Check in 13th Baktun

I guess my monthly check in is turning into a every other month or less type. I continue to keep up my nerdy journal somewhat and have already made my post about today's doomsday silliness:

Otherwise, I graduated and I still have not been writing prose. I am writing though, out of necessity and because I like to journal and write down ideas and such regardless. I'm still working with the idea of doing a comic. I have two different main ideas, but working with comics makes one realize how much work stories actually are. Every character has to have an appearance, name and relevance to the story and there must be characters where characters are needed. I took this for-granted when I wrote and I have more respect now for the people who know how to use characterization really well and the word smiths. 

I've looked at many comic guides and studied their layouts, trying to understand the feel and idea they're trying to get across working with space, angles and appearance. All of these pieces have cousins in writing. All forms of story telling have a cultural tone and an aesthetic one as well. There's a certain aesthetic westerners like and one that's more eastern and/or otherwise. In literature there's an older aesthetic and culture to understand that I find fascinating and I enjoy it when people use modern word aesthetics with the knowledge of the old. It's easy to take the finer details for-granted when one has the ability to write or to draw. Some people have more cultural sensitivity, though they are not typically aware of it. There's the talent that understands the form, but there's also the talent that understand the underlining values and storytelling styles of culture.

My father is a better storyteller than I am. I have trouble putting events in order and disclosing the important information people need. My dad seems to instinctively know how to tell stories, his mind works in a more linear fashion (he's a mechanic.) My mind works in a contextual fashion, it grabs pieces that are relevant to something, but that something is not necessarily in the right place. I probably organized my last essay in five different ways and ended up rearranging it in the last hour - it was a mess. When I'm writing by hand I'll skip words and then go back and fill them in. My mind will realize it and I'll write the previous needed word after the word I wrote, so I go back and forth, like I'm weaving. I do that when I type too and I won't notice for a long time. It's irritating and why I'm better off writing less.

Pictures are only easier for me in that looking at a picture I can usually tell if something important is missing. The stories may still be jagged and have fill-in-the gap moments. I feel like it's a lot more work to draw characters, props, backgrounds (though I like drawing backgrounds) and scenes - which may go to show how much focused effort I was actually putting into writing prose. I had a lot of ideas and every idea seemed as available as the last, it doesn't seem so with drawing. I have two major story line ideas and I'm pretty much settled on one simply because I have a much better idea of backgrounds, characters and story line (and much more of it drawn out.) I just began to work on the characters reference sheets, I got one done last night after 2-3 hours (actually it isn't colored...)   

As much as I enjoy it, I'm aware it's a hobby and I need to make money at a real job. I'm looking to get into tech and we have IBM and HP up here, so there are jobs, but I'm not sure what I actually qualify for. For the time being I'm going through my school's career finding program. 

Check in October 4th

It's starting to get cold and the annual (common) cold is also going around at school. This Monday I started getting sick, right when a school club I'm in has a fund raiser event coming up this weekend. I got some herbal tea (from a local tea shop that sells herbs and loose leaf teas of all kinds) to help me get over my cold. One of the teas is surprisingly good, has lemon peal in it and ginger (I believe.) (One of the teas is root based and usually root based wellness tea taste gross, but this one wasn't that bad.) I'm drinking Star Bucks at the moment - the addiction that won't quit. I keep trying to curve my mocha intake, because it's expensive and not all that good for me, but it's a hard habit to kick.

Keeping the house warm is a battle between two extremes. It's doesn't seem like the usual case where one has a house with a basement, it feels more like we have a basement with an attic. That is, the ground floor is always chilly and the basements turns into an oven. I'm upstairs sitting in my futon chair, trying to stay warm under blankets most of the time.

My current room setup is unusual and I'm writing this on a TV screen. I had one of these semi-panicky clearout-cleanout episodes where I got rid of my last desk setup with a half-baked idea about how I wanted the room to look and it resulted in my computer monitor on the floor and it is awkward to use for most computing tasks. This has discouraged me from using forums, news sites/read online, online journals, even email and gaming (somewhat.)

My organization skills are elementary and have always been. I end up getting rid of stuff instead of figuring out a good way to save things. Today I threw out a big chunk of old notes, papers and notebooks. Some of which had stories in them. I always have mixed feelings about doing that. I have different "modes." I have a mode that wants to be a Taoist or Buddhist and wants to give away all my earthly possessions and live freely in the wilderness and have no attachment to achievements and ego. The other mode is more practical (in a matter of speaking, as far as my generation can even process the idea of practical) and more in-tune with the typical American dream.

I'm afraid that when the other mode takes hold my last mode will have destroyed the progress of the other. That does sound strange and fragmented, but I despair. Then I change my mode: try something different for a while. I'm not writing fiction at all anymore. I'm re-evaluating why I've written and the condition of the current book market. I haven't changed, my time has gone elsewhere, as it usually does when I take a break. I've used writing as a medium. I can't remember if I've said I'm a storyteller as opposed to a writer here. I use to assume that if one writes it makes them a writer, but now I'm understanding it from a different perspective. What's actually in question is a sense of identity. I write, but I do not feel I am a writer currently. Somehow I've recognized this better with art. I like doing art, but I'm not an artist.

Anyway, I went through the notebooks to make sure that I wasn't throwing away something I'd want to keep. I could hardly understand my own writing, but what I could understand of it seemed metallic. It was like reading what a computer would conjure for a creative story. ... is this how I write all the time? It seemed like words were being punched into place. I wish someone had told me: "You write like a robot."

Perhaps my perception of writing has changed some, since I haven't been reading fiction either. I know I mentioned this before, but I've developed this sudden affinity for non-fiction. I'm tickled by the idea that non-fiction is not necessarily not fictional. There's a lens, an area of research, history and thoughts to be had, all of which cannot be true. History is complex, context is complex. There's no way to write about reality and not subtract from it and skew it. It seems memoir and autobiography are particularly good (or bad) about skewing. One man writes about his experience in the wilderness, as a man against and with nature, somehow omitting the fact that his wife was frequently with him during this time. Man, Wilderness... and Wife. (Lol) He could not write a book about his lone, wilderness experience with his wife in it. That is not Man.

I'm in a class where we're reading books that purposely challenge our perspective. We're reading a book about bombing and, having read some history about the Pacific wars during the time of WWII, I knew the history was not the simplistic water-down version I'd been fed through high school. Yet a few chapters in a book have added so much to my understanding of the war. History is like a puzzle and all the pieces are probably there if you ever want to put the puzzle together. I had little bits and pieces of history before, now I have little chunks and an outline of the puzzle. It'll never be complete. We sometimes know so little of the truth that we don't really know the truth.

In the notebook I threw away, I found a picture drawn in pencil and conte (I mentioned it here before... I'm pretty sure. I really need to merge all my LJ activity so I don't get confused.) I recalled doing the picture spontaneously. It's a portrait of one of the characters I've had for a long time. I enjoy the picture, so I ripped it out and kept it. I also happen to find the first picture of this character in a notebook I can't throw away, because it's filled with drawings and algebra. Most of the pictures are crap and most of the math I don't understand anymore, but I can't get rid of it.

Well, I think I more or less wrote what I set out to. Probably more than necessary, but it'll count as record if nothing else.

Monthly Check In

Lately, I've had plenty to keep me busy with school, trying to work out and be more active in clubs. I am still around, though I haven't had anything to really update here and I don't have as much time to enjoy the LJ community. I'm trying to think of a way to condense my LJ activity. A couple journals are completely inactive and then there's this one and one other I try to check into from time to time. I guess all I'm saying is I'm still alive, but I haven't had much time or purpose for being on LJ. I miss the community on LJ and hope everyone has been doing well. 

Reading /Writing Check In

I've been slow and somewhat disinterested in reading and writing lately - along with almost everything else as I mentioned in my last post. I've been trying to keep up both. I decided it was time to get back to Terry Pratchett, since I have most of his novels to read still. I think I'm set on going through the small gods series and the guards series. I wan to read To Kill A Mockingbird since I never had and didn't have to when I was in school. It's on everyone's list, so it seems like I have to read it. I think I'll rent it, not sure that I want to own it. A book like that is probably cheaper in paperback than digital, but I'm not sure I want the printed version either.

I'm trying to get a printed copy of Raptor and we have a couple of used book stores around. The first one I went to had it and I went back with some books to trade in. However, this particular place's trade policies and routines are terrible. I couldn't tell if I was in a privately owned book store or the DMV. They had to make me an account at the store, then appraise the books I brought. Apparently, this can only happen on certain days and then they couldn't finish making my accounts because they were missing some little bits of information and couldn't just fill in the blank temporarily. They're either stupid or wasting time in hopes that I'll forget I took my books there. It's almost been a week and I haven't heard back from them. The other used book store does trades on the spot and they've been around much longer. I don't know how anyone can keep a used book store going without having an efficient trade policy.

Still working on JulNoWriMo, but I've been slow at it. I'm writing a lot by hand, so I'm not sure how much I have until I type it in. Last my count was at about 16k. I think I'm officially a JulNoWriMo slow poke, but I'm not keeping up too much with it now. Once people had written past the 50k mark in the first few days and went on into 80k and even 100k, I decided I probably couldn't keep up and wouldn't try.


Lately, I've been disillusioned with the Internet. For most of my life the Internet has been my close friend, my home away from home, a medium I couldn't imagine living without. I've still used it in the capacity of information and using it as a TV, but the Internet use to be a primary social outlet for me as well (and maybe it still is and that's something I'm trying to move away from because I don't think it's healthy.) It's the social part that's become less appealing to me. It's not that my friends on the Internet aren't real, it's just that they aren't present, they aren't in my town, some not in my country and, in a way, none of my online friends really know me or can/will be there for me. I always knew that, but lately it seems more distinct. Maybe I'm generally feeling disillusioned with everything, because I've been in pain and tired out this past week (aside from a dry socket and my mouth healing, yesterday I dropped my scooter and skinned my elbow pretty good) and then there was the shooting in Aurora which is about an hour or so south of where I live.

They were saying on the news that people can become traumatized by events like this, even if they weren't there in person and aren't related to the events other than by country. I almost felt like I was in the Twilight Zone when it went from the long, detailed story in Aurora to briefly mentioning 90 some people killed in a bombing in Syria. The context makes the crimes feel different. When bad things happen, they happen in the Middle East and in Africa. Shootings aren't supposed to happen in first world, generally peaceful countries. I feel terrible for the people in Aurora and the families that were affected. It's scary someone could do what James did and that people like him continue to appear.  

JulNoWriMo 2012 & My Face

I just got my wisdom teeth out yesterday so feeling a bit under the weather. There's no extreme pain, my face is just swollen and sore. I want to go out of the house, but not so much looking like this... 

I knew this was coming up and that I'd also be working and doing other things during this month. I've been trying to keep up with JulNoWriMo. I'm almost at 16k now. It seems surprising, since I'm not even through the beginning yet. The nice thing about doing a Novel Writing month is that people on there are also writing and there are always things where someone is either offering their services as an editor or people are offering to do swaps. I said I would do the swap if I got mine done. I'm surprised about how many people are writing kids and teen books. It seems like the people that JulNoWriMo tends to attract are younger though, in highschool and college.

I've been having fun in the community and tried out the role playing there. It seems like, as far as the RPing, the writers are short on words. I'm not sure if it's because they're not familiar with RPing or don't want to take a lot of time on it. I also notice a lot of the logical pitfalls. Someone comes in severely injured - is easily patched up by someone there with minimal supplies. Character personality and attention span seem flat and incoherent. All of which are pretty common in RPs, especially with people new to RPing. I use RPs to flesh out characters, so I guess I can't blame them, but at the same time, the point of RPing is to get into the character's shoes. From what I've seen of the RP it doesn't seem to me that the writers are getting into their characters situation and experiencing it. 

I know RP isn't the focus of JulNoWrimo. I think I'm doing pretty good with my manuscript. I'd like to post some snips from what I've been writing, but I don't have much that'll make sense to begin with and in its raw form is very good. Here's one part that's kind of funny, albeit awkward as well:


...He noted Aster lying on the bed. “Get up,” He snickered. Aster moaned in protest. “Mercus just arrived and you’re going to deteriorate into a lazy ass so quickly. What kind impression does that give?”

            “Esteemed as he may be, he’s still our little brother and not some ambassador or senator. Besides, you don’t know what it’s like to be out doing things on your own. I have a job and a wife.” Aster said.

            At that Blantus grabbed his brother’s legs by the knee and pulled them open and pushed them back so Aster was lying with his legs apart and up. Mercus saw this in the reflection of the aquarium as he tried to figure out a little game he’d accidentally opened.* Now he turned from it to watch them. He almost expected something indecent to happen, but Blantus sat down between Aster’s legs, facing away from him and resting his elbows on his older brother’s knees. “I hope I never have either such responsibilities, especially not a wife.”


  * the aquarium glass is also a computer touch screen. 

July Novel Writing Month 2012

I had a good idea of what I wanted to write for this JulNoWriMo, but it changed as I began writing it. It's gone from being purely fantasy to something of a parallel universe modern fantasy. It's fun to do something different with genre. The story has more or less stayed the same. I'm not getting as many words in as quickly this year. I'm still on track to finish, but I think I had an easier time of getting my word count before.

Overall, I feel positive about the plotline and where it's going. It seems like it's folding out nicely and staying interesting. I'm very close to finishing Raptor by Jennings. I've picked up some of his style like someone who picks up an accent from other people. My story is in third person, so that makes it different, but my pacing with narrative verse dialog is heavily narrative. I'm not sure that's a good move. By the end, I suppose I'll see. I'm not thinking of this as a young adult book, but I'm not purposely trying to make it for a much older audience. There is sex in it, almost casually mentioned. I'm not using a lot of details, it isn't erotica, but it's not as if it's going to a black screen either. There's also a murder that's even more casually mentioned and oddly dealt with. I painted the MC's town as pretty corrupt and ruled by gangsters - which I hadn't planned to do, but it just ended up happening. The nature of the town might end up playing into the end. I haven't completely decided how it'll wrap up.

Check In: JulNoWriMo and Projects

I'm getting a little depressed, not with my projects, but at my place of work things are slow. Everyday, I have the same little clerical task that'll drive anyone crazy and bored stiff after a while. When we have a slow week there's the talk of closing down and every time I think the place is getting closer to actually shutting down. 

What kind of job could I get with a Liberal Arts degree? I don't have enough done as far as writing and it's hard for me to stay focused. I've never regarded my writing as a bread and butter work. It's a passion and an outlet. I try to incorporate more of what I've learned, but I'm not refined. I feel like there's no work out there for me, but then I'm playing around with CSS for funnsies and shooting the breeze with tech people at office supply stores. I forget IT stuff is a job. I would do more web stuff if the design part of me wasn't bleh.

Anyway, I don't know what's going to happen and I guess I can't worry about it. I'm looking forward to JulNoWriMo. I mentioned before that I already know the story idea I want to flesh out for this. I already have a general plot direction sketched out. My other projects are slowly moving into One Note. I found a Scrivener-like freebie software called Storybook. It's not as nicely laid out, but basically provides the same utilities for writing/organizing a book. 

For Storybook trial I decided to start with Seed. There's a place for locations, scenes, ideas, characters and so on. I thought the simplest place to start was with characters. I opened that up and stare at it. Characters are divided into Male or Female. The main character of Seed is intersex, maybe androgen deficient, identifies originally as male, but understanding himself becomes a part of the story. I thought, I could just put him as male, but that didn't seem right. I could add a category, so I start to add intersex, but somehow I found it embarrassing. I wondered if I really needed to have all this detailed stuff anyway. So I gave up and went back to One Note. One Note needs love anyway, being mostly useless as it is.

I haven't worked much on inputting the notes and scenes. I have yet another project that pre-dates all these as something I was planning to do prior to the summer (if I recall right) and have worked on little at a time over the summer. It seems crazy to me I'm not done with it. It's only a handful of pages and isn't super time consuming, not so much that it should take months. I find it to be kind of embarrassing and very nerdy. Maybe I mentioned it before, but I can't remember. I'm drawing a comic. It's more or less become an experiment in mediums, which was a daft goal because I only intend it to be digital/online. So the medium should be obvious. Transferring something from physical to digital is a tedious process when it could be purely digital. If this was going to be in print it might be different.

I'm trying to get the silly comic done, just to be done with it. I want to have July for JulNoWriMo and I also will have to get my remaining wisdom teeth removed mid-July. 

Checking In

I haven't been on here in a while. I think I did check in at least once in the last two weeks. 

Anyway, I've been pretty busy with work and family stuff. Lot of birthdays and soon weddings. I have a mouse infestation that I'm trying to take care of without going to environmental hazards, but they're leaving their dropping everywhere and it's hard to resist poisoning. I don't mind poisoning mice. Living with them makes one scoff at Hollywood's admiration of mice and makes you hate them. I don't want the poisoned mice to affect the hawks and other predators around here. Lately, the predators have been kept at bay by some mean blackbirds that have their nests all around the house.

I'm tired of the place I work and would really rather be writing. When I get home it seems like I don't have the energy. I am looking forward to JulNoWriMo and I think I'll be able to stay on that, since I have an idea of what I want to write and all.

I've been reading a lot lately, more than writing. I'm reading two books and the fiction of the two is around 1000 pages. I'm halfway through it and it's due back to the library in six days. It's such a large book it's awkward to take with me anywhere. It's so much nicer to turn on my Nook, go right to the page I was on and continue reading. Of course I can do that with a regular book, but it takes more time to figure out where I am and the current tome is clumsy to carry around.

I've gotten the rough ideas and outlines down for my projects, but now I need to get them onto the computer. I don't know how to stay organized when just using paper and it's hard for me to piece together what I have without having it organized as I like to. I've liked having the writing time though and just having a notebook.  

3 Projects and JulNoWriMo

The 3-project experiment is going along slowly, but I like switching between the stories. It helps keep me motivated and despite how little has been done on each one, it feels like I'm doing more. One of the extra ideas I had I wrote out a synopsis for and thought it would be a good JulNoWriMo project.

The way I'm working on my main three projects is jumping from one to the next with ideas, outline fillers and scenes. The WIP I'm calling Seed I immediately had scene ideas for. Currently, it's in first person point of view, but I don't know if that's how I'd want to write the whole thing. I kind of like the idea of having an outside narrator. The scenes I have so far are "journal entries." This type of character seems like he/she is always written in first person, so I kind of want to do a limited third person. I don't have too many entries to work with yet, which is good if I decide to go third person with it.

I have a pretty good idea about how everything begins and what the stories are going to be about and how they're going to be themed.
Seed begins with the main character about to be married, in an arranged marriage he's happy about. His soon-to-be-wife isn't so thrilled, but she's a kind soul, practical and giving person. They live in a closed society, basically a country that's hardly larger than a town. A detrimental village secret come out and the MC can't go through with the marriage or even stay in his home town. He immediately flees, following in the footsteps of the main character in Fool. Of these three I'm least sure where Seed will go and how it'll end. I vaguely know where it needs to go.

The main character in Fool starts in the town that MC Fool and MC Seed live in/grew up in together. Fool's theme is about truth and the nature of thought. It begins with a dreamed memory. The memory is like a painting and has been kind of detail heavy. I'm afraid that could be kind of a turn off, but it's also pretty important to the plot. The Fool hangs onto this deformed memory (which he knows to be deformed) while moving through the world. He first goes to a place like a heaven compared to what he had before (there's a dark side to heaven), but ends up in a country he finds more familiar, though different and more progressive than where he's originally from, but this country is a sort of bad guy. The end of Fool leads into Drag (the third/second WIP), but they're individual stories, because the main character is different. They wouldn't need to be read in order. Though I think Fool would have to come before Seed, but it is still a different main character telling the story.

The beginning for Drag is a little unsettled. I might have it start with a hunt (or some normal daily chore to kind of establish a pace of normal life) or I might have it start with a meeting between the elves and an "original" race, who inhabit the forest together peacefully. The MC is kind of on the outgoing and blunt and is one of the original race. The race has a silly name, which I'm attached to, but I'm not sure it's very good... so yeah, they get to be called "the race" for now. *face-palm* Humans have been moving into the forest area and deforesting, which is quite a threat to the forest races, so they're trying to decide what to do about them. In the prologue, the MC Drag is freed from a human prison by MC Fool, who doesn't know MC Drag has a routine of causing a disturbance in town and going to jail for a little while (sometimes hours, a couple days at most.) It kind of makes it obvious he's not from there, which makes him more acceptable to the forest dwellers later. The bulk of the plot revolves around dragon/wyvern racing. Drag has an underdog theme and is told in third person limited.  

Fool and Seed are coming of age stories, but Fool is more focused on discovery and Seed is focused on identity. 

I haven't gathered together what I've written on each one to see how much I have yet, but I'm pretty sure it's under 2%. I think the most I've written on is Drag. I started on it first.