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About the Project

Dear reader,

Now that you have learned a little bit about me in my previous post, it is time to introduce my project. I simply call it a project but the term “challenge” would probably be more accurate. At the same time, it sounds more frightening than I want it to be. So just to make sure you are not misled, let’s say it is a project that I might ace or lamentably fail! 😉

The Inspirations
There are two main inspirations I drew this idea from and I think I should present them before diving into the project itself.

The first one is the movie <i>Julie and Julia</i> staring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. It tells the story of Julie who decides to blog about a self-appointed ordeal: cook her way through Julia’s cookbook within a year. 365 days. 524 recipes.
I found the idea of crafting your own significant challenge and reporting it on a daily basis quite interesting. It is a good way to push yourself further then where you would normally go, to get out of your comfort zone.

The second thing that inspired me is a challenge happening each November called the NaNoWriMo. It drives writers to start a novel from scratch and lay down 50,000 words in the course of the month. The focus is on quantity, not quality. The objective being to allow yourself mistakes for the sake of creativity.
This challenge requires a lot of commitment. Let’s face it 50,000 words in a month is a huge amount of writing when you are not doing it full-time. Still, the idea of just unleashing creativity to reach a goal has a strong appeal to bubbling minds like mine.

Roll these two ideas together, add a touch of me and somewhere in the middle ground, you’ll find The Writeaholic’s Blog.

The Writer’s Rules
1. I will write 1,000 words a week.
I chose this quantity of words because it is not too overwhelming. It is not a walk in the park either when you are juggling two jobs, a social life and a bunch of creative whatnot. I think this number strikes the right cord between “project” and “challenge”.

2. Each post shall be worth the reader’s time.
Here is the first twist: I shall not, under any circumstance, write a 1,000 words-long botched post. My objective is not quantity. That, I achieve without even thinking about it: I am really talkative. My objective is quality which is way harder to fit in limited space and time.

3. Each post should be snippet of an unfolding story.
That’s the part of the challenge that is really stressing me out. I want each 1,000 words post, give or take 50 words, to be like a chapter of a book: beginning, middle and end (ideally a cliff-hanging end.) 1,000 words is really short to do that and concision is my personal monster when it comes to writing. If I can manage that, you’ll have a coherent story to follow every week. Just like a very low-budget TV series!

4. The story is to come to a definite end at the 52nd week.
Not one chapter more, not one less. Yikes! Again with that concision problem… or it will be the opposite if I run out of intrigue before the deadline… Double yikes!

Why bother with these rules?
I know these rules can read as masochist throwing obstacles in her own way. I guess it kind of is: what can I say? If life doesn’t challenge me, I’ll challenge myself.
The good point of this, however, is that by the end of the year, I will have a 52,000 words story. This length is a bare 2,000 words over the minimum to be considered a full-blown novel. Yes, you have read right: by the end of the year, I will have written a novel in my second language. Hurray! 

Moment of Truth
I have already laid out a rough outline of the story to use as a guide throughout this project. I am not jumping head first in this without a story to tell. I hope you enjoy murder… and a little supernatural. Nothing like a mystery-solving quest to provide one cliff-hanger a week. 😉
I have also written the 3 first weeks. This little jumpstart is all I allow myself to have: it enables me to be sick, on vacation, working overtime or whatnot and miss 3 weeks of writing over the year without failing my challenge. You know how life can get sometimes. I wouldn’t want to fail a year-long ordeal because I’m having another heart surgery.

The Reader’s Rules
I am very open to comments and constructive criticism. I will be pleased to hear from you and know that people read and are interested in my writing. I will be blessed to have you invested in my story. So do talk to me, I’ll do my best to answer comments. Do talk about me if you feel I’m worth your word-of-mouth.

That being said I want to set up one ground “demand.” I would have written “ground rule” but since I don’t really have a way to enforce it, let’s just see it as my special request.

Though I am not necessarily doing this to be published, it would hurt me to see my writings stolen and used without my name being mentioned. I do agree that once it’s on the internet, there is no real copyright and yadi yadi yada. But behind the internet are people who can be respectful. That’s what I’m calling for: respect.
I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this for you. I wish you’ll respect me enough and ask before borrowing my writing. I wish my name and the address of this blog will accompany any quotes you might want to use. I also wish I won’t read nasty hateful comments about my work but that, I’ll handle more easily then seeing my work plagiarized.

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting my first snippet of story on Sunday and every Sunday after that.
And for your information, this post is what 1,000 words looks like! 😉

About the Writer

Dear reader,

As I start this blog, and even though it will mostly consist of posts solely related to my project, I feel like I should take some time to address you directly. It seems necessary to kick-off my undertaking by giving you a little context, if only to reduce the distance between us. I’m a people person so I need to give you a glimpse of the “me” that resides behind the stories I write.

At first, I thought I would merge my presentation and my project’s in one post. I then realized that I had more to say then what my initial draft let on. So here I am, rewriting my presentation and keeping the project’s details for tomorrow. The mystery shouldn’t kill you, whoever you might be. For now, you’ll have to be satisfied with a “wordful” portrait of who I am.

My name is Emilie and I’m a writeaholic. 😉

I started to write stories when I was pretty young and haven’t been able to stop ever since. I was first published when I was ten. I had a monthly page in the local newspaper. It was called “Jour de pluie” (which translates to Rainy Days) and would contain short stories or poems.

I have written for a few contests but have mostly been writing for myself. Then, I studied and got a job as a video game designer. Basically, my job is to write games: how it is played/won/lost, who are the characters, what is the story and every other details that will direct the work of a team of programmers and artists. In a nutshell, I write 40 hours a week for Sarbakan. And I love it!

In the course of that job, I had the occasion to become a mentor for a game designer in the making. I also supervised internships, wrote formations, am presiding the social club… Some of my coworkers go around saying I sold my soul to Sarbakan. I have been working there for two years and am at the very beginning of my career. I am twenty-three and single: now is the right time to give everything to my passions until Mister Right comes by. I’ll revise my priorities then!

My implication in the video game industry does not quite stop with my work. This brink of 2010 sees me becoming a teacher for the very formation I was part of three years ago. I teach narrative structure or how to write stories in games. It’s a really short evening class (barely 45 hours) but I’ll do my best to cram it with information.
Storytelling in games, as you might have guessed, is what really drives me in this industry. I’m all about stories and I’m bummed by the fact that we haven’t quite found the way to tell them in games. The game’s theme and emotional range is so thin compared to movies or literature. I hope we can find a way to broaden it. And may be, just may be, I can help us walk toward that goal. But I’m not there yet!

One thing that I am convinced of is that stories are flexible. I believe they can be bent to fit any format no matter how arbitrary and numerous the rules of that format are. And may be, just may be, I can prove that with my project. But that’s for tomorrow.

Apart from my two jobs, when some free time rears its blessed head, I turn mostly to writing-related hobbies. I’m writing songs, which are all a cappella so far, but can be enjoyed on MySpace, if you are so inclined. I am working on my first novel (which is in French, sorry gals). And though I spend some time singing, dancing, acting and painting, the bottom line remains that I write a lot! A parallel truth would be that I am an all-around artist who can’t settle in one art form but it is not the focus of this blog.
I also have a notebook with me at all times to scribble down thoughts and ideas as they cross my mind.

I’ve been asked why I write in so many different formats. The truth is, I don’t really know why. Some stories come to me in a way that they can only be told in a specific format. Sometimes, I force myself to think up a story based on a given format. My creativity works either way and I am not one to rein it in.

Last confession but not least: in case you haven’t picked up on that yet, English is my second language. I was born and am living in Quebec City, Canada and am thus French. So I plead here and now for your forgiveness for any misspelled, misspoken or misused words that may riddle my writing. I am revising every thing I write a couple of times but have no external English-speaking proof-reader. I hope you can understand and I’ll do my best to keep my “Frenchiness” from showing.

Well! I think that about covers the “who the hell is that girl” angle. “About covers” because I should probably mention my trademark: I have bright blue hair. I’ve had the same color for five years now so it has really become my signature look. I guess my portrait wouldn’t have been complete if I failed to mention this calling card. Not that it affects my writing or anything but it is a trait that defines me.

That being said, I’m signing off. I’ll be back tomorrow with the details of the writeaholic project I devised for myself.

Don’t be afraid to comment! 😉

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