Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

What’s New — June 2017

Hey everybody! I can’t believe summer is already here, and this month the thing I am most looking forward to is E3. While I’m not attending this year, I am eager to see what new games are announced so I can keep on filling my already way-too-full stack of games I need to play. =)

eos outpostRight now, I’m in the process of finishing my playthrough of Mass Effect Andromeda. I’m not sure exactly how far along I am, but I feel like things are starting to crescendo, so the finale must be on the way! While I can’t say I am as hooked on the game as I was on the original Mass Effect trilogy, it’s definitely scratching my itch for sci-fi, and I love the exploration aspect of the game. The characters are great, missions are exciting — the biggest issue I have, I would say, is that it does still rely too much on fetch quests and repetitive side missions, like their other open world game, Dragon Age Inquisition. But I’ll post my thoughts when I’m all done with the game!

DA8KVQHUMAAsJr5I’ve also been really into Injustice 2 lately, although it’s harder for me to get the hang of than Mortal Kombat X was. I tried a bunch of characters until I decided Catwoman was the one for me, but even then, it’s been taking some time to nail her special moves and combos. She doesn’t come as naturally to me as D’Vorah did in Mortal Kombat X. I’ve also enjoyed playing as Poison Ivy, Black Adam, and Robin, and I’m in love with Black Canary’s outfits which makes me want to play as her sometime too. But I have to focus on one character at a time, because getting those combos down is all about muscle memory! I can only learn so much at once. Plus, Catwoman has some pretty kickass moves — she uses a whip, guys — and I love her gear. One of my favorite things about Injustice 2 so far is the ability to play with gear, outfitting your characters the way you want. Different outfits come with different stats, but you can swap gear with something you like the look of more, and use shaders to customize colors. For someone like me who gets way to into character creators, playing dress-up like this is really addicting.

Anyway, other than that I’ve been reading The Witcher books. I just re-read The Last Wish — well, specifically I listened to the audiobook this time — and now I’m moving on to Sword of Destiny (which I totally missed before) and then the first novel in the series, Blood of Elves. You can read my thoughts on The Last Wish here!

uk-orig-the-blade-itselfI also just started reading my first Joe Abercrombie book, The Blade Itself. I know I just started it yesterday, but I’m now five chapters in and falling in love fast. It feels like everything I want in an epic fantasy — amazing world-building, deep characters, hand-to-hand combat action — but with a real sense of humor. It actually reminds me of the tone of The Witcher series, just because it’s both fun and funny, while still tackling some serious fantasy politics and danger. (I mean, one of the main characters is a torturer.)

For other entertainment, I’ve been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and American Gods on Starz.

The first is an adaptation of one of my favorite books, and in the latest episodes it’s been taking some very dark turns, some of which deviate a little bit from the novel. I think everyone should read the book, honestly. The show is excellent too, but I think it would probably help to read the book first, as it’s a pretty stark world to dive into on a screen; somehow reading it feels like a more gentle, if still disturbing, introduction to this world where fertile women are forced into servitude to produce children.

american gods tv show.pngThe latter, American Gods, is an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, which I read recently and only kind of liked. However, the show is amazing. I like it a lot more than the book so far, in part because it visualizes things with much more color and excitement than the novel did. Where the book plodded along, the show creates a distinct energy as you take in the details of the setting, the characters’ expressions, and the beautiful cinematography. The fact that the show doesn’t shy away from the conquests of Bilquis, who devours those she sleeps with, is impressive too. I appreciate the novel’s concept so much, but in execution, it works better as a show for me.

And then there’s my writing. I am getting back into noveling lately. I miss it. I’ve been pretty busy with work and video games the past couple of months, but National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is also awesome enough to organize a couple of months every year dedicated to making your own writing goals. The next one is in July, so I’m going to come up with a goal for it. In the meantime, I’m prepping by getting back into the habit of writing on a daily (or almost daily) basis, and outlining in greater detail so I don’t get stuck when I sit down to stare at a blank page!

What are you all up to this month? Are there any new games or shows you are excited about, and what are you most excited to see from E3?!

Ashley

5 Things I Learned About Writing from NaNoWriMo

This year, as I usually do, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in a single month. It happens every year in November, and you can sign up to track your progress on the official website here.

The first two or three years I participated, I didn’t finish the 50,000 words. However, I’ve been successful the past two years, which means I must be getting better at this. There have been days where I woke up and wrote, rushed to work, and then wrote as soon as I got home while stuffing dinner into me and ignoring all the other things I could be doing, until it was time to fall into bed. Other days, the words came easily and I overshot my word count, which was great. I’ve found that the more I write, the more I want to write, and the more I’m able to get down on the page.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from NaNoWriMo so far, and why it’s so much fun to participate each year. =)

Continue reading 5 Things I Learned About Writing from NaNoWriMo

What’s New – November 2016

While I don’t know about the official start date, I’m pretty confident in saying that weather-wise and spirit-wise, winter is finally here. Which is awesome, because this is my favorite season. I realize I may be in the minority here, but I love that it gets dark earlier — longer evenings to relax, guys! — and that the weather is a little moody — enough for me to wear a lot of sweaters and boots and drink too many hot beverages.

Anyway, this November I’d like to focus on myself. In past weeks, I’ve been feeling overly stressed and tired, so I’ve been trying to relax, take a deep breath about things, and get more sleep. I’m going to continue that throughout the month. Luckily, I have a little bit of time off for Thanksgiving this month, and the new season of Gilmore Girls will be on Netflix for a super fun day of marathoning one of my favorite shows with my family!

Writing

It’s also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and as always, I’m participating. It’s going to feel good, getting back in the habit of writing every day and marking off chapters as I race through my current draft. It’s always a little hectic, but that’s half the fun.

Plus, the NaNo Word Sprints are so inspirational to me. If you’re working on a creative writing project, you can follow them on Twitter here; they are constantly having different moderators take over with word prompts so you can sprint-write for five, 10, 15, or 30 minutes at a time. I’m especially fond of the 30-minute word sprints that encourage you to crank out 1,000 words — very helpful since the word goal for the month is 50,000!

I’ve been revising my outline, which was already pretty detailed but had a few holes that made me nervous. Overall, I’m in a good place with my story — I just need the confidence and dedication to stick with what I have. My worst habit as a writer (at least lately) is doubting my story and scrapping bits of it, instead of working through the fear. I think every writer sometimes worries that what they’re writing is terrible; it’s part of the process. I’m trying to remind myself of all the reasons I want to tell this story — I just hope I can do it justice. I guess that’s what edits are for later!

Writing is so fun when I’m on a roll with it, so hopefully NaNoWriMo will be just the kick I need to stop second-guessing myself and just enjoy the experience, whatever comes out of it. :)

Video Games

As for video games, I’m still playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The story is incredible so far. But it is taking me a little time to play through it, as it’s a pretty massive game and I’m easily distracted by other games that crop up. Last month it was Gears of War 4 (you can read my post about it here or watch my video review here); this month, I’m continuing through the Mass Effect series and would like to play Dishonored 2 when it comes out.

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Dishonored 2

Oh, Dishonored 2. I’ve actually stopped watching new footage from the game because I just want to experience it for myself now! I’d like to play the game as Emily. The previous game’s protagonist, Corvo, is also available to play as, but I’d like to try out a new set of supernatural powers with Emily. Plus, I love playing female characters when I can.

However, Dishonored is known for being a stealth game (now series) that you can complete without killing anyone. Having played the first game twice now — and failing both times at being totally non-lethal — I can tell you that I have no plans to be sneaky in this game. I had a blast replaying Dishonored using all of Corvo’s powers, so I hope Emily’s will let me have as much fun. And hey, after all she’s been through, I can see her having a little bloodlust… right? That’s how I’ll play her!

Television

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Black Mirror

TV has also been high on my list lately, since I’m trying to relax more and all that! The new show I’ve picked up is hardly relaxing, but it’s a fascinating show where each episode tells a self-contained story: Black Mirror. Fellow blogger Simpleek likened it to The Twilight Zone, which is a great comparison. Every episode (that I’ve seen so far) makes a statement about the way we live our lives or where we’re headed as a society. It can be a little disturbing and dark at times, but that’s why it’s so original and fascinating. After each episode, I find myself going over the events that unfolded and picking out the themes; it’s like my brain wants to dissect everything afterwards.

Movies

DS_Endless_Possibilities_Poster.jpgThis month, Doctor Strange comes out. Just the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch in it makes me want to see it, but I’m also intrigued by this idea of a doctor-turned-superhero who seems more cerebral than others. The trailers piqued my interest enough that I bought some of the comics, and I’ve been dabbling a little bit over the past weeks to get a feel for the character. It’s been interesting seeing him wrestle with his conscience over his use of magic to keep this world safe — and the cost of that magic.

Exercise

I have been very negligent with working out lately. I’ll make the excuse that it’s hard to find the time, but that’s really lousy of me. Since this month is about de-stressing, I need to make time for myself — and exercising is a huge stress reliever. Since running season is over for me this year after completing two 10Ks, I’m taking a break from running long distances. My focus is more on strength training, and I’d like to be more creative with my workouts going forward. I have no specific plans yet, but I’m excited to make exercising more of a habit again!

What is everybody up to this month? And what games are you playing?

— Ashley

What’s New – November 2015

When it comes to video games, this is the month I have been waiting for. Two big games come out in the next two weeks: Fallout 4 and Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’ll be playing them both this month. I’m also finally going to play Halo 5: Guardians co-op!

Batman: Arkham Knight Progress…

In the meantime, I’ve been chipping away at Batman: Arkham Knight for a little while now. I think I’m about 2/3 of the way through the game (well, the main storyline, anyway) and am enjoying it so far.

When I played Arkham City back in the day, I was obsessed for days on end. It’s all I did, it’s all I thought at it — I lived and breathed that game because it was just so cool! Arkham Knight brings back the same atmosphere, beat-em-up combat, and problem solving with Batman’s gadgets. And now he has the Batmobile to help him too. But I’ll admit I don’t have the same “Batman fever” I had when I played Arkham City. I don’t think it’s the game’s fault — I’m just in a different spot right now, enjoying Arkham Knight at a slower pace and soaking it in slowly while I also play other things.

National Novel Writing Month!

NaNoLogoThe big event for me this month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I’m participating in for the third year in a row. I’m hoping to actually make it to 50,000 words this time and have a halfway decent book to show for it by December! That’s the goal of NaNoWriMo: Write a 50,000 word novel in a month, between November 1 and November 30.

This year I was able to outline a little bit and get a good feel for the story before starting, so I’m in better shape than I was in previous years. (Let’s just say my last attempt at a novel was really messy. This year’s is a revamp of that one.) I’m actually really excited for my project this year — so much so that even coming home tipsy from Halloween last night, I managed to get started on chapter one somewhere around the Daylight Savings time change… =)

— Ashley