The Accidental Prophecy

About four years ago, I decided to take the concept of a story that I had started many years earlier and completely overhaul it. In the end, the two stories had pretty much nothing in common. What was once a space opera became a gritty dystopia, my brainwashed military heroine was now an undercover spy working for a non-government agency.

I’ve never put so much thought into world building without writing a draft. I was determined that I should know exactly what was going on in the world and how it got there. Matt can back me up on all the conversations we had, about how my timeline, taking place a hundred or so years in the future, was a bit of a stretch, but plausible.

Let me tell you a little bit about it:

“The US is largely controlled by corporate politicians – where they may have pretended not to in our time, a CEO/Senator is fairly common.

News is highly entertainment based, after the networks failed to reclaim journalism. Real news is a fairly small, underground thing. Sensationalism rules, which keeps the general public out of politics.

Prisons were privatized. Debtors prisons became legal as consumerism reigned unchecked and politicians stalled on a livable wage. So there are poor, upper middle class, and elite. Nominally, the government still functions the same, to placate people. However, since the FBI is government, funds were probably slashed. Real agencies of justice are privatized.”

One of my villain’s aims was to get the current president impeached so that he could install someone even weaker and pave the way to his own power.

There’s more to it than that, but it’s on a scrivener file rather than a notebook, so I don’t have it in front of me. But you get the idea. At the latest, I wrote this stuff down in late 2014. When I moved to Virginia, I put the story down in favor of something “easier” for that year’s NaNoWriMo.

Then 2016 and 2017 happened and I found myself really creeped out. I had based my ideas on “What if we keep going the same way we are now, and people like Trmp become more common?” I had NO IDEA that Trmp would literally run, and win, and journalists would be thrown under buses, and the FBI would be undermined, and, and, and. Not in our lifetime, not just five seconds after I wrote all that down.

As a writer with a fantastic imagination, don’t think it didn’t cross my mind that I accidentally conjured all of this. Matt assured me that it wasn’t possible, but maybe you can understand why I looked at writing with a little bit of a skeptical eye. I had other reasons for not writing, but part of me was seriously depressed that my bleak scenario for 100 years from now was smirking from the oval office.

Right now, I don’t have any ideas. I haven’t had any rabbit holes to chase in about a year, and I’m at peace with that. I miss writing though. I miss the process, the excitement as characters and worlds unfold in my brain, and I can’t type fast enough to keep up. So I’m opening my arms up to creativity again. Ideas, if you’re out there, come to me. I’m ready. But if you don’t mind, let’s keep it out of the headlines.


Meet Corva! (I’m working on a thing!)

I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while, and I’m pretty sure in previous posts I’ve done that thing where I indicate that I am working on something, but no, I’m not going to talk about it because of reasons.

I’m working on a thing!

Around this time last year, I caught the drawing bug. Me and drawing have had an on-again/off-again relationship since high school, when I started copying Dragon Ball and Sailor Moon pictures in my notebooks, but last year it hit hard. I bought a few art books and started practicing every day, and it wasn’t long before I found myself wanting to make a comic.

Lesson 1: Comics are a lot of work.

Lesson 2: Comics are a hell of a way to tell stories.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve read many art books and tutorials, as well as interviews with my favorite comic book writers. I’ve spent a lot of time drawing and re-drawing the same characters, swearing at their malformed hands, and writing. I have 80 pages of comic scripts so far, and I still have a TON of stories I want to tell in this world. Of those 80, I have drawn 4 — drawing is hard.

But I’m getting better and faster, and as soon as I can average about a page a week, I’m going to start posting them. I want that to be soon, because I’m so ridiculously excited about this project and I can’t wait to share it.

So! Corva!

Corva’s the main character. She’s good with a sword, and a damn powerful spellcaster. Unfortunately, she recently got her ass kicked by a monster and lost her spellstone, so her magical abilities are somewhat diminished at the moment. Also? She has a sword that can talk. Now she’s mostly healed up from her encounter and ready to get back on the road!

I’ll be sharing more stuff in the coming weeks, so check back!

Not Getting Things Done

Raise your hand if you’ve done something like this.

You have an idea — a story, a melody, a character, a color — that takes up residence in your imagination and starts redecorating the place. You love this idea; it is, perhaps, your greatest idea. Now you just need to find a way to introduce the idea to the world, so you take a seat at your desk and…

Start making lists. This idea is so good, you absolutely must execute it properly — perfectly, even. You write down all the areas of your craft you are weak in and start finding books and websites to teach you to improve those skills. Days go by. Weeks. Months. For every hour you spend working on The Idea, you spend ten hours in study, learning about different techniques.

One day, you decide to take a look at your progress… only to realize that you haven’t made as much progress as you thought.

That’s where I am with my current The Idea. I started writing a comic, and somehow fell into an infinite rabbit hole of drawing tutorials, theoretical analysis of the craft of comics, and dozens of hours spent drawing shitty hands in the hope of one day drawing less-shitty hands. Learning has been awesome, and I can’t say that I regret anything I’ve read about the process of creating comics in the last several months, but I’ve focused so much on Making The Idea Perfect that I’ve neglected The Idea itself.

I’m sure my anxiety plays into this. In the era before medication, I would get so bogged down in “learning” that I would eventually despair of ever having the skills I wanted and give up. It was the standard fear of rejection, multiplied by a billion. At least with medication, I’m better able to see the anxiety in play and take steps to minimize its impact on my work.

Mental illness aside, I’ve had perfectionist tendencies for as long as I can remember. I often find myself struggling to call something “Done”, instead finding fault after fault and lamenting how much I’ll hate it in two years if I don’t get everything just right. It’s not accompanied by the panicky feeling of anxiety, just irritation at myself for not being better.

(Aside: I could probably write a series of posts on how the “gifted kid” label has affected my self-perception and ability to share my stuff with people.)

So! I’m saying this publicly in the hope that it will stick: I am rebalancing my priorities when it comes to making stuff. I am going to start spending more time working on The Idea, even if it sucks for a time and requires massive rewrites, and less time studying up on abstract concepts related to the idea. Learning is good, and has done a lot for my confidence, but no amount of learning is going to cause my stories to get written. That requires picking up my pen and getting to work.