Wednesday, October 31, 2012

fourteen hours and counting

In fourteen hours, I will embark upon an epic marathon.

I will meet new characters
see new places
invent fantastical new turns of phrase
I will laugh
tear my heart out
dance around my room in pure happiness
go on song-finding expeditions when I think my writing stinks
think my writing stinks
think I'm brilliant and the next Shakespeare
I will find new friends
perhaps torture a few characters
kill a few more
let a few live in happiness
or something closely approximating happiness, anyway
in other words, in fourteen hours
NaNoWriMo 2012 begins.
let's do this thing.

- Kyla Denae

Friday, October 26, 2012

snippets of october

One of mine is quite long this month. But honey badger don't care. I love this scene from Dark Dawn, mostly because it sent one of those delightful little shivers, of mingled fear and wonder at what I've created, up my spine. You know it's good when you get one of those. Either that, or you're overwhelmingly, hopelessly lost in an idea of your own importance. Either way.

Without further ado, here are this month's Snippets, a blog challenge-thing put on by Katie, from Whisperings of the Pen!

It was Durion Keljên, or Durion Keljên-who-had-been. His long, dark hair was the same as she had seen before, his eyes the same queer mixture of black and white, but there was more madness there now, and more power. 

 It was from him that had come the voice. He had raised a great staff above his head, a curving thing of wood that was taller than she. At the top of it, a black spearhead crowned it, marked it as a weapon. Dark robes billowed around the man-that-was-not-a-man, his words booming from deep within, making him seem worse than any sorcerer in any tale she’d ever heard. 

"My children,” he called, voice fell and terrible. “Our time has come. In the time-before-time, before Darv’ii exiled me,” the creature spat the name of the Dwarvish god, saying it as a curse, “I was great, mightier than He, mightier than the Dawn he had forced upon me, forced me to love. And I would have taken the world, would have been in dominion over it. But the Creator resented me. Resented my power, and He cast me down, imprisoned me below the depths. I say no more!” A burst of lightning, a boom of thunder came from the creature’s staff as he brandished it once more above his head, and the Ladwalden hooted and shouted, a sound as of a mighty wind, the mouths of a thousand thousands all crying out. 

 The creature raised a hand for silence, and continued once the vale had ceased to ring. “We will take back what is mine, what is ours! We will take the world for the night beginning with the children of men. I will stand before the King, this Darv’ii who believes He is great, and I will raise my hand against Him. And we, my children, shall be great in His place.” 

 The roar began again, swelling above his words, and the creature suddenly turned, a satisfied smile on his face. He looked down at Anarisia, straight at her, and he leaned down to peer into her eyes. 

 He could see her. She knew he could, and the breath seized in her throat, the presence of darkness and evil crushing down on her again. 

“Go home, little human,” he whispered, voice eerily intimate. “Go home and carry your tales. And when you see her, tell my sweet sister that she shall not live long after our Father.” 
- Dark Dawn, novel in progress

The war consumes him, catching him up in its firm grasp. Adrenaline pours through him, filling every cavity and cell with intended purpose, flooding his body with the same manic desires as the ones around him. On and on and on, pushing, pulling humanity, for there is a purpose and it must be fulfilled, though he knows not what it is, nor what it is for. 

 Something beckons, Something beyond himself, Something that could perhaps save him. Perhaps here is the answer he has been searching for, in the fevered eyes of a madman and the raised hands of a million men, all pledging their bodies and lives and souls to the madman who claims to lead them. 
- Something, short story 

- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 22, 2012

of hobbits and a revolution

Today I realized that The Hobbit comes out in fifty days. Now, that may not seem like an incredible happening to some of you, but I'm pretty excited. I've been waiting a long time for a rendition of Tolkien's smaller (and arguably less serious) book. I've never liked it quite as much as I liked Lord of the Rings, but I'm always up for another, fresh journey to Middle Earth, no matter who's taking me.

The film edition of Les Miserables (with Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman) comes out a couple weeks later, and my mom has promised to take me to see it (mostly because she didn't manage to get me over to our hometown's small theatre company's production of it). I'm quite excited about that one, too.

I read Les Miserables earlier this year, and adored it, utterly and completely. As I told a friend last night, it just gives me a lot of literary feelings. It has everything I love--religion, history, romance, adventure, believable character arcs, beautiful people, horrible people, and a little bit of the in between. It deals with the story of a character that I firmly believe is one of the most amazing to ever grace literature, an opinion that may change (but I really hope not, because I really love Jean Valjean)--a character that changes so beautifully, whose inner thoughts are so wonderfully illuminated through the events of his story--and it has another, albeit minor, character that is so wonderfully, purely Christian that it makes me smile just to think of it.

So I'm excited about that movie, too. Because I can't wait to see it, to see one of my favorite stories brought to life. Of course, that comes with the added clause that, if it stinks, I reserve full right to be very angry and rant to everyone I can about how horrible it was. But that's a whole other issue.

For now, I'm excited, for quite shallow reasons, about the next few months.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, October 21, 2012

i will decide what to do once i decide

There's this really funny thing about my future that I'd like to share with you. I'm never quite sure what's going to happen in it.

Now, I'm fairly certain what's going to be happening with me for the next four or five months, at least at this point. I'm going to be working, and then attending the Children's Ministry Institute. After that...well...I'm not quite sure.

I usually take long missions trips in the summers, or at least I have for the past three summers. I've been to three different continents and come home to my own. I've made friends in three countries, friends who have often gone back home to even more countries--from China to Taiwan and Canada and Mongolia, from Zambia to South Africa and Zimbabwe, from Romania to Hungary and Germany.

But for the first time since I was fourteen, I'm not planning on...anything. At this point, anything after April is one big, fat question mark. And even said question marks looks vaguely confused, like it was drawn by a kid with ADHD who's just gone on a massive sugar binge and can't draw straight to save his life. In other words, I'm really, really (really) not sure what's going to be happening in my life.

And the funny thing is, I'm really okay with that. I'm okay with not stressing about where I'm going to get the money to meet my deadlines, and having to buy clothes to go overseas, and not having to worry about visas and passports and plane tickets and what happens if my plane goes down and I land on a deserted island with polar bears and ominous messages left random places with Others living on the island that all the survivors have to learn to live with and eventually we'll all die and end up in some light-infested afterlife-esque scenario. That sounds eerily familiar. But you get my point.

And even though I'm still having to worry about money (I'm not freaking out I'm not freaking out I'm not freaking out omw i've got to have $3,000 more by January 23 what is happening my life is spinning out of control help), and I'm still going to have to buy new clothes, and there are problems of transportation to worry about--real, genuine concerns, all of them--it's refreshing, in a way. I have something to worry about that doesn't involve culture shock and new foods and strange languages. I don't have to worry that I'll mispronounce a word this summer and end up in a duel that will end my life. You know.

At the moment, my life is so shaping itself that I'll be at home next summer, working with our local Child Evangelism Fellowship branch, being the summer missions coordinator and reaching out to the community in my hometown. And even though I still long to be a missionary overseas, and I still want to go back to China, and there are so many places I want to travel to and experience...I'm okay with that. I'm okay with staying put, with trusting God that He's got the plans this time. Because if there's one thing I most definitely don't want to do, it's go against Him just because I've got this agenda, this idea that I have to go somewhere every summer and reach people for Him.

Right now, Amarillo is quite a big enough mission field. It's not the most glamorous, attention-grabbing job. I'm not going to have any eyes popping or excited 'wows' as I tell people that yes, I'll be staying home and helping teenagers run 5 Day Clubs while trying to get new Good News Clubs lined up, and would you like to help us?, but I truly think that's what God has for me this time around. 2014 might be different. Hey, summer 2013 might even end up shaping differently than I expect. Because if there's one thing I've definitely learned about my God, it's that he delights in springing surprises on people (I get this idea that God likes to craft delicious surprises for us, and he sprinkles them throughout our paths, and just waits to watch us open them. As we get closer and closer to what he's planned, he starts getting ever more excited, like a grandparent who knows his present is waiting at the bottom of the stack, and just can't wait to see the delight on his grandchild's face. And the minute the child actually opens it, he's almost as excited as the kid because, wow, look at how happy he is. I think if God is just as awesome and wonderful as the Bible says, he has to get a kick out of how happy he can make us...that, and he has a sense of humor).

But if that happens, and I get a delicious surprise, whether it be a call in the middle of the night that hey, we'd quite like you to come stay with us for three months, could you arrange to get a flight to Thailand in the next three days?, or if it's a simple, friendly call from someone I've not seen in awhile...I'm quite sure I'll thoroughly enjoy it.

And if I don't, I'm sure I'll enjoy that, too. Because why are we put where we are but to enjoy it?

- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 8, 2012

nanowrimo 2012

Sometimes I get a really, really good feeling about a story before I start it. I can feel it, already yanking at my heartstrings, just waiting to be typed out in beautiful, exuberant, wonderful detail. Sometimes this heart-tugging comes later, when I'm halfway through and all at once realize just how beautiful the world I've created is. (Yes, I am in fact that egotistical.) All at once, I can hardly sleep for thinking of this-or-that twist, or an event I can't wait to write, or crying over my poor, poor characters and all that I, their loving creator, are forced to put them through. I felt this way about Royalty, my as-yet-unedited (but finished) novel about a young farmgirl who's pushed into a world of courtly intrigue.

And I think I just might end up feeling that way about this year's NaNo novel. Because it's pretty darn epic, if I do say so myself. This year's novel is currently named "Copper Blood", a title with absolutely no symbolic meaning as of yet. Except for the fact that copper wiring is sometimes used in some places, and wiring has a lot to do with this story. Sort of. Also because I like the sound of it. Just say it out loud. It sounds so polished and writerly.

Cover made by the wonderful Vincent from He's got srs skillz
Anyway. Copper Blood follows a young man, Nathaniel, who is chosen by an unknown entity to undergo an operation that turns him into a superhuman. After a message is sent to his phone, he is led to the Nexus, a staging point for thousands of Commandants--the backbone of a new world police force, dedicated to eradicating warfare...for humanity's own good, of course.

This whole plan is overseen by a supercomputer, designed to create a contingency plan for a variety of disasters, both natural and man-made. It's ultimate solution was to simply take over the planet and administer everything from its own core processor...hence the invasion force of Commandants. Nathaniel finds himself thrown into this world of subterfuge and violence, and when the orders come through to subjugate the planet at all costs, he is forced to look hard at his own humanity and evaluate just what that humanity means.

Joining him are a cast of other characters who are at various stages of development. There's Brittany, my snarky, confident, but very broken, African-American heroine. There's Laren, a woman who once wanted to be a doctor but is now forced to deal with the fact that she's been turned into a ruthless killing machine. Mariah is probably my favorite; possibly the youngest Commandant in the world, she has been forced to live with a world inside her head, thoughts from everyone else threatening to overwhelm who she was. Slash, the computer expert, who is suffering under a secret that will mean his life, whether secret or no, and is out to prove what he's made of. And Rob, a man unable to trust himself because of the conscience-less monster he's been turned into--or at least, what they've tried to turn him into.

I'm just really, really excited about this year. Because this story is going to be amazing. I can feel it, just longing to burst out, to make itself known in the most beautiful way. And I can't wait.

- Kyla Denae

Sunday, October 7, 2012

i am convinced i am part of an alien experiment

People keep calling french fries chips, which is obviously not an American thing to do.

And then people with English accents are following me around. I swear. They come into work all the time.

And then I forget sections of my life, which is weird, and things have changed when I get back to it. This was especially pronounced one day, which also happened to be the same day three different unconnected people referenced french fries as chips, and also the day several different people with English accents came in, which randomly switched to American accents at various points.

We've also begun calling our TV room the living room, with no apparent thought or changing of purposes in the two rooms that are our TV room and living room.

It is official.

My life, at this point, is actually an alien experiment to test just how perceptive humans are. Or something. Maybe I'm actually part of some kind of research, and my brain has created this fake world that's gotten mixed up with all the fictional worlds I love. At least I haven't started baking souffles yet.

Maybe the Doctor will come rescue me.



- Kyla Denae

Monday, October 1, 2012

autumn is my favorite

I love it when the weather just begins to turn. The air gets that subtle tang, a smell of mingled rain and burning wood as people stoke their fires, and just a hint of promised snow. Sweaters come out ahead of the cold weather, hoodies and button-ups and cardigans and those stylish little things that nobody wears except to church.

And boots. Every autumn, without fail, I get the sudden desire to buy boots. I never do (I'm usually too poor), but inevitably I'll be wandering about some clothing store and pause by the boots, and just stare. And I get this sudden urge to just go be all hipster and wear a little hat and a ridiculous jumper and nonsense scarf and skinny jeans and lace-up boots and go stomp through fallen leaves with my ridiculous (and ahemnonexistentahem) boyfriend as we take the most ludicrously cute pictures ever.

I find it hard to be productive in the autumn, too. At least, not productive in the let's-hurry-and-get-work-done kind of productive. I prefer to read; to curl up on a couch with fuzzy socks, a hoodie, and a hat, and read. I like to take a notebook and just sit in front of a window and write, write everything I haven't been able to say during the summer.

I'm always at my best in the fall, I think. At least writing-wise. I end up writing more, creating characters that get way down deep into my heart and never let go. Why that is, I have no idea. But it's true. And it's just one more layer to the reasons I love autumn.

The whole point of this post has been, of course, that I just really
love autumn.

That is all.

- Kyla Denae