Archive for Writing

Escape From Bleak (life after NaNoWriMo)

So As Promised I have decided to revisit one of my NaNoWriMo drafts for re-writing, editing, and maybe beyond.

I chose my most recent one because some of the things left out of this draft are still lingering in my brain, and because I really like the beginning and want the rest of it to at least match it.

This is entering into unknown waters for me, which is a good thing, so I thought what the heck, let’s all go along for the ride and see what happens?

Here is the first draft more or less how it looked at the end of November, but reformatted to be readable… and have chapters… Be warned it’s raw and hurried first draft stuff… not for the faint of heart.

EscapeFromBleak_nanodraft_formatted

As I wander blindly down this dark alley I’ll post about the process and toss up more drafts in case anyone is interested.

So now step 1: I will read the damn thing. Wish me luck.

Bleak : NaNoWriMo 2015 part 4

NaNo-2015-Winner-Badge-Large-Square

51144 words

Is it readable? Sort of?

Some bits I liked, some I am not terribly proud of. The ending is a hot pile of steaming mess. The characters were fun though and I kind of want to develop them further… I think this deserves to go in the “Maybe I’ll rewrite it” pile, which is less comfortable than the “I want to rewrite this” pile but a lot more comfortable than the “Holy fuck what have I wrought?” pile.

Total words per minute average: 18.9, total -actual- time spent -actually-writing: 45.57

I wrote almost entirely in 15 minute bursts with fifteen minute breaks. I think my best stuff was done when I got distracted and kept writing for a half an hour or an hour. I need to work on my writing stamina and stop distracting myself so much. I also need to work on my dialogue. I think if I can make my dialogue less of a train wreck everything else will get much easier.

Am I going to post this to be read… I’m thinking about it. The end is Really embarrassing, like series canceled with no notice embarrassing. I am going to sit on it for December then decide which of my first drafts get my love in January.

Ah what the hell…

In all its painful typo laden first draft glory

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Bleak : NaNoWriMo 2015 part 3

A little late on the update, such is.

Well I did fall behind, then pulled ahead, then had a minor mental breakdown and fell behind again… I am feeling much better now.

I’m at 38100 which is about 1900 words behind, piece-o-cake!

I’m at the point where I’m looking at what is left to do and the amount of time and space to do it in and realizing I need to trim plot a touch. I’ll keep notes in case this isn’t an immense pile of ass and deserves a rewrite. I’m still planning to do a rewrite early next year, but I don’t know if this will be the one to get it.

Average words per minute: 9.94… ow… At the rate I am going I will finish December 3d… time to up that rate, excuse me folks, I have some words to spew out.

Bleak : NaNoWriMo 2015 part 2

Week two was a bit rough.

Famously the second week is much harder than the first and mine fit that mold nicely. A couple days of very little writing, a few sub par, and a few just above the daily goals and my initial lead has been eaten up fast! I have yet to actually fall behind though, and that is a nice feeling.

I’m at 25,411 words at the halfway point of the month… so juuuust above where I should be. I’m averaging 18 words per minute and 1.64 hours of actual writing a day.

Tonight I am going to try to pull ahead a bit since this week is going to have a couple massive speed bumps and if at all possible I want to keep ahead, if only a little.

 

Bleak : NaNoWriMo 2015 part 1

So Things are going well…

I opened with a blast of over 5000 words and have written more than needed every night aside from one so far. This has put me at 17,316 words on day 8, this is 3982 words more than I need to be right now. This feels pretty good.

The story and characters are feeling right as well, this might be one of the few kind of readable ones I have punched out and is so far in consideration for revisiting after I am done. I have a bit of a bug up my butt to properly finish some of these. I plan to pick one of the three I like best to begin rewriting in January.

Some stats… I am 34.63% done about 25% of the way through the month. I seem to average 18 words per minute and write in one or two hour long bursts per day with a few 15 minute bursts scattered around them. If I keep up my current rate I could finish on the 24th. I am unsure what I would do if that happens.

I am still not sure where the book is heading, but I am at the point where I really have to start heading that direction. A planning session or two in the near future are called for.

The book is a post-apocalyptic space opera. I am trying to keep as much science as I can in the science fiction… but the presence of faster than light travel kind of kills a bit of that. I am looking at a lot of charts about orbital distances and reading a lot about fusion. It may or may not help in any way.

Forty Four

-The atomic number of ruthenium (which is very pretty)

-The code for international direct dial phone calls to the United Kingdom

-Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44BC

-Wu Han died in 44AD

-Gary Busey was born in 1944

Yesterday marked the forty fourth anniversary of my entry, in approximately this form, into what we perceive as this state of existence.

It is an arbitrary date to use. A theoretical shift forward on the scoreboard of life… But I suppose it will do.

The day itself was not terribly remarkable. I woke up in a borrowed house and had a pleasant morning. I took a relatively luxurious shower and had plenty of time to settle into the harsh reality I call “being awake.” I had to work and it was a later shift so there was no time for any particularly fun activities… But work passed quickly enough and afterwards I was treated to a lovely Thai dinner. Cake and presents happened the night before, so all told the rituals were pleasantly observed.

So this leaves me thinking about the significance of passing this particular milestone set to the side of linear time.

That nasty little voice hiding somewhere behind my eyes would love to endlessly recount all of my many failings and dissapointments. I am increasingly finding that voice to be incredibly dull however, so it can go cheerfully fuck itself raw for a bit. It is a lot more interesting to look at where I currently am, where I want to be, and what tools I have to deal with the obstacles in my way (both internal and external).

This was supposed to be the year of “getting some stuff done.” Instead it was the year of recovering from disaster and wallowing a little in the comforting embrace of depression who loves me and is always there when I need it… Depression is also very boring and can fuck itself raw.

So this year will be a year of getting a few things done and knocking down a lot of obstacles so that I can get even more done. It had an OK start and is sitting in a bit of a swamp, but I am thinking it’s going to be a pretty satisfying tick forward on the arbitrary scoreboard and quite a few ticks forward on some much more interesting scoreboards. 

D&D and me part 6: My New Dice

Previously I talked about the loss of my special dice and how I had never since had a set that I really cared about.

for all these years my dice have been a semi-disposable tool, a means to an end that I enjoyed but never really connected with. I bought them in bulk and used whatever fell to hand. I didn’t love them.

a couple days ago my holiday present to myself arrived… And I have learned to love again.

image

After a long search I found these guys at DnD Dice at a very reasonable price. They are a good size, very heavy aluminum, and despite a few nicks and flaws that I forgive utterly, very well machined. The D4 might be one of the deadliest things I own, I dearly hope I never step on it.

My only criticism of these is a personal one rather than a practical one, and again it is utterly forgivable.

On many dice a small dot or underline is used to show the difference between a 6 and a 9. This makes perfect sense of course… Unless it is on a D6… Where it the only way to roll a 9 is to tear reality as we know it asunder and fling your die into some non-euclidean dimension where a solid shape can have a variable number of sides.

Other than that, I love them!

D&D & Me part 5: Dice Magic

Dice have had giant buckets of ritual, ceremony, and superstition since before there were dice. I have no doubt that cave-men were blowing on their knucklebones before tossing them into a circle of goat entrails and that roman soldiers were rubbing their dice on whoever was winning to pick up some of their luck.

Gamers are no different and despite the fact that many gamers are rational people who understand things like probability and the most basic physics of tossing a geometric shape onto a hard surface, we have created a whole lot of our own.

Here are a few I have personally witnessed:

Priming new dice by rolling them with the old ones… Sort of an initiation to your collection.

Never mixing new dice with old… I’m not sure when new dice become sufficiently old to join the general population.

Only use dice for their particular game… Never use your D&D dice when playing GURPS.

Never letting these sets of dice see each-other in case they got jealous.

Placing dice with the most desired result face up and keeping them that way until the roll.

Placing dice with the worst possible result face up and keeping them that way until the roll.

Rolling dice for ‘practice’ before playing.

Not rolling dice when not needed so you don’t use up the good rolls.

Rolling the dice a whole lot pre-game to use up the bad rolls.

Switching to new dice when one is rolling poorly.

Removing dice from your collection when they roll bad so they don’t infect the rest.

Not letting anyone touch your dice.

Making someone else use dice that are rolling poorly so they change their luck.

Buying a new set for each new campaign.

Keeping sets of dice for different purposes within the game… one set to roll stats, one set to make attack rolls, maybe even a specific die for a specific skill roll.

Rolling different dice of the same type to select the ones that roll best for that nights session.

Destroying poorly performing dice in front of the rest as an example… I knew one person who had a special sledgehammer specifically for this purpose.

Pleading with your dice while shaking them.

Threatening your dice while shaking them.

Kissing or blowing on the dice before each roll.

Having a pretty girl/boy kiss them.

I even knew one person who convinced a priest to bless his dice, no mean feat in the 80s when a lot of people thought that D&D equated murdering your friends while worshiping Satan in storm drains.

I had one superstition I tried to get started at one point, but it never got much traction… Touching your dice to a published game designer, the bigger a game line the better your dice would do. This may or may not have resulted in one or two people tagging Gary Gygax at conventions. I had managed Mike Pondsmith myself.

In short; People are crazy, gamers are people, therefore gamers are crazy.

D&D & Me part 4: First Games

As promised in Part 1.

My first tastes of Dungeons and Dragons (aside from puzzling through the rules and stumbling through making a couple of characters) was in a solo game run by my friend Wolfgang. We sat down and I made a character, a fairly basic fighter as I remember, I have no recollection of his name at all. I entered the dungeon with no plot and walked through a series of rooms, each full of treasure which I had my character put in his backpack with no regard for basic physics. At the end of these rooms was a staircase down. Wolf had me roll a die, whatever I rolled was not good enough as my character fell down the stairs and died.

The end.

This was not entirely satisfying, I strongly suspect Wolf’s understanding of the concepts involved were about as rudimentary as Mine was.

The next try was with Wolf again, as well as our friend Noah and at least one other person. I am pretty sure this took place at Noah’s house, but it may have been Wolfgang’s, it’s a touch hazy. I do know that we were now using Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, bigger books, more stuff, very exciting. I think the person running it was someone I did not know well but that had run games for the rest of the players before.

I rolled up a Bard (name also lost to the mists of time) and we began in a town. This time I got to roleplay doing a little shopping and purchasing a bit of meat on a stick and some pastries. This was much more satisfying. But the rest of the players pushed on to the matter at hand and we headed off to murder Tiamat… a foe a touch more than a match for a group of first level characters. We had been given some artifact level magic items though and I, at least, didn’t know any better so off we went.

The encounter consisted of us throwing a magic item that turned into a giant iron tower when the command was spoken. Mid air we shouted the command and the tower landed on Tiamat’s tail.

A pissed off dragon god then turned us to a fine red mist.

The End.

Still not terribly satisfying, but I was starting to get it. Reading the rules (AD&D now) made a lot more sense and between this experience and what I read in Dragon Magazine I could see the experience I wanted out of this mysterious world I had stepped into.

It was right about this time that Wolf and Noah and, well, pretty much everyone else I knew suddenly reached a point in their lives where they needed someone to pick on. I was a pretty weird kid and fit that bill nicely. It was the last game I played for a while.

Poignant memory that should go in any movie made of my life: School field trip, the last one of whatever grade I was in and at one of those “important” shift between grade levels that always bewildered me. All the D&D kids at one table playing, and me at a table nearby with my books rolling up characters I would never use. I find this memory equal parts horrifying and hilarious.

Other poignant memory that should go in any movie made of my life: Halloween, We all dressed up as an adventuring party. I made armor out of cardboard. We gathered at my house where I was promptly ditched and wandered around alone the rest of the night. This one is less hilarious.

All was not quite so gloomy however! Next time I will talk about my other life 200 miles away where lots of gaming started to happen.

The Blue Orchid : NaNoWriMo 2014 A Win!

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Not done with the book, but done with the month!

I am mighty!

My fingers hurt.