Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

As many of you know, I moved to Las Vegas this last fall.  Many friends have asked about life in Vegas, especially since I took a facebook hiatus last month that will probably continue into this month of December.  Here are some FAQs about Las Vegas and my life in Las Vegas so far.

Win any Money?

Yes, I win money every weekday by going to work and doing my job.  Furthermore, I win money by the occasional royalties checks.  By the way, check out educator.com

No, I meant at the Casinos silly!

Although the Casinos are enticing places, I’m only half Filipino.  I never developed the critical skills of learning Mah Jong, Poker, or how to play slots flush money down a toilet.  Bi-racial people are double the minority.

charles2013Is that you dressed up as Neo?

Yes.

Is that your boss dressed up as Morpheus?

No. That is the real Morpheus, on whom Laurence Fishburne’s legendary role was based.

Are you dating a stripper yet?

Yes.  Her name is Scarlet and she’s doing it get her way through nursing school.

Do you often joke about dating strippers?

Maybe.

What do you do for fun?

I went to a goth club, with my boots of baddassery, and danced in the tears of alienation to the dreary electronic vibe of Depeche Mode.  Other than that, I’m pretty much just writing, blogging, and playing games.

How many sociopaths did you fire this last month?

Exactly one.

Nanowrimo?

Totally.

Are you going to do something for your birthday?

Depends.  Are you coming to visit?

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Hello! 

Today, I share with you, my NaNoWriMo loglines.  These are my loglines for my story, which will be beaten out over the next few weeks in time for a 50k word novel.

Because I really want to finish a novel, not just hit 50k words this time.

Thanks Blake Synder.

I don’t know which to go with quite yet, so here I am crowdsourcing.

To be clear, all of these stories will take place in the Forgotten realms Campaign setting.  It will be very Dungeons and Dragons style.  Here are the log lines I’ve done.

“While sorting through Ancient ruins, a treasure hunter is struck by a geas, and placed on a quest.” – No Title #1

“A pious ascetic receives a ring of wishes from a dying thief.” -The Vice

“An adventuring aristocrat illicits the help of a former slave trader to solve mysterious disappearances in Waterdeep.” -Ghosts of Skullport

“After a violent ambush, a dangerous artifact of a dead god lands in the hands of a penitent bandit.” -No Title #2

“An out of luck, and out of coin, adventurer is tricked into disrupting a high-born Waterdeep marriage through an elaborate and magical kidnapping.” -No Title #3

“While investigating blight on farmland, an idealistic adventurer rescues a male-drow slave only to draw more ire from deep dwelling drow and even the surrounding surface dwellers.” -The Companion

 

Which story is the best?

 

There’s this great little app that a fellow writer friend of mine shared with me.  It is call “I write like” and it compares your writing style (but not content) to other famous writers.  Here’s what I got:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Yes!

…..and now I suppose I should read one of his books…

As most of you know, I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo.  This year is no exception.

For this little blog, let me get straight to the point : we all know that noveling can make us cry.  In fact, that’s how most creative work is done.  At the end of the deadline while crying.  So for all my writing friends out there, who are perhaps falling behind, here is an excercise.  This idea is adapted from a week three technique found in Chris Baty’s No Plot no Problem (thanks again to Stephanie for getting me my copy).  I am happy to share this technique with all my readers, especially those whose name is Brandi.  I call this technique, word count power lifting.

What you need

In order to begin word count power lifting, you need about ninety minutes of free time.  It can be done on any weekday, or you can take some paid time off (it’s flu season after all.  We understand if you’re sick.  We wouldn’t want to you to call in sick, but then again, who are we to judge if you do?) from your work so that you can do this several times.

The second thing you need is someone to make sure you’re not interrupted.  This means somebody who can take care of your load of laundry.  Answer your phone if you get an urgent call, or even fend of the crazy makers who are demanding your time.

The next thing you need is a hammer so that you can smash your internet router so as to not be distracted by the internet.  If you do not have a hammer, you can simply turn your internet “off” on your laptop computer.

Finally, you need a timer of some sort.  Cell phones are pretty good for this kind of thing.

How you do it

Here are the easy steps for word count power lifting.

First Step, unlpug your internet and remove from you life anything that might distract you from writing.  Then, set your time for 40 minutes.  Place your time out of arms reach so that you cannot look at it.  Then, write until you hear the buzzer.  During this writing, you are not allowed to be interrupted by anything other than house on fire, and even then, it’s going to take a few minutes for the fire to spread anyway.  Once you hear the beeper, stop writing.  Take a quick moment to count how many words you wrote.

After that, set the timer for ten minutes.  During this time you are allowed to do anything.  You can do some wrist exercises.  You can get yourself a drink.  You can cry, complain, lie on the couch in a fetal position whatever.  You can do that until you hear the big beep from your timer again.  Then, take a look at how many words you wrote in 40 minutes.

Repeat the first step, but this time set your writing time timer for twenty minutes.  After that, check your word count again.  Now, you get to take another ten minutes to vent frustration and despair.

Do the first step one final time, but this time set your timer for ten minutes.

So what’s your word count for the day?  What will it be when you try this?

Whatever words it will be, you will find that it is a lot better than the words you had before.  If you enjoy the process, than that is what really counts.  Do this little exercise some day off because you will feel better for going for it, rather than giving up before the end of the month.

This blog is for everyone who asks, “How do I become creative?  How do I get ideas?  How do I overcome writer’s block?”

Like many people who began writing fiction, my first attempts were very, very bad.  I was frequently hit by writers block and did not quite understand how to deal with it.  Furthermore, much of what I wrote seldom coalesced into anything worth reading or continuing.  Of course, I eventually learned that there are simple techniques to do get the ball rolling.  I offer this to anyone who is considering writing a novel next month.  If you are having trouble getting inspiration, here are few things that you might consider.

Technique One:  Get the Inner Editor to be quiet.  When we talk about the inner editor we are talking about that very important part of the brain that analyzes, examines, criticizes, clarifies and frequently oppresses.  It is the left half of the brain and it is very important that left brain people learn to shut it off and chill out once in awhile.  (If you google’d something like “scientifically proven methods to write a good novel” then chances are you a left brain person).  The way to train the inner editor to be quiet is to write a certain quota of words or pages at any given time of day.  Try doing it by hand, as that activates a different part of you brain.  When the inner editor starts to analyze, politely tell it to be quiet, and then proceed on.

After all, you don’t want to wind up like IT from the Wrinkle in Time do you?

Technique Two: Ignore the Outer Editor.  The outer editor is any person who is somehow discouraging you from writing either explicitly or implicitly.  This could be the crazy roommate who is interrupting your write time with video game tournament.  It might be your friend or relative telling you that you are not creative.  Sometimes they might even mean well.  They could tell you all the horrible wrong things of your novel so you can “fix” it.

Let them never get to you.  Instead, politely explain that your time is important and that you are a creative person because you are doing a creative work.  Furthermore, take advantage of all the people who will inspire you.  Go to the write-ins or escape to a library, coffee shop, or anywhere else to get the peace and distance you need to allow your ideas to germinate.

Technique Three: Read inside and outside your genre.  This advice comes from Terry Pratchett.  He believes that a good fiction writer must read extensively inside and outside his genre.  Chances are, if you are writing a particular genre of fiction -e.g. fantasy, coming of age, BDSM wish fulfillment. etc – you’ve read quite a bit in your genre.  So go find a blog, a news article, a Law Dictionary, a history book, some Manga or anything else you haven’t read before.  You never know where good ideas might come from!

Technique Four: Get some good music.  This may not work for everybody, but this has worked great for me.  One of my favorite things to do is listen to choral church music, grimy club music, grandiose movie soundtracks, or abstract electronica and let images of places, characters, and so on inspire what I write while doing technique one.  It’s a great way to shut up the inner editor too.  “Hey you, just listen to the fuckin’ music okay?”

Now as you read this, you might be thinking about how to find time to do all these things.  There are, however, some fairly easy ways to get it something done.  Subscribe and you’ll see it in tomorrow’s update.

Go check out the NaNoWriMo website for more ideas and where to find supportive, creative, people.

For each of these NaNoWriMo, warm-ups, I will be sharing something that I’ve thought about and written. Most of this is done by hand, and is part of a “morning page” process. What that means is that this is thoroughly uneditted. The roughest of the rough draft, and extremely raw, explosive creativity written on pages. Since I am not trying to pick out what is “good” in these, it is up to the readers of this blog to do so. The more input I get from readers, the better this year’s novel will be. So thank you in advance, for helping my crowd source this. I am not looking for what you think is bad or terrible. Chances are, I see that too. I’m looking for what you think is good, and interesting, and then I will do more of that. That said, here goes.

Somewhere in Mons Istelle city.

Arcturo sat as stiff as the chair he was planted in inside a private, quiet booth at Green Imperial Inn.  Across from him was Justine, his travel companion since leaving Northern Province.  She fidgeted while staring at him.  A knuckle cracked under her stress.  To his right, sat Pitr -an elf from the far Eastern Kingdoms.  He sat shorter than either Arcturo or Justine.  One of his hands was stirring an iron skillet of, while the other was calmly folded in his lap.  He inhaled deeply the aroma of delicious chicken and rare spices of the elven homeland.

“Arcturo, it is a dirty job,” said Justine, “but we are both going to be eating like this for a solid month after we do it.”

Arcturo’s toes curled in and he drew his arms towards his chest.

“Is there a problem, Mr. Rizenbalt?” said Pitr as he served a helping to both Justine and Arcturo, “You must know how much I depend on good people like you.  Please, speak to me what burdens your mind so heavily.”

“Let me see if I understand,” Arcturo said, “you want us to enter the frieghter… the…”

“Old Sea Tusk,” chimed Justine.

“Right.  The old Sea Tusk,” Arcturo continued, “We enter the dock hold and … steal… a package for Don Cosmino of House Venteralli.”

“Yes…” continued the elf with almost advuncular smile, “it is a black box with the Venteralli family seal on it.  Please intercept this package for me.”

Arcturo took a moment to listen to pleasant, thought foreign sounds.  It was some stringed instrument that another elf plucked away at with his fingers.  It calm, civilized sound.  A thousand years of refinement in a single flow of melody and chords.

“Tell me,” Pitr continued, “You are outsider here in Mons Istelle?  So am I.  You are stranger to aristocrat family?  So is people here.  And I no ask for killing.  I no ask for kidnapping.  I invite you here so there be no killing.  And you no owe Mons Istelle aristocrat nothing.”

“He’s right Arcturo,” said Justine blunt as black jack, “No one can pull this job cleaner than us.  It’s not thug work if we get it done.”

“Oh see?” said Pitr, “Your friend very smart.  You think elves like filthy hobgoblin you fight on way here?  No.  We civilized people.”

“Well, yes, of course you’re not a hobgoblin.”

Pitr smiled and poured a bit of wine.

“Yes, I make poor joke,” Pitr continued, “Now what I do if you no help?  Must get box somehow.”

Arcturo clenched his jaw, but only for a moment.  Then, with a steady, relaxed hand, he drew his glass and took a nice red sip.

“Very well, Pitr.  I agree” he said looking at the elf straight in the eye, “one job.”

“One Job,” repeated Pitr.

Justine heaved a sigh of relief.

NaNoWriMo Warm up #5

Posted: 12/10/2011 in Uncategorized
Tags:

For each of these NaNoWriMo, warm-ups, I will be sharing something that I’ve thought about and written. Most of this is done by hand, and is part of a “morning page” process. What that means is that this is thoroughly uneditted. The roughest of the rough draft, and extremely raw, explosive creativity written on pages. Since I am not trying to pick out what is “good” in these, it is up to the readers of this blog to do so. The more input I get from readers, the better this year’s novel will be. So thank you in advance, for helping my crowd source this. I am not looking for what you think is bad or terrible. Chances are, I see that too. I’m looking for what you think is good, and interesting, and then I will do more of that. That said, here goes.

Another Fantasy Setting:

Campaign World: The Northern Province

The Northern Province is south of the the series of city states.  It remains part of the old empire, which the city states gained independence from centuries ago.

Before the growth of the old empire, the Northern Province was little more than tiny, dark age, kingdoms and clans that were not united. Villages and towns were loyal to a particular Lord who was strong enough to offer military protection against the bands hobgoblins and gnolls that were common in this area.  As the empire spread from its home in the south, few of the Lords were able to offer much resistance to large military power.  Their only experience had been gathering militia, with a few knights, to defend against semi-organized bands of raiders.

The largest of most powerful of these Lords did manage to rally many of his comrades against the expanding empire.  They made a stand at his fortified castle.  Despite his efforts, the armies proved to much and was forced to broker peace, and allowed to keep his throne.  After his death, the castle he defended grew into a town.  It bears his name still and is known as Anderloch’s Stand.

Anderloch left no male heir, and his nephew succeeded him.  He took control of the throne at the age of fifteen.  The nephew, who had been raised in a now conquered territory, solidified Anderloch Stand’s in the place of the empire.  He petitioned for the construction of an aqueduct, which was built with imperial funds and local labor.  The Aqueduct was both symbolic and practical.  Aderloch’s Stand grew from a small town to a bustling city.

The Northern Province today remains dominated by Anderloch’s Stand.  There are several smaller agricultural communities scattered around the plains and hills.  Additionally, many ruins of castles and palaces -left overs from the time of conquest- can be found in this area.  A mountain fortress stands watch over the mountain pass leading beyond the mountains.  Hobgoblins still dwell in many caves near the mountains.  One other city, Ratillatom grew near the forests and around the reconstructed ruins of another long defeated ruler.

For each of these NaNoWriMo, warm-ups, I will be sharing something that I’ve thought about and written. Most of this is done by hand, and is part of a “morning page” process. What that means is that this is thoroughly uneditted. The roughest of the rough draft, and extremely raw, explosive creativity written on pages. Since I am not trying to pick out what is “good” in these, it is up to the readers of this blog to do so. The more input I get from readers, the better this year’s novel will be. So thank you in advance, for helping my crowd source this. I am not looking for what you think is bad or terrible. Chances are, I see that too. I’m looking for what you think is good, and interesting, and then I will do more of that. That said, here goes.

Fantasy Setting Again:

Saint Virgil’s Hall was stood on the east of Mons Istelle.  Its beige stone walls were minimally decorated.  Within the walls was a small courtyard and path which lead to the hall itself.  It was a rectangular building stood several stories tall.  On two corners of the building stood circular towers.  It stood as only mainland out post of Paladin’s of Alethia.  Their glory days were lost in history.  Yet their presence here remained both symbolic and frequently -practical.

Inside his office a top on the north tower, Prelate Marcus Stirmahal sat down at his desk and his stoic eyes peered down at at stack of papers.  His large, calloused hands filled through the papers.  One had lazily stroked his grey goatee and he signed at the first letter on his desk.  There would be enough hours of daylight to address each.

The first letter was a cordial thank you letter from the head of the Sandir-Metzens.  Three junior knight’s of the order had escorted niece while traveling someplace and had given the order a sum of some of gold.  The next letter was a request to send a representative to a ceremonial rite of succession regarding one of the minor nobles.  Another was excited report of a knight who had squelched the vile evils of a den of wererats.  Very, dangerous, vile, wererats.

The prelate pushed the papers away and stood up from his ornate, oak desk.  He turned towards the window and open the large window.  The sky was clear enough that he could see the ocean clear out to the horizon.  The breeze was nice.  Not quite strong enough of wind to blow the papers away though.

A rap at the door interrupted the Prelate’s day dreaming.

“Enter, please.” he said.

“Ah, Sire Prelate,” came in a young squire in simple brown breeches and a dirty vest.  He carried a satchel full of  small parcels and a letter, its seal already broken, in hand, “begging pardons.  But Sir Yoril sent me with this.”

Stirmahal winced, but quickly straightened himself in front of the impressionable, eager, squire.

He adjusted his spectacle and began reading the letter.  As he did the wrinkles on his face seemed to grow deeper and his he gripped the paper as if it would fly out of his hands.  He moved to his chair, fell into it, and re-read the letter one more time.  He pushed it aside and pushed his head into his hands.

“Sire-prelate?” asked the squire.

“Aww this…this cannot be… oh it should not,” Prelate Stirmahal muttered as if he had not heard him.  A moment later he straightened up in his chair.

“Please send for Sir Yoril as well as SirReyhad,” he said as he pulled a blank parchment from his desk and dipped his quill in an inkwell, “I will also send a letter to the keep.  It must leave this evening.”

“uhh… very well Sire,” stammered the squire.  He turned, bowed slightly, and left the room in jitter.

Prelate Stirmahal breathed deeply, and gathered himself before he began to write.  He would be careful with what he wished for next time.

For each of these NaNoWriMo, warm-ups, I will be sharing something that I’ve thought about and written.  Most of this is done by hand, and is part of a “morning page” process.  What that means is that this is thoroughly uneditted.  The roughest of the rough draft, and extremely raw, explosive creativity written on pages.

Since I am not trying to pick out what is “good” in these, it is up to the readers of this blog to do so.  The more input I get from readers, the better this year’s novel will be.  So thank you in advance, for helping my crowd source this.  I am not looking for what you think is bad or terrible.  Chances are, I see that too.  I’m looking for what you think is good, and interesting, and then I will do more of that.  That said, here goes.

Story with Characters from the Uber Bean, the same characters I wrote about last November.

The infectious thumping of the bass pounded into the air with a hypnotic carnality.  Across the speakers stood a bar which glowed a soft yellow and shed lights on an altar of liquor behind the bartenders whose large shoulders moved with an incredible grace as he poured drinks while accepting tithes of tips in his jar.  A shirtless, tatooed, DJ was hollering at the crowd.  Everyone was a a high-roller tonight.

Jenn perfect hair cut and her new blue and black dress stepped out from the mesh of bodies and made a clearing for herself.  She threw her arms up into air.  Two years of Polynesian dance lessons demanded expression, or at least use.  She moved her spine as if by an ocean current.  She cleared space for herself by turning in circles -always turning away from whoever was directly in front of her.  She closed her eyes and move her hips in tight, perfect, rhythm the pulse of bass drum.

Andy sat at the glowing bar clutching a rum and coke and made an idle stir in its ice.  Becca was next to him.  She took one turn at him then turn back to watch Jenn “move like a cyclone” as the music insisted.  Ian darted his eyes about the room, and eventually stared at the DJ’s set up of wires, and cables.  Andy turned around then clutched his hand around his knee and returned to his sip.

“What are you guys thinking?” said Becca with innocence.

“Socrates.” said Ian, which gathered a disbelieving glare from Andy.

“Whose idea was this?” said Andy, “That’s what I am thinking.”

“Oh don’t be grumpy gills!” said Becca who turned to the dance floor, “She’s having fun!”

“Me too!” piped Ian.  No one could tell if he was sincere, sarcastic, or saving face.

Becca crossed her arms and made a deliberate stare right at Andy.  She kept her eyes on him like laser beams.

“What?!” cried Andy.  He threw his hands up in a surrender.

“Go dance with her right now.”

“Not my venue!”

“Not your birthday!”

Jenn stepped up onto a small platform near one of the speakers.  The thumps of the bass drum faded back and bowed to chorus of dancing synths chords.  A second DJ sang through an auto-tune.  The feeling of performance infused.  She was wound up and moving faster with the music.  Ian looked at her.  Looked at Andy.  He new the answer.

“The categorical imperative compels you to dance!” Ian pronounced.

Andy hands slapped right against his face in utter dismay.

“Oh God, Ian, don’t start…”

“No no, you see the boyfriend by definition is someone who…”

“Okay!” Andy nearly shouted, “I’ll dance!”

Andy chugged the last half of his drink and fought back the gag against the cheap rum.  He slammed the glass against the bar while and shot up to his height.  The crowd of animated bodies blocked his way, but he pushed his way past and around with rude “excuse me’s.”   Jenn’s eyes widened with wonder when he came near.  She threw out her arms and yanked him up on the stage.  Andy nearly felt whiplash.  As soon as he was standing Jenn spun around and backed her entire body next to him.  Andy instinctively moved his hips in connection with her.  In a dance club that was not his venue, he felt like a rock star for the first time in a long time.

 

NaNoWriMo Warm up #1.

Posted: 04/10/2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

For each of these NaNoWriMo, warm-ups, I will be sharing something that I’ve thought about and written.  Most of this is done by hand, and is part of a “morning page” process.  What that means is that this is thoroughly uneditted.  The roughest of the rough draft, and extremely raw, explosive creativity written on pages.

Since I am not trying to pick out what is “good” in these, it is up to the readers of this blog to do so.  The more input I get from readers, the better this year’s novel will be.  So thank you in advance, for helping my crowd source this.  I am not looking for what you think is bad or terrible.  Chances are, I see that too.  I’m looking for what you think is good, and interesting, and then I will do more of that.  That said, here goes.

Story Setting Idea for a Fantasy Novel

The city of Mons Istelle is a prominent, Renaissance-era city state.  It sits near on the north side of deep gulf and is guarded under the shadow of a cliff known as “ballista-point” to the south.  Mons Istelle is the only city-state of many to have enough influence to be politically, economically and militarily united with its a neighboring city state to the east.  Mons Istelle thrives as it is southernmost point of a long trade highway, and its harbor brings in goods from the ocean, which are transported by land to neighboring cities.  The city also grew because of large acres of arable land.  Aqueducts, built by the miners and masons of the neighboring city-state, have also made the city thrive.

Mons Istelle is governed by a hereditary Monarch who governs with the approval of aristocratic senate which represents both Mons Istelle and its dependent neighbor.  The thriving merchant class, has much clout in the city.  Tribute to monarch, however, is still mandatory.  Aside from the senate, all other high ranking civic officials are appointed by the monarch.  Mons Istelle has a few noble houses and several more aristocratic ones.

Places of Interest

The PromenadeSince this city is a huge center for trade, a large promenade keeps goods moving from across the ocean and to into the land.

The Catacombs.  This ancient complex was originally a series of tunnels buried dug deep underground near the cliffs and hills south of the gulf.  Eventually, the surface became a loose network of mausoleums.  Both the tunnels and the mausoleums hold some of the oldest residents of the city.

Saint Vigil’s Hall.  Saint Vigil’s Hall is one of the last outposts of an order of Paladins who align themselves with no nation or city state.  Their main place of residence is an island citadel at a distant site from the coast.

University of Mons Istelle.  An ancient school of government and philosophy that has expanded to include a magic academy, seafaring, and engineering in addition to the basics of mathematics, literacy, and rhetoric.