Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fall Into the World of Varekai

I wrote more words last week than I have the previous two weeks of the Writers’ Huddle Summer Writing Challenge. However, I have also increased my weekly goal from 2500 to 3500, so even with more words last week I still ended up missing my writing goal.

I wanted to increase my challenge during the over-all six weeks, but I may have broken too soon. As a reminder, I was trying to write at least 500 words per day for five days a week. This would result in a weekly word goal of 2500 words. However, after two weeks of the challenge, I just barely squeaked out the 2500 the first week, and I was one writing session behind the second week. In both cases I also neglected to write for five days out of the week.

Yet my self-challenge dictated that last week was time to push harder: 700 words per day for five days a week; totaling in 3500 words. Since I hadn't mastered five days a week, or even at least 500 words per day, adding another 200 words per session, 1000 over all, didn't work out well.

It's like Life knows I have this challenge set in front of me, and purposely hands me other things I must do so that my writing time vaporizes. I really need to get back into tracking my hourly time spent so I know what trials pop up and prevent me from writing.

I'm sure they're not valid distractions.

This week would be the week of valid distractions. My mother came to visit in order to help me re-arrange and organize my apartment before I snap and just burn the thing to the ground. Well, in truth, it isn't so much a "visit" as it's a promotion for her organizational business; a work in trade. She does what she does, organizing wise, and I help her figure out how to promote herself on social media. Since we're talking about her new-found career, I can't treat this as a social visit. She has a job to do, and I have a great need for that job. No messing around. Only small breaks - mostly for eating - during her work day. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like her work day ever ends.

I had to really put my foot down to have this time to blog. Much like my paying job, I WILL NOT miss this blog update if I can help it. I might have to do the same thing with an hour of writing each day to make sure I don't fall further behind. Thankfully, my mother is super supportive of my writing, usually resulting in her yelling at me for not making it a career yet, so she was fine with the delayed start. Mom used my blog-time to exercise and other such morning routines, so it worked out. Still, I don't want to waste anyone's time by stealing more than a couple hours to write per day, and I feel I've already done that with this post.

We'll see if I make enough progress throughout the day that she'll allot me more time for writing without me feeling guilty about it.

As it is, I managed to sneak in time on Sunday to write. It wasn't enough to catch up on my over-all weekly word count, but it was enough to satisfy my daily goal of at least 700 words. Plus, it wasn't a Zero Day, so there's that. I just didn't want to take up any more time to play catch-up, especially after killing a couple hours when Cyhyr and Ronoxym dropped Hubby off after a day outing together. They stuck around so I could get some socializing in as well; especially with their baby girl.

Whoops. Sorry, Mom.
Pandadog and Friends
Facebook Sticker
by Funnyeve.com
Anyway, back to my Sunday writing. I know I should have waited for NaNoWriMo to start, but I figured I'd bend the rules for two reasons: one, to create a teaser to keep my readers and myself excited for this project, and two, because I was inspired and sometimes you can't ignore the Muse poking at you. Especially when said Muse is poking at you to write about another Ancient Greek myth. The added bonus is that I now have something for you fine folks to read, and it also can be another short to add to Ronoxym's Flash Fiction Challenge. Yes, I'm still periodically doing this, although not really actively trying.

The important thing though, is that my Sunday writing also means that I have something for writing group tonight. However, I already explained that the trick is to push myself hard enough to warrant a two-hour break in order to go to the meeting. I may have to miss a week and work extra hard on having something good and edited by the next group on the 29th. With time and dedication, I should have the Trish/Devon story critiqued by Mouse and edited - possibly critiqued again just to be sure - in time for that group. I sure hope I can accomplish this side-goal in order to keep my promise that I'll have it posted for you fine folks to read by the end of the month.

In the meantime, enjoy my teaser for my Varekai fan-novelization.

"Icarus' Descent"

Fun side note, in case anyone was wondering. I have been obsessively listening to the song "Vocea" while writing this post, as well as while writing the above story. It is the song sung during the act "Flight of Icarus" where the acrobat playing Icarus descends from the sky with his wings before doing a performance in an aerial net. As the press release for Varekai likes to describe it: "With agility, deftness and sensitivity, a young man performs astounding dives and contortions in the net that holds him captive."

It's just such a bittersweet, soothing song, and really does set the perfect mood. Feel free to listen to it as well while reading my above short.

To REALLY get the feeling, you can also see the performance, as filmed with the original cast for the DVD:

Now I'm off to see if I can weasel my way to going to actually SEE Varekai in person during November as a NaNo motivational pick-me-up....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Plotbunnies Bogging Down My Challenge

Well, I won Camp NaNo, and then quickly dive bombed. After writing last week's post I made sure to finish the fight scene before my group meeting. Nearly 1700 words in one sitting. I only needed to write 500 for my challenge. I then wrote nothing. I barely made time to write on Thursday either, not even managing 200 words! At least I made the time to write SOMETHING, so I guess there's that. Then I was away for the weekend, so Friday and Saturday were both a wash. I needed to sit down and play catch-up to finish the week with at least 2500 words of narrative written, even if I didn't write 500 words per sitting or for five days of the week.

I wrote 182 words before I picked my husband up from work. Go me....

Still, in the end I have a completed fight scene and 2016 more words than I started the week with. Not the best, but still better than nothing, right?

As for the fight scene? Ug....

It was rough. Super rough. I HATE fight scenes, have I told you guys this? Well, thankfully, one woman in particular in my writing group has been writing at least one play a year since.... I don't recall.... high school? It's been a while with many projects under her belt, regardless of when she started. She kind of specializes in fight scenes for her plays, so she knows how to get the choreography down. It was rough to hear HOW MUCH I got wrong, but at least now I know where I'm aiming.

We've been chatting off and on throughout the week, and she's given me quite a few other things to think about.

One of the main ones is the realistic nature of Trish trying to do a knife duel with her butterfly. This had me super concerned for DAYS because no matter what other knife I tried to use instead, it just didn't seem to fit. It wasn't "her" knife. Trish unequivocally wields a butterfly knife. Thankfully, Hubby came to the rescue on that one. He used to have a butterfly comb back in his punk-youth, and demonstrated how a five-inch butterfly blade could still be enough to do some damage. Besides, Trish wouldn't want to give Devon a swift death, so having something that could be long enough to pierce his heart or other organs just isn't her style.

Knife flipping for boredom, punk persona, and intimidation? That's Trish's style.
That's when I realized that my real mistake was not having her use her finger work more frequently. She should have flipped the knife at the last second in order to come at Devon at an angle he wasn't preparing for. She should have changed hands frequently so he couldn't keep track of her blade. She should have snapped the knife closed and flipped it back out in a second when Devon's guard was down. She should have smacked his knuckles or his blade away with her handles as she flipped them. She has this knife because it fits her personality so perfectly, and yet I didn't have her utilize it. Yes, it's a small blade, but her skill would have made up for it.

Another reason she NEEDS to have a butterfly: it's small and seemingly nonthreatening even though it's illegal, but that doesn't mean it can't mess you up real quick and prove why it's still dangerous. Ya know, just like her.

Trish: the butterfly knife of the Brotherhood.

Hubby wasn't too thrilled with Devon's knife either. For whatever reason, I always pictured Devon as trying to pull off that James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause, 1950s street punk look. Maybe it was the jeans, tight plain t-shirt, and denim jacket outfit Ronoxym dressed Devon in when he first described his character. Either way, I just pictured Devon having a Stiletto switchblade knife.
Much like Trish and her butterfly knife, this knife, while impractical,
seems to match Devon's character the best.
It's not practical. It's not utilitarian. It would be something a kid on the streets would have in the '50s, but not in the 2000's. Still, there's just something about Devon's character that tells me that he tries, even subconsciously, to emulate that 1950's street punk persona.

The much more practical and realistic knife option though, the one I might go with if Ron gives me the A-OK, is a standard switchblade.
It's simple, sleek, and the same intimidation factor as a stiletto. The main thing, though, is that it's more modern, you can easily attack and quickly hide the blade like a butterfly knife, and it has a slicing blade that can also be used to stab, as opposed to the stiletto which is essentially only designed for deep stabs.

The one that Hubby always pictured, and believes is the most realistic option due to the utilitarian nature of it, is a simple flip-blade knife.
There's still the intimidation in flicking this baby open with a thumb or a flick of a wrist. Yet this one is the most practical to also use to cut non-organic things, such as wires or boxes or cloth. It just seems the most practical for someone who used to live on the streets.

Unfortunately, Ron simply said that Devon had a "pocket knife" which could also just as easily be a Swiss Army knife. I'm patiently waiting for Ron to let me know what knife style he was picturing for Devon. In the meantime, I'm working on the choreography of the fight yet again.
Knives from the Scott Pilgrim comic books
by Bryan Lee O'Malley
(Had to, I'm exasperated and talking about knives...)
At least this time Hubby offered to spar with me to get the choreography down. I don't know why, but I was afraid he'd find me weird asking for him to help me with this. The man is my muse and my rock in all things, but especially in writing. I should have trusted that he'd help me out.

I'm still hoping to have it ready enough to trade with Mouse on the 15th, and fully edited for posting by the end of the month. I'm also hoping that Ron will have a few moments to read through what I have and get back to me about anything he'd like me to change. This story does involve two of his characters: Nyssa, and of course Devon. I want to do them justice.

In the meantime, though, I still have to get Devon and Nyssa to the room where they are going to do battle. It's a slow go with awkward pacing. I'll have a lot of work to do once I get the words down, but I have to focus on that first. Get the words out of my head, then worry about editing.

I was such a procrastinator as a child, and never quite shook it. However the procrastination when I was in school lead to another bad habit of editing as I went. I didn't have time to write a first draft, go through and edit it, and possibly revise it once more. I needed to edit as I wrote so that my first draft was as perfect as it was going to be. Since I consistently did a good enough job that I always got A's, and sometimes 100%, on all of these written projects, the practice stuck. Even in college I almost always turned in my first draft. I just grew accustomed to this bit of myself: the perfect first drafter.

Now that my tastes have improved, and at a much faster rate than my writing has improved, I'm starting to realize my first drafts are far from golden. It's a bit of a bedrock shake. Sure, it's generally not the largest rewrites: usually pacing and removing some repetition. My largest editing pattern is just streamlining what I have on paper so it ends up being about 20% less when I'm done.

Then there's this fight scene, which may be a complete rewrite now that I have my flaws pointed out. I know where to go from there.

Still, it's weird to me that I have to do rewrites and major edits. It started with Please, Let Me Explain, and has become more and more frequent in my longer works. It stings a little bit, but I have to remind myself that it's part of writing. I'm not becoming worse because I have to do rewrites. I'm becoming BETTER. I'm noticing that the first go through my head isn't always the best go. I'm becoming more professional. I'm letting arrogance over my "perfect first drafts" slip away. I'm evolving.

Speaking of, I have another story idea. A couple, actually, but I'll focus on one.

After fifteen years of just remembering this amazing show, I finally managed to track down an affordable copy of Cirque de Soleil's show Varekai; my favorite performance the troupe has done.
I saw it when it aired on Bravo in 2003.
The story of Varekai is a retelling of the Greek myth about Icarus. In Varekai, when Icarus fell from the sky after flying too close to the sun, he didn't actually land in the ocean and drown. Instead, he fell onto the summit of a volcano, into a bamboo forest called Varekai: Romani for "Wherever." There, Icarus falls for one of the inhabitants. He must acclimate himself to this strange new world and it's strange inhabitants while also struggling to save his new love from a tribe of water-people who kidnapped her. Well, actually, it's never stated who they are, they could be lizards since they keep creeping ABOVE the stage, but their costumes look like scale leotards and seaweed wigs, so.... I'm going with water-people?
 So, I really don't know what these creatures are supposed to be. Lizard? Water nymphs? Personified rain pouring onto the volcano summit? Then again, the main character is also a bit perplexing.
This is Icarus' love interest La Promise, or Betrothed. She's sometimes known as The Caterpillar since her love for Icarus causes a metamorphosis that completes after she's whisked away by the above water-people, or whatever they are. She moves and has fins and a crown like she's a fish, or maybe a reptile of some sort. Yet, when she's captured, it's within a giant bird cage where she cries out to Icarus with avian-like chirps and dolphin-like squeals. Still, she's referred to by fans as a caterpillar because of the drastic metamorphosis.
Even the official press release about this character says: "An exotic creature who enraptures Icarus with her sensual beauty. She will be his guiding light and he, in turn, will be the catalyst for her metamorphosis."

It's a mythical bamboo forest at the summit of a volcano during Greek mythology, so.... run with it?

Anyway, my point is that Cirque de Soleil shows are very much like ballets. There is a central theme and story that the director wants to portray, but then that story is only vaguely told through the dance, acts, songs, and costume. The audience is given a little blip of the story with their program, or, in my case, the DVD back cover, and the rest of the story must be interpreted.

This kind of annoys me, which is why I'm not the biggest fan of ballets or operas, due to my not knowing what is being sung. It annoys me a bit with Varekai as well, but the gymnastic skill the performers have, and the hilarious antics of the clowns, makes up for it.

Still, I wish there was a comprehensive play-by-play of the story and how each act fits in that story.

That's when it hit me. I should write that story! It would be a different take on the traditional fanfiction.

It already started forming in my head. It would be told from at least La Promise's and Icarus' points of view, but I may include the other named characters.
Left to Right: The Guide wearing Icarus' wings, La Promise, The Limping Angel, Icarus,
and The Skywatcher
Technically, Icarus, La Promise, The Guide, and The Skywatcher are the only ones listed as named "main cast" in the press releases, but in the description of the act the "cripple" performs - Solo on Crutches - the performer is described as The Limping Angel.

The Guide, as described by the press release, is weathered by the sun of many centuries, and is like a kindly, fragile great-grandfather—a wise old man whose mission is to inspire and bring about change. Personally, my interpretation of the show is that he's a cranky old man who is untrusting of the man who fell from the sky.
The injured Icarus is hurt and scared. His only peace and consolement is La Promise, and yet they keep getting chased away from each other. The Guide doesn't seem to want to bring them together, but he does seem to test Icarus to see if he's worthy of La Promise, eventually marrying the two once both are healed and reborn.
The Skywatcher, again, according to the press release, is described as "a mad scientist and ingenious inventor, collector of the world’s memories and interpreter of signs. This is a man who receives signals, transforms sounds and forewarns of trials and tribulations. He lives perched on the edge of his laboratory-nest." He senses Icarus' coming and gathers the other inhabitants of Varekai to watch the youth's fall. According to the description of another act, the Skywatcher is "always on the lookout for new inventive ways to mess or interfere in the life of the inhabitants of the forest" and seems to favor picking on The Guide.
He doesn't necessarily prevent Icarus and La Promise from getting together, but he seems to have his own trials to make sure this is the right boy.

We don't get much about the Limping Angel, but he seems a sorrowful man crippled by some tragedy. He watches on from the distance in most cases. I imagine he sees himself in Icarus and is maybe warning the boy as to how to overcome the trials of Varekai in order to become strong and worthy of La Promise.

The beauty of this show is the story potential built behind it. For the plot that keeps popping into my head, La Promise would wonder about her metamorphosis and why it hasn't occurred yet. Perhaps it is tied to a prophecy about Icarus, or perhaps it only occurs when she finds her soulmate. Meanwhile, Icarus laments not listening to his father, and becomes cautious and timid after his fall, for fear of injuring himself again, or worse, killing himself with his impulsiveness. The Guide, Skywatcher, and Limping Angel each try to bring Icarus' self confidence back up as he heals. Eventually, Icarus becomes reborn as an inhabitant of Varekai; one of its people now.


Yet I have been telling my other writing friends lately that they need to focus on finishing their existing project and just write notes of their plot bunnies in journals to look back upon later. I need to practice what I preach. So, the Varekai fan-novelization will have to wait, as does my Miraculous Ladybug fanfiction idea(s).

I'm hoping this spark and added assistance will help carry me through the rest of this summer challenge. Keep me excited to write consistently. Then, perhaps the Varekai novelization can be my NaNo story this year.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Conquered Camp!

Happy Belated, little one!
As I mentioned last week, Sunday was the first birthday of Cyhyr and Ronoxym's baby girl. Sadly, instead of going to the party, I ended up passing out on the couch, but I'll get back to that. First I want to talk about my challenges.

I did it. I completed Camp NaNoWriMo my first year. Granted, it was a small goal to hit, but I still say that 10,000 words is big after the slump I was in! In fact, I finished with 10,892 words, and I finished four days early!

Could I have written more before the challenge was over? Yes. Is my story done? Far from it. So why did I slack off this past week? Would you believe me if I said it's because the Winner page told me to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunset, since I earned it?

OK, in truth it's because the weekend got away from me. Friday I tried to add more to the story, but writing this fight scene is just kicking my butt. I'm having a hard time picturing the fighting and how everyone would move. I have no clue how true-to-life it is. If the movements are fluid and natural or if they're clunky and forced. I have Trish charging like a bull nearly every third paragraph. It's kind of pathetic.

So, Friday, while I was trying to add more words, I ended up editing a little bit and physically acting out the fight scene. I'd go through some moves as Trish to make sure they're fluid. Then I'd go back and counter as Devon to make sure those make sense. Then I'd have Devon go on the attack before switching back over as Trish for defensive maneuvers. I even got Hubby's action figures involved, posing them so I could see both sides of the fight at the same time.

I. Hate. Fight. Scenes! I'm such garbage at them!

Well, after subtracting more words than I added on Friday, I gave it another go on Saturday. It was late, I was mentally checked out after running trainings at work Friday and Saturday, and I had to play a little catch-up. I barely squeaked out over 500 words before calling it quits. It didn't matter really, I was still over my 10,000 word goal. I was still a winner!

Then, as I mentioned at the top, I passed out on my couch on Sunday. I was going to go to the party. I was going to write. I was going to clean. I was going to do SOMETHING productive while Hubby was at work. Instead I passed out on the couch until 8pm. Sure, I could have spent the next two hours writing before picking Hubby up and then watching Game of Thrones. Instead, my stomach decreed that it was time for a late dinner, so I read the last couple chapters of Smoulder by midnightstarlightwrites.

All-in-all a cute story, but I feel it loses its way after chapter 24: the big reveal chapter. There were twelve more chapters after that one, and they were sweet, but they felt like a different story. Especially since MidnightStarlightWrites didn't tie the original Smoulder idea into any of the last chapters, well aside from Marinette teasing Adrien about modeling underwear....

I wish MSW had stopped at chapter 24, maybe tie up a few more loose ends in one more chapter. Then take the remaining plot from the last third of "Smoulder" and made a really nice follow-up story, continuing where "Smoulder" had left off. There was so much there that was breezed over, and it felt like a completely different plot anyway. Especially since none of the chapters after the 24th one had the excitement and build that the Reveal chapter had. Which is a shame, because there could have been the same excitement, build, and anxiety. It was there, it just didn't measure up after the sigh-release in chapter 24.

Anyway, the story is still really good, a little naughty, considering the author pushed the cast of characters to their senior year of high school, and has sweet as well as humorous moments. The characters were a touch Flanderized, but otherwise pretty accurate. I'd say about 8 out of 10 for my overall grade.

But back to my writing.

Yesterday was the last day to write. Last chance to add a few more words to my story and get it prepped a bit for tonight's writer's group. Instead we celebrated Spink and her hubby's anniversary. I guess that's a fairly valid excuse, right?

So, yeah, I was a bit disappointed that I could have at least hit 11,000 words before the end of July, but in the end I'm still proud.

I still managed to write 10,000 words in one month, winning my first Camp NaNo. I managed to get at least half of a fight scene written, so I have a start on one of my most hated bits of writing, and conquered my fear of even starting this scene. Finally, I sorta-hit my goal for my first week of the Writers’ Huddle summer writing challenge.

I missed writing on Monday, Friday, and Sunday, which meant I didn't hit my goal of writing five days a week. However, I did hit 2500 words throughout the week thanks to writing at least 500 words, and most days surpassing it, on the four days I did write. So, for both Summer Challenge and Camp NaNo, I didn't quite do as well as I would have liked, but I still met my goal regardless. So, yay.

As for this week? Well, as I just mentioned, I hung out with the newlyweds yesterday, so I didn't get any writing done, but I have today and the rest of the week. I'll have to keep you posted.

Sadly, with my story still not being done I clearly don't have anything edited to share. However, I have a pact with Mouse that we're going to exchange our July writing projects on the 15th. That way we have time to edit before sharing. She managed to succeed in her own personal July Writing Challenge, so yay for her as well! Can't wait to see what she worked on.

My point being, that this Devon/Trish story - whatever I finally decide to call it - should be edited, shared, critiqued, re-edited, and ready for online publishing by the end of August, so keep an eye out for that.

In the meantime, I should get back to working on it so it CAN be done in time!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Suicide Awareness and Summer Challenges

It saddens me that I feel I should do this every Late July/Early August.

Just before the weekend, the world lost the frontman of the band Linkin Park: Chester Bennington. Another celebrity who succumbed to suicidal thoughts. Another bright light snuffed out by his own demons. Another reminder of how many struggle with this.

As I stated when Robin Williams died, and as I will always say. ALWAYS. You are loved. I don't even necessarily know who YOU are, the person who is reading this sentence right now, but know that you ARE loved. I love you. I care for you. I want you to be alive. I can only imagine how truly loved you are among the people you interact with. Maybe you don't know. Maybe you do, but those demons inside you make you doubt that love.

Still. KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED AND PEOPLE WANT YOU TO FEEL BETTER. Please, if you have any suicidal thoughts, PLEASE talk to someone about it. Ask for help.

If you know someone who might be having suicidal thoughts or might otherwise hurt themselves, also reach out. Ask for help. Have someone help you with the stress and burden of knowing these concerns, and help you get help for your loved one.

We need to watch out for each other. We need to let each other know how much each one of us is loved and valued. We need to make sure that mental illness is no longer stigmatized so people don't fear asking for help.

Virtually no one feels overly self-conscious anymore for needing braces or corrective lenses, so why not have the same social normalcy for mental illness?
In honor of Chester Bennington, Linkin Park started up
It has words of grief and encouragement,
but most importantly, it has places to get help.
Please share.

OK, I guess I should get to the real reason you stopped by, to talk about my writing.

Well.... about that.... Um.... yeah....

There is none. I mean, I continued working on my Camp NaNo story, but nothing that I'm really ready to share. The story isn't done, I don't have a good edited spot that I could share as a teaser, and I haven't worked on anything aside from this project so I don't have a practice or anything to share. Sorry.

I also slacked off over the weekend. Friday I spent speed-cleaning the apartment so it would be ready for my family's arrival. Saturday was work and Family Time with my mom and sister while Hubby was at work. Sunday was my birthday, so it was more Family Time followed by me being a bum and just relaxing on the couch. Catching up on all my birthday notifications and doing more reading of that "Miraculous Ladybug" fanfic Smoulder by midnightstarlightwrites. Then, yesterday Hubby had invited one of our friends over to play Ninja All-Stars, which we haven't done in over a month, so I really wanted to join. So much for my idea of having a quiet writing-catch-up evening after work.

I'll have to squirrel myself away today to get back on the ball. Luckily, I was far enough ahead of my goal that even with all these missed days I'm still in front of where I should be today. Breaking my 10,000 word goal down to 31-day chunks, by July 25th I should have at least 8,064 words to be on-track. I finished Thursday with 8,553 words. Nice buffer for the weekend, but it's time to get back to work.

I also figured out what to do for the Writers’ Huddle summer challenge. Clearly this word-count tracking is the way to go for me. I may not be consistent with it, but since I can never seem to lock down which plot bunny to follow, using word-count allows me to work a little on all of them while still continuing with my challenge. Follow wherever the Muse takes me. Want to work on some more daily practices? How about the "Hey, Arnold!" fanscript ChibiSunnie and I started years ago; get that thing done before the actual movie airs in November? Create character studies for my new D&D character, my almost-forgotten Numenera character, or my new Dread character? World build Gyateara by coming up with more culture studies, describe more main cities, or jot down more myths? Keep going with my Jolene story? Work on the Glitches script I started last summer or work more on character rebuild backstories? It doesn't matter! I can do them all! I just need to remember to count the words I add to each project.

My goal between now and Quarthix's wedding, which marks the end of the Summer Challenge, is to write 22,000 words. That's less than a Half-NaNo in an extra five days. Should be easy, but then again, I have 31 days to write less than half of that amount - 10,000 words - and I'm going to just make it. So, I consider it a challenge still. Besides, as I mentioned last week, my mom will be helping me re-organize my place for the better part of a week, so who knows how much writing I'll be able to get in? I'm also part of the bridal party for Quarthix's wedding, so there's probably going to be a lot of last-minute stuff I'll need to jump in and help with. Plus both Spink's wedding anniversary, and Cyhyr and Ronoxym's daughter's first birthday are at the end of this week, so I'll probably be spending the start of next week visiting to celebrate with each of them. I also have my cousin's wedding to get ready for. August is going to be jam-packed. I think all that considered, over twenty-thousand words in six weeks might be a good challenge.

Besides, if I can beat it that doesn't make it any less of a challenge. It just means that I'm up to meet it. If I get 22,000 words written by the half-way-point, however, I may have to just push it to a full NaNo of 50,000 words.

To add a bit of extra flavor, though, I'm not going to do the same thing as NaNo: take the word-count total and divide by number of days. The true challenge is trying to increase my over-all daily word-count.

So I'm going to slowly increase what I'm expecting of myself. This week and next week I'll be aiming for 500 words of narrative writing per day; at least five days out of the week. This brings me to 2500 words by the end of the week. It also allows me two days per week where I can slack off; already used one of them yesterday.

Weeks three and four - August 7th through the 20th - after I've gotten used to punching out 500 words, hopefully easily, I'll turn up the heat. I'm going to aim for 700 words per day instead. I'm still going for five-days-a-week. This will bring my weekly goal up to 3500, and my overall word-count target to 12,000 words by the end of week four.

The final two weeks I'm kicking it up another notch by increasing by 300 words. An even thousand words per day, five days a week, totaling in 5000 words per week. This will lock in my final 10,000 words to bring me to my total of 22,000. That also means, while I allowed myself a full month to write 10,000 words in July, I'm only giving myself 2 weeks to do the same thing by the end of August.

I'm going to need a lot of pokes to make sure I don't slack.

The real fun is that my first week of the Summer Challenge - writing 500 words 5 days a week; ending with 2500 words - is also my last week of Camp NaNo, where I need 1447 more words to hit my 10,000 word goal, and that's with me finishing on the 30th instead of the 31st.

As long as I hit my Summer Goal I'll more than pass my Camp goal. The question will be, however, will all those extra words also go to the Devon/Trish story, or will I need to supplement?

It's me. It's all going to the Devon/Trish story.

So, I may not have anything new to share to you guys for a little while, but I'll be sure to keep you updated on how well I'm doing on these challenges.
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by Birdman Inc
Also, Happy Belated to both me and my nephew.
Also, to my aunt and her husband...
And an early one for my coworker and his mom...
And of course Ron & Cy's daughter....
There are a LOT of birthdays at the end of July!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Next Challenge

I don't know if I'm still on track to do a half-NaNo for this month's Camp NaNoWriMo, but I have managed to stay ahead of the curve since the 9th. Largely due to the massive writing session I managed to get done that day. Saved my butt after neglecting my writing again for four days. On the fifth day, though, I was back below where I should be by July 14th, so I cracked the whip again. I've missed two days since, but otherwise I've written at least 300-some words per day to stay ahead of the game. Out of my 10,000 goal for the month, I'm currently at 6334 words. Not the greatest, but also not too shabby considering how little I wrote pretty much April through June.

Yes, I'm doing fairly well with the word count, but what about the narrative? Well, I didn't get as far as I would have wanted before tonight's writing group. I knew I wasn't going to have it done, but I wanted to at least have the confrontation through to the end written.

I do have the confrontation, and the end, written, but I've been firmly avoiding writing the actual fight scene. How many more times do I have to admit how much I'm dreading this? Maybe I can convince myself to write it today so I can indeed have the back half of the story done by group tonight.

Or, at least, maybe have the rest of the opening written and explain my hesitation with the fight scene. That shouldn't be so bad, right? "Here's this story, and then they fight and Devon gets his ass handed to him, and here's the ending..."

The problem with finishing the rest of it - meaning, the opening of the story - is knowing how to start it. I know that Nyssa gets letters from her parents, but I don't know how to explain her parents knowing where she is. Maybe the teachers at the Xavier Institute contacting the parents? But if Nyssa's family truly are mutant haters, wouldn't the teachers want to shield her from that? Even if I skim over how Nyssa's family found her, how do I explain Devon's ability to escort Nyssa by himself when they feared Trish was with her parents? Why was the default "We need to go and get them" instead of "We need to let the X-Men know so they can save them"? Why did they keep the whole thing a mystery from the X-Men instead of asking for help from their new family? Especially considering the amount of trouble doing pretty much the same thing two years prior brought Devon.

Sadly, Hubby's attempt to move the game plot along quickly meant creating such a broad overview that in-depth thoughts like those above were kind of glazed over. Somehow Nyssa got mail from her parents. For some reason Devon and Nyssa thought they could handle it on their own and kept the real reason for the trip secret from Cyclops. The X-Men randomly decided to let these two go on their own without an escort, but the knowledge that backup might be needed for the kids. Finally, neither Devon nor Nyssa thought to call for backup once they knew how bad the situation was. Don't think too much into it....

I'm hoping the holes will fill once I start writing.

I have a few other things I need to think about anyway, such as what comes after this Devon/Trish faceoff story? Also, what to name this story so it doesn't have such a lame working title anymore....

What other things do I need to think about? Well, for starters, as I just mentioned, the obvious What Am I Going To Write Next question. I'm rolling straight from the Camp NaNo challenge into the Writers’ Huddle summer challenge. In fact, a week overlaps. At WH the challenge will be six weeks between Monday, July 24th through to Sunday, September 3rd. Or, in other words, the time between my birthday and Quarthix's wedding!

Oh, and another side note. Ali Luke has just dropped the cost of Writers' Huddle to only $10 per month! She also sent out a mass email as I was writing this paragraph - I still say the woman has a spy kit focused on me or something - alerting the public that she's now opening Writers' Huddle to new members. She only does this in brief spurts so that all the newbies come in as a "class," as it were, instead of slowly sprinkled in unevenly throughout the course of a year. So, if you're looking for an online place for critiques, info, and support, please check out Writers' Huddle. It really is such a great community, and Ali is such a big help.

OK, sales pitch over, back to my writing.

I had stated that I have a "few" other things to think about outside of my existing story. Well, one of which is the Summer Challenge at WH, but another is a way to get back to my writing practice. This week I typed up the last of my pre-written writing practices. They are all online now. I can only post them as I write them from hereon out, which is great that I caught up, but at the same time intimidating that I have to really stay on the ball going forward. I guess it's for the best: accountability. I wanted to share something with you guys every week, and posting those challenges was my way of doing so. It was simple: I opened up my notebook, typed a practice up, and edited. Easy peasy.

I have to get back to the grindstone now. Make sure I stop slacking off. Like I said, it's a blessing, but also an added weight.

Maybe that will be my challenge for August: work on my writing practices again. Have at least four done per week. That gives me slip days for when I'm just overwhelmed. Especially since my mom is retiring this Friday and is planning on coming up to spend the first week of August with me helping me organize my house, and possibly life. I'm drowning over here.

With any luck, the fresh look to my house will revive me. The de-cluttering of my environment will also de-clutter my mind, and I can again focus. I'm both antsy to start, and terrified. Point is, I want to spend the time outside of work with my mom redoing my house, which will leave little to no time to write. I want to be able to allow those cheat days where I ignore my writing. Maybe even wait and write four different writing prompt practices in one day just so I still have them done.

Then I'll have a backlog again.... which will mean I can again slack off and still manage a new story each week here..... maybe this isn't the most brilliant idea.

On the flip-side, it may get me back into the rhythm again, and drive me to set up daily writing hours once more. I could get my writing nest back in the library! I could take time-outs to sit on my front porch and enjoy the weather while I write. I could have a backlog of the practices to post weekly while working on a larger project, like I'm doing now with the Devon/Trish story! I could get back to Jolene's story. I could go back to the Hey Arnold Jungle Movie fanscript before the real thing comes out in November.

Maybe it IS a brilliant idea!

Well, I'm giving myself until Sunday's deadline to figure out officially what I'm doing, so who knows how much more see-sawing on the subject I can do in the next four days?

In the meantime, enjoy the last of my pre-written writing practices. I'll catch you next week with a new short - hopefully - and my decision on the Summer Challenge!

"Best Left Unsaid"

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not Inspired? Try Binge-Watching

It's been an interesting week. For the most part, I've slacked yet again on the writing. The weekend was completely shot - I'll explain why shortly - and I've been keeping myself busy both at work and after. On top of that, both Hubby and me have been feeling a touch under the weather this week.

Even with all of that, though, I am determined to have something for writing group next week. Because of that, and a painfully slow Sunday at work, I did manage to write about 4500 words so far for my Devon/Trish battle story. Still no clue what to title it, but when do I ever?

Over 4000 words sounds impressive, as does the idea of being about half-way to my 10,000 word goal only nine days in. However, the story I've written is only Devon's last-ditch effort to escape Trish, her "killing" him, his escape, and Kira finding him. There's more in there, but I don't want to spoil.

I still have to keep backtracking through Trish and Devon's fight - the part I'm dreading to write; me and fight scenes.... - Devon and Nyssa confronting Trish in the first place, and the letters that convinced Nyssa and Devon to come into the trap in the first place. This might be closer to a half-NaNo at 25,000 words when all is said and done.

Also, I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It's kind of a love-hate relationship. Kind of like Devon and Willow!

On the one hand, I love how it ends. It's perfect for Devon. It really works with his character, and it's a fun way to introduce Kira. I think I hit my stride a bit with it. On the flipside, though, the reason I love it so much, the reason why it fits Devon so well, is that it's playful and a bit goofy. It fits Devon's personality so well. However, the rest of the story is going to be intense, heart in your throat, edge of your seat action - if I do it right - and a dark theme. I mean, Trish is involved. There will be blood. There will be excessive violence. There will be rage. There will be a TON of extreme cursing. To end the story on a playful note just feels like a weird genre hop.

I feel I did it justice though. I feel like it's a gentle flow into this uplifting ending. I think the playfulness brings the reader to a hopeful sigh of relief after an otherwise exhausting emotional ride - again, assuming I do the ideas I have in my head justice.

So, yeah, I don't know. Hopefully I'll have at least the fight scene done by next week so that I can get some input from my group.

Hubby seems to like where I went with it, so maybe I am on the right track.

Now for the reason the weekend was shot. It's kind of another love-hate sort of thing. A distraction that could potentially be a source of inspiration.

I pretty much unintentionally dedicated my entire weekend to a cartoon.

About a year ago - right around when the show was translated from its original French - my feeds were filled with fanart and cosplay of this character Cat Noir. I thought it was in reference to the famous cabaret poster that virtually every college student owns:
Seriously, if you were an American college student
either this was in your room
or you knew someone who did.
The images were of a male superhero dressed as a black cat, though, so I was determined to figure out who the heck this superhero Cat Noir/Chat Noir was. Turned out that he was from the French cartoon "Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir" or "Miraculous Ladybug" or tens of other different translation versions of the show's title....
Watching some sample visuals via FMVs, the animation screamed out Disney Channel. Funny enough, although the English translation was picked up by Nickelodeon in The States, over in the UK it was indeed Disney who bought the syndication rights. Either way, it was on a channel I didn't have with my pathetically small service package.

Then, around Valentine's day this year, Netflix bought the airing rights for the show. I had meant for a while to watch it, but it didn't seem like something Hubby would be interested in, so it sat in our queue. Then, Friday, when I was feeling kind of "meh" for whatever reason, I figured I'd finally give the show a chance. Hubby was out, and it was either this or more episodes of "Frasier" while eating dinner. For whatever reason, I decided it was a good time to give the cartoon a shot.

Holy mackerel was this thing over-the-top cheese! The animation gesturing was abrupt and over-exaggerated. One of the reasons I thought it was Disney Channel was because the character design, beautiful graphics, but excessive and abrupt gesturing was about par with the Disney Channel shorts "Wicked World." The villain of Miraculous - Hawk Moth - was about on par with Rita Repulsa from the Power Rangers franchise, or, frankly, any Sailor Moon villain. The creators of the show credited Magical Girl anime as an inspiration, and boy could you tell if you know the genre.

Yet, under the cheesiness and cliche Magical Girl tropes, the characters were enduring, and there was a bizarre love.... triangle.... square.... thing going on that I had to know more about. Plus, I still had some dinner left, so I watched the second episode. And just sort of binged from there, now hooked on the weird romance thing going on.

See, the main character is Marinette, a 10th grade girl who transforms into the superhero Ladybug whenever Paris is in danger. While Ladybug, she protects her city with the help of her partner Chat Noir, or just Cat Noir in the American version... because we like the sound of the French word for black but not for cat??? Anyway, Cat Noir is head-over-heels for Ladybug and constantly flirts with her, and it's adorable. Problem is, Ladybug, as Marinette, is already in love with her classmate Adrien. But, Adrien only thinks of Marinette as a dear friend, mostly because he's a 15yr old idiot who can't pick up on her crushing vibes, and also because poor Mari turns into a blubbering idiot whenever around him. So, awkward love triangle there: Cat Noir loves Ladybug who loves Adrien who only thinks of Marinette as a friend. Where does the confusing possible square come from? Well.... Ladybug and Cat Noir promised to keep their identities a secret, even from each other, and Cat Noir happens to be none-other than Adrien. So...... Adrien only likes Mari because he doesn't realize she's actually his love Ladybug, meanwhile Marinette loves Adrien, but since he allows himself to cut loose as Cat Noir, she doesn't realize they're the same guy and actually gets a bit annoyed with her superhero partner!

So. Many. Fanfics! There's even four different shipping pairs based on these two just due to the weird square they find themselves in. But I'll get to that.

The animation grows on you, as anyone who loves the anime One Piece will tell you. The over-the-top corniness of the puns - OH! So many puns between Cat Noir and Hawk Moth! - and the laughable nature of the Villains of the Week become a guilty pleasure. Then you're left with an enduring cast of characters and a curiosity of will they/won't they between Marinette and Adrien/Ladybug and Cat Noir. Plus, the voice acting is actually sooooo good, but what can you expect when such renowned voice actors are involved?

First up is Marinette's voice actress Cristina Valenzuela, or, as she's professionally known, Cristina Vee. This girl is CONSTANTLY popping up in animes and video games that I watch/play. Which reminds me:
Happy 30th Cristina Vee!
Yeah, I feel like I've been hearing this woman's name for ages now, and she's JUST turning 30 today - according to IMDB, at least. So far she's done 182 different projects, again, according to IMDB. Mad props for the great voice acting career while so young!

However, the voice acting that just pulls me in and hooks me is the voice of Adrien: Bryce Papenbrook. I love this man's voice. It's sweet and playful and commanding all at the same time. No wonder he's constantly given roles such as Cat Noir, Eren in "Attack on Titan," Kirito in "Sword Art Online," and the part I love him the most in Meliodas from "Seven Deadly Sins." He's basically been the lead in every anime Hubby and I have watched over the past couple of years. And this man's voice makes me swoon. I love my husband, and my husband's voice makes me melt, but there are a few voice actors that also make me swoon.

In the 90s it was Vince Corazza, mostly for his role as Darien from Sailor Moon, as well as Kevin Conroy's Batman, and Keith David, largely due to his role in Gargoyles. Then, while I could still listen to any of those men read me the phone book, in the early 2000s I added Richard Ian Cox to the mix thanks to InuYasha. Kirby Morrow was a close second from the same show. Fast forward to the past five years or so and the latest add-ons are Yuri Lowenthal because of too many roles for me to list - although Sasuke from Naruto is not one of the reasons... - and good old Bryce Papenbrook.

On top of the great voice actor choice, just the character of Cat Noir is friggen adorable! He's playful, flirty, makes so-bad-they're-kinda-good puns, he's vulnerable, a little cocky, and just has the most squishable face. I want to glomp this kid. How Marinette prefers his more reserved, put-together, slightly bashful Adrien side is beyond me. I totally get all the fanart/cosplaying of Cat Noir last year.

So, circling back to topic, I was hooked on this new guilty pleasure of mine. I spent Friday evening binge watching, and, since Hubby had his own thing all Saturday and I had the house to myself, I continued to binge. I was in kind of a funk emotionally, and the goofiness of the storylines and the sweetness of the crushes between the characters made me laugh, made my heart race a little, and perked me up. It was a needed "me time" procrastination weekend.

I even had insomnia this weekend, and I managed to calm it a bit by getting back out of bed and watching more Miraculous. After finishing the series Sunday morning, I figured I could refocus when I got home from work. Instead, I again attempted to catch up on sleep, which still eluded me, so I spent most of Sunday in bed watching more Miraculous FMVs and reading fancomics.

Then, yesterday, feeling guilty about not reading in a while, instead of trying to push through more of "Atlas Shrugged" I switched over to a Miraculous fanfic I stumbled upon. First, I found a voice actor who practices his craft by dubbing fancomics and posting them on YouTube. The best ones for Miraculous he has grouped together here. From there, I followed more of his channel as well as linked channels to find fancomics I really loved so I could track them back to their artist. From there I stumbled upon this comic by Rchavakiah Melchiori AKA australet789. It's a bit of a spoiler, but it's drawn sooooo well! Anyway, seems the artist drew a comic version of a late chapter to the story "Smoulder" by midnightstarlightwrites. Now that I traced the story all the way to the source, I started reading it. There is some polishing that needs to be done, and a weird subplot that seems out-of-place, but otherwise I'm completely drawn in.

Smoulder is basically a story envisioning Adrien realizing he's falling for Marinette and feeling guilty that if he's true to his constant love confessions to Ladybug, then how the heck could he even BEGIN to fall for another girl? Meanwhile, Marinette is starting to compare Adrien to Cat Noir and realizing that in doing so, she's starting to fall in love with Cat and fears she's just projecting.

So both are torn about their conflicting feelings without realizing that they're just falling for the complete picture of the same person! These poor two.
Hacker Girl Facebook sticker
by Birdman Inc
Yeeeeeaaaaaah, so I may have become a bit obsessed with this show and its characters, but the dynamics are so great, and you want to see them unfold. Ladybug and Cat Noir are the strongest superheros within a group called the Miraculous Bearers. The duo represents Ying and Yang and always work as a pair: creation and destruction. There are five other Miraculous, and Hawk Moth has corrupted one of them. The man who secretly gifted Marinette and Adrien their powers has one himself. We still don't know about the other three, but Adrien's dad has one hidden in a safe. So, there are fantheories about the other three bearers. There is an almost-given assumption that Hawk Moth is Adrien's absent father, but speculation that he's a "villain of circumstance" as he tries to get the means to resurrect/find/rescue Adrien's mom who has been simply called "missing" for the past year. Then, there's the speculation of how and why Adrien's mom went MIA, and how it's tied into the Miraculous within the safe. Then the idea of Adrien discovering his father is his arch rival, and/or Marinette discovering it and wrestling with whether or not to tell Adrien. Don't forget the all-important fanfic fodder: Cat Noir and Ladybug discovering each other's secret identities.

As I mentioned a ways before, there are now four different shippings for this pair: 
There's the obvious LadyNoir where Marinette as Ladybug falls for Cat Noir's true boyish charm, giving Adrien the woman of his dreams while being his true self, and Marinette, unknowingly, has the man of her dreams while being her confident self as a Superheroine.

Then there's Ladrien, where Cat Noir's love for Ladybug is expressed via Adrien and Ladybug becoming a couple, which allows Marinette to also keep the confidence she's discovered while hiding behind the mask. This seems to be the least-popular combo, though, even though Ladrien shippers believe this to be the only true win-win. Adrien/Cat Noir wins over his Ladybug, and Marienette/Ladybug gets the man of her dreams: Adrien. Actually, seeing this combo on screen is just adorable.

Anyway, then there's good old Adrienette, where they fall for each other in their everyday lives, proving that it's not necessarily the Superhero Thing that draws one to the other.

The most popular combination, though, is Marichat. A lot of shippers - it seems mostly the Ladrien ones - consider this a full 180 and/or a lose-lose. Cat Noir doesn't get Ladybug, and Marinette doesn't get Adrien. And yet both do at the same time. Adrien notices how amazing Marinette truly is out of costume, and Marinette falls for the "true" Adrien as Cat Noir. I think that's why it's the most popular. Plus, Cat Noir is just too cute.

There's also some other side-character romances as well that could take center-stage. Including one I didn't even think of until I saw it, and now I ship it hard. The Miraculous Bearers get their powers from mythical beings called Kwamis that inhabit jewelry that the bearer wears. When the Kwamis inhabit the jewelry, the bearer transforms into their superhero persona. Well, as I mentioned before, Ladybug and Cat Noir are always a pair representing Ying and Yang. So, now I ship their Kwamis Tikki - for Ladybug - and Plagg - for Cat Noir.
Since Ladybug and Cat Noir don't know who the other is, and they're keeping their identities a secret, their Kwamis must stay hidden. This means Tikki and Plagg can't interact. Even when Cat Noir and Ladybug interact, therefore they both know of the existence of kwamis, so Tikki and Plagg could be exposed, the two creatures still can't see each other because they're in the jewelry powering their chosen bearers. So sad!!!!

Such a gold mine for potential fanfic ideas, and boy am I ever overflowing with possibilities already. But I promised myself that I would finish the Devon/Trish story during Camp NaNo, so I'll have to put the Miraculous stories on pause until at least August. Still, it's great to be so passionate about something again. To be drawn into the characters so much. Yes, I was beyond lazy and gave into mild depression this weekend. Yes, I accomplished nothing for about 72 hours. But it may have inspired me in the long run, so.... win?

Okay, enough fangirling. I need to get on with my day, but I will leave you with another writing practice from a little while ago. A short about a little boy and the garden he planted with his mother.

"The Guardian Giant"

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

I'm A Camper!

Is it weird that it sounds weird to call it "Independence Day"?
Sorry for the day-late update. Took a lazy day, so I slept in a bit. It was an American holiday - THE American holiday - it was the first week in months that we have enough people at work for us to have TWO days off a week, I got today off as well, creating a rare "weekend" for me, plus, I actually wrote this week. I think I earned my delayed post. Plus, we had Shadow surprise us late yesterday morning - Hubby had invited him over for festivities, but we were expecting around 1pm - and then we took an impromptu trip to Ronoxym and Cyhyr's home for a grill-out get-together. Yesterday just didn't offer itself to be a good "stop and write something" day.

But let's talk about the day I DID write. It's not much, and I slacked off the rest of the week thus far, but on Sunday I buckled down and wrote out the startings of a story.

Well, technically I started out on the ending of a story. I'll get to that later. First, how I FINALLY got out of my slump.

Mouse commented on Facebook about a week or two ago how she was prepping for a month-long challenge she put forth to herself. She then mentioned that coincidentally it's the same month as Camp NaNoWriMo. She was also a bit shocked because she didn't know that Camp NaNoWriMo is a thing.

It was created in 2011 and was, I believe, originally designed as a way to encourage young writers to keep writing during the summer months outside of school. There were two monthly sessions: July and August. The following year it was June and August. Then, in 2013, they decided to spread out the NaNo months to November being the main event, then Camp in April and July. This was partially to fill the void in April left behind by the not-as-successful Script Frenzy event while still having one Camp in the summer.

Thing is, I was still stuck in the mindset of the first two years where Camp NaNoWriMo was in August, so I didn't even realize Camp time was upon us.

Much like NaNo, I have known of their Camp version for years, but I've never actually participated. So, when Mouse commented that it would occur in July, coinciding with her own private month-long writing challenge, I was tempted to give it a whirl.

Maybe a challenge would be my push to get me back into writing? It's always helped when Ali Luke ran challenges over at Writers’ Huddle. I wasn't sure I was ready for a NaNo challenge, though, because I really had no clue what to write. I had no new story idea to start. No desire to continue an existing one. Yes, Camp was a much simpler version of NaNo. It's sometimes considered "NaNo Lite" because there are no forums - although there are mini-forums called "cabins" where 19 participants are gathered as "cabin mates" and can talk among themselves - and there isn't that 50,000 word goal. Participants set their own writing goals, be it the normal 50,000 or as little as 31 - one word a day just to get yourself writing ANYTHING.

Mouse poked me a couple of times the last few days of June. With her encouragement, I bit the bullet and signed up. I had no clue what to write, and I still had no desire for anything. Still, I went with a modest 10,000 words this month. It's not much, but it's a heck of a lot more than what I've written the entirety of spring. The trick then was to figure out what to write this month. All I knew was that, regardless what I decided on, I had committed myself to 10,000 words.

I started off with the idea of getting back into world building. I've been kind of stalled with "Glitches" so maybe go back to Gyateara? I haven't done much with The Divine Legends in years. Maybe I could do another legend per day throughout the month. Thirty-one new deity myths each running only about 300 words each. Heck, I knew I wouldn't be able to write that succinctly, so why not make it 15 deities at about 600 words each?  Or 10 at 1000 words? Then the world-build stall settled in. I still had no clue what to even come up with for the legends. Creation of the world? The reason certain laws are in place? What happened when the deities didn't keep their truce about staying isolated within the realms they created? The possibilities were so endless I was overwhelmed. Then I thought "I should probably work backwards: create the world first and come up with the legends when needed."

So, Legends wasn't really an option. It was closing in on midnight on June 30th; I didn't have the time to figure out my map or any of the other stuff in order to have enough to build legends around.

I was signed up. It was July 1st. I still had no desire to write anything. My one idea quickly petered out. What was I going to do?

Then I remembered Mouse's challenge to me. I had told her that I'm becoming more and more like my Wonder Twin Ronoxym; I was distracted by shiny new story ideas and never seemed to END any story. Even with my short stories, they were always scenes. Completed scenes, but not ones with "endings." More story could be told about any of these tales.

So, now back to what I started this update with: "Well, technically I started out on the ending of a story."

This is thanks to Mouse's encouragement again. I was commenting about how I was on the edge about joining Camp NaNo, but my wavering was because didn't know what to write. My inner editor was stopping each idea I had.

Mouse: You should try! Keep the goal realistic based off your schedule! Maybe it would spark something. And punch your inner critic in the face. If this is what you want and what you love, then you just gotta run forward! Even if you give yourself like....a five page goal for the month, I bet you would feel a little better....
I have a challenge then. Write backwards! Start with some kind of conclusion first. 

So, now that I am signed up and couldn't think of a story, I went back to her challenge. Start with the ending. What did I want for an ending, though? I ended up missing July 1st because I still didn't know.

Then, as I was falling asleep after dropping Hubby off at work I had my idea. Apparently my muse only shows up after midnight....

And apparently the muse comes in the shape of Devon....

A few years back - late 2012/early 2013 - Hubby came up with a time skip on the X-Future board to try to jumpstart the game again. At the time, Ron wasn't very active, and so, since it seemed he was done playing, Hubby actually "killed off" Devon to sort of thin out the character list. After the fact, Ron stated he was still interested in the game. So, Hubby revived Devon, however, he still "died" first. It was an epic battle between Devon and his hated enemy Trish. I was supposed to write the actual story, but slacked off at the time. I've tried multiple times over the years to write the showdown, but nothing seemed quite right. I then paused to see if Ron wanted to co-write with me, and that never came to fruition. In the meantime, Hubby just had a generic "Devon and Nyssa went to this place, and presumably met their demise. Two Brotherhood members that appeared to be Lighter and Agony were seen fleeing the scene." He then also had a scene with the revived Devon where his throat was cut, he nearly died, he collapsed due to loss of blood, and was found by the mutant Kira, and became an amnesiac.

I think this challenge is the perfect time for me to finish this story, or rather, write it in the first place. I know where it ends: Devon's throat slit, Nyssa stuck inside a burning building, Trish thinking she's victorious in her defeat of her rival, and Agony there as back-up. Now, to work backwards.

I only wrote on the 2nd, but I'm already almost 1000 words in. Ron seems excited to see how things turn out. I might have him beta and edit for me before posting though, we'll see how it goes.

While I'm working on that this month, though, I promised you two writing practices to make up for me not finding my journal last week. I probably should have added a third story to also make up for the day-late update, but I didn't want to postpone any longer so I could type up and edit one more piece. Next week, guys!

This first story is under 500 words. It was when I first fell into my writing funk this spring. I went outside to re-embrace sunshine, listened to my wind chimes, and jotted this down. You could tell I was rusty. Whoo-boy, you should have seen the misspellings and "typos" in the journal. There were a couple of sentences there where I had no clue what I was trying to say. It was like my mind was trying to write three sentences at the same time! Hopefully I managed to clean it up to something readable though.

"Mountain Man"

And for another treat, I'm back again with X-Future, and another Lia story at that. When I wrote this Lia put herself up on the roof of the mansion, and the story flowed fairly well, although Ripley seemed a touch out-of-character. Problem is, canonically speaking, Lia probably wouldn't run away to the roof because she gets sick the further she is from the ground.... soooooo, I had to figure out a new venue for the story. In doing so, I also had to rework how I introduced that they were at the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters. I also reworked Ripley a touch. When all was said and done, I basically rewrote the entire opening and ending to this story.
"Late Night"

Alright, well, again, a day belated, but to all Americans who read my blog: