Tag Archives: Grief Project

Hello 2016!

Happy New Year everyone!!!  2015 was overall a really good year for me and I’m rather sad to see it go.  But hopefully 2016 will be just as good!

Here’s all the things I said I wanted to do in 2015:

  1. Read 50+ books off of The List -partial success.  I read 51 books this year, but only 25 off The List.
  2. Stay in shape – I’m going to say failure.  I did get back to swimming, but really late in the year.
  3. Get 2+ of my worlds that need building up to the point Imezza is currently at – success!  City of the Dead and Faeriia are not done but I can easily write stories set in them.  That sounds like the point Imezza is at to me!  🙂
  4. Finish the screenplay I started – failure because this was going to be a gift for a boyfriend who I broke up with in March (so I stopped caring about it).
  5. Write the Grief Project  – success!  A first draft was completed in my NaNoWriMo blob!
  6. Write a story a month for Apocalypse Madness  – success!  I actually wrote 13 stories plus wrote something with Chat mapper for Apocalypse Madness last January.
  7. Build a game – partial success. After Storynexus stopped being supported I switched back to RPG Maker (which meant switching to a different game).  Tears of the King is not completed, but I’m still working on it!
  8. Figure out Chat Mapper – I’m going to list this as a partial success because I did write that Apocalypse Madness thing in January.  But that was the last time I even looked at the program, so I don’t want to say it was a full success.
  9. Take a Lego Picture a month  – failure.  I stopped taking as many pictures in general this year and miss it, but I just haven’t had time!  😦
  10. Fix up my Red Bubble profile – I actually did do this early in 2015.  So it’s a success, but I haven’t added anything to it since then.
  11. Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book – failure.  Lack of time.

No wonder 2015 was a good year for me – out of 11 goals for 2015, I completely succeeded with 4 of them (and 2 of them were quite sizable – writing a story a month for Apocalypse Madness and getting two worlds to the detail level of Imezza!)  I also made a valiant effort on a few others, with only 4 as outright failures!  What’s more, I actually succeeded on more writing projects than I did last year!  (I think my main accomplishment last year was to build Imezza).  So 2015 really was a good year! 🙂

So let’s look to 2016.  This year I want to:

  1. Finish Tears of the King.  That should obviously go without saying.
  2. Write four polished short stories.  I’m very proud of the work I spent writing for Apocalypse Madness this last year.  But Apocalypse Madness is all about writing first or maybe second drafts.  So this year I want to put the time into writing more quality pieces, not quantity.  I’m planning on perusing Duotrope for markets that I’m interested in and writing a story every quarter for one.
  3. Take a Lego Picture a month (and actually post it in a timely manner). I can do it!
  4. Eat healthier.  I’ve been so busy over the last several months in particular and I feel unhealthy.  So 2016 is the year I’m going to try to be healthier.  I’m just listing this here as part of my goals, but don’t worry, I’m breaking this down for myself in better detail!
  5. Be more active.  Going hand in hand with number 4.  Also breaking it down for myself into better detail.
  6. Read the anthologies I own.  Looking through my list of books, i have over 25 anthologies of short stories on there!  So this year I’m going to focus on getting through most of those (if I make it through 20 I will consider this a success).  As a side note, I’m going to mark my Goodreads Challenge as reading 40 books for the year. So that means I hope that half of my challenge will be made up of short story collections.
  7. Build 1 of my worlds that need building.  I don’t really need to do this this year, but I know there are two main worlds that need building (well, one world, one science fiction setting that in reality will be multiple worlds).  If I can get through one more right now, that’ll only help me more in the future, right?  🙂
  8. Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book.  This is the same as last year – I want to make it into a coherent narrative that I can share with people.
  9. Take apart my NaNoWriMo 2015 blob.  This sounds a bit silly, but I’ve already put it off for a month.  The blob is made up of worldbuilding, Grief Project, more worldbuilding, and several other, smaller things (stories, a blog post, etc).  I need to take it apart and organize everything (particularly the worldbuilding and Grief Project.  The smaller things are pretty much self contained inside of it).
  10. Work with Chat Mapper. This poor goal has been on my lists for the last few years (since 2013!)  It’s time to actually do some work with branching dialogue!

So there we have it – my goals for 2016.  The first five goals are really my priorities for the year.  Wish me luck as I work to accomplish everything!

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#WriteFriday – November 27th

I actually did some writing on a Friday!

This week has been so full of writing, it’s kind of ridiculous!  I wrote a stupid amount last weekend.  I think it was almost 5000 words before midnight, then another almost 5000 after midnight.  I started Saturday about 13,000 words behind, and ended Sunday only about 5000 words behind.  And as of Thursday, I ended the day with 43,399 words written; the target for the day was 43,333.  And yesterday I was about 1000 words ahead of target.  Seriously, check out these stats, it’s ridiculous!

So what did I write this last week?  As I already mentioned, I finished the Grief Project draft.  Then I went on to write a rough draft of a story for a friend.  His dog, who was rather old, wasn’t doing so well and my friend thought he’d have to put him down.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to give him this story, but it was written for him.  Well, I definitely won’t be able to give it to him as it is because it’s a very rough draft.  I set it in City of the Dead because that seemed appropriate.

After that, I really had to move away from stories about grief and pets.  Another friend told me Starcraft 2: Legacy of the Void was out.  He started talking to me awkwardly about it, but didn’t want to spoil anything so I decided I had to go play it.  With my head firmly in science fiction mode, I turned away from Faeriia and another untitled world (I’m calling it the Centaur World right now.  It’s the world the screenplay I started for Script Frenzy takes place in) and started working on a science fiction setting instead.  This was helped by me rewatching Firefly as well.  I wrote down a random scene I’ve had in my head, which I have to admit, writing story makes the words go faster than working on world building stuff.  From there I decided to write another story for Apocalypse Madness (it’s set on Faeriia and called “Scourge of the Seas“).  And then I decided to write this blog post as part of the word count because I was just rambling otherwise.

I have to admit, writing 50,000 words of mostly world building is really, really hard to do.  Around the point where I started writing more stories (so I’m talking “Scourge of the Seas” and the other scene), I felt like there was no more world building I could do.  I know there are lots of holes in the settings that I’ll need to think through.  But right now I’m sitting at the end of an 80+ page document that’s basically just a big blob of text.  I tried to make notes and comments on the side of things that need doing.  But I know the way that I work, and right now I need to print out this document and go through it, organizing all the world building bits into their own documents to actually see exactly what I have and what I’m missing.  So here I am now, sitting with less than 3500 words to go to win, and I don’t honestly have anything in particular to write about (which is why I decided to write this blog post there, even though it sort of feels like cheating).  The sheer amount of world building stuff I’ve done this NaNoWriMo is awesome – I’ve got one world up to the point where I can easily start writing stories in it, even if it’s missing things, and two more (well, one world and one “setting”) in the works.  I’m super glad to be fixing some of the issues I had with my story ideas (namely the problem that almost all of them were stuck in world building).  But it’s super hard to remember everything that I’ve done these last few weeks (especially when I’m typing like a maniac to get caught up and jumping from setting to setting as it strikes my fancy).  I definitely think, if I ever decide to do NaNoWriMo again, I’m going to write a novel rather than another writing blob.

So apologies to everyone.  I keep saying I’m going to get caught up with your blogs, but realistically that’s not going to happen until after NaNoWriMo is over in a few days.  So wish me luck as I finish off the remaining 3000 or so words I have to write, and I’ll talk to you after the 1st!

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Grief Project First Draft Completed!

I have just finished my draft of the Grief Project.  I don’t know how many words it is because it is in pieces in my NaNoWriMo writing blob.  Writing it was super hard to do because I kept crying, much like the first time I wrote some of it.  After that first chunk though, I stopped putting in markers of when and where I was crying.  For the most part, I was okay when the cat characters were doing cat things; but any time they did something remotely pertaining to the plot (so not just wandering around enjoying their territory), I was pretty much crying.  Even at the end (and the end was relatively happy).  So with the amount of crying I did, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do anything with this (editing it will probably be just as tough).  But that’s okay.  I didn’t write it specifically to share with the world; it was written mostly for myself.

The ending of this draft actually took me somewhat by surprise, at least in terms of how I originally envisioned this story.  Originally I thought my main cat character was going to find his way back to his human girl.  That didn’t end up happening.  Honestly though, as I started writing it, the story started to take shape into a different way which made a lot more sense (a different cat ends up going back instead, which just feels very, very right).

Now that this draft is over, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to write next for the remaining 16,200 words.  I can go back to worldbuilding, but I’m not sure that I want to at the moment.  Of course, that’ll be a decision for tomorrow; writing the ending of the Grief Project really wore me out, so we’ll see what I feel like doing tomorrow.

On a very positive note, finishing the Grief Project put me at 33,791 words, which is just 4,542 words behind where I need to be!  I am catching up (and am even closer than where I left off yesterday where I was 5693 words behind)!

Also, a side note: Merlin curled up to me when I finished the Grief Project off.  He’s still sitting beside me, which I’m super thankful for!  This was the most difficult piece of writing I’ve ever done because of all the emotion behind it, and having his loving presence by my side is very much appreciated! 🙂

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#WriteFriday – November 6th

What a great start to this #WriteFriday: I was ridiculously behind on my NaNoWriMo blob (I’m not writing a novel, so I’ve been calling it a blob).  Behind to the tune of being on Day 4 with only 1323 words.  But as of midnight on Day 6 (so 11:59pm on Day 5), I had written 4,346 words, bringing my total up to 5669!  I’m still behind a bit (on Day 6 the goal is to write 10,000 words), but at least I’m not nearly as far behind as I was.

So what have I written in my so-called writing blob?  The first thing I wrote (which was on Day 3) was a random dream I’d had the night before.  I don’t know what, if anything, I’ll do with it yet.  But it was neat and I wanted to record it somewhere; the blob seemed as good a place as any to write it.  Also on Day 3, I sat down and wrote a story for Apocalypse Madness (this was the story I mentioned on my ridiculously late October 30th #WriteFriday update).  Day 4 saw me worldbuilding so I could fit Ayvlin into another world I’d already thought up (which I also mentioned on that last update).  This ended up actually much easier than I originally thought it would be back in Grand Marais when I thought it up.  The world actually does fit her and her story.  It even fits the other characters that were with her in that roleplaying adventure.  So I’ve mainly been working on that world, although I had a brief tangent into yet another world (I realized I have never written any of the ideas  down for it and decided to remedy that immediately).  I ended up working through a couple of things I’ve been struggling with on this world (“Do dragons belong here and what are they like?” being the main question I managed to finally answer).  I also managed to tie in another world with this one.  As I was worldbuilding, I started to realize that the second world, which I had long thought didn’t belong with this one, actually did fit quite nicely.  So that was awesome! It’s looking like this world is going to be my most “stereotypical fantasy world,” even though it’s already got things going on to make it anything but stereotypical!

I did run into an unexpected problem though.  Back in the summer of 2010 (which is just after I finished with the class I started this blog for, but way before I started using this blog for writing), I took a screenwriting course from Gotham Writers Workshop, during which I started writing a screenplay.  The screenplay was a crazy science fiction adventure which I was having fun writing.  Unfortunately after the class ended, life got in the way and I never did finish a first draft.  But it had two science fiction races which I really, really liked the idea of.  Hilariously, the faerie creatures that live on what I’m currently calling “Ayvlin’s World” have ended up an awful lot like one of the science fiction races.  I’m currently not sure what, if anything, I need to do about that, because the similarities that they both have suit them both.

So after writing a bit more (about 600 words), I went to bed, thinking I’d have more time for writing today.  But then I found myself at 11:39 having not written anything else for the NaNoWriMo blob all day (I had hoped to have another 4000 word marathon to get caught up with where I should be for word count).  Between what I’d written earlier and those twenty minutes I managed to crank out a total of 1,380 words, bringing my total for the day up to 7049.  I’m still about 3000 words behind where I should be (day 6 should put you at 10,000), but at least I’m not falling too far behind now.

For those twenty minutes (and about twenty minutes past midnight), I also did something extremely difficult: I started writing the Grief Project.  For anyone who doesn’t remember, what I’ve been calling the Grief Project is the project I was going to write after Tink passed away last summer.  But the grief was too raw and I wasn’t able to do it right away.  So I put it aside, much longer than I had planned to.  The grief is no longer so raw but it is still present; I’m not going to lie, I started crying a few times while writing it.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the Grief Project (if anything).  But it’s well past time I finally got to it.  NaNoWriMo (and this NaNoWriMo in particular) is actually in some ways the perfect place to tackle it because I can let it be whatever it wants to be.  Especially since it’s just part of my writing blob (which means I don’t even care if the Grief Project falls short of 50,000 words because it’ll just be part of the bunch of writings I’m doing this year).

Good luck to everyone else who is participating this year!

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#WriteFriday – October 2nd

I was working all day on Friday, and then I had plans to hang out with a friend.  So I didn’t end up working on any personal projects on that day.  But I did get to spend a bunch of time writing during work.  I was starting to work on an article that’ll be due at the end of the month.  I was also working on organizing some interviews for TBPL Off the Shelf (I’m once again interviewing the authors who are coming to Thunder Bay for the IFOA), plus I have to have a book review written early this week, and I have two more articles due at the end of the month.  I’ve also got two articles that were/will be published (something in the Seniors paper, because the library columnist who usually writes the column is going to be away a lot this fall, plus an @ Your Library article which should be published in Sunday’s paper).  So the whole month should be quite busy with work writing.

On the projects front, I wrote “Just One More Level” for Apocalypse Madness Tuesday night and published it on the blog Wednesday afternoon.  I’m considering NaNoWriMo again this year.  I haven’t participated for the last couple of years.  I’ve kind of said (not on this blog I don’t think), that I’m not going to participate again because I currently have two messes of novels that I’m not sure what to do with.  But while thinking of it, I realized that I don’t have to write a particular body of work that equals 50,000 words.  I just need to write 50,000 words.  So I was thinking I would do some work on what I’ve been calling the Grief Project, which is one of my goals that I have not done any work on so far.  I’m not even sure how big of a story that’s going to end up, so I don’t want to commit to making it a 50,000 word novel.  I’ll also have to write something for Apocalypse Madness next month, so I was thinking I’d tack on the word count for that as well.  And probably any work I do on Tears of the King if I’m working on it (I may put it aside just for November, but we’ll see).

My friend and I finished Secret of Mana on the Wii Friday night!  I played it by myself around September 11th, but he offered to help me play through it after that, which I thought was great.  We’ve played it about once a week for the last few weeks.  I thought we *might* be able to finish it last week, but there’s quite a lot to the game and we had to hold off because it was 5 in the morning.    I think that was my first real video game RPG that I’ve finished, or at least my first old-school one.  I was looking at it from a game design perspective, seeing what I can learn to help me make Tears.  I need to choose another game to play now; I’m thinking either Chrono Trigger on the Wii or Whisper of a Rose on Steam.  I’m swaying towards Whisper of a Rose because I think it was made with RPG Maker.  Unfortunately most of the RPGs I’m looking at are single player, so my friend won’t be able to help me through them, too (so we’re going to find something else to play through eventually).

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It’s That Time of Year Again…

…time to see how I did with my goals and set some new ones for the year!

Last year I set ten goals for myself, but only wrote down the writing-related ones.  But after a bit of a scare (I thought I lost the paper I wrote them all down on), I’m going to list all ten off here, along with my progress on them:

  1. Move out – success!  I got my own place this December.  I moved there with my new cat, Merlin. 🙂
  2. Get to GDC Main in SF – success!  You can read all about it here.
  3. Finish reading 50+ books -success!  I actually read 58 books!
  4. Get in better shape – sort of a success – I was going swimming twice a week all fall, but had to stop in December due to moving out and Christmas.  Will be heading back to the pool this month though!
  5. Clear out my writing magazine stash – success!  I got rid of a lot of them once I knew I was moving.
  6. Fix up my website (and eLance profile) – sort of a success – I fixed it up a bit before GDC, but haven’t done anything new to it since then (except update it with any articles I’ve had published).  For the eLance profile, I don’t think I’ve even BEEN on eLance since the spring…
  7. Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 novel OR write a new novel using 90 Days to Your Novel – failure.  All I did was look over 90 Days and decide not to use it.  Since that time, I haven’t done a thing with my novel.
  8. Build 2+ of my worlds that need building – failure (sort of).  I spent quite a bit of time working on worlds earlier in the year, and managed to get one up to a point that I think I could write stuff in it.  It’s still not “done” though – there are some aspects that I still need to work on.
  9. Build a game (I don’t care with what) – failure.  I was all gung-ho to build a Storynexus game after GDC, but that fell by the wayside (particularly when I realized the story I had in mind wasn’t going to work).
  10. Figure out Chat Mapper and write some branching dialogue – failure.  I haven’t done a thing with Chat Mapper.

So of the ten goals, I succeeded at five, worked on two, and utterly failed at three.  Unfortunately I didn’t really succeed at any of my creative goals (but I did a lot of work on worldbuilding, which will only benefit me in the future!)

With that in mind, it’s time to set some new goals for 2015!

  1. Read 50+ books off of The List (so that means non-library books – just books I currently own!)
  2. Stay in shape (get back to swimming and keep it up!)
  3. Get 2+ of my worlds that need building up to the point Imezza is currently at.
  4. Finish the screenplay I started.  I forgot to write about it, but I started a screenplay at the end of November.  It was meant to be a Christmas gift, but I ran out of time due to moving.  So now it’s going to be a birthday gift.  I have until August to finish it.
  5. Write the Grief Project.  I had planned on doing this sooner, but my grief for my cat was too great and I couldn’t do it last fall.
  6. Write a story a month for Apocalypse Madness.  Apocalypse Madness is a blog I started back in 2008.  The idea is that every month someone would post a quote, then everyone who contributed to the blog had to write at least one story inspired by that quote.  The blog died in 2011 (due to a number of reasons), but I decided I wanted to revive it starting today.  So for the first time in three and a half years, there is a new quote; hopefully stories will follow!  And if you’d like to join in on Apocalypse Madness, send me an email or comment on this post! 🙂
  7. Build a game.  I don’t care with what (could be Storynexus, RPG Maker, Game Maker, a game book, whatever!)
  8. Figure out Chat Mapper. Same as last year.
  9. Take a Lego Picture a month.  I’ve fallen away from Lego pics over the last while.  I miss it.
  10. Fix up my Red Bubble profile.  This kind of goes hand in hand with  9.

As a bonus:

  • Edit my NaNoWriMo 2012 book. At least to the point where I feel okay sharing it with people.

So those are my new goals for 2015.  This year there’s a lot more creative goals, so wish me luck with them!  You’ll notice that there’s also nothing about getting to conferences.  As much as I’d love to go back to GDC, or one of the other game ones, I don’t think that’s a reality for me this year.  Of course, if that should change, I’ll blog about it. 🙂

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A Very Sad Update

Sometimes plans can change unexpectedly.  That’s what happened this week.  I haven’t done a whole lot of writing lately because I’ve had some friends visiting from out of town.  One was a good friend who grew up here; he came for his first visit home in two years.  Then a few days after he left, another friend came up from the US to visit; I spent the week hanging out and showing him all the cool stuff around town.  It was a fun week, but it was exhausting.  After driving him back to the States so he could catch his flight home, I drove back here, expecting to spend the next few days getting caught up on sleep and emails, getting ready to work in earnest on the StoryNexus game I’ve been planning, and most importantly, hanging out with Tink.

But all of that changed on the way home.  I got a call, urging me to get home quickly.  And what I came home to was one of the most devastating things imaginable: Tink was gone.

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When I’d left earlier that day, none of us had an inkling that he wouldn’t be there when I got home.  He passed away quite suddenly during the evening; he was gone well before I made it home.

I don’t want to give a lot of details.  The last few days have been hard.  Everywhere I look, I’m reminded of him (particularly in the basement, where we lived together).  Eventually this will be a good thing; the memories I have of him are all good ones and I wouldn’t change these last two months for anything.  But right now they’re just a constant reminder that he’s gone.

So earlier today, I decided to put the StoryNexus project on hold, and instead channel my grief into a new project.  I will provide updates when I can, but they will probably be few, particularly during the first bit while I’m working through the worst of my grief.

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