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Hello! Welcome to the Community. 

Here are some rules:

1. This isn't the place you come to spam people with selling things. There are loads of other places for that. 

2. Don't trash other people. Even if what they're doing isn't what you're doing. If they need help, help, but don't knock anyone down to "help" them. We're here to support one another. 

These rules are etched in stone. 

Making some progress on my project.  I have a solid idea about what I want to do, but I don't even know if the system I'm using is really OGL.  I want to get a hold of the system's writer, but I've been having trouble on that front.  Hopefully things will change soon.

Greetings!  I wanted to say hi to everyone as I have joined this group with the intention of becoming a better writer for tabletop role playing games.   I... admit I am not a good writer, but I want to improve in whatever way I can.  I have a project I'm working on and it needs a lot of work, both mechanically and story wise.  Wish me luck everyone!  I'm going to make a go of this!

 I am so sorry to have let this slip off the radar. But we'll get it back on track. 

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It's 2016, and let this be the moment where we commit to developing good stuff.

Have you seen the FiYoShiMo index lately?

Loads of stuff coming in the next few weeks. I need to get better at Community things. This is me signing up for accountability on that.

So here's a sneak peek at the idea I'm announcing Monday:

1. November is NaNoWriMo, and I am not a fan of NaNoWriMo. Here's why:
a) Speed is not the chief tool for writing
b) Fostering some sense of competition makes things like craft seem secondary
c) Provides false hope to writers who think that all they need to do to be the celebrity authors they idolize is write quickly and not focus on the steps of development, especially if those are weak areas to begin with
d) If people are intending to write and be published, why save it all for November? 

2. So I'm going to propose December is FiYoShiMo, or Fix Your Shit Month.

EVERY DAY in December, I'm going to post something that will take a writer through a mid-level revision process, in the following order:

Part 1 (December 1 to December 5) - Five Days of Beats, Theme, and Tone
--> The basics of storytelling

Part 2 (December 6 to December 12) - Seven Days of Character
--> 7 things to look for when you're building characters from the ground up

Part 3 (December 13 to December 19)  - Seven Days of Plot
--> 7 things to keep in mind when you're building a conflict

Part 4 (December 20 to 24) - Five Days of World Building
--> 5 components for making a world feel realized and accessible to people, not just as a place where this one story happens

Part 5 (December 26 to 31) - Six Days of Pitching, Packaging, and Wrap-up
--> 6 things to think about when you're done writing and need to know what to do next

It's ambitious, and yeah, I know it means I'm going to have to do a lot of prep in November to have posts lined up, but I'm up for it. 

Are you? 

THIRTY-FIVE MEMBERS! I'm blown away. 

Here's something just for you guys. This will never be a blogpost. Call this bonus content. 

Dear Creative Person,

Hello. I hope this message finds you well. I admit to being very nervous, both about writing to you and how you'll receive this. I want so badly for you to think I'm smart enough or good enough, and I don't want to give the impression that I'm stupid. Forgive me, I'm really trying so hard not to pepper this whole message with sentences that start with 'I', but I just want to show off a little - I want you to see that I can be as good as you, so maybe you'll give this a little extra attention. I assume you're very busy, and I hope that reading this letter can make its way into your schedule without too much intrusion.

There are so many questions I could ask that I don't know where to start! In my head, I've written this letter to you maybe a dozen times, starting off by quoting your own work back at you, then immediately not doing that because maybe you'd think that's dumb, or worse, cute. This makes me wonder if you wrestle with the same things I do: communicating, doing your best, working often, doing what you think is right and good. I wonder if you struggle with that balancing act between chasing dreams and being practical. Do you? Does it suck as much for you as it does for me?

I want to start by telling you I'm a big fan. Not like a superfan, I mean there isn't a wall of my bedroom plastered with your photos and printed out tweets, I guess I mean more like I'm really proud of you. I'm proud to know you've made things, or that you are making things, and I'm proud to see your efforts turn into things that inspire others. I doubt there's anything greater than that. Maybe babies laughing. Or nachos. Those are good too,

You inspire me, although we've never met, but if we did meet, I'm pretty sure I'd be a stammering mess around you, which I'd later just kick myself for, you inspire me all the same. To keep making things. To keep wanting to make things. To keep pursuing this goal I have for myself. It's sad to say, but even when there are people around me who support me tirelessly, there's something otherworldy about how your success motivates me. And not in that denigrating "if that person can do it, anyone can" way, but in that "this person works so hard, I bet I can do that too" way.

Is that silly? Is that wrong? I'm so scared that every word in this whole letter is just further evidence that I shouldn't be making anything, that I'm not being as fully impressive as I should be, that the paragraphs should be rich with clauses and semicolons and all the other trappings that mark the good sentences that people who I think are way better than me do things. Do you struggle with that insecurity? Are there people who you think about who make you feel like whatever you're making is some training wheels paint-by-numbers first time near art sort of effort? What do you do then?

I'll tell you what I do. I get scared. Not scared enough to quit, but certainly scared enough to slow down. Sometimes, I slow down to the point that work sits dusty, or virtually dusty, and I feel like I need to work doubly hard to make up for the delays and the fear. That's when I find myself trying too hard, and when I get even more frustrated that I'm just not doing enough, and because I'm not doing enough, I must not be enough. I hope you don't laugh when you read that sentence, it's the scariest one I've written so far, maybe ever.

There are so many questions I want to ask you. No, I won't ask you where your ideas come from, I saw that one time you sighed on that video from that event you went to, and I would hate to make you sigh, god I can barely stand it when the people around me sigh, because of course I think they're thinking that I'm foolishly wasting my time by trying to make stuff. I mean, are they? I don't know. But I've been thinking that they have been for so long, it's almost comforting just to keep telling myself that. I'm not even sure I know how to stop saying it in my head at this point.

Instead I want to ask you if you're like me. I know you've got to be somewhat like me, the creative person who's trying to balance all the not-as-creative things with the creative things, the person who has to pay bills or do dishes or raise kids or deal with a spouse or be present in your relationships or go grocery shopping or try and fight a cold. But do you do what I do and worry that while you're doing that stuff, you're wasting the creative time? That right there, in the grocery store parking lot, when you have that moment of "I should do something and earn money, and this is what I'll do", that you're never going to succeed, because you're supposed to be inside buying eggs and cereal and not forgetting the coupons? I keep reading on the internet about how creativity is infinite, but I'm too painfully aware that I'm finite - I have limited time, limited energy, limited hope. Though, frankly, the fears and doubts seem pretty infinite too. I'm starting to think I won't send you this letter.

Do you struggle with all the politics? Does it bother you that so many other people seem so hellbent and consumed by the need to shout about labels or equality or representation that you start to think nothing will sate them? Does it paralyze you the way it does me when you see so many people complaining about everything from a character's hair to their word choice that you'll never get it right for them? And then you remember that thing you read a few weeks back that you're not supposed to be writing for them, but aren't they the ones who are supposed to give you money for what you wrote? Where's the balance? Where's the sense? What am I supposed to do?

It's so discouraging to be around that toxic complaining. It seems to be a milkshake of fear and anger and label-slinging, and I admit that it's made me abandon so many projects just because there wasn't a way I could do what I think they'd like. I mean, I'm just me, and I'm probably not worth listening to. There are so many other talented, intelligent, marvelous people in the world, and I get so sad thinking that because of who I am, what I am and how I am, that I'll never be worth listening to. That thought makes me feel so alone, and then so sad for all the people who spend their time trying to point out divisions rather than what can unify us.

What could really unify us is to put down these banners, and see that the fight isn't about who is or isn't supposed to be doing or not doing things, or who should be included and who should be discounted, but that we can all do stuff, whatever we want, and not everyone's supposed to like it. Maybe that's too lofty an idea. Maybe that means people would have to do something other than fight so much. Maybe that means I just don't get it. I don't express that idea so much, because I'm afraid of what would happen if it spread.

Do you worry about people judging you? Do you worry that someone somewhere is going to be really upset by what you make? That it won't matter if you tried your best, or if you did all you could think of , because someone somewhere is going to raise a fuss because something that you didn't even think would be a problem is somehow the largest problem on their radar? That's the sort of fear that makes me go days and weeks without being creative. I don't know how to solve that. I don't know if I ever will.

Do you worry about failing? I have so many choruses of voices and memories in my head, people telling me all kinds of the worst stuff, that it seems like I'm in this duel with failure, maybe on the edge of cliff, maybe while some dramatic music happens. It's like I talk myself out of even trying because the fear that later I could fail gets so overwhelming, and I haven't even done anything yet!

Does starting things scare you? Do you freak out when you see the blank page? Do you get these great electric surges of inspiration and a rush of creative gasoline that fuels a burst of pages, then like a match in a hurricane, the fire goes out, so you try again and again to make the fire come back at just that intensity? What am I supposed to do? I guess I could go slowly, and do the best I can every chance I get, but that scares me. Because it seems to take so long, and what if other people do (and produce) better stuff while I'm still working so that by the time I'm done, what I've said is irrelevant? I guess that's what makes me so impatient. I guess that's also what makes me angry and guilty about doing or not doing things.

Have you ever thought about what you'd do if you had a genie and three wishes? I know what I'd do with my three wishes. I'd use that first wish to take care of my personal worries. Things like health and being stinky after working out and that weird nausea I get after I eat that one soup with the mushrooms in it. For the second wish, I'd wish for the prosperity of all the people I love. I worry so much that me trying to be creative detracts from me being responsible or adult or good enough or who they want me to be, that I really want to make sure that they're taken care of, forever. I feel like such a burden when I ask for time to create. I feel like I don't deserve to be creative, because like a kid at dinner, I didn't finish my proverbial vegetables or responsibilities. I struggle a lot with that. I mean, I struggle with a lot of things. I hope you're still reading this. I worry I've scared you off.

My third wish, and I spend a lot of time thinking about this one, is that I'd wish for a chance. Not a guarantee. Just a chance, an opportunity, to get whatever I'm making in the hands of the people who would be most receptive of it. I know, it's a wish, and I could give myself fame or wealth easily, but I'd rather earn that, because I've so seldom felt worthy or deserving of anything. Did you know I cry when people give me gifts? I don't do it when they're around, but I usually "have to go to the bathroom" and cry a little because someone spent money on me. It's worse when they make things for me. I blubber terribly that way. Maybe I shouldn't say that to you, you're a big successful creator, and I don't think you want to know about my sobbing jags.

The internet is so full of people and places and things all with ways of pointing out shortcomings and faults and errors, do you think it's possible to just start something positive? Something where we all know we make mistakes, where we admit we're not perfect and where we know what we make isn't perfect, but rather than say for the umpteenth time how this or that is a problem, we go ahead and support ourselves and each other as we do what we do? Is that naive? Am I? I think I'd do a lot better as a creative if there were places that praised positive efforts and strategies as quickly as they cite complaints and slights.

A lot of what I see is people waiting. They're waiting for someone else to go first. They're waiting for someone to give them a map and say, "Here, do what I did, end up exactly where I am." I get that. I want that too. I look at all my friends, even people I don't know and I see them gathering successes by the truckload, and I'm just sitting here, writing you this letter, wondering if maybe I'll get that next paragraph even started, or if I'll get that thing I finished (i'm pretty sure I've finished it, I'm too scared to say so). I want that kind of success, hell, at this point, I'll take any success.

Sure, I know, you'll maybe tell me that I already am successful because outside of this creative stuff, look what I've done. Look at how I've gotten this far. Look at how I've gotten out of bed, brushed my teeth, showered, managed to put on clothes, and even eaten. But that's the stuff we're supposed to be doing, right? Celebrating that doesn't happen, not when you compare it to sales and money and announcements of big projects, right?

Wow, I said a lot here. Was it too much? Maybe. Maybe not.

Again, let me say that I'm proud of you, I'm inspired by you, and that for all my fears and doubts, I still want to create, and there's nothing better than that, when it gets right down to it.

All the best,


Plot 201 this week is out on Wednesday. There likely won't be a post out on Friday, I'm out this weekend to attend a wedding. 

Hi, everyone. I joined because I ran across John's blog a couple weeks back and even in that short period I have learned a lot. Writing has taken over my life lately and like many others, I am riding the roller coaster of emotions that come with it. 

One thing you should know about me, or rather, it will become obvious….I suck at grammar. I am the comma queen. For some unfathomable reason I thrust them into prose like decoration. Meh-- I actually signed up for a simple grammar refresher last spring, printed out all the lessons, but because of my actual writing I haven't had time to do them. :-(   

There, now you know the worst about me. Nothing like airing dirty laundry to strangers to break the ice-eh?

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This community is at least partially to blame for me writing this thing. Hopefully you'll find some good in it.
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