Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monthly Summary: December 2015/Year End Post

December is a time of fun and reflection for me. The Christmas spirit gets me happy and the reflection of looking back at the year and pondering upon what I did and what I didn't often gets me into a mixture of emotions. In this post I'm going to reflect on what I did this month and this year. It's going to be longer than these are normally, but if you bear with me I have a giveaway for your at the end!

What I did:

1.) This month: I finished rewriting my extended scenes for Red Hood at almost exactly 20K as I planned.

This year: 
Between rewriting Red Hood, writing extended scenes for Red Hood, rewriting those extended scenes, rewriting Subsapien: Biomech, and first drafting Subsapien: Hybrid I've written about 272,000 words this year. I'm not sure if this is the most I've written in a year, but it is a lot and I feel pretty accomplished. ^ ^ I've also microedited Red Hood (80K at time time) entirely too!

2.) This month: So many activities this month! I was so social this month. Be proud of me! XD I went to a family party, my aunt's tea party, Rock City for Enchanted Lights, my church's Christmas Eve service, and spent Christmas at my aunt's house. Christmas-y stuff aside I also met up with author Bryan Davis and I met JAMES DASHNER! AHHHHH! I got bunches of awesome gifts! And new phone that actually updates and works fully! Yay!
Rock City lights that look like they're from my fantasy world!

Rock City lights that look like they're from my fantasy world!

Christmas Eve dinner that I made!

This awesome leather bag that reminds me of the one from Inkspell!

Christmas loot!
A wax sealing set! :D
Books and journals, and movies, oh my!
Syringe pens and a new phone and autographs!

Me rockin' red pants in front of the Christmas tree. Yes, proof that I'm tall.
This freaking awesome fanart my friend drew me of Bryce and Matt. I love it soooo much!
This year: So much happened this year you'd have to look back in my previous monthly updates or this post would be a novella. Some of my favorite highlights were writers conferences and visiting friends and family!

3.) This month: I've read Peril by Suzanne Hartmann, Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and Allegiant by Veronica Roth! Reviews will be up in the coming year!

This year: This brings my read books total for this year to ... *drumroll* twenty-four! I know compared to you fast readers out there that read that much in a month that's pathetic, but I'm a slow reader.

4.) This month: I didn't do too much drawing this month due to all of my outside activities, but I did manage to finish Caleb's Expressions Challenge and start on Ashlyn's (link). ^ ^ So I feel accomplished in that.

This year: This year I've done a drawing every year and I've nearly completed my Expressions Challenge. I may have bitten off more than I can chew there, but I did twelve out of sixteen and I think that's pretty good. :) My skill at drawing heads has improved a lot so I'm very happy with that. ^ ^

5.) This month: Besides my blog I've done some guest posts and collaborations on other blogs! I've got a part in Spekkie Author Christmas Part 3 and Part 4, I did a guest post on Thinking Thoughts, and was interviewed over at Splash of Ink! Thank you, all, for featuring me! 

This year: It'd take me forever to find all of the links I've done all year, but that is to say that I've guest posted more than any other year! I've written a bunch for other blogs and I've written a bunch of reviews for Geeks Under Grace!

The Geeky Department:

We're just going to do this month, because all year would take waaaaay too long. XD

1.) Lost, Lost, and more Lost. I've been binge-watching this show and I'm now in season 4. I like the direction the show is going and it's nice to finally get some answers!

2.) When not watching Lost, I've been watching RWBY which I still need to catch upon. The animation has really improved this season and I'm loving the darker tone, which also scares me because I think someone is going to die. XD

3.) I saw Star Wars: Force Awakens on opening night! I'm not as big of a Star Wars fan as some, but I really enjoyed this film. :)

4.) I got Ant-Man for Christmas so of course I had to rewatch it! Just as good the second time.

5.) Did I mention I met James Dashner?! I happened to find out he'd be in my area for his tour for his newest series and I drove an hour to meet him! So worth it. ^ ^

What I Learned/How I've Grown This Year:

1.) This month: In writing, I did a lot of research this past month. Claes is a silversmith and since I added some new scenes with his point of view I had to get into his mind. One good method I've noticed to thoroughly get to know a topic is to go to google the topic, check out the wikipedia article, check out the wikipedia sources, and also look up YouTube videos. The sources came in the most handy since I stumbled upon two actual current silversmiths, one of which uses techniques from the period Claes is from. 

This year: I believe I've grown leaps and bounds when it comes to writing this year, especially during the latter half. I'm writing faster and more efficiently and more effectively than ever before. I can get stuff done in a timely manner without getting extremely stressed out about it.

2.) This month: On Cyber Monday, I got Clip Studio's Manga Studio digital art program for a ridiculously low price. This is a great program for any manga artist. The colors are so crisp and they have so many mangaka centric features like sound effects, speech bubbles, etc. I'm still getting used to a bunch of the differences and I still use gimp for linework, but this program has really improved my drawings.

This year: I've definitely grown a lot in art this year. I've discovered I like eraser pens and I'm not afraid to use whiteout if I mess up my inking. My lines have become more controlled. I'm able to draw faces easier and I'm not looking at references as much. The proportions are becoming more instinctive. I'm getting better at drawing across ages from children to teens to adults.
On the left is gimp and on the right is Manga Studios

3.) This month: Starting Christmas shopping in October is definitely a good idea. It saved me so much time and stress during the holiday season and I could relax much more than previous years.

This year: In the middle of the year, I got it together and decided to be way more organized with my life after the insane first half. It has been such a relief. I can get stuff done more efficiently and relax more. 

4.) This month: I realized why I don't do libraries so much anymore. It's so much pressure. XD I feel like I can't take my time. I gotta go go go! I was scrambling to get Allegiant read in time.

This year: I feel like I can finally consider myself a bookworm again after taking that two year hiatus from reading (Don't do it). Reading four books at the same time is stressful but it does give one a delightful high. I really like reading. I like analyzing stories and discovering new worlds and inspiration. I like reading both CBA and ABA books. I like reading a variety of books at one time across genres and by male or female authors. 

What I'm Going to Do/Some New Years Resolutions:

1.) Next month: I'm going to edit the extended version of Red Hood to have it ready for my betas by February 10th to have sent to a publisher by March 1st.

Next year: My quarterly writing plan for next year is:

January - March:
Finish editing Red Hood and Send off
Plan and Start on Silver Hood

April - June:
Finish first draft of Silver Hood
Start Editing SB

July - September:
Finish Editing SB
Rewrite Silver Hood

October - December:
Plan NaNo Novel

NaNo Black Hood or Subsapien Human

I'm really excited because I have all kinds of writing in store and I've accounted for breaks. XD

2.) Next month: January is another busy month. My bestie is down so I'm spending time with her until she goes home on the 7th. Then I'm going to be preparing for ski trip with my church (courtesy of accumulated Christmas money), preparing for another big trip in February, and also I'm going to look for a part time job to help save up for going to Realm Makers again!

Next year: Sometimes I have plans for the next year this far in advance. I don't have many so far. XD I'm hoping to do a lot of traveling next year, but we'll have to see.

3.) Next month: I'm going to finish reading Curio by Evangeline Denmark, A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes and hopefully start the Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy, Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and Heir to Darkness by Jill Williamson. I checked out the Fifth Wave, but then I didn't have time to read it so now I have to put it on hold again. I'm trying to read it before seeing the movie.

Next year: I'm going to start on my new reading list which includes:

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancy
Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Heir War by Jill Williamson
Orphan's Song by Gillian Bronte Adams
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The End of All Things by Jill Williamson
Eye of Minds by James Dashner
The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
The Hive by John W. Otte

This list will probably grow, but this is what I have so far from what I currently own and what I want to read before the film comes out.
4.) Next month: I'm going to finish Ashlyn's Expression Challenge then draw Cynara fullbody with a close up of her face.

Next year: I'm going to finish my Expressions Challenge then continue to draw at least one new drawing a month. I want to focus on fullbody and waist up drawings next year and try to stretch myself by doing more difficult poses. It's going to be challenging but I'm excited about it. I only did one fullbody drawing this year and I need more practice. If I get the time I also want to do another manga style page since I have this new handy dandy program.


My drawing goals:

Finish Up Expression Challenges:
13.) Ashlyn 
14.) Pro  
15.) Rouyn 
16.) Claes

1.) Cynara (Fullbody and Head)
2.) Claes (Fullbody with Expressions Challenge) 
3.) Dina (Fullbody and Head)
4.) Nox (Fullbody and Head)
5.) Hayli (Fullbody and Head)
6.) Reuben (Fullbody and Head)
7.) Matt and Ingrid Sitting Together
8.) Matt and Bryce Happy
9.) Bryce Fight Pose
10.) Faol Head Shot
11.) Mor Looking Over Shoulder
12.) (Secret Drawing!)

5.) Next month: I'm going to be doing a few more guest posts I already have spots reserved I just have gotten around to writing the posts until next month. I'll be reviewing the rest of the Silver Lining over on GUG hopefully.

Next year: I'm hoping to do lots more guest posts and reviews and I will be reviewing Captain American: Civil War!

Last Month on Stori Tori's Blog ...

This month's words: 
Wonderful Word Wednesdays: Logy
Wonderful Word Wednesday: Coriaceous 
Wonderful Word Wednesday: Indefatigable
Wonderful Word Wednesday: Empyreal

This month's teas:

Tea Tuesday: Gale
Tea Tuesday: Rue 
Tea Tuesday: Effie
Tea Tuesday: Mulled Pomegranate Cider

This month's tunes:

Soundtrack Sundays: Your Favorite Color is Green (The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2) 
Soundtrack Sundays: Dragon Boy (Spirited Away)
Soundtrack Sundays: Christmas Medley (Two Steps From Hell)

Book Stuff:

Extending Your Novel: How to Make the Story Longer Without Just Adding Fluff
Beautiful Books: The Editing Process - Subsapien: Hybrid 
A Book Review of the Judgement Stone by Robert Liparulo
A Book Review of Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson
Writing Lessons from TV Shows: Sherlock

Other Stuff:

Questions for Me! 
Q & A with Me!
The Christmas-y Tag!

Coming Soon to Stori Tori's Blog ...

We'll have the usual Soundtrack Sundays, Tea Tuesdays, and Wonderful Word Wednesdays and ...

January 8 - Questions for Siocban! - I'm coming back from hiatus with another call for questions for a character! This one is from the sequel of my steampunk fairy tale retelling Red Hood called Silver Hood! The questions will be answered on the 22nd!


Jan 9 - A Book Review of Viral Execution by Amanda L. Davis - I read this book earlier in the year and I know the author so I'm happy to finally share my thoughts!

Jan 15 - Beautiful People - I don't know what Cait has in store for us this month, but I'm excited to see!

January 16 - Writing vs. Editing: The Different Mindset - In this writing post I talk about the fears we often have about editing.

January 23 -  Writing Lessons from Firefly & A Book Review of Curio by Evangeline Denmark Review - Where I talk about the awesomeness of Firefly and great writing points about the show and the book review is of a Christian steampunk novel. DOESN'T THAT SOUND AWESOME?! I really like it so far!

January 29 - Tags! - I've been tagged by so many of you lovelies and I'm trying desperately to catch up. I'm hoping to do three out of the twelve I have to do so I can get through these in a few months.

January 30 - Monthly Summary - Basically this post, but for only the month.

Special Project:
I have a special project coming up that I've had in mind for months and now I'm finally sharing it with you! If you've read my blog for a little while you've probably seen my So Your Character Is ... (link) posts. These posts focus on showing the true nature of people groups, so writers can portray them accurately. This coming year I want to take those posts to the next level and I need your help.

I've been wanting to do some collaboration posts for a while and this is a golden opportunity. I'm planning on doing a series of posts where I interview people from different countries about their countries, lifestyles, things that bother them about their countries portrayed in media, etc. The thing is I need some willing participants. This post series will start in February and I already have interviewees lined up for the Australia (Coming in February!) and Canada (Coming in March!) editions, but I'm particularly looking for one to three people each from the U.K., New Zealand, Germany, and France to do more editions of this post!

If you would like to participate in this collaboration post or you know someone who would like to participate, let me know in the comments and/or email me at and I'll send you the details. If you are from another country from those listed contact me as well! I'm so excited for this and I think it would be a great resource for writers.

Elsewhere ...

Here are some posts I really enjoyed from this month!

1.) God and Writing (Part 2): On Fear and Joy by Carlyn Ross - Carlyn's transparency was so touching.

2.) MEEK, WEAK, OR CHIC by Casey Covel - I loved Casey's analysis of this unappreciated virtue.

3.) 4 Tips For Writing A Satisfying Ending To Your Story by Stephanie Morrill - Stephanie talks about how to wrap your story in way that will leave your readers satisfied. So handy! 

4.) 5 Reasons Your Soul Needs to Breathe During the Holidays by Emily Tjaden - Often we forget with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we need to relax too!

5.) The Character Evolution Files, No. 5: The Journey Through the Character Arc, Stage 3 – The Point of No Return (End of Act I) by Sara Letourneau - Another great edition to the character arc analysis! It has Aragorn! Yessss!

The Giveaway:

In an end of the year celebration, I'm giving away a free book to one lucky winner! This is open to both U.S. and international residents. U.S. residents may receive a hard copy and international will receive an ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Survey: 

I want to make this blog the best it can be, so if you wouldn't mind taking a few minutes to take this ten question survey I would be much obliged.

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You made it to the end! Congrats! Much happened this year for me. A lot of changes and a lot of growing, but it's been a good year. Happy New Years! Let's make the next one a good one!

How was your month/year? How was your Christmas? What did you do? Are you looking forward to any of the upcoming posts? Are you looking forward to any of these drawings? Have you read any of these books? Have you seen any of these movies? What are some of your goals for next year?

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