… coz I’m back from the dead, apparently. Has it seriously been 2 months since my last post? I’ve been having anxiety about not being able to write a good-enough new post almost daily, so I guess that feels the same as regular updates or something.
Anyway yeah hi peeps. Not a ton has happened since I made that Generic Blog Post. I mean, no, actually, tons of stuff has happened, but almost nothing related to writing, which is what this blog is supposedly about.
So what did happen so glad you asked let me tell you I saw Blade Runner 2049, and it was soooooo long. So long and not enough happened to warrant such a gratuitous volume of run-time. If they’d chopped about an hour off it, I would think back on it more fondly; as it is I don’t think I’ll be thinking about it much at all. The most interesting part of the film was Jo. No, I will not link any articles or anything to further expand upon this because 1) my opinion is the only one that matters and 2) I don’t need to spend any more time on this decidedly middling film than I’ve already paid money to do. I didn’t mind it while I was watching it, and now that I’m not, I have no desire to do so again. And no, I’m not a fan of the first one (mostly because I haven’t seen it, except for the ending).
I made myself re-watch season 5 of Teen Wolf, mostly because I was bored, but slightly because I remember being seriously underwhelmed by it and wanted to see if time might have changed my perspective. And to my surprise, the answer was yes. I actually kind of enjoyed it the second time around. It’s still definitely not my favourite season – that goes to seasons 1 and 3 – but this one did some things that I wish other seasons had done. Like giving Lydia anything to do, at all, ever. That was nice, when she wasn’t busy being subjected to her latest thinly-veiled-rape-metaphor sub-plot. Still waiting for season 6 to hit Netflix, and if it doesn’t … well, I don’t want to think about that.
I read a bunch of books, and decided to not read a bunch of other books. I can’t really argue that it’s because some of those books were more or less problematic than the others as the reason for this; I think it’s just because my tastes push me in certain directions. For instance, Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson I gave up on after the first few pages of chapter 1, because it starts off with [spoilers] our hero being introduced as a wiseass troublemaker who has god-like powers and uses them to rescue a teenage slave girl from being kidnapped and raped by her owner and then setting fire to his house and killing him and all of his staff – and it all happens off-page, too. [end spoilers] It’s not enough that this is one of the laziest cliches to ever grace the page; it doesn’t even grace the fucking page. And then the first chapter is about some angsty thief girl with trust issues, and my god if I have to read one more male author’s angsty thief girl with trust issues in a high fantasy novel …
Then there’s Every Which Way but Dead by Kim Harrison, which I gave up on when [spoilers] Rachel agrees to go out with whatshisface the sexy-in-a-stalkery-way vampire who has been in her room without her knowledge and is picking out her clothes for their date and he’s so controlling and dominant and alpha and god fuck off just fuck off no more. [end spoilers] Both of these books evoked that response in me; and it’s a shame, because I quite liked the Rachel Morgan books up to that point, though they were a bit less … punchy, I guess, than I was hoping for. I like Ivy and Jenks, and I will probably go back to it at some stage – right now, though, I can’t take any more of that shit.
However, here’s where I lose any ability whatsoever to claim that these books were too “problematic” for me, because to wash the bad taste out of my mouth I read Changes by Jim Butcher in an evening and a morning. God I love that fucking series. Not because it’s morally better than either of the other two I’ve mentioned, but because it’s written to be read, and I fucking obliged. That book had [spoilers] Harry Dresden finding out that he’s Susan’s baby-daddy, and is only able to save said baby that he is the -daddy of – and destroy the Red Court of vampires, whom he more or less single-handedly instigated a worldwide war against in book 3 – is by killing Susan once she becomes a full vampire, as she was bitten by the former leader of the Red Court – also his fault – but fighting the curse by not drinking human blood … so not only did he betray Susan by not giving her enough information about the situation they were heading into in book 3 (a vampire ball where all the vampires want him dead), but he also uses her as a justifiable human sacrifice in order to save the world and also their daughter, and yes it’s sad and tragic and that’s the point but I don’t care that it’s the point because it’s a shitty trope and it’s not about Harry the character it’s about the fucking story and the fact that it didn’t have to use this fucking plot to begin with that is the fucking problem [end spoilers] and I fucking lapped that shit up and I am definitely reading the remaining 3 published books in the series because I am a disgusting hypocrite there I said it it’s all out in the open now come at me.
Except don’t actually come at me though because I don’t handle confrontation well. Please.
And on top of all of that …
I did actually start doing some writing.
It’s not “real” writing, though. But it’s a way of approaching my projects that I’ve never thought of before: looking at them as something other than books. I mean in a practical sense, there’s a reason I’ve never done that: I’ve got ideas for videogames and comics and films and even plays that I’ve never bothered to work on, because I didn’t have the resources to “really” do any of those things. I mean, those things cost money, and I ain’t got none of that.
However – I don’t need money to write a script. I don’t need money to write an outline. I don’t need money to write stage directions.
And so I’m heading in that direction with some projects now, and it’s really opened me up creatively – for one, because I’m actually working on things now, but also because I’m thinking outside the box. It’s always been books with me, because I am a very literal-minded person when it comes right down to it, and also a perfectionist, and if I can’t do something exactly the way I want to be able to do it, historically I just don’t do it at all.
This all changed, though, when a friend and I started writing … well, it was a very intentionally-thinly-veiled Teen Wolf tribute/fanfic, with some Buffy and Shadowhunters and even Twilight thrown in, though it is slowly but surely starting to become its own thing now. Co-writing is fantastic, and one of the reasons it’s fantastic is because it gives you surplus creative energy. We started this project because we were stagnating with our other projects, and thought this would be a way to try and jump-start our creative energies – so I decided to try it out, bringing out one of my older projects – the second-oldest, in fact – and seeing if I could do something with it now that I was all recharged and stuff.
Not only did it work, but it worked in a couple of ways that I hadn’t expected. The first unexpected thing was that I realised that the endless documents of planning that I have historically done for projects that I initially feel very enthusiastic about and then burn-out hard on because of said planning documents – they actually serve another purpose, one that might actually get me to be more engaged with those projects instead of less. Part of what’s great about co-creating is that you have another person, or a few other people, to bounce ideas off, and they’re bouncing their ideas off you as well. You can’t do that by yourself, for obvious reasons – unless you’re a writer, in which case you can write to yourself. And having made this discovery, I now see an opportunity in my planning that was, until this revelation, little more than an unhealthy habit that I lamented being unable to kick.
The second revelation was that I realised that I wanted this project to not be a book, because so many of the core elements of it are so intrinsically visual – so I decided to make it a comic instead. No, I’m not happy with my current drawing ability, but I don’t need to be able to draw – I can write panel treatments. Instructions, in other words; the screenplay of comics. I can do that until the cows come home. So going forward with that project, that is the plan.
This was so inspiring that I started experimenting with other projects, and lo and behold it kept working. Realm of the Myth, my adolescent author-insert self-fanfic high fantasy project – that’s a videogame now, and it makes sense in a way that it never has before. Particularly the magic system. Everything about that story rests on the magic system, and I realised that, being a videogame, the lore only matters insofar as it justifies having mechanics that work. Or it does to me, anyway, and that’s all that matters because I’m the one writing the fucking thing. I could have the most convoluted, batshit magic system lore imaginable, and as long as the mechanics are sound it doesn’t matter. It’s been so liberating. And inspiring. I’m starting to believe that, one day, this story might actually get published, in one form or another. And whether or not it does, I believe I have finally found the appropriate medium to tell it with.
And then the unthinkable happened. I went back to another of my videogame projects, and found that writing stat sheets and names and abilities just wasn’t tangible enough. I needed something more immediate, more direct, to interact with.
So I started drawing. For context, I don’t think I’ve actually drawn anything intentional – scribbles and doodles don’t count, and I’ve barely done those either – since I was in my early 20’s.
And it blew my fucking mind. It’s all-consuming. I couldn’t stop thinking about what other cool shit I was going to try and draw for a few days; I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit now, but god it was good to hop back on.
And all of this progess is stuff that I’m staggering out and sort of hopping between, and that feels good. I feel like I’m going somewhere here, like progress is being made, or personal growth or some shit.
And it’s gotten me a bit more hyped for Nanowrimo, too. I’m not sure what I’m going to use it for, but I am sure that I do, in fact, want to use it for something. Maybe several things. It’ll have to be a sort of side-project, as at least the first half of November is going to be devoted to marking final assignments for the comics paper I’m marking for – oh right that also happened – but I like the idea of using it as a way to experiment with this panel treatment idea. Or even *gasp* finishing my revision notes for Tallulah.
Which I feel like I’m going to put back down after I make these notes, because holy crap it needs so much work. I also think I’ve put myself in a ridiculous position with it in other ways, certain creative decisions I’ve made, and I would at the very least need to seriously re-evaluate those decisions before I’m able to finish it in good conscience. But, hey, I’ve got other projects that I’m enthusiastic about now, and could easily transfer my efforts and energy into them. While also continuing to work on this not-a-fanfic-anymore co-writing project, because seriously it is astounding just how enjoyable it is to co-write something. I had forgotten.
I have not been this pumped about writing since … yeah, since 2015. My shitty YA werewolf thing was the last time I really wanted to write something until this co-writing thing, and now my own projects are getting a new lease on life because of it. But I think the thing I’m happiest about is that I’ve got energy for projects that aren’t just writing-related, which I’ve wanted for quite some time now. Ever since I had that whole I-am-not-a-writer epiphany that went absolutely nowhere. Well, maybe now it is.
I am looking forward to finding out.
Also to the next update to this blog being in slightly less time than two months from now.