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Rival Bards [NaNo '20]



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Wed Oct 14, 2020 8:26 pm
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mellifera says...



subject to change, but for now, my project for NaNo 2020 is...

RIVAL BARDS



The Legacy Proving is coming up, and Celeste has her heart set on winning this year. She's been playing the violin ever since she could remember, and she's good. She knows she can win and prove herself to her city, her father, and her Lady.

Nadia is the oldest in her line of musical prodigies. Her family has been winning The Legacy Proving for years, and now she's expected to do the same. And she loves her music, she does, but there are few things in the world Nadia wants less than to be one of the voices of Esparona.

But before the tournament even begins, Celeste acquires a violin that...can talk. And is apparently not a violin at all, but a cursed, amnesiac prince. Not to mention her best friend is getting themself involved in a plot that threatens the very balance of the city. And so, despite the caustic tension that burns between Celeste and Nadia as they get further and further into the tournament, they find themselves soon thrust in a plot where they have no choice but to work together, or watch the city they both love fall.
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:10 pm
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mellifera says...



I'm going to put my PlanMo stuff here for now! I may move it over, but I'm starting it off here.

World-building! What world do your characters live in? A fantasy world? A sci-fi world? The real world? If in the real world--what place? What makes the world your characters live in unique? Describe in your thread what your world looks like.

I have no name for the world that Rival Bards is set in yet, but it is, indeed, a fantasy! It is set in a world inspired heavily by both ancient Greek and Roman cities, with some more classic fantasy elements woven in. Magic exists, as do a pantheon of various deities (à la Greek/Roman gods). There are four types of magic-users: Augurs (the most common), Occultists (which is actually forbidden and Bad), Warlocks (those in service of something/someone powerful enough to grant them special magic), and Alchemists (the rarest form of magic, can only manifest. or, in other words, it cannot be learned).

Esparona specifically is a large city-state where art and creativity are of utmost importance and reverence. The patron and heart of the city is Nikias, the demigod by whom contestants of the Legacy Proving are judged. Said to be a medium of the gods, who commune their will through Nikias. Those who prove their exceptional talent are those who keep their pride and dignity or survive the tournament, and go on to take over one of the noble houses in Esparona and become one of the several leaders of Esparona.

Violence is strictly forbidden in Esparona, which means that worship to gods such as War are prohibited. While bar fights are usually allowed to slide under the radar (provided they do not get too rowdy), the intentional harm of another person within the city limits is cause for an arrest and charges (there is a grey area when it comes to deaths of a sacrificial nature).
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:29 am
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Carlito says...



LOVE THIS IDEA SO FAR! <3
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

Ask a Therapist!
I want to read your novel!

Ask me anything. Talk to me about anything. Seriously. My PM box is always open <3
  





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Thu Oct 15, 2020 11:21 am
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Magebird says...



This story looks so cool! I love the idea of a cursed, amnesiac prince being responsible for the talking violin.
  





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Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:08 pm
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mellifera says...



!! thank you!! I'm very excited, It's been brewing for a while so now I think it's time for it to move past just me jotting down notes! I'm looking forward o all the character in particular ^^
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:09 pm
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mellifera says...



2. Have a think about your opening scene. Write about what plot points will be hit and what information will be shared in your first scene, or first scene that you consider to be important.


Bold to assume that I know what's happening in my own novel.

For real though. The novel's opening chapter is from Celeste's point of view, with her and her father. In celebration of her entrance into the Legacy Proving (and for good luck), he bought her a very lovely new violin, imported from one of their trade partners, the massive, grand city of Misalár. Celeste is obviously delighted by her new instrument and, as soon as she has a chance to escape to her room alone, goes to play it.

But then it begins talking to her. (Listen, magic exists in this world, but violins aren't supposed to TALK) Celeste understandably freaks out, while the violin [who tells her his name is Aristaeus] tries to tell her about his situation and the fact that he has been cursed to be a violin.

In essence, the first scene serves to 1) introduce Celeste as a character and a narrator (aka introduce the chaos that she will bring) 2) introduce Celeste's father/her relationship with him 3) introduce Aristaeus as a character 4) introduce first plot hook of the novel, being that Aristaeus is not, in fact, actually a violin, and something happened to him but he does not remember. He appeals to Celeste for her help, which she does not want to give, but then he makes the violin silent and gives her a conundrum. The Aristaeus violin has an absolutely beautiful sound and fits her better than her old, worn violin, and would definitely improve her chances of success at the Legacy Proving, but in return for playing so well, she has to figure out what happened to Aristaeus (since, you know. it's hard to do detective work when you're a violin).


minor spoilers ahead


Depending on how long that takes, I may also introduce Celeste's best friend, Pantaleon, and the secret, underground fighting ring/temple dedicated to the goddess War (which is very illegal) they both attend (which would also likely introduce Celeste's god/magical patron whom she is in service to, the Autumn Lady).
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:28 pm
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BluesClues says...



Bold to assume that I know what's happening in my own novel.


What a mood.
  





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Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:06 am
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IcyFlame says...



Bold to assume that I know what's happening in my own novel.

Blue got here first but oh my if this isn't a mood I don't know what is.
Pssst... are you taking part in the January Review Challenge?
  





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Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:24 am
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mellifera says...



Image


no PlanMo update, just aesthetic.
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:55 pm
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mellifera says...



3. Don't neglect your villain. We may spend less time with this character, but it is crucial to the existence of the plot that your character's opposition be as believable and interesting as possible. For this challenge, either write about your antagonist's aims, characteristics, flaws, fears etc or, if you're feeling musical, write a lament-style song for them.

Well, at first, the villain to Celeste and Nadia is each other. They're both competing in the musical division of the Legacy Proving. They're both accomplished musicians (both violinists, but Nadia plays other instruments whereas Celeste doesn't). And in the Legacy Proving, you don't want to come second. But Celeste wants to win, and Nadia can't end the tournament and go back to her family saying she flunked out on an easy round, because it would be obvious she purposely threw it. Plus, Celeste is good at sparking a competitive spirit, so at some point it's less about winning and more about competing with her.

The real villain is Big Spoiler, so instead I will say that there's something strange going on with Celeste's best friend, Pantaleon. They're being shifty and distant from her (although so is she, because she's focused on the competition and, you know, Nadia 👀). There's something going on in the gatherings they've been having that she's neglecting because she's putting all her energy into her music and not the other aspects of her life. There's also Nadia's younger cousin, Angelos, whom Celeste befriended (before learning who he was), who gets up to constant mischief. Perhaps a little in over his head.

Plus, there is the part of Aristaeus' memory loss, and that he's cursed to be a VIOLIN. There is something very suspicious about what happened to him. Something (or someone) cursed him and they're likely still out there.

I'm sure someone will eventually argue that Nikias is a villain, because they are responsible for the tournament, which serves as a "two birds, one stone" because on one hand, the artisan leaders of the city/the best of Esparona's artisans are chosen and it gives the city structure, but on the other hand, whoever wins second place gets sacrificed to the gods, because they've made an agreement of "we need our best to lead our city because we're only mortals, but we will still offer you an exemplary artisan as thanks for keeping the city so fruitful and our lives so prosperous".
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Sat Oct 24, 2020 3:04 am
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mellifera says...



4. Fill out the following questionnaire from the NaNo site about at least one of your side characters, though the more you do the more prepared you will be.

As much as I want to do Angelos because he's a brat and I love him, I'm going to do Aristaeus because he's probably the most prominent side character and also very important [to the plot and also everyone in the story]. Also, I know more about him.

Name: Aristaeus

Age: 26

Height: 6'3"

Eye colour: No eyes [when a violin]. Warm brown [when not a violin]

Physical appearance: A lovely, sleek golden violin. No, I am not kidding. He was cursed to be a violin, and ends up bound to Celeste [after she plays the violin for the first time]. There are laurel patterns along the sides of the violin, as well a few places of some pretty floral markings on the face of the violin, near the shoulders and the chin rest.

Strange or unique physical attributes: well, he is an actual violin.

Favourite clothing style/outfit: He can't wear clothes as a violin.

Where does he live? What is it like there?: Before he was cursed to be a violin, he lived in Misalár, which is one of Esparona's trading partners. The relationship between the two is somewhat strained by the fact that Misalár is known as the city where the most elite warriors are trained. They prize strength of body and a mind for the machinations of war. Aristaeus was the prince of Misalár, before a mysterious incident happened that got him turned into a violin and sent to Esparona. His life was very good and luxurious, as well as challenging, as he was a prized, impressive warrior.

Defining gestures/movements: Making violin sounds. [In his non-violin form though, he was a very smiley boy, had a very big presence/liked to fill rooms with his just *being*, crossed arms, less of a grumpy gesture and more of a stance thing/showing off bcus he was a muscly boy]

Things about his appearance he would most like to change: the biggest thing he would love to change, in particular, would be not being a violin.

Speaking style: I'm? not exactly sure what this means? But grand? He was a prince and liked people to notice when he was around [like a puppy entering a room]. He was well-spoken, smart, and charming. He's also not afraid to speak his mind [which gets him in trouble with Celeste because they have equally big personalities].

Pet peeves: Celeste tuning him. Celeste being stupid about Nadia. Celeste ignoring him. [as a violin] Ignorance towards growing problems/putting them off. People putting things that will ruin parchment atop maps [or through them]. Disorganisation.

Fondest memory: He is missing a lot of them. He remembers his mum very affectionately, from what he still has of his younger memories.

Hobbies/interests: Military strategy/tactics. War. Combat training. Poetry. Calligraphy.

Special skills/abilities: Military leadership. Able to manipulate sunlight/shadows. Sounding really cool as a violin.

Insecurities: Being too strong (in the sense of breaking delicate things easily). Being loved only for his position/power. Being helpless. Being a violin.

Quirks/eccentricities: a goofball. Taps on tables a lot to focus. So much energy, basically a border collie puppy. Is a violin.

Temperament: Bright, the way sun shines in through the windows of a light-coloured room with lots of glass. Very classical, heroic prince, knight-in-shining armour-type figure. The Adonis of this story.

Negative traits: Inability to lie, emotions rule him, bad temper (not one that rises often, but when it does it’s bad).

Things that upset him: Being unable to help those he loves. His position/strength being attributed only to his parentage and not of his own merit. Being a violin. Celeste, sometimes.

Things that embarrass him: Being a violin.

This character is highly opinionated about: Fair, generous rule/laws. How violence is used. Military decisions. Lots of things.

Any phobias?: Fear of complete and unending darkness. Fear of being a violin forever/being trapped.

Things that make him happy: His family. Playful fighting (good-natured sparring/etc). Food with honey on it. Food, in general. Lounging in the sun. Flower crowns.

Family (describe): His mother is the lovely Queen Caria, wife of King Hector, ruler of Misalár. Caria is said to be a sweet, if not somewhat distant woman, but her former status as a noble lady as well as her beauty made her a very, very ideal match for all those of high status looking for a bride in Misalár. Hector happened to be one of the men whose eye Caria caught. For some years after their marriage, they tried unsuccessfully to have a baby and an heir. However, during this time, Caria was visited by the god known as Daylight or Nightsky, depending on the time of day. Aristaeus' father is, in fact, Daylight/Nightsky and not Hector. There is another pseudo-family member but they're spoilers 👀

Deepest, darkest secret: Aristaeus resents the pressure and worship that was put upon him, as both the crown prince and a demigod. Other secret is Spoiler ;)

Reason he has kept this secret for so long: He's the golden child of the crown. It would sound like whining if he were to bring it up, especially to Hector.

Other people's opinions of this character: Celeste is, at first, HORRIFIED by his presence because she was just going to play a violin and then learns the violin is a PERSON. However, they become close over the course or the novel (even if Celeste would never admit it). His mother adores Aristaeus, as does he to her, and they have a very close bond. Hector sees Aristaeus more as a figurehead than a son, and while he entrusts military commands to Aristaeus, he still regards him more like a delicate child than a fully-grown prince. By his people, Aristaeus is very highly regarded, as he is known to be generous and friendly when he comes into contact with them. However, he is a demigod, and is treated like one.

Favourite bands/songs/types of music: Lute or harp music, relaxing. He also adores big fanfares. The kind of music that would be playing during an epic travel montage or during a huge battle (like, LOTR sorta). His mother hums and occasionally sings, and he also loves that.

Favourite movies: *gestures to limited technology fantasy*

Favourite TV shows: nah man

Favourite books: uh *sweats* tactician's books, history books, probably steamy romance because he's a Hopeless Romantic and also a little Naughty (but ONLY a little)

Favourite foods: anything with honey on it, especially rolls with cinnamon and honey. Venison though too.

Favourite sports/sports teams: Sparring and/or gladiatorial combat. Teams,,,,,

Political views: uh

Religion/philosophy of life: there isn't much of a variety to religion in the area he's in, so he believes in the same pantheon that most people in the region do (also because he is literally the child of one of the gods). It's like Greek mythology yo.

Physical health: would be super great if he wasn't a violin.

Dream holiday: holiday? what's a HOLIDAY he's a PRINCE

Description of his house: a palace. if I'm going to describe it I'll save it for the novel I will absolutely not describe it in person they do not go to Misalár

Description of his room: if I feel like coming back to update this I will, but currently, he is a VIOLIN so his room is a violin case.

Any pets?: A beautiful, blood bay warhorse named Nikomedes.

Best thing that has ever happened to this character: That is a Secret.

Worst thing that has ever happened to this character: That is Also a Secret (also a direct foil to the best thing, so DOUBLY secret).

Superstitions: nah.

Three words to describe this character: Radiant, Lionhearted (could be seen as reckless though too, double-sided coin), Trapped.

If a song played every time this character walked into a room, what song would it be?: If I can find a song that fits him, I'll come back to this question.
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:25 am
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mellifera says...



DAY ONE



Daily Word Count:

1,814

Total Word Count:

1,814/50,000

(A) Snippet (in two parts):


“Sorry, Ruby. You’re getting replaced.” The case, nor the violin, responded, of course.


bad language!! because Celeste has a sailor's mouth

This was going to work, she could feel victory already coursing through her veins.

“Where am I?”

She shrieked and tripped, falling back into her weathered dresser and knocking at least three candles from it. She caught herself from falling, probably scraping her ass against the side. “What? Who said that?”

There was no one else in the room with her. But she had heard a voice, like, definitely there had been a voice. Some guy’s voice. In her room.

“I’m right here. I didn’t mean to—”

“Fuck!” She stood up, glanced towards her window. No weird creeper hanging out there. She went to her door and peered outside.

Her dad was leaning into the hall from the top of the stairs. “Celeste?” he called, then spotted her. “Are you okay?”

She was pretty sure her heart had wriggled its way up with secret arms that hearts weren’t supposed to have into her throat. “I’m good. I…saw…a bee.”

“A bee?” He scratched his head, near the base of his antlers. “But you love bees?”

She swallowed and nodded. “Yeah. It was a scream of delight. Anyway, I have to go find it again, it was a really cool bee. Bye.” She ducked back into her room and slammed the door shut. Pressing her ear to the door, she waited until she heard the creak of the stairs that meant her dad was heading downstairs.


Thoughts:



I don't have a lot to journal for today? I'm not too happy with the beginning so far, but I think I'm just trying to find Celeste's voice and the beat of the novel. There's been virtually no description, which sucks, but I'll get there. Gotta get that creative juice flowing, get some inspiration.

Masquerade ball happens early on though, plus Celeste meets Angelos and goes to Cult Meeting soon, so that should bring some more excitement!! I'm very excited to get to the contentious nature of Celeste and Aristaeus though, beyond Celeste screaming at him for talking to her (because, you know. inanimate objects aren't supposed to talk).
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:29 pm
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mellifera says...



DAY TWO



Daily Word Count:

1,449

Total Word Count:

3,263/50,000

Snippet:


She smile-grimaced as an awkward, uncomfortable tension thickened in her room. This kind of weight was supposed to stay away from her. She was usually fast enough to avoid it.

“Celeste?” Aristaeus’ voice was cautious, searching. “Are you still here?”

She exhaled through gritted teeth and shut her eyes. “Obviously, where else would I be?”

“Are you still listening?”

A retort rolled to the tip of her tongue, and she caught it at the last second as she opened her mouth. It would be easier, really, to let the barb slip off and sink into the conversation, tearing it apart with sharp edges until it bled dry and she didn’t have to be apart of it anymore. But his question was genuine, much as she hated to admit it. She didn’t listen. And so far, talking in circles around each other hadn’t helped.

Besides, she could already picture the look of heartbreak on her dad’s face if she came prancing back down the stairs with the violin and shoved it into his hands, chirping about how it didn’t work. He was clearly excited about it, almost as much as she had been.

“Yes, fine, I’m listening. What do you want?”


Thoughts:



haha, my brain is dead. I hate graphing.

I didn't get as much done today as I should have (maybe I will try to push for a little more tonight, but we'll see), but I feel better about it and I finished the first chapter. Celeste and Aristaeus' conversation probably went on for way too long, but Celeste can't focus and won't listen, and Aristaeus is understandably freaking out, so I don't feel this is out of the ordinary. Maybe overbearing as a first chapter? IDK IT'S A FIRST DRAFT.

Celeste's voice is coming to me slowly, wobbling it's way in. I still have to find it, but she's starting to show herself. She's also edging towards having some Angst, which was not in any plan and I'm now like "!!! wait !!!" but I guess we're flirting the line of being Sad. Whether this has any bearing on my current emotional state/general exhaustion is yet to be uncovered.

I think that writing angst I thought I'd shaken back in August/September is creeping back. RevMo was a nice countermeasure against it, as was getting feedback on Colonia Heights, but I guess we're going back to feeling Garbage about my writing, which is a fun mood for NaNo.

I'm going to DO NaNo, because no way am I breaking my streak, but YIKES.

it absolutely doesn't help that Starry Veins is literally taking over my brain. just want to,, write my children again,,, thinking about the Babies,,, missing them,,,
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:26 pm
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mellifera says...



DAY THREE



Daily Word Count:

2,230/1,669

Total Word Count:

5,490/50,000

Snippet:


As they finished the measurements, and Nadia tried to think instead about all the places in the city Angelos might hide or go to cause mischief, the silence hung thicker in the air. At least trying to find him would provide some relief from helping with the ball, which was only a constant reminder of the upcoming tournament, which she was only required to win to keep her family’s reputation and honour. Certainly nothing so major.


Thoughts:



was feeling much better today! got stuff done, exceeded word count, felt pretty decent about the writing of today, and actually finished Nadia's chapter! There are things I don't feel I introduced well, particularly what an Alchemist is and what it means for Nadia, but,,, first draft. Want to get it written.

I am also SUPER glad that I wrote myself a WHOLE OUTLINE and NOT just the first chapter with no other guidelines in place for what the heck if supposed to be happening.

Description felt better today too. For once thing, Nadia is way more eloquent and observant than Celeste, which might be one of the issues. On the other, the chapter wasn't dominated by conversation like Celeste's was. Anyway, I adore Nadia so far. she's such a nervous, sophisticated bean. I love her.
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  





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Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:12 am
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mellifera says...



DAY FOUR



Daily Word Count:

1,834/1,648

Total Word Count:

7,327/50,000

Snippet:


She grinned and leaned over the bar, elbows sliding against the polished glass. “I’d love one of the vintages you keep next to Death’s Door. I’ve heard you’re meant to knock once for entry, and twice—”

“—to call her back to blow the red horn.”

Celeste’s heart lurched in her chest and she pressed her palms against her clavicle when she realised who it was. “Gods on high, Pan, give a pal a warning next time.”

Pantaleon smiled and nodded towards Mygdon, who was already ushering them towards the back. Their dark curls bounced against their forehead, warm olive skin glistening with a thin sheen of sweat. “I think a bottle of an imported vintage, if you don’t mind, Myg.” They glanced towards Celeste. “You look like you could use it.”

“Don’t be such a sneak and maybe I wouldn’t,” she said, checking Pan with her shoulder.


Thoughts:



today was?? all right?? I was really excited to write this scene but then I realised I had no idea what was actually happening and faltered as I was writing. Although I've been stressed all day and kind of all over the place, so that could have also been it!

FIRST DRAFT FIRST DRAFT FIRST DRAFT it's so bad, it really is. rip. I should have waited before deciding which novel to write for NaNo because I'm feeling that big disconnect that I knew I would get into if I picked which novel I wanted to work on too early. In hindsight, I feel like I should have just jumped right in to writing Trueblood Novel 2 because I'm chomping at the bit for it. But I've committed.

shockingly watching an actual play horror show just makes me want to write horror as well! who would have thought THAT would happen. I'm very, very in awe of how well the dm is narrating everything and the monster they created because the only time a design for a monster has been impressed upon me was Pan's Labyrinth, but now I've found something way more horrifying that I can't stop thinking about!

anyway, this isn't actually about NaNo. This is all to say I'm fluctuating a lot right now. I'm hoping once I get into the masquerade ball and then the tournament I'll start finding my groove.

I know I was saying earlier that I really wanted to start something new, but now I miss working on some of the projects I already have :(
I believe in a universe that doesn't care and people that do.

You and I, we are matter, and it matters.

they/them
  








What's stopping you?
— David Mamet