Cosplaying on a budget and on the fly: Part 1.

The 2017 RealmMakers conference in Reno is at the end of this month. Some people dress up for the annual costume banquet. If you are like me you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on extravagant costumes. Yet at the same time you really want to be clever and original.

Are you running out of time to get your costume together? Did you spend all of your money on that Plane ticket to Reno? What if I told you, you can still have an amazing costume without breaking the bank?

Are you interested?

 Good, I have three rules for you:

 1) Cosplay does not have to be screen worthy, just recognizable.

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Is the piping on the sleeves correct? No, it’s just yellow felt. Is the the badge accurate? No, I literally printed the first image from google onto card stock and taped a safety pin on the back. Blue shirt, black slacks, black men’s under shirt showing through the top.

Can anyone look at this costume and not think Star Trek? No and that is what what makes this a costume win.

 2) Regular clothes can be a costume.

 Using ready made clothing saves time on sewing. Using clothes from your closet or goodwill saves money. Altered clothing will hold up better than most costumes. Clothing is machine washable, and after your event it can go back into your closet for instant reuse as anything. Instead of taking up space between fan events.

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Black slacks, recycled graduation robe as a wizarding cloak, and a novelty shirt that I found at Walmart. But you could use a white button up shit and a grey cardigan. Add any house colored tie for extra realism.

 Rule 3 the last and greatest rule: Cosplay is meant to be fun.

In spite of  rule one’s best intentions some people will not get it. That’s okay. We do it for it the people who will get it. 

If your costume is stressing you out, then maybe you need to step back and rethink your design. Can it be simplified? Can you get away with something more abstract?

Maybe you are trying to cosplay a fandom you have no passion for because friends wanted to group cosplay.

Or maybe you were told that you could never cosplay that character you love because you are the wrong Gender, Body Type, Hair Color or Race.

Do not let anyone keep you from that fandom you love. You can be anything you love.

Refer to rule one and do the thing!

I’m a NaNo loser

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Yes NaNoWriMo is over. That grand challenge that drives writers to double their work load during the busiest time of year. Amidst the hustle and bustle of black Friday frenzies, three thanksgiving meals over the course of four day weekend, and 48 hour work weeks, we are expected to churn out an entire novel of 50,000 words.

So how did I do you ask. I got down on paper, 35,124 words. I averaged 1,170 words per day. I never had a day where I broke 3,000 words though I often wrote less. And even though MS word counts ### as a word. Nano word counter does not.

So yes I am a loser. But a NaNo loser is a nano loser which is only a little bit of a loser.

Am I done? Does losing the challenge mean my novel is abandoned?

No but I am taking a break to regain some sanity, pay some sleep debt and work on some short stories that need polishing. I also have to work on finishing my Goodreads reading challenge for the year. 7 books to read before new years still.

The good news: I will pick it up again for JaNoWriMo. You may guess that means: January novel writing month. You are right. The Realm Makers Consortium group on facebook is hosting this more convenient challenge. The challenge is even more manageable because the goal is only to write 40,000 words instead of 50,000. My personal goal is to add to my current novel and hopefully to finish. I am aiming for a 90,000 word novel. There is the ending to write and a subplot that still want to go back and add. Hopefully the more convenient timing will allow me to finish it up.

So yes I lost NaNoWriMo, but as the Beatles sang, “I’m a loser, but I’m not what I appear to be.”

I appear to be some one with less than half a full length novel, but I’m 35,000 words into a novel. That’s only 45,000 words away from being a Paperback Writer.

To the Realm of Makers and Back Again

I am back from another year of Realm Makers, the only place to go if you are a Christian, fantasy and science fiction writer.

But, before I tell you more I’m going to update you on my last post. The Escape anthology contest is over and I can now tell you which story was mine.

I wrote the one titled “Raised in Captivity.” It was number eight on the list. I did not win the readers choice award but thank you to anyone who voted for mine. “Raised in Captivity” will still be published in the anthology so it’s all good. The publishing industry is not for the impatient, however, as the anthology publication date is almost a year from now.

The conference was last weekend, August 7 & 8, 2015, in St. Louis, Mo on the UMSL (University of Missouri at St. Louis) campus. This is the same place it was held in 2013.

The Keynote speaker was Robert Liparulo author of the Dreamhouse Kings series. He gave inspired talks. The first one was about the need to, stop worrying about what others think, and to stop doubting that you’re good enough. The second one was the opposite, GO was the message. Go start writing, go do what you need to do.

I did not have time for any sightseeing this year because the conference tried something new, an extra workshop on Thursday afternoon. The Irresistible Novel: by Jeff Gerke. In this class he talked about the brain chemistry of the reader and literally how to make your writing addictive. All this to plug his new book, of the same title; which naturally, sold out. I loved it, Jeff Gerke is an engaging speaker, and he writes exactly how he talks. Every author should have a collection of his books.

Beyond that though, this Early Bird class really helped to extend the Conference experience. It felt like three days instead of two and a half.

This year continued the tradition of the Splickety critique pre-party. During which I was mortified when my submission was read aloud. Some of the feedback was helpful, but 500 words isn’t really enough to get a good critque.

Another new feature this year was the addition of a third track of classes. Though I like having options I will always miss that first year with only one track, everyone went to the same classes and you didn’t have to worry about missing anything. This year featured three main tracks: World building, Editing, and Marketing. In addition to the main tracks there were also electives that also ran in groups of three and ranged in topics from book cover design to dealing with magic in Christian fantasy.

I feel like Editing is where I am in my writing Journey so I chose this course. David Farland was an entertaining speaker, who was very informed on his topic. He even threw in a lecture on what to do when your book is optioned for a movie. However, his anecdotal teaching style made it hard for me to take notes. This is a course where I think I will benefit from purchasing recordings. (Yes recordings are new this year too.) Also I missed a lot of his talk because I was busy attending mentoring appointments.

The highlight, for me at least, was meeting Donita K Paul the author of The Dragonkeeper Chronicles. I love her books so much, that I spent most of my one on one meeting with her, being star struck. I understand that the mentors set aside time in their schedules to talk to me about my writing, but it’s hard for me to talk about my writing, even with people I’m close to. Put me in front of someone I admire and whose own work has been a big part of my life, I freeze up.

One option I am glad I took advantage of was the opportunity to have a mentor critique the opening of my novel. It was an extra fee but worth every penny to be able to sit down with someone who already had feedback for me. I selected L.B. Graham for my mentor, and I would recommend him to anyone looking to do this next year. He is easy to talk with and his critiques were all very constructive, not to mention, absolutely right.

Every year there is a costume/ awards diner on Friday night. This year I dressed up as a Hogwarts student. I had to stand up front when they announced the winners of the anthology contest. You can imagine how uncomfortable I felt.

Saturday night there was a game room in addition to a Nerf war. I chose the game room. It’s easier to talk over games anyway. This was also the night I went around trying to get the rest of my books signed.

My Realm Makers tradition is to always buy more books than I can afford but never as many as I actually want. Sometimes I just have to say maybe next year to a certain book, or author. But yeah, if the Author is there, why not get it signed? In previous years actual book signings had been held. But this year was a giant game of stalk the author.

Thoughts on the conference experience:

After three years you’d think this would be easy for me, but I am very introverted, and I get crowd anxiety. So the first year was great for me, it was small and easy to navigate. The second year was also good, more people but still manageable. This year, attendance exploded. I am happy for the conference but I felt overwhelmed most of the time. Thank you to everyone who was ok with standing in out of the way corners with me.

I always feel torn, I enjoy the experience and I learn a lot, but honestly I feel better after I get home and start reading all the books I bought. I also like the after conference motivation. I have all this feedback to work with, and ideas to try. The hard part is keeping that drive going. I started my novel after the first conference. I finished the first draft after the second one. ( They were less than a year apart, so it’s not as bad as you might think.) After this one I am going to try for a presentable second maybe third draft before next year. My goal is a book to sell at conference five. Ok, maybe conference six.

Back to Blogging

First I’m sorry for being such an inconsistent blogger. I know I hardly posted anything at all last year. I am so sorry. . .

“I am the worst blogger ever,” she said hanging her head in shame. “I am so unmotivated, and no one ever comments on my stuff,” she said knowing full well that the former had more to do with it than the later. Her real problem is that she keeps sitting around waiting for things to happen and she is also very unfocused. The blog is called Random musings for goodness sake.

Wow, I have no idea who that was, some random third person POV hacker taking over my blog.

Anyway since I haven’t posted anything in forever you probably don’t know that the second Realm Makers conference is over and it was amazing.

She hesitates. “What if someone I met there reads this? They’re going to know what an unmotivated writer I am. I can’t even maintain a blog how will I ever write a novel?” She bites her fingernails in worry.

You don’t know that I am writing a novel. It has the word Random in the title. Make of that what you will.

“Their going to think the wrong thing, I should give more information. No If I over explain it to begin with I won’t feel free to make major revisions later. I should leave it alone. This will build hype for future publication. No it won’t,” she stops typing to continue her internal discussion, “I never finish anything I start. The book is doomed. You don’t know that, if it worries you so much don’t mention it in your blog.” 

 

You don’t know that The Cross and Cosmos is no longer in publication. The web site is still up for now but there aren’t going to be any new issues.

“How am I going to publish my short stories now?” She mutters to herself, knowing in her heart that she fears rejection too much to submit her work to anyplace else.

You probably don’t even remember that my Blogaversary is tomorrow.

She stops typing and saves her post in the draft folder as she scrolls through her older posts to double check the spelling of Blogaversary.

Hey who did all that? You have got to be kidding me, I think I need to update my security settings. I get up for three minuets and the POV hacker strikes again. Just ignore everything in Italics it’s not important.

Anyway don’t feel bad, you didn’t know these things because, I didn’t tell you. Really I didn’t even remember that my Blogaversary was tomorrow until I got a notification from WordPress.

I can’t promise that I will post more often because let’s face it–I’ve broken that promise too many times for anyone to ever believe it.

But I will try not to forget and leave this blog dormant for almost a year again (cross your fingers).

She crosses her fingers and pushes “Publish.” Then waits expectantly for someone, anyone to comment and give her life meaning.

She gets up and watches her computer. As she waits for it to shut down she notices a little sticker on the side that says includes meta-reality POV processor. “I wonder what that does?” she muses. The computer screen goes blank and she closes the laptop.