Didn’t Mean To Disappear Like That

I promise you that I hadn’t meant to disappear yesterday.  I realized that I hadn’t posted something just before I had gone to bed.

My excuse is work.  I had a couple of surprise assignments that came in late on Monday that I had to address during Tuesday on top of the flow of work that I already have going on.

So there was just a lot on my plate.  While I’m also not putting up a regular post today, I’ll try to get one up tomorrow.

However, today I did want to talk about how I love podcasts.  There are a lot of podcasts out there that I enjoy.  I already wrote about the Adventure Zone and what I love about that podcast, but there are so many out there that I can spend a lot of time talking about.

I’ve been listing to more podcasts and watching the video versions of some of those podcasts when I can because I like having that chatter in my ears when I’m working or when I’m doing different things.  I have found that it works really well especially when I’m listening to podcasts I already listen to.

And while it may sound weird to relisten to them, it allows me to have some background noise that I’m not distracted by.  I already know the stories and the jokes.  Even if it makes me laugh again, it’s not absorbing my entire world.

If you have tried listening to podcasts before and haven’t found one that clicked yet, then try a couple other ones.  Look for topics that appeal to you.  Look for groups that do things you enjoy.  Whether you enjoy architecture, video games, or cats, there is a podcast out there.  I will try to keep going and give you some more recommendations throughout the next couple of months of all the different ones I’m listening to.

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The Update: 10.9.17 – 10.15.17

Well, I’m back!

I definitely needed that break. I will be upfront and say that I’m not exactly back up to 100% when it comes to maintaining a blog on top of everything that I have to do. I may be a bit late on posts or write posts that are fairly short because I am pressed for time.

However, I want to make sure that I’m back here and writing every single day.

My goals this week are fairly straightforward:

  • Write every day
  • Prepare for NaNoWriMo
  • Get all Work done every day
  • Apply for real jobs (1 per day)
  • Spend time relaxing

And that’s all I have to say today. I’ll be back tomorrow with posts about stuff and things.

Update: A Week to Recover

So.  Um.  I don’t want to take another week off.

But there were events in my personal life that require me to take some time for myself.  I’m not going to restructure the blogs.  I’m not going to change anything.  I just need a little bit of time to heal and deal with the events that transpired.

I will let you know that I’m not deathly ill.  No one in my family died.  But I’m not going to tell you what happened or anything because I’m simply not ready to go there.  One day the subject will be something I can talk about easily, but it’s not today.  It’s not this week.  It’s likely not even going to be this month.

Thanks for your understanding.  I’ll be back next Monday with another set of posts.

The Mystery: Fall Suddenly

I had a couple of other things that I wanted to write about today, but when the week happened, I found something else was constantly on my mind. The weather and the season.

I know that fall started a week ago, but most places have been stuck with hot weather still. Colorado decided that it was done with that and has been covered in rain and dreary clouds for days now. While some people in Colorado are disappointed by the bad weather, I have been excited about this turn of weather.

I love Washington and the weather that Colorado has right now is a lot like being in Washington. It’s been a great change of pace, but it has also made me want to lay around more than work.

But I’ll take the cool, damp weather for as long as I can get it. Have a good weekend everyone, I’ll see you on Monday.

Living Space: Easier Meals

Part of being an adult and being more independent is cooking for yourself. I’m a pretty lazy person and not that picky when it comes to want I want to eat, so sometimes I find myself stuck in a rut. I’ll want to eat something, but not want to take the time to make it or fuss over it.

Part of the way that I’m getting over this is by finding simple meals that I like and will eat often that I can prepare in batches or at least get some of the ingredients ready beforehand.

And I’m not saying that these meals are the best for me. I’ve rediscovered spam and started having spam with white rice. There are other ingredients that I throw in there if I have time, but I also know that it isn’t a terrible thing if I can only get the main ingredients done in time.

Part of my trouble with cooking is that I work at home. While it may seem like I could work on a meal while casually working, that isn’t a thing I could ever do. I set aside a specific amount of time for lunch and then I have to move on. I’ll sometimes stretch out that time if I can afford to with the schedule that I have, but that isn’t always a sure thing.

Simpler meals that I can just throw together within 30 minutes are huge. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I pre-prepare the night before, but I’m not sure that that will happen anytime soon.

The Storyteller: Characters – New

The Storyteller

This week and next week I’ll be talking about characters. This is just where I am in the writing process, but I wanted to talk about creating new characters and revamping old ones. Today, we’ll be covering new characters as I’m a little bit more worried about this and have been thinking it all the time.

So let’s talk about creating characters from scratch. Whenever I’m writing a new story, coming up with the characters is the hardest part. It’s not that I don’t know who I want to have in the story. It is the fact that I have yet to figure out the characters. Sometimes I start with a name. Sometimes I start with a concept.

If I’m feeling really adventurous, then I will use a character generator to create the basic character. This tends to work out well in stories that I’m still working on. I’ll take pen to that page and adjust the character as I write and discover more about the world that I’m getting involved in.

Starting a new character is a bit like starting the story itself. The story begins with its characters. Without the characters, you can still write about a beautiful world and show how it is flawed. The characters become a way of saying that, but they add their own color to the picture and show how flawed people are.

The expectation that my characters have to really be something set me back for a long time when I was writing. During that time, I wrote about vague characters or used ones that I had already made for everything from writing assignments in school to characters I played in D&D with my friends.

Like I said, I’ve got a mix of old and new with the story that I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo, but it’s the new characters that scare me. The two main characters (for now) are Alice and Zane, who I have known since I was 12. I’ve been using these characters for 10, almost 11 years. I have loved these characters. I know everything about them, even though I am constantly reworking them to be a better fit for the world that I’m setting their story in.

I know these characters like the back of my hand, so adding more people to that story requires me to understand that the world is not centered around these two. Many more people belong in that world. Many more people will show their face in that world.

I have a feeling that I will be a little surprised this year with these characters. The ones I know will probably act differently than I expect and the ones I don’t know yet may come out of the woodwork as I am writing. But those kinds of surprises aren’t bad things. I’m looking forward to everything that surprises me with this novel because I want to finish this novel. If I get scared now of a couple small , then I won’t be able to face the reality that the story wants to portray.

The best I can do is prepare some characters that I think I’ll use and hope that the universe listens when I put my pen to paper.

Recommended: The Adventure Zone

Recommended

I am an avid player of Pathfinder, which is an offshoot of Dungeons and Dragons. Because I already loved playing games like this, I found out that there was a group of podcasts that were dedicated specifically to these tabletop games. There quite a few of them, but the one that I settled on was The Adventure Zone.

This was at least 2 years ago. I fell in love with the ridiculous shenanigans of three bothers and their father playing D&D together. What I didn’t expect is that I was going to fall in love with the characters as well.

If you want bad jokes and funny shenanigans, you will love The Adventure Zone, but the story gets so much deeper than that as soon as you’re in it. There are hints very early on about all the things to come, even if both the listener and the players didn’t know it at the time.

The Adventure Zone falls into a category of storytelling that I call the Absurdity Epic. I’ve seen other names for it online, but this is the one that I’m sticking with. The basic idea of an Absurdity Epic is that it starts out…well, absurdly. It can just be shenanigans at the beginning without a real story there to glue it all together. Because it’s funny, the readers or listeners or watchers continue to be involved in it. But the story develops and morphs as time goes on. The story gets “real.”

You can see a similar structure in Homestuck (I definitely wouldn’t recommend this as it is massive and convoluted). But it’s a structure that works for a lot of people. You get used to the jokes and stay on. Then things start happening, but you’re already invested in the characters and have no interest in stopping.

The first arc of The Adventure Zone is the Balance Arc. This story takes just under 70 podcasts to complete, but the best part is that the podcast isn’t over. Just because they finished the story doesn’t mean that they’re interested in stopping all the jokes and hi-jinks that people have come to love. If you want goofy people doing goofy things, check this out. And maybe the writers out there can take a couple of notes about how the story unfolds. It is more improvised than just story telling, so it’s a little different, but it’s still interesting on that level.

(Note: Canva was having some issues this morning, so there will be no pictures attached to this blog post until the website is back up and running.)