The hiatus is over for now

In the 673 days since my last post on Sheesania, quite a number of interesting things have happened to me so that Present Alison is a little different from Past Alison:

  • I had two birthdays. Or more accurately, I had a lot of days between two birthdays, because the birthdays themselves did quite a bit less to change me than all the other days in between.
  • I finished high school and started college in the cornfields of Indiana, studying computer science at a Christian liberal arts school.
  • I had two internships doing software development work and learning how awesome LINQ, ReactJS, Scrum, and having money are.
  • I met Brandon Sanderson, talked to him, and even got to play Magic: The Gathering with him.
  • I knit an entire mistcloak, using more than 3 kilometers of yarn.
  • I watched Rogue One. My soul hurt. Enough said.
  • I started working on several new worlds in addition to Sheesania, some of which actually have magic or other significant speculative elements.
  • I discovered that I need to write short stories to stay sane at college. I am quite content with this price for sanity.

And I decided to get some of the things I’ve been working on together so I could post them here, and make Sheesania a better reflection of Present Alison. So over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a variety of stories, programs, essays, and other miscellaneous things that I’ve created in the last 673 days. And then we’ll just have to see what else I manage to come up with after that.

Updates & Changes

A month ago, I rewrote some category descriptions, moved some things around, updated some information, applied a new theme (finally getting a WordPress child theme working), and…well…that was it. I haven’t posted anything since. In the past I’ve generally tried to post something every week, but that hasn’t been happening for the last month and I don’t think it’ll happen in the future. I’m at a point now in most of my pursuits where I have the skill and confidence to take on bigger projects…projects that don’t as quickly produce presentable results. For instance, I’ve been working on a new imaginary planet for several weeks, developing its geography and climate, and now have this beautiful map to show you:

What, you can't read it?

What, you can’t read it?

So I’m thinking that in the future I will be posting less often, but I’ll hopefully be posting better and larger things when I do. At the moment I’m working on multiple arrangements and songs I’ve written, a story that is rapidly approaching novella size, the planet portrayed in that somewhat busy map (my first world with magic in it!), and a tutorial with lots of pretty screenshots. So I have not disappeared! I am still committed to working on and presenting here my various creative projects.

A vacation

My family recently flew to the United States, where we’ll be taking a break for the next two months. I’m going to be busy seeing friends, visiting colleges (!), and reading piles of books, so I won’t be posting regularly for the next two months. (Indeed, my posts have already been getting erratic, since I’ve been busy finishing up schoolwork and packing.) However, I’m still writing a (very long!) review of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire, and I’ve been working on Arandui language and culture. So I might still post during my vacation, but don’t expect anything.

For now, though, let me leave you with a very exciting preview of a song I’m working on.

See you in December!

I won Camp NaNo!

2014-Winner-Facebook-CoverThis month I’ve faced many trials: stubborn narrators, confusing symbolism, disobedient characters, writer’s block, fear that what I’m writing is rather boring, and most of all, tricky questions of font choice. But in the end I managed to write 30,000 words as I challenged myself to at the start of July. In fact, I wrote 30,135 words, and I did it in only 25 days!

My resulting draft is only the beginning of the novel – there’s still a lot more to go – and it has a lot of problems. I need to do some major rethinking about how I’m going to present some aspects of the story, and I need to wrangle my narrator into shape, too – he sounds much too young and much too gloomy. (I have discovered that it is very wearing for me to write a story that’s so serious all the time.) But I still like the idea, and I feel like my draft has some promise. There are scenes in there that I’m proud of, even if they’re kind of awkward right now.

So can I read it?? you ask. Not yet! Not nearly yet! This is probably the most unpolished draft I’ve ever written, but I’m proud of that fact – I generally find it very difficult to put something bad down on paper, but this NaNo I managed to keep going, keep writing, keep pressing on even when I wasn’t completely sure that last paragraph actually had anything to do with anything. However, I’m hoping to keep working on this story, and if I manage to finish it and get it into decent shape, perhaps you will be able to read it.

Anyways, now that I’ve finished Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll return to posting something here at least every week. As always, if there’s something you’re particularly interested in hearing me write about – something about Sheesania, something about books, something about religion, whatever – let me know.

I’m doing Camp NaNo!

2014-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Every year, a bunch of insane writers like myself spend November trying to write a 50,000-word novel. The people behind this challenge, NaNoWriMo, are probably part of a giant conspiracy with psychiatrists to make people crazy so they can all get more money, because they also run sessions in April and July! And what’s more, they call it “Camp NaNoWriMo” as if it were some sort of happy adventurous nature thing, instead of a tense, caffeinated race played inside, hunched over a screen. Fortunately, they are a bit kinder to us during Camp NaNo than during NaNo proper, since you can set your goal word count during Camp, and during NaNo you just have got to do 50,000 words.

This year I’m going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo in July, writing a novel called And Then We Can Finish the Story and aiming for 30,000 words. I’m not done planning it yet, for sure, but it’s already taking shape as a rather convoluted story, filled with a little too much symbolism, set in my imaginary world, and having a great deal to do with the themes of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Well, that’s very nice, you say, but why are you telling us this in May? Because, dear Reader, I’m so busy with school and the like that I’m going to have to do extra school in June (which is fast approaching) so I’m freed up to write during July. And because I’ll be doing extra school in June, I won’t be posting as often. I usually try to post every week, but during June and July I’ll only be aiming to post every other week, and I can’t promise anything really long or complex. (No humongous treatises on music, thank you very much.)

And when can we read your novel? you ask. Well, I’m hoping that my book will turn out nicely and be something that I’m eager to share, but I really can’t be sure how things will actually go. It might crash and burn in the first week of Camp NaNo; it might end up being horrendously long; it might end up being really, really boring; it might end up being so convoluted that I start melting my own brain; etc., etc. However, even if things go reasonably well, don’t expect to be able to read it anytime soon – I’ll want to edit it quite thoroughly before I ever put any bits up on my website. You can keep an eye on its page on Camp NaNoWriMo, though, for a more thorough description, an excerpt (eventually), and stats on how far I am.

Updates, as you may have noticed!

While I was recently traveling in America, I kept meeting people and thinking of referring them to my website, but not really wanting to because I knew a lot of it had been written many years ago and didn’t accurately reflect my current far more witty and intelligent self. And I also kept wanting to write book reviews and things about video games and other such stuff that didn’t really fit on my old website. And I was tired of having to maintain three websites and all their plugins and themes and whatnot. So I decided to do a big redesign and rewrite, which is what you’re looking at right now!

So, first of all, I’ve completely redone this site as a blog. The various categories on the left-hand sidebar are various categories of posts – on my old website, I only had a little blurb about how I liked so-and-so and any random things I wanted to put up about it at the time. I still have little blurbs (though they were all more or less rewritten), but now I also have posts relating to that topic. So in the “Writing” section, I have a bunch of posts of my poetry; in the “Books” section (which is NEW!) I have a book review at the moment.

And so now, finally, all my stuff…okay, fine, almost, barely-not-quite all my stuff is now on one website, making it easier for you to navigate and me to maintain. By the time you see this, I’ll probably have taken down the other discontinued parts of my website. But don’t fear! I still have all their old content, &c, so if you really need something from an older version of this website – contact me.

Speaking of older versions, I have removed some things I used to have – for instance, the archives of the very first version of this website, and some programs I doubt anybody will ever use. Again, if you for some reason want this stuff, you can contact me! There is just one thing I haven’t fully reposted yet, but will soon: the pictures and info about my knitting projects. I should have this done by the next decade at most, hopefully sooner.

With this new website, I’m hoping to post about all the other things I’m interested in as well as posting poetry and bits about Sheesania. Right now I’m working on a series of posts about Super Paper Mario, my favorite Wii game, though I think there are very few people in the world who are seriously silly enough to appreciate them.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the new website!