Tai Chi Experience, Part II

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Multiple people taking a Tai Chi class. Image Source: Visit Fairfax (Lawn Tai Chi), https://www.fxva.com/event/tai-chi-on-the-lawn-(free)/22723/

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 20
    Goal = 3 Pages a week. 20/20 Pages (for artist). 20/32 pages (for completion of 1st issue)
    Actual = 0/5 Pages done so far this week.
    Rough Drafted a page and will (hopefully) write it tonight. I usually try to rough draft the pages either Friday night or Saturday, but because I took a Tai Chi class with a friend–didn’t really get to rough draft as I normally would have, so I’m a little slow this week.
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, think that I have the two characters–a brother and a sister who are on the opposite sides of the issue.  Still, no Writing so far). Need to find a place to work in revisions–I can draft new material just fine, but I don’t seem to have any time to work on “drafting” revisions.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Hard vs. Soft

So, today I thought I’d take a moment and detail my experience in the Tai Chi class. It was really a very interesting experience. It was pretty much what I expected: part meditation, part mindfulness, and part martial arts. The class was small, yet friendly, and everyone wanted to really work hard, including me. And for me, that was difficult because Tai Chi isn’t about working hard, its about letting go. Again, this is where the meditation and mindfulness comes in, but Tai Chi is about decentering yourself and letting the stress go. While I’m not a “stress-puppy” (to use slang that went out of vogue at the turn of the 2000s), I tend to follow my late uncle’s advice of “staying Neutral,” (i.e., never too up or too down), so I’m pretty much already decentered to begin with–not meaning that I’m not stressed, I mean, I’m in a PhD program and a poor graduate student again for Peter’s sake, so of course I’m stressed, but I try to “stay in the middle” emotionally, so it’s hard to let go of something I’m not really holding (or only hold it when I need to).

Water vs. Stone

My real problem came in when I was trying to replicate the forms. I haven’t done real karate (with a teacher in a class) in years, no, decades now at this point. I remember as a karate student, I was super accurate with my forms and my “technique.”  Perhaps it is just memory clouding my perception of things, but I found myself frustrated when I would miss a movement demonstrated by the teacher. He probably sensed my frustration because he said that someone from karate is going to have a hard time adjusting to Tai Chi. Karate is “hard” meaning that it is precise, hard-hitting, and rigid where as Tai Chi is “soft” meaning that it is more “flowing” and more “elegant” and not nearly as rigid.  I found this to be very true as I struggled through some of the hand and foot combinations.

Learning through Unlearning

What I’m glad of, however, is the fact that both the teacher and Tai Chi were forgiving. I tried very hard to mimic the movements, but didn’t get them right all of the time (most of the time, if I’m honest), but the teacher said that to learn one needs to unlearn what one has learned.  I know this implicitly, but it was nice to be reminded of it. Whenever I want to master something, I have to basically start over, go from whatever level I am and begin at level one all over again, otherwise I don’t really do that well in whatever it is I’m trying to master.  This is what I needed to do in my graduate school (by rereading all of my books on Rhetoric for my MA in English), in my writing (by creating a process by which I draft and revise, write and rewrite, before submission), and now through Tai Chi, by figuring out the intersection between Tai Chi and Karate, and learning one, while drawing on my knowledge and experience in the other, but not letting it interfere with the new learning. While it may be a while before I get to take another class due to my schedule, it was a great experience and I’m glad my friend invited me to come.

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

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Tai-Chi Experience

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Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 20
    Goal = 5 Pages a week.
    Actual = 4/5 Pages done so far this week.
    Didn’t get any more pages done. Intended to “Rough Draft” the next five pages, but was too tired to do so. Perhaps weekends would be better for rough drafting while weekdays better for draft? We’ll try it and see. Perhaps another blog entry in the making

  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, think that I have the two characters–a brother and a sister who are on the opposite sides of the issue.  Still, no Writing so far). Need to find a place to work in revisions–I can draft new material just fine, but I don’t seem to have any time to work on “drafting” revisions.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Not a Normal Saturday

So today is not a normal Saturday for me. Normally, at this time in the day, I would either be on the road or already at home, deeply ensconced in a video game. However, a friend of mine asked me to attend a Tai-Chi class today. I decided why not and will meet her in a few minutes to attend the class. Consider this blog entry as the “Pre-Class” experience part of the blog entry. I’ve done martial arts (karate) as a child, but I’ve never really been into the more transcendental arts such as Tai-Chi and Yoga that deal with spirit as well as athletics (or at least as I’ve pictured them). I’ve been wanting to pick up the martial arts again, going so far as to research Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Wing-Chun in my local area and making phone calls/visiting web pages to research prices, times, and locations, but they never seemed to work out. Well, actually the Wing Chun dojo in Chattanooga (Dojo Chattanooga) looked like it would be a good fit, but that was before I started in PhD school. It is probably still doable, but I don’t want to commit to something that I can’t see through and the June that I just had would have probably been a step too far in terms of actually going to class and training.  Or so I tell myself, which is why I find myself on MTSU’s campus on Saturday morning . . . and I’m wondering if this is a good starting point. I guess I’ll find out soon.

I’ll let you know how it went in the next blog post. Stay tuned!

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Game Mode On: What’s On Tap for this Weekend

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Game Mode On. Image Source: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oY2jy8AzUzk

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 20 (+1)
    Goal = 5 Pages a week.
    Actual = 4/5 Pages done so far this week. I added a page to the 1st issue last night.

  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, No Writing so far)

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Quick Update

So this is a fairly short blog post on the quick update on what I’m planning on playing this weekend. It may be a shortened gaming weekend, but I’ll try to update you next week on what I actually managed to get through.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands

I was able to clear a “province” last week, meaning that all 4 star difficulty provinces are completely done. I only have 5 star difficulty provinces left (and one that has no rating, but due to its difficulty and number bases, might as well be a five star difficulty region). I still estimate that I have a month or two of playing on this one before I get to the “final” boss. I’ll probably “rant” about open world games in a future blog post, but while I like value for content, I feel this one is a massive game extension type of open world that isn’t necessarily respectful to the player’s time.

Ratchet and Clank (2016)

So, I’ve already covered this in another blog entry, but I managed to finish this game this past weekend.  It was a fun reboot/reimagining of the series.  I did forget to give it a grade in the blog entry so for anyone who may be wondering, I give it an A.  I am very intrigued by what they will do with the upcoming Spider-man game.

Costume Quest 2

I was able to make progress on this game and to move the story along significantly.  I’m currently in a “hub” world of sorts where I need to clear out various structures in the world before the next major section opens up. It feels like I’m coming up to the resolution fairly soon, but I can’t quite tell just yet.

Final Fantasy XV

So, re-installed this one on to the hard drive, and am looking forward to trying to make progress on it.  I’ve gotten stuck on a section that involves stealth and I keep getting seen and failing the mission.  I’ll try it a couple of more times before resorting to a guide or YouTube walkthrough to get past this difficult bit. Yes, I like trying to get past barriers on my own, but I don’t think I’ve played this one since February or early March because of this mission and I like to think that I was getting fairly good at it.

Well, that’s all I have for now–will (hopefully) return next week with another gaming update.

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Finished Ratchet and Clank (2016): How It “Re-Visions” the Original Game

 

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Ratchet & Clank (2016) Box Cover Art with Ratchet and Clank standing on a planetoid. Image Source: Amazon.com 

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 19 (+2)
    Goal = 5 Pages a week.
    Actual = 3/5 Pages done so far this week. I added a page to the 1st issue last night.

  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)
    (Researched an article on Whaling, No Writing so far)

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Insomniac Games and the Ratchet and Clank Universe

Last Saturday, while I was feverishly trying to find and coral a “structure” for my paper that I needed to turn in Sunday, I finished a game called Ratchet and Clank. While it is for the PlayStation 4, it is a “re-imagining” of the original game which debuted on PlayStation 2. I actually could have finished it the week prior, but held off on the final boss fight as it looked fairly complex and I’d already been playing for a while and was starting to get frustrated by the boss fight. I’m glad I took a break because the boss fight was nearly as hard as I’d first envisioned and I beat it after about half an hour.

Re-imaging = Re-visioning

So, one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this here and now was because of my previous post on drafts and revisions. Ratchet and Clank (2016), (which will be referred to now on as R&C 2016) represents one way (a great way, in my opinion) of “re-seeing” a work to make it much better. There was a R&C animated movie that debuted with this game and while this game was released to take advantage of the movie, it still was very much its own creation. One of the things that I liked that the designers did was “translate” the game for modern audiences (gamers). Games, their systems, and what gamers expected in 2016 is markedly different than what they expected in 2002 when the first R&C was released. Insomniac, the makers of the R&C series, understood this and revised their game to bring it in line with modern expectations of gaming. In essence, they looked at the advantages of the new technologies they had available to them and used those to their advantage when shaping the new game. The core storyline of the R&C 2016 game is the same as the original R&C game, but the controls, graphics, effects, and music & sounds have all been upgraded to such a level that it doesn’t feel like a “remaster,” but an entirely new game.

Re-visioning Leads the Way

This is what I hope to accomplish with my writing projects and my new process of going through the outline/rough draft, 1st draft, & revision draft stages. Something that remains true to the original vision of the story that I had in mind and that excited me when I originally wrote it, but that, by using techniques and experiences that I learned/engaged with since the original story was written, I can create something that retains the flavor of the old, but is light years beyond the old. Re-visioning, or simply revision has that power. Through revision, one can shape a story and mold it into something beautiful. The problem with revision is that it can be ever on-going. There has to be a point when it comes to a stop so that one can market it and move on to other projects and ideas. For me, I’ve stopped the process too soon, ending at the first draft stage and not really going back to “re-vision”/revise the project as deeply as I could. I’m hoping that 3 really strong passes at a story will help me 1) get past the 1st draft on the market syndrome that I’ve fallen into in the recent years, and 2) not get stuck in the mode of continuous revisions, however, where I keep picking at it and picking at it, while not actually submitting the stories.

Sorry for such a long blog entry–perhaps it will make up for the one I missed yesterday. Will try to get back on a regular schedule as soon as my schedule becomes a little more regular.  Have a good day.

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Writing It All: Roughing It, Writing It, Revising It, Submitting It

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The Writing Process. Image Source: Teachers Pay Teachers – https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Circular-Writing-Process-Chart-3304077

 

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 17 (+1)
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft) (Researched Article, No Writing so far)

Goal = 5 Pages a week.
Actual = 1/5 Pages done so far this week. I added a page to the 1st issue last night.

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Here is a summary from Amazon: “In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.”
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Writing It All

This year is all about trying different things to jump-start my writing career. Yes, I said career, as I would like to grow myself to become a novelist in addition to a scholar, but right now, one thing at a time.  I realize that I simply don’t have the time (at the moment) to devote all my energies and resources to writing, but I’m really good at focused work on 1 project at a time. My goal then is to rough draft a story, write a story, edit a story, and submit a story once per month (1 X 12).  I’ve come to the realization that I’m slow in terms of writing speed and the level of detail that I want in my writing takes time. Even these blog entries take a while to develop–the writing/drafting isn’t bad, but “tagging” it, slotting in categories, finding an image, sometimes linking to YouTube or Amazon, and well, I can sometimes spend an hour to hour and a half creating one blog post.

Roughing It

For me, this is probably the easiest part of the writing process. I can come up with tons of amazing ideas. Two Saturdays ago, I came up with 4 separate ideas that could become projects later on down the line (of course, I only wrote down 1 of these, so the other 3 still exist in the nebulous realm of my mind taking up space and brain power–note to self: need to jot them down , put them on paper, and out of my mind’s eye). My goal is to formally “rough draft” a project monthly which means that I simply write down a (possible) beginning, middle, and end for a project that month.

Drafting It

This is where my focus has been for most of the Spring and Summer. I’ve really concentrated hard on trying to get WORDS ON A PAGE. I’ve worked diligently on this and have completed 2 First Drafts and I’m working on the script of a graphic novel (1st issue in comic book terms). I’m working on getting it more consistent by doing it “daily.”  Right now, I write for four days a week (M-Th) and I try for 250 words in a session = 1000 weekly.  Now 600 words is about where I top out at in one session, so my goal is to try to slowly increase over my time in grad school to 500 words and maybe boost that to 5-6 days a week, but that’s an aspirational goal–I’m not there yet.

Revising It (“Re-visioning”)

This one is where I’m really up to snuff yet. I’ve done some preliminary research on a story that I’ve wanted to rewrite for while (every since I received feedback on it at MTSU’s Writing Center), but I haven’t had the time in the past two weeks due to the large paper that I had to write. I find myself wondering if it is even worth “saving” or if it is beyond hope and to put it away as a learning exercise and move on to revising a different story?

Submitting It

This too has been a weak area for me. Now that I understand that I’ve probably been submitting my stories too soon in the writing process, I’ve decided to slow down in my submissions. I currently have 0 stories out at the moment. This is probably too harsh. The way I’m presently writing, this is going to take me months to create a story with the level of polish that I hope (keyword = hope) will make me 1000% more competitive in the writing market while other stories that I’ve written will languish until I can get to them. I need to find one place a month and just submit a story that I feel good about and that matches the guidelines of the market. If I submit more than one, great, but you can’t be a published writer if you never send anything out to publishers.

Well, that’s all that I wanted to highlight today: showing some of places where I’m strong in the writing process and some places that need work.  Reflecting minds want to know how well they’re doing and what strategies that they can use to improve and if there’s anything that I love reflecting on, its the writing process.

Have a good day

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Finished Traveller RPG! Mini-Review

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Traveller RPG Book Cover – Picture of Spaceship with a planet and stars on a black background. Image Source: http://rpgknights.com/category/rpg/traveller/

 

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 17 (+5 past two weeks)
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 5 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Draft for the next 5 pages on Fridays/Over the Weekend.
Actual = 3/5 Pages done last week. I wanted to do more, but I had a 5000 word paper due by midnight Sunday, 22 July 2018, so I simply didn’t have enough time to really work on it as I would have liked.  Still, I did manage to write fairly consistently, even if it isn’t reflected here as I wrote other things (for a school setting).

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: FINISHED!
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Here is a summary from Amazon: “In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.”
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Stepping Away from It

Sorry for not writing. Unfortunately, I still had an outstanding project due on July 22 and I spent much of the week trying to make sure that I was ready for it (I wasn’t, but that’s a blog post for another time). Regardless, it put a damper on my writing endeavors. I still wrote creatively (for the most part), but didn’t really have enough time left to pull together a blog post. Still trying to do these posts ahead of time, but some weeks that’s not an option, so it is sometimes difficult to get blog posts updated in a timely manner.

In a Galaxy Far Away

On Friday, as I was lucky enough to finish the Traveller RPG that I’ve been reading for most of the month. It was the book that I read after finishing Oathbringer.  The tagline for the book is Science Fiction Adventure in the Far Future. I enjoyed the book and believe that it would make a good game for those who are interested in playing either a Space Opera or Hard Science Fiction campaigns.

Space the Final Frontier

One of the things that I like about this game/system is the fact that it allows for one to play a generic Sci-Fi campaign or to tailor make a campaign to match any one of a number universes. There is an “imperium” that could be tailored for a Star Wars like rebels vs empire-like war. However, the best use of the game would be to create a campaign that is much more like an adventure game in space. Elite, Elite Dangerous, or even a “Space Cowboy” world like Firefly would be the best use of this system if one truly wanted to adapt the system to a specific universe.

For my money, I’d probably try to work and to create my own campaign for this rule set, using the “history” and “setting” to try to create something new and fresh.

Overall Grade: B

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

 

Characters–Now with Faces

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“Torn” by quick-witted on DeviantArt.com (Click for Artist’s Profile)

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 12
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 5 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Draft for the next 5 pages on Fridays/Over the Weekend.
Actual = 1/5 Pages done.  The writing process went fairly smoothly and I completed the page before going to bed.  It wasn’t particularly hard or easy, but just a basic drafting session.  Four more to go.

  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Here is a summary from Amazon: “In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.”
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Scrivener’s Character Sketch Feature

So, I’ve known about Scrivener’s Character Sketch Template for a while now.  I’ve actually used it to great effect.  I did a character sketch for Scryfe and Kelfryn years ago and it is (to date) still the only story I’ve ever sold on the first try.  However, I’ve recently discovered a way that other writers are using the template that never occurred to me and I think that it is pretty useful, so I thought I’d share.

Drag and Drop Characters

Scrivener, like many pieces of Mac software, allows you to basically drag and drop images from your computer or the web into the program with just the click of the mouse (or touchpad these days).  While I’ve done that and used the feature for the “Notes” section to help me visualizing places that I wanted to describe in my fiction, I’ve recently seen other writers dragging in images for their characters.  They are sort of “casting” their stories much like a director/casting agent “casts” their movies.  I think this is “aces” (slang for “a bloody brilliant idea”)!  I can’t help but wonder why I didn’t think of that–sure, you might not find that perfect image that is a one-to-one match for the character in your mind, an image that is close would definitely help the writing process.

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

The only potential problem that I see with this is that if you get your work published, you should find someway to acknowledge the art/photo that helped get you there (if at all possible), especially if it was an artist’s sketch.  That’s why, whenever I use an artist’s image in the cover image for a post, I always try to credit the artist’s name and promote their website in that blog post.  I don’t promote artists as much as I probably could (i.e., use more artwork from artists) because I know what its like to produce your work, but not paid for it.  I’d like to showcase it, but I’m not a gallery and don’t have the resources (aka funds) to license work for extended periods of time, which is why I do it sparingly.  However, as a member of communities like Deviant Art , I can tell that there are some AMAZING artists out there that I would LOVE to work with at some point.  Here is a Pinterst post to prove my point (click to see more images).

So, writers out there.  If your story gets used/picked up by a publisher, how about throwing a few dollars back to the talented artists and photographers that helped to inspire your work by, perhaps, buying some of their work as well?  We may not all be doing the same type of creation, but at the end of the day, we’re all creators together.  Let’s help each other out, shall we?

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Taking a Break: The Power of Rest

phd-productivity-strategy-deep-work-unconscious-mind
Image: Caption reads “While You Sleep Your Conscious is Unconscious and Your Unconscious is Conscious.  Image Source: Next Scientist.com (click for more information)

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 12
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 5 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Draft for the next 5 pages on Fridays/Over the Weekend.
Actual = I didn’t get all 3 pages done last week and I managed 2 out of 3, but I did Rough Draft 5 pages last week with the hope of writing all five pages this week.  If I get them all done, that should put me right at 19-20 pages (the amount that the publication wants to see before deciding on a project).  

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: I’m about 3/4ths of the way finished with this book–currently in the “ship combat” section.  I started this a while ago as a book that I was reading just before bedtime, but I didn’t really make much headway.  I restarted it and I’ve just finished the introductory character generation section and I’m now moving on to the skills section and will be soon moving into the “lore” section.  This is a revamp (rules 2.0) of an old school British RPG from the 1980s.  Updated for modern times, this fairly short book still gives a great set of rules, game system, and lore that I hope will serve as inspiration for new sci-fi works in my own writing life.
  • For School:
    Afrofuturism (by Ytasha Womack): This book describes the academic genre of Afrofuturism (essentially African American Science Fiction that deals with social issues in culture).  I just finished Chapter 3 today and I’m at the beginning of Chapter 4 (this book has 10 chapters).
    Here is a summary from Amazon: “In this hip, accessible primer to the music, literature, and art of Afrofuturism, author Ytasha Womack introduces readers to the burgeoning community of artists creating Afrofuturist works, the innovators from the past, and the wide range of subjects they explore. From the sci-fi literature of Samuel Delany, Octavia Butler, and N. K. Jemisin to the musical cosmos of Sun Ra, George Clinton, and the Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, to the visual and multimedia artists inspired by African Dogon myths and Egyptian deities, the book’s topics range from the “alien” experience of blacks in America to the “wake up” cry that peppers sci-fi literature, sermons, and activism. With a twofold aim to entertain and enlighten, Afrofuturists strive to break down racial, ethnic, and social limitations to empower and free individuals to be themselves.”
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Break Time

So, considering that I missed a day of blogging, you’d think that this particular blog entry would be an explanation for “taking a break.”  However, this really isn’t the case; the two aren’t really linked.  I missed yesterday’s blog post because I was “dog-tired” and simply needed to rest.  Today’s blog is actually covering something that I noticed on Saturday when I was gaming.  When they say take a break from your project before revising–I have to admit, what I saw on Saturday, really seems to bear out this advice.

Resting the mind = Increase in problem-solving

Quickly, let me lay out the scene: I had gotten stuck on two games and couldn’t progress as I couldn’t find the correct “path” or “action” to do next.  I put them away and played through other games.  On Saturday, happenstance occurred and I pulled both of these games and played them, and HOLY COW, I found exactly what I was supposed to do IMMEDIATELY upon loading in the game and getting started.  I was shocked!  It was if my brain had gone into “overdrive” and each of the problems that I’d run into were dealt with both quickly and efficiently.  In one game, I’d gotten stuck because I couldn’t figure out where to go next, but when I logged on, I saw how the “path” that the designers had recessed into a grotto wall.  Similarly, in the second game, I discovered the “path” that I knew had to be there, but also inferred the place where the path had to be where I couldn’t do that when I got stuck.

Tired = Inefficient

Even as I write this blog, I feel the effects of lack of sleep.  I didn’t actually sleep all that well last night and got up fairly early this morning.  I’ve had less than my preferred 8 hours of sleep and I can feel it even as I type these words.  What I’ve come to realize is that I’m simply going to have to 1) put projects away and let my subconscious work on it and 2) stop working when I’m tired (and try to get some real rest).  My brain needs both rest AND time away to be at my best.

Sidney




Amazon Associate Disclaimer:
I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

Game Mode On–Costume Quest 2

image

Word Count (What I’m Writing); Updated every 2-3 Days (mostly)

  • Project Ship of Shadows (Graphic Novel) Page Count: 12
  • Whale Song Revision (Fantasy Short Story) (2nd Draft)

Goal = 3 Pages a week.  Working on Rough Drafting a Graphic Novel Page on one day and then writing the page on an alternate day.
Actual = Finished page 13 on Ship of Shadows.  
I didn’t really feel like working on the rough draft for page 14.  I just added in page 13 from the rough draft–expanding and clarifying the dialogue and description before calling it a night (sorry, but I was tired).  Still, so far I completed 2 of the 3 pages I had as a goal for this week.  

Currently Reading (What I’m Reading); Updated Weekly (mostly)

  • For Fun:
    Transhuman edited by Mark L. Van Name and T. F. K. Weisskopf
    Just started this anthology – it was given to me at a LibertyCon some years ago, but I’ve just now gotten around to reading it. I may not finish it/read all the stories, but so far, I’ve read the first story and liked it.
    Traveller RPG: I started this a while ago as a book that I was reading just before bedtime, but I didn’t really make much headway.  I restarted it and I’ve just finished the introductory character generation section and I’m now moving on to the skills section and will be soon moving into the “lore” section.  This is a revamp (rules 2.0) of an old school British RPG from the 1980s.  Updated for modern times, this fairly short book still gives a great set of rules, game system, and lore that I hope will serve as inspiration for new sci-fi works in my own writing life.
  • For School:
    Ancient Rhetorics, Digital Networks: A book that combines New Media (digital rhetorics) and combines them with ideas and theories of the Ancient Rhetorics.
  • For Research/Personal Development:
    Great Aircraft of WWII by Alfred Price and Mike Spick (for Project Skye)
    Great Aircraft of WWII is a book that I’ve had in my collection for sometime–I’ve glanced at it periodically, but never read it cover-to-cover.  Now, with Project Skye, I intend to do just that.

Do You Like Candy?

So this post was originally going to be something far different (a bit of a rant about oligopolies), but I decided that it would be more far more fun to talk about games–I can always do a mini-rant another day 🙂

No, today I wanted to talk about candy–virtual candy, yes–but candy nonetheless.  There is a smaller game that I played over the past weekend called Costume Quest 2 that I really enjoyed.  In many ways, it is a really simple game that is both quite enjoyable and deeper than one might expect on first blush.

Don’t Rot Your Teeth

What happens when you mix a Dentist who hates Halloween and who has monsters and machines to outlaw the holiday with a light RPG with hero characters who derive their power from their Halloween costumes.  While it is a sequel, it is a game that one can pick up and play without having played the previous entry in the series.

One of the reasons that I like the series (having played both games) is the sense of whimsy that the game exhibits in both its game-play and its narrative.  The game is at once laugh out loud funny and sublimely droll at the same time.  For instance, one of the choices of “costumes” for the children’s powers is the “Candy Corn” costume, a costume based on that ignoble staple of Halloween candies.  I never much cared for “Candy Corn” as it was way too sweet and saccharine for my taste buds, but the game play mechanic of the costume is sublime.  Essentially, any of the kids that have the “Candy Corn” costume equipped is forbidden from attacking and instead of attacking, the attack “phrase” is replaced by some snarky comment, such as “Candy Corn has nothing to prove,” or “Candy Corn doesn’t get paid enough,” or “Candy Corn doesn’t listen to the haters.”  Even if I’ve seen the phrase before, whatever phrase that gets used never fails to bring a smile to my face.  Here is a listing of “Candy Corn Phrases”–one word of warning, however, try not to drink water while reading these!

Candy, Candy, Candy, Candy, CANDY, CANDY, CANDY

So the above line is taken from an old Garfield Halloween special that only aired a few times in the late 80s at the height of the Garfield’s popularity.  This game has that same feel to it in that it starts slow, but once you understand the simple game play mechanics, it is very addictive and makes you want to finish it just to see how the narrative will rap up.  Again, this story isn’t amazing or anything, but the fact that the game play is simple, attack, defend, or use a “special ability” and exploration along with (very) light puzzle-solving makes it an fun game for children and an eye-rollingly droll game for teens/adults.

If you come across this one at any point (either via Steam or on the consoles), I highly suggest giving this one a try, even if it is only for an afternoon.  You’ll be amazed at how quickly it’ll get its hooks into you.

Have a great weekend!

Sidney




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I earn a small commission on the purchase of these items.

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