1. What’s Different About NaNoWriMo 2017

    October 16, 2017 ♥ Posted in: News, Writing by Kristina Horner

    NaNoWriMo is still a half a month away, but I can feel it looming in the distance, creeping in and causing stress and anxiety and a little bit of excitement but mostly anxiety. And listen – this is year twelve. I’ve finished NaNoWriMo while in college and working a job and running a YouTube channel all at the same time. I’ve finished NaNoWriMo when I missed an entire week to the flu. I’ve finished NaNoWriMo while dealing with breakups, while moving out of my parents’ house for the first time, while taking trips that stole my attention, while working on big projects at work, and more.

    But this year feels different.

    I’m nervous.

    Yes, I’m planning a wedding. Yes, I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility at work and it eats up a lot more of my time. But I can deal with those things. I’m very good at finding time to do NaNoWriMo. I can wake up early. I can lock myself in a room. I can turn down social plans, or stay up late, or bribe myself with pictures of kittens.

    The one thing I can’t work around is myself, and I haven’t exactly been able to rely on my ability to focus these days.

    I’ve never had to worry before that a hurricane or a shooting or a wildfire or a new piece of terrible legislation will be the reason I might not finish NaNoWriMo. And I realize being able to say these things puts me in a place of privelege, and I acknowledge that. But I’m paying attention now. And while I can sing from the rooftops how important art is in times of chaos, that doesn’t mean I’ll be able to create it myself every single day because these things have been terrible – are terrible – and they’re happening with alarming frequency, and there’s no one leading this country doing a damn thing about any of it. I feel helpless, and sad, and scared – pretty much every day.

    So my biggest fear this year is that I won’t finish. That my streak will end at 11, and year 12 will be the year I just can’t.

    The only way I know how to work through this fear is to talk about it.

    Honestly, I’m not sure I know how to mitigate this, except to wake up every day and face it. There genuinely might be more important things to do in November than work on my novel. Those things might be going to a protest, or using my 1667 words that day to write a letter to someone in congress, or crying in the bathtub. And that’s okay.

    But I’m going to wake up every day and try.

    And when I can, I’m going to try to remind others that creating art when you’re hurting can be therapeutic. And that some of the best works come out of trying to resist, so we should pour our anger into the things we create. And that even more important than making great art is making safe spaces for each other, and checking in with each other, and coping.

    I believe we can all do it, together. But if we can’t, that’s okay too.

    Leave a comment!
  2. Life Update and Wordbound #28

    September 18, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    LIFE UPDATE:

    I keep re-inventing new ways to be busy. I’m not trying to wear that as a badge of honor, it’s just true.

    This summer Joe and I ended up doing way more traveling than we had planned, which was incredible, but also made the time feel like it flew by. On top of that, I’ve been ramping into a somewhat larger role at work, and on top of that, I’m still planning that pesky wedding.

    Momentum on my book has… slowed, but I’m still squeaking out whatever progress I can make in the cracks of the madness that has been this whole summer. It finally, finally rained today and I breathed this sigh of relief I hadn’t realized I’d been building up – shorter days and crummy weather means I might finally be able to hide away in coffee shops and get back into a good rhythm of writing. And of course, it also means NaNoWriMo is right around the corner…

    Other things that have been going on with me…

    • Joe and I did a really adult thing and bought a new dining room table. Then at the last moment we decided to put it in our living room with the board games instead of in the dining room, so we’re not quite full-fledged adults yet. We’re now eating off our older table, and have had TWO epic game nights since the new one was delivered. #noregrets
    • I went to PAX and didn’t do any cosplay, which is the first con I’ve been to in probably 3 years where I didn’t cosplay at all (aside from LeakyCon, but I was a bit busy there, ha). I’m here to report that it actually felt great.
    • That being said, I will be cosplaying at GeekGirlCon at the end of this month, but just one day.
    • I haven’t made a video in over two months and the jury is still out on how I feel about that.

    I don’t have that much to report on. I’ve been letting myself do a lot more relaxing and non-productive stuff than usual, which has meant watching TV, reading books, and saying yes to things like game nights spontaneous hang-outs.

    For the longest time I really tried to cut out as many consumptive hobbies as I could, to maximize the time I spent on creative ones. Reading books was just about the only one I let slide, since reading is nearly as important for a writer as writing is. But… guys, it was exhausting. I still wish I could make all the things, but you have to give yourself a break sometimes. So that’s what I am working on.

    WORDBOUND:

    I haven’t shared a #wordbound prompt response in awhile, so I decided to work on one tonight.

    Write a scene where a character lets something go, figuratively or literally.

    No service.

    The phone said the same thing every time Allison checked it, no matter how strongly she willed the WiFi signal to find something – anything. She held it up in the air, hoping it might catch some rogue stream of Internet hovering in the sky, by chance. No service. She heaved the old wooden dresser closer to the window and climbed on top, legs dangling over the side, trying to get the phone even higher up. No service. She shoved the window open with her foot and held the phone right out the window, dancing with disaster as she gave it one last effort. Even though her grip was snug, the ground two stories below was jagged with rocks.

    Still no service, loser! she felt like it was mocking her. Allison yanked her arm back inside and slammed the window shut.

    It had been four days since her parents had dropped she and Riley off at their Great Aunt’s house. Four days since any texts had been able to come through, since getting any pictures from her friends, since updating any of her social media. She could only imagine what might happen in four whole days at summer camp. She imagined her friends had not only met boys, but were married off and starting careers by now. They’d surely have families and houses and grandchildren by the end of the summer. She’d be hopelessly behind and never catch up and might as well not even bother going to high school at all – and to top it off, she couldn’t even complain about any of this on social media.

    Allison heaved a sigh and threw herself back on her hard, patchwork bed, the useless phone still clutched in her hand.

    Maybe she’d just move in with her weird aunt permanently. They could ceremoniously burn all their electronics, live off the land, swear off all boys forever. It seemed her Great Aunt had done most of these things already anyway, so Allison was sure she’d be all for it. Cabin buddies. Out in the woods. In the middle of nowhere. Forever. Someone could make a sitcom about them.

    High school seemed hard anyway. Maybe she’d just skip it. Her friends probably wouldn’t even miss her, after all the fun they were likely having at camp without her.

    Allison tucked the phone under her pillow and vowed to not check it again until the end of the summer.

    Well, maybe the end of the day.

    Okay, she definitely wouldn’t check it until at least after lunch.

    Well, at the last minute it appears my main character decided not to let it go at all, but what can you do. Sometimes your characters are just more stubborn than you are. Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit – now to decide if it will actually make it into the book!

     

    Leave a comment!
  3. Unwritten Story Ideas! (Wordbound, Week #25)

    August 21, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Hey everyone! In case you missed it, #wordbound is back as of this past week! We’re officially on Week #25 after a bit of a summer break, and I couldn’t be more excited about getting back into the regular swing of writing with you guys.

    This week’s prompt was a blogging specific one, and it was: What’s something you’ve always considered writing but haven’t yet?

    The interesting thing about #NaNoWriMo (and having done it 11 times) is that most of my really big ideas I’ve at least attempted a first NaNo draft of. And while most of those projects I would probably entirely rewrite rather than attempt any sort of editing pass… it does help me sleep at night knowing that at least one version of many of my favorite ideas exist in some workable form.

    There are a few things I’ve always wanted to try my hand at but haven’t, but I’d say those are much more of idea fragments, rather than full-fledged projects. Anything that gets past the fragment stage usually ends up just getting written in November.

    Here are some ideas I’ve had and may come back to some time:

    1. I’ve been wanting to write a series of weird short stories, ones that don’t have much to do with each other but still feel somewhat like they go together. I’ve maybe already written some things that would work with this idea, but I haven’t come up with any kind of defining thread so it’s a perpetual back burner project.
    2. I talked about this in a blog post recently, but I’ve wanted to write something that involves North Dakota and my family heritage and the midwest for many years now. I’m still working out exactly what that project might look like, and how best to incorporate real history and traditions into a fictional story.
    3. A few years ago Joe and I got in a car wreck which left us stranded in a snowy highway town in Montana, and I’ve had it in my head since then to write a paranormal version of that experience. I imagine that could be a short story. I really want to write it.
    4. I’ve also been sitting on a non-fiction road trip idea in which I would write a series of blog posts about the various stops along the way. I first had the idea for the road trip a few years ago, and mapped out all the stops and how long it would take me, but then I never actually went on the trip. This is still something I would love to do.

    I can’t think of anything else specific to share! Right now I am very focused on trying to actually finish a project that I haven’t let my mind drift too far into the realm of new ideas, because new ideas are attractive and shiny and distracting.

    So many of the books I’d love to share with you guys someday are half-realized NaNoWriMo drafts in desperate need of more work, so I’m just trying to learn the focus needed to take first drafts to the next level. Taking writing classes and studying novel-writing as a craft has both armed me with the tools to hopefully do this, but also the additional self-doubt of realizing my story’s flaws more clearly. One step forward, two steps back. But I am trying to write every day. Even when it’s hard. Even when I walk through a bookstore and feel that crushing knowledge that thousands of amazing books are already out there… but possibly there are people who’d want mine too?

    My goal is to finish the first draft of my current project by November 1st, in which case I’m hoping I can pick up one of these other ideas as a nice palate cleanser.

    We’ll see, though. November creeps closer every day and I have a ton of work ahead of me.

    Leave a comment!
  4. The Summer Challenge TRIPLE THREAT

    July 22, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Books, Geek Events, Journal, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Booktubeathon is upon us yet again, and I fear I have made a grave mistake this year. Actually, let’s take a step back.

    So, as you all likely know, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I set a modest goal for myself, but writing 20,000 words in a month (arguably the busiest of the summer months) is still nothing to shake a stick at. I knew that attempting Booktubeathon and Camp NaNo in the same month would be a stretch, but I’ve never been one to look in the face of a challenge and back away. I welcome challenge. I thrive on challenge.

    This was all well and good – totally doable – until I found out about the Marauder’s Marathon. This is a month long virtual Harry Potter themed marathon, which I, of course, signed up for because you can absolutely trick me into exercising if you disguise it as a fun Harry Potter fandom activity. Plus I am trying to be more active, so why not apply a NaNoWriMo-esque filter to running, to make it more exciting? 26.2 miles in a month? A whole month? No problem!

    Problem is, it started on the 17th of July. While I was in New York, in oppressively hot weather. Listen, I’m as committed to pretending to be a wizard while I run as the next person, but I’m not going to start my running adventure in 90 degree weather. So here I am, finally home from NY, 5 days behind. But still determined.

    Okay. Okay Kristina. Three marathon style events in one month. All overlapping for one chaotic week starting on Monday. Is this possible? You can listen to audiobooks and run at the same time. You can get up early to write. This is doable.

    You can listen to audiobooks and run at the same time. You can get up early to write. This is doable.

    Oh wait. Your friends invited you on a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas for one of their birthdays starting on the Saturday of your Week of Madness, and you can’t turn down a spontaneous adventure? AND your best friend gets married on August 9th and you’re not only in the wedding, you’re also planning the bachelorette party, which happens right in the midst of all of this?

    Guys, nothing can save me now. I um… I may have over-committed.

    BUT! Follow me on Instagram and Twitter over the next couple weeks to see if I survive, and in the mean time… here’s my Booktubeathon TBR:

    The challenges:

    1/ Read a book with a person on the cover: PAPER GIRLS by Brian K. Vaughan
    2/ Read a hyped book: MILK AND HONEY by Rupi Kaur
    3/ Finish a book in one day: DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    4/ Read about a character that is very different from you: HOMEGOING by Yaa Gyasi
    5/ Finish a book completely outdoors: MEN EXPLAIN THINGS TO ME by Rebecca Solnit
    6/ Read a book you bought because of the cover: THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown
    7/ Read seven books: THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS by Emily Barr

    I forgot to mention… it would be so nice to have this weekend, this glorious Saturday and Sunday, to get ahead in writing, to do some solid running, cleanse my reading palate with some television, do laundry and relax and prepare for the insanity ahead – but I’m got another wedding tonight and won’t be back until tomorrow. *falls over and dies*

    Wish me luck, and please let me know if you’re participating in any of the above challenges. Bonus points if anyone out there is crazy enough to do all three, like I am!

    Leave a comment!
  5. Writing Confessions (Wordbound, Week #22)

    June 14, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Books, Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    This week was a “blogging prompt” week on #wordbound, and there’s really no excuse not to participate on those weeks (for me at least). It’s just so much easier than writing fiction, haha. So here I am! Being productive! Doing #wordbound!

    The prompt is: Make 3 writing related confessions.

    1. There are maybe 3 people on this planet who have ever read one of my book drafts in their entirety, and none of those people are family members or close friends. None of them is even Joe. One is an established and successful YA author I look up to, one lead a company that was thinking of publishing books written by YouTubers back before everyone decided to write an autobiography, and one was the then-girlfriend of a friend I only knew from online that lived in Australia. This is a very, very strange assortment of people and I really can’t tell you how each one came to read my writing. They all read the same book too, which is actually the one I recently dusted off and decided to work on again. I can say with certainty that what they read was not ready for external eyes, but you live and you learn. And then you don’t show anyone else your writing for many, many years. Haha.
    2. I definitely worry that I’ve hyped up my writing and my NaNoWriMo wins for so many years now (a decade!!) that by the time I actually publish something, people will expect something much better than I am actually capable of. I hear all the time that to be actually pro level at something, you have to practice for 10,000 hours. It applies to anything – musical instruments, crafting, cooking, sports, etc. 10,000 is a long time – it’s a lot of hours. 10 NaNoWriMos is also a long time, but I chalk most of those years up to “practice”. I think it’s okay that I haven’t been ready to share yet, but the fear of not meeting expectations is real.
    3. One of my biggest regrets, though, is not being one of the first people to write and publish a book about internet friendships, or fanfiction, or fandom, or cons. I’ve been practicing writing books about these types of topics for years, and they were still pretty novel even just a couple years ago. But now I feel like books about fandom are the new dystopian YA or vampire books, and so many of them are so obviously written by people who are jumping on a trend and not writing their personal truth. These types of books are so pervasive now days that I almost don’t want to write one anymore, even though I know I could definitely write something from a very unique perspective. Maybe I’m just bring a brat, but with the ever-constant desire to write something ‘different’, I feel like that experience has gotten a bit oversaturated in the YA book world.

    What are your writing confessions? I’d love to read them!

    Leave a comment!
  6. Catching up! (Wordbound, Week #20)

    May 22, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Okay. I’ll be honest. I started the year with stars in my eyes, and I did (I believe) 9 consecutive weeks of my own writing project, #wordbound. Like, I completed the challenges and posted them on this blog. Then I got sick, and then I got busy, and while I definitely kept posting the new challenges each week on Twitter and Instagram, I fell out of the habit of actually completing the challenges myself.

    Here’s the pattern I saw: When I was doing the challenges each week, participation was high. When I wasn’t doing the challenges, participation dropped off. The last few weeks only a couple people have actually been doing it, and that made me sad — so I decided that was exactly the kick in the pants I needed. I love this project. I love seeing everyone sending in their writing. So I’m back. And I’m going to set a good example.

    I love this project. I love seeing everyone sending in their writing. So I’m back. And I’m going to try to set a good example!

     

    Wordbound Week #20: Subtly mention something strange on a mantle.

    “Cheryl! Can you come down here?”

    I roll over and look at the clock, and the boxy letters read six am. On my birthday.

    I roll back over and stuff a pillow over my face. A girl only turns sixteen once you know. I am owed the right to ignore the trying calls of parental units. I should get to spend this birthday morning in the way I choose. Which is not being awake. Or embarrassed, or surprised, or anything like that.

    I hate being surprised. I hate attention. And I hate that people loooove to do that kind of stuff to you on your birthday.

    I’ve almost convinced my brain to reenter the warm and comfortable dream I’d been having, about kissing Tommy Feldson on a beach, when I hear a stampede of footsteps assault my room.

    “Wake up wake up wake up, birthday girl!”

    Mom is jiggling my shoulders and Dad is tickling my feet, while Emma (the little brat) has climbed clean over me and is jumping up and down and head-banging, with her long stringy hair whipping me in the face.

    “This is the literal worst birthday wake up a person could receive,” I mumble, trying to burrow down deeper in the blankets, but in a flash, they’ve been removed from the bed entirely. Dad is holding the whole bunch in his arms, grinning like a maniac.

    “We have a surprise,” he says, unable to contain himself.

    Of course they do. Of course.

    “Come on come on come on,” Emma says, grabbing my arm and tugging me, her little baby hands cold on my skin.

    Mom moves to help me out of bed too, and I push them all away. “Okay, yeesh. I’m coming.”

    My feet are bare and my nightgown hangs around my knees, but I follow the whole batch of loons out the door, down the stairs, and into the living room. The curtains are shut tight, but the lights are bright and I notice Dad’s left his cell phone on the mantle again. It’s propped up strangely too, like he was trying to take a selfie and then forgot all about it. I chuckle a little to myself, imagining Dad trying to take a selfie.

    Everything in the living room looks completely normal – except, of course, for the three layer cake.

    “You woke me up for cake?” I ask, trying not to sound ungrateful. But in terms of birthday surprises, it’s pretty basic.

    “Sure did,” Dad confirms, and the three of them huddle in the doorway, watching me.

    It’s got light pink frosting, framed with a bit of a teal blue border done with a wobbly hand. It’s definitely homemade. It leans a little to the left. I imagine it could look pretty delicious if it wasn’t six in the morning. But right now it just looks like something I’m not as excited about as I am about sleeping.

    “Cake!” Emma screams in her little sister way, like a battle cry. She has way too much energy for this time of day.

    “You should cut yourself a slice,” Dad says conspiratorily, handing over a plate and a knife he unearths from… I have no idea where.

    “Shouldn’t we start with like… oatmeal? Or eggs? Like a normal family?”

    “Cake,” Dad says, thrusting the utensils into my hands. “For the birthday girl.”

    I’m extremely skeptical, but my family all looks like they took crazy pills, so I do what they want. It’s usually better that way. I’m starting to worry some kind of clown is going to jump out of this strange looking dessert, but it’s six in the morning and my family is all strangely obsessed with a cake much too small for surprise clowns, so what choice do I have? I set the plate on the coffee table next to the cake stand.

    I’m not really sure where to start, so I give my parents one last side eye and sink the knife right through the middle. It glides through easily, straight to the bottom.

    Huh. Maybe it really is just a normal cake.

    Mom and Dad are literally holding their breaths. It’s like they’ve never seen cake before. I don’t get the joke. It’s just a cake.

    “Keep going…” Mom says, and I have to admit this is starting to get a little weird. I wonder for a moment if I’m still dreaming, and will myself to wake up. I close my eyes for a second. The real test is if Tommy Feldson shows up, ready for some kissing. That’s how I usually know it’s a dream.

    “Cheryl!” Dad says, and my eyes snap open. Okay. Not a dream. And still no clowns, no shower of balloons, no kids from school jumping out of the closet yelling “SURPRISE!”

    We might actually be in the clear. It could be a sixteenth birthday miracle.

    Alright already!” I move the knife in an angle from the first cut, making myself a reasonable slice of cake. We’ve never had cake for breakfast before. It’s not any kind of Casey family tradition. It’s not natural. I’m still so skeptical, but we’ve made it this far without incident.

    The knife is halfway down the cake when this time, it catches. No. No. They couldn’t just leave it. There’s always gotta be something. Trick candles. People singing to you in a sombrero. Something stupid hidden in the cake.

    I push harder, just wanting to get it over with – and hear a “beep beep!” outside.

    Wait. What?

    I pause, then push the knife down again. “Beep beep!”

    My eyes widen and I pull the knife out, dropping it, forgotten on the table. I don’t even hesitate – I shove my whole hand inside the cake. At first it’s just cold, and a little slimy, but then my fingers lock on something solid. I pull.

    “Oh my god, you didn’t!” I squeal, like I literally scream, and I jump to my feet and head to the window. I shove the curtains aside there’s a little white car I’ve never seen before sitting in the driveway. Then I look down at the frosting covered mess in my hands.

    “Beep beep!” The lights on the car flash in sync with my pressing of the key fob.

    I turn around slowly, where my parents and even Emma (the little monster) are all beaming at me.

    “This is absolutely disgusting,” I say, holding up the cake smeared keys.

    Mom laughs. “A ‘thank you’ would work as well.”

    I run back to them and pull both of my parents into a hug. “Thank you both so, so much.”

    “Still hate surprises?” Dad asks as I pull away, and I narrow my eyes at him. Mom runs to the hallway, then comes back with an old towel. She hands it to me, and I start wiping the excess frosting from my new keys.

    “You got lucky this time, Dad. This surprise I guess I’m okay with.”

    He chuckles, scooping up Emma (the little piggy) who was sneakily inching toward my cake.

    “Can I drive it to school?” I ask, only then really realizing the car is mine. “I can’t wait to tell all my friends.”

    Dad’s suddenly got that look on his face again, like there’s more to the secret. He sets Emma down and swaggers over to the fireplace, casually picking up his phone from the mantle. “Oh… they’re already going to know.”

    I’m confused for a moment – until I see what he’s doing. He innocently taps on the ‘end video’ button.

    “Don’t you dare,” I warn, but he’s already pulling up Facebook. He’s tagging me in the video. He’s typing “LOL we totally got Cheryl”.

    I lunge at him, but he’s too fast for me. He hits ‘submit’ before I can knock the phone out of his hand. We stare at each other for a moment, both unsure what the other one is going to do.

    Then I reach for the cake.

    Dad howls and yelps backward, and I’m cackling. I manage to get cake in his beard, and he tries to retaliate but instead he gets mom, right in the ear. She shrieks and flails, but she’s laughing too hard to actually fight back. Emma (the little slob) seizes the opportunity and runs to the cake where she proceeds to stick her whole face in it to join in on the fun. This makes everyone laugh harder, which makes her do it again. She’s got cake all in her hair. She starts licking it off her fingers.

    “You guys are so weird,” I say, finally caving and licking a bit of cake off my finger. It’s just as delicious as it looks, even for six in the morning. “And this is the best birthday ever.”

     

    I’m going to pick a week this summer to use as a catch up week for #wordbound – and hopefully make it a week people that will feel inspired to try to do a prompt a day as a way to catch up on any they might have missed. That week there will not be a new prompt – instead, you can pick from any previous ones you haven’t already completed.

    I’m still working out the details. Maybe we’ll do it during Camp NaNo. Stay tuned!

    Leave a comment!
  7. Camp NaNoWriMo Affirmations!

    March 31, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Writing by Kristina Horner

    I didn’t mean to wait until the last minute to do this, but it’s March 31st so here I am.

    Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and it totally snuck up on me. I’ve tried doing the April or June iterations of NaNo a few times now, and I’ve never actually been very successful at it. It’s never had that ~November~ spark for me, like the “real” NaNo does.

    This April, I already have a trip to Disneyland on the books, and a costume I need to finish, and an Anime convention to go to. Things are busy at work, and I’m going to the gym more, and it’s spring so there’s also this underlying desire to spend more time outside – but I’m going to do it. See my previous blog post about why this laundry list of things I’ve already laid out here has has has to be secondary to my goal of writing at least part of a first draft of my new book idea.

    Because after all:

    My Camp NaNo goal is 30,000 words. That’s a big lofty goal for the coming month, but it’s the most important thing so I’ve got to try.

    I’ve been getting a lot of emails from NaNo in preparation for April 1st, and one had a really nice little exercise that I decided to do. I think the intention was probably to do it privately, for yourself, but I thought it would actually be a nice thing to share with others.

     

    “Today, take ten minutes to write three affirmations: one for each of your three biggest fears or anticipated obstacles in starting your April writing project.”

     

    1. I’m afraid I won’t make it to 30,000 words.

    Kristina, that literally doesn’t matter. 30,000 is an arbitrary number that YOU picked and you just need to do your actual best and write as much as you can. Carve out time. Really do it. Whatever happens by the end of April, you can just keep writing in May. <3

    2. I’m afraid I’m going to keep writing books with weak plots and flimsy characters.

    Isn’t that why you’re practicing so much? Isn’t that what practicing is for? Isn’t that why you took that certificate course in fiction writing, to study story structure? Aren’t you already so much better than you were a year ago, and won’t you continue to improve?

    3. I’m afraid people won’t like my books once I finally let them read it.

    This is a big scary one, but you can’t worry about that right now. Just write. If you like it, someone else will too. And you’ll someday have beta readers to help you make it better, and then an agent and an editor to help to help you make it better, and even when it’s the very best it can be some people still won’t like it. But that’s okay. There are people who don’t like Harry Potter. Remember that.

     

    Camp NaNo starts tomorrow! Who’s joining me?

    Leave a comment!
  8. Author photo/bio (Wordbound, Week #9)

    March 6, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Alright. Because of NerdCon, Emerald City Comic Con, wedding planning, and a bunch of craziness at work, I fell a little behind on #wordbound this past month. I’m really trying to be kinder to myself, so I decided to let myself off the hook for a few weeks. I think I am finally on the other side of the madness now though, which feels good.

    I’m going to circle back and do a little catch up pretty soon, but for now, I figured I would skip ahead and actually do this week, because it’s easy and fun.

    The prompt this week was to take an author picture and write an author bio. I didn’t have an actual photographer friend handy, so I stepped away from my desk at work today to take a little author selfie. It’ll have to do, for now. Also, see below for my silly attempt at an author bio.

     

    Kristina Horner is the author of ten successful NaNoWriMo novels, but you wouldn’t know that unless you watch her YouTube channel, because she’s currently published zero of them. She is an aspiring author and life-long lover of words, and is currently working on multiple projects she hopes will actually reach your eyeballs in some sort of reasonable timeframe. Formerly a freelance content creator and musician, Kristina now works full time at Microsoft as a Community Manager. She spends her minimal free time crafting up believable excuses to get out of social obligations so she can stay home and write. She lives in Seattle with her fiance, an embarrassingly large collection of board games, and a menagerie of stuffed animals.

     

    I will be back soon with more actual writing – I’m trying my hand at some short stories this month while I work on the outline for my new(ish) book. I’m planning to share a couple of them, including one that hopefully incorporates a few of my missed #wordbound prompts.

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  9. I made a new video! And it felt great.

    February 20, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing, YouTube videos by Kristina Horner

    A few months ago, I realized I had this weight hanging over me that I needed to make regular videos, once a week like I always have, and it was really, really, dragging me down.

    I sort of developed this complex that because YouTube is still my largest audience, it’s the crux of all that I do and I have to keep up with it to make my other projects have value, to keep my other hobbies sustainable in any sort of visible way. I convinced myself that if I didn’t make videos, everyone would forget about me, and no one would care about my cosplay or my writing or anything else I was creating or working on.

    This is an absolutely ridiculous notion, and the moment I realized that, it was surprisingly easy to let it go. I still like making videos, definitely. But I needed to find a way to make it fun again, by taking away the discipline. I needed to let it come naturally, rather than forcing it into any open cracks and crevices in my life like I had for… years.

    Anyhow, I didn’t know that I had President’s day off until a few days ago, which was the greatest gift the universe could have given me. A whole Monday? A whole Monday I hadn’t managed to fill with plans yet? I woke up today and I had a really awesome, amazing thought. I thought, “I should make a video today!” It was such a nice change, to have it be something I was excited and inspired to do.

    So here it is. I think it shows, honestly. This is a video made by a girl who was excited to do it.

    Switching gears… in #wordbound news, I am still catching up on a few prompts I missed while I was sick. If you didn’t catch the fanfiction post I wrote prior to this one, you’re seriously missing out.

    For Week #6, I didn’t actually do any writing with the prompt, but it influenced a medium-sized plot point in the new book I am working on. The prompt was “something gets broken beyond repair“, and I’ve decided that on a road trip, the main character’s younger brother manages to accidently destroy his hand-held gaming device, which completely ruins his plans to spend the whole summer beating a popular new video game all his friends are playing. I’m going to count this as completing it, and cross Week #6 off my list.

    I’m still in the outlining stages of this new book, but I am really enjoying working on it. Things are good. The next couple weeks are a little intense with a lot happening at work, going to NerdCon in Boston this weekend, and Emerald City Comic Con here in Seattle the weekend after – but then things quiet down a little bit for me. And I plan to really dive into a first draft of this book.

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  10. Terrible HP Fanfiction (Wordbound, Week #5)

    February 18, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    Okay – as the creator of this concept, it was my goal to not fall behind in #wordbound, but it’s only February and here we are. In Week #5, I just had a surprisingly crazy week and was feeling more emotionally affected than usual by current events, so I missed it entirely – and then in Week #6 I came down with a cold that basically rendered me useless for like six days. Now it’s Week #7 and I’m a little overwhelmed, but I can totally do this.

    But one of the surprising and wonderful things I’ve seen already in this little community is that people are really big on catching up with week’s they’ve missed, so I’m going to go ahead and say that is a TOTALLY acceptable approach. The weeks and deadlines are just guidelines – the real feat is just making sure you complete them all eventually!

    So… now that I am feeling better, I am going to try to power through these puppies. Expect to see more blog posts from me this week.

    WEEK #5: Blogging Prompt: What is something you’re embarrassed to admit you’ve written?

    So I went back and forth on this quite a bit… was it better to show you actual writing I still have lying around from something terrible and embarrassing, or tell you about something even worse that’s long been lost to the depths of digital time and space? I couldn’t decide, so I’m going to do both.

    First things first: I once wrote a fanfic that could only be described as quintessentially Mary Sue-esque that took place at an American Wizarding School that I named Halfmoon Academy. You might think this is possibly somewhat clever – and I still think the name of the school was perhaps a better choice than “Ilvermorny”, but the crucial point here is that this entire wizarding school only existed as a vessel for myself, my middle school best friend, and the two boys we had crushes on to be wizarding students and inevitably fall in wizarding love. This is the only Harry Potter fanfic I ever wrote that didn’t end up on fanfiction.net, because I didn’t even bother changing the names. I just put my best friend and I in all sorts of wacky scenarios in which we would end up spending magical pre-pubescent time with the boys we had crushes on, and we were all excellent at magic, and it was terrible.

    The second thing I want to share with you is another suspension of disbelief piece – I once wrote a fanfic about how they installed an elevator at Hogwarts, for no apparent reason, for the sole external purpose of it breaking down and causing Harry and Ginny to get trapped inside. You know, so they inevitably would confess their love for each other and make out. The funny thing is, this has to have been the very first fanfic I ever wrote, because I actually really don’t like Harry/Ginny as a couple and didn’t even remember a time when I would write them together, so reading this now just adds even more insult to injury. It is also eleven chapters of cringey-goodness.

    Here is a choice excerpt from the piece:

    Harry put his ear up to the wall and shouted, “We’re stuck up here! Get us out!”
    McGonagall shouted back, “Harry? Who else is up there?”
    “Ginny!”
    McGonagall sighed. “Well, we would be able to get you down, but Professor Dumbledore put a spell on the elevator so that students wouldn’t be able to tamper with it with magic. Well, coincidentally, the spell was too strong and not even the teachers can fix it.”
    Ginny rolled her eyes. “So just send Dumbledore out to fix it! I don’t want to be late for my first class!” she shouted.
    “He’s away at a council meeting with the Ministry of Magic at the moment. He won’t be back for a little while. Don’t worry you two, we’ll get you out. It just may… take awhile.” McGongall finished before closing the shaft door.
    Ginny’s heart fluttered. Alone in an elevator? With Harry? “How long do you think we’ll be up here?” she asked him.
    “A few hours at least…” Harry muttered, sinking to the ground.
    Ginny followed, so that she was sitting across from him.
    “Hey, it could be worse,” he joked. “You could be stuck up here with Malfoy!”

    Ironically, every fanfiction I ever wrote after this piece was Ginny/Draco.

    For your convenience, I skipped a lot of boring will-they-won’t-they and fast forwarded to the good stuff. Here’s more:

    Ron sat in the Great Hall, stewing over the fact that Ginny and Harry were alone together in the new elevator. He’d warned her – she had better not do anything.
    He felt his anger getting the best of him. He didn’t know why it bothered him so much, but it did.
    He ran out to the elevator and kicked the door with his foot. “Ginny!” he yelled.
    When he heard no response, he pulled his wand out of his pocket and muttered a few words.

    Ginny heard the thud, and then heard her name being called. Knowing it was Ron, she just ignored it.
    “Harry?” she asked.
    Then the small elevator started shaking.
    “What the-?” Ginny shrieked.
    “Hold on!” Harry called to her, grabbing her hand with his own.
    It kept on shaking violently, jolting them around like popcorn.

    Outside the elevator, Ron was shaking as well. His eyes had an evil gleam to them, and he could hear the elevator shaking inside the shaft. He felt another wave of anger wash over him.
    Was he doing this? What was going on?

    Ginny screamed as the bewitched elevator continued to shake. She felt sick. Harry managed to wrap his arms around her, and they held each other close as they got tossed around.
    “What’s going on!?” Ginny cried.
    Harry was about to say “I don’t know” when a blinding pain struck his forehead. He cried out in pain and his scar felt like it was going to split his face in two.
    “HARRY!” Ginny screamed.
    Then the elevator dropped. It kept falling and falling.
    “We’re going to crash!” Ginny cried, as they plummeted downward.
    Then everything went black.

    Later when Ron wakes up in the hospital wing, he and Hermione have a very dramatic exchange of dialogue:

    “Have they… figured it out yet?” Ron asked, groggily.
    “Figured what out?” Hermione asked him.
    “Who broke the elevator?”
    “They don’t think it was a ‘who’, Ron. They think it was just technical difficulties.”
    “It wasn’t technical difficulties, Hermione.”
    “Come again?” she asked him, confused.
    “I broke the elevator,” Ron said.

    I literally couldn’t bear to the rest of the fanfic, but I assume that Harry and Ginny ended up together, Ron was possessed by Voldemort for whatever reason, and in the end they probably decided to remove the elevator from Hogwarts because it was too dangerous and a terrible idea in the first place? I don’t remember. I wrote this thing fifteen years ago.

    I’ll leave you with this:

    “What happened?” the nurse cried when she saw the unconscious students.
    McGonagall shook her head. “We’re not quite sure. It was an elevator accident.”
    Madame Pomfrey’s eyes widened. “Oh dear.”

    Thank you for joining me in this trip down memory lane, and please leave a comment letting me know if you ever put your characters in similarly ridiculous situations in your own fanfictions.

    See you soon for the Week #6 prompt.

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