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Tumblr Writathon

On Tumblr this past Sunday, September 2nd, there was a writathon where writers were to dedicate a whole day to working on their works in progress, either by writing, researching, editing, creating playlists for them, whatever. I roped Rachel into doing it with me and, while we didn’t spend the entire day doing the writathon, we both got farther along in our works than we originally would have been.

In the span of about two hours – with random distracted outbursts here and there – I wrote 1345 words of Hard Mode. My original goal had been 1k words for that particular WIPs, so yay!

Hard Mode is about a group of gamers who are stuck in a role-playing, simulation game and must learn to work together to survive. That sounds a little basic, and there’s probably been stories like that before, but I’m having fun with these characters!

If anyone’s interested, I’ll stick the piece that I’ve written below. I hope everyone else is doing well!

“Anyone else see the castle coming into view on the horizon?” Wyatt asked, the alchemist nearly skipping ahead of the rest on the path.

The forest around them wavered out as they moved forward, their path going from crude, dirt roads into cobblestones dusted with other players’ footprints. Landon’s graphics card did its magic, the castle blinking into view with its stone towers and colorful banners waving in the game’s wind. With the castle came the town wall, the stones protecting the citizens from the monsters that plagued the land at night.

With the daylight, the drawbridge was down, allowing NPCs and players alike to come and go as they please. More and more other players of the game were crowding into the castle town, no doubt eager to hear the new plotline.

“We’ll have some good competition, it seems,” Raine said from beside Landon. Her gaze was sweeping over the crowds, one of her hands placed on the dagger at her belt.

“No one’s experience any lag?” Elijah asked. “With this many folks around, this’ll be a good indication to how we’ll all fare in any dungeons or temples we come across.”

“Not lag, really,” Noah said. He was squinting at the castle. “Uh, but is the castle supposed to be blinking?”

“No,” Landon said, his stomach twisting. How would their group be able to complete the task if one of their teammates couldn’t properly see the graphics?

“Dammit,” Noah muttered. He sighed and asked sheepishly, “Sorry, but do y’all mind if I log out real quick? Just gotta check my graphics setting.”

“No problem,” Raine said, setting against one of the trees at the edge of the path.

“Wait a sec. Do we want to reach the castle town first?” Landon asked. “It’d be safer for your avatar in there if you’re logging out.”

“We’re all right here,” Wyatt said with a shrug. “We’ll make sure nothing happens to his avatar while he’s away from the keyboard.”

“Besides, I assume we’ll get caught up in a cut scene for the new plot once we make it far enough into the town,” Elijah said. “Noah won’t be able to log out in the middle of a cut scene.”

“Good points,” Landon conceded. Noah gave him a brief smile before his avatar grayed out with the letters AFK resting above his head. After a moment, his avatar disappeared completely and Landon fidgeted until Noah wavered back into view about five minutes later.

“There we go,” Noah said, staring at the castle. “Much better. Onward!”

The group clamored down the path and joined the crowds. Elijah took the lead, his avatar being tall enough to meander through the crowds to head toward the castle. It was from the king of the realm that the players would receive the new plotline, the new goal of Steel and Sorcery. Raine gestured for Noah to go right behind Elijah, considering Noah was the smallest of the group, and amid the jostling of the crowd, Raine ended up a step behind Landon. Landon presumed Wyatt was bringing up the rear.

His presumption was shattered when Raine tapped his shoulder and called out to the other two, “Wait… We lost Wyatt.”

Elijah glanced at them over his shoulder before tugging on Noah’s arm and leading the rest of them out of the crowd toward one of the castle town’s alleyways. “Thought it’d be you who would get lost,” Elijah said casually to Noah.

Noah’s ears turned red. “What? Why?”

“You’re the smallest, that’s all,” Raine said, her gaze directed at the crowd as if they could spot their lanky fifth member. “Shouldn’t be surprised with what I’ve learned about Wyatt’s attention span these past few sessions, though.”

“He probably found some market stalls and is spending our gold,” Landon said, mentally berating himself for not taking up the rear. He should have been in the back keeping an eye on everyone.

“We have gold?” Noah asked.

Elijah chuckled. “Not much,” he said. “Wyatt’s probably putting us in the red.”

“I’ll go find him,” Raine volunteered. “We can either meet you guys here or at the castle.”

Landon was fine with meeting Raine and Wyatt at the castle, but he said, “We’ll wait here. Don’t think we can get the mission without the whole team.”

“Alright,” Raine said. “Be back soon.”

She disappeared into the crowd, moving faster than Landon believed possible. Then again, he never tested out the rogue class. He quite liked the swords of the knight class, figuring the balance between offense and defense would suit him better than having a higher speed.

“Are all these players here for the same mission as us?” Noah asked, his eyes transfixed on the other avatars passing them by.

“Maybe,” Elijah said lightly. “A new plotline always draws players in. Of course, it also depends on the teams’ skill levels. I have my user settings so I can only see other players around the same skill level as us. Helps with lag and loading the graphics.”

“Wait, how do you do that?” Noah asked. Elijah helped Noah bring up his user interface and walked him through the graphics options. Once they were done with the little tutorial, Noah beamed. “Okay, that’s so much better! There’s still a lot of people here, but at least I can see across the road now, haha!”

“How are you at a high enough level to join this mission,” Landon asked, “when it sounds like you haven’t really explored the basics of the game, like the user interface? I mean no offense,” Landon added quickly when Noah’s ears tinted red again. “Exploring all those options is just usually one of the first things I do whenever getting a new game, so it’s a little odd to hear someone else… not.”

Noah shrugged and tugged at the hem of his warrior armor. “I kind of just dive in, usually,” he said. “I tend to figure out stuff as I go, but little options like the user settings I tend to forget about because I’m busy playing the game. I don’t really think of that stuff until someone else mentions it or teaches me.”

“Other people you play with haven’t mentioned things like that?” Landon asked.

“I usually play by myself,” Noah said. “So… no.”

“Well, you’ll learn by being with us,” Elijah said. “Just stand next to Wyatt, wherever he is, and he’ll babble enough to probably teach you how to code a game yourself.”

“What about me? What do you need me to babble about?” Wyatt appeared at the edge of the alleyway, Raine right behind him with a shake of her head and a small smile on her face.

Wyatt didn’t wait for anyone to answer, for he suddenly produced a bottle of thick, bubbling orange liquid from his user interface. “I’ll babble about this!” he said. “I got this from an NPC vendor over by the entrance. He says it amplifies our magic power by five. I think we’ll each get at least a small boost if we each take a sip—”

“I am not drinking that,” Elijah said, his nose scrunched up. “That stuff looks like my first attempt at cooking tomato soup.”

Wyatt raised an eyebrow as he stared from Elijah to the bottle. “Dude, tomato soup is red—”

“Why don’t we talk about this later,” Landon said, “and get going to the castle? I’ll take up the rear this time.”

“Sounds good to me,” Raine said, gesturing for Elijah to take the lead once more. “I can trust your attention span.”

Noah fell in step behind Elijah and Raine motioned for Wyatt to go ahead of her. Wyatt instead grinned and looped his arm with hers. “Since, you know, you can’t trust my attention span,” he said.

She rolled her eyes but opted to stay connect to Wyatt as they caught up with Elijah and Noah. Landon followed a step behind, marveling at the amused smiles on his teammates’ faces. Was he the only one willing to take this seriously?

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Posted by on September 4, 2018 in Home

 

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Write Shit

Someone on Tumblr asked, “What do you guys do when you feel down about your ability as a writer?”

Write shit.

Seriously. Write whatever comes to mind, make it deliberately bad to torture that little niggling pest in your head that keeps whispering to you that your writing sucks. The further along you go, the more you practice both writing and ignoring that inner pest. There are parts in my WIPs where I felt myself losing steam so I just hit the enter button a couple of times and go off the rails, talking to myself through the page and the story until I’m ready to go back to the actual novel.

Alternately, write something you want to read. Write something that only you will read (unless you later choose to share it), something that is completely and shamelessly self indulgent to get more comfortable with your writing. Try out new styles while writing these self indulgent stories or just use them to practice and bolster your confidence with your current style. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with self-insert fanfiction that will most likely never be read by anyone else but me, and I have a great time writing and rereading them whenever I need a boost.

Breaks are good too! Don’t forget to stay hydrated, to take a look at the sun once in a while, to talk to someone else beyond your computer screen/notebook pages.

We’ve all been there and we’ll all be there again. Self-doubt is the permanent neighbor to creativity because you’re inventing something that has never been seen by anyone else in the world, and it’s downright scary to think that others may believe you’re just crazy rather than seeing what a brilliant gem you’ve just shined. Eventually, though, self-doubt will be like that old neighbor that spouts out conspiracy theories that you’re sometimes forced to hear, and you’ll learn to humor this neighbor, even if they make you a little uncomfortable, before taking a deep breath and going back to do your own thing.

You got this, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, least of all a whispering pest that’s all in your head!

Now I gotta practice what I preach.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2018 in Home

 

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Too Many Options

I have so many writing projects I want to do.

Anyone ever go on that site Quotev? It’s basically a site where one can create quizzes and stories for other people to take and read. One of the more popular options of the site is to create “Choose Your Own Adventure” or the romance-equivalent “Who Would You Fall For” types of story-quizzes. I had a few story-quizzes on there that I haven’t updated in about three years because life happened, but I still get comments and likes on them to this day. Finishing up those little things are on the back of my mind.

I enjoy writing fanfiction, so filling up my Archive of Our Own page is on my to-do list as well. I feel as if fanfiction is less pressure but also still fantastic practice for writing and, perhaps, getting some constructive criticism, and I love the excitement that people share when it comes to common fandoms.

Then there’s Wattpad. I would like to put up some of my original stories there, gauge anyone’s reactions for them. Rachel and I are in a writer’s group, but that usually meets only once a month. The writer’s group is great, don’t get me wrong, but it does take awhile for us to read enough of a story to really garner an opinion on it.

I just want to start sharing my writing and reading others’ works more often. WordPress and Tumblr are great places to start, but in today’s digital age, I do want to reach out more.

Of course, to do that, I need to focus and pick which of my WIPs to prioritize.

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Posted by on August 9, 2018 in Home

 

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Characters and Social Media

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Which social media site would your characters use the most?

Do they like precise information, bite-sized stories like on Twitter? Would they be snapping picture evidence of their life for Instagram? Would they have a news feed catered to only their interests like on Tumblr? Do they have a favorite social media site or do they hop around between several? Are their own posts to the sites concise, all over the place, a good medium?

As writers, social media is important in reaching out to fellow authors, writers, and readers. Right now, we’re on one of the most popular blogging sites to share our thoughts and stories with one another. That’s the ultimate goal of social media sites — to connect.

So, how would your characters connect with others in their world through social media? How would your characters react to anonymous praise, critique, trolls? How private would they keep their settings? How often would they post? Would they connect more with people they know face-to-face or make friends with people from all over the world?

What would a stranger, or a reader, conclude about your character just from reading their social media sites?

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Home

 

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Not Enough Bookshelves

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I’m a little jealous of all the pretty Tumblr and Instagram artistic shots of bookshelves with fairy lights and little figurines of favorite book characters and the books arranged by color and size and all be able to fit on the bookshelves…

My bookshelf needs a “Caution: Books Falling” sign or something.

Obviously there’s no such thing as too many books, but there is such a thing as not enough space. Rachel and I have already decided that we’re going to have a library in our own house whenever we’re able to afford it, so I shouldn’t have to worry about hoarding books, right?

I have been thinking of cleaning out my bookshelves again, though. Donating books to my local thrift shop or used bookstore will give them a chance of being picked up and read by someone else, and it’ll free up a little space on my shelves.

That same line of thinking makes my brain go, “Then there will be room for more NEW books!”

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Home

 

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Book Buying Problem & Pantomime

I think I have a book buying problem.

I mean, in hindsight, that’s not the worst problem to have, right? Aside from a thin wallet, being obsessed with books isn’t too bad compared to other things I could be obsessed with:

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On that note, I did order another book today because my tower of to-be read books just isn’t quite the same height as me just yet.

On Tumblr (seriously, Tumblr is amazing at sharing book and writing news) I follow a blog called LGBTQ Reads because why not? More books is more books, and I’m all for keeping the protagonists on my bookshelf diversified in any way I can. Through this particular blog, I heard about a trilogy of books that not only starred a bisexual intersex character, it takes place in a CIRCUS. With MAGIC.

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice or twenty-seven times that I enjoy fantasy books with magic and circus-like elements.

The first book of the trilogy is called Pantomime and the series is by Laura Lam. Both Pantomime and the second book Shadowplay are available in paperback, while the third book Masquerade is coming to the US in June. So, hey, if you’re interested in fantasy, magic, and circuses, perhaps check her books out. If you’ve read these already (or any of her other books, actually), what did you think of them?

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in Home

 

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Star-Crossed

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Let me share an awesome story with you. I found this lovely post on Tumblr about a book that’s coming out on March 14. This book is a positive middle-grade novel with a bisexual protagonist, and you can bet that I have it pre-ordered.

Guys, seriously, this is so exciting! The author, Barbara Dee, wrote this book with tons of love and research, talking about it with her daughter to be sure that this book is safe for LGBT+ youth (and all readers, really).

A little excerpt from the daughter’s Tumblr regarding this book is: “This book is for LGBT kids, written by a mom who has asked questions and done her research and tried as hard as she possibly could to make her own queer kid feel safe and loved and valid, and it REALLY shows. Mattie (the cutie on the left) and Gemma (the cutie on the right) are given space to learn about themselves, and ultimately they don’t have to figure themselves out right away or come out to everyone at once or choose a label. They’re kids. It’s okay to still be figuring things out. It’s okay.”

That right there, those last two words… Those are the most important words resonating with me. It’s okay. The LGBT+ community has been making tremendous strides for equal rights within the past few years, and it’s fantastic to witness it all. Books like Star-Crossed will help further these strides!

If you think you’ll be interested in this book, you can check it out on Amazon here!

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Home

 

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