Monday, August 24, 2015

San Juan Island 2015

Every year, my family, some friends, and I make a pilgrimage to San Juan Island to camp and wait for the local Orca whale pods to swim by.
This year, the whales spoiled us. Usually, they are far out in the ocean and you can only see them with binoculars or a really good camera. This year, they came so close! And not just once... nearly every time we saw them they were super close!

Porpoising like a dolphin

Hello! This spyhoping Orca is named Spock!

We also saw two beautiful sunsets.

My mom and I got up at 4:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and the moon was beautiful, shining on the water! You can see the lights of Vancouver Island faintly, too.

I hiked up Young Hill twice (from two different directions).

The view from the top.
We went to Lime Kiln lighthouse several times. It is the prime spot on the island to watch the whales. In the summer, researchers carefully track the whales, so you can get a lot of information at the lighthouse, too.

My friends and I played lots and lots of games and did many Mad Libs.
I also got stung by a bee for the first time in my life. I lasted nineteen years. And then, a wasp got stuck in my shirt, and stung me three times.
After ten days of sleeping on the ground, it is strange to be back in my bed again. I can't wait to go back again next year!

Live long and prosper.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Where I've been, and What I've been doing

AKA, the post explaining why I've only posted thirteen times since the beginning of June.
The answer?
Because this has been the BUSIEST summer EVER!
The weeks following my senior recital at the end of May were spent doing... I can't even remember. But, then, my mom and I went to Minnesota for a few weeks and returned on July 21.
On July 26, we went on a ten day camping trip (blog post coming soon).
I returned on August 5, and on August 7, drove my parents up to Canada for my cousin's wedding and an overnight stay at Grandma's house.
We were home for a glorious week after that, but on August 15th, we left again! This time, for a week long cruise to Alaska with twelve other relatives (again, blog post coming soon).
Now, finally, we are home from all the trips we have taken. I would like a vacation from vacation, please.
Out of the 92 days in June, July, and August, I have been here for only 36 of them.
Now that classes, exams, recitals, AND vacations are all over, I should be around more. Hopefully.
For now, I shall say "Live long and prosper!" and go unpack.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Burdened with glorious floor space.

This is my workspace:

It is the fluffy purple rug on my bedroom floor. Unfortunately, it does not get vacuumed – only shaken out. Currently, it is in great need of being shaken out. There are little sticks and strings and pieces of fluff stuck in it from the summer's adventures (and a dog who like to investigate underneath the bushes in the backyard and then come inside and hide under my bed, taking the path via the purple rug, of course).

Today, my goal is to finish making the plot changes (so much for doing five chapters a day)! So far, I've already eliminated two more unneeded chapters, and I'm so happy with the plot changes that I'm making that it hardly seems like work! I think yesterday's changes were the hardest.
Finishing the plot changes today will give me a day (tomorrow) to look over them and make any further changes before I take a week's break. After my break, I can start rewriting! Eeep!
At the beginning of the year, I made an rewriting/editing plan for this novel. I got so horribly off-track that I was afraid I wouldn't get the story rewritten by the end of the year. Now, however, I feel far more optimistic! Huzzah!

Remember what I just typed about yesterday being the hardest? Forget it. It's about 40 minutes later, and I've changed my mind.
I've reached the end of the novel.
Which I didn't even bother writing the first time.
In 2014, when I wrote this book, I had so many plot holes and the story was just dragging on and on and on and I didn't have a clear direction, so I never finished writing the story. Instead, I made a synopsis saying, "And then there was a big battle and it ends happily ever after." (Oops, spoilers!)
So, basically, I have reached the stage of the story where I am making up what happens next.
I've thought a lot about the ending since 2014, and I know exactly how I want to do it. Getting those ideas from my head to the notecards in front of me is a different matter.

~Time Passes~

Let it be known that on August 13, 2015 at about 11:50 AM, Abbey finished the plot revisions to her fantasy novel's outline! Hip hip!

Self-congratulatory selfie with my outline.
In my hand (well, actually, it's on the floor right now), I hold a fully-functioning outline! Yay! And I am SO happy with how it turned out! I can't wait to start rewriting this story!
The original story had 65 chapters before I gave up and decided to do an outline before attempting to rewrite the story with an actual ending. The final chapter count in my sparkling, new outline is 65 chapters! What a cool coincidence!

Now, I can bask in my triumph, and prepare myself for driving alone to voice lessons for the first time ever. And eat lunch. I'm hungry.

Live long and prosper!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Episode Two: Attack of the Notecards

Today, my soundtrack is Natalie Cole's CD Unforgettable.

The second notebook has always been the most boring of the three. The first one has a lot of action and adventure. The third one has a lot of action and adventure. The second one... It sits still—sinking—in a stinking, stagnant marsh of politics and bad characterization on the part of The Author who had no clue what she was doing when she wrote the first draft.
Going through the fifteen chapters that encompass the second notebook makes yesterday's plot work look easy. And I haven't even reached the big issues that I mentioned yesterday.
As I said, the second notebook is boring. Nothing exciting happens. And if I, as the writer, gets bored reading it, then so will the readers. Today, I realized that I can achieve the same plot advances that I currently have in half the amount of chapters. So, that is what I am busy working on: combining events from various chapters into glorious, new chapters (making sure to include a plot change as I go along, of course!). Hopefully, I can keep my audience (and myself!) more entertained by cutting out a lot of unnecessary scenes. 

We interrupt your regular programming to bring you this weather report: Outside, it is thundering ominously. As of 11:57 AM on August 12th, there has been no rain yet. We expect it shortly.

My stormy view. (The rain never did come.)

I have managed to cut out four chapters. And, I have managed the finish the fifteen chapters in the second notebook! Tomorrow I shall tackle Notebook No. 3. (AKA, the one with the biggest revisions).
Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

It has begun

Today I am beginning plot revisions to my fantasy novel. After writing out a synopsis of each chapter on a notecard, I'm ready to go through them and fix plot holes and add plot changes when necessary. In the end, I shall have a complete and fully-functioning outline! Then, I can start rewriting.

How novel: a novel in notecards!
The very first notecard presented a problem. A huge plot hole. While waiting for my mom to finish what she was doing so I could talk it out with her and do a little brainstorming, I created a "Classic rock" playlist on youtube. This playlist features a nice blend of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Billy Joel, and Queen, with a scattering of Lou Rawls, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Focus, and others.
Ahile later, huzzah! We fixed the plot problem! Onto notecard no. 2.
I'm slightly apprehensive. Out of the whole novel, the beginning needs the least revisions to the plot. If it took an hour of thinking and talking to fix the first chapter; how long is it going to take to fix some of the bigger issues? Then again, I have thought quite a bit about the later issues, and not at all about this first one. Hopefully, I can quickly and easily fix the problems that I've already thought a lot about.

My goal is to go through five chapters a day; it will take me about two weeks.
Although, my progress today has put me significantly ahead of schedule! I got through the first twenty chapters, which are contained in the first notebook (which is really only half a notebook; the other half is filled with random ideas and stories). These first twenty chapters are the easy chapters. The only real difficulties are a few plot holes that need patching, the need for some foreshadowing, and some inconsistencies (goats magically changing into sheep and then back into goats again). The major plot changes happen in the second and—even more so—the third notebooks. I have a feeling that they will take quite a bit longer to get through than the first notebook.

75 plot notes and 20 notecards down; 160 plot notes and 40 more notecards to go!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Senior Recital

I have put my senior recital on youtube!

Here is a list of songs and their start times if you wish to skip around to specific songs (though the bits in between songs are pretty entertaining!):

-Die Lotosblume by Robert Schumann. (2:06)
-Vittoria Mio Core by Giacomo Carissimi. (4:08)
-Think of Me from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber. (7:22)
-Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better from Annie Get Your Gun by Irving Berlin. Performed with my teacher. (11:48)
-Popular from Wicked by Stephen Schwartz. (17:10)
-By Strauss from An American In Paris by George and Ira Gershwin. (22:04)
-Ah! je ris de me voir (The Jewel Song) from Faust by Charles Gounod. (27:00)

-Video of Abbey's journey through music. (31:36)

-Prelude in C# Minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff. (40:29)
-Cantina Band from Star Wars arranged by Martin Spiztnagel. Performed with my teacher. (45:53)
-Berceuse by Frederic Chopin. (49:37)
-Children's Corner Suite by Claude Debussy: (55:12)
1. Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum
2. Jimbo's Lullaby
3. Serenade of the Doll
4. The Snow is Dancing
5. The Little Shepherd
6. Golliwog's Cakewalk.