Monday, August 31, 2015

August Project Wrapup!

Waaaay back at the beginning of the month, I wrote about my August projects. I am quite happy with all three of them.

For the first time in the entire time I've had an account at 750words.com I actually wrote Every. Single. Day. Squee!!! {imagine happy dancing here} I am grinning like a loon just thinking about it.

I wanted the Summer Slowdown to be a pleasant moment each day, and it really was. The organizer sent lovely emails each day, and had a lot of thoughtful, soothing contributors. I'm on the mailing list, so I'll be able to sign up for it again next year. Another win!

It was a blast to post a picture each day for the August Break 2015. Most of the days I posted a snapshot I'd taken that day. I'm thinking about starting a series of Photo Phridays, to remind me to keep taking pictures. I may not keep the phunky spelling.

Somehow, I didn't post about my fourth August project! That's totally bonkers, as it was the most important one. I began training for NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo challenges the writer to do a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I've attempted it many times, and have never even come close to it. Mind you, it's always a good for me - I am a happier, stronger person when I'm writing. In late July I thought through doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I knew it would be good to prepare, but I didn't think it would help to spend 3 months outlining. I was at a loss, until it dawned on me that preparing for NaNoWriMo is like preparing for a marathon. That's when my plan came together. In August, September, and October I'll set a word count goal, and go into each month with at least a little bit of a plan for what to write. This lets me build up to the NaNoWriMo word count, and lets me try out different types of pre-writing and planning before I aim for the big fifty thousand.

In August I planned to write 12500 words (1/4 of a NaNoWriMo) of game fiction based on my dragons in Flight Rising. I wrote 63% of that word count goal, which is infinitely more than I wrote in July, so it's a total win. I'll edit and revise that into a readable narrative sometime soon.

I learned a lot about what works and doesn't work for me. Most importantly, I learned that I really do need to write. When I'm not writing, the stories get backed up and fester. When I'm not writing, it gets harder and harder to start again, which totally sucks. I am clearly at my emotional best when I'm writing as close to every day as possible.

How was your August?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Plague-born Dragon leaves for Nature

UPDATE: I've changed the name of the dragon in this story. A young person who is especially fond of the dragon previously named prefers it not be attached to that dragon.


I've been a bit stalled on my Flight Rising dragon game fiction. Today I seem to have gotten back up to speed :) Here' a bit of I think is pretty good for a rough draft:
The tiny dragon knew only her egg, shifting light, and the sweet murmur of her parents’ voices. When she grew enough that the shell felt too small, she cracked her egg slowly, quietly, so she could hear their voices. The world rushed into her senses, but didn’t confuse her; the familiar voices led her safely to her parents. When they first saw her, they fell silent. The hatchling wondered if she had done something wrong that made them take away the comforting sound. In a moment she understood nothing was wrong. Her parents welcomed her with words and song. She added her own tiny voice to theirs in welcoming her nest-mates.


At first, their parents kept them in the nest, distracting their curiosity about the world with stories and song. They gave each hatchling a name, and smiled as they repeated their own and each other’s names, getting used to the sound.



The ruse didn’t last. A hulking Imperial, covered in oozing sores dragged himself to the nest, commanding her parents to show him the hatchlings. They tried to fend him off, but the Imperial pushed them aside, to see and hold each hatchling in turn and “bless” them with his pestilential breath. Only Taliesen avoided that dubious blessing. As her parent fell, e swept Taliesen into the darkest corner of the nest. She understood without being told that she must stay still and silent. She didn’t move until the clan’s Patriarch had left, and her parents did their best to clean their other hatchlings.



She wanted to help care for her nest-mates, but her parent wouldn’t let her get close to them. “You might get sick, too.” Looking around to make sure no one could hear, e continued, “You have to leave, before you get sick. That’s why we can’t leave – we just don’t have the strength.” Taliesen could hear her nest-mates starting to cough, already succumbing to the Plague given them by the clan Patriarch. Her parent guided her to look out across the landscape. Impossibly far away, she could make out an enormous tree. “There,” her parent told her, “That’s the heart of the Viridian Labyrinth. In the lands of Nature, you’ll be safe.” E hugged her close, adding, “Well, safer than you will be here. Go, now, while no one’s looking.” Frightened of the distance, yearning to stay with her parents, she gazed at her parents, and her nest-mates, pouring them into her memory. She started to speak, but her parent put a loving claw over her mouth. “Go. May the Gladekeeper guard and guide you.”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Flight Rising fiction

I have a lot of fun playing the online dragon-breeding game Flight Rising. I mention this because I've been writing fiction about my Flight Rising clan.

Here's a bit of that fiction:
"You feel called to the Search." Olympe stroked her friend's back under Reina's half-furled wing. It wasn't a question - even a sleep-deprived Spiral dragon would be able to tell that Reina grew more and more restless.

"No! No, of course not," Reina lied, tucking her wings back down. "I was, well..." she trailed off, knowing better than to try to convince Olympe, when Reina didn't believe it herself. Olympe wanted Reina close to her almost as much as she wanted Reina to be happy. Almost. But not enough to keep Reina grounded when her heart called her away.

Olympe put a small bundle on the ground in front of Reina. "When you find the right place, put this on the ground, and call on the Gladekeeper." She pressed her cheek to Reina's, breathing in her scent for a long moment, then stumbled away, knowing Reina would understand.

Reina didn't speak, and didn't watch her friend half walk and half fly away, deeper under the tree. Reina did understand. Some farewells are too big, too important, for words. Reina wanted to be close to OIympe, too, almost as much as she wanted to find her Charge. Almost.

Reina cradled the bundle gently, then threw herself into the sky. Only the clouds and wind saw her tears.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

#AugustBreak2015 13 Last Year

#AugustBreak2015 30 Smile

#AugustBreak2015 29 Listening

#AugustBreak2015 26 Door







#AugustBreak2015 25 Green

#AugustBreak2015 24 In The Distance

#AugustBreak2015 23 Water



#AugustBreak2015 22 Curves





#AugustBreak2015 20 Two

#AugustBreak2015 19 Sweet Delights



#AugustBreak2015 18 Look Up






#AugustBreak2015 17 Reading

#AugustBreak2015 16 Fire

#AugustBreak2015 15 Art

#AugustBreak2015 14 Favorite Smell

Sunday, August 2, 2015

#AugustBreak2015 11 "edge"

#AugustBreak2015 10 "talisman"

#AugustBreak2015 09 "earth"

#AugustBreak2015 08 "smooth"

#AugustBreak2015 06 "notebook"

#AugustBreak2015 05 "citrus"


#AugustBreak2015 04 "numbers"

#AugustBreak2015 03 "skin"

Projects!

I'm participating in three different August projects. They're each smallish daily things meant to support my overall well-being.

First Project: I always always have a better day if I pour out at least 750 words a day in the form of a stream of consciousness brain-dump. I'll post about how well I keep up with this. I aim to to this every month, and I don't think I've ever actually written every day of a month - but the attempt is its own reward :)

Second Project: I'm participating in the #SummerSlowdown2015. I found this project via the 30 Day Art Journal Project (I'll write about that some other time). The #SummerSlowdown2015 is a lovely series of prompts/suggestions, one sent each day, to help you slow down and enjoy the end of summer (or whatever season you're in wherever you happen to be). The first day I managed to do the prompt/suggestion before I saw the email :) I'll blog about these from time to time over the month. The first two prompts have been lovely.

Third Project: Finally, there's the #AugustBreak2015. This blogger takes a break during August, blogging pictures without explanation in August. She's shared a series of prompts/themes/ideas for each day, and invited others to join in. I'll post pictures as close to daily as I can :)

Pictures inspired by the prompt "Breakfast"




Pictures inspired by the prompt "Air"




Sunday, June 7, 2015

Exaltling, the Wandering Princess of Nature (Flight Rising lore)

I play a pet breeding game called Flight Rising. Many folks on the site write wonderful biographies of their dragons, and lore of their clans. Sometimes a group of people will take it in turn to add to a continuing narrative. I'm part of one such group - it's been a blast :) The full narrative is kept on this tumbler. My part of the story is below. The picture shows how the main character was disguised while visiting my clan's lair :)




A white dove dropped a bound scroll at the feet of the UrsaJoy clan leaders. The scroll when opened was short. Greetings from the Dragon Sage clan. The Princess Exaltling is on her way to your clan. Her enemies found her within our territory and she has fled. If you are unable to offer her sanctuary please let us know so we can try to arrange something else.

Reina glanced at the scroll, then offered the dove water, food, and a place to rest. Once this guest was settled, she opened the scroll, passing a claw under each word as she read it. Eleos, sitting on her shoulder, took it in immediately. He pressed his cheek to Reina's, dropped off her shoulder and glided away to make arrangements. They didn't need to discuss what to do; they would take in any dragon desiring shelter. When it was ready, the dove returned carrying this in response:

Greetings from UrsaJoy clan. The wandering Princess has arrived in safety. She will be well supported here for as long as her choice or circumstances allow. May the Gladekeeper favor you and yours. A note at the bottom, written by a different claw read, "Thank you for giving me shelter, and caring for our hatchlings. Please remind them that Sentinel and I love them, and have them always in our hearts."

Reina gave few orders, and didn't give any now. She told each dragon in the clan that she needed volunteers to travel to the borders of each adjoining clan's territory to look for a dragon in trouble. Each group was to move along the border for a full day and night, then return home. If they met any members of the neighboring clan, they were to at least offer greetings and good wishes, and were welcome to spend time in their company so long as they returned after the full day and night had passed. There were far more volunteers than neighboring clans. Parties of at least 2 dragons headed out in all directions. The strongest dragons were scattered among the groups, so that even if spies watched they couldn't pick out one group as being stronger than any other. Reina and Eleos themselves joined the effort, going in separate groups - neither of them going toward DragonSage clan. Only Eleos and Reina knew where the Wandering Princess would be found. They trusted their clanmates, but they and their clanmates knew that the best way to keep information secret was to not disclose it to anyone.

Excelsior enjoyed the journey more than she expected. She enjoyed fighting in the coliseum, and training others was her deepest calling. She hadn't felt particularly called to go anywhere - there was so much to do in UrsaJoy clan, so many eager hatchlings to train! She enjoyed fighting in the coliseum, and training others was her deepest calling. Being on the wing now reminded her just how long it had been since she's travelled more than to and from the Coliseum. She shook herself and put those thoughts aside - this was an important mission! She and Piedra continued on toward DragonSage clan territory, watching carefully for trouble, or the one escaping trouble.

Exaltling's heart ached as she turned away from Sentinel, from the birthplace of her very first hatchlings, and yet another clan who'd sheltered her. Taking a deep breath, she put all her stealth to work as she crossed the border of DragonSage clan territory.

Not far from the border she froze. She heard a crash, then the thump of something large landing, then a voice. "Really Piedra? I thought Lapis was joking when she said you could fall asleep mid-flight."

Frills raised in confusion, she inched toward the voice. Through branches she saw an Imperial lady settling down under a tree. Unlike its fellows, this tree's branches held a tangle of bright orange and purple vines. These thick vines seemed to shift in the wind... unlike the leaves around it. Her heart almost stopped when the tangle of "vines" began to snore. It was actually a sleeping Spiral! The lady Imperial put her head under her wing. Exaltling could just hear her mutter, "There is grace, and there is refinement, and a long, long way away from either, there is Piedra."

Exaltling had barely a moment before being startled again. The Spiral slid out of the tree to pile up on top of the Imperial's covered head, saying, "I'm not far away Excelsior! I'm right here!" He grinned, his green Nature eyes a relief to Exaltling. A muffled sound of counting from 10 to 1 came from under the Imperial's wing; Piedra flew back into the tree before she got to 1, giggling the whole way. The Imperial, Excelsior, smoothed her wing, ignoring the giggles. Could this be the dragons sent to meet her? They couldn't possibly be from her birth clan. Gathering up her courage, she stepped closer, and spoke. "Hello. Are you here to meet me?"

She's barely finished when the Spiral landed in a knot in front of her. "Are you the dragon in trouble! We can lead you to safety! I'm in charge, but Excelsior can be a big helper when she wants to be!"

Piedra took off then, still chattering away, and circled Excelsior. "It's almost time to go home anyway, so you're just in time! C'mon, you're all small like Eleos - you can hide in Excelsior's mane and ride home with us in style! It'll be great!"

Excelsior, clearly larger, older, and more level-headed than Piedra, rolled her eyes - her purple shadow eyes. Exaltling's blood ran cold, and her instincts screamed for her to run. Sensing the change, Piedra stopped talking and began flying around both of them, looking for what had frightened Exaltling. Excelsior met Exaltling's gaze and held it as she spoke to Piedra. "I'm afraid I've frightened our new friend, Piedra." The Spiral swooped low over them, looking from one to the other, and returned to patrolling, just in case.

Holding the tiny Fae's eyes with her own, Excelsior put her head right down on the grass to speak to her. "Yes, I was born in the Shadow flight. Now it's my calling to travel from clan to clan in Nature to train any who choose to learn from me. I've been in the UrsaJoy clan for some time, training and learning. They embrace any who choose to stay with them. They do not judge a dragon by the color of their eyes, but by the content of their character."

Exaltling listened and nodded. "I will go with you. Thank you."

From above they heard a shouted, "Woohoo!!" Excelsior rolled her eyes again, but Exaltling could sense the affection the Imperial felt. With remarkable efficiency, the Spiral helped her hide herself comfortably in Excelsior's mane. Exaltling fell into a restful, healing sleep before they reached the UrsaJoy clan lair.

____________
Exaltling, ever alert for danger, woke all at once. She looked around the treesap nest before making a sound. She found herself in the most comfortable part of the nest, various garments laid out nearby, and another Fae dragon curled up at the nest's entrance. She only needed a moment to remember that she had come to the UrsaJoy clan the night before. She allowed herself a moment to miss and to give thanks for the many clans that had sheltered her before this one, then rose from her sleeping place. With more enthusiasm than grace, the Fae before the entrance sprang up, scanned the nest for danger, then lifted her head welcomingly to Exaltling. Soon she understood that this other Fae has given her the place of honor in her own nest, and set herself to guard duty. Exaltling tactfully didn't point that that, had something attached, she would be better able to defend herself than Midnight. The younger Fae didn't yet have the easy grace in combat Exaltling had developed, although the potential was clearly there. The two Fae females got along well, and between them chose an outfit for Exaltling that hid her identity while giving her freedom to move and train.

While training with Midnight and one other young dragon, Exaltling heard about how many of the clan members had gone out in different directions, neither knowing nor caring about the details of the troubled dragon they sought. She was touched that so much effort had gone into finding and helping her. To her surprise, a total of 3 dragons had been brought back that night! Two groups each found an abandoned hatchling. No one questioned her nor the now-growned hatchlings about their past. Instead, each of them was given the support they needed, and encouraged to pursue the work and growth each thought best. The tundra found that night, OConnell, chose to stay in the clan and pursue studies in writing and healing. The other, a Spiral who hadn't taken a name, was still undecided. Exaltling shuddered on hearing the youngster considered training for exaltation, but took comfort in seeing that this was an option[/], not something she was forced into. In face, it being such a big decision, the clan leaders encouraged her to take her time before choosing to exalt herself.

Exaltling trained often, even offering some guidance to Midnight and others as they practiced in the Coliseum. She wondered if, some day, she would have the chance to help train her own hatchlings, or if all of their upbringing would be without her. When not practicing with younger dragons, she worked very hard under Excelsior's tutelage. Exaltling appreciated the Imperial's focus and calm. Excelsior expected excellence from Exaltling, and Exaltling rose to every challenge. One bright afternoon, after Exaltling had worked herself to exhaustion, Excelsior insisted on a break from effort. They took water under a shade tree and stayed in companionable silence for a time.

"Take this," Excelsior said to Exaltling, passing her a stone. It glowed softly. "With this, you can harm your enemy while restoring yourself. With this, you can Sap your enemy's strength and turn it against them." All the rest of that day, Exaltling explored this new ability, learning how to heal her wounds with the power of her opponents.

Of course, she couldn't stay with the UrsaJoy clan for very long. Midnight brought her to see the clan Matriarch, Reina. To her surprise, Reina indicated Midnight should stay. The Excelsior was already there. Exaltling was glad to have these friends with her. A messages were being sent to find her a new place to shelter. Excelsior and Midnight would go with her, to help protect and guide her until she was with members of the next clan to shelter her. Turning to Excelsior, Reina added, "I thank you for all your service to the clan. Know that you are welcome to return whenever you wish." The two dragons, one Guardian and one Imperial, made their goodbyes as fast friends, the latter once teacher to the former.

Sadness mingled with hope in her thoughts. She wondered when (if?) she would see her Sentinel and their hatchlings. She wondered how long she would keep moving from place to place. She also determined that she would learn all she could from the experience, and be ready to do whatever had to be done to protect herself, and the ones she loved.

__________

A peace dove glides in to rest near the Teletraan clan leaders, dropping a scroll at their feet. Opened, it reads, "Greetings from the UrsaJoy clan, may the Gladekeeper every shelter you and yours.

The wandering Princess of Nature, Exaltling, has need of safe haven - forces of Shadow have been sighted too close to the UrsaJoy clan lair. If you have the will and the means, please take her in. We are thankful for having her with up, and sorrowful at parting from her so soon, but that sorrow will be eased by knowing she moves from our loving support to yours.

Wishing you all the best,
Reina and Eleos, tenders of the UrsaJoy clan.