Over the weekend, I finally sat down and read the February issue of bUneke Magazine. I try to read it every month so I know what’s going on (and also to find articles to highlight on the Sustainably North Twitter, @SustaintheNorth). In the February issue, Anna East writes about getting things done. You can find her article here:
Anna East’s article hit me pretty hard because I know I am very, very guilty of not finishing projects I am working on. Take right now: I’m part way through the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way Anthology, I wanted to start another short story about aliens in the wild west, I have three RPGs that I’m building on RPG Maker (Tears of the King, Memories, and Soccrpg). And I have various other short stories I have started and failed to finish for one reason or another.
I think Anna East’s problem is my problem, too: I want my work to be perfect. So when a project is failing to live up to my impossibly high standards, I stop working on it. I also have a million ideas and there’s never enough time to get them all written, so that doesn’t help either.
And I’m busy. I know that this is a problem that everyone has: there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. But specific to me, I started my other blog, Sustainably North. I started volunteering my time with bUneke Magazine, writing a monthly column. I’m trying to get a bunch of reading done (I did make a goal to read 25 books this year, plus I just really like reading). And then I do a fair amount of writing for my day job too (even more right now because I’m helping out on a few bigger projects that are coming up). All of this has been making me feel fractured and really time-pinched. Plus after a full day at work, I find myself coming home and just not wanting to work on anything else because I’m done for the day – I’ve got nothing left.
And since I have no intention of stopping Sustainably North, volunteering, reading, or working on those projects at my day job, I am going to dial back on projects at home. As much as I would really, really like to work on a story about aliens in the wild west, I honestly do not have the time for it right now (especially since it got stuck in worldbuilding). Plus the plot just isn’t worked out right now anyway, while the story for the Make Your Way anthology is plotted and just needs to be written. So I’m going to stop working on the wild west story, and just focus on getting the Make Your Way story written. And at this point I need to make sure I don’t bog myself down with feeling that it isn’t good enough; this is a first draft right now, so of course it won’t be perfect! It has to be written before I can worry about polishing it.
Happy New Year’s! It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year. Last year, my goals were:
- Read 25 novels. Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year! I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
- Write two polished short stories. Failure. I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
- Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦
For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more. Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience. For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too. Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May. So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂
Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January! That was fun, too! 🙂
For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals. This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals. My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017). Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly. So here are my goals for 2019 so far:
- Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal. Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun. This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
- Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)
I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now. At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine. If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉
This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!
So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂
Despite spending a lot of time watching Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant – sooo funny!) this was a fairly productive weekend. I managed to actually work a little bit on the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way anthology. I’ve had such a hard time sitting down with it lately so I was very happy to go from 326 words to 687 on Friday night. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a snag in the story, so I need to sit down and actually figure out how to get past that before continuing.
On Saturday, I realized that I still needed to finish editing today’s Sustainably North post. So I did that and scheduled it for earlier today. The post ended up being called “Why I’ll Never Be Plastic Free” and goes through a lot of the plastic I generate just from having Type 1 diabetes. I had a really hard time writing the ending, so this took a lot longer than I thought it would.
Then yesterday, I wrote and scheduled the next two Sustainably North posts. Next week’s is going to be about this month’s article in bUneke Magazine, which is about homemade gifts. From there I decided to write some posts about the wreath and banana bread that I have pictured with that article. So the end of the month talks about the paper flowers. I haven’t written them yet, but I’m also going to write some posts for the first few weeks of December about making the actual paper wreath and making banana bread (I think I’ll share my grandmother’s recipe for that one, too!)
So with Sustainably North taken care of for a little bit, I’m hoping I can turn my attention back to my gamebook short story and hopefully get a lot more done on it!
Over the last week, I found myself really struggling with doubt when it comes to working on the short story for the Make Your Way anthology. Specifically, I’ve been doubting myself and my ability to write this piece.
Deep down I know this doubt is silly. I’ve worked on similar projects in the past, most notably Holdfast. Holdfast is a game book that was developed by Black Chicken Studios. For Holdfast, I worked on two separate story lines. I developed the characters, and had to write out a branching story (rather like a Choose Your Own Adventure story) complete with a couple of RPG choices. And I did it all within a week. This experience is exactly what I need to call on for the Make Your Way anthology.
Perhaps part of the problem is that this specific experience happened five years ago. Yes I have done it, but I haven’t done anything quite like this recently. And in truth, this project is a little more intense than Holdfast was (even though all the work I did for Holdfast happened within one week, which is a very tight turnaround time); where in Holdfast I was just writing the story stuff, this time around I’m designing the RPG system, editing everything, and having to randomize the sections at the end, too. So it’s possible that this stuff is intimidating me a little bit, too.
Another thing that I’m worried about is the story ballooning out of control. Being a choose your own adventure style story, having multiple paths increases the replayability. But it also means the story becomes physically much bigger. While Make Your Way didn’t have any word length specifics, they do remind you that whatever you submit is just one part of a bigger book, not a standalone book on its own. How do I keep the word count down while making sure the piece is fun? Should I sacrifice replayability by making it a super linear story? I don’t really want to, but it might be the only way forward.
While grappling with all of these doubts, I have made a bit of progress. I have the main characters figured out. And I’ve brainstormed a lot of individual story elements (including a possible bad ending!) I think at this point I really just need to sit down, start writing, and see where things go, even with all the doubts. So wish me luck as I do that this week! 🙂
Over the last month or so, I’ve had a couple of different people ask me for game writing samples. I directed them to my main website, shaunakosoris.com, so they could see what I had readily available. Unfortunately in both cases, my available samples did not meet their needs (one person requested samples with romantic dialogue, while the other was looking for non-fantasy samples). Currently on my website, I have three samples: two are character biographies that were developed for different games, and the other is made up of actual scenes from a game (mainly dialogue with a bit of branching narrative).
I have written a couple of pieces over the years that I think would have better met what these people were looking for. Unfortunately I am unable to showcase them as samples. So I decided to set to work remedying this. Two nights ago I went looking for writing prompts to use as a starting point. I was specifically looking for more of a real-world idea, but ended up finding a fun romantic dialogue prompt instead. I was going to write the sample in Chat Mapper, with the intention of exporting it as a .rtf (I was really hoping to see what the output would look like with branching dialogue). Unfortunately I don’t currently have access to that capability, so I had to use a different program instead. Last night I played around with TyranoBuilder a bit, thinking I could build it there, but I don’t think there’s a way to export the dialogue (and I wasn’t planning on writing an entire Visual Novel, although that might be something to try in the future). So I ended up writing the first draft of the sample in Word. I had a lot of fun writing it (it’s currently over 900 words!) I’m hoping to get it edited and up on the site over the weekend. 🙂
As promised yesterday, here’s some info on my third RPG Maker game I’m working on: Soccrpg! Soccrpg started when I went for lunch with a couple of friends. One of them complained that there was no soccer game made like an old-school RPG. I have no idea what is out there (the other friend started listing games that combine RPGs with sports), but I started thinking to myself that I could make one. And so Soccrpg was born.
This is literally what I have made so far:
It’s a soccer field with the positions in place. The opposing team chases you when you have the ball and you’re in their zones on the field; your team just stands around and will talk to you if you interact with them.
In some ways, this was a stupid project to start. I don’t really know much about soccer, so I’ve had to research like everything. So bear that in mind when I eventually finish it (my friend really wants me to make it playable for others) – I will probably get things wrong!
So with that caveat, Soccrpg has also been a great learning experience because this is my first time heavily changing things in the database. Because this isn’t remotely a traditional fantasy RPG, I’ve had to redefine terms and rename things. For example, I decided that the only weapon will be “cleats;” currently the database lists all the default weaponry as a type of cleat.
Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year. Last year, my goals were:
- Read 40 novels. Success! I read forty novels, a bunch of graphic novels, and a bunch of comics! 2017 was a great year for reading!
- Write four polished short stories. Yeeeah….partial success I guess? I did write one. But that was it. I did start on a second one, but I discovered that Imezza isn’t in as good shape as I thought; I got a bit bogged down in worldbuilding, and the story ended up really blah as a result.
- Work on Tears of the King. This was nice and vague. I worked on it a bit this year (it’s no where near being finished). So partial success? I don’t know if I built another third, but I did make some progress.
I apparently also set a fourth goal, which I managed to forget about (it was to spend an hour a week on writing). 😦
2017 saw me start two new RPG Maker Games (oops): Memories and a second one I haven’t actually talked about on here yet (oops, I’ll have to remedy that). It also saw me working on a freelance project which I’m still unable to talk about, which was very exciting. It also saw me slowly and unexpectedly move away from my second job. So for 2018, I’m going to work on freelancing a little more than I have.
So with that in mind, here are the goals I’m going to set for 2018:
- Read 25 novels. Well, novel-length books. I know that the 40 novels from last year was my only really successful goal, but I need to back that off. I found that 40 novels was a lot of pressure while I’m trying to accomplish other things. I also found myself shying away from any books longer than around 300 pages, so making this goal less should help me tackle some of the longer books I’ve had for years and have ignored.
- Write two polished short stories. I wrote one, so this year I will aim for two.
- Finish a bloody RPG! Like I said, I currently have THREE RPG Maker games on the go. So this year, I want to get SOMETHING finished! lol I also have to not start another RPG Maker game until I get something finished!
A couple of final notes for the upcoming year:
- next weekend I’m going to be participating in my first ever game jam! I’m really excited for it! I’ll have to blog more about it. 🙂
- I am not going to make a goal for “so much time writing” this year. Instead, I’ve currently got one guaranteed afternoon off from work, so I’m going to try to use that time for working on things, be they writing or researching (although it’s also a time I use for other things like vet appointments, because I know it’s a time I don’t work). Depending on how the year goes, this can change, so I’ll have to be flexible with it.
So that’s it. Hopefully 2018 will be a good and creative year, giving me the flexibility to work on different things (and actually get some stuff finished!)
So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂