Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tedious Actions, Mangas, and a New Writing Site

The summer challenge over at Writers’ Huddle is done, and we're about half-way through week 2 of the Struggling Writers Society's August Writing Challenge. I have to admit, I got a bit lost this week.

I'm trying to get back to working on X-Future: The Second Generation Begins for this month's challenge. I abandoned the project nearly two years ago, and I really need to start closing up projects.

Granted, considering the fact that I'm something like 8-chapters long already and still haven't finished adapting the first week of role play, this project will take YEARS before it's "closed". However, I can at least work towards that first time jump that Hubby created when the game starting to die down around the holidays. Consider that "volume one" or whatever. Then I can close out some other projects. Eventually I can work my way back to the board and create both the Devon spin-off - following him on his journey - as well as work on "volume two". Basically, writing up until the three-month time skip. I can again take a break, return, and do the next portion that leads up to the summer break time skip.

The whole process will still take me years, I'm sure, but maybe with a little bit of discipline, I can get this accomplished in a year or two. By then I'll either have more material to work with, or - as it seems to be going these days; sadly - the board will be dead, and I'll be completely caught up.

Of course, I'll still be working on my comic reboot throughout this whole process, but it's still nice to have a plan mapped out. Perhaps I'll even have some more material to add more chapters to X-Future: Snippets. I mean, with getting back into character to rework all of this role playing into prose, I may start really hearing The Girls in my head again. Stories might unfold. It would be nice to write prose again. I haven't done so in months.

It's getting to the point where I'm a bit envious of a couple of participants in the SWS writing challenge. Mouse posted on Facebook last Thursday: "I'm about 17,000 words in..." She also added on Monday: "Another chapter drafted! Woooo!" So. Much. Progress.

Then, even with play practices and whatnot, you have stupidly disciplined Cyhyr. When doing our weekly check-in on Saturday, she was "up to 19,698 words and [has] a general idea of the next few scenes."

I am so proud of these girls, and everyone else who's participating in the challenge, but at the same time, I'm so darn envious of them! So much work accomplished! And in such a short span too. I'm curious if I'm ever going to be able to accomplish that.

Granted, the project I gave myself does take a LOT of prep-work before I can actually get around to writing, so it's partially my own fault. Still, the tediousness is so overwhelming that I found myself BALANCING OUR FINANCES the past two days during the minimal amount of hours I had outside work. That's right. I would rather figure out finances and set up a budget than work on this project....

Not including the section for the Brotherhood role plays, there are 161 - that's ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE - different topics in the X-Future board. Each topic is a different room or mission or off-campus excursion or character diary or "general world information" post, etc. MOST of these posts were started months, even years, after the part of the story I'm currently working on. So, I can weed out these topics as threads I don't need to re-read quite yet. The trick is weeding through them all to see which topics I DO need to go back through.

To try to help with that, I started up a spreadsheet listing the threads, the direct link for each of them, what date they were created on, and which topic folder to find them in. So far, I'm not even half-way through the full list of topic folders, and I'm already up to about 60 threads. Whoot! Only 100 more to sift through.

Trying to list all the topics would be a great help to myself later down the road, but it's currently taking far too long for my current challenge. So I decided to go back to my original way of sifting through everything. Namely, look up Hubby's account and select "all posts from this month". I then select "June 2012" and scroll to the date I want. It's convoluted, but it works. Mainly because Hubby was involved - either with his character Chayse, or as the narrator - in nearly every role play at the very beginning of the game. I then bring up my posts as Lia for any role playing that Hubby wasn't involved in, and finally I bring up any posts that celestialTyrant had as Nix.

We were the Main Three posters at the start of the game, and so anything that was going on at the time typically had at least one of us three involved somehow. Once I gather up everything that the three of us role played in, I then go back through thread by thread, and double check that there weren't any additional role plays in that time frame. For instance, Phfylburt might have had a solo-play with his character Lucas Kinney.

THAT is the most time-consuming. Going back through, thread by thread, and checking "was this thread started on/before June 23, 2012?" If it wasn't, I can quickly forget about it since any role play in it was obviously done after the section I'm currently adapting. If it was started on or before the date I'm currently working on, then I have to read through and see if there's anything there I need to grab. The real fun ones are when it's something like Willow's bedroom - both pre-time-skip when she was bunking with Penumbra, and post-time-skip when she was bunking with Lia - where there's about 20pages worth of role playing, and I have to try to guess where the "June 23rd" role playing can be found.

Tiring work. Boring work. Tedious work. I really need to get that spreadsheet finished so it's a bit faster for me to get through the "planning" stage of these chapters. Man, it would be so much easier if I could just type in a search bar on the forum "All posts from [insert date here]". Save me the trouble of trying to find them all manually.
I wish I knew where this came from/the artist.
I use this "sigh" graphic all the time. It just works perfectly.
If you know the source, please let me know in the comments.

So, I go through the whole board. I gather up all of the role play posts from a specific date. THEN I have to organize them. Sure, it's easy to go through from start to finish on one role play session, but what about the ones that are happening on different threads? I have to use the time stamps to figure out which posts happened when, and if they occurred at the same time, I have to decide - narratively - if it's worth breaking up one role play to insert the other so the times line up. Do I break up this action by bringing in this other one, and then bounce back to the first? Do I write out the entire first session and then comment that across campus at the same time this other action was going on? Do I take some creative liberty and say that the shorter of the two sessions happened after the first, instead of at the same time?

Then comes one of the most frustrating portions of translating the role play into prose. The actual timeline of the story. We were testing the waters when we first started. We weren't sure about formatting or how to state what time we were picturing while writing. We didn't even have a way to state which DATE we were on. So we have two different characters interacting with each other on two different days; seemingly.

For instance, Lia goes off and has a heart-to-heart with her dad after her first date with Chayse. Right after Jamie leaves her, Lia watches the footage from the Danger Room session that put Chayse in the infirmary in the first place. Shocked by what she saw, Lia rushes from the room in order to find Chayse. So, based on how I role played Lia, this is MAYBE about 3pm the day after her first date.

MEANWHILE, right after getting in from his date with Lia, Hubby had Chayse chat with Nix, and then head out to the campus pond to showcase a new trick he learned while in the DR session Lia ended up watching. So, in my head, I'm picturing Chayse showing off his new "trick" to Nix about the same time - maybe a little earlier - as Lia and Jamie's talk. Then Chayse heads inside to grab food and change, only to see a note on his door telling him his parents wish to see him. At this point, Chayse is probably talking with his parents about the same time that Lia is either chatting with her own father, or is already watching the footage of Chayse's DR session.

Now, here's the trick, after having Chayse talk to his parents, Hubby stepped away from role playing for a few hours while the rest of us finished up stuff: me having Lia watch the footage; Nix and Annika finish role playing their date, etc. So, when he came back to role play as Chayse again, it's heavily implied that it's the next day, and Gambit is knocking on Chayse's door to remind the kid that he has a tournament to get to. Chayse races out the door and is gone for a few hours - more like half a day, probably - before returning home a champion. Lia - who was racing to see Chayse after watching the footage - meets up with Chayse right as he returns home. He's established as still wearing his martial arts gi and holding his latest medal. Lia even comments on both. In fact, most of the conversation revolves around Lia's discovery that Chayse does martial arts, and is super good at it. So, I can't really IGNORE that she finds him after his tournament. However, Lia - the way I wrote it - is still on the day after their date. Where as, Hubby strongly implied that Chayse's tournament was two days after the date; one day after showing his new power discovery to Nix.

It's going to be fun to try to figure out THAT timeline. And most of the role playing for the first few months is like that. Oh, the joys....

It's no wonder I abandoned this project nearly two years ago....

Another distraction - aside from work and figuring out finances; as I already stated - was that I'm rereading a manga series.

I don't even really recall when I started it - around 2005, I think - or who introduced me to the series - because I rarely just go "hmm, this one looks good" - but around a decade ago I got into the manga series "Fruits Basket." For one reason or another, volume 21, out of the 23-book series, was NEVER available for me. I tried multiple times for months on end to find this "elusive" book; purchasing the final two volumes when I found them so they wouldn't "disappear" on me too.

After about a year of searching with no success, I ended up forgetting about the incomplete series - mainly because I didn't have the disposable income to buy it any longer. So, I read up to volume 20, and volumes 22 and 23 remained untouched. Fast forward until this past Friday, when I realized that one of my friends had a lonely volume of "Fruits Basket" on her bookshelf. Her fiance's sister had left him a random assortment of mangas, and this ONE book from late in the series was one of the hodge-podge. Lo, and behold! It was "elusive" Volume 21!

Well, since it was silly for her to have just the ONE book, and since neither of them bothered even reading it since it was so late in the series, it was gifted to me so I could complete my collection!


I tried just re-reading Volume 20 to remind myself what happened before tearing through the last three volumes of the series. Except, I didn't recall ANYTHING from that book! I know I read it, but the whole thing seemed new to me. So, I backtracked again and read Volume 19, only to realize I still couldn't recall some of the things they were referencing. I kept backtracking like that until I got to Volume 16.

Oh. I remember this one! I've read it about five times already. My favorite book in the whole series so far; mostly because about half of it is the love story between the main character Tohru's parents. You had references throughout the series about how madly in love they were, and how opposite they seemed to be, personality wise. However, Volume 16 gave you the whole story. There's even a panel in that book - just one panel - that makes me sob EVERY. FRIGGEN. TIME.
Vol 16; Chap 92; Vol pg 91/chp pg 19
Every. Friggen. Time!
I think it's because I think of Hubby holding
our future child, and it melts me.
Or it's just because of the Father/Daughter thing.

Point is; I CLEARLY recall Volume 16, parts of Volume 17, and nearly nothing after that. Sooooo, I've been rereading these books so I can FINALLY finish the series. On the one hand, it's a bummer because it means I'm NOT writing. On the other hand, I wanted to read a book a month throughout 2015, and I've only read one book; back in February! So, it's nice to be reading again. However, I think I'll consider reading Volumes 17 through 23 "one book" in regards to my reading goal; since graphic novels - by their nature - are easier and faster to read.

One last thing of note for the week.

Last night I randomly received a message on my FictionPress account. I was informed of a fantasy-themed free writing competition, and a strong encouragement to participate. Now, part of me is thinking that it's probably some sort of spam; this info was sent to anyone on FictionPress that has a submission in the Fantasy genre. However, another part of me kinda likes thinking that this person did read my work, and honestly thinks I'd do well in the contest.

Either way, I noticed the email this morning, and so I have yet to look up the contest; I'll do that once I'm done here. I also haven't had a terribly good look at the site the contest is being held on, but it looks very promising.

It's called Inkitt. From what I can gather, it's basically a more professional version of FictionPress. Anyone can submit their original writing there for free; so it seems, again, I haven't had time to really look to see if there's fees. Then, the group that runs the site has editors read the work to make sure it's publishable; is the grammar and spelling correct, no typos, formatting correct, no "author's notes" to bog the reading down, etc. I don't think work is ever rejected based on the quality of the writing/story, just on the actual grasp of the English language. Sort of like how a teacher won't grade your paper based on how much she enjoyed the story, just on whether or not the basics are done correctly.

Point being, that anyone can post there, but those who go to read the stories don't have to weed through ones that aren't properly polished first. Like I said, a more professional version of FictionPress.

Speaking of readers, apparently there's also a way for the site to custom-pick stories that you would like. I'll have to play around with that too in order to figure out that feature, and then get back to you folks next week.

Have any of you used Inkitt before? Either as readers or authors? Feel free to let us know more about it, as well as how you liked using it, in the comments. In the meantime, I'm off to play with a new site.

No comments:

Post a Comment