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Because I Have the Attention Span of a Gnat

One of the most annoying quirks I have (annoying to myself, at least) is that I consistently cycle through “main focuses”.

What this means is that while I consider writing + my main books series as my AS-level obsession, I am constantly cycling around with other side interests, and sometimes I wish I would just pick something and stop. It’s difficult to get any cool, big projects finished when you can’t keep a consistent enough interest in it to follow through. But I am an adult, and I have learned how to either prepare or mitigate around these annoyances.

So why bring it up?

Well, a), I don’t think I’m yet capable of simply “telling” you anything. I have to frame it as if I was writing an essay. Background info and all that. And b):

I thought about incorporating it into this blog, but it’s so random from everything else that I decided to dedicate to it its own blog.

See, I play the Sims (3+4, though right now it’s mainly 4), and I’ve been getting into the habit of taking screenshots of the gameplay. Inevitably, that meant I would also want to start posting them online for funzies. A if-you-mouse-a-cookie sort of a scenario. So I made a Tumblr for it. Here you go:

https://onceabluemoonsim.tumblr.com/

Screenshot (27)

Eventually, there will be a twitter attached to this.

Posted in Uncategorized

I’ve Been Gone….

Good lord, it’s been ages. The blog tends to exist in the back of my head, and I keep having vague thoughts about it. There are things I’d like to do, and, while ultimately it’s only a matter of biting the bullet and doing it, I’m lame, and this blog has remained untouched since last year. Mostly, the reason stems from changing perspectives. I think just enough differently from how I did last year that all of my original plans for this blog simply wouldn’t make sense.

As it stands currently, I want to talk about my writing projects and art. In the future, I have a specific project that I’ll actually post publicly for people. It’s a murder mystery.

Maybe I’ll start compiling stuff on writing advice, too, while I’m at it. I’ve been testing some new brainstorming methods and nailing down the process of drafts + editing. I am very autistic-minded about these sort of things. Back in the beginning of this blog, I had even wanted to comb through my first finished novel draft because it’s an effective way of demonstrating how to “fix” a bad draft.

In any case, it would great to have you along for the ride.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized

Day 19: Where on Which I Answer Many Questions

Snark Theater Questions, Day 16 – 19

What’s your process to tackling a new story? Are you more of a potter, a pantser, a grower? What came first for your current project: the story, the characters or the setting?

My process is kind of a mess right now, let’s be honest. I’m a mixture of panster and plotter. I need parts of a story completely figured out before I write, but if I write a strict outline to follow, I’m terrible at 100% sticking to it.

For this particular story, the character technically came first. And I’m sticking to that because I wouldn’t be writing it if not for the character (Summer). My usual story process is character-heavy, and I often have character arcs completely figured out before I’ve even touched the overall story plot.

Does your story deal with themes of race or racism? Or does it feature a racially diverse cast without discussing race in detail?

This is tricky to answer because, technically, I want to say yes to both? Skin color isn’t cause to turn heads in this world. One of the main characters of the whole series is Latina, and Summer herself is Polynesian. There’s no one side that has a monopoly on skin color. And of the eight gods and goddess in this world’s mythology, five of them are non-white.

But there is a lot of prejudice between the three main splits of people: elemental, inter-race, and basic magic-users. The latter, though, live in a separate society on a separate chunk of land (of their own volition), and they’re only main, consistent interaction with the larger mainland is with black market trades.

A huge conflict across the whole six books is that the World Council (that main government system I keep mentioning) wants to shove off the entire inter-race population out of the union, out of all seven countries, under the justification that they would manage better off in their own space. Not everyone agrees with this (though not all of these alternative POVs are exactly any better, even if they are “nicer”), and, throughout the main series, the inter-races themselves debate whether its worth fighting back or if they should start mass moving to the new world, where a different, more promising culture is developing and more opportunities are available.

A central theme in the story is perspective, so there’s a lot of characters whose understandings of the world are challenged and ultimately changed.

Pick a male character from your story and have him introduce himself to us.

Might as well introduce Aaron: I’m still reeling from an argument Summer and I had. She isn’t acting the same, and I’m not sure what to do. I can tell she’s in some pain. I want to help. 

This is Aaron. He’s not really in the best of emotional places right now. He is a Verra spy much like Summer is, but they have different abilities. Aaron is unique in that he has two: telekinesis and mind reading (not all abilities stack; none of the pure elemental ones do). He’s arguably one of my most emotionally charged character in the series, coupled with a desire to protect, care for, and provide for a significant other (he’s the kind of personality that loves being in relationships).

How do you name your characters or settings? Is there any in-universe cultural significance to how names are chosen? Is there a hidden meaning (in-universe or just for the audience’s sake) behind the names of your protagonist and antagonist?

Names actually are different. We have a first, middle, and last name, but on Ellie, the naming convention is formal, common, and surname.

So Morgan, a MC who I talk an awful lot about, has this for her full name: Marie Morganna Darvshie. Marie is a formal name, rarely invoked, especially since this is a time period where the naming convention only still exists because that’s just how things have been. Morganna is what people commonly call her (or would if she didn’t insist on Morgan). Darvshie is the surname.

Summer, Aaron, and most of the Verras, however, have dropped their formal name entirely as a sort of middle finger to the government.

Beyond that, there isn’t anything special to the names. I try not to name them too fantasy-heavy overall. Ismazar and Cynazia are probably the funkiest names I’ve got.

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 15: Because We’re Livin’ on a Prayer

That’s NaNoWriMo, right? Sometimes you’re holding to a thread of hope that you’ll make even of a fraction of the word count that you want to.


Day 15:

We’re halfway there! Where is your protagonist in your story at the moment? Can you write it as if they were explaining their situation to someone (you obviously don’t need to spoil your entire story)? If you don’t write linearly, write from the point of you of the last scene you wrote.

I’m in need of some answers, and there’s only one person I can imagine having them. Ismazar spends most of his time in the town’s makeshift library (the books of which he owns most) reading thick, hand written volumes about forgotten history. He has a reputation for being able to wrap his head around the most difficult of subjects.

What Jade told me, it has bothered me so much, I’m almost physically ill. It doesn’t seem possible… or right. We exist as humans for a reason. I hold onto that because it makes sense. Permanently changing your species doesn’t make sense. How will the pit communicate with anyone? They won’t have hands or feet anymore. How will they protect themselves against people who do? And people will come to kill them.

By Namiah’s hand, is it even possible?

Ismazar has to know.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 14: Brainstorming

How many of you used to think brainstorming was useless or boring? I didn’t bother with it for the longest time, especially when it came to school work. But, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found brainstorming to be an excellent way to flesh out or plan a story. And, for whatever reason, I do it best with pen and paper (composition book).

So I’m going to try and brainstorm like I would warm up drawings and see where that gets me tonight.


Day 14 over at the Snark Theater:

Is there anyone helping you on this story? This can be with research, feedback or just moral support.

Nope. I’m a lonely soul. Generally, when I do have that, it’s someone who I can talk and talk about the ins and outs of story stuff I’m thinking. I had that a little more consistently in 2014.

Sometimes its awkward trying to explain my story to people. I never quite know where to start and what to leave out. I’d like to do better with this in the future, but so far I haven’t made much headway.

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 13: The Daily Song and Dance

For quite a few years, I was irritated whenever authors talked about how much they loved to read. Yes, I know. That’s a weird thing to get upset about.

It’s not so much that I hate reading. In fact, like many writers, I love it. But authors seemed to bandy it about like it was the crux of their skill set. They read, therefore they eventually learned how to write.

Still a weird thing to get upset about. After all, being well read can in fact improve your writing. I’d be lying to myself otherwise. But for me personally, my wanting to write didn’t originate solely out of reading, a hobby that I can’t really say I had until I was 10 years old and had discovered Nancy Drew novels. And I don’t think I would have kept up with writing at all had my passion only come from reading.

I am fascinated by the process in which you take a handful of words, order them in a conscious effort, and create meaning with them. Because I’ve always had difficulty communicating through speaking, writing has given me a voice that I might not otherwise have discovered.

The point of all of that: today was a reading day for me. I was irritated whenever authors talked about how much they loved to read because it felt like none of them ever talked about how much they loved to structure words. I had to learn again to appreciate the power of reading for the sake of reading (or even for a light internal deconstruction). So today was a reading day.


Day 13

Introduce the main antagonist (if you have any) to us. Who are they? What is their role in/why are they a part of the story? What are their relationships with the main characters? What are their motivations, conflicts, character arc?

In some ways, this is tricky to explain. Summer battles herself a lot, struggles with new awareness. One could argue the antagonist is entirely internal. But nearing the climax, there is a more traditional, external antagonist: Marcus.

Marcus is the second-in-command of the Verras (the name of the rebellion group), and it’s largely because of him that the rebellion has received fresh, tactile direction and is able to move forward with its goals. But he also has this other thing he likes to harp about, to varying degrees. He’s got a secret weapon up his sleeve, the loyalty and support of Queen Cynazia’s youngest daughter, a princess who isn’t officially recognized as a princess (due to her strong distaste towards her mother) and is a formidable warrior. Problem is: as Summer starts to realize the rebellion is beginning to turn a much different direction than she ever believed it would. Marcus is an extremist, and while he does mean to overthrow the current government system, it isn’t to the benefit of the people under him, and he and his soulmate are going to wreck all havoc and chaos. The climax of the story focuses on Summer executing her own mission: to find this woman and figure out if any of this is true. This secret princess is Morgan, one of the main characters of the main series.

Marcus is extreme in his goals. He’s very “go big or go home” and a near master at manipulation. Part of the point of his character is to be a straight take on the YA “true love” love interest, with the main problem being that he doesn’t respect Morgan’s autonomy (long story short: in the beginning, they have a mutual, consensual relationship, but when Morgan backs out, he is already convinced they’re meant to be together, that they’re the perfect team, and is operating on the assumption that she’ll turn back to him eventually). His arc is a combination of that, over-throwing the main government system, and how he often  struggles with the balance of those goals.

As for any relationship between him and Summer? There isn’t much one beyond a superior to a subordinate. He could technically represent a physical manifestation of Summer’s fears (that the rebellion will ultimately do more harm than good for anyone involved).

For me, the writer, it’s a different set of eyes seeing him, which is good because he’s meant to be suave and subtle, not crazy and unhinged. He’s not the easiest character to write.

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 12: I Have Nothing Else to Call This

It’s about to be Day 12 of NaNoWriMo, and most of my plans are honestly a big mess. The election and it’s aftermath took up a lot of my emotional energy the past few days, but I’m ready to start shifting my focus back or at least balancing it all a little better (my brain doesn’t multi-task very well). Part of that might end up meaning that I don’t write a linear narrative. I’ve had trouble connecting the dots for this story. I know scenes that happen, but I’ve drawn a blank on how to stitch them all together into a cohesive story.


Also, I’m not answering the questions I missed in Snark Theater’s Challenge, largely ’cause I don’t know where to start with any of them. I’ll start with Day 12.

In what conditions do you usually write? Do you listen to music, have specific snacks or drinks, hide in a special place?

I suppose I hide in my bedroom. I recently got a new computer, and I decided to go with a desktop set-up, so I’m not longer mobile in the same way I was with a laptop, but I rarely wrote outside of my room anyway.

I generally need absolute quiet when I write. I’ve tried music, but my brain is trained to day dream and think when most any form of that is on, so it’s only distracting. And when I’m trying to concentrate, little noises really start to grind my gears.

I have a thing about noises, in general — Autism, and all. I envy people who have the ability to write where ever and who can use music as a mood tool or a focusing tool to help them be more productive. My dad’s that way.

 

Posted in Discussions, NaNoWriMo, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 8: Because I Want Today to be Over With

I don’t know if I’ll be able to get any writing done today. Election Day is successfully stressing the hell out of me. I am so done with everyone telling me to vote, how to vote, why to vote; lesser of two evils; don’t be a racist; vote because there are people who can’t; bottom line: vote.

It doesn’t help that I simply just don’t care anymore. I never had much of a dog in this fight, especially when it came to Trump vs. Hilary. In doing research on the specific amendments on my ballot, there’s nothing on there I feel particularly anything for (I think if I still lived in California, I would’ve had some motivation to vote if only because their ballot has at least a few things I actually have opinions on). Not to mention, I can’t stand crowds of strangers or unfamiliar situations while I’m already stressed out (this is my first election; I’ve never voted before). So if I do end up voting because of damned peer pressure (which is really grating), I need to at least cool my jets so I don’t start having an emotional breakdown while in line.

So done. Ready to calm down. Gonna ignore social media for the next several hours so that I can stand going to work tonight.


Snark Theater’s NaNoWriMo Challenge, Day 8:

Are there any fictional cultures in your story? If so, describe one of them to us. If not, what culture is your story set in? What research (if any) did you do to understand that culture?

I have three main types of people, those with general magic, those with enhanced senses, and those with elemental abilities. I’ve tried a few times to explain the general gist of one of them, but the resulting attempt is messy and unreadable.

My basic culture-building philosophy is evolution. My cultures evolve over time. They have many different sub-cultures throughout them. When I created the mythology and religion, I figured out the various ways this mythology could be interpreted and/or changed to justify beliefs (i.e. certain gods and goddesses are lauded as “more important” than others because accepting the others as exactly equal doesn’t jive with their treatment of an entire culture of people, and they also ignore parts of mythology that don’t jive with the beliefs they want to have).

Posted in NaNoWriMo, Romance, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 7: That One About Romance

Snarktheater’s NaNoWriMo Challenge, Day 7:

Does romance play a major part in your story? If so, between whom? If not, do you have any specific reason why?

As I’ve gotten older, romance has started to play smaller roles in my stories. My main series easily has the most of it, and the romance tends to twine with the general theme of things.

Summer and Aaron’s romance is a bit different than I tend to write. They’re already a developed couple by the time the story begins; there’s no focus on a relationship beginning, it’s about one ending.

What’s more is that the both of them have romantic personality types. They see themselves as destined lovers, and so it gets kinda awkward for Summer when she begins to realize she doesn’t love him anymore like that. And she doesn’t know how to break it to him, either, because that stuff is hard and emotional and there’s no big “wrong” that either of them made.

This sets up a lot of talk about soul mates in the main series as there is Aaron, who learns to take a different approach to love and relationships, and Marcus, who emotionally (and, technically, physically) abuses in the name of destined love.

 

Posted in NaNoWriMo, The Wondrous Ones, Uncategorized, Writing

Day 6: Because at Least I’m Blogging About My Story

If I’m going to get anything out of NaNoWriMo this year, it’ll at the very least be related to blogging.  Golly.

I’ve got some scene ideas today, so we’ll see what happens.


Still managing the Snark Theater Challenge. I’ve got that going for me. Day 6: How did the idea for this story come to you?

I brought this up a little bit in the first NaNo post. Summer’s story is an extra to the main series, a really close look into how things are setup. It takes place in the year leading up to Book 1.

The interesting thing about this story to me is Summer’s perspective. Most anything I write now deals with perspective and often changing it. Summer was a character who was flat and static, and I wanted to see what her true potential could be. If I had figured this all out sooner, I probably would have twined her in with the main series, but, at this point, to do so would require some tired and forced measures (though who knows, I’ve convinced myself plenty of times to make changes to the series I initially thought I never would).

Summer has developed slowly over time, picking up a knack for espionage, and then a passion for her beliefs, and then an arc that deals with her questioning her beliefs and coming to new conclusions. This includes falling out of love. And in kind of a quiet and awkward way, too, because sometimes you just fall out of love; there’s not always betrayal and deceit and a “glad I dodge that bullet” moment. Sometimes you change as a person, and that creates a new gap between you and the people you love. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out anymore.

And that’s always been an emotional conflict I’ve wanted to explore. I like exploring character relationships, whether it’s romantic, familial, or platonic. Falling out of love isn’t something I see brought up as much, unless it’s about a MC dodging a bad bullet and the old love interest is suddenly crazy and/or evil.

(Because as we all know, you only truly love one person ever, and any other love you’ve had can either never compare or was false; thanks modern media).