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.


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.



Happy Birthday Valcrest!

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


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. ^^


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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. 😐



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.



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. 🙂


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

I’m a Zombie Now

Twelve hours writing stream, my dudes. It was insane.

It was insanely fun and I made insane progress. I pumped out a whole chapter and then some in one night. That’s three days worth of writing for me. Granted, I now have to edit this stuff and make it readable, but it was SO worth it. And so much fun. We chatted about writing and talked about our respective projects and gradually zombified from sleep deprivation… And Cthulu was there… And cat. There was cat.

It was genuinely a really nice experience for me because I don’t know any writers in my area (who aren’t assholes) and I’ve never actually done anything along the lines of writing with other people like this. It was a really cool experience. And I definitely plan on being there again on the 25th.

Check the post here for details and times if you’re interested. Come hang out with us if you’re doing NaNo, or not. I’m not. But I’ll be there working on Shadows Rise and showing off snippets of it in chat after every writing sprint. So if you want some insight into this thing that’s been consuming my life lately. That’s one way to do it as well. 😉

I have editing to do. I am so tired. Holy shit. lol

Later guys.


You Are Cordially Invited!


What: You are cordially invited to join Plotist, its team, and some guests, as we work to achieve our NaNo writing goals, and also raise money for the NaNoWriMo charity which brings free creative writing programs to many around the world. During the event we’ll have team word count challenges, writing sprints, guests, fun music (with thanks to ccMixter’s sister site Dig!), a chance for you to join us live on stream, and more.

When: Plotist is going to be hosting two nights. Saturday, November 11 and Saturday, November 25. Both nights will start at 9PM UK time and run for 12 hours. Timezone conversion for November 11 and November 25

Where: The Plotist Team will be streaming on their YouTube channel. Exact links will be posted soon and pass them on when I have them, but you can subscribe to their channel and get notifications for any live stream HERE. Boom!

So, yeah, guys… Plotist is running a NaNo event this Saturday and again on the 25th. I’m not officially doing NaNo, but I’m all for dangerous writing and hanging out with those guys is always a blast so you’ll definitely catch me there!

Whether you’re full-on participating in NaNo or you just think you might want to get some words in on whatever project you have going whilst hanging out with some great people, come join us! It’ll be fun.

And if you haven’t yet, check out Plotist. I cannot stress enough how much I love that site and the people behind it.



I keep forgetting to blog. God damn it!

I’m sorry, guys. I know I suck. But… I’ve been meeting my writing goals at least and that means one step closer to release date for Shadows Rise. That’s good. That’s progress. So I’m not gonna be myself up too much over this.

Still… I know… I need to step up my game. I know. 😐