The Hobbit: An Explanation (and Exciting Contest!)

It has come to my attention that part three of a certain bloated waste of special effects and Martin Freeman’s acting talent is coming out this week. Tom and I will be skipping the theater experience on principle, though we’ll probably waste a dollar or so when it’s available at Redbox.

Will we finally find out what this guy's deal is? You'll have to let me know.

Will we finally find out what this guy’s deal is? You’ll have to let me know.

I also realize that I have yet to post my third critical review of the last installment. Some people *cough Tom cough* have pestered me to get my post up before The Battle of Five Armies hits theaters. However, I’m extremely reluctant to do it.

It’s not like I don’t have anything written; I wrote most of it in September. The problem is, it’s not very good, definitely not up to the standard set by the first two. Part of the issue is that I didn’t have a good focus for the post, but the main problem stems from the fact that at the time of writing, I hadn’t seen the movie in almost five months. It wasn’t at Redbox, and it wasn’t available to rent on Amazon. If I wanted to refresh my memory, I was going to have to buy the thing, and that definitely wasn’t happening (or, you know, I could have borrowed it from someone, but that would have involved talking to people). I’m not willing to spend more than $3 on another Peter Jackson movie, and even that’s pushing it. In order to make my points, I was relying on sketchy, disjointed clips on YouTube.

Anyway, this is super lame, and I apologize for not keeping a commitment. When it comes down to it, I’m too prideful to post something I feel is less than my best work, so I procrastinated. However, I owe you guys something, and I do have a draft sitting around. So, here’s the plan: I’m going to hide my third Hobbit post, in all its rambly, unpolished glory, somewhere on my website. Those of you who are interested enough can poke around and try to find it. The first two people to leave a comment on the post will win the Grand Prize.

What is this Grand Prize, you ask?

Why, it’s an autographed copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game!

dating game(I submitted the story of how Tom and I met for this book. They published it, so they sent me $200 and ten copies of the book. I still have several copies I can’t get rid of, and I’m not allowed to sell them online.)

All right, I know: it’s a lame prize. I’ll throw in some candy or something. The good stuff, like Twix bars.

(Those of you who already have a copy can still leave a comment, and maybe we’ll arrange for an alternate prize.)

Happy hunting!

NaNoWriMo and Other Good Times!

Yes, this silly blog still exists, though it has been growing cobwebs lately. What can I say? November was a crazy time.

The main thing that made it so crazy is that I officially participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time. The basic idea is that, during the month of November, you write 50,000 words worth of novel. I would have done it before now, but this is the first November in five years where I haven’t had three chemistry midterms per week all month. So, that was nice.

I actually didn't end up eating all the seaweed. I wanted to, but pregnancy said otherwise.

I actually didn’t end up eating all the seaweed. I wanted to, but pregnancy said no.

The draft isn’t finished yet, but I did make it to 50,000 words. It’ll be finished within a few days, but for now I’m taking a break to catch up on housework and do some Christmas shopping/crafting. Maybe I’ll even read a book.

nanowinner

All in all, NaNoWriMo was an awesome experience. Here are some of the things I learned:

  • I did write by hand this time. No, I’m not a masochist. In high school, I did the majority of my “fun writing” by hand, so it’s the system I’ve always been used to (I had this awesome desk with a roll-out keyboard tray, where I kept whatever story I was working on. I’d have a textbook and a notebook on top of the desk, and when anyone came into my room while I was writing, I’d casually slide the keyboard tray back into the desk and pretend I’d been studying the whole time. It was awesome). Writing by hand also broke me of the bad habit of going back to existing scenes and making them twice as wordy to reach word count goals. It was harder and slower than typing would have been, and I don’t anticipate doing it all the time, but it was instructive.
  • This is easily some of the worst writing I’ve ever done, and that was depressing at times, but it was useful to force myself to push through the awful parts and keep writing when all I wanted to do was shove my notebook through the nearest paper shredder. The prose quality actually improved throughout the month, too.
  • I’m definitely an outliner. This is the first time I’ve forced myself to come up with a rigid, detailed, beginning-to-end outline, and it saved my bacon on more than one occasion. It’s the reason I’m actually going to finish this book, and be reasonably satisfied with the ending. Yay!
  • I can be surprisingly productive when forced. Because I was having so much fun with my family in Utah during Thanksgiving week, I didn’t write a thing for three days. When we got home that Friday, Tom sat me down on the couch and basically wouldn’t let me get up until I was caught up (I love him). I was officially caught up by Saturday night (I’d written over 6,000 words that day and had major hand cramps), and finished up early Sunday afternoon. Total word count for that weekend was 10,518. Not too shabby.
  • There are other novel writers in Beaumont! On a whim, I decided to quit being antisocial and go to a couple write-ins, and ended up meeting some really nice people. There wasn’t a lot of actual writing going on at these events, but I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in awhile.

***

Most of the people reading this are probably more interested in pregnancy/baby news than in weird self-inflicted writing torture challenges. So, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we?

First of all, we’re having a boy!

Look at that cute little face!

Look at that cute little face!

We are so excited! If nothing else, it’s nice not to have to refer to New Friend as “it” anymore. Tom actually got to come to the ultrasound with me, making the experience extra special.

The other fun news is that I started feeling New Friend moving a few weeks ago. The movements started off really tiny, and could have been mistaken for muscle spasms. But he’s getting stronger every day, and Tom can actually feel the kicks now. On Saturday, I took a suggestion from a baby book and shined a flashlight on my stomach to see if New Friend would respond. I didn’t feel anything at first, but he must have turned around; a few minutes later, he was definitely kicking my bladder instead. It took a few hours of sitting in weird positions (“sitting” on the couch upside down with my feet in the air at one point) to get him to stop.

Other pregnancy tidbits:

  • I now own two pairs of maternity jeans. They are definitely necessary.
  • However, everyone’s been telling me there’s no way I’m 4.5 months pregnant, and that I don’t look pregnant at all. I guess I should take it as a compliment, but it mostly just freaks me out. New Friend, are you okay in there? Why aren’t you taking up more space? Are you getting enough food and stuff?
  • Speaking of food, I’m actually eating these days, just like a good pregnant lady should. Also, I’m craving eggs all the time. Eggs are the best.
  • My mom and sister and I had to decorate onesies. New Friend is going to be one spoiled kid.
This is one whale of a trail. (Rachel's)

This is one whale of a trail. (Rach is my hero. Just look at that smile!)

My mom is super talented. You can see more of her artwork at http://lovelyworldofillustrations.wordpress.com/

My mom is super talented. You can see more of her artwork at http://lovelyworldofillustrations.wordpress.com/

We're still trying to convince Tom that Olaf is a great baby name.

We’re still trying to convince Tom that Olaf is a great baby name.

Yes, friends, life is good. It’s nice to be back in the blogosphere. Feel free to comment with NaNoWriMo stories, what-I-did-over-Thanksgiving-break stories, pregnancy/baby boy advice, suggestions for baby names, demands for my mom to open an Etsy store, or anything else. I’ve missed you guys!