Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Hundred Post Trek... finally....

For my Mom who is celebrating 18yrs Cancer Free!
WOAH! Three week hiatus!? What the heck happened there!? I in no way intended to just stop posting anything in June! Holy Crow!

Honestly, I just haven't really been feeling "writing" with all the craziness going on at work this month. Add in that I wanted to do sort of a "recap" of the past 100 posts I had on this blog - as a sort of celebration of the milestone - and the fact that it kept me about nine hours to do THAT.... well....

So, sorry, guys, that the "temp post" lasted for so long!... Yeah, that's REAL temporary... *sigh* It seems to be part of the new trend this year....

Anyway, I had a presentation for Corporate back on the eleventh, and so that Sunday and Monday were used to finish up preparing for that - which is why I didn't have the post in the first place three weeks ago. I also had this training program on that Wednesday. So even though my Tuesday and Wednesday work days were more-or-less easy days, they still took up too much time for me to work on my blog post to take that temp post down mid-week as intended.

Thursday was my day off that week.... and it was spent doing everything but what I wanted to do... damn socializing.

Friday and Saturday was back to the old grind stone. That Sunday I TRIED really hard to get this post up. I swear I did. But, as I just stated, it was a much larger undertaking than I originally realized. So I worked on it for about four hours before passing out, and then just didn't have time to get back to it. The rest of the week was spent between more crazy hours at work and taking care of Hubby who had this real bad stomach virus. Add in that we've been VERY SLOWLY role playing the X-Men prom over on the forum all week - as a way to celebrate the game being a year old - and well.... *shrug*

Last Sunday was again found me working on this post for hours on end just reading all the old posts and figuring out how to best highlight them. Still, I wasn't able to get the post up in time, and it had to be pushed back one more week. Monday found just about the entire herd of our friends - minus poor Omnibladestrike - invading the apartment the majority of the day. The rest of the week was split between work, cleaning, and packing to visit my Mommy to celebrate being Cancer Free for 18yrs!

So how about we do what I should have done nearly a month ago... HAVE A FLASH BACK POST! YAY!

The first weekend of June marked my 100th post in this blog!
And then I celebrate it by not updating for nearly a month....
Anyway! To honor the milestone of 100 posts, let's take a look back through the past few years, shall we?

A little over a year ago I hit my 50-posts milestone and did pretty much the exact same thing I'm doing today. So, if you'd like to see how my blog started and how the first half went, you can read all about it here.

Let's move on from that point, shall we?

I'm actually surprised that even with my disappearance in April as well as numerous "temp posts", that it kept me only a little over a year to write the second fifty posts needed for this milestone!

Really, not as much changed over the second fifty posts compared to the first fifty. My blog, I believe, has more-or-less come in to its own. However, there was one major change.

The addition of a new page.

Before I get to that though, let's go back through the past year, shall we?

June 2011 and my fifty-first post had me talking about my love for my devoted readers, my realization that I could actually make money with fanfiction, and an increasing bond with Ali Luke which includes becoming Facebook buddies! YAY! I also discovered that I had won a Hey Arnold writing contest. It would be the only one I won this year, but it didn't stop me from entering every one of them. More on that later.

I also started tweeting about my blog updates, as well as making sure to post announcements on both my Lyco Rogue and main facebook accounts. Really focusing on promoting myself and my blog. Because of this I saw a spike in readership. In fact, while I was still at only three followers back in September, I now have seven listed and I know at least three more who read this blog regularly but aren't following me through Blogger itself. So, if you're one of those people that started following me since last June, I thank you for sticking with me and a super belated "welcome".

I think the most important part of last June was the creation of a major part of my life. Both my inspiration and my distraction when it comes to writing. The thing that takes over most of my life and has been present in nearly every blog post that I've written since.

The X-Men Forum RPG Hubby created: X-Future.

The RPG has distracted me from working on What Is Truly Meant To Be - sorry about that to my faithful readers - as well as also opening up so many new dimensions to my writing. It has turned me in to a slacker - never updating any of my stuff - but also a more productive writer; having me either constantly on the forums continuing the story there by interacting with others, or inspiring me to write little side scenes while I'm away from the computer. It has introduced me to four very different personalities by way of my four characters Lia, Willow, Trish, and Crystal. It taught me how to better work with an ensemble cast of characters, as opposed to my three in WITMTB; out of which I only really seem to focus on one at a time. I've also started to "hear" the characters in my head.

The obsession with the forum also resulted in many lost hours on both DollzMania and Photoshop in order to design each of the characters created for the game; mostly because I have a hard time picturing the characters as anything other than the people playing them. The past two weeks Hubby gave me yet ANOTHER means of creating a visual representation of the X-Men forum. Admittedly, this is another reason this blog is so late, as well as why everyone was at my place on Monday. Hubby recently purchased the Xbox360 game WWE '13 where there is a VERY comprehensive "custom wrestler" creator. As of this post we have created:
  • Chayse - Hubby's main character
  • Willow - My secondary character who has more-or-less taken over as my main one
  • Ripley - One of Hubby's secondary characters
  • Lia - My main character who's quickly falling behind Willow
  • Trish - My Brotherhood of Mutants character; my most complicated and tied favorite with Willow
  • Warbash - One of Hubby's Brotherhood characters who surprisingly turned out VERY charismatic in the game... that needs to be translated over on to the forum...
  • Screwdriver - Hubby's main Brotherhood character
  • Graham - Another of Hubby's main Brotherhood characters
  • Devon - Cyhyr's fiance Ronoxym's main character who switched to the Brotherhood
  • Nys - Devon's traveling companion who begrudgingly joined the Brotherhood to stay with him
  • Oswald - Ronoxym's secondary character who is still with the X-Men
  • Hunter - One of our friend's characters
  • Joyce - Another friend's character
  • Colette - celestialTyrant's new character. Yes, he's cross-playing.
  • Penumbra - Another of Hubby's characters
  • Luke - Omni's character
I think that's everyone..... We still have like 8 more characters to create, and possibly three more NPCs that aren't used all that frequently.... So... about 2/3rds of the way through them??? It's fantastic, but I've killed so many days with this! It takes at least an hour to create each character since you can completely construct their face and adjust the size of just about every individual body part: chest, stomach, legs, toes, neck, etc.

And then once they're created, you can customize the outfits, the entrances, the theme song played during the entrance, and the move sets they use while wrestling.

Anyway, I'm off topic. Back to recapping the past year. See? Even now the forum derails me!

So, sticking with the same post as the introduction of the forum, I had a new kind of Plot Bunny post. I listed a huge Plot Bunny Farm of ideas when it came to Hey Arnold-themed fan-made music videos. I haven't touched an editing system since I completed the video for work - more on that in a bit - so no progress there, but it was still a bit of non-X-Men creativity. And, to be fair, I did have three story plot bunnies at the bottom....

The second half of last June saw two things. One: The start of car troubles that didn't get taken care of until March. Two: Me obsessively watching Gambit clips from all the different X-Men cartoons, as well as collecting Gambit/Rogue fanart online. My true obsessing over the forum really started when Hubby used Chayse to woo Lia; resulting in me getting the same butterflies as when he started courting me. Whenever I had a crappy day at work, or felt inadequate about my writing, or just felt "blah" for whatever reason, I could just hop on to the forum and get all warm and fuzzy. It totally is my drug!

Finally over to July and the Daily Writing Challenge. Every day of July there was a new Hey Arnold themed writing prompt and 24hrs to write a story based on said prompt. I only managed the first 14 days, and even then there were a few that I didn't quite hit. You can find the anthology of the challenges here. Eventually - whenever that would be - I plan on going back and doing the challenges I missed.

Well, even if I never completed the DWC, it did help me break through writer's block that had been clogging up my story for a little while. It was nice to get back to writing and enjoying it. Reading all the positive feedback on both and really helped push me to keep going. One of the people who routinely gave the positive feedback - aside from my two biggest fans ChibiSunnie and DarkAngel1326 - was someone who found out about me because DA was his Beta Reader, and I guess she talked me up. Thus I became friends with the equally awesome writer AngelBlood666. Sadly, much like me, I don't think he's updated anything lately. I should check in on that. He was awesome at coming up with really crafty stuff for his challenges. Don't believe me? Check them out.

July also saw an influx of fanart of.... well... ME! Chopfe - who was CartoonLover16 when I posted last year - had tons of fun drawing fanart of my LycoRogue online persona. As much fun as it is to get Chibi's fanart of my story, it's mindboggling to get fanart of myself.

The second half of July saw a lack of inspiration. As I already mentioned, I wasn't able to finish up the daily challenges because life became crazy preparing for my birthday - which was kind of epic because it was the first time I received gifts from on-line buddies! You guys all rock!

But back to the lack of inspiration... People stopped posting as frequently on the X-Men game, which cut short a large portion of my writing. Add in a Safety orientation video that I edited for a corporate presentation at work - boy was THAT fun - sprinkle in some life drama, and I just got behind the writing 8-ball with little hope of getting back out when it came to regular writing.

Instead, August saw me continuing with no inspiration aside from a few blips on X-Future. Although, I did start seriously thinking about somehow adapting the game in to a story - be it webcomics or prose online novels or the like. It would be a thought that would turn in to an urge that increases each passing month. Eventually I'll do something about that nagging thought....

I did also start expanding my number of fandoms by rewatching more and more X-Men cartoons, and then Extreme Ghostbusters, and finally finding a large fandom-mash-up story I had come up with back when the Xbox game Fable first came out. On top of that, I participated in another Vampire: The Masquerade roleplay. So I had to create a new character for that. There was a LOT of brainstorming going on in August. Just.... no actual WRITING.

After a month of not really doing ANYTHING productive by way of writing, I just gave up and cracked open my copy of Lycopolis that Ali sent me. It was an enjoyable read, even if it did confuse me a touch. Once I finished it I made sure to add a review on her book's Amazon page.

Having not written anything for nearly two months had gotten to me - which I guess goes to show that I AM meant to be a writer if I get so depressed when I just don't write anything. *shrug* Anyway, my first "emo-post" of the past year wasn't intended to be such. I was commenting about how great it was to see DA and Omni writing again. I then mentioned CT giving me a novel adaptation of a cartoon I used to love. From there I somehow managed to turn all "What if I never make it as an author?" Not sure how I got to Self-Doubt Central, but there it was. I was then FLOODED with messages on facebook and on my phone to try to cheer me up. The massive influx of "You can do it!" resulted in my next September post: A thank you note for you guys, my readers.

September found me again beta reading after a season-long hiatus from the task. It was through this activity that DA introduced to me - and then I you - her original story idea entitled Of Blood and Honor. Throughout the months since, I have commented on her advancement on OB&H. I've also commented on my confusion, curiosity, excitement, and envy of her actually "hearing" her characters as if they are separate people talking to her. I have recently discovered what that's like - but that's another thing I'll bring up in a little bit.

Along with introducing you to DA's original fantasy story, I also introduced you guys to my world of Gyateara, or, as I called it back then, my massive hybrid crossover story. One last introduction that occurred in September was for my D&D character Amara. Both Gyateara and Amara would get a few more mentions in my blog as the year clicked along.

Aside from working more on Amara's backstory - a project that had been in the making for nearly as long as I had been with my husband - September brought yet another distraction. So, there was X-Future and all things X-Men in June, my birthday and more X-Men in July, Hubby playing Persona 4 took up a lot of August, and now September leading in to October was being taken over with the anime Soul Eater.

October was also Hubby and my first year wedding anniversary. Thankfully, DA started up her own blog, so my readers could read her posts while I was on vacation. I also received an un-official anniversary gift from Ali by way of her gifting me a membership to her online writing community Writer's Huddle - which just so happens to be in open membership again for anyone who wants to join. It's been a fun community and I really need to spend more time there, as well as do more than just hang out on the forums; even if they are very helpful. Chopfe had also offered for us to collab on a webcomic, but I never figured out what the story would be. Whoops....
But, all-in-all, October seemed to be at least moderately productive, at least, when it came to PLANNING things. Executing them on the other hand.... Well... it kept me all month of brainstorming to get my Halloween Writing Contest entry done. So many starts, stops, rewrites, and all out starting-from-scratches. But, even with all the chaos, the entry was done. That's all I really cared about. If you want, you can read it here.

November was my first ever attempt at National Novel Writing Month. I gave myself three goals:
  1. "Win" NaNo by writing a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and 30th.
  2. Post at least one chapter on this blog every week so you lovely folks could see my progress.
  3. At the very least hit Half-Nano by getting to the mid point of 25,000 words
I accomplished the second two goals at least....
I finished NaNo with 25,360 words and seven chapters. The story isn't getting much love, but it's a super rough draft due to the hurried writing of NaNo, so it's to be expected. If you're curious, you can check out "The Race For Destiny" here.

After all the writing I did in November, I didn't do much in December. Instead I focused on two non-writing projects. The first being working with Chibi on a Hey Arnold animatic music video for the Maroon 5 song "One More Night". This project ended up being sort of short lived because of the second thing I was working on all month: Crocheting Christmas gifts.

I also got a very encouraging letter from my uncle; sadly, he seems to be one out of only two of my family members who seem to routinely read my blog/writing. Or, at least, only two ever SAY ANYTHING about my blog/writing.... Oh well. Point is, he was excited about getting published himself, and so he passed along the book with his chapter in it, as well as a few positive comments about my NaNo story. Hey! I found at least one person who read it!

The new year brought in new distractions by way of the video games Kirby's Epic Yarn and the Professor Layton series. It also brought in a list of resolutions; of which I haven't kept ANY of them.... crud....

Well, okay, so I sorta-kept some of them. I did hold a two-month long Weight Loss Challenge at work, so both Hubby and I lost some weight and are TRYING to eat healthier.... it's not working too well, but we're TRYING... that counts, right? I've also been writing more steadily thanks to the forum, but more about that later.

The rest of the resolutions?

Yeah... little to no hope on those...

January did have another plot bunnies post as I tried to figure out what to write for the Hey Arnold Valentine's Day writing contest. Thanks to Chibi, that list of like 30 options was narrowed down to my Brainy Daydreams story idea I went with. My issue was then trying to figure out EXACTLY how the daydream would work. I spent at least one week packing to move to a new apartment and figuring out exactly what I wanted to write.

Along with attempting to finish up the story for the writing contest, finally finishing my chapter for WITMTB after working on it off and on since July, and trying to stick with the new resolutions, I also started up that Handy Links page in January. It was brought on when I was looking for crochet patterns over December for all of those Christmas gifts. I kept finding blog pages that were nothing more than link archives for other places that held the actual pattern. If there was something like that for crocheting patterns, why not one for helpful tips for writers?

Quick special shout out to both Chibi and DA for sending more links to add to that Handy Links page! Thanks a bunch, ladies!

Anyway, I haven't really gotten any feedback on the new page - most likely since I haven't updated it in like three months - so I'm not too sure what everyone thinks of that new page. I'm assuming it's appreciated. If you have any comments or criticisms, just let me know in the comments section. Super duper thanks.

February Hubby and I moved in to a new apartment, I had my sister-in-law's baby shower, and my netbook died on me. So I've been stuck with working exclusively on my desktop since then. I think this is part of my problem when it comes to writing motivation and my blog posts being delayed.

I can no longer hide in my room, or go outside to enjoy the weather, or run to the library or some other distraction-free area. The new apartment also doesn't have a hook up for our washer and dryer, so we have to go to the laundromat. So that's more time where I COULD be working on SOMETHING, but no portable computer hinders that ability. I also find I write better when I'm comfortable: aka reclined/lying down. I can't do that at the desktop. So, here's hoping for a new netbook for my birthday, or Christmas, or for our anniversary. Either that, or I somehow get a better job so I have the money to buy one myself.

Anyway, aside from Chibi helping me punch out that WITMTB chapter - after a nine month wait - she also helped me finish up my writing entry for the Valentine's Day contest. It's not as beloved as my other stories, but it's probably because it's a Brainy+Helga story with Arnold as the villain. Regardless, I enjoyed working on it and think it's a fun read.

Although I believe I DID improve on my scores from the Halloween entry, I still didn't place with my story. Chibi, on the other hand, received second place for a second time in a row! Not too shabby for someone who had only written those two fanfictions.
Her 2nd Place Halloween story can be found here.
Her 2nd Place Valentines story is posted here.

After finishing the Valentines Day contest entry I got to work on my latest chapter of WITMTB; ya know, in order to maintain the whole "Update once a month" resolution I had set for myself. Well, although I had the chapter plot scripted out before the end of the month I have YET to actually WRITE it. 

However, just about Valentine's Day itself I received a HUGE boost to my writing. For the first time ever I witnessed someone posting about MY story in the Hey Arnold facebook group! She was asking others what stories they were reading and then she mentioned that she was reading WITMTB and that she'd highly recommend it! Cool beans! Now, for me to get back to using this positive feedback as MOTIVATION TO WRITE! Sheesh.....

In the meantime, talking to both Omni and DA about their respective world buildings in February, I was re-inspired to work on Gyateara more; as well as make it the world that Amara's story would be based in as well - just on a different continent. Sadly, that motivation to world build died quickly when I realized just how horrible I was at naming things. It was pathetic! Oh well, I'm sure I'll pick it up again once I have free time to do so....

At the end of February a coworker and new friend signed up for X-Future with his wife. The new players/characters as well as the new desire from these people to play resparked the life of the game. No one had posted in months at that point. Hubby had instituted a 2yr time skip and no one really knew what to do. Having these new players completely revived the board and the game. It also got me back in to my obsession. Worse/best part is that at least the coworker is just as addicted as me when it comes to the boards, so I always seem to have someone to interact with; making it even harder to leave the game alone.

March was odd in the fact that I was both massively stuck behind writer's block once again, and I created one of my favorite and most complicated characters: Trish.

She was birthed from me obsessively listening to "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up)" by Fall Out Boy. She was originally created so I had a character who wasn't so reserved and restrictive of her pyrokinetic powers; as well as a foil and possible Brotherhood romantic interest for Devon. However, as I created her she slowly became more than just a fun new means to still interact with Devon. She became the first character that I ever wrote who actually "spoke" to me. Like, this girl legitimately ARGUES with me. It's fascinating, intriguing, and a bit weird. Now I kind of understand what Delaroux and DA meant when they said their characters were constantly talking to them.

Her backstory was the longest and easiest for me to write because it was like hearing her telling it to me. Then, when I tried to set her up as a playful romantic interest of Devon - who ended up unofficially getting Nys instead - Trish turned in to a psychotic who actually despises Devon and is instead in love with Devon's father. It's to the point where I mentally pictured a scene where Trish tried to lure Devon in - to of course literally backstab him - by flirting with him and Trish REFUSED! I pictured Devon on a couch and Trish curling up next to him and playing with his hair. As soon as her fingers ran through his locks once, Trish jumped off the couch, shuddered, and started yelling "Eww! Ew, ew, ew! I- I can't! Ug! I think I just threw up a little. I can't. This is so gross. I need a shower," and then stormed out.
I had a slightly similar instance while working on The Race for Destiny in which Connor randomly explodes with this anger I didn't know he had and storms out of the scene; leaving me staring at the screen and going "uh... Connor? I kinda need you for the rest of the story. How the hell am I supposed to work you back in????" However, Trish is almost like an actual voice that I hear.

March, however, also had Willow start "talking" to me as well. With the forum being restarted, Willow was just a lot easier to use to interact with everyone. She became my main character and she drastically developed throughout the month's play. This all accumulated in "The Week of Feels. One of the players killed off his character and it hit Willow a LOT harder than I thought it would. I spent a full week of almost non-stop writing just working her through the pain and anguish of losing the friend, and then finding out that a family member could be a villain, and that she has feelings for Chayse - who also had feelings for her, but was still dating Lia. 

The apartment was quickly filled with a chorus of me and Hubby yelling "What are you doing!?" to our characters as we wrote, but they totally took over. We were like weird mediums for these characters to just flow from our brains to the screen with no filtering. It sort of freaked both of us out as we realized our characters were both "real" and "separate entities". 

Either way, it was a massively fun time for my writing as the writer's block was torn down and I wrote daily!

It was because of how much fun the writing was, plus getting at least four people - including myself - either choked up or crying while reading everything I wrote, that my nagging thought of converting the game in to a story became an overwhelming desire. I started and stopped about five different projects I have in the works, but I do plan on finishing all of them at some point.

I WILL eventually have:

  1. A thread set up on the board where each post is sort of "Last time on..." to highlight the key things that have been going on. This way new players or players that have been away for a little bit know what's currently going on and what the main plot points were without having to spend HOURS going back and reading EVERYTHING.
  2. A prologue written explaining the world of X-Future; what we deem Earth-11616. It's a merger of the Marvel classifications of the X-Men Evolution continuity of Earth-11052 and the main comic continuity of Earth-616
  3. Write out Willow's tale on the boards as prose
  4. Write out Lia's tale on the boards as prose
  5. Write out an anthology of scenes that I've written for the X-Future characters; not necessarily focusing on just one character.
Another fun thing in March was my introduction to my favorite character on the forum: Lincoln. He's awkward, geeky, and has a split personality that we recently found out is named Darwin.

Final thing that occurred in March was Cyhyr starting up her own blog as well. So, if you haven't done so yet, you should totally add both hers and DA's blogs!

Here they are once more:
DA's blog
Cyhyr's blog

April brought with it the birth of our adorable niece! I haven't really done much writing since then....

What I HAVE been doing is crocheting like crazy to try to finish a baby blanket for the kid. She might get it before she's five...

 April was also when I first started being able to FINALLY role play as Trish on the board. It's been a fun ride with that one. There are a lot of times where Ronoxym will be visiting and we both start glaring and yelling at each other as Trish and Devon. It's a fantastic interaction.

Here is sort of what goes on in my apartment:

Me: I can't have her do so on the forums, but just know that Trish is flipping you off so hard core right now. Double deuces.
Ronoxym: Yeah? Yeah!? Well, Devon's doing the same thing right back, sister!

April also had my characters so talkative - mostly Trish, but whatever - that I had written a few little scene snippet one-shots. I haven't done so yet, but another item on my list of things to do is create an anthology of these scenes so you guys can get a look in to these characters, I have a writing outlet, and a way to get further in to the psyche of my characters with stories done off-forum.

I also helped beta-read a quick one-shot for Delaroux, had Cyhyr help, and then became terrified of having Cyhyr beta any of my stuff! Holy crow, that girl is just....

So, the end of my solitary April posting I did a bit of emo-writing again, commenting about my concern about whether or not I'm cut out to be a professional writer.

May was mostly taken up with me pretending to participate in an online writing class.
Holly Lisle hosts an online course on "How To Write Flash Fiction That Doesn't Suck". I found out about it through a fellow member of Writer's Huddle and decided to give it a whirl. And by "give it a whirl" I of course mean, "didn't really participate at all".
Anyway, seems that Holly restarts the three-week program after the end of each one, so this is a constant thing that people can participate in. If you want to try it out but it's not open because it already started, give it a week, or two, or the full three, and she'll open it back up again. Even if I didn't actively write anything for the course, the information is still good. I recommend it. 

Anyway, so May was me messing around with that as well as me having the realization that my one side-character Crystal could be a super major catalyst for plot/character development in the game. Hubby's still working on the details, as well as whether or not my realization will come to fruition. Regardless, it was fun concocting that plot device and really get the gears going. 

WHOO! That's pretty much it! The journey thus far. Does this long post help make up for the month hiatus? MAAAAAAYBE?

Anyway, I did notice on my trip back over the last 50 posts that I haven't accomplished a few things and I need to work on that...
  1.  I never did post that "inspirational" post I commented on back in like February/March. I'll have to get cracking on that.
  2. I never did post Amara's backstory. I really need to have Hubby look over it so I can post.
  3. I never finished ANY of my X-Future ideas and should work on finishing at least ONE
  4. I never did send those wedding thank yous.... I had them all done by the year anniversary and then something happened, they got shuffled and I misplaced them before mailing them. I then wrote a "Christmas Letter" explaining everything that happened our first year of marriage and apologizing for not sending the thank yous. I had intended to send the thank yous with the letters.... and then things again got shuffled and misplaced. Then we moved and the letters are all blocked towards the back of our spare room we will EVENTUALLY turn in to a library. Trick is finding the time to finish unpacking so I can get to the letters.... I'm such fail.  
So, here's hoping I have appeased you readers with this hour-long read, and perhaps I'll get back to my weekly updates again.

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