Tag Archives: AcWriMo 2013

Body: 1 – Brain: 0

It is interesting how original plans can fall into place, even when you want to tweak them. I remember how I was looking forward my break in December after the burn out I suffered from during November. And end of the month, I thought I was going to work on another book chapter anyway. Yet, it seems that AcWriMo working as well as it did, is even a better thing, because I’ve been on break for the past few days.

Between a wisdom tooth acting up like insane and the first cold of the season, I’ve been unable to write anything decent, after being done with setting up the chapter’s structure. So I’ve been on a break, as I originally planned! That means, that I have been bundled up in blankets, drinking lots of tea and appreciating the power of painkillers and meds. And in the meantime, I have also been marathoning Once Upon A Time.

I really do love that show (and my crazy mind feels that a crossover between this show and Lost Girl could be made of pure epic). I’m glad that I had all the episodes stored, ready to be watched. I’ve literally watched the first season in less than three days – 13 of them yesterday – and I am currently starting the second one! So, I still have more episodes to watch while I recover!

On a side note, I put up another video on my YouTube channel. It is a Battlestar Galactica one, focused on Samuel T. Anders, with Nemo by Nightwish, as music.

AcWriMo Recap

Now that November has  come and gone, I look back at what I accomplished during my first participation to AcWriMo. After a failed attempt at NaNoWriMo a few years ago, I wasn’t so sure that I was going to do that well, but I was surprised in a very good way. My final word count for AcWriMo is the following:

  • 25,482 (2 book chapters and 1 paper)
  • 9,805 (17 blog posts)
  • TOTAL: 35,287

I feel very accomplished with all of this, but I know that having had specific projects to work on helped me a lot. I hope I can take part next year, because it was a very enriching experience, either when it comes to “pure” writing, or about the feeling of community. I was glad to get to know fellow academics during this month and even take part to one AcWriMo Twitter chat at some point. I hope to be able to be part of the AcWri community on Twitter as well in the rest of the year, when it’s not AcWriMo.

Right now I am working on a fourth chapter of my book Women in Science Fiction Television. So far, I am struggling with the introduction, but I have all the detailed structure so that does help. Goal is to finish that chapter by the end of December (if possible before Christmas, since this is a shorter one in comparison to the previous ones I wrote).

I am also still catching up with TV. Plan is to (finally) watch Falling Skies and Game of Thrones third seasons during the Christmas break.Besides those, I also plan on watching the remaining episodes of Lost Girl, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Tomorrow People, Beauty and the Beast, before all of those get the mid season break.

This week, I watched an oldie I had never seen before. I watched all of the only season of Birds of Prey (2002-2003) because I had wanted to see it when it came out. I was also curious to see Rachel Skarsten younger, since I adore her as Tamsin in Lost Girl. I really enjoyed the show and the characters. I wish it had lasted longer to be honest. I liked the three main characters, but my favorite is Oracle. I just think she was such an interesting character! It’s the first time I watch a TV show or movie based on comics, and in which I see a character who actually makes me eager to read the comics they were featured in!

The two only things that I wasn’t big on in Birds of Prey were the flashback when Oracle was shown as Batgirl. I can’t help it, any bat related costume just makes me laugh like silly. And the other one was how I found Dr. Harleen Quinzel/Harley Quinn an extremely caricature-like and boring character. I thought it was a bit of a shame, because the trio of protagonists could have benefited from a more interesting enemy. Once again, I am not familiar with the character in the comics, but she just bored me.

Last year when I traveled to Texas, I watched the pilot of Once Upon a Time, at the friend’s I was staying with. I had enjoyed what I had seen, despite not having been blown away in comparison to other shows I fell in love at first sight in a more significant fashion. Since I am running a little out of shows to watch, I decided to pick this one again. I am currently (re) watching the second episode of the first season, as I had forgotten I had actually seen it along with the pilot. I am curious to see how it continues to unfold.

Third AcWriMo Goal Completed!

The past few days have been busy and tiring, but I am happy to say that I am now done with my third (and final) AcWriMo goal. Indeed, I just finished writing my Star Wars: Jedi Knight paper and I am sending off to proof reading. I am very happy with how it turned out, and I am even really early, since my original plan was to write this paper sometimes in January. That means that I now only have a couple of things and projects to take care of and then I will be able to take my break next month. I can’t wait for it!

So, my AcWriMo word count is now 25,482. I will add all my blog posts to the overall count once the month is over. I’m still surprised of how much I was able to write. Of course, this won’t be 50K words like an actual NaNoWriMo, but it is a lot more than what I ever did in my failed attempts at NaNoWriMo. Thus, I feel accomplished with what I did this month! I will definitely take part again to AcWriMo next year, if I can. I know that having specific projects to work on was of great help, so I already had a to-do list, even before deciding what my goals would be.

Last Friday, I was interviewed for the French webdoc about fandom, Call Me Kate! It went really well, and I talked about vidding, the Organization for Transformative Works, and also how fannish and academic trajectories can blend at times. I can’t wait to see the finished webdoc!

I have also continued to catch up with TV and movies. I finished the single season of Painkiller Jane and I really enjoyed the episodes until the last one. I was really worried that it would end with a nasty cliffhanger, and until the final minutes of the last episode, I was biting my nails. I’m sad it didn’t last longer as I think they did a really good job at developing not only the story but also the characters and their relationships. At least, it felt “complete” to a degree, no matter how it could have benefited from more seasons.

I am still catching up with the most recent episodes of Beauty and the Beast 2012 season 2 and Lost Girl season 4. Once I am done with the two more recent, I might pick The Tomorrow People or Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. again, now that I have more than a couple episodes in store. I like being able to watch more than one or two at once. Of course, once I’m caught up I need to wait from one week until the next, as I am doing now with Beauty and the Beast 2012 and Lost Girl!

I finally got around watching The Wolverine as well. Just like with almost every other X-Men movies, I enjoyed 2/3 of it and had issues with the other 1/3. The thing is that I’m okay with it now. I was actually impressed with how they developed both female Japanese characters, as I wasn’t expecting much at first. I loved Jackman’s portrayal of Logan as always. The movie was well executed and it was great that it mostly took place in Japan. The intertextuality of the story, from visuals to dialogs, really amused me at times. Overall, I think that since the first two X-Men movies, it is my favorite – although I really enjoyed First Class. My biggest pet peeve with the movie is that the whole Jean/Logan thing really bothered me, as I never liked that couple. At all. Still, it was a good movie and once again I find myself waiting for the next movie in the franchise!

Speaking of movies, I had heard about the new Robocop movie which comes out next year, but I hadn’t given it any real attention. I saw bits and pieces of the old ones, and read about them, but I never watched them fully. Anyway, I click on the link to the international trailer for the new one this morning, when a friend retweeted it. And now I added it to my list of movies to watch when it comes out. I will spare you how my brain exploded because of multifandom-ness. And I also decided that I am going to get my hands on the three old Robocop movies because now I want to have seen them all to have a real point of comparison, and maybe plot some papers while on it!

On a final note, here is a Dana Scully tribute I made a few years ago, Praying and Fighting, the latest video of mine I posted to YouTube. I picked this one as latest addition to my channel, since I discussed this X-Files video during the interview for the webdoc.

Morning AcWriMo and Assorted Ramblings

I was planning to write that blog post last night, but I was too tired, so I am tackling this first today! Yesterday was another productive day. I added 1,878 words to my Star Wars: Jedi Knight paper. I always enjoy when researching an idea allows you to discover so much more when actually writing the paper. This is happening right now with the paper, no matter how I’ve played that game a few times and overall know the Star Wars franchise thoroughly.

My AcWriMo total word count is now 23,082. I am planning to get at least 900 more words in today. If all goes well, I’ll be able to get this paper finished by Sunday night, since I have other projects to work on Friday and Saturday. Given how I barely got 1K words in the one year I attempted NaNoWriMo, I can easily say that AcWriMo is working so much better for me!

Discussions about academic writing with fellow AcWriMo-ers also made me reflect on my writing process. I happened to bring back up how the best writing tip I ever was given – besides working hard – was to always have a breakdown for your structure, including in terms of (at least) approximated word count. I learned that from a teacher during the first year of my first MA at La Sorbonne. That has been a life saver since then. Even when I rework how I build a paper structure, it helps me not get stuck with unbalanced parts, except if it does make sense (like how my book chapters have a median length, plus or minus some thousand words depending on the topic).

In the meantime, I am also continuing to watch Painkiller Jane. I saw a bit more than half of the single season by now. I am still enjoying it a lot and I think that they had good character development. I also want to catch up with the latest Beauty and the Beast and Lost Girl episodes, but those days I enjoy focusing on one TV show at a a time, which is why I like to have enough episodes piled up before watching, once I decide to watch something. That is why I am waiting to watch beyond The Tomorrow People and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilots.

More AcWriMo Progress

Today was mostly devoted to my Jedi Knight paper, though I started the day by sending out emails regarding the eBook I am currently co-editing. I am really looking forward to this project being completed and it has been another great one to work on. I’m already curious to see how the finished eBook will look like!

Going through all the cut scenes from Jedi Knight really made me eager to play that old game again. I might have to see if the copy I got when I downloaded the series through Steam a year or so ago, would be friends with my laptop. I haven’t played those oldies in years, and this paper definitely makes me itching to just that.

My writing goal for the day was 900 words for 1/3 of the two sections of my paper – I am currently working on the one about Jan Ors. Day turned out more productive than expected, for I completed 2/3 of that section and wrote 1,852 words, bringing my total AcWriMo word count to 21,204.

I am very much hoping to finish that paper by the end of the week, though I am aware that this might not be possible with the other projects I’ll be tackling on Friday and likely Saturday. Yet, it doesn’t prevent me from doing my best to reach my third – and final – AcWriMo goal early, does it?

While I am  enjoying AcWriMo a lot, from all the productivity to the great feeling of community it can bring, I am equally looking forward to my break in December. I know that a quiet and creative pause from all the insane academic writing I have been immersed in since July, will do me wonders.

Second AcWriMo Goal Completed!

I literally just finished a third chapter from my upcoming book Women in Science Fiction Television – and I already have ideas for a second volume at least. I am hopeless, really hopeless. When I started to write the book this Fall, my goal was to have three chapters (out of seven + general introduction and conclusion) completed by the end of 2013. This is done! With all my projects and my very needed break, I hereby declare that I will tackle the next chapter in January 2014.

And since I was also inspired today, I even started to write my paper about Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, which is my third goal for AcWriMo. I completed the introduction and added more notes to the different subsections I will write next. I am planning to get the rest of the paper done during this upcoming week. So far, my overall AcWriMo word count is 19352. This week is going to be busy since end of it I also have the documentary producer coming to tape my interview about vidding at my place and on Saturday I should be working further on the eBook I am co-editing with a friend.

I’d also like to say how much I am enjoying the AcWriMo experience, especially thanks to the community on Twitter. Just got invited to a live chat – which starts in ten minutes now, just the time to finish that post hopefully! It is a great way to get acquainted to fellow scholars and I am hoping I can do AcWriMo every year from now on, if I have adequate projects, which should be the case with all I always have planned!

On an end note, I have posted my most recent video to my YouTube channel. Called C’est la vie, it is my very first one for Tony Stark/Iron Man (with bits of Tony/Pepper because I love those two together) but certainly not my last!

We Were All Beginners Once

When I embarked on AcWriMo this year, for the very first time, I honestly went for a small goal, because I knew how much of a challenge it was. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I reached said goal in a few days, so I set a second goal, which was to write a third chapter of my book Women in Science Fiction Television. Well, I am happy to say that except for some quotes I need to find and add – possibly adding some more words to introduce them properly, I am done with that. I am really proud of this, because now my AcWriMo total word count is 17885.

As much as I know that the regular word goal for NaNoWriMo is 50K, I am very happy with how well I have been doing so far, especially with how bad my burn out is becoming. I also know that once all is said and done, I’ll calculate that other general word count, including my blog posts, as I think I have almost written a blog post per day since November 1, which is also a pretty big achievement for me. Blogging isn’t something I consider my forte, and I was (still am) a bit worried that delivering regular new content wouldn’t really be something I’d manage successfully.

That shows once again how learning is a never ending process, and that takes me to the topic I have at heart for this specific post. Going through all papers and old vids lately made me realize once again how we were all beginners once. We all have to start somewhere, no matter what the subject is, and this is also the beauty of life that we can embark on new territories at about any given time. I personally seem to need three years before jumping into things for real.

Though I have written research papers for the past nine years or so, it was really in my third year of Ph.D. studies that I delved deep into papers and conferences, and it is really since then that I have had a very active research activity. It is going to be two years in 2014 that I’ve considered myself an independent researcher and writer and I know that it has allowed me to devote time and energy for many projects that matter to me.

All the same, it took me three years before giving a try to fan fiction based role playing. Since I gave it a try in 2008, I never stopped indulging in this creative outlet, though by now I know that the Star Wars universe is really the one that speaks to me, after having dabbed into a couple other universes.

As for vidding? Well, it was the same pattern, as it took me three years of thinking about it and hesitating, before I created my very first video in 2005. By now, I only keep my YouTube channel for selected (i.e. mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy genres) videos. All of them are creations I consider good enough to be featured on a professional portfolio. After more than eight years and 299 videos, I know I have come a very long way. And the best part is that as much as I know my style and preferences, I know I still have much room to continue to improve and experience new things.

And to illustrate my post, I decided to go dig back into my vid collection, since I have to face my old stuff as well, don’t I? So, I decided to share my second ever video, Straight from the Heart, a Mulder/Scully X-Files video, which I made early September 2005. So, without further ado, there you go:

password: heart

Am I cringing inside? Well, of course I am. This video is packed with flaws: mixed ratio, squished clips, talking heads, cheesy/distracting transitions,  a couple of ghost frames, clips that run too long, messy timing, and for whatever reason the music’s sound didn’t render all that well. I was still using Windows Movie Maker by then and it is such an early video that I didn’t even have my Aruna7 logo back then. I think that my father designed it for me only a week or two afterwards; and I switched to Sony Vegas on December 30, 2005. I remember the day because it was my birthday and I had giddy fun discovering Vegas like for six hours, before it was my birthday dinner!

I think that I used to be ‘ashamed’ of my old videos for a good while as I became to become much “better” around 2007 and 2008. But now, I look back at them with much fondness. Of course, I’m horrified by the technical issues. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have improved much. Yet, the song still screams Mulder and Scully to me, and I stand by my clip choices regarding the lyrics (except that I would have avoided talking heads, adjusted timing and added more clips to avoid some running too long).

We were all beginners once. The trick is to keep going, keep believing and working hard.

And let’s not forget the amount of times we need a helmet before banging our head against the desk, because something isn’t working as we are hoping it would or as it should!

AcWriMo is Meant for Writing (and my Brain for Plotting my Demise)

This morning, my brain woke me up at 6am, after barely two hours of sleep. The little monster had decided that I had to do its bidding (for a change) and that it was already time to go back to writing my book chapter, though I had reached my daily goal yesterday, and had even worked on some other side things. So this morning, I wrote two new subsections of my chapter about Battlestar Galactica and Blade Runner. Before having breakfast, I chatted with my father about how my brain is always plotting my demise. Then it hit me.

The perfect illustration for Me Vs My Brain is the clip from the Muppet Show that I posted to open this chapter. Guess who the little devilish pest impersonates? That is exactly what I am going through with my brain, especially as I’m unable to shut it down even when my body asks for mercy. I really am looking forward to being able to take a break during December, because I really need it, no matter how my brain tries to protest with all I could be working on. I know that I need to ensure my to-do list is fully handled before that, but I shall win. I hope so at least. If you hear cackling, this is likely my brain.

So, AcWriMo went beyond all expectation today, as I actually wrote the equivalent of 3 days of writing goals in a single one, since I wrote 3 subsections of my chapter, meaning I wrote 2695 words today, bringing my total AcWriMo count to 16380. As always, I am only counting the writing I completed for my book Women in Science Fiction Television. Once November will be over, I will go through all my blog posts written during this month and add the word count to my total, out of curiosity, but what matters in my AcWriMo goals are the two chapters and now the third extra goal which is my paper about Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, which I hope to tackle next week.

Speaking of writing, this time in a non academic way, I was very interested in two posts which brought up the notion of history for characters’ development:

Being able to be rooted in the character’s history can also help a lot when you write many characters (no matter whether it’s fan fiction, RPing, original fiction). I think it helps being able to “switch” between characters without losing their savor and uniqueness, because taking this step back makes it possible to approach them for who they are, what they went through as not to blend everyone together.

Tricking the Brain into Taking a Break

I was happy to reach a total word count of 13685 words for AcWriMo tonight. Since I had a few days during which I wasn’t able to work on my book, the average rate of almost 1K word/day is better than I would have expected even a while ago! I am hoping to finish the chapter within the next week. Plan would be to be done by next Thursday, especially as I have the documentary team visiting me to record my interview on Friday 22nd.

I am still planning my break in December, and tricking the brain into accepting that project is more challenging than I had expected. Of course, I shouldn’t be so surprised because of how my brain tends to be on overload during the past few months. So, I now have my to do list all organized for what I need to finish before said break:

  • Finish my book chapter
  • Write my paper about Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight (get it beta-ed and submit it for possible publication)
  • Finish the co-editing of the eBook I’ve been working on with a friend and fellow scholar
  • Discuss and jolt more notes down for my early 2014 vidding talk

I am very happy with the core concept I came up last night for my vidding talk. I think that it is understandable to grasp and opens for a lot of discussion. The double concept and entry points to the vidding process make me almost willing to develop a paper from it, but right now the goal is to prepare the talk, which means video examples, PowerPoint file and some reading.

While working on all of this, I have continued to catch up with TV. I picked up Primeval season 2. I had enjoyed the first season when it first came out – though had never been interested in the remake/spin off which was made in Canada. I had tried its pilot but wasn’t into it. So, I used to like Primeval and like the beasts running around and the team; but season 2 was a huge disappointment. I barely made it through a couple of episodes before just giving up. To me they just made all the characters idiots and thus making the whole thing extremely boring and stupid to watch.

Afterwards, I picked up Sanctuary at last, since I had the first two seasons on DVD for the last few years. The two part pilot was one of the least enjoyable watches I’ve had in a while. I wanted to like this show, as I thought the pitch was good and I really like Amanda Tapping. Yet, I was bored to death watching the few episodes I did. I liked Helen Magnus as a character, but the others were of no interest to me. I wasn’t invested in the show one little bit. A friend suggested that I checked out season 2 just in case, which I did, but even though I found it a bit better, it was still not catching my attention. So I gave up on it as well.

Next pick was Painkiller Jane. Once again, I had it in store for a few years but had never actually checked it yet. My friend Rose had recommended to me and I was amused that once again I had the same reaction to her about the atmosphere of the show, which I – we – find as a mix between Witchblade and Bionic Woman. I wouldn’t say that Painkiller Jane is in my top 10 shows or changed the landscape of television; but I am having a good time watching the single season it had. I like this type of stories, and it is good to see Kristanna Loken have a great character. I had been disappointed with her Terminator character in the third movie from the franchise (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is the one production I didn’t like in the franchise, in opposition to the three other movies and the TV shows Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles). I also am happy to see other familiar faces in it. So I’ll continue to watch Painkiller Jane and will actually keep my DVDs this time!

Back on AcWriMo track!

The last few days didn’t allow for me to work on my book chapter, but I am glad to say that I am back on track and that my current AcWriMo word count is 12690. The chapter is going well and I hope to finish the full second section this week. I follow the same structure for all the chapters so far and it tends to work really well for my writing. I function with intro + 3 sections (all divided in 3 subsections) + conclusion. The breakdown makes it less daunting when I work on each part. Using the word count and calculating my breakdown has been of huge help to me since my first Master degree when a teacher of mine who taught both in the US and in France gave me that tip.

I have been suffering from a bit of a burnout with all my amount of writing and other academic projects so I am considering taking December off, as the last real break I took was in June. So, once this chapter (i.e. my AcWriMo goal) is completed and that I am done doing the co-editing of an eBook with a friend, I will probably postpone the next book chapter to January. Of course, I already have a trillion ideas of things to tackle during my possible “month of break”, but being able to put the current major project on hold is likely what I need right now. I have hand written notes on different side projects I will be able to compile and type up, though I won’t be drafting any actual parts of those. This break would also allow me to go back to vidding, not just for my #300 but for a few others. Doing that along with continuing to catch up with TV and movies, as well as possibly some reading will probably help my burnt out brain. I’ve tried to ignore the lurking burn out for more than a month but it made itself known to me last weekend.

Going back to vidding would also help me prepare some more my blog series about female role models from when I grew up, in terms of media characters. I know I have been hinting at it for a while but I really want to have videos for them – at least the characters who don’t come from novels or comic books! – so that means I need to vid again as I have videos only for one or two of them! I am glad that I have good material to write about on this blog in the meantime though. I seem to have better inspiration in comparison to when I first moved to WordPress in June.

I have also been catching up with Lost Girl some more during the past week. I had enjoyed the first season and the second one really blew me away. I just finished the third season. I admit that the first part of this third season left me rather disappointed, no matter how there were still great moments between characters. Yet when the arc of the dawning kicked in and the episodes that followed afterwards reconciled me fully with the show. I really love it, and the characters’ relationships are outstanding in my view. I love how there are so many dynamics between the six main characters and how they are a family no matter the issues that take place. I also want to say that Lost Girl manages to depict a love triangle I actually enjoy. I tend to get very annoyed and tired of those, especially when such things drag on. But the triangle between Bo/Lauren/Dyson is really well done. It works with the story line and character development for all of them, including the political and species stakes that happen as seasons go. I also have to say that a certain scene between Lauren and Dyson in the last part of this third season really blew me away. I was afraid that it would just not work well and be easily cheesy or bickering, but it was just poignant to me.

After the crazy finale of the third season, I can’t wait to watch the new fourth one! I am very excited about it, as much as I can’t wait for Continuum third season next year. I think it’s safe to say I am quite addicted to those two Showcase shows. And on that note, I will leave you with one of the teasers for Lost Girl season four!