Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Climbing Out of a Little Depression; Don't Mind Me

I feel like I need to start off with the elephant in the room: Donald Trump is the United States' president-elect.

Now, I won't get into the politics of this and the social effects this has. That's not what this blog is for. What I will say is that regardless which side you were on with this election, this week was emotionally draining, and a bit of a shock.

So, I was already in a daze from the election. That Wednesday evening I was hoping for some much-needed distraction. Due to their move and lack of internet, Bear had to cancel two games, so he had one of the "make up" sessions last Wednesday. During said session Rensin - and Dunina - was frozen in stone by a basilisk gaze. So.... still emotionally charged.

I was itching to write Jolene's entry on this, but the characters weren't in a good resting spot, so it didn't make in-game sense for her to journal about it. I'm waiting until the "dungeon" is cleared before I post my next journal, but boy howdy will it be long!

At least two others couldn't wait, but I'll get to that in a bit.

This week for NaNo, I was writing about Jolene's third love: Parvil Kiv.
Addison by CrystalCurtisArt
Commissioned by WindyAutumnMoon for her character
It occurs to me that I don't think I shared the images I found for each of Jolene's loves, so I'll backtrack real quick before continuing on.

First up is the first - and strongest - love of Jolene's life. She's loved others since him, and Rensin is super close to being on par with the love she had for him, but this is the ruler others are measured against: Jacob Highwin.
How I picture Jacob dressed up
and while working the forge
Yvad Trevelyan - Skyhold Outfit by Slugette
Imagine Jacob with honey-brown eyes
instead of these purple ones
Yvad Trevelyan by Slugette
The last gentleman I'm going to share this week is Jolene's second love Teo Apenell. There's actually a really awesome scene that I wrote between him and Jacob. Poor sap didn't realize he'd hurt Jolene almost as much.
Image found via Pintrest
Original source unknown
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I was writing about Parvil this week. Sadly, I don't really have much on Parvil. His relationship with Jolene was basically "rebound boy after being heart broken over Teo," and he was more into a physical relationship than an emotional one. He was the "rebel" she was with for a brief stint. Good for backstory purposes, but now that I have to write out the actual relationship, I've got nothing. I'm running on empty.

I wrote the chapter that introduced him, but I just can't write the next one. I've been chipping away at it a few-hundred words at a time, but I really should have had this finished by Thursday at the latest.

Proof that planning really DOES help with writing momentum. I had so much figured out for Jacob, and he ended up sticking around for four chapters. Then I had a nice chunk of information figured out for Teo, and he was another three-chapter character. Now that I'm Pantsing the part I'm writing about Parvil, I'm slugging along.

It also doesn't help that I know this chapter is most likely the one where Jolene finds Parvil with the lusty barmaid. It's already an emotionally charged week; I just can't mentally put myself there without sobbing and curling in the corner to weep. It actually already happened this week.

See, along with the emotionally draining election, and the emotionally charged game where Rensin got frozen in stone, there were at least two other things that got me really emotionally raw this week.

While part of me doesn't want anyone to see my unedited work - which is why I'm not posting it here - I still kind of want input. So, since I was going to convert the edited version into the canonical back story for Jolene anyway, I decided to share my progress on the forum Mouse made for the game.

I warned people that it was raw and unedited. Not a problem. I then posted the link to the Google Doc I'm constantly updating. Still good to go. Theeeeeen I noticed that Rensin responded to my link.

Seems he was burnt, bad, by a fanfiction writer before. To the point where he cannot stand fanfiction or fanfiction writers. It felt like he thought them downright deplorable. This stung. This drove a knife right to my core.

Everything I had told myself over the past years - all my writing doubt - it came erupting to the surface. The thoughts that I'm not an actual writer because I need the crutch of someone else doing the work of world-building and/or character building. The hate that I'm incapable of doing something original. The slacker attitude that I was doing FANFICTION for NaNo while there are thousand others "doing it correctly" by writing something completely original this month.

It was like my inner editor and writing doubts were given a mouthpiece, and it was someone I respected for his writing; someone I wanted to better befriend. Instead, I now shrink away from him. I feel just completely unworthy, and almost fear meeting him outside of the game setting. It.... it was bad. I couldn't think about my story for a day or two. I just kept thinking that he was right, that I was deplorable for writing this fanfic instead of trying to do something myself.

Mouse came to my rescue. She told Rensin that it was fine; that she and Bear knew me and trusted me; trusted my writing. She then cheered me on.

Still, the wound was there, and her standing up for me - and Rensin's subsequent "Oh, okay then" - couldn't stitch it closed. I tried to ignore it. I tried to let it be, but every time I logged onto the board and I saw Rensin's name as "last poster" on my NaNo thread I hurt. So, against my better judgement, I explained my hurt to him. I tried to be diplomatic about it: This is how you hurt me, please think stuff like that through before you attack someone next time. However, I was still emotionally raw from everything else this week, so I guess it came across as me being the one doing the attacking. So, Mouse again stepped in by telling us to be civil.

CIVIL!? I didn't realize I was being hostile. If anything HE was the hostile party, and yet she asked for us to be civil after I posted. That cut me harder; realizing how misunderstood I was.

I guess now I understand how Jolene could be misunderstood in-game. If I couldn't explain myself without people feeling attacked, how could she? No wonder arguments seemed to pop up out of nowhere around her. No wonder her calming, carefully chosen words meant to show concern were always seen as harsh and criticizing.

Again, I sunk further into my writing funk. If I couldn't properly explain or present myself in writing when it comes to my own conversation, how could I possibly do it in my fiction? If my simple words could be so misinterpreted how could I properly tell a story to another?

That inner editor that was supposed to be locked away this month busted out of his cage and was roaring around me about how inadequate I was. I'd read what Rensin wrote on the board in the Myths or Journal sections. I'd read what Corlmitz wrote in his journal, backstory, or Legends section. I'd read what Mouse would put in Mahtab's journal or more world-build info about the various religions. I got emotional. They all provoked such strong emotions in me: anger, fear, sadness, joy, etc. And I watch people react to these posts stating just that.

Then there are my posts: Jolene's posts. Nothing. I'm not even sure others read them. No one ever comments. I am amazed by the writing the others do, and I feel so subpar. It took everything I had to push through. To keep going. To just write this week, even when every ounce of me told me to quit; it wasn't worth it; no one cares; I enrage people with my effort.

If that wasn't bad enough, we then had game on Saturday. We had continued through the "dungeon" - it's a set of sewers under the city they were in - but we're not quite done with it yet. Hopefully, we'll complete it tonight.

Anyway, Jolene is already on edge from Rensin being turned to stone, but he's back to flesh, so she's kind of elated at the same time. Then they came up against a vicious monster. It should have been challenging, but a lot easier for us to take down. Sadly, the dice were not with us that night, and we all rolled far too low to do anything more often than not. This resulted in Rensin and Dunina again nearly kicking the bucket.

Mahtab was able to get them both to full-health - or close to it - easily enough, but she admitted that she probably wouldn't be able to do much more healing that day. That's when Jolene innocently suggested that they retreat, regroup, let Mahtab rest, and possibly get other means to heal so they didn't need to rely on her as much.

Mahtab wasn't hearing it. According to her, she never retreats. Then she basically told Jolene to hide in the back if she wasn't brave/strong enough to fight. That stung. Jolene announced that she was pretty much the only one who came out of the fight unscathed and that she was more worried about them than herself. Frustrated that she again got misunderstood and ridiculed, she stormed ahead. If they wanted to march to their deaths she was done trying to stop them.

That was when the shit hit the fan. Rensin called out for her to "go home" since he couldn't handle her whining and fighting all the time. Jolene argued back that her fighting all the time was to protect HIM since she had to watch him nearly die THREE TIMES within the past week. She couldn't handle it because she loved him. It was the first time she admitted - even to herself - that she loved him.

In truth, I didn't expect Rensin to scoop her up and start a make-out session, overjoyed by her confession; they'd been through too much and she cut him too deep for that. I did, however, expect him to at least sigh and state something to the effect of "about time you admitted it." Or for SOMEONE to state something to that effect. It was obvious to everyone but her that she was madly in love with him. "About time you admit it" and then a "but we have to do what we have to do; we'll discuss this further later." That was more-or-less the reaction I was expecting.

Instead, Rensin swung from left field. He blurted out that he was sick of hearing Jolene focus so much on herself and how what the party does - whether or not they survive - effects HER. He then accused her for not understanding him. That's when he dropped the bomb that he re-evaluated his feelings and realized what he felt wasn't love; never was, and never could be.

Well, I was right there sobbing beside Jolene. And not a single party member tried to comfort her or reprimand Rensin for his harshness. They all stood there, more-or-less releasing a sigh of relief that the volatile relationship finally came to a close. The only one who reacted was Corlmitz, but even THAT was unexpected. He went off on BOTH of them for acting like children and finding the most inappropriate times to hash out their doomed courtship.

The night kind of spiraled from there.

First, there was the emotionally draining election. Quickly followed by an emotionally charged D&D session. That was followed by Real-World Rensin's criticism about me writing fanfiction for NaNo. Which, compacted with how I view everyone else on the board and how I'm sort of the outsider of the group, just tore the dreaded Inner Editor out of my head and plopped him right in front of me to try to battle. I saw myself the way Jolene sees herself within her group: an outsider always misunderstood as selfish and uncaring; disconnected. Then there was character Rensin's random outburst to implode his relationship with Jolene, followed by even more ridicule from Corlmitz. Again, I felt like I WAS Jolene. Was Rensin's harsh breaking off of the relationship somehow emotionally backed by me and Real-World Rensin butting heads about my story? Finally, I have to break poor Jolene's heart a second time by writing her finding Parvil in the arms of another.

I couldn't do it! I couldn't keep working on my story this week. There was just too much. I was just too depressed. I had to climb out of that hole before I was lost to despair.

So I switched over to "Some Like It Flame Broiled."

Can't handle a break-up scene due to crushing depression? Switch over to a smut story filled with violence!

I finally finished it, but I have to also admit that once the foreplay was done the story kind of died off. Apparently I'm great at foreplay, but the actual sex scenes and post-sex fight scene? Meh.

I sent it over to Ronoxym while playfully yelling at him for it. I needed a happy place to hide from Jolene for a while, and apparently that "happy place" was a smut story between Trish and Dark Devon.

Ron got a nice chuckle out of it and we playfully teased each other over the weekend as I kept using SLIFB as my "safe space" to further avoid Jolene and the depression that came with her. However, after I sent the story over to Ron, he agreed with me: about 65% through the story it just kind of died off.

However, with just a quick read through my 13-pg story, that was his only criticism thus far. He even pointed out a line that was perfectly in-character for Dark Devon, and it was during the "meh" part of the story. So... win? I was so concerned that I wasn't going to keep Dark Devon in-character, especially after everything about fanfiction writing this week.

Ron still needs to give it a better read to actually put his Editor's Hat on, but the fact that there weren't parts that he instantly stated as "he's out of character" gives me hope. He joked that he'd help me figure out why the story went sideways at the end. "Together we shall save this smut!" HAHA.

Um, thanks, Ron. I'd really like to have something that is strong all the way through, but at the same time.... all this effort on a story that will most likely never see the light of day....

I also used my depression a bit this week. I did write up Jolene's journal entry while the emotions were still raw. I just have it saved to add to and edit depending on how the rest of the dungeon goes. I'll then post once I'm done.

I've also started writing Jolene's farewell letters to everyone. An individual letter for each party member. I have Mahtab's, Rensin's - which he can't read himself yet...., Corlmitz's, and Dunina's written already. And they are LONG! Sorry, players!

So, I have written a LOT this week. More-or-less 1227 words in SLIFB, 1360 words for Jolene's journal, and 2897 words for the farewells written thus far. Add in the words that I did write, and the fact that I'm scheduling myself Saturdays and Sundays off, and I'd be ahead of the overall word count I should have been at, instead of about 8,000 words behind. I wish I could count it....

Before I get even more depressed with tonight's game, I'll have to push past Parvil's break-up scene. Maybe if I get to the point where I'm writing happy thoughts again - like the start of Jolene's relationships when they believe they're in love - I can push through. I can write.

Wish me luck.

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