Hobbies

NaNoWriMo Update #1


And so it begins.

Am I ready for it? Hell, no. Am I scared? Just imagining the next thirty days makes me want to bury my face in my pillow and not come up for air for a good long while.

Will I nano anyway? My pride won’t forgive me if I give up before I even begin.

The past week has been a blur of trying to outline and failing, trying to finalize the story elements I wanted to include and failing, and trying to visualize my settings and also failing. There was a lot of failing going around. The only thing I succeeded is procrastinating by way of reading fanfiction and manga in the guise of doing research, in an effort to avoid facing the paralizing fear of looming failure in this endeavour.

Outlining is harder that I thought, and I already thought before that outlining is pretty hard. I’ve been thinking about this, and really, no wonder I’ve never finished a story before, and that all the fanfiction I’ve been able to write and post in the past were all one-shots. I’ve always had trouble with getting past any of my story’s third chapter, and after some introspection, I realize now that it’s probably because I lose sight of the plot and don’t know how to get back on track. I’m probably more of a planner than the pantser I tried to be in the past. It’s probably a bit too early for me to tell since it’s only the first day, but even having the vague outline that I have right now is giving me the structure and direction that I think I need. Actually, having something as basic as coming up with a synopsis has helped me solidify where I want to go plotwise and helped me decide where to even begin. I don’t know how I’m getting to the finish line, but at least I know the general direction of where to run towards.

On a totally unrelated note, I was planning to work on my outline this weekend but was unable to because of an impromptu trip to a halloween haunted house on Saturday, and making Halloween posters that a co-worker requested for work on Sunday. On hindsight, I  should have charged for them because they took practically the whole day. But then again, I wasn’t as pressured and was able to experiment with watercolors and masking fluids and sharpies. So my artist side was happy. My writer side, on the other hand, was despairing.

But I digress (hah! I haven’t used that phrase in a while… I’m still not sure I’m using it right. Oh, well).

Day one of nanowrimo actually is going well for me. So far I’ve written 2,270 words (go me!). They are 2,270 words of complete, utter crap, and speaking as someone who has only been able to write utter crap the past two years or so and deemed it acceptable, this is a new level of crap that is a little hard for me to swallow. But it’s my crap, I suppose. I imagine that if I somehow manage to finish this whole thing and get to editing, future me will be banging her head against the wall or wishing she could throttle current me for being such a wretched writer. But that’s a problem for her.

In conclusion, nano started fine and I’m hoping to keep it going.

Let’s do this.

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Nanowrimo 2017


Greetings, people who somehow managed to stumble upon this barely updated wordpress blog, who are probably just searching for the chords of a Filipino folk song whose title I unfortunately used as this blog’s title for a good number of years, and of which has continued to haunt my visitors’ page even though the main content of this blog is mostly personal stuff, fangirl posts of a Korean boyband that has disbanded approximately ten years ago, and recounting of Supernatural Conventions I’ve attended since 2014.

Wow, has it been more than a year since I posted something? That’s just… sad. I can just hear my sixteen-year-old self’s anguished scream of denial that any version of me could live a day without writing anything.

Well, the main reason that I’m here is to revive that sixteen-year-old who aspired to be a writer. She’s been ignored for the past three years or so in favor of work, reading fanfiction, and wandering about in a depressive haze day in and day out.

I am here to announce that I am going to attempt this year’s NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in 30 days is the goal, so if I want to even get halfway through, I will need to shove aside the fanfiction, the tumblr, and pretty much the entire internet, and force myself to write everyday. Will I be able to reach 50K? Probably not. But I want to try. Do I have the discipline to write everyday and reach my word count goal? Doubtful. But hey, somehow I learned to make brushing my teeth a habit, so maybe it’s possible. Will I tear my hair out two weeks in and be found in a dark corner rocking back and forth? I don’t know. This is a stressful environment that I’m willingly throwing myself into, and I hate stress more than I hate ginger in my soup, so I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but I won’t know unless I try.

Nanowrimo starts next week, and right now I’m in the throes of frantically prepping my story elements, outline and characters. And research. Can’t forget about the research. I’ve procrastinated prepping until November is only a week away, and I would be one step away from outright panicking if I haven’t already been planning to write this story since I was fifteen.

I’ve got my main characters from my story “White Stones,” which was supposed to be about three teenagers/monarchs who are trying to find the legendary White Stones in an attempt to thwart a war brewing between the seven kingdoms of the continent of Civilia. There’s a princess desperately trying to save her kingdom, a prince running away from the shadow of his elder brother, and a knight who is actually an undercover prince who just really wanted to go to school to be a better fighter. Or something. There’s a love triangle there somewhere, although it’s subverted when the princess gets together with someone else. I don’t know why they’re searching for White Stones, or what the White Stones do. They were either going to contain powerful magic or turn out completely useless.

Over the years, I scrapped most of that idea and slowly made little changes to my characters. It lead to a big change in plot overall, less magic and adventure and more politics and fighting corruption from within. Does that mark how much my interests have changed over the years? I mean, I still love magic and adventure, but I often find myself watching documentaries about history of kings and queens. I still hate real life politics, but there’s certain aspects to it and how it affects people and their beliefs that makes it interesting and relevant to me as an actual person living in these current troubled political climate. But I’m not here to talk about real life politics, I’m here to talk about fiction.

My lovely little OCs have grown from being stupid princesses who get themselves kidnapped, to penniless young nobles who have enough ambition to lead a nation. My three main characters have changed so much, and I am proud of what they are now. I’m still having trouble with some side characters that just wouldn’t cooperate when I try to develop them, but I’m discovering that characters are best to start out simple and not overly complicated.

I’m still trying to get my outline ready by November first. The good news is that I’ve figured out majority of the plot points and have a vague idea of what I want to happen. The bad news is that my timeline is a mess, and what I’ve got outlined is mostly backstories that I’m planning to flesh out in a prequel or sequel, which I know is ridiculous because I don’t even know if I’m going to succeed on this. Another thing complicating it is whether to add the magic element to make it a proper fantasy, or just stick with money as power. I’m tempted to add the magic element to solve a plot hole, but then it creates a different set of plot hole that I’m gonna have to solve and I don’t know if I have time or the patience for that.

That’s the joy of writing, I guess. It’s the despair you feel when you stare at futility right in its face; it’s like filling a hole by digging another hole and filling that hole by digging another one and so on and so forth. There’s also the vast amount of research that I still need to do in order to further develop my settings. Countries and economics and geography and society and how my characters would navigate them.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I can’t wait to start.

Well, it’s time to dust those meager writing skills I’ve developed in my teens that I’ve let become rusty over the years, and start writing. If you see a woman stumbling around with large bags under her eyes and missing patches of hair caused by pulling in frustration, please either ignore or direct her to the nearest bed with a pillow.

I plan to give this blog an update about my progress every week. If I don’t, assume that I’ve given up entirely and am ashamed to show my face, or have already succumbed to sleep deprivation.

Here’s to hoping I survive this upcoming month.

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Dig Art


Tumblr has a rich community of artists and art enthusiasts. Most of what I have been exposed to concerned various fandoms; fans of shows and books posting amazing digital fanarts, colorful interpretations of characters, and character ask blogs which answer purely with drawn out scenes. It’s amazing how creative people could get in regards to stories and characters they love.

It was March of 2015 when I decided to start dabbling in digital art. I had Photoshop Elements already installed months prior, originally hoping to make gifs with it and miserably failing. Naturally, I then tried to edit photos with it, and promptly got bored. At this point, I was just trying not to regret splurging on an expensive computer program that I apparently had no use for, and then I thought, hey, I can draw a little bit on paper back when I was a teenager. Why not try doing some digital art?

Continue reading

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DIY Wax Seal Stamp


Ever since discovering the art of calligraphy as a useful and immensely satisfying (and a little bit costly) hobby, I’ve always wanted to do a handwritten correspondence with someone who lives in another country. In short, a penpal. Although I have been wary of looking for penpals off the internet because, well, it’s the internet and you never know if you’re writing to a potential stalker or a creepster or a predator. I have a short anecdote that I will share in a separate post about how I learned to be paranoid about strangers over the internet. But that’s a story for another day.

Back on topic. Following the calligraphy tag on tumblr had me looking at skilled calligraphers who correspond with their calligrapher friends with their fancy cursive and flowing scripts and pretty flourishes and parchments and wax seal stamps, and of course the one thought that ran through my mind was: “Ooh, that looks fun… I want one.”

The wax seal stamp, I mean. The pretty cursives and flowery flourishes takes years of practice that both frustrates me and makes me determined. The penpal position is still open because I’m wary of creepsters. But parchment and the stamp are pretty attainable. So, I want one.

Problem was, customized wax seal stamps are really freaking expensive. And knowing that I have no use for it because I don’t have anyone to write a letter to, I gave up the idea of buying one.

But I didn’t give up the idea of having one. So naturally, I scoured the internet for do-it-yourself wax stamp seals, and I particularly liked this shank button wax seal stamp and this one made from rubber carving block. There was another really cool set of instructions from RageHaus that used wooden dowels and wood burning tools, but unfortunately, the website is not available anymore.

I haven’t done any of these, because I don’t own any wooden dowels, wood blocks, wood cutting tools, shank buttons or any abandoned chess sets lying around. But then I remembered that I grabbed a pack of bakeable clay on a whim (someone should definitely keep me away from Hobby Lobby because I could buy the whole store), and got the idea to create my own.

It took about four hours of labor (that might be because I work at the speed of a baby turtle), but the finished product, which I dub my trial stamps, came out decently:

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Clearly I need to improve my wax seal application…

I had fun making these, so I thought I’d share.

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Kato Polyclay

What you’ll need:

-Kato polyclay, or any kind of polymer clay that you prefer. This one that I randomly grabbed worked out perfectly.

-Wax paper. Or a plastic bag. Something that you can use to cover your working table with because the clay will be greasy when you start to knead it.

-Pencil

-An inkless pen. Or anything pointy. A toothpick would work, but make sure to smooth out the end.

-An oven. This is quite essential as you’re going to have to bake the polyclay if you don’t want a limp, useless wax seal stamp.

-Baking pan

-Paper

-Wax seals. So you’ll have something to test your wax seal stamp with.

-A candle. Or a lighter. Or a match. Anything save a stove that produces fire.

 

Instructions:

1)      Pinch off an appropriate or desired amount of the clay that you think you’re going to need for your stamp. Or heck, just use as much as you want.

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This is approximately 1 ounce of the polyclay.

2)      The clay is going to be firm, so you have to knead it. Knead it like you intend to give it the best massage of its life.  Doesn’t matter if your technique could be likened to a bull dancing the cha-cha on top of a person. That firm, unyielding clay would soon be like putty in your hands.

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Not putty yet, but getting there.

3)      Roll the clay into a cylinder. Or shape it into an elongated cube. Or a polyhedron, if you’re feeling that creative. Just as long as the “face” of the stamp remains flat, shape the “handle” into a kick-ass lightning bolt, if you have the patience. Just make sure you don’t make the “face” too wide.

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I shaped mine into a Rook in order to have two “faces” in one stamp. This is intentional. No, I didn’t choose this shape because I tried and thoroughly failed to shape a human head and instead ended up with a weirdly-shaped blob. What are you talking about?

 

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…Okay, fine. I don’t know, okay? It was supposed to be a head, I swear, but it ended up like this. Rooks are much easier to shape.

4)      Pencil out a design for your stamp face. Make sure that the design will fit within the stamp face.

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For the 1st face, I chose “W” for Winchester. Why? Because Supernatural, that’s why.

*Tip 1: One way to do this would be placing your stamp on a paper and tracing the edges to determine the boundaries.

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Please ignore the fact that this isn’t the same clay.

*Tip 2: If you want something more complicated than a simple monogram (for example, a lamp, or a human transmutation circle, idk), copy it from the internet, paste to MS Word, resize if it’s too large, and print it off. BUT don’t be a douche and claim the design as your own.

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I chose the anti-possession tattoo symbol from Supernatural for my 2nd stamp face. I printed this off after three failed attempts on drawing it on paper.

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When I finish this, I’ll have a wax seal stamp that will ward off possession on anything that I stamp it on. Letters that you don’t want altered? Slap on an anti-possession symbol and see if Crowley comes near it! Mwahaha!

5)      Darken your design with your pencil. Like, really darken it. Trace your design with enough pressure that when you put your face on top of it, it will leave an imprint. The darker, the better.

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It looks easy enough, right? Wrong.

6)      Take your clay stamp and place it on top of your design. Turn the whole thing upside down, with the paper now on top, and scratch it to make sure that the clay takes up the pencil imprint.

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Slap the pattern onto the “face,” and then lightly scratch the surface.

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You barely see it from the photo, but the imprint is there.

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Here’s the “W” for my 1st stamp face.

7)      Take your pointy tool (a pen, a toothpick, or anything that you can try and poke somebody with and they respond with “ow!”) and start carving your stamp face. The image will naturally be reversed. Try not to make it too shallow that it won’t show on the wax seal when you try it out, or too deep that the wax may break off inside.

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My pointy tool is my mechanical pencil. It works out wonderfully.

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Carving this took about two hours in total and I was ready to puke by the end of it.

8)      When you’re done carving your clay, smoothen out the edges, wipe out fingerprints, make sure the rest of your stamp face is relatively flat.

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I sliced off the edge in order to get rid of the unintended outer circle. So now it really looks like a chess piece.

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Save yourself the trouble and just carve out monograms. This only took me fifteen minutes.

9)      Preheat the oven. Place a wax paper on top of the baking pan, put the stamp clays face down. According to the Kato polyclay directions, it must be baked for 10 minutes in 300 degree Celsius. If you have another brand of polymer clay, then follow its specific directions.

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*CAUTION:   Be careful in taking the pan out of the oven. I know it sounds noble, but “suffering for your art” doesn’t mean suffering 2nd degree burns because you got so excited that you grabbed the stuff straight from the oven.

11)   Let the clay cool off and make sure you’ve baked the malleability out of it.

12)   Voila! Your stamp is ready to be tested!

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Here goes nothing!

To test your stamp:

1)      Grab a piece of paper, melt the wax seal onto it.

2)      Immediately stamp your…er, stamp onto the wax seal, hold still for a few seconds, and then carefully lift up your stamp.

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Okay, let me try that again.

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Took a couple of tries, but hey, it works!

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Seriously, just do monograms. They’re a whole lot easier to do.

Is it successful? Alright, time to color!

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Bam! Rook = Impala because chess rooks are powerful towards end games and the Impala turned out to be the most important thing in the universe.

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S.W. and D.W. on the side. I’m so clever I didn’t even know it. *preens*

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The Winchester Family Motto

WHAM! Have a letter that you don’t want demons to get a hold of? Slap an anti-possession symbol on it.

I like to think The Men of Letters have a variation of this somewhere in the bunker that Sam has yet to find.

Of course, I made this before season 9 finale aired, so sorry Dean. Guess you won’t be sending anyone any letters any time soon.

Or opening any letters. Sam can totally start a diary now.

Okay, I’m done.

If you ended up with an unrecognizable blob of clay, I apologize profusely for wasting your time.

***

[ETA: I posted this months ago in my Tumblr. It was still sitting in my drafts here for some reason. Eh, posting it now.]

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