Thursday, March 31, 2016

Finally, Some Writing!

Wow, I never went back and wrote a blog post last week. Sorry about that. Not intended. It was just a crazy week, and Wednesday proved too full a day for me to write my post ahead of time, and Thursday I was at work all day. I had all intentions to write the post when I got home on Thursday, or while Hubby was out on Friday. As per usual, things didn't go as planned.

I guess it was for the best, though. I really would have hated to write "I didn't write anything" in yet ANOTHER long-winded, excuse-filled post. Which was one of the reasons I didn't go back to write a post last week. I ended up using that time to actually write some fiction! Egads!

Before my first game as the DM, I had created a bit of a backstory for the tavern the party met at, as well as the town it was associated with, even though it was on the outskirts. It kept me nearly a month to go back to it, but last weekend I finally took the time to sit my butt down and finish the darn thing. Due to the nature of how the story evolved - first tavern, then town, then surrounding area, etc - there is an unproportional amount of time spent talking about this one establishment. I still need more info on the other businesses, the people, the Assassin's Guild, the Thieve's Den, the baron and his family as well as their relationship to the count, etc. In the meantime, though, I feel it's a good start, without it being as overwhelming as my Sandikir culture write up last year.

Also, last year someone commented that not all the Sandikir words seemed to connect to each other in order to make a coherent language. I get that. I'm far from a linguist. I can barely master my native tongue, I can't seem to figure out any other languages - even though they are all comparatively much easier than English - and so knowing language enough to create a believable one is a bit out of my wheelhouse. At some point I'll have to figure out how people were able to come up with their own languages so that I can do the same. That's probably decades from now, though.

The reason I bring this up is that I'm sure I'm going to have a similar issue with this story. I took a variety of approaches to name multiple different things - from landscapes to gods to familial names to business names, etc - and it might seem a bit disjointed from each other. My defense? I took the American approach to things. We're a melting-pot of cultures and languages, and we steal from those cultures and languages all the time to create a diverse environment. You might drive down King's Street, turn left on Rodero Drive, pass Lopatcong Road, and finally park on Lafayette Boulevard. That's four different cultures smooshed together on one simple road trip. They may seem so disconnected, but it works for a diverse culture like America. So, I'm just going to assume the majority of the countries and cultures in Gyateara will be built "melting pot" style.

"Welcome to Ashitar"

I had made sure to finish up this little story, edit it, and post it on DeviantArt as well as FictionPress all by Easter Sunday. Which reminds me. I missed last week's post, and so I also missed this:

I would normally also wish people a happy Passover at this time, but apparently that's still about a month away. Strange that the two celebrations can be so separate from each other when The Last Supper was a Passover meal.... Anyway....

After a bunch of confusion, it was brought to my attention that I unintentionally missed the last local writing group meeting. I had missed the one due to being sick. Then, the Tuesday after visiting my sister was supposed to be the next meeting. I thought that were the case, but I was so - is there a term for "jetlag" when you were just driving four hours away in the same timezone? - that I lost track as to whether it was one or two Tuesdays previous I was sick. Hubby was just as confused, I guess, because he also thought it was still an "off" week. So, last Tuesday I was all set to go to the meeting - although I didn't have anything to really read aside from the incomplete form of "Welcome to Ashitar" - only to get an email stating it wasn't the right day.

The local paper was apparently just as confused as I was, because they had also printed that the 22nd was the next meeting; exactly what I had thought. There was a big email debate as to whether or not the journalist was correct, how we all go the schedule confused, and whether or not we should have meetings three weeks in a row - in case some newbies showed up. Eventually it was decided that the librarians would inform any newcomers of the mix-up, but the meeting would still just wait until this past Tuesday.

The confusion did give us all a great writing prompt, though. So, after a month of no writing group - due to accidentally skipping a second one - I came back a bit triumphant. Not only did I have "Welcome to Ashitar" finished for a read-through, but I also had the writing prompt completed as well:
A newcomer to a writing group gets the dates wrong, and is invited to "another group" that is meeting that night at the library.
We had some very interesting responses to this prompt. Keaton wrote about two boys in a post-zombie-apocalypse traveling twelve miles to a neighboring community in order to join a writing group. They come across a cult-like community of segregation between the sexes. Men and women are never in the same room - aside from a mother caring for her son, or the process that leads to a woman becoming a mother in the first place.... - and the boys happened to have shown up on the WOMEN'S writing group night. Keaton didn't get to the point where the boys were officially invited to join another group, but the men of the village welcomed them into the community messhall for dinner.

DFL was having some computer frustrations over the past couple of weeks - after her computer was forced to upgrade to Windows 10 - and so her character had the same frustrations, only to have her day punctuated with the news that her group was cancelled for that night. She was then offered a knitting or computing group to join for the night since she was already at the library. The character opted for the computing group in hopes of learning how to better deal with her own computer. She discovers that the room was filled with middle-aged, blue-collar or retired citizens all just as frustrated with the Windows 10 upgrade, and so they were plotting to build a bomb in order to threaten Microsoft. The story was actually so amusing to picture. I almost wish this was in some sort of visual format for me to watch.

Red had continued a prompt from when I was sick: three randomly selected elements worked together. We had done similar prompts in the past. Her three elements were a parrot, Hurricane Irene, and "Something in the pocket". She hadn't made it to the pocket bit, but the rest of the story was intriguing. A young Au Pair is trying to persuade her young ward to make two large changes in his life. The first is to visit either his mother or father; both in different prisons after being caught as drug-runners during the chaos of Hurricane Irene's clean-up. The second would be to switch from homeschooling - which he had done his whole life - to joining the public high school now that his education surpassed what the Au Pair was qualified to teach him. The parrot element had the family pet mimic important background conversations in order to give both the audience and Au Pair the insight into the kid needed to help him with these transitions.

The final member of the group this past week was apparently a new member as of the meeting I accidentally skipped - if not the one I was sick for. The first "regular" man in our group. It's nice to have the new perspective, especially with us women trying to write males. It would be good for us to have an actual male opinion on whether or not we're writing men "correctly".

I'm under the assumption that he was the one that offered up the "writer on the wrong day" prompt, and he used it beautifully. The lead-in to the mix-up seemed a bit unnecessarily long, but his depiction of the main character was fantastic and humorous. He then gets to the miscommunication, and has his character come across an eccentrically gaudy woman of questionable sexual morality. I pictured the woman perfectly, and every line of description had me actually laughing out loud. Most of us were, actually. It must have really reassured him to hear the laughs he wrote in.

Me? Well, I got a couple of chuckles, but not nearly as many as I thought I wrote in. I don't know if it was a matter of my verbal delivery, the way I delivered it on paper, if it's only amusing to people of my demographic, if it was amusing but not laugh-out-loud so, or if it just wasn't as funny as I thought. Either way, the new gentleman in our group stated that he could picture everything well, and it got his attention. I guess that's something, right?

I think everyone was more focused on trying to learn alongside my main character. I had him stumble upon a group of people using the library as a staging location for their Boff group. For those who don't know, Boffing is Live-Action Role Play using foam weapons to act out fight scenes, and usually set in a High Fantasy setting; so people are generally in Medieval or Renaissance style clothing. No one in the room knew what Boffing was, and so as my secondary character Jenn quickly explained to my main character Ian, the room seemed just as interested to know. Keaton even asked a few follow-up questions on Boffing in general.

All-in-all, everyone seemed to want me to continue the story, which was also reassuring. I stopped it where it could be a nice one-off, but it was also open ended enough to lead into more chapters. I'm probably going to focus more on Gyateara for the near future; build up more of Ashitar so that my players have something semi-substantial to run around in. However, I will give continuing the Boff Group story some serious thought.

Until I get to the point of continuing the story, it will wait patiently in my Anthology. Although, I'll probably have to remove it as a chapter once I decide to make it a story of it's own. Oh well, crossing bridges once I get to them and all.

Like I said, in the meantime, you can find it here:

"Everything for a Reason"

I also managed to finish "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" yesterday, giving me my second or third - depending on how you're counting - book completed for the reading challenge. Let's check out that list again, shall we?
Challenge created by Modern Mrs. Darcy
Alright, so I have a few "Schrodinger Books" right now, in which they are simultaneously two different categories until future information leads me to which category they're actually falling into.

Both "Life, the Universe, and Everything" and "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" can fill the "published before you were born" category. LU&E can also fill the "already read at least once" category while SL&TfAtF could also fill the "previously abandoned" category. If I read one more story that can fill the "published before you were born" category, and only that one, I'll shift the other two into the other categories. Otherwise, I'll have to shift either of those Hitchhiker's Guide sequels into that publication category if I read something else for a second time, or another book I gave up on; such as books I should have read in school. ALL THE SCHRODINGER BOOKS!!!!

Now to figure out what I'm going to read next. Also, tomorrow is April First. Not only does that make it April Fool's Day, but it also makes it the first day of the now disbanded Script Frenzy month. Considering Nickelodeon announced a few months back that they were FINALLY greenlighting The Jungle Movie - after the fans fought for it for nearly a decade - I feel like perhaps I should reach out to ChibiSunnie, and we should finally finish our own version of the movie plot before Nickelodeon releases the official one.

So, I must make a few decisions: what to read, what to write, and whether or not to try out Script Frenzy on top of my other fiction writing.

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