RP, Tabletop, Video Games, and Creativity

So if y’all haven’t figured it out yet, I am a complete nerd. Like. Full on, most of my wardrobe is video game related t-shirts, we have almost every Nintendo console (missing only NES and Virtual Boy) in our living room, if we could hang pictures in this apartment it’d mostly be RvB, LotR, and Storm Trooper stuff. But lately I’ve been thinking about something. This was kind of kicked off by my husband (who is trained as a game designer, though that’s not his current job) complaining that, while he enjoys playing video games, he always gets frustrated when he plays them instead of working on his own stuff.

For years, I’ve never had that feeling. If I’ve been working on a story or a book I have no problem with taking breaks to game. I used to run a ton of forum RPs, I think my record was 14 at one time. D&D is a newer thing for me (as in, since about 2011) but when I play it, I love it. And I never understood when my husband would say that he’d get frustrated instead of being able to relax. Until this past week.

I’m at the point in writing my book that I finished the first draft, went through three revisions, and sent it off to beta readers. However, after I did that I realized I hated my ending, so I’ve been working on a new ending. This new one adds about 10 chapters and hopefully at least 10k words to the word count (I always come in around 60k words in drafts 1-4 of a book and only near the end does it balloon). This past weekend, I’d just finished the 4th of the new chapters (so I’d written chapters 1-26 and then started re-writing from the end of chapter 22 onwards to writing a whole new 23-26 and then am working on 27-36) and sent those off to my beta readers and was a bit warn out. Turns out chapters 25 and 26 are about 10k words so I worked myself pretty hard.

I decided to wind down with some RP with a good friend of mine. She’s been extremely helpful over the past few months and is actually one of my betas. But, as we were RPing I was hating myself for not working on the book (even though I’d just finished writing 2k that day) and opened my file again to start working as I RP’d. However, I was tapped out on writing for that day and so couldn’t make progress without completely hating it.

That’s when I finally understood what my husband meant. I wasn’t working on my book because if I worked on it, I’d just have to rewrite later because I hated it and was tapped out at the time. If I worked on my book, I risked becoming burnt out and putting it down for months before I could pick it back up and keep going. But I was hating RPing because, though it is writing, it wasn’t writing on my own stuff. It was the wrong kind of creative for that moment.

If you’re going through something similar, know that you aren’t alone and know that it’s okay to take a break. It is going to suck. You won’t be able to work on whatever it is you want to, but you’ll regret it if you burn yourself out.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy New Year! Let’s do our best to hone our craft in 2019.

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Query Letter Blues

So I’m writing a query letter. I’m almost done with my novel and once I’m done and it’s (hopefully) agented and it (hopefully) finds a home with a publisher, I will share it with all of you. But query letters are hard, yo.

Like, seriously… writing a query is difficult because it’s essentially writing a jacket blurb, resume, and (personal?) business letter all in one. I’m lucky in that I have people who are helping me, but I’m realizing fairly quickly why my first attempt at publication never really landed. My query sucked.

I’ve been looking over various resources for the past several weeks while I edit and polish and revise my manuscript (and suddenly come up with an extra 9 chapters to write), and I feel no more prepared than when I started. This isn’t a request for help, it’s more just that I am ranting. .-.

I’ll try to post more often in the coming days. There’s lots to talk about (good and bad).

 

Have a wonderful day!

Draft Finished! And Where I’m Headed Next

I’ve finished a fairly complete draft of my book and sent it off to three beta readers and will send it off to more as friends and acquaintances reply and I get confirmation that they’ll read.

So I figured I’d take a moment to talk to y’all about how this process works from here on out. I’m gonna assume most of you are writers who already know, but I’ve gotten so many questions like, “Have you done your homework so it’ll sell well?” and, “So when are you publishing?” that I feel like I should make something to point to.

 

I’m going to attempt to do trade publishing with this manuscript. “Traditional publishing” is not a thing. It’s trade publishing or self publishing or vanity publishing. I really suggest you never ever go for vanity publishing. That’s paying thousands (or even just hundreds) of dollars for a company to publish your book and they promise you a million things that they never deliver on.

So if I’m gonna go for trade, what will I be doing? Well, first I’ll be writing a query letter. That is a letter aimed at the agent or publisher that you’re hoping to do business with. Agents will, if they’re reputable, give you a better deal than going straight to the publisher or publishing yourself. Generally, they handle things like contract negotiations for you and try to secure an advance.

If I were going self publishing, I’d go straight to Amazon after I paid someone for cover art. It’s the cheapest self pub that I know.

But the main difference between trade and vanity publishing is that in trade publishing, the author pays nothing to get his or her book published and in vanity the author pays for everything. Trade publishers have an incentive to do the marketing and sell your book while vanity pubs get the money from you, up front.

So I’m hoping to start my query process around the beginning of February and I’ll keep y’all apprised of my situation.

Hope you have a great day!

NaNoWriMo and Editing and Books

So I just kind of… dropped off the face of the blogosphere (I think that’s what this is called). Sorry about that. Certain other things got to be a bit more important.

So! It’s November now, which is NaNoWriMo. I have (kind of cheatingly) blown the 50k out of the water but now I’m going into editing. Or, I will be starting tomorrow. I know the best advice usually says to take a break from writing in order to more objectively look at your work. But, hear me out, I’m gonna try a thing.

My initial plan was that after this first draft I’d send it off to beta readers (some of whom I already have lined up) and going back at it once I got that feedback. However, I feel like I know some things to fix and I don’t feel okay sending it out when it is still so heavily flawed. Therefore, I will be doing edits in three “phases.”

Not gonna lie, though, kinda stole them from this blog post. The last three edit phases are the ones I’ll be doing. I didn’t do the close in writing because I was kind of just trying to get it all out. But starting tomorrow I’ll be doing the “close in edits.”

But, really, writing can take a lot out of you. I have been yawning nonstop since I wrote the last words. And, yes, I had coffee. Which is not my lifeblood, but I am enlisting its help in my attempt to lose weight (a blog post for another day).

And, yes, I got a lot more books by mail since last I posted. I’ll do some sort of post or video to update y’all on the reading list.

I hope all of you have a good day! Happy writing, reading, and fun!

Update and such

So I’ve been fairly busy and haven’t kept up as much with this blog as I should. Dang it. Not only that, but writer’s block has reared its ugly head once more.

I think I said my timeline on here, that I intend to get my book to a “finished” state and send it off to beta readers in November. Probably bad on my part because that’ll be during NaNoWriMo, but it’s the best timeline for me right now. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get the amount of work done that I’d like. I’m still sitting around the 27.5k mark on word count and I don’t know for sure that I’m halfway done.

I did the stupid thing of ordering more books and such on Amazon. So even more to be added to the reading list… and I’ve barely started the book after The Traitor God. To clarify, not the sequel (as it doesn’t have one currently), but the next book on the list.

Speaking of… Initially the next book was going to be Age of Assassins by R.J. Barker, but I started reading it and I just couldn’t get into it. I think that going from a book with so much personality (The Traitor God) I just couldn’t get into the kind of dry nature of Age of Assassins. So it’s currently shelved. It will be tried again at a later date and if I still can’t get into it then it will be donated to my building’s book collection or something.

So! I’ve skipped straight to the next one on the list, Spellslinger by Sebastian de Castell. Now, like a bit of an idiot I bought the next two in the series following Spellslinger (so Shadowblack and Charmcaster) without even getting halfway through the first. This is a huge problem. And I never should’ve done it. However, I am enjoying Spellslinger.

I can say, so far, that it’s got tons of personality. I don’t entirely like the naming conventions and it irks me extremely to read what is either supposed to be a Southern accent or some sort of Irish or Scottish (though I think it’s supposed to be Southern) in a character. Maybe it’s just because I’m used to insanely terrible Southern accents done by the people around me? I don’t know >>

Anyway. That’s where we are right now. I’ll try to get my video review for The Traitor God out this coming week. Hope you’re doing well!

Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps (Depression talk and tips)

It’s kind of the only advice you get out where I live. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” “Suck it up, buttercup.” Nice, punchy, hand-waving… crap.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in a rural area, a farm town in Northern Alberta, Canada. The population is probably around 1,000. Depression is a big issue out here, but there isn’t much help for it. Not that people don’t want help, but there’s no help out here. For my own experience, I called for help in July. I’m still waiting.

So what can we do? Claw yourself out of a hole, really. There’s not much to do. Either you survive or you don’t. It becomes that simple. Most people use alcohol or something simple to self-medicate. Some of us can’t do that.

We survive by reaching out and making connections with one another, with making sure we know we have a lifeline. Recently, I was at a rather scary point in my life where I didn’t feel like I had a lifeline, a safety net. It felt like I was in freefall down into the abyss of depression and delusion.

The only person (other than my husband) who I felt I could open up to also was in freefall. He refused to try and get himself back up. So this is something sort of for him, sort of for the rest of you, and definitely for myself.

Tip 1: Open the Windows

Really. Let light in. Sit in the sun if you don’t feel like going outside. Just… see the world outside even if you’re not going to go engage with it. Know that there are other people struggling, too. The world doesn’t end at your doorstep. (I know that’s kind of a weird statement, but people get out of touch with reality if they tarry in depression too long. There were several times in my teens and early 20s (when I primarily spent my life in my bedroom) that I was convinced my walls were cardboard and outside was a soundstage and then nothingness.)

Tip 2: Get Some Sleep!!! (But not too much…)

Getting a regular sleep schedule, even if you don’t have a job or aren’t going to school, is a must. Keep in mind that your body and mind need sleep to recuperate and make sense of what’s going on. I don’t fully understand the science behind it, but it’s a necessary thing. When you have a regular sleep schedule you can count on a good amount of rest every night (or day for you night owls) and you’ll have the energy and ability to take care of your problems.

Tip 3: Eat Well and Regularly

A big thing with depression is your appetite might change. Mine does. In certain points of depression I have no appetite whatsoever (and rapidly lose weight) while in others I overeat (and rapidly gain). It’s important to keep a schedule and regular meals, though. I don’t really know enough about nutrition to tell you what you should or shouldn’t eat, but it should contain a variety of foods in a variety of colors. But everything in moderation, hm?

Tip 4: Get Active

This one’s a tough one in depression because a lot of us don’t feel like doing anything, but getting moving does actually help. Even if your activity is to load the dishwasher or fold the clothes. Even that little bit can help propel you forward. You need it. And, trust me, I know the difficulty of those forward steps. It’s easier to make excuses, but excuses keep you where you are.

Tip 5: Stay Connected

I don’t have this as much but I know a lot of people who just shut down when it gets bad enough. However, if you don’t stay connected you won’t have as many resources to help yourself. And the people around you do care. So keep those ties. And you may lose some friends through your depression, but they weren’t worth it if they walk away while you’re having a hard time.

Note: If people walk away because you’re a complete jerk to them, that’s not on them, that’s on you.

Tip 6: Take Responsibility

This isn’t as much for getting out of depression as it is for you to retain integrity. When you’re depressed it’s easier to put responsibility on everyone else and blame the world for your problems. So stop it. Don’t do that. You just push people away with that. And then you blame them for walking away. Stop it. That’s not good. Recognize what you’re doing and what you can do to make your own life better.

Tip 7: Something To Look Forward To

Something that really helps me is having something in each week to look forward to. It can be ordering out from a favorite restaurant, playing a game you like, watching a movie, reading a book, seeing a friend, or really anything else. But these things are useful as it lets you have a reward or a bright spot in an otherwise dull week. “Yeah, today’s bad, but on Friday I’ll order pizza and play some games with friends.” A weekly meet up with others (preferably physically, but via internet if you have no way of doing it physically) is also really good.

Tip 8: Decide You Want Better

I cannot stress this enough, you are in control of you. You control what you think (if you decide to) and you can have some control over your emotions. A lot of times we can’t get better because we’re getting something out of staying depressed. It’s not always something tangible, but it could be attention or pandering or any number of things. And this is a step no one else can take for you. You can have a million friends and do everything else on this list, but if you don’t decide to step out of your depression you never will.

 

I hope this list is some help. I’ll likely look at it from time to time. Please have a wonderful day.

Book Read Order and Writer’s Block

When I did my book haul video (I’m on both YouTube and Bitchute as Author M) I said I’d be reading the books I got in a certain order. I’m already off to the task of reading The Traitor God which is absolutely amazing so far. Granted, I have taken such a long break from reading that I sometimes find myself looking through to see how many pages until the next chapter, but that’s just because I’m adjusting back to reading.

So I figured I’d post the order in which I intend to read these books so you guys can read along with me if you want. Granted, I’ll probably be a bit slow on that front. It’s hard for me to figure out when I should be reading and when I shouldn’t.

Anyway, I’ll be reading my books in the following order:

The Traitor GodAge of AssassinsSpellslinger, In the Region of the Summer Stars, Mistborn trilogy, Stephen King’s Dark Tower (1-3), and The Wheel of Time (1-6)

The first four are either not part of series that I’m aware of or part of series that I don’t have more books for. I’ll probably end up spending months on each books, so I apologize, and I will be using books from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files to take a break if I get annoyed with the books otherwise.

With that out of the way, I can get to the gist of today’s post. I’m working on a book and have been for the past 5 years. This book is something that has existed in my mind for a while now, but I’ve restarted it several times now. I dislike that about myself, but it comes from my own insecurity about writing. This means that I end up getting writer’s block every few chapters as I think about, “But wouldn’t it be better if I started it like this?”

That vexing foe has struck again. Yesterday was spent in despair as I tried to figure out whether to start over with this new, darker tone and change up my whole story or keep going with this story and maybe have to change it entirely before I send it off to beta readers just to satisfy my own curiosity. I turned to friends, family, and an author’s forum to see if I can figure out what to do. Of course, this led to general advice that could fit with most problems, and some extremely helpful, specific advice.

I know why this is happening, by the way. I know what kind of story I want to tell but my mind keeps coming up with ways it could be better. Even in that, though, I need to stop iterating. If I don’t, it’ll never be sent off, never have a chance at being published.

So I’m going to keep writing on what I have been thus far. Unfortunately, none of us will ever produce a perfect work, no matter how hard we try. Therefore, we must work to the best of our abilities at the time. Each created piece becomes a tie capsule of where the creator was at the time of its release into the world. Since we can never be perfect, neither can our works. It’s a shame, but it’s beautiful at the same time.

So I’m going to keep going. It’s all I can do. To give up or start over is to admit defeat. What I have now would, at very least, be enjoyable. I can work with enjoyable.