Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Floodgates Are Open

Sorry about last week's rantings and emo-ness. I think I scared some people off. While I had 23 hits on my Rant About X-Future post I only had 17 hits on the My Muse Keeps Getting Hit By A Giant Flyswatter follow-up post.

I feel silly being proud of so few hits in the grand scheme of things... Still, having people reading my ramblings at all is awesome.

Anyway... My point is that I want to thank those of you still around after yet another emotional turn for the worst in my blog. I do that a lot, don't I?

I actually debated going back and taking those two posts down.

My rage and sadness faded as I vented for seven hours in my blog. Yup. SEVEN HOURS OF CONTINUOUS WRITING. They were rantings and a bit rambled and I deleted a lot before posting, but still not bad for someone who didn't want to write at all! Ah, the power of writing; journaling.

The thing is though, that with that rage and sadness gone there was no point in having those posts up. They were essentially my passive-aggressive way of slapping Phfylburt in the face, and making him feel bad about his decision. Worst part was that it worked. Worked so well that he wanted to Skype with me so he could apologize "face to face".

On top of that, I had at least three friends take pity on both me and my predicament.

So then I felt even MORE of a loser for making people either feel bad for me or feel guilty of what they had done, all because of what I had written. Again: the power of words.

Those were all reasons to just take down the posts so no one else could see my low point.

Then it hit me. Maybe that's the exact reason why I should keep them up. I know that if I went to Ali Luke's or Rick Riordan's blog and saw a post like those up it would be humbling for me. To see an author I admire admit their failings and show the open wounds of a low point.... they would be more human and my own struggle wouldn't seem so lonely.

Thing is, I'm not alone in this struggle to find myself as an author. I'm not alone in getting WAY too attached to a fictional world. I'm not alone in wondering if I'm where I should be.

You're not alone either.

I kept those posts up because I hope that one day - if it hasn't already - someone will read those low points and realize I'm in the same boat as them. We're the same. If I can make it out of this pit and actually become a professional writer then perhaps you can too.

That bit of help. That bit of connectivity that can only come from the beauty of the internet. That encouraging thought. That minor legacy. That - and the fact that I more-or-less haven't STOPPED writing since - is why I am never taking those blog posts down, or any of my emo-rific blog posts.

Future authors need to see that someone who came before them had the same struggle, and was able to overcome it. Now... to just overcome it enough that I can make something of myself!

First step in that direction? Acknowledging my support network. Well, outside my husband, of course...
My online buddy AngelBlood666 and my mentor Ali were instantly there to perk me up after I posted last week. I'm sure DarkAngel1326 would have been right in their ranks too if she wasn't about to die from schoolwork....

But the one who really pushed me in the right direction was my lovely ChibiSunnie. It had been a little while, but she found last week to be the perfect time to return to her usual "my comments about your blog are too long for the actual comments section, so I'll send them to you in an email."

It was indeed a long email, but it was filled with empathy and encouraging words - as well as concern for Lia, but I'll get to that. Out of the full email though, I thought this bit to be the part that really hit home the most. Wonderful insight about struggling to figure out if you should follow a certain path in life.

Chibi: [It's like] if you're running late for the bus and you're starting to worry you won't make it. So you briefly slow down for a sec, thinking "Why bother running if I won't make it?" Then you either give into that idea and walk the rest of the way, or you start running as fast as you that you can at least say you gave it your all [to try to make it]. It sounds like you're in that brief sec part. So you need to decide if you're just going to walk the rest of the way and make writing a hobby, or if you're going to start running and at least know that you gave it your all attempting to make it a career.
I'm sprinting, Chibi! I'm sprinting! You better have a towel and water for me at the bus stop.

I have to admit that I loved that quote so much that I made sure to post it here as soon as I read it. I knew I'd be able to build a blog post around it somehow. If not, I was going to post just the quote. Didn't care.

So, like I said, I have more-or-less been writing non-stop since.

Well... world building non-stop since; to be specific.

Phfyl sent me an IM after reading my blogs in order to apologize yet again, but also admitting how humbling my posts were.

Phfylburt: For me the whole situation was a bit of a roller coaster. Cause on the one hand I felt bad that I put you through this. Then there is the other side that was kind of thrilled about it. I've never had anyone react this way to my writing. Ever. I mean granted not a lot of people have read my stuff, but still. And then you put up that second post and it was even more humbling. I mean the fact that you said you were excited when I posted something and that you were a fan was simply unreal for me. And then there was your outro paragraphs. Damn, [girl], if I don't have those similar thoughts What if I'm just someone who likes to write but isn't meant to be a writer?
So yeah. Sorry...but only kind of. And thank you for the kind words.
Like I said.... we're not alone in the struggle.

This is a guy that got me exited to always read what he wrote. This is a guy who evoked so many emotions from me last week. This is a guy who creates such awesome characters and masterful plot twists. Even HE wonders if he can make it as an author.

On the one hand you can take that as "well, then what chance do I have?" but on the other hand you can ALSO say "We're alike. So maybe I can make it too..."

In fact, a big ego boost that helped me think I can actually make it as a writer was what I mentioned at the top of the blog: Chibi's concern for Lia. In fact, I recently found out that apparently quite a few people seem to really like her.

Phfyl and I were having our little heart-to-heart when he told me that he "had to" do what he did last week because "in my book, Lia is the main character, and so torturing her is part of the job." HUH!? Lia!? The main character!?

Now, I knew that she was one of the central characters right alongside Willow since I try to ALWAYS have the girls active and involved in everything on the boards. It's more fun to play like that, and it makes the characters more embedded in the overall story if they have at least a LITTLE role in everything that goes down.

But MAIN character? I didn't really see X-Future as HER story per se. However, he argued that she was essentially the introduction the reader had to this universe and it was about watching her grow - among other things. Also, poor Lia gets struck with all the feels for the most part.

No wonder The Bard and Chibi love her so much. I thought the poor girl was shoved in to the back seat once I really got the hang of Willow and created Trish. It's good to know that not only is she loved, but she's probably the most loved of my characters, at least by the readers. Part of me feels bad for Willow now - who is my favorite - but screw it; she has everything else going for her. What else does Lia have? Plus, it's awesome to see that people truly do care for my original characters!

Like I said: ego boost!

So now I'm pushing hard to ride this high. I've actually made progress with converting X-Future in to an original universe for a story reboot. As you all know, I've been thinking about this for a while. Some of the tweaking has been easy, but it has mostly been a brick wall in front of me for some time now. I even tried to use one of the weekly writing challenges during the Writers’ Huddle Winter Challenge to help me with the conversion. The challenge was to work out a mind-map. It only helped me a little and certainly did not turn out pretty at all....
Have I mentioned that I suck at making these?
Well, this past week has really made me want this to happen even with the stalled out momentum for the past few months. In truth, part of it is so I can reboot the story so Phfyl's fopaux is either non-existent or at least waits until further in the overall story before it occurs. Also in truth, part of it is so I can run Devon. Ronoxym takes too long to do anything and I see so much untapped potential in Devon. But mostly it's because I'm still not sure how to react on the forum right now, but I am still so hooked with this story.

Novelizing it as X-Men fanfiction is one thing, but I'd LOVE for a broader audience to experience this story. I also keep thinking of it as a much more visual story than what we can do on the boards. Thus my pull towards making a webcomic of it.

Now, the trick is trying to figure out how to handle making it a webcomic. I know I want to work with Phfyl on this project. He's like a walking Marvel Comics encyclopedia. He knows the best way to tell stories by way of comics. He knows the Marvel universe. He's also such a great writer; ya know... in case I didn't hit that point hard enough yet...

I also consider it a given that I work with Hubby on this. X-Future was his idea to begin with and a large portion of the cool plot twists on the board are either his brainchild or birthed from he and Phfyl collectively being evil. Even without those merits, he's also a great sounding board and support network for me.

I'd also like to work with Ron since we worked well together when we were working on that Devon/Willow collab. However, Ron clearly isn't really geared up to write ANYTHING until his life gets more settled and he has more free time. Main reason why that collab isn't done yet and posted for you fine folks to read. Trust me, I'm working diligently on the second draft of what we DO have so it can be posted as fast as I can get Ron to move.

So, I have my writing "staff" for this thing. In and of itself that's quite unique. Most webcomics are just one writer/artist. Perhaps they're a team: one artist and one writer. Having four writers and no artist though? Rough start. Taking applications...

After getting Phfyl on board with the webcomic idea, I spent the week smoothing out the edges on my concept of "classifying" mutants in to categories based on the core of their powers. I think it's a cool system Hubby helped me create. The trick though is to figure out a new collective term besides "mutants" since calling them that and having them all train at a school is a blatant rip-off of the original source material.

This is the latest snag. Poor Phfyl has spent the past week innocently bringing up Facebook, only to be bombarded with about a page's worth of my brainstorming ideas every day.

That is quite a bit of information.

I may have been thinking intently about this for a few months....

Well that much is obvious....

Do you ever sleep?....
I'm too tired to take this all in. I'll come back later and digest it all and give you a response.
To be fair.... each ellipsed comment is a separate day's response to my insane bombardment on the poor schmuck...

At the very least I am enjoying the discussion and the brainstorming. Obviously... otherwise he wouldn't have to wade through so much every day. But hey, even if he groans every time he sees another message from me at least I am writing. That's what counts, right?

We've looked up "mutant" in multiple languages and tried synonyms to broaden our search. We've thought about locations for the first "mutant outbreak" that brings them to the public eye. We've even learned a new word: Preternatural - very unusual in a way that does not seem natural; existing outside of nature; exceeding what is natural or regular; extraordinary; inexplicable by ordinary means.

We don't have one term tied down quite yet, but I'm personally leaning towards an almost cyberpunk term I came up with. It would work well with the pseudo-cyberpunk mutant classifications Hubby thought of. Phfyl, I think, is leaning more towards the Finnish translation for Preternatural: Travaton. Although, to be truly accurate, the proper translation of Preternatural for the meaning we're leaning towards would be yliluonnollinen. I don't even KNOW where to start with pronouncing that!

The next snafu would be the actual world we want to have our universe in. Personally, I've always thought of X-Future as a near-future sort of environment. Very close to the source material of X-Men: Evolution. Once I started shifting it away from X-Men fanfiction and more original work I was seeing it more of a cyberpunk story. However, Phfyl seems to be nervous that it will still feel too close to X-Men. Although slight, there's a possibility that if we follow through with this idea of creating a webcomic Marvel might notice the similarities and take it down for copyright infringement. A bit of a stretch, but still a definite possibility.

To try to prevent that, he pitched the idea of switching gear completely, stripping everyone down to their most basic roots, and converting the whole thing in to a fantasy. He even thought the idea of a cyberpunk fantasy world would be cool.

I have to admit that when I first really started hearing The Girls I was a bit upset that they were tied down to X-Men fanfiction. They are all so compelling to me that I want to write volumes of books about them. I even debated the idea of creating them in a High Fantasy world. Perhaps throw them in to Gyateara. Different continent than Amara or Natalie and Connor, but still.

I keep going back to near-future cyberpunk though, and it seems less complicated that way. Less world-building. We still have a few crucial questions that we need to answer, but it seems like a better option. I'm throwing a million options at Phfyl - as per usual - and seeing which idea sticks. The more ideas I have out there the easier they come to me. I'm liking this!

So, let's see where this takes me. Hopefully to an on-time update next week...

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