Written by | Posted November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm A Girl and her Dog

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

Brain Heals
comment Comments Off Written by on January 24, 2012 – 8:11 am

I redid my gems. I re-reforged. I redid my keybinds. I set up clique and totem timers.

And then we went to Firelands.

My first foray as a healer wasn’t horrible though, once I remembered I had Healing Rain (which is probably the biggest change to how I’m used to playing a shaman healer). In fact, I even started to get the rhythm of the various fights once we were halfway through.

Of course, we were half overgeared for it, which didn’t hurt, but I didn’t wipe the raid. (/relief) Unfortunately the two people we were intending to gear up didn’t get a single upgrade. Also Rhyolith kept bugging on us, which  was frustrating. But I’ve officially healed a raid now.

This seems to have made me officially a “real healer” again, because as soon as I got to Stormwind, I got a whisper:

would u like 2 heal for bwd?

/sigh.

Thursday we’re going to do some LFR fun, since we’ve still got two characters that aren’t ready for Dragon Soul, but all in all I’m feeling more like I’ll at least be competent with the heal buttons again.

When the writing gets tough…
comment 1 Written by on January 23, 2012 – 7:59 am

I don’t have a witty ending to that statement. But it would probably be something like “… the writer gets a beer.”

Anyway, what happens when you want to be writing, but the ideas won’t come? When you have a character that needs attention but no ficlets to write?

Sometimes things just need to incubate a little longer. Wait a bit and see what happens. Sometimes, however, even with waiting, you have the desire to write and no concrete direction to take your writing.

I suffer from this a lot. It’s why I don’t write novels – I don’t really do well with big ideas. I get fragments and then can’t plot them into something coherent. To tell the truth, I can’t plot my way out of a brown paper sack. (This is a reason I often write fic with friends. I’m good at execution, but not always great with the ideas. This way I can pick their brains. I’m like a plot zombie.)

There are a few cures for assorted brain block that I like.

Brainstorming is good – and I like using something like Tami’s method of mind mapping. She explains it really well, but basically when you sit down and you think you have no ideas, just start writing things down. Tami does this in a notebook, I usually do it in a word document. I type faster than I write, and as pro-handwriting as I am, it just works better for me to be thinking in text instead of trying to scribble things out fast enough. In the end, I get something like a long list of items, many with bullet points.

Frequently when I do this, I sit down with no ideas and turn around and have five or ten. Poof! Like magic. Not all those ideas will turn into fic, but that doesn’t matter. The point is to get them written down.

If I’m feeling particularly stuck on how to start, I usually do something like freewriting (sometimes I do this after I brainstorm a bit, to give me a direction).

Freewriting is especially useful if I have a character who is being shy about showing up. I just start typing, regardless of where it might be in the overall story or whether it’s “good” or not, and see what happens. The two posts that are upcoming from Annata got started this way. I’m not the best writer when it comes to roguish things and close combat – I am inherently un-sneaky. Sneaky things intimidate me as a writer. Writing these ficlets, I decided that if I needed sneaky, I’d just let Annata do it. So I just started writing. Both times the initial trepidation wore off once the actual character got into her stride, and I’m pleased with the final turnout. *

More than anything else, I talk with other writers. Sometimes just getting ideas out in conversation is enough to spark a whole series of ficlets. (I try to make sure I’m available for idea-bouncing as well, since it’s only fair to return the favor.)

All of these methods work for blogging, or any kind of writing really. The idea is to get around your inner editor, who rejects ideas before you get a chance to explore them. Letting your brain wander through your fingers is therapeutic, in a way, since it bypasses the critical response that so frequently kills writerly motivation. For me, they get the most use in getting me started on writing ficlets.

What are your tricks for the “getting started” part of writing? How do you break through whatever brain blocks you have to get things written, be they blog post, ficlet, or novel?

*The Heads I Win ficlets will be posted here later this week. I’m still working on the last bit, and how it fits into the greater guild story.

Form of Healer – ACTIVATE!
comment Comments Off Written by on January 20, 2012 – 11:04 am

So my as yet nameless raid* is going through another reset cycle. We’ve lost a few people, are raiding on a new night, etc.

One of the people we lost was our paladin healer.

As such, since I like my raid and want to keep raiding, I offered to swap Annorah over to healing (and Yva will be swapping to paladin healing).

To put this into context, the last time I healed anything other than myself while questing, I was running LFD at the end of Wrath with my priest. Which means it’s been more than two years since I healed, closer to FOUR years since I healed as a Shaman (though I may have healed a Naxx run or two, I don’t remember…)

My healer instincts are, hopefully, still around, but I’m pretty sure the skill is gone. Thankfully, shaman healing doesn’t seem too terribly different than it’s been in the past, especially for raid healing, so I’m hoping that transition goes well. (Also, what would we do without EJ? Their resto shaman thread has a “Help! I’m elemental and need to fill in for our missing healer in 5 minutes!” section that was a total lifesaver toward getting me started.)

Also thankfully, my gear is pretty balanced with +Spirit on it (since elemental shamans convert spirit into hit), so other than picking up my 2 piece Tier 12, which I should be able to do with little difficulty running heroics, I’m not in bad shape gear wise. This is primarily why I didn’t switch to Aely – as much as it would mean only one character having to switch, Paladin healing is both a) more difficult and b) would require a /complete/ gear up. Aely’s got about 348 ilevel ret gear, and that’s it.

I feel a little sheepish that I’ve gotten so out of practice, to be honest, but mentally I really needed a break from healing. So now I have until next Thursday to figure out how to push buttons again.

Just keybind everything to chain heal and roll my face on the keyboard, right?

*When TRI splits down into 10 mans, we’re no longer just Totally Raids, Inc. We’re TRI *something*. The Saturday 10 man is TRI Hangover (since they raid in the morning and are, occasionally, hungover). Our raid now runs Thursday evenings – at the same time as the third TRI 10 man raid. Both Thursday raids are working on Ultraxion, which is kind of cool. Anyway, we don’t have a name yet. Because we’re bads and haven’t thought of one. Suggestions are, of course, accepted.

SWTOR Resources (General and RP)
comment 5 Written by on January 20, 2012 – 7:26 am

For my own use as much as anyone else’s:

Wookieepedia – Star Wars Lore Database. Enormous, but good for getting answers to lore questions. Also good for sucking up your afternoon without you noticing.

SWTOR Wikia - Star Wars: The Old Republic wiki – specific to the game and game environment/lore.

TORHead – Growing database of missions and mission items.

SithWarrior.com – forum of discussion about class mechanics, specs, and strategy

Jedi Tank – discussion of class mechanics, particularly tanking and healing

SWTOR Crew Skills – just what it says. Crew Skills information and skill leveling guides

SWTOR Life – news and guides. Good blog about RP specifically. Especially the post about setting game preferences for RP.

True Galaxies SWTOR Guides - particularly their companion guides

SWTOR Strategies – news website with lore and strategy information, as well as game updates

SWTOR Hub – news website with new player, lore, and other info, game updates, skill calculator

And a couple of blogs I’m enjoying that cover SWTOR and related info: Inquisitor’s Roadhouse –  A New Dope - All for the WookieeHawtpants of the Old Republic

I’m sure as the game solidifies, some of these sites will disappear and new ones will appear, but for now these are the websites I’m using to keep up with new stuff in SWTOR. And to look up answers to my eleventy billion questions, since this is a relatively new lore environment for me.

What other websites (including blogs, which I don’t have many of yet) should I be reading?

Very First Impressions

November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am

So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so …

A Girl and her Dog

November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger …

Counting down to Warlords

November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm

What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be …

Elevation

October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

Introducing the Newest Anna

June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm

So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …

Deconstruction

November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

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