Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Six potential games involving a trans affirming eldritch sex cults

(Massive) Meta note:
This doesn't mean that I'm back.  It doesn't mean that I'm not, either.

Two days after giving up on trying to write stuff, I was reading Ana Mardoll's twitter and I came up with what follows.  The only changes have been to fix the mangling of having to fit all this into tweet form.

I think that removing the pressure of trying to write is at least partially responsible for my creativity coming out to play, but that puts me in a kind of strange position because if I say, "Ok, I can keep doing this," then the pressure would be back on.  (Right?)

It's also not entirely clear that removing the pressure is enough.

One spurt of creativity is infinitely better than no spurt, but one spurt in six days (which is what it's been now) is most definitely not enough to base conclusions on.  It's one data point.  With one data-point it's impossible to even guess an interval on spurts.  It's obviously not two days (the distance between giving up and having the spurt) since if that were the case I'd have had two more spurts by now.

Maybe it's one spurt per month.  Maybe it's better.  Who knows.  If this doesn't mean I'm back, though, at least I'm giving Stealing Commas a swan song with this.  (Random, true, note.  Swans don't have swan songs.  Think of the idea of "swan songs" as the pre-medieval bestiary version of the "beasts in medieval bestiaries are entirely divorced actual beasts" bullshit.

Ok, onto stuff.

Background is not necessary, but it could be useful, so I shall stick it in a footnote.*  The short version is that there is a game in which the horrible wrongness of the eldritch sex cult --the part that's supposed to make them horrifing enough to justify the game being in the horror genre in the first place-- is that . . . it's trans affirming.

This led to Ana saying:
Mind you, given 2018 right now "eldritch sex cult that affirms transgender people" sounds pretty awesome.

Like. Is there an application I need to fill out, or....?
My mind was still on "video game", which therefore led to this:

It also seems like it could be used as the premise for various awesome games in a variety of genres.

Just going to make a random list of things that pop into my head.

Game idea one
(tweet one, two, answer)

You're the leader of a small trans affirming eldritch sex cult and your congregation has grown too large to comfortably meet in your living room.

Navigate various hazards in pursuit of your ultimate goal:
A brick and mortar church.

Hazards include:
-- Local Zoning Ordinances
-- Bigots on the city council
-- Unfair Landlords
-- Trolls on the Internet
-- The difficulty of organizing a successful bake sale
-- Jerks who protest at your bake sale
-- And More(TM)

[Question I was asked:]
I like your game.  Can it have zero guns please?
Only game idea three would have guns.  I wouldn't even consider guns in this one.

[Suggestion from Ana:]
Also, when you do get the bake sale organized, the members keep sneaking off to smootch and paint each other's nails.

Game idea two
(Tweet 1, 2, 3, 4)

(This idea sticks with the horror genre from the game that started the discussion.)

The protagonist is a member of a seemingly ordinary and mainstream church.  Then ne stumbles upon the terrible truth.  Now it's not just nir life, and possibly soul, on the line.

Can ne save the innocent members of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult that nir church has secretly been torturing and brainwashing?  Can ne prevent completion of the ritual to summon an unstoppable army that will "cleanse" the earth with their fiery swords?

Will ne finally accept that the gender binary doesn't fit nem and realize that ne would really find it quite fulfilling to become a member the trans affirming eldritch sex cult (provided ne can save the cult, and the world, of course)?

~ ~ ~

Run, hide, unravel twisted conspiracies that are unspeakably evil, sneak, hide some more, prevent angels from killing off much of the world's population, save the trans affirming eldritch sex cult from the religious culture warriors, and more in [game name], if you can survive.

Game idea three

The [evil empire] has launched a massive attack on all worlds where [trans affirming eldritch sex cult] isn't outlawed.  It's up to one (trans lesbian) grizzled ex-space marine and her (genderqueer) Cleric of Tentacles sidekick to save the galaxy with guns and magic.

Game idea four
(tweet 1, 2)

Dating sim.

"Trans affirming eldritch sex cult" positively screams, "Dating Sim!"

Naturally it will be queer as all fuck. A major subplot being the the player character getting over hang ups and prejudices via regular conversation's with the cult's wise elder.

The cult's wise elder is entirely asexual aromantic herself, but you don't have to actually be sexual to agree with the tenets of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult.  (She, naturally, has had a lot of alloromantic and/or allosexual people she's cared about in her life.)

Game idea five
(tweet 1, 2, 3, 4)

Having successfully summoned the dread gods, your trans affirming eldritch sex cult has been saddled with the difficult task of running the new theocracy.  This naturally requires a great deal of work.

Honestly, it would have been easier if world governments hadn't surrendered.  While others have easy tasks, like writing loophole free laws to ensure protections for minority religions, you got the hard job: writing the new standard high school sex ed textbook.

In pursuit of this task you will need to travel all over the world, meet interesting people, learn about various cultures, and hopefully not be an appropritive jackass.

Also: the text must be grammatically correct and error free.

Good luck.

~ ~ ~

It would be a combination of a visual novel and some kind of advanced text parsing thing, and likely way too ambitious to not fuck up in the implementation.  (Both technically and culturally.)

And, remember: Eldritch.  Textbooks that don't acknowledge (divine) mollusks as full people could make the gods irate.

Game idea six
(tweet 1, 2)

You are the chief architect of the trans affirming eldritch sex cult, and therefore tasked with designing accessible churches, community centers, and so forth accounting for a wide variety of patron needs, and making full use of the strange geometries involved.

~ ~ ~

"Yes, Möbius strips are fun, architect person, but the kids in the daycare will have enough trouble learning the difference between their left and their right without them switching every time they run down the main hall."

~ ~ ~

I never could get this idea into a tweet well, but it's important to remember how sound carries.  (Which would vary depending on the geometry involved.  For a very simple example: sound would dissipate more quickly, with respect to distance, in hyperbolic space.)

There are broadly applicable reasons for this (if you've got a sermon going on for adults at the same time kids elsewhere are doing less sermony stuff, you don't want noise from either to infringe upon the other) but also possibly (though not necessarily) ones specifically related to it being a sex cult.

If sex is considered sacred, and church is a place for sacred things, then it is not unreasonable (though neither is it necessary) to believe that there might be boinking (or just loud smooching during the previously mentioned nail painting sessions) going on in churches being designed.

A lot of people are awkward regarding such things, so you probably want to design things with discretion in mind.  This would include things like investing in soundproofing for any chapel or [whatever] in which potentially noisy rites might be performed.

It would probably also include floorplan concerns.  Specifically: if seeing someone walking down a given hallway means "Hey, they're on the way to [physical affection]," then congratulations: you've just excluded all of your awkward members from participation.  Don't be that architect.

⁂ ⁂

And that's all there was.  (Actually, more than all there was due to the last section before the break.)

I did also think about a management game where you're overseeing a larger organization.

There's all sorts of decisions involved in running a multi-church denomination and while I know precisely zip about what that stuff is, I can imagine or just make up things.

An obvious example would be how is the budget divided up in general (e.g. how much of the budget goes to maintenance?) and how are the resulting divisions then allocated (e.g. is it more important to do upkeep on the air conditioning in building X, or the plumbing in building Y; or if you do both, how much goes to each?)

Maintenance is the example I chose, but the budget also includes the soup kitchen, any outings, community outreach, helping members who are having financial woes, paying workers decent wages, maybe paying for guest speakers to come, getting Tentaclemass presents for all of the kids (that way you know none are going without), all of the regular bills (rent, power, water, heat, so forth), and so much more.

Then there's scheduling.  You don't want a given location to simultaneously attempt to host a wedding, a funeral, and bingo.  Someone needs figure out what can be done when and, since I'm assuming the game will be single player, that someone is you.

And lets say you've got an awesome speaker.  (Making up an example on the spot, might not be all that good.)  An lobster boat captain who wrote a kickass book about what it was like to come out as female to her crew, her family, the other captains she knew, and those she did business with.  Given the time she can spend, she can only speak at one or two of your locations, though.  How do you decide which ones?

Do you just pick the ones that have had to wait the longest since the last awesome speaker?  Do you ask the various locations to say what they think about how well the speaker fits their congregations?  Do you arrange for carpooling so that people who really want to listen to her but aren't in the right place can get a ride over?  (In this case you'd want her two locations to be chosen to minimize how far people not at the location would have to drive to get to at one.)  Do you set up a video camera where she is speaking and TVs + speakers where she isn't so that everyone can see at the same time?

Moving away from scheduling, what about when you're ready to open a new location?

Do you build a place from the ground up thus having all of your needs built in, do you buy a place that's a good price for the location and modify, or do you buy Gothic cathedral with really cool ambiance (but requires even more costly renovation because it's not accessible and it's made of fucking stone)?

And staffing, and delegation, and . . . blah.

And maybe getting tax exempt status.

* [] Ok, so, background.  Which, as I said at the open, doesn't actually matter.

Ana came across a game called Lust for Darkness and here's xer account of that discovery:
Me, browsing Steam: "is...is this an interesting horror game premise or just transphobic garbage?"


Sigh. Ok, I checked. It's the latter.


[TW: transphobia]

Game: "an eldritch sex cult!"

Me: "Yes!"

Game: "who modified their bodies in horrifying ways for pleasure!"

Me: "er...uh, like lobster claws?"

Game: "here's pictures of women with dicks and men with vaginas!"



Me: "Did they seriously not KNOW, because--"

Review: "The game repurposes and twists the trans symbol into a demonic symbol."

Me: "WELP."
Someone responded with:
Not only is it transphobic, but it’s also just really weak horror. I mean...that’s the best you’ve got? I’ve seen more upsetting body horror in old Looney Tunes shorts.
Which led to Ana saying this:

I was like. "Is...Is this supposed to scare me because like?"

The horror isn't just transphobic in premise (it is), it seems to actually require the player to be transphobic in order for it to work!


Mind you, given 2018 right now "eldritch sex cult that affirms transgender people" sounds pretty awesome.

Like. Is there an application I need to fill out, or....?
Which has brought us back around to where this post started.

So that's the background.

Largely aside, the writing style of the mentioned review is sometimes quite fun:
Taking clear inspirations from Amnesia: The Dark Descent and amateur pornography, the pre-release demo for Lust For Darkness is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a video game.
It reminds me of a time years ago when I encountered an ad for one of the Michael Bay Transformers movies, which informed me that the that movie included "acting" and "directing" (after saying something to the effect of "It's got great effects!")

It was true.  There was indeed acting and directing going on the movie.  Barely, but it was there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I don't think I can do this anymore

In many ways stopping posting here is the stupidest thing I could do.  That construction, however, assumes that it's a matter of choice.  I don't think it is.  I don't think I can go on.

Before anyone jumps to all the wrong conclusions:
1) I remind you that I opened up by saying that I was talking about posting here.  If say, I'm giving up, and I think I am, you need not worry for my physical safety.
2) This is the sort of thing where stopping doesn't prevent one from starting again.  Unless blogger gets very angry with me, Stealing Commas will still be here in a week or a month or a year.

When I first tried to write this post I found that I was crying too much to see the words I was typing, and my ragged sobbing breathing was shaking me so much I couldn't hit the right keys anyway.

Every time I've tried to write something about why I don't think I can do this anymore, that threatens to start again.


You know how money is always such a stressful and emotional thing for me?  That doesn't have that problem.  The realization just made me laugh.  Thinking about how I'm financially fucked is actually calming right now.  It's cold and clinical and emotionally distant and it doesn't hurt.

What was over a thousand dollars behind is now less than half that ($476.32), but most of the improvement is a result of money that I should be saving for the next major non-monthly bill, so it's one of those things where even if I had every penny needed to pay my bills right this second, I'd still be having problems in perpetuity because I'd be using money meant for the next bill to pay this one.

And you know what: I don't fucking care.  I'm screwed, there's no hope in sight.  Doesn't bother me in the least.

And ideally speaking I'd really want $1351.69 before July 1st (this includes the four hundred and seventy whatever above) which normally would have me all stressed out because deadlines, and if they're not met then deals become retroactively worse and --

I give no shits.


So, yesterday I was trying to write a post, and stuff happened, and it went in bad directions, and I stayed up like five hours later than I generally should when I'm one of those people where an hour or two can really fuck me up, and it was about a lot things and I have no idea if I;m making workds right now because I;m holding my eeyes closed to keep myself from crying.

For reasons I wanted to look into what was happening around when I brougje my anckle.  Reslearch and fact checking for the post, basically.

It was a horrible tiume in so many ways.  Trump had just been inaacuyrated, my sister;s children had been taken away, she was dforced from her home, everything wasl failling apart, J had money problems then too.  My computer broke.

i qas so fucking positive about myself and my life..  In the first fifteen days of february I wrote two articles, multiple fiction fragments, a thing about a hypothetical art project I'll never do but it makde me feel good to think about it, and other stuff as well.  (A couple of non-fiction narratives that were utter shit, a meta post that was full of hopr, so on.)

I;d also dome alote of the prep work needed to clean my house,, which I'd been planning on douing for years, and I had so many plans about what I was going to do in the uear to come which, rather unsually for me, were simultaniously realistic and completely within my mental and physical capacity at the time.

then, when I was moving the first bit of stuff grom the room where I;d sorted int a stack of said stuff into the pace where it actually belonged, I slipped on the top step of the basement stairs.  I swear I hit every fucking step on the way down.

When I came to a stop on the basement floor, the pain was absolutely indescriablabe.

Everything changed after that.

It wasn't just that my ankle broke in three places.  It wasn't just being off my hormones for fucking months screwing with my mood, it wasn't just how all of the prepert work I;d done for cleaning instead turned into things that made the mess so much worse when I had to shove everything aside to make paths big enough for crutching around.

It wasn't just how my living space got smaller and smaller as I was unable to do things as simple as pick something up and put it back where it went.

it was that all of that energy and positivity and ability to actually get fucking shit done god damned died.

And I never really realized it, but it's been a year and almost four months now, and I still haven;lt recovered.

Haven't recovered, and don't seem likely to.  Evertthing just gets worse.

So I think I;m just giving the fuck up.  My plan for the rest of today is to grab a bite to eat, go to my bedm curl up, try not to cry, drape some random article of clothing over my eues, shirts and skirts work well, as a makeshift blindfold so the sun bering out wonlt hinder me, and try to fall asleep.  Let darkness take me, make the waking world go fuck off somewhere on itls oen and not god damned bother me.

My plan for tomorrow and after is to survive.  I've always been good a that.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Still here, an introduction to fork theory, and all of the stuff that's hindering my ability to do the things I want to be doing.

My internet was indeed turned back on.  That's good and such and I thought I should let you all know.

Yesterday I got a bunch of food, which is also good because eating is important and I haven't been doing the best job of it given the limited options that I had on hand.

The whole plan to try to get back into writing by starting with really easy stuff hasn't really begun.

At this point fork theory might be a good thing to talk about.

Before I do that, obligatory "Just because I agree with one thing . . ." note:
I have read "The Spoon Theory" and "The Forks Model of Disability" and, so far as I know, nothing else written by the creators of the theory/model/metaphor/things.  My use of their theories should not be taken as an endorsement of their other views, which I don't actually know anyway.

Spoon theory, a model by metaphor of disability and chronic illness, is pretty widely known and widely applicable.  The reason it's called that, for those who don't know the origin story, is that the person who first described it initially did so using actual physical spoons as tactile representations.

The spoons represent the ability to do stuff.  Do a thing, spend a spoon.

They're finite.  When you run out spoons you can't verb anymore.  You're spent.

If one is out of spoons they can't do stuff, if a low-spoon individual doesn't ration spoons carefully they end up fucked over.

Spoon theory has the spoons replenish themselves, usually over time.  So, for example, one might talk about waking up with some number of spoons each day.

The creator of spoon theory, Christine Miserandino, wrote:
I think [spoon theory] isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness.
which has proven true and is why it's so widespread and well known.

However, given the wide range of disabilities and illnesses, there are invariably things where modifications could make it better for understanding the specific case in question.

Thus fork theory was born.  (Fork theory was named to compliment spoon theory, and did not involve the use of physical forks as tactile representations at its time of conception.)

Fork theory is for describing situations in which "the ability to do stuff" can be actively replenished.

Much of the time the forks of fork theory are treated just like the spoons of spoon theory in that you need to spend utensils to do stuff, which leaves you with that many fewer utensils and that much less ability to do stuff.

The difference is while spoons are always like that, for example:
Doing X will take three spoons, and then I won't have those three spoons to use on other things.
forks will sometimes work differently, for example:
Doing X will take three forks, but give me five back, so I'll actually be able to do more stuff if I spend the three forks now.
(Worth noting that the two ideas are not mutually exclusive.  A lot of different things go into being able to do things, and it's possible for some act spoon-like while others act fork-like.)

A really good example of a fork-gaining activity is eating when you're low on calories.  If you're not getting enough calories that will both leave you with low energy and fuck with your head, both of which make it harder to do things.  Unlike low energy due to chronic illness, though, there's an extremely straightforward solution: eat.

Given that you probably didn't set out to be undernourished, there's probably complications involved, but if you are somehow able to expend some portion of your limited ability to eat such that you're no longer wanting for calories, you will get back more than you put in.

The spoon theory doesn't really have a way to describe that sort of situation, because that's not the kind of thing it was created to describe.  (Unlike being low on calories, lupus has no cure.)

Anyway, important points from fork theory:

(Let's stick with the "three in / five out" example.)

First off, that requires you to have three to put in.  If you've only got two then the thing that you know would make things better for you and allow you to do more stuff is outside of your ability to do and instead of being beneficial to you in that moment it's more being one of the tortures of Tantalus: exactly what you need, so close you can almost taste it, yet forever out of reach.

Second, it's not always a clear and deterministic as that.  Three in five out seems like and obvious deal to take (we'll get to why that's not true later) but when it is instead, "eh, maybe you'll get five back and end up with two more than you started, or maybe you'll get none and thus have three fewer than when you started," things get more complex.

Then there's the fact that even if the five out is definitely assured, you can't always see that or, if you can see it, you don't always believe it.

In discussions about depression one thing that's come from a lot of people is something that I've come to call the horizon effect (only the barest connection to the AI shortcoming of the same name.)  I don't think I made up the term, I think I adopted or adapted it from someone else.

Anyway, it comes from a visual metaphor.  There are some things you can see, and there are other things that are too far away and thus over the horizon.  A lot of people with depression, myself included, find some things that are close and present enough to influence the decision making of healthy people are hidden over the horizon and out of sight out of mind for us.

So you might see the cost of something (you have to give up three) while the benefit (you'll get five back) is over your personal horizon.  Or you might be well aware of the benefit intellectually, but unable to feel it emotionally.  So what you know "pay three, get five; net gain of two" is canceled out by what you feel "lose these precious three, then . . . all is sadness and loss forever."

And you end up acting on what you're feeling instead of what you know, and thus lose the opportunity to gain some forks.

I do believe we're at the fourth point now, so here goes:

People often prioritize what's important, what's urgent, or both.  Notice that no part of that includes "What will give them enough forks to make it through."

Say you've got four forks and you need to do urgent thing that takes three forks and important thing that takes two forks.

You start with urgent because, you know, it's urgent.  That takes three of your four forks.  You try to do important thing but since you only have one fork left and it needs two, you're screwed.

On the other hand, if you're paying attention to your forks you can do our three in \ five out thing.  You spend three of your four and then get five, making six. (4 – 3 + 5 = 6)  Do urgent thing and you've got three forks left.  (6 – 3 = 3)  Do important thing and you've finished your the stuff that needed to be done and have one fork left over.  (3 – 2 = 1)  Woo!, you win all the things.

Which is to say, the fork model encourages you to prioritize self care.

Finally, thing five: the fork model can be used to describe things that never fill up on their own and thus always require work to get a useful number of.

Really quick oversimplified recap of all that:

Spoons and forks both represent the ability to do things.  Depending on the situation this can be energy or willpower or motivation or . . . anything really.  In order to do things you need to spend spoons or forks.

When you run out, you've lost the ability to do shit.

You start with a given certain amount of spoons and that's all the spoons you'll have to work with until the replenish on their own (which then becomes your new start.)

Forks are things that may or may not self-replenish, but can be actively gained by doing certain things provided you have enough forks to do those things.

Knives are . . . not yet used in any theories I know of.

~ The short SHORT version ~

Or, really short:
  • you start with a set number of spoons and that only goes down as you use them
  • if you have enough forks you can invest them in things that will/may get you more forks

Ok, so now it's time to talk about why I put a massive section on fork theory in the middle of a post that's mostly just here to say that I still have internet and am, unfortunately, not producing stuff.

I know of so fucking many ways that I could gain forks, but I don't seem to have enough forks to do any of them, and it's really god damned frustrating.

Um . . . maybe that's not accurate.  That's how it feels.  I definitely know of some ways I could get more forks but never seem to be able muster the forks to make use of any of those ways.

There's also just stuff that needs to be done that, while I'm able to do it (no spoon or fork problems), takes time.  A pretty big backlog of stuff built up while I was being blah.  The fact that I'm still blah doesn't change that.

And, as I've probably noted somewhere, my depression has been out in force of late.

I could probably write a whole post on that, but I'm not sure it would be of a form that would be worth reading.

Also, money.  I so fucked things up there.

I was so focused on trying to pay down high interest debt while simultaneously not adding to it that I left myself in a situation where I have a bunch of credit but what I really fucking need is cash.

That's not all there was too it, my food money going into limbo played a big role, but if I had been thinking things through properly that could have been completely mitigated.  It was only because I was so focused on one thing and one thing only that it was able to make things as bad as it did.

Oh, and the next non-monthly bill has come around.  I'm now over a thousand dollars behind in getting bills paid.  (Here's a paypal link if you want throw money in my direction.)

Anyway, that all leads to stress, and stress make it hard to write, and thus it goes along with the depression and the lack of forks to explain why I'm not getting much of anything posted to Stealing Commas.

There were probably other things too, but I've spent most of the day trying to make this post and I also had a primary to vote in in the middle of this.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

And then chris the cynic forgot to pay her internet bill

So, as you may recall, I had a problem previously where my internet service was cancelled and I wasn't told it was canceled, and I did all of this crap to try to get it back, only to finally find out it had been cancelled, and then need to set up a new account, and finally need to wait several times longer than they said it would take for a completely unnecessary part to arrive because they refused to turn the service on until Fed Ex (or was it UPS?  Definitely not the postal service) said it they were delivering the part that day.

Anyway, that all happened.

One result of this is that I now have a completely different internet billing cycle I need to get used to.  Combine that fact with recent financial problems*, and you get a bill falling through the cracks.

Which may or may not be why I came home to find that I have no internet.  Paying 

Never mind, it specifically says that the payment I just made will result in service being reinstated, so that's good.

Anyway, what I was going to write was something along the lines of the fact that paying the past due amount was an important step even if the interruption in service was completely unrelated.  (Unlike last time, when it turned out that not paying, ever, would have worked out just as well.)

It says it should take no more than an hour.

We'll see.  These are, after all, the people who told me that, even in the worst of all possible worlds, it would take at the absolute most two days for the . . . completely unnecessary part to arrive.  It wasn't even close to two days.  That wouldn't be so much of a problem except for the fact that they refused to turn my service on until the day of completely unnecessary part's arrival.

So, if I'm gone for a bit, it probably has something to do with all of this.

This post was brought to you by Dunkin' Donuts free wi-fi.

* which I'm still pissed off at myself about because it's like the one time in all of history (well, my history at any rate) that a money problem this big was completely avoidable.  This shouldn't have happened.  If I'd been paying more attention I should have been able to easily avoid it in any of several different ways.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

The shape of things to come (one hopes)

So, everyone who reads this probably knows most of how things currently are, though I still haven't written up a post on the bad news I got on the 16th of last month (which left my emotions in shambles and I don't expect to fully recover from any time soon.)

I'm stressed out, I'm behind on bills by a huge amount (though, I believe, still under a thousand dollars), my depression is coming out to play way too much, and I'm not writing.

That last bit is a really huge deal for me.  Being a storyteller is a part of who I am and when I can't do that it's like part of me is missing.  It's frustrating but that's such a small part of it.  I'm . . . listless, languishing without direction or purpose.  It's like I'm not . . . anything.  I can't put it into words, really.  Which is kind of fucked up given I'm a writer.

And I've been stuck in these fucking doldrums for ages.

So, I have the barest outline of something that might possibly be part of a plan.

Basically, I'm going to try setting everything to easy mode, making full use of cheat codes, and hoping that success will lead to more success, good feelings, getting back into the flow, and such, with the result that at some point I'll be able to function at the higher difficulty levels again

I'm going to go back to my internet roots, sort of, and just do the sort of rewrites and whatnot that no reasonable person would ever publish outside of the comment section.  And then I'm going to publish them here.

I got my start taking scenes from Left Behind and later Twilight, because I was following Fred Clark's decon of the first and Ana Mardoll's decon of the second.  I'm not doing either of those things right now.  (For different reasons: I've fallen out of reading Fred , though I really ought to start again; Ana isn't doing her Twilight decon anymore.)

Things like Skewed Slightly to the Left and Edith and Ben, respectively, are definitely not easy mode things.  Easy mode isn't crafting a coherent narrative of a high quality in opposition to an existing incoherent narrative of low quality, it's more, "Well I would have done this, this, and this differently, which results in this, which is honestly without redeeming characteristics of any kind, but it is at least different from what we all started with."

Easy mode is somewhere between cutting and pasting and adaptation.  A bit more than editing, vaguely related to paraphrasing (they're second cousins) and . . . it's the opposite of being about skill or craft.  (Or originality.)

But, in theory, it's really fucking easy and so should allow words to flow again, and once that starts the hope is that I can then switch back over to the other stuff.

So, as the title of this post suggests, I have some idea of what path this might lead us down.

As noted, I'm not following a decon of Twilight or Left Behind right now.  Nor anything else.

Unfortunately for anyone who is following me, at the moment I've mostly been reading a very specific subgenre of Equestria Girls fanfiction.  Which means that immediate results will probably be alternate versions of fan conceptions of hugely overblown high school angst centered on a unicorn in human form.


For reasons that I don't really understand when my depression flares up I tend to fixate on cartoon fanfiction.  Fighting the fixation would take effort that I already don't have and threaten make the "Start writing again" plan fail before it even got started.

That said, . . . one last section:

If the goal is to use really easy stuff to help me get to a place where I can do the normal stuff (and perhaps even the hard stuff), and it is, then the plan should eventually include things no longer being governed by a given fixation, which it does.

Returning to wholly original stories is probably the last step simply because there's absolutely no scaffold to hold me up there, before that, though, if things go well there ought to be a point where I'm not stuck on this one narrow topic.  Of course I plan to return to things like Twilight and Left Behind and Narnia, but I was also thinking that maybe I should branch out into new areas.

The Horse and His Boy (the Narnia book Ana just finished her decon of) was heavily inspired by One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) which is basically an anthology.  A bunch of short stories that can be grabbed for free online because of numerous public domain English translation.  That's sort of the perfect thing for someone who's trying to find her voice again by retelling existing stories in her own accent.

It occurs to me that that أَلْف لَيْلَة وَلَيْلَة is hardly the only collection of short fiction that's easily available for free online (nor does short fiction need to be in collections), and so perhaps people might possibly have recommendations for things I might do rewrites of when I've left the "just going with the flow of the current fixation" stage.

If so, please do share these recommendations, though I make no promises about anything.  It's by no means sure that this plan, such as it is a plan, will actually work.  How things go three or four stages down the line is equally unclear.