Map Madness and 101 Challenge 14

Maps are a very useful thing

Whether it be for wandering streets in reality or the depths of the mind. As children, many of us were taught to use various methods of planning. One such method? Mind maps.

However, even for an auditory learner like me, visual maps are somewhat essential. I’ve come to find making even simple maps in Paint just to name the roads in a story’s town handy- and marking off where places are can be a real aid. It’s like making my own (albeit crappy quality) GPS!

SoS City Map

I’ve also been enjoying mapping in my game development works. In fact, I made a fair few maps recently and taped a playtest of the first couple minutes of the game (which, obviously, is still a work in progress). It showed me there were bugs, but it also made me feel pride for my maps- and my sense of humor. Please feel free to take a look!

And finally…A little about mind mapping itself, and how it can help you learn more about your own person:

I’m the type that gets confused easily. My own mind often feels clouded, and I’m often dreading trying to make sense when I speak. For me, I’ve always been better writing my thoughts on paper or the computer rather than speaking them. I know I’m not the only one whose ever felt that way.

Do you ever feel like the words coming from your mouth just don’t make the point like they did in your head? Sometimes, even if just for yourself, writing it down can help. Writing helps me with a lot of things, actually. If I’m stuck on a decision, I make a chart sometimes of the good and bad of both sides- sometimes as a Venn Diagram, sometimes as a list, and sometimes just as a stream of consciousness. Whatever helps you strive is a good tool- and mapping the mind is surely good for your heart and sanity (if such a thing exists in you).

I’ll write more about things like more use of charts and stream of consciousness later. 🙂

Today’s Challenge: A list of your favorite industry blogs

To be totally honest, I’m still finding and catching up on blogs that fit my niche…And by niche, I mean literally anything and everything. I love blogs about lots of things: about plants, about people’s daily lives, about writing…I even love blogs about blogs sometimes! However, because it’s usually just mild surfing, I don’t honestly pay that much attention. Today’s real challenge is to start paying a better look at the blogs I visit, and keep a closer eye on them!

I hope you’ll keep a close eye on me too…
Maybe even nudge me with recommendations or reminders!
Wouldn’t it be fun to share?
Like a book club for blogs!

Internet Changes, Future Posts and Return of the 101 Challenge (Day 13!)

It’s been a while, but I swear I’m alive! I went a few weeks without internet due to lack of funds and having trouble with a company I was working with to GET internet for my home. The modem they said would take only a few days to a week took at least two or more weeks to get here, and then it wasn’t quite working right brand new out of the package. However, after some great help from a lovely lady at Sprint (my internet is a specialty program for low income, which uses a Sprint cellular modem with unlimited data). We thought it was strange how bad our throughput was, and she agreed, and we figured out the bugs over time. So while originally today was going to be a day to call and complain…It’s working pretty well, now!

That said, it’s been a rough month or two. I couldn’t handle living with my grandma after a while and we had a bit of a blow out. We still spend time together sometimes, but we aren’t on the best of terms as of late due to it- but we’re working on patching it up, and dad still helps her from home the best he can.

My bruise is gone from my surgery, sadly. Yes, I’m sad about that. I’m weird. But you know what isn’t gone? All the ideas of posts I wanted to make this past month! I’ve been working on various projects at once as usual, and some of it you’ll definitely get to see in future posts. I felt like sharing a list of things I plan to post about in the near future, as well as changes I hope to make on the site (as I get more into the swing of the net again).

  1. Maps (Mind-Maps, Atlases and more!)
  2. General updates to my works.
  3. A ton of links added to the Sites to See page.
  4. Regular prompts for fun.
  5. More ways to deal with writer’s block (see my examples below in the challenge)
  6. WAY MORE CHALLENGES
  7. Ideas for more interaction with my lovely readers
  8. And tons more!

Well, while I’m working on all that, though…Here’s today’s challenge: Overcoming writer’s block

I was sure I’d done this one before, but I remembered being on this number, and either way, this is a concept that’s a major deal for most writers….naturally, myself included! And writer’s block isn’t as simple as it may sound, in my opinion. It’s not simply a moment where you don’t feel inspired or hit a plot hole you can’t figure out how to fill (though those are the most  common ones for me…) Writer’s block can also have to do with general interest in a project, general energy to work on things, and even can be caused by racing thoughts!

For me, the way I fix my writer’s block depends a lot on the kind of writer’s block I have, but the best method in general taht usually helps me is this…

“If I have no ideas on how to continue this project right now, work on one I have an interest/idea for and come back to this one when it clears.”

Basically…Distraction! When I am working on a story, and I lose my muse for it…It doesn’t mean I’m always losing my way in general. It doesn’t always mean I don’t have any energy to write. It’s often just THAT STORY, for some reason or another. Heck, sometimes it’s just working on a specific chapter! So, I switch gears. Stuck on a chapter? Skip ahead to another one, I can always go back later. Can’t handle this story anymore? Work on a different story, get to know some new characters! Maybe they’ll give you some insight for the previous project you were working on! It doesn’t mean you give up. It just means you switch your mindset!

Basically…For me, distraction is a natural helper. Whether it’s switching projects or doing something besides write (play a game for inspiration or to beat up things, watch a movie with family, read a ton of manga…heck, sometimes I do the dishes if i’m irritated by my story!). It helps clean the mindframe that is stuck and irritated by the block, and you’ll manage to find a way around it over time. Time heals all wounds. Writer’s block is part of this…I’m sure of it!

Questions, Research and 101 Challenge 12

In recent days, I’ve been doing my best working on Star of Satseiya. In this story, there are more than one language used, and I really wanted to actually try my hand at /making/ the languages and using them. So, I made a note in my project for the demonic language (that I should really call something less obvious and blah). I’ve used a sentence of it in a chapter by referring to the note…And as I think of words that might be useful to blend in, I add to it.

Still, there’s a lot I don’t know or understand about language- even as a writer or an editor. Today, I’m going to work hard on researching the use of fictional languages…And ask you, my lovely friends, for input.

1. For those of you that love to read, how do you feel when there’s a created language used at points in the story you’re reading? Is there a specific way you like it used, and a way you find it easy to understand what’s being portrayed in the verses?
2. For those of you that write with languages you’ve made on your own…What was your process in making the language? How do you separate different words used? Do you make an index/glossary for yourself? I want all the little details in your head that help you figure out the language and how it works.

I’m not only planning to make this demonic language, you see. I plan to alter current languages that exist in reality (thanks to translator programs on the internet) to adjust them into not-so-real languages to exist in my world, since I know that English isn’t the only language…And to be fair, I don’t know how they got English in the first place. It might be good to look deeper into that.

So, as usual, I’m sidetracked with research…But I’m still working hard on writing when my muse kicks me! Sometimes I make simple images for characters too. I might have to make a better page for that….Or just shove them in excerpts.

I’ve also been researching low-cost internet- this time, it’s because I just need it. My neighbors, who have been graciously letting me use their wifi for the past year with a guest account, are moving in the next week or so (I just found out yesterday). I’m able to use the internet if I’m at my grandmothers, but that won’t help when I finally get to go back to my apartment. That said, I think I’ve found a solution- but we have to ask her help to afford it, because it’s about a hundred bucks as a downpayment for a year. That said, even if it’ll be weaker than I’m used to…I’d have portable internet with it, and at least at my house, this service has pretty good reception. It uses a cellular modem- and I live right near a cell tower!

Anyway…That’s my main blabbering for today. Just wanted to give you some insight into my recent projects, as usual. I also can’t wait to show off some pictures of a new character showing up, Saye. I can’t remember if I posted about this, but I recently found legal papers that showed me the name I’d always heard my great-grandmother referred to as WASN’T her legal name. My guess is it was her Hebrew name…But anyway. I LOVE her real name just as much if not more. Sure, I thought Abraham and Sarah as a couple was stupidly cute, but I really love her real name, Saye, so much. I don’t really know much about her aside from that, but…I love her anyway. And so, I made a character named after her. And already, Saye has a big role in my brain. I couldn’t find what the name means, however…But I’ll figure it out!

Since her role is an Angel, like Takumi, I need to figure out her human form still…Oh well.

Anywho…

Time for today’s challenge: What novelists can learn from screenplays?

I’ve met a screenwriter or two in my day, and I took a class in it when I was in high school (er, before being expelled and whatnot). I once took part in what was called “Script Frenzy” (now basically a part of CampNaNo) and was shocked at how beautifully I felt the particular writing method fit one story I was working on. Screenwriting may look simple if you look at a play’s script for school or such, but it’s actually really hard to write. There are a lot of little things you need to keep in mind, whether it be what’s available for the play to be made, whether it’s even for a play (it’s often used to plot out comics!) and the like. There’s also the way you really have to figure out how to show expressions and such through the words in dialogue more. I had a lot of fun learning how to write one as a kid…And one of my role models as a writer, my local ML for NaNo, is a published screenwriter of some great plays!

As for what writers learn? Well, I think that depends on the novelist or writer in general. Like a reader may take different things out of a book compared to their friend who read the same one, learning how screenwriting works can be great for outlining a scene for some or better for making you think about how dialogue flows further than usual. What I learned? The fact that there are many ways to write…I think what it teaches, overall, is just how many different kinds of people there can be, don’t you think?

Paradoxes in my Head, Making of a Language and 101 Challenge 11

My camp project’s a flop. I just can’t keep my head in the game lately (the fever I have today doesn’t help, but still!) and I ended up having my muse tugged away from it and back to an older project, Star of Satseiya. You can see a sample on the Excerpt page, and I added it to the WIP area too. It’s a very complicated story to describe for me, honestly…But it was a story I wrote many years ago originally as a short story, which I want to expand. It’s filled with symbols and a fight against the black and white views of good and bad, in many ways. In a way, it’s a way I hope to learn to fight against my borderline thinking. The angels and demons have very unique traits to me, but at the same time, I have tried to humanize them. Hopefully I’m doing a good job.

Originally, I started making a gibberish language for a writing prompt I was doing, but I ended up using it to give the demons a way to interact more uniquely. I’m writing a dictionary of sorts for myself to translate, so that as I go I can write out sentences in it and still know what I’m saying. The issue is going to be making sure the reader does! But after using it just for one brief moment in a chapter, I found that it really helped bring the demons to life, and added another layer of depth and culture that’s hidden from the world so far. I’ve been doing a lot of planning on the races recently because of this…But the language is the biggest challenge yet.

Still, I’m having fun with all the paradoxes and language work! I’m also trying to learn a few languages on Duolingo, which will help me make up other words soon enough. I’ve done some lessons in Italian, Russian and Norwegian so far. Since I can’t quite read half the letters well yet, some are harder than others….But it’s still worth it! 🙂

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: What you’ve learned through blogging

What I’ve learned is that moderation really is the key to many things, even a blog. When I was looking for input on the blog early on, a few people told me one thing they like is that my posts aren’t every day like some other blogs are- it keeps it less stressful for them to keep up. To be honest, that’s part of why I do it myself. I just don’t have the energy!

I’ve also been learning about readability more, or rather net readability. WordPress happens to have a plugin of some sort that tells me what makes my blog less readable, as well as separate pages. So far, I’m not doing well with certain issues like adding more pictures and links…But hopefully, it’s not totally boring you all. I just can’t think of what to link to or add images for. I mean, it’s a writing blog. Naturally the goal is to write, right?

A Wild Week and 101 Challenge 10

I’ve been getting NO writing done this week. There’s been constant chaos since coming to my grandmother’s house. With her constant complaints about going to the place she paid to go for a month and then constantly calling to ask the same question every few minutes after she got there, it’s been a rough day and the past few days weren’t much easier. Finally, though, there’s some peace and quiet…Though I can’t guarantee how long it’ll stay.

My work on Camp has been kinda bad. I have a general concept and all, but for some reason I just can’t keep a pace going, and the current scene is just nothing for me to work with even though I know what’s supposed to be happening. I’m skipping around a lot just to get through things and get words down. It’s not like I plan to publish this anyway, at least not this particular project…But it means a lot to me, so I want to get it done. I might switch to something else until I can get it done right.

Well, for now…It’s time for the challenge.

This Week’s Challenge: Creative prompts for other writers

This is something I could probably do regularly, but I’ll share the most recent one I personally love that someone shared with me instead…Because to be honest, I find it amazing:

“A child is kidnapped. Outraged, the monsters that live under their bed and in their closet vow to find them.”

Add in the monster in the closet and other places just to give it some more characters if you’d like. Heck, you can add in the unpaired socks in their laundry basket. If you ever use it, share what you write in the comments (if you want to, of course). I’d love to read it! If/when I use it, I’ll share it in a new post as well.

Camping Out and 101 Challenge 9

For most people, whether online or offline, April 1st is a day for pranking people you know and care about for the fun of it. For many writers, however, April is a time to go into a frenzy and practice the art of focusing on your project without your inner editor going nuts. That’s right! It’s already time for Camp NaNoWriMo!

I told you in a previous post that I’d sharing a cabin with the lovely people from Writer’s Haven on Discord, hosted by Books and Quills (who I need to submit more poems to for fun). Recently we began having fun as a group with Habitica as well, which has helped me start to challenge myself and work on my habits, both good and bad. I can use it as a to-do list, I can use it to remind myself of daily things I need to do…And it all becomes a game with Habitica. I’ve actually used it a long time ago…But having my boss and friends reminding me to look at it helps a lot.

However, “camp” is going to be even more like my youth than I thought it’d be. Over the next month, my grandmother is going to test out an assisted living center…And she’s asked my dad and me to stay at her house to use up her food while she’s gone. We can’t actually leave our own apartment for such a long time (we have inspection later this month, and don’t know quite when it is)…But for the next month, we’ll be staying over there on and off for days or maybe even a week at a time.

To me, this is a mixed blessing. I’m used to my home…But I grew up in this house. Add in free food, TV and internet, free laundry and then some…It’s a pretty sweet deal, really. It’s like a nearby vacation! And you know what? That’s good for writing. There are many who will tell you that when you’re in a rut with your writing, change of scenery can be a great help.

That said, I do have personal qualms about staying there for long periods. Yes, I love the house and it has many memories…But it’s gonna be awkward when my uncle, who is overseas visiting family, returns since he lives there too. I don’t even know if he knows she’s going to this thing.

Anyhow…That’s the lively writing update from me. But man, can you believe this post is already way more words than what I have in my camp project so far, and I’ve had all day!?

Today’s Challenge: Writers in your life and how they’ve inspired you

I could possibly write a novel just about the writers in my life. After his becoming disabled, my father began writing sci-fi novels at home, and would often try to get me to read them (which I just couldn’t get into because, at least at the time, sci-fi was the hardest genre for me to enjoy even a wee bit. Ironic since I usually write it!). He’s had family and friends read the drafts, and he’s still working on perfecting them…But he hopes that I’ll join him and conspire with him so that we can both get our names on the cover. In fact, he’d probably just put it under mine knowing him!

Of course, my father isn’t the only writer in my life. I’ve been making friends with fellow writers thanks to NaNoWriMo since middle school, and I work at a literary magazine- a job which I actually got through a NaNo group! I find that my life has gotten much easier to understand thanks to the many writers I’ve met…Because they all give me such a wide variety of views of the world. Whether we’re talking about new techniques to torture characters with or about personal life problems, my friends that write alongside me are always helping me become both a better author and person.

I am part of a ton of forums nowadays, too, where writing is a major part of my time. My friend hosting Caludin itself (who is so kind as to host me too) loves to write and we often chat about it. I’ve joined RP sites and other such forums various times throughout my life, and every time I felt I grew as a writer, and my characters have grown quite a bit as well. It’s amazing, actually…Just how much they grow from interacting with outside worlds.

If you’re a writer, never be afraid to say hello to another- myself included. You never know what treasures will be discovered by mingling and mind-searching together!

Days With No Net and 101 Challenge 8

So for the past few days, I have had no internet available to me. I don’t know what happened, but it just…wasn’t around? I use internet generously supplied by a neighbor. If they lose it, I lose it. It took until late this evening to get it back. All I could do in the meantime was thank them for always being so kind as to let me use it…And try to work on a design for their birthday card I plan to make this week. (I always make my cards to people by hand. It’s just how I am!)

Today was a busy day once I got my net. I had to catch up with work at Books and Quills, and we had a facebook Takeover- the first one I’ve really participated in! Not sure what a Takeover is? From what I’ve found out…It’s basically an event where we take control of conversations on an FB page and get to interact and have fun with everyone! Want to see it in action? It’s part of this Event. Just look in the discussions, and you’re sure to find all sorts of puzzles, prompts and fun from us!

I’ve also decided that today I’d like to remind my wonderful readers who have discord about the Writer’s Haven, a group made by Books & Quills for writers of all types to chat, work together, help each other, and just have a good ol’ time (or vent, if that’s what you need). If you’re ever interested in taking a look, feel free to come on by!

While I had no internet, I DID have access to ComiPo…And spent some time making some pictures in it just for fun. Including a button!

What do you think? At any rate, now it’s time for…

Today’s Challenge: Describe your dream writing space.

Honestly, I’ve never thought about my ‘dream’ writing space. I’d probably really like a big desk with a hutch and lots of drawers for knickknacks, files and the like. Naturally, including a new/better computer might be helpful to me too. But the main thing for me is having enough space for all my stuff. And, y’know, book space. I need my books! NEED, I tell you!

Oh, and one of my drawers would probably be dedicated to pens. Because you don’t know how badly I hoard those…And probably don’t want to! >w<

Tons of Updates and 101 Challenge 7

Today is a day full of updates. Not much to write about in regards to writing today, however…But I’ll likely be writing a lot of poems today. I just have an itch for it. However, that’s neither here or there. Today’s post is all about updates and the daily challenge!

Site Updates

I’ve done a bit of work on a few pages today. For starters, I added a page to the WIP section for comics, with one project to start (the one I’ve been doing all sorts of generalized work on in the background). I had a reason for the “Other” page, but I haven’t made it yet because I’m still figuring out some stuff on the topic. I’ll be taking down the header for it until it’s made.

I’ve made an excerpt page, where I’ll be posting writing work that I feel like sharing with everyone. This means it won’t be published commercially in any form. Some of the things I plan to put there is lore from the Lunaverse, story snippets, poems and tutorials I write myself. I’ll tell you in my blog as I add more to it. For now, take a look at the oldest lore in the Lunaverse’s history: The Sun’s Helper!

Finally, I updated the Sites to See page. You’ll see I added a textual header and a secondary section for tutorials I find on the web that I find useful and want to share with you. As usual, if you want your site included, let me take a look using the contact form on my Contact page. I would love to see everything you have to offer as well, my lovelies.

Today’s Challenge: Photos of Your Writing Space

Taking a good picture of my writing space is actually very challenging to me. Why? Because it’s so messy, I’m honestly a bit embarrassed. But…I should definitely include pictures more. So this is a good thing, isn’t it? It’s not much to look at…But here’s a sneak peek at where I’m sitting nearly every day.

As you can see, I have an incomplete bookshelf near my chair. There are a LOT of books at my side regularly, including naming guides and other writing aids. I also have some general books I love, like the Poetic Edda. At the top you see a lot of other knickknacks as well as a weather radio. I always keep my water and a pack of pretzels handy on my desk, too. After all, even for a writer it’s important to make sure you always stay hydrated and fed!

What do you keep at YOUR desk?

Camping at Work and 101 Challenge 6

For those of you who have no clue about it, NaNoWriMo is a yearly event that takes place in November. It’s a writing challenge where you take the month to write a story with the goal of reaching 50,000 words before the month ends. It can take a lot of work, but I’ve been taking part for about a decade (yes, I started as a youth). While it may seem to be a difficult goal, and I’ve only actually succeeded once…But still, I never give up, and I am to continue participating every year until my death (though I can’t see that far ahead, huh?).

Now, the truth is it isn’t only NaNoWriMo that’s special to me. Twice a year, in April and July, they have a lighter version of the challenge: Camp NaNoWriMo. You get to choose your method (Screenplay, Comic, poetry, novel, whatever you want basically)…and you choose your word goal. The point is to keep writing, and to connect with other writers in ‘cabins’ online. Normally, my way of getting a cabin is just selecting for it to randomly choose on the distribution of cabins. However, you CAN join a specific one. This year will be my first year doing that- because my boss at the magazine made one for our group. For once, I’ll probably know everyone in my cabin beforehand! Not that it’ll be any different than my usual lurking in the open discord…Hehe. Apparently the boss mentioned something about a ‘Habitica Party’ while I was gone today, so I have to find out more about that too. Seems interesting.

I’ve also started working on writing some tutorials. I’ll eventually add them and some other things I’ve been working on to the site in their own proper sections (just kinda deciding how to go about it, first!). I need to make more graphics for when I work on the site, because it’s kind of dull so far isn’t it? But I won’t give up! I’ll make it shine sooner or later. Just takes time.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Your first memory of writing

I think I mentioned it back around challenge four, but I’ve always loved stories. After a while, I’d heard enough silly bed time stories from dad that I decided to try writing my own. Sure, most of it was based on things I’d seen- I came up with an idea based on Pokemon to some extent, with differences I can barely recall today. Once I’d learned how to make words work on paper, I started to write regularly. It was probably my biggest coping skill back when I was ten, and my father had been in dire straights medically. I made a lot of friends at that point through writing and learning the form of it that could be social, role-playing.

I have a lot of fond memories of writing, in reality…But I can’t say I remember what came first anymore. I do know my first three characters I ever made from it though. They’re my very special babies (albeit I call all my characters my kids, which is proof I probably shouldn’t be a mother). I tend to obsess a bit more over them than usual, and when I’m bored and want to make pictures, I’ll jump at the chance to make pictures of them just for fun. From oldest to youngest of my three little girls…

Flutter: I originally called her “Little”, and she was supposed to be a bit based off me, using my internet handle at the time. She’s grown a lot since I made her a decade and change ago, going from a shy, well-mannered girl to a fiesty, logical one that just doesn’t really get emotions well (not that she ever did). She’s always been an alien and has taught me a lot of short stories from her world over my life with her. That said…I think her father has changed WAY MORE than she has >>

Hiruka: If you’ve ever tried roleplaying Pokemon with me, you’ve met her. She’s a hard-headed girl who acts first and asks questions later. She has a strong sense of justice and prefers Pokemon to people, possibly because she has some Pokemon in her DNA from genetic engineering she didn’t even know about. She’s often on the run, and often butting in where she doesn’t belong. That said, she can have her fear of humans quelled if the right person comes along…

Linear: Though she was basically starting out as a character for a roleplay of Megaman, Linear came as a set with Calama, who I easily altered later to still make sense with her even without the net-navi reasoning. Linear’s always been a bit on the mute side, always from trauma as a child. I think it was around the time I made her, actually, that I’d had my first bout of unexplainable amnesia myself. I forgot my own name for a few days at school, and kept writing my name as Little. It confused everyone, including me! When I finally remembered my real name, I wouldn’t react to the only thing I had for those days…I have this feeling I made Linear with a mild amnesia of the traumatic past because I wanted to understand my own situation and why I forgot my name.

All my characters are special to me…And the memories I share with them will only grow, to the point my mind will explode. It’s kind of amazing really…I can remember any of this, when my memory is far from something I’m proud of. Yet all these memories? I wouldn’t trade them for the world. If I could help it, anyway. 🙂

Making Maps and 101 Challenge 5

With the idea of making a snapple-cap fact list for myself of my inner universe, I began trying to map things out…And with the first world I tried to map, I realized I can’t draw a map to save my life so far.

For now, I’ve made a cruddy little thing in paint…But I’ve found a number of neat generators and such online. I don’t have the patience for this one that’s drag and drop and such with pieces. Well, not yet, anyway. I tried it last night but lost my first part because of having to restart my computer and forgetting to try to save it somehow. I found another generator that makes really nice, colorful maps though. I just need it to generate on that really fits my world more. I may not know it well, but I know bits and pieces.

But in many ways, maps really are useful. Maybe I’ll try drawing my own again…And taking my time, in a program like GIMP. Have you ever made a map for yourself, readers?

TODAY’S CHALLENGE: Your first memory of books or reading

I still remember the first book I managed to read at school, back when we were learning to read in classes and would each choose a book to read to the class out loud. When it was my turn to read, I brought a Little Bear book to read. I was a lot slower learning to read well compared to my classmates, mind you…I have some notable dyslexia at times and other eye issues, and I was also just a bit on the slow side (it took me until I was in third grade for adding to really ‘click’, while everyone else was learning to multiply).

I have so many memories of books…To be honest, putting them in order can be really hard! I still remember times I read books I hated, and times I read books I loved. A lot of books have left a really strong impact on me over my life. It’s a shame I don’t read as much anymore outside of manga…I need new glasses so that I can focus without eye strain again. I should stop lollygagging on that.