Topical Tuesday: ComiPo Conundrum

Season’s greetings, everyone! Can you believe it’s getting so close to the end of the year? I was thinking about how much I’ve changed over the past year, and I realized something… the most major change, I’ve found, is that I’m using ComiPo a lot less than I used to.

Now, It’s not like I never use it at this stage. I still play around with it, mostly to make backgrounds for my computer based on projects I have… But it’s not my only comic making program anymore. During a sale, I ended up buying Kuma Kuma. Each program has its perks and downfalls, but this isn’t a review or comparison post by any means. I’m here today to talk about why I’ve grown to use ComiPo less and less… And why I don’t consider myself necessarily part of the community anymore.

You see, the ComiPo community was strong for a long while. I felt comfortable there, and I was using ComiPo so much that it felt only reasonable that I take part in the community. But, when I had a major case of burnout from writing, my comic work also plummeted. I began to use ComiPo less and less. And, the less I used it, the less I felt a connection to the community.

Of course, there are other reasons I left the majority of the ComiPo community. There was a lot of drama and stress in it after a certain point. I’ll spare you the details, but the basic point is that certain members showed different kinds of quirks that weren’t exactly comfortable for me to be around. And, as the ‘quirks’ led to drama, I became more and more stressed just watching from the sidelines. So, I basically left to preserve my limited sanity.

I’m not completely outside the ComiPo community, however. I have high hopes for a trip to Canada in 2020 to do a panel about the program with some friends that use it as well. I have no idea if it’ll come to fruition yet, of course. If it does work out, I’ll have a lot of preparations to do, including getting myself a passport, making my part of the presentation, etc.

Now, I’m totally looking forward to the panel assuming it happens. If not, a friend said she’s trying for an artist alley booth that we can share, too. That said, I haven’t really been sharing much of my ComiPo work on my deviantART or here. And the reason for that, besides not really having much to share, is my anxiety. I’m honestly scared of returning to the community- I’ve vanished for so long, and I can’t help but have doubts about whether I’d be welcomed back or come back to a new set of stressful scenarios. And, it’s not like my focus is on ComiPo- though I do have some stories I want to make into comics again, but I don’t feel I have remotely enough skill or planning to make it work well.

So, what am I working on lately? I’m glad you asked (no, I know you didn’t, but I’m pretending you did anyway). I got a nifty new program for planning out stories and have been using its worldbuilding pack quite a lot. I’m making languages, fleshing out cultures and religions, and many more things. I’m also doing a tiny bit of game dev every day, as dad said he’d like to work on it with me at some point, and I’ve met people on Twitter who are thinking of making a group that I’m invited to join. I’m still working on my novels, but they’re mostly in the planning stages again, as I try to figure out if they’d make better scripts than novels.

And, finally, I’ve been entering writing contests again. I have a paid one I want to join, but I can’t seem to come up with a third poem right now. I’m going to keep working extra hard on poetry until I write one I think sits well- and I hope to spend a lot more time on writing contests in the next year.

What kind of creative projects are you up to, guys? Do you prefer to write or draw, and no matter which, what’s your favorite medium for it? I want to hear more about you guys- I want to become a part of your community, as you are part of mine. I hope you’ll comment to share your thoughts- I love to hear them!

NaNo Special: Writer’s Block

Good morning, my special friends! It’s time for another NaNo Special! Today, I’m going to talk about probably the most frustrating thing a writer can go through (in my opinion, at least). Yep, we’re talking about Writer’s Block.

I like to envision writing a bit like driving… Which is funny since I can’t drive. And yet, in my mind, I’m driving with my characters along the road that is the story’s plot. Sometimes they take the wheel and drag me through detours, while other times they just sit back and let me work. But sometimes, the road leads to a dead end. And, upon that dead end, I imagine a massive stone monument: a slab of Writer’s Block.

I try to keep my toolbox full of things to break the block down, naturally. Sometimes it requires a hammer, sometimes it needs to be set aflame. Many times, though, the only way I can get past a writer’s block is another detour. That, or take a trip to another story that has less blocks on its course.

See, I find detours and changes in direction the best methods for me to deal with writer’s block. If I don’t do those, I just end up sitting and staring at the block for an hour with absolutely no progress. By either jumping to a different road in the story or taking a route to a different story for a while, I manage to give the block time to sink into quicksand on the road, and return to it later with much clearer ideas and abilities to conquer it.

Another helpful thing is to have creative snacks. I remember reading once that someone recommended blue ice cream as a good writing food, but there’s a lot of options to get some sugary goodness that’ll get your motors going. For some reason, sugar is helpful for creative projects like this. Whether it’s blue ice cream or interestingly shaped cookies, there’s all sorts of snacks out there just waiting to be devoured for your writerly pleasure.

If you’re really hitting the wall with a hammer and having no luck, sometimes it’s good to take a break from writing altogether. Take some time for self care- go take a soothing bath or do a facial mask. Take a nice walk outside if the weather permits, or maybe just chat with a friend. Relaxation is a good way to help ease out of writer’s block and avoid burn out. Don’t forget it’s good to take a break once in a while either way, both for your stress levels and your eyes!

I know this isn’t much, but it’s all I can think of that might help. These are things that help me a lot, but they may not help you. Still, they’re things to try. If you have any tips for writer’s block of your own, share them in the comments so I can try them! If we all work together, we can all get a lot more done, don’t you think?

NaNo Special: My Writing Style

It’s the second day of NaNoWriMo, and my first November blog! I figured since it’s the first NaNo Special, I’d talk about something unique to me: my writing style, particularly how it varies between chatting applications and story writing. You see, I write very differently depending on what I’m writing. A message to a friend will often include a lot of typed out smilies and tildes at the end of sentences. You won’t find those in my fiction, however, except occasionally in author notes I include, including placeholders.

But did you know? There’s a method to my madness. I change my writing style drastically based on situations for a number of reasons. That’s what I primarily want to share with you today.

For those of you that don’t know me, I think it’s best to start out by telling you this: I’m an editor. I have severe OCD when it comes to writing and reading- any spelling errors I see, any awkward punctuation, it all makes me stuck when I’m reading something. When I say stuck, I mean my focus is glued to it, and cannot be unglued until the issue is fixed. It’s gotten me into a lot of trouble with all sorts of people: teachers, therapists, doctors offices- I’d notice their errors and start correcting them just to get out of the quicksand I felt myself engulfed in.

So, when I chat, I started doing something therapeutic: I started purposely making spelling errors of my own, altered my grammar to be something far from perfect, and used chatting with friends as a form of shock therapy on my own side of it. I still have trouble with forms when there’s errors, but I can at least hold back a little bit now. I still stop and stare, but I don’t feel like I’m going to miss every detail from getting glued to a page with problems.

And that’s why I chat the way I do. I find the tilde endings cute for some reason, too, though. It wasn’t just for therapy- it was to feel cuter, because my self-esteem sucks, and it was just getting worse with each day that I sat unable to take in anything people talked about around me because of a missing comma or the wrong use of there, their, or they’re.

But, there’s something else that I didn’t think of when I first started using this method of finding some self control: I didn’t think of how it would effect others that I wrote that way with. I had an ex who absolutely hated it. He sarcastically called me his tilde princess, but I didn’t realize he was demeaning me at the time. I thought it sounded sweet. It’s not that surprising though- I mean, I’m sure plenty of people find it irritating, but I would’ve liked it if he said it plainly rather than giving me what I thought was a cute pet name in his irritation.

Actually, it makes me worry sometimes that people may just be being nice for not calling me out for my somewhat weird writing methods. However, there are also people who do think it’s cute, which encourages me to continue doing it, as I feel my best and most like myself when I do this therapeutic facade. I know better than to use it when doing work of some sort, of course. But still, there’s some times where it’s okay not to be perfect. That’s what editors are for!

Well, that’s all for today’s ramblings. Do you find your writing methods change when you’re chatting versus writing fiction? How do you find yours differ from one another? What are some similarities? I’d love to hear your viewpoint and experience on the matter. Well, until next time! Take care~!

Throwback Thursday: NaNoWriMo

Welcome to the last post of October! It feels like time’s blown away quite quickly, doesn’t it? It’s already Halloween- and that means one thing to me: Tomorrow starts the craziest writing time I have each year: National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words of fiction within just the 30 days of November. This requires writing almost 2k a day, which is surprisingly difficult at times. I’ve been a participant in NaNoWriMo since my school days.

It’s called ‘national’, but the challenge is spread across the globe nowadays. NaNoWriMo has a very social part to it, both online and off. Online, there’s forums and the ability to chat with your writing buddies. Offline, home regions (in my case Northeast New Jersey) have write-ins where you meet up at a library, cafe or some other institution to sit, have word wars, and quite a few other activities to help boost your word count.

It took me until about three years ago for me to really get to enjoy the socializing offline, when I finally found someone who could drive me to them since my dad often was sick and couldn’t. The next year, a different person drove me. Last year, I skipped NaNoWriMo due to mental health issues… And this year, I found out someone in my own town is going to be taking part, so they agreed to pick me up and go with them to the write-ins they plan to go to. For write-ins that this new friend isn’t going to, I have a secret weapon to get there.

See, my aunt is finding joy through writing recently. She’s always encouraged my writing, but finding a writing group made her realize just how good the social aspect could be for me. She gave me a prepaid card I can use to get Lyft rides to writing-based events. And you know what? I’ll do that if I need to, because it’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by other writers working vigorously on their craft. It just makes me want to work harder!

However, while this is a quick trip down memory lane, this blog post is also an announcement: I’ll be cutting back my posts to every Saturday only. The posts will be about my writing process and things of that sort. I won’t have much time to blog, but I’ll try to check in on sporadic days to update you on how I’m doing, maybe share some pictures of things going on.

I’m sorry to announce this so late, but I hope you’ll cheer me on. By announcing my participation to you, my readers… I’m certain it will improve my chances of finishing this novel. Having people to check in on me and encourage me is a great feeling, and it just makes me want to finish harder knowing I’ve made a promise to do my best.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? Do you just want to send your support? No matter what it is you have to say, please comment! I want to hear everything you have to say!

Topical Tuesday: A Change of Plans

Howdy guys! I’m back to my blogging, but there’s going to be some changes. You won’t see them as much here, but if you’ve been following my Alien Irony: Redux Blog…. Well, that’s going to be taking a back burner for a while. You see, I’ve come to realize a couple things after my just-over-a-week-vacation. I’m starting to burn out from blogging… And there’s one way to fix that: cutting down.

Now, I won’t be cutting down my posts here. Three posts a week is one thing, but the six I was doing is another. And to add to that, I haven’t been doing nearly as much work on Alien Irony: Redux as I’d like to be doing for that blog to have purpose, so while I’m not deleting it, it’ll only get a post maybe once a month for a while, until I’m back on track with that project.

However, I won’t be bothering you guys much with my writing. I will certainly talk about my writing life, but this is going to be a more personal blog from now on. I’ll be continuing my Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday posts as I’d been doing them, and occasionally you’ll see me talk about my writing in general, but it won’t be a focus of this blog for a while. I’ll be making a new blog for that, as I’ve come to determine blending personal and business (and for me, writing isn’t just my life- it’s my job, alongside editing)… Well, it’s not the best way to blog. So, I’m separating them. I’ll update you on what day I’ll be posting on that blog once I’ve set it up.

Another change is that, while I’ll try to be consistent in posting every week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I won’t be forcing myself quite as much as I have been from time to time. Since this is a ‘personal’ blog, it means I can adjust things as I need them- even if that means taking a day off. I’ll try not to, mind you, but if I feel too close to burning out, I might just have to. I apologize in advance for any time this may happen in the future.

And… That’s about it for today. I’m not sure what Thursday’s topic will be yet, but I plan to share some details of my trip on Saturday, so be prepared for a long one! But until then… I hope everyone’s been well while I was gone!

Take care, guys! 🙂

Soulful Saturdays: Why I Write

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first “Soulful Saturday” post, where I’ll be getting into the nitty gritty of my life, my writing, and how they often mesh together to create music no one necessarily wanted to hear, but I feel is needed to be heard. It generally won’t be specific to the part of my life I’m in- but right now, it will be… Because today, I’m going to share one of the things I love most about writing: treating my characters like absolute crap.

If you’re a writer, you probably know as well as I do the satisfaction that can come from making a character go through torment of some kind and even more so when they figure out a way through it. But, whether you’re a reader or not, that feeling can be caused by more than just the fun of literature itself- it can be quite personal. After all, the best way to make a story relatable is, well… Relate to it.

I’ve gone through plenty of pain in my life. Most of us have at least some pain, whether physically or mentally, don’t we? I started writing as soon as I learned to read, pretty much, and many times it was to fight the pain that came from early life’s difficulties.

By the age of eight my parents were separating- not that it changed my life that much, since my mother wasn’t a very motherly person. Still, it was her neglect I’d grown up with, and she was my mother. As a little girl, I thought it was normal for her to be that way… Then she just up and disappeared. Two years later, I was in a car crash with my dad. Dad needed surgery for his spinal damage (we’d been hit a few times in my life by then)… So we moved in with his parents, where there was constant turmoil and fighting.

By the age of ten, I basically lived on the computer to survive emotionally. Sure, I was in therapy, but that only did so much for a prepubescent who had trust issues as it was. Online, I felt safer than I did at home with all the noise and drama. But just chatting wasn’t enough. I needed something more substantial to deal with the stress.

And that, friends, is when I started writing. I wrote stories about children leaving their mothers to deal with losing my own mother to distance. I wrote a poem about how my house was like a war zone to me, and the way each family member made me think of the world as violent.

That’s also what lead to my first comic, I think- because honestly, I’d had the idea for it long before I could make it. I’d written it probably a dozen times in novel form, only to restart it and dare myself to go darker. With every story I write, every character I make, I’m making a part of me that I otherwise struggle to accept on its own. Of course, the stories aren’t solely based on me- but there are moments, just moments, where the things I struggle with come to light… And get dealt with in a way I wouldn’t imagine without my character’s aid.

To this day I continue to write with that as a reason in the back of my mind. I’ve also just grown to love my characters and words as a whole- and that’s why, right now, I’m writing this. Because this is a case of ‘a means to an end’. I was lead to writing by the strife in my life- and thanks to that, I’m here now, hopefully showing someone out there a new way to deal with their own pain… By writing through it as well.

Topical Tuesday: Starting Fresh

Hihi! Thank you for returning (or visiting, if it’s your first time here) to my blog.

Now, for those of you that don’t know me, I have many things I’m known for. One of those things is restarting a project no matter how much progress I had because I know there’s a way better way I could be doing things. This “Topical Tuesday”, I’ll be focusing a little bit about my recent work on rebooting some old projects. We’ll mostly be focusing on ‘how?’ and ‘why?’.

Let’s start with my main reboot, Alien Irony: Redux. Alien Irony was my first comic, and it’s always been a very personal project. The heroine is based on the first character I ever made for myself when I was just a little girl, and a lot of my life problems and misconceptions play a crucial part in building the story. This time, my goal is to make the comic good enough to sell- but also just to fill in all the plot holes, inconsistencies and other such things from the original. For more information about the project as a whole, feel free to look at my Alien Irony: Redux Blog.

The way I’m going about rebooting it is simple. For starters, I’ve been writing a script for it, to have more consistency and a better flow than the original had. Scenes got moved around, added and just generally improved upon. Characters are getting more fleshed out, I find, and I’m learning more of the plot holes that I’ll need to tackle as I write the script. It’s amazing what a different medium can teach you about your story!

The other reboots I’ve taken on are simple ones just for fun. I’ve restarted my Comic Diary, which you can see on my DeviantART, along with my recreation of my shoujo ai comedy that I never really got far with, Our Days in Cooking Club. Now, ODiCC failed for a lot of reasons, but it was mostly because I was thinking too hard on it. ODiCC is meant to be silly, carefree, and pretty random. So, I’m mostly writing it when I’m in the mood to just fool around with ComiPo. It’s a simple but fun project now… And it helps that I love my characters’ designs even more thanks to a friend making me some awesome hairdos for them!

See? Aren’t they just lovely and interesting? Another thing that makes this a simple and fun topic is the characters- there aren’t too many you’ll actually see, unlike in Alien Irony- that gives time for more gags and goofiness, since I won’t be introducing extra characters all too often.

So, if this was too long and you couldn’t read it, here’s the point: sometimes, a remake is inevitable. It can be for your sanity or for your story- it’s okay, sometimes, to throw out the old draft and restart. Just don’t do it as often as I do… Because you’ll never finish anything. Some things are fine the way they are. Find a balance, and you’ll be fine.

That’s all for now! Bye bye~!

Even Without A Computer, You Can Write!

I don’t have a working computer yet, but I’m using my time without it to write still. I find it hard to type on my tablet, if I’m being honest- something I basically always am- but even if I have to fight with autocorrect regularly, I won’t just stop writing! There’s lots I can do thanks to apps…and many are free!Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite apps I use when I write, along with some little tricks for using apps not even FOR writing for writing purposes. Please feel free to share your own tips, app preferences and more in the comments!

APPS MEANT FOR WRITING AND WRITERS

  • Lore Forge Creator Resources – This app has all sorts of generators in it that you can use offline, from names of places and characters to motives and jobs! Names and jobs have options of modern and fantasy, and places include street names, pubs and more!
  • World Scribe – A great way of planning worlds, World Scribe is a simple app with the ability to put basic information of places, people and organizations in your world. You can also link them, include pictures of them, add snippets about them, and it’s really easy to use!  
  • Character Planner – World Scribe is more for simplistic planning, but if you want to go into more details, Character Planner is a a great free way to go in depth for all your characters, and places too! It separates information you can input for each place, character, etc. with prompted information, but you don’t have to answer everything. If you leave a piece blank, it won’t show up in the view of the character sheet when you finish edit mode, and while it includes all sorts of questions for appearance, personality, life, story involvement, relationships and more, you can easily add custom information too! With places, you get prompts for everything from the government and religions to ecology. For when you want to go really in depth, this is a must have to me.

APPS YOU CAN USE FOR WRITING EVEN IF NOT MEANT FOR IT

  • MediBang Colors – Although this app is essentially a free mass coloring book, the varieties of line-art and mix of coloring tools makes it great for concept pictures! You can either use line-art from the library included and other people, or you can add some of your own. With bucket, pen, gradient and more, you can easily color the line-art you feel fits a character to be like them for concepts! Here’s one of my recent results as an example. 
  • This is a side character for Alien Irony. My coloring isn’t as awesome as stuff others share in the MediBang community though. Just browsing is fun sometimes!

  • Creative Games?! – A lot of games include customization in some way, and even if it’s a simple farm game, you can try to play it as if what you do is in perspective of a character and how they would! One company I like the games from is Kairosoft. It’s all simple and retro designs, but I like customizing whatever I’m making in the game like a character would. I also like making replicas of sorts (at least basic construction/layouts) of character’s houses in Minecraft. I admit most of these aren’t free, sadly, but…

FOR INSPIRATION’S SAKE

  • RPGs – Though my favorite games are from Kemco (I splurge on them a lot when there’s a sale on the play store), RPGs in general are known for their complex storylines and characters, making them great for inspiration. A really creative game I found recently, Light Apprentice, mixes RPG elements and comic books insanely well, and you can play the first chapter free, and incredibly moving!
  • Manga Reader – If you like manga online, you should love this app. You can read online through it’s easy reader from at least seven different manga sites, from MangaFox to MangaHere and more, and it’s a lot like having an online manga library card on your device! You can also download chapters for later, meaning even without internet you can enjoy your favorite scams. It’s search can be by title, author or genre, and if you enjoy a manga you can both add it to your favorites (which doubles as the home screen of it), press “related” for other works from the author and similar stories, and it always saves your place as long as you read the scan consistently on one source. Did your source flake? You don’t have to go from the start- choose what chapter you were on on another site with it and it’ll save your progress there as well. If you add both to your favorites, it’ll appear as two separate entries though.

    There’s likely many more I haven’t discovered yet, but these are ones I had almost daily, so I wanted to share. If you share your favorites I might just try them and add them to this list! Next time I’ll share ways to use social media for fuel too. That’s all for now though. From my tablet…I wish your stories forever flow and grow!