tag-along: a Christmas short story

Kellyn Roth recently hit 1,000 followers on her blog (congrats, Kellyn!) and in honor of that amazing milestone, she’s hosting a short story contest.  Within minutes of reading about the contest I had an inkling of a story idea and, well, here it is!  Even if I don’t win first or second place, I’m so glad I entered.  Writing Tag-Along was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had as a writer – and I’m not just saying that.

(Oh, and according to this word counter, Tag-Along is 1,896 words long.  Just so that y’all – especially Kellyn – know that it meets the requirements for being between 1,000 and 1,999 words long.)

And now for the story!

(If I got anything wrong about the Great Depression, the 1930s in general, and/or Wyoming, I apologize.  The contest deadline doesn’t allow for tons of research.)

Tag-Along

Wyoming – 1934

When I was nine years old, I was sure that my brother, Tom, was the most ornery human being on God’s green earth. There were only three years between us but once he hit twelve, he acted like we were as many decades apart.

Most of the time he didn’t do anything…and that was the problem. We used to play in the ravine, making mud pies and wading into the water when the summer heat caught us.

But now Tom ignored me most of the time, too busy with his friends.

I stayed clear of him after he called me a tag-along. I was playing House in Pa’s shed and Tom walked past with his friends.

“Is Dorothy around?” Arthur Mitchell asked.  I’d been sweet on him for about forever and I placed my hand on the shed’s door, ready to go out and maybe walk beside him when Tom’s reply flattened me.

“Naw. Tag-along’s probably playin’ with her dolls’.”

They laughed, but I was crushed. How dare they all laugh at me? Especially Arthur…

There was a suspicious prickling behind my eyes that threatened tears but I sniffed hard and forced them away. I didn’t want to show up for dinner with red eyes and have Tom ask a bunch of stupid questions.

/

Besides Tom’s new attitude, the other thing in my thoughts was the singing contest on the 24th. It was a Christmas Eve benefit to help families in our community hit hardest by the Depression.

At that time, I didn’t care about homeless families so much as the prize for the best girl singer at the benefit. The prize was a shiny ring with five – five! – tiny red rubies set around the band.

Looking back on that ring, I know that the gold was some kind of cheap, painted metal and the ‘rubies’ were really just glass. But when I was nine, it held all the allure of the diamond mines in my favorite book – A Little Princess.

There was a special display at the general store that had a poster about the benefit and then all the prizes lined up, waiting for the winners. I’d press my nose against the glass and stare at that ring. Sometimes the sun would catch it just so and set it to shimmering and glittering until I had to look away.

And then Tom would come out.

“Hey, Tag-along, you buyin’ anythin’?”

I turned and glared at him. “You know I don’t have any money,” I snapped.

“Well, you’ve gotta go. Mr. Mitchell doesn’t like it when people loiter.”

I’d roll my eyes. But I always went.

Tom had gotten a job at Mr. Mitchell’s store only a couple months ago and if his head was swelled before, it was nothing compared to how he got now.

At first I’d been excited like Pa and Ma. Now I could go to the store and eat as much penny candy as I wanted! Now I’d get to see Arthur more because Mr. Mitchell was his pa.

But none of those shiny dreams came true. Since I could never afford to be a customer at the store, Tom always shooed me away sooner or later. Said that it didn’t look good to Mr. Mitchell and that he had to keep this job.

He was a pain.

/

In preparation for the benefit, I sang in our backyard, on the walk to school, and just about everywhere else. It was less than two weeks away.

And I was terrified.

/

“Now, Dorothy, there’s absolutely nothing to be worried about,” Ma said as she smoothed invisible wrinkles from my dress. “You have a beautiful voice.”

I wished it was true. But Tom had come out in the yard the other day to chop wood when I was singing and I’d asked him how I sounded. I’d waited for words of praise – I thought I sounded really good – but he just shrugged. His eyes looked distant as he threw another piece of kindling into the wood pile, like he was a million miles away, .

I ran into the house, hating Tom. He didn’t care about me! He didn’t care if I lost the contest and that ring went to some other girl.

Now, fifteen minutes away from singing in front of the entire population of Miller’s Crossing, the memory of Tom’s indifference rose up like a ghost to haunt me. It sucked all my courage away.

Ma and I stood backstage, waiting for me to be called. Pa was somewhere in the audience, ‘proud as anything’. I didn’t know where Tom was until he bounded up to Ma and me.

“I had to lock up,” he said to Ma. “When’s Dor’thy goin’ up?”

“After Patty sings.”

He looked over at me. “Ready?”

I nodded. I couldn’t admit that I was shaking.

The three of us stood together, listening to Patty Malone sing ‘Easter Parade’ – pretty much the worst song for a Christmas Eve benefit, I thought. She sang good, though, and I was getting more scared by the second.

I think Tom saw something of my fright because just before they called my name, he ruffled my hair – usually infuriating, but comforting right then – and said, “Here you go. Break a leg, Tag-along!”

Tag-along?

I stood there, stock still, as they said, “And now Miss Dorothy Jackson, singing ‘That’s What Life Is Made Of’.”

Mother gave me a gentle push and that was about the only thing that would’ve got me on the stage. But it wasn’t stage fright anymore, it was tears that threatened to spill out of my eyes and forever embarrass me. All because of Tom and his stupid nickname for me. He’d been so nice a minute ago and-and then he’d called me ‘Tag-along’. I hated that name and never more than that moment.

I swallowed hard as the piano tinkled out the opening notes of my song.

Good thing I’d spent every spare minute singing because I don’t remember a single word I pushed out of my aching throat that evening. But the applause was loud. I saw Pa in the crowd as he stood and led everyone else to.

I’d gotten a standing ovation but it didn’t matter. Tom hated me.

I stumbled off the stage and into Ma’s arms. She hugged me tight. “What did I tell you?” she said proudly. “You were wonderful, darling!”

Tom wasn’t around, I saw, as I peeked around her arm. Good thing, too, or I’d probably have shouted him.

“Can we go home?” I asked.

She held me away from her, surprised. “No, we have to wait and see the other acts and then find out who won the prizes.” She smiled. “Don’t you want to know who the winners are?”

The idea of seeing those prizes given out – especially the ring – made my heart sing. I wouldn’t win. If the performer couldn’t remember her own performance, could anyone else be expected to?

But I didn’t want to worry Ma. So I just said, “All right.”

/

I didn’t win. The prize went to a girl who was here visiting her aunt and uncle. Was that allowed, to enter when you didn’t live here? I didn’t think so but the judges were the ones whose opinions mattered.

On the way home, Pa and Ma and Tom tried to cheer me up by saying that I’d sung very well and, no, of course that girl didn’t qualify and what were the judges thinking? Well, it was mostly Ma talking. Pa didn’t say much anytime and all Tom offered was a smile. I pretended not to see.

I went straight to bed when we got home though Ma offered to let me stay up late and have some cake and listen to the radio. But my stomach churned too much for cake to tempt me.

As soon as I crawled into bed, I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I squinted at the clock in the light that came from the hallway. Only about an hour had passed. I could hear the radio playing from downstairs. All my anxiety had left me thirsty, so I crept down the stairs toward the kitchen.

“I only need twenty-five cents, Pa.” That was Tom, in the kitchen. I paused at the closed door.

“That’s fine, son,” Pa’s voice rumbled. “I already told you that the money’s your own.”

“Oh, Pa.” I could hear the eye roll in Tom’s voice. “This is all I’m goin’ ask for, ever. Promise.”

“And I won’t hold you to that promise. But I appreciate it. I know your ma does, too.”

Part of me wanted to push open the kitchen door and see just what they were talking about. But there was something serious about their voices that held me back.

So I returned to my room and fell asleep again. Eavesdropping had made me forget about my thirst and I slept good the whole night.

/

As soon as I woke up, I remembered that it was Christmas day.  I ran to the mantel and tore down my stocking. Tom’s was still hanging there, which puzzled me, because when it came to Christmas he was just as excited as me. He wouldn’t still be sleeping.

After I found the candy, the nickel, and the hair ribbons in my stocking, I asked Ma about Tom.

“He’s out an errand,” she said, a funny smile on her face.

I made a face. “An errand? On Christmas?”

“Eat your breakfast now,” she said, pushing a plate of pancakes in front of me. Pa smiled at me across the table.

I was halfway through the pancakes when the kitchen door opened and shut. Ma left the table and I could hear her and Tom talking in the kitchen. Then he came into the dining room. He still had his boots and coat on and was tracking snow everywhere. I expected Ma to scold him, but she didn’t.

He came and stood by me and dug into his coat pocket.

“Merry Christmas,” he said, handing me a tiny box.

I didn’t breath for a moment. I knew what came in this kind of box.

I got it open and stared. There, nestled on a tiny bed of velvet, sat a gold ring studded with five rubies. “Oh…” I whispered.

“I had to ask Mr. Mitchell to open up the store special so I could get it,” Tom said, the words spilling out of him in a kind of happy breathlessness. “At first he wasn’t too happy, but once I explained, he got the store keys real quick and sold me the ring.”

I looked from the ring on my finger to Tom.

“Thank you, Tom! Thank you so much.” And then I hugged him, even if it did embarrass him for forever.

“Well, you deserved it,” he said. “You should’ve won that prize, Tag-along.”

I was about to get mad again when he grinned and then I could see the mischief in his eyes. But seriousness, too. He really thought that I should have won and he got me this ring because of it and he didn’t mean anything bad by calling me ‘Tag-along’.

Joy welled up in me. I had the ring and, more importantly, I had my brother back.

It was the best Christmas ever.

THE END

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What did you think??? (And do you like the cover – I made it myself because Canva is awesomeness.)  Tag-Along was inspired by To Kill A Mockingbird, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, and Flipped.  Mainly the tone of all three, y’know?  And I listened to a bunch of fun, upbeat 1930s songs while I wrote it – I hope that translated into the story!

Merry Christmas, everyone. ❤

Eva

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introducing ‘The Truth About Us’!!!

(Yes.  I did just use three exclamation marks.  Because even though it might seem Unprofessional I’m very, very excited to share this with y’all.)

I published a thing, you guys.  On Wattpad.

the-truth-about-us-wattpad

*screams and flails because THAT COVER*

(Confession: I made that cover on Canva.  So maybe I shouldn’t pat myself on the back so much.  But I LOVE IT.)

Story blurb:

Ava Taylor’s plan for the summer: die of boredom right after her best friend moves away. Sure, Kai set her up on a blind date before she left so Ava won’t be completely alone. But Ava has known loneliness before and she knows how tough it is to shake. Going out with a random guy can’t change how she feels…or can it?

Beckett Reese’s plan for the summer: stay invisible. But when a case of mistaken identity pushes him into Ava Taylor’s life, invisible isn’t an option anymore. Not when you’re dating the richest girl in Mason. But will secrets tear them apart before they can really know each other?

A story perfect for fans of The Fill-In Boyfriend and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

(Let me tell you…writing story blurbs is HARD.  And I’m still not completely satisfied with this one, but it gives you the bare bones of the story, y’know?)

I’m serializing The Truth About Us on Wattpad, a chapter a week (each Friday).  I mainly wrote it for fun but I’m always serious about editing/catching typos/etc. so I’m hoping that it’s pretty good quality.  Anyway, I hope that you’ll at least check out the first chapter to see if it’s your cup of tea and let me know what you think either on the site or in the comments below!

Eva

meet Frank

“…nobody pays me to poke my nose into others’ business.” -Frank Barclay, What Dreams May Come

Image result for hamlet quotes After I finished The Darkness Is Past on the 12th, I cast around for another writing project that I could undertake during the rest of November.  I finished a YA novella I’d been working on before NaNoWriMo (currently waiting for edits and then coming to a Wattpad near you!) and then I thought I’d try my hand at the other NaNo idea I had – a western retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (tentatively titled What Dreams May Come).

I plotted everything out, decided that I’d tell the story from Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s POVs (alternating chapters).  It was going to be great.  So I started writing and…it was horrible.  I guess the writing was technically okay but I hated Hamlet/Harry after writing for two seconds in his point of view (Ophelia/Annie was a little better, but still not right).  And Hamlet is one of my favorite literary protagonists!  Something was wrong so I set the story aside, thinking that it wasn’t the right time to tell it.

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Except that, on Sunday as my family went to church, Fortinbras/Frank started talking to me and wouldn’t SHUT UP.  I’ve never had a character talk to me so clearly, with their own voice and everything.  So I started writing the story from his point of view and the whole thing was amazing and worked so well and I just…I love it.  Even though I’ve done little to no thinking about his goals, motivations, voice, etc., Frank is one of the most well-rounded, real characters I’ve ever written.  At least, that’s how he feels to me.

It’s super interesting (and challenging) to tell such a familiar story as Hamlet from the POV of such a minor character who’s in pretty much none of the original story.  But it’s working!  I’m taking a few liberties with some plot points, as is customary in most retellings, but I’m also having fun with figuring out how to get things across to the reader when Frank isn’t actually present for the important stuff.

I can’t decide whether to cast Frank as Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews because they both remind me of him.

And what is Frank like, exactly?  He’s serious.  He loves his father (who’s passed away) and wants to honor his memory.  He thinks things through, is very gentlemanly where women are concerned, keeps his thoughts to himself, and tries to find the most sensible solutions to problems.  He has very definite opinions about people and it’s hard to shake him from them. (He’s an ISTJ, if that means anything to y’all.)

He’s honestly one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever written.  I’m excited to continue writing his story and sharing bits and pieces with you!

Eva

how I won NaNoWriMo in eight days (and hit 67K words in twelve)

NaNoWriMo 2018 Participant Flair

A few hours before NaNoWriMo began, I messaged one of my best friends because I was genuinely freaking out about writing my novel, The Darkness is Past.  I’d thought about it for so long that I was worried that I’d mess it up.  She responded with a reminder of one of my favorite writing quotes.

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” -Shannon Hale

And it must have helped because I wrote like mad and won NaNoWriMo on day eight.  And I finished my novel of 67,009 words on day twelve.  I’d love to tell you that there’s a magic formula that you can follow exactly and you will definitely do as well (or better) than I. (And I know of at least two people who won in the first two days, so yeah.)  But all I can give you is some tips, what worked for me, etc.  Maybe it’ll help you – I don’t know.  Just do what works for you, honestly.

// PRAYER //

Image result for quotes praying about little things

I know prayer isn’t everyone’s thing, but it honestly helped me so much.  I prayed before I started writing The Darkness is Past and I prayed off and on throughout the writing process.  I want to use all my writing – but especially this story – to bring glory to God and to point people to Christ.  So it’s only natural that prayer is a part of my process.

// VIRTUAL WRITE-INS //

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I can’t say enough good about NaNoWriMo’s virtual write-ins.  I even hosted one myself!  I’ve participated in only two so far, but they are incredible when it comes to getting the words out.  I especially love the prompts (I’ve used every one I’ve been given) because they force me to think outside the box and lead to more interesting, inventive writing.  I would also recommend this list of great writing prompts and highly recommend that you include a cameo of the great Stan Lee in your NaNo novel this year because he passed away today and it’s a rather epic idea (IMO). (I put in three cameos so that, hopefully, one should survive the editing process.)

// STORY LOVE //

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I love my story.  It’s a dystopian retelling of the life of the Apostle Paul and I LOVE it.  At the risk of sounding prideful, I love the twist I’ve given such an inspiring, iconic story.  And I love my characters even if they’re only in rough form right now and I don’t understand them as well as I’d like to.  And because I love my story/characters, I loved writing The Darkness is Past.

// SPEEDY WRITING //

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I hope I’m not being arrogant or anything when I say I’m a fast writer – it’s just true.  I once wrote 5K words in eighty minutes (two Psych episodes) and it was glorious.  So squeezing 67K words into twelve days – while slightly crazy – wasn’t all that hard for me, believe it or not.  It was actually fun.

// FREE TIME //

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I help homeschool my little brothers, I have a freelance writing job, and also household chores but I also have gobs and gobs of free time.  Which obviously helps a huge amount.  But on one of my wordiest days – 10K – I wrote off and on in little bits and participated in church ministry and I still got the words in because I literally couldn’t stop writing.  The words tumbled out of me so quickly.

// INSPIRATION //

Image result for quotes about writing cs lewis

I watched the new Pureflix movie ‘Paul: Apostle of Christ’ while I was in the middle of my novel and I think it gave me an extra boost of inspiration.  It wasn’t a perfect film (didn’t love it like I love ‘Risen’) but I did really, really like it.  The ending made me cry.  A lot.  Paul has become really special to me through this process and I just…it’s emotional.  And I also had my Spotify playlist which kept me going and going and going.

// PLANNING //

Image result for planning writing quotes agatha christie

I had my plot planned out (and it changed very little) which meant that I almost never had to wonder what I was going to write next.  That was very freeing, especially because I’ve never outlined so much and NaNoWriMo has always been a bit of a struggle for me, knowing how to keep writing plot stuff.  But even with the planning, there were moments of spontaneity.  One character took on a much larger role, there was an unexpected partnership, other characters cropped up before I meant them to, and so on.  And when my story started getting boring, I participated in a virtual write-in and found one of the prompts super helpful.  I’ll just say that, um, fire tends to make things wayyyy more interesting.

Sooooo…how’s your NaNoWriMo going?  Did you find any of these tips helpful?  Let me know in the comments!

Eva

this & that

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A quick review of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay: This book is beautifully written and brought me to tears more than once. I didn’t find much to be of practical help to me, but I think other people might. The author took stories from the Bible and wove them into the points she made, which was really interesting. (I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review and you can purchase it on Amazon here.)

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The Reams of Rereads challenge is over and I didn’t even notice for so long. 😦  NaNoWriMo is keeping me crazy busy and Mom was away when the challenge was ending, so yeah.  I didn’t hit everything on my list, but I did manage to read Mockingjay, Eve’s Daughters, and half of Ender’s Game along with the other books I’d already mentioned rereading.  Thanks so much to everyone that participated!

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Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I wrote 25,000 words in the first four days.  Wut.  It was crazy and my right hand started aching (it’s okay now).  I’m not entirely happy with how my writing project is going, but it’s still good.  And then I got sick today, which meant I ‘only’ wrote 1,200 words.  I’m just glad I got a huge chunk in before sickness struck.  I’m planning to get up early for the virtual write-in tomorrow and I’m also probably going to attend a late night write-in on the 11th (Edmontonwrimos are great).  This is the first time I’ve ever been super active in the NaNoWriMo community and trying to participate in ALL THE THINGS.  It’s been loads of fun.

My seven-year-old brother, Ethan, is aiming for 3,000 words this month and he’s done AMAZING so far.  And I’m not just saying that.

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So many blog events coming up!  Blog tour for Allison Tebo’s A Royal Masquerade, a Claude Rains blogathon, and a Robots in Film blogathon.  I’m going to be sooooo busy. (Well, Robots in Film isn’t until January.  So that’s something of a relief.)

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All you lovely people who commented on my ranking of the Pevensies…I WILL get back to you as soon as I have the time.  I’ve just been very, very busy and Uninspired To Answer Comments. 😛

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Movies I’ve watched recently:

-‘The Eagle’ (crush on Jamie Bell is real; seemed like they were trying to copy the fabulousness of ‘Gladiator’ and even though they didn’t, it was still an excellent film)

-‘Defiance’ (ditto about Jamie Bell and also I loooooved Daniel Craig in this one)

-‘Nicholas Nickleby’ (sensing a theme here? the naked baby at the beginning was Shocking, btw)

-‘Breathe’ (I kinda sorta watched this and was Unimpressed by the ending)

-‘Star Trek’ (2009 version and it was great; totally cried when Leonard Nimoy did the whole “Space…the final frontier…” at the end)

-‘Adventures of Robin Hood (this was for the Claude Rains blogathon and I have a lot to say

-modern ‘3:10 to Yuma’ (meh)

There’ve been some more, but those were most of the highlights.

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What’ve you all been up to?  TELL ME EVERYTHING.

Eva

the NaNoWriMo fanatic tag!

The NaNoWriMo Fanatic Tag 2.jpg

I stumbled across this rather awesome tag and instantly fell in love because NaNoWriMo and yes and SHE NAMED HER LAPTOP MORIARTY HOW AWESOME IS THAT. *pouts that I didn’t think of it in the first place* (I hadn’t actually watched Sherlock when I bought my laptop, so yeah.)

So!  All-important rules:

1. Insert the tag graphic into your post.

2. Link back to the original post.

3. Answer all — or as many — of the questions as you like.

4. Refer to our communal family bunny named Fanny at least once in your post. (I…don’t get this.  So shout-out to Fanny, the communal family bunny. *shrugs*)

5. Eat three cookies. (I’ve eaten quite a few sweets today.  That should count.)

6. Post a clean list of ALL of the questions somewhere in your post. (‘Clean’ meaning a list of the questions without my answers.  Which is always convenient for other people who want to answer the tag.)

7. Tag as many friends as you want! (I tag anyone who wants to do this.  Because I can and it’s late and I don’t want to spend time notifying people that they’ve been tagged.)

. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

evaschon95.  And if you know the whys and wherefores of ’95’, you’re awesome.

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?

I usually jump into NaNoWriMo with minimal planning, but this year I discovered Novel Factory and it’s been AMAZING.  I finally have a plot!  And real, solid characters!  And a general idea of theme and POV and all that good stuff.  I’ve even plotted another novel on the software and the plotting went just as beautifully so it wasn’t a one-time fluke.  Plots have always been my writerly kryptonite and I think I’ve finally cracked the code, thanks to Novel Factory. (And, no, they didn’t pay me to say all that.)  So in answer to the question, I’m a firm plotter.

Though the NF software gets down to the blocking of scenes, where you basically write everything that happens in every scene, and that’s too nitty-gritty for me.  I prefer some surprises as I write!

How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?

I won 2013, 2015, and 2016 NaNo.  I got halfway through NaNo 2017 (which was fine with me) and I’m totally planning to smoke this year’s NaNoWriMo.  Maybe even work on a second novel or some fanfiction if I get my official one finished first.

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

I DON’T KNOW AND I HATE NOT KNOWING BECAUSE I LOVE ORIGIN STORIES.  I honestly have no idea how I discovered it, why I participated, or anything like that.  It saddens me greatly.

Image result for origin story memes
 not super relevant, but memes.

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?

Nope.  I pray about my writing, though. 🙂

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

Winning in 2013, very first time, and actually printing out my winner’s certificate and tacking it up on my cork-board.  I was so proud and happy even though, looking back, my writing was trash.  But it was such an awesome feeling to have that certificate.

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)

RYE.  I can’t understand how you could get REE from ‘Wri’.

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

The Darkness is Past.  I’m not entirely happy with it, but it’s a good placeholder title that I took from 1 John.  So, not one of Paul’s epistles (the novel is based on the life of Paul) but I still like it because it’s pretty meaningful on several levels.

What is your project’s genre?

Dystopian, with a heaping side of sci-fi and a sprinkling of supernatural (think: Frank Peretti).

Introduce us to your cast!

Ooooh boy. *cracks knuckles*  So there’s Sol.  Early twenties.  Dedicated to the Order (placeholder names, people!) and really loyal, but it’s misguided loyalty.  Pretty arrogant.  Sees what he calls ‘flickers’ attached to certain people – only he can see them.  And that’s all I’m going to say about him for the moment.

Somewhat older Sol.

Johnny Ryan is Sol’s mentor in the Order, almost like a father to him.  When Sol is converted (because duh) Ryan becomes an antagonist and almost a villain but not quite.

arrow MAlcolm
*fangirl screaming from a certain blog follower*

Sheng and Kari Xu.  Sheng becomes Sol’s bodyguard.  He’s my version of Stephen, so bad stuff’s obviously going to happen to him. 😦  I’M SORRY, SHENG.  And Kari’s his sister and she loves her brother so guess who she’s going to have Issues with later on in the story?

Sheng

There’s also some others like Baris and Tyr (Baris is, like, Ananias and Barnabas mixed and Tyr is Timothy, Titus, and John Mark all jumbled up together).  It’ll be good.  I love these characters and can’t wait to write them.  I’m gonna cry, though.  I just know it.

What is your novel’s theme?

Darkness to light.  Seeing beyond the external.  Christ’s redemption is complete and full.  Letting go and trusting God in EVERYTHING is the only way through the bad times. (And there’ll be plenty of bad times in this novel. *sigh*)

What are your novel’s main settings?

America, recovering from a second Civil War and since divided and conquered by Russia and China.  A big, white technologically advanced building.  Dark downtown alleyways and back streets and poor house churches.  I’m getting kind of a Coruscant vibe.  Also Russia and a rather awful prison.

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

Like I mentioned in the plotter/pantser question, NOVEL FACTORY FOR THE WIN.

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?

Plotting.  Getting to know my characters.  Spending way too much time lurking around the NaNoWriMo forums.  Buying Skittles and Starbursts.  Mentally preparing myself to drink wayyyy too much coffee.  Creating a playlist.  Prayer.

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

My trusty laptop, Hymie.  That’s pretty much it.  I might stick a Funko Pop or two on my desk for encouragement.

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PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

Okay, it’s kind of dumb, but here goes… I was thinking about writing a dystopian parody so I was thinking about weird, useless powers that The Gifted One could have and I came up with ‘be able to see who’s a Christian and who isn’t’ which sounds pretty lame, right?  But I thought about it a little more and figured that it might actually be cool if I wrote a Christian dystopian.  I’m not sure where the idea of retelling the life of Paul came in, but it did and here we are.

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

???

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/evaschon95/the-darkness-is-past/

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/playlist/25gQenYD1EztBGJt1soMhR

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

Do whatever you want.  Write three novels at the same time.  Write 10K and call it good.  Write 50K words.  Write by hand.  Use a typewriter or Word or Google Docs.  But whatever you do, WRITE.  Everything else – how you do it, how much you write, when you write – is unimportant.  Just write.  Plz.

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Annnnd here’s the clean list!

. . . THE QUESTIONS. . .

PART ONE. . . Get to know me

What is your NaNoWriMo Username?

Are you a plotter, pantser, plantser, or planter?

How many years have you done the NaNo? How many times have you won?

What is your NaNoWriMo Origin Story?

Do you have any writing “lucky charms”?

What is your absolute favorite NaNoWriMo memory?

How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo? (Na-No-RYE-Mo, or Na-No-REE-Mo?)

PART TWO. . . PREP

What’s the name of your NaNoWriMo Project?

What is your project’s genre?

Introduce us to your cast!

What is your novel’s theme?

What are your novel’s main settings?

Are you using any plotting/story structures for your project, or are you just winging it like the beautiful pixie that you are?

What are some ways you prepare for The NaNo?

What’s in your writing toolkit? (pictures are encouraged!)

PART THREE. . . Inspiration

What was the initial inspiration for your NaNoWriMo novel?

What’s your NaNoWriMo Novel’s Word Aesthetic?

Share your Pinterest boards and music playlists!

What’s your absolute best advice to new (and old!) NaNoers?

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Happy NaNoWriMoing!

Eva

the get to know me tag {writer’s edition}

Kinsey at Over the Withers graciously opened up this tag for anyone and I’m totally down for it.

Rules:

  • link back to the person who created the tag: Savannah
  • thank the person who tagged you: completed above
  • share the tag graphic below
  • tag 11 bloggers

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THE QUESTIONS

Appearances!

Name: Eva-Joy “Eva” Ruth Schönhaar.

Nicknames: Well, pretty much everyone online calls me ‘Eva’.  And my dad had a nickname for me, but I don’t feel like sharing it here for various reasons.

Birthday: September 3rd!  Less than a month until I turn twenty!!!  I share my birthday with a lot of people (duh), but my three favorites are Alan Ladd, Mort Walker (creator of ‘Beetle Bailey’, one of my favorite comic strips), and Garrett Hedlund.  Also, WWII began on my birthday (several decades ago, obviously).  I don’t know if that’s cool or not.

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The handsomeness!

Hair color and length: My hair is brunette and a little shorter than chin-length.

Eye Color: Blue.

Braces/Piercings/tattoos: I did have braces once upon a time, but now I just have two tiny wire retainers behind my top and bottom teeth.  I’d like to get my ears pierced.  And I don’t have any tattoos.

Righty or lefty: Righty.

Ethnicity: Caucasian.  British, German, and American roots.

First…

Novel Written: Well, I wrote several novellas (probably more like long short stories, tbh) but I believe the first novel-length work I finished was a dystopian novel (first in a trilogy, of course).

Novel Completed: That dystopian thing and as to when it was completed, I’m not entirely sure.  I believe it was some time in 2012 or 2013.

Award for Writing: I won a short story contest at the local library several years ago.  It wasn’t an award exactly, but it’s something anyway.

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Publication: I have nothing to say about this at the present time. (Though the aforementioned short story was published on the library website.)

Conference: No. 😦

Query/Pitch: *shrugs*  I won’t think about that now…I’ll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day! *music swells*

Favorites!

Novel (that you wrote): The one I’m currently working on – The Resistance of Lili Verre – has my heart, obviously.  I’m also partial to my next NaNoWriMo project, a Christian dystopian based on the life of the Apostle Paul.  But I think my favorite novel I’ve written so far is The Bounty Hunter.  It’s a western.  Very first draft, but the characters are the literal best.

Genre: Westerns!  I’m also very partial to sci-fi and most historicals.

Author: Soooooo many.  Jane Austen, Harper Lee, Nadine Brandes, Suzanne Collins, Marissa Meyer, Baroness Orczy, Louis L’Amour, Rachel Kovaciny, Markus Zusak…and on and on and on.

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Writing Music: Movie soundtracks!  My Spotify playlist for The Resistance of Lili Verre includes music from ‘The Book Thief’, ‘Hugo’, ‘Ratatouille’, and ‘Cinderella’ (2015).  Or sometimes I’ll just go and pull up someone else’s random playlist and write to that.  Love.

Time to write: That’s something I’ve been working out in my head, as I want to take my writing a lot more seriously and devote more time to it.  Right now, I mainly write between eleven and twelve in the morning, scattered throughout the afternoon, and sometimes in the evening.  I need to get a firm schedule though.

Writing snack/drink: Coffee.  That’s pretty much it.  I don’t like eating as I write, because it tends to get my keyboard sticky or crumby.

Movie: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (original).  And tons of others.

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Writing Memory: I remember having a lot of fun with a western story about a bank examiner that I wrote a few years ago.  Lots of coffee and early mornings and Jerry Goldsmith music.

Childhood Book: Again, there’s many.  Little Men would be up there, along with A Little Princess.

Currently…

Reading: Gone With the Wind and The Wendy.

Writing: This blog post, my Rogue One WWII AU, and The Resistance of Lili Verre.

Listening to: My little brothers talking.

Watching: My Gmail inbox.

Learning: Nothing much at the moment.

Future!

Want to be published: Before I’m twenty-five.

Indie or traditional: Traditional is my goal right now.

Wildest goal: To have as loyal and devoted a fan-base as Nadine Brandes does.

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Like Kinsey, I’m going to leave this tag open for whoever wants to do it. 🙂

Eva