Hello and welcome to the third installment of my perspective. I’ve got loads to write about this time. The logistics of a prank, the importance of the reader’s expectations, keeping productive when the world’s stopped working. And of course, we’ll talk about what Lena and Eldric were talking about before they went to torment Lena’s sisters.
If you haven’t already, take a look at Shadows Rise 2.03 to make sure you’re all caught up before reading any further.
Let’s start off with the fun part. Our regular post date landed on April Fools this year. We’re tremendous fans of April Fools, Blackbird and I, and we’d discuss ways to prank our fellow roleplayers when the Shadows Series was still a roleplaying game. One year, Blackbird wrote a whole post for the roleplay killing one of the beloved characters. We later told everyone that it was a prank, but we’d managed to upset a lot of people before telling them. Without a doubt, April Fools is sort of a tradition for us and we decided to extend the honour to our readers, as well.
Blackbird had come up with this prank ages ago. How funny would it be if we could find a way to make our latest release next to impossible to read? We had a good laugh about it and then we found a format converter that allowed us to flip all the text upside down. The only problem was that we’d had to convert the chapter a couple of sentences at a time as the converter would only take small chunks of text at a time. Thankfully, I have an author willing to hurt themselves in the name of a good joke and spent hours on April 1st meticulously converting the text. The second it was complete, we posted it to all our regular sites.
Then came the marketing, which was a load of fun. Several Discord messages between Blackbird and I were exchanged to talk about exactly how we wanted to present our prank to the world. On some sites, we’d written the chapter while vacationing in Australia. In other’s, malicious actors had hacked our computers and were holding the unflipped chapter ransom. All of this came at a great success! We got a surprising number of views for something silly like this. I’d like to thank all of you for putting up with our nonsense. And to any of you who had the balls to read the chapter flipped upside down, you’re the champ!
It might have been posted earlier in the day, too, but we’d made some last minute changes to the chapter that required some time to complete. In fact, Blackbird stayed up until 5 in the morning on April 1st to make sure what she wrote was complete. Blackbird kind of hates me for it, but I think it was worth it. You see, the chapter originally didn’t have the dye fight at all (can we all just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Blackbird managed to invent medieval paintball?). It was going to skip right from when Lena started counting to the group walking back into the camp, all messy from the dye. As it was, you weren’t going to see any of the dye battle at all.
Even myself reading it for the first time was extremely disappointed to see there wasn’t any action in this chapter. It was set up perfectly with the counting and then all of a sudden, it was over, without any catharsis. Thankfully she added the fight because I quite enjoyed reading about how it slowly devolved from sneaky tactics into an all-out free for all. I found myself entertained.
But I think the most entertaining moment in the whole read was at the beginning. I’ve said before that Blackbird crafts greatly detailed conversations and I think the conversation at the beginning of this chapter was especially engaging. We discovered a few things about these character’s world views. We’ve tied ourselves back to the climax of the first arc when Sebastian and Kyle joined the hunters on their Wolf hunt. Eldric was the one that got away. We got to see his guilt over not being more active in the fight. Maybe the Wolves would have won that fight if Eldric had been more proactive. I can imagine if given a second chance, Eldric won’t hesitate to kill Sebastian or Kyle. I’ll be excited to see if they meet again in the future.
Now here is where I’m going to take a tonal shift. If you want to stop reading at this point, I’ll understand, but I think it has to be addressed. Don’t worry about missing anything else. This is the last thing I’m going to write about in this issue.
No matter where you live, you’re feeling the impact of COVID-19. I’ve got to say, we’re all in this together and when you look at it, we’ve managed to do some special things for our fellow man all throughout the world. And in spite of the horrible and scary conditions that brought us to this point, I’m pretty damn proud to see how humanity can break barriers and come together in the ways that we have.
This has a massive impact on us, though, and working through these rough times can be difficult. I know a lot of people personally who have been struggling to get up each morning to find new ways to entertain themselves for hours on end. On the other side of the spectrum, there have been people who have found that they have time to do the things that they never could before. For writers who already live solitary lives, this self isolation sounds like a dream, but it can quickly become a nightmare. Even doing what we love, we still need an escape from time to time. Both Blackbird and I have struggled with this.
For Blackbird, she’d confided in me that she didn’t feel comfortable going outside anymore. Not only was the virus a threat to her, but with less people out on the streets during the day, it became less safe. People with bad intentions can easily take advantage of the reduced foot traffic if you aren’t living in a good neighbourhood. Meanwhile, I’ve found a newfound vigour. I’d been self-isolating since January already since I’d quit my job before the Christmas break. I had a good routine going already and since I’d no longer been able to hunt for any jobs since around March 16th, I’d found new time to take up some extra projects.
Because of this, I want to give you all a little bit of advice. There are ways to keep your mind healthy while we keep ourselves apart for a little while longer.
Learn something new. We have millions of resources online and more time than ever to continue our education. The American Ivy League schools have courses that you can take online for free. Check some of them out!
Keep in contact with your friends and coworkers. My friends are my lifeline. If I’m feeling extra lonely or just need someone to talk to, they’ll be there for you. Likely they need someone to talk to as much as you do. Don’t be afraid to reach out. I found this resource online called Tabletopia online. It has hundreds of board games that you can play with your friends online for free. Or you can pay and get a few extra board games and features. Either way, it is a great way to keep in touch with friends.
Keep active. There are thousands of online classes being conducted by studios for free right now. Having some dance background myself, I’ve taken the opportunity to take some dance classes that some local dance studios are conducting. When I’m not sitting at my computer, typing, or making myself a meal, I’m usually up and active in my house. Keeping myself limber so that when this quarantine finally ends, I’ll hopefully have that six-pack that I’d had back when I was my healthiest.
Hopefully at least a few of these ideas are helpful to you. They may not be revolutionary, but they’re tried and true methods to maintaining good mental health. Now we need to keep our wits more than ever in our lifetime. At least give one of these things a try. You’re better off for it.
Stay safe; keep healthy,