Off To A Nice Start

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Last year this time I was not feel­ing very accom­plished with regard to my writ­ing. I was writ­ing, don’t get me wrong, but I couldn’t have been any less focused. The book I had planned to com­plete by my birth­day (Sep­tem­ber) seemed more daunt­ing by the day and there was a point when I con­sid­ered giv­ing up this “writ­ing thing”.

I didn’t, of course, and I am glad for it.

This year is off to a fan­tas­tic start. I sold a story to Escape Pod and it will be fea­tured dur­ing the Artemis Ris­ing event dur­ing the month of Feb­ru­ary. I fully expect you all to check out that series of pod­casts because they’re going to be spe­cial. They’re all writ­ten by women. If you know any­thing about me, then you now that I am totally ded­i­cated to see­ing more women, more POC, more Oth­ers writ­ing and pub­lish­ing sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy. We need var­ied voices, yeah?

I’ve also qual­i­fied to become a mem­ber of Codex, which has seri­ously hum­bled me. Many of the won­der­ful writ­ers that I have been read­ing and lis­ten­ing to for the last 3–4 years are there. They have been insanely invit­ing and wonderful.

Today, I took a moment to update my writ­ing career bingo card. Look­ing good. Many of the white squares are now pur­ple. (Thanks Rach by way of Christie Yant) for hook­ing me up with that won­der­ful moti­va­tional tool.

Here’s to more accom­plish­ments this year for me and YOU.

 

The Power of Story

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What makes a video game work for you?

I have spent the last six days play­ing Dragon Age: Ori­gins. When I first started the game a few weeks ago, I was a lit­tle skep­ti­cal. The graph­ics look old, and high fan­tasy in games have never been my thing, my pref­er­ence being Sci-Fi. But friends and my daugh­ter encour­aged me to keep play­ing, to give it a chance, to allow myself to be immersed in the story.

Guess what? I’m hooked.

I still think the graph­ics are eye can­cer and I find that some of the mis­sions feel down­right padded. I mean, is it really nec­es­sary for me to travel through miles of under­ground tun­nels for an hour just to reach the were­wolf den? It’s enough to make a novice like myself scream and throw the con­troller out of the win­dow. The game isn’t ter­ri­bly diverse with regard to the humans, but there is char­ac­ter cre­ation, so…well, there’s that. And do not even get me started on the sys­tem of com­bat. Bor­ing. Or the com­pli­cated con­trols. Argh.

Obvi­ously these aren’t the aspects that keep me com­ing back. And for the record, that is my unof­fi­cial gauge to deter­mine if a game is good. It’s the, Do I want to go back and fin­ish this?, test.

I do want to fin­ish DA: O, because of the story. Admit­tedly the whole “You are charged with sav­ing the world/universe.” is incred­i­bly over­done, yet there is still some­thing com­pelling about know­ing that the fate of every­thing rests on your shoul­ders. Even bet­ter though, is play­ing a game where the rela­tion­ships you cre­ate and cul­ti­vate with other char­ac­ters have a direct impact on if and how well you meet  your goals.

Sto­ries like this force you to care. This is where all of my unfin­ished games have failed. Weak sto­ries. Beau­ti­ful graph­ics and great fight­ing mechan­ics can not carry a game, at least not for me, longer than a cou­ple of hours. They won’t make me care. They won’t com­pel me to return.

So, I’m going to fin­ish DA: O, and I never thought I would say this but, I might even do a sec­ond play through so that I can really catch all the nuances and side mis­sions and explore all the nooks and cran­nies I’ve missed this go around.

In A Year

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Last year about this time my writ­ing started to drag.

It was a lot of things. The weather. Loss of con­fi­dence. Lack of direc­tion. Per­fec­tion­ism that man­aged to freeze me to the spot. The result was half a dozen incom­plete projects and ideas for projects that I never started.

In about March or April I decided to take a class, which I’ve men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous post. I also decided to ded­i­cate the next year (at least) to per­fect­ing short story writ­ing. About seven months have passed and I am nowhere near per­fect. Heck, I am nowhere near hav­ing a clue about what I am doing, in my esti­ma­tion, but I am work­ing hard on my writ­ing and I have had some successes.

I have had a few rewrite requests. They’re not exactly sales but they are hope­ful and proof that I am on the right track.

I have started read­ing slush for Escape Pod. I am par­tic­u­larly giddy about this as I’ve been lis­ten­ing to EP for 2–3 years now and never in a mil­lion years did I think I would be on the inside.

I’ve man­aged to com­plete 5 short stories.

I’ve made my first pro sale to An Alpha­bet of Embers anthol­ogy which should be released in May 2015.

I’ve met sev­eral won­der­ful writ­ers that I now con­sider friends. They offer sup­port, grease for my ego, and guid­ance when I need it.

I am in a new class now, with Daniel Jose Older. This is has been a blast so far. And I am learn­ing lots. I am sop­ping up his writ­ing genius with my bis­cuit brain. :-)

And I’ve got plans for next year. I want to dou­ble my count of com­pleted short sto­ries. That means at least 10 com­plete sto­ries by the end of the year. And I want to sell at least two more sto­ries in the com­ing year. Come on friends, cheer me on.

As for writ­ing, this has been a very good year.