Monday, November 29, 2010

NaNo Complete

NaNo Count: 50,359

Well, that was a close call. After all my confidence the other day, I went and had a family emergency.

Let's just say the last few thousand words are very poor, and leave it at that.

Well, that was fun. And a lot harder than I expected.  Which is even more annoying, considering that I expected it to be quite difficult!  This next month will mostly be editing, though I hope to finish at least two new stories as well. I think it's important to keep writing even when you're doing other things related to said writing. Spending an entire month doing nothing but editing does get a lot of editing done, but it gets pretty much no writing done. Since writing's the hardest part, well then, it's fairly obvious what needs to be practiced most.

One day, writing will not be hard at all. And then I will be a god.*

* It's important to keep your goals humble and realistic. There's a reason I didn't capitalize that "g."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update

NaNo count: 47,530

I'm definitely going to make it, which is nice. Granted, I've only attempted once before, but still. It's nice to know I can accomplish something like this if I really press myself on it.

I completed my story about the enhanced US agent fighting monsters in Chicago. I've also done the following concepts:

A man who lived his entire life on a small space station scrambles to fix it, as more and more things go wrong. As the story progresses, the reader finds out why he's the only one there.

A man has experience in dealing with minor magics here and there, and one day sees a fairy in the woods. He becomes obsessed with finding her again, finding out who he is, to the detriment of his family and village.

A knight on a great quest is gravely wounded, but healed by a beautiful forest spirit. As time goes on, he becomes so obsessed with the spirit that he abandons his great quest.

An elf girl, trained to bring in the spring with a ritual dance, is barred from it as she has committed anathema. She struggles to complete the ritual anyway, for the sake of her tribe.

I do recognize that two of those stories are quite similar. It's almost as if I finished one story, then realized it worked a lot better if I changed all the characters and the setting. Imagine that.

Right now I'm working on this one: A scientist who runs mice through mazes begins to lose his mind, thinking that he's in a maze, himself.

Overall, I'm satisfied with how the month has gone. I could have done more, but there's no reason to focus on that kind of thing. I am proud of several of these stories, and after a good bit of rewriting, hope to start submitting them soon.

Next month, expect plenty of posts about editing and revising! (That's the most fun part, right?)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bret Maverick is Mat Cauthon

I was watching Maverick tonight and had a realization.  Specifically, that realization that I went ahead and titled this post with: there is no significant difference between Bret Maverick and Matrim Cauthon.

They're both gamblers.  They're both exceptionally good fighters.  Considering that they spend quite a bit of time fighting for their lives, they certainly like fine clothing.  Maverick imports his silk shirts in all the way from Paris, for crying out loud!  And most importantly, they're both the luckiest people alive. Maverick doesn't even need to look at his cards to know he's going to win.

I just thought I'd throw that out there.

And yes, I know that there's a TV show.  But I've never seen any of that, so I'm going by the movie.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Villains - Part 2

Do all stories need a villain?

Well, no.

Sure, almost any story needs an antagonist, but that antagonist doesn't need to be a person. Since we are talking about speculative fiction, I should add that by "person" I do not necessarily mean "human." A villain can be an alien, a robot, a fairy, a sentient stone, a god, God, or an evil book. However, to be a villain, the antagonist does need to have at least the potential for personality.

Whether the villain has personality or not depends on how well you write him. In my last post on villains, I talked about this, why it's important that a villain be relatable. In this post, I'll talk about how a villain-driven conflict differs from others.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Productive weekend is productive

Ok, so it was more of a productive super-weekend. Since I'm a government employee (trust me, the most boring kind of government employee imaginable) I got Veteran's Day off, and I took Friday off as a vacation because . . . who wants to go back to work for a day after having a day off? Over this magnificent four-day weekend, I managed to write over 12,000 words! I'm fairly proud of that. I started and completely finished two separate stories. The first was the story I mentioned in my last post, about a woman who must survive without her magic for fear of harming her child. I also wrote a fairly short story (2,700 words) about a poor, abused woman who fully believes that she is the one who must be doing something wrong. When the stars talk to her, they tell her a different story.

Nano Count: 22,698

The next story: In the late 21st century, an agent of the United States government uses his technological enhancements to save Chicago from a military bio-monster.

I have not written a good post about the actual art of writing in several weeks, and plan to rectify that situation soon. Expect part two of my Villains post later this week.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Books I am reading, NaNo update, and also a new keyboard!

I've decided to add a page to this blog that lists the books that I'm currently reading, and those I have read. (This will not be retroactive. I'm not even going to try to do something like that.) I will probably mention what I'm reading on the main blog as well, but I'll be able to keep a record this way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Damn you, Brandon Sanderson!

I'm really not sure how anyone expects me to write when Sanderson keeps publishing books every few months.  What?  He doesn't?  Well, it seems that way to me.  From now on, I'm calling him Captain Insano.

Why?  No reason.  I just like the idea.

This might make NaNo harder, but it'll also drive home an important lesson: to write, you must read.  I've seen author after author say this, though a quick Google only turns up Nicholas Sparks (which is funny, cause I've actually never read him).  It sounds like you're just piling another difficulty on top of what's already a difficult process, but it's important.

Seriously, it helps.  Even the little experience I have has taught me that.  Words fall out of my head much easier when I've been reading a lot, lately. 

NaNo Count: 3,656

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 1 - NaNo

NaNo Count: 1,739

As I mentioned earlier, I'm writing several different stories for this year's NaNoWriMo. This morning I looked at a list of several ideas I've had and chose the one that seemed most interesting at the moment. When I finish that story, I'll go back to the list and pick another.

The one I chose for today was this: A man fights back against his former slavers. He was in shackles for so long that even now, years later, his wrists feel naked and wrong to him.

So far the story is going well. I'm already looking forward to cleaning it up, next month! That's always a good sign.