Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LARPs, Betas, and Birthdays

Well, I have all of my writings up on both Fanfiction.net and Deviantart.com now - only kept about a week to post everything on DA.com. And yet, I'm not that much further in my next chapter. *sigh*

I have a notebook that I keep all of my writing notes in - to make sure there's continuity, plus it's easier for me to outline a chapter in good old pencil. Aaaaaaand.... I couldn't figure out where my husband had packed said notebook when I moved. Unpacking has been a long and slow process - but people keep reassuring me that we're moving about par for the typical unpacking timeframe. Anyway, I finally gave up this past week, and just tore open boxes. Since there still really wasn't any place to unpack them, most of the boxes just got repacked right after I went through them. However, with my husband's help I finally found the notebook! YAY! Turns out it was in a fairly large, fairly heavy box filled with my journal collection. Yes, yes, I actually COLLECT journals. Most of them have nothing written in them, but if there's a really nice journal in a store somewhere I will buy it. I think I'm addicted to journals actually....

Anyway, so now that I have my precious notebook I just need the time to sit down and write out the chapter's skeleton, and then the chapter itself from there. The last time I did this I was able to do both within three days, and so I still have hopes that I can get the chapter posted by Thanksgiving.

I haven't exactly been a complete and total slacker over the past couple of weeks, however. And I don't just mean the non-lazy process of unpacking and setting up my new home - as well as keeping it clean. I mean I haven't been slacking off with my writing.

As I've mentioned in times past, my husband's best friend runs a LARP game. It's based off of the White Wolf MET game Vampire:The Masquerade. Basic premise is that the world as we know it is now a gothic-punk environment where Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, Demons, and other such fantastical creatures roam not only free, but rampant. The characters the players portray are typically vampires all part of what's called "The Masquerade" - in short, a means to hide their existence from humans. Chaos will surely ensue and the players all have to find ways to deal with it without revealing to humans that vampires really do exist. It's a bit complicated to get in to, but once you get the hang of it the game is quite enjoyable to play.

Anyway, part of my continued hiatus is due to this game. First, now that I lived in the same area as them - finally - I could regularly play in the LARP and so I needed to create a character. There was a lot of rulebook reading, talking to the hubby's best friend to bounce ideas off of him, and then finally the actual character creation complete with backstory development. And since my character was born during the American Victorian age I needed to do some research on the time.

Another task that I picked up was helping the narrators with one of their essential props for the game session in four days. See, we only play once per month so that it doesn't get too overwhelming, and so the narrators can develop the plot the players will encounter. Anyway, since I'm a brand new player I can't be a narrator, but my husband is. So he and his best friend - the Storyteller AKA Head Narrator - frequently talk about the upcoming plotline, but try to do so without giving anything away to me. Once Senior Storyteller realized that he didn't have the gift to write a fake newspaper article - a key prop/plot point for the upcoming game - he finally caved and let me in on at least the information we'll all be privy to on Friday. We spent over twenty-four hours talking back and forth about what was going on, how the reporter found out about the activities, how much the reporter truly knew, and why the story was written in a specific manor. We also tried to figure out how to insert this fake article in the actual paper to truly bring the prop to life. In the end, I finally got some use out of being on the school newspaper sixth grade through freshman year of college.

Along with helping hubby's best friend with the newspaper article for the game, I've also helped out some fellow fanfiction authors. It started out unintentially, but as of November 12th I am now an official Beta Reader on Fanfiction.net.

The way I stumbled on to this whole new procrastination tactic is thanks to an Asian author on the Hey Arnold facebook group. Delaroux was nervous about her brand new story, especially since I think it's the first Hey Arnold! fanfiction she ever wrote, and on top of that she had started the story when she was twelve. So she posted her first chapter on the Hey Arnold! group and asked for some feedback.

The story was very good, but she did need a lot of polishing. There were typos and some grammar problems. Plus, since schooling is different between Asia and America, she had a lot of school nuances messed up. I didn't want to write all of these negative things right there on the facebook group for all to see - plus, it would have been too long for a facebook comment. I decided to write my rave review on the group's page instead, since it truly was a great start of a story. I then discretely sent Delaroux all of my edits via facebook message. She seemed thankful for the edits and sent me her second chapter to read. Overall the problems I had with the first chapter had diminished in occurrence, and so it was just a few typos and grammar checks that I had to send edit notes for. I also had to go in to great detail about the schooling differences again - not the same differences I sent her before.

Again she seemed grateful for the help, and even had a "thank you" message in her next two chapters. I find it funny that she keeps publicly thanking me for my beta edits, and yet my list of edits become smaller and smaller each chapter. It's to the point where she doesn't really need me to beta for her anymore, and yet it's an enjoyable enough story that I want to read the chapters ASAP anyway. I just wish she didn't write a new chapter practically daily. It would give me time to do something other than read fanfiction.

Even when not helping Delaroux, though, I seem to be maturing in to a full-fledged beta reader for my fellow Hey Arnold! authors. I now have three other people that I'm helping out - although on a much smaller level than with Delaroux. For these other authors I'm more-or-less a sounding board, but helping them research is taxing on my free time. I love it though. Being helpful to these people and reading how much they appreciate the help really makes me smile.

I have done some of my OWN writing too! I know, I know, "why didn't you say so in the first place? This is what we came here for!"

Although I've been procrastinating on my latest chapter, I did segway for a day in order to write a new One Shot. I had a bit of a time restraint, and so I didn't really finish the story as well as I had wanted, and so I may eventually go back and fix the ending of the story. It might be after I'm done with my main fanfic, however, so it will be a while.

The new story, "I Thought You Liked Redheads," was written as a birthday gift for someone I've become good friends with via the Hey Arnold! group. She is basically the front-runner of our mission, the captain that helps organize the unruly masses so that we're organized enough to actually make an impact in our movement to get Hey Arnold! revived - if only for one more movie to tie up all the lose ends. She goes by Helga Geraldine Pataki on facebook, but those on DeviantArt and FanFiction probably know her better as BrokenRose24.

On November 6th she had made a comment about her birthday being the next day. I had no clue when her birthday was, so it took me completely by surprise. She had been in a bit of a funk lately and after doing so much for the Hey Arnold! cause I felt like giving back. Normally, the people on DeviantArt give each other artwork as birthday gifts, but I can't draw. I decided to write her something instead, but it's a lot easier to randomly draw something than to come up with a story that I'd know she'd like. It was then that I scanned BrokenRose's gallery. I figured if I made a story based on one of her drawings it would stand a better chance at being something she'd appreciate.

She had a picture of Helga as a redhead and it instantly spoke to me.
Unfortunately, due to errands that I had to do, the actual time I had to write this story for BrokenRose24 was about seven hours. Yikes! It was rushed and short - a little too short I guess. My only complaint about the story was that it stopped too abruptly. I'm glad people liked the story so much! I've had positive reviews on both FanFiction and DeviantArt. There were 100 hits the first day I posted it on FanFiction. Prior to posting this story the highest hit count I received when I premiered a story was a mere 63, so thank you, readers, for coming back to me after such a long wait.

Now for me to just work on that damn chapter that's been holding me up for half a year!

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