Archive for April, 2009

The Internet Knows How to Cheer Me Up

Man, just when I’m starting to underestimate the power of the tubes, this happens.  It’s a great time to be alive. Seeing so many people put their energy into things like this where thirty years ago they’d have either gone unnoticed or been channeled into more legitimate projects both terrifies and heartens me.

New story’s at 70%. It’ll be done when it’s done.

Sneak Peek: Wintergrasp

I normally save stories and unveil them all at once, but since I’m trying to make Wintergrasp a full length (10 or so pages) story instead of the 4 pages my last two have been, it’s taking longer, and I figure everyone deserves a taste to whet their appetite. Enjoy.

It wasn’t always this rough, Varendil thought to himself as he pressed his body against the embankment. The shell detonated against the ground over his head, and the shrapnel flew harmlessly past the priest’s body. A Forsaken running for cover behind him wasn’t as lucky, however, and great twisted bits of steel sliced through his already technically lifeless body, which then fell even more lifelessly to the ground. The priest turned away from the hillside to face the carnage. The landscape was littered with wreckage, bodies, and Alliance arrows. One Horde demolisher stood defiant against the incoming fire, hurling its own payload back at the Alliance guns. Infantry darted out from behind the behemoth of a vehicle to try to find a safe place against the hillside like Varendil had. From his little alcove, the priest threw healing spells at the soldiers in the line of fire as well as magically shielding those between sources of cover so that they’d get knocked around if a shell went off, not flayed.

It wasn’t always this rough.

The Paper Ceiling

Since this site is a project for class, in part, I’m always trying to think of more ‘professional’ features to add to it. I’d be happy to bask in the glow of my many fans’ accolades, but I also want that A, so I’m always trying to come up with new features, if you can call them that.

One of my big inspirations in this project is the never-can-be-too-highly-praised Jonathan Coulton, who also uses Creative Commons and even WordPress. JoCo makes a living off his website, but it’s occured to me that I never could, and it has nothing to do with the quality of my work. It has to do with the medium.

Webcomic artists and musicians, to pick two examples, can make money off of a good product online by a) selling ads and b) taking donations. I can’t really do either. Banner ads between blocks of text would make me hate even my favorite work, and nobody would donate to a writer for things like this.

I think the difference is in marketability. Webcomics often only take a few seconds to process, and there’s a quick punchline. Going back through the archives generates a zillion pageviews, each with different ads. Music can be consumed passively, while working or reading or playing CounterStrike, and there are concerts to make money from – swag, tickets, et cetera.

Writers don’t get any of that fat money cake. It’s a lot harder to convince someone to invest time in reading something than it is to forward VGCats through Twitter or e-mail. That, or a good song, can be consumed during someone’s morning ritual, or between e-mails. A short story takes at least several minutes. Something like The Tale of Baron Hector Krestan takes even longer than that. Furthermore, until netbooks and Kindles and the like are widespread enough that people can sit around lazily and read something electronic as easily as they would a paperback novel, I think that the internet as a means of distribution just won’t take.

That’s the future, though, which I think is awesome. Netbook in my lap in the park as I make the older brother babysit the kids. And when that future happens, when digital is truly that pervasive, then we just need a Trent Reznor. Someone coming from the traditional publishing system that decides to embrace the new tech. After that it’ll take off. And when that day comes, well, I’ll dig out this website and get to work.

Delicate Sound of Thunder

I’ve always liked the rain, ever since I was old enough that I didn’t lament not being able to go to the park because of it. It forces everyone indoors and seems to depress everyone a little bit. I don’t like it because it’s depressing, but because this depression seems to make it quiet. I like quiet.

It’s pouring outside right now. I think some quiet music to accent the sound of raindrops and the distant sounds of thunder and lightning will make a nice relaxing morning.

Doing Well Despite My Best Efforts

Well, I have to remember to change my About page, because I can’t honestly say I’ll never make money from writing now.

I managed to somehow win the Edgewood College Writing Contest this year with A Dark and Stormy Night, and that came with a $100 prize. Which is hot. That same story is also in the Edgewood Review this year, the college’s yearly magazine of art, poetry, and fiction. I consider that extremely well done for a story that I wrote in about three hours immediately before the class period in which it was due.

Enough about me.

Writing’s come slowly of late, but the bug to do more has definitely surfaced, and some of my more stressful responsibilities have been dealt with, so hopefully I now have a chance to breathe. I had a great idea the other day, but then forgot it, which is always fun. The urge to write more slapstick like Varendil Goes to Scourgeholme is strong, but there’s also the super srs Varendil story floating around the back of my mind. Wilson may be on hold until I get a chance to go back to Monroe. Something darker there might be fun. I touch on darkness there in YGTFIJF and while it seemed odd at first, I feel like that story’s a very legitimate Wilson one and the darkness fits in an odd way. If there’s anything M*A*S*H proved, it’s that humor and sadness aren’t just not mutually exclusive, they’re practically the flip sides of the same coin.

Work, Work, Work

From the casual perusal of my pageviews, it seems people like this site a whole lot more when it has new content. As someone who is lazy, but still likes pageviews, this bothers me. With Patch 3.1 out, I’m spending too much time playing WoW to write about it, and I have enough stuff going on at school to discourage me from other writing.

One of the things I’d hoped to do last time I went home was to walk down to the town square and plop myself down on the grass with my lappy to write. I think that staring at the storefronts would get me back into a Wilson vibe. Despite the fact that those stories aren’t as popular, I sometimes enjoy writing them more. Winesburg, Ohio is a collection of short stories that is now regarded as one of the finest novels in the 20th Century. The Women of Brewster Place was made into a movie by Oprah. The odds of anything I do being made into a movie by anyone are lower, since I’m not a black woman, but I can still try.

With Sir Terry Pratchett sadly losing his mind, someone has to take up the mantle of the truth-through-humor concept. I’ll keep us occupied until that guy arrives.

Across the Line

In the comments on The Dawnblade Family name, Lanuria said:

  • HP Lovecraft knocked off a lot of Poe’s work and no one complains.

Let’s get one thing straight. HP Lovecraft didn’t ‘knock off’ anyone. He invented cosmicism. Edgar Allen Poe wrote about Gothic horror to sell to the mass market, whereas Howard Phillips Lovecraft had such a disdain for organized religion that he invented a whole universe without gods, with just dark alien creatures that could squish man to bits at any time.

And no, you can’t point at Gordon Pym and then point at Mountains of Madness and go “See?” because at the time Lovecraft was writing, Antarctica was basically the last unexplored region on earth. Of course stories about the unknown will be set there.

Oh, and Lovecraft was a racist, whereas Poe wasn’t, so nyah.

Ungrateful little half-monkey.

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