Rollin’ with my homies

Now that my husband and I have re-entered the world of Having a Social Life (nerd version), we’ve gotten back into RPGs–roleplaying games–and it’s taking some reorienting on my part.

I used to be able to create a caster character practically with my eyes shut and my hands tied behind my back. Need a blaster caster? Yep, I’m your gal. Healer? Yeah, I can do that. Buffer/debuffer? No sweat. Now? Now I’m making stupid mistakes in my character creation that are more than a little embarrassing, at least for a geek. Miscalculating stats, forgetting to buy certain special items that are practically necessary, forgetting major bonuses…yeah, I’m out of shape in that category. Last night’s game wasn’t a total loss, though; I blew the majority of the bad guys away in one fight, so at least I remembered how to utilize the spells I chose.

There are other social activities that we’ve been engaging in with our friends, and it’s weird to be back in that kind of mindset. Even my husband, who works from home and thus is virtually dying to get out of the apartment when he’s off work, has complained a bit about being worn out from all the go-go-go-go-go that we’ve been doing. Mondays are one thing (well, three for him really, two or three for me depending on when work ends), every other Tuesday something else, Wednesday and Thursday evenings have something on the schedule, and Fridays, Saturdays, and even Sundays each have at least one social activity with friends planned out on a regular basis. To go from zero to chock-full in a very short amount of time like this can be pretty exhausting, as we’re discovering now.

It’s cool to have friends to hang out with again, though, and I’d rather be exhausted from having too much of a life outside of work than exhausted from having no life outside of work. So I guess I’m not really complaining…more like stating the obvious.

Our friends are pretty cool, too. They have a lot of the same interests that we do, they’re encouraging, and they’re all-around nice guys. I’ve already learned a bunch from them and I can tell they’re going to provide a wealth of information in the years to come. And who knows? Maybe I can impart a little of my limited wisdom on them as well.

That’s how Having a Social Life works: You hang out, you have fun, and you just roll with it.

Can’t beat the heat

It’s mid-June. In Arizona. I’m about to head on a road trip in a sweltering car for three hours to a town that’s about ten to twenty degrees higher than our little mountain town.

WTF is my problem???

Guess I’m just a masochist or something. The conference/event/thing I’m going to is semi-mandatory for me (& not for pay), but I think it’ll be fun despite the weather. Meeting new people, learning new things, all that jazz. Plus I’ll have friends there, and my husband, so I won’t be all by myself. So that’s cool.

We’ll see how far I can take this peopling thing. I’ve been more socially active the past few months that in, like, the past decade. Not sure that’s really much of an exaggeration, either. Quite possibly literally a decade. And ​for a socially-awkward introvert, it should be interesting to see how I adapt. So far so good.
Right now we have friends in the car with us. I’m about to post this and then get social.

And melt… because the car temp gauge thing says 100 degrees.

Too bad, so sad

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve gotten so invested in my WIP that the death of a minor character has me choked up.

It’s not really a spoiler to say that, because anyone who follows this blog (or has read my first book) knows I tend to be quite murderous in my writing. Like, mass destruction. Death by fiction. Hey, death happens in life, and in a dystopian sci-fi it’s definitely going to happen. So why do I care if a side character gets killed off?

I guess I could toot my own horn and say that it’s because I’m such a good writer, but let’s face it–I’m still a noob. No, I think the more likely scenario is that I have a soft spot for this person who’s got a whole life and background that’s not even written in. I know their personality, their quirks, their strengths and weaknesses. I know them more than any reader could…unless I really am that good of a writer, in which case the reader could infer these things from what I’ve written. Nah. We’ll go with the soft spot.

Most writers go through this, I guess–those that write death into their stories, at least. I’m generalizing based on solely my experience, but let’s just say for the sake of argument that this is common. The question then becomes: Who feels it more–the reader or the author?

As a reader, I know I’ve gotten upset at the deaths of minor characters before, those characters that draw you in for the few chapters they occupy and make you their friend. I certainly don’t know the backgrounds of these characters, don’t know their quirks and strengths and weaknesses. I don’t necessarily know what kind of childhood they had, or what their favorite color is, or any of that jazz. Still it affects me, and that’s saying something for the author of that story.

Maybe that’s the key; maybe you have to feel it yourself to know what the reader’s going to feel. Dig that knife into your own heart, make yourself cry, whatever. Feel the emotion, or the emotion won’t be felt.

Or maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age.

HIITing it out of the park

Yesterday was my first day doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) at the local park with my friends, and it was great. It was exhausting and tough, but it was great. I’m hoping I can make at least two out of the three days a week that we all plan on doing, but with work it’s hard to tell what days I’ll be able to make it. The five o’clock meet time isn’t always feasible when patients sometimes don’t end until 5:15 or 5:30. Still, even an extra day or two of exercise should help me get more fit than I currently am…considering my baseline is no days of exercise lol

It’s good having good friends to hang out with again. After a long dry spell of being friendzoned by once-close friends (or having friends move away), it feels nice to have people who want to spend time with me and my husband on a regular basis. Dinner, movies, gaming, etc…it’s taking some getting used to, especially after such a long time of having nothing really going on during the week or even on weekends. It’s cool, though. Those dry spells of inactivity make me appreciate my friends even more. Like, really appreciate them. They’re huggy, affectionate people who seem to “get” me even on my off days. They understand if I’m a little down, or if I’m sore from the RA, or if I’m exhausted from a long work day/week.

Always appreciate your friends, people. They’re precious and rare and worth every second.

Diving back in?

Phoenix Comicon’s over. The Crunch has passed, and I have a lot more time to myself in the mornings. No rush to sew as fast as I can. I can finally get back to book 2.

Whatever happened to waiting to fix the chapters that have been bugging the hell out of me until editing on book 1 is finished? Well, I’ll tell you what happened: those damn chapters have been bugging the hell out of me.

I didn’t want to rewrite them until I finished whatever sweeping changes the latest critique may require; after all, what’s the point of going through the effort of rewriting several chapters if I might have to go back and tweak them again later? There may not really be a point, besides settling my mind and getting me back into writing mode.

Unfortunately, I haven’t yet worked out how to work out the chapters. I know that the action I wrote is subpar and just doesn’t fit, but I don’t know yet how to fix it. I need to reread the drivel and meditate on what will flow better. Right now it’s pretty bland (at least in my self-critical opinion), but I think if I just mull it over for a while I can get it to be somewhat presentable.

For now, the offending chapters will stay…but their death is looming on the horizon as I crack my knuckles and chug my caffeinated drink of choice.

Hijacked

Dear Gods, I wish I could sleep in some days. I’m not talking about just sleeping past the alarm going off–I just want to give the alarm an opportunity to go off.

On the plus side, these early mornings seem to be my most productive times of day. I get a lot of writing and cosplay work done during these times. If it hadn’t been for the early wakings, I wouldn’t have gotten book 1 finished, let alone halfway through book 2. Well, kind of halfway. There are a lot of revisions to do before I keep going, because if I stay the course it’s going to be really hard to fix after I’m done with the draft.

I don’t know how some authors can plow through a draft without making changes as they go. If I notice one thing that needs changing that will affect the rest of the story, I have to fix it before I can continue. I mean, if I don’t, that means more work for myself down the road. For instance, even though I’m technically halfway through book 2, I have to revise part of the story that just doesn’t make sense as is. If I don’t, the rest of the book won’t make sense. I’ll have half a manuscript that needs to be revised, as opposed to a few chapters.

I guess every author has their own style. Some people are planners; I plan to a degree, but for the most part I pants it. What’s going to happen next? I don’t know, and I won’t until I get to writing it. But hey, I get to see the story unfold as it’s written, so it’s almost as exciting as if I were reading it for the first time. I’ve had characters surprise me multiple times. I’ll just be writing along, minding my own business, when suddenly a character emerges that I’d almost forgotten about (or even a new character comes to light that I hadn’t planned on). That character does some crazy shit, and it gets to the point where I’m just trying to keep up.

Some of my best plot twists have come from this, so I guess I shouldn’t complain, but sometimes it requires quick thinking to stay on top of things. Okay, then, Minor Character #37, if you think you require more “screen time,” so to speak, then I’ll oblige. Just tell me what to do, and I’ll give it my all. What can I say? Sometimes the characters know better than I as far as where the story needs to go.

This latest background-character-turned-major-storyline-influence took my “plan” in a completely different direction. A surprise appearance by someone who I’d thought of as incidental ended up affecting things all the way down to bloodlines. Yeah, a major character’s genetics were changed by this one chick who decided it was her time in the limelight. All right. I’ll roll with it. It actually makes the next book(s) more interesting (and takes care of a minor-major issue of a power vacuum that I’d created for myself–once again, by a character surprising me).

I almost can’t wait to see what happens next!

Social malfunction

No post yesterday (weird how I posted for the Ides of March but not St. Paddy’s Day!), but that was because I spent most of the day either at work or celebrating with some friends and their friends.

Now, I’m admittedly a quite socially awkward individual. I don’t “get” a lot of social situations. Like, for instance, the barbecue last night. I spent a lot of time sitting/standing around and staring because I ended up in a room with people talking about subjects I either didn’t understand or had nothing to contribute to. And I didn’t know how to go to the other room where the other half of the group was chatting because, like, wouldn’t it be rude to be sitting there and then just get up and walk away for no reason? Or how do you cut into a conversation to say “Hey, no offense, but I want to see what’s going on over in the other room.” Like, I’m pretty sure that would be rude, too. Wouldn’t it?

The true irony? I was mainly among geeks, some of whom I’ve known for a while, some of whom I’d just met, but geeks = family, in a way. I don’t know if non-geeks can understand it, but geeks tend to get me better than the average human. Many of them understand social anxiety and such. So none of the people who knew me would probably have minded if I’d just randomly gotten up without a word and wandered off. And I certainly hope they didn’t mind me not participating in the conversation much. Or kind of awkwardly playing with my phone. Or trying to subtly cover my ears when the overload of sensory input from several people talking at once at a rather high volume got to be too much. I really didn’t want to cover my ears–I’m 99% sure that is rude–but sometimes I just can’t deal. It’s hard to explain.

Another irony: I had a major panic attack on another St Patrick’s Day several years ago due to that same kind of sensory overload. I was at a game shop playing Pathfinder, and there were several different tables of people playing different Pathfinder scenarios (as well as a couple other games going on). The volume levels of the voices were high and the overlapping conversations, and I freaked the fuck out. Too many people talking at once too loudly. I had to close my eyes to focus on the voices of the people at my table so I could keep playing, but it finally got so bad that I had to leave the game and go out to the car and cry for a bit because I was just freaking out too much. It was kind of embarrassing, but my husband was super cool about it and didn’t give me a hard time.  He understood because he knows me so well, so he let me have my moment of bawling and covered for me.

Last night I wasn’t quite at that point, but it was a close one. I really really really wanted out. Like a fight-or-flight response kind of thing.

Why are social situations so goddamn hard? There should be, like, a manual or something. Come to think of it, there probably is a manual. There are self-help books for damn near everything these days.

But I fucking hate self-help books. So I’ll just suck it up, buttercup, and get over myself.