Here Comes Week 2

 Week Two.  A dreaded week in NaNoWriMo.

This is where everything really starts changing for NaNoWriMo.  This is where a lot of people start falling off the wagon and aren’t keeping up with their word count or they find themselves facing a wall of writer’s block.  There are a lot of ways through this time, but I’m really not sure if I’m qualified to let you know how to get through Writer’s Block at this point.  I’m way ahead of my goals and I’m hurtling towards a wall that’s going to come on much later.

But week 2 does mark a lot of things for people.  People are through with their first week. This is where people are really making decisions about their work and how they feel about it.  I have gone through 10 other NaNoWriMo’s and my biggest failing point is that week 2 mentality.  Sometimes it hits during Week 2, sometimes it hits during December.

This year is different.  This year, I have committed to things outside of November.  I have committed to posting things starting December 1st (this does mean that I’m doing editing for NaNoWriMo, but I also am using a project I had already started before November, so I’ve broken all the rules here).

So I’m not going to let Week 2 hit me.  I am here to make something I like, that I believe in.  I’m not going to back down from my project or think that it needs to be completely redone.  Everything that I’m writing has a purpose.  Even if I don’t use those exact words, they got me to the place that I wanted to be.

And if you’re struggling with how you’re going to go forward, just know that everyone is unhappy with their work at some point.  You don’t have to write perfect words here and now.  In fact, you shouldn’t be writing perfect words right now.  There’s a lot of work that goes into everything that you do.  Whether you’re a professional author or someone that just wants to write fanfiction, you’re doing fucking fantastic.

For a personal update, week one of NaNoWriMo came with a lot of things in the rest of my life.  I’m not sure where to begin or if I want to talk about it here.  There’s a lot of turmoil that’s making it hard to focus when it comes to things like NaNoWriMo.  But that’s how life goes.  Sometimes it just deals you a hard hand.  Sometimes you have to muddle your way through it. 

If life has hit you during NaNoWriMo (or if it does in the future), be kind to yourself.  November comes back eventually.  You can write whenever.  But the life that you live only happens once.  People you love are only around for so long.  Your health will come before anything else.

I know this is another rambly blog and that it isn’t really all that professional looking.  But also, it’s November.  All of my brain is on the project that I’m working on.  I’ll try to make my book reviews a tad more classy, but until the end of November, it’s just going to be one hot mess of thoughts while I work on writing a lot for NaNoWriMo.  I’m over 20k as of the 9th, which means I’m very far ahead.  How did I get here?  I don’t know.  But I’m proud.

NaNoWriMo Begins

 Oh man, it’s only the beginning of the month. I feel like November started so abruptly and then it was all happening at once. NaNoWriMo is going strong and there’s a lot of things happening outside of all of this. I’m just not sure how it’s all going to work out, but I’m sure that I’ll find something interesting to do in the future. Right now, I’m happy where I am. I’m happy where I can hang out on my couch and watch my cat snooze away. She’s been a little bit clingy now that it’s getting cold again and I can’t blame her. I like having her around when the temperature is low. But that’s beside the point.

NaNoWriMo is in full swing for me and I think I’ve found myself already pretty far ahead. I don’t mind being ahead, but I am days ahead of where I thought I would be. That just puts a little less pressure on me, but I’ll see how long I keep up this pace. There’s so much that I could do. There’s a lot that I could attempt to do, but I also know that there’s only so much time in the day for what I’m doing. The time crunch is keeping me productive.

This is gonna be one of those very rambly blog posts. I’m not sure what else to talk about. I’ve been thinking about so much, but none of it has really been that helpful to my personal thoughts. No, most of my thoughts have just been rambles about the story that I’m working on.

I’m also working on not abandoning my well being and this blog, but again, we’ll see what really happens at the end of the month. Ugh, there’s nothing else that I really want to talk about. There’s a lot happening, but nothing worth sharing here.

Good luck to the rest of you that are participating this month!

Also last minute note, but there will be no book review this week. I just haven’t had a chance to catch up on all my reading.

Twas The Night Before the Night Before NaNoWriMo…

 So I’m putting this up today instead of tomorrow because I will be very busy tomorrow worrying about a whole lot of stuff, so this seemed like the best way to make sure that everything was going to get put up at a good time with good thoughts.  What’s happening, you might be asking yourself if you somehow also skipped the title of this blog post?

NaNoWriMo is here again.  It’s time to get writing.  What am I working on?  It’s a secret because I don’t want my name associated with the project until I’m at a better point with the materials and I feel good about having it online.  Will that mean that this is good?  No.  This whole project could be a disaster, but that’s not the point of the month.  The point is to do a whole bunch of writing and do something that you’re happy to do at the end of the day.  And even if I’m not happy, I’ll have gotten myself some better writing habits (even if it only lasts for a little while).

I’m just excited about everything that’s going on.  I’m so happy to be back to NaNoWriMo.  While life has been hectic in nearly other facet of my life, I know how to handle NaNoWriMo.  It honestly even helps with my budgeting because I spend a lot more time meal prepping for the month than I normally would for a regular month.  It does mean that I get a little bit lazy with some of my meals (IE bagged salads instead of making my own), but I’m working on adding some new things to what I’m doing like making my own salad dressing and making soups from scratch to have instead of just buying canned things.  I should survive the month, but I guess it’ll just look like a really long hiatus if I don’t make it.  Good luck figuring out which one is hwich.

Beyond what I do this month, I’m going to try and do some other things to make this a little bit more fun.  I’m not just going to be working on the project that I have in mind.  No I’m going to be taking the time to do something else this month while I’m writing.  I’ll be putting together something that will sound a little bit weird.  But I think it will work for this month, just based on the way that everything has gone in the past.

Instead of two posts a week, one being a life update and the second being a book review, we’re going to do three posts a week.  I’ll have a post about what I’m doing that week for NaNo, where I am with all of the goals that I’ve been working on, and what’s going in other media that I’m looking at.  Then I’ll also be providing a sort of spot check during the week.  It’ll be something different than what I normally do and should be a good way to show that there’s nothing simple about the writing process and what it really looks like.  I’ve spent 9 years doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve had my mixes of wins and failures.  I know what it looks to excel, be mediocre, and to fail miserably.  I know that everyone is going to look at the challenge different and not everyone is going to feel comfortable with the way that I approach the challenge.

But the point is to show people just how much work and effort goes into writing.  This won’t just be a way for them to see something ridiculous.  This will be a way for them to understand that writing is hard work and it takes a lot of work, a metric ton of work to really get something down on paper.  And even after that, you’re going to be spending more of your time working on getting that thing perfect after the fact.  It isn’t so simple as just getting it out there and sending it off to the agent.

Bluh.  I rambled a lot during this because I’m trying out some new things in 4thewords, which meant that I couldn’t edit while I was going.  I’m going to post this post like this because I can’t give up anymore of my time to editing right now.  I’ve got so many little things to get done before we start out writing journeys soon.

Book Review – Darkfire by Garrett Robinson (Nightblade Epic #3)

 So I’ve been dragging my feet on this.  I think I read the first two books two quickly and too close together that as soon as I got a breath of fresh air, I just wanted to stay in other genres for a little bit.  But I’m back baby!

And by back, I mean that I read most of this book in a morning and then I turned around and wrote notes before I turned the book into the library.  Ironically, I loved this volume the most of the three and kind of wish that I hadn’t spent all of my time dragging my feet on reading this one.  Either because of the fact that all three of the first books were in one volume or due to its nature as a series, this third one felt the strongest.  It left me with the strongest impression and also left me with the right amount of questions.  The ending hit the strongest and I feel like within the span of this one book I saw the greatest test of the characters and the greatest change overall to how they were acting in the world and how they were relating to one another.

I will note here that I am going to not be spoiler free.  That’s right.  If you want to read this series, I would suggest not reading this review until after you have read up through “Darkfire.”

Now, one of the parts of this book that really struck me and made me feel like it was a beginning and not the end of a large tome was the fact that we finally made that first really big step in the hero’s journey.  Up until this point, we had gone through some of the motions, but I didn’t feel that strongly about the steps before this.  You had the call of Loren heading out to chase Xain which locked her into a path that she was going to follow.  At that point, I had called her shooting her father in the leg the threshold of the story.  It was a step into a major unknown, but the end of this book hits something that I would call more of a threshold.

The death of her father and the death of Jordel, the person that really brought her to a purpose in her journey, albeit one that he didn’t really do a good job of explaining before he left, really feel like a launching point, more so than escaping her parents in the first place.  There’s also a very delicious twist to the fact that Loren broke her oath of not killing basically as soon as it started.  Her father died for the wound that she gave him.  What that will do to Loren in the future, I’m not sure.  But I’m certainly excited to see how she will act in the future volumes. 

This volume also answered a lot of the questions that had been lingering in my head about characters like Damaris and Xain.  We get to see more of what’s going on there as well as some changes.  Damaris isn’t just a hardass, but you see why she might have been a little bit wishy washy.  There’s a whole other group that she’s been working with that may make her appear to be a little bit worse than she is and was something that she was competing against the whole time.  We do see that she values the life of her daughter more than anything else in this as well, which is a welcome relief.  I truly was worried for a period that she wasn’t going to be as okay of a mother as she is.  She’s not perfect by any means, but she isn’t a complete villain.

Really, this whole volume was the meat that I had been looking for in the other two volumes.  Whether because the lack of this meat in the last two volumes or because I am honestly just this invested in the world and the story now, this volume was a treat to read (and I mean I honestly read it in a morning) and I had to stop myself from putting the next omnibus from the Nightblade Epic on my hold list at the library (also because I have 4 other books checked out at the moment and I just don’t need that many more books to read this month.)

There’s so much about this volume that was good and I truly hope that everything that I loved about it also appears in the next set of books.   But for the moment, I am going to be taking a break from these books.  I have the second Harley Merlin book, the second Raven Cycle book, plus a lot of books on my bookshelf that I need to read.  So there will be plenty of content for you guys to see in the next couple of weeks, but for the moment, on to other books and some rest before we start NaNoWriMo.  

Here Comes the NaNoWriMO

 Okay, so I’m not exactly thrilled with how everything is at the moment, but nothing is going to stop me from chasing my goals.  So what’s coming up next?  NaNoWriMo.  National Novel Writing Month.  I’m doing it for the 10th year.

Ironically, this is the one year that I don’t really want to share too much about the project that I’m doing.  It’s just something that’s pretty special to me and I don’t need it being out there in the world.  Instead, I need it to be a secret so that I can decide later if I want to share that I wrote it.  It’s not really that I don’t want to take credit for it.  I’m just not certain of if I want to have my name next to it at the end of the day and whether or not it will make sense for the story to be acknowledged on its page as something that I created.  There are reasons to put myself there and other story-driven reasons not to.

Anyways.  My thoughts are a mess and really everything that I’m doing is a mess right now.  I’m behind on where I wanted to be for November, both in the way my home looks and the way that everything is set up for the story.  We’ll see if I can make it through November without ripping out my hair.  It’ll be a real weird time.

Life is stressful outside of creative dreams, so I know that I’m not going to be the happiest at the end of the day, but I also know that I’m not here to be the happiest.  I’ll work my ass off to make this story work and then I’ll work my ass off to make the next story work.  I’ll just keep going and going and eventually one day I will have a project done that I am proud of and that I can put my name next to.

I’ve been writing for year sand years and sometimes finding the project that I’m going to be proud of feels like it’s going to be impossible, but I also know that it could just take a little bit more work than I was putting in.  So maybe if I just keep chasing after that goal, I’ll make it one of these days.  Or maybe I’ll fall flat on my face.  The fear of failure has kept me from doing a lot over the years, but I really don’t want to fall down on my face right here and now.  I’m going to try so hard.  At that point, will it even be a failure if I don’t make something that I’m proud of right then and there?

I don’t know.

I’m a ball of anxiety.  National Novel Writing Month really does this to me.  I am pumped to be working on my project, but dear lord, as soon as NaNoWriMo ends, I’ll be posting it up on the internet and either it will get picked up by people or they will laugh at me.  And I’m prepared more for the second than the first.  Maybe I should have tried to push that start date back?  Maybe I should have done a hundred other things.

Anyways, long story short, November is going to be weird for blog posts.  I’ll do my best, but I really can’t make any hard and fast promises about what the next month is going to look like.

Book Review – The Monster of Elendhaven

 So this book has been out for a little bit now.  I read it in a single morning and I absolutely wanted more and was considering sitting down and trying to flesh out the world that had been created and see what I could come up with for what the world outside of Elendhaven could be like.  This book hit a lot of things in my head that really make me want to be creative.  I loved it.  I still love it.  I’m still thinking about it weeks later.

How did I find this book?  Well, it all started because the author of this book also worked on the Homestuck Epilogues.  I followed her on twitter after learning about who she was just to see what she was up to.  When I found out that she was putting out a book, I jumped on it.  I pre-ordered it.  I needed it in my life.

When it comes to the Homestuck Epilogue, because there were multiple authors and the styles were focused on the same kind of writing, I knew that I wasn’t seeing just her writing and I wanted to know what her writing, on her own, would look like.  And she didn’t disappoint.  All the people that worked on the Homestuck epilogues didn’t disappoint.  TBH, all the people that have worked on the Homestuck properties (whether it’s the main comic, or games like Pesterquest and Friensim) haven’t disappointed.

But I’m not here to talk about Homestuck.  Today.  That’ll come another day.

I’m here to talk about “The Monster of Elendhaven” by Jennifer Giesbrecht.  It’s a dark and grim book that was exactly everything I needed.  It’s incredibly short, but incredibly dense and rich.  There’s not a lot lacking from the story that could have made it much more interesting.  The descriptions of the characters built onto the image of the city and how it looks.  It also worked in the opposite direction where the image of the characters built up how I really saw the city.  They worked together to build this very stunning image in my head.  No word was wasted in this book, I would say.

Johann, the protagonist of the story, is such a delightfully inhuman character.  From the start, the image of him wasn’t what I expected and throughout the story, the silhouette of him stretched and changed depending on what else was going on.  Sometimes, he appeared human.  Sometimes, he appeared invisible.  The changing nature of this character really fascinated me.

Florian serves as our mainly human character for the story and an encyclopedia of the world that Johann hasn’t really existed in.  The combination of the two is so very gay and so very good in how twisted it gets at some point.

I don’t want to write out the plot because I want you to go out, buy this book, and devour it.  Knowing too much about the story can probably ruin the impact of parts of the story, but I also want to sit here and sing the praises of everything that this book has to offer.

Instead, I’ll just talk around some of the plot to mention one of the most interesting pieces of the story to myself.  The gods that were mentioned in the story (or just one god, I suppose) really started my brain working.  I’m fascinated with myth and lore surrounding gods in the real world and in fictional stories.  There was only a little bit about the gods and their power spoken about, but I’m so curious as to what larger part they play in the world of Elendhaven.  I would read volume after volume just about those gods.  They’re so separate from the story, but also so close to the story that it’s hard to imagine that they aren’t an interesting pantheon.  And with that, I would love to learn more about how magic does or doesn’t exist to the general population.

This book hit a couple genres dead on.  It hits onto some historical elements, but as a fiction/fantasy.  But instead of being like Game of Thrones where it’s an alternate history with dragons in it.  This story really stepped into magical realism as well where the world is just one step away from being normal, but in that one step, the world becomes completely foreign.

This book was something that I desperately needed at the time and I’m so happy that I found something to distract my mind from all the thoughts that had been rushing through it and instead focus my energy onto something much more creative.  I could literally write about this book forever, but instead, I’ll let you go out there and find it and get invested in the world.  I’m sure I’m not the only one dreaming of what the rest of the world outside of Elendhaven really looked like and what happens after the events of this story.

Please, please, please.  Read this book and discover what the true monster is.

I Skipped A Week of Blogs and Also a Lot of Sleep

 I used to feel terrible when I would miss a week of something or even a day of something.  Writing everyday?  Guilt when I couldn’t manage to keep it up for every single today.  Weekly blog?  Intense guilt when life meant that I didn’t have the chance to write that week for the blog and other things took up my time.  Call to a friend on a regular basis?  Unable to live with myself for several hours because I had something much more pressing that had to get done.

So I do still feel bad about not posting last week.  But I had things to do and I didn’t get a chance to prepare in advance.  I could’ve worked on it while I was doing things, but I just didn’t have the mental space or the energy to get that kind of thing done.

So I’m here this week to talk about the last two weeks.

They’ve been…a time.

I can’t say that it’s all negative or all positive.  At the end of the day, it just was.  Things were and are changing and I’m just trying to stay on top of everything and get everything done.  Will this mean that I miss more weeks in the months to come?  Definitely.  Will this mean that I’m going to die?  Probably not, but you can never be too certain about the status of your mortality in this day and age.

To say it plainly, I’m stressed af.  The beginning of the fan project that I’m working on is almost ready and not too soon.  I’m going to be scheduling it to start going on the first of December and I really want to have a lot of it done so that I can just keep scheduling it to go up without any issues.  I’m terrified of the project and what it could mean.

But beyond that, a lot of my own creative works have fallen by the wayside.  I’m doing more knitting again and catching up on projects that I’m behind on, but there’s not a lot else that I’m going to be able to do right now.  My life is just at a point where there’s a lot of turmoil and as much as I’m hopping I can use that chaos to set up an easy to follow schedule for myself, I know that there are going to be plenty of other issues, but I have hope.

I’m trying to stay creative and stay childish in a way.  I’m playing video games and reading and taking time to just mess around.  I know that a lot of people will tell me as a 25-year-old that I should be spending more time doing things like dating or going out and to all of that, I say a giant fuck you.

I may be almost 25, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be anything like what people expect.  My career is a hot mess of going from a very businessy company to work at a place focused on video games and nerd culture and I’m sure that the next step will go even weirder.

I’ve been having a hard time being the idea of an adult right now.  I’m not interested in settling down with anyone but my cat right now and she’s perfectly content to hang out while I yell at video games and write on the floor of my apartment.  There are so many things that I could be doing differently and so many ways that I could be taking myself 1000% more seriously, but there’s no fun in that.

Whatever has happened lately that’s got me stressed out.  I don’t need to bog myself down in being depressed over what hasn’t been or what could be.  I need to focus on the future and how I can write something great and how I can make something good.  Whatever I do, I will be proud of myself for taking the steps I could.  And you should feel good about the steps that you have taken too.

Here’s to getting back into the grove of things.