WriYe: Year in Review

The blog circle on WriYe has been absent since March but quite frankly it’s been that kind of year. I just went back and read my 2020 January post detailing my plans for the year… oh we had no idea did we?

A real gem here: “It’s going to a brand new decade. I really hope it’s better than the last one.”

2020 is almost over (yay!). In a very unpredictable and unstable year, sum up your year of writing.
Did you meet your goals? Did you survive? Barely hung on?

Right my goals were as follows:
“150k target. I want to be consistent with my writing. 4thewords – I intend to use it everyday next year. My aim is to maintain the 444 word streak on the site to make incremental progress everyday. I want a couple of drafts by the end of the year – I want to feel like I made progress ultimately!

In 2020 I intend to move forward with my writing, with the goal to being in a position to start publishing in 2021, and I also want to leap forward with my drawing if I can and do a drawing a month and complete the ‘How to Draw the Marvel Way’ course that I was given ages ago.”

Did I meet them?

Bwhahahaha yeah no. Not even close, not even a little bit.

My 4thewords streak is technically intact but that’s only down to rampant cheating. I’m not sure how many days I actually wrote for but it’s possibly in the region of about 50, if that and only then if I include planning days probably.

I have zero novel drafts. In fact I have zero progress on any original work whatsoever. You see what happened is (well I’m going to quote myself again). I wrote in that 2020 January post: “I know how rusty I am and that everything I write to begin with is going to be even more shit than normal. However I’m not going to get past that and write anything ever potentially decent if I don’t forge on.” but unfortunately panic doesn’t understand logic.

Even before 2020 took a turn for the crazy I wasn’t doing well. I spent a good chunk of January planning out an original novel and I was all set to start, I sat down and kept having panic attacks. I think I wrote 500 words and hated them all. I couldn’t get over how awful I felt it was and I just felt like I would never be good enough.

I haven’t done a single drawing this year. I’m working on one now (in December) but that will be my only 2020 drawing. I didn’t touch the course. I basically achieved NONE of my goals.

Give us your biggest triumph and what you are most proud of!

Well I survived the year. So there’s that.

I’m going to end WriYe with about 70k and that’s entirely down to November. I did the Sanctuary fanfic and I smashed it. Almost 67k and The End. That is my singular success story this year. I suppose that proves that I can write, just in a limited fashion. It wasn’t original work so I managed to bypass the paralyzing panic/fear that stops me from writing normally.

I’m glad I managed to write something, even if it was fanfic, because something is better than nothing. I mean I said that in my NaNo post, “this might as well happen” because nothing else was happening. It was fun writing that in November. I liked writing again. I liked completing the quests on 4thewords. I want to do more of it but I’m just not sure what right now. I need to have a think.

It’s that time of year

Ok let’s be real writing has been a disaster for me since November 2016. I tried to keep writing after it but within six months I’d ground to a complete halt. I’ve not successfully completed a single story, and definitely not NaNo, ever since.

2017. 2018. 2019.

All gone, didn’t happen, I don’t think I even attempted it last year at all. I had big plans for this year but well it’s 2020 – the year of the unexpected. I’m trying to not be too hard on myself for it.

Anyway, I’ve been going back and forth over what to do. NaNo used to be the highlight of my year, it used to be magical and I miss that feeling. I had some time to think this morning and I came to some conclusions:
1) not doing NaNo isn’t an option. I need to try. It matters to me.
2) whatever I write has to reach the 50k or I’ll feel like it doesn’t count.
3) I love my ideas I really do but I’m too scared to attempt them and if I try I won’t get very far.
4) I remember Her Happy Ending (yes it is story time).

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Avenger’s Game

This game has been on my wishlist since I learned of its existence. I was disappointed when the release date was pushed back from May as I was planning on getting it for myself as a birthday present. This past weekend there was an open beta and so I tried the game out and I’m so glad I did.

It’s bad.

Like I’m the target audience for this game probably. I’m not very critical because I’m pretty useless at games and I love Marvel. Getting to play as my favourite characters = instant success, right? Well normally but with this game? Yeah not so much.

Ok so why do I think it’s bad?

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Revision vs. Editing

Anyone that knows me knows I have a thing about the terms revision and editing getting mixed up. It’s petty and ridiculous but we all have things we’re stupid about. To me revision is about story, it’s what happens first to turn a first draft into a draft for others. Editing comes afterwards and is more about polishing it up, getting the commas in the right place, checking for typos and perhaps adjusting word choices.

They are different things in my head and I just want that distinction to be clear.

What is your main struggle with editing?  Is it getting started? Rereading your own work? How do you handle it?
This is the question asked for March’s WriYe blog topic. Now if I took the question at it’s word then I would be talking about ‘editing’ aka the polishing of grammar and punctuation. The answer for that is different than the answer would be for revision. My main struggle with editing is lack of knowledge/ability. I tend to punctuate by feel and I make errors in my writing grammatically – I need an editor. I have got a course to try and learn how to be a proof-reader but I’m really struggling to apply the concepts it’s trying to teach. Editing is hard.

Revision on the other hand is something I quite like. It’s analytical and there’s a process to it because it’s dealing with something of substance. I find the actual writing hard because I’m making something from nothing. With revision I’m dealing with something that already exists and that’s a massive help. Years ago I took Holly Lisle’s How To Revise Your Novel course and most of my process is drawn from that.

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Talking Trek

I have now seen all of the Star Trek movies and varying amounts of all of the TV shows (bar the animated series). I’ve seen all of Picard, Discovery and Enterprise, a handful of episodes of TOS and the first seasons of TNG, Voyager and DS9. I should probably wait until I have seen more of the shows (they do have seven seasons after all) but I feel like rambling about this now.

This post started off as an attempt to rank the various movies and TV shows in order of how much I like them. However, I ran into problems with that. In a lot of respects it’s hard to compare the shows against one another because they are different. I was just talking with a friend about trying to do this and we said that we like things for different reasons – so how can you put one above another?

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The Love of Writing

Another month, another WriYe blog topic! This one is a bit of a doozy and so begins the eternal dilemma of “how honest should I be?”. I feel like I know what the ‘right’ answer is and yet it’s not what is true for me and I’m not sure what that says about me. I guess all I can do is just write from the heart, as I always do with blog topics which is why they are such rambles, and hope that is ok.

I don’t particularly want to be cast out of the writer community haha.

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What if Jacen Syndulla was the third member of the trio?

Don’t get me wrong I love Poe Dameron. Seriously I don’t want to imagine Star Wars without him but I was up early, 7am sunday morning doing the ironing, and into my head popped “that’s one hell of a pilot!” and suddenly it hit me.

In my Rise of Skywalker review I said I wish that the movies would make good use of existing canon rather than just inventing new stuff all the time.

Now I’m not talking about changing the plot/story arc of any of the movies even though there are some things I don’t like. I’m just talking about tweaking little details. It would have been a huge screaming moment for fans of the expanded canon and it wouldn’t have been any different really for more casual fans of the movies.

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Drawing 0: Pirates

For the Bering and Wells Exchange on tumblr (December 2019) I drew the above picture. It’s funnily enough Bering and Wells in a Pirate!AU. I used a picture of Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Carribbean for Myka as a reference and for HG somebody’s fem!Captain Hook cosplay on a mannequin.

As I said in my 2020 introspection/looking forward post I have chosen an art style to try and emulate. I didn’t quite manage it as I still have a long way to go but overall I do think this is the best drawing I have done so far, despite it having been a long time since I last did one. That’s why I have titled this ‘drawing 0’ (something I have admittedly done before) because I do consider this a new starting point.

There are two main points that I wish to learn from this drawing:
1) careful not to overblend. I don’t think I always need to soften it quite so much
2) there is no narrative

I think the overblending issue is something that I’ll only overcome with practice. The lack of narrative though is something I’ll attempt to correct with January’s drawing. I’ve complained for a while that my drawings feel lifeless/emotionless, and partly I think that is lack of facial expression, but I think the bigger issue is lack of movement. In the above drawing they are just standing there as if it was a portrait. Myka’s pose is not so bad (even if I did fail at rendering the wooden railing) but HG is just standing there. It would have been better if she had been leaning towards Myka to tell her a secret, or moving to kiss her, or moving away from her with a wicked look in her eyes. Also I could perhaps consider making better use of props, again to indicate some kind of movement and narrative.

January’s project is yet to be determined but it’s only the third so I have time 🙂

2020: The End of the Beginning

In three days it’s going to be not just a new year but a new decade. I’m going to be 30 next year (*shudders*), and so this New Year feels more landmark than usual, and new years always make me maudlin and retrospective.

I began the decade failing out of one university and I’ve ended it having dropped out of another. I’ve gone precisely nowhere or at least that’s how it feels. I suppose I could reframe it and say that I’ve had a few false starts which have been learning experiences. For instance I now know for certain that higher education doesn’t suit me.

The last few years broke me to be honest, My mental health was bad to begin with, I had a breakdown in 2011 and if anything got steadily worse over the next few years. Returning to uni was my desperate attempt to make a change, the old cliche “if you don’t like your life, then change it”. However, it was a bad move. My depression, anxiety and general stress levels which were already high have gone through the roof. My confidence was always very low but it’s now absolutely destroyed. I’m utterly terrified pretty much all the time.

That’s why I titled this post ‘the end of the beginning’ because if there’s rock-bottom then this is it. Yes I have a past but I really am starting again – something else which adds to the landmark feeling of this New Years. It really is the close of one chapter and I’m trying very hard to think of what’s coming next as the start of something new, hopefully something better.

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