2012: A Year In Review

And the award for least creative blog title ever goes to...

Three guesses.

I suppose this will come a little late to a lot of you, seeing as you live in the future. It's still a few hours ahead of midnight here.

Honestly, I don't remember much of what happened this year, at least not in a coherent fashion. Yesterday, I decided to do Milwordy. I blinked, and suddenly it was February, and I was getting the cramps out of my fingers from writing nothing at all after NaNoWriMo 2011. I scratched behind my ear, and had visions of finished drafts dancing in my head. It was going to be my birthday present to myself, for my 25th birthday.

Well, we all know how that turned out.

This was a year of wins and losses, of making mistakes, and learning, of heavy metal, of excited exultation, and of many, many visits to the Chasm of Despair.

After ten months of National Novel Plotting Month, I still haven't learned how to plan, but I did make a start. I do know now that my mind works in an iterative linear fashion, where every day, I can only see one single tiny end to end thread at a time, and that over time, the collective might evolve into a whole. (Yeah, that's the software developer in me talking.)

I lost Milwordy badly, but I learned that a word counter is just a tool, and not an end. I learned not to lose sight of the real goal, which was to complete something, not to vomit chaos.

I ended up devoloping chronic tendonitis, but I learned my limits. I learned how to prioritize my activities the hard way, to continue doing what I love, without injuring myself.

The old drafts of H öllebergen, Amber, Calor, and previous Dark Arcana rot in their folders, forgotten, but a newer, stronger Dark Arcana, composed of everything that they once were, emerges from the mist.

Speaking of Dark Arcana, I never quite finished even one draft, at least not the way I intended it. However, I did learn when to draw the line. I learned that the Tunnel is much longer and darker than I had once thought, but I also learned to acknowledge, if not accept, small victories.

Even now, as I gear up for a last mad dash to round the thing off before midnight, I can't help feeling that it's done. Then again, I guess

Lastly, one thing I still can't quite believe is that I've been a writing forum addict for less than a year. It seems like just yesterday that I crept onto FebNoWriMo, and stumbled onto the awesomeness of a small community of awesome people who actually know your name! ...In a manner of speaking.

*Cue Cheers theme song.*

(I'm sorry. I had to.)

I learned how to use Twitter. Yes, that had actually been a huge struggle to me. Seemingly simple? Yes, seemingly. I don't think I will ever fully get the hang of it, but I'm getting there.

So, things to work on for 2013:

Learn to plan. To make it less vague, let's say...learn to produce a loose outline of a novel, preferably by doing less work than I am doing now, which is to say, writing it.

Write every day. I have a skip counter, which started on November 1st, 2012. That number is now at 60, because it has been 60 days since I skipped writing. If I don't write some fiction -- even if it's only 100 words -- that number goes back to 0. As that number gets bigger, I find the thought of resetting it progressively harder, and that's just enough to blackmail me into spending at least five minutes writing 100 words. Sometimes, I'm having a bad day, and it stays 100 words. Most of the time, though, it's enough to kick me off. This will continue into 2012. No resets, not even for the new year!

And now, it is time for me to put my money where my mouth is. I have a draft to reorder before the day ends! (Of course, anyone who knows anything about me will know by now that 'day' can stretch well into the small hours. If I haven't gone to sleep, it's still day!)

Six hours to midnight.

Happy New Year, everyone!

"My car doesn't have power windows, but it does have an infinite improbability drive." -- My sister.


The Voice of Chaos. The Tick of Khronos.

It's December 1st. Yep. That time of year again. It is the time for doing things still undone.

The clock is ticking.

Time to avoid writing, and instead stare my eyes out at the TV shows I did not have time to watch in November.

Time to randomly subvert myself in the middle of something completely unrelated to writing, and then slap down words when I least expect it. In fact, I think I WILL do that to myself. I AM NINJA WRITER.

Time to start sketching my characters' clothes and places from the Five Worlds again.

Time to catch up on my reading.

Time to start several things simultaneously in order to accommodate my short attention sp

(I'm really hungry.)

an. And...hopefully finish them all.

Time to avoid as much of the ubiquitous Christmas music I can, and assemble my own delicious tunes: some for me, and some for Dark Arcana. This album would be perfect for Ethan, as he tries to track down what went wrong with history...I really must check out more epic cinematic music!

Listening To:

Time to subvert the topic of my own blog post. Speaking of which, here are the five worlds, along with two...places that are not places.

  • Alpha: Nodus - The source of all things, but which is not the thing itself. The Inside. The Mind. The Inner being.
  • 1. Calor - The age of the false gods. When the truth dies, and a new truth dawns. 
  • 2. Engleter - The age of chaos. When truths and other truths collide in chaos, there is only the human, alone.
  • 3. Quan Sai - The age of fire. When reason trumps emotion, and wrong and right mean the same thing.
  • 4. Acheron - The age of darkness. In the void of truth, deception, chaos, reason, and emotion, there is only the night.
  • 5. Grehai - The age of the human collective. When the nodes are scattered far in space and time, of sentience beyond truth, yet united. 
  • Omega: The Wall - The final rest of all things, that which defines the thing. The Outside. The Outer being.

I have no idea what this even means. This is what happens when I let Dark Arcana do the typing for me. Now this damn hydra bunny is all smug because he knows exactly what he's talking about with all this fancy sounding philosophical stuff, but he won't tell me.

I think my blog posts have gone beyond editing.

This is utter chaos. Interestingly enough, each of these places matches up with a work of fiction that resonates in my head. WHY they resonate I can't very well say, but they do.

  • Calor - A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
  • Engleter - His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman
  • Quan Sai - Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra
  • Acheron - Star Wars and Lord of the Rings
  • Grehai - Neuromancer by William Gibson

Pretty soon, I am going to be bleeding all over the place about how this is the worst idea ever. Oh, hello, Chasm of Despair.

I'm glad to see you've warmed up my comfortable blanket for me.

NaNoMongering 22: The Long Dark Winter of the Soul

I suppose that since NaNoWriMo is now over, I should do a wrap-up post about what I learned, and stuff. Well, that's in here, but fair warning: there is a fair amount of fluff. The last few days were...eventful. Thus, you all get another word vomit post about things that happened to me.

In no particular order:

Yesterday, I finally got a job! I start in about a week and a half. So...yes. That. And...

The Long Dark Winter Of The Soul

On the 26th, I did a mad 4k dash, and won NaNoWriMo.

I am very happy about this. I have won NaNoWriMo before, and with higher word counts, but this was a different sort of victory.

This is the first OLL event for which I wrote every day, without skipping a single day. There it is, my beautiful graph! No ugly plateaus!

This actually makes me feel so much better than any number ever did. Even on those days when all I could squeeze out was 100 words, it was like a pat on the back from my Narrator, as if he was telling me that he's still there, and isn't going to go away any time soon.

If there was one thing I learned from this, it was that perseverance pays off. I can feel my novel existing in the aether, ready to be defined on the page. The pieces slowly click into place, snap by snap, gear by gear, slowly turning. One day the beast will awaken.

I don't expect it to happen for a while yet, but it doesn't matter. What I need is not a higher word count in less time; when I push that hard, I get burnt out, and I take a break that ends up lasting for months, during which time I lose all connection with what I started. I need my novel to stay alive, and that it will, with time, patience, and perseverance. Since I won, I have been writing a little every day, at a slower pace, one that I can keep up. Just a thousand words a day, until this thing is done.

A finished draft. I don't have it yet, but I will soon.

So thank you, OLL, for making it possible for writers like me to push themselves to start. I know I often blame Doctor Who for Dark Arcana's existence, but it was NaNoWriMo that really pushed me to come up with an idea in the first place.

Key word from the first sentence: start. Of course, my goal now is to finish Draft 1, but after that, there is still more work ahead. I will probably leave Draft 1 buried in soft peat for a month or two, but in the mean time, I will start working on a new project, maybe Deus Ex Machina, or the second book of Dark Arcana.

So, to sum up, the Fall Rush to start is done, and now comes The Long Dark Winter Of The Soul, and hopefully the Spring of Completion. This is the long, slow road to polishing the turd I have into something that more nearly resembles the shining vision I have in my head. Write Draft 2. Revise. Edit. Rinse. Repeat. My life is basically one long tunnel at this point.

Dark Arcana: The Amber of Time.
It sounds grand.
This is going to happen. It's going to happen, isn't it?

By the way, all this vomit I vomited just now? Chuck Wendig says it far better than I do, in Here's How You Flush Your NaNoWriMo Efforts Down the Crapper. (Language warning.)

Random Dark Arcana Related Word Vomit

Yes, there is more word vomit. During the past few days, I also "discovered" three new plot bunnies, and two plot segments! I'm only putting in hints here, because I have yet to flesh these things out.

Readers, Characters, Reality.
The Tunnel.

The Cave. Dreams.
Shopping as an extreme sport.

On a side note, I discovered an interesting subplot for Dark Arcana. Okay, interesting is putting it mildly.

This was sheer mindfuckery, of the sort that makes one write it all down.
And then go vomit in the trash can.
Poor Ethan and Caliiry. I'm afraid that they are in for a rough time.

Speaking of rough times, my other little terrors have been acting up too. Yesterday, they all started scaring the crap out of me by having a surprise Disney cosplay party in my head. The worst part is that these characters actually don't look at all like the characters they chose. Just like a real cosplay, they are different people, but...it worked.

The Cast:
Aurana: Belle. *prances around imaginary library*
Ethan: The Beast (He hates his costume. Ethan: YES. In the name of Chaos, Author, WHY?)
Caliiry: Maleficent (She loves her costume. Caliiry: No I don't! What is this Vickie nonsense? Frag you, author. Me: (whisper) She secretly does like it.)
Hermeticus Octodyne: Frollo. (HO: *smirks* Why yes, I AM enjoying this. Me: ...Why, Hermeticus Octodyne, why?)
Oscar: Cinderella (He loves messing with me.)
Wei Lao: Mulan. (Really, Wei Lao? Just because you're the one Asian girl? Isn't that a bit... WL: ...You mean, because Mulan is awesome, and so am I? Then yes.)
Claire: As herself, because she's too cool for this foolery.

On a more sober note, these are both songs that I haven't listened to in forever. Yet, they remind me of a certain tragic stage in Ethan and Aurana's plot. *Sad silence*

Hinder - Lips Of An Angel

The Offspring - Gone Away

Speaking of songs that I haven't heard in AGES, this one sort of reminds me of Ethan...sort of.

Hoobastank - Crawling In The Dark

The Battle of the Battlestar

Backstory: My sister and I are polar opposites. I could make a long list, but the relevant point is that literature and TV-wise, my sister doesn't like science fiction AT ALL. She's even iffy about fantasy. Anyway, I have been trying to get my sister to watch Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica for months. Doctor Who is a lost cause. She just flat out doesn't like it, even after the first three episodes of 9. Inconceivable! But, well, marching to the beat of a different drum and all that, she managed to subvert my mission for a while.

Then yesterday, tragedy struck. For her.

Sister: Want to watch The Office?
Me: Okay.
Sister: ...Aw, there's no new episode! Must have been because of Thanksgiving.
Sister: *internally groans* -__________- *resigns herself to it, because she made the mistake of not having a back up program, and now there's nothing else on*
Me: Challenge accepted! *gleefully starts up the first episode of BSG*

Episode 1, 15 minutes in:
Sister: *bored, texting on her phone, and vaguely glancing at the TV*
Episode 1, 30 minutes in:
Sister: *occasionally forgets to look bored, only checks phone half the time*
Episode 1, 60 minutes in:
Sister: *computer and phone utterly forgotten, leaning forward in chair*
After Episode 1 over:
Sister: "That was better than I thought it would be."
Sister: "And...OMG STARBUCK! She's AWESOME!"
Me: ^___________________^ "Told you."

My work here is done.