Posted in Writing

I’m Doing Something Stupid: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo used to be my jazz. I haven’t participated in an official NaNo in many years, though.

I know most folks reading this are familiar with my blogging gaming and geek stuff… and some even know that I am a technical writer in the adulting world. The truth is, I started out writing fiction as a kid — fantasy fiction to be specific.

Like many writers, I have trouble sticking to it when inspiration isn’t heavy in the air. When I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2002, I found a challenge that kept me motivated enough to spout out 50K words in 30 days. I’m not sure why it worked for me, but my author stats speak for me:

nanostats

And the years you don’t see there — 2014 ~ 2016 — I was participating in at least one, if not two, Camp NaNoWriMo events instead. I tend to prefer Camp NaNo since it allows you to set your own pace and word count. Back in the early years of NaNo, I was in college, so it was a lot easier to find the time to spin stories of fantasy. Now days, not so much.

That’s why what I’m doing is stupid.

I almost didn’t write at all this year. I’ve actually been in a bit of a creative slump.  I passingly considered doing NaNo, and even mentioned it to Syn. But I didn’t commit.

bahamutkei
Concept art!

Back in 2015, I was writing a Camp NaNo for my story Runne. The final few chapters of that writing session turned into something completely different. That’s the beauty of writing for NaNo… you never really know what you’re going to get if you just let your story go. (I’m a partial pantser, I admit it.)

Out of the blue, I stumbled on two characters who had previously never shown up in any of my writing and honestly had nothing to do with the main story thus far (though they will eventually). I knew I was going off on a tangent, but the characters were just fun to write and ponder about. They even got a piece of concept art, as you can see.

This tangent turned into something that nagged at me even after I closed that year’s Camp NaNo event. I was really interested in taking a deeper dive into this part of the story, but it didn’t fit in the overall scope of Runne. I set all of my writing aside this year, as I noted, thinking I wasn’t going to deal with any of it.

I was wrong.

Over the past two years, I’ve been kicking around an origin story, trying to figure out why this character is the way he is. He started showing up in RP sessions (it’s Syn’s fault), and I continued to think about and discover things about this character.

I don’t know what possessed me to get this all out in writing. But, suddenly, this week, I couldn’t stop it from happening. I rolled up a new WordPress blog (which will remain secret for now) and just went at it, spewing this rather morbid origin story that told the reasons for this anti-hero’s rather broken personality.

I’m not used to writing morbid and darker stuff, so I feel a little dirty doing it (there’s nothing actually dirty there, I promise). But I also keep telling myself that this is the truth of this character, even if I glossed over all the grisly details on purpose.

Anyhow, it took me about 10K words to get all that backstory out of my system. But I still had more story to tell. That’s the point when I realized I was going to do something stupid: I was going to join NaNoWriMo… on Day 15.

That’s halfway through the month! What am I doing?!

I’ll tell you what I’m doing: At least 2,500 words a day until the end of the month. XD

So, if I get a little slack over the rest of this month, just know I’m drowning in Dragons.

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Posted in Art, Gaming, Webcomics

New Year, New Creative Goals

I’m finally back home after a good chunk of time away on holiday vacation… which means I’m going through that readjustment period where there’s no food in the house and I have to clean up the messes the cat made while being cared for by someone else… and that kind of thing. I’m also shaking off the cobwebs on my blog like I do every year.

I already wrote about my gaming goals for the month, but I also want to talk about some creative goals I have in mind for 2017.

RPG Making

I didn’t buy a whole lot during the Steam sale this year. In fact, my only big ticket purchase was RPG Maker MV… something totally unexpected. Mostly because it costs $80 when not on sale.

I’ve puttered around with many of the older RPG Makers in the past. Some of my best memories were while making a game using the fan-translated RM2K by Don Miguel back before it officially came to the English audience. I also messed around with the RPG Maker VX, but didn’t like the limitations I found in that version.

The new MV is supposed to fix a lot of the things I didn’t like in VX. It has a lot of nice features that I feel are essential, such as side-view battles. But again, it’s so pricey that I didn’t consider purchasing it until this sale.

Nefol RPG

So what is the purpose of purchasing the new version of RPG Maker? Well, because once again, Syn and I have started kicking around the idea of making a Nefol RPG game.

This is not the first time this idea has come up as it’s something we both really want to work on. I hope we can put some time into it, because it could be fun to have a long-term collaborative project like this again.

“But didn’t you just start posting up Nefol as a webcomic?” you might ask.

Well, yes, I did. And if we do start developing a game, obviously, I won’t continue working on the webcomic version because of the time trade-off.

The webcomic really just came about from me messing around with Inktober last year and the fact that I really want to make some progress on the Nefol story in one form or another. To be honest, I haven’t had much response to the comic, anyhow. So I don’t think anyone will be too sad to see it discontinued in exchange for a game.

Inking Explorations

On the other hand, I also don’t want to give up inks just yet. Practicing using more traditional media is a challenge for me as I’ve become too reliant on digital art tools. If anything, I really want to make time to practice inking more.

Obviously, if I’m nixing the Nefol project, then I need to find another project to ink. Now don’t hold me to it, but I’m considering the possibility of reviving the old Shimmer webcomic project. Only, if I did, it would be a complete remake that followed the revised Shadows of Zot storyline with a darker tone and inked style.

When Shimmer first started back in 2004, it was meant to be an experimental art project. Just something I did on the side when I felt like it. But I got a lot of strong positive feedback, which encouraged me to make it a weekly comic, so I managed to keep it going while I still had the time to do so during college. After graduating and getting a full-time job, I ended up having to cut back on a number of my creative projects, and Shimmer was one of them.

I know that Shimmer is still some folk’s favorite story, so it’s one that I’ve tried to keep around in some form or another. Novelizing it has helped flesh it out a lot, and I think that it would be a fun story to practice inking. I can’t promise I’ll color it and all, though.

We’ll see where it leads.

Posted in Fantasy Fiction, Writing

Crud NaNoWriMo July 2016 – Shadows of Zot

Well, crud. Look what happened.

zotcrud

I wasn’t going to write for the July Camp NaNoWriMo. I was pretty discouraged after suffering through April’s NaNoWriMo, which was decidedly one of the worst NaNo experience I’ve had yet (no fault of NaNo, it was all me). And then I felt that all the effort went to waste as I didn’t even post anything I wrote in the end.

For the past few months, I’ve really wondered if I’ve lost my skill for fiction writing. Sure, I can spin a blog post like this in little to no time, and shoot out technical articles for work without batting an eye. But there’s a huge difference between inspired fantasy writing and conversational or technical writing. They’re all writing, but they use different muscles.

Where blogging had begun as a way to keep me writing consistently between my fiction sprints, it’s now become so, so much harder for me to write fiction in general. I’m not going to lie, I’d almost decided to give up on all of it. But then I get the little unexpected encouragements like…

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Merrybelly… you just don’t know how I almost cried for joy to see a kind compliment during a dark time in my creative landscape. Thank you. 🙂

It also got Shadows of Zot back on my writing radar, which is something I’ve wanted to do anyhow. So, yes. I have four days to re-read the 14 chapters I’ve already posted and refresh my creative palette to try and give this fantasy writing thing another stab.