Honest Blogging


It’s been awhile, everyone.

I’ve been around, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog for pretty personal and fairly serious reasons surrounding some events that happened in July. Life moves on, though. In the last months, I was employed… And now unemployed again, and I formatted Fugitive Rising, which is getting ready to publish in January.

I did finally meet my July goals for gaming, at least in regards of finishing up SWTOR and getting Legendary Status, and everything around me, as always, continues to change.

Some things, though, stay the same.

Most troubling are my insecurities.

Self-loathing and flagellation continue to be daily rituals, though ones I’m slowly learning to overcome with the careful application of meditation and mindfulness¬† I’ve officially received diagnoses on a few things that have helped me gain perspective on those same old things.

Thankfully, I’ve known the loyalty of true friends seldom changes, and that such grounding presences can help me maintain my sense of stability. I’ve struggled on and off with this inability I have to trust people and be honest with them, bu I’m learning slowly the faithful and kind don’t abandon you just because part of your reality is unpleasant.

So yes, a lot has changed, including me.

I’m never going to be the same person who started this blog, but I think that’s okay, because I’m learning to accept that some change — even in myself — can be good.

And with that comes change in the way I write, though not in what I’m writing.

I’ve really been forced to evaluate what writing means to me and why I do it, and have learned that I do it for myself as much as I do it for other people. Communication may be useless without an audience, but it equally useless without a message to communicate.

I want to communicate with all of you more clearly now.

I want you to hear my words and understand them.

Each person who is a part of my audience has a story to tell me, and can take something different from all of my stories. I want to communicate to you so many wonderful things, and the best way to do that is to be honest and forthright.

With that in mind, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for being here and reading what I do write.

Hopefully, in the future, I’ll have some better content.

July Goals: Conclusion & August Goals

Well, in summary, I did nothing that I wanted to do, but did a lot of other things that I didn’t plan to do.

I got a lot farther in this guy’s story so I’m at least one character closer to LEGENDARY.

I’d said I’d wanted to 100% Virsune, which I absolutely didn’t do. Instead, I started him over completely from scratch and have done pretty much nothing on him since then because my life has been consumed with job-searching and fanfiction writing. I dedicated a lot of my time to Lego Star Wars, the Complete Collection, which I had picked up for cheap on May 5th, and did a lot of note taking for an ambitious little project that happens to be a novelization of my favorite Star Wars video game.

You can find a link to that here.

I did get a lot of work done on Wild Core, though! Not in the way I wanted, maybe, but it got done. I hashed out a major plot detail that had been inhibiting me from writing book two, and figured out the formula I’m going to use to finish the rest of the novels. I also hashed out my problems with the third point of view character, which means I’m going to need to create a new character tile for the new pov character, Ly’Roh, and update this site accordingly.

I also have a new person working on giving me feedback, and they’re excellent at it! I’ve been implementing a lot of changes to Draft One of Fugitive Rising recently, and it’s starting to shape up enough that I think I might actually meet my January deadline for release.

With that in mind, my August Goals include the very modest goal of getting to Legendary Status in SWTOR, finishing Part One of the KOTOR Novelization and beginning work on Part Two, publishing the first chapter of my Bi-Weekly Star Wars AU fanfiction, getting a bit of work done on Novel 2, and polishing up Fugitive Rising.

This means that I really need to start thinking about cover art. I know a few of you out there have had to draw cover art for your works before, so if you have any suggestions on how to do it effectively, it would be appreciated.

Here’s to hoping I can get back into the swing of things.

Elwin’s Adventures in Revision

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write. A friend from out of town visited and stayed longer than expected (not that I’m complaining), so I haven’t had much free time until recently to really sit down and write. Thankfully, one of my Alpha Readers did get back to me with her suggestions for my piece, which has given me time to really hack into the editing and revision process.

So far, I’ve realized that that revision is more about ideas while editing is more about sentence structure, spelling, and those nasty grammatical errors. I’m most interested in revision at this point in time, though naming consistency is something that I really need to work on. Typos happen naturally, when you’re writing a four letter word like Asyr and accidentally type it as Aysr, but names need to be as consistent as ideas for the sake of immersion. Making sure my spelling of major names and locations is important, especially for a science fantasy political drama.

Banner Vir and Xe

Revision, though, is looking at the ideas you have and deciding that they need work. I really do like the basic premise of the first novel, and I feel like my plot is solid, but I want to heavily revise the first few chapters to make Virsune’s characterization more consistent with later chapters. I also feel like they need to better establish the world of the story — the conflict in this novel is mostly inside the protagonist and through verbal and emotional conflicts with the other characters. This isn’t an action novel, this is about subtle political machinations and a man’s perception of his own safety and self-worth, and a crisis of personal and national identity.

More than that, though, what I really need to do is breathe in life to the world and add depth. Narratively and in terms of characterization, I feel I’m fine. Solid, straightforward plots and three dimensional characters have always been my strength, but when it comes to adding concrete details about setting and the physical reality of my characters, I must admit to a certain weakness.

I don’t describe what my characters feel nearly enough, and I don’t define their setting as much as I should. For example, my protagonist has bad knees, both because he is in his 50s and because he has spent a lot of his life on his knees excavating. He also was something or a religious figure in his past, which means he should be bringing the words of the religion’s founder into his day to day interactions.

I need to get better at describing settings without bogging my plot down in details. Rereading, I realized that there is very little physical sense of what the world actually looks like. While I don’t want to dip into Tolkien-like levels of environmental description (as much as I admire Tolkien for his world building prowess), I really do need to focus on establishing a sense of physical reality to my world that doesn’t currently exist.

I hear a lot of people end up cutting word count in their revisions. From where I’m standing now, I can only imagine my word count increasing.

Hopefully I’ll meet my January deadline.

Goals for July: Camp NaNo and The Inquisition

I type this while sitting in a Starbucks after another unintentional hiatus from blogging. I’ve never had a summer so busy in my life, but that’s probably because I never really had friends before this, not like I do now. It’s really interesting to have experiences like something out of a novel, in some ways, things that I always thought felt like fiction because I’ve never experienced them.

I certainly never thought I would be sitting in a coffee shop typing a blog post about my writing (and gaming) goals for the month of July.

A handsome jerk.

My gaming goals for this month consist of achieving 100% completion of Dragon Age: Inquisition on dear Virsune’s file and achieving legendary status¬† in Star Wars: The Old Republic. If I have time, which I might not because this month is the second Camp NaNoWriMo, I’d also like to finish the main campaign for my replay of the Jedi Consular story as Virsune.

It’s not super ambitious mostly because I’m trying to set time aside for Wild Core this month. June has been so hectic that I didn’t get everything I wanted done, what with flying across the country and meeting friends in real life for the first time (events which are mutually exclusive). I’ve done a lot of thinking about Wild Core, but my writing has kind of fallen to the wayside, something that I deeply regret.

As for my writing, goals, well-

Art courtesy of krem-de-le-creme of tumblr.com

What I’d really like to do is start seriously editing novel one of the Wild Core (which I nearly have notes one back from one of my Alpha Readers), which now has title: Fugitive Rising. While I do that, I have plans to continue writing novel two, which I am about 20,000 words into at this point — like I’ve said, it’s been a slow writing month.

I have a few fanfiction projects sitting on the side as well that I’d like to dedicate a little time to, though it will mostly be outlining rather than writing. The majority of my other writing will be on this blog, dedicated to status updates and discussions about my interest in Star Wars and the Inquisition, and, of course, because it’s another marathon writing month, plenty of stuff about Wild Core.

Here’s to a productive month!

Reflections: Virsune

Things have been difficult for me lately and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking after my first time seeing my family in person for 5 months, bringing up a lot of different feelings. It’s required a lot of self-examination of my reasons, and a reminder of how deeply personal Virsune’s story is to me. It’s really put a damper on my ability to eke out a blog post, or really write anything at all, but time waits for no man and I have to move forward.

What better way to break my writer’s block than by talking about the character I love more and more every day?

I’ve learned a lot about him through the Inquisition playthrough; enough that it will change how I write him in the edit of Novel One.

Continue reading “Reflections: Virsune”

Something Lighter: Virsune and Xeulo

To prove to in part that I play games other than Old Republic and the KOTORs, I’ve decided to share with you a few screen captures from Dragon Age Inquisition, first of my flagship Inquisitor (who is on her… 9th iteration? She used to be some white girl and now she’s… not), and then of Virsune and Xeulo, whom I recently made and plan to play through to completion.

I’ve decided to do this in part because Dragon Age is the other game that really influenced Wild Core. So many people have told me it reminds them of Mass Effect, and if that’s the case it’s probably because it started partially because of Dragon Age. I really admire the Bioware style of character-centric writing, though my plots are not quite the same flavor, and I think my tone is certainly different from Mass Effect especially.

Continue reading “Something Lighter: Virsune and Xeulo”

KOTOR 2: In Review

Recently, I did a playthrough of the second KOTOR game, The Sith Lords, for my best friend over a Skype call. I’ve talked about what I do like about this game before, but after a conversation with Tyrannadorkus in the comments of my last post, I’ve decided to touch on what I can’t stand about it… which is actually a considerable amount.

As you read this blog post, keep in mind that all of this is purely from a writing standpoint. From a game play standpoint, I actually think that The Sith Lords is better than its predecessor, or that it would be if it weren’t for all the glitches. The lightsaber battles look more epic, the level design is better, the graphics actually look nicer, and the world feels more expansive. Obsidian did a lot to improve the engine, and my only real complaint (outside of the glitches) from a gameplay standpoint is that the port back to Ebon Hawk option no longer exists. The fact that I don’t have to wait for the rest of my party before going to new areas, however, somewhat makes up for this.

I also have complaints about the original KOTOR, namely the handling of Carth Onasi’s PTSD being unrealistic (making his character hard for me to stomach as someone with PTSD, even though I like his concept), the pacing of the last arc of the game from Leviathan to Star Forge making the game feel unfinished, and the utterly anti-climactic ending. KOTOR isn’t perfect, but I’m reminded of how good it truly is (and how excellent at writing Bioware is), especially in comparing it to Obsidian’s sequel.

If you like this game, as I know many people do, I would just remind you that this is my opinion. You don’t have to agree. There is actually a lot I like about this game, but this post focuses specifically on the things that bothered me.

This does assume some knowledge of the game, so if you haven’t played or don’t know KOTOR, this may not make sense to you.

Continue reading “KOTOR 2: In Review”