Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ending the Summer Challenge With A Weak Bang

Ugggh... this was not a good writing week.

It was not a good motivational week.

It was not a good week.

My work week consisted of insane hours, cranky co-workers, incompetent co-workers that made me want to punt them across the store, managers that couldn't stand still long enough for me to accomplish anything I needed to for the Wellness portion of my work week, and finally a rarity for me.
Customers that just irked me.

Normally I love customers. I love interacting with them. I love the quick brain teaser of trying to figure out how to make a mad customer happy. I love the diversity. I love the repeats that you get to know and vice versa. Even if I get a cranky customer every now and again I can shrug it off as "eh, they're just cranky" or "They probably had a bad day."
This week though.... *sigh*

Add in that tomorrow is Labor Day - that glorious ringing out of Summer in The States - and my week was insane and tiring. To be honest, I can't really recall what I did day-to-day like I normally do when I write these posts.

So when I was home I had no energy to actually think. I zoned out by either watching TV, putzing around on Facebook and DeviantArt, or playing one of two video/computer games. A few days ago I started up playing Fable on the Xbox again - only to be ticked off that I failed one of the side quests for probably the seventh time since starting up that game file. My main go-to, since I'm already at the computer, is to play the game King's Bounty: Armored Princess.

The worst part about my burn out? It just might happen again this week. As I stated, a holiday is tomorrow, and I have an equally crazy work schedule. Joy.

Anyway, enough griping about how I didn't WANT to write this week. Point is that I still did. I forced myself, but I got through it. I guess sometimes that's just what you have to do. Especially if you write for a living; you can't just give up a full work-week because you don't feel motivated.

So, in the end I guess it's good training for future weeks like this when I'm writing for a living.
*knock on wood*

It was a bothersome week for the forum recaps as well. The first recaps were easy. Aside from the second one about Nix - which was easy enough to gather; just go through the listing of his early posts and get the info needed - the first and third recaps were live role play sessions. This meant I had enough interaction and "story" to write out my recap chapter without much effort. Just read the session and write what happened. Simple.

Well, for this week it wasn't so simple. The day after the Danger Room session a whole bunch of us players just did a ton of individual roleplaying. Simple things to set up what our characters do in our day-to-day and/or how we reacted to Nix's control loss and/or the Danger Room session. So, there were a bunch of posts scattered across the multitude of boards that we have on the forum. When I say "multitude" I'm not joking at all. We have six different sections of the board: a section for character bios and the like, a section for general out of character discussion, a section for polls, a section for important Moderator/Administrator announcements, a section for roleplaying as X-Men characters, and most recently we added a section for roleplaying as Brotherhood characters. Out of just the X-Men role play section there are 136 topics. Granted, a large portion of them are closed but are available for reading; a large portion are still open for people to continue roleplaying in.
That's a LOT of boards to sort through!

So I started off my weekly task by going to Hubby's and celestialTyrant's accounts since the two of them were the most active when the game first started. Through their profiles I was able to track down their posts and when they posted them - the same tactic I used to figure out everything for Nix's control slip-up recap. From there I noticed that a LOT was going down on June 22, 2012. I then used this information to sort though the over-hundred topics to figure out which ones were created on or before the 22nd. This narrowed it all down to 22 topics. Still quite a few, but not nearly as overwhelming as 136.

From there I went through and found all the posts that were up on the 22nd specifically. This narrowed it down to just 10 topics, but it was still a LOT of posts. It was too much for me to try to organize them while still on the forum itself. So I thought a touch out of the box for that.

I copied and pasted all of the posts from the 22nd in to a word document. They were all still in their forum comment layout of member name and picture, timestamp, and comment all nestled in to table cells. Because of this the posts - roughly 130 of them - take up a little over 31 pages!
And we're back to overwhelming... just a touch.

Well, thank GOD for time stamps, because while I was going from one topic thread to the next I was able to organize all hundred-plus posts in to the order they were originally posted. It definitely helped flow everything easier, especially when certain "scenes" flow from one location to another - therefore going from one topic thread to another.

Needless to say, just tracking down everything that happened on the 22nd and organizing it was a task that lasted about two days.

I then attempted the last mini-challenge of Writers’ Huddle's Summer Writing Challenge: Spend exactly 5 minutes planning the scene/chapter/post/article before writing. Five minutes and that's it. Not a minute more or less. It was basically a challenge to see what you could accomplish in such a short period of time - much like last week's writing for 10minutes. It was a nice exercise for those who never plan ahead of time, as well as those who spend hours or even days writing out the planning before writing. Ya know, like how I write for What Is Truly Meant To Be.

Anyway, as I was re-organizing the posts according to their timestamps I of course glanced over them to get a basic idea of what was going on that day. I figured "alright, five minutes? I got this" and started to write bullet points about what happened; periodically glancing at the posts to make sure I didn't miss anything. Well, 5minutes quickly came and went, and I was maybe a fifth of the way through the posts.

The later third - or maybe even as much as half - of the posts were all two large scenes, and so I was able to make it through bullet pointing the rest of the posts in another 15minutes or so. I now know that there was just so much going on this third day of playing that I'm going to get either three or four recaps out of it - depending on how long the second recap ends up.

The first recap is basically what the full day of roleplaying was: everyday happenings and people dealing with what happened in the previous recaps.

You can find it on DeviantArt here.
It's also up on my FanFiction version of X-Future: The Second Generation Begins.

Quick aside: I actually had someone favorite this story on FanFiction this week! The X-Men stories haven't been getting much love/attention, and so to have someone fave the story was like "WOW!"
So, thanks, ItsAlexO!

Okay, back to the recaps.

The first recap ends with Lucas Kinney racing towards the Danger Room after getting an alert. The next recap will be why he got that alert in the first place, as well as why Nix is so nervous. This was tricky because when the game was first set up we didn't have a lot of the things we have/use now to help game play flow easier. For one, we didn't really know how to create hot-links in our comments. We now use this to help refer to either a crucial event that will make our current post make more sense, or as a means of directing people to the previous location we were at in our scene. It would have been VERY helpful to help me sort through everything. The other real key thing we do now is have blank posts - aside from a single blue line - separating one scene from another in the same location. The last thing - the one that would have been super helpful for the Danger Room recap - is that double-posting was defaulted to condense down in to one post if the posts were within an hour of each other.

How this works is if you post a comment and then went back to that location thirty minutes later to do another action - but no one else posted in that location in between your two posts - the two posts would condense in to one with a blue line breaking the posts apart. When it did that the timestamp on the non-original post(s) is lost.

So Hubby had a Danger Room session going on in which he had nine posts in a row. These all condensed in to one large post with lines separating them. I have no clue what time the individual posts were up aside from the original one. That in and of itself isn't that big of a deal. What makes this whole scene a pain in the butt is that while Hubby was posting in the Danger Room a whole bunch of players had their characters reacting in the Danger Room Observation Deck, therefore including their reactions in to the scene. So I had to read through both and try to figure out where the Observation comments fit in relation to all of Hubby's posts; a task that would have been easier if I had timestamps to go off of. *sigh*

Even better is that Lia wasn't one of the people watching - she was off doing her own training. CT wanted to interact with Lia - I think mostly because I was off on my own while everyone else was roleplaying in the Observation Deck - and so Nix came to talk to her. Thing is, according to the Observation Deck posts Nix was there until like the last five minutes of the session, and yet he somehow managed to miss how it ended..... The timing is tricky, so I'll probably fudge it a bit when I re-work the recap.

Anyway, depending on how long the DR session is - which will probably be very long - I may make the next portion of that extended story a third recap... Danger Room Aftermath. The scene for that went on for a bit as well, so it just might be enough for its own recap.

The final one for the day would be **Spoiler: Sorta. Not really, but whatever. Hover cursor over to see.** going on dates. So keep your eyes out for those updates. Whooo!

As for the Snippets... still no love for them; ItsAlexO didn't fave that story set. Maybe people are purposely avoiding the Snippets to avoid the spoilers???? *shrug*

Anyway, I haven't even THOUGHT about working on the next Snippet I have in the works. I'll keep you guys posted though.

At least X-Future has been at sort of a crawl/stand still for the past month. Kinney - who is Hubby's right-hand-man and fellow storyteller for the game - wanted to do a Danger Room session for some of the guys, but he then had to go on a week-long vacation to visit the in-laws before the session was done. Plus none of the guys seem to be online at the same time and so there are hours and even a day or two in between postings. This session is literally taking a month to conclude.

Problem there is that it freezes the rest of us more-or-less to make sure our characters don't get too far ahead time-wise. In other words, the rest of us will be roleplaying a day or two ahead of those guys and it's a pain to catch people up.
  • So Crystal and Tyler are in roleplaying limbo until "the next day" can start up.
  • I have no further advancements for Trish since her day was pretty full already and is probably on the next day at this point. Plus... she's in a cell, what can she really do? Hubby's trying to figure out what Deadpool can do to mess with her this time.
  • Willow and Chayse are very slowly chugging through the day, but neither of us really know what to do with them; especially since Chayse wants to ignore the two huge elephants in the room: who Screw Driver is and the identity of the traveler from the future.
  • Thanks to my taking over as Jamie "Multiple Man" Madrox and playing the "insanely over protective father" card, Lia and Ripley are advancing slowly but surely; with a bit of a cameo from Ronoxym's secondary character Oswald, Ripley's best friend.
OH! Random little fun tidbit about Trish that happened this week. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook already know this, and originally I wasn't going to include it on such a public venue as my blog, but it was just too good not to.

As I was getting ready for bed on Wednesday I put on my red nightgown. I've been wearing a lot of blue lately and Hubby jokes that I'm just in "Willow Wear" or that I'm "Cosplaying Willow". After noting to myself that I had worn red I chuckled that I was finally in "Trish Cosplay". I quickly corrected myself that the nightgown had to be "Lia Cosplay" instead since a nightgown was way too girly for Trish - who would be more likely to wear shorts and a t-shirt to bed.

After another second of pondering I realized that she - in an extreme case - just might wear a nightgown as an act of seduction. Thing is, I MEANT to think to myself that she'd wear one to seduce PYRO. Ya know, the Brotherhood baddie who is Devon's father and the object of Trish's affection? Instead, what I accidentally thought to myself was that she might wear one to seduce DEADPOOL. The wackjob Merc With A Mouth who had been interrogating her.

I then shuddered at the thought.

That's right. MY CHARACTER Trish was so repulsed by the thought of trying to seduce Deadpool that not only did SHE shudder in my mind, but she actually got ME TO PHYSICALLY SHUDDER AS WELL! As an experiment I then purposely thought "What? Deadpool and Devon both start with D... it's close."
I then gagged.
WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL!? This is a whole new level of characters taking over....

Does this ever happen to any of my writer readers out there? Or am I just a nutjob????

Speaking of my writer readers - although I'm not so sure she reads my blog... I know Ron does... anyway - I have great writing news in the world of Cyhyr. First off, her collaborator finally finished her chapter for the fanfic they're writing, and so they were able to update after a year hiatus. Kind of makes me feel better about not updating WITMTB since February. The real reason I bring up Cyhyr, though, is because the woman has been a writing machine as of late.
Cyhyr: I wrote 25 pages in my session yesterday. How many can I write today? I'm shooting for at least 20; I've already got 9 though, and I think I can challenge for 30...
I'm at 17 pages now but I'm hungry and I don't want to leave...
Update: just finished scene 6 and I have a total of 48 pages written, so 23 today...
[I'm working on] a completely new fanfiction that slapped me across the face and said "write me" on Thursday night. So I started it a little then and now I'm almost 50 [frigging] pages into this shit.
So, let's give her a cyber round of applause for her great stamina and drive. Now... for me to find that same drive...

Alright, I just want to conclude by announcing one last thing that I accomplished this past week; last Sunday, actually.

For nearly a year now I've been thinking of branching out and starting up a more conventional blog - one that's informative instead of journalistic - but I couldn't figure out what I have enough knowledge about to write more than one post. That doesn't really matter if I write the one or two posts I know about such-and-such subject, submit it to a blog as a guest post, and repeat for the next topic, etc. However, I'm too lazy to spend hours on end tracking down a variety of blogs, and then attempt to write a guest post for each of them; although this is the best way to get started with a paid gig as a blog writer. Ali and I tried working on figuring out my specialty for a little bit at the beginning of the year, but it didn't really get far.

Well, Sunday I realized that I goof up a LOT, and in a wide array of categories. I've also figured out how to fix these goofs. So I've decided that my next blog should be a sort of "self-help catch all" in a sort of "learn from my mistakes" way.

I've reserved the url for when I start up this new blog:
Crit Failing: A Guide to Goofs and Screw-ups

Thanks to my co-worker Sergeant Strudel for the blog name idea. My other title possibility is "I Roll Ones", but I think that's already a "fail blog" on Blogger.... Eh, the name has time to change/evolve. The important part is the blog url.

Sadly, I don't have nearly the time to dedicate to running two blogs, especially when I barely manage to update this one weekly. Plus, I need to figure out how I'm going to write professional, article-style posts. On top of everything else, I need to set up a cache of articles; really focus on the mess-ups I do that may also plague others as well as advice on how to avoid/fix the problem.

It will be a bit of an undertaking and the new blog probably won't launch for another two years, but I at least have a plan! Whoot!

Now off to work on that next recap.... or to sleep.... probably sleep....

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