After many long years, I am finally making another appearance! I’m heading back to Penguicon, and they’ve put me on some panels! So, if you want to see me in person, or if you want to hear me read from one of my works, this is where to go! Here’s my schedule:
Friday, April 22
5:00PM – From Fan-fic Writing to Writing for Publishing
The first writing stream was a resounding success.
Stepping back and using a cold eye, the streaming measures were very good. There were more than average viewers for most of the stream. Chat interaction was nearly non-stop. Jokes made during the stream kept going in the Discord server, increasing activity there.
Okay, now I feel a little dirty. Let’s focus on the writing. After I’d finished the first draft, my Alpha/Beta Readers had given it back with two major edits needed. I’d been meaning to get back to this piece and address them. I’d put it down to step back and come back to edit with fresh eyes, but I, uh, didn’t come back to it.
We tackled the first edit, and we nailed it. We identified where details could be added, which details, and in what way. In an hour and a half, I had a (nearly-complete) blueprint of how that section needs to look. All I need to do is fill it with words.
But, let me tell you, I was nervous as hell. I was about to publicly display unfinished work that, by definition, was flawed and needed improvement. I had let it sit for so long, and would have to confront that perceived failure. Despite the voiced interest, no one could have shown, and I’d be editing into the void. I’d worked myself so much that I went to the local cigar bar to center myself, to put myself in the moment, and to let myself calm down.
Turns out that, in the end, it was a success. And I’m going to do it next Tuesday. I just hope that there’s less deep diving into the particulars of vampire feet.
Divergent Korvax designated SkipfordJ was dedicating most of their processor cycles to pondering while they managed incoming and outgoing freighter missions. Their fleet was modest, but provided more than enough profit to please the Gek aboard their capital ship.
Their bases were expanding across three galaxies, and their knowledgebase expanded as quickly as they explored. This generated a satisfaction that might be described as “happiness” by the organic Travellers they had encountered.
SkipfordJ still envied the Korvax that remained connected to the Convergence, and thus were one with the Atlas. They knew, however, that their status as a Traveller, and everything that they’d learned about the Atlas, made that impossible. As SkipfordJ had no memories of being one with their people’s hive mind, they were unable to weigh the benefits of each state of being against each other.
Additionally, their learning continued along routes that would otherwise be forbidden. The “authentic” AtlasPass v3 that they’d received from another Traveller had allowed access to information about the Atlas’ creation, its purpose, and the circumstances that led to its current state.
16 16 16 16
There was currently no way to determine how long it would take inside the multiverse for sixteen minutes to pass for the Atlas. Dedicating processor cycles to the effort would be a waste of resources until more data became available. So, SkipfordJ would do what they had always done. Collect data.
The giant ring structures that hinted at Sentinel malfunction would likely be a worthwhile target for complimentary research. The degradation of the Atlas was likely the cause of both the thinner barriers between universes and the increasingly erratic behavior of the Sentinels.
Oh, how they longed to share historical and experiential data with Nada. Ever since they’d met, SkipfordJ had wondered about the sheer volume of multiversal data that Nada must possess. What had Nada been able to analyze? What conclusions had they come to? How much had been forgotten as their anomalous space station carried them from universe to universe to universe?
SkipfordJ sent completed mission orders to each of the frigate captains, and watched them each engage their warp engines, destined for different locations in this galaxy. It was time to collect, sort, aggregate, and analyze.
Let’s go deeper into the project list. Because, why not?
For Fight or Flight, I need to set aside funds for the next artist, rather than just looking when I happen to have them handy. I think that will help the search, and I’ll be able to focus better on other projects. Maybe.
For Adam’s Name in Chicago (actual title pending), there’s more active writing that needs to be done. Susan’s intro needs to be drastically expanded, as does the battle with the demon. On top of that, it needs a full editing pass for consistency and flow.
For the No Man’s Sky fan fiction, I think I could switch over to it when I need a break from whatever else I’m writing at the time. That way, I don’t feel any pressure, and it can just be another facet of a game that I already enjoy.
For the writing prompt stuff… I have no idea. It’s dang shiny, but I feel better completing stuff than I do starting new stuff. So, I think I will put it on hold until the first two are completed.
Okay, this definitely feels like I’m on the right track.
To continue the effort to get back on the writing horse, I’d like to lay out where I’m at. List out all of the projects that feel like they’ve been scattered to the wind. They’re probably not, but, you know, impostor syndrome. Ok, let’s go!
Fight or Flight
Need an artist for the next chapter
Adam’s Name – Chicago
First round of edits
No Man’s Sky fan fiction
Never picked it back up after the character switch
Writing fiction has been difficult. It’s been difficult for years now. Even writing blog posts can feel like pulling my own teeth. With as deeply as writing is entwined with how I see myself, with how I feel about myself, this whole thing has sucked.
One of the tools I’ve used to kick myself out of a writing funk has been changing the scenery. Pick up, go somewhere else, sit down, and try again. Diners, parks, and coffee shops have been great for this sort of thing. But, you know.
This week, though, that changes. I’ve got my vaccination, I’ve got some vaccinated friends, and have been invited to join them on a road trip across the Midwest. Lots of driving, some motels, and meeting with other vaccinated friends that are strewn across the land. I’m bringing notebooks, pens, and a laptop. Oh, let’s not forget my mask and my vaccination card. (Should I say vaccine again, just for good measure?)
No excuses. I want to push through this. I want to find that zone. I want to find that place where frustration, anxiety, doubt, and stress transmute into worlds, people, and story.
It felt good to be active. It felt good to be working toward a goal, and to be making progress. I had to remind myself that the new iteration’s storage was limited, as mine had been before my journey to confront the Atlas. I disconnected several power cables, making sure my multitool was breaking them down into their component elements. Next was the ladder. I swept the beam up and down the ladder as I considered.
Elearu had given the Korvax Traveler an excessive amount of activated indium from their mine, as they had given me shortly after they’d built the facility. It made getting credits, at least in this system, an incredibly easy thing to do. Currency had become a non-issue for those on Akrodne-X, thanks to Elearu’s generosity. After watching the new iteration build a wood base, and then begin to erect pre-fabricated rooms, I knew what I could do to help, both materially and psychologically.
The ladder was gone, and its components were in my exosuit. Scanning the windows was next. What was it like, I wondered, to begin your life a short distance away from a previous version of yourself? How would that impact the new Traveler’s outlook on the Atlas, especially if they were pulled along the same trail of bait, and were given the same impossible choice, that I had? How would my bitterness taint their own experiences?
Wait. The Korvax were directly connected to the Atlas through the Convergence, weren’t they? And yet, many Korvax Travelers frequented Polo and Nada’s Anomaly station, which was hidden from the Atlas. Does that mean that every single one was Divergent, like Nada? Each one, a being designed to be part of a hive mind, and yet living their lives as individuals, alone with themselves? I stood in the windowless, doorless, ladderless prefabricated pod, and boggled. Beginning their lives with no memories or identity? The cruelty was staggering.
I began to scan the walls of the pod. With Elearu staying, and with the wave of newcomers, the new iteration would not be alone, would not be without help. In fact, I suspected that they may experience more companionship than they were ready for. They would have a better beginning here without my interference. I’d decided to disassemble the base that I’d so lovingly crafted, and gift the new iteration with all of those materials. Then, once there was nearly no sign that I had ever been there, I would follow those that came with me, and head out into the stars. My freighter would become my base, and perhaps I would come to terms with the fading simulation all around me.
I found myself staring at the security feed for far longer than was reasonable. While exploring a nearby system, I received a message from my Vy’Keen Weaponsmaster that there was a visitor to the base. This was nothing out of the ordinary; the base was open to everyone. The Colonel insisted that this one was different, and they were forwarding me the live data.
As far as I could recall, I had never met this Korvax before. They were wandering through the base, using my equipment. No, not wandering. They moved through the hallways and ladders with familiarity. They knew exactly where they were going, and precisely what needed. And yet, this was the first time that his base staff had felt the need to alert me.
As I watched, I noticed that the visitor didn’t move like a Korvax. There was a smoothness to their gait that implied an organic body. I’d only seen that in Apollo and Null. And, now that I was thinking about it, in the Korvax Travelers on the Anomaly station. Ever since it had changed, it was always full of all manner of beings from across the multiverse. And they all moved in the same fluid way that singled them out for what they were. So, our new Korvax friend was a Traveler.
Their multi-tool was low-end, and their ship was that little red and white fighter that I’d spent so long using. How long had it been since they’d awakened on a hostile world, with no concrete memories, a broken ship, and an exosuit computer that had just enough information to give them a chance of survival? It couldn’t have been that long, but they hadn’t come here first. They’d had a chance to customize their gear at a station Appearance Modifier. And what they’d chosen made the situation stranger yet.
If I had been a Korvax, rather than, well, me, I would have chosen nearly that exact configuration. Alternating purple and black, smooth armor rather than the leathers I wear now, compact and efficient armor rather than sturdy and obvious. Had the Atlas spawned another iteration of… me? Was it betting that a Korvax would be more compliant? Or was a new iteration another bug, another sign of the simulation falling apart at the seams?
Of course, there was no way to be sure. On top of that, none of this was this new Traveler’s fault. I immediately resolved to do what I could for them, and to ensure they did not suffer the same fate as Artemis and Apollo. They would know they weren’t alone, and that there were Travelers out there that would help them.
I closed the security feed and opened a communication channel to Elearu.