Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

#Blaugust Day 8 — TGTCML: Blogging at Sygnus.org

This is part of the Blaugust series!

Sygnus.org back when it was a hub site and not a blog.
Sygnus.org back when it was a hub site and not a blog.

This short series of The Game That Changed My Life (TGTCML) leads from the discovery of my first JRPG and traces all the way up to my current blog, Sygnus.org. Sygnus.org is a domain I registered in 2001, back when I bought my first website hosting package and moved away from free-hosted sites.

It was such an exciting time to own your own domain! The prices of domains were just starting to drop (they used to be super expensive), and I wanted a place to connect my forums, play by email community, FFIV fan site, personal web projects and anything else that I created. Sygnus.org, named after a fantasy element in my writing, became that hub page, but rarely served as much more than that.

Over the years, I’ve tried to break into blogging over and over again. I’ve made creative blogs, writing blogs, webcomic blogs, random blogs. I even tried blogging around the ebooks I published. But none of it seemed to stick, gain much traction or attention and I ended up letting the blogs fall by the wayside.

This is not the first time I installed WordPress on Sygnus.org. I don’t even remember the name of the blog, but it was another fail, and I quit blogging on WordPress for a while. I gravitated to Tumblr a bit, and found some success in blogging at my White Charr and Snaff Savant Guild Wars 2 fan Tumblrs. Though I fell out of the GW2 fandom, I learned a bit about what it takes to connect to a fan community from that experience.

I have no idea what nudged me back into blogging at Sygnus.org, or why it stuck this time, but I re-launched the WordPress blog on January 16, 2014. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to focus on, so I just left it wide open as a gaming and geek blog. As it started to gravitate more toward gaming than other topics, I decided to give it a new name: Clean Casuals.

At first, I considered moving the blog to a new domain (I do own cleancasuals.com), but I saw that would take a lot of work, and Google search results seem to favor my 14-year-old Sygnus.org domain. So, even though the domain does not match the blog name, I’ve left it as it is. It’s funny, though, that in letting the blog remain on Sygnus.org, it is by extension connecting it back to that first JRPG discovery and all the artistic legacy that came before it.

So maybe, in the end, that’s just fine.

Advertisements
Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming

#Blaugust Day 7 — TGTCML: Best Friends, Roleplay and Webcomics

This is part of the Blaugust series!

In the previous post, I talked about how I posted my FFIV fan fiction online back in 1998, and created a small web community through forums and play by email. The interesting thing is that I’m still in touch with some of the people who wrote and RPed with us from that old community, even if the base of the community has long went its own way. In fact, it was through the email list that I met my long-time best friend, Syntyche.

She was first to email me – but that’s not unusual seeing she’s an extrovert with the ability to much  more easily make friends. We discovered we both had a long-time love of the SNES version FFII/FFIV, and we both actually wrote our own versions of fanfiction for the game in the past. We started to RP together on the email list, having our characters meet, and eventually becoming friends through the game.

Then we started IMing outside of the email list and forums. Then IMing turned to creative idea sharing. Then it turned to full-out RP sessions.

bentensmall
Celebrating Wayrift’s 10th Anniversary in 2012!

Syn is a darn good world builder and DM. She knows how to set the stage and how to juggle not just many interesting characters, but also many NPCs that have the potential for growth. She also writes bad guys, which is something I can’t do well. We started RPing about 14-15 years ago. We still RP in the same world with many of the same characters (when she doesn’t kill them off) even today.

She’s also probably going to complain that I blogged this about her. >:)

Of course, me being a creative type, I used to joke that our RPs would make a good webcomic, since they were already in a script format. Then jokes became an actual webcomic with a domain name and everything: Wayrift. I also began working on several other creative web projects, such as Dreigiau (NaNoWriMo) and Shimmer (currently discontinued). In order to keep all these organized, I picked up the domain Sygnus.org and it acted as a hub site to all my projects.

During this time, blogs were just starting to appear – I remember my first one being a LiveJournal. I didn’t blog a whole lot because I didn’t really feel I had a lot to share. But when WordPress started popping up, I was curious and dabbled in that a bit, too. This, of course, led to other things.

To Be Continued…

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging, Gaming, Writing

#Blaugust Day 6 — TGTCML: Discovering the Internet

This is part of the Blaugust series!

darkstarnewcoversmall
Obviously not drawn in 1998.

In my previous post, I talked about how, as a teen, I began writing a fan fiction of my favorite game, Final Fantasy II/IV, before I even knew what the Internet was. Once I discovered the Internet, a whole new, wild world opened up before me. For starters, I had access to information I never had before, such as the fact that the characters in FFIV had last names! Wow! (No, seriously, we didn’t get that information in the US version…)

But the most important thing the Internet provided me with was a platform to share my writing, back before there were blogs or content management systems or anything like we use now. I taught myself to code rudimentary HTML, enough to create those oldskool pages with the midi music, animated images, and scrolling text. You know the kind, right?

Okay, so maybe my sites weren’t so garish. I hope?

I had a number of Geocities accounts, which allowed me to design and post webpages for free on the Internet. I soon realized the potential in this as a writer, and in 1998, I created a site that housed my FFIV fanfic, Coming of the Darkstar (warning: old writing needs editing). I took the old hand-written pages and painstakingly began to type them into HTML format using the WebTV we had at the time (still no computer in my house, but at least we had Internet!). The original story wasn’t finished, however, and I pushed to get it done over winter vacation in 2000.

Note, this story has been edited and re-written several times, so it’s not the exact original hand-written fanfic of old. I still need to give it another good editing now that it’s been several years not having read through it.

During the early years of online fan fiction writing, there weren’t a massive number of fan pieces out there for FFIV (or in general). This was due to the fact that you almost had to know HTML to put together your own site back then. So, anyone who did this kind of thing ended up getting quite a bit of attention. It was even more rare to find an online fantasy web novel at the time, so Darkstar drew a bit of a crowd. And as a young adult writer, it was great!

I tapped into my audience by creating forums and a role play email list (don’t see these much anymore). This was the foundation for what eventually became Sygnus.org.

-To Be Continued-

Posted in Writing

Opting Out of Camp NaNoWriMo

camp-nanowrimoI’ve never backed out of a NaNoWriMo I had previously signed up for, but I have today. The next Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow, and I’m, to put it gently, really just not ready for it.

I feel like I need to sit down and work through a stronger outline and formalize plot points, especially after I struggled so hard to write back in April. I took one look at what I jotted down in my notebook, and felt just as lost as I did earlier in the year. While I have a lot of strong over-arching plot ideas, there’s so many holes that I think it will be more of a struggle to attempt writing at this point.

I always knew the nature and content of Runne would be a much harder story to write than Dreigiau was. It has to do with a story that touches on so many characters and covers such an expansive time line. Writing in Segments helps alleviate that somewhat, but I still need a basic structure to the story. Right now, I just don’t have that and don’t feel up to the challenge of figuring it all out.

There are a lot of very important events about to take place in Runne, and I know that they must all make sense for the story to work. Some things you just don’t rush, even if you do tend to write on-the-fly.

Posted in Art, Writing

Introducing Fisk

The Chosen 1
Young Fisk

In the newest Runne segment – The Chosen 1 (no pun intended) – I introduced a new character named Fisk. I’m not sure if I’ve ever shown Fisk publicly or talked about him at all. But I’m happy to finally bring him into my world!

He’s a character who has been around for probably over a decade, and has changed designs and roles many times. I think originally, he started out as a young antagonist in a Darkstar sequel that never happened. His quest was to find Luccious’ sword and… well… I don’t completely remember the whole plot or the logic behind it. Suffice to say, he was a teen on a mission and he was an enemy to Ben and company.

I don’t exactly remember when he popped into Wayrift RP chats, or for what reason, but his role shifted when he did. After making connections with other figments and revealing his story over many years, I decided to attempt to write his past as part of Runne. This not only helps me to develop Fisk’s character, but it allows me to show the reader what’s going on behind closed doors in the Manor.

The Chosen will be a short segment, but it’s one with a unique point of view and has a lot of value in the way of storytelling. It shows how something innocent can get caught up in group think… all for the want of love and acceptance. It shows how something good can become twisted and how dark deeds can be justified.

It’s a different sort of coming of age story, and I’m looking forward to where the future of Runne will take Fisk.