January 1, 2017 · 5:22 pm
Happy New Year everyone! 2016 was in many ways a difficult year. But in other ways it was a great year. I started my radio show AND got a permanent part time position at the library. I also just got back from a wonderful few weeks in sunny Florida (pictures forthcoming on Flickr!)
Here’s all the things I wanted to do in 2016:
- Finish Tears of the King – failure. I didn’t finish it, but I did work on it a bit more earlier in the year (to the point that I would say 1/3 is functioning and built). I think I made this game much bigger than I should have; it’s going to take me awhile yet to finish it.
- Write four polished short stories – failure. I don’t think I really wrote any short stories. I brought a few older ones with me to edit and that didn’t even happen. Oh well.
- Take a Lego Picture a month (and actually post it in a timely manner) –
failure huh partial success. I took one and posted it relatively on time every month until the fall. I seriously thought this had fallen apart long before then.
- Eat healthier – huh, partial success. I started using my dietary scale to make Greek yogurt parfaits with granola (which I love). I’m also a bit more conscious of my portions. Not bad!
- Be more active – partial success. I walked a lot over the summer, and a lot over the last few weeks in Florida. Plus last month I went swimming a lot, too.
- Read the anthologies I own – failure. I read 4 anthologies or short story collections. One of them was honestly an accident (I didn’t realize The Jungle Book was a short story collection when I started reading it). I also think I’ve read one of the four before (but didn’t realize it until I recognized the final story in the collection). I’ve also got two anthologies on the go right now and haven’t read from either of them in awhile.
- Build 1 of my worlds that need building. – this is another partial success. I did spend some time working on another world, but I don’t think I got it to the point where I feel it is ready to work with (the setting is still unnamed at this point, though I have spent some time trying to name it with no luck thus far). Hilariously I also spent a bit of time working on magic in Imezza while I was in Florida; sitting on a beach watching dolphins is sort of the best inspiration for an ocean world! 😉
- Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book – failure.
- Take apart my NaNoWriMo 2015 blob – success! I succeeded at this back in February! 🙂
- Work with Chat Mapper – failure. I have done nothing with Chat Mapper since January 2015 (which was fun though!)
While I didn’t accomplish many of my goals for the year, as I said, I ended up starting a radio show, which has been a great experience! My life has taken me in some unplanned directions, making me a lot busier than I may have previously been. So with that in mind, I’m going to make less goals for this year, but make them things I really, really want to accomplish. Hopefully this way I can keep myself a little more focussed on things now that I have more limited time. So this year I want to:
- Read 40 novels. In 2016 I read a lot of shorter things (both graphic novels and short stories). So this year I’d like to focus on longer works. Ideally most of those longer works will come from books I have stockpiled in my house but we’ll see what happens.
- Write four polished short stories. I have three worlds built to a point they can be written in/about, and a fourth one coming along okay. It’s time to start using these worlds!!! Plus there’s a short story contest I’d like to enter.
- Work on Tears of the King. Ideally I’d like to finish it. But even getting another third built would be awesome!
Those are realistically my most important creative goals for this year. Taking Lego pictures is fun, but I don’t want to bog myself down thinking I HAVE to take them. Chat Mapper hasn’t happened for the last few years, so there’s no point in worrying about it now (but if it does happen this year, that’s still cool). Likewise, I haven’t gotten around to editing any of the NaNoWriMo books I’ve written and they’re not a priority to me at this time (but again, if I do get around to them, that’s great). And I don’t need to do any more worldbuilding, but again if it happens, that’s great (and I already know I have to tweak a few things in my Imezza and Faeriia Google docs thanks to my brief work on Imezzan magic over the last few weeks). I also decided not to bother posting my non-Creative goals here since this blog is entirely devoted to my creative endeavours.
EDIT: I came up with one more goal. Goal #4 is to spend one hour a week on writing. This hour can be spent on Tears of the King, worldbuilding, editing, short stories, novels, whatever. I’ll even schedule it into my week if I have to!
So there we have it – my goals for 2017. Wish me luck as I work to accomplish everything! I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated with my writing progress. 🙂
Filed under Contests, Game Development, goals, Updates, Worldbuilding, Writing
Tagged as blob, Chat Mapper, editing, game, game development, goals, NaNoWriMo, RPG, RPG Maker VX Ace, short stories, short story, Tears of the King, writing, writing contest
June 15, 2014 · 3:23 pm
It’s been over a month since I’ve posted here. And what a month it’s been! The most exciting part of this last month (for me anyway), was Tink. Tink was my aunt and uncle’s cat; they’re moving out of town and can’t take him with them. So we’ve taken him in. When they first got him, my then five-year-old cousin named him “Tinkerbell” because she thought he was a girl. That got shortened to Tink once her family realized he was a boy. My cat, Sasha, still isn’t very happy with this, but we’ve seen marked improvement over the last month (originally she would be hissing and growling when he was within about seven feet of her. Now it seems to be about three, and she doesn’t hiss and growl the entire time). They’re separated at night and whenever someone isn’t around (Tink stays with me all night). He’s an incredibly laid back cat and I love having him around.
In other news, I did not make the short list for The Realm Crowd Sourced Story Contest. But congratulations to those who did (and to the winner). My friend, Leanne C. Taylor-Giles, was someone who did make the short list; you can read her awesome entry here.
I’ve also had two book reviews published in my local paper, the Chronicle Journal. The first one was on June 9th, about The Last Unicorn graphic novel. The second one was today, about Kevin Hearne’s book Hexed. Neither one is available online at the moment (the Chronicle Journal hasn’t updated their book reviews on their website since early May), but I will post the links once I have them. Most likely that will be when the reviews appear on TBPL Off the Shelf, whenever that may be.
Speaking of Kevin Hearne, I also interviewed him for TBPL Off the Shelf. We talked about all things Iron Druid, including a bit about his new book, Shattered, which comes out this week. The interview went live on June 11th; you can find it here.
On the personal writing front, I’ve done a little bit more worldbuilding. I realized that Imezza wasn’t quite as ready to go as I thought it was, so I went back to that a little bit. It’s still by no means done, but I was able to fix a couple of spots that needed fixing. I think it’s now at a point where I can write some short stories, but that’s what I said last time, so we’ll see once I sit down with it. I’ve also spent some time working on a second world. It’s really shaping up in my mind, but right now I’m grappling with a few issues, so more on that once I’ve got them sorted out!
Finally, it was my birthday the other day. I had a really great time going out for dinner then playing Rock Band with friends.
All in all, this has been a busy but fun month! 🙂
Filed under Contests, Interview, Updates, Worldbuilding, Writing
Tagged as articles, author, author interview, book review, cat, contest, entry, Imezza, Kevin Hearne, review, TBPL Off the Shelf, The Realm, Tink, Worldbuilding, writing, writing contest
May 12, 2014 · 10:39 pm
A friend of mine told me about the Realm’s Crowd Sourced Story Contest a couple of weeks ago. The Realm is a game that Atomhawk Design+Lantern Interactive tried to fund on Kickstarter last year. In an attempt to find a new source of funding (and use some of the beautiful concept art they created for the game), they ran a contest. Anyone can write a story using up to 20 of the 24 images they provided (4 are blank images that you can use in places where the existing artwork won’t work in your story). The winner will have their story published in an animated storybook app (and get a share of any profits the app gets).
My entry is titled “For the Fear of Monsters.” It was originally titled “The Monster and the Flower,” but I felt that title didn’t really work, especially after I received feedback from my brother and changed the story. I purposely tried to keep descriptions to a minimum, letting the pictures do the “talking” as much as they can. I hope you enjoy reading it. 🙂
March 14, 2014 · 10:08 pm
Back in January, I came across the 91-Word Memoir contest, which was hosted by the Gotham Writers Workshop. In honour of a Gotham student who passed away a few days before her 91st birthday, the Gotham Writers Workshop challenged writers to tell a personal story in 91 words or less. The winner and finalists were announced a few days ago (congrats all). I didn’t make the list of finalists, but I thought I would share my entry here (I called it “One Word”):
“Shauna has diabetes.”
I sat with my mother, the two of us bawling while the doctor told us what happens next. I didn’t know why we were crying; the word the doctor said meant nothing to my seven-year-old mind. But mom was crying, and so I cried, too.
The doctor told us to go home and get some of my things. Then my life changed forever. I had to fear low blood sugars and complications. Plus the nurse made me eat my crusts. All thanks to that one word.
I tried to make it exactly 91-words, but unfortunately it ended up only 89.
March 4, 2014 · 1:35 am
On March 1st, the Short List (the top five) entries for the Author Quest contest were announced, along with the Editor’s Choice (the next 20). I’d like to extend my congratulations to everyone who made the lists; I’m looking forward to reading the revised Short List entries! 🙂
Unfortunately, my entry did not make either list. But I double checked with the people at DarkCrystal.com, and I am allowed to share it on my blog. So here it is, “The Skeksis’s Lie.” I hope you enjoy it.
December 31, 2013 · 5:14 am
I’ve done it! I just submitted my entry to the Dark Crystal Author Quest contest!
The submission itself took a bit longer than I expected. I had to give them biographies for all the characters I used, as well as answer a couple of questions (like explaining what the Dark Crystal means to me). But it was all worth it because I am now finished!
Officially, I ended up writing five drafts, although that count isn’t completely accurate; draft one in particular was at least two or three different drafts. The final story came in at 7,503 words, just hitting the minimum word count for the contest. I’ve spent the last few days polishing everything as best as I can. I re-watched scenes from the Dark Crystal to make sure I got the Skeksis’s dialogue right (and even there I managed to learn something new about the movie). Once the dialogue was completed, I made sure that all of the descriptions of both setting and character actions were fixed up. And finally, I read everything over a couple of times to make sure the piece was both to length and flowed nicely while reading. I’ll admit, I did panic a little bit when draft 4 came in at 7,359 words. But I fixed it and everything works.
I want to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped me out, whether by simply reading it over or by giving me feedback. I couldn’t have done this without you guys! 🙂
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 4, draft 5, edits, Jim Henson, rewrites, thank you, writing, writing contest
December 28, 2013 · 9:08 pm
A week and a half ago, I gave Draft 3 to a couple of friends for feedback. Now it’s time to work on what will have to be the final round of edits for my submission because the contest closes in 3 days.
I have one sizable edit going into draft 4: I need to fix up the beginning. This was actually a problem from draft 2; it was something my brother flagged when he gave me feedback. But I had to focus on other, bigger things at the time. Now it’s been flagged again, this time by another friend, and so I’m going to do my best with it.
Beyond that, I’ll be fixing things up as much as possible. I need to make sure that all of the characters are speaking in their own voices. I need to make sure the setting and descriptions are good. And of course I just need to make sure everything is polished before submitting it. So please, wish me luck as I finish off my submission for Author Quest!
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 3, draft 4, edits, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 17, 2013 · 12:30 am
My third draft of my Author Quest submission was a bit of a struggle. As I mentioned last time, I was blocked during the writing process for a bit. And even when I did manage to start writing again, I still had issues writing the new Gelfling scenes. But all of that struggle was worth it, because the story has really shaped up in my third draft!
This draft was focussed on fixing up the story, particularly in making the major changes that my brother and I had talked about after he read it over. I ended up changing over 3000 words, drastically rewriting several scenes in the process. While this was rather tough at times, it was well worth it, as draft three has a stronger story than the previous drafts did. I was a little bit worried over the weekend that I wasn’t going to be in the right word count range, but luckily the third draft came in at 7,699 words, just slightly shorter than draft 2.
I have already sent draft three out to a couple of friends who have expressed interest in reading it and giving me some feedback. I have just two weeks left to submit this, so I’m hoping that they can get back to me before the weekend, giving me enough time to make any changes that I need to. Hopefully there won’t be any major changes that I’ll need to make.
So wish me luck during these final two weeks as I work on polishing everything before submitting it on the 31st!
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 2, draft 3, edits, Gelfling, Jim Henson, rewrites, writing, writing contest
December 10, 2013 · 4:43 am
Over the last few days, I was blocked from writing. It was the weirdest thing: I had absolutely no motivation to work on my third draft. At first I thought this was just procrastinating, putting it off a bit because the deadline’s coming soon. But every time I tried sitting down with the piece, the words wouldn’t come.
I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I hesitate to call what happened “writer’s block,” but that’s the best term I have for it. I’ve always pictured writer’s block as more of a blockage over the blank page. Having two drafts already written on this project, I didn’t think I could get blocked like that. But then, somehow, I did. I felt like a bit of a failure; when I was asked how the writing was going, all I could honestly say was “It isn’t.”
Luckily, this sad state of affairs didn’t last very long; I managed to work past what was blocking me. I think some of the planning I needed to do was most of the problem, as after I figured out what my Gelfling village should look like (and one house in particular), I felt like I could write again. And even more importantly, I actually could; today I managed to fix up one big chunk of my story (I think it was around 1,500 words).
So hopefully this was just a minor bump in the road to finishing my Author Quest story!
December 5, 2013 · 12:21 am
I spent a lot of this afternoon doing research for draft 3 of my Author Quest submission. After thinking about it a bit, I’ve definitely decided to make the major changes my brother and I talked about the other day when he gave me feedback. I want this story to be as strong as it can be, and I honestly think what he suggested will greatly help.
Unfortunately, the rewrite is going to be rather substantial. I’m looking at changing about 3000 words right now, which is a little under half of my story. I’m also going to be introducing a different setting which I will most likely have to make up; in draft 2, the entire story takes place within the Castle of the Crystal, but now I’ll need to go outside of the castle for a scene or two. I did a lot of research looking into what Gelfling villages look like, but I had a really hard time finding anything. The couple of pictures I did find come from the Dark Crystal graphic novels (both the Creation Myths series and the Legends of the Dark Crystal manga). Nothing I found today is quite right for what I need, so it looks like I’ll be designing my own village for the story. To that end, I’m planning on playing around with a sketch book tonight to hopefully get a better idea of what I need.
Luckily, I actually did start visualizing the area I need in draft 1 (it was the chunk I completely removed in draft 2). So between that, the few pictures I did find, plus sketching, hopefully I’ll have something I can use in the next couple of days.
By the way, if anyone is interested in some reference pictures, I’ve put together a board on Pinterest. The pictures on it are mainly Skeksis and locations because that’s what I’ve needed for my submission so far. But if you’d like to see what I’ve used, feel free to check it out. 🙂
Filed under Contests, Writing
Tagged as Author Quest, contest, Dark Crystal, draft 1, draft 2, draft 3, edits, Jim Henson, Pinterest, reference pictures, research, rewrites, writing, writing contest