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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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Sheepadoodles and Combining Characters

Have you ever heard of a sheepadoodle? It’s a cross between an Old English sheepdog and a poodle. They look like this:

Despite my love of dogs, I have never heard of this dog hybrid before Rachel mentioned that the new family she’s going to be babysitting is going to get a sheepadoodle puppy. It’s a cross that I never would have thought of.

In a wayward way, it kind of reminded me of the more recent revelation I had with one of my WIPs. There’s a character that I had planned but, after scribbling down a very rough outline, realized that I probably had no use for her. Her bigger role was combined with another character’s to give him a bit more to do and to make the plot a little more difficult for the rest of the cast of main characters.

When writing, usually you would just write down everything you know about the story, make the document or notebook pages a word vomit of the story you want to tell. In later drafts, cutting out or combining characters is something that comes from editing.

In one way, I feel as if I’m a step ahead upon realizing this character is not needed, at least not for the bigger role I had originally planned for her. On the other hand, it is a little sad to already get rid of a character that I feel I haven’t known for too long.

We’ll see what happens with the rest of the first draft.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2018 in Home

 

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Shadows

In one of my WIPs, I have this character who is creatively named Dark. He’s basically comprised of shadows, having been magically rather than naturally born. While he can seem stoic and content to stay in the background, he’s more of the type to try to herd everyone that he knows together to be sure everyone is safe.

As far as I’ve seen in the writing, anyway.

Dark’s followed around the protagonist to be sure said protagonist wouldn’t get himself killed because the protagonist really has no idea what he’s doing since it’s the protagonist’s fault that they’re lost. Basically, Dark just wants the protagonist to stay put while Dark tries to figure out how to get them all home. Each time Dark’s plans crack, Dark himself seems to crack as well.

It’s not until the third character — who happens to be a talking beagle — in their party explains to the protagonist, “Dark is made of shadows. He’s been doing better on his own but, like all shadows, he still needs his anchor,” that both the protagonist and I get a better understanding of the usually reserved Dark’s state of mind.

In a way, that tidbit about Dark made me think about how everyone is a shadow, following along in someone else’s footsteps, looking up to those they admire, while also being someone else’s anchor, someone else’s inspiration, someone else to help keep them grounded when they need it. It’s little moments like that that really make me enjoy writing. I’m lousy at getting plots to stay strung together — which I’m trying to be better about — but my characters and world building make me proud.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 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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January WIP

It’s been a while since I’ve popped back up in here on my corner of WordPress. I started a new job a few months back, but with the new year, I’m making resolutions to improve my writing, blogging, and reading habits. I hope everyone else is well and doing the same!

For reading, I’m taking the Goodreads Challenge (as you can see on the sidebar), while I have plenty of posts planned for this blog for the new year. For writing, I’m going to focus on actually finishing at least the first drafts of a couple of novels. My goal is to have at least three first drafts finished by this year, if not more.

The three stories I’m contemplating at the moment are tentatively titled Colorless, Ripple Effect, and Shifter’s War. Of course, depending on my whims, new stories may pop up, but three first drafts are my goal for the year.

I’m fabulous at starting stories. Finishing them is another thing entirely. I have ideas as to how each story will end… I just need to write them. My attention span isn’t the best at focusing on novels long-term like that. To rectify that bad habit, I’ll be keeping track of how many words I write on the three stories and post them up at the end of every month to publicly celebrate or shame my progress.

I love to write. I want to be able to call myself a writer and, to do that, I need to finish my writing projects. This is going to be the year where I will unravel that bad habit like a tangled yarn ball to crochet it into a good habit.

How are your writing resolutions?

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Home

 

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Brace Yourselves… Camp NaNo is Coming

Although it’s the beginning of March, April will be upon us before we know it. To most people, April means spring and flowers and allergies and all that fun stuff. Where I live, we still have about three or so feet of snow covering the ground. Fortunately, it’s finally starting to melt away, teasing us with hints of withered grass just waiting for a hint of sunlight.

To us writers, though, April also means Camp NaNoWriMo! It’s similar to a regular November NaNoWriMo, except a bit more flexible. November’s NaNoWriMo challenges folks to write 50 thousands words of a brand-new story. If you create your own goal (such as, writing a screenplay rather than a novel or challenging yourself to write 25k instead of 50k), then you are considered a “NaNo Rebel” (but you’re definitely still celebrated because, hey, no matter what or how much you are writing, you are writing, and that’s worthy of balloons and champagne just like those 50k-writing novel people).

Camp NaNoWriMo is more geared toward those NaNo Rebels, allowing writers the flexibility to pick what and how much they’re going to write for the month. Want to make 150k words your goal for the month? That’s cool. Want to write poems for the month? That’s cool too.

As per usual, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write for Camp NaNoWriMo. My go-to strategy is to use the month to add on words to current WIPs, usually 25k or so. This year, however, I’m going to stick to the 50k goal, pushing myself to get into a better writing habit. I’ve done 50k in a month with the November NaNo, so I know I can do it for Camp.

I also got a new story idea that I’m saving for Camp. I spontaneously came up with the idea yesterday while driving back home from… I don’t even remember where I had been coming from. Nevertheless, I had a fairly concrete idea, an idea that had formed enough in my mind for me to actually fill out the synopsis section of my Camper profile:

Kurt is an NPC, a non-playable character, in the new massive multiplayer online role-playing game “Dragon Tamer.” He was created specifically to help the game moderators and the new players stay safe while enforcing the rules. It’s a good life for him, one that he enjoys, especially when real players — such as the moderator he knows only as Animus — don’t treat him as just an NPC.

Then the Hackers invaded. Not only is Kurt’s very existence threatened, the very identities of the real players are in trouble. Kurt wants to help, but what can a non-playable character like him do to solve a real world problem?

I’m excited about this novel and wish for April to come sooner rather than later so I can work on it. In the meantime, I’ll probably do preliminary stuff, background info, maybe some sort of an outline for the story, before April 1.

Happy writing!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Home

 

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