Sunday, November 13, 2011

Writing With a Friend!

Howdy folks!

Today a friend of mine and I sat down (for the second time, actually) and wrote together. We're both working on NaNoWriMo, and we're both doing, well...Something! He's further behind than I am and that's all I'll say because he's the sort of guy that can bang out a bajillion words in one burst when it suits him. Not that I'm not, or at least not that I didn't used to be. I've actually been fairly steady with this NaNoWriMo project! How steady?

Obligatory Word Count: 28,085.

On topic, working with a friend can be a blessing or a curse. When you write with a friend, and you're each working on your own projects, you can bounce ideas off of each other. That's a huge blessing - if you're honest with each other you can shoot down bad ideas while building up the best of them. You can build concepts together - one person might suggest the first half of a solid plot arc, and the resolution might be suggested by the second.

The curse? You have to stay focused. "Writing with a friend" can quickly turn into "bullshitting with a friend." There's nothing wrong with having some laughs, but if all you do is talk about work/school/women/men/etc, you aren't writing. There needs to be some serious focus involved. There needs to be encouragement and good times, but there needs to be progress.

Most of all, you need to make sure your artistic styles mesh. I often like to write to the tune of music. So does my friend. With headphones, this can work - but if I really feel a need to keep the bass thumping, its going to be problematic. It'll be distracting. If I feel like breaking my writing up into small spurts of productivity, I have to show enough restraint to avoid distracting my friend if he's writing in one long, sustained effort.

The key of writing with a friend, therefore, is to know the friend you're writing with. That's the essence of it all - that, and, of course, to enjoy your writing!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stuck In The Middle With...Words!

Hello hello!

First things first, I'm doing well! Had some allergy problems over the week which slowed me down, but I'm back with a vengeance!

I've done some marketing for Physics Incarnate, for when that project is fully ready to release. As far as the NaNo goes...

NaNoWriMo Obligatory Word Count: 25,639 (And rising)

Right now I am literally half-way done with the book. I actually have to say that my "planned" series of events has lasted me well into this area, even if I didn't plan for it to go as it did. Yep, the book has a life of its own! Whaaat a shocker! Truthfully I'll hit at least 26,500 before I'm worried about "okay, what should happen next," although that's not saying much. As for my plan overall? A plan for what the end of the book'll be?

I think I have one!

But normally by now, in the process of writing a book, I hear would-be authors (and sometimes myself!) come upon a wall where we say "all of my strong front-loading ideas are gone, but its far too early for my climax. Now is when I have to stretch things out." And boy is that an art!

Repetition is an idea...But it gets old fast. If there is nothing new in the introduction of old information, it is simply a second telling to the reader - even if it is the first time the character has heard it! Describing the alien death ray is cool! Describing it six times is not. But, describing it a second time and with a new, perhaps subtle factoid thrown in is a way to expand upon it; "Oh yeah," says character one, "this is the death ray." "Cool," responds #2, "its just like this thing I saw!"

Okay, now you have something.

And that's all I'll say about stretching, for now. Cuz now is sleepy-time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Short, but Daily Update

Hey everyone.

Today was productive!

Obligatory Word Count: 888X I know for certain its above 8,800; and I'm fairly sure the exact number is above 8,880. It might be 8,860. I could be wrong.

I'm sleepy. Good night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finding Inspiration for your Writing

One of the toughest challenges people face is that they want to write...But have no idea what to put on a sheet of paper. I don't mean the more traditional "I know what I want to say, but don't know how to say it" situation that befalls me regularly. I mean the literal "I don't know what to write" situation of someone that wishes to be creative and cannot find something to apply that creativity to.

First and foremost, the question must be asked if writing is, in fact, the form of expression best suited to a person's feelings! Maybe they would be better off painting, or building something out of Lego, or taking pictures, or even just adding some art into a physical activity such as sports!

If writing is indeed what the person wants to do, though, the standard answer is "write what you know." Knowing something is fine, but having a passion enough to write about that something? If you feel like you know it down, pat, and rote, well, you'd better be writing for an audience because you're not going to dazzle yourself with new ideas. Most likely you'll either rehash old ones, or just get bored and give up.

No...Inspiration - at least in my current circumstances - comes from seeing something that already exists and going "what can I do with these ideas that hasn't been done before."

Inspiration for NaNoWriMo Novels

This year, I'm writing a space opera. Okay, so perhaps not a space opera - but certainly not a space by-all-laws-of-physics, and definitely not just a story about space ships blowing one another up constantly. Oh...I'm sure there's gonna be some of that all! But I'm going to be much more involved in the intricacies (or lack thereof) of diplomacy and balance-of-power affairs.

Where does this come from? For most of my life, I've played Master of Orion games. I was introduced to MOOII, which is an all-time great. It amounted to little more than "civilization in space and with awesome player-controlled combat to boot!" I've never actually played MOO1, which is...Probably going to change some day, but not now. And when MOO3 was announced, holy crap, it seemed so awesome...And was! Until those of us who played it realized that the game we'd been promised and the game we got were as alien to one another as Antarans and Gnolams. That is to say, one was always super awesome and advanced, and the other was so -blah- that it was removed from the game, more or less. Basically, it doesn't even work.

Right now, MOOII is my space-empire-game god-of-choice. Un-paid-for-plug? I picked it up at Good Old Gamers' for dirt cheap with full DOSBOX compatibility solutions, meaning it plays flawlessly and is fully patched. I've read interviews by the GoG people and, no joke, they're legit. Check it out and give it a try.

I have always been fascinated by MOO's capacity for customization, as well as ship class systems, and that's reflected in previous writings of mine in the first place. I'm trying to get some of that to shine through in my work, while at the same time trying to make the work itself pretty awesome. When you have a source of inspiration, even one that's second-hand, (Battlestar Galactica helped feed me into MOOII again, for example) it can make writing a lot easier on you because you'll know what your work "might look a little like," although it by no means has to.

So far, so good! I hope!

Obligatory Word Count: 5,632. That's about where I wanted to be, perhaps a bit higher even! I have some time this week to burtn out a lot of writing and while its the easy, early-onset writing, well...Its going great.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Articles and Update!

Hello, folks!

So! Today was a stupidly productive day! I wanted to start off strong on the NaNoWriMo affair. I began by doing some basic math on it; 50,000 words, 30 days. 50,000/30 = 1666.6666----, errr, 1,667. That's the per-day count of words needed to accomplish the task. If some days you write more, other days you can write less; if some you write less, others you must write more.

I reached that goal in my first burst!

Since this is more than a NaNoWriMo blog (though that'll dominate the next month!), I'm gonna ramble for a bit. After all, this is my blog! Anyway, I checked, a website I sometimes write at, and found there were no (turns out I was wrong; someone DID beat me to the punch) articles on NaNoWriMo from this year; not even one announcing that it had begun! Naturally, I went to work. I wrote myself an article. I wasn't sure if it would be accepted by the editorial staff there due to the past volume of work...

...And I found myself shocked as hell to see this message!

Oh yeah. I was thrilled. Sure enough, my post was on the front page there. I saved a screencap of that, too, for posterity! And for showing off!

But back to NaNoWriMo...I feel like its going really strongly. When I look at my word count, yeah, there's a slight fear I might run out of steam and creativity. However, considering how far I got today, I'm not concerned. The trick to this year's entry is that, while I don't have a name for it that I like, yet, I do have a plan. Or, rather, a plan for the beginning. I know how it will start. I don't know how it will end, except that it will end awesomely.

I was also really pleased to see that NaNoWriMo can take your current word count and project it on a graph, give you the total you've done, the number of days left, an "at this rate you'll finish by," and even a "words per day to finish on time." Its a nifty little thing, to see data on what you're doing as you're doing it! It might help control one's pace, making sure one doesn't burn out. Say, by writing too much in one day; something that I know I'm nowhere near the lead of the pack on, but not doing too badly with, either!

And that brings us too today's...

Obligatory Word Count: 2,437
- Its not a full second day's work, unfortunately, but it's about a day and a half! That means I'm a half day ahead, hence my "November 20th" finish date if I continue at this pace. Yay, math!