It suddenly occurred to me that my blog’s anniversary was coming up. As I do every year, I sat down to write up my usual post on the topic. And this is when I realized that this is a mighty big occasion indeed. Ten years ago, on this very day, I started this blog here on WordPress! Yes, the one you’re reading right now! And today, on this most special of days, I’d like you to join me as we reminisce on what has taken place in all that time. Continue reading A Decade of Blogging Well Spent
In the past, I discussed a creative writing class I took in high school where we were only allowed to write essays and creativity was, in fact, discouraged. Fortunately, I had a very different experience when I tried my hand at creative writing once more in college. Because this time, we were actually allowed to be creative with our work and spent every class writing fictional works rather than stuffy essays. Oh, and our teacher was great. I’ll be sure to recount his funniest story later. Continue reading Can I Be Creative Now?
Today, the Duck felt like recounting a memory that took place when I was in high school. Since middle school or even earlier, I had always liked writing stories. My stories from my ducklinghood were truly abysmal, to be honest, but that didn’t stop me from trying. And then, sometime in high school, I had the opportunity to take a creative writing class. Needless to say, I was really excited to finally learn how to become a better writer, but things did not go as expected. Continue reading Stop Being Creative!
Ahem. You remember all those posts I wrote about creating my own comics and doing more art? Well…that’s being put on hold for a while. I would love to get good at drawing. I would love to complete comics. Yet, I don’t have the motivation for it lately. I know I must practice drawing to get good at it, and I would love to be as good as other artists I’ve seen, yet I suppose I’m not currently willing to do what it takes to get to their level. I also don’t seem to have the motivation to continue my comics. Perhaps I will return to these things someday. I really should. But, for now, the Duck must take a break from them.
You see, my original love was writing. I always wanted to be an author, not an artist. If someone could snap their fingers and make me an artist, I’d do it. Yes, please! I love beautiful art and wish I could make it and probably could if I kept trying. Nevertheless, right now, I have returned to writing, and it feels like less of a chore. I know people shouldn’t give up on things, but at the same time, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, should you keep doing it? Perhaps not. Lately, I have not enjoyed drawing or working on my comic (even if the end result is something I would really like, if only the process to get there wasn’t so tedious), but now that I have returned to writing, I have enjoyed doing it so much more than my other projects. And so it may be time to focus on writing again.
I have so much more of a knack for writing than drawing, it seems. It comes much more naturally and easily, especially after I began writing fan fiction again several months ago. Drawing is hard. Drawing is really hard. And I work and work at it, and it never turns out that good, and I don’t have fun doing it because it’s so difficult. It’ll only get easier the more I do it, but until then, it’s more a pain than anything, and that’s not how you should feel about your passions. For me, writing is easy, which makes it more fun, and I have been improving much more quickly in it than I have been in my art. Just over the last few months, I have noticed huge improvements. I write a chapter in my notebook, then, when I get around to typing it, I can think of so many new ways to make it better. It’s such a satisfying process watching the pages fill up with words, then fixing it up paragraph by paragraph until it’s so much better. I have fun doing it, and I have fun looking at what resulted from my work.
And so, to make a long story a bit shorter, I have decided I would really like to pursue my writing seriously this time. I have given half-hearted attempts to write and get something published in the past, but starting fan fiction again has reminded me how badly I wanted to be an author and how much I used to love to write. In fact, not long ago, I had this dream that inspired a story. Currently, I am not disclosing the details of this story, but it is honestly one of the best original story ideas I have ever come up with. Not to be unrealistic and in fantasyland, but I really believe that this story stands the greatest chance of being published of any other idea I’ve had so far.
Seriously. I really think it can make it, but it all depends on if I can pull it off. I don’t know. Maybe I can. Maybe it will fail and will sit in a drawer for years until I can take it out and make it better, until it’s good enough for a publisher to take it. But, I really think I can do it, even if I can’t do it right now, but someday. But, I can’t give up like I did on my art. It is hard to succeed in everything, and if I am to get anywhere with my dreams, I really must narrow them down to a select few. I have chosen writing. Art can come later if I so choose, but I want to be a writer again. I want to go after my goal full-steam this time. I don’t expect to get rich. Or famous. Or publish a whole lot. But I want to publish at least this one thing. And maybe I’ll turn my two comic stories into novels, as well. Maybe I can’t turn them into comics, but perhaps I can make them into something I’m better suited for.
So I’m doing it again. I never tried very hard to be published before, but I really want it, more than ever this time. I just have to go for it. It’s impossible if I try so half-heartedly as I have been. But, it’s quite possible if I really try with all my might and do whatever it takes. Wish me luck.
Okay, and if you’d like some hints about my story (unsure if it will be a short story or a novel), it’s a horror story. That’s right, horror. Normally, I do fantasy or science fiction, but this time, it’s horror, but not about monsters. It’s about the human mind. And the monsters in our own head. Then again, is it about monsters? You’d just have to read it to find out….
Duck, Extra Determined Version
(Just a note: You may have seen this post a week or two ago. That’s because I meant to save it, but instead, I published it. Then deleted it, so it would no longer be published. So yeah. This is the official one.)
Today’s topic for the 100 Theme Challenge is #9, Drive. This makes me think of several things. One is driving a car, which I hate. I hate driving. I hate green lights. No, really, I hate green lights, not red. There is no certainty in a green light. It means go, unless it turns yellow all of a sudden, and then you must decide to stop and possibly stop so fast someone rams into your backside, or do you speed through and potentially run a red light. I am not good at measuring distances at high speeds (not that I go that fast, but it’s faster than I can walk, and I’m a pretty quick walker, too, seriously, you don’t know how many people have commented on how fast I can walk), so knowing if my car has enough distance to stop safely or not is difficult. A red light, on the other hand, is certain. It means stop. You see a red light, and you have no hard decisions to make. You stop that vehicular transport of yours. Unless it turns to green, and then you have the whole conundrum I just described to worry about again.
The other meaning of drive is what drives you. What motivates you. And that I shall focus on for the rest of this post. So what drives the duck? Well, it depends. Certain things I do for fun. I play video games for fun. It is relaxing. The stories and characters are interesting. And it’s a break from a world filled with frowns. I also play the piano for my own enjoyment, kind of an extension of my video games, as I mainly play video game music on it. (Currently more or less mastered Organization XIII’s theme from “Kingdom Hearts” and can do a slow, crappy version of “The Last Travel” from “FFXIII-2”, which doesn’t sound right in parts without the violin. Who wants to come over and play the violin parts? I’ll even make eggless cookies, which means even the dough is safe for human and avian consumption.)
Ahem. But, while I DO things for fun, I CREATE things for several reasons. First and foremost, I create things because I enjoy it, or else I wouldn’t do it. And I must admit, when I think into it, it seems I also create things for acknowledgement from others. I don’t want to sound like someone who needs the attention of other people. Because I don’t. At least, I don’t think I do. (I like to dress plain so people will not notice me at the grocery store. Don’t look at me! Otherwise, I might possibly get compliments, and with compliments, comes stress.) Despite my usual desire to avoid the spotlight, there are certain things I don’t want to do if I can’t share it with other people. I wouldn’t do something I don’t enjoy just to share it with others, but I am less driven (ha, there’s a form of that word again!) to do certain things I enjoy if no one will ever see it.
For example, if no one ever read my blog, I don’t know if I’d keep doing it. I should do it for my own enjoyment. But, for whatever reason, I want people to look at what I wrote. Even if it’s people I don’t even know. I mean, we all want that. Much of the people reading this right now are bloggers, and so you know how that is. It’s not that we need attention, but we receive a certain satisfaction when someone reads, comments on, and likes what we wrote. And it’s the same for other things, too. I used to like to draw more (I’ve gotten rather bored with it as of late, though, as my efforts always seem to be, well, sucky), and I wanted people to see my pictures. If no one was going to ever see it, I kind of didn’t want to do it. I also didn’t want to bother with my comic, whether it was fun or not, if no one would see it. Which is silly, but I couldn’t help feeling that way. And I love writing fan fiction, but it just would not be the same if people didn’t read my stories. I have such a great time writing them, but if I couldn’t post them online, would I even bother? There’s a good chance I wouldn’t.
So is that what drives me? People’s acknowledgement of what I do? Do I need people’s approval for my work? Is it that simple? Or is it something else? Perhaps it’s not that I do these things because I want their approval. Maybe I do it because I like doing what I’m doing, and it seems more worthwhile if I can share it with others. What use is a fantastic novel filled with suspense and mystery and cake if no one ever reads it or a masterpiece (of a painting of cake) no one has ever laid eyes on? That is not to say my work is that grand, but certain things need others to see it by virtue of being what they are.
And some things just feel a lot more worthwhile if it can be shared. It feels like I’m not simply wasting my time, but I’m actually receiving some kind of payment in the form of others enjoying my work. We wouldn’t go to our jobs everyday if we didn’t get paid for it. I would have less of a desire to continue creating things if I didn’t get the joy of comments and favorites and such from it. It would feel like wasted effort that could be better spent gaming more or learning to not be so crappy on the piano.
So in short, I guess what drives me to do certain things starts with my enjoyment of that thing, and my drive to share it is just that, my, well, drive to share it. Because sharing is good and all that nonsense. Remember that little bit of wisdom (even though it doesn’t apply to germs or gossip, so maybe it’s not so true, after all…)? I am motivated to do lots of things because they are fun, including maintaining this blog, but you, my dear reader, are what gives it meaning. Now, does that not DRIVE you to review?
What drives you to do the things you do?
I’m Driven to Be a Duck, Because “Be a Duck” is a Store Someone Drove Me To, What?!
Recently, I wrote a post about how I missed doing fan art, due to the fact that my comic was taking up much of my Photoshop time these past few months, and will continue to possibly for years. So I’ve been drawing pictures the old-timey way, on paper, then, scanning them into the computer. But, that hasn’t been quite enough, either. For some reason, I’ve been feeling quite a void in my tummy. Partly, I’m just hungry. But, I think it’s also being caused by something else.
I’ve been reading quite a lot of “Jak and Daxter” fan fiction lately. And I finally decided doing just fan art wasn’t enough. These stories are making me want to bring my favorite characters to life through more than just little doodles. And then I was suddenly struck with a big bolt of inspiration. I had an idea! In my soft, oozing brain meats! I had this idea of a story about the main villains from “The Precursor Legacy”, Gol and Maia. These two had likely once been good people, but they were twisted by prolonged exposure to Dark Eco and made into wicked people that wanted to open the Dark Eco silos to flood the world with the stuff and reshape it. They were then trapped in the silos by our hero, Jak (not assisted in any way whatsoever by Daxter). While the two have still not returned officially, it is still rumored that they survived and could eventually come back. This has caused many people to write stories about their return. As will I.
But, I don’t want to write just another story where they return, cause lots of trouble, then get killed, as entertaining as those are. I want to take a new direction and explore their past selves more and any chance that they can change and become the people they once were, if that is even possible and if they would ever do such a thing if given the opportunity.
So as is often the case, while bathing in the nearby duck pond, all these ideas floated around in my head, not unlike me. In that pond. The story began forming before I had a chance to get paper. And so as soon as I could, I started to write the prologue. And then I went on to write the first few chapters. So far, this chunk of the story isn’t too dreadful, either. I had learned not super long ago all kinds of skills for writing in a more literary style, and I think that helped me a lot. If I do say so myself, and I obviously do, I think it’s not bad. I found out when I asked my mom to take a look that my handwriting is indecipherable to all but me (it seems I have invented a new system of writing; I’ll call it the ducklabet), but once I read it aloud, she seemed entertained, despite the fact that I read largely in a monotone out of discomfort reading in front of others. Of course, she had to like it, as parents are compelled to like what their offspring create, but still.
So I recently started an account on fanficion.net (the greatest fan fiction site there ever was, is, or ever will be) under DuckofIndeed. And I know this would appeal to a very small audience, but I ask that anyone who likes “Jak and Daxter” fan fiction take a look at my story. It will be going up in bits and pieces. I have also posted below the beginning narration from my story, before the characters show up, where I described some stuff in the most marvelous manner I could muster. Mustard. Yum. Please take a look and tell me what you think. Fortunately, my typing is much better than my handwriting.
The first chunk of my prologue begins:
Far, far out in the Wasteland was a place few dared to go, even the Marauders and citizens of Spargus, who possessed spirits toughened to leather by the harsh life of the desert. This particular place had been forest once, centuries past, but the innumerable sands of the Wasteland had finally crept even here and swallowed up all the trees. Now, little stood there but dead pillars of wood, the remains of the trees whose roots had been choked with sand, and dunes that were gradually eroded away by the wind to only be built up elsewhere. And something else. Something else stood in this particular section of the desert and was the reason the people of the Wasteland did not tread here.
Several large pillars, once hundreds of feet high and now made considerably shorter as the sand built up around their bases. They were of varying sizes and of bronze Precursor metal, showing signs of wear, but less than expected from their treatment over the years, though with much of their original shine gone. The Dark Eco silos.
These pillars always filled all who saw them with dread, and who could blame them? These pillars, built possibly thousands of years ago by the Precursors, contained the majority of the planet’s Dark Eco. Such a substance needed to be contained. While it had existed as long as any other kind of Eco, this variation was dangerous. It twisted all it touched, turning all who were exposed to it to something no longer quite human. Or simply killed them. The dark bubbling ooze meant death or worse, and it couldn’t be allowed to coexist with the fragile life of this world. That was why the Precursors banished it away to the confines of the silos.
But, for some, it also meant power, and that was why, long, long ago, two people tried to open the silos. To take that Dark Eco and use it to reshape the world. They tried to play God, and they were punished for it.
And that brings us to the other reason why this was such a feared place. Centuries ago, those people had been locked away in those same pillars they had so desperately wanted to open. Some thought them dead. Some had their doubts. And the rest, well, they had forgotten the two had ever really existed. Their story had turned to legend for a time until so many years had gone by that no one believed any longer that it had ever happened. They were eventually reduced to monsters parents used to scare unruly children. In fact, few remembered anymore that they were even human. Even fewer knew what kind of people they had once been. Centuries ago.
I hope that encourages people to stop on by fanfiction.net and continue the story. Yes? Yeeeeesss? Please, it’s been a whopping 24 hours, and I have no reviews! Why must life be like this!
So I’ve recently started draft 2 of my novel. I’m marking parts that should be fixed with black, good parts with blue, (so I’ll leave them be), and red for parts that are really bad. Then, I’m making small fixes right in the notebook and bigger fixes on a separate page. There are 385 notebook pages, and so far I’ve done about 21. Still a lot left, but we have some big problems to fix in parts. It is satisfying once I clear up a big issue and make the story run smoothly again.
As I go, I would also like to expand on the characters, give better detail, and so on. In “On Writing”, Stephen King says to make the second draft shorter, but the way I write, I think it’ll be better to make it longer. When I first wrote my novel, I figured it out as I went along and sometimes just had to write whatever and struggle through some hard parts. This time, I can see the whole story at once so I know what sections need erasing and where it needs fleshing out (which is a creepy phrase, but it works here).
After that, the story should be pretty much “complete”, and by that, I mean the extra details will be added, plot holes fixed, and so on. So I can really fix it up in draft 3 and then get ready for typing the final draft. Huzzah! I hope to have some poems published by then so people will be more likely to consider the novel, too. I won’t let all this hard work go to waste!
The Duck of Draft 2
There is something I found out that will make me seem lazy. Every once in a while, I try to write a new poem, and it seems that the less effort a poem takes, the better it turns out. My three completed poems are my best and were the easiest. I just wrote them down one day, just like that. There were a few stanzas or lines I didn’t like, so I’d go one line at a time fixing it up until I liked it all. But, the main thing was there.
Some other poems are very hard to write, and they take so much effort but don’t actually end up turning out good. So I realized, this is a situation where giving up is the better option. When a poem is too hard to write, I’ve learned to just give up. The rhymes and everything must be just right, or it won’t be good, so if you don’t get a good start, you may as well quit. But, once a poem starts off well, I can just keep going and finish the main thing in one sitting (not including fixing the mistakes). I may try to write those bad poems again sometime, but pretty much, that is how things seem to be for me. Does anyone else have this same situation when writing poetry?
The Lazy Duck Poet
Finally finished with my novel a few days ago! Yes! It took 127 days, 385 notebook pages, and is just short of 75000 words, which should be in the range of 250–300 pages (since I read that books usually have about 250 to 300 words per page). Some details are still missing, and I haven’t worked in breaks for chapters yet, but I’ll figure it out. I will wait 6 weeks before doing draft 2 because that’s what Stephen King says to do. Gotta fix some things, add more action in places, better dialogue, etc. I’ll be returning to it around September 25, at the earliest.
When I started the novel, I only knew that my main character would go find this special item and then use it to defeat the enemy, just about two parts to it, but it turned into something much more. Three parts, three main characters, even more evil to defeat. I figured out a lot of the story as I wrote it, and things fell into place pretty well.
I’m really glad I finished it. I started a little bit before the middle of April, I believe. I remember a little while ago I was getting serious doubts about the story. I didn’t think I could finish it. It just wasn’t right. But, I had to. Or else, I had wasted my time. So I kept on, and things started getting easier again, and the rest was more or less a breeze.
So I hope there is a good amount of character development and change, excitement, humor, and mystery. I used the “Break into Fiction” book (by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love) a little bit to help me know what kinds of things I should add into my novel to make it successful. I hope I did it right and very much hope that people will enjoy my little tale. There is no swearing or dirty stuff, but there is some violence, but not too bad, because that’s what I do.
Someday, I would like to put up some pictures of the characters and maybe an excerpt or two, but not yet. The pictures may come about sooner than I’m planning, but the excerpts will be a while longer. Must fix them up more…and choose which parts to do in the first place.
The Novelist Duck
I haven’t been writing quite as long as I’ve been drawing, of course, but it makes little difference. It seems to me that writing naturally improves with age more so than drawing does, and I certainly have improved a lot. When I look back at the things I wrote many years ago, they are just silly. I wrote several stories, some through to the end, some unfinished, but they mainly all consisted of people traveling across wide areas. That’s all I could think of for fantasy stories. They always had to do something that was really far away. One story was three little “books” worth of this. And to add to my already lacking skills, I just didn’t know how to make them very long, and I didn’t like the characters, either.
I did try to send one in to publishers, though. Somehow I must have liked it at the time, for whatever reason. Obviously, no luck. And my hopes of becoming a novelist soon faded away. I didn’t care anymore. I couldn’t write well enough anyway.
And then, just for fun, I wrote a story I actually liked. That I still like. I mentioned it in an earlier blog, the one I started redoing. That one had a sequel that wasn’t too bad, either, (and then I started another one that was not very good and not really related to the first two at all, which I didn’t finish). It was funny, back then I enjoyed killing off almost every character. I even killed one character, then brought her back, then killed her again.
Anyway, since the first two stories, the first especially, weren’t too bad, I decided to redo the first one. As I said, I started getting lazy. I skipped parts that I didn’t feel like doing, then, just stopped altogether.
And then it was that dream that gave me the idea for my current one, which is now about 58,000 words and almost done. First, I read Stephen King’s “On Writing”, and then got started shortly afterward. I don’t know what happened, but I am much more determined to finish my stories now. Especially now that I know I can write something novel-length. It may not be really long, but it’s a novel, and I’m satisfied.
I’m also working occasionally on poems, but the novel is my main goal. After that, I will likely take a break from novel writing for a little bit and work on more poems and short stories. I have a small list of ideas. We’ll see.
By the way, I finally put my avatar up. And I’m starting to draw up some of my comic book characters. Perhaps I’ll show you some time. Wouldn’t that be grand?
An Indeed Duck