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Tag: writing

Dystopia From the Rock — Pre-Order Blitz

I am super excited to announce this! Dystopia from the Rock goes on Pre-order today! I am in this, this is my first short story. Friends, readers, people vaguely interested in the ramblings upon this page, it would warm the desiccated cockles of my heart if you would please avail yourselves of the following link: Amazon Canada Pre-order and buy a copy of the e-book. It’s $2.99 and you will have 32 stories from Atlantic Canadian authors.

I will be posting a few more times as the day goes on, and my social media is this for a today.

What would I do without memes to express basic emotions? I don’t know but holy crap I can legitimately say buy my book and I’m a little freaked by that. I might have a longer post later, it might just be a reminder link again. In the meantime. check it out!

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World Building With World Anvil

Some of you may know that I write fan fiction. I’ve written it on and off for about a decade and change. The last big project I did with fanfic had so much world building involved in the making of it I’ve decided to restructure it and create something new from the bones. I’ve been on and off world building the bits and pieces of the world the story will come to inhabit, but if anyone is interested in following along, would like to see the progress I’m making in it as I forge ahead would be swell.

Most of the information is staying public until I get closer to publishing, even then I’m seeking either small press or self publishing which gives me some more options. Spoilers for the story will be kept secret and I’ll be adding short stories and snippets to fill out the world as I go.

If you’re interested in following along with me as build Evras from the ground up, you’re welcome to join me either by clicking the link below or by clicking the image at the top of the page. I’ll be mentioning things here as I update the world but if you want to keep up in realtime give it a follow.

Evras

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In other news, I’m still working on the meta post for morally grey characters, I’ve been a bit busier than I expected with work and I’ve started weaving with a friend but I’m hoping to finish the meta within the next three days.

Anyone who’s responded to the forms for the podcast, fear not, I’ve not forgotten about you, I’m hoping to find a spare minute to sit down with my equipment and get something in the bag for a first episode. I’ll be sending out emails for those interested to settle possible dates and such.

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Avengers: Endgame

Dear gods, did anyone else see the trailer? Of course you have, are you dying like me? It’s absolutely killing me. Tony, just holy shit, Tony. So now I have to write absolutely painful fic to make it worse. 

That’s the goal. 

Strife has challenged me to write 10k of fic. That’s it, that’s my max word count. I am kind of petrified. Especially since the idea I have could expand to 100k with a breeze. 

But I will perservere and I will beat the shit out of this wordcount. I just have to be strict with my scenes. No dilly dallying with extra shots or places. I think I heard it from Writing excuses that each location change adds 500 words, each character is around the same. I have several location changes planned for Tony but his POV is a travel arc, I can imply many locations, and just keep it to showing about four, max six. The characters and people he meets can be extras, I want his travel and existence to be lonely for a reason. 

Steve’s POV is going to have more people that gradually diminishes as the fic progresses. So much tinkering to get this right. Also angst, because it’s me and why write something if I can’t make it hurt a little. 

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Day three is late

Yesterday culminated in the posting of a fic I’ve been working on since May. 46k of finished fic, closer to 60k+ of actual writing and rewriting. Two betas and four edit passes, and an artist in a pear tree.

It’s been wild and some of it just non existent as I let the fic settle and then changed everything as I started editing. At one point I changed something that seemed so insignificant aside from cosmetic changes that I assumed it would be a quick switch out of minor details.

Nope.

That change alone cut almost 15,000 words from my fic in edits. I lost the last two chapters and had to rewrite them from ground up. The second and third chapter were edits that became changes that became rewrites as I kept going back to them.

Plotlines were scrapped in favour of tightening the narrative. Things changed a lot from where it was originally to where it landed yesterday.

I am so so happy about this fic and what I did to work on it and how I pushed myself to the task. This is why I love fanfiction. This is why I write it. It’s fun but it’s challenging and it gives me opportunities I don’t usually get.

If you’re interested Drifting Sands is located through the link. It’s a marvel cinematic universe fanfiction, takes place between civil war and infinity war. Mind the tags and the warnings on the fic it’s explicit for those who don’t care for smut.

Also, Tumblr is getting ready to shit the bed with its new policies and I feel like I’m going through strike through all over again. So I might be importing a lot of old material here.

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Fanfiction and Coming out

Story time! I’m trans and I’ve been out since 2015. I used to write a lot. Like a lot a lot. I wrote a lot of fanfic and a lot of co op writing/RP with some fantastic friends.I wrote some many words in those days. The joys of college and few responsibilities.

Many of those words were very, very bad. I wrote in highschool and middle school on paper but never to the degree of engagement once I had access to the internet.

I also day dreamed all the fucking time. To this day I am so glad I did not have access to the internet at fourteen because the world does not need my self insert sailor Moon or Fear Street fanfic, let alone the crossovers.
I was a dorky kid with a very active imagination and not many friends that treated me well. I was also so far in the closet that I used day dreaming and writing to express those wishes in a way that could somehow excise them.
I dreamt about being a man and occupying male spaces. I dreamt of being kidnapped and coming home in a new body and oops everyone would have to accept me because of course they would. I was terrified to write those dreams down. I didn’t want anyone to know of those personal, very private thoughts where they might ridicule them.

Every time someone said I sounded masculine, or did something that was considered masculine, a part of me thrilled and wished to my very core that all of me could be perceived as such.

I didn’t have the language then to understand that I was trans and experienced a massive amount of dysphoria. It was the nineties and in a town that had a very small lgbt population, and didn’t have a pride parade until the early 2000s.

So I dreamt, and I sometimes wrote. But I never wrote consistently, and I spent my twenties lost. I became very anxious and scared to make even the smallest of decisions.
I did write.

But I wrote in safe places, online forums, co-op settings that would give me the ability to write but I never had to finish anything so if I dropped something the only people I was disappointing were faceless, and if I disappointed them fast enough they would learn not to expect much from me. I was so afraid of success I prepackaged failure to keep from being found out.

I felt like I was keeping a terrible, horrible, secret. That if anyone found out that would be the end of me and all I cared about. I stayed home and went to college locally instead of going for what I wanted.
Staying still felt safer. I developed anxiety and depression-like symptoms as a result. I say depression-like because despite diagnosis of those in high school it was episodic and the result of a exigent circumstances.

But still I wrote.

Haphazard, and unfinished, I wrote lots and lots of bad words. I expended a lot of energy learning how to write by writing with friends and then writing the occasional piece of fanfic. I never wrote more than a one shot, generally nothing above 5k, and at most one 10k piece.

But I packaged in the idea of them being standalone, never to be picked up again, because anything beyond a chapter one felt like too much of a commitment, too much chance to be found out and discovered for what I was hiding.

Much of this writing was done between 2004 and 2009 and if anyone remembers their fandom history, this bridges the gap of several large events in fandom history that made it even harder to feel safe in fandom spaces. You had FF.net shutting down all mature material, you had the terror and paranoia on Adultfanfiction.net and their attempts to close everything possible so they could say they took the time to keep the children safe. Blogs were being targetted, Xanga a blog system no one remembers was one of the first to introduce a ratings system for blogs themselves, a system that ignored their tagging system entirely and was another kneejerk response to the general hue and cry of supposed watchdog groups.

Then came Strikethrough, where suddenly blog after blog disappeared overnight and fandom went into a spiral of archive saving before shit really went down. This situation did not help my already terrified sensibilities. I joined a writers group that appeared to be open to all fiction but due to a character name mix up, — as in a wrote two different pieces which happened to feature two characters with the same name. I ended up banned from the group because again middle of the hysteria of strikethrough and a wave of censorship that crops up with the writing every few years from one group or another.

See 04-09 was one of the last real digs where conserative media groups and mainstream groups to get rid of fanfiction and the growing queer communities on the internet. It’s not a surprise that I was writing some stuff that was pushing boundaries and this was the group where I discovered I was trans and found myself banned shortly after. One 1500 erotica short is not an automatic ban in most writing forums, especially an adults only forum.

A few friends from that forum and myself created another writers group, but now I was worried and I didn’t want to fail and I really didn’t want to kind of succeed only to have it removed because of some arbitrary decision based on someone else’s views of me as a human. So I did a bit with that group but the second I needed to actually shit or get off the pot with my writing I drifted away and found other things to do that would be less risky.

In the meantime I didn’t complete college, was in a dead end job that at first offered some modicum of autonomy and then destroyed even that. I was stressed, couldn’t function, and had to leave work and was left without any idea of what to do with myself. I had a plan to go back to school and had to wait an entire year in order to get get that started.

That was when the trouble really started with writing. I was picking at it, but this was a year after realizing I was trans but no where near able to accept it as part of my identity — thank you massively transphobic society and media for making me question my fundamental core, go fuck yourself.

I finished school in between my father having a heart attack, losing two of my uncles to cancer and kind of coming out to two friends but wanting nothing to change because hot damn I was fucking terrified and there was already enough stress in my families life I couldn’t risk the thought of them unable to accept me.

So I put it behind me, I put everything into becoming an LPN, met some old friends and started dating someone. At that point I put it so far behind me I stopped identifying as trans. I redoubled every feminine thing I could, I bought pretty clothes and really tried to find the inner girl everyone wanted.

But I still wrote.

Half assed barely cogent, always ready to run at the least opportunity.

And then the person I was dating finally admitted it wasn’t working and he did what I couldn’t do and break up. This was the first time I couldn’t write. The dry spell on my creativity lasted between 2011 and 2013. I was financially stressed because of former student loans and shift work and casual don’t allow for a stress free existence.

It wasn’t until 2015 that I could write again.

This was the result of three major changes that happened in 2014. I became finacially stable in that my job became permanent. Between 2013 and 2014 I started birth control to try and take care of my pcos — a failed endeavour of epic proportions and I was maid of honour for my cousin’s wedding.

The permanancy of my job finally gave me enough stability to pay attention to my health and my floundering sense of self worth and increasingly awful dysphoria.

At this time in my life I’d push myself so far back into a closet, I no longer felt I had the right to call myself trans. Yes, let me say that again, socialized shame, lack of represenation, and fear violent retaliation kept me locked away. 

So 2015 opened with a lot of agony, and me feeling absolutely awful without really understanding the why of it. In the meantime I fell head first into The Hobbit fanfiction, and felt an overwhelming need to fix the last movie. I read a bucket of fanfic and watched the movies until I could see them in my sleep.

Then I started writing. 

And writing a lot. 

I joined the Hobbit Big Bang, a competetion to write at least 25,000 in a specific time frame, usually three months. I proceeded to write 150k between January and May of that year. 96k was published over the course of a month and half. 

Those first words, that fic, was an exploration of all of my fears. I wanted to write something about gender. I was fascinated by the idea that gender meant something different to the dwarves and what that would mean for the culture and their society. 

I also wanted to look at the effects of that on the hobbits and how they would respond to gender outside of the apparently strict gender roles. Bilbo became my exploration, a way for me to figure out what my fears were regarding coming out and whether I could continue to hide. 

I met my best friend and fellow writer at this time and she was the first person I came out to and felt confident in that acknowledgment of who I was. Her support was the bedrock I needed to come out to others. I had somehow faced all of my fears in writing about all the potential ways coming out would go wrong, about all of the things I felt and how much I was hurting and unable to acknowledge it or in some places even be aware of it. 

I started my transition as much because of writing this fic as because of the support I received at a crucial point when I was rediscovering who I am. 

It’s been three and half years since I came out, two years since I started testosterone and now I’m getting ready for surgery in the coming year. 

But even more so, the comments I’ve received since posting my fanfic, the support for my writing, the sheer number of people thanking me for creating a space where they feel represented within fandom and their media has been astonishing. I’ve had so so many people thank me for giving them a Bilbo who felt the way they did, who feared coming out, but knew they had to face it because choosing anything else wasn’t an option. 

I will never be shamed or feel embarrassed for creating fanfiction. I will never be shoved aside because I choose to create something that is wonderful and open and free for people to enjoy. I will no longer quiet my voice when I know it can do so much. 

I’m going to include a link to the fic I’m talking about, and while the follow up work is not somethin I’m super proud of because of changing fandoms, I will forever be happy with this first one for all it has come to mean for my life and my happiness. 

Interludes of my Still Beating Heart

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Nano Survival kit


It’s Nano time! If you’ve found my blog you know what nanowrimo is and what you need to do. Have you’ve decided to join in the candy fueled demonic competition to get fifty thousand words out of your brain and spewed haphazardly into the word document program of your choice?

If you have I have some handy tips and a collection of stuff I use to survive the careening death race that is nanowrimo.

Let’s get Physical

Olivia Newton John video let’s get physical

Thing one! Something to write with, be it a notebook or laptop or tablet with a keyboard, you and I need something that can and will keep up with the fury that comes with the screaming hellfires called upon by dark magicks to unleash the words deep within your soul.

Or ya know, you need a place to keep that shit.

Even if you’re not using a notebook to write the depths of your feelings, I highly recommend one for the ephemera that collects around writing. Outlines, character notes, the half mad ramblings that might strike you in the depths of the night when you’re alone with your chittering thoughts.

Also it’s great if you decide to write a sequel to know who has green eyes or what not even if the casting department of.your future movie franchise fuck it up in the most spectacular way and the editing department drops the ball in colour correction.

The next thing you’re going to need is somewhere to write. This could an office, your bedroom. Under the bed, deep in the nether realm whilst the demons torment you upon their wicked torture devices.

Starbucks is also good.

Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte surfing in space

Just find a place where you can cut the bullshit and write. It’s 1667 a day until November 30th and there is no time whatsoever for fucking around. 

On top of a laptop/notebook, I’ve got my writing bullet journal, a pencil case with some of my favourite pens and mildliners, and a messenger bag to make it easy to travel to the coffee shop or library when necessary. 

Onto the apps

Bruce Almighty Jim Carrey typing gif

So you’ve either got your phone or a laptop and the next step is what the hell program am I going to use? Lots use Scrivener, I’ve tried, several times, I own the program. The problem is that while the MAC version might be a program sent from the heavens, the windows version is the bastardized love child cobbled together with twine and bubblegum with arcane and demonic sigils in it’s inspector. 

It’s not what I’m used to and I’m on the tail end of millennial crowd so I’m kind of straddling the get off my lawn divide when I find a new app. I like Word, it works on my computer and it doesn’t die a horrible death and I don’t spend hours trying to figure out what thingy does what.

That being said, 4thewords.com is fan-fucking-tastic. I’m easily entertained and I like constant validation to keep me fed and happy and not terrified of the inevitable grim parade of my gradual and permanent obsolescence as time ever marches forth. 

I use a combination of Spotify, Google Music, and youtube for music and videos and anything that keeps the silence at bay. Atmospheric Sci-fi playlist is what I’m using to get me in the mood for my nano novel. Anything instrumental generally. 

Focus apps work for some, I usually pick a monster on 4the words and whinge while writing the first 15 minutes until the muse finally shows up and helps with the ideas. 

Please don’t forget to eat

Patrick from Spongebob eating and drooling

Hey, do yourself and me a favour, have more than a passing relationship with a vegetable during this month. Fastfood and quick meals are all well and good, but your body will thank you when you don’t come down with the after effects of a con plague and scurvy form a demonic pact to use your lungs as a five star hotel for it’s weird assed children. 

Kimmy schmidt gif of the titular character in a candy store exclaiming I’m having Candy for Dinner

Sure candy for supper sounds like a great idea, and I have in fact done it. It’s awesome. Not more than one night in a row. Order hello fresh if you can afford it, find a place in your home town that does kitchen meals. Where I’m from we have a place called skip the kitchen it’s a great bit of homemade style meals that are actually healthy. 

Have a salad, go for a walk. Do not forget to clean things. Your brain, your family, and your life will thank you. 

Also laundry, trust me. 

Reward yourself with things 

a hot cup of tea on a desk with steam curling from the mug

Reward yourself, nothing big, but create a system where you celebrate every single victory you can drag from unholy grip of the hellbeasts that control this month. Hit 5k? Celebrate with a cup of your favourite tea and your favourite game. Hit 10K buy yourself something. Go to a movie. DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOURSELF. 

Let me repeat that. 

Writing is fucking hard. It’s fucking work. 

Anderson from BBC sherlock collapsing in a pile of horrible plot contrivances and shitty writing

You need to reward yourself for the shit you do. There is no later, there is no next hill. Or rather there’s always another hill, a bigger acheivement. Just celebrate them now.

Okay that’s it I’m out of here! My roommate mutated the con plague she got last week and now has decided to give it to myself and her husband, anyone have any good remedies to kick a sinus thing in the ass before it takes me out? I always get a shitty November chest infection and I’d like to avoid it this time around.”

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3 Essential World Building Questions

World-building is that part of writing people either love or absolutely hate with a fiery passion. All fiction requires some worldbuilding, but the contemporary modern day slice of life novel requires less alteration of our current set up than say a second world fantasy novel set in a post apocalyptic waste land, that spends it’s time being introspective and nostalgic for the simpler times of long ago.* I’m here to give fellow writers a bit of a hand. When writing fantasy, or science fiction specifically, the breadth of world-building can be daunting, so I’m going to start you off with three essential questions that will get you started. These questions will open up the necessary avenues for what you’ll need in your fictional universe to set things in motion.

Who Runs the Show?

Who rules your world? This is give you so much information right here. Are you dealing with a small kingdom run by an aged king where the true rulers is the advisor behind the scenes. Are you dealing with a science ficion update to the United Nations? Who owns the keys to kingdom will inform everything else on the way down. It will give you access to the rules available to that governmental system whether it be feudal society with a system of petty kings oweing their allegiance to a high king. Or if they’re a democratic hegemony with a secret cabal of voters that determine the outcomes of a society for them. The choices here are endless, but once you decide who runs the show on your plan, or how many run the show depending on how big your world and plot are, it will get you moving in the right direction.

Who has the Money

This might seem to go with the first one, but it’s not necessary. The king might have empty coffers and be completely dependent on two or three of his cadre. This will convert to some power imbalance, but it’s possible for someone to have a lot of personal or social power without access to the money. Here you want to find out who runs business, who makes the money and how do they make it. Is this captialist structure with a free market or a socialist structure where people control the means of production.By looking at the economic structures and development of your world you can see the stress marks. Does your world deal with a complex barter system that requires an identifiable pricing system for products and for labour? Where does these rules fall apart? Is the money tied in with the government? Generally this is going to be a yes obviously kind of answer, especially in western analog worlds. Either with a similar lobby system like the US where corporations that control much of the money use that to influence government decision making. Or it could be a very strict system where money cannot be exchanged for favours in either government or elsewhere.

Who Suffers?

The two above questions will inform this one. Where are stress marks? Who doesn’t have the money and doesn’t have access to government? Where are the outsiders and outliers. The ones society has forgotten or ignores, vilifies? Utopias are pipe dreams, and everyone wants them to exist, but in fiction they are boring. Not because everyone being good to each is bad or that kindness is boring, but story is derived from conflict. Two or more opposing views clash and come away changed. So even in a utopia there are stress marks, fractures where the individual and the whole create friction and don’t mesh. These three questions will get you started and in a first draft of you’ve answered these three you will unlikely need much more. Yes of course you’re going to require setting information, but if you’ve answered these you’ll have a better idea of whether your world supports large cities or if it’s a small collection of townships, just based on the government size and style. This kicks off an off and on series I’m starting for world building in fiction. If you’re interested in seeing more, follow my email list, or comment here. I love talking about writing and can’t wait to see you. *Lord of the Rings Leave a Comment

An update of sorts

There’s been some restructuring behind the scenes around here. I’ve once again gotten myself worked up about meeting expectations. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy really, I want to do something I make plans to do it and I can keep on track for two weeks, then I forget, or I procrastinate and then it becomes this Big Deal™ and I procrastinate even more. 

Not a really sound solution to blogging and beginning a writing career. 

I’m going to try something new here, instead of scheduling deep posts such as the world building posts I’m going to start a thirty days of blogging, set a Max word count of 500wds and write something small every day. Observations, anecdotes, progress reports on various projects, and perhaps a bit more about me.

Fucking something. 

This will either work and be fantastic, or I will crash and burn. Maybe if I have an outside source to set the timer it might help. . . . Who knows.

Right now here’s what’s happening in Finn’s life creatively speaking.

SF Wip: no progress since January stuck in a major section near the end as I was tentpoling the major climax. Also I have decided that the first turn where a betrayal occurs might not last as long as I originally intended and have the conflict between my two protagonists be more external than internal. Basically I need the antagonist to split the pair not the plot. 

Romantic fantasy WIP: this is not new. This is a fic I finished in 2015. It’s started it’s life off as Hobbit fanfiction and is getting a facelift. I’m working on some background world building to take the place if the overt and obvious Tolkien influences so that by the time this thing is ready to publish the bigger stuff won’t be as obvious.

Painting: I’ve taken up painting. Both acrylic and watercolour. I dabble in both and have been really enjoying it as a stress reliever. I might post some of the finished pieces I’ve done in the last few months. 

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The World Builders

Welcome to a new series for Back shift writer and Writers and Worldbuilders. Writers and Worldbuilders is a Facebook group and collaboration project of a good friend of mine. W&W hit 500 followers, and one of the things tossed around was the idea of looking at media properties such as Star Wars and Trek to look at their world Building influences. There are several YouTube and other documentaries about those mythologies, so I went looking at other possible sources and broadened my scope to Tv, Film, novels, and comics.

Over the course of the next few months, I will be discussing various mythologies, their influences, how they built their worlds, what works, what doesn’t, fan theories, and any criticisms of the mythology in a larger social context.

Considering the scope of the mythologies I will be discussing, the articles will have several parts. The first part will discuss the world itself and the inspiration, cultural influences, and history. The second article will discuss interpretations taken by the mythology as it grew, in cases of bigger commercial projects, what happens when other writers get involved (especially the case in TV and movies), adaptations and how they handled the product. The third part will discuss social issues, criticisms levelled against the properties and mythology, how the writers might have done better, and what ongoing issues, concerns there might be. During this phase, I’ll be discussing the broader applications of the fandoms created around the products, no matter how small.

This is a big project, likely to be media intensive and I’m looking forward to really delving into some different mythologies. So often when we talk about world-building, the writing world lands on the influences of Tolkien for fantasy, Star Wars and Star Trek for Science Fiction, and while the mythologies are massive and do have broad applications and influences, there’s more out there.

I’m always looking for other mythologies to research, here are the ones I’m tackling first.

  • Supernatural — Worldbuilding through Episodic Story Telling
    The Sandman — Non-Linear world building or How to build a world when Reality doesn’t exist
    The Dresden Files — Build it up, Make it worse, tear it down, Build it better
    Guy Gavriel Kay Novels — Subtle World through History
    The Hobbit — Cinematic Verse
    More to Come
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