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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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A to Z 2013 : BETRAYALS & BOOK CLUBS

(An A to Z 2013 Challenge Entry)

Day 2 and letter B is on the docket. Instead of one topic, I thought I would highlight two. Supposedly there was an email sent out (before I registered) expressing shorter blogs yielding a higher likelihood that people will read the posts. It makes sense. Well, those that have been following along from the beginning know that really isn’t my forte.

It is what it is. Let’s begin today’s topics, shall we?

Once Upon a Time...
...in a lifestyle far far away...

Okay, more like 5 years ago... I was heavily involved in MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games, for those less familiar). No not World of Warcraft. Specifically one called Final Fantasy XI Online. The MMO is based on the long running, and highly popular, Final Fantasy game series.

I was the leader of a Linkshell (the game's equivalent to a guild) named The Black Omen. For a while I even owned a domain and forums for the group. It was a lot of fun, but extremely stressful at times. My job allowed me an abundance of free time to play, and I undoubtedly took full advantage. I became lost in the gaming world of Vana’diel; my escape from the real world which was ironically full of the same drama.

While playing FFXI, I was continually inspired to write, but my block remained persistent. Eventually, though, I broke free briefly and began a fanfict titled: The Black Omen: Betrayals. I only completed a very short prologue, and part of the first chapter.

Compared to my other projects like After Armageddon, Betrayals was a lot easier to write. The world, settings, economy, races, etc. were already established. This access to an abundance of resources allowed for a more casual approach. The block won in the end. I decided to post the prologue on my fiction blog, and soon plan to place up the first chapter. The hope is that I'm inspired to continue it. I have none of my old notes, but I feel it’s still very viable. It would possibly make for another good blog series.

The Black Omen: Betrayals

Betrayals is a fanfict spanning the course of the Linkshell’s timespan. From it’s fictionalized beginnings to it’s eventual end. Throughout the story would be actual in-game events and intermixed storylines. The characters involved would have been those that I met, joined and/or associated with the group while playing.

The main storyline revolves around an individual named Jak becoming the leader of The Black Omen linkshell, due to the sudden disappearance of it’s original. Thrust into this position, he struggles with maintaining balance amongst its members, finding out what happened to Drake — the linkshell’s founder — and continuing Drake’s quest of uncovering the truth behind the return of an ancient evil: Bahamut.

Some don’t agree with Jak’s new leadership, compounding hardships the group faces as a whole. Friends becoming enemies, enemies becoming friends, conspiracies, lost love, and tragedy abound.

Sprinkled throughout were various adventures and quests The Black Omen would undertake, leading up to the conclusion of the story. These incorporate some of the games actual quests, locations, and cast of characters.

It would be great to finally write this fanfict. Remembering the names of some of the individuals I played with would be hard. That aspect, keeping true to an individual's character name (if ever playing an MMO/online game, you know how said names can make no sense sometimes), may prove distracting for those reading. Never know unless you try, though. If need be I can always change them.

Nerdlings Read

Aside from writing, I’m a pretty avid reader. I like a variety of authors, but the majority of them tend to be Fantasy/Adventure novelists. Jordan/Brooks/Goodkind/etc. etc. I dabble in Dean Koontz and Stephen King as well. With King I've found I stick to short story/novella compilations. For a long time I was uncertain I actually liked his writing style enough to endure it on an epic scale. This may come off as sacrilegious to some, but The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger solidified that thought with me.

That was years ago, though, and I’d very much like to reread the first book and finally read through the series. There are various mechanics and techniques he uses that ring true to my own style. One being the interconnectedness of a handful of his other novels to that series in some fashion. Now that I've read more King, I think I would better appreciate his larger work. Who am I to judge, anyhow?

This year some friends created a book club, and designed a simple voting system in which one or two books are chosen to be read per quarter; each quarter consisting of a different genre. The first two books were The Neverending Story and Merlin: The Lost Years. I’d never heard of the Merlin series and could care less about it, but The Neverending Story — being one of my favorite childhood movies — greatly appealed to me.

I’d even recently looked up information about the book after hearing talk about remaking the film. Finding out that the book was split between the first two movies intrigued me. I don’t fully recall the second movie, short of a few characters and the actor playing Sebastian. The fact that the book club had chosen this to be one of the first books to read was exciting.

There was an issue, though. Since beginning to write again last November, during NaNoWriMo, my overall intake of literature has severely plummeted. Actually, it's been almost completely nonexistent. I’ve read a handful of blogs and articles, but nothing in terms of novels (and I’ve quite the handful borrowed out from friends I need to read).

So time went on, and I never got around to reading either selection for the book club. I made an attempt to have The Neverending Story sent to my local library, but forgot the number associated with my account was no longer in service. By the time I got around to remembering that, the book had already been sent back. After that, I just conceded.

I contemplated just dropping from the book club. Why be in it if I wasn’t able to read any of the selections offered and attend meetings to discuss? I kind of felt like a failure. I have so far stuck with the group (it does consist of a good handful of my friends, after all) and hope to be better about being involved with reading the chosen books and discussion group.

This next quarter’s selections are: The Last of the Mohicans and The Count of Monte Cristo. I’ve never seen the movie adaptation(s) of either, and plan to refrain until after reading the books. If I can find the time to read them. It would be nice to discuss both the books and movies with everyone, this time around.

It will be a miracle, between the A to Z Challenge; Camp NaNoWriMo; and my fiction, to get any reading done this month at all!

Ever written or read any fanfiction? If so, what was it based on? Anyone participate in book clubs? Still go to the discussions if failing to read the selections (if for no other reason than they serve good pizza)? For those who write, do you find that once you begin writing regularly your reading decreases, or the opposite?

16 comments:

  1. First of al, awhh Final fantasy excuse my drooling on the floor. Secondly, Neverending Story I only loved the first movie, I think they actually produced it around where I lived. I have never been in a book club, but I sort of eat books so I probably would get bored.

    Monte Cristo isn't actually bad.

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  2. Have you ever read Stephen donaldson's Thomas Covenant books?

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  3. @Poke - ACK bring a mop! Come on now lol Have you ever played the MMO? I love the Neverending Story. I never knew where it was filmed exactly. Wonder if Wiki offers up that info. If not, Google should! Google is a gossiping hen. With all the drooling and eating of books I think I may recommend a check up ;) lol

    @Andy - I haven't, what's it about? I've a feeling this is another call or Google!

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    1. Well the original title is "Eine Unendliche Geschichte" and I think it was done with the help of the Babelsberg Filmstudios which is close to where I am from...that's now without google...ahem

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    2. Well sheesh Mrs. Fancy Pants :)~ You are more knowledgeable than I on the topic! I am but a lowly servant of Google haha

      Had you ever read the book?

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  4. I like the idea of a book club, but when I went to one with some work colleagues I found that some people took the books too seriously and were personally offended if someone didn't like something - perhaps it had something to do with us all being English teachers at the time! ;-)

    Just Ermie & Short Story Ideas

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    1. Lol nice. Thankfully, from what I heard, the discussions were very hospitable/civil. No name calling, book throwing, or murders. So I feel a lot safer attending IF I am able to read this quarter's selections.

      Perhaps you can reattempt a book club, no?

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  5. Hey Jak I highly recommend 'The Stand' by King, I find his brand of storytelling to be very addictive, for fantasy I like Moorcock.

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  6. I've never really enjoyed reading King. Probably because his stories creep me out.
    I am in a book club, and we've been together almost 6 years now. We are very good about reading the books, but we rarely spend more than a few minutes discussing them anymore. We used to, but we became good friends who only get to see each other once a month. We tend to spend our time catching up.
    I am not writing a book, just a blog. (I hate saying "just" a blog, but don't have anything better at the moment) Since I started doing that, my time reading has declined considerably. I'm OK with that.

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  7. @Rch - I definitely plan to read The Stand. I've had it borrowed in the past for months and just never read it. I'm weird like that.

    Currently I have the first Game of Thrones book, American Gods, and a Discworld(?) novel borrowed to me. I'm way behind, not including the book club selections.

    I've never heard of that author, but I'm all about fantasy. I will look him up. Any book in particular?

    @In the coop - Sounds like the club ran it's course and transformed into what it should be! :)

    King's work can be creepy, same as Koontz. It was the writing style that rubbed me the wrong way for a long time, though. But yet, his short stories/novellas always inspired me to want to write.

    Yeah don't say "just." sounds like it's shrugging it off as of little importance, which is definitely not a case.

    Glad I'm not the only one who has had some deteriorating intake of literature once they began writing!

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  8. I've just decided to start reading some of Stephen King's books since my crit partner has been reading his work. I think I'll start with some of his classics. Christine or Carrie, something like that. And yeah, I've written and read fan fiction, but haven't done either in more than three years. I've been writing original work now and my brain won't work for fanfiction anymore-lol.

    Karen

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  9. ~Gasp~ about Stephen King! I've never played those sorts of games, but the techs at one of my old jobs would play all day. Apparently, they had way more time than I did. Then again, their department took up the only floor and I was the only billing/collections person at all. Period. That would explain it, eh?

    Yeah, as you've seen, I don't do short posts, either. I figure if people are interested in what I have to say, they will read it, and if they aren't, they probably shouldn't be reading it, anyway. However, my posts are way shorter than they could be! I leave so much out just to fit it all in there.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  10. Ha! I share your view on King actually. I prefer his short stories and novellas over his novels and sometimes, I've really not liked his writing. But other times, I've appreciated him. I can now claim to somewhat be a fan at least, though I stand by my appreciation of his short stories more than anything.

    Since I started writing, yes... I find it harder to read. I keep myself fairly busy and tend to take on too much. I have tried to read several books and managed maybe one recently, which I only kept reading because it made me feel good about my own writing (it was so terrible).

    Though I want to make every effort to read more. And with certain changes coming in my life, I may be doing just that... but not in the way many might think :)

    I also have a very hard time writing short blogs. I read what interests me, and prefer actually seeing content opposed to just a few short sentences that take me nowhere.

    -Kristen
    http://www.kristenduvall.com

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  11. I am so glad you gave some explanations of some of the gaming stuff, cause I would have had no clue! My brother would understand completely, though, because he has done the exact same stuff!

    As far as the book club, why not just commit to reading one of the books, instead of both? You would still be participating, but hopefully also have time to do it. Just a thought :)

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  12. @Tamara - Let me know how those books are. What about Cujo? That freaking movie made me afraid of dogs for a while. Definitely not one I should have seen as a kid lol

    Hey now, fanfict can be original ;) I think? haha But it is way better you are working on your own writing.

    @Shannon - GAH! I know >.< Look away, I'm hideous! I'm working on it. Sounds like got the short end of the stick on the work front lol Then again, it is for the best that you weren't exposed to MMOs... they suck you into a black void and it is hard to escape.

    I'm of the same mindset. If someone isn't interested in reading something, being it's too long, oh well. Come to think of it, I think I mentioned that in one of my very first posts when creating this blog.

    @Kristen - Yay! It IS you lol I wasn't sure with the last post if I had the right person. Glad someone is in the same boat as I, with the Stephen King predicament!

    I'm really excited a handful don't mind lengthy posts :) I worry way too much about nonsensical things.

    I don't, however, believe I could read a book I thought sucked really bad, even if it made me feel better about my writing lol

    Hmmm Kristen, if I were to guess... I would guess you are about to have a baby and the reading you describe is in reference to reading to your newborn.

    @Kianwi No prob :) Actually, when I first began the fanfict I offered multiple informative links — like races, classes, the world itself — to help familiarize those that never heard of the game.

    I think focusing on just one book is a great idea... but, which one... Hmm...

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