Conquering Phobias

Holy shit a ghost!

You guys know where I’ve been, I don’t need to explain how writing has taken over my life again. The past couple of weeks were rough for other reasons as well, but nothing important.

Other than Shadows Rise I actually managed to get a little RP going with two other people and, not only has it been incredibly fun… I’ve… Learned some things. 😐

Let me explain. One of the characters I’ve been playing loves arachnids; mainly scorpions. She has two pet Emperor Scorpions, but… She also has a pet tarantula. Particularly a Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, which is a huge motherfucking spider. And, as you may or not know, I’m terrified of spiders.

Now, you might be wondering why I would do this to myself? Welp, when I created the two characters I’m using for this roleplay, I used them for little band RPs back in Roleplay Gateway and I liked to throw random shit into those to see what sticks. Jo, the character in question, was your stereotypical bad girl and I decided to give her a scorpion tattoo. Since I like things like tattoos to have a reason for being, I decided that she really likes scorpions and from that, I was like “She probably likes spiders too.” Here we are many, many years later. I’m a far more experienced roleplayer and I’m looking at this character and realizing: I don’t know how pet tarantulas work. And hm… Do I want to subject myself or just half-ass it? If you know me, you know the answer.

Off  I went into the depths of Google and YouTube, hoping to learn about caring for your creepy crawly friends. And let me tell you, I was cursing myself for making a character who loves something I’m so terrified of, but… You know what I discovered?

Tarantulas are fascinating creatures.

I ended binging several different channels, watching people who care for whole collections of them talk about their spiders and, I’m not gonna lie; I love them a little bit now. I’m still terrified of them and I would never in a million years want to handle one. But I’ve gained some perspective on why people keep them and I’m definitely a lot more comfortable putting myself in the mindset of someone who owns, handles, and genuinely loves a giant hairy spider. Tarantulas are mostly giant, chill, derps who are more than happy to have a small enclosure with a nice burrow, some water, and a cricket now and then. And heck, they can be fucking cute!

I even actually subscribed to one of the channels I used for my research and, as a fellow arachnophobe, if you have issues with spiders and think you can tolerate some imagery, I’m gonna embed a video for you now and I suggest checking out this channel. Because I actually found it pretty entertaining and informative.

If you can’t handle the imagery, I apologize for the thumbnail. I wasn’t gonna embed any videos or photos, but considering the experience I’ve had of this whole venture, I felt it necessary.

I don’t know when I’ll be back. Carnaval happened and messed up my sleep and my writing schedule. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. Again. But hopefully, once I’m done with this episode of Shadows Rise I can come back on a more permanent basis.

B.B

 

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Shadows Rise Playlist: Telepathic

I don’t wanna go into any details with anything regarding Shadows Rise at this point, but… I will say that writing Jo and Gerald is an exercise in self-punishment if there ever was one. 😛

B.B

What I Will and Will NOT do in 2018

Because yeah, I have goals for this year that involve NOT doing certain things. Let’s start with the positives, though. What I WILL do:

1) Finish episode one of Shadows Rise

I think that’s self-explanatory. I want this released by July the latest. I have five chapters to write out (which, if the past months are anything to go by, is entirely doable) and I need to do some editing. By July. My birthday the latest.

2) Give feedback that I owe

This is a pretty serious one for me. I have things that I said I’d beta read or give constructive criticism on that I was unable to finish reading. This is horrible of me. I hate leaving people hanging. I hate letting people down. So I need to buckle up. And if I promised to beta for you or offered you feedback and didn’t deliver. I am so very sorry. I’m having a really hard time balancing my life right now. 😐

3) Find more work

I need money. *shrug*

4) Sleep better

I need sleep. *shrug*

5) Go back into reviews

Okay, so… Here is the thing: I’m still taking a break from the fan fic commentary, sporking, what you wanna call it. I’m going to sit down and decide what, if any of the review series I’ve started I want to continue. And go from there.

Twilight was practically a commission, so I am still doing that. Although my friend and I agreed that Shadows Rise takes precedence right now so I’ll throw one of those on when I can. Disney will continue eventually. Even though I’m not all that happy with them right now (*sigh*). Dreamworks may come into the picture eventually. As for MLP and Steven Universe… I need to think about it. I want to do it, I love those shows and I think there things to explore there: good and bad, from a writing perspective, but there are a lot of episodes. A LOT OF THEM. So I’m gonna pick one if any. And it’ll probably be MLP. There is more to talk about with MLP than SU at this point. Alternatively, I’ll just not do either anymore. RIP.

6) Assorted Shadows Series related goals

I’ll post about this in WIS at some point today or tomorrow. So if you care, go there and look for it. *shrug*

7) Have more fun

I worked myself too hard this year. It was good, it was productive, but probably not healthy? If anything, hanging out with my family this Christmas made me realize that I’m missing simple fun and interaction that I was shying away from all year simply because I needed to write another paragraph. 😐

8) Figure out my health stuff

That’s all you need to know about that. >.>

With that said… Here are some things I will NOT do anymore:

1) I will NOT offer or accept to read anything if I lack the time

I seriously need to not do that anymore. It’s bad for everyone involved.

2) I will NOT write or review things just because someone tells me it’d be fun

Too much shit to do already. So NO. I will fucking learn to say NO. NO. 😐

3) I will NOT watch/review/opinionate on the Emoji Movie

Look, I understand why people would expect me to. I live for horrible things. I love either laughing or bitching about terrible things. Regardless of how active I manage to be on this blog, that is a part of what makes my life complete. That said, I will not watch this movie. It doesn’t deserve to exist. It doesn’t deserve to be talked about. It, as a subject matter, needs to be scrapped off the fabric of existence.

Enough people already made a very convincing case for why this movie is a blemish on humanity as a species. It doesn’t need me doing the same. And I don’t need to put myself through it.

4) I will NOT get political ever again.

No one cares and it’s not worth my time.

5) I will NOT pressure myself too hard

Or at least I’ll try my best not to. 😐

6) I will NOT apologize for prioritizing my own projects anymore

I’ve done it too much this year. “Sorry I can’t write this for you”, “sorry I haven’t been around the blog more”, “sorry I haven’t read your stuff yet”. I am sorry, but I’m also human. I have my own hopes and dreams. And some of them involve obsessing over this goddamn RP I started over half a decade ago. Sorry-not-sorry.

7) I will NOT listen to judgment anymore

This story is good. These characters are good. I’ll continue to improve always, but the part of me that wants to agree with people who belittle my work or me personally for investing in it… Yeah, I’m stabbing it dead. It’s gone. I have no fucks to give to haters and non-believers anymore. Have fun spreading misery to other writers because I’m done.

8) I will NOT dwell on stupid things anymore

Or at least I’ll try my best not to. 😐

Now that I’ve made my dos and don’ts list for the year. Let’s look back on my list of goals for 2017 and see if I actually accomplished some of it. 😛

1) Finishing SOF this year: NOPE. I didn’t even add it to my goals for this year. SOF is on hiatus until further notice.

2) Start Publishing Shadows Rise by the end of February (the latest): That was way too optimistic of me taking into account the amount of work it needed.

3) Moving on with NITWIT commentary: Let’s not talk about this.

4) Moving on with the Disney Revisited reviews Did it.

5) Moving on with MLP and Steven Universe reviews: Maybe this year. 😐

6) List ten good things about the Star Wars prequels I’m steering clear of anything Star Wars from now on. Not worth it.

7) Try to give more writing and character development tips and advice. Did it. Sorta.

8) Offer more constructive criticism Did it. Just not as much as I’d like.

9) Start off Written In Shadows sometimes this month. Did it.

10) Sleep better: Eternal struggle.

11) Eat better and go out more: Eternal struggle number two.

So that about covers everything, doesn’t it, guys? I hope you have a great start to the year. Eat some food. Get drunk. Say goodbye to all your fears and regrets and start over. 🙂

B.B

Why Do You Write?

I was watching “How To Make a Web Series” on the Night Mind channel on YouTube yesterday. And no; I don’t want to make a web series. As much as I enjoy the idea of building a story with some level of audience participation, I think that video is definitely not my medium. I’m a writer, I write things, that’s my skill set right now. And even within that skill set, I don’t feel able enough to pull off some things I’ve seen web series and ARGs pull off. Granted, writing serialized fiction; which is what we’re doing, can have some level of reader-participation and response, but nothing on that level.

But I digress.

I was watching the intro video on How To Make a Web Series and Nick Nocturne, the man/person/cat behind Night Mind posed the question: Why are you here?

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Holidays, Grief, and Music

Hey, guys!

I know it’s been a while. December is a busy month; as I’m sure it is for everyone. The Holidays are drawing near, the year is coming to an end and all that. I’ve been great this year compared to the previous two. I’d say I’m running on 90% of my mental capacity now whereas in 2016 if I managed 10% I’d call it a ‘good day’. I made a lyric video for a song I’ve been obsessing over lately, so allow me to set the mood with it:

I’ve been wanting to make a post about writing grieving characters because a) I hate some ways people go about this and b) I’m dealing with a lot of that in Shadows Rise right now and will do plenty more in the future, so; relevant.

And I will get to that post eventually. I’m not going to cram writing advice in the middle of an update post. That’s clumsy even for me. I do want to talk about, you know, how I’m stuck in this one particular scene in the current chapter I’m working. And, after last night, I think I figured out why. It’s… Uh… It’s hitting a bit closer to home than I’d like.

I know that I talk a lot about how emotionally invested I can get in my characters, but this is different because it’s something I’m still going through myself in a way. I don’t know about everyone by there are certain levels of realization for me when it comes to losing someone and the worse of it is when everything starts going back to normal; when in my mind it becomes accepted and okay that this person no longer exists in my life. Because that tends to put me in this weird place where I want to hold on to grief. I want to keep this empty space in my heart because it shouldn’t be okay. Because moving on also means you can never really go back. It’s closing the door and putting something in the past. You can look at it from a window; through a glass pane, but you can’t reach out and touch it anymore.

Ugh. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but fuck it. Emotions are complicated.

I decided to make that video last night at around 2 am, because I’d been listening to this song a lot lately and I wanted lyrics. While I was working on it, it dawned on me that trying to write this for my character while I’m still somewhat going through it myself is what’s giving me trouble.

It’s been over a year since my grandfather died and, yeah, I’m still coping with it. His death meant closing the door on a lot of good things in my life. It meant losing a great deal of support, it meant selling the house where I spent a lot of summers since childhood, it meant losing Christmas traditions that have existed since before I was even alive… And don’t get me wrong, we have plans for Christmas, I’m actually excited about them, but a part of me just doesn’t want to be. A part of me doesn’t think it’s right to be.

A tiny part of me still wants to curl up like a child and convince itself this change doesn’t really have to happen.

*siiigh*

I swear I’m not as depressed as it sounds, lol. I think… I just need to get through this chapter.

But yeah… How’s December going for you guys so far? 😛

In any case, see you all when I see you.

B.B

Happy Birthday Valcrest!

It’s Valcrest’s seventh birthday! Wanna take a stupid little quiz with me to celebrate? 🙂

B.B

Written In Shadows

Hey, guys! 🙂

It’s been seven years today since the first post was made in Shadows of The Enlightened, thus marking the beginning of our never-ending journey of collaborative writing and obsessive worldbuilding. To mark this occasion, since I actually remembered it this year, I got off my butt and whipped up a Valcrest-themed personality test that will tell you which of our existing factions would be the best suited for you, dear adventurer.

So, if you want to play with it and find out where you would fit in the best in the insanity that is Valcrest, click HERE to find out!

And if you take it, share your results with us in the comments. We really want to know what you get. ^^

B.B

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Horrible Reasons I’ve Had Characters Killed In The Past

1) Because

All serial killers have to start somewhere. >.>

2) Main Character Angst

Not edgy enough. Killing loved one will make it better. Flawless logic.

3) Couldn’t Justify Their Existence

 Who even is this person? Oh well, down this random cliff with them.

4) Straight Up Got Bored

This story needs something. *randomly gets character stabbed to death* Much better.

5) Suddenly Realized I Forgot About Them For Half The Story

“Oh hey, so there’s where you’ve been all this time!”

– One paragraph later – 

“Oh, no, you’re dead!” 😐

6) Specifically To Make Readers Cry

Hey, look at this precious human being you’ve been gradually falling in love with for pages worth of story! NOW WATCH WHAT I DO WITH THEM! *EVIL LAUGHTER*

Don’t worry, guys, I’ve grown up a lot since any of these things happened. I assure all character deaths from now on are well thought out and serve an important purpose in the plot of my stories.

Honest. 😐

B.B

 

I’m a Terrible Writer

No, this isn’t going to be one of those posts where I self-loathe-myself and wonder why I’m even doing this writing thing. Halt your eye-rolls right there. I mean it. I’m actually in a very good emotional state where my writing is concerned.

Why did I dare call myself a terrible writer on this post title then?

Because, for all effects and purposes, regardless of how I feel, that is technically true.

No matter how much I improve or how far I progress and how many people come to enjoy or, dare I say, praise my work in the future. To someone, somewhere, I’ll be a terrible writer. Someone, somewhere, is going to hate my inability; or unwillingness, to provide clear villains. Someone is going to hate my morally questionable characters, my floaty as heck “I can’t decide if this is omniscient or not” narrative, my stupid out of nowhere silly moments in otherwise serious scenes that you can read and know, for sure, I was laughing at myself like an idiot while writing, my love for sad flashbacks involving a character’s dead relative, the way I clearly don’t write with a defined ‘bigger picture’ scenario in mind 99.9% of the time… How vocabulary and my grammar need ridiculous amounts of work. Especially my stupid grammar. Fucks sake is my grammar shit.

I also don’t know how to edit to the point where my self-edited work will always look like a barely-polished turd draft and not a finished piece. I have no real understanding of structure and my pacing is shit sometimes.

Bottom line: I could fill a book of all the filthy writing habits I may never be able to completely ween out, or that have turned into guilty pleasures I have no intention of giving up. I’m sure someone would hate that too. And it would probably sell because people tend to be entertained when I torture myself *points are her ‘still somehow getting daily views’ fan fic commentary posts*

And these are all reasons Shadows Rise is not going to be the best-written thing you ever read. If you happen to be so kind as to check it out when I release it and start begging you all to ‘please please please look at this thing I did’ a few months from now.

And you may be thinking that it’s stupid of me to be saying this when, as a writer who wants to be read, I should be ‘selling my work’ and portraying it in a positive light always. Thing is, I’m shit at that too and I’m not gonna lie to you guys or anyone else. Shadows Rise is not a polished novel. Right now I’m not a good enough writer to produce anything that I may consider polished-novel-material. Shadows Rise is as web serial based on a roleplay and written in less than a year (you know, taking away the months I was unable to work on it at all). It’s going to be self-edited by me; the non-editor, and chock-full of all the little ‘wrong things’ that I love.

Because here’s the thing; there’s a lot of things my writing is not, but it definitely is, and always will be, 100% me. Right now, this is who am, so this is what I have to offer. It’s not perfect and it may even be a bumpy ride as far as quality goes, but it is undoubtedly my best.

And right now you may be thinking “You said you weren’t self-loathing yourself. This sounds really defensive”. Eeeh… Yes and no. I’m not loathing myself and I’m not defending myself either. In fact, of all the people who’ve read early drafts of SR, most had really positive things to say. And the ones who didn’t also provided me with valuable criticism that I was very grateful to receive. No one has hated on this and I don’t expect anyone to hate on this. I’m not justifying myself and being like “I’mma be me” or “haters gonna hate” or whatever the fuck kids are memeing these days.

The point I’m trying to make, in my usual rambling way, is that I’m comfortable being terrible right now because I’m not stagnant. I’m improving. I’m just improving at a pace where I have to accept my shortcomings in order to publish something. Or I won’t. Valcrest is turning seven years old this month. I’m not stalling this for seven more so that I can feel more capable. I’m diving the fuck in and learning as I go.

And if I ever feel able to produce a polished-novel-worthy work, I’m sure someone, somewhere, will think it’s shit. Because of course. 😛

TL;DR: The moral of the story is, as I’ve stated a few times before on this blog, just write it. Keep learning. Improve always. Never settle. But write it anyway.

B.B

 

Shadows Rise Teaser: Gabrielle Porter — Written In Shadows

Hey, guys! New Shadows Rise teaser is out on Written Shadows. Introducing the leader of the Wolf Hunters. Please go check it out. 🙂

B.B


Hey, guys, Blackbird here! We had decided that we weren’t posting any one-shots here, but the closer we get to finishing episode one of Shadows Rise, the more I want to share little snippets and teasers with you guys. Thing is, the chapters still need a round or two more of edits and I don’t want […]

via Shadows Rise Teaser: Gabrielle Porter — Written In Shadows