As the Snow Flies

68-late-snowfallA few days ago, we saw our first snow fall of the year.  I love snow.  I hate snow.

Needless to say, the picture to the left isn’t what I am seeing right now, but I know it’s coming.  Along with the snow comes memories of playing hockey on frozen ponds, snowmobiling through forests (and grabbing snow-laden pine branches as we drove by so the snow would fall on the guy behind us!).  Rosy cheeks, runny noses, frozen ears and snow forts.  These childhood memories bring joy and delight that seems to have disappeared as an adult.

At my age, snow means scary, icy roads, shoveling,  slushy parking lots, and bone chilling walks between your car and wherever you are trying to go to get out of the cold!  But it also means arena’s, hockey, Christmas time with family, and the World Junior Hockey Championships, so it’s not all bad.

So, why am I talking about this?  I guess I am trying to make an excuse for the fact that I haven’t written anything in almost a month.  I have been working, in the background, on some fundamentals of the story I ran off to write this past summer and fall.  At 60K words in, I figured I better make sure I am at least on a track that makes a certain amount of sense.  After spending some time working through the How to think Sideways (HTTS) course from Holly Lisle, I see that there are good things, and bad things.  I am not going to revise anything until after I am done with the first draft, but I am hoping that this exercise will at least set my path a little more clearly as I move through the middle and into the ending of the book.  I need to stay focused, however, and I seem to be allowing more distractions these past few weeks.  NHL hockey is back, my son’s hockey is back, my own hockey is back, and work is busier than normal.  I know, I know … excuses!!

I need you all to help me stay accountable.  Writing is something I have always wanted to do, but it takes real effort to keep it a priority when life gets otherwise busy.  Virtual kicks in the pants, words of encouragement, cookies, whatever it is you can offer as incentive would be appreciated!

Are there other ways that you folks keep yourselves motivated?

Thanks in advance for reading and your ecouragement!

Fall Update and Missing my Friends

Between an insanely busy work schedule during the day, and continuing the work on my Novel at night, I have had very little time to post, of late.

To all my gaming friends, I seriously miss spending time chatting and following what you are all doing.  To all my Twitter friends, gaming or not, I need to spend more time keeping in touch!  Sorry!

By the way, what are the big games that I need to follow these days?  I’ve seen a bit of press about Final Fantasy.  Is that game still all the rage?  What kind of subscription model does it use?

I have had some serious urges to get back into some of my old favourites, notably, TSW, SWTOR, and Guild Wars 2, but I dare not, at least not until I fully add writing as a Habit, and not just a passing fancy.  I fear that gaming will suck me back in too far, and I will lose my drive to continue writing.  That would be sad because, for the first time in my life, I feel that I truly might actually finish something substantial.  My plan is to get something published in 2014.  Wish me luck!

Once I am finished the first draft of my Novel, I am going to reward myself with some time catching up on some games.  There are a few games that will absolutely pull me back.  First of all, Thief (Feb 2014).  I have been waiting a very long time for that!  Dragon Age Inquisition is a no brainier as well, but that’s a year away still so it’s hard to ramp up the hype meter!  I think I might have a more serious look at Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar as well.  It’s been a long time since I got into a good MMO!

As for the new friends I am meeting with my writing, how are things?  I have to say that the Holly Lisle How to think Sideways course, and the people I have met inside her community have been an amazing support to me throughout this past summer and fall.  I would not be where I am in this journey without all of you!  To any people who have ever considered writing, I highly recommend checking out Holly’s site.  She even has a free “Flash Fiction” course that is really fun and very informative.  When my Novel’s first draft is complete, I’ll be taking some time to work through that course more thoroughly.  My intent is to self-publish some flash fiction; maybe as an anthology.  I’ll need Beta readers, by the way.  Let me know if you are interested!

The Novel Continues

Over the past weeks, I have continued in my progress on the Novel.  (Look to the right sidebar and you will see the progress meter is now over 34,000 words.  According to Scrivener, that’s 98 pages in a paperback!).

It is amazing to me, but I look forward to writing now as much as I use to look forward to gaming on a daily basis.  If you told me that would happen when I was playing Dishonored, Tomb Raider, and Bioshock a while back, I would have probably laughed at you.  As life goes, however, in my many years, I have learned that one of the only things I can count on is the fact that things are always changing.

My creative “Muse” (whom I have named Bob) has been feeding me a lot of great ideas.  Sometimes he even works in the background without my knowledge.  This happened yesterday, and I was delighted when I realized what he had done.  You see, I went to FanExpo in Toronto with a buddy, and in addition to having a great time, when I arrived home and looked at the two pictures I had purchased, I realized that Bob had actually helped me to pick ones that were relevant to what I am writing.  It was both creepy and invigorating simultaneously!

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It’s not the best picture as I took it with my phone, but when I had a close look at this girl, I realized to my amazement that Bob had found a realistic image of the younger version of my main character.   More than that, the heart she is drawing is both relevant and appropriate.  The next picture is also incredibly suitable for one of the characters of my book.

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So, in summary, I have to admit that writing again has shown me that my non-Accountant, non-LeftBrained, Muse side is a very capable source of surprise, stimulation, inspiration, and creativity.  I am thankful that I have been allowing Bob to come out and play again!

From Short Story to Novel in Three Weeks

My new motto for writing has become the following:

Even if it sucks, at least it is written, so just sit down and keep writing!

Just keep writing!

Over the past couple of weeks, the short story I originally outlined has grown.  The fact that I am not looking back at anything I have written has freed me in ways I could not imagine.  Usually I get stuck and lose interest in what I am planning to write long before I get to this many words.  As of last night, I have written 17,633 words, and I now know that I have at least 4-5 times that many more that I will need to write to complete this tale.

I shudder to think about what kind of a mess I will see once I actually go back and look, but I am now convinced that if I ever want to actually “finish” something, then I need to let it breath and grow organically until it is “done”; and by done, I mean that the story has been fully told.  I am told by some experts over at Holly Lisle’s site that going back to try and revise during the First Draft phase is normally a death knell, especially for people like me that tend to get caught up in the “revision jungle”.  I am going to heed their advise, since they are published authors, and I am not!

This probably means that I won’t be playing any video games for quite a while.  With limited free time, I have to choose my activity carefully, and right now, writing is getting the nod.  I miss you all, however, so please keep in touch with me as I stride forward in this new direction!

Writing some More

Between my last post and now, I have managed to do a plot outline for a short story.  Ultimately, this short will be a small introduction to what could potentially be a novel in the same world, but that’s a long way from happening.  I am happy to just be writing again.  Along with the plot, I have completed about 2,100 words of a target of 7,500.  I have also drafted an “Opening” for a contest with the IMP writing group that I have rejoined.  That is due for the contest on July 18, so I will be letting that percolate a bit longer.  I have added a progress meter to the right bar so you can track my progress.

 

Back to Writing

I have been spending my free time focused back on my writing hobby (which has been mostly dormant for 15+ years).  So far, I am enjoying it, and I am even starting to get mildly excited about writing Fiction again.  There are several factors that have played into this decision.

First, I have re-connected with an amazing group of writers that supported me in my initial attempts at the craft.  Back in the day, we made our home on Compuserve, under the SFLIT handle.  Originally mentored by author Mike Resnick, this small area of the “pre” internet became a haven for writers that were serious about the craft, but needed help with or critiquing of their work.  In addition, there were many writing contests, and even a “chocolate pool” where one could soak away the wounds associated with being told every instance of where your writing went astray.  These helpful crits often felt harsh, so the chocolate pool was necessary!  We called ourselves “Imps” and we were part of the Impire. It was a lot of fun.

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I fell away from the group when kids, career, and PC Gaming took over my life, but many of the people that stuck to it are now published authors, some with many books already under their belts.  Recently, the Imps showed up again with a small Facebook group, and I have just started to re-engage.  I always valued my past experiences, and I look forward to being a part of the group again.

Second, I have followed author Holly Lisle for many years.  Recently, I purchased some of her books on writing. Now I am attempting to work through them on a daily basis.  In the past, I would get an idea and just start writing.  Occasionally, I would even get a full chapter or two completed before hitting a wall.  With Holly’s help, I hope to be able to break through those barriers and actually complete a few pieces.  If nothing else, I will learn one way to do it systematically (everyone knows there is more than one way right?)!

Third, I realize more each day that I do miss it.  It’s harder to be disciplined about writing than it is about playing PC games.  After all, the games feed the fiction to you, and you just get to play along and enjoy the stories.  When you are the one that needs to write the fiction, it is a little more difficult, especially for those of us the don’t really use the creative side of their brain very often (aka we accountants).  With a goal of doing something productive in writing this summer, I am attempting to see if I still love it as much as I did back when I last took time to focus.

I don’t have a specific “objective” other than to give it a disciplined try.  Perhaps a short story or a novel outline will come of this.  I’ll keep you posted!

Changes and a New Direction

Tonight, I changed the name of this blog from “Casual Gaming by Adaram” to “Casual Living by Adaram”.  This change, I feel, better reflects the evolution of my “casual” endeavors.   What has been a gaming focus for many years is starting to evolve.  I feel a need to get back to my roots in Reading and Writing as well.  I have set a few goals for myself for this summer:

  • Read more than I normally read.  I will try and get through at least 4 books by August 31.books
  • Play games less than I traditionally play, but still play.  I want to make time for my friends, and I still enjoy gaming a lot.
  • Give a portion of my Gaming time to the craft of writing.  Many years ago (15+), I spent much time writing short stories and working on a novel.  The time I spent writing diminished greatly when I finally started getting technology that would run RPG type games (Baldur’s Gate anyone?)

I will be adding separate pages for each of my passions, so please feel free to peruse one or all of them!