Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sunday Funday Bathtime Review: Yellow Submarine

Ahoy there readers!

Here's a written review of this week's bath bomb. To view the bomb drop and all the photos from before and after, check out my Instagram @marsjaws 

This review is of the Yellow Submarine bomb from LUSH. I'm an all-time Beatles fan and a huge Lushie, so it was only fair that I start with this product. It's also a summer seasonal, so I had to get it before it disappeared for another year. 

A group of them is called a Ringo, btw. 

The Before:

I was surprised that this bomb didn't have more of the tropical notes that it promised. On their site, the scent hints read: "A tropical perfume of Brazilian orange, lemongrass and coriander conjures up memories of sunny summer holidays for bathtub escapism of the best kind." 

I got a bit of the lemongrass and, what I'm assuming is coriander, but it ended up smelling like warmer spice bath bomb as opposed to a summery one. Where's my coconut bath bomb at, yo?

Anyway, it's a sizable bomb, fits in the palm of my hand with some weight to it, and even though the description was misleading, it smelled nice. 

The drop:

This bomb explodes beautifully. I've always been a big fan of yellow and pink, and LUSH is always true to their bomb's colors both in and out of the tub. Though it didn't chug around my tub, I was still pleased by the bomb drop. It lasted for a good while, as well; I'd say for about 5 minutes. 

No filter needed for this beauty~ 

The Soak:

Not gonna lie, I've had better bath bombs from LUSH. Though the scent was subtle, and if I closed my eyes, tropical in a non-cruise ship way. I definitely got the coriander above all the other scents, and I didn't detect the orange at all. Then again, I think I was allergic to my makeup I wore before, so that could've been the reason! 

I swear I didn't pee in the tub...this time. 

The Verdict:

Overall, the bath bomb is about a 3/5. It was pleasant, but I've definitely had better bath bomb experiences from LUSH. Considering the cost (about $6) and the late summer release, it's a nice little soak that will have you hanging on to summer while being easy on the wallet! 

Thank you for reading my first ever bath bomb review! Stay tuned for next week's bath bomb review! 

Keep clean~ 


Monday, July 17, 2017

Little Cosplayers at a Big Con.

Ahoy lovely readers!

Writing, once again, took a backseat to another hobby this year. I'm sadly one of those people who has a truly one-track mind and needs to focus on one thing and one thing alone. Sewing and crafting cosplays has been the object of my affection for most of this year, but the results were fruitful!

So, to get me back into somewhat of a writing routine, I'm gonna marry my passions and write about my most recent convention experience at A-kon 28. 

My good buddy Nicole (@boredbarista on Instagram) and I went to A-kon last year, but this year was the first time we went to a convention with just the two of us. It was also the first time going to a convention center-based con. While we had friends, and met a few at the con, the trip was a great bonding experience and a wonderful learning experience about the new convention/cosplayer world. Remember, we did this stuff about 10 years ago and took a hiatus...

actual photo of us working on cosplays

Day 1:

Or is it Day 0? A-kon starts on a Thursday, y'all. I'm kind of happy that cons are doing the 4-day thing now, as most people get to the area on Thursdays anyway. Gives us more time to don low-key cosplays and get the lay of the land without feeling pressed for time. We trekked all the way from good ol' New Orleans, so it was nice to settle into our hotel and attend the con at our leisure.

Of course we cosplayed! We represented the best Final Fantasy game with FFX Rikku and FFX-2 Gunner Yuna. Besides a minor wardrobe malfunction, the first day was great! We got to get our badges, walk around the dealer's room and artist alley, and then we got to get our pictures taken, which is what con cosplay is all about ;)

A-kon 28 is where our bathroom selfie tradition began, as well. 

The new con location just so happens to be smack dab in the middle of downtown Ft. Worth. This was especially great, since being stuck in a con bubble the year before was a bit boring for socialites like us. We were lucky enough to be a stone's throw away from fantastic shops, restaurants, and bars. Our favorite was The Brass Tap mere blocks from the convention center. They had spacious seating, open areas, and a great happy hour to try some local brews.

no one seemed to care that we were cosplaying as underaged teens either! 

One of my favorite things to do is to people watch while sipping on booze. Friday evening was perfect for doing so, and I'm pretty sure it was one of the highlights of the trip. And so, with a belly full of beer and a heart full of cosplay memories, the curtains closed on A-Kon's first-ever Thursday.

Day 2:

Friday served as the most convention-y day of the con. After checking the panel schedule and realizing nothing fit our fancy until the afternoon, we had a lie-in at the hotel and got a late start to the day. It didn't matter, though, because we had two more days to spend at the con! Feeling a sense of relief and not being rushed as one of the best things about this A-kon.

We started the day off at an advanced sewing panel held by Sparkle Pipsi and Daydreamer Nessa, who are famous for being stellar seamstresses. This was the first panel I'd sat through...ever, and it was a really informative one! I utilized the skills learned in my Ardyn cosplay I'll be debuting at this year's Mechacon.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the con and getting people to take photos of our Jiraiya and Rock Lee cosplays. Sadly, the Naruto photoshoot was during the same time as the cosplay contest, so we don't have good shots to show off.

We did end up going back to the Brass Tap and drinking with friends, though. So cheers to that!

Day 3:

Day 3 was the day for us to go show our stuff at the cosplay contest! I'm not gonna lie, I felt fairly confident going into this. Nicole slaved over our songstress costumes for over a year, and we even had props!

This is me confidently shining before we went to pre-judging.

...yeah, remember when I said it had been 10 years since our last legit con? Times have changed, and cosplayers got good, y'all. I mean, seriously good! The judges did give us some compliments, but I could tell that we needed to do a lot more to impress them.

Thankfully, it's still all in good fun and there was Mexican food a few meters away to wash away the self-doubt that was bubbling up. After a few margaritas and a giant fajita salad, we were ready to meet up for pre-contest lineup and strut our stuff!

backstage...for hours 

Backstage was a long wait, but we made some friends who were sitting next to us. They were in the same boat as us, just a couple of kiddos seeing where they fell in the ranks of cosplay craftsmanship, and were good company. As with all competitions, there were some divas who definitely thought they were on Dance Moms or some nonsense. The humble brags and pretentious talk was short-lived as the hours slipped away to the big time.

Personally, I love the pre-stage jitters that even the most experienced performer has. It gets the adrenaline up just enough to make something exciting! We had about 30 seconds of stage time, but we had fun rocking it out and having our first real cosplay contest experience together!

while we don't have awards, we were winners in my eyes~ 

The cosplay contest was an experience I'm glad I had, but I'm not sure I'd wanna go through it again. It's a good thing I signed up to do a skit in a week with friends so I get to do it all over again anyway! Nah, skits are in my wheel house. Got more work to do on craftsmanship, and I think I'll do a hall cosplay contest for my next seamstress test.

Day 4:

Day 4 didn't really happen. We had a mild night in after being in the cosplay contest all day and work up pretty early. We also had a nearly 9 hour drive back to New Orleans, so we walked the con floor one more time for nostalgia (also for the artist alley, but that wasn't open yet) and headed out on our way.

A-kon is a great convention, and it was a dream destination for me and Nicole for many years. I'm glad that we not only got to experience it twice in a row, but we also got to be there for its big location change.

It was also a big moment, because I finally got to debut two of my "dream cosplays." Cosplaying as girls has never been my thing, as I tend to gravitate towards male characters when choosing people I wanna be, but Rikku has always been a female character who's captivated me. She's cheerful, sassy, and she always has the coolest outfits. FFX Rikku and Songstress Rikku were two of my favorite outfits of hers, and I'm still shocked that I have both of them in my cosplay closet now. 

You'll be seeing more of them, and I'm still working toward my goal of being Thief Rikku! Always keep dreaming and striving for the best! 

but know you'll never be as graceful as me

Friday, June 2, 2017

10 Things You Will Do On JET

Ahoy readers!

Another long absence caused by adulting, making cosplays, and doing hood rat stuff with my friends. I'm currently transitioning between jobs and planning for upcoming cons, so not much has been going on in my writing world. It's sad...I miss my characters so much!

But, this is also an exciting time for anyone embarking on the JET Program. For those of you not in the know, JET is a program where candidates teach English for 1-5 years in Japan. It's been almost 2 years since I've come home from JET, but the memories are still as strong and as fond as ever. Now that I know a few other people who are heading out, I decided to put together a little list of things that someone on JET will experience*

*note: JET is famous for the Every Situation is Different (ESID) philosophy. You may or may not experience these things exactly, but there's a pretty strong chance you will ;) 

1. You will compare Japan to your home country.

my biggest problem was that the nearest Popeyes was in Seoul...

You will make this comparison A LOT. Some of it will be due to making self-introduction lessons and to answer questions that students and curious coworkers may have about your place of origin, but you'll be making little mental notes along the way as well. 

"Oh, neat. We don't have recycle bins in front the convenience stores at home." 

"Man, the streets in my country are much wider than Japan's." 

"Oh, look! Old people burn their trash in my country's rural areas, too!" 

Your comparisons will come in goods and bads, favoring both your homes throughout the journey. The best part is that JET is primarily an exchange program, so you're encouraged to find the differences and similarities between Japan and your country and to share what you find!

2. You will have your ego stroked by your Japanese friends.
my twin, y'all~ 

Being a foreigner in Japan, especially in the inaka (countryside) comes with its own personal brand of ego inflation. Nearly every JET will get told how beautiful/handsome they are or how great their Japanese is. Also, your chopsticks skills are apparently on fl33k~ 
You're the new kid in town and, for the most part, everyone from students to parents to the friendly neighborhood Granny will want to be your friend.  

And you know what? It can be a great thing! 

People can be so hard on themselves, and the self-esteem can really take a hit whilst adjusting to life in a foreign country. So, maybe your little conversation with the local convenience store clerk wasn't elaborate, but you can still feel good about being complimented on your pronunciation of pointo ka-do. And maybe I don't sing just like Olivia Newton-John, but it sure put a smile on my face!

3. You will become a master of packing.
every JET makes this post

     With the vacation days, the stellar public transport, and the numerous long weekends, JET program is the best time to go exploring! From personal trips to AJET-sponsored tours, you'll be bombarded with opportunities to see what all of Japan has to offer. That will include plenty of chances to cram 5 days' worth of clothing into a rucksack for easier train-hopping. It would be a shame not to try and see all of Japan!

4. You will have a favorite conbini.
Choose wisely...

     And you will fight to the death for it. While this usually depends on the closest convenience store to your apartment, you'll get awfully attached to that particular brand. I've gotten into heated debates over whether Seven-Eleven or Lawsons fried chicken was the best (Lawsons,) and who has the best sandwiches (Lawsons egg salad sandwich is bae.) 

Keep in mind that each conbini has its own special perks and try them all! At the end of the night, whichever one has a clean bathroom and  walking beer was my favorite! Just Lawsons all the way!

5. You will relive your university days.
24 is the new 18

I swear the bachelor's degree requirement is simply to make sure you can handle the nightlife in Japan. JET is full of parties. Whether it be with other JETs or attending enkai with your co-workers,there will be plenty of opportunities to drink and be merry. 

Be careful, though. Japan has this custom where you can't pour your own drink; someone else has to top you off when you want more. Being the foreigner at work parties means that everyone wants to make sure you're well watered at all times. The beer will flow freely at these events, and there's usually second, third, and fourth rounds after the main event, so make sure you hydrate and eat! And it's also okay to politely decline that 9th round of whiskey from your principal!

Japan is also infamous for its nomihoudai at bars and izakaya. You'll pay a fee (normally no more than $40) to drink for about 2 hours. Some people like to take this as a race, and before you know it, you've downed those 9 whiskeys once again! (But don't worry, your favorite conbini will have some delicious food to sop up the alcohol and lull you back to sleep!)

6. You will know at least a little bit about a popular anime.
So. Many. One Piece campagins! 
Japan is the land of anime, after all! Even if your coworkers and friends aren't fans of these popular cartoons anymore, teaching students will have you up-to-date with the latest TV shows. 

Maybe some of you are already fans of One Piece or Shingeki no Kyojin , but the last anime I watched before JET was Rock Lee no Seishun Full Power Ninden so I was a little behind the times.

A lot of students will see you as the cool, young sensei and will express disappointment when you don't know the name of that popular basketball anime on TV (seriously...all I know is that it's got "Basket" in the title.) So you'll get a lecture whether you want it or not, but it'll result in you being closer to your students. And who knows? Maybe you'll get a new favorite show out of it too!

7.  You will treat nomi/tabehoudai as a challenge.
this x12

While buffets are few and far between, Japan has this wonderful concept of timed all-you-can-eat-and-drink courses. This is usually in yakiniku places, where you'll pay $40-60 bucks for 90-120 minutes of literally all table side DIY grilling you can shove down your gullet. While service is prompt and that time frame is more than long enough for a sensible meal, every JET feels the pressure to reach the high score of beef tongue consumed and beers drank. The good news is that you'll be doing it with a bunch of other people, and the meat sweats are always worth it.

8. You will have a favorite onigiri. 
tuna/mayo please! 

The humble rice ball should be Japan's national dish. They're cheap, plentiful across the country, and come stuffed with many savory, and sometimes sweet, options. Craving sour plum? There's an onigiri for that. Want fried chicken and mayonnaise squished between fluffy rice? There's an onigiri for that, too! Choosing a favorite rice snack can be a tricky thing, though, as some of the better options are seasonal. It's good to stick with a regular as go-to fuel. I still get cravings for the tuna and mayo!

9. You will be spoiled.
100 yen per plate...that's $1 for two pieces of sushi...

With the salary, subsidized rent, and ample amount of free time, JET is a time to live the high life. That can include an array of things, but the two biggest ones that stuck with me are the sushi and the shink. 

From conveyor belt to conbini the sushi will be cheap and fresh beyond comparison. Even growing up along the Gulf Coast in a culinary capital didn't prepare me for how mind-blowing Japanese sushi really is! I'll shell out quite a few more bucks for the same sushi experience in New Orleans that I had for 1300 yen in Japan.
oh, Nozomi-chan, how I miss you <3 

The shinkansen or bullet train is another one of Japan's luxuries that aren't prevalent elsewhere. Though expensive, it'll get you across the country quickly in the spacious convenience of a luxury train car. Who needs airport security and stuffy planes when you can splurge on the shink?

10. You will have an amazing experience.
I miss them every day! 

 JET, as with many programs abroad, will have its ups and downs. Transitioning to life in a new country where the customs and the language are vastly different is no easy task. You'll have your homesick days, but you'll have many more wonderful days with your students, co-workers, and new friends. 

Japan is opening its doors. Go on and explore!

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Nerd Poser Reviews FFXV

Consistency is key, right? 

Second blog in a week, woo! 

I haven't posted much about my geek side on this blog, but I am --indeed-- a geek. Started with my Sega Genesis and was fed during high school by a steady diet of Square Enix and anime. 

That being said, I'm most definitely a poser when it comes to Final Fantasy. I've tried to get into some FF games, really I have, but RPG just ain't my thang unless it's a button masher like Kingdom Hearts. The starting, stopping, and god forbid strategy needed to complete the average FF game are too much for my brutish, impatient nature. 

I couldn't even get past FFX, for Pete's Sake! And that one has a story...A STORY! 

So, I was very skeptical when the long-awaited FFXV came out for PS4. I'd just gotten my console (because I didn't bother getting one in Japan...sounds foolish until you're packing a year into two suitcases) and I was looking for stuff to play. Actually, I'd given a birthday/Christmas list that included Uncharted 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and FFXV. 

Now, I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan, and I have been since that little TR2 demo for the Playstation, but somehow that one didn't make the birthday present pile. Since I'm not an ungrateful little shit, I was happy with my Uncharted bundle and my FFXV deluxe edition game. 

And after playing Uncharted 4 (excellent ending to a really good franchise) I dicked around on some of my older titles before tackling FFXV. I'd been hearing a mixture of responses from friends and on social media, so I really didn't know what to expect. All I knew was that the bromance was strong and that it had a Crisis Core vibe to it 

Since Crisis Core is, now was, the only Final Fantasy game I truly loved, I figured it was time to jump on the FFXV bandwagon. 

Still my boyz~ 

So, without further ado, here's my SPOILER FREE~* review of the FFXV experience! 

Starting the game...

I opted to not watch the film included in the deluxe package before playing. Not because I wanted to save it or anything, but because I'm wildly impatient when it comes to video games and the last FF film I watched (here's looking at you Advent Children ) was pretty disappointing. 

The game starts off strong. You're the prince to a small kingdom setting off to go marry your beau. You got your boys, a sweet ass car, and your father's blessing. The little beginning where the car doesn't start and Florence sings an underwhelming version of "Stand by Me" is a cute way to start 4 friends' adventure.

Side Quests Schmide Schmests

The early chunk of the game moves rather slowly. It starts off well enough with a canceled ferry and political unrest, but that tension dies down to a sluggish pace for the rest of this bit. 

Most of the time, you're hopping from town to town, getting weapons from Notcis's ancestors' graves. In between, there are tons and tons of side quests and photo-ops for Prompto to get all the sick shots. 

Now, I love dicking around games where the characters are cool, and FFXV definitely has its share of cool characters, but these side quests get to the point where the game becomes pretty mundane. Having a car means filling it up with petrol often enough to be a problem with small funds of gil. You also need money for items, food ingredients, and caravans/hotels to hide away when the demons come out. 

And in order to make money, you have to slay monsters which requires leveling up. Remember how I said I didn't like RPGs? Leveling up is about 3/4 of that hatred. 

That's not to say it's all side-quests and boring boss fights, though. You do get to travel to pretty interesting places and learn a bit more about each of your buddies, who are infinitely cooler than you. 

Ends in a rush!

Once you get enough experience and materials to fix a boat, you finally get to Altissia, which is where Noctis and grown-up Namine are meant to be married. 
Courtesy of Reddit. Glad I ain't the only one who sees it. 

That's where shit goes down and the story gets real. The villain is revealed, you have your first major boss fight, and you're probably longing for the simpler times where riding a chocobo was the least of your concerns. 

The plot moves about ten times quicker during the second part of the game. With the world literally ending, you have to move quickly. This is also where most of the backstory and character revealing happens. One of you is wounded, while the others are trying to keep it together. All while you, the prince who's supposed to be the leader, throws a hissy fit and becomes the worst character in the game. There's a little side-story that happens around this time where teamwork triumphs over pettiness, but it barely scratches the surface after all the shit that takes place beforehand. 

The final bit leaves you alone and weaponless. This is where Noct really has to dig deep and be a decent human being in order to save the day. 
This is hard for someone who looks and acts like Sasuke, so it's probably the most challenging part of the game. 

You get to play the hero, reunite with your buds, and fight the big bad guy. 

The End...was dumb. 

Honestly, I'm no stranger to weird and anti-climactic endings from Square Enix. Being a Kingdom Hearts fan, I kind of expect the endings to be pretty foolish. FFXV does not disappoint with this, but to save anyone stuck in the side-quest vortex from being spoiled, I'll keep my mouth shut on that one. 

Still, the bromance saved this game and puts it up there on my "Final Fantasy Games I Enjoyed" shelf. The gameplay and elemancy were also fun to use and kick butt with. It was like mixing my button mashing love with a little bit of strategy, which played a role without overpowering the story. Relationships between the characters and the backstories of each were conspicuously missing, so I hope that's due to the upcoming solo titles for each of the boys. I'm looking forward to playing all of the characters' story versions coming out, and I hope this one releases more games like FFXIII and FFVII have. 

Crisis Core is still my favorite, though. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Writing Whilst Growing Up

It's been far too long since I've blogged.

I can go on about how life got in the way, how I'm stuck in a job that sucks the energy from me, how I'm distancing myself from my publisher because I don't agree with their philosophy, or how I'm deciding the best route to take to finally push into adulthood. 

But, truth be told, I've been kind of lazy.

I haven't written anything since NaNoWriMo. If it wasn't for that month of peer pressure to get words down, I wouldn't even have a direction in which to channel my slowly rekindling creativity. The BarCon at Bad Wolf was great, but it only reminded me of how publishing early with a small e-publisher has put a bad taste in my mouth. It's great for some, and I'm happy to have made the connections I did while working with them, but I don't agree with anyone who chooses to limit the ways in which fiction should be expressed. Religious crusader or not, stories shouldn't be shamed. 

(...well, maybe except Twilight

Anyway, I've finally come to terms with life sucking a little as one grows older, and I'm forcing myself to get back into some form of writing habit. I took to re-reading my first ever story that I started in high school, and rewrote only a few years ago, and I found out something. 

All of the characters are insanely naiive. 

It's the same in Lucid. Devon is the only one who should be so fresh-faced and willing to do anything to be the hero. Characters should have a bit more of a raw anguish to them. Things shouldn't happen so methodically and almost too well-timed. And the funny thing is that I honestly tried to avoid all of that every time I write a story.

That's the whole thing about growing up, I guess.

Reverie is a little better. The plot doesn't move as slowly as the first book did. The characters have more relationships and sacrifices to make. And I realized that was the book written while I was on my own in Japan. 

I'm back in my little incubator in my parents' home now. And it makes me want to claw out of my skin if I sit too long and dwell on it. But until I get a decent job where I won't have to work nearly 24 hrs for a livable wage, I'm stuck here. 

That's not  to say I haven't grown up a little. Last year was hard, and I witnessed for the first time how one person can latch on to you and tear you down to a mere husk of what you recognize. Even though you should know better, you let it happen until the nuclear explosion that terminates the relationship and removes all traces of it ever happening. With that feeling, I've started to re-write the beginning of my first story and edit the novella I cranked out during NaNoWriMo last year. 

But I'm beginning to see why most authors are older. Age truly does open your eyes to better alleys and directions in which to begin stories. There's more to a story than its concept, and like a fine wine, it takes time to mature into something truly brilliant. 

So, I just want to let all of you know that I'm not being lazy. Not entirely. I'm maturing.

And you'll see it in later blog posts. 


here's a picture of my dog as thanks for reading this mess~ 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fred's going to a bar!

Ahoy lovely readers!

November was a crazy month for writers all over the globe. NaNoWriMo ends today, and I'm happy to say that I've another win under my belt!

here's the proof! 

Usually, this is the time to rest on the NaNo laurels and take it easy for the holidays. But that won't be happening for lil ol' Fred. 

I'm honored to be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar's BarCon 2.0! 

"What's BarCon?" You ask? Well, my dear friends, it's a a bar! 

Look at me as the first speaker of the day! 

The event is in the New Orleans area, so any of you SE LA dreamers should come out! It'll be a day filled with nerdy fun, games, presentations, panels, and awesome performances. 

Oh, and it's in a bar, so drinking will be happening ;) 

I'll also be giving away some great new Lucid bookmarks and posters! 

You know you want one...of each! 

So come on out for the first ever meet and greet with Fred! I'll be doing a reading from Lucid and I'll be answering any questions about the Dream World as well! You can even get your e-books signed by downloading an Authorgraph app on your e-reader! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day? No, just the 8th day of NaNoWriMo!

Ahoy lovely readers.

Been quite a few minutes since I've blogged about anything other than Fiction Features. To say I'm in a rut would be a gross understatement. Lots going on to keep writers down nowadays.

One of the biggest and scariest months is upon us. The face of many worlds rests on the actions of millions.

You think I'm talking about election day? Hell no!

This. Is. NaNoWriMo!

For you non-writers (aka smart people) this is National Novel Writing Month. Foolish people, such as myself, try to write 50,000 words in four short weeks. If you reach the goal, you've "won" NaNo, which unlocks a lot of cool swag and promos for self-publishing your manuscript.

It's one of the most fast-paced, stressful, and downright awesome things I've participated in. My first Nano was in 2012, when I was fresh out of college and hopeful about my budding writing career. Though the term "writing career" still makes me laugh, I did meet a lot of cool writers in my area and started a winning streak that I'm proud to boast about today.

But, alas, I must confess I found myself vastly unmotivated to do ol' NaNo this year. I guess it's kind of like participating in the holidays when your heart's just not in it. Sure, you'll go through the motions, pretend to enjoy some festivities (or stress your brains out over getting 50k written down...such good fun, I promise!) but it won't be the same.

Oh, how wrong I was.

See, this is also the first year where I had no plans of what I'd be writing. Usually, I'll continue my Lucid series (which, the final book is in progress...though on the backburner for the time being) but I was so wrapped up in life's distractions I hadn't mapped out a plan.

Now I have this little short story that's turning into a novella. It's exciting and scary to have an unplanned world spring into your mind, but I'm enjoying every minute of it.

One of the characters is quite charming. 

Here's what I've learned about writing an unplanned story.

Start off small: 

My premise started with a little girl in a creepy house. I didn't know if the house was going to be haunted, deserted, or even a figment of her imagination. All I knew was that I needed to get her to that house. So, I pictured myself as an 8 year-old little girl. A bit of my early childhood sparked the beginning, and that's all I needed to get the ball rolling. Those tiny details in the first chapter of your novel are important, because they're the first things your reader will encounter. Make them intriguing as well as sensible. It's always great to start with a compelling first bit, but you'll have to fill in enough blanks to keep the reader informed of how your characters got into that mess.

Set a word count goal: 

This is mostly important for NaNoWriMo, as we gotta get 50,000 in before November 30th. I treat writing sort of like a workout. Sometimes I feel too tired to do anything, but I remind myself that it's important to me. If I want to be a better writer, I have to actually, you know, write. Same with working out. I won't look like Lara Croft by thinking about her, will I? Gotta put those thoughts into actions --or words in this writing case. The word count goal will be especially helpful for an unplanned story. Going in without an outline, or really any idea at all if you're like me, will lead to some dead ends. Setting a word count will not only ensure you stay on your Nano track, but it'll also help you navigate through the murkier parts of your story.

Make the goal attainable, as well. Don't shoot for 10k a day. That's crazy talk. A good 2,000 goal is just fine and will ensure a Nano victory!

Be open minded: 

Remember, this is an unplanned story. It chose you! Sure, you're thinking up the characters, but something bigger than your consciousness conjured up this idea. Listen to that other part of your brain as your fingers fly through the words. Maybe you didn't want your character to fall in love with an older woman, but here he is mooning over the widow down the street. Have him take her out on a date and see how it goes! GILFs need love too, yo!

Now there's a tagline that'll get you some attention! 

But really, we writers know that our stories already have minds of their own. Be more open-minded with your unplanned novel. You didn't really have expectations for it, because you didn't think it'd exist! The world is its oyster; be sure to explore all avenues! 

And that's my little NaNo rant to distract me from doomsday. For all you writers, keep on writing! And for everyone else, keep readin' and dreamin'! 



I'll be a guest author at Bad Wolf Bar & Grill's Barcon on December 3rd! I'll have bookmarks, posters, and other Lucid goodies to hand out! Be sure to dress as your favorite comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, or anime character and I'll see you there! 

I'll be posting a blog about it soon, but for more info check out the Facebook event: (copy and paste into your browser)