Hooray, more backlog

Get out of my head, AV Club: The 22 best LGBTQ+ video games to binge-play during Pride Month

(We’re halfway through, though, some of us have to work haha)

Played: 8. Arcade Spirits, Bugsnax, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Gone Home, Hades, Night in the Woods, Spiritfarer, Stardew Valley.

Already wishlisted/backlogged: 5. Boyfriend Dungeon, Dream Daddy, If Found…, Life Is Strange, SU: Save the Light. (Halfassedly; I loved SU when it was airing, and my enthusiasm evaporated immediately afterward for a bunch of reasons, both story-based and personal. Might still play it sometime with my spouse for the nostalgia factor.)

[EDIT to correct: I might not have If Found…; what’s on my backlog is a different game called if not us, and I misremembered. However, the cover for If Found… looks familiar, so it might be buried in my backlog somewhere too. The curse/blessing of bundles.]

Not played: 9. Celeste (I suck at platformers), Drag Her! (not my thing, fun idea though), Ikenfell (never heard of it, super cute!), The Last of Us part II (this is not a Playstation house, sorry), Life Is Strange: True Colors (let me play the first one and see if I like it, damn, people), Mass Effect: Andromeda (maybe… maybe, also this one sounds like a stretch?), An Outcry (never heard of it, looks scary), The Sims 4 (not my thing), Tell Me Why (never heard of it)

Okay, so roughly half-ish. Of the last category, I’d probably try Ikenfell, Andromeda and Tell Me Why, and maybe True Colors if I end up liking the first part. Do we really need two entries in the same series here? Oh well.

Right now I’m playing a game called Wytchwood that I think I just grabbed from a Switch promo or something, because I don’t recall where I first heard about it. It’s a “run around grabbing items and crafting things” game a la Don’t Starve, but instead of edge of the seat Edward Gorey style stress, it’s mostly laid-back fairy tale witchery. As in, the player character is a cranky swamp witch with a cauldron helmet and chicken feet who goes around mixing eye of newt etc. into various potions to dole out doses of poetic justice. Quite fun so far.

And now I really, REALLY need to get back to editing.

Squee, trees

We have a finished cover for book 3! woohoo! I’d say “it feels like this is actually happening”, but honestly, I’ve felt that way for a little while now. There will probably be more edits to come; I don’t know if the last act of the current draft will fly, and I’m working on that “folding together two plot points” thing from the last post. But it feels within reach!

I’ve been listing a lot of media lately and that’s not very interesting, so I’ll just say

  1. Enjoying Paper Mario: The Origami King more than I enjoyed The Thousand Year Door, and the latter was generally fine. Might actually finish this one?? [edit: I did, the following day. boy, that last battle was effing annoying. but now it’s done.]
  2. Just finished the first season of Our Flag Means Death. Direly tempted to recreate the cat flag for our wall. Maybe a mini version.
  3. Really looking forward to a concert next week, which will be the first indoor show I’ve been to since COVID hit. Feels kind of weird. Yeah sure, plenty of people have been “back to normal” for a year now, but, well, we all make our own choices. I’m cautious. I’ll own up to that. But I’m still looking forward to it.

Welcome, everything is backwards

Upon nearly finishing what was supposed? to be my final read-through, an idea came to mind to fold together two of the plot points in a way that would strengthen the themes, cut down on redundancy, and bring some of the conflict closer to the leads. You know, the kind of thing that you’re supposed to think of before writing 150,000 words.

Better late than never? Hopefully?

It would only take a substantial rewrite of three or four chapters and some smaller edits. I just have to decide when in the story to resolve this new plot point, look it over, and decide whether to do this.

Additionally: giving “My Next Life as a Villainess” too much credit, and continuing anyway

A while ago, actually

I’d say “when did this become an incoherent list of what I’m reading / watching / playing” but… see above

Finished Dear Brother, a.k.a. Oniisama-e. Very glad I watched it; there are a host of reasons why it’s a stone cold classic. And all of my opinions beyond that are a) nearly incoherent, b) mostly about the end and therefore spoilery, and c) with full knowledge that it was a product of its time.

my favorite out of context moment in the last episode, and more rambling

How long till I un-memorize this thing?

If you work on the same project long enough, it’s easy to accidentally half-memorize it — when I try to reread book 3 to edit, I tune it out. So as hard as it is to not move forward, I’ve been working on another project to keep momentum going while my brain empties out that particular buffer. The plan is to keep that up for a couple of weeks and then see if editing works.

It’s actually going pretty well. I don’t know if it’s A Good Idea to finish this one next, vs. picking up the dangling plot threads in book 3 to continue with A&K & co. next. But it’s a nice palate cleanser for now.


Finished Bugsnax in about 20 hours, including the Isle of Bigsnax expansion, which was included in the Switch version. Did not finish all of the small sidequests, but I finished all the story-related sidequests and got the “good ending”.

I did not know this goofy-looking puzzle game had such fun characterization?? and a plot driven by personal challenges and complicated relationships??? what? I love it. Also: one of the townsfolk is a nonbinary mad scientist, excuse me, what a delightful surprise. I got out of the custom plushie biz several years ago, but I am sorely tempted. I still have an annoying amount of plush and fleece boxed up in the craft room. … … We’ll see.

Next up gamewise: Actually, Earthbound, via the Switch’s SNES emulator. I don’t want to replay Night in the Woods until closer to fall, didn’t feel like starting Breath of the Wild, and didn’t have enough cash in the account to buy anything else on my wishlist. So let’s see if I make it all the way through Earthbound this time.

Three things.

First: Bugsnax is gloriously weird and charming as all get-out, and I am bad at it for the same reasons I was bad at Portal, I think — something about first-person physics-puzzle solving? But at least it’s cute and extremely weird while I flail around.

And fairly gay, I was not expecting that! Nice. To be honest, I went in as uninformed as I could be, apart from “puzzle game” and “weird and cute”. I’ll buy a ~$20 game on that much. I’ll buy three ~$20 games on that much, yet I’ll balk at one $60 AAA game if it never ever goes on sale. Looking at you, Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Second: I just read Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary, and it was delightful.

Third: Edits are going well. Cut 10,000 words this week without taking out any whole scenes — just tightening up dialogue for the most part, trimming out the parts where I wasn’t sure where the scene was going and let the characters ramble till I, and by extension they, figured it out. And it worked. I don’t think I’ve tried specifically that approach before. I like it. Very satisfying. Usually I focus on overused specific words and cutting entire scenes. I’d lost my old “overused words” list from the last draft, so this was a lucky mistake.

[edit: I forgot, I did take out at least one scene. Not many, then.]

Mostly I let the emotionally important scenes ramble; these are primarily scenes where we’re just getting from point A to point B in dialogue. Those can stand to be more brisk.

Well, back into it. Almost ready for actual beta reading, I think — and as always (ALWAYS), if you are available for beta reading and don’t mind that my budget for it is zero dollars, hit me up at wheel.of.a.different.color@gmail.com or u/ofthecageandaquarium on Reddit (not using Twitter anymore, because… well). I think this thing is legitimately ready for a beta read now. As in, I think it has as complete a plot as it’s ever going to get.

Really truly back into it now. — Now.

*epic music goes here*

Finished the Switch port of Final Fantasy IX. Man, that “double speed” mode in the remake/port is a lifesaver. I only ground up to about level 55 and didn’t go wild tracking down every last thing — just went through the story, for the most part — but the whole game only took a little over 30 hours. Nice and tidy.

I did not, as I mentioned earlier, remember much of the plot of this game, except for the beginning, the major character designs, a couple of twists, and the very last FMV (which is still adorable). I’d also forgotten how much I’d liked the score to this game.

I have no patience for fighting over which FF is ~the best~, so while I enjoy the cutesy fairy-tale style of IX, that’s not part of any kind of unified field theory of The Old Style Is Better blahblahblah. I was about 11 when I played FF original recipe, 14 when I played FFIV, and 16 when I played FFVI; those were the ones I’d call influential to my nerd upbringing, but that doesn’t make them inherently better. (Except 6’s score /jk)

There’s still a vague background goal of getting to all the non-MMO, mainline entries when possible. XIII and XV are left, assuming I’m willing to eventually bother blowing the dust off our XBox One.

Next is probably Bugsnax, which just came out on the Switch.


Story-wise, edits continue. The timeline fits together, though the characters have a packed month in there. I have the word count down to 145k from an original 152, and my goal is 140 before I turn it over to my one remaining beta reader. (no pressure, hon, you’re all that stands between us and certain doom <3 kidding. sort of) Still feel good about all my story choices, which is very encouraging.

Today is Dash Fixing Day. Does literally anyone but me care whether I’m using proper em- and en-dashes vs. two little ones –, almost certainly not. Nevertheless. A fine Dash Fixing Day to you all.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Still at it. Big Dramatic Scene is done. It’s far, far, far too long, but I will worry about that in the next round of editing.

I think this draft might actually work? It will need some tweaking and edits, especially to carve down its 150K+ word count, add more descriptions (blank white room syndrome strikes again), and make sure all foreshadowing is retroactively included. But… I think it will work. I think we’re actually going to see this thing released eventually.

Huh.

(Yes, epic fantasy is routinely longer than 150K. That’s fine. Books 1 and 2 came in around 130, though, and I don’t want to overshoot that with 3. Even that’s a lot for a series where nothing happens.)

On to the denouement. — Though now I am questioning the very little I know, because the definition of “denouement” I’m getting from the internet is opposite what I learned as a wee sprout. I learned that the denouement comes AFTER the climax, i.e. “ah, at last the kingdom is saved. FOR NOW…” Google is trying to tell me that the denouement IS the climax, which I thought was only the case if you’re writing a cliffhanger.

Can you tell I have studied writing for a total of… like, one elective in high school and comp 101 in college

oops