Vespair

Anarchy.

I write for the ones without a voice.

Yoshiyuki Ly
Yoshiyuki
yoshiyuki_ly
Writing.
Video games.
Music.
Fanfiction.

Don't ignore the:
Social realism + romance.
Intensity.
LGBT, minorities, and women as fully-realized characters.
Power plays that push mental and emotional limits.
Armor over vulnerabilities. Strip that armor to get to the soft, devoted core.


Venus and Lysander
Historical-fantasy-romance. Solstice Publishing picked this one up. It's available now. Book summary:

Living as a nobleman and a woman, Valerie of Lysander is sick of waiting for the world to change. The discrimination she suffers as an outcast builds into resentment. Once Val takes matters into her own hands, the whole Empire of Tynan feels her brand of justice. The Emperor's adviser, Lucrezia of Azrith, wants more of Val's ruthlessness
for revenge against the unjust, and for her own desires. Venus and Lysander is an intricate romance set in the fictional Victorian city of Eden, 250 years after the events in The Scorpion's Empress.

Lucrezia is Lady Chancellor for the Emperor and a sorceress-in-hiding. She is forced to conceal her identity from the religious public for fear of death. As she learns to trust in Val's chivalry and affections for her, they both fall for the softer sides behind their similar bulletproof personas. Lucrezia receives a mysterious warning about a sadistic enemy threatening the Azrith and Lysander families. Once they discover their nemesis' true motive, Val and Lucrezia's tyrannous devotion for one another is all they can count on to survive.



buy here on Amazon

Finalist in the 30th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
2017 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention


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The Scorpion's Empress
Erotic romance plus a bit of fantasy. Also under Solstice Publishing. It's available now. Book summary:

After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled Empress of the city's oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion's Empress is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven year old women.

Videl's loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots against the Empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs, and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to a head, Videl's loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her past and her Empress.

The Scorpion's Empress

buy here on Amazon
Goodreads // Solstice Publishing

[Five star review (click to open)]



Winner in the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards - Lesbian romance
Finalist in the 2016 Independent Author Network Awards - LGBT
Winner in the 2016 New England Book Awards - LGBT
Honorable Mention in the 2016 Rainbow Awards - Lesbian erotic romance

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Online Stories
Find most of my romance works here. The joy of sharing.

In-Depth Story Notes
Find my personal commentary for certain stories here.

Twitter

Contact Me + Navigation
-Email me at yoshiyuki.ly17@gmail.com with questions, comments or book-related requests.
-Follow the tag links on the right hand side if you're looking for anything specific.
-Click the cuts below to read what's underneath.

Ideal publishing order

1. The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance with some D/s) - June 1, 2016
2. Venus and Lysander (historical-fantasy-romance) - January 31, 2017

3. Black Waltz (urban fantasy romance with some BDSM) - in pre-publication now
4. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - now complete
5. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s) - current work-in-progress

These are all set in different eras of my fictional Anathema universe: the world, Tellus, with Nyx Vevina as God of the Anathema religion; she is the morally ambiguous shadow to her more spirited twin sister, Venus, who is revered as the standard of beauty, femininty and acceptance. My main characters all challenge the status quo in these societies in ways that are relevant to the real world.

Call me YoshiCollapse )

Current video game(s)Collapse )

Chauvinistic Coquette is finished: 19 chapters, 147,000 words.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
It's done.

There's an alternate ending that I wrote. It destroyed me, but I decided not to go with that one. The whole point of the ending is that it's not supposed to be the one that I wanted. It's a happily ever after one, yes. The one I had in mind was more bittersweet and mind-bending. If I went with that one, then I would have needed to edit the whole story to sufficiently build up to this finale. I decided against it because of that, and because I don't think anyone other than me would have appreciated it.

The current ending works for the story and for the audience. Although, if you look closely, not all is as it appears to be. That's enough for me.

Even though I officially started writing this in mid-September 2017, I didn't really get going until December of last year and January of this year. This took about five months to finish. Not bad.

Do I sound unenthused about this accomplishment? You shouldn't worry about it. I'm mostly disappointed because I had so many ambitions for this story that ultimately didn't fall through for whatever reasons. As it stands now, it's a perfectly coherent book that I wouldn't mind recommending to anyone who wants to read a contemporary romance with some magical elements of fantasy to give it that extra push beyond the ordinary. I'm happy with the story. Don't get me wrong. This only boils down to my disappointment that I didn't get to do absolutely everything that I had in mind.

Current to-do list:

-Let CC sit for about a week before I go back and make edits. Mostly for spelling, clarity, and clipping out plot arcs that ended up not going anywhere. Also cutting down the word count as much as I can.

-Edit Black Waltz for clarity and adding in plot points that I want to expand on in Anathema, the next (and likely final) book I'll write. This should only take a few days or so.

-Self-publish Black Waltz once I get my cover art sorted out. My published had accepted this manuscript before; the rest is a long story that I don't want to get into.

-See about publishing CC once edits are done.

-Take a BREAK from writing to focus on video games whose stories or characters I want to learn from in order to enrich Anathema.

-Sort out my music playlist on my phone for Anathema. I need to solidify these emotional memories for planned scenes through songs that act as an outline for me to follow.

-And then...write Anathema, the zenith of my passions.

I'm so relieved that CC is finished.

I can focus on Anathema now.

It's finally time.

long live Drakengard.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
These games saved Chauvinistic Coquette. They elevated the manuscript.

If you notice, I have a few entries that start with a Roman numeral and a title of some sort. It's the number and title of the chapter, along with two of the songs (maximum) that I listened to on repeat over and over and over and over, hundreds of times, as I wrote whichever scenes in these chapters. You may have also noticed that there are a few songs from the Drakengard games on here. Last week, I spent way too many hours finally beating Drakengard 3 on the PlayStation 3, up to the final branch D ending and THAT "final boss," after having given up on the game last year in April. The game's performance and actual gameplay are abysmal--the worst I've ever seen from a finished product. The characters are unlikable, on purpose, and the game's satire and humor and crudeness are all over the place.

BUT--the soundtrack is amazing and the story itself has grains of greatness sprinkled throughout. The final boss inspired me so, so, so much for CC that I felt a manic high while I threw myself at the challenge over and over again for about ten hours over the course of two days in between work, and sometimes while working (from home. My job deals with video games, so I had an excuse). I should have been angry that the last boss introduces a brand new mechanic into the game. It didn't faze me because it was so brilliantly done and beautiful. Completely unique and innovative and memorable. If you don't have a PS3 and/or you don't ever plan on playing the Drakengard games, you should look up Drakengard 3's final boss on YouTube. It's too good.

After I completed the game, I added a few more songs from the soundtrack to my phone. Then that brought me back to the first Drakengard on the PlayStation 2. I do plan on going back to it, once CC is finished for extra inspiration for Anathema, my next book. Until then I decided to add more songs from the OST to my phone as well. It's like...classical trip-hop, scratched and skewered in a nightmarish, twisted, mind-bending way that I've never heard anywhere else. The Shin Megami Tensei soundtracks come close, but even those are coherent songs. These aren't always coherent, and sometimes they sound like noise, and yet it stays on beat and ends up musical somehow in such a fucked up way, challenging the listener. I LOVE this soundtrack. Might be my favorite one of all time, topping the NieR ones.

Back to Chauvinistic Coquette itself: I'm 75% done, if we're only counting individual chapters. I have five chapters left, with fifteen out of twenty finished.

Thank you Drakengard for helping me flesh out these final details.

And thank you to someone else -- as ashes, considered...in retrospect, lifting.

Oh yes, and I also went to see Black Panther. It was pretty good overall. Not going to nitpick about it. Some of the songs in the soundtrack helped me too. 

XI. Drakengard
Black Swan
yoshiyuki_ly

X. Narcissus Narcosis
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly


IX. Lying Eyes
Sae2
yoshiyuki_ly


Chauvinistic Coquette - at the 100,000 word mark.
Yoshiyuki
yoshiyuki_ly
This month alone, I finished five chapters for a total of about 45,000 words. For the first week and a half or so, I didn't write at all, busy going through growing pains as I allotted how I felt at the time to various parts of the story. After everything clicked, and I found my peace again, I went back to work. So the more realistic picture is that I wrote 45,000 words in 15 days. That's an average of 3,000 words a day, which sounds about right. Though most of the time, I'd binge the chapters and write them in two or three sittings over the course of two days, rarely taking a day off to pause. I slowed down somewhat over the past week as I felt myself about to burn out. I need to keep the pace for a marathon, not a sprint. If I get too tired, I'll lose my passion and my spirit, forcing me to put this project on hold. I can't let that happen.

All of the chapters set in the past through flashbacks are done. My target word count is still about 150,000-170,000 with around 20 chapters. For the remaining present day narrative, the chapters will likely end up being about 6,000 words or so. It's the flashbacks that are all 7,000+ words, with one of them totalling almost 13,000 words. Another one could have been that long, but I had to redirect my energy and cut down on the temptation to keep adding to that chapter.

Overall I'm obsessed with writing this book, but it's in a strangely healthy way that I've never felt before. Ten years ago, I used to write as an addiction, to get things out that I couldn't express to certain people. This isn't the same thing. Everything flows well and I don't have room to second-guess my ideas because they're already fleshed out. So I have no reason or excuse to procrastinate. This is the best I've ever felt about a story. The only thing that trips me up is what I had to experience to get to this point. I thought that I would spend a long time upset about something, but then everything clicked for me in a way that I can't quite explain. I understand how I am. I like how I am. It all works so nicely. I know to keep it to myself, though.

--

With everyone I know telling me I should play Dark Souls instead of only liking Bloodborne and Nioh, I decided to give Dark Souls III a shot. The responsiveness of the controls are a godsend compared to the input delay in the first game. I really, really like the game so far. It's "hard but fair," definitely. The boss fights are challenging and epic without tipping past the point of frustration and excess. While writing the latest chapter, I kept my character at Firelink Shrine, the game's hub location, listening to the music there and the crackling of the bonfire through my headphones. I had originally planned on listening to a couple of other songs for the chapter, but my mood ended up changing. I wrote the same sequence of events that I had planned on, just not with the same melodramatic tone that I had prepared for. Firelink Shrine's mournful, thoughtful track ended up working much better for how things naturally evovled as I reached this point of the story.

Playing Dark Souls III is my solution to keep from getting burned out as I continue to pace myself with writing. It also keeps me grounded as I take my free time to reflect on how I am these days. The game's hauntingly beautiful aesthetic fits exactly with this personal theme I have of finding beauty in loss. Maybe not just beauty. There are a lot of coincidences and conveniences, too. I'm also painfully aware of all that's going on as my country continues to endure through this Chaos ending of Shin Megami Tensei.

I pre-ordered the remake of Shadow of the Colossus as well. That's out on February 6. It also has a similar aesthetic that I'm feeling these days.

Gaming is better than ever, as is my muse, and I have no shortage of ways to enrich my mind and remain determined. It's hard to believe that I'm all right.

My aversion to leaving this place I'm at is the only thing that concerns me.

Still a knight, but night is still.

thank you.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
What took ten months before only took ten days.

--

I finished Life Is Strange: Before the Storm today. I like it overall. It's special to me. The writing is great and Chloe is much better this time around. In the first game, she was selfish and insufferable. Here in the prequel, she's much more well-rounded and grounded. She's more of a lovable dork this time around, too. I enjoy all the small details that went into the entire package, like the comments Chloe makes while exploring, the incremental signs of growth she shows through working on her truck, Chloe's journal entries and her text messages with other characters, and even the clever objectives that Chloe writes on her hand. Rachel also feels like a real person with real worries and real flaws. Her relationship with Chloe is nice, too. The dream sequences were surreal in a good way without trying too hard. No spoilers, but one in particular with a certain "comment" from Victoria at the end made me laugh way too hard at what should have been an awkward moment.

Other than that, playing this game helped to reinforce the importance of the little things. Sometimes I overlook them in favor of the bigger picture when it comes to my writing. I'll work on that.

This song I listed that plays in the game in the second episode...I really like it. I think I'll listen to this on repeat over and over again for the chapter of Chauvinistic Coquette I'm working on now.

I earned two platinums so far from my list: Yakuza 4 and Before the Storm. I crossed out a few games that I know I don't want to bother with. Not until Chauvnistic Coquette and Anathema are finished, anyway. After blazing through Yakuza 4, I'm burnt out on the series. I'll go back to Yakuza 5 later. Next up is Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age--I have to finally kill Yiazmat and then continue with the handful of other trophies I have left. The RNG with the Concurrences is what I'm most annoyed about.

--

Steady progress with Chauvnistic Coquette. It's coming along. I'm more or less over how awkward it is to write so much of the story out of order. I almost wish I could write a full story of the events between Venus and Astrid in the past. I'm doing my best to write without restrictions or worrying over how long this will be in the end. I'm not as cynical about the story anymore, at least. It took me a while, but I finally fell back in love with the idea of this story. It's all a distraction.

I understand that I have a certain resilience when it comes to setbacks in life. Nothing ever feels like a setback for all that long. I take the negatives and warp them into a story idea, or some way of proving to myself that I'm capable of doing something well even if it didn't work out in real life. It can work out for a story arc instead. It makes me question what my own purpose is. What's the point of me experiencing anything for myself, of living my own life? When I realize that nothing hurts or matters or lingers for all that long anymore, I feel less human and more like a conduit for my stories. So many emotions pass in the moment, but in the back of my mind, I always know that I'll be all right because I have my work to fall back on.

Even when I sense the full extent of someone's cruelty and selfishness and ego, it irritates my sense of justice and decency, not me. The prospects for that future are dead, anyway.

Oh well. It's for the best. I'm happy this way. The implications of all of this aren't lost on me, though.

I don't have much else to say about CC or myself in public. Not for a while, anyway. I'll update you when I reach another milestone that deserves an update.

ideal publishing order.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
1. The Scorpion's Empress (erotic romance with some D/s) - June 1, 2016
2. Venus and Lysander (historical-fantasy-romance) - January 31, 2017

3. Black Waltz (urban fantasy romance with some BDSM) - in pre-publication now
4. Chauvinistic Coquette (contemporary romance with some fantasy) - current work-in-progress
5. Anathema (historical-fantasy-romance with some D/s)

This list changed a bit over the years. I thought that I'd write a book in this universe from Raine's point of view, but it seemed redundant for reasons that will be clear once you read Anathema, the fifth book. I also thought that I'd rewrite Twisted Allure, a young adult story of mine, and publish it as the only book not set in this universe. I don't want to do that anymore. I started writing more seriously thirteen years ago. I can admit that I'm tired, yes, but there's more to it than that.

With Anathema, I want the story to encapsulate my obsession with my muse. The longer I go without writing this, the more irritated I get. I can set my annoyance aside in some ways. When I really look at books 1-4, I didn't get the chance to let my obsessions fully flourish for plot reasons. None of that will hold me back with this fifth book. I'll finally get to let go and capitluate on my foundation as a writer, as a person. It's such a selfish book. When I think about getting to write it, any other worries or concerns or pains I have seem minimal, non-existent. I have a purpose in writing this, a purpose that I don't have in every day life with real people.

Anathema will be about a dark knight's journey to right social wrongs at the cost of destroying the women that she loves, who, as she discovers only after falling in love with them, are part of the system, the corrupt machine that she despises. None of her affairs are black-and-white matters. It's all quite gray until the moment she decides to take action against these women that she cares so much about, for the sake of protecting the weak and underprivileged at the cost of her own sanity. That cost of choosing justice over her own personal desires eats away at her, tears at her, breaks her over the years, yet she refuses to show this to anyone. She refuses to show who she truly is, deeply afraid of anyone knowing her weaknesses or letting her guard down after everything. Her one true love, as my muse, who isn't part of this vicious cycle: she seems to be for a time, and it sends the main character over the edge. The sheer hatred that comes from such a betrayal is difficult to set aside, but her true love tries to make things right anyway, despite the risks. And she keeps trying. She keeps trying...

What a wonderful fantasy.

The book also wraps up any and all loose ends and (most) unanswered questions from The Scorpion's Empress, Venus and Lysander, Black Waltz and Chauvnistic Coquette through this character's comprehensive point of view. For once, I won't write the book as a standalone that doesn't require knowledge of other stories, characters, etc. This book is for me, and it's also for anyone patient enough to have read all of my other books up to this point. By the scale of this whole thing, it sounds like my magnum opus. It feels like one, too.

Because of the magnitude of all of that, I doubt that there will be another topic or book that I'll want to write after Anathema that's as important to me. There are various literary fiction ideas I have. Nothing that grips me like Anathema does. Even the other four books before it didn't mean nearly as much to me as this one. Since I won't be able to top this fifth book through personal meaning and importance, I think it will be the last story I publish. Nothing's definite since this may change one day. For now, this is how I feel about it.

Main inspirations
Samurai X: Reflection - Director's Cut
Shin Megami Tensei
Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice
Bloodborne + Dark Souls
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy XII
Final Fantasy Versus XIII - oh, what could have been
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward
NieR and NieR: Automata

And, of course, I'm tired. I'm broken. I know that after I finish Anathema, I'll feel empty and listless. I'm tired of writing. I'm tired of struggling in a market that feels like it doesn't value my work, or me. I feel so much--true drive, ambition, purpose--and for what? I don't know. I don't know.

Once I can hold Anathema in my hands as my gospel, I'll have another piece of my peace. There are other portions, other passions--a woman I want to be with. They're out of my hands, though.

turn of events.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
I noticed how, in general over the years, things switched around. I feared that this would happen, and it did, but I can't exactly go back to the past. Finding a way forward.

Yakuza 3's trophy for the mini-game master is atrocious. I thought I'd be able to manage after getting 100% and platinum for Yakuza 0 and Kiwami. It's the general clunkiness of some of the controls that I can't stand in this one: batting cages, darts at higher difficulties, fishing, GOLF. After I beat the game on EX-Hard and get that trophy, I'm moving on to Yakuza 4. The platinum for Yakuza 3 will have to be a marathon over time...a long time. I'll go back to it at some point.

As for Chauvinistic Coquette, I'm again writing chapters out of order. A little less than half of the story focuses on the past, but it doesn't seem that way because of the way these chapters are interspersed. I made an outline and "settled" on 20 chapters total, with eight of them featuring flashbacks. It seems like a lot. I pace them so that they're relevant to the present. I don't have any issues with figuring out where to go at this point. Everything's clear now, which is strange. I'm not used to it. It's not a bad thing, of course. There's a catch to having this certainty with the plot, with the characters, with everything:

I'd say the main thing I'm hung up on is how futile all of this feels. I used to write because I needed to. I had things I wanted to say, to express. Chauvinistic Coquette is more of a commentary on my own cynicism with relationships. Sure, there's flirting and romance and whatever else. I don't feel an absolute need to write this like I did with my last two books. I didn't "need" to write The Scorpion's Empress, either. That was more of an experiment. This isn't so much an experiment as staying true to my word about rewriting this story someday and making it better. It's already better--it's different, it's hardly like the original except for the emotional rollercoaster and drama, and it has strong writing from me.

I think I'm annoyed that the stories I don't put as much of myself in, they turn out to have more appeal than the ones that are true to who I am as a person. It makes me have a certain disdain for this manuscript that only bolsters the cynical intentions behind the story itself. I don't care how long it will take me to finish it. If I suddenly decided to put it down, I'd only be disappointed in myself for not reaching the goal I'd set, on a superficial level. Other than that, I could move on with my life, write something else and not care about this book anymore.

The constant struggle between not wanting to show who I am and feeling sad that people only ever love an idea of me--

The result is a veneer on the page. It's up to you as the reader to either not notice and indulge in the illusions, or look deeper and find out what it is I want to say. The truth is never there, though.

You have not, and you have naught.

It's funny that I had all of this in mind months ago, and then some things happened recently that reinforced this theme, strengthening my vision for it in the story. Was it meant to be? Is that why this all feels so familiar in pain? Because I was fine for a while, and then this happened. It's great for the story, but not for me. It's because of the switch. I found my balance again, somehow, by working on this manuscript.

The one book I absolutely need to write after this will be long, and arduous (for me), and most likely obscure (to you). I accept that CC will overshadow it through mass appeal and popularity. I accept it, but it makes me uneasy, because this last book will be quintessential to me, to understanding who I am. And it will likely fly under the radar because of that.

It's all so convenient that cynicism is my main fuel for Venus and Astrid together. So very convenient, everyone. 

time.
Lulu
yoshiyuki_ly
It's been a long time.

I wish I could stop finding answers and ways to fill narrative gaps from such unlikely places. I'm glad that I finally figured out how to flesh out these first dozen or so chapters that I'm working on for Chauvinistic Coquette. I wasn't sure which direction to take with the emotional drama or how to skew the power dynamic between them. I have my solution now and I wrote it out where it begins. It works well. It would be nice if I could think of these things on my own without needing to find them in strange spaces.

"Precious" is the keyword that describes Venus' internal conflict. Does that sound like a contradiction to you? Out of context, it should.

Astrid is the investigator, finding out truths that should be inaccessible to her. Reading her background chapters, you'll find that she's quite good at this.

I have about 63,000 words so far, on chapter eight. Not quite halfway finished. I'm aiming for 150,000-170,000 words and about 20 chapters. Anything more than that is too much. There are two high points and/or climaxes in the story: one is in a flashback and another is in the present day, after that flashback sequence. In between that, I wasn't sure how to handle the drama in the story that builds up to those climaxes. Now I know. I usually don't bother making ~outlines~ for my stories because they are eternally jinxed, as in I try to follow the format only to get stuck on things, losing my willingness to take different approaches. I'll work on an ouline in a private post after this while remaining open-minded about it.

Other than that, I'm going back and getting platinum trophies for games that I've already finished. Partly for the challenge, partly for a way for me to think about CC in the background while still keeping my mind active and working on other goals.

In sequential order, sorted by priority (edited after deciding what I can and can't be bothered with, realistically, while working on Chauvinistic Coquette and Anathema this year):

- Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, Yakuza 5 (and Yakuza 6 when it releases in March): I know these will take a long time. I want them to take a long time. I want to enjoy these for a long time.
- Life is Strange: Before the Storm: I played the first episode so far and I like it. Should be an easy platinum like the first game was. I like Chloe way more in this game.
- Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age: I only have three bars left on Yiazmat's HP. I should stop putting that off. It's the Concurrences, completing the bestiary and the trials that will be awful.
- Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster: I only need to finish that stupid chocobo race in the Calm Lands with a time of 0.0.0 in X and get to the top of the tower in X-2. Only.
- Kingdom Hearts 1.5 + 2.5 HD Collection: Absolute last. There are a lot of games in this collection. Depending on when Kingdom Hearts III is due to come out, I may bump this up the list.

After that, who knows. Writing is my main focus, playing games only on days after I finish a chapter as a way of cooling down, and in between actively writing chapters as a way to reset and take a mental break. Since I finished a chapter yesterday, I'll continue on with Yakuza 3 on the PS3 today while I think more on chapter eight.

I'm grateful that you're always here with me, even in secret.

...
Amy Default
yoshiyuki_ly
Unrelated to anything and everything, this is the third time. Last time, differently, I played Final Fantasy XV and lost myself in the game as I learned and waited. This time, I want to learn for my current manuscript. I'm not sure which game to use as research. As I write this, it seems logical to lean on the Yakuza series, as frustrating as it is, trying to get the platinum trophy for Kiwami. That chapter with the car chase and the shooting minigame is a pain to get through. Having to fight through a regular level, and then a boss fight, and THEN getting back to the shooting game to retry after a failure on the hardest difficulty is not fun at all. It's the last thing I have to get through, not counting the Climax Battles. I'll do my best to finish this playthrough and get to those fights to finish off the platinum.

I understand that I need the games as a crutch right now, but I'm mindful enough to not abuse this. I needed FFXV before. There's a lot to learn from the Yakuza games as a modern, contemporary genre now that I'm writing a contemporary romance (with some fantasy elements). It's nice to have structure, plans.

The last time this happened, I remember watching The Hours on Netflix. I don't think it's still there. I'll have to buy it. Maybe on the PlayStation Store to add it to my digital collection. I wrote a lot, a lot, during that time--mostly emotional pages upon pages that ended up fueling another manuscript down the line. The feeling was a lot like lying down, while forcing myself to be productive, and yet refusing to ignore my emotions. I didn't work as much as I did back then to forget. I didn't play the video games that I did back then to numb anything. I never want to forget or to numb.

What is this? It's a well of emotions, pouring through my hands to help me write Chauvinistic Coquette. Nothing is wrong with me, technically. Nothing's "wrong." It's more that I found the true gem that I needed to fill out the manuscript I'm working on--this is the absolute core, the foundation, the heart of the book, but the problem is...it hurts to have and to hold. It hurts a lot. I found it in a dream I had yesterday. It was there all along. It simply took until that dream for me to see what this was. As wonderful as this inspiration is, I can never talk about it. Because I keep a tight lid over this, I have to put it in the book. I have to disguise it through certain themes and tricks.

Venus has certain, cynical expectations that she would never admit to herself, or to anyone else--not even the reader. Astrid has to see through the illusions that I include in the prose and Venus' character to figure out this puzzle of the twisted emotional rollercoaster they're on throughout the story.

No matter what, I'll write what feels right. I don't yet know if Astrid has it in her to defy Venus' expectations and help solidify their happy ending together. The worst-case scenario is that they have a bittersweet, never-ending type of end, but nothing bad so to speak. I'm really proud of myself for finding this inspiration and not looking away from it, despite how much it hurts all the time, holding onto this inside of me, like a burning jewel whose flames I can only siphon into words. The main thing about this is that I can't rush the writing process in the hopes of getting rid of the pain. Plus it seems like every other emotion I feel, even unrelated, brings me back to this and amplifies everything to the point of frustrating me at times. I have to be a masochist about it. It's real and it's mine and it's the best thing that I can have. So I'll deal with it.

There's more. I don't want to talk about it. I'm mindful. I miss Amy, too.

As always, everything goes into a manuscript, the manuscript. Everything--even the afterthoughts. Everything...even my own determined helplessness that I chose to have and to experience as I watch the water from well of my inspiration slither into a snake, larger-than-life, fangs bared and dripping before it devours me. 

progress for progress' sake.
Vespair
yoshiyuki_ly
Writing this fourth book is really painful. It's not because the subject matter is difficult or because I don't know what I'm doing. Oddly enough, I already know where the book's going and how it'll end. I don't need to improvise or ~wait for ideas to come to me anymore. It's incredibly agonizing in the sense that I'm on the wrong path, and that by focusing on this book, I'm somehow making a wrong choice. It's so emotionally crippling that I lose sight of everything until I'm able to calm down.

This ongoing pain over these months since I started writing this story is what made me isolate myself from everyone, pushing away people who thought they were my friends. I'm not good with keeping up a friendship with people once it's inevitably time to talk about myself. I can't lie about what's going on with me or sweep it under the rug. In my mind, it's better to not have friends at all if it means I don't ever have to bring up this issue outside of putting these experiences into my work.

Honestly, this does stem from me truly wanting to write Vespair's story, Anathema, instead of this continuation from my last trilogy with new characters and a new overarching conflict. Because I'm not writing it right now, it feels like I'm moving away from what's important to me. When I don't write with a specific character as my focus, it hurts a lot. It feels malicious, insincere, and dishonest of me as a writer to not focus on my obsession. Having her as a major character in this book helps, and yet she's not one of the main characters. She's the only person, or the idea of a person, that makes absolute sense to me even in emotionality. That's what makes this distance harsh enough to tear at me, over and over, until I fool myself into calming down in the moment by saying I'll write Anathema instead.

I can't do instead. Not now. Not when I've already made so much progress on this story as it is.

I'll get to Vespair's tale once this fourth book is finished. As much as this insincerity kills me, I have to keep going and get this done. My tricks and games throughout the prose and between the lines will have to tide me over, somehow.

--

About games, I'm doing my best to beat Assassin's Creed Origins before continuing with this manuscript. I had the game since Monday. Here it is, Friday, and I'm nowhere near done because of the damn leveling and quest systems. You MUST complete side quests in order to level up enough and be at or around the suggested level for each main mission. I really, really hate it. I don't have a choice but to fuck around with side quests for hours at a time just to be at the minimum two levels below the next main mission. The one time I tried to ignore that by doing a main mission four levels higher than me, I couldn't progress at all. Then once I was two levels below the mission, suddenly everything was too easy.

I think that the game is decent. It's not great to me. This quest bullshit aside, the story lacks impact because we're never properly introduced to any of the characters. It suffers from the same problem Final Fantasy XV does with all these pivotal moments without the build-up. I don't care about anything or anyone in this game. The whole thing feels like a mish-mash of The Witcher 3, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dark Souls, Shadow of Mordor, Destiny, and the usual Ubisoft problem of having a great concept (historical setpiece of Ancient Egypt featuring the assassin brotherhood) and mediocre execution. Assassin's Creed got lost in there, somewhere, except for the open-ended missions where we're free to choose our own approach in order to assassinate a target in a specific area.

The only other positives I have are that I like the modern day protagonist and I love the art direction. The cutscenes where Bayek argues with his assassinated target look very nice. But there's the issue of the art direction trying too hard to add substance to the story through spectacle and ~symbolism.

At this point, I'm only beating it as a "might as well" type of thing. I'm glad I didn't spend my own money on this and instead asked for it as a birthday gift. I think it's best for me to not buy any more Assassin's Creed games going forward, or Ubisoft games. Far Cry 5 looks interesting, but I can't trust that it won't have the same Ubisoft problem as this one. Ever since the original creator left, AC just hasn't been the same. The sense of true stealth and intensity in the environments also died when they lost Jesper Kyd as the music composer. None of the games after that ever captured the same magic that pulled me in when the series first started ten years ago.

Edit:

Fuck it. I'm not beating this game. It frustrated me for the last time. Over half of the side quests I've tried are impossible to complete because of bugs or glitches or the AI being ridiculous. Without completing side quests, I can't level up to finish any main quests. What a waste of time.

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