Monday, March 30, 2009

How do you Find Time to Write?

Life gets so busy and hectic, it can be really difficult to find time to write. And even in those moments, overcoming a lack of motivation and inspiration can be a major challenge. Now that my website is basically all set up, it's finally time to get started with actually writing stories to add to the original fiction section. This was something I'd hoped to get started with sooner, but that didn't happen.

We all have times like these, when there's something that we either need or want to get done. I think it basically comes down to motivation and to making the time to do the task. It's easy when motivation is high, but what about when it's not? After all, wouldn't one of the short stories be started by now if I were really motivated? Probably so, because when that level of motivation is there, it becomes a priority. Which means that available time gets devoted to the writing, and it gets accomplished.

So, how do you get to that point?

I do have in mind the story I want to begin with, and a rough idea in my head. From there, it's a matter of taking that first step to get the ball rolling. Starting to flesh things out by developing the characters and then an outline might just spark the kind of creativity, exciting ideas, and fun connections that really make it impossible to resist working more on the story! When can I do some of this? Well, in the car on the way to work to further flesh out what's already in my head, though it would be even more helpful to do this at the computer where I can make typed notes. But it could be a start. There's too much to do all at once, but doing a bit at a time should work out well. I'm used to doing posts, and so I may end up writing the story that way, a "post" at a time as I add a bit more whenever there's the chance. We'll see how this goes!

Ok, so these ideas aren't by any means new. But hopefully this has inspired you to get started on writing out the story idea you have, and adapting these ideas to your own work style. Good luck, and let me know how it goes for you. I'll update you, too, as I also make progress!



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Roleplay Recap

So, here's the latest updates.

There are a lot of dramatic developments going on right now in both role plays, and both are turning out to be really awesome!

First, Salazar Slytherin was brought into the Matt/Ariel role play. It wasn't how I had envisioned it, because initially my plan had been to have the role play move ahead to nighttime, when Slytherin would show up in a nightmare of Ariel's. And my thought had been that when Ariel told Matt about the nightmare, it might prompt him to tell her more about what's going on, both with himself (the time travel) and with Slytherin. Instead, we decided to bring Slytherin into what was already happening in the Room of Requirement. Ariel at first took him for a professor, and soon learned that he was a family member...and that Matt doesn't like him for some reason. Matt hasn't yet explained it, but hopefully that'll happen once Slytherin makes his exit from his first appearance in the role play. For now, he's playing nice but with ulterior motives. Namely, since Ariel is younger he's hoping she's more vulnerable and able to be molded to his way of thinking. He has plans to take her to see her twin brother, whom she now knows about much earlier than in the original timeline, and Matt has asked to go along. I'm thinking that Slytherin might agree to that, as Ariel will want him along. Now I just have to figure out where I'm going with the Slytherin thing. Probably, my next step will be to have him promise to make the trip to visit Ariel's twin brother soon, then bid the kids farewell for now. That way, Ariel and Matt will have time to themselves to talk.

In the role play with Camille, the big secret was let slip! Matt and Ariel now know that she's their future daughter. Long ago, Sabrina and I had planned to have this huge revelation happen in this role play, and last time she remembered the plan. How did we accomplish this? Well, it happened accidentally, with Camille letting slip a softly spoken "thanks, Mom," without thinking after Ariel had comforted her about the whole emotion of meeting her past self's killer. Well, Matt and Ariel heard this, and they both began to ask her about this. After confirming that Ariel was indeed her mother, Camille also reluctantly revealed when questioned by Matt that he was her father. Needless to say, they figured out pretty quickly that something must have happened to Matt's girlfriend Lisa. Otherwise, Ariel and Matt would not have gotten together. Camille admitted this much, but now they're trying to figure out together how much more should be revealed to Matt and Ariel and where to go from there. Hmm...should Camille reveal that Lisa died in childbirth? There's a lot to think about, because if there's a way to prevent what happens to Lisa, and ensure that Matt and Lisa's daughter Danielle is born, they have to try. But they also are torn between doing this, and risking changing things so much that Camille and her twin sister Cara (who is in the girls' own time) are prevented from being born. What to do, what to do? Only time will tell. Can't wait to see how it all plays out!

That's what's been going on lately with the saga. I haven't had much time to post, but will do so this week. By now, I probably also owe a post on the Students Against Riddle role play with Elizabeth. Anyway, I'll do another of these role play updates as soon as there's more to report!



Friday, March 20, 2009

Moving Websites

Moving to a new website is a bit like moving house. You need a larger place, so you search the cool features of different sites to find somewhere that fits and that's just what you need. You spend a lot of time sorting through what to keep and what to discard. You spend even more time setting everythinig up the way you want all over again.

Originally, my website was set up on freewebs. Once I had things basically set up with all my role play information....or a good bit of it, anyway...I left things alone for several years. But when I got the inspiration to start writing again and expand the site, it turned out that there was a 20 page limit. And this limit was reached very quickly. It was a shame to have to find another place to set up my website, because I liked freewebs. Editing the pages was easy. The look of the site was really attractive, and the templates looked great! There was also a blog, a guestbook and forums, which were fun interactive features. But I needed a website that could grow with me, where I could create as many pages as I wished.

So now, my website is set up on google sites at:

Google sites is awesome in a lot of ways. There's no page limit, and a ton of storage space. Editing is still really easy, and I've found a pretty template. They even have a variety of gadgets that you can add to the side bar, including a counter, which I used on my site to count down the days until the release of the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince movie. The only things I miss are the ability to use google adsense and put affiliate banners on google site web pages. After the move and getting things all set up (including creating this blog and a signing up for a new guestbook), I've spent a bit of time working on adding more role play excerpts. Hopefully the next updates will include adding content to the original fiction section as time permits.



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snow, Beautiful Snow!

(A post written at the beginning of the month and rescued from my about-to-be-deleted freewebs website)

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well, it certainly came in like a lion!

Overnight, several inches to perhaps a foot of dry, powdery snow have fallen (though it's difficult to tell just how much because of drifting caused by winds). If it were not such a cloudy day, the world would have become a wintry fairlyand. As it is, the snow is quite pretty. And it's not yet finished coming down just yet.

But I can't wait to get to warmer weather!

No more slow, careful, slightly (or very) nervewracking drives to or from work. No more turning on the heat in the car and shivering until it kicks in. No more confusion about whether it's supposed to be really chilly or fairly warm on any given day, as though winter and spring were fighting for dominance.

Come on, Spring! At least daylight savings time begins next weekend. Already the days are noticeably longer, but it'll be wonderful to have it really start to stay lighter later into the evening. Soon after, in maybe just a few weeks now with the true advent of Spring, we'll get consistent warmer weather. Maybe just into the 50's and 60's at first, and slowly warming up to the 70's. It'll be light earlier, and hopefully my husband and I will be drawn outside for early morning walks....or maybe even to the gym to get into shape for summer.

I can't wait!



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Remember When...

The other day, I finished reading my copy of Harry: A History by Melissa Anelli, the webmistress and one of the podcasters of the Leaky Cauldron website. It was a fun book to read, chronicling the adventures of the Harry Potter fandom and phenomenon. The book for me particularly evoked beloved memories of the book release parties, as well as experiences discussing and theorizing on fan sites. I'd never really posted much on Mugglenet or Leaky, but I did spend quite a bit of time on HPANA.

While heavily into role play, one aspect of the fandom I'd largely missed was the Wizard Rock genre; it wasn't something I have much experience at all with, except for hearing some of it on a Leaky Cauldron Pottercast or two (and the awesome Jingle Spells 2 album purchased from itunes and dowloaded onto my ipod around Christmas).

Oh, the chapter in the book on 'shipping wars reminded me of how powerfully different the whole relationship debate (or, rather, war as it eventually became) was in the Harry Potter fandom when compared to the way things were in the Roswell fandom. Fans of the Roswell TV show never even came close to arguing with each other over relationship preferences, and each and every possible one had a cool name (like Dreamers for Max and Liz, or Stargazers for Alex and Isabel, and Lamptrimmers for Kyle and Tess just to name a few). Everyone seemed to respect each other's different 'shipping choices, and it never became an issue.

How different it became in the Harry Potter fandom, when there grew to be a major debate and argument between people who 'shipped Harry/Hermione and those who 'shipped Hermione/Ron. Shipping no longer was about a simple preference, where one simply liked a certain pairing. Now, people argued and debated endlessly about whether a certain pairing actually would happen in canon, and why it should be so. To me, that seemed so beside the point. Coming from a Roswellian perspective, to me 'shipping was simply about preference and preference alone. And if the preference didn't end up happening in canon, that was what fanfiction was for! So, being a Harry/Hermione 'shipper myself (just because I liked the idea of the pairing from the interactions between them as described in the books), I remember being pretty angry at the comment (that H/Hr shippers were 'delusional'). This comment came from a certain someone of a certain major Harry Potter website during a joint interview with JK Rowling herself. Anyone else remember that one? Oh, I was pretty furious at the time, though of course I was coming at the 'shipping from a completely different viewpoint and really didn't get much into the debate, or the 'shipping wars. I just sort of found myself feeling...uninvested and slightly the canon pairings that came to be. That's the best way I can describe it.

Melissa Anelli's book also had a chapter on spoilers that reminded me of so many things! I hadn't been on the HPANA website (or probably anywhere other than the Harry Potter Dialogue Center) around the time of Order of the Phoenix, but I'd later heard tales of the leaks that had happened. For the sixth book, I experienced spoilers firsthand, though, on the HPANA website! I'll never forget seeing the news that some place had unknowingly set out some early copies of Half Blood Prince. Sure enough, maybe two days before the release, loads of spoilers were posted by evil people on HPANA and probably many other Harry Potter websites. Most of them had decieving titles for the posts, so that nobody would suspect that a spoiler would be inside when one clicked on the title. One post contained all the chapter titles, and I confess that the first thing I did upon receiving my copy was to peek inside the book and compare what I'd seen to what was in the book! Sure enough, the actual chapter titles were exactly what had been posted. Probably the worst spoiler for the book was that someone had posted a scan of a page from the book, the page where Harry tells Hagrid about the death that happens in the book and who the culprit was. We were all in an uproar about that! We weren't sure whether to believe it or not, but were furious that the book had potentially been spoiled awfully by that information. There were a few other tidbits posted in other threads, including the identity of the half blood prince! I'd vowed then to be much more careful for the release of the seventh book, but when the time came, I found myself seeking out whatever information was out there. Sure enough, despite all efforts to keep the final book secret for the sake of all fans to experience all the long-awaited revelations together, scans of many portions of the final book (including the epilogue) appeared online along with summaries of parts of the book. Not only that, an early review was posted several days in advance, and it included several spoilers that caused an outcry among the fandom.

I miss those days of theorizing and waiting with bated breath to find out about what the next books would bring. If reading this has reminded you of some of those magical, bittersweet, and cherished moments in the whole Harry Potter experience, feel free to share them here in the comments!



The Latest Role Plays

These days, it's hard to find time for role play, and I'm especially looking to devote a good bit of energy and effort into building up this site. I still have the role play bug, of course. It's something I'd miss if there weren't any role plays going on.

Fortunately, there is Sabrina's' site, Hogwarts: 60's Style. I sometimes play Elizabeth there, and I'm about to get into a role play soon where she joins a group formed against Tom Riddle. For those who don't know the premise of the site, Tom Riddle did become Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. He helped Elizabeth get herself re-established at Hogwarts, but Elizabeth is going to help her best friend Chelsea try to put a stop to Tom's ventures into the Dark Arts before things go even farther. Tom's probably too far gone, but Elizabeth won't give up hope.

Meanwhile on the site, I've got two other role plays going.

One is an AU (alternate universe) one that began with an idea from another website. Ariel didn't survive the climactic battle with Slytherin in her 6th year. Now, Matt has journeyed back to the past in the form of his second-year self in order to change what has happened. Yes, I know it's not a good idea to mess with history, but it's been a blast so far to play out. Little first-year Ariel doesn't yet know that her new friend Matt, whom she met this time around just after her sorting into Gryffindor, is her best friend from the future and that he's there to try and save her life. He hasn't yet told her what's to come, but they have made progress in beginning to understand the reincarnation awakening. Well...Ariel has, anyway. Matt already knows much more than he's letting on yet.

The other role play is set in Hogwarts library in Ariel's seventh year. She and Camille (who is, unbeknownst to Matt and Ariel, their daughter from the future) happen to meet up in the library after Ariel finishes up some studying. There, the girls and Matt come across a guy they know all too well from the past. Now, in this past, Camille was a tinfoil-hat-wearing, Conspiracy theory girl named Chelsea Turner. Her brother, Mark, was Matt's past self. Their father, Hank Turner, really ticked off a crime organization known simply as, well, the Organization. In retaliation for killing one of their own, the Organization then targeted the Turner family, particularly the kids. Chelsea was the first of the Turners to be murdered, and now in Ariel's time, they confront the reincarnation of the guy, Edward, who killed Chelsea. As it turns out, the group discovers from researching old newspapers that he has a connection to Ariel, because Edward turned out to have been Elizabeth's brother! Edward was born some time after Elizabeth's death. Their father, an attorney, had been the lead prosecutor in the case against the Organization at the time Edward was just a baby. One of the higher-ups in the Organization had retaliated by kidnapping Edward and raising him as his own...


Totally understandable if all of this storyline is confusing, because there's so much to it. It's a story that's evolved over a number of years now. And it probably doesn't help that we love time travel and AU role plays so much! But I hope you enjoy the episode descriptions. Maybe I'll post something from them in the excerpts section.