Category Archives: Writing

#WriteTuesday – Starting to Think About Writing…

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this last week literally flew by!  But that’s ok – overall the week felt pretty good (although I did find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at times too – it’s looking like a second wave of Covid is hitting my country and province).  I’ve been just trying to take everything one day at a time, and to that end, I also wanted to start tackling things like my email, which was getting a bit out of control (I really need to consider unsubscribing from some things….)

But in the middle of everything, I was starting to feel a glimmer of actually WANTING to write something, which is pretty exciting.  I haven’t really been working on any projects since finishing Of Pieces and Memories (I attempted to work on editing “A Friend From the Deep,” but that story felt an awful lot like writing about self isolation, which I’m honestly not ready to do).  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to work on next, but I do have some ideas of themes that I’d like to explore a bit more before committing to anything. We’ll see how it goes.

My main goal right now is to not overwhelm myself.  I’m studying two languages right now, plus I gave myself a whole bunch of reading for articles for work.  So adding a little brainstorming work in shouldn’t be too overwhelming; I can start working on something once I finish off that reading!

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Update – Lots of Reading + Language Learning

Apologies for no post last week; I was on vacation from work and forgot. 😦

Over the last few weeks I haven’t really done any writing; I’ve been trying to read a whole bunch of Massey Lectures for an upcoming @ Your Library article I’m planning on writing for work (that’s the column the library I work at publishes in the local paper).  I’m hoping to get through another two more Massey Lectures (and in a perfect world I’ll have time to reread A Short History of Progress, but realistically that won’t be happening before the article is due).  Wish me luck!

I’ve also been continuing with the language learning, both Ukrainian and French.  I signed up for iTalki and had my first lesson in Ukrainian last week; I really liked the teacher and have another lesson booked for this weekend. 🙂  Right now I’m only planning on booking Ukrainian lessons on iTalki since there’s still a lot more French to learn on Duolingo…maybe once I eventually get to the end of the Duolingo French tree then I’ll try French on iTalki too (lol but that’s a looong way off from now).

So how have you been over the last few weeks?  What’s new and exciting?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday: The Return!

Happy September everyone!  Did you have a good weekend?  This weekend was Labour Day here in Canada; I was very happy to have an extra day off (although I mainly spent the time reading The Huntress by Kate Quinn – I needed to get through it for a book review that’s due this week)!  I am happy to say though that I also fit in some editing time.  I actually pulled out the notebook I use to break down my goals for the week into manageable chunks (I haven’t used it since February! 😮 ) – I used it just to plan out what I needed to do over the weekend (mostly reading and editing). I’m happy to say that I managed to get through pretty much all of my goals. 🙂

Oh, and earlier in the week, I was also a guest host on the Thunder Bay Public Library’s weekly show Read This Next, which airs on Fridays. Nicole and I chatted about video game books – we gave highlights based on games that are coming out this fall, talked about our personal video game book recommendations, and just generally chatted about video games.  I had so much fun!  Check it out here:

Other than that, I’m still working on French and Ukrainian, mainly on Duolingo.  I tried watching a movie in French without subtitles about a week ago; I couldn’t follow the dialogue, but thankfully I was able to follow the story thanks to the visuals.  Then a few nights ago I watched a movie in Ukrainian, but with English subtitles; my Ukrainian isn’t as strong as my French, but I was happy to be able to pick out a few words on my own here and there.  Oh, and I was really excited: while reading The Huntress, one of the characters has a tattoo on her foot in Cyrillic.  Even though it was in Russian, I was able to understand what it said (it was the numbers for six hundred and sixteen)!

So how’s your week been?  Anything new and exciting? 🙂

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My “Few Week Break” Went a Bit Longer Than Planned…

Hey everyone! How’s it going? I had planned to give an update some time ago, but life happened.  As I’m sure it has been for many of you, too, life has been a bit of a roller-coaster during this pandemic.

For the last few months, I haven’t been working on any writing.  After finishing Of Pieces and Memories, I was reluctant to start working on another project mainly because I thought I’d be going back to work soon.  While I am back at work now, that took longer than I expected.

But during this time, I haven’t been idle.  Back in June I started learning Ukrainian on Transparent Languages, a language learning app offered by my local library.  I chose Ukrainian because my dad speaks it, so I thought it would be a good choice as I’d have someone to converse with.  While we haven’t spoken together much yet, we have sent each other some letters in Ukrainian.  It’s been a lot of fun getting them. 🙂

coloured picture of a cat person

I coloured the character Birdsong to look like Merlin. 🙂

Then I was talking to a friend of mine who doesn’t live in Canada; he was surprised that all Canadians weren’t bilingual because we have two official languages here.  In the end we agreed to learn French together, so suddenly I was learning two languages (although I do know some basic French from elementary and high school, so I’ve been able to progress faster with it than with Ukrainian – I found that, especially in the first month or so, I had to go really slowly with Ukrainian to give my brain time to absorb the new words I was learning).  So yes, I’m now learning two languages! 🙂  I then talked my mom into learning French with me (we attempted to take a French class together a few years ago but it was cancelled on us), and have found a few other friends who are learning French too.

At that time I switched from Transparent Languages to Duolingo for both languages.  I’m loving Duolingo!  I actually just recently achieved a 50 day streak on the app, which is super exciting. 🙂  I do wish there was a bit more Ukrainian content on it though; the French course has these super fun stories, and it’s too bad that the Ukrainian course doesn’t have something similar.

Other than the language learning, I’m currently just trying to stay healthy and positive.  I did a lot of colouring in the early months of the pandemic (also helped by Idle Champions’ #idlecoloring, which offered in-game content to the community based on colouring done over the week), and continue to colour if I’m feeling particularly stressed from things.  I’ve also been listening to music.  I listened to a lot of Solitudes in the beginning of the pandemic, but lately I’ve been listening to songs in French and Ukrainian.  Here’s my favourite Ukrainian song, ПЕРЕЖИВЕМ by SKAI – my dad translated the words for me (the title means “We Will Live”):

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Taking a Few Week Break

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I’ve been late or missed the last few #WriteTuesday posts, so I’ve decided I’m going to take a break from writing them for the next couple of weeks (although I will still write my June What Are You Reading Post, which will appear on the last Thursday of the month).  I’m currently planning on resuming #WriteTuesday in July; I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks! 🙂

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Wow, It’s June!

Where is the time going? I can’t believe we’re already a week into June!

I forgot to write a #WriteTuesday post last week because I was gardening.  I’m very happy with how my gardens have turned out – it makes me very happy to be hanging outside with Merlin. 🙂

pic of my garden

As for this week, I don’t really have an excuse.  I’m still feeling pretty blah because I haven’t got a big writing project on the go.  I did some work on “A Friend from the Deep,” specifically looking at the characters of the story, but haven’t gotten any further than that so far, even though I do have some ideas on how to rewrite the story.  We’ll see how that goes this week (or if I should start working on something else instead?)

How about you? How’s everything going? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – a Blah Sort of Week

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  How are you holding up through all of this?

Ever since I finished Of Pieces and Memories last week, I’ve been in a kind of blah mood (at least once the initial excitement of finishing wore off).  My problem was that I didn’t know what to work on next.  I could go take a look at “A Friend from the Deep” and see about editing it (it got rejected a few times, so I’m thinking it needs some work).  I could look over “Of Skeletons and Sorcerers,” which also needs some editing.  I could start tackling Tears of the King, which is long overdue.  Or I could go do something totally new.  What to do?

While I was thinking about it, I decided to read through some more magazines that I had stockpiled.  I managed to snag the 2018 Writer’s Digest magazines from the library at the beginning of the year when they were withdrawn to make room for this year’s, so I’ve been mostly flipping through those (I also got caught up on all the emails from Writer’s Digest, so it’s been a week of reading about writing!)  While, at least right now, I’m not really finding the magazines satisfying in the way that reading a book is (which also means I need to start reading a book…), I’ve gotten some great writing tidbits, which also gave me a few ideas of how to tackle “A Friend From the Deep.”  So it’s looking like that’s what I’ll be working on this week!  I found my copy of it last night so I’m ready to go today. 🙂

How about you?  Any plans for the coming week?

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A New Name for Edric

Edric/Godric sprite and face graphic

Edric/Godric

About a month ago, I noticed that my wizard character, Edric, had a name that started with an “e” like two of my other characters (Eireen and Ena).  When I originally came up with the names for everyone, I tried to have all the people who were related to each other share a first letter (so, as mentioned, Eireen and Ena are related, while Alea, Adalyn, and Albert, etc).  So I’m not quite sure how I messed this up originally and made Edric’s name start with an “e” too.  When I discovered this back in April, I spent some time trying to come up with new names, either for Eireen and Ena, or for Edric.  Unfortunately nothing seemed to fit (and all of their names have been set in my head for so long) so I resigned myself to that mix-up.

And then I discovered that I HAD renamed Edric some time ago.  I still have the map I’ve called “test room” with all the characters standing around in it (it’s the map I used to take the picture of all the Memories characters). And if you talk to Edric, his dialogue said “I was Edric but now my name is Godric.”

😲

I checked out the meanings of both “Edric” and “Godric” on Behind the Name (I love that site for helping me find names for characters).  “Edric” means “wealth, fortune” and “ruler” while “Godric” means “God’s ruler” (the “ric” in both names means “ruler”).  From that alone, “Godric” seemed like the better name for the character, since he is a wizard who has power over the fortunes of humans, while also an admired or influential person (two of the definitions provided by Oxford).  So I went into Memories and officially changed his name within the game to Godric.  Thinking of him as Godric does feel weird though since he’s been Edric for so long, but I know I’ll get used to it.

(While looking back through this blog’s archives for the game, I actually found when I renamed him.  But I guess that information never made it into my paper notes, and I didn’t correct the picture with all the characters’ names, so when I started working on the game again, he just became Edric).

Other than the name difficulties, EdricGodric has been one of the easiest characters out of the whole game to find a voice for.  Like Alexis, Alea, Albert, and Wulfric, Godric is one of the pre-made RPG Maker VX Ace characters.  And from the moment I looked at his portrait, I just knew what he would sound like.  Yes, I have made some changes to his dialogue here and there (especially when certain words and phrases end up claimed by other characters), but I’ve always been able to find a way for him to say things that sounds authentically “him” (lol, at least I hope I have!)  Which is a really good thing, since he’s the antagonist, and his voice really matters! 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Playtesting!

I’m almost done Memories!

After doing my best to find voices for my characters (Wulfric and a few others are still giving me some trouble, but I *hope* I’ve done well enough with them), I started doing some final playtesting before I plan on releasing the game on itch.io. I thought the playtesting would just be a few playthroughs to mainly check all the dialogue as a complete whole (thanks to implementing different dialogue choices within the game, it does mean I’ll have to do at least 4 different playthroughs for dialogue alone).  But I ended up finding quite a few little bugs, as well as a few bigger ones, that need to be fixed.  So I’ve been making my way through all of that (with a break to finish reading Elizabeth Bear’s Jacob’s Ladder trilogy).  Playtesting will be continuing this week (along with some more editing work by the looks of things).

Oh, I’m also really excited to finally have a proper name for Memories!  I think I’m going to call it Of Pieces and Memories.  When I gave it to my friend to try, I’d tentatively called it Hearts and Memories, but that didn’t sound right to me, even though it is, at it’s very essence, what the game is about.  I considered several lines of dialogue as possible titles (like “Just trust your heart,” which resonates with me every time I read it during a playthrough), but nothing seemed right.  Then over the weekend, I realized that a lot of the dialogue revolves around pieces of hearts, which is how I decided on the title.  I ran it by my friend, too, and he approved as well. 🙂

How about you? How’s everything going? Stay safe! 🙂

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Finding a Voice for Wulfric

Wulfric sprite and face graphics

Wulfric

Meet Wulfric, the huntsman from Memories.  Wulfric was unique out of the whole cast of Memories characters because I just couldn’t get a feel for his character.  Like Alexis, Alea, and Albert, Wulfric was one of the pre-made RPG Maker VX Ace characters (he’s the one I always seem to use for huntsmen-type characters).

When I was originally choosing the characters for Memories, I decided that there should be a huntsman character of some sort.  My reasoning was that Memories is fairy-tale like in many ways, and fairy tales often have a huntsman in them.  And that was it; like so much of Memories, I really didn’t have much of a plan and just kind of went with everything that came to mind.

Wulfric was always one of the first characters that the player got to see, but that was pretty much the extent of his role in the game.  He’s the one who found the avatar (player character) wandering around and brought her to the house where everything takes place.  Once he did that, he disappeared from the game entirely.  When I figured out an ending for Memories, I added him into it, just to make him more present in the game (plus it seemed fitting that he was at both the beginning and the end of the game).  But I was never sure if it was fitting that he was there, rather than someone else.  But it did put him into the game more, so I figured I might as well leave it as him for now.

Once I started working on the characters’ voices though, I knew I had a big problem with Wulfric.  I couldn’t get a feel for him.  His role was more important than Alexis, so I didn’t think I should cut him from the game (and if I did, I don’t know who could have replaced him.  So I needed to figure out what his character was like, including why he is here (and why Edric would have hired him since he has no family connections to any of the other characters).  I found this article on A Writer’s Perspective that talked about the importance of medieval huntsmen; while I admit that this was the extent of my research, it sounded good enough for my purposes, and underscored how Wulfric would have been an important part of the household.

But it still didn’t help me with his voice.  I started thinking more about what his character might be like.  I came up with some ideas, like how he’s a loner, and how he butts heads with Albert, the butler (Albert doesn’t like that Wulfric is able to do whatever he wants outside of the house; Albert likes to think of himself as in charge of everyone).  But that didn’t really help me in terms of how he sounded.

And then I stumbled on this graphic thanks to Pinterest, which talks about minor character development.  In the point about character voice, it mentioned that some characters talk in short sentences; that ended up being the key to finding Wulfric’s voice!

Once I had a tentative feel for what his dialogue would be like, I started implementing it, playing around with it until it sounded right to me.  I also added him to the game a bit more; in one of the rooms there were wood piles that were supposed to increase as time went on, implying his presence.  Instead I explicitly put him either in the entrance way or around the wood piles in the house to show that he’s actually bringing stacks of wood in.  This also helped with another problem: I realized that there was nothing happening at the front door when you went  there (originally there was supposed to be a small scene with the wizard, but it wasn’t triggering). Now Wulfric and his piles of wood block the way so you can’t get to the doors to leave.

With that done, I then had to decide if he was the one who should show up at the end or not.  I ultimately decided that job should fall to someone else, and so Adalyn (Lyn, the housekeeper) took over from him.  I’m happy with this change; it seems like a much more fitting role for Lyn. 🙂

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