There was a time…

I feel….old.

Jeez, I’ve missed using random movie quotes to express my innermost desires and moods.  For those of you playing the home game, the title of today’s (long overdue) post came from the movie Lucky Number Slevin, starring Josh Hartnett, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman, and Ben Kingsley.  It was absolutely fantastic, a feat of expert storytelling that gives you just enough information to completely throw you for a loop at the end.  The second quote was my introduction and was taken from the first, and only, Pirates of the Caribbean movie that should have ever existed. Seriously. They should have stopped after that one.

So…September 10th. Ha. Yeah. That came and went a LONG time ago, didn’t it? There was a time that I looked forward to sitting down and blogging and creating and writing. I’ll be honest with, well, anyone that reads this (not that many people actually did): I’ve not even opened Minecraft since the last post.

Heck, I’ve barely even worked on my story since the last post.

I feel…old. Seriously, I was, and still am, completely drained. My inspiration dried up, my motivation dried up, life got hard, and I got weak.  I gave up on myself. I began doubting myself again. I began tearing myself down again.  Every negative and awful thing that I’ve ever done to myself started happening again.

My wife is the most fantastic person ever because she’s been there with me the entire time, and I’m sure that it wasn’t always the easiest.

I’m not sure why I felt inspired to finally sit down and type this post.  I have nothing to show off, nothing to be proud of.  I’m not looking for pity, or for support.  Strangely enough, though, the more that I type, the more that I admit, the better I feel.

Maybe I just needed an outlet, a way to process and release everything that has been building up within me. I’ve started focusing on myself again, making sure that I am getting healthier, both physically and mentally. My goal in March is to start getting back on a schedule. I’m not sure what it’s going to look like, but I’m coming back.  After all, we all need our daily dose of movie quotes and other random connections, right?

Announcing: A Break!

I’m pooped! I ramble and make an announcement in today’s post.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: Mel Brooks is the funniest man to have ever lived.

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Well, in Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks created a character named Lili Von Shtupp, played by the amazing Madeline Kahn. When we first meet her, she is performing on a stage singing a song about… being tired. Yes, tired. From working. Nothing else. It’s a Mel Brooks movie, use your imagination.

Anyways, at one point she says “Let’s face it, I’m tired!” Then a bunch of dudes come out as her chorus, pick her up, and run off the stage, all while she’s singing about the reasons why she is tired.

Now, where am I going with this, right? Well, my job has me exhausted too. Beyond tired. I’m pooped!  I need a breather to get caught back up on my personal life, my work life, and my writing life and something has to give. I’ll be taking a two-week break from my blog so that I can build up some blog posts, get some sleep, and rejoin the living masses.

I apologize for the interruption, but I’m hoping that a breather will re-energize my power cells so that I can get back to making some top notch posts in my world! I’ve got a bunch of ideas to add in too because, gasp!, I’ve actually been writing! Anyway, I’ll be back September 10th with my regularly scheduled Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday posts!

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What’s in a Name?

I’ve been doing a lot of work on character building and not so much on world building. That’s ok, because I ramble on today like a pro!

Hey, everybody! We’ve made it to the weekend at LAST! Ever have one of those weeks that you think, “Wow, this feels like the third or fourth Monday I’ve had in a row! What do you mean it’s only Wednesday?” Yeah, that was me this week.  By the time that the end of the work day FINALLY arrived, I was looking (and acting) a lot like Robin Williams from Jumanji:

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Seriously. Even my beard is starting to look like his. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Yes, my friends, today, I actually bring you a post that is complete! Yes, it may be almost nine and a half hours AFTER when it regularly comes out, but it’s completed! I’ll be honest, I actually planned on having it posted sooner, but I fell asleep and took a nap.

Yes, a grown man took a nap. It’s not just for little kids anymore!

Anyway, on to the actual story stuff!  I haven’t done a lot of world building this week because the inspiration was just…. meh. I’ve got some ideas, but I’ve been so busy with my real-bill-paying job that I’ve not really been settled enough to sit down and Minecraft it up.  However, that doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking! I’ve made progress!

Before you ask: No, naps don’t equal slacking. Lay off my naps, people!

I’ve spent a lot of time the last couple of days reviewing my story outline.  My process has literally been:

  1. Sit down
  2. Stare at computer
  3. Go to social media
  4. Doubt myself
  5. Threaten to give up
  6. Get a spark of an idea
  7. Write the next four hours
  8. Go back and reread what I wrote and hate it and myself
  9. Sleep on it
  10. Realize that what I came up with isn’t actually too bad!
  11. Don’t touch it again for weeks as I mull over an idea obsessively
  12. Rinse and repeat

Now that I have a better concept of what my antagonist is (see previous posts) and what drives him, pieces of my skeleton have started to align and fall into place.  In fact, I actually think that I’ll be able to finish off the frame shortly, given that I actually sit down, am in the correct mindset, and, *gasp*, actually write!

It’s funny, but when I actually try to write, things get done!

Now, I’m finding myself at a new problem. I still don’t have names for anyone or anything, and it’s starting to become a hassle.  I know that the names that I choose aren’t permanent or anything, but I’m still slightly panicky when it comes to selecting a name for these characters that I’ve been slowly, oh so slowly, creating. It’s been so bad that I’ve realized when it comes to naming future children, I’m in trouble. Luckily, I’m married to the most amazing woman, so we’ll still be ok!

Anyway, naming. Yes, full circle back to the title! Names are hard.  This little project of mine has been amazing for so many different reasons, but what I truly like about it the most is that there are so many small, subtle nuances that go into story telling that I never stopped to fully appreciate before.  It’s forcing me to get creative, and between you and me, I need these types of problems to keep me from going too crazy.

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know what I come up with on the name-front. Just a warning, they’ll probably be awful!

A New Cover Photo!

Small tweaks and a new cover photo, what more could you ask for?

I don’t have anything super witty or random to post as an introduction today…EXCEPT FOR SOME HUGE NEWS! I think I’ve gotten a really strong grasp on what I want my villain to be like!  Yes, folks, I have been rolling this around in my head forEVER!  Personally, I feel that if I can’t get the villain down, I won’t be able to get the story down.

A hero is only as good as his or her villain.

My biggest struggle is that I need to make sure I don’t rely on the overused, boring tropes that one tends to find in media today.  I think that I  have a grasp on it now though, so I get to go back to my skeleton and start adding and tweaking to possibly get a good look of what book one will look like!

Boom!


Today’s post from the magical world of Minecraft deals with two minor updates.

Update 1: I tweaked the gate for the northern gatehouse.  I realized that the fence posts weren’t really very, err, sturdy? Anyway, I added some thick timber behind the “gate” to shore up defenses.  It’s a minor change, yes, but I think it looks better, for sure!

 Like I said, small tweaks.

Update 2: If you couldn’t tell from the title of today’s post, which I’m sure you could because you’re all brilliant people, I have a new cover photo for my blog! I’ve updated the northern region so much that I figured it was long overdue.  I know, I still have a long way to go, but it looks so different!

Cover photo 8:6

Sailing, Sailing…

I undertake the LARGEST terraforming project to date…I build an ocean!

When I started building all of this nonsense, I immediately loved the location–mountains, forests, and rivers, oh my!  The only thing that I felt that was missing was a large body of water.  Now, I had been looking for a map for an hour at this point and was over it.  Casually, I just thought “Eh, I can always add one in if I want it later.”

**insert facepalm here**

Stupid.

Today, I proudly present “The Ocean: A Documentary Recording the Efforts of an Idiot.”


Ocean 07 This area looks quite different from the last time we saw it. Don’t recognize it? Good. It’s supposed to be a lost/hidden portal between the various realms. It’s now overlooking the ocean for those romantic dates one takes in between saving the world and traveling between the realms.


Below, you’ll see a brief slideshow showing the update to the area. Yeah, I mixed it up a little bit this time. Sometimes you just have to end with the finished product and then go back and show the stuff off. It’s like eating dessert before you eat your meal.

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The last thing I would like to share is an updated map. Now, today’s post actually only showed a small portion of the work that went into this post.  Honestly though, if I were to show you pictures of the other areas I worked on, it would be awful because it would only show water.  So instead of boring you, dear readers, I’ll show you a map that shows what I’ve done.  The first map will be a “before” taken from a month or so ago, and the second will include the coastline and our new ocean.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking, “That’s it? Really?” However, when you actually walk around the world and the coast, you can’t see ANY land across the water. That was what told me that I had done something worth doing. It’s crazy how different the world can look when walking the land as opposed to flying over it or looking at a map.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Blown Up…

Things start getting nice, and then I get reminded that nice things come with great responsibilities.

Building roads are fun at times, insanely frustrating at others.  On the one hand, I love adding them because it’s a HUGE step in actually turning this land into something more.  On the other though, it forces me to make decisions a little rushed? I’m making guesses at what I want this town to look like, what if I place the road off?  I know, suck it up and move it, right?

Anyway, I only need to build what would be deemed “the main road” into the east and west of the palace district’s town square.  I’m finding that scale is difficult, however. It’s a main straight away, and the main conduit into town, so I feel that it should be larger? Maybe I’ll consult my super-smart brother!


Sidenote: I’m watching the end of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Man, Dreamworks pulled NO punches on this one. Even though I’ve already seen it, the emotions and expert storytelling in this movie are too much! I’m not crying, shut up. It’s my allergies. End sidenote.


Disaster strikes.  I wasn’t paying attention, and then I heard the tell-tale hiss of a creeper.  Here are the results…

Map 04:25 1-4

It was like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle. Except, you can’t look at all the pieces at the same time.  And there were no edges.  And the map, before the explosion, wasn’t exactly a square yet.

It was hopeless. Yes, my friends, it was useless.  I had to start over, which was really a blessing in disguise.  It forced me to go back and finish the ENTIRE map this time, so no more awkward blank spots.  Also, I added some unique features, namely a solid obsidian case.  Try to blow that up, you creeper jerk!

Boom! Creeper-proof! Now, this makes me feel like I need to make sure I put a map room of sorts in the palace, whenever THAT build actually happens!

Like, woah!

Overview of the city. My mind = boom. Also, I share another book!

I need to be honest with you all;  I doubt myself…like all the time.  Constantly. It’s brutal.  I am my harshest critic, and I don’t let anything slide.  There are still times that I question if this is a good idea or if this is just a huge distractor that I’m doing to avoid writing and *gasp* question whether or not THAT is a huge waste of time. I’m telling you, it’s a never-ending spiral down the rabbit hole that is my mind.

It’s not super healthy.

Anyway, this post is different. This post is talking about the OPPOSITE of what I usually think and do.  But first, a quick blurb about another book I just finished reading.  This time, I read Wizard Defiant, book one of the Intergalactic Wizard Scout Chronicles by Rodney Hartman.  I first heard of this book from Signal Boost, a Geek and Sundry YouTube show in which people recommend things they like.  I decided to check it out, and I have to admit, it wasn’t like anything I had read before.

It starts off purely science-fiction. Futuristic, full body battlesuits that make the wearer like a Power Ranger, jerk trainers abusing their trainees, etc.  Not exactly what I was expecting from a book with the word “Wizard” in it.  As the book progressed, Hartman does an excellent job of merging the science-fiction and the fantasy together into one piece of literature.

The only criticism I will give of this book is also a compliment all on its own.  Hartman, a retired Army veteran, is a no-nonsense kind of writer.  He doesn’t get into a lot of the frilly fluff material, and Rick, the main character, is sometimes a little bland.  However, he had trained in the armed services for a good chunk of his life, and he’s supposed to be a “Yes sir, no questions asked” kind of guy.  So, even though as you’re reading and you’re like, “Dude, this guy is boooooring,” take a step back and think about what a character in his situation is supposed to be.  Hartman makes it work.

Oh, furthermore, combat scenes usually make me want to bash my head against the nearest wall.  They’re either rushed, too convenient, or not thought out well enough, but Hartman does a pretty good job with them. Once again, I would assume that it has to do with his background in the Army.

Anyway, check it out. It’s available on the Kindle for $2.99. If you don’t like it, at least you’re not out a bunch of money, right?


Ok, now on to the main event.  The thing that made me have a little bit of faith in myself for once.  This screenshot….this screenshot did it for me.

WorldWhen I took this screenshot, it was the moment that I realized I had something awesome happening.  Not only am I figuring out the actual layout of physical locations, but I’m also figuring out the story and lore of buildings in the city as well.  Things that I would never have thought about are now fleshed out.

I know I still have an incredibly long way to go, but I’m feeling so inspired to keep working and improving. Now that my brother is also helping me out, I feel even more confident in myself than I have felt in a long time!