Ever since the beginning of the decade, I’ve been super into the idea of Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month if you don’t know what that is… Though considering that there’s a 95% chance you’ve discovered this blog post via one ofmymanywebstories, surely you already know what that is.
Well, it’s finally the end of Nanowrimo 2019, and it’s also the final one of the decade.
Throughout the decade, I have made, or at least planned, a whole bunch of different Nanowrimo attempts, the vast majority of them failing spectacularly due to various reasons. Let’s reflect on them:
2010 – “The Ultimate Piece of Fiction!” (or something like that) – in early high school, I got REALLY into TVTropes and the idea of me actually becoming an author of sorts, despite writing very little prose up to that point. But I decided months earlier that I wanted to write the longest work of fiction of all time, with way too many characters and constant “ninjas burst through the walls!” moments to keep the plot ever-moving. I can’t remember if it ever got further than that, but by November, I had completely forgotten about the project and had moved onto another webcomic idea (that never happened).
2011 – Didn’t exist. Too busy with Homestuck and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to do much creative work, let alone a novel in a month.
2012 – Beyond Nova Sparkles – My first completed Nanowrimo! Yay! Well, “completed” is a loose term when so much of the story was characters going insane and repeating the same words over and over for pages, or creating a gibberish language that was easy to copypaste. This one was interesting to me because it became a stealth short story collection for me; I wrote like eleven different stories and shoved them into this story to add to the wordcount, and it helped me get in the mood for short story writing, something I would continue for quite some time. (Also, the plot was in the POV of a sole electron for 1/3 of the story and I respect that a lot)
2013 – “Existentia Phantasticus” – This was my attempt at a brand-new fantasy world that didn’t just use the generic Tolkien/D&D-esque races and had cool mythological races from all over the world. It was going to be a short story collection set throughout a big timeline… But I only wrote about 10,000 words of one novella and then 3-4 flash fictions written on index cards. It probably will evolve into something else someday.
2014 – Didn’t exist. I don’t know why. Maybe I was too busy working on Sandswept or something?
2015 – Complex Visual Novel – Some internet friends of mine had been working on a “Homestuck Dating Sim” for quite some time, but the project was about dead by 2015. However, we had developed some really cool game mechanics and I wanted to test them out in a small, not too ambitious game all by myself! Then… I found out… that complicated visual novels are really hard to design and write by yourself, no matter the size… I still won, though! It was at the very last second, 51,000 words on November 30th, but I still won… and then promptly never picked up the project again. I’ll finish it in like 2025 or something.
2016 – “The Luminous” – A time loop drama that I got about 6,000 words into, then scrapped and started over, then got another 6,000 words into, then gave up on out of laziness because I was an exchange student in Nagoya and “wanted to spend time with friends.” Blah.
2017 – “Lesbian Swordfighters from Mars.” – I didn’t start this, and you will never find out what it was going to be about.
2018 – “Your Silver Garden.” – I was 1000% ready to knock this novel out of the damn park! But then a week before November, I got a call saying “hey wanna work in Japan but also you have to get all your paperwork done and move by the beginning of December?” This one honestly bummed me out, because I coulda done real good with it. This is another story that I will definitely come back to in a few years.
2019 – How I Became a Hero Without Leaving My Hometown! – My very first LitRPG, something I learned the hard way is NOT recommended for a Nanowrimo because of all of the annoying tasks you have to accomplish like organizing stats and quests and writing lots of “in-game” text. Did I win? Yes! I did! But it was only because I marathoned the last 15,000 words in one day!
The main thing I’ve noticed as a trend is that almost every year, I tried doing something fresh and new, something experimental or gimmicky, with my Nanowrimo, and put way more strain on myself than you’re ever supposed to with this challenge. From experimental POVs to entirely new mediums, I kept my ambitions way too high almost every single year.
That’s probably a good thing, though; at this point, writing 50,000 words in a month is not really a challenge for me. I’ve done it many times before, and the more I get into the web fiction scene with my upcoming stories, the more often I’ll keep doing it. Nanowrimo is supposed to be a fun and annoying challenge that forces you to write a project you otherwise wouldn’t get around to starting, and so I am glad I kept in that spirit… even if I didn’t win very often…
Here we are folks, just two and a half months from the end of an entire decade. It feels like only nine years and ten months ago that I was a teenager going around to dozens of internet forums trying to figure out, scientifically, what the best game of the 00s was. (Here is the answer, direct from my teenage self.)
So to celebrate the fact that we made it another ten years in the history of humanity, starting in the next few weeks, I am going to be writing various articles about the decade, waxing poetic about all the good and bad and stupid and way more stupid things that happened. It’ll be about pop culture, the news, and my life wrapped up in those things. No topic is safe, as long as I’m willing to spend a few hundred words writing about them. I will be calling these articles, creatively, the 2010s Retrospectives series.
There’ll be a few more non-retrospective articles mixed in the next couple months, but the bulk of everything I post for the rest of 2019 will be about looking back on the past ten years. How many will there be? I’m not sure yet; I’ve developed concepts for a large number of them so far, but it depends on how much time I have for the rest of the year to actually write blog posts. Expect more than a handful, at the very least.
…I don’t know why I’m announcing this when this blog doesn’t have a single subscriber, but, hey, maybe that’ll change once ATL hits it big suddenly in the next week and gets a front page story on The Daily Dot or something.
So, today marks the tenth anniversary of my first post on what became “The Backblog,” a blog that started as a way for me to post articles to show other users of the old Nintendo City Forums about some of the dumb games I was playing; I had a keen and strange interest in canceled, pirated, or otherwise obscure retro games, and finally had the guts to download all the ROMs for them and take screenshots.
I have had this past three weeks “off” work, in that I have to go to City Hall every day and sit there doing nothing but use my computer rather than teach any classes. So in all of my free time, I guess I’ll be uploading a few more random blog posts than usual. Here’s one right now:
One thing I love to do in my spare time, probably my nerdiest and least-redeeming hobby, is to analyze the movie box office and see what movies are doing well, what movies are doing poorly, and how well the movies I love are performing. Even though I’m obviously most invested in what I care about most, I wish for the best for (almost) every movie, even though sometimes you just get pretty big failures out of nowhere.
In the case of the hypothetical scenario I’m about to write about, the first three months of 2019 were considered pretty terrible for the movie box office. There were a few hits– Captain Marvel, obviously, and then How to Train Your Dragon 3, but a few more big movies had major underperformances (Glass, Lego Movie 2, Alita, and now Dumbo) that have dragged the entire calendar down.
So I began to wonder one thing… what if the release dates of three of the biggest movies were swapped around?
This is something I locked away in the recesses of my mind until recently, but as I was stumbling around old computer files looking for something to blog about, I remembered that I accidentally predicted the future of video game consoles. I even posted about it in my high school-era blog, which you can read here.
It was April 2011, and I was thinking about the next Nintendo console, which I figured would be announced at the upcoming E3 press conference for a release in 2012. I figured what the essentials would be for a new system, what Nintendo absolutely needed to survive in the field after the Wii’s lagging end-tail sales, then what I thought might be able to be enhanced from the Wii era. That brought me to the idea of new controller designs, and thinking about how Nintendo loves to try new innovations, I ruminated on just what they might to to differentiate themselves.
Turns out, for all my teenage weirdness I was a bit of a prophet about the future direction of console video gaming.
First off, oh I don’t post on this blog very much do I? It’s mostly saved for when I have actual news to share, and there isn’t much of that at the moment. ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture is still running smoothly, somewhat close to ending its second big story and moving onto its third, whose title I will reveal somewhat later in the article… but only if you read on!
It’s like Christmas morning for any writer, and this weekend I finally got back some beta-reading critiques from a friend on a novel manuscript of mine. Getting your story torn to shreds is always a fun thing to go through as you revisit it for the first time in a while. Highly recommended for all writers.
It’s an old photo of John Malkovich that makes him look really smoking.
I have never considered John Malkovich in my pantheon of hunky male dreamboat actors, but it turns out that he ended up being relatively hunky in his early years after all, if this photo is any evidence.
Is it something about the combination of black-and-white and a suit, or was he actually just a good-looking dude back thirty-plus years ago? It’s hard to tell. But what I do know is this guy right here looks like he’s about to star in a neo-noir film about a dystopian future where the world is controlled by alien invaders who are mining the planet for precious resources, but John’s just a private eye trying to make it through the week on booze and cigarettes.