Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Camping - Author Style Part 4

It's the last day of July which mean CampNaNoWriMo July edition has come to a close. Give me a minute to wipe the tears from my eyes and hug my cabin mates good-bye. Okay, I'm good. Let's get this wrap-up moving.

Admittedly the month was exceptionally frustrating for a few reasons:
1) My characters didn't voice an opinion on what was going on. This is horrible for me because usually someone who isn't supposed to be the main focus takes over and the plot shifts enough that I'm not forcing anything out. It didn't happen this month.
2) I didn't really connect with my characters like I normally do. In other words: I didn't cry when I killed them. Oddly enough I got choked up when the "bad guy" was suffering at the end.
3) I had a major plot issue in the middle of the month that I just couldn't solve. It's kind of resolved but not as tightly as I'd want it to be.
4) This thing may have ended on a cliff-hanger and if it ever gets edited properly (by professionals) and published, people might hate me for it.
5) Inner Editor and I kind of went on strike. He started binge-eating and freaking out in a corner which threw me for a loop and everything went to Hell. He's okay now. I think. Yes, I know it's weird to talk about the Inner Editor like he's real but he's a part of my writing mind, okay? I never said I was normal. ;)

In summation: I'm okay with the book. I mean there aren't any plot holes you can steer a dragon through but again, it's not as tight as I'd like it. I'm sure in a few months when I come back to it and give it a re-read I can fix it.

I have to admit I went into CampNaNoWriMo half-cocked and without a full-fledged plot in mind and that's what killed me. Normally it doesn't but I do believe I'm suffering some kind of burn-out from writing so much in a short time.

Despite that I'm going to be doing AugNoWriMo and trying for at least 60,000 words next month A.K.A tomorrow. I likely won't start tomorrow. I've learned the hard way I can't go right from one book to another unless I've got a couple days in between.

Regardless, the book I finished at the beginning of the month as a rebel and the book I started and finished as my camp project will be described in Novel Series #7 and #8 respectively. I'm still fiddling with the Novel Series #7 post and wondering if it'll make me look like a crazed stalker or something, really. It should have been up by now but the book I finished at the beginning of the month kind of turned into a fan fiction or something. Don't ask.

Oh, it's also been a rough month because of life. People are saying things online (not about me) that got me angry *insert Hulk smash*. I've been distracted by how to artfully tell people that they're stupid and as a result said nothing. You can't do that in less than 140 characters. It's just not possible. This could also be the reason I didn't connect so well this novel but hey, I could just be making excuses.

This novel is done and with it's completion it makes the 18th time I've written "The End." That's about 2 million words of stories. Yeah, you read those last two lines right: 18 novels, 2 million words. Don't worry, I often wonder where all they time went too.

Until next time: Aliens are still bad. And it's sad that we live in the information age and people can't do 5 seconds of research to stop from looking silly.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Camping - Author Style Part 3

As week four of July CampNaNoWriMo comes to an end I am now at 106,515 words. Yeah, I've hit six digits. I'm just happy to be over 75K because that's still been my least productive word count this year. Also I'm about 200K away from hitting a million words.

I should be happy, right? Well I am and I'm not. I mean: YAY A MILLION WORDS! Urg: I've got to edit all that. Double urg on knowing that it's highly unlikely (at this point) that anyone is going to see those words.

It would be wonderful to say I've written a million words (about eight stories worth) that people will read but, I'm self-published and suck at promoting. So it's highly unlikely that anyone will see those million words.

It's disappointing, yes, but it won't stop me from writing. Why? Well, I'm a writer. I've said it lots of times in this blog, to my friends and to people on the street (ha): writing for me is like breathing. I can't go too long without it or I go crazy.

Anyway, enough with the self-pity "blah blah can't promote blah woe is me" thing. This is CampNaNoWriMo. This is FUN. And it is fun because hey, writing is fun.

At this point in my novel I've killed over 500,000 people. I worried so badly about my plot that I went to the NaNo forums to get help fixing it. It got fixed. I planned out the rest of the novel and now I'm stalling again. Why? Because I'm about to kill off important characters.

I've realized that this thing is kind of like Basilisk (my Anime Freak is showing, shh) in that EVERYONE DIES. Don't get too attached because hey, they're all going to freaking die at the end.

It's actually kind of needed that everyone dies though. I mean the ending is not supposed to be happy at all and Earth loses. The funny thing is that when I write these character deaths I don't think I'm going to be too upset with one. This is going to be really weird because I'm always attached to my characters and killing them hurts.

Somehow one of my characters is kind of, well, not flat but I didn't really attach to him for some reason. I haven't had as much fun as I do writing this novel and I'm not sure why. The premise is great, the plot makes sense (now) and well, things are progressing smoothly.

But for some reason my characters haven't grabbed the plot, ripped it apart and done their own thing. None of the other mains have taken over from the biggest main and none of them look to be planning to. It's like they're all "okay, fine, write about us. We're just going to sit here."

It bothers me because this hasn't happened before. I always relate to at least one character but nada. Either I'm losing my touch of I've got a serious case of some form of weird writer's block where I can still write but it's just not the same.

Maybe I'm so disjointed from my characters because I know I'm about to put them all through Hell. Maybe I'll actually shed a tear when I write their deaths. I'm probably going crazy-er.

It likely doesn't help that it's like 9PM and I'm running on five hours (or less) of sleep. Regardless I plan to finish this thing by Sunday. That's two days to write four chapters and an epilogue. I do have to admit, I am looking forward to writing a scene where a character goes completely bonkers. It'll be fun.

As for now, I'm going to look over some drafts, laugh at a few things and fall asleep hugging my laptop because it's nice and warm. Until next time: Aliens are bad. Yes.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Camping - Author Style Part 2

It's officially past the middle of CampNaNoWriMo July edition. That means most people should be at a little over the half-way point with their goals. For me and other over-achievers out there it means we're either really close or finished with the 50K goal. I'm at 72K. I'm considered an over-achiever for a reason.

Anyway, despite having the 50K for this camp under my belt and being the biggest contributor to my cabin's word count: I'm not happy.

I know, I know, I should be happy, right? I mean I've got 72,000 (ish) words of a story that I didn't have at the beginning of the month. Technically speaking, 44K of those words are from a different story. I rebelled the first week and finished one up before starting Training Grounds which is my July Camp novel.

Even still I've got about 28K of Training Grounds complete. So I should be happy. Again, I'm not happy. Not one bit.


Well, I have no idea how this thing is ending. Let me repeat that: I don't know how this thing is ending.

That is a big problem for me. I can't concentrate on a project unless I know for sure how it ends. Normally that ending is written out before I even start or I figure it out within the first five chapters. I'm on chapter ten. I still don't know how this is ending.

Now I have an idea of how it ends. I've got a scene pictured in my mind of my main male character destroying The Big Important Thing and all Hell breaking lose. As to whether or not the group with my MMC lives or dies: I don't know. As to if the aliens take over the world despite losing The Big Important Thing: I don't know. If the Earth goes back to some semblance of order: I don't know. The ending? I DON'T KNOW.

This bugs me (if you couldn't tell all ready) and has made me slow down some. Instead of writing I'm puttering around in the forums and online. I can't wrap my head around how everything ends up or why it ends up like that.

All I know for sure is that I just killed my MMC's best friend of 23 years and he's obviously upset. He will want revenge I'm sure, hence why him destroying The Big Important Thing makes sense. As to if he lives after dealing this revenge remains to be seen. You would think I'd have mercy on the poor guy considering this story is coming from his point of view. I'm not one to practice mercy though. I could kill him off and just end it there so not even I know if the Earth survives.

That would be mean, right?

I'm not that mean. I guess what I'm trying to say is that endings are the things that make me write. I know that sounds odd but there it is. If I can't end it, I can't write it. Oh I can start it and write some chapters but I can't get past a certain point. And trust me, this thing has 17 chapters planned. Can I get to 17? Yeah, probably. Will I end it? Gosh I hope so because unfortunately for me I'm also the kind of author that can't start something new unless the thing before is finished. Yes. I am screwed.

So, this is how CampNaNoWriMo week three has been for me. How has it been for those of you participating? Are you all crazy like me and can't start something before finishing something else?

Until next time: *distant sound of pained screaming* Ignore that. That's just my Inner Editor/Muse going crazy.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Novel Series #6: The Troubles of True Love

And we're on number six of this series which means I'm actually working on Novel 8. This one was a re-write of a novel I hand-wrote (yeah) way back in the summer of...sometime in the late 90s. I think. Anyway, it was a long time ago and a lot has changed in the way I write from then until now.

The original version and this new version are so different that the only thing a person would recognize are the character names. It's a good thing though, trust me. The old version will be printed out  and burned in a bonfire one day as a sacrifice to the Writing Gods.

Genre: Fantasy/Romance. (Written May 6 to June 7)

Word Count:

Prompt: It was a re-write. I had the basic concept of the trouble my MMC and FMC had to go through because they were lovers then said "screw the original concept, whatever the heck that was, let's throw in a war and a crazy King that wants to kill all the immortal breeds. Yeah, that should make a difference." And it did.

Main Characters: Gabriella, Kyan, Miya, Sesshoba, Rikay, and Lycor.

Minor Characters of note: Nero, Milinco, Kerasuan, Kikan, Gunter, Hollan, Jeritha, Cloud and Starslight.

Summation: Gabriella is a healer elf. Kyan is the Heir to the Throne of King of the Skies. Their race and huge difference in caste dictates that they are not allowed to fall in love but they do. They're caught and have to flee Kyan's older brother, King of the Land Kerasuan, who wants to destroy the "impure" breeds (elves, dwarves, fairies, etc). Kerasuan sends the Seeker elf Sesshoba to track down Kyan. Their sister Rikay has also decided to fall in love with someone lower in caste so the assassin Miya is sent to bring her in. Enter in the Dragons of the First Clutch and suddenly there's a freaking war to stop.

High Points: Miya. She's awesome and kind of took over the story-line. She's also physically based off my BFF so it's a double bonus.

Low Points: Miya's unrequited love. Poor girl.

The World: Humans have the number advantage and have this belief in a Golden Rose and the Three Kings (Air, Land, Sea). When the three Kings have created peace the Golden Rose will bloom and make that peace everlasting.

Elves, fairies, dwarves, dragons, vampires, werewolves and the myriad of immortal breeds don't believe in the Golden Rose, especially the dragons. There are dragons old enough (Nero, Cloud and Starslight) who have seen the Golden Rose bloom and the destruction it causes when it dies.

Magic is rampant and dragons are about the size of horses and used like horses. The only dragons who aren't (and can't) be trained are the Dragons of the First Clutch who are said to be sleeping legends.

For the past few generations the three Kings have wanted to obliterate the immortal breeds, calling them impure because of the blood that flows through their veins. They think that superior speed, reflexes and what not is an insult to their God.

Major Plot Twist: Miya. Yep, that's all.

Thoughts: I didn't expect Miya to be such a star player. In the original she was an elf Mage who could shape-shift into a squirrel who annoyed the heck out of Gabriella as she travelled. The original Miya fell in love with Milinco while the new Miya was saved by Milinco in prior events to the novel starting. She still falls in love, but not with the Mage. If you followed my Twitter account while I was writing this, you'll figure out who she falls for.

Besides Miya, the entire thing was refreshing to write. It was like renovating that old house you love and making it new, up-to-date, and awesome. It'll be funny to compare the original draft with this new one. I also broke my "first drafts aren't always bad" rule. I know, I know, I'm horrible.

Memorable Lines:

"Father is dead." "Well that's rather unfortunate." "Unfortunate is an understatement, don't you think?"

"You should be more aware of where you tread, Prince Kyan."

"Knock Kyan, knocking is good."

"The Laws of humans are nonsense. No one is better than another because of what family they were born into or what they have decided to study. You and your brother are not better than a peasant because of your royal blood. The Higher Power will treat us all the same when we die. You and your brother will be judged by your actions, not your blood. Blood or birthright means nothing to the Higher Power." "The Laws of Elves are better?" "Our only law is to treat everyone as your equal and to gain as much knowledge to help as you can. Many assume that is why our race is dying. I do not think that is the case."

"Lycor put nothing in her head to make her leave. She left of her own free will."

"With respect, my Lord, if not for a woman you would not be here."

"I will find someone to send after Rikay and Lycor. They will be brought back to this castle and if Rikay will not uphold her duties as heir to the Throne of the Sea she will perish along with Lycor."

"There are caves in this canyon. I will hold them back. Run you fool."

"Thank you, my King. I'll bring back your sister in one piece. I won't make the same guarantee on the pirate."

"You elves are all the same: you think you're better because of your pointy ears and pretty frames. But trust me when I say that we all bleed the same red and our bodies are made of the same tissue that I know how to destroy in more ways than years you've lived. Well, except giants. They bleed a lovely shade of blue."

"I never put much faith into the Three Thrones. They did not exist in the beginning and the world was better off without them. I commend you on falling in love with whom you pleased and leaving the foolishness of the Three Thrones behind."

"Your words will mean nothing. Your life is not even a drop in the ocean that is my life."

"Humans do not put much worth into attempting to think like their quarry."

"Let's think about this for a moment, shall we? I just stabbed you and broke a few fingers before asking my question. What do you think I'll do to you if you don't answer?"

"Life is not about the positive. It was never set up that way. Every moment that passes every creature gets closer to death. Every creature's innate want to be the best causes lives to end sooner then they should and challenges creatures to waste their time learning things that may or may not save them. We were born to die."

"Well then, let me show you around! Watch your step and don't touch anything. It may blow you to smithereens or turn you pink. Both are pretty hard to clean up so let's not make a mess of things, all right?"

"Of course I can talk. I'm not actually a cat in my true form. I just like the cat form better."

"There was a rule passed by your father and the other two Kings about thirty years ago. It allows any mortal to "eliminate" an immortal child or babe as they see fit. With this, you mortals can eventually destroy the immortal breeds. We may have immortality but without children we cannot continue our lines."

"Silence is just as informative as words you know."

"I'll kill anyone who gets in the ay of my assignment: even you."

"It's quite a boiling pot of water you've got yourself in. That's why I like being a cat. No one expects anything from me but sleeping, eating and the occasional meow."

"Ignorance to world issues does not mean they cease to exist. Locking yourself away will do nothing but make you stupid."

"I think everyone in Galeah knows I'm insane. That's a stupid question. As for killing you, dwarf, I'm not too concerned."

"You have pretty hair. I want to scalp you and keep it on my belt to look at."

"That is what you get for being such a despicable human begin." "And that is what you get for thinking my contact would actually kill me. He knows better."

"No. My father did horrible things to you: dousing you with blood-magic and forcing pure breed blood into your veins, breaking limbs and making it so you wanted to end your own life. I would have felt worse if I'd left you to die."

"This so-called eternal peace died once. It took seven of my siblings and my parents in the destruction that followed, so sever it was. Only I or my siblings will see if this peace is truly eternal."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Camping - Author Style

For those of you that don't know and those of you that care: the same people who bring authors/writers/people-who-love-a-challengers National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) also bring us Camp NaNo. So for an extra two months out of the year (April and July this year) we can enjoy the insanity that comes with meeting a word goal in 30/31 days.

Camp NaNo is a bit more relaxed than NaNo. You can set your own word goals instead of going with the 50K that comes during the NaNo event. Because the two camps are in the summer there are less people on the forums BUT you're placed in a cabin with people who are (supposed) to be participating.

I've lucked out in both April and July and gotten great people in both cabins. Some aren't so lucky and get people who either don't talk or disappear for unknown reasons. The cabins are a special camp feature: we have a chat feature so depending on time zones we can talk to people in real time about writing instead of having to wait for the forums.

Last camp I worked on Lies and probably had my cabin-mates wondering what the heck I was on with the questions about gender and what not. They were exceptionally helpful and we met our overall goal of 225K. My goal was 75K which I think I hit in the third week. My memory sucks.

This camp I'm working on Testing Grounds a sci-fi novel set in and about 2013 where aliens attack earth under the guise that they want to help us. It'll be explained further in a later blog. This month I set my goal at 50K and by the end of the day (July 9th) I'll have it completed. The fun part is that our cabin goal is 150K and with another cabin mate at 30K our cabin only has to write 3 words a day to complete the overall goal. I figure by the middle of the week or the beginning of next week, we'll have hit 150K because we're awesome like that.

NaNo and the two Camps are not only fun challenges but are also great motivation. I don't need anything to keep me writing but it is nice to take a break sometimes, go to either the Camp Chat or the forums and talk to fellow writers. The months outside of Camp and NaNo are pretty stagnate in talking to other writers as I've never really clicked with writing forums outside NaNo. I know there are a lot out there but I can't get into them like I can with the NaNo forums.

Anyway, it's always good to have a fellow writer (or few dozen) to talk to when you run into a problem in your writing. It's nice to know that out there, somewhere, another writer might be having the same issue. It's good to know you're not the only crazy one.

I plan to post updates about Camp NaNo progress but we all know that I'm more pantser than a planner so, yeah. Until next time: don't put your entire marshmallow into the fire unless you like flinging a flaming ball of goo around and enjoy the taste of burnt goo.