This Is My Solemn Vow

Two Sundays ago, I got married. It was, literally, the best day of my entire life. I had never, ever been one to even think about the concept of marriage for myself for most of my life. I had several very bad relationships with some very bad people (and some not-so-bad-but-kind-of-boring relationships), and I was always of the mind that marriage was a beautiful thing, buuuuut it just wasn’t for me.

That was until I met my (now) husband, whom you all have seen me write about as Nerdy Guy. I wouldn’t say that it was love at first sight – because when we met neither of us were wearing our glasses. See, we met at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. He was dressed as Batman, and I was dressed as Harley Quinn. (I know. Destiny, right? And at the time we had noooo idea.)

It was several months after that, that we actually started dating. But, booooyyyy I really didn’t want to. I was so sick of dating and I had just gotten out of the worst relationship of my life, so I had no desire whatsoever to start dating again. Not to mention, Nerdy Guy had also just been in a bad relationship. But he kept bugging me and bringing me coffee and flowers and such, so I decided to give him a chance (especially after my parents, brother, aunt, friends, strangers, and dogs – yes, my dogs loved him – all looked at me and went “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?! DATE HIM”, which was kind of convincing…).

And it was the best decision I had ever made. The very night that Nerdy Guy “officially” asked me out, it was January 19th/20th (3:00AM, okay??), 2014. He texted me, telling me that he felt as though I was the kind of woman that God had meant for him, and then he asked me out on a date. And I said yes.

Fast forward to December 13th, 2014, and he asked me to marry him. And I said yes again.

And then, not even two weeks ago, on May 17th, 2015, I said yes for a final time. And it’s been great ever since.

Considering recent events and some pretty big changes that are, and have been, going on in our lives, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to give you guys anything with a lot of substance for these blog posts. And today, although the words fill my heart, you might find this post to be fluffy and cute and bubbly and gross. But that’s okay, because I want to share it with you anyway. Nerdy Guy gave me permission to publicize the vows that we spoke to each other on the most important day of our lives, and I’d like to share them with you. The following are our vows – our names have been omitted for security reasons.

Mine will come first:

From the moment we met, God had planned for us to be together. After years of heart break and bad relationships, I had given up hope on ever meeting the man I had prayed for for so long. And then, unexpectedly, yet ironically, you stumbled into my life – literally dressed as a super hero. God has a funny way of doing things sometimes, but He knows us even better than we know ourselves. And He knew that I needed someone strong, whose heart was pure, whose faith was unshakable, and who would love me and only me, unconditionally. You were, and are, an answer to my prayers. I was so tired of masks. Luckily, the dorky guy dressed as Batman really was my hero, and always will be.

That is why, in the presence of God and this community, I, ________________ , take you, _____________ , to be my husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, in joy and in sorrow, in plenty and in want, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live. This is my solemn vow.

Now, I gave you mine first so that you would be impressed with me before you saw how he outdid me while we were standing at the altar….

When we first met, I thought through my hot, rubber Bat cowl – “I’d really like to see her…. Really, I’d like to see her with my glasses on.” As Christians, we know little how God has so many great surprises in store. I was blind-sided (figuratively) by how amazing of a woman He has created you to be. He was so clear with my answered prayer. I never knew I could feel like this – like I’ve never seen the sky before. I cannot imagine a life without having you to share everything with. For you are “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,” but most importantly, heart of His heart. 

Today, forever and for always, I promise to be your support in the midst of any storm and sunny day. I promise to be the best leader of our home, letting the Navigator guide us through uncharted territory. I promise to serve you in sickness and in health, in being rich and being poor.

Lastly, I promise to love you until the end of time. In our love that we share, let there be no more talk of darkness; may we forget our wide-eyed fears. Know that whatever happens, I love you with every beat of my heart… to when it stops (and beyond). This, I make to God and to you, my solemn vow.

Yeah. Totally upstaged me. I know. *SIGH* But at least he’s adorable, right? Even if he did technically use song lyrics from Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera. Total dork. But at least he’s my dork.

Check out some of our pictures below!

(Courtesy of Bella Bia Photography)

(I look like a rockstar, but in reality I was taking the mic stand away from the four year old trying to knock it over….)

(Yes, that IS a Harley and Joker wedding cake topper, which you can find HERE.)

(And here’s the happy couple. :D)

Have a great week, guys!

C2E2 2015 – A Review

Yes! Con time again! Huzzah! It’s my favorite time of the year, and this year, I had the awesome privilege of attending C2E2 with Nerdy Guy. Below is my review of the convention, my pros and cons, my suggestions for improvements, and my recommendations. By no means should you take my word as law! Everyone has different likes and dislikes, and considering this was my first time attending C2E2, there was probably a lot that I missed. I seek to be as honest as I can with my convention reviews, so that you, the reader (and perhaps the con-goer), can get a better understanding of what a particular con is like!


First off, let me say that Nerdy Guy and I were super excited about going to this con. Last year was a big con year for us and we went aaaaalllll over our home state (and I even went to DC) for conventions. This was the first con outside of our state that we attended together. We made it a weekend trip, which was nice, and ended up ordering three-day passes for the convention instead of individual tickets for each day because it’s cheaper that way. It was $60 for a three day pass, $35 for Saturday Only, and $30 for Sunday only. So, by getting the three day pass, not only did we not have to constantly check back in at the Registration Desk, we also saved five bucks!

We had a three hour drive to our hotel, which was the Residence Inn Chicago-Wilmette, which was really the only one available at the time that I ordered tickets (because I ordered tickets late, ha ha). This hotel is very nice and the employees were extremely helpful. I was hoping to get an early check-in time so that we could get in costume before we headed to the con, and they were able to get me in at 9:00 AM instead of the typical early check-in time of 11:00 AM. We also got a room on the first floor, so we didn’t have to lug all of our cosplay gear up and down the stairs! If you are looking for a nice hotel to stay at in Chicago, I highly recommend this one. The only downside we found was that, because of Chicago traffic, we were about 45 minutes to an hour from the convention center (even though we were only 16 miles away).

All right! Below is a list of pros and cons for C2E2, and my “professional” opinion:

PROS:

1. The list of guests was awesome!!! There were a ton of great people there, from comic book guests like Scott Snyder and Stan Lee, to entertainment guests like Raphael Sbarge, Hayley Atwell, and CM Punk, there had to be a hundred different special guests. There were so many that I wanted to see that I just couldn’t because we were soooo busy with panels and signings and taking photos. The autograph tables were open for hours several times a day, which made the special guests easily-accessed. If you couldn’t make it to one autograph signing, there were at least two more that weekend that you could go to.

2. The photo opportunities!!! I don’t just mean the super cool, giant C2E2 that greets you in the front lobby, or the Hollywood-esque wall paper thing with C2E2 across it (I don’t know what else you call that thing), but the hundreds and hundreds of people there wanting to take your picture or be in a picture with you. The cosplayers are amazing, not only in their technique, but in their attitude. They really made the con special for us. The first day we were there (cosplaying as Harley Quinn and Batman), we were bombarded as soon as we stepped through the doors – even before we had picked up our tickets at Will Call! We could barely move around the con floor without a dozen people stopping us for photo ops or cosplayers stopping us to talk to us. That feeling was amazing. Nerdy Guy and I love to pause for photo ops and we absolutely adore talking to fellow cosplayers. Great job, guys. You made our day. 🙂

It was also super cool to actually run into cosplayers (and artists) we have met before and talk to them! We encountered two special cosplayers we had met previously at NWICC, so it was a lot of fun to actually recognize them and be recognized!!!

3. STAN FREAKIN’ LEE, DUDE. Okay, I will admit, this was my biggest reason for wanting to come to C2E2. I knew that The Man would be there and I desperately wanted to meet him. Seriously. It’s been on my bucket list forever. More specifically, I really wanted to meet Stan while dressed like one of the characters he created!!! So, of course, who did I go as? None other than the coolest billionaire playboy in the Marvel universe. I was not only able to meet Stan Lee, but I got to shake his hand and got his autograph! And later that day, we attended his panel and I got to ask him questions about Iron Man too! Ha ha!

 4. It was not crowded. This is surprising for a con that was attended by soooo many people! I have never been to a con with a crowd that big!!! It was insane. There was no way we could have seen/met all the people there. Even if we had gone all three days from open to close, we would not have seen even just all of the cosplayers! Yet C2E2 had everything mapped out extremely well. McCormick Place is a huge convention center, and they had everything set up nearly perfectly. Despite all the crowds, there was still plenty of room to move around freely and see all the booths we wanted to see. The only places it really bottle-necked were at the entrance and exit, and on any stair cases or escalators.

5. We Are Cosplay – the Cosplay Lounge. This was a saving grace for me as well as dozens of other cosplayers. The Cosplay Lounge had everything a cosplayer needed to repair their costume or props. They had needles and thread, hot glue, safety pins, water, and even eyelash glue – which I needed when one of my eyelashes decided to try to fly away. They were amazing!!! I think that every con should have something like this. It was incredible.

6. Acrobatica Infiniti Circus!!! This was, by far, the coolest panel we went to (other than Stan Lee’s, of course, but I think I’m a bit biased there). These guys are amazing. They can do all kinds of acrobatic tricks, and they do it in cosplay!!!

7. There were so many amazing artists in Artist’s Alley. So many talented people making prints and props and costume pieces. We walked away with some seriously cool prints (Nerdy Guy kind of went a bit crazy and bought like ten things).

CONS:

1. Tickets are so expensive. T^T The reason why I had to order them so late was because I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to afford them or not. Tickets, coupled with the price of gas, hotel reservations, and food – that’s a hefty price! And that doesn’t even include anything we bought at the convention itself!

2. The Mainstage was like waaaaay out of the way. The con floor was huge, but then all of the really cool panels were happening on the Main stage, which was literally across the building, up a set of stairs, down a hall way that was so long I wished I’d had a bike, and across another huge room. My feet were so tired! And since we kept getting stopped for photographs, it took us (I kid you not), twenty minutes to get from the con floor to that room.

3. TRAFFIC. This is my biggest con, right here. Traffic was so horrible that when we were looking for parking, it took us two and a half hours to move a hundred yards to the parking garage. We were going to take a taxi the next day and just get dropped off at the convention center’s front yard, but those were incredibly expensive. Parking was $21 a day, which is a little pricey, but considering it was Chicago, I was ready for that.

4. When we were standing in line for Stan Lee’s autograph, we were told by one of the workers selling his merchandise (as well as told by our schedule), that any picture 8×10 or smaller, or a comic book would be $60 for a signature. Anything else would be $80. So, Nerdy Guy and I had two small, 8×10 prints we were going to have signed. When we got to the front, another worker told us they were going to be $80 each, and when we tried to tell him that his coworker told us they would be $60, he was very grouchy with us and would not listen. That was incredibly frustrating.

And that’s it! That’s all I’ve got as far as listed pros and cons go. We had a blast at C2E2. It was a great weekend. Thanks, Chicago. You did good!

Suggestions: In my “professional” opinion, this was one of the best cons I’ve ever been to! It was perfectly sized, had awesome special guests, and the staff really seemed to enjoy themselves. The only suggestions I can really give would be to make sure everything on your schedule is correct. I know this is easier said than done, as cons are constantly changing, but it’s frustrating for the con-goer to be planning on spending a certain amount of money and be thrown a curve ball when they’re already in line and super excited for whatever they are doing. Other than that, C2E2 is put together extremely well and I have no other suggestions!

Conclusion: I will definitely be attending this con again. Nerdy Guy and I cannot WAIT until we can order tickets for next year! We had so much fun this year and we know it will be even better next year!

Would I recommend this con to anyone else?: ABSOLUTELY!!! If you can afford it, GO. This should definitely be on every con-goer’s list, AND every cosplayer’s list! Although it’s a little pricey, this con is definitely worth every penny. For us, it was worth a three hour drive there and back, and an hour long drive between our hotel and the convention center. C2E2 is one of the biggest cons of the year and we are lucky enough to have it smack-dab in the middle of the country. So go!!!


If you want to see pictures we took at C2E2, check out my Facebook page!

Otherwise, the next time I talk to you guys, I will be a married woman! Cheers!

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SQUEALING

I was really debating on doing this today.

Not posting on my blog, mind you. Just debating on what content to update it with. Because I have some REALLY AWESOME news that I have been working on for the last, ohhhh month and a half to two months and it JUST came to fruition. No, literally, like half an hour ago. Anyway, I can hardly contain my excitement so I really want to let you all in on it. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. Because I have a few cool announcements for this week. And then regular nerdy, bloggy stuff will continue in future posts.

All right guys, here’s the skinny.

I just got a job that I have been pursuing for TWO MONTHS. Yes, that’s right, TWO MONTHS. I’m not going to say what kind of job it is or the name of the company for obvious reasons, but I need to explain to you how excited this makes me. Because I am a Communication major, I love marketing and sales and stuff like that. But until now, I have only had the opportunity to work at smaller businesses or colleges in my field – which is great! There is nothing wrong with working for a small company. They are amazing. However, I, personally, wanted to stretch my little freshly-out-of-college wings with a bigger company. Little did I know that a Fortune 500 Company was going to take interest in me.

Yeah, you heard that right. Fortune 500.

Anyway, I saw this job on CareerBuilder while I was bored one day and just decided to submit my app, never really thinking that they would call me. BUT THEY DID. And then I was pushed through their interview process. Every week I had one to two interviews with someone. I prayed about this decision so hard because I was being considered for territories that were very, very far away from home.

Now as all of you probably know, Nerdy Guy and I are engaged. Our original date was October 3rd of this year, but with the possibility of actually leaving the Hoosier state and moving several states away, we were freaking out about wedding plans. So we prayed. We prayed hard. This was going to be a very big decision and not one we were willing to make on our own. We really needed God’s guidance in this.

So, for two months, we spent much of our days in prayer – about many things, of course, but this decision was definitely at the top of our list. Slowly but surely, we began to feel God calling us to this new territory. We dove into His Word. Every song on the radio seemed to be all about just trusting Him during times of confusion. Our church sermons were all about being pushed out of our comfort zone. So, slowly but surely, He began to calm our nerves about this decision.

And then today I got the news. I got a phone call and rushed to answer it. Bam. There it was. The job offer. My start date is June 8th. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?

I have one month to get my booty moved across the country, get married, help out my brother with his wedding (which is two days before I start omg), and find a place to live.

Lord help me.

So any prayer and positive thoughts and well wishes I could get from my awesomely amazing reader-fan-base-people (YOU GUYS), would be soooo appreciated. And I will definitely keep you updated on all the happenings of the Nerdy Couple. 🙂

SECOND ANNOUNCEMENT WHICH IS ALSO EXCITING BUT LESS LIFE-CHANGING:

Nerdy Guy and I will be at C2E2 this year for the first time EVER. So be on the look-out for us. DC costumes Saturday, Marvel on Sunday. I will be updating my Facebook page with more information the closer we get to it, so make sure you like it! The next post you’ll see on this blog will, more than likely, be me squealing about how awesome C2E2 was. So stay tuned!!!

The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom

Hello, Nerdy Bloggers! Nerdy Girl here. Yes, I know I’ve missed a couple of blog posts. Biiiiig changes are happening in the world of Nerdy Girl that I don’t want to say just yet. 😉 Perhaps in a future blog post! But for this week I’d like to get back on track by sharing with you a short one-shot I wrote for a character that I roleplay, named Candra Pouli. I role play her in the Once Upon A Time fandom. Her story is fairly sad and highly intriguing, and I love playing her. However, she is also a difficult character to write because I have to put my mind into places I’d rather not typically journey in order to fully understand the mind of her character. I enjoy it because I enjoy a challenge. But it also presents heart break, such as the one-shot below. If you decide to read further, please note that the following is mature. There may be content in the paragraphs below that trigger some people. You have been warned!


[[DURING THE FIRST CURSE]]

[[TRIGGER WARNING: ABUSE]]

 

 

She had no choice.

She stumbled into the wall. Clutching at her side, fingers digging pleadingly into soft, brown skin, she coughed violently. Her stomach tensed with the action and another groan of discomfort rumbled in her throat. She threw her head back, eyes squeezed shut and mouth twisted into a grimace, and let out a small cry of pain.

Normally she wouldn’t even allow herself this expression of anguish, but she was alone now and no one was around to see or hear the weakness erupting from her insides. With a shaky hand, she moved her arm from her abdomen up to her face to touch the tender, purple flesh that swelled her left eye shut almost completely. Tears stung at the edges of her vision and spilled down the colored knot on her cheek. She gasped a little at how sensitive the flesh was to the touch, and forced the tears back from falling further.

She was unstable. Her legs quivered below her but she had to get inside. Had to find the one spot in this Godforsaken place that she could hide and no one would find her. Slowly, tired and aching feet dragged across the carpet toward the double doors that led to her most hated room in her entire house. She grabbed the ripped sleeve of her blouse before her shirt could fall completely off of her small frame, revealing the scars and bruises beneath. Hand stretched out, she pushed the deceivingly white doors to her bedroom open.

Inside was the place where all of her hopes and dreams died every night. Red walls closed in on her. Tools and toys and instruments of pleasure and torture cast dark shadows around her. And in the center was the typically well-maintained bed that was now a mess of scattered pillows, torn fabric, and rumpled sheets. In the center of it was the worst sight of all.

A twenty dollar bill.

A measly twenty was all he had given her, and like a starving pup, she had accepted it out of desperation. All of that for twenty bucks. She couldn’t even stand to look at it.

She had no choice.

Limping into the room, she clutched the tall pole that made up one corner of her canopy bed, leaning into the cool wood as if it could quell this fire in her body. It hurt. Everything hurt. She had had violent clients in the past but none like this. None that had left her in such a disarray that it was a miracle she was not hospitalized for her injuries. Her arm once again wrapped around her abdomen. Had he broken ribs? She didn’t know what cracked ribs felt like, but there was an awful lot of pain underneath that skin to be anything else. The cut on her forearm trickled a small stream of crimson across her almond skin, smearing into what remained of her blouse and tight, frayed skirt.

She stood there for another minute, trying desperately to somehow catch her breath without feeling as if a dagger was entering her lungs, before she gave up and kept moving. Into the bathroom she stumbled, catching herself hard on the porcelain sink just as her right ankle gave out.

She let out a little cry of pain and tried to right herself. Her good eye focused on the porcelain beneath her rigid fingers. Broken nails cut into the white ceramic, fingers holding on so tightly that her knuckles went white. She dare not look at herself in the mirror. She didn’t think she could bare to see the reflection staring back at her. Yet, she knew she must. She had to assess the damage, take it in, figure out how to fix it by tomorrow.

With a deep and agonizing breath, Candra slowly raised her head. When her eyes locked onto the woman staring back at her, she didn’t even gasp. She made absolutely no sound. Silent, brown eyes bore into the figure that stared back.

Half of her face was swollen. No longer could the dark brown iris of her left eye be seen beneath the lumpy, purple and black skin. A cut sliced tightly across her raised cheek. The reddened flesh surrounding the black eye stretched up into her forehead and partly into her hair line. On the other side, her raven hair stuck out in matted clumps where his fingers had pulled too tightly. Her lips, once soft and lush, now dragged downward on one side where a crimson line cracked the flesh, surrounded by more purplish skin. Dried scarlet dotted her nostril and chin. Below the soft curve of her jaw, several long, thin marks stretched across the width of her neck. But no matter how hard he squeezed, she just… wouldn’t die. Even when she’d wished she would.

Candra lifted an arm to gently touch the marks on her neck. That was all it took for the shredded fabric to fall the rest of the way off of her shoulders. Black lacy bra still mostly intact, her eyes drifted to the rest of the darkened spots that dotted her torso randomly and colored the areas where her fishnets had been torn open. Only one leg stayed fully covered. The fabric had been shredded away from the other. Beneath the arm still cradling her side, she could see a large patch of darkened, raised skin. That’s where he had kicked her.

She had fought, but not hard. She could have kicked his ass… she could have killed him. Why… why didn’t she? Was she so strapped for cash she was hoping he would have paid more? After all, hadn’t he gotten what he wanted? She’d been the punching bag. She’d let him do anything he had wanted. She’d let him force her into things. That’s the way it was supposed to work. She was supposed to give them what they wanted and they were supposed to pay her for it. Twenty bucks… twenty bucks was all she was worth? Her body broken, her insides screaming, her spirit defeated… all it took was twenty bucks?

The anger and hurt swelled inside of her and contorted her already grotesque expression. Candra turned from the creature in the mirror, not catching the flicker of orange in her eye before she limped back to that horrid room where her job was done. She dragged her injured ankle behind her as she opened the door to her closet. Crumpling to her knees, she crawled inside and shut the door.

The quarters were tight, cramped, and secluded. The darkness swam in her vision. She pulled her knees up as the sobs broke through and her chest heaved. The walls of the closet seemed to close in on her but she remained. It was a cage, this place, but she needed it. She had no place to put these emotions, this pain. It had to stay right here. It couldn’t leave. When she came out of this closet, things would be back to normal. She would be stable once again, and she would be able to work. Twenty bucks was not going to pay her rent.

She had no choice.

This was her safe place, where she could let loose. Where she could be herself. Where she could be human. Outside of the walls of this quiet, hidden place, Candra had to die and the Phoenix had to rise. She was not a person to the rest of this town. She was a worker. A dancer. A creature of the night. She deserved no better than the stray dogs that roamed the alleys behind Eternal Fire. When men looked at her, they saw an object of lust. A toy. A trophy. They didn’t see Candra. They only saw the creature she had become.

Something familiar pulled at the back of her mind but she couldn’t grab hold of it long enough to bring it into her consciousness. It sent a chill down her spine that instantly froze the fire constantly burning in her veins. De Ja Vu, though about what she couldn’t place. But it made her sick to her stomach, which only increased the pain in her belly.

How was she going to hide this at work tomorrow? Surely Luce would notice, and even if he didn’t… Cole definitely would. No amount of makeup and smiles could fool him. He could read her like a book. And what would he do when he saw the damage to her face and body? What would he think? She couldn’t just out her client, as he would surely demand her do. Once word got out that she divulged sensitive client information, she would be ruined. Her reputation, what little she still had, would be shredded.

She had no choice.

She had to keep servicing customers if she wanted to eat, to live. And with every customer, she buried her thoughts and her feelings. And with every customer, her humanity slipped away little by little. Her heart cracked just a little more. Her spirit chipped away.

But what else could she do but move on?

She had no choice. She never did.

A Forum Role Playing Guide: Part Three

Sooooo you want to learn how to write a thread, huh? Well, look no further! We’ll go through a couple different types of threads together and how to write well without pissing of your writing partner.


1.       Informal RP’s

The first kind of thread I’m going to work on is… well, I don’t think it has an official name. But it’s really informal. It’s called chat RPing, or IM’ing. Usually words are not quoted and actions are placed between two asterisks, dashes, or slashes. This kind of threading usually happens in a chat box on the forum you’re on or through instant messages between you and your partner. For example:

Player 1

Thomas: *lights up a cigarette* So, you come here often?

Player 2

Sarah: -rolls her eyes and steps out of the smoke cloud- Only when you’re not around.

As you can see, this style is very informal. It is also present-tense while most other RP styles should be in past tense. So why do it? There are a number of pros to roleplaying like this. For one, it doesn’t take nearly as long to get through a thread or plot. When each person is only writing one or two lines, you can get through plots super quick that may have taken forever to play out in a more formal post. For another, because of its informal nature, RP’s like this are taken less seriously and usually players aren’t quite so anal about rules and serious plots. This kind of role playing also isn’t usually board canon, meaning that the things that happen in the chat box or instant messenger don’t apply to things that actually happen on the forums themselves. This is, of course, up to the players writing with each other, but is usually the case. As a result, sometimes AU situations occur. (AU, or Alternate Universe, refers to things that would never happen in canon but could totally happen in someone’s crack fantasy. AU plots are a lot of fun, but sometimes difficult as it sometimes takes a player out of their comfort zone.)

2.       Short Narratives

 

The next type of role play I’d like to talk about is something I call short narratives, or para role playing. Kind of like short stories, these are smaller posts with a smaller word count that helps move characters through a plot quickly, although it is more formal than the previous type of RP and usually taken as canon. For instance:

Player 1

Thomas stepped into the dimly-lit bar with a grin. He saw her sitting there, looking bored as usual, and purposely strode up to her side. Glancing at Sarah with a mischievous look in his eyes, he bummed a smoke. “So, you come here often?” He asked. A flick of his wrist and the sparks lit up the cigarette.

Player 2

Sarah had wanted to be alone tonight, but that was obviously not going to happen. The bell above the door dinged, signaling that her night of peace and quiet and lonely 80’s ballads were over. She closed her eyes instinctively, knowing exactly who would have found her here. As if to prove her right, he strode right up to her side, making a half-assed attempt at flirting before filling the immediate air around them with smoke. She smiled, tight-lipped, and stepped off of the bar stool. “Only when you’re not around,” she commented dryly as she walked over to the juke box.

These kinds of paragraphs are short enough to fit into one or two tweets on Twitter. They’re lightly detailed, but not horribly long, although most of the time they won’t meet the word count requirement for a forum (unless there is no word count requirement). See how Thomas implied there was smoke in Sarah’s face without actually blowing it in her face? That’s how a writer avoids god-modding or power-playing. If you have a good partner, they should respond in kind. Here, Sarah got the implication and went with it. She moved away from the smoke cloud and gave her response. Sarah’s paragraph also used Thomas’s paragraph to bounce off of. She didn’t just write that she was sitting at the bar alone. Obviously if Thomas had just entered, she would have heard that.

One writer should not take over and write for another’s character. Sarah’s writer shouldn’t put down that Thomas said or did something that Thomas’s writer obviously didn’t mention in his previous post.

Usually these types of narratives are not welcome on sites with strict word count rules, but again are more popular in the realms of instant messaging, Twitter, and no-word-count forums, plus it is also welcome on some Tumblr blogs.

3.       Para-Novellas

 

Typically, the forum that you are on will have a word count. This is to keep things even between players. Maybe one player likes to write long novel-length narratives for their replies and someone else prefers to write maybe four or five lines. That is incredibly frustrating for the person writing long, detailed, good posts. In order to help with these very real possibilities, forums implement a word count of, usually, 250 to 500 words. That means, as a writer on these forums, you should not be posting any less than that. If you can’t meet those requirements, there are also several no-word-count forums you could search for.

A good narrative should be decently sized. Not too short, not too long. If you feel like you’re stalling and trying to search for details to put into your post to lengthen it (like you do on your school essays), you probably should leave it be. Either the thread has run out of interesting situations and should be closed, your partner isn’t giving you enough to work with, or you’re just trying to meet expectations and requirements for length. If your partner isn’t giving you enough to work with, try talking to them about it OOC. They might be having writer’s block issues too. A good narrative should have just enough detail to keep it interesting without overloading the reader (anyone who has ever read a Stephen King novel knows this to be true). For example:

Player 1

Thomas stepped into the dimly-lit bar with a grin. Set in the middle of the worst part of town, it was no surprise that the more unsavory characters frequented here… which meant Thomas fit right in. Clouds of smoke hovered in the air, just at eye level. The smell of whiskey on stale breath filled his nose. The gentle klink of glasses could be heard just barely above the juke box which was blasting some sappy Air Supply song. He didn’t really pay attention to the music. It was the person sitting next to the juke box, listening to it, that interested him much more.

There she sat. In the midst of this dirty, grimy pub, one beacon of light shown through the darkness. Why had she come here? He idly wondered as he watched her from the entryway. Didn’t she realize this was no place for a soft, delicate flower to be? Flowers couldn’t thrive in rocky ground. She didn’t belong here.

Amongst the dirt and the dark and the stink, she was a ray of sunshine and hope, just like she had always been in his life. Like a moth to the flame, she drew him in. His opposite in almost every way, Sarah was the one thing that kept him stable. That kept him from falling so far into a pit of darkness that he could never climb back out.

He smirked and sauntered forward, unwilling and, it would seem, unable, to fully leave her be. As he walked, he bummed a smoke from the crinkly plastic package being crushed in his back pocket. Smoothing out the paper, he stuck the cigarette between his lips.

“So, you come here often?” He asked, his words halfway muffled as he bounced the cigarette in his lips. He pulled a Zippo from his pocket and flipped it open. The flame ignited instantly. Holding it up to his lips, he lit the cigarette and took a long drag off of it. Smoke came billowing out of his mouth in response.

Player 2

This wasn’t usually the place she spent her afternoons and evenings, but after the day she had, there was nothing more that Sarah wanted than a nice, stiff drink. Something powerful, something fiery. Something that would force her to stop focusing on the shitty day she’d just had. As she’d sat down, the bartender had immediately given her a strange look. It was obvious. The typically prim-and-proper secretary in the floral-print sundress and beige sweater didn’t look at all like she should be here. She didn’t feel like she should be here either. But right now, she just didn’t care.

The bartender poured her something that she didn’t ask for, and Sarah had half a mind to not accept it. But, instead, she pulled the glass closer to her. It smelled like whiskey. With a smirk, the bartender looked her over and turned away. She wasn’t sure if he was looking her over judgmentally or wondering just how long it would take him to rip that dress off of her. Usually, this would have upset her. That’s why Sarah didn’t come to places like this.

But today, she was just so… so tired. So tired of everything. All she wanted was to be left alone. To occupy a small stool at the end of the bar, taking up little space, and be forgotten. No one would expect her to be here, which was why she had come. No one would come looking for her. Hopefully.

The bell that dinged above the door evaporated that hope. She didn’t even have to look at who had come. She knew. Her night of peace and quiet and lonely 80’s ballads were over. She closed her eyes instinctively, hoping that somehow the action would make her invisible to him. No luck. He strode right up to her side with that stupid grin on his face. She opened her eyes and sighed, knocking back the whiskey in as few gulps as possible. The fire burned her throat and her face scrunched up in pain, but it was worth it. It numbed the irritation flaring up in her mind.

“So, you come here often?” He asked.

Without even looking at him, she turned away from the cloud of smoke that swirled between them and slid off the bar stool, heading toward the juke box. “Only when you’re not around,” she commented dryly.

Here, both writers wrote about the same amount of words – a little less than 400 each. For most sites, this would be a perfect length for a post! This kind of narrative also helps you get inside each character’s mind and play off of their emotions, thoughts, and unsaid feelings. Integrating what you know to be truth about the other writer’s character is not god-modding, it’s interesting storytelling. This kind of narrative also helps you do the same for your writing partners – you give them thoughts and feelings to work with so that they can make their posts more interesting. Writers hate RPing with someone who doesn’t do anything to help move the storyline forward!

Dialogue is also an important tool to use. If one writer’s post takes place completely within their character’s mind, the other writer may not have anything verbal or action-oriented to respond to. Threads die out quickly this way. Even just one or two lines of dialogue, or a crazy action, can propel the plot forward.

The most important thing to remember, when you’re role playing, is to have fun! Role play should not be a chore. Out of Character drama should be kept to a minimum, while In Character drama can sky rocket! Writing is a wonderful way of practicing creativity and ingenuity. It’s a way for people to forget about the stresses of real life, if even for only a little while. When you role play, you can be anyone you want and do anything you want. And you can make tons of friends while doing it.

P.S. I DO like Stephen King. 😉


Got an idea for a blog post you’d love to see from me? Want me to talk about your favorite nerdy fandom or genre? Send me a message and tell me what you’d like to see/hear!

What You Don’t Realize

Isn’t it funny how we go through this world full of people and figure out which of those people is ours? Like, out of the SIX BILLION people on Earth, we just sort of pluck one out of the crowd, look at this person, and say, “You are my Squishy.”

Okay, so you might not quote Finding Nemo to your significant other on a daily basis like I do, but still. You get the idea. How is it that we are able to find the one puzzle piece in a huge mountain of puzzle pieces that fits just perfectly with our own? It’s amazing how God can lead two people, who’ve never known each other before, together and form a relationship that can span a lifetime. Valentines’ Day has never really meant much to me in the past. When I was a kid, it was a day that my grandpa would buy me Spongebob- or Pokemon-themed candy and ask if he could be my valentine. When I became older, I watched my friends with their boyfriends and thought, “Ugh. Gross.” And finally when I became an older teenager and young adult, Valentines’ Day was just another day to me. Honestly, I didn’t understand why people get so worked up over not having a valentine. It really didn’t bother me.

Perhaps that was because I didn’t really understand love. And until you have experienced true love, you can’t really grasp what it actually means. Society likes to tell you that sex = love, the world around you makes a big deal out of flowers and chocolates and giant teddy bears. Fellow students look at you funny if you don’t come to the dance with a date. When I was just a little bit younger, the advice I would have given you would have sounded something like this: “If you don’t have a date, don’t sweat it. It’s not the end of the world. You’re worth more than your lack of a lover.”

And I would still give you that advice today. You ARE worth more than your lack of a lover. It’s okay to not have one. But here’s why: because you are loved far more than you realize. You’re loved by your family, your friends, and you’re loved more than anything by your Creator. Even if having a husband or wife is never in the cards for you, God still has a plan for you. He doesn’t just look at you and go, “Ech. Made a mistake THERE. Hope nobody gets saddled with THAT guy.” God’s not like that.

Did you know that the prophet Jeremiah wasn’t allowed you have a wife? All he wanted was a family but God had more important things for Jeremiah to do. If you read the book of Jeremiah, you see that his job – warning God’s people of the impending doom they were about to witness – was far more important than having a lover. Just because you’re operating on your own doesn’t mean God isn’t with you.

And if you are blessed with finding your soul mate, that’s great too. God expresses His love for us through the people around us. When we find that one weirdo in the crowd of normal people whose weirdness clicks with our weirdness, we begin to see a whole new world of this thing we call love.

For me, I didn’t find that thing called love right away. Sure, I grew up knowing my parents loved me and knowing that God loved me. I’ve even struggled with believing those things were true. When I look at myself, I mean truly look at myself, I’m a yucky person. I have issues with my pride, I can be selfish, I get angry over things that don’t matter. Sometimes I can hate on myself pretty badly. How could anyone love this? I don’t deserve love. So how could I expect to ever find someone who actually loves me?

The relationships I had been in in the past probably didn’t help with that deep-down-darkness inside of me. When I was sixteen years old, I was goofy and silly and bubbly and cute. I would not have called myself beautiful and I probably wouldn’t have even called myself pretty. But I was okay with who I was. The very first person I ever dated was just as goofy as me and I thought we had a lot in common. But he wanted something that I did not want – physicality. Now, I didn’t think he was trying to get into my pants or anything, but he was obsessed with trying to kiss me. My parents didn’t want me kissing and, honestly, I thought the idea of kissing was rather gross myself. It didn’t take long (it actually only took a weekend, officially) before he dumped me. I didn’t really understand why. We’d been friends for quite some time and I still really liked him. Later I came to find out that he had been cheating on me with another girl. I am not privy to the knowledge of just how far that “cheating” went at sixteen and homeschooled, but regardless he was getting a physical relationship out of that girl that he did not get with me.

Immediately I began to wonder… is that what relationships are really about? Of course I had been given “the talk” by my parents and told that boys only had one thing on their minds, but to experience it first hand was a bit… well, shocking. It instantly made me feel bad about myself. Was the only reason he even wanted to be with me because he thought he could get something from me? Or did he genuinely like me but thought I wasn’t worth the trouble? Lots of things go through a teenager’s head when their boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with them. But I tried not to let it bother me and kept pressing on, being myself and remaining friends with my ex until this day.

After that, it was just a snowball effect. I dated loser after loser. One threatened to kill my family because of my faith, another stalked me online for a long time, and another used manipulation tactics in order to make me mad enough to break it off with them. I dated six guys. Only one of those was pretty okay.

Finally, we get to college. While I had entered college, officially, at sixteen, I didn’t move away to college until I was nineteen. While away from home, I began dating a guy, whom we will call “Alan” for this blog, pretty much as a rebound after my previously-failed relationship. I was feeling alone and secluded in another state, surrounded by students and faculty that did not share any part of my faith, morals, or background. I was having issues fighting with my family back home, I had no support group, and I was being forced into attending events and lectures that fought to warp my sense of truth. It was not a good position to be in.

Feeling lost, alone, and totally rejected after my previous relationship had ended, Alan welcomed me with open arms into a relationship that he promised to be wholesome and comforting. That was all a lie.

Never before had I ever been able to fully understand why a woman would stay in a relationship that was abusive. I simply couldn’t grasp, being the outsider, why someone would stay with a person who treated them like absolute crap. After being with Alan, I understand. He was extremely manipulative. Every word that came out of his mouth was either a lie or only a half-truth. Had he ever had sex before? He wouldn’t exactly say that. After all, what really constitutes as sex? Did he have a faith? Well, faith in what? Sure, he believed there was a God and that Jesus Christ was his son, but in no way, shape, or form did he live out that faith. What were his morals like? That answer depended on what you wanted to hear. A skilled silver tongue, Alan somehow managed to fool me into falling for all of this. Don’t ask me how, it’s still a bit of a mystery to me. But fall I did, and just like abusive relationships often do, our relationship started out great. He was much bigger than me and strong. He protected me from total creepers (which I encountered a lot of in Kentucky…) and made me feel like the trophy.

But that is where things started to go awry. Because I was a trophy.

You see, girls like to be treated like they’re special. They want to be the only one their guy has eyes for. So, in a way, we like to be trophies that our men can show off and say, “Yup. That’s mine.” It makes us feel good. But when trophy becomes property, therein lies the problem.

Alan viewed me as his property. He played with my emotions. He manipulated me. He’s apparently one of the best salesmen in the world because I was not a gullible girl. I’m usually very good at reading people and I have good judgment. But he completely fooled me. He wasn’t protective, he was possessive. He hated it when I spoke to any other male besides himself. He was wary of lesbian students I hung out with even though he knew I had no interest in anyone else.

The possession turned to abuse. Emotional abuse. Verbal abuse. Even physical abuse a couple of times. I won’t get into the nitty gritty of it, but Alan convinced me to do things that I never would have done before. He used emotional manipulation and coercion to get exactly what he wanted. And all the while I was burning inside without really even knowing why. I constantly had silent conversations with God, asking Him what to do. I had such a huge conflict going on inside me between what I was doing and what I knew I should be doing, that I literally had a mental breakdown one day – a full-fledged panic attack where I locked myself in a bathroom and wouldn’t come out for two full hours.

I thought, “But this is what love is supposed to be, right? Aren’t I supposed to sacrifice for the one I love?” Sacrifice my morals? My ethics? My self-esteem? My physical well-being? Looking back on it now, I can tell you these things, but at the time I was so caught up in what was happening, in the confusion of my situation, that I couldn’t see what he was doing to me. Even when my friends commented on it, I still couldn’t see it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. It was that I couldn’t.

Finally, somehow, in this huge mess, I reoriented myself. I had a long conversation with Alan about what our relationship had become and told him I thought it would be best if he took it a little slower and ended the physical nature of our relationship. This had an immediate effect, because he broke up with me three days later.

I was so full of heartache and abandonment. When I eventually came home from college, I went through all five stages of grief, which took about six months to fully get through. I had been bombarded with voices that were not of God, that were not of love, for so long that I had forgotten what love was supposed to be about. It took a lot of work to bounce back from that relationship. After that, I didn’t want to be involved with anyone anymore. I thought, well if SIX relationships didn’t work out, what’s to say the seventh will? I honestly was so tired of being dropped like an old toy when someone got bored with me that I stopped caring altogether.

I didn’t even want to date. It was too much work. I went on a couple of coffee dates here and there but my heart was never in it because I had built up so many walls around myself. That is not what God had wanted me to do, however.

Because God is good and He has a plan, no matter your circumstance.

See, God had somebody in store for me. At the time, I didn’t care. I told God that I would be perfectly happy being His next Jeremiah. No husband and kids for me? Great! At least I won’t have to deal with the hassle.

But here’s the thing about Him. God isn’t limited by your idea of who God is. He isn’t limited by your limitations. I saw the situation as very black and white: either I was going to get into another relationship that would fail or I just wasn’t going to get into a relationship. I chose the latter. Little did I know that God had scribbled all over my black and white world with a colorful marker.

On July 20th, 2012, The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters. Feeling a little bit more like myself, I dragged one of my friends along to the midnight premiere with me – of course cosplaying as Harley (myself) and Joker (my friend). We were a riot. While there were tons of people dressed in costume (surprisingly), we had the crowd’s attention because when I do something, I DO something. That was the very first night I had ever really taken on the character of Harley Quinn, and it earned me attention from all kinds of cosplayers. But one cosplayer stood out.

He was dressed like Batman and he walked up to take pictures with us. After conversing a bit, he asked if I had a Facebook page. At the time I didn’t (although now I do, so check it out!). Without really thinking, I offered him my phone number instead. I don’t know why, because I had never given out my number before. But I did. So we connected over Facebook. I found out that he was a local Batman cosplayer and that he was currently in a relationship.

Part of me felt a little disappointed by this, but after everything I had gone through the previous year, part of me also felt relieved. We became friends, and midnight premieres to movies weren’t the only things we were bumping into each other at. Local theatre, singing groups, cosplayer meet-ups and a short film that we both (separately) got roped into meant that we ended up spending a lot of unintentional time together. Eventually, over the course of a year and a half, we got to know each other pretty well. I found out he was a very faithful man, we agreed on all of the big stuff, and we had a lot in common (we’re both total nerds, can you tell?). Little by little, I began to wonder what it would be like to date him, but I never, ever made a move. Like I said at the start of this blog, I had been cheated on before. I never wanted to do that to someone else. So we remained friends.

Now, looking back on it, I can see how God was slowly chipping away at the walls I had placed around my heart and getting rid of this skewed, warped, and destroyed idea of love that I had. At the time, like most times when God is working, I had no idea what He was doing. Finally, this friend of mine ended the unhealthy relationship he’d had going with his previous girlfriend. Still, I was wary of even trying to start something. But God kind of sort of did this thing where He pushed this guy in my way. I couldn’t exactly ignore him, even if I wanted to.

He ended up spending New Year’s with me and my family, and immediately afterward I got grilled about why I wasn’t dating this guy! After years of being badgered with the opposite, that was quite surprising to me. We began to hang out more, kept our relationship casual, and went out for coffee a couple of times. I tried to avoid eye contact at all costs, but he never stopped staring at me. Later, he told me I was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

Okay, dude. You got my attention. What do you want.

But still I didn’t want to budge. I was perfectly content being my crabby, old, single-for-the-rest-of-my-life-self and I was terrified to get into something like what I had been through in the past. I finally broke when I received a message that said, “you are the kind of woman that I think God has planned for me”.

Little had I known that our dating history had been very similar and that he was dealing with a lot of the same fears that I was. I finally said okay. I would see where this relationship took me. I would trust God in this.

And it’s been the best relationship I’ve ever had. Because David has taught me a lot about love. Sure, I knew it, but sometimes you have to physically experience things before they actually click. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is an action. Love is sacrificing all of yourself for another person not out of some sense of guilt or that you owe them and not out of some self-righteous sense of pride. Love is sacrificing simply because they exist and they mean something to you. David has shown this to me over and over again. God has used him in so many ways to exemplify Christ’s sacrificial love to me. Love is not a warm, fuzzy feeling you get in your tummy when they’re around. Love is not buying them flowers or chocolate or big teddy bears on Valentines’ Day. Love is not giving your body away in order to please them.

Love is that hug that means the most when you feel like dirt. Love is working twelve hour shifts, during the graveyard shift, in order to provide for your significant other. Love is reminding your special someone that no matter what their circumstance, God is still caring for them, still loving them, and still has a plan for them.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This is why love never fails. So even if you feel alone this Valentines Day, even if you haven’t found the one you’re hoping to meet some day, realize that what love truly is goes beyond the six billion puzzle pieces on this earth. Love is far more than you can imagine. Love is God. God is love. People will hurt you. People will warp your sense of self, of worth, and of love. Listen to the Voice of Truth. He will never fail you. And He will use people to show you that love. Don’t close yourself off to them. Don’t put up your walls. Take a chance on God and you won’t be disappointed.

Because love never fails.

Just keep swimming, guys, and leave the matters of the heart to the one that holds your heart.


 

I will continue my role playing blog series next time!

A Forum Role Playing Guide: Part Two

Creating an Original Character

Today I want to take a look at how to create an awesome character for a PBP, or forum, role play. By all means, take these tips and RUN with it! Use them for your own personal writing as well. As an award-winning published author (ha, betcha didn’t know THAT about me!), and as a person who has been writing fiction and fantasy for over ten years, I figured I could scribble down what I have learned about characters. Characters are extremely important. They are the beings through which your story is told. If you make a crappy character, you’re going to have a crappy story. Some authors prefer to figure out the character before they ever consider what the story is going to be about! If you’d like to know what I have learned character-wise for role playing, then check out this week’s blog!


For this blog, I will be slowly building a character, step by step, so that you can see the process I use to create a dynamic, well-rounded, and interesting character. I usually begin with the fandom that the character is going to be a part of. For this example, let’s choose Once Upon A Time. If you don’t know what Once Upon A Time is, check out a synopsis of the show and its episodes here.

1. Basic Biography

The first step I typically do is figure out what I want my character to be. Is it male or female? A creature or a human? I use the site I’m on to help guide me. Maybe I have an inkling of an idea for a character, but I don’t know whether or not to make it male or female. Sometimes forums will give you statistics for how many male characters and female characters they have already. I like to help even things out, and if I’m not set on the gender, I choose whichever the forum needs more of. In this case, I’ll make my character a dude. If you’re set on a gender, don’t worry about this part. No forum that I’ve ever heard of has outlawed making a female character because they have too many!

If the role play I’m a part of is set in the realistic Old West, I’m obviously not going to make my character a werewolf. That brings me to the next part of the first step (that wasn’t confusing at all, right?). The kind of character you create should seamlessly fit into the kind of role play you’re becoming a part of. If the role play is K-Pop related, set in the real world, don’t create an evil android from the future to come back and terminate your character’s mom, stopping your character from ever having been born- er… yeah.

For my character, I want to play off of the specific fandom of Frozen, which is part of the wider fandom of Once Upon A Time. Having him fit into that fandom, I’m going to make him human. One mistake that a lot of people make is trying to create an original character that mirrors or copies a character that already exists. For instance, if I were to create a character who had ice powers, was incredibly misunderstood, and led a kingdom, I’d basically be copying Elsa of Arendelle. That’s not right nor is it very creative. You might think Elsa is cool (what I did there… did you see it?), but you can’t just copy her. No one likes to play with a copy!

Huzzah! We’ve already got a good base for a character. We know that he’s going to be human and in the realm of Frozen/Once Upon A Time. Now we get to start thinking about a few specifics. Like what role does he play in society?

2. Character Specifics

Is your character royalty? A peasant? Does he work as a body guard? Does she know how to bake? Here’s where I start thinking about what my character does, or how he’s viewed in society. If there are wanted ads on your role play site, check them out. If your character could easily fulfill one of the other members’ desired roles, why not help that member out? Wanted ads also pretty much immediately give your character a connection to another character on the board, which helps when you’re trying to figure out where/how to start role playing.

I know that for my role play, the twelve brothers of Hans are really wanted, so I’m going to fulfill one of those requests by making my character Hans’ brother. Since Hans’ brothers are never really given names, personalities, or any other specifics, I can still consider my character an original, not a canon. (Canon means that the character already exists in this fandom, such as Elsa and Anna in Frozen.)

So now not only do I have a male, human character, but I know that he is one of Hans’ brothers, which means he lives in the Southern Isles, he’s royalty, in line for the throne (even if he’s not the oldest), and probably likes to tease Hans quite a bit. (That last part I know because of a line in Frozen where Hans talks about his older brothers teasing him. I’m choosing to use this to help develop my character’s personality.)

3. Name

You may not think a name is all that important, but actually, it could be the deciding factor on your character’s personality and even their back story. Are they set in a futuristic setting or are they old-fashioned? You’re probably not going to meet someone named Andromedus in an Old West setting, for instance. Names can be used to give other people hints at who or what your character is. If your character is gruff, maybe he has a gruff-sounding name. If your character is a movie star, maybe she has a luxurious, elaborate, one-of-a-kind name. Sometimes, if my character is foreign, a descendant of something ancient, or something supernatural, I’ll use translators to help me pick a word or a name that I like. For instance, I have a character who is The Phoenix from Greek mythology (sorry, Marvel fans). I searched Greek and Latin translations until I came up with the name “Candra Pouli”, which literally translated, means “luminescent bird”.

For my character that I am developing, I will use a different strategy to come up with his name. I know that the tale of Frozen is Norwegian, so I did a search for Norwegian baby names. Out of all the ones I searched for, I liked the name “Nikolai” the best. I looked at the meaning of the name as well. There are several different meanings for Nikolai and its Russian spelling, “Nicolai”, but the one that stood out to me was “Nikolai: Conqueror of the People”, which fits perfectly as you’ll see in our next step….

4. Personality

How does your character think? What does he think of himself? Does she have any ulterior motives? Here is where you get to flesh out your character a little bit more. If he’s going to be a hero, give him qualities that you’d expect in a hero. If he’s going to be a villain, do the same. Some characters are neutral, while others pick sides. Use good, descriptive words when you come up with their personality. Instead of saying your character is happy, say she’s joyful. Thesauruses are your best friend when it comes to this. Here’s what I’ve written for my character’s personality:

Nikolai is a party boy. He has very few morals, and loves to find an opportunity to get drunk, high, or laid. He uses his place in society for his benefit, getting whatever he wants because he’s a prince. He’s good-looking and he knows it, with arrogance and pride rivaled by very few. Although he can be sincere, he rarely shows it. There’s a darker side to Nik. Manipulative and conniving, Nikolai is highly intelligent in the worst way. He has plans for the throne of the Southern Isles and he doesn’t care who his plans might hurt. He’s never been in love and he doesn’t care to even consider it. Nikolai looks out for number one, and that’s about it.

I didn’t just list off a set of traits he possessed. Instead, I wrote a small narrative about how he works, who he is, and what his plans are. When you write out your character’s personality, don’t be afraid to tell a story with it!

5. Special Abilities/Powers/Weapons

Sometimes the role play you are on will want you to list any special abilities, super powers, or specials weapons/objects a character possesses. If, for instance, you were creating a super hero, here is where you would list their abilities and describe, in detail, what each one is. Don’t go overboard here! This is where a lot of people make their characters super powerful with way too many abilities or knowledge of their craft. When a character is too perfect, role players call that a “Mary Sue” or a “Gary Stu”. Nobody wants to play with a Sue/Stu, so be careful what you write!

For Nikolai, he doesn’t have any special powers since he’s just a normal human. However, considering he is royalty, he is probably pretty proficient with fighting styles or weaponry. So, taking his background and his personality into consideration, here’s what I have come up with for Nikky boy.

Growing up with twelve other brothers, Nikolai obviously needed to learn to fight. Although he prefers not to get his hands dirty – instead manipulating others into doing the grunt work for him – he can defend himself pretty well. Not being that large in stature, he prefers quicker, more agile movements when he does fight. Although, Nikolai would much rather fight with his mind. If he can outsmart the opponent, he can win. He can use a number of different weapons available to his family, but prefers, like many of his brothers, the sword. He is proficient in sword-fighting on a number of levels, and enjoys fencing as a sport.

Notice, again, that I didn’t just list off abilities of his, but instead I wrote a narrative, detailing exactly how good he is at what. I also wrote things that he wasn’t particularly good at. This is because I want my character to have depth. He needs to be well-rounded, meaning that he does, in fact, have weaknesses. He can fail. If you pit him up against someone huge and strong, he’s not going to measure up physically. He has to use his mind rather than his might. As far as his skill with weaponry, it would be expected that he would be able to fight with a sword. He is a prince, after all! The point is, you want to make your character realistic in some ways. If you make your character more relatable, more people will want to play with him/her.

6. History/Background/Back Story

This is usually the longest and most difficult part of the character-creating process. It takes a while to write a character’s history from when they were young to where they are now, especially if a lot has happened in their lives. Sometimes it can be short, but forums usually prefer if you go into detail about your character’s past. Most of the time, they’d rather know too much than too little. It also helps them figure out what your writing style is, how in-depth you will get with your posts, and if there is anything in your character’s history that they can tie in with plots on the forum or with other characters.

Most of the time, people do not approve of characters who make assumptions about other characters without approval from other writers. For instance, if I were on a Marvel forum, I wouldn’t just create a character that is actively dating Tony Stark without consulting the person who writes Tony Stark. That would be rude, and it’s called “god-modding” (if you don’t know what god-modding is, check out the last blog). Another thing people usually hate is when a new person to the forum creates a character that is the long lost cousin/offspring/brother/girlfriend/relative of their character… who doesn’t actually exist in canon. If you want your character to be related to someone else’s (and it’s not canon), you really need to talk to that character’s creator. Most of the time they will not like that sort of plot. Why? Because it is SO overdone it’s smoking up the whole kitchen. That’s why. Remember, the reason I am creating Nikolai is because Hans really does have siblings and they really do show up on the show. Plus, I’m answering a Wanted Ad.

Since Once Upon A Time is now in its fourth season, and the characters from Frozen have appeared, I have a little bit of the show’s plot that I can tie in with my character’s background. Not to mention, he has to react to the result of Hans’ plans that failed in Arendelle. So I have a little bit that I can work with. Everything else, I will have to make up on my own. If there were other people on the forum playing Hans or Hans’ other brothers, I could also read their histories to figure out little tidbits I could add to my own, so that all of our stories line up. Twelve brothers, experiencing the same family and the same events, should have stories that are pretty similar.

So here is what I have come up with for Nikolai.

Nikolai is one of the middle Westerguard boys, coming in at number 7 of 13. While growing up, he was picked on quite a bit by his older brothers until the next in line was born. And so it became tradition that little by little, the Westerguard boys were inducted into being part of the “cool” group by their older siblings when the next one was born.

As he got older, Nikolai began to realize that out of all of his siblings, he was definitely the most intelligent one…. Or, at least, that’s what he thought of himself. His brothers, especially the older ones, tended to disagree. They still considered Nikolai to be too young, immature, and inexperienced. They mocked him for not being able to, or even wanting to, fight. This burned Nikolai and he developed a jealousy and a hatred toward his brothers for it.

But, knowing they were right about his lack of upper body strength and his dismay at having to do anything physical, he instead turned to using manipulation tactics to win his battles for him. Blackmail, bribery, and playing with emotions became his weapons of choice, and soon the older Westerguard boys began to see him as more than just a weak, arrogant fool. They began to see that he was truly… dangerous.

And so Nikolai used this ability to manipulate for his own benefit. His silver tongue could obtain anything he desired, especially while coupled with his place in society and his good looks. Sex, drugs, and alcohol became a part of his daily routine. While his brothers were stuck being the upright citizens their parents demanded they be, Nikolai was getting away with murder. Eventually, this began drawing the attention of his tired and weary mother and his overbearing, gruff father. The King and Queen ruled their kingdom with an iron fist. To see their son goofing off the way he was… was infuriating. Knowing he wouldn’t change without severe punishment, the King and Queen had to pull something drastic.

They tossed Nikolai, silver tongue and all, in the dungeon.

This only stirred Nikolai’s anger more and more. He began to plot against his own family, trying to think of a way to eliminate his father from rule… as well as his six older brothers, without suspicion. Knowing it would be incredibly hard to do, Nikolai began to figure out other plans. He soon came up with one that would work without a doubt.

If he became the ruler of another land, he could wage war upon his family, and take over the Southern Isles. But what land would be the easiest and fastest route to this new goal?

One kingdom came to mind. The land once ruled by a benevolent king and queen, who had, unfortunately, passed away in a freak ocean storm, leaving behind two vulnerable, gullible daughters.

Arendelle.

Securing this new plot in his mind, Nikolai waited for his opportunity to escape. Little did he know that one of his siblings had overheard him planning. Before Nikolai could get out, Hans had taken off for Arendelle, to celebrate the queen’s coronation, and to put Nikolai’s own plan into action.

Only, instead of succeeding in wooing the queen, he failed at tricking the princess. Word spread of Queen Elsa’s… “condition”, and Hans’ failed plot, as the younger sibling was exiled back to his own country.

Now out of the dungeon on good behavior, his parents more worried about their unruly youngest, Nikolai had nowhere else to go. His brother had ruined the only plan he had come up with. Soon, Hans would pay for what he had done, but not before Nikolai got out of the Southern Isles.

And it was on his way to a land called Misthaven that the unthinkable happened.

Everyone… suddenly disappeared.

 A cloud of purple and black smoke enveloped the land, and when it passed, everyone had gone. Where they had been sent, Nikolai wouldn’t know until much later. Unsure of where to go from here, Nikolai waited for some of his other brothers to team up against the ladies of Arendelle, but again were outsmarted when they were frozen for thirty years, along with Princess Anna and her bumbling idiot of a fiance.

Once thawed, feeling betrayed by his foolish brother Hans, and learning that Anna and Kristoff had traveled to the same world the others had gone to, Nikolai left his siblings in search of a way to travel to this new realm. While the Westerguard brothers took over Arendelle, Nikolai set his sights on something grander. The “World Without Magic”, it was being called. A world without magic could not contain someone like Elsa, who had defeated them all. A world without magic would mean individuals who had to use their brains or their brawn alone. Individuals that Nikolai, without a doubt, could best easily.

He found his opportunity while scouting for ships in Arendelle that could take him where he desired to go. But a ship he did not find. Instead, a giant wooden door that appeared out of thin air, greeted him at the shores of Arendelle. Taken aback by this, he waited to see what it was. When Elsa and Anna stepped through and ran toward their half-destroyed kingdom, Nikolai took the opportunity to jump back through himself.

He landed in a large mansion filled with strange objects he hadn’t seen before, but Arendelle and the Southern Isles were far behind him. Nikolai had made it to this strange, new world without magic, and he had plans for it.

 Whew! That was pretty long. However, I wanted to tie in plot points from both Frozen and Once Upon A Time, which meant my history had to get kind of specific. This is a good thing! As long as you’re not infringing upon another character’s history or actions, or injecting something that would cause the plot to change completely, your history can get as in-depth as you want. In Nikolai’s case, I would talk to Hans’ player about the assumptions I made that Nikolai is the one that came up with Hans’ plans. If his writer wasn’t cool with it, I would tweak Nikolai’s history until we came up with something that worked for the both of us. Try to keep your writing partners happy. You don’t want to offend someone or god-mod their character, so always be open to more ideas!

I also mentioned specific plot points that did actually happen in Frozen and Once Upon A Time, I didn’t just make those assumptions. Hans’ plan really did fail, and he really was exiled. Elsa and Anna really did make it back to Arendelle through a giant, magical door from the other side. These are plot points I wanted to weave into my character’s back story so that, not only does he have characters that he already knows, but he now has points in history that he can refer to that connect him to other characters as well as the overall site-wide plot.

Woo hoo!


That’s it! That’s the whole process I use when I create a new character. Sometimes some steps come before others. For instance, sometimes I’ll come up with the character’s personality way before I even know if they are male or female. But this is the basic process I use. I like to delve deeply into my character to know all their inner workings. I’m never satisfied with just surface knowledge or cliches that they fit into. I want to know exactly how they think! This is what makes writing fun for me, and this is what makes me good at it. My process might not work the same way for you. You might put more importance on something that I just skimmed over, and give more attention to something I don’t. That’s okay! Every writer is different. Find your own niche and go with it. 🙂

Please note: All ideas, characters, and situations in this blog are the unique and sole creative property of the author of this blog, Just-A-Nerdy-Girl. Any copying of ideas on this blog or outright theft of creative property will result in the world being sucked into a black hole of Nerdy Girl rage. You have been warned.

Just-A-Nerdy-Blog in Review: 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

A Forum Roleplaying Guide: Part One

I have been play-by-post roleplaying (or what I call forum roleplaying) for about ten years now. I started toward the beginning of when it really started to get popular. Everyone that takes up any kind of roleplaying that isn’t an MMO starts out with some kind of fandom. Mine happened to be Danny Phantom. Yes, that’s right, I was a Danny Phantom fan. A Phan. Ha. Ha ha. Ahem.

Over the course of a decade, I have been roleplaying a number of different fandoms, and even some original plot line RP’s. So I’m pretty experienced in the area. I know what to look for in a site, which rules and ratings I can handle, and how I think my character is going to be received. I also know the basic and advanced rules and etiquette to roleplaying. So I’d like to share some of my tips and tricks and how-to’s with you. For the next few blogs, I will be talking about play-by-post (PBP) roleplaying. If you’ve ever been interested in trying it before, make sure you stay tuned!


What is Play-By-Post Roleplaying?

Play-by-post is very different than a lot of other RP’s, including MMO’s (massive multiplier online roleplaying games), which are things like World of Warcraft. It’s not like Twitter or Facebook RP’s either. It usually takes place on a forum, although I know Tumblr is also a popular venue for this kind of RP. Basically, it’s a round robin. That means that there are multiple authors that try to write a story together. Usually these stories, or threads, are short, and only include two characters (yours and your partner’s), but sometimes they can get super long and include multiple characters from multiple authors. When you and another author decide to thread together, you may decide the plot out of character (OOC) before you write it out in character (IC). Then you write the story as if you are your own character. The challenge is that it has to be from a third-person limited POV, and you can’t take control of the other writer’s character. In this way, both of you write out a short story that may or may not tie in with the overall plot of the site you’re on.

Rule Zero: Don’t Be a Douche.

Pardon the language, but that’s really the truth. No one likes an Internet troll, a whiner, or just a complete arsehole. The thing is, crap is gonna happen to your character. Your character is not going to get what he/she wants all the time. Your plots are not going to work out. People are not going to go for all of your ideas. That’s okay. It’s still a crap ton of fun even without all of that! Half of the fun of roleplaying is that you get to blend your ideas with everyone else’s, meaning that you get a wide range of events, plots, and plot *twists* that occur! If you’ve ever suffered from writer’s block, you know that even your incredible, seemingly-limitless ideas do actually come to an end. When that happens and you’re on your own, it’s difficult to come out of that slump. But when there are people to bounce ideas off of, it’s so much easier.

The Do’s and Don’t of Roleplay:

What Not to Do:  Don’t Godmod. Godmodding is what happens when you, as the writer, take control of someone else’s character. You make them say something, do something, or you autohit. Autohitting happens when your character and another character are fighting and your character pummels the other character without giving them a chance to retaliate.

How to Fix It: Make sure that your character’s POV is limited. They are not God. And even if they are psychic or telekinetic or whathaveyou, their powers have a limit. Talk to your partner out of character and discuss what you’d like to have happen in the thread. If they are okay with a couple of autohits, go ahead. Just don’t overdo it. You don’t want to make your partner mad.

What Not to Do: Don’t take things personally. Just because someone’s character hates your character doesn’t mean the writer hates you. I have suffered through this myself. I have tried to drop characters that I don’t want to play anymore and gotten an earful from other writers that treated me as if I was breaking up with them because I was dropping their character’s crush. It’s really not a personal thing. It’s a story! There has to be drama in order to make the story move forward. And when people drop characters, most of the time it’s simply because they lost muse for that character. Very rarely does it have anything to do with you as a writer.

How to Fix It: Talk to your partner. Don’t whine, complain, or accuse. Just talk to them. If their character has a problem with yours, discuss why this is. Sometimes you can piggyback off of a conflict like that and make up some really awesome plots! I used to roleplay a character who was absolutely hated by my partner’s. They ended up getting shoved into so many situations where they needed to protect someone they mutually liked, and ended up becoming frenemies. It was a fantastic relationship to plot!

What Not to Do: Don’t make a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. This is a term for a character whose life is so perfect, whose powers are so fantastic, whose personality is so likeable that nothing bad could ever happen to them. OR it’s a character whose life sucks so badly, whose abilities are so weak, whose so dark and evil that nothing good could ever happen to them! It’s one thing to create a hero or villain, but come on – when is the last time you read a book with a perfect character in it? Or, if you have (which I doubt), how long did you put up with it before you put the book down? People don’t like completely perfect or completely imperfect characters. Characters are supposed to mirror real life in some way. Even if it’s an alien with hotdog vision and dragon wings – there still has to be an element of realism or else your audience (and fellow writers) will get extremely bored.

How to Fix It: If you’re creating a good character, give him some weaknesses. If you’re creating a bad character, give her some redeeming qualities. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to make them a dynamic character rather than static. Instead of making your character the most popular person in school, make her think she’s the most popular person in school. There, BAM. Vanity is her weakness. Instead of giving your character the most tragic backstory you can think of and turning him into a depressed self-harming sociopath, give him a few points of light in his past that he can look to in order to try to become a better person.

What Not to Do: Don’t try to change someone else’s character that doesn’t want to be changed. It’s okay if your character does this, because, again, they have a limited consciousness. But for you, as the writer, to try to blackmail, guilt trip, or bully another writer into doing this or that with their character is NOT cool.

How to Fix It: Let them be heroes/villains. If your partner’s character is a cold-hearted villain and she never wants her character to fall in love, don’t push them to change their minds. In the same way, if your partner’s character is a valiant hero, don’t push them into becoming the villain. It’s okay for characters to push each other into things, but writers should respect each other’s opinions, desires, and goals for their characters. That being said, writers should also be flexible with their characters. If you have ONE specific goal for your character, you may not ever reach it if you don’t consider many different avenues to get there. Personally, I generally set about three rules for my character that I will or will not do. Other than that, I am completely flexible and I’m willing to throw my characters into just about any sort of plot they can get into.

What To Do: Be creative! Think of something you’ve never done before. Challenge yourself. Play a character you think would be fun, whether it’s canon (i.e. from the show, book, or movie), or original. Think outside the box. Be willing to plot. Come up with plots yourself! Have fun! Roleplaying should never be a chore. It’s an escape from chores. Our regular lives might be normal and unassuming, but when you’re writing a character’s story, anything is possible. Play someone you’ve always wanted to be! Play someone you never want to become! Play someone you’d be best friends with or worst enemies with! Just play.

Finding Your Niche:

A good roleplay can be hard to find. A lot of times, if you just Google something like “Batman roleplay”, you’ll get stuff from Twitter or Tumblr or expired forums. Be a little more specific with your searches. Some really good RP-hosting forums are Proboards, InvisionFree, or JCINK. Try adding one or all of those terms to your search. Also, be more specific with what fandom or kind of roleplay you’d like to find. Instead of just saying “Batman roleplay”, try something like “Arkham Origins JCINK”. Another good way to find a good roleplay is by going to roleplay directories or help sites. Places like A Thousand Fireflies and Caution 2.0 are resource sites dedicated to helping you find what you need in the roleplay community. All you have to do to is make an account to view their stuff. I have links to these places at the end of my blog.

If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, why not try making one yourself? People are usually wary of starting a roleplay because there is a lot of work involved. You have to find the right forum hosting website, you have to be the administrator, which means leading all the staff and members of the site. You have to figure out coding and how to design your site, not just aesthetically but also to make everything easy to access. You have to write the site plot, advertise, keep momentum going, and promote members to staff. You can’t be afraid to ban spammers and trolls and you have to have a tough hide.

But, if you can handle all of that, creating your own site is amazingly fun! I have been on staff for four different sites, and let me tell you, it is difficult to keep them up and running until you have an interest by the greater population of roleplayers. Things go in and out of style, fandoms rise and then fade. One site I ran lasted for eight years before it started to fade and then died altogether. Another I ran for a year and a half before the same thing happened. But the rewards are awesome. If you have a hard time finding exactly what you are looking for, you can create exactly what you want. Your site can be unique and fun, and you get to write the site-wide stories and events!

Keep in mind that roleplays don’t last forever. People come and go. Plots end. People get busy with life. The point of roleplaying is to have fun. And I have made so many friends along the way – from all over the world – that I am so grateful to have met! I still keep in contact with several of my pen pals, one of which I have known for ten years now. It’s a great way to make friends and stay connected with people from all over.

 If you’ve never tried it, but you’ve always wanted to, I definitely suggest it!

To help get you started, here are some awesome resource sites that a lot of roleplayers, including myself, use:

Caution 2.0 – A roleplay resource site

A Thousand Fireflies – A roleplay resource site

 RPG-D – A roleplay directory

RPG-R – A roleplay rating system

Topsites – A directory of the highest-rated websites by topic


The most important thing to remember is: have fun!

*Insert Obligatory Holiday Post Here*

Yes, yes, it’s that time of year again. Christmas/New Year’s eeeeeverything, right? I know. I get it. BUT that doesn’t mean you’re getting out of anything here. 😀


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was spent in bed with the flu for five days (along with four other family members), so I don’t remember most of the holiday in my feverish state. I got a lot of Iron Man stuff this Christmas, thanks to Just-A-Nerdy-Guy, and a few Harley Quinn things too, which meant I had a very comic book Christmas, ha ha.

Sometimes it’s easy to slip into the world’s version of Christmas. The world says “Buy, buy, buy! More, more, more!” Commercials tell people they’re going to be awful parents if they don’t get their kids EXACTLY the right tablet/video game/Frozen merchandise. Santa Claus is practically worshiped in any cartoon or Disney show you happen to turn on. The “spirit of Christmas”… is consumerism.

It’s the same thing that’s happened to New Year’s. I’ve heard all kinds of commercials on the radio talking about making 2015 the “YOU Year”, or starting off the new year right with a new car/TV/weight loss plan. Really?

Since when did these holidays become about me, me, me? Most of you probably know the true story of Christmas: that Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who was born in a stable because there was no room for His family in the Inn. He was worshiped by shepherds and wise men, almost killed by King Herod, and grew up just to be the ultimate sacrifice for human sin. The focus of Christmas was supposed to be on Christ, not us. But somehow things got twisted. St. Nicholas was never “Santa Claus”, he was a kind old saint who paid girls’ dowries so they could get married. He did it out of love for people. How did he become a figure who only feeds little kids’ greed and parents’ pride?

And as far as the new year goes, we shouldn’t be celebrating a new “us” year, we should be celebrating a new “God” and “people” year. How about instead of focusing on how we can make ourselves better, more popular, thinner, or richer, we start focusing on how we can give, love, show people what truly matters, and introduce them to a God whose only goal is to save His people for eternity? Does that sound so bad?

Now, that means that you won’t get to constantly focus on yourself. You’ll have to start opening your heart to others, you’ll need to start considering other people before yourself, and you’ll have to put yourself last. It means that next Christmas you won’t just be concentrating on getting the biggest and best presents, panicking about cooking meals, or worrying about what your kids will think of their gifts.

It’s a tough decision to make and most people aren’t strong enough or don’t care enough to make it. Do you? All it takes is one person to make a difference. Why can’t that person be you? God has called you to so much more than consumerism. Take up His offer. Do more. Be more! Make 2015 count for something more than your wealth or weight. Be the difference this world deserves… but not the one it needs right now. Because you can take it. Because you’re not a hero. You’re a– ….oh wait, sorry, that’s Batman.

Happy New Year!