The End of NaNoWriMo

It is the end of NaNoWriMo and I did it!!

In the beginning I was so far behind and it took many days of multiple thousands of words to get to the end. But I proved to myself that I could/can do it.

How did everyone get on? Did you do it?

If you have not managed to get to fifty thousand words, do not despair! Nothing is a failure, it is all a lesson.

My story needs A LOT of work, I only got the very bare bones of the novel done. But it is going to be a great process of rewriting and making a cohesive first draft. However, I’m also looking forward to taking a break and trying to get ready for Christmas and to enjoy the wintry, dark times.

I will be getting back to posting stories here, I am hoping to get a little festive story up nearer to the solstice.

Overall Nano was a positive experience and I WON! I’m thinking of using the Scrivener reward and buying it at 50% off, does anyone have any experience with the software? Is it worth it?

Any hoo, time to rest my typing fingers and my dry eyes. Have a good weekend everyone!

NaNoWriMo Week Two

Week Two is over and Week Three has already begun. I’m still behind, but I’m still determined and some of the stresses that have been causing trouble for me and John are finally over. John has passed his driving test (YES!) and job frustrations should be easing up, too. So I will be able to dedicate more brain time and actual physical time to my own projects. Yesterday I had my best day of writing yet, which was five thousand words. I’m still twelve thousand behind (I have 16.6k and have yet to write today) but if I have another few days like yesterday I will catch up in no time!

How is everyone doing? I feel like I’m in a bubble, not able to see and hear what’s going on around me.

I’m hoping after Nano and Christmas time I will be able to get to being more social and learning how to interact with people. I want to start getting more involved, but at the moment I’m focusing on my own work and winning Nano!

Good Luck in Week Three

NaNoWriMo Week One

The first week of Nano is over and I’m not doing so well. I have 4065 words and at the end of the day to meet the goal I should have 13336. It is a bit terrifying to realise how quickly that I’m falling being. The gap grows wider each day as I manage fewer and fewer words.
I’m by no means giving up, I’m still aiming to win (get 50k words by 30th of Nov). All it’s going to take is a few good days. I think the problem is I’m reticent to let my imagination just go wild. I want it to be a great story straight away but it’s not going to work that way, I will need many edits and such and I know it will get better each time.
So I need to relax and write, allowing all the crazy things fall onto the page and have fun with it. So that’s what I’m going to do now, I have a couple of hours before I need to be anywhere, let’s see what I can do.
Here’s to a great week two!

Car Ride

The rain tip taps on the car roof, falling from a grey sky. Blue sky lies in the distance, far in front, beyond the trail of metal carriages filling the motorway lanes. Red lights flash, on and off, on and off, as we inch along the road.
A gloved finger taps on the steering wheel, in time with the drops all around. No small talk, or music fills the car, just the ambient sounds and the taps.
Beyond the barriers steep tree covered hills give way to undulating fields of pale green grass with cream coloured sheep. Then, a forest of white turbines, reaching their slowly rotating blades high in to the air.
Soon the inches turn into feet and the feet into miles and we are travelling at a steady pace, the landscape whips by, once again the hills creep back around us.
We will pass through into the sunlight before long, the rain will be behind us and the road will be clear.

The Sabotage

I’m a saboteur. I try to ruin my own life in lots of small ways. Once I experience a tiny amount of success I find ways to fail, to stop what has been successful and to pursue the unhealthy habits that keep me trapped.
The last couple of weeks have been that way in many respects.
I’ve not been using my office, a place we made for work. I choose to be uncomfortable in a chair which leads to less productivity.
I give in to urges to eat and buy rubbish. Luckily not gaining weight but not losing.
My Nano prep is at a minimum, so much so I worry about being able to complete the writing challenge.
I sit and I scroll through Instagram and Twitter, trying to silence the screaming worry in my head. And it makes me even more frustrated, why can I not just DO something to help myself.
I felt this way shortly before starting this website with John, and for awhile it was great, with all you lovely people liking my posts. But I got caught up with questioning myself and all the other little blocks I put in my own way which caused me to back away from what helped.
It’s a tough time at the moment, John’s about to start a new job, so money is a bit of a concern, and the nervousness that comes with something new.
John’s last day is tomorrow and we have sometime before he starts the new job. We will be spring cleaning, changing things around and making the flat beautiful. I’m hoping it will be the start of a productive time and that I can throw myself into world building and prepping for Nano.
I know that periods of depression are going to happen throughout my life, but I’m trying to deal with them with a more mindful attitude and to make the most of the times where I am okay. With each bout it’s getting better, one day I hope to have a good balance.

Sorry for this self-indulgent post, but it’s good to get this out and to have some accountability, to have my feelings out there in a place where others can see, and maybe not feel so alone.

I will be back with more soon, as will John, but it may be sporadic for a little while.

A Roller Coaster of a Week

This week has been a stressful one.
A couple of setbacks early in the week had us down for a few days, which brought other lows such as too much junk food. But after a stern talk, we have agreed to get back on track and not let it get out of hand.
It wasn’t all bad though, there were highs, and the highest was John getting offered a new job! We are really excited about the prospects it’ll bring. It’s going to be hard for the next couple of months, with stresses of new routines and upsets.
It’s scary and exciting. I struggle with changes in circumstance and with the uncertainty which comes with the changes. At the same time I know that John can do great in he new position, so I’m a see-saw. I know that good things will happen due to these events.
Writing has, unfortunately, fallen by the wayside for this week. Another thing that caused me some stress, but I was still working out ideas and world stuff in my head. So I’m putting in the hours today, and I’m back to my routine.
Right now there is a bearded dragon running around my feet and he needs a snug before I sink back into my world!

Have a wonderful day!

Games Design And I

I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember. When you’re into games, every now and again you stop and think about designing games yourself. There’s a thrill that comes from the idea that you could make a game that people would play, especially considering the fact that you yourself understand intimately the joy that this brings. Myself being a huge pen and paper RPG player, I’ve always wanted to design a roleplaying game and a few times in my life I have attempted to do this, either with friends or on my own.

Each of these attempts have met with failure, for a variety of reasons. Chiefly of which is that being an adult is hard. With every project I have attempted in the past, I became busy and eventually it petered out; it’s sad, but I’ve come to just see it as a function of the process. The time has to be right. For any project to get out of the early stages and for every stage after that, the stars have to consistently line up, you have to keep just working away little by little until you achieve enough to call the project complete. That has never happened to me yet, but I know one day it will.

So this writing project is part of that and this article is a small commitment to that idea; that one day I will make a game, because for me, games are the ultimate in creative human interaction – you are using manufactured constraints to build action and excitement that is unique every time those constraints are imposed. Gaming is so amazing because more than mediums like books or films, the person engaging with the work itself is a key part of the experience, so their personality becomes a part of the legacy of that work. It’s amazing.

I want to make a game, and one day you may see a little demo pop up on here, and maybe one day I’ll even see it played by others. Until then, I’ll continue plugging away at the keyboard. Take care.

P.S. I have been very ill this week, so sorry for the short, rambly piece.

Meeting Emelia – Character Study

I am currently quite ill, so today I’m going to show you the first quarter of the first chapter of a project I started last year. This opening basically goes into some detail about the life and feelings of a 13 year old girl named Emelia. She goes on to have some interesting adventures, but right now you’ll just get to know her. Thanks for reading!

Emilia sat cross legged on her bed. It was morning. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and looked around; boxes were piled all around the strange room she was now supposed to call her own. Emilia’s parents traveled all over the country and sometimes overseas for their work. At the age of thirteen, Emilia had moved home six times, every time her parents bought a big house, let her pick her own room and gave her everything she could want. But the only thing they couldn’t give her, which Emilia wanted the most, was a friend.

They had tried their best for Emilia; her mother was allergic to dogs, her father to cats so they had gotten her a Bearded Dragon named Archimedes. Emilia hated him at first. He did nothing but sit there in a big cabinet, under a hot, bright bulb that hurt her eyes, and he ate worms and smelled like the zoo, so Emelia ignored him, only coming round to his cabinet to feed him with long blue tweezers or laboriously remove his heavy tiles and wash the corners of his dusty, dry home.

One day while Emilia was cleaning out his tank, she saw that he was huddled in a corner, looking very sorry for himself. She carefully grabbed him out and saw that he had laid a clutch of eggs! He was a she! But Archimedes looked dark and ill and her legs wouldn’t work properly, So Emilia quickly told her parents and made a hot water bottle to keep Archimedes warm, before they rushed to the vet to see what was wrong. The little spiky lizard had clutched onto Emilia so tightly that through her worried tears she promised to never to ignore her or say anything bad about her again.

Waiting in the vet’s was one of the worst times of Emilia’s life. Her mum hadn’t let her talk to the vet after Archimedes had gone in, just like every other time she had felt an important decision had been made, Emilia wasn’t there. Her mum just said that her lizard was very ill and the vet needed to operate on her, before sitting next to Emilia, diligently checking her watch every five minutes and texting on her phone. Emilia’s eyes had never been so red or puffy, and she had never cried for a longer time. Hours passed and her mum had to leave. Emilia’s dad arrived at the vets as it was getting dark. All she wanted was a hug, but neither of her parents were ever very good at stuff like that, he just said that he was sorry and that maybe getting her such a strange pet was a bad idea. Emilia never hated him more than in that moment and it echoed in her words.

“You never asked me. You never let me read about them; you just got her for me one day. You got me work, dad, not a pet.”

Her dad looked incredulous for a second before remembering the situation. He looked around nervously.

“Well. You could give him away after he’s better if you want. We just thought we were doing the right thing.”

Emilia looked up at him and smiled ruefully.

“She’s a girl. I found that out today. I’ve had her for three months and I never knew, and now she could die because I was too angry at you and mum to care for her when she needed me. No, I’ll keep her. I owe her that.”

Her dad looked confused, but realising that his daughter wasn’t so cross any more, he sat next to Emelia, put his arm around her shoulder and squeezed. Emilia’s arms flew out and for a few stiff moments they hugged in the green-walled vet’s waiting room before her father cleared his throat and stood.

“I’ll go and see if I can find anything out.” he said, before walking around the corner towards the other rooms, leaving her alone again.

Archimedes didn’t die. The vet came out and started speaking to Emilia’s father, who, to her surprise, directed the vet over to her. The vet explained that Archimedes had gotten one of her eggs stuck, and that he got it out. She would be fine, but needed to rest for a few days before she could take her home. On the car journey back, Emilia had detailed to her father all the things she would need for Archimedes and he silently nodded his approval. Three days later the little lizard was presented to her, wrapped in a blanket covered in unicorns, looking groggy and dark. Emilia carefully laid the soft creature on her chest and hugged her gently, promising to make it up to her.

That was a year ago. Now as Emilia sat quite content on her bed, surrounded by boxes, Archimedes lay on the windowsill; all wrapped in that unicorn blanket atop a hot-water bottle, bathing in the sun and looking suspiciously out onto the street below.

Going Forward – Notes From J.A.Steadman

This will be my first slice of life post on the site, and it will serve simply as a way for you to get to know me a little bit better. Me and Emma started the site because for many years we have returned time and again to writing – we absolutely love to write and to read and to explore the endless possibilities of things like fantasy, mystery, horror and scifi (well that’s just me, Emma is a fantasy purist).

So throughout all of our adult life, we have been involved in many and varied hobbies; I love to play games, craft things, I have streamed on twitch in the past, I play DnD etc. Lots of interesting hobbies that I love doing, but they aren’t writing – that’s the curious thing about putting pen to paper, even metaphorically, it gets its claws into you to the point that it’s almost impossible to not do it eventually.

The difficulty comes when you have no direction and are so obscure as to render any attempt to get your writing “out there” impossible – that’s really where the site comes in; for a long time we have wanted to make a positive step in that direction, we really wanted to be able to push people to a place where our stuff is just sitting there, easily accessible and categorised so people could pick and choose easily the kinds of things they wanted to read from us.

Eventually we want to grow the site into a community – either writers or people who just enjoy our writing and I personally would like to experiment with making some of my writing collaborative; I did say that I had been on twitch in the past and writing streams would be really fun, especially if I could involve a fanbase.

Anyway, that’s enough for now right off the top of my head, so go and be merry and hopefully the stuff we’re posting here will be interesting enough to you that you follow or in some other way track what we’re doing, because we’ve got some plans and we’re very excited with how things will go in the future.

Thanks for reading!

John.

Change

Change comes slowly, but it does come, if you put in the hard work.
For many, many years I have struggled with my relationship with food. The fact that there’s a relationship at all is a problem, I wish we were just acquaintances. I have always been overweight, I’ve never been healthy. However because I wasn’t ever inconvenienced by being bigger, I could walk around and do various hobbies, I was never motivated to change. But after I turned thirty that changed, I have sore knees, sore back and I grew tired of my decreasing mobility. So finally at the beginning of 2018 John and I embarked on a quest to GET HEALTHY. Since then I have lost four stone (56 pounds) with five stone (70 pounds) more to go. It has not been easy, thirty plus years of bad habits are hard to break.
I’ve been taking pictures of myself to track progress and it seems that was the right move. As it turns out, your body adapts and is very quick to forget. I still feel massive at times, despite how my clothes hang off me. Seeing a recent picture compared to one earlier showed me the progress I’ve made and it reaffirmed my resolve (which had been wavering).
A routine is essential, for me, and that is the same way for writing. For the last week I’ve had a place to write, a time to do it and though I have been struggling with putting words on paper, it has been a great help to have the routine become a pleasant part of my day. My bad writing habits are: doubting my ideas, not carrying on past a few sentences before giving up, or allowing myself to just experiment. But it’s still early, I still slip with food, all habits take a long time to break and form.
If you are struggling with something, if you’ve slipped, don’t let it stop you. One bad day is only one, get back on the horse and record your progress. I promise that it’s worth it.

Thank you so much for reading this little peek into my life. There will be more slices, from both me and John, in the future. So if you enjoyed it (I hope you did) stick with us!