December Frenzy — Machinima, Blogging, and More

Nanowrimo and Aria’s Reprisal

So, November came and went.  I posted a few times about how I was falling behind on Nanowrimo.  Can you guess how the month ended?

If you guessed that I failed, you’re right. I only wrote about 12,000 words.  That’s more than I’ve written any other year for Nano (yay for mini-goals?), but I still failed pretty miserably.

I am still planning on working on this project, however.  It has been a ton of fun to plan, and if you’re interested in any plot points, quotes, notes on progress, world building, or soundtracks that I think would rock for a movie version of my writing (don’t hate; I make machinima for that reason…) then head over to to see Aria’s Reprisal and take a look around.  You may find it interesting. Or, you might think, “What the hell is this? Now I definitely don’t want to read any of her writing.” Either way, if you are vaguely interested at all in sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, dystopian alternate worlds, and really intense descriptions of cold-weather landscapes, then you may find some of what I write on my tumblr interesting.

Machinima and Morningstar Episode 5

In the machinima realm, I’m slowly kicking off ep 5 of Morningstar.  I have a few things I’d like to address about this:

I am doing my best to keep multiple story lines going at once. It’s the way I prefer to tell tales. While I technically have a “main” character, I don’t see the point in focusing on narrating only her thoughts on the world. Azeroth is huge, diverse, and ancient. There’s too much opportunity to tell interesting as well as intersecting stories. That being said, I’ve heard some people say it’s a bit hard to follow. I will try to make sure that things are as clear as they can be at that point in the story, but the point of leaving the viewer hanging is… well, so that they want to watch more!

I have not made a final decision on whether or not I’ll use voice actors for this episode.  I understand that this was my #1 complaint about the series, and I also know that I’d reach a much wider audience if I did use voice actors. The funny thing is, I’ve known of quite a few people who’ve done their stories the way I do, and none of them get such terrible complaints about it.  I don’t know what it is about me that makes people want to point that out so much — I guess I’m just that socially-awkward nerdy kid that sits alone at lunch. 😦

I will attempt to keep the episodes around 10 minutes in length from now on.  I know the last one got ludicrously long.  I cringed when I saw the projected length, and for that I’m sorry.  I will keep it to 2 story lines per episode to remedy this, rather than three or more.  It’s simply too unwieldy at that point.

Yes, there will eventually be a ‘love’ story. I’ve also had a few people ask about this. I am aware that love is a common thread throughout the narratives of Azeroth; I, too, am interested in reading and writing about that. But love is not the primary focus of the story, because I want to tell a tale where my characters stand on their own as solid, well-developed individuals.  Too often, I feel love stories are used as crutches to avoid developing a character — who are they without their partner?  Characters, particularly females, can exist and be simultaneously intriguing, complex characters without a love interest. It can be done!

Beneath the Brand

I am a regular contributing blogger at Talent Zoo’s Beneath the Brand blog now.  I post under my real name there, so regular readers might see some discrepancy in the online personas I use.  I’m sorry if it’s confusing!

I will be linking my articles here every week (usually Fridays) so that you can read something fresh!

Other Projects

In addition to my day job of writing, and my night job of… well, playing World of Warcraft and doing more writing (as well as video effects), I am a — wait for it — freelance writer.  I take commissions  for a multitude of projects and genres of writing. If for some reason you’re interested in working with me on a writing project, get a hold of me on Twitter or shoot me an e-mail (ninja dot superwoman at gmail dot com). I’ve been busy of late, but I always love receiving new jobs.

I hope you guys have kept yourselves busy, happy, and creative!

❤ Helly


New Site Layout

I’ve been so terribly busy the last few days with getting my writing in order (I have a lot of commissions this week — on Thanksgiving weekend, of course!) that I’ve forgotten to mention that my next Beneath the Brand post should be up early next week.  I am looking forward to sharing this with you as well!

The new layout is cleaner, but the navigation should remain the same.  I may go through and do some reorganizing again later, but for now, I suppose this will do.

And I’m so far behind on Nanowrimo… I hope my followers are managing better than I am. I’m sitting at about 12k words but I want to get a lot done this weekend.  Let’s hope!

❤ Helly

Writing for a Living: Or, an Exercise in Open-Mindedness

Are you a professional writer? If you’re not a professional currently, then maybe you dream of becoming one? Well, I know the feeling. I’ve wanted to create stories for people’s enjoyment ever since I was a little girl. I made stop-motion movies with my sisters. We also wrote and drew comics. When we weren’t busy with creating our own materials, we wrote reviews on anime and games on our own website. Even as an adult I’ve been experimenting with creating my own projects. Most recently I’ve been putting together a machinima series ( if you’re interested) and writing a novel for nanowrimo (more excerpts to come soon!). But I’ve also put a lot of effort into offering commissions, and I’ve received a number of bids already – which honestly surprised me. But more on that in a moment.

I have always been creative, and my creations have taken many different forms over the years. But one common thread that weaves all of my interests together is writing. When I did my reviews, my sister and I spent hours taking notes and writing our thoughts down for other people to read. We wrote our own stories and scripts for our comics and short movies. Even with my creative endeavors now, I find myself enjoying the planning and scripting process, where I can bring all sorts of characters to life through my words. So because I’ve enjoyed this so much, I decided I would offer my skills to people who needed a bit of help. I am creative and I can follow directions easily, so I thought I would offer to write what other people wanted, if they gave me the idea, characters, and a direction they wanted to take the story.

Oh, naïve Helly! You forget that this is the internet; that people feed on the power they get from anonymity and all the bounds they can push with it. You also forgot that a lot of people like to find porn on the internet. And a lot of people want to read well-written porn, not just watch it. And most of all, when anonymity and boundary-pushing meets the art of writing pornography, well, apparently there’s no limit to the things people want to request from a writer.

My first job was for smut. And I mean extremely graphic, violent, snuff. But I have maintained a professional relationship with the client for over a year now, and he is always kind and pays me on time. I am now working on another commission with graphic scenes, perhaps a little heavier than 50 Shades of Grey (and I like to think the quality of the product is better, too!). I have absolutely no problems writing this sort of material for people in a professional environment; that is, when we treat each other with mutual respect and I am paid fairly for my work. I am just surprised that so many people are hungry for well-written erotica, which sounds so obvious to me even as I write it. But it’s true!

I don’t know how comfortable many aspiring writers are with producing this sort of material, but I am writing this blog entry to say that for me, it’s actually become a comfortable and well-paying genre to pursue. I usually ghostwrite, so my name won’t be on published materials (which is actually good if I want to go through my portfolio with someone in the future) and I use a pseudonym for other materials that I publicly produce. Even though I have said here that I’ve written erotica, I want to make it clear that I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I trying to hide it. I’d just prefer to keep those materials separate from my non-erotic titles.  All in all, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is a highly-desired genre, especially for private clients.  As long as I am paid fairly and treated professionally, it is no different than if I were writing a science-fiction or action story.

Have any of you ever written erotica for a client? Is it something you would consider? What sorts of subjects would you write about to make a living?

It’s Nanowrimo time — Are you participating?

Like many of you out there in the blogosphere (I hate that word, and yet I use it anyway), I have been looking forward to‘s annual event — oh yes, thirty days and nights of literary abandon, here I come! I have a lot of notes written down, some about character development, others about plot points, and a lot about the economy, language, and politics of my fictional realm. I am scared that, as usual, I’ve put myself in an extremely hefty project that I will not be able to finish. I planned on taking an old project from high school and revamping it.

In high school, I was extremely into anime and the novelty of it as a fairly “new” genre (although I was aware there had been anime fans in the US for years, it was not popular until the late 90s). I had never seen such amazing fantasy and sci-fi stories presented through animation, so naturally, I went on a journey to watch as much of it as I could. I had a particular fondness for dark, dystopian (or semi-dystopian) sci-fi anime such as serial experiments lain, Boogiepop Phantom, Big O, and Gundam. Anything with giant robots, corrupt politicians, and murder tended to be right up my alley. But on the other hand, I crooned over shows like Magic Knight Rayearth, The Vision of Escaflowne, and Oh! My Goddess. I loved movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I played games like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve, but I also spent hours buried in the islands and lore of MYST. So many genres!

So I wrote a story about a dystopian future in which people had a giant airship and used pseudo-science to bring the dead back to life. It was not terribly well done. But I liked the ideas that I had, and after reading through my fifty-two pages of poorly-written novella, I realized that I could easily fit this into a different genre: Steampunk. Now, my idea of steampunk probably doesn’t neatly fall into this category, but it’s definitely the best descriptor I can come up with. I still have a dystopian realm, survival/horror, and of course magic and science.

So without further ado, here’s the synopsis of my plot so far (it will evolve as I move through the story, I’m sure). And if you want to add me on nanowrimo, my name is monaxia!

For centuries, the realm of Theliess ran like a well-oiled machine. The three empires it nurtured all played a valuable role in its global economy: The Orrusov Empire presided over much of the intellectual and political requirements, the city-state of Anaulel over theology and magics, and Allakesh over agriculture and technology. Each of the three empires had a relatively high standard of living for its citizens, and provided valuable contributions to its neighboring realms, thereby maintaining balance throughout the lands. For most, this was an idyllic setup which allowed the denizens of Theliess easy access to necessities such as food, housing, employment and financial security. Anyone who could not afford such luxuries often traveled to the agrarian sectors, where farmers and engineers were willing to take outsiders in for apprenticeships and training.

But their simple lives in were only temporarily veiled from the eyes of the blackened gods that lurked among them. The balance of power between man and the gods was never perfect, but for years it was tilted in man’s favor, keeping the gods’ fury under control. But as Theliess began to approach its population threshold, darker political ideas came to fruition in moments of desperation: Destruction of the poorer communities, razing of areas that did not offer sufficient food production, and eventually of the people deemed intellectually or physically inferior. As the greed and chaos mounted inside of the elite sector, a sharp line began to divide those who sought to regulate the lives of others, and those who clung to the ways things had always been.

And then, one morning, the answer came. The sun was blotted from the sky; crops withered and died. Electricity was a luxurious dream — food even moreso. Now, everyone fights to survive against the wrath of the blackened gods, but the powers they harbor are more powerful than they’d ever dreamed of. The people of Theliess must band together and use their skills of magic and science, intellect and intuition, and religion and rationality, to save themselves from destruction.

Best of luck to all you participating in Nanowrimo! 🙂