What’s your game?

I’ve never been as good at blogging here as I hoped. In the beginning this was my Warcraft blog, and then I expanded it to Swtor and Marvel Heroes (and not bothered changing the header since). I now ramble about all kinds of things. I mean let’s not pretend otherwise, these are rambles. I pretend like there’s a difference as I separate out my copied over tumblr rambles from the ‘real’ blog posts, but really they are much the same stylistically. In the beginning I think I tried to make them more legit – just as I tried to keep a blog theme – but this is what it’s become. As this is basically my private ramble spot, as I don’t think anyone reads these even if they are technically publicly accessible, I guess it doesn’t matter.

Anyway, I’m not too sure why that was on my mind as an intro but it feels related somewhat because this is a blog post about Warcraft, and about approach I guess.

I have made a number of posts about Warcraft over the years. If you track back through them you’ll see I change my opinions about some things. I’ve been playing this game on/off for a long time (since January 2010) and as I have changed, the game has changed. There have been times I’ve felt the game has become incompatible with me, and that was the case recently.

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Victory Number Ten! (of a sort)

So I ‘won’ NaNo.

The inverted quotes are because I got the 50k (and for the 10th time in November) but if I look back at my intentions post, I didn’t really get what I wanted.

“my primary motivation this November is to try and find my joy again.”

“I wanted to feel excited to write it, I wanted to obsess over it, to have my mind wander to that world – like it used to years ago.”

That’s what I wrote. That’s what I wanted. That is NOT what happened.

NaNo usually follows a pattern of sorts. I have zero days, and then I have high word count days to make up for it. While there was some of that this month the graph was actually more stable than I think I have ever seen it – consistently a little below par. Usually when I approach the end I get a real whoosh and my final day is a downward hurtle to the finish line. I’m pretty sure on almost all NaNo’s I finish before Day Thirty due to that headlong whoosh. Well it was Day Thirty and it was a double day (3k) because that’s what I needed to scrape the 50k and so that’s what I did.

It was a total slog, and the only thing similar to the downward whoosh is when I got a “fuck it” mentality and just embraced the crap. There wasn’t any moments of joy, there weren’t any moments where I felt it flowed well. I had one brief moment where I felt I might have captured one characters voice, but that lasted for a single writing session and hasn’t repeated.

The only moments where I felt any kind of ‘magic’ were when I had to plan. I did like the idea generation for the episodes. Starting with nothing and then coming up with the episode plot and I think I came up with some cool stuff. It’s implemented very badly but there’s some cool ideas there I think.

I ended up with basically discovery drafts of the first three episodes, plus the first couple of scenes and half an outline for episode four. So I have something to build on I guess.

I knew going into this that joy was a state of mind, and that my lack of it isn’t really related to the writing – it’s me. So I know I shouldn’t be surprised at this result, and I’m not I mean I flat out said in the intentions post that I doubted it was possible to find the joy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not disappointed. I really would have liked to enjoy this month. I really, really, REALLY, wanted to remember why I do this writing thing, to feel some smidgeon of hope again.

I wish I had something more positive to say in this NaNo wrap-up but right now this is how I feel. In December obviously I need to think about my goals for 2024. Finding joy is likely to be my top priority but I really don’t know how to do that. It’s not about what I write, it is about me, and I don’t know how to change me. I really wish I did.

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Nine and Thirty

So yesterday I didn’t get any words as I had to come up with an idea for Episode 4. I needed to know what I was writing before I could write, and like Episode 3 before it, it took all day to wrangle an idea into enough form to move forward.

Which left just today to get the last 3k to win.

So I did win. And by win I mean I hit the 50k.

When I won it told me it was my 10th NaNo win and I didn’t think that was correct. I mean I’ve been taking part on/off since 2007 so it was definitely possible but I knew I’d failed quite a few times, and so ten? But I just went through and it’s right. I got the 50k in 08, 09, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 (quite a run there), 2020, 2022 and then finally this year 2023.

But did I win really?

What I wanted more than anything this month was to rediscover my love of writing and from that perspective it was an epic failure. I didn’t hate every single minute of it. I do love the idea, and coming up with the various episode plots was alternately frustrating but then satisfying (as idea generation is apt to be). But the actual writing just did not flow well. I felt like every word was shit. I know the old “can’t fix a blank page” but it’s demoralising to not feel any kind of rush. To just be like drek. I didn’t capture the spirit I wanted at all.

Anyway what I ended up with is the first three episodes of a serial drafted, with the first three scenes of Episode 4 also drafted and part of an outline for the rest of the episode. I have character notes, some notes on the general arc of the season and what the villain wants etc. but that’s about it. So basically it’s a start and as always there’s a long way to go.

I did like attempting to write the serial. I definitely fell down mechanically in a few places as it was hard to capture on paper what I was imagining – as if a novel = a movie, then this is like watching TV episodes in my head. Now obviously TV can do cool things like have characters on the phone and flash back and forth between them. I am unsure if it’s even remotely possible to do that on paper. It was fun coming up with the various episode plots and I think it has the seeds of something. I’m not sure I have the skill to pull it off but maybe one day I’ll get there.

Words today: 3,257

Final NaNo total: 50,455

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Seven and Day Twenty-Eight

So I didn’t do the report yesterday because I was in a bad headspace. I did get some words but I felt so wretched about them and everything. While I think it’s important to be honest about this process, which means not pretending it’s all sunshine and rainbows when it’s not, I don’t wish to spread negativity either.

Yesterday words: 1,082

Today I had a “just fuck it” moment and rambled a whole bunch of words. Yes they suck but I caught up to NaNo par. I also finished Episode Three of the serial which is terrible. Why? Because yet again I have nothing more planned and I am about 3k short of the NaNo 50k.

The obvious answer is to start Episode 4 but there’s the additional problem that tomorrow is Wednesday. That is chore day. I have to get groceries and that usually messes me up. I only have tomorrow and Thursday to both think of an idea and write 3k on it.

You know I don’t believe I have been both simultaneously so close, and yet so far, at this point in the month. What usually happens is that downward whoosh I have mentioned. So my final day is usually a huge word count. I would need to check past stats but I don’t believe I have ever been so consistently behind pace either. Although honestly I don’t really remember I have taken part in so many NaNo’s I might have had one like this before.

Anyway hopefully I will at least work out what to type the 3k on tomorrow, even if I have to try and hammer it out on the last day.

Words today: 3,319
Current total: 47,198

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Six

Progress honestly feels glacial. I haven’t hit the whoosh headwind downward slope I expected. I think this is part of not feeling the joy that I wanted. I mean I do have a lot of love for my story, but I am battling the usual “this sucks” and it really does. I’m not sure my writing has ever been this bad. I don’t know how it keeps getting worse especially after I took all those craft notes to try and improve 😭

I am around 550 words behind NaNo pace. I am feeling the story out. Yes it will need totally rewriting but deep breath and all, trying not to let it bother me. It’s the devil on my shoulder talking, wondering why the 50k matters as it’s 50k of crap. The old “why am I bothering?” demon. I’m learning things, writing stuff and going “thats dumb”. Maybe that’s just my process. It’s not fun but I am not writing as regularly as I should so I guess it’s to be expected. I hope one day I will get in a groove again, it’s been years :/

Words today: 2,508
Current total: 42,797

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Five

I don’t seem to be having much luck with write-ins. I haven’t attended in years, even before they were suspended because of covid restrictions. The previous ML favoured this incredibly busy, insanely noisy coffee shop and I couldn’t cope. The new ML last year arranged a much better location but it was in a part of town I didn’t know, the parking wasn’t easy and I just couldn’t psych myself up enough to do it. This year the new new ML picked a third place and you know the old Goldilocks “just right” thing.

Anyway I went to the kick-off the week before NaNo. I didn’t make the first write-in as I was behind on words, forgot to arrange it with mum (she has to accompany me) and back to back weeks was a lot for me. Mum had guests the following week and couldn’t. Last week we tried to go and the road was flooded. We sat in traffic for hours and then came home. This week we got there to find the place was shut due to staff illness, so I just came home again.

Last week the unexpected change in plans threw me off and I didn’t get any words. I was worried that would happen again but this time mum got me started before she went back home. Once I have started, I can continue. It’s breaking through that initial resistance to start that is so difficult.

I’m not thrilled with what I wrote. I think the explosion description is dumb and probably not how physics works. But as I keep saying (as I need to hear it) this is a starting point. I hit yesterday’s par – the 40k! I am still about a day behind but especially with the energy from the ‘final push’ providing I can conjure enough story to write, it should (please don’t jinx myself) be absolutely fine.

Words today: 2,053
Current total: 40,289

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Four

So for a minute there this morning I was afraid there weren’t going to be any words today. I am someone that gets thrown by the smallest things not going right. On my schedule today I was supposed to change my bed. So I stripped it and then realised that the sheet I needed to put on it was still in the laundry from last time cue obsessive panic. I messaged mum hoping to not have to think about it anymore even though I didn’t think she would be awake. She was and she fixed it because mum is great like that.

Anyway! I then did manage to do words. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the waffle in the scenes I wrote today will get moved and presented differently. But this is turning into a real discovery draft so it’s ok I guess. I did sort of give myself a continuity error which was a but funny as I think I wrote one thing in Episode 2, thought about it and realised that was a bit dumb, and changed it a bit in this episode. Decisions, decisions and all that.

I am still behind NaNo pace (should have hit 40k today) but it’s only about a day behind so I should be alright (hopefully). I am pretty sure that if I’ve never got this far and not hit the 50k, but I probably shouldn’t say that because I don’t want to jinx myself.

Words today: 2,637
Current total: 38,236

The NaNo Report: Day Twenty-Three

So it’s been a few days. I think I said in my last report I had finished Episode Two and had nothing planned. I lost Monday to working out a story and most of an outline for Episode Three. So I did ‘write’ on Monday but I didn’t get any words for NaNo as it was just planning.

Tuesday went the way of depression. I’m not sure what triggered it but my head was just not in a good place. I zoned out as a defence mechanism I think and my brain would just not work. So no words there. Then yesterday (Wednesday) was chore day. By the time I had got groceries and cleaned the house it was mid-afternoon and I had just had enough.

Which brings me today and there were words! A lot of them! I was sitting at around 7k or so behind and now I’m a bit less than 3k behind. The scenes need a lot of work but for the first time I felt like I started to get a bit into the voice of one of the characters. I haven’t felt that yet so that was good. Hopefully it will happen for the others eventually. The thing that worries me is if this episode is the same length as the others, I’m going to be a couple of thousand short of the 50k with nothing planned again. Still I guess that’s next weeks problem.

Words today: 4,208
Current total: 35,599

The NaNo Report: Day Nineteen

No report yesterday. I was supposed to go to a regional write-in but I spent several hours stuck in traffic and never made it there (road was flooded). This threw my whole day out and I just couldn’t get my head in the game when I got back home. So it was a zero day.

Today I think I was helped by the fact I knew mum was visiting for a few hours. I had to get today’s words in this morning, and I wanted to finish Episode 2 (as I just had the two scenes left). I did it! Made for my highest word count day this month I think and now I am less than 300 words behind NaNo’s par. They are crappy scenes that need a ton of work but for the zillionth boring time, at least I have a starting point to build from.

Only problem now is tomorrow – Episode Three – and I have nada, zip, nothing. Not even a concept. So that will be fun. I will need to brainstorm before I can begin to write :/ hopefully I will manage to do both.

Words today: 3,226
Current total: 31,391