1. 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!
  2. May 2017 Life Update – Wedding Planning and Traveling

    May 21, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Journal, Travel by Kristina Horner

    Life has really been a sprint lately. I wrote a blog post recently called Adjusting, about how I’m trying to chill out and not run myself ragged, and I thought it might be a good time to check in on that. Really, I’m still exhausted and super busy, but I do think I’ve made incremental changes that are worth noting and celebrating.

    I’m going to run through a few bigger life categories both to catch up on what I’ve been doing, and to measure if I’ve made any sort of positive progress.

    GENERAL: My biggest hurdle in terms of lowering my stress levels and breaking free from the cycle of “always being busy” definitely falls in this personal fulfillment category. This is where I suffer from guilt for not making videos, for not having an Instagram with a strictly defined visual theme, for having cosplay photos on my computer that I’ve never posted anywhere, for never being up to date on all the good new TV shows, for ever watching TV at all, for not having made enough progress on my book… the list can go on forever, if I let it. My goal this year is to not let it. These things are

    These things are bonus. These things are the cherry on top. And I’m slowly learning how to be okay with that.

    Lately, I’m not sure if people have noticed, but I’ve significantly slowed down making YouTube videos. So far I’ve made 6 videos in 5 months, and honestly, I feel great about it. I have a few more that I’ve filmed but still need editing, and I have some ideas for others, but YouTube has become a hobby again in a bigger way than I’ve ever let it before, and it feels really good. Goodbye, shackles!

    I’m trying to keep this blog at least updated a couple times a month, with one of these larger life updates each month. I’ve embarrassingly behind in #wordbound, but that’s becoming a priority again as we phase into summer. My Instagram is still probably my favorite social account, and I try to keep it updated – including doing Instagram stories, which is new for me! That’s been kind of fun. I’m starting to get it.

    I don’t have any cosplay plans until PAX (end of summer), so that’s a relief. That leaves me to happily work on my book for the next couple of months in any free time I carve out. And to just… hang out with Joe. Play games with my friends. Be a guest on a super fun Sailor Moon inspired tabletop stream. Go to the gym. The things I so often had to pass up or feel guilty about doing, before.

    WEDDING: We’re still 11 months out from our wedding, so I am trying to take baby steps. Make incremental progress. I’m a planner to my very core, so I’d always rather over-prepare and then take a breath closer to the deadline than save things for the last minute, but the wedding industry is one of very mixed messages. I wish people would do studies on the pressures of being a bride, seriously. Maybe they do. It’s a very, very weird space.

    Almost every day I am hit with so many opposing points of view. “You have so much time, you don’t need to be thinking about this yet. It’s too early. Your weight is going to fluctuate, you shouldn’t be ordering things yet. This is your day, do whatever you want and whatever makes sense for you. We don’t even need to meet until fall. You have so much time. Literally stop working on your wedding it’s too early.” And in the same breath, I also get, “What is your wedding theme? What are your wedding colors? Why haven’t your out of town relatives gotten save the dates yet? Where are you going for your honeymoon? You know a dress can take 8-10 months to arrive, and then you need another 2-3 months for alterations. You should really have ordered it by now. This day isn’t just about you so here’s the list of seventy-six traditions you should consider doing arbitrarily because that’s what people expect. Where’s your hotel room block?”

    *falls down dead*

    I am a very organized person, and I’m trying to do this whole wedding planning thing at the rate that makes sense for me. It’s very difficult not to lose my mind sometimes, but I already plan events for work and I feel like I am doing an okay job. I’m just going to keep repeating that to myself.

    For inquiring minds, here is my actual progress: At 11 months out, Joe and I have selected our venue and the date. We’ve talked with a friend about designing our save the dates. We have some ideas about fun things we want to plan for during the wedding reception. We’ve mostly selected our wedding party but we haven’t asked them yet. I’ve picked out a dress, even though I had given myself another month or two to make that decision. And now that I have a decided on a dress, I am pretty sure I am set on our wedding colors.

    Now that those things are decided, I think I deserve a tiny break.

    Then we’ll start addressing envelopes.

     

    TRAVELING: Work has been so, so busy lately – so I am extremely happy to have a few trips lined in the coming months. Last weekend, Joe and I went to Vegas with his family, which was a total blast.

    The trip was for a combination of Joe’s mom’s birthday as well as mother’s day, and we did such a unique combination of activities for a Vegas trip. We started with the Beatles LOVE Cirque show, which I’d seen before but not since my 21st birthday. Sidenote – that was a long time ago.

    The next morning we got up very early and headed out to Red Rock Canyon for a morning hike. I was very skeptical of hiking in the desert, but the weather was beautiful and there was a slight breeze, so it was actually kind of a perfect scenario. The trail was pretty bouldery, too – which I think makes hiking a lot more fun.

    We also spent a good amount of time at the pool, in the casino, and eating delicious food. The gambling method of choice for both Joe and I is blackjack and craps, so we partook in just enough that we came home from the trip about even. There were of course jokes and delusions about winning the money for our wedding in Vegas, but unless you can throw a wedding for $-40, that’s a no go.

    One of our biggest regrets is that we didn’t at least try this Dungeons & Dragons themed slot machine. I’m always on the lookout for the funniest slot theme, and this was the trip’s winner.

    I started reading The Book Thief at the pool, and while it’s not the most lighthearted summer read, I’m glad I finally decided to give it a try. I am loving it so far. We also went to an ice bar, where they give you a parka and gloves, and essentially stick you in a very social freezer. Everything is made of ice, including your cup. I would show you pictures, but because it was Las Vegas, we weren’t allowed to take any.

    Only in Las Vegas would they construct a bar made entirely out of ICE in a DESERT and then not even let you take pictures. The whole situation was very, very poetic. Las Vegas is a ridiculous place.

    Upcoming trips include a camping trip for Memorial Day weekend, a jaunt to North Dakota to see relatives, and then a week-long trip to New York a bit later to meet some of Joe’s extended family. I also plan to do some hiking this summer, so I’ll hopefully do blog updates about that as well.

     

    Overall, I’m still a little busier than I’d like to be, but I’m continuing to find the balance. I’m getting there. I don’t think there’s any real “there” to actually ever get though, so it’s just a system of constantly checking in with myself. And right now, I’m okay. 🙂

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  3. 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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  4. 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.

    Leave a comment!
  5. 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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  6. Crooked + Behoove (Wordbound, Week #4)

    January 31, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    This week, I officially started work on my new project, which is a rewrite of an old project. And it’s going well!

    I also finally made a video to announce #wordbound to my larger YouTube audience, instead of just the folks who read my blog and follow me on Instagram like it’s been for the past month. The @_wordbound accounts have basically doubled in size since that video went live, which is pretty exciting. So many more writing buddies!

    Here’s the video, if you’re interested:

    I wasn’t quite sure how to utilize the prompt this week because I’ve mainly been working on character and setting study for Miniature. Once I feel like I know my characters decently enough, I’ll start on outlining, and then I’ll dive into actually writing – probably in another week or two.

    But I want to keep up with #wordbound, so I decided to finagle the prompt into my development work in a low-key way. I’m going to write a sentence summary of this book using both of my favorite words.

    I’ve had the same favorite words as long as I can remember. I think I’ve been carrying these around with me since at least high school, maybe longer.

    Favorite word #1 is: Crooked
    This has been my favorite word the longest, and I first really took notice of it when I read a book with it as the title as a kid. It’s a beautiful word. It’s not pronounced at all like it looks. It can mean anything from a villainous bad guy to a picture that’s just the tiniest bit askew. I love it so much.

    Favorite word #2 is: Behoove.
    This word is sort of a sillier favorite word choice, but my 9th-grade science teacher used it so much it really grew on me. I wanted to be the kind of person who said behoove instead of one of the many simpler, more boring ways to get the same idea across. Behoove is so wholly unnecessary a word that I love it all the more.

     

    So, here is my summary. I’m keeping it somewhat vague for now, as I continue to work through what I want to share about this book in these very early stages.

    For Allison and Riley, it would behoove them not to ask questions. It would behoove them to shut their mouths, do their chores, and stay out of trouble. That’s what the residents of New Jellico have done for the past fifteen years. But Allison and Riley have always had trouble doing what they’re told, and they’ll stop at nothing to uncover the crooked truth about their strange new town. 

     

    I’m giggling at how vague and ominous this summary is, knowing much, much more about this story than I’m letting on. But stay tuned, if you’re intrigued! I’ll continue to leak more and more as I work on it. Probably. We’ll see. Happy #wordbound-ing!

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  7. How #Wordbound has already changed the game (for me)

    January 25, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    On Monday, I sat down at my normal weekly writing workshop time. My goal was to write at least 1,000 words of my book Delaney Unlaced, and to work in this past week’s #wordbound prompt.

    The prompt was: There is a door. It is closed.

    This week most of my writing buddies were either out of town or home sick, so I ended up not going to the coffee shop we usually meet at. I instead opted to get my writing time in while sitting in the comfort of my own bed… but that’s not what happened. It should have been an easy scene to write, since I was at a part where Delaney fights with her mom through a closed door. Simple use of the prompt.

    But the words wouldn’t come, and I was frustrated about political stuff I had read on Facebook, so I gave myself the night off. “I’ll write on Tuesday,” I told myself.

    Tuesday rolled around, and I had a few other errands I also needed to accomplish that evening. I needed to sign up for new car insurance. I needed to unpack my suitcase from a trip I’d gone on nearly a week prior. I had to get some financial paperwork in order.

    Guys, I did all those things before I even attempted to write. I know that procrastinating writing is a common dance for writers, but car insurance? Nothing is less thrilling than car insurance.

    I was tired, and it was late, so I let myself go to bed without writing.

    This morning, when I was posting the new prompt for the week, I had to really stop and ask myself what happened. Why, when I only invented this whole concept a little over a month ago, was I having so much trouble being #wordbound?

    But then it hit me. I wasn’t having trouble writing. I was having trouble writing Delaney.

    Last week, the short story that I wrote flew from my fingertips. But every time I sit down to work on Delaney, everything just feels wrong, hollow, empty.

    I tried to think about the last time I felt really inspired by this book, and I realized I knew exactly when that was.

    It was November 8th.

    When the world got the news about Donald Trump’s shocking win, I tried to cope by continuing to write. Making art when things feel hopeless is important; it’s a light in the dark. But I started to doubt that Delaney Unlaced was an important enough story, at least for right now. I mean all stories are important, and not every book needs to be in some way linked to the current political climate (obviously), but suddenly I didn’t understand why I was dedicating so much of my time to writing about a person whose biggest problem is not knowing what she wants to do with her life. Delaney is a very privileged person, and part of her journey in the book is recognizing and embracing that privilege to help others – but that’s not really a story that needs to be told right now. That’s not a story I feel passionate about writing, given the world we’re currently living in.

    So today, I decided to stop working on it. Maybe not forever, but at least for now. And I’ll admit: My fingers shook as I symbolically closed the Scrivener file. My eyes filled with tears when I told Joe later over dinner. Because making this decision not only felt like the loss of 2 years of work, it felt like losing a very good friend.

    But I wrote another NaNo novel a couple years back called Miniature that’s been niggling in the back of my mind, and it feels a lot more relevant. It’s something I’m excited to work on again. Something that makes me feel hopeful. So I opened a new Scrivener file, and I called it Miniature Re-write.

    So, this is a little late, but I think I actually succeeded on the prompt for last week after all.

    Goodbye for now, Delaney Unlaced. There is a door. And it is closed.

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  8. First Week of #Wordbound!

    January 7, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

    So technically I already answered the prompt for the first week of #wordbound in my announce post, but I didn’t want to miss out on the fun of using it as an excuse to do more writing this week. So here I am! Writing more!

    First off, the response to #wordbound so far has been incredible. Many of your blog posts have made me teary, and I’m so excited to do this with you guys all year long. And this week wasn’t even a fiction prompt!

    The plan for the year is to start each month with a blogging prompt, something to regularly remind us why we write, what we love about it, and why it’s worthy of making time for. The rest of the month I’ll share “regular” prompts, which are meant to inspire fiction but can really be used for any kind of writing you want to do. There’s already such a staggering number of you following the Twitter and Instagram account – I’m just so delighted!

    My writing goals for 2017:

    • Complete an actual, real, solid draft of my Renaissance Faire book that I am happy with
    • Update my blog more regularly
    • Share some of what I write with the general public – not enough to spoil the book, of course, but a sentence here, an unrelated short story there. I’ve kept my writing in for so long… I want to start sharing more. Even if it’s scary.

    What #wordbound means to me:

    I already addressed this in the announce post, as I said – but I think can elaborate even more. And honestly, it might change for me too, as the year progresses. Right now, I’m realizing that no matter what slew of crazy new hobbies I take on… I always come back to writing, in one way or another.

    I started writing my first book when I was seven or eight. I hand wrote it on special paper I got from school and illustrated it with crayons. When I turned eleven, I organized round robins with a few friends from school, and we literally mailed notebooks to each other over the summer to keep the stories going. In late middle school I discovered fanfiction. In early college I discovered NaNoWriMo. No matter what stage in my life, writing always found its way back in, and honestly – that feels like being #wordbound. I’m bound to my words. They always find me.

    So this year, I don’t want to wait for the words to find me. I’m taking an active role in being the one doing the finding, and I’m going to do it every single week.

    Happy writing, everyone. 🙂

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  9. Introducing Wordbound Wednesdays!

    January 4, 2017 ♥ Posted in: Wordbound, Writing by Kristina Horner

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    Hey everyone! About a month ago, I made a video talking about how I wanted to find a way to commit to myself to keep writing all year long, instead of just during November for NaNoWriMo. There was a staggering number of people who agreed with the sentiment, and seemed to be looking at for me the “but how?” I’ll be honest and admit I hadn’t thought it through that far, at least not when I first made that video. But for the past month my mind’s been churning, and I think I’ve come up with an idea that will at least somewhat help cultivate the feeling of community we all enjoy in November – in a way that will keep us all writing, and working together, and sharing progress.

    Introducing, Wordbound Wednesdays! This is a project for bloggers, tumblr-ers, YouTubers – anyone who likes writing and wants to be held accountable! The idea is that each week, I’ll post a new writing prompt, which might be a more traditional idea you can work into a scene you’re writing, or more of a blog or video prompt about writing. Either way, it’ll be a way to give you something to work on each week, inspire new content about writing, and give us a way to see what everyone else is working on. Also, won’t it be fun to see how everyone answers the prompts in their own ways?

    What I love about this idea, is that it’s good for everyone. It might help you out of a writer’s block. It might encourage you to keep working on a project you put down. It might inspire a new project. It might just guarantee you have solid blog or video ideas 4-5 times a month. And it will help your own readers/viewers feel more connected to your writing!

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    The idea behind #wordbound is that as writers, we’re bound to our writing. We’re bound to the words inside our heads and the stories inside our hearts, whether or not they ever see the light of day. This project, and pledging to be #wordbound, is about committing to letting those stories out. Regularly.

    There’s a few ways to get involved with #wordbound:

    • Check out the master list of prompts over here for more info, and make sure to bookmark the page, as I’ll be adding the new prompts each week as they are revealed.
    • Follow the @_wordbound Twitter account to share your writing and see what others are writing each week.
    • Follow the @_wordbound Instagram account to see pretty visuals of the new prompts each week.

     

    I’m extremely excited about this project, and I hope many of you are as well! Leave a comment letting me know you plan to join in the fun, or just follow those social channels above. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

     

     

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