.

Repairing the house, on the other hand. . .? That might require some more ingenuity.

Blog Divider

TAG! YOU’RE IT!

All right, peasants! It’s time to tag some of you!

And, of course, if I didn’t tag you and you want to participate, go ahead and consider yourself tagged, dear bean! *slaps an eye-patch on your head* BE THE PIRATE YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF, MATEY! ARGH!

Aha. I’m normal, I swear.

Anyway, I would like to give yet another huge THANK YOU!!! to Jenelle for not only creating this tag, but for all of the wonderful things she’s been doing all February for Fantasy Month! I don’t think the blogosphere–or the fantasy community, for that matter–would have ever become what it is without her. I know for a fact that I’m eternally thankful for finding her in the vast unknowns of Cyberspace, and if any of you are interested in learning more about Fantasy Month . . . 10/10 go check her blog out. It’s utterly amazing over there.



TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!

And that’s all we’ve got for today, folks! I don’t really have any discussion questions for you today. Most of the things I want to ask are questions in this tag, and I’d much rather read your blog posts if you decide to do it! SO! If you happen to do this tag, make sure to drop your link down in the comments so I can come and stalk your answers learn more about you in a totally non-creepy way! But before you go, answer this one little question for me. . .

DO YOU PREFER CHARACTER INTERVIEWS, UNRELATED SHORT STORIES, OR WIP SNIPPETS?

^^ totally not trying to figure anything out or anything. Aha. Nope.

As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS down in the comments below! And until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_

The Never Have I Ever Tag (Writer’s Edition!)

good morning, cyberspace!

All right. You guys know me. If you slap the word writer or writing or WRITER’S EDITION onto something–however strange and unnecessary it might seem–I AM 100% GOING TO DO IT.

And since this is clearly a writing tag, and Tuesday is less than four hours away, I thought today would be the perfect time to become the smol thief we all know I truly am and steal the Never Have I Ever (Writer’s Edition!) tag from Eva!

i’m so original, help me

Let’s do this!Read More »