Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Playing Massive Catchup

Alright, well, I definitely didn't intend on completely skipping last week! I was doing so good, too.

I don't have a real valid excuse. My excuse is simply that I had to work last Tuesday, and also...
Here's the quick play-by-play of the past two weeks:
  • Wednesday 9/7 - On death's door; crashed after work
  • Thursday - Work until 8pm, and then OPENING GAME OF REGULAR SEASON FOOTBALL! We were up until midnightish.
  • Friday - Work followed by me zoning out on the couch for hours on end trying to figure out how to level up my character in Bear's campaign.... It was bad....
  • Saturday - Work again, half-hour break, and then straight into the weekly D&D session. Things are starting to look bad for Jolene. Me and Bear decided I need to do a solo-session with her to figure out background stuff. I stayed up until it's time to take Hubby into work.
  • Sunday - Drop Hubby off; couple hours of sleep; pick him up; work; and then straight into the Giant's rival game! Sunday night football - minus a half-hour between the afternoon and evening games - kept us up until midnightish again.
  • Monday - My coworker convinced me to join her in Aerial Yoga. So, right after work, instead of working on this post - knowing full well that I couldn't write it Tuesday due to working - I went to yoga with her, and then straight into the Monday Night Football double-header. By the time the games were over and I was back home it was around 1am.
  • Tuesday - Work, and at that point I had been up for so many days in a row that I just zoned out instead of writing this post AFTER work, so that it could go up Wednesday.
  • Wednesday - More work, and then straight into laundry. I was going to work on this post there, but it was the only free time Bear had for my solo play. It kept nearly the full two hours I was at the laundromat, and then another hour or so after I got home. Then quick folding/hanging of my clothes before bed.
  • Thursday - My 10hr day at work, leading directly into football again. Another late nighter.
  • Friday - While this was yet another day that I had every intention of writing my late post, it turned into me cleaning week-long neglected dishes, as well as working on a new weekly challenge Ronoxym gave me; something I'll talk about more in this post.
  • Saturday - Work yet again, then about half-hour down time for food, followed by the D&D session leading straight from the Wednesday solo-session. Jolene is REALLY in trouble now, but Bear had to crash early for work, so we had to kind of stop right in the body of the drama! We're continuing with a short session tomorrow night, and I've been antsy about it since Saturday night! More on this in the blog too.
  • Sunday - Hubby drop off; Hubby pick up; work; football. I was going to use the much more mellow atmosphere of football watching this week to FINALLY get to my blog, but at that point I figured I'd just write last week off and wait until today.
  • Monday - Home stretch. Last day of work before my day off; FINALLY. Aerial Yoga was cancelled, so I left work and just vegged all night; enjoying my freedom.
I feel so bad. Not only did I miss my blog post, but I also haven't had contact with my email pen-pal in nearly two weeks. My brain has been so burnt out that every time I open the email to respond to her my eyes cross and drop focus. So, I guess I know what I'm doing when I'm done with this post.

I've been slacking a bit on my prep for NaNo, and my writing has died down a bit with my brain being all fuzzy, but I haven't stopped completely.

On Friday the 9th I was able to get a hold of Ronoxym via FB messenger. Generic "how's things" talk for a little bit. I then tried to strong-arm him into doing NaNoWriMo with me and Cyhyr. I think I MIIIIGHT have convinced him, but he's a busy boy, so who knows? Between work, new-fatherhood, and going back to school, I have no clue where he'll find the time. Still, I'll be evil and poke him during November to ask how his writing is going.

Anyway, as we were talking "shop" I reminded him that he never gave me the writing challenge he said he made up for me back in January/February. After a brief moment of "Uh... let me remember what it was...." he gave me my challenge: write a new 1000-words or less flash fiction each week!

I'm now REALLY glad that he had forgotten about exchanging challenges until just now. Finishing up the last quarter of the year with this challenge will be interesting enough. A full 52 weeks of it might have killed me....

So, writing a complete story/scene/whatever in 1000-words or less is already super hard for long-winded me, but Ron wasn't done yet. Not only did I have to write flash fiction each week for the remainder of 2016, but I also had restrictions:
  1. None of the stories could relate to each other. They couldn't continue off each other. I couldn't thread a bunch of 1000-word scenes into a full story. Each flash fiction had to be a one-shot.
  2. I couldn't write about characters I already created. No X-Future girls, no D&D characters "behind the scenes" stories, no characters from original stories I already wrote. Each new, flash fiction had to be about completely different characters.
  3. No. Fan. Fiction. None. No playing in someone else's sandbox. Not only could I not use my own characters, but I definitely can't use someone else's. Each week. New characters. Completely original.
I'd call him mean - and I think I actually did in our conversation - but I wasn't exactly kind to him either when I gave him his challenge at the beginning of the year; not that it matters, he had forgotten about it with all the chaos of Baby-Prepping.

OH! And speaking of Ron, he and ChibiSunnie just celebrated their birthdays! Happy birthday to probably my two writing besties!
Aaaaand we're back....

So anyway, my nervousness about Ron's challenge quickly turned into excitement. An adorable elder couple came into the store a few days prior, and they inspired me. I had my first story done within 24-hrs of getting my challenge.

When I was done I was actually at like 1013 words, though, so I had to grumble and cut until I was at EXACTLY 1000 words; still counts! Also, I cheated slightly. What I wrote wasn't a scene per se. There was no action. There was no dialogue. There was no true movement of character. Instead, it was a snapshot of a man dealing with his wife dying from cancer; what is known as a vignette.

A story is still told, but at the same time the elements of a "scene" are missing: the action; the growth.
"Screw 'Til Death"

I read this story at writing group last week. I think I have stronger faith that the lack of critiques each week is due to my skill; not their neglect.

When I finished reading there was just this profound silence, and then this group exhale. I had comments like "Wait, you're HOW OLD again, and can write so poignantly about a couple in their late sixties?" and "I've been through this, and let me tell you, you've nailed it." Just about everyone at the table said similar: I captured the pain of losing someone you've loved your whole life; the loss of self along with your partner. Granted, after seeing my mother go through it, it wasn't a hard stretch to be empathetic towards those in that situation.

That's when Carson nervously pitched in a cautious "I don't mean to insult you, but... why do you write fanfiction when you can write like THAT!?" The room echoed his sentiment. He always seems to be able to put words to what everyone else seems to think.

I was probably blushing nearly as bad as when I read "Rensin's Conquest" to them. I had to admit to them what I've already admitted here: I know full well that I use fanfiction as a crutch to get past the "hard bits" of writing; namely creating the world and characters. Yet, I still fall back into the crutch because it was what always got me writing in the past, and writing fanfiction is better than no writing at all, right?

Still. It's SUPER encouraging to hear them all astonished at how well I wrote that tale. I don't know how they'll feel about the next one I wrote this past Friday, though. Not nearly as emotional, and in the realm of fantasy; which most of the group isn't really into.

As I stated in my weekly recap above, Jolene isn't really doing very well. The session tomorrow night might actually see her untimely demise.

While I'm of course fighting to prevent that, I also must let the character make her own decisions and let the chips fall where they may. I already have her swan song written up should it go that far.

Since Jolene may not last much longer, I've started trying to find inspiration for my next character. I flipped though about twenty or so pictures people have drawn of characters created for fantasy games. Among them was this amazing picture.
Bard Ariane by Lapis-Razuri
Isn't she adorable!? I instantly knew that she was going to be the basis of my next character. Right off the bat I figured I'd make her a gnome. She also looks playful, like she doesn't really take anything seriously. She looked spunky, like she had a lot of "moxie." So I needed to figure out a good name for that.

With some playing, I figured "why not a name that - in theory - people could shorten to 'Moxie'?" Some more playing around, and I came up with the name Elymoxa. I personally shorten it to just Mox, but I'm assuming the group would shorten it to Ellie. However, the potential for "Moxie" is there, and that's all that matters to me.

Anyway, since she's not officially a character yet, I stretched the restrictions of Ron's challenge a bit, and I used her for my second flash fiction. Consider it a way to get to know her. Time-order-wise, since I haven't opened the Players Handbook even once to start officially creating her, you could say she's an original character I liked enough to make into a D&D character to play.... That makes this past week's story count for the challenge, right?

If you want a nice intro to Mox - who will probably change while I play her, because that's how it ALWAYS happens with my characters - then you can check out my flash fiction for week 2 of the challenge:
"No Time for Playing"

If you want to follow along before I post in my weekly blogs for the remainder of the year, you can watch the anthology I've pieced together for these one-shots. It's called "Ronoxym's Flash Fiction Challenge." And, yes, it does occur to me that perhaps the name is a bit confusing. I'm LycoRogue, and it says Ronoxym's, but I was tired last Friday when I set it up. Besides, Ron was the one who challenged me. It made sense at the time. I might have to go back and change it though at some point....

The trick is to figure out what to write for this week's challenge....

The other trick is to get back on track with NaNo prep while dealing with the drama of Jolene's doom, and let me tell you, she has NOT shut up since the solo session last Wednesday! It's snippets and mini-speeches, but I have a couple pages worth over the course of the past week.

I'm really liking Jolene and her relationship - strained as it is - with the clueless Rensin. Even the setting of the campaign is awesome. I just wish I understood it a bit better so that Jolene could have played around in it a bit more. Perhaps Jolene and Rensin will be revived - as it were - in another story concept down the road.

I can't keep stealing other people's roleplay characters though, like I did with Phfylburt's Lincoln or Ron's Devon. I'll have to find a way of recreating Rensin as an original character to pit up against Jolene. I did have a similar concept for Amara's love interest for her story - which I had mentally "in the works" back in like 2005/2006, but never actually written down. I don't know if I can make Rensin as adorable as his player does, though. I'll need practice over the years of polishing.

Alright, well, since I'm now down a week for my blog posts, I might work on a catch-up one for a double-post week. Most likely focused solely on my reading challenge progress since I haven't talked about that in a little while. So, keep your eyes open for that.

In the meantime, I'm off to play massive catch-up to make up for the crazy-long work week I had.

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