Ten Thousand Things, Part 1

1. I have noticed recently that the hours of time I spend alone directly correlates to the amount of existentialist philosophical musing I am apt to do on any given day.

2. However, conversely, sometimes being with other people just causes me to think about the ephemeral nature of life and the complexities of our larger universe that I will never quite understand.

3. Summer is a strange time of year in which I spend most of the time feeling both elated and desperately sad at once for absolutely no reason.

4. I wonder if the rest of the year I truly have a different experience or if I only pretend that I do.

5.  Sometimes it really bothers me when people leave off the periods at the ends of their sentences, and sometimes it doesn’t.

6. It bothers me an awful lot when people write letters but don’t sign them.

7. “It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time” are lyrics from the song “Goodbye to You” by Michelle Branch. It is probably one of the most relatable phrases I have come across.

8. Realizing you don’t love someone anymore, and that you still care deeply about them but that you just can’t care about them in the way that you used to, is probably one of the scariest things there is. And it happens really slowly and you don’t notice it at first, and then you do but you pretend you don’t, and then one day you’re sitting in the rain with a girl who wants to kiss you and all you can think is “the tree across the street looks so beautiful in this weather.”

9. It’s like the way things fall apart sometimes— so slowly and subtly you don’t know it’s happening until you’re looking at the remains of what you thought your life would be.

10. But endings are just a different kind of beginning, really, and destruction and creation are so linked together that sometimes it’s impossible to see which is really going on. My go-to answer is usually both.

11. If I look back on this two years from now I am going to wince and call myself a pretentious little shit

12. I don’t know if the degree to which I immerse myself in fictional realities is worrisome or not.

13. I’ve grown up being a lover of books and movies and stories. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It has led me to some of my deepest friendships, fostered my creativity, and informed the way I move through the world. Fictional reality has taught me how to be brave and be individual and how to laugh. But I sometimes wonder if I am hiding in other people’s stories so I can avoid living my own.

14. Then again, they say reality is just a different kind of fiction.

15. When we say “they” do we ever know who we mean?

16. And also with the word we?

17. Whoever has made the argument that fiction doesn’t hurt as much as reality never had to suffer through realizing Harry Potter was over.

18. Wanting is a really weird emotion and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it.

19. I am definitely going to regret writing this later.

20. Have more of a heart, Future Self! Be more flexible!

21. I hope people write just as many letters to their selves of the future as they do their selves of the past.

22. Being able to relate to things is one of the coolest feelings in the world.

23. I think I’m sad right now, but I can’t really tell because whenever I get sad I also get philosophical and confused and try to remedy it with as many books as possible.

24. I really need to start accepting the fact that things end.

25. No one moment is ever the same as any moment before or after it, and instead of feeling sad about that I should recognize the beauty in the uniqueness of time.

26. I need to stop putting off the end of things.

Because It’s Time I Corrected Myself

My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.” -Flavia Dzodan.

A few months ago, towards the end of May, I wrote my first post blatantly acknowledging my feminist viewpoints. While I stand by the general points I made in that post, e.g. women are people too and deserve to be treated as such, there are a few things–and one main thing–that were problematic about this article. I apologize.

I wrote the article in a way that suggested that, while women are not treated as equals, we are treated equally. There may be truth in this to some extent, but the problem with my writing is that feminism goes beyond just sexism. I would love to live in a world in which all women have the same rights, but that isn’t the world we’re living in.

Because every woman faces her own unique experience, and feminism doesn’t just have to do with sexism, it has to do with racism and classism and ableism and homophobia and transphobia and so many other things. Because a white woman faces different oppressions* and societal expectations than a woman of color than a white queer woman than a trans woman of color than a trans queer woman than a Christian queer woman of color than a Muslim woman who uses a wheelchair. Because the privileges in our society have many platforms and there is no way to examine one without taking into account and examining the others.

Oppression takes many forms, not just one, forms that bleed into one another and shift and intersect, none acting independently of one another. There are many interrelated forms of discrimination, and that’s why feminism needs intersectionality.

I’m still learning. I am by no means an authority figure on intersectionality or any social justice issues. I have privilege many don’t have and I face discrimination others do not. I am sixteen. I am young, and I am imperfect, and I make mistakes, and I’m still learning. My posts on the subject of intersectional feminism, and other subjects, will not be perfect and will probably be flawed in many ways. Call me out. The best way for me to learn is by fixing the mistakes I know I’m bound to make.

I’m a white queer middle-middle class abled (physically, at least, mental health issues are a topic I hope to tackle more in-depth) Christian cisgendered woman. There are many things I cannot understand because of the privileges I have. And that’s really difficult for me to come to terms with. But I have to. And I have to keep trying. I can never fully understand the discrimination many people face, but that just means I need to learn and grow and do everything in my power to work towards that understanding even harder. It goes beyond just solidarity. It’s about immersing yourself in problems regardless of whether you directly are affected by them, because if they are affecting someone else then they are affecting your world, and the world is in everyone’s hands, not just yours or theirs. It’s about acting, rising up together in acknowledgement of intersectionality and understanding that you may never be able to understand one another completely but standing together anyway.

It’s about however you choose to fight, be it peacefully or rather less than, and having the courage not to fight alone.

*When I say oppression, I do not mean it in the sense that groups who face its forms are lowly or meek or underpowered. I use oppression to mean injustice, to mean the systemized discrimination and cruelty against people, and to demonstrate the disparity of privilege within society. Oppression affects different people in different ways but it does not mean you are any less awesome and desirable and kickass.

P.S. I’ve been nominated for a couple of blog awards, which I will be doing the posts for shortly, in case you’re interested/wanting another post/grumbling at me for not having gotten to them already/turned into a squirrel. Just kidding about that last part. Maybe. Maybe squirrels care about intersectionality too.

How to Survive a Heartbreak

Don’t worry, readers-mine, it’s a mini heartbreak. Sort of. Not really. But it’s not the great, wallowing, my-life-is-over kind, fear not. It’s more the type of heartbreak that happens when you, I don’t know, spend a half an hour slow dancing with a girl you’ve had a huge crush on since first semester and she tells you that you look pretty and it’s like this weird more-than-friends-but-not-dating thing you’ve had going for months is finally going to sort itself out when a week later she tells you she has to sort out her own emotional things and that a relationship wouldn’t be fair to you so you’re just friends now. Not that that happened to me, or anything. Maybe.

I don’t really have an emergency kit for this situation (even though I should) so really I’m coping off the top of my head. Here are some of the ways I’m handling it:

1. Lie in bed having a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon while eating chocolate chips (in lieu of actual chocolate) that you took illicitly from a cupboard in the kitchen.

2. Find ways to be home alone and once you are sing your heart out to sad songs and then angry songs and then breakup songs and then “Let It Go” from Frozen because for some reason it makes you feel empowered and less sucky.

3. Put on lipstick, try on your outfit for Pride, and then tell yourself that there’ll be tons of queer girls your age at Pride and you look mighty fine and you’ll get someone’s number and then you’ll totally hang out and that’ll show your former non-girlfriend how you’ve moved on…

4. Sit on the floor tapping your foot impatiently, waiting until everyone is gone and you have the house to yourself, not even because you want to sing so badly but because right now you need to be as far away as you can get from civilization (even though your next-door neighbors are outside all day long working on a noisy construction project).

5. Get very frustrated with those neighbors for absolutely no reason and scream into your pillow.

6. Maybe it’s because they’re gay and together and happy and you are gay and not together and sad…

7. Spend a solid hour at the library checking through every book you find for promises of queer girl characters and be disappointed that there are none. (I think this is partially why Malinda Lo has become one of my favorite authors–she has characters that are diverse in race and sexuality and it’s not like those books where they throw in a particular character just for the sake of diversity, and they’re well written. I hate it when books try to do diversity and the characters are cardboard cut-outs. Plus I mean Adaptation if you haven’t read it yet you need to.)

8. Go off on tangents about Malinda Lo.

9. Obsessively work on your art because that seems to be the only thing keeping you sane these days.

10. Do your art while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at this point only partially because it’s a black hole of obsession that you can’t hope to escape, and mostly because Willow and Tara are adorable and also you need lesbians on TV right now but you have no way of watching Orange is the New Black. And also you’re not allowed to.

11. Eat homemade ice cream while watching Sherlock with your family and then finish off your brother’s serving too.

12. Watch an Irish advertisement against the bullying of LGBTQ+ teens and feel your eyes actually getting misty by the end. Then actually cry at that Always “Like a Girl” advertisement.

13. Get a sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize that you only have two seasons left of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that sooner or later you’re be finished, and at the rate you’re going it’s looking to be far sooner than later.

14. Spend several hours learning to play “Impossible” on the guitar because it describes your life (in your head, of course, in actuality the tornado you’re feeling is a gust of wind) and also because the chords are easy, yay.

15. And then, for good measure, play “Clever Meals” by Tegan and Sara, which is even easier, and daydream about performing it at the open mic next week even though you have the guitar skills of a one-handed chicken. Or one-taloned. Or something.

16. Develop a crush on Hannah Hart

17. Realize that all the cute girls your age at Pride have cute girlfriends.

18. Bemoan the lack of desserts in your household a bit too harshly, causing your parents to ask troublesome questions.

19. Write a blog post about it, go camping for a week, come back and realize you haven’t finished the blog post and have all of the unpleasant feelings dredged up again.

20. Text The Girl In Question asking if she’s busy this week.

21. Even though you’re still not sure if you’re ready to see her again yet.

22. But also you sort of want to and it’s her birthday and you want to get her a book and also you want to show her that you’re totally fine with the just friends thing, really.

23. Avoid the novel you’re supposed to be writing.

24. Spend hours cut off from all humanity doing nothing but writing that novel.

25. Think that really, you should be a mature and responsible adult by this point. But you’re still having all the feelings and want chocolate.

22 Ways to Ask Someone to Dance With You

The end of year dance is coming up in two weeks today, and that may seem like a long time but I’m already stressing. I’m going with a girl I can barely form coherent sentences around, much less ask to dance. I have the bad habit of being either awkwardly silent or babbling incessantly in her presence, but I don’t want to do that. I want to look cool. So here are 22 cool ways to ask a girl–or anyone–to dance with you:

1. Walk over to her. Look at the ground in a cute, abashed way, and run your palm through your hair backwards, intentionally messing up your hair. According to my Sources this is a primary queer girl flirtation ritual. (My Sources being the LGBTQ+ blogs I read and my real-life nonstraight friends who do this constantly.) I have tried doing this with my hair but it doesn’t quite work because it’s too long. After this, look up and say sheepishly, “So…I was wondering…would you like to dance with me?” You look cute and irresistible and it probably won’t be hard pulling off the embarrassed part.

2. Grin at her, hold out a hand, and say, “I don’t really know how to dance, but wanna give it a shot?”

3. Optionally, do the same thing as in #2, only say, “I’ve been practicing my moves for weeks. Care to help me test them out?”

4. Or you could get even cheesier with “Come and get your groove on with me, baby!”

5. Or you could say “Screw this I know how to dance” and grab her hand and pull her onto the floor with you.

6. Casually drop not-so-subtle hints during conversation to get her to do the asking. “I really like this song. It’s good music to dance to.” “So I learned how to waltz the other day.” “Yeah, I was trying to practice slow dancing in contemporary women playwrights yesterday, but it wasn’t really the same without a partner *wink wink nudge nudge*”

7. Write her a song, ask if you can perform it, go up there and own it, and then afterwards when the crowd is going wild over your musical genius, sweep over to her and say “Dance with me?” in a cute, flirtatious way.

8. Or just, you know, ask her flirtatiously to dance. I’d provide an example but my knowledge of the subject is limited to Captain Jack Harkness and I don’t think I can really pull off the same charismatic appeal.

9. Write DANCE WITH ME? on the front steps with sidewalk chalk.(Because of that one time, when she was like “Do you have sidewalk chalk?” and you were like “Yeah I have sidewalk chalk!” only you couldn’t find it and were so upset you resorted to overusage of the word “like.”)

10. Look her squarely in the eye and ask her if she would like to dance with you. (But come on, who does this? Eye contact? Pfff…)

11. “Hypothetically speaking, if someone in your immediate presence were to ask you to dance with them, would you, hypothetically, say yes?”

12. Go up to her and twirl her around, then when she’s laughing pull her out onto the dance floor. Works best for faster songs.

13. You know you’re going to be awkward with her. I mean, come on, you’ve stared at the moon together, alone on a balcony on a rainy night, but never even so much as hugged because you’re too afraid. So own your awkwardness. Stutter. Blush. Stare at the ground. Trust me, it’s cute. As long as you get across the general impression of “Would you like to dance with me?” you’re good to go.

14. Start quoting song lyrics at her. “We spun around a thousand stars / I dreamed a dance with you / I know the night is dying, dear / I know the day will dawn / the dancers may disappear / still the dance goes on.”
…Maybe those exact lyrics don’t really work, but I never pass up an opportunity to quote Next to Normal.

15. Optionally, quote poetry at her. As my Shakespeare teacher once told me (and as they say in Dead Poets Society), poetry was invented to woo the girl of your affections. And also possibly to lyrically state universal truths and metaphysical concepts while working for social change. Possibly. But also for wooing. I know poetry by no means makes everyone swoon, but I can assure you that if a girl were to quote some Emily Dickinson or T.S. Elliot at me I would probably faint conveniently into her arms. I have many many favorite poems, but right now I adore “To a Stranger” by Walt Whitman and “somewhere i have never traveled,gladly beyond” by e.e. cummings. My favorite lines from that last one are “i do not know what it is about you that closes / and opens,only something in me understands / the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses / nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands”

16. You could get even more specific with that and take a leaf from the Bard. “If I profane with my unworthiest hand / This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:/ My lips, two blushing pilgrims ready stand / To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.” (Romeo, you flirtatious person you.)

17. Draw her a picture explaining your proposition.

18. Just become Daenerys Targaryen (circa the beginning of book 3, since I’ve not read farther and who knows where her character arch could end up).

19. Get your friend to do it.

20. …just kidding, don’t do that or you’ll look like an idiot. Get your house elf to do it for you, since no one can resist adorable fictional creatures and also they have magic. Just be sure to pay them in socks.

21. Frost it onto partially-burnt loaves of bread and toss them to her unsuspiciously.

22. Find the Doctor, hop into the TARDIS, and pop off and have some adventures, which will make you courageous and bold. Then time travel to the dance, ask her while you still have the confidence, and then when you go back to your own time to wait for the dance, once it happens you’ll have already asked her and there will be nothing to worry about. (Don’t ask me how my logic works on this. I’m not even sure myself. Wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey.)

Okay, if I even had the courage to try any of the slightly more reasonable ideas from my list, I couldn’t pull it off. I have resigned myself to awkwardly sitting at a table in the corner and making puppy eyes at the back of her head. I’m sure she’ll be thrilled. Any additions to the list you may have (silly or otherwise) greatly appreciated. Genuine advice even more greatly appreciated.

Because It’s Time I Said This

I am a feminist.

Go ahead and gasp now. Go ahead and think I’m an angsty lesbian who doesn’t shave and hates men. If those are really the first things that pop into your head when you read the above statement, then I invite you to read the rest of this, because you need it most. If your first instinct is to laugh and not take me seriously, you also would do well to hear me out. And go read some other, more eloquent works than mine, while you’re at it. Education is the best way to combat misogyny.

Before we begin, no, I don’t hate men. Not at all. The first friend I ever made in kindergarten was a boy. Everyone called him my boyfriend because apparently women aren’t allowed to have guys who are just plain friends. But that’s more to do with heteronormativity. And I know there’s an awful lot of injustice towards men too–people forget that with all the gender roles women are supposed to conform to, it’s also hard to have everyone expect you to be strong, physically capable, dominant, and in control of your emotions. I know that things are dreadfully unfair to people who don’t conform to our gender binary, they don’t even have a legally recognized gender, and to say that is an injustice is putting it more than mildly. There are so many things that need fixing in our society. I’ll probably post more about those later. But today I am here to talk to you about feminism, and why I consider myself a feminist.

I don’t typically like to post when I’m angry. Ranting gets you nowhere, generally speaking, and I believe people often say things in anger they don’t mean. But with social justice issues, I think it’s different. Getting furious about injustice towards women gives me an odd sort of clarity on the subject, and if I’m ranting then so be it. It’s time I brought the conversation about feminism to my own blog, because much as people talk about it there is still an incredible amount not being done to change things. I need to talk about this.

Because there are those who stick up for people like Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and himself because he believed he was entitled to the women who rejected him, and the people defending him say those he killed had it coming. That the girls owed him sex because he “needed” it. And tweets and other social media statements are rarely as “soft” as “I don’t blame guns, I blame blondes for this one.”

Because my dad doesn’t believe he is a misogynist, and when I try to call him out on it I get told I’m “overreacting.” And if he were reading this, I would get into trouble for saying so.

Because feminists everywhere get told they are overreacting. Because nine times out of ten people laugh at me, or give me pitying looks, or adopt a “look what the cat dragged in” expression when I start talking about feminism. Because nobody takes me seriously. Because in our society to be an angry woman is to be not taken seriously.

Because every time I go out, I have to think about what I have with me to make sure I could use it as a weapon in case of an emergency, and when I’m walking I go through scenarios in my head to prepare myself for what I’d do. Because every time I’m walking alone and a car drives by a hair too slowly, a man is behind me a block too long, I start feeling panicky and my heart rate speeds up and I hold whatever I’m carrying in a position that makes it easiest to clock someone across the head with. Because I shouldn’t have to fear for my life just because I’m not accompanied by a man.

Because I have been taught that I am a sexual object, whether because the clothes I wear might cause someone to abuse me or that I have to watch the way I act or else I “have it coming.” I understand that in these times those things are a matter of safety, even life or death for me. And that is fucked up.

Because when I wear an outfit that makes me feel sexy I feel equally guilty for having the audacity to dress in a way I’ve been taught is wrong. Because I am a sexy being, and I’ve been taught that I shouldn’t be, but that paradoxically I’m supposed to have sex with all the guys because I owe it to them. Because I feel equally afraid of what could happen to me if I dress like I know I’m an attractive girl.

Because it’s simply ingrained in our society that girls owe sex to guys, and consensual sex is something that actually needs to be talked about.

Because sex education programs do such a terrible job of this and rarely discuss birth-control methods with women in depth, or even at all, and they are incredibly heterocentric and biased.

Because obviously a woman thinking for herself or being in control of her own body is dangerous, and we need to de-educate her or she’ll see the injustices we’ve been doing.

Because I am mocked or disregarded for thinking for myself.

Because rape culture is a huge problem, from the actual sheer amount of sexual assaults happening to songs with lyrics along the lines of “mmm gurl you hot come on I know you want it come make out with me now” to boys “accidentally” brushing up against my butt or my chest. Because this happens to every girl I know, and it still gets told off with the same “boys will be boys.”

Because I’ll get told I’m “just being an angry feminist again” when I try to call these issues to attention.

Because identifying as a feminist can be anything from something that’ll get you laughed at to something downright dangerous.

Because there are so many more issues, and I can’t fit them into a single post, or ten posts, or a hundred posts.

Because inevitably someone, or multiple someones, will comment on this calling me dirty names and saying I’m blowing the whole issue out of proportion. And that’s if I’m lucky.

The 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who: A Few Thoughts

I just got back from watching the 50th anniversary special of Doctor Who. Twice. I would love to post a very fangirly, spoilery ramble about my thoughts, but I may save that for tomorrow. Today, I would just like to take a moment to commemorate what the 50th anniversary really means, and how much this show means to me.

50 years. This show has been running for 50 entire years. That’s more than triple how long I’ve been alive. It is so fascinating to see how times have changed since then. Wars have been lost, and won. There have been moments of bleak despair, and moments of untarnishable hope. Perhaps recently there has been a bit more despair than hope, but I know that it was the same way when Doctor Who first aired. Inventions have been created that were unimaginable since then, new technologies and innovations and medical discoveries that have shaped the world we know around us. Yet through all of the changes the core of the show has remained the same: a loveably mad Time Lord with a blue box, off to see the Universe, to save the day, to have adventures. And no matter how much the show changes in the next (hopefully) 50 years, that core will remain the same.

I wanted to do something really special for the 50th. It’s not every day a brilliant TV show celebrates its anniversary of being around for an entire fifty years. I wanted to watch all the Classic Doctors, or cosplay a different character every week, or bake another TARDIS cake, or write an epic fanfic, or do drawings, or write long, in-depth, character analysises. But, even though I have had an apallingly large amount of free time recently, I still have other important matters to attend to, like homework and NaNoWriMo and my ongoing mission to seek out new life, new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before (or maybe just traverse to the fridge to grab some ice cream to eat on my procrastination endeavors). I think that represents another theme of Doctor Who: the importance, in spite of staggering events, of the little things, the ordinary things we take for granted. So you could say that my tribute to the 50th anniversary is that I just kept on doing what I normally do, if in a rather more excited fashion than usual.

The drawings, of course, and the long character analysises and the cakes and the cosplays and the fanfics and the speculations and the Trock band I’ve decided to call Cardboard Dalek, will come later. Just because this is a celebration of the past 50 years doesn’t mean this is the end. Perhaps there’s another 50 years in store for us.

Sometimes I don’t feel like a real Whovian. I only started watching the show in June, and even though I’ve seen all of New Who I haven’t seen a single episode of Classic Who, yet. Still, even in that short time this show has done so much to better my life, cheesy as that may sound. I’ve always been an optimist. It’s one of the qualities I despise in myself, actually, though I have no control over it. I’ve been restless lately. Nowhere to go but school and home for the past six or so months, and that wears on me more than being busy does. It’s getting me down. But Doctor Who has helped restore in me something I never thought I’d loose: hope. For every moment that rips my heart out and leaves me sobbing there’s another that fills me up with the wonders of the Universe. There is such a strong sense of wonder, of hope, in the creation of Doctor Who, that it can’t not rub off on me.

One of the things I love about Doctor Who is the number of things it can be at once. Funny, terrifying, suspensful, adventerous, deep, profound, entertaining, heartbreaking, inspiring–all can happen within the space of of just a few minutes. And I love it. I love that this is a show that can make me kaugh and cry at the same time. That whatever mood I’m in there’s generally some quote from the show that describes it perfectly. It makes me think, it makes me sad, it brightens my day, and it consumes me with its dimensions. Maybe I am obbsessed, but why not? There are so many wonderful, wonderful things about this show that it’d be a shame for me not to be.

And of course, there’s the music. The music is absolutely fantastic, brilliant, molto bene. It’s become my favorite thing to listen to. So much so that I’m dancing to a song composed by Murray Gold for a choreography assigment in dance class.

When the Doctor lands in a new world, the earth shakes. His presence has such a huge effect on the lives of those around him, whether for good or bad, and it changes them. After meeting the Doctor briefly only once, Lorna Bucket decides to join the cleric military just to have a chance to see him again. He has that much influence. The Doctor has shaken up my world as well. Provided a new and interesting thing to spend my fangirly time on, to ponder and to question and to be inspired by. And I am grateful.

I wanted to weave a bunch of quotes through this post, since there are so, so many I like. I wanted to choose the absolute perfect quote to end on. Well, as I’ve said, there’s a lot of things’s I’ve wanted in relation to the 50th anniversary special, so I’ll take my leave in the words of the Ninth Doctor, a message to the show I have come to love:

“Before I go, I just want to tell you, you were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And you know what? So was I.”

Plans for NaNoWriMo 2013

As I have previously mentioned, for the past two years I have participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This year I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. Well, it is that time of year again, where the month of November quickly approaches and I frantically make last minute preparations of characters, plots, settings, and stock up on junk food (how convenient that NaNo begins the day after Halloween). I thought I’d post my plans for this year’s NaNo on my blog.

I’ve always been rather partial in my writing to the genre of fantasy. The four novels (as well as a couple on the side) I have previously written have all been fantasy, and this year’s novel is no different. However, my novel this year takes a bit of a different shape than in years previous.

In every fairy tale I’ve ever heard, the main character is always insurpassably lovely, “the fairest maiden of them all”. Even in most of the books I’m currently reading, and certainly in nearly every YA book I’ve ever read, there is always something beautiful about the main character or love interest. But what if there wasn’t?

Meet Cinder, a teenage girl who isn’t beautiful, pretty, lovely, exquisite, graceful, poised, charming, or in any way possessed with the graces of a fairy tale princess. Her mother died when she was a baby, her father not long after he remarried, and now she lives with her arrogant stepmother and vane stepsisters. And they are beautiful.

So, if you can’t tell, the main plottline of the story is based off of the story Cinderella; I’m actually planning on titling my book Cinderugly. But I’ve changed up the traditional tale and added in quite a bit, including a corrupt government system, a prince she loathes but somehow still keeps having to save his life, Death as a characters, mysterious black envelopes appearing in many kingdoms leading people on various missions, subplots that are really other famous fairy tales, LGBTQA+ relationships, and a team-up of princesses, princes, commoners, and age-old characters that may just have to save the world.

I’m really excited about my idea and have already started prep work for it. I hope to draw up a map of all the kingdoms, and if I do, I’ll try to post a picture here. In addition to Cinderella, I’m also using plots based on Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I’m also referencing countless other stories in the book.

And that is my plan for NaNoWrimo 2013. I’m a bit apprehensive this year because I’ll probably be in rehearsals in November, and it’s my first time trying to write 50,000 words, which I’ve never even come close to before. And I’m writing by hand. So that’ll be scary.

What about you? Have you ever tried or wanted to try NaNoWriMo, or even just written a novel before? Got any survival tips for this third-timer so she won’t keel over with exhaustion halfway through the month?