Saturday, October 26, 2013

Novelling Music

Real quick post here today. I'm kind of scrambling to get ready for NaNoWriMo (FIVE DAYS PEOPLE!!!), and I want to put together a playlist to write to this year. So I want to know... what do you recommend? I'm looking for artists and particular songs, not just genres.
And here's a brief list of artists I'm familiar with already:

Two Steps From Hell

Sound Adventure

Piano Guys


Adrian Von Zeigler

Celtic Woman

Tom Salta

Lindsey Stirling

Blackmore's Night

I'm going for mostly instrumental/soundtrack type music, but I'm willing to try out anything ya'll like to write to. So, what've you got?

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Thursday, October 17, 2013


Alright!! Here's our big surprise. You finally get to meet us sorta face-to-face.
Mostly we're just kind of fooling around, answering some questions.
You'll probably be disappointed with what we really look and sound like. I usually am when I finally see someone that I've thus far only read their writing. But anyway.
And yes, this is absolutely normal for us. We act like this at home, when we're alone, and sometimes when it's late. Actually, we get worse when it's late.
So, here we go!

 -Trinity (And Hannah)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Master Post

Hello everybody! Trinity here!
First of all, I'd like to give a shout out to our newest followers. You guys have no idea how excited we get when we see someone new on here, or even that someone's commented. It's great!

So, without further ado, a big welcome to:
Ajax Cochrane,
Bekah Joan,
Jessica Spurlock,
and Margaret Carpenter!

Alrighty. Moving right along.
I have about four half-finished draft waiting to be written, refined and posted. Unfortunately, I have doubts as to whether I'll actually get around to finishing them. And some of them are only about a paragraph long. Too short for a single post, but I don't have much more to say.
So I've decided to create a master post. Be forewarned. These subjects are somewhat random and are fragments of what would be a complete post.

Number One - Masculine Versus Feminine Writing

 I've noticed something I do when I write men versus women. Of course I do their dialogue differently (guys are usually more succinct, and women are more likely to go off on tangents). And of course I describe them differently (because guys and girls just look different, people.)
But it goes beyond that. I describe the way they do things, or what they do differently.

For example, my guys rarely smile. Usually they grin.

Women laugh or giggle. Men laugh or chuckle.

I'm more likely to say throat for girls and neck for men.

For the most part, they both pass out, but occasionally women faint. “Faint” sounds more wimpy, so I don't use that as often.

Women tend to moan while men groan, though I'm not as strict about that since one seems to be more out of pain and the other out of exasperation or dread.

Women are slender, or slim, but I describe guys as lanky, or lean.

Just little things that, in my opinion, tend to portray women in a more feminine light, and men in a more masculine light. Of course, if I'm trying to make the female seem tougher, I'd decide to have her snarl instead of just saying something angrily, and if I wanted a male to seem less tough, I'd probably have him giggle or faint.
Does anybody else do this? Or do you think that I'm reading into the meaning of the words too much?

Number Two - In Which I Have A Problem

I admit it. I have a problem.
I may need professional help.
I don't know if it's normal for writers, but...


Like, a lot. 

To the point where office supply stores, school supply aisles, and back-to-school sales become pits of evil temptation.

More than once, Hannah has had to almost literally drag me away from the notebook section in any given store.

Would you like to see my collection?

Here it is in all it's glory. I have a couple (six?) more now, because this was taken a few months ago.

There are 42 notebooks, 4 sketchpads, 3 notepads, 2 manuscripts, 1 binder, 1 legal pad, and a partridge in a pear tree. (Well, maybe not that last part.)
9 of the regular size spiral bound notebooks are for school purposes. Three are assigned to writing Aouthentica. One is assigned to Tribes of the Earth, and one is assigned to the Changelings. Oh, and one's my poor, highly neglected journal. The smallest notebooks on the right are from my note-taking in church over the years (those are the only sizes that fit in my Bible case). The binder is for Aouthentica too. The littlest brown leather notebook stays in my purse. 
The sketch pads are rarely to never used (because the artsy gene skipped me), but I keep them anyway. Just in case.
The saddest part about this is that most of them are only half full because I ran out of things to write, and who wants to finish filling an old notebook with a new subject when you could get a new notebook that's shiny and smells good? (I'm reminded of Jesus's parable not to put new wine into old wineskins. I have Biblical support for my notebook hoarding now, people!!)
Does anyone else have this problem? I almost feel like I should be calling Notebook Hoarders Anonymous. 

and finally...

Number Three - The Bracken Trilogy As Reviewed By Trinity 

 "Princess Rosalynn is pretty, spoiled, and childish. She gives no thought to the men and women that protect her father's throne. Then one day, invaders from the enormous kingdom across the river storm across the Bridge and conquer the royal castle.

Alone and in danger, Rosalynn sets out on foot to find her father. Some of her own subjects, she discovers, are willing to sell her to the enemy for reward. Driven by fear, she finds the Bridge and crosses it. In the enemy kingdom, she meets an unexpected friend--a woman who has discovered a secret way to save Rosalynn's kingdom.

Together Rosalynn and the wise woman face enemy soldiers, wicked outlaws, and the wilds of the river on their quest to save her tiny kingdom. Their goal is the Bridge itself, and the secret that it holds."

I just finished reading this again recently, and man I wish I owned the last two books (which I've read, but not in several years). Jeri Massi's writing doesn't make you think that she's a great writer, but she is. At first, it seems a little childish, because it is geared toward younger children, but she's very good at capturing your heart through her characters.
Looking at it now, I can see the weaknesses in the story more clearly, but it's still told with talent, like a storyteller sitting next to you and telling it to you, and describing the softness of the fabric, the slick, muddy riverbank, and the rough wooden shoes that give her blisters.
I loved it just as much a eighteen as I did when I first read it at ten or eleven, and I highly recommend reading all three of them. If memory serves correctly, the writing only gets better as the series goes on. Though The Bridge is still my favorite.

Wow! Ya'll got like, three posts in one! And I cleaned out my drafts folder!
A couple of announcements/updates:
I got the blogging bug a few weeks back, but instead of writing posts (except for my plotting post), I worked on my "Trinity's Works" page, so check that out, because I've updated it quite a bit.

Um, right. We have a guest post in the works (riiight? I'm not really in charge of this... Hannah's supposed to be setting it up. How's it going over there?!) by a very cool blogger/Pinterest friend of ours. Pinterest is a great place to meet other homeschooled writer girls. We've got our own little community.

And segueing from that, Hannah and I are on NaNoWriMo as A Quill In Her Quiver (Trinity), and The Quill Is My Sister (Hannah). So make us your writing buddies if we haven't weirded you out too much, and if you're doing NaNo. Just let us know how you found us. It's a little creepy to have random people just come up and be like, "Heeeeeey. Writing buddies?" Then we tend to fall back on our instinctive reflexes, which for me is to grab for the nearest weapon and start yelling at said creeper to stay back, and for Hannah is to scream and jump and twist in the air like some demented acrobat and then hide. She may correct me on that.

For all ya'll newcomers, please check out this post: "Presenting Our New Idea!", because we only ever got to do one of those Fifteen Minute Stories and it was kind of fun. Make your choice and challenge us, sah!


Tomorrow is our blogoversary! And we have something special planned. And we shall do our absolute best to get it up tomorrow! (Computers are tricksey things. -_-)
I can't believe we've been doing this for a year....

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How To Create A Passable Book Cover

Ollo, it is Hannah. Jumping headlong to the meat of the matter. I was pondering aloud what I could post about today, and my sister Emily, overhearing, suggested I do a tutorial on the covers I make for my books (usually as a form of procrastination - artistic procrastination). Sounded good enough an idea, so as an example, I present my cover for my as-yet-untitled NaNoWriMo novel.


Maybe a bit odd-looking to some, and may not survive the first draft, but it's an example. 

I shall now wax eloquent and speak lengthily, so if you are not at all interested in covers, you may skip this entire post, because that's what's for lunch. 

To begin with, I went to Pinterest (surprise, surprise... it's a writer's best friend and worst enemy) and found these images. None of them belong to me, they are just for experimentation and all of the credit for the images goes to the original owners. I don't know who they are, sorry. If you do know, speak up or forever hold your piece. Peace. Whatever. (I'm a writer, I swear!)

There were a few other pictures I'd picked out, but these four are the ones that made it into the final cover image. They have things to do with the story, but I'm not giving away spoilers right now. 

Next, I opened them up in Photoshop. I have Adobe Photoshop Element 7.0 (I know, super old compared to these 12.0s coming out, but I like it, it's easy to use).

I opened up all the images on one file (on different layers, mind) and I arranged them in the general places they would be in on the cover.  

Blending them together was super easy, way easier than I thought it would be. I took an eraser and put it on a fuzzy-edge setting (that probably has some sort of special name, but I call it fuzzy-edge - sue me) and put it on 87% opacity. For those of you without the knowledge of Photoshop lingo, that means the eraser is making the picture transparent, but you can still see the erased part of the picture faintly. I've found that makes the transition smoother. To any of the people who have used Paint on the computer, it's like that, but fancier.

As you can see here, I'm working on putting all the images together. Make sure to completely erase the edges, or anyone can tell it's a sloppy Photoshop job.

Look at all the fluffy looking pictures! All smooth and pretty. But I'm still not done, because I'm a perfectionist. The background was looking a bit too dull for my taste.

I clicked Enhance, went to Adjust Color and Adjust Hue/Saturation, and fiddled with the saturation levels until I was satisfied (not the hue ones, though, because I liked the color).

You may be able to tell the slight differences between the before and after pictures in the background. The hill is a bit greener and the clouds are a bit bluer. Not overly obvious, but still.

And this is the finished product. Several months after making the first copy, I went back and decided to fade the backgrounds on the upper left corner and the center right side a bit more (with the handy-dandy eraser). I haven't made a title for it yet, so if something seems to be missing, that's it. 
I specifically picked the colors for this one to be brighter and more light-hearted. This is a prequel to my other series (which, no, I haven't written yet), and quite a bit less dark, especially cover-wise.

(These are three of my other books... As you can see, none of them have titles...)

So there you are, lovely people. I have an urge to say peeps, but I refrain. I hope this was at least a little bit informative, though it may be easier for you to go and use Instagram or whatever. In this family of Photoshop users, I have been trained to be prejudiced against Instagram (it's been said that it's like Paint is to Photoshop, which is to say, neanderthal) but don't take that as me judging whichever person prefers that method. Not outright, that is.

If you do not, in fact, have Photoshop in your possession, that's okay, as long as you have a computer to work on, because I believe you can download the older versions for free somewhere. Keep in mind that the newer the edition is, the better it is, but the harder it will likely be to use, especially if you're used to something simpler. 

Now, I have to give the credit to Trinity for the basic idea of how to do these covers. She showed a picture of her Tribes Of The Earth cover in this post and told me how to do it. It is, in her words, "spiffy".

So I think I'm done babbling on. And by the way, the piece/peace thing up there was a joke. Ha ha. No, really, it was...

Oh! I forgot to mention! Our Blogoversary is in two days! We'll do something special (I hope), so mentally mark your calendars.

Sosrin God ignt eht ceallian,
(To God be the Glory)

Friday, October 4, 2013



Five little girls, five steps they took 
To the clear and crystal babbling brook .
To the five berry bushes that grew down there, 
A-waving in the autumn air. 
On each little bush two berries grew, 
of white, green, red, and black and blue. 
Of the first little bush with berries green, 
One made you nice and the other mean. 
The second bush, with blackest berry, 
One made you sad, the other made merry. 
The third little bush, with berries blue, 
If you ate one you shrunk, the other... you grew. 
The fourth bush had berries, red as a rose, 
That changed the size and length of your nose. 
The fifth, berries white, as babies breath 
The one berry brought life, the other death. 
The very first girl... Anne, called she 
Was meaner than a bumble-bee. 
The second girl, by the name of Beth 
Had nearly cried herself to death. 
The third little girl, whose name was Cort, 
Happened to be extremely short. 
The fourth girl's name was Daffodil, 
A semi-truck her nose could fill. 
The fifth girl's name was simply... Ever. 
She was convinced that she would live forever. 
They traveled together to the quiet stream, 
Each with her own private dream. 
Anne from bush one, a green berry tore, 
Ate it and got nastier than before. 
Beth though, had no inner fears 
Ate a blackberry, and then drowned in her tears. 
A berry of blue, did Cort pick from bush three. 
She ate and then shrunk till too small to see. 
The giant-snozzed Daffodil ate a berry of red. 
Her nose swelled ten times and then squashed her down dead. 
The small simple Ever stared at the fifth bush. 
Then picked both berries and squashed them to mush. 
She took them both and ate them plain, 
And then walked back home, exactly the same. 
Despite all her confidence of immortality inside, 
At age 97... Ever up and died. 

By the way, the name of this post, or this poem, has nothing to do with Gail Carson Levine's book. Actually, the above is a poem I (Hannah) wrote in my notebook in two hours while my family ran errands and I sat waiting in the van, back in the November of 2011. The first few lines I came up with when I was about to fall asleep the night before.
It took a lot of thought to get all the colors and numbers and names to line up and rhyme at the same time. And did you notice the girls' names start with A, B, C, D and E? Maybe this is an indicator of genius... 

Trinity suggested that I put some of my poems up, like this one and the Clementine one, but as I've said, I can rarely write poems where someone doesn't die or something. I mean, really, Ever, for example, it's around 320 words, and I killed off five people. Well, I killed off three, technically Anne and Cort didn't die. I made horrible things happen to five people. That's just the writer in me. So continued poetry posts might or might not be a thing.

Tell me what you thought! Comments always make the day. My day, Trinity's day, just the day. And I'm sorry if I scared you with my... creepiness... *cough cough*. Not to say it won't happen again.

To God be the Glory,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

~ Plotting ~

Trinity here. So, for NaNoWriMo this year, I believe I'll be working on my baby. My precious. My firstborn. Aouthentica. (Previously known as Milliayn, or Village of Milliayn.)

Now, technically, when you do NaNoWriMo, you're supposed to start on an entirely new novel. To say I haven't written anything for Aouthentica before would be a grossly exaggerated lie. In fact, I've filled (yes, filled!) three notebooks and a binder with Aouthentica stuff, but I've tossed it all out (not literally). I'm currently working on plotting the whole thing out first, and THEN writing it all down. A novel idea for me. 
(Get it? Novel... idea? I'm writing a novel and I... Nevermind. It's late. Ignore it.)

Also, as you can see in my fourth and most recent notebook, I try and mark what date and time I start a notebook for future reference, and then when I get to the end, I mark what date and time I finished it. My first one I finished on November 4th, 2009 and it took about 3 months to fill. My second was started November 4th, 2009 and I finished it on April 19th, 2011. So, like two years. The third "assumed duty" on March 19th, 2011 and was "retired" July 30th, 2012. The fourth and (currently) last one assumed duty on July 30th, 2012 as well. And I still haven't finished it. Some of that I credit to using a huge binder in an effort to organize everything better, but then I couldn't carry it around, so my writing slowed down.


Here's how I'm plotting it out. 

First, I wrote down all the major events I could think of that I wanted to happen, as well as a few not-so-major-but-still-important ones, and colored a square next to them to sort them with my nifty colored pens. Blue means I'm not sure if the even will stay in the story. Red means there's a death. Purple means that it's an important part that has to go in somewhere. Green means I'm not exactly sure how that event will play out, or if it's important.

Then, I wrote down all the events on index cards cut in half, still color coded. Well, actually I wrote them on whole index cards, but then they wouldn't all fit, so I bought a whole new package of index cards, forgetting about the package at home in the desk, and cut them all in half and rewrote everything.

I stuck them on my bulletin board, with semi color-coded tacks. Basically, red means death. Otherwise, it's kind of a free-for-all. Underneath the deaths I put a little note for the event that it's linked to.

Since it's written in a three plot lines twined together type style, I have three lines of plot so I can plan out what happens when. Deaths go on the very top and the very bottom. The top left corner is actually a stack of prologue events that I stuck all together, because, again, I didn't have enough room. 

I haven't finished plotting it to the end yet (still working on that...), but at least I've got all this worked out and documented, which is way more organized than I was before.
So. What d'you think?

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!