Good morning everyone! Here’s a post to continue my last one about Writing About Writing. This time, we’ll be talking about outlining.
There are a bunch of different ways to go about doing this. I’ve experimented with quite a few of them. Here are a couple of methods that I’ve tried:
No Outline: Also known as “pantsing”, aka, you’re “flying by the seat of your pants”. This is the classic NaNoWriMo scenario: you have, at most, a vague idea of what you want to write about and you’re making it up as you go along. I wrote “Windshifter” this way. The upside was that I got very, very emotionally invested in my story because it was so raw and new to me. The downside is that the flow wasn’t very natural, and as such, editing took forever.
No, really... FOREVER.
A Big Ol’ Paragraph: Most of the plot for “Cricket Song”, the book I am currently editing, came to me in a dream. I woke up, stumbled over to the computer, and pounded a long, rambly synopsis out into a text file. The final first draft followed this text file very closely (although not exactly.) Pros include a largely very tight and cohesive story which won’t require quite as much editing as a “pantsed” draft. Cons include losing that exciting feeling of throwing yourself into the unknown, and also the fact that you still might get stuck at a few points where you haven’t elaborated in your synopsis.
Chapter by Chapter: “Windshifter” actually isn’t my first novel. I wrote three or four of them when I was in high school. Writing a chapter-by-chapter outline was my modus operandi back then, and I’ve gotta say, it worked pretty well. Basically I decided in advance how many chapters I wanted my novel to be (say twenty), then I looked at what my page limit was (back then I was writing by hand in notebooks, so a 240 page notebook would turn into a 240-page book), and then I divided the number of pages by the number of chapters and gave myself that amount of pages, plus or minus a few, to write a chapter. I gave each chapter its own synopsis, so each one became its own little self-contained unit. Pros included a very tight outline and never having to worry about what, exactly, I was writing next. Cons included the fact that sometimes sections of the plot would just drag on forever because I wanted to fill my chapter up.
FUN FACT: Two of my novels back then were about my toys coming to life and declaring war on each other. No, really.
Using Tools: Lots of people use writing software to organize their thoughts and book ideas. Scriviner is a popular and widely lauded example; it comes with all sorts of neat tools to help you organize in the way you feel most comfortable with. It does cost money, though. I’m cheap and, in the past, have used a free software product called Kabikaboo, which doesn’t have half the options of something like Scriviner but allows you to make a “tree”-like outline, of sorts, which you can branch off into other thoughts. The pros to using these products are that they’re often very, very helpful for helping you get organized and keep things together. The cons are that sometimes you need to “re-wire” yourself for using these instead of just going the traditional route, which involves a bunch of text files in a folder. Still, a great many writers swear by these once they get them all figured out.
Outlining is one of those things that you should experiment with and figure out which option works the best for you. Hopefully, by giving you a few examples of methods I’ve tried in the past, you’ll be able to try some of these out for yourself and find out what you like.
Next time we launch into the actual writing process itself!
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Hi everyone! Pike here. I’ve decided to try something; specifically, I would like to write a series about my own adventures in writing, editing, and self-publishing. I know a lot of people out there are interested in this process and I thought some of my own thoughts on it might be helpful and/or interesting to people. So here we go!
So you want to write a book
Congratulations! You are about to embark on a journey that will probably take years (and I know what you’re thinking, which is that you can do it faster. Well– we’ll see when you get there ;3 ), and which will teach you much about yourself. Of course, before you start, you need…
Ideas can come from anywhere and strike at pretty much any time. I’ve had ideas that have turned into full-fledged books while driving, while in the shower, while at work, and even while dreaming. An idea can be very simple. My idea for Windshifter, for example, was “I want to take a bunch of old characters I invented when I was a kid and have fun with a steampunk-inspired fantasy world.”
Good ideas can’t be rushed. You let them come to you.
Now, you can’t write a book on an idea alone. You also need a plot, some concepts, and an emotional hook.
Plot is pretty easy. It’s what your English (or whatever language you speak) teacher taught you back in the day. It’s a few lines describing what happens in your book. What the action is, what the conflict is, and how the characters resolve it.
Concepts are ideas and themes that you want to explore in your book. My Idea for Windshifter was to write a fun steampunky book with airships and clockwork. My Concepts included things like touching on the ideals of open source/free software, and talking about the nature of technology and science and our place in a world where both are more important than ever. Often one of those Concepts will sift away from the others, like gold from sand, and shine and glint more brightly than the others. And suddenly you will realize with a jolt that that particular Concept is your…
Every good story needs an emotional hook. You could have interesting characters, a great plot, and some neat concepts, but if your readers aren’t emotionally invested in your story, then they won’t care. Ideally your emotional hook is something that most (if not all) of your readers will be able to relate to– the characters can relate to it in a specific way, but everyone can feel those feelings.
With “Windshifter”, the emotional hook is loss. Several of the characters have lost something and are dealing with it in different ways. Heck, the dragon race as a whole lost something and is dealing with it in different ways.
I don’t know how it is with other writers, but for me, Emotional Hooks are often the very last thing to come to me when I’m planning a story, and it usually hits me like a lightning bolt triggered by personal experience. I wrote a book a couple years back called “Cricket Song” which I am currently in the process of editing. “Cricket Song” was born from the Idea “I want to explore a story about a girl and her imaginary friend.” This Idea was kicked around in my head for a good few months while I hemmed and hawwed over how to best go about publishing “Windshifter”, and I was really starting to feel rather overwhelmed with this, and it was in the midst of it all that the Emotional Hook of “Cricket Song” came clear: “What it means to do what you’re good at when everyone else is good at it too.” And suddenly, just like that, I had a story.
A quick note on characters: You’ll notice I don’t have a specific spot on the list for characters. Personally I think that characters are “born” from things like plot and concepts and emotional hooks. Or maybe you’ve just had a character in your head for a while. Who knows! But I tend to come up with them at the same time as I’m coming up with the other story elements.
How it all gels together
When I was in film school, one of the professors’ favorite examples for, well… pretty much anything was Finding Nemo, because it’s such a solid film and because Pixar is a storytelling genius.
With the disclaimer that I don’t know exactly how Pixar cooked up this film intact, let me tell you how it would have gone if I’d made it:
Idea: I want to make a story about fish and sea creatures lost in a big ocean.
Plot: A young fish is captured by a diver and put into an aquarium, and his father rushes off to find him. Along the way they meet a lot of interesting characters and learn a lot about themselves and each other.
Concepts: Disabilities, anxiety, family, friendship
Emotional Hook: What it means to “let go” of your comfort zone.
I said earlier that Pixar is a storytelling genius and I meant it. If you watch Finding Nemo you will see just how expertly they weave that Emotional Hook into the fabric of the story, which beautifully peaks as Dory tells Marlin “it’s time to let go!” when they’re stuck inside the whale that swallowed them. It’s subtle, but not too subtle. It’s comforting. It’s emotional and raw. And people love it.
A final word on all of this stuff: Don’t rush it. Let it come to you. You can have a good Idea without an Emotional Hook (or vice versa). You can have Concepts or Plots without a home. Let them all float around in your head, mess with them a little, play with them, put them together and take them apart like legos, and see what you can make. Once you find something you think you can make into a book, it’s time to jump into the next step… which we’ll talk about next time!
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Been wanting to read my book “Windshifter” and not wanting (or able) to read it on your computer or an ebook device? Well fret not! Your problem is now solved: You can order a high-quality, 6″x9″, 338 page paperback version for $12.99 USD!
You can buy it now from either Amazon or CreateSpace.
CreateSpace will net me more royalties but please order through the website that you prefer to use.
If you like the book, please tell your friends and family about it and review it either on Amazon or on GoodReads. That would mean the world to me!
Help me sell 100 copies, guys!
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I’m not sure if any of my followers or readers follow me for personal stuff, but it’s occurred to me that I haven’t done so in a while, so just in case… here you go!
Firstly, I would like to thank all my friends and followers for offering me support through these past few difficult years. I don’t think I need to sum up (again) what’s been going on, but suffice to say that it’s been a lot of pretty serious stuff. Fortunately, things finally seem to be on the upswing. For starters, I moved back to my hometown in Montana. Washington just wasn’t working out for me very well, and while it had some gorgeous scenery and I loved my drive to work, I just wasn’t happy. Moving back home has done wonders for my overall mood and really cemented the fact that, given the choice, I never want to leave again.
I’ve snagged myself a new job which, while it isn’t exactly what I wanted, is (barely) paying the bills for the first time in a couple of years, and I’m willing to stick this one out until I find a better one (or until we go out of business, whichever comes first, I guess.)
Also, I’ve finally gone to see help for my anxiety, and between some medication and some therapy, I think I’m doing a lot better. It’s still a daily struggle, though, but hopefully it’s an upward one. (If any of you guys out there are interested in that whole thing, lemme know, I’m willing to blog more about it in specific.)
Pony image to break up the text.
Lastly, there is the boyfriend situation! My dear Mister Adequate: my coblogger over at The Android’s Closet, my comrade in arms, my partner in crime, my best friend for the last seven years. We finally realized we had a thing for each other earlier this year, and to everyone’s cries of “WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME”, we got together in April. Happily Ever After, right? Well, not quite yet. See, there’s a little wrench here. I’m in Montana in the United States. And he’s in England. Yeah.
Other people have made cross-country relationships work, though, and we are determined to follow in their footsteps. We’re both saving up money for visits and hope to sort that out very soon, and the long-term plan is for him to move over here, something which he has wanted to do for quite some time (since long before he met me.) There will be a lot of red tape involved and this might take a good few years, but we both feel optimistic about it. We’re happy together, and that’s worth all the work. /schmaltz
So that’s sort of where I’m at. I’m still writing, and I love and appreciate all the feedback on my first book. If you liked it, please leave reviews and ratings on Amazon and GoodReads! That would mean the world to me. <3
Okay, that’s about it. And now back to my other blog for video game posts for the next six months!
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Exactly two years ago to the day, I sat down and decided, spur of the moment, to participate in NaNoWriMo and started making up a story on the spot.
After no less than nine drafts and several false starts, that book is now ready to go!
To read the prologue for free, click HERE.
For FAQs and a briefing about the book, click HERE.
- Amazon (Kindle): US, UK, DE, FR
- Barnes and Noble (Nook): Here
- Lulu (ePub): Here
- Lulu (PDF): Here – Note that the Lulu versions are $1.99 because I was having problems getting it to accept $0.99. I apologize for any inconvenience!
A print-on-demand version is being looked into and will be announced as soon as I can.
Other versions (PDF, etc.) will be looked into if there is enough demand.
Oh, and I have also been added to GoodReads!
What I’m Looking For Now… If you read the book and enjoy it, please tell your friends or (honestly) review it! Lend it to people– all versions of the book are DRM-free so you should be able to.
This has been a fun little ride and no matter what happens now, I’m happy. This euphoria could last a week and then the book could fade away into obscurity and I’d still be happy, because I accomplished my goal, which was to prove that I could make a book from start to finish. I never went into this with any sort of loftier goal, so yes… no matter what happens, I’m happy.
But I can always dream, of course…
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It was dark– the dead of night– and would have been darker if not for the gas lamps that brightened irregular patches of earth and grass and tall buildings. One or two men in uniform walked about, their ears pricked and their green reptilian skin dappled by the lanterns. They did not notice the figure lurking through the shadows.
Sparktender crept by, pressed up against a wall that turned into a gate. He was moving slowly and methodically, taking pains to stay out of the light and not give himself away.
His imagination was not making it easy. Fragments of memories from his past pushed themselves to the front of his mind, but he shoved them away and forced himself to focus on the task at hand, using his own movement as a mantra. Slowly… slowly…
A twig underfoot. Sparktender froze midstep, watching helplessly as a nearby guard turned and looked straight into the shadows where he was hiding.
The fugitive didn’t move and he didn’t breathe and finally the guard dismissed the noise and moved off, leaving Sparktender frozen very still for a few moments until he felt it was safe enough to begin moving again.
He was almost to the gate now. It was open. It never closed, though. It was supposed to lull its detainees into feeling a false sense of freedom, of this Sparktender was sure. Because no one was truly free here, as was evident by the guard standing right there, ready to stop any who passed, since it was past curfew.
Sparktender paused and observed this guard. He wore a patch on his sleeve shoulder, indicating that he was a slightly higher ranked guard than most of the others that had been patrolling that night. Shrewd eyes peered out from underneath his hat and his pea-colored skin was illuminated by an eerie bluegreen glow emanating from the lantern he was holding up.
Sparktender gulped. The shadows alongside the wall of the gate were dark enough that he could possibly sneak through unnoticed– possibly. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to risk it with this guard. No, he’d have to outsmart him.
He racked his brains, constructing a few ideas in his mind and knocking them down quickly and then building them up again. He was well-acquainted with this process, though he’d never had to use it under this much stress before. But again, he forced himself to adapt– he had to.
After some thought, he decided that with his limited resources, perhaps the simplest solution would be the best one. Particularly since this guard looked restless and eager to hop onto anything… yes, he could turn this to his advantage.
Being careful with his actions, he reached into his jacket pocket. His fingers first closed around a small box– the still-raw memories began to trickle back, like water through cracks in a wall, but he willed them away– and then he found what he was looking for: a penny.
He decided on a small pile of rocks next to a tree a few paces from the guard, aimed, and then fired. The penny plinked off of the rocks, and as he’d expected, the antsy guard jumped on it. And as he stepped away, Sparktender inched up to the gate and passed through. He was leaping to make a dash for it, like a bit-chomping ceradraco at the races, and as soon as he felt that he was far enough out of the compound, he broke into a sprint.
He dashed for a small clump of bushes and trees and upon reaching it, exhaled a sigh of relief when what he was looking for was still there. Just as he’d left it.
It was an airship.
Just a small, personal craft, rickety and dilapidated and probably not far from falling apart. It was all he’d been able to afford, having pawned off his watch for it earlier that day. Even that was something he’d barely been able to pull off, only being able to do so because his watch was of his own build and as such it was of such fine make that it was worth more than most. It had been just enough to secure himself the cheapest aircraft he could find and then drag it to this location. It wasn’t much, but it would have to do.
Grim and determined, he began to climb inside.
He jumped and whirled around, his mind racing so fast he couldn’t keep up with it. But the two people he was now facing– barely discernible in the distant lamp light, were not guards.
“…Tye Windshifter… and Rydeck Galespringer?” Sparktender’s eyes were wide in surprise.
“They’ve got you too, I see,” said Tye, and his voice was level but tinged with sadness.
Sparktender looked away. “A week or so back, yes,” he said finally.
Rydeck spoke now, shaking her head as she did. “They’ve had us almost a year,” she said bitterly. “They took us mere months after our wedding, in fact.” Then she added, “Things have certainly worsened since school, haven’t they?”
“It’s wrong,” Sparktender said, his own voice inflamed as well. “Wrong in every sense of the word. And I didn’t know you two were here also, or I’d have…” he glanced at the airship in the bushes. “…I’d have figured out a way to get you both out as well. This craft will only seat one…”
“We understand,” Tye said quickly. “It’s good that you’ll be able to get out of this place.”
“I have to,” Sparktender said. “I have… unfinished business.” His face was pained and his eyes unfocused.
“You go,” Rydeck agreed. “We’re better off staying here anyway; there’s been some talk of a rebellion. Perhaps we can help. But we do have one favor to ask of you.”
She stepped forward; she was holding something and now she held it out to Sparktender. It was a small bundle…
“A child!” Sparktender exclaimed.
“Ours,” said Rydeck. Despite the situation, she and her husband smiled a little, and Sparktender did as well.
“A boy or a girl?”
“A boy,” said Tye, a touch of pride in his voice. “A little Windshifter.”
“He was born here,” Rydeck continued. “But… we don’t want him to stay here. Not like this. Not with his creativity redirected toward who knows what atrocities. Sparktender… take him.”
“Take him. Please.” She held the baby out to him, and he took it gently, though his face was still a picture of bewilderment.
“This too,” Tye said, pulling a gleaming watch out of his waistcoat pocket and unclipping the chain from a button.
“The watch I made you?” Sparktender’s eyebrows were furrowed.
“Keep it with him,” said Tye, handing it out to Sparktender.
Sparktender nodded, taking it gingerly and tucking it into the baby’s blanket.
Tye and Rydeck were holding each other now, bittersweet emotions welling up in their eyes.
“I– I don’t know if I’ll be able to properly raise him. I’ll be an outlaw,” Sparktender ventured.
“Do my ears detect a problem that needs to be solved?” Tye teased gently. “I once had a wise classmate who had a saying for that…”
Sparktender snorted, amused. “Suppose I can’t back down from that challenge.”
Rydeck spoke up now. “Regardless of how you go about it… we trust you’ll do what’s best for him.”
Sparktender was touched by their faith in him. He looked down through his spectacles at the child, who was calmly looking around at the goings-on with big blue eyes, taking it all in.
“We’d best get going,” said Tye. “I imagine taking off is going to cause some commotion– we’d better get back before that starts.”
“Alright,” said Sparktender.
“Take care of Lyte,” added Rydeck.
“I will. I promise.”
And then just as suddenly as they had appeared, they were gone, leaving Sparktender alone with an infant and an airship. He looked at one and the other and then with a deep breath, he climbed onto the small craft, setting the baby down gently behind him. He wasted no time in getting to work, loading up a furnace with small blue-tinted logs and then rushing over to the controls. This was an unusual ship, designed to be piloted by one person rather than the typical crew, so all of the controlling mechanisms were up front and Sparktender, who had never been inside an airship before, much less controlled one, initially felt at a loss for what to do. He cast his misgivings aside, though, with a leap of faith that had enabled him to solve problems in the past.
“Alright, let’s see here…” he mumbled to himself as he ran his eyes and fingers across the many dials and levers, trying to maintain calm and draw upon his basic understanding of machinery. As a trained mechanist, he had an advantage. But he didn’t have much time: gearwheels were spinning, propellers were whipping through the air, exhaust was billowing from the ship and it was rising now…
Startled by the noise coming from just outside the compound, several guards dashed up, and in the lead was Mistdrifter, the guard that had been fooled by Sparktender’s penny. All of them ran up to quite a spectacle: an airship, of all things, rising from the bushes.
“Halt!” Mistdrifter yelled, standing almost underneath the ship now. “You are not authorized to ride that airship. Halt!”
Sparktender ignored him, still messing with levers and with a large wheel, trying to steer the ship. “Come on, come on, come on…” he muttered through gritted teeth. He tugged on one promising-looking lever, but it snapped clean off in his hand. He looked at it incredulously. “Oh. Well.”
Mistdrifter watched as the ship continued to rise; now it was out of earshot, no doubt, so yelling warnings would be of no more use. He turned to a nearby guard. “Alert the sergeant and officers. We’ve gotta stop him before he hits three hundred meters.”
Sparktender had figured out how to control the airship– sort of– and was now gripping the wheel tightly, turning the ship so it was facing the direction of his home. He glanced at the altimeter: he had just passed one hundred meters in altitude. Then he looked down below at the Corporation grounds that he was now hovering over, and saw several guards boarding their own airships. He had a good lead on them, but they had weapons and piloting knowhow. Slowly they began to rise, and he watched as they turned themselves expertly and headed straight toward him.
Focus, focus, Sparktender told himself, willing himself to look straight ahead. Don’t think about them. He was going away, far away, and if he got some more altitude he knew they couldn’t catch him. Again he looked at his altimeter– his lifeline– he was closing in on two hundred meters.
The sound of a great propeller coming up from behind was getting louder now, and baby Lyte let out a cry. Sparktender spun around. A guard’s ship was on his tail. The man standing at the wheel was holding something made of brass, about the size of his fist. He turned it and wound a key on its back.
“…clockwork?” Sparktender was confused, but before he could give much thought to it, the brass object was hurtled into the air– and, like an angry insect, it made a beeline towards him.
Thinking quickly, he dropped to the floor, and the object zipped over his head with a buzz. He knew it would be back, though, and this time he would be prepared: he took hold of the broken lever and, wielding it like a bat, stood back up.
Sure enough, the fist-sized clockwork instrument made a wide turn and was now heading back at him. Repressing the deep innate repulsion he felt at damaging such an intriguing device, he shut his eyes tight and swung– and hit, feeling the impact reverberating through his makeshift weapon as the smashed mechanical insect went flying.
Feeling a bit emboldened by his victory, Sparktender glanced over at the altimeter. Two hundred and seventy meters.
Another airship was closing in, now. On board a guard loaded a cannon and aimed it at Sparktender’s ship, readying it to fire. Sparktender threw himself on the floor, scooping up the baby Windshifter and holding him to his chest, bracing himself for an impact…
A guard put his hand on the shoulder of the man at the cannon. “Hold fire.”
“He’s at three hundred meters. We can’t legally touch him. He’s gone.”
Sparktender was looking at his altimeter. Three hundred meters and rising. A slow smile crept onto his face. He looked behind him– his pursuers had stopped chasing him. He was free.
He peered over the edge of the ship, watching with wonder as the world fell away behind him and he became one with the aether. It was an amazing feeling, as though flight fulfilled some deep seated need in his soul that he didn’t even know existed.
But he felt another void still, so Sparktender clenched his teeth, took firm hold of the wheel, and flew resolutely towards his destination.
Mistdrifter was far below on the ground, watching, crestfallen, as his prey got away from him. There had been plenty of escape attempts before, and a few of those attempts had even been successful, but none had been of this sort of spectacle before. He had failed, and everyone in the compound– guards and drafted workers alike– could see it.
“Mistdrifter…” The voice was low and tinged with disappointment and Mistdrifter knew full well who it belonged to. He gulped and turned, facing a tall, shadowy man in a greatcoat, accompanied by two burly guards with blue glowing eyes. “Y– yes?”
“Windshifter” will be available in its entirety very soon…
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Hey. Hey guys. That book I’ve been working on for two years now?
Yeah. I think it’s done. FINALLY. I’ve passed it along to my dear boy, Mister Adequate, to give the whole thing a final proofread and then I’m going to e-publish it. And link to it here (and everywhere, I’m sure), of course! So, consider this your official heads-up!
And now to answer some FAQs:
What Is It?: The title of the book is Windshifter. Although I’ve had a couple of the characters and concepts knocking around inside my head for years, 98% of this thing was something I made up on the spot for NaNoWriMo 2009. I surprised myself by turning it into a halfway decent draft, and I’d like to think I’ve carved a nice little story out of it since then. At least, I think it’s nice for a first effort!
What Is It About?: It doesn’t really fall nicely into any set genre. I tend to tell people that it’s a “steampunk-inspired alternate universe” story. I think it also skews a bit “young adult”, although ultimately I wanted to make a story for all ages to enjoy– think Redwall or something. Speaking of Redwall, this is kind of similar. There are a lot of fuzzy creatures, and a race of people descended from dragons. But they have guns and airships and things. So basically, think steampunk Redwall and you’ll be in the right ballpark.
What Else is it Similar To, Besides Redwall?: I had test readers compare it to everything from Final Fantasy to The Golden Compass/His Dark Materials to various Disney movies (The Great Mouse Detective, for example), and honestly that’s a good selection of the sort of thing that inspired me. I was going for a fun romp through an unusual new world. I’m glad my beta readers seemed to pick up on that!
When Will It Be Available?: I’m shooting for “by the end of October” but that’s closing in rather fast. Still, I’m really hoping this will be ready within a few weeks.
How/Where Will It Be Available?: I’m thinking I’ll start with Amazon (Kindle), B&N PubIt (Nook), and also through myself as a pure PDF file. If there is enough interest in other outlets or in a physical copy (via Lulu or something) then it’s something I’ll definitely look into right away.
How Much Will It Cost?: Probably $0.99.
That’s It? Don’t You Think Your Writing is Worth More?: Trust me when I say that this is something I’ve been looking into for months, and I’ve read all sorts of very long and thorough arguments both for and against the 99-cent price point, and after studying all of that I find myself leaning “for” it. I might change my mind if I see something very convincing in the next week or two but it’s still going to be very cheap. Less than a few bucks. I want everyone to be able to afford my story. If there’s enough demand for it I might set up my PayPal so that you can pay-what-you-want for the PDF. And obviously a physical copy, if I offer one, will cost more.
Why Aren’t You Traditionally Publishing?: Partially because I want to get the story out there faster instead of waiting around for years– I know a lot of you have been really waiting patiently for this. Partially because I like the idea of eBooks and e-publishing. I’ve always had a lot of admiration for, say, indie game devs and I see this as being similar. And partially because I sort of consider this story to be a big warm-up exercise more than anything, so I figure I’ll go ahead and use this as an experiment to see what sort of bites I get.
Okay, I think that about covers it. Any more questions? Just ask! And wish me luck!
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Sooo… I haven’t updated since May. I do apologize profusely! There are a couple of reasons for the lack of updates over here. The first, and probably the biggest, is that I’ve pretty much essentially moved over to The Android’s Closet now. I know, I know, I was going to maintain two blogs. It’s tough to do, though. I’m having a blast blogging over there alongside my boyfriend, and I sincerely appreciate anyone who has ever stopped by.
There is another, slightly less positive reason for it, though. And I’ve decided to come clean:
Some of you are probably aware that I’ve been having a tough time lately. A good chunk of this is financially based: it’s hard to live paycheck to paycheck, selectively choosing which bills you’ll pay and which you’ll “conveniently forget” this month (and then prepping yourself for the incoming glut of phone calls from the bills you “forgot”), and patching up your ratty work pants with duct tape because you can’t afford new clothes.
Now before I go any further, I want to stress that this is in NO WAY some sort of begging post. A good deal of you are in a similar position– that’s the nature of the world we live in today, unfortunately– and even if the financial strain went away, there’s still a lot more going on: my family has fallen apart and factionalized due to my parents’ divorce, there’s mud getting slung around everywhere, and I feel caught in the middle in a very uncomfortable position. Plus, my last romantic relationship ended right as this was all going down, and that’s left me pretty rattled as well.
So here’s the part I haven’t told a whole lot of people: the result of all of this is that I have been an absolute mental wreck for the past six months or so, and it just seems to be worsening. I’ve been anxiety prone my whole life, but never to this extent. The littlest things will set me off and turn me into a sweating, trembling, panicked mess. I have to check my bank account? I panic. I have to go to work? I panic. My boyfriend has to leave for a bit? I panic. And so on.
It’s bad, and I’ve been trying to cope with it as best as I can, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. And so while I’m obviously not like this all the time– any enthusiasm you see from me on Twitter or on the other blog is genuine enthusiasm– I seem to be in a bad state more often than not anymore, and because of that, it’s hard to get as excited about things as I used to and so it’s hard to blog about those sorts of things here.
Finally, after trying to struggle on with this almost alone (aside from my dear boyfriend <3) for months on end, I talked to my mom about it the other day. She suggested I book myself at a clinic where they can offer therapy and possibly more, if needed. It's subsidized, so theoretically I should be able to afford it-- the downside is that the waiting list is something like two months long, because of it.
So now it's just a matter of surviving for the next two months. I've been getting by, I suppose, by surrounding myself with distractions-- I'm reading, I'm playing video games, I'm forcing myself to laugh by watching Whose Line is it Anyway reruns, heck, I'm even writing (I wrote 24k words in a brand new book over the course of the last few weeks, before deciding to temporarily drop it and focus on that one book that I’ve been dangling in front of you guys for months now. Hopefully I can have that one done soon.)
I’ve even gotten myself a new job, which I’ll start two weeks from today. It probably won’t do much about my financial situation– the gas savings are big, but I fear that will probably be counterbalanced by the pay cut I’ll be getting– but hopefully it’s less stressful than my current one, which is, well, pretty stressful.
Anyways, that’s what’s going on. It’s a bit heavy, and I apologize. But I no longer felt like hiding all the bad news from you guys, my readers, so there you have it.
I’d like to think things will look up soon and then I’ll be blogging a little more over here, about things like Linux and fish and watches and comic books. And of course, I look forward to my big post that links to all the places you’ll be able to download my book. Until then, just bear with me <3
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As you may know if you’ve been following me for a while– for months I’ve been sitting on a book, wondering how to go about publishing it. I’ve had a lot of people telling me I should e-publish for various reasons, and then I’ve also had a lot of people telling me that I shouldn’t and that doing so would be shooting myself in the foot. And so, for at least six months now, I’ve been sitting here trying to weigh the pros and cons and decide which option would be the best for me.
Then, two things happened. First, I saw this, and second, I realized that if I continue to sit around trying to decide how to publish it, it’s never going to get published. So, I’ve decided to commit to e-publishing. Here are just a few reasons for my decision:
Rainbow Dash talks almost as much as I do.
Now, I know there are a lot of downsides. Believe me, I know, because I’ve been agonizing over this decision for months. I realize this is a risk I’m taking, a big leap of faith that requires me to be a little brave, a little hopeful, and just a little bit conceited– and that last one there is probably the hardest for me. But if I don’t try, then I’ll never know!
So, that is that. Once I do actually have the thing online, I’ll link to it pretty much everywhere, so I’m sure you’ll see it. It may not be for a few months, because I want to give the manuscript some final edits, but I’m pretty committed to all of this actually happening. We’ll see how it goes, eh?
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I’m not joking. I’m not exaggerating. The new My Little Pony show is simply sublime.
Let me explain.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Lauren Faust. She grew up giving all of her My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake toys different personalities and making them go out and save the world in her imagination.
When she grew up, she started working on cartoons. You may have heard of some of these: Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.
Now she has her own show. It’s called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
BEFORE WE CONTINUE ANY FURTHER, ALLOW ME TO POINT OUT THAT THIS IS THE SHOW IN A NUTSHELL:
Okay, has that kept you here instead of scared you off? Good. Allow me to continue.
On its surface, I can see why the gentle reader might be somewhat skeptical. It’s called “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Seriously. The ponies are all pink or purple and have names like “Twilight Sparkle” and they have discussions about pretty frilly dresses. Okay. Yes. I know.
The aforementioned pony named Twilight Sparkle is a supernerd who puts reading and learning on a high pedestal and runs scientific experiments any time she comes across some sort of problem or unexplainable phenomenon.
The aforementioned pink pony, named Pinkie Pie, is utterly insane.
And the aforementioned pony who likes dresses, Rarity, is a haute boutique fashion designer who does things like lament about her career and slowly lose her mind when she attempts to balance the desires of her clients with her own artistic sensibilities. (And which of us, my fellow creative friends, has not been there?)
The characters are all female and cutesy and have big eyelashes. And have personalities. And have actual problems. And work those problems out. And grow.
And I can see a little bit of myself in each of the ponies. I’m a huge science nerd like Twilight Sparkle. But I’m also a giant ditzy derp like Pinkie Pie. And I’m also shy and quiet like Fluttershy. And I’m also a tomboy like Rainbow Dash. And I’m also an obsessive artist like Rarity. And I also don’t give a crap about my looks, like Applejack.
Now maybe it’s just me, but I have never seen a “little girls’ show” that was so very… human. Erm. Pony.
I’m writing this post because I want everyone to know about PONIES and how great it is. Have I finally snapped and lost my mind? Maybe. But it’s okay, because this morning when I was watching the show on YouTube I laughed so hard at one point that I had to pause for like five minutes before I could actually stop laughing and begin watching the show again.
And I don’t care WHAT the show is about, if it makes me do that, I’m a fan.
TL;DR: Ponies are awesome and everyone should watch them, regardless of age or gender. PROTIP: Watch at least three or four episodes before passing judgment.
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